D20 Source

Updated whenever


Win Gemstone Dice – Tell Us Your Gaming Anecdotes

posted Tuesday, December 23rd 2008 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

D20 Source is no stranger to anecdotes, with stories like Hold On, Your Character’s Named Sephiroth?, Another Anecdote, Amusing Orcish Anecdote.

Now it’s your turn. D20 Source has teamed up with Game Master Dice to give away a rather unique set of dice made from Botswana agate.

All you need to do to enter is to share an amusing roleplaying game anecdote. Simply post the funniest story from your gaming table. Leave your post as a comment on this entry. Be sure to fill in your correct e-mail address so that you can be contacted if you win.

The winner will be announced in two weeks’ time. Second place wins a set of red opaque dice, and runners-up will be posted on the site.

Christmas Weekly Link Adventure

posted Sunday, December 21st 2008 by Jonathan Drain
Links and ResourcesNews, Reviews & Culture

Special note: On Monday I’m posting details of a contest where you can win free dice. I’ll leave it up over Christmas, and choose the winner when I return at the end of the holidays.

Meanwhile, here’s the week in links:

News

Products & Reviews

Fourth Edition Material

Dungeon Mastering Advice

Game Design & Publishing

Playing the Game

Humour

And the Rest

Creatures of Gensokyo III: Phantom Ensemble

posted Wednesday, December 17th 2008 by Jonathan Drain
Creatures & NPCsFourth EditionGame Material

This is the third and final part of Creatures of Gensokyo, a series of D&D monster statistics based on characters from cult Japanese game series Touhou.

The ghostly Prismriver sisters are the best known musicians in Gensokyo, attracting fans from distant realms. As poltergeists, the sisters can play their instruments without touching, or even necessarily appearing within sight. In fact, the instruments themselves are phantoms, and create sounds not only audiable to the ear, but which resonate with the spirit.

However, their origin is a sad tale. Long ago, Count Prismriver died suddenly, leaving four orphaned daughters – Lunasa, Merlin, Lyrica and Layla. Whether the three eldest sisters died soon after or left home, the youngest, Layla, could not bear to leave, and prayed for her sisters to return. Three poltergeists took pity on her and assumed the form of the sisters, who cared for Layla until she too died. The phantom sisters can still be heard in the mansion to this day, invisibly practicing their music.

The eldest sister is Lunasa, a violinist. She dresses in black, with white trim. Lunasa’s music matches her gloomy demeanour, and possesses the ability to overwhelm weak-minded listeners with depression. Her violin is a phantom of an instrument said to outclass any crafted by human hands.

Lunasa Prismriver

Lunasa Prismriver — Level 15 Controller
Medium undead humanoid — XP 1,200

Initiative +12 Senses Perception +15; darkvision
HP 148; Bloodied 74
AC 29; Fortitude 27, Reflex 27, Will 28
Immune Disease, poison
Speed 6, fly 6 (hover); phasing

Basic Melee Phantom Din (standard; at-will) ♦ Thunder
+20 vs AC; 1d10+6 thunder damage.

Ranged Spirit Strings (standard; at-will) ♦ Psychic
Ranged 5; +19 vs. Will; 2d8+6 psychic damage, and the target takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls (save ends).

Blast String Performance (standard; recharge 5,6) ♦ Psychic
Close burst 5; targets enemies; +19 vs Will, 2d8+6 psychic damage, and the target is weakened (save ends).

Alignment Unaligned Languages Common
Skills Stealth +15
Str 14 (+9) Dex 21 (+12) Wis 17 (+10)
Con 21 (+12) Int 17 (+10) Cha 23 (+13)

Merlin, a trumpeter, often takes center stage at performances. She dresses in pink, with blue and black trim. Merlin’s music has the power to uplift the spirit, sometimes to the point of inspiring mania. Her instrument is said to be the phantom of a trumpet that has taken the blood of many musicians, but it’s not known if this is true.

Merlin Prismriver

Merlin Prismriver — Level 15 Controller
Medium undead humanoid — XP 1,200

Initiative +12 Senses Perception +15; darkvision
HP 148; Bloodied 74
AC 29; Fortitude 27, Reflex 27, Will 28
Immune Disease, poison
Speed 6, fly 6 (hover); phasing

Basic Melee Phantom Din (standard; at-will) ♦ Thunder
+20 vs AC; 1d10+6 thunder damage.

Ranged Trumpet Ghost (standard; at-will) ♦ Psychic
Ranged 5; +19 vs. Will; 2d8+6 psychic damage; the target slides 5 squares and is dazed (save ends).

Blast Dark Trumpet (standard; recharge 5,6) ♦ Psychic
Close burst 5; targets enemies; +19 vs Will, 2d8+6 psychic damage; the target moves 5 squares and makes a basic attack against its nearest ally.

Alignment Unaligned Languages Common
Skills Stealth +15
Str 14 (+9) Dex 21 (+12) Wis 15 (+9)
Con 20 (+12) Int 14 (+9) Cha 23 (+13)

The youngest sister is Lyrica, a keyboardist. She dresses in red, with pink and black trim. Merlin’s winged instrument possesses the ability to create incredible illusory sounds unlike any natural instrument. However, they do not resonate with the spirit like those of her sisters.

Lyrica Prismriver

Lyrica Prismriver — Level 15 Controller
Medium undead humanoid — XP 1,200

Initiative +12 Senses Perception +15; darkvision
HP 148; Bloodied 74
AC 29; Fortitude 27, Reflex 27, Will 28
Immune Disease, poison
Speed 6, fly 6 (hover); phasing

Basic Melee Phantom Din (standard; at-will) ♦ Thunder
+20 vs AC; 1d10+6 thunder damage.

Ranged Dark Keys (standard; at-will) ♦ Psychic
Ranged 5; +19 vs. Will; 2d8+6 psychic damage, and the target takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls (save ends).

Blast Fazioli Dark Performance (standard; recharge 5,6) ♦ Psychic
Close burst 5; targets enemies; +19 vs Will, 2d8+6 psychic damage, the target is deafened and dazed (save ends).

Alignment Unaligned Languages Common
Skills Stealth +15
Str 14 (+9) Dex 21 (+12) Wis 14 (+19)
Con 21 (+12) Int 20 (+12) Cha 23 (+13)

See Also

Weekly D&D Link-Around

posted Tuesday, December 16th 2008 by Jonathan Drain
Links and ResourcesNews, Reviews & Culture

The week in links.

Products & Reviews

Fourth Edition Material

Dungeon Mastering Advice

Game Design & Publishing

Playing the Game

And the Rest

Hilarious House Rules

posted Monday, December 8th 2008 by Jonathan Drain
Dungeon Mastering Advice

A post over at By Decree of the Czar got me thinking about the dozens of variants and table rules I’ve employed in years as a Dungeon Master. Here are ten of the most memorable.

I swear they’re all real.

  1. A character turned to stone can attempt to strike a heroic pose, in order to make a better looking statue. If sold, his statue fetches 100 gp times the result of a Charisma check.
  2. If the party forgets to loot the bodies, the party forgets to loot the bodies.
  3. Regardless of your feral minotaur’s Strength score, an adamantine door is not a melee weapon.
  4. You cannot take weapon proficiency in “bag of holding plus portable hole”.
  5. You always get what you wish for, but not necessarily what you wanted.
  6. The peasant railgun does not work that way.
  7. While it is a valid use of the skill, bards cannot inspire confidence using “Perform (interpretive dance)”.
  8. The variant called shot rules are there for a reason. That reason is not so you can “punch the red dragon in the happysack”.
  9. Alchemist fire is thrown one vial at the time. You cannot kill a creature in one hit by “tying a hundred vials together”.
  10. As a last resort, you can make a God Call. If you don’t have a deity, there’s a scramble for the celestial telephone and you get one at random. The last time this happened the guy got Erythnul. Messy.

Sunday Link-Around Quest – Dec 7

posted Sunday, December 7th 2008 by Jonathan Drain
Links and ResourcesNews, Reviews & Culture

Alright, you got me. I meant to post this yesterday, but I recently read that my family name could mean “a lazy man”, and decided to give it a go. Unfortunately, living up to my family name turned out to be quite unproductive, so here we are with the week’s round-up.

News

The big news this week is that Wizards of the Coast has laid off several staff, including such big names as Dave Noonan, Jonathan Tweet, and Randy Buehler. Reasons for the layoffs include frustration over Gleemax and D&D Insider failing to meet targets, clearing out monetary liabilities before the end of Hasbro’s financial year, and dilbertesque budget cuts. Several bloggers including industry insiders have voiced their disapproval:

In other news:

Products & Reviews

Fourth Edition Material

Dungeon Mastering

Game Design

Playing the Game

Other Games

And the Rest

Creatures of Gensokyo II: Shrine of the Netherworld

posted Wednesday, December 3rd 2008 by Jonathan Drain
Creatures & NPCsFourth EditionGame Material

The fey-inhabited realm of Gensokyo is separated by a mystical border from the netherworld, the land where its spirits travel after death. Arguably the most beautiful realm of Gensokyo’s netherworld is Hakugyokurou, known for its cherry blossom gardens which are said to be over a thousand miles long or even infinite. Hakugyokurou takes its name from a tall ghost shrine overlooking the gardens, and means “tower of white jade”.

One of the shrine’s most unusual residents is a white-haired girl named Konpaku Youmu, half ghost and half human. Despite her youthful appearance, Youmu is over sixty years old and has spent most of that time mastering the two-sword style of combat. Youmu is a formidable opponent, and serves the realm’s princess as bodyguard and gardener.

Konpaku Youmu wields two blades whose legendary status in the netherworld exceeds her own. Roukan Blade, the “Tower-Watching Sword”, is believed to have been forged by spirits and is too long for a normal human to wield. Hakurou Blade, the “White Tower Sword”, is the ancestral sword of the Konpaku family and is said to have the power to dispel confusion.

Konpaku Youmu

Konpaku Youmu — Level 22 Elite Soldier (Leader)
Medium undead humanoid — XP 8,300

Initiative +19 Senses Perception +17; darkvision
Spirit Gardener aura 10; undead allies within the aura gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls
HP 380; Bloodied 190
AC 38; Fortitude 40, Reflex 37, Will 34
Immune Disease, poison
Resist 15 necrotic
Vulnerable 10 radiant
Saving Throws +2
Action Point 1
Speed 10, fly 10 (hover)

Basic Melee Roukan Blade (standard; at-will)
Reach 2; +29 vs AC; 1d10+5 damage. Roukan deals normal damage against insubstantial creatures.

Basic Melee Hakurou Blade (standard; at-will) ♦ Radiant
+29 vs AC; 1d8+5 plus 5 radiant damage

Melee Two Swords (standard; at-will) ♦ Radiant
Youmu can make one attack each with Roukan and Hakurou.

Burst Delusion of Enlightenment (standard; encounter) ♦ Radiant
Close burst 1; Youmu can make one attack with Hakurou against each target within the area. Each hit leaves the creature immobilized and knocked prone until the end of Youmu’s next turn.

Melee Karmic Punishment (standard; encounter) ♦ Radiant
Youmu can attack one target alternately with Roukan and Hakurou until one misses or five hits.

Burst Thousand Mile Slash (standard; recharge 5,6) ♦ Radiant
Close burst 2; +27 vs Reflex; 6d8+2 radiant damage

Swift Movement (move; recharge 4,5,6) ♦ Teleportation
Youmu can teleport 10 squares.

Alignment Unaligned Languages Common
Skills Athletics +21, Endurance +17, Religion +18
Str 20 (+16) Dex 22 (+17) Wis 14 (+13)
Con 15 (+12) Int 13 (+12) Cha 12 (+12)

Equipment Roukan blade, Hakurou blade

Youmu’s martial prowess attracts the attention of the more powerful spirits who have retired to the flower gardens of Hakugyokurou. She is frequently accompanied in battle by around twelve ghostly warriors.

Towerbound Spirit — Level 18 Minion
Medium undead humanoid — XP 500

Initiative +16 Senses Perception +9; darkvision
HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion.
AC 32; Fortitude 30, Reflex 31, Will 30
Speed fly 6

Basic Melee Touch of Unlife (standard; at-will)
+21 vs Will; 8 damage

Alignment Unaligned Languages Common
Str 22 (+15) Dex 25 (+16) Wis 22 (+15)
Con 16 (+12) Int 23 (+14) Cha 17 (+12)

See Also

D&D’s Five Most Greatest Weapons

posted Monday, December 1st 2008 by Jonathan Drain
None of the Above

They aren’t just the greatest. They’re the most greatest.

5. Lichkiller Gatling Ballista

The ballista is strictly speaking a giant crossbow used for siege warfare, although I’m not entirely sure if mediaeval engineers ever managed to construct a rapid-fire version outside of videogames. The killer is the ammunition – huge bolts, each tipped with a mace of disruption.

4. Keen Vorpal Scimitar, third edition

D&D3.5′s vorpal sword decapitates on a natural 20, and fourth edition’s equivalent merely deals open-ended bonus damage. In early third edition, however, vorpal decapitated on any critical, a natural 18-20 on a scimitar. What’s more, the Keen property stacked with the Improved Critical feat to triple the weapon’s threat range to 12-20, chopping off heads with 45% of successful attacks. Ouch.

3. Bag of Holding & Portable Hole

It’s an ancient rule that extradimensional spaces don’t play nicely with each other, and 22,500 gold pieces buys you your very own time-space shredding kit. Placing the hole into the bag has the specific effect of destroying both and pulling any creatures within ten foot radius into the Astral Plane. Among the traits of this plane are that all spells are quickened, poison doesn’t function, and everyone can fly. Alternatively, the payload can be delivered by summoned monster, who will have no qualms about sucking your foes out of reality for instant victory.

2. Head of Vecna

You’ve heard of the Hand and Eye of Vecna, artifacts that replace the wearer’s own body parts and bestow terrible power. One party of adventurers discovered an even greater relic – the entire Head of Vecna. A fight broke out over who would be allowed to cut off their own head to receive Vecna’s power. At no point did any of them discover that the head was a fake, set up by a cleverer adventuring party who returned later to loot four decapitated bodies.

1. Peasant Railgun

Here’s the idea. You line up three thousand or so peasants, and give a spear to the one at the back. The rest ready an action to take the spear from the man behind and pass it to the man in front. Since the spear makes it fifteen thousand feet in the space of one round, in other words six seconds, a thrower at the end of the line receives it moving at a truly lethal velocity in excess of mach 2. Better hope he rolls high.

« November 2008

January 2009 »