Monday, July 21, 2014

Another Update In Lieu Of Content, Plus Wire Trolls

I didn't get any character classes finished this week, so instead you get this.

The main thing I've gotten done lately is quite a bit of work done on the Fantasy Wargaming retroclone and revision, and somewhat less work done on the Top Secret retroclone. For the former, I've finished the draft of the character creation chapter and am well into the chapter on magic. For the latter, character creation is pretty much finished and I've worked some on action resolution, mainly on the "contacts" system by which characters can acquire information and services in exchange for bribes, threats, or seductions, among other techniques.

I've been learning a bit more about the Middle Sea world, but not enough to make a post of its own yet. I'll get there.

I'm trying to decide if I should go with presenting the Fantasy Wargaming revision as a Dark Ages/Medieval setting, as it was originally, or if I should present an original setting. The advantage of an original setting would be getting to avoid the criticism leveled at the former of "giving stats for Jesus" (which, while technically true, wasn't really as big a deal as the critics made out, since the stats given were effectively infinite - God wasn't intended for use as a monster you can kill). The disadvantage, of course, is that the idea of a straight Dark Age/Medieval European setting is a compelling one, and one around which many of the mechanics are based. I am really leaning toward keeping it in Europe, at least as a basis. Perhaps I can work up another setting as a supplement, if any demand exists. Maybe the Middle Sea world could be dual-statted for AD&D and FW/whatever I end up naming it. There would have to be a lot of work to do so, though, as it would require, at the very least, an entire chapter just on the religions of the Middle Sea: the Tetradic Church, the Fatalist Church, the Radiant Church, the Denialists (who might need their own, new magic system, though it would actually be a modification of the standard one), and polytheists of several varieties (Kurai, Davrai, and Daling, at the very least), plus demon-worship.

I'm having to revisit the matter of setting with the Top Secret retroclone as well. In initial feedback, I heard from people that they'd prefer to see it set in the Cold War era of the late '70s/early '80s, just as the original was. However, since then, Merle Rasmussen has released his first TS adventure in decades, and it is set in the present world of conflicts with terrorist groups and rogue states. I could also provide information to cover the multiple eras, but that would take up quite a bit of space.

OK, after all that, you deserve something you can use, so as a Joesky Tax here are some stats for Wire Trolls (thanks go to Zak S for pointing out the picture, which coalesced some previously inchoate ideas that I had running around in my head):

Wire Troll

Frequency: Very Rare
No. Appearing: 1
Armor Class: 4
Move: 6"
Hit Dice: 6+1
% in Lair: 10%
Treasure Type: E
No. of Attacks: 2
Damage/Attack: 1-12/1-12
Special Attacks: Wires, Puppets
Special Defenses: Regeneration, Puppets
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Average
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Size: L (8' tall)
Psionic Ability: Nil
     Attack/Defense Modes: Nil
Experience: 825xp + 8xp/hp

The wire troll is a terrifying creature that wanders the wastes, using its puppets to forage for food and water, as well as to protect itself from attackers. They rely on the senses of the puppets, as their own are dim and weak.

While a wire troll can attack with its two great, maul-like hands, it prefers to send puppets to do its attacking for it. Those are, after all, expendable in the eyes of the wire troll. It will repair damage to its own body at the rate of 2 hit points per melee round, which will include severed parts coming back to the main body, or even forming an entirely new wire troll if the main body is destroyed by fire or acid, taking 3-18 melee rounds to do so.

The most feared attack of the wire troll is the sending out of wires, 1d4 per melee round, with a maximum of one per target per round. Each of these acts as a missile weapon, with a range of 10". If a wire hits, the target must make a saving throw (against petrification) or the wire embeds itself and attaches to the target's nervous system. At this point, the wire troll gains complete control and can manipulate the target to do anything the wire troll desires. Such puppets must remain within 10" of the wire troll at all times. A wire troll can never have more than 12 puppets at a time, and cannot voluntarily release any puppets. Puppets will retain all abilities, hit points, and so forth, except that no spellcasting abilities or divinely granted abilities will remain while a puppet. A wire troll cannot make a puppet out of a creature larger than itself.

Since the wires remain as a connection, it is obvious when a puppet is attached to a wire troll. The wire can be targeted by a sharp weapon to attempt to cut it, requiring a roll "to hit" against Armor Class 0, followed by a damage roll of at least 5 hit points of damage. Puppets released in such a fashion must make a System Shock survival roll, and will be disoriented and stunned for 1d6 melee rounds even if they succeed. If the wire troll can be killed, all of its puppets will be released without injury.

When encountered, a wire troll will have 2d6 puppets, of the following types:

1) human*
2) elf**
3) dwarf***
4) goblin
5) orc
6) gnoll
7) centaur
8) ogre
9) roll on random encounter chart
10) DM choice

*humans have a 10% chance of having a character class. Roll as per henchmen (DMG, p. 35).
**elves have a 20% chance of having a character class, as above.
***dwarves have a 15% chance of having a character class, as above.


  1. Incredible encounter! The visual of the wires attached to various minions is haunting indeed. Yikes!

    1. Isn't it? My nightmares can be creepy at times. I'm just glad that Zak found a picture that fit the thing (which also pushed it into being a type of troll, because that's kinda how I see trolls in the back of my head).