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Sunday, December 23, 2018

Ke'Sik Locales And Encounters (Secret Santicorn)


This post is my Secret Santicorn gift for Dungeonliar! I hope my table of locales fits your setting well, I maybe went a little overboard with the "cold" aspect of the valley. I also included a 1e style encounter table!


1d20 Random Locales In Ke’Sik

1. 13 dark grey trees, grown in a circle around the frozen mummified corpse of a Ke’Sik tribesman.

2. A vast stump, nearly 10 yards in diameter, bubbling forth bloody sap slowly. There is no sign of its trunk.

3. A large mound, with an old grey tree on top. Carved into the tree’s bark are runic symbols.

4. A cave, full of the frozen and mummified corpses of people who fled from the Ke’Sik tribesmen in prehistoric times.

5. Ruins of primitive huts, with grey trees all around.

6. A ruined tower, with a red banner in unnaturally pristine condition fluttering in the frigid wind.

7. An orchard of grey trees, planted in neat, artificial rows. If one enters the orchard, it seems to go on forever, stretching off into infinity.

8. A large chunk of ice, with some grey trees burrowing their roots into it. If one peers into the ice, they can see the faint outlines of humanoid figures.

9. A pond of red, opaque water. Something lurks in the liquid, but always seems to swim away when approached.

10. A grey tree that seems hideously twisted into a screaming humanoid form.

11. A grey tree that has been stripped of all its bark, leaving it looking raw and bloody.

12. A series of ice sculptures in the shape of a raiding party on war-beasts.

13. Abandoned tents made of leathery crimson fabric.

14. A pit, leading down into a frost-covered cave system. Roots of grey trees serve as a rudimentary ladder if one wished to climb down.

15. A roughly-hewn henge, covered over with the roots of grey trees.

16. A field of bones, animal and human, hidden under a layer of snow.

17. Burnt out husk of a grey tree, with a malformed and burnt infant Raudr’s corpse within.

18. Broken pieces of a once great statue, depicting a man in a horned helmet. The remains of the statue are covered with the climbing roots of grey trees.

19. A small grove of non-grey trees, stunted and dying.

20. 3 grey trees growing together into one, with branches like arms stretching into the sky.


BONUS: Random Encounter Tables

Random Encounters In Ke’Sik (D6)
1-2. Red Faithful
3. Norse Adventuring Party, seeking gold
4. Raudr
5-6. Wild Animals

Subtable A: Red Faithful (D4)
1. 2d6 Ke’Sik tribesmen, armed with flails
2. 2d6 Ke’Sik tribesmen, armed with spears and on war-beasts
3. 2d6 Ke’Sik tribesmen and 1d2 shamans, 50% chance on war-beasts
4. 3d6 undead skeletal Ke’Sik tribesmen, animated by blood-red sap and armed with primitive stone and bone weaponry

Subtable B: Norse Adventurers (D4)
1. 1d4+2 fighters
2. 1d4 fighters, 1d2 thieves, and a cleric
3. 2d6 0 level henchmen and 1d2 magic-users
4. 1d3 fighters, 1d2 thieves, a magic-user, and a cleric

Subtable C: Raudr (D10)
1-3. First-born/Raudr Gungir
4-5. Second-born/Raudr Gram
6. Third-born/Raudr Tyrfing
7-8. Fourth-through-Sixth-born/Raudr Forseti
9. Seventh-born/Raudr Hrotti
10. Raudr Stillborn

Subtable D: Wild Animals (D6)
1. 2d6 wolves
2. Bear
3. Yeti
4. Snow leopard
5. Snow shark
6. 2d4 Giant weasels



What Are Your Setting's Core Themes?

I've written extensively about the "default" setting that I run things in, which is inspired by horror films, the Cthulhu mythos, and folklore. Since I like to do things in sixes, I've decided to make this post describing 6 main themes that my setting has. If anyone reading this wants to, I encourage you to write a post about 6 of your own setting's themes!

1. Theocracy Is Oppressive

Though demonic cults, faeries, monsters, and bandits are all dangers in the holy empire, the most constant dangerous force of all is the church that controls society. Witch-hunts, inquisition, and prejudice against demi-humans, foreigners, and pagans leads to much human suffering. While individual Faithites in the setting may be kind people, using their religion as motivation to help others, the corrupt government merely uses the Faith as a means to punish those who do not fit into the status quo. Priests/clerics are assumed to either be pagan, or renegade Faithites, considered heretics by the Imperial Orthodoxy.

2. Humanity Does Not Understand The Universe

The creatures that are worshiped and summoned by demonic cults are called demons, and the places that they are brought from are called hells, but in a literal sense, these beasts are not demons as defined by the Faith. They are not beings that torture the souls of the damned, physical representations of morality. They are alien creatures, things from other planets, other universes, other planes of existence, brought across the veil to wreak havok and cause chaos.

3. Being Different Is Dangerous

Demi-humans tend to live in isolated communities, and wizards hide their craft from the rest of the world, out of fear of persecution. The empire is xenophobic and bigoted towards foreigners, non-Faithites, and those who defy the status quo. Adventurers are weird, and likely to have taken up a wandering life of dungeoneering to escape the prejudice of mainstream society. 

4. Do Not Trust Power

The Emperor himself might not even be human, the Imperial Orthodoxy is corrupt and cruel, the faerie courts are malevolent and fickle, and horrific demon gods lurk beyond reality, hungering for our world. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, the beings that are in control are more likely to be evil than good.

5. Fact And Superstition Are Not Easily Distinguishable

Every town and village has its own local legends, and about half of what is told tends to be true, though not necessarily the exact truth. Rumors of cannibalistic witches lurking in the woods might be partially true, though whether this means there are purely mundane cannibalistic humans living in the woods or a group of innocent magic-using pagans depends. The folk-tales of the empire almost always have at least a grain of truth in them, and commonly accepted facts (like demons being punishers of the damned) might be completely false.

6. Morality Is Complicated

One of the most powerful evil forces that humanity knows of are the demon gods, worshiped by horrific cults devoted to destroying the world. The organization that spends the most time fighting this supernatural horror is the Imperial Orthodoxy, an oppressive church that tortures innocent people for not following the Faith. The faeries are monstrous creatures from another world that play lethal pranks on citizens of the empire, all for their own pleasure. The reason they are here is because they were forced from their homeworld by invading demons. There is absolute evil in the world, but those that fight this evil are not necessarily absolutely good, and may even be just as bad as the evil they fight. 

I'd be curious to see what other people's main "themes" of their settings are, I love reading about peoples' homebrew worlds! 

Friday, December 21, 2018

6 Giant Bugs (Including Crustaceans)

[All images are taken from Wikipedia, and please note that these are not necessarily biologically accurate.]


Giant Black Widow Spider
HD 3
AC medium
ATK 1 bite
DMG 1d6 + save or take additional 3d6 damage
HDE 4

Giant black widows lurk in the dark places of dungeons, spinning sticky webs throughout their layers. Anyone fighting in these webs take a -1 penalty to attack rolls due to getting caught on threads. They are ambush predators, and are unlikely to attack large groups of heavily armed adventurers, preferring to attack stragglers. The venom of giant black widows is valued by assassins. Giant black widows are around twice the size of a human being.



Giant Jumping Spider
HD 2
AC medium
ATK 1 bite
DMG 1d6
HDE 2

Unlike their black widow cousins, giant jumping spiders are active hunters, moving quickly through the halls of dungeons in packs. As their name suggests, they can jump very far, allowing them to close gaps rapidly. They have large, complex eyes, allowing them to see well in the dark. Giant jumping spiders are about the size of large dogs.



Giant Scorpion
HD 6
AC heavy
ATK 2 claws or 1 sting
DMG 1d6+1 each or 1d6+2 + save or take additional 3d6 damage
HDE 8

An ambush predator, like the black widow, giant scorpions often try to flatten themselves against a wall and pretend to be part of the scenery, keeping completely still. Their massive stingers move blindingly fast, and deliver a potent dose of venom. Giant scorpions are about the size of bears.



Giant Dungeon Shrimp
HD 1
AC light + shield
ATK 1 claw
DMG 1d6-1
HDE 1

Shrimp are not particularly threatening, and neither are their giant air breathing cousins. Although slightly resembling giant scorpions, giant dungeon shrimp are significantly smaller, about the size of a human. They feed on decaying matter, fungus, and other dungeon detritus, only resorting to violence if desperately hungry, attacked first, or they simply have a good opportunity. Their exoskeletons are translucent, allowing full view of the organs within.


Giant Crab
HD 5
AC heavy
ATK 2 claws
DMG 1d6+1 each
HDE 5

The clickety clacketing of a giant crab's shell is enough to send hardened adventurers fleeing. Giant crabs are fierce, bear-sized predators that have no fear, with razor sharp claws and hideous clattering mouths. They taste quite good, however, and are considered a delicacy by many dungeoneers.


Giant Ants
HD variable
AC medium+shield
ATK 1 bite or sting
DMG variable
HDE variable

These colonial nightmares are both a dungeon delver's best and worst friend. On the one hand, the workers that make up the bulk of a colony are weak, and often carry treasure into convenient storage rooms that are ripe for raiding. On the other hand, when the colony is threatened, warrior ants will swiftly be sent to deal with intruders, and their stingers can melt prey from the inside out. Colonies usually have 1 or more queens constantly laying eggs, meaning that even after clearing most of a dungeon, it can be restocked with chitinous horrors within a few weeks. Worker ants are about the size of dogs, warriors and drones are the size of bears, and a queen is around the size of a hippopotamus.

Worker: HD 1, bite and sting 1d6, HDE 1
Warrior: HD 3, bite 1d6+1, sting 1d6 + save or take additional 3d6 damage, HDE 4
Reproductive Drone: HD 2, bite and sting 1d6+1, HDE 2
Queen: HD 5, bite and sting 1d6+2, HDE 5

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Not Going To Be Posting Much For A While

I'm currently visiting with my datemate for the next 3 weeks, so posts will be few and far between. This isn't to say they will be wholly absent, as I do have a small, 2 level dungeon lined up to be finished, and I have been working on my house rules, but I won't be posting as much.

Expect a session report or two though!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Testing Out Character Creation

One of the main goals of my house rules is to allow for character creation in around 5-10 minutes, so that less time is spent making a character and more can be spent exploring the unknown. I decided to put that to the test. I set up a blank character sheet, with spaces for things to be filled in when determined, opened up the .pdf, and turned on a stopwatch. My results were better than I expected.

4 minutes and 53.82 seconds later, I had a character, all ready for adventuring. Now, granted, I am the one who wrote the rules, so I already knew what I was doing, but even if it takes the average person twice as long, that is still (barely) under 10 minutes!


(Forgive my wretched hand-writing)

So, what did I learn from this test?

  1. Having a character sheet set up so one can just fill in blanks speeds things up.
  2. The most lengthy part of making a character is buying stuff, equipment packs makes things a lot faster.
  3. Making a fighter is probably even faster than making a wizard.
  4. The war-mage equipment pack is pretty cool.
  5. My home system is very well suited to running one-shot games.
  6. I should probably make a similar equipment pack system for my survival horror rules.
I think my character creation system for my house rules is basically done, now I just need to do some more work making things easy for the game master. I already have written out my formula for making what I think constitutes a good dungeon, now I feel that I should probably add:
  • Guidelines on making magical items and traps
  • Some sample magic items
  • A small bestiary of sample monsters
  • Some appendixes full of useful d6 tables from my blog. 
  • Maybe a sample dungeon level?

V.01.2 Of My Fantasy House Rules!



I reworked the equipment packs, added actual explanation for leveling up, and talked about making new species.

Here it is! Let me know what you think!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Ghosts In My Home Game

A few months back I posted about the origins of various monsters in my home setting. For ghosts I gave the following:

Ghosts are the psychic imprints of the dead, the personalities and consciousnesses of creatures the deceased given an incorporeal form and magical abilities. Some believe that only certain people possess the psychic capability become ghosts after death, while others believe that anyone who dies with enough emotional energy can come back as a spirit. Still others believe that ghosts are not human at all, and are simply demons hijacking the psychic energies of a deceased person to manifest themselves on earth.
But what traits do ghosts have, really? I absolutely don't agree with D&D's traditional interpretation of ghosts, as 10 HD powerhouses that are most easily able to be slain by phasing into the ethereal plane, and whose principal attack either takes away agency from a player (magic jar) or has a neat effect but no real explanation as to what it does (aging the character 10-40 years).

I like simple monsters, at least from a mechanical standpoint, and to me, a ghost should be no different. Sure, a ghost will have some special abilities seeing as it is the quasi-physical shadow of a dead human being, possibly being used by a demon as a vessel, but its attacks will still do damage, and it will still be able to be harmed (though magical weapons are required).

A typical ghost might have the following stats:
HD 5
AC light + shield
ATK 3
DMG 1d6+1

More importantly is the following; all ghosts should be a little different. One ghost, for example, may have the weakness that if their bones are found and given proper burial rights, the monster is dispelled, while another may only be put to rest if immersed in running water.

Generally, however, ghosts should be incorporeal, allowing them to walk through walls and take no damage from non-magical means, as well as turn invisible at will. Beyond that, the sky is the limit.

Here are some d6 tables to help come up with a ghost:

How Does The Ghost Attack?

  1. Cuts are formed in the flesh of its victim without any logical reason behind it.
  2. The victim is frozen to death, suffering from acute frostbite on parts of their body in the shape of hand marks.
  3. The victim is burned to death, with scorch marks appearing on parts of their body in the shape of hand marks.
  4. Nearby objects are hurled at the victim at high velocity.
  5. Blood simply disappears from the victim's veins, causing them to feel tired and light headed before eventually dying.
  6. The victim appears to visibly age.
What Does The Ghost Look Like?
  1. Like a corporeal image of what the ghost looked like immediately after death.
  2. A translucent image of what the ghost looked like immediately after death.
  3. A hideously distorted version of what the ghost looked like in life.
  4. An amorphous, sheet-like entity that drifts as if it is submerged in water.
  5. A vague, glowing outline of a person.
  6. Nothing, the ghost is always completely invisible.

What Can The Ghost Do?
  1. Give its victims hallucinations.
  2. Paralyze its victims with its gaze.
  3. Teleport short distances.
  4. Cause small fires to start.
  5. Control peoples' bodies whilst they sleep.
  6. Communicate telepathically.

What Is The Ghost's Weakness?

     1-2. It must haunt a specific person, and can only act within a 1 mile radius of them.
     3-4. It can only haunt a specific location, and cannot leave the area.


     5-6. It can only manifest at a certain time or day.

How Can It Be Dispelled?
  1. By giving the ghost's corpse proper burial rites.
  2. By immersing the ghost in running water.
  3. Prove to the ghost that it is dead.
  4. Perform a costly and dangerous ritual.
  5. Take a large amount of hallucinogenic drugs and combat the ghost on a different plane of existence.
  6. Fulfill a task that the ghost wants, but cannot directly state.

Using these tables, here is an example:

This is the ghost of a man named Henry Rice, who died in a fire. Its attacks cause the flesh of his victims to be scorched and burned. It appears as an amorphous sheet-like mass, and communicates telepathically. It can only manifest at night, and the only way to dispel it without killing it through magic is to prove to the ghost that it is really dead.

Happy haunting!

Some Inspirational Illustrations From The Compendium Of Demonology And Magic

The Compendium Of Demonology And Magic, or, to give its proper latin name, Compendium Rarissimum Totius Artis Magicae Sistematisatae per Celeberrimos Artis Hujus Magistros, which loosely translates to A Rare Summary of the Entire Magical Art by the Most Famous Masters of this Art*, was a book published by an unknown author at some point around 1775 (though the book claims to be much older). While I don't speak latin or German, and therefore I am unable to read the text, I am able to appreciate the excellent watercolor illustrations contained within.

The copy I downloaded was from Holybooks.com, which is a very good source for grimoires and other occult texts if you are on the lookout for them.

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite illustrations from the tome, along with possible applications for use with D&D.


I wanted to point this one out for I believe it depicts sinners being destroyed by the wrath of God, here represented by a triangle (presumably representing the trinity) with the tetragrammaton written within it (YHWY, a 4 letter name of God written in the Torah). This use of symbolism to represent a deity is much more interesting than, say, Jesus or some bearded white man in robes, and I could see potential in depicting a cleric's deity in this way, rather than through a more humanoid avatar.


Protective circles against summoned demons are a very interesting concept, and the story I interpreted from this picture is that the 3 men have hung someone to summon a demon, which the central man in the blue robes is fending off while trying to bind the fiend or dismiss it.


This image just screamed out "botched polymorph", and I love it. Can you imagine the party wandering the wilderness, only to encounter this strange beast, and then discovering that the creature was once a human being?


I love me a good grim reaper, and this one certainly fits the bill. I especially like how tired and emaciated the horse looks, as though it is literally and metaphorically near death. Alternatively; skeletal warrior riding a zombie horse.


I don't know who are what this demon is supposed to be but something about it just screams orc to me. I love it


My immediate thought when seeing this was "Chaos vs. Law", and the idea of using a black triangle to represent chaos and demons, and a blue pentagram to represent the natural order.


This is what a magic-user should look like. Also, I find his skull and crossbones pajamas hilarious.


And, finally, as a bonus, here are the sigils of some angels.

If you would like to check out this tome for yourself, here is a link. I hope you enjoyed!

*Source: https://horrorpedia.com/2017/12/10/the-compendium-of-demonology-and-magic-book-1775-guide-to-demons/

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Some Items From Heretic

Heretic is a nice little first person shooter released in 1994, essentially a fantasy version of Doom. Though the gameplay isn't anything particularly innovative beyond what Doom had already achieved, it did add a number of magical items for the player to use. I've picked a handful of my favorites to be used for old school games, and detailed them below. I hope you enjoy!

[Note: For the interests of good gameplay, these items may be slightly modified from their original depiction in Heretic. All images from doom.fandom.com]

Morph Ovum
The Morph Ovum appears to be a large egg, crackling with green energy. When broken, 1d6 enemies within line of sight of the person who broke it must make a saving throw or turn into a chicken (HD 1 point, AC unarmored, ATK 1 bite, DMG 1 point). Creatures with 5 HD or more cannot be transformed in this manner, but instead take 1d6 damage from feathers bursting out of their skin.

Chaos Device
The Chaos Device is a small sphere with the star of chaos inscribed upon it in lines of red energy. If the star is pressed upon, anyone touching the device is instantly transported to the safest area within 1 mile of their original position, and the Chaos Device disappears. 

Mystic Urn
As a small clay pot full of dust with an ankh molded onto it, the Mystic Urn does not initially appear to be very powerful. However, when the dust is poured out onto the hand of the user, a wave of healing energy washes over them, restoring the user to their maximum possible HP as the pot crumbles to dust. This dust can even be used on the recently dead, provided they have only been deceased for 5 minutes or less.

Tome Of Power
If anyone who can practice magic opens this leather-bound book and reads even a word of its contents, they instantly and completely understand the true nature of the arcane, and are immediately a master of spell-casting (though the book immediately bursts into flames and crumbles to ash). Every spell cast within the next 1d3 minutes after reading the book work perfectly. If any saving throws are required by the target, they fail, if any dice are needed to determine the length of the effect or damage dealt, they are automatically assumed to be the maximum roll possible. However, the memory of the Tome fades fast, and after these 1d3 minutes, the power ends. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Zachariah Clement: Vampire (A Hunter And Adventure Seed For Survival Horror Scenarios)


(Kurt Barlow from the 1979 adaptation of Salem's Lot)

During the American revolutionary war, something inhuman scourged the countryside of New England, taking advantage of the chaos to do some killing of its own. Bodies were found, drained of blood, floating through the rivers of Massachusets, Conneticut, and Rhode Island. At first, the killings went unnoticed, but after the war ended, people began to notice the strange murders.

A small cabal of wizards, sorcerers, and other occultists deduced that the killer must be something other than a human being, and tracked down the monster to its lair in the hills, finding that the vampire was one Zachariah Clement, a merchant who had gone missing some 10 years prior. During the ensuing battle, the occultists were unable to kill the unholy creature, which slew half of their party. However, they were able to seal the monster in a well in the basement of the abandoned farm-house it lived in. Zachariah remained imprisoned there for over 200 years.

However, recent construction work and renovation of the area into national park and campground has resulted in the old farm house being turned into a visitor center, and in the process, Zachariah has escaped.

Zachariah Clement is an emaciated and nearly feral vampire, desperately hungry after over 200 years of isolation. He has pallid skin like that of a corpse, and moves stiffly yet quickly, like a marionette. His teeth are sharpened and elongated, like needles, and his eyes glow yellow in darkness. He has no hair, and his body is cold to the touch. If he chooses to talk, his voice is hoarse and soft, and he speaks using colonial era English. He wears tattered colonial clothing.

Zachariah Clement
HP: 48 (4 for every hit die the players have as a whole)
AC: unarmored
ATK: 1 weapon or bite
DMG: weapon damage +2 or 1d6+1
Special

  • Zachariah's bite causes him to heal hit points equal to the damage he deals. 
  • He may climb on the walls and ceiling like a spider. 
  • Zachariah cannot be harmed by any non-silver weapons, though fire can burn him. 
  • He can smell blood and hear the pulsing of human hearts, and knows if there is a living human being within 1000 feet of him at all times.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Is Doom A Megadungeon?



For those of you who don't know the rich backstory of the Doom franchise, let me catch you up on some of the lore;

  • There are demons
  • You have guns
  • Bullets + Demons = Dead Demons
  • Repeat
The main gameplay loop of doom is as follows;
  • Arrive at a level
  • Try to find a way to the next level
  • Find keys, avoid traps, and kill monsters to successfully reach the next level to continue the game
Does this sound familiar? It seems awfully close to a standard dungeon crawl, minus the treasure of course. "Treasure" in Doom is mostly ammunition, health kits, armor, and power-ups. In addition, there is no gaining levels, and you can respawn at the start of a level when you die. But at its core, Doom has the makings of a megadungeon game.

Lets take a look at one of the maps for Doom


This is The Hangar, the first level of the game. Its a little hard to read what is there, just from the map to the untrained eye, but it contains 2 traps (pools of acid), 3 secret doors, and some combat encounters, along with "treasure" in the form of ammo, health, a shotgun, and armor.

If I wanted to, I could modify this to fit a fantasy setting and run it as the entrance to a demonic temple. The monsters in this level are possessed soldiers (zombiemen), and spiky demons that shoot fireballs (imps). If I just change the soldiers' equipment to be leather armor and swords instead of rifles and a combat vest, suddenly they could easily be zombie guards animated by the demon cult to protect their secrets. The shotgun could just be a magic item of some sort, such as a wand of magic missile.

And now, here is a list of reasons why Doom might not be a megadungeon:
  • No role-playing whatsoever, with no NPCs (this changes in Doom 3 and Doom 2016 to a certain extent, as well as the two Doom RPGs for mobile devices)
  • The player character grows more powerful through acquiring items, not upgrades to health and attacking.
  • The player character cannot leave the "dungeon", rest in town, and come back later. 
  • You can't pay hirelings to accompany you to act as meat shields.
To finish off this mess of a post, here are some demons from Doom (and Doom 2) converted to my house rules (Images taken from doomwiki.org):

Imp 
HD 1
AC light
ATK 1 claw or 1 fireball
DMG 1d6+1 or 1d6
HDE 1

Imps are brown, furry humanoids with bony spikes protruding from their bodies. They may shoot small fireballs as projectiles, but prefer to tear their victims apart with their claws.


Pinky/Spectres
HD 3
AC medium/heavy with shield
ATK 1 bite
DMG 1d6+2
HDE 3/4

Named for their skin color, pinkies are violent, gorilla-like demons with a maw of sharp teeth. Some pinkies have evolved to be transparent, resulting in a higher armor class and the ability to hide in darkness without being noticed 5 out of 6 times. These nearly-invisible pinkies are called spectres.


Lost Soul
HD 1
AC medium
ATK 1 bite
DMG 1d6
HDE 1

These lesser demons are large, flying skulls with horns that are on fire. They are not particularly intelligent, and some believe this is what happens to the souls of sinners after the demons torture them over the centuries. 

Pain Elemental
HD 5
AC heavy
ATK none
DMG none
HDE 10
Special: Each round, a Pain Elemental may vomit up one Lost Soul, which may make its action immediately after the Pain Elemental. If killed, a Pain Elemental explodes into a group of 1d6 Lost Souls.

These demons take the form of one eyed, brown orbs with tiny vestigial arms. Their mouth can unhinge, allowing them to disgorge Lost Souls at will. It is thought that Pain Elementals act as living portals to Hell.


Archvile
HD 7
AC heavy
ATK 1 flaming gaze (automatically hits as long as the target is within line of sight)
DMG 1d6+2
HDE 10
Special: Each round, an Archvile can choose to restore a dead demon within melee range of it back to life (with full HP restored) instead of attacking.

The archviles are foul demonic necromancers, capable of bringing their fallen allies back from the dead. Their very gaze can set their victims on fire.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Stimulated (A Hunter For Survival Horror Scenarios)

"If you are not very careful 

Your possessions will possess you
TV taught me how to feel
Now real life has no appeal 


It has no appeal 

It has no appeal 
It has no appeal 
It has no appeal 
It has no appeal 


I know exactly what I want and who I want to be 

I know exactly why I walk and talk like a machine 

I'm now becoming my own self-fulfilled prophecy 
Oh, oh no, oh no, oh no"

 -"Oh No", by Marina and the Diamonds
Goons with probes inserted into their pleasure centers; wired up so when they kill someone, they get paroxysms of ecstasy. In essence, customized serial killers.
-Quake Instruction Manual 

It stands at around 8 feet tall, with muscles grown unnaturally large due to steroid use. Metal cords like ropes of steel stick out of the thing's flesh. Covering its eyes is a bulky VR headset, with a small camera mounted above. The ears are covered by cubes of black plastic.

It was human once, a young man who spent most of his life staring at a screen, ears plugged up with headphones to blot out the world around him. His parents didn't know what to do, and when they found the ad talking about a summer camp for curing video game addiction, they jumped at the chance to get their son back to them. So they sent him away. He never came back.

The camp was a front for a cult, one that worshiped the union of technology and flesh. They were searching for a suitable subject to turn into the ultimate super soldier, a being that is half-human, half-machine, and for whom bringing death and destruction causes pleasure and joy. The young man was promised an eternity of fun and leisure, free from responsibility and worry, just endless fragging. Of course, he accepted. He didn't know the killing would be real.

After the injections, the surgery, the augmentation, there was barely anything left of the man. All it knows now is the joy of destruction, free from inhibition and remorse. As far as it knows, its just playing a very realistic, very fun game. And the player characters are the monsters it has to kill to get to the next level.


(Taken from Terminator 2)

The Stimulated
HP: 36 (3 for every hit die the players have as a whole)
AC: Heavy
ATK: 1 Fist or Melee Weapon
DMG: 2d6
Special: Every time the Stimulated kills a character, the massive amount of endorphins and dopamine produced results in it regaining 1d6 HP. In addition, the Stimulated can see perfectly in the dark due to its augmented camera for an eye.

If the Stimulated's VR headset is somehow removed (it is surgically implanted, so this will take some doing), it will realize what it has done. If this happens, there is a 3 in 6 chance it will go on a berserk rampage before committing suicide, otherwise it will immediately die from shock.


(My attempt at making the Stimulated using Heroforge)

Monday, December 3, 2018

The Basement (A Level 3 Raven Hill Dungeon)



Background

It is assumed that the party is trying to get out of Raven Hill. Somehow, they have figured out that in order to escape the cursed town, they need to drink an odd potion. After much other exploring, they discovered that the location of this potion is the basement of a crumbling old house. If the house is explored, it is bare and empty, with nothing interesting save for some claw marks and blood stains. There are stairs leading down into the basement, where the true adventure begins.

The Fogworld/Otherworld

When the party first finds the key in room 8, the world rapidly transforms from the Fogworld to the Otherworld. It only will change back after they grab the potion in room 10's Otherworld.

Dungeon Key (Fogworld)

1. Basement Entrance
Creaky wooden stairs lead down into a dirty, damp room. There are some sacks lying on the floor.
The sacks are filled with crude stuffed animals, all without eyes.

2. Wine Casks
A half dozen sealed barrels of wine lie in the southeast corner of the room.
The wine tastes sour, and has a blackish coloration. Anyone who drinks any of it, even a taste, must make a saving throw or take 3d6 damage due to the poison.

3. Wine Casks, Continued
More barrels lie in this room, but these ones are empty and unsealed, except for one.
The sealed barrel contains the corpse of a Satyr (see bestiary).

4. Jars Of Preserved Food
Shelves line the eastern wall, covered with murky jars. They seem to contain fruit preserves.
Wet footprints lead north.

5. Sleeping Quarters
A couple beds lie against the walls in this room, but the more pressing feature of this room are the 4 headless monsters standing stock-still in the room's center.
4 satyrs (see bestiary) are here, and will attack as soon as the party enters.

6. Corpses In Sacks
There is a pile of canvas sacks in the room's center, with unpleasantly humanoid outlines.
If an attempt is made to cut the sacks open (there doesn't seem to be any way to untie the sacks), blood will leak out, and the sack will begin wiggling and making faint squeaking noises.

7. Cesspit
A stinking pit full of old human waste is the main feature of the room. There is a wooden walkway that leads across the pit, or one could walk along the side of it to reach the door at the end of the room.
If one tries to walk along the side of the pit, they must make a saving throw or fall in. This isn't dangerous, just smelly, unless the person who falls in is carrying a torch, in which case everyone in the room immediately takes 2d6 damage from the ensuing fireball caused by the pit's noxious gases.

8. Empty Cages
Cages of all kinds hang from the ceiling and rest on the floor. 2 of the cages appear to be large enough for humans. 
In one of the hanging cages is a silver key. If picked up, the dungeon transitions into its Otherworld form.

9. Storage Crates
Boxes are piled high, some nearly touching the ceiling. The room is practically a maze of wooden cubes.
A note can be found among the boxes, reading; "Don't look away from them, I've cut out my eyelids so they can't hurt me, but they're starting to dry out, please forgive me". 

10. Well
[Note: Both entrances to this room are locked and require the key from room 8]
There is a well in the room's center, crumbling and old. It appears to be long since dried up.
There is an inscription on the well that reads "The caged key unlocks the truth of the well".

Dungeon Key (Otherworld)

1. No Stairs
The stairs to the outside world have ceased to exist. It is clear the Otherworld doesn't want you to leave.
The stairs are gone, ad won't reappear until the party are out of the Otherworld.

2. Scattered Wood And 4 Armed Men
2 bizarre, headless humanoids with 4 arms are frozen in place, their forms in a parody of dance. Pieces of wood and sawdust cover the floor.
Two 4 armed men (see bestiary) attack when the party enters.

3. Giant Centipede
You see something slither in the darkness, and hear a sound like tap dancing. Whatever it is, it appears to be hiding behind some barrels.
The giant centipede (see bestiary) hides behind some wine casks, waiting for prey to move closer.

4. Crumbling Floor And Writhing Things In Jars
The floor is made up of rusted grates, and below is nothing but a black void. Some jars on shelves on the eastern wall contain writhing, malformed fetuses.
Crossing the floor requires a saving throw, otherwise the floor gives way. An additional saving throw is allowed to catch oneself and avoid falling. If this saving throw is failed, the player character is never seen again, lost to the void.

5. Satyrs And A 4 Armed Man
Lying on the beds in this room are 3 headless humanoids, one of which has 4 arms.
2 satyrs and a 4 armed man (see bestiary) pretend to sleep in this room, waiting for characters to get close so they can strike.

6. Satyrs In Sacks
A pile of sacks is in the center of the room, 4 of them writhe as if alive.
4 satyrs are in the cloth sacks, visibly moving since they cannot be directly seen beneath the canvas. They will break out and attack in 1d3 rounds after the party enters.

7. Spiked Pit
A deep pit full of rusted, blood-covered spikes dominates the room. The door out is at the other end of the pit.
If one wants to skirt around the edge of the pit to get out of the room, they must make a saving throw to avoid falling down. Anyone who falls into the pit will take 3d6 damage.

8. Occupied Cages
[Note: the door leading south becomes locked as soon as the dungeon transitions to the Otherworld]
Two 4 armed, headless creatures are now in the human-sized cages. They don't appear to move.
The two 4 armed men (see bestiary) will open their cages and attack as soon as the party doesn't think they are a threat, or they are attacked.

9. Lidless Corpse
Piles of blood covered boxes fill the room. Among the wooden crates is a corpse, horribly clawed, with shredded clothing and exposed bones.
If the corpse is examined, one can tell it has no eyelids.

10. Well With Potion (empty)
[Note: Both entrances to this room are locked and require the key from room 8]
There is a well in the room's center, filled with dirt. On top of the dirt is a wine bottle, full of a red fluid.
The potion contains enough for the whole party to have a dose. Drinking the potion removes all guilt and remorse from the person, forever. They will never be able to feel bad about what they do. This breaks Raven Hill's hold on them, and returns them to the real world, where they can escape.

Bestiary


Satyrs
HD 3
AC Light + Shield
ATK 1 claw attack
DMG 1d6
HDE 3

The "satyrs" are headless, rubbery humanoids with goat-like legs. Their bodies are covered with disgusting pustules, which pop instantly when struck. It never seems to move, it just suddenly is somewhere else, your eyes seeming to look away from it against your will. They make no sounds, even as you cut them down, all you hear is the ringing in your ears.

4 Armed Men 
HD 6
AC Light + Shield
ATK 2 claw attacks
DMG 1d6+1
HDE 6

These creatures, like the satyrs, are rubbery humanoids that lack heads. They have an extra set of arms extending from their shoulders in addition to the first, and their bodies are covered in wet lips, out of which continuously slither long, serpent-like tongues. The sound of an infant crying fills the air near these creatures, along with the ringing that all of Raven Hill's monsters emit. Like the satyrs, they don't seem to move, you just involuntarily look away and suddenly they're somewhere else.

Giant Centipede
HD 8
AC Medium + Shield
ATK 1 "bite"
DMG 1d6+2 + saving throw or take 3d6 additional damage due to venom
HDE 12

The giant centipede regenerates 1d3 HP each turn unless burned.

This giant centipede has rubbery human-like flesh, and its legs end in bleeding stumps. Infantile human hands grow from the beast's back, twitching and grasping at nothing. Despite its horrifically disfigured limbs, it moves like a ballerina, dancing and spiraling gracefully. It has no mouth, yet somehow it manages to bite, making a wet slapping sound as it does so.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Sorry for the lack of posting recently

Hey, sorry for not posting in the past few days! I've been pretty busy with schoolwork, work work, and also have been suffering from a bit of writer's block. Due to all of this my poor brain has just been utterly fried, and all my creative endeavors have been going towards other projects. Tomorrow I should hopefully be posting the dungeon I promised 4 days ago (!), and soon after that I should be updating my house rules. Thank you for your patience!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Locations In Raven Hill

The Castle On Raven Hill

In The Real World
There is an actual hill in Raven Hill, confusingly also called Raven Hill. Atop this mound is a castle, once home to a local lord, but now long since abandoned. Sometimes teens explore the crumbling ruins, and legend has it that the ghosts of the castle's old guard still haunt its halls.

In The Fogworld
For the most part, the castle in the Fogworld is nearly identical to its real world counterpart, but there are a few key differences. For one, while its relatively easy to reach the castle in the real world, in the Fogworld there are countless obstacles preventing access, though these all can be broken through with effort. The second difference is the bell in the highest tower of the castle. In the real world, the bell has long since been removed and melted down, but in the Fogworld it still hangs, and tolls whenever the Fogworld transitions to the Otherworld and vice versa.

In The Otherworld
The castle is the center of the supernatural force that encompasses Raven Hill, and it shows in the Otherworld. What is a crumbling ruin in the Fogworld and the real world becomes a massive, intact structure of stone, iron, and flesh. The corridors of the castle change and twist as one travels through them, metamorphosing to torment intruders. At the center of the castle is the ultimate, final horror, the physical manifestation of guilt and regret. If it can be defeated, the town will let you go.


(Bran Castle, AKA the "real" Castle Dracula)

Lake Tacet

In The Real World
Lake Tacet is overlooked by Raven Hill, and fishing in the lake is a popular pastime for residents of the town. It is unusually misty, like most of the town, but there is nothing particularly odd about it. According to legend, there is some kind of serpent that dwells in the lake, called the Lake Tacet Dragon, but there has never been any proof of its existence.

In The Fogworld
The fogginess of the lake is amplified here, making it impossible to see very far ahead. Sometimes the lights of boats can be seen through the mist. There is something lurking in the water, something snake-like and monstrous, though what it is may change depending on who confronts it, to better inspire fear and guilt.

In The Otherworld
The lake is oily and black, less watery and more viscous. The ooze is corrosive, and constantly leaks a blackish smoke. Wretched piscoid things drag themselves from the muck, slowly melting as they approach their victims. Lights can still be seen in the smoke, but the vague outlines of the ships seem unnatural and impossible.



Corvum Prison

In The Real World
Raven Hill is a small town, so there isn't much need for a large prison. As a result, the prison is fairly small, and not particularly well equipped. There is an unusually high rate of prisoners escaping compared to other towns, but the locals don't fear, the escaped convicts never come back...

In The Fogworld
The prison is one of the most densely populated areas in the Fogworld, though that isn't saying much. It is profound guilt that draws people into the Fogworld, and as a result, prisoners are easy prey for the town. There tends to be at least a couple prisoners left alive in the prison, and there are many more corpses. Time can work differently in Raven Hill, so often the prisoners may have been trapped for years, despite only being arrested and "escaping" a few months ago. The prison is much larger on the inside in the Fogworld, becoming a maze of corridors, cells, and torture chambers.

In The Otherworld
When the bell tolls, Corvum Prison becomes a living hell. The walls become painful-looking masses of iron and barbed wire, rust and blood coats everything, and horrific monsters wander the halls. Many inhabitants simply hide when this change occurs, being too afraid to fight back.


(Image from Amnesia: The Dark Descent)

Other Locations In Raven Hill

Raven Hill's layout is purposefully left vague, especially in the Fogworld, where the town changes itself to best torment its victims, creating new places and deleting others. In the real world, it should remain relatively constant. For the town's regular inhabitants, nothing seems wrong at all. Sure, its a little more foggy than it should be, and convicts tend to escape a lot, but there's nothing paranormal going on. Generally, locations in the Fogworld should be subtly unnerving and wrong, but still recognizable as a possible real location, though it may bend the laws of physics a bit. However, the Otherworld is supposed to be completely hellish and alien, it should be difficult to tell what the place the player characters are exploring used to be.


(Image via Rebrn.com)

NEXT TIME: I hopefully actually write a usable dungeon for this setting.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Dungeon Crawls In Raven Hill

Below is an explanation of how I would go about running Dungeon Crawls in Raven Hill, my psychological horror mini-setting inspired by Ravenloft and Silent Hill, and first detailed in this post. I hope you enjoy!


(From Bloodborne)

Reasons For Exploring Such A Terrible Place
Exploring an adventure site in most areas is done for the purpose of finding gold, or perhaps a magical artifact. In the cursed town of Raven Hill, however, entering a "dungeon" is usually done for very different reasons.

Reason 1: Escaping The Town
Most of the time, people enter Raven Hill's Fogworld by accident, and have no desire to stay there. Thus, exploring dungeons is usually done to find some kind of way out. The town's Fogworld version is generally impossible to escape through natural means, with  roads leading off into a void, endless forests that loop back around to where one started, and giant walls of iron. Finding a way to escape the town usually involves performing some kind of ritual, usually with very specific components that are scattered about various locations. Thus, a party must explore the twisted depths of their own subconscious as Raven Hill tries its best to stop them from escaping, or kill them.

Reason 2: Confronting The Source Of Guilt
Sometimes, visitors to Raven Hill have nothing left to fear in life, and just want to face their guilt and be cleansed of sin. Such individuals who enter the town may not want to get out, but instead desire to reach the very heart of the haunted place, and face their worst fears. Those that take this path may die in the process, but if they survive the ordeal, and defeat the physical manifestation of their remorse, then they can be reborn as a stronger person, and the town will let them free.


(Barovia as depicted in Neverwinter)

Unnatural Architecture
Any dungeon should be a departure from the ordinary, but this goes doubly so with those in Raven Hill. The layout should seem subtly off, and traveling through a dungeon's corridors should be disconcerting. Doors could lead to the same room one just left, stairs leading down connect to a room on the same level, and vast open spaces may exist where none could be possible.

Sparse On Treasure, High On Tools
Gold coins, magic weapons, and other treasure should be rare, if included at all. When one delves into the unknown in Raven Hill, it is to find some form of key to unlock another location, eldritch knowledge to help one escape, or a way to the heart of the town to confront one's guilt. Due to this, gold is not a priority.

However, this isn't to say there shouldn't be anything to find. Cryptic notes, odd statues, keys that don't seem to fit anywhere yet, and improvised weapons may be found. Treasure in Raven Hill should help the party survive and progress, not just fill their pockets.

Using The Otherworld
Each room in a Raven Hill dungeon should have two versions; the Fogworld and the Otherworld. When the castle's bell tolls, the world changes, trading gray for red, and fog for rusted chains and grates. Doors that were previously locked are now opened, things that were once corpses become monsters, and keys that are needed to progress are found. The tolling of the bell could be random, say, occurring on a 1 in 6 chance each time the party enters a room, or it could only occur when a specific trigger is activated, such as picking up an item or defeating a monster. Generally, the Otherworld version of a dungeon should hold more enemies and traps that its Fogworld equivalent.


(From Silent Hill: Book of Memories)

NPCs Are Rare And Strange
Usually, I recommend having 1 NPC for every 10 dungeon rooms. In Raven Hill, decrease that to 1 NPC for every 20 or 30 dungeon rooms. Replace places that would normally have NPCs with cryptic notes, a corpse, or something else that fulfills a similar purpose to an NPC. The party should feel isolated and alone.

What NPCs are found should be very odd indeed. Anyone in Raven Hill is plagued by guilt, and is understandably under a lot of stress due to their environment. How people react, however, will vary from person to person. The individuals the party encounters should not be very emotionally stable, and conversations could rapidly turn to confrontations if one's words aren't chosen carefully.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Raven Hill: Guilty Conscience Generator

The innocent are not drawn to the fog-shrouded streets of Raven Hill, and even if they did chance upon it, the land would appear normal. No, the evil town craves only the souls of those who are consumed by guilt and remorse.

It is not necessarily "evil" that causes people to wander into town, for Raven Hill does not judge its visitors. A man who killed hundreds and believes his victims deserved what they got would never set foot in the Fogworld, but a man who failed to save his best friend's life and blames himself for their death would. It is guilt that the town craves, not sin.


(From Silent Hill 4: The Room)

Below are 4 random tables, intended for use by players while making characters to explore Raven Hill.

What is your sin? (d6)
1. You murdered somebody
2. Through your mistake, you let someone die
3. You betrayed someone close to you
4. You caused the corruption of something innocent
5. You disappointed the one you love most
6. You hid while something terrible happened, letting others suffer when you could have helped

How do you deal with the guilt? (d6)
1. You try your best to ignore it, you attempt to live a normal life
2. You indulge in decadent hedonism to distract from the pain
3. You are always on the move, never staying in one place for long
4. You turned to religion, and pray constantly for forgiveness
5. You've mostly blocked out the memory, though it comes to you sometimes in dreams
6. You constantly punish yourself in small, easy to hide ways

What is your reaction when confronted with the source of your guilt? (d6)
1. Rage
2. Numbness
3. Terror
4. Denial
5. Gallows humor
6. Anguish

Why did you come to Raven Hill? (d6)
1. You don't know, you simply woke up here
2. You've seen it in dreams
3. You're here on unrelated business
4. The source of your guilt happened here, long ago, and you've arrived to atone
5. Any road you take leads here, as if the universe is forcing you to confront your past
6. You've heard the town can wash away the guilt of sin


(From Silent Hill 3)

Friday, November 23, 2018

Goblins In The Holy Empire


(Image taken from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)

Goblins are not native to Urth, they arrived on this planet with the coming of the faeries. They are creatures made from fey magic, born of slime and blood, specially created for the invasion of Urth after demons invaded the faeries' home plane. After this invasion failed, and that faeries were driven into the forests of Urth, the goblins escaped their servitude, and have become the dungeon-dwelling creatures we know today.

Faeries are long lived and powerful, but don't have large populations. Even before the demonic invasion, the faerie population was quite small compared to humanity, and after their world was destroyed, their numbers dwindled even further. As a result of this, the foot soldiers of the faerie were made to reproduce quickly, trading quality of soldiers for quantity.

All goblins are capable of giving birth, and do so without any form of sexual reproduction. Goblins are born in large litters, and are capable of reproducing from as soon as they reach adulthood until their death. Their numbers usually do not grow too large however, for goblins are inherently violent creatures, and will war among themselves if there is no enemy to unite them.

Goblin lifespans vary wildly from strain to strain, with some specimens living a couple decades at most while others live for centuries. This is due, in part, to the extremely unstable genetics of goblins, resulting in wild mutations. These mutations are what created the other subspecies of goblins, also called goblinoids.

A typical, non-mutant goblin is a human-like creature standing at around 3 to 4 feet high, with red eyes, pointed ears, sharp teeth, and sharp nails. Most goblins are bald, but some have strands of wispy hair. Goblin clothing, armor, and weapons are either stolen, or made from whatever they can scavenge.

The following mutations/sub-species are documented and most well-known, but there are many more varieties lurking out in the wilderness:

Bugbears/Bogeymen
Unlike the typical goblin, bugbears are very large, and covered with thick hair, which is usually black, brown, or green. They are uncannily silent, and are known for sneaking into towns at night and killing and eating the settlement's sleeping inhabitants. In addition to their silence, bugbears are extremely agile and flexible, allowing them to squeeze into tight places a similarly sized creature would not be able to, leading to the legends of bogeymen underneath beds.



Kobolds
While most goblins live underground to some extent, kobolds are a subspecies which has adapted almost perfectly for life below the surface. Kobolds have extremely sensitive eyes, allowing them to see almost perfectly in the dark, and are even smaller than common goblins, allowing them to squeeze through even the smallest of cave entrances. They are very pale, and have a slightly scaly appearance.


(Kobolds as depicted in TSR's 1993 box set; Dragon Mountain)

Hobgoblins
Hobgoblins may, at first, simply seem to be extraordinarily tall goblins, with some specimens reaching nearly 6 feet in height. However, beyond simple physical differences, hobgoblins are also intellectually different from their smaller cousins. While not necessarily any smarter, hobgoblins have more restraint and patience, resulting in much less infighting and more cooperation. As a result, hobgoblins tend to be better organized and tactically aware than other goblins, leading devastating raids upon human villages.


(Hobgoblins as depicted in the 1977 Monster Manual)

Grindylows
Resembling frog-like goblins with long arms like gibbons, grindylows are an amphibious species of goblins that typically live in bogs and lakes. They are more animalistic than their brethren, and tend to spend most of their time lurking beneath the water, waiting for something (or someone) to approach the water so they can drag them down and drown them with their long arms.


(Image from the Ranklin Bass adaptation of the Hobbit)