From the Archives: Screw You 4chan edition.

As many of you know, I root about on the 4chan a lot. Good old /tg/ and I have had many the fight. This is born of one of them.

So some fine chap in a thread about assorted villainy posted an image of Maleficent and claimed that she was “the only” Disney villain that could be translated into a reasonable threat to a D&D party, let alone a proper “campaign” villain.  Bull. Shit.  Quite beyond the obvious – wicked (and noble) stepmother/sisters: a moderate-level Wizard with a minimum of Poison and Alter Self, a scrying device, and troops at her beck and call.. you have the beasts.

Now, this is based on the literary source.. but the Big D’s onscreen presentation of him is still consistent with Kipling, staggeringly. I statted him out in about 15 minutes, and he’s even suitable for a Modern campaign..

Shere Khan, King of the Jungle

Beast King: Dire Tiger.
Freq: Unique.
AC: 5 (hide and speed)
Move: 10″ + 5″ Jump
HD: 12
%IL: 50%
TT: nil (see below)
#attacks: Claw/Claw/Bite (2d4/2d4/1d12)
Special: Surprise on 1-4 on 1d6 , +2 to saving throws vs. Magic (Wisdom), thief abilities. No magic resistance.
Intelligence: Very.
Alignment: CE.
Size: L
Psi: Nil.

Shere Khan is a dark legend of the forest, a great tiger with a taste for Manflesh and a fondness for destruction unmatched by his animalistic kin. He demands human sacrifice on a fairly regular schedule from villages in his domain, which is quite large. Unwary adventurers, hearing the tale of an “intelligent” tiger hunting and manipulating the local populace, might suspect a weretiger or Rakshasa. The truth is, Khan is “merely” a paragon of his kind, and Lord of the forest – should his subjects refuse to give him pleasing offerings, he will wreak a terrifying retribution upon them. He is petty, vengeful, and cunning, preferring to follow his prey and strike when the moment is ripe.

When travelling in natural terrain, his exceptional stealth allows him to surprise a party on a 1-4 on a D6: he is only surprised on a 1. Shere Khan has the following Thief abilities: Hide in Shadows 40%, Move Silently 60%, Climb Walls 95%, and Backstab (Triple damage). He may also Rake (if he lands both Claw attacks, he may forgo his Bite attack and Rake with his hind claws for 2d4/2d4 damage)

When encountering a party in his demense, Khan will more than likely attempt to kill them if they appear to be a threat. If they offer slaves or one of their own as tribute, he will allow them to pass unmolested – but this is a grossly evil act. If there appear to be spellcasters in the party, Khan will single them out in his initial attacks, leaping on one from ambush (consider this a Charge if using the optional rules from 2e) before savagely mauling him – on a successful surprise roll, the target is Backstabbed, for triple damage. On the next round, Khan will fade into the underbrush using his Thief abilities and wait for another opportunity. His cunning allows him to create distractions, and he will attempt to force magic-users to waste their spells if he is unable to kill them in the initial strike – often waiting hours to strike again if a spell has no obvious effect.
Shere Khan is deathly and instinctually afraid of fire, a fact that irritates him deeply.

The Hide of Shere Khan:
If harvested and properly prepared, Shere Khan’s hide will serve as a powerful symbol to the denizens of the forest (Human and some animals) – the bearer/wearer will be considered the new King of the Forest, and treated as such. Note that the locals may still consider offering humans to a PC bearing the Hide. The Hide offers an AC of 7 if worn intact. It can be prepared with the proper spells into an armor which grants an AC of 5 and the ability to use Thieving skills while wearing it as though it were ordinary clothing: it loses its other properties. Shere Khan has no other treasure: only flesh and power interest him. Finally, players should remember – Shere Khan is the King of the Forest – but the Forest selects her rulers, not the hand of Man….



Lots of excitement over the last few days. Hit the ER, more wedding planning and classes, did the board elections for a little event I help with every year. Did some more item and system design work that’s not quite ready to see the light of day.

I’ve also been hit with inspiration for a mecha game system. I’m still working through the details, but my goal is to let players be as important outside mechs as in. Hopefully, you’ll be able to play everything from Gainax over-the-top “fuck you” super robots all the way down to 80’s OVA “a character dies every week” hardsuit shows. My main priorities, though, are Real Robots, Space Opera, and Hardsuit fun, in that order.

Came up with an interesting system for dealing with the anime age dynamic, and I have a lot of half-formed ideas for making multiple combat styles >mechanically< viable both inside and outside the cockpit. Now to beat this into shape..

In the mean time, I’ll be posting more Archive thoughts on the poison system soonish (or the ever-classic divide between the White Mage and the Cleric…).

This should be slowpoke.jpg

Yes, I go to 4chan

From the Archive: Poisons, Pt. III

Or “Finally, the RULES”.
In Part I we discussed the impetus for the rules, and in Pt. II the immature form from my 2e days (plus fed you some examples). This post dissects the actual rules that I’ve derived from them, and a few additions to make the system playable.

My rules assume the 10-second round and the 6-turn hour. 0 HP = unconsciousness, -HP = dead and possibly maimed. I also use the Silver Standard. Convert all SP notations into GP.


“Poison” can be anything from alcohol to henbane, from dimethyl mercury to opium and the Black Lotuses in the stinking pits of Telele’li.

Players may use poisons, but this is never an honorable act, and rarely good. The GM should also be reminded that activities which do not expose the character to significant danger do not grant XP. Poisoning a well and stabbing a man in the back with a venomed dagger both offer similar levels of danger, and should be treated similarly…


From the Archives: Poisons, Pt. II

So tell me what you want, what you really really want..

Yes, I went there

In my previous post, we discussed some historical problems with poisons in the various early editions of D&D. How did my DM and I solve them? Well, we didn’t fix them all. But we did set up a framework, based on the spell/item-crafting rules, that allowed for more interesting effects. Keep in mind I was roughly CL 7 or 8 when we started doing this (1Rng/5+ Rog dual-class*), and I didn’t try to make the Beholder’s Wrath (you’ll see later) until I was around CL 12; some kind of level restriction would probably be good for other PCs.

*Curious about that dual-class? He was a half-elf, and the DM made us choose to favor one side or the other because there “were no” half-elves in his world – which later became a major plot point. I chose Human over Wood Elf. He “fell” out of ranger after being left for dead at level 1 by a genocide squad hunting for half-breeds (the party happened upon me and healed me up. Hell of an intro). It’s why Elthir’s Preferred Enemy was Elves, and he rocked the subsequent NE for most of his career.

Anyway, here are the general rules, taken from my own notes. I need to tighten these up, and I’m more than willing to listen to new suggestions for poisons to try to get my head around the system. Also, there’s more to follow when I start adapting the stuff I created for d20..


From the Archives: Poisons, Part 1

“Oh no! Pansy! The Problem!”

Last post I mentioned poison & disease rules. The “post” has developed into a series’ worth of material, so I’ll be working through it a little slower. I’ll talk about poison first, since I first confronted the issue back in the ’90s, as a player. By contrast, disease has only really interested me as a system for a couple years, even though we occasionally ran into it in games. Yet the rules spring from the same root problems…

Oh, and hold onto your butts kids, this is a history post. This means that I’ve got a half-dozen books open in front of me and 5 more on the shelf in reserve. A healthy part of it’s is personal recollection, and observed tendencies: YMMV, but think about your past games as you read it.

Well, that fucking sucked

So, it ate my posting time and a couple days of my life.. and then I accidentally destroyed a critical part of the OPD entry about half an hour before scan time. Accidentally tore the map, AND spilled iron-gall ink all over it (which, barring tannic acid, is damned near impossible to extract from the paper).

The deadline’s passed, but I still want to complete it – after all, there’s always next year. And the most laborious part of the work, a full page of scribing, is still usable. Not only that, I got a lot of practice working with period instruments, and I’m feeling much more confident with them now. Look for a related post later this week.

In other news, finally got pinged by other Steve  re: those record sheets I should have been helping him with at the start of the month. So here’s to a new, old project getting some actual time invested..


As far as content, I’ll try to have another archival post up on schedule on Tuesday: my current disease rules, and some sample diseases and exotic poisons!