Alternate Emeraldscale Eel Attack

There’s a really neat feature that some eels possess called a pharyngeal jaw.  It’s basically a “second extending” jaw that is designed to hold prey.  Pretty badass I must say.  So if you want to give your eel that nifty bite, replace the current bite and tail flick with this single non-melee basic, standard action attack…

Pharyngeal Bite * At-Will

  • Requirement: The eel must not have a creature currently restrained.
  • Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); + 11 vs. AC
  • Hit: 2d6 +4 damage and the target is restrained until the end of the eel’s next turn.

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So Monte Cook Dropped Me a Line

Okay so it was just that….one line. Let me tell you why I’m hyped! I sent Monte Cook (if you don’t know who he is Google him….I’ll wait) a free copy of City Slices I: Marketplace Fun and basically thanked him for being him.  Monte Cook’s résumé is, in my opinion, without peer in the industry and his mega-supplement Ptolus is without equal on the bookshelf. Not only has Monte been an influence on my own personal design style and game philosophy, he’s also been a personal influence on my own positive outlook.

A wee bit of backstory so you can understand my excitement.  Mr. Cook didn’t know me from the ‘man on the moon’ when he took the time to speak with me at GenCon over a decade ago.  He basically offered me the “go for it and follow your dreams” talk when I asked him about writing game material.  And he also said “Call me Monte” when I addressed him as “Mr.Cook”.  It was the most brief and basic of interactions but it was a big deal to a fan of D&D in general and of the man himself specifically.

Fast forward too many years, I finally have my own tiny publishing business and I’m making pdfs and having a great time.  Reviews are coming in and people are saying, “hey….good stuff.”  So I thought, “It’s time to go back and thank some of my influences.”  Unfortunately Mr. Gygax is gone and I still have an e-mail to send to Tony Diterlizzi, but I happened to catch Monte.  I sent him an e-mail saying to the effect of, “here’s a free copy of my latest and best effort as a thank you for your efforts and your time.”  And guess what?  He did it again.  One line: “Thanks!  Looks Great!”.  That was it…he didn’t ask me to join Malhavoc Press, he didn’t invite me over for steaks on the grill.  He just took time (that I know he has in very, very finite supply)  to thank me and tell me the product looked great. I’d say it was unexpected, but after meeting Monte in Wisconsin it was exactly what I expected.  Mr. Cook hasn’t forgotten that he too was a dreamy-eyed youth and he had heroes.  He intuitively understood exactly how much an e-mail back would mean…so of course he did it.

Monte, thanks again, for the ‘shot in the arm’.  I’m going to keep pursuing the dream with my goal to one day be the one dispensing the encouragement.  I certainly won’t forget to say “Thanks” to anyone who (dare I even dream it) cites me as an influence.

Until then, I’m redoubling my efforts on my next series of products.  It’s amazing what a couple positive words can do.

If Larry King Commented on D&D

With apologies to Mr. King himself and ESPN the Magazine (who does an “If Larry King wrote for us” shtick).

Don’t know about you but I figure these ‘fortune cards’ are gonna be the biggest thing to hit D&D since THACO.  I just made fifth level in my weekend campaign…25 more levels and Orcus is goin’ down!      Have you seen how well the essentials mage tanks?  Trust me take the feats you need and have him slap on some plate mail…you won’t regret it.     I’m not sure what to think but I hear they got Ernie Gygax to write 5th edition- might just be a rumor though.      Have you squared off against the purple worm in the Monster Vault boxed set yet?  We’ve been TPK’ed six times….’course starting over with first level characters each time might have something to do with it.      Adventurer’s Vault 3, WOTC finally debuts the ‘hardheaded packmule’ (level 3 soldier), you heard it here first!    Is it just me or is there a TON of water in the Desert of Athas terrain tiles?  Well that’s it for now, I’m off to use the DDI character builder to put together my half-goliath, half-drow multi-class bard/starlock!

City Slices I is here!

In case you haven’t seen City Slices I: Marketplace Fun is selling like crazy at rpgnow.com.  30 adventure bits with marketplace stalls, food vendors, skill challenges and more.  Optimized for 4E but the fluff works with any fantasy rpg.  Check it out!



The Vanquishers Campaign: What to do with a sick DM.

William gets sick.  If you’re friends with him, it’s a fact of life.  He takes medication just fine, and, as far as I know it’s rare that he ever gets seriously ill, but if there’s a sniffle to be had, he’ll get it.  I think if he talks to a sick person on the phone he gets sick.  This inevitability reared its ugly head on last weeks game.  We played, but it didn’t further the story much because, let’s be honest, he was sick enough that it wouldn’t have shocked anyone if he’d cancelled altogether (not sure if anyone realizes how close I was to canceling: I felt like I couldn’t give the performance my players deserved.  As a DM with adult players, most with children, I know how valuable their time is…I feel like if I don’t hit a grand slam every time, the session has been an utter failure.)

In the story, however, with our many available gangs to battle with, we helped eliminate the current lowest gang by removing their final 4 members.  It was interesting because we got to watch JohnO (the Bard) go one on one with a rogue.  This provided a fair amount of fireworks because our team was there under the guise of “auditioning” to join the gang and JohnO’s character was the one speaking, so he was thrown to the wolves.  Take note, Bards aren’t very good at going mano-a-mano(obviously not all Bards, just his particular build, you can make any character good at anything you want- hence us making my Invoker a tank).  His greatest powers are triggered from his allies hitting or being hit and one on one combat doesn’t give too many opportunities for that… actually… none.  JohnO softened the Rogue and Ed the Barbarian finished off almost the entire rest of the group himself.  It was a bloodbath (an incredible understatement….we knew barbarians were great, we knew they dished out tons of damage, but Ed dropped one bloodied foe and two totally healthy foes in a single round.  It was jaw-dropping.)

This week coming is exciting.  We have Christmas coming up AND it’s Ed the Barbarian’s birthday on our regular game night.  I believe the “snacking” may be some of our best work (scotch eggs? anyone?).  And, since William had such a rough week last week, we’re nearly guaranteed to get some juicy elements in this week’s game.  Our current status is at Level 3 mostly, and we seem to be moving along well.  I’ll post after next game as best as possible with all the other festivities going on, and hope I’ll be able to wish you all a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa or Happy whichever Pagan holiday you happen to celebrate.  Take care everyone and enjoy (Murry Crimas! and God save the leucrottas!).

-BMo

Love Kobold Slingers?

If you love the little pot-slinging bastards as much as I do head on over to the freebies section for 8 new pots to bash your players with!

The Vanquishers Campaign: I Now Know How College Basketball Players Feel

Playing a moral compass isn’t easy.  I never really liked the concept, mostly because it just plain seemed annoying.  “Oh my, the Gods would frown upon that, don’t you think?”  There’s a certain amount of pompous mixed with a certain amount of just plain asshole involved with it- and really, I’m kinda there to help the DM tell the story, not to be his referee.  And, speaking of referees, that’s what we’re going to discuss this week.  It’s kind of easy to be the fighter, you get yourself into the situation and everyone else bails you out because you can defend yourself long enough to stay upright.  Your decisions are based on whether you think you think he can crack your armor before you kill him or your friends arrive.  With a spellcaster, it’s not so easy.  You choose your words carefully early on because one solid shot, and you’re done. (Bmo goes a lil old school here, spellslingers aren’t nearly as ‘squishy’ in 4e, and I think we’ve found a way for his invoker to be a mini-tank…more to come on that in future posts)  You aren’t normally geared up to take a huge blow, so you keep your mouth shut until you know what you’re talking about then speak to benefit the party.

The Vanquisher Campaign: And here… we… go!

This is a new series of posts written by both BMO and William (appearing in red) – gamer and DM (that’s me!) , for William C. Pfaff’s new “Vanquisher Campaign”.  I get to gloat about some of the things that I think make 4E great (less prep time for the DM more time for the FUN), brag about how much I enjoy playing under William as a DM with his somewhat unique (somewhat?) approach to running the game, and he gets to explain to everyone some of the tricks (but not all of them…for that you have to take one of my special DMing classes) that make his methods so effective.  This is a bit of an experiment, so the format may change a bit, but, for now, I,  BMO,  will write, then William will add in after the fact (thusly).

Let me begin with a very special shout-out.  The “Big Nerd” himself, the famous Shawn Henry, who IS our friend, inspired this series.  The poor guy is stuck in a larger town than we live in and yet doesn’t have a gaming group.  He was so excited about the prospect of this campaign that he pleaded with me to blog the happenings so he could live vicariously.  Not only that, today is Shawn’s birthday, so, as a gift, I think everyone should go check out his amazing art and figure out a way to buy stuff off of him at The Big Nerd.

Ok, with that out of the way, let’s get to the juicy stuff.  You must be wondering, “Is this campaign bloody like William warned? -Brett from Lexington”, Yes.  With no actual defender, we bleed a lot.  Luckily, we have a Bard that seems to have just the right powers at just the right time to keep us upright (Despite the massive chunks of damage done by the strikers Johno’s Bard was easily MVP of the first session. As a DM I was truly impressed at the leap John has made from last campaign to this one in terms of both rules knowledge and willingness to ‘jump right in’. Kudos to Johno!).

The Vanquisher Campaign: The Countdown is Officially ON!

This is a new series of posts written by both BMO and William (appearing in red) – gamer and DM (that’s me!) , for William C. Pfaff’s new “Vanquisher Campaign”.  I get to gloat about some of the things that I think make 4E great (less prep time for the DM more time for the FUN), brag about how much I enjoy playing under William as a DM with his somewhat unique (somewhat?) approach to running the game, and he gets to explain to everyone some of the tricks (but not all of them…for that you have to take one of my special DMing classes) that make his methods so effective.  This is a bit of an experiment, so the format may change a bit, but, for now, I,  BMO,  will write, then William will add in after the fact (thusly).

BMO:  T-minus a bit over 48 hours (sure wish I had the finished map drawn…sigh….more ‘5 hour energy’ coming online) until we roll characters for the Vanquisher Campaign.  I’m reporting in with limited knowledge of what’s going on altogether, but I do know this, we’re going OLD SCHOOL.  I can hear the traditionalists sinking in, cracking open a Mountain Dew, and getting comfortable in their office chairs as they read that.  (Admit it, you cheered a little, I know it.)

Yes, this campaign will apparently be a nod, (a throwback even), to the days when treasures came from a table, healing came from a potion and diplomacy was served at the tip of a blood-stained sword.  Everyone is pumped!

…except me.