Thursday, March 17, 2016

Criticizing the Brushstrokes #3 - White Adventurers Can't Jump

Important Disclaimer - 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons is a masterpiece. It is still one of my favorite RPGs and is one of the most important games ever published. Because of my love for the game, it would be too easy for me to come up with 101 things I like about it so I am challenging myself by trying to come up with that many complaints about it. This does not reflect any animosity toward the system or the artist, rather the opposite.

I'm a thief-acrobat! What makes this especially odd is that I don't steal, I'm in the 1e age category for middle age, and am not in particularly great shape. Yet according to Unearthed Arcana , I must be a thief-acrobat because I can easily make a standing broad jump of 6' and UA page 24 states that non-thief-acrobats can high jump 3', running broad jump 8', and standing broad jump 4'! Now to be fair, I wasn't wearing to much in the way of bulky armor or weapons at the time, but UA clearly states that "no extra weight or bulky armor may be worn when high jumping or broad jumping."

Unless you envision the average AD&D adventurer as resembling Chief Wiggum from The Simpsons, there is a huge problem with these numbers. I gave my standing broad number, not to brag (the three jumps I made are nothing to brag about) but to demonstrate that an out of shape, middle-aged, non-adventurer can easily match what are supposed to be extraordinary abilities. These abilities doomed the class, but gave a lot of laughter to gamers who were jr. high or better athletes. In order to accept the class, you were pretty much obligated to accept the humorously bad non-thief-acrobat abilities. Even if one were to try to rationalize these abilities by assuming all AD&D worlds were higher gravity than Earth, you'd end up with more problems with crossbow ranges. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Parrot, Giant (Macaw) - New Monster

A new monster in multiple edition compatible statistics. The picture is of the Shleich (R) miniature.

Parrot, Giant (Macaw)
Frequency:              Rare   
No. Appearing:        1 or 11-20
Armor Class:            7
Move:                       3"/48"
Hit Dice:                   4
% In Lair:                 25%
Treasure Type:         Q (x4), 1d6 Jewelry 25%
No. of Attacks:          3
Damage/Attack:       1-4/1-4/2-12
Special Attacks:       Nil
Special Defenses      Nil
Magic Resistance:    Standard
Intelligence:             Low
Alignment:               Neutral
Size:                         L
Psionic Ability:         Nil
   Attack/Defense Modes: Nil
Morale:                     8
Ep:                            150 + 4/hp

Giant Macaw are found only in tropical regions near cliffs or especially large trees. They are diurnal herbivores that subsist primarily on seeds, nuts, fruits, and flowers. They are especially fond of coconuts, bananas, and when offered, baked bread and other goods. They can carry up to 250 pounds.

They are not very aggressive and will only attack in self-defense, or if frightened or offended. They speak (poorly) whatever human or demi-human language is most common in their region. Especially shallow and vain creatures, their conversation is typically limited to discussions of food and their own prettiness. They are easily bribed (for information or transportation) with food if they are also flattered. They tend to take the names of whichever human gender in their region wears the most colorful clothes and jewelry (Polly, Ruby, etc.) or of flowers (Lily, Daisy, etc.). While useful, they are often shunned because they talk incessantly.

In their lair, there is a 15% chance that there will be 1-4 eggs. Giant Macaw eggs sell for 250 gold pieces each. However, taking a Giant Macaw egg is the only way, other than insulting their appearance, to offend these birds.

Large Magical Beast
Hit Dice:   4d10+4
Initiative: +3
Speed: 10 ft., 70 ft. (average)
Armor Class: 15 (-1 size, +3 Dex, + 3 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +4/+12
Attack: Claw +7 melee (1d6+4)
Full Attack: 2 Claws +7 melee (1d6+4) and bite +2 melee (1d8+2)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./ 5 ft.
Special Attacks: Evasion
Saves: Fort + 5, Ref +7, Will +3
Abilities: Str 18, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 6, Wis 10, Cha 10
Skills: Knowledge (nature) +2, Spot + 12
Feats: Flyby Attack, Wingover
Environment: Warm forests
Organization: Solitary or company (11-20)
Challenge Rating: 3
Treasure: Standard (gems only)
Alignment: Neutral
Advancement: 5-8 HD (Large); 9-12 HD (Huge)
Level Adjustment: +2 (cohort)
Large beast, neutral
Armor Class: 12
Hit Points: 26 (4d10 + 4)
Speed: 10 ft., Fly 60

Str 16 (+3), Dex 17 (+3), Con 12 (+1), Int 6 (-2), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 10 (+0)

Skills: Perception +5
Language: Most Giant Parrots speak common poorly.
Challenge: 1 (200 XP)

Keen Sight. Parrots have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.

Multiattack. A Parrot make two attacks; one with its beak and one with its talons.

Beak: Melee Weapon Attack: + 5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 5 (1d6 + 3) peircing damage.

Talons: Melee Weapon Attack: + 5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 10 (2d6 + 3) slashing damage.

All monster statistics and descriptions in this post are Open Game Content. The picture is not Open Game Content.