This Blog 2019, Goals and Grommets

Inspired by the 2019 goals post over at Charles's Dragons Never Forget Blog, I figured I would do the same thing. 2018 right around ...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

[Part 1] On Being The Druid, Guest Post by Russ C.

This is a guest post by my good friend and long time player Russ C.
Russ is our resident Druid player and I know he has some strong feelings about what a fantasy druid is and how they can be played.

For me the D&D druid is a bit of an enigma. In game terms they are a spell casting class with  decent melee abilities and abilities useful in the wilds. The fact that they have been included in every flavor of D&D since the original advanced D&D  astounds me. I would think they would be a niche that could have been closed by giving the  Ranger a more spell focused option, or beefing up the spell list of the priestly earth sphere.

However the  Druid as character class persisted over time and across editions. Perhaps they have remained because players realize instinctively that there is something truly unique about the idea of a heroic Druid. 
As a spell casting class with real touchstones in a historical culture rather than the mythology of a culture. I feel the druid some how carries more weight for me than the magic user and the sorcerer.  In my mind it matters that at one point in history there were flesh and blood "druids" and that the old way was the religion in part of the world. I often times have a desire to get it "right" when dealing with the druid more so than say a typical magic user. More than just a ranger with shapechange and more than cleric dedicated to the woods. A druid in effect can be the  woods. When acting as nature's defender they are protecting themselves, and that opens up a milieu of adventures other classes might not be suited for.  In a word druids are different.

So, as the player in the group, who has played a Druid class character the longest and in both 3rd and 5th editions of D&D as well as in our home brew  PHASE ABANDON I have been asked to start off a conversation (or debate if you will) on playing a Druid.  I will not profess to being  a "rules lawyer" nor have the DMing experience of Mark who I have had the pleasure of playing in both of their many campaigns but what I do know is Druids, at least real world Druidism.  How does this make me a good judge on rules affecting Druids? Well I guess one could argue it doesn't "so stop typing now and go back to the forest you tree hugging hippie". My justification would be that I interpret the abilities  not simply as written in the rule book but with the intent the Druid would use and had been granted his power.

   Where does this go? Well after going through the PHBs of 2nd, 3rd 4th and 5th editions as well as a pdf of the original and articles forwarded to me I conclude that, while I love 5 edition it really lacks in clarifying many rules and especially does not do the Druid class any justice in the way of development.  What I mean by this is the early editions give a good outline of who the Druid is, what their ethos is.  

Clearly the Druid is defined as a true neutral character seeing all things as a necessity to balance the forces of the world.  The Druid is not the person you want in your group to wantonly go off and take out that band of Orcs simply because hey they do bad things nor is he a "card holding" member of PETA  hunting you down for eating a bunny or killing bears for coats.  While they would rather be in the wilds; they  accept that many humanoids prefer towns or cities and a visit to such places will not necessarily make their eyes explode.  (LOL)

  So a few rules that come up in our sessions:
 Entangle:  As written this spell creates sprawling vines and gnarly roots to grow out of the ground clinging and rasping all creatures in an area.  Pretty straightforward It seems. The question became does it also incapacitate the Druids comrades?  Well, as written (in any edition) it does. For most of my years of playing my particular DM never made this the case, he house ruled it; or simply never gave it a thought. The argument for this would be: if the Druid is controlling these plants to spring forth he should be able to dictate which creatures are effected.  I like that. Recently we have played it as written and quite honestly it practically takes the spell right out of the Druids' arsenal.  Unless working solo or with a group of ranged fighters, casting Entangle is too prohibitive for melee combatants to be utilized.  In defense of this would be the entire range of area effect spells cast by magic users; imagine the  wizard able to cast Fireball into a crowd and dictate that it only incinerates the bad guys. Yeah kind of crazy.

    Our biggest debate at the moment is the shape-

change ability. It is my firm belief that the Druid should only be allowed to choose from natural animals;  IE wolf, bear, raven; things they would see in their environment and I believe in the first two editions at least this was the intent of the ability.  Original wording states: Ability to change form up to three times per day, actually becoming, in all respects save the mind, a reptile, bird or mammal.  To me that doesn't include creatures of fantasy but the argument can be made that "uh helloo this is a fantasy game so magical creatures ARE included, after all you do encounter them."   Later editions have change the wording to "creatures" and as of 5th simply to beasts. hmm helpful; real helpful.

   So what do our rule enforcers decide? can our 5 level Druid turn into  a basilisk and does that mean that all those who look it in the eye make a saving throw vs paralysis (or whatnot) or does the Druid just turn into a big lizard?

I  Also asked Russ what he thought makes a truly heroic druid character in a game.
rees.  Fair and neutral to all. Healing abilities would be of a more holistic nature than magic ability.  Spells would be of elemental fury; windstorms, lightning, hailstorms.  Animal empathy of course.

His shape shifting would be at will and restricted to natural  creatures with no magical abilities. 
Main focus to protect the balance of good and evil and protect nature from unnecessary destruction. He would be as likely to walk freely into an orc war band camp as a human village and be generally accepted by both as if to parlay 

Thank you for reading, 

  hope you enjoyed the post.
Please leave questions or comments on the  sacrificial altar below.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Rules Lawyers - Fight! (D&D 5th ed Feats edition)

This is a post cross written with my long time friend and gamer ally Otto over at Quarzis Games.
Here is his post on the same subject .. GO READ IT!
We have picked a subject that has come up in our games and decided that we woudl both write posts about it. Neither one of us really knew what tact the other woudl take when writing our posts so the  "FIGHT" part of this title might be a bit misleading. (it's not.) Z

For the  record Otto is  how shall we say ... ummm.... Smart, like wicked smart, eloquent, perceptive and humble about it. So I am in the  position of bringing a knife to a gunfight here, I best be on my game.  Hey though at least I'm not surprised!
Scanned from the D&D 5th ed PHB

That is my clever segway to bring us all the  way to this ugly son of a bitch.

I need to say a couple things before I continue.

In one of my blog posts I said:
"The best thing about  5th edition D&D feats is that they are optional."
I stand by that. The ability to  just never use the feats or for a gm to say, "Nah we're not using them." is a good thing. Being that feats aren't central to the game's core system (As they were in 3.0  / 3.5 ) they are completely optional. For my money this solves any problems a GM has with any of the feats, either nix them completely or pull out the feats that are troublesome.

Given that feats only come around every few levels and the player would  have to give up a sizable +2 to, their attributes to pick a feat. Played for maximum benefit that +2  on attributes  will always give the character at least an additional +1 bonus to something. Considering the trade off feats should have some punch. Even still I have issue with some of the 5th ed Feats, and "Alert" is pretty much top of my list.

The scanned text above is the complete entry for the Alert feat.

  • (Part 1) Always on the look out for danger.
  • (Part 2) You gain a +5 to initiative.
  • (Part 3) You can't be surprised while you are conscious.
  • (part 4) Other creatures do not gain an advantage on attack rolls against you as a result of being hidden from you.
(Part 1) I like the description of  "Always on the lookout for danger."  This invokes images of twitchy street wise rouge who knows that danger lurks around every corner, and of the  hardened professional fighter who knows what to look for in every situation. I think there should be a feat for this sort of personality, mechanical representation for the kind of character who is never calm, ever vigilant, and always ready. I can appreciate these types of characters because I see them in movies. A kung fu expert awakes from meditation just in the  split second he needs to block a sword strike, a cowboy who hears the  jingle of spur, turns and shoots before his assailant even has a chance. This kind of super reaction is an attribute that characters in fiction do have.

(Part 2) +5 to initiative:
If a player poo-poo's a +5 to anything in the fifth edition game then I don't know what might make that player happy. Mathematically this is basically "advantage" on every initiative. Factor in a decent Dex score and chances are this character is going first most rounds.
In my opinion this is enough. It covers the Feats description and is more than you can get for the +2 attribute bonus you gave up.
A solid bonus to a roll that is made at the beginning of every combat, which affects the  flow of encounter as a whole. Good Deal that.
Give a wizard "Alert" and  watch how often he or she stuffs groups of enemies before they get to do anything constructive. 

(Part 3) You can't be Surprised while conscious.
I get it the character is so alert that they react to things more quickly than others. Like when I play basketball, some of the  folks playing with me are faster to the ball than I am, they are more "ALERT." I can appreciate that interpretation.
Here's where I call foul. 
  • The +5 initiative already covers being quicker the the ball or your sword or whatever. This Feat is constructed so a player never has to worry about foolishly walking into a room without checking the corners.
  • The reaction mechanic (PHB 190) already covers things like the monk's ability to  snag arrows out  of the air or other situations that trigger an action by a character. 
  • The "Ready" action  (pg 193) extends this concept to pretty much anything the GM will allow, up to things like "If he takes one more step I hit him in the face!" kind of things.
  • The use of the word "never" should be outlawed from role-playing games. To say "Never surprised" takes the surprised condition out of  the GM's toolkit. There are a few mechanical things the GM  has available to build tension. (darkness, the  threat of surprise, being lost, resource management..) The Game has a bad habit of giving characters easy ways to circumvent most of them. This feat removes surprise from the list, completely. Any time the   word "Never" grabs one of my tools and  throws it away, I'm not happy. ( Read this from Goblin Punch for another  look at keeping threats, threatening.)
  • Being surprised is considerably worse than rolling a poor initiative. Surprised creatures can't move or act until the end of the turn, and may not take reactions until the end of the turn. In 5th edition "Surprised" is treated more like a short term condition. Ambushing your target is almost useless without the surprised condition. The two examples given under surprise on PG 189 PHB are A band of characters jumping from the  trees on some unsuspecting bandits and a Gelatinous cube gliding silently down a hallway. These are both ambushes by definition, If the DM was to say  "Ok you guys all get a free attack because they never saw it coming!" The DM has in effect just given you the benefits surprise and just skipped the protocol of the  checks. This feat kills the threat of ambush at least for the targets that have Alert.
  • For the  record, A gm can inflict "surprised"  As Defined on Page 189 of the 5th edition PHB, using the  following process. If one side of a fight might logically surprise another then the  Gm asks for or makes Dexterity checks (Stealth) for "anyone hiding" and compares them to the Passive Wisdom (perception) of "Each Creature on the opposing side. The text makes a point of mentioning that not all members of a group need to be surprised some may, some may not be. *
  • The Alert feat Diminishes anyone with a good wisdom but not the feat, why have that high passive perception? You're not going to need it all that much you have alert. 
  • It diminishes ambush predators and to an extent high Dex opponents, why bother with the Dex bonus or stealth or that back stabbing thief when the feat says "never surprised"?  Just take the feat, It is THE BEST CHOICE.
(Part 4) 
"Other Players do not gain advantage on attack rolls against you as a result of being hidden from you"
This part is my big hang up.
On Pg 177 there is a pop out that describes hiding using a stealth check. It states "In combat most creatures stay alert for signs of danger all around, so if you come out of hiding and approach a creature, it usually sees you."
It then continues, " the Dungeon Master might allow you to stay hidden as you approach a creature that is distracted, allowing you to gain advantage on an attack."
But not against Aler.
So if you are a DM using an NPC rogue as an enemy:
  • Don't hide then try to get advantage on an attack in an effort to get your extra sneak-attack damage. 
  • Don't bother with the assassins arch type skill of assassinate. You can never get that critical for surprising a target with Alert.
Alert effectively kills camouflage, invisibility, hiding in shadows, and back-stabs as threats to the character and  gain as tools to raise the tension in a fight. It makes no sense when looked at as a package with the  other two benefits. The character can already never be surprised, with this hiding really only has a defensive benefit.

If your DM gets smart and gives some of those NPC bad guys tier own ALERT Feats .. things could get bizarre.

Lets look at it all for a second:

Player: I know they are close so while I'm hidden up here, I want to us my ready action, anything that steps into that clearing I shoot it with my  bow."

DM looks at his NPC ranger, she has the Alert feat.

DM: A brown cloaked figure enters the clearing.....

Player: I SHOOT!

Ok now what? 
The player has already spent their action as a hold so they fire? Wait no they should check for surprise first to see if the  ranger looses this turn completely including their reactions. Hold on, the target can  NEVER be surprised so her alertness is going to say LOOK OUT no surprise check. Well at least the attacker gets advantage for being hidden? Nope alert kills that to. So roll initiative right? Well no ...We're back to the player has already spent their action as a hold, so your going to take that action away?

Surprise happens before initiative so how can a DM or a Player execute a plan to get the drop on someone with the Alert Feat if it steps in front initiative. It's a nightmare.

It's not that the  Feat is innately unbalanced, if only one character or very special NPC takes it to represent some supernatural level of training, I could get behind that.

However I think I have shown a few salient points:

  • It steps on so many other core mechanics all at once that it borderlines on  bad design. 
  • It takes tools out of teh GM's tool box by using the term NEVER when describing an effect.
  • It can lead to a web of logical semi correct situation interpretations that is a time wasting table discussion waiting to happen ***
  • As written the feat is so strong that a player would be foolish to pass it up.

  • My final verdict:  The Alert Feat is  Bad design that has possibly unintended mechanical interactions through withing the  scope of the game and should be used with caution.
    AKA ... Broken.
Thank you for reading .. Now go read Otto's post!


*  I am not going into how horrid it would be if these rules were interpreted by the  letter and five attackers all with  different dexterity scores tried to surprise 5 opponents all with different wisdom scores. It's a hack job.
** As a DM in that situation I would let the hidden player fire because they already spent the action, and move the +5 initiative bonus to the  targets AC. Then start the next round with a normal initiative no mods for anyone. And explain "You weren't surprised he just fired as soon as he saw you, your alertness allowed you the  +5 AC." To be honest though, I am not  at all sure that is the  right answer.
*** This is called "The Flying Snake Effect"

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Crying.

"The creature of smoke and shadow unseated sir percival from his steed, and  in that moment Percival knew he was weak, knew he was not worthy of his title, and he wept."
                                                                                                                        *Wrote nobody  

In my  D&D campaign there is a Druid. Capital D because he is the only, the last druid.
One of the threads the group is currently tugging on  involves the Druid seeking out magical energy and using it to re establish the  system of ley lines that was destroyed many years ago. (Many years in game and in  real life.)  
One of his tool is a seed or  large walnut that was gifted to the  druid by the senior druid before him. This  nut when placed amongst enough magical energy  will basically  cause a verdant forest to erupt on the spot. Purifying the land  and restoring the  flow of ley energy.

[If you pay in my game there is stuff here that might  explain some of the weirdness from our last game.]

Current events:
This weekend The Druid used that seed for the  first time in the  ruins of an ancient city that had been destroyed during time of war and was now pretty well over run by dueling populations of Skaven  and Naga.    
 The vegetation exploded around the party  nearly trapping them in the underground vault where all this started. The  walls were soon  gnarled with  roots and vines, grasses soon  overwhelmed the Gnome, and the dwarf was up to his beard in green. The ruins were cleansed of corruption. That node of ley lines restored.

Side efects.
 Corruption is like water, it flows amongst us all the time, rusting our cars, making the souls of our shoes fall apart, making that woman we are interesting in  have eyes for some other asshole at the bar.
Corruption is an energy  of it's own and like energy it can change form but it can't be destroyed. Corruption lays like an oily  film on the  surface of the  things it has touched, slowly working into every nook.

When the  Druid used his power to  cleanse the ruined city of Careth, he did not destroy the corruption  he simply pushed it out. Some of that corruption formed pools of swirling  hate and dissonance, shadows of corrupt matter. Some of it started looking for those who disturbed it. effects that also corrupt only serve to feed it's rage, necrosis, poisons, hexes and curses will bolster these nightmares.

The Corruption golems:
Golem as a term assumes it was created by someone for some purpose. A corruption golem is created  though not  intentionally, and it does have purpose though not one desired by the creator.
A corruption golem is dark, amorphous, smoky, hulking mass. It is all smoke and grease and scum. It's outline so distorted that landing a solid blow to the creature is difficult even for skilled warriors.

When a Corruption golem strikes it does so with no small force, but the real effect is psychological, The victim feels doubt, and depression. All of the things the  person has done wrong in their life will flood back to them.
On the first strike the victim will lose their ability to strike with conviction.
On the second the golem will have seeped so deeply into their psyche that  the victim will be less likely to fight at all.
The third strike can reduce the  finest warrior to a depressed whimper.
Death in this manner is  horrible and final.

Technical stuff.
I had any one getting hit by a corruption golem save (in this case wisdom)
1 failed save they lost all of their non magical attack bonuses.
2 failed saves the monster may roll d10 each round and reduce any of the victims rolls by that amount.
3 failed save the  victim is struck prone, can still act but not stand for 1d6 rounds while still suffering the effects above.
As a gm if the characters were struck and failed their saving throws. I made sure to  recount horrid things the characters had done and failures they had experienced. The golem made the characters feel insufficient, unworthy, corrupt, unclean.

lasting effects:
If a character is ever brought to the  third level of effect by a corruption golem they will pick up a score called "Loathing" This score starts at 1.

  • Once a day they must check vs this score, if they roll equal or lower (on 1d20) they suffer the effects of the being hit once by a corruption golem for the rest of the day, as they will be plagued by self doubt, melancholy, dark thoughts, and depression for the rest of that day. 
  • Also if this  check is failed the  loathing score increases by 1.
  • Only a remove curse spell can reverse this effect.

The bard's counter charm was effective against the level 1 corruption, granting an advantage to saves.
Counter charm would not  be effective against the level 2 or 3 effect as the character must already be suffering from the horrible self doubt brought on by the first failed save.

Those killed by a Corruption golem , don't actually die they  waste away, going in moments from health individuals to desiccated corpse.

Corruption Ghoul:
If not burned the corpse of one killed by a corruption golem will rise in a day as a corruption ghoul.

These types of ghouls are not driven by  hunger but by desire to feed on happiness and  joy , they will seek it out , lurk in the  shadows and  slowly feed off any joy they can.
Corution ghouls have all the hiding abilities of a 3rd level rogue and  choose to stick to dark and forgotten corners. They may  enter the light  if need be and  retain enough wisdom to sometime don heavy cloaks to hide their corrupt forms.
the wise may notice a fitted set of a heavy feeling in the air when they are near.
true blooded elves can not abide their presence and can detect them far more readily.
They do not speak and  do not act in groups, they  hate even each other and  will avoid the living except to feed.
It is sometimes the doing of a corruption ghoul that a cow will stop giving milk, a happy couple will fail at marriage, a child will turn sad on a summer day, and a sober man will turn to drink.

They are vicious if cornered and drawn to combat using horrible claw like hand to attack with  bony fetid claws. Corruption ghouls have an instinctive hatred of elves and will attack them first if forced to fight.
Luckily they are frail and  can be put down by the sword.

Thank you for reading .
have a great one, questions and comments are welcome!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The D20 is quite the diva.

I know the D20 is  quite a diva.
Rolling around in the  dice bag throwing it's weight around, bullying the lesser value dice.
Calling the D6 "common," pontificating about how the  D12 is useless. (like the  roll20 doesn't read dungeon dozen or something. Sheesh) Body shaming the rotund d30. Ignoring the poor little d4 all together.

What we need here is a team, a team that can put this the D20 Diva back in it's place.

OUR Heroes!
My suggestion is the dynamic duo that is  2d10 or the  often overlooked Percentile Die. (read 2d10 as 10's and 1's to  generate  results from 01 "one " to 00 "1 hundred".

For example the adjoining picture would be read as 48.

I have been working on a quick and  kind of dirty sci fi game loosely based on the  concept of shoot and loot video games. (Gauntlet , Borderlands, Diablo  and so on..)

When I started working on the game I was doing all kinds of mathematical back flips trying to find ways to fit a whole bunch of  "gear" possibilities into a 1d20 structure.
How in the  world will I  minimize crazy  power creep in a world of  picking up and finding lots of crazy shit then attaching it to your gun?

The cipher system does it by making ciphers one use items. So you find something crazy like a  spider drone that covers you with a reactive mucus shield that deflects physical damage, and you get to use it once. After that it's just junk, spent.. perhaps rechargeable but not likely.

That is not what I wanted though. I want items that the  characters can find and use until they find something "better." Power Creep is an assumption of the game, not a side effect.  I need mechanical room in which that power creep can happen. A range of 1 to 20 just doesn't give me the mathematical breathing room I needed.

Sorry D20, you preening master of self-admiration.  5%  chance swing  per plus 1 mod is just too much. 
Don't stare at me like that.

It turns out Star Frontiers (one of my favorite all time games) had it right.
Percentile, D100 is the way to go.

Here is the base mechanic of the game:
Take your attribute  + any skill level the character has which applies to the situation.
Subtract that number from 100.
The result is your target number to meet or beat on D100 in order to succeed on a roll.

So your character is kinda strong, she has a 30 in brawn.
she also has a skill called climb at a score of 12.
If she wants to climb up into a second story window.
30 plus 12 is 42,
100 - 42 = 58
The  player would have to roll a 58 or better.
Easy enough, especially if most of the math is done beforehand during character gen.

That's all stock standard stuff though right? First done in 1970 or whenever by some long beard tunnel gnome in Ohio. I get it, I'm not exactly blasting my way through new ground.

Still I think there are areas to expand the standard idea of  2D10 used as D100 idea. Within the structure of the base percentage die roll a game designer can do a bunch of things.

  • Look at the dice individually.
    (a roll of  48 can also be a 4 and an 8)
  • compare them via addition or subtraction.
    (A roll of 48 can also be 12 [addition] or 4 [subtraction])
  • Use the higher or the  lower die to resolve some other mechanical question.
    (a roll of 48 you could also use the roll of 8 as a damage bonus)
So on and so fourth.
There is a lot of "space" mechanically to manipulate and interpret each toss of the dice.

The lesson for me is this.
I have this 3D20 mechanic that I like, very much. I had to shelf it for this project because it just can't do what I need it to do.
I can't get hung up on divas even if the diva is an idea of my own. If the idea doesn't work, or feel right, I need to know when to ditch the idea or save it for the next game. Better that than trying to shoehorn the game concept into a mismatched mechanic.

As always thank you for reading !

Crushed D20 picture found here. Dyson's Dodecahedron.
2d10 (48) picture found here.
Big black d20 vector found here 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Ode to Roddy Piper & A 5th ed Background (The Anti-hero)

If you are only here for the The 5th edition Background (The Anti-Hero) Skip down  to beyond the  horizontal rule below.

Otherwise read on ...

I don't post pictures of myself on here.
No one wants to see that.
but here I go with pic including myself, talking to Roddy Piper back in 2007.

Better writers have done better pieces about piper than I am able to.

Please read: This From "The Masked Man"

I'm going to write my own anyway.
Let me frame this.

That guy to the left of me in the picture is Captain Lou Albano. (Who passed away in 2009 at the the age of 76.)
This is a Comic convention in New York City.

Generally I don't do comics or conventions for that matter, I was there to hang with my friends and meet Piper.

I was there to get a signed picture for my father, because we have a shared joke / expression in our household that consists of this.

When I was growing up, if something unexpected happens to someone, that person is said to have been "Hit by the coconut."

If that does not resonate with you at all, watch this clip* and come back. In fact watch it anyway.
Trust me in 1984, when I was 9 It was a shared joke in our house and I had the opportunity to ask one of the participants about it directly. I had to.

We negotiated the  convention, through vendors and artists row. It was all interesting but not exactly my bag. We got the the  celebrity autograph area, a few former wrestlers including Tony Atlas, Captain Lou, and a sleeping La-parka. From what I remember there were a few TV folks from various series I've never watched, the  pretty girl from the  Ghost Hunters show whose name is escaping me, a couple of adult film actors, and so on. I was only interested in getting Pipers signature so I Went directly to his line.

We waited in line.
Paid a few bucks for pictures.
Waited some more.

My friend Joe went first and got his  picture signed. My buddy Jay went got his stuff written on (including a sweet old school action figure).
Then they closed the line.
"Mr. Pipers breaking for lunch, he'll be back in 30."

I said to the kid holding the  rope,
"Hey man I 'm with those two. Don't leave me stranded on line."

I don't know what happened honestly, perhaps Piper heard me? Perhaps the kid wanted to be nice. Whatever the reason Piper waved me through.

We Shook hands.
I asked him about the coconut interview.
He talked for about 5 minutes, though my memory makes me want to think it was longer.

Piper told the story  of  getting all the  fruit for the coconut segment at a store, and not knowing much about "coconuts." He said at the time he had no idea how hard they are. He went on about hitting Snuka and Jimmy being knocked out for a second, falling to the floor with a thud as he toppled out of the Piper's Pit set.

Piper said, "I was supposed to hit him sure, but I never told him about the coconut, I just thought it would be funny."
"I did all that stuff to him while he was on the  floor to give him a second to clear his head."

He continued to say that Jimmy Sunka was really angry. Real life angry. That he (Piper) had to stay away from him the rest of the night because he thought Snuka was going to kill him, that Snuka did not talk to him for a while after that.

Piper was very genuine, laughing and talking  like we had known each other since 1984. He sold the story.

Was any of it the truth?  What is the truth? Does it matter?

I had his sign my  picture to my father. I'm no autograph collector but I knew my old man would get a kick out of it. My father did get a kick out of it, he framed it and hung it in his bedroom. I retold the story to him as Piper had told me and we had a good laugh about it. A joke we had shared for years gathered some new gravitas, a bit of heft.

So when I found out Roddy Piper died, in his sleep July 30th I did not think about his matches or his hundreds of  Promo's I thought of that signing and how he took his time to talk with me, even if all he wanted to do was get lunch. Not only that he took the time to sell a story that he realized had a personal resonance with me.

I don't do celebrity or hero worship. Actors, musicians, artists, or whatever it all breaks down to  people doing what they do to make a living. No different than me getting up every day to do what I do. What I will say is that I respect people who put in the time and effort to be good at what they do, and  care about the things that got them to where they are. I don't think Piper ever stopped caring about telling the story. I respect that.

The Anti Hero:

Any kind of  inequality  grates against your conscience. Every one deserves a shot in the world, but mostly you, you deserve a shot. If no one is going to give you a shot , damn it your going to kick doors until you make one.
You started out on the wrong side of everything. Scratching out an existence with only your wits and your self to count on. You may do or say regrettable things, but by the sheer force of will you will become respected.
Choose a starting location in your GM's campaign. You are from the  most downtrodden part of this area.
Are you a Thug for hire? Perhaps a street performer plying your trade for loose coin. Are you a runaway looking to make their own way in the world.

Skill Proficiency: Survival (choose one area type), Persuade, Profession.
Languages: Common, One Trade Language.
Equipment: 1 trade related weapon (hand ax, hammer, flail, dagger.) A wide leather belt pouch containing 1D6 gold worth of loose coins and a trinket. Commoners clothing.
1d Trinket:

  1. A broken hour glass
  2. A foreign coin, bent in half.
  3. An old sketch.
  4. A swatch of  silk cloth.
  5. A small blob of melted then cooled iron from a forge.
  6. A lock of hair.
  7. A chip of decorative glass.
  8. a plain silver ring.

From the  very start you have the  ability to  rally others to you by the strength of your personality.
Once a day (Once per long rest) you may attempt to rally others to their side.
The player rolls a Charisma check + their proficiency bonus  Vs a Difficulty of 20.
If successful the character can rally a number of  0 level commoners equal to the characters current level. Or a number of levels worth of individuals whose levels total the  character's current level or less.
Those being rallied must speak the same language as the character.
This ability is non magical and does not  override any magical affects or enchantments.
Used in a crowd these people will become sympathetic to your  opinions and your motivations. This does not necessarily mean they will fight for you, but they will at least agree something is worth fighting for.

Suggested Characteristics:
The anti hero might be motivated by a desire to be heard, a deep seeded need to prove themselves, or a simple drive to succeed, even if they have to do some unscrupulous things to get there.

1D8 Personality Trait:

  1. I am obsessed with my own success, and recognition.
  2. Authority grates on my nerves,I will buck the system even when I don't have to.
  3. I can not abide a bully I will always try to even the odds.
  4. Sometimes I take my anger out on undeserving targets.
  5. I use my words as effectively as an assassin uses a dagger.
  6. I may  work with you, I may help you, but I don't trust you.
  7. I Have earned my way , if I think another hasn't I will judge them harshly.
  8. I learned a lot about people,and how people will use others, It's my mission to  prevent it.
1D6 Ideal:
  1. Aspiration: I seek to prove myself by never bowing down, (any)
  2. Morality: The local authority thinks they are doing the right thing but I know what's actuality right (Lawful)
  3. Power: If I rally the people against power, eventually I will be able to take the  power. (Evil)
  4. Individuality: I rail against authority because it's who I am. (Neutral)
  5. Justice: I fight authority because some one has to. If not me who? (Good)
  6. Attention: You will not ignore me. I will leave my mark whatever it takes. (Chaotic)

1D6 Bond:

  1. I know something about the  people in power here.
  2. I might be the only one who can help you along on your quest. **
  3. I have a great plan to leave my mark on this world, and either your're in or you're our.
  4. I am desperately seeking satisfaction, but I'm not sure what will satiate my restless soul. I think you might hold the answers.
  5. I seek a home, a true home.
  6. I might go about it in a different way but I am struggling against the same injustice as you are.

1D6 Flaw:
  1. I am unable to take anything at face value, I simply can't trust.
  2. I view anyone in power no matter how  noble, as my enemy.
  3. If some one else is rewarded, I become deeply jealous.
  4. I have an inability to hold my tongue, I don't just speak truth to power, I  scream insults as well.
  5. I hold inappropriate views of other based on their class, race, or religion.
  6. I let my fists speak for me before I take time to think.

* So yeah, This Pipers Pit is basically just a horribly racist diatribe that barely even makes muster even in the greater social context of 1984. I get it. I think I could write a pretty  good TLDR essay about the  use and roots of racism as promotional tool in pro wrestling. Needless to say this  kind of thing was / is not uncommon in that business. Luckily  things have improved in pro wrestling even if they are still far far from good. The  racial content was lost on 9 year old me, and while I'm sure my father "got it" at the time It was never brought up. What stands out in my memory is Piper going nuts and hitting  Snuka in the  head with a coconut. Suffice to say 1984 and 2015 are different times, and let's leave it at that.


As always thank you for reading.
Please leave question comments and complaints in that sadly empty square circle bellow.