Narosia Divine Intervention Cards for NOVA6

One of my original objectives with Narosia was to create a pantheon of gods that were actively involved in the world and the story of the characters, all the while retaining the trappings of fantasy roleplaying that decades later we still enjoy. I did this by keeping the size of the pantheon small (12 gods), establishing threats in the world that were not controlled by the gods (the Fel and the Qliphothic), and creating a system of cards that enabled the players to control the influence of the gods in the current adventure.

This has been fantastically fun for all Narosia players but I’ve always run into a logistical problem with the cards—there’s too many of them.

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Death in RPGs (Narosia Specifically)

It’s no secret I work on this little thing called Narosia. In addition to that work, I run a regular game of it for my core group of playtesters and have been since we came up with the concept of Narosia. Death has always been an interesting challenge for any RPG campaign, and a recent death in my Narosia game got me thinking more seriously about it.

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Half-Swording in d20 & HERO

This is pretty much covered in Ultimate Martial Artist, but since it came up in a discussion I thought it easier to post it here. The focus of that discussion was on Half-Swording, both as a grappling technique and an armor minimizing technique. I think both of those approaches requires training, so I don’t think it is something that someone who hasn’t studied sword fighting as a martial art could do (as opposed to simply being able to not wound themselves while swinging a sword).

In the Martial Art below you can see there are 3 Half-Sword maneuvers for disarming, grappling, and penetrating. The Half-Sword Strike maneuver adds +4 Damage Classes, which for an average man using a Broadsword doubles the damage of the weapon. HERO is a “Armor Stops Damage” type system, and plate armor stops 7 points or more, depending on the craft of the armor. This is perfect, because the average man wielding a broadsword has a max damage of 7. However, even without additional strength or magic weapons, that combatant could deliver, essentially, their normal damage to a fully armored opponent which, ultimately, is the point of the maneuver.

Now, in d20 armor doesn’t stop damage, so applying this maneuver directly (by increasing damage) doesn’t really translate well. However, negating the target’s Armor Bonus to AC does. Since in d20 Plate is AC +8, reducing that to +4 has roughly the same intended effect as in HERO. Now, whether you interpret that to be cutting the Armor Bonus in half or reducing it by 4 is up to you. I’d go with cutting it in half to allow this maneuver to work on all types of armor without totally eliminating the value of that armor.

So, the Half-Sword Strike maneuver in d20 would be a Standard Action that reduces your AC by 2 while cutting your target’s Armor Bonus in half. Whether that is a Feat or just something that Fighters can do is up to you. Of course, you can always just play HERO either in an established setting like Narosia: Sea of Tears or by rolling your own with Fantasy Hero Complete.


Those familiar with HERO will have no problem understanding this. However, I thought I might describe it in d20 terms (see below).

Maneuver Phase OCV DCV Effect Cost
Counterstrike 1/2 +2 +2 Weapon +2 DC Strike, Must Follow Block 4
Lock 1/2 +1 +0 Bind, +10 STR 4
Parry 1/2 +2 +2 Block, Abort 4
Slash 1/2 +0 +2 Weapon +2 DC Strike 4
Thrust 1/2 +1 +3 Weapon Strike 5
Trip 1/2 +1 +1 Weapon Strike; Target Falls, Requires Both Hands 3
Half-Sword Disarm 1/2 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll, Requires Both Hands 4
Half-Sword Trip 1/2 +2 +0 Weapon Strike, Target Falls, Requires Both Hands 3
Half-Sword Strike 1/2 +0 -1 Weapon +4 DC Strike, Requires Both Hands 4
Weapon Element Blades and clubs (no unarmed use) 1
Total Cost 36

Phase: 1/2 means that this is a Standard Action
OCV: This is the modifier to your Attack Roll
DCV: This is the modifier to your AC until the start of your next Action
Effect: This is the result of the maneuver. Weapon Strike is your base weapon damage, +X DC is a damage bonus, and STR is Strength. Block, Abort, and Bind are all HERO-y things that don’t really apply in d20.
Attack Roll & AC bonuses are on a 3d6 curve; rough conversion to d20 is to double them

Buying Magic Items in D&D 5E

The DMG provides some great guidance on selling items, but I thought it needed a little embellishment for buying items. These rules are meant to be fun and provide a little structure around character wish lists. I found that over the course of a a campaign the players ended up with mostly what they wanted, but never 100%, and it often took several shopping sprees to get those items. The pacing seemed about right to me, and kept items rare (relatively). We also had some fun roleplaying opportunities a couple of times when engaging with certain sellers.

The general premise is still the same: use Intelligence (Investigation) to find a seller and make the deal. You can search for as many items as you like, but a failure results in 10 days of your time and ends that cycle of buying. This roll can be eliminated with the right roleplaying or story, but absent any other context the roll is a useful mechanic.

The DC to find the item is as follows based on item rarity:

Rarity DC
Common 13
Uncommon 15
Rare 18
Very Rare 20
Legendary 23

These numbers assume a city. Increase the DC by 2 for a market town or 5 for a small town. Villages will likely not have any items.

Buying A Magic Item

Rarity Base Price Days to Craft Days to
Find Seller
d100 Roll
Common 100 gp 2 1d4 -10
1d6 0
Uncommon 500 gp 10 1d6 0
1d8 +10
1d8 +10
Rare 5,000 gp Months 1d8 +10
1d8 +10
Very Rare 50,000 gp Years 1d10 +20
Legendary Adventure/Quest† Decades n/a n/a
  • Apply this modifier to rolls on the Magic Item Search Results table.
    † If the transaction is purely monetary, it is likely 10x the price of a Very Rare item

Magic Item Search Results

Search results should always interesting. Shady sellers always have strings attached. I found the easiest thing to do is to use the Magic Item Quirks table (DMG 143) as the reason why, or to exaggerate a Minor Property (DMG 143) to the point of being annoying. Other options include: requiring attunement when the item does not normally require it, limiting the number of uses per day, requiring some other cost (e.g., gp, HP, mundane consumables such as oil, holy water, etc.).

d100 + Mod You Find…
20 or lower A shady seller offering a tenth of the base price
21–40 A shady seller offering a quarter of the base price (50%), or a seller offering half the base price (50%)
41–80 A shady seller offering half the base price (50%), or a seller offering the full base price (50%)
81–90 A seller offering the full base price
91 or higher A seller offering one and a half times the base price


This includes potions and scrolls primarily. Scrolls are important as they are the primary means for Wizards to learn new spells. Additionally, scrolls are usable by anyone and can provide useful utility to non-casters.

Rarity Scroll Level Consumable
Base Price
Days to Craft
Common 1 50 gp 1
2 100 gp 2
Uncommon 3 200 gp 4
4 400 gp 8
5 800 gp 16
Rare 6 1,200 gp 24
7 2,500 gp 50
Very Rare 8 5,000 gp 100
Legendary 9 10,000 gp 200

Healing Potions Too?

That’s up to you. I doubt you can just walk into a general store and buy a dozen Healing Potions, but if that’s the commonality of magic in your game go for it. Personally, I include Healing Potions into the mix.

Scrolls For Everyone

One alternate rule we use for scrolls is that if the spell is not potentially accessible to the character (i.e., not on the class spell list), the scroll requires an Intelligence (Arcana) roll with a DC of 8 + Spell Level. If the roll fails, the scroll is destroyed.