A geek's thoughts and ideas on the RPGs he loves... with an emphasis on 5th edition D&D.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Sorcerer is moving to new digs!

This blog is moving! 

The new address is:  https://scruffygrognard.wordpress.com/

I hope to see any who've happened upon this site at the new, spiffier place!


Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Half-Ogre for 5th Edition D&D


HALF-OGRE

When an ogre mates with a human, hobgoblin, bugbear, or ore, the result is always a half-ogre. (Ogres don't mate with dwarves, halflings, or elves. They eat them.)


The Half-Ogre


MONSTROUS HERITAGE

Human mothers rarely survive the birth of a half-ogre offspring. The half-ogre offspring of an ogre and an orc is also called an ogrillon. An adult half-ogre or ogrillon stands 8 feet tall and weighs 450 pounds on average. 
Skin color and hair color is variable but tends to be brown, grayish, black, dull yellow (skin only) or one of the above with a slight grey-green hue. Overall, half-ogres have swarthy, dull complexions with dark, lank hair. Most half-ogres have human-like eyes, though about 20% have the white pupils common to ogrekind.


TENACIOUS OUTCASTS

Half-ogres, though generally outcasts among humans and feared for their ugliness and size, can find some acceptance among ogres. Half-ogres in an ogre band need to prove themselves constantly to their larger kin, however. For this reason, half-ogres found among an ogre band are cruel, violent, and strong; weaker half-ogres usually wind up in the stew pot. 
Most half-ogres found among full-blooded ogres are leaders of the ogre band or are at least well on their way to becoming leaders. Long years suffering the harsh treatment of their kin help half-ogres develop a sense of cunning and a strong will to survive. Therefore, ogres under the leadership of a half-ogre fight more effectively, even engaging in planned ambushes and complicated tactics that are beyond most ogres.


MIXED BLESSINGS

There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to being a half-ogre. On the positive side, their Large size allows half-ogres to use heavy or versatile weapons one-handed without penalty. Luckily, protective rings, bracers, and amulets may be used by the race, despite their size.

On the negative side, half-ogres are cursed with evil dispositions, prone to sullenness and bouts of rage.  Even when this is not the case half-ogre characters are viewed with fear and suspicion by most civilized folk they come upon. Furthermore, the cost of specially sized armor and clothing required by half-ogres is high, four times the norm for Medium-sized creature, and weight is twice normal. They are also too big to ride anything but a huge horse or an elephant, neither of which is readily available or of low cost.


HUNTED

When struck by any weapon designed to slay humans or giants, half-ogres are considered to be of either race.  Rangers attacking ogres gain the benefits of the favored enemy class ability if they have chosen either humans or giants as favored enemies. The giant killer ability also includes half-ogres as viable targets.


HALF-OGRE NAMES

Half-ogres usually have names appropriate to the culture in which they were raised. Half-ogres raised among ogres typically adopt ogrish or giant names.

Male Names: Durnar, Freki, Gniall, Gragmr, Holg, Magri, Surdrim, Thrum, Urg, Wuld

Female Names: Alda, Denir, Eldra, Helgi, Murren, Ogra, Riasa, Sagrid, Ulle


HALF-OGRE TRAITS

As a half-ogre, you have the following racial traits.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2, and your Constitution score increases by 1.

Age. Half-ogres have lifespans a little shorter than humans. They generally reach maturity at 15 years of age, and live for about 70 years on the average.

Alignment. Half-ogres inherit a tendency toward chaos from their ogre parents, but, like their human parents, they favor neither good nor evil. Half-ogres raised among ogres and willing to live out their lives with them, however, are usually evil.

Menacing. You gain proficiency in the Intimidation skill.

Size. Half-ogres are taller than humans or half-orcs, but not as tall as pure-blood ogres. Half-ogres stand almost eight feet tall and weigh around 450 pounds, making you a Large creature.  You can use wield oversized weapons that deal double the normal dice of  damage on a hit, but cost four times the normal price. Armor must also be made especially
for half-ogres, at a cost of four times the normal price.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision. Adapted to nocturnal pursuits, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Languages. You can speak Common and Giant; while the ability to read and write is relatively common among adventurers raised in civilized lands, half-ogres who grow up among their ogre kin are rarely literate.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Mucking with the D&D Genepool

Now that I'm running a 5th edition classic Greyhawk campaign I'm trying to stir some AD&D flavor into 5th edition... without unbalancing or over-complicating things.

Once easy way to do this is to limit the racial choices permitted at my table while adding new subraces and a new race (the half-ogre) to the mix.


Races that don't make the cut:   Aarakocra, aasimar, deep gnomes, dragonborn, drow, eladrin, tieflings, genasi, and goliaths.  While I have a soft-spot for planar races (aasimar, eladrin, tieflings, and genasi), I'd save them for Planescape.  Drow do exist in Greyhawk but are reclusive, villainous schemers that are seldom seen above ground.  They are best reserved for NPC foes for the PCs.  

RACES OF GREYHAWK

HUMANS
Humans must be from one of the classic Greyhawk cultural groups:  Baklunish, Flannae, Oeridian, Suloise.   I'd probably allow Rhennee characters as well since I may integrate Ravenloft into my campaign.  
Baklunish, Flan, Oeridian, Olman, Rhenee, and Suliose humans


DWARVES
Dwarven characters have no new options in Greyhawk; they must be either hill or mountain dwarves. While duergar do exist, they are a malevolent and largely unknown subrace in Pre-Wars Greyhawk.  


ELVES
As noted above, elven players characters may not choose to be drow but have three new subraces to choose from:  Grey elves (faeries), Valley elves, and Wild elves (grugach).  Both Valley and Wild elves would be exceedingly rare as player characters due to their outlook towards other races:

Grey Elves: These elves are the most noble of elves, and the most aloof. They are of higher intellectual capabilities than other elves, and tend to be taller than high elves. They live in isolated mountain strongholds, and rarely allow access to outsiders. They have silver hair and amber eyes, or gold hair and violet eyes, and wear clothes of white, silver, yellow and gold, and usually wear regally colored cloaks. Those with gold hair are generally called faeries. They worship the standard elven pantheon and are played as high elves, except that they may replace the standard elven ability score increase to Dexterity with a +1 increase and increase their Intelligence score by 2.

Valley Elves: Valley elves are thought to be an offshoot of the gray elves and have all of the powers and abilities of that subrace, but speak the gnomish language as a  starting language.  Valley elves are unusually tall, some of them growing to the height of humans, with hair color of silver or gold and eyes of amber and violet. They are shunned by other elven sub-races, who do not consider them “true elves” but are greeted with goodwill by gnomes.  The name of valley elves is derived from the Valley of the Mage, where the sub-race is headquartered in the WORLD OF GREYHAWK™ Fantasy Game Setting. They are played as high elves, except that their extra language must be Gnomish.  Valley elves are distrustful of outsiders, to the point of xenophobia. Valley elves are despised by all other elven subraces, including the drow.  The reason for such antipathy is uncertain, but some have speculated that it was because they sold their loyalty to a powerful master in exchange for extraplanar knowledge. Despite their xenophobia, valley elves work closely with the gnomes and humans of the Vale of the Mage to be in defense of their mutual home. Most needs of the valley elves are provided by the Mage of the Valley. Foraging makes up for the rest.

Wild Elves: Wild elves, or grugach, are the most reclusive of all the elves; xenophobic towards all other races including other elves. The wild elves, who are found in the depths of the Phostwood, pride themselves on their isolation and skill at keeping hidden. Their skin tends to be brown and they have similar colored hair which lightens with age. They are played as wood elves but gain proficiency with spears in place of longsword proficiency.



GNOMES
Surface and deep gnomes use the Gnome Traits presented in The Player’s Handbook on pages 36-7. Use the subraces below for Greyhawk gnomes:



Surface Gnomes: Surface gnomes, also called rock gnomes, normally dwell in shallow cave complexes close to the surface. Gnome villages can be hard to find, as they blend with nature and even artificial structures are often constructed to resemble trees, rocks, or hills. Though naturally a hill-dwelling folk, orcish and goblinoid threats have driven many gnomes into the plains of human-dominated lands where they seek help to reestablish their old heartlands. Many, too, co-exist with elves in the woodlands; where the elves are active in working with human interests, so are the gnomes. Surface gnomes often share living space with dwarves, and are a brave, tough folk who are loyal to their neighbors and fight side by side with them. While they are not particularly fond of water, surface gnomes are more willing than dwarves are to live in such areas, and gnomes have even been reported dwelling in bubbles of air in undersea caverns. Gnomes have also been reported in the arctic and in places with mild volcanic activity. The traits and abilities for surface gnomes are:
  • Ability Score Increase: Your Constitution score increases by 1.
  • Gnomish Combat Training: You have proficiency with the warpick and warhammer.
  • Speak with Small Beasts: Through sounds and gestures, you can communicate simple ideas with Small or smaller beasts. Surface gnomes love animals and often keep squirrels, badgers, rabbits, moles, woodpeckers, and other creatures as beloved pets. 
  • Stonecunning: Whenever you make an Intelligence (History) check related to the origin of stonework, you are considered proficient in the History skill and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.

Deep Gnomes: In the dark below earth, svirfneblin protect their enclaves, keeping their small communities safe from the terrors of the lightless depths. Serious creatures, these gnomes vary greatly from their surface cousins by choosing to live in the shadowy depths and protect the world above from the foul creatures sharing their chambers, vaults, and tunnels. Svirfneblin closely resemble their rock gnome cousins; they are slightly thinner than rock gnomes, though just as strong. Male svirfneblin have little or no hair, while females have thin, stringy hair typically worn no longer than shoulder length. Their skin is the color of rock, typically gray or brown. Their eyes are always some shade of gray. They are stunted and gnarled creatures averaging three to three-and-a-half feet in height. They gain the typical Gnome Traits, though they make speak Undercommon in place of Common and tend towards neutral alignment. 
  • Use the Elemental Evil Players Companion rules for deep gnome player characters.
HALFLINGS
Both lightfoot and stout halflings are played as described in The Player’s Handbook. Tallfellow halflings may also be played in the Greyhawk setting:

Tallfellows: Taller, thinner, and fairer than their halfling cousins, it is rumored that elven blood runs in the veins of tallfellows. Tallfellow halflings are on good terms with elvenkind and often build their communities within woodland havens. They are played as lightfoot halflings but replace the Naturally Stealthy ability of lightfoots with the Mask of the Wild ability of wood elves:
  • Mask of the Wild: You can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena.
HALF-ELVES
Half-elves are played as described in The Player's Handbook

HALF-ORCS
Half-orcs are played as described in The Player's Handbook, except that some (10% chance) pass for humans.

Coming soon:  The Half-ogre