Sunday, December 29, 2013

Spell Components for Actual Play!

I love the idea of spell components!  They can add a rich flavor to magic making it both exotic and rare; "Apparently I need a glorthak claw for this spell ... what the Hells is a glorthak and where can I find one?".  Unfortunately, most spell components are mundane (a pinch of soot, a candle) and tracking them is a total bore.  Much like encumbrance, a system that abstracts and simplifies the process of tracking spell components would be a vast improvement.  This system is designed to work with the encumbrance house rules we use in my game.

Purchase and Storage

Spell components are purchased in lots of 20 (20 components fit into one container slot).  A lot of components is designed for a particular spell level or lower. The cost of a lot is based on the level.

 Level   Cost / lot 
 Level   Cost / lot 
 Level   Cost / lot 
 Level   Cost / lot 

Using Components

When a wizard casts a spell requiring a general component, remove 1 component from a lot of the appropriate level.  Some spells require very specialized components and are not covered by the general spell components.  For example, the 3rd level spell Wizard Lock requires a pair of magnets costing no less than $10.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Vunterdua: the winter festival of Aldsburg

The winter in Aldsburg is long and dark.  Lady Ring of the Ramhorns weeps contstantly for her imprisoned lover the sun, her tears splashing on the spires.   Lord Vinde of the Ramhorns is always shouting at her, his cold breath freezing the lady's tears and covering the cobbles with frost and ice.  The Wizard Kal attempts to hide the pain with an endless dusting of snow - pure and white and beautiful.  And the Rån, the sun, makes his appearances when he can to warm the heart of his lover, but the weight of ice and snow and the rage of Lord Vinde keeps his visits short.

Vunterdua Eve is the winter solstice - the longest, darkest night of the year.  It is a night of terror for many, but in this darkest of nights, the communities of Aldsburg come together in preparation for the Vunterdua Day celebration of surviving the night once again.

Vunterdua Eve

The night before the winter festival is the longest night.  It is one where families gather together to huddle by their oily fires and take comfort in what little they can.  Music from the top of great spires filters through the city streets and gantries, in the lowest levels, there are prayers to Narkul begging his red knight to stalk the city streets and protect them from the Hulufk - the elves that crawl from the darkest places to steal whatever and whomever they can.  The families and cloisters hold tight when they hear the red knight wander by on his iron-shod mount and the sounds of vicious battles won are sounded with deep hand bells that echo ominously.  Don't go out or you may be mistaken for Hulufk.

Vunterdua Day

With the longest night come and gone, Rån will slowly make his triumphant return.  In days long past the day would begin with the sounding of the Ramhorn itself - a might trumpet of brass and gold - to announce that the underworld contingent of dwarfs have come to trade.  It sounds infrequently now, but small versions can be heard bleating and echoing all about the city at dawn.  While Vinde and Ring still continue crying and shouting and Kal does what he can to keep the mythical din to a minimum, people emerge and celebrate.

Food made slowly on the night hearths is brought into the street and shared with neighbors and friends and strangers.  The strange priests of Narkul, wearing a sash to cover their eyes, come out as well and mingle freely.  There are also some nobility (or perhaps more terrible things) that dress as the Red Knight of Narkul, Vunterdua,  and hand out small gifts and coins to all they see.

Bodies of the slain Hulufk, wrapped in bloody burlap, hang from bridges and lamps and overpasses.  The blood frozen, glistening in the sunlight, makes for a beautiful sight.  It is bad luck to look upon the Hulufk, but often you'll find them decorated with sprigs of holly and evergreen.  The priests of Narkul take them down and throw them into the char pit that evening - the reeking smoke shadows from the ghostly flames filling the streets. 

The Hulufk & The Red Knight

While some claim that the Hulufk are actually people who have been murdered by the clerics of Narkul (and perhaps some of those burlap covered bodies are the victims of dark ritual or simply the method some unscrupulous criminals dispose of their kills), the Hulufk are real.

These human-sized demons creep out of the mountain underworld. Their faces covered with masks of ice, they are otherwise nude.  With bluish skin, long blackened nails, and teeth stained red with blood, they prowl the street looking for easy prey.  The Hulufk also seem to have a tendency to take anything they find interesting and carry it around with them.  As the night goes on, they become burdened with their load but their greed will not allow them to drop a single item.

Vunterdua, the Red Knight of Narkul, is likely not a true Red Knight.  Nonetheless, something comes hunting these monsters and hangs their bodies.  None have truly seen Vunterdua and lived to tell the tale, although fleeting glimpses of red capes and a huge bloody goat surface from time to time.

Better Not Shout.
Better Not Cry.
Better Watch Out.
I'll tell you why ...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dreadful Wilderness: Ramhorns of the Unvald

Aldsburg is carved from the stone of the Ramhorn Mountains (which are the southern branch of the expansive Unvald Mountain range). They are rugged and very difficult to travel, the eastern faces tend to have sudden and often quite violent storms, and the temperatures in the winter (let alone the snowfall) can freeze a man's eyeballs solid right in his head. In addition to the physical hardships, the inhabitants are none too friendly either. The slate-scaled wyvren circle cloud-covered spires, serpentine dragons with black iron teeth hunt among the avalanches they cause, endless hordes of savages (orcs and other beastmen) come down all too often in the north to try and lay waste to Frantis Keep, and the Ramhorn Ogres (led by the one-armed half-ogre Swissgar the BoneShredder wielding a fearsome giant axe looted from the Storm Giant Durthrandar) are a constant and unfortunately intelligent threat.

The good stuff? The mountains are LOADED with gold, silver, other precious metals, gems, and a whole variety of minerals that folks tend to want. The two passes through the Ramhorns can (assuming they don't run afoul of monsters or bandits) save a merchant months of travel and avoid traversing Discontent the Sea of Woe. Aldsburg is rich from mining, Frantis Keep exists to guard the northlands from ravaging beastfolk, and the few villages that dot the landscape tend to exist as mining or logging camps and the occasional weird cult village. The foothills are also rich and fertile from all of the mountain streams and filled with vibrant life.  The moutnains are still mad dangerous.

The one other saving grace is Xinheart, a dwarfin fortress city in the souther mountains near Aldsburg.  The dwarfs tend to keep most of the more dangerous elements in check and have recently re-opened trade and communication with Aldsburg (thanks to the new Patrician).  Unvald dwarfs are not know for being friendly.  Xinheart may be the last of the dwarfin strongholds since they lost their underworld war.  It is a final bastion of the Grand Kingdom that once existed.  Outsiders - even dwarfs from other lands - are not allowed in and only a select few dwarfs will travel outside (except for the war patrols).

Random Hex Locations
1) The Black Spire: visible from any adjacent hex, the Black Spire is an absurdly tall and thin tower of stone reaching half again as high as any nearby mountain.  It seems to constantly weep a thick black goo.  Ramhorn Ogres worship at this site and are rather protective.

2) Bestial Canton: sitting low and snug in a valley between peaks, a "settlement" of orcs and their associates grunt and squak and generally make a mess of things.  The village is centered around their birthing puddle (a mucky pit that goes deep into the earth).  Pretty big chance of patrols and guards.  They like to eat adventurers.

3) Craggy Nest: a sheer cliff face that is riddled with shallow caves, making it quite easy to climb for those skilled in such things.  The only problem is the number of goatbirds (eagle-like except for their gnashing flat teeth and curled butting horns) that nest here.  They can be distracted with raw meat and tend to collect shiny baubles.

4) Bone Cairn: a huge pile of symmetrically stacked bones of all manner of creature, including mountain troll, giant, and some sort of enormous mountain cat.

5) Dust Mines of Gthaith: A group of Yauni have come all the way from the southlands to set up a mine.  They are all dead now - apparently succumb to the cold and or some sort of plague.  They were keeping barrels of a strange fine dust (bluish in hue) recovered from the mine.  Enter the dark dust pits ... I'm sure it will not contain a terrible beast or long forgotten dwarfin stronghold overrun by slime demons from the bowels of the underworld.

6) Shangrila: a peacful secluded valley with monks in safron robes that chant and seem perfectly happy.  Delicious fruit, clean water, and no monsters.  Of course, attempt to leave and things will get hairy.  The Monks of the Outward Fist have a Black Lyndwyrm they venerate (and have trained) they will unleash if things get too bad.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Dreadful Wilderness: Grubwood

South of Aldsburg lies the Grubwood.  It is big and dark and scary and things that die in there don't stay dead, probably because of Kelpathi the Sticher (who is rumored to be a False Man and a Sorcerer).  The edges seem normal enough, but a bit further in you'll find the walking dead riding on huge forest trolls, gibbering packs of savages, and strange wells and clearings that will make a paladin die simply be looking directly at them.  No doubt.

Random Hex Locations (d9 ... was a d8, then I added #9 from an awesome blog)
1) Well of Gorlieb: a diminuative well that is made from the teeth of children and beaks of sparrows. 

2) Ruins of Tul: a village overrun with a thick creeping vine.  A pack of savages lives here and offers blood sacrifice to the demon god KU6R, who resides in the bell tower.

3) The Blight: for as far as the eye can see, there is a thin layer of mucus and blood covering everything, and maggots the size of your thumb wriggling about.  Anyone looking closely will see the maggots have human-like faces.  Also, they are delicious.

4) Popo's Gorge: a deep gash in the earth from which eminates the sweet smell of freshly baked bread.  Popo, possibly a goblin, lives in a small hut by a rickety bridge and offers safe passage for a few copper.  The gorge is filled with zombies that can't escape.

5) Silver Tree: Nearly 1 in 10 trees in the area havea silvery film on them.  In the center of the region is a tree made of pure silver.  In it lives a spider dryad who spins insanely strong webs because she drinks the sap of the tree.  A silver tree branch makes an extra potent wand.

6) Tuk Tuk Hollow: The tuk tuk are goblin-kin (mean and agressive and territorial) and have managed to dig wells everywhere in this region looking for the Treasure of Jorbal Mag.  There are pits and stone-lined wells everywhere, most of them filled with filthy water and quite a few home to many tentacled ktuth-spawn.

7) Tentacle Forest: This area is infected with tentacles.  many of the trees have tentacles instead of branches and attack anything that moves nearby

8) The Dastardly Ruins: A village in great condition, but entirely abandoned, all the buildings are completely empty.  Investigating the well in the center of town will reveal some oozing ecojunk.  if visited at night, the ghost population (including ghost animals and ghost furniture) will welcome their new guests

9) One of these lakes

Encounters With The Devil's Friends (d10)
1) The Witches Three - they know things and want to tell you but that curse ... OH THE CURSE!
2) Sharg the Troll Mother.  She is not your friend.  Nor are her children.  Best to run.
3) Eggar the Host and his band of Bone Soldiers
4) Magpie the Fleshmolder (drank one to many polymorph potions)
5) Kirk.  Of. The. Lost. Tower. (brutal warlord with host of red shirt wearing berserks)
6) Ted the Mind Wizard (inept or just much more clever than you?)
7) Giant spiders that have tree branches for legs
8) A band of survivalist elf zombies hunting the ghost of Xhug the ape-man
9) A bear the size of an elephant and hungry like a great white, the bear will also accept gold
10) A flock of carrion birds eating the last few scraps from an Ramhorn ogre that was an emisarry with a coded letter for Hesporiax the Despoiler asking for more troops ... the ogre animates and attacks

Strange Stuff in the Grubwood (d6)
1) The moon just rose ... no .. the other moon.  I didn't know we had two either.
2) The wind through the leaves sounds like whispering, then shouting, then chanting, then suddenly stops.
3) A beautiful statue of a elf warrior that, no matter what direction approached from, is always pointing his barbed stone spear at the party.  No one sees him move.
4) A pile of broken mechanical animals wearing the pelts of real animals - mostly squirrel and rabbits.  One of them is still moving and squealing in pain.
5) A pond with reddish water is suddenly where it wasn't before and won't be here tomorrow.  The fish are all freakishly long (like 12-15') but very thin (2" diameter) eels.  There are also turtles that have chromed shells that shine and glitter in the sun.  The eels are harmless, but the turtles bite.
6) Will-o-the-wisps dance in the distance making complex geometric patterns.  Investigating the area will likely reveal a collection of toadstools and tiny finger bones.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Cartography Skill

Here are some facts:
1) Game Masters love making dungeon maps.
2) Players hate making dungeon maps.

Because of this, GMs end up with wonderfully complex maps that, once translated to the player's minds, are just some boxes with lines between them and a few notes.  The Cartography skill from HM5, in this case, is pretty weak.

Things to Do with Cartography (in the dungeon)
If a character with cartography has made a map (i.e. the player has made a map) then a cartography check can be made to do a few things if the character takes a moment to study the map and their surroundings:

1) Determine best known path to entrance (-10)
2) Identify places previously mapped (+10)
3) Notice strange construction/paths (there should be a room here, or I think this passage doubles back on itself) (+40)
4) "Connect" mapped areas (+10)
5) Get a hint (see below) when at an intersection about where a corridor may lead (limited)

In addition, player who has a character with trained cartography can ask the GM to map one area, review some piece of their map, or ask a yes/no map-related question a number of times per session equal to their rank (novice = 1, average =2, etc).

Make MapsCool, Not Technical
Mapping should be kind of fun and not tedious.  Who cares if the room was 20x20 with a 5' alcove in the north side of the eastern wall?  What players are interested in is that in a moderately sized room an alcove beckons them - a strange mist seeming to roll from the floor and an ominous grinding noise coming from beyond the far wall.

What is important for the GM to do when mapping is make the exploration interesting.  Multiple elevations within the same level, multiple paths, that sort of thing.  Straight line dungeons are BORING.  Read This.

Critical Hits

Critical Hits are an integral part of Hackmaster, but the current process doesn't feel as awesome as I want it to.  Also, the charts as they exist are ridiculous.  Numerous repeat entries, far too many body parts and location, and generally not exciting.  WHFRP hit the nail on the head with their critical charts.  They are BRUTAL.  So ... a combination of things that is, in the end, easier I think.

d12d10000 Location  1-56-1011-1516-2021-2526-30
1-31-2500LegsM10%C1 RM25%C2   RS2D1M25%C3   RS3D1M50%C4  RS4D2M50%C5RS6D2M75%C6
 10-11  7501-9167ArmsC1D1C2RD1C3RD2C4RS2D2C5RS3D3C6
12 9168-10000  Head RS3D1C1  RS4D2C2RS6D3C3RS8D3M10%C4 RS10D4M10%C5   RS12D4M25%C6 

d12d10000 Location  31-3536-4041-4546-5051+
 10-11  7501-9167ArmsRS4D3C7RS6D4C8RS8D4C9RS10D5C10C11+(1d6-1)
12 9168-10000  Head RS20D5M25%C7   RS20D5M25%C8   RS20D6M50%C9   RS20D7M75%C10   C11+(1d6-1) 

The Codes
C: critical hit result (see below)
M: Move - indicates percent of movement reduction until the wound heals
R: count reset
S: stun result, number indicates die result (S4 = stunned for 1d4 seconds)
D: extra dice of damage (D3 = +3d of damage, always use higher die first for odd numbers and multiple damage dice)

The Critical Results
I like the various types of critical hits listed on the Winds of Chaos site.  Arrows can be used for piercing weapons with a bit of modification.  Of course, the charts are all in WHFRP speak, so some translation is necessary.  I'll make a PDF of the charts with the HackMaster conversion.  The results are permanent (in the case of lopped off parts) or last until the wound is healed.  The severity 51+ crit causes a critical result of 11-15.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

More Wilderness Village Bits

There are numerous generators that fill out all sorts of details about the villages and towns that one can find.  But honestly, who cares about the number of fishmongers or if there are three different cobblers?  This is all about the straight forward random village generation for Eradu.

The Basics

Size (2d6)
2) Tiny: 20+2d20p
3-4) Small: 50+2d30p
5-9) Average: 75+3d20p
10-11) Large: 100+1d100p
12) Big : 150+3d100p

Law (2d6) 
2) No Enforcement (50/50 lawless / utopian)
3) Spotty (bribes and corruption, but not wickedness)
4-5) Lax (laziness because nothing happens)
6-8) Normal
9-10) Strict (because law is good!)
11) Opressive (might makes right)
12) Tyrant Style (my town, my rules)
Potential Henchmen in Town (1d6)
1-3) 1% of population (If less than 100, population is % chance of single henchman)
4-5) 1d4+1% of population
6) 2d4+1% of population

Leadership (1d8)
1) A thick Noble with an advisor
2) Village Elders
3) Mayor who takes votes
4) None, really - it just works (anarchy)
5) Live in fear of local Wizard/Warlord
6) Decisions through oracle and divination
7) Gang of toughs controls things quietly
8) A child, worshiped as a god, make decisions

Places to Go! (1d100 a few times)

Roll d100 for each type of place adventurers might want to spend some time or coin.  If one exists, Check for a secnd one at 10% the listed rate, any value below 1% is considered to be an automatic failure.  Big villages have 1 inn for sure and a 20% chance for a second (which makes a 2% chance for a 3rd if the second exists).

Supply Shop
AG Presence

Inn/Tvaern: a place to gather rumors, carous for experience, and sleep it off
Supply Shop: specifically for adventuring supplies.  Normal stuff can probably be found around town
Blacksmith: someone both capable and willing to repair equipment
Temple/Shrine: there will be 1 (non-adventuring) cleric for every 40-50 people or so, no garuntee of healing
Healer/Doctor: someone with first aid.  If there is also a temple, check this again and if so they are a cleric with 1d6 levels that can heal folks up ... maybe
Jeweler: someon who can and will appraise gems and make banq transactions
Fence: selling or looking for shifty things?  this is your guy.  A thief in the party doubles chances
Sage: an old, wise, long-haired fellow who knows tons of stuff
AG Presence: Does the Adventurers' Guild have a presense in this town?  Likley just a guy.  On a roll of 1 in 6 they have a proper office.

What's Happening? (2d6)

Drop 2d6 and see what maybe afoot in the village you've just encountered.

2) Catastrophe!
3-5) Less than Optimal
6-11) Nothing of Note
12) A Boon to Ye!

Catastrophe (1d6)
1) Famine / Drought
2) Plague / Infestation
3) Beset by Soldiers / Bandits / Humanoids / Wizard Army
4) Fire / Flood / Earthquake
5) Riot / Serious Civil Unrest
6) Curse: Demon / Wizard / Fae / Ancient

Less Than Optimal (1d6)
1) Festival or Soldiers occupy space and take most goods
2) Small Fire recently ruined a random place adventurers care about
3) PCs are breaking some strange (50% new) local law
4) Cranky Watch - PCs are harassed, taxed, and generally the focus of watchman ire
5) Availability is halved and prices doubled because of trade issues
6) The PCs are the target of a well-planned robbery

A Boon to Ye! (1d6)
1) Recent merchant activity causes availability to double and prices to halve for the rest of this week
2) Festival is in town!  Carous for +10% experience points
3) Religious Fervor - any PC clerics gain special (positive) standing while in town
4) Mentor in town means a single skill can be trained for free
5) Crazy fad inthe region - clothes, a dance, for dwarfs, etc - and the PCs just happen to have "it"
6) Pick up 1d6 fanatical henchmen that bring a week of rations and don't want any pay ... for now

Everything Else

This should cover more than enought to get the randomly encontered village going.  If the GM needs something else, make it up or roll a die rating the likelyhood of the thing existing from 1 (unlikley) to 3 (likely) with the occasional 4 (very likely) and roll 1d6 and get equal to or under the likelihood rating.  If the PCs are loved, give them a +1 to the die roll. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Villages in the Wilderness

The Eradu campaign is going to be less about the cosmos spanning apocalyptic madness and dimension shifting endless brainfuck than the current game.  The world has moved on and is pretty much dying off (Vance) - humans almost exclusively live in great cities, those in the villages and small settlements in the wilderness are probably crazy somehow.  Here are some thoughts.


Rumors in the west that the Imperial Highway still exists is probably bunk.  In the northlands of Aldsburg the road to Volkem is little more than a muddy track that fades in and out and the wilderness reclaims the land.  Getting to New Hope via road is near impossible - between floods and the malicious Grubwood a guide is your best bet - and that is a shabby one at best.

A few game tracks exist here and there and sometimes a path between friendly villages (or from the village to the road) exist, but those are suspect at best and temporary at best.  The elders have some nonsense story about how once the Vendgarr was opened the wilderness began to grow faster than in the old days.  Apparently there used to be roads everywhere.

Road Encounters
1) some remnant stones, no sense of direction
2) game trail
3) walking path
4) cart path
5) stretch of road, crossways (1d10p miles)
6) stretch of road, pathways (1d10p miles)

Why travel on a road?  When travelling on a road a party won't get lost and, more importantly, it can be used as a future landmark.  Paths are less reliable and often tend to meander and cross with other paths and game trails.  Getting lost on paths is less likely, but who knows where they lead (strange wells, weird temples, or one of the freaky rural villages.


When a party first comes upon a previously unknown village, roll to see what the hell is up with this place.  The dangerous stuff is usually the most interesting, but the friendly and welcoming villages will likely cause the players to be the most suspicious.

1) Friendly and welcoming
2) Boring and small and dull
3) Wary of outsiders, but nothing strange
4) Wary of outsiders because of something strange
5) Hostile and probably dangerous
6) Friendly but really dangerous (probably a wicked cult)

Villages don't have much in the way of adventuring goods (like weapons) because they are just off in the middle of nowhere.  Any gear they have is most likely used by the locals to protect against raging bandits, demon bears, or whatever nearby humanoid tribe thinks the village property actually belongs to them.  Cut weapons, armor, and other adventuring supply availability to 25% of the city availability and double the cost.  Supplies availability are reduced to 50% and the price is increased by half.  Everything else, well, the GM will have to wing it.

Village Oddities
1) Weird morality laws
2) Incredibly strict religious rules
3) Leadership is incomprehensible
4) Odd social customs or clothing choices
5) They are nocturnal (10% this is a Devil Town of Vampires)
6) Reverence or Fear (50/50 on that one) of a Strange Well in the middle of town

Monday, November 4, 2013

Urban Excrency: Aldsburg

At A Glance
Aldsburg, the Vaulted City of Spires, leans and clutches at Mount Grundir and welcomes the new day.  Having been crumbling under the weight of massive stone and rampant neglect, the city has a new infusion of wealth and a new caretaker.  Said to be a cousin of the Patrician of Malabrae, the Patrician of Aldsburg is a tyrant who is bringing a city back to vibrant life.

So many of the overfed merchants who had sold nothing but dust have been sent away.  Old mines thought fallow and regions though devoid of wealth have begun to produce ore, minerals, and gemstones.  The Unvald Dwarfs of Ramhorn have opened trade once again and proved to be vital allies against a new onslaught of monstrous humanoids and inexplicable abominations from the Underworld.

With bridges and catwalks being rebuild, parts of the city that have been cut off are being brought into the fold.  Old floors and covers are being ripped open to let light into catacombs and neighborhoods that were shut away.  Towers are begin gilded once again; towers are being repaired and growing; visitors swarm the streets with the tinkling of foreign coin.  The city is coming alive again.  But at what cost?

Some of those old places sit inside themselves now, dark corners that breed flies and maggots from the weeping of the lost and mad.  Sooty temples still hold chanting that offends the ears and mind of Narkul, the patron god of Aldsburg.  Creatures are said to haunt the city at night. Those who defy the Patrician are said to become Hollow - barely recognizable as their former selves and run through and through with a subtle cruelty.

Where to Go

The Bishops Arse (formerly Bluegill Tavern) said to be run by a gang originating in Malabrae.  For such a thing the Red Mist must be truly powerful.  Also, they seem to have some of the best ale imports from the south.

The Gardens of Calis are a series of interconnected courtyards that are the highest remaining vestiges of a one great tower.  The gardens have become an open air market not quite under guild rule.  Also, the local guard are fond of pitching shoplifters and cut-purses off the edge onto the spires of the Catherdral of Narkul.  Narkul doesn't seem to mind.

The Patrician's Palace (formerly the Palace of The Holy Mother Drelmora) is the highest point in Aldsburg, the topmost spires reaching into the clouds.  Unless specifically summoned, though, it is best to avoid the place unless being run through by highly trained warrior-mages seems like a good time.

Biltip Spire is mountainside and contains a vast number of craftsmen.  Their work is obviously inspired by dwarfish construction.  If one is looking for specialty items (...ahem...) one of the craftsmen or alchemists can surely accommodate your need.

The Low Arena sits in the low districts beneath the spires.  It is still filled with dark corridors and places, but also tends to attract many to view the gladiatorial matches.  Slaves are pitted against foul creatures, the condemned fight for their freedom, and from time to time the brave and foolhardy enter to make a name for themselves.  Gambling is encourgaed, and the law, what little there is, doesn't extend to these reaches.

Clerics in Eradu

The Few, The Proud, The Holy Men

As mentioned in the previous post, there are only four HackMaster cleric classes allowed for player characters.  It isn't that I necessarily dislike the other classes, or that I will deny NPCs the ability to be clerics of those gods, but I just don't like the feel of so many classes.  The party will meet plenty of clerics that follow other gods, demons, patchwork lords, elder gods, and what-have-you, but I don't want ot putter around with the all those rules.  So, to keep things a bit more focused, clerics are Lightbringers, Truthseekers, Merciful Fates, or Messengers of Liberty.

A Cleric in Society

A cleric's position in society changes dramatically with each society that he enters.  In some villages he may be venerated as an aspect of the divine, while in others he may be spat upon as a heretic.  It all comes down to what kind of religion exists where the party is currently hanging their hat, how the people react to a priest of another faith, and how aggressive the cleric is in their views.  To play it safe, keeping things quiet (not necessarily hiding one's clerical nature) and being low key is going to allow for a smoother introduction.

Religion is often very important in Eradu, but the religions and gods (and demons for that matter) are often so localized that assumptions about right, wrong, and reasonable priestly behavior are going to be incorrect, possibly offensive, and potentially deadly.  Players are advised to take that step back and figure things out ebfore offering to heal anyone who walks by.

For example, the gods of Vinthalp are a bit cruel.  They ensure that the streams flow, the crops grow, and that children are born.  But injury is taken as a sign that the flesh is weak and the spirit must be so as well.  A cleric of Vin will heal you, but only after you've shaved your body hair, accepted the ritual tattoos, and bind yourself to a year of penance to cleanse the soul.  If these terms are not acceptable, then a blood letting (which is used to water the fields - life brings life) for 2d6p damage must be performed THEN all of the damage healed.  Those who do not survive are bound to spirits of terror, the corpses tried to stakes in the field, and their lot in unlife is to guard the corn from crows.

Temples and Shrines of the Celestial Council
Unless in dark territory, finding at least a small shrine to the Celestial Council is fairly common.  Shrines are small and will often be dedicated to a number of gods, so divine privacy isn't really an option.  A cleric in need of some guidance will just have to take what they can get.  This becomes most important when a cleric is looking for formal training or wants to have someone drop a really powerful spell for them.

Getting Started
Characters playing a cleric likely had some sort of training from other clerics, before being sent into the world (or leaving in an ecclesiastical huff).  Roll 2d6 for some background (1 BP to re-roll as usual) for The Call, once for The Way. Then roll 3d6 taking the two that add up the closest to 7, modify, and check results.

2d6 The Call The WayResults
2It was join the clergy or go hang for a crime (-3 R)So far you barely follow the tenets of the faith (-3 R)as #3, You need serious atonement, no spells until you complete your first quest
3They offered you a second chance that you didn't want  (-2 R)  Belief is relative (-2 R)as #4, special abilities as 1d3 levels lower
4Your parents forced you into the life (-2 R)Deep down you believe, but not so much up top (-1 R)as #5, gain no bonus prayers for high wisdom
5At least they feed you (-1 R)You do what you need to to get byas #6, cast 1 level lower until atonement
6Potential to improve social standingYou are pretty sure the gods existPrayers +1s longer to cast
7You think the vestments look snappyTheological debate is fun and you might as well pick a side Devout or not, you made it through
8You've always been a worshiper, this made senseHelping the downtrodden feels good and is rightGain an extra 1/2 level prayer
9You felt honor-bound (+1 R)You enjoy giving sermonsAs #8,+1 to turn abilities
10A vision most clear (+1 R)Through constant prayer... (+1 R)As #9, 2d6p BP for appropriate skills
11Through action you were recognized (+2 R)It all comes so naturally to you (+2 R)As #10, duplicate prayer memorization
12An avatar of the gods spoke to you  (+3 R)In all things the way of the church are made pure by your actions (+3 R)As #11, gain an extra 1/2/3/4 level prayer

The Inquisition

Within the High Seats of the Celestial Council it is rumored that wickedness and a vile demonic cult have infiltrated the clergy to spread lies and discontent.  When a cleric wishes to advance, they must present themselves to the Inquisition for review.  It is a brutal affair, discussing all actions taken, their impact on the church, their impact on the soul of the cleric, and the impact on Eradu itself.  Failure to pass the inquisition results in being expelled from the church.  In extreme circumstances rumors have it that the inquisition has tortured and killed those found to have committed heresy, but what proof exists?  Follow the tenets of the faith, my children!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Perilous Halls of Sorrow: Vermin Table (LONG POST)

The Vermin Table recently ran across a fantastic "dungeon vermin" table in one of the numerous blogs that I visit.  I wish I would have taken notes so I could give credit, but I didn't.  If someone knows, throw a note in the comments and I'll link back to the original post.

Below are 100 vermin encounters for the Perilous Halls of Sorrow.  These are meant to be destructive, loathsome, harassing, and generally unpleasant (although a few can be run amusingly if desired) encounters.  Roll 1d100 and see what horrors await the characters. 

  1d100   Category & Creature
01Cave Crickets
02Dungeon Fleas
03Giant Beetle
04Giant Bombardier
05Giant Boring
06Giant Dung
07Giant Fire Beetle
08Huge Ticks
09Giant Worker Ant
10Gigantic House Flies
11Grave Centipede
12Hades Ants
15Stactite Wasps
16Stone Eaters
17Albino rat
19Cave Lizards
20Dungeon Cat
21Giant Rat
22Huge Scorpion
23Huge Toads (poisonous)
24Irontooth Goat
25Malformed Mimic
28Small Carrion Beast
29Stonen (dungeon chickens)
30Tunnel Swine
Disease Bearers
32Infected Strix
33Puking Gargoyle
34Typhoid Mary

  1d100   Category & Creature
35Iron Mites
38Tomb Gremlins
39Giant Maggots
40Rot Grubs
41Stench Grugs
42Tri-Mawed Stalker
Molds & Slimes
43Adrisax Mold
45Blood Puddle
46Blue Slime
47Cave Pustules
49Grey Mold
50Gripping Sludge
51Lambri (Elfbread)
52Memory Caps
55Blubbering scrap
56Clinging Scrap
57Crawling Scrap
58Floating Scrap
59Small Scrap
60Barbed Devil
63Trap Door

  1d100   Category & Creature
64Biting Flies
65Centipede Stampede
67Rat King
68Rat Swarm
69Scrap swarm
70spider migration
71swarm of house flies
Undead Things
72Biting Head
73Bone Rat
76Clawing Hands
77Crawling corpse
Weird Stuff
79Afanc Tentacle
80Arm of Xinth
81Carved Beast
82Corpse Light
83Cousing Jack
84Dagger of Bal
85Devil's Staff
86Dungeon nest
87Executioner's Hood
88Fog of Slime
91Nipper (toe biter)
92Oculo Imaturi
93Tiny Trapper
Worms & Serpents
94Gorehead Asp
96cistern serpent
98Giant Nightcrawler
100Teneborous Wyrm


Cave Crickets: Generally the size of a large cat and easily startled, cave crickets jump and leap away from lights.  Any injury is accidental as they try to escape (a single attack: init-4, atk+2, dmg: 1d8p).

Dungeon Fleas: dungeon fleas are the size of a thumbnail and infest an individual (daily Feat of Intelligence to notice).  Each day a person is infested, one other person gets infested.  Infested characters itch and are covered in small bites (1d4p 1hp bites each day).  It takes a good cleaning to clear them out.

Giant Beetle: There are a variety of giant beetles, but they generally act per the Hacklopedia entry.
1d10Giant Beetle Type
3Rhino Beetle
4Corpse Stealing Pillbug
6Banded Beetle
7Gold Mantis
8Red Spitter
10Ironclad Beetle

Giant Bombardier Beetle: per Hacklopedia

Giant Boring Beetle: per Hacklopedia

Giant Dung Beetle: weighing in at 50 pounds, giant dungeon dung beetles roll about huge balls of compacted monster dung.  When encountered, there is a 50% they are rolling toward the characters.  they move at 5+d6'' per second (adjust speed every few seconds as they adjust) and will bowl folks over for 2d4p damage if the PC's don't run.  If otherwise cornered, they dung beetle will attempt to flee as they are noncombatants.

Giant Fire Beetle: per Hacklopedia

Huge Ticks: Treat as tiny versions of a giant tick from the Hacklopedia but with only 6 hp and doing 1d3p damage when they bite.


Giant Worker Ant: per Hacklopedia

Gigantic House Flies: Huge and disgusting, these flies are the size of a fist.  They will ruin any food or paper (scrolls) that they land on.  They are attracted to the scent of offal and carrion and will generally be irritants and pests.  Of course, 5% have some sort of nasty disease. Centipede: Black with white markings that resemble a skeleton, Grave centipedes can be mistaken for an animated skeleton from a distance of in very dim light.  They are the size a of a man, but otherwise as Giant Centipede per Hacklopedia

Hades Ants: while half the size of giant ants, the hades ant does just as much damage with a bite.  The bite is so painful, though, damage is doubled for determining if a Threshold of Pain check should be made.  In addition, Hades Ants are covered in a fine crimson "fur".

Punchflies: Punchflies aren't big, but they get moving very fast and have hard exoskeletons.  They show up in groups of 2d4 and will fly into a target at speed.  Each punchfly that hits roll 1d6p to determine if DR is passed - if so the target has a 1hp welt.  If a target doesn't drop, they tend to move on.

Sharpflies:  Similar to the punchfly, but sharpflies have extrusions that actually puncture and cut a victim.  Treat them tarantubats per the Hacklopedia, except they do 1d4p damage.

Stactite Wasps: not truly wasps, but the coloration and body form could fool most without inspection.  Stalactite wasps are found in small nests of 1d6.  They drop down on an individual passing and cause a 1d3p hp wound if they hit (init: d8-6, atk: d20-3).  A nest can often be identified by a yellowish discoloration on the floor under their nest.  The they miss a target, they will slowly crawl back to their nest and wait.

Stone Eaters: Small but ravenous, stone eaters do just that - they eat through stone.  The bugs themselves are rarely encountered, but their 2" diameter tunnels are.  Most often the party will notice a handful of these holes, but sometimes they will reveal other aspects of the dungeon (as they are tunnels into other rooms).


Albino Rat: a totally normal rat, but ghostly white with red eyes.  They are always seen solo and always way too close the someones face.  The albino rat is considered a foul omen, and unless immediately killed (which is difficult because they are fast and small) something unplesant will surely happen by the next sunset.

Barfwing: These are bats that have developed a defense mechanism that causes them to reek as if they were trogoldytes.  When startled, they will fly away from the party but everyone must pass a CON check as though affected by troglodyte musk (per Hacklopedia).

Cave Lizards: Always found in clustered herds of 100+1d100p, these foot long lizards are docile but spook easily.  If prodded or otherwise molested, the her's instinct is to swarm over the attacker in a matter of seconds (1d4+2 in fact).  From that point forward, the swarmed individual won't be able to do anything and will be crushed and suffocated in a number of seconds equal to twice their CON.  Treat the heard like a swarm - for any damage done, half is also done to the target.

Dungeon Cat: a scrawny cat that will follow the party around if they feed it and hiss a warning when danger approaches (-1 to everyone's initiative).  Mistreatment will cause it to urinate on a random party member's pack, making them stink terribly (and it is un-washable).  This stink will attract more monsters and make hiding undetected less likely. 

Giant Rat: per Hacklopedia

Huge Scorpion: Treat as a Very Large Spider per Hacklopedia but their poison paralyzes for 1d6x10 minutes.  They will always be found under something else and likely have surprise.

Huge Toads: Big freaking toads looking for bugs and small rats and the like.  Non-combatant.  25% of huge toads have a hallucinogenic poison they excrete for protection.

Irontooth Goat: These are goats that live in dungeons and have iron teeth.  They tend to follow a party and try to eat everything (like weapons).  Treat as a hunting dog per Hacklopedia if attacked it will defend itself to the death.  Irontooth Goats don't flee

Malformed Mimic: Has a 50/50 chance of looking like either a very small chest that is malformed or a normal sized chest that is very poorly formed.  Either way, careful observation will show that the thing is breathing.  If approached, it lashes out with a pseudopod that does no damage and is only mildly sticky.  No damage is done, but papers and small delicate items may be lost.  Silk will definitely be ruined.

Nelbon: these are small, featherless, flightless carrion birds that are covered in weeping sores and scabberous growths.  They will flee from bright lights and loud noises.  They will always be found picking at some sort of corpse.

Shrieker: per Hacklopedia

Small Carrion Beast: Looking something like a tiger cub but green and having a dozen green tentacles instead of teeth, the small carrion beast generally feeds only on the dead.  However, if hungry or defending itself, the small carrion beast has the following stats: hp 6+2d6, init -1, spd 2, atk -1, def +4; each attack causes 1d6 damage - paralyzation for 30 minutes (no save) if DR is passed.  They are fearless and are often found in small packs of 2d4 members.

Stonen: The much maligned stonen is a gray dungeon chicken.  They are encountered in flocks of 3d4 and for every 3 hens there is a 50% chance of a rooster.  Roosters tend to crow and attract other critters.  In general, they are repulsive but nutritious if cooked properly and easy to catch.

Tunnel Swine: small dungeon pigs, likely related to the Fell Underworld Boar found in other locations of the dungeon.  They are as skittish as they are repulsively ugly, which is to say quite a bit.  if caught and trained, they can sniff out special mushrooms and fungus with alarming accuracy.

Weasel: per Hacklopedia, but they live in the dungeons and are incredibly aggressive.

Disease Bearers

These creatures all carry some sort of disease and increase the virulence and lethality both by +2.

Infected Strix: Flying alone they will agressively attack a single random foe, preferring those with magical inclinations.  Only those wounded by the strix will have a chance for infection.

Puking Gargoyle: These semi-permanent fixtures (they can move very slowly, but generally choose not to) squat above doorways.  They vomit on anyone passing under them a maximum of twice per hour covering them in foul smelling infected goo.

Typhoid Mary: Roll for a critter that is infected but not affected.  Anyone engaged in melee will have a chance to be infected.


These small creatures generally just cause problems and play tricks like unbuckling belts, tying boot laces together, or stealing small items.

Iron Mites: Weapons and metal armor are damaged or their quality is reduced by the runes carved by these whip-thin creatures.  They like to wear shiny hats and tiny metal-shod boots.

Rotfaer: These obese nasties devour every scrap of food possible and replace it with glitter-laden faerie poo.  They don't wear clothes and just arrange their hair and fat to cover their shame.

Stonebeards: Stonebeards tend to rip leather and papers because they don't like soft things.  Blankets and fancy clothes are also on the list for destruction.  They look like tiny dwarfs.

Tomb Gremlins: The worst of the lot, tomb gremlins steal things: weapons, food, bits, bobs, ephemera, spell components, anything they can get their gigantic over-sized hands on. 


Giant Maggots: Other than being repulsive, these are just 1-2' long maggots squirming around looking for another bit of rotting corpse to feed on.

Rot Grubs: About the size of a thumb, the rot grub lives in piles of dung, gobs of offal, or in the bodies of the recently dead.  They will burring into living flesh at an astonishing rate, making it to the victim's heart in a matter of 3d10 minutes (make a poison save vs d20p+15 or death). 

Stench Grugs: These biting grubs are found nestled into piles of rotten offal or, occasionally, in treasure piles.  Using the statistics for giant rats per the Hacklopedia but each wound is a stinking infected welt that takes twice as long to heal.

Tri-Mawed Stalker: With three 6" long mandibles, the tri-mawed stalker is a grub-like creature that aggressively hunts and stalks prey well beyond their actual capacity to kill them.  Use the stats for giant rat per the Hacklopedia, but with +3 to attack and wounds do 3d3p-2 damage.

Molds and Slimes

Adrisax Mold: Once this starts to grow on leather (armor, backpacks, etc) is is almost impossible to get rid of.  The item will be destroyed in a few days and the mold will spread.  The only sure way to destroy the mold is to burn the item and, most likely, abandon everything that was in contact with it. 

Bearpaws: Vaguely shaped like the paws of a large mammal, this fungus can be harvested and prepared as a meal.  They show up in clusters providing 1d3p+1 days of food.

Blood Puddle: This red slime tends to cover fairly large areas (d6p+3' diameter puddle).  It is harmless to anything larger than a mouse, but if stepped on a screaming humanoid face appears and snaps at the offender's legs.  The face changes to the last humanoid who stepped in it.

Blue Slime: This slime acts exactly like a green slime, but does not do any damage other than making a mess on the character it has fallen on.

Cave Polyps: Large oozing pustules that seem to grow from the dungeon walls and floor.  The ooze is an acid that will damage leather and other soft materials.

Ghostbeard: Phosphorescent moss that hangs in great clumps resembling scraggly beards.  If harvested, it will provide light as a candle for 2 hours before fading.

Grey Mold: If infected (VF 4) the grey mold grows on exposed flesh like an old man's beard at a rate of 1d2" per day.  It can't be washed off, but a bath in alcohol will take care of it.  If left untreated, grey mold will eventually start growing inside the character, making them violently ill then dead.

Gripping Sludge: A character stepping into this stone-colored sludge will be held fast.  A Feat of Strength (vs d20p) will allow a character to break free.  This is more of an inconvenience for most, but small weapons and items may be lost or dropped into the sludge and if a character falls they will be covered in the stuff.

Lambri: Also known as elfbread lambri is edible, delicious, quite nutritious, and highly addictive.  Each lambri cluster contains enough food for 10+d6p meals that fits into a single encumbrance slot.  If a poison save (VF 16) is passed each time the character eats the stuff, the character is not addicted - failure and they gain the Addict quirk per the HackMaster Players' Handbook but gain 0 BP.

Memory Caps: If a character eats a memory cap (which are easily identifiable) and pass a saving throw vs poison (VF 12) they will gain a random memory from an unknown source.  Failure and the character is poisoned as if by a huge spider (per Hacklopedia).  The memoriesspo tend to be about the general area of the dungeon the fungus is found in.

Nifelslime: Sickly white in color and appearing as sticky clumps of plumb-sized clots, anyone passing within 5' of a nifelslime cluster will take a wound of 1d4p hp as their life energy is drained away.  Those paying attention will notice the temperature drops significantly when within 10' of the fungus.

Puffball: Giant puffballs the size of basketballs that, if disturbed, vomit forth a huge cloud of obscuring spores.  A poison save (VF 15) indicates no effect, but otherwise the character coughs and sputters for a few minutes and is, unfortunately, infected.  Infected characters appear to have a cold for a week, but at the end of the week, they must pass a VF 6 poison save or die.


Wriggling bits of necrotic flesh from the Patchwork Kingdom are collectively called scraps.  They are unfinished creatures, fragments of monstrosities, or possibly the shed skin of dying gods and demons.  They come in seemingly infinite variation but a few types are more common than others.

Blubbering Scrap: They don't move much other than sitting in a disgusting pile and shuddering, bubbles forming on their mucus covering that burst and let forth a sound similar to someone crying and blubbering with absolute hopelessness.

Clinging Scrap: Hand-sized scraps that cling to whatever they can.  If left long enough or undiscovered, they will move onto the flesh of their target and merge with it.  The merging often causes the target to gain a strange arcane power as well as a permanent aberration.

Crawling Scrap:Often seen in small herds, these scraps crawl along the wall like inchworms or caterpillars.  They can be easily avoided, but tend to leave behind a slick trail of clotted blood.

Floating Scrap: Gobbets of bloody undulating muscle, the floating scrap hovers in mid-air and pulses slowly.  They move toward living creatures with alarming speed and attempt to get into their mouths, especially clerics and the particularly devout.  Effects if this happens are unknown. 

Small Scrap: Twitching and slapping wetly against the floor, these finger sized scraps are found in herds covering up to 400 square feet.  While utterly harmless, they tend to attract scavengers and predators, the former to feed on the scraps, the later to feed on the scavengers.


These are all spiders per the Hacklopedia, just with some additional description.  90% are Big, 9% are Large, and 1% are Very Large.  Whatever the size, the spiders that inhabit the dungeon are dangerous - all poison VF values are increased by 1.

Barbed Devil: The spider is covered in chitinous barbs and horns.  When attacking, half the attack speed, but only every other attack is a bite (with poison) - the others are the barbs.

Hunter: These spiders will stalk prey for up to a day before attacking, waiting until the target is asleep or otherwise incapacitated before attempting to feed.

Redface: Their huge bloated abdomens are bright red with markings that look like a huge demonic face.  They will often attempt to intimidate perceived threatsby backing toward the enemy.

Trap Door: Jumping out of trap doors (flagstones and bricks that have been worked loose and "hinged" with webs) these spiders improve their initiative die by 3.  If their initial attack does not kill the target or there is still a threat, they will move back into their space and slam the trap door shut.


Swarms are made up of 100+d100 members that individually have little impact, but collectively can have some deadly effects.  Attacks on swarms automatically hit, each point of damage done (as shield hits) to the swarm kills that many members.  Fire tends to do quite a number on most swarms.

Biting Flies: Every 4 seconds everyone in the swarm takes a 1 hit point wound.  A strong gust of wind will take care of these things as well.

Centipede Stampede: a stampede of huge centipedes swarm over the characters.  A Feat of Agility (vs. d20p+0) will avoid damage, otherwise the characters take a 2d6p wound from numerous bites.

Landkrill: Harmless, but freaky as thousands of red, shrimp-like creatures swarm along the ceiling, walls, and floor move along at a disturbingly fast pace.

Rat King: 10 giant rats, their tales tangled and tied together, attack a single, mad creature.  Each giant rat of the rat king attacks once second after another.  As the giant rats are killed, the speed of the rat king attacks dwindle (5 giant rats left, attack every 2 seconds, etc.)  A rat king will be preceded by a rat swarm 50% of the time.

Rat Swarm: In addition to causing a 2d4p wound every 10 seconds, the rat swarm will chew through leather, devour food, foul papers and components, and generally make a mess. 

Scrap Swarm: The scrap swarm is an undulating mass of bits and gobbets of flesh moving quickly through the dungeon.  Each for each character - if a 1d6p roll bypasses DR, the remaining is the percentage chance of the target picking up a aberration (magical backlash / permanent mishap).

Spider Migration: Thousands of small spiders are moving through the area.  If the PC's don't move and let the migration go through, they'll be fine.  If they move or otherwise act, the character is affected as though bitten by d4 big spiders.  And they are really gross and tend to leave webs and egg sacs everywhere.

Swarm of House Flies: Super annoying, fly swarms hang about characters and cause a -1 attack and defense penalty as well as -10% to any skill checks.  If driven away by conventional means, they have a 50% chance of  appearing again the next day at 90% of their original strength.


All of these minor undead have a Will Factor of 1d3p.

Biting Head: rolling along on the ground, this is the head of a zombie which is still biting and snapping.  Stats: HP 2d6, Init +3, Spd 10, Atk +2, Def -2, DR 4, dmg d4

Bone Rat: The skeleton of an enormous rat.  Treat as an animal skeleton per the Hacklopedia, but with only 8 hp and doing going 1d10p damage per bite. 

Bonechield: Often appearing ridiculous such as a skull with skeleton feet or a pelvis moving on a set of three skeletal hands, a bonechield is still undead and a danger.  Stats: HP 1d8, Init -2, Spd 10, Atk -4, Def +4, DR 2, dmg d8

Bucca: Also called knackers and tommyknockers, these invisible undead spirits follow characters around and knock on doors and walls.  Each day they follow the PCs there is a 1 in 6 chance of a random object being stolen (and hidden).  Every 2 days, there is a 1 in 6 chance that the bucca will cause a wall, ceiling, or floor to collapse on the party.

Clawing Hands: Severed undead hands of humanoids, they crawl around on their fingers, leap or crawl onto PCs, and claw at faces and exposed flesh.  They show up in groups of 2d4.  Use giant rat statistics per the Hacklopedia, but they never run away (and are undead).

Crawling Corpse: Actually quite dangerous, a crawling corpse is the top half of a zombie.  They are identical to zombies with the following exceptions: HP 8+1d8, init +0, DR 5, dmg 1d6.

Ghosthound: these spectral hounds feed on the essence of the recently dead.  That are only harmed by silver weapons (which causes them to flee).  They tend to follow PCs around and feast after battle.  Ghosthounds are otherwise harmless to the living, but tend to bay and howl (which, of course, attracts creatures) if unfed for more than a day.  Once a ghosthound attaches to the party, there is a 1 in 6 chance per day that another from their pack arrives.  If a pack of 6 hounds follows the party, every day there is a chance a spectre per the Hacklopedia shows up and cause serious havoc.

Weird Stuff

Afanc Tentacle: Reaching from around some dark corner or a stinking drain, a tentacle of Afanc is thick as a man's arm and twice as strong.  Treat it's appearance as an attack: Init -5, Atk +11, Def +0, DR 4.  Any attack that hits had a 50% chance to grab both arms and trap a character up to 20' from the point of origin.  It drags struggling victims at 5' per second and tried to pull them away (which will result in certain death).  Any hit that causes damage will cause a chance of release equal to the wound out of 20 (6 point wound, 6/20 chance to release).  Any hit of 20 points of damage will sever the tentacle.  A Feat of Strength vs d20p+10 can break the tentacle's grasp.

Arm of Xinth: a clawed hand grabs at the characters from a puddle or works like an Afanc Tentacle, except it has a range of 5' and the following stats: Init -5, Atk +6, Def +2, DR3, dmg=grab leg & 1d4p+1, FoS vs d20p+5 to break, damage is release out of d10, 10 points to sever.  An arm of Xinth carried a rotting disease on a 1 out of 8.

Carved Beast: Treat as a hunting dog of the minimum hit points per Hacklopedia.  Carved Beasts are crudely carved wooden beasts poorly animated.  They prowl the dungeon eating scraps of carrion and are often riddled with black wood-eating worms.  They often remain motionless (-6 to initiative) and attack anyone who approaches.

Corpse Light: Winking on for only a moment, the souls of those who were killed by the dungeon make brief appearances.  Some are malicious and hover over pits, others are friendly and attempt to point out secrets.  They aren't technically undead, but rather the remains of living essence wrapped in a Patchwork Skein.  They blink away if anyone gets within 10'.

Cousin Jack: Initially appearing as slaves or lost peasants, Cousin Jack basically latches onto a party to take advantage of their good will.  In addition to never being the target of the dungeon's threats, a Cousin Jack will eat food and sap any luck the party has (1 point per day).  A Cousin Jack will do anything to remain in the party's good graces without contributing.  If attacked, it has the stats as a human scribe per the Hacklopedia, but "bleeds" black sand.

Dagger of Bal: Floating through the dungeon, a Dagger of Bal is a rusty old dagger that appears to be animated.  It attacks anyone who gets within 20', but will otherwise stay away.  Anyone who can see into the aestherial dimension will see that the dagger is just a tooth or horn extruding into this world - the body of the dagger is a bloated mass of writhing worms and pulsing bladders.

Devil's Staff: A tangled mass of hair and spittle appears to wield a gnarled bone like a staff.  Treat as a human man-at-arms per the Hacklopedia.

Wiewie Nest: Most often suspended above doorways or in the corner of ceilings, a weiwei nest is a writhing knot of worm-like tubes and slick wet fibers.  They will try to snatch at anything that walks under them.  Mostly an irritation, but 5% of weiwei nests are immense and can grab halfling and elves to strangle them in a few seconds.

Executioner's Hood: These creatures look like black hoods worn by executioners.  They drop down and immediately begin to suffocate a character (use drowning rules).  Pouring alcohol or salt causes them to dissolve.  Otherwise 10 hp of damage (also applied to the target) will cause the creature to die.

Fog of Slime: Not technically a slime but rather a super colony of a amoeboids.  The fog of slime moves very slowly (no more than 10' per day) and can be rather huge.  The fog will be 2d6px100 cubic feet.  Anyone moving through it at a maximum of half rate must make a CON check (against d20p+12) for be paralyzed.  This spells certain doom - in about a day.  If the PC is removed from the fog within 4 hours they will wake up in 1d6x5 minutes covered in goo but fine.

Glassjaw: Attacks as a human berserker per Hacklopedia, but has a Threshold of pain of 3, a Trauma Check of 1-2, and is -5 to all saving throws.

Mosschild: This thing is apparently a contruct of moss and vines shaped vaguely like a human child standing no more than 3' tall.  They are agressive and attack as a brigand per the Hacklopedia but with 2d6 hit points and damage as a knife.

Nipper: The nipper is a small creature that looks like a small stone until it opens up at which point it looks like a stone-shell clam filled with needle-like black teeth.  It automatically bites at any feet that get nearby causing 1d4p-1 points of damage.  They can easily be kicked away.

Oculo Imaturi: A single floating eyeball covered in slime and training a handful of red threads.  5% have the ability to charm (Mental Save vs. d20p+5).  Those charmed tend to adopt the cute little fellows until they decide the best thing to do is pluck out on of their own eyes and slide in the oculo.

Tiny Trapper: Looking for all intents and purposes like a flagstone, the tiny trapper (a much smaller version of the infamous trapper) grabs and wraps around the foot.  10% of the time it will cause enough damage to ruin a boot (metal boots make an opposed d20p roll to avoid damage).

Worms and Serpents

Gorehead Asp: as asp per Hacklopedia; the head of a gorehead asp appears to be split open and wounded.

Bloodworm: Bloated worms 6-12" in length, these parasites latch on to unsuspecting victims with a small bite loaded with anesthetic.  Most people don't notice until the thing has created a wound equal to it's hit points at a rate of 1hp per hour.  Bloodworms have 1d4p+2 Hit Points.  They are easily removed and killed.

Cistern Serpent: as rattlesnake per Hacklopedia, but this serpent lives in pools of filthy water.

Constrictor: as constrictor per Hacklpedia, but the skin is translucent.  Past and current meals can be seen along with muscles, bones, and guts.  Gross.

Giant Nightcrawler: The giant nightcrawler is a huge worm perhaps 10' in length.  It is utterly harmless and will flee if threatened.  Some claim that giant worm steaks are delicious.

Threadworms: Pencil-thin, white, and sticky, threadworms attach to exposed flesh.  They do no damage but cause an irritation (-1 attack and defense for every 3 worms).  Once infected (initial infections are 1d6p worms), the threadowors will lay eggs - 1d3 worms sprouting every 1d2 days for every 2 worms already infecting the character.  If all threadworms and found and pulled out (each causing a 1d3p wound) the character will heal normally.

Teneborous Wyrm: Fast and deadly, a full grown teneborous wyrm is a brutal fight for survival.  Luckily this is a small one.  Treat as a lizardman per Hacklopedia but Fearless, 10+1d6 hit points, and doing 1d8+2 damage with a successful bite.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Perilous Halls of Sorrow: Base Encounter Table

One Table to Rule Them All

Below is the table I'll be using for the Perilous Halls of Sorrow Random Encounters.  It only goes to level 10, but I only rank my dungeon level in danger from 1 to 10.  There is a 1 in 6 chance for a random encounter once every 30 minutes.  All other encounters are based on exploration and character actions.  Certain things, such as making god awful amounts of noise, will also spur a random encounter check, but the results will be modified to fit the circumstances.

Dungeon Level
 Encounter  12345678910
 Vermin 01 - 50   01 - 40   01 - 32   01 - 26   01 - 21   01 - 17   01 - 14   01 - 11   01 - 09   01 - 07 
 Lair 51 - 65   41 - 56   33 - 49   27 - 44   22 - 40   18 - 37   15 - 35   12 - 33   10 - 32   08 - 31 
 NPC 66 - 70   57 - 62   50 - 57   45 - 54   41 - 52   38 - 52   36 - 54   34 - 56   33 - 59   32 - 63 
 Events 71 - 80   63 - 72   58 - 67   55 - 64   53 - 62   53 - 62   55 - 64   57 - 66   60 - 69   64 - 73 
 Creatures 81 - 00   73 - 00   68 - 00   65 - 00   63 - 00   63 - 00   65 - 00   67 - 00   70 - 00   74 - 00
Nasty weird vermin that inhabit the dungeon.  Strange types of spiders, huge grubs that cause infected wounds, giant bugs, freaky rats, tentacles, worms, grabbing claws, and all other manner of nasty or irritating stuff.  Low level characters might take a beating, but more advanced adventurers will face some harassment, little more.  If nothing else, it adds color to the crawl.

This will be an encounter from a monster or monsters from the nearest area designated as a lair.  The Lair may be on the same level, or an adjacent sub level.  For example, goblins from the Bloody Feet tribe have a lair somewhere near the Signs of Madness level of the Halls of Pain region - so they are going to pop up from time to time.

An encounter with one of the NPCs from the dungeon.  The tables from the Dungeon Dozen are a great example of what can be done.  This is also where the classic "NPC Party" fits in.  If an NPC is no longer available, then there is no random encounter, just a feeling of hollow loss.

Dungeon level events are classified as either repeating or one-time events.  These are designed to add tone and flavor to the level, introduce side-quests and sub-levels, but can also include some hazards and challenges.  The Wandering Pit is always something to be feared.  Ghosts and spirits of previous dead adventurers may give information for eternal peace or acts of revenge are said to be common as well.

These are monsters that wander the level looking for something to kill, murder, maim, eat, destroy, or otherwise toy with.  Each type of creature has a number appearing but also a maximum on the level - if all of a particular creature are destroyed, then they are no longer available (at least, of course, until the dungeon restocks itself).

Simple Level Variation

Roll 1d6.  On a 6, roll another d6, repeating as needed.  For each 6 rolled the encounter is from 1 level lower than the current dungeon level the characters are exploring.  The same thing applies if a 1 is rolled, but the creatures are from higher dungeon levels.  This doesn't apply to Vermin and only rarely applies to Events.  While this could apply to Lair encounters, instead make the encounter from the lair more or less powerful.