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Need Help with an Artifact - Input Appreciated


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#1 PrinceOfMadness

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 07:35 PM

First - my players, stay out of this thread.  You know who you are.  

I got this idea from a thread over on the Giant in the Playground forums, posted by Kol Korran.  I'm looking at creating an artifact for my game of Black Crusade.  This artifact is one 'blessed', as it were, by the energies of the four Gods of Chaos.  The artifact appears to be a box, which varies according to the alignment of the viewer.  If the one viewing the box is one of the Emperor's faithful, the box appears mundane, and will vanish from the viewer's thoughts within moments.  If the one gazing upon the box is faithful to Khorne, the box appears to be fashioned from bone and is constantly weeping blood.  If Nurgle, the box is fashioned from diseased flesh, and is always surrounded by clouds of flies.  If Slaanesh, the box is constructed from gold, intricately detailed with images of people coupling.  If Tzeench, the box is fashioned from steel carved with tiny whorls that are never the same twice.  If Chaos Undivided, the box appears constructed of obsidian, inlaid with a Chaos Star.  

The box can never be opened by mundane means and is impervious to damage.  Attempts to divine the contents of the box meet with failure - scanners cannot penetrate the box, and psykers attempting to look inside with their abilities suffer 1d10 Energy damage that ignores Armor (but not Toughness).  If a player should attempt to rid himself of the box, the box will return as long as the player has even the slightest temptation to open it.  The box may be given to another - should that individual accept the box willingly, the box will cease to trouble the player.  Engraved on top of the box is a verse (which can always be understood by the one viewing the box - regardless of whether that individual can read).

Thou seeker of glory, read on:

Power, Fame, and Fortune are yours to claim

Heed my words!  Destiny is yours!

The hand of fate has stretched out to you!

The key to victory lies within!

Any individual reading this verse knows that the box may only be opened near a nexus of Warp energies.  The box may never be opened at the same nexus twice.  Should an individual open the box, the box yields a single card, turned right-side up or upside-down.  These cards function similarly to the D&D artifact, the Deck of Many Things.  Now, before you all run off screaming - I don't intend to make this artifact nearly as game-breaking.  That's where I need your help (more to come on this later)

Here's how it works: when a player declares his intention to open the box, the GM allows the player to draw one card from a deck.  The deck should have a back facing that looks the same right-side up and upside-down.  The GM should mark the top edge of each card (on the front facing) so he will know how the card has been drawn.  Further, prior to the game the GM should insure that half of the cards in the deck are upside-down.  When the player draws a card, he may choose to change the card's orientation before he flips it over.  Generally, a card that is right-side up has a positive effect, while an upside-down card is the opposite.  However, as the Chaos Gods are fickle beings, this is not always the case!

Furthermore, the box contains a bound Greater Daemon of Malal.  The Daemon desires only to be freed from his imprisonment, and so will work to encourage people to draw from the box.  If the box should be drawn from 11 times, the Daemon will be freed to wreak havoc indiscriminately.  Additionally, the Daemon works to insure favorable outcomes for those that draw from the box (to encourage them to keep drawing!).  The negative effects of cards are weakened as long as the Daemon inhabits the box.  Should the Daemon be freed from the box, the box will continue to allow cards to be drawn at new Warp nexi.

Here's some sample cards from the deck:

The Witch - Normal: Gain [some] Psy Rating, Reversed: Become vulnerable to psychic powers and abilities.

The Crusader - Normal: Once, and only once, the player may call upon a daemon of his patron deity to fight for him.  The summoned daemon is chosen according to the player's infamy and allegiance.  For example, a Khornate player would get (<40 Infamy: Bloodletter, 41-70: Bloodcrusher, 71-100: Daemon Prince, 101+: Bloodthirster).  The daemon summoned is chosen according to the player's Infamy at the time of drawing this card (so for example, if a player drew this card at 40 Infamy and then got 5 more, he would still only summon a Bloodletter).  Reversed: The same, but the summoned daemon is of a rival god, and is summoned at the GM's discretion.  In this case, the daemon is always selected based on the player's current Infamy.

The Map - Normal: At the time of drawing this card, the player is immediately presented with the clearest and safest path to his current goal. Reversed: At the time of drawing this card, the player is immediately presented with the most dangerous route to his current goal - but he thinks it's safe.

What I'm really looking for here are more cards, but comments/critique on the artifact itself are welcome too!  I look forward to hearing what everyone has to say.

 



#2 K0balt

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 11:48 PM

This is quite interesting, and I might even "borrow" this idea of yours. Quick questions: how does the Daemon of Malal lessen the hit taken by the Heretic (for the given examples)? What constitutes a Nexus? Can you draw the same card twice? What if the card has no relevance to the character (Psy Rating for a non-Psyker, for example) or the situation? (Because if it's a flip of a coin each time, negative effects are always bad, and positive effects don't always have an actual useful result) Are these temporary or permanent effects?

I would make the release of the Daemon a random event, rolled for each time a card is drawn (9% would statistically give you the same timeline)

Ideas:

The Fate: Normal: The Heretic regains the use of all his Infamy Points. Reversed: The Heretic loses the use of all his remaining Infamy Points, or just one if the Daemon is still bound.

The Oasis: Normal: The Heretic loses all levels of accumulated Fatigue. Reversed: He gains just enough to pass out, or just one if the Daemon is still bound.

The Wound: Normal: The Heretic suffers 1d10 R unpreventable Damage. Reversed: The Heretic regains 1d10 Wounds.

I may have other ideas, these are just the first ones I thought of.

 



#3 PrinceOfMadness

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 06:55 AM

 A Warp Nexus is a confluence of Warp energies, usually left over from a site where A) warp energies were used and B) something happened which was pleasing to one or more of the Chaos Gods.  For example, the origination point of a massive spell that wrought great change would count as a nexus to Tzeench.  It's up to the DM to create these Warp nexi as the adventure progresses.  The player possessing the box instinctively knows (roughly) the location of the nearest un-tapped Warp nexi (within about 100 km).  

Nothing prevents players from drawing the same card more than once.

In the examples given, the Daemon of Malal reduces the negative impacts of the cards in the following ways:

The Witch: The player is only made vulnerable to the next psychic power or ability directed against him, none others.

The Crusader: The rival daemon is only summoned at a point when the player has a good chance of overcoming it.

The Map: The player knows that the route suggested is the most dangerous route to his goal.

Some effects are temporary, some are permanent.  In the case of the Witch, the positive effect is permanent, the negative effect is temporary (lasting for one game session, or until the end of the current adventure, at the GM's discretion).

Not all cards are going to have great effects.  For example, if a follower of Khorne were to draw the Witch positive effect, he might never use the psy rating conferred to him.  That's just how Chaos rolls!  Similarly, negative effects might not always be hugely negative - it's all dependent on who's drawing the card.



#4 K0balt

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 11:05 AM

PrinceOfMadness said:

Not all cards are going to have great effects.  For example, if a follower of Khorne were to draw the Witch positive effect, he might never use the psy rating conferred to him.  That's just how Chaos rolls!  Similarly, negative effects might not always be hugely negative - it's all dependent on who's drawing the card.

Yes, but that's precisely what will dissuade most players from using this: the net average gain is most likely negative. After a few trys, they'll more than likely give up, unless the bonuses are so immensely powerful as to be unbalancing.



#5 PrinceOfMadness

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 06:07 PM

 Perhaps I'm going about this the wrong way.  Allow me to present an alternative.

Let's say that none of the benefits provided by the box are permanent.  At the beginning of a new adventure, each player may draw up to three cards from the deck.  One of the cards is always positive, the other two may be either positive or negative (this is the new effect of the Daemon - he no longer reduces the hit taken by a negative card).  The player must declare which card is automatically positive before flipping them over.  The benefits and drawbacks of a given card last until the end of the current adventure.  Any unresolved effects are resolved at the end of the adventure or are lost.  The same card may NOT be drawn twice by the same player at the same drawing.  Once the box has been used at least three different times, the GM begins to roll to see whether the Daemon is summoned.  The chance to summon the Daemon increases the more the box is used, incrementing by 9's - so 9%, 18%, 27%, 36%, and so forth.  

I think this approach streamlines the process a little more, reducing confusion while allowing more cards to be presented over the course of the campaign.  This also encourages players to draw from the deck, as they're always guaranteed one positive outcome.  The net outcome is more generally positive than the first iteration while still being distinctly chaotic.  Note that once the Daemon is freed from the box, any of the cards drawn may be negative.



#6 K0balt

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 05:08 AM

Sounds much better.



#7 PrinceOfMadness

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 08:02 PM

 Slight thread necro, but I felt the need to post an update here.

I'm shortly going to have a chance to playtest the Artifact, and have (finally) come up with names and statistics for each card in a 54 card (counting two Jokers) deck.  Without further ado, here's what I came up with.  [WARNING: LOTS OF TEXT FOLLOWS]

Red Joker - Death
• Normal - The player drawing the Death card may nominate one NPC during the current mission. That NPC must immediately roll equal to or under its Infamy value or die. The NPC may burn Infamy to survive.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Death card must immediately roll equal to or under his Infamy value or die. The player may burn Infamy to survive.


Black Joker - The Key
• Normal - The Key immediately frees the demon from the casket.
• Reversed - The Key may be used at the player's discretion to lock or unlock any lock. This includes the seal on the Demon's prison.


Hearts


Ace - The Witch
• Normal - The player drawing the Witch gains 1d3 PR and 1d3 Psychic Powers (the player need not meet the prerequisites for these powers) for the duration of the current mission
• Reversed - The player drawing the Witch becomes vulnerable to psychic powers and abilities (a -20 modifier to any opposed Willpower tests) for the duration of the current mission


Two - The Crusader
• Normal - During the current mission, the player drawing the Crusader may call upon a daemon of his patron deity for him in one combat. The summoned daemon is chosen according to the player's allegiance and Infamy rating (the daemon's Infamy may not exceed the player's own).
• Reversed - During the current mission, the player drawing the Crusader is attacked by a daemon of a rival deity for one combat. The summoned daemon's Infamy may not exceed the player's own.


Three - The Priest
• Normal - The player drawing the Priest gains 1d10 temporary Wounds for the duration of the current mission. Once these Wounds are lost as a result of a damaging strike, they cannot be recovered.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Priest counts as having 1d5-2 (to a minimum of 1) fewer Wounds for the duration of the current mission.


Four - The Seer
• Normal - Once during the current mission, the player drawing the Seer can choose to ask the GM a single question pertaining to that mission. The GM must answer truthfully, though he can choose to make the answer as cryptic as he wishes.
• Reversed - Once during the current mission, the player drawing the Seer can choose to ask the GM a single question pertaining to that mission. The GM must lie, though he can choose to make the answer as cryptic as he wishes.


Five - The Merchant
• Normal - When the player drawing the Merchant next makes an Acquisition test, he counts the item as being 2 steps less rare.
• Reversed - When the player drawing the Merchant next makes an Acquisition test, he counts the item as being 2 steps more rare.


Six - The Dancer
• Normal - When the player drawing the Dancer next takes a Dodge action, the Dodge automatically succeeds, always scoring enough Successes to fully negate the incoming attack
• Reversed - When the player drawing the Dancer next takes a Dodge action, the Dodge automatically fails


Seven - The Temptress
• Normal - When the player drawing the Temptress next makes an Interaction test, the test automatically succeeds, always scoring enough Successes to ensure the target's full cooperation.
• Reversed - When the player drawing the Temptress next makes an Interaction test, the test automatically fails, prompting the target into a murderous rage directed at the player.


Eight - The Pilot
• Normal - The player drawing the Pilot counts as being Trained in all Operate skill groups for the duration of the current mission. If the player already has a given Pilot skill trained, count it as being 10 points higher.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Pilot counts as being unskilled in all Operate skill groups for the duration of the current mission.


Nine - The Beastmaster
• Normal - The player drawing the Hunter may communicate with any creature of beast-level intelligence (this includes constructs and non-living targets). The creature treats the player as an ally and obeys simple commands. The Hunter may command up to three creatures in this manner for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Hunter is actively harassed by any creature of beast-level intelligence (this includes constructs and non-living targets). Household pets bark and growl, while less domesticated creatures will attack him to the exclusion of all other targets.


Ten - The Serf
• Normal - The player drawing the Serf has gained the favor of the local peasantry, and gains a +20 bonus to all Interaction tests with NPCs of low social status for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Serf has incurred the wrath of the local peasantry, and suffers a -20 penalty to all Interaction tests with NPCs of low social status for the duration of the current mission.


Jack - The Engineer
• Normal - The player drawing the Engineer gains a +20 bonus to all Tech-Use and Security tests for the duration of the current mission
• Reversed - The player drawing the Engineer suffers a -20 penalty to all Tech-Use and Security tests for the duration of the current mission.


Queen - The Companion
• Normal - The player drawing the Companion generates a Lesser Minion of Chaos for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Companion generates a Lesser Minion of Chaos for the duration of the current mission, however, the Minion is out to kill the player and will turn on him at the most opportune moment.


King - The Noble
• Normal - The player drawing the Noble has gained the favor of the upper crust of society, gaining a +20 bonus to all Interaction tests with NPCs of high social status for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Noble has incurred the wrath of the upper crust of society, suffering a -20 penalty to all Interaction tests with NPCs of high social status for the duration of the current mission.


Spades


Ace - The Bloody Knife
• Normal - The player drawing the Bloody Knife suffers a -10 penalty to either Weapon Skill or Ballistic Skill (randomly determined) for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Bloody Knife gains a +10 bonus to either Weapon Skill or Ballistic Skill (player's choice) for the duration of the current mission.


Two - The Forge
• Normal - The player drawing the forge counts all of his Armour Values as being one point lower for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The player drawing the forge counts all of his Armour Values as being one point higher for the duration of the current mission.


Three - The Banner
• Normal - The player drawing the Banner counts all enemy Fear values as being one point higher for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Banner counts as Fearless for the duration of the current mission.


Four - The Dice Cup
• Normal - The player drawing the Dice Cup counts as having one fewer Infamy Point for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Dice Cup counts as having one more Infamy Point for the duration of the current mission.


Five - The Book
• Normal - The player drawing the Book counts as being unskilled in all Scholastic Lores for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Book counts as being Trained in all Scholastic Lores for the duration of the current mission. If the player already has a given Scholastic Lore Trained, count it as being 10 points higher.


Six - The Chalice
• Normal - The player drawing the Chalice receives 1d10 levels of Fatigue.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Chalice is immune to the next 1d10 levels of Fatigue inflicted upon him (for the duration of the current mission).


Seven - The Gauntlet
• Normal - For the duration of the current mission, the player drawing the Gauntlet rolls an extra 1d10 when making an unarmed attack, and uses the worse result.
• Reversed - For the duration of the current mission, the unarmed attacks of the player drawing the Gauntlet have the Tearing special rule.


Eight - The Pact
• Normal - The player drawing the Pact is bound to perform a specific task for a specific entity. The task and entity are left up to the GM to devise.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Pact is owed a favor by a specific entity. The entity is determined by the GM.


Nine - The Chest
• Normal - The next enemy the player encounters will pack better-than-average gear, but it's useless to the player in some way.
• Reversed - The next enemy the player encounters will pack better-than-average gear that is useful to the player in some way.


Ten - The Map
• Normal - The player drawing the Map is presented with the most dangerous route to his current goal (but he thinks it's the safest).
• Reversed - The player drawing the Map is presented with the safest route to his current goal.


Jack - The Ambush
• Normal - The next enemy the player encounters will have an ambush prepared for the party.
• Reversed - The player manages to get the drop on the next enemy he encounters.


Queen - The Barbed Arrow
• Normal - The player drawing the Arrow suffers a -1 penalty to all Damage caused until the end of the current mission.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Arrow gains a +1 bonus to all Damage caused until the end of the current mission.


King - The Bomb
• Normal - Once during the current mission, at the GM's discretion, the player drawing the Bomb has his weapon malfunction spectacularly, blowing up in his hands (regardless of whether it's a weapon that can actually spontaneously explode).
• Reversed - Once during the current mission, at the GM's discretion, an enemy NPC has his weapon malfunction spectacularly, blowing up in his hands (regardless of whether it's a weapon that can actually spontaneously explode).


Diamonds


Ace - The Black Library
• Normal - The player counts as being trained in all Forbidden Lores for the duration of this mission. If the player already has a given Forbidden Lore trained, he counts his skill as being 10 higher.
• Reversed - The player counts as being unskilled in all Forbidden Lores for the duration of this mission.


Two - The Gate
• Normal - The player (and up to six others) is instantly placed upon the most direct route to his goal, regardless of danger.
• Reversed - The player (and up to six others) is instantly placed upon the least direct route to his goal, regardless of danger.


Three - The Forest
• Normal - The player drawing the Forest automatically succeeds in his next Tracking or Stealth test, scoring enough successes to remain unseen or track the target, as required.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Forest automatically fails his next Tracking or Stealth test.


Four - The Sanctuary
• Normal - Once during the current mission, the player drawing the Sanctuary may elect to make one room (or 100m square) safe from enemies for up to 24 hours. This does not apply to enemy models already within the room.
• Reversed - Once during the current mission, at the GM's discretion, the player drawing the Sanctuary is attacked at a location thought safe.


Five - The Screaming Vortex
• Normal - The player drawing the Screaming Vortex may choose to have the next Psychic Phenomena/Perils of the Warp roll within 50m of him re-rolled.
• Reversed -The player drawing the Screaming Vortex forces the next psychic ability triggered within 50m of him to roll on Psychic Phenomena. If the ability would normally trigger Psychic Phenomena, it forces a re-roll, taking the worse result.


Six - The Wasteland
• Normal - The player drawing the Wasteland receives a +20 bonus to tests to resist dangerous environments until the end of the current mission.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Wasteland suffers a -20 penalty to tests to resist dangerous environments until the end of the current mission.


Seven - The Fortress
• Normal - The player drawing the Fortress counts all armor from cover as being 4 points higher for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Fortress counts all armor from cover as being 4 points lower for the duration of the current mission.


Eight - The Ocean
• Normal - The player drawing the Ocean is able to breathe underwater for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Ocean is ONLY able to breathe underwater for the duration of the current mission.


Nine - The Void
• Normal - The player drawing the Void is able to breathe in a vacuum for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Void cannot environmentally seal his armor - leaks spring up every time he tries.


Ten - The Chapel
• Normal - The player drawing the Chapel generates a single Reward of the Gods (with no Infamy modifier) for the duration of this mission.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Chapel generates a single Gift of the Gods (with no Infamy modifier) for the duration of this mission.


Jack - The Armoury
• Normal - The player drawing the Armoury does not spend ammo for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Armoury spends double ammo for the duration of the current mission.


Queen - The Hospital
• Normal - Once during the current mission, the player may choose to negate all incoming damage from a single damaging attack.
• Reversed - The next enemy to strike the player drawing the Hospital automatically scores a Zealous Hatred.


King - The Dreamscape
• Normal - The player drawing the Dreamscape sees all things as they truly are for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Dreamscape is plagued by mirages and illusions for the course of the current mission.


Clubs


Ace - The Eagle

• Normal - An enemy NPC immediately perceives the player drawing the Eagle, knowing him for a threat.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Eagle immediately perceives the enemy NPC who poses the greatest threat to him in the current mission. This perception does not pierce disguises or illusions.


Two - The Serpent
• Normal - For the duration of the current mission, all enemy attacks with bladed weapons (the GM is the final arbiter on what constitutes a bladed weapon) count as being poisoned against the player drawing the Serpent.
• Reversed - For the duration of the current mission, all attacks made with a bladed weapon by the player drawing the Serpent count as being poisoned.


Three - The Bear
• Normal - The player drawing the Bear counts his Strength and Toughness as being 5 points lower for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Bear counts his Strength and Toughness as being 5 points higher for the duration of the current mission.


Four - The Owl
• Normal - The player drawing the Owl counts his Intelligence and Willpower as being 5 points lower for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Owl counts his Intelligence and Willpower as being 5 points higher for the duration of the current mission.


Five - The Bat
• Normal - When in brightly lit spaces, the player drawing the Bat incurs the penalties a character without Night Vision would for fighting in the dark.
• Reversed - The player drawing the Bat has Night Vision. If the player already has Night Vision, he can see perfectly in absolute darkness.


Six - The Mouse
• Normal - The character drawing the Mouse suffers a -5 penalty to Agility and Perception for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The character drawing the Mouse gains a +5 bonus to Agility and Perception for the duration of the current mission.


Seven - The Kraken
• Normal - The character drawing the Kraken loses one of his arms (randomly determined) for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The character drawing the Kraken gains two extra arms for the duration of the current mission.


Eight - The Cyclops
• Normal - The character drawing the Cyclops loses one of his eyes (randomly determined) for the duration of the current mission).
• Reversed - The character drawing the Cyclops gains an extra eye for the duration of the current mission.


Nine - The Spider
• Normal - The character drawing the Spider treats all terrain as difficult terrain for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The character drawing the Spider treats all difficult terrain as normal terrain for the duration of the current mission.


Ten - The Centaur
• Normal - The character drawing the Centaur treats his Speed as being 2 points lower (to a minimum of 1) for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The character drawing the Centaur treats his Speed as being 2 points higher for the duration of the current mission.


Jack - The Chameleon
• Normal - The character drawing the Chameleon is incapable of blending in for the duration of the current mission. Details are left to the GM's discretion.
• Reversed - The character drawing the Chameleon blends in exceptionally well for the duration of the current mission.


Queen - The Elephant
• Normal - The character drawing the elephant suffers a -20 penalty to Charge attacks made for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The character drawing the elephant gains a +20 bonus to Charge attacks made for the duration of the current mission.


King - The Lion
• Normal - The character drawing the Lion manifests the Animal Hybrid Gift of the Gods for the duration of the current mission.
• Reversed - The character drawing the Lion manifests a Slayer Limb Gift of the Gods for the duration of the current mission. The Limb is one of the character's arms and is bonded to a chainsword.
 



#8 Ingot5

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 08:37 AM

 Love this idea! Seems like a chaos corrupted version of the Emperor's Tarot used by the Imperium.
Maybe you could use some of the cards from that as a basis for some of there? 






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