May 28, 2010

4E Ritual- Empower Magic Item

I like it when a magic item can grow with the character. Often a character can be defined by his magic item. Where would King Arthur be without Excalibur? Did he disenchant it into magic components when he got too high in level?  This ritual should allow a character the same attachment to a magic item as he levels, while still retaining a cost.

Empower Magic Item

The weapon shines with a new glow. What is old is new again.

Level: 8                        Component Cost: 120 gp, plus a magic item (see below)
Category: Creation       Market Price: 680 gp
Time: 1 hour                 Key Skill: Arcana (no check)
Duration: Permanent

Upon completion of this ritual, a magic item will gain the properties of a higher level version of the same item. Part of the component cost of the ritual is a magic item of equal or higher level to what the target item is being raised to. For example, an Elven Cloak level 7 could be changed into an Elven Cloak of level 12 and would require the sacrifice of a magic item of level 12 or higher. A magic item’s level can not be raised above the level of the ritual caster.

May 27, 2010

Open Game Table

The Open Game Table is a print book that collects various articles from around the RPG blogosphere. Last year they came out with Volume 1 and it was met with really good reviews ( They are doing a Volume 2 this year collecting articles from the past year.
They are also looking for some sponsors ( This could be a really good way for the right company to advertise.

Did I mention one of my articles is in there?

May 25, 2010

4E + Sandbox + Plotted Campaign

4E + Sandbox + Plotted Campaign. Can it happen? Is it possible?

My wife wrapped up one of her Gamma World campaigns this past week (it ran for about 3 years). She still has the other Gamma World campaign going and said she felt slightly burnt out preparing for two games, so I’ll be GMing the next game. I’ve had a few ideas for a campaign kicking around my head for a bit now.


May 21, 2010

4E Ritual- Reincarnation

I have always liked the Reincarnation spell in previous editions. I liked the randomness of it and the fact a player could play a completely new race.

Your slain comrade is alive. You reached out and touched a part of him even he did not know existed. You brought that part of him to the fore and used it to bring him back from the dead, only in a truer form.
Level: 6                         Component Cost: 100 gp
Category: Restoration    Market Price: 400 gp
Time: 6 hours                 Key Skill: Heal (no check)
Duration: Instantaneous

This ritual allows the caster to bring to life a slain compatriot in another body. You must have a part of the corpse of a creature that died no more than 60 days ago. The new form returns as if he had just completed an extended rest and is free of any temporary conditions.
The target’s soul must be free and willing to return to life. Effects that prohibit the free movement of the soul will prevent this ritual from succeeding.
Roll on Table 1 to determine the target’s new race. If a race is rolled that is the same as the target’s current race then the target stays the same race, but he will look different. A reincarnated being retains its class, feats and skills. Remove all the previous racial adjustments and abilities and then add the new racial abilities. The character retains his previous knowledge; unfortunately this means he can not speak the language of his new race unless he previously knew it.
The cost of the ritual is the same no matter the level of the target creature.

May 18, 2010

Show How the Monster Works

In most action movies there is a scene which my wife and I like to call, “Showing How the Monster Works”. This is the one where we get to see the villain of the movie for the first time. In it the villain has a confrontation with another criminal (such as an underling or rival) or law enforcement other than the heroes. The scene showcases the abilities of the villain and his organization.

In this scene, the villain often is killing someone. Perhaps there is a little torture thrown in as well to highlight just how evil the villain is. The scene is there for a couple of reasons; to highlight how dangerous the villain is and to make the audience dislike the villain.


May 14, 2010

Naming Locations

There are a multitude of lists and programs for creating names for NPCs and PCs on the internet. However, when it comes to world building there are a lot less ready made resources. What do you name the range of mountains to the north and make it unique? What about that river? How about that 10th village?

One trick I do is to use language translators online. Basically these will allow you to put in a word in English, such as “mountain” or “tall”, and translate it into a language of your choice.

Using I typed in “mountain” under the English to Finnish section. I got back “vuori”. I could name my mountain range the Vuori Mountains. If I need a second mountain range I can look up “tall”. It came back “korkea”. If I were to name the range the Tall Mountains, it would sound lame; the Korkea Mountains sounds a lot more exotic and interesting.

Another trick is if you stick to a particular language you can develop a theme in your names. Most languages have a similar sound and style to their words and by sticking to the same language you can add that style and sound to your world. If you have a culture or region that is similar to our Russia, using an English to Russian translator will give you names that fit into your culture.

May 11, 2010

The Villain Who Wasn’t There

I’ve read various posts asking how to have a recurring villain within a campaign without relying on inexplicable escapes. One bit of advice usually given is to have the main villain not appear with the heroes. Use underlings and other such mechanics. I have just such a situation in my current campaign. As a way to illustrate how this can be done I’m going to show how my main bad guy, Sid, has managed to plague the player’s characters without being killed off. As a warning, there is a fair bit of campaign exposition, but hopefully it is all to make a helpful point.


May 4, 2010

NPCs and the Normal

We’ve all seen various good advice on how to make our NPCs unique. However, I say there are times we do not want them unique. Sometimes, nay often, keeping an NPC “normal” is the better way to go.

If all of our NPCs have something unique about them then their uniqueness becomes blunted. Usually the reason we add a quirk to an NPC is to make them more memorable, but there should be a reason for the players to remember them. We need to ask ourselves, “Why should the players remember this NPC?”