Tuesday 31 May 2022

Questing For It!

Cross-posted from Reddit.

Imagine, for a second, that Quest For It doesn't require a new house rule, but that each quest is individually tailored. What does Quest For It entail?

(1) Clearly stated (or understood) goal. The player must indicate what they are interested in for the judge to respond appropriately: 

"I would like to increase my Strength."

(2) The means to uncover a quest. There has to exist in the game some method for the judge to, in turn, allow the player in question to know what is required. For instance, sages, oracles, monsters (ghosts, cyclops's, etc.) with knowledge hidden from mortals, etc. More than half of the CE Series contain something of this nature for that very purpose: 

"The donkey head hanging in the castle courtyard has been known to give advice to the worthy."

(3) An estimation of how big a quest is. Going from 11 to 12 Strength is negligible. Going from 12 to 13 is somewhat significant, as it grants a bonus. Going from 12 to 18 is significant. Exceeding 18 is even more significant. Going from 3 to 18 is incredibly significant. The more significant the quest, the more steps it might take, and the greater cost it might extract. 

"Bathing in the blood of the Nemedian Lion will make you stronger than any natural means can provide."

There might even be a quest to prove worthiness in order to receive the needed advice!

(3a) Steps are concrete, with some metric to determine progress: 

"The Nemedian Lion can only be harmed by the Runesword lost when the Kingspire fell."

(3b) Limitations can be built into the quest: 

"The Nemedian Lion can grant its strength to only one mortal; trying to share it amongst comrades dilutes its power greatly."

(3c) Quests can have consequences of their own. 

"Whosoever hold this power is cursed of the gods, though, and cannot benefit from idol magic."

(3d) Those consequences can lead to other quests: 

"Only by sacrificing the Jewels of the Carnifex to the Crimson Void can this curse be lifted."

Quest For It should feed into adventures, offering a solid hook or a series of solid hooks to motivate and add an extra dimension to game play. It should lead to interesting choices, balancing the cost and benefits of the Quested outcome so that the PCs are never quite sure if they have gotten a good deal or not. 

You can make quests as simple or as elaborate if you want - going from 8 to 9 Strength might require nothing more than 8 weeks of fitness training - but the players should be able to mark their progress toward the goal by successfully completing steps along the way, with discernable outcomes.

Tuesday 10 May 2022

Sphere of Many Maws

This monstrosity resembles a sphere 5' in diameter, covered with chitinous plates. It has a single large maw and 10 smaller fanged mouths growing at the end of 5' long tentacles. Each mouth can cast a single spell, with a +5 bonus to the spellcheck, as indicated below. Spells are lost on a total spellcheck of 10 or lower, but the Sphere of Many Maws otherwise suffers no ill effects from a failed spellcheck, even on a natural 1.

The Sphere can either bite or cast a spell each round, using each of its maws. The central maw is always able to cast dispel magic, but the tentacled maws have different spells, depending upon the individual encountered (see below). It is possible for two maws to have the same spell, and a tentacled maw can be severed with a Mighty Deed of 4+ (it regrows in 1d7 days). The Sphere never needs to use material components or spellburn, and all of its spells can be cast as an action.

For each tentacle maw, roll 1d20 to determine what spell it casts: (1) animate dead, (2) charm person, (3) color spray, (4) detect invisible, (5) enlarge, (6) flaming hands, (7) forget, (8) gust of wind, (9) lightning bolt, (10) magic missile, (11) paralysis, (12) phantasm, (13) ray of enfeeblement, (14) resist cold or heat, (15) scorching ray, (16) sleep, (17) slow, (18) turn to stone, (19) ward portal, or (20) word of command.

With multiple Action Dice, and multiple spells, these creatures have a distinct advantage in a spellduel. Spheres will usually retain their central maw for this purpose, even if they gain initiative.

Although they have no eyes, Spheres of Many Maws are able to sense their surroundings as though they had 120' infravision. They can hover and fly naturally through no means for this is apparent. Some sages believe that these creatures are merely the feeding orifices of a much larger (and more frightening) extradimensional being.

Sphere of Many Maws: Init +0; Atk central bite +4 melee (1d8) or tentacled bite +6 melee (1d4) or spell; AC 16; HD 4d12; MV fly 40’; Act 11d20; SP infravision 120', spells; SV Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +10; AL C.