A Sundered World: Actual Play Summary

This was originally posted in the private A Sundered World G+ group. I reshared it with the public group (with permission) because you can't reshare from a private group or change a group's privacy later. I figured I'd also post it here, because it sounds really cool and the guy might make the city into its own ASW book thing:

Just ran my first Sundered World campaign. It included a god in the form of a living library; a warlock whose patron is a shattered god personified as a pair of praying hands with a glowing eye in the center. The cambion became this forgotten god's patron after his legion's ship was destroyed by dark elf marauders.

The t'pual became a nomad after his divine library was destroyed by thulids aspiring to drain its knowledge.

Both characters are tasked with bringing their gods back to life. The nomad carries a shard of the living library, which he must cultivate once again to resurrect his god. The cambion looks for fragments of his patron as well.

The PCs determined that the characters met in a way station and decided to travel together in a sky ship bequeathed to them by the warlock's patron. They game started with the PCs landing upon the belly of massive, dead spider god impaled by a spear with a city carven up its length. They visited this unknown fragment at the behest of the cambion's patron. They were tasked with locating a curio shop made of tongues nestled somewhere within Mort Tanis, to either purchase or steal a vial containing the ash of a cleric who once worshipped the warlock's patron.

Before they reached Mort Tanis, their ship was stolen by dark elf drones; they fought a trio of slavering hounds; they revealed a nefarious plot to murder a Winter Court elf residing within the spear city of Mort Tanis.

Once they visited the city, they conversed with bipedal arachnids and were able to determine that the curio shop was located on the Avenue of Moths. When they reached the location, they stopped and chatted with an elf selling cloud spiders, as well its hallucinogenic venom. The cambion purchased some of the venom and asked the elf to translate a note that they discovered on one of the dark elf thieves.

The letter described a plot murder a winter elf emissary residing somewhere within Mort Tanis. That is where we left off. I love the setting. I love the rules, too. My players definitely love the setting, but they're struggling to wrap their heads around Dungeon World. Thankfully, they're quite accommodating, and are eager to forge ahead.

So I wanna hear more, he at least wants me to illustrate Mort Tanis, and I hope he fleshes the island out and publishes it.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

If you're looking for a class that lets you play almost any were-thing you want (plus a bunch of related extra content), then check out The Therianthrope. There's also The Dragon, a class that lets you play almost any dragon-ish thing you could think of.

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).
September 24, 2016
Posted by David Guyll

Dungeon World: The Dragon

The Dragon is now on sale! It has been added to our All of the Playbooks and Monster Mash bundles over on DriveThruRPG.

Take to the skies (with or without wings), annihilate your enemies from a distance with a devastating breath weapon, or close in to tear them apart with fang and claw, shrugging off their pathetic blows with your armored hide.

You start out by choosing from three types of dragons (and there are ten more in the back), which determines what your breath weapon does and grants another ability. As you level up you can become bigger, tougher, and more dangerous in a variety of ways: sharper claws and teeth, a more potent breath weapon, even your blood can become hazardous to your enemies (but beneficial for your allies).

You can also learn how to smell out treasure (and those that might futilely try and keep it out of your talons), transform into a human, affect the land around your lair, become resistant to magic (and even reflect it back on the spellcaster), gain fanatically loyal followers, and strike fear in those would would stand before you with your mere presence.

This product contains three files.

The first is a letter-sized character sheet that uses our new character sheet layout (so we could fit the twenty-nine advanced moves on the back).

The other two are digest-sized PDFs, one in color, the other in black and white to make it easier to print at home. They both contain:
  • The dragon class.
  • Armor made from dragon parts, and armor made for dragon parts.
  • Some extra dungeon gear.
  • Chromatic dragon types, so if you wanna play D&D dragon you can.
  • Other dragon types, like the dragon turtle, feathered serpent, and wyvern.
  • The dracolich compendium class.
  • A set of moves to represent ryu dragon magic (but could be easily reskinned for other dragons).
  • A Director's Cut with questions to ask yourself when rolling up a dragon, explanations/clarifications for some of the moves, and some extra monsters.

You can see a preview of it over on DriveThruRPG.

Note: If you purchase using the PayPal Buy Now button, we will also send you a complimentary copy through DriveThruRPG. Please allow up to 24 hours for delivery, though it usually ends up being at most eight (depends on if you buy it after we've gone to bed).

$2.50

$2.75


$2.75


$2.75


Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

If you're looking for a class that lets you play almost any were-thing you want (plus a bunch of related extra content), then check out The Therianthrope!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

FrankenFourth: Giant Concept

A few days ago my daughter fished out some giant minis from one of our bins (mostly some fire and frost giants, along with various titans), and after we built a dungeon mostly scaled for them I was surprised to find that I hadn't yet statted any sort of giant for FrankenFourth.

As with most things I started by doing some research, because in the course of writing a bajillion Dungeon World classes, A Sundered World, and other various things I've realized that when it comes to monsters the mythological source has usually been more interesting than the Dungeons & Dragons iteration (and, by association, Dungeon World).

Here's some of what I was able to dig up:

In Greek mythology giants were really strong, but not necessarily really big (good for if I wanna include a super-strong human-ish race option/talent tree), and some representations depicted giants as having snakes for legs. Weird, but different. They also fought against the Olympian gods, so that's something to keep in mind when thinking about giant flavor/background stuff.

The cyclopes were one-eyed giants that were imprisoned and released from Tartarus a few times, and forged magical weapons for some of the Olympian gods. I recall 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons really playing up this aspect (as well as giving them magic eyes), having them create weapons for the fomorians, but I think it's enough to just say that some cyclopes would be responsible for various magic items (and could even teach characters how to make some, or at least make magic items in exchange for something).

Norse mythology mentions a variety of giants, such as clay, fire, frost, sea, and wind (I'm guessing this is what Dungeons & Dragons used as inspiration for its classic giant roster). Some looked monstrous, with fangs and claws, sometimes even multiple heads or animal shapes (such as Hr├Žsvelgr, who looks like an eagle). Others were described as quite beautiful, and as with Greek giants some were also human-sized and battled against the gods.

Bulgarian giants, known as ispolin, were described as being about 10 feet tall and, depending on the legend, having one huge head, three heads with a single eye each, or one leg. They were said to only eat raw meat, fought dragons, and fear blackberry bushes: they would I guess fall into them, get stuck, and die, and so would offer sacrifices to appease them. Doesn't matter, because in the end they were destroyed by God, who deemed them unsuited for life on Earth.

In European folklore, it was not only believed that giants built the remains of previous civilizations, but sometimes natural features were attributed to their actions. For example the Giant's Causeway, located on the northeast coast of northern Ireland, is an area of nearly 40,000 interlocking basalt columns said to have been built by a giant (but were really formed 50-60 million years ago due to volcanic activity). Even so, looks neat and could easily be dropped into your campaign as something built by a giant:



Interesting stuff, but from what I found not much different from Dungeons & Dragons, which mostly treats them as Large or Huge humanoids. So, I guess mechanically FrankenFourth giants will be similar, though I'll still put in customization sidebars for giving your giants claw and bite attacks, extra heads, and so on. I couldn't find much in the way of magical/special abilities, which is what I was hoping for because I'm not a fan of the whole nonsense pseudo-Vancian spellcasting thing that some D&D giants have.

This is something I'll change so that, for example, instead of a storm giant being able to cast levitate 2-3 times per day (yawn), they could cause a storm to build up whenever they want (maybe treating it as a ritual effect that takes 10 minutes or so). Channeling a lightning bolt could normally be a recharging thing (or inflict fatigue damage per wizard/sorcerer spellcasting), but in stormy weather they would be able to use it constantly and even fly about.

For now though I'm going to focus on statting out fire giants, since that's what I have the most of (and also a lava-cavern Dwarven Forge set that I've barely used). I can't recall any encounter-building guidelines for 2nd Edition, but checking Editions 3-through-5 I see that your average fire giant is intended to be thrown at the party at roughly the halfway mark of their adventuring career.

FrankenFourth has actually flat math, but for the sake of backwards compatibility pegging them at 10th-level sounds fine by me, and using our monster-making guidelines (and D&D ability score mods) we end up with the following stat block:

FIRE GIANT
Level 10 Large Humanoid (Giant)
XP 80

ABILITY SCORES
STR +7 DEX -1 WIS +2
CON +6 INT 0 CHA +1

SKILLS
Athletics +10, Intimidate +6, Perception +6

DEFENSE
Initiative -1
Speed 15 feet/40 feet
Fort 17 Ref 10 Will 12
Armor 4 (plate)
Immunities fire
Wounds 91 Vitality 31 Total 122

OFFENSE
Multiattack 2 The fire giant can make two longsword attacks per round.
Longsword +10 to hit; 2d8+2d6+7 damage (2 armor piercing).

Fire giants don't have literally fiery beards and hair. Being native to a realm of fire and ash (something at least similar to Muspelheim), they are immune to its effects (smoke doesn't blind them, and they do not choke on it). They tend to be skilled smiths, and would definitely be on a list of creatures to seek out for characters that want to master the weaponsmithing and armorer craft skills. Probably also know rare/unknown craft techniques for even magical items (like flaming swords).

Customization options would include burning blood (targets that deal Wound damage need to make a check to avoid taking fire damage), molten claws, fire/lava/smoke breath (really bad if the giant also has multiple heads), command flames, transforming into fire or lava, splitting the ground open with burning fissures, and conjuring creatures made of fire/lava. Depends on how weird and/or magical you want the giant to be.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

If you're looking for a class that lets you play almost any were-thing you want (plus a bunch of related extra content), then check out The Therianthrope!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

Dungeon World: The Therianthrope

The Therianthrope is now on sale! It has been added to our All of the Playbooks and Monster Mash bundles.

This isn't a werewolf or were-class that lets you choose from a handful of common animals: it has been specifically designed with flexibility in mind. You start out by choosing a number of features from a list (such as increased damage, size, armor, and various other benefits), and as you level up you can choose to become better at changing your shape (and gain more features), stronger, tougher, sneaking around and ambushing creatures, blending in with a crowd, and so on.

This flexibility extends beyond what you can turn into and how your character can grow: there are three general backgrounds to determine how you acquired your powers. You can be cursed, inherit it, or learn it through magic. You even get to choose a move from another class, so you can be, for example, a cleric cursed by her god, a fighter that was afflicted while hunting a werewolf down, or a wizard or witch that discovered the process.

This product contains three files.

The first is a letter-sized character sheet that uses our new character sheet layout (so we could fit the twenty-six advanced moves).

The other two are digest-sized PDFs, one in color, the other in black and white to make it easier to print at home. They both contain:
  • The therianthrope class.
  • Silvered weapons, new types of armor, and animal armor.
  • The cursed therianthrope compendium class.
  • Nine moves for if you want to better evoke a kitsune.
  • A Director's Cut with questions to ask yourself when rolling up a therianthrope, explanations/clarifications for some of the moves, advice on permitting more multiclassing, nine extra/variant moves that we couldn't fit on the sheet (including one for if your animal form is your normal shape), and rules for companion characters.

You can see a preview of it over on DriveThruRPG.

Note: If you purchase using the PayPal Buy Now button, we will also send you a complimentary copy through DriveThruRPG. Please allow up to 24 hours for delivery, though it usually ends up being at most eight (depends on if you buy it after we've gone to bed).

$2.50

$2.75


$2.75


$2.75


Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

The Paladin is technically the sixth "core" class we've provided an alternative for. If you interested in an alternate class that isn't merely a half-assed reskin, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

Dungeon World: Modding Monsters

Over on my vrock post, Svafa asked if I'd ever considered making a sort of monster manual for Dungeon World, because he enjoys the monsters I cook up and/or the modifications I make to existing monsters. Up to that point I hadn't, but I am now.

Before I talk about some changes I'll be making to the "core" statblock, I want to request that if you have any gripes about monsters as presented in Dungeon World (and I suppose gripes in general), let me know! I've had people bring up a lack of art and story seeds/adventure hooks, and have been referred to Numenera and 13th Age for examples of what they want.

You can leave a comment here, email me, or hit me up on whatever social media thing you prefer.

Now, with that out of the way: changes. The two big deviations from the book (so far) are instinct and moves.

Instinct is for the most part garbage. I mean, check out the lich: it's "instinct" is to "un-live", whatever the fuck that means. It might as well say "do lich things". The dwarf's instinct is "to defend", which is a bit more defined than the lich but also nonsense: is that all every dwarf cares about? What about, for starters, looking for gold/gems, gaining honor, keeping the clan safe, gaining glory for his clan, crafting something that everyone will remember him by, and/or reclaiming an ancestral stronghold that was taken by a dragon?

Also, how does the dwarf's instinct cause problems for others?

I suppose I could just change the instinct to something actually relevant at a given point in time, which I'm sure would anger certain members of the Dungeon World community, but why bother? It's easier to just ignore instinct and let GMs do whatever with the monster. So, unless someone can make a case for it, it's going away.

Moves aren't as useless, but can still limit what you'd think monsters can do. Checking the ogre, its moves are destroy something, fly into a rage, and take something by force. When I think about an ogre fighting, I picture it just barreling through a mob of people, swatting a bunch of people aside, maybe picking someone up and throwing them, kicking someone out of its way, or even just smashing someone underfoot (or underclub).

Problem is none of the stuff I mentioned are moves.

I suppose I could just go with the "fiction", and let an ogre do all of those things I said because it makes sense, but then as with instinct why bother having a list of moves in the first place? So, rather than specify 1-4 moves that you might use, ignore, modify, and/or swap out, I'm just going to write a moves section that gives you an idea as to what a monster might do, and you the GM can use the examples, build on them, or just do whatever.

I'm also considering scrapping special qualities, because I feel like there's too much overlap with tags. Like, instead of saying "made of fire", I can just give it the blazing tag, and instead of saying "incoporeal", I can just give it the incorporeal tag. Things like "made of stone" or "inch-thick metal hide" can be highlighted in the description or moves section, and stuff like "shell" don't need to be there at all.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

The Paladin is technically the sixth "core" class we've provided an alternative for. If you interested in an alternate class that isn't merely a half-assed reskin, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

4Ward/FrankenFourth: Age of Worms, Episode 501

Cast
  • Humal (level 7 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Corzale (level 7 dwarf war cleric)
  • Sumia (level 7 elf rogue/ranger)
  • Kuhnja'bi (level 7 human w/ devil-in-the-details fighter)
  • Cenric (level 7 human fighter)

Summary
After cleaning out Zyrxog's lair, Humal, Sumia, and Cenric followed Corzale back to the temple she was staying at. Corzale had warned the priests that they'd be coming, divulging that Humal was a necromancer, but was still trustworthy. When they arrived they ran into Kuhnja'bi, had traveled to Dovin in order to participate in the champion's games.

The party rested for the rest of the day (which wasn't nearly enough time for them to recover), and after Corzale made Humal promise not to use Zyrxog's notes to create any mimics, doppelgangers, or associated abominations they headed to the mage's guild in order to get their mundane and magical loot identified.

While Humal's membership granted him a discount, it still cost them hundreds of silver pieces to learn that most of the magical swag was in fact cursed: for starters, one of the books would likely damage the reader's mental faculties merely by glancing at its contents, the reliquary would cause whoever wore it to slowly wither away and die, and the sword would render whoever wielded it a frenzied madman.

Even the dagger that Sumia had obsessed over was cursed, that it was less overt than the rest. As best the diviner could tell, it would randomly afflict whoever carried it with varying degrees of misfortune. It was otherwise much more powerful than a normal dagger, and especially so against divine entities. This did little to deter Sumia; as it was she did not think that her luck could get much worse.

The voodoo doll that looked suspiciously like Corzale was impaled by a number of spine devil quills: Humal removed them, which caused the doll to bleed for a time. The psuedodragon statue was actually a petrified pseudodragon, which Humal paid to have restored. The bronze figurine of a more monstrous than usual griffon was a focus that could be used to summon such a creature, though the diviner warned that it would be hostile; Humal would need to find some means to press it into service.

Once they finished deciding what to keep, sell, and discard, Humal purchased a bag of holding and Sumia picked up a novice's tome on divination so that she could try and learn the basics. They then busied themselves translating Zyrxog's ledger. It detailed items that Zyrxog had sold to various clients, the most recent of which was Loris Raknian, who Kuhnja'bi knew to be a retired gladiator that hosted an annual contest in Dovin's arena.

He had purchased something called the Apostolic Scrolls, which Humal had seen referenced in one of Filge's books. It detailed, among other things, a process to create an ulgurstasta, an undead creature that could devour the living and vomit forth undead.

Design Notes
So, it's a good thing the party didn't try using most of the magic stuff they found in the previous session!

In terms of progressing through adventure content, this was a pretty slow session, but there was a lot of dialogue between characters (especially Corzale and Humal). It was refreshing to see two characters have a heated conversation that both players understood was merely "in character". The player of Corzale later mentioned that if things got too bad, he'd simply have Corzale leave and roll up another character, no biggie.

Maria's character picked up a masterwork weapon, because of course her slayer fighter needs more damage output (at something like 2d6+10 3d6+10 damage per hit he sooo doesn't). Currently, masterwork weapons and armor have one or two "slots", and each masterwork trait requires one or two slots (though even one-slot items are pretty rare, and most craftsmen can't make two-slot items). For example, +1 damage is one slot, and +1 to hit is two.

Speaking of crafting, the octopin flesh that Humal wisely kept allowed him to make a suit of (non-magical) leather armor for Sumia, that hardens when she remains still (because the octopins had a similar ability): mechanically, when she doesn't move on her turn her armor gets increased by 1. This is yet another example of treasure that isn't gold or gems or magic items.

Humal will also be able to use the beholder eyes to make potions, maybe a robe of eyes, or even go through the transmutation books and try inserting one into his forehead, giving him an eye ray ability.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

The Paladin is technically the sixth "core" class we've provided an alternative for. If you interested in an alternate class that isn't merely a half-assed reskin, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

(Very Late) RPGaDay: What Makes For a Good Character?

This isn't a useful question, because when it comes to characters, games can have varying levels of complexity, and can also focus on different things. So what makes a character "good" in one system may not be "good" in another. Plus, gaming groups will have their own preferences, which can also change over time.

For example, in Dungeon World you don't get much say in your character mechanically (you basically check a few boxes), you don't need a background to speak of, and the game is about dungeon crawling. I've played in Dungeon World games where players have both pitched really detailed backstories, or just filled in a name on a bond and answered a few questions before the dice started rolling.

Personally, a good Dungeon World character is one with a minimal background (only the necessary details, we can flesh things out later on assuming there is a later on) and primed to actually go on adventures, as opposed to, say, a fucking shopkeeper. I'm sure some will disagree, but since what a character is capable of and does is ultimately decided by their player, I think a better question is what makes for a good player.

Good players, for starters, don't show up for something like Dungeon World, then start bitching about how the game isn't about shit like helping to somehow uplift oppressed orcs. They don't hog the GM's attention and make the game all (or even mostly) about themselves. They don't claim that the only character they want to play in a 1st-level Dungeons & Dragons game is a half-dragon tiefling monk. They don't dismiss adventure hooks because the GM failed to sufficiently pander to them.

Good players play the game, and play well with the rest of the group. Instead of an obnoxious Lawful Stupid paladin threatening to kill any character that doesn't do what they want, or even frivolously consorts with things they don't like, good players find a reason to work with them anyway (of course other good players also don't deliberately attempt to goad said paladin into taking extreme action). Instead of a druid who refuses to leave her forest to go an adventure, a good player finds a reason (or just does so because that's the point of the fucking game).

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

The Paladin is technically the sixth "core" class we've provided an alternative for. If you interested in an alternate class that isn't merely a half-assed reskin, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

Dungeon World: Fixing Undertake a Perilous Journey

There are plenty of problems with Dungeon World, one of which is everything to do with the undertake a perilous journey move. While going through an adventure that +Victor Julio Hurtado was working on, I proposed a change to one of the moves, which I realized would also make for a nice fix to undertake a perilous journey.

Here's the original move:

When you travel through hostile territory, choose one member of the party to act as trailblazer, one to scout ahead, and one to be quartermaster. Each character with a job to do rolls+WIS.

The problem with the move is that only when you know where you are going (which isn't mentioned in the actual move, but four paragraphs down), one person in the party manages everyone's food, one person watches for danger, and one person watches the road/chooses the route.

Oddly, when you don't know where you are going or are crawling through a dungeon (or, I suppose, going to a known location that isn't in hostile territory), everyone manages their own food, watches the road, and checks for danger.

In other words it's a lazily designed, flawed move that doesn't make any sense (or, as they say, "follows the fiction"), because if you're traveling and you expect danger, everyone would be watching out for danger. Also, if you're taking a road or path or whatever, then why do you need a trailblazer? And, if there isn't a road pointing you to where you need to go, then everyone would also be on the lookout for landmarks, easier routes, potential hazards, and so on.

So, here's what I got as a fix thus far:

When you travel to a known location (or have a destination in mind), choose one player to roll:
  • +1 for each character with WIS +1 or higher
  • -1 for each character with WIS -1 or lower
  • +1 if the terrain is open
  • -1 if you're passing through dangerous/hostile territory
  • -1 if the terrain inhibits movement/obscures vision (such as a forest, mountains, or swamp)
On a 7+, you arrive at your destination and choose 2. On a 10+, choose 3.
  • It doesn't take you longer than expected to reach your destination.
  • You aren't ambushed during the trek (you can always be attacked on the way, but if you choose this you notice the trouble)
  • You don't use up more supplies than expected (such as adventuring gear, bags of books, potions, tools, and rations)
  • No one is harmed during the trek (such as by falling, prolonged exposure to extreme heat or cold, or contracting a disease; could also apply to animals and hirelings)
With this move everyone in the party can be a factor (you can't just put characters with the best Wisdom scores on all the jobs); you aren't for no reason giving one character everyone's food to monitor, having only one character look out for danger, and a third person watch the road. It's assumed everyone is tracking their own supplies, checking for trouble, and watching the road. Again, like you'd expect everyone to be doing anyway.

It also keeps everything in one move (as opposed to breaking it into even more nonsense moves): you figure out the total modifier (and you could make up new modifiers on the fly), make one roll, and then everyone can figure out what they want from the list. Even better, it also allows for you to use up supplies that aren't food. For example, maybe going through some mountains everyone ends up using stuff from their adventuring gear.

For the times when you go back and forth between two places:

When you travel to a place you have been to before, if the route has not changed in a meaningful way treat this as undertaking a perilous journey, except you choose +1, and on a miss you still choose 1 in addition to whatever the GM says.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

The Paladin is technically the sixth "core" class we've provided an alternative for. If you interested in an alternate class that isn't merely a half-assed reskin, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).
August 27, 2016
Posted by David Guyll

4Ward/FrankenFourth: Age of Worms, Episode 411

Cast
  • Humal (level 7 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Corzale (level 7 dwarf war cleric)
  • Sumia (level 7 elf rogue/ranger)
  • Cenric (level 7 human fighter)

Summary
Searching Zyrxog's bedchamber, the party discovered a chest brimming with various coins and gemstones, numerous tomes on transmutation magic and Dovin, and a ledger written in a language that none of them could read, but Corzale believed might be distantly related to the dwarven tongue.

Backtracking, they returned to the small room with a circular stone pool. Sumia stepped into it, but when nothing happened Humal analyzed it with his arcane sight, which revealed that it radiated divination magic. He stared into it and thought of Athala, who they'd trapped in a coffin and stashed in the sewers, but the water only grew dark.

After some trial and error, Humal learned that it would only work if you thought of places you were familiar with, and it was limited to locations within Dovin. Corzale suggested destroying it, but after getting banned from Stonehome and accidentally destroying part of Filge's hovel, they were in the market for a new place to stay; this former-thulid-wizard's lair was looking pretty tempting, what with the single, well-concealed entrance, scrying pool, and fully stocked alchemist's lab one room over.

The center of the final unexplored chamber was dominated by a statue of a massive, vulture-like creature frozen mid-lunge. Humal scanned the room: the statue radiated magic, as did a variety of items contained in glass cases. He ordered his cockatrice skeleton to enter the room, and as soon as it stepped inside he saw a single magic "ripple". As far as he could tell nothing happened, but he still warned the rest of the party about what he had seen.

This did not deter Sumia, who was eager to see what was in the cases. When she stepped inside the room Humal noticed another ripple, but as before nothing seemed to happen. The first case contained an empty cage made from black metal, a perfectly preserved black dragon's head, a dagger that rested atop a red velvet pillow, and a length of bladed chain that slightly shifted when Sumia was close. Not bothering to inspect the other cases, she smashed the case open, but even using the hilt of her sword it was difficult: obviously the glass had been strengthened, and she cut her hand in the process.

This quickly became the least of Sumia's concerns, as the monstrous vulture-man-statue turned about and vomited a torrent of acid upon her, her owlbear, and Corzale, who had only entered the room to tend to Sumia's wound. Corzale circled behind the creature and pummeled it with her blessed hammer, but it continued to focus on Sumia. Humal ordered his cockatrice to attack before resorting to his illusionary-box-around-the-head-tactic, which provided Sumia with the opportunity to flee.

Corzale was barely standing when the creature was finally destroyed. Its flesh dissolved, leaving nothing but a pile of blackened bones. Humal hoped to upgrade from his cockatrice skeleton, but Corzale was adamant in destroying the bones. Humal relented, and after Corzale stormed off he and Sumia proceeded to loot the rest of the room. Amidst various trinkets, such as a small statue of a dragon, a tarnished, jagged sword, and a stuffed doll riddled with spikes that looked eerily like Corzale, they found a collection of mysterious tomes, including one bound tightly in chains.

Maybe Humal would get his demon skeleton after all.

Design Notes
Even though was had a pretty late start, we still managed to wrap up The Hall of Harsh Reflections. Next up, The Champion's Belt! Definitely related, I'm really glad I bothered to paint the Mashaaf I got in the second Bones kickstarters.

The vrock used the stats I cooked up in this post, so no dancing or spores, and its acid attack managed to destroy Sumia's armor in the process. I forgot Cenric was supposed to be there. Oh well, so did everyone else, and it's not like anyone died (though Sumia and Corzale came really close...better luck next time).

Melissa wants to pick up some wizard talents, specifically those from the Diviner tree, which is fine by me since this will allow me to actually work on that tree. If Jacob still wants transmutation stuff, I'll also have to do that one.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

The Paladin is technically the sixth "core" class we've provided an alternative for. If you interested in an alternate class that isn't merely a half-assed reskin, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

FrankenFourth: Renovating the Hall of Harsh Reflections (Part 2)


In the final dungeon in The Hall of Harsh Reflections (the fourth adventure in the Age of Worms adventure path), it's possible for the characters to fight a vrock.

In case you don't know what a vrock is, it's a sort of demonic creature that looks like a cross between a humanoid and more-or-less a vulture (varies between editions) that, in addition to a suite of seemingly random spells, can screech once per encounter battle, hour, or day (also varies by edition), dance about to inflict a bunch of damage, and shoot spores that deals damage and covers affected victims in vines.

Despite the dancing and spores it isn't nearly as silly as the shrieker, but it's still silly enough that I'm going to change it up during the conversion.

Starting with the high concept, they're no longer elite troops fighting in a never ending war against another category of demonic creatures. Instead they travel to the mortal world, seeking souls that haven't passed on, or are unable to for some reason, in order to devour them. I haven't decided on a purpose yet (it's not important right now): if they're not part of an infernal hierarchy, then they could do this simply to feed, or perhaps create more vrocks. If so, then I guess they bring them to whoever they serve.

I'm mostly fine with their stats and overall combat capability, but I just can't envision a vrock clawing, then biting, and then I guess also kicking at someone, so I'm taking away their talon attacks and bumping up their bite damage: if I want a vrock to use its talons (like, say, when it comes swooping down upon someone), I can just use the claw attack numbers.

Next up I'm going to axe most of their spells. I'm cool with detect magic and see invisibility, since that plays off of the keen sight, but stuff like mass charm and telekinesis? Nooope. The turkey vulture has a good sense of smell, but instead of being able to smell decaying bodies vrocks can smell souls. Speaking of vultures, I'm also going to say they can transform into a vulture, or something that looks more like a vulture for when they wanna be discreet.

Finally, vultures have pretty strong stomach acid, and often vomit if threatened. While I guess they don't deliberately vomit on whatever is attacking them, I like the idea of this guy having a sort of acidic "breath weapon" to shake things up (and replace stunning screech).

Here's the stat block (easily adaptable to other D&D things):

Vrock
Level 10 Large Demon
XP 100

Ability Scores 
STR +5 DEX +2 WIS +3
CON +4 INT +0 CHA +2

Skills
Athletics +7, Intimidate +5, Perception +7, Search +7

Defense
Initiative +6
Speed 10 feet/30 feet; fly 20 feet/50 feet
Fort 15 Ref 12 Will 13
Armor 2 (demonic hide)
Wounds 71 Vitality 31 Total 102

Special
Vrocks can detect magic by sight, and see invisible creatures, ghosts, and spirits. They can smell the presence of ghosts and spirits up to 100 feet away, and can harm such creatures normally with their beaks and talons. Should a vrock destroy a ghost or spirit it is also devoured: until the vrock is slain, the creature cannot be returned to life or pass on.

Vrocks can use their action to transform into a vulture or revert back to their true form. In vulture form their size becomes Small, and their bite and talons only deal 1d6+5 damage, but their other statistics remain the same.

Offense
Multiattack The vrock makes two claw attack and one bite attack.

Claw +8 to hit; 2d6+5 damage (1 armor piercing)

Bite +8 to hit; 2d8+5 damage (2 armor piercing)

Vomit (recharge 5+) Affects everything within a 30 foot cone; +8 vs Reflex; on a hit the target suffers 2d8+5 acid damage (half damage on a miss); 18+ the target takes an additional 1d8 acid damage at the start of its next turn, and any armor worn has its Armor reduced by 1 until it is repaired.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

The Paladin is technically the sixth "core" class we've provided an alternative for. If you interested in an alternate class that isn't merely a half-assed reskin, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

RPGaDay: Best Way to Learn a New Game?

This one's easy: play the game.

In my teenage years, I remember my then-group having trouble learning Shadowrun, so one weekend I brought the book over to a friend's house, we made characters as we learned how to make them, and we learned everything else while playing. So, for example, we didn't know how combat worked until a fight broke out, then we pored through the book to see how we determined initiative, tried to hit things, tried to avoid getting hit, and so on.

Though I've only played it once, I loved that the adventure in Edge of the Empire's Beginner Game teaches you the rules while you play, and I think all RPGs should have something like this (I know we're doing this with the intro adventure for Dungeons & Delvers). That way you don't just have one guy figuring it out and then teaching everyone else: everyone at the table can learn together.

Also, I think it's useful to see how the creator of a game handles various things (or what various things in the game were intended to do): for example, if Dungeon World had more/better examples, there probably wouldn't be a fan-made beginner's guide to the game.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, if finally out!

The Paladin is technically the sixth "core" class we've provided an alternative for. If you interested in an alternate class that isn't merely a half-assed reskin, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

A Sundered World: Player Fragments Color PDF

Melissa finished coloring the art, so we've updated the product files to include the color PDF, and we're now going through the process of getting print options available (let us know if you catch anything).

From the original post:

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is on sale! If you already purchased A Sundered World, you should get a discount link so you can save yourself a buck (just make sure your DriveThru account is set to receive email from publishers).

Inside its 124 pages you'll get:

  • New race, class, and compendium class moves for everything in A Sundered World.
  • Four additional races, including the thulid.
  • A new compendium class, the divine harvester: kill invokers, take their shit, and gain access to their powers.
  • New weapons, spirits, and materials.
  • New gear, including t'pual hardsuits, mindtraps, alternative kytheran materials, and kytheran warframes.
  • New ship materials and features.
  • Actual stats for enthollows and jotuncases.
  • Six new magic items, each themed for one of the classes in A Sundered World.
  • Rules for companion characters (for when you want or even need something more robust than a hireling).

While the content is obviously intended to be used with A Sundered World, or at the least A Sundered Fragments: Races & Classes, the races, equipment, and companion rules can be used as is, and you could always lift the class moves for use with something else.

Print options are to follow. If you buy it now, you will receive discount links to pick up both the B&W and color books "at cost" (you can use one or both, we don't care).

You can see a preview of it over on DriveThruRPG.

Note: If you purchase using the PayPal Buy Now button, we will also send you a complimentary copy through DriveThruRPG. Please allow up to 24 hours for delivery, though it usually ends up being at most eight (depends on if you buy it after we've gone to bed).

$8.99

$9.99


$9.99


$9.99


Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World is out (and also available in dead-tree format)! If you for some reason don't want the entire setting, you can just snag the races and classes.

The Paladin is out, and The Therianthrope is on its way!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

4Ward/FrankenFourth: Age of Worms, Episode 410


Cast
  • Humal (level 7 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Corzale (level 7 dwarf war cleric)
  • Sumia (level 7 elf rogue/ranger)
  • Cenric (level 7 human fighter)

Summary
Humal determined that the symbol on the floor was a sort of magical trap, that would at the least cause whoever triggered it to hallucinate for a period of time. Not wanting to risk anyone else's health, he instructed his cockatrice skeleton to stand on it. The symbol flared brightly before vanishing, and as expected the cockatrice skeleton seemed completely unaffected.

Sumia asked Humal to check for any other magical effects, just in case, and when he shifted his sight spotted a glowing white sphere above them. When he tried to point it out it vanished. Apparently someone was spying on them; so much for the element of surprise.

They continued on until they found another chamber. A door made of white marble was set into one of the walls, flanked by a pair of pillars, both branded with a strange sign that none of them recognized. Humal checked for magical auras, once again spotting the white sphere, which also vanished before he could point it out. Suspecting a trap, Sumia started by inspecting the pillars. While she didn't find a trap, she did find a strange, octopus-like creature with pincer-tipped tentacles hiding behind it.

It lashed at Sumia, as two more emerged: one from behind the other pillar, and the other from a crevice in the far wall. The party assumed that they were sort of doppelganger, up until Corzale smashed one and splattered ichor and viscera about. After they were destroyed, Humal examined the remains and theorized that he could possibly craft a suit of leather armor for Sumia, which would grant her enhanced protection should she remain still.

They gathered up the largest chunks they could find, but before they could recuperate the marble doors swung open: a pair of doppelgangers in what amounted to their natural form stood there, instructing the party to follow them and meet their Master. After some deliberation they agreed, and after passing through several rooms arrived in a circular chamber, largely occupied by a rectangular pool filled with translucent green eggs.

A throne was perched at the far end, atop which sat a man in black robes that they had never seen before. He candidly explained that he had been hired to kill the party, but if they swore to leave the city and never return he would let them go. After all they'd already wreaked plenty of havoc thus far, and he preferred to not expend any other "resources" disposing of them.

The party opted for a third option. Humal conjured a massive illusionary bird and sent it after Zyrxog, while Corzale blasted him with divine light. Cenric rushed towards him, wading through the pool to try and close the distance, but before he made it or Sumia could act a wall of stone erupted from the floor, separating Zyrxog and Cenric from the rest of the party.

The doppelganger escort ganged up on Humal. Corzale went to his aid, but after crushing one a section of the wall slid across the room and slammed into her. Though she managed to avoid getting pinned, it gave an obviously mind-controlled Cenric enough time to run through the opening and attack Humal. Not wanting to hurt Cenric, the party continued focusing on Zyrxog, but before Corzale delivered the killing blow he surrendered.

If the party agreed to spare him, he would tell them everything. The party didn't debate long—Humal was confident that he could figure out who Zyrxog was working for, and he'd just go back to using doppelgangers to gradually take over the city—but by the time they decided to kill him and sort everything out later, an insect-like creature detached itself from Zyrxog's back, leaped into the pool, and exited through a drain.

Corzale rushed to the hole and blasted it with more divine energy, but when Humal sent a skeleton after the creature it came back empty handed.

Design Notes
I was concerned that combat was "too easy", but even with their armor, Vitality points, and Corzale's blessing of protection (+1 armor and temp hp for the whole party), Healing Domain (spend Favor to reduce Wound damage), and Hymn of Healing (reduce Wound damage by 1 if you're super close to her), the players all assured me that the game certainly feels deadly. Jacob and Melissa both stated that without their Vitality points and Corzale's healing, they would have been dropped on several occasions (and Melissa has been dropped before).

Even so, I'm going to put in a houserule section in whatever I end up calling the Dungeon Master's Guide (or the GMing section) for those that want a more lethal game and/or randomized Wound/Vitality points. This would include giving characters only Wounds, rolling a die and splitting it up between Wounds and Vitality (favoring Wounds of course), and making Vitality replenish at a slower rate (or even a randomized amount at a slower rate).

We spent sometime post-session talking about The Therianthrope (the next Dungeon World class) and wizard talents. From the sound of it, the wizard will end up with about four talent trees to choose from at the start, with more getting added later. Currently everyone seems to mostly dig Abjurer, Enchanter, Evoker, and Illusionist, but we can always put it to a vote.

I've also been noodling about how to handle the druid, specifically druid magic (the shapechanging part is easy). Pseudo-Vancian magic doesn't make any sense, so that's out, and giving them spell points doesn't feel right. I'm leaning towards giving them more ritual-based abilities (like control weather and plant growth), and having some magic talents do one thing if you spend Vitality, and another if you spend Wounds (giving it a kind of blood sacrifice kind of vibe). Could also give the druid a point system similar to the cleric, except that they need to provide offerings to various nature spirits instead of praying a god.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

The Paladin is technically the sixth "core" class we've provided an alternative for. If you interested in an alternate class that isn't merely a half-assed reskin, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

RPGaDay: Largest In-Game Surprise You Have Experienced?

Since David is usually the GM, I'm going to answer this RPGaDay question. There are actually two instances I can think of. The first was during the Ravenloft game that David was running using Dungeon World. I was playing The Witch, because I wrote most of the class and wanted to see how it held up over the long-term.

At the last leg of the campaign we geared up and headed off to Castle Ravenloft. After some fighting and a rotten dinner party Strahd pops up at the other end of a long hall, taking shots at us with a poisoned crossbow while we're dealing with a bunch of ghouls. He shoots at me, I roll to defy danger and miss, completely run out of hp, roll my last breath and also miss that roll, and get immediately taken out of the fight.

It sucked, but it wasn't David's fault. I tried bargaining with him to stay in the game at least for the big finale, but in hindsight it would have just been a watered down experience: I know what I rolled, and I knew what the results meant. It's just the way the dice roll sometimes.

The second big surprise happened much more recently (and wasn't nearly as bad), during the Age of Worms campaign using David's FrankenFourth system. It was the session where he revealed to us that Sumia had been a doppleganger for most of a session.

To recap, my character went to find Filge (guy from the first adventure) in order to get his help with something. Turned out he needed Sumia to help him move some 'things' in the sewers below his place. At the time David said he wanted to save time, so rather than go through a few fights that she would surely succeed at, just said that Sumia did the job and half an hour later was back to the inn. David mentioned that she smelled, and after asking what the party was going to do I said that Sumia would go take a bath. I didn't ask about my owlbear, which was a mistake.

The rest of the party stayed in the tavern to drink and relax, and a few minutes later David said that my character walked back down into the tavern, murdered the innkeeper with a demon horn that she found in the first adventure, then ran back up the stairs towards the rooms. In my mind I was like, "What the fuck!" Obviously it wasn't me, right? The party (and some angry patrons) ran upstairs and found Sumia in one of the baths. I tell them I didn't do that and have been right there washing myself, because as far as I know that's what Sumia had been up to.

Of course we are all shocked by the events and the party stuck up for me with the guards who came in later. It didn't work and we were all arrested, and while in jail we tried to figure out what was going on and escape, but we ended up getting drugged and moved to where the real Sumia was, bloodied and beaten. It's then that David revealed to us that when Sumia went into the sewers with Filge, she got ambushed, captured, and a doppelganger had taken her place.

We were all surprised, and I'm glad David played it out like that without telling me, as I think it made my actions and reactions more genuine.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, if finally out!

The Paladin is technically the sixth "core" class we've provided an alternative for. If you interested in an alternate class that isn't merely a half-assed reskin, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

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