Get groovy with HiJinx, the d20 mini-game

A few years ago, Paizo and Wizards of the Coast reworked the set up for the now defunct Dungeon magazine. The change riled some people, and others adored it.

I was one of those who adored it. And what was this change? Every issue for about a year included a mini-game that adjusted the d20 rules to a particular genre.

This idea sparked some really interesting ideas: There was a 1970s “trucker” game. There was one that replicated the worlds of John Carter of Mars and Carson of Venus. Another great one was one of the first explorations of the “pulp magazine” genres in RPGs.

The one that really tickled the nostalgia in me was HiJinx, which replicated the world of the Scooby-Doo genre.

Its creation back then inspired me to create a few additional rules for the game.



Class description: The Groovy Animal Mascot is any medium-sized or smaller animal who has become so acclimated to humans, that it has almost become accepted as one. As a Groovy Animal Mascot, it can perform with the band, but on a limited level.

Abilities: Groovy Animal Mascots do not roll ability scores. Instead, they use the ones listed in the Monster Manual. As an Groovy Animal Mascot, it recieves special
Intelligence-score boosts every few levels.

Hit Die:
d8, a Groovy Animal Mascot starts with the hit dice equal to that of its animal type. However, it doesn’t gain new hit dice until it after it surpasses the that number of hit dice in levels. Example: An animal with 3d8 hit dice doesn’t gain an additional hit dice until it reaches 4th level.


Level…BPB…Defense…Fort Save…Ref Save…Will Save …Special

1…+0 BPB…+1 Defense…+1 FORT…+2 REF…+0 WILL…Special:+2 INT, Special ability, All Thumbs

2…+0 BPB…+2 Defense…+1 FORT…+3 REF…+0 WILL…Special: Special ability

3…+1 BPB…+2 Defense…+2 FORT…+3 REF…+1 WILL…Special: None

4…+1 BPB…+3 Defense…+2 FORT…+4 REF…+1 WILL…Special: Special ability

5…+2 BPB…+3 Defense…+3 FORT…+4 REF…+1 WILL…Special: +2 INT

6…+2 BPB…+4 Defense…+3 FORT…+5 REF…+2 WILL…Special: None

7…+3 BPB…+4 Defense…+3 FORT…+5 REF…+2 WILL…Special: Special ability

8…+3 BPB…+5 Defense ..+4 FORT…+6 REF…+2 WILL…Special: +2 INT

9…+4 BPB…+5 Defense…+4 FORT…+6 REF…+3 WILL…Special: Special ability

10…+5 BPB…+6 Defense…+5 FORT…+7 REF…+3 WILL…Special: Special ability

Class Skills:
Animal Empathy (Cha), Disguise (Dex), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Str), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Pep Talk (Wis), Scram (Con) plus any listed in its animal description.
Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + Int modifier) x 4
Skill Points at each additional level: 2 + Int modifier


Range: 15 feet + 5 feet per point of Consititution modifier. Unless the Groovy Animal Mascot multi-classes, it can only perform a dance or make animalistic noises during a performance.

All thumbs: A Groovy Animal Mascot finds it difficult manipulating man-made objects with its mouth or paws. Groovy Animal Mascots attempting any action that requires manual dexterity, such as playing an instrument, driving a car, or typing on a computer, must make a Dexterity check (DC 20) or be unable to complete the action. This penalty is canceled by the Magic Fingers special ability.

+2 INT: At 1st, 5th, and 8th levels, the Groovy Animal Mascot gets a +2 to its INT score.

Special Abilites: At 1st, 2nd, 4th, 7th, 9th and 10th levels, the Groovy Animal Mascot earns special abilities. The abilities are selected from the list below.

  • Walk Like A Man – The Groovy Animal Mascot can walk upright like a human if he chooses. This gives the Groovy Animal Mascot a +2 to Disguise and Scram checks. This special ability may be taken more than once.
  • The Big Time – The Groovy Animal Mascot has grown larger. The animal gains +2 to Strength and Constitution, and becomes one size category larger. This gives him a -1 to Defense, and a -4 to Balance, Craft, Disable Device, Disguise, Drive, Hide and Move Silently checks.
  • Magic Fingers – The Groovy Animal Mascot can manipulate objects with his paws like a human can with his hands. Groovy Animal Mascots who don’t take this special ability are All Thumbs (see above).
  • Adaptable Appendage – The Groovy Animal Mascot chooses one appendage, such as a tail or a claw, and that appendage gets a +2 bonus to make Open Lock and Disable Device checks.
  • Talk to Animals – The Groovy Animal Mascot can talk to any animal. The Groovy Animal Mascot makes an Animal Empathy check, based on the animal’s mood to see if he gets a response.
    Speech – Groovy Animal Mascot is able to speak one human language. The listener must make an Animal Empathy or Charisma check (DC 15 -1 per character level of the animal) in order to understand the Groovy Animal Mascot.
  • Fish Out of Water – The Groovy Animal Mascot can survive in an environment that isn’t his own for 1 hour at a time before needing to be returned to that environment for at least one turn. A Groovy Animal Mascot who fails to return to his environment, must make a Fortitude Save (DC 20) or take 1D2 points of temporary Constitution damage. This special ability is only needed by marine and space animals who are away from their home environment.
  • Snicker – Once per day, the Groovy Animal Mascot lets out a snicker. The snicker gives all of his allies a +1 bonus to performance, skill and saving throw checks for the rest of the encounter.
  • Nothing Special Here – The Groovy Animal Mascot is no longer noticed to be an animal, and is permitted to go wherever a regular human would be allowed.
  • Get a Grip —  Three times per day, the Groovy Animal Mascot can opt to share a space with an ally for one turn. During that turn, the Groovy Animal Mascot and its ally share the highest Saves and Defense scores between the two.

Starting Cash: Groovy Animal Mascots start with no cash.


What’s He Got in There?

You always seem to have just the right item with you.

Benefit: Once per day, the character can find a small, mundane, but specifically-requested item on his person, such as a screw driver, roll of tape, blank computer disc, or length of rope. These items might be tangled in his hair, something he ate or buried in his pocket. It is a standard action to find this item.

Special Snack

Eating a particular snack helps motivate you.

Benefit: Choose a particular specialty food item, when you consume this item, you gain a +2 bonus to HiJinx rolls for 2 rounds.

Cousin on Call

You have a relative or friend who may be able to help you out.

Benefit: If you have access to a communication device, you can can contact a relative, friend, classmate or co-worker that can provide you with one of the following services if you make a Charisma check.

  • Skill bonus (DC 12): You get a +2 bonus to an Intelligence-, Wisdom- or Charisma-based skill check.
  • Get a Ride (DC 15): You convince your friend or relative to give you a ride in a land, water or air vehicle. He or she will hang out in the vehicle until you need a ride back. Be aware that the he or she could get attacked, kidnapped or worse while waiting for you!
  • Loan (DC 20): You get a 500 dollar influx of cash instantly, usually by instant transfer, telegram or promise to the debt-holder.
  • Extra hand (DC 25): The friend or relative will come to physically help you for 5 rounds in the best way he or she can. The relative will have the exact same stats as the character, except he or she will have +2 Str, +2 Dex or +2 Con. The friend or relative will arrive in 2d20+10 minutes.

Limits: You may only attempt to activate each of these bonuses once per adventure.


Pet Tricks

A pet can be trained to learn up to 3 tricks per intelligence point it possesses. Besides the pet tricks listed in the Dungeon Master’s Guide and Masters of the Wild, a pet can learn these additional tricks.

  • “Funky Disguise” — When a pets owner or other bandmate makes a successful Charisma assist check (DC10), a pet gets a +5 circumstance bonus to disguise checks instead of the normal +2.
  • “Fish out of water” — The pet has adapted to environments other than its own, and may remain out of that environment for one hour before having to return to that environment. For every minute out of its home environment, a pet must make a Fortitude save (DC 20) or take 1d3 points of cool damage.
  • “Grab” — The pet can hold or manipulate small objects with its paws, flippers, claws or tail.
  • “Improved Communication” — The pet can communicate better than normal, providing a +2 bonus to those attempting to interpret.
  • “Assist (skill)” — When the pet makes a successful ability check (DC 10) it can provide a +2 assistance bonus to one particular skill. The skill must be selected upon training. The ability check is based on the skill’s controlling ability.

The following tricks first appeared in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, and may have changed slightly or eliminated for HiJinx:

  • “Attack” — Is not applicable in HiJinx.
  • “Come” — The pet comes to the owner, even if the animal normally would not do so (such as following the character onto a boat).
  • “Defend” — Is not applicable in HiJinx.
  • “Down” — The animal breaks off its current activity or otherwise backs down.
  • “Fetch” — The pet goes and gets something. The character must point out a specific object or the animal fetches some random object.

  • “Guard” — The animal stays in place and prevents others from approaching.
  • “Heel” — The animal follows the character closely, even to places where it normally wouldn’t go.
  • “Perform” — The pet does a variety of simple tricks like sitting up, rolling over, roaring, dancing and so on. During a concert, this provides its owner with a +1d2 bonus to vibes.
  • “Protect”— Is not applicable in HiJinx.
  • “Seek” — The animal moves into an area and makes a Spot check to notice anything unusual.
  • “Stay” — The animal stays in place waiting for the character to return. It does not challenge other creatures that come by, though it still defends itself if it needs to.
  • “Track” — The animal tracks the scent presented to it.


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