3rd Level Druid Animal Companion: Warbeast Camel

CR 2

N Large Animal

Init/Senses

+3/Listen +9, Spot +8

AC

19, touch 14, flat-footed 12
(-1 size, +3 Dex, +6 natural)

hp

48 (6d8 HD)

Fort/Ref/Will

+8/+7/+2

Speed

60 ft.

Melee

Hoof +9 (1d6 + 6) or

Melee

Bite +9 (1d4 + 6) or

Melee

2 hooves +9 (1d6 + 6) and bite +3 (1d4 +6)

Space/Reach

10/5 ft.

Base Atk/Grp

+9/+12

Abilities

Str 22, Dex 17, Con 17, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 4

SQ

Combative mount, sure feet, low light-vision, scent

Feats

Alertness, Endurance, Evasion, Scent

Advancement

Combative Mount (Ex)

A rider on a warbeast camel gets a +2 circumstance bonus on Ride checks. A warbeast camel is proficient with light, medium, and heavy armor.

Sure Feet (Ex)

Warbeast camels have broad feet that help them travel easily over sand and similar loose surfaces. They treat shallow sand as normal terrain and deep sand as shallow sand. See Sand Travel on page 18 of Sandstorm, for descriptions of shallow and deep sand.

These animals are very similar to normal dromedary camels, but are trained and bred for superior strength and aggression. A warbeast camel can fight while carrying a rider, but the rider cannot also attack unless he succeeds on a Ride check.

Carrying Capacity: A light load for a warbeast camel is up to 300 pounds; a medium load, 301-600 pounds; and a heavy load, 601-900 pounds. A war camel can drag 4,500 pounds.

The Warbeast template is applied to domesticated animals via two months of training and a DC 20 Animal Handling Check. It is easily applied to a Druid’s animal companion, especially in the case of mounts.

The Warbeast template allows the mount to wear barding, increasing the AC significantly. Add that to the ability to share spells with their Druid, it makes the mount a formidable ally.

Sample Barding:

Chain Shirt: 400 GP, +4 AC, Max Dex +4, Armor Check -2, Weight 100 Lbs.

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The First Handout of Big Fish, Little Pond

I absolutely love making handouts. It is the reason that I enjoy GMing so much. With the current play by post game I am running, the prep time has given my opportunity to come up with some goodies.

The first handout is the Note to Ian, left by Wizard Max Freeman to his capable apprentice. All of this is preliminary to the game starting.

See the story prep work in action here.

 

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Wanted Poster Handout

@slyflourish offered a wonderful DM tip on Twitter the other day-use a wanted poster as a plot hook for your players. I wanted to do a small bit of artwork today, so I made a wanted poster for one Redgut Fieldraiser. The character portrait is from the old WOTC character portrait archive. My old undergraduate art history professor would call my use of it post modern appropriation. Either way, credit where credit is due. The rest is my work. It’s in printable pdf format so you can print it out for your players. I don’t know what Redgut did, but I’m sure it was…unwholesome.

PDF FILE

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Starting Points-Getting the Game Going Quickly

The start of gaming sessions can often drag on. We’ve all been there-everyone drags their feet, and eventually the group gets started an hour after the game was supposed to begin. That may have been fine in the college and high school days of all day gaming marathons, but as adults with jobs and families, gaming time is precious. We want to spend it actually playing the game.

Starting the game quickly requires players who are ready to play. Manage downtime actions over email or forums. Make sure Cheetos and Mountain Dew are at hand on game day, dice and character sheets are out, and you have properly prepped for the evening. Then sit down and play.

This style of play lends itself to more cinematic games. In my experience, however, cinematic games work for short 3 or 4 hour sessions-you can get to the meat and potatoes of game play, which is what you really want anyways. You may lose some of the smaller details, but in sessions where I have done this, it wasn’t anything that was missed. This may not work for all groups. Your players need to be open to being thrown right into things at the get go.

Here are a few suggestions for starting the game:

  • The group offended some minor noble with his own mercenary force. They are on the run and come across the adventure site.
  • The players have set up camp for the night. At second watch, the encounter begins and draws them into the game session. Getting sucked into the Feywild is always hilarious. See “Hellboy: The Corpse” for a good faerie game session idea. If you don’t own the comic, buy it. It’s 0.25$
  • The first words out of your mouth at the beginning of the game are “Make a will save”.  Failed players start out unconscious, drafted into the penal legion after a night of hard drinking and off to serve as cannon fodder for the local city state. Those who made the save are chasing after their doomed companions. Be sure to run in initiative order to keep the separate parties playing the game at the same time.
  • The players find themselves in the middle of a battle. Give them a short intro, and start the game.

These are just a few examples. Make sure that you keep the intro short, sweet, and relevant. This is not an exercise in dramatic narrative-remember that this is a participatory medium. So keep it short, Shakespear.

You can also start off with a skill challenge. This way, the players feel like they have had more effect on the start of the game, rather than being railroaded into a situation of your choosing.

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Ice Terrain Tile Example

The tiles can be adjusted and configured in any way. They are designed to be transparent, so when created terrain can be added underneath, such as creatures, ruins, etc., can be added as well.

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The Common Goblin

The Common Goblin

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Convention DMing 101

Convention gaming can be a chance to showcase your talents and the games that you love.  Over the years I have found a few key things to make your convention game memorable and fun for both yourself and your players. This is by no means a definitive list-these are guidelines that I have developed for myself after experiencing both good and bad games at Gencon.

  1. Prepare beforehand. If you plan on running pick up games, have a module or favorite storyline ready to run, along with handouts and pregens for your players. Even the simplest of handouts can add atmosphere to the game. If you are running an official event, you should go all out. Add your game to the list of memorable moments that all gamers catalog and share with one another over the years.
  2. Make the Characters Playable. This seems like a no-brainer, but I have seen characters that were nigh worthless as written included in official game company sponsored events. These are not characters for a long drawn out campaign. They are one shot heroes. Be sure every player gets a chance for their character to shine.
  3. Keep the PCs together. The cardinal sin of most games is splitting up the party. It bogs down the game, and in some systems leads to untimely and gruesome PC death. As the gamemaster, you are in control of this. By creating characters that are designed to work together in a group, both mechanically and roleplaying-wise, you are far less likely to run into this problem. But, if you have that one guy (we all know that guy, or at least have met him), don’t be shy about offing his character. It is a convention game-you don’t have to worry about screwing up your intricately plotted 3 year long campaign.
  4. Do something memorable. This is your chance to try out that idea that you have been kicking around for a while. It can be as totally gonzo as you want. It will be fun for you and entertaining for the players. Dire falcon riding halfling cavaliers? Go for it.
  5. Enjoy yourself. It’s just a game. Have fun. That is why we play in the first place. We’re grownups playing pretend and we love it. Don’t take anything too seriously.
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