Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Just discovered today that S. T. Joshi has edited a collection of Clark Ashton Smith's stories and poems for PENGUIN FRICKIN' CLASSICS. What a great 45th birthday present! Say "hello" to my next ENGL 1119 "Literature of Fantasy" syllabus, Mr. Smith!
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Back when I played World of Warcraft, my character was a dwarf hunter—primarily because of my penchant for woodsy characters. I soon discovered the charms of pets, though, an enchantment that has reached the point of RPG evaluation criterion. (Seriously! I find myself judging games based on how easily they integrate pets among other companion NPCs.) Although my character had many pets, including a six-legged alligator named Crocostimpy, his favorite was the woolly white rhino he picked up from the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Said rhino was named Alexei (after Marvel Comic's Rhino), and his most charming feature was the nearly subsonic thundering sound made by his feet as he charged around Azeroth.
So I was thrilled to realize, while making a Ranger for a 13th Age game at my FLGS, that I could reskin the Boar Animal Companion as a Woolly Rhino. (All Animal Companions in 13th Age share the same base stats, being differentiated only by a single trait; this makes diversifying one's pet beyond the six book options extremely simple.) Because the only thing cooler than having a rhino as a pet is riding one's rhino pet, I opted to make my character a gnome. Here are the current stats for Mim the ranger and her rhino Loth:
MIM, GNOME RANGER
STR 13 (+1), CON 15 (+2), DEX 18 (+4), INT 10 (+0), WIS 15 (+2), CHA 10 (+0)
AC 20 (22 vs. OA b/c Small), PD 17, MD 14
HP 72, Recoveries 10 @ 4d8+2 per recovery
One Unique Thing: I know what the North Wind is saying
Icon Relationships: Archmage +/–1, Dwarf King +1, Orc Lord –1
Backgrounds: Woolly rhino wrangler +4, Frost Range guide +4, Flunked out of illusionist school in Horizon +2
Racial Powers: Confounding, Minor Illusions, Small
Class Talents: Animal Companion x2 (woolly rhino), Lethal Hunter, Two-Weapon Mastery
Feats: Animal Companion x3 (rhino adds Escalation Die to attacks, rhino can attack 2x in a round 1x per day, rhino has +1 to PD and MD), Extra Backgrounding (increases to "Woolly rhino wrangler" and "Frost Range guide") Two-Weapon Mastery (adds level to miss damage)
Basic Melee Attack: +9 attack, 4d6+2 damage, 8 miss damage (2 hand axes)
Basic Ranged Attack: +8 attack, 4d6+4 damage, 4 miss damage (thrown hand axe)
LOTH, MIM'S WOOLLY RHINO
AC 19, PD 18, MD 14
Companion Power: +1 attack when Loth moves before attacking
Basic Melee Attack: +9 attack, 3d6 damage
Mim has had three Incremental Advances since she began play, adding both a feat and a talent as well as increasing her hit points. She also has a few magic items she's never really used in play (they're objects the other players/characters didn't want, and they don't fit Mim's theme); I didn't bother including them as a result.
I'm really happy with the combined effect of Mim's One Unique Thing and her Backgrounds: they give her the wintry effect I was after as well as defining how she differs from the stereotypical gnome. Finally, it's quite clear to me that animal companions are one area where 13th Age has it all over Dungeons & Dragons: the latter game's CR 1/4 limit on a Beastmaster Ranger's companion choices has really undermined what's cool about animal companions in what appears to be the name of game balance.