Friday, March 31, 2017

Bellguard Hex Crawl Session 2

This session's characters were:

Ricky: A foolhardy thief with a large sword and no common sense
Sir Timothy Smithony XVIII: A disgraced former general turned adventurer
Cade: A halfling cleric and traveling preacher
Reuben: A perceptive tiefling (cambion) fighter

The session begins when Ricky and Sir Timothy assaulted in the streets of Bellguard by the mafia, who noticed Ricky's new pistol and believed that he had taken it from one of the mafia's members. After killing one of the gangsters, the mafia leaves, swearing to "tell the boss about this".

After this incident, Ricky and Timothy talk with Cade and Reuben and join forces to adventure in the Faerie Forest. They encounter a strange cat-like creature with blades from its shoulders, which is driven away after Ricky fires his gun, scaring it off. The party then encounters a group of elves fighting some hobgoblins. The party assists the elves, who in gratitude take them to their city, called Fayshade. Along the way, Cade acquires some holy water from a magical well.

Once in Fayshade, it becomes clear that it is a police state. Elves in green uniforms called Leaf Blades oversee the city and prevent crime. It is revealed that the recently appointed High Inquisitor Alinar is running Fayshade through the Leaf Blades and is the cause of the Elf-Goblinoid war that is going on. Cade talks to a cartographer named. Though she is resistant to Alinar's regime, Tyrael cannot attempt to overthrow it alone, and attempts to recruit the party into the resistance. Cade and the others agree to think on it, and leave Fayshade to explore further.

The party encounters some green-eyed dancing elves, who offer them wine. The party declines, and is forced out of the clearing. After exploring further, the party finds a small ruin inhabited by kobolds. After some fighting, the kobolds are intimidated into giving two thirds of their gold to Ricky. The remaining 100 GP is left to the kobolds.

After their excursion to the Faerie Forest, the party moves back into the Black Spires, where they encounter a gibbering humanoid. The humanoid is aggressive, and slain by Ricky after wounding Cade. The party progresses further into the Black Spires before reaching the entrance to a ruin...

Session ends at 9:31 PM

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Bellguard Hex Crawl Session 1

Our heroes arrive via ship to the small colony of Bellguard, a walled city on an unnamed island. The party consists of:

Ricky: A foolhardy thief with a large sword and no common sense.
Sir Timothy Smithony XVIII: A disgraced former general turned adventurer
Gindalf: A magic-user
Ziva: A cleric of Sekhmet

After purchasing supplies, the party moves east into the Faerie Forest, where they encounter 7 goblins. Gindalf casts sleep, giving the party more matched odds. They slay 6 of the goblins, and the last one runaway deeper into the forest.

The party continues their foray into the forest, encountering another group of 7 goblins, along with 4 hobgoblin commanders. The goblins take combat formation before Gindalf once more casts sleep. 3 of the goblinoids make their saving throws and continue combat, but eventually the party prevails.

The party moves into the Beast Lands, a region inhabited by animal folk. A group of heavily armed and armored orcs demand the party come with them and fight in their gladiatorial arena. Gindalf casts sleep on as many of the orcs as possible and runs with the rest of the party into The Black Spires, an area known for its many black crystals and strange monsters.

The party encounters a hooded figure, who eventually is revealed to be a Mind Flayer, who kills Ziva by sucking out her brains. Fortunately, it seems this specimen was a weakling of its kind, and the rest of the party manages to kill it before it can unleash its powerful psychic blast.

The party returns to Bellguard where they pick up Zia, a cleric of Thanatos. They return to the Beast Lands where they encounter some Lizard-folk. The encounter goes peacefully, and both groups go their separate ways. Later, the party encounters some more Lizard-folk, and trade with them, gaining two potions of healing and a pepperbox revolver.

Finally, the party encounters an orc named Grungol, and help him escape the Beast Lands. In gratitude, Grungol reveals that in the Faerie Forest, to the Northeast, is the lair of a Green Dragon. The party marks the location of this dragon on the map.

Session ends at 11:28 PM.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

15 Encounter Seeds and a Goblin Generator

Since I'm still in the process of cleaning, I've found quite a few pieces of weird OSR stuff. This piece is slightly more recent, and seems to be something I wrote down when I should have been paying attention in class. The front half of the page contains a list of 15 encounter ideas for a goblin-based dungeon (I recall I recently had watched the Del Toro version of Don't be Afraid of the Dark when I made this), drawing off of the concept of goblins being fey creatures.

The back side of the paper is a very brief description of goblins, a quick sketch, some combat statistics for Basic Fantasy RPG, and a short d8 table for goblin characteristics.

First, here are what the encounters were, my notes from now are in italics.

  1. Basement of the Osgoods. A hole has been dug through the wall. It appears this dungeon is built beneath the basement of some family called the Osgoods. There were no other pages to this manuscript, so I'm not sure the specifics, but I recall them being somewhat wealthy.
  2. This room is full of mushrooms. Some goblins are hiding here. 
  3. A severed human hand is clutching a candle.
  4. Blood from the hand leads here to Gary Osgood's corpse. He is stripped of all valuables except for his iron crucifix necklace. Based on the necklace, it looks like this dungeon is intended to be set in the real world, or at least something similar to it.
  5. A pile of bleached white children's bones reach up to the ceiling.
  6. Something skitters away when the players approach. A broken doll lies on the floor. I notice there are a lot of atmospheric encounters here.
  7. Goblins will jump from the ceiling.
  8. Goblins are having a sickening feast. I'm not entirely sure what this means. Is the food disgusting? Do goblins have bad eating habits?
  9. Stolen trinkets piled here. 
  10. A circle of mushrooms is in the center of the room. Pale moonlight shines from a crack in the ceiling. It is day when the adventurer's entered the basement. Okay I have to hand it to me, this one is pretty neat.
  11. A spider with the face of Abigail Osgood spins a web in the room, Abigail's faceless body twitches in the corner.
  12. A pool contains children's teeth and glows. If any teeth are retrieved, skeletons erupt from the walls, encrusted with filth and roots, and attack.
  13. A cockroach of human flesh asks a riddle. If the answer is wrong, he disappears, and swarms of cockroaches erupt from the walls. If answered correctly, he collapses into a pile of skin. A lot of these encounter ideas are quite surreal.
  14. A golden ring sits on a pedestal. If removed, an axe comes down from the ceiling and severed the thief's hand.
  15. The goblin king and his servants are turning Mary Osgood into a goblin. 
These ideas are really hit or miss, with some being profoundly disturbing while others seem lazy. However, there is still the back side of the page to be explored.

AC: 14
HD: 1
ATK: 1 bite or by weapon 
DMG: 1d4 or by weapon
Special: 1 in 10 goblins can cast spells as a third level magic-user

Goblins have a variety of physical forms, but are all mischievous, short, and evil. They come from the Faerie realm, and steal children to make into their own. Elves and Dwarves fled from Faerie because of these foul beasts.

Goblin Feature Generator

          Head           Skin           Extra
  1. Insect          Slimy         Wings
  2. Human        Dry             Horns
  3. Skull           Scaly          Antennae
  4. Rat-like      Hairy           Extra Eyes
  5. Frog            Diseased     Second Mouth
  6. Bird            Burnt          No eyes
  7. Goat            Bark           Spikes
  8. Mushroom  Carapace    Tail
I'm not sure how entirely useful this will be to any of you, but I personally might be using a variant of this table in the future for goblin tribes to develop their physical features. In addition, some of those encounter ideas are actually usable, I must try and make an adventure out of them someday...

Monday, March 6, 2017

25 Adventure Seeds

Today I challenged myself to develop some interesting ideas for adventures without relying on home-brew monsters. Heres what I came up with:

  • A cult to the god of stone has trained a basilisk to hunt down the cult's enemies.
  • Zombies and skeletons have risen from their graves and are heading North for unknown reasons.
  • 7 goblins with magical weapons are terrorizing the town.
  • Clones of the same orc have been emerging from a nearby cave, and they seem to be telepathically linked.
  • An orcish horde numbering 500 individuals is attacking soon. They have employed the help of 5 trolls and 10 ogres. The heroes have 7 days to prepare the town's defenses.
  • An ogre has been shrunk down to the size of a human. She desires to be big again, but the cure to her curse is the blood of the hag who shrunk her. The ogre promises to share the location of her treasure horde with whoever helps.
  • A group of bandits are living among a colony of giant ants, wearing the ant's pheromones as perfume in order to avoid detection.
  • A swarm of rust monsters has nested in the nearby mineshaft, and is attacking blacksmith's shops and armories across the town.
  • A crazed wizard has bred a kind of giant rat whose bite spreads ghoul fever. He plots the downfall of civilization from the sewers.
  • A group of troglodytes are digging tunnels beneath the town and abducting citizens for unknown reasons.
  • There are rumors that an ancient wizard lies petrified in a cave under the lake. If the ring on his finger is removed, he will become flesh again. Unfortunately, this cave is guarded by lizard folk.
  • A group of kobold architects have dug what the claim to be "the perfect dungeon". They have put a Gold Dragon egg at the end of it, and anyone who can make it all the way through the dungeon without dying may claim it. The entry fee is 100 GP.
  • A Red Dragon and her band of crimson-robed fire cultists has taken up residence in the nearby mountain and is demanding tithes.
  • A group of bugbears and their giant spider pets live in the forest and kidnap children and the elderly.
  • A hobgoblin legion is waging war against a clan of dwarves beneath the town, and the war is causing problems on the surface. Both sides are hiring mercenaries.
  • A werewolf is living among the town and killing at will, but it is up to the heroes to find out who it is.
  • A hydra, created by a local wizard, has escaped into the forest and must be hunted down to be returned/killed.
  • Nobody can die in the town anymore, and they regenerate all wounds. This is due to a troll poisoning the water supply with its own monstrous blood. However, the town's citizens are slowly turning into trolls as a result of this contamination.
  • A portal has opened up in the middle of town, and it leads to a land with a dying sun, ancient ruins, and swarms of undead.
  • A mind flayer and its thralls has come to town and is openly terrorizing the populace.
  • A tomb full of 10 Wight warriors in full plate mail has been opened, and the wights have begun their crusade against the living.
  • A goblin assassin has been sent to kill a friend of the PCs. The assassin and her loyal goblin servants must be prevented from killing the NPC before the local militia can stop her.
  • An iron golem, originally built to defend the town from raiders, has gone haywire and now lurks in a nearby cave. A group of crazed cultists worship the golem as a living god.
  • Giant bees, centipedes, beetles, and other arthropods have been emerging from an abandoned building. A cleric to the vermin god is enlarging the bugs from within the derelict structure.
  • A sub basement level of a noble's house has been discovered, and it is full of ghasts. The noble is paying anyone willing to exterminate them 50 GP per ghast head.

Some Magic Items I Made In Middle School

So I've been cleaning out my room, and found a single scrap of paper with a list of times for purchase at an adventuring shop. This was for an all d6 system I was developing back in middle school, but on the back of the page were some magical weapons and armor. They seem roughly compatible with the OSR, so here they are, in the order they were written, with both the original text and a modern look at their mechanics.

"Dual Swords Of Whirlwinds 150 GP: When attacking you move an extra 6 and can go into enemy spaces. You can attack those enemies and if you hit roll 2d6 for damage. That number is also how far they get pushed in the direction of your choice"

I seem to have been using the squares system of movement used during the 4th edition of D&D for this game. The idea of a pair of swords that turn their wielder into a tornado is interesting, though difficult to explain mechanically, as shown by these strange rules. Notice also the cheap cost of the weapon! It looks like this system had a very deflated economy.

"Sword Of Everflame 30 GP: 2d6 damage and the target takes 1 damage each turn for 1d6 turns"

A classic flaming sword with a pretentious name. Interesting how its called the sword of "everflame", implying the flame never burns out. Does this mean the sword is constantly on fire? Because the flame seems to not burn forever when it hits an enemy, as it only lasts 1d6 turns.

"Bow Of Banishment (ranged) 50 GP: 2d6 damage and the target is removed from play for 1d6 turns. (once per battle)"

This item seems to have taken some inspiration from either Magic: The Gathering, or Yugi-Oh! and I can't remember which one. One of those games had a mechanic where a card could be put "out of play"; i.e. unable to be resurrected from the graveyard or interacted with in any way. This bow seems to use that mechanic as a basis.

"Sword Of Speediness 30 GP: 1d6 damage, and you can move 1d6 after attacking."

This weapon seems fairly useful tactically. It allows the wielder to strike and repeat in the same action, which is a powerful ability. It reminds me of Tucker's kobolds a little bit.

"Armor Of Vengeance 60 GP: +4 AC and when an enemy attacks and hits you, you take half the damage and the enemy takes the other half"

I can't help but imagine this armor is emblazoned with the symbol of a porcupine or hedgehog, or maybe just covered in magical glowing spikes. Its a very neat set of armor, though it does seem a tad overpowered.

Revised Magic Items

Because some of these items are genuinely interesting, I've decided to update them for OSR games.

Dual Swords Of Whirlwind
These swords resemble ordinary shortswords, dealing 1d6 damage in normal combat. However, when a wielder holds one of these swords in each hand and spins around like a dancer, they temporarily transform into an air-elemental like being for 1d6 rounds. While in this state, they can move through cracks in walls and doors, fly in the air at their speed, and are incorporeal for the purposes of combat. In addition, anyone who comes into contact with the wielder while in this whirlwind state must save versus Dragon Breath or take 1d6 damage. This ability can only be used twice per day normally, and if used a third time, the swords permanently lose their magic.

Sword Of Everflame
This longsword is constantly aflame, though the hilt is protected. Like a normal longsword, it deals 1d8 damage in combat, but also has a 50% of setting any creature it hits on fire (with obvious realistic limits of course). If set on fire, the creature will continue to take 1d4 damage per round until they put out the fire somehow. The sword comes with a scabbard which is the only way to temporarily put out the sword's flame.

Bow Of Banishment
This shortbow appears to be of halfling make, and is bright blue in color. When fired at a living creature, the victim ceases to exist for 1d6 rounds before reappearing in the exact location it disappeared. The bow's ability can only be used once per day, otherwise it functions as a regular shortbow dealing 1d6 damage.

Sword Of Speediness
This shortsword deals 1d6 damage as per normal, but whenever the sword draws blood, its wielder may make another movement action.

Armor Of Vengeance
This set of chainmail grants the same armor bonus as normal (+4 or -4 depending on whether using ascending or descending armor class), but when a wearer of this armor is injured by another creature, the attacker takes 1/2 the total damage that it dealt. The armor's wearer still takes the full damage.