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Saturday, January 18, 2020

Help A Friend Out

Hey y'all, one of my buddies is in a bit of a tight spot.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/van-down-by-the-river-fund?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link-tip&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet

If any of you have some money to spare, please try to donate some if you can. Thank you very much!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

An Incomplete Dungeon

So a while back I decided to give solo dungeoneering a go, and also attempted to make a megadungeon by delving through it and generating the dungeon as I went. This eventually petered out, but I still got a good 21 decently developed rooms out of it. I'm planning on attempting to make a dungeon using this method again, but perhaps setting my sights a little lower, perhaps a 1-2 level dungeon instead. Regardless, I hope you enjoy this first, incomplete level of...

The Tomb of Unrelenting Hatred

Background
Originally built over 2000 years ago by the pre-Imperial kingdom of Moskaj, this subterranean complex was built to house the corpses of the kingdom’s warriors who were slain in battle. 1500 years ago, Moskaj warred with the nearby kingdom of Segik, a country ruled by the necromancer Sigbind Gnarlwood. Segik was conquered, its undead armies destroyed, and the peasants who toiled under Gnarwood’s reign were free. However, with his last breath, Sigbind cursed Moskaj, saying that their dead would never rest, and that they are doomed to suffer eternally after death. After this proclamation, the countless dead of Moskaj rose as vile abominations to slaughter and maim. The survivors of the initial massacre pushed back the creatures into the tomb, where they still wander to this very day. Any who die in this unholy place cannot rest, for Sigbind’s curse still lingers in these ruins, turning the dead into monsters.

Roll
Floor 1 Monsters
Floor 2 Monsters
Floor 3 Monsters
Floor 4 Monsters
1
1d6 animated skeletons






2
1d3 zombies






3
1 ghoul






4
1d3 bloater zombies






5
1d3 ecorche zombies






6
2d6 giant rats









Floor 1 Key
1. Special with 100 coins
  • A stone sarcophagus against the western wall, with a jewel embedded in it worth 100 coins
  • Inside the sarcophagus is a perfectly preserved corpse of an old woman, but it will rot rapidly into nothingness if taken out
2. Empty with 600 coins
  • A small chamber, mostly filled with clay pots and urns
  • Small chest in corner containing 600 ancient coins, each stamped with a skull symbol
3. Combat with 400 coins
  • A ravenous ghoul (HD 2, HP 12, AC light (12), ATK 2 claws, DMG 1d6+save or 1d6 rounds paralysis) wearing a golden deer-like mask worth 400 coins, crouching among moldering bones
4. Combat
  • A zombie (HD 2, HP 4, AC unarmored (10), ATK 1, DMG 1d6) and 2 skeletons (HD 1, HP 4,1, AC light (12), ATK 1 sword, DMG 1d6) lie on the ground, disguised as long-dead corpses, but will attack when anyone gets close enough
5. Combat
  • A horde of 8 giant rats (HD ½, HP 1x3,2x4,3x1, AC unarmored (10), ATK 1 bite, DMG 1d6-1) and many non-combatant normal rats, lurking among piles of bones.
6. Combat
  • A single regenerator zombie (HD 2, HP 8, AC light (12), ATK 1 punch, DMG 1d6) stands in the center of the room, staring blankly. The room is dusty and unused, and it seems like this creature has been standing her for a long time.
  • Regenerators regain 1d3 HP each round, even if reduced to 0 HP. Each time the Regenerator regains HP, roll a d6 and apply the mutation from the table below:
    1-2. New Limb: Gains an additional attack that deals 1d6 damage. 3. Carapace: The Regenerator's AC goes up by one category (light -> light with shield, light with shield -> medium, etc.) 4. Cancerous Mass: The Regenerator's maximum HP is increased by 1d6. 5-6. Poisonous Gas: Anyone near the Regenerator as it regenerates this round must make a saving throw or take 1d6 damage.
  • Regenerators can only be killed/damaged without regenerating by burning them or dissolving them in acid.
7. NPC with 200 coins worth of treasure
  • An old man who calls himself Graham Pillghast crouches in the corner, surrounded by shredded canvases and splattered paint. On the far wall is a beautiful yet terrible painting of dancing corpses, worth 200 coins if taken to the right market.
  • He is desperate for friendship, being so alone in this horrific dungeon. Unknown to him, he is actually dead, his spirit bound to the dungeon, and that is why the undead don’t hurt him. His bones lay under a pile of refuse and rags beneath the painting.
8. Special with magic item as treasure
  • Room is full of a glowing green light, emanating from a one eyed skull on a pedestal in the center of the room. The one eyed skull is a Lantern of Ghost Seeing, and will reveal any spirits within its light.
  • If Graham Pillghast from Room 7 enters the room, he will turn translucent and glow green, revealing he is a ghost (albeit a weak one). When this happens, he will fly into a horrified rage and attack the party. His stats are (HD 2, HP 12, AC light+shield (13), ATK 2 ghostly claws, DMG 1d6+1). Pillghast cannot be harmed by ordinary means, and is only affected by enchanted weapons, holy water, and spells.
9. Empty
  • Room is bare save for the rotten pieces of an old coffin lying in the corner, empty.
10. Empty with 300 coins worth of treasure
  • Empty grave niches in walls.
  • A corpse with its skull smashed in lays on the floor, it has a gold necklace worth 300 coins around its neck.
11. Trap
  • Room mostly empty, save for a rug with imagery of skulls and bones and an empty coffin.
  • Pit trap covered by rug, anyone who steps on the rug falls and takes 1d6 damage. A saving throw can be made to avoid falling down.
12. Empty
  • Shattered remains of old urns, ashes scattered about the room.
13. Special with 200 coins worth of treasure
  • Strange archway in center of room. Anyone who walks through it must make a saving throw or briefly become possessed by the ghost of an ancient warrior. While possessed, the character will be unable to speak the common tongue, act incredibly confused and frightened, and may attack if provoked.
  • A small chest in the corner contains 150 coins and a jeweled brooch worth 50 coins.
14. Combat encounter
  • 4 skeletons, 2 are armed with bows, the other 2 are armed with spears. (HD 1, HP 2x1, 4x3, AC light (12), ATK 1 spear or bow, DMG 1d6+1)
  • There is a coffin that has been overturned and will be used as cover by the skeletal archers.
15. Combat with 1000 coins worth of treasure
  • A toddler-sized golden statue with emeralds for eyes, worth 1000 coins, rests on a pedestal on far wall. It depicts a woman in battle armor wielding a greatsword.
  • 4 ecorche zombies prostrate themselves before the statue, but will get up and attempt to rip to shreds anyone who enters the room. (HD 1, HP 2x1, 3x3, AC unarmored (10), ATK 2 claws, DMG 1d6-1 each, they can move twice as far each round as normal humans can)
16. Combat with 1000 coins worth of treasure
  • 3 bloated zombies (HD 1, HP 4, 3, 6, AC light+shield (13), ATK 1 punch, DMG 1d6) standing in a puddle of fetid water
  • Anyone near the zombie when it dies must make a saving throw or take 2d6 damage from its explosive acidic innards
  • There is a sack nearby, filled with 1000 coins
17. Combat with 300 coins
  • 2 animated skeletons with plate armor and greatswords (HD 1, HP 4,5, AC heavy (16), ATK 1 greatsword, DMG 1d6+2)
  • Some chairs and a lectern, a golden holy symbol worth 300 coins sits on the lectern
18. Trap with magic item as treasure
  • At the end of the room is an altar, atop which sits a Vampire Knife
  • There is a pressure plate in front of the altar, if stepped on a trapdoor opens, leading to a pit with envenomed spikes on the bottom requiring a saving throw to avoid, dealing 1d6 damage. Survivors of this fall must make an additional saving throw to resist the poison on the spikes to avoid taking 3d6 more damage
  • The Vampire Knife is a wickedly curved knife (light melee weapon, 1d6-1 damage) was made from the bones of an elder vampire. Once per day, anyone who deals damage with this knife may choose to regain HP equal to the damage they dealt.
19. Empty
  • The walls are covered with strange graffiti that appears to have been drawn in blood, along with scratch marks
20. Empty
  • A human skeleton with a bashed in skull lies against the wall, clutching a sword in one hand and a shield in the other
21. Trap with 100 coins
  • The room is filled with poisonous gas emitted by fungi, visible as greenish fog
  • Anyone who enters the room must make a saving throw each round while in the room or fall unconscious for 1d6 hours
  • The corpses of several giant rats who succumbed to the sleep litter the floor
  • There is an amulet worth 100 coins lying on the floor
22. Empty
23. NPC with magic item as treasure
24. Empty
25. NPC with 1000 coins of treasure
26. Empty
27. NPC
28. Combat
29. Empty with 1000 coins
30. Combat with 1000 coins

Saturday, December 7, 2019

30 Minute Dungeon Guide: Room Prompts

Hey so you know how I made the 30 Minute Dungeon thing that blew up for a while? Well I've been working a little on refining it.

For those of you who may be new to the blog, the 30 Minute Dungeon method is something I came up with where you set a timer for 30 minutes and make a 10 room dungeon, using the following checklist for what must be included:

3 Empty Rooms
3 Combat Encounters
2 Traps
1 NPC
1 Special/Weird Thing

It took off and I compiled a collection of the dungeons I made, selling them in a pdf which got a justifiably mixed review by Skerples of Coins and Scrolls fame.

A big problem I had with the formula is I kept being repetitive with how I designed the dungeons and how I would sometimes waste time getting stuck not knowing what to do for rooms. So I decided to come up with some prompts that help me come up with ideas for rooms without being too specific, ultimately coming up with 6 prompts for each room type, therefore allowing me to roll a d6 to randomly determine the prompt.

Empty Room

1. Something that points the characters to an NPC
2. Something that tells the characters about the dungeon's history
3. Something that alerts the characters to a combat encounter
4. Something that alerts the characters to a special room
5. Something that alerts the characters to a trap
6. Something useful to the characters

Image result for dungeon
(From Dark Souls 3)

Special Room

1. Something that changes the characters who interact with it
2. Something physically impossible
3. Something that provides a boon for a sacrifice
4. Something that can result in great reward or terrible disaster
5. Something that seems ordinary but isn't
6. Something weird to witness/experience

Image result for the ring well
(The well in The Ring)

Non-Player Character

1. An ally
2. A villain
3. A victim
4. A rival explorer
5. A quest-giver
6. A weirdo

Image result for weird medieval art

Combat Encounter

1. A horde of weak opponents
2. One tough opponent
3. A weak opponent and their guards
4. A pair of tough opponents
5. A tough opponent and their underlings
6. A group of competent opponents, worthy adversaries to the characters

Image result for dont be afraid of the dark
(From Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark)

Trap

1. Something that will inconvenience the characters
2. Something that will kill the characters
3. Something that will incapacitate the characters
4. Something that will trap the characters
5. Something that will alert/summon enemies
6. Something that will separate the characters

Image result for D&D trap
(I think this is from 4e, and Jesus Christ it looks complicated)

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Miracle Workers


Hey, sorry for not posting in so long, things have been busy with college and work. Anyway, I have been working on revising JABOM (my house rules), ad came up with this potential new version of the priest/cleric class. It isn't playtested, but I thought I'd let y'all know how its turning out. Also featuring bad MSpaint art, because why not!!

Miracle Worker
You are a holy person, following strict rules of your faith to the letter. Through this piety and reverence of the divine, you are able to create miracles.
Level
HP
Attack Bonus
Special Abilities
1
6+CON mod
+0
Piety, Miracles
2
Add 1d6+CON mod
+1
+1 Magic Point, New Spell
3
Add 1d6+CON mod
+1
+1 Magic Point, New Spell
4
Add 1d6+CON mod
+2
+1 Magic Point, New Spell
5
Add 1d6+CON mod
+2
+1 Magic Point, New Spell

Piety

Write down 3 religious laws that your Miracle Worker must follow. This could include not eating certain foods, not wearing armor, not killing except in self defense, etc. Negotiate with the GM what these rules are, as they should be something that is legitimately somewhat challenging to maintain. If you ever break one of these laws, you immediately lose all of your special abilities. The GM should decide an appropriate way to regain your abilities. You also must choose 3 enemies of your religion (negotiate with your GM to make sure these categories are not too broad). When facing off against enemies of your faith, you gain a +1d6 bonus to attack, damage, and saving throw rolls, as well as a +2 bonus to your AC.

Miracles

At first level you know two spells, chosen from the Spells section, and have 1 Magic Point per day with which to cast them. Casting a spell expends Magic Points, which is restored to full at the beginning of each new day. For each level you obtain, you gain another Magic Point and learn a new spell, chosen from the Spells section.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

A Blogging Challenge: MSpaint Monster Manual


I'm not an artist, at least not a visual one, though I often wish I was. I enjoy doodling in MSpaint a lot, it helps pass the time and makes me happy, but nothing I make in there is really truly "art".

So the other day I thought, "Screw it, just doodle 5 monsters from the AD&D monster manual in MSpaint and put it on your blog. It isn't an art gallery, its a place for me to express myself and goof off", and so I did.

And I realized that I bet a lot of the rest of the blogosphere is similar, not having too much art experience and wanting to create something, but not really feeling competent in their abilities and expressing themselves. So here's a blogging challenge or whatever; crack open a monster manual or bestiary and just doodle a couple of the monsters there in MSpaint. This is just for funsies, you can spend as little or as much time as you want, go hogwild!

To kick things off, here are 5 of my MSpaint monsters!

I might do more of this, I might not. And who knows if this will actually take off or not, this could be the first and last MSpaint Monster Manual post. In any event, enjoy the garbage below!







Friday, October 25, 2019

The Volkov Institute

The History of the Institute

The Volkov Institute is a top secret international organization founded in the early 20th century to investigate, contain, and eliminate supernatural phenomena. It is named after the little known scientist, Dr. Ivan Volkov, a Russian immigrant to England, who first conclusively proved the existence of other planes of existence in 1887, through a device later called the Volkov Resonator. The first test run went fine, with Volkov and his machine disappearing and reappearing a few minutes later with a violet glow. Volkov claimed to have been in a supernaturally beautiful meadow, full of flowers with "alien colors" and wonderful scents. A few months later, Volkov presented his invention to the Royal Society, and had prepared a demonstration. He did not survive.


(From 1986's From Beyond)

Dr. Volkov, upon describing what his invention did, was met with disbelief and mockery. He had anticipated this, and so asked for a volunteer from the audience to join him on a journey to another plane. An elderly professor, one Alfred Wimberly, raised his hand, and so Dr. Volkov and Dr. Wimberly touched the machine as it was activated, disappearing in a blaze of strange violet light. The machine didn't reappear for 31 years. In 1918, nearly 20 miles away from the original demonstration, Volkov, Wimberly, and the Resonator reappeared in the middle of a poor family's home. Wimberly rematerialized halfway through a wall, and died after a few seconds. Volkov survived the reappearance, but was horribly traumatized by his experience, often repeating phrases such as "It is creeping in the colors and lurking in the light" and "Its eyes are empty its bones are brittle and yet it sees and leaps across the thistles". He died 48 hours after he rematerialized, and an autopsy showed that the cause of death was spontaneous total organ failure, though no medical explanation for this failure would ever be attained.

After World War 1, a secret meeting of the league of nations occurred, with representatives from various nations discussing numerous anomalous events and mysteries which plagued their country, including the mysterious case of Dr. Ivan Volkov. Deciding it would be best if there was international cooperation towards the investigation and containment of such things, the council founded the Volkov Institute a year later in 1919.

Fast forward to today...

You are agents of the Volkov Institute. According to the rest of the world, you are dead, your deaths faked by your respective governments and all traces of your existence wiped clean. In some circumstances, you may have even undergone cosmetic surgery to completely erase your former identity. You have sworn to defend humanity from the things that go bump in the night, the things which crawl just outside the thin walls of our reality.

You are nobody. You are the only thing standing between our world and extinction.

The Planes of Existence

What Dr. Volkov discovered in the 1880s was that all matter in the universe seemed to emit an odd sort of signal, detectable through complex instruments. Strangely, all matter emitted this signal at the same frequency, which seemed unusual to the doctor given the extreme variation of such materials. Volkov wondered what would happen if this frequency was raised or lowered, and began experimenting to create a device that would do just that. When he first tested what would someday be known as a Volkov Resonator, he was disappointed, as block of lead he used simply seemed to vanish into thin air, along with the machine. He presumed that it had simply been disintegrated, but only a few seconds later, the machine and the lead returned. It was soon apparent to Volkov that the matter was not destroyed, but moved to a state where he could no longer observe it.

All matter on a plane exists on a specific frequency. Matter of a one frequency cannot interact with matter on another, allowing multiple worlds to coexist with one another, overlapping but never touching. However, it is possible to change frequencies, to travel across worlds, and this sometimes even occurs naturally through strange storms which cause natural frequencies to change. Through these odd events, beings from Outside can come to our Earth. Most are confused, some are angry, but most are simply hungry.


(From The Void)

Beings from other worlds that have been transported to our own begin to emit the same frequency of our own native matter, but there are faint irregularities in the signal that can be detected through a device known as a Baumann Reality Irregularity Detector, though most field agents simply call them Ghostfinders.

What The Institute Does

The Volkov Institute receives funding from almost every major country, and has access to a large pool of field operatives who, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, are either dead or never existed. There operatives are assigned into squads of about 4-6 members, and these squads are given assignments based on their capability and experience.

There are three main kinds of assignments: Investigation, Containment, and Extermination.

Investigation Assignments
In situations like this, the higher ups at the Institute don't know what is going on, and need data and information. These tend to be the most common form of assignments, and include things such as exploring a supposedly haunted location, attempting to discover the cause of a mysterious death, or responding to reports of a monster sighting.

Containment Assignments
Sometimes, an anomaly is too hard to permanently remove, or too useful to simply get rid of, and so containment is the only logical solution. In assignments like this, the agents are sent to contain the anomalous activity. This would include things like acquiring and locking up a cursed doll, capturing a monster, or making sure that an otherworldly location is blocked off.

Extermination Assignments
If a situation is free from potential civilian casualties, and the need to be discreet is no longer necessary, the Institute sends in extermination teams. Heavily armed, these units are sent in to destroy whatever anomaly they encounter.

Standard Equipment For Field Agents

Field agents are typically equipped with the following items.
  • A sidearm, typically a semi-automatic pistol of some kind
  • False identification
  • An implanted disintegration device, set to go off automatically if the agent ever dies, or if it is attempted to be removed
  • A Baumann Reality Irregularity Detector
In addition, agents are typically given a decent amount of cash, and some form of transportation.

Mission Seeds

  • Dead bodies have been found in an American State Park, drained entirely of blood with strange bite marks. The agents are sent in, disguised as Park Rangers, to investigate.
  • A grocery store has been consistently having more people leave it than enter it, and nobody seems to have noticed. These people have been found to be involved in numerous violent crimes, and have no record of ever existing. The agents are sent in, disguised as FBI agents.
  • Astronomers at an observatory have discovered a new planet, evidently within our solar system, but it cannot be detected anywhere else. Strange things have been occurring at the observatory, and the agents are sent in to investigate, disguised as government officials from NASA.
  • Children have been going missing in a large city, only to be found dead days later, apparently due to old age. The agents are sent to investigate as members of the CDC, to pretend that the incidents are simply an unusual form of progeria, and to find out the true cause.
  • A small town has been experiencing a large number of UFO sightings. The agents are sent in, disguised as members of the US air force.
  • There have been 7 cases of spontaneous human combustion in the last week, the agents are sent in, disguised as detectives claiming that the events are due to a murderer, to discover the truth and put a stop to it.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Word Vomit: Dungeon City

Hi I haven't posted in well over a month, anyway here is a city that is perfect for casual dungeon crawl games. This is part of a series of posts called Word Vomit, where I basically throw something together and only lightly edit it, to try and combat my writer's block.


Dungeon City


This place doesn't seem so much like it was built as it was grown, with chaotic and twisted spires extending up high into the sky, held up by makeshift supports and bridges connecting various buildings.  Those who are rich live in the upper levels of the city, high above the ground, above the filth and squalor below. The city makes its income thanks to the Ultradungeon, a huge network of millions of tunnels and rooms that extends for miles underneath the city. Strangely, it seems to constantly shifting and evolving, growing just as the city seems to have, and within its depths are countless treasures, both monetary and enchanted. Through this, the city stays afloat, and many cargo ships leave its port laden with gold, jewels, and various magical items. In return, the rest of the world supplies Dungeon City with food and other necessities. 

(via oldbookillustrations.com)

Adventuring is a way of life for the citizens of dungeon city, and almost everyone in the city works towards this profession in some fashion or another. Smiths to manufacture the armor and weapons, apothecaries to make salves and potions to heal the wounds of the adventurers, accountants to keep track of the profits, and morticians to take care of the corpses of the fallen. And at the top of the hierarchy are the bosses, former adventurers who, through their efforts, became rich, and now fund expeditions done by contractors. These bosses will claim to have worked hard to reach their current status, but in truth, most of them simply betrayed their party and got away with the riches, or were just the lucky ones who survived the Ultradungeon.

Generally, contracted dungeoneers are paid a small portion of the treasure they acquire, and are supplied with equipment by their employer. Parties are also accompanied by an agent of the boss that hired them, who is equipped with some form of magical communication, in order to alert the boss of any developments. Contracted dungeoneers are also magically shackled, so their employer can track them. These shackles are removed after the expedition is completed.

Bosses are infamously eccentric, with many adopting titles like “sharp tooth mike”, “pegleg pete” “Captain goldblood”, or “the stabinator”. Bosses vary in terms of whether or not they give adventurers an “allowance” for equipment, how much that allowance may be, if they supply the party with gear, who/what their agents are, what percentage of the money the party gets to keep, etc.

Culturally Dungeon City doesn't really care much about if you're different or not, as long as you are willing to brave the Ultradungeon or otherwise contribute to its exploitation. Inhabitants of Dungeon City range wildly in terms of species, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, and political views. Dungeon City is fairly lawless, with no formal government, everything is essentially run by the various businesses built around the Ultradungeon. As a result, corruption is extremely common, organized crime runs rampant, and ethics are a joke. There have been many attempted revolutions and takeovers by multiple different political groups, but none of them have ever really stuck. At any given time, 2 or 3 people will be claiming to rule Dungeon City.

The monsters of the Ultradungeon are similarly varied, and many seem to have just been born from the very walls. Many intelligent monsters seem to worship the Ultradungeon as a sort of living god, and some citizens of dungeon city join cults that believe the same.