Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The State of Fantasy Hawaii

A year ago a wave of refugees appeared in the islands begging for protection and help.  Denizens of far off Rapa'Nui, they spoke of the conquest of their lands by an unending horde from unknown origins sailing in on their ungainly ships of grass with strange magics and deadly weapons.

Fifty such ships arrived in the islands 6 months ago and were barely defeated by a combined fleet from Maui and the Big Island.  But the oracles and refugees all say this is just a scouting party.  Most of the great kings think the islands must unify,  but they all have differing opinions about who should lead.

Oahu is lead by the incompetent and decadent king Elani.  But Oahu is wealthy, and heavily populated and despite its weak ruler, crumbling economy and disorganized army is considered the heart of the islands.

Pi'lani is the current Mo'i of a unified Maui and Moloka'i.  Highly respected as a skilled administrator with great acumen he is credited with the completion of the highway around the island as well the great temple.  Maui is currently well organized and wealthy, but also extremely rigid in its religious views resulting in much resentment among the oppressed menehune.  Other kings sneer at Pi'lani as untrained in the art of war as the inhuman denizens of Lanai still harass his shores.

Kamehameha is the new king of a unified Hawaii.  He personally crushed the rival chiefs in battle and sailed the combined fleets out to meet the foreign threat.  His kingdom is new and untested, and despite his personal strength he is not considered a serious contender for unification.  He has been eyeing the great drifting hulk of nine masts that drifted into the water.  The ghosts that are seen haunting it at night do not frighten him, for he wants the magic it displayed when it first limped into the islands.

Kaumuali'i is the King of Kaua'i and also claims suzerainty over the feuding chiefs of Ni'hau.  The far islands are considered somewhat 'different' from other Hawaiians due to their accent and Kaumuali'i aims to keep it that way,  calling the foreign threat no concern of his people.  He has rallied some of the isolated north western isles into an alliance against any attempt to "unify" them into a greater Hawaii.  He has even been rumoured to be in talks with the dreaded Elves who tried to conquer the islands a thousand years ago. Their floral banners have been seen on his island.
The Empire of Tongo has sent emissaries to the courts of all of the major kings and is keenly interested in the events unfolding.  The instability on the island and the increased trade has seen an erosion to the feudal system to include more of a monetary economy and more class mobility than usual.  Golden coins of Elven or even stranger origins are now in circulation,  traded for a dozen engraved pearls each.  The more mundane transactions involve simple polished stones of vivid colours, twenty to a pearl.  And this is where the adventurers come in,  enterprising low caste individuals with nothing but the shirts on their backs looking to become landed nobility or respected kahunas but probably winding up dead.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fantasy Polynesia

So one of the historical settings I have always loved (just below Meso-America)  is the Polynesian Triangle.   After visiting the Hawaiian Islands recently I have decided I definitely am going to have my next fantasy ConstantCon game be set there.

However,  I am going to take liberties with history in same way D&D takes liberties with the concept of medieval Europe.

1.) Economics and Feudalism
   The Hawaiian Islands had a feudal government at this point.  Economically (and in terms of having non-nobility adventurers) this poses some problems.  So I am going to solve it the traditional RPG way,  early modern economics has somehow crept in.  And in the same vein the explanation for this societal shift where concepts of money and noble titles co-exist?   ELVES.

2.) Polynesian Mythology
  There will be a basis for sure, a strong theme.  But if you look at most adventure games set in "faux Europe" the monsters tend to be mostly Greek or 20th century literary inventions.  So if you pop into this game don't be surprised if you find something like a Morlock uprising or a rogue deepcrow.

3.) Travel
  Magic is real.  The Polynesian triangle was fairly isolated day to day and most people didn't go far, more so than Europe (which still, people often didn't even go to the next city).  Assume the existence of magic combined with the actual, historical fantastic sea voyages means there is more regular contact (at least among nobility) along the Triangle.   They would certainly be far off and exotic,  but you might find a Maori noble on Maui.

4.) Time Crunch
  History is long.  But to have a stronger dynamic the "point in time" of the Hawaiian Islands will be a crunched 250 year period.    Historical rulers and figures who were not contemporaries will be,  because they had the most game-able personalities, achievements and goals.  Like wise, a few things that are anachronisms will exist.  Because Elves, why not.

5.) I'll swap out some history for other potential history and or magic
  I am crunching time,  but lets mush some more stuff in there.  Things that could have happened (especially with magic) but didn't and may have even been really unlikely or had no reason, or only happened because another PC from another campaign caused it.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Duskwood

Continuing my compilation of seed charts..
To use, roll a d8, d6 and d4.  Know the total result, and the result of each die.  Unless specifically told to roll a die,  you should only have 1 die roll.

Terrain: The Duskwood (Haunted Woods )
Travel Speed: 2

Where? (d8)
1. Very, very dense cedar trees (fumble range is cumulative weapon reach)
2. Dense cedar trees (fumble range is weapon reach)
3. An open grove (d6 x d4 meter radius)
4. A bubbling stream flows through. Count d6 as extra d8, or d4 if this is the second stream
5. Lots of tree cover causing constant deep shadows but little undergrowth.
6. Lots of narrow trees, allowing light to shine in and causing tall grasses and weeds
7. There are boulders strewn about, covered and surrounded by gnarled trees.
8. The trees are somewhat more sparse as the area turns into a small marsh.

What? (d6)
1. Blood matted goatmen (d8 x d4)
2. Confused and angry ghosts (d4)
3. Nothing
4. On 14+ a demon possessing a (2: Wolf, 3: Bear, 4: Rotting Troll Carcass)
5.  Count both d4 and d8(if applicable) as extra results on d6
6. d8 demon worshiping vikings, use d4 as extra d6 result on even

Weird? (d4)
1. Demonic Shrine on odd, Ruined and overgrown temple on even
2. d6 snare traps
3. The floor is littered with bleached and gnawed upon bones, many human
4. A smoldering pit of coals on top of a stacked stone mound highlights a section of path (+1 speed)

Triples (in addition to other results)
1. An aging crone tends a large boiling cauldron (talisman +3), she knows "Brew Potion", "Ice Giant Strength" and "Newt Kiss" (polymorph other newt). She is a level three wizard/wizard/priest with 150 piety and has through dark pacts, taken the goatman as her "lover", rancid meat smell and barbed nethers in all.
2. The ghosts are playing a game of dice but cannot seem to remember the rules and are agitated.  They accuse each other of not knowing how to roll dice (being incorporeal they can't roll them) as they sit on opposite sides of a square(ish) stone slab with a pair of ornate bone dice in the middle. The other two sides have hidden snare traps placed by imps to snare anyone who tries to grab the dice (due to their obvious high value).  The ghosts will also be angry at stolen dice and attempt to possess whoever attempts to grab the dice.
3. Its the Wharwhilf! ( Swedish Werewolf)
4. Five bubbling streams are present in total, moving in towards a central point where all the water disappears.  The terrain otherwise is many dead trees covered in moss and vibrant flowers.  The immediate area counts as a mystic wasteland and the point where the streams converge to nothingness counts as a "vortex".

Dubs (in addition to other results)
5. There is an iron sword stuck in the petrified skull of some massive (size 12 or greater) beast. The skull is all that remains.  The sword is simply a sword (12 or 14 total),  meteoric iron but also cursed to cause 1 stress per night to its bearer until returned to the skull (11) or a blessed sword from a Spartacan questing knight in ages past (+1 relic).
6. A level 3 Viking Berserker is leading the band.

Max (in addition to other results)
18: The path is a wooden bridge over the marsh.  The Vikings have built a crude shrine on their side (consecrated) and have stashed large amounts of wealth (2000 silver and a small golden eagle statue).  They guard the bridge.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Planet Hogswamp: Special Deal on the black market

First come first serve on the goods below.  Not only do you get the items but a special pass to smuggle them past space port security. Post your purchase and character name in the comments on the blog.

Uzi  - 2 available
(Small, Burst, Repeating, 30 round magazine, uses pistol rounds, +1 awesomeness with 80's hair) - $3000 each

Silencers - 3 available
(No suspicion from shooting, pistol round caliber only, small item) - $800

Sawed-off Shotgun - 1 available
(Medium, Complicated, Exotic OR Repeating with 2 shot magazine, uses Shells) - $550

Pristine Thompson 1928 - 1 available (comes with fully loaded drum!)
(Medium, Hand and a Half Grip, Burst, 50 round drum, uses heavy pistol rounds) - $12,500

Vials of Neurotoxin - 3 available
(dose deals d4 damage a round for 12 rounds) - $8,000

Special Molotov's - 10 available
(A special alcohol jelly with air based chemical detonator, sealed in a festive mason jar. Blast 2/Fire) - $20

$20k in counterfeit script - 1 briefcase available
(Electronically it is easy to prove its fake, a stealth check of +10 to detect by the human eye) -$500

Construction License - 1 available
 $800 - no questions asked, union backed

Ranchers License - 3 available
$300 - Administration backed, no questions asked

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Random Grim Wars

So perhaps you are or run into a grizzled veteran in the Rupert-Furlcorp Systems,  what war were they in?

If she's a grade A certified Bad-Ass roll a d12,  if he's a tough guy or someone who's "seen some action" roll 2d6.

1.  THE Front

This person isn't just a veteran of a war, this is a veteran of THE war.  The war that consumes billions and billions of lives each day.  Great continents are scorched with orbital bombardments,  planetary sized rad-arrays pulse whole planets with fatal gamma bursts,  C-Beams glisten off the smouldering dust particles that were once entire battle fleets,  men built fortifications out of their fallen comrades as planets are terraformed simply by the vast amount of bio-matter deposited as corpses in a fight with seemingly all powerful aliens. Almost no one makes it back from this war,  those that do rarely make it far before caught.  Those who make it to hide out in these systems are rarer still.   However weak you thought this person was they were toying with you,  they are actually level 10 with 3 milestones.  Their actions have automatically saved the entire human race, even if but for a few milliseconds each.

2. Ambush on the Black Ark

A single federation military vessel patrolled the Rupert-Furlcorp Systems.  It was an ageing, third line armed transport ship.  Recruiters glad to stay off the front lines for a while longer scoured the Serv worlds picking up "recruits".  At first they were morons offered citizenship and not realizing they would never live to see it.  Then they were press ganging criminals and no one cared.  When they were paying "recruiter fees" to third parties who were press ganging the unfortunate and unlucky, people locked their doors and kept a wary eyes out for strangers.  But when the draft happened,  when Serv's were being forced to fight on the behalf of a federation that they were not citizens off? When hard working slavers were not only being cut out as a middleman but drafted themselves?  Well,  then shit got real.  When launching a planet wide draft on Buckwheat 4 a massive riot erupted, quickly being exterminated by hardened Federation soldiers.  But it didn't simply end, everyone piled on.  The armed gangs, the constabulary, the militia, even the rebels piled on in a swarming planet wide fire fight.  As the orbiting ship opened fire on the planet, everything that could fight in orbit did. Raiders and Planet Defence satellites battled together with ships streaming in from other systems hoping to free lost relatives.   It didn't work.
  They were cut down and blasted into bits,  no amount of wooden galleons will stop even a poorly maintained modern frigate.  But they did actually manage to damage the ship and kill some federation soldiers.  The draft was quietly dropped as the ship limped back to federation space.  Still, rumours of another Black Ark always float about. This person will always have at least a second milestone.

3. The Caves

Cornocopia, one of the show worlds for the corporation to parade to federation inspectors. It was highly populated and fairly pristine looking despite the incredibly heavy amounts of strip mining before it was terraformed.  But then it was hit by a pulse of cosmic radiation, some highly radioactive rogue planet came zipping through the system at near TAU.  The gravity destroyed infrastructure and shifted plates causing a horrible chain reaction.   The oceans drained and the biosphere irradiated.  The population was largely fine, but the orbital infrastructure was trashed.  With no way to escape people crawled into sewers and ruins,  crawled deep into the maze of zig zagging tunnels from the mining.  Most of the tunnels were barely big enough for a grown man to crawl,  leftover evidence of the automated explorer droids.   There wasn't enough air, water, food and power for everyone. Help wasn't economical and as such it never arrived,  factions formed as soon as this became evident and the bloodbath began.  It wasn't just fighting for supplies either, air was a limited resource as well.  No quarter was given, no surrender was ever taken.  Eventually the population stabilized to a sustainable number,  but even now,  15 years later,  it is an unforgiving place. If you lived through this you killed someone, probably several someones.

4. Eco-terror attacks of odd eight

Ten years ago a bunch of eco-poets became radicalised,  they felt the need to introduce a little more chaos and turn gardens into wilderness.  People like the Appleseeds when they bring useful plants or delicious animals to a planet, less so if they try and release poisonous snakes, noxious weeds or dangerous predators. Administration officials are usually pretty good about checking cargo for dangerous pests but occasionally some slip through and all and all it was a mellow back and forth.   But these hot headed folks banded around a fanatic named Noah and decided that things were going too slowly.  They took over a militia cruiser and hijacked a teamster superfreighter before going on a 6 system rampage against constabulary inspection teams backed by private citizens over the course of 2 years. Almost a dozen worlds were seeded with all kinds of mess before they were crippled at the battle of Eye-Sign Station by a trio of militia carriers.  The cruiser (renamed the Rainbow Warrior) was turned to slag along with a dozen smaller Appleseed ships, but the superfreighter (The Ark) was last seen venting coolant and atmosphere as it plowed through an asteroid belt.

5. The Last Rebellion

It has been a generation since the rebellion first sprung into being.  Spurred on by the ancient texts of Marx whole worlds joined in an effort to separate the corporate worlds from the Federation and live in a communist utopia. It quickly gained steam and overran most constabulary and even most militia forces within a year.  Then the pinkertons came in and reversed everything over a two month crackdown.  Rebel forces still remain, hidden and isolated,  but they are but the faintest shadow of what they were.  Controls got tighter after that, at least on paper.  The corrupt nature of the constabulary meant most people didn't notice,  they only knew better than to mess with the company goons.

6. A Coup

Officially the administration runs things, its rules are enforced by the constabulary and the militia is only to be used for external threats.  What often happens is that some militia commander will try (and sometimes succeed) in usurping control of a planet, usually claiming the chief administrator is loony and replacing them with a puppet administrator.  Sometimes the coup comes from within the constabulary.  Its usually pretty petty and over within a few weeks,  but the fighting is often very heavy and very intense.

7. Gang Warfare

Criminal organizations and petty gangs are rife on most worlds.  The low technology and vast amounts of living space available leads to a certain level of lawlessness around the edges.  The fighting is usually low intensity with a lot of posturing,  but periodically open warfare spills to the streets and its a real bloodbath (at least until the bribes for the constabulary to keep out of it dry up). The sporadic turf wars between the Hernandez syndicate and the Followers of Ezekiel on New Tijuana  are a prime example of such open warfare.

8. Guerilla Warfare

Rebel (or less frequently raider) units still exist in the empty wilderness of most planets, or lingering in rusting ships  hiding behind quiet little moons. Militia units often spend most of their time in these sorts of low intensity skirmishes, though sometimes constabulary SWAT teams are involved.  It tends to mostly feature ambushes, patrols, raids and sabotage.  There is almost never sustained front line combat.

9.  Ned's Bounty

Ned the Pirate King.  He captured dozens of freighters and smaller ships from the teamsters and some say he had fifty thousand under his command.  He sacked space stations and outposts and had a hundred fighter craft and armed shuttles under his control if not more.  He had tens of thousands of Federation Credits but had no drive to live among what he considered "Soft Weaklings" and frequently paid his own men in federation credits.   Eventually his pirate fleet was destroyed around the gas giant Nork 8, with its hundreds of moons.  He was confirmed dead, but no one ever found his treasure.

10. The Hitlerian Crusade

Long after the twentieth century, the horror of the Third Reich was dulled by time. White supremacists grew to deify Hitler and view him as a messiah and Mein Kampf a holy text.  At first they were violent but eventually their descendants mellowed and chose to ignore Hitler's more violent teachings and focus on what they consider a religion of joy and togetherness.  Just kidding, can you imagine?  No, they are asshole Nazis except in space.  So when they inevitably snuck into the Rupert-Furlcorp systems and set up shop, they quickly tried to take over the place.  The war with them lasted 3 years, uniting both militia and rebel forces against them. While organized resistance has long since collapsed there are  still secret Hitlerian cults and hidden bases all over the place. Trashy adventure novels and radio dramas frequently feature heroes stumbling upon secret Space Nazi bases and destroying them.

11. The Ruins

New Australia,  the centre of the rebellion,  was bombarded with asteroids as a warning to other worlds.  Once highly populated and industrial it is now a scorched wasteland.  The orbit of the planet has been seeded with vast clouds of dangerous debris, largely cutting the planet off from any but the most daring of explorers.  Life on the planet is harsh and deadly, it is a post-apocalyptic hell scape populated by roving gangs of machete wielding bikers battling isolated communities of bunker dwellers with crossbows and sporting goods.  Occasionally inhabitants from the planet do make it into orbit and explore the wider universe.  These are tough cookies and are never less than level 2 if they actually make it to orbit on their own.

12. The Strike

There was exactly one attempt at an organized labour strike among the Servs.  It surprisingly lasted for a month once the pinkertons got involved.  Almost no one made it out alive, less than 5% of the workers.  Anyone who could go toe to toe with a power armoured goon with nothing but a pipe wrench is not to be trifled with.  This individual will always have at least their second milestone and be at least level 3.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The River of Discontent

Continuing my compilation of seed charts..
To use, roll a d8, d6 and d4.  Know the total result, and the result of each die.  Unless specifically told to roll a die,  you should only have 1 die roll.

Terrain: The River of Discontent (A river through the wilderness, from mountain town to coastal city)
Travel Speed:  14 or 3 per week

Where? (d8)
1.  A wide and shallow portion of the river
2.  A fording point
3.  Rapids!
4.  A slow and lazy bend in the river
5.  The banks are heavily forested
6.  The banks are covered with large boulders and steep rocky cliffs.
7.  The river is wide but of unknown depth
8.  A fast moving straight

What? (d6)
1. Nothing (odd) or rangers (d4x2)
2. Other vessels moving the opposite direction (d4-1)
3. Nothing
4. Crazed Goatmen (Total#) on odd, or a pack of bandits (d8x2) operating a toll
5. Nothing
6. Vicious Monsters (1: A Grizzly Bear, 2-6: d4 trolls, 7-8 giant undead eel)

Weird? (d4)
1. Storms and Poor Weather (-d8 to speed)
2. An abandoned/sacked camp
3. Nothing
4. A collapsed series of stone cottages (d8) dots the immediate shoreline

Triples (in addition to other results)
1. The dragon is hunting the river for treasure to steal
2. The other vessel is beached and sacked.  The bodies are missing as is any gold, food and supplies are left behind.
3. A bunch of escaped logs, freed from some lumber camp, are rolling down river.
4. The bandits have errected a wicker and earthen fort with a simple tower. The toll is 2/3rds of your cargo and wealth.

Dubs (in addition to other results)
5. Children singing can be heard in the woods, investigating will reveal the giant singing centipede trying to lure prey
6. Triple the amount of trolls

Max (in addition to other results)
18: The witch Svaerlinda (lvl 6) is present, in control of the eel, along with 4 level 2 Viking zombies, fully armed and armoured. Knows "Dragonsbreath", "Morning Fog" and "Undo the Toil of Skalds", also has 200 piety.

The God that Crawls

So no surprise, I received both the Monolith Beyond Space and Time and The God That Crawls from IndieGoGo so both are being reviewed.  The first thing I can say about the God That Crawls is I'll be avoiding any real spoilers about it because I can immediately tell I will in fact be using this or something very similar to this with the serial numbers filed off.  Very very few things other people wrote ever fit into this category.  I'll use great concepts,  but actual game content is something very rare for me to want to use.  Seeing as people I game with read this, I'll also have to be fairly careful about what I discuss.  In that vein I have listed a few of the important concepts that are important to both the module and (in my opinion) whether or not it will be useful to you.

1.) It is historical
    This one is the easiest to ignore,  but it will take the GM some work to replace historical details with equivalent details in his world.  This also has some issues with subtlety,  with real world history you don't have to explain things.  A bible verse for instance, just IS while a verse in say the faith of "Spartacus" you'd have to give more detail on the verse and why it is important etc,  really delving into a player skill versus character skill.  Knowing the importance of historical figures can be player skill, knowing the importance of fictional historical characters that didn't exist until the GM wrote them 20 minutes ago is a bit different.   I consider this a plus, as I've mentioned this is the kind of detail and back and forth on for my fantastical earth setting.

2.) Once the players choose to buy tickets and board the train, it is a bit of a railroad
    This really depends on your version of railroad,  but an important point is still that this is a game which is all about dealing with a consequence of an action they chose to take.  At some point they choose to do something, and then spend the rest of the adventure trying to deal with that choice without much option to do anything else but react.

3.) There is a bit of whimsy that will probably never come up
       I like whimsy,  but I am going to be blunt.  I doubt this will ever come up in a game, and if it does the work involved means you will probably just ignore it or find a different mechanic.  Still it is a nice reminder that this is a game and not to take it too seriously.

4.) This is an excellent repository of non-standard magic items
     I love a good number of these and they are created exactly in the manner that I like magic items to be. Weird, dangerous and old.

5.)  The Book
    Page 42,  honestly this is something you will make a part of several campaigns and probably a half dozen Call of Cthulhu investigations.

I would recommend this as a module if you are looking for an interesting action (not combat) dungeoncrawl. This module forces the party into snap decisions so be wary if your local group of friends all suffer analysis paralysis and everyone prefers a more low key and low stress dungeon.

Edit:  A note for those concerned about bias,  there is this.  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Broken Hills

Continuing my compilation of seed charts..
To use, roll a d8, d6 and d4.  Know the total result, and the result of each die.  Unless specifically told to roll a die,  you should only have 1 die roll.

Terrain: The Broken Hills  (A rugged frontier far from any city)
Travel Speed:  3 per week

Where? (d8)
1.  A steep ravine with loose dirt and gravel along its sides. 30 feet deep, 150 feet wide
2.  Thick scrub brush, thorn bushes and low junipers.  Weapons fumble on their reach or less.
3.  Atop the crest of a hill, the next hill is visible just across a ravine (as 1)
4.  A large grove of trees at the base of the hill (Total# of big oak trees)
5.  A pond being fed by a bubbling brook in the side of the closest hill. On odd there is an unusually large tree giving shade to the pond.
6.  At the top(odd) or bottom (even) of a large cliff face (20+Total# feet high).  -1 speed if you need to backtrack rather than pass it.
7.  On a somewhat steep downward slope of a hill
8.  A large and mighty oak centered on the top of a hill

What? (d6)
1. A Woodwose warband (d4+d8) lead by a level d4 warrior(2)/priest on 10 or less.
2. Total# of feral goblin thieves on 8 or less,  d8+d4 Direwolves with enslaved goblin riders on 11+
3. Its a Motherf&$*ing Grizzly Bear
4. Nothing
5. Nothing
6. d4 Lesser Cheiftains and 3xd4 retainers or men-at-arms

Weird? (d4)
1. Unusually dense brambles and large numbers of jutting sharp rocks, -1 to travel speed.
2.  On a 12+ there is a heavy rain, -2 to health checks, -1 to travel speed, else clouds of black flies.
3.  Double the number of beings present from the d6
4.  A usable path has been found, +2 to travel speed if followed.

Triples (in addition to other results)
1. The remains of a large skirmish, 12 dead Woodwose and 12 dead warriors and 3 chieftains
2.  The area is littered with dozens of punji sticks and small snares. The goblins are well armed have a stash with a suit of mail, 230 silver and 42 golden coins.
3. Each of the bears is atop a different hill. On each rides a level 5 barbarian princess, one with a meteoric iron spear the other with a shield of flying rowan and dragon tooth dagger (among standard gear). They are preparing to joust over a captured, bound and gagged level 2 chieftain's son. All three of them will violently hate you if you try to rescue him.
4. The trees are in a 4x3 grid and the path goes directly down the middle of it.  If the the area just past the trees is excavated they will find the foundation of an old hall or small palace.  A week of careful digging with result in 3202 copper coins, a golden battleaxe head and a suit of horn scale armour. The horn scale armour is blessed by ancient gods and will therefore work against ethereal assaults.

Dubs (in addition to other results)
5.  If a tree is present the area is consecrated ground to a nature spirit.  If not, there is a smooth stone throne in front of the pond.  Sitting in this throne regenerates mana at a rate of 1 point per hour. A sage could dig up and destroy the area to learn "Visions of the Moon Pond", a version of scrying.
6. The chieftain(s) and the retainers are all mounted on horses and carry an extra 150 golden coins.

Max (in addition to other results)
18:  The chieftains have just finished burying a chest with 12000 silver coins at the base of  the tree.  They will come up with any bullshit reason they can to have the players accompany them back to civilization.  This way they can ensure the players won't steal their treasure before they make it back.  The chieftains each have 102 golden coins upon them, each retainer has 50 silver coins.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Random Grimoires

In NGR it is incredibly important that wizard's try and keep their spells to themselves.  Obviously over time sharing, stealing, apprenticeships and librarians ensure that some spells, or rather collections of spells, are more common than others.  While I do also keep a different type of chart for random spells (unique or rare one-offs) this is a table for the more common grimoires in a table.   The Cultes De Goules and the Necronomicons of a region.

For each rare book a collector or wizard MIGHT have roll a d20.  For each more common tome roll 3d6.  The mathematical reasons for this should be obvious.

1.) Entreaties to the lady in the tower of iron
 "An iron cover engraved with intricate geometric designs. The pages within are delicate rice paper and written with rigid and precise Chinese characters."
   - Supplications Eternal (A version of silence with a permanent duration)

2.) Inner Mysteries of the Elder Masons
"The cover is white deerskin stretched over oak panels stamped with the gold sigil of the masons.  The pages are supple vellum, written with silver ink."
   - Sacred Wall (A version of barrier that summons a permanent brick wall. Casting time is 1 minute ppl)
   - The owed hart (Summons nearest elk)

3.) Chants and Runes of House Ulthark
 "An enormous granite box, inside are neatly stacked copper plates, each acting as a stencil when used in the correct order."
   - Base of the Mountain (Version of Elemental Rune: Earth)
   - Summit's Peak (Version of Elemental Rune: Frost)

   - Forged of Pain (Warding on Metal Weapons)
   - Forged of Belligerence (Warding on Metal Helms)
   - Cooled Passions (Permanency on metal item when first being cooled, x2 Difficulty and Cost)

4.) The Silver Codex
"The cover is made from two smooth silver plates, the pages are fine sheets of blue silk written with silver ink."
   - The Everfull Pouch (enhanced capacity for bags and sacks)
   - Sun Burst (Flash, but with sunlight, as such it can damage the undead)
   - Worn to dust by Nuldrin's grace  (Erase)
   - Ruin of the Vault Dwellers (Rune Lock)

5.) The Book of Aarrgh...
"A simple black leather cover with heavy brass buckles and a title that seems to trail off. The pages inside are crisp and fresh.  Most copies of this tome have a supernatural entity bound in its back pages,  freed upon beginning to read them."
   - Keeper of Forbidden Knowledge (Imprison within a blank book, reading the new text frees it)
   - Screams of Anguish (Cantrip: Causes a random scream to emanate from off in the distance)

6.) The Rot on the Roots of Yggdrasil
"A polished and smooth brown leather tome, large enough to cover a small writing desk when opened.  It is fastened with a leather strap with a gold buckle. The book has  glossy paper,  written in Elven with shiny red ink that is actually a potent contact poison. The tome details the secrets of the demon-god MiGo, this allows even a layman reader the ability to exorcise the supernatural, but only against demon's and undead of MiGo."
   - Viscous Bolt (A version of Bolt that assaults the target with a stream of flesh eating fungal soup)
   - Narcoleptic Spores (A version of Blast that releases a cloud dealing a d12 of shock or stun damage)
   - Cordyceptus Mammalia (A version of raise undead on mammals that creates infections fungal zombies)

7.) Rites of the Elder Masons
"An unassuming grey buckram bound book. The book will have a heavy iron lock upon it."
   - Masonic Robes (Robes become hard like stone, acting as armour)
   - Heat of the First Stones (Detect Magic, using heat)
   - Glowing Stones (Glow, but can only be cast upon worked stone or bricks)

8.) Rites of the Death Eaters
"A set of rolled up patches of human leather, coated in intricate tattoos. A d20 roll would give all 5, with 3d6 they will have a copy of each result shown on a die, which may include doubles or even no scroll with a 6."
   - Wall of Dung (Barrier, but made out of packed animal dung) - 1
   - Beelzbubs Wrath (Cone of flies, dealing d4 ppl) - 2
   - Bloodthirst of the Moonlight (Channeling, drinking fresh blood by moonlight) -3
   - Power of the Hog Totem (Polymorph self into giant hog, permanent) -4
   - Whispering Glow of the Damned Souls (Spell Storage into Candle)- 5

9.) The Little Green Book
"A small little hardcover book bound in cheap green buckram. The pages are stamped text on flimsy paper akin to newsprint and are bound poorly"
   - Lightning Bolt (Bolt spell, player must shout "Lightning Bolt!" once per power level)
   - Schmetterling (Flight Spell, caster grows giant butterfly wings for duration)
   - Dust to Dust (Dispel, 1 dif/cost ppl, only works on undead)
   - Courier's Hope (Fast Feet, only cast on others, target grows tiny wings on ankles)

10.) The Little Blue Book
"A small little hardcover book bound in cheap blue buckram. The pages are stamped text on flimsy paper akin to newsprint and are bound poorly"
   - Wall of Earth (Barrier of loose soil)
   - Defiler of Gaia (Channeling, harms plants in 1 area radius ppl)
   - Litany of Choolar (Dispel, only 1 dif ppl, deals 1 damage to caster ppl)
   - Delayed Orb of Force (Blast, goes off in 1 round ppl, can't shorten timer)

11.) The Little Red Book
"A small little hardcover book bound in cheap red buckram. The pages are stamped text on flimsy paper akin to newsprint and are bound poorly"
   - Cat's Eye (Night vision, caster actually has cat eyes for duration)
   - Crushing Blow (Damaging touch, blunt force)
   - Static Wail (Interference)
   - The Black Arrow (Warding, arrows and bolts only)

12.) Edicts of Vydyl, The Lady in Black
"A large cloth disk covered in tiny Gaelic writing.  It is a holy text to the druids of Vydyl but also contains coded secrets in its text. "
   - Dancing Shadows(Cantrip)
   - Mantle of the Shadow Dragon (Polymorph self, only the first third of spell)

13.) The Diary of Count DeSade
"A simple red leather journal with a silk ribbon "
   - Wave of Madness (Blast that deals stress not damage)
   - Gift of the Dhampyr (Channeling, drink blood from living victim)
   - Talons of the Soul (Damaging touch, deals stress leading to mind control not damage)

14.) The Druidic Rites of Vydyl
"A richly embroidered black wool tapestry depicting scenes and runes detailing of the actions of Vydyl with a  single winding grey thread"
   - Shadow Tendrils (Cone, a wave of lashing tendrils doing d12, won't work in bright light)
   - Whispering Shadows (Message, from shadow to shadow)
   - Shadowrifts (Blast, doing d12, won't work in bright light)
   - Mantle of the Shadow Dragon (Polymorph self, only the second third of spell)

15.) Songs of the Woodwose
"A large gnarled root suitable for use as a club.  It is ornately carved with pictographs and runes in a winding spiral"
   - Wall of Thorns (Barrier)
   - Bee Swarm(Cone, Bees for d4 (+1 vs unarmoured),  must say "BEEEEEEES!" when casting)
   - View Veil (Detect Magic)
   - Call of the Wild (Interference for non plant/animal spells only)
   - Woodflesh (Petrify, but into wood)

16.) Dairy of the Princess of Candyland
"There are so very many sparkles, and its pink, with tassels,  really this is just the most obnoxious looking sparkly diary you can picture a 6 year old ballerina wanting"
   - Rainbow Bolt (Bolt, D7 damage, damaging is converting matter into candy)
   - BFF (Charm Person, Permanent until aggression or mean words)
   - Fireworks of Candyland (Blast, only damages on 1 or 6, on 6 roll 2 extra dice)
   - Nightmare Fuel (Simulacrum, only works on stuffed animals or dolls)

17.) Typicalities of Phrool
"A purple stained wood cover, splattered with multicoloured paint. The pages are gold ink on tie-dyed vellum pages"
   - A Shadow of Time (Illusion, only of whats there now,  uses all senses for difficulty of just one)
   - Mask of Phrool (Glamour of  psychedelic man sized jelly fish that speaks in a buzzing tone, reeks of sulfur )
   - Lost to the Ages (Erase)

18.) The Higher Mysteries of Vydyl
"A bowling ball sized polished black stone inlaid with mystic runes"
   - Shadow Portal (Portal, requires a shadow to duck into)
   - Mantle of the Shadow Dragon (Polymorph self, only the final third of spell)

19.) The Serpen Lexicon
"A giant scroll written on the skin of some massive snake or wyrm, as large as any Torah"
   - Charming Tongues (Charm person, can only tell lies, grows forked tongue for duration)
   - Supplications to Yig (Summons a giant spectral cobra)
   - Congress of Yig (Channeling, regain mana by pure ew, requires a snake)

20.) The Book of Bone
"The cover of this book is black leather, studded with human teeth. The inner pages are penned in the blood of crows on paper reclaimed from defiled holy texts"
   - Legion of  the Dead (Raise undead, 20x effectiveness, only usable on a battlefield, must first slay those who slew them, or their current descendants)
   - Carrion's Debt Foreclosed (Raise undead crows, vultures or hyenas, 5x effectiveness)
   - Mother's Lament (Raise undead, ghost of stillborn from grave, 1 diff ppl, +5 to free will)
   - Eternal Torment of the Wicked (Raise undead, wizard from their talisman, double free will chance)
   - Tail of the Dragon (Imprison, Ghost into Skull)
   - Dust to Dust  (Dispel, 1 dif/cost ppl, only works on undead)

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Barrens

Continuing my compilation of seed charts..
To use, roll a d8, d6 and d4.  Know the total result, and the result of each die.  Unless specifically told to roll a die,  you should only have 1 die roll.

Terrain: The Barrens (Isolated shield wilderness)
Travel Speed: 2 per week

Where? (d8)
1.  Spacious white pine forest,  the ground is damp and rotting.
2.  Junipers and other small shrubs among discarded boulders resting on visible bedrock with patches of grass.
3.  A reed covered marsh with worn bedrock cliffs for most of the shores. Easy ford available on 8+
4.  A lake surrounded by stray boulders and white pine
5.  Small rolling hills covered with mazes of low juniper bushes
6.  A dense cedar forest, the ground is covered with  tinder. 800+ year old ruins of cobblestone houses on 10+
7.  A damp and crowded cave full of slick mud and treacherous depths in a cliff face.
8.  As six result, but with a crumbling stone fortress as well on a 16+

What? (d6)
1. Hungry wolves prowl the area (d8+d4)
2. Nothing
3. d4 Raccoons will attempt to rob the parties supplies if they camp without dogs
4.  Woodwose hunters (d8+d4)
5.  Woodwose village (20 + 3x Total# occupants)
6. d4 Woodwose priests + d8 Woodwose followers/guards

Weird? (d4)
1. Heavy rain falls turn soil to thick mud
2. A wooden shrine (consecrated) is surrounded by animal bones. An ash filled fire pit is full of smooth coloured stones.
3. A set of standing stones around a stone slab, overgrown with moss and lichen.  Signs of use and consecration on 9+)
4. Vultures circle over head.

Triples (in addition to other results)
1. The wolves are lead by the legendary silver wolf (Level 7 warrior, priest, priest)
2. The fire pit is still burning, the smell of burning meat is present. 3 woodwose hearts are in the fire.  An ethereal demon haunts the area (Int. 6, Social 6, Spirit 20, knows cantrip to polish stones, 10 piety)
3. The blood golem is within 100 feet and will hunt any unfaithful, striking when least expected.
4. A recently killed woolly rhinoceros lies dead at the lake edge, soaked thoroughly.

Dubs (in addition to other results)
5. A simple wicker fence surrounds the village. A level 3 warrior chief rules the village.
6. 4 additional woodwose are held prisoner in pits. The head priest is level 2 with 200 piety.

Max (in addition to other results)
18: The castle is inhabited by a withered sorcerer lich, possibly once a woodwose or other large creature.  Served by the priests and guards as well as a size modifier 4 giant bat that appears to be formed from snow and ice. The bat can breath frost in a cone (up to power level 3, 30 mana).  The lich has 3 random spell books in tattered and bloodstained condition, as well as a crude lab full of dried herbs, bits of animals and stone tools.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wendish Wood

This seed chart is a way...way... less useful.  I ran a D&D game as a "Cover Band" version of the famed Nightwick Abbey.   This chart was used as the "Random Lost in the Woods" table. As usual to use, roll a d8, d6 and d4.  Know the total result, and the result of each die.  Unless specifically told to roll a die,  you should only have 1 die roll.

Terrain: The Wendish Wood (the Dark Country)

Where? (d8)
1.  Very dense trees with tangled, tripping roots sticking out of the rotting leaves that litter the floor (small weapons only)
2.   As above,  but with a small gnome trail leading to their village (difficult to notice)
3.   An open grove, a radius equal to the Total# x 3
4.   Dark and shadowy black forest, under the rotting leaves is an old cobble road leading to the temple in a winding spiral.  Only found if the ground is dug or someone very heavy is walking.
5.  As above, but with a small visible gnome trail instead of the old road.
6.  The trees are somewhat space apart in this region, allowing light to stream in. Large rocks are strewn about.
7.  The ground is marshy and will eat boots, slowing movement. The trees are rotting and askew, but also allowing in beams of light to illuminate the fern covered rotting logs.
8.  The trees have a heavy canopy but light will flicker and filter through to the thick and vibrant moss. It is sylvan and almost idyllic.

What? (d6)
1.  Total # of Gnomes!
2.  d4 of Groans if its night or the terrain allows no light, otherwise nothing.
3.  A pack of hungry wolves (d4+1)x2
4.  All is eerily quiet
5.  Light whistling with no point of definite origin
6.  d8 Pagan Hunters (odd) or the changeling twins on even (only encountered once)

Weird? (d4)
1. A wooden totem with a bloodstained wooden offerings bowl full of teeth, d6 of which are gold, and a random expensive gem on dubs
2. A bubbling spring or brook is in the area
3. Flesh squirrels (fanged carnivorous squirrels). They will swarm from the trees on anyone knocked prone or killed, but will never venture within 5' of fire.
4.  A (fairly) clean set of clothes are on the ground

Triples (in addition to other results)
1.  The totem is on a chalk coated earthen mound that spirals to a deep spring (well). The totem points towards the temple.  The spring is 60 feet deep and contains:  30 silver, a silver dagger, 3001 copper coins, 1 roman gold coin, 13 gold rings/bands, a pearl necklace (500gp value) and a green foil cape of unknown origin (Magical: +2 to caster level for determining spell effects, user ages twice as fast, cursed).  The well and mound are surrounded by dozens of stone gnome statues, and several pairs of shoes and rotting rocking horses are also strewn about.  The gnomes will be foraging mushrooms.

2.  The groans are both stuck in deep mud from the brook, 8 elderly gnomes are darting about them throwing half eaten apples and insults with abandon.  The groans are swatting at the gnomes but also attempting to keep them at bay.  If observed quietly for several minutes it will become obvious the Groans are not trying to eat the gnomes and the gnomes are trying to enrage the groans.
3.  All the wolves are dead and lying in the center of the grove.  Should anyone touch a wolf corpse,  dozens of flesh squirrels will leap out and try to burrow into their entrails and other orifices, 5d6 damage on a failed save, 1d6 on a successful.  Wearing metal armour results in d6 or no damage.
4.  A man is running naked through the woods, other than a wolf headdress.  He has broken hands and is exhausted (1hp) he knows the way to the temple.

Dubs (in addition to other results)
5.  The golem is chasing the party
6.  The party is approaching the golem who will probably hear them coming.

Max (in addition to other results)
18: . You actually stumble back upon what you were looking for (Gnome village, Temple, Levnec or the edge of the forest)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The city of the Fomorians

Continuing my compilation of seed charts with one a little less generically useful. This is the remains of a "Victorian" and slightly steampunk metropolis after the magical equivalent of a nuclear apocalypse. Your use of this one may vary.  I have a slightly tweaked version of this I use for abandoned or war torn urban areas.
To use, roll a d8, d6 and d4.  Know the total result, and the result of each die.  Unless specifically told to roll a die,  you should only have 1 die roll.

Terrain: The city of the Fomorians (Mutant infested ruined metropolis)
Travel Speed: the d8x2 per week

Where? (d8)
1.  Massive piles of rubble, buildings on the verge of collapse. Overgrown with scrub and pine or oak.
2.  Several collapsed buildings among meandering alleys. Overgrown with juniper and some oaks
3.  Occasional collapsed building in dense residential sprawl. Small trees and bushes grow on rotting roofs.
4.  An important and grand building (such as a bank, mansion or police station)
5.  Overgrown suburbs and parks turned into fallow or sickly fields. Crumbled remains of small brick houses.
6.  A large factory (brick) or workshop full of heavily rusted machines. Rail lines are present, also with an operational steam engine on 13+
7.  Wide main streets and the remains of makeshift fortifications.  A few plants here and there.
8.  A wide highway, the walls lining the road are starting to crumble. Bones and some dirt litter the floor amongst long abandoned quarantine checkpoints.

What? (d6)
1. Cats! So very, VERY many cats.  Ruled by a local lvl d4 cat queen (Wizard/Wizard/Priest)
2. Eerie quiet, heavy echoes.
3. d8+d4 Fungal Zombies lurking in the shadows
4. Total# of Fomorians
5. Wild Game (1: Total# of feral dogs 2-3: Total#x2 pigs 4: Total# of cows)
6. d8xd4 giant ants on Even and > 10, d4 giant spiders on odd

Weird? (d4)
1.Heavy grafiti on the walls, singing of doom at hand
2. Dangerous levels of magical contamination (Mystic Wasteland)
3. The sewers in the area are full of poison gas
4. Heavy Artillery left to rust, there is an underground (and unstable) magazine on 12+

Triples (in addition to other results)
1. Runes of binding are scrawled on the walls, holding an ancient elemental or horror released by the elves in stasis.
2. Working doomsday device (if moved without a very hard check by a skilled engineer, everyone within several miles dies)
3. Shrine to MiGo, adorned with skulls.  3 Myconoid priests, 13 Fomorian Cultists, 20 fungal zombies.
4. Fomorion Warrior King! Level 7 warrior, warrior, wizard. Three level 3 warrior, warrior, rogue guards, +50 civilians

Dubs (in addition to other results)
5. Small Fomorian settlement (3-4 families, +d4 warriors)
6. Airship hangar, occupied by 4x the normal denziens (if more than one denzien is present, an airship with a health of total -12 is present)

Max (in addition to other results)
18: A Size Mod 15 Ant Queen called "Death" by the locals is rampaging above ground.  7 luck points, can take 13 damage. This is a cultural icon.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Shadowmurk

Continuing my compilation of seed charts (now that these ones are no longer used in my home game)..

To use, roll a d8, d6 and d4.  Know the total result, and the result of each die.  Unless specifically told to roll a die,  you should only have 1 die roll.

Terrain: The Shadowmurk (Isolated Swamp)
Travel Speed: 1 per week (4 with boat)

Where? (d8)
1.  Open water, heavy amounts of reeds or cat-tails. Water is waist deep with deeper pockets
2.  Hip deep water, skinny dead trees rising up. Pockets of reeds
3.  Soggy Hillocks, lots of reeds, some dead trees and a handful (d4) of large willow trees.
4.  Dying forest, ponds of water and soggy ground.  Many downed logs and moss everywhere.
5.  Dying forest, open patches of slow moving water.  Moss, lichens and ivy cover trees.
6.  Open land, marshy hillocks and bog. Water holes occassionally (the water is DEEP)
7.  d4 result is used for 'Where'.
8.  d6 result is used for 'Where'.

What? (d6)
1. Total# x 2 of undead (1:Fungal, 2: Bog Mummies 3: Lichen encrusted skeletons, 4: Fungal)
2. Nothing
3. Swampfolk on raft (d4+1)
4. Pixie Circle on even and < 13
5. Explorers on 12+ (d4+1 first level characters)
6. Swarm of sentient land octopii on 13+ (d8+d4)

Weird? (d4)
1. Heavy Fog billows in, can't see more than 30 feet
2. Stilt Houses (1 on even, d6 on odd)
3. Stone Pillar emerging from water
4. Long swallowed battlefield

Triples (in addition to other results)
1. Fungal Grizzle Bear!
2. Crazy Hermit! (Alchemist/Hedgewizard with random spellbook)
3. A dark cult placating an eldritch horror to sleep (cult leader has miracles and 100 piety)
4. Small elven and fairey settlement (20ish Members, lead by level 1 bard/warrior/wizard)

Dubs (in addition to other results)
5. Beached shipwreck full of rotting cargo. Military on 14, Durable goods otherwise
6. Cruel Sidhe animal handler, knows the water breathing spell (Lvl 2 Rogue/Rogue/Warrior)

Max (in addition to other results)
18:  Elven spirits and human ghosts wage the same war under every full moon

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Ghost Coast

Continuing my compilation of seed charts (now that these ones are no longer used in my home game)..

To use, roll a d8, d6 and d4.  Know the total result, and the result of each die.  Unless specifically told to roll a die,  you should only have 1 die roll.

Terrain: The Ghost Coast (Haunted Shoreline)
Travel Speed: 7 per week

Where? (d8)
1.  Pebble beach, littered with driftwood. Very open.
2.  Sandy Beach. Rolling dunes and scrub.
3.  Cliffs and bluffs, cave on 9+
4.  Ruined coastal village and crumbling docks
5.  Dangerous rocks just out to sea, else as 1.
6.  Pebble beach, littered with boulders.  Lighthouse on 14+ (in ruins on 1-2 on d4)
7.  d6 result is used for 'Where'.
8.  Small island just offshore on 16+, else as 2.

What? (d6)
1. Total# of Skeletal mariners just offshore. Raid beach at night to drag victims under.
2. Nothing
3. Ghouls (d8xd4) on even, Total# of cultists to sea deity/demon on odd and 9+
4. Fishermen on 12+ (d8+d4)
5. Nothing on even, d8x3 bandits on odd (crude weapons, light shields, d4 captives)
6. Horrific Sea Beast (size mod = d8+d4) as soon as water becomes deep

Weird? (d4)
1. Dense fog all morning, blocks sun.
2. Shipwreck (very old) on 13+
3. Nothing on even, washed ashore sea beast (as 6) on 14+. If 6, the beast as laid eggs.
4. High Winds

Triples (in addition to other results)
1. Sea elf necromancer, lvl 4, 3 spells (random) + "Open the doors to Davy Jones Locker" (raise undead)
2. Fort full of untouched treasure, magically contaminated to a dangerous level, some weapons
3. Massive Underground Temple, 20 extra guards (each heavily armed and armoured)
4. Small village, 3 craftsmen + 40 people lead by a despot/king with a disorganized religion

Dubs (in addition to other results)
5. A large herd of wild goats (hundreds)
6. Level d4 wizard lives on beach (in shack if no lighthouse).  Has d4 cumulative random spells.

Max (in addition to other results)
18:  Island has sheltered community of several dozen, use the d4 for the chart before, but re-roll it if the result has come up before.
 I - An outpost of sub-human cannibals in a rigid hierarchical theocracy
II - A charming and idyllic (looking) gnome community
III - A wistful community of elves busy dreaming of another time
IV - A human community from the previous era who survived the cataclysm who stick strongly to the old ways (think Roman republicans in the 9th century)