Out of character interlude – a couple magic items and some serious jibber-jabber

Whenever I do a non-story post (except for the map posts which are the best) I feel like I’m cheating.  Then I remember that I only have one reader so it’s fine. 

I read a lot of D&D blogs because I am very cool and have a rich full life.  Many of these blogs talk about problems during games and many of those problems, in my opinion, stem from people taking the game too seriously.  However I would say I prefer too serious to not serious enough.

Roleplaying is by its nature kind of silly, but unbearable silliness is a quick turn off for me in a game.  Passing no judgements of course, but I don’t like being in a game where someone says they want to play an Elvis Presley impersonator that fell through wormhole and is now in D&D and has magic blue suede shoes.  Let’s take our silliness a little seriously can we?

I like wrestling, which is very silly, and everyone knows that I like it so sometimes they try to inject it into our games when I’m a player.  They’ll introduce a magic lucha mask or a +1 Folding Chair into the game.  I hate it.  Quit getting your chocolate on your peanut butter.

I admit that sometimes I am the culprit of too much silliness.  Especially when I first started playing Shadowrun.  I’m going to blame other people for that though.  The other people in the game were all DEEPLY versed in Shadowrun lore and knew everything about everything.  I knew nothing.  So I often had no clue what was going on.  Plus they characters were often involved in super-secret shit that only they and the GM got to know about so even when I knew what was going on I didn’t know what was going on.  So my character mostly did stuff that made no sense.  But it was a cry for help.

I’ve been accused, rightfully so, of not being good at bringing along new players – but they were just as bad.  Come on guys in 1994, give me a break, tell me something about the campaign and how it works.  I play with a dude now who’s really skilled at nurturing new players, I find it fascinating and grotesque both.

One time the Coen Brothers made a movie called A Serious Man.  It’s the kind of movie where after it ends you go “whoa, I’m going to have to think about that for a while” but instead you immediately forget that you ever saw it.  The internet can probably tell me what the opening scene of that movie was about but I’ll never remember to look it up.

I take this blog way too seriously, but not too too seriously.  Such as, it annoys me that there’s a blog that has 20,000 followers that literally does nothing but post how many followers it has but I’m not going to lose sleep over it.  Not much sleep anyway. 

Stumbling on that blog was a fun reminder that if you do something genuine it’s tough to get attention because if you’re serious about something you have to be really good at it.  If you do something stupid people can get on board to matter what.

It reminds me of the early days of the internet (I’m old) when a friend I played Warhammer 40k with all the time used to often complain that there was a website that just showed live video of meat rotting.  He couldn’t understand why anyone would go to that website – that he went to all the time to see how many people went to it.  You see kids in those days websites had little counters on the bottom that showed how many people visited it.  It was a primitive time. 

I hope in the future when they talk about the internet as we use it they actually do think it was a series of tubes delivering packages.  I think historians get most things 33% right at best. 

Once I stopped playing tabletop wargames I fell out of touch with that dude because we didn’t have much else in common.  That bothers me occasionally, but such is life.  If you’re reading this dude, which seems insanely unlikely, how’s it going? 

Vagabond’s Staff

This sturdy ironwood walking stick is free of any markings or adornments. 

In the hands of a wielder with a home of any kind the Vagabond’s Staff functions as a masterwork club.  When used by someone without a fixed residence or landholdings it becomes a +3 Impact Leveraging Greatclub that grants the wielder a +1 luck bonus to skill checks and saving throws. This enhanced form can be planted into the ground and transformed into a guardian as per the Liveoak spell.  Once this ability has been used it cannot be used again until a new owner has traveled at least 100 miles with the staff in their possession.  

Wander’s Boots

These rugged and solid wyvernskin boots are unremarkable and plain despite their exotic material.  They are incredibly light and comfortable, with thin soles reinforced by strips of tough hide that provide an unexpected amount of support and protection to the foot. 

Wearing these boots grants a +4 bonus on the Constitution checks made to continue running and to avoid nonlethal damage from a forced march.  These boots also protect the wearer’s feet as if they had hardness 10. This hardness applies only against effects that directly affect the target’s feet, such as caltrops, spike growth, spike stones, or stepping into lava. 

Out of character – Ela by the numbers and other jibber-jabber

(Editor’s note, I say D&D when I mean pathfinder as well because I’m like that)

Back in the heyday (what does that mean?) of this blog when it was read by as many as five people one request I got a couple times is for Ela’s character sheet.  RPG people love character sheets.  I never posted it for two reasons.  One I couldn’t figure out how.  Two, I kind of prefer to leave her exact stats a mystery.  I’ve never understood why some people like having characters from books and movies they love statted out.  Tanis was much cooler before I knew he was a 7th level ranger with 12 Dexterity. 

One thing I can say is that her Bluff modifier reached silly proportions pretty quickly.  It’s currently sitting at +37 which means by the book she can convince 99.99 percent of things with brains of even the most outlandish lies.  I try to be a little reasonable with that.  And that’s not even taking into account her once a day +20 bonus on top of that. 

Most campaigns fall apart after the first 4-7 sessions.  Those that make it past that first stage and last a good while seem to generally peter out around 12-15th level.  Which is fine by me, I’m not into high level play.  It’s interesting how quickly you can just make so that there’s little to no chance of failing at any skill check you want your character to be good at.  I guess that’s good, no one likes it when their character fails all the time but it seems strange.  One of my RPG buddies that prefers to play other systems than D&D has leveled the critique that at low levels you can’t do anything and once you get past that everything is too easy.  He’s not entirely wrong.  Just mostly. 

In the last real campaign I played in (I’m currently playing in a roll20 campaign now but its gross 5th edition so it doesn’t count) I had a mythic charisma based character at high level.  Ela’s Bluff is slightly better than his was.  I’ve actually thought about having him turn up in this blog but that seemed a little too self-indulgent even for me.

A couple of people have asked how Ela manages to survive so many fights without being combat oriented.  Her Sense Motive and Perception are not as crazy as her Bluff, but they’re high, and she has Phantom Thief Social Sense +5 on top of that so she’s unlikely to be taken by surprise.  Innocent Façade, Another Day, and Like Smoke all make her pretty shifty and add to that the speed from her boots and her the effect of her ring and she’s pretty hard to catch, especially in an urban area.   

In the early days she almost died several times, but after you reach a certain level you’re kind of hard to kill outside of dirty magic spells that kill you right off the bat.  Paradoxically I think being a solo act helps survival too.  In a normal D&D party once people start dropping you’re unlikely to run – you try to heal them or at least win so you can recover their bodies or whatnot.  Leave no PC behind.  If you’re alone there’s no real not to bail if things turn ugly. 

A couple times Ela has gotten an invisibility magic item and I usually find a way to get it off her because it’s annoying.  Sometimes people say that as a DM if you can’t handle invisibility and flying that’s because you suck.  I do suck, what would be useful is some advice people who say that. 

Anyway, here’s a magic item.

Saltwheel Family Cane

A slender walking stick made of strong gleaming blackthorn wood, the handle is sunsilver in the shape of a bird of prey and wide enough for a very large hand to grip comfortably.

Despite its apparent delicateness the cane can strike as a +1 Heavy Mace.  Any aberration struck by the cane takes an additional 1d6 points of damage and becomes sickened for 1 round (no save).

While held the cane amplifies the wielders voice to carry as far as a mile away.  This effect can penetrate the area of a silence spell.  When the cane is in hand additionally the holder can cannot be detected or tracked with the scent ability or any other special senses that rely on acute smell.

The cane’s owner rolls twice to confirm critical hits against aberrations and keeps the higher roll.

Out of character interlude – oops too many berries!

Remember Captain Crunch All Berries? I do.

I did not intend another bullshit OOC post so hot on the heels of two other bullshit OOC posts, but Ela is in town which means shopping and I realized I’ve been tinkering with the available magic items for an hour so here we are. Wasn’t that a fun story?

When I’m playing D&D for real either as a DM or a player I always try to make it so we can do the shopping downtime crap away from the table and it never works. We always end up spending half a sessions while people look through books and min max their items. I hate it so much.

The last min-campaign I ran, seems like forever ago, I actually went strictly by the rules – rolling for what was available in each town and that’s all people could buy. Keeping track was moderately annoying but I think everyone actually like it better – it made finding cool loot more cool. Most of the people I play with can’t help by maximize their characters but they don’t care if they can’t for in-game reasons. They may prefer it.

Sometimes when I’m a player the DM tosses out a piece of gear that’s supposed to be specifically for my guy and I feel bad when I don’t like it. “You’re going to love this +2 brilliant energy elf curve blade!” uh, my guy prefers his +1 club, how much can I sell it for?

Anyway here’s the stuff, which I assume is even less interesting than awkward prose.

Singer’s Stole

This black and gold silk stole is narrower than is typical for a shawl and of simpler construction than a cape.  It is lightly finished.

While worn it accompanies the singer with the sounds of appropriate musical instruments, granting a +2 competence bonus on Perform (singing) checks. 

With a DC 16 Perform (singing) check the wearer can turn the power of their voice into a 15 foot cone of crystalline shards.  The shards deal 2d8 points of piercing damage (half damage with a Reflex save DC equal to the perform check) and 1D8 points of sonic damage (negate with a Fortitude save DC equal to the perform check ) to all creatures caught in the area of effect.  And creature that takes sonic damage from this effect must succeed at a DC 15 Fortitude save or be stunned for one round. 

After each successful use in a 24 hour period the DC to activate this effect increases by 4.

Ela’s Fashionable Belt

This belt’s wearer gains a +4 bonus on saves against poisons and a +2 bonus on Escape Artist checks. As well as granting the wearer a +2 enhancement bonus to Strength and Dexterity.

On command, the belt’s wearer can transform the belt into +1 Holy Undead Bane Rapier.   As long as she is holding the weapon, she can also revert it back to belt form with a command.

Ela’s Wonderful Flask

This sterling silver hallmarked rectangular hipflask is made out of heavy gauge silver sheet and is durable enough to be wielded as a gauntlet in a pinch.

The bearer gains a +1 luck bonus on Fortitude and Will saves.  On command the bearer can command the tankard to fill with wine, ale, or other alcohol.  Drinking from the flask can create each of the following effects once per day:

  • Remove fear
  • Heroism
  • Cure Moderate Wounds
  • Lesser Restoration

Out of character interlude – magic item

Two in one week? what a rip-off! I’m the worst. For a refund of your money please send me your bank routing and account number along with your SSN and mother’s maiden name. You may see a small withdrawal from your account, followed by a large withdrawal – this is part of the refund process. Do not be alarmed.

Ela’s Cerulean Sign Tattoo

The Cerulean Sign grants a +3 resistance bonus on all Will saving throws made against effects that originate from aberrations.  Grants a +3 luck bonus to Armor Class and on all saving throws against attacks from aberrations, this bonus doubles against evil aberrations.  The bearer of the Sign is immune to any attempts to possess or exercise mental control over the target.

The bearer of the Sign can banish a Great Old One (no save), but doing so causes the tattoo to utterly consume their life-force, killing them instantly.  There is a 50% chance that a wish, miracle, or true resurrection spell can restore the being that invoked this power to life. Check once for each destroyed creature. If the check fails, the creature cannot be brought back to life by mortal magic.  No other form of resurrection magic has any chance of working. 

Out of character interlude – magic items

I was accused of being “a little down” last night. I denied it but maybe it’s true because I don’t feel like writing anything today. But I am required to by the terms of my probation so here’s some magic items Ela picked up. You know, in case you still play an outdated version of an RPG that’s getting blown away by 5th edition D&D and you’re not satisfied with the 17 zillion magic items that already exist. As a special treat they have no prices or requirements to make them!

Remember the card game Rage? I do. It was great.

Blessed Robes

+5 Armor bonus to AC

When struck by a critical hit or sneak attack, the wearer can spend an immediate action to negate the critical hit or sneak attack (similar to the fortification armor special ability, but without requiring a roll). The damage is instead rolled normally. This ability functions once per day.

Melee weapons wielded by the wearer strike true against evil foes. The weapon is treated as having a +1 enhancement bonus for the purpose of bypassing the DR of evil creatures or striking evil incorporeal creatures (though the spell doesn’t grant an actual enhancement bonus). The weapon also becomes good-aligned, which means it can bypass the DR of certain creatures. (This effect overrides and suppresses any other alignment the weapon might have.)

Vampire Hunter’s Cloak

The wearer gains a +2 resistance bonus on all saving throws against negative energy and level drain, and whenever he makes a Fortitude save to recover from a negative level, he may roll the save twice, taking the better of the two results as the actual result.

Once per day, the wearer can target an undead creature with a halt undead effect (Will DC 14 negates) as a swift action.

The wearer can infuse a single melee weapon she wields with the purifying light of the sun as a swift action for up to ten rounds per day. These rounds do not need to be consecutive. While a weapon is infused with the sun, it deals +1d6 points of damage to any undead creature that is susceptible or vulnerable to sunlight, such as specters, vampires, and wraiths. A weapon infused with sun strike sheds illumination as if it were a sunrod.