Sunday, August 20, 2017

RPG Blog Carnival: Eclipse Magic

It's been a few months since I contributed to the RPG Blog Carnival, so here I am...

Kobold Press is hosting this month's RPG Blog Carnival, entry, themed 'Magic', with open-ended options on where to explore with the topic.

Sooo...  I think I'll noodle around on the topic with respect to another event this month, the August 21 total solar eclipse...


Although a lot of the online references/resources talk on the magical elements of eclipses with respect to the wiccan/pagan tradition, I'll leave Timothy Brannan to discourse on that...

However, taking a few of the traditional superstitions and themes of the eclipse...  An eclipse is: 1) a focal event, 2) a symbol of compressed time (a day in minutes), 3) an event of reformation/rebirth, and 4) a moment of the Moon suppressing the sun, and

I'm not providing many specific mechanics/spells/items, but more of a meditation on the themes and hopefully some seed ideas...


Focal Event:  The conjunction of the lunar and solar powers loosen the gateways and wards between planes of existence, and of the elements.
  • Conjuration or summoning of extra-planar beings is eased.  Servants are summoned, demons more readily called to their binding circles (Although the bargains they press are still just as hazardous)
  • Elementals may be summoned by lower-level mages and elementalists, and the command more stable, with the risk of loss of control reduced.
  • The dead come closer to the veil of the living, their communications clearer, answers less ambiguous.  
  • Perhaps even the gods bend a bit closer to the mortal plane, and entreaties to their ineffable ears heard with more clarity and openness.

Compressed Time:  A day is compressed into mere minutes, and those attuned will take advantage of the event as a catalyst.
  • Spells and processes requiring time become instantaneous. Scrolls are transcribed immediately, potions brew spontaneously. 
  • Caster levels required to utilize certain spells are reduced during the eclipse, temporarily allowing lower-level casters a glimpse into the powers they may eventually grasp.  This, as all magic, should be approached with great caution, or only under extreme circumstances, as the consequences of failure (or of the end of the eclipse during such machinations) can be catastrophic.
Reformation/rebirth: As the walls between the planes are thinned, the eclipse may offer a multitude of opportunities for reformative events.
  • The deceased have an increased success for resurrection or reincarnation by the priests, with better outcomes, or fewer detrimental side-effects...
  • Curses are more readily lifted, as positive energies may be accessed to wash away the liabilities.
  • The pallor of the undead's touch is healed. Levels lost, such as from powerful undead, may be regained, bringing characters back to their hale and hearty selves. Likewise, faded attributes from magic, poisons, or disease may be recovered...
  • The deities may show a certain forgiveness or clemency.  There may be chances for restoration of lost abilities, particularly lost Divine powers, especially those associated with lunar deities.
"Moon Power":  Like any celestial event, not all is positive energy.  The Night temporarily overcomes the Day for the briefest of moments, allowing dark forces a momentary advantage and freedom...
  • The weakened boundaries between the planes don't benefit only the just, as the powers of Darkness, too, may be unleashed or amplified.  How many plot lines of devices has required the gateway of the eclipse to unleash a particularly maleficent force?
  • Likewise, as the boundaries between the living and dead loosen, the necromantic arts feel a temporary amplification of powers - Creation or animation of the undead is catalyzed, and armies may be raised...
  • Curses may be cast, having greater effects upon individuals, or ranging across wider areas...
  • There comes a sudden eruption and fury of creatures of the dark. Knowing that their opportunity is brief (10-15 minutes of dusk, 2-7 minutes of totality), they mass at crypt doors, at sewer lids, waiting to flood forth.  Storming under the corona's haze, they swarm and feed in a frenzy.  Their numbers and powers magnify, making the turning powers of the holy warriors ineffective against their mass....


Bonus:
Here’s what you’ll see where you live.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Tomb of the Warrior King (a one-hour map and adventure...)

So I had to send some documents to my stepdaughter back east, and y'know, that envelope felt sadly thin.  So, knowing that she and her boyfriend enjoy various tabletop games (and she's gamed with me in the distant past), I stuffed the envelope with a copy of SWL, a few blank character sheets and a quick and dirty hand-written map and adventure...

Here it is, very slightly cleaned up and edited.  Still quick and dirty, with a somewhat uninspired title, but hopefully a passable low-level or introductory adventure, with a small puzzle, a bit of treasure and a couple of magical treats and threats...

Download here
Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

So Your Cleric Pissed Off Their God…

Haven’t posted for a while, so here’s a list…

So your cleric, inadvertently or otherwise, betrayed their deity or violated their vows.  Maybe they offed some orc kids, huffed fungus-man spores, or hooked up with a half-elf of questionable mores…

Regardless, there they are, without spells or turning powers, and entreaties to their god are met with silence…

Better see what it’s gonna take to remedy this…
1. Shit-ton of cash (one level equivalent)
2. Scarification/branding/ordeal (visible scars, perhaps dismemberment)
3. Oh, you wanted to confess and gain forgiveness??  That’s not this temple – you have to go to the central/original/obscure temple (far away….)
4. Oh, sure, just go find this particular relic.  I think a dragon is using it as a pillow…
5. Fasting and penitence…
6. Naked and begging down on the corner
7. Commit a selfless act.  It had better be Medal of Honor-worthy.
8. Read a really big, obscure book of the religion.  Better yet, memorize it.
9. Go plant a tree.  In a sacred grove, it’s a rare specimen.  Watch it grow for a while.
10. Take on a “lost cause”
11. Preach and teach to others of the errors of your ways as an object lesson.
12. Sorry buddy.  Not happening.  You’re now a middling fighter with a mace and a holy symbol…

Ok, so you got your god to let you off the hook, but nothing comes without a cost:
1. You are reinstated, but at 1d3 levels below your original.
2. That port-wine stain marks you as having betrayed your vows.
3. Stigmata.  Preferably at awkward moments.
4. You are blinded to the spiritual world.  One eye goes cloudy, and you can no longer cast detection spells.
5. 1d3 point charisma loss and associated effects on followers and reactions.
6. Armor burns you!  Rely only on the protection of your god – unarmored…
7. Turn undead at 1d3 levels below your current level*
8. Variable effect spells cast at -1 (time, healing, number affected)*
9. Opponents save at +1 vs spells*
10. Loss of class-based saving throw bonuses*

* - lasts for a period of a year and one day.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Infesting Malleth's Canyon (another Dyson Map Desecration(tm))


Populating another Dyson Logos map, this time Malleth's Canyon, a clutch of mini encounter areas/dungeons that he made up a few years back.  I figured that the separate areas had the potential for factions or multiple adventure threads/challenges.  I've poked at it on and off for the last couple of weeks.  Of course, a couple of the elements got away from me, taking on small lives of their own.  And in a couple of cases, items found in the canyon may lead to further adventures and/or complications for a party with them in their possession...

Written up with S&W Complete or Light in mind, but generic enough for other system use.  Enjoy and modify to your heart's content...

Source

House:  Overlooking the drainage is a surprisingly intact abandoned house.  The door opens easily, and although empty, the house does not show the expected depredations.  Dust and cobwebs cover the few remaining pieces of furniture, and nothing of value is found.  Even the roof seems mostly intact, a luxury. It doesn't appear to have been raided, odd, considering the neighborhood.

Well, except for that pesky ghost. Anyone resting in the house overnight will be harassed with a whispered "story?  Story.  Story!" It may be turned by a cleric as 4HD undead, but will return in two hours, still demanding a story.  Other turn attempts will be unsuccessful.  PCs will not be able to rest/recover while it is present.  Perceptive PCs will recognize the spirit to be a ghost-child.  Telling it a bedtime story (best if player role-plays, heh) on nearly any topic will satisfy the spirit and it will leave the party alone. The spiritual presence dissuades wandering critters.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Free RPG Day Fun: One Map, Four Adventures...

Good Morning!

Realized that it has been a while since I've done the exercise of creating multiple scenarios for a single map, so I gave myself the deadline of Free RPG Day to write up a few scenes.  Dyson's Grizzly Eye Cave made for a very evocative space, appropriate for a number of small encounters and challenges...


The adventures were all written up with Swords & Wizardry Light in mind, although they are neutral enough to other systems...

1. Nemar's Truancy:  A prince has retreated to the cave, shirking his official duties - set up as a non-lethal roleplaying opportunity (and bear-wrestling).

2. Ale's Well That Ends Well:  A tavern's stores have been looted and the miscreants appear to be holed up in the cave.

3. Trakohr's Bath:  An ogre must be eliminated, just don't disturb his bathtime...

4. Sand Trap:  A mysterious creature prevents would-be rescuers from entering the cavern to release a pair of hostages.  Using a modded critter from one of my favorite modules.