Saturday, February 11, 2017

Places of Adventure: The Bloody Forest

I love random generators as inspiration - no doubt about it. I've also been rocking the point-crawl with my players and it has been fantastic. This area does not exist in my campaign right now, nor may it even, but I wanted to post up an example.

The Random Action
Starting here: http://meta-studios.com/dg/dungen.html we get this point-crawl map, which is a perfect start to a location ... which I shall name the Bloody Forest! The meta-studios site is definitely one of my go-to places to get things started.  The site provides much more detail, but I'm really in it just for the maps.

Next up, I run Tablesmith with the tables I've been creating.  They are looting from TONS of different sources as well as plenty of material that I've written up myself. If you use lots of random tables but don't know about Tablesmith, go check it out. This is some of the best money I've ever spent on software!

Results from Tablesmith tables:

Location (1 of 5): FangClaw territory (Perilous)
Site: A neglected machine factory. Unintelligible whispering can be heard from somewhere deep below.
Site: One man mini tank with machinegun, improved ones implanted with a human brain and a mechanical voice box
Site: A wandering moon rises above the inkfish sea.
Location (2 of 5): Bound Patchwork Lord (Perilous)
Site: Lair: Unique
Site: A luxurious sailing yacht. The hull is pierced by several large holes.
Site: Compound: Steam plant burns coal or wood to provide mechanical energy
Site: Lair: Local
Site: A mangy old lion turned man killer from desperation
Site: Drinks for the hero. 
Location (3 of 5): Endless Tower of the World (Dangerous)
Site: Minor Ruin: Hospital (1in6 mental facility)
Site: Officer executing trooper with pistol
Site: Spaghi the flexible of flexible morals and inflexible broomery, a glorious explosion of the masteries of rope magic is essential to attain the truth of the knot without resorting to the sword of the swot.
Location (4 of 5): Cavern of Dragons (Unsafe)
Site: Some young priests practicing being hermits for initiation
Site: Strange feral animal d4 1=odd hybrid 2=escaped from lab 3=mutant 4=undead
Site: Minor Ruin: Long abandoned fenced construction site with pond and vegetation
Site: Knight Spider and the Slug.
Location (5 of 5): Closed Silver Mine (Perilous)
Site: Wilderness Shack: Hair covered mutant boys driven from home by ignorant
Site: An ancient ossuary beneath the Winter Palace in Petrograd, Russia. A colossal alien device stands here, surrounded by a miasma of noxious fumes.
Site: A hook horror lives here with piles of bones
Site: Karizon the Transmuter's Crypt, he studied shape shifters and now crypt is home to a family of doppelgangers and their pet mimic
Site: Kudras's Crypt, the snake dancer who kept performing into her 80s in the courts of the city. Some say she was leader of a cult of snake worshiping vampire lovers. Murderers staked her and her followers interned her in the Crypt then committed suicide.Gloomy teens into poetry often come here 
Sweet!

Putting It Together
Looking at the area theme, the Bloody Forest, each Location gets a new name to scribe it and the map gets adjusted.

Thick lines heading away from the locations indicate connections to other Areas, the red line means there is some sort of a major dungeon.

I don't know where these lead yet, but likely to other forest locations - this Area seems like part of a much larger forest Region.

The Bloody Forest has many strange things haunting it because of the Endless Tower of Worlds. That junction point has been the source numerous things from other worlds, dimensions, and planes entering Eradu. The forest was once a peaceful sylvan location, but the now-sentient former inhabitants are at odds with the current residents.

From glaning at it I can see a few dungeons and tons of NPCs waiting to be interacted with.  How does the Spider Knight feel about Nicodemus, the mangy old lion who runs a small tavern he uses to poison and kill travelers he feels are making things worse in the world?  How fucked up are the closed silver mines that stumbled onto an area like the Valley of Kings ... but for vampires and worse?

With that written up I've got a couple of Factions, some fun themes to work with, and a reason for some of the super weird shit happening. Also, this is going to be fun to put together.  I'll create separate posts for the different Locations and their just waiting to burst out.

Session Report [T9 & T10]: Exploration and Trouble

Two Session Reports in one post? Again?  Yes ... and we are playing tomorrow

Session 9: The Tower & the Rain


The Players
  • Canker - a lost soul that is greasy greasy
  • Phi - probably human with a protective instinct and nasty daggers
  • Creasy Silo - Wizarding his Arcanity TO THE MAX
  • Ariana - the divine adept of Ra blassing, healing, and smashing
  • Freddicus - his bioluminescence got a glowing review




The Action
  • Continued exploration of the Flooded Tower
  • Numerous, but now avoidable bolt traps all over the place
  • Down a long corridor the party discovered a room covered in once colorfully painted city diorama
  • At the end was a strange well
  • After much investgation, the well is a portal to some great city, but it needs to be filled with the tears of children and widows
  • The party encountered an Umbriate Expeditionist from the Patchwork
  • There was some confusion, and a terrible battle ensued
  • In the end the Umbriate fled, but not before a shield and flinloque were destroyed, as well as Ariana almost turning to stone and Creasy nearly falling into the well
  • More exploration revealed a tomb of a precursor with a huge stone SPHINX
  • The riddle was answered correctly the first time, and treasures revealed, including a rod very similar to the one Cornelius wielded.  Creasy has it.
  • Creasy also gained insight into the creature in stasis on the dias
  • Using a terrible spell and aided by his companions, the imprisonment was lifted - temporarily rendering the place of power powerless
  • the sparrow-headed creature awoke in a furious mood, threatening everyone
  • He is the Sparrow Prince, a consort of the Queen of Spring
  • He didn't know the war was long over, nor that it is said the Queens of the Four Courts are now vampire
  • The party left the flooded tower and the Sparrow Prince flew off
  • He bestowed a boon on some of the party, feathers to ingest to gain his aid
  • As he flew off, he mentioned something about the "Storm Children"
  • The thunder and lightning flashed in a strange chant, and Creasy, struck by a bolt of lightning, learned the chant welcomed the Sparrow Prince back and was vow of vengeance to kill the humans
  • Creasy broke the spell the the tower collapsed as the toxic river consumed it.
  • The party is standing in the rain ... 

Session 10: Liberation ... and Endless Trouble


The Party
  • Phi - protector of the God Queen
  • Freddicus - historian and adventurer
  • The Traveller - at one with his barbarian nature
  • Zigfried - robot arms and a need to tinker
  • Ariana - cleric of the one god the sun god Ra!




The Action
  • Standing outside of the collapsed tower, the party witnesses 4 of the "ogres", each with human faces pulled over their own faces as masks, watching the party.
  • After a few moments, the ogres threw out large, bloody burlap (actually made of spun hair and sinew) sacks.
  • Inside were several bodies of what were determined to be the slaves that Cornelius was breeding
  • Throwing out their previous thoughts of running to safety like wimps, the party decides they need to finish this situation with the harvest ... an army of savage things is not something to be responsible for.
  • While wandering deep into the Flesh Forest the party encountered a bio-mechanical harvester, a foul creation of the Flescreater sorcery mingled with technology!
  • The party messed it up - hard core!  They were climbing all over it and ripping it apart - but it was The Traveller, ignoring pain of the scything blades (that instantly infected the wounds with maggots) who destroyed the thing with its own blades.  Unfortunately, this also caused some woe to Phi, Freddicus, and Ariana.  It was a grand battle.
  • The party also discovered some strange tubes buried under ground that seemed to be feeding the trees - some sort of protein-based irrigation system
  • they followed it deeper into the flesh forest, breaking bones and limbs to hack their way through; dodging pendulous breeding cysts covered in bristling black hairs.  It was unpleasant business.
  • Eventually the party came to an area of barren land - and in the center was the tower of Cornelius the Harvester. 
  • It was made of brick and living stone, and was decaying and falling apart as the party watches - thin  stinking fluid bleeding out of it as clots of brick and rotting mucus rained down.
  • After shutting off the protein vat, the party braved obvious danger and went inside and began looting the place as it fell down around them
  • The action here was fast and furious - things fell on people, gouts of corrosive good sprayed in people's faces, walls collapsed, but the party shored things up and keep looting.  Time was short to be sure.
  • Then suddenly from the edge of the forest an army of slaves (now called the Savage Breed) stormed in toward the tower.
  • They witnessed some of the party flinging things about and joined in! 
  • As the party moved out, the savage breed continued to destroy, until the tower collapsed in a repulsive mass of quivering decayed flash and crumbling wet stone.
  • Then the 100 or so Savage Breed that were watching from the edge of the flesh forest stepped out ... and the celebration began!
  • The party celebrated with these strange primitive folk and earned a special place in their legends and history - as redeemers who slew the vile demon Cornelius!  
  • The party left after healing, and made their way toward where they believe Haven to be
  • The Gnome Tower, from which the party once escaped, is standing again
  • The party made their way through the Thin Trees, catching glimpses of ruins and other sites and discovered the hidden passage
  • As they decided to camp in the cave at the bottom of the passage, they also investigated the really terribly rickety looking rope and plank bridge that separates the black cliffs and from the white cliffs over a chasm nearly 200 feet into a raging white water rapids.
  • A hawk of prodigious size flew over the party and clearly landed on the black cliffs.
  • The wilderness is a dreadful place...
Also, Phi has recovered his memories of being a paladin and Freddicus is an Archaeologist (Indiana Jones style, of course). FUCK YEA!



Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Animal Mutations of the Flesh Forest

The Flesh Forest is an area within the Great Desh that has been mutated and changed by the wicked sorceries of Cornelius the Harvester.  In addition to the horrors of that place, there are plenty of "normal" animals that have fallen prey to his arcane foolishness.

Random Critter Mutations

  1. Another pair of fully functional limbs covered in thick black bristles
  2. A pair of external lungs that inflate and deflate and wheeze and are covered in mucus
  3. Locomotive means replaced with spliced bio-mechanical treads
  4. Skin is translucent and toxic to the touch
  5. Head is a floppy human-like hand of absurd proportions
  6. Mouth opens to a series of intricate knives and cutting tools
  7. Instead of eyes cogs that glow with an unearthly light
  8. Numerous "mouths" that cry and whine and leak thick white goo
  9. Parts in the wrong places - heads and legs swapped, multiple tails
  10. Human face stretched over whatever skull or structure is available - the squirrels are the worst

With sorcerous mutation comes mental aberration as well...

  1. Try to eat things they are not meant to eat (won't work well in the long run)
  2. Burrowing and climbing for creatures that would not do such a thing (the palm-faced tree deer)
  3. Highly aggressive nature for docile creatures, some even suicidal
  4. Extreme lethargy and gluttony
  5. Repetitive OCD-style actions that do not mesh with normal behavior
  6. Attempts to communicate that involve vomiting and defecating constantly


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Session Report [T7 & T8]: Forays into the Flesh Forest and More!

Two session reports in one post?  Yarp!

Also, a second session of experience running the point-crawl has been great - I'm getting a feel for how my players see the world I'm describing and getting better at describing what I want them to see.


First Adventures in the Dreadful Wilderness [Last Session of 2016]
  • Cornelius the Harvester was a Sorcerer
  • He is dead, his Place of Falling marked by and endless gyser of black blood and oil
  • The Part met and dealt with a gang of savage cannibals, The Royals
  • There was some fucking around a mine
  • Big explosion and magical chaos
  • Results include lost arms (now replaced with robot arms), lost leg (replaced with crutch), and dead Royals
  • Later the Royals show submissive behavior and tell the party about the way to Haven
  • They also mention that the Fields of Flesh is ripe and they are worried with the Harvester gone
  • The party decided to check out WTF was up with the gross flesh trees with big hairy "breeding pods" hanging from them because who wants a horde of whatever-the-fuck rampaging everywhere because of your actions or lack of actions or some combination of the two. 
  • After School Special lesson is on the horizon...

So .... Let's Explore the Flesh Forest! [First Session of 2017]
  • The party realizes that they are low on food, and decide to all go foraging.
  • Xian and Zigfried manage to harvest some berries (dung berries and rashberries) with only minor consequences
  • Creasy goes hunting with magic and draw the attention of something ... large
  • Meanwhile Katt and Freddicus start setting up snares using his jar of guts ... 
  • The thing in the cave is calling out to whatever Creasy just carved up and suddenly errupts
  • It seems to be a fur and scale covered worm the diameter of a tree trunk, but it doesn't seem to end!  It undulates a foot above the ground and doesn't have a face so much as a split open ragged end filled with recurved teeth. And it is fast!
  • The battle rages on, but in the end, Xian ended up casting a spell that broke time and he sacrificed himself to save the others.
  • Now the party has a baby Ian they are carting around!  And all that was just foraging for food.
  • Phi joins the party. He has his mouth sewn shut with silver wires and looks ... odd
  • Katt recalls that he is an Enchanter
  • The next day the party makes their way into the Flesh Forest and starts exploring.  
  • An old cache is uncovered under a cairn - it gets looted of course.
  • The party also learns that Cornelius was once a soldier in a battle against witches or the faerie
  • After a while the party makes their way into the Bone forest where the flesh trees are all dead - their bones cracked.
  • The sky is overcast and thunder rolls in the distance
  • The party watches an 8' tall humanoid wearing chains and a mask of a human face that appears to be made by a child
  • When they attempt to engage it it runs away into the forest just as the rain begins
  • Moving toward the place of Power that Creasy sensed the party sees an old collapsing stone tower that the marsh river has flooded
  • They find a safe place on the 2nd floor, they also realize that the water is bad news and causes Katt to pick up some sickness
  • Creasy breaks out a spell and changes the space between the tower and the river, causing the river to drain out and the trap door on the first floor to be revealed
  • It is, of course, magically trapped with some sort of Seizure Spell, but the party deals with that
  • In the underplace the party finds a moving mosaics and friezes
  • Then the find the real deal ... the place of power is a huge chamber and in the center is a dias
  • In the center of that dias is a human figure the size of a young child, but with the head of a sparrow
Next Up!
What will the party do?  What is that in the center of the dias? Where are the slaves that are supposed to be growing from the flesh trees growing in cysts? Is the harvest upon us? WHO KNOWS!


Table of Weird Stuff: Mutant Cat Biz
Unrelated to the above, just a good old fashioned random table. Roll 1d10.
  1. Scorpion tail
  2. Claws of mythril that rend armor
  3. Teleports only to inconvenient places for the adventurers
  4. Great dangling teats at which suckle daemons that protect mommy
  5. Huge with eyes like headlights
  6. They talk in stilted common but some words are wrong ... they know about fret
  7. Hovercat. Damnhellyea
  8. Butterfly wings that deflect magic
  9. So much hair you aren't sure where the cat is
  10. Friendly and well behaved. May bring you some tea.



Thursday, December 22, 2016

Running the Point Crawl

With my players out of Dungeon Titanicus and now experiencing the Dreadful Wilderness, I've moved to a new chapter of the Dawn of Eradu game, and it isn't going quite as smoothly as I'd like.

The Game is great - the party encountered the Cornelius the Harvester, a corpulent sorcerer who lives in his cybernetic chariot that is the top of a WWII tank that fires a pulse of magical energy and the whole thing is mobile due to slaves carrying it around.  They ran afoul of the Royals, a gang of cannibal savages with Southie Boston accents and wearing beat up old imperial armor. There was some exploration and some combat - a lot of combat - and magical shenanigans.  In the end, Cornelius was killed, the Royals made temporary peace with the party, Mr. Creasy Silo lost a leg to an inter-planar rift, and Zigfried blew his arms off with unstable dynamite.

The issue I'm having, however, is the Point-Crawl.  I've always run my wilderness exploration as hex maps, but as an experiment I thought I'd go with point-crawl maps. It seemed to fit the style of the game better, but it is really difficult to switch gears.  The "which direction is it" conversation is getting old because no matter how many times I tell them it doesn't matter, they keep asking.  And their map looks like a technical diagram grid because they don't want to draw symbols because "I can't draw".

I'm just not feeling it. Somehow this is harder than a hex crawl or even a "normal" map. Maybe I don't have the feel for it or perhaps I'm not conveying the concept correctly. Maybe we are too focused on the map itself rather than the adventure?  Treating the wilderness like a giant dungeon?

The Regional Map
I'm not showing this one just yet.  It covers the regions or major regions the game takes place. From the mountains where the sun rises each morning to the sweet scented sea, there are plenty of regions to explore that are all connected up. Each region sets a tone with both terrain, danger, types of things encountered, and so on.  The Marsh of Mists is very different than the Rudworm foothills.

Area Map
Each region has several areas - this is a map of one of the regions. There are the "day-to-day" travel points.  Players will know when they are no longer in the forest because there aren't trees, but they don't necessarily know they are in a new region.  Areas, however, are connected in specific ways (the old road, follow the river, etc.). The Area has a main feature that defines it and the players can explore more as they see fit.

The bold outlined locations are references to other Area Maps. The red outlined locations  are dungeons/exploration sites.

Location Maps
Each Area has several locations, most of which are entirely optional. This location map shows the locations of the sample area above.  Ignore the color coding ... I'm still working on that.

The locations are the fine detail of the point-crawl maps.  They are the "closed mine", "ruined tower", "weird rock that looks like a dong", or "gorgon lair". If players want to explore in more detail, there are options and things to make life interesting.

Site Maps
If the party is deep into exploring a site I may have a site map ready to go. This is pretty much the same as the location map but at a finer scale. This is only for places where I feel like running a detailed exploration adventure. Or maybe a chase situation could come up.  At this level of detail I have features listed for each site. For example. The XXX site may have 3 features

  1. Weird Old Tree that talks and wants to drink beer
  2. Trampled area, evidence of a forst troll
  3. Cave of the forest troll

They aren't anywhere in particular - they are just "in there". If the party isn't poking around the Location, they aren't going to run into the specific sites and surely not the features.

Conclusion
As I've written this up I think I might be organizing too much. I'm doing what I used to do with eorld maps, which is "big picture then refine" but maybe I'm refining too much?  The Area Map is awesome and feels like a point crawl.  The Location and Site maps are after much fiddling to make them tight and look less organic.  Maybe that is the issue?  Maybe my remapping for things to make them tidy is translating to my players not getting the feel? I'm going to keep at it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Gifts of the Dark Lords

There are plenty of Dark Lords and Chaos Godlings and Wyrd Thyngs from Between Space that characters can get involved with. Some of them grant boons.  Here are some random boons to get things started. One of my buddies asked for this for his game - I can't wait to hear how his players get themselves into trouble.

Dark Boons
Roll 1d8. Or roll 1d6 and +1 per sacrifice of some sort.

  1. Insect Vision - Gain the ability to see otherworldly colors and in the darkness, but eyes are gross gigantic bee eyes which freak normal people out and animals hate you.
  2. Arcane Gift- cast one extra spell per day, but voice alerts the Holy Daemon Hunters who listen for such vile sounds with huge brass ear trumpets. It will take a while for them to find you...
  3. Dark insight - ask the GM one question per session, but limbs become gnarled (movement/DEX penalty)
  4. Breath of Satan - exhale a cloud of stinging darkness once per day, but always stink of rotting meat (+1 encounter rolls)
  5. Demon Strength - minimum 1/2 max damage, but filled with uncontrollable rage (WIS check to overcome)
  6. Blight - touch causes 1d6 rotting damage ... but it is on ALL THE TIME. clothes and wood rots too but not as fast
  7. Dark Assistance - summon a dark familiar that gives permanent +1 to something, -1 to 2 other things, such as +1 to attack, but -1 to INT and WIS checks
  8. Blood Storm - spend 1d4 hit points to cause blood to erupt from the ground causing all enemies HPd4 damage (rolled a 3, then lose 3 HP but all opponents take 3d4 HP damage), blood damage cannot be healed by clerics or normal rest - only through vile ritual.


Badass Crowns
Roll 1d6 and wear your crown like you own it - because you do. Forever.

  1. Crown of the Xaos Mage - made of broken bone fragments that is surrounded by a nimbus of flame. Wearing it grants double effect from spells, but control over those spells (targeting, duration, etc.) is weakened.
  2. Crown of Aszor Mhauve - A metal circlet with thin delicate antenna adorning it. Wearing it allows the bearer to command war.bots, but at the cost of her humanity. Each command drains some part of their person, eventually they become a flesh robot and the crown only works on humans.
  3. Sludge Crown - A classic crown of gold that slowly melts the person's flesh. They are still fully functional, but have no form, which allows them to be able to slip through cracks under doors and whatnot.  The bearer can also communicate with and command slimes and oozes.  The crown "melts" with the person but reappears solid if they die.
  4. Undead Lord - a crown made of skeletal hands of babies and children. Wearing it makes you evil (even looking at it makes you suspect). It also allows you to command undead equal to or below your level. More powerful undead will either work for your favor or try to kill you and take thr crown or both.  Vampire politics ... worst hell ever.
  5. Ice Baby Crown - a tiny crown that gives you ice wizard powers and reverses your aging at double rate. eventually you'll turn back into a baby. Imagine a toddler wizard having a full-tilt temper tantrum.  Glaciation and another ice age are coming ...
  6. Crown of the Stone King - wearing it turns you to stone - mobile intelligent stone!  Your flesh is stone, so things that don't damage stone can't damage you. This also means that spells designed to heal flesh don't heal you - nor does rest; damage to you is permanent. You become incredibly strong to the point that delicate tasks take great concentration (WIS and DEX checks). 

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!