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Showing posts with label Undead. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Undead. Show all posts

Sunday, 15 April 2018

My (Updated) House Rules

These are the assumed rules I use for running all games. Even when I run other system stories and I am gm, this is what I think should be the default. Again, most times unless it is appropriate, I just use these rules unless there`s apart of the story/game that dictates otherwise.

Cleric Spells
Wizard Spells
Deities The High Gods
Role vs Roll
Active vs Passive Skill Checks
Low Magic
Spells or spell-like affects
Affect of Hordes

Fire spells, items or creatures do not exist on Nyssa. Magical fire was believed to have been banished when the sun was burnt out. Fire spells have since that point are ineffective. A few creatures have the power of fire, such as the flame-winged Phaetox, but it is faith that powers their wings and they are under a very strong compunction - they are physically incapable of telling lies.

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Constructs treat their HD number as their intelligence, wisdom and charisma scores until they reach 10 HD, unless the default attributes are higher. If they have an intelligent score higher than 7, they can speak. Otherwise use as per the construct entry in the MM. Constructs have no soul at creation, though rare, it is possible for them to generate one.

A few sentient and free constructs worship the Holy Cog, and gain cleric levels as lawful beings. Most have alignments that mirror their creators in their ethos (Good, Neutral or Evil) but virtually always Lawful.

Constructs have at completion maximum HD. For example, an 8 HD flesh golem would have 80 hp with unmoving constitution scores of 10. They do not naturally heal, so unless they have someone to
support / heal them with magic, they have 51-70% of their maximum start number when encountered.

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Guns were once utilized, heavily in some sections of the world.  They still work, but are very unpopular. Though guns cannot be enchanted ammunition can be if made out of magical materials (like anthril), but it is rare and very expensive. The biggest associated problem with guns, is that creatures killed by this weapon will arise as an undead within three days or less. Most people refuse to use guns and societies often arrest anyone seen having them. Lawful clerics lose access to their spells if they use a gun. Only dwarves in their enormous cities have battle cannons to attack huge sized opponents (dragons and giants). Their theory is that it is easier to handle an undead than a living threat.

The prestige class of the Smokers use these weapons, but they are despised. Most either make their own or go to specialized creators or collectors to buy ammunition.

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Magic or the energy to cast spells is often called the Frequency and it comes from the gods. Obelisks are divine outlets by which the frequency comes to the mortal domain. Any time obelisks are in towns they become the equivalent to churches; the central location for meeting and spellcasting.

Wizards take the energy needed to cast spells. Psionicists and sorcerers create the frequency within themselves, sometimes they are called living obelisks. Clerics are given the energy through their holy symbol.

0 - 2nd level spells generally are not lost in cities, due to being near obelisks, for both clerics and wizards. Must still memorize spells as normal. Larger obelisks sometimes enable additional spell levels not to be lost, but only for the faithful. The dedication of the obelisk is unimportant, if it acts as a connection to the heavenly or demonic forces, it will still charge all spell casters as noted for all spell-casters.

Wizards gain 2 spells every level until 10th. They gain one spell per level until 15th. Wizards no longer gain spells automatically every level past 15th level, they must research them.

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Clerics, except for raise dead spells, require only one spell component - their holy symbol, this is the rule for all spells regardless of the description in the PHB or other sources. Clerics are utterly tied to their holy symbol, which is why most will have more than one in their possession.  If they lose access to their holy symbol, they cannot cast any spells. One free feat clerics receive at first level is Create Holy Symbol. This requires 1 hour of prayer at an obelisk or holy site, (or six hours otherwise) and they must verbally say the required prayers. If they are unable to complete the verbal and somatic components, they cannot complete this ritual.

Clerics have 10 + wisdom modifier, of clerical spells in their prayer books by spell level they can cast. They can replace spells freely with other priests at holy sites. When they gain access to a spell level, they gain 6 spells+their wisdom modifier, They gain the remainder on the second level that they have access to the spell

Clerics generally do not memorize healing spells. They can switch out any memorised spell for a healing spell of the same equivalent power level (1st = 1d8; 2nd - 2d8+5, etc.)

The High Gods cannot physically come to Nyssa, only their proxies or servants. Most gods have multiple domains, each will have a different proxy or Avatar. These are utterly and completely loyal. Demi-Gods are able to walk the land, but only in areas of their faithful.

Most people are pagan, meaning they worship more than one god. Only Paladins are required to worship one god; theirs is almost always Japeth. Clerics often follow multiple gods and sometimes follow a principle and not a specific godly force.

It is standard practise to make an offering to any obelisk you go to or pass by; it is considered extremely rude not to. You can use any god from any setting, all are found in small cults in one or two cities somewhere in the world. Most good aligned people say they follow the Quadrane (Quanna, Japeth, Darras & Mathai) or the idea of good gods that serve.

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Undead arise when anything dies and the corpse is not properly interned. Things killed by undead generally take 5-12 days, unless a shorter period is listed in the monsters description. If killed by anything else (including a natural death), it takes 21-40 days, and will most likely arise as a Carcass (HD 1+.) Anything that dies in a settled area will be buried in either a druid's grove, temple's catacombs or public mausoleum usually called Tower of Sorrow. Searing Towers are an archaic tradition of cremation, once popular in Phastia, the Desert Lands. Creating undead is perhaps the most vile and hated action imaginable, no society, even evil or chaotic ones condone it.

Jackalla, lawful servants of Anubis act as undertakers in 95% of all communities and are focused on destroying undead. They usually found in Sorrow Towers, large mortuaries, that also serve as their homes. They care little about societies practices, as these jackal humanoids hunt undead continuously.
City folk know the Jackalla as undertakers and always show them respect but never communicate with them outside this role. Outside the city, Jackalla are much more known for their undead raids. They are often willing to trade magic and wealth for service in hunting down undead.

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Cosmology There are no stars in the night sky, rather there are four constant moons. Another seven moons can be seen at differing times during the year. The seasons of the year are based on Curen’s (Silver Prime Moon) position; Rising, Peak, Descent, Dearth. The other primary moons are: Drelth (Red), Frel (Blue); Kredant (Green).

The seasons, magic cycles, and predictions are based on their relative positions. There are actually more than 100 moons all around Nyssa, very few of them are ever actually visible without a telescope, but they all have meaning and most have specific connections to magic, fate and the gods.

Weeks are also usually called the Ten-Day. Years are called Cycles. Months are often called Turns, and are each five weeks long there are 15 to a standard year. Holidays occur outside of the weeks.


1st Day: Counting Crowns (Crown is a gold piece for most civilised people)
2nd Day: Steadfast (or Steadfast Prayer or just Prayer)
3rd Day: Burning Candles
4th Day: Sharpening Swords or Sharpening
5th Day: Market (or Tower Day)
6th Day: Wash (or Well Day)
7th Day: Peal (Ringing Bells or just Bells)
8th Day: Hammering (or Hooping)
9th Day: Gate (Travel)
10th Day: Sword Day

Days are generally known by these names throughout the domain for most Nyssian speaking peoples. There are specific tasks most people follow on that day.

These days are rarely fixed, cities share the same week day names, but have them on differing days. Thus the day that fair are is in that location is Market day, the next day that town will have Market day, and so on and so on. Usually scholars will keep a definite record to determine where they are in relation to other locations as counted by the number of days from a specific event.

Most faiths have a day of service, wherein the faithful should visit their church (Obelisk); once a specific period (some every week, others every month, etc.) The 2nd, 3rd & 7th days are the most common. Market day is the rarest, as it is fair day when the market is open and most people do their weekly shopping. Sword Day is often used for military faiths.

Because the days can differentiate between towns, it is possible to visit the same days in a row by Chasing the Week-Wheel. Some merchants, bards, and religious orders deliberately make their living doing this, so virtually every day they have their special day of activity.

Sword Day: Most non-nobles do not pay taxes but can be called upon for military service in times of danger. It is mandatory to participate in training once a week during sword day, but not necessarily using the sword as a weapon. Many may help build or repair sites in their hometown.

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Active vs Passive Skill Checks: If the player asks to do something, that is an active roll, and done as normal. At any time, a DM can roll at a half chance check to determine if they notice or realise something that just jumps into their heads, this is a passive roll.

Roll vs Role Playing: How players describe they do something is equally important as a dice roll. For example with trap finding: If a player tells me what they are going to do or how they are going to check, if it fits the scenario, I give them a bonus to the skill check roll. If a player tells me look for traps, without any detail or description, they just roll the dice. This is how a non-thief can potentially disarm a trap, or convince a stranger to do something, or anything else in game, etc.

Low Magic My world is an assumed low magic item world, every dweomered item essentially decays over months (or years), so going into a dungeon they might find info, scrolls and coins, but all the 'Real Magic' has long since faded back into the Ether. Only items found on an outer-plane or at last partially stuck in the Ether can avoid this, but then once on Nyssa, the decay starts to happen. There are ways to avoid this, but usually only available at higher levels.

Free Character Change No penalty for changing characters: outside of a dungeon.  Go ahead, play what you want. Getting killed imposes a slight drop in level for starting a new character.

Duelling Proficiency: Most characters are proficient with both rapier and dagger, as duels are common and it is the weapon of choice for aristocrats and most soldiers. You can carry these anywhere. Many places allow duelling, as it's assumed that both parties consent. Even in places that do not allow duelling as a daily practise, it happens on Sword Day (last day of the Ten-Day week) as its a traditional fair day when competition happens. Duels, both for training and honor occur
regularly. The majority of duels are stopped once three strikes happen or other stated condition.

Spells or spell-like affects are not affected by critical or fumble rolls unless there are side rules specifically in the spell description.

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Teleport Spell (5th level) can only be cast from one teleport pad to another. You must know the exact location of the second pad and have been there previously.  If it is blocked (a simple cloth covering it) you cannot teleport through. It takes one hour to carve a temporary teleport insignia in sand (up to six hours if in stone.) The Greater Teleport (7th level) does not need a teleport pad to begin; but it always needs a teleport pad to go to.

An open Teleport circle is slightly different, as anyone can use, and but it will take them to a specific Matched Location only.   If a sealed Teleport Circle it requires a password to step into and out of.

Both clerics and wizards have access to Obelisk Jump, a 4th level spell equivalent to teleport but it can only transport individuals from an obelisk to another one.

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A hoard of gold (especially coins) act as a scry blocker, which is one reasons why kings and dragons cannot be scryed. Top priority.

A hoard of silver (especially coins) acts as an enhancer to many spell & spell effects involving illusions.  Most Fey collect silver for this reason. Seconded priority.

A hoard of platinum (especially coins) prevents charm spells & effects. Some say this is why it is so rare. No Priority - works when there are more platinum in one central location.

A hoard of electrum (especially coins) prevents deception in spells or spell effects.

A hoard of copper coins prevents strength draining magic or effects. Giants always have tonnes of copper in their lairs.

The largest number of coins in a treasury will be dominant, so no dungeon or lair will have more than one hoard affect active.

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After 24 hours, raise the dead can ONLY be cast at an obelisk. There is no additional material components, but the god will not enable them to be cast on an opposed aligned creature or someone that has angered them. Most times a service is required. Reincarnation is much more popular, but the listing is significantly different and so is the mandatory service.

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Hembria was an ancient magical empire that spanned the domain; Hembrian is vernacular for anything old.

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Guilds are also known as Towers and they commonly hold seats of power in communities. Rather than one-person one vote, each tower has one vote on the governing counsel. Some common towers: Sollus (gardens), Song (Bardic), Sorrow (mortuaries), Silence (martial arts), Solomon (wizards), Law (bureaucracy), Trade (merchants), War (military). Many others exist. In theory they are equal in the power, but this rarely works without political entanglements.

Dragons are called Tyrants, only two known types of dragons are native: purple & ice.

Drow do not exist in Nyssa. (There is a good-aligned, highly musical black skinned Elf called the Dral.)

Psionics exist on Nyssa; they are heavily located in one known area of the world, rare elsewhere.
Talented is a pseudonym for psionic. Tallene are psionic humans.

Coinage: Oromians (the nation of sailors) mint all Nysarian coins. All bear official seals of the local government (City, Region or Nation) and a Tyrant. Wing/Seal, is the equivalent to Heads/Tails. One slight difference, if the coin is subsequently lost, it should not be looked for. This is called an offering to Fatanus (Lady Luck.) Common (Copper), Noble (Silver), Crown (gold), Lord (Electrum) are the names.

While slavery is common in many parts of the world; it’s much closer to forced service. Most are criminals, prisoners of war, or of a differing race. In all but the most evil nations, children are granted freedom at birth (along with their mothers). Halflings are the most common type, next followed by Ogres, Goblins, Gnolls and Minotaurs; dwarves are the least common. Good aligned characters may not keep slaves; but not required to rescue slaves. Lyrria has an open door gate policy, the law does not enforce return, so they are essentially immediately free.

Rapine Creatures: Salamanders, Minotaurs and Gargoyles are a neuter sex; they can create brute drones or forcefully mate with other humanoids to reproduce unique combinations.

Rule of the Fist. In civilized areas large bladed weapons, missile weapons, martial weapons or exotic weapons are illegal to use on the street. Everyone can use a dagger, staff or fist. In some areas, the list also includes free use of the rapier. Beating someone up (unless an elder, child or invalid)  is very rarely considered criminal.

Spice, is the word used for illicit drugs, some varieties are: Bliss, rage, dream, jube, pixie dust, and angel blood. They are illegal in most lawful societies, but they are available.

Taint rules are found on Nyssa. Association with undead or demonic beings may cause the physical body to rot away or become deformed.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Restless - Undead Template

In my game world, undead are very common as they spontaneously arise from any creature not properly buried or disposed of. This template is the base undead found everywhere, arising due to accident or carelessness, not specifically evil actions. 

Restless-Undead [Template]

This template can be added to any dead creature that arise from its corpse being improperly interred. The creature appears as it did during the time of death often wearing funeral dress or wrapped linen over some portion of their body. Their eyes have a dark hue that covers most of their face, and many times they have a distinct jerk in their movements, especially at the start.

These undead are similar to self-aware zombies, that struggle to eke out an existence in their undeath. Most reside in crypts or dungeons, uninterested in moving out of the location where they reside. 

Size and Type: Change type to Undead (d12), If originally 3 HD or less, the new creature now has 3 HD. Creatures over 5 HD, lose 2 HD.

Speed: Same as original creature.

Armor Class: Gains a natural armor bonus of +5, this replaces any natural armor bonus the creature may have had previously. If they wore armor when buried, they will most likely will still be wearing it.

Attack: If it was originally a beast, the restless gain an additional bite attack doing the same damage as when they were alive. If humanoid, they have two natural slam attacks. The Restless if they have over a modicum of intelligence (7 or higher) and have their weapons, may opt to continue to use this option.

Size               Slam Damage
Small                 1d4
Medium             1d6
Large                 1d8
Huge                  2d6

Special Attacks: They retain all the attacks they had in life and gain despair wail & restless fever.

Despair Wail (Su) All creatures within a 60-foot radius that hear a restless must make a Will save at DC 13 (+ 1 / HD). or be paralyzed by fear for 2d5 rounds. Whether or not the save is successful, that creature cannot be affected again by the same despair ability for 24 hours. This is a paralysis and a mind-affecting fear affect. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Restless Fever: touch; save Fort DC 14, onset time 1 minute; every 6 hours make another save.
Initial effect: 1d3 Constitution drain.
Ongoing Effect: Every six hours make another save to take another point of Constitution drain.
Save: 2 non-successive successful saves to prevent any additional loss. While the restless effect is happening, the victim cannot properly rest, only magical healing can help revive them. The save DC is Charisma-based. This can also be removed by two successive remove curse spells.

Skills and Feats: Undead of five intelligence or more maintain the skills and feats they had in life.

Game Focus
Most restless have at least faint memories of their lives before they were killed, but now they exist to try and satiate their endless hunger. Warrior types try to organize any other undead into small legions to protect their property. Former wizards most often are the weakest, as they do not automatically gain spells, have lost some intelligence, and do not have spell books. A few rogues lucky enough to have their equipment can prosper and gain access to buried wealth.

It seems only clerics, who are often buried with symbols of their devotion follow their previous path. If they were evil, they exist to gain power and followers at any cost. If previously good, their existence makes them go slightly mad, and spend their time in their lair, angry at the world. They are still not willing to do evil to others, but will lash out if others come to them. Though rare, sometimes they can be convinced to help the living in good causes within their dark dungeon lairs.

Restless know they are not alive and do not pretend to be. They are obsessed with death, symbols around it and keeping their small circle free from anything they disdain - such as the living.

Any Restless with at least a low intelligence will try to avoid the undead hunting Jackalla.

Special Qualities: An undead creature has the following features.

d8 Hit Die.
Base attack bonus equal to 3/4 total Hit Dice (medium progression).
Good Will Saves.
Skill points equal to 4 + Int modifier (minimum 1) per Hit Die. Many undead, however, are mindless and gain no skill points or feats. The following are class skills for undead: Climb, Disguise, Fly, Intimidate, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (religion), Perception, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, and Stealth.

Abilities: Adjust the base creature as follows: Str +4, Con --, Int -4, Wis +4, Dex --, Cha --. These undead lose some of the intelligence they had in life, but they gain in most other ways.

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Thursday, 15 October 2015

Cadaver - base undead

Cadaver (Nyssian Zombies)

This is the base undead found on Nyssa. Cadavers appear the same as zombies at lower levels - slow speed, flesh hanging off them with rotting organs always eager to devour living flesh. As they age, they lose all of their flesh and organs, becoming skeletal in appearance. Just as significant, most of them gain in intelligence and charisma, so they become a very different type of threat at higher levels.

At the start, they are low intelligence beings whose only purpose seems to be hunt and devour living creatures. While believed to be ruthlessly evil this is not entirely true, at their youthful stages and HD they seek to feed on the flesh of living beings. Those that advance often become neutrally aligned, as higher HD ones usually wish for solace, and will only feed only on living beings who disturb their slumber. Some believe it is their transition to undeath which causes the hunger for flesh, as there have been good aligned Cadavers, while incredibly rare, who are not inflicted with these pangs.

At higher level HD, a Cadaver is incredibly influential and charismatic to other undead, in fact this is how many undead hordes converge. Some of these undead are destroyed by their Cadaver Lord if they do not comply with their commanders orders to control where and when they feed.

Cadaver CR 1
XP 600
NE (N)                                           Medium undead
Init +2                                            Senses darkvision 120 ft.; Perception +5

AC 13, touch 11, flat-footed 12 (+1 Dex, +2 natural)
hp 5 (1d8)
Fort +0; Ref -1; Will +3
DR 2/slashing; Resist cold 20, undead traits

Speed 20 ft.
Melee Weapon +2 (1d6+1)
SQ Regeneration
Str 13, Dex 7, Con 10, Int 5, Wis 10, Cha 5
Base Atk +1; CMB +2; CMD 13
Skills: Climb +5, Perception +5, Stealth +5, Knowledge (Religion) +5
Feats Improved Initiative

Environment       Any
Organization       Team (3-6)
Treasure Value    Quarter Standard (Usually worn clothing, jewelry or weapons)

Regeneration (Su) When reduced to 0 hit points or less, a cadaver is not destroyed; rather it falls inert and begins the process of reanimating.  Hit points lost to magical weapons or spells are regained at the rate of one per day, those lost from non-magical weapons are regained 1 every hour. When the creature reaches its full hit point total, it stands up, ready to fight again.  They are permanently destroyed if interned on a holy site or if a holy weapon is used to inflict the damage.

HD Advancement

Gain +2 skill points only in skill options (not just their base skills) 
Gain +2 in charisma reaction to other undead creatures
Gain +1 in natural AC every other HD

2 HD Pact of Peace (Other Low Level Undead); SR 5; Gain 1 Feat
3 HD Bone Reading,  +2 to any three ability scores; Dmg Reduction 4/bludgeoning or magic
4 HD Speak with Living (1/day) Gain 1 Feat; Move 30 ft
5 HD Pact of Peace (Animals); SR 10;  Dmg Reduction 6/bludgeoning or magic
6 HD Pact of Peace (Faeries & Good Aligned Outsiders) , +2 to any four ability scores, Move 40 ft
7 HD Gain 1 Feat; Speak with Living (3/day); SR 15; Dmg Reduction 8/bludgeoning or magic
8 HD Pact of peace (Lawful Creatures, Death Figures and Religious); No Scent; Gain 1 Feat
9 HD Immunity to Ward Against Death, +2 to any three ability scores; SR 20; Dmg Reduction ,10/magic, Move 50 ft 

Bone Reading: Touching a piece of bone will reveal the name, race and class of who the bone belonged to. Usable 3 / day

Speak with Living: Undead have no workable body parts, so this spell enables them to communicate with the living. It can enable communication for up to five minutes.

Pacts of Peace: Cadavers emit a non-threatening aura for the creatures listed, unless the undead takes violent action, those listed just ignore the undead as non-threats. It is the intent not the actions, if undead are even considering breaking the peace, the creatures will not recognize the peace pact. Their pacts of peace are for NPCs only, not PCs or their companions.

No Scent: At this point, cadavers emit no scent and cannot be tracked in a standard manner

Immunity to Ward Against Death: Spells or effects that normally affect undead have no affect on Cadavers (this includes clerical turning). This only works if the Cadaver is in their home base. Once a Cadaver leaves their home, they can be affected normally.

Feats Options:
Quick Strikes (Ex): With this feat, a zombie can make one additional attack at its highest base attack bonus.

Death Burst (Ex): When a zombie dies with this feat, it explodes in a burst of decay. All creatures adjacent to the plague zombie are exposed to its plague as if struck by a slam attack and must make a Fortitude save or contract zombie rot.