Monday Pointers, 2014-10-27

D4: Possessing the Elf

As plenty of people have pointed out over the past 40 odd years, D&D elves have evolved into Mary Sues, basically prettier, more graceful humans that fight like fighters and cast like magic-users. What could be the reality of this pretty facade? An alternate take on the LotFP (and similar games) Elf class.

D6: What Do Spells Tell Us

In the tradition of exploring the OD&D implied setting an analysis of what setting the Fifth Edition spell lists imply.

D8: More Implications

Speaking of implied settings, what are the implications of the original Fiend Folio as an implied setting.

D10: Rifter Reviews

An entire blog’s worth.

C is for Cyborg

The Cyborg is type of fighter. He has decided to trade parts of his body for mechanical replacements. This make him tougher and faster but at the cost of connection to the natural world. This both makes him less able to use magic and less able to heal from damage versus being repaired.

For all rules effects except as noted below treat him as a fighter per the S&W Whitebox rules or whatever baseline rules set you are using.

Hit points: The biggest complexity of the cyborg is he has both normal hit points (based on his biological being) and superhuman hit points (for his cyborg parts). These need to be tracked separately.

Normal hit points are gained as per the S&W rules. See the chart below, however, for modifiers to the roll at each level.

Superhuman hit points start at zero and are gained once at character creation based on which body parts are replaced. Superhuman hit points take damage first but cannot be healed naturally or magically (exception: some technomancer repair spells) but must actually be repaired. If there is spillover damage after superhuman hit points are all lost they spill over to regular hit points and any multiplier is applied to those points before damage is taken.

Replacement Parts:

The player must choose at character generation which body parts have been replaced.

Body Part Armor Class Improvement Supernatural Hit Points Hit Dice Penalty Other Advantages
Off Arm -1[+1] +2 -1 Hand to hand damage becomes superhuman
+1 penalty to fine motor skill activities
Favored Arm -1[+1]

+2 -1 Melee weapon damage becomes superhuman
+1 penalty to fine motor skill activities; loses half of all bonuses from magic weapons.
Legs -2[+2] +6 -2 Double all movement rates
Torso -2[+2] +6 -2 +2 to all saving throws against physical damage/attacks; loses ability use magical potions
Head -2[+2] +6 -2 +2 to all saving throws against magical damage/attacks; gain dark vision initially and one sense addition every odd level up to (and including) level 9; loses ability to use magical scrolls and any magic item with an activation word;

Hit dice penalty applies at all hit dice rolls after first level. It cannot result in negative hit points but can result in zero being gained. In fact, taking any combo that leads to -6 or more will mean the character is at max hit points ever at first level.

If all available replacement parts are taken (full cyborg) the character no longer needs to eat but will lose 1 superhuman hit point per week without regular preventive maintenance (not field maintenance).

Additional sense abilities for a cyborg head should be a permanent version of a sense enhancing spell. More powerful spells (such as detect invisible) should require a sensors skill roll.

Skills:Field mechanic and survival at 1. In addition, starting at level 2 the gain one skill point per even level. Characters with a cyborg head may spend points on sensors skill.

A is for APEMaN

The pride of the US Army in the period right before The Night of Blood and Tears was the Extended Mobility and Neutralization piloted robot. Designed for long term survivability they were the first successful attempt at larger than human sized fighting armor. While very few were deployed prior to the war they were very effective against demons, dragons, and inter-dimensional beings. As society collapsed one or more pilots were able to build fiefs by protecting the local populace with the suits as the stiffener to local militia.

While not hugely common between their strong survivability and the occasional unit found now and then in military caches they are still seen. Most suits are family heirlooms and most of those are held by de facto or outright noble families ruling over a small barony or county across the country side. Many adventurers fantasize about finding a suit and becoming a baron in their own right. While they are able to stand up to an individual dragon or demon, massed contemporary combat equipment, such as deployed by Superior and the other Lake States, can defeat an individual unit or even a small squad despite the individual superiority of the EMaN robot.

As Superior drives to expand they are pushing many barons out of their fiefs and the few that survive with their armor intact, or more often their children after a coup, have taken to the wilds as mercenaries and adventurers look for revenge or a new home.

Creating a APEMaN (Armor Pilot, Extended Mobility and Neutralization)

Requirements and abilities

Dexterity Requirement: 10+
Weapon and Armor Restrictions:APEMaN are trained in warfare and, as such,
have no restrictions on the kind of weapons or armor they can use.
Saving Throw:APEMaN receive a +2 bonus on saving throws vs. death and
poison (if using the alternative “Saving Throw Matrix” save as a fighter).
Experience Bonus for Dexterity: The APEMaN’s prime attribute is Dexterity and he thus gets a 5% XP bonus for a Dexterity of 15+.
Initial Skills: Armor Pilot and Field Mechanic at 2. Survival all at 1.

Level Advancement

Use the experience point totals, hit points, to-hit, and saving throws from the S&W Whitebox Edition.

In addition, starting at level 2 the APEMaN gains one skill point per level.

Starting Equipment

Armor Selection 2d20
2-4 No armor
5-10 Fully Functional Teutonic Armor
11-15 Hospitaller Armor with max half-hitpoints
16-17 Fully Functional Hospitaller Armor
18-19 Templar Armor with max half-hitpoints
20 Fully Functional Templar Armor

APEMaN characters also start out with 3d10 rounds of rail gun ammo. The rail guns can be armed with improvised ammo but with two effects. First, improvised ammo does 1d6 Extraordinary Damage, not Superhuman. Second, on a roll or 1 on any attack roll with improvised ammo the rail gun will jam. Clearing it in combat is hard task and fumbling it makes it impossible to clear in combat. Clearing can be done automatically in 1d8 hours outside of combat.

Given PC APEMaN are wanderers despite their equipment they tend to have little money. They start with 2d4x10 gold pieces or Superior Dollars (their choice).


  1. The EMaN Robot will be described on Wednesday, April 6 as the E entry in the challenge.
  2. The hit point and damage types will be described on Tuesday, April 5 as the D (damage) entry in the challenge.
  3. Skills are chance the chance in 12 on a d12, the same as finding secret doors in the S&W rules.

All RDR material is seriously alpha at this point. My first play test game will be the first Saturday in May.

Initiates of Mithras


Mithras lead our people here when the false Emperor tried to lead them across the seas. He slew a bull in ritual and made its hide into his cloak. When he opened his cloak it became a door into his world. He had gathered us to help his people fight the great evil to the East only to find that during his wanderings they had tasted its corruption. Now we stand as a bulwark against that evil and its spreading corruption.

Those who were his closest followers learned the secrets of his ways and have taught those to worthy soldiers and others since we first came here. Now those initiated in the Mysteries of Mithras wander the world bringing light and purity to those threatened by darkness and corruption.

Class Statistics

Fights and saves as a fighter (but gains no special fighter abilities). May use any weapons, armor, and all magic items allowed fighters (with an exception, see the table).

At name level (Pater) they may create a Mithraeum, an underground windowless complex for the worship of Mithras. He will attract 5d6 individuals wishing to be initiated into the Mysteries (1st level Initates).

Experience Level Title Hit Dice Class Ability
0 1 Corax 1d8 Purify Food and Water (as per cleric spell)
1600 2 Nymphus 2d8 Light (as per cleric spell)
3200 3 Miles 3d8 Shield (as per magic-user spell)
9600 4 Miles 4d8
19,200 5 Leo 5d8 Thunder Bolts (magical bolts that always strike and do 2d4 damage)
40,000 6 Perses 6d8 Infravision
80,000 7 Heliodromus 7d8 Protection from Evil (10′ radius)
160,000 8 Heliodromus 8d8
320,000 9 Pater 9d8 May use any magical staff or rod (but not wands)
420,000 10 Pater 9d8+1
+100,000 +1 Pater +1

Ability Uses per Day

Level Purify Food and Water Light Shield Thunderbolts Protection from Evil 10′
1 1
2 1 1
3 1 1 1
4 2 1 2
5 2 1 2 3
6 2 1 2 3
7 2 2 2 3 1
8 2 2 2 3 2
9 2 2 2 6 2
10 3 2 2 10 3
11 3 2 2 10 3
12 3 2 3 10 3
13 3 3 3 10 4
14 3 3 3 10 4
15 4 3 3 21 4
16 4 3 3 21 5
17 4 4 4 21 5
18 4 4 4 21 5
19 5 4 4 28 6
20 5 4 4 36 6


  1. This class was created using Erin Smale’s Perfect Class and is designed for a Rules Cyclopedia game using no weapons mastery rules.
  2. It should work fine in most of the retro-clones although if the RC abilities for fighters are not in use increase the XP required by 800/1600/3200/6400/13000/26000/52000/1040000 thereafter.
  3. If playing a RC game using weapons mastery lower the XP by 400/800/1600/3200/8000/1600/32000/64000/128000 there after.
  4. The titles are patterned after those in the Wikipedia article on the Mithratic Mysteries. The abilities are drawn from the symbols on the system.
  5. Mithras was mostly worshipped by soliders so this is mostly a fighter class.
  6. The abilities for the first eight levels are based on roughly the level 1-4 cleric progression. In Smale’s system I rated this as roughly 1/3 cleric ability due to the cut off at 4th level and the inflexibility.
  7. Infravision lasts 24 hours so instead of a per day usage I just made it a permenant ability.
  8. The staff/rod usage is costed as scroll usage in Smale’s system.
  9. In my campaign world Mithras was someone from that world who came to earth during the early Roman Imperial period and wandered the empire gaining followers to succur his people who were under attack by a great evil. He lead some of the last legions of out Britain when Constantine III crossed the English Channel but instead of leading them to the Continent he lead them to the campaign world.

Suggestions are very welcome.

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