Friday 26 May 2017

d40 Places where the Magic Weapon is found

The following table can be used to generate rumors and quest seeds for the location of magic weapons. Each could also be teased out to construct a dungeon room/receptacle for a magic weapon.

Roll a d4 and a d10, the magic weapon is:

Held at a mountain top monastery, surrounded by swirling snow and sleet. Prowling cats of pure ice protect the monks.
In the possession of a gang of goblins, they will reward it to the knave they deem vile enough.

Encased in stone, resting on the lap of an ancient frozen troll.
Laying peacefully in the center of a room filled with lethal gas.
Undigested in the gullet of swamp toad leviathan.
On a tiny, barren island, surrounded by never dispersing rolling fog.
In an airtight chest attached by chain to a slow rolling boulder the bottom of an ocean. The chest is monitored by merfolk.
The key power source for a rogue colossal automaton.
Shrunken, miniaturized and worn as jewelry by a wizard.
Hidden in plain sight at a basilica devoted to heroes and war.
Held in the dreams of a comatose wizard who dreams of the end of the world. Plucking the weapon from the dream will awaken the wizard.
Encased in the venerable roots of a primordial tree.
Present only in the reflection of an opulent, bejeweled mirror. Smashing the glass will free the weapon but destroy the mirror.
In the possession of a wizard who will exchange it for a dissertation on the most esoteric of creatures.
At the center of the black trunk of the blood tree. Requires copious amount of organs as sacrifice for the tree to flower the magic weapon.
Held in the center of the mirror sphere which will release the weapon in exchange for the potential new owner's soul.
At the bottom of a refuse filled lake at the end of an unholy stream that flows the wrong way.
Held by a floating court of sages, who reside in a golden craft of the sky. They measure the worth of a soul to see if the judged is worthy of the weapon, or of death.
In the center of a skeleton choked dead city, emanating  foul winds of wrath.
Chained in the center of dusty colosseum, protected by the ghosts that died there.
In a hidden grove, guarded by pacifist elves. The grove only reveals itself to those who renounce conflict.
At the bottom of a hill of half finished flesh scraps, the refuse of a whole forest of dire wolves.
Caught in the antlers of the largest stag of a ghostly herd that haunts a black forest.
At the center of an eternal twister, ever destroying a dusty desert plain.
On a minuscule island of ash in the center of a bubbling lake of molten  fire.
Presented to the singer of a cursed dirge that will bring a life of suffering.
Floating in the clouds at the top of a mountain attached to an ancient gigantic iron chain nailed to the bare rock.
Unguarded in a derelict and empty town house. Claiming the weapon marks the new owner as a training victim for a guild of assassins.
Sunk in the back of an enormous mythical avian, surrounding by an ever oozing wound.
At the center of a dungeon which is a map of the magic weapon itself. The dungeon is a test for those that would wield it.
In a pool of the most reflective water in all the land. Entering the water will birth a fiendish doppelganger.
The sole possession of nigh dead wyrm, decayed and rotted at the joints.
In a chamber beneath the ground, held next to its identical twin. Touching the wrong twin causes instant death.
Held, by an elaborate head band, between the  eyes of a basilisk type beast.
At the bottom of the deepest pit in the land.
Always behind the PC, just a single second back in time.
Used to hold the central banner of a warcamp of wasteland marauders.
Encased in the center of an incredibly fragile, incredibly holy relic. The only way to remove the weapon is to smash the relic.
The sole remaining possession of a dead hero, held by an ever weeping widow/widower.
Caught in a grill at the bottom of the fetid central drain of the city's disease ridden sewers.

Wednesday 24 May 2017

d40 Answers to "What happens to PC corpses once they've been killed by monsters?"

The following questions was asked on The Black Hack community "Anyone ever seen a random table determining what the monsters do with the beaten, unconscious, and/or dead bodies of the player characters?".

(Turns out +James V West has already written the following awesome d30 table:

I thought it was decent question so decided to write up my own table in answer.

What happens to PC corpses once they've been killed by monsters? 

Roll a d4 and a d10:

The utmost tender care is lavished on the bodies as they are ceremonially wrapped in soft linens and placed in a holy room. Alive the PC's were reviled, dead they are venerated.
Bodies wrapped in dignified cloth and dragged back in secret to the closest settlement of the PC's race. Left anonymously outside the gates, a token of penance left on each corpse.
Mummified, calcified or otherwise delicately preserved and transformed into a corpse lantern. Likeness of PC is kept, body is hollowed out and is a housing for burning oil.
Hung by sacred rope in the nearest room of worship. Corpses become focal point for the next few weeks ceremonies.
Heads are immaculately preserved, sliced in half then hollowed. Used as relatively sacred receptacles.
The magic casting caste of the monsters extracts the souls of the PCs, turning them into vengeful ghosts. The preserved skulls act as a spiritual anchor for the ghosts.
Bodies, once striped of all belongings, are burned to ash. Hanging manikins are constructed in windy regions of the monsters dwellings. Crude effigies of the PC's now jangle, clank and swing in the breeze.
Stored in man sized pots until the next storm. When the weather turns the pots and bodies are left at the edge of local precipices as offering to the storm gods.
Belongings and vestments are striped and stored. Corpses are placed in bubbling herbal vats for a week. Then shrunken corpses are worn as talismans on the neck of upper caste monsters.
Bodies are put into water filled pots then stored in the frozen lower reaches of the dwellings of the monsters. Once the water is frozen the pots are smashed and the frozen bodies are displayed in a gallery of ice covered corpses.
Local atmospheric magicks sees the flesh of the PC's body decaying and disintegrating at a highly accelerated rate. At the end of this d6 day process swirling miasma forms now haunt and inhabit the abandoned outfits and belongings of the party.
Resurrected poorly by the monster's priestly caste. All stats are re rolled using a single d6. PC re-awakens chained and bound for a re-unlifetime domestic servitude.
Striped and wrapped in heavenly gauze, draped in gemmed gold chains. Strategically placed around the monsters dwelling as trap bait.
The scholarly caste of the monsters record the PC's death in excruciating written detail. Drawings, samples, rubbings, diagrams from the bodies are all included in nearby pages. The corpses themselves are strewn in a ditch somewhere.
All blood drained slowly into a golden vat. Once empty of blood corpses are fed to monster's domestic beasts. Blood is combined with a highly potent alcohol and drunk by upper caste monsters. Brew is called "Hero's blood" or somesuch.
Eyes are removed and placed in damp waist hung sacks of the monster's priest caste. Sockets are filled with reflective orbs and sat at the entrance to the monster's dwellings. Priest caste monsters employ magicks to see out of these orbs.
Bodies tossed in the closest river, belongings and all. 25 % chance of washing ashore at nearest settlement.
Murderers of the party is called to explain their actions to a gathering of monsterkind. The belongings and bodies of the party are endlessly debated over, eventually divvy'd up fairly between many.
Bodies thrown in to pool of mild acid. After all organic matter is dissolved monsters with metal spatulas scoop up the undissolved remaining belongings of the party.
Bodies are locked in a wiry metal cage then dragged to the nearest settlement of the PC's race. Caged bodies are left at midnight as close as the town square as possible for the transporting monsters.
Corpse vine seeds are planted in the belly of bodies. Black vines will erupt from the rotted gut in 1d6 days and tangle about the corpse, then continue its creeping growth. This will either be done where the PC's fell or in an ever growing corpse vine forest.
A grand and glorious feast is announced. The PC's are of course the main dish!
Bodies abandoned the blue glowing "Chamber of Fungi" where corpse mushrooms feast on the parties flesh. 5% chance bodies are re-animated as flesh/fungi hybrid podmen.
Bodies are dismembered, then all limbs stitched together in to a jumbled mass. The magic casting caste of the monsters then re-animate the used parts of the party as a lumbering corpse spider.
Bodies fed to a great ever burning brass effigy of some molochian deity of the monsters.
Skin flayed and cured, flesh removed from bone. Small 1 man bone/skin leather tents made as "meditation pods" for monster priest caste.
Arms dismembered, cured and magically re-animated to endlessly grasp and claw. Grasping arms then installed as makeshift security devices around monster's dwelling. Rest of body roasted.
The murdering monsters, after extended pilfering, find some skerrick or clue that links the PC's death to the enactment of some long awaited prophecy. The corpses become relics in a fast exploding monster revolution.
Fed to a chained leviathan at the bottom of monster dwelling. Belongings pilfered by leviathan handler.
Bodies are dragged to the cyclopean work bench of a titanic quarry craftsmen. Crude, leering statues are made of they party 1d6 x the size of their original size. The hollow statues are placed over the top of the rotting corpses like a stone sleeve.
Skin flayed, cured and crafted into fetching robes for dapper upper caste monsters.
Bodies are placed in chambers of desiccation for 1d6 weeks then transported with the uttermost care to one of the dwellings entrance corridors. Once transported from desiccation chamber, bodies will crumble to dust with the slightest provocation.
Bodies are dragged to the bottomless pit at the deepest point of the monsters dwelling, then tossed in. 5% chance PC's will re-awaken in a lower metaphysical plane.
Bodies are added to an enormous, stinking graveyard chamber in the monster's dwellings. The chamber is behind a huge heavy rolling boulder, only moved by the strongest of entities.
The bodies are placed in the monster's "library of corpses", an entire cliff face/ravine or other sheer surface pockmarked with coffin sized indentations. PC's remains are slotted into an empty spot in the library.
PC's likeness is chiseled into the closest wall to the where they died. Corpse thrown onto a bonfire once chiseling is complete.
Monster magic casting caste sends the corpses to the person that most loved the PC. PC corpse is sent in 6 parts over 6 months. Generally the body parts appear in the bed of the PC's loved one at midnight.
Bodies dragged to the entrance of the monsters dwelling. Valuables pilfered. Minor desecration enacted then corpse left to rot as a warning to the next band of adventurers.
Shoved into niches in the darkest, shadow covered section of the monsters dwelling. Future sulking, sneaking invaders of the dwelling may unwittingly uncover them.
Left exactly where they fell, only given attention by bugs and bacteria.

Sunday 14 May 2017

Making a Dungeon, Part 3

I found a biology diagram and plan to turn it into a dungeon. I am going to document the process of turning the original diagram into a runnable/playable PDF and possibly/hopefully create a guide of sorts as I go. 

Part 2. 

Step 3: To do lists.

Broad, sweeping ideas for each dungeon zone were generated in Step 2. Now specifics must be written. Normally to stock dungeons for an ongoing campaign drawn out in a notebook, I'll used a slightly modified version of the Ad&d dungeon stocking d20 table. I'll jot down a T (for treasure), Trap, M (for monster) and NPC as the result comes up for each room. Once I work out what I need I'll generate some more ideas and write up the needed Treasure/Traps/Monsters and NPCS.

For this dungeon I want to write up Treasure/Traps/Monsters and NPCs for each zone before stocking the dungeon. As such I need a "To Do" list of all the stuff I need to write.

Luckily, a fantastic dungeon checklist exists here: 

So, what do I need?

As listed in the Goblin Punch checklist, I need: Treasure, Monsters/Foes, Traps, NPCs and Interesting stuff (what is interesting stuff? Stuff that isn't necessarily a trap but is above and beyond simple "dressing" - stuff that can be "interacted with" in the Goblin Punch parlance).

Additionally it would be great to have a thing that could generate fresh, interesting events inside of the dungeon (something to freshen it up on each visit and avoid it feelings static). Luckily, that also exists. From Dndwithpornstars: .

Basically, for each entity or group, you create a d20 of stuff that is implied by that entity/group. You roll on two tables and combine the results. Your brain should be able to smash the two concepts together/fill in the gaps and come up with something interesting. An "Entity table" for each zone would be nice to generate interesting quests and conflicts between the different groups in the dungeon.

Other things that I think the dungeon needs are: Doors, Rumors, Mundane Dressings and Hooks/Quests.

Further, things that I need to consider/write are: The area surrounding the dungeon (Random encounter table/scene generator/description/map), A stocking/re-stocking table, Overall description of the dungeon, Overall description of each zone and a guide on running the dungeon/any specific rules it needs. 

I feel like I've covered everything, but I'm sure more things will come up as I progress with the creation of the dungeon. This to do list seems like a good start though! The to do list will follow, broken down into an "overall dungeon" to do list, plus specific to do lists for each zone.

Overall dungeon to do list:

The area surrounding the dungeon (Random encounter table/scene generator/description/map).
A stocking/re-stocking table.
Overall description of the dungeon.
Overall description of each zone
Guide on running the dungeon/any specific rules it needs. 

The Church of Nephgantia's Bondage (The name for the whole complex): 

Magic affect table (Weird stuff should happen on each visit). 

Tazeem's Old Natural Bathhouse:

Entity Table
Mundane dressings.
Interesting Stuff. 

The Silent Walkway:

Entity Table
Mundane dressings.
Interesting Stuff. 

The Bloody Bank:

Entity Table
Mundane dressings.
Interesting Stuff. 

Saheeli's Scintillating Cathedral:

Entity Table
Mundane dressings.

Interesting Stuff. 

To Be Continued...

Wednesday 10 May 2017

Making a Dungeon, Part 2

I found a biology diagram and plan to turn it into a dungeon. I am going to document the process of turning the original diagram into a runnable/playable PDF and possibly/hopefully create a guide of sorts as I go. 

Part 1. 

Step 2: Ideas.

I like to get some broad ideas of what the dungeon is about before I start stocking it/begin thinking about specific details. I use random tables to help me get these ideas. Having some overall theme/motifs ahead of creating the details hopefully ensures that all the disparate dungeon elements seem  organically/logically related.

I prefer tables that give vague rather than specific results. Additionally, I prefer tables that combine more than one vague result. I think that gives your imagination the strongest, least restrictive springboard. I believe vague and broad table entries allow for deeper/more varied idea peculation, but obviously require you to work a bit harder to get there. For example: "Abandoned seat of power" allows a broader set of potential ideas than "A castle with no king".

For this dungeon I am going to lump together different results from a few separate tables and allocate them to the specific "zones" I identified in the previous post. I am also going to do the same for the overall theme of the dungeon. Hopefully some interesting ideas bubble up. Often in getting your mind to make really weird and seemingly impossible combinations work, you get the most interesting stuff.

Before I show the results, I'll discuss the tables I am going to use.

The first is my "Aspect table". I've been using this for a couple of years to modify/make things more interesting/get ideas when I need them. Generally I roll on the table twice and try to smoosh the ideas together then apply that to an aspect of the game (organisation, npc, monster, etc) to make it weirder. You roll a d4 and a d10 to get a result. I am going to that twice for each dungeon zone and for the overall theme.

Good, peaceful, kind
Holy, ordered, right
Light, illumination, enlightenment
Floating, peace, meditation
Air, empty, vacuum
Ethereal, wispy, ghostly
Wind, blowing, unseen mover
Storm,  rapid movement, speed
Tiny, shrinking, wasting away
Invisible, translucent, clear
Intangible, non corporeal, fading
Life, regrowth, rejuvenation
Value, gems, gold
Thought, philosophy, intellect
Internal organs, viscera, blood
Reflection, mirror, stillness
Water, cycles, karma
Equalization, law, justice
Cleansing, alkalizing, evaporation
Procrustean, rigidity, incarceration
Wildness, out of place, overgrown
Bestial, savageness, feeding
Nature, grove, peace
Chaos, disorder, mutation
Fire, explosions, heat
Destruction, rubble, ruin
Limbs, appendages, grasping locomotion
External action, destiny, prophecy
Monstrous, terrifying, abomination
Gargantuan, giant, enormous
Enveloping, enclosed, soft embrace
Straining, breaking, cracks
Deep, below, underground
Earth, soil, stone
Solid, mass, black holes
Time, dust, history
Evil, hate, pain
Profane, cruelty, desecration
Darkness, shadows, loss
Death, rot, decay

The second "table" is a brilliant resource that I've never actually used before. It's a "Magic: The Gathering" random card generator. You refresh the page and get a random magic card from the 23 year history of the game. You could really apply this to anything to get a constant stream of game ideas. I think you could even use it on the fly a random encounter table. I'm going to use it to get a nice meaty slab of idea for each zone in the dungeon!

The final table is my own "City Visual Generator". I am going to use it to get a little spark of visual idea for the dungeon zones, hopefully a hint of the architecture there. Currently the visual guide is focused on creating places in the a fantasy city, but maybe one day i'll make a purely dungeon visual generator...

I will generate the "ideas" and lump the results into the different dungeon zones. The dungeon zones I identified were:

  • A caverny, cavey, cliffy section to the south. 
  • Stone square dwellings mined into the the southern natural rock section.
  • Grander mined stone dwellings/palace section taking up the west side of the map. 
  • A central gauntlet of grave danger leading to "The Altar of the Nephron". 
  • Tunnels and secret entrances that linked up to this central gauntlet. 
  • The altar itself is fed from somewhere deeper/external. 
  • There is probably a throne room somewhere and some group is doing rituals and slipping in and out of the altar room.

Here's an updated, coloured version of the dungeon map grouping the different zones: 

Now for the results and initial thoughts: 

Very interesting results, clearly the central "altar" is used to control magic in some way (I'm imagining a random magical effect table whenever PC's enter the dungeon), Also very odd how the text and the image on the card seem to match up. The "altar" is the imprisoned biology of some larger (giant) entity. This magical control device is reaching out into the surrounding areas, adhering to the will of some important NPC. 

Hot baths and water ways, old and abandoned house in ornately carved natural stone. Natural hot springs gone to rot. Heating mechanics/water transportation is broke/malfunction leading to explosions of searing filth water. Slimy things swirling along the water ways. The slimy things are very old and know a great deal (maybe they listened and remembered the conversations of the ancient patrons of the baths, holding the knowledge of long dead patricians). 

 The random generator gods clearly liked the idea of the "central gauntlet of grave danger", bestowing it with the power of assassins. Rotting, decaying stone and brick comes up in both images - the poisons/acids in the gauntlet are so strong they are crumbling the rock (The words shrinking and wasting away re-enforce this). It is a silent, peaceful place - a cathedral of rock and death. 

Robed priests servicing the deadly gauntlet and storing scrolls in elaborate receptacles that are part of the architecture. Wealth scurried away in hidey holes. Wealth begotten by pain and hate - the recovered belongings of those that perish attempting the gauntlet. Priests are bound by some oath where they cannot directly attack interlopers, only arm traps and tricks.

The grand priestess appears! The palace church is clearly made of some magically woven biological material - the flesh of the giant being imprisoned. Very interesting that the architecture of the random visual generator seems to match the architecture behind "Saheeli Rai". The grand priestess can make copies of all those that enter her domain, perhaps replicate magic used near the altar. Her palace church is shifting, warping, constantly weaving itself to bend to her will.