Tuesday, 18 January 2022

d100 Tavern Entertainments

d10 Quick Tavern Entertainments
1 Games Night
2 Fresh Talent Night
3 Local Talent Night 
4 Travelling Carny
5 Story Teller
Bard of the week
7 Big name bard + door fee
8 Beastiary Night
9 Freak Show
10 Magicians

d100 Tavern Entertainments
1 Target shooting often darts, daggers, slings, hatchets
2 Bar knuckle fight or wrestling matches with judges
3 Physical feats mostly of strength or agility
4 Drinking games, contestants must pre-pay for booze and cleaning
5 Card or dice games often for money
6 Fortune teller or soothsayer or card reader in colourful costume
7 Board games like chess, backgammon or some local game 
8 Riddling contest
9 Singing contest
10 Jacks or knucklebones or conkers or shell games with reflexes and sleight
11 Musicians with folk tunes D4+1 in the band up to a d4 of them are talented
12 A dwarf comic just breaking into the field, hoping to get into jesting
13 Fancy guest cook of a seasonal traditional meal with singing and dancing
14 Local dancing groups and musicians
15 Old person tells thrilling tales of horror to melt your brain and keep you awake
16 Choir of local children directed by a strict elderly religious teacher
17 Farmer and miracle goat that understands human speech!
18 Farmer with performing d4 1=goat 2=donkey 3=duck 4=chicken 
19 Young shepherd plays d4 1=acordian 2=spoons 3=flute 4=pan pipes
20 Bardic student sings part of an epic they have learned since childhood but needs to home performance
21 Puppetshow, if loses the crowd will start his erotic adult show for bucks nights, involves parodies of important historic figures and implausible deeds they did with monsters like dragons
22 Saucy old sex worker sings songs, makes lewd jokes and puns in a colourful outfit
23 Talented child sings and always has some family watching them in public, the child is starting to get lucrative offers and scholarships
24 Old murder hobo for beer tells rambling dungeon adventure games, well in my day we killed their children to so yeah we got chased quite a bit by orcs for years
25 Local labourer sings songs about workers rights and fighting the man with folk musicians
26 The village idiot for a few beers and a pie or stew will put on a show
27 Oldtimers shadow puppets with lewd jokes and innuendo for all ages to enjoy
28 Oldtimer sings and plays tunes and tells local folk story or horror and adventure 
29 Cringy creepy sweaty local sings odd folk songs from former home in an isolated rural area
30 Large jolly singer sings saucy drinking songs and the innkeeper loves it
31 Traveling medicine show with singing and music and colourful potions
32 Juggling and some other tricks d4 1=fire eating 2=tumbling 3=jokes 4=farts at will
33 Exotic carnival dancer with gimmick d4 1=snakes 2=tatoos 3=swords 4=nudity
34 Strongman performs feats of strength and wrestling with crafty manager
35 Musician with dancing pet d4 1=small bear 2=monkey 3=goblin 4=dog
36 Sample of carnival performers giving a sample for an upcoming show
37 Performer with tiny pets d4 1=teeny dogs 2=burds 3=rats 4=ducks
38 Carnival mystic with a bed of nails, a bucket of hot coals and swords to swallow
39 Snake charmer with flute, carpet and baskets of deadly but friendly snakes
40 Grifter drawing a crowd with shell games and other rigged contests to scam money
41 Old druid tells of ancient ancestral heroes of the local people and before
42 Elf bard plays the harp and sings of the old elven age of perfection and peace
43 Old woman tells crafty fairy, ghost and witch stories that chill the souls
44 Former herald tells tales of the old court life and sings some bawdy songs about former peers
45 Mysterious cloaked bard tells of some strange inhuman species lore in hushed tones
46 Old mercenary tells of his days with the witchfinder and werewolf hunters
47 Old person tells spicy crime and gang stories from a faraway exotic city
48 Bard tells of the kingdoms rulers ancestry back to the gods, this message paid for by the kingdom in part and is part of a network of bards spreading news and slandering crown enemies. Tell tall tales of masters enemy and how their enemy clan bloodline has the orcish taint
49 Attractive widow tells lurid stories about the secret sordid lives of clergy and aristocracy, but if any of them present she just does folk songs and bawdy stories about the next village
50 Old hunter tells tales of fantastic prey, spirits seen in the woods and encounters with wild people, lycanthropes and beast folk
51 Hot young bard from the city on hastily arranged tour, lots of youths from rival areas to see a disaffected dandy bard show how cool and lazy they are
52 Exiting young bard makes allusions to bandit life and rebels hiding in the woods in songs
53 Popular bard with war stories enjoyed by older veterans and survivors for decades 
54 Rude popular bard shattering taboos, on tour to avoid noble youths who want to murder then, wary of strangers and sudden movements
55 Popular bard with band often attracts lots of dancing in the early evening then on to sad sagas 
56 Old court bard out of fashion but well regarded and knows many many stories and songs full of sagely titbits
57 Foreign bard on tour and local youths find them attractive and them 
58 Halfling bard sings songs about food that make crowd hungry
59 Changeling nature or animal spirit bard in human form wants attention for their songs
60 Nomad shaman sings the songs of the wastelands outside civilisation
61 Famous bard who wrote a popular recent epic and has performed before royalty and is rich
62 Famous attractive bard stalked across the kingdom by fans and rich admirers
63 Famous bard singing songs of a famous hero they accompanied in youth
64 Famous bard bastard from a noble house, notorious but loved scallywag 
65 Famous elven bard whose songs have magical powers of the faerie
66 Famous old bard known for horror stories of haunted places
67 Famous bard with magic gem-encrusted instrument, in reality without it they are mediocre
68 Famous bard sings of tragedy and doom, plays a leg bone flute and seems quixotic but in reality, a graverobber using necromancy in service to a vampire noble lover
69 Famous bard composes humourous slanderous songs and is feared by the nobility, some pay them to never mention them in public and they have become rich
70 Famous band of elderly bards who still dance and drink hard and abuse forbidden drugs and performance-enhancing potions. Sometimes on a good show, one of them dies and the rest start fundraising to have their bandmate raised from the dead at a temple
71 Animal fights d4 1=cocks 2=dogs 3=bear vs dogs 4=giant bugs
72 Amazing dancing goats who perform various amazing feats as if they were secretly intelligent beings and the trainer does very little but incompetently present them 
73 Race small animals for bets d4 1=snails 2=crabs 3=frogs 4=rats
74 Trainer with several attractive singing birds few have seen before
75 Trained apes in costumes perform various adorable tricks and hurl poop at hecklers
76 Trained tiny dogs walking on hind legs, pulling each other in tiny carts and doing coordinated leaps and yaps while trainer makes jokes
77 Druid changes into animals and translates for audience pets
78 Snake cult wizard puts on a show in disguise as a common entertainer but really looking to recruit and kidnap people with snake changeling allies in a secret temple 
79 Wrestling friendly bear who drinks beer with attractive nature loving trainer
80 Talking parrots that swear and deliver punchlines for jokes, dance and wear tiny costumes with family of travelling trainers
81 Mutants in cages come out for display from local carnival with their owner
82 Fake mutants and freaks using makeups, props and costumes, some are pathetic some look plausible. The boss wants to find a way to make them real mutants
83 A doctor presents patients from a hospital for incurable afflictions and madness, some in costumes and body paint while doctor tells stories
84 Doctor to perform a monster vivisection and explains the creatures strengths and weaknesses and puts best bits in jars
85 Trainer with several acrobatic goblins who are also expert pickpockets
86 Trainer with bugbear who demonstrates strange squeezing through gaps ability and feats of strength and wrestling. The bugbear was raised by humans and knows more than they let on while a show. Act uses fake chains, whips and shrunken head necklaces
87 Tatooed sailor carny with mermaid in a tank on wheenls,for extra fee you can touch the mermaid but look out she bites
88 Person with talking witty cat in tiny suit, funny but can say awful possibly true hurtful things about audience. Actually its a hell cat and it has some soul contracts for fabulous prizes from hell
89 Proffeser Peabody's Curio cabinet shows collection of petty strange magic items he hypes up with exiting stories
90 Former murder hobo with pet mimic assumes various forms and rewarded with tablescraps
91 Low level wizard uses cantrips to amaze and for a finally casts a basic illusion
92 Magician with attractive assistant performs lots of prop based illusions like sawing assistant in half, and vanish from a cabinet. In reality the assistant is the caster who hired the fake magician actor to throw off attention
93 Magician puts on a show with tiny elementals doing tricks
94 Fire magician eats fire, juggles fire and uses firecrackers
95 Wizard using illusions projects scenes of live adventurers in a dungeon he can visualise from a magic clairvoyance necklace that an evil overlord also uses to spy on the mortal world
96 Rural wizard with scarecrow golem, does some tricks and dances but if going slow they offer audience to stab the scarecrow for a fee
97 Wizard projects a wonderous land they visited d4 1=underland 2=undersea 3=branches of the cosmic tree 4=faraway exotic human or demihuman kingdom
98 WIzard puts on flashy show including fighting summoned creatures which seems harsh but he insists they are just from another magical world and not real
99 Young necromancers tasteless ventriloquism comedey show with his zombie grandfather
100 Changeling puts on a show and if audience don't appreciate it or complain he goes into a angry tirade and stomps off to the wilderness to complain to local spirits about the terrible venue and the mean audeince 

Monday, 17 January 2022

Real Star Frontiers POD edition


was beaten to this here:

Firstly I will say recent years efforts to IP graverob the original TSR 80s game is mostly disgusting. The most recent grabbers personally attacked me over a question doubting them which was kind of amazing to be so aggressive I've never seen a marketing person treat the public like this. I guess its some strange marketing approach with litigation unaware of. I get a vibe of school bullies trying out for the debate team. Babies crying about being persecuted for their right to be bigots are losers.

I had both box sets alpha dawn and knighthawks and loved them. Possibly was one of my fave games in 80s. From a period where tru-TSR box sets were at a peak - these, the first BECMI sets and gameworld 2nd ed were peak of their design.

So I got the hardback POD book on Drivethrough RPG and I seriously thought about If I could run this. In 80s I built skeleton of this into a universal RPG with SF and fantasy and spell lists (all lost) hand written I ran for like 5 years. It morphed towards BRP and ringworld and then I went full BRP between 91-2007. I was influenced by TSR top secret too, I like the system especially with areas and dragon magazine expansions. Low lethality of gins I would fix because shooting someone with a pistol says 9 times vs an average person seems crappy.

The later zebulons guide has some good tech I like but disliked all these rules. I liked Marvel but I didn't want every game to have such a table nor did gammaworld. But some of the technology is awesome. The updated setting info and races I was not into. I like the mechanons and all the volturus races should have been returned.

What was good about this game. Its a simple d10 based skill system. It has many interesting weapons and the gyrojet guns here are my fave RPG gun especially with optional ammo types (gurps high tech has good ideas too and gurps space is  a must-have sf gm book). The spaceships have no antigravity but just fly at 1g acceleration mostly and so decks are arranged differently to what most people expect in a ship which is such a nice change. Its a smallish expanding coalition without mention of homeworld or even if races really started in the area with a frontier that is manageable for a gm unlike traveller that is one of the biggest detailed RPG ever, The races are fun and weird. The Sathar villains are pretty horrible but were intended as a PC race. Later they added a sleazy merchant race version of corrupt corps with an uncertain link to the sathar. The DM screen introduced mantis-grasshopper like colony bug race and Dragon geve us their awesome ships different to sathar and frontier design. A reptilian race of dino folk with various tribes with different horns and colours were cool and in dragon. Some of the monsters and animals were bizarre some rather bioweapons but the Planet Volturus had very odd animals and multiple sentient species. I assumed all the life there was modified.

The first box/book deals with the landbound adventure mostly and the adventures are planet exploration. The second box book was the Nighthawks book with spaceships and a campaign where you serve a planetary royal space fleet and I ran in my setting and it was an awesome spacefleet drama and start for a campaign. Then there is the second sathar war campaign which is like a wargame of the whole frontier vs Sathar hidden depots. Quite a lot of TSR games had boardgame war game elements you don't see and dnd wargaming was popular with wargaming in my 80s clubs. As a space battle game its quite good. TSR went on to almost release Protonfire and then did Buck Rodgers. 

Has it dated? The robot rules are great. The power and software limits of computers feel aged a bit and computers could be updated a bit. The computer belts with modular apps was staggering genius and prophetic but it feels like a mobile phone could do some of this but they with a cyberhelmet with a HUD were like giving characters a spell list. The power use of these belts seems high but its an easy fix and the apps include hardware and other tech in them so maybe but every SF game could learn from this still. I would probably add some of the buck rogers smartsuit tech into this and have certain screens require a smartsuit. BRP worlds of wonder SF had a backpack generator and you could allocate screens vs energy, kinetic or ecm vs incoming missiles and powered your gun so a suite like this would fit in SF too.

One feature of this peak era of TSR boxes is as bored lonely rural kids the SF sets had lots of solo stuff and we would solo do car chases and battles with maps and tokens and even two of us with Dragon used as SF-carwars games. I spent a lot of time with this set and the solo adventures help this feeling. Both boxes are fine battle and skirmish games. Also the fan magazines around today are amazing stuff and Im glad the Star Frontiers fandom were treated so freely for so long and have adapted to current owners requirements. Several IP graverobbing attempts seems to have had the races of star frontiers return to 5th ed (they were in spelljammer and other eds of dnd and ALternity and d20 scifi too).

Im kinda considering running it for my own SF campaign as players are unfamiliar with it but its simple and functional and robust.

If I Ran this snow what would I do?
As I don't like the Zebs guide campaign add ons I would use the dragon content I had mentioned above for races. I would like to speed run volturus then the warriors of whitelight where pc's gone space skills and fight the war then do a time jump and give players own ship and some fame for their race contacts and sathar killing. I might even have some other sathar varients not part of the military-espionage-blacklab clans. Id even have a few of the Eorna ancients about working in universities and I would say all the races and other life seeded by them in area so you could meet primitives of the known races or find a planet with Vrusk and Yazarians at war who never thought of being friends. Even sathar castes could be from ancient meddling gone wrong. Psionics and System gen in Ares mag was very good too. I might have to print up my supplement of fave rules. 

I would add more cybertech and gurps Ultra Tech stuff and some extra space options like the Dragon stuff that let fighters have crappy lasers instead of a few missile shots. I would have to read up on fan content and see if any worlds were the first homes of the main 4 races I think is out there. Great RPG moments we had in this was Saurian drag racing with nuclear ammo, fighting space vampire plague (vamp from buck rogers + zombie hordes and a cult). Exploring planets, wildcat mining, merchants who murdered their crew because wages cut into profitability, lots of street battles on that city map. Lots of Frontier type adventure and injustices. I might add a separatist movement post the war for terrorists and political pundits (the Sathar have been gone for a decade we don't need a corrupt and irrelevant space force taxing us).

Im not sure If I loved the modules but liked some elements in them. I did ruin some traveller stuff here fine too. Legend of the Skyraiders by FASA would be good and the old intro adventure with ancient Pyramids.

Monday, 10 January 2022

d12 Mountain Exploration

Related Handy Links

Also, See my Exile Island Rural & Wilderness Adventure section on my dnd fantasy links page

So a couple of things here and slanted a bit to my current campaign but hopefully good for other epochs of my setting. Some of my cave folk tundra tables might be good too.

d12 Rural Mountain Hex Features
1 Windmill or water wheel millhouse
2 Hermits sanctuary d4 1=grove 2=cave 3=huts 4=exposed to elements
3 Monastary in an isolated area
4 Shrine on a pilgrim trail with a minor holy relic
5 Cultivated forest or seasonal orchard
6 Hunting reserve for nobility with a lodge
7 Luscious farmlands with famous produce
8 Spring or creek or pool with some shacks
9 Noble estate with manor and lands
10 A wizard tower
11 A small village
12 Stone monument like monolith or circle

d12 Rural Mountain Hex Encounters
1 Wandering hermit on ramble
2 Well off fashionable youths on nature ramble
3 Hunters after game or pest
4 Naked wild person who flees
5 Nobles hunting with servants
6 Woodcutter collecting branches
7 Pauper gathering food in wild
8 Animal hunting d4 1=wolf 2= bear 3=wild dogs 4=lion
9 Shy grazing animals d4 1=deer 2=boar 3=rabbits 4=birds 
10 Herder with animals d4 1=goats 2=sheep 3=cattle 4=geese
11 Bandits d4 1=desperate poor outlaws 2=bully thugs 3=cruel sadists or cannibals  4=kidnappers for ransom or slavery
12 Local Bailiffs or Militia d41=looking for bandits 2=hunting fugitive 3=seeking isolated tax evaders 

d12 Frontier Mountain Hex Features
1 Signal fire
2 Watchtower
3 Small keep or castle
4 Ancient carved stone monuments
5 Frontier shrine or funeral place
6 Ancient barrow mound tombs
7 Cavern complex or cave lair
8 Grazing area for herders
9 Barbarian or nomad village or camp
10 Humanoid, demihuman or abhuman secret village
11 Camp of d4 1=prospectors 2=adventurers 3=bandits 4=robber knights
12 Ruined stone building

d12 Frontier Mountain Hex Encounters
1 Barbarian or nomad herders
Barbarian or nomad hunters
Barbarian or nomad warband
4 Frontier patrol with mounted leader
5 Lone trapper or prospector
6 Outcaste family struggling to survive 
Bandits d4 1=desperate poor outlaws 2=bully thugs 3=cruel sadists or cannibals  4=kidnappers for ransom or slavery  
8 Animal hunting d4 1=wolf 2= bear 3=wild dogs 4=lion
9 Shy grazing animals d4 1=deer 2=boar 3=rabbits 4=birds  
10 Humanoid, demihuman or abhuman secret village
11 Minor spirit takes an interest in travellers
12 Monsters! d4 1=troll 2=ogres d4 3=wyvern 4=giant 

d12 Weird Mountain Hex Features
1 Home of a famous witch or outlaw magician
Lair of a famous monster
3 Tribal enclave of famous angry humanoids
4 Volcanic vent d4 1=heated pool 2=boiling mud 3=lava crater 4=strange coloured mineral deposits
5 Rumoured place of lost treasure in song and story and some struggle here
6 A terrible being is imprisoned in the mountain, locals prey to keep it trapped or asleep
7 Ancient pre-human ruin explored by cultists and adventurers
8 Ancient subterranean dwarf cross-continental transit tunnels
9 Cavern entrance to the Sunderland trading places and kingdoms
10 A dungeon complex entrance
11 Enterance to another plane d4 1=elemental 2=faerieland 3=giantland 4=hell
12 Dragons lair

d12 Weird Mountain Hex Encounters
1 Outlaw hostile magician 
2 Nature spirits or faerie d4 1=prank 2=talk 3=offer addictive treats 4=seek slaves with charm spells or drugged darts
3 Lycanthropes possibly try to join travels as humans
4 Spirit d4 1=dryad or tree spirit 2=water spirit 3=land spirit 4=beast spirit  
5 Cultist on a pilgrimage to an unholy place 
6 Explorer nobles sent by crown or mountain climbing dandies 
7 Humanoid hero with warband and pets
8 Spirits in human form wary of intruders
9 Monster d4 1=Sphynx 2=chimera 3=griffons 4=perytons 5=lamia 6=harpies
10 Elemental being wandering and curious about mortality and mundane world 
11 Giants d4 1=drunk 2=cooking 3=hunting 4=camping
12 Dragons flies over looking for food or loot

a d100 Magic Mountains like my magic hill table on the way
and a bit about petty spirit objects in progress

Friday, 7 January 2022

Review Time

Alas my bedside reading pile is huge and my novel pile has 2 years of dust now (Heiro's Journey). Three graphic novel comps: Hawkeye one that inspired tv show and two vols of Conan (which I find quite cringy and I wish everyone would wear armour and haircuts). Slowly going through my RPG books. I do find it easier to go through hardcopies and I send hardcopies to people when I want reviews and I have received some physical copies. It's easier to review a book than a PDF but yes I appreciate them too. When I was poor and homeless and I read more PDFs now I like to read books as a way to not be on the computer especially before bed as screens make insomnia worse than books.

I realised over last year that online gaming matters I'm not just a bit of a Luddite but once again gaming with real people is really what I like about gaming and it gets me away from tools and projects and computers. Possibly with some babysitting, I could change my mind. People were offering to rent my dming out and manage some of this stuff but it felt odd.

So I am gonna try this month to finish outstanding reviews and one writing project I have been stumped about for a long time because I don't have a blank check to write and am unclear about what I can write from feedback.

Zine #4 about to drop on Patreon
MurderHobo revision slowed 90% of text ok and some spot writing and art.
Having a zine I work on and a book project I can go slow on and update working well.
Am doing a big write up of my spell lists after my psionics project which is fun but slow as I have to check for duplication and consistency. Probably have a players book and a spellbook separate projects for 2022. 

Players have requested elemental mutations so despite mutation table writing broke me a few years ago and put me off book comps for a while I will have a go. As I have a wizard war featuring elementalism I may need this and was always on the cards.

Working on some of these cuts into blogging time too but I have been working more on aquariums so fiddling with and animal care has become a priority but it also keeps me getting out of the house for food and hardware and makes me eat more veggies as I get them to feed the food of my pets. I quite enjoy hearing water and crickets and some greenery and extra walks. But I'm not here to proselytise about the benefits of frogs. But yes a frog book coming.

On Downtime and Demesnes
Artifices, Deceptions and Dilemmas

By Courtny C Campbell Hack & Slash Publishing (On Drivethrough)
I got both in print one softback and one hardback. They look beautiful and covers amazing. I would recommend hardcover option and I might still get the softback as a hardback and gift it to someone. Both are works I guess taken from blogs and well illustrated with simple minimal uncluttered layouts. 

On Downtime and Demesnes
is the older and to be open I wrote two d100 tables in it that a reviewer specifically cited as dehumanising. Actually, I enjoyed re-reading them and hope to use in some games as they are DM character fun or adventure hooks or distractions and I did a table about nice villagers and ppl said it was more creepy. Anyway, I obviously love it because of pages 18-47 but I was pleasantly surprised at the utility and unbiased awesomeness of the other 220+ pages. Basically, it is about things to do in between adventures and covers in a basic usable way how to spend time outside the dungeon. Stuff on things to do, hiring npcs, markets, crime, mining, lots of shopping lists, boats, magic crafting and more for simpler old-school games. It is a very useful help for sandbox games that lean to domain building and noble status. I am a big fan of this playstyle and anything that helps DnD get more like Pendragon is good. Simpler and more functional than finding sections in a certain rambling big fat dm book.

Artifices, Deceptions and Dilemmas is the more recent volume and deals with dungeons. What I like is that you could get some Dyson maps or Cartographers guild ones and with this book help improvise a dungeon. If you like 
The Glass Harmonica: A Lexicon of the Fantastical
by Barbara Ninde Byfield 
which influenced the DMG you may well like this book. The first section deals with rooms you can put in a dungeon with some descriptions and lots of illustrations you can drop on a basic map to start an adlibbed dungeon off. The later section includes hazards like the classic traps, triggers, weird doors, things in rooms, peepholes and other inspiring stuff. As I will be running some dungeons again I look forward to using this and more. 

Some of Courtney's little zine formats booklets with rules additions from his Patreon are interesting and I left some around for my players to play with.

Dog Daze for Mutant Epoch
A big fat solo adventure book. Actually, many of their adventures read like a choose your own adventure more than a traditional sandbox. It's kind of a feature that can replay and the GM can run some NPCs along with the party and enjoy the stuff with the players. This one is more explicitly solo. It features lots of dogs and exploring underground passages. It has some new relics and extra dog mutations but is not so useful as a sourcebook you can grab bits from. It does have lots of ideas and illustrations. I almost wish I could play it on my phone alone. 240 pages and got to me at good speed POD in Australia in 4 days without international shipping so yay. I did feel I was in a loop in early sections but it's still a pretty amazing book. It clearly has lots of effort. I have everything for this game and there is a lot in it. I do think I'd like to see more campaign setting books or some book of adventures compiling more open location adventures to drop in a game anywhere like the short digital-only one day digs pdf. 

The Wild Beyond The Witchlight
Fizban's Treasury of Dragons
for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Ed

So I tried D&D5 and struggled a bit and have not played for a year. I struggle with learning new systems and none of the almost all furry games I played really impressed me and I should try again. I have thought a pile of books for the game and find many attractive with nice art. A few DND books I got because they had pictures of super happy people and I am a sucker for that and cant remember many super happy people in older books. 

Fizban's is basically so much dragon lore you wont live long enough to use it all probably. I was suckered by the Dragonborn ranger with his happy pet lizard. I was not super into dragonborn but the stuff in here makes them feel more fleshed out and now I'm sold. Has class and race extras I liked, dragon goals based on lifespans, campaigns, lairs with lots of maps to drop all over your world which I may need this game. There are lair treasures and abilities, gem dragons, draconian the best thing in DL after Kitiara, dragon followers and more. Loads of nice art. As I'm about to have lots of dragon stuff in my campaign I will use some of this and found this inspirational reading more so than other contemporary lore stuff and easier to use ideas from it. 

WItchlight is a massive adventure with a short extra character section and a faerie world. Many admirable things here and attempts to decolonise dnd. Good goblins and lots of alternate alignments. Lots of npc faerie folk to play as a DM if voices and acting are your schticks. Having a violence-free option to play through is awesome too. You could have some good sessions with lots of dialogue and no fighting. As I have struggled to write some adventures subverting hack and slack plundering this is a notable and interesting direction. You could probably play with kids or adults quite well. Mostly the adventure is meeting various beings and helping them. Lots of characters and encounters you could steal and insert in other adventures like the Magic Faraway Tree to add more weirdo faerie dnd stuff. I like the possibility of turning world against you if you resort to violence and affects the mood of everything around you. I like weird faerie stuff and this book surprised me with how much I liked it.   

Will try to catch up on the 3 PDF ones next post

Sunday, 2 January 2022

Crocodog Attack!

Nuetral Modified Animal
AC+5 HD3 Bite d8 Mov 15 Swim 9
Can hold breath for ten minutes

Intelligent trainable creatures with pack hunting and aquatic ambushes 
Able to track through even marsh and in water if prey bleeding

Made by magical breeding initially and over the years some have gotten loose. The prehuman magic of serpent folk and lizard folk wizards may be the first to have made these beasts. They lay eggs and can be bred in farms by lizard folk warbands.

1in6 has tail slap extra attack d6 that bipeds must save or be tripped if struck
1in6 very smart and loyal understands spoken instructions like a child
1in8 has a thagomiser spiked tail attack 2d4 damage
1in10 has an armoured spiked carapace AC +8
1in12 are hexocrocodog with 6 legs can Mov 18 on land and Swim 12
1in12 has spines and can fire a d4 shots a round for a d6 Range 12
1in12 has shoulder tentacles an extra 2 attacks d6 each
1in12 has shoulder tentacles cause d4 rounds paralasys save to resist
1in12 can walk on water for one round every second round
1in12 have scorpion tails d6 damage stinger and 2d6 venom save halves
1in12 giant crocodog 5HD d12 bite and can be ridden by a huge person
1in12 crocodogotaur has a centaur-like body configuration with a human torso and arms +1HD and are intelligent and speak reptilian languages, can use weapons live javelins, spears and clubs,1in12 of these are 4th Lv spell casters also
1in12 are deep sea crocodogs with a glowing lure like an angler fish and they come up at night to hunt on land and nest on coasts
1in20 has bat wings
1in20 have horns like a giraffe or stag that can shoot a 3d6 lightning bolt three times a day
1in20 centicrocodog with dozens of leg and a flexible snakelike torso 
Mov 24 on land and Swim 15, with 8-12 HD with four legs per HD
1in20 are two headed crocodogs with +1 bite attack and double the appetite
1in100 gargantuan crocodog 50 HD 12d6 bite

d12 Crocodog Adventures
1 Children secretly kept a crocodile and now it has got big and more hungry than kids can steal
2 Charlie the talking crocodog (he can say "sausage") is a local favorite and locals feed him in his under the bridge home. An alchemist supplier has kidnapped charlie and village wants him back
3 A vindictive lizard man hero on his giant crocodog mount is angry his swamp was drained, he has been bothering settlers on the former marshland. He plans to use giant beavers to reflood the plain and  
4 A wizard was eaten by his crocodog experiments and villagers want tower cleared out so they can sell to a new wizard for 10000gp
5 River bandits stole crocodog eggs from the lizard folk and if they can rear them they will be a menace to river trade 
6 An alien hive mind fell from overspace and colonised wild crocodogs who now act with a mysterious purpose. The mind parasites can leap to who slays the crocodog
7 Crocodog Bob a foul mouthed foreigner is an expert crocodog catcher and he has special wrestling holds and tricks and traps. But he has been seduced and captured by a werecroc witch who controls the pack
8 Swamp goblins trading with lizard folk now have a crocodog goblin cavalry and live in the old marsh farm
9 A wicked necromancer found the crocodog graveyard and now he has a fighting force of undead crocodogs and demands the town pay him with human corpses and wine and silk clothing
10 A strange crocodog has been drawing strange letters in the mud and looking mournfully at travellers and not eating them. In reality, the crocodog ate a magic jar of a wizard in the form of an idol. How old the wizard is or if they were even human is a mystery. Many seek to help the odd critter
11 A centicrocodog has escaped from the sewer and is eating locals, it has eaten the sewer workers and nightwatch and residents want it gone
12 A gargantuan crocodog has crawled from the sea and attacked the kingdom. The ruler forces adventurers to lead 2 dozen of troops (players choose speciality) and destroy the beast

Thursday, 30 December 2021

Elemental Heretics of the Arcane Empire 4 Air


d12 Common Air Oaths
1 Study the weather omens and sky prophets an hour per day
2 Expose impurity to the open sky
3 Scatter your enemies like dust in the wind
4 Sing to the sky on holy days
5 Wear colours of the sky
6 Observe the movements of birds
7 Sacrifice daily to the sky
8 Shun clothing and go skyclad on weekly holy days
9 Sing a sad lament after a death or battle 
10 Keep the air shrines in high places
11 Worthy dead must be mummified or exposed  to air
12 Sing a song before eating

d12 Rare Air Oaths
1 Expose the dead of the wicked for the birds 
2 Strangle the life from unlawful spell casters 
3 Hurl the wicked from heights according to their guilt
4 Dedicate souls of the slain to the sky powers
5 Sleep in the open spaces 
6 Make constant screams in battle
7 Explore the highest secret places
8 Anoint yourself with rare unguents and perfumes
9 Aid beings of air with shelter and comfort if they need it 
10 Dedicate 10% of your wealth to the air temples and shrines
11 Only harm air beings of in self-defence 
12 Open the way for elemental air into this world   

Gifts per Level
1 Zero Lv Open spell
2 Potions of levitation 4+d4
Always know direction or north 
4 +1 Weapon usually a spear or bow 
5 1st Lv WIndblast spell
6 Potions of levitation per month d4
7 Gain one skill from: Acrobatics, Air Lore, Weather Lore or Sing
8 +2 Weapon (if applied to +1 weapon gains returns to your hand each round)
9 2nd Lv Invisibility spell 
10 Featherfall at will 
11 Air Ally d4 1=giant eagle 2=pegasi 3=4HD elemental 4=air drake
12 +3 Weapon (if applied to +2 weapon may turn invisible +2 hit the first attack in combat)
13 3rd Lv Wall of Wind spell
14 No longer require breathing cannot be asphyxiated or choked
15 Air Ally d4 1=griffon 2=8HD elemental 3=giant pteranadon 4=invisible servant
16 +4 Weapon (if applied to +3 weapon "dances" can attack as wielder, Mov12 round/Lv per day)
17 4th Lv Dimension Door spell
18 +1 Reason
19 12 HD air elemental called per day for one hour
20 +5 Weapon (if applied to +4 weapon sentient may turn invisible to hide from thieves or attack them as a dancing blade)

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Elemental Heretics of the Arcane Empire 3 Water

d12 Common Water Oaths
1 Shun the pollution of pure water
2 Wash daily with water
3 Shun the touch of others blood
4 Travel by water as often as possible
5 Prey to water an hour per day
6 Always carry a flask of water
7 Sacrifice daily to a well
8 Anoint yourself at water shrines
9 Study the marine omens and the water seers words
10 Dress in the colours of the waters
11 Water must carry away the remains of the dead
12 Food must be washed or boiled

d12 Rare Water Oaths
1 Drown unlawful spell casters beneath the waters
2 Throw 10% of your wealth into a well or the sea
3 Sacrifice an animal to the waters monthly 
4 Improve the communities cleanliness
5 Dig wells and irrigation ditches on monthly holy days 
6 Punish those who defile the waters
7 Explore the mysteries of the deep
8 Comune with beings of the underwater world
9 Aid beings of the water with shelter and comfort if they need it 
10 Dedicate 10% of your wealth to the water temples and shrines
11 Only harm water beings of in self-defence 
12 Open the way for elemental water into this world

Gifts per Level
1 Zero Lv Purify spell
2 Potions of water breath 4+d4
3 Waterskin holds 10x volume for same weight and volume as one
4 +1 Weapon usually a spear, trident, net or axe
5 1st Lv Fog Cloud spell
6 Potions of water breathing per month d4
7 Amphibious - use highest Move or Swim speed always, hold breath 10 minutes (or vice versa)
8 +2 Weapon (if applied to +1 weapon gains extra +2 vs aquatic beings)
9 2nd Lv Water Walk spell 
10 +d3 Mov
11 Water Ally d4 1=giant frog 2=dolphin 3= 4HD elemental 4=water drake
12 +3 Weapon (if applied to +2 weapon gains +1AC while in water)
13 3rd Lv Wall of Water spell
14 Breath Water or vice versa
15 Water Ally d4 1=sea serpent 2=8HD elemental 3=giant turtle pt4=killer whale
16 +4 Weapon (if applied to +3 weapon gains +1 Attack)
17 4th Lv Raise Water* spell
18 +1 Will
19 12 HD water elemental called per day for one hour
20 +5 Weapon (if applied to +4 weapon sentient and thieves save or drown)

Tuesday, 28 December 2021

Elemental Heretics of the Arcane Empire 2 Earth

d12 Common Earth Oaths
1 Devote an hour a day to craft 
Cast stones at your enemies  
3 Cast the impure into a pit 
4 Erect sacred stones on monthly holy days
5 Prey to stones an hour per day
6 Explore the secret caverns within the earth
7 Leave a stone at each crossroad
8 Study the omens of the soil and the earth prophets

9 Always wear the colours of earth, plants and beasts
10 Keep the earth shrines standing
11 Bones of the dead must be entombed in the earth
12 Store food under earth or stone 

d12 Rare Earth Oaths
1 Bury 10% of your treasure under the earth as a sacrifice
Bury unlawful spell casters alive beneath earth or stone
3 Protect wild places, plants and animals from civilisation
4 Shun leaving holes or tunnels in the earth
5 Pour the blood of the living into the earth in a monthly sacrifice
6 Break the bones of criminals as punishment
7 Build earthworks and walls to defend your home 
8 Maintain the ancient stone seals, monoliths and vaults imprisoning the old ones
9 Aid beings of earth with shelter and comfort if they need it 
10 Dedicate 10% of your wealth to the earth temples and shrines
11 Only harm earth beings of in self-defence 
12 Open the way for elemental earth into this world

Gifts per Level
1 Zero Lv Stone spell
2 Potions of healing 2d4hp 4+d4
3 Rock for throwing or slinging returns to hand each round
4 +1 Weapon usually a mace, club or axe
5 1st Lv Bless Stone spell
6 Potions of healing 2d4 per month d4
7 Protection from earth +2 saves and -1 dam/dice from all blunt damage
8 +2 Weapon (if applied to +1 weapon gains quickdraw if within 1 range)
9 2nd Lv Stinking Cloud spell 
10 +1 AC
11 Earth Ally d4 1=bear 2=lion 3=4HD elemental 4=earth drake
12 +3 Weapon (if applied to +2 weapon gains resist knockback ability)
13 3rd Lv Magnetism spell
14 Petrification or paralysis or poison resistance
15 Earth Ally d4 1=ceratosaurus 2=8HD elemental 3=sabretooth tiger 4=hill giant
16 +4 Weapon (if applied to +3 weapon gains stun effect vigour save or stun for 1 round)
17 4th Lv Burrow spell
18 +1 Vigour
19 12 HD earth elemental called per day for one hour
20 +5 Weapon (if applied to +4 weapon sentient and thieves are stunned )

Elemental Heretics of the Arcane Empire 1 Fire

This is a more in-depth look at what was originally here:

I will after current projects make a book of this because I need it for my current game so hope to start next month. Also have old unfinished dungeon zone key for desert ruins of bronze age themed ancients. For playing an ancient game or just looting the ancients in a later setting.

Some of this is influenced by my current campaign projection which the Arcane Empire of the West is dominated by Elemental wizards and cults. There is also a dragon temple cult to the east that often uses elemental magic. There is the necromantic death templars too. So ideally when I finish my revised spellbook I will then work on a bunch of elemental and death spells. 

My oath system has been fun and we have playtested some more stuff like having oaths based on gods and philosophies other than alignment ones. Players did like that the oath points from these oaths still worked with alignment but you could if a pyromaniac cultist is good or evil and follow the abnormal edicts or elemental tyrants. Specific gifts for cults has worked ok too. So I'm expanding these to longer versions as they are very flexible and can be used by clerics or wizards or anyone who wants to be a fanatic weirdo.

After the age of eldritch darkness humans lived in ignorance in caves and wild places but some maintained the dread lore of wizardry from their masters. The elementalism, the dragon cult and the death temple used these ancient arts to dominate other folk. The barbarians of the wastes and their beast folk kin had kept the world in a state of ignorance by killing wizards and the literate city folk. Over the last thousand years, the cities built great walls and rediscovered lost arts of warfare. Elementalism, the death cults and the dragon lords are much diminished now and their influence has thinned. But large pockets remain and still are a threat to civilisation. Civilisation sometimes has used the old cults to draw the barbarians away from themselves. The old cults have used this to influence cities that offer wizard advisors to nobility because you know they are so charitable. These arcane advisors and their security details work to undermine and corrupt their hosts but they have to compete with rival sects.

When you stop some wizards scheme you will be noted by their enemies and they might try and use you again with paid missions, patronage and magic gifts with catches.

So basically each oath you roll you can get a gift from the list.
For each oath, add a point to your score for one alignment.
If you reroll an oath you may choose another.
After ten oaths you may choose to roll on the rare oaths table instead. 
Breaking oaths results in the powers punishing you and may be fatal.

Gifts are in groups of four and can be swapped within the same set and some can be taken several times and be stacked. When you stack a +1 magic item effect gift on an existing item of the lower type you gain a bonus magical effect. For example, upgrade a +1 item to +2 you would gain an extra ability like a sword extra +2vs an alignment or enemy type or a bow that creates ammunition. 

d12 Common Fire Oaths
1 Test for truth with ordeals of fire 
2 Cleanse impurity with fire 
3 Always wear colours of flame
4 Burn bonfires on the weekly holy day
5 Prey to flames an hour per day
6 Light a fire twice daily in prayer
7 Sacrifice daily to fire to feed the ancestors
8 Study the fire omens and scriptures daily 

9 Scourge the wicked with fire
10 Keep the fire shrines burning
11 The dead must be cremated
12 Food must be cooked

d12 Rare Fire Oaths
1 Burn 10% of your wealth as incense and artworks
Burn unlawful spell casters alive
3 Burn a sacrificial beast once a month
Burn the homes and crops of enemies 
Don't extinguish a fires hunger
6 Brand criminals with the mark of fire
7 Burn the false scriptures and idols of your enemies
8 Keep a fire burning nightly to ward off the dark
9 Aid beings of fire with shelter and comfort if they need it 
10 Dedicate 10% of your wealth to the fire temples and shrines
11 Only harm fire beings in self-defence 
12 Open the way for elemental fire into this world

Gifts per Level
1 Zero Lv Ignite spell
2 Potions of fire resistance 4+d4
3 Magic ever-burning torch or lantern or candle
4 +1 Weapon usually a spear, dagger or sword
5 1st Lv Burning hands spell
6 Potions of fire resistance per month d4
7 Protection from fire +2 saves and -1 dam/dice from all fire
8 +2 Weapon (if applied to +1 weapon gains +d3 fire damage)
9 2nd Lv Flaming Sphere spell 
10 +d4 HP
11 Fire Ally d4 1=fire toad 2=fire newt on strider 3=4HD elemental 4=fire drake
12 +3 Weapon (if applied to +2 weapon gains +d6 fire damage)
13 3rd Lv Fireball spell
14 Fire resistance
15 Fire Ally d4 1=salamander 2=8HD elemental 3=fire giant 4=fire lizard
16 +4 Weapon (if applied to +3 weapon gains +2d6 fire damage)
17 4th Lv Wall of Flame spell
18 +1 Agility
19 12 HD fire elemental called per day for one hour
20 +5 Weapon (if applied to +4 weapon sentient and burns thieves)

Thursday, 23 December 2021


Have as good a holiday as possible everyone or else.
New start village for the current campaign. 

So the previous map was a 30-mile wide hex, this is a close up of the village area and creeps into the western hex which is boggier with lots of creeks and water. A few things might beg the question and attract interest from players. Also worth noting is the border between kingdoms which is pretty loose. Bandits, nomads and shepherds cross it regularly and the border is a looser notion to villagers than the nobility would like. 

d12 Local Occasional Events
1 Herders report a sneaky lone wolf stalking goats
2 Some scruffy bandits have been camping in the area watching a road
3 Vermin menace d6 1=locusts 2=rabbits 3=flies 4=mosquitoes 5=seed eating bird 6=slugs
4 An illness sweeps the village brought by a trader
5 Large merchant caravan stays, offering deals and keeping locals busy
6 A travelling entertainer comes to visit for a d4 days, someone local falls in love
7 Priest warns all about d6 1=naughty spirits 2=declining morality 3=witchcraft 4=undead seen wandering from the old Forgotten City graveyard 5=saw ominous cloud 6=beware of dragons
8 Adventurer party arrives and stays a d4 weeks to explore the lost city
9 Chariot of a noble passes d4 1=messenger 2=hunting trip 3=millitary patrol 4=mysterious foreigner on urgent business 5=mysterious noble hunting someone 6=rich wizard seeking lore
10 Some have seen strange lights in distance by night
11 Village assembly meets d4 1=resolve local dispute 2=anounce a feast 3=planning on local improvements 4=reallocating garden plots
12 Someone local reports having funny dreams then starts acting secretive 

Village Detail
Pop 40-60

Buildings all mud-brick and some fired bricks with bitumen roofs often with plants and a pleasant rest area on the roof with a shade cloth. When hot people often sleep up here and with a breeze in mosquito-free. Local wood ok for fire but terrible for craft. Woven reeds and palm leaves are common for all kinds of uses from mats, dors, fishnets, huts

The village headman 
Ansudad is appointed by the assembly of all adults over 50 and a few honorary invited locals like the smith, priest, trader, druid, innkeeper and schoolmaster. Ansudad is bossy and disliked but nobody else really wants the job. He and the redsmith run the militia. The assembly is typically a dozen. They meet in the hall which is also used for community events, occasional work and goats in bad weather or attack.  

The Trader Abu-Sin friendly supplying farm goods but most money from passing traders, adventurers and occasionally visiting soldiers. There are some second-hand weapons, ropes, sacks, lamps and other handy adventurer needs. He lives with his young nephew Anu-Sin who wants a wife but his uncle is holding out for a rich older widow. Abu-Sin was a thief long ago 3rd Lv and his nephew has learned the basics at 1st Lv. He lends money which has made him unpopular with locals. He won't rip off locals but may traders he may never see again.

The Redsmth Adan and his two sons, daughter and wife work here helping the forge, gathering fuel and also making clay goods and direct communal brick making days. Spears, daggers, javelins, knives, shields and a few helmets are on display. Swords and other weapons are made to order and take a week. Adan's wife Sundi is quite influential with local women folk and knows all the best gossip. She occasionally makes religious devotional figurines of clay to commemorate lost families. They have an abhuman Bull man Kloris who helps with bellows and hard labour they found as a child. Adan is a 2nd Lv fighter.

Grain Silos are mud-brick beehive-shaped and one has a dove house on top. Collective owned by the village. There are great ancient milling stones used a day a week. Barley, chickpeas and lentils are mostly kept. Beehives and date drying racks are nearby.

Half Moon In is a circular tall building with gates and a courtyard. Most smaller caravans park inside with one VIP room 1sp, 12 smaller 10cp rooms for one or two and stables for animals and basic workers 1cp. Shugmog the innkeeper, his wife Shuri, his two daughters and his youngest son work here with two servants. The in has an old one-eyed cat people like. 

School House
has a dozen boarders living here to learn scribal and literacy skills. Once a week there is a class for older locals who have taken up reading. The classes are taught by four apprentices who in turn learn wizardry from Master Zuul a 5th Lv wizard. The apprentices all avoid drinking and mingling with locals mostly studying and teaching.

Adad Shrine
is maintained by a priest 3rd Lv Mushu who blesses the herds and preys for good weather. He is always warning everybody and has a full suit of scale armour and a bronze goat-headed mace. He helps the militia and provides healing and advice. Mushu was sent here for some error in the city but is happier here.

Buzzard Creek was modified to drain into the millpond and herders bring animals here several times a day in summer. It's quite pleasant with grass, gardens and some palm trees. There are fish in the pond.

Family homes
are buildings with 6-12 inhabitants and 2-3 rooms and roof gardens.
1 Mountain clan are goat herders and hunters and have six large guardian dogs
2 Mountain Clan and is the home of the smiths extended family who mostly work in gardens
3 Storm Clan are the poorer extended family of the trader and mostly are gardeners
4 Hydra Clan are from a tribe over the border and are gardeners and care for the water supply, their family includes Granny Hydra a 4th Lv druid cultist of Ningizzida who heals, blesses crops and helps treat livestock. Her daughter Arasni is the local Midwife and skilled non-magical healer. They have lots of small pet snakes and a 4m long python to keep down rodents. This clan also have some dealing with kin over the border and the dragon cults to the east. They have improved the village gardens and are well-liked  
5 Sky Clan and Ansudad the village heads family home. A bit fancier and he has a healthy large family but no sons to take his place yet but has six daughters he watches like hawks. His wife and daughters brew local beer and supply the inn and are the best bakers in town. Despite being a grump the women folk constantly work around him.

The various clans are from different settling migrants and this polyglot village is mixed and open-minded, their common mixes in lots of tribal and foreign words. The mountain clan are older and more traditional herding former nomad clan (they have stories of own city long ago destroyed by dragons). They moved here 40 years ago. The Storm clan are from the city merchant classes and came here for country life away from an inter-clan vendetta only five years ago. Selling goods to adventurers and traders has worked well. The Hydra clan came from over the border a score years ago and have helped the village thrive. The druidic cult of Ningizzida and Adad have different holy days and no conflicts but think they are the best. The Sky clan have come from a larger town and are bakers and brewers who arrived ten years ago and got the assembly started and built the hall. They have an idol of Anu in their home with urns of their ancestors ashes buried under it, 

d12 Local jobs need doing for petty cash
1 Fetch some good wood from over far meadow and creek
2 Catch and possibly cook vermin d4 1=birds 2=rats 3=huge locusts 4=rabbits
3 Help prune trees and bushes and vines
4 Gather grass in bundles for the inn stable
5 Carry water to the Adad shrine for a ritual
6 Dig several new latrine pits
7 Gather goat dung and spread on garden beds
8 Picking fruit and vegetables
9 Gather firewood
10 Gather clay from the local pit and make bricks with moulds
11 Help muster goat heard for seasonal blessings and inspection
12 Help slaughter goat and some birds

Militia drills are commonplace and a 4-hour stint weekly for all able-bodied but the elders still come and watch

d12 What can you do for fun around here?
1 Music and dancing common in village and more often in the inn
2 Fishing is popular especially for old men, women prefer bird trapping
3 Hear elders tell stories
4 Adad shrine or the Druid conduct daily rituals
5 Go to school and learn the basics of literacy or read or chat with scholars
6 Hunting d4 1=rabbits 2=deer 3=boar 4=angry wild bull
7 Militia drills and training, target practice, wrestling, weekly training and beers
8 Make something to practice crafts or to sell to travellers
9 Go for a ramble  in the wilds looking for trouble or opportunities
10 Visit another village or nomads camp
11 Explore a cave or ruin
12 Explore the Forgotten City