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#1 Bulbasaur

The grass-type starter Pokemon that is considered by many to be the easiest of the starters for new trainers to raise. Ash’s Bulbasaur chose not to evolve, but it helped carry him to to some of his greatest victories as a trainer. Way back when I got my copy of Pokeon Blue Bulbasaur was the first starter I ever chose my very first Pokemon, so it has always had a special place in my pokedex. This is the first of the starters that I’ve created so lets jump in!

Bulbasaur

Medium beast, neutral

Armor Class 14

Hit Points 60

Speed 20 ft

Str 14 (+2) Dex 14 (+2) Con 14(+2)  Int 12 (+1) Wis 14 (+2)  Cha 14 (+2)

Damage Resistance lightning thunder

Damage Vulnerabilities fire

Skills Athletics +4, Intimidation +4, Perception +4

Senses Passive Perception 14

Languages Pokemon, understands Common but can’t speak

Challenge  5 (1,800 XP)

Evolution. After gaining 4,000 XP Bulbasaur evolves into Ivysaur.

Grass-Type: Bulbasaur has advantage on Stealth checks in areas with tall grass or other abundant plant life.

Pokemon. Bulbasaur can be captured in a Pokeball, from that point on it will act as a companion to its new trainer.

Actions

Slam: Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6+2) bludgeoning damage.

Vine-Whip. Ranged Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, range 40/100 ft., one target. Hit: 22 (4d6 +4) slashing damage. On a Critical Hit the target is also grappled.

Razor Leaf: Bulbasaur expels a shower of razor sharp leaves in a 20-foot foot cone. Each creature in that are must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw, taking 24 (6d4+4) slashing an piercing damage on a failed save or half as much damage on a successful one. As a bonus action Bulbasaur may maintain its Razor Leaf for one additional turn. Doing so causes Bulbasaur to gain one level of exhaustion.

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Pokeballs

Some time ago I put together a Pokemon trainer class for D&D 5e, I also put together stats for a few Pokemon to make them compatible with 5e. it was one of those things i set aside because there wasn’t really much interest in the idea. Since someone asked me to follow-up on it a bit here we are!

The question I’m addressing today is how do pokeballs work? As catching new or more powerful Pokemon is a staple of the class I should have explained this sooner. Sorry.

To use most pokeballs you’ll be following a few steps. Your trainer will have to make a an attack roll as per normal using Dexterity. You cannot use Strength to make this attack under any circumstances. Since all Pokemon Trainers are proficient with Pokeballs you will get to add your proficiency bonus to the attack roll. Assuming you hit the target’s AC now it has an opportunity to escape. We’ve all spent hours searching for that elusive Pokemon in the tall grass, thrown a ball, and prayed it wouldn’t break out. This saving throws represent the Pokemon’s will to resist capture. More powerful Pokemon will be able to break free more easily.

Pokeball: The Pokemon will get the opportunity to make a Charisma Saving throw on its turn during the following 3 turns. The DC is set at 10 + your Charisma modifier.

Great Ball: The Pokemon will have the opportunity to make a saving on its turn during the following 2 turns. The DC is set at 10 + 1 + your Charisma modifier.

Ultra Ball: The Pokemon will have the opportunity to make a saving throw on its turn during the follow turn. The DC is set at 10 + 2 + your Charisma modifier.

As in the video games a healthy Pokemon is much harder to capture than one that has been tired out in battle. If the you’re attempting to capture Pokemon isn’t bloodied it adds +5 to this roll.

Now while the Pokemon you’re trying to capture is trying to break loose there may be other Pokemon in the area for your trainer to cope with. Maybe a handful of Mankeys didn’t take kindly to you capturing their friend.

Of course there are special pokeballs that work differently but for now I’ll just be explaining the mechanics of the basic 3 types.

Star Trek Top 10

While neither of us consider ourselves to be Trekkies Tina and I ARE both big Star Trek fans. While we were looking over the Star Trek Adventures RPG we started talking about our favorite characters and episodes. We challenged one another to write out a list of our ten favorite characters and we wended up with some interesting results I felt like sharing.

Because there are so many great characters in Star Trek and it could be hard to crowd someone out of the list we both got an honorable mention.

Honorable Mentions

7 of 9 and Odo

Tina picked the changeling constable Odo from Deep Space 9 played by René Auberjonois. She says she picked him because he had great development during the show, and I have to agree with that. I picked 7 of 9 the former Borg played by Jeri Ryan from Voyager. I know people are going to say nasty things about my choice, and generally people are dismissive of 7, but I think she had some amazing episodes and stories during the series.

#10

Tina chose Commander William T. Riker First Officer of the Enterprise played by Jonathan Frakes. If I had to a hazard a guess as to why it probably has something to do with the less than serious attitude the commander often displayed. He wasn’t afraid to have fun or laugh when the moment allowed it. I also chose a first officer also Saru of the Discovery played by Doug Jones. Two ore different individuals there have never been, but I like them both. Saru is a Kelpian and the first of his species to join Starfleet. He isn’t afraid to admit to his own misgivings, and he’s willing to admit when he is wrong. Saru is also kind enough to forgive and acknowledge the abilities of others.

#9

Looks like we have a bit of a Voyager reunion. B’elanna Torres the half-Klingon half-human Chief Engineer played by Roxann Dawson was another matter entirely. She was angry, stubborn, and ready to fight with anyone about anything which may have been how she ended up with the Maquis. She was also one of the best engineers Starfleet ever had and she cared about people more than she was willing to admit. Her time of Voyager afforded her opportunities to grow, confront the things that had tormented her for most of her life, and grow into an even more amazing person.

#8

Tina’s pick for #8 Tina and I are both big fans of Voyager’s Tactical Officer the Vulcan Tuvok played by Tim Russ. He stands out among all Vulcans in my mind as one who never allowed his logical nature to overrule him. During the long journey home from the Delta Quadrant he was a teacher, a mentor, a confidant, a soldier, an explorer, and someone the crew could always count on. My choice was Lt. Commander Data of the Enterprise played by Brent Spiner. Data is such a fan favorite I have always found him fascinating. In this ongoing mission to explore the stars Data is undergoing his own mission to explore his own identity. He’s asking Who am i? Why am I here? He asks these questions with an open mind and explores all of the possibilities. Plus, let’s face it, Data is a nerd. He has a cat, he LARPS, and he can perform trillions of equations in seconds.

#7

Tina picked Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Enterprise played by Patrick Stewart. You can’t not have THE captain on this list at some point unless you hate everything about Next Generation. My choice was Jadzia Dax Science Officer of Deep Space 9 played by Terry Farrell. Jadzia wasn’t the first Trill to appear on Star Trek, but she was the first to flesh out the species and make it her own. I picked Jadzai in part because like any of the characters from Star Trek she’s brilliant, but there was a bigger reason. I look at Jadzia and see someone who lived. She learned Klingon martial arts, played tongo, saw spatial phenomenon no one else had ever even dared to dream of, and she was ever ready to offer wisdom or a joke when the situation called for it.

#6

miles

I shit you not we both picked Chief Miles O’Brien played by Colm Meaney for #6. We weren’t even in the same room when we did these lists and somehow this happened. So why the O’Brien? On Enterprise he was a secondary character who didn’t get to do much, but he still managed to meet and marry the love of his life, and saw her give birth to their first child Molly.  Not bad. In reality I chose him because people who have technical skill are amazing. The rest of us just kind of stumble through the world, but they see all the wires and know just where they go. O’Brien also explores some less pleasant aspects of the future. He’s got prejudices against Cardassians, he’s got a temper like a Klingon, and he’s struggling to keep his family happy while he keeps up with a difficult job. Chief, somehow you did it all. I also think that his friendship with Julian Bashir was something we need to see more of in fiction.

#5

Now we have a Deep Space 9 theme? Fine. Tina chose Captain Benjamin Sisko of Deep Space 9 played by Avery Brooks. If you need an explanation as to why he belongs on this list crack out Netlfix and go watch In The Pale Moonlight. I’ll wait. Understand now? Good. Quark, played by Armin Shimerman, was a Ferengi owned a bar on Deep Space 9. Quark was sexist, greedy, conniving, and in the first few episodes he seemed like he’d sell his own mother for a few slips of latinum. He did manage to keep things interesting with all his schemes and intrigues. His feud with constable Odo made them both more enjoyable, it also seems like it made them rub off on one another. Quark probably grew more than almost any character in any Star Trek show ever. He never quite became one of the good guys, but in the end he wasn’t a bad guy either.

#4

We’re creeping towards the top spots now and competition is getting tighter. For her #4 Tina chose Kira Nerys the Bajoran First Officer of Deep Space 9 played by Nan Visitor. Kira is plain a simple a badass. She can kick the butt of a Jem’Hadar warrior twice her size without spilling her raktajino. She also happens to have some of the most compelling episodes in Star Trek. My choice was Voyager’s Captain Kathryn Janeway played by Kate Mulgrew. I could say a lot of things about why I picked Janeway, but in the end it comes down to one thing. She got her ship home. She didn’t do it alone, and luck helped more than once, but it she saw it as her duty to get Voyager home and she damned well did it.

#3

In part one of the top three we have a repeat performer with Jadzia Dax. I chose the Voyager’s EMH or as he came to be called The Doctor played by Robert Picardo. Who needs a sonic screwdriver when you have a mobile emitter am I right? The Doctor carried on the tradition of Starfleet’s medical officers grappling with ethical conundrums. He also grappled with his own personality and how it clashed with the crew. All of the other EMH programs with his personality were demoted, but Voyager needed him so he got the chance to learn and grow. The Doctor was curious and eager to prove he could be more than just what he was. There’s an episode called Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy that to this day makes me tear up every time I see it. The Doctor has installed a daydream progrma to allow him to live out fantasies, and one of those fantasies is taking command of Voyager as the Emergency Command Hologram during a crisis. When his daydreams go haywire the crew end up getting a peak into his deepest fantasies and seeing one of these scenarios play out.

He says “Thank you for this opportunity Captain. All I’ve ever wanted was the opportunity to live up to my full potential. To hone all my skills, expand my abilities, to help the people I love.”

Robert Picardo brings so much humanity to the role, I don’t think anyone else could have done it quite so well.

#2

Another Voyager reunion? Fine! I’ve already talked about why these characters are so great, but I will also say Tuvok is my favorite Vulcan. Yes over Spock. I said it and I won’t take it back.

#1

Well here we are, the top spot. We end with two Starfleet Captains no less. Captain Philippa Georgiou played by Michelle Yeoh commands the USS Shenzhou on Star Trek Discovery. She’s a great character we only get to see a little bit of, but she makes us wonder what happened in her career to bring her to this point. You can tell she has the admiration and respect of her entire crew. She also seems to be a bit of a pack rat. Captain Picard delivers some of the best dialogue in all of Star Trek. Patrick Stewart makes you care about the ship, the events, and the characters even when you don’t want to. When I think of a Starfleet Captain he’s the first to leap to mind.

Well there you have, those are our Top Tens. I expect there to plenty or rage over these lists. To be honest there are very few characters on Star Trek I don’t like. Less than 3 in fact. I’d like to finish by thanking the actors from the series for all of their hard work over the years.

Episode 102: Adventures in Middle-Earth Part 5 Shadows Gather Before the Dawning of a New Day

http://outofcharacter.buzzsprout.com/13127/564260-episode-102-adventures-in-middle-earth-part-5-shadows-gather-before-the-dawning-of-a-new-day

Episode 101: Psionics the Next Stage of Human Evolution

In this episode I review Psionics the Next Stage of Human Evolution, an rpg featuring psychic powerhouses who are on the run from shadowy government organizations.

http://outofcharacter.buzzsprout.com/13127/559836-episode-101-psionics-the-next-stage-of-human-evolution

Episode 100: Our Epic Summer

In this episode of the podcast Jade and I talk about our nerdy summer vacations, which consisted of Epic Nerd Camp and Gencon respectively.

http://outofcharacter.buzzsprout.com/13127/559788-episode-100-our-epic-summer

Skill Check

The past few hours I was tinkering with ideas about skills checks, and a thought occurred to me.  If you leaf through most modules there are always instances where the GM will be told to ask players for a specific type of skill check, or a range of skills. There’s nothing wrong with a GM having an idea for a certain type of situation to call on a select range of skills, but it may deprive players of a chance to flex their roleplaying muscles. The example I thought up while I was wasting time at work today uses Dungeons & Dragons 5e, but the principle applies to any rpg with a skill system.

Imagine your players have entered a local pub looking for information, now let’s also pretend that this didn’t devolve into a ballroom brawl ( a certain monk and warlock I know could probably learn something from this come to think of it.) One of the patrons, a minotaur sailor known to have dealings with the black market, overhears them chatting up the crowd and takes an interest.

Maybe he’s been soured on smugglers after years of being cheated? Or perhaps he’s hoping to send some trouble towards his competitors? Whatever his reasoning he’s not inclined to impart information to anyone who he doesn’t trust. Stomping his way through the pub he proposes a challenge to test their mettle, in this case a pepper eating contest.

Now some GM’s would probably ask for a Constitution saving throw, but there’s plenty of opportunity for creative players to find a way to win out this encounter. A saving throw might favor the broad shouldered goliath barbarian, but the other members of the party could have a great deal more difficulty measuring up. Now there’s something be said for a comical failure and they certainly provide opportunity for roleplay, but let’s examine a few other possibilites.

The halfling bard might manage to deceive the minotaur, pretending that to him the pepper is no hotter than piece of bread. A dragonborn wizard skilled at sleight of hand might tuck the offending pepper into his sleeve. The elf druid might fallback on her knowledge of herb lore and attempt to make a nature check to see what she has on hand that might counter the burning sensation of the peppers.

Give your players an chance to get creative an approach the problem from a different angle. Now a GM also has to know when to say no, but saying yes present much more exciting results for the table more often than not.

 

 

Castlevania Part 1

After watching the new Castlevania series on Netflix  couldn’t help thinking it would make a great setting for a very dark Dungeons and Dragons campaign with some cool steampunk elements. I’m actually working on a short module that takes players through a brief adventure in that world. However creatures from that setting can be folded into almost any D&D game with a little imagination.

For folks who have yet to see the show please stop reading now if you care about spoilers.

I’d also like to let everyone know in advance I am not a longtime fan of Castlevania, I’ve been aware of the franchise for many years but I never played any of the games. If I get any of the terminology wrong please forgive me.

Also Castlevania is the property of Konami and the Netflix series is the property of Netflix, I claim no ownership of either. All of the art pictured here is from the Netflix series and belongs to their artists, it is also pretty great and definitely helps make the show worth your time. So without further ado…

goblins

I’ve seen these things called imps and goblins, to me they look like Red Court vampires from The Dresden Files. At any rate they seem to make up the bulk of Dracula’s demonic army.

Goblins

Medium fiend, chaotic evil

Armor Class 13 (natural armor)

Hit Points 18

Speed 60 ft., climb 20 ft, flight 40 ft.

Str 10 (+0) Dex 16 (+3) Con 12 (+1) Int 8 (-1) Wis 10 (+0) Cha 8 (-1)

Skills Perception +2, Stealth +5

Damage Vulnerabilities Cold, radiant

Damage Immunities Fire

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10

Languages  Abyssal, Common

Challenge 1

Actions

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) slashing damage.

Infernal Blast. Range Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, 60/100 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (1d8+6) fire damage. Creatures within 30 ft. of the target must make a DC 14 Dexterity Saving throw, on a failed saving throw they take half as much damage as the hit target, on a successful saving throw they take no damage. All objects in the radius of the attack that are not being held burst into flames.

Shock troops for Dracula these summoned monsters serve as the foot soldiers in his army. They are capable warriors able to spread violence throughout cities and the surrounding countryside with ease.

Please note, Infernal Blast is meant to be a powerful attack capable of dealing huge damage. It can kill or seriously injure an entire low-level party if they aren’t careful as well as setting fire to everything in the immediate area. I designed it that way because we see these things peppering cities with these blasts and setting them ablaze in minutes. You may want to warn the party by having one of these things fire off a round at NPCs or buildings before opening fire on your players.

cyclops.png

I love seeing a cyclops used as a monster, and this one is a bit like a beholder crossed with a cyclops. Easily the best monster in the Netflix series so far in my opinion.

Stone-Eye Cyclops

Huge fiend, lawful evil

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)

Hit Points 82

Speed 20 ft.

Str 18 (+4) Dex 12 (+1) Con 16 (+3) Int 10 (+0) Wis 10 (+0) Cha 8 (-1)

Skills Perception +5

Condition Immunities Petrified

Damage Vulnerabilities Radiant

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12

Languages  Abyssal, Common

Challenge 5

Feast on Terror. The Stone-Eye Cyclops feeds on the terror of those it has turned to stone, it regains 1d4 hit points each turn for each living victim it has turned to stone. It also adds +1 to any roll it makes for each living victim it has petrified.

Thundering Footsteps. Creatures and objects within 5 ft. of the Stone-Eye Cyclops when it moves take 1d4 bludgeoning damage.

Actions

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (1d8+6) bludgeoning damage.

Eye Ray. Range Weapon Attack: +0 to hit, 30/60 ft., one target. The target must succeed on a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed saving throw, the creatures turns to stone and is petrified.  Petrified creatures can only be returned to normal by killing the Stone-Eye cyclops that turned them to stone.

Powerful guardians that can be utilized to protect valuables or locations from unwanted visitors these towering behemoths are terrors to all. Although they’re more than capable or tearing treasure hunters limb from limb whenever the mood strikes them, they usually prefer turning intruders to stone so that they can feed off of their fear. The lair of a Stone-Eye Cyclops is almost always marked by the petrified bodies of their victims.

As I said this thing is like a cyclops and a beholder crossbreed, which amazing and horrifying all at once. The eye ray requires the cyclops to hit the opponents AC and then the players gets to make a dex save to avoid being petrified. This is, again, a savage attack that can take a player out of the action in one stroke. The cyclops shouldn’t be able to sneak up on a party so they’ll have some warning of what is coming. I went this direction because unlike the beholder who slowly turns victims to stone I wanted to give a more cinematic feel to the cyclops.  A huge beam engulfs your wizard and they’re just gone in an instant.

Anyway I hope someone out there finds these amusing if nothing else, thanks for reading.

Episode 97: Adventures in Middle-Earth Character Creation

Before diving back into the adventure I wante to share our character creation sesssion for Adventures in Middle-Earth.

http://outofcharacter.buzzsprout.com/13127/531985-episode-97-adventures-in-middle-earth-character-creation

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