Sep 08 2016

Baby’s First Total Party Kill

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ME: “You open the door and see– 200 orcs!”
JAMIE: “I shut the door!”

D&D session, c. 1983-1984

 

Working on my 5E Keep On the Borderlands conversion last night, I put in a room that’s CR 13. That is to say, it’s “a good fight” for a party of 13th level characters. Just, y’know, sitting there, where a first level party could easily just waltz into it. And this is an introductory module! Y’know, for people who’ve never played the game before.

Now I see why this module has so many tales of TPKs associated with it! If you blunder into the Caves of Chaos “room by room” style, you’re gonna get killed. But of course, that’s how ol’ Gary liked it. Master Gygax had very exacting standards of what constituted “good play” or “bad play,” and his view was that player characters, especially at low levels, were disposable, like lives in a video game. Bob the First (level one fighter) gets killed? You roll up the next one and try again. The fact that Bob the Second instinctively knows that the bugbears have placed a deadfall trap behind the door to their cave doesn’t matter. Besides, Bob was smart enough to hire NPCs (doubtless wearing red shirts) to bring along and go first, right?

So yeah, there’s a CR 13 room just sitting in the Caves of Chaos, minding its own business. The thing of it is, you’re not intended to wade into the room, any more than Bilbo pulled out his sword and assaulted Goblin Town. The Caves are not a series of set piece encounters to be “beaten,” they’re a dangerous environment in which the PCs become wild cards in the ongoing situation.

Basically, Keep On the Borderlands is Yojimbo, with orcs. A lot of Gary Gygax’s adventures particularly are like this, the most famous example being The Temple of Elemental Evil, where the monsters are powerful and numerous but broken into factions, and crafty players can use that to their advantage.

But the adventure doesn’t tell you this other than a throwaway paragraph buried in some establishing text, and certainly doesn’t tell the newbie players who have just strapped on their swords and learned their first magic missile and are eager to smite the badguys. There are no guardrails, and nothing like the modern concepts of “encounter balance” to provide a safety net. The Caves of Chaos are dangerous, and it is assumed that not everyone will be coming home.

I wonder how many modern gamers, reared on strings of perfectly-balanced-encounters, walk into this module and just get creamed. “The DM wouldn’t put something down here we weren’t intended to fight” definitely does not apply to 1E modules. Which honestly? I kinda like– but it’s a dangerous way to run the game. Lots of players don’t want to take “no” for an answer, and lots of players don’t seem to be able to sense when they’re in over their heads… and lots of players get really bummed when their character dies. And honestly, as the DM I get bummed too. I’ve killed my share of player characters over the years and I’m usually very reluctant to do so, but you just can’t always pull their fat out of the fire. (I’m looking at you, Jamie.)

The thing of it is, within the context of Keep On the Borderlands, this CR 13 room is there for a perfectly good reason, balance be damned. I’m not an OSR grognard who wants those damn ’90s kids to get off my lawn, but I will say that the 1E mindset was a lot more flexible in this regard. “Why are there 40 orcs in this cave?” “Because communal living makes sense for cave-based nomads.” “But an encounter like that will slaughter six PCs!” “So be it. Maybe the PCs shouldn’t go in there.”

A more modern adventure might still have those 40 orcs, but they’d be in eight rooms with five orcs each instead of all in one giant pit. (Well, no, now I think of it, modern design would consider that monotonous. There’d be 16 orcs in four rooms with four orcs each plus a boss with a fire drake. But I digress.) That one relatively minor shift in scenario design philosophy makes a big difference, tho! Small clusters of enemies, you can take on in bunches at your own pace, are easy pickings for players with a modicum of tactical sense. 40 orcs, all on alert that surface invaders are in their caves? You might want to run. Or at least wait until you can come back with a fireball or two at your disposal.

I can’t honestly say how I would have run this adventure “back in the day,” I never tried. I was nine when I first read Keep On the Borderlands and its subtexts and design ramifications were lost on me, but it did inform my own “Castle Strongstone” dungeon design, including Jamie’s infamous 200 orcs encounter. Running this as an adult with more sophisticated sensibilities, the dungeon looks like a very different place to me. But in a strangely Campbellian way, it’s kind of neat to have come back around to it.

-The Gneech

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Sep 03 2016

Keep On the Borderlands: 40 Years and Still Kicking

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The quickie teach-newbies-D&D game I was planning to start this weekend got bumped to next weekend, which actually helps because there’s a bit more work in converting The Keep on the Borderlands to (what I consider) a playable 5E adventure than you might think. Just going through and giving the NPCs names rather than THE CASTELLAN and THE CURATE is a fair amount of work. On the other hand, last night I had a sudden inspiration as to what the “Caves of Chaos” were actually all about (and why there is effectively an apartment complex with six different types of humanoids all living together), and suddenly the adventure goes from THE MOST GENERIC D&D CRAWL EVER[1] to actually having a theme and potential for cool stories.

Milk Run Or Meat Grinder?

I’m a little concerned about the difficulty scale. KotB was designed to take characters from roughly 1-3 in the original “basic” D&D, in which thieves levelled up fairly fast and wizards levelled up glacially slow etc. You could expect the overall level of the party to remain stable at a given level through several sessions. Modern games pretty much have everyone progress at the same pace, and that pace is mighty fast at low level. If I put in encounters that are balanced for 1st level characters, they’ll be like tissue paper just a few sessions in when the characters have all jumped to 3rd.

That’s not a problem per se– with a good mix of encounters it’s not a problem if the party blows through some of them– but it is something I have to be aware of. In a sandbox environment (which KotB mostly is, albeit a small one), there’s a real danger of the players getting in way over their heads. Play reports from KotB across all editions are rife with stories of TPKs or near-TPKs, because the party killed a couple of goblins, got cocky, and suddenly found themselves facing 20 more when the alarm went up.

(Yeah, pretty sure everyone in the party was at least 3rd level by that point.)

I recently read a blog post in which the author opined that D&D can basically be played two ways: first is a group of stalwart adventurers slaughtering monsters and reaping great rewards, while the second is a black comedy in which a bunch of ne’er do wells throw themselves into deathtraps, get slaughtered in horrifying ways, and occasionally escape with a few bits of gold to show for it. Modern D&D, the theory goes, aims more for the former, while old-school D&D was more of the latter.

I don’t entirely buy this– I played old-school D&D when it was still pretty young school and while we did have some entertainingly horrific character deaths (“eaten alive by mutant cannibal smurfs” is one that made a lasting impression), it wasn’t quite the meat grinder it’s sometimes made out to be. Maybe it was just our group, but I remember the general consensus was that if you were in a game where the DM was eager to kill the characters, it meant the DM was an ass and you just didn’t play in that game again. [2]

Finding Traps: Pick a Skill Already! And Other Concerns

I love 5E. Like, really love it. It plays fast, furious, and fun in a way I haven’t really seen since Tunnels and Trolls, but is rigorous enough that it has meat to latch onto for building unique and interesting characters, scenarios, and challenges.

However, as with all new editions, it has its rough spots. It still doesn’t quite know what to do with rogues, for instance. I’ve talked before about the rogue problem, and while 5E does bring back Thieves’ Cant, it has decoupled burglary from the rogue class entirely, putting that stuff mostly in the realm of “thieves’ tools proficiency,” and keeping the rogue class as a situational damage dealer. (What that means is that anyone who wants to learn the tool proficiency can be the party trap-disarmer and chest-unlocker, which is part of 5E’s “party role not required class” philosophy, and that part is actually fine, thumbs up!)

In their apparent rush to put something in for thieves to do, without really having much in the way of a solution to the rogue problem, they have left a lot of the whole traps and locked doors bit with very sketchy implementation at best. Random dungeon hazards have a Perception DC that compares not to the characters’ check, but to their passive Perception check. So… the characters either always pass or always fail? What’s the point of that? As a DM, creating adventures for your own party, you know what the characters’ passive Perception is. If you assign a DC, you already know if the characters will pass or fail. It’s silly.

Then there’s the Perception vs. Investigation thing. On p. 178 of the Players Handbook, under Investigation, it says “When you look around for clues and make deductions based on those clues, you make an Intelligence (Investigation) check. You might deduce the location of a hidden object, discern from the appearance of a wound what kind of weapon dealt it, or determine the weakest point in a tunnel that could cause it to collapse.” That, combined with the fact that the Starter Set pregen rogue had proficiency with Investigation and not Perception, suggests that Investigation is the intended skill for searching for traps, right?

Except right next to that is a sidebar called “Finding a Hidden Object,” in which it clearly says, “When your character searches for a hidden object such as a secret door or a trap, the DM typically asks you to make a Wisdom (Perception) check. Such a check can be used to find hidden details or other information and clues that you might otherwise overlook.”

So… you make a Perception check to spot details, and then an Investigation check to interpret them? I can see that being worth the effort for some “the entire room is a giant deathtrap” puzzle, but for every locked door and chest?

In my games I tend to split the difference– if there is a spottable trap (e.g., a trapdoor or a pressure plate), I set the DC and tell the players “You’ve walked into a trap. Make a Perception check to see if you spotted it in time!” If the trap is hidden in a mechanism (such as a locked chest) or if the characters are actively on the lookout for it rather than “passively perceiving,” so to speak, I call for an Investigation check. It annoys me that a system that was famously publicly playtested for two years still requires house-ruling like that, but nothing’s perfect.

Magic Item Construction Rules– As In, There Aren’t Any

This is an interesting divide. One of my players has been very disappointed in the way 5E not only “doesn’t really have” magic item construction guidelines, but at how it was deliberately removed from the game as a going concern.

What interests me most about this is that when 5E came out, this was something that a lot of people in the discussions I followed stood up and cheered about. “Goodbye to the Magic Shop Economy, and good riddance!” about summed it up. Reasons for this varied from “It sucks all the mystery out of magic items!” to “Conan never went to a magic shop!” to “Hooray, I don’t have to math-check another twinked out game-breaking magic item again!”

For myself, I didn’t have such strong feelings on the matter. I did think the whole magic item economy contributed to the ever-increasing rules overhead of the 3.x/PF era, but I also understood the reasoning that went into it. If your campaign didn’t assume “build a keep and retire” as the characters’ endgame, and didn’t have built-in money sinks like paying for training to raise levels (both of which were pretty much gone by the end of 2E), well you had to have something to spend all that gold on, and effectively having magic items as their own progression/character customization track would seem to kill two birds with one stone.

On the other hand, once upon a time DMs stocked dungeons with magic fountains that made weapons do double damage, or randomly turned characters into bugbears, and “game balance” wasn’t even an issue. When did we all get so obsessed with finely-tuned math within a game that’s theoretically all about letting your imagination run wild?

In any case, Josh (the player in question) not only did not stand up and cheer, he considers the lack of a robust magic item creation system to be a major failing on the part of 5E, and his reasoning is sound. Having a system spelled out in black-and-white removes a lot of the vagaries of system mastery. “Is ‘vorpal’ a game-breaking property at 3rd level? Well it adds +10,000 gp to the price, and that’s more money than the entire party has put together at the moment, so yeah, it must be. On the other hand, ‘shock’ only adds +3,000, so it must be legit.”

It also means the player has more control over how their character develops. If your whole character concept is based around having a Captain America-style shield that you can throw around and bang off mooks’ heads, you don’t have to hope you get lucky and the DM stocks one in the dungeon somewhere, you just save up your gold until you can afford to buy the thing.

And finally, as already alluded to, it gives the characters something to do with all that treasure they cart home from the dungeon! Josh particularly spoke in glowing terms of that moment of striding into town with bags full of gold itching to be spent and seeing what could be done with it, something I refer to as the Candy Store moment. And honestly, I can totally see that, although it also has the darker side of the “high level item tease,” where vorpal swords are there on the theoretical shelf, but you’ll never be able to afford one.

I don’t think this is an issue with a “right” or “wrong” answer, just preferences. MMOs and similar games particularly have made the gear-as-progression model a style that people are used to and expect, whereas someone coming from an era in which finding a +1 sword was notable, but you could also randomly become immune to all poisons because you kissed the statue of a goddess, is going to be a lot more comfortable with (or at least resigned to) DM fiat.

I’m working on ways to split the difference– I want to give Josh his Candy Store moments, but I also don’t want to have to retro-fit the magic item economy back into the game. I’ve set up a potential “magic shop” situation in my Keep On the Borderlands adaptation, but it’s hidden and will take some digging to find it, even assuming the characters manage to amass enough loot to make buying magic items a feasible concern.

In any case, hoping for some fun. If the game takes off, maybe I’ll pull out The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and let the players argue over how that’s supposed to be pronounced. 😉

-The Gneech

[1] This is not a criticism, it was written in 1978? 79? to be an introductory module teaching would-be DMs the basics of adventure structure, and giving would-be players a taste of how the game was supposed to go. Its very existence pushed the envelope of D&D, the design within didn’t have to. Today’s equivalent is the Lost Mine of Phandelver, from the 5E Starter Set. But half the group just went through that in my game, I can’t just run that one again!

[2] Unless the adventure in question was The Tomb of Horrors, but even back in the day that was pretty clearly its own distinct experience compared to regular campaign gaming. I met a few DMs who seemed to think ToH was what every adventure should be all the time. I didn’t stay in their games.

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Aug 29 2016

A Character’s “Kit” in RPGs

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I’ve working on a little filler game of D&D, and I’ve run into an interesting little wrinkle this time around, in which a couple of the players want outside-the-box options, like moreso than usual. And while I’m happy to oblige, even if it makes more work for me, it has led me to some interesting thoughts on the role a character’s “kit” (or the abilities provided by their race/class combination) plays in the broader metagame considerations.

One of the players wants a 3rd-party race whose signature bit is wings. The ability to fly, especially at low levels, is one that tends to generate a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth in D&D, because so much of what happens on a tactical level is dependent on your interactions with the map. A character who can fly bypasses pits, ignores difficult terrain, can go right over climbing/jumping obstacles, etc. This is expected behavior for 5th+ level heroes, but completely negates a lot of the initial “just learning to survive” challenges that 1st level heroes are expected to face. This is a powerful signature bit– but at the same time, 5E has an underlying philosophy of “let the players do the cool thing,” and so do I, so we bashed around the ability a bit until we got to a state where it was useful and cool but not game-breaking.

Another player, basically wants MMO-style crafting (which is an issue the same player was having in my regular campaign). Magic item creation rules are something that existed in 3.x/PF, but are conspicuously absent in 5E, and I think the real reason for that is that it creates a lot of “rules overhead” for the DM compared to the actual amount of use it’s likely to see at the table. Crafting of any kind (including the spaceship building rules from Traveller, the Summoner class from Pathfinder, or all the everything of Champions) is a fun game-within-the-game for a non-trivial segment of the gaming population, made of up mathy engineery geeks who love having systems to stress and break– but it’s something of a headache for everyone who isn’t among their number.

For this player, I suggested the Artificer class. This adds the crafting subsystem that they want, and makes it their “cool thing.” In my e-mail discussions with the player, I explained my thinking thus:

[5E is] written primarily to make life easier for the GM after decades of rules-heavy systems. (And really, the entirety of the OSR is kind of a reaction to the same issues.) GMs spend so much time coming up with NPCs, scenarios, neat images, etc., that they often don’t have the mental bandwidth to spend lots of time on system mastery beyond what’s absolutely necessary for the immediate task in front of them. Detailed magic item creation rules in that context only exist to keep the players from running amok and spamming the world with vorpal swords. The GM doesn’t need any such stuff.

I think we’ve talked before about how the real currency in any tabletop game is “face time”– i.e., who gets to do the cool thing when, and how often? To that end, I’d say, if you want crafting and fiddling around with the ins and outs of your items be what time in the game is spent on, that’s fine, but that should be where your character’s mechanics are (hence pointing at the artificer class). Somebody who doesn’t care about crafting and just wants to punch badguys, makes a fighter. Someone who wants to engage in all the social stuff, makes a bard. Their class choice defines how and where their face time will be spent. Adding on a whole subsystem to a game that only one player really gets into, while they also get the face time benefits of another class, is where the real “imbalance” would start to come in.

This led me to thinking in broader terms of a character’s kit, and how the choices a player makes when creating their character really inform the game that you will actually be playing once the group comes together. The character’s kit is where the concept (“a heroic warrior” or “a wily rogue” or whatever) interface with the game construct (the numbers you have to roll on the dice to achieve your desired story goals), and point to the sort of things the player wants to be spending their time in the game doing. The problem comes when your player’s mechanical choices don’t synch with what they actually seem to want to do.

In a game I had some time ago, I had a player who had a tendency to want their character to be able to fill every role all the time. Said player made a rogue who would immediately run up to the biggest monster in the fight and try to tank it; the same player made an archery-based ranger who was forever wading into melee, and a mad scientist in Deadlands who kept getting into one-on-one gunfights. In short, he wanted to be the one Doing The Cool Thing all the time, regardless of what his character’s abilities actually were.

This just doesn’t work in a group game, and in fact will pretty much always backfire. I kept trying to throw “Here’s your chance to do the Cool Thing!” moments at the player, but their character was either engaged elsewhere in a losing battle that didn’t match their kit… or dead, because they’d brought a rapier to a greataxe fight. When you build a character, you have to commit to putting that character into situations where they’ll be playing to their strengths! You also have to be able to sit back and applaud when some other player is doing Their Cool Thing. If you’re a rogue, and the group is being swarmed by zombies? That means it’s the cleric’s turn to do the Cool Thing. You’ll get your chance in the Chamber of Deathtraps.

Similarly, when building a character, think about what you want to be doing in the game and build a character to suit. If you know you want to be up front cleaving your foes and sucking up damage, then you should probably play a barbarian, not a bard. If you want to dynamically mess around with your character’s kit and have a something in your pocket for every challenge, you should probably play a wizard so you can tweak your spell selection. If you want to be Indiana Jones/Lara Croft, play a rogue, not a cleric. Think about what your character’s Cool Thing is, and build your character’s kit around that. (And let the other members of the group have their own Cool Thing. It’s not always your moment to shine!)

-The Gneech

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Jun 07 2016

Ghostbusters 5E: The Boys In Gray (First Pass)

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the_ghostbusters

So here we have some actually built PC Ghostbusters, representing Peter, Ray, Egon, and Winston as of the Sedgewick Hotel job (i.e., catching Slimer). The first thing I notice is that AC is very low across the board; I may give all the GB classes the “Add your Proficiency Bonus to AC” ability to compensate for this.

The Boys in Gray (First Pass)

Egon Spengler (Sedgewick Job) (CR ½; 100 XP)
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Medium humanoid (human) Brains 3, neutral
AC 12 (padded jumpsuit); hp 13 (3d6)
Speed 30’
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Str 11/+0; Dex 13/+1; Con 11/+0; Int 16/+3; Wis 15/+2; Cha 9/-1
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Saving Throws Intelligence +5, Wisdom +4
Skills Electronics +5, Investigation +5, Medicine +5, Occult +5, Parapsychology +7, Science +7
Proficiencies chemistry tools, electronics tools
Senses passive Perception 12
Languages English, Latin
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Discovery. Dr. Spengler invented the ghost containment technology that makes proton packs and ghost traps possible.
Expertise. Dr. Spengler adds double his proficiency bonus to Intelligence (Parapsychology) and Intelligence (Science) checks.
Inventor. Dr. Spengler has three prodigy-level gadget slots.
Know-It-All. Dr. Spengler adds ½ his proficiency bonus to any Intelligence check he makes that doesn’t already include his proficiency bonus (+1 at 3rd level).
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Actions
Proton Pack. Ranged Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, range 100/300, one target. Hit: 14 (3d8+1) radiant damage, capture.
Plan. Dr. Spengler can take an action to formulate a plan. He chooses up to six creatures (including himself) who can hear and understand him to include in the plan. In the next minute, each creature who is part of the plan may choose to roll a Ghost Die with their choice of any one attack roll or ability check per turn. He must complete a short or long rest before he can use this ability again.

Peter Venkman (Sedgewick Job) (CR ½; 100 XP)
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Medium humanoid (human) Wits 3, chaotic good
AC 11 (padded jumpsuit); hp 20 (3d8+3)
Speed 30’
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Str 10/+0; Dex 11/+0; Con 12/+1; Int 14/+2; Wis 8/-1; Cha 16/+3
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Saving Throws Dexterity +2, Charisma +5
Skills Athletics +2, Deception +7, Occult +4, Parapsychology +4, Persuasion +7, Stealth +2
Tool Proficiencies electronic toolset, cars
Senses passive Perception 9
Languages English, New York pidgin
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Fast Talk. Dr. Venkman can suggest a wildly improbable or even outrageous course of action (limited to a sentence or two) to someone within 30’ who can hear and understand him, they must succeed a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw or they will pursue it to the best of their ability for up to 8 hours (or until they complete the action). Creatures that can’t be charmed are immune to this effect. Asking a creature to actively harm themselves or do something completely contrary to their basic nature immediately ends the effect. Once Dr. Venkman has used this ability, he must complete a short or long rest before he can use it again.
Jack of All Trades. Dr. Venkman can add half of his proficiency bonus to any ability check that does not already include his proficiency bonus.
Nobody’s Fool (Feat). Dr. Venkman has advantage on ability checks or saving throws to see through deception or resist intimidation or persuasion that is not supernatural.
No Job Is Too Big, No Fee Is Too Big. When negotiating to mitigate damage or increase his team’s fee for a bust, he has advantage on his Charisma (Persuasion) check.
Slick Operator. When Dr. Venkman makes ability checks to use Deception and Persuasion, his proficiency bonus is doubled.
Streetwise. Dr. Venkman has advantage on all Intelligence (Investigation) checks to find illicit goods, criminal activity, or people hiding out in urban environments, as well as Charisma (Persuasion) checks made to convince criminals or other shady types that he is safe to interact with.
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Actions
Proton Pack. Ranged Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, range 100/300. Hit: 13 (3d8) radiant damage, capture.
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Bonus Actions
Make a Remark (3 uses). As a bonus action on his turn, Dr. Venkman may choose a creature within 60’ who can hear and understand him. If making a cheering remark, that creature may add a Ghost Die to one attack roll, saving throw, or ability check they make in the next minute, or roll a Ghost Die and regain that many hit points. If they Roll a Ghost when restoring hit points, they regain a number of hit points equal to their Constitution score (or 6, whichever is higher). If making a cutting remark, Dr. Venkman rolls a Ghost Die and that creature must subtract that from their next d20 roll, or he may roll a Ghost Die and subtract that number from the creature’s hit points. If he Rolls a Ghost, the creature must subtract 14. Once he has used this ability three times, Dr. Venkman must have a short or long rest to use it again.

Ray Stantz (Sedgewick Job) (CR ½; 100 XP)
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Medium humanoid (human) Guts 3, lawful good
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AC 13 (padded jumpsuit); hp 31 (3d12+6)
Speed 30’
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Str 12/+1; Dex 10/+0; Con 15/+2; Int 14/+2; Wis 8/-1; Cha 10/+0
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Saving Throws Constitution +4, Charisma +2
Skills Driving +2, Investigation +4, Occult +4, Parapsychology +4, Religion +4, Science +4
Proficiencies computers, electronics tools, mechanical tools
Senses passive Perception 9
Languages English, Latin
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Durable. Dr. Stantz adds his Constitution bonus to his AC, as well as his Dexterity bonus.
Fools Rush In. When Dr. Stantz is surprised on the first round of combat, he may still choose to act on his initiative. If he does, all attacks made against him have advantage, and he has disadvantage on all saving throws until the beginning of his next turn.
Lucky. Whenever Dr. Stantz rolls a 1 on a d20 roll, he may immediately re-roll it and take the better result.
Research Savant. Dr. Stantz has advantage on Intelligence (Investigation) checks made to look up information. When he attempts to recall a piece of lore, if he doesn’t know the information, he at least has a pretty good idea where and from whom he can obtain it, if it’s available.
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Actions
Proton Pack. Ranged Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, range 100/300. Hit: 13 (3d8) radiant damage, capture.
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Bonus Actions
Adrenaline Rush. Dr. Stantz enters an adrenaline rush, gaining the following benefits: he has advantage on all Strength checks and Strength saving throws, he adds a Ghost Die of damage to all successful attacks in combat, and he has resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage. The rush lasts for one minute, but ends early if he is knocked unconscious or his turn ends and he hasn’t attacked a hostile creature, taken damage, or expended a hit die since his last turn. He may enter an adrenaline rush twice. After that he must finish a long rest before he can go into a rush again.
Got Your Back. By expending one or more of his own hit dice, Dr. Stantz may choose to aid a friendly creature he can touch, giving the creature a free saving throw plus a Ghost Die to end any one condition it is suffering, or the creature can immediately regain hit points equal to 1d12 + their Constitution modifier for every hit die expended, plus a Ghost Die.

Winston Zeddemore (When Hired) (CR 2; 450 XP)
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Medium humanoid (human) Brawn 3, lawful good
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AC 14 (padded jumpsuit); hp 24 (3d10+3)
Speed 30’
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Str 15/+2; Dex 16/+3; Con 13/+1; Int 11/+0; Wis 11/+0; Cha 9/-1
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Saving Throws Strength +4, Constitution +3
Skills Athletics +4, Driving +5, Insight +2, Perception +2
Proficiencies cars, demolitions, heavy machinery, mechanical tools, simple weapons
Senses passive Perception 12
Languages English
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Action Surge. Winston can take one additional action on top of his regular action and a possible bonus action. He must finish a short or long rest before he can use this ability again.
Nice Shootin’, Tex! Winston adds +2 to all ranged attack and damage rolls (reflected in his statistics), including rolls made to capture ghosts (or adds +2 to the DC a ghost must beat to avoid capture, as applicable). Also, when he makes a ranged attack, he may add a Ghost Die to the attack roll or damage roll. He must take a short or long rest before he can do this again.
Sane. When Winston is subject to confusion effects, he rolls twice and takes the preferred result. In situations where having a “voice of reason” would be beneficial, Winston or an ally within 30’ that can hear him has advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) checks.
Strong Back. Winston’s carrying capacity is doubled and he may always add a Ghost Die to Strength checks made to push, pull, lift, or break objects.
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Actions
Proton Pack.
Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 100/300. Hit: 18 (3d8+5) radiant damage, capture.
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Bonus Actions
Second Wind.
Winston can use a bonus action to regain hit points equal to 1d10+3. He must finish a short or long rest before he can use this ability again.

Slimer (CR 2; 450 XP)
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Medium undead (trappable), chaotic neutral
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AC 12; hp 22 (5d8)
Speed 0’, fly 50’ (hover)
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Str 1/-5; Dex 14/+2; Con 11/+0; Int 10/+0; Wis 10/+0; Cha 11/+0
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Damage Resistances acid, cold, fire, lightning, thunder; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
Damage Immunities necrotic, poison
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, unconscious
Senses darkvision 60’, passive Perception 10
Languages understands English but can’t speak
—————————————————————-
Ethereal Sight. Slimer can see 60’ into the ethereal plane when he is on the material plane, and vice versa.
Incorporeal Movement. Slimer can move through other creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain. He takes 5 (1d10) force damage if he ends his turn inside an object.
Sunlight Sensitivity. While in sunlight, Slimer has disadvantage on attack rolls, as well as on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.
—————————————————————-
Actions
Charge (Recharge 5-6). Slimer flies up to 30’ and attacks with either his Forceful Slam or his Slime, ending his movement adjacent to the target. If the attack hits, it does an extra 5 (1d10) points of damage.
Etherealness. Slimer enters the Ethereal Plane from the Material plane, or vice versa.
Forceful Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5’, one creature. Hit: 10 (3d6) force damage.
Slime. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5’, one creature. Hit: 5 (1d10) damage and the target is slimed. The target must immediately attempt a DC 10 Dexterity saving throw or fall prone.
Telekinetic Fling. Slimer either telekinetically grabs a nearby unattended object up to 150 lbs, or manifests an ectoplasmic pseudo-object appropriate to his nature (generally spoiled food in Slimer’s case) and flings them at a creature within 30’. This acts as a ranged weapon (+4 to hit) dealing 5 (2d4) bludgeoning damage. Two or more phantasms working in tandem can move objects up to 450 lbs, doing 16 (3d10) bludgeoning damage.
Telekinetic Thrust. Slimer targets a Medium or smaller creature within 30’ of him and makes a Charisma check contested by the target’s Strength check. If Slimer wins the contest, he flings the target up to 30’ in any direction, including upward. If the target then comes into contact with a hard surface or heavy object, the target takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage per 10’ moved.

Whattya think? The first draft of the document is done and I’m beginning revisions now, so now’s the time for feedback!

-The Gneech

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Jun 06 2016

Ghostbusters 5E: Feats (First Pass)

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Artwork by Luis Delgado
(Artwork by Luis Delgado)

The feats for GB are fairly straightforward. I just added a few to plug holes in abilities Ghostbusters aren’t likely to get (like the massive strength of Gauntlets of Ogre Power).

Feats (First Draft)

The following feats from the Players Handbook are available to Ghostbusters: Alert, Athlete, Actor, Charger, Dungeon Delver, Durable, Grappler, Healer, Inspiring Leader, Keen Mind, Lightly Armored, Linguist, Lucky, Magic Initiate, Martial Adept, Mobile, Observant, Resilient, Ritual Caster, Savage Attacker, Sentinel, Sharpshooter, Skilled, Skulker, Tavern Brawler, Tough, Weapon Master.

In addition, Ghostbusters may choose from the following new feats:

Best of the Best
Choose one ability score at its natural maximum. That ability goes up by 1 point, and its natural maximum goes up by 1 point as well. This is the only way for normal humans to have ability scores beyond 20. No ability score may be raised beyond 25 this way.

C-C-C-Combo!
When you drop a target in combat, you may immediately make an additional attack of the same type against another eligible target as a reaction. If that target also drops, you may immediately make another attack against a different target as part of the same reaction, and so on, up to the number of eligible targets who keep dropping, or your proficiency bonus, whichever is lower.

Fancy Footwork
You are very adept at avoiding incoming attacks. Add your proficiency bonus to your AC.

Gadgeteer
You can invent gadgets, as if you had the Inventor class feature of the Brains class. However, you are just a dabbler, and are therefore limited to a number of Prodigy-level gadgets equal to your Intelligence bonus (minimum 1).

Ghost Wrangler
When you successfully hit a trappable creature with a proton pack or other weapon with the capture quality, you may initiate a capture attempt as a bonus action even if that creature is at full strength and free of conditions. You have advantage on all ability checks or attack rolls made to capture a trappable creature, or creatures attempting to escape your capture effect have disadvantage (whichever is applicable). In any contested capture attempts, you have advantage (but the creature does not have disadvantage).

Multidisciplinary
Prerequisite: Specialty class feature, 4th level.
If you are a member of a class that has specialties (such as Anatomist, Inventor, and Professor for the Brains class), you immediately gain the 3rd level ability of a specialty other than the one you have chosen. Thereafter, when you gain a new specialty ability, you may choose the next ability available from either specialty. This feat may be taken multiple times: each time it adds the 3rd level ability of a new specialty, but it only applies to specialties of a single class.

Nobody’s Fool
You have advantage on ability checks or saving throws to see through deception or resist intimidation or persuasion. This does not confer any benefit against supernatural influences.

Prolific Gadgeteer
Prerequisite: Inventor class feature or Gadgeteer feat, 3rd level.
You gain a number of gadget slots equal to your proficiency bonus.

Whattya think? Next time, the original Boys In Grey.

-The Gneech

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May 27 2016

Ghostbusters 5E: The Gadget List (First Draft)

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This is the Gadget List that Brains characters with the Inventor specialty may choose from, as well as anything else that refers to “gadget slots.”

Gadget List

Prodigy-Level Gadgets
Armor Enhancer: This gadget sets the wielder’s AC to a minimum of 16, regardless of what kind of armor they may be wearing or other AC-changing effects. The gadget can be activated as a bonus action and operates for one hour after being activated, after which it requires 12 hours to recharge.

Burst Effect: A weapon that normally affects a single target is changed into a an area effect. The area is either a 10′ radius usable at the weapon’s normal range, a 25′ line emanating from the wielder, or a 15′ cone emanating from the wielder. The choice can be toggled every time the weapon is fired. Instead of the wielder making an attack roll, every target within the area makes a DC 15 Dexterity save. The target takes half damage if they succeed at the saving throw, or full damage if they fail the save.

Chameleon: This gadget enables you to completely alter your appearance, including minor variations on height, weight, facial features, the sound of your voice, hair length, sex, skin color, and so forth, though none of your statistics change. You can’t change to a creature a different size class than yourself, nor can you change such basics as going from a biped to a quadruped, etc. If you attempt to impersonate a specific creature person, this requires a Charisma (Deception) check against the Wisdom (Perception) of the target you are attempting to fool. Changing your appearance requires an action.

Cloaking Device: This gadget enables the wielder to turn invisible. It works for one hour after being activated, after which it requires 12 hours to recharge.

Custom Gadget (Prodigy): This is a catchall designed to enable players to come up with their own crazy ideas. When assessing whether a player’s idea is feasible as a Prodigy-level gadget, the Ghostmaster should compare it to the effectiveness of an existing piece of readily-available gear, a 1st- or 2nd- level spell from the Player’s Handbook, or a Common or Uncommon magic item from the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Keep in mind that unlike spells, gadgets can be used over and over again and rarely have durations. Thus the Ghostmaster should carefully consider the potential downfalls of the gadget being “spammed” or abused.

Damage Resistance: This gadget provides you with resistance against a specific damage type (bludgeoning, piercing, slashing, fire, thunder, cold, acid, etc.). This means you take half damage from attacks of that type. This gadget does not require activation and is considered to be always on.

Deflector Shield: The wielder of this gadget adds the higher of their Intelligence or Wisdom modifiers to their AC. This gadget does not require activation and is considered to be always on.

Electromagnetic Shoes: This gadget enables the user to move on vertical or even inverted surfaces as if they were normal ground, as per the spider climb spell. The gadget can be activated as a bonus action and works for up to one hour when activated, then must recharge for 12 hours before it can be used again.

Elemental Modulator: This gadget enables the user to change an existing weapon’s damage type to another damage type at will, which must be declared when the gadget is built. For instance, an existing laser rifle (fire damage) could be set to modulate to a freeze ray (cold damage). Modulating damage types is a free action.

Enhance Ability: This gadget uses chemical stimulants or other enhancements to give the wielder the benefit of the Enhance Ability spell on p. 237 of the Players Handbook. The effects last for one hour, after which the wielder cannot gain benefit from such enhancements again without a short rest. The wielder could use two different gadgets that enhance two different abilities, however.

Enhanced Senses: This gadget enables you to see, hear, or otherwise gather sensory data normally outside the range of human ability, such as an infrared camera or an ultrasonic sensor. This gadget does not require activation and is considered always on.

Ghost Capture: This property allows a gadget to capture a ghost (or other ethereal creature) which has been reduced to ½ its hit points or fewer or is incapacitated. This gadget is usually activated as a reaction, and the trigger of the Ghost Capture effect is defined by the gadget’s creator when the gadget is created. An ethereal creature subject to the effect must make a DC 15 Dexterity or Charisma saving throw (whichever is greater). On a failed save, the creature is restrained and incapacitated. The creature may make an additional save at the beginning of each of its turns. Ghost Capture only affects one target at a time, unless it also has the Burst Effect property.

Ghost Containment: This property allows a gadget to restrain a single ghost (or other ethereal creature) indefinitely. This gadget is usually activated as a reaction, and the trigger of the Ghost Containment effect is defined by the gadget’s creator when the gadget is created. An ethereal creature subjected to a Ghost Containment effect must make a Dexterity or Charisma saving throw (whichever is greater) against DC 15. On a failed save, the creature is trapped in an extradimensional space with properties similar to the “Minimus Containment” option of the imprisonment spell. On a successful save, the creature not contained. Ghost Containment only affects one target at a time, unless it also has the Burst Effect property, but once the creatures are trapped in the Containment effect, any number of creatures may occupy the same Containment effect. (Thus, you can only catch one at a time, but you can hold any number.)

Ghost Snare: This gadget defines a 20′ x 20′ square at a point the wielder can see which becomes highly agitated with PKE interference. Any ghost (or other ethereal creature) in the area while the gadget is activated must succeed on a DC 15 Strength or Charisma saving throw (whichever is higher), or be restrained. The area also counts as difficult terrain for ethereal creatures, even flying ones, and renders all invisible beings visible, at least in outline as PKE crackles around them. The gadget operates for an hour after it is activated and then must recharge for 12 hours until it can be used again.

Ghost Ward: This gadget defines a 10′ x 10′ square at a point the wielder can see that is impassible to ethereal creatures. Any ethereal creatures within the area of effect are automatically pushed out of the area to an adjacent space of their choice, unless they are paralyzed, restrained, held in a Ghost Containment effect, or otherwise prevented from escaping the effect. Ethereal creatures who cannot escape the effect are trapped within it. The gadget operates for an hour after being activated; after that time, it must recharge for 12 hours before it can be used again.

Hologram: This gadget produces a convincing visual image of a single immobile creature or an object up to 10′ tall and 5′ wide in a space you can see (although once the image has been put in place you do not need to monitor it to keep it going). The visual image has no sound and cannot be interacted with in any meaningful way, and any attempt to touch the object in the image will reveal its false nature. The gadget can replay a series of prerecorded events on a loop up to ten minutes long. Any creature that depends on sight must make a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check to see through the illusion. The size of the hologram may be increased with the Burst Effect property.

Inertial Shoes: The wielder of this gadget cannot be knocked prone. Also, they always land on their feet and are resistant to falling damage. Once per 12 hour period, they may rise vertically, up to 20′, and remain suspended there for up to 10 minutes. At the end of the 10 minutes they float gently back to the ground. This gadget does not require activation and is considered to be always on.

Life Support: This gadget protects you in a hostile environment, such as the depths of the ocean or the void of space. It also filters out toxins, provides you with air and regulates your temperature and pressure, and so forth– but it does not provide protection against damage. (So for instance, something that would keep you alive in an elemental plane of fire would still not protect you from a blowtorch.) This gadget does not require activation and is considered to be always on.

Melee Weapon (one-handed): This gadget is a one-handed melee weapon, doing 2d6 damage of a type of your choice. You must declare the damage type and proficiency the weapon requires when the gadget is created.

Melee Weapon (two-handed): This gadget is a two-handed melee weapon, doing 2d8 damage of a type of your choice. You must declare the damage type and proficiency the weapon requires when the gadget is created.

Mental Discombobulator: This gadget, when activated, forces up to three creatures of your choice that you can see within 30′ attempt a DC 15 Charisma saving throw. On a failed save, whenever the target attempts an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw for the next minute, they must roll 1d4 and subtract that from their total. The gadget may be used once, after which it requires 12 hours to recharge.

Pocket Ghost I: This gadget, which may or may not look like a small red and white ball, can be used to contain a previously-trapped ghost or other trappable creature of CR ½ or lower. As a bonus action on your turn, you may release the ghost from the pocket-ball and give it a simple command. Thereafter on each of your turns, you may use your bonus action to direct the ghost on how to move and take its action. The ghost cannot move further away than 60′ from the pocket-ball, but that distance may extend through walls or barriers that the ghost could normally move through. The ghost automatically returns to the pocket-ball after 1 minute (10 rounds) or when it reaches 0 hp, after which time it cannot be released again until you have completed a short or long rest. (Technically, it’s the ghost that’s resting, but you get the idea.) Returning to the pocket-ball automatically heals all damage to the ghost and removes any conditions it may be under. If the ghost is subject to another capture effect (for instance, it succumbs to someone else’s ghost trap), the pocket-ball is immediately broken and the gadget slot becomes available to you again. You may carry as many pocket-balls as you have gadget slots to spend on them.

Psychic Beacon: This gadget sends out rhythmic pulses of PKE which are fascinating (or possibly infuriating) to ghosts and other PKE-sensitive creatures (including characters with the Psychic Awareness feat). Any such creatures within five miles of the gadget when it is active must make a DC 15 Wisdom or Charisma save or be drawn to the device to investigate. Once the creature has seen the device up close and learned its nature, they are immune to its effects thereafter (but may still choose to remain close to it). Creatures who succeed at the saving throw are immune to its effects as well.

Rapid Recharge: This gadget modifies an existing gadget with a recharge time, causing it to recharge in half the normal time. This modifier can be added to a gadget multiple times, reducing the recharge time by x4, x8, x16, etc.

Ray Weapon (pistol): This gadget is a one-handed ranged weapon, doing 3d6 damage of a type of your choice. The weapon has a range of 40’/120′, and holds 50 shots per ammunition pack. You must declare the damage type and proficiency the weapon requires when the gadget is created. (Note: Proton packs default to radiant damage and require the Ghost Capture property.)

Ray Weapon (rifle): This gadget is a two-handed ranged weapon, doing 3d8 damage of a type of your choice. The weapon has a range of 100’/300′, and holds 30 shots per ammunition pack. You must declare the damage type and proficiency the weapon requires when the gadget is created. (Note: Proton packs default to radiant damage and require the Ghost Capture property.)

Repulsor Unit: This gadget, when activated, requires every creature within 15′ of you (including ghosts or other ethereal creatures) to make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the target takes 2d8 force damage and is pushed 10′ away from you. On a successful save, the target takes half as much damage and isn’t pushed. In addition, unattended objects within the area of effect that weigh 100 pounds or less are automatically pushed 10′ away from you. The effects of this gadget are instantaneous and do not create a static field. The wielder must activate the device again if its effects are desired additional times.

Rocket Shoes: This gadget triples the wielder’s jump distance. This gadget does not require activation and is considered always on.

Rocket Skates: This gadget increases your speed by 10′ and enables you to take the Dash action as a bonus action on each of your turns. Note that it doesn’t actually have to be rocket skates, that’s just the most common version. Any effect that would reduce your movement speed (including the slimed condition) also prevents you from using this gadget until the condition is removed. This gadget does not require activation and is considered always on.

Slime-Proof Clothing: This gadget makes you immune to the Slimed condition. This gadget does not require activation and is considered always on.

Stake Gun: This weapon fires custom-made wooden-shafted darts. Its statistics are the same as an automatic rifle from the Dungeon Master’s Guide, except that it has a range of 30’/120′, and a critical hit with this weapon against vampires or another such vulnerable creature is considered to be a stake driven into the target’s heart.

Tethered Slime Barrier: This gadget uses “slime tether” technology to fill a 20′ x 20′ cube with sticky slime filaments in a spot of your choice within 60′. The area so filled becomes difficult terrain and is obscured to vision. If the filaments aren’t anchored between two solid masses (such as walls or trees) they collapse on themselves and create a mass of quivering green goo roughly 5′ deep. Each corporeal creature that starts its turn in the slime barrier must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the creature is restrained as long as it remains in the slimy filaments or until it breaks free. A creature restrained by the slime filaments can use its action to make a DC 15 Strength check. If it succeeds, it is no longer restrained. Each 20′ x 20′ cube lasts 30 seconds (five turns).

Translator: This gadget can translate speech or text in any known, historical language into any other known, historical language, in “real time.”

Universal Healing Kit: This gadget gives the wielder advantage on all Wisdom (Medicine) checks and once per 24 hour period enables them to automatically succeed in ending either one disease or one of the following conditions on an afflicted humanoid creature or animal: blinded, deafened, paralyzed, or poisoned.

Widget: This gadget is a small robotic personal assistant. It carries things for you, can deliver messages or run simple errands, etc. It can remain in constant contact with you via radio and relay sound and/or video surveillance of a remote location. The Widget has statistics similar to a creature of your choice as described by the find familiar spell, except that its type is construct. It cannot make any attacks. This gadget does not require activation and is considered always on.

Genius-Level Gadgets
Arcing Weapon: This modifier causes an energy weapon’s effect to “arc” from target to target. When the wielder scores a successful hit with the weapon, they may immediately as a free action make another attack at the same bonus (and inflicting the same damage) on a different target up to 30′ feet away. If that attack succeeds, the wielder may then make another attack on a third target, and so on, until an attack misses or there are no more targets within range. This effect only works once on any given turn, regardless of how many attacks the wielder may be entitled to make.

Custom Gadget (Genius): This is a catchall designed to enable players to come up with their own crazy ideas. When assessing whether a player’s idea is feasible as a Genius-level gadget, the Ghostmaster should compare it to the effectiveness of an existing piece of more expensive gear, a 3rd- or 4th- level spell from the Player’s Handbook, or an Uncommon or Rare magic item from the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Keep in mind that unlike spells, gadgets can be used over and over again and rarely have durations. Thus the Ghostmaster should carefully consider the potential downfalls of the gadget being “spammed” or abused.

Etherealizer: This gadget, when activated, turns the wielder semi-ethereal. They can see and interact with objects or creatures on the ethereal plane as well as the material plane. They can also move completely through creatures and objects on the material plane (including walls or solid rock) as if they were difficult terrain. However, they take 5 (1d10) force damage if they end their turn inside an object. This gadget operates for one hour after it’s activated, after which time it requires 12 hours to recharge before it can be used again.

Fleet of Widgets: This gadget actually consists of five Widgets. Other than being a lot more of them, it is otherwise identical to a single Widget.

Greater Burst Effect: As Burst Effect, except the choices are a 20′ radius sphere usable at the weapon’s normal range, a 50′ line emanating from the wielder, or a 30′ cone emanating from the wielder.

Greater Damage Weapon: As Melee Weapon or Ray Weapon, but adds an additional two dice of damage to the values listed. (For instance, a Greater Damage Ray Weapon {rifle} would do 5d8 damage.)

Improved Effect: You may add the higher of your Intelligence modifier or proficiency bonus to the DC of an existing item’s saving throw.

Jetpack: The wielder of this gadget has a fly speed of 60′. The gadget is activated as free action during the wielder’s movement and operates for ten minutes once activated, then must recharge for 12 hours before it can be used again.

Lingering Damage: Placing this modifier on a weapon or other item that does some form of elemental damage causes the damage to continue for a number of rounds equal to the wielder’s Intelligence modifier after the initial damage.

Mind Link: This gadget allows two unresisting creatures to be mentally connected, allowing direct mind-to-mind communication. There is no limitation on how long this state can last, but both creatures are considered restrained while the gadget is in operation. If either creature moves, the link is broken.

Pocket Ghost II: Like Pocket Ghost I, except it may contain creatures up to CR 1.

Robotic Assistant: This gadget is an android designed to assist you with whatever tasks you assign it. It has statistics similar to a set of Animated Armor from the Monster Manual. Like the Widget, the Robotic Assistant can remain in contact with you via radio and relay sound or video images. The Robotic Assistant can be programmed to fire a proton pack or other weapon, but it never gains proficiencies. This gadget does not require activation and is considered always on.

Slime Automaton: This gadget is a large object or collection of objects being manipulated into a semblance of animation by the effects of psychomagnotheric slime. The wielder controls the automaton’s actions each turn with a bonus action, and must stay within 30′ of the automaton to control it. (The wielder may choose to “ride” the automaton like a mount or vehicle.) On any turn in which the automaton is not controlled, it simply stands inert. A slime automaton has statistics similar to a clay golem from the Monster Manual, except it does not have the Acid Absorption, Berserk, or Haste properties. This gadget does not require activation and is considered always on.

Sun Grenade: This gadget is thrown like a grenade. When it detonates, it creates an intense field of light, heat, electromagnetic and ultraviolet radiation that simulates the effects of full sunlight at high noon on the equator for six seconds in a 50′ radius sphere. All creatures who have not averted their eyes before the grenade goes off must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the creature is blinded and stunned until the end of their next turn. In addition, creatures that are damaged or destroyed by sunlight suffer the full brunt of such effects for that six-second duration. Once the grenade is detonated, the gadget slot the inventor used to create the gadget becomes free again.

Tractor Beam: This gadget uses energy fields to remotely manipulate objects at a distance. It creates effects similar to the Bigby’s hand spell cast at a level equal to the proficiency bonus of the wielder, except that there is no “hand” that can be attacked, simply energy fields. The gadget operates for one minute after activation, and then requires 12 hours to recharge before it can be used again.

Vehicle Mount: This modifier allows an existing piece of equipment or a gadget to be mounted to a vehicle and used from the control station of that vehicle.

Mastermind-Level Gadgets
Android Army: This gadget actually consists of five Robotic Assistants or ten Widgets. Other than being a lot more of them, it is otherwise identical to a single Widget or Robotic Assistant.

Custom Gadget (Mastermind): This is a catchall designed to enable players to come up with their own crazy ideas. When assessing whether a player’s idea is feasible as a Mastermind-level gadget, the Ghostmaster should compare it to the effectiveness of an existing piece of more expensive gear, a 6th or 7th level spell from the Player’s Handbook, or a Rare or Very Rare magic item from the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Keep in mind that unlike spells, gadgets can be used over and over again and rarely have durations. Thus the Ghostmaster should carefully consider the potential downfalls of the gadget being “spammed” or abused.

Extraplanar Portal: This gadget creates a semi-stable portal to another dimension (generally “the Ghost World”) as long as it is active. Note that planar rifts are inherently hazardous and generally create unwanted side-effects, such as creatures wandering from dimension to dimension and the general breakdown of reality as we know it in the vicinity. Opening or closing the portal requires an action.

Maximum Effect: An item with Improved Effect now adds both your Intelligence modifier and your proficiency bonus to the DC of its saving throw.

PKE Suppression Field: This gadget creates a 10′ radius sphere around the wielder, that can be carried by and move with the wielder. All PKE activity is nullified within the sphere, including the use of magic or psychic powers. Ghosts or other PKE-motivated creatures within the area of effect simply “wink” out of existence, and possessed creatures or objects are instantly freed from all supernatural influences. Once no longer within the field, ghosts and other such creatures “wink” back into existence again, but they must re-establish any hold they had on possessed creatures or objects. The gadget works for one hour after it has been activated, and then must recharge for 12 hours before it can be used again.

Pocket Ghost III: Like Pocket Ghost I, except it may contain creatures up to CR 4.

Slime Juggernaut: This gadget is similar to a Slime Automaton, except that it is size Huge and has statistics similar to a Stone Golem (but lacks the Slow property).

Ultimate Burst Effect: As Burst Effect, except the choices are a 30′ radius sphere usable at the weapon’s normal range, a 100′ line emanating from the wielder, or a 60′ cone emanating from the wielder.

Ultimate Damage Weapon: As Melee Weapon or Ray Weapon, but adds an additional five dice of damage to the values listed. (For instance, an Ultimate Damage Ray Weapon {rifle} would do 8d8 damage.)

Whattya think, sirs? Next time, Feats.

-The Gneech

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