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Old School Essentials Genre Books Preview – Part 2

Posted by Ryan Marsh Labels: , , , ,

               I hope everyone enjoyed last week’s preview with the Paladin class. This week we are taking a slightly different route and examining a few of the new spells that are being offered in the Old School Essentials Advance Fantasy: Druid and Illusionist Spells. One thing that I cannot stress enough is that if you are buying one of the add-on books for Advance Fantasy, you really need to add both of them. The Illusionist and Druid are introduced and both books are required to play them, not to mention the Gnome and Bard as well. Needless to say, for the cost of both books you are getting a great value and adding a huge amount of new material to your OSE games.

I love this cover.
               We will begin with the Druid spell Heat Metal. It is a classic from other editions of D&D, but how does it transfer over to OSE? It is a 2nd Level Druid spell that has a range of 30’, and a duration of seven rounds. It can affect one target per two levels of experience. Thus, out of the gate it can effect a minimum of two targets, which is strong. All the targets metal objects will begin to heat up for the first four rounds, then it slowly decreases in heat for the next three. Over the course of rounds two, three, five, and six the subject will take damage if they refuse to discard all metal objects. The fourth round is key in that targets that refuse to give up their metal objects could possibly suffer the loss of a limb if they fail a save vs spell and they take additional damage. 

               This spell is a good selection, but a gamble as well. You are gambling that something in the near future will be relying on metal. It is a reasonably safe bet, but many monsters rely completely on natural weapons and will immune to these effects. Creatures that do rely on metal are going to be up a creek without a paddle. They will have to make the choice to disarm and/or remove their armor, or just eat the effects. Unless they make the saving throw, they will lose access up to several appendages and possibly be knocked out by the spell. Either case is a boon for the party.
  The next spell is coming from the 2nd half of the book, the Illusionist spells. For this, I chose one of the unique spells from the book, Shadowcast. This is a 5th level spell, adapted from 2nd Edition AD&D, that is used to gather information. It  does not have all the flash/bang of the direct damage spells, but it should not be over looked. The premise of the spell is that you go into a dark room that was recently occupied by someone you want to gather information. The Illusionist lights a candle and the shadows that form on the walls show a recreation of the events 6 +1 per level turns in the past. The events create a shadow play in real time and the party can try to piece out any information they need. The basic spell does not come with sound, but if the Illusionist creates a special candle made with a large monster's earwax and gold leaf runes (200 GP), the images will have sound as well.

  I really like the theme around this spell; it feels very appropriate for the Illusionist and can be very useful for a party. Players and GMs are going to have a lot of fun with this one. If you are a backer, and have not added this book to your BackerKit, you should before the kit closes. If you missed out on the Kickstarter, you will have the option to pre-order this and all the books from the Kickstarter right HERE
              What do you think of the new spells? Are you excited to see more from the two expansion books? Make sure to comment below on things you would like to see, follow the blog for the next four parts, and share with other interested parties. Did you miss Part 1?
               If you are looking for the creators of this great product please check out their website.

Traveling in a World of Fire – Desert Survival Rules

Posted by Ryan Marsh Labels: , , , ,

               Deserts might be the most inhospitable climates that exist in any world, yet some cultures flourish in or near these environments. In a traditional D&D overland expedition the environment is reflective of the temperate zones of Europe, and thus many of the overland rules assume this kind of a climate. Adjustments, like in life, will be needed when basing a game/campaign in a desert location. Water, beasts of burden, armor, and many other items will have to be taken into account so the setting seems real.

Possibly the harshest environment that the characters can enter.

                Navigation in the desert is extremely difficult, one sand dune tends to look a lot like another. PCs that are not familiar with the terrain, or traveling without a guide will need to roll once per day and on a 1-3 on a d6 they become lost. If your system uses Rangers, and their native terrain is not dessert, the roll becomes 1-2 on a d6. Traveling by night, without an experienced guide, will increase the chance of getting lost to 1-4 on d6. The DM can determine were the characters end up, or a simple random roll. Needless to say, this diversion from their intended will cost the players in supplies, and could lead to starvation, dehydration, or running into a monster.
                Scavenging food in the desert is not impossible, just improbable. Characters attempting to scavenge food in a desert will succeed on the roll of a 1 on d6, and it will produce enough food for d3 people for one day. Scavenging for food will take six turns per roll, and can only be done in daylight. This food is generally good for humanoids, but will not feed a beast of burden or the like. Characters will typically need one gallon of water a day in the desert if travelling by day. Mounts, barring ones suited for desert terrain, typically will need four gallons of water a day if travelling. Character or mounts that are sitting and resting, or traveling at night need half as much water as typically needed. Characters or mounts that are wearing armor heavier that leather will require double the amount of water typically needed. Camels and creatures native to desert climates do not suffer the effects of dehydration until the 8th day without a full allotment of water. Each day that an animal is participating in labor, and does not receive a full allotment of water roll a d10. If the result of the die is equal or less than the number of days without full water, the animal dies.

You need the right tools for the climate.

                If a character does not their full allotment of water in a day will start suffering the effects of dehydration. A character that does not receive at least half the amount of water needed in a day will suffer d6 CON loss. A character that does receive at least half the needed water or more in a day will suffer a d4 CON loss. This loss in CON comes with all the appropriate effects of any change in CON, including the lowering of a character’s HP. Once a character gets a full allotment of water for the day, the CON loss is restored. If a character reaches zero CON, the character has died due to dehydration. Every day beyond the first that a character does not get at least half the amount of water needed, that character suffers a cumulative -1 penalty to attack and damage rolls do to the weaken state.
                Heat is a major factor in the hot winds of the desert and people need to dress appropriately or suffer the effect of heat exhaustion. Character that wear heavier armors will have penalties to combat due to the extreme temperatures. Characters that are wearing chainmail armor will have a -2, and those with plate mail -4 penalty to all attack rolls. They will also suffer a respective +2 and +4 penalty to attribute checks. Shields that are not specifically designed for the climate will also impose a further -1 penalty to attack rolls and +1 to attribute checks.

Dress for success in the desert.

                The winds and sands can become the enemy of the characters because sand storms are one of the most feared natural phenomenon. The first thing that characters need is to find some form of shelter. Large rocks, clay huts, or even climbing into the guts of a beast can provide the necessary shelter from the storm. Each round that a character is not in a shelter and caught in a storm, they will suffer one point of damage. Characters without some form of protection in the storm will also need to make a saving thrown versus Breath Weapon, or be blinded for 1d6 rounds. If the storm goes on long enough a character can be buried beneath the dunes. The DM needs to determine how deep the character is buried. If you want to randomize roll d10 and that is the depth in feet. Each round the character is buried they need to make a STR and CON check. If the character passes the STR check they can dig 1 foot towards the surface. Characters can also attempt to close the distance from the top by digging down with a STR check. If the character fails the CON check they will suffer 1d4 CON damage as they begin suffocating and getting sand into their lungs. Characters that lose all their CON, will parish. CON will be healed after one turn or rest on the surface. This system is also used in the case of a sand avalanche that ends up burying the characters.

               I am slowly working on more Arabian Fantasy rules for BX/LL/OSE that I am tentatively calling Al-Jadid. Click the link to see the running list of articles.