Sunday, May 24, 2015

Dragon Generator

Weird murder-machine dragons now prowl the higher levels of Strigastadt. The generator is based on this one by E.G. Palmer.


of hd (6 - 13)



Thursday, May 21, 2015

Some Rambling

Played another game in Strigastadt on Friday that went pretty well, but a couple issues were highlighted:
1) My rules for First Aid are a bit broken
2) Treasure was... insufficient for the terrible risks involved

As a quick recap, I have First Aid working as a standard LotFP d6 skill (based off Logan Knight's Surgery rule), where failure means inflicting a point of damage and success healing equal to the number rolled, and you can only heal folks at or below 1 hp.

Thought it was pretty handy, but one of the players only sunk a single point into the skill... which, with the healer's bag, meant a 50/50 chance of helping or harming. I like the idea of being able to do damage on a failure, but as the rules stand it's not super helpful where you need it most: when characters are a point or two away from bleeding out. You shouldn't have to dump all your points into a skill before it becomes usable!

So, as a minor change: only failure rolls of 6 harm the patient... That should make it so even relatively unskilled folks have a decent enough chance of helping. I think the old way would work better for a game that's less brutal than Strigastadt, but using a standard LL dungeon stocking with LotFP means that my players don't need any extra help in killing off their characters!

The "HP goes down to negative 1/2 HD, you have a couple rounds before passing out" ended up being a bit fiddly too, and without GM fiat characters didn't have any way of taking more lasting injuries. Both these problems will be solved by using Goblin Punch's fantastic death and dismemberment table. It is elegant and works, I only wished I had discovered it earlier!

Treasure amounts took a bit to fix. My generator placed hoards according to suggested Labyrinth Lord stocking values for unguarded hoards. I figured I could extrapolate and just have those hoards appear wherever monsters lair and having it be close enough, but that ended up being VERY wrong... The average value for an unguarded hoard is something like 165 gp, whereas for a bandit hoard... average of 11,700 and an upper limit of 131,480 gp. Sweet baby Jesus! I mean, I know bandits are on the wealthy side, and lairs don't always have cash, but that's massive!

Anyhow, the generator now uses monster hoard types in generating their hoards so it's much more usable. I now know why progression seemed slow... I liked having their characters be short on cash though (I find it helps with the mindset of grubby gritty dungeon-crawling), so I'm going to reduce the monster treasure hoards to 1/2, give double XP for finding cash, and use carousing / squandering rules for getting more XP.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Spear Shattering


So I love the idea of an adventurer shattering their spear in the heat of combat and having to draw their trusty short-sword to keep the nasties at bay. Or someone snapping off an axe-head in the skull of an enemy. I like Logan Knight's notches rule a lot, but think it's a bit too fiddly for me - I really don't want to slow down combat, since quick combat is one of the great features of OSR games like LotFP. So without further ado, my simple version:

On a critical hit or critical miss, roll 1d6.
+1 if you're using a spear, -1 for great weapons. Your weapon breaks on:

Terrible 2-6
Shoddy 3-6
Poor 4-6
Well-made 5-6
Excellent 6
Masterwork double sixes on 2d6

Most stuff is well-made. Other qualities are available if sought, they are worth:

Terrible 0.3x base
Shoddy 0.5x
Poor 0.7x
Well-made 1x
Excellent 5x
Masterwork 10x

As an quick extension of the rule, you can try to attack other folks' weapons. Roll to hit, on a hit they roll weapon breakage but add your strength bonus to the roll.

This'll give folks a reason to have more than one weapon, a good chance of having to get a new spear or whatever after repeated heavy combats, and a reason to value high-quality items without needing enchantments. Plus the idea of snapping off a sword in some awful monster seems pretty awesome.

For those like me that wonder how long each will take to break on average:

Terrible 8 attacks
Shoddy 10
Poor 14
Well-made 23
Excellent 41
Masterwork 248

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Floorplan Generator

I made a little floorplan generator because I decided my quick-and-dirty handmade floorplans were subpar and couldn't find generators that worked well for a convoluted Strigastadt building. The generator works pretty well and I'm happy with it, so I decided I'd share the code if other folks want to run it: [link]
 
It's written in Python and requires pygame to run; it'll spend like five seconds creating a map for you (or 30 if you configure for "huge" maps), and then save the image to the current directory and quit. I've commented a bit in it, and you can find some explained configurable options up at the top. If you run into issues or have any questions/comments just let me know! I'm happy to help. :)


Small Map
Large Map
Huge Map

The main downside is you have to add in the doors and room numbers yourself, but I couldn't see a way around the former. Doors have a big impact on the implied usage of the space, and I don't think a random generator would do even a passably good job at placing them for a map like this. The room numbers... I left 'em off because I want to use my room generator to make a list of rooms and then assign those numbers to the floorplan according to my whims.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Equipment Packs

On the suggestion of one of my players (a much more experienced DM than I), I wrote up some pre-made equipment packs that folks can choose during character creation. When you've just died, or are new to roleplaying, picking a pre-made pack is approximately 100000% faster than assembling one yourself. In a setting where death is not uncommon, they smooth some bumps in coming back into the game. The idea originated from this post on Zenopus Archives, and I'm quite taken with it!
The packs are based on a 110 SP total, an average amount on the LotFP 3d6 SP to start roll. There's no discount to the pack and swapsies are allowed, which means they'll be chosen a little less frequently, but whatever.

 The packs are definitely not perfectly chosen, but here they are in case some other folks find LotFP equipment packs handy:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Litany of the Dead

RIP Harvald the Sorcerer: Single most useful party member with his use of floating disk, Harvald was slain by a very excessive amount of centipede venom. His body was recovered and properly cremated by his kinfolk from the East Shore.

RIP Fisto Majisto the Fighter: Fisto was slain on only his second voyage to the Grey District, overcome by centipede venom. His burial was less noble, being dumped into a vat of necromantic ooze "just in case". May the ritual to raise his scoured bones in a mockery of life never be learned.

RIP Aelfric the Specialist: The most hardened of the adventurers, Aelfric was on his sixth journey across the river when he met his fate. A trapped ladder to the third floor enveloped him in a cloud of lethal gas. His linkboys could only flee the oncoming cloud. Another ignoble burial, may the ritual to raise his scoured bones in a mockery of life never be learned.

RIP Jerry the "Halfling": His first foray across the river, Jerry egged on the party as they attempted to torch the unlucky building that had seen so many of their friends dead. As the fishfolk attracted to the blaze approached with their wicked meat-hooks and dead eyes, he held the line, slaying four. When more began issuing from the building further down the dockside, he smeared himself in the fish-blood and charged to buy his friends enough time to escape. His body remains to be recovered.

RIP Greta the Linkgirl: As the fishfolk tried to board the fleeing skiff, Greta was hooked by barbed spear and pulled overboard. Her body is unrecovered.



Survived by:
Brother Klaus the Priest, nearly recovered from his emergency tracheotomy.

Turk the "Elf", pierced by the wicked spears of the fishfolk, he narrowly survived and will be under the careful watch of healers for a time.

Blax Jax the Fighter, carried himself well in the slaughter, giving killing blows and taking nothing in return.

Tally Ho the Cleric, after the venom began to wear off was able to drag her unconscious ally Aelfric away from the hateful centipedes as they gnawed the corpses of the others. She is currently drinking after the harrowing experience.

Oliver the Cleric, happened to be on the scene of the skiff's chaotic return and was able to save the tenuous life of Turk.

Mald the Linkboy, seared the face of a fishfolk with his torch and held his berth on the skiff. He is traumatized by the loss of his sister, but may return to seek vengeance on the monsters responsible.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Play Report

(Warning: rambly post-game thoughts follow)
We sat down and ran a few adventurers through Strigastadt today using Lamentation of the Flame Princess as ruleset, and I am quite pleased to report they rather enjoyed the experience. This run through was meant to be a test of the random room generator, my city layout concept, and the overall campaign idea. I had to fill in some gaps with the generator by grabbing random traps from donjon (wonderful creation that it is), and some repetition was evident in the lower-level monster types, but I was pretty pleased with the thing.

Highlights of play:
Most of the party's cash was generated by using floating disk to transport six marble statues across the river and sell them to a local temple whose deity the statues depicted aspects of. That is one kind of treasure...

Brother Klaus was nearly slain by a poison dart trap to the neck, but a risky tracheotomy as his airways closed was able to save him long enough to get to his local temple and expert care.

The party opened a door on a lair of feverlings... The dice said they were surprised so I decided they were asleep. "In the corner you see a large nest, several deeply-breathing humanoid creatures curled up within" I say. "How many are there?" they say. I realize I totally forgot to roll the number encountered, and come up with a roll of... 31. The nest becomes a heaving mound of slumbering feverlings piled atop one another. It is now cannon that they sleep in piles. The party quietly closes the door and vows never to return to that building.

So anyway, I only had a night to prepare the adventuring areas and ended coming up with the following:
It's a little flipbook with seven pages for the seven stories of the neighborhood. I wrote down the room name (A1.1, B3.2, etc) and specified how the doors opened for each. I actually cut it short and ended up leaving the top three stories with just the walls outlined, and was only able to record the randomly generated room contents for the first building before play. This was definitely not ideal, as generating the rooms on the fly is a bit cumbersome. Plus I hadn't determined the #of creatures encountered, or their HP.
I also was convinced they'd swiftly move to unkeyed territory (upper three stories), but I was quite wrong. In maybe two hours of actual play (after char generation, eating, etc), they explored the first floor of one building, and half a floor on another.

I am glad each floor has enough interesting stuff to support slower exploration, since as I mapped I despaired at how time consuming mapping a neighborhood was. I also probably had unrealistic expectations for dungeon-delving speed due to my inexperience as a DM.

From the feedback received, the party really liked the campaign concept, but suggested I include some NPC-driven objectives to have more direction to their looting. They also suggested I not tell them the cash value of looted goods immediately, instead having them appraised back on the East bank. They suggested that'd lend more interest to items found; where a carved hickory cat figurine nudges a person to wonder about it/its source, a cat figurine (2 sp) is just instantly converted to a cash bit in the mind.

District map - neighborhood under exploration is the upper one with docks
So, plenty of things I discovered to work on for the future, but I am glad the central idea is sound enough! One thing I worry about though is that I had intended each neighborhood to be interestingly distinct, and further each borough to be quite different. It's looking like it will take a hefty chunk of prep to make a neighborhood for looting, so I'm worried at that rate, traveling between neighborhoods/boroughs will be insufficiently quick to change up the broader scenery. I like the level-of-detail thing I have going on with the boroughs -> neighborhoods -> buildings, but I think the neighborhoods bit might be too large for these purposes. I mean on the first four floors of this hood are about 325 rooms? That's... a few too many to quickly generate.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fogwatch


The Fogwatch is one of the few respected institutions of Strigastadt, keeping vigilant for signs of Yellow Misama, Deep Purple Smog, and Black Smoke. Upon detecting traces of an imminent threat, a patrolling member of the Fogwatch will fire a colored flare into the sky at their location, indicating the nature of the gas present. Regularly-placed watchtowers scan the skies for these signals, and on sighting will start working the sirens, warning the populace to get indoors or evacuate. This defense system has saved countless lives as people respond like a well-oiled machine. One of the things that makes scavenging in the Grey District so dangerous is the lack of these warnings.
Since the patrolling Fogwatch members are often at the cusp of the incoming gases, they are provided with gasmasks as proof against the initial lung- and eye-burning effects of Yellow Miasma and some Black Smokes, as well as grappling hooks in case of being caught away from accessible entrances to shelter.
Members of the Fogwatch patrol singly during the day, but on the dangerous night streets travel in pairs, with the supplementary Fogwatcher carrying crossbow and saber to ward off the lesser terrors of the night. It is not uncommon to hear of the flares being shot offensively as desperate measures.
Fogwatchers are forbidden from smoking on duty as scent is the earliest means of identifying many gaseous threats. As such, khat chewing is particularly popular among the ranks.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Strigastadt Map


After your brief reunion with extended family members in Strigastadt, you are handed a parcel they hope will serve you well in your planned scavenging forays. The handful of objects belonged to your cousin before her untimely passing. A member of the Sewer-Militia, she had carried this map with her on her last detail, and it bears the grime of repeated use. It appears to be some sort of schoolchild's exercise - a map of Strigastadt's boroughs all unlabeled. In tiny script, your home borough of Krüger has been labeled in an abortive enterprise to fill the blanks. Perhaps you can finish the job.

My intention is for the party to explore the devastated Grey District from the start of the campaign, and move to city-crawl like adventures in the East End after they've gotten a handle on the place. I've divided the city into boroughs which are composed of a double fistful of neighborhoods each, allowing several levels of abstraction as needed. Each is as-yet unnamed - I will generate them as the PCs travel, allowing us all to explore the city together.

Some notes on the setting - the Grey District has lain mostly deserted for the last hundred years since it was devastated in a great war, primarily by the use of chemical weapons (such as Black Smoke). Terrible monstrosities rose from the ruins, and plentiful undead roamed free. The weakened city heads cut their losses, demolishing the bridges to quarantine the worst of the damage. Since then the worst of the chemicals have stabilized and while things are still terribly dangerous, hardy and desperate souls have begun to scavenge in the ruins, picking over the abandoned dwellings of a century ago.

For Strigastadt I have been primarily drawing from Wermspittle (obviously), Cörpathium, Vornheim, and of course, Gormenghast. Wermspittle for the wonderful mashup of elements from the last couple centuries with fantasy, Cörpathium for its beautifully mad creativity (especially their Maleficar!), and Vornheim for the simultaneously useful and inspiring random tables. I'll mention elements I'm using from time to time when they are germane to whatever tidbit I'm posting, but know that I am gleefully lifting sections wholesale - like ransacking a liquor store and greedily guzzling the finest spirits.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Demonspawn

(Based on "The Dragon-Blooded" by Calithena in Fight On! #2 and the anime Claymore)

There are people who have within them the semi-dormant blood of ancestral demons who mixed with their line in ages past. Over time and with exposure to violence, the blood awakens and grants the bearer unholy strengths alongside surges of blood-lust, eventually transforming their body and mind into something corrupted and demonic. Society fears such folk, and fully supports the actions of an organization of demon-hunters named The Order of the Lily and the Torch, who purge such elements wherever they can be uncovered.

PCs can choose to be demonspawn in addition to their particular class and/or race. This makes them Chaotic (in the LotFP way of magic-touched, rather than a description of morality) and grants a set of abilities that grow over time. The more power the character gains and the more they are corrupted by over-reaches of that power, the easier it is for The Order of the Lily and the Torch to find them and bring them to "justice". Other characters that are unable to convince The Order of their ignorance of their companion's true nature will suffer as well, for aiding and abetting demonspawn is almost as terrible of a sin.

Essentially, a character chooses to have a secret growing edge over other characters, in exchange for starting a countdown on that character's lifespan.

How it works:
At first level the character gains a random power on the chart below. Each level thereafter, they have a 50/50 chance of either increasing a single existing power or gaining a random new one.
Each effect lasts a single turn, except for the wings, which last a solid minute. For the powers other than the wings, the use of the power is not visible to others at rank 1, but at rank 2 there is a brief fluctuation that may be noticed by those near (1/6), and will likely be noticed by the target. At rank 3 the change is obviously visible and lasts until the next turn, being noticeable by any nearby.

Rank 1 Rank 2 Rank 3
Demon's Arms +1 Damage +2 dmg & +1 to-hit +3 dmg, +2 to-hit, first-strike
Demon's Legs +1 AC +2 AC & 200% move/jump +3 AC & 300% move/jump
Demon's Flesh Heal 1 HP Heal 2 HP & Damage-resist 1 Heal 4 HP & DR2
Demon's Wings Glide 1/2 run speed Glide full, fly 1/2 run speed Glide double, fly full
Demon's Eyes Save or morale check Save or paralyzed Save or controlled

Using a power costs one demonic surge per rank of power used. Powers can be used at a lesser rank than maximum if so desired. Characters can use two demonic surges per level per day. Using over that amount is risky - for each surge over maximum used, roll 1d10 on the following chart and add your Corruption ranks:

1-4 No effect
5-7 Gain one rank of Corruption
8-9 Visible fluctuation in limb's appearance, +1 Corruption
10-12 Limb changes for several minutes, +2 Corruption, Save at +2 or berserk
13-14 Limb changes for full day, +3 Corruption, Save or berserk
15-16 Limb changes permanently, +4 Corruption, Save at -2 or berserk
17-18 Assume demonic form, permanently berserk, NPC

Berserk: save again (with bonus/penalty) or attack nearest entity you know about. Success means you're standing there frothing at the mouth and grinding your teeth at them instead. If you make three such saves in a row you can stop berserking. Or three turns without a target.
Limb Change: gain rank 1 power bonus and using that limb's power costs 1 less while limb is changed.

The Order of the Lily and the Torch:
On a given week there is a 60% chance in a city, 20% chance in town, 1% chance in village that there is an agent of the Order. They are able to sense demonic presences. Chance they detect a character each day is x/20 where x is level + ranks of corruption. They get -1 per city block the character is away. On sensing a demonic presence they will send a messenger to fetch a team of Purifiers, who will arrive in 1d2 weeks. After sending the messenger, the agent will attempt to find out the source, trailing discovered demonspawn in order to be able to lead the Purifiers to their target.
In Strigastadt, replace the above city/town/village with wealthy/middle-class/poor neighborhoods.
If hirelings see proof of a demonspawn PC, they must make a loyalty check or desert at the next opportunity, tipping off locals and attempting to notify the Order of demonic presence.

Secrecy:
I like having secrets within a group - as long as the secrets don't involve actively fucking over other characters. At the game table I intend on keeping the demonic nature of a character secret, and have chosen powers that can hopefully, at least at the first rank, be used on the sly. A wink at an appropriate moment can signify doing additional damage with an attack, for example. Hopefully the other players will be surprised when the final reveal comes, though I have my doubts as to how long this secrecy can be kept up in practice. :)

Thoughts? Suggestions? I'd love to hear 'em! I need to convince someone to play as one before they can be properly tested, so the values above may need heavy adjustment.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Bonebeetles

Hello again! My apologies for the absence, I tend to switch focus between my obsessions frequently (this time it was painting/constructing miniatures). I'm currently in the process of compiling resources that I'll use for Strigastadt, so I haven't created much in the way of original material. However, I came across an item by Jack Shear earlier today called the "bonearrow" that set my imagination on a ramble. The item is a +3 arrow that, upon slaying the target, raises the corpse as a zombie under the control of the person who fired it. Iterating upon that idea I came up with the following:


Bonebeetles - ivory colored beetles hatched by a sorcerer and fed upon a paste of bonemeal and rare minerals mixed with drops of the sorcerer's blood. When the food source is removed and the beetles exposed to a brief period of cold, they enter a desiccated hibernation state. They can remain in this state for an extended period of time and will only awaken when exposed to warm and wet conditions.

When placed into a wound of a living or recently-slain (still warm) creature the beetles will animate and infiltrate the body. A minimum of three beetles per HD of the host are required for the reanimation to be successful. If the host is still alive they receive a saving throw vs poison each turn until they either make three saves or fail one, with a bonus to the throw equal to their remaining HP. On each successful save they sustain a point of damage as the beetles chew their way to their destinations, but on a failed save they have succumbed to the workings of the beetles and become a mindless zombie under the control of the sorcerer who raised the beetles. If the sorcerer no longer exists, they are uncontrolled and will simply attack the nearest living target. If the target successfully makes their three saves the beetles will die off before they are able to accomplish their task, which after a day or so will cause a fever (-2 to all rolls) for 3d4 days as their body purges the foreign bodies.

Bonebeetles are usually employed by being sprinkled into the open wounds of captive or slain creatures, but on occasion are delivered via an arrow or crossbow bolt. A hollow pottery or glass point is charged with a small cluster and fired into the target. Such arrows do one less damage due to their construction, but the beetles more than make up for the difference. Arrows that miss are shattered, but the desiccated beetles are usually recoverable.

The time of maturation for the beetles is one month, during which time each beetle will consume 40 silver worth of rare minerals. For each two dozen beetles one HP worth of blood must be shed each day by the sorcerer. Certain rituals must also be performed at the hatching, beginning of pupation, and final maturation of the beetles, which are detailed along with the recipe for the paste within the pages of a Manual of Bonebeetle Creation.

I'd love to hear if you have any thoughts/input regarding these little creatures! I've tried to balance the fact that you can basically store a raise dead spell, making the cost on the low end of the scroll-creation range (according to the LotFP rules) but with an additional HP cost.