Tuesday, February 23, 2016

WTF NPCs for Longwinter and more ...

Moving a blog, even just a d&d blog, is a surprisingly hard thing. URLs and subscriptions tend to be resilient. No matter, we continue ... I've added a bundle of NPCs to the Longwinter list. Read the lot there, and feel free to follow that blog instead.

Rudvik, the City of the Pit, the Silver City, the Guild Warren, built in the guts of the Gargantuan Golem Fact of the Long Long Ago. Suspended on the cliff above is an iron spider of a fortress, now the Home of Counting and Count

  1. Counte Rudolf Rudov — the man with the golden hand and silver eye, his hands bedecked with rings, his abacus with beads of (1: amethyst, 2: emerald, 3: rubies, 4: sapphires, 5: garnets, 6: amber), his brow crowned with the Binary Bindlet.
  2. Countess Krovela Rudolfova — the Counte's wife, who's skin is forever milky and young as the day they were wed by the Baron's grandfather.
  3. Counteska Rudina Rudolfova — the Counte's daughter, some say witch, others wild thing. In truth she is (1: both, 2: neither, 3: a changeling, 4: a misunderstood goth).
  4. Vizir Sokolov — the wizard of Rudvik, demons worry when he is near. He turns tears into joy, everyone's happy when he walks by.
  5. Vaga — the death-dealer of Rudvik. Darkness stalks the steps of the death-dealer. Grown men become children in the presence of the death-dealer. The House of the Death-Dealer is surrounded by (1: shields, 2: skulls, 3: glass vials, 4: stone chimes, 5: silver-threaded copper coins, 6: feathers).
  6. Moksijeva Maja — a noble fightress, tough and just.
  7. Perimpepet — a brainy fellow, some would say a thief, he is a master of geomancy and mining.
  8. Nur Gottlieb — a rustumi preacher-pundit.
  9. Masad Obershtain — mason, builder and inn-keeper of the Sign of the Cog-clock.
... and more.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

WTF Migrations (and Classes)

I'm a fan of classes describing the setting. In fact, I'm a fan of pretty much all the tables and rules by themselves describing the setting, which is something I'm trying to do with my new WTF blog (and yes, I'll try to migrate more of my content from here to there). However, it's a bit of a slog highlighting a shift like that.

At a rough count, I still need to move ...

  1. the readers
  2. the blog links
  3. the good posts
  4. ... and set up some redirection.
This will take forever. Till then, I'm presenting my version 1.0 alpha simple murderhobo classes for WTF:
  1. The Wizard who's good at spells and occasionally pistols.
  2. The Thief who's good with skills and pistols.
  3. The Fighter who's good with not dying.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Wizard Thief Fighter is reanimating into unlife

I've made a more focused blog for my d&d stuff (WTF? Again?) at wizardthieffighter.blogspot.com. I tried to simply rename this blog, but that broke all kinds of links. So, it's here now, the first real post:


A list of d20 npcs to start with, including:

  1. leather-clad scholar from among the (1: rustuman, 2: petrograd, 3: morjanska, 4: turalia, 5: wolf-folk of the black wood, 6: white canyon),
  2. spy, tailor, sailor and international trader of mystery,
  3. smooth-talking flour-chucking food merchant with a cart of (1: boiled leeches, 2: broiled leeks, 3: grilled lima beans, 4: sautéed lemon-fish, 5: flambéed lobster, 6: fresh linear accelerated-growth lion-strip),
  4. militiaman with the clockwork heart,

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Deep Carbon Observatory - The Observatory Maps in PDF Form

Summary: I cobbled together a thing. I put Gus L's top-down maps of Patrick Stuart's and Scrap Princess' DCO's final dungeon into a single 3-page .pdf. Here it ishttps://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7Ih4XxlNjj8VXZkVDVlb2xlMjg/view?usp=sharing.

It seems hardly necessary to give particular introduction to the Deep Carbon Observatory at this point in the DIY/OSR/D&D history. Suffice to say, I wrote a brief review after purchasing and reading it way back in July of 2014. For the longest time I had no chance to run it, but eventually I managed to sneak it into my current Rainbowlands campaign (session 34 is this Wednesday!). After four sessions in the DCO valley, the heroes now stand outside the pit and the Observatory itself.

Have running the game and time changed my original review? Not essentially. All the good parts of the DCO remain good, but running the game has made me appreciate more what works for me and what doesn't. I run my game sessions with minimal preparation for two simple reasons: laziness and some other reason.

Thus I haven't taken advantage of all the moving pieces built into the valley. For example, the NPC party, the Crows. I've not found a way to bring them into conflict with the PCs and a single page with their stats plus activities per day / location would have been handy.

The same applies to my misgivings. Some turned out to be spot on, others irrelevant for my play style. For example, laying out the valley as a point-crawl a-la Slumbering Ursine Dunes would have been useful, sure, but I managed to wing it well enough. On the other hand, a one-page overview / glossary / or index of key factions, NPCs, monsters and items (Ambatoharanana! The Witch! The Third Party! The Oculist Priests!) would have been so useful for a lazy DM like yours truly.

One thing I wrote back then, though, has changed:
I don't know what would be the perfect solution, but this is a really complex and interesting adventure: it would require more than just a simple linear layout - I don't have a solution on this.
I think I have a partial solution for a low-prep approach to an adventure like this now. What I'd need are diagrams, annotated maps, timelines and glossaries of the key plots, NPCs and locatons in the adventure on 3 to 5 pages tops, so that I can track where, what, when and why.

However, that is not something I will solve here and tonight (perhaps I'll solve it with Apotheosis: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Became the Bomb). What I can solve is simplify my running of the Observatory on Wednesday by taking all of Gus L's top-down maps and combining them into a single document. And so, the post ends like it begins. Here you go.

17-Nov-2015: Updated linked .pdf to include side view.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Supporting Cast: What's Happening Around the Plot?

A d6 is all you need to generate your NPC encounters, random monsters, plots, treasures, spoor, campsites, and more. I know how tempting it is to go for the d100 or d20 and have lots and lots of options, but unless you're writing up a full setting supplement, you don't need that much.

In fact, I've found that for my games, what I need is usually just a couple of d6 tables to generate the whole "world" around the main campaign. There just isn't time for me to do more, or for my players to encounter more. Sometimes I'll roll for a full row, sometimes mix and match columns. The result is a table more or less like this pre-fabricated for each session. An additional table for treasure and rumors usually rounds things out nicely.

d6NameOne-linerAttitude to PlotTheir TipTheir MotiveAnother Person
1Jessie Harefemme fataleloves ita secret keymoneyLisbeth
2Metropolis Honésarchaeologistlikes ita dirty secretloveAdrian Ask
3Melvin Riggsdirty copit's oka stolen childvengeanceDoc Maxine
4Pal 600sentient golemmehthe brick activatorshameZita
5Citizen Janecarries canedislikes ita hidden masterrestitutionThomas Numbers
6Dude Wizardflying rughates ita coincidencesafetyMira Muffins

Monday, August 31, 2015

Six Words 6d6: The Wall

II. The Wall or The Crossing of Boundaries and the Reception of Gifts

1d6 the wall
1. soft smooth milky cream whispers nothings
2. sunrise brings purple, sunset brings flowers
3. vertigo, mounting heights, pikes break eggs
4. crumbs for handholds, feet, susurrating cracks
5. broad, chariotway clatters, ruts deep dank
6. animals crawl, petrify, aggregate, ferns grow

1d6 the tree
1. weakened swaying giant calls the rain
2. storms break, clouds part, shadows spread
3. gnarled roots shatter bone, eat stone
4. needles sharp, witching heart watches berries
5. fruit bring sleep, flowers bury lovers
6. leaves fly, butterflies, spreading spiced seeds

1d6 the remains
1. fire died, charcoal melted, charred teeth
2. trail, burned footprint, sulphur smells sweet
3. hole half-buried, treasure ruined, leather
4. dead man tells tails, rising sun
5. bloodstained iron man, heavy lead boots
6. helmet hollow rolls, cackles, distant lightning

1d6 the animals
1. bristled fur, gnashing teeth, smashing trees
2. crawls with axe head, smiles feral
3. bleeds ice, moans hatred, shunning cities
4. leather, boan, plated eyes bring fire
5. venom summons laughter, claws write glyphs
6. lumber through lumber, hulk, great trombone

1d6 the gift
1. all that glitter is gold, lies
2. potted plant, speak to me, lover
3. four shoes, new wisdom never used
4. souvenir, future past, trees eat memories
5. binding brothers, severing sisters, snaggling teeth
6. peace comes knocking, offenders down, bleeting

1d6 the weapon
1. flick of the wrist, too late
2. heavy numbness, spreading lies, sowing diffusion
3. broken, lord forgotten, beneath great hill
4. moonlight shatters gates of perception, transcendence
5. thick blood, soiled, infection can spread
6. snicker-snack, off with her head, crier


More words of inspiration for the referee behind the wall.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Red Land District - Canto I.

A radical anarcho-magist free enclave squatting the prime coastal real estate of the traditionalist, agrarian Red Lands.

Slogan: "We built this city on rocks and rolls."

Three groups hold power:

  • the merchants — rogues, green clerics, agents and their ilk abroad.
  • the wizards of Chernobyl Campus Ruins — balancing things out with their two major schools: the jet-set lawyers and the harbormaster navigators, and their three minor schools, the brickmancer masons, the necromancer accountants and recorders, and the school of economic and social propaganda.
  • the hexads — self-help associations of like-minded socio-economic activists, secret societies and political groupings. They are sorted by color, from purple to red, as per the schema of the Rainbowlands.
Hexad Generator (roll d6s multiple times).

Color / Power / The Hexads Hustle:
  1. purple / ++ / pharmaceuticals
  2. blue / + / medical equipment and procedures
  3. green / 0 (stable) / agribusiness
  4. yellow / 0 (liable) / show business
  5. orange / - / magitechnology
  6. red / -- / security services
They hate / love / and their guffin is:
  1. magic / magic / ... the mistress is a medusa
  2. combat / combat / ... use troll-cows for regen-juice
  3. chaos / chaos / ... enlarge and reduce spellchemical commodities
  4. law / law / ... use necromancers to blackmail the dead and run a collective government
  5. aristos / proles / ... use treant juice to talk through trees and turn to plants when die
  6. outsiders / insiders / ... use charm spells to turn aristos to the side of the proles