Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Inheritance

This post itself isn't particularly brilliant or groundbreaking, it's just a collection of magic items for you to "inherit" for your D&D, Knave, Into The Odd, or other RPG games. I'm sure you will find at least some of these items interesting, most are dedicated to either make a situation more interesting or embrace the spirit of the OSR. Hell, maybe you can even start some of the PCs off with an item by rolling 2D6, one for the category of item they get and one for the actual item under that category. If you are using a 6-stat-system, replace WIL with Charisma, Intelligence, or Wisdom, whichever you find most appropriate for the item. Just a note, quite a few entries are inspired by this excellent post from a new blog with lots of potential, check them out! Without further ado:

Item Sketches 3 by Nafah
Adventurous Equipment

1. Sprite Lamp. A lantern with gold foil inlaid on it, it emits an amber light up to 60' for 4 hours on 1 flask of oil. Once per day, it can be shaken wildly to act as a flash-bang to all those that can see it, this depletes its light for the rest of the day.
2. Ulfire Candle. A bulbous candle made of purple wax, shines a bright light up to 30' for an hour. Everything within this light glows in brilliant infrared light.
3. Glow-gas. A jar filled with a hazy golden cloud that smells oddly of fresh cake. Once released, everything in the current room (if outside, 90' sphere) is lit up for an hour with a radiant light.
4. Holy Oil Lamp. A Gothic looking lamp, rumored to be lined with the tears of a saint, nonetheless it emits a pale white light up to 60' for 4 hours on 1 flask of oil. Ghosts cannot enter the lamp's light, but will likely haunt the lamp holder once the light is snuffed.
5. Ardent's Torch. A torch made of a rough white bark, covered in a weird slimy oil, that can emit a crimson light up to 30' for an hour. The torch can be pointed at a direction and the flame can be shot as a projectile (D8 Damage) as an action. Due to the special oil on the torch, it takes a full minute to relight the torch.
6. Mood Lighting. A torch made of a smooth black bark, prismatic petals still sprout from the stick, that can emit a light up to 30' for an hour. The torch's behavior reflects how the user is feeling. For instance, the flame is a deep crimson and billows wildly with sputters of smoke if they are angry, it is small and a pale blue if the user is sad, it is yellow and smells of home if the user is happy, etc.

1. Baleful Bag. A large messenger bag made of a red tanned leather. This bag can hold up to three slots / 15 pounds of items. When it is opened, it violently shoots all items stored within (D6 per item stored) at projectile speeds, likely ruining whatever was put in.
2. Pretender's Purse. A fist sized coin-purse, bound by copper wire. The inside of this coin-purse is illusory, and can look like it is containing whatever the holder desires.
3. Secure Sack. A haversack with all sorts of complex runes inscribed over it. This bag can hold up to three slots / 15 pounds of items. To be bound to the bag, the user must go through a complex ritual that takes 30 minutes. If somebody not bound to the bag tries to open the bag, the bag starts screaming. Only one person can be bound to the bag at a time.
4. Picnic Pouch. A canvas pouch with a checkered design. Food items can be put in here and they won't rot. Once per day, the user may think of a mundane food and make a WIL save. If they succeed, they pull out a day's worth of rations of whatever food they were thinking of. If they failed, the food they pull out is rotten and rancid.
5. Sinew Sack. A flesh-bound bag that cannot hold anything due to the gaping maw that is its inside. Once per day, the user may think of a mundane body part and make a WIL save. If they succeed, they pull out the body part from the bag.
6. Spellflesh. Alright, I'll admit, this isn't an item, but it's a cool rule for Into The Odd that may be adaptable to other systems. If the user has a spell, they can transcribe it into their flesh, consuming the spellbook and taking a permanent 1D6 STR damage, but they no longer have to carry around the spellbook. Anything is a bag if you're creative and willing enough.

1. Bounding Bear Trap. An intricate bear trap with several symbols written onto the triggering mechanism. The user can write a location onto the triggering mechanism. Once somebody is caught by the trap, the trap animates and drags the victim to the written location for 10 minutes.
2. Bountiful Bucket. A large tin bucket with arcane symbols written on the bottom of the bucket. At the beginning of every day, there is a gallon of a random liquid within the bucket. Roll 1D6. 1-3: Water. 4: Grease. 5: Oil. 6: Ale.
3. Marked Incense. A packet of multicolored incense sticks that smell like burning plants. When lit, it covers a 15' area in colorful smoke. This smoke sticks to skin and organic matter, it sparkles glamorously.
4. Fiendish Face. A large red mask with two ram-like horns. While wearing the mask, the user can will the mask to have different demonic features, as long as it is considered fiendish by the GM.
5. Miracle Marbles. A bag of glass marbles, strange multicolored things can be seen shifting within the hollowed glass. Upon stepping on the marbles, they explode harmlessly in a colorful and loud bang.
6. Horn Of The Beast. A hollow battle horn carved from the horns of an alpha satyr. Once per day it can be blown to sound like the roar or scream of any beast that the user can think of.

1. Scribeslove. A book with completely white covers made of hardened stacks of parchment. Once per day it can be clapped together, in which case it will produce a small grunting sound before spitting out 1D6 blank pages of parchment created out of thin air.
2. Book Of The Dead. A book made of the tanned hides of dead things, human and animal. Ghosts can write in this book at will.
3. Animated Album. A blank book that's colorful cover seems to shift. Any drawing or picture written in this book will animate itself within the pages for a day before the ink vanishes in a smear.
4. Tome Of Turmoil. A thick spellbook with pages of three different colors. These colors correspond to three different spells held in the book, they cannot be identified except by the type of magic they use. Once a spell is used, the color of the pages burn.
5. Tome Of The Glutton. A spellbook with a cover that looks like a gaping maw with quills for teeth and leathery lips. If a magic user's brain is fed to the cover, pages manifest inside the book. This adds one spell that the magic user knew into the spellbook. This book can hold up to 1D6 + 1 spells.
6. Tome Of The Heathen. A spellbook that has several pagan symbols written over the original writing. It contains one spell, but it is an immensely corrupted and unstable version of it. If the book is burnt, the tome is turned into a Spellbook Golem for 1D6 turns before exploding (D12 Blast.)

1. Flail Of Screaming. The ends of this flail (D8) look like jagged screaming faces made of wrought iron. When the flail is swung, it creates a screaming sound, meant for intimidation on battlefields.
2. Adder's Embrace. This spear (D6, Reach 10 Ft) initially appears as a golden serpent coiled around the user's arm. If given a command, the snake becomes rigid and reveals its spearhead tongue.
3. Ardent's Axe. This small handaxe has several runic symbols engraved within its copper blade. If given a command, the axe sparks alight and sends a jolt of electricity to the poor soul this is buried in. The victim must pass a DEX save or else be stunned for a turn.
4. Alchemist's Arrows. These arrows' shafts are made of ceramic and their heads are made of hollowed glass. When put into a bow, these only deal D4 damage, but the hollowed glass tip shatters. The ceramics can be unscrewed, and substances such as poisons, acids, or potions can be put into the arrow's tip. It is extremely hard to get a substance out once put into the hollowed glass.
5. Force Crossbow. A crossbow made of black wood and a weird purple tinted iron, it has a large crank. It can fire regular bolts (D8) or it can be wound up and fire a powerful torrent of air, causing the target to drop whatever they are holding.
6. Deadset Dagger. A dagger made of brass with small bolts coming out of the hilt. It can be thrown (D6) and while in flight, it can be commanded to stop. In this case, it stops completely in the air without falling to the ground unless commanded again. It can support 50 lbs of weight before it breaks.

1. Folly Mail. A set of black and beaten plate (Armor 1) that has silver inlays of various healing runes. Once per day, when the user falls unconscious, the armor animates itself. For 1D4 rounds, the player who wears the armor may still control their character, although clumsily. (Variant rule, each person at the table gets 1 action in the armor, pass control clockwise.)
2. Screamer's Helm. A small and rotund helmet made of iron with a pudgy face at the top of it. The helmet, once per day, can be commanded to make any sound that the user desires. The sound emanates from the top of the helm and can be heard up to 90'.
3. Pretender's Plate. A ostentatious set of silver armor with several holy symbols inlaid in gold. It can be commanded to, once per day, sprout wings for 10 minutes. These wings cannot actually fly, as the combined weight of the user and the armor makes it too heavy to do so.
4. Mage Armor. A set of robes made almost purely of parchment, and whatever isn't parchment is leather covers of other spellbooks. This armor holds 1D6 spells (minimum 3), and once per day, as a free reaction to a hit against the user, they may decide to reduce the damage of the attack by 3. This releases a random spell from the armor which may be extremely dangerous and have unintended consequences.
5. Familiar Furs. A trailing set of various furs patched to form a cloak. The cloak is made of 1D6 animals (minimum 3), as an action the cloak can be billowed out and one of the furs can be released from the cloak. Once released, the fur turns into the animal it was once in life, and obeys the owner for 10 minutes before running off to the wild.
6. Gluttony Guard. A big set of iron plate (Armor 1) that has large shoulder pads and a pronounced breastplate. The inside of the armor is a small pocket dimension, similar to the bag of holding, that allows fat people to slip into the armor seamlessly without their weight pressing upon the armor.

Adah The Shield by Nafah
Now, Off Towards
Adventure My Pretties!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Shell In The Pit

Hey guys and girls, I'm still alive, just back from a long vacation. Recently I've been running a modified version of the excellent Tomb of the Serpent Kings by Skerples with close friends and its been an amazing time. One feature that this dungeon has is concerning amounts of skeletons, and at first I've been having trouble making the skeletons interesting until I came up with this handy tool based off of this post from Chris McDowall.

Skeletal Warrior by TentaclesandTeeth

Skeleton (Level 1) - Chattering human skeletons wielding rusted weaponry and rags.
STR 10, DEX 14, WIL 5, 3 HP
Claw, Sword, or Ceremonial Dagger (D6)
- Immune to poisons.
- Piercing damage is impaired against this creature.
- Bludgeoning damage is enhanced against this creature.

To make more advanced skeletons, choose (or roll) one option below for every level you add onto them, up to level 5.
- The skeleton has ragged chain-mail (1 armor), if this option is chosen again, it has battered plate mail (2 armor) or it possibly is even wearing a skeleton over itself (still 2 armor, and metal as fuck)
- The skeleton's bony spine is 5 feet longer (can make D6 bite attacks from an additional 5 feet, this can be chosen multiple times to increase creepiness, neck length, and attack reach)
- The skeleton has an extra pair of arms, giving it +2 dexterity and all things that an extra two arms entails.
- Once the skeleton is killed, in an hour it gets back up, only fire or acid can truly kill the skeleton. Choosing this multiple times reduces the cool-down on this ability by half.

Bam, with adding a bit of up-scaling, I can make there be even more terrifying skeletons. You can still surprise your party even after they know how to deal with basic skeletons. As an additional option, you could always just gear up your skeletons with magic items and whatnot. Just be aware, this kind of only works for pretty broad creatures to narrow them down into more specialized creatures. Now, for one extra beast for you:

Pestilence by TentaclesandTeeth

Imp (Level 1) - Human sized emaciated demons with barbed tails that ride on rotting wings.
STR 8, DEX 12, WIL 14, 6 HP
Sting (D8), Claw (D6)
- Immune to fire damage.
- Can see perfectly in the dark.
- Can fly up to 40 feet high.

To make more advanced imps, choose (or roll) one option below for every level you add onto them, up to level 5.
- The imp can now use a breath attack of pestillence once per day (D8 damage to 3 people close to it, increases damage by 1 dice for each time chosen)
- Once per day, the imp can change its form, but this form is slightly effected by pestillence (every time this is chosen, the amount of times this ability can be used also increases by 1)
- The imp increases in size (+2 STR) by about 2 feet in bloated flesh, once it is killed it explodes in a visceral explosion of pus and puke (D12), can be chosen multiple times.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

In Cauda Venenum

They're biting their tongues. The job went sour as soon as Sir Tarkington noticed the thieves arguing in his store room about shares of loot. The melodic chime of alarm bells contrasts the hectic scrambling of the party as they look for any kind of closet or cranny to hide in. One stands by the door, ready to make a bolt for it as soon as there is any sign of escape. Another stands in the middle of the room with a crossbow and a knife, they would rather die on their feet than live on their knees or in the forced servitude of Sir Tarkington it would seem. The last cowers behind a crate, looking for any boon or sign of good fortune. After a few hurried seconds of hectic searching, fortune smiles back in the form of a small glass vial with a skull and crossbones.

Poisons and drugs are really weird to use. In my experience, it's kinda hard to use poisons without making an entire big set of rules about methods of ingestion, time limits, saves, and etc. On the other hand, I use Into the Odd and its poison rules literally just state - Poison (20s): Lose d20 str if consumed - which I find too simple. Anyway, I've come up with a smattering of houserules and other bits of content for you all, enjoy:

No woods in the Jungle by sharpieboss
"And the body begins to crumble..."
Poisons take three simple forms:
  • Ingested: A creature must swallow an entire dose of this poison that can be laced into foods or liquids to be effected by the poison. This poison immediately works, no save required.
  • Injury: A creature must be injured and get this tincture that can be applied to weapons and traps into their open wounds to be effected by the poison. The victim(s) must make a STR save, if they fail then they are effected by the poison fully, if they succeed then they muscle through the pain.
  • Inhaled: A creature must inhale these powders or gases to be effected by the poison. The victim(s) must make a DEX save, if they fail then they are effected by the poison fully, if they succeed then they correctly protect their face and hold their breath. 
I really hate some D&D 5e spells and whatnot that require a save, and if it's successful then nothing happens to the victim. As a result, even when the victim saves, I try to make the poison still have some effect. These rules are already really close to D&D's rules about poison, but I think they require a lot less rolling and calculating which is nice. Poisons may also have multiple methods of application, such as a gas that can seep into injuries and be inhaled or a miasma that can be ingested and inhaled depending on distance and contact with the cloud.

Batch Of Poison
Prophetsbane - Looks like a hazy white foam and tastes of ozone, it can only be collected from the spittle of madmen.
Once this poison effects somebody by injury, they lose one of their senses below for 1D6 10 second rounds. If this poison is ingested, they lose the sense for 1D6 days. Roll 1D6 below to see the sense lost.
1-2: Sight, temporarily blinded.
3-4: Touch, drop everything, can't feel pain.
5-6: Sound, temporarily deafened.

Lustgust - Looks like gaseous velvet and tastes of sugar, it can only be collected from the breast milk of hags and witches.
Once this poison effects somebody by inhalation, they become intensely sexually attracted to dangerous things for 1D6 times 10 minutes. 

Mind-Fog - Looks like pearly oil and tastes of salt, it can only be collected from the brain fluids of the smart.
Once this poison effects somebody by ingestion, they lose 1D12 WIL. If the result is even, the victim's sight is clouded by a perpetual fog in their head for the next day. If the result is odd, the victim's mind is clouded and they cannot form any new memories for the next day.

Susan by sharpieboss
"I've come alive!"
Drugs work like this:

  • Every drug has a positive, a negative, and an ability
  • The user ingests the drug, they are immediately effected by its positive and its negative
  • Every turn (10 seconds in combat, 10 minutes out of combat), the user makes a save with the drug's associated ability, if the save fails then the user comes down from the high and is no longer effected by the positive and short-term aspects of the negative. The negative may have long term effects, though, that might not be recoverable.
  • Every time the user takes the drug more than once a day, they take 1D8 damage to the drug's associated ability.

Batch Of Drugs
Fool's Guts Looks like ground rubies and tastes like rotten fruit, only collected from the guts of those who died heroic deaths.
This Strength based drug has the positive effect of sharpening the mind like a dagger's point, so the user's mind is no longer effected by magic, charms, deceit, intimidation, or any other mind-tricks. Although, it has the negative effect of turning the user's body into a hateful undead once they meet their fateful end, and then once the undead dies the user becomes a hateful ghost.

Liquid Lightning - Looks like a nebulous cloud in a bottle and tastes like nothing, only collected from the hearts of storms.
This Dexterity based drug has the positive effect of granting the user lightning through their veins, allowing them extreme speed and acting first in initiative while the drug is active. Although, it has the negative effect of causing crippling nausea, better have a bucket handy.

Sacrament - Looks like bubbling wet pollen and tastes of thick butter, only collected from the tears of saints.
This Will based drug has the positive effect of making the user's eyes glow with amber light. Holy things glow radiantly through walls, and evil or extra-planar horrors emanate pitch darkness. Although, it has the negative effect of reacting violently with potions or other drugs within the user's body.

Pig by sharpieboss
The Fine Print
"I think I'm seeing things, bad, bad things."
I didn't know where to put this bit, so I'll just put it here as a few miscellaneous points. First, I really like how drugs are handled, you could also easily convert how poisons work into drugs. So, poisons have an associated ability and no positive, although they should still probably have an ingestion method listed. Also, here's another houserule about hallucinogens and how to run hallucinations in general:

  • Once a person uses hallucinogens or is under hallucinations, roll 1D6, keep the result. These are referred to as "mirage points".
  • The GM can spend a mirage point to roll 1D6 on the bottom table and make the player hallucinate.
1-3: Adjective. Describe what's happening with a different set of adjectives. Give what's happening different descriptors.
4-5: Verb. Describe what's happening with a different set of verbs. Change what actions are happening right now.
6: Noun. Describe what's happening with a different set of objects. Change who and what is here right now.

Here's an example:
Raderstorf the Radiant gets hit in the face by hallucinogenic spores while trekking through a deep, dank, and damp set of tunnels and caverns. The GM rolls mirage points with a D6 and gets a 3. Raderstorf soon runs into a contaminated knight, a hulking pillar of armor and bloated flesh. Except, the GM spends a mirage point, rolls 1D6, gets a 2 (change of adjectives), and describes the plague knight to Raderstorf as exceptionally tiny, only the size of Raderstorf's thumb. Confused, Raderstorf tries to stomp the knight, only to hit its shin. After running away from the knight, Raderstorf's party runs into a raiding party of ratmen, except they haven't noticed the party yet and are just camping. Instead of seeing the ratmen sharpening blades, the GM spends yet another mirage point, rolls 1D6, gets a 5 (change of verbs), and describes the ratmen's activities as them getting drunk and sleeping. Raderstorf argues with the party a bit, describing how the ratmen are weak, but they move on and out of these stinking caves. They are finally back where they came from, and they run into the person who hired them at the cave's mouth. The GM spends the final mirage point, rolls 1D6, gets a 6 (change of nouns), and describes the noble instead as the contaminated knight he saw and tried to stomp earlier. "Protecting" his teammates, Raderstorf runs his blade through the knight, only for the hallucinations to end as he realizes that he just stabbed an influential lord and the person who was going to pay them all.

Of course, that's using the hallucination rules to an especially harsh degree, you can use it for more fun activities and whatnot. Anyway, see you guys and girls soon, and don't do anything too illegal.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

XXI: The World

Creating something from nothing is REALLY hard, especially when it comes to world-building. I've always ran with the platitude of "start small, think big later". When creating a setting or main adventuring area, I've got a process I run through that generally helps get the creativity flowing and that doesn't need to be performed in any real order:

The History:
This is just a general three-sentence description of the history of the setting or area the players are going to be adventuring in. It doesn't necessarily need to just be three sentences, but I've found that this is a good amount of space to let creativity branch out later.

The Encounters:
If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you'll probably know that I am a BIG fan of small tables. I generally like making a small table of encounters to gauge what enemies or allies may be seen when going through whatever fresh hell your players are going through.

The Bestiary:
This step is the simplest, and should probably be completed after making the encounters. This is just kitting out the monsters you put on the encounter tables, maybe add one or two more monsters if you want to stock up the encounter table every now and again.

The Rumors:
Rumors are everywhere in OSR games, and I personally love them. For just about every setting, I make a D6 table of rumors, if you don't like rumors you could replace these with three adventure seeds for the players.

The Title and Picture:
This is honestly one of the hardest parts, and should be completed last. It might just be because I am a more visual learner, but I like to give a picture of a scene possibly within the setting. If you can't find good pictures, go search here, here, and here for good doses of inspiration.

Hopefully this isn't too giant of an ask, for me it takes about half an hour to create a pretty solid setting.Personally, I execute the process in the order I presented it in, as I find that the easiest. Without further ado, lets do an example:

Wicked Kingdom playing card art by Wylie Beckert - ©2018 Wylie Beckert
The Land Of Plenty
(Wylie Beckert)
The King Of Spades has become ascetic in his age, abandoning his, and his kingdom's, worldly interests for boundless botany. Most villages, castles, and battlefields have disappeared beneath his encroaching gardens, with plants that have human likeness growing from those cursed plots of earth. The Spaded Kingdom has grown even more vulnerable over the years, as seditious scavenging efforts take place in nature's wake while the kingdom's guards are nowhere to be seen.

Encounter Table
5 Scavengers, currently looting a large cart. They are too busy squabbling between themselves about shares of loot to notice anybody who would sneak up on them. The person who owned the cart is gagged and will make noise if they are not freed and they see any chance of rescue.
3 Scavengers camping, one is resting, one is wounded, and another is keeping watch. The one keeping watch in paranoia has a weaponized arcanum, the one wounded has a bomb (D12 blast)
A small caravan of 8 Scavengers, currently traveling to the same place you are going to. If they see you, and they think you look rich, you might be the victim of a robbery soon.
2 Twig Blights, draining the corpse of some weird giant for sustenance. Not so interested in your corpses, yet...
A giant log blocks the path, in actuality, it is 5 Twig Blights resting and basking in the sun.
The Grand Stag, currently hunting and getting intruders away from the encroaching gardens.

Scavengers - Rag-covered petty thieves
3 HP, D6 Shortsword, 10 STR, 12 DEX, 8 WIL
- Driven to loot and riches.
- If they deal critical damage to somebody, they take an item of theirs.

Twig Blights - Shambling mounds of twigs, branches, and ivy
6 HP, D6 Claw, 15 STR, 10 DEX, 10 WIL
- Driven to feast on blood and sunlight.
- Takes double damage from fire.
- If motionless, it can be mistaken for a brush.
- If they deal critical damage to somebody, the victim gains the flowering rot. In about a week, the victim will sprout flowers and wander off into the woods.

Grand Stag - A big old fuck-off stag with antlers protruding from its eye sockets
15 HP, D8 Antlers, 18 STR, 12 DEX, 12 WIL
- Driven to protect nature and hunt oathbreakers.
- Once the stag runs out of HP, it goes into a frenzy, gaining three random nature-related mutations.
- Can spit out projectile antler chunks, dealing D6 damage from afar.
- If they deal critical damage to somebody, the victim gains a random nature-related mutation.

Rumor Table
A giant made of veggies roams these lands and eats those who are too rich, such as those damned lords and ladies!
Utterly False
Ghosts of the King Of Spade’s wardens burn our field, farms, and families. Hide your kids!
Partially True, they aren’t ghosts, they are just leftover soldiers from a fort nearby that are starving
Bandits have taken over Fortsholm Hill, and have been rebuilding it for some strange purpose.
Partially True, the fort is being rebuilt by a militaristic lich-druid and their liege of vine-ridden skeletons.
Many potent potions and poultices can be made from herbs deep within the overgrown ruins of the kingdom.
The thieve’s guild has recently unearthed something weird in the forest.
True, the cache of the magical items of an old lord
I hear the local witch has a pretty hefty bounty on her head.

See, now we're cooking with gas. This gives you just enough information to start branching out with things like more monsters and rumors. You could add in some factions, such as the king's guard who are insistent on restoring order because the mad king promised them riches, or a thieves guild hellbent on causing anarchy because their Raccoon God of Chaos shall favor them if they do so. You could add locations, such as witches huts in the forest, overgrown ruins, maybe even the King Of Spade's Castle. The possibilities are only limited by your creativity, which should hopefully be bountiful by now. Enough from me, go on and start creating!

Just in case you were wondering about my formats for the tables, it goes like this:
Encounter Table
1-3: Common enemies, different variations of the same enemy.
4-5: Uncommon enemies.
6: Something really weird.

Rumor Table
1: An utterly false rumor.
2-3: Rumors that hold partial truths to them.
4-6: Rumors that are utterly true or true to a great extent.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

In The Bag

Hey, so this is going to be an update from last post because my friends really liked how I handled character creation and wanted me to show the public my starter packages I made for the session I ran earlier this weekend. I'll have the starter packages first and some highlights from my session last for those interested.

(Konstantin Vavilov)

(Konstantin Vavilov

(Konstantin Vavilov) 

Now, for the highlights from my adventure I'm testing, SIN, SWINE, SQUALOR:

  • Slipping a lust potion into a bandit camp's water/alcohol supply, resulting in indescribable acts of sex and sadism.
  • Wasting half of the team's torches by lighting them and throwing them into an aqueduct tunnel in attempts to see where it went.
  • Riding a giant pig, steering it by shoving blades down its skull.
  • Convincing a small posse of insane bandits that the team were Gods and Goddesses from another dimension that would bring the posse redemption if they followed their orders. Only one of the 5 bandits survived by the end of the adventure, even then they were an arm and a leg short of a whole person.
  • Repeated attempts to interrogate a bag of guts.
  • The Goth Occultist Wichita chugging three random potions she received at once, resulting in horrible mutations and expanding flesh. Also using a lust potion to cause a bandit orgy.
  • The Necromaniac Blackguard Chaddeus repeatedly falling into every trap due to 7 DEX. Once he figured out that you could just throw corpses into traps, he began to obsess over dead things, resulting in him carrying a giant sack full of body parts and naming them. He also snuck some bandit flesh into the team's meal.
  • The Lord Blackguard Donald shit talking corpses and managing to be a little weasel and not getting hit once during the entire adventure until the last fight, despite having a melee weapon and more STR than the rest of the group combined (17 STR). The first time he got hit, he took 12 damage to a fireball that immediately dropped him.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

A Backpack And A Blade

So, I'm going to be running a session tomorrow, wish me luck. In that time, I've been trying to modify Into The Odd's character creation. Don't get me wrong, I love how quick and concise it is, along with how many fun results it can produce, but Into The Odd assumes an semi-industrial, semi-imperialist steam-punk-ish setting that I am not all that into. I could just make a new character creation table (check out page 5 to see it), but it seems like it'd take quite a bit of time to make a giant list of equipment like that, and it'd be even more taxing to properly organize the entries by ability scores and HP because I have zero sense of game balance. So, here's some alternatives I've drawn out, along with a few examples:

Method 1: Bagful Of Baubles
(Konstantin Vavilov)
I honestly like this method the best, it's just about as quick as the original Into The Odd's methods. All that is needed for this method is a d20 table of trinkets related to your setting. This method only takes a bit more time than the normal character generation because of dice rolling.

First, you compare your highest ability score to this general table:
Highest Ability
General Starter Package Trinket Table
3 Trinkets
2 Trinkets
1 Trinket

Next, you compare your health to this more specific table, although you make up the weapons and what form they take:
Starter Package Weapon Table
D8 Weapon / Two D6 Weapons
D6 Weapon
D4 Weapon / Extra Utility Item And No Weapon

Finally, you pull up the d20 table full of random trinkets. You roll on the d20 table as many times as the previous table says to. You reroll any duplicate trinkets. So, if you rolled Mr. Chadgod with 17's and 18's in all ability scores, he would only get one trinket and it balances out the insane ability scores to a degree. The d20 table is completely up to you to make, just make the trinkets relate to the themes you are going for. As a pointer, I typically make the first and last results on the table arcanum or some other weird and slightly supernatural item; I make the second to first and second to last results hirelings or companions for funsies; and I make the third to first and third to last results extra weapons. If you are running an especially lethal game, you could make a few results hirelings or extra characters. Without further ado, here's an example:

From the deepest gutters of society, you have gathered what you can to rise to riches.
Ragwretch Starter Package Weapon Table
A strange broadsword with antlers coming out of the guard of the sword and a deer eye attached to the handle. (D8)
A large column of rusted rebar, bent to look like a cane. (D8)
Two sharpened steak knives, strange meat still clings to the blade. (D6)
A wooden sword with bits of shrapnel sticking out of the blade. (D6)
A broken lantern on a stick, glass shards protrude out of the ends of it. (D6)
A brick attached to a stick by a bundled 10 foot rope. (D4)

Ragwretch Trinkets
3 potions of a nature determined by the GM, but unknown by you
An ugly and dumb dog (3 HP, 1D6 WIL)
A large scythe, etched with religious symbols of fertility and good harvest (D8)
A lantern that casts a ghastly green light
A cloak made of rat and beaver pelts
Armor made of kettles and other cooking utensils (Armor 1)
A bundle of rats tied to a stick
A candle made of pigflesh and fatty, it makes squealing sounds when lit
Very fine and fermented wine put in a holy-water container
A large sack of various low-quality drugs
An old army officer’s uniform
A double-sided shovel
5 vials of blood
A bell, stolen from a church
3 flasks of a black fluid labeled “goat oil”
50 feet of rope made from clothes, hastily sewn together
A bandolier of pouches, filled with 3D6 fingers and 3D6 teeth in total
A board with several nails driven through it (D6)
A peasant boy, the only thing he has to his name is his clothing, a steak knife, and a kettle helm (3 HP, 2D6 STR)

My recommendation is to make a few of these "loadouts". You could make pseudoclasses with these loadouts. At the start of the game, you just present however many of these loadouts you want (such as fighter, thief, wizard, cleric, whatever you want) and let the players choose when generating a character. If you haven't guessed, my players are going to be playing as degenerates.

Method 2: Portions And Pickings
(Konstantin Vavilov)
This method is a bit more... methodical. Basically, you make a table like the one in the example below, and you go to your first ability score and compare it to the table. Once you find the result, choose one item you want. You cannot choose duplicate items. Finally, you move onto your next ability score and you continue the process until you have gotten through all three ability scores. Make the lower results on the table better while the higher results are worse. I don't really know how to integrate HP into this method, but I guess you could use an HP table like the one example above. Anyhow, here's the example:

With power granted by dark Gods, you are surely destined for greatness.
Starter Package Table

Sense nearby unearthly beings
50 shillings in ostentatious jewlery

Unwilling sacrifice (6 HP, 2D6 STR, 1D6 WIL)
Golden wire
Vial of poison

A small collection of human skulls
2 complete links of 10 foot rusted and bloodied chain
Vial of acid

Drugs of a nature determined by the GM, but unknown by you
An ax carved out of ivory (D8)
A ceramic staff with a dead snake coiled around it

A random spell scroll, there is a 3-in-6 chance it backfires horribly
Black glue that smells of charcoal
Religious clothing belonging to a church of your choice

Bone club with antlers at the end of it (D6)
Glowing red goat eyes that replace your own, how freaky
Mutated pet pigeon

If you are doing this with a system with more than 3 abilities, just use three randomly determined abilities or use the highest ability, lowest ability, and the most middling ability.

Method 3: Back To Bastionland
(Konstantin Vavilov)
Just go to Electric Bastionland by Christopher McDowall, check out page 8 on the PDF and onward. Alright, I'm cheating, it's not by me but it is another okay method for character generation. Although it does deserve exposure because it is actually really good. It provides nice backgrounds for PCs that prevent them from feeling like faceless nobodies. Feeling this way can happen when you are just handed a list of equipment without really any other context to your character, Electric Bastionland fixes this and it's real nice. The only gripes I have are with how some of the backgrounds can feel a bit prescriptive and how ability scores aren't factored into the character creation whatsoever. Every character getting an arcanum from the start is also weird and can make arcanum feel common, but I know that common starting arcanum won't be in the final version of Electric Bastionland. If the items and backgrounds don't fit your game, it is at least much easier to change two 6 result tables to generate characters rather than one massive 60 result table.

Anyway, that's all I've got for today. I'll probably be able to post one more over the long weekend. Tell me which method you guys and gals like the best, I think all are valid methods.