Monthly Archives: January 2011

A Waist Of Time

As belabored many times before, my time to work on Earth Delta is limited. Even so, I find a few minutes here and there, and one of the things that needs serious beefing up is the tech item lists. (I am, basically, writing my own full-length Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Adventurer’s Vault, a task which is as Sisyphean as it is quixotic and I wonder what tomorrow’s word on my calendar will be.) I managed to get a few waist items done (hence the title of this post — see what I did there? Aren’t I just so clever?). In one of those rare moments of inspiration (“You should have thought of that six months ago, moron!”) it occurred to me that a new type of waist item that fits the Earth Delta milieu (thank you, Earnest Gary Gygax, for you have done more for my vocabulary than all the pedantic pedagogues in the world) would be the holster. (It also occurred to me that I could write a Western RPG called “Holsters And Holsteins”, but I’m going to let that idea drop for a while…)

So I present to you the first holster item for Earth Delta. As usual, this is a first pass/unedited draft. Even so, it went through a lot of changes as I tried to balance “is this a sensible power given the special effects” with “is this a useful power” and “would a player want this in place of a different waist slot item”. As it is, I’m highly tempted to drop the charging property and give it to another holster that would have other, charging-related, powers.

Mag Holster Level 9+

From hip to hand in the blink of an eye…

Lvl 9 4,200 gp
Lvl 14 21,000 gp
Lvl 19 105, 000 gp

The mag holster resembles a small chrome disk, with a number of blinking lights and small controls. When a gun is placed next to it, the gun is held fast until the user wants it.

This holster can hold any one-handed tech gun.

Property: If you attach a full UPC to the weapon stored in this holster during a short or extended rest, the first shot from the weapon does not drain a charge from the UPC. This increases to 2 shots with the level 19 version.

Property: You can sheathe a one-handed gun as a free action, fastening it to the mag holster. You can then later retrieve it normally as a minor action.

Property: Anyone attempting a Thievery check to remove the gun from the holster suffers a -4 penalty to their roll.

Power(Encounter): When you draw a gun from this holster for the first time in an encounter, if the next action you take is an attack action using that gun, you gain a +1 item bonus to the first attack roll you make. This increases to a +2 item bonus for the 14th level holster. If using the 19th level holster, all targets of the attack grant combat advantage to you.

A Comment On Comments

I use Akismet to keep this blog spam-free. However, it’s reporting that it’s captured a lot of spam I don’t see (it’s supposed to store all blocked spam, but for whatever reason, that’s not happening for me). This could be a simple bug in how it displays blocked posts, or it could be over-blocking. Since I can’t see what it’s considering spam, I am concerned at least some legitimate comments might not be getting through. (I delude myself into believing there may be more readers of this than there’s evidence for…) If you’ve posted a legitimate comment and it hasn’t been made visible within a day at the most (I need to hand-approve posts by first time posters; once you’re legitimate, you’re gold until I decide I don’t like you anymore), please send me an email directly and I’ll see what I can figure out.

PS: Dear spammers, I am not a computer, I am a person, and I am quite capable of determining that “This was article of very interesting! Please writing more of this, it was of interest to me! By the way, if you are of liking to turn garter snake into python of most girth, click here at!” is, in fact, spam. I also want you to know that, if you are a spammer, if you were on fire, I would not piss on you to put it out, unless, for some reason, I had been genetically modified to urinate either kerosene or hydrochloric acid.

Log In

Just an FYI, I added a “login” widget to the footer. If you’ve created an account, you’ll now be able to, y’know, log in to it and stuff.

A Fragment From My Current Project

Just a minor tidbit from the project I’m currently working on, likely to premiere at GenCon 2011:

The necessity of linking multi-kilometer tall towers by primitive bridges, or building simple ladder, ramp, or lift systems on the outside of said towers (with minimal protection from wind, rain, and carelessly dropped Altairian pseudo-banana peels) leads to many opportunities for the GM to say “Let’s see, you’re two kilometers up, so that’s a -500 to your Breakfall roll.”

Latest Earth Delta Update

Work continues! Playtesting two nights ago showed me I need a lot more tech items, and I might want to make personal mutations have breakpoints for upgrades (where plausible) at 5 level, not 10 level, increments. Regardless, I’m going to post “what I’ve got” this Saturday, because it’s just been too long between updates.

The Good Old Days

Since we’d been talking about Everquest, I just had to share this when I stumbled upon it, though I didn’t use StumbleUpon, as it turns out.

I remember when this was bleeding-edge graphics. :) And I remember people complaining this expansion “ruined” Everquest. As did the next one. And the one after that. And…

The rule is simple. The game — any game — is perfect when you start playing it. The first expansion after that is the one that “destroys” the game.

Chivalry & Sorcery & Eyestrain, Part III

Just The Factors, Ma’am

Last week, as you may recall, we left our intrepid heroine with a huge pile of really crappy stats. This week, we feed those crappy stats into a bunch of functions, equations, and what-not to produce some probably crappy values. Let’s see!

First up on the Eyestrain Agenda is Body. This is found by adding up all the various Body bonuses. I have a +2 for my size, and a +1 for my Constitution and a -1 for my Strength, so, +2. When I get around to picking a career, I get to add another number to this, but let’s keep that +2 in mind.

Fatigue: Fatigue is, basically, hit points, of the non-vital variety. For a while, D&D 3.0 experimented with “Wounds” and “Vitality”, with Vitality being the “hit points” that wore away from small wounds, exhaustion, and so on, while “Hit Points” were actual, serious, damage. Guess what? C&S did it in 1977. Based on my limited understanding of the chart, I roll 2d6 for Fatigue, and with the luck that’s been plaguing this character since her birth, get “4”.

Next up is my carrying capacity. I have a Strength Factor of 0.1 and a Constitution Factor of 0.1, so I multiply the total, 0.2, times my weight of 130 lbs. I can carry 26 lbs.

My Military Ability Factor, which tells if I can master tactics, be bold in battle, etc, is found by adding Intelligence, Wisdom, Strength, Dexterity, and Charisma, dividing by 10, then adding on a bunch of modifiers. When all is said and done, it comes out to 1.2, on a scale of 1 to 10. This gives me a Command Level of 0.6 . Since I’m not a trained fighter (I don’t think… no one’s asked me yet…) I subtract 2 from the Military Ability Factor and 1 from the Command Level.

At this point, it’s becoming evident I need to pick a class, as most of these charts and tables want me to have one. No classes have been described or listed yet. Indeed, looking through the rules, there’s no one section that says “Pick a Class”. There’s sections on fighting, on “Thieves, Brigands, and Assassins”, a huge-ass section on magic, but no obvious “Here’s the classes, pick one.” I think I will bleep over my “Personal Combat Factor” for now until I figure this part out. So what’s next?

My horoscope. Of course. And it’s in the Magician’s Chapter, naturally. A 78 tells me I’m a Capricorn, and if I’m understanding the vague and confusing rules on “well aspected” or “poorly aspected” properly, I’ll do best as a thief, a farmer, or an other. Since my Dexterity is the Stat Which Sucks The Least, I guess I’ll go with thief.

Going back to the PCF (Personal Combat Factor, weren’t you listening, dumbass?), it’s my Carrying Capacity/10 (2.6), plus my Military Ability Factor /2 (0.5), plus Dexterity/10 (1.1) + Class Factor, which is … not listed for a Thief. I guess that’s “Other Men”, or 0.5. This totals to 4.7, on a chart that can get as high as 50.

OK, time for Phobias. I rolled a 55, so I have one phobia, but I really should figure out my social class first, it seems. Of course, that’s on the next page…

Well, there’s a bit of luck. My father was a Noble, and I am his firstborn daughter! This might explain why I’m even still alive. Of course, with my poor Charisma and Appearance, he’s probably having a hard time marrying me off, and I don’t exactly bring anything else to the table — with a Strength of 2, I can barely carry a mop bucket around. Fortunately, I rolled that I am a “good” daughter and am welcome to stay at home.

Of course, as nobles go, Daddy was pretty lame — a Landed Knight only. This gives me a starting status of 5. In theory, I could work out how much land Daddy held, but doing so would require first detailing the entire feudal system of holdings and how they’re divided up, which seems a futile effort. (You see what I did there?)

At this point, I’m a little vague as to where to go next; it mostly seems to be writing down my (crappy) thief skills and buying equipment. So I will call this one done, and the next time someone waxes all nostalgic about how games used to be “simple” and “didn’t have all these rules”, find a way to print out C&S with a readable 12 point font and then beat him to death with the three or four reams of paper such an effort will produce.

PS: Since I’m a Noble, I add +15 to my phobia roll, so I have two phobias. I have xenophobia and demophobia, fear of strangers and fear of crowds. Oh, yeah, Daddy must be having a hell of a time finding a marriage partner for me. Ugly, weak, scared to meet new people and scared to go to social events. You know, dying during character creation in Traveller is more fun than this…

Well, This Bodeth Ill

Wizards Of The Coast announced that:

“The Heroes of Shadow product, originally scheduled for March and presented in digest-sized, paperback format, is moving to April to accommodate a change to hardcover format. Additionally, three D&D RPG products have been removed from the 2011 release schedule—Class Compendium: Heroes of Sword and Spell, Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium, and Hero Builder’s Handbook. While this means fewer books, we plan to deliver just as much great content for players this year through other formats, including board games, accessories, and digital offerings. I’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest releases each month as we go along.”

Or, in other words, “We’re not going to print actual books for D&D, but we’ll make some board games, collectible cards, and computer programs we’ll get half done and then abandon.”

Seriously, cut backs in core rule books this early in the product cycle, and right after a semi-relaunch with the Essentials line, is a really, really, scary thing. Yeah, “Imminent death of D&D predicted, film at 11″, but canceling announced rules product has usually preceded the announcement of a new release/version… but it’s way too early for that and Essentials was a kinda sorta semi not really “4.5”, keeping the same rules and systems but kicking one of the key design elements — uniform class progression — to the curb and then running it over.

Obviously, there may be lots of factors involved in the decision. Going from a softcover to a hardcover for “Heroes of Shadows” is generally a sign of strong sales, not weak. It may be that internal review decided the canceled products were just not up to snuff or didn’t fill a clear niche and it was better to cancel and start over than to force inferior product out the door. It’s hard to predict the future, especially when it hasn’t happened yet, but I am having a hard time finding a good spin on “Books, no; board games, si!”.

I Aten’t Dead (And Actual Content)

Just busy. Lots of active and ongoing projects, any by ‘active’, I mean, ‘I am working on them’, not ‘I am thinking of them’. Unfortunately, not much time to post… somehow, the article style I’ve evolved for this site is long and involved. It will take 60-90 minutes to do the next bit of my Chivalry & Sorcery walkthrough, for example, and I thought I’d have that today, but I don’t. I’ve got a 60,000 word professional writing project to finish by the end of January, I really want to post the next pass at Earth Delta, and I’m working on some fiction of a highly dubious nature in what spare time I have after that, along with a full time job and a freelance job that consumes a good number of hours. This isn’t meant to be a whine (though I can see it’s coming off like that), I just hate blogs/sites that go silent for months at a time or which get a “Busy. Be back later.” message with no more explanation than that.

Still, there’s got to be something I can give all both of my faithful readers…

Still in-progress, I present the Visionary paragon path from Earth Delta!


Whoa… colors.

Prerequisite: Scholar class

Visionaries are specialists in using hallucinogenic and sense-distorting drugs, chemicals, and extracts to confuse enemies. Due to extensive experimentation (for purely professional purposes, of course) with such chemicals, they are also skilled personally at sorting the real from the false.

Visionary Class Features

Keen Senses (11th Level)

You gain a +2 power bonus to all active Perception checks. You may ignore partial concealment on all creatures within 1+Wisdom modifier squares.

Visionary Action (11th Level)

When you spend an action point to make a close or area attack, one of the creatures hit by the attack (your choice) is also dazed until the end of your next turn.

Lingering Effects (16th Level)

If a creature successfully saves against a “save ends” effect you used against him on the first saving throw it rolls, it grants combat advantage until the start of its next turn.

Visionary Gadgets

Visions Of War And Peace Visionary Attack 11

The cloud of mixed chemicals and drugs has random, but useful, effects on those it envelops.

Encounter                         Illusion, Implement, Poison, Psychic, Technology

Standard Action              Area burst 2 within 10

Targets: All enemies in burst.

Attack: Wisdom vs. Will

Hit: 2d10+Wisdom modifier psychic damage. If the damage roll was even, targets are filled with visions of enemies attacking them until the end of your next turn. So long as the vision persists, they are at -2 to all defenses, are limited to at-will powers, and must include the nearest creature to them (ally or enemy) in all attacks. If the damage roll was odd, the targets see calming and pleasant visions until the end of your next turn. So long as these visions persist, targets are at -2 to all attacks and are weakened, and they cannot take attack actions if they begin the turn with no enemies adjacent to them.

Delusional Might Visionary Utility 12

It is said that you can accomplish anything if you don’t know you can’t.

Encounter                         Charm, Implement, Technology

Standard Action              Melee touch

Target: One ally in range.

Effect: Even when the target misses, he believes he has hit. Any power that triggers on a hit and which benefits the target takes effect, such as gaining temporary hit points on a hit, or being able to shift 1 after a hit. No effects are triggered on the target(s) of the attack or on any other creatures. If the attack normally has a miss effect, this occurs, but the attack is considered a hit for purposes of other powers. This lasts until the end of the encounter or until the target is reduced to 0 hit points.

Pursuing Terrors Visionary Attack 20

The ultimate bad trip, and usually a fatal one.

Daily                                Poison, Psychic, Implement, Technology

Standard Action              Close burst 3

Target: One enemy in burst.

Attack: Wisdom vs. Will.

Hit: 3d10+Wisdom modifier damage, and the target creature is hounded and harassed by hideous visions (save ends). So long as the effect persists, the target takes 10 psychic damage at the start of its turn, and you can choose to shape  the vision as a free action, choosing one of the following effects:

  • Menacing Vision: You may slide the creature up to 2 squares.
  • Confounding Vision: All enemies have partial concealment from the creature.
  • Constricting Vision: The creature is immobilized.
  • Realistic Vision: The creature’s next save against this power is at -2.

Miss: Half damage, and the visions last until the end of your next turn.