Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Teleportation Gone Awry Die Drop Table!

I'm at it again:

See below for PDF

Here's the PDF.

d30 Challenge: Entry 30

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

30. An ogre (his name is Dwarm) is trying to milk three flail snails and failing miserably. He will explain that a powerful alchemist has tasked him with collecting sixteen barrels of flail snail mucus and the ogre can't figure out how to do it.

The flail snails need to be highly agitated in order to produce mucus. HIGHLY agitated.

The alchemist needs the mucus as a component for an anti-aging formula.

If the PCs decide to help and accidentally kill one or more flail snails, the ogre will get upset and attack.

If the PCs successfully help the ogre, he'll be so impressed he'll ask them to help collect 150 giant cockroach carapaces from a nearby insect nest, too.

The ogre will pay the party 7d30 x 10sp for their help.

If the ogre is killed, they'll find directions to the alchemist's shop in his pack (which contains nothing else of value). The alchemist will pay the PCs 400gp for the mucus and 250gp for the carapaces.

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

WILD #4. There is a 75% chance that three rounds into any combat during the encounter, the foes/NPCs will surrender, even if they are winning, and ask to finish the fight at a later time because they just can't even.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Terrifying Hedgebard: A Weird NPC for Your Gonzo Game

Ok, not a die drop table, but I'm still messing around with old comics:

See below for PDF

You can find the PDF here.

d30 Challenge: Entry 29

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

29. A troop of 3d20 flying monkeys wearing red bell boy outfits take a smoke break from their union meeting (Flying Lackeys Local 316) and pick nits. They all smoke unfiltered cigarettes: Lucky Strike, Pall Mall, Camel, etc. Two of the monkeys have Zippo® lighters and one of them has a box of 500 kitchen matches. Some of the monkeys are chain smokers. The union boss is a hefty, older, greying monkey named Larry Justlarry. All of the monkeys are employed in the tri-realm area and are meeting to hammer out the specifics of current contract negotiations with the Association of Quasi United Wizards, Witches, & Alchemists.

Each monkey is armed with 2d6 throwing darts and a spear.

There is a 50% chance that one of the monkeys isn't a flying monkey at all but a disguised chaotic dwarf assassin hired by the AQUWWA to eliminate Larry Justlarry and derail the negotiations. If the PCs can suss out the dwarf and deal with him before the monkeys do, Larry Justlarry will give them one of the Zippos® and two cartons of cigarettes as a reward. If the assassin manages to complete his task, the rest of the monkeys will assume the PCs are in cahoots with the assassin and attack the party.

The dwarf assassin carries a set of high precision thieves tools, 2d6 poisoned throwing darts (Save vs. Death), a small blowgun with a set of poison darts (Save vs. Death), and a rusty-ass spear (normal damage + Save vs. Disease or infection of –1 hp per day for 1d4 days).

There is a 15% chance the dwarf will abandon his mission if convinced to join the party. He'll be trustworthy until he gets a better offer.

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

WILD #3. If the PCs end up in conversation with the foes/NPCs, one of the foes/NPCs suddenly keels over and dies for no apparent reason. Any remaining foes/NPCs blame the party for the death and attack, automatically winning initiative by surprise.

Have Another Die Drop Table . . . IN SPAAAACE!

Here, have another die drop table, this one space-themed:

PDF is linked below!
The above picture is just a screencap. Here's the PDF.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

d30 Challenge: Entry 28

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

28. David Bowie. Treat as Vampire Lord. Cannot be staked if singing "Let's Dance".

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

WILD #2. Before or after the rolled encounter, a Halfling disguised as a very short Elf runs into the area waving a short sword and carrying a glass jar containing a human heart. The heart is still beating. The Halfling (whose name doesn't matter) is on the verge of tears. He will explain that this is the heart of his beloved and it is all that remains after the Halfling tried and failed to rescue his beloved from the deepdark elves who roam the Overandunderdark.

Although the Halfling is penniless, if the PCs can help with a resurrection, the Halfling will indenture himself to them for a period of no more than three years. He has a valid and legally binding simple contract ready to sign. He is literally begging on his knees, desperate for help. As he begs, the heart beats slower and slower.

  • If the PCs themselves resurrect the body, the PCs immediately recognize the Halfling's beloved as one of the current monarch's lovers who was executed for infidelities with others at court. The no-resurrection order that applies to disgraced members of the royal house has now been violated and the royal seers are sure to know.
  • If the PCs help pay to resurrect the body, the PCs discover that the Halfling's beloved is the last blacksmith skilled in magical weaponry that they had encountered. The blacksmith is so grateful to be back to life that he will gladly improve up to three weapons in exchange for a one-year reduction in the Halfling's servitude contract.
  • If the PCs refuse to help the Halfling, the heart will stop beating and the Halfling will break down and cry inconsolably. Then he will take his sword and thrust it through his gut, spilling his intestines on the ground. Then he will start to eat them, laughing madly the entire time. He'll shortly keel over and die. In 1d4 hours, he'll come back as an incorporeal undead (DM's choice) and attack the party.
  • If the PCs attack the Halfling, the Halfling is too tired to defend himself and is easily defeated. If the heart container is smashed opened, the heart will leap out of the jar and grow to gigantic size, transforming into a Storm Giant. He is so grateful to be freed of his curse that he will accompany the party for three days (whether they like it or not).
  • If the PCs kill the Halfling per above and open the heart container by unscrewing the lid, they will find it's just a heart. If a PC eats it, they will gain a +5 STR and +6 DEX for 10d20 days. Then they will suffer a –6 STR and a –5 DEX for 10d20 days before returning to their original stats.
  • If they kill the Halfling and eat his heart, they'll find it tastes like wistful licorice dripped in honeyed disappointment. It also grants a +2 to all sneak rolls for 1d20 days.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

d30 Challenge: Entry 27

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

27. A maroon Land Octopus triple-wielding swords duels an alpha male Octorilla.

  • If the PCs join the Land Octopus, the Octorilla will become even more enraged and gain a +3 to all damage rolls.
  • If the PCs join the Octorilla, the Land Octupus will pull out three more swords and start swinging. He can target three PCs at once, and gets two attacks at each.
  • If the PCs take on both of the tentacled creatures, The Land Octopus will disappear in a huge puff of inky smoke (treat as Darkness 20ft Radius) and scramble away as quickly as possible. The Octorilla will then let out a death howl, calling in a pack of four more male Octorillas.
  • If the PCs ignore the fight, the Land Octopus will handily beat the Octorilla and then thank the PCs for not getting involved. He will tell them the duel was a family matter best left unexplained, and then invite the PCs for some tea and crumpets. If the PCs accept, drinking and eating with the Land Octopus restores 2d6 HP. If the PCs refuse, he'll pack them some crumpets to go. If the PCs later eat the crumpets, there's a 2-in-6 chance they'll develop dysentery.

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

WILD #1. After the encounter, before the PCs leave the area, there is a 15% chance an undead pelican drops a demon baby at the feet of one of the randiest PCs, along with a note explaining that they are now the proud parent of a demon spawn thanks to their most recent one night stand.

Attempts to kill the demon baby will result in the undead pelican retrieving the demon spawn and returning on a separate occasion the following week. If this continues to happen for more than two weeks, the demon will develop daddy/mommy issues and in two months will show up to blame the PC for all their misfortunes and attack the party with a gang of juvenile delinquent demons calling themselves "The Demonspurned".

If the PC accepts the responsibility of raising the child, within a week the undead pelican will show up to retrieve the child. He will blame the mix-up on a clerical error and as way of apology will give the PC a Ring of Resistance to Demon Charms.

Friday, June 26, 2015

d30 Challenge: Entry 26

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

26. 12d6 Blink Dogs play a furious game of Ultimate Frisbee. If the PCs join in for a friendly game, there is a 20% chance one of the blink dogs will take a liking to a PC and become their familiar. If the PCs attack, the blink dogs will summon 12d6 phase spiders to their defense. Other teleporting non-divine creatures within 1d6 miles will also hear the call and show up to battle the PCs.

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

A. During the encounter, there is a 33% chance that missile weapons will never hit their intended target but instead hit the PC nearest the intended target.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

d30 Challenge: Entry 25

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

25. The PCs stumble across a gigantic 30ft tall tapered ceramic vase decorated with mindbendingly obscene non-Euclidean bas-relief. If the PCs can climb to the top and look inside, they will see a shadowy maelstrom of dark swirling waters. Any light source (except natural sunlight) used to examine the inside of the vase will be immediately extinguished as the streaming light is sucked into the void. Even something imbued with a Continual Light spell will begin to dim and eventually fail and the spell extinguished while examining the slippery void.

Anything dropped into the vase will disappear. Anyone climbing into the vase must make a Save vs. Death, or immediately cease to exist. PCs who make successful saves are whisked to the Jale God's palatial chambers, where they will find themselves standing behind a huge pile of things that have been dropped into the vase. If any PC touches the pile of stuff, the Jale God wanders in. Ignore any previous reaction tables for the Jale God and/or his avatars and use the reaction table below:

Jale God Reaction Table 1d30:

01-05: The Jale God ignores the PCs, wave his hands, and the PCs immediately find themselves standing beside the vase again.

6-10: The Jale God is in a foul mood and charges the PCs with an absurd Quest.

11–15: The Jale God is delighted to have company and treats the PCs to a strange yet fulfilling meal before teleporting them to a location of their choice.

16-20: The Jale God is enraged. He attacks the PCs.

21-25: The Jale God walk in, takes a look around, and shuffles out. If the PCs dig through the stuff long enough, they will find a Scroll of Slightly Accurate Teleportation (Within 50 Leagues).

26-30: The Jale God points his finger and obliterates a random PC. No save, no resurrection, no reincarnation. The other PCs are teleported completely naked to their homebase/headquarters.

The vase can only be smashed with a +2 or better non-edged magic-imbued weapon wielded by someone with a 16 or better non-modified STR. If this is happens, everyone within 500ft must make a Save vs. Death Ray or suffer d20+d30+d66 HP damage as it explodes in a concentrated WHOMP!

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

B. During the encounter, there is a 35% chance the PCs discover a solar-powered mp3 player laying on the ground. The player is loaded with a complete collection of Iron Maiden albums, the first four Black Sabbath albums, Metallica's Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets, and Richard Marx's Greatest Hits.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Evil Gnome Die Drop Table

I couldn’t resist, so I made another die drop table from an old comic. Here is a two-page spread. You need to print out both pages and lay them side-by-side:

click to embiggen
This is just a screenshot. Use the PDF, here.

Angry Mob Die Drop Table

Inspired by +evandro novel's post here,  I made this for you:

JPG version - click to embiggen

PNG version - click to embiggen

Edit: Here's a PDF, by request.

This is based upon the 1953 Classics Illustrated Junior #504: The Pied Piper comic, from Gilbertson Publishing. The company no longer exists, so I've appropriated the art. I think I've transformed it enough to count as fair use.

At any rate, I'm not claiming any credits for this other than regular copyright over the text. Do with it what you will.

d30 Challenge: Entry 24

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

24. Hundreds of thousands of small scorpions hitch a ride on the backs of 5 giant scorpions. The scorpions are currently eating 2 giant spiders that are still half alive. A pack of sentient giant Grasshopper Mice ride herd over the scorpions, protecting them from harm as the mice drive them to their lair. The Grasshopper Micemen (treat as orks + ability to leap 15ft with ease during melee) are willing to trade needed goods for scorpion poison.

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

C. There is a 60% chance a foe/NPC encountered in this area immediately develops an incredible streak of vampiric bloodlust for a particular PC, although it may not be noticeable. They will do anything possible to kill that PC and drink and/or bathe in their blood, even if the foe/NPC must wait patiently to do so.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

d30 Challenge: Entry 23

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

23. A team of 8 dead mules is harnessed to an overturned wagon, blocking the party's path. Root vegetables are strewn all over the ground, including some never before seen by the PCs. A dead female cleric of chaos is trapped under the wagon, her skull crushed by the axle. She is dressed for travel; on her left leg is an iron cuff with three chain links still attached.

A 7 or 8 year old boy lays unconscious a few feet away. The boy has a broken arm and a broken leg; the non-broken leg wears an iron cuff with single link of chain dangling from it. He is emaciated, filthy, and in need of a haircut; his body is covered with bruises and scars.

If the PCs heal the boy, when he awakens he will tell them his name is Samwich Everflame and he was stolen from his father 21 full moons ago by the now-dead cleric, whose name is Forvalla Drey. Forvalla treated him like a slave and forced him to do many despicable things. She was travelling to a ritual gathering when the mules were spooked by a giant centipede and bolted, eventually causing the accident. Before Forvalla died from her head wounds, she killed the mules with a spell in anger.

Samwich will suggest that his father, a candlemaker in a far-off village (the DM is encouraged to make it a fair distance away), might reward the party for his safe return with a few Everlasting Candles, which the PCs might recognize as coveted minor magic items.

The boy is traumatized. Any attempt to touch him—even to remove his shackle— will make him shrink and cry. He is jumpy and suffers all the trust issues associated with the clinically abused.

He's a good actor, too, because Samwich is of course lying. Moments before her death, Forvalla's chaotic patron swapped her and the boy's souls so that the boy died and Forvalla inhabits the boy's body. She retains all her clerical knowledge and abilities. The shackled ankle is the chaos god's holy symbol. If Samwich stays with the party, she will attempt to kill them off at every opportunity she gets.

Forvalla Drey / Samwich Everflame
Chaotic Female Cleric trapped in boy child's body
Lvl: 9
AC: 9 [10]
HP: 18 [but appears to be 8]
STR 11
INT 15
WIS 16
CON 14
DEX 12
CHA 15


Suggested Spells
First (3): Cause Light Wounds, Protection from Law, Detect Law.
Second (3): Curse, Hold Person, Find Traps
Third (3): Cause Disease, Continual Dark, Remove Curse
Fourth (2): Cause Serious Wounds, Silence 10ft Radius

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

D. There is a 27% chance that a powerful Silence spell has been cast on the entire encounter area.

*NPC generated with Mithril & Mages Character Generator, then tweaked.

Monday, June 22, 2015

d30 Challenge: Entry 22

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

22. A Cobalt Klutz*, its blue skin glowing with waves of internally self-generated gamma radiation, munches on a handful of baby giant purple worms torn from their nest. PCs getting within ten feet of the Cobalt Klutz must Save vs. Death Ray or suffer 1d6 points mutating radiation damage and develop one of the mutations from the Weirdlands of Xhuul Random Mutation Table OR The Metamorphica.

The creature is in a friendly mood, as it has sated its hunger. It will not attack the party unless provoked, and prefers to flee rather than fight.

The party will find that the Cobalt Klutz cannot lie. It has the innate ability to detect lies and delights in pointing out even the most minor of mis-truths.

Finally, the Cobalt Klutz is lost. It is originally from the Overandunderdark (the deepest level of the Underdark where time and space collapse into the Mirror World that forms the edges of the Hollow World). If the PCs can give directions to an extraordinary deep crevasse or trench, the creature reward them with their choice of  a bagful of raw adamantium or raw mithril ore and then wander off.

There is a 42% chance the mother giant purple worm returns to find her nest destroyed and her babies eaten after the Cobalt Klutz lumbers off. She will not be in a good mood.

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

E. Pick a random foe/NPC. During the encounter, PCs using polearms (including spears) must make a Save vs. Spell or stab themselves in the foot (and take damage) every time they look at that foe/NPC. This compulsion manifests for no reason whatsoever.

*Kind of like the opposite of an Umber Hulk, because Product Identity.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

d30 Challenge: Entry 21

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

21. A WWI-era Sopwith Camel hangs upside down from a decaying tree, its frame battered and slightly torn, its propeller broken, and its engine smoking. A strange blunderbuss-like contraption is located where the machine-gun box should be. The pilot sits beneath the tree, eating a ham sandwich and drinking lemon-water out of a red thermos. The pilot is a mutated dwarf gnoll with floppy black ears and beady eyes. A chittering, hyperactive parakeet sits on the ground next to him, begging for crumbs. The gnoll is generous with the crumbs.

If approached, the gnoll will explain he was chasing Crimson Earl, a rogue wizard with a death warrant in three kingdoms. They engaged in an aerial duel and the gnoll was shot down when his SpellSlinger 2000™ jammed with three spells left and Earl was able to fire off six spells in quick succession, crippling the gnoll's craft. He was able to guide the plane to a cushioned yet perilous landing.

The gnoll will continually consult with the parakeet while talking to the PCs, although no one in the party will be able to decipher what they are talking about.

If the PCs can help get his plane out of the tree so he can attach his spare propeller and do some patchwork repairs to get in the air again, he'll reward the PCs with a Never-Empty Picnic Basket.

The SpellSlinger 2000™ holds up to 18 4th level spells, but the gnoll does not know how to reload it, as he's just a pilot, not an armorer.

The parakeet used to hang around the airplane armory before he hooked up with the gnoll.

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

F. There is a 5% chance that any PC killed during the encounter doesn't recognize that they are dead. Neither does anyone else in the party. The PC gains all the abilities and disadvantages of a ghost yet still advances per their class and can perform in combat. However, only the PCs currently in the party can interact with the ghostly PC. To everyone else, the PC is dead.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

WIP: The Caverns Below

Okay, folks, this is the last of my Work-in-Progress entries. I should have the final version ready in a few weeks. As usual, it will be a free download. It will be released using either the GFDL or a non-commercial use CC license (but I'll give explicit permission for at-cost commercial printing). I use Pages, Word, & LibreOffice for editing and such, but my layout skills are by no means professional. I can't afford InDesign and Scribus is too much of a learning curve. If anyone has pointers, PM me on the G+.

7. The Caverns Below
Outside the house, 2 doors in the ground open on a short staircase that leads to a 10ft x 10ft root cellar filled with potatoes, beets, and other root vegetables. One wall of the cellar is collapsed; two shovels and a pick lay nearby. 2ft in front of the fallen wall is a 3ft-wide hole in the floor. A length of stout rope dangles from a wooden ceiling support down into the hole. A cool breeze issues from the hole, bringing with it an acrid odor.

Climbing down the rope leads PCs to into the caverns. This hole is the only exit from the cave.

Caverns Wandering Encounters (1d6)

01. Green Slime: AC 9 (10), HD 2, AT special, XP 3/60; Special: Turns metal or organic material into green slime
02. Ochre Jelly: AC 8 (11), HD 6, AT 1 acid-laden strike, D 3d4), XP 400; Special: Lightning divides creature
03. Zombified Goblin: AC 8 (11), HD 2, #AT 1 (sword or strike), D 1d8, XP 30; Special: Immune to sleep and charm
04. Zombified Goblin (as above)
05. Crazy Grue (see Area 7D)
06. Shaggy (see Area 7F)

d30 Challenge: Entry 20

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

20. Six black goats stand in a circle licking a block of salt. If any of the goats are touched by a PC, Blorcus, the youngest and weakest half-step-brother of Orcus the Demon Prince, will immediately manifest, standing on the salt lick. He will demand the PCs pay him homage by slaughtering the goats and pouring their blood on the salt block in libation.

The goats will ignore Blorcus and continue to greedily lick the salt block.

Try as they might, the PCs can't kill the goats. They are under the protection of Curdle, the Petty Goddess of Blind Milkmaids (see link or Expanded Petty Gods). Any weapon-based attack will merely bounce off the goats' hides and spells will have no effect.

If the PCs spend too much time trying to kill the goats, Curdle herself will manifest. Blorcus is afraid of her and will immediately dissipate.

The salt block is worth 10sp.

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

G. There is a 40% chance that the encounter is a dream and the PCs are still asleep. They will wake up only if all foes/NPCs have fled or been defeated. Because the dream was so intense, no actual rest was possible and no spells were recovered.

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Comparison & Some Kerflufflily Thoughts

So, the whole White Star OGL kerfluffle.

Let's look at something. This is in no way an indictment of +Mark Hunt; in fact, he has already deleted this one page adventure I'm using here as an example and two others like it from the White Star Google+ Community. I don't know if he removed them or if the community mods did. But they were up anywhere from a few days to a few hours before they disappeared.

Anyway, here is a one-page adventure he posted. It is gorgeous:

click to embiggen
Let's see what's going on here:
  1. Slick, cool looking, appropriated artwork that might be transformed somehow from the original, uncredited.
  2. Use of White Star Compatibility Logo.
  3. No declaration of any kind of use license: no CC, no OGL, nada nothing zilch.
  4. No specific mention of White Star IP (at least as far as I can tell).
Now, here is my one-pager that caused the kerfluffle. This is v3, which corrected a few typos:

click to embiggen
Let's see:
  1. Slick, cool looking appropriated artwork, cropped, stretched, and color-shifted, credited with links in the corner.
  2. Use of White Star Compatibility Logo.
  3. A declaration of use license, including a link to the OGL. Perhaps incorrectly used, but an attempt was made.
  4. No specific mention of White Star IP.
Why was Mark lauded with positive comments for his post and why was I pilloried as a bad actor? Based on the two screenshots above, I actually did more to credit the appropriated work and make an attempt to give others freedom to use my original content than Mark did.

As far as I can, tell, it's four things.
  1. Mark is a cool dude who has promoted the hell out of White Star. He posts a lot of stuff in the forum and wrote & published one of the best selling supplements for White Star, Drongo: Planet of Peril (which is currently a best seller at RPGNow -- buy it NOW by clicking the link); today he released Drongo: Ruins of the Witch Kingdoms for Dungeon Crawl Classics, too. He is a very creative, friendly guy and one of the top posters in the White Star G+ community, too.
  2. The White Star guys freaked when they saw people using the WSCL and not doing it the way they want it done. But, as several posters have pointed out in this thread right over here: https://plus.google.com/+ErikTenkar/posts/2zxC8oA9mhS , they didn't implement the OGL correctly in their own damn product and might possibly not understand the OGL as well as they think they do. They retroactively fixed some of the problems in White Star, but they have doubled-down on their "our way or the highway" attitude. And now they are going around trying to make other people abide by their possible misunderstandings of the OGL, copyright, fair use, and nominative use in fan works. Quite frankly, they got caught with their pants down, people took pictures, and now they are trying to get ahold of everybody's negatives. But that is a losing job. Here's an example. Here's another. And here's another. All use or are based on White Star IP and lack the OGL. Good luck with getting people to comply.
  3. My thumbing-my-nose at their sacred cows. True, I did. As Tenkar said over in a comment on this post, I "came off as an ass". But so what? Taken in context of the entire PDF I created (read it again -- retrieving a stuffed animal as a mission hook? Interplanet Janets as a random encounter? J. Crew Cabins? "An unsuitable adventure for any level"?), my flippant side comment about the OGL in the credits corner fits in with the whole silly, gonzo, thumb-nosing vibe.
  4. Private messages between me and Teh Bagder were tense and downright hostile. He was down-his-nose-finger-wagging, I was up-yours-middle-finger-wagging. It was not pretty. I accused him of something he did not do in private, and he hauled that out in a comment on a post in a different forum. And I apologized for it (the accusation, not the attitude) in private before he brought it out in the public forum post. (Quite frankly, I think that was kinda gauche--info in private conversations should remain private unless both people agree to take them public.)
People in the White Star G+ Community are claiming that I wasn't "playing by the rules" and spoiling things for people.  People who are now posting in the blogosphere about how to use the OGL properly, what options are available for publishers, why you'd want to consult a lawyer before ever publishing something game-related, etc. are missing one very small but important point: THIS WASN'T ABOUT PUBLISHING SOMETHING FOR SALE.

It was about sharing stuff among friends -- a "here, look what I created, let me share it with you" sort of thing. This was originally a casual, one-page adventure contest. It was a "post your cool stuff in the forum and I'll award a prize to what I think is the coolest" kind of thing.

But people started freaking out (maybe "expressing concern" is a better way to say it) about the lack of "rules." +Stan Shinn asked about copyrights.  +Dyson Logos was concerned because someone wanted to include one of his maps in an entry and asked about graphic design copyrights.  +Bill Logan was concerned about re-publication in a collection. Then +Stan Shinn asked about use licenses and Mark said he didn't care -- OGL or CC or whatever. And then the mod stepped in and insisted that entrants include the whole text of the OGL. And when I protested and said that all these things really didn't matter for a nice little contest among friends, the shit hit the fan. +Dyson Logos disagreed with me. I responded and went of on a tangential rant about copyrights and casual internet infringement and how folks shouldn't worry about those things. Then the owner came in and started shame fingering me (don't worry, the link is safe!). So I basically said screw that and left the group.

Essentially, this was a shit storm because I said NO to the White Star guys when they started insisting on people using the OGL for a silly little contest among fans. And because things were tense and hostile, I left the group -- it was clear that I am never going to see eye to eye with the owners and mods of the forum, so why should I stick around? They clearly wanted me off their lawn. So I left.

And after I left the community, I even took down the files and removed the WSCL and other references to White Star from the PDF and posted a new one.

And then the character assassination began. The White Star community owner/mod held me up as an example and strongly implied I was a thief. +Erik Tenkar waded in late in the game and accused me of "locking all my threads" (in fact I removed download links and locked all of two posts) and started pontificating as he usually does.

And so yesterday's two posts (one of which was also posted as a Google+ post that you'd have only seen it if I am in one of your circles).

To be fair, Barrel Rider Games was burned by the OGL before when someone legally re-used material they released under the OGL, taking their hard work and repackaging it with cheesy stock art and graphics from Battle for Wesnoth. So I totally understand why they are hyper-protective of their IP. But there was no White Star IP in my PDF other than the WSCL. And the OGL? I did what hundreds of people do -- slap on an OGL notice and a link to the OGL. Even WotC says this might be sufficient in their FAQ:

Q: What if I'm writing an email message or using a very small amount of Open Game Content?
A: Technically, you are still required to include a copy of the License text. In the real world however, you are unlikely to be sued by someone over the use of Open Game Content in an email message or other trivial use if you fail to do so.
Q: I want to create a website that contains many different pages with Open Game Content. Do I have to include a copy of the License on every page?
A: It will be sufficient to include a link on every page containing Open Game Content to one centralized copy of the License.

Notice: My PDF was hosted on my blog via GoogleDrive and DropBox and linked to my G+post. I did contain a link to a centralized copy of the license, it just wasn't to one hosted on my website. That, if anything, is where I erred in the one-page PDF.

Also: Ain't nothing more trivial than a contest between friends for a retro-clone ruleset adaptation of another retro-clone ruleset adaptation based on a simulacrum of the first edition of the world's most popular fantasy roleplaying game that's played by a few hundred people (the 3rd-removed adaptation, that is). That's pretty damn trivial in the big scheme of things if you ask me.

Here's the bottom line: I did more to credit the people I appropriated material from than most people who had previously posted material to freely share in that forum (note I said freely share -- not sell), including the guy who proposed the contest (no offense intended, Mark!).

And while I might have incorrectly tried to apply the OGL to my original content, the use of all the other appropriated material clearly meets three of the four factors of the fair use doctrine -- even the use of the WSCL, to a certain extent. Instead of nicely asking me to remove the White Star logo from the file, the owner/mods got all pompously self-righteous about the OGL and started shaming me in public. And that got my hackles up.

For the record, I am not a victim. I do not feel victimized in any way and I harbor no ill will to anyone I plussed in this message. I just want to get my version of events on the record.

Finally, let me put it this way: I won't be buying any Barrel Rider Games stuff anytime soon.

Now, I'm gonna go roll some dice just to hear how they sound.

d30 Challenge: Entry 19

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

19. A large purple tureen inset with intricate golden filigree rests on the ground. Nearby are a stack of wooden bowls and spoons—enough for the entire party. The tureen contains a delectable chick pea soup with a chicken broth base. Eating the soup restores all lost HP and instantaneously restores all spells used so far that day. As soon as any PC goes back for seconds, the tureen is empty. It will never refill. The tureen itself is worth roughly 50gp to collectors.

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

H. A large war dog wanders in during the encounter and pops a squat. If the PCs check the steaming pile, they'll find a goblin finger bone with a Ring of Exaggeration. The ring is cursed and can only be removed with a Wish or a boon from a minor or petty god (the major gods have no time for such tuck). The ring forces the wearer to exaggerate every third truth they speak to the point of unbelievability. There is a 12% chance the war dog will befriend the party and tag along after them. His name is Francis. Not Frank. Francis.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

My recent thoughts on use licenses, etc.

This is a public post of some private G+ messages. I like to keep my G+ messages off of public mode, so here is what I posted last night, slightly edited for clarity.

Note: for the record, I'm not anti-OGL as some people claim. It's a good framework for people who want to charge money for their work.  For everyone else, it's not.

After the kerfluffle I inadvertently started in the White Star: White Box Science Fiction Roleplaying circle regarding the publisher of White Star wanting the entire OGL included in a one page adventure/dungeon contest a community member was running for shits & giggles, I've been wondering if there is a better way to release work online. (You can go look it up -- my stance is that it goes against the spirit of the OPD and introduced too much legal bullshit into a fun fan project, but others--mainly the mods and publishers--vehemently disagree).

I'm not really in favor of the OGL and I have issues with Creative Commons, too -- but I'm thinking maybe I should just use a more restrictive no-derivates, no commercial use version of the CC license.

But at the same time, I want people to feel free to share and use and remix my stuff, as long as they let me know they're doing so. I'm cool with people using my stuff for profit -- if they ask me first and acknowledge my contribution in their product and maybe kick me a free copy.

I'm in favor of open gaming in concept and in practice at the table, but what works best for giving writers and creators the flexibility to do what I've outlined in the paragraph above?

I don't like being a bean counter counting every instance of every creature to stick on a copyright section in the OGL. I'm dashing shit together to freely use, not to make money and infringe on someone's right to make money off their creations. I'm a fan who creates works for fans for free (or at-cost printing, at the most). I do this for fun, not profit.

I am seriously considering saying screw it all in terms of worrying about this shit and switching away from the OGL and the Creative Commons in favor of the GNU Free Documentation License for my RPG-related stuff--just giving it away and not worrying about who does what with it.

As a fan and end-user of material created under the OGL, the CC, or whatever license, that license does nothing for me. In fact, it restricts my creativity with the material, and as a fan creating derivate amateur not-for-sale works, I am better off ignoring those licenses.

Let me put it this way: fan fiction exists. Fans read books they love and then write and share stories based in other people's universes. Writers and book publishers know fan fiction exits -- even fan fiction which twists an author's creations in ways that the author may not like (slash fiction, for example). These writings infringe on copyrights six ways from Sunday.

But authors and book publishers know it is pointless to try to stop people from writing and freely distributing fan fiction because the fans who write it are the most rabid supporters of those authors and support those authors with their checkbooks.

It isn’t until someone tries to get fan fiction professionally published (50 Shades of Grey, for example) that the guns come out and the fan writer needs to make sure that the work abides by whatever draconian legal code exists to expunge references to copyrighted works they have used without permission. Either that, or the fan writer must seek and pay for permissions to use that work (which can run thousands of dollars in some cases, such as inclusion of song lyrics in a story).

In other words, by insisting that not-for-profit amateur fan-created work abide by and carry an official license, all the publisher ensures is the ill will of a community consisting of their greatest supporters. Instead, companies are better off turning a blind eye to nominal infringement if that infringement boosts the chances of the company making more of a profit over time from those fans' purchases.

Does someone who builds their own Stormtrooper cosplay outfit have to pay a licensing fee to Disney? No. And Disney would be stupid to go after those people who do so, because those people are the ones who most avidly support the Star Wars franchise through their fandom. But if that fan started selling cosplay Stormtrooper costumes she built -- well, then Disney has a legitimate beef, as the fan is profiting off of Disney's property. As long as the fan does what the fan does in the name of fandom, Disney has no problem with her. But if Disney went after that fan just for creating and wearing her own cosplay outfit at ComiCon or StarWarsCon or ImNotaCon, the Internet would light up with bad publicity.

WotC (actually, it was TSR then) learned that lesson in the years before the OGL when they threatened to sue fans for publishing fan works online (waaay back in the mid to late 1990s -- look it up).  The OGL was a ham-fisted response to assuage fans and let them circulate material without fear of being sued. But some folks saw it as a way to legitimately publish work and the d20 era was born. (This previous sentence was incorrect -- the retroclone era was born out of the d20 era which flourished under the OGL).

But in the early days of the OGL, a lot of d20 publishers ran afoul of its terms (Fast Forward, etc.) and WotC brought out the big guns and quashed them. And thus the fear runneth over. Now, every publisher is scared as hell that WotC will come after them if they are caught infringing the OGL, so they go as far as to document every piece of IP in the OGL declarations and even police fan-created work. It's worked for folks who can afford to do it -- Paizo, Frog God, Goodman Games, and a few other brave souls who have managed to create and run businesses by making sure they don't run afoul of the OGL in any way.

But fans are not businesses. Fans are people who love the stuff the businesses have so meticulously created, and we have rewarded those business for their due diligence with our wallets when we buy their products. But the businesses do not get to dictate how we use those products in our own homes, at our own tables, in our own games. We live in a different age and the Internet tools we have at our disposal are powerful and easy to use and make creation and distribution of unofficial fan material easy and fun. There has been a generational shift in attitude regarding the use, reuse, and remixing of creative works. Many people in their 40s (like myself) and older are uncomfortable with this change because it undermines their entire worldview of how stuff gets made and circulated and who controls what gets made and who makes money off of it.  They see fan material as undermining the effort and time and money they put into creating their businesses, and thus they fear losing control of the work they created by the sweat of their brow. And they are right -- they lose control the moment they put it out into the world for others to consume. Our ability to create and the tools we use to do so have outpaced our laws and the legal frameworks upon which control of our creations have been based for hundreds of years (remember--copyright is enshrined in the Constitution of United States).

Publishers and rights-owners need to recognize this shift and start making plans to work within this new digital age or be left behind. While this country is still run by old white men in power, it won't be for long as our demographics are shifting (which is why the old white men in power are yelling even louder and looking more ridiculous and proving themselves ignorant every minute donald trump). The RPG industry, for all its inclusiveness of individual identities, still embraces a culturally conservative economic model when it comes to the marketing and sale of creative capital.

And that's a damn shame.

In which I respond to Erik Tenkar

In response to this:

And this:

Thanks for having the decency to include me on a discussion of my work, +Erik Tenkar. Right nice of you.

Please let me respond.

1. If you have access to the entire original PDF (I can email it to you if you want) you'll see that the whole damn thing is gonzo and intentionally full of juvenile snark and in-jokes. Taken out of context in a small snippet in the graphic posted on your post, sure, it looks like I am being flippant. Taken in the context of the document as a whole, the snippet that you show wherein I provide credits and links fits the overall tongue-in-cheek tone of the thing. Did you ever stop to consider that the whole point was to be asinine? If you can't see the tongue-in-cheek jokiness of the whole damn thing, from the opening title to the "an unsuitable adventure for any level" tag, then I guess you just don't see it or don't care to see it.

2. That said, fair use is a defense. And you obviously don't realize that fair use is entirely valid, too. You have to be accused of infringement first before you can claim fair use. There's a four factor test involved. Here's a brief overview written by a real lawyer, not a rules lawyer:


I predicted people would accuse me of infringement, and made a smart-ass wink and nod about it in the credits corner of that PDF. And look, I was right.

For the record, I think the original file passes that test on 3 counts: it's transformative, it's limited (I only used a small portion of the original artwork), and it has no effect on the potential market in terms of detracting from sales of the original work(s).

As pointed out by other commenters on your blog and your recent post about this stuff, even lawyers and judges have a hard time figuring out what is and isn't fair use and usually it's up to how good a mood the judge is in the morning he or she hears your case.

3. I didn't lock the threads I started in that forum. I did quit the forum because I obviously stepped on toes and it's better to leave than be kicked out. I did not expect the vehemence and down-the-nose-finger wagging in response to my posts, and to be fair, it was clear that I was not seeing eye-to-eye with the mods/owners. So I cut my loses. My one and only post in that community was deleted by the mods/owner, not me. After I left the forum, the moderators held up my file as an example and strongly implied I was a thief--but since I had left the forum, I couldn't defend myself.

4. Given the overblown concerns about the OGL and White Star Compatibility, I pulled the file from both Dropbox and Google Drive. I locked the posts providing links to those files so that others couldn't download them anymore until I could address the issues raised by the mods. I might be a jerk, but I try to be an ethical jerk. However, one of the moderators continued the discussion from the White Star forum on one of my posts in the OSR forum. I locked that post to stop the threadjacking as I thought it was/is kind of gauche to continue the discussion in a non-related forum. To be fair, I admit to threadjacking on the contest announcement in my responses to people's overly butt-clenching concerns to copyrights and use licenses. What was a friendly little contest among fans quickly spiraled into a "how do I cover my ass so I can keep control of my shit" discussion.

5. I locked a few other posts made last night because it was late and I did't want to deal with any drama first thing in the morning. Comments on my blog were wide open. Only two people bothered to comment. And of course, people could have sent me private messages. And some have, both in support and in criticism.

6. I locked a post this morning linking to the newly updated file because of the moderator issue explained in #4. My other blog update posts were unlocked.

7. The creators of White Star have a vested financial interest in the OGL. I get that. But fans don't. Fans creating amateur works to be shared with other fans and who are not selling that material falls somewhere between fair use and personal copyright. If the White Star guys want to police what end users create for themselves and share with their friends, they are going down a deep dark hole of whack-a-mole. TSR tried it back in the 1990s, and Palladium tried it in the early 2000s. And look what happened to them. You can't police the fan use of your material if you are encouraging people to be fans of your material. Disney does not issue C&Ds to cosplayers or fan artists who post on Deviant Art. Writers do not go after fan fiction writers. Retroclone designers are the one segment of creatives that backbite like deer flies. Because they are all riding on Matt Finch & Stuart Marshall's coattails and are living in fear of getting sued by WotC.

8. But if someone tries to sell something using White Star IP, then it is a whole different ball game, because it undermines the ability of the White Star creator to reap the economic benefits of his creation. Please note: no fan created content was being sold in the contest, nor were there plans to sell it. It was a "post your cool shit" contest, plain and simple, and then the White Star guys got all "protect our IP" over it. There were kneejerk reactions from myself and the White Star guys -- and we are obviously never going to see eye to eye over this issue.

9. Is the White Star compatibility logo a trademark? A quick perusal of this government database:
http://tess2.uspto.gov/ shows it isn't. In fact, White Star is a trademark for many other products, including a book publisher specializing in nonfiction educational books, but there's not one registered for a game product yet. But if you mean, D&D, well, then yeah, you got a point. But the OGL specifically excludes D&D as IP, so you can't be saying I'm pissing on the D&D trademark, right? Maybe the White Star guys applied for a trademark but it just isn't in the system yet?

10. I didn't enjoy the drama. I kept poking it when I should have let it lie. In fact, I made a huge mistake in claiming one person implied I was a thief (see #3), and it wasn't that person but someone else. It was late, and I misread the name of a commentator as that of a poster and fired off an angry PM before finally going to bed. This morning, when it was pointed out that I was in the wrong about that accusation, I apologized.

11. Also, did you know that posting a picture of my creation without my permission you are technically violating my copyright? Copyright violation and infringement is the backbone of modern social media. But I'm not crying foul over it.

12. You know what I'm really sorry about? I was one of many who pissed all over +Mark Hunt's excitement about the contest. For that, I am truly sorry. Mark, I owe you many beers.

As for the rest of you guys, not so much. I've had enough fake internet rage for one day.

I think I'm going to amble over to the Star Wars d6 G+ community where OMG! there is so much copyright infringement it will make your asshole disappear into your chest cavity.

update: please see this post for a bit more on my take as to what caused the whole kerfluffle.

Updated: Freebie for OSR Space Fantasy

Let's try this again:

Zombie Retronauts in Spaaaaace! v4

Updated to reflect changes to avoid run-ins with overzealous OGL shocktroopers. Comments on this post will be proactively moderated to avoid drama that I, in all fairness, started and kept poking. Since I started it, I'm ending my involvement in it and won't allow it to bubble over to this post.

d30 Challenge: Entry 18

And now for a change of pace because I need to get my mind off the previous post*:

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

18. An elderly couple emerges from a 1-story, 3-room house made entirely of normal-sized playing cards. The couple is nervous and eager to see the PCs on their way and will not invite the PCs inside. If the PCs gain entry to the home, they will find an Alice or Alistair bound to a chair and gagged. The Alice/Alistair is nearly Exasperated. The elderly couple did not capture the Alice/Alistair themselves but are merely babysitting for someone else they are too terrified to even mention. If pressed, one of them will try to say who this is, but as soon as the first syllable is uttered, they will both melt into horrifying puddles of flesh. The Alice/Alistair may wish to join the party if rescued. Hidden in the walls of the house is 3/4 of a Deck of Not a Lot of Things.

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

I. If there are magic-users in the party, they will sense a powerful magical aura coming from every non-magical item in the area that was not previously in the party's possession. Unfortunately, the exact nature of the magical aura is beyond the knowledge of any of the PCs. This aura will persist until each individual item is examined by a specialized sage, at which point the item will be revealed as being normal. It's just the Jale God screwing with the PCs.

*if any of this material infringes on anybody's intellectual property, suck it up and be happy someone read your stuff and was inspired by it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

New Freebie for White Star: White Box Science Fiction RPG OSR Space Fantasy-type Games

NOTE: Updated file available in new post.

Here, have this:

Zombie Retronauts in Spaaaaace!

Link removed until I edit it to remove the White Star references because some people want to be all lawyerly and shit.

One moderator even went as far as to accuse me of theft. Check out the White Star Google+ community. They didn’t even have the courtsey to accuse me in a private message.

It ain't theft if you cite your sources and provide links. It might be sloppy reuse/remixing, but it ain't theft. Especially if it ain't for sale or profit. Sure, it might be infringement, but it's good infringement (like fan fiction) versus bad infringement (like fake Rolex watches).

It's cool, though. Space is infinite. You can't take the sky from me.

Loosen up, dudes. Talk about taking something that was light and fun and shitting on the parade.

Also, people have a hard time reading sarcasm.

d30 Challange: Entry 17

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

17. Five witches eat cheese curls and drink lukewarm bottles of Bitches Brew while a toad and a hamster, both wearing plated mail and wielding miniature broadswords, fight in the middle of an empty kiddie swimming pool. The witches cheer on the fight, encouraging both animals equally. There is a large outlay of coins on the line (2d10gp, 2d30sp, 4d30cp). Outside the kiddie pool, a red squirrel and an emperor tamarin, both sporting boiled leather armor and bucklers, take practice swings with gaffi sticks as they warm up for the next battle.

If the toad wins the fight, he'll take on the red squirrel. If the hamster wins the fight, then the tarmarin and the squirrel will fight each other (the squirrel as 3:1 odds). The witches encourage the PCs to place bets.

If the PCs attack the witches for any reason whatsoever, the animals will immediately transform to human size and defend the witches.

The witches are almost out of cheese curls. They would happily perform a few helpful spells in exchange for 1d20 family-sized bags.

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

J. During the encounter, a froghemoth and a unicorn teleport into the area; they are locked in battle. There is a 15% chance they appear in the air and drop on one of the PCs. After 2 rounds of battle, they teleport out again.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

d30 Challenge: Entry 16

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

16. A grill rests over an enormous campfire; several thick steaks and burgers fill the air with tasty smells. An ogre stands by the fire, occasionally prodding and flipping the meat with a trident. Two trolls sit at a busted chrome dinette set, eating ribeye sandwiches slathered with red onions and spicy mustard. There are two empty tables. If the PCs sit at the table, it's 1sp for a steak and 50cp for a burger (the only available toppings are red onions, spicy mustard, and pickeled harpy gizzards). There is no waitstaff, so PCs must pay the cook. The cook enforces a strict "no fighting" policy while food is being cooked by calling on the fire elemental hiding in the flames beneath the grill.

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

K. One of the foes/NPCs is deathly allergic to dwarves. If there is a dwarf in the party, that foe/NPC must fight at a –3 penalty to hit. However, all the other foes/NPCs know of this allergy and will target dwarves first.

Monday, June 15, 2015

d30 Challenge: Entry 15

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

15. A dilapidated blue 1972 Volkswagen Super Beetle sits on four worn, flat tires. The engine has been yanked out of the boot and several jagged claw marks scar the engine block. Worn belts and parts litter the ground. The interior of the car is pristine, except for the emaciated corpse of an Avon Sales Representative, her sample case neatly arranged on the passenger seat. The Avon Lady is actually a wight. She will attempt to sell the PCs her wares (which are rotten with decay). If the PCs refuse to entertain her sales pitch, she will summon 1d6 fellow representatives and attack the party. If the PCs attempt to fix her car and are successful (10% chance; 40% if there's a tinker gnome in the party and spend 1d6 hours trying), they will find a Soap on a Rope +2 and a Fresh and Glow Face Mask +1 against Vampires under the engine block. The car's gas tank is empty.

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

L. If the PCs kill all of the foes/NPCs, a random petty god will manifest and demand restitution for slaying one of his favorite followers. The god will be extremely aggravated.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

d30 Challenge: Entry 14

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

14. Orphaned twins torture a small cat. The children are about 8 years old and plainly dressed. They claim they were abandoned by their parents. They are lying. Their mother is the cat. Polymorph Other was infused in their brains by a vengeful petty god, and the twins have gleefully been turning people they hold grudges against into small mammals and killing them slowly. The twins are symbiotic; if one gets injured, the other feels it.

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

M. One of the foes/NPCs points out the concealed entrance to a one-room cave containing two gnome-sized wooden coffins. The coffins are engraved with alien sigils. The coffins are empty. Whatever is put in one coffin is teleported to the other coffin, but inside out.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

d30 Challenge: Entry 13

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

13. 3d4 bandit leaders accompanied by 4d4 bandit bodyguards attend a leadership retreat lead by a hobgoblin shaman; they are in the middle of a trust-building exercise. If the PCs interrupt the exercises, there is a 25% chance the shaman will invite the PCs to join in and learn the Orgo Ogotto Method of True Leadership℠ for a small one-time fee of 19gp; membership includes a course completion certificate on 100% real sheepskin parchment and access to an entire catalog of reasonably priced motivational totems and tchotckes to further motivate and lead a team.

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

N. Two of the foes/NPCs are lovers; if one of them is killed, the other goes into a berserker rage, gaining a +5 to all to-hit and damage attacks.

Friday, June 12, 2015

d30 Challenge: Entry 12

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

12. 2d6 Vampire Crabs are dining on a Rodent of Unusual Size. In the stomach of the RoUS is a sentient duck named Sonya, who was separated from her friend Peter, a dwarf given to bouts of depression and binging on pork and pork byproducts. Peter has been missing for a month, and Sonya and her friends Ivanhoe (a cockatoo) and Sascha (a dacshund) have been looking for Peter for the past two days. Ivanhoe was eaten by a python and Sascha fell to a werewolf. Peter was last seen chasing after a goat. In Sonya's gizzard is a ruby worth 156gp and a rare star sapphire worth 532gp.

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

O. It's raining for no explicable reason whatsoever. Maybe it's magic. Maybe not. All melee attacks suffer –2 because of the weather.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

d30 Challenge: Entry 11

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

11. d24 bugbears, d24 gnolls and d24 kobolds are in full melee, duking it for control of an elegant oversized horse-drawn coach capable of carrying six people. The six horses are dead, and so are the occupants of the coach:  a queenly figure dressed in a fine silken sky-blue evening gown hangs halfway out of the coach and a once-handsome raven-haired man in a military dress uniform is sprawled on the ground beside her. Her throat has been cut and her feet have been lopped off; his head has been bashed in. If the PCs attempt to intervene in the fight, two rounds into combat one of the the following will happen:

  1. if the PCs fought against every group, the horses turn into dead mice and the coach turns into a pumpkin squeezed around the dead woman's body, and all the enemy combatants turn into a swarm of flies and maggots on the corpses.
  2. if the PCs joined the bugbears, the kobolds and gnolls will flee.
  3. if the PCs joined the gnolls, the kobolds will surrender, but the bugbears will fight to the death.
  4. if the PCs joined the kobolds, after two more rounds of combat the bugbears will join the kobolds too, but the gnolls will fight to the death.

The dead man is a prince in a far off kingdom and the royal family will handsomely reward the PCs for quick return of his body, along with proof of what became of his fate. His medals are worth 543gp on the black market and the coach is carrying around 1657sp. Also, one of the dead kobolds is wearing a pair of fur slippers that perfectly fit his feet.

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

P. There is a 15% chance that every attempt to hit a particular foe/NPC misses its mark for the entire duration of combat. This foe/NPC is carrying a Personal Force Field device that was found in the remnants of a crashed alien spaceship. The foe/NPC has no idea what the device does; they think it is just a cool looking trinket they wear as a souvenir. The battery is still 2/3 full.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

d30 Challenge: Entry 10

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

10. A goat and a feral pig root around a large mud puddle, munching on whatever they find. The goat pulls out all sorts of weird things, including tin cans, car parts, lava rocks, and cedar mulch. The pig turns up unusually sized moldy rutabagas, rotting cabbages, and other such deteriorating vegetables. They eat it all. The mud puddle is a multi-dimensional gateway to a slosh pile on a farm in Osage County, Missouri. If the PCs dive in and go deep enough, they will emerge on Fred Samuelson's Pretty Pride Pork Products and Hog Farm in 1983. There's a 50% chance Fred will be tossing stuff in the slosh pile when the PCs emerge and he won't be surprised at all. He'll invite the PCs to clean off up at the house, where the PCs will find Fred's wife Sally, 2 orks, 3 hobgoblins, and a dwarf named Pete eating barbecue ribs and pulled pork sandwiches with cold bottles of Vanilla Coke®.

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

Q. Clerical spells will not work during this encounter, as the gods are on holiday in Carcosa. Prayers will be granted unexpectedly at a later date when the gods return and go through their messages.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

d30 Challenge: Entry 9

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

09. Two angels hold a minor demon in chains, the demon moaning and struggling as the celestial chains that bind it scorch and burn and flame. It is an illusion; it's really two halfling thief-magicians escorting an enslaved hobgoblin maiden to their nearby secret redoubt where they plan to ransom her back to her family.

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

R. There is a 50% chance that the foes/NPCs speak only French, which is odd because France does not exist in this multiverse.

Monday, June 8, 2015

WIP: Pregenerated 0-Level Characters

From my Work in Progress, here is a file of 40 zero-level characters for Swords & Wizardry Whitebox.

I used a modified version of the Swords & Wizardry funneling system developed by +Stelios V. Perdios mashed-up with the Basic Fantasy RPG character tumbler created by +Austin Schaefer

Get the file as a PDF from my Google Drive here:

d30 Challenge: Entry 8

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

08. An ork strokes the head of a wounded warg partially trapped in a pit trap; the animal's rear legs are impaled on spikes in the trap. The warg is clearly on death's doorstep and the ork is visibly upset. The ork is armed with a warclub and a jagged falchion; two sawtoothed spears, a warg saddle, and the ork's other equipment are in a loose pile nearby. The ork is ready to slit the throat of his warg. If the PCs attempt to kill the warg, the ork will claim the PCs robbed him of his solemn duty and take a blood oath to kill the PCs, but realizing he is outnumbered will flee on foot, taking only his club & sword. If the PCs heal the warg, the ork will reward them with a Spear of Spearing. There is a 10% chance that future ork encounters will include this ork, who will remember the party's kindness (or lack thereof).

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

S. Any attempt to use non-divine magic spells during the encounter will have disastrous effects, as the foes/NPCs have a magic-reflecting, god-granted geas cast on them that deflects non-divine attacks back on the caster.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

WIP: Dead End

7E. Dead End
This area contains the remains of three dead goblins, their bodies horribly burned and covered in a thick, white, crusty gel. They’re missing their heads. One of the goblins wears a money belt with 32sp and a set of goblin rune stones; the stones are worth 20cp and are 34% accurate.

d30 Challenge: Entry 7

d30 Gonzo Encounters Suitable for
Dungeon Sandbox Crawling Exploration

07. Six dead elves, their faces horribly burned and their extremities gnawed away, are arranged in an outward-facing circle, their backs leaning against each other. A single golden thread encircles their waists and binds them together. If the thread is removed, the elves will explode (Save vs. Death or else), revealing a small cache of rubies and sapphires worth 1,543gp. The elves cannot be moved without removing the thread.

d30 Alphabetic Modifiers

T. Sounds made during this encounter draw the attention of a wandering troubadour, who will show up and record the PCs' deeds in a ballad worthy of the mightiest of heroes. Unfortunately, he's not that good at rhyming. Or singing.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

WIP: Layers of Bone

7B. Layers of Bone
The floor of this entire area is covered in bone fragments veined with corroded copper. The top layer is covered in a viscous, corrosive white slime. Anyone whose bare skin comes in contact with the slime must make a Save vs. Poison or suffer 1d4 points acidic burn damage.

Two dead goblins, their feet eaten away by acid, are slumped against one wall. They carry nothing of value.

The southeastern wall of this area consists of a huge rockslide; a 12ft long silvery wedge is embedded in the wall. This is the edge of a spaceship wing. It is firmly embedded in the wall and buried under tons of rock.

WIP: Scrubroom

6K. Scrubroom
A small iron wood-burning stove, a dressing bench, and a beaten-metal scrubtub fill this room.

Anders’ body lies in the scrubtub, his lower extremities and torso dissolved into a thick, fleshy goo. His face sports several whip-like acid burns that seem like something tried to caress him.

One of his hands, the flesh eaten away so that nothing but bone and tough sinew remain, clutches a chunk of fleshy, white, down-covered tentacle, its underside covered in row upon row of sharp hooked claws.

On the Ecology of the Ghthhth

On the Ecology of the Ghthhth

Name: Ghthhth

Nomenclature: Ghthhth, Gith, That Which Devourers, The Yawning Mouth

HD 7
AC 2 [17]
Atk 1 bite (3d6)
Move 12
Save 9
XP 800
Special: Immune to fire and cold, half damage from electricity, travel through mud, sand, and dry earth.

Description: Ghthhth are small, tough, boulder shaped creatures with the chameleon-like ability to assume the coloration of their surrounding environment. They have three compound eyes set into their spheres, allowing them to see in front, behind, and above them at all times. Although they lack legs, they have two three-toed feet and can hop extremely fast. They prefer to propel themselves by rolling to their destinations.

Things that are known:
  • Ghthhth is both singular and plural.
  • They are ravenous eaters and must constantly eat to remain alive.
  • They can devour rock and metal just as easily as organic matter.
  • They do not excrete bodily waste, as they have an extremely high metabolism that transfers all edible material into energy or increased body mass. It is not unusual for a Ghthhth to grow and shrink in size in direct proportion to its diet and energy expenditures.
  • Ghthhth and Xorns are mortal enemies.
  • They do not breathe and can easily travel across the bottom of lakes and rivers.
  • They prefer to eat horses, mules, and donkeys above all other beasts.

Rumors and other whispers in the dark:
  • Ghthhth are normally solitary creatures.
  • Packs of Ghthhth have been spotted in distant ravines during early fall rains.
  • They do not raise their young, but lay eggs in dry river beds. The young hatch during spring ice melt.
  • Each Ghthhth is an exact duplicate of the original Ghthhth.
  • Ghthhth do not speak but can understand all known languages of man.
  • It is said that in some isolated farmsteads, farmers offer the first born foal of the season to the Ghthhth so that their fields might be spared ravenging.
  • There is no such thing as Ghthhths; it’s just a folktale spread by drunk farmhands to keep kids out of potato fields.
  • Once, a Ghthhth was found in a noblewoman’s bedroom. Her hound was never seen again.
  • If a Ghthhth loses its eyes, it can grow new ones overnight.
  • Ghthhth only gather in groups to mate and will never mate in the same group twice.
  • In times of drought, a Ghthhth can mate with itself.
  • Ghthhth are highly devout and worship Arwassa, the Shouter of the Hills.
  • Ghthhths were designed to spy on mankind.
  • They cannot be killed with a normal weapon. Only a flame as hot as a glassblower’s forge can destroy one.
  • Ghthhths are impervious to flame.
  • Once, a Ghthhth rescued a small child from a burning barn. The child said the Ghthhth took three fingers in payment for this kindness.
  • Ghthhth are literate and will only exchange letters with wizards.
  • Ghthhth do not sleep.

A TALE: The Boy & The Ghthhth

In those days, griffins and xorn still roamed the land, and the rock antelope covered the distant hills as far as the eye could see. It was as peaceful a time as any could remember—a six-month’s peace had been declared between the Baron Walthamthorp and the Duke of Eastphalia, and peasants were hard at work in their fields to gather that year’s meager harvest.

It was during this time that a young boy, a tot, really, too young too work in the fields, too old to be under his mother’s foot, toddled out of his family’ hut and wandered into the barnyard. Unbeknownst to his family, three Ghthhth had taken up residence among the mud and stones, nipping eggs from the chickens that freely roamed the property. The boy, having noticed this behavior, took up the habit of gathering eggs his parents and siblings had overlooked and placing them within easy reach of each Ghthhth and waiting for them to devour the eggs, laughing and clapping with glee when they did so.

Eventually his father, a stout follower of the Jale God, noticed the boy laughing and clapping in front of what looked to the farmer like three large rocks. He observed this behavior over three days, but never saw the Ghthhth devour the eggs. Thinking his son not right in the head, he and his wife took the boy to see the local witchy-woman.

The witchy-woman, after extracting an exorbitant fee from the farmer, examined the boy and declared him an idiot. She offered to take the boy off the farmer’s hands for free, and the farmer reluctantly agreed, in exchange for ⅔ of his fee returned. Thus, the deal was done and the boy spent the rest of his life in servitude to the witchy-woman until one night she provoked him too far in a fit of lust and she suffered a stroke and died. The boy went on to become a well-renowned healer, Spriggart the Wiseacre.

When the farmer and his wife returned to their farmstead, they found no trace of the two children they had left to their chores or their 30 goats, 42 chickens, and 2 horses. The Ghthhth had devoured them all and moved on.

The Jale God laughed.