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Flavour Handbook excerpt: Positive energy

Alright! Today is the last day of flavour handbook excerpts and we're leaving off on a positive note:  Positive energy!

Healing is just as common as harmful spells and deserves equal attention. Common healing takes the form of a white or blue light that washes over the wound and undoes it. But other options abound. An old favourite of mine was the spell softening the flesh like clay and the healer working it with their hands, pressing and smushing and smoothing the skin back into an uncut seamless whole. More nature oriented healers could imagine tiny vines and plants and leaves growing into the wounded area and then turning back into regular skin and bone. And some unusual healing could appear as though the blood and skin were flowing back into the wound, unsplattering from the walls to seep back into the body. Another consideration is what happens after magical healing. Do healing spells leave scars? does the skin look new and clean? Does it look chalk white or jet black and then slowly match the persons real skin colour? Or taking the druidic version above perhaps wounds healed by some magic's leave part of a person as a living wood, or some other equally abnormal substance. Just make sure the other players are okay with having some odd looking scars before you implement something like this since it can affect their characters too!

I hope you all enjoyed a sneak peek at what I've got cooking in the flavour handbook and keep your eyes open for even more content to come!

Flavour Handbook excerpt: Melee Combat

The votes are in: For your first voted topic you all wanted to hear about: Melee combat!

Melee combat is the area that by default has the least flavour, but has the most potential to be filled with flavour. Consider the same premise for melee combat that was posed above, as long as the rules aren't changed, anything goes. Sure, your fighter might full attack for 3 attacks, but that doesn't mean they aren't swinging six or seven powerful strokes of their blade, and just because your attack missed doesn't mean the opponent dodged, it could be parried, or it could have struck but not penetrated their armour, or just narrowly missed. Likewise a hit doesn't always have to be a hit, you can flavour a hit as a miss, a swing the foe evaded but still took a little wind out of their sails, making them more likely to take a grievous injury or die from a future swing. And likewise a miss can be flavoured as a thin shallow hit, a nick or scratch dealing only superficial damage. By the same token, how brutal and painful a hit is can change dramatically. Was that blow from a greatsword a brutal stab in the chest? A shallow slice along the arm? A harsh bash with a pommel? And that brings up the question of where a blow hit. It's generally assumed most blows are going to strike the center of mass, but there's a whole plethora of other options besides chest wounds. Eyes, lips, cheeks, ears, biceps, forearms and other wide flat soft tissue areas are interesting places for piercing and slashing weapons to strike, particularly if they leave interesting scars on an enemy likely to survive. Bludgeoning weapons typically are best directed at bony areas, hands, shins, cheekbones, skulls, shoulders, collarbones, spines and the like.

Don't forget to keep sending me what you want to hear about for tomorrow. Your options are: Force, Negative energy, positive energy, arcane damage, , critical hits, movement in combat, and grappling.

 

Flavour Handbook Excerpt: Sonic

Can you hear that? Day five of flavour week and we're turning up the volume with: Sonic damage!

Rippling air, cracking stone and an intense rumble is the quintessential sonic damage but there are many pitches and tones. Perhaps your sonic attack is in a range humans cannot hear, it is eerily utterly silent even when accompanying other actions, even to the point of blocking out all sound in the area. Bones crack, skin peels, earth shatters and all of it drowned out by silence. Or instead imagine the power of sound focused utterly, instead of devastating waves perhaps your sonic attack appears to be one or more deep puncture wounds just opening up in the target seemingly from nothing, literal piercing notes. Or, if you're in a hustle for some sonic kung fu styled sonics, imagine every note of your instrument or syllable of your voice to take the form of translucent weapons and warriors flying through the air, slicing, bashing, and splitting anything in their path. If you're more into deep reverberations you could even flavour your sonic attacks as such fierce vibrations that a foe shakes apart, or as a blasting chorus of an appropriate theme music so powerful that ears bleed and teeth rattle.

Alright folks! Just one more day to decide what you want to see for the last two flavour excerpts! Your options are: Force, Negative energy, positive energy, arcane damage, weapon damage, critical hits, movement in combat, grappling? Let me know and the 2 most requested choices will be featured as the last two excerpts.

Flavour Handbook: Electric Damage

Day four of Flavour week and it's no shock that we're coming to: Electric damage!

Electric damage is generally described as a crackling bolt of blue, white, or sometimes yellow lightning but there's so much more than can be done with such a powerful force. First consider times you have been electrocuted if any. Most of the time we're exposed to shocks and zaps it comes in the form of contact with a live current, it didn't look like anything, but it felt like buzzing in your blood. Imagine your lightning having no visible path but instead everyone it comes into contact with twitches and convulses, burning or smoking or even just spasming hard enough to break teeth and bone. Alternatively, take a look at real lightning bolts, often lightning actually flows from the ground into the sky, likewise your lightning attack could appear to originate from the enemy and then arc to your hand where it dissipates. Lastly consider your electrical attack as a stream of charged particles, and only when that stream comes near a viable target to small fast bolts arc out and blast everything near it in a wild forking pattern. And also consider the scars and burns a survivor of real life lightning strikes retain, such marks can be truly noteworthy and unique.

For those of you with a wisdom bonus, you might have guessed that next week is sonic damage. But what comes after that? You decide! What do you need help spicing up for your own game: Force, Negative energy, positive energy, arcane damage, weapon damage, critical hits, movement in combat, grappling? Let me know and the 2 most requested choices will be featured as the last two exerpts

Flavour Handbook excerpt: Fire!

Day three of flavour week and things are just heating up with: Fire damage!

Fire can come in many different exciting forms and is one of the most common elements in a typical game. Even regular fire can be very impressive, but there are a plethora of ways to turn the heat up even higher. Firstly, even real natural fire can come in a whole assortment of colours. Blue, for example, may give a feeling of cold, precise, incredibly hot fire, while something light white or gold might feel sacred and holy. And, of course who doesn't love Green Flame! Colour is a great first step, but what if the fie attack has no colour at all. We've all seen invisible heat shimmers and watching paper burn and flesh crisp and blacken with seemingly no visible source makes for a fantastic description. Opposing the incredibly dry heat one could also use scalding steam as the source of their fire attacks turning flesh hot horrible pink and boiling blood as it goes. Other common considerations are from where this fire emerges. A spell crating a small dragons maw unleashing a blast of flames speaks differently than a flickering bolt of wispy blue fire, and both are very different from a spell that simply creates fire on their target or invoking a sudden dramatic explosion with no trail or path from which it came.

Flavour Handbook Excerpt: Cold Damage

Alright it's day two of Flavour week and we're moving onto the coolest of all elements: Cold damage!

Classic cold damage usually looks like a either blue beam/wave/bolt of energy and then ice everywhere or a spray of jagged ice crystals but there's so much more we can do. If you want to mix things up a bit, consider a chill horrible fog that seeps over the target and layers it in ice and rhyme, coating anything it touches like freezing rain. For something even more gruesome, consider your spell as visible only in terms of the effect. You can't really see cold itself, so as your attack collides or your spell washes over them we see skin turn blue and black from frostbite, stone split from sudden ice formations inside, plants wither and die in seconds all without any showy flash or sparkle. For something more foreign, imagine the target of your attack partially being transmuted directly into ice, spots of skin becoming crystal clear and glasslike, walls turning from brick, to ice, and then cracking instantly. Or perhaps your attacks are like beautiful snowflakes until they collide and leave beautiful and painful frozen fractals across exposed skin and glass. Don't forget to toss in details on how it feels, is it a deep ache in the bones? Is it a horrible stinging frost? Or perhaps a numb painless cold death? The choice is yours.

 

Flavour Handbook excerpt: Acid damage

Every day this week I'll be providing a sample from a section from my upcoming product: The Flavour Handbook. This week I'll be presenting sections from an article offering suggestions on how to describe powers and abilities in unique ways. First up: Acid damage!

Many people picture the ubiquitous green bubbling goo as the classic example of acid, despite many of the most common acids actually being clear and water like. Many other DnD writers have pointed out that acid is associated with the element of earth, but why is this? The general response is that they draw on Alkali salts. Imagine your acid attack as a hulking chunk of chalky white salt that causes flesh to burn and blister with a touch. Or break it down into jagged salty crystals that pierce into the flesh and burn from within. Grind that down even further and your acid attack can be a spray of fine scouring powder that erodes and burns everything it touches, think lye or other intensive powder cleaners . If you dare to do a quick internet search for acid burns you'll see some absolutely horrifying images, and I only recommend this if you're very hearty as some of those images stick with you. If realistic acid doesn't suit your needs; consider pure dissolution. The target of your damage just seems to corrode, disintegrate, fall apart on a most basic level. Or get even more aberrant, perhaps your acid damage appears as strange alien runes and symbols carved or burned into the target, and an object destroyed is left as unusual oddly shaped and sculpted eldritch designs of otherworldly geometry.