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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Spoon Full of flavor

    As far as I know, there are a lot of instances where D&D (or similar games like Pathfinder) are a little generic. Many times, this is nice, as it allows people to go right into the action without worrying about the smaller details. However, adding flavor can enhance the game and make it memorable.

    What are your favorite flavor additions to your games? These can be small things like Cure Potions always being clear, or big things like Bleeding Weapons only being available though the black market. How do you add flavor to your game?

    To be clear, this means items that enhance the world, but involve only minimal changes to the mechanics of the game, or make no changes at all.

    An example:
    [for pathfinder]
    -Resurrection's Revenge (inspired by, and adapted from Tak and the Power of Juju. Please be mature when reading this.)
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    [The pathfinder system has replaced level loss with negative levels that can eventually be removed. This addition just explains why characters gain these.]
    When a Character is successfully brought back form the dead by any means, she instantly suffers from intense diarrhea that lasts for 1d10 hours and 1d6x10+1d8+1 minutes (1 minute minimum). This condition is unavoidable, but leaves enough time for the character to find a privi, bush, or other quiet place. Roleplaying experience may be given at the DM's discretion.


    [any fantasy game]
    -Runed Weapons
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    Magical weapons are a staple of any game. Most of the time they have some kind of unique appearance. Runed Weapons are magical weapons, but their appearance is the same as a masterwork weapon of the same type. Instead of some exotic appearance, Runed Weapons have symbols engraved upon their blades, hilts, or guards. These symbols allow easy identification of the weapon's abilities if studied (a knowledge [arcana] or spellcraft check) but reveal nothing upon casual observation.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    TheThan's Avatar

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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    Well in Iron Kingdoms tricorns and greatcoats are quite popular and very fashionable these days.
    It doesnít really affect anything (unless you wear an armored greatcoat). But itís a cool bit of fluff.

  3. - Top - End - #3
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    Devil

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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    You say be mature, but in the whole process of coming back to life, you need a poo.

    How many times do you see BBEG in films "killed" only to rise up from the dead from contingecy; Resurrection?

    Imagine seeing said BBEG trying to fight while crippling poo urges? I'm sorry, but there is absolutely nothing mature about that whatsoever.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaz View Post
    You say be mature, but in the whole process of coming back to life, you need a poo.

    How many times do you see BBEG in films "killed" only to rise up from the dead from contingecy; Resurrection?

    Imagine seeing said BBEG trying to fight while crippling poo urges? I'm sorry, but there is absolutely nothing mature about that whatsoever.
    You know, when I respectfully ask people to be mature about something, why is there always one person who is blatantly immature about it?

    For the whole "BBEG rising from the grave thing", consider this:
    -The BBEG may be a clonemaster alchemist, and you have only killed one of his simulacrums (or he may have used the clone spell to completely circumvent resurrection)
    -The guy you killed was not the real BBEG
    -It was the real BBEG, and he did have to poo, but that happened behind the scenes.
    -True resurrection does not cause this condition.

    In short, there are numerous ways around this. It's just a bit of flavor one can add to make the game more enjoyable, or humorous.

    Also, another idea:

    -Since hats are sometimes frowned upon by troops who use helmets as part of their uniform, magical Hat or Helmets may be made in the form of enchanted earrings. Both Earrings must be worn for the effect to function.
    If there is anything I learned from D&D, it is to never bull rush a Gelatenous Cube.

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    Griffon

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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroGear View Post
    As far as I know, there are a lot of instances where D&D (or similar games like Pathfinder) are a little generic. Many times, this is nice, as it allows people to go right into the action without worrying about the smaller details. However, adding flavor can enhance the game and make it memorable.
    You say that likes it's a bad thing. The whole point is for the DM and in some ways players too to create their own worlds with their imaginations and their own ideas. Published flavor text is to inspire, not dictate. If you want a pre-made specific setting set up all for you, they already exist. D&D offers Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Eberron, Dragonlance, Dark Sun, Planescape, Spelljammer, etc. Pathfinder offers its own world of Golarion.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    If you want to do something like this, it might make sense to take for example a look at Heroes of Horror which has suggested ways of modifying resurrection. One possibility they list which is on certain types of failures certain weird results can occur. One could easily pick something from that table or elsewhere in that section and declare that to be a standard side-effect.
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    I was only wondering what flavor people added to their games, fluff that was added in, minor details that were common in your worlds.
    I understand the books are generic to appeal to a larger audience, that was not the point, and I didn't mean state that as a bad thing. I just needed a specific starting point.
    Maybe I should have phrased myself better in the first post?
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    Well, phrased as a general question then. Things I've done in my campaign:

    The tech level is slightly higher (and more consistent) than the standard D&D tech level, approximating mid 1500s. So characters have dealt with the rise of the printing press and recently encountered someone who is part of a project to measure stellar and planetary parallax.

    There are also some deities that are more prominent in the setting. To some extent it is a kitchen sink setting for deities, but then there are also certain ones that seem to keep coming up. In particular, there are seven goddesses of magic who each look over different areas of magic. Hecate is the chief one and gets two schools of magic whereas the others get only one. All seven are connected to the classical mythology about the Pleiades. In setting Hecate is also known as Maia with the others all getting their normal stellar names, although Electra is also known as Nemesis.

    Little things like these can (I think) help make a world memorable, often more than actually changing mechanics.
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    Completed:
    ToB disciplines:

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    The Broken Blade

    Prestige classess:
    Disciple of Karsus -PrC for Karsites.
    The Seekers of Lost Swords and the Preserver of Future Blades Two interelated Tome of Battle Prcs,
    Master of the Hidden Seal - Binder/Divine hybrid
    Knight of the Grave- Necromancy using Gish



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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    The flavor I prefer to use is specific real-world (or known fantasy) culture. My next game will be set in the chaotic years fifty years after the death of King Arthur, and the players will come from an obscure village where no tales of Arthur were told.

    I also tend to use classical myths, legends and culture as the distant path, and to assume that medieval ideas are true. The last Game I ran involved a quest of the Staves of the Wanderers, which were seven magical staves with differing powers, carried by seven old, wandering adventurers, finally being brought together.

    The Staves had powers based on:
    darkness and changes
    speed,
    love
    heat and light,
    war,
    power and might,
    time and slowness.

    It was based on Greek astronomy. Over time it became slowly clearer (the hints got broader and broader), and the players finally figured out that the Wanderers were the wandering stars, or planets - the moon, Mercury, Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Blueiji's Avatar

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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    In my first campaign I put a lot of efort into defining the diets of the various races.

    - Halflings are insectivores, and most of their crops are the kind that contain very little nutrients (such as potatoes, rice, and sugar). This accounts for Halfling's slim figure.

    - Elves respect nature to the point where they refuse to eat plant-based products. They consume only food that comes from animals.

    - Dwarves garnish their food with pebbles and small rocks.

    - Gnomes garnish their food with small gems, this is the reason that Gnomes split off from Dwarves in the first place, they were originally the same race.

    - Orcs are very interested in agriculture, and much of their diet is dairy based.

    - Goblins are completely carnivorous.

    - Gnolls are also carnivorous, but prefer to raw flesh from either very young specimens, or rotted flesh from extremely old specimens. The consumption of raw flesh from young victims is based off personal taste, but the consumption of aged, rotting flesh is an effort on the Gnolls part to preserve population of the groups they feed on, so as not to eat all of their enemy's potential breeders.
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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    Continuing on the food tangent, a good source of flavour is actual flavour, such as describing restaurants and taverns everything from that stand down by the docks who serve amazing fish sandwiches, to that pie shop in the slums who refuse to tell you were the meat comes from, or that bar with the excentric alchemist barman, who recently invented the mysterious Ginn'ohTonnikk.

    Or maybe you can invent local delicacies, based on stuff from the monster manual, or plants, which can also serve as low level plot-hooks.

    Local architecture might also be good, such as a small village where every house and hut has a wooden grotesque pointing east, a city where wealthy families show their status by building tall, decorative towers, or a city with an abundance of fanciful fountains.

    One could also include a really annoying new musical fad, to give the partys bard something to grumble, alternatively gush about.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    Hate to be a pedant but

    1d10 hours and 1d6x10+1d8+1 minutes (1 minute minimum)
    is a minimum of 1 hour 12 minutes.

    Although on the subject of resurrection/raising the dead I tend to make it an absolute last resort because there are almost always complications, generally along the lines of wherever a character was resurrected becoming haunted, chances of any nearby corpses becoming animated, chances of alignment change, and so forth. Opening a link of any kind to the plane of the dead is serious business.

  13. - Top - End - #13
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by Blueiji View Post
    - Elves respect nature to the point where they refuse to eat plant-based products. They consume only food that comes from animals.
    Aren't animals nature too? If you respect nature so much, wouldn't it be more appropriate to eat "unnatural" creatures like owlbears and aberrations?

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    @ Blueiji: If that's all a joke, it's both funny and well carried out.

    On topic: I usually call 'cold iron' 'dwarf steel' and 'achemical silver' 'elf steel' (and elf steel isn't fragile like the silver). No points guessing where you obtain them.
    On that nore, sometimes I let certain qualities of magical items be not magical and thus made with Craft Magic Arms and Armor, but craft skill.
    I've had troglodytes be corrupted lizardmen, stolen as eggs by sahuagin or their agents and bred from that stock. They're used for missions in areas where sahuagin don't want to go themselves.
    I've had hobgoblins as possibly the most sought-after mercenaries in the world. They specialize in guerilla warfare in hilly areas and outback-type terrain.
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    PersonMan's Avatar

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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by Slipperychicken View Post
    Aren't animals nature too? If you respect nature so much, wouldn't it be more appropriate to eat "unnatural" creatures like owlbears and aberrations?
    This is awesome.

    Savage warrior-race that lives in roaming bands, going around hunting monsters others avoid, just to eat.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by supermonkeyjoe View Post
    Hate to be a pedant but



    is a minimum of 1 hour 12 minutes.

    Although on the subject of resurrection/raising the dead I tend to make it an absolute last resort because there are almost always complications, generally along the lines of wherever a character was resurrected becoming haunted, chances of any nearby corpses becoming animated, chances of alignment change, and so forth. Opening a link of any kind to the plane of the dead is serious business.
    Valid point, but I should have said 12 minutes minimum. The d10 has a 0 instead of a 10 on it, thus a result of "0, 1, 1" on the listed roll is 0 hours and 12 minutes. the maximum duration for this condition would be 10 hours and 9 minutes (9 hours 69 minutes). I think I got cut off with my typing.
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  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroGear View Post
    Valid point, but I should have said 12 minutes minimum. The d10 has a 0 instead of a 10 on it, thus a result of "0, 1, 1" on the listed roll is 0 hours and 12 minutes. the maximum duration for this condition would be 10 hours and 9 minutes (9 hours 69 minutes). I think I got cut off with my typing.
    That's... not how a d10 works. If you roll 1d10 damage, one of the possible results is not 0. That's a 10.
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    Doorhandle's Avatar

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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by PersonMan View Post
    This is awesome.

    Savage warrior-race that lives in roaming bands, going around hunting monsters others avoid, just to eat.
    Oh Hell Yes.

    I have yet another charcter concept.
    Can't write. Can't plan. Can draw a little.
    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
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  19. - Top - End - #19
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by lsfreak View Post
    That's... not how a d10 works. If you roll 1d10 damage, one of the possible results is not 0. That's a 10.
    ...This is not damage. We can debate this back and fourth for hours, but it kinda comes down to this being my flavor, and I say how it works. If you use this in your game, feel free to cause hours of rear-busting agony without the chance of a less strenuous relief.

    ...I did not intend ANY of the puns that may be found in the above statement.
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    Daftendirekt's Avatar

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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by Blueiji View Post
    - Elves respect nature to the point where they refuse to eat plant-based products. They consume only food that comes from animals.
    Right, because animals aren't a natural part of the world. Nope.
    - Dwarves garnish their food with pebbles and small rocks.
    Be careful not to break your teeth on those...
    - Gnomes garnish their food with small gems, this is the reason that Gnomes split off from Dwarves in the first place, they were originally the same race.
    or those...
    - Orcs are very interested in agriculture, and much of their diet is dairy based.
    Yeah, I can see them keeping farms while they rape and pillage.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroGear View Post
    ...This is not damage. We can debate this back and fourth for hours, but it kinda comes down to this being my flavor, and I say how it works. If you use this in your game, feel free to cause hours of rear-busting agony without the chance of a less strenuous relief.

    ...I did not intend ANY of the puns that may be found in the above statement.
    I know it's not damage, it was an example. Saying 1d10 can have a result of 0 is going to go against everyone's assumptions about what you mean when you say 1d10.
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  22. - Top - End - #22
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Doorhandle's Avatar

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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    Be careful not to break your teeth on those...

    or those
    Well, it's not completely without precedent: from what we know of roman bread/ flour-mills, they often got small rocks/gravel in their bread and did chip their teeth on it.

    Granted, using rocks as garnish takes it to a whole new level...

    Quote Originally Posted by Daftendirekt View Post

    Yeah, I can see them keeping farms while they rape and pillage.
    But of course! That's what slaves are for!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    "In his free time, he gates in Balors just so he can kill and eat them later!"

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by lsfreak View Post
    I know it's not damage, it was an example. Saying 1d10 can have a result of 0 is going to go against everyone's assumptions about what you mean when you say 1d10.
    It's a bit like saying "use the hammer" and then assume it was implicit that you meant "to prop open the door". Sure, it CAN be used that way but the assumption is that a hammer is used for hammering, not as a doorstop

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    PersonMan's Avatar

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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by Doorhandle View Post
    But of course! That's what slaves are for!
    Sounds like Sparta to me.

    "Why is our culture based around being really good at killing things? Because we have slaves for everything else! (And therefore need to be militarized to put down slave revolts)"
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Spoon Full of flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by lsfreak View Post
    I know it's not damage, it was an example. Saying 1d10 can have a result of 0 is going to go against everyone's assumptions about what you mean when you say 1d10.
    Alright, my fault for not stating that the "10" counts as a "0". I'll never again assume that people are actually smart enough to think outside the box and understand context clues.

    Putting the missing phrases aside for now, flora (plants) and fauna (animals) can add a lot of flavor to games. Here are some I came up with:

    -Berry Berry Bee
    This insect, indigenous to temperate forests, has a large red abdomen that resembles a berry. Stored inside is a sweet liquid made from pollen, making the Berry Berry Bee an excellent source of nutrition as the entire creature is bite sized.

    -Boom Vine
    This parasitic, ivy-like plant can be found clinging to other trees. Drawing nutrients from its host, the vine is dotted with numerous pods that resemble yellow tulip bulbs made up of two chambers. These chambers contain a set of chemicals that are highly reactive when mixed. If disturbed, these pods will burst, dealing 1d6 points of fire damage to the one who disturbed them and 1 point to all within 5 feet (reflex save DC 15 negates). With a proper Knowledge (nature) or a Profession (herbalist) check (DC 20), 1d4 pods can be properly harvested for use as splash weapons (treat he bulbs as equivalent to alchemical fire)
    If there is anything I learned from D&D, it is to never bull rush a Gelatenous Cube.

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