Saturday, 18 November 2017

Dragon War Zone

This is first of a new series called war zones. The idea is you can stage various invasions on your poor setting and use these tables to add new encounters and colour. Blame Chad for the idea he is often inspiration. I like feedback because it often gets me writing more.

So there will be more like this so you can every year have a horrible invasion lay waste to your campaign so you don't get to comfortable. These would probably make good little publications. Still unsure as to final format yet but this is a start. Will join my other unfinished series like Sewers, Hell, Xor, mutations etc. Future ones will include giants, sylvan, mercenaries, demons, humanoids and anything else I can think of as I go.

Basically each type introduces new encounters and spectacles of war as invasions take place. These are not necessarily the types of wars heroes can that can stop, but they might prevent some suffering or help some people. I guess you could run as a misery crawl like Patrick Stewart's dam busting disaster adventure or you could put in a  some key objectives for players to damage the invasion or even lead troops.

Encounters are types of threats roaming countryside while wonders are spectacular sights that could be avoided but could lead to fights. They include descriptions of what bad guys are up too and scenes of suffering in the war zone. Dragonmen could be treated as exotic beastmen, firenewts or dragonlance draconians whatever you please.

d10 Starting the Dragon War
1 Dragonspawn pits of Tiamat in hell have hatched a swarm of draconic monsters
2 Dragons have awakened their millennial slumbers and are in breeding frenzy
3 An evil god has awakened them all at once to purge humankind
4 A gateway to a draconic ruled world opens 
5 A draconic cult has prepared this for aeons, nursing eggs in secret places
6 Adventurers or a god offended Tiamat
7 Gods are angry at mortals for being too plentiful and noisy
8 Serpent men in last gasp chance using dragons to destroy humans
9 Lizard men found a great clutch of eggs from the dawn age and hatched them with rituals
10 A wizard tried to misuse the draconic world spirit and brought the about the apocalypse

d10 Dragon Military Objectives
1 Eat everything farm animals and humans
2 Burn Human Buildings and settlements
3 Gather loot for the alpha dragon hordes
4 Destroy shipping and merchant caravans
5 Route humans driving them to other lands
6 Gather magical treasure
7 Destroy wizard towers and libraries
8 Destroy human temples and establish a dragon cult
9 Turn land into a poison uninhabitable wasteland
10 Reduce human civilization to stone age

d10 Ending the Dragon War
1 Dragons run out of food and turn on each other
2 Demihuman armies arrive to harass dragons
3 Anti dragon artifact is discovered
4 Champions confront avatar of Tiamat sending her to hell
5 Good dragons come to aid humanity
6 Humanoids equally fearful of dragons aid humanity
7 Lords of hell offer to aid kingdom for a price
8 Dragon army move onto other kingdom once this one a ruin
9 Gods offer to aid humanity but take a price
10 Factions of the invaders turn on each other over internal fued

Cult Troops
Human cultists include reptile cultists, snake cultists and dragon cultists. Hiding in secret for generations they now walk openly helping the invaders, starting fires, preparing sacrifices, hatching monster eggs and worse. Cultists mostly are irregular rabble but some are especially well equipped and trained. Some are mutants with traits of the beings they worship. Some elites of the cult include magicians such as priests, alchemists, wizards and sorcerers. Alchemists might even have created dragons or dragonmen in apparatus before the invasion. Other magicians may have built drolems - mechanical dragon golems worshiped by cults unable to find a real dragon. Drolems are used in invasion as distractions and where dragons are short. Dragons show contempt for these cults but treat those with draconic mutations slightly better.

Cultist Rabble irregular light troops, robes and daggers, fanatic to cause in mob of 40
Cultist Mutants, disfigured with inhuman ability, swords and masks in mobs of 40
Cult Mercenaries heavily armed and armoured with dragon masks in groups of 20
Cult lesser magician d4 Lv d4 1=priest 2=wizard 3=sorcerer 4=alchemist + rabble
Cult Boss Magician 3d4 Lv d4 1=priest 2=wizard 3=sorcerer 4=alchemist + mercenaries
Drolem with group of mercenaries and rabble plus magician leaders

Reptilian Troops
Reptilians regard dragons as gods and ancestors. The have access to many monster types and move through and fight wetlands without penalty. Serpent men often act as advisors and wizards as they are too rate to field armies themselves. Some serpentmen are in fact the rulers. Vampire lizard kings prefer to fight by night and will produce zombies troops from fallen kin and enemies. They usually enter war later when lizards are more desperate. The vampires don't get along with serpent men so well. Dragons are wary of serpent men ambition but accept worship of lizard men. Dragons think lizard men and dinosaurs are backward and less evolved savages.

Muckdweller Scouts with slings or javelins or darts groups of 12-20
Savage Lizardmen with javelins and war clubs and shields groups of 40
High Lizard Men with spears and morningstars and shields groups of 40
Giant lizards with 2 riders (various specialist types) groups of four
Bonebreaker or babblers with handler each in groupps of four
Pteranodon Riders in groups of four
Giant Snapping Turtles or dinosaurs with 4 riders or handlers each
Chieftain leads band of 40 and king has 40 bodyguards and leads 100-400
Shamen are common magical leaders or Serpent Man Wizards with twelve guards each
Vampire Lizard King as normal king but with zombie lizard men troops
Some types specialize in aquatic with marine dinosaurs, crocs and snapping turtles

Troglodyte Troops
Trog Mercenaries are kin of lizard men who live underground They are effective skirmishers and dangerous close in melee enhanced by their stench. Dragons find them disgusting and they don't share camps with other troops, making their own camps down wind.
Troglodyte Sub chiefs command 40 trogs and chiefs command 200

Firenewt Troops
Firenewts are kin of lizard men but who live in volcanic regions but a cold variety could exist too living in glaciers instead with frost salamanders and spitting frost instead of fire. Dragons tend to treat them with more respect.
Firenewt warriors in groups of 40 with a sub chief or 200 with high chief
Firenewt Strider Rider Cavalry in groups of 4 or 12 or 20
Pteranodon Riders in groups of four
Salamander each with two firenewt handlers (BX ones not ADnD ones)

Kobold Troops
Kobolds worship dragons and are devious skirmishers and relentless irregular swarmers. They also are easily air dropped in by dragons and also able att siegecraft and construction. They use magic more than lizard men but dislike serpent men wizards who like to eat them.  Dragons are a bit disdainful of them and act like kobolds are beneath them. But they don't mind kobolds grooming them. Kobolds serving dragons are fanatics.

Kobold scouts with slings or javelins or darts in groups of 20
Kobold archers with shortbows in groups of 40
Kobold dog riders in groups of 40
Kobold warriors with machetes, spears and shields in groups of 400
Kobold comand units include sub-chieftains (100) chieftains (400) kings (1000)
Kobold magic units include shamen or wizards with 40 guards each

Draconic Troops
Dragonmen or draconians come in various varieties related to the chromatic evil dragon types. They are kin of dragons but treated like kin albeit like bratty children. They are technologically more advanced than most humanoids and live in a warrior aristocracy. They are less magical but their knights act as their prize troops. Dragonmen are elite, cruel and arrogant. Outside a dragon invasion they are rare mostly sleep for aeons. They are created by dragons who spawn them when faster humanoid elite troops needed. They worship and obey dragons but might think they know best and act independently.

Dragonmen Warriors in bands of 40 led by a chief
Wyvern Rider Dragonmen Knights in groups of four who focus on enemy elites

Encounter Types
d10 for first 24 hours opening of war
d20 for the d4 days after
d100 for ongoing war

d100 Dragon War Encounters
01 Very Young baby dragon waddling about angry and hungry
02 Giant lizard HD3+1 1in6 ridden by lizard men
03 Swarm of poison snakes poison HD1 2d4 dropped on roads
04 Constrictor snake HD2 drops from trees
05 Gang of overly brave kobold scouts 3d4 sure they are on unbeatable side
06 Crocodile HD3 in pond or stream or pond or moving between them
07 Fire Drake HD4 scouting and starting fires
08 Cultists serving dragons or snake men or lizard men 2d6
09 Muckdweller scouts HDd4 5d4 use slings to harass travellers
 Pteranodon HD3+3 with d3 kobold observers
11 Kobold warband 5d4 out to grab loot
12 Very Young Baby dragons d4 hungry but wary of danger

13 Lizard Men HD2+1 War Band 3d4 looking for food for dragons
14 Dragon Men Skirmishers d4 challenge human heroes to single combat
15 Amphisbaena HD6 d3 rolling down road in hoop shape
16 Giant Constrictor snake HD6+1 d3 hanging from trees
17 Giant Poisonous Snake HD4+2 d6 blocking trails 
18 Giant Spiting Snake HD4+2 d3 blocking roads
19 Giant Gekko HD 3+1 d10 cling and camouflage often in trees or rocks
20 Draco Lizard 4+2 d8 glider membrane drop by surprise on prey from above
21 Horned Chameleon HD5 d8 hiding in terrain for ambush
22 Tuatara HD6 d4 ridden by lizard men raiding villages

23 Fire Snake HD2 d6 blocking roads and sneaking into forges and fireplaces
24 Young Dragon hungry but wont take undue risks 
25 Bone Snapper HD4 d3 often with d4 lizard men handlers
26 Fire Newts Infantry HD2+2 3d4
27 Firenewts HD2+2 riding striders HD2 
28 Ophidians HD 4 3d4 out looking for food for dinosaurs
29 Giant Poisonous Snakes HD4+2 d6
30 Huge Crocodile HD7 in water or moving in between
31 Troglodyte Scouts HD2 3d4 skirmishind and raiding
32 Salamander (fire or frost) attacking travellers and villagers
33 A angry wyvern HD7+7 looking for food
34 Hydra five headed with d4 lizard men guardians
35 Sub adult dragon scouting for army
36 Babbler HD6 d4 with a d4 lizard men handlers
37 Ice Lizard HD3+3 scouting but will attack travellers
38 Hydra six headed hungry and traveling roads to farms and villages
39 Were cobra HD5+2 shapeshifting spy
40 Wood Drake HD4 d4 patroling between woodlands
41 Cold Drake HD5 d4 from the mountains looking for victims
42 Elemental Drake HD6 d4 scouting for army
43 Boalisk HD5+1 d3 blocking roads
44 Young Adult Dragon scouting for army wary of threats
45 Man Drakes HD3 d6 in human form spying for draconic army
46 Wyverns HD7+7 d6 looking for humans to menace
47 Hydra seven headed roaming area eating everything
48 Adult Dragon confident and hungry
49 Pteranodon Squadron HD3+3 2d4 with lizard men riders
50 Basilisk HD6+1 blocking a road and polluting area with venom
51 Cockatrice HD5 blocking a road and polluting area with venom
52 Giant Snapping Turtle HD10 moving between water 1in6 with 4 lizard men on back 
53 Minotaur Lizard HD8 d8 1in6 riden by lizard men
54 Subterranean Lizard HD 5 d6 1in6 ridden by lizard men
55 Dimetrodon HD5 d6 hungrilly roaming from swamp
56 Giant Pteradactyl HD10 carrying dragon man knight or dozen kobolds
57 Behir HD12 sneaking around looking for victims to torment
58 Hydra eight headed rampaging across countryside hungrily eating anything
59 Adult dragon ridden by serpent man wizard
60 Deinonychus HD 4+1 d6 pack of savage hunters
61 Medusa sent to kill as many humans as possible
62 Old Dragon confidant and hungry
63 Cultists fighting force collaborating with invasion, often mutated with reptile features
63 Spirit Naga with 2d4 lizard men guards
64 Hydra nine headed rampaging horror
65 Young Dragons D4 with dragonmen riders
66 Dracolisk HD7+3 blocking roads of traffic
67 Triceratops HD 16 with d4 lizard men riders
68 Stegasaurus HD18 with d4 lizard men riders
69 Megalasaurus HD12 with d4 lizard men troops
70 Gorgasaurus HD13 with d4 lizard men troops
71 Ceratasaurus HD8 with d4 lizard men troops
72 Sea Serpent HD 8-10 squirming between water ways
73 Fire Lizards HD10 d4 ridden by firenewts
74 Were lizard HD8+2 shapeshifting spy
 Were snake constrictor HD7+3 shapeshifting spy
76 Wyvern ridden by d3 lizard men or a dragonman knight
77 Kobold army HDd4 100 + chief and guards and kobold wizard Lv4
78 Lizard King HD8 with 40 lizard men troopers
79 Lamia (snake) HD9 with 2d6 lizard men servants
80 Lamia Noble HD10+1 with 2d6 ophidian servant 
81 Werecobra assasins team of 6 looking for human leaders to eliminate
82 Serpantman wizard HD12 with 40 lizard men troops
83 Dragonmen HD2 x40 with hero leader HD6+6 
84 Lizard King Vampire HD12 and lizard men guards 40 by day they carry him in coffin 
85 Very old dragon with dragonman knight
86 Very old dragon with 20 dragonmen troops
87 Very Old dragon mated pair
88 Hydra eight headed with 20 firenewt troops
89 Hydra ten headed with frost breath (hydrax)
90 Hydra ten headed with fire breath (pyrohydra)
91 Tyrannosaurus Rex HD18 with 3d4 lizard men guardians
92 Hydra 12 headed regenerating firebreathing hydra
93 Ancient dragon with a hundred dragonmen searching for human forces
94 Pair of mated ancient ancient dragons leaders of dragon kind
95 Ancient Dragon ith dragonman knight hero
96 Great Elder Wyrm HD18 draconic elder unseen since the dawn age 
97 Drolem HD20 dragon golem made by dragon wizard cult to distract humans
98 Reptilian Gargantua 50HD god like fire breathing reptilian god lays waste to buildings
99 Tarrasque 300hp awoken by draconic cult rampaging across land
100 Tiamat Avatar 666hp often flies by razing area with breath weapons off to a battle

d100 Wonders of War 
01 Psuedo dragon comes to warn and advise humans of threat
02 Burning cattle in panicked stampede
03 Burnt fields or grass
04 Cloud of smoke seen in distance
05 Ash rains from sky
06 Foul odour of sulphur 
07 Winged creatures seen flying in distance
08 Kobold scouts attacking commoners
09 Kobold scouts setting fire to fields or farmhouse
10 Muckdwellers chasing farm animals or farmer

11 Burning fields or grasslands
12 Burning houses

13 Burned corpses of farmers or animals on road
14 Gassed corpses of farmers or animals on road
15 Fleeing farmers on foot hysterical
16 Fleeing farmers with waggons
17 Fleeing farmers with livestock
18 Orphan children covered in soot
19 Orphan crying with pathetic ragdoll
20 Wounded militia deserting and dumping equiptment
21 Fresh militia looking scared marching to front
22 Knights galloping to the front
23 Dead knight on panicked horse
24 Badly burned soldiers fleeing the front
25 Kobolds eating burned human corpses 
26 Giant lizards eating dead horses
27 Dragon landing in a field dropping off kobolds then flying away
28 Lizard men climbing out of a well
29 Dragon swoops on military waggons setting lot on blaze
30 Hundreds of charred soldier corpses with melted weapons and armour
31 Huge blazing forest fire
32 Burning village
33 Marching human army 
34 Area swarming with muck dwellers
35 Area swarming with kobolds
36 Army of kobolds marching
37 Army of lizardmen
38 Giant lizards crawling on road
39 Hear distant roaring and rampaging 
40 Dinosaurs destroying buildings
41 Pterodactyls flying overhead screeching
42 Wyverns flying overhead silently
43 Drakes flying overhead dropping fire on roofs and trees
44 Dragon setting fire to haystacks
45 Huge serpent swallowing person
46 Pteranodon flying overhead with lizard man throwing snakes from its back
47 Peasant trying to fight a giant snake to save family
48 Peasants beating a kobold with farm tools 
49 Soldiers with dragonman in waggon heading urgently away from front
50 Wyvern fighting a knight 
51 Wyvern menacing a fair maiden
52 Hydra fighting soldiers
53 People trying to cross river being attacked by crocodiles
54 Flood of water caused by dragons freezing river upstream
55 Wild animals of many species fleeing dragons hunger
56 Dragon in a field snacking on cows
57 Serpentman barking orders to lizard men to search area
58 Striders and firenewts chasing horse rider  
59 Salamanders cavorting in burning church 
60 Wizard fighting with dragon in distance
61 Fire rains from sky
62 Hundreds of dragons fly across the sky
63 Stampeding dinosaurs rampage across area
64 Dragonmen crucifying victims
65 Dragonmen herding human civilians to hungry dragons on snack break
66 Lizardmen herding bound prisoners deeper into draconic held lands
67 Wyverns busy mating while dragonmen riders get annoyed 
68 Troglodytes tormenting prisoners in cages with their stench
69 Human bandits skirmishing with lizardmen defending fleeing peasants
70 Wyverns dropping rocks on fortified building
71 Burning knight on horseback fleeing towards water
72 Serpantman and lizard king arguing in front of troops
73 Lizardmen pulling coffin from prehuman crypt with chanting shamen nearby
74 Kobolds feeding fire in burning buildings with incendiary fluid 
75 Human dragon cultists repairing a broken drolem
76 Human serpent cultists listening to stirring speech of a serpentman
77 Lizard cultists healing wounded giant reptile
78 Snake cultists in wagon throwing venemous snakes behind them
79 Broken stone statues of fleeing soldiers and peasants
80 Dinosaur fighting a giant crocodile over a frightened family in ruin
81 Paladin on horse heading to front asks for directions to battle
82 Priest leading villagers in prayer, ground shaking from something coming
83 Sobbing woman with huddling children crying over dead family members
84 Cultists exhorting villager prisoners to join them or be sacrificed to dragons hunger
85 Lamia leading trail of huge snakes and cultists towards houses
86 Cultists have prepared great wicker dragon full of prisoners ready to burn
87 Zombie humans being herded by reptile man shaman in service to his vampire king
88 Archers fighting a dragon, trying to hold morale
89 Wyvern fighting a hill giant
90 Crack opens in earth releasing foul odours
91 Couatl come to warn and help humans evacuate
92 Faerie Dragon come to help faerie and possibly humankind
93 Gargantuan lizard beast destroying a castle or bridge
94 Burning settlement being trampled by tarrasque
95 Earthquake shakes land
96 Volcanic eruption in distance spewing out dragons from hell
97 Huge plume of smoke and fire from distant city
98 Kobolds rendering dead villagers in cauldrons into fat intended to be used in siege
99 Catapults and ballistas on burning waggons surrounded by charred human soldiers
100 Tiamat leading dragons towards city in formation

Friday, 17 November 2017

d100 Secrets of the Murder Hobos

Old piss stained murder hobos, washed up adventurers, drunken former heroes fill the gutters and sly grog shops of Shadelport. These toothless old men might be worth hiring to come along but many will betray you, kill you, rob you, eat you or worse. But plenty more are too brain damaged old and crippled or drunk to do anyone mischief. But they might know a secret or two. Some know where old dungeons lay hidden, where treasure is buried, tricks for dealing with monsters and all kinds of things. Some might be lies just for enough money for a beer or a hit of lotus dust. Under my index you will see lots of old murder hobo tables. Possibly a compilation of them might be worth a go.

Suggested by
Nova Scotia Dream in last post comment box.

d10 What does the drunken old murder hobo want?
01 Enough money for a beer
02 Enough money to stay drunk for a month

03 Lotus resin or some other adictive drug
04 A job in service to adventurers or a household
05 To come with adventurers as a follower for a adventure
06 A night with a prostitute
07 A bath and a hot meal
08 Armour and a weapon and a few beers
09 A suckling roast piglet and a jar of grog
10 To be taken on a last adventure to die fighting

d100 Quick Secrets Types
01 Buried Caches - hidden loot left by adventurers
02 Explored dungeons - possibly repopulated or good for beginners
03 Active dungeons - found but marked for later, untouched by adventurers
04 Monster Lairs - possible treasure guarded by some rare beast
05 Tomb location - possible riches and death await
06 Underworld Entries - great cavern complexes into the hidden lands of the deep
07 Esoteric Lore - strange information that might come in handy
08 Secret Locations - secret paths and passages
09 Magic Secrets - formula and recipies and spells
 Forbidden Secrets - terrible lore humans were not meant to know

d100 Secrets of the Murder Hobos

01 Map to chests of copper coins left by party who couldn't carry them
02 Map to stockpile of adventuring supplies in buried waggons

03 Map to abandoned silver mine with silver left and some monsters
04 Map to treasure pile adventurers left behind when chased away by humanoid tribes
05 Map to adventurer treasure ship sunk on a reef off the coast
06 Map where adventurers hid a stolen army payroll years ago, surely long forgotten
07 Map to where adventurers left loot from dungeon when baggage handlers fled
08 Map to hoard of pirate treasure stolen from a pirate captain who disappeared 
09 Map to ruined house in haunted woods where wounded adventurers hid loot on the run
10 Map to Dwarven dungeon treasure house but swarming with undead

11 Map of dungeon cleared out decades ago but now inhabited by new monsters
12 Map of dungeon left half cleared out when most of party died on last expedition

13 Map of dungeon mostly cleared out but famous hidden treasure never found
14 Map of dungeon rumoured to be cleared out every decade hidden near city
15 Map of dungeon party was exploring but others all killed by a cult
16 Map of dungeon where alchemists made potions in secret full of loot
17 Map of dungeon with a sleeping cursed princess in a crystal coffin 
18 Map of secret dungeon in sewers beneath city made as secret treasure house
19 Map of dungeon concealed in riverbank by mud but once active
20 Map of dungeon the rest of party took over and became boss monsters
21 Map of secret kobold dungeon they have been expanding for decades  
22 Map of reptilian dungeon where degenerate albino reptile men savages lurk 
23 Map of of old dungeon used by generations of bandits with stockpile of merchant loot
24 Map of dungeon entrance hidden by cult trying to repair ancient artifact
25 Map of hidden dungeon where a goblin kings minions dig for gems
26 Map of secret village of ogres reputed to be guarding great piles of gold
27 Map of a ancient orc factory where wizards used to make them from mud
28 Map of secret cult temple filled with wealth but now occupied by beastmen
29 Map of sorcerer pleasure sect where decadent cult keep slaves and drugs
30 Map of forbidden necromancy school where evil wizards learn wicked magic
31 Map of a hidden dragon lair in mountains where beast hibernates for centuries
32 Map of cave of a ogre magi and his goblin minions guarding ancient scrolls
33 Map of a cave where hill giants dwell in mountains with gold and sheep
34 Map of seaside cliff cave hidden by tides, lair of fishmen and their blasphemous gold
35 Map of werewolf lair that has for generations been robbing, killing and kidnapping
36 Map to hidden dark elf tree house where they spy on and cruelly prank humans
37 Map to ruins where a clan of doppelgangers have been plotting against humanity 
38 Map to riverside lair of a great magical serpent who guards a golden horde 
39 Map to lair of cultists who robbed a reliquary of holy treasure the church will pay for
40 Map to lair of troglodytes who have been worshiping a bejewelled reptile statue
41 Map to a prehuman crypt of a catfish man wizard guarded by undead and traps
42 Map to a earthen mound tomb of a ancient wizard famed as a maker of magic items 
43 Map to tomb of king who fought ancient evils entombed with his magic weapons 
44 Map to buried mausoleum of a necromancer king sealed since the fall of their empire
45 Map to crumbled pyramid tomb in forest where serpent man kings were buried long ago
46 Map to valley of crumbling cliff tombs may untouched and sealed with intact magic traps
47 Map to hidden cave tomb of of a barbarian chieftain famed for thier gold and chariots 
48 Map to a hidden tomb of the vampire bat priestesses of a bloody prehuman cult  
49 Map to tomb of a cruel wizard lord who once terrorised region before his burial
50 Map to great island crypt of a pirate captain who plundered many exotic lands 
51 Map to a cave entrance to a hidden dark elf citadel of the deep 
52 Map to a lost underground kingdom with strange magic and treasure
53 Map to a cavern with a ruined citadel swallowed up into the earth by the gods 
54 Map of a cave where a barbarian hoarde kept their loot until a dragon took it
55 Map of a great underground vault where albino degenerates worship a demon
56 Map of a great sulphur cave some say is a entrance to hell
57 Map of great volcanic cave with ruins of a ancient pre human temple 
58 Map of a cave complex where great lizards guard ancient stone sarcophogi
59 Map of a pyrites cave where a ancient dynasty fled with their gold
60 Map of a great sinkhole that plunges int the depths lined with fossils of great beasts
61 Knows common trade phrases of secret common language of the fish people
62 Recipie for waterproofing oil that protects spellbooks and from water damage 
63 Knows recipe for delicious wine from berries most think are inedible or poison
64 Knows how to make delicious seasoning from fermented seagull guts
65 Knows a secret word to calm donkeys and mules when they are scared
66 Formula for preserving corpses used in ancient burials and forgotten
67 Knows a special punch that gives +2 barehanded attack on dragon for a proficiency slot
68 Knows a secret technique to make a slingstone fly further for a proficiency slot
69 Knows how to make a scent that wolves and dire wolves hate to throw of trackers
70 Knows a secret call to summon common cave bats at night
71 Location of the yearly local goblin market
72 Knows where fishmen meet on the reef to conduct blasphemous rites
73 Secret entrance to one of the cities great libraries
74 Magic passwords through door in the mountain but nobody ever returned
75 Knows location of building where saucy parchments are copied from ancient originals
76 Secret route through the mountains to series of demi human and humanoid valleys
77 Secret location of great underground highway system built by dwarfs to cross mountains
78 Secret tunnels that lead from mountains to distant islands made by druids long ago
79 Location of a secret entrance of a secret school of forbidden wizardry 
80 Secret way into the city dungeon complex long forgotten by secret police even
81 Cliff location where primal wizards wrote long lost spells on walls
82 Formula for lotus resin that with extra ingredients makes addictive clairvoyance potions
83 Knows location of a rare herb that can restore memory of a 1st lv spell
84 Knows location of a magical pool with strange inconsistent effects
85 Knows a secret massage technique that dragons really like and could save your life
86 Knows location of a sphinx that knows spells forgotten before humans even existed
87 Knows erotic technique that can restore forgotten cantrips with a hour long sexual ritual 
88 Has rare spell book pages has been using as a handkerchief
89 Knows a recipe for invisible ink used by the secret police
90 Formula of ingredients of a potion using rare monster body parts for ingredients
91 True name and summoning ritual of a demon prince and instructions for protective sigils
92 Location of a forbidden book of necromancy lost long ago
93 Knows a recipe to heal zombies using human brains, blood and lotus dust 
94 Knows location of a imp in a bottle that if freed will serve opener for a time as slave
95 Knows recipe for demon blood wine that gives visions of the abyss that cults crave
96 Knows where a bubbling pool of chaos can be found that causes mutations
97 Knows of a cave in the mountains full of living edible meat, all you can eat
98 Knows location of portal and how to activate it but not where it goes
99 Knows where devil gems are found that cause any who touch them to lust after them
100 Knows whereabouts of several prostitutes actually otherworldly disguised beings

Thursday, 16 November 2017

d100 Wilderness landmarks

This was going to be more ruins before but Ive expanded it to landmarks. As I was driving back to city I saw a few colonial ruined buildings. These are intended to generate lonely remains of human habitation rather than possible dungeons or adventure for a hex. More landmarks and things mappers might mark or be visible from a road. This is more for crumbling old farm houses in the woods rather than epic scale wonders. Though mostly window dressing it might beg questions about the area and lead to adventure but lest obvious than my other posts. These are mostly by roadsides and often marked on maps as guides or used as places to meet of give directions from.

In my setting Ghostwood is a haunted woodland covering a vanished kingdom cursed with destruction and would be littered in such locations.

Ive had a bit of beef with gamers of late which diminishes my urge to write so thank you to ppl who were supportive and kind.

Some old posts with stuff like this

d100 Occupants?
01 Shepherds watching flocks
02 Merchants resting on travels
03 Religious pilgrims or hermit
04 Militia hunting bandits having a break
05 Local youths getting drunk or runaways
06 Homeless old drunks possibly once adventurers
07 Bandits or criminals in hiding
08 Refugees or escaped slaves
09 Humanoids or demihumans in hiding
10 Monsters

d100 Rumours?
01 A great tragedy happened here long ago
02 A famous local once lived here
03 Some say the location is cursed or haunted
04 Wicked travellers sometimes hide here
05 Witches or cultists meet here on certain nights
06 Some kind of faerie being haunts area 
07 Some have looked for buried treasure here 
08 Travellers were all murdered here once 
09 Murder hobos have been camping here
10 A fugitive was seen hiding in area  

d10 Quick Wilderness Landmark Types
01 Natural landmarks
02 Prehistoric monument
03 Farm dwelling remains
04 Temple remains
05 Burial Site
06 Monuments
07 Abandoned Houses
08 Military remains
09 Pre human ruins
10 Strange things

d100 Wilderness
01 A stone spire reputed to have been a giant once
02 Stone footprints of a great being like a god or demon
03 A pool with a stone pillar in the middle
04 Stone spires resembling fingers attributed to a giant or god
05 Three huge rocks known as the sisters, transformed by some ancient wizard
06 Rock formation with regular hexagonal pillars many think was made by dwarves
07 A great stone arch that was used in rituals in the past but now shunned
08 A huge boulder balanced on a stone pillar that seems precarious
09 A bubbling pool of mud with calcium formations around the edge
10 Huge stone block with vegetation growing on top

11 Cliff with ancient rock carvings, some defaced with modern holy symbols
12 Chalk carvings in hillside of mythic creature or god

13 Stone dolmen once used by druids long ago
14 A stone circle erected over thousands of years
15 A artificial hill with a unnatural shape once a fort or temple
16 A ancient abandoned quarry where monoliths were once carved
17 A line of knee high stones along side trail
18 A dry stone wall of stacked rocks thousands of years old
19 Stone lined circular pits remains of a prehistoric village 
20 Carved niches in rocks that once held ancestral remains 
21 Ruined wooden barn overgrown with weeds and vines
22 Crumbling farm house wall with scraps of farm tools and bones
23 Ruined mud brick shack with remains of fences and struggling wild crops
24 Ruined mill possibly with windmill or waterwheel remains
25 Crumbling old shack and weed choked well
26 Crumbling overgrown foundations where several village houses once were 
27 Overgrown fields with wild crops and remains of wooden fences
28 Remain of stone storage buildings with rotten wooden floor
29 Crumbling granary with nothing but dust inside
30 Partially collapsed dairy shed with animal pens inside
31 Overgrown shrine covered in weeds and badly worn
32 Shrine with tiny shack for Pilgrims
33 Crumbling walls from remains of temple
34 Broken tower and foundations of temple 
35 Worn statue of divinity or religious symbol
36 Crumbled remains of large statue lying on ground
37 Temple foundations now flooded and overgrown with vegetation
38 Crumbled remains of burned monastery
39 Mound of rubble from a temple with a single broken wall standing
40 Remains of outer walls of temple with broken statues and altar
41 Mausoleum thoroughly looted long ago now often used by travellers
42 Burial headstones in a style unfamiliar to modern people
43 Great stone beehive like tombs of long ago now mostly empty
44 Stone tomb with worn carvings still sealed
45 Earthen boat shaped burial mounds surrounded by stones
46 Small stone pyramid a copy of a much more ancient style from abroad
47 Earthen mound with stone lined tunnels once housing human remains
48 Series of rectangular stone crypts, most ruined and looted
49 Round tomb long ago looted but remains of carvings inside
50 Huge earthen burial  mound with gaping pit where looter dug way in long ago
51 Carved border stone from past with symbols of old gods
52 Memorial column carved with text commemorating some battle
53 Worn equestrian statue of some military leader
54 Stone sphinx enigmatically watching the road
55 Collapsed statue some forgotten king
56 Rows of worn giant statues heads erupting from ground, most non human
57 Great stone head of some unknown deity or king
58 Cliff with carvings in several long dead languages with figures of gods or kings
59 Huge stone block dragged here by ancients inexplicably
60 Remains of ancient fountain no longer working choked with weeds
61 Crumbing foundations and walls of burnt manor house hundreds of years old
62 Crumbling old alehouse with mostly rotting collapsed thatched room
63 Rural villa with courtyard and partialy collapsed roof
64 A turf roofed cottage in hillside long abandonned
65 A dilapidated feasting hall where warriors once made celebration 
66 Dilapidated wattle and daub huts
67 Walls of ancient cottages and rubble
68 Remains of large stone house looted for cut stone for generations
69 Tiny prospectors shack built from scrap near collapsed mine shaft
70 Hermits shelter carved into rock face with religious carvings
71 Remains of wooden stockade where settlers once sheltered
72 Blackened soil full or bones and ash  
73 Collapsed remains of guard tower
74 Bare earthen square from military camp from long ago
75 Scarred earth from battle long ago with fragments of bone, rusted weapons and armour
76 Mounds where massacred soldiers and civilians were buried en masse 
77 Gibbets with rotting corpses hanging for trees as a warning to criminals
78 Heads of executed criminals on pikes as deterrents to criminals
79 Mounds of ashes where witches or heretics burned every few years
80 Corpses of bandits hanging from trees by nooses
81 Worn stone altar on hill with worn prehuman writing
82 Stone skull carved into cliff face
83 Basalt sealed tower with inhuman inscriptions
84 Great stone carved with pre human symbols and depiction of monster
85 Stone colossus with head long missing, signs it does not depict human
86 Dwarf relief statues carved into cliff face worn smooth with age
87 Huge statue of elf maiden reclining near a spring
88 Squat crude stone statue of reptilian humanoid
89 Great stone slabs carved with reptilian figures
90 Niches in cliffs with rotting exposed inhuman corpses
91 Giant monster skeleton half buried in ground 
92 Ogre bones exposed by erosion
93 Gigantic mushrooms and toadstools
94 Gigantic tree with remains or elf tree house
95 Slimy grotto of chaos with tainted fluid and slime with foul odour
96 A spring pouring from mouth of a ancient stone cliff carving
97 Broken statues in poses of fear trying to flee something
98 A great stone arm some say is from a petrified god
99 A stone statue of petrified giant or trolls
100 Fused glass slab from some great source of heat long ago

Monday, 13 November 2017

My continual failures of 5th ed

So I got a 5th ed players book at a good price after playing a few games and playing with the character making software. My motivations are that it is very hard to get any games going here and Ive run about 4 games in Adelaide this year and more games in Sydney when visiting for work compared to 3 games a week for several years in Sydney when I lived there. But things were growing tougher to replace lost gamers and I wasn't getting new players after 5th ed mania. Iv'e never got obsession of why latest computer games or RPG games are better or an improvement but I can see a bit more why computer games are technologically superior (I'm playing Fallout Vegas Now).

My interest in 5th ed is to at least play something instead of looking at my 2mx1.5m bookshelf of games gathering dust or just being for reading. I also had some financial motivation as ppl had asked me to write some 5th ed stuff possibly for money. I will also point out I got back into dnd about 6 years ago because ppl heard I used to play and wanted to give it a go. I chose BX dnd or rather I wrote my house rules based on BX from memory with a adnd 1.5 NWP system with some more recent abilities made into skills like OA book did.

My attraction to DnD was simplicity of the stat block and easy you could run from memory and ad libbing stats of opponents in play. I could make up new creatures with less than 30 words possibly just AC MOV HD ATT abilities.

I had been playing RQ since 80s and had stopped 2nd ed DnD after a quality decline in art, layout and writing in late second ed products and stuck to RQ3 and BRP and Cthulhu and TSR Marvel. Marvel was super simple fun and also low complexity. RQ because of hit locations has more record keeping. One of my GMs in RQ had a huge stack of loose paper notes of monsters and nps and monster stat forms filled out and spent lots of time prepping. My idea of prep is to make tables and doodle a map to help me improvise everything faster. I was running a mash up of historic RQ3 and Cthulhu for my vikings and Babylon games for several years and I used my piles of pregen characters in published products and a bit of faking in quick fights to avoid prep time and help record keeping. Anyway I got back into oldschool dnd for the easy adlibbing and mechanics and less reading and and record keeping. I like BX vs ADnD because it is simpler, smaller stat blocks and it takes race options out of character creation. I almost got into castles and crusades but at time it didn't have a skill system. I like LOTFP lots but I like STR dam bonuses and so do my kids and more skill choices. Cyclopedia DnD is my fave edition.

So I'm reading the 5th ed players book and finding wizards and sorcerers most easy to wrap my head around. I still don't really get fighter abilities or how to play them but will re read. Fighters used to be the dumbest easiest class I used to recommend to new players. (I dont get DCC either)  I find lots of situational things happen in combat I'm a bit puzzled by and wonder why some mechanics bothered to change but I can accept it I just don't get it yet. So a few more re reads and some more playing to understand. My interest in running 5th ed is low and after asking my peers about my current problem with the game my interest in being a 5th ed DM has almost dropped to zero. Actually it was reading Volos guide that made me hope for the product line and get a 5th ed PH.

So my biggest problem is this. As all classes now have quite complex abilities and the approach to character creation is now character building with a emphasis on maximising character growth through to high levels. Characters have lots of emergent properties of this complexity and situational abilities. Many abilities are unclear how they work from name unlike say spells or a BRP skill. So I thought gee it must be hard for a DM to keep track of all this for a DM. The Volo's Guide having some generic stat blocks was handy. So if the poor DM has to run a bunch of high level NPCs it must be hard to run all these abilities optimally. Players vs GM in most games have an edge running player abilities vs a DM brain managing lots of abilities but late dnd seems to be worse a case. So by my quick reading of rules I would have to know lots of these abilities to police rules on players and run the bad guy NPC character classes.

So I began asking ppl on forums and friends I know how do you manage NPC character class abilities in combat and get them right in late dnd vs how easy it was in early dnd.

Some ppl were quite hostile and said it was just aesthetic choice (despite most of them never having played older versions they know they don't like them?)  choice is not a choice if you have never tried the choice (but Im sure id rather be alive than dead). I don't really see this as an aesthetic choice. But I only studied philosophical aesthetics for 5 years so what would I know.

Some misunderstood and they said it was the players responsibility to keep track of their abilities not DM. In play using some of basic game design principles I corrected a experienced player attempting to stack lots of phantom HP and it turned out I was right and they couldn't do it. So I like that some 5th ed game philosophies on stacking abilities has some good general principles that let a novice like me correct a veteran 5th ed player (and it seemed a gross misuse of ability that would break game If I had it). One of my friends rules is if an ability is so good everyone would have it there is something wrong.

One woman told me she used the online character makers to plot out all the NPC abilities as part of her prep to get her head around them which made sense. The Volo's Guide generic stat blocks were handy. I guess this is what all the types of Man in the 1st ed MM were for too. Some of the online sources give capsule descriptions of abilities that inform you as you make the character which is more useful than reading a premade character ability in a book and having to search for it.

My buddy Andz said he runs three games a week of 5th ed. He happily uses house rules in his games in a cavalier manner but he said running it as often as he does helps but he also uses spread sheets to manage these abilities for NPCs.

Someone else said he notes on cards npc with notes on abilities and tactics.

The most common response was that DMs just don't bother with NPC fantastic abilities or they just fudge them and let them do anything on the fly. Many argued only PC heroes have all these abilities because they are special heroes and NPCs just don't. I call this the loosey goosey method. Is this in a book? More than 80% of people I asked responded with a version of this. To me this is a symptom of a broken game. If it is explicit heroes are special and only they get abilities fine but I don't think that is a feature of the game.

This is actually a radical shift in DnD culture, greater than most of the petty rule changes. The idea that players are mechanically special and more equal than NPCs they face and deserve to be treated differently does not thrill me. The superheroism of the game has gone from something you struggle to achieve from a position of weakness and luck to survive to the characters are special day one. The attitude to death in newer gaming is probably related.

As a player the whole point of character classes is they are simple shortcuts to archetypes and abilities. You know what a character can do. You know what an enemy can do. This helps me fight enemies by going kill that guy first because he has X ability. Having a DM just do as they please with NPCs round by round takes away this one advantage of the character class system.

Too many character classes also has this problem. More classes more strange abilities. More splat books with untested content helped break 3rd and 4th. Some complained about 2nd ed kits but they did not have game breaking mechanic (mostly) and were simple to implement than whole specialist classes. Too many classes to me takes away the advantage of the class system. It makes the build a class from scratch in late 2nd ed and dragon systems seem more appealing. Too many classes makes me think RQ is easier because anyone can do anything only culture and roleplaying cause problems not rules. So I am concerned with more splatbooks and classes and abilities being added to the cannon. I like character classes simple archetypes with perhaps skill choices to customise a bit. Hopefully I get 5th ed before 6th ed takes over.

I guess higher level DnD has always had a complexity problem. After tenth level the game increasingly bogs down in rule checks, rolling and adding more dice, more xp calculus, more treasure accountancy, managing party territories which cuts into adventure time increasingly.

I guess RQ has its problems too with complex NPCs, It took years to get our heads around sorcery (scientist min max gamer in group got it and taught us).  Some of the later products in the ten years of RQ3 had NPCs do far more creative things with sorcery that was a inspiration. RQ3 Monster Coliseum is rated by some as worst RPG product ever but it does not deserve it. It offers rules for chariots, a solo or one on one game mode for play. But best of all the monster stat book was probably my most handled book in 3rd ed. The viking Box set had a whole book of pre gen stat block record sheets which were invaluable.

DnD monster stat blocks have gone from a sentence to a page and often are not so helpful. My memories of BX and Adnd monsters is pretty accurate. I couldn't remember everything on 2nd or later eds. 2nd ed felt like they were writing to fill space in the monster folders and the detail given took away the DM chance to make own cultural decisions. With more complex stackable abilities designers started giving bugbears 80+ HP and they had to have special abilities and martial maneuvers too. Occasional monster being a martial artist is fun. Every bugbear being Bruce Lee not so special. More HP and stackable damaging abilities means more maths and dice rolls and slower game also. I tried using a 3-6 d6 difficulty system for skill and stat checks instead of d20 recently and my head exploded from watching ppl slowly add d6 results.

I am increasingly sympathetic of ppl who have given up on DnD. I think my test for a system would be can kids get most of it in one session and can intro rules fit in 30 pages but ok to have more options for long term campaigns.  Probably 1st to 7th is my sweet spot for dnd levels. New players walking into a game at 14th lv that everyone worked to get that high is a bit hard.

Possibly Im just showing my age wanting fairness and equality for NPCs and laziness for wanting minimal prep and reading rules to run a encounter. Also complexity of splatbooks and new eds seems more profit driven than about good game design.

A further note. I like pathfinder but the art puts me off. It is good art but not how I imagine my world. The DnD look doesn't quite do it to me in 5th ed. I think the layouts are among the best but the art look isn't really me. I kinda like the historic and gritty arms and armour pseudo realism of 70s and 80s books. I kinda hate most fantasy computer games with too many crystals and new age looking stuff which the mid 80s TSR artists pioneered. Anyone looking more newage than Elmore or Caldwell is too much. If I could make BX in my image I would Illustrate it with Don Laurence and Angus Mc Bride and Osprey book art. Possibly with more gore and filth.

Qualifiers and G+ Discussion Thoughts after posting this:The JEZ called me out on claim 5th ed better layout
I only mean better than 2nd ed-4th ed
2nd ed disliked most art and hated borders and spot art
lots of 3rd and 4th i could barley read
Ive said before I find things in B&W textbook layouts by being familiar with shapes of blank space

DnD5 and CoC7 have done better job of full colour faux old bool looks than most of last ten years but I still prefer B&W textbook style over coffee table glam

I Like Eclipse Phaze layouts but I thin Zac hates it so go figure

If I had money I would pay for look and learn magazine clip art which I grew up on plus pay some of the insan old illustrators I know who are out of work

this article interesting as it is a fix for amalgamating old and new play modes

a whole book on resourcist mod rules for dungeon horror would be good for 5th ed - this post nails it on the head - BX is a resource based horror game not heroic or epic is a good take. - On the Megadungeon and 5th Edition Play

If I have to play complex game I will stick to my BRP/RQ3 Hybrid (I ditch strike ranks) - Complexity for me is good for horror and near misses. I still remember I had a table next to a 4th ed one and my game played through 40 rooms in 4 hours vs 4 rooms for the 4th ed table.