Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Going Gonzo and Dear Gorm are taking a Week off

Next week this blog is going back to the literature shelf and will stay their presenting new materiel based on classic lit every week.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monster Mondays: Metallic scaled Kobolds

by Frank Gori

Unlike their Chromatic kinsmen, Metallic scaled kobolds are quite rare and generally of good or neutral alignment. Still more acustomed to the underground then above, reactions from other kobolds are mixed though they are generally better tolerated amung the standard player races.

Standard Racial Traits

  • Ability Score Racial Traits: Kobolds are fast but weak. They gain +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, –2  Strength.
  • Type: Kobolds are humanoids with the reptilian subtype.
  • Size: Kobolds are Small creatures and thus gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty on their combat maneuver checks and to Combat Maneuver Defense, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks.
  • Base Speed: Kobolds have a base speed of 20 feet.
  • Languages: Kobolds begin play speaking only Draconic. Kobolds with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Common, Dwarven, Gnome, Sylvan, and Undercommon. See the Linguistics skill page for more information about these languages.

Defense Racial Traits

  • Armor: Kobolds naturally scaly skin grants them a +1 natural armor bonus.

Feat and Skill Racial Traits

  • Crafty: Kobolds gain a +2 racial bonus on Craft (trapmaking), Perception, and Profession (miner) checks. Craft (trapmaking) and Stealth are always class skills for a kobold.
  • Dragon-Scaled All Metallic scaled kobolds are hatched with shiny scales that their connection to a particular sort of dragon seems undeniable. Whether this coloration is just a quirk of a stray egg or a trait shared by all the members of a tribe, these kobolds gain a resistance that makes them especially suited to work alongside dragons matching the color of the kobold's scales. brass-scaled and gold-scaled kobolds with this racial trait gain fire resistance 5. bronze-scaled kobolds with this racial trait gain electricity resistance 5. Copper-scaled kobolds with this racial trait gain acid resistance 5. silver-scaled kobolds with this racial trait gain cold resistance 5.
  • Prehensile Tail Your tail is especially flexible and strong, so you've learned to use it for both movement and simple tricks. You gain a +2 racial bonus on Acrobatics and Climb checks, and you can use your tail to draw a hidden weapon as a move action instead of as a standard action. This racial trait replaces the armor racial trait.

Senses Racial Traits

  • Darkvision: Kobolds can see perfectly in the dark up to 60 feet.

Weakness Racial Traits

  • Light Sensitivity: Kobolds lives in darkness have caused them to suffer from light sensitivity.

Alternate Racial Traits (pretty much standard with minor alterations)

The following alternate racial traits may be selected in place of one or more of the standard racial traits above. Consult your GM before selecting any of these new options.

  • Beast Bond Some kobolds have a talent for training animals and beasts to help them both on and off the battlefield. Kobolds with this racial trait gain a +2 racial bonus on Handle Animal and Ride checks. Handle Animal and Ride are always class skills for them. This racial trait replaces crafty.
  • Day Raider You're one of the few kobolds born with a greater tolerance for sunlight. You don't have light sensitivity, and you have low-light vision instead of darkvision. This racial trait replaces light sensitivity and darkvision.
  • Dragonmaw Your draconic heritage makes you smile- not just because it makes you happy, but also because your powerful teeth and jaws are proof of your kinship with a matallic dragon. You gain a bite attack that deals 1d4 points of damage. Once per day, you can deal 1d6 points of additional energy damage with your bite attack. The damage type depends on your scale color: which follows the same resist patterns as Dragon scaled. This racial traits replaces the armor racial trait.
  • Frightener Like the great dragons, you can strike fear in the hearts of your foes with your majestic presence. Few enemies suspect that you make yourself look more dangerous with simple tricks you learned back when you were newly hatched. You gain a +1 racial bonus to the DC of saving throws against spells you cast with the fear descriptor. This racial trait replaces the armor racial trait.
  • Gliding Wings Some kobolds are born with wings that, while too weak for actual flying, do allow them to fall at a very slow and safe pace. A kobold with wings can use them to glide. It can make a DC 15 Fly check to fall safely from any height without taking falling damage, as if using feather fall. When falling safely, it may make an additional DC 15 Fly check to glide, moving 5 feet laterally for every 20 feet it falls. This racial trait replaces crafty.
  • Secret Strider You have the ability to traverse the wilderness without a trace. Twice per day, you can move through natural surroundings without leaving a trail for 1 minute, increasing the DC of any attempts to track you by 10. This racial trait replaces crafty.
  • Shoulder to Shoulder Having lived and worked in close quarters with your tribe-mates, you've learned how to maneuver within their personal space without disturbing them. You can occupy the same space as one other Small ally without penalty. If you share a space with another kobold who has this trait, you each gain a +1 circumstance bonus to AC, as you help jostle one another out of the way of incoming attacks. You also gain a +1 racial bonus on aid another rolls. This racial trait replaces crafty.
  • Spellcaster Sneak Traversing the tunnels near big, nasty, hungry creatures, you learned to keep quiet- and to keep your spells quiet too. You gain a +2 racial bonus on Stealth checks, and once per day you can gain the benefit of the Silent Spell feat on a spell you cast. This racial trait replaces prehensile tail.
  • Razzle Dazzler You have learned to use the reflective properties of your scales to dazzle opponents. Effectively using bright light conditions to dazzle enemies in melee by making bluff checks. This trait replaces dragon scaled.
  • Wyrmcrowned Your horns have grown to the extent that they appear similar to those of a dragon who shares your scale color, lending a draconic power or menace to your dealings with others. Choose either Diplomacy or Intimidate. You gain a +2 racial bonus on checks with that skill, and it is always a class skill for you. This racial trait replaces crafty.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Recession Reviews: Open Gaming Monthly 5

by Frank Gori

Times are hard and while a gaming book beats any trip to the theatre, our loved ones don’t always see it that way. When you can spare the money what products deserve your hard earned gaming dollars? Who balances enough crunch with the fluff to allow the frugal GM to recycle, after all the best games are the ones you can play over and over again without losing interest.

Any who wish to review something in this format should email me a request at theflyingpincushion@gmail.com

Open Gaming Monthly Issue 5 :

d20pfsrd.com Presents: Open Gaming Monthly #5

Written by: Various Authors      

Page count: 99 counting the cover

Throw Away pages: 24 (covers, forward, advertisements, recipe, and fiction not directly useful att he gaming table)

Golden Pages: 71 (reusable npcs, spells, character paths, magic items, monsters, traits, flaws, and solid articles)

Cover price: $2.99 + OGM 2 included for free!

Price per page: $0.03

Modified price per page: $0.02 = Cover price/pages + golden pages – throw away pages= modified price per page, not factoring in OGM#2 gift w/ purchase

Crunch to Fluff Ratio: 4.13 to 1

Our Rating out of 10: 9.5 extremely reusable and useful

Description (minor spoilers): What makes OGM shine aside from the value of its price per page is that there’s always going to be something useful. You might not agree with all the authors or even use 90% of it but you will always get something for your money and usually an entertaining read to boot. Highlights of this issue were the expansions on traits and drawbacks (which really needed the help), the guide to the minotaur, the dragon cemetery, the beastiary, and the magic items.

It is notable that OGM sticks in ads to fill half pages, the editors seem to miss some grammar mistakes, and the art quality ranges from amazing to distractingly bad. Overall you are getting a very good deal so no complaints from me!

***It is notable that I am a contributer to this publication, the review however focuses on the content that I did not contribute. I of course think my article giving GM advice on Sidekicks is amazing but that did not factor into this rating we are merely discussing value for your gaming dollar, aside from freebies this is the best deal in gaming.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dear Gorm: Starbuck

by Jeff Harris

Disclaimer: Gormie is a Dwarven barbarian and advice colunmist. The publishers of this blog do not condone voilence nor do weaccept any liability for the advice offered here. This content is for entertainment purposes so if you push all your negative emotions deep down into a black ball of rage and release it at an inappropriate time please be aware we do not accept liability.

Dear Gorm,

I find myself in an unusual situation and in need of advice. I’m a first mate on a whaling vessel known as the Pequil and have sailed with her and her captain Ahabar for over ten years. He promoted me early and I can say I have known no finer friend, yet I find myself having to seriously consider killing him.

A little over a year ago he lost an arm in an encounter with a Fiendish White Whale(link) which he and all hands about this ship were lucky to survive. The monster is enormous, can cast magic and fly. It has smashed vessels larger then our own to flinders and is perhaps the most feared beast of the seas. I’d rather face a hurricane then encounter this beast again. But not Ahabar!

The man desires vengeance beyond all reason and keeps the company of a mad cleric to guide us on a chase to find the whale. He has a harpooner crew of mercenary looking adventurers he seems to think will be enough.

As I see it Ahabar is going to get us all killed so I must consider some options I do not care for… I can kill him in his sleep, I can try and call for a mutiny, I can steal my way onto another vessel and let those that don’t make the same choice be dammed, or I can face my death as a loyal friend and watch my friends die too.

Call me Star-buccaneer

picture depicting the mutiny on the weing
Dear Star-Buccaneer,
                There is no easy way to say this lad, but your friend, your captain, is taking you on a one way sail to hell.  No matter what the man may have once been, he’s not that same man anymore.  It’s mighty clear that your captain has lost himself to madness, and that madness is a demonic white whale.  Your only duty now is to yourself and the crew of the good ship Pequil.
              image from http://www.history.noaa.gov/stories_tales/ewingmutiny.html

  Now, the way I see it, there’s two demons at work here, a whale and your captain, and I say both of them be damned as they deserve each other.  Ol’ Gormie is here to tell you that you already know the right course; you simply need to have the courage to walk it.  Ask yourself this lad, how many souls are aboard your ship, how many souls are going to go screaming to the crushing black of the locker if you don’t act?  The answer is simple, ALL of THEM.
                I won’t tell you to spill your captain’s blood, and only a coward would abandon his ship mates to the insanity of this white whale hunt.  So when I said you already know the answer, then you know I’m going to tell you to mutiny.  Now don’t you look at me like that, I’m sure enough aware of what that word means for a sailor, for a man whose honor is still intact.  But if you are to live through this storm, it’s your only choice lad. 
                You will be needing to rally the crew to you, make them see the wisdom of calling off this hunt.  Get yourself the key to the weapons locker, and take the ship by force if you must.  Any man that stands with the captain stands against you, and if his guts get spilled on the deck, then mores the pity for them. 
                Once you have the ship, you put your captain and any who stand with him that yet live in the life boats, leave them enough food and water to get to land if you can spare it, and you leave them to the mercy of the bitch queen, that is, the sea.  Live or die it’s a better fate than they would find on this mad blood hunt.  One man, lost arm or no, has NO right to condemn so many other souls to purgatory along with him.  Look at it like this, your saving those worth saving, and saving those who aren’t from themselves.
                This may not have been what you were wanting to hear, for there’s no happy ending in this story, no heroes, and no reprieve from the horrible truth of things.  But look at it this way lad, you either become a mutineer, or you become a monster, just like your captain.  The thing is, in the hell your sailing in now, those are the only choices, all you have left to you is to decide which you can live with.  I leave you with these words lad, and they are not my own, but they wise none the less.  “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” (Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146)
                                                                                                                                                Fair weather and fast winds,
                                                                                                                                Gorm “Gormie” Mountainchewer

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mishelved: Moby Dick

From Lit to Battleboard legit

By Frank Gori

Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! and since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!"
- Moby Dick, Herman Melville

If you haven’t read Moby Dick by Herman Melville I highly encourage you to do so, your life will be richer for it. That said it isn’t required reading for what follows below. On Monday I gave you a take on Moby Dick that should terrify most adventuring parties, yesterday John gave you a bizarre possibility of a whaling vessel based on the Pequod, today I’ll give you a set up, some NPC concepts, a chase scene, and a combat. Basically the bones of what you need to make a tale inspired by Melville’s classic come to life at your table.

Schooner, possibly one of the coffin ships, in storm.
image from http://www.irish-genealogy-toolkit.com/coffin-ships.html

The Set Up

Use whatever story hook you wish to get your PCs to travel by Sea. Normally they’d probably avoid the creepy looking whaling vessel decorated with whale teeth and bone however it happens to be headed where they are going and no one else is willing to take them. There could be ill omens that dissuade the superstitious sailors from traveling or a festival might have hired all cargo vessels.

If you’re not a fan of such heavy handed tactics try enticing them with mystery or simply make it fiscally rewarding (free passage or even rewards and training.)

Once you’ve effectively corralled your players on the ship, introduce them to the cast of characters below except for the captain. The first mate Starbuck hires them, their captain is seeing a healer regarding regenerating his arm, that is all the PCs are told.

Once the voyage has begun it’s another week before the captain makes his appearance along with his personal harpoon crew which looks to be a shady lot. PCs with a strong survival score (DC30) might notice the ship is taking a very indirect route to their destination.

PCs that have a good diplomacy score may well pick up rumors from the crew:

DC 10
Captain Ahabar lost his arm to a white whale. (True)
DC 15
The cabin boy is a witch of some sort and can see the future. (False the boy is an oracle)
DC 20
Ahabar had a harpoon specially forged for the whale. (True)
DC 25
Starbuck is talking to some of the crew about mutiny, but they are afraid of the harpoon crew. (True)

After properly setting the tone and tension (and about a week game time) the whale is spotted. Set the scene for some high drama as the crew readies itself for a fight, then give everyone a reflex save DC 18 to not get knocked prone when the whale rams the boat. If they are near the rail and fail the save by 5 or more the PC is overboard and will need swim checks.

Roll for Initiative

At this point we are going to do a modified version of a chase scene. There are four zones on the ship each has two or three tasks that need to be dealt with before six rounds have passed; in order to accomplish two objectives 1) Get the harpoon crew on rowboats and 2) get the ship back under control. Failure on any one task will allow another capsize attempt in round seven and reset 1d4 of the challenges. If the party fails twice there’s a sickening crack and the ship sill go down.

Moving from one zone to the other requires an acrobatics check DC 14. To determine where each character starts roll a d4.

Spells can cheat just like in any chase however due to the chaos and unsteady ground make spellcasters make concentration checks DC 12+1d4 each time.

The Stern or Rear of the Ship:

Man Overboard: The boatswain has gone overboard roll either a swim check DC 16 to dive in after him (with a tow line) or a ranged touch attack DC 19 to hit him with a net.

Up Anchor: The anchor unintentionally dropped and needs to be pulled up roll either a modified climb check (uses same muscles) DC 25 or a diplomacy DC 15 to get the attention of other crew members to help.

Lock and Load: The Stern has a ballista load it with a harpoon (chain detached) to dissuade pursuit Knowledge (Engineering) DC 12 to load properly or jam it in CMB against CMD of 22

The Bow or Front of the Ship:

Who’s Drivin’: The ship’s pilot was thrown and is currently stuck to some of the whale teeth that garishly decorate the ship either grab the wheel and steer Profession (sailor) DC 30 or help the man to his feet and bandage him Healing DC 14.

Shark: Just before the boat got rammed the men had caught a shark and pulled it aboard. Un fortunately it’s still alive and with the rolling about a bit of a danger either called shot against AC20 to coup de gras (touch AC but +10 to called shot) or Diplomacy to get help DC 16.

Mid-Starboard or middle right:

Lend courage: The Captain is a bit shaken by the hit to the boat you need to lend him some courage by either making a perception check DC 18 to notice and hand him his hip flask or Bluff 12 that he can win against the whale still.

My Harpoon Good Man: The Captain needs his weapon DC 20 perception check to find it or Diplomacy 16 to get the crew looking.

Lower the dingy: With the ship listing its actually a test of balance DC 18 Acrobatics or hit AC 25 to  cut a tangle of rope and drop it forcibly.

Mid-Larboard or middle left:

Catch the Line: loose is preventing the sail from being taught catch it by jumping Acrobatics DC 22 or climb and follow it DC 16.

Secure the Line: You got the line now pull the sails taught and secure it by making either a Profession (sailor) roll DC 12 or a Survival DC 20 roll.

Assuming the PCs succeed the harpoon crew rows out to face the beast which will buy the PCs a luxurious 14 rounds before the whale resumes trying to capsize them (if they have not spent at least 3 rounds fleeing.)

Before it engages the captain though it summons four kytons who immediately grab the harpoon chains and will then attempt to climb a mast and destroy your sails. Otherwise it’s a normal battle with Chain devils.

Failure gives another opportunity to capsize the vessel.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Going Gonzo With John: The Pequod

by John Belliston
Haunt by Frank Gori

“The boat rolled into the harbor, the skull of an impossibly large whale cutting the waves before it. It was made of pieces from more than a dozen boats and countless bones. Whales, fish, men, and other beasts that can only be named in the blackest corners of a shattered sailor’s heart comprised its hull and deck. The thing crashed into our dreams weeks before, and we all knew why it was coming. This impossible vessel hungered to make corpses of the deep. And, it sought one beast in particular, a great white demon of a whale. It sought that monster.

Endlessly, beyond sleep, beyond waking, and a thousand times beyond sanity. But it needed something from us. That's why each night it filled our minds... This terrible ship, it needed a crew.”

image from http://www.therefreshmentcenter.com/2012/11/trapped-aboard-pequod.html

The Pequod:


Overwhelming Necromancy

Strong Transmutation

The Pequod is an intelligent item with the following stats:

Alignment: LE

Int: 16

Wis: 14


Ego Check: 23

(Ego +5)

Base Item: (+12)

Senses 120 feet

Transform into a Colossal Whale (Use Great White Whale stats) (+2)

Cast Skeleton Crew (+1)

Special Purpose (+2)

Can detect Whales within 60 ft (+1)

 Bite Attack +25 (6d6 19-20)

If destroyed or damaged beyond repair the Pequod sinks and one week later returns to the nearest port fully repaired with new components.

Refer to Pathfinder vehicle rules located here http://www.d20pfsrd.com/equipment---final/vehicles#TOC-Sailing-Ship for more info on vessels.

The ship was once owned by a captain so obsessed with his hunt of a demonic white whale that he destroyed himself and his crew. Such was the depth of his madness and hunger for slaughter that his blood soaked boat continues on in his stead.

The Pequod is always a three masted boat with a whale skull on its prow, though all other aspects of it's actual appearance change as it rebuilds itself from the bones of what it kills and sunken ships.

The ship seeks to destroy its eternal quarry the demonic white whale, though it will also hunt and kill any other whale that it comes across. To fulfill its purpose it will seek out a crew.

When searching for a crew it travels toward the nearest port. One week before the arrival of the boat all intelligent creatures with Profession (Sailor), Profession (Whaler) or have spent at least three week on a ship will have a dream about the ship's arrival. Once the ship makes port all so effect must make a Will (DC 20) or they will board the ship with the intent of becoming it's new crew. The ship will stay docked until at least 10 crewmen board but will not allow more than 20. (If more crewman are required then the Pequod will summon the needed number of skeletons to fill the roles.)

Once the crew is out to sea one will be selected by the ship to be the Captain. As time goes on the madness of the ships first Captain will slowly begin to seep into any that ride the vessel. Every 48 hours the crew must make a will save (DC 20). For every failed check the crew gets a -1 to all rolls not directly involved with hunting whales or killing sea creatures. This resets after a week off of the boat.

(For the purposes of all intelligent item rules the Captain becomes the “owner”, however The Pequod can select a Captain of any alignment, though for every step away decrease the amount of time by half.)

Once a day for an hour the boat can transform into a Skeletal copy of the Great White Whale. While transformed the Crew are protected by a magical bubble in the belly of the beast. The Captain can extend this transformation to 24 hours by drowning one of the crew.

The Pequod is a fully stock and provisioned whaling vessel. Every 24 hours the provision barrels refill with new food and water, but the food always has the faint taste of brine and rot, and the water always tastes slightly stagnant.

Once a day with a perception check (DC 16) 1d6 harpoons can be found randomly placed on the deck. If the roll exceeds the DC by 10 or more these harpoons are of masterwork quality.

We also suggest adding the following haunt to the ship, the destruction of the ships ego and negative effects dissipate with the solving of the haunt.

Endless Whale Hunt
CR 10

Compelled to seek vengeance on the white whale the effected Captain and the 5 crew members with the highest profession (whaling) ranks must row out to harpoon any whales they come across.

XP 9,600
CE persistent haunt (10 ft. by 50 ft. ship)
Caster Level 11th
Notice Sense Motive DC 20 (to notice personality shift in captain)
hp 45, Trigger Whale sighted; Reset 1 day


This haunt materializes as a sudden red gleam in the captain and five crew member’s eyes and a pronounced limp from the captain. A greater geas is cast on the captain and the members of the harpoon crew whenever the ship senses a whale. The men must slay the whale at all costs.


The crew must mutiny and murder the captain to defeat the haunt, only a death by mutany will end the haunt.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Monster Mondays: Fiendish White Whale

Once a month the wizards here at The Flying Pincushion are going to theme an entire week on a classic work of fiction. Be it Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carol or as is the case this week with Moby Dick by Herman Melville.


Aside from appreciating the classics, I’m also a big fan of De-Tolkeinizing fantasy and gaming a little. If you’re new to the hobby and haven’t gotten sick of Lord of the Rings tropes yet, by all means carry on. For the rest of us I think there’s plenty in classical literature to farm for our games and look for a full feature on what I think we can glean from Moby Dick on Wednesday.
Normally on Monday, the monster I make is entirely mine. The ideas are drawn from various sources but the crunch is usually original. This week when I was looking at the whales in the srd I couldn't help but notice I got beaten to the punch on making a meaner varient of the whale based on Moby Dick. So I took it a step further and applied the awakened and fiendish templates making you a trult worthy foe, enjoy.

Image from http://www.hoodedutilitarian.com/2012/05/moby-vs-hill/ will delete on request.

This immense whale has an enormous, box-shaped head over a massive, toothy maw. Its rough white hide is laced with scars and demonic features. It has red eyes, immense batlike wings extend from its back, and perhaps most disturbingly, claws extending from its fins .

Awakened Fiendish White Whale CR 18
XP 153,600
NE Colossal outsider(native)
Init -2 ; Senses blind sight 120’, darkvision 60’, lowlight vision,; Perception +15

----- Defense -----
AC 31/21, touch 0, flat-footed 28 (+29 natural, -8 size, +10 when in water)
hp 294 (20d8+200);
Fort +21, Ref +11, Will +10
DR 10/magic; Immune poison; Resist acid, cold, electricity, and fire 10; SR 35

----- Offense -----
Speed swim 40 ft., fly 80 ft. (good)
Melee bite +26 (6d6+21/19-20), 2 claws +26 (4d6+21), tail slap +21 (3d6+10)
Space 30 ft.; Reach 30 ft.
Special Attacks capsize, smashing breach, smite good
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 20th; concentration +20)
1/day—desecrate, unholy blight, contagion, blasphemy, unhallow, horrid wilting, summon monster IX, Destruction

3/day—darkness, poison, unholy aura

----- Statistics -----
Str 52, Dex 10, Con 31, Int 13, Wis 15, Cha 8
Base Atk +13; CMB +41; CMD 49 (can’t be tripped)
Critical Focus, Diehard, Endurance, Great Fortitude, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Critical (bite), Iron Will, Power Attack, Staggering Critical
Skills Acrobatics +23, Fly +31, Knowledge (local) +21, knowledge (nature) +21, Perception +25, Sense Motive +22, Swim +52   Racial Modifiers +8 to swim and fly
Languages Aquan
SQ hold breath

----- Ecology -----
Environment any ocean
Organization solitary, pair, or pod (3-16)
Treasure none

----- Special Abilities -----
Smash Breech (Ex)
As a full-round action, a great white whale can make a special charge attack against creatures on the surface of the water. At the end of its charge, the whale breaches, then slams down onto the target with incredible force. Any Huge or smaller creatures in the whale’s space must make a DC 27 Reflex save or take 4d8+30 points of bludgeoning damage and be forced into the nearest square that is adjacent to the whale. This breach automatically attempts to capsize any boats caught wholly or partially in this area. The save DC is Constitution-based.

 Smite Good (Su) Once per day, as a swift action, the half-fiend can smite good as the smite evil ability of a 20th level paladin, except affecting a good target. The smite persists until target is dead or the half-fiend rests.

A Demon Lord attempting to create worship from fear awakened dozens of white whales and spread his seed in the waters. The resulting monsters had terrorized the oceans ever since.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Recession Reviews: Reign of Winter 4-6

by Frank Gori

Recession Reviews: Reign of Winter 4-6

Times are hard. While the cost of a gaming book beats any trip to the theatre, our loved ones don’t always see things it that way. When you can spare the money, what products deserve your hard earned gaming dollars? Who balances enough crunch with the fluff to allow the frugal GM to recycle, after all the best games are the ones you can play over and over again without losing interest.

Normally we’ll not being doing half an AP all at once, and any who wish to review something in this format should email me a request at theflyingpincushion@gmail.com

Book 4 The Frozen Stars:

Written by: Matthew Goodall

Page count: 98 counting the inside covers

Throw Away pages: 31 (covers, forward, advertisements, in this case the gazetteer for Triaxus, and a story not directly useful to the adventure)

Golden Pages: 31 (reusable npcs, spells, reusable maps, monsters, new items)

Cover price: $22.99

Price per page: $0.23

Modified price per page: $0.23 = Cover price/pages + golden pages – throw away pages= modified price per page

Crunch to Fluff Ratio: 2.16 to 1

Our Rating out of 10: 5 while you can reuse allot, it takes enough GM effort to merit a lower rating

Description (minor spoilers): Despite the rating I love this adventure. The option to either assault or defend the fortress is a welcome trope that harkens back to the wargaming roots of the system. If your looking for a dragon rider based world then Triaxus is the place and pick this up to supplement Distant World.

This is mostly just too gonzo for most homebrew worlds.

Book 5 Rasputen Must Die:

Written by: Brandon Hodge

Page count: 98 counting the inside covers

Throw Away pages: 27 (covers, forward, advertisements, gazetteer on a god 90% of your PCs will never touch, and a story not directly useful to the adventure)

Golden Pages: 45 (reusable npcs, spells, reusable maps, monsters, new items, new troop subtype, amazing modern firearm gazeteer)

Cover price: $22.99

Price per page: $0.23

Modified price per page: $0.23 = Cover price/pages + golden pages – throw away pages= modified price per page

Crunch to Fluff Ratio: 3.26 to 1

Our Rating out of 10: 2 or 9 depending entirely on your perspective on modern firearms in fantasy

Description (minor spoilers): The party comes to Earth. You’re either the DM that has been waiting for this since the game’s beginnings or the type that will hate this with a fiery passion. I fall into the former camp and this is likely my favorite AP standalone ever (and I’ll be using it in kingmaker as a Numerian invasion,)

As a history buff Brandon Hodge has a deft hand at introducing this story in a manner that doesn’t do the period an injustice.

Book 6 The Witch Queen’s Revenge:

Written by: Greg A. Vaughan

Page count: 98 counting the inside covers

Throw Away pages: 23 (covers, forward, advertisements, and a story not directly useful to the adventure)

Golden Pages: 32 (reusable npcs, spells, reusable maps, monsters, new items)

Cover price: $22.99

Price per page: $0.23

Modified price per page: $0.22 = Cover price/pages + golden pages – throw away pages= modified price per page

Crunch to Fluff Ratio: 4.26 to 1

Our Rating out of 10: 6 You can translocate some of this but so much is within Baba Yaga’s Hut it’s hard to see any of this transplanted elsewhere.

Description (minor spoilers): Our heroes save the lesser of two evils and save the world. It’s another hard sell for those picking this up in part to farm matereals for another campaign. The villains are tough here and can be reskinned in a number of ways.

Overall, this si a fun and engaging series of adventures I’d recommend to either run straight or if you’re inclined it meshes surprisingly well with Kingmaker and Tales of the Old Margreve for a dark fairytale feel with a strong Russian flavor (though if you do that Rasputen must Die is a hard sell.)


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dear Gorm: The sleepless headmen

by Jeff Harris
Disclaimer: Gormie is a Dwarven barbarian and advice colunmist. The publishers of this blog do not condone voilence nor do weaccept any liability for the advice offered here. This content is for entertainment purposes so if you push all your negative emotions deep down into a black ball of rage and release it at an inappropriate time please be aware we do not accept liability.
Dear Gorm,
I live in downstairs division of a house with two apartments. For years this has been a wonderful place to live, the rent is affordable and the landlord even provides freshly chopped wood to heat my home in the winter as part of the rent!
Unfortunately, the really attractive half elf that used to live upstairs moved out and a hearing impaired Ettin hermaphrodite moved in. The two heads are male and female.
One would think that a deaf Ettin would eb a quiet neighbor but that has not proven the case. The Ettin plod around stomping. The Ettin sings loud and tunless music saying it like "the beats" what ever that means. The Ettin argues with itself, which somehow still consists of screaming and stomping about.
More disturbingly the Ettin sometimes makes noises that I have come to recognize as sex. Thee noises are primal and loud and beyond strange.
I don't want to move, I want the Ettin to either leave or at least learn some consideration. I have tried polite but firm notes. I have had an interpreter do sign language and had conversations. I've tried the landlord, I've even summoned the watch when they were disturbing the peace too late at night. None of it is working; the two heads don't get along and when they argue it doesn't matter who suffers for it, at all hours.
I have been sharpening my axe and pondering an amputation, perhaps with one head gone I can tolorate the other. What should I do Gorm?
The Sleepless Headsmen
Dear Sleepless Headsman,
                After reading your letter lad, I had to do me some serous thinking.  Now mind you, normally ol’ Gormie would tell you to unleash all your balled up rage and just burry that axe in its/his/her skull and be done with it. 
                But you sound like a nice lad, and we don’t want you ending up breaking rock for life or meeting an axe yourself in the town square.  So here’s a few ways that I’m for thinking you can take back your kip. 
                First you can try and hire yourself a drum beating bard, and when that shrieking the ettin calls singing starts up, you have that bard wail out the loudest most obnoxious tune he knows.  Because you know the secret here is lad, it’s fighting noise with even more annoying noise.  Hopefully if you have that there bard keep up the tune, the ettin will eventually get the picture and leave off with the clamor.
                However, ol’ Gormie knows a thing or two about giants, and because an ettin is two giants all at once, the percussion counter attack might not be enough.  So here’s plan number two, which I like to call kilt-atrocity.  Now, mind you, this course o’ action is not for the faint of heart or bashful.  Because what you do is first, every time you see that ettin coming or going from his kip you make sure to be there, wearing that kilt and nothing else.  Leave your broadsheets outside the door till it/he/she appears, then go and pick up your broadsheet, making sure to give the ettin a good view of your naked as the day you were born ass.  Even better lad, make exquses to go up to the ettin’s kip, and ask to barrow a cup of goat milk or some salt, again, wearing naught but your kilt.  Hopefully the ettin will be so disturbed by all that hairy man flesh that it/he/she will move out.
                Now, if that don’t work, then there’s one last trick you can try, but a warning to the paladin-like, it’s not something all folk are usually willing to do.  Your letter said that, ugh, the ettin likes to do the slippery naughty loudly, thus you are going to fight fire with fire.  You will need to rent yourself the most wanton and willing doxies that the docks have to offer, and bring one home every night.  Try to make sure that the ettin sees you coming home with the trollop, and is home to feel you put that twenty gold you paid her to good use, I mean really get that headboard banging.  Do this for several weeks, all the while bring home a new lady of the evening every evening.  And to add to the ruse, what you will also do is after each coin girl leaves, take yourself an ugly colored candle and drip some wax on your arms and legs.  The little blobs look allot like plague boils, which you will want to make sure the ettin also sees, hell, even pick a few off and let them bleed a little.
                Well, there you have it, three ways to get rid of one two-headed headache.  Oh, and should all three of my fine plots fail, you can always just smear the critter with peanut butter while it sleeps and let all the stray mutts have a go, but you didn’t hear that from me.  Best o’ lucky with your giant slaying.
                                                                                                                                                                Keep your axe sharp,
                                                                                                                                Gorm “Gormie” Mountainchewer

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Going Gonzo with John: Gonzo Gods

by John Belliston

So... you return. Enticed? Or merely morbidly curious? Whatever the reason I welcome you back. This week I realized that I gave you no examples of my abilities.


And so my darlings I shall present you with just that. A collection of my work, for your benefit.


Bubbling up from my deepest imaginings I give to you two gods, both monstrous and delightful. Full of life and vigor... and more than a little creepiness.


The Blind Huntsman:
He Who Devours the Lost

Alignment: NE

Domains: Animal, Community, Evil, Travel, Trickery


The Huntsman wanders the world, seeking out those that have lost their way. He can smell the sent of their fear and despair and hungers for their panic and terror. Some speculate that he was a creature of the Fae in ancient times but by consuming the squirming souls of the unwary he became something else entirely. He delights in not only tracking and frightening his prey but in giving them hope for escape. Hopes that always lead into horrible traps. The first worgs were wolves that attacked the Blind Huntsman and tasted of his spilled blood. They were granted a link to their new master and a share of his cunning and hunger. Though he has no eyes of his own, tasting his blood lets him see through his new minions.



The One Who Skitters in Sunlight.

Alignment: Neutral Evil
Domains: Cloud, Retribution, Trickery


Long ago Saltizan was the shining spider that spun the clouds. Her subtle touch brought a gentle respite from the harshest of the suns rays. Some say she stretched her power to far, trying to forever bind the sun in clouds. So others say that the sun grew jealous of her art, and so burned her face and cut her from the clouds. Regardless of the story, now she finds solace for her wounded pride and body in the cool shadows of the forest. She remains there her wounds forever smoldering and filling her with pain and hate. The Ettercaps she taught the secrets of silk, and ask only that they bring her the blood and flesh that will momentarily ease her pain.




But these, they are just baubles. Thrown together in a few moments to draw a glance at my work. There are other more significant examples of my ability. Work on my own projects and so forth.


The Kindred are a savage meritocracy where even your race can be changed by proving your worth.


The Workman's Guild in the city of Hub is a ravenous hotbed of violence and democracy.

Like wind across the sand the Lash-ti-nowish snake men change the face of the world.


And who could possibly say no to tree dwelling anarchist frogs?


Now I apologize my dearest of readers for the hollow clump of jangling ideas that is this weeks post. But I must humbly remind you my darlings that I need your ideas. As many and as funky as you can possibly hurl in my direction.


I promise to have something more substantial next week... if you can give me your magnificently weird ideas.