Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Some Reviews From Recent Shopping

Spending more time with amphibians than gaming online now but this is my recent bedtime reading. I seem to get more interactions there. Getting more dungeon and dragon mags so will go through some of these in future.

Metamorphosis Alpha: Doom on the Warden
A goodman games adventure by Jim Ward. It id similar to the B&W adventures that first came out for the Goodman Games edition of the game. But it has a colour cover hardback. Art and maps are great. It doesn't feel like an adventure with a story or a plot. It explore a new area which is a common play mode for the game. It features a level map and a very powerful bunker in the middle and a military AI at odds with the warden. The wilderness area has lots of weird mutant flowers and berries that lots of gamers might find fun and could be re-used. The enemies are pretty tough.  The art and maps are good but I'm not sure if the value is high especially with the current Kickstarted book in production (hoping lots of art was just placeholders for the final version - a mix of amazing and bad and retro pulp and pretty inconsistent). Its not great value and Im unsure if hardback was worth it for a 30pg adventure plus pregens. 

FrontierSpace RPG
I like the 2 book covers connect into one artwork. In anyways a creation based on Star Frontiers vibe but obviously without IP like races. A few differences are the core races, antigravity (i liked star frontiers lacked anti-gravity and effect on ships), its own setting and some other stuff. It has the vibe quite well. I have played and read lots of travellers but always found it obsessed with heists and military and a few things I find clunky in the setting despite the incredible effort to rationalise and detail. Star frontiers I found cleaner and it felt like an earlier phase of space civilisation vs the thousands of years in Traveller over a vast area you could never see in play. Star frontiers stuff felt new and exciting and you could get to know the frontier and it felt like you were exploring new stuff for the first time. FrontierSpace continues these ideas, is clean and simple. Well illustrated for equipment and vehicles. Missiles and drones seem dated and limited in choice. I do like the summaries of equipment and the tables are very readable. I like the layouts and most of the art. Robots are good. The Referee Handbook has lots of options and tools to make planets, alien races, creatures, psionics and more. It does have tables to generate flawed and improved tech designs for guns, robots and robots. Lots of good space hazard details on table,  mechanical troubles, artefacts, prototype tech, bases and some very nice maps I was inspired by. I would consider playing this more than many SF games as it is clean, organised and has good detail. Skills are interesting too. Id still use BRP Ringworld cos I only know BX, BRP and TSR Marvel but I did enjoy star frontiers box sets (Zebulons guide core mechanic changes and some tech was not for me. The fandom of Star Frontiers is pretty good and the magazines have been stunning (plus lots of Dragon and Ares magazines). Looking at my shelves Star Frontiers and seems more appealing than most to play.

Mutant Epoch:
The Mall of Doom
Beyond Red Crater
The Flesh Weavers
(Content Warning)
So I have written fondly of this game before. I use bits of this game and Gammaworld and Darwin's world. The Illustrations are one of the best features and the dense content. A few features of these adventures. They are written like choose your own adventure books and could be solo played and it would help a new DM. You could even re-run them with different results. Box text is less handy for the experienced referee but ok for solo or noob. I've found a few modern games that go for this approach. It is less useful for veterans and it can be hard to find stuff or change if you want it. Despite the huge detail of the world sandbox, these adventures are more linear. It is worth pointing out from reading these they have ethical problems so unsuited to children and some adults. I have commented this game deals with the consequences of being captured. The game features lots of thing like body horror and I was connected to a club where women asked no more alien pregnancy plots in games because they were sick of it. In some ways, the game is brave and realistic for detailing what the monsters do to players and there are reminders in the setting everywhere. Quite a few things for the game include slavery, rape, prostitution, drug abuse, cannibalism amped up beyond any other game. I regret stupid stuff like this in my younger days and how I handled it and would be more careful now. I wouldn't run it with strangers at a con or an open club game - id want players who I knew would react without traumatising them. Autonomy removal in games has lots of problems that most games give you more freedom than you enjoy in life. So in Mutant Epoch if monsters get you they will have sex with you, enslave you, kill you, eat you or all the above. Lots of stuff features say gratefully women you save falling into your arms (no twinks sorry), sexual situations and women victims. 

So my mum ran prisons and I imagine she would say something like this. The monsters won't care about your gender, men will be sex slaves and raped too like the film Deliverance and I'm pretty sure many male players would freak out if their characters were raped. These are encounters where monsters will target attractive females so as the game Is I might be reluctant to play one as the game is. Darwin's world has women less common for reasons and I don't think people consider the effects on sexual culture. The game features lots of monsters that prey sexually on humans using them as reproduction puppets or using appearance to lure (men mostly in this case). If you think your male players won't enjoy being raped your female players will like it less too. As my Mum said men get raped in war and prison and possibly cope worse than women do especially as it doesn't fit the narrative of male mythology. Men in prison don't think of themselves as gay or bi despite sexual conduct and this is a huge can of worms that shouldn't come up in games with your friends. These Issues can destroy your gaming group. Despite these problems, the game is still interesting but having read 3 more books inline the elephant in the room got bigger. Using slavers and sexual predators as villains might be ok but just the issues can trigger some people for mentioning these things. Some of these issues open more cans of worms Villains who don't do anything to deserve killing are a problem too so navigating between these for your group is a thing. 

I prefer to have adventures with a non-fiction approach to locations so I can do as I please with them but there is plenty here to plunder for post apoc games despite the format of the adventure. These adventures have stories and narrative. 
The Mall of Doom has players hired to find missing people in a village. The village has a thriving cult which turns out to be connected to the problem. It has lots of good exploration, hazards and the mall shop tables could be reused for any ruins and this makes the book a good sourcebook. The bad guys are bad and killing them and saving people and rewards are good and there are some good climax boss fights. There are notes on expanding the adventure, maps and art are excellent.
Beyond Red Crater features a dome complex with lots of secrets and great maps and scenes to show players at some key crossroads with a referee map with section numbers to the adventure text which is brilliant and needs to be seen more. You get a chance to go to space here which I always like (then goto metamorphosis alpha setting).  

The Flesh weavers start in a hotel in town where players are resting subject to a horrible monster attack. The monsters are very wet-puppet John Carpenter Thing-like and gross with lots of details and variations. The monsters are really horrible and If you get bitten you might meet it later with your face. So the players are awoken by violence then recruited to hunt and kill these horrible creatures. I'd possibly make them a bioweapon gone rogue and link to some of the Darwins World campaigns detailing such things in The Last God. It's shorter but has a film vibe and could be run in a session or longer. 

All three use the Pitford setting area. There are other smaller adventures for the game available also which are pretty good read also. I do recommend this game but not for squeamish and I recommend some caution with presenting them. They do read well and organisation works sometimes I wish was more modular. Crossroads gazetteer is a huge thick book with post-Apoc settings for years and each location even building has its own encounter tables I would like to be more accessible. Value for money with content and art is good and even though text is crammed in it is mostly readable.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Gone To The Frogs 1 : d12 Mysterious Frog Patrons & Quests

As I'm only inspired by frogs and as a lead up to a book for my birthday on April the 30th im just doing frog stuff for a bit. My FB and Tumbler now mostly frogs and I watch live toad feed vids. Its a nice distraction from writing problems im having.

The photo and text were from a FB frog group and I memed them together. The poster seemingly approved with a like at my request to share. I was inspired by adorable green garden buddhas tol do tables for a bit on Anuran folk and amphibians

Expanded Petty Frog Gods (i did ones in the book)
-causes and forces
-encounters and 
-treasures and gossip
Amphibian races and monsters
-frogling a halfling reskin
-mighty amphibian abhumans
-mysterious faerie frog changelings
Frog chaos cults

d12 Mysterious Frog Patrons
Describe mysterious frog patron and possible rewards
1 Sagatious frog hermit lives in a hollow tree or cliff cave above ground 
offers d4 1=spell 2=secret technique 3=eldrich lore 4=slime ability (use/Lv per day 30m save or move halved d4 rounds)
2 Wise frogling druid and holy leader of a hidden village of small hardy frog folk offers d4 1=healing berries 2=magic herb 3=reincarnation spell 4=location of snake wizard cave
3 Charming frog  folk bard with fine clothes and a lute offers d4 1=treasure maps 2=erodite magic lore 3=a faerie gate location 4=invite to secret butterfly ball for magic animal folk 
4 A frogfolk monk from far off land on a pilgrimage of worlds important ponds offers d4 1=teach exotic skills like hold breath 2=alchemist pills of water breathing 3=swamp treasure map 4=teach exotic martial technique
5 Elderly frog changeling lives in underwater cave, appears human at times to humans in home area offers d4 1=magical mushrooms 2=lost famous artwork 3=holy pondweed eaten causes skin shed for 2d4 years youth if eaten 4=map of the forbidden swamp secret locations   
6 A drunken frogfolk priest drinks in a tree offer d4 1=bottles of frog grog 2=pound of frogweed and clay pipe (will show you top roll into cigars) 3=frog masks that stop penalties to sneak or hit in water 4=information about black market or swamp smugglers
7 A mysterious bearded frog folk wizard who knows details of adventurers past offers d4 1=exiting secret origin backstory change 2=scrolls of elder lore about magic treasure 3=hat of comprehending frogs 4=spawn ring that if wearer killed they are reborn in sacred spring as frog folk tadpole 
8 A cackling frogfolk witch and her spider familiar fly around in a cauldron in forests at night offers d4 1=babies stolen by faeries 2=a pet imp in a bottle 3=slave zombies 4=riding snails 
9 Mysterious frogfolk faerie warrior knight in magic lightweight aluminium plate armour comes forth from a pond offers d4 1=frog sword +1+3 vs snakes 2=frog shield +1 +2 save vs fire 3=frog spear+1 no penalties in water 4=inflate ability (inflate can float 10min/Lv per day or inflate to appear twice as big making harder to swallow and intimidating)
10 A frog Aquamancer in robes with silver skullcap and staff offers d4 1=waterweird in a bottle 2=giant frog tadpoles 3=acid potions 4=frog cloak keeps wearer always hydrated and does not need to drink
11 A frogfolk mutant chaos cultist in robes offers d4 1=chaos mushrooms that cause mutations 2=location of rival chaos cult with treasure 3=location of secret chaos caverns 4=location of a wanted criminal warlock
12 A brightly coloured frogling with a grass hat, staff and blowpipe offers d4 1=venom for darts or arrows 2=potion lets you see and enter the spirit world 3=+1blowpipe 4=shrunken head +d4hp while wearing on belt, neck or in hair

Mysterious Frog Quests
Who can fathom the strange alien motivations and desires of magic frog patrons 
1 Fetch a precious bejewelled opalbug that comes to feed on a rare flower in a cursed bog once a year full of carnivorous giant plants
2 Fetch a live bonesucker bug in this basket, don't lit it bite or will liquify your bones and suck them out. They live in the undead filled tomb of the Nightlord
3 Lick this frog and when your sleeping spirits enter the nightmare realm, catch a dreambug and bring it back to the waking world for the first time in aeons
4 The wicked wizard Kullthax has a giant fly familiar, it is essential it is snatched in secret and brought here for contemplation
5 A frightful carrion caterpillar lives close and the frog requires it have its toxic tendrils removed and brought here alive in time for an important frog meeting
6 Some giant ants are bothering a frogling bug farm, defend the bugs and kill the ants, bring ant larvae here for study
7 A great book of bugs was lost aeons ago identifying all the bugs properties and secret lore known to dawn age frog scholars (also called the buganomnomicon), with moving illuminated art. The book was lost to evil in the Burning Bog of Crater Lake, find it
8 An evil wererat has taken some innocent tadpoles from their sacred spawn pond, go fetch them back and grab any captive rats for you can while at it for research reasons
9 A magic frog idol was lost in the septic tank of the Doomlords and no frog has returned, find the idol required for the frog cause
10 The humans changed the river, go rescue these giant beavers from the circus and settle them just downriver from here 
11 A terrible hooded evil cult has used hellbugs to tempt young froglings into the thralldom of hell, kill the cult and smush these terrible evil bugs
12 Gather some certain giant mushroom spores from the Goblin Caves of Null and plant them where directed by frogs. In wetlands instead seek giant lilypad seeds from a drugged-out confused druid in the Hellbogs

Friday, 2 April 2021

d100 Cave Trail Side Passage Follies

These are small things to encounter exploring caves isolated from where they are found. I made them for long cave treks but off a beach cliff or in any cave possible. Probably I am making more high level stuff due to current game needs.

d10 Cave Types
01 Lairs
02 Camps
03 Water
04 Fire
05 Air
06 Earth
07 Mine
08 Ruin
09 Monuments
10 Magic

d100 Cave Trail Side Passage Follies
01 A visible 1m wide side passage crack and a dripping shaft and lump visible at the end. The lump is piles of clothes, rusty equipment and possibly some treasure. A cave fisher lurks at the top of the shaft 24m up
02 Side niche with a low ceiling is filled with mounds of loose soil with some bones scattered and giant rat faeces. A large nest of giant rats live here and remains of past victims is scattered in the nests
03 Large side cave with claw scratch marks of some beast and bones scattered inside, some cave art is visible. Lair of a d4 1=albino cave bear 2=albino sabretooth 3=giant carnivorous ground sloth (may have other dug tunnels inside) 4=Small albino allosaurus, lost pet of some reptilian sleeper colony 
04 High cave roof with niches, largest has a cave not visible to the ground where a beast sits on its treasure. It reaches by flight or climbing and snatching prey below. d4 1=wyvern 2=black dragon 3=behir 4=fire lizard
05 Piles of dirt and rubble with a path around a low mound. A giant toad hides here and will gobble up the first person to cross it (or the shortest). If attacked will flee to water or dig backwards while biting and screaming. Can eat several people up to its own starting mass 
06 Hundreds of bats swarm here and the ground is covered in guano. Several giant vampire bats live above hidden among the tiny ones and rocks 12m above. If they attack the whole area is filled in confusing swarms of bats while the vampires attack and carry of victims to drain on the ceiling
07 A cluster of fungus grows here including the giant shrieking variety, and some rotting armoured humanoid remains. A deadly violet fungi lurk on top of the corpses blending into mould and toadstools until prey gets close 
08 Some metre high holes are visible, d4+4. Carnivorous giant beetles swarm out to ravenously attack any meat walking past. Humanoid remains and grug grubs in the holes
09 High above among webs a giant spider lurks and will drop a mass of net-like a web spell before dropping on a line to poison wriggling prey. Bundles of past victims are in the webs in the ceiling
10 Giant crickets gnawing on fungus will chirp noisily and avoid adventurers, but the noise calls d4 1=firelizard often semi-buried 2=ankheg giant bugs 3=giant frogs 4=bullette land shark
11 Goblin camp with a wise woman, common fungus and bug farmers and some traders with hobgoblin guards, a bugbear taskmaster with a whip and goblin dogs. A d4 pack bugs or lizards. Will hail strangers "trade or trouble?" 
12 Orcs squad led by hero orc on a dire wolf camping. On a mission for their evil wizard master seeking a rare item, the wolf will alert them to intruders
13 Degenerate cave troglodyte lizardfolk camp, stir at the smell of meat and prepare an ambush with clubs, stone axes and venomous darts, keen to eat and sacrifice to Tsathogua
14 Dark elf camp with pet spiders with pack lizards and zombie slaves, often hide in magic darkness but consider kidnapping a weak party or offer hospitality to interesting strangers. Offer strange delights, drugs and deserts of the dark fey   
15 Group of beautiful people dressed as nobles having picnic, spirit folk or spectral minions in disguise, happy to meet travellers and swap stories and news, may give a gift to charming adventurers or information
16 Dwarf merchant camp with the old dwarf boss, an alchemist advisor and a squad of warriors. Wary of trolls and goblinoids will welcome "proper" travellers 
17 Degenerate mutant scum camping here as other peoples chase them away. Swarm non-threatening travellers for food, water, medicine will grasp with their grubby hands and pickpockets
18 Cave folk clan camp, may trade but unlikely to be friends or welcome to their fire, healing their sick or gifts of food and tools will impress them enough to join them and will offer some craft goods of flint and tusk and crystal or taken from others
19 Sad grey gnomes with tools and pack lizards with ore, on mission collecting mineral samples. Wary of strangers or communicating without the master or a superior. Eat fungus gruel and yeasty blobs at camp cooked on a tiny stove
20 Strange rare race of the underland, they are shy and wary and may have strange magic that has kept them hidden or surviving so long. May recognise gifts as friendly and only speak weird ancient languages. You will probably never see their like again
21 A bubbling hot spring with mineral salt secretions formations with amazing colours, passing creatures bathe here and reptiles use to warm up and shed. 1in6 of these pools are inhabited by some encounter
22 Pool of ancient brine from the most ancient of seas buried long ago, strange shrimp creatures swim in it and salt crystals attract creatures looking for a lick of salt. Walls have pick marks from where bricks of salt have been mined here. The pool is unfathomably deep. Sometimes a black slimy blind seahag crawls out for food, ignorant of most of history she has been alone for most of the world
23 A fetid chaos tainted pool that causes minor mutations or worse, water weirds swim in it and 1in4 visits a gaggle of chaos mutants are here to worship
24 A waterfall from above fills the cave with mist, some scattered bones are on the ground and in rockpools. A few shiny trinkets can be seen in the water from past visitors. d4 1=marine troll lair 2=marine umberhulk 3=dragon 4=frog demon
25 Pool with a whirlpool, must be crossed to pass carefully, a thing lurks beneath d4 1=chaos cave octopus 2=water elemental 3=hydra 4=marine dragon 
26 A bridge of stone over a ravine with a river, a tight chokepoint for travel d4 1=orc bandits 2=
27 Sunken boggy cave with ferns and fungi, dim luminescence and fog make it seem eerie. d4 1=pack of giant frogs 2=giant beetles 3=albino crocodiles 4=agressive fungus pygmies
28 A spectacular fountain depicting gods in a high vaulted chamber. A guardian protects the water and is reborn daily anew d4 1=dragon 2=giant 3=sphynx 4=faerie noble. It keeps unworthy away from the water d4 1=healing spring 2=grants divination question 3=glowing relic in the water 4=allows you to see far away places
29 Strange coloured pools each has different strange effect, smells like chaos magic
30 Frozen cave full of blue ice, frozen things are in the ice including remains of travellers from thousands of years, inside is a lair of a d4 1=frost salamander 2=ice toad 3=cold elemental 4=ice devil
31 Hot dry cave with dedicated corpses d4 1=hellhound 2=firetoad 3=firelizard 4=fire salamander
32 Cave connected to burning coal seam, toxic smoke pours from vent and is sucked into another, dedicated smoked bodies and ash heaps are scattered about
33 Pit with bubbling lava, used by some creatures for heat, rubbish or as entry to the magma stream, d4 1=magmafolk warband 2=firebats 3=fire elemental 4=imp looking for trouble
34 A rock bridge over lava guarded, various defenders halt unworthy d4 1=bronze golem 2=fire giant 3=dragon 4=barbed devil
35 Bubbling pool of stinking sulphur d4 1=dwarf collecting chemicals 2=ochre jellies but yellow from pool 3=imps bathing d4 with a pet larvae 4=yellow dragon
36 Path through a waterfall of lava, d4=fire giant 2=red dragon 3=fire lizard 4=Firetoads
37 Great flaming pit with stairs down to bronze doors below, an efreeti with pet salamander lives here with lava folk servants. Guests with gifts get an audience
38 A pit of burning gas with crumbling ruins in the rubble in the bottom where treasure might be found d4 1=fire elemental 2=fire salamander 3=fire snakes 4=fire toads
39 Black glassy castle with lava moat inhabited by firenewts led by a knight, they have striders and fire lizard pets
40 A flowing lava river with bridge collapsed, requires repairs or jumping from rock to rock to pass
41 Great windy chasm into deep, a narrow ledge road runs alongside it
42 A great windy chasm with a bridge d4 1=gatehouse operated by gang or kingdom 2=broken and hastily repaired 3=one person flimsy rope bridge with pterodactyl abhuman nest in area 4=narrow rock bridge but creatures prey on travellers usually cloakers or cavefishers
43 Passage covered in slippery ice and with a cold wind, easily slip down to deeper depths
44 Great chasm requiring climbing to cross, giant bats swoop at intruders
45 A shaft reaching to the distant surface but a hard climb, some remains of surface creatures scattered about
46 In high ceiling of cavern is a structure wedged in rock d4 1=sailing ship 2=shattered fort 3=broken bridge 4=mass of wagons. Inside are some remains of bodies and d4 1=giant spiders 2=trolls 3=mad old hermit outcaste or survivor 4=werbats
47 A great windy pit goes up and down with a narrow walkway around the shaft, occasionally an air elemental attacks
48 Strange vapours come from a crack causing unconsciousness and otherworldly visions, if left unconscious will eventually asphyxiate. Small pets and local animals chitter when close
49 A round cave with several passages, a whirlwind circles the room and sweeps any caught up a shaft into darkness
50 Long ago an invisible stalker was set as a guard here of buried treasure, old bodies torn apart lay about
 Chamber of delightful huge crystals with dripping water, crystal creatures hide here 
52 Chamber partly flooded by thick mud, needs to be waded through to cross 
53 Huge balanced rocks require careful climbing to cross a pit into the deep
54 A large chamber with boulders and some crushed traveller remains, living boulders and piercers lurk here 
55 A vast lake of sewerage with tentacled monsters feasting on the muck
56 A subsidence in cave splits it and one level is a serious climb to reach and is difficult to see
57 Cave of clay with a clay golem that seems to be relief art guards it against intruders, the clay has magical properties used in enchantments
58 Stone giant guards a prehistoric stone circle imprisoning a demon, cultists pilgrims come to fight the giant and free the demon bound in a buried idol in the circle
59 Broken ruins of a fort used by prehumans, strange huge broken crystals used to be some power source. Earth elementals guard the ruins and some chambers have been sealed for aeons
60 A great chamber of crystals with a huge one in the centre that drains HP of any who pass, attacking it releases several wraiths to defend it
61 Glistening minerals in walls have been gnawed by some creature, 1in6 chance xorns are here eating and they might smell tasty gems on travellers
62 Scaffolding and tracks for a minecart are here, long neglected
63 Zombie miners are working a seam for someone to collect their ore
64 Scaffolding and minecart tracks here with busy goblins busy mining, willing to trade rather than fight
65 Gnomes working to cut large crystal pillars down, wary of thieves 
66 Dwarves working a seam of ore to be shipped away by pack lizards
67 Remains of a collapsed mine entrance, if opened undead ghoul miners or out starving for flesh
68 An old mine shaft with glinting silver nuggets in the dark. Old mining equipment is scattered about, Darkstalkers within wait to ambush intruders
69 Mounds of mining rubbish and rubble and visible signs of collapsed mine tunnels. Giant ants here have been collecting gold left in a nest complex
70 Partially buried gate exposed by a recent rockslide
71 Remains of a tower here with the magical residue of the former gate here, possibly secret rooms exist

72 A giant stalactite on a high ceiling is an ancient watch post mostly hidden with chambers within. d4 1=squidfolk mentalist 2=darkstalker clan 3=fish folk cult 4=demon worshiping mutants
73 A castle on a higher level fell through a sinkhole and is mostly rubble. Buried ancient treasures ay be here under rubble
74 Ruined gatehouse of underground kingdom, often occupied. d4 1=troll  2=orc bandits 3=goblinoid gang 4=goblinoids
75 A great black crypt imprisoning an ancient evil from the dawn of time, cult pilgrims come to worship it and try to open it
76 Ruined citadel reaching into a huge chamber lit by a great light in the ceiling, remains of unknown race with some mummified remains. Their writings reveal they meddled in blasphemous lore of the outer void
77 Remains of a ruined village, a failed colony that was destroyed by a disaster 
78 A ruined fortified manor house crawling with monsters that have moved in
79 Crumbling ancient bridge with statues, entrances to chambers into the interior are visible where creatures have made lairs
80 Gates to an ancient elevator shaft used to move lots of people long ago into the deep, some have remains of mechanisms like cogs and chains
81 Dozens of shrine niches many to forgotten and lost gods, some defaced and unrecognisable
82 Huge serene sitting god relief carving with ancient script carved, enigmatic god and language unknown to the current era
83 Relief carvings and text badly smashed and faces smashed of
84 Two statues of monsters facing each other with path between them 
85 Demon statue holding stone braziers with huge cursed crystal eyes, touching them summons demon guardians and wrath of the being
86 Huge gallery of cave art depicting creatures being hunted by figures, some depictions are strange and depict unfamiliar beings
87 Huge stone statue reaches up into mist-shrouded ceiling
88 Huge statues collapsed and parts of them recognisable in huge rubble heaps
89 Gigantic stone heads, mostly non human monster kings of old
90 Squat toad demon of the outer darkness statue, if disturbed a formless guardian horror oozes from a dark well before it
91 Great stone design on chamber floor once used for gates or teleporters
92 Broken stone ring structure one used as a portal long ago

93 Cave of strange crystals producing magic null zone
94 Bubbling pool of primal chaos in a pit. Strange things crawl forth from time to time. Locals try to block it every few months but things in the pit and cultists destroy these efforts 
95 Strange glowing veins of minerals pulse here emitting rays that weaken and confuse minds

96 A magical barrier here makes a target alignment or species unable to cross without a save, stone stelae maintain the barrier and some have been damaged
97 Chamber with dozens of frightened statues where some petrifying monster like a basilisk or a gorgon lived. Long petrified beings could be revived
98 An ornate door if touched glows with magical symbols. If puzzle can be solved the lock can be opened d4 1=demon 2=petty god 3=shoggoth 4=lich  
99 Black sphinx statues (or other creatures) guard a long-unused passage. The statues shoot disintegration rays at any who try to enter 
 A huge devil head whose mouth is a gate to hell, imps tempt passers to enter for free wishes

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Deep Underground - Ancient Cross Country Travel Tunnels

Ug had an idea for new contents. Inspirational reading helps.
Blogs used to do it for me. Exhausted on youtube vids

Working on the last project on my list for a product.
Possibly escaping from this will spur other interesting ideas.

This will fit in with other projects featuring underground exodus and exploration.
Dungeoneers survival guide was a favourite of mine that helped me dnd a few more years. Veins of the Earth and Downcrawl are handy books. Operation Unfathomable handy too. A version of this for ancient sub tunnels possible but on a bigger scale than what I have done before. (map)

Possibly encounter tables for various depths of the earth
1 - subsurface realms where surface and underlanders meet
2 - the underland realms where kingdoms trade and war 
3 - the deep dark depths of ancient eldritch evil and banished horror
4- borders of underworld and hells entry gates in a great cavern under the earth where the world tree has its roots gnawed on by dragons and hydra

Deep Underground - Ancient Cross Country Travel Tunnels
In ancient times the Underland and the surface world mixed more often. Subsequent apocalypses and sea rising ended this age but great underground highways remain crossing seas, mountains and even the great nations of humanity. Mostly they are forgotten but demihumans, humanoids and a few humans know the secrets. 

The humans who still know are often nomad minorities, secretive cults and rangers who mysteriously travel these secret but potentially deadly secret highways. They tend to be between ancient rivers as the builders used waterways separately. Sea levels changed and rivers moved so this is not always true. The underhighway often connected ports and great crossings. Those rare humans know certain routes but not the deeper safer ones where the underland folk trade connecting great chasm regions and strange folk. In ancient times peoples fled great calamities via these passages, some remained in the Underland, others came to the surface. Many areas are lost to monsters, not just goblins or kobolds but the worst horrors and eaters of humanity. 

Intact great underhighway of the deep link underland regions and kingdoms

Mark several of the main routes across your campaign map. It's ok to connect islands or sites of sunken cities and the most ancient ruins and places where underland races dwell. 

d12 Tunnels Dark Deep
1 Thin narrow crawlways, many natural caves following underground streams
2 Sprawling irregular tunnels once mined following veins of metal left by bleeding gods
3 Tunnels dug by ancient huge creatures possibly directed by intelligence
4 Crude megalithic tunnels with supports and tunnels through rock
5 Magnificent naturals wide cave tunnels with bridges over water and obstacles
6 Great chasm crack with water features and fungus forests, often very high ceilings
7 Bored by some great apparatus used long ago with variegated textured walls
8 Lava tubes of jagged black basalt and cooled lava formations
9 Great wide dressed brick-lined tunnels made for trade by kobolds or demihumans
10 Cyclopean black stones with symbols of chaos and darkness made in age of darkness
11 Smooth wide tunnels melted with wizardry, even and glassy
12 Dug by a god or giants, wide and high, with great stone supports in places 

d12 Condition & Usability
1 Crawling with 
forgotten horrors and evils of the elder darkness, areas sealed
2 Forgotten, badly damaged and broken into segments by blockages
3 Worn and damaged with some blockages, only used by desperate
4 Seldom used by anyone and some areas damaged or about to collapse
5 Damaged by constant warfare between intelligent species 
6 Several secretive peoples use and make repairs but leave some hazards for unwary
7 Travellers us and occasionally repair and provide warnings of hazards
8 A colony of humanoids or demihumans maintain and use for their daily business
9 Used by several underland kingdoms who maintain parts and operate checkpoints
10 Used by several civilisations who maintain it and have toll stations
11 Maintained by secretive beings for aeons
12 Maintained by ancient magics automatically

d12 Blocked Tunnels
1 Cave-in caused a partial blockage
2 Huge cave-in and a change in orientation
3 Barricaded by someone and forgotten
4 Colony of humanoids or demihumans
5 Flooded by waters
6 Poison gas, smoke or lava
7 Colony of monsters
8 Hidden under fungus forest
9 Monster filled eco system
10 Humanoid or demihuman gatehouse, fort or toll station
11 Planar gate to elemental worlds or roots of the world tree
12 Planar gate to lower planes, underworld or hell

d12 Side Passages (Per Day)
1 Surface air vent d4 1=hidden hole 2=rocky shaft 3=cave 4=well
2 Surface passage d4 1=tiny crack 2=secret door 3=hidden gate 4=dungeon
3 Cavern complex d6 1=dead 2=ruins 3=thriving ecosystem 4=colony 5=art 6=burial
4 Ancient mines d4 1=ancient mine 2=quarry 3=cursed mine 4=occupied dig
5 Ancient ruins d4 1=prehistoric city 2=megalithic site 3=ruined tower 4=ruined fort 
6 Holyground d4 1=graveyard 2=megalithic tombs 3=ruined temple 4=ruined fort 
7 Settlement d4 1=fortified house 2=tiny shack 3=village 4=outpost
8 Colony of humanoids or demihumans who control a surface gateway
Dead ends d4 1=monster lair 2=humanoid camp 3=outpost 4=bodies 
10 Junction to another highway system
11 Decent to the deeper highway network
12 Strange Cavern with some wondrous sight 

d12 Common Caverns
1 Barren but beautiful cave 1in6 chance of water, 1in6 chance of a lair
2 Lake chasm with islands 1in6 with ruins, 1in6 chance of a lair
3 Fungus gardens and forest rich in cave life
4 Ruins of ancients, an outpost or colony abandoned or destroyed by a disaster
5 Home of a loner or a group of exiles living in seclusion
6 Outpost of humanoid or demihuman kingdom
7 Colony of humanoid or demihuman kin to a local kingdom
8 Cavern is a battleground with resources that kingdoms fued over
9 Estate of some being with a servitor race and a mansion or palace or castle  
10 Area with water, fish and fungus where traders meet in peace
11 Remains of diggings d4 1=quarry 2=mine 3=ruined temple 4=forbidden crypts
12 Roll on rare caverns or prehistoric art and megaliths

d12 Rare Caverns
1 Artificial light from a great ruined citadel at the centre of the dead cavern
 Artificial light from great thriving citadel at the centre of a populated cavern
3 Giant crystals, exotic minerals and strange earth creatures
4 A fiery lake of lava, ash heaps and smoke. Lava and fire creatures dwell here
5 Lake and water feature (d4 1=island 2=waterfall 3=whirlpoor 4=sunken ruins) populated by aquatic creatures
6 Great windy cavern with flying and air creatures 
7 Ice cavern with frozen tunnel ridden glacier and creatures of cold and ice
Artificial light from cavern roof, grows strange fern forests and albino cave dinosaurs
9 Imprisoned ancient evil elder in the vault with occult warnings 
10 Artificial light on a great ruined citadel at the centre of the dead cavern
11 Great redoubt where some beings fled to preserve themselves from some apocalypse,  now a colony or asleep by some means
12 Remains of some ancient god or titanic kaiju, some attract cult pilgrims, wizard looters or treasure hunters. Petty gods or guardian spirits may protect such sites 

d12 Common Underland Folk
1 Dwarf 
2 Gnome
3 Elf
4 Halfling
5 Goblinoid - d4 1=goblins 2=hobgoblins 3=bugbears 4=
6 Orc - often made by wizards during ancient wars now free and hate wizards
7 Kobold - tiny goblinoids with many sub-breeds and types
8 Reptilian folk - d6 1=lizardfolk 2=iguanafolk 3=pteradactylfolk 4=snakefolk 5=turtlefolk 6=dinofolk
9 Animal abhumans - d4 1=batfolk 2=molefolk 3=lampreyfolk 4=fishfolk
10 Animal abhumans - d4 1=crabfolk 2=bugfolk 3=lampreyfolk 4=fishfolk
11 Mushroom folk  - d4 1=shroomlings 2=toadstool folk 3=mushroom folk 4=shroom giants
12 Giantkin - d4 1=ogres 2=trolls 3=cyclops 4=cavefolk or roll on Rare Underland Folk

d12 Rare Underland Folk
1 Giants d4 1=cave 2=stone 3=lava 4=formarian
2 Undead d4 1=skeletons 2=zombies 3=shadows 4=spectral minions 5=ghouls 6=mummies 7=wights 4=undead giants or other monsters
Earth abhumans d4 1=ironfolk 2=crystalfolk 3=rockfolk 4=clayfolk
4 Other elemental abhumans d4 1=mistfolk 2=icefolk 3=waterfolk 4=magmafolk
5 Rare Goblinoids d4 1=norkers 2=darkstalkers 3=gremlin 4=nilbogs
6 Underground feyfolk d4 1=mushroom fairy 2=cave nymph 3=cave hag 4=dark elves 
7 Evil spawn of the deep d4 1=doppelgangers 2=troglodytes 3=mongrelfolk 4=ogre magi 
8 Amphibians folk d4 1=newtfolk 2=frogfolk 3=toadfolk 4=olmfolk 
9 Elder race of the depths d4 1=amonitefolk 2=trilobitefolk 3=scorpionfolk 4=spiderfolk
10 Elder horror race d4 1= squidfolk mind mages 2=eldritch slugfolk 3=elder newts 4=catfishfolk sorcerers 
11 Rare unique race, a remnant of the past, unlikely to ever see species twice
12 Unique doomed rare race, only tribe left in the world

d12 Gates & Seals
1 Sealed by tons of rock rubble or a single huge stone block
2 Huge fort gate barred on inside weighs ton to move
3 Huge complex trapped mechanical lock
4 Huge magically sealed gate
5 Hive of some monsters blocked opening
6 Magic illusion covers the opening
7 Gate only visible under certain stars or full moon
8 Barricaded with rubble and improvised tracks
9 Bricked up long ago by isolationists
10 After a massacre gate haunted by undead
11 A dragon has moved in and charges toll to pass
12 Devils converted to a gate to hell, often devils guard now