2020. október 20., kedd

Four new spells (writing up randomly generated spells)

 A while back, I wrote a generator of random spell names in Excel. And decided to write up descriptions for some of these random incantations. In the meantime, I stumbled upon Paul's Gameblog, who's doing the same thing... and from his posts, I also learned about a magnificent tool: Inspiration Pad Pro, a versatile (and free! free as a Windows desktop application; and reasonably priced as an app for tablets/devices; you can also use chartopia for your online random generation needs!) piece of software you can use to create random generators!

The .ipt file for my generator is here - I've extended it, so now it gives you a weird spell name, and some basic ideas about the spell's obscurity and casting requirements (this second half is still very much work-in-progress; for the following write-ups I didn't use them).


Grant Body (5th level spell, affects: one incorporeal/disembodied entity, duration: special, range: 60’)

This spell forces one incorporeal or disembodied entity (ghosts, spectres, floating souls and the like) into a nearby body of a creature. The body must be in a relatively good condition, e.g. recently deceased, not burned to cinders or dissolved in acid. If the body is already occupied (e.g. if it is a living human with a soul), the current “owner” of the body gets to save vs. Spells. An unwilling entity can also save vs. Spells to resist the arcane compulsion.

However, as with all necromantic spells, there is a risk of the material body and the immaterial substance rejecting each other. Make a Reaction roll:

2

The body rejects the entity and is irrevocably damaged in the process.

3–5

The entity is instantly ejected from the body and takes one die of damage.

6–8

The entity enters the body, can see, sense & hear through it (speak – at Referee’s discretion), but cannot move or take actions. This state lasts for 1–8 turns, then the entity is ejected from the body without harm.

9–11

The entity takes full control of the body. The possession lasts 3–24 turns, then the entity is ejected from the body without harm

12

Full compatibility. The entity is in control until the body’s physical destruction; but cannot leave it voluntarily.



 

Recall Dreams (2nd level spell, affects: one target, duration: instantaneous, range: touch)

“I can say it again: some ideas arrive in the form of a dream,” – as one of the greatest sybils of our time declared. However, the mind is not always capable of comprehending the greater oneiric truths. This spell aids the target (the caster or anybody they touch) to recall the dream in vivid details, reliving it, but not forgetting like one would upon awakening. If the caster or the target have a Wisdom of 15 or more, they are considered to be lucid dreamers, and can assert some control over how the dream is recalled, perhaps can even obtain additional information, move in a different direction inside the dreamworld than during the original slumber.

 

Shallow Skin of Metal (2nd level spell, affects: one target, duration: 1 + 1 turn/level, range: 30’)

The spell creates a layer of metal just under the skin of the target. This layer provides effective protection against mundane weapons: the person in considered to be wearing plate armor, and all damage is reduced by 1. Movement and reflexes are not hindered in any way. However, at the end of the spell’s duration, as the sorcerous metal dissolves, the person must save vs. Poison or lose a hit die and re-roll their maximum hit points with the new amount. Reduction to zero hit die means death.

 

Sign of False Vitality (1st level spell, affects: one target, duration: 1 turn/level, range: 10’)

With this illusion, a dead body can be made to appear just a sleeping or resting person. Injuries and signs of decay are masked, and there is even an illusion of breathing and a beating pulse. An onlooker won’t be able to tell by a cursory glance if the target is dead; and a save vs. Spells must be made if the corpse is investigated. If an especially suspicious or curious person tries to awaken the corpse, then, of course, the spell is automatically broken. Can also be used to make an undead creature appear living for the duration of the enchantment.


2020. október 16., péntek

[Map] Forgotten Depths of the Geomorphic Underground

I numbered the areas on the map from yesterday's geomorph post. Feel free to use/modify it if you are in need of a weird 94-room complex. Or parts of it. It's under the CC BY/SA licence. This was also an interesting exercise in room numbering... I tried to keep the flow of the numbers, so that if keyed, the descriptions of interconnected areas are nearby.



2020. október 14., szerda

DIY dungeon geomorphs

I made a set of dungeon geomorphs yesterday! Took a sheet of cardboard, divided it into 30 equal squares, and then drew various combinations of rooms, corridors, caverns. I made sure to have the entrances/exits meeting roughly around the middle of each side of the square. On some tiles, all spaces are connected to each other; while other tiles have two or more separate areas. I filled the leftover spaces with dead-ends and finials - tiles that only have one entrance.

The drawing was done in pencil first (but basically with no erasing/corrections), then inked it with one of those Stabilo black pens.


Cut it up with a hobby knife and scissors, and ended up with a nice pile of dungeon tiles!


The first dungeon was a random draw of six tiles:


The second dungeon I started out with a random draw, then "curated" it: switched, reorganized or rotated some of the tiles, and added dead-ends to close off passages towards the borders.

I used the tiles where the areas are not interconnected to limit the sprawl of the dungeon too.


Then I fired up my trusty GIMP, and turned a photo of the tiles into a janky but also kinda stylish dungeon map! I cut off all the unconnected areas for now, to create an enclosed space.


It's an evenings craft project, and lots of fun! The geomorphs can be used to create a quick dungeon (draw a couple of tiles, assemble, take a photo, edit out all the unnecessary passages) during prep, or even on the fly; or just to inspire yourself.

P.S.: I numbered the areas on the final map, you can see it here: https://eldritchfields.blogspot.com/2020/10/map-forgotten-depths-of-geomorphic.html


2020. szeptember 27., vasárnap

1d8 snake poison names

  1. Black Venom of the Deep Serpent
  2. Crystalline Toxin of the Rattling Menace
  3. Slither-Fuck's Greater Poison
  4. Strange Blight of the Neuro-Snake
  5. The Killing Dose of Unlife
  6. Bane of the Yellow-Eyed Vermin
  7. Fang-Juice of the Deadly One
  8. Red Viper's Lethal Kiss
Alternatively, as a fellow player pointed out, these are brand names for "aggressively marketed energy drinks".



2020. augusztus 23., vasárnap

Players' maps for the OD&D adventures (Temple of the Berserkers and Outpost of Stone & Silver)

I know a lot of people use virtual tabletops, especially in these quarantine days. Or just like to have something to show to the group. So I made players' maps for the two OD&D dungeons I published recently. These versions come without any text labels, and the traps and secret doors are masked. They probably don't line up perfectly with the 70px grids, but I'm sure you can get that to work... (oh, and the maps are on a 1 square = 10' scale).

You can get them here:

Players' maps & PDFs


2020. augusztus 20., csütörtök

[Actual Play] A Delve into the Outpost of Stone & Silver [Carcosa / OD&D]

Yesterday I ran the Outpost of Stone & Silver for two players (as a quick and dirty one-shot when the regular game was called off). They grabbed two characters each from R. Sivaranjan's generator and off we went!

Kahlo (He of the Fabulous Eye-Brow), Red Fighting-Man 1

Steel of Woe, Green Fighting-Woman 1, one-armed and psionic

Luu, Orange Fighting-Man 1

Ranko (She of the Superior Hit Point Pool), Brown Fighting-Woman 1


Our ragtag group of adventurers, all outcasts of their respective tribes, learned about the existence of a sorcerous or scientific outpost, with shining metal walls built into the purple rock. They set out with high hopes: perhaps their tribes would take them back if they came bearing treasures...

They arrived to the place with their pack-lizard and cart. They saw two entrances: one set in a niche, and another set between two tower-like edifices. The bravest, Luu, approached the first one, and noticed that it had no door - but the passage was barred by a flickering curtain of light. He threw some objects at it, trying to match his projectile with the on/off phase of the curtain, but learned that all objects just bounce back, cause electric discharges, and overheat when connecting with the field.

He was about to head back, when he noticed some sounds from beyond the curtain, but he couldn't see the source, as the corridor was only slightly illuminated by the twin suns.

To his surprise, he received an answer in a child-like voice. The friendly creature on the other side invited him to join a knife-throwing contest. Luu was wary, and called a group meeting. In the meantime, they could hear that the contest commenced inside. There were sounds of knives hitting the wall, and the disappointed murmurs of a small crowd. And then, finally, a cheer -- and, to their surprise, together with the cheer, the curtain of light dissipated! 

2020. augusztus 18., kedd

[Dungeon] Outpost of Stone & Silver, science fantasy adventure for OD&D/Delving Deeper

Temple of the Berserkers received a very warm welcome, so here's a follow-up! Outpost of Stone & Silver is in the same format: dungeon map + keys that fit on one page (or two pages, if you want larger font). It's a science fantasy adventure, in the spirit of Gamma World or Carcosa. A mysterious science outpost/laboratory, built into a mountain - who knows what lies in its depths?

This time, instead of the OD&D booklets, I used the guidelines of Delving Deeper, a great iteration of the 0e rules.

To achieve the science fantasy feel, I re-skinned all fantasy regulars. Goblins became bug-eyed monsters, skeletons became flayed androids, giant snakes and spiders turned into robot arms and patrol drones*. I must admit that I'm kinda proud of turning the "Red Dragon, Hatchling" entry into a flamethrower turret... And if the dragon is asleep, then the turret is just "on hold"...

So yeah, I had a lot of fun. Aaaand I added a reference of something that'd made a big impression on me in my childhood. That's always nice.

Download PDF with map & key!*

* 2020.08.24 - now with a player map, with secret doors and labels hidden!


* Technically, Delving Deeper has stats and even descriptions for robots, cyborgs, etc. (unlike OD&D, where the "Robots, Golems, Androids" are "self-explanatory monsters which are totally subjective as far as characteristics are concerned"...). But those monsters are too strong, I wanted something weaker. + Re-skinning is more fun.

Have fun, and, as always, let me know what you think!


2020. augusztus 8., szombat

[Dungeon] Temple of the Berserkers, one-page OD&D adventure

 As a little exercise, I drew a dungeon and stocked it according to the guidelines in the 3 original Dungeons & Dragons booklets. Behold, the Temple of the Berserkers!

Download PDF with map & key!*

(for a one-page adventure, print "2 pages on 1 sheet")

* 2020.08.11 - updated the file with a new map and a couple of minor edits.
Big thanks to John Bragg for spotting the error in the elevation levels!

* 2020.08.24 - now with a players' map, with traps, secret doors and labels hidden!


Workflow:

I started with the map (because I love drawing maps). 40-ish rooms, interconnections, etc., and I added some features like statues and secret doors right away. Then I reserved the bigger or more peculiar rooms as "specials", but didn't put anything in them yet.

Instead, I went through the rest of the areas, stocking them randomly, as a level 1 dungeon. The OD&D procedure is clunky (and can be substituted with a single-roll stocking method), but I used it more or less as written. Next, I rolled up random monsters for each populated room.

At this point, due to a freak coincidence, I rolled Berserkers three times. And so, a theme emerged. A temple/dungeon mostly overtaken by Berserkers, and a couple of other creatures and NPCs, who are either their leaders, allies, or, in some cases, enemies they can't get rid of.

With this theme set and most rooms stocked, I returned to the specials and adjusted them to fit the theme (or not fit the theme, as OD&D dungeons are not supposed to be all logical...). 

I like how it all came out and it was fun to make. Enjoy!


2020. augusztus 7., péntek

d20 puppets (by Charlie Looker)

  1. puppet of lust
  2. puppet of chemistry
  3. puppet of trauma
  4. puppet of pleasure (scars of pleasure)
  5. puppet of fear
  6. puppet of the fist
  7. puppet of history
  8. puppet of Now
  9. puppet of no no memory
  10. puppet of blood
  11. puppet of guilt
  12. puppet of family
  13. puppet of ignorance
  14. puppet of love
  15. puppet of law
  16. puppet of language
  17. puppet of wealth
  18. puppet of poverty
  19. puppet of vanity
  20. puppet of morals (sweet sweet morals)
Based on "Puppet", by Charlie Looker.


2020. július 31., péntek

Mythos Spells to OSR: quick & dirty conversion rules

Over the years, Call of Cthulhu has amassed a great amount of spells and rituals. The 7th ed. Grand Grimoire lists over 550! Such a horrific source of cosmic grandeur cannot go untapped... So, here are some quick & dirty untested rules for converting CoC spells to OSR spell levels. Of course, case-by-case conversion and fine-tuning is better, but with these rules you can get a rough approximation.

Magic point cost
Spell level
1-5
1
6-9
2
10-12
3
13-15
4
16-19
5
20+
6
For variable costs (e.g. 1d10), assume maximum roll.

Sanity cost
Spell level increase
Save penalty
1-1d5
+0
-0
1d6-1d10
+1
-2
1d12-1d20
+2
-4
Optional: OSR “Sanity check”
When casting a spell that comes with Sanity loss, save against Magic (with the penalty in the third column). On failure, gain a random “insanity” that lasts 1d8 days. If the margin of failure is more than 5, the effect is permanent instead.
The 3.5e/d20 SRD has some examples (scroll down to tables 6-9 and 6-10).
Or just treat this as risky casting/miscast.

POW cost
Spell level increase
0-9
+0
10-19
+1
20+
+2
Optional: OSR stat drain
Map POW onto a stat (Wisdom, Intelligence, Charisma? Maybe let the Magic-User pick each time?), and divide the cost by 5.

Optional: Sanity+POW
If the spell has both a Sanity and a POW cost, but individually they don't raise the spell level, increase the spell level by 1.

Create Myst of R'lyeh (2 magic points) = level 1.
Knot Flesh (2d6 magic points, 1d8 sanity) = level 4.
Reincarnate (10 magic points, 10 POW, 1d6 sanity) = level 5.
Soul Trap (6 magic points, 5 POW, 1d4 sanity) = level 2 (or level 3).
Wave of Oblivion (30 magic points, 1d8 sanity) = level 7.