Monday, May 23, 2022

Writing Prompt: Secret Jackalope 2022, Part IV

One more prompt from the OSR Discord "Secret Jackalope 2022" writing prompts (Round 2 assignments). This time, "Nonstandard creatures with useful bits and how to harvest them" via user @wyattwashere.

Nonstandard creatures, eh? 

Well, OK. I guess I'll delve back to the lunacy that is the 1981 Fiend Folio and pull up a few uncommon (and at least one better-known) critters and make up some stuff.

The harvested organs and products are each one element in the creation of their respective products, and other undetermined ingredients or reagents will be required....

1d7 Unpleasant Monsters and Their Useful Bits

The Adherer - The adherer is a creature resembling a mummy, but is not an undead. Instead, it secretes a “resinous solvent” that causes any weapons to stick to it until the creature is slain. Fortunately, it is susceptible to fire, and boiling water, in sufficient quantities, can break the adhesive's grip. The adhesion breaks down 5-10 turns after the creature's death.

Product: Although the excretions from this creature have been rumored to be ingredients for sovereign glue or universal solvent, wise practitioners of the alchemical arts know that this is folly. However, the “glue” has been incorporated into another reagent to help deal with more ghostly foes:

Spirit Gum: An application of this viscous fluid will cause an incorporeal foe to become semi-corporeal for 2d4 rounds, allowing them to take half-damage from non-magical weapons during that period. 

Adhesive from two adherers is required to create one use of spirit gum. The adhesive must be collected immediately upon the adherer's death by dissolving the adhesive in four gallons of hot water. The water is then distilled off to provide raw material for creation of the gum. 

Crypt Thing – This is a moderately powerful undead whose primary defense/effect is to teleport its foes to a random location (100-1000 feet distant, or up/down one dungeon level). 

Product: Arcane research has determined that this ability lies within the shriveled pituitary of the creature, nestled at the base of its mummified brain. Upon slaying one of these challenging undead, a knowledgeable individual may be able to identify and remove the gland with a magical weapon.

These may be used to create a Wand of Teleportation at half the time and expense. However, because of the corruptions inherent within the crypt thing's preservation and reanimation, there is a 2 in 20 chance that use of the item will send the user in a random direction consistent with the crypt thing's inherent abilities (table from FF, below).

Disenchanter – This aggravating creature's ability is magic drain, as it "feeds" on magical energy, attacking enchanted items and sucking out the magic through its extensible snout.

Product: The capacitor-like organ where a disenchanter "digests" enchantments resembles a stomach, but is packed with filaments capable of absorbing arcane energies. From this organ, an expert biomancer may create one of two devices. 

Friday, May 20, 2022

The Tabaxi as an Old-School PC Class

User Sivinus at the OSR Pick-Up Games Discord server offered up to host a character class contest. 

It has been decided that we would run a contest to see who could make the best class! The way this contest works is that you sign up below and make a class, very simple. The start date (May 30th) is when you should have submitted your class and voting stars and the end date (June 2nd) is when voting closes. Anyone can join, the only requirement is that you sign up below and then make your own class, which you will submit by sending it @sivinus (me).

Good enough - I've done a few character classes in the past, some more serious than others. And it's a fun exercise to build out a class, typically with some help from random inspiration and some math help by Building a More Perfect Class.

And as much as I wanted to just enter The TechnoViking, I figured new class for new contest.

What to do... what to do...

Serendipitously, I've been perusing the Fiend Folio for some other inspiration on a writing prompt. And I noticed this somewhat familiar critter:

So yeah, the tabaxi have been around since 1981, but weren't an official character class until they were ported into the the current edition, as far as I can tell. There were a couple of other playable cat-folk races, but "tabaxi" as a player race appeared in 5e. And from occasional perusing of 5e actual plays - people apparently like to play cats.


Ok, so back to the source material. I'm not a 5e player, so other than watching some cat PCs, I'm not a subject matter expert. But I do like to convert or create player classes back to B/X. And I have the Fiend Folio.

So here we go.

Cat - so obviously a DEX-based race. The "tabaxi rogue" is pretty much redundant. Let's grab some elements from the FF, and just because, add some climbing/falling qualities for a feline. 

Let's let this cat out of the bag...

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 into 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 competing bakers.

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: