Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Some of the "Professional" Jousters known (or suspected) to be participating in the Fenlock Tourney

The Foreigners:

 Sir Duncan "The Red Wolf" of Bryneth.
Lesser foreign noble with a courtesy title from the King known for his strength  
Arms:  A Wolf Courant, gules, on field argent (a red wolf, running to the left, on a solid silver field)
Colors: Red on silver.
Rumors: A wide man, pudgy but notoriously strong. Known to be ambidexterous, wields an enormous club in the melee, favors shorter horses that are slow but strong, using his sheer bulk to unhorse others, was first in the Arden Vale Tourney last year. Exact title in Bryneth isn't known, it's assumed he's a young son or nephew of the king.

Lady Esmeralda "The Emerald Maiden" McIntosh of Misty Cross
Warrior-maiden from a potent trade house in a large city far to the North
Arms: Four Silver Coins on an emerald green field, presented on a lozenge (a rhombus shape)
Colors: White on Green
Rumors: If not for her famous emerald-colored cloak, picking Esmeralda out from the male jousters would be difficult. Mule-Stubborn, with black hair cut very short, she looks more like a tall boy than a woman. She's very fast, and usually also participates in archery.

The Arden Vale Nobles:

Sir Theodosius of Carago
Fourth Son of a Duke, nothing to lose by losing, and everything to gain by winning
Arms: The green and blue of Arden Vale's nobility, quartered with the City of Carago's blue and white Chevrons.
Colors: Blue, Green and White
Rumors: Drinks too much, gambles too much and never talks to his family but a hell of a jouster.

Lord Martin LaGrace of Arden Vale
15th in line from the throne, one of the King's least favorite bastards, son of a woman from a potent Bryneth Tradehouse (distant cousin, by marriage, of the Thane of Fenlock)
Arms: The Three Silver Chevrons on Blue of the LaGraces
Colors: Blue
Rumors: May be getting too old for this. His brown beard is shot through with silver. Still fierce competitor.

Sir Albert Laguerre of Arden Vale
Only son of a jumped-up commoner, has a lot of money but his bloodline is questionable. 
Arms: Three swords, tied together with a red ribbon, on a pale blue field
Colors: Pale Blue and Red
Rumors: The best armor and horses money can buy make a difference in competition, but Albie's skills on the sports field is contrasted with lack of experience on the actual battlefield. 

Player Information: The Summer's Redoubt Tournament at Fenlock

The approach of autumn, as well as the annual week in which two of the larger horse-selling caravans intersect and both arrive in Fenlock at once triggers this end of Summer tournament, one of the biggest on the jousting circuit outside of the capitol, and one of the preliminary tournaments for the Annual Festival at Arden Vale (the winners of each of the four categories, as well as the overall winner all have an automatic free slot in the lists there, regardless of their social class, and it is one of only two of the large festivals open to commoners.) The event itself is five days long, and this post serves to instruct the players as to stuff their characters already know.
Day One: Arrival of the horses, check in, set up and opening feast.
Fenlock closes the streets in the Southwest quarter of the city, most businesses (except those involved in hospitality) are closed. The temples offer up basic healing (spells of 3rd level and below) for free.
Bars, Taverns and Restaurants give out food from stalls near the main stands and also ribbon favors. Every citizen of Fenlock is given an opportunity to vote for best entertainment at the end of each day by tying one ribbon to the bridge, and the entertainment venue that has the most gets a large sum of gold and bragging rights for a year (The Pink Pearl won last year.)
There is a large outdoor dance and feast at the stands, all are welcome, food is free. Horses are marched down the street in front of the Thane's house (and over the bridge) with performers, jugglers, etc.
Those who've never participated in a joust, or have no rank or record of doing so but who want to earn a place in the lists have to score at least 100 out of 200 possible points in the preliminary tent pegging event held in front of the temple of Ardentia, with the highest 10 people getting a place in the day two 'open' joust. (Participants must have two horses, jousting plate, and five lances. As with all events, anything showing a positive during a Detect Magic disqualifies you.)
Buskers, shop stands and people selling craft goods and sweets are everywhere.
Day Two: 'Open' Joust, preliminary melee, archery opening rounds, horsemanship events, Welcoming Mass.
For most of the day, horsemen who've passed preliminary events before the festival compete in show jumping, races, and events of horseback dexterity. The winner is given a set of platinum horseshoes and a seat in the Horsemen's lists in the Annual Festival at Arden Vale
Commoners who've jousted before and the winners of the tent pegging event and select nobility participate (up to 30 people) in up to three jousts to score their placement in the proper joust. The worst are eliminated and 10 jousters move forward.
The archery opening rounds are open to anyone who has a bow, archers are given 'points' based on up to 10 shots, everyone with 100 points or more moves on. There is a 5gp registration fee. Distance and accuracy both increase points (a bullseye at the furthest target (150 yards) is 50 points, and the longbowmen usually go right for this)
The 'open' melee at this stage is one on one combat, with people who've won at least one match of them moving on, as selected by a judge. This will be repeated each day until the last. Chain mail or leather and blunt weapons only at this stage.
The welcoming mass at the Temple of Ardentia is considered mandatory for all participants. It is famously boring and followed by an outdoor party in tents and around the temple of Ordith, which is notoriously scandalous.
Day Three: Archery Competitions, followed by round one of 'professional' jousts, The Thane's Ball.
Variety of archery competitions, including 'wand shooting' (shooting at a falling, thin target) and increasingly difficult targets. The winner is given a golden arrow worth 100gp and a seat in the archer's lists in the Annual Festival at Arden Vale. The first of the 'professionals' of the jousting lists compete for placement, with the top five not jousting again until the final day.  The day is followed by an invitation-only ball at Thane's place.
Day Four:  The main jousts and the all-city dance.
All but the top five jousters compete, with every jouster facing every other jouster unless injured past continuing, with the top five moving forward. The day closes with a giant dance at the city's school building.
Day Five: Final jousts, Final Melee, and Grand Awards Ceremony
The final ten jousters compete in a round-robin tourney, with as many jousts as is required to arrive at a definitive winner. This is followed by an all-weapons and any armor grand melee, with individuals being eliminated by judges, yielding or leaving the ring. Last one standing wins.
A golden lance worth 1000gp and a golden sword worth 500gp are the awards for this, as well as seats in the annual festival. (None of these weapons are combat appropriate.)
The best warrior of the tourney is chosen by the thane (usually the winner of the joust, unless one man wins the other events and not the joust) and his award is a blessed (magical) medallion, a place at the Annual festival, a war horse of the thane's choosing and a place of honor at another grand ball, this hosted by the Temple of Palladian.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Inside Baseball: How acids work in game

One of the great things about hypertext versus a book is that you can link detailed information for those who really, really, really want an 'inside baseball' type information set, and like the 'shape of spells' information I provided, the following is used in the (totes non-existent) Grand Grimoire as a link in individual spell descriptions that use acid.

Acid and Alkali Information:

Acids and alkalis are some of the most dangerous substances in the game, and for the most part do the same kind of burning, disfiguring damage, often in the form of a splash from a broken vial or a magically constructed glob.

Unlike most other attacks in the game, these chemical attacks cannot be healed with regeneration abilities, only being able to be healed by a cleric's cure, the natural healing of time or by hacking off the entire area and then regenerating.

Unless otherwise stated in a description, both acidic and alkaline attacks are considered to be with a weak, not particularly persistent substance that reacts with flesh, wood, leather and similar materials to do 2d4 points of damage, or 1 point if it is a mild splash. This damage is rarely disfiguring, and if it hits water it will heat the water up a little, but do no real damage to things living in the water as long as there is 100 or more times as much water as there is substance.

Rather than have a separate category for acids and alkali, both ends of the pH spectrum are protected from by oil of acid resistance, scrolls of acid protection and the like. The substances are treated the same way except for when they encounter each other and in the amount of damage they do. They are treated as poison (more accurately poison-like compounds) that do disintegration and/or burning damage to the flesh, which can be disfiguring.

Items have saving throws against acid by name, but when they are affecting living beings, they are treated slightly differently, using the best possible category for the attack.  Acid that is suspended in the air, as well as that spit out by dragons and other creatures is saved against as a breath weapon, acid that is created by a spell is saved against by spells, acid that is hurled as a grenade-like does not get a save, but may be avoided because of a good armor class or protection. When there is doubt as to which saving throw to use against acid, the PPD (paralyzation, poison, death magic) number should be used, unless the description says otherwise.

Categories of acid:

Like poisons, acids are given a category, a number that roughly corresponds to the pH of the substance. Because the pH scale is logarithmic, and because the normal human body is slightly resistant to alkaline substances, the scale works as follows (note there is no Category 7, which would correspond roughly to water.) This table does not precisely correspond to pH, and the damage given would represent a highly purified sample, something very hard to get below 4 or above 10. Diluted samples will do a fraction of the damage, based on how dilute they are:

(per full dose)
Very mild acid
Common Acid
Strong Acid
Very Strong Acid
Extremely Strong Acid
Ancient Black Dragon Spit*
very mild alkali
common alkali
strong alkali
Very Strong Alkali
Extremely strong Alkali
6d100 X10
*Inside the dragon, prior to being released as a breath weapon that does 24d4+12 per 'hit'

A full dose of damage is taken by falling into the purified acid, being hit dead on with a pure sample thrown as a grenade-like missile, swallowing it, etc. Splashing damage occurs with a near miss as detailed on the section on grenade-like missiles. Continuing damage is damage on successive rounds with acid that is persistent. Many in-game acids are non-persistent, reacting instantly with air and vanish in one round. Continuing damage can be caused by the acid clinging to the skin of a target after s/he is removed from the acid, and lasts until the acid is removed or 2d6 rounds have elapsed. Being immersed in acid would do 'full dose' damage on each round until the target was fully dissolved. Diluted acid samples will persist less time and have no or very little continuing damage.

Reactions with Water:

Unless it is described as an acid-like substance, acids (unless they are already very dilute) react to water with a great deal of heat. Attacking a creature made of water with these substances should be saved against as disintegration or death magic (whichever is worse) and do 50% of their total full-dose damage even if just splashed upon, and that damage is in the form of boiling and steaming (the acid damage itself is mitigated by dilution). If dropped into a large body of water, 50% damage (again, from heat) occurs in a 10ft radius, 25% in the next 5ft (a total 30ft radius) and none (although the water heats up) outside a sphere that is 60ft wide.

Neutralization Reactions :

When something basic is hit with something acidic (or vice versa) the regular acid damage should occur, plus an additional 50% damage as if hitting a water-based creature with acid, and the creature will bubble as gas expands. If an inanimate object, these bubbles have a 50% chance of exploiting a critical flaw in the object and disintegrating it (perhaps even 'exploding' it, although the shrapnel won't be propelled far or hard) per round of continuing damage. The continuing damage length is halved.

Disfiguration Reactions :

Disfiguration occurs when acid interacts with the flesh and melts it, creating holes, pits and other gory-looking damage. Disfiguration is not a guarantee with most acid attacks, and indeed, the majority of acid accidents in the real world, just as with the majority of burns, are superficial or first degree burns, the acid spreading out and interacting with the first layer of skin. These are painful, but ultimately heal without scarring. Disfiguration should only be considered as a possibility if the acid attack is a called shot or does greater than one-fourth of the creature's total points in damage (unless the disfiguration is specifically noted in the attack, as with some spells.) Lasting charisma (or comeliness) damage isn't any more likely with acid scarring than with burn scarring, and like burn scarring, is healed by magical healing and time.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Grand Grimoire Appendix on Spell Targeting, shape, etc.

Presented as a Player's Aid. Use freely, but please link back to source. Of course, The Grand Grimoire, a book containing all the mage spells in AD&D, with over 4000 spells (far more than in the Spell Compendium), totally doesn't exist and is a myth.

 Spell Targeting and Detonation Effects, Range, Area of Effect and Spell Shape.

When calculating damage of a spell, the shape, range and area of effect are incredibly important for determining who is hit and who is not. The most commonly used shapes are the sphere, ray, cube and missile. Each of these vary based upon the range of the spell.

If the range of the spell is 0, or touch, the shape of the spell must begin at the mage’s hands, unless the spell states that it comes from another part of the body or the mage is of a race that uses something other than hands (for the rest of this appendix, the word ‘hands’ will be used to describe both hands and the non-hands used in this way, including things like spells cast from wands or staves) If the range of the spell is greater than zero, and the spell is not otherwise described as originating from the mage, the spell may start anywhere within the range that the mage determines.

In the images below, a ray-shaped spell (its size is determined by the area of effect) is cast by two mages. The first image shows a range of zero:

The second image is of a ray that can be formed anywhere within a range. Note that the start of the area of effect needs to be in the range, but the end of the area of effect does not:

Unless the spell states otherwise, ray spells may be cast at any angle the mage desires. Each of the rays below represents a potential direction a ray can go. Note that some of these rays would hit the mage, the ceiling above him or whatever he is standing on. Often (but not always) the mage must be looking in the direction his ray goes.

In addition to the shape of the spell, the mage needs to understand the movement of the spell effect, if any. Rays, for example, move away from their origin (direction is represented by the arrow), usually at the speed of light. The DM generally determines that anything within sight of the ray cannot dodge once it has fired, although prescience or knowledge of the spell can allow the targets to dodge before the ray forms.

Cones are similar to rays, but occupy a larger area. Cones can have an area of effect based on an entire cone, or a partial cone. This is described in the area of effect of the spell:

The above represents a cone that has an area of effect of an entire cone, shown here as originating at the mage. Note that a cone-shaped spell’s area of effect is given as both a length and a width at the terminal end. The terminal end is the part furthest from the mage, the part closest to the mage is called the origin. If a cone’s area of effect is described as “10ft long and 5 ft wide” the 5ft wide describes the diameter of the circle that represents the wide end of the cone, and the 10ft long describes its length:

Sometimes a cone is described as having two ends, for example, being 10 ft long, 5ft at the end and 1ft at the beginning. Here is that cone (more accurately a partial cone):

As with a ray, a cone that does not have a range of touch or zero can start anywhere in the area of effect of the spell, as shown here (this is the partial cone from above):

 Cubes and spheres can form either around the mage or anywhere in the range of the spell. If it forms around the mage, assume the walls of the cube are equidistant from the center of the mage’s body. (or that the center of the sphere is near the center of the mage:

If the cube may be formed anywhere in the area of effect, it can be tilted in any direction the mage desires (unless the cube has weight or otherwise must have a flat edge on the floor.) If the cube spell has a range of zero, but does not form around the mage, the mage must be touching the outside edge of the cube. It is most common for the cube to form with the mage near the center of an outer wall or touching a corner. The mage often has some leeway as to angles:

A very common form of spell effect is the expanding cube or sphere, fireball being the most frequent form. This form starts as a dot—

—and then expands out equally from the initial sphere that appears (or is thrown). Here it is partially expanded. Note that the time elapsed in expansion often allows a save for half damage, as people within the area of effect dive for cover.

Finally, here is the expanding sphere fully expanded, taking up the entire area of effect.

In addition to the shape of the spell effect, how the mage targets it can be important. While there are dozens of targeting techniques, the most common are area effect, line of sight, touch attack and physical attack. Area effect and line of sight do not require an attack roll, and automatically hit (unless a save is allowed). A touch attack merely requires that the mage briefly touch his target, including his target’s armor, this means that the AC bonus bestowed by the armor can be ignored, but that displacement and other effects are not ignored (enemy’s DEX bonus and bonuses from shields are only allowed if he is actively avoiding the mage’s touch.) Note that held or non-resisting targets are automatically hit.
                Physical attacks are often the most risky targeting techniques for mages, because they have a low chance of hitting with physical attacks. The chance to hit is based on the target’s AC and the chance for the mage to hit as if the physical attack were a weapon he was proficient with. (A character with a THAC0 of 16 trying to hit an AC of 0 would need to roll 16 or better.)
                Understanding how a spell goes off is vital to a party’s survival. Magic Missile, for example, will swerve around a big fighter that crosses between the mage and his target, unerringly hitting the target. A fireball’s full area of effect (a sphere of 20 ft radius) cast to go off 15ft in front of the mage will easily hit the mage who cast it, and anyone between a ray of enfeeblement’s origin and its endpoint will be hit by it, regardless of whose side he is on.

Level-Based increases in Spell Power
                Many spells increase in area of effect or amount of damage as the caster’s level gets higher. Note that the caster’s level is not necessarily his actual level. For example, a bard’s “casting level” is always one level lower than his or her bard level (thus a 9th level bard casts as if 8th level,) and a swordmage’s mage-like abilities are often listed as ‘cast as if a level 12 mage,’ in which case the spell pretends the swordmage is a level 12 mage, whether his actual level exceeds that level or is beneath it. Typical Level based increases are presented below:
Type of increase
Example of listing
Example at 9th level
Example at 18th level
Additional Dice per level
1d4 per level (max 10d4)
10d4 (damage is maxed)
Base plus additional dice
100 + 1d6 per level
Additional points per level
1d6+ 1 per level*
Additional die per n level
1d6+ 1d6 per 3 levels**
Additional die per after lvl
1d6 + 1d6 per level after 10th level
Size increase-circle/sphere
radius 10ft per level
shape with radius of 90ft
shape with radius of 180ft
Size increase-cube
Cube w/10ft side per level***
Cube 90ft high, wide, long
Cube 180ft high, etc.
Size increase-cubes
One 10ft cube per level***
9 cubes, each 10ft high†
18 cubes, each 10ft high†
Size increase-Cubic Feet
100 cubic feet +10 per level
190 cubic feet
280 cubic feet
Size increase-Wall
10ft high, length 1d6+10ft per level
10ft high, 1d6+90ft long
10ft high, 1d6+180ft long
Additional number per level
Seven balls + 1 per level
16 balls
25 balls
* When written in the form of 1dN+y per level, assume that only y (not 1dN) is increasing by level unless the spell makes it explicit otherwise. For example, a spell creating one missile per level, each doing 1d6+1 damage would be written as “1 missile per level, doing 1d6+1 points of damage each” in the spell description.
** A die is added at level 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, etc. See a spell’s description for how fast damage increases.
***It can be very confusing for some people to distinguish between an increase in the size of cubes and the increase in number of cubes, and can usually be demonstrated with 6 sided dice. If each die is assumed to be a 10ft cube, a 30ft cube would be made out of nine cubes, each one 10ft on a side, stacked 3 high and 3 deep-nine dice. A spell increasing by one 10ft cube per level is increasing in size slower than a spell with cubes that are growing at 10ft per level, but the character has more leeway with the position of the spell effect.
†These cubes usually must touch each other and follow logical geometry, but the player may have a lot of leeway in the shape of the effect the multiple cubes make. For example, eight 10ft cubes could make a cube 20ft high and 20ft long, a wall 10ft high and deep and 80 feet long, a shape 20ft long on one side, 40ft long on the other and 10ft high, etc.

Note that there are no partial increases. A spell that does 5 points of damage plus 10 for every two levels would do 5 at level one, 15 at level 2, 15 at level three, and 25 at level four. It would never do 10 or 20 points.