Saturday, January 30, 2016

This Blog Has Moved!

And not even recently. I should have posted this at some point like 2 years ago.

Better Legends now resides on Tumblr at

See you there!

Friday, March 27, 2015

On Dwarves

Dwarven literature reads like a cross between a blueprint and a chess games. Stories follow no set narrative, but are instead presented as great interlocking wheels to represent the many choices of the heroes and villains. Dwarves believe the pinnacle of literature is to be able to see and understand the entirety of a story all at once. What could have happened is always as important was what did happen. Because of this take on storytelling, there are actually very few dwarvish stories, just many permutations.

All important works of dwarven literature are engraved onto buildings. Every inch of a dwarven structure will be covered in runic engravings. Because of this, a dwarf that wishes to learn the entirety of a story must explore every last nook and cranny of the building it is written on. Their fondness for secret passages and puzzles make thorough reading synonymous with exploration and problem solving.

Dwarven architecture is based in complicated mathematics, allowing amazing feats of balance and structural integrity to exist side by side. Stones fit together with such accuracy that mortar is never used. Pushing open a dwarven door is so easy a child could do it, the difficulty lies in finding the door in the first place. Dwarves are great pranksters and love incorporating tricks of light, shadow and perspective into their buildings, making the simple act of walking down a corridor challenging for even the most aware and astute among us. Many an explorer has wasted hours attempting to cross a room entirely tiled in circular disks that spin at different intervals when stepped on.

The halls of dwarven buildings are designed to be natural resonators for music. At the heart of any dwarven construct is a chamber designed specifically for song. These rooms are build in such a way that a single dwarf may sing a piece designed for 7 voices in round, filling the halls with ghostly harmonies. These chambers are utilized in battle as well- a team of Dwarves will whisper through the halls and fill the heads of the enemy with what they think are voices of ghosts, then launch into a deafening Dwarven battle song. While their foes writhe on the ground from the sound, Guerrilla strikeforces will emerge from hidden passages and finish the interlopers quickly.

Monday, March 2, 2015

New 5e Race: Ursa

Ratha Orgon "The Brute" was the first Ursa
to grace our hangout. Art by Sarah.

I've started converting my most recent home game to 5e.

When I started the campaign last year, I had some rough Ideas for races, but told the players they should pick one and flesh it out themselves. Sarah looked at the list, said there should be bear people, and made some.


The Ursa are an intelligent but powerful people. Resembling black bears with slightly longer limbs and hands more suited for gripping tools and weapons. Their fur ranges from light brown, to red, to black. Extremely rare, albino Ursa are considered divine oracles, mouthpieces of their god Astromika, and are trained to be priests at a very young age.

Ursa tend to shed in the spring. This is a ritualistic time for the Ursa when they will typically gather as a family or community to shake off their winter down. It’s often accompanied with much ale and games to prove physical strength. The shedding is frowned upon by innkeepers everywhere should the Ursa not be home for the event.

Ability Score Increase: Your Strength score increases by 2 and your Constitution score increases by 1.

Age: Ursa reach physical and mental maturity around 40 and tend to live to be around 180. It is thought that their generally detached nature and penchant for stargazing keeps them from suffering the toll that stress would normally take on a body.

Alignment: Ursa value family and friends above all things, and often turn a blind eye to conflict that does not directly involve them.

Size: Standing, they tend to compare in size to a male black bear with the females being just a bit smaller (About 6-6.5ft tall). They

Speed: 35 feet The Ursa typically run and walk on their hind legs the same way humans do, but they have been known to run short distances on all fours; up to about 2 miles before they need to stop. To ride on the back of an Ursa is said to be one of the greatest signs of trust it can give. Whenever available, Ursas prefer riding tremendous oxen to walking.

Languages: Common, Ursari Ursa speak with one another in their native tongue of Ursari, the language is similar to the ways that their cousins, the common bear, would communicate. Much of the language is based in body language and scent, making it difficult for outsiders without a comparatively developed nasal passage to communicate. Ursa do, however have command of the common tongue. The only complaint being that as stargazers, they often utilize metaphors that are often thought of as meaningless and confusing.

Improved Sense of Smell: Ursa have a very advanced sense of smell. They may add their proficiency bonus to Investigation and Perception.

Bear Hands: Ursa gain proficiency when making unarmed attacks. Their claws deal 1d8 + Str Mod damage.

She also wrote up the details for their religion.

Associated Race: Ursa
Associated God(s) and Goddess(es): None
- Astromikals, ie. Stargazers
- Never say very useful things (ie: Encha Minor is very bright tonight…)
- It’s looked down upon by most others as a silly and not very useful way of thinking
- Most Astromikals will assemble on Wednesday evenings in remote forest clearings designated for watching the stars and meditating. That’s it. Really.
- It’s common for members to get lost and never be seen again due to excessive wandering and looking up.
- Head injuries are likely as a result of running into trees and branches.
- Astromikals will also worship when certain astronomical events occur (planets aligning, solar/lunar eclipses)
- It’s common to find worshippers meditating at night
- Religious artifacts/symbols include:
- Small astrolabe worn around the neck of every worshiper
- A paper-map of the stars that fits in a tube
- A tiny, fold up scope (It’s not very useful)
- The main symbol is a simplistic outline of Ursa Major

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Type V Fighter Leveling Chart

I recently got back into playing 5e thanks to +Kiel Chenier. It's great to be playing in a game again, as my attention span is far more suited to playing than it is to planning a campaign.

After dusting off the Fighter I had made for the game a while back I realized I was due to level up, which is something I've always been annoyed with because all of the various level up materials are on different pages and I have to flip around in a book and thats kind of annoying.

So I sat down and made THIS. Which is a class based level up sheet that fits on one piece of paper and tells you what you need to know about leveling up in 5th Edition.

I plan on making one for each class in 5e. For now here's the fighter, because that's what I'm currently playing. Next up will probably be Barbarian.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

List Of Things That Would Make MMO's Fun.

MMORPG's are frequently disappointing. It's important for me to occasionally remember this when I have the urge to play one. I made this list to both point out to myself that the game (It's WoW) I would be returning to does not have any of these things, and would therefore be unsatisfying to me. Also it's fun to make a list of things that would be included in my ideal MMO. 

1. You may have and control a single character at a time. No alts.
Alts have always bugged me. It takes you out of the focus of a game to have too many perspectives. It would be far cooler to make a game that had a flexible class system that allowed you to go on an adventure to learn the fighting styles of the mountain folk and incorporate that into your character instead of starting an alt.

2. Gold you keep in a bank and gold you have on you are two separate things.
A small pet peeve, it would be important in the system I'm thinking of because...

3. Stealing from other players would be possible. 
Because it's fun to be kept on your toes. Game's aren't real, so they should never be dull. Being able to legitimately pickpocket someone if you were skilled enough? Super cool. Being able to thwart a would-be thief? Double cool.

4. Where you began the game would be important. 
Not just in a "I like starting in forests" kind of way. It would give you a set of skills and possibly a fighting style that gave variety to the world without everything having to be about race. Travel to other places could be difficult. In fact, different continents could be whole different servers. Remember, this doesn't have to be possible, it's just for fun.

5. Picking a race does not mean picking a side.
Like, c'mon. It's way more fun if you have to actually pick who your friends are. If you want pre-selected enemies. Join a faction that has some. Also, PVP would always be enabled.

6. Factions would mean something.
Allying yourself with a faction would grant you new gear, abilities, spells, knowledge about the world, and of course- opposing factions.

7. You are who you are assumed to be.
Wearing a specific outfit, emblem, disguise or simply a suit of armor says a lot about you from a small distance. As does your appearance. People are much more likely to be on edge around someone who smells like dried blood and horse shit, carrying the severed heads of several local bounties. Dress and Hygene would affect NPC AND player reactions, because there would be no HUD display of identity automatically available.

8. The world must change.
When something dies, it dies. Enemies don't re-spawn unless it makes sense for them to. Dragons don't keep dropping a few nick-knacks at time. They drop the whole horde of treasure ONCE. And people fight about who gets what for a long, long time.

9. Magic is scary.
Spells are found, stolen or learned as an apprentice to a more powerful sorcerer. Magic takes a toll on you. Marks you. Being able to use it effectively would take proper training and sacrifice. 

10. Magic items you find in a cave are therefore twice as scary.
The safest and most reliable method of obtaining items would be through a local craftsperson. Magic items would be really powerful and unique. Wielding a magic sword of intense power without the proper resistances or precautions could lead to you losing control of your character and it becoming a servant to the weapon/armor/etc. How fucking cool would it be to have to kill a boss that used to be your character? 

11. Combat needs to be interesting.
Combat would not be standardized. Different "schools" based around weapons and philosophies would be a significant choice in playing a character. Movement rate would be a key statistic. Being over-laden would make you slower in and out of combat. Honestly I could write a whole post on just this, so I'll just say that MMO combat is not as interesting as it could be.

12. Death should be a real threat.
Death would be permanent. There would be a number of ways to protect against it, but ultimately a character who dies must start over. Their body (assuming it was not destroyed) and possessions would continue to exist, and could be recovered- by literally anyone who finds it, including wandering monsters and NPC's.

13. Balance is not the key.
There should not be a clear cut path. Stacking obscure fire resistance gear can be a perfectly good solution. Sometimes you need two characters to kill one character. Imbalance leads to creative problem solving.

Friday, August 2, 2013

New Characters

It's super refreshing to take a break from a campaign that has been going on for over a year, and roll up some weird new party that has a huge amount of comedic potential.

Which is why I'm currently playing a Bullywug fighter named Thuyr' Glumph and my girlfriend is a Lizardman Cleric named Poptart. The third member of the party is a Grey Elf with a pet cat, we are currently wandering the post cataclysmic world of Dragonlance looking for food.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

(Most of) Jeff's Questions.

Where can we go to buy standard equipment?
Both the Bronze City of Peak in the far west and Tuskar Vool to the east are bustling trading posts, Adventurers will have no problem outfitting themselves for expeditions into the desert.

Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?
Any and all inquiries about monstrous creatures should be directed to the Hunters Guild. They specialize in the hunting, capturing, taming, breeding and byproduct manipulation of strange beasts great and small. There are several branches of the guild in Sirocca, the largest being in Peak City.

Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?
Peregrin Uwe "The Blue Flame". A mighty pyromancer from the heart of the desert. The secrets of his magic are woven into his long blue beard. The few that have met him have been reduced to charred stumps after trying to remove it from his face. His spells can be purchased in Tuskar Vool from a bandage covered vendor in the south side of the city. 

Who is the greatest warrior in the land?
She has no name, she left it behind when she became the champion of Tsa Rook, and rumor has it that whoever can defeat her in one on one combat will be granted a piece of the demon birds eggshell.

Who is the richest person in the land?
On record the leader of the Hunters Guild, a hunter famed for capturing and killing a full grown mountain giant. The armor made from the giants flesh now decorates the city guard of Peak City. Though it is believed that the few remaining wizards of Sirocca must sit upon great troves of treasure, as demand for magic is high and spells are expensive.

Where can we go to get some magical healing?
Ptole of Eremite sells his healing spells in the Bazaar of Peak city. A particularly eccentric mage, he believes himself to be the savior of all mankind, and is one of the few wizards that sells his wares personally. The spells are bound to various types of fruit. 

Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, lycanthropy, polymorph, death, undeath? 
It's rumored that Ptole will perform "miracles" of healing for steep prices or favors, often involving dangerous forays into the wild for exotic fruits. If you are looking for a less dangerous route to good health, the Blue Clerics of Vool are known for their nonmagical healing abilities, utilizing potions and herbs to cure a vast array of maladies.

Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?
The few magic users of Sirocca have no love for each other. They guard their magical secrets with an unprecedented greed, and sell their spells for profit. The few individuals born with a talent for magic these days are quickly found and killed to reduce future competition. Spells can be purchased in the marketplaces of both major cities, they often come in the form of scrolls, wands or other curiosities.

Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?
Sirocca is home to many strange people, with many strange skills and trades. You will undoubtably meet some if you travel through the desert. 

Where can I hire mercenaries?
The Gold Swords of Vool are a loosely affiliated guild of sellswords willing to give you their business if the price is right.

Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law? 
It is a well known fact that anyone upsetting the balance of nature in the great oasis will be subject to the strange and cruel magic of the druids that tend the clear waters there. 

Which way to the nearest tavern?
"Dead Esters" in Tuskar Vool, and "The Gnome Hole" in Peak are both popular hangouts for adventures, They specialize in catering to their thrill seeking clientele, providing exotic food, strong drink, and interesting rumors.

What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?
The various branches of the Hunter's Guild keep most wanted lists for individual regions.

The West- Over the past couple of months, Peak has seen increased activity from the mountain giants. Most believe they wish to reclaim the skin of their dead leader. They are led by Gor'gruaw, a giant that bears a similar hide to the one armoring the City guard.
The South- The Insects of the humming mountains grow to the size of elephants, and have begun tunneling and laying eggs farther and farther into civilized territory. 
The North- The Children of Tsa Rook are a terrible threat to travelers, but the greatest threat would be to anger the great bird.
The East- Demonic mutations are commonplace among the denizens of Bethadore, when the great demon Tuskar Vool was slain so many years ago his blood tainted the land itself. But lately there have been new and more aggressive types of demon wandering the blue sands at night.

How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?
The Rise of the Jackals boasts an arena that draws spectators from all over Sirocca. Gladiators are often slaves taken by Jackal raids of nearby settlements, but voluntary participants are not unheard of. Gladiators that die in the arena are feasted on by the Jackal lords. It is well known that many of the Monsters that find their way into the arena are sold to the Jackals by several branches of the Hunters Guild. 

Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?
Resistance groups have begun to pop up in the Jackal Lands. Freedom fighters that want to put a stop to the barbarous tradition of the Obsidian Arena. It's rumored that they are led by one of the few Gladiators to make it out of the arena alive. 

The city guard is always looking for recruits to help stave off Mountain Giants, they welcome all applicants, but a Hunters Guild membership will fast track you to the front lines.

Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?
The Dragonkin of Sirocca have always been a strange bunch. They believe a fitting death can only come from the breath of a dragon, but have no means of acquiring this death, as the last dragon was killed and eaten by Tsa Rook a thousand years ago.

What is there to eat around here?
Both Vool and Peak host a variety of eateries fueled by the strange fruits, vegetables, and animals brought back by adventures. Many parties even have "Adventure Chefs" accompany them, to identify and assist in the location of these treats. It also doesn't hurt to have a skilled cook on the road with you.

Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?
The Sands of Sirocca have devoured the treasure of many brave adventurers. The Greatest of these are the artifacts made from the great dragon that ruled the desert thousands of years ago. 

Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?

Tsa Rook, The Bird that Feasted on Dragons roosts in the Northern Mountains. His Followers paint their faces and hunt from the backs of great owls. The bodies of a thousand dead adventures litter the path to Its nest.