Friday, January 24, 2020

The Inciting Challenge

Here's a bit of unused content for another game.

Is it a blessing? Is it a curse? A gift from the gods? A mutation? A natural part of the world that anyone can invoke if they know something's True Name?

I don't know. It's your problem now.

The Inciting Challenge works as follows:

For all targets: You invoke The Inciting Challenge by invoking a character's True Name and issuing a challenge to fight. That character must make a save vs. spells (or Will, or Wisdom, or the local equivalent) at -10. If they fail, they are immediately overcome with rage and wish to kill The Challenger. They can still act intelligently, but automatically fail any actions that do not involve attacking or preparing to attack The Challenger and they will not willingly leave sight of The Challenger. Conversely, those affected by The Inciting Challenge gain a +5 to attacks and saves when fighting The Challenger. Once invoked, The Inciting Challenge is permanent unless undone by magic that removes curses, greater restoration or its equivalent, or any of the wish variants. Not even death revokes The Inciting Challenge; unless the corpse is sanctified or obliterated (and sometimes not even then), the decedent will often return as undead to attempt to kill The Challenger. If The Inciting Challenge is revoked, the target is aware it was magically manipulated. (The Inciting Challenge is otherwise not obvious, although an active detect magic spell can sense enchantment magic when The Inciting Challenge is invoked.)
     If The Challenger leaves the target's presence, the target will attempt to hunt down the target and confront them to the best of their ability. They do not have a supernatural ability to find The Challenger, but will usually devote all available resources to doing so. Additionally, if the target tells anyone about The Challenger, that person must also save vs. spells at -10 or else be affected by The Inciting Challenge against The Challenger.
     If The Challenger is slain, the target’s bloodlust ends, but it will return if The Challenger returns to life.

For non-player character targets: The target’s NPC attitude turns Hostile while under the influence of The Inciting Challenge, and cannot be modified by The Challenger or their companions under any means.

For player character targets: Player characters get a little more agency than NPCs, and so do not need to make a save vs. spells to avoid The Inciting Challenge. Instead, PCs get A Choice.
1) Ignore The Inciting Challenge.
2) Accept The Inciting Challenge. If the character accepts, they get the same +5 bonus on attacks and saves against The Challenger. They can take other actions without penalty. If they kill The Challenger, they gain a level immediately, gaining enough experience to be 1 XP away from the next level above that. (So a Level 6 character who kills The Challenger becomes Level 7 and is 1 XP away from Level 8.) This level gain is not subject to the one-level-per-adventure restriction of most old school games, so the character very well may gain a second level at the end of the session. If The Challenger gets away, the target automatically spends half the treasure they earn each session trying to find The Challenger until they find and slay The Challenger. If The Challenger plays in a FLAILSNAILS game, the GM should always grant a target of The Inciting Challenge a spot in the game if possible, even if session membership is usually random.

On True Names: In a pre-industrial society, True Names usually comprise a character's first and last name (or first name and title), although some characters may keep their actual names secret, instead going by an alias. (Although characters need to watch that, as an alias might become a character's True Name if it is more widely known!) Creatures such as gods, spirits, demons, and ancient dragons often exist in multiple planes simultaneously, and so have appropriately-complex True Names that are often obscure.
     The GM is the ultimate arbiter of what constitutes a creature’s True Name.

Friday, January 10, 2020

The Legend of Drusilla God-Biter

Torinn's axe has tasted of the blood of a god, and now seeks more.

Since it's entirely possible this axe might show up anywhere in the multiverse, I put it into the aethers for the consumption of the internet.

The stats below are for 5e, but it's pretty easy to convert: +3 greataxe dealing extra damage vs. dragons and gods, it can be used to parry cleric spells with a visible vector (like spiritual weapon or whatever), it can cast dispel magic once a day (but the axe chooses when to do it and will usually target cleric magic), and it can destroy any god-wrought artifact (but is destroyed in the process).

Drusilla God-biter is Neutral, and wishes to goad its user into conflict with dragons and gods, particularly evil ones.

If you use Drusilla God-biter, let me know! Let its legend grow. (Although the rumor is that Torinn is incredibly possessive of his axe, so beware...)

Drusilla God-biter, the Wyrmfoe
Weapon (greataxe), legendary (requires attunement by a creature of non-evil alignment)
Once just a mundane blade, Drusilla God-biter is a rough-hewn greataxe of orcish make.  Its blade is marred by a black stain that runs along the edge and is splattered across the blade; this stain occasionally writhes and changes, shimmering like motor oil when illuminated.  The rest of the blade is strangely clean and glitters like platinum.  In sunlight, draconic runes in some ancient dialect are faintly visible along the haft.
You gain a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic greataxe.  It has the following additional properties.
Wyrmfoe.  When you hit a dragon with this weapon, the dragon takes an extra 3d6 slashing damage. For the purposes of this weapon, “dragon” refers to any creature with the dragon type, including dragon turtles and wyverns.
Godsbane.  When you hit a deity with this weapon, it takes an extra 3d6 slashing damage and its regeneration trait does not function at the start of its next turn.  For the purposes of this weapon, “deity” refers to any creature as designated by the DM — typically a unique aberration, celestial, fey, fiend, or undead.
Doom of Divinity.  When you are targeted by a divine spell attack, you may use your Reaction to make a special melee Attack roll with this weapon.  If your attack roll is higher than the spell caster’s attack roll, the spell is negated as if by a counterspell.  For the purposes of this weapon, “divine spell attack” refers to any spell attack by a spell from the cleric, druid, paladin, or ranger spell list, as well as spell attacks by deities.  It can also refer to the spell attacks of other creatures with unique ties to the gods at the DM’s discretion.
Drusilla God-biter can cast dispel magic once per day.  It decides when to cast the spell, and will usually target divine magic.
Drusilla God-biter can be used to destroy even artifacts and unique magics wrought by the gods, but is destroyed in the process.
Sentience.  Drusilla God-biter is a sentient neutral weapon with an Intelligence of 9, a Wisdom of 12, and a Charisma of 14.  It has hearing and darkvision out to 120 feet.
The weapon communicates telepathically with its wielder, and can speak, read, and understand Common and Draconic.
Personality.  Drusilla God-biter seeks the destruction of dragons and deities, particularly evil ones.  Conflict arises if the wielder fails to destroy dragons or deities when the opportunity arises.
Drusilla God-biter is gruff, grim, and matter-of-fact, albeit with a vaguely maternal tone toward its wielder.  It is somewhat distrustful of arcane magic but seems to truly disagree with the precepts of divine magic, claiming the gods as petty tyrants who seek to control the fates and souls of sapient beings.  It similarly claims that dragons are attempting the same thing in a pale and rote imitation of the gods.
It has some measure of respect for the god Bahamut, whom it seems to regard as its creator.  (But it would probably still goad its wielder to attack him if given the opportunity.)
If someone proselytizes in its vicinity, Drusilla God-biter will speak out against them, trying to provoke an argument.

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