Monday, January 23, 2012

Underground Races: The Grue

It is pitch black. You are likely to eat something.

The Grue are a nearly-savage race of the Underground. The Exiled Empire conquered the more civilized factions and incorporated them into their society, but pockets of barbarian Grue still raid small hamlets and mushroom farms from time to time.

Physically, Grue are newtish, slimy lizard men with elongated limbs, a short, thick torso, and bulbous eyes. Their mottled skin comes in many colors, oranges and greens and blues, but dark browns and grays are the most common. Grue are omnivorous but prefer red meat, which they rip apart with their short but sharp teeth.

Grue society is dualistic, split along gender lines - each family is ruled by its egg-mother, but tribes are governed by a male chieftan. Grue shamans are male, but Grue gods are female. Grue craftsmen are male, while Grue artists are female. Player character Grue tend to be those who reject these customs.

Strong: A Grue's wiry limbs belie great strength. They begin with a d6 in Strength, which they can raise to d12+1 through advances.
Infravision: Darkness is their ally. Grue halve penalties (rounding down) caused by normal non-magical lighting.
Light Sensitive: Grue are susceptible to bright light. Anything brighter than a couple of torches or moonlight inflicts a -1 penalty on all Trait rolls.
Amphibious: Grue are semi-aquatic. They can spend a number of minutes underwater equal to ten times their Vigor die before checking against suffocation; check every 30 minutes after the initial dive. Grue prefer damp spaces but unlike many amphibians do not have to spend a certain amount of time in the water each day.
Outsider: Their appearance and savage cousins don't help Grue at all. They have the Outsider Hindrance.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fighting optimization

I've come to realize 4th edition DnD just isn't quite as much fun without fully optimized characters. This means, of course, at least an 18 in starting attribute scores, a +3 to-hit proficiency weapon, and Weapon Expertise (if you truck with splatbooks, which I try not to).

Naturally, this limits a lot of character options.

Conclusion: Start each character on equal ground. Everyone chooses 2 ability scores; these are guaranteed a +5 to-hit, minimum, plus whatever weapon bonuses there are. Weapon Expertise is now banned.

This puts everyone on the level of an 18 stat plus WE, which means you can actually explore some of the more interesting options in character builds (battleragor vigor from the Martial Power book, for instance) without sacrificing full optimization.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Inspired by Nethack:

Inspired by Nethack and other roguelikes, I've created a new 4E status effect:


You have been been turned into an @ sign!
While in this state:
-You never grant Combat Advantage
-All actions except free actions are considered Standard actions.
-You may not be the recipient of actions granted by allies through powers, class features, etc.
-Your move speed is 2

I imagine a dungeon where this is a permanent effect on one level: all the monsters are marked with a corresponding colored letter; all potions, magical items, and scrolls are unidentified until used; death is permanent...the possibilities are endless.