A monster on the verge of eating an adventurer.

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Play Report: Baroviania: Session 7

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on August 26, 2012

Tagged: baroviania dnd ravenloft nintendo

I rolled up Maria, a Rune Knight from the Dark Capital, for Reynaldo’s Baroviania game a few days ago. Yesterday she got drafted for her first game, the 7th session of the campaign. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It seems like most sessions of Baroviania thus far have been kind of zany.

Things began, as they often do, in a tavern. Maria started the game with 80gp and I spent most of that on a sword and plate mail. Buying the plate was probably a poor decision, since my character doesn’t even own rations or rope or any of the tools of the adventuring trade. I just can’t help myself: the AC bonus for plate mail is insane. Wearing shiny new armour from the Dark Capital I figured she’d be sitting alone. Being so thoroughly broke I figured she’d just be nursing an almost empty drink or eating the fantasy equivalent of bar peanuts. Scattered around the bar was a frogling from the HMS Apollyon, a little gnome, and a battle princess. The gnome approached and offered my hobo of a character some food. And so an adventuring party was born.

This merry scene was disrupted when a person entered the tavern through the window. On the other side of some broken glass were three maids. My character decided the prudent course of action was to munch down as much food as she could before a fight got underway. There was no fight.

A sleep spell later and we had knocked out the person who went through the window, but none of his assailants. This wasn’t what we were going for. Somehow we managed to convince the maids the prudent course of action was to negotiate what to do with our prisoner, who we decided we had captured fair and square. In the end we agreed to hand the fellow over if they agreed to pay the bar for the broken window. (I think they might have been better negotiators than us.) We learned they worked for Sasha, a mover and shaker in Baroviania. We also figured out that they were probably some sort of golem because they were kind of creepy and robotic.1

We followed them as they left with the prisoner, who it turned out looked an awful lot like Wolverine.2 It became clear they were also being followed by another person. We met him when we both ended up outside Sasha’s giant tower. He was working for Sasha’s rival, Azalin, as was the person the dolls had captured. He had decided busting into the tower was too risky, and left to let his master know what was up.3 We were strongly considering busting into the tower, but cooler heads prevailed. You may be asking yourself why we trekked all the way here only to not go in: good question. Due diligence I suppose.

We ventured North to the Eyevalis woods. It was dark when we arrived and pretty spooky. We were about light some more torches and charge in, but decided exploring during the day would probably be smarter. Adventuring in the forest during the day was uneventful. We did find a stump of a tree that opened up into a dungeon of sorts, and that’s where we ventured next.

Our first encounter was with a group of small monsters. Rather than fight we once more tried to negotiate, and once more dice rolls were in our favour. We left the room they were guarding, which contained a statue what was clearly a petrified person, with no one worse for wear.4 Our second encounter involved freeing a prisoner we stumbled upon. His name was Cody, and he looked like he could fight a street fight. He may have thanked us. He definitely ran away very quickly.5 His jailer arrived shortly after, annoyed at the escape. We somehow managed to convince him we weren’t involved. We all exited the dungeon together. Above ground he ran off after the mystery prisoner. We were left to decide what to do next.

D&D is ostensibly a game about break and enters and ultra violence. The game incentivizes two tasks: killing monsters and getting gold. Later iterations of the game got rid of the second incentive, so they are much more combat centric, and still don’t really reward acting nice. This session was funny because we some how managed to avoid every opportunity for adventure and destruction. We didn’t fight the maids, nor the strange little gremlin creatures, despite both of them clearly acting like assholes. We didn’t venture into the dangerous tower or the dangerous forest at night because we decided that would stupid. Our gnome was the group’s pacifist, the battle princess our groups pragmatist. I don’t know if there would have been more violence or looting if we had one player, but not the other. The groups make up seemed perfectly suited for the sort of session we had.

All in all it was a fun time. I need to play again so I get a chance to use my plate mail.

  1. Maid Mangling Managing - 180 EXP 

  2. Claw’s Capture - 50 EXP 

  3. Information Gathering on Azalin - 75 EXP 

  4. Discovery of one of the Sacred Statues - 100 EXP 

  5. Discovery of one of the Sacred Statues - 100 EXP 

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Rune Knights for Baroviania

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on August 18, 2012

Tagged: dnd baroviania constantcon homebrew

Celes by Yoshitaka Amano

I’ve revised the Rune Knight I wrote about earlier this month after getting some feedback on Google+ about the new class. Briefly, the goal here was to recreate the character Celes from Final Fantasy VI for use in Reynaldo’s D&D campaign world Baroviania. Whether by design or by accident, making your own class for his game seems to be the thing to do. The rune knight is a slightly re-skinned B/X D&D elf.


Rune Knight

Rune knights are genetically enhanced warriors from the Dark Capital. They are artificially infused with magic, which grants them some magical ability. Their ties to the dark forces of the world leads others to regard them with suspicion and mistrust. Rune knights are often introverts and loners.

The prime requisites for a rune knight are Strength and Intelligence. They receive a 5% bonus to earned experience points if they have a 13 or more in both skills. They receive a 10% bonus to earned experience points if they have at least a 13 Strength and an Intelligence score of at least 16.

Rune knights progress in levels at the same rate as Elves. (In other words, slowly.) They share the same saving throws.

RESTRICTIONS: Rune knights gain 1D6 hit points per level. Rune knights gain all the advantages of fighters. They may use shields, can wear any type of armour, and may fight with any kind of weapon. A character must have an intelligence score of at least 9 to be a rune knight, and must have a charisma score of no more than 9.

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Rune Knights can cast spells using Rune Magic. A Rune Knight gains spells per level as an elf, and this is the exact number of spells the character knows. The character gains these spells as soon as they level-up, and may choose from any magic-user spell of the appropriate spell level. Rune Knights do not require spell components to cast any of their spells. The spells are a part of the character, infused into their very DNA. Rune Knights can not research new spells, create scrolls, or otherwise act as magic-users.

Rune Knights can dispel any magic cast in their vicinity using the Runic ability. After a magical spell or ability is used the player may declare they are using their Runic ability. They may only do so if they have not yet acted in the round. The Runic ability will replace the action the character had declared they would make. (So the character may only nullify one spell per round.) The character makes a Save vs. Magic: on success the spell or magical ability has no effect whatsoever, and the character gains 1 hit point for each level of the spell; on a fail the spell or ability proceeds as usual. Note: this ability is not a dispel magic spell. The character can’t disenchant a wand, but they could try and prevent the spell a wand casts from working; they can’t dispel a magical trap, but could try and stop any magic the trap itself casts; they can’t unlock a magically sealed door.

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Rune Knights for Baroviania (Old)

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on August 12, 2012

Tagged: dnd baroviania constantcon homebrew

Update: You can read about final version of this class in my follow-up post: Rune Knights for Baroviania.

My favourite character from the game Final Fantasy 6 was Celes. The character was a warrior crossed with a magic user. Her special ability was called Runic: when used as an action it would negate the effect of the next spell cast in combat; Celes would gain hit points equal to the magic points the spell cost to cast. I could write pages and pages about how FF6 is the greatest game ever, and even more about the fact Celes is the best character in that game, but I won’t. You’ll just have to trust me.

I wanted to make a Rune Knight class for Reynaldo’s D&D campaign world Baroviania so I could play some variation of Celes in his game. I was originally thinking a Rune Knight would be some sort of cleric, but Reynaldo suggested I look at the elf from D&D. I always forget about the demi-humans in D&D. Elves are actually a pretty good fit for the class: a plate wearing magic user does sound like Celes.


Rune Knight

Rune knights are genetically enhanced warriors from the Dark Capital. They are artificially infused with magic. This grants them the ability to cast spells like a wizard. Their ties to the dark forces of the world leads others to regard them with suspicion and mistrust. Rune knights are often introverts and loners.

The prime requisites for a rune knight are Strength and Intelligence. They receive a 5% bonus to earned experience points if they have a 13 or more in both skills. They receive a 10% bonus to earned experience points if they have at least a 13 Strength and an Intelligence score of at least 16.

Rune knights progress in levels at the same rate as Elves. (In other words, slowly.)

RESTRICTIONS: Rune knights gain 1D6 hit points per level. Rune knights gain all the advantages of both fighters and magic-users. They may use shields, can wear any type of armour, and may fight with any kind of weapon. They can also cast spells like a magic-user, and use the same spell list. A character must have an intelligence score of at least 9 to be a rune knight.

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Rune Knights can dispel any magic cast in their vicinity using the Runic ability.

Runic

As mentioned above, in FF6 Celes’ Runic ability dispels the next spell cast after it has been activated, regardless of its strength. An anti-magic ability like this in D&D seems quite powerful, though this is in some ways balanced out by the fact the ability must be used before a spell is cast (it’s preventative) and that most low-level D&D monsters don’t actually cast a lot of magic.

Option 1: One take on the Runic ability is to use the exact same mechanics from FF6, more or less. On a character’s turn they may declare they are using their Runic ability. Any magical spell or ability that is used before the characters next turn is immediately dispelled and has no effect whatsoever. The character gains 1 hit point for each level of the spell. The ability may only nullify one spell per round. The character may activate the ability again on their next turn.

Option 2: An alternative take would be to make the ability more useful in combat by making it reactive, at the cost of making it less reliable. After a magical spell or ability is used the player may declare they are using their Runic ability. They may only do so if they have not yet acted in the round. The Runic ability will replace the action the character had declared they would make. (So the character may only nullify one spell per round.) The character makes a Save vs. Magic: on success the spell or magical ability has no effect whatsoever, and the character gains 1 hit point for each level of the spell; on a fail the spell or ability proceeds as usual.

Another idea would be to make the player and the monster do some sort of opposed roll, rather than a save. You could also add critical success and failure results: on a critical fail (a roll of 1) the character takes 1 damage for each level of the spell, on a critical hit (a roll of 20) the spell is reflected back at the caster.


One thing I was thinking of doing was requiring a rune knights have charisma scores lower than 9, so they always have a negative reaction roll. That seems inline with how Celes is treated in FF6. I don’t think I’ve seen classes with maximum requirements on their ability scores, though. I also need to figure out how the character would fit in the actual game world.

If you have any thoughts about the class, let me know.

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