Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dice Bags

Hi everyone,

I know I don't typically post anything here, and that my hubby hasn't really been keeping up with it either, but I wanted to point out that I'm offering some fun reversible dice bags for sale on eBay. And each dice bag purchased will come with a free random assorted original drawing by myself. :)

You can check out my eBay store here.

http://shop.ebay.com/tsoen-tso/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p3686

- Chaotic Black Sheep

Friday, February 5, 2010

Introducing.... Bryk Shythaus!

I was inspired recently by the punny name Bryk Shythaus to create a half-orc fighter PC with no campaign to call home. After a discussion with another DM today I decided maybe Bryk would work just as well or better as an NPC, and it sounds like he'd actually see some table time that way. So, for the DM I was talking to and anyone else who could use a big dumb thug around 4th level in 4e, I present...


Bryk Shythaus, Half-Orc Thug
Bryk is, well, Bryk is pretty much just a big dumb thug.

Level 4 Brute
Bryk Shythaus
XP 175
Medium natural humanoid
Initiative +5 Senses Perception +2
HP 66; Bloodied 33
AC 16; Fortitude 17, Reflex 17, Will 14
Speed 6 (8 when charging)
mFlail (standard; at-will) * Weapon
+7 vs. AC; 1d10 + 4 damage.
MTide of Iron (standard; at-will)
+7 vs. AC; 1d10 + 4 damage, and the target is pushed 1 square.
MBrute Strike (standard; encounter)
+7 vs. AC; 3d10 + 4 damage.
CSweeping Blow (standard; recharge 6)
Close burst 1, targets enemies; +9 vs. AC; 1d10 + 4 damage.
Furious Assault (free, when the half-orc thug damages an enemy; encounter)
The thug's attack deals 1d10 extra damage.
Alignment Unaligned Languages Common, Giant
Skills Athletics +11, Endurance+10, Intimidate +6
Str 18 (+6) Dex 17 (+5) Wis 10 (+2)
Con 16 (+5) Int 8 (+1) Cha 8 (+1)
Equipment chain mail, flail, heavy shield

Half-Orc Thug Tactics
A half-orc thug wades into the thick of its enemies, using its sweeping blow to strike as many as possible if it gets surrounded.

Encounter Groups
Half-orc thugs are often found allied with pirates, slavers, or other seedy types.

Level 3 Encounter (XP 737)
* 1 half-orc thug (level 4 brute)
* 3 human bandits (level 2 skirmisher)
* 6 human rabble (level 2 minion)
As an NPC, power-wise, he's still pretty much the fighter I was planning to have built by around 4th level.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Playtesting the Scorpire Vampion

During hiatus I'm revisiting the WWtH monsters and trying them out in actual 4e combat encounters. With the party at first level we tested out the beelion, the doppelganger freak and the laughing lambchop lizard, then tweaked the latter two and ran them again. After leveling the party up to level 2 and giving them appropriate gear, we completed a couple of level 2 encounters. It turns out the Weekly What the Heck is kinda shy on level 2 sample encounters, so this week we leveled 'em up again and moved on to level 3. The party is still:
A goliath warden
A gnome bard
A longtooth shifter ranger
A deva invoker

The girls decided the gimmicky Teleport Temple was no fun anymore, so they told me their characters were leaving. Fine. They stepped outside into the Dragon Graveyard map from Fantastic Locations: Dragondown Grotto. The last time they were here they almost lost half the party. *evil laughter* My favorite frightened wizard ran by again, yelling 'It's the zombie apocalypse! Aaah!" A half-dozen zombies and guy who kinda looked like a vampire came shambling out of the shadows around them. This was almost the level 3 sample encounter from the scorpire vampion entry, but I replaced the gravehound with a scorpire scuttler.

The girls spotted the minion-ness of the zombie rotters pretty quickly and made short work of the lot of them. The zombie brute put up a little more of a fight but not much. One of the items they picked up for the ranger was a +1 sunblade scimitar, and she was enjoying its radiant damage very much. In fact, a critical from the scimitar in the third or fourth round took the corruption corpse from full hit points to two.

Meanwhile, the WWtH monsters weren't faring much better. The scorpire vampion missed the warden with his hypnotic gaze, and only caught the warden in his confounding stare blast. But the warden made her beginning-of-turn saving throw against the stare and was right back on him. The scuttler leaped out from a hiding place and attacked the bard, but missed with the bite part of its scorpilock attack. The gnome faded away and got behind cover where she could blast the scuttler with impunity. The scuttler tried to daze the invoker but failed due to the bard's misdirected mark, then couldn't hit with its bite either. With their recharge powers spent (and not recharging, despite what felt like a dozen rolls) the scorpires were easily defeated.

The scorpires were obviously created before I read the design advice somewhere that a monster should have one recharge power at most. That advice is dead on. Tracking the multiple possible recharges on just two monsters was a pain. Also, it's a little weird how the hypnotic gaze works differently on the scuttler and the vampion (a minor action for one, standard for the other). A little rework and another playtest is in order, I think. My initial thought is that scorpilock should be at-will, confounding stare should be encounter, and hypnotic gaze should be a standard action for both monsters (and possibly also at-will, at least for the vampion).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Playtesting the Ridgeback

During hiatus I'm revisiting the WWtH monsters and trying them out in actual 4e combat encounters. With the party at first level we tested out the beelion, the doppelganger freak and the laughing lambchop lizard, then tweaked the latter two and ran them again. After leveling the party up to level 2 and giving them appropriate gear, we've started in on the level 2 monsters. The party is still:
A goliath warden
A gnome bard
A longtooth shifter ranger
A deva invoker

Last week we got through one encounter showcasing the sabre-tooth lycotaur. This week we tried out the ridgeback loper. The map was still Teleport Temple from the War Drums Starter Set. The party started in the top center of the image to the left, hanging out outside the room after their encounter with the lycotaurs. Since I liked the frightened screaming wizard so much last week, he ran by again. "A wizard runs around the corner yelling 'Goblins on giant lizards are attacking! Aaah!' Roll for initiative."

The encounter was two ridgeback lopers and four goblin warriors, with two goblins mounted on each loper in side baskets like in the picture on the monster entry. Oops, looks like in trying to alter the encounter to put in evil enemies I missed the "rider nth level or higher" rule that mounts always have. Oh well, it's a weird rule anyway. The first loper was spotted in the opening just below the square wall/pillar/whatever. The party (except the invoker) won initiative and charged it. Then the second loper came around the corner at the top left of the map and its goblins started throwing things at the invoker.

Surrounded, the bard and invoker ducked for cover and plugged away with their ranged attacks. The ranger and warden pretty quickly dispatched their loper and scattered the two goblins. The goblins moved next to the nearby teleporters and the ranger and warden obliged me by missing each of them, allowing them to use goblin tactics to shift into the teleporter and blink away to the upper right corner where they could join in the harassment of the other two PCs.

Meanwhile, the loper-and-two-riders arrangement was turning out to be quite vulnerable to the invoker's area attacks, but the invoker was pretty vulnerable to their highly mobile return fire. The loper fell first, however, and the deadly bard followed up by using an action point to viciously mock both riders to death in one round. After that the party easily chased down and mopped up the last two goblins.

The lopers were probably too constrained by the tight hallways on the Teleport Temple map. They were pretty effective anyway, granting their two riders hefty attack and damage bonuses almost every round (especially the second one, which had more room to maneuver). If the battle had taken place on a wide open outdoor map, I'm sure the PCs would have taken a lot more damage from bonus-laden missile fire.

The encounter composition raised one interesting question, though. The goblin warriors get +1d6 damage if they move more than 4 squares due to great position, but the loper also grants +1d6 damage with hopping gait if it moves more than 4 squares. I presume the warriors get the bonus even though they're not using their own move since it's just based on distance from starting square, but then do the two damage bonuses stack? I was ruling that they didn't since it seemed like an overwhelming amount of damage if they did, but I'm not sure that was right.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Playtesting the Saber-Tooth Lycotaur

During hiatus I'm revisiting the WWtH monsters and trying them out in actual 4e combat encounters. With the party at first level we tested out the beelion, the doppelganger freak and the laughing lambchop lizard, then tweaked the latter two and ran them again. Last Sunday we leveled the party up to level 2, gave out appropriate gear as level 1 parcels, and started in on the level 2 monsters. The party is still:
A goliath warden
A gnome bard
A longtooth shifter ranger
A deva invoker

We got through one encounter showcasing the sabre-tooth lycotaur. This time the map was Teleport Temple from the War Drums Starter Set. The party started in the room in the top center of the image to the left. The girls tried pulling some kind of story setup out of me. I wasn't in the mood, so I went with "A wizard runs past the doorway yelling 'Lycanthropes! Aaah!' Roll for initiative."

I like the image of the frightened screaming wizard so much I might use it to start every session from now on.

The encounter was similar to the level 3 lycotaur sample encounter, downgraded to level 2 with only two lycotaurs and one wererat instead of three and two. The monsters started near the teleporters in the upper right corner. They won initiative and charged the party, but only one rat got close enough to actually attack in the first round.

The rats were dropped pretty quickly, but bought the wererat some time to get in position. The lycotaurs stood back and threw invisible logs at the warden for most of the fight, setting her up to take sneak attack damage from the wererat. This synergy worked really well for a few rounds until the ranger and the warden managed to take out the wererat.

While the wererat was being whittled down in melee the invoker was softening up the lycotaurs, so once the wererat fell they followed pretty quickly. The last monster tried the flash the bling/confusing lick combo as a desperation measure, but was foiled by the needed dual attack roll (the burst only affected the ranger and the lick didn't hit her Fortitude). When the lycotaurs fell I forgot about their ferocity power, but it really wouldn't have made any difference.

Everything went pretty well with this fight. I would have liked to see the flash/lick combo actually connect to see what chaos it unleashed, but the fact that three attack rolls against different defenses need to hit for any damage to be done (flash/Will, lick/Fortitude, charge (and maybe OAs)/AC) is really the factor that balances that attack anyway.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Post-Revision Playtest: Success!

Last Sunday night I ran encounters with the doppelganger freak and the updated laughing lambchop lizard. The map was still Dwarven Outpost from the Miniatures Game Starter Set. The party started in the outpost building after their rest.

To showcase the freak I used a simple wolf pack style encounter with two freaks and three goblin warriors (all skirmishers). The group of monsters tried to sneak up on the party but blew a stealth check. We rolled initiative with the monsters creeping up on the side of the outpost away from the water. The warden won initiative and got between the party and the monsters, then got swarmed.

The two freaks spent pretty much all their time trying to get sneak attacks on the warden. Their confusing shift power worked nicely, targeting the warden's weak Will. Once in melee, the combination of confusing shift and combat advantage gave them sneak attack damage on most every hit, and they also used it to simply shift around into flanking positions. The last one almost managed to prolong his pitiful life by hitting the ranger with confusing shapeshift, but the warden just dragged it to its doom when the ranger found herself unable to both move and attack. Overall the freaks felt interesting and threatening without being overwhelming.

For the lizards I used the same sample encounter with the updated stats. They also didn't start the encounter all crammed in the outpost like last time (they started by crawling out of the water and over the bridge as the party came around the building again). Befitting their new status as soldiers, the regular lizards formed a wall around the party while the lightning lizards stood back and threw directed shocks. With the updated stats, a pack of lizards now makes a good double line style encounter.

The lightning lizards never got into a good position to use their lethal shock bursts, but they managed to do a lot of damage one target at a time anyway. Again, I forgot to use cheshire fade when I should have, but that's a minor issue. None of them used sideburn flare, either, but the fight was pretty static once joined so immobilizing party members wouldn't have changed much. I'm not quite as happy with the lizards as I am with the freaks, but they're miles better than they were.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Playtesting the Laughing Lambchop Lizard

I want to say up front that if anyone has used the laughing lambchop lizard sample encounter as written on a low level 4e party, I'm really sorry if I wiped your party out (and I probably did).

During hiatus I'm revisiting the WWtH monsters and trying them out in actual 4e combat encounters. So far I've done a beelion test and a doppelganger freak test. I ran the sample encounter for the laughing lambchop lizard last week (this post is late because I've been dreading how much rework the monster was going to need). The party is still:
A goliath warden
A gnome bard
A longtooth shifter ranger
A deva invoker

The sample encounter for the laughing lambchop lizard is 4 regular lizards and 2 lizards of lightning. Again, the map was Dwarven Outpost from the Miniatures Game Starter Set. This time the monsters were inside the ruined outpost building and the PCs were coming across the bridge toward it. The party heard the lizards and the ranger managed to sneak up and get a look at them without alerting them.

The ranger used her surprise round to fire arrows at the lizards, but then the lizards won initiative and swarmed her. Before I even rolled the first attack I realized that letting each of the six lizards catch her with a lethal shock would result in instant nasty electrical death. So the first change to the lizards, before they rolled their first attack, was to remove the lethal shock power from the plain laughing lambchop lizards. As a result, most of the lizards didn't attack this round, but moved into better positions. The party moved closer and got in a few hits.

In round 2, one lizard of lightning had the ranger and warden in range for a lethal shock, while the other moved into position to catch the entire party. I quickly realized that adding an attack bonus and damage for each lizard in the burst would spell instant TPK, so lethal shock was toned back to only add bonuses for other lizards of lightning in the burst. Even with that nerf, since the ranger was hit by two bursts she was going to die instantly, so the 2d8 damage per lizard was nerfed to 1d8. The ranger went down anyway, but at least wasn't instantly dead.

With lethal shock nerfed and spent, the rest of the fight was pretty dull, mostly because I forgot to use the cheshire fade power so my lizards never pulled back when damaged like they were supposed to. I think I'll make that one "when bloodied" so there's no question of when to use it. I'm also changing the plain lizards from lurkers to soldiers since they no longer have a big boom attack and their job will be to shield the artillery lightning lizards.

Updated stat blocks:
    • Level 1 Soldier
    • Laughing Lambchop Lizard
    • Small natural magical beast
    • XP 100
    • Initiative +5
    • Senses Perception +1
    • HP 29; Bloodied 14
    • AC 17; Fortitude 12, Reflex 14, Will 12
    • Immunities Resist 10 lightning
    • Speed 7, climb 5
    • Bite (standard; at-will)
    • +6 vs. AC; 1d10 damage.
    • Sideburn Flare (move; at-will) • Fear
    • +4 vs. Will; the target is immobilized until the end of the laughing lambchop lizard's next turn.
    • Annoy the Weak
    • The laughing lambchop lizard possesses the cat's abnormal talent for finding out who, in a group, will be most annoyed by its presence and targeting that person. The DM should feel free to use all available knowledge of the party members' weaknesses and defense numbers to decide who will be most vulnerable to its attacks, and attack that PC.
    • Cheshire Fade (free, when first bloodied; encounter)
    • The laughing lambchop lizard disappears except for its grin, shifts 4 squares and turns invisible until it attacks or until the end of its next turn.
    • Align. Unaligned
    • Lang. Common
    • Skills Stealth +8
    • Str 10 (0)
    • Dex 16 (+3)
    • Wis 13 (+1)
    • Con 13 (+1)
    • Int 7 (--2)
    • Cha 12 (+1)
    • Equipment ---
    • Tactics A laughing lambchop lizard will seek out enemies with low Will defenses and exploit their vulnerability to sideburn flare.
      Source Weekly What the Heck
    • Created with DungeonMastering.com's DM Tools

    • Level 2 Artillery
    • Laughing Lambchop Lizard ... of Lightning
    • Small natural magical beast
    • XP 125
    • Initiative +4
    • Senses Perception +3
    • HP 32; Bloodied 16
    • AC 14; Fortitude 14, Reflex 15, Will 14
    • Immunities Resist 10 lightning
    • Speed 7, climb 5
    • Bite (standard; at-will)
    • +9 vs. AC; 1d10 damage.
    • Sideburn Flare (move; at-will) • Fear
    • +6 vs. Will; the target is immobilized (save ends).
    • Directed Shock (standard; at-will) • Lightning
    • Ranged 10; +8 vs. Fortitude; 2d6 + 3 lightning damage.
    • Lethal Shock (standard; recharge 6) • Lightning
    • Close burst 5; laughing lambchop lizards are immune; +1 (+1 for each other laughing lambchop lizard ... of lightning in the burst) vs. Reflex; 1d8 lightning damage (+1d8 for each other laughing lambchop lizard ... of lightning in the burst).
    • Annoy the Weak (standard; at-will)
    • The laughing lambchop lizard possesses the cat's abnormal talent for finding out who, in a group, will be most annoyed by its presence and targeting that person. The DM should feel free to use all available knowledge of the party members' weaknesses and defense numbers to decide who will be most vulnerable to its attacks, and attack that PC.
    • Cheshire Fade (free, when first bloodied; encounter)
    • The laughing lambchop lizard disappears except for its grin, shifts 4 squares and turns invisible until it attacks or until the end of its next turn.
    • Align. Unaligned
    • Lang. Common
    • Skills Stealth +8
    • Str 10 (+1)
    • Dex 17 (+4)
    • Wis 14 (+3)
    • Con 14 (+3)
    • Int 7 (--1)
    • Cha 12 (+2)
    • Equipment ---
    • Tactics A laughing lambchop lizard ... of lightning will target enemies with low Fortitude defenses with directed shock. If forced into close combat it uses the same tactics as a laughing lambchop lizard.
      Source Weekly What the Heck
    • Created with DungeonMastering.com's DM Tools