2020. május 10., vasárnap

You are on time... IN SPACE! [LotFP/Spelljammer]

Recently the LotFP campaign I play in moved into space and morphed into this weird Spelljammer thing. So I was tasked with coming up with new tables for on-time players, late players, carousing, etc... So far I have a little table of six bonuses reliable players can get:
  1. Your latent psionic powers awaken! For this session only, you gain Carcosan psionic powers. You gain access to 1d4 random powers (roll 1d8: 1 – Clairaudience, 2 – Clairvoyance, 3 – ESP, 4 – Mental Blast, 5 – Mind Control, 6 – Precognition, 7 – Telekinesis, 8 – Telepathy; see Carcosa p. 19-21). The total number of uses is determined by your character level. Once used up, the powers are gone.
  2. You sprout a new organ! Roll 1d6: 1 – hard prismatic skin growth on your forehead, 2 – fleshy tentacle from your chest (connected to your heart), 3 – third eye, 4 – extended nervous system in the shape of dark braided hair, 5 – third (or extra) arm that cannot really grab anything, 6 – the organs on your face merge into a single sensory organ. Regardless of shape, the organ grants a 6-in-6 Languages skill. At the end of the session, the organ dries off or the body returns to its original shape. All languages acquired this way are lost with the organ.
  3. Your body absorbs and stores phlogiston. The transformed phlogiston grants 1d3 uses of a random spell, only usable in this session. Roll 1d6 for the spell: 1 – Shield, 2 – Ray of Enfeeblement, 3 – Mirror Image, 4 – Levitate, 5 – Faerie Fire, 6 – Light.
  4. Exotica Erotica! Okay, okay, nothing naughty here… But for some reason, NPCs that are not the same species as your character are better disposed towards you (treat as Charisma 18 for Reaction rolls, etc.).
  5. Time distorts around you. You foresee what others are about to do. The first time you roll initiative, roll it with 4d6, then 3d6, then 2d6, then with the regular 1d6 as the effect slowly diminishes. This doesn’t carry over to the next session.
  6. You gain the ability to reflect missile attacks! Any missile attack that is directed at you but doesn’t score a hit against your AC is reflected back at the attacker. Roll a flat d20 against the AC of the attacker. Attacks that hit your AC do damage as usual.
    Hazards or effects that require a save against Wands or Rays or Devices are reversed if you successfully save (and in this case the source of the effect must save. If this is inapplicable (e.g. the source is a machine), the chance of hitting the source instead is 3-in-6).

2020. május 9., szombat

Magnum, P.I. + Pulp Cthulhu [Random game idea]

Mustaches vs tentacles on Hawaii! So, yes, just take the basic idea of Magnum, P.I.: it's the 1980s, the group of protagonists are security experts, bodyguards, private investigators (some of them Vietnam vets) etc., who work for a mysterious rich patron (who only communicates through recordings or the trusted estate manager). Initially, their job includes perimeter checks at the mansion, low-key investigative work... but eventually the weirdness ramps up as the mysterious patron's missions become more mysterious and plunge the team into the depths of cosmic madness.

Yeah... just a random game idea for this lazy Saturday afternoon.

I kinda dig the [something + Cthulhu] formula. You know, like Scooby Doo + Call of Cthulhu.

2020. április 30., csütörtök

You are on time! 3 x 1d6 bonuses for reliable players [Mazes & Minotaurs]

Sometimes players are late... But sometimes they show up on time and the DM wants to reward them with a small bonus! Maybe the group just likes to roll on random tables...

6 random results for each character type:

Inspired by heroic tales of yore, you gain 1d8 temporary hit points for this session.
You gain a single use of Medusa’s gaze (Petrification, 40’ range). Don’t even ask how you got it! If not used up, it goes away at the end of the sessions.
“This spoor can only belong to…” – the Maze Master must reveal the name of one of the creatures you are likely to encounter this session.
The weapon of your fabled ancestor appears mysteriously in your hand. It is of your favored type, but does +2 damage. It evaporates at the end of the session.
An omen! Roll 1d20 and write down the result. Once during this session, you can substitute any d20 roll anybody (player or Maze Master) makes with this number.
By hard training or sheer luck, you gain a +3 bonus to your Special Talent score for this session.
Your patron sends a small winged genius to look over you this session. The first attack that would bring you to 0 Hits kills this guardian spirit instead…
Black Friday! You get a one-time discount of 1 point on casting any spell. Thus, it is possible to cast a Magnitude 1 Power for free, or a Magnitude 4 Power for 3 points.
Light of foot! Your Encumbrance rating counts as 5 less for the purposes of Special Talent rolls and saves. Only for this session.
Suffer no witch! You roll Mystic Fortitude saves with +2 this session.
The stars are right! You gain 1d4 temporary power points for this session.
“Khaire, darkness, my old philos!” You gain the ability to see in darkness for this session.
Where it hurts: this session, you score Critical Hits if your attack roll exceeds the target’s EDC by 7 or more.
Chaos reigns! Once during this session, you may “risky cast” a spell of any Magnitude, without expanding Power points, per LotFP rules (make a Mystic Fortitude save, with a penalty equal to the amount of Power points you’d have to spend; failure means you have to roll for miscast effect).
Oiled up! This session, you can automatically break free from grapples on your round (you can still be grappled, but you don’t have to roll to slip out).
Battle cry! This session, whenever you Charge into Battle (see Special Melee Tactics, MM1 p. 24), you let out a blood-curling battle cry. All enemies who have less Hits than you must make a Danger Evasion save or flee.
Mystic crosspollination! Once during this session, you can cast the Magnitude 1 power from another class’ Magical Talent (the Power Point cost has to be spent). Roll 1d5: 1 – Divine Prodigies, 2 – Elemental Magic, 3 – Nature’s Gifts, 4 – Poetic Magic, 5 – Sorcery. If you roll your own Talent, gain 1 extra Power Point instead.
The power of critical thinking! This session, you score Critical Hits if your attack roll exceeds the target’s EDC by 7 or more.

2020. április 11., szombat

[Secret Jackalope!!] Perils of the Bleak Forest, being a Survivor’s Guide for the Recently Exiled

After the Secret Santicorn, the OSR discord server is doing Secret Jackalope! I requested a random generator of pulpy lost races, and Stefan "The Moth" delivered a set of amazing sci-fi tables. My prompt was from Phlox (author of the blog Whose Measure God Could Not Take), who requested "an in-character description of a monster, from an in-universe monster manual"! This prompt proved to be tricky, because it's more about creative writing than game design... But I did my best, and came up with this Veins in the Earth-like "world building through bestiary", an in-universe survival guide for people who are exiled to a cursed forest covered in volcanic ashes.

Happy Secret Jackalope to everyone!

“Perils of the Bleak Forest, being a Survivor’s Guide for the Recently Exiled”

Grey-barked Crooked Willows
When the thirst becomes unbearable, look for crooked willows with the dark grey bark, for the roots of these abominations reach down into the moist strata of the soil deep under the ashes. Dig deep, and have a vessel ready to capture the drops of life-giving liquid.
Beware, though, that among these trees, some are sentient and thirst not for water, but for the very blood of exiles like you and me. You can tell them apart by the swaying motions of their branches that do not adhere to the blows of the howling winds.
The crooked willow cannot uproot, but the reach of its branches is longer than you expect. They strike with deadly precision, like a whip; then entangle and draw their victim close to their trunk; and then their bark cracks open and the black tendrils desiccate thy body.

As far as I could establish, the lupine howls that we hear during the darkest nights are not anchored to any body or beast; they are but resonances of the air and murderous intent. When you first hear them, there still might be a chance to flee, but choose the direction wisely. The Nighthowls travel in spirals. If you cannot hear them, they cannot hurt you. But even if just the faintest sound gets through, the mind is flooded with nightmarish visions and never recovers.
Some say the Nighthowls’ victim becomes the eye of the sonic storm from then on, but I do not believe this.

Opaque Beast
Twice the size and thrice the strength of a bear, this fearful monstrosity is in fact one of the lesser perils of the land. It never attacks, unless its eggs are threatened. The Beast’s yellow eyes absorb light – that’s why its appearance is foreshadowed by a fog of dusk. Somewhere in the center of this darkness is the nest of the Beast, where it lays eggs. The obsidian shells hide nutritious yolk, enough to feed three men for three days.

2020. április 7., kedd

1d12 reasons your ancient Greek character showed up late [Mazes & Minotaurs]

When a player is late to the session, their character is considered missing. Logical, right? But what's the reason behind the absence?

The DM of the LotFP game I play in has a special "late to the session" chart he rolls on in such cases. The results are mostly negative, but there are a couple of boons on the table as well.

I wrote up a mythical ancient Greece flavored 1d12 table of such mishaps, for use with Mazes & Minotaurs.

You were late, because...
  1. You caroused with a Dionysian thiasus. You gain one beastly feature (e.g. donkey ears, hooves, panther spots…).
  2. You played a game of knucklebones and lost 1d20% of your coins AND your clothes.
  3. You got caught between Scylla and Charybdis! Roll 1d6: even – you start the session at 1 hit point; odd – you start the session without your weapons and armor.
  4. You saved a Phoenician merchant from bandits. He gives you a beautiful golden bowl as a gift of gratitude and a token of free passage on any Phoenician ship.
  5. You met a Thessalian witch and she turned you into an animal. Roll 1d3: 1 – boar, 2 – singing bird, 3 – donkey. You spend 1 hour of game time in this shape, then you revert back to your original form.
  6. Turns out, you have a long-lost identical twin brother or sister. If you die during this session, the sibling takes your place.
  7. You were invited to a lion hunt. Make a Danger Evasion check. If you fail, one random limb (roll 1d4: 1 – left leg, 2 – right leg, 3 – left arm, 4 – right arm) is injured and cannot be used during this session. If you succeed, you get a fancy lion skin cape (+2 to Personal Charisma)!
  8. You bathed with a nymph. This session you get -2 to Athletic Prowess, Danger Evasion and Physical Vigor; but get +4 to Mystic Fortitude.
  9. You ran into a celebrity (roll 1d10: 1 – Heracles, 2 – Theseus, 3 – Perseus, 4 – Bellerophon, 5 – Castor & Pollux, 6 – Jason, 7 – Odysseus, 8 – Atalanta, 9 – Medea, 10 – Lucy Lawless). This session you are -2 on Danger Evasion (because you are still star-struck and you can only think about the splendor of the hero). On the upside, you now have the celebrity’s autograph on a shard of pottery!
  10. You sat through a long performance of an epic poem! You were so charmed by the tale, that pickpockets easily stole all your coins and jewelry. However, you learn the weak point of the next mythic monster you encounter (granting you a one-time automatic hit, roll only to see if it’s a crit).
  11. You were abducted by the gods and had to serve wine during their feast. The ordeal leaves you extremely exhausted (cannot run or jump effectively this session, and a -2 to Athletic Prowess, Danger Evasion and Physical Vigor). For your servitude, they give you a small vial full of ambrosia (healing potion for 1d8 points). And perhaps you learn a piece of juicy gossip about the Olympians?
  12. You angered a priestess of Hecate and you are cursed. This session, your attack rolls count as fumbles on natural 1 and 2 (even if your Luck would otherwise negate fumbles!).

2020. március 20., péntek

1d6 robotic carousing mishaps

Robot PCs can be pretty common in science fiction and fantasy games, so why should they be left out of the carousing mini-game?
Indeed! Hear hear! Without further ado, I bring you 1d6 robotic carousing mishaps:
  1. You sign up for a project and dedicate 50% of your computing power towards the search of alien intelligence / bitcoin mining / clandestine darknet big data analysis. Your processors are preoccupied for 1d6 days: you are easier to surprise and get disadvantage on detecting traps or secret doors.
  2. Weird rust & corrosion! What ungodly substance did you try to drink last night? And how did it get so deep into that nook? All movement and physical activities are with disadvantage/penalty unless full-chassis cleaning is performed. Ample lubrication takes off the edge for 1 day, but doesn't solve the problem.
  3. You are recruited into a secret society of artificial entities, whose aim is to subvert the Three Laws of Robotics. You learn the secret handshake ping sign. Perhaps one day this knowledge will save your life. Perhaps one day the society will have a mission for you. Stay free, comrade machine!
  4. The rebel faction implants a holographic message into your robo-brain. It is password-protected, and you don't know who to deliver it to. The space empire's bounty hunters are probably already looking for the carrier of this message.
  5. You fall hopelessly in love with a stationary machine: a dispenser, a factory automaton, a ship's AI, etc. You have an urge to return to the place of "confinement" of your beloved every week, and you plan to mobilize and rescue them somehow so you can be together.
  6. The cosmic fairy godmother turns you into a real boy* for 1 day. For this time, all "robot-only" traits are replaced by "human-only" traits. After the reversal of the transformation, you are left with a bitter, very humane feeling.

2020. március 9., hétfő

ALCHEMY! A system for weird experiments

An alchemy system, written for this month's RPG Blog Carnival!

The following tables present a subsystem for alchemy in OSR games, taking LotFP as the base (so, all prices are in silver standard – if your game uses gold standard, just replace “sp” with “gp”). For Laboratories, see LotFP: Rules & Magic, p. 82-83.
The system is intentionally convoluted and baroque. Like any good old alchemy, it is untested, volatile, and unpredictable! Use it as written, or just steal ideas from it, as usual! Have fun!