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TREASURY OF GAMES: ALTERNATE ADVENTURING FIGHTER

While Wizards cast different spells, and Clerics are granted various miraculous powers, Fighters train in the skills of combat. There are three areas of training for a fighter:

– Dueling, which deals with single opponents. The passive bonus of Dueling adds to Defense.
– Duelists are also skilled in witty banter, womanizing, riding, athletic feats, attack rolls for fancy maneuvers, medium sized weapons, paired weapons, civilized gambling (baccarat, bridge, etc.), and fine cuisine (both identifying and preparing).

– Brawling, which deals with multiple opponents. The passive bonus of Brawling allows the fighter to attack multiple opponents of lower hit dice.
– Brawlers are skilled in grappling, unarmed fighting, improvised weapons, small weapons, drinking without passing out, bar bets, whoring, low gambling, and bad food that won’t kill you (identifying or preparing).

– Killing, which teaches how opponents may be slain – or incapacitated (it is necessary to know what kills to avoid doing it accidentally). The passive bonus of Killing adds to attack (and sometimes damage) rolls.
– Killers are skilled with all weapons, not only attacking with them but caring for and cleaning them. Killers know how to negotiate a price, and how to intimidate others. Killers aren’t necessarily stealthy, but they do know how to conceal their weapons about their person, even larger ones sometimes (though this is difficult, and requires props large enough to disguise the weapons).

Fighters learn one skill each level. At level 1, the fighter gets a passive bonus from the specialization tree he or she learned a skill from. Fighters above level 1 who have no skills outside of one tree gain the full passive bonus (equal to level), full level bonus in the skill checks of that specialization, plus extra depending on the specialization.
– Dueling adds the ability to taunt an opponent into single combat, requiring that opponent to make a save or else accept the challenge.
– Brawling adds defense when fighting multiple opponents.
– Killing adds its bonus to damage rolls as well as attack rolls.

Fighters with skills in multiple specializations get the full passive bonus and skill check bonus in the one with the most skills, half of them in the one with the second most, and none of the passive bonus (half level skill check bonus with at least one skill) in the other. None of the extra bonuses are gained, because versatility sacrifices the benefits of exclusive focus. Fighters who have learned a Master level skill in a specialization may gain its extra bonus even if they have skills in another specialization. The secondary and tertiary specializations remain unchanged in how much bonus they get.

Hit Die: d8

Fighter skills are organized into tiers of skill, based on how deep into a specialization the fighter must be to learn them:
Tier Skills Required
Novice 0
Student 2
Advanced 6
Master 14

//Skills per tier:
//Novice – 3
//Student – 5
//Advanced – 7
//Master – 2

Dueling Novice Skills

Parry-Riposte
– When an attack misses the fighter, he may make his attack on the enemy who missed him immediately, instead of waiting for his next combat turn; this uses his combat turn, and he may not do this if he has taken an action this round.

En Garde
– Against one opponent, the fighter is ready to defend; when that opponent would hit, the fighter may roll an opposed check against the attack roll. If the fighter beats the attacker’s roll, the attack is parried, and does not hit.

Feint
– Opponents of lower level cannot get a bonus to defense based on their level against this fighter.

Dueling Student Skills

Disarm
– When attempting to disarm an opponent, the fighter may dictate what happens to the disarmed weapon on a success – it can be taken in a free hand, flung to a particular place on the battlefield or to an ally with a free hand, etc. (Normally the GM would dictate what happens to a disarmed weapon)

Trip
– The fighter may attempt to trip an opponent with any weapon, not just weapons which are well suited to it.

Blind
– Instead of a damaging attack, the fighter can attack to get something in the opponent’s eyes (describe appropriately for setting; dust, a bedsheet, burning cinders, etc. all work equally well). The opponent will fight as if blind for 1d4 rounds (1d6 or 1d8 if the GM considers the blinding tool especially effective) if the attack hits.

Stun
– A swift jab with a blunt part of the weapon or with the fighter’s body knocks the opponent off balance in some way – whether leaving him breathless, senseless, or wobbling, the effect is the same. That opponent skips his next turn in combat due to recovering (instead of taking damage), if this special attack is successful.

Grapple
– The fighter has trained to use any melee weapon to damage an opponent in a grapple, not just specialized grappling aids.

Dueling Advanced Skills

High Ground
– When taking advantage of a bonus granted by terrain, this fighter is so adept that the bonus is doubled.

Leaping Attack
– When executing a leaping attack, the fighter’s weapon(s) is(are) considered one size larger for damage.

Strike and Move
– When successfully striking an opponent, the fighter may take an extra movement to a spot just outside that opponent’s reach.

Unexpected Angle
– This fighter has trained so that he charges from an oblique angle, and does not lose any defense for charging.

Inside the Guard
– If this fighter remains adjacent to an opponent after attacking in melee, then on the next turn her attack against that opponent ignores any skill or agility based defense bonuses.

Feign Weakness
– For a combat turn, the fighter drops his defense bonus from level. He gains a counterattack against any opponents who attack him while he uses this stance, which does not require his action. (if used with parry-riposte, it IS possible to counterattack the same enemy twice; it IS possible to both Feign Weakness and be En Garde against the same opponent – just remember that Feign Weakness applies to all opponents, while En Garde applies to only one)

Instant Readiness
– It does not take this fighter an action to read her weapons, and she loses no defense against surprise attacks.

Dueling Master Skills

Minimum Effort
– This master duelist suffers no defense penalty for engaging in strenuous or attention-focusing tasks like lifting heavy objects or engaging in delicate negotiations. These tasks are also not penalized for defending against attacks.

Coup de Gras
– If the opponent is suffering any kind of penalty to defense, this master duelist may exploit it; foregoing any damage, attacks against such opponents may cause them to die on a failed save.

Brawling Novice Skills

Skull Crack
– Skulls sound like hollow coconuts when cracked together. That discovery is inherent in discovering this skill: how to grapple two opponents at once.

Shoulder Throw
– Also known as a hip check, hard shove, etc. The skill of moving an opponent, violently. When voluntarily ending a grapple, this fighter can throw an opponent (level + strength bonus) meters in a straight line. Any attack may forego damage to push the opponent half that far.

Reverse Strike
– In a crowd, there are always enemies behind you. The fighter with this skill has tricks to counter them, and suffers no penalties to attacking or defending for being flanked.

Brawling Student Skills

Dual Strike
– So many enemies, so little time! This fighter has such experience fighting groups that any time he attacks one enemy in melee, he may attack a second one as well. This doubles each attack made with the passive brawling bonus.

Send Them On
– When an opponent misses her, this fighter may throw that opponent as if with Shoulder Throw.

Borrowed Weapons
– When voluntarily ending a grapple, this fighter may steal an opponent’s weapon with any free hand.

Crowd Chaos
– For each combatant – ally or enemy – adjacent to him, this fighter gains +1 defense.

Single Out
– Some opponents are more important than others; this skill allows a fighter to forego damage to maneuver an opponent into a corner or other disadvantageous position – and, most importantly, a position where no other combatant can assist him without going through the fighter.

Brawling Advanced Skills

Triple Strike
– This refinement of brawling allows a fighter to strike simultaneously with every limb she isn’t standing on. This fighter must first know Dual Strike; upon learning Triple Strike, the number of opponents hit at once in melee becomes three instead of two.

Keep Distance
– Some crowds, you don’t want to mingle with. Using dirty tricks and thrown detritus, the fighter may attack – foregoing damage – against the highest defense in a crowd adjacent to him; on hit, a gap of (level) meters is opened between the fighter and the nearest enemy, putting the fighter in a safe spot. If enemies would be forced to move to open this distance, they may be put in unsafe spots.

Double Shot
– One arrow or javelin just won’t do when there’s an onrushing mob, so this fighter has learned to launch multiples. She may attack two enemies at once with ranged weapons; this applies to each attack made with the brawling passive as well, just as with Dual Strike.

Tangle
– The brawler knows that multiple foes can hinder each other. Upon successfully tripping one foe, this fighter may immediately try to trip any foes adjacent to that enemy.

Coming Through
– Enemies may not block this fighter’s movement without grappling or tripping him.

Crashing Charge
– When charging and striking more than one enemy, treat weapon damage as if one size larger.

Team Up
– This fighter gets an extra +2 to hit and +1 to damage when an ally is flanking the target of her attack.

Brawling Master Skills

Whirlwind Strike
– This master, trained in Triple Strike, has reached apotheosis; each attack made in melee strikes all enemies in reach. This does mean that the master may exploit the defensive weaknesses of lesser foes crowding him to make multiple attacks which also hit an equal or greater foe – a feat which Dual and Triple strike did not allow.

Volley
– This master, trained in Dual Shot, has learned that even the most skilled defender has little chance against an arrow from afar. The brawling passive applies to ranged attacks against enemies of any hit dice for this fighter.

Killing Novice Skills

Steady Hand
– This represents the training to consistently strike the same spot over and over. A fighter with this training halves penalties for called shots.

Strike Deep
– All armor can be pierced, from the right angle, with the right pressure. This training in penetration allows the fighter to halve the (non-magical) defense benefit of enemy armor.

Reckless Attack
– Sometimes there is advantage in foregoing caution. This fighter can accept up to his level in penalty to defense in return for the same amount of bonus to damage.

Killing Student Skills

Painful Blows
– Striking pressure points for pain instead of trying to kill, this fighter can forego rolling damage with an attack to instead inflict a -2 penalty to actions and defense on the opponent struck.

Exploit Opening
– For every -1 penalty to defense an opponent is suffering, this fighter gets +1 damage against that opponent.

Bleeding Wound
– When rolling damage, instead of inflicting all of it at once, the fighter may opt for half damage and a bleeding wound. The wound will bleed for 2 damage each turn, for a number of turns equal to the amount of damage actually dealt.

Infected Wound
– When striking an injured enemy, the fighter knows where to strike to cause internal injuries to infect each other. This sort of attack deals half damage, but forces the opponent to save; failed saves result in sepsis, gangrene, or other infection appropriate to the wound location.

Poisoned Weapon
– There are few methods more sure to kill than lacing a weapon with poison. This fighter knows how to do so without risking herself. Any hit from a poisoned weapon requires a save against the poison’s effects.

Killing Advanced Skills

Heart Pierce
– With a called shot, using a stabbing or cutting weapon, the fighter may instantly kill any creature with a heart, if the attack does damage. The creature may save, and live on a success.

Heart Stop
– With a blunt weapon, this fighter may cause a creature with a heart to go into a coma if an attack to the torso does damage. The creature may save to retain consciousness.

Concuss
– With a blunt attack to the head, this fighter may stun any target with a brain if the attack does damage.

Brain Pierce
– Attacking the head with a sharp weapon, this training allows a fighter to kill the target with any damage on a failed save if the target has a brain.

Skull Crush
– If the target has a brain, then a successful attack to the head with a blunt weapon and this skill allows a permanent -2 to all actions to be imposed if damage is dealt. This penalty may be stacked up with further crushing.

Lung Pierce
– If the enemy needs to breathe, then by attacking the torso with a sharp weapon and dealing any damage, the fighter may cause it to take 1 damage per round until it dies or gets medical treatment.

Throat Crush
– On a target which needs to breathe, this fighter may cause it to begin to suffocate with any damaging attack to the throat. The suffocation will continue until it dies or receives medical treatment.

Killing Master Skills

Paralysis
– This attack strikes several nerve clusters, causing intense pain. The total penalty is -10 (halved by Steady Hand) to strike these nerve clusters with one attack. This attack causes no damage, but instead causes total paralysis in the enemy. After 1d4 rounds, the enemy may attempt a save to escape the paralysis, with each failed save extending it by 1d4 rounds. If the fighter re-applies the nerve strikes (requiring no roll against a paralyzed target), then the save timer is reset.

Instant Death
– Any damaging attack from this fighter may be fatal. What seems a slight scratch might have avoided nerves, but opened an artery. An opponent who receives damage from any attack made by this master must save or die, in addition to any other saves provoked by the attack.

Ian Price, author of the Tabletop Treasury posts on this site, is the creator of Kitsune: of Foxes and Fools and Bad Decisions, and has contributed to the Ghouls, Carthians, and Chronicler’s Guide books for Vampire: The Requiem. Bad Decisions has a Kickstarter project live now!

Treasury of Games: Alternate adventuring cleric.

This is a mostly edition-agnostic alternative cleric for D&D.

Adventuring Clerics (priests, holy men, etc.) gain in the power and confidence of Heaven as they level up. One power may be selected per level (including first), but the powers available are restricted based on what level was gained.

Level – Title – Meaning
1-5 – Initiate – The cleric has just begun in the faith.
6-10 – Acolyte – The mysteries of faith begin to unfold.
11-15 – Ordained – Ordained clerics learn by teaching.
16-20 – Prophet/Mystic – The cleric speaks with God directly.

Each day, the cleric may invoke divine blessing when using these powers once per level. Initiate powers have a constant effect and a blessed effect. Acolyte powers also have a Righteous effect, which activates every time the cleric does a certain kind of good deed. Ordained powers also have a Minimum Standard; if the cleric takes certain kinds of evil actions, the power ceases functioning (including the constant ability) for the rest of the day. Prophetic powers have all this, and also Divine Fiat; a special extra power which only comes into play when the GM determines that it is God’s will.

Any time a cleric power references giving extra experience points, an Initiate power will give 1xp, an Acolyte power 2xp, 3xp for Ordained, and 4xp for Prophetic.

Hit Die: d6

Initiate Powers

1 Heal
Always: By laying hands on someone and praying with them for one minute, the subject is healed 1hp/level.
Blessed: The healing is 1d6/level, and takes only one turn in combat.

2 Repel the Unclean
Always: The cleric gains +(level) to Defense against demons, undead, and other beings tied to evil powers.
Blessed: All inherently evil creatures within the cleric’s line of sight must save or flee; those which save receive -(half level) on attack rolls agains the cleric’s allies (including the cleric).

3 Inspire
Always: Spending his action giving words of encouragement, the cleric grants half his level as a bonus to an ally’s d20 roll.
Blessed: Praying for guidance in his heart, the cleric is answered with a reinforcement of his ally’s morale; one chosen ally may re-roll a d20 check which just failed, and use the new result if it is better.

4 Provide
Always: The cleric and her allies never need worry about supplies of food and water. Divine providence will ensure clean and nutritious supplies.
Blessed: Food and water is provided for a greater number of people – up to 20/level.

5 Purify
Always: The cleric is immune to non-magical poisons and diseases.
Blessed: By laying on hands and praying for one minute, the cleric purges any poisons or diseases from an ally, including magical ones.

6 Smite
Always: Inherently evil enemies take double damage from the cleric’s attacks.
Blessed: The cleric indicates a foe, cursing it before God. The foe is blasted from the heavens for 1d6/level damage, unless it makes its save. Inherently evil creatures may only save for half damage.

7 Guidance
Always: The cleric never loses track of where she is in relation to known places.
Blessed: Asking a question of God, the cleric is answered yes or no, truthfully (though not always helpfully).

8 Endurance
Always: The cleric gains 1 bonus HP per level, retroactively as well as from gaining this power forwards.
Blessed: The cleric and his allies are refreshed as if they had a full night’s rest. This even restores a magic user’s mystical power.

9 Strength
Always: The cleric’s Strength gains 2 points permanently on learning this power.
Blessed: The cleric grants an ally sufficient Strength to complete any one task requiring it; if the task is combat, the ally’s Strength becomes 18 or is raised by 2, whichever is greater, for the rest of the fight.

10 Lighted Path
Always: The cleric may see in the dark, and may glow softy at will to allow allies to see.
Blessed: The cleric and her allies may walk safely across an unstable surface such as water or thin ice, or a tightrope. Each blessed use of this power allows transit only one way. It ends the next time the cleric and her allies step on a stable surface.

11 Righteousness
Always: The cleric may remain un-tempted by earthly pleasures. Nobody gains a bonus to a non-magical roll to seduce, bribe, or otherwise tempt him.
Blessed: With a few words of wisdom and a blessing, the cleric grants one of his allies this temptation-resisting righteousness.

12 Charity
Always: The kindness the cleric sows reaps threefold kindnesses in return. She receives double her level bonus to any attempt to persuade someone she has recently materially helped to help her in some way, until that person has done her three favors of equal expense (or one of greater expense).
Blessed: If someone refuses to return her kindness, the cleric may give up any bonus to persuade that person and instead experience the blessing of kindness un-looked-for. Someone else who happens into the cleric’s life will provide something which helps her with the needs she was trying to meet.

13 Peace
Always: If the cleric and his allies do not initiate violence, then it requires a successful save against this power to initiate violence against them.
Blessed: Once violence has broken out, the cleric may invoke this blessing to force it to stop. Those who wish to continue fighting must save against this effect to do so, but those who do not save against it will try to restrain their allies.

14 Patience
Always: Any mind-affecting saving throws the cleric makes always receive twice her level bonus, due to her conviction that all troubles are temporary.
Blessed: One ally of the cleric’s choice may be exhorted to patience (including exhorting herself), granting immunity to mind affecting magic until the ally falls asleep or otherwise loses consciousness.

15 Unfailing
Always: The cleric never lets others down. When attempting any action requiring a d20 check on another person’s behalf, any failure may be re-rolled once. The failure may be re-rolled a second time if necessary, if the action is to the benefit of the cleric’s enemies, despite their crimes against him.
Blessed: Praying for blessing, the cleric may grant an ally a bonus of his (the cleric’s) level on one d20 check. An enemy may be caused to automatically succeed at such a check by this blessing.

Acolyte Powers

1 Taming the Tongue
Always: The cleric adds her wisdom bonus to any charisma check to persuade others, due to her honesty and clean, plain speech.
Blessed: Invoked as a blessing, this power prevents anyone who fails a save against it from lying to the cleric. This lasts the whole day.
Lesson: Whenever she tells an uncomfortable truth which needs to be told, or speaks kindly when it is tempting to be harsh, this power’s blessing may be invoked without spending one of the day’s blessings. If it is already in effect, then the target number for the saving throw against it increases by 1 for the rest of the day.

2 Love and Chastity
Always: Because of his pure heart, the cleric enjoys +2 to Strength and Constitution.
Blessed: A loving union may be blessed so that a child (or children) definitely will, or will not, result – according to the needs of the lovers.
Lesson: Each time the cleric passes up the opportunity for unwholesome sexual pleasures, or engages in faithful and loving sex with a life-long lover, he gains an additional blessing for the day.

3 Giving Up Greed
Always: Because she is sustained by faith, the cleric no longer needs to eat or drink. She may still do so for enjoyment.
Blessed: The cleric may accomplish any one task which would normally require a substantial sum of money, such as buying passage for a long trip, purchasing a house or other expensive property, etc. Either the money becomes available just in time, or the owner of the item/provider of the service decides to give it to the cleric for free.
Lesson: If she lives in moderation, taking no extravagant luxuries for herself, the cleric may extend her ability to go without food and drink to anyone who lives with her.

4 Discovering Contentment
Always: Each time the cleric fails a d20 roll, he stores one automatic success for a later d20 roll which he could possibly succeed at; up to his level in successes may be stored this way.
Blessed: One of the cleric’s stored successes may be granted to another person whom he encourages as the action is being taken.
Lesson: Each time the cleric voluntarily passes up a chance to improve his own lot, allowing someone else to take the chance instead, he stores a success for this power as if he had failed a d20 roll.

5 Rising Above Despair
Always: The cleric radiates hope and joy, giving everybody within her line of sight (even enemies, unless they are inherently evil creatures; also including herself) a bonus to save against magical effects (but not cleric powers) equal to her level.
Blessed: Removes a curse or other harmful magic from an individual the cleric lays her hands on and prays for, over the course of one hour.
Lesson: When she gives hope to someone who had lost it through her actions, the cleric gains extra experience points above and beyond the usual bonus for acting in accordance with her class. [exact amount TBD with experience rules, pending]

6 Love Replacing Anger
Always: The cleric takes 1 less damage per level, each time he would be hurt.
Blessed: Prevent all damage by an event (such as an attack, or a turn of touching fire) the cleric witnesses, by a miraculous occurrence.
Lesson: If the blessing of this power is used to save an enemy, that enemy is affected as though by the Magic User spell Mystic Charm (single target effect of full cast), unless a successful save negates this.

7 Justice, Not Vengeance
Always: The cleric does +1 damage/level with any attack she makes.
Blessed: The cleric may look into her enemies’ hearts and know if the crimes she believes they committed were truly theirs. This reveals the hidden nature of any concealed inherently evil creatures.
Lesson: When the cleric forgives someone who actually intentionally wronged her, she may heal herself and that person of all HP damage and associated penalties less severe than amputation. She must heal both; this is a sign of the forgiveness.

8 Acts of Mercy
Always: The cleric may speak and understand the language of anyone he is actively helping.
Blessed: A deadly enemy who has defeated the cleric and/or his allies must spare their lives when this blessing is invoked; a saving throw is possible, but if it is made, then the cleric and his allies are healed of all HP damage and wounds less severe than amputation.
Lesson: When the cleric spares a defeated enemy’s life, or convinces an ally to do so, not only must that enemy honor its surrender (no save), but forever afterwards the cleric and all his allies who were present for the occasion get +2 to peacefully persuade that enemy, so long as they do not initiate hostilities. If they are then attacked, it is possible to keep stacking this bonus; but the bonus goes away for any person who starts a fight with that enemy.

9 Speaking the Word
Always: When the cleric speaks the truth, it is obvious; none may honestly disbelieve her when she speaks without falsehood. They may know her to be mistaken, but never take her for a liar.
Blessed: Mediating between Heaven and Earth, the cleric may gain heavenly messages to pass on. The will of God determines these messages, not that of the cleric; the answers which the cleric and the allies she mediates for seek may not be what they need most. Messages from Heaven gained by this spell are always helpful, but not always easy.
Lesson: Any time she shares dire news gained from this spell, and helps the recipient prepare for it, the cleric will gain access to an additional blessing she normally does not have until the prophecy comes to pass.

10 Humble Piety
Always: By divine providence rather than his own merit, the cleric is unable to critically fail on d20 rolls.
Blessed: Putting another before himself, the cleric moves his action to the bottom of the initiative order in combat, moving another person’s to the top.
Lesson: Whenever the cleric refuses to take credit or compensation for his good deeds, he stores up a chance to use this power’s blessing without moving his own initiative count down.

11 Divine Humor
Always: Seeing the humor inherent in misfortune often lessens it. The cleric may negate up to her level in penalties do any combination of d20 rolls each combat turn.
Blessed: Irony is said to be one of the highest forms of humor; at the cleric’s request, something terrible happens at the best possible time (or, depending on perspective, something excellent happens at the worst possible time. The coincidences caused by this blessing are within the bounds of possibility under the mundane course of events, but highly unlikely – such as a sword breaking on an opponent’s parry, but just right so that the broken part flies off and strikes the throat of the far more dangerous evil mage.
Lesson: When the cleric is able to laugh at her own misfortune, she may call upon this blessing to find a silver lining in the dark clouds; the misfortune turns out to have good aspects which at least equal the bad. (This never negates the bad, only counterbalances it.)

12 Holy Mission
Always: The cleric cannot be delayed in his good works; nothing physical nor magical can impede his movement. Difficult terrain, an amputated foot, or a magical spell of slowness – none will deter him from moving (though ill effects might be applied for doing so, such as bleeding from the wounded limb). If an impediment makes progress impossible, such as a sheer cliff, then this effect does not help.
Blessed: Seeming impossible obstacles to travel will be removed by this blessing, in what seems a miraculous coincidence. These coincidences may seem dangerous at the time, but will never harm the cleric or his allies. In the example of a sheer clif face blocking the cleric’s journey, a rockslide could occur to create a usable path – which, despite appearances, would be stable.
Lesson: Whenever the cleric pursues his mission for God – which may have been imparted by the Speaking the Word blessing or other divine contact, or could be the more general clerical mission of ministering to the needs of body and soul for others – at the cost of some potential personal gain, he may invoke this blessing to make the missed opportunity present itself as still possible, and possible to share with others. For example, if the cleric missed the opportunity to romance his sweetheart because he was tending the sick and poor when she called at his home, this lesson could cause her to hear about where he is and nudge her to decide to join him in his work.

13 Cast Out the Unclean
Always: The cleric, and her allies within line of sight, reroll any failed saves against the powers of inherently evil creatures.
Blessed: All inherently evil creatures who behold the cleric are paralyzed by fear of the holy power suffusing her. If within line of sight and wishing to continue acting without beholding her must voluntarily act under blindness penalties, regardless of any special senses, to avoid beholding the divine glory.
Lesson: When the cleric shuns a friend who is behaving in an unacceptable manner, she grants that person the ability to resist temptation as though benefiting from the always-on effect of the Righteousness Initiate power.

14 Rebuke for the Wise
Always: Heroes traveling with an Acolyte soon learn to listen to his advice. Allies gain the cleric’s level as a bonus to d20 rolls so long as they have not refused his ethical or moral advice that day.
Blessed: Choosing one target, the cleric sets up a condition which lasts for the rest of the day – if a certain evil act is performed, that target will take three times the cleric’s level points of damage. There is no save allowed, because the target chose its fate.
Lesson: An ally who has comitted an evil act against the cleric’s advice may be chastised verbally; if the ally repents of and makes an effort to amend the evil deed, then that ally gains experience points. This may also be applied if the act in question was considered, but avoided based on the cleric’s advice.

15 Seek Wisdom
Always: Whenever there is an unanswered question of facts, the cleric may pray for a revelation. On a successful d20 check based on Wisdom, the necessary information will be revealed somehow within the day. This check may be attempted only once for any given question, and the GM may automatically fail thinly veiled variations; if it is God’s will to keep the truth hidden for now, then so it shall be.
Blessed: instead of being revealed during the following day through come miraculous coincidence, the knowledge is imparted directly to the cleric’s mind instantly in a divine vision. This also automatically makes the check successful.
Lesson: Whenever the cleric and her allies are able to overcome a major obstacle of knowledge (whether or not this power was used), all gain extra experience points. Extra bonus if there was an alternative to fight or steal or some other morally less attractive option, which was avoided by gaining knowledge.

Ordained Cleric Powers

1 Sign of Jonah
Always: Any evil creature, or person who the cleric witnesses perfoming evil acts, who the cleric can see may be inflicted with supernatural fear on a failed save. This takes one turn per creature in combat.
Blessed: Simultaneously inflict fear on all evil enemies in line of sight as one action. No save versus the blessed power.
Lesson: While fighting alongside one or more former enemies who have been converted away from evil and become allies, the cleric also makes all allies immune to fear when using this power’s blessing.
Ethics: If the cleric ever kills someone (excluding creatures of inherently evil types) without giving that person a chance to repent, he loses a level, and this power.

2 Lazarus is Sleeping
Always: The cleric is immune to death by disease, poison, or spells causing instant death. She will never succumb to her wounds, and must be finished off by an enemy’s action.
Blessed: The benefits of this power are extended to one of the cleric’s allies for the rest of the day.
Lesson: When an ally dies in service of a holy cause (such as defending the innocent), this blessing may be used to restore that ally to life.
Ethics: If the cleric attempts to revive an ally who is undeserving, a demon will instead possess the dead body, which will attack the cleric and her allies as punishment.

3 Touching His Robe
Always: Anyone who takes an action to touch the cleric’s vestments and pray will be healed as if by the Initiate power Heal’s blessed effect. It is possible to withhold this effect, but note the Ethics of this power.
Blessed: When the cleric takes a combat turn to pray for healing over someone, that person is fully healed of all wounds except death.
Lesson: Every time the cleric heals someone with this power, he learns that person’s name, what he or she is currently thinking, and the secret buried deepest in his or her heart.
Ethics: This power requires the cleric to have the Initiate power Heal. If the cleric ever refuses to use his healing abilities when asked, he loses them until he agrees to heal the person he refused. If that person dies, then the cleric loses a level, and this power.

4 Pick up Your Cross
Always: The cleric can carry up to double the maximum encumbrance her attributes would suggest, and will never tire any faster for doing so.
Blessed: The cleric and all allies who spend a few minutes praying with her are refreshed, both mentally and physically. For the next day they will need no food or sleep, and will be mentally at their best no matter what horrors they have faced or will encounter. This also includes a +2 bonus to all attributes.
Lesson: Whenever the cleric voluntarily accepts a hardship on behalf of another, she gains her level as an extra bonus to any rolls required to make it through the hardship. If she accepts death on behalf of another, she may not be raised, but the person or people for whom she died will be blessed so that they cannot be killed, lasting until they next reach a safe place.
Ethics: If the cleric ever tries to shirk a duty which is rightfully hers, she loses use of this power and tires twice as quickly from all activities until she completes the duty and makes up for any loss incurred because of her tardiness in her duty.

5 Transfiguration
Always: Creatures of evil cannot bear to look upon the cleric. The blessed effect of Cast Out the Unclean is always on instead of requiring a blessing.
Blessed: The cleric’s body and equipment become holy as those of an angel. His attacks deal double damage to inherently evil creatures, and he adds his level to his defense bonus and saving throws against such fiends. This lasts until there are no evil creatures remaining in his presence.
Lesson: Whenever the cleric or one of his allies in his line of sight slays an inherently evil creature, restore one of the cleric’s used blessings for the day.
Ethics: This power requires the cleric to have both the Repel the Unclean and Cast Out the Unclean powers. If the cleric ever allows an inherently evil being to live by choice, he loses this power until he hunts that being down and destroys it.

6 No One Shall Know
Always: Those with evil intentions cannot track the cleric, and will not find information about her whereabouts when questioning witnesses. Spells of scrying and divination cast with evil intentions also fail to find her.
Blessed: All enemies in the cleric’s line of sight are struck blind unless they make a saving throw. Inherenly evil creatures get no save.
Lesson: Always preparing for eternity, when the cleric gains experience for class-appropriate heroic deeds, the amount is increased.
Ethics: If the cleric compromises on an important moral issue, she is struck blind until she takes a firm stand on that issue instead.

7 Faith, Hope and Love
Always: The cleric and his allies are filled with hope and love because of his faith, leaving no room for the manipulations of others. All mind-affecting magic fails, and mental trauma fails to harm.
Blessed: Cures any insanity, curse, or detrimental magic affecting someone for whom the cleric prays (whether that person is present or not when the prayer occurs, the cleric must simply know the person is afflicted).
Lesson: When the cleric gives of his own resources (enough to make an impact on them) to help a stranger or an enemy, he gains the attention of an angel. This angel (who is at least twice the cleric’s HD) will use one of its powers to help the cleric out at some later time, usually to prevent the cleric or one of his allies from coming to serious harm or dying. The cleric may have multiple favors from angels stored up like this, up to his level.
Ethics: Requires the Patience initiate power. Any hurtful word the cleric speaks against another person in anger inflicts one HP damage on him. Anger at evil actions is allowable, but saying unkind things about the person responsible is not – unless the person responsible is an inherently evil creature, in which case these restrictions do not apply.

8 Gideon’s Miracle
Always: The cleric can see even in complete darkness, and she adds her level to save against illusions.
Blessed: All allies within the cleric’s line of sight are granted this power’s constant effect for the rest of the day.
Lesson: While she sees a long-term holy mission to its end, the cleric may not be ambushed or caught off guard.
Ethics: This power requires both the Guidance and Speaking the Word powers. If she doubts her mission, even after receiving divine messages through the prerequisite powers, the cleric loses ALL class abilities until she repents and takes up the mission once more.

9 March of Joshua
Always: The cleric has a supernatural ability to lead and inspire. Any time a roll would be called for to inspire or gain the trust or cooperation of loyal soldiers, the cleric instead automatically succeeds.
Blessed: Praying and playing worshipful music for an hour, the cleric may destroy an entire building and everything and everyone in it. This may affect even a fortress.
Lesson: When an enemy commits a blasphemy or unforgivable sin, the cleric may use this blessing to instantly cause that enemy to die on a failed save.
Ethics: This power requires the Initiate power Smite. If the cleric fails to chastise an ally who commits an evil action, he loses a level, and this power.

10 Curse of Cain
Always: The cleric’s attacks do double damage (whether physical or spell), but may never slay an enemy of a race which is not inherently evil.
Blessed: In the moment it would be slain, a creature of an inherently evil race is instead redeemed, turning it into a mortal of an appropriate race according to its original race. For example, orcs would become elves, goblins would become dwarves, and demons would become humans. Undead are a special case – in the case of bodies animated by magic, this blessing cannot affect them. In the case of unquiet spirits, they are sent on to the afterlife in peace.
Lesson: When the cleric uncovers a crime done in secret, she may force the criminal to confess on a failed save.
Ethics: The cleric must take responsibility for investigating wrongs she hears of – or at least making sure a responsible authority is doing so, or else she will suffer double damage from all attacks until she follows up on the investigations.

Prophetic Cleric Powers
Prophetic powers are granted by archangels. If one archangel abandons a cleric, all of them do; this reduces the cleric’s level back to 15 and removes all prophetic powers.

1 Gabriel
Messenger, explains God’s will
Always: The cleric gets Guidance automatically on all questions, and any time he prays, he may speak with Gabriel directly as through the blessing of Speaking the Word.
Blessed: Through a blessing, Gabriel directly imparts a divine message to someone of the cleric’s choosing. It is impossible to disbelieve this message, though it is possible to deny it. Those who choose to deny the message will automatically fail any action they take which opposes its dictates.
Lesson: Gabriel teaches humble listening. Whenever one of the cleric’s allies follows through with a divine mission shared by the cleric, Gabriel grants that ally experience points.
Ethics: Gabriel watches over only clerics who bear Gideon’s Miracle. Gabriel requires his charges to boldly speak the Word of God to all – including creatures of pure evil. If his charges falter in this, he will abandon them.
Divine Intervention: Gabriel will, when there is an important divine message to be shared, appear to proclaim it. When Gabriel appears, witnesses will be convicted utterly of his message. Gabriel may even convert creatures of inherent evil into mortal races, and convince them to join the side of good.

2 Michael
Warrior, leads God’s armies
Always: The cleric gains a bonus to all attacks, as if she were a fighter.
Blessed: One attack made by the cleric or one of her allies automatically hits.
Lesson: The cleric and any of her allies may elect to take an attack intended for an ally, before the attack is rolled. If this is done, the attack automatically hits the new target, for minimum possible damage.
Ethics: Michael never retreats from battle, and holds her charges to the same standard. She abandons anyone who retreats or otherwise acts from cowardice rather than courage in God.
Divine Intervention: Michael may show up personally on the battlefield from time to time, or send one of the angelic hosts. Michael is a 25-HD archangel with numerous holy powers and a flaming sword which instantly slays whatever it hits. His angelic hosts consist of 200 15-HD angels, each wielding a shining weapon which deals 1d10 + 5 damage. This intervention is especially likely against overwhelming odds of inherently evil creatures.

3 Raphael
Healer, brings God’s mercy
Always: Allies in the cleric’s line of sight heal his level in HP each combat turn. Amputated body parts re-grow after HP are full, as if they had a value of 10% of the person’s HP. Lost attribute points re-grow as if worth 10 HP apiece. While in the cleric’s line of sight, no disease may overwhelm and no poison may kill, all will eventually be recovered if the cleric continues watching.
Blessed: All disease and wounds and poison and curses and harmful magic is purged from the cleric’s line of sight.
Lesson: Whenever the cleric shows mercy to an enemy, that enemy must make a successful save to again attempt an evil act. Once a successful save is made, this effect ends – but failed saves prevent the evil action (which may not be attempted again), and also continue the effect so that the next such act considered prompts another save, and so on.
Ethics: Raphael only guards bearers of the powers Touching His Robes and Curse of Cain. Raphael does not condone murder. If one of his charges allows an ally to kill any person of a non-inherently-evil race, Raphael abandons him.
Divine Intervention: Raphael will intervene to prevent the death of his charge unless it is God’s will that he die. No amount of damage may kill the cleric, nor any hazard of magic or what may come. Only when God decides it may the cleric die.

4 Azrael
Angel of Death, destroys the wicked
Always: Creatures of inherently evil races must save each turn they are in the line of sight of a cleric guarded by Azrael; on a failed save, they take 1d6/level damage.
Blessed: With this blessing, the cleric may kill any number of plants or nonsentient beasts. This may blight a forest, ruin a crop, slay livestock or war animals, or whatever the situation calls for.
Lesson: If an enemy is given a chance to repent, and refuses, the cleric may call upon Azrael to transform that enemy into an appropriate inherently evil race.
Ethics: Only takes clerics blessed with the March of Joshua as her charges. If any innocent person should die as a result of the blessing granted by Azrael, she leaves the side of the cleric who invoked that blessing. Causing hardship to a land is one thing, but killing the innocent through starvation is horrible and detestable.
Divine Intervention: When an enemy is truly evil, but beyond the cleric’s reach or that of her allies even with all the miracles and powers at their disposal, Azrael will occasionally take matters into her own hands – slaying the tyrant, and any of his or her most evil followers.

5 Uriel
Protector, saves the innocent
Always: The cleric may prevent his choice of 10 damage per level per round. He chooses the damage which is negated as it would happen, after relevant rolls are made.
Blessed: The cleric may choose one person to become immune to damage for the remainder of a dangerous encounter (such as combat) – that is, until the danger has passed and the target has had a chance to rest.
Lesson: Whenever the cleric and her allies save one or more innocent lives, Uriel gives them a significant XP bonus.
Ethics: Uriel will no longer guard a cleric who intentionally harms, or allows to come to harm through inaction, any person of a non-inherently-evil race who has not just sinned against the cleric or his allies.
Divine Intervention: Uriel guards his charges from harm in extreme cases. If untold destruction would be wrought, and no mortal hand could stop it, Uriel may intervene on behalf of one of his charges to prevent the catastrophe.

6 Raguel
Marshall, delivers God’s justice
Always: The cleric’s words may bind. Whatever she delcares bound is bound. This may seal any opning (such as a door or cave mouth or window) so that it may not be passed, or any living being so that it cannot move or do anything. It can be allowed to speak, but only if the cleric wishes it. It is allowed a saving throw when this is applied.
Blessed: Through this blessing, hearts and minds may also be bound. The cleric may bind someone’s heart with any of the ethical principles required of her because of her miraculous powers. If the person so bound acts against this binding, then he or she loses a level.
Lesson: When the cleric confronts someone with evidence they have sinned, that person must either repent and try to right the wrong, or face punishment. The punishment for sin is death, but the cleric may specify some lesser punishment such as a debilitating curse or disease.
Ethics: Raguel requires her charges to act when they find evidence of wrongdoing. Sinners must be confronted, and she will forsake those who do not have the courage to do so.
Divine Intervention: Raguel will often intervene in small ways, far more often than most angels intervene; through her power, the cleric will never fail to gain insight or clues to an investigation. If all else has failed, Raguel’s intervention will ensure a miraculous revelation at the last moment.

7 Saraqael
Soul Shepherd, angel of the resurrection
Always: The cleric no longer uses a blessing to invoke the Lesson of Lazarus is Sleeping. He may also interrogate the soul of the dead person he wishes to raise, who must truthfully answer – so it is no longer possible for the cleric to attempt to raise the undeserving, and be punished with a demon in the flesh instead.
Blessed: A dead body may have a demon bound into it in the cleric’s service. This servant has terrible strength and endurance – treat as an undead with d12 HD equal to the cleric’s level, which deals 2d10 + 10 damage on hit. It automatically succeeds at feats of strength which would normally require a roll; if an opposed roll is involved, it adds +20. The demon-animated body must obey everything the cleric tells it to do.
Lesson: If the cleric wishes, he may speak with the demon. If he convinces the demon of the worthiness of following God, then the demon is converted into a human soul, and along with the body it animates, it is resurrected as a member of an adventuring class.
Ethics: Saraqael only guards clerics blessed with Lazarus is Sleeping. If the cleric allows a demon bound with Saraqael’s blessing to perform an evil act, Saraqael will withdraw his favor.
Divine Intervention: Saraqael may resurrect anyone he sees fit; sometimes, though the death of one of the cleric’s allies was unrighteous, Saraqael may decide to raise that ally anyway – so that the cleric may continue to teach his friend a better way for a while longer.

8 Remiel
Angel of Hope, guards God’s chosen
Always: Remiel allows her chosen clerics to change one initiate power for a different one whenever they pray for a minute to do so.
Blessed: With a blessing, an acolyte or ordained power may be changed out instead.
Lesson: When none of the cleric’s powers will help, but she still does not give up hope and keeps trying, Remiel intercedes and the cleric may ask for help from a different archangel than usually watches over her.
Ethics: To be guarded by Remiel, the cleric must already have the power Rising Above Despair. Remiel cannot abide self-pity, angst, or depression. Her chosen clerics must guard themselves against such attitudes, or she will forsake them.
Divine Intervention: Before abandoning a charge, Remiel will personally appear to offer tidings of hope. If the cleric still refuses to take heart, then Remiel will leave her.

9 Zadkiel
Liberator, breaks unjust bonds
Always: What the cleric declares opened is unbound. Any portal may be forced (whether physically or magically sealed), and any binding (similarly, physical or magical) may be removed, simply by the cleric’s word.
Blessed: Hearts and minds may be similarly freed by this blessing. If an idea or a relationship is oppressing or harming someone, this blessing reveals that to the victim and oppressor alike. If magic binds a person’s behavior, that magic is eliminated.
Lesson: When the cleric confronts an oppressor with the slaves she has freed from bondage, the oppressor must relinquish any claim to those she has freed. If any continued relationship is desired, then the oppressor must become an equal, and give up whatever desires caused him or her to bind his or her victims in the first place.
Ethics: Zadkiel forsakes any cleric who places another in bondage for any reason other than preventing further evil actions.
Divine Intervention: Rather than intervening directly, the power Zadkiel grants simply cannot be opposed. Only power such as could defeat the magic of a 25-HD archangel may bind what a cleric guarded by Zadkiel wishes loosened.

10 Jophiel
Teacher, delivers language and law to God’s people
Always: The cleric may communicate with any being which has a language, as if no barrier of language differences existed. While the cleric is present, everybody understands each others’ words – it is not even possible to use coded messages to obscure meaning.
Blessed: Perfect understanding of intention is granted between the cleric and one person for one conversation. If it is possible for either to convince the other, the means for that will be laid bare.
Lesson: When the cleric resolves a conflict with someone whose intention was known to be completely hostile, without resorting to violence, then that formerly hostile person will become a friend permanently. If that person was a creature of inherent evil, this undoes that nature, turning the creature mortal and friendly.
Ethics: Jophiel only guards bearers of Taming the Tongue. Jophiel leaves the side of any cleric who resorts to violence before negotiation.
Divine Intervention: Jophiel may decide to intervene behind the scenes when enemies of her chosen prophets scheme and plot and lay honeyed words against them. The sweet words of schemers are turned to bitter ashes, and just when the evil plots would trap the cleric they instead collapse on themselves.

Besides the powers bestowed on them, clerics are skilled in knowledge of history and mystical truths. They always have a kind word to share, or a rebuke for bad behavior. Clerics can always read and write, and often make beautiful illuminated works of calligraphy or other pieces of art as acts of worship. Higher level clerics gain skill in anything necessary to teach the lessons their powers call them to teach.

Ian Price, author of the Tabletop Treasury posts on this site, is the creator of Kitsune: of Foxes and Fools and Bad Decisions, and has contributed to the Ghouls, Carthians, and Chronicler’s Guide books for Vampire: The Requiem. Bad Decisions has a Kickstarter project live now!

Treasury of Games: Plot Hook Generator

Sometimes you don’t know how you want to grab your players’ attention. Here’s a handy table to create that hook, and give you an idea how to pitch it.

 

Table A: Type of Hook

1 Friendly NPC

2 Hostile NPC

3 Cryptic Message

4 Mission or Quest

5 Omen or Foreshadowing

6 Obtain an Item

7 Lose an Item

8 Abduction!

9 Battle!

10 Roll twice more and combine results.

 

Friendly NPC

1 An old man answers one of the PCs’ questions. He wasn’t part of the conversation before, he just jumped in. Does he know the PCs, or is he a stranger? Where did he come from?

2 A little girl invites the PCs to follow her. Back at her home/hiding place, the PCs will find exactly what they need (to progress the plot).

3 “I’ve been sent to help,” the stranger says. The PCs have heard of the stranger’s sponsor, but are surprised to hear their interests and the sponsor’s align.

4 “Come with me if you want to live.” The PCs are in trouble, but this NPC shows up with a way out.

5 “Oh wow, you’re really them!” A fan of the PCs’ exploits is looking for help with the kind of thing they do.

6 An attractive member of the opposite sex has a proposition for one of the PCs… but not THAT. Well… Not unless the PC can do the job.

7 An attractive member of the opposite sex gets involved with one of the PCs in a whirlwind romance, but he or she is also involved in something big.

8 The PCs stumble across somebody in a running fight with the same kind of opponents the PCs usually fight, and it looks like they could use some help.

9 A childhood friend of one of the PCs shows up again in unlikely circumstances, with a surprising story, and a request.

10 Someone is selling exactly what the PCs need, at a fair price, and is even willing to make a deal if they need it but are short on cash.

 

Hostile NPC

1 An old enemy has a new way to get back at one of the PCs.

2 Somehow, the PCs have offended this person, and a fight breaks out.

3 1-10 armed thugs break in and start shooting at the PCs.

4 A PC is mugged in the street.

5 This NPC wants something the PCs have, and won’t take no for an answer.

6 One of the PCs is about to be an involuntary organ donor; this NPC needs an internal organ and one of the PCs fits the profile to give it.

7 The NPC is apologetic, but must do something terrible to the PCs.

8 The PCs might not realize it, or they might remember clearly why, but this NPC considers them all enemies and is back for vengeance.

9 A jilted lover from a PC’s past (or possibly someone messed up enough to hold a grudge over an unrequited crush) turns up to cause trouble.

10 Someone wants the same thing the PCs want, and isn’t shy about sabotaging their efforts to get it.

 

Cryptic Message

1 A note is delivered with the characters’ meal (in a modern setting, it’s perfect if this is inside a fortune cookie).

2 One of the PCs sees messages written on surfaces which nobody else can see.

3 A letter is delivered to one of the PCs. It’s addressed to the PC, but has no return address. The piece of paper inside the envelope is blank.

4 After making a normal purchase, the seller tells the PC, “they’re coming for you.” If asked for clarification, he/she says, “run, you fool!” What happens next?

5 A series of people come to the door and each says one word and then leaves. This occurs over the course of several days, no more than an hour separating each one, and when taken together the words form a message. If setting appropriate, the people who speak the words are actually some form of zombie.

6 The next time the PC is handed a receipt for a purchase, there is a message written on the back of it in a foreign language. The person handing over the receipt doesn’t know how it could have gotten there.

7 A public announcement (news broadcast in a modern setting, something publicly posted in town in pre-modern, etc.) mentions a PC by name, with an anonymous message, “You are almost ready.”

8 “They are coming,” a small child whispers to one of the PCs, and hands over a note, then runs off giggling.

9 A message is delivered in a usual way, from a PC’s normal contact (email in a modern setting, letter by a messenger in an older setting, etc.) – but it reads entirely differently from that contact’s normal writing, or if a voice recording, it isn’t the contact’s voice.

10 The wall catches fire, and the fire spreads into the shape of words on the wall. After the whole message has formed, the fire goes out, leaving it written in ashes and scorch marks.

 

Mission or Quest

1 Go and retrieve an item… but it’s big, so how will you actually carry it?

2 Go to a location and survive there for 24 hours.

3 Capture an enemy and interrogate them.

4 Extract a friendly from enemy hands.

5 Find the missing piece of this puzzle. A clue can be found where you want the PCs to go.

6 Destroy a specific item, before it can be used for disastrous purposes.

7 You can’t stay here! Escape to safety!

8 Fetch me a donut; the PCs are given an inconsequential task, but it turns out to be important once they complete it.

9 Fetch me a shrubbery; the PCs are given a task which is truly inconsequential, meant only to keep them busy and out of the way.

10 It’ll be dangerous… The PCs must do something which seems suicidal, but failing to do it would be even worse.

 

Omen or Foreshadowing

1 A bat in the daytime: The PCs must soon take a long and dangerous journey.

2 A butterfly in the bedroom: The PC will soon have a great joy, but could destroy it by doing the wrong thing.

3 The broken chain: A PC’s wallet or watch chain breaks, and (s)he will soon suffer disappointment.

4 Crossed knives: Soon there will be conflict and strife in the PCs’ future.

5 Shooting star: What the PCs desire will come true, but it won’t necessarily be good.

6 A gun on the table: The plot device you will use to introduce the next challenge is in plain sight in an establishing scene.

7 An instant dislike: The antagonist is first introduced in a friendly setting, but at least one PC doesn’t get along with him (or her), for some reason.

8 Hidden meaning: An NPC tells the PCs something which seems straightforward, but also foretells something in the next encounter you have planned.

9 The gods must be crazy: an important plot device literally falls from the sky.

10 Retroactive: pick a scene that’s already happened in the game – something from that scene is now a key to your next plot device. (Preferably pick a memorable scene; if you’re just starting the game, pick something in a PC’s background.)

 

Obtain an Item – an opportunity to get something useful or interesting can motivate PCs and drive a story.

1 A weapon

2 A tool

3 Something magical (or symbolic)

4 Something foreign/exotic

5 A gift from a friend

6 A gift from an enemy

7 A prize in a contest of skill

8 A prize in a contest of luck

9 One man’s trash

10 Something written

 

Lose an Item – losing something valuable or even the threat of such loss can give focus to the PCs’ actions.

1 Something personal, of sentimental value only.

2 A favorite piece of equipment, which is used all the time.

3 An expensive piece of equipment which is used rarely.

4 One of the PCs’ homes.

5 Somewhere the PCs often meet.

6 A favorite food stops being available.

7 Communication with the rest of the world – in the form of the ability to write or phone calls or whatever items would normally allow such.

8 Transportation – a mount, vehicle, or other equivalent. Even a pair of shoes.

9 Luxury – a source of relaxation or comfort, such as a bed, pillow, food, etc.

10 A hat – something worn on the head.

 

Abduction! – Players love rescue missions. It’s a clear focus and grabs the attention of most PCs instantly. When someone important is kidnapped, the PCs will follow after them.

1 A family member (child, parent, sibling, cousin, etc.).

2 A lover or spouse.

3 One of the PCs! (Make sure the PC still has things to do, even if escape isn’t possible without help from other PCs)

4 A mentor or teacher.

5 A trusted NPC supporter – someone who isn’t usually part of the adventure, but provides things the PCs need in between.

6 A contact the PCs need to achieve their current goals – best if kidnapped right in front of the PCs or otherwise under their noses when they are about to get what they need but haven’t quite yet.

7 A POTENTIALLY useful but not current NPC contact/supporter

8 A political figure (1-3: local, 4-6: regional, 7-8: national, 9: roll again and add “aligned with the PC’s views”, 10: roll again and add “opposed to the PC’s views”)

9 A cultural figure (same chart as above, or roll for type of cultural – entertainer, artist, etc)

10 Roll again, ignoring this result if rerolled.  Add “…and the PC is a suspect in their abduction” to the result.

 

 

Battle!

1 Roll for initiative! Someone has jumped out and attacked!

2 Surprise! Perception checks, to see if any PCs notice the ambush.

3 Opportunity! The PCs have a chance to surprise some enemies, who they’ve noticed before being noticed in return.

4 Sports – the PCs are challenged to a form of sporting mock combat appropriate to the setting.

5 Duel – a PC is challenged to one on one combat.

6 Standoff – a tense situation arises where one wrong move could result in a deadly battle.

7 Bystanders – battle erupts between two parties other than the PCs in the PCs’ presence!

8 Nonviolent – a conflict in some form other than physical violence, such as an argument or hostile corporate takeover.

9 Misunderstanding – the PCs get involved in a fight they don’t want, because an NPC takes something they said or did the wrong way.

10 Outnumbered – The PCs are surrounded by a more numerous enemy, and must escape; cue chase music!

 

Ian Price is the creator of Kitsune: of Foxes and Fools and Bad Decisions, and has contributed to the Ghouls, Carthians, and Chronicler’s Guide books for Vampire: The Requiem.

Treasury of Games: Replacing dice with cards.

Dice are a fine random number generator, used by most roleplaying games. However, there are some fun things you can add to the experience by using cards instead. First, let’s look at how you can replicate any set of dice using cards. Take a standard playing card deck. To replicate a die, use the following set of cards:

d4 = A, 2, 3, 4 (any single suit)

d6 = A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

d8 = A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

d10 = A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

d12 = A-10 in one suit, A-2 in a second suit designated “10 + face value.” (so if Spades is flat value, you might use Clubs cards for 11 and 12)

d20 = A-10 in one suit for face value, A-10 in a second suit for +10 value.

d100 = A-10 in one suit for 1s digit, A-10 in a second suit for 10s digit. Count 10 as a 0 in that place, unless both 10s are drawn, in which case it is 100.

So far this works to replicate any die you might roll for a typical RPG. You can even use cards for in between dice like d3, d5, and so on which are sometimes called for by halving the roll on actual dice, without having to do math in your head for the result. Still, messing around with cards can take longer than rolling dice for large numbers of dice, so certain things (damage on a D&D fireball, many rolls in success-based systems like World of Darkness and Shadowrun, etc.) don’t work well with this model. Also, so far there is no advantage one way or the other – why bother with the change?

The difference with cards is you can do things with the individual results. For example, you could run a D&D game where each player has a deck set up like a d20 instead of a die, and each result is set aside once drawn. That result can’t come up again that session until all the other results have come up. This means the player is guaranteed to see good and bad results for his/her character at some point during play. You could even eliminate the random factor, and let the player choose when to play each result from his deck, treating it more as a hand of cards. This would challenge you as a GM not to call for skill checks, saves, etc. in trivial situations – so the players would have to sweat bullets about using those low results, and also about wasting the high ones.

You can also modify the available results. Characters with exceptional abilities or luck might be allowed to eliminate low numbers from their decks for some tasks, or add in higher numbers than normally appear on the die type. Special effects could allow a character to have a particular result saved aside for later use, even if a random draw is being used – or to have an extra copy of that result saved up in the variant where all possible results are held and played when desired. Hindering conditions could eliminate high results from the possible pool, or add extra low results in.

Consider this variant for adding a different flavor to your next game, and see what interesting results you can have in play by changing how the numbers are generated.

Ian Price is the creator of Kitsune: of Foxes and Fools and Bad Decisions, and has contributed to the Ghouls, Carthians, and Chronicler’s Guide books for Vampire: The Requiem.