Thursday, November 29, 2018

Magic Item: Cudgel of Cleverness

Embuk rapped Silnar on the head with the cudgel.
"Ow! That smarts!"
"That should knock some sense into you."

Magic Item: Cudgel of Cleverness

This stout wooden weapon is designed not to harm, but to help. Those hit with it suffer only 1 point of damage while gaining the temporary bonus of +2 to their wisdom score. The bonus lasts for 1d4 turns (10 to 40 minutes).

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Random Table: What the Prostitute Knows

A random table of pillow talk rumors. 1d20 rumors previously submitted to a contest in Fight On! Magazine.

01 - A prominent merchant is dealing in slaves.

02 - That isn't just hog meat in the most popular sausage in town.

03 - The wife of the mayor has a tattoo that is a map to treasure.

04 - The magistrate isn't allowed back in the brothel.

05 - The place to buy or sell stolen goods is behind the stable.

06 - In the next town they grow apples that give people prophetic dreams.

07 - The real leader of the bandits is the jeweler.

08 - Under the floor of the barracks is a demon shrine.

09 - The High Priest keeps a mistress.

10 - There's a cave a mile outside town where smugglers hide loot.

11 - The blacksmith is blackmailing people and hides secrets in a tree stump.

12 - The dragon slayer is a woman.

13 - The gate guards take bribes.

14 - The stone mason likes wearing dresses and playing "elf".

15 - The secret passage under the walls is in a crypt.

16 - For 100 gold pieces you can buy a map of the keep from the barber.

17 - His Lordship's daughter secretly works in the brothel.

18 - If you want to know where the bodies are buried ask the rope maker.

19 - Inside the town square statue is a fortune in gems.

20 - An assassin was hired by the Baron to kill his brother.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Random Table: Who is that Drunkard? part 5

This is part 5 of a random table of tavern patrons submitted to Fight On! Magazine.

Random tavern patrons #81 through 100 of d100:

81 - An artisan carving images on an animal skull.

82 - Someone pretending a broom is a horse.

83 - A prudish old woman berating everyone about their loose morals.

84 - Someone that looks similar to the wanted posted outside.

85 - A toothless fellow that occasionally mutters Nope and shakes his head.

86 - A passed out wizard whose tiny companion sits nearby bored.

87 = The captain of the guard giving a lecture to the animal head on the wall.

88 - Two middle aged, bearded gents debating whose idea it was.

89 - A collector of swords that wants to examine any noticeable sword.

90 - The queen of a great kingdom, or so she says.

91 - A long-haired individual in robes with back to the room.

92 - A squat, pudgy individual with spectacles.

93 - A beggar wearing new looking shoes.

94 - A local rope maker weeping while preparing a noose.

95 - A hunter feasting on the bird he caught and had prepared.

96 - A beautiful young woman dressed all in scarlet.

97 - The winner of a race across town from another pub.

98 - The town barber, hands shaking badly.

99 - A soaking wet individual claiming to have survived falling in the well.

100 - A noisy group at a table, rolling strangely shaped dice and cheering about having slain a dragon.

There you have it, all 100 results for the drunk tavern patrons!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Random Table: Who is that Drunkard part 4

This random table of part 4 of 5, d100 tavern patrons #61 through 80 from a list submitted to a contest in Fight On! Magazine

Patrons #61 through 80:

61 - A teenager with one hand missing.

62 - Robed singers with facial tattoos of runes and symbols.

63 - A member of local nobility and retinue.

64 - A messenger with a pouch of wax sealed notes.

65 - A leather tanner smelling of urine.

66 - Two elderly persons sorting through a pile of scrolls and parchment.

67 - The jailer complaining to the room about the prisoners.

68 - Two big men in a drinking contest.

69 - An animal trainer with a ferret.

70 - A spice merchant.

71 - A group of people having beetle fights on their table and wagering on the outcome.

72 - A person with badly scarred face and hands.

73 - A thin waif crawling about making cat noises.

74 - Twins, one with bright red hair, the other with bright white hair.

75 - A heavy man sitting on a tall fellow and refusing to let him up.

76 - A tall bearded man smoking a pipe.

77 - A farmer sharing some bread and beer with a duck.

78 - Three hooded individuals whispering together in a dim corner.

79 - Two harlots arguing about a customer.

80 - A witch hunter staring at everyone that comes in.

Part 5 #s 81 through 100 will be posted in a couple days.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Random table: Who is that Drunkard part 3

This random table was submitted to a contest in Fight On! Magazine.

Part 3 tavern patrons #41 through 60:

41 - A chimney sweep covered in soot.

42 - A peddler selling flowers from a wicker basket.

43 - Two squires discussing arrangements for a duel between their masters.

44 - A rug merchant arguing with a weaver about quality of materials.

45 - A short fellow in oversized, dented, rusty armor.

46 - A girl with sticks and leaves in her hair and clothing.

47 - Wedding celebrants.

48 - A religious pilgrim.

49 - A troupe of acrobats.

50 - A scribe copying a text.

51 - Three midwives gossiping.

52 - An amorous couple.

53 - Veteran mercenaries.

54 - A stable hand with boots covered in muck and wet straw.

55 - A jeweler examining precious stones for a prospector.

56 - A flamboyantly dressed obese woman with lots of jewelry.

57 - A tax collector and guards.

58 - A cobbler measuring a customer for new footwear.

59 - A table surrounded by 5 unconscious patrons.

60 - Acolytes from a foreign church that don't speak the local language.

Part 4 patron #s 61 through 80 will be up in a couple days.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Random Table: Who is that Drunkard? part 2

This is part 2 of a random tavern patron table submitted to a contest in Fight On! Magazine.

Tavern patrons #21 through 40:

21 - A traveling entertainer passed out.

22 - A foreign diplomat and servant.

23 - A falconer wit an annoyed bird.

24 - The butch and baker placing lit candles on an unconscious man.

25 - Several porters in a local Lord's livery.

26 - A carpenter picking splinters from his hands.

27 - Three town guards betting on what other patrons are doing.

28 - An old woman mumbling something to nobody visible.

29 - An unconscious person in ragged clothing curled up next to an old dog.

30 - Someone that could be the identical twin of a party member.

31 - A group of well armed people sorting a bag of dirt encrusted coins.

32 - A pale gentleman telling stories of ancient times.

33 - A dancer.

34 - Two large men arm wrestling.

35 - The limner that just repainted the tavern sign.

36 - The local fletcher.

37 - A blacksmith with singed hair.

38 - A blind woman reading palms.

39 - A robed person petting a multi-colored toad.

40 - Refuges from a nearby town.

Part 3 #s 41 through 60 coming in a couple days.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Random Table: Who is that Drunkard? part 1

This random tavern patron table was originally submitted to a contest in Fight On! Magazine.

Part 1 #s 1 through 20 of 100 patrons:

01 - A farmer whose crops or livestock were recently lost or destroyed.

02 - A former apprentice to a local wizard.

03 - The jealous wife of a guard.

04 - A free spending merchant.

05 - A tailor known to serve wealthy clientele.

06 - A guard of the nearby brothel.

07 - A bounty hunter.

08 - A high priest or priestess of the temple.

09 - An angry father looking for the taker of his daughter's virtue.

10 - A poor peddler trying to sell small carvings or trinkets.

11 - A small lost looking child with crumpled papers in hand.

12 - A proud pig farmer going around showing off an unusual piglet.

13 - Half a dozen mourners dressed in black.

14 - A cartographer staring at a torn map fragment.

15 - The rat catcher.

16 - Three well dressed men.

17 - A veiled woman with a small black box on her table.

18 - A one-eyed harlot.

19 - The local magistrate or town elder.

20 - Two grave diggers tossing and catching a knife.

Part two #s 21 through 40 coming in a couple days.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Campaign Update: Another Casualty, Risky Behavior Takes a Toll

The campaign has seen a seventh character death. This time a trap nearly slew half the party. A pair of house rules used in combination saved all but one. The dungeon was a tomb comprised of five rooms, each having its own dangerous element. Everything could be defeated or avoided by paying attention and careful tactics. Sadly it was risky carelessness that ended the adventure.

I first ran this dungeon for some friends at GenCon in 2000. That party of first level characters (3rd edition rules) succeeded in beating the dungeon despite being under powered for the challenges. Players can and do often think their way to victory. After returning from the convention I tried out the dungeon for another group of friends and it also went well for that group.

This time the group triggered the first three traps resulting in them retreating from the tomb with a valuable monkey idol and a bunch of papyrus inventory lists for the containers in the second room. (Using the Lamentations of the Flame Princess rules in a standard style D&D setting). This group ranged in levels up to fourth and it was the 1st level elf that failed to survive the third trap.

The third trap exploded for maximum damage taking down three out of the six member party and leaving the rest badly injured. The first trap only caught one party member for low damage, and the second caught them all for low damage. The accumulated damage from all three traps was enough to convince them to gather their dead and retreat.

Fortunately this group of players, mostly novices, take the risk of character death without complaint and enjoy the game.

Below is the dungeon for your perusal and use.
Outside of the now cleared tomb entrance are two overgrown pillars and an obelisk.

Room 1: 30' x 40' The walls are covered in murals painted to depict a battle. The most prominent figure rides a chariot and is shown decapitating an enemy.

Before the door leading further into the tomb is a trap door into a 10' pit. The key to the door is hidden in a box painted to disguise it as part of the wall. The pit trap becomes active after using the key to unlock both it and the door. Opening the door triggers the pit. 1d6 damage.

Room 2: 30' x 40' Lining the walls are crates, giant urns sealed by clay lids, barrels of wine, and shelves bearing clay pots and boxes containing small scrolls in an ancient language. (inventory lists and warnings of the trap in the room.

In the largest giant urn are Thousands of carnivorous beetles, magically preserved awaiting their release to eat greedy grave robbers. Beetle swarm, 1d3 damage/round (1hp damage/round with save) to all in the room. Swarm will follow characters if not destroyed. Swarm has 10hp.

Room 3: 30' x 120' Murals line the walls depicting a funeral procession for the warrior in the murals of the first room. As the funeral proceeds down this long chamber the figures become more gaunt, eventually appearing as skeletons.

There is a pedestal upon which sits an ornate monkey idol (1000 gold or silver depending on which standard is used in your campaign). The pedestal is painted showing flames emanating from upraised hands of an angry looking monkey.

Removing the monkey idol without disarming the trap results in 2d6 damage from fire to all in the chamber, save for half.

Room 4: 90' x 90' This room is completely shrouded in magical darkness which is generated by a rod held upright near the center of the room. Destroying the rod (5hp) removes the magical darkness.

There are 4 10' deep pits (1d6 damage) spaced about the room and 6 skeletons (5 hp each) that will attack intruders. There is also a bejeweled (5 gemstones, random value) throne centered on the northern wall. Sitting in it opens the secret door hidden behind it.

Room 5: 50' x 50' Centered in this lavish room is a dais upon which rests a large sarcophagus. The sarcophagus is decorated in gold, silver, copper and onyx, in the image of the occupant. Tapestries line the walls and the floor stones are painted in bright colors. The ceiling is painted to depict the sun and moons circling a crown.

There is a concealed opening on the north wall that leads to a cliff.

There are no traps present, but disturbing the sarcophagus wakes the mummy. The mummy wears 5 pieces of gold jewelry (random value) and an Amulet of Shielding (protects from magic missiles, 20 points worth of damage, can be recharged).

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Monster Ecology: From Rot Grub to Carrion Crawler

One of the most feared creatures for a party of adventurers to encounter by surprise is the infamous Carrion Crawler. This tentacled caterpillar shaped beast stalks through dungeons in search of corpses to eat. Reaching as much as 9' in length at maturity, the crawler is nothing to trifle with.
When Crawlers are ready to reproduce they gather in groups, known as horrors, of up to 6 members, to seek out living hosts to paralyze and into which they lay clutches of hundreds of eggs. Carrion Crawlers are hermaphroditic both fertilizing and laying eggs. Once all members of the horror have deposited eggs into separate hosts they go their own ways and exhibit no parental care of the resulting offspring.

The warmth of the helpless victim triggers the eggs to begin hatching almost immediately to begin devouring the host. These tiny ravenous larva are what we know as Rot Grubs. The larva are highly competitive, racing to eat their path to vital organs and fighting each other to the death for dining rights.

What begins as hundreds of fingernail sized hatchlings dwindles as they consume the living host and each other. As their numbers drop into the dozens the grubs have grown to finger length and nearly twice the girth.

Competition continues over what remains of their now long dead host. Remaining grubs strike out in small groups seeking fresh carrion or warm living bodies to eat.
Upon reaching roughly the size of a human forearm the individual grubs find shelter to begin the next stage in their development. Within a chrysalis the grub transforms into a miniature version of their eventual adult form, the Carrion Crawler.

In their new form they have become dangerous hunters far more mobile and armed with paralytic venom capable of stopping even the largest of prey.

Because of the dangerous nature of both the Rot Grub and the Carrion Crawler, neither form has a natural predator other than those of their own kind.

Rumor is that deep in the Under-realm enterprising tribes of humanoids have trained crawlers as war mounts, but no evidence of this is known. Such a practice seems too hazardous to be worth the required effort.

Among deep tribes tales of enormous Carrion Crawlers persist, though it is unlikely they exist at those sizes.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Pearls of Wisdom: Do oozes create pearls?

We know that oysters create pearls by coating irritants in material to ease the discomfort. Could the same be said of oozes?

Typically an ooze dissolves most objects into a form they then devour for sustenance. The remainder is then ejected from their body to be left in their wake as they continue the perpetual search for more food. But what if tiny particulates sometimes remained, unpassed inside the body of the ooze? Might leftovers of very tiny, dust-like size remain and perhaps act as irritants?

While most oozes would conceal these minute treasures within their opaque membrane, the Gelatinous Cube would be an exception. Older cubes might gradually accumulate clouds of encased particles which if observed in sufficient lighting would help reveal their presence.

 Thousands of these little pearls could be carried about until large enough to be expelled by the creature. Following a trail of pearls through a dungeon or cavern might lead adventurers into great danger as they encounter what looks like a reflective star field ahead in the darkness.

Treasure comes in many forms, but the wise remain cautious about the source and oozes would be a dangerous source indeed.