D&D Chaotica: The firey embrace of DEATH

Last session was eventful. Some discoveries occurred, a magic item discovered, a fire was started, my first ever party wipe happened, 4 new rules were created, a meta rule, and a scoring system with a Hall of Fame.

Eventful, no?

Wait, a party wipe??

That is probably your first thought at reading the teaser, so let’s start there. Yes, I had a party wipe. It’s not quite as impressive as it sounds, as I only had two players. I do take the full share of the blame. Without digging down into the specifics of their spell lists, I can’t fault them for any course of action. A few lucky/unlucky rolls, and then they were dead. It was close. 15 more damage would have one them the day.

Fire Elementals are nasty in Chaotica. Not only is that fire damage doubled, but they also catch you on fire. 1d10 worth of fire. Which is then doubled. And you take it at the start of your turn until an action is spent to put you out. This means that when you are unconscious, you’re starting each turn failing a death save, until an ally can extinguish you. So I couldn’t even DM’s fiat and have the party wake up captured or anything. Not without a big dose of reality change. I considered it, but decided it was better for the game to just let them die and make new characters.

So that’s what we did.

Now, I have looked at the guidance they have for DMs, and a Fire Elemental was a deadly challenge for the party, even before its CR would be upswung due to Chaotica number tweaks. Still, it was the right monster for the story and I am at peace with this.

A new Meta-Rule

You guys don’t really interact with the meta rules too much. They’re guidance on how I determine what rules can get created, and some other things that I use on the hidden side of the game to build the world. When rules get created is another factor and the new meta-rule, the Death Rule.

Essentially, its a reminder that death is a part of this game. And, as a special part of this game, is worthy of a rule creation. So, essentially, if you die (and I think you aren’t just trying to game the system for more rules), and you aren’t going to be revived soonish. If you are permanently dead, then you get to create a rule as you create your new character.

All those weasel words are why the Meta-rules aren’t shown to players.

New Rules!

With the death rules (conviently marked with a [D] on the big list), there are 4 new rules that have been introduced. Three of them are mechanical in nature, and one is roleplay and has saved the party from certain death once or twice in the potential future, I’m sure.

Let’s start with the Roleplay one. That’s not great definition of exactly what it is, but its close enough. Dragons are SCARY. If you thought elementals were bad, dragons are worse. I know of a few worlds with worse dragons, but there are not many. One of these things will mess you up.

Luckily for the party, dragons won’t start a fight with out a talk. Their default beginning interaction is conversation. Actually, according to my notes, its not just dragons, but dragon-kin. That means any NPC that’s dragonish, kobolds, dragonborn, etc, all start diplomatically.

Now, I’m not giving up my Gygax-given righto gank my players. I will however, ensure that I foreshadow honorless dragons or the brutal savages of a kobold tribe. As long as I mention it before hand, I’m in the clear. You should probably treat NPC warnings seriously, though…

The second rule of the night came from my “I dunno” chart. I have a long list of rule bits that I came up with and a player can sacrifice their choice to role on the table and have one of my rules come into effect. This week, this one was rolled up. “Monks can catch magical projectiles.” I’m not sure exactly what this means yet. Reduce the damage of magic missles? Sure. Catch something catapulted? Why not! Throw a fireball back towards the caster? uh… technically possible, I suppose. It’d be really really hard. The monk catch mechanic triggers before things like resistance, and if you’ve rolled a Dex save, it’s already exploded. So you have to reduce the damage to zero before it actually goes off. 1d10 +Dex + Monk level vs 8d6. At level 20, the monk has even odds of succeeding. I like the idea of a super monk returning a fireball. It’s very anime. So I’m allowing it for now (even though fireball is not an attack, as much as it has a projectile-ish description.)

Then we have 2 death rules which, surprise surprise, make the player’s new characters a lot stronger.

Birds and Fire, Stones and Skin

Is it surprising that both of the Death Rules are designed for the newly character to be a lot more survivable? (Honestly, I don’t understand how people are able to spend rules on things like gods and stuff. My character isn’t immortal yet!)

The first was a rule on Aarakockra. I had to fight for the rule to be this simple.
Players: Bird people have oil glands or sacs. Like penguins and the like.
DM: Oookay. I guess that makes sense. Why do you want…?
Players: The oil is shiney and reflective, granting disadvantage.
DM: Okay, I can… kinda… see that…?
Players: Also, the oil is Fire-Proof.
DM: Yeah.. no.

I like a lot of the D&D movies that have been made, but they never seem to capture the true essence of D&D. If I was writing this movie, I would include a scene where the players argue back and forth on some topic, like whether penguins and ducks are flammable, or if you can tell how long a candle has been burning. That’s ture D&D.

Anyway, I talked the player around to Flying Aarakockra being harder to hit, whether through camaflouge or just maneuvers, I don’t care.

The final rule for today is interesting, as it creates a classification amoung the races of “Stonekin” which is anyone descended from the Plane of Earth. We’ve decided this means Dwaves, Giants (and Goliaths). It’s interesting how these origin families seem to be developing without my direct involvement. I might have to play on that. Also of interest, Gnomes are more fey than earth, apparently.  So they’re excluded.

Anyway, Stonekin have resistance to elemental damage. And I bet the stoneskin spell would grant that as well.

It’s not a big enough chage, any of them, to sway my statisitcs of best race, but dwarves are the most common we’ve seen in world.

Keeping Score

I like meaningless numbers. So, now that two characters won’t accumulate more, I built a small alorytim and I’m keeping score. When/if your character dies, I’ll update the Hall of Fame.

Discoveries and Magic Items

It’s so fascinating to me that I’ve given out two magic items and the party has neither of them anymore. How does that happen?

I would let people loot the bodies, but, this time, the bodies are impossible to recover, as reachable as they are. An Elemental’s fire is, well, not nice.

The (ex)party also discovered a clue last week, but they are dead and shouldn’t tell anyone what they found as they traced the tree back to where it came from.

Zarks

An eventful day means I get to just report instead of speculating. I don’t have any idea of what the party is up to this week, except that it will start with re-assembling in Loam’s Breathe. Then its up to the players.

They have yet to catch me short. So far.

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