I'm still on hiatus, but have a test file to share.
What do you think?
(This is a bonus post, one I wrote back in September of 2022. I found it unposted while cleaning up.)
Stephen Donaldson is known for using 10-dollar words when a single simple word would suffice. In his Mordant's Need series, the villain's right-hand man is The Monomach. He is one part warrior, one part assassin.Now I thought I knew what "monomach" meant, but it turns out I was totally wrong. I had thought it was related to nobility or being a monarch, making this guy "The Assassin King".
As a villain, a Monomachos only has one purpose... to cause death and terror before dying. But do they have to be the villain?
Well, it certainly makes things easy if they are all villains. But they are not all villains.
It was relatively easy to come up with superhero examples. Black Widow, Hawkeye, Daredevil, The Hulk, and so on come across as heroes who live for the thrill of the fight. To a lesser extent, you could add Tony Stark and Spider-Man to the list, but then also remove the MCU Black Widow because she was starting to believe the fight was too much of a bother. Hawkeye was also heading that way, only to be replaced by Kate Bishop which allowed him to leave the hero act behind. Baymax would be an interesting and scary addition to that list because he follows his programming as if it were a joy.
Oddly, the Punisher is not a Monomachos as he has a different purpose for what he is doing. Fighting and aggression are not really his "thing". He is sorting criminal corpses into their proper circle of hell. It's a completely different purpose. He doesn't have to fight, just kill.
So what about non-superheroes?
Well, the list is short. Peter Pan, The Three Musketeers, Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica, Legolas, and Glimly. And my brain screeches to a halt there. I guess I could name more, but that is good enough.
The surprising people from those two lists are Spider-Man and Peter Pan because they are characters who are loved by children. It doesn't mean their drives are kid-friendly. Parker is driven to take risks and engage in violence at great personal cost. Peter Pan is slightly more disturbing. He switches sides if the fight is too easy. He kills Hook and then forgets there was a Captain Hook to kill. Both do it for the same reasons, the drive to excel with their given skill set, that are in parallel with their personal goals.
So what commonality do these people have if we take away alignment?
Each person is an improviser. They may use traditional weapons but are fully capable of using a brick, a candlestick, and a doorknob if necessary. They are not subject to outside influences, such as social norms and certain types of magic. Being a bit of a sociopath helps. Oddly, this deviated personality may cause them to be in more control of their feelings and desires, leading them away from wasteful fights. If the fight isn't a challenge, why do it?
Poor or malformed social skills are a hallmark of every character listed.
None of these characters are especially good at ordinary, everyday skills. Peter Pan and Kate Bishop can't cook. Hawkeye tends to zone out at key moments and Bruce Banner retreats from the world. Stark is made of neuroses, everything from germaphobia to being a dick even when he means to help.
In-game, what sort of traits would these characters have?
They should be able to use any sort of weapon and armor, even if they don't personally like specific armor and weapon types. They can also use improvised weapons. It's not their first, best option but if there is a lot of rubble around, it's better than bruising your knuckles.
Next, they should have some unique combat skills.
The Monomachos should rarely be surprised in combat. Perhaps only a 1 in 6 chance and this is separate from the rest of the party's roll. They are itching for a fight in every situation. If the party is surprised and The Monomachos is not surprised, they move with the enemy. This could spoil their surprise round as there is one opposing person moving as they do. The enemy had to waste their surprise round to address the Monomachos.
Their third combat ability is to refuse contact. If the Monomachos has the initiative and makes a successful attack roll, they may either proceed to the damage roll OR spoil their attacker's next roll. This also allows them to turn and face another opponent. This prevents them from being flanked, it does not permit them an extra attack.
Fourth, they defy outside influences. They have trait that they can't utilize magic weapons to full effect. No bonuses, but the weapon still counts as magic to inflict damage. This is because they only rely on their own skills, not the assistance of a magic weapon. Of course, if the magic weapon has a secondary power or effect that is magical, like detecting evil or light, they can use that to the fullest. It's the assistive nature that they won't do.
Armor is different, they do receive bonuses as they can't undo or refuse its basic nature to protect.
Cursed weapons should fear the Monomachos character. These types of people aren't subject to outside influences, therefore a cursed weapon should be just as ineffective as a positive magic weapon. A cursed weapon should try to escape their clutches because the Momomachos may choose to sacrifice a weapon to win. Intelligent things fear destruction.
I wanted something like this when I created my Swashbuckler character class but in play testing it was impractical. Based on this new character type, I will rewrite that document.
To recap the character:
Surprised only on a 1 in 6. They move and attack during their opponent's surprise round if not surprised themselves.
Can use all weapons and armor, but receive no magical bonuses for weapons.
They are immune to cursed weapons.
They can also use improvised weapons if only to save their knuckles.
Foil attacks on a hit and turn to face other opponents instead of dealing damage.
Let me know what you think in the comments, especially if you have already purchased my Swashbuckler class.
I love to brainstorm ideas and run with it all willy-nilly. In my last few posts, I have mentioned a few projects that are "almost done". And I have at least a dozen other ideas that need to be done. It is time to step back and reflect on my goals and priorities without the distractions of blogging. I think I will take a break for 105 days.
I have been gifted two 2010 Mac Pros to get my writing and blog back on track. Yet they sit next to the broken Power Mac unused. What is holding me back is data recovery from the old Mac and recycling equipment that is no longer used.
Second, next to the computers is my gardening shelf, which is covered with crafting supplies. As May 7th is the last frost date in Western New York, I am going to need this space for my gardening supplies in April. It needs to be emptied and supplies bought for gardening.
Anyway, the garden and rabbit are linked topics because one needs the other. He is a cross between a Flemish Giant and a Continental Giant, so we can expect him to grow to be at least 30 pounds and maybe 3 feet long. We'll be using the garden to supplement his store-bought foods. We give him plenty of fresh food and it would be nice to not shop specifically for him.
Third, my blog, in some form or another has been rolling since January 2010. It has developed a lot of cruft in 14 years. Formatting has gone weird, some posts link to places that no longer exist, and half a dozen things that bother me are begging to be fixed. That doesn't even cover the fact that I have a high-quality camera and microphone that sit unused on my desk. I need to clean up to keep this place nice. I also need to integrate it better into my social media accounts.
In no particular order: I would like to scrub ads off the blog, fix formatting that is broken, and provide better images for existing posts while creating a standard for future posts.
All of this takes time. Maybe 105 days.
When it comes to the content, I have a bag of holding worth of books and games waiting to be read, and played, and reviewed.
I don't expect to go radio silent for the next couple of months. You can expect to see a few posts, probably less than what I have done in the past year. As I tick items off my list, I will definitely post updates. However, I don't plan on spending a lot of time on social media promoting things. While I am working on all this, I want to think about how I present on those other channels and gear my posts to work better in those places.
Again, I would like to thank all of you for supporting this blog.
There is a ton of styrofoam in this packaging and I saved it all. The type I am upcycling is called EPS or expanded polystyrene which doesn't break down over time making it very hard to tip in the trash or recycling bin.
I noticed that some of these companies are using small cardboard L's to get around using a lot of styrofoam and these bits are going to be the tip-top of these projects.
Other handy bits found in packing are pieces of wood or particle board cast off the from manufacturing process. While heavy, it does fill space in a shipping box nicely. I have my cutting mat sitting on one, just so you don't think my table is a strange two-grained surface.
I have my styrofoam and a couple of cardboard Ls on the cutting mat, plus Sarafina the Cat for scale.
You will need your tool kit, styrofoam pieces, cardboard, heavyweight paper, and maybe some other items particular for your build, like popsicle sticks or stir sticks.
What scale am I using? I call it "handy scale". Pieces are bigger than an inch and beyond that, I don't care much. I have both 15mm and 25 mm figures. I want the display pieces to be big enough to look nice but small enough to move around and store easily. I want to be able to use them for both 15 and 25 mm figures.
I can set these parts to a scale like 1" equals 6 feet. In this case, the cardboard L is two inches wide (12 feet) and one inch high (6 feet).
As I mentioned, the cardboard Ls are going to be the cherry on top of this project. They will be both the roof and a ready-made item I don't have to cut.
Each small L is about 4 to 5 inches long. The foam needs to be cut just a smidgen smaller than that, say 1/2 inch smaller so the overhang is close to the same all the way around.
I have so much going on. I need my shelves back to do some gardening, which means cleaning and organizing my D&D and modeling supplies.
For the past couple of months, I've had some crafting projects on my mind that never went anywhere. I want finished products, not another tote or bin full of unfinished crap. I have supplies on top of tools and that drives me nuts.
We could do this together.
Let's pull together a 65.00 dollar tool kit for DIY models. This toolbox is meant more for crafting as opposed to plastic models. You probably have many of these things already and my suggestion is to buy as little as possible.
The inspiration for this series is this custom Star Smuggler Print and Playbox, which remains at 90% complete.
This list does not include supplies for projects. Each part of this series will have a separate supply list for each model or project. These projects will range from upcycling junk to throwing together scraps from other projects. You shouldn't have to buy too much for these crafts.