Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Machete Slingshot!

Should this be stated as a bladed weapon, a bowed weapon, or a catapult?

Name It & Stat It Challenge 1!

  1. Jellyfish parasite Hyperia galba

  2. Skeleton shrimp Caprella septentrionalis

  3. Nereis virens head (Polychaeta)

I was reading my morning news feeds this morning and came across these photos by Alexander Semenov.

I suck at writing stats blocks and descriptions, so I'll leave those up to you! Leave your stats and description in the comments box, and I'll pick my favorite for each to post below each picture.

Here's an Interesting Google Search:

Try this using Google: +pdf

You'll be amazed at what turns up.

edit: here's scottsz's suggestion as a link: +adventure +pdf

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Google, It Likes Me

Right now, if you search for the word "rended" on Google, this site is the first non-dictionary hit.

I feel smug.

Dungeon Generators & Dice Rollers

By now, most of us who claim affiliation with the OSR know about Dave's Mapper, the nifty map generator that uses geomorphs created by a variety of bloggers in the OSR blogosphere. It's a cool tool that's only getting better as more folks submit their geomorphs and Dave plugs away at expanding the options.

And maybe you've also seen the Dire Press d20 Random Dungeon Generator. Or the Dizzy Dragon Dungeon Generator. Or the Myth-Weaver Dungeon Generator. Or all the goodness at Djerv's Graveyard, where Djerv has not only dungeon generators, but a nice set of other adventure generating tools.

But did you know that Wizards of the Coast tried to jump in the fray, too? Here's the old dungeon generator at their site. It's functional, but the fan-created stuff is much more impressive.

And if you dig around on the WotC site, you can also find a dice roller, along with the necessary files to run it offline locally from your hard drive. Some random guy on the internet took these files and cobbled them together to make a Dashboard Widget for the Mac. This works well on Mac OS X 10.4.11 (Tiger) for those of us stuck on older machines.

And also in the dice rolling arena, I stumbled across this application for us Mac users: bones. It's a pretty nifty piece of software. I heartily recommend you download it and play around with it.

I know that the technology focus is shifting to iOS and all the groovy apps for your iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touches, but some of can't afford these news toys, which is why I always keep my eye open for these sorts of software tools.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

d30 Table: What's in the Closet?

The following is declared Open Game Content:

d30 Table: What's in the Closet?

The hardy adventurers have cleared the room. But there's that closet over there. Maybe the door is locked, maybe it isn't. A listening check reveals no sounds emanating from behind the door. So, what's inside?

1. 300 pairs of women's footwear in assorted styles and sizes.

2. What appears to be the bones of 100 separate skeletons, disassembled. If the PCs pick up even one bone, all 100 skeletons will automatically assemble into a single huge bone skeleton which will challenge the PCs to a game of checkers.

3. An extremely hungry honey badger.

4. A brick wall. Taking out 1d8 bricks allows the PCs to peer behind the wall, where they will find a cask of sweet wine and the skeletal remains of a harlequin (the skeleton is not animated).

5. A small box covered in pale pink leather. The box will give off a pale purple glow if Detect Evil or Detect Magic is cast. The leather is made from human skin. Inside the box is a red armband with an ancient occult symbol embroidered in black. Anyone who puts on the armband will experience an immediate, permanent alignment change. There is no save. Roll 1d4: 1-2 = alignment change to Chaotic Evil; 3-4 alignment change to Lawful Evil. Characters already of evil alignment will instead be transported to the nearest Cult of Orcus, chained to the altar during the middle of a sacrificial rite.

6. A bundle of lavender branches.

7. A Helm of Everseeing.

8. A goat, a cucumber, six goblins, and a flask of lamp oil.

9. A one-eared black cat. The cat is wearing a white collar studded with emeralds. If the PCs attempt to catch the cat by force, the cat will shapeshift into a 15th level Witch and start casting spells. If the PCs treat the cat nicely, it will cough up a hairball the size of a halfling's fist. Inside the hairball is a Ring of Protection from Evil.

10. A monkey playing the bagpipes. The entire inside of the closet, including the backside of the door, is soundproofed with a three-inch-thick layer of cork.

11. The closet is packed floor to ceiling with ancient tomes. There is a 1 in 20 chance that one of them is the spellbook of Bartleby de Scrivenaire, founder of the School of Slack Magic. The pages are all blank.

12. A wind cougar.

13. Appears to be empty. Stepping into the closet teleports the PC off map to a 5x5 windowless room filled three feet deep with human waste. Flame-based light sources have a 50% chance of igniting the room in a roaring fireball due to methane build-up. Protruding from the ceiling are two metal, T-shaped bars. Pulling on one bar teleports the PC back to the closet. Pulling on the other makes the waste in the room begin to drain out of the room (there's a 6-inch drain in the floor). Pulling on both bars at the same time makes the walls begin to move in at the rate of one foot per minute, causing the depth of the waste to rise if it has not yet drained. Once the walls meet, they move back to their original position.

14. The remains of a fire. In the ash are a granite spearhead and a handful of flint flakes.

15. Two mage robes, one in bright purple, the other in a hideous yellow. Putting on the purple robe makes a PC shrink to the size of a halfling. Putting on the yellow robe makes the PC grow to the size of a troll. The effect wears off after 1 round. If the robes are taken out of the room where the closet is located, they immediately burst into flame, leaving only ashes behind.

16. A tin can with the words "CAN OF SNAKES" written on the label. The can is empty. However, every 6 hours for 6 days, a common garter snake crawls out of the owner's pack. On the seventh day, the can's label changes to read "CAN OF BUGBEARS".

17. An incredibly inaccurate map wrongly detailing the challenges the adventurers will soon face.

18. A very uncomfortable Fire Giant contortionist.

19. A hungry grue.

20. A bay unicorn gelding.

21. A holy symbol of the deity of good vandalized with a Symbol of Pain. Anyone touching the item must make a Save vs. Paralysis or suffer 1d6 permanent reduction to WIS.

22. Sir Bob Geldof. Same stats as a ghoul if shaven, as wraith if not.

23. The entire closet seems filled with a gelatinous cube. It's just green, lime-flavored gelatin with chunks of elf floating in it.

24. A scroll of paper (think size of a roll in a paper plant). Anyone touching it must Save vs. Disease or take 1d12 damage due to a massive paper cut.

25. 1,000 rabid rats.

26. A rabbit and a top hat. The top hat is made of the finest silk, but is non-magical. There's a 25% chance the rabbit is a phase rabbit.

27. What appears to be a normal human eyeball. Anyone picking it up must make a Save vs. Spells or be struck by a Stinking Cloud.

28. A wooden cane concealing a sword -2 disguised as a sword +1 disguised as a sword +2.

29. Nothing.

30. #25, #20, #15, #10, & #5.

New Magic Item: Helm of Everseeing

The following is declared Open Game Content:

Helm of Everseeing

Rumored to have been made by dwarves in the first age, this rough-hewn helm of blackest iron is heavy, unwieldy, and has a bad habit of slipping over the wearer's face during combat. Through some ancient magical enchantment, when the helm does cover the wearer's face, vision is not obscured and the face is protected from an opponent's weapon. However, due to the abrasive nature of the helm's components, the wearer suffers 1 HP of scraping, bruising damage to the face and -1 to CHR each time this happens. It is rumored that only five of these helms have survived to the present age, most of them owned by exceedingly ugly warriors.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Random Table Contest Announced on the ODD74 Forum

Over on the ODD74 forum, the guys at Fight On! and Ian of Magician's Manse have announced a Random Table Contest.

It appears that Ian's Book of Vile Randomness project has been Polymorph Other-ed into the "Fight On! Big Book of Tables (or whatever we eventually decide to call it)." This is cool news indeed.

The even cooler thing is how prizes will be awarded: a Random Prize Table!

I've already fired off my entry, which consists of three tables from this blog (and I ain't saying which ones).

Of course, this also puts the fire under my butt to turn The Conclave of the Order of the d30 compilation into a PDF sometime soon. I've been deluged with grading the past two weeks, so maybe I can churn it out by early next week.

List of Woodland Encounters

Daddy Grognard put out the call for a community project to build a table of non-monster woodland encounters. Here are the ones I suggested in my comments on that post. Some made it onto the table, some didn't.

The following is declared Open Game Content:

A heavy tree limb falls from the surrounding forest canopy. Make a DEX check; rolling lower than DEX means the PCs didn't get out of the way and got smashed by the branch. Roll 2d12 for damage (because they ain't called widowmakers for nothing!).

Animal Graveyard
The dense forest opens to sparser ground with younger trees and overgrown grasses. Scattered everywhere underfoot are the bones of all sorts of forest creatures, from field mice and voles to bears, wolves, and elk. Most lie intact, where they fell. There is no way to move around or through the area without stepping on bones. None of the skeletons are animated, but the careful explorer might discover a Unicorn skeleton with an intact horn (which can heal wounds and cure poison) among the dead.

Sword in a Stone
What appears to be an ancient sword, driven to the hilt in a large stone. Both the sword and stone are covered with lichen and mosses. Clearing away the layers of growth will reveal faint, worn runes from a long-dead language carved around the stone's circumference. PCs with knowledge of arcane languages will be able to decipher the message to read "As this stone is to the earth, this sword is to the stone." There is no way to remove the sword from the stone.

If a PC traces the runes with his or her fingers as the message is spoken (in the original tongue), the stone will levitate ten inches off the ground for 1d4 rounds. Under the stone are the crushed remains of three adventurers; what little rotted clothing remains indicates they came from different time periods. A rotted purse contains 10cp, 45sp, and 15gp.

If a PC is caught beneath the stone when the levitation ends, they must make a successful DEX check, or suffer 2d6+12 points of crushing damage. If they roll a critical miss, then the PC must Save vs. Death. A successful save results in 2d8+12 points of crushing damage.

Disturbed Graves
The PCs stumble upon a series of 1d8 ransacked cairns on the edges of the path. Each cairn is roughly human-sized, and the human remains are either missing, half-pulled from cairns, or dismembered and scattered about the underbrush. It appears to be the work of vandals or grave robbers more than the work of animals, although the remains show evidence of animal teethmarks. Nothing of value remains in the cairns or on the bodies.

There is a 10% chance the PCs accidently stir up the ghost of one of the dead. The ghost will beseech the party to rectify the damage to the graves.

If the PCs decided to re-inter the dead (at the ghost's behest or not) and perform a funeral rite, an emaciated terrier wearing a red collar will emerge from the underbrush and sit next to a cairn. Hanging from its collar is an emerald worth 3d30gp. The dog is friendly, and will allow the PCs to feed and pet it. However, once the PCs remove the emerald, the dog will disappear into the woods, never to be seen again.

In the middle of a clearing is a white gazebo. Inside the gazebo is a table and four chairs. Upon the table is a fancy teapot, a lamp, a gold key, and a tinderbox. On the ground are a brick, a violin, a ruby worth 10gp, a gold piece, a wax seal kit, a small gold crown encrusted with jewels totaling 700gp, and a short sword. If the PCs attempt to enter the gazebo or take any of the items, the gazebo attacks.

The PCs progress is stopped by a 2d100-foot deep sinkhole that is 3d20+10 feet wide. There is a 5% chance the sinkhole is the opening to a cavern complex.

Doored Tree
The PCs spot a large tree with a three-foot-tall door mounted in its trunk. Above the tree is a hand-made sign with the name “Mr. Sanders” carved into it. If the PCs open the door, they will find a small, sparsely decorated room containing 3d6 pots of honey.

Poacher Camp
In a small clearing the PCs discover an abandoned poacher encampment. Hanging from the trees are several rotting animal carcasses, stripped of their hides, antlers, teeth, claws, etc. Flies swarm the area, and the carcasses are crawling with maggots and grubs. The ground is trampled and splattered with blood. There are collapsed tents, broken equipment, and large, hand-sized stones scattered around the camp. Trees around the outer edges are smashed and flattened, as if some large creature tore through the area. No tracks or footprints are visible. The rotting remains of two mules, their carcasses obviously gnawed on, can be found 100 yards away. The stones around the camp's fire are engraved with strange runes, and the burnt remains of something rubbery and tentacled can be found under the ash.

The PCs notice they've passed the same tree three or four times. The tree will continue to "follow" them for 1d8 rounds/turns (DM choice). Casting Detect Magic will make the tree glow with a bright green aura.

Forgotten Garden
The PCs stumble upon the remains of what was once a lush and beautiful topiary garden. The trees, bushes, and shrubs are all shaped into the forms of animals and monsters--badgers, bears, griffins, manticore, centaurs, sphinxes, kobolds, gnolls, etc--but are clearly overgrown and have not been trimmed for quite some time.

Creeping throughout the garden, entwined through all the shaped plants, is a Tantalus Vine (see comment from C’nor on this post).

There is a 5% chance this is the Garden of the Hag Queen.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Magic Item: Vudu Gumdrops

The following is declared Open Game Content:

Vudu Gumdrops

Named after their inventor, the hobbyist alchemist Vudurann the Confectioner, Vudu Gumdrops appear to be normal licorice gumdrops, either opaquely white or sparkly black in color.

If a character places a Vudu Gumdrop in his mouth, it immediately dissolves and the character must make a Save vs. Paralysis or be paralyzed for 1d6+3 days.

During this time period, the character will appear to be dead, his heartbeat and breathing slowed to a nearly imperceptible rate. The character retains all senses, but is unable to react to external or internal stimuli. The character’s eyes remain open, and resist being drawn closed by others.

At the end of the paralysis, the character must make a Save vs. Disease or be plagued with severe, gut-wrenching constipation for 1d4 days, and suffer a temporary -5 to all attributes. At the end of this time period, the character has a huge cleansing of the bowel at an inconvenient moment.

Vudu Gumdrops are prized by assassins and fetch a hefty price on the black market.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

d30 Table: What's In That Hole?

The following is declared Open Game Content:

d30 Table: What's In That Hole?

There's a hole. It's not portable. What's in it?

1. Three feet of frayed rope.

2. A dozen hard boiled duck eggs.

3. A teeny-tiny Earth Elemental smoking a cigar.

4. Magical dirt.

5. A tub stopper. If pulled from the hole, the entire room begins to spin down the drain.

6. A pair of men's size 12 snowshoes.

7. A sack of sacking.

8. A kamikaze chicken.

9. A lute string and a roll of twine.

10. A shriveled lemon, a sealed vial of molasses, and half a loaf of moldy, stale bread.

11. Twenty-four bent and rusted iron spikes.

12. A pig skeleton.

13. Twelve singed harpy feathers.

14. A silver locket. Opening the locket reveals a tiny picture of one of the members of the party being beheaded by a yellow-draped, faceless figure wearing a crown of thorns.

15. A bag of lavender-scented bath salts.

16. A ham bone and a bag of dried beans.

17. Two inches of salt water and twenty seven dead slugs floating on the surface.

18. Nothing. Jumping in the hole teleports a PC ten feet behind the rest of the party, completely nude and missing all non-magical weapons & possessions. If/when the party goes back to town, they find all missing belongs for sale at steep markup at the local fence.

19. The melted remains of a shovel head.

20. The decaying remains of a Kobold's head. If Speak with Dead is cast, the Kobold will reveal nothing more than that his name was Fred and all he wanted was another piece of bacon. Placing a piece of raw or salted bacon inside the remains of Fred's head will make item #14 fall out of his eye socket.

21. A Gorgon's fingernail embedded in a shattered mirror.

22. Hundreds of thousands of tiny white pebbles. Three of them are pebbles +20 against Giants & Ents.

23. A tumbler of ale, sealed with wax, upon which is embossed the seal of the ruler of the kingdom.

24. A cute little baby Purple Worm. His name is Stanley. He wants his mommy. She's dead. He doesn't know.

25. An illuminated, leather-bound edition of Hemingway's The Old Man & The Sea printed on the finest vellum of the realm, translated into Orcish. There are lewd drawings and obscene marginalia on some of the pages.

26. Three wooden lug nuts.

27. A potato that resembles a local deity.

28. A palm-sized salt block, a child's copper ring, an ivory haircomb, and roll again on this table.

29. An oversized, one-clawed, normal crab waving a cleaver.

30. Two hundred feet of finely spun sheep's wool that smells like asparagus-infused urine.

New Minor Magical Item: Magical Dirt

The following is declared Open Game Content:

Magical Dirt
Indistinguishable from normal dirt except it gives off a magical aura when subjected to Detect Magic. Highly allergenic to gnomes and dwarves, causing 1d4 days of watery, itchy eyes. Otherwise has no special effects or powers.

Six Magic Sacks

The following is declared Open Game Content:

Six Magic Sacks

Sack of Sagging
Placing an item in this sack immediately makes the sack sag from the holder’s hand to the floor, regardless of the size of the item or the size of the holder. The sack becomes extremely heavy and must be dragged with both hands across the floor.

Sack of Lies
Every time this sack is opened, a hoarse voice begins spouting mistruths about the bag’s owner. Otherwise, it functions as a normal sack.

Sack of Cats
Upon being closed, this sack squirms and twitches, emitting a yowling sound akin to a cat in distress. Otherwise, it functions as a normal sack.

Sack of Sacking
When items placed into this sack are later retrieved, they are wrapped in their own individual non-magical sacks.

Sack of Turning
When an item is placed in this sack, the sack immediately disgorges the item by turning itself inside out.

Sack of Yams
There is a 1-in-6 chance that any item placed in this sack will be replaced by a yam when the owner goes to retrieve it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

d12 Tables of Funky Smells

The following is declared Open Game Content:

d12 Tables of Funky Smells

The adventurers open the door and the stench of . . . something . . . smacks them in the face.

Roll 3d12 and pick one from each table:

Table 1: Creature
1. Badger
2. Mammoth
3. Gnoll
4. Orc
5. Camel
6. Spider
7. Goblin
8. Owlbear
9. Wererat
10. Dryad
11. Xvart
12. Gnome

Table 2: Body Fluid
1. Piss
2. Vomit
3. Bile
4. Blood
5. Snot
6. Spunk
7. Pus
8. Sweat
9. Dung
10. Phlegm
11. Smegma
12. Toe Jam

Table 3: With a hint of . . .
1. Mint
2. Lime
3. Peaches
4. Gooseberries
5. Mistletoe
6. Crabapples
7. Cinnamon
8. Orange
9. Black Currant
10. Cranberry
11. Anise (Licorice)
12. Horseradish

My favorite rolls on this table during testing:
Mammoth phelgm with a hint of mint.
Wererat bile with a hint of lime.
Spider vomit with a hint of crabapples.
Owlbear smegma with a hint of gooseberries.
Xvart toe jam with a hint of horseradish.
Gnome pus with a hint of orange.

Monday, March 21, 2011

One Page Dungeon Contest 2011 Entry

Here's my entry for the OPD 2011 Contest:

The Laughing Giant's Secret

This OPD grew out of an idea I had last year, a two-page dungeon based on this hex map I drew up the first time I played around with Hexographer:

(Note: this hex map is not in the module)

The original idea was that that inn is never in the same hex during a given season. The first draft, which has been sitting on my flash drive for about a year, had rumor tables, a list of NPCs, a wilderness encounter table, and other such truck piled in there, with the inn's floorplan devoted to a second page. If you printed out the module double-sided, then you'd have a double-sided one-page dungeon. I couldn't condense it down to fit a single side of the page, so I whittled it down to this. It's rough and it's ugly, but I think it's playable.

Drop me a line and let me know what you think.

My thanks to Tim Hartin of Paratime Design for his permission to use his awesome maps in this module.

d30 Table of Close Combat Concentration Breakers

The following is declared Open Game Content:

d30 Table of Close Combat Concentration Breakers

Sometimes in combat, you get distracted. Here’s why.

1. Tunic bursts into flame for no apparent reason.

2. Water flask pops open, leaks all over floor.

3. Scabbard loosens, clatters to floor.

4. Loose footgear causes a stumble.

5. Coiled rope unspools, tangles feet.

6. Opponent farts a horrible, gut-clenching fart of death (Save vs. Poison or suffer -1 to hit for duration of fight).

7. Dude wearing nothing but a monocle runs behind opponent.

8. Opponent drops weapon, asks for a do-over, attempts to walk through moves from beginning of fight to moment weapon was dropped.

9. Opponent drops weapon, pulls out a frying pan and continues trying to fight (frying pan treated as flail -1).

10. Opponent’s mother appears, grabs opponent by ear and drags opponent off, never to be seen again (award 1/2 XP).

11. PC notices opponent has a tattoo of PC’s relative on neck.

12. PC notices opponent’s tattoo looks like kinda like a duck, but isn’t a duck.

13. Wine flask pops open, opponent points out it’s a waste of good wine.

14. Six gnomes pop out of dimension door, grab all the rations the PC’s opponent is carrying, and then jump back in the dimension door before it closes.

15. A dog wanders in and takes a squat near the edge of the combat area.

16. Two drunken drow wander in and start making wagers on the fight.

17. A three-foot-long arrow falls from the ceiling/sky, narrowly missing the combatants.

18. A gnoll wanders in, bleeding profusely from its stomach, yowling in pain.

19. The PC’s opponent asks if they can pause for lunch, and if the PC agrees, the opponent offers the PC half of a really good sandwich. If the PC accepts and eats it, the PC gains +1 to hit for the rest of the fight.

20. Roll on Adam Thorton's Wandering Harlot Table (download here or see Fight On! Issue 7). The resultant wandering harlot attempts to persuade the combatants to help the Harlot Guild attract more members.

21. Opponent asks if the PC pronounces melee as “may-lay,” “me-lay,” “me-lee,” or “may-lee”.

22. Opponent declares the PC can’t handle the truth, and then begins to discuss his/her (the opponent’s) mating rituals in exacting detail while continuing to fight.

23. Hand cramp. A really bad one, too.

24. Opponent starts humming “The Green Hills of Oerth” and now the PC can’t get that damn tune out of his/her head.

25. Earthquake! Huge cracks open in the ground, Orcus pokes out his head, ducks back down and disappears.

26. A chain mail bikini falls out of the opponent’s pack.

27. The opponent yells out “Help Mr. Wizard!” and instantly disappears, never to be see again (award 1/4 XP).

28. The PC slips in a pool of what appears to be blood, but is really sphinx snot (Save vs. Poison or suffer -1 to hit for duration of fight).

29. Hangnail.

30. A hobgoblin, a penguin, and a stable boy walk by, each holding a shot glass of some amber-colored liquid and an unlit candle. The stable boy is also leading a small goat carrying a basket of cucumbers and sourdough bread.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

d12 Table of Tales of Heroic Ineptitude

The following is declared Open Game Content:

d12 Table of Tales of Heroic Ineptitude

Bards far and wide sing the songs and praises of heroic adventurers who have accomplished great deeds. Yet rarely repeated bardic lore also tells of those who tried and failed only to try and fail again. While the details may be lost in the mysts of time, the titles of these tales are still passed along in certain whispered circles.

1. ”Gordon & The Fish”

2. “Captain Jack & The Tankard of Everlasting Ale”

3. “Grimnose & The Grindstone”

4. “The Myth of Sleepy Valeson”

5. “The Half-hearted Halfling & The Rope of Many Tongues”

6. “The Vanishing of Olaf Banish”

7. ”Bert & The Insatiable Slattern”

8. “Never Trust a Wood Nymph”

9. “Hernd Gave Love a Bad Name”

10. “The Heartwrending”

11. “A Trident for Trisian”

12. “The Doppelgänger of Simon Simonson”

d30 List of Random Crap in a Room

The following is declared Open Game Content:

d30 List of Random Crap in a Room

1. Two broken chairs

2. Sixteen unsharpened quills and two apparently blank parchments

3. One dried goat kidney

4. A jug of vinegar

5. A trivel (could be a trident, could be a shovel--no one knows for sure)

6. A vase of wildflowers

7. Seven copper coin blanks

8. A grief-stricken hobgoblin crying and moaning about missing his “mummbly”

9. A deerskin glove (right hand) missing three fingers

10. A mumified dwarf thumb

11. Two empty oaken wardrobes placed on opposite sides of the room

12. A laser pointer

13. Six quail eggs

14. A liverwurst sandwich +1

15. A dagger hilt

16. A hiltless dagger

17. Seventeen wooden carvings of the number 17

18. Misplacer beast looking for its keys

19. A zebra-skinned couch, plus roll again on this table

20. Two hoofless centaur corpses

21. A duck

22. A three-foot-wide puddle of oil-sheened water

23. A carving of the local fertility god

24. Six used lambskins

25. A giant platypus skull

26. A lich’s playhouse

27. Sixteen bundles of juniper branches

28. A gnoll’s liver, plus roll again on this table

29. A groggy gnoll sporting twenty-nine stiches across its belly

30. Mummbly the midget manticore (knee-high and pissed off about it)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Magic Item: Gladstones

The following is declared Open Game Content:

Found only rarely in veins of iron ore mined from the craters of long-dormant volcanoes, gladstones are naturally occurring, glossy, metallic, jet pebbles of incredible denseness. A single gladstone weighs as much as 10 gp, even though it is no larger than a dwarf's thumbnail.

If ingested, the gladstone will bring the user an overwhelming feeling of euphoria and contentedness that lasts 1d8 days and imparts a permanent +3 to the swallower's CON. However, if the user swallows more than two gladstones during his or her lifetime, the user must Save vs. Disease or be stricken with uncurable anemia, resulting in a permanent -6 to CON.

Gladstones may be used as ammunition in slings and slingshots, and when used as such, impart a +3 against ghouls, ghasts, and zombies. They may be retrieved from corpses and re-used. However, with every use in this manner, there is a 25% chance the gladstone will explode on impact and be unretrievable.

A gladstone's true magical power, and the reason they are treasured by dwarves, is that a single gladstone mounted on the end of an oaken staff may be used to find potable water with only a 5% chance of failure.

New Druid Spell: Donkey Punch

The following is declared Open Game Content:

New Druid Spell: Donkey Punch

Level: 6th
Components: V/S/M
Range: 8 feet
School: Alteration
AOE: 12 linear feet/level within a 4" radius
Save: None
Casting Time: 1 round
Duration: Semi-permanent (see below)

By means of this spell, a druid changes the bloodline of a hybrid creature into a full-blooded animal, for example, changing a mule to either a horse or a donkey.

When faced with a hybrid creature which the druid believes is an abomination against nature, a druid may cast this spell upon the animal to render it a full-blooded animal of either its paternal or maternal heritage. The druid must be able to physically see the animal he or she desires to change by non-magical means, and the druid must know the lineage of the animal (i.e., that a mule is the offspring of a mare and an ass). The druid must make his or her intention to change the animal known before casting this spell, and choose the lineage (the animal's paternal or maternal bloodline) to which the animal will be changed.

Animals affected are normal or giant-sized hybrid animals, such as mules, hinnys, zeedonks, ligers, tiglons, dzos, camas, wholphins, etc. The spell does not affect humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, orcs, or other playable human or demi-human races, nor does it affect affect monsters, i.e, centaurs, harpies, griffons, manticores, etc., or magically created hybrid animals or monsters.

The druid may reverse this spell within one week by delivering a well-placed barehanded blow to the back of the animal's head. Only the casting druid may reverse this spell. If the spell is not reversed within one week, the spell becomes permanent.

NOTE: This came from this thread on By way of explanation, I gave the spell a tongue-in-cheek name to point out 1) how ridiculous it is, 2) it really is a despicable act, and 3) it is taking advantage of an innocent victim. Seriously, donkey punches are a jackass move and anyone actually performing one deserves to have his crotch beaten to a bloody pulp with a lead pipe.

Friday, March 18, 2011

d4 Table of Thieving Funkitude

I created the following as separate entries for Gorgonmilk's Dungeon Funk community project. Since I wrote up four of them, they make a handy table all of their own!

The following is declared Open Game Content.

The d4 Table of Thieving Funkitude

Believe it or not, thievery has its downsides. Each time a thief successfully picks a pocket, there's a 10% chance the thief picked a victim with a contagious disease. Roll a d4 to determine what nasty contagion the thief has picked up.

1. Bite Tongue's Plague
Originally created by the ancient alchemist Bite Tongue to smite his enemies from afar, BTP is a fast-moving disease which infects the victim's mouth and throat. Those infected wtih BTP immediately find the inside of their cheeks, their tongues, their gums and their esophagus swelling with small white nodules that seem annoying and painless at first, but eventually burst and emit noxious fumes and fluids, causing much pain. This fluid itself is toxic, and is also the primary method of infection. While infected, the victum loses the ability to speak.

Those affected must Save vs. Disease, or become infected and remain mute for 1d8 days, and at the end of that time period, Save vs. Poison or suffer 1d10 points damage. All those within 10 feet of the victim when the nodules burst must Save vs. Disease or become infected.

Cure disease spells and potions have a 5% chance of curing the infestation. Otherwise, the only known cure for BTP is gargling this recipe recently discovered written in Bite Tongue's cramped handwriting in a tome stored under a leaky wine cask in the cellar of the Rutting Rooster Tavern in Eastern Opfalkam:

1 owlbear beak, ground to a fine powder
1 manticore claw, crushed
3 drams oil of mistletoe

2 drams oil of oregano
1 flask fortified wine

(Anyone can mix this curative--no special knowledge or skill check required.)

2. The Lucky Shits
This highly contagious intestinal germ causes the victim to have intense diarrhea for 1d4 days, ultimately resulting in the victim shitting a gold piece.

If immediately swallowed upon excretion, the gold piece will permanently increase the victim's DEX and CON by +5 each, but will also permanently lower the victim's INT and WIS by -5 each.

If the gold piece is not consumed within one round, it will disintegrate into a fine powder, and everyone in a three-foot radius must Save vs. Disease or be infected with the Lucky Shits themselves.

If the victim drinks an entire flask of vinegar before passing the gold piece, a normal copper piece will emerge instead, and the victim's CHR will be permanently raised by +1.

3. Balding Dandruff
This annoying disease starts out as a scaly rash on the scalp and brow which develops over 1d4 days. The rash itself is only an outward sign of the disease's manifestation, and the dandruff, while severe, is merely an irritant.

However, on the day of full infection, all of the victim's hair falls out.
All of it. Even eyelashes.

The infected must make a Save vs. Disease, or suffer a -3 to both CHR and CON until their hair regrows to at least a 6-inch length (normal human hair grows at 6 inches per year). Bearded dwarves suffer the penalties until their facial hair regrows to at least a 12-inch length. Halfling thieves suffer an additional -3 to DEX until their top foot hair regrows.

If victims are already devoid of body hair, then they just get a bad case of the itchies and suffer a -1 to DEX, CHR, and CON for 1d20 days.

The only cure for Balding Dandruff is to lather the scalp and brow with troll dung for 1d4 days. Those applying the cure suffer a -7 to CHR and CON for the duration of the cure, because troll dung is just gross.

4. Undead Head Lice (UHL).
These little beasties are the animated corpses of common head lice, created when common head lice infect zombies and other contagious undead. They are a common dungeon parasite, sucking the vital fluids of their hosts, but like other undead they cannot breed by normal means. UHL are only present in their adult form.

If UHL are present, the DM should roll 1d6 to determine the severity of infestation:
(1-2) minimal (10-25 UHL) -- hair loss and rash. -1 to CHAR or CON per length of infestation
(3-4) medium (26-50 UHL) -- hair loss, rash, minor skin decay. 1 hp damage per day if left unchecked
(5-6); massive (51+ UHL) -- undead contagion, save vs. disease. PCs making their save suffer at medium infestation level. PCs failing their save will contract Zombie Leprosy and die in 1d3 days, and will reanimate as Leper Zombies in 1d6 rounds thereafter.

If a PC is infested by the common head louse, then it should be assumed that the UHL turns that common infestation into a medium or massive infestation of UHL (the DM should adjust the above table roll accordingly). UHL cannot be turned by clerics, and normal Cure Disease spells do not work to cure undead contagion inflicted by UHL. The DM may wish to specify an alternative cure for this contagion.

A medium size infestation can only be cleared by shaving all body hair, burning said hair and all clothing worn by the PC, and full immersion of the PC in Holy Water or full body anointing by Holy Oils. Alternatively, a DM may wish to specify a cure, potion, spell, or ritual that will halt the infestation or cure the effects of undead contagion. Those slain by UHL-inflicted undead contagion will reanimate as Leper Zombies in 1d6 rounds.

Undead Head Lice:
HD 1
AC 9 [10]
Atk 1 (bite)
Move 1
Save 187
XP 1/25 Special: disease

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cleaned Up the Zine List

I've added a few more zines to the list and tidied up the categories a bit. Just thought you'd like to know.

Monday, March 7, 2011

No Love for Mutant Future on the Fanzine Front?

Can anyone explain to me why there are no fanzines for Mutant Future? At least, my web wanderings haven't turned one up. Maybe I'm wrong. If so, somebody please post me a link. But right now, it appears all the other retro-clone systems seem to have one or more zines devoted to them, but not Mutant Future.

Note: I don't play Mutant Future, so there's no invested interest here. This is just an observation.

Commentator? I think not!

Thanks to James over at The Underdark Gazette, I've gained a few new followers. Welcome aboard, folks!

This also means it's time to level up. The new rank: Commentator.

Man, that is a seriously bad level title. I mean, come on: Vlark the Commentator. See? That name sucks.

So, I'm hereby announcing a house rule: the new name for third level Old School RPG Bloggers is Champion. That works to better describe what we do. We third levelers champion our beliefs and causes on the Ethereal Plane of the Blogosphere.

Yeah, Vlark the Champion . . . that's the ticket!

I think we're good now.