Wednesday, February 28, 2024

D66 Shrine Locations, Mundane to Exotic

Another brief brainstorming, or perhaps just a brain-flurry...

I can't pull off d100, but d66 is well within the wheelhouse....


D66 Shrine Locations, Mundane to Exotic.

11: Moss-covered isolated menhir to a dead god
12: Ozone-emitting waterfall within a water-carved grotto
13: Iron-bound, brutalist sculpture looming over failed croplands
14: Willow grove filled with mischievous nymphs
15: Haunted cabin in the woods
16: A massive coliseum, ringing with the memories of gladiators and plays
21: Hot springs, vine-draped and wreathed in thick fog
22: An oracle's cavern, steeped in hallucinogenic vapors
23: Massive, overwrought cathedral
24: The crumbling corpse of a petrified dragon
25: A small, shiny rock
26: Monastery perched on a cliffside, ringing with continual mantras
31: A faded portrait on an abandoned manor-house wall
32: An extensive dust-covered library, rarely visited and protected by zealous librarians
33: Monkey-infested jungle temple
34: Creepy hostel, just off an unused trade road
35: Wind-blown desert crossroads
36: Sacred halfling brewery
41: Inundated temple in a rising, shallow sea
42: Hallowed brothel in a city's merchant quarter 
43: Floating stone circle, the stones hanging in space and moaning
44: Single towering basalt column, leagues from any similar stone
45: Grove of trees woven into a delicate structure
46: Smoking caldera, reeking of sulfur
51: Mountain aerie occupied by a pair of sacred eagles
52: Ancient oak guarded by fanatic druids
53: Old battlefield echoing with clashing arms and screaming men
54: Wandering methuselah-elephant adorned with scrimshawed tusks
55: Rusting steel tower filled with flickering, forgotten technology
56: Crashed alien ship containing mummified remains, picked over for exotic metals
61: Gymnasium of fitness ascetics, humid and reeking
62: Stylite's tower, prayers and blessing exchanged by a basket
63: Massive midden pile filled over a vanquished city
64: Silent petroglyph-carved desert slot canyon
65: Cave of primitive ancestors, filled with crude paintings of extinct creatures
66: Ancient, glyph-covered wandering golem

PDF of List


Thursday, February 22, 2024

Campaign Journal: Farewell(?) to Acroria

 Full house:

  • Fulvus - halfling
  • Rondel - elf
  • Frederick - thief
  • Slick - thief
  • Jax - barbarian
  • Orzu - gnome
Our heroes closed out the Autumn Equinox ball from last session. I had to overlap a bit, just to let Slick do Slick things. 

Anyway, Fulvus found a couple of halfling kin raiding the hors d'oeuvre table. The pair were head of the local community, mostly consisting of craft folk and servants. The local gossip in the halfling quarter was continued rumblings of discontent from the Merchant's Guild at being shut out from city decision-making and influence on the Council. Fulvus bid them adieu, and the pair went back to spiking the punch.

Dancing was had, with the halflings showing off their West Shire Swing stylings, and hench Roderick getting turned down by the beguines, and most everyone else. 

Slick, now recovered, prowled the edges of the gathering, before sliding over to the coat check. A bored private yawned and dozed. Slick charitably suggested that the young man might need some fresh air, supporting his observation with some palmed coins. The fellow agreed, stepping out, allowing Slick to take off with a couple of fancy hats. Of course.

Sensing that the festivities were ending, the party stepped out into the night. Most of the group headed out, with Jax lagging as a number of children detained her, begging to pet Goober just one more time as their harried parents pulled them away. Which of course allowed her to be behind the main group and get shanked by the Shadowy Figure(tm) who leapt from an alleyway. The party turned, hurling a few knives and an arrow with limited success. Fulvus darted after the figure with his "fancy boots," but lost them due to their surprisingly fleet feet.

Local guards were called and given report, and Jax was healed and bundled off to the inn. This being the second time she was set upon in town while separated from the rest of the crew. Coincidence, or by design? Hmm...

The next morning, everyone was enjoying their hangover breakfast when a guard captain and substantial number of soldiers arrived. It's almost as if they expected trouble... Anyway... The captain reported that Zejo Drašković, expedition survivor, had been slain in the night. The party responded that they had their own problems, and were alibied so stop bothering us. But the second attack in Jax and subsequent murder of the soldier was of serious concern. It seemed that certain Chaos operatives were in town, causing disruption. 

With that bit of news, the party made their way to the Home for the Wayward. One of Brother Sigeric's "orphans" greeted the party at the side door. "Was just about to send for you. The Brother's in a fit." The brother was, indeed, in a fit. And day drinking. "Welp, seems that Rancent Pere DID get a seat on the Council. I may have been outmaneuvered..." Even with the party's exposure of his double-cross. All commiserated regarding the new complication, and how odd it was that the Council would operate with an even number of members. "Besides, I might actually need to run a legitimate charity..." Everyone agreed to keep an eye out for further developments.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Welcome to the Temple of Dynss, plus some lamentations on creativity

My "Village of Longtooth" post got a little traffic in the last couple of weeks, mostly because Shane mentioned on his blog that he was cribbing it for his new campaign. Much appreciated...

Anyway, I got a comment lamenting that people didn't seem to post up '5-minute maps' and similar creative bits as much anymore, especially since the G+ diaspora. I thought on this, as well. At the time, my mind was much more attuned to creating, so I could see a map like Shane's, or a piece of art that someone posted, save it, and immediately draft up a few notes of description for that piece. Then I'd toss it out into the world, and maybe someone would find it and use it. Who knows. But it was more about creating and sharing for me than any other impetus. 

Now, I have a folder full of maps and ephemera covered in notes that never seem to get transcribed, or some inspiring piece gets lost in the feed and never found again. Gotta fix that.

Which brings us to the Temple of Dynss. Grab a small encounter space, set the timer for an hour, and fill it. Then make sure it gets written up.

Dyson themed it as a lost temple now occupied by a giant lizard, so I took the lizard theme, but gave it the lizardfolk treatment. Old lost temple? They must be returning to it to cause some mischief of their own agenda. Somewhere, I wrote down the random phrases 'smoking ruin' and 'spirit snake' as spells for our main character, a shaman. Wasn't sure, but they sounded like spells that he'd have. I roughed out a plot, pulled some images from Wikimedia, and created some hows and whys. 

Check out this dapper guy

(Although I didn't incorporate the image into the adventure, he's the inspiration for the shaman's guards)

So, an hour plus a few days later, we have our finished work. 

Welcome to the Temple of Dynss

An old temple/mausoleum, complete with a few modified monsters and undead, two new spells, and one new magic item.

Now to figure out how to grab the creative moments more often...

That said, as best as I can tell from my disorganized blog tags, I've written over a hundred adventures. Everything from a single-location encounter to large dungeons requiring multiple sessions (nothing in the mega-dungeon category, yet...). Several include four to five scenarios for a single map, so that adds a few more. Most are probably pretty bog-standard by most criteria, although I do let the mind out to play a bit more now and then... Anyway, they are all free, or at the most PWYW. I'm sure something will be suitable to drop into your table, or perhaps seed an idea of its own.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Gods and Such: a collection of deities

When I've written up a village or adventure space, I'll often add a local deity for color and to add to the  depth of the setting. The deity that the community worships lends an indication to their values and the atmosphere of the place (and how friendly they may be to a bunch of unwashed adventurers). The gods include Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic representatives, to round out the alignments and followers.

For inspiration, I cribbed illustrations from a number of classic pulp and art deco illustrators, including Harry Clarke, Sidney Sime, and Hannes Bok. I've accumulated a long list of artists and art resources for writing inspiration and illustration over the last few years, and it's always fun to find a piece that fits my need from some unexpected source. 

A few of the gods, including Khador, Medeg, Garond, and Combris have shown up in my campaign, with their followers making their own stories and impact. Others have been mentioned or wait in the wings.

Behold, Twelve! gods of various stripes to use in your campaign, or for your own inspiration. Enjoy.

Edit: Added one more, because every pantheon needs a God of Death.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Campaign Journal: Ha'Tak Attack!

We find our 'heroes' standing on the top platform of the step pyramid of Ha'Tak, surveying the scene, a dead wyvern sprawled on a lower step.

  • Fulvus - halfling
  • Rondel - elf
  • Frederick - thief
  • Slick - thief
  • Jax - barbarian
  • Orzu - gnome
As they contemplated recent events, a falcon gyred down, landing in front of Frederick. A messenger from Thefri, down south.  Thefri reported that he and his colleagues, Divos and Albus, had occupied Kabrel's Tower, previously cleared by the party. Thefri had also secured new companions to replace the doomed Brutus the Bear (Shade and Onyxia). And in the face of the Chaos mutant incursions, he, too had called in more "kin." The party responded that they had secured a couple more nodes, including the northernmost location, and expected to head south, eventually seeking out the dwarves of the Smoking Isles. They fed the falcon some jerky and sent it on its way.

With that, it was time to continue the search for that damned grenade-throwing dude.

Fulvus and his two henches volunteered to pull sniper duty, watching the various stair accesses from the ground level. The remainder of the party descended to clear the southeast quadrant of the pyramid, where they had spiked the doors closed, hoping to constrain CORMAC! from his mischief. Jax removed the spikes, and Orzu opened the door (BOOM!) - of course it had been trapped. He dodged the bulk of the shrapnel. 

Nothing of note was seen in the next chamber, and the party debated which of the four doors to access. North. Ok. Jax kicked it in, sword in hand. And came face to face with another undead knight:

Hi, again

Thursday, February 1, 2024

D66 Items at the Goblin Market

A few minutes of freewriting to loosen up the mind and foist something random upon you: 

"Goblin Market" by Arthur Rackham

D66 Items at the Goblin Market - OR - Worst Scavenger Hunt Ever

11: Leather pouch with a small jade idol
12: Ring of rusty keys
13: Giant's pinkie ring
14: Small purse made of snow-snake hide
15: Crock of dung beetle dung (not the ball, actual dung beetle dung)
16: Dog collar ("Fluffy")
21: Several snakes cut from a medusa's head
22: Moose antlers (moose still attached)
23: A king's chariot
24: 1d3 obsidian-tipped arrows
25: Chain made of coins
26: Tundra-folk sledge
31: Basilisk eye in a jar of oil
32: Mammoth ivory ceremonial knife
33: Dried goblin hand
34: Spider-silk net
35: Vial of bat spit
36: Ghost ephemera in magic jar
41: A meteorite
42: Teeth from a hung man
43: Mug stolen from a castle guard-house
44: A hermit's cape
45: Displacer beast toenails
46: Distilled gelatinous cube
51: Hill giant's breechclout 
52: Gladiator's blood-soaked manica
53: Crystal ball, slightly smoky
54: Coin from a dead usurper's eye
55: Drow sunscreen
56: Wizard's house slippers
61: Astrolabe for an alien sky
62: Cask of gnomish whiskey
63: Pegasus feathers, bunch
64: Small carnivorous plant in pot helm
65: Holy symbol of a dead god
66: A 5-sided die

PDF of List

"Goblin Market" by Omar Rayyan