Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Research (Sorrow in Haven)

Often times folks want to get involved in some research. Rather than write an entirely new set of rules, going to use a modified version of the "Chase" mechanics used for social interaction and evasion/pursiut.

Assuming a standard library of knowledge, let's set the track. 

The Track
0 = no more knowledge can be attained
1 = possibly false valuable info found
2 = possibly false petty information found
3 = general starting point
4 = petty info
5 = valuable info
6 = significant information acquired!

The Research

  • Researching is an 8 hour block of time (most of a day)
  • The researcher gets 1 INT Check
    • this could always be another attribute like WIT or AWR depending on the situaiton 
  • Someone helping gives Advantage like usual
    • make sure they can reasonably help (being literate is the most obvious)
  • The Difficulty is based on
    • what information is being researched
    • how complex the library is - is it organised, character access, and so on.

Check Results
 Check  Result 
Legendary Failure down 3 levels
Critical Failure down 2 levels 
Failure down 1 level
Success up 1 level
Critical Success up 2 levels
 Legendary Success  up 3 levels

After a check, the character can accept the level they are on and stop researching.  A result of valuable info includes the petty info, and the significant info includes the valuable and petty results. Info isn't passed along until the character decides to stop researching.

If the characters want to continue researching, they can, but the difficulty increases each time. If the track gets to 0 they find nothing of value.

Add modifiers from the state of the library and the research topic.

State of the Library - start at a base rating of 3, then modifi
  • Maintained: -1 .... Not Maintained: +1
  • Organized: -1 ... Disorganized: +1
  • Extensive: -1 ... Limited: +1
Research Topic - cross reference if the knowledge might be common/uncommon/rare and the specificity of the knowledge the character is seeking: general/specific/detailed and add that to the Difficulty:
 General  Specific  Detailed 
 Uncommon 71013

Examples of other things that can come into play for the difficulty:
  • Rush Job: research for a 4 hour block - roll at Disadvantage
  • Library is focused on the topic at hand - reduce the difficulty by 3 (architecture library) or 5 points (late 3rd era architecture)
  • Library is Dangerous: Difficulty increased by up to 6, reduce by 1 for everyone "on watch"
  • Each additional research block is +1 Difficulty.


A Tough One
The crew has BROKEN into the GDD Lore Archives to research a specific member of the Moonlight Faerie Court (something named Stardust). 

The Library is Extensive but Disorganized. It is sort of maintained; Difficulty +0
The Topic is Uncommon and they are looking for Specific information; Difficulty +10
The Situation is dangerous (4) - if they get caught they'll get in trouble; 3 folks are keeping watching; Difficulty +1 (4-3)
Net difficulty for this research is 11

Beth (INT +2) and Tucker are doing the research, so the roll is made with Advantage.
They are going to take their time and hope they aren't spotted, taking a full 8 hours (to avoid the Rush Job Disadvantage).
Beth Strives fully at +6.

The Players: Roll with Advantage + 8 (+2 INT, +6 Strive)
The GM Roll 2d6+11

The Dice & Results
Players: 2, 5, 6; keep the 5 and 6 plus 8 for a total of 19
GM: 6, 4 plus 11 for 21
Failure ... the now at track 2 the group finds some petty information that might be false. they decide to take it and bug out of there.

A Better Situaiton
A different crew is researching the same stuff, but in Ingref's personal collection of Fey Lore.
Library is: well maintained and organized (-2)
Topic is: uncommon and specific (10)
This collection is FOCUSED on the fairie (-3)
Net Difficulty: 5

Dirk (Int +1) and Uth do the research. Rolling with advantage and fully striving.
Players roll 14, GM rolls 13 - Success! At Track position 4.
The group decides to keep researching. The difficulty goes up by 1
Players roll 17, GM rolls 10 - Critical Success! At Track position 6.

The group has what they are looking for, thanks Ingref, and takes their leave after an exhausting day.

Using the Crew's Research Library Collection

  • Same rules, but don't forget you can add the rank of the collection to the Action Roll. 
  • The Value "Lost" is based on the Action Roll that has the potential the be the most costly
    • In order of potential Value "Lost":  Legendary Failure, Critical Failure, Legendary Success, Critical Success, Success/Failure
  • w6u


  • If the party has some key information, perhaps they start at position 4. 
  • The Research Track positions from 0 to 8 and the party starts at 4 for a larger or more complex research project.
  • Instead of knowledge, some of the track positions contain events (position 1, the war librarians have noticed you and are coming to check credentials you don't have).
  • Research time costs money ... a double rush is 2 hours, but 2 Disadvantages (so even with help, the roll is at Disadvantage).
  • You hire or have Research Assistants (crew improvement), each one allows you to re-roll a die on your check.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Sorrow, BXDH, and now Shadowrunners + Bloodbath Dungeon!

Sorrow text blocks are at the printer. Exciting!

Of course I've been thinking about wizards and how fast they can cast spells. Thinking of adding something to let them cast faster ... maybe an Advance?

Faster Casting: Dice from Pact of Blood can be used to reduce the casting time of a spell, max 1 per level, minimum speed of 10.

Faster Casting II: same but no limit on dice, minimum speed of 5.

Perhaps this is the start of the first supplement with a few new rules for each class. fun!

Monster books haven't moved forward much - they are a lot of work and I have plenty going on.


BXDH is still rocking, 2 games every other week. Current campaign is major exploration (XP for exploring hexes and finding locations). First big dungeon crawl is set for tonight. Can't wait to see how violently this plays out.

I need to spend some time reviewing the rules document and then make a few books for folks. I might split it into multiple volumes to make printing and construction easier - because I already have a fucking real book project with Sorrow. Why do I do this to myself?


Shadowrunners is a new campaign using the Runners in the Shadows rules. Fiction-forward sci-fi fantasy; cyberpunk with elves and whatnot. The campaign is just getting started, one session to do some collaborative world building. It was great. I'll post up the document once it is a bit more fleshed out. Some material is rehash/tweaks from original rules, but the majority is from us! Hope this works out - it is experimental (both system and my time).

As a fun note I'm working with the author to make some actual roll20 sheets. It is ... complicated. I'm not a javascrit guy and this whole css thing isn't my jam, but we are working collaboratively, so I'm excited to see how this plays out.


Bloodbath Dungeon is NEW! Inspired by Castle Gargantua, I'm in the process of writing a new thing. I'll be using it for the Bloodbath Dungeon "BXDH" Tournament game at the 2023 Spring Geekend in April/May next year. Again, I'll post more when there is more.


Spring Geekend

I've rented an estate and invited all of my regular (and irregular) gamers from online and real life for a long weekend of role playing and board games and general shenanigans and hanging out. I'm basically putting together a small gaming convention. I have no idea what I'm doing :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Steady Progress

Sorrow in Haven Books
The first text block is at the printers for the main book and I'm fleshing out the numerous Phantasmagoricon volumes (v5a-5j are pretty small all things considered) . Once I'm happy with all the monsters I'll also make a "Compiled Field Notes" version of the Phantasmagoricon that includes all those critters and a few special treats.

  • Sorrow in Haven (expecting sample printed text block this week)
  • Phantasmagoricon: Volume 1 - Underworld Creatures Class A & B (in progress, functional)
  • Phantasmagoricon: Volume 2 - Underworld Creatures Class C & D (in progress; functional)
  • Phantasmagoricon: Volume 3 - Underworld Creatures Class E (pending; notes)
  • Phantasmagoricon: Volume 4 - Urban and Wilderness Monstrosities
  • Phantasmagoricon: Volume 5a - Creatures of Sorrow: Lost Haven (in progress, functional)
  • Phantasmagoricon: Volume 5b - Creatures of Sorrow: Halls of Pain
  • Phantasmagoricon: Volume 5c - Creatures of Sorrow: Fabled Realm 
  • Phantasmagoricon: Volume 5d - Creatures of Sorrow: Vaseytown
  • Phantasmagoricon: Volume 5e- Creatures of Sorrow: The Elevator
  • Phantasmagoricon: Volume 5f - Creatures of Sorrow: Waters of Hell
  • Phantasmagoricon: Volume 5g - Creatures of Sorrow: Vendegarr Hold
  • Phantasmagoricon: Volume 5h - Creatures of Sorrow: Chasmtop
  • Phantasmagoricon: Volume 5i - Creatures of Sorrow: Eternal Chasm
  • Phantasmagoricon: Volume 5j - Creatures of Sorrow: The Yellow Kingdom
Noble House Work
I'm also reviewing and detailing the 17 Noble Houses. The noble houses are getting some juice as the players are interacting with them. Small notes becoming full-page writeups. Current family lineage, interconnections, more details on their allegiances and feuds, and at least one "plot hook" for interacting with them. 

Districts and Neighborhoods
I also figured while I was at it I'd start working on the neighborhoods of Haven. The 29 districts already have short write-ups, so just fleshing out the neighborhoods ... all 338 of them. Each neighborhood gets a paragraph and people/places table. I'm cross referencing the info from the groups document and noble houses as well. Once the framework (spread sheet) is finished up, I'm going to do some focused crowd sourcing with my players.

d6xd6 Randomizer Table
Roll two sets of 2d6. Cross the pairs and then to add stuff to dungeon rooms:
d6xd6  1 - 3  4 - 5   6 
1 - 3 A B C
4 - 5 DEF

A: Minor Threat
B: Threat
C: Major Threat

D: Inconvenience
E: Disabler
F: Deadly

G: Coins / Goods
H: Gems / Jewelry
I: Magic / Special

Sample Results
Room 1 [5/3, 5/4]: inconvenience trap + disabling trap
Just past the entrance the floor is covered in disguised sticky tar. It could be leaped across, but on the other side is a 15' pit with iron crossbeams meant to break arms and legs.

Room 2 [2/4, 6/2]: threat + some coins
4 red-eye orcs are savagely eating a pie. They each have 50 coins, but would rather die than give up any of their pie or coins.

Room 3 [6/5, 2/6]: jewelry + major threat
On a pedestal the necklace known as Almira's Joy (platinum, rubies, and locks of fairy hair). The red-eye ogre sits picking its sharpened teeth and ringing a bell to summon 1d6 red-eye orc minions.

Want to change the table up, here are some values
A 9 / 36  Quite Common 
 B & D  6 / 36 each Common
E4 / 36Uncommon
C & G3 / 36 each Rare
H & F2 / 36 each Very Rare
I1 / 36Unique

So maybe make one with just monsters based on how often they'd be encountered ...
d6xd6  1 - 3  4 - 5   6 
1 - 3 Red-eye Orcs  Saber-fanged Rottweilers Hobgoblin Assassin
4 - 5 Flame Snakes HobgoblinsBlood Ogre
6 Hobgoblin Shaman Glass Knight King Balgrulub the Terrible 

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Haven is Growing

 Updated map of Haven with all neighborhoods.

Continuing to work on the district descriptions one at a time. Hope to have a full city book by early 2024.

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Catching Up

Well damn - I haven't posted on this blog in 9 months. Because I wasn't doing any game things? On the contrary, because I was.


The BXDH campaign hit just over 200 sessions and ended with actual real human tears, emotions, and a lot of virtual high fives. not a bad campaign ... and the next one is already starting up! Also rewrote the entire system to add in some other nonsense to really make the game sparkle - improved exploration rules and an entire system for growing your settlement from a pitiful camp to a sprawling metropolis.

The new setting is the "Placatae, the Wandering Isle".  Maybe I'll start posting hexes or something?

At the end of the campaign i wrote a piece on the discord that got all players in both the BXDH and Sorrow games interested ... because they could see that while the systems were different, the games themselves and the world in which they are in are related (if not the same).  20 years for that long-form nonsense to come to fruition :D


The main Sorrow in Haven rules review and editing and layout and all that is finally complete. Working on calculating printing costs now. Along those lines the first 2 monster books have been scratch printed as table copies and look like they will be perfect.

Sorrow in Haven Books

  • Sorrow in Haven (getting ready for the first print run!!!!)
  • Phantasmagoricon: Volume 1 - Underworld Creatures Class A & B (in progress, functional)
  • Phantasmagoricon: Volume 2 - Underworld Creatures Class C & D (pending; notes)
  • Phantasmagoricon: Volume 3 - Underworld Creatures Class E (pending; notes)
  • Phantasmagoricon: Volume 4 - Urban and Wilderness Monstrosities (pending)
  • Phantasmagoricon: Volume 5 - Creatures of Sorrow: Lost Haven (in progress, functional)
  • Phantasmagoricon: Volume 6 - Creatures of Sorrow: <other Sorrow Regions> 
I'm also making a point go get the dungeons of Sorrow written up as more than just notes, but honestly may back off from that. Not sure why I'd spend time making something "publish ready" when i have no intention of such things...


I'm working on organizing a long weekend of gaming in spring 2023. Head count is in the mid 20s right now, which is pretty cool. Finding a place where we can all stay AND has space for multiple games AND hanging out AND personal space AND isn't gross/too fancy AND is in the right area/price point is tricky ... but I'm sure it will all work out.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Shady Contracts from "The Company"

Sometimes you need contracts from shady groups. This can generate the general bits and you can fill in the specifics.  Roll 5d6. Put it all together!

 1d6  Type Window XP Intel Known Complication
1 Assassinate Immediate 0 Almost Nothing Open Contract
2 Acquire 1d6 Days 5%Weak / Inaccurate Leaked Contract
3 Diplomatic 1d4 Weeks 10% General  Extremely Dangerous Foe 
4 Gather Intel  1d6 Months 15%Some Details Demonic Involvement
5  Sew Discord  1 Year 20% Detailed Dossier Potential Suicide Mission
6 Set Up  Until Complete  25%  Secret Information  No Complications

Type: What kind of job is this?
Window: How long do you have to complete this task?
XP: originally this is the % of XP needed to go to the next level or, if the mission fails, the penalty to XP. Replace this with another kind of reward, like % of income to advance one social class.
Intel: How much information do you have?
Known Complication: Not the only complication, just one you know about.

Clearly I've got some idea of a setting that these bits work with - you can get a feel from the examples below. Replace Daemonic Involvement with something like "troll army" and you'll change the entire tone of things. 

EXAMPLE I: 4, 3, 4, 6, 5

  • Type: Gather Intel
  • Window: 2 weeks (I rolled 2 on the d4)
  • XP: 15%
  • Intel: Secret Information
  • Complication: Potential Suicide Mission
You have 2 weeks to identify when a shipment of lotushead will arrive and where in Holland they will be arriving.. The secret you know is that this is for the Vigilant Society, known diabolists. You also know that these folks don't take kindly and will kill you and everyone you know to keep their secret. 

EXAMPLE II: 6, 4, 3, 2, 6

  • Type: Set Up
  • Window: 1 month (1 on the d6)
  • XP: 10%
  • Intel: Weak or Inaccurate
  • Complication: no known complication
The company needs you to ensure that Troegr Mastiff and found guilty of the murder of his mistress. You have 1 month to complete this mission before he is elected to the Mercantile Guild. There is no information on his mistress but she exists (according to his wife). The murder charge and public shame of infidelity will ensure he is not voted in.

EXAMPLE III: 2, 5, 3, 1, 4

  • Type: Acquire
  • Window: 1 year
  • XP: 10%
  • Intel: Almost Nothing
  • Complication: Daemonic Involvement
The company needs you to acquire, through whatever methods you see fit, the reliquary of St. Brigit. It was stolen some 30 years ago but rumor indicates it is in Paris (or possibly London). This information was gathered from captured members of the Inverted Church when a daemonic summoning ritual was interrupted. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Herbalism Ingredients

The big table of herbalism ingredients, based on terrain type. Roll 1d100. 

Roll 1d100 and see what you find based on the terrain type. What is this stuff and what does it do? I don't know - it is just a big table to play around with.

Albro Spine1---1---1 - 8
Armoranth---2 - 9---------
Asgard fennel------2 - 17------
Axehead Mushroom------18 - 19------
Bilemoss---10---1 - 16---
Black Truffle211---------
Blood Thistle3 - 10------------
Cane Orange------------9 - 16
Caprel Mushroom11 - 18------------
Cats' Tooth------20 - 27------
Celedon Stalk---12 - 1328 - 4317---
Chamomile19 - 34------------
Chickweed---14 - 29---------
Cinnamon35---------17 - 20
Coffee------------21 - 24
Croneweed------44 - 4518 - 19---
Crowthistle36 - 51------------
Culling Violet---------20 - 35---
Dog Thistle---30 - 3146------
Dreni pod---33 - 3447 - 4836---
Dugberry---------37 - 44---
Fibrous Mushroom------------26 - 33
Fine Dren Mushroom---------45 - 48---
Flatland Carrot---35 - 38---------
Giant Ant Fewmets---39 - 54---------
Glass Orchid------49 - 52------
Ground Peach---55---------
Hard Lime------------35 - 36
Hel Leaf---------50---
Honey52 - 67------------
Horsetail Grass------53 - 68---37 - 38
Iron Bamboo------------39 - 54
Leadgill Mushroom------6951 - 52---
Lover's Lips---56---------
Mauveberry------70 - 73------
Milky wheat---57 - 58---------
Mud Pepper------74 - 75------
Mulletberry------76 - 83---55 - 56
Nightshade68 - 71------------
Noosevine---------53 - 54---
Orachia------84 - 87------
Orange Saffron---------55 - 70---
Pedra Nut------8871 - 78---
Radiant Fern------89 - 96------
 Razorfrill Mushroom 72 - 73---------57
Red Bird Fruit------------58
Rosemarry---------79 - 82---
Rotted Durian------------59 - 74
Rumble Moss---------83 - 84---
Shenroot------------75 - 76
Singing Sister---------85 - 88---
Speckled Honey74 - 77------------
Spider Radish78 - 85------89 - 9077
Spotted Pumpkin---59 - 62---------
Sunroot87 - 8863 - 78---------
Tallcap mushroom---79 - 86---------
Tarantula Radish89 - 90------------
Tegberry Cluster------------78 - 79
tell root------------80 - 95
Tiger root9187 - 8897 - 98------
Vanilla------------96 - 99
Violet Fern92------------
Water Pepper93 - 94---------100
Weeping Rose---89 - 92---------
Whedelcorn---93 - 100---------
White Acorn95 - 96------------
White Truffle97 - 100------------
Witch Apple------100------
Yawning Trumpet---------92 - 99---
Ymir's Teardrop---------100---

Hexy Goodness
Roll 1d12. On a 1-6, use the terrain type of an adjacent hex (1 north, 2 northeast, 3 southeast, 4 south, 5 southwest, 6 northwest), but on a 7-12 use the terrain of the hex you are on. If in a hex with multiple terrain types, like wooded mountains, 50/50 of either base type.

Rarity Table
Because the same data presented differently is fun. Maybe this is what is at the herbalist shop?  I dunno.

 1d20 CommonUncommonRareVery Rare
1HoneyBlood ThistleWhite Trufflelover's lips
2ChamomileCaprel MushroomSpeckled Honeywapatoro
3CrowthistleArmoranthFlatland carrotwitch apple
4ChickweedTallcap mushroomspotted pumpkinhel leaf
5 Giant ant fewmets WhedelcornWeeping roseymir's teardrop
6Asgard fennelradiant fernorachiared bird fruit
7orange saffroncats' toothglass orchidTarantula Radish
8culling violetyawning trumpetmauveberryWhite Acorn
9iron bamboodugberrycroneweedStormberry
10rotted duriancane orangerosemarryBlack Truffle
11tell rootfibrous mushroomsinging sisterMilky wheat
12bilemosspedra nut fine dren mushroom mud pepper
13Sunrootmulberryvanilla axehead mushroom 
14horsetail grassalbro spinecoffeerumble moss
15Celedon stalkSpider RadishTiger rootnoosevine
16--- Razorfrill Mushroom Dreni podgoatspice
17---dog thistlecinnamonhard lime
18---leadgill mushroomViolet Ferntegberry cluster
19---water pepperambrosiaShenroot
20---Nightshadeground peachdragonheart