Monday, 20 September 2021

A Land of Peace and Rot

 In my last post "How I Write Generators" I created a set of tables for an area generator as an illustrative example. Here are those tables in automated format. This post also includes an "Important Person Generator" for making either PCs or NPCs. I'm running all my games freeform/FKR at the moment, as such its all stattles (If you are looking for a freeform system/an introduction to freeform/FKR games check out my PWYW system "Kontext Spiel d6": https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/363342/Kontext-Spiel-d6 ). I imagine this game as a sort of on-going hexcrawl type scenario, the players endlessly exploring the Land of Peace and Rot - doing with that land what they will. If you wanted to add some more background to the areas you generate (History or Current Events) to make them more dynamic, use this: http://lizardmandiaries.blogspot.com/2021/07/the-automated-past-and-present-atomic.html . 

If you get some use out of these generators/the last post, or just liked them, I have recently set up Ko-fi account where you can pay whatever value you think is appropriate: https://ko-fi.com/mraston . 

Finally, before we get to the generators. Here is an illustrated an example of how I interpret the generator results that may be useful! 


A Land of Peace and Rot: 




























Saturday, 11 September 2021

How I Write Generators

Chris Mennell (https://linktr.ee/chrismennell) asked me to do a post about my methods for creating random tables/generators. Here it is! 

(Note: I use the terms tables/generators pretty interchangeably but in general a table is a list of random results and a generator is a combination of random lists). 

Why tables/generators? Some quick thoughts: 
  • They help you think up things that you wouldn’t think up otherwise by making you put together unusual combinations. This in turn makes your games more interesting because you will put in things in your games you wouldn’t otherwise (I know my games would just be filled with slugs and crystals and caves if I didn’t use random generators/tables). 
  • I think that the process of rolling on a few random tables (in the case of a generator) makes the thing you are generating come alive better in your brain better than if you just read about that thing as a simple table entry. The components all gluing together in real time makes it a bit more lifelike to play with. 
  • Using a generator rather than a premade thing makes the game interesting for the referee as new things come into being as they run/plan – rather than having everything prewritten. 
  • This one is a little woowoo but, in some ways I like generators as a divination tool – the game world is literally existing somewhere in the multiverse and the table is the crystal ball that lets you see through to that world.    

On to how I create generators. Some more thoughts: 
  • I’m always referring to my “Aspects” table, which is the “periodic table” of my generators. Having something like this is very useful because whatever topic you are making a generator or table for, it gives you a base guide for ideas. For example: I am going to make a generator for different landscape and need some ideas. I can go to the aspect table and use the d40 results there as ideas for 40 different places. Eg, “Death, rot, decay” = Charnel Grounds. “Darkness, shadows, loss” = Graveyard. “Value, Gems, Gold” = Bank or Mineral Deposit. I think its well worth creating your own periodic table of gaming motifs that works for you! (I explore this idea a little more in this post: http://lizardmandiaries.blogspot.com/2021/07/the-automated-past-and-present-atomic.html .
  • Having several tables in a generator gives you a lot more bang for your buck than a single table of results. You get weirder combinations and a lot more results for a lot less writing. Because of this I think its best to try and get the individual table results as broad and interpretive as possible (while still maintaining as much usability as possible). If things are too specific they won’t work with the other results on the other tables and that’s a waste. The other good thing about being broad is that you may interpret the table results differently on different days/when you are a different mood. Even more bang for your buck! Further, keeping things broad allows them to be interpreted differently in different contexts. “Earth, Stone, Soil” means a different thing if you get that result inside a building than if you rolled out in a city street, and different again if the result is rolled out in the woods.
  • Kind of straight forward but the more entries you have on the component tables of your generators the bigger the range of result you will get. 6 x 6 is 36. 6 x 6 x 6 is 216. 12 x 12 x 12 is 1728. 20 x 20 x 20 is 8000. 36 x 36 x 36 is 46656. 36 x 36 x 36 x 36 is 1,679,616! You get the idea.

Building the generator. Thoughts and example: 

  • Generally, I start with a base table. Whatever I am trying to make a generator for, I boil it down to its most basic component part. From there I can add different tables to warp that baseline thing. For a monster I want to know what its general shape is. This might be two tables – perhaps the same list but you roll twice and combine – giving you things like Chicken+Tiger or Snail+Elephant – this is a weirder and more monstrous and has more details for your brain to play with then just Chicken or Tiger or Snail or Elephant. Then I like to know the aesthetics of a thing – what is unique about the thing visually. Sticking with our Snail+Elephant we might roll Flame or Ice or Bones then we have Snail+Elephant+Flame for example. Finally, I would want a table that goes beyond just its visual appearance, what does this monster want, or what does it do, etc. The more details the better. Well, to a point, you don’t want the table too unwieldy that the details just overrule each other and the whole thing collapses in on itself in your brain. 4 or 5 results seems about right to me.
  • For the example structure for a generator, I’ve been in need of a basic hex stocker for a while now, so I shall use that.
  • Because I don’t have it in me to do a d40 tables for every part of the generator I have ripped one column from my aspect table and will use that as an inspiration for a bunch of d10 tables. Hopefully you can see how I used each of these as a base for inspiration in the other tables.   

Here are the tables I think would come together to make a nice hex or area generator: 

d10 Base area: The overall climate/region/biome/etc. Could possibly roll on this twice and combine the results for a more unique area. 

1. Misty, cloud capped mountains. 
2. Huge, thunderous, flowing river. 
3. Thick, enveloping, luscious jungle. 
4. Empty, desolate and echoing tundra. 
5. Frozen, snow filled arctic wasteland. 
6. Building and street filled town. 
7. Glassy, still and reflective lakeland. 
8. Crashing wave, cliff filled coastland. 
9. Ancient, dusty and long forgotten ruins. 
10. Dead lifeless tree and refuse filled rotland. 

d10 Area aesthetics: How does this area look different to other areas? You could roll on this table twice for more interesting/weird area. 

1. Glorious clouds, rays of blessed sunlight, calming golden fogs. 
2. Heavy rain, grey clouds, flooding, lightning. 
3. New growth or construction, fresh, glowing, young, vibrant. 
4. Shining, metallic, reflective, glass, clean, sterile. 
5. Mud, encasement, caught and captured by things overgrown. 
6. Warped, mutated, wrong, bizarre, things too big or small and infected. 
7. Wide open, clear vistas, stars, the horizon, vision. 
8. Broken, destroyed, collapsed, ruined, crevices, cracks.  
9. Dust, sand, aged, ancient, bones and fossils. 
10. Rotten, diseased, unhealthy, smoke, ash, skulls. 

d10 Area stocking: What is in this area? Roll twice on this table twice and combine to get a more lively area. 

1. A group of people.
2. Significant building or structure. 
3. Beasts. 
4. Significant vegetation. 
5. Something particularly unusual.  
6. Nothing. 
7. A group of people.  
8. Treasure. 
9. Beasts. 
10. Significant vegetation. 

d10 Area atmosphere: What is the vibe of this area? Again rolling twice would yield a more interesting result (but perhaps the combinations may be a bit too esoteric to be immediately useful. Peaceful war? Frozen regrowing?) 

1. Peaceful – all is calm.
2. At war – all is conflict. 
3. Regrowing – things are getting better. 
4. Repeating – things are caught in a loop 
5. Frozen – things are held in place. 
6. Chaos – all is disorder. 
7. Ominous – conflict is looming. 
8. Tense – things are close to chaos or conflict. 
9. Venerable – things have been here a very long time. 
10. Diseased – things are sick and dying. 

  • Further, just to ensure the generators usefulness I would include generators for each of the stocking results. For each unique stocking result I would have three or four  tables, Base, Aesthetics and Desire and/or Power . 
(I think I would roll twice and combine on all of these). 

d10 People Base: 

1. Religious order 
2. Explorers 
3. Farmers 
4. Philosophers
5. Soldiers 
6. Chaos cultists 
7. Prophecy seekers 
8. Destroyers 
9. Historians 
10. Illness carriers 


d10 Structure Base:

1. Stupa 
2. Mill 
3. Farm 
4. Tower 
5. Fortress 
6. Laboratory 
7. Church 
8. Mine 
9. Library 
10. Graveyard 

d10 Beast Base: 

1. Jellyfish
2. Crow
3. Snake 
4. Cat
5. Spider 
6. Amoeba 
7. Bear 
8. Porcupine 
9. Beetle 
10. Fly 

d10 Vegetation Base: 

1. Lotus 
2. Weeds
3. Flower
4. Mushroom
5. Vines 
6. Cacti 
7. Trees
8. Roots 
9. Huge trunk trees
10. Mould 

d10 Treasure Base: 

1. Cushion
2. Potion 
3. Sapling 
4. Mirror 
5. Amulet 
6. Blessing
7. Armour 
8. Weapon 
9. Book
10. Relic 

Detail tables for bases: 

d10 Aesthetic:  

1. Golden fog and enveloping cloth.  
2. Wet grey damp and leather.   
3. Green tendrils and fresh things.  
4. Reflective, malleable metal. 
5. Rusted, cumbersome metal.  
6. Tuberous growths and weird patterns. 
7. Spikes and spines. 
8. Cracks, rags and tatters. 
9. Venerable, grand and ornate. 
10. Bones and rot. 

d10 Desire: 

1. To have Peace everlasting. 
2. Constant movement and novelty. 
3. Constant reproduction. 
4. To have others understand them. 
5. To capture others (to enslave, eat, etc). 
6. To constantly warp and corrupt other things. 
7. To ensure order and things foretold are maintained. 
8. To destroy everything. 
9. To record and know all things. 
10. To bring death and disease. 

d10 Power : 

1. Calm and stupor inducement. 
2. Speed and swiftness. 
3. Life giving and regrowing. 
4. Reflection and mimicry. 
5. Capturing and freezing. 
6. Burning and changing. 
7. Foreseeing and far sight. 
8. Breaking and slicing. 
9. Remembering and recalling. 
10. Killing and silencing. 

Combine everything and you should a little interesting to have some adventure in! Note: Use the “Atmosphere” table to get some insight on the stocking results. Further, I would highly recommend “automating” any tables/generators you use in HMTL using this posthttp://meanderingbanter.blogspot.com/2018/09/automatic-list-to-html-translator.html

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Super Hero RPG Released!

 A freeform Superhero RPG inspired by the Free Kriegspiel Revolution!

Super simple d6 based rules and plenty of tables and generators to fill your game with heroes, villains, places, organisations, goons, missions and more! Includes HTML files with fully automated versions of all of the tables in the PDF to make generating game details happen with the click of a button!

Includes d66 tables and generators for:

  • Superpowers
  • Weaknesses
  • Appearance
  • Backstory
  • World history
  • Current events
  • Organisations
  • Missions
  • Twists
  • Places and areas
  • Goons
Get it here (it is PWYW!): 

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Super Hero World Generator!

 Following on from this post: https://lizardmandiaries.blogspot.com/2021/08/super-herovillain-generator-freeform.html Here is the "Referee's Guide" for A Super Hero RPG. 

Suggested Story Arc / Set up for A Super Hero RPG campaign: 

  • The Setting: The Referee uses the “What is the Backstory of this Super Hero world?” generator to sketch out some details of the campaign world. They may also like to use the “Place Generator” to map out some places in that world then use the “What is happening in this Place of the Super Hero world?” to find out interesting things that are happening there. 
  • Prelude: Players each generate a Super that they like and want to play. A quick solo session with each Super using the “Mission Generator” might serve as the origin story of each Super. These missions may happen in the places generated by the referee earlier. 
  • Missions: The Referee generates three missions using the “Mission Generator”. They can use the “Organisation Generator” and “Place Generator” to flesh out details for these. The “Area Stocker” can be used by the Referee to see what are in specific areas within a place. 
  • Mission 1: The team of super heroes that the players are controlling get together to attempt an important mission! An antagonistic opposing Super is introduced in this mission (the Referee can create a Super by using the same method the Players use) but is not directly confronted. 
  • Mission 2: At some point in this mission a twist takes place! The Referee can use the “Twist Generator” for this. Again the opposing Super is not directly confronted. 
  • Mission 3: At some point in this mission the opposing Super is directly confronted (and hopefully defeated by the players). 
  • The End: Hopefully the Supers have learnt something about themselves and others on their team and they are ready to face the next challenge! 
The Automated Super Hero World Generators: Click the buttons to get the details you need! If you want the raw tables you can find the document here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MlgTjjmmnuni8oaT5Efdzx0PkcBxgsid22rJ0Pnazzg/edit?usp=sharing (I shall also attempt to put it all together into a PDF at some point in the future). Enjoy! 






























Monday, 23 August 2021

Super Hero/Villain Generator + Freeform Super d6 Rules!

 I saw The Suicide Squad (the new, 2021, one) and liked it so much I wanted to run a superhero game for the first time in my life! Here is what I came up with! 

I'll start with the Super Hero/Villain Automated Generator because its a lot of fun to play with....

Creating a Super:

A player creates a Super by randomly rolling either:

  •  1 Major super power, 2 minor super powers and a weakness or,
  •  1 major super power and 1 minor super power or, 
  • Any combination the Referee deems appropriate for their game! 

These powers can be from the Hero Or Villain super power tables as the players see fit (or the Referee may deem only one or the other be used in their game). 

A Super is very powerful in their Major power, and powerful in their minor super powers.   

  • The player may then roll twice on the appearance tables to give their Super a random appearance (or decide the Super’s appearance based on their powers). 
  • Finally, a player may roll on the backstory table to give their Super a random backstory! 

The Referee and Players extrapolate what skills, possessions and bodily attributes a Super would have from their powers, weakness and backstory. Further, what types of actions would be possible by the Super and how Easy or Hard they would be to achieve via a Conflict Test, is also extrapolated from these. 

The player writes down any additional important details relating to their Super as they play (new possessions, injuries, specific skills, etc).

Inventory can be handled by the Referee judging what is appropriate for a Super to carry. Determining whether a Super already has some specific, but related to their description, item in their possession can be determined by a Conflict Test.

• “Levelling up” or Super improvement is achieved by the player adding additional defining word/s to their PC on their Character Sheet. This word should be derived from the actions the PC took in the session and with the agreement of the Referee.














Now, onto the rules! 

How to Play:

  • One player is the Referee, the other players will each control a Superhero or Supervillain.
  • The Referee will describe the imaginary world explored by the Supers, and determine the result and impact of their actions. Importantly, the Referee will determine the result of any Conflict Tests conducted by the other players.
  • The Referee’s role is to ensure the game world presented to the other players is interactive, dynamic, interesting and dangerous.
  • The Referee is free to interpret and present the imaginary world as they see fit, but it is important that this is consistent and that concrete consequences for the PC’s choices and actions are enacted.
  • The Super’s role is to have exciting and interesting adventures. 

Conflict Tests:

If an entity attempts to do something of consequence in the game world (and it is possible for them to do so), or comes into conflict with another entity in the game world, roll a d6:

  • If a Player/Referee can argue them; add situational bonuses of +X to the roll.
  • If the Player/Referee can argue them; add situational penalties of –X to the roll.
  • Easy Test: If a Super/Aspect of Reality is in a very likely position to win the conflict/test, they can roll twice and use the highest result.
  • Hard Test: If a Super/Aspect of Reality is in a very unlikely position to win the conflict/test roll twice and use the lowest result.

Moments:

When needed (for example during combat lasting more than a single Conflict Test), events in the game can be played out in Moments.

  • The Referee determines the order in which entities (Supers and other characters/creatures/objects/etc in the game world) act. Then each entity has a moment to do something. Any conflict in these moments is resolved with a Conflict Test. This cycle of moments is repeated until the conflict/tension is over.
  • In the game world a Moment is only a few seconds long - The Referee rules what exactly an entity can get done in a Moment, ensuring they are fair and equitable to all involved.
  • The specific order in which entities act out their Moments may be determined by the Referee’s interpretation of the situation and the attributes of the entities involved, or Conflict Tests between entities to determine who will act first.

Damage and Death:

The Referee contextually judges when an entity (Super or other characters/creatures/objects/etc) is damaged from a conflict, the impact of this and the possibility of their death/destruction.

  • Any injuries received by a PC must be noted on their Character Sheet. The Referee must be made aware of any injuries a PC has before they make any subsequent Conflict
  • Tests, so appropriate penalties can be applied. The Referee should make similar notes for any injured pertinent entities.

A suggested, but not necessary, system for tracking injuries/simulating the chaos of combat is as follows:

If hit an entity rolls a d6 to determine where they were struck:

  •  1 - 2 = Legs
  •  3 = Torso
  •  4 - 5 = Arms
  •  6 = Head

The referee can then extrapolate the impact of a wound in that area.

  • Taking too many hits in the same location (2 or 3 depending on the location and the weapon) will result in death. 
  • The Referee must contextually judge how weapons and armour worn may affect the outcome of a Conflict Test.

Super Rules: 

There are two specific types of entities in A Super Hero RPG, Supers and Goons. 

  • Supers are beings with super powers and Goons are pretty much anything else! 
  • If a Super is rolling a Conflict Test against a Goon (or a group of Goons) they always roll at least two d6’s (more if the Referee deems it) and use the best result. 
  • A Super will always overcome/defeat/kill a Goon with a single successful Conflict Test.
  • When rolling a Conflict Test against a Goon, if a Super rolls doubles of any number the Referee gives that Super a rating from 2 - 6 based on  how powerful they are in the realm relating to the Conflict Test (Combat, battle of wits, hacking, etc). The Super then rolls a single d6 and times the result by their rating, they then overcome/defeat/kil that number of Goons with a single test (Alternatively, the Super could use the original double number they rolled as the multiplier).  
  • If a Goon is rolling a Conflict Test against a super they always roll at least two d6’s (more if the Referee deems it) and use the worst result. When rolling a Conflict Test against a Super, a Goon will generally not cause any major or lasting damage to a Super unless they roll doubles (and also pass their test). Generally it takes double 6’s for a Goon to slow down a Super (and several double 6’s to kill them!).  

Thursday, 19 August 2021

The Frozen Slime Palace


A friend and I are working on an android app version of the The Generic Room Stocker. Its designed to quickly generate random fantasyish places for tabletop adventure games. I thought I would give it a whirl to show how it works and how easy it is to put together a place for your game. I gave the locale four rooms to avoid me spiraling off into writing a mega dungeon. Here is the "Frozen Slime Palace" - whack it on a hex map somewhere! 



Assume large arch ways connect each room (made of ornately gold gilded frozen slime). 

Room 1: 

The gravity in this room is reversed and the thawing slime drips up to the  domed ceiling in green, wet stalagmites. Half formed faces and skulls bob and leer and appear and disappear, upside down, in the slime walls. Several cages of hardened (frozen) slime, protrude from the domed ceiling - skeletons and rotting dead men in these. 

A green statue of an armored man stands the right way up, surrounded by the up dripping slime - totally still. Gold circuitry runs across its form. Once interlopers enter the room it will smash them silently with green marble fists. When a punch is landed a bladed tube enters the target's flesh and begins to sap them of their internal fluids.  

As the statue attacks interlopers the up dripping stalagmites of slime coalesce into firm tentacles that attempt to grasp intruders and place them in the ceiling cages. 

Room 2: 
A dome of frozen green slime. Large tables made of this same slime emerge from the floor. On each table is a glowing map of  a specific area or building from the region. The map is chiseled directly into the table - hewn of frozen slime. A golden face on each table intones details about the map in a robotic voice. 

A knight in black carapace armour studies one of the maps, discussing routes and details chattily with a map table's golden face. He leans on his huge barbed, insectoid looking lance and his massive rhino-beetle mount trundles around the room. If disturbed the knight will regale interlopers of his quest to rescue a larval damsel from waspian ruffians in nearby hivecliffs. He would appreciate companions on this task...  

Room 3: 

A hut sized pot of green frozen slime marble hangs from the dome of this room by emerald chains. The pot is overflowing with a jungle of slime vines and flowers in a rainbow explosion of colours. The foliage creeps up the chains and coats the domed frozen slime ceiling and dangles down over the sides of the pot. Huge golden script covers the visible part of the pot not covered in slime vines. 

The flowers emit no scent, instead whispering a muttering of many indecipherable voices. If approached the slime vines will reach out to interlopers. If left the vines and flowers will wrap around an interloper, the muttering whispers overwhelming them. After a few moments of vine foliage embrace the interlopers consciousness will leave their body and will be able to float high into the air, astral projecting.  This process is useful for surveying the nearby region.   

Room 4: 


Columns of clear, green tinged, frozen slime fill this domed room. Floating within each are fist sized metal boxes of ornate gold. 

Touching the frozen slime columns with the circuit covered marble of the statue from room 1 makes the slime soft and malleable - allow the extraction of the gold boxes. When placed on a flat surface the boxes miraculously unpack into three dimensional metal maps of random regions of the world, incredibly realistic and accurate.