Homebrew Spotlight: Pixie Swarm

Pixie Swarm

Diminutive Fey (Swarm, fey)     (20 RP) [NPC]

Racial Traits

  • +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, -2 Strength: Pixies are sprightly but feeble. (0 RP)
  • Diminutive: Pixies are Diminutive and gain a +4 size bonus to their AC, a +4 size bonus on attack rolls, a -12 penalty on CMB checks and to their CMD, and a +12 size bonus on Stealth checks. (6 RP)
  • Fey: Pixies are supernatural creatures with strong ties to Nature, they have the fey and swarm subtypes. (2 RP)
    • Lowlight Vision: Pixies can see twice as far as a race with normal vision in conditions of dim light.
    • Luminous: A pixie naturally sheds light equal to that provided by a torch. They can control the color and intensity of the light as a swift action, reducing it to the dimness of a candle or even extinguishing its luminosity entirely if it wishes.
  • Slow Speed: Pixies have a base speed of 20 feet. (-2 RP)
    • Flight: Some Pixies have long delicate wings which grant them the ability to fly. These pixies have a flight speed of 30 feet and a maneuverability of clumsy. (4 RP)
  • Fey Damage Resistance: Pixies gain DR 5/cold iron. (2 RP).
  • Fey Blood: Pixies are immune to magic sleep effects, disease and gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws made against enchantment spells and effects. This bonus increases by +1 for every two levels the Pixie attains. (2 RP)
  • Fey Affinity (choose one): Pixies gains a +2 racial skill bonus pertaining to this affinity, magic gain a +2 to the DC of the spell school chosen. (2 RP)
    • Nature (plant, animal, element)
    • Magic (shadow, illusion, trickery, protection, etc)
    • Muse (creativity of all kinds: writing, painting, singing, etc)
  • Fey powers [Choose one, based on affinity]: (2 RP)
    • Nature
      • Bond to the Land: Pixie gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC while in the forest (or chosen terrain).
      • Treesinger: Pixie can create objects out of wood by singing to a tree, causing it to shape itself (or part of itself) into the object in question. They gain the Craft (treesinging) skill. The skill may be used untrained but the items created will be primitive and not refined.
      • Polymorph Self: Pixie can shapeshift 2/day. They can transform themselves into any creature from Diminutive to Medium size. The transformation lasts for their Wisdom modifier + ½ their level in rounds. The drawback is that it’s not perfect; there is always something that looks wrong.
      • Glamour: Pixie are so in tune with the natural world that they can appear as an animal, insect or plant; this is not invisibility but a form of natural camouflage. They gain a +4 racial bonus to Stealth, some humans with a strong Will can see through it (30% chance). Will save at DC 16
    • Magic
      • Eternal Youth: Pixies don’t age like mortals, and cannot die from old age. Upon reaching adulthood Fey can stop physical aging at any point they choose. They can look like a child, adult or wizened.
      • Long Step: A Pixie can teleport up to 10 feet per Hit Die as a move action. It may use this ability once every 1d4 rounds.
      • Fey Sight: Pixie are not fooled by illusions. They see through them as if they had True Seeing cast on them. This also makes them immune to the effects of glamour, and they may see the true identity of anyone they encounter, even if the individual has been polymorphed.
      • Vanish (Su): As a swift action, a pixie can vanish for 1 round as if affected by invisibility. It can use this ability for 1 round per day per Hit Die.
      • Fascination:  Once per day, a Pixie can create a 20-foot-radius burst that causes humanoids within the aura’s range to become fascinated with the user (as the bard’s fascinate bardic performance). Affected humanoids may resist this effect by making a successful Will saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 the user’s character level + the user’s Charisma modifier).
      • Spell Resistance: A Pixie gains SR equal to 11 + its CR.
      • Deep Slumber: A Pixie swarm attack often causes creatures to fall asleep. Any living creature that begins its turn with a pixie swarm in its space must succeed on a DC 22 Will save or be affected as though by a deep slumber spell. The save DC is Charisma-based.
      • Distraction: Any living creature vulnerable to the swarm’s damage that begins its turn with a swarm in its square is nauseated for 1 round; a DC 15 Fortitude save negates the effect. Even with a successful save, spellcasting or concentrating on spells within the area of a swarm requires a Concentration check (DC 20 + spell level). Using skills requiring patience and concentration requires a Concentration check (DC 20). The save DC is Constitution-based.
  • Pixie Dust: When a pixie fires an arrow from any bow, it can decide to change the arrow’s properties by sprinkling it with magical pixie dust. Doing so is a free action as long as the pixie is the one who fires the arrow. A pixie can generate a number of uses of dust equal to its Charisma score each day. The dust is useless to another creature unless the pixie gives the dust freely. In this case, the pixie chooses what effect the dust will have on an arrow when it is applied, and it takes a standard action to apply the dust to the arrow. Once pixie dust is applied to an arrow, the pixie’s chosen effect persists on the arrow for only 1 round. As long as an arrow is altered in this way, it does not inflict damage when it hits; it only causes its new effect. A pixie can choose any one of the following three effects when dusting an arrow (save DCs are Charisma-based): (2 RP)
    • Charm: The target must succeed on a Will save or be affected as though by a charm monster spell for 10 minutes.
    • Memory Loss: The target must succeed on a Will save or be affected by a modify memory spell.
    • Sleep: The target must succeed on a Will save or fall asleep for 5 minutes.
  • Languages: Sylvan and Common. Bonus: Draconic, Dwarf, Elf, Etherian and Nagan. (0 RP)

Alternate Racial Traits

  • Wild Empathy: This ability works like the druid’s wild empathy class feature, except that a pixie has a +4 racial bonus on the check. Replaces lucky, lesser.
  • Woodland Stride: A Pixie can move through any sort of undergrowth (such as natural thorns, briars, overgrown areas, and similar terrain) at its normal speed and without taking damage or suffering any other impairment. Thorns, briars, and overgrown areas that have been magically manipulated to impede motion still affect it. Optionally, this ability may function in a different type of terrain, to allow the fey creature to move through, swamps, rocky areas, ice, and so forth. Whatever the choice, this ability only functions in one type of terrain. Replaces fey immunities.
  • Spell-like Abilities: Pixie gain the at will spell-like ability (choose 1)– ghostsound dancing lights or minor image. 1/day (choose 2)–blink, chaos, confusion, cure light wounds, dazzle, entangle, hold person, illusion, fairy feast, mirror image, polymorph object or polymorph person. 1/week (choose 1)–blight, curse, grant wish, restore, magic item or reincarnate. These abilities are as the spell cast by a sorcerer of the Fey’s character level. Replaces fey powers.

The Pixie swarm is meant to be NPCs but allowances can be made for high level/power games. Of course, an individual Pixie won’t have any swarm traits.
Pixies are miniature fey that flit among the flowers. A single pixie looks like a miniature elf with translucent wings. They stand only a hand-span tall. They most commonly live in crystal, mud or woven hives depending on the type/tribe. Of course, the various tribes can differ in appearance, depending on the location and conditions.

In combat a pixie swarm seeks to surround and attack any creature it perceives as a threat, especially one bearing an open flame or other obvious threat to its garden home.

Swarm Traits: A swarm has no clear front or back and no discernible anatomy, so it is not subject to critical hits or flanking. A swarm comprising Fine or Diminutive creatures is immune to all weapon damage.
Reducing a swarm to 0 hit points or fewer causes the swarm to break up, though damage taken until that point does not degrade its ability to attack or resist attack. Swarms are never staggered or reduced to a dying state by damage. Also, they cannot be tripped, grappled, or bull rushed, and they cannot grapple another.
A swarm is immune to any spell or effect that targets a specific number of creatures (including single-target spells such as disintegrate), with the exception of mind-affecting effects if the swarm has an intelligence score and a hive mind. A swarm takes a -10 penalty on saving throws against spells or effects that affect an area, such as many evocation spells or grenade-like weapons. If the area effect attack does not allow a saving throw, the swarm takes double damage instead.
Swarms made up of Diminutive or Fine creatures are susceptible to high winds such as that created by a gust of wind spell. For purposes of determining the effects of wind on a swarm, treat the swarm as a creature of the same size as its constituent creatures. Wind effects deal 1d6 points of subdual damage to the swarm per spell level (or Hit Die of the originating creature, in the case of effects such as an air elemental’s whirlwind).
A swarm rendered unconscious by means of subdual damage becomes disorganized and dispersed, and does not re-form until its hit points exceed its subdual damage.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Related Links:

Homebrew Spotlight: Feytouched

Homebrew Spotlight: Fey

 

RPG PATREON LINK

Races of Aquatica: Elves

Races of Aquatica: Elves

10/18/2015

 

    There are a variety of races on Aquatica, most are native to this world but others are either magical evolutions/mutations, transplants or invaders. The two main invaders are Atlanteans and Astral Elves. There are many other transplants from other dimensions, such as the Fey.
This is the first installment of the races of my world and will be updated as needed.

Elves

 

Astralus (Astral Elves)
     Astralus are tall and slender, averaging well over 6 feet in height. Their hair is usually blond, white or silver and they commonly dye it in pastel colors. The most common eye color is light blue or violet.
They are a transplant to this world, but instead of conquering it like their cousins the Atlanteans did, when they arrived through the Dimensional Portal, they became one with Aquatica’s Spirit. They are true protectors of the Natural World, nurturing and healing Ley Lines, Nodes and her creatures. A war between Astralus and Atlanteans, long ago created the defiled wastelands on this World. Creatures and plants were mutated, some beyond recognition and altered parts of the world for centuries to come. The Astralus made it their purpose to heal these scars that they helped cause. Elves are Preservers, where most Atlanteans are Defilers.
In their home Dimension, they had advanced/evolved so far that they left their bodies behind. Some soon became bored with a society of purely spiritual and intellectual pursuits, so they searched for a new home where they could live. They found a young world–Aquatica, and discovered when they arrived that she was a living planet. They became here self-appointed caretakers.
Because of their connection to Aquatica they have no restrictions on learning elemental spells, they also can use these spells at will. Once they learn one version of a spell, other variations aren’t needed. Psionics are easy for them to master.
Astralus live in Hy-Braseal, the Isle of the Beautiful. This is their ancient tree home (ship), that can only be seen once every seven years during the lunar conjunction, otherwise it is in-phase with the Astral Plane. Only those from the Astral Plane can enter the city at any other time.
Kodragons and other astral creatures are a common sight flying around. Their favored pets are a hybrid between a bird and a fish.

 

Wood Elves
Are the standard elves in the PHB. The only difference is that they are the direct descendants of the Astralus and as such can take a racial feat at first level to reflect their astral ancestry.

Wild Elves
This sub-race of elf is small like halflings and similar to the elves in the Elfquest book series. In early childhood they are bonded to an animal from the local terrain, this is their companion and/or mount for the rest of their life. The wild elf and companion are soul mates, and make each other complete.
They have a telepathic/empathic bond with this animals that is treated as a druidic animal companion (-2 levels) and the abilities stack with any mount/cohort/companion or improved familiar of any class taken, the only time a second animal can be bonded is if they are mated. Wild empathy checks never need to be used as they will always follow you, do as you ask and protect the wild elf.
The Wild Elves only have a short lifespan so live life to the fullest.  Rarely living past 40 years, of course this does extend the lifespan of their companion beyond their normal.  If one does die before the other, the one left tends to pine away and can never bond again.

     Wild Elves live in the present, rarely thinking about the past or future. Not much keeps their attention for long, except food, shelter, safety, and family.
     They are a friendly, but secretive people, if you become their friend, you are until proven otherwise. Grudges are rarely held, as they would be forgotten in days or weeks.
     They have an oral tradition, that the shaman keeps. He is the only one that has a longer memory than the common wild elf. These memories are kept in natural objects with a memory spell imbued in them to keep the memory alive. Sometimes these memories are imbued in the paint used on cave walls. When he is near these objects, they can speak to him and share their wisdom from the past.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Creature Spotlight: Lutra

Lutra

This is one of the advanced races that I created for my Homebrew world of Aquatica. Below is the Pathfinder write-up for the Lutra:

Lutra (14 RP)

Medium humanoid (aquatic, animalfolk)

Racial Traits

  • +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, -2 Strength. Lutra are nimble and curious, but their laziness makes them weaker than other races. (0 RP)
  • Medium Size: Lutra have no bonuses or negatives due to their size. Medium races have a space of 5 feet by 5 feet and a reach of 5 feet. (0 RP)
  • Standard Speed: Lutra have a base speed of 30 feet. (0 RP)
  • Aquatic Subtype: Lutra gain a swim speed of 30 feet, can hold their breath as long as their Constitution score plus their level in minutes, and operate normally underwater as if it were their natural element. (2 RP)
    • Bond to the Water: Lutra gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC when under water. (2 RP)
  • Lowlight vision: Lutra can see twice as far as a race with normal vision in conditions of dim light. (1 RP)
  • Whiskers: Lutra can sense vibrations in water, granting them blindsense 30 feet against creatures that are touching the same body of water. (1 RP)
  • Keen Senses: Lutra receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception skill checks. (2 RP)
  • Waterborn: Lutra gain a +2 to 1 water-based skill of choice; craft: fishing gear (nets, poles, lures, boats), profession: fishing, ride: dolphin (or other), survival, or swim (2 RP)
  • Cliff Jumper: Lutra are fearless of heights because they often live in and around cliff caves. (1 RP)
  • Know Direction: Lutra always know north and direction of their Holt (home). (1 RP)
  • Tail Slap: A Lutra’s tailslap is a slam attack that does 1d6 damage. (1 RP)
  • Fearless: Lutra gain a +2 racial bonus on all saving throws against fear effects. (1 RP)
  • Languages: Common and Lutran. Bonus: Aquan, Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Goblin, and Mer. (0 RP)

 

Alternate Racial Traits

  • Curiosity:  Lutra are naturally inquisitive, and gain a +4 bonus on Diplomacy checks to gather information, and both Knowledge (history) and (local) become class skills for them. If they choose a class that has these Knowledge skills as class skills, they gain a +2 racial bonus in the skills instead. Replaces water born
  • Gregarious: Lutra are naturally charming and social. Whenever Lutra use Diplomacy to win over an individual, that creature takes a -2 penalty on attempts to resist any of the aquatic’s Charisma-based skills for the next 24 hours. Replaces fearless.
  • Change Shape: Lutra gain the Feral Form feat at reduced cost and look like Large-size sea otters. Replaces waterborn.
  • Powerful Swimmer: Lutra receive a +10 foot bonus to their swim speed. Replaces whiskers.
  • Tough Hide: Lutra have a +1 to their Natural Armor. Replaces keen senses.
  • Water Child: Lutra gain an additional +4 racial bonus on Swim checks (this stacks with any other racial bonuses), can always take 10 while swimming, and may ignore penalties from water pressure and cold water temperatures, allowing them to dive as deeply as they wish. Additionally, they treat above-water cold climate effects as though they were one order of magnitude less. This advantage provides no protection against attacks that use pressure or cold. Replaces waterborn and bond to the water.
  • Weather Savvy: Lutra are so in tune with the air and sky above their liquid homes that they can sense the slightest change in atmospheric conditions. They can spend a full-round action to predict the weather in an area for the next 24 hours. This prediction is always accurate, but cannot account for spells or supernatural effects that might alter the forecast. Replaces tailslap.

Lutra live on Hyna Beatha is covered in mountains, cliffs, forests, rivers and streams.

This playful race is evolved from the common sea otter. They are a medium-sized race of humanoid otters with brown hair and eyes which live in nomadic tribes and are cooperative hunters. Lutra prefer to live in sheltered caves, commonly in cliffs, but often found in aquatic (underwater) caves in temperate to arctic waters. Their diet consists mostly of aquatic plants and animals [shellfish are favorites]. A rare few (20% or DM choice) can shapeshift into a Large sea otter. The majority of the tribes worship the primal egg (like lizardfolk) or the World Turtle.

Their society is like a combination of Pacific Islanders, Eskimo and Jamaicans. They are a very laid back people, but when needed work with a will; vocal, love singing and music; communal, everything is shared. Like to barter and use shells for currency.

ally: walaran, whales, dolphin, turtles, aquatic mammals

enemy: reptiles, sharks, snakes, lizardfolk, lemurans

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Upcoming is a Hombrewery PDF of the Lutra.

 

Links to similar posts:

Kangu

Mousefolk

RPG PATREON LINK

Maricoxi- Outsider Paraelemental

imageMaricoxi

This creature stands like a man, yet is half again the height of most men, with blue translucent bluish skin and covered with a coat of thick white fur on the head, forearms, and legs.

 

Maricoxi                                      CR 6

XP 2,400

N Large outsider (cold, outsider)

Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft., snowvision, scent; Perception +11

 

DEFENSE

AC 19, touch 10, flat-footed 16 (+1 Dex, +9 natural, –1 size)

hp 70 (8d10+12)

Fort +12, Ref +7, Will +4

Immune cold, disease

Weaknesses vulnerability to fire

OFFENSE

Speed 40 ft., climb 30 ft. (ice and snow are treated as normal movement).

Melee bite +13 (1d8+5 plus 1d6 cold), 4 claws +13 (1d6+5 plus rend and 1d6 cold), or ice spear +13 (1d8+7 plus 1d6 cold)

Range ice spear +13 (1d8+5 plus 1d6 cold)

Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.

Special Attacks rend (2 claws, 1d6+6 plus 1d6 cold)

STATISTICS

Str 21, Dex 12, Con 19, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha10

Base Atk +8; CMB +12; CMD 23

Feats Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Multiweapon Fighting, Power Attack.

Skills Climb +21, Intimidate +11, Perception +11, Stealth +6 (+17 in snow), Survival +11; Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth (+12 in snow)

Languages Aklo, Aquan, Common

 

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Cold (Su)

A maricoxi’s body generates intense cold, dealing 1d6 points of cold damage to any creature that contacts it with a natural attack or unarmed strike, or whenever it hits a foe with its bite, claws or rend attack.

Ice Half-Paraelemental Template Abilities (Su)

See table below for the half-paraelementals level based abilities. 1/day

Ice Shape (Su)

A maricoxi can shape ice and snow at will. This ability functions as stone shape, but only targeting ice and snow, not stone. One of their favorite attacks is an ice spear. A maricoxi’s caster level for this effect is equal to its Hit Dice.

Icewalking (Ex)

This ability works like the spider climb spell, but the surfaces the maricoxi climbs must be icy. The maricoxi can move across icy surfaces without penalty and does not need to make Acrobatics checks to run or charge on ice.

Martial Training (Ex)

Because of their high intelligence, maricoxi are proficient with light and medium armors, simple weapons, and one martial weapon of choice.

Snow Vision (Ex)

When young maricoxi’s learns to see perfectly well in snowy conditions. A maricoxi does not suffer any penalties to Perception checks while in the snow.

ECOLOGY

Environment cold mountains

Organization solitary, pair, or tribe (3–8)

Treasure standard

 

Maricoxi is a strange combination of a Girallon, Yeti and an Ice-elemental (para-elemental). Instead of the evil tendencies of the Girallon, they lean more to Neutral that the common Yeti does, but a rare few descend to evil. Mysterious and rarely seen, the Maricoxi is a towering denizen of the loneliest and tallest mountain peaks. Those who dwell upon the lower reaches of such storied slopes whisper tales of “wild snowmen” who come down from the heights and raid livestock, only to leave barefoot tracks in the snow.

Although Maricoxi stories are accurate in their portrayals of fierce, stealthy, and immensely strong creatures.. They dwell in small tribes atop their distant mountains, where they are sheltered from contact with most other races. Those with violent or cruel natures are usually forced out of tribes to live lonely lives as exiles, and without the support of a tribe, such Maricoxi are often driven to raiding lowlander settlements, thus perpetuating the myth of the Maricoxi as a demon made flesh.

The source of such cruel madness can often be traced to a singular source—proximity to strange, eldritch dimensions. The Maricoxi’s mountain lairs rise high in places where the boundaries between this world and others rasp thin. It is unclear if the Maricoxi are invaders from these dimensions or Material Plane natives influenced by otherworldly realms, but it seems certain that whatever their origins, the Maricoxi are no friends to those who dwell beyond, and may even act as guardians against intrusions from such strange worlds into the Material Plane.

 

Special Attacks: Maricoxi with an Int or Wis score of 8 or higher, posses the following spell-like abilities, using their character levels as the caster level, as specified in the table. Each ability is usable once per day:

Level . . . Ability

1-2 . . . . Chill Touch

3-4 . . . . Fog Cloud

5-6 . . . . Flurry of Snowballs

7-8 . . . . Ice Wall

9-10 . . . . Ice Storm

11-12 . . . Cone of Cold

13-14 . . . Freezing Sphere

15-16 . . . Ice Spears

17-18 . . . Elemental Swarm (Summons only Ice Para-elementals)

19+ . . . . Plane Shift

 

Links:

Hey if you liked my take on the Maricoxi you might like some of the other creatures I have homebrewed. Here are some links to check out.

Nagan

Yuan-ti

 

If you like this consider donating to our Patreon.

Legendary Owlbear!

One thing that I absolutely love as a gamer and a game master is finding inspiration in the oddest places. Last night was a perfect example of one such instance as I stumbled on an owlbear out in a monster hunter style game.

So last night I was hanging out in Twitch watching an awesome streamer and gamer that goes by the name of Zippy_Zippo on Twitch and @gamingdotEXP on Twitter. Well, Zippy was playing the Beata of Dauntless when I swung by to hang out and watch their stream. It turns out Dauntless is an MMO Monster hunter Style game.

This caught my interest as I love some of the conversions I have seen for monster hunter out there for D&D. Zippy comments that he is going to join a group and go on a Shrike hunt. This did not really get my attention as I had no idea what a Shrike was in the game. Moments later he and the group of players round a corner and there it is the Shrike… Yet to my surprise I have known it by an entirely different name for the last 30 years.
The Owlbear!

At this point I am paying full attention as this party of four is locked in combat with a HUGE owlbear. I am loving the encounter and right at that moment when it seems that the battle will turn out to be nothing more than four players dancing around in a claw, claw bite fest to the death… the owlbear does something surprising. Something that over the years once or twice I have considered doing in my encounters as a DM. The Owlbear Stood on its hind legs let out a mighty flap of its wings and took to the air.

via Gfycat

Instantly I thought to myself.. that would be an AWESOME Legendary Actions! As the battle continued I penciled in some of its other attacks and came up with what I would love to share with you all today that I think would make for an enjoyable Legendary Owlbear encounter.

So here ya go, I hope ya all enjoy it! Please let me know if you decide to use it in any of your 5E games. (Note: I literally pulled all of this info from watching this battle. I just used my understanding of D&D to translate this into a fun game mechanic that I hope you enjoy. I am not claiming this as my idea lol)

Owlbear

My intent was to make a cool slightly more difficult alpha version of an owlbear.  I did not want to create a crazy CR 15 monster. Just something with a few legendary ticks up his sleeve to surprise a party.

SO there you go! Please feel free to let me know what you think about it? Or if you have any other comments about it. I slapped him up on D&D Beyond for any of you that have D&DB and would like to add this to your own homebrew collection.

Until next time!

If you enjoy my work and would like to see more of it!

Cypher Shadowrun Totems, Fetishes, and Talismans

So here we are again readers Totems, Fetishes and Talismans! The long-awaited adaptation of Shadowrun inspired Foci Magic in the Cypher system. Long awaited, so long awaited one of my awesome gamers took up the task of tackling most of the work. He took the foundations built on the new version of cybernetics found Here and built a solid set of options for magic items in Cypherrun.  So if you like the following be sure to give my good friend Nick (@Negeta76 over on Twitter) a thank you because if it was not for him we likely would be just starting not finishing this blog. So, let’s take a deeper look at what Shadowrun style magic in the Cypher System.

Terminology:

It should be noted that in Shadowrun magical gear is called “foci”. With the term “Focus” existing as a keyword in the Cypher System, it is important to separate the two so that we can minimize any confusion. So in the Cypher System, Shadowrun Foci are classified as “Magical Gear” and further divided into three groups. These Groups are.

  • Fetishes– Items that can summon spirit animals or grant single-use abilities.
  • Talismans– Act as power Assets tied to specific skills or powers.
  • Totems– These powerful Magic Items give access Tier Powers or Power Shifts

Limits of Magic

For balance with cybernetics, it was determined that only characters who have taken Adept or the Magic Flavor are able to unlock the magical potential of these items. Additionally, to keep the balance both ways in Cypher Shadowrun the same item limits apply to Magic as they do Cybernetics.

One difference between magic items and cybernetics is that a player must bind themselves to their magic item. Given time a player can shift their bond to other magic items that they own or find, but this takes time and they must adhere to the Item limit rules for bonded items detailed below.

Cybernetics Limits

1 Major, 2 Standard, 3 minor

Magic Item Limits

1 Totem, 2 Talismans, 3 Fetishes

Further, if you are playing a concept that might have both magic and cybernetics the only requirement that you must meet is adhering to the Type or Flavor of Adept or Magic. The mixing of magic and cybernetics is a costly one in Shadowrun. Installing cybernetics costs Essence in Shadowrun. To represent this in Cypher System if you meet the requirements to access magic items and chose to install cybernetics. You lose access PERMANENTLY to whatever analogous slot that you have taken. Make these choices with the knowledge that there is no going back.

To be clear Magic Item Slots lost due to Essence loss can NEVER be restored.

  • Each Minor cybernetic implant PERMANENTLY removes access to one Fetish Slot.
  • Each Standard cybernetic implant PERMANENTLY removes access to one Talisman Slot.
  • A Major cybernetic implant PERMANENTLY removes access to the use of  Totems.

Also, the power that a player gains through Magic Items has diminishing returns. The more often a player attempts to call on their power over the course of a day the more difficult the check becomes.

Item Level

Fetishes, Talismans, and Totmes much like artifacts and Cyphers each have an Item Level. In the case of Magic Items, the level of an item is tied directly to the power level of the summoned spirit or Tier associated with the ability the Item is mimicking. This was done for balancing factors and if wanted to play a high power game from the jump. You could forgo this. But I think in the interests of game balance this is a good rule of thumb.

Fetish Level

  • Level 2 Items = Tier 1 & 2 Ability or Spirts
  • Level 4 Items = Tier 3 & 4 Ability or Spirts
  • Level 6 Items = Tier 5 & 6 Ability or Spirts

Item Level Restrictions

Magic Items of Higher Tier than the Player cannot be bound with until they reach the same Tier as the item.

Control Checks

Any time that a character wishes to activate a Magic Item he must make a Control Check 999d438d5ab66f7dac4303ded84dad01 summonto activate the power of the Magic Item or gain control over the Summoned Spirit. When a spirit is summoned the spirits appear in at an immediate distance to the item they are bonded with and may act immediately. The Spirit will behave as instructed by the player who is bound to the magic item as long as the character succeeds in their control check.  Once Summoned and Controlled the spirits will remain until Dismissed or Destroyed.

Example:

Nick chooses to summon a Level 2 Earth Spirit. The check needed to summon and control the Earth spirit is a Rank 2 check. On the third round of combat, the Spirit is destroyed. With combat still going Nick chooses to resummon the spirt. The difficulty increases by 2 requiring a Level 4 check to summon and control the Earth Spirit again. When the combat ends Nick can choose to dismiss the spirit or retain control until the end of the scene.

If Nick decides later in the adventure so summon the Earth Spirit yet again this check would now be a Level 6 Control Check.

In this same example if Nick was summoning a Level 6 Fetish Spirit the check after the above example would be a 10.  
Level 6 CC to activate + 2 to resummon in combat, Lastly an additional +2 if he decided to summon it later in the adventure. 

If a Spirit is Dismissed it returns to its plane of existence until called again. Likewise, if the Spirit is destroyed it is only its Material body that is lost and can be resummoned. At the end of a Scene if the Spirit has not been dismissed or destroyed the player. They may choose to attempt another Control Check to force the Spirit to remain for an additional scene.

Loss of Control

If a player makes a control check and the result is a fail, the summon breaks free.  A free summon has the preference to attack those that have damaged it or the conjurer that failed to control it.  

Additionally, if you wanted as a possible GM intrusion on a rolling a 1. The summoned creature only goes for the conjurer that failed to control it, ignoring others that attack it. At any point before the control check, the summoner can choose to release the creature. Released creatures will simply disappear before it takes its turn.

Bonding with Magic Items

Magic Items alow Adepts and Magic flavor players a bit of versatility similar to the “Casts Spells” focus. Players may unlock the powers and abilities contained in a Magic Item. They take the time to Bond with the Magic Item and are of the appropriate Tier. The length of time required to bond with an item varies. Players must also be of the of the same or higher Tier of the item to bond successfully.

Time Needed to Establish the Bond:

Fetishes:  These magic items can be bound within just 10 min.

Talismans: Talismans require 1 hour to bond with. 

Totems: These powerful magic item can only be rebound to a character once every 10 hours.

SPECIAL: A player may force the bonding with a Magic Item at the cost of 1Exp. Spirts will NEVER like this and it will prompt an immediate Control Check.

 

Now with the basics laid out next blog will give you some sample Magic Items. I hope you all find this useful. Comment below and let me know what you think

 

Revisiting Cybernetics in the Cypher System

cyber_punk_arms_by_gottsnake-dbbynuf

A little over two years ago I set out to start running a Shadowrun RPG game using the Cypher System rules instead of the Shadowrun Rule Set. I had two options that I could see in regard to Cypher system and how I was going to have to handle cybernetics.

1. I could treat all Cybernetics as flavor, thus having no in-game impact on the overall way that the Cypher system was run. This would allow my players to have as little or as much cybernetics as they desire, accomplishing the feel of the setting with no extra workload.

2. I could come up with a few simple options based on examples already set forward in the Cypher System and find a common ground between the two settings that would allow for cybernetics to stand out in the game yet remain simple and very flexible.

I had come to the realization that if I was going to run a faithful conversion in Cypher I was going to have to make some modifications. As I said in my previous blog the easiest answer would just make cybernetics in the cypher system Artifacts. On the surface, this would appear to be an easy fix. Yet as a solution, it posed its own problems. First, in Shadowrun and other Cyberpunk settings, Cybernetics are commonplace. Artifacts are not commonplace,

In the Cypher System

“Artifacts are considered to be more powerful than equipment and can’t simply be purchased.”

Second I did not feel 100% comfortable with the idea of allowing most of the table to begin the game with one or more artifacts, this felt unbalanced. Additionally to further complicate the idea of simply hand-waving cybernetics and treating them as Artifacts is Depletion. So artifacts were out.

So the first version of cyberware was born.

The first version of cyberware came in three flavors.

  • Simple (Simple cybernetics that can only accomplish minor things in game)
    A player was limited to 3 of this type of Cybernetic
  • Standard (Things that can only have a minor effect on game)
    A max of 2 Standard Cybernetic could be taken
  • Major (These provide “Boosts” At the time of the writing I did not know of “Power Shifts”)
    Players could only have one of these items.

About Limits:

My reason for limits largely remains the same as it was when I wrote the first blog. Shadowrun has a system of essence, wherein the body can only hold so much cyberware. This system also maintains game balance. So, for this reason, limits make perfect sense to port it over into the Cypher System. Thus keeping to the spirit of Shadowrun as well as preventing players from power purchasing their way into an unbalanced game.

There were a few exceptions if a player had enough money to afford the best gear available they could double these limits. Also, desperate players who were willing to take the risk on shoddy gear could save on money and purchase “Gutterwear” This gear comes with the cost of doubling its limit base cost as well as the risk of “Depletion” Borrowed straight from the Artifact section.

There was always to be one other exception to this rule that I never mentioned in the first blog.

Artifacts

As Cybernetics were not intended to be Artifacts I also wanted to have the opportunity to award players with Prototype, Custom or Personalised cybernetics and not be hindered later in-game by a player already having reached their limit count. So cybernetic Artifacts do not count against a players limit.

Updates and Changes

As our group sat down to start up a Cypher System Shadowrun game for the first time since I wrote the first blogs we could see there were some changes that needed to be made to dial the feel of cybernetics a bit more.

The first round of cybernetics had been organized around two key factors.

  1. The level of a modification to the body it would take to install the cybernetic gear
  2. It’s in-game effect that provides

My flaw here was that I was vague on #2, as it needed to be further defined to better represent cybernetics in the game as a whole. So, in some regard cybernetics went back to the drawing board. The new categories make far more sense as well as set the foundation for easily defined placement of cybernetics in the future.

This brought about the first change we discussed, adding a 4th cybernetic category. The newly defined categories look like the following:

 

Cypher System Cybernetics

Simple Cybernetics

Any cybernetic enhancement that is cosmetic and had no effect on the game in regard to dice rolls.
Examples: Internal Watches, Implanted Cell Phones, Shifting Tattoos
Limit: No Limit to this type of cyber implant
Character Creation Costs: Inexpensive During Character Creation.
In Game Cost: Moderately Priced in Game

 

Minor Cybernetics

Any Cybernetic Enhancement that mimics or provide skills, or assist in the completion of a skill. In short any implanted gear that would allow the player to make a Trained/Specialised check. Combat and Defense Skills are not included at this level this Cybernetic Enhancement.
(Note: Cyber Enhancement benefits still must adhere to the two-step reduction limit for tasks)
Examples: Skill Slot Jacks, Climbing Spurs, Grappling Launcher

Limit: Four Implants of this type
Character Creation Costs: Moderately Priced
In Game Cost: Expensive

 

Moderate Cybernetics

These are by design Cybernetic Enhancements that provide an Assets to the Player. These Cybernetics often come in the form of Weapon or Equipment implants. But can be any range of Cybernetic equipment upgrade that could provide the player with an Asset.(Note: Cyber Enhancement benefits still must adhere to the two-step reduction limit for Assets)
Examples: Cyber Arm Blade, Cybergun, Hydraulic Jacks, Subdermal Motors

Limit: Three Implants
Character Creation Costs: Expensive
In Game Cost: Very Expensive

 

Major Cybernetics

Major Cybernetics are so powerful that they provide players with Power Shifts. Cybernetics of this level require major surgeries and a huge amount of money. These cybernetics bestow superhuman levels of ability. In some rare cases, these cybernetic can also mimic powers.
Examples: Subdermal Platting & Bone Lacing, Wired Reflexes, Muscle replacement

Limit Two Major Implants
Character Creation Costs: Very Expensive
In Game Cost: Exorbitant


Alpha and Gutterwear

As far as Alpha and Gutterwear are concerned I have chosen to retain the same rules that I had blogged in the past and they are as follows.

To represent Gutterwear and Alphawear it turned out to be a very simple fix. If a player wishes Alphawear gear they must pay the next step up in cost for the item. This treats the cybernetic as half of the cost towards their cybernetics limit. If they purchased Gutterwear they may cut the cost of the cybernetic by one level but the item now has a Depletion of 1 in 20. Any Depleted cybernetics must be repaired before they can be used again. Repair Tasks are based on the level of the cybernetic. Simple=3 Average=5 Major=7