Saturday, May 14, 2022

Five Variations to Yet Another Ruined Tower (#3 in an ongoing(?) series)

Like many of us, I can't resist the mystery of an abandoned tower out in the hinterlands. The “deed to a ruined tower” inspiration came from an occasional result in the Donjon RPG tools “Random Pickpocket Loot” generator. I've used the concept of the “deed” as a potential seed or impetus a couple of times before: here, and here

And really, any “free” thing should be a bit of a white elephant, especially when we are talking about a piece of real estate.

I've written multiple adventures from a single map as a creative exercise before. In previous cases, it was four scenarios. In this case, y'all get an bonus scenario. No extra charge. So enjoy, and I hope one of these little adventures finds its way to your table.

Download your Real Estate Here

Monday, May 2, 2022

Writing Prompt: Secret Jackalope 2022, Part III

Sneaking in another uncompleted Secret Jackalope writing prompt off the OSR Discord:

Goblin Glenn Close requested:  "Party time! Please invent 6 festivals for a town or city in the setting of your choice."

Here we go:

Several years back, I roughed out an insular halfling collective of interconnected villages out in the hinterlands somewhere, so I suppose that they need a few celebrations specific to their community and individual settlements...  

1. First Bloom: The village of Amberhallow tenses with anticipation in the spring as the buds swell on the sacred tulip tree, an ancient, twisted growth in the center of the market square. It is a unique tree, with none like it in the forests, and although it blooms, no seeds ever germinate. It also hearkens the end of the Hungry Gap, as herbs and leafy greens begin to emerge. Oh yes, the blooms. Lots are drawn and food and drink laid in for the fete. Eyes can't help but drift to the tree as it greens and buds. What day and hour will it bloom, and who will receive the blessed tiding of the year for having guessed the closest to the emergent moment? At the sign of the first bloom, all tasks are dropped, all duties set aside, as the town explodes in joyous exultation, with gaunt residents pooling the remains of their stores to feast and dance, for the spring can't truly arrive until this storied tree reveals itself.

2. Burning Minds: Upon the summer solstice, the Myconids silently emerge from the deep forest to join the citizens of Birchspell for a week of spore-driven hallucination and hive-minding. Secrets are revealed and thoughts stripped bare during this week of ecstatic dance, commutation, and clairvoyance. It is a time of soul-baring and forgiveness, going back generations for the community, since they first made contact with the mysterious mushroom-folk. The Myconids receive, in turn, wagonloads of manure and corn whisky, which they carry back to their enclaves hidden within humid caverns deep in the forest for their own cultivations and purpose. 

3. The Scouts' Honor: The Bogaert Scouts are the community's watchful eyes and outriders. In the summer, they are honored in Myrkan with a festival of food and competitions. This is one of the few celebrations where outsiders join, as halfling marksmen, hunters, and snipers from far-flung communities ride in to try themselves against the Scouts. The Scouts and their guests compete in archery and slinging, both in accuracy and trick-shooting. Many apples are slain, and arrows are split. The sling competition of “Bonk the Giant” is always a crowd favorite, as the large wicker figure takes abuse from sling stones until collapsing in a splintered wreck. The celebration culminates with a hide-n-seek competition lasting three days, with the winner receiving the honorary Green Hood of Peplyn.

4. Call of the Bread: Upon the grain harvest comes the Call of the Bread, the hallowed celebration of the baked crafts. This is often the most festive and raucous of the community celebrations as the halflings gather in Myrkan to celebrate and eat. And eat. All things baked are joyously and intensely celebrated, and baking contests of complex artworks of bread, sweets, and rolls are the order of the day. Last year the theme was “Bread as Hats” and quite elaborate and tasty headgear was flaunted by the bakers of the day.

5. Return of the Brown Cow: The hamlet of Deepshire releases a blessed cow into the Ablan Timberlands every spring. She fades into the dark forest, rumored to be haunted by the dead of failed pioneers, or by ineffable fey. Upon the bovine's return in the autumn (and somehow, she always returns), the village feasts and fetes, with the village elders and seers gathering around the prodigal beast to read auguries writ into the scars on her hide and ferment holy draughts from her milk. 

6. Grim Dance of the Winter Wolves: Held on the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, lean villagers gather to make a solemn dance in their halls, howling in imitation of the wolves that call at the edges of the forest. At midnight, an extra pig, or perhaps a totem of salted meat, is left in the market square, to be stolen away by the wolves in the night. There are rumors that in past times, or during particularly harsh winters, that a resident would be chosen by lot to be drugged and left out as offering for the beasts, but if anyone inquires to this tale, the villagers will politely change the subject.


And Some Bonus Festivals:

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Writing Prompt: Secret Jackalope 2022, Part II

Folks over on the OSR Discord have started sniping one another's Secret Jackalope prompts, adding to the variety, creativity, and insanity of the writing prompts.

And I need to loosen up my mind with a bit of free-writing.  So here's a request from user Sigmacastell: "1d10 Failed World-Ending Rituals"


First of all, a word from our sponsor: Tonight's creative muse is brought to you, in part, by Hellbent Kölsch.


Apocalypse 6. Opening the seals

1d10 (plus one) Failed World-Ending Rituals 

(or, Eleven Reasons That the World Was Inadvertently Saved From Certain Doom On This Fateful Night)

  1. Dyslexia: The Ancestral Invocation of the Wraiths of Insanity was disrupted because Brother Llewellyn brought a vegan for the sacrifice instead of a virgin.

  2. Scheduling Conflict*: Who could have known that both the the Creed of Greprithos and the Harbingers of Clarity would have foretold that their particular apocalypse rituals at the Stone of Perchaverack would occur on the same night intersecting a particular 200-year planetary alignment and gibbous moon? A serious kerfuffle ensued, followed by a coordination of Google calendars for the next bicentennial planetary alignment.

  3. Pronunciation Error: The Chant of L'etllx inadvertently called up the Dark Lord's brother-in-law L'yttlx, who, instead of ushering in The Burning Winds, indoctrinated the Cult of the Wanderers of Aleflashi into a multi-level-marketing scheme, inspiring them to shill questionable dietary supplements and ergonomic sacrificial daggers to friends and relatives.   

  4. Dress Code: Brother Simon wore the wrong socks to the Ancient Ceremony of Fiends. The Fiends are quite particular about their 100% merlino wool. Blends will just not do.

  5. Procrastination: Fortunately the world-core-shattering Consuming Evocation of the Ghastly Monolith keeps getting postponed by the Cult of Our Holy Sister of the Frittering Nemesis.

  6. Quality Control: No organic-certified(tm) sacrificial goats were available during the window of opportunity for the Paragons of the Comet's Star-Fall Ritual of the Chain of Disorder.

  7. Divine Intervention: Planetary doom was delayed when the dark All-Father-God Croesten showed up when the Cult of Harrowed Emissaries summoned his son Antasban the Dire to enact the Bane of Mankind. Croesten admonished Antasban and grounded him for being out after the solar alignment, before likewise giving the cult a good scolding and leaving in a huff.

  8. IT Problems: Vaccine-implanted 5G microchipping was found to be incompatible with the original coding used by the Antikythera mechanism for the Summoning of the Grave of Heaven.

  9. Failure to Read the Terms and Conditions: Something-something first-born....

  10. Global Warming: The Ritual of the Sallow Wolf has been canceled due to the death of the One-Tree Athachenth, which has been attributed to climate-change-driven invasive boring beetles.

  11. Dead Language: The last native speaker of the Hallowed Tongue of the Hontintur passed away last week prior to the completion and quality-control verification of the final phonetic transcription of the Moon-Splitting Song of Vlu.

or perhaps pancakes...

Completed with some help from a few Random Name Generators.

* And, because user Jojiro was curious as to what constitutes a 'kerfuffle' when two apocalypse cults meet on the same foretold night:

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Scaldwater: Another Little Town on the Coast

Quite some time ago, I ginned up the story of a little thorp on a spit, separated from the mainland by a decaying wall. Why it was there, why it was walled, what it role may have been in the local politics or economy...

So Jackson crafted up another little burg with a similar geography and form around the same time, by the name of Scaldwater Bay

Like many maps and projects, it languished in the to-do list and backwoods of some notebook. In the interim, Matt crafted up one of the business establishments in the village, The Weary Wench, with a brief background, which I took it upon myself to expand.

Returning to Scaldwater Bay, I built out the remainder of the points of interests and personalities of note. It's been a while since I populated a town, so why not? And I needed to figure out where its name came from. 

And in the name of completion, I folded the tavern in as its own expanded feature in the town description. Because, after all, a tavern is where it all starts...

Download me here

A note - I uploaded this to, and will probably port over other selected works to that venue. Not that I expect to become a gaming dollarnaire, but more as the purpose of a tip jar. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

A Return to the Abbey of St. Martin

So we were at the brewery a couple of weeks ago, and as is often our habit, the wife and I were doing our creative things. She was doodling in her sketchbook, and I was scribbling up some map content. In the back of my notebook I found a filled character sheet and a short adventure. So I handed her the sheet and asked, "green or purple?" (dice). And off we ran.

Jax is a human barbarian that the wife rolled up via the OSE Advanced Fantasy Characters supplement. She's all about long walks on the beach, looking for helpful herbs, and being somewhat sketched out by magic.

And as she was on her own in this adventure, I gave her the option of a buddy.

"Do you want a hireling or a war dog?"

"War dog." (I should know this already.)

Meatshields provided "Goober" from Central Casting. Above average hit points, and a "rescue" dog. Although we weren't sure if he had been rescued, or performed rescues. More on that later. As I've done before, many of Goober's responses to commands or situations were determined, in part by a 2d6 reaction roll.

Spoilers, of course

Jax entered the old abbey, stepping carefully over the detritus of the entryway. She avoided the doorway to the left, continuing in and inspecting the floor mosaics. Jax felt that the pulpit area seemed a bit sketchy, so only gave it a cursory inspection (avoiding deadfall). The open door to the southwest was intriguing, and Goober was sent ahead to scout. Goober paused at the door and sniffed (2d6 reaction roll, neutral). Listening and peering in, Jax saw a large black furry lump. Recognizing it as a bear, she left it to its slumber, backing away slowly.