Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Youth Draining Spells

This post will detail what my methodology is like when I create things, how I like to always have an existing framework, however rickety, to hang any homebrew on. It probably tells you more about me than about D&D.


So imagine that I want to return negative levels from this:

• There are no negative levels. In place of each negative level bestowed, the victim immediately ages 3d10 years. The victim may immediately roll a fortitude saving throw at the same difficulty as removing the negative level; if this saving throw succeeds, the aging is halved. If the victim receives a restoration spell within 24 hours, the aging is reversed; otherwise, it is permanent. being what they're supposed to be (which I kind of do, I've changed my mind about their badness), but I still want to include spells which prematurely age foes, so I don't have to rely on infinite ciruja plants and resurrection for all my aging effect needs.

My first instinct is to find spells that bestow negative levels, because I've already (sort of) balanced aging against negative levels. But I can find only one spell that permanently bestows negative levels: energy drain. There are several which do so temporarily, including enervation and Fell Drain anything (sonic snap, let's say). So let's briefly analyze:
  • Fell Drain Sonic Snap: 1 temporary negative level. SL2.
  • Enervation: 1d4 temporary negative levels. SL4.
  • Empowered Enervation: 1d4*1.5 temporary negative levels. SL6.
  • Maximized Enervation: 4 temporary negative levels. SL7.
  • Repeat/Twinned Enervation: 2d4 temporary negative levels. SL7/8.
  • Maximized, Empowered Enervation: 4+1d2 temporary negative levels. SL9.
  • Energy Drain: 2d4 real negative levels. SL9.

I was going to say that if we're casting with a caster level of 12 or more, we could extend the spell to raise its duration to 24+ hours (maximum 30), thereby making it potentially permanent. But these spells all have a duration of Instantaneous, and are thus not affected by Extend Spell. Nuts. Same with Persistent Spell. Nuts.

Permanent Emanation affects only emanations (i.e., cones and bursts), and anyway is [epic] and doesn't affect the spell level. Might be able to fiat that permanency can apply to enervation, but it's not metamagic, doesn't affect the spell level, and costs XP.

Oh well. Let's say this:

  • The difference between twinned enervation and energy drain is real vs temporary negative levels, and 1 spell level. So the difference between temporary and real is 1 spell level.
  • If Extend Spell worked on enervation, it would increase the spell level by 1 and make it permanent at a high enough caster level. So the difference between temporary and real is 1 spell level.
  • If Persistent Spell worked on enervation, it would increase the spell level by 6 and make it permanent under all circumstances. So the difference between  temporary and real is 6 spell levels.
Let's take the average, then, and say the difference between a temporary and a real negative level is 2 spell levels.

We're already several levels of abstraction in, and we'll get even more abstract before we're done, because there's simply very little to compare to. That's okay; I just want there to be some basis, however remote, for what I'm doing.

Okay, so, applying this psuedo-metamagic thing that makes temporary negative levels into real negative levels:
  • Realized Fell Drain Sonic Snap: 1 negative level. SL4.
  • Realized Enervation: 1d4 negative levels. SL6.
  • Realized Empowered Enervation: 1d4*1.5 (but let's pretend, as long as we're abstracting, that a roll whose possible results are 1,3,4,6 is a 1d6, so) = 1d6 negative levels. SL8.
  • Realized Maximized Enervation: 4 negative levels. SL9.
  • Realized Repeat Enervation: 2d4 negative levels. SL9.
  • Energy Drain: 2d4 negative levels. SL9.
Spells higher than level 9 don't matter and are ignored.


So now we have a kludgy, hacked-together, abstracted sense of how many negative levels it's appropriate for a spell of a given level to do:
  • SL4: 1 NL
  • SL6: 1d4 NLs
  • SL8: 1d6 NLs
  • SL9: 2d4 (or 4) NLs
Long ago, we made calculations and concluded that one negative level ≈ 14.6 years. So if we wanted to create a line of spells that drain youth, we could convert:

  • SL4: 14.6 years
  • SL6: 1d4 x 14.6 ≈ 36.5 years
  • SL8: 1d6 x 14.6 ≈ 51.1 years
  • SL9: 2d4 x 14.6 (or 4 x 14.6 ) ≈ 65.7 years
We could come up with a straightforward years/SL number, but spells are exponential in power, not linear: a level 8 spell isn't just the same as two level 4 spells, and a level 4 spell isn't just the same as two level 2 spells, and so on. We need a more complicated formula.

At this point, I vaguely remember from high school algebra how to tell my graphing calculator to do this, but I don't know how to tell Excel or Google or anything else to do it. To the fresh batteries cabinet to bring my graphing calculator back to life!

I asked it for a quadratic regression, because I couldn't remember what a quadratic regression is, and it gave me a terribly ill-fitting one. Then I asked it for an exponential regression, and it gave me one that fits very well: y=5.199*1.335^x, where y is years drained and x is the spell level.
  • SL0: 5.20 years
  • SL1: 6.94 years
  • SL2: 9.27 years
  • SL3: 12.4 years
  • SL4: 16.5 years
  • SL5: 22.0 years
  • SL6: 29.4 years
  • SL7: 39.3 years
  • SL8: 52.5 years
  • SL9: 70.0 years
Certainly not terrible. But hm: I kind of don't want there to be a cantrip that can age a person at all, and I kind of want the lowest level aging spell to take 1 year. So I'm going to finesse the numbers a bit and wind up with...
  • SL0: 0.50 years
  • SL1: 2.54 years
  • SL2: 5.32 years
  • SL3: 9.14 years
  • SL4: 14.4 years
  • SL5: 21.5 years
  • SL6: 31.4 years
  • SL7: 44.8 years
  • SL8: 63.3 years
  • SL9: 88.5 years
...good enough!


Now, some fiddling to match these numbers up with dice... Consider this chart:

The coloured numbers indicate how many of that size die would be needed to average out to approximately the desired number of years. They are colour-coded: red is most accurate, orange less accurate, yellow even less accurate, and blue least accurate of all. We could just use all the red ones, substituting for orange ones when there isn't a red one at that level, but that winds up with an ugly and inelegant progression of 1d10, 2d8, 4d6, 4d10, 7d8, 10d8, 6d20, 16d10.

Imagine we want to use all the same size dice. If so, you can clearly see that the d8 column is the most accurate.

But I don't want to use all the same size dice, because I'm biased against rolling large numbers of dice at once. We could, oh, say, start at d4, and bump up a die size every time we'd be rolling more than 6 dice at once. Then let's smooth them out a little when the die size would jump 2 at once, or would stay the same for 3 levels in a row.

Instead, we will consider that many spells vary in effective based on caster level. Oho! Everything suddenly got really complicated all up in this joint.

Let's pretend that the average caster has a minimum caster level of twice the spell level, minus 1. Then let's cap each spell's effectiveness at, oh, let's say, approximately twice that. Let's aim for the spell reaching its target effectiveness halfway between when it can first be cast and when it caps out.

To simplify slightly, the SL2 version can just be a flat 1d4. And let's just skip a couple spell levels where they make it particularly awkward.

So let's go with this:

SL1: 1 year
SL2: 1d4 years
SL3: 1d8 years per 4 caster levels, up to 3d8
SL5: 1d8 years per 3 caster levels, up to 6d8
SL7: 1d8 years per 2 caster levels, up to 12d8
SL9: 1d8 years per caster level, up to 24d8


Negative levels automatically take effect, but you can save against them becoming permanent 24 hours later. Moreover, the relevant spells and abilities always call for an attack roll. So let's have, oh, let's say the ability to defend against it with a Fortitude save. No need for any of that touch or ranged touch stuff.

But then the question arises: why would a character ever cast any of these spells? If your target is already old, or you use the very high level ones, it might kill them. Otherwise, you might advance them an age category or two. I suppose 1, 3, or 6 irreversible damage to three ability scores is nothing to sneeze at. Even so, the level 1 and 2 versions will never do enough aging with one application to actually advance the target an age category.

So I'm thinking one of two things: either you gain X temporary hit point for each Y years you drain, or your age is reduced by 1 for each Y years you drain.

I don't really want youthening to be so easy, so I'm inclined towards the temporary hit point thing. Usually, you get 5 temporary HP per point of thing you do, but this does a somewhat greater number of points of things, so I'm inclined to say one per one.

Let's next consider what spell lists this line is appropriate for. Let's go with... Cleric, Blackguard, Blighter, Dread Necromancer, Hexblade, Mortal Hunter, Sor/Wiz. The classes with only 4 levels of spells don't get the weakest or the strongest one.



Youth Drain, Least
Necromancy [Evil]
Level: Clr 1, Blighter 1, Dread Necromancer 1, Sor/Wiz 1
As youth drain, except the target ages only 1 year.Material Component: Any manmade object greater than 1 year old.

Youth Drain, Lesser
Necromancy [Evil]
Level: Clr 2, Blackguard 1, Blighter 2, Dread Necromancer 2, Hexblade 1, Mortal Hunter 1, Sor/Wiz 2
As youth drain, except the target ages only 1d4 years.
Material Component: Any manmade object greater than 5 years old.In addition, you gain 1 temporary hit point for each year the target loses. These temporary hit points last for 1 hour.

Youth Drain
Necromancy [Evil]
Level: Clr 3, Blackguard 2, Blighter 3, Dread Necromancer 3, Hexblade 2, Mortal Hunter 2, Sor/Wiz 3
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Short (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One living creature
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Fortitude negates
Spell Resistance: Yes
You point at your target and years evaporate from their lifespan. They age 1d8 years per 4 caster levels (maximum 3d8 years). This is never beneficial to the target.
In addition, you gain 1 temporary hit point for each year the target loses. These temporary hit points last for 1 hour.
Material Component: Any manmade object greater than 10 years old.

Youth Drain, Greater
Necromancy [Evil]
Level: Clr 5, Blackguard 3, Blighter 5, Dread Necromancer 5, Hexblade 3, Mortal Hunter 3, Sor/Wiz 5
As youth drain, except the target ages 1d8 years per 3 caster levels (maximum 6d8 years).Material Component: Any manmade object greater than 25 years old.

Youth Drain, Grand
Necromancy [Evil]
Level: Clr 7, Blackguard 4, Blighter 7, Dread Necromancer 7, Hexblade 4, Mortal Hunter 4, Sor/Wiz 7
As youth drain, except the target ages 1d8 years per 2 caster levels (maximum 12d8 years)Material Component: Any manmade object greater than 75 years old.

Youth Drain, True
Necromancy [Evil]
Level: Clr 9, Blighter 9, Dread Necromancer 9, Sor/Wiz 9
As youth drain, except the target ages 1d8 years per caster level (maximum 24d8 years).Material Component: Any manmade object greater than 250 years old.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Multiclass Experience Penalties and Racial Favored Classes

So I've been convinced by the arguments that that multiclass penalties don't accomplish what they're intended to accomplish.

The idea behind multiclass penalties and racial favored classes is twofold: first, Frankenstein builds full of 1- and 2-level dips are inelegant and should be disincentivized; and second, there should be some mechanical indicator of a character's cultural predilections.

The second point is good and sound and a reason to preserve racial favored classes in some form, and I'll come back to it.

The first point falls apart in two ways: alpha, that the system currently penalizes a build full of nothing but your favored class and 1-level dips not at all, instead penalizing you if you have, say, lots of levels in two classes and a dip in one other; beta, that high-tier characters (usually spellcasters, whose prime directive is Thou Shalt Not Lose Caster Levels) are only hurt by dips, while low-tier characters (usually mundane combat) can stand to benefit greatly from dips. Multiclassing penalties are one more instance of Melee Can't Have Nice Things.

So we dump the multiclassing penalty system like a sack of soggy garbage.

But wait! That second reason! There needs to be some mechanical indicator of a character's racial predilections! Because almost everyone underestimate the power of culture to a ludicrous extent. Let alone built-in biological instinct! So that hardcore needs to be a thing.

But hey, when I first created the Versatile Alignment feat, I said to myself, "maybe this is something that characters should get as a bonus feat with respect to their racial favored class". Because that would make sense.

So let's do that. Indeed, let's go slightly further and pull in Monastic Training and Knight Training:


Characters take no experience penalties for multiclassing. Instead, they gain a bonus feat related to their racial favored class, even if they do not meet the feat's prerequisites.
Any character may choose the Versatile Alignment feat with respect to their racial favored class.
A character whose racial favored class is Monk may choose between Versatile Alignment(Monk) or Monastic Training from the Eberron Campaign Setting.
A character whose racial favored class is Paladin may choose between Versatile Alignment(Paladin) or Knight Training from the Eberron Campaign Setting.
A character whose racial favored class is "any" may choose between Versatile Alignment (with respect to any one class of their choice), Monastic Training, or Knight Training.


This leaves characters with favored classes that have no alignment requirement slightly disenfranchised. I don't want to give them anything with any actual power, only something that opens up more options. Maybe a choice between Knight Training (your favored class) and Monastic Training (your favored class)? Meh, maybe. I'll have to look through feats and find some of the ones that are mostly fluff, which no sane person would normally choose to take but might accept if handed for free.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Adjucating Aging Effects

So, as I said a few posts ago, I kind of like my solution to the problem of how annoying negative levels are to to be inflicted with.

But I'm pretty confident that my negative-levels-are-aging system isn't actually balanced against real negative levels, and inherently couldn't possibly be. And, though it makes the game easier and simpler for people who don't already know how negative levels work, it does make it more complicated for people who do. So I'm considering going back to the original negative levels system.

But I love aging effects, and want to them to matter in the game as much as possible. I've already got the rule that every time you're resurrected, you gain some age, but resurrection doesn't happen all that often.

There are only two monsters I know of (from sourcebooks I allow) that have age-increasing powers:
  • The phane, an epic-level (CR25) monster which has the ability, after putting characters into temporal stasis, to age them at a rate of 1d4 years/round, no save. It specifies that targets take the physical, but not mental, effects of aging.
  • The ciruja plant (CR3) from Dragon Compendium. After a fairly complex and reasonably easy-to-avoid process of paralyzing the victim then burrowing into their flesh, it starts draining youth at a rate of 1d10 years/round, no save. It, too, specifies that "this has no positive benefits for the victim", specifically calling out things that "might grow more powerful with age" (e.g., True Dragons).
Obviously, there's going to be an epidemic of ciruja plants growing everywhere in my campaign world very shortly.


But this brings up a good point: I really should have rules for adjudicating harmful aging effects in general. Obviously, you shouldn't ever gain any benefit from being prematurely aged.

I'm going to immediately discard the possibility of "you advance an age category without gaining the benefits, but you could gain the benefits next time you advance an age category".

Instead, I propose this solution: characters, once they've been subject to such an effect, track their physical age and their mental age separately.

If you advance an age category in physical age, you gain the physical penalties. If you advance an age category in mental age, you gain the mental benefits. You can't die of old mental age, but once you hit Venerable you stop benefiting. You can die of old physical age once you pass Venerable.

Harmful effects, like the phane, the ciruja, or being resurrected, only ever advance your physical age. Beneficial effects, like reincarnate or any potion-of-youth type effects we might choose to include (probably necessary if age is to be an important thing, though I could be really mean and make them apply to both physical and mental aging at once), also only ever reduce your physical age.

This has the side benefit of doing away with the "age to Venerable. get reincarnated. repeat." cycle of infinite mental score increases.

I suppose it also means True Dragon advancement is mental, but that's unlikely to ever matter in a session.

It's one extra number to keep track of somewhere on your sheet, but it's worth it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Custom Reincarnate Tables 3: Monstrous Humanoids

If you are looking for (or wish to return to) the central list of my updated Reincarnate tables, click here.


Roll 1d200.

Dice Creature Src
1-5 Aarakocra MoFae-11
6-7 Alaghi MoFae-14
8 Annis MM-143
9-10 Arkamoi MM5-184
11-12 Blackspawn Raider MM4-130
13 Bluespawn Godslayer MM4-140
14-16 Boggle MM2-33
17 Braxat MM-37
18-20 Centaur MM-32
21-24 Chitine MoFae-26
25-27 Chosen One MoFae-27
28-30 Crazed Kuo-Toa MM5-94
31-34 Crow-Headed Tengu OA-194
35-38 Dekanter Goblin MoFae-53
39-41 Derro MM-49
42 Desmodu MM2-62
43-45 Doppelganger MM-67
46-48 Dragonkin Draco-150
49-50 Dusk Hag EbCS-284
51-53 Equiceph MHb-61
54 Ethereal Doppelganger MM2-94
55-58 Firenewt MoFae-48
59-61 Frost Folk FrostB-130
62-63 Gargoyle MM-113
64 Gloom ELHb-192
65-67 Goatfolk MM3-63
68 Greathorn Minotaur MM4-100
69 Green Hag MM-143
70-72 Greenspawn Sneak MM4-148
73 Greenspawn Zealot MM5-74
74-77 Grimlock MM-140
78-80 Groundling MoFae-57
81 Hadrimoi MM5-185
82-83 Hannya OA-166
84-85 Harpy MM-150
86 Hebi-No-Onna OA-167
87 Human-Headed Tengu OA-194
88 Jackal Lord FFolio-105
89-91 Kappa OA-169
92-94 Khaasta FFolio-115
95 Kopru MM2-134
96-98 Kuo-Toa MM-163
99 Kuo-Toa Exalted Whip MM5-95
100-103 Lashemoi MM5-186
104-106 Loxo MM2-144
107 Marzanna FrostB-144
108-109 Meazel MoFae-65
110 Medusa MM-180
111-112 Minotaur MM-188
113-114 Nagatha MM4-102
115-117 Nycter MM3-112
118-120 Ophidian FFolio-133
121 Ormyrr MM2-167
122-124 Quaggoth MoFae-75
125 Queen Abeil MM2-22
126 Redspawn Arcaniss MM4-152
127 Redspawn Berserker DMagic-118
128-129 Rhek BoED-181
130-132 Rokuro-Kubi OA-190
133-135 Sahuagin MM-217
136 Scaled Stalker MHb-68
137 Scorpionfolk MM2-221
138-139 Sea Hag MM-144
140 Skindancer MM3-158
141 Soldier Abeil MM2-22
142 Spell Weaver MM2-187
143 Spelleater Sarkrith FFolio-145
144-145 Stinger MoFae-80
146 Thane Sarkrith FFolio-146
147 Thoon Infiltrator MM5-109
148-151 Thri-Kreen MM2-195
152-154 Tigbanua Buso OA-148
155 Tsuno OA-197
156 Turlemoi MM5-187
157-159 Vassal Abeil MM2-22
160-162 Wemic MoFae-84
163-166 Whitespawn Hordeling MM4-156
167-168 Whitespawn Hunter MM4-158
169-170 Yak Folk MM2-200
171-173 Yeti FrostB-162
174-176 Yeti OA-199
177 Yuan-Ti Abomination MM-264
178 Yuan-Ti Halfblood MM-264
179 Yuan-Ti Ignan MM4-188
180-182 Yuan-Ti Pureblood MM-262
183-186 Yurian FFolio-198
187 Zern MM4-195
188-189 Zern Blade Thrall MM4-198
190-191 Aberration reroll
192-193 Fey reroll
194-195 Giant reroll
196-197 Humanoid reroll
198-200 Other reroll

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Custom Reincarnate Tables 3: Aberrations

If you are looking for (or wish to return to) the central list of my updated Reincarnate tables, click here.


Roll 1d200.

Dice Creature Src
1 Aboleth MM-8
2 Ahuizotl FFolio-14
3 Athach MM-21
4 Avolakia MM2-28
5 Balhannoth MM4-15
6 Beast of Malar MoFae-20
7 Beholder MM-25
8 Beholder, Bleeder DrgCmp-174
9 Beholder, Gauth MM-25
10 Beholderkin, Death Kiss MoFae-22
11 Beholderkin, Director LoM-137
12 Beholderkin, Eye of the Deep LoM-138
13-16 Beholderkin, Eyeball MoFae-23
17 Beholderkin, Gouger MoFae-24
18 Beholderkin, Hive Mother LoM-135
19 Beholderkin, Overseer LoM-139
20 Beholderkin, Spectator LoM-140
21 Boneleaf HoH-143
22 Carrion Crawler MM-30
23 Catoblepas MM2-41
24 Chaoswyrd DrgCmp-183
25 Chilblain FrostB-114
26-27 Choker MM-34
28 Choldrith MoFae-27
29 Chuul MM-35
30 Chwidencha FFolio-34
31 Cildabrin LoM-141
32 Cloaker MM-36
33 Cloaker Lord MoFae-28
34 Cloaker, Shadowcloak Elder LoM-142
35 Corruption Eater HoH-144
36 Dark Umber Hulk ToM-160
37 Darktentacles MM2-54
38 Darkweaver FFolio-39
39 Deadly Dancer ToM-80
40 Deepspawn MoFae-32
41 Delver MM-39
42 Destrachan MM-49
43 Dharculus PlnrHb-112
44 Dokufu OA-151
45-46 Dolgaunt EbCS-281
47-49 Dolgrim EbCS-282
50 Doppelganger, Greater MoFae-35
51 Drider MM-89
52 Dustblight SandS-160
53 Elder Brain LoM-144
54 Ephemeral Hangman ToM-161
55 Ethereal Defiler MM5-54
56 Ethereal Filcher MM-104
57 Ethergaunt, Black FFolio-65
58 Ethergaunt, Red FFolio-66
59 Ethergaunt, White FFolio-67
60 Ettercap MM-106
61 Fihyr MM2-100
62 Fihyr, Great MM2-100
63 Garbler ToM-267
64 Ghaunadan MoFae-49
65 Gibbering Mouther LoM-150
66 Gibbering Orb ELHb-191
67 Glasspane Horror DrgCmp-205
68 Grell LoM-108
69 Grick MM-139
70 Gulguthydra MoFae-58
71-72 Hag, Bog OA-147
73 Hagunemnon (Protean) ELHb-196
74 Ha-Naga ELHb-195
75 Harpoon Spider MM3-80
76-79 Hengeyokai OA-168
80 Hook Horror MM2-126
81 Hound of the Gloom LoM-153
82-84 Howler Wasp MM4-74
85 Howler Wasp Queen MM4-74
86 Illithidae, Embrac LoM-154
87 Illithidae, Kigrid LoM-155
88 Illithidae, Saltor LoM-156
89-91 Ixitxachitl MM2-128
92 Ixitxachitl, Vampiric MM2-128
93 Julajimus MM2-133
94 Kython, Adult BoVD-179
95 Kython, Impaler BoVD-180
96 Kython, Juvenile BoVD-179
97 Kython, Slaughterking BoVD-180
98 Kython, Slaymaster BoVD-180
99 Lodestone Marauder MM4-90
100-101 Lurking Strangler MM3-100
102-103 Mad Slasher MHb-64
104 Mageripper Swarm MM4-98
105 Malasynep FrostB-142
106 Malaugrym MoFae-64
107 Mamono OA-172
108 Maulgoth FFolio-123
109 Meenlock MM2-146
110 Mimic MM-186
111 Mind Flayer MM-186
112 Mind Flayer, Ulitharid LoM-157
113-115 Mindshredder Larva MM3-102
116 Mindshredder Warrior MM3-103
117 Moonbeast MM2-149
118 Morkoth MM2-152
119 Naga, Bright MHb-55
120 Naga, Dark MM-191
121 Naga, Guardian MM-191
122 Naga, Sprit MM-191
123 Naga, Water MM-193
124 Neh-Thalggu (Brain Collector) ELHb-206
125 Neogi, Adult LoM-90
126 Nothic MHb-65
127 Nyth MoFae-68
128 Ocularon FFolio-132
129 Odopi MM3-114
130 Odopi, Elder MM3-115
131 Otyugh MM-204
132 Otyugh, Lifeleech MM3-119
133 Phaerimm MoFae-70
134 Phasm MM-208
135 Phiuhl FFolio-135
136 Psurlon, Average LoM-163
137 Psurlon, Giant LoM-164
138 Pterafolk MoFae-74
139 Ragewing DrgCmp-210
140 Ripper CtyS-131
141 Roper, Prismatic MM3-141
142 Rot Reaver MM3-142
143 Rukanyr FFolio-144
144 Runehound MM3-145
145 Rust Monster MM-216
146 Seryulin MM3-149
147 Seryulin, Greater MM3-149
148 Shivhad FrostB-152
149 Shrieking Terror, 10-headed MM3-154
150 Shrieking Terror, 5-headed MM3-154
151 Silthilar LoM-168
152-153 Skum MM-228
154 Skybleeder FFolio-155
155 Slasrath FFolio-158
156 Snowcloak FrostB-153
157-158 Spark Lasher MHb-70
159 Spectral Lurker FFolio-158
160 Spirrax MM5-166
161 Squamous Spewer Draco-193
162 Stonesinger MM3-168
163 Susurrus MM3-170
164 Swarm, Abyssal Ant FFolio-166
165-167 Symbiont, Living Breastplate EbCS-299
168-170 Symbiont, Tentacle Whip EbCS-300
171-173 Symbiont, Tongueworm EbCS-300
174-175 Tako OA-193
176 Tall Mouther MoFae-81
177 Thoon, Elder Brain MM5-121
178 Thoon, Madcrafter of MM5-114
179 Thoon, Shadow Flayer MM5-107
180 Thorciasid ELHb-220
181 Tooth Beast ToM-88
182 Tsochar LoM-121
183 Tunnel Terror FFolio-179
184 Uchuulon (Slime Chuul) StormW-163
185 Umber Hulk MM-248
186 Urophion LoM-170
187 Vermiurge ELHb-226
188 Vivisector MM5-200
189 Will-O'-Wisp MM-255
190 Windghost MM2-198
191 Worm that Walks ELHb-228
192 Wyste MM2-200
193 Yuan-Ti, Anathema FFolio-193
194 Zern Arcanovore MM4-197
195 Zeugalak LoM-171
196 Magical Beast reroll
197 Outsider reroll
198 Monstrous Humanoid reroll
199 Undead reroll
200 Other reroll

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Potential Alternative To Savage Progression?

So, I kind of like my solution to the problem of how annoying negative levels are to to be inflicted with:

But I also kind of like an idea that I came across where, instead of using savage progressions (or for characters where a savage progression is inappropriate), you can start out as a monster with all the relevant abilities and powers, but you have enough negative level adjustments (similar to, but not actually, negative levels) to bring you down to effective level 1. Every time you level up, instead of leveling, you lose a negative level adjustment, until you don't have any more negative level adjustments.


First, let's analyze the idea of using negative level adjustments, or even just negative levels, instead of savage progressions to see to what extent it has merit.

A normal negative level gives:

  • -1 on all skill checks, ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws
  • -5 hit points
  • -1 effective level
  • -1 highest level available spell slot

The suggested negative LA drops the -5 hp, the lost spell slots, and the reduced effective level, but adds the following:

  • -1 DC for all abilities which call for a saving throw
  • -1 to any constant Armor Class bonus granted by race
  • Level adjustment is reduced by 1

I kind of want to test each. And I kind of want to see if it could work at all for creatures that do have racial hit dice, which would normally be the domain of savage progressions. (You see, I'd be okay with doing away with savage progressions altogether, if there's a simpler replacement system available. (I actually very much doubt that this will work out so nicely, but let's give it a try.)) So we'll test traditional negative levels and fancy negative levels on, oh, let's say a drow and a drider.

A drow with 2 traditional levels, enough to bring it down to ECL1, gets:

  • +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, +2 Charisma
  • Land speed 30 feet.
  • Darkvision 120 feet.
  • Spell resistance 11.
  • +2 racial bonus on Will saves against spells and spell-like abilities.
  • Dancing Lights, Darkness, Faerie Fire 1/day, CL1.
  • Weapon Proficiency: hand crossbow, rapier, short sword.
  • Light blindness
  • Miscellaneous elf traits
  • -2 to all skill checks, ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws
  • -10 hp
  • -1 highest level available spell slot
  • ECL 1
That's, um... A barbarian (or knight or warblade) will have 2+con HP. A fighter needs to have at least 16 constitution before racial modifier to have more than 1 HP. Any class with a d8, d6, or d4 hit die will always have 1 HP. Super-fragile.

Aside from that, not too awful, could be balanced.

The variant negative LA leaves the character with their full normal hp, but otherwise the same. Again, could be balanced.

Let's see a drider with 9 traditional negative levels:
  • Large (Space/Reach 10'/5')
  • 6 Aberration hit dice, but loses 45 HP, leaving him probably close to 1 HP
  • +4 Strength, +4 Dexterity, +6 Constitution, +4 Intelligence, +6 Wisdom, +6 Charisma
  • Land speed 30 feet, climb speed 15 feet
  • Darkvision 60
  • +6 natural armor
  • Poison DC 10 + con
  • Spell Resistance 17
  • Casts as a 6th-level cleric, wizard, or sorcerer, but loses 9 spell slots.
  • 1/day: dancing lights (DC 10+cha), clairaudience/clairvoyance, darkness, detect good, detect law, detect magic, dispel magic, faerie fire, levitate, suggestion (DC 13+cha)
  • +4 Hide and Move Silently. +8 Climb, can always take 10 on Climb checks.
  • -9 on all skill checks, ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws
  • -9 effective levels
As a sorcerer, he could cast 6 cantrips and 5 1st-level spells/day, but he only knows 5 cantrips. As a cleric, he can cast 5 orisons and 2 1st-level spells/day. As a wizard, he can cast 3 cantrips/day.

Contrariwise, the negative LA system would let him keep all his spells and spell slots (and all his HP), but the DC of any spell that has a save (and the two such SLAs) is reduced by 9, and he loses his natural armor. He regains the 1/2 his racial HD to his poison's save DC, but then loses 9, for a total DC of 4 + con.


In conclusion, this system was, for very good reason, not intended for use with creatures that have racial hit dice and high LAs, and cannot reasonably be adapted to their use.

But even when applied properly, to creatures with 1 class level and a level adjustment, both versions of the system are only so-so. I don't anticipate incorporating either into my game.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Custom Reincarnate Tables 3: Vermin

If you are looking for (or wish to return to) the central list of my updated Reincarnate tables, click here.


Roll 1d200.

Dice Creature Src
1 Astral Kraken PlnrHb-109
2 Bloodfiend Locust Swarm FFolio-170
3 Bonespear FFolio-24
4-5 Brine Swimmer SandS-195
6 Centipede Swarm MM-238
7 Century Worm FFolio-30
8 Chelicera MM3-27
9 Colossal Monstrous Centipede MM-286
10 Colossal Monstrous Crab StormW-142
11 Colossal Monstrous Scorpion MM-288
12 Colossal Monstrous Spider MM-288
13 Devastation Beetle ELHb-178
14 Devastation Centipede ELHb-178
15 Devastation Scorpion ELHb-178
16 Devastation Spider ELHb-178
17-19 Dire Maggot LibMor-95
20 Gargantuan Monstrous Centipede MM-286
21 Gargantuan Monstrous Crab StormW-142
22 Gargantuan Monstrous Scorpion MM-288
23 Gargantuan Monstrous Spider MM-288
24 Giant Ant Lion SandS-196
25-28 Giant Bee MM-284
29-31 Giant Bombardier Beetle MM-284
32-35 Giant Dragonfly A&EG-90
36-39 Giant Fire Beetle MM-285
40-44 Giant Firefly A&EG-91
45-48 Giant Leech StormW-154
49-50 Giant Praying Mantis MM-285
51-53 Giant Queen Ant MM-284
54-57 Giant Queen Termite SandS-198
58-60 Giant Solder Termite SandS-198
61-63 Giant Soldier Ant MM-284
64 Giant Stag Beetle MM-285
65-66 Giant Wasp MM-285
67-70 Giant Worker Ant MM-284
71-74 Giant Worker Termite SandS-197
75-79 Hairy Spider MoFae-79
80-84 Hoard Scarab Draco-168
85 Hoard Scarab Swarm Draco-168
86-88 Huge Monstrous Centipede MM-286
89 Huge Monstrous Crab StormW-142
90 Huge Monstrous Scorpion MM-287
91 Huge Monstrous Spider MM-288
92 Jellyfish Swarm StormW-161
93 Knell Beetle MM3-88
94-97 Large Monstrous Centipede MM-286
98 Large Monstrous Crab StormW-142
99-100 Large Monstrous Scorpion MM-287
101-103 Large Monstrous Spider MM-288
104-106 Large Snow Spider FrostB-154
107-110 Leech Swarm StormW-162
111 Leechwalker MM2-135
112-113 Locust Swarm MM-239
114-118 Medium Monstrous Centipede MM-286
119-121 Medium Monstrous Crab StormW-141
122-125 Medium Monstrous Scorpion MM-287
126-129 Medium Monstrous Spider MM-288
130-133 Medium Snow Spider FrostB-154
134 Megapede MM2-148
135 Plague Ant Swarm FFolio-167
136 Rapture Locust Swarm FFolio-170
137 Rot Grub Swarm DngnS-106
138 Ruin Swarm ELHb-213
139 Scarab Beetle Swarm FFolio-171
140 Siege Beetle MM5-152
141 Siege Crab MM3-157
142-144 Small Monstrous Centipede MM-286
145-149 Small Monstrous Crab StormW-141
150-154 Small Monstrous Scorpion MM-287
155-159 Small Monstrous Spider MM-288
160-164 Small Snow Spider FrostB-154
165-168 Spider Swarm MM-239
169 Sword Spider MoFae-79
170-171 Tiny Monstrous Centipede MM-286
172-174 Tiny Monstrous Scorpion MM-287
175-177 Tiny Monstrous Spider MM-288
178-180 Wasp Swarm FFolio-172
181-184 Animal reroll
185-188 Magical Beast reroll
189-192 Ooze reroll
193-196 Plant reroll
197-200 Other reroll

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Custom Reincarnate Tables 3: Plants

If you are looking for (or wish to return to) the central list of my updated Reincarnate tables, click here.


Roll 1d200.

Dice Creature Src
1-9 Twig Blight MM2-197
10-17 Fetid Fungus MM5-56
18-25 Shrieker Fungus MM-112
26-33 Average Worker Myconid MM2-154
34-41 Porcupine Cactus SandS-179
42-48 Needlefolk MM2-158
49-55 Wizened Elder MM4-180
56-61 Assassin Vine MM-20
62-67 Bloodthorn FFolio-23
68-73 Ciruja Plant DrgCmp-184
74-79 Violet Fungus MM-112
80-85 Gas Spore LoM-148
86-91 Wortling MM2-165
92-97 Phantom Fungus MM-207
98-103 Tumbling Mound SandS-191
104-108 Ascomoid DngnS-105
109-113 Green Warder MoFae-57
114-118 Vine Horror FFolio-185
119-123 Yellow Musk Creeper FFolio-190
124-127 Bonetree DrgCmp-179
128-131 Demonthorn Mandrake MM5-30
132-135 Verdant Reaver MM5-196
136-138 Briarvex MM4-26
139-141 Ironthorn SandS-166
142-144 Shambling Mound MM-222
145-147 Tendriculos MM-241
148-149 Warbound Impaler MM3-15
150-151 Dark Tree MoFae-31
152-153 Twilight Guardian DMagic-121
154-155 Vinespawn MM5-198
156 Burrow Root MM5-14
157 Treant MM-244
158 Kelp Angler FFolio-112
159 Saguaro Sentinel SandS-181
160 Greenvise MM2-120
161 Sporebat FFolio-161
162 Night Twist MM3-110
163 Oaken Defender MM4-106
164 Octopus Tree FFolio-130
165 Ironmaw FFolio-104
166 Red Sundew MM2-179
167 Battlebriar MM3-14
168 Plague Brush MM3-124
169 Orcwort MM2-165
170 Mu Spore ELHb-205
171 Elder Treant ELHb-223
172-177 Construct reroll
178-183 Ooze reroll
184-189 Undead reroll
190-195 Vermin reroll
196-200 Other reroll