Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The D&D Family Tree

I saw this over at Playing D&D w Porn Stars and thought it deserved a re-post. It is credited to another RPG blogger named Jason McCartan. Shockingly (to my wallet), I own a lot of what is here, but I still saw a TON of stuff I had never heard of...that I now have to buy. Check it out if you dare!


Friday, December 14, 2012

Meet the Poisonous Tree Frog

Happy Friday. Today I thought I would share another 4e Forever monster. This time its the Poisonous Tree Frog. I am still working on the fluff, so it is just the stats for now. This little guy uses his absurdly long tongue to pull creatures adjacent and into his highly poisonous secretions. This is a very fun monster to DM; use a large encounter area and spread these guys out so you can pull PCs all over the place. Hope you like it!

The Poisonous Tree Frog

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Little Friday Trap Action

Hello. A very short post today just to show you a few more examples of the traps from my upcoming zine. I posted some ideas a bit ago about it. The basic idea is that traps don't scale; the same trap can threaten PCs of all levels. Instead of traps rolling to hit PCs, the PCs roll saving throws. The damage expressions stay constant regardless of tier, so you don't need 30 different pit traps. I hope you like them!

Hallucinatory Gas
“Get them off me!”, he screamed. “They are crawling all over me!”
-Detect: Perception to notice small vents in walls.
-Disable: Thievery
-Trigger: A creature enters a trapped square, triggering the gas.
-Effect: Each creature that breathes within a given area must roll a saving throw. A creature trained in
Endurance gets a +2 bonus to the roll. On a failed save, each creature is slid adjacent to their nearest ally, making an At-Will attack of the DMs choice against them as a Free Action.

Magnet Trap
The next thing I knew, I was hurtling towards the center of the room. I smashed into the
the pillar, cracking a rib.

-Detect: Typically the magnetized object will be in plain sight.
-Disable: The magnet must be destroyed by repeated blows or avoided.
-Trigger: A creature wearing metallic armor enters a space within 10 squares (50 feet) of the magnet.
-Effect: The creature must make a saving throw. A creature trained in Acrobatics gains a +2 bonus to the roll. On a failed save, the creature is pulled rapidly towards the magnet, crashing into it for 20 damage. A creature can move at half-speed away from the magnet, but must make a saving throw at the end of each of its turns or be pulled back again.

Acid Spray
My nostrils were burning..then I realized my arm was missing. I screamed...
-Detect: Nature to identify smell from a distance; Perception to notice jets.
-Disable: Thievery
-Trigger: A creature enters a trapped square, triggering the jets.
-Effect: Each creature within a given area must make a saving throw. On a failed save, a creature drops to its bloodied value and permanently loses a limb. Roll 1d4 (1-2=Arm, 3-4=Leg).

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

In Search of Strongholds, Part 2: In Which Froth Creates a Lot of Work for Himself

Hello all. Recently I started a new blog series on my attempts to develop a "Stronghold" system for 4e. In the first installment, I basically laid out the challenges one faces when trying to do this. First, 4e PCs have never been as reliant on Retainers as they were in old editions. Second, high-level play assumptions have changed, and castle-building is not the one-size-fits-all endgame it used to be. Lastly, the 4e economy is wonky.

We made a little progress with some of this. I have the framework of a usable Henchman and Hireling system in place, and, as noted in the first installment, we can completely revamp the 4e economy with the help of Inherent Bonuses. Still, we need a game plan in order to go about the design in a coherent way. So here it is:

1. Revamping the economy means looking at how PCs acquire wealth. Since we are taking PCs off of the ever-increasing wealth-by-level treadmill, we need a new model. It seems obvious to me that new Treasure Tables are the way to go, including new Treasure Type Tables for monsters to ensure an old-school vibe.

2. The creation of a Stronghold needs to be a viable goal in 4th edition play. It needs to make sense regardless of the campaign setting or PC level. We will look at different ways to approach the idea, whether you are in an ultra-low-magic desert wasteland, or are plane-hopping on the Spelljammer.

3. We need mechanics. Lots and lots of mechanics. In keeping with established precedent, the bare bones of a Stronghold system will involve the following: rules for the identification and employment of the necessary Hirelings, the selection and clearing of a site, the construction and maintenance of the structure itself, details on how potential populations might then be attracted to the area, and finally, the regulation and management of the newly established "barony".

So, I have created a lot of work for myself. But at least I know what needs to be done, which puts me in better shape than I am half the time. I also have a working title for my system: Baronies and Barbicans. Yes, I am an uber-nerd.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me: Celebrating One Year of Frothsof 4E

This month marks the one year anniversary of this blog. I just want to drop a quick post and say thank you to all of the readers that have stopped by. When I started this blog, I just wanted to add my voice to thousands of other gamers who shared their ideas and thoughts about this wonderful hobby. The funny thing about a blog is, it forces you to write. So I am personally glad I started it, otherwise I do not think I would have ever shared my ideas, and I certainly wouldn't have started work on a fanzine.

4e Forever, the fanzine I have been working on, is a labor of love. At first, I wanted to do pretty much the whole first issue myself, in order to set the tone. I have been lucky to have some contributors helping make it better, with cartography, images, and even a guest article being added to the mix. The first issue features a lot of optional rules, fluff, and two full length high-level 4e adventures, both in sandbox style. I am very proud of how it is shaping up, but there is still work left to be done. I refuse to pressure any of my contributors, because they are providing stuff for free. I also expanded one of the adventures; it added a ton of work, but it will be worth it. So, I will just have it done when it is done. In the meantime, I have tried to give a lot of previews on the blog and will continue to do so.

I have slowly but steadily built some decent traffic. For this I want to thank Sersa V at 4thcore for letting me be a part of the 4thcore hub for a while. I am also thankful to for including me in their excellent list. I also am a member of the RPG Blog Alliance. I recommend checking all of them out.

I thought I would share what were my most popular posts this year. #1 without question was the 4e Forever playtest. This was really just an opportunity for me to offer some simple rules modifications and monsters. The idea was to test my Henchman and Hireling system, as well as the new monster stat block I worked on. I also wanted to get a feel for the difficulty level. I would say it was a success; I was able to make some tweaks based on feedback, and I feel good about where things are at now. I look forward to you seeing the finished product soon.

#2 was my Henchman and Hireling article. This made me very happy, because I love my rules for this. I hope you have given them a try, if only for a one-shot. In my current 4e campaign, the players have gotten really creative with using them not only in combat, but also outside combat. It has been a ton of fun.

#3 was one of my design articles on the "Hybrid Stat Block", my concept of making the 4e monster stats more reflective of classic editions. Interestingly, it was the No. Appearing article. This dealt with my ideas on using variable totals of monsters encountered, much like the old days. You end up generating a possible range of difficulty levels, and it makes for more unpredictability in combat encounters. This crosses over with a lot of other concepts, such as eliminating specialized monster roles, standardizing hit points, and so forth.

Finally, coming in at #4 was one of my first articles, a very short little piece about a new monster type, the Savage. The basic idea is that these are Elites that are powerful enough to be run as Solos; the lower hit points balances out their increased offensive capabilities. This makes for quicker, swingier combat, something a lot of readers responded positively to.

I want to say again how thankful I am for every reader that has ever popped by, even if you hated my ideas. I love being able to have an avenue to share my thoughts on D&D. So thanks again, and I look forward to another fun year!