Monday, November 28, 2016

Random Savage Encounters

The Dreadful Wilderness is a terrible and dangerous place. Even the most skilled ranger never lets her guard down. Sorcerers are all over the place doing who-knows-what, freakish creatures wander the land tearing human travelers various new holes, and to top it all off there are savages. Once human (or arguably still human ... sort of) these freaks are always more than slightly dangerous.
  • A battle, once started, is always to the death.  Savages never retreat and never surrender.
  • Parley is an option, but each savage tribe has something different they want or respect.
  • Savages aren't mindless killing machines, but they aren't the most intelligent of foes.
  • Cannibals.  All of them. Seriously - they want to eat you, it is just a matter of if they have an opportunity.

What Do They Look Like?
Each tribe has a particular mode of dress.
  1. Ragged animal hides
  2. Looted Imperial armor with crested helms
  3. Fancy nobility clothing - they see no difference between a doublet and a gown
  4. Loin cloth and open vest
  5. Shiny purple trousers and natty hats
  6. Military uniforms, hair style determines rank
  7. Pinstriped white shirt and pants, two-tone face paint
  8. Kilts and Woad and a lot of spiked hair
  9. Three-piece suits ... made of human skin
  10. Nude - dongs swinging and heavily pierced
  11. Flak vests and desert camouflage clothes
  12. Space suits, only the elite have mirrored helmets

What are they Wielding?
Weapons tend to be similar among a tribe, but there are various.
  1. Spiked baseball bats
  2. Rusty two-handed swords
  3. Cobbled together pole arms, mostly pikes and halberds
  4. Spear and shield, javelins in a pack on their back
  5. Big-ass hunting knife and a 9mm pistols
  6. Weaponized hedge clippers
  7. Bolo, nets, and pointy sticks
  8. Bow and arrow; leaders have crossbows
  9. Flame throwers
  10. R-89 Light Pulse Rifle with E-phase modulators

What are they Up To?
Savages aren't just wandering around looking for things to kill.
  1. Looking for another tribe of Savages to (1-3) fight or (4-6) trade with
  2. Under orders from some Sorcerer
  3. Searching for lost tribe members (50% children have been abducted)
  4. Hauling some huge machine somewhere
  5. Under the influence of weird mushrooms - they are oddly friendly
  6. Playing a sport of some kind, 50% with another tribe, 50% it is to the death
  7. Returning from a conquest loaded down with loot
  8. Scouting, 25% they were trying to spy on the party
  9. Looking to kill the party, eat them, and loot their stuff
  10. Looking to torture the party, then kill them, eat them, and loot their stuff
  11. Looking for the party to ask for help
  12. Running from a large powerful monster that is right behind them!



Sunday, November 27, 2016

Random Dwarf Encounters

The Dwarf in Dawn of Eradu is a nasty fellow. They are cannibals and have a thing for creating crosses made of bones and hanging victims on them right before setting the whole thing on fire.
  • They aren't "grumpy and dour" - they just don't have time for your shit and are mean.
  • They don't "lust for gold and beer" - they have darker desires and drown their woes with alcohol as much as the next man.
  • They don't "take great pride in their beards" - they don't bother to shave while in the "World of the Putrescent."
  • They aren't miners of exceptional skill" - they are digging for something down there that they don't like to talk about with the likes of you...

What Are they Wearing?
Dwarf clothing is not for the faint of heart.
  1. Tanned hides of their ancestors
  2. Fresh skins of some unfortunate bandits
  3. Tattooed leathers made from Mokk flesh
  4. Extra thick giant's leather studded with fragments of sharp stone
  5. Bloodied fancy clothing from a noble
  6. Starched cloth woven from victim's hair
  7. A toga made from a single prepared slice of Nalgra skin
  8. Vest made from a particularly hairy chest
  9. Cloak of faces sewn so they are all smiling happily
  10. A still squirming Patchwork thing that has been flayed open

What Do They Have With Them?
Personal possessions other than clothing are rare.
  1. 1d6 human slaves who have already been pierced and branded
  2. A stone chest they haven't figured out how to unlock yet. It hums.
  3. 1d4+2 Saruis bodies on bone crosses held high
  4. A terrible beast in a cage they keep poking with sharp sticks
  5. A large fey creature, possibly a Vulgar Forest Troll, in chains and looking defeated
  6. A palanquin with some indulgent perverse nobles getting drunk
  7. The stolen machine of a Death Wizard Queen ... her minions are near
  8. A newborn human child the dwarf will defend and protect to their death
  9. 1d6+4 statues of dwarf in various states of shock and violence
  10. Nothing ... they are on the hunt and travelling light

Mutation of the Leader?
Most have minor physical aberrations, the most intense mutants become leaders.
  1. Mouth is huge and filled with rotating screw-like teeth
  2. Skin is flexible metal impervious to normal weapons
  3. You can see his bones glowing under his flesh
  4. Leaves a trail of burnt debris where he walks, eyes literally smoking
  5. Huge bat wings, rumors of "words of lightning"
  6. 1d6 additional arms, all of them with a weapon
  7. Melts all flesh with his touch (a bit insane and lonely)
  8. Arms are tentacles, legs hidden under long robes but squeal often
  9. Can turn invisible, but when he does his shadow goes on a murderous rampage
  10. Only has one eye, but it is a big eye that can see invisible things and is a laser eye

Notes
  • The Mokk are a lion-humanoid species known for crazy tempers, enslaving folks, and having intricate tattoos.
  • The Nalgra are long serpentine creatures that whisper secrets they have stolen from children and thieves.
  • Saruis were once a master race that used dwarf labor to mine for them. The race has fallen into degeneracy.




Friday, November 25, 2016

Random NPC stuff I thought about at TGD Dinner

Quick NPC Tables
Sometimes one needs an NPC - and fast!  Rolling stats and creating backgrounds or even dealing with actual rules can suck.  Here are 3 tables.  Any time you use a result, cross it off and replace it with something more interesting.

Name: roll 1d10
  1. Windbag Chad
  2. Donut Farmboy
  3. Pickle Fishknuckle
  4. Angus Buttworms
  5. Choiremouse Orduer
  6. Professor Astro Mayhem
  7. Evil Doug
  8. Ocho The Bloodletter
  9. Patterson Duckfoot
  10. Shake-hands Jon
Skill: roll 1d10
  1. Inexplicably Lucky
  2. Great at holding torches
  3. Johhny on the spot for handing you what you need
  4. Fluent in 1d4 rare languages
  5. Has a bit of magical potential
  6. Really good with animals
  7. Smells like raw meat
  8. Really small
  9. Handy with a spear (but not a sword)
  10. Possibly invisible to undead
Unfortunate Things: roll 1d10
  1. Actually a spy from another adventuring group
  2. Totally evil (50% inept at hiding it)
  3. Quite loud at everything
  4. Rubs everyone the wrong way
  5. Slow at everything
  6. Has a pet pig that must come along
  7. Steals stupid or very useful (but not necisarrily valuable) things
  8. Target of an assassination, party is in the way
  9. Runaway noble kid, mom and dad will blame party
  10. Far too curious for anyone's good



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Session Report [T6]: Escape ... of a sort

I've missed posting for a few sessions, but mostly the party was wandering around the dungeon and trying to figure out what to do and who they wanted to align with (if anyone)!

What a session!  The Grim Nature of Dungeon Titanicus revealed itself fully this round - mutilation and death were everywhere and finished with an ending that even I could not have imagined. 

The Party

  • Xion - Mage with a "special" sense of time and space
  • Zigfried - Artificer with an nearly unfortunate sense of curiosity
  • Katt - a weakling with an insecurity complex and a Silver Great Axe!
  • Jorge - a Mexican spiritualist with a fondness for tamale and peyote
  • Feldmutz - 30's gangster who made Capone look like a milquetoast pansy


Adventure Highlights
  • Zigfried was Party Leader (we roll+sessions survived at the beginning of each session)
  • While normally able to awaken in any "safe zone", the party was unable to awaken in the Deshi Nest! Ziggy felt something had gone terribly wrong.
  • Waking at the Cave of Heinrich, they met two new companions: Ktt & Jorge
  • Some time was spent chatting with Heinrich the frienly gentleman adventurer ghost.
  • Ziggy crafted a mechanical "bridge" to cross the gap left by the burned up rope and plank bridge using his Artificers moves and a pile of parts looted the previous session.
  • Crossing the bridge was perilous - both Katt and Jorge nearly fell off and died while attempting to be cool. Xion the Mage saved the day with some arcane leverage
  • Katt was nearly devoured by garbage leeches as the party rested on the other side of the gorge. Napping in refuse is less than desirable.
  • The party mucked about in the chamber of green flame pillars. Some had been here before and knew the pillars were bad news. The far end of the chamber was filled with dark cold water.
  • A Forgotten Sister wandered in, combat, green flames gripping folks, an exploding door, and Feldmuts saving Xion from drowning.  Such action!
  • Exploring a previously ignored chamber, the party found many useful treasures ... then shit went south
  • Opening a cursed lock Ziggy went blind!
  • Opening a similar cursed lock, Feldmutz became SO STUPID (his final INT dropped to -7) that his body forgot how to breath or even beat his heart!  His corpse was looted.
  • Jorge ignored several warning that the crown he carried was evil, and moments later castrated himself to gain Insight from Beyond the Veil from a Necromancer Soul that inhabited the crown.
  • The party managed to get some sort of ancient book (in a trunk in a pack worn by a dead monkey) and a scroll of numerous arcane spells (that was in a mineral deposit on display on a pedestal).  But was it worth it?  The magic looked particularly nasty.
  • Enter Fredicus - a stoner from LA with a strange living crossbow growing from his arm.
  • The party moved on and discovered that the Deshi Nest had been destroyed by the Journe, futuristic ant-men. Shit. The Journe had been previously encountered and are bad news.
  • The party conitnued on to another known area - the Baths of the Oracle!  Healing and drinking from magic pools recovered some hit points and cured Ziggy's blindness.
  • The party knew the Bath held some sort of power if they could just figure out the ritual, but they couldn't quite get it sorted out.  They decided that getting out the shaft above the baths (some 30' above the floor) was their primary goal.
  • Then, through a combination of technology and magic, the party managed to get up the 300' shaft above the baths!  It was pretty sweet.
  • The party encountered some sort of short large-featured humanoids that were clearly guarding the tower the party had managed to get themselves into.
  • "Disguised" in women's robes similar to those found in the Palace of the Oracle and with some communication magic, the party convinced the humanoids (they started calling them gnomes at some point) that they were on a mission from the Oracle and needed to "get outside"
  • As the spell wore off, the gnomes led the party to ...
  • ... wait for it ...
  • OUTSIDE!
Reeling from the sunlight caressing their faces and the cool breeze filling their lungs, we ended the session.  It was bloody and violent but, as usual, not super combat-heavy.  More importantly, the party is outside and has a general direction toward somewhere called "Haven".  They've been hearing about this place. A new phase of the adventure was about to begin. Praise Narkul!  Roll credits and play closing theme music.

GM Notes
Without fail, the more a GM plans, the less a group of players given free will will follow along.  I was certain they were going to follow up on a lead from last session to find the Vault of Serpents which lead to "a way out", but the buggers got clever and used one of the "teaser" exits and managed to overcome the guardians.  Awesome!  

Now I need to get the Perilous Journey rules meshed up with our playing style and work on the Overworld a bit more. But I'm ready! The Dreadful Wilderness is indeed dreadful, and will open up so many opportunities for exploring the setting outside of Dungeon Titanicus.  And who knows what they might find along the way to Haven ... if such a place even exists.  ooooh!  It was like the last episode of a season - and I can't wait for the next chapter!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Some Precursor Race Tables

The Precursors
Squamous things, lizard-like humanoids known for building a great empire, letting it collapse, then managing to linger on the edges of their fallen empire as scavengers of culture and light.  In their golden age they were an all powerful creator race, but near the end they were tourists in the remains of a world they could neither understand or fully interact with. They were cruel things: enslavers and takers, cold-blooded and without love in their hearts.

Ruins
1. Stepped Pyramid, listing badly
2. Ornate Aqueducts, broken
3. Sprawling City, crumbling
4. Mythic Observatory, collapsed
5. Breeding Temple, flooded
6. Engine of the Gods, imploded

Things
1. The Iron Key, never rusted or corroded, may be a religious symbol of sorts
2. Containment Pods, stone and ornate metal, for sleeping or cloning or rejuvenation?
3. Rod of Obek, lingering magic often present, a status symbol of some sort
4. Black Blade, ornate black stone sword-like weapons, two handed for humans
5. Faded Frieze, showing domination and power, decoration or propaganda
6. Stone Armor, articulated joints of bronze, not suitable for human use

Magics
1. The hundred teeth that snap and rend
2. Scales thick as grell and sturdy as iron
3. Quiet the chattering mind and silence the willful soul
4. Let the earth weep freely and pool his tears
5. Call upon the Shadows to show hidden knowledge
6. Wither the blood and crack the bone

Rumors
1. They created the dwarves as slaves because humans were too unruly
2. Their sorcerers were tremendous but brought the Darkness from beyond the Void
3. Some of them still wander in the Underworld and don't know they are extinct.
5. The savage descendants can be spied in the Picklin Marsh, wearing ancient gold and silver
6. The precursors themselves were once servants of the Dragons from the Far Realm

Friday, November 4, 2016

Using Random Dungeon Tables

I haven't had much to post about recently, which is a bummer.  Work has screwed up my online game sessions and the tabletop game has been progressing.  The memory recovery and gaining class as a level-up has been pretty successful, but I haven't been super-inspired recently.

The one thing I did do, however, was tweak out my random dungeon generator.  I've been spending ages on this ting, bringing in random tables from other places, cramming ideas together, tweaking values and percentages, and making it fit the place it is building - Dungeon Titanicus, the basis of the Dawn of Eradu campaign.

The generate creates a series of random rooms with random stuff and random monsters based on the specific dungeon level.  Loot is based loosely on the level as well.  These are not end-all be-all descriptions, but more along the lines of inspirational things.  The level already has a basic outline and concept - for example the Vault of Serpents is romaneque in architecture, crumbling, and set at a tilt; it is populated by the Cult of the Serpent and numerous snake-like things with the occasional faction elements from neighboring levels and some things from the region of the dungeon it is in. These inspirational descriptions are applied to an already numbered dungeon map.

An example of a randomly generated room (not from the final version for those who may be sneaking a peek):

--------------------------------
Area 1: Maze of Inscrutable Gloom - Observatory
Description: Vase with violets, red cake Sign: "Eat me"
Special: Feature
   Dungeon Pie (tart)
   Develop bat like sonar from this magic bat pie
--------------------------------


Translated into the notes for the game:

--------------------------------
Area 1: Observation Deck
  • Description: Vase with violets and red tart with a sign: "Eat me".  The end of a huge telescope juts through what appears to be a liquid mirror and it shows a far-off world where humans are playing chess.
  • Stuff: Dungeon Pie, savory bat filling. Eat it to gain Sonar
  When concentrating and using Sonar to "see" in the dark, Roll+WIS
  10+: get details like you can see normally
  7-9: get a vague impression
--------------------------------

or this:
--------------------------------
Area 7: Never Ending Lake of the Undercity - Morgue
Description: northern part of floor illusionary, covers snake pit, and 5 half-dissolved metal ladder rungs lie scattered across the room
Random Monster: Level Monster
   1 Ragged Medusae
--------------------------------

becomes:
--------------------------------
Area 7: Caustic Lake of Dreams
  • Description: The majority of the floor is an illusion - the illusion part of the floor has no dirt or grime (easily observed by anyone looking).  A metal ladder, the bottom half dissolved, is on the safe part of the floor.The floor drops 30' (1d12 damage) into 1' deep puddle of slightly causing Ragged Medusae drool (she has been asleep and dreaming here for ages).  Splashdown irritates a bunch of snakes swimming in the drool and likely awakens the Ragged Meduase.
  • Stuff: Ragged Medusae, asleep but easily awoken; irritable as she was having a nice dream
<add Ragged Meduae stat block>
--------------------------------

If the description doesn't work or I don't like it, I ignore it.  If I want to plop something specific down instead, I do.  But having this jumble of often only semi-sensible ideas can get the creative juices flowing. I love these tables and happily loot them from everywhere - the 1e DMG, D&D with Porn Stars, Elfmaids and Octopi, all of it!  

Thanks OSR and the internet!


Monday, October 10, 2016

Deshi Spearmen & Creating Otherworldly NPCs

The tabletop group encountered a new faction this last session - the Deshi Spearmen.  Interaction with these creatures should be incredibly difficult as
  1. They are plant creatures
  2. Their language is a combination of rustling leave, wind sounds, and subtle movements
  3. They are really really not human
However, through clever use of the "Recovered Memories" mechanic and some serious luck (a player recovered a memory about being lost in the Great Desh Forest and being rescused by strange forest folk about 5 real life minutes before they actually even knew the Deshi were in the dungeon) there was much awesome interaction.

Deshi SpearmenTags: Stealthy, Plants, Organized
Type: Walking ImpalerOrganization: Small Group
Description: Small, entagled, briarsInstinct: to spread
HP: 8
Armor: 2
Attack: thrown thorn spear or thorny lash ( d8+1 )
  reach or close, piercing 1
Moves:
  Call creeping vines
  Compost the dead
  Release soporific spores
Known For:
  Immunity to piercing weapons
  Hatred of open flames

The Deshi spearmen do not think like mammals, but they are intelligent.  They do not have names as such, but groups often refer to themselves in "tribe names" that resemble locations from which they hail, such as Oakflower.  They do not have concepts of politeness or imagination and speak only in absolutes.  The one abstract concept they have is "Fairness" - something for something, like for like. They fear very little, but when they do encounter something that is a threat their tend to deal with it by ignoring it and will simply not recognize it.  If attacked, however, they respond with untamed ferocity.  They seem to be a collective, but not a hive mind - the concept of the individual is irrelevant to them; but it is the individuals that often cause strife and woe.

...

So how the hell do you interact with and role play plant folks that are have a different view of the world and needs and desires that are completely out of alignment with the normal adventurer?  Deer are more of a problem to their young than a rampaging patchwork demon. I decided that I run this that communication, since they had someone who could at least partially communicate with them, could only be as though they were 2.  You couldn't ask anything more complex than a 2-year-old and the answers you got back were the same.  Subtlety was not possible, nor complex concepts. As someone without kids, this seems reasonable (those with kids may disagree, but just go with it).

I also chose the words and actions carefully. When the party identified a threat that the Deshi already knew about, they simply did not respond or (and here is they key) refused to look at the threat.  I translated things into forest and nature terms; things were described as versions of creatures familiar to the Deshi's native land (even though the party don't really know much about the Great Desh). It created an otherwordly and somewhat difficult situation that the group seemed into.

Eventually, though, the party got things sorted, returned a group of Deshi that were out exploring (and had gone dormant - because that is another thing they can do because they are plant creatures), and made allies with these creatures.  They have another safe spot to start adventures from - at least until they lead the Deshi back to "The Sun".  Praise the Sun \o/

On a final note, one of the party accepted healing from the plant people.  It worked ... but now he is part plant as the fruit grew and took over a bit and he now has bark for skin.  Permanent +1 armor.  The character is a barbarian type, so it works out. :)