Monday, August 5, 2019

Randomizers: Local Troubles for Wandering Magistrates

Been working on some items for publication lately, but here's something real quick for anyone playing a game with wandering do-gooders in need of some potential troubles and complications. 

Local Troubles for the Wandering Magistrate [d20]
1. A drought has turned neighbor against neighbor. People are hoarding resources, and a famine may break out if rain does not come soon.
2. A child was born upon the night of a baleful moon with a set of horns. The mother has foreseen her death at the infant’s hands and wishes it banished. The father is distraught at choosing who he should love more.
3. A family has been banished to the woods beyond the edge of town for their godless behavior, but the children within that family believe they should not suffer for the sins of their parentage.
4. The stone masons have been denied their wages after repairing their lord’s fortress. The lord has claimed them, one and all, to be traitors to his banner. The masons have kidnapped his son and are holding him hostage.
5. The locals say a witch lives in the nearby wilderness and that she has made sick their infants. The witch claims to have never even visited the settlement and wishes only to be left to her dark rites. 
6. A local clergyman, pockets laden with filthy lucre, attempted to flee the settlement but ended up dying in the wilds. No one knows where his gold went, but it was stolen. A crisis of faith is occurring, and none will bury the body for fear of a ghost. 
7. A plague has broken out and the class divide within the settlement has grown fiercer as a result. The rich blame the poor for their filth, the poor gaze with hate upon the rich who have sealed themselves off in their estates.
8. A mountain cult, known well for keeping the pass clear of bandits and rubble, has been targeted by the state religion of a local lord. Both sides have a fair cause for stewardship, and bandits appear to be using the current chaos to incite greater violence.
9. Frogs have rained down from the sky, pelting the village in bloody little corpses. The elders of the village proclaim this to be due to the youth of the village not paying proper heed to the importance of the river trade. As a result of forced river trading, two teenagers have drowned. Everyone is upset.
10. Nobody can sleep anymore, there is a scuttling horror in the nearby wilds who is said to drink away the good dreams and leave only nightmares. The locals are losing their minds, and anyone who can get a good night’s rest is deemed to be in league with the Evil.
11. A wandering alchemist pleads for aid as her ointments and unguents are not merely snake-oil and she believes some local has framed her for the poisoning of a much hated, but highly wealthy, local warrior.
12. Two noble houses, long in good standing with one another due to an arranged marriage, are attempting to avert the divorce that would separate them. The couple divorcing harbor no ill will for one another, but the more their families meddle, the more they will begin to seek retribution.
13. A nun, ousted from her order, claims to know the existence of demons who hide within the flesh of the allegedly devout. Her proclamations have lead to the death of three prominent clergymen, and the church is unsure if they should do anything for fear of her followers.
14. A bestial creature from the neighboring wilderness wishes to stop encroachment upon the lands of its people. It attempts empathy but is crude in that. It warns of violence if man delves into the riches of its lands; riches they are not using. The local settlement desires to encroach.
15. Two armies are present on the road, each with a bickering officer who demand the right to pass first. The most jingoistic of the troops make veiled insults at the other side. Violence could break out at any moment.
16. The village banished its great hunter for killing the sacred boar three years ago, but they have seen the boar again since. They fear they have made a mistake and a man now may have been wrongly punished. They want to know what must be done for clemency.
17. A noblemen calls for a feast, inviting the magistrates to take part. While at the feast, the lead adviser to the nobleman does everything in her power to implicate the cruelties of the noblemen without speaking them aloud. She cares for the realm, he cares only for his feast. 
18. A haunted fortress a few days away from the settlement is to be retaken by the son of a local lord. The spirits of the fortress wish to be remembered and then left in peace. Conflict and foul omens are imminent. 
19. A once pure spring has been tainted and the locals blame a foreign merchant who passed through town. The merchant is many days away and has nothing but good things to speak about when it comes to the town. She spent time at the spring, but she did so in the company of locals.
20. A great beast lurks in the nearby wilds and the local nobility has invited you to hunt it with them. While hunting, an assassination attempt takes place but no one can recognize any clues from the assailants and the motive are not well known. Paranoia ensues. 

Complications [d10]
1. The nature of the conflict is further complicated due to an issue of true love.
2. A kinslayer, long thought vanished into the wild, is the true perpetrator of the crimes.
3. Wicked spirits have clouded the hearts of those involved with hatred and violence.
4. A foreign infiltrator has seen this problem exacerbated for the benefit of their patrons.
5. This is all the punishment of a Divine entity, wishing to test the mettle of man.
6. A group of youths, unaffiliated with any faction, played with dark powers and are the true ones to hold responsible for any such travail. 
7. The avaricious and hedonistic among the nobility caused this problem, and they’ll never admit it.
8. Mid-way through seeking to solve this issue, one faction will engage in an act of murder out of either rage or self-defense; further muddling a solution.
9. Local authorities have attempted to solve this problem to no avail and view any interlopers as overreaching their authority and treading upon their honor.
10. Both sides know they will be viewed as weak and lose face with their community if they relented.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

A Knave's Guide to Eberron: The Mournlands

Cyre, the Purple Jewel in the crown of Galifar, sits in ruin. The dead too numerous to be counted, seared away in supernatural cataclysm which still taints the land like an emanating radiation, like noxious fumes wafting out of a bloated corpse. This is the Mournland, for it is a place of sorrow and for remembrance of a dark event that destroyed a culture without explanation.

The Mournlands bifurcate Khorvaire, its borders defined by a powerful miasma which churns like a dust storm, like a warning not to enter. The mists are said to drive men to madness by way of unceasing malaise, they carry the cries and psychic fears of those who died during the Day of Mourning upon them. In the thickest of the fog, their shadows wage in endless war as silhouettes.

Bodies litter the Mournlands in various states of decay, the rampant arcane energy toys with the natural decomposition process. Fields of charnel atrocities twitch and seizure, choked cries by consciousnesses trapped in dead frames echo out on the winds. Some sites are locked in time, bodies fallen but unblemished by the ravages of time or vermin. 

The fields of the Mournland, of Cyre’s former rolling hills and beautiful horizons, are overgrown. The grains which once created the most artisanal goods, crumble at the most errant touch into a gritty silt. Vineyards grow their crops, unattended, the fruits resemble fetal forms; it is likely pareidolia but only the most desperate would risk this unkindness of imagery. 

The waters of Cyre have receded, turned crimson or reverted into pestilent bogs. Death strandings of all manner of creatures can be found upon the forsaken shores, twitching in half-life, translucent in the skin, bones shown. Flies drone endlessly, though they never seem to be present. Mechanical cables, larger than any sane thing, shudder upon the beach and trail back down beneath the waters in the distance. Steel Krakens, some say, but even a kraken should must obey the rules of nature. It should not be this large.

The sky is always cloudy, overcast, ready to rain down ash, greasy waters, or other pestilences upon the fog-choked land. Travelling the Mournlands without proper shelter is just as risky as travelling it without weapons at the ready. The tattered husks of civilization within are just as treacherous as the open wilderness. 

Cabin Boy is an underrated film and speaks to my upbringing.

Cyre did not deserve this fate, it was a land of beauty and plenty. King Jarot’s daughter was meant to inherit the crown, not this legacy of horror. Cyre has no true ruler anymore, though Prince Oargev ir’Wynarn can claim a right to rule, he has no land to call his own. He hardly has a people. Cyran refugees litter the surrounding nations, untrusted for their former military’s actions in the last war, for the glory they once had, and for the doom that some believe follows them. They are as a people, from a culture of high art and fashion, primarily now destitute and hopeless. Cyran artifacts are worth a lovely sum, ensuring a flooded market that forces them into further indignity, and the prevalence of scavengers who will plunder their former homeland; risking life and limb for their own petty gains.

The Warforged may find their purpose here, as the Lord of Blades seeks to make this ravaged wreck heap into a homeland for the betterment and propagation of his race. His supremacist politics, vicious rhetoric, and ruthless efficiency reveal him to be the very worst of Cyre and the Mournlands, married into the frame of a hulking mechanical monstrosity. For every cultural milestone he seeks to claim, he looks upon the rest of the world with the same ambition which denied Cyre it’s crown. The mantle of a becoming god calls to him more than any petty throne, and his followers must straddle the line between violent zealots and peaceable wanderers to those who encounter them in this blasted place. 

Considerations for the Mournlands
The Mournlands are if you took a WWI no-man’s-land, turned it into Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombs dropped, and then allowed it to be the Chernobyl zone of exclusion. It is a place of tragedy, and therein lies the horror. It is fitting in a pulp perspective, but the tone should feel very "deep behind enemy lines" wherein the enemy is existence.

The Mournlands is not scary because it is filled with monsters, it is scary because it is wasted potential, it is a place where everything a civilization should strive for--maybe even deserve, has been inverted in a terrible way. The most beautiful and cherished realm of Galifar is now a heap of filth to suffer only the molestations of bonepickers, vultures, wayward cultists, and the misguided. Might makes right here, but this is not a place where goblin warlords wage for dominance in that philosophy; this is a place where might makes right because nobody is coming here to save you, nobody cares you’re here, you have no motives here but the ulterior; you cannot save this land, you will lose yourself here.

Characters who travel the Mournlands must contend with the mist, which will slowly infect their dreams and drive them into a depressive state where self-harm, suicide, or homocide seem to make sense as a means of coping with their utterly insiginificant place in a world where such atrocities can occur. Warforged are immune to this, in theory; those found in the Mournlands are considered to be some of the worst of their own kind---but it’d be too easy to blame that upon the mists.

Monsters in the Mournland
The creatures who dwell here represent the folly of man, of overgrasped ambition and nature’s inability to allow the wicked toil inflicted upon the earth to prevent animal life from attempting to retake the civilized world. 

HD 3, AD 13, ATT 2d6 (Ghastly Claws), Morale: - , Speed: 50 ft (Flight). No. Appearing: Solitary or a Haunt (2-5).

A swirling torrent from the mists, humanoid at a glance, like a man stretched and bent, broken and tattered into merely wind. It howls and echoes in profound sorrow, clutching ghastly claws of razor wind as if holding its hand might allow you to pull it out of this endless torment.
  • Hopeless - Mourners, upon dealing maximum damage with their Ghastly Claws, inflict a hopelessness in their victim. If the victim falls prone or would otherwise die from this attack, they must make a Constitution Saving Throw. On a failed throw they inhale deeply the mists and begin suffering psychic trauma, haunted by visions of a life not their own and a diseased attraction to the items in this vision. If a hopeless character were to say, encounter the living spouse of a Mourner, they would feel compelled to make them their own--acting in anger and desperation. Psychic surgery, therapy, or alcohol can numb this hopelessness into a more...internalized problem.
What’s it doing? [d6]
1. Shrieking and searching for something, scanning the environment with frenzied intensity.
2. Manifested in almost physical form, weeping and holding itself. The mists claim it when approached.
3. Banging recklessly upon the ruins of a structure, attempting entry, looking back towards the mists that spawned it as though it wishes to outrun the calamity.
4. Crying upon the winds, in baleful calls it asks where everyone is, why it’s so alone, why it cannot find them all.
5. It has its claws upon a looter, who as you watch, slits their own throat as they cry out how they “just want this to stop feeling so painful.” 
6. Screaming up at the sky, cursing the Sovereign Host and beckoning any dark power which will let it see its family again.

Shroud of Death & Despair (Living Finger of Death)
HD 9, AD 19, ATT 3d8 (Slam) or Finger of Death, Morale: - , Speed: 20 ft (Throb). No. Appearing: Solitary or a Hateful Hand (5).

A gelatinous pulsating pillar of blackest night, throbbing and sluggishly pulling itself through the land. The world around turns to ash, flesh grows tight across the bone, necrosis overtakes living tissue. When it aims its nucleus upon a being, they age away into ash.
  • Finger of Death - A Shroud of Death & Despair must focus upon a creature for two turns as its nucleus is pushed from the bottom of its ooze-form to the very top. The nucleus, white, almost skull-shaped yet liquid, affixes itself on a victim once it is pushed to the top. If a victim has not taken cover, the Shroud releases a horrible beam of white energy which deals 7d8 damage, aging the victim until they are nothing but bone dust and ash. 
What’s it doing? [d6]
1. Pulsating in a rhythmic pattern, as if communicating to something in code.
2. Leaning against a structure, slumped, as if resting; the structure is slowly aging itself to dust against it.
3. Submerging part of its base in a deep puddle of filthy water.
4. Seeking out organic matter to obliterate.
5. Remaining perfectly still, almost dried, as if inert. Rouses to life if approached by organic matter.
6. Spreading flagellum out, as if seeking to divide itself into two shrouds.

Steel Kraken
HD 8, AD 18, ATT 2d10+8 (Crush), Morale: - , Speed: 50 ft (Swim) or 10 ft (Crawl). No. Appearing: Solitary.

Steel cables, articulated by cumbersome, drag this leviathan of Cannith constructed folly at a slow pace. It is too large to engage with conventional weaponry. Its eyes shimmer a gemstone red, and its mouth is a spiralling razor pit of blades. 
  • Colossal - A steel kraken is too large to be harmed by normal weaponry, taking damage only inflicted by war magic, large impediments (such as tumbling boulders or vicious shrapnel filled pits), or by siege weapons. Its reach extends hundreds of feet, but its crushing attacks are slow. A steel kraken would make an amazing dungeon.

What’s it doing? [d6]
1. Attempting to drag the whole of its immense sky-scraper sized frame on to dry land.
2. Spraying a vicious red miasma into the air above itself. Thunder crackles as a result.
3. Staggering and grinding, as if an internal mechanism is broken.
4. In-taking loose sand and silt from the shoreline where a death standing has taken place.
5. Emerging from the depths of the water in the distance, its eyes locked firmly upon any interlopers with hateful intent.
6. Wrapping its brutal cable-strong tendrils around a foreign ship, crushing the hull as though it were as flimsy as tin.

Having run my first session of A Knave's Guide to Eberron on 6/15/19, I had a damn good time. The session took place on its way into the Mournlands and the party who were utterly unfit for the job, did a great job botching it, getting maimed in the process, and are now likely going to find themselves hunted by both House Cannith and the Karrnathi military for the knowledge they shouldn't have about a planar experiment to create a more perfect (i.e. less sapient) warforged; which the party believes may have been a catalyst for the Day of Mourning. That's their theory anyway.

I look forward to doing more of these, I'm enjoying writing about this from an attempted pulp perspective, and the Mournlands should thematically really hammer home man's folly and ambitions in everything it is about. At least in my opinion.

Hope y'all like and can make use of any of this. I'd write more, but alas, grad school and factory work in the morrow.

- Brian

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Knave's Guide to Eberron: Familiars

I absolutely forgot to put these in the document, so I’ll be putting them in here. Monsters too, shall show up at some point. Familiars are meant to be weird oddities, strange things you can use to your advantage but often attached in some way to spells or that would be too cumbersome to use all the time like a weapon proper.

They take up an Equipment Slot each and can be used once per day at your instruction directly, though many of their powers can be used in a latent capacity if one is clever enough to learn.

Robo-doggo is a monster, not a familiar, IMO TBH.

Bantam Fastieth
A small sauropod, with vicious teeth and patterns upon its snout that resemble a Halfling’s hunting mask. 
Boon: Clinging a Bantam Fastieth with both hands allows its user to jump twice their movement rate. Users feel awash with a spiritual power. 

Bound Element
A carved form, vaguely humanoid though abstract, sculpted around a bottle of Khyber dragonshard’s deep binding. Within swirls elemental motes.
Boon: Using a spell with a similar elemental quality as the bound element increases the damage by one dice degree when cast. The Bound Element can be thrown as a grenade.

Buzzing Gadfly
A colorful though disconcerting large insect of vaguely mechanical make, its tones are hard to acclimate to. 
Boon: It buzzes with strange rhythm, those who spend time to learn the buzzings can be alerted to specific types of creatures within 300’ of the owner. Its buzzing sounds pleasant if you let it drink blood.

Clockwork Scorpion
The workings of long lost empires in Xen’drik, a mechanical scorpion of black metal that moves in ancient rhythms.
Boon: If you have the scorpion on your person, when you are struck in melee combat you may allow the scorpion to inject poison into your enemy freely. You may put any sort of poison within it.

Crawling Clot
It lingers inside its host, expelled upon the slightest of pains. Like an expelled tumor of red, it throbs with sinister purpose.
Boon: You may enter a meditative state to see, hear, smell, and taste anything the crawling clot is able to sense. If you swallow the clot, you gain 1d3 hit points and may spit it out again freely in 24 hours.

Dragonmark Reflection
An abstract symbol, inverted and reversed from the true one displayed upon its master. It exists somewhere between the second dimension and the third, shimmering in the air when it can be perceived at all.
Boon: You may concentrate to display the mastery and benefits of aligning with your Dragonmarked House to those who look upon the reflection. (Yes, this is essentially just a holographic advertisement of your abilities and that’s potentially useful for trade purposes.)

Floating Implements
Magewright’s must often defend their workshops, those who do not possess the same touch will often find themselves attacked by the artificer’s latest projects.
Boon: You may use your floating implements to assist you in repairing the quality of an item. In the event that someone tries to touch or steal them, you may have the implements become a swirling mass of professional tools that have 6 HP, DEF 1 and deal 1d4 damage per turn until the thief flees. If defeated, it can be re-calibrated by a day of arcane work, blood, sweat, and toil.

Horror of Xoriat
A lingering foulness upon the world, a sentient polyp, a mass of flesh and teeth and timeless purpose. It whispers madness and tempts with power.
Boon: Playing host to a Horror of Xoriat makes you immune to the insanity of the foulspawn and their daelkyr masters, granting you a 2d6 damage defense when creatures try to manipulate your mind. It wants you to carve yourself with strange symbols though...

Lingering Nightmare
It hangs upon the head like a sullen depression, a black aura of broken promises and trauma to come. When in unison with its host, nightmares become reality.
Boon: This vestige of a quori grants you the ability to conjure an illusionary scene of a creature’s nightmares and deepest trauma, dealing 1d3 damage to you per turn you keep this activated. 

Living Infusion
Sculpted within the form of this homunculus is a jar of succulent red which sloshes with each awkward step. Beneath the creature is a stinger, or more accurately, a syringe.
Boon: With adequate instruction beforehand, the Living Infusion will inject its contents at your discretion during times of crisis, combat, or worst case scenario. You must, of course, place something within its vial. It becomes inert when empty. 

Saddle Squire
A locking saddle of leathers and metals, emblazoned with nationalistic patterns. It holds deep upon a mount and stabilizes its rider.
Boon: Riding upon a Saddle Squire makes the wearer nearly impossible to be dismounted by anything other than their own volition. 

Silver Lamp
This simple lantern, when lit by the pious, emits a flame that emulates the Silver Flame.
Boon: Casts light as a lamp, makes lycanthropes uncomfortable, makes Shifters unhappy, makes the pious feel as though you are truly chosen by the Flame. Rouses something in the zealous.

Tri-Gorgon Hammer
Powerful mauls, emblazoned with the Cannith emblem, a mark of the three-headed gorgon, emitting similar fumes when it temps at the ground.
Boon: Can be used to expel a petrifying gas in a 10 foot aura, that slows or hastens constructs, repairs items by a quality level, and chokes vermin. Usable once per day. Functions as a Quality 6 Warhammer if not expended.

Summoner Homunculus
An astrolabe in the form of a miniature man, whose movements swirl and churn with the cosmic movements of the spheres.
Boon: When properly observed, it will display the directions of nearby manifest zones and align itself to movements in the spheres. Can be used to determine the influence plane of outsiders.

Tinker Feyling
A petty sprite, a gremlin in truth, no large than a beetle and golden in color. It bloats itself on latent magical energy, and like a wasp, it regurgitates arcane sealant when it has had its feel.
Boon: Can repair damaged magical items, but makes them unusable for a number of days equal to the Quality level repaired. Can nullify another’s magical item for a combat, but makes it more potent when next used.

Tome Caddy
A somber lectern, its face a grotesque of sorts. It floats, always within reach but out of the way, hoping to be granted attention.
Boon: Tome Caddy’s can carry a spellbook for you, allowing you to cast from it while still using your hands for weapons, shields, wands, or spellshards. 

Warforged Faceplate
The face of a Warforged, derelict from the Forges or perhaps a pilfered trophy from the battlefield. It watches, unable to speak, its mind still very present.
Boon: Will attach to your face while you sleep, granting you clarity of all events that take place while you’re asleep and rousing you from slumber in the case of an enemy approaching. You may also yet dream the memories of the Warforged, which is invasive and strange but will prevent your mind from entering Dal Quor. 

Xen’Drik Bloodthorn Creeper
A red vine that swirls and constricts, one thorn into its host, and many more on the ready to be put into its prey. 
Boon: You take 1 point of permanent Constitution damage (until the creeper is removed), but all melee attacks you make against unarmored or bleeding enemies now heal you for 1 Hit Point per turn. 

House Rules Document: Knave's Guide to Eberron

Hey y'all, sorry for the lack of production; work is killing me, nothing new there. Attached is a campaign document for a game I'm going to start running in a week or so, it's mainly a hack of Eberron for Knave, using Bastionland's Scars/Afflictions rules, and the Scales of Wars backgrounds; both of which are openly available on the web without any paywall.

Regardless, this is just a house rule document I'm tossing up here. A few of the changes include races/distinctions, which provide different types of benefits or bonus to HD to help represent the more heroic character types Eberron is meant to have. A lot of it runs on my own personal referee ideas in mind.

Click Here

I realize upon posting this, I did forget to put in rules for familiars, which might actually be useful for people. C'est la vie. Knave is a CC.A4 game, designed by Ben Milton.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Class Contacts: The Fighter [d20]

Well, I was on my way to running a Dolmenwood game but my usual group is wanting to give Eberron a shot using Knave; so I'll likely be running it with my B-team crew once I've got the time and means; as well as the pdfs I backed in the OSE Kickstarter.

That all being said, expect some Eberron material in the future which will likely be done up in the same sort of style/tables as Rakehell. What follows isn't any of that stuff though, it's a list of randomroll contacts who have a bit more to them than just a mere sentence. These first twenty are related to the Fighter/Warrior archetype, and they operate under the assumption that your character has become an adventurer after participating in a conflict of some sort.

I, having used this before, gave any Fighter a number of rolls on this equal to their Charisma Modifier, with a minimum of 1 Contact. Rolling the same results multiple times increases the level of importance and favoritism the contact has for you, regardless of how you might view them. Best friends can sometimes make terrible enemies.

The Fighter Class Contacts [d20]

1. Your old commander, maimed and retired and bitter about both of those reasons as much as they're bitter about everything else in life. They want so desperately to see action again. They want even more desperately to find a reason to keep on living, should they not be able to find a warrior's death fitting of their life's work. You brighten their day, which makes the darkened hours all the drearier...

2. The quartermaster of your former company, now stuck in a job that barely uses their talents. They've grown bored, lax, and corrupt. Without challenges or thrills in life, there's very little point in giving a thought to their numbers. Nobody else check's their ledgers, and that makes their descent all the easier...

3. A mercenary, from a company you once worked alongside of. Knows the good jobs, but always doubts your valor and courage; as if you're somehow good enough friends for such playful banter. Has tried to hire you to work for their company before, but there's a good reason you never signed on...

4. An old enemy who has since fallen into neutral terms with you as the conflict which bore such ill-will is of little modern concern. Harbors no lingering spite but fears you planting a dagger in their back. Is utterly profit-minded now, though when they whisper your name to peers, it is hard to know their intent...

5. A chaplain who once roused your spirits in an hour of darkness. Now, sadly, disillusioned by conflict, clinging to their faith which they now view in tatters. Chastises your level of devotion, be it too high, too low, or not important at all. Wants so desperately for there to be a sign that all of this was worth it...

6. An old ally of yours who committed heinous war crimes in the field. They show no sign of any regret. Strangely calm and treats you like you're a true friend. They treat you like you were complicit in their horror show. They wear the face of a good citizen, but you see a fracture in that mask and something wicked deep beneath it waiting to emerge...

7. A minor lordling who has heard tales of the conflict and thinks you a good source of stories. Likes to play soldier, likes to get in the rough of it. Will get themselves killed trying to emulate your deeds or those of your superiors, as they lack a frame of reference or a friendship with death...

8. A knight who once used your companions and self as a means to gain personal glory; much to your suffering. Is terrified of the many deaths caused by such avaricious gloryhounding may be revealed and see him undone. Assists out of fear you might blackmail them, certainly not a true friend...

9.  A young watchman, the first person who saw you when you came back from the war. Hasn't been to war proper, but knows they might get sent someday. Genuinely kind company, but treats you with a gentle and distant touch; like you're a hound that's been beaten one too many times, not a person.

10. A once cruel officer who saw you take the lash, but now home from the war has shown themselves to be a pleasant person with a loving family. They speak of the war and their actions only when asked, and do not dwell in glory or lies. They do not take back their actions, they were right at the time. They treat you like you're lost, like you don't get how things are now...

11. A deserter, ever apologetic for having left the night before that devastating massacre. Lives in fear of being outed for their flight, lives in shame for their cravenness. Is well-connected and living under a false name, just wants to be left alone but is burdened to you by their own guilt...

12. A bilious wandering judge who had once hired you to keep them safe from "the rabble" and "the riff-raff." Loves to blather on about precedent and law, and always seemed to care more about profitable interpretation than just ones. Brought you around so your might could make right...

13. The plague doctor who kept you in quarantine upon your return, probing and peeling at your flesh for sake of "the community" and a fear of war-time contaminants. Trusts you because you were "clean", somehow thinks of you as a grand old friend. Is always announcing you when they see you by saying "And this is my friend..."

14. Local "monster hunters," really a couple reckless youths who seem to know their local legends and possess a nearly perverse desire to risk their lives in combat against the unknown. They're so impressed by everything about you and want you to show them the ropes, but they're very dismissive as well. They will end up charlatans, surely...

15. A troupe of lepers who have heard of your deeds from others who have passed through their ill-treated brotherhood. They linger on the fringes of the roads, but they know the nature of your soul at a glance and deem you a fair-weather friend in worthy of protecting; for so few are ravaged by conflict and decide to keep moving forward...

16. Your sibling who went off to fight in the same war, at your side even, but who has lost their way since the end of the conflict. They have readjusted to society by telling tall tales and exaggerating their actions to scales both grand and minute. They rouse to anger quickly, brought down only by the weight of their shame for not weathering it as well as you have, or with the numbness dolled out by the oblivion-seeking sips of a bottle...

17. A corpse-picker who once helped you bury the body of a friend. They lent you a sip from their lucky flask and allowed you to vent your rage and your sorrows. They promised not to take his boots, because its harder to do that when they see someone cared for the body. They always seem to know a buyer from something...

18. A camp follower, to whom you spent many nights with in comfort despite vows or promises made to anyone before you left. They know things are different now that you're not out warring. They try their best to not act like anything you had with them was real...

19. A maligned caster of spells from some cloistered tower or institution, who sees in you a capacity do what needs doing in the world. They speak pompously, seldom with kindness in their tone, but they are always good for the money they owe. They want you to know that their reputation is embellished and hope you'll make a proper appraisal, if only so they might hear something new...

20. A local lord who has heard of your work and deeds, and considers you to be an appropriate rook to be used in combat with their enemies. Invites you to feasts and tournaments, but seldom will you two have a moment to speak. Their counsel makes it know you are utterly disposable as an asset, but when you and the lord have words it is clear they value some small bit of your world-view.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

OSE/BX: Cats of the Wildwood (2 of 2)

A continuation of the previous article; five more cats, and some further randomization listings for making them unique. The statistic line for cats, so as to make them useful in OSE, is as follows:

AC 9 [10], HD 1/2 (1hp), Att 1 x Natural Weapons (1d3-2), THAC0 19 [+0], MV 40' (25'), SV 16, ML 5, AL N, XP 5, NA Solitary or 1d3 (as Pets), 1d4+1 (as Feral Cats), 1d8+2 (as Alley Cats Pack).

I think I got the ascending/descending AC right, as well as THAC0 to Base Attack Bonus/To Hit Bonus. I'll compile a good portion of this up later in a pdf, with a revised Dogs of Dolmenwood; so as to allow for more ease of use.

But first, a much belated return to me writing about cats.

6. The Sweeperskit is a boon companion of the tenement house and the villein, as it preys on all manner of household vermin and pesky birds, and also assists in the cleaning of ones hearth. Sweeperskits are narrow things, with bulbous eyes nearly always of blue, and faces coated in a sooty point of black fur. They make use of spindly powerful limbs to climb up inside of chimneys during the day, basking in the latent heat of a previous night's fire, coating their fur in sooty ash, and killing any bird which might attempt to make its nest within. Their name comes from a habit of many a chimney-sweep simply placing such a cat in the chimney of a customer, letting it clear out any debris.

Sweeperskits are kindly to anything warm, and many are used in hospice care for the infirm as a means of keeping up body temperature. The internal temperature of a Sweeperskit is unnaturally high, such that if they were to sit in a vessel of water (which they would not appreciate) they could bring the water to a vague simmer in about five minutes with their violent vibrations. They are very lazy when not provided with a hearth, as such many a gentleman have been known to wear a live one as a stole under their winter coats.

7. The Bellworthy cat is a common breed, often found in the backwater parishes hunting fieldmice and making comfortable dens in floral fields. Notable for their ears which perk up and uniquely fold so as to make the feline appear to be wearing either a papal tiara or a church bell. Bellworthy cats of great pedigree have been found in the portraits of religious leaders for centuries, and more than a few saints have proclaimed them as being the only cat who can sense the fiendish familiars which often assume feline form; and thus by some Divine Grace, Bellworthy cats are unable to be possessed by evil. But such documentation regarding cats being possessed by demons is esoteric at best, and such powers are best left to old maid's tales.

Bellyworthy cats are of capricious and friendly attitude to most; though they are purely outdoor cats and if not allowed to frolic and hunt field vermin they will succumb to depression and overindulge in whatever scrap food they can manage to consume, often resulting in obesity. Bellworthy cats are held in esteem by the Host of Martyrs and the Fraternal Church of the Stone Dove; and any servant of the One True God will likely hold the owner of a well-kept Bellworthy cat as a person of good and honest means.

8. Ogrekit are of a sad reputation, for in truth they are incredibly loving creatures of great intelligence; enough to rival a tipple-drunk Grimalkin if one is being honest. They are round, spud-lie in shape, with narry much to their neck; their limbs are stubby but powerful and their claws always seem to be extended fully. Their face is better described as merely a maw, as if someone had taken the mouth of a lion and placed it unchanged in size upon the much smaller cat. Its eyes are beady, often oblong and uneven, and seem to possess an infinite sadness---as well as eye crusties that are a tarnished, tarry black. They are, according to legend, the cats born into the homes of ogreish and brutish men. Most believe them to be vicious, prone to violence, and the devourers of children and filth.

This is all hogwash, of course. Any owner of an Ogrekit knows them to be kind, loyal, and loving. They are hefty creatures, and their clacking nails upon the floors of a home are notable enough as if to announce to the One True God that the creature is a-coming. A notable trait perhaps where part of their reputation comes from, is how an Ogrekit seems to enjoy the consumption of snails (shells and all) and oozes. Its iron gullet seems to allow it to consume such things in abundance, albeit making the kit both gassy and gurgling for the remainder of the day.

Wilfred the Cat, who is just delightful.

9. Eyewideners may very well be a lesser sort of demon than a proper cat, as they are scabrous, cyclopean, leathery feline-esque creatures which possess an uncanny malice and a penchant for the consumption of spectral energies. Witches and wizards of great potential may conjure an Eyewidener out from whatever dark space within the dreamspace or mythic underworld they originate in; though enough have escaped their masters to occasionally appear in the elf-haunted groves and fetid grottos of the mortal world. They do not yowl or mew, their sound is a hissing cackle; like a tea pot boiling over while a snake is cooked alive inside it.

Eyewideners rest on the heads of their owners, and in mutual slumber the master is revealed terrible cosmic truths; such that upon awakening the owner is able to see invisible creatures for a scant number of minutes; with such creatures appearing as vague misty shapes. Eyewideners, despite their frightening appearance, have been known to be used by witch-finders and charlatans alike in the combating of wicked spirits or the removal of haunts. 

10. Common Wodecat are notably the most common sort of wild cat to be found in the woods and fields of the world, a mish-mashed blend of various breeds which appears otherwise like a normal village cat save for being a bit longer across the torso. Wodecats are renown climbers and can leap a good twenty feet from branch to branch. Arboreal hunters by nature, they feast primarily upon squirrels and small songbirds, whose eggs they enjoy swallowing whole. Their only true rival and competition in their hunts would be owls, whom they view with a vicious rivalry more befitting a dwarf in viewing of goblinoids than in such common creatures.

Wodecats are adequate pets, though often better left to roosting in a barn than being brought into the house proper. They view everything as beneath them, often quite literary, and if not given adequate room to climb and view from above they will cause a ruckus. They will clear out most vermin in a farm within a matter of days, expanding outward until they find a high enough place to perch and wait for more food to fill the gap.

What's unique about my cat? [d20]
1. It has a stubby naked tail, sort of like having a big nipple coming off its rump.
2. It has several additional toes on each foot and enjoys placing those on your face.
3. It gives often painful "love" bites, as if tenderizing your flesh for consumption.
4. It carries baby animals, like rats or possum, upon its back until it decides to kill them.
5. It always seems to be eating bees and hornets...
6. It enjoys licking your overly sensitive bits of skin with an extra sand-papery tongue.
7. It seems to urinate on things you enjoy when it is upset with you.
8. It wakes you up every morning by biting at your nose and screaming.
9. It seems to sway its head and spin when music is played, as if dancing.
10. It never takes its eyes off of a spiritual entity, as if a staring contest might hold it at bay.
11. When fed raw fish it only eats the heads.
12. It enjoys bringing you "treasures," which consist mostly of mutilated vermin.
13. It hates your traveling companions and toots in their general direction.
14. It hates the smell of alcohol and is always tipping over cups and bottles of the stuff.
15. It has notched and mangled ears.
16. Whenever it coughs up a hairball, the hairball seems to be a twitching mass until you blink.
17. It gets into mewling conversations with other cats and looks at you judgingly if you notice.
18. It enjoys screaming at the most unpleasant of times.
19. It likes to rub its head into pungent items, drooling all the while.
20. It constantly "bleps" out its tongue, like it is trying to play a woodpipe.

My cat is... [d12]
1. A lazy lump of a potato, save for when I need a moment to relax and then it has energy...
2. An elegant beast which demands more attention than it really deserves.
3. Not really my cat, it does what it pleases and I just get to witness its greatness by proximity.
4. An adequate bane to tiny crawling things which wish to spoil my house and kit.
5. Good company and soothing to pet after a hard day's work.
6. One of those cats that thinks its a dog. This causes no small amount of chaos.
7. A wild animal and I always seem to forget that. It loves reminding me.
8. More loving than any romantic companion and will never leave me.
9. An ugly little scrotum goblin who I would die for.
10. A snuggling companion who provides me comfort.
11. A maniac creature who will be the death of me.
12. A precious little baby, no matter how fat and old they are.

Next Up: I have a mostly completed Vagabond class I want to give another run-through before I publish, as well as a starting generator for Dolmenwooding purposes. I might put out some character deeds; which are little things that encourage play style which I've used before in games.

Also the Rakehell revision layout is done, it needs a few corrections and I'm putting the pamphlets in it; and then testing a proof; it should be on sale as soon as I get that; hopefully within a week or two. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Dolmenwood by the Dozen: Grey Sally

Grey Sally
AC 9 [11], HD 2 (9hp), Att 1 × knife (1d4), THAC0 19 [+1 to Hit], MV 60’ (20’), SV D13 W14 P13 B16 S15 (M1), ML 6, AL CN, XP 45, NA Unique. 
  • Mistress of Moppets: Grey Sally can control any raggamuffin moppets she can see, infusing them with an extra +1d4 HP and increasing their damage by one dice degree. Moppets outside her view are considerably weaker. 
  • Hand of Pentacles: Grey Sally would prefer to read a person's tarot than fight them.
  • Enemy of Clewdites: Grey Sally is considered to have Morale 10 when fighting against Clewdites and their plots.
Raggamuffin Moppet
AC 6 [14], HD 2 (7hp), Att 1 × slash (1d4), THAC0 18 [+2 to Hit], MV 60’ (20’), SV D12 W14 P14 B15 S16 (F1), ML N/A, AL C, XP 30, NA 1d3.
  • Surprise: Hides as discarded strands of cloth and fabric, surprise on a 1-4 when not expected.
  • Immunities: As animated fabric, moppets are immune to psychic damage, poison, and most forms of enchantment which boggles the minds of victims. 
  • Flammable: Fire damage does double damage.
  • Lightweight: Raggamuffin moppets can levitate and move double when caught in a breeze. They are easily blown away by gusts of wind.
Sally of the Old Wold wasn’t always so grey, she was a pretty thing once; she walked the path of many colours and experienced the glens and fells of the Dolmenwood in the ways that only a wanderer and friend to the Elflands can. She was a prismatic soul, and any bit of good fortune that shined upon her would be reflected in beautiful fortune upon all those who witnessed her. She had a dance in her step and a laugh to her voice which would remind a young man of why he must live and an old man of why life was worth living.

This was before she made herself an enemy of the Clewdites. The incident was stricken from the records as anything more than just some “woodfolk knave” the wizards encountered on the road. She cannot speak of it, but those who can see magic note the sight of many a baleful polymorph upon her person; scars on her back almost look like the screaming faces of frogs. No one cared about what these wicked men did; they held true power in the arcane and the ear of the Bishop of Brackenwold; they were of power. She was not.

Her friends in the Elflands, who once watched her dance and sing and sway through the woods, offered her a means of revenge in exchange for the last vestiges of her lingering joy of who she was once. The elfs stole away her colors, her skin, her hair, her eyes; all that she wears, all that she eats; a somber ashen shade of grey. Her voice now monotone, unfit to sing; no laughter to be had, only a small smile and a wicked glint to her eye when she plays with the boon she gained in exchange. She dresses in drab black, with ribbons of grey around her neck and in her hair. She seems drained and tired, angry and drowned in a distant violence.

Grey Sally wields the Hand of Pentacles, a gift the faeries pilfered from the Clewdites; a suit of cards from a tarot deck. When she displays the cards aflot in the air, they are struck by wicked powers from the beyond. She’s thus far used these cards to shift the fates of rogues and agents she sends to abuse the Clewdites. In exchange for threads and hairs from the Clewdites, she’ll change your fortunes too. The Pentacles do strange things to the Future, by revealing something wicked in the past and forcing a strangeness in the present.

Those who know themselves a proper tarot will notice she does not ever draw the Knave of Pentacles, the card itself kept bound in cord made from the stolen threads. She uses it with a whisper of words, “Such colors,” she says; and any latent clothing in her environs springs to life as a raggamuffin moppet.

She can be found anywhere in the wood, often upon the road in her derelict and half-destroyed wagon.

To have a player receive a reading from Grey Sally, roll a d12, three times and assemble the notes below. The words in bold, if she speaks with emphasis, causes a change to the character’s past, force motion to the character’s present, and change the character’s future; if so desired. Fortune telling is a fickle practice after all.

The Past Card [d12]
1. The Ace of Pentacles. “You come from a place of plenty, but of ignorance, innocence. You hurt someone, and not someone you realized you were hurting. You denied them a chance of the plenty by your ignorant wicked ways.”
2.  The Two of Pentacles. “You have long struggled under the shadow of another in your life, they have prevented you from being your true self. You are still under their sway, whether you’re willing to admit it or not.”
3. The Three of Pentacles. “You have a talent, a skill, a reason to be respected. But you are undone by a moment of assumed banality, you know this moment was misread. But it lingers, it weighs upon you.”
4. The Four of Pentacles. “In a moment of dragon-sickness, of greed; you put yourself above another. They know you did this, and they do not forgive you. No matter what it is they’ve said, they still hold a hatred in their hearts.”
5. The Five of Pentacles. “Oh, no. I’m sorry. Your life has been grim and hard fought. Your indecision, however, has caused further harm. You prolonged the suffering you’ve been in, to your own pain and that of another…”
6. The Six of Pentacles. “You had a period of great need and stress, and few were kind during it. You know who your true friends are, at believe this to be true.”
7. The Seven of Pentacles. “You’ve made poor commitments, and the damages of which still haunt you. I cannot say what it is you should do, but I am sorry for your burdens.”
8. The Eight of Pentacles. “You have long worked upon a skill, upon a craft of sorts… Patience however, rewarded you nothing. Just more toil. Things will change, in time.”
9. The Nine of Pentacles. “My how comfortable you have come to be. But your old fear, it knows you. It is waiting. It has not engaged with you yet, it wants you to suffer truly for having thought it a distant memory.”
10. The Ten of Pentacles. “The affluent, the wealthy, the powerful. You have long suffered by the hand of the rich. They know you revile them, even if you might desire to stand among them. They are planning something….something wicked.”
11. The Knight of Pentacles. “Through stubbornness or being set in your ways, you have courted disaster. The current travails you face are born from this sense of self, which is entirely misplaced.”
12. The King of Pentacles. “ You indulged too heavily in earthly delights, and now you have many an enemy who saw your actions and wish to put you to ground as a result. Such is the price of any pleasure in this world, yes?”

The Present Card [d12]
1. The Ace of Pentacles. “You find yourself in a place of flowers, of wealth, of glory and pride. You will hurt someone by gaining such treasures. What matters from now, is if you’ll care?”
2.  The Two of Pentacles. “You have learned how to balance the many issues in life, or at least how important it is to do such a thing. Others will disrupt your balance, unless you can find a way to make them live in your shadow.”
3. The Three of Pentacles. “You are skilled in your workings, but another views you as a worthless degradation on the craft. They challenge you, even if only to your back. None will take you seriously with this issue in play…”
4. The Four of Pentacles. “Huh. Curious. The Pentacles say there is great fortune on your horizon, material wealth that will test your morality and your mental acumen. We will see what such wealth does to you…”
5. The Five of Pentacles. “I sorry. Your love, your faith in another, will be tested and likely lost. You will lose your security, and your purpose. But in doing so, perhaps you will find your true purpose yes? Let us draw another card…”
6. The Six of Pentacles. “You’re finding your balance, this is good. Many are imbalanced. But you will be tested. Desire will challenge your vigilance, and you must determine that which you will be bound to forever more…”
7. The Seven of Pentacles. “Your commitments are misplaced but you are young enough on the road to take the forest for the trees. Be careful how you invest your emotions and your energy, lest it be misspent.”
8. The Eight of Pentacles. “Hmm…. You will be granted a chance of work, work that will really show you to be what you are. But it may also spell your death, or worse; your infamy, if not properly handled….”
9. The Nine of Pentacles. “ Fatal proximity to danger is fast awaiting you, and you are ignorant. You must be wise and sophisticated quickly, lest you fall to an uncertain and wretched doom.”
10. The Ten of Pentacles. “Family, however that is defined by you, is at the root of this card. Family will distract you from proper gain, but in denying family you may lose them. Is family worth more than riches to you?”
11. The Knight of Pentacles. “You have a chance to grapple with radical truth. You will be confronted by those who deny such truths to you, and you must ask yourself if truth is worth the violence it takes to attain, yes?”
12. The King of Pentacles. “You have a potential for great wealth, for a crown, for all your joys on the horizon.  You will encounter great misery before you attain any of this. Will it be worth it?”

The Future Card [d12]
1. The Ace of Pentacles. “You will be forced to make a terrible sacrifice, losing much of what you hold dear. Others will be richer for it, healthier for it; alive for it. You however, will be forever broken, to save them. I could invert this, if you wish. Others will suffer, your friends will suffer, for your wealth and health.
2.  The Two of Pentacles. “You will find self-actualization and care for the self, but you will break the wills of others and make them serve you. I could invert this, but then you would be lost to ignorance so others might have a sense of self.”
3. The Three of Pentacles. “You will be a master yourself, if you make this your only focus in life. However, I could change this for you… If you abandon your crafts to live a life of indignity, many new masters will rise to fill your place. One or the many.
4. The Four of Pentacles. “You will be awash in wealth, but if you spend it you will fall. You would have to be cautious, but if you were of a wiser sort I could invert this. You would have little in coin, but the friendship of many would easily come to you.”
5. The Five of Pentacles. “You will find the end of your quest, and the long journey you’ve faced will end. But you will be destitute and troubled forever more once this task is completed. I’m sorry. I could change this. If you abandon hope now, you may find joy in other places in your life.”
6. The Six of Pentacles. “You shall have joy, bountiful joy! can so easily be taken away, and in knowing this, your joy will ring hollow. I can change this of course, a swoop of the card my friend, don’t worry. But then all you will have is security against your rials and unending envy for this joy denied.”
7. The Seven of Pentacles. “You shall have your desires, but you must flee! Flee and leave this life behind! Your new life shall be better, yes? If not, I can change this. I can defy fate for you. You will remain in your comfortable place, but be scorned by your desires. A terrible fate, but man can adapt yes?”
8. The Eight of Pentacles. “You will have the trophies you so desire, deep in your heart. But lo, such vanity will see you suffer. I can change this. You will know only the void of failed ambition, but find comfort in cunning and skill you’ve yet to let flourish.”
9. The Nine of Pentacles. “You will choose not to act upon your power at a critical moment. Perhaps you are a coward, or perhaps you will find yourself so easily seduced to comfort. With a twist of this card, I can change your fate. You will act upon your power, but the future will be then uncertain and filled with rivals.”
10. The Ten of Pentacles. “As I draw this card, you will have wealth but no love. I can change this, perhaps you will find value in having love without wealth. The choice is yours, friend. An empty heart or an empty purse.”
11. The Knight of Pentacles. “The Knight demands action. You will carry on in a vicious cycle, perpetuating it and not questioning why. This can be shifted, but in your questioning and denial of the cycle, you will find yourself riddled with mysteries.”
12. The King of Pentacles. “I beg your pardon, but your ego will lead you into misery and hedonism. You will care for status over the self. I can change this, I can save you; but in doing so you will deny yourself joy, for the betterment of others and for lackings of the self.”

What about the Queen of Pentacles? Grey Sally has to keep it close to her heart so as to stave off the numbness which has so depleted further joy from her life. It demands further vengeance on the Clewdites, and it makes her feel content in her unnatural pallor.

Regarding Vagabonds & Clewdites
To wizards who are of an organized look (i.e. they don’t look like weirdos proper), she’ll be terse and cold. If they make it known they’re Clewdites, she’ll sic her beautiful raggamuffins moppets upon them when she has the upper hand. She cannot stand the Clewdites, and really anyone from Castle Brackenwold is deserving of pain as far as she’s concerned.

Helping Grey Sally
Grey Sally, if given time in the company of women who are kind, wizards (or Clewdites) who are genuinely empathetic and helpful, and the presence of Vagabond men who attempt to reconcile her distance from the culture; Sally will come to realize she’s poisoned herself with vengeance. She is still rightfully hateful of the cruelties she has suffered, but she will realize she has allowed such wicked men to continue tormenting her by making her a crueler person. If Grey Sally is given a token from the Duke of Yellow, her color will return and she will again become a happy person. She will give gladly, the full Hand of Pentacles, Knave and Queen included, to whoever can arrange this situation.

If Grey Sally is helped and the Hand of Pentacles taken, she will return to a life of isolation and enjoyment of the wilderness. If the party ever asks for her, she will bring her wagon to them as quickly as she can, with fresh and pungent mushroom-curry stew brewing for the enjoyment of her friends.

Killing Grey Sally
If killed, none will take real notice or care. If killed with the Clewdites aware their viciousness has been noted, they will seek to reward and corrupt the party into their debt, so as to never speak again of their abuses of magic upon a young woman in the woods.

Next Up: Brian got a full time gig, so things are a bit backed up, I have many more cats mostly finished, as well as a Vagabond class for Dolmenwood, and an adventure scenario for ratlings.

Randomizers: Local Troubles for Wandering Magistrates

Been working on some items for publication lately, but here's something real quick for anyone playing a game with wandering do-gooders ...