Inspired by a picture by cogspa, by the D&D beholder, and by Cyclops of the X-Men, here’s another new origin for D&D Gamma World:

OCULAR

You’ve got eyes on the back of your head.

And eyes on the sides of your head. And your shoulders and your arms and your back and your chest and your legs and your hands and …
Appearance: You’ve got a multitude of eyes over your whole body. They could be on tentacled eyestalks, on the ends of your fingers, wrapped around your head like a crown, or arranged in even stranger configurations.

Download the Ocular origin now!

The D&D Gamma World game comes with an introduction adventure that takes the characters from level 1 to level 3, while demonstrating how the game works. This is good!

The adventure is designed for 5 PCs and doesn’t give guidelines on how to properly scale the encounters for different numbers of players. This is not good!

Here are two different articles I wrote that give you options for running “Steading of the Iron King” with fewer than (or more than!) five player characters.

Scaling the Adventure

To adjust each encounter for a variable number of players, follow these general guidelines. For more than six players, repeat the instructions for six players for each additional player. See page 92 of the D&D Gamma World rulebook for information on building level-appropriate encounters.

A few of these adjusted encounters push up against the next higher level of encounter. That’s okay as encounter levels are guidelines not strict rules, but you may want to further adjust some of the monsters or provide players
with extra assistance if they are having difficulties. For example, one of the terrain features might fail to function as written (such as The Machine in encounter 3).

Each encounter lists the monsters and hazards as written up in the adventure for five players, and then offers suggested changes to make to provide a challenge of the approximate difficult and general feel of the encounter for fewer players.

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Companion Characters

Unlike player characters, companion characters are relatively stable within their niches in Gamma Terra. Companion characters do not receive Alpha Mutation cards and never experience Alpha Flux events. They are also unable to use Omega Tech items and do not draw Omega Tech cards.

Companion characters can use the second wind action as player characters can, and like player characters, they heal to maximum hit points after a short or extended rest. They die at their negative bloodied values, not 0 hit points.

Companion characters don’t use ammo; they never have to worry about running out if they fire guns, and they can’t replenish a player character’s supply by giving ammunition to them. A companion character who comes with equipment can be given other, similar equipment to use, but the game mechanics for the companion’s
powers will remain the same. For example, if a companion uses a short sword and is given a yield sign (a heavy two-handed weapon), the companion’s attack will still function as if he were using the short sword.

This supplement includes the companions Roberta the Rebuilt Robot, Milton the Paranoid Dabber, and Enik the Time-Lost Sleeth.

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Last Friday, during the middle of RinCon, I got a great idea for a D&D one-shot that I wanted to run — “DragonSlayer”: a one-shot with Epic-tier, level 26 characters. Sadly, due to a lot of bad luck and an outbreak of serious depression, I never got to run the game, but I may do so sometime in the future; I still have the character sheets.

One thing I discovered was that level 26 characters don’t necessarily have that many more powers than other characters — sure, they’ve got 17 powers (roughly) compared the 4 at first level, but level 13 characters have 13 — but they’ve sure got a heck of a lot more things you’ve got to look for. Conditions that may or many not apply, powers or feats that trigger off of certain situations, times you need to check not what you are doing but what an enemy or ally does as well.

Even in the regular campaigns I play in or run, which are levels 2, 4, and 6, we’ve got multiple instances of players simply forgetting to use a power when they could have. Our bard in last night’s game did this quite spectacularly well, including forgetting to give us temporary hit points and bonus on healing surges spent during a short rest.

e at Geek’s Dream Girl describes a similar situation she had last weekend, playing level 27 characters:

Will it be hard to keep track of everything my character can do?

Short answer – yes.

Long answer – as a Leader, there were a lot of things I could do that added bonuses not only for myself, but for other members of the party. Some of these affected those next to me (for example, I bought an armor set), some affected those next to my battle standard (which I only used in one out of the three encounters, and not to any great effect), and others affected those next to my spirit companion. To top it off, I had one that affected me, but only for the first round of combat before I was attacked. What’s my AC? F- if I know!! Hahaha!

I think it would be much easier if I had “grown up” with BigByrde rather than trying to run her at 27th level. It’s easier to remember things when you’re only adding them a bit at a time.

And here I was expecting people to sit down at the convention table and run level 26 characters they’d never seen before and didn’t even create themselves? Madness!

So here’s what I did.

I went through each pre-gen character’s sheet, page by page, feat by feat, class ability by class ability, power by power, item by item — and I created a table in OpenOffice that listed each thing that each player had to keep track of in combat.

Here’s the example for Nalla, the level 26 Goliath fighter pre-gen:

An enemy marked by you…
…shifts. Make a melee basic attack against the enemy, if adjacent to you. If you hit, you do an extra +6 damage. Combat Challenge (fighter), Potent Challenge (feat)
…makes an attack which doesn’t include you. Make a melee basic attack against the enemy, if adjacent to you. If you hit, you do an extra +6 damage. The marked enemy takes a -3 penalty on attacks against anyone except you. Combat Challenge (fighter), Potent Challenge (feat), Daunting Challenge (feat)
You attack with…
…an opportunity attack. +2 on the attack roll. If you hit, the target’s movement ends. You push the target 1 square, whether you hit or miss. Combat Superiority (fighter), Knock-Back Swing (feat)
You miss with…
…your hammer. You do 6 points of damage. Hammer Rhythm (feat)
…an opportunity attack. You push the target 1 square and do 6 points of damage. Knockback Swing (feat), Hammer Rhythm (feat)
You successfully hit with…

…a melee attack.

You can use the Encounter power on your Giantkind Gloves. You can use the Daily power of your Belt of Giant Strength. Giantkind Gloves (item), Belt of Giant Strength (item)

…a 19 or 20.

You score a critical hit. You do +5d6 damage. You make a saving throw against one effect that a save can end, with a +5 bonus. You can use the Daily power of your Legendary Craghammer. You can use the Encounter power of your Citrine Solitaire. Bludgeon Mastery (feat), Legendary Craghammer (item), Amulet of Double Fortune (item), Citrine Solitaire (item)

…an attack granted by Combat Challenge.

You do an extra +6 damage. Potent Challenge (feat)
…an attack that pushes or knocks the target prone. The target takes 6 damage. Trample the Fallen (Iron Vanguard)
…an attack that drops your foe to 0 hp. You regain 6 hp. Enduring Warrior (Iron Vanguard)
…an attack that adds a condition a save can end. Your enemy takes -2 on the saving throw. Thunder Hammer (feat)
You spend an action point…
…to take an extra action You gain +4 to your defenses until the start of your next turn. You regain the use of an Encounter power you have already expended. Ferocious Reaction (Iron Vanguard), Martial Mastery (feat)
An ally…
…is adjacent to you. The ally gets +1 on Armor Class. Phalanx Warrior (feat)
…rolls initiative, within 5 squares of you. The ally gets +2 item bonus on initiative checks. Helm of Battle (item)
You are…
…hit by an area or close attack. Immediate Interrupt: You can use the Daily power of your Dragondaunt Shield. Dragondaunt Shield (item)
…hit by a critical attack by a non-minion. Gain a +6 bonus to damage rolls against that enemy until the end of the encounter. Tattoo of Vengeance (item)
You…
…roll an Athletics check to jump or climb. Roll twice and use either result. Powerful Athlete (Goliath)
…make a saving throw. For the first saving throw in an encounter, roll twice. Markings of the Blessed (feat)
…drop to 0 hit points. You can spend an action point to take an action, and you gain +4 to your defenses until the start of your next turn. You can use your No Surrender daily power. You can use the Daily power of your Ring of Invigoration. Enduring Warrior (Iron Vanguard), No Surrender (Utility 10), Ring of Invigoration (item)
…make a Strength check or a Strength-based Skill Check. You can add +10 to the result, once per day. Unending Strength (Eternal Defender)
…use your Stone’s Endurance power. You gain 19 temporary hit points. Unyielding Stone (feat)
…spend a healing surge. You gain 6 temporary hit points. Grit (feat)

Nalla’s tracking table was the simplest; some, like the warlock’s, were pretty damn crazy when certain synergies started piling up on top of each other:

You successfully hit…
…with a roll of 20, a Large or larger dragon affected by your Warlock’s Curse with an attack while concealed due to Shadow Walk and you have combat advantage against that enemy, which is also the target of your your Immortal Curse:

You score a critical hit. You do an extra 13+5d12 damage. The target grants combat advantage to you and gains vulnerable 5 fire, until the end of your next turn. If you deal your Warlock’s Curse extra damage to the target, you do an extra 30 damage. You gain 1 action point that must be spent before the end of your next turn. You ignore any resistance to fire the target may have.

I still need to work out how to generalize this solution and come up with some sort of form, chart, reminder tool, or other physical artifact to create something like this that doesn’t involve just opening a word processor — but for now, this is an approach I’m probably going to use on my own characters in the future so that I actually can keep track of what I can and can’t do in any particular situation.

10/13
2009

Here’s the Obsidian Portal page for Qi, my hybrid (rogue|sorcerer) changeling in Jeremy’s Wednesday night Eberron game.

She’s kind of … crazy. She has this annoying tendency to believe her own lies, like some sort of method actress gone horribly wrong.

So far she’s convinced herself that she’s a drug addict, a college student, and a gnoll.

10/13
2009

Pork is a nice sweet meat

So, Berin Kinsman declared this dude the Best. D&D. Mini. EVAR.:

Farmer mini

As it turns out, I know this mini quite well! One of my friends uses this as his character miniature in every game, no matter what he’s playing. It’s been a dwarf, a human, a genasi, a half-orc; a swordmage, a warden, a fighter, a barbarian.

Just in case you get an inkling to use this miniature, here’s what you need: stats for a 1st level beastmaster ranger with a pet pig and a meatcleaver on his belt:

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
William Hoggett, level 1
Human, Ranger
Build: Beastmaster Ranger
Fighting Style: Beast Mastery
Beast Companion Type: Boar
Background: Occupation – Farmer (+2 to Nature)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 16, Con 11, Dex 10, Int 8, Wis 18, Cha 10.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 14, Con 11, Dex 10, Int 8, Wis 18, Cha 10.

AC: 13 Fort: 15 Reflex: 12 Will: 15
HP: 23 Surges: 6 Surge Value: 5

TRAINED SKILLS
Dungeoneering +9, Nature +11, Athletics +7, Endurance +4, Heal +9, Perception +9

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics -1, Arcana -1, Bluff, Diplomacy, History -1, Insight +4, Intimidate, Religion -1, Stealth -1, Streetwise, Thievery -1

FEATS
Human: Beast Protector
Level 1: Vengeful Beast

POWERS
Bonus At-Will Power: Circling Strike
Ranger at-will 1: Predator Strike
Ranger at-will 1: Hunter’s Teamwork
Ranger encounter 1: Synchronized Strike
Ranger daily 1: Driving the Quarry

ITEMS
Halberd, Hide Armor, Handaxe
RITUALS
Raise Beast Companion
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

I named his boar “Babe the sheep-pig” and described it as “little pink pig who misses his ma.” The character’s first name comes from my friend William, and his last name is, of course, another reference to one of my favorite movies.