Friday, March 29, 2024

Five Visits to the Temperance Stone

Another "four scenario" project that became five scenarios... Dyson threw out this five-room dungeon some time ago, and it lived in my map repository until I needed a fun project. 


Again, it was meant to be a "four scenario" exercise, but I had a few spare area descriptions that made it an even five (not the first time this has happened). The rooms are described in a brief, tabular format without much elaboration. This is meant to be a location to be stumbled upon, or as a couple of the scenarios imply, perhaps a location where the party can visit to be granted healing or other gifts. And, of course, a couple are just nasty. Enjoy:) 

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A note on the art. The standing stone drawings in the document are by Scottish archeologist and naturalist Frederick Coles. As part of his position at the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, Coles received support to survey and measure standing stone locations throughout Scotland. Through his career in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, he created one of the first catalogues of standing stone circles in the country. 

The bio notes that Coles would take his children along on these trips after his wife's death and would utilize them as field assistants. I'd just like to highlight this photograph of Coles and four of his children on one of his survey trips:

Based on the posture and expression of the young lady in the forefront, it's comforting to know that teen boredom and disdain has endured throughout the ages. "Daaaaddd! We go measure your stupid rocks every summer! Can't we go somewhere fun for a change?"

Anyway, have an enjoyable Easter weekend, for those celebrating the holiday. Looks to be a pleasant weekend here - hope to move around outside in one manner or another.

Also will be running a Deathbringer one-shot through Meetup this week, so printing out copies of the rules and figuring out which hole to send the erstwhile adventurers down. The usual campaign game will fire up again after the holiday. I'm sure that it will be a peaceful, uneventful session... ;)

Saturday, March 23, 2024

RPG Blog Carnival: Feasts, Foods and Fancy Drinks, oh my!

Crap. It's been literal years since I've contributed to one of these. 

VDonnut Valley is hosting this month's soirée, themed Feasts, Foods and Fancy Drinks, oh my! Well, I can work with a prompt like that. Perhaps from a slightly different angle.

After all, part of being a good host is sometimes being flexible to your guests' dietary restrictions and perhaps preparing a special meal for an honored "foreign" guest...



The tremoring acolyte stirred the vile concoction. His eyes darted to the poor sod he'd just replaced, still spasming on the floor. Clearly, sampling the offertory meal had not agreed with him.

“Add the next ingredient, worm!” commanded the hooded priest. Taking a shaking hand, the acolyte opened the stained crockery. His eyes watered even more as the acrid, metallic fumes emerged from the crockery as he poured the toxic mixture into the boiling pot.

“Taste the offering. Perhaps you are more worthy to serve His Glory than your predecessor!” A spear butt in his ribs encouraged the acolyte further.

The acolyte glanced at his fellow initiate, now still. With shaking hand and tears in his eyes, he took a spoon to taste the bubbling amalgamation.

Somewhere, in the shadows beyond the priest, a shape began to unfold from space. Slavering jaws emerged as the entity from beyond took in the first, deep, delicious scent of the offering meal...

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Campaign Journal: Gundala Interlude

Who's here?

  • Fulvus
  • Rondel
  • Slick
  • Jax
  • Orzu

The scene opens with the party standing before the town gate of Gundala, bloodied and dirty. The town guards oscillate between concerned and suspicious. When the party explains their recent encounter, the guards send for a sergeant, then the town head. 

Aldred, priest and town leader, shows up, looks at the party, confirms their story, and immediately commands a patrol to take wagons and recover the bodies (Fred missed session, so we assume he guided the recovery patrol).

Aldred brought the party into town, pointed them to the inn, and told them to rest up. She had also dealt with adiventurers before, and told them to keep any carousing to a minimum.

(Narrator – they did not keep carousing to a minimum)

Slick blew a lot of coin and got a “bit of a rash.” Rondel managed to avoid any complications. And Orzu hired a halfling bard of middling talent but great enthusiasm to sing the party's praises. He also may have gotten involved with a local cult. (I forgot that I had my own cult generator posted up, so he'll have to await his cult identity until his … memory clears... yeah...)

The following morning, Slick crept off to the temple for a bit of “penance.” He parted with a bit more coin, but at least it doesn't burn when he pees.

The party was summoned to Aldred's offices to recount their story again, and got a sense of the priest's attitude toward Acroria and its leadership. Aldred understood that Acroria's council was concerned for their domain, but seemed to be at odds with many of the settlements in giving aid. Regarding the Chaos mutants, patrols had encountered a few, but this was the most significant number encountered, for sure. Aldred did have word of a couple of towns on the West Trade Road being raided, with people killed or abducted, as well as people missing from farmsteads and the like. This was concerning, as Chaos appeared to be on the move, and making probes deeper into the piedmont than simply along the margins of the wilderness.

That said, she felt that the party had done a service, and welcomed them to rest and heal. Feel free to visit the temple for healing, no charge (Slick grimaces). She planned to write a report for Acroria to read.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

D66 Weird Goblins, an Expansion

Another day, another D66 list. Actually, this one isn't out of whole cloth, but is an expansion of another list I did a few years back and recently rediscovered. There, I'd made up a list of 18 (or "36" d66) oddball goblins in response to someone's Santicore request. 

These guys...

Better fill that list out to the current standard:

D66 Gonzo Goblins

by John D Batten

11. Dervish Quibbles: Dancing fools. +1 to morale checks for chaos-forces in the immediate area. Save or become mesmerized by their dance. The rat-skin kilts and scalp tutus are a nice touch.

12. Necro-prosthetic Qols: Equipped with up to six extra undead limbs sutured on. These limbs may or may not be goblin, or even humanoid. They gain one additional attack per grasping limb (strikes at -2, -1 damage).

13. Immolative Booms: Injected with alchemical solvents, these suicide-troopers fling themselves into battle as they burst into flame, 10’ radius damage.

1. Blue – cold flame – 1d6+1 freezing damage to anyone within range.
2. Yellow – 1d6 damage, cannot be dowsed with water.  Water causes the flames to scatter and spatter.  Those set aflame may only smother the flames (taking 1d4 damage for an additional 1d3 rounds).
3. Red – sucks all oxygen out of air – 1d6 suffocation damage/round, all flame sources extinguished.
4. Green – 1d6 damage, any metal gear worn or carried corrodes.

14. Fungal-blooming Nurgles: Shroom-infested shambling wastrels. 25% chance of being a hive-mind capable of coordinated action. Spore clouds released by melee will cause anyone killed in battle to rise as a fungal zombie.

15. Accretionary Fibbits: Meld together by running headlong into one another. They will merge until they are a large, sticky ball of limbs and teeth. Unwieldy, they roll into a fray, causing crushing and abrading damage (1d4 per two goblin-bodies accreted). 

16. Luminescent Fleens: Glow with sickly yellow or green pulsing lights, half the range of a torch. A skewered goblin will provide light for 2d6 turns before dissolving into a puddle of dimming goo.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

D66 Cult Creeds and Credos

Another D66 list? What sorcery is this? Or perhaps it's some ineffable power granted by those nice young men and their convincing pamphlets who visited the house last week...

D66 Cult Creeds and Credos

Harry Clarke
Mephistopheles: "Come - she is judged!" Art for Goethe's Faust, 1927

11: Comet: The wandering ones bring portents and harbingers to those who watch.
12: Mathematics: Through logic and geometry we will discern the truth.
13: Old Gods: Those who are forgotten are andescedent in their wisdom.
14: Star Signs: The rotation of the heavens are windows into that which is to occur.
15: The Tree: Roots reach down while branches reach high, drawing the elements together.
16: Birds: By flight does the body escape the toil and pain of the ground.
21: Dragon: By their ineffable age, they hoard not just gold but wisdom.
22: Giant Stones: Placed by forgotten men and forgotten methods, we worship their strength.
23: Burrowing Creatures: Under the earth we will they find the truth if we can just hear the words.
24: Ascetics: For through self denial is enlightenment.
25: Naked: Exposed and unprotected from the world do we find wisdom.
26: Gluttony: You never know how much is enough until you understand how much is too much.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Zelkor's Ferry, Reimagined

Ok, I don't have a copy of the Rappun Athuk megadungeon, so I don't know who lives in the settlement of Zelkor's Ferry. But I found Paths Peculiars' redrawing of the town map on his blog while I was trolling about for some town and building maps. I don't know who the residents are, except for a few names on the map legend, and one can often find a place for one more small huddle of buildings in their hex campaign. 

 So without any other embellishment, here's who I think lives there. More later....

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Campaign Journal: Along the East Road

Tonight's band of merry mushroom harvesters:

  • Frederick
  • Slick
  • Jax
  • Rondel
  • Orzu
  • and their various groupies

Watched by an inordinate number of town guards and zealots of the Paragons of the Comet, the party departed Opharel for points south the following morning. They had acquired, among other things, a few retainers for camp and horse-guarding duty including a cook, a drover, and a young dwarven man-at-arms who still carries a rag doll.

It was a crisp autumn day, and the party observed several armed patrols along the road, as well as caravans, both moving provisions for winter preparation, and rushing to Opharel to contract ships to move cargo before the winter storms.

Around midday, they came upon the hamlet of Huni, another wide spot in the road of perhaps 100 souls. They settled in at the well-appointed inn, and were greeted by the ebullient and portly proprietor. He set the party up with small beers and bread trenchers of stew. The party did the usual asking for rumors thing, and found that the settlement had been started by a few adventurers who had retired after a few scores. Interestingly, the thorpe's headman was a mage, a class not typically respected by the Theocracy. 

Wide spot in the road

As they chatted, Slick noticed a dwarf fiddling with a lock. The two met eyes, and the dwarf, recognizing Slick (and Flick) as individuals specializing in the art of acquisitions, tossed the lock to the thieves to try their skills against. Neither could crack it (although Frederick, with only modest lockpicking skills, got lucky). “Good enough,” said the dwarf, who introduced himself as Urin Duskborn. “Best to know how sharp your knife is before you try a cut.” He gifted Slick the lock (with keys) and they exchanged compliments. 

Friday, March 1, 2024

D66 Random Backgrounds and Minor Perks

Because I'm procrastinating, and because it's a fun diversion, have another D66 list. This time, "what did your PC do before getting into this lucrative life?" Complete with some perks. Some better than others. I'm sure some are duplicates of the myriad background lists already out in the world, but hopefully a few are unique by accident...

“Peasants” by Willem van de Velde I

D66 random backgrounds and minor perks

Ability/skill descriptions are left generic to allow modifications to specific game systems or as appropriate to your table.

11: Poacher: Start with roll of snare wire. Good chance to trap small game.
12: Fence: Improved chance to get a better return from any traded valuable.
13: Urchin: Improved chance to not be noticed in a crowd. Moderate pickpocket skills
14: Merchant: Improved chance to talk down/haggle price of items.
15: Fisherman: Start with net, filet knife, and inaccurate ruler. Good chance to secure rations from waterways.
16: Drover: Start with riding horse or pack mule. Knows horseflesh, can pick best riding or draft animals.
21: Shepherd: Start with staff, 1d6 sheep, and hyperactive herding dog.
22: Tanner: Odorous. Start with skinning knife. May skin and preserve hides of any game or monsters slain.
23: Farmer: Start with pitchfork, bag of seed, and a chicken.
24: Town Crier: Good chance at picking up rumors/gossip in town.
25: Brewer: Start with cask of ale, pouch of brewers yeast. Knows good water.
26: Barman/maid: Never forgets a face. Improved chance to talk down belligerent foe without force.
31: Tailor: Start with sewing kit. Can repair or make articles of clothing.
32: Barber: Start with scissors, razor, combination hair tonic/disinfectant, and bandages. May stabilize unconscious PC, improve natural healing.
33: Baker: Start with rolling pin, bag of flour, pouch of yeast. Can prepare rough bread with appropriate grain or nuts.
34: Butcher: Start with cleaver. Can prepare maximum rations from stock or game animals.
35: Bounty Hunter: Start with sheaf of wanted posters, crossbow, manacles, and bloodhound.
36: Sailor: Start with cutlass and 50' rope. Can handle a small boat, crew on larger.
41: Soldier: Start with shield, kettle helmet, and spear.
42: Acolyte: Start with holy symbol, vial of holy water, and prayer book.
43: Magician's Apprentice: Start with one random 1st level spell, usable once/day. Might fail.
44: Sewer Rat: Improved to-hit/damage against vermin, disease resistant.
45: Mudlark: Chance to find a random useful item while searching an area.
46: Linkboy: Start with a lantern on a pole.
51: Blacksmith: Start with hammer and tongs, whetstone. Can sharpen/repair weapons, chance to repair metal armor.
52: Forester: Start with felling axe. Decreased chance to get lost in the woods.
53: Carpenter: Start with saw, square, brace and bit. Knows woodwork.
54: Mason: Start with hammer, chisel, and level. Knows stonework.
55: Grave Digger: Start with shovel. Improved to-hit/damage against undead.
56: Gong Farmer: Odorous. Resistant to disease, immune to nausea.
61: Night Watchman: Start with club, whistle, bundle of torches. Decreased chance of surprise.
62: Noble: Start with signet ring, nice sword, extra cash. Chance to know the “right people” in any city.
63: Courtier: Start with perfume and makeup. Chance to talk their way to the “right people” in any city.
64: Wiseguy: Start with a stiletto and sap. Chance to “know a guy” in any city.
65: Ratcatcher: Start with bundle of rat traps and small fierce terrier.
66: Copyist: Start with ream of parchment, ink and quills. Literate, +1 language.

PDF of List

“Silhouette of a king in procession with courtiers and page” by John Bennett