Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Town Crier

Here's a d20 town crier table to help the city feel more like a living entity. I'll roll on it near the beginning of a session to get an event (separate from the encounter tables I use periodically throughout the session). The list was started using this as a seed: [link].

Source: British Museum
  1. Event coming up (market day, holiday, festival, feast)
  2. Crown introducing new tax (luxury, staple, property, toll, market)
  3. Notorious criminal escapes / bounty offered (thief, murderer, assassin, arsonist, demon worshiper, sorcerer, monster)
  4. Someone did something to win renown (won prize fight, bred otherworldly roses, solved ancient riddle, saved child from burning building, etc)
  5. Superstition / tradition supposedly necessary for day (no crossing water, dress in red, fasting, etc)
  6. Public execution (thief, petty noble, murderer, arsonist, heretic, usurper, looters)
  7. Troubles in neighboring boroughs (riots, fires, famine, plague, sorcerous, monsters, warring groups)
  8. Weird event (disappearances, fiery comet, sighting of strange creature, etc, etc)
  9. New laws or abolished laws (curfew, sumptuary, Grey District, arms, other)
  10. Big crime or crime wave (burglaries, pickpocketing, murders, counterfeiting, arson)
  11. Denouncement of traitor (noble, sorcerer, librarian, political figure, knight)
  12. Aristocratic news (new noble, someone appointed to order, territory changes hands, marriage, death, birth)
  13. Discovery (portal, dungeon, library, creatures, mine, distant land)
  14. Impending disaster (flooding, cyclone, sorcerous, invasion, plague, famine)
  15. Party related news (last notable thing they did, or the fallout from a recent adventure)
  16. Death / funeral (lord, merchant, religious leader, gang leader, social leader, famous animal)
  17. Sizable signing fee offered for recruits for specific campaign (sewer militia, local lord's retinue, gang, mercenaries, library)
  18. New mercantile endeavor (seer/magical, new portal discovered, fine arms/armour, luxuries, exotic goods)
  19. Upcoming entertainment event (pit fight, concert, play, drumming competition, mazzascudo)
  20. Increased / changed group activity (gang, cult, lord, political group, animals)

Mazzascudo: [wiki] [wiki2] [images and context from tumblr]
Grey District: The ruined/haunted half of the city across the river, illegal to visit/loot, giant megadungeon for the PCs

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Chicken Market

Are you interested in chickens? Are your players interested in chickens? If not, this post holds nothing for you. If, like me, you have players that inexplicably gravitate towards farming in your sandbox games, you may find this post useful. Last session the party began setting up a rooftop chicken coop as part of their gang territory, to turn a profit and keep the gang fed. They plan on periodically expanding the flock, so I threw together some breeds to make the buying more interesting. Except I went overboard on this minor aspect of the game, as usual. :P

I used half index cards and sketched the 20 breeds for reasons.

Chickens have two stats, LAYING and MEAT. LAYING indicates how many copper a day you earn off their eggs. MEAT indicates how many silver a week they make (cash in on Sundays). It's all a bit abstracted in an odd way, but since sessions average 1-2 in-game days, I had to step up the timeline to make it worth it. I'm only making two breeds available for purchase each market day, including at least one cheaper breed (color bands are a quick price indicator for when I'm drawing from the pile).

Roll one or more d20s to generate a chicken breed. Left column is the LAYING / MEAT stats. Names are unlikely to be appropriate for what you rolled, and are intended as examples (or pick an appropriate one).



d20 L/M (price) Quirk Coloring Name
1 1/2 (2s) Longcrower Gold laced Sheffield Singer
2 2/1 (2s) Laughing crow Double laced gold Kahara Buttonbird
3 2/2 (3s) Long feathers White w/ black head Arashti Longneck
4 2/2 (3s) Tall upright tail Reddish brown, black tail Showy Helgiviker
5 1/3 (4s) Gamecock White w/ brown speckles Eirenholm Frostfoot
6 1/3 (4s) Naked neck Brown w/ white speckles Gilded Marshhold
7 1/3 (4s) Huge comb Pure black Eigenwald King
8 3/2 (6s) Big white earlobes Pure white Bantam Kranovan
9 3/2 (6s) Feathered feet Green black Silver Prince
10 4/1 (8s) Long beards Double laced silver Zvoske Snowcap
11 1/4 (8s) Hardy Barred white & black Arbury Gold
12 2/3 (6s) Good flier Barred white & brown Piestova Potbird
13 2/3 (6s) Prodigious Tail Buff Heneruck Bandit
14 3/1 (4s) Ear tufts Dark red Geneheimer
15 3/1 (4s) Dumpy (creeper) Silver laced Laughing Marsh Hen
16 3/1 (4s) Olive eggs Mahoghany Blackwood Dwarf
17 2/2 (3s) Daft Mahoghany w/ black head & tail Brasterberg Brown
18 2/2 (3s) Extra tasty Gold w/ black tail Strigastadt Attic Hen
19 2/1 (2s) White comb Black w/ white speckles Heybury Red
20 1/2 (2s) Gentle Black w/ gold tips Konebruck Creeper

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Market Specials

I love the feeling of bustling markets filled with strange goods, but players buying from equipment lists without the need for DM adjudication is so utilitarian as to have wholly supplanted any market-related roleplaying in my game. Telecanter made some cool shopping rules which I'll try out, but just for special commissions, since speed is a huge concern for me. Interactions that don't require DM adjudication are lamentably few and far between as it is. As a sort of compromise I've started utilizing "market specials" - the first time in a session the PCs say they're going through the marketplace (a central location in their borough as you might imagine), I tell 'em what freshly unloaded good is causing a buzz. Last session there was a foreigner with five "miniature bears" he was selling as exotic pets. One PC immediately bought one of the adorable critters and proudly walked it around town (leading to an invitation to meet an ennui-burdened noble, but that's another story), so I'd say it's worked out so far.


The left column is the general type. The right column is the specific good, which will be crossed out and replaced when it's rolled.



Good type Specific good
1 Exotic pet Teacup bears
2 Fine / exotic mount Riding lizards
3 Exotic arms Meteor hammers
4 Exotic armor Beetle carapace cuirasses
5 Elegant clothing Peacock feather cloaks
6 Foodstuff Candied emerald serpent
7 Charms / amulets Nightmare-banishing amulets
8 Fine tobacco, wine, etc Spiced cigars
9 Exotic drugs Opal honey – hallucinate, see spirits
10 Unearthed treasures Dusk oil – evaporates into black mist

Then roll twice on the drawback / benefit table. Pick the closest entry if the roll is contradictory. This section may need to be tweaked or just dropped.


Drawback Benefit
1 Expensive High quality
2 Cursed / haunted Extra cool
3 Low quality None
4 Reserved Extra useful
5 Requires permit Two-for-one
6 Stolen Provides clue / info
7 Unfashionable Cheap
8 Waiting time In fashion
9 Cult markings Magical / blessed
10 Fake Other side benefit

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Three Wands


Mechanics are with Gutters, Guilds, and Grimoires in mind, but again should be easy enough to convert to your system of choice. Apologies for the poor image quality, the phone camera just didn't cut it on these.



Gray Vengeance
Projects colorless flame in a beam 80' long, dex save at disadvantage to avoid.
Does dX+1 damage. If you roll max damage, the wand is partially depleted and goes down the die chain on future uses. (d8 -> d6 -> d4 -> depleted)
Most wands start on d6. Minor wands of Gray Vengeance start on d4, Greater wands on d8.
If 5+ damage is dealt with the wand, a mind point is temporarily drained from the victim. Burns inflicted with the wand are crumbly and colorless.

Constructed from tempered dim glass with a core of witch ash taken from the death-pyre of Waruda the Traitor by sympathetic agents. Waruda was denounced by several rival Strigastadt nobles who claimed she was scheming to take the life of the Queen. She was stripped of her titles and burned at the stake for treason. The Order of the Silver Pyre have been seen armed with these wands on their raids.

Statistical note on expected charges:
starting with d4: 25% <= 2 uses, 50% <= 3, 75% <= 6
starting with d6: 25% <= 5 uses, 50% <= 8, 75% <= 13
starting with d8: 25% <= 10 uses, 50% <= 16, 75% <= 23



Task
A porcelain wand with simple cobalt flowers painted upon it. Heavy and cool in your hand. Wakens the spirit of an object, animating it and allowing the holder of the wand to command it to perform simple tasks. The objects are best able to accomplish things they know how to do - brooms sweep, spoons stir, brushes scrub. Can keep up to six objects animated at a time, each less than 20 pounds, for up to an hour each. Each time the wand is used, roll a d12. On a 12 the wand is depleted but the object's spirit is awakened for a year and a day.



Bloom
A supple branch with delicate pink flowers. Causes plants to bloom. Works even on wooden objects, which will form a layer of bark before sprouting flowering twigs of its species moments later. There is a creaking rustling noise as the twigs push outwards. Range 20', affects all plants or wood within 5' of the target point. Each time used, roll a d12. On a 12 the wand is depleted but the target plants will blossom for a year and a day. Fertilized flowers will still fruit, but immediately regrow once the fruit drops. Multiple uses on the same plant may have deleterious effects.

There were nine wands originally but I decided I wanted to practice drawing with them, so it'll take me a bit longer to finish and post 'em.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Six Spells

The names for these were taken from the spell name generator I posted a while back - the goal of which was to get spells that sounded suitably metal. :) 

Stats are written for my house-rules game (Gutters, Guilds, and Grimoires), but should be easily convertible for whatever old-school system you use.
Crown of Fingers - Sorcerer Rank 2, Source: ???.
Make a crown of exactly eleven human fingers before chanting the spell. The wearer of the crown can dominate corporeal undead (non-mindless undead get a save). Each time the wearer establishes control over a new undead creature an index finger shrivels and scorches. When no more index fingers are left, the crown ceases to function. Control over undead lasts for 1d8 turns (DM rolls in secret). In addition, the wearer of the crown is able to interact with non-corporeal undead. This means you can hit them, but they can hit you more easily too and gain advantage when attacking you.

Summon the Volcanic Tar - Sorcerer Rank 1, Source: Kad-Athoth.
Calls forth an eruption of smoking stinking tar in a 10' radius area. Creatures caught in the blast take 1d4 damage, and those in the area take 1d4 each round. Requires a strength check to pull free of the sticky tar. Lasts 1d6+1 rounds.

Dream Jackal - Sorcerer Rank 2, Source: Rhothastep.
Summons a Dream Jackal, an ethereal creature that scavenges on the dreams of unsuspecting victims, tearing off scraps of the restful substance before moving on. Just before dawn it returns, sharing half the spoils with the summoner and leaving the victims feeling drained and with vague memories of ripping teeth and baleful eyes. On a successful luck check the summoner gleans a bit of useful information from one of the dreams. They also gain the benefits of having rested extra time, depending on the location of the casting:
                 Villages: 1d4 days worth of rest
                 Towns: 1d6+1
                 Cities: 2d6
For students of sorcery, there may be a possibility of recognizing a Dream Jackal gnawing on your dreams, and following it back to its source when it is satiated. For this or other reasons, Dream Jackals indulge with the rarefied dreams of sorcerers less frequently than they might desire.

Blade Gate - Sorcerer Rank 2, Source: Yahil.
The caster designates a door, gate, archway, etc. Through this area blades cannot pass. When someone attempts to bring one through, the blade is ripped from their grasp by unseen forces and added to the gate's frame. If someone passes through without gifting a blade to the gate, all the accumulated blades attack until they get at least ten feet away. The caster is ignored by the gate. Lasts 1d6+1 turns or until 13 blades are accumulated. Can double those numbers by casting as a rank 3 sorcery.
An aside - the Rotting Void is linked in odd ways to the lower levels of hell, bottomless pits all over the world, and much stranger places. It is a zero gravity lightless void, yet retains enough air to breathe. It is dominated by wrecks of corpses populated by grubs, flies, and other scavengers of rot which migrate as new food becomes available. The scattered entrances to the Rotting Void provide the new food at high velocities. Enormous corpses of unrecognizable creatures are the hubs of the Rotting Void, providing enough sustenance for years of feasting.

The Beam of the Rotting Void - Sorcerer Rank 1, Source: The Rotting Void.
Harnesses the energies of the Rotting Void, accelerating decay in a target caught in the beam. To organic creatures this does 1d6 damage, and the target must save or the wound becomes septic. Inanimate organic objects become weakened by rot.

Teeming Bolt - Sorcerer Rank 2, Source: The Rotting Void.
A chunk of bone with scraps of rotting matter is hurled at the target. The insects which gnawed the corpse down to this stub cover it in a writhing blanket. On impact it does 1d6 damage, and the ravenous insects deal an additional 1d4 each round until removed by fire or some other method. If rotten flesh is nearby they will prefer it.

Friday, June 9, 2017

d20 Figurines

So I got a bit burnt out and put the Strigastadt campaign on hiatus. It had a good run of 10 months this time around before I got worn out. I reckon when we return I'll pick up with the Forgotten Shore hexcrawl, several years after the last events. At the moment my friend Alex is picking up the slack and running a super rad game where we play WWII GIs who've voyaged into the hollow earth to blow up secret Nazi bases. We're doing a hexcrawl and repeatedly getting fucked up by dinosaurs and shit, it's hella fun.

With the stress of running a game every week gone, and the inspiration of playing in other folk's games I'm already feeling a lot more excited about writing up game stuff. It's been good. North Texas RPG Con was especially motivating, I played in a lot of really awesome games and had a ton of fun. I also ran Index Card D&D on a Friday night and it went great, folks really seemed to enjoy it. I might write up a brief post on that later.


Anyway, here's d20 figurines! Roll 3d20 and mix up the columns, or 1d20 and read across. I might add a random downsides column at some point but I'm too sleepy to think up any right now.




-->
d20 Material Form Function
1 Porcelain Tiger Animates as a full-sized creature under owner's command for 1 hour, once per week
2 Red & Black Earthenware Demon Once a day, feed the figurine 1 HP of your blood to gain one temporary luck
3 Labradorite Skeleton When a hit would reduce you to zero HP, reduce the damage by 2 and the figurine shatters
4 Opalite Owl Once a day, can see through the figurine's eyes for 1 hour
5 Jasper Raven If you're the target of a spell, make a luck check. On success, nullify spell and this shatters
6 Coral Raccoon Doubles growth rate of plants within 10' if given blood once a week
7 Malachite Bear Once a day, can become searingly hot for up to an hour
8 Tiger Eye Heron Radiates coolness 5', your saves against fire/heat based attacks are at advantage
9 Turquoise Fox Once a day, can become 200 lbs for up to an hour, while retaining same size
10 Ivory Wolf Eyes glow when within 40' of undead
11 Mahogany Hound Once a day, eyes glow and gaze causes paralyzing fear against one target
12 Ebony Serpent Once a month, can transfer all poison from within a target to a hollow in figurine
13 Peach Pit Feverling Eases aches and pains. +1HP / night healing
14 Forest Glass Shark Once a day, for 5 minutes will vibrate every time it hears a lie
15 Blue Glass Cat Once a day, can cause all gases within 5' to condense. They stay that way for 5 min
16 Ruby Glass Griffin Animates as above, but shadowy and can only attack ethereal creatures. Also can possess mindless undead.
17 Brass Horse Once a day, trap incorporeal creature (they get a save). Only one can be trapped at a time.
18 Blackened Steel Frog Animates as above, but only 6” tall.
19 Silver Goat Once a day, nothing within 5' can cause noise for 5 minutes
20 Doll Gorilla Can store a rank 1 spell

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Index Card D&D

I return! Here's my ruleset for Index Card D&D - a collaborative GM-less super simplified dungeon crawl game. Basically, everyone spends like 15 minutes creating a class, monster, treasure, room, and trap, and then we play a simplified D&D with the results. It's silly fun and always unbalanced, and you accumulate more cards the more you play. We've super been enjoying it, so I figured I'd share the current iteration of the rules. It's especially fun with a beer in hand!

[link to pdf]

If you play this, I'd love to hear about it! Feedback welcome, especially if the directions are unclear. I'm thiiiinking of running this Friday or Saturday night at North Texas RPG Con, since there's a dearth of games in those slots (and it was fun trying it last year), so hit me up if that's something you'd be interested in. :)