Thursday, April 30, 2020

Half-Lung Fighter

No. Enc.: 1d6
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 90
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: 1 weapon + special
Damage: by weapon type (1d6)
Save: F4
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: XXI
XP: 95
The unusual name of this undead comes from the story of a lord who went mad when his wife drowned while at sea. He convinced himself that if he had enough potions that would allow him to breath water, he could go beneath the sea to be where his wife had gone to live. According to this self-delusion, each potion needed the lower half of a fighter’s lung. He would lure his own soldiers into the make-shift lab he constructed in the bowels of his tower. He would then extract the lungs while his victims were still alive. He would then dispose of the bodies by throwing them into the sea. Eventually, the soldiers returned as undead to exact their revenge.

A Half-Lung Fighter appears as a bloated soldier that can barely squeeze into what little armor they wear. They are armed with the weapons they used in life, usually a spear. They are immune to blunt damage and take half-damage from piercing weapons. The first time they take damage from a slashing weapon, the noxious liquid that fills what is left of their desiccated body cavity bursts out. Everyone within 10 feet takes 3d6 damage unless they make a Save vs. Breath Attacks. Those who make their save only take half-damage. This attack may happen once per encounter. Damage taken from this attack cannot be magically healed until a Remove Curse or Cure Disease spell is cast on the victim.

I told you it needed to be a thing...

Monday, April 27, 2020

Halfling as Half-Dwarf Race-as-Class

Halflings (Half-Dwarves)

Requirements: DEX 9, CON 9
Prime Requisite: STR and DEX
Hit Dice: d6
Maximum Level: 12

Hill Dwarves (sometimes known as Gnomes) have a reputation for being reclusive, but are in many ways more gregarious than their Mountain-dwelling cousins. This, in combination with their relative proximity with Humans, has resulted in not a few unions between Hill Dwarves and Humans of smaller stature. The result of these pairings is a Half-Dwarf, more commonly known as a Halfling.

Like their Human progenitors, Halflings have a wide range of appearances, though they are rarely able to grow a beard of any significant length. They usually average from about 3 to 4 feet and weigh in at 60 to 100 pounds. Due to this short height, Halflings cannot use two-handed weapons or longbows. However, they can use any other weapon or armor. They must have at least 13 in one or the other prime requisite in order to get the +5% to experience. They must also have a STR and DEX of 13 to get the +10% bonus.

Due to their unusual background, they are used to existing on the fringes of both human and dwarven society. At character creation, a player chooses three Thief abilities that the Halfling character can use. Additionally, Halflings have an uncanny ability to disappear into their surroundings. Using any kind of cover, they hide on a 1-4 on a d6. They also have keen coordination which gives them a +1 to hit with missile weapons.

Halflings use the same saving throws as Dwarves, sharing the hardiness of that side of their ancestry. They also fight as a Dwarf. Further, a Halfling character will speak the common tongue, dwarvish, halfling, gnomish, goblin, and kobold.

Reaching 9th Level: When a Halfling reaches level 9, he has the option of creating a stronghold, which can be either above or below ground. The stronghold will attract Dwarves and Halflings from far and wide. A Halfling ruler is able to hire Dwarven and Halfling soldiers or mercenaries, but may only hire members of other races for other tasks, such as human alchemists or elves for spell casting.

Level Progression

Sunday, April 26, 2020

On Gnomes and Halflings

So, over at B/X Blackrazor, JB has an excellent post on Gnomes, doing an historical dive into the origins of the race in search of why they can be illusionists. I, ironically, I have been doing a very similar deep dive into rulesets about gnomes, but for a radically different reason. Whereas JB is working on revamping the Illusionist class using the various iterations from the pre-1ePHB era of the game, I was doing my deep dive because of a curious mention of halflings in Advanced Labyrinth Lord.

For a bit of background, as a joke, I challenged by eldest to run a game of D&D where all the PCs were gnomes. The joke became somewhat serious when she demanded that I provide her with an edition of the game to use to create the campaign. When she settled on Advance Labyrinth Lord, I was forced to read to those rules to create a character.

Therein, I found this quote:
Their habitations often overlap with halflings, and these two races are typically very friendly, if not familial, to each other.
I don’t ever remember that word “familial” being used to describe the relationship between halflings and gnomes, so I started digging.

Lately, I have been finding myself actually trying to play Holmes Basic D&D (putting into practice all of the stuff I wrote about Holmes over the years). I have to admit, having never actually played the game in my youth, I am finding it to be quite a pleasure to use as I get older. One of the conclusions I made about gnomes, given the way Holmes treats them, is that they are (as JB concludes) a variation (or twisting) of dwarves — specifically, a Chaotic Good version.

Given this Holmesian background where I conclude that the languages of Gnomes, Kobolds, and Goblins are all dialects of Dwarvish, I find it fascinating that Gnomes in the MM1 and Gnome PCs in the 1ePHB are able to speak the language of halflings. It should also be noted that in the Racial Preference Table from the 1ePHB Gnomes have goodwill toward Halflings. The only other race to get such treatment are dwarves.

Thus, while Advanced Labyrinth Lord’s use of the word “familial” is not found in the original material, it is, nonetheless, not unwarranted. It also has my brain going in (what I consider to be ) a really exciting direction.

I must note that despite my use of Bilbo Baggins as a literary inspiration for my understanding of Thieves, and my love for Jeff Dee’s cover of T1: The Village of Hommlet, I am not a fan of Tolkien, Hobbits, or halflings.

Conceptually (as a race inspired by Hobbits), halflings just don’t fit in D&D except as a curiosity or a group if interesting NPCs. However, this word “familial” has me re-thinking the halfling’s place among the PC races.

What if “familial” implied the “half” part of the name “halfling” didn’t refer to their size, but rather to their parentage? In a game world where half-elves and half-orcs make regular appearances, why are there no half-dwarves? Unless, of course, they have always been there in the form of the halfling (which sounds better than “half-dwarf” and is something the dwarf kin probably would use anyway).

If one begins with the assumptions that gnomes are smaller, skinnier dwarves and that gnomes live closer to humans and other races than regular dwarves do, and that halflings have similar saving throw bonuses to dwarves, it is not a huge leap to imagine that halflings are to result of some relationships between the odd gnome and human here and there.

Such an understanding of a halfling makes much more sense to me, and explains that cover of T1 a whole lot better than Tolkien ever did.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Christ is Risen!

Resurrection Day! O peoples, let us brilliantly shine! Pascha, the Lord's Pascha! For Christ our God has out of death passed us over into life, and likewise from earth to heaven, as we now sing unto Him a triumphal hymn. — Ode I of the Katavasias of Pascha

BTW: This whole COVID-19 situation has made my life a whole lot busier, which is why there has been a dearth of posts of late. Me and mine are doing well, I still make time to game...I just haven't been able to make time to do this. Hopefully that will change soon. God willing.