Archive for August, 2014

I want to take you back in time to February! Remember that mystical six months ago time, when I wrote about The Damned Lands? Well, here we are some 70-odd posts later and I’m finally uncovering some of those bioorganic items I spoke with you about. I did give you all a sneak peek at one of those items, the tongue of contentment, in another post I wrote – I Made These For You.

Well today I’m going to explain a bit more about how bioorganic items work in Exploration Age and give you a few more examples of these treasures from the Exploration Age Campaign Guide. Read on!

Just enhancing his body!

You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out… AND LOVE IT!

The strange race of humanoids who lived in The Damned Lands before it became a wasteland, left behind a strange technology which is compatible with the anatomy of today’s humanoids.

The magic of these items is unlock only by attaching them to one’s body. This usually requires a limb or organ be removed before the item is grafted to the owner.

During a rest, another creature can perform the procedure of removing a body part or organ and attaching the item with a DC 10 Wisdom (medicine) check. If you decide to perform the procedure on yourself the DC of the check is raised to 15. If the check succeeds the item is attached and you take 3d6 damage which cannot be reduced in any way. If the check is failed by 4 or less, the item is attached, but you take 6d6 damage which cannot be reduced in any way. If the check is failed by 5 or more, you lose the organ or body part, the item is not attached, and you take 9d6 damage which cannot be reduced in any way. In special cases noted below, failure to attach the bioorganic item results in your death. The length of the rest required to attach a bioorganic item is noted in its description. Once the item is attached, it is activated and you can begin to make use of its properties.

Without Further Adieu…

Here are some of the bioorganic items from the Exploration Age Campaign Guide. Take a look and let me know what you think!

Silver Fangs

Uncommon bioorganic item

This set of four large, silver canines, has a small sapphire set into the back of each tooth. On the front of the tooth is a small rune, which glows red when the teeth are being used to attack or eat meat. When a person attaches the fangs, his or her appetite for meat borders on insatiable.

Property: You must remove your canines and replace them with the silver fangs in order to gain their other properties. This can be done during a short or long rest.

Once attached, you gain a bite attack which counts as an attack with a light, finesse, silver melee weapon in which you are proficient. This attack deals 1d4 piercing damage. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls with this attack. If you reduce a creature to 0 Hit Points with this attack, you regain HP equal to the damage dealt.

Wrist Spider

Very rare bioorganic item

This small device has the appearance of an adamantine spider with eight onyx eyes. It is inserted into the top of the wrist, with the abdomen of the spider facing the user’s hands. After the item is attached, the user feels a low level of comfort and safety in the darkened corners of rooms.

Property: You must remove your wrist bones and replace them with the wrist spider in order to gain its other properties. This can only be done during long rest.

Once attached, you can use your action to shoot sticky webs out of your wrists at enemies. To do so make an attack roll using your Dexterity modifier and proficiency bonus. If the attack hits, the target is restrained for one minute. On the target’s turn, it can make a DC 12 Strength or Dexterity saving throw as its move to end the restrained condition.

You can also use your action to create a 50-foot length of rope made of the web. The rope is only slightly sticky along its length and extremely sticky at its ends. Because of the stickiness on its ends, the web rope can be attached to any surface and can hold 1,000 pounds before it breaks. Creatures who use the web rope while climbing have advantage on their Strength (athletics) check to climb. After a half and hour, the web rope dissolves.

Jumpers

Rare bioorganic item

This pair of mithral legs have knees which bend in a direction opposite that of a human, similar to a bird. The bottoms of the feet each sport a large emerald and the calves and thighs are carved with ancient runes which glow blue when the user walks and green when he or she runs or jumps.

Property: You must remove both of your legs and replace them with the jumpers in order to gain the use of its other properties. This can be done only during a long rest.

Once attached, you are always considered to have moved 10 feet before the jump, even if you have not. In addition, whenever you jump, you leap four times the normal distance.

Sonic Fist

Very rare bioorganic item

The sonic fist appears to be a sculpture of an obsidian hand with diamond-studded knuckles curled into a fist. However, when a creature handles the disembodied hand, it flexes its fingers before once again bringing them into the fist. When attached, the hand begins a low chant when the user is in combat. This seems to be a sort of hymn in a strange language which grows louder and louder as the fight progresses.

Property: You must remove one of your hands and replace it with the sonic fist in order to gain the use of its other properties. This can be done during a short or long rest.

Once attached, the fist is a light, finesse melee weapons in which you are proficient. It deals 1d8 bludgeoning damage and 1d6 sonic damage. You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls with the sonic fist.

In addition, once per day you can use your action to create a 30-foot cone of sound. All creatures in the cone must make a Constitution saving throw (DC 8 + your Dexterity modifier + your proficiency bonus). Creatures who fail the save take 6d8 sonic damage and are deafened for one minute. Creatures who succeed take only half damage and are not deafened.

Mage’s Eye

Legendary bioorganic item

This is an eye carved of a fiery opal, and a disembodied mage’s eye seems to follow onlookers as they walk. When attached, the eye glows red in the socket of the wearer and gives off a slight physical heat.

Property: You must remove one of your eyes and replace it with the mage’s eye in order to gain its other property. This can be done during a short or long rest.

Once attached, you gain true sight out to 120 feet.

Sure does!

Hawk’s Eye

Uncommon bioorganic item

An eye carved of pure jade, the hawk’s eye is true to its name and has the appearance and shape of a bird’s eye. Once installed, the eye gives off a slight green glow.

Property: You must remove one of your eyes and replace it with the hawk’s eye in order to gain its other properties. This can be done during a short or long rest.

Once attached, you gain advantage on all Wisdom (perception) checks when attempting to spot hidden creatures or objects. In addition, you gain a +2 bonus to your passive Wisdom (perception) score.

Radiant Heart

Very rare bioorganic item

The radiant heart is an expertly carved, heart-shaped ruby placed in a small brass box with windows of glassteel. When attached, the gem can be seen through the window inside the users chest, throbbing and beating with the life of a real heart.

Property: You must remove your heart and replace it with the radiant heart in order to gain its other property. This can only be done during a long rest. The Wisdom (medicine) check DC for this attachment procedure increases by 5, and if the check fails by 5 or more, you die.

Once attached, you can use your action to shoot a beam of radiant light in a line 100 feet long and 5 feet wide from your chest. Creatures in the line must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 8 + your Charisma modifier + your proficiency bonus). Creatures who fail the save take 8d8 radiant damage, creatures who succeed take half damage. Against fiends and undead, the beam deals 8d10 radiant damage. You must rest before you can use this ability again.

Blade Skin

Legendary bioorganic item

A first blush, blade skin appears to be a ragged pile of cloth and metal with strange designs in sapphires and diamonds. When handled, blade skin is warm to the touch and calls to the user the way a shell would to a hermit crab. Once inspected thoroughly the truth is learned; this is a second skin which the wearer can affix to his or her body. Once attached, the wearer is intimidating indeed, for the skin is covered in creative scars incorporated with the gems which tell the tale of a famous tavern brawl over the wearer’s entire body. When the metal weapons are not retracted, the user is covered from head to toe in sharp adamantine blades.

Property: You must remove all the skin on your body and replace it with the blade skin in order to gain its other properties. This can only be done during a long rest. The Wisdom (medicine) check DC for this attachment procedure increases by 5, and if the check fails by 5 or more, you die.

While wearing blade skin, hidden, retractable blades lie in wait for enemies just beneath the skin’s surface. When you take damage from an adjacent creature’s melee attack, you can use your reaction to deal 1d6+3 piercing damage to attacker. You may also use your reaction to deal this damage to any creature who is grappling with you on its turn.

In addition, your unarmed attacks can be light, finesse, melee attacks in which you are proficient. This attack deals 1d6 piercing damage. You gain a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls with this attack.

The blades also make climbing walls easier. You have advantage when making a Strength (athletics) check to climb.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

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“Given the necessity for ships in exploration as well as the likelihood that those ships could get set on fire in ship combat, it would probably be useful to have rules for ship combat in the Exploration Age Campaign Guide.” John Fischer, creator and player of Oruk the half-orc mage.

I have a Forgotten Realms game I’m running using the final D&D Next playtest packet, not the basic rules. We didn’t switch over yet, since our story is close to done and the party includes a monk, a bard, a druid, and three half-orcs – none of which are included in the basic rules. I asked my players if they wanted to start over and they preferred I not leave their current characters sailing off the Sword Coast in pursuit of pirates, forever wondering about their fate.

So last Monday they finally met those pirates and we had a battle on the high seas! Both boats had cannons and crew wielding firearms using the rules I had posted earlier this year. Both boats also had spellcasters shooting fireballs at one another, with sails and wood catching aflame. I winged the rules for ship combat and fire on the fly, and it went ok. Clearly though, I had some work to do considering the comment I got from John (because his opinion and criticism mean much to me). Now I’m going to present some optional rules for you which John and I created together for the Exploration Age Campaign Guide. Check it out!

Seriously, how great are paintings of ships?

General Rules for Ships in Combat

There are several ship offerings in the Player’s Handbook. Take a look at the chart below for a list of boats and their game statistics.

Boat AC HP Speed Minimum Required Crew Number of Masts Cannons Per Side Sink Rounds See Notes?
Rowboat 15 20 15 ft. 1 0 0 2 Yes
Keelboat 14 45 10 ft. 2 0 1 3 No
Sailing Ship 13 105 20 ft. 10 2 5 5 No
Longship 13 120 30 ft. 26 1 6 5 Yes
Warship 13 315 25 ft. 20 3 15 20 No
Galley 12 420 40 ft. 120 3 13 30 Yes
Airship 12 315 300 ft. 30 0 15 N/A Yes

AC, HP, and Resistances. All ships have an Armor Class, Hit Points, and are resistant to all damage from nonmagical weapons which are not siege weapons.

Minimum Crew Required. This number on the chart above is the number of sailors with proficiency in vehicles (water or air) required to keep a ship moving. During their turns, these crewmen can do nothing with their action other than tasks which keep the ship moving, such as rowing or sailing.  Most ships bring on at least double, if not triple, the number of required crew so that they can share shifts during travel and have extra hands during combat to work siege weapons and board enemy vessels.

One of these crewmen is considered the captain, who decides where and how the ship moves. The captain’s proficiency bonus and relevant ability modifier is applied to any checks required to control the vehicle in difficult circumstances.

Unmanned. When a vessel does not have the minimum number of crew using their actions to keep the ship moving, it is considered unmanned. If the vessel is anchored before this occurs, the ship stays where it is. If no anchor was dropped, the boat is adrift and subject to the wind and water currents at the GM’s discretion. The captain can no longer choose the direction of the ship. In general a strong water or water current might move a ship 40 ft. per round, a medium current might move it 30 ft., and a light current might move it 20 ft. per round. Sometimes there may be no current or little current and a boat may stay in its place.

Cannons Per Side. This is the number of cannons that can reasonably fit on the port and starboard sides of a ship with the space for the siege weapon crew to use them without getting in each other’s way. Some larger ships, like the warship or galley may be outfitted with a single cannon on the fore and aft decks. In order to attack a creature or object with a siege weapon aboard a ship, the appropriate side of the ship must be facing the target.

Sinking. When a ship’s Hit Points reach 0 or less, it begins to sink. When it begins sinking, there is a 50% chance that the ship may tilt in a random direction (the GM decides or rolls 1d4 to see if the ship tilts and sinks aft first, fore first, starboard first, or port first). Creatures must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw to hang onto a fixed, adjacent object or be thrown overboard. The ship stays in this position while sinking. A sinking ship can still be attacked and dealt damage.

Obliteration. If a ship’s Hit Points reach negative their max HP, the ship is obliterated. The vessel is completely destroyed and its cargo and crew find themselves in the water.

Repairs. A damaged ship cannot have its Hit Points restored the way a creature can, since it is an object. In general, ship repairs cost 5 gp per 1 HP restored and take a number of hours to complete equal to the number of Hit Points restored.

Special Boats

Rowboat. The rowboat is so small that siege weapons (such as cannons) have disadvantage when attacking a manned vessel. A rowboat’s crew need not be proficient in vehicles (water) to move the ship.

Longship. If a longship dips below its required crew of 26, it does not suffer normal unmanned conditions. Instead, the ship begins moving at a speed of 15 feet, as it is rowed. A longship being rowed is considered unmanned when it has less than 13 crew.

A longship has one sail which it can use to move with a speed of 10 ft. If the longship has less than 5 crew and is being sailed, it is considered unmanned. Unless it is sailing, a longship’s crew need not be proficient in vehicles (water) in order for it to move.

Galley.  If a galley dips below its required crew of 120, it does not suffer normal unmanned conditions. Instead, the ship begins moving at a speed of 25 feet, as it is rowed. A galley being rowed is considered unmanned when it has less than 60 crew.

A galley can be sailed instead of rowed and move at a speed of 30 ft. If the galley has less than 20 crew and is being sailed, it is considered unmanned. Unless it is sailing, a galley’s crew need not be proficient in vehicles (water) in order for it to move.

Airship. An airship is a magic, flying warship, which is propelled by the elemental force of lightning. An airship does not sink. Rather, the vessel and every creature aboard it without a fly speed begins to fall per normal falling rules when its Hit Points are reduced to 0 or less.

From D&D Basic rules - the price of boats!

From D&D Basic rules – the price of boats!

Special Movement and Attack Rules

Seriously, how great are paintings of boats on fire?

Ships are vehicles which are difficult to control under the best circumstances. They are also surprisingly delicate when it comes to their masts and fire.

Turning

When it comes to turning a ship, the larger it is, the less mobile. Most ships can turn no more than 90 degrees in one direction during a move. Longships, warships, and galleys can turn no more than 45 degrees in one direction during a move.

Changing Direction

Row boats, longships being rowed, and galleys being rowed can move backwards. In order to change direction from forwards to backwards and vice versa, the vessel must spend one turn still in the water, steadying. On its next turn the vessel may move backwards or forwards as the captain chooses.

Attacking Masts

Masts of a ship can be singled out and attacked. A mast has one-tenth the hit points of the entire vessel. Any damage a mast takes, the vessel also takes as a whole. Siege weapons have disadvantage on attacks against masts.

If a ship’s mast is destroyed and it is being sailed, its speed is reduced by 10 feet. Once all of a ships masts are destroyed, the vessel is considered unmanned, unless it can be rowed.

Attacking with Fire

Certain siege weapons, spells, and magic items have the potential to light a vessel on fire, though many seafaring vessels are crudely fire-proofed. When a vessel is dealt fire damage, there is a 20% chance the area of the ship affected by the attack will light on fire.

Every round at the top of initiative, the fire deals 1d6 (3) fire damage to the vessel for every 25 square feet of the ship which is on fire (rounded down). After the damage is dealt, there is a 50% chance the fire spreads 5 feet in a random direction determined by the GM (consider the wind when using thinking about spreading fire, or roll a d8 to determine the direction the blaze moves).

A creature can use its action to put out a 5 x 5 foot area of fire, using an object to smother the flames (such as a tarp or blanket) or a gallon of water to extinguish the blaze (the water is consumed in this action and more must be obtained before the creature can put out more fire). Certain spells, such as create water, have the ability to quench fires in their description. Any spell which deals cold damage can be used to extinguish an area of fire equal to the spell’s area of effect. If the spell deals cold damage and attacks a single target, like ray of frost, then it can be used to extinguish a 5 x 5 foot area of fire.

Alchemist’s paint is a special, clear substance which can be applied to wooden vessels to prevent them from catching on fire. It does not come cheap, however. A barrel of the stuff costs 1,000 gp and is enough to cover a single rowboat. Alchemist’s paint not only prevents fires from breaking out on boats, it also gives a vessel resistance to fire damage. The benefits of alchemist’s paint last one year.

Below is a table which gives the number of barrels of alchemist’s paint required to completely coat a vessel. Each barrel takes one creature one day of work to apply. Multiple creatures can paint a vessel at once, decreasing the time it takes to fire-proof a ship.

Boat Barrels of Alchemist’s Paint Required
Rowboat 1
Keelboat 5
Sailing Ship 20
Longship 20
Warship 80
Galley 100
Airship 80

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

A new episode of my podcast, The Round Table, is up on The Tome Show’s site.

I sit down with Rudy Basso, Alex Basso, Joe Lastowski, and Vegas Lancaster to talk about the latest fifth edition D&D news. We cover the announcement about extra pages in the Monster Manual, the previews for the tiefling race and hermit background, and kickstarters for fifth edition material before the OGL has been released. This podcast was recorded on July 20, 2014.

Links:
Philly N Crowd
What the Average Joe Thinks
dungeonsmaster.com

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, tell your friends, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!