2019. július 17., szerda

Neural Network Generated Hexcrawl

Talk to Transformer is awesome. I already collaborated with this text-writing neural network to create a dungeon adventure, called The Tomb of the Daughter. Nowadays I am using Transformer to create hex descriptions. It started out when I fed it some fragments from Carcosa... then it became pretty much its own thing. I'm slowly compiling materials for a post-apocalyptic science fantasy world. It's fun. It's also much harder to control than just the dungeon. I try to edit as little as possible, and most text still comes from Transformer's outputs, but I have to link them together on the editor-level so that it makes more sense. I'm also going deeper and generating mini-dungeons for a couple of hexes.

Guodong Zhao

The hexcrawl has humans on the rainbow specter and more (the heritage from those Carcosa prompts), but also dwarves, elves, insect people...

A handful of examples:


SALTWATER SPRING

Trolls of the monstrous Trollpaw tribe appear on the western shore, fighting together to control a spring of seawater.
This spring has been known to grow more dangerous by nightfall. The spirits wander the area looking to drink, and cause problems for others in the night. It's a curse from a deity who made this particular spring; at night it contains powerful acid which breaks down barriers to spirits.


CAVERN OF THE KUPO

The hex is inhabited by a race of reptilian humanoid insects known as the Kupo.
The Kupo have very sharp wings and no tail, though they do have a very sharp sparrow-like mandibles. Their eyes are black, and they resemble a bird's, and are shaped like what looks like a long tail. They are usually accompanied by drooling, wingless monkeys.
They live in a vast underground cavern that reaches beneath the ocean. The Kupo are generally quite peaceful, but their presence causes alarm to the other races of the underground. The Kupo sometimes use traps to capture monsters and eat creatures found in their tunnels. They eat the most interesting things, including humans.
The Kupo are very fast, able to fly long distances without the use of their arms.


DROMUND KAAS ENCLAVE

A small, ancient, magical enclave of Dwarves and Elves sits in a small circular cove called Dromund Kaas. Some of their numbers are fugitives from King Kommr. King Kommr was feared because of a smallpox epidemic that had plagued his country, and Kommr's sons were blamed for it because they carried the plague with them.
The inhabitants of Dromund Kaas are known to lurk around the island with their strange magic, and when they can, they travel through the mountains and into the interior of the island in search of treasure.
The place is guarded by an old-style swordswoman named Aelian with a mysterious curse: she was killed by a magical dagger sheathed in her heart, but she is very much alive. To kill her, one must use this enchanted dagger.


GORE-CAVE OF THE HALF-GOAT

The ruins of a small town, whose inhabitants were all murdered at birth.
The current resident of the ruins is a monstrous, grotesque half-goat. The half-goat lives in secret in a small, enchanted cave made of stone. It feeds only on living humans and has been so for centuries.
The half-goat has a human face that hides itself from its eyes but is able to see through humans and their clothing. Its hair is black-like blue, and it is able to grow new parts of its body every so often.

1. FROZEN PITS The first chamber is located on the northern side of the cave, just beyond the entrance. Inside the cave are six gigantic pits. Here in the first pit, a human corpse lay frozen for months, until its bones became stuck to a frozen ice block. It was left to decay there for so long, it was nearly entirely gone as of the last time it was dug up.
The corpse is inhabited by a bloated redhead humanoid, who we don't know if it is human, or if it is a creature of the dark. It looks vaguely human in that form, but this thing has no eyes or ears. And it's talking. When it's talking, it's speaking in a different tone. The creature gives this weird, creepy hum. It's almost human-in-a-possible-other-form thing, but it's a lot tougher. Its mouth is wide open, almost a mouth-like gape. The creature attacks with one or both of the following attacks: A slow, stabbing growl from the top of its head or a piercing, piercing growl from the bottom of its head. It wants nothing more than to see its own reflection in the water and then see if they can trust it.

2. TREASURE CHAMBER The second cavern is also located on the northern side of the cave. This is the oldest cavern in the entire Half-goat's world. This is also where a young Ogre was killed, although he died from his injuries, rather than from frostbite.
The half-goat’s treasure is hidden in the second cavern:
a. A stone ball filled with dark energy which causes everybody to bleed profusely, a crystal tablet contains blood plasma to control the body's natural defences (from heat, cold/therapeutic radiation and blood pressure) and the ability to stop a virus from spreading if implanted into a body;
b. a book of magical lore about a pair of wizards, each of which has developed a certain form of mind magic and which will also have a particular ability in the area of a given time period, and will also know how to summon spirits and other magical beings that work in those areas. The book ends with an interview with the two wizards.
c. a wand of invisibility and a scroll of silence.

3. REGENERATION PITS The third chamber on the other side is a narrow corridor that must be crawled through, with one wall blocked off. In the third chamber there are nine gigantic pits, filled with ichor which is dried out, ready to receive water. The half-goat submerges itself into these pits to regenerate.



2019. július 12., péntek

[Monster] A Hybrid Beast of Ynn

Long time, no post... So here's a random monster, straight from the Gardens of Ynn! With a little illustration.

The Hybrid Hydra


Base shape: Horse
Head: Hyena (extra bite attack, +4 d8)
Additional features: Two extra heads (Duck, Stag (extra antler attack, +4 d6))

HD 4, HP 24, Armour as leather, 3 attacks: claw / bite / antler (d6/d8/d6), saves as Fighter 4.





2019. június 19., szerda

[Actual Play / Solo] Return to the Tunnels of Melcha the Ghastly [Carcosa / LotFP]

For the second foray, I repopulated the dungeon using the Wandering Monsters table (rolled 1d6 for each room previously explored; on a 1 rolled on the Wandering Monster table to see what abomination moved in during the week).

I added henchmen and retainers to the crew, random generation courtesy of Meatshields! - http://www.barrowmaze.com/meatshields!

The Henchpeople
The Veterans



Last time, our heroes bravely retreated from the Tunnels of Melcha the Ghastly. Their survival was only possible because their carnivorous ape foes were scared away or engaged by an even scarier monster, a telepathic shoggothoid, the Otyugh.

Next week, after some healing and rest, they recruited a rag-tag group of 5 Men-at-Arms, a Cleric (who ran away with a circus), and a stuttering Torch-Bearer who hates orcs. And back to the cave they went!

Entering the first cavern, they realized that other creatures have found the place while they were gone. About 40 feet from the entrance, two blobby, but vaguely human creatures were digging through the debris on the floor. The demonic duo was alerted by the approach of the adventurers – now a 12-strong army. The monsters hesitated for a second, then, against all odds, swung into action and bumbled towards the adventurers!

Derix, one of the Men-at-Arms, discharged his crossbow at one of the monsters, but missed – looks like the wineskin he was swigging added to his courage, but not to his aiming skills! The rest of the group (except Colgos the Torch-Bearer, who only hated Orcs, but these were not Orcs, so he decided to stay out of the fight) charged the blobby things with assorted weaponry. Of the army of Henchpeople, only Meretta managed to land a proper hit with her mace. The veteran adventurers were not much better, although Naki Green gave a good pummeling to the same devil with his staff.

But the creature’s goopy flesh started reconstituting itself before their very eyes!!

The monsters' counterattacks were slow, but unstoppable, and Meretta and Naki suffered some injuries.

Despite witnessing the uncanny healing ability of the monsters, the Men&Women-at-Arms stood their ground, and piled upon the creature that was already hurt. After all, if they cause enough damage, then maybe it won’t have the time to restore itself? Right? Right?..
Well, the combined assault of the veteran adventurers and the henchmen was enough to reduce one of the devils to a quivering mass of flesh on the ground!

“Look, it’s coming back together,” cried out Waylon, the chivalrious youth – only to be silenced forever by the hit of the second monster

And indeed, the first monster’s body was slowly reconstituting itself

Colgos the Torch-Bearer lit a torch, and proceeded to burn the flesh – but the uncanny demonic body didn’t catch fire!

In the meantime, the others tried to dogpile on the active monster: all four veteran adventurers managed to land solid blows, and so did two of their junior companions. This was just enough to put down the second monster as well For the time as its chunks of flesh started healing straight away.

Panicking, the adventurers started mangling the bodies and piling debris and rocks on them to slow down the seemingly inevitable process of regeneration...

Then they quickly moved on into the next cavernous room. It was, once again, void of creatures or treasure – however, this time the group was more attentive to the decorations, and discovered that one of the walls had an interesting mural. It depicted, strangely, more cavernous rooms, a few of which resembled the very spaces they’ve just visited.

Aleph touched one of the paintings in disbelief – and instantly disappeared!!

She found herself back in the entrance area, right next to the slowly regenerating monsters. Her companions were greatly surprised when she soon rejoined them, running out from behind their backs

They decided not to linger (the threat of the monsters coming back to life growing stronger with every second), and moved over to the neighbouring room, the abode of the carnivorous apes. The apes were absent – likely massacred and devoured by the Otyugh.

However, coiled around the apes’ idol, there was now a giant snake, seemingly asleep

The group didn’t want to fight this creature, but they also knew that under the idol there was a stash of the apes’ treasure


As slowly and silently as possible, the adventurers approached the monstrosity, and started hooking ropes around it. But as soon as the second rope touched its body, the snake stirred, hissed, and started rapidly uncoiling! Holding on to the already attached ropes, the adventurers tried to pull it back on the ground, but even their combined strengths was not enough to subdue the constrictor.

The tried-and-true tactic of piling on the enemy was employed once more. No battlecry was uttered out of fear of raising the Otyugh again But there was plenty of pummeling and slashing, and the constrictor suffered plenty of damage.

In such closed confines, however, the group had little chance of avoiding the snake’s body and not one, but TWO henchmen – Derix and Hemwyn – were trapped by the gigantic coils. Their spines snapped instantly.

Colgos the Torch-Bearer fled instantly, but Narloc, Meretta and Frela continued the fight. Of their numbers, Meretta and Frela proved successful (perhaps driven by righteous rage?), as both hit the snake. The creature was finally finished off by a killing blow, delivered by Naki Green!

The snake hissed one last time and collapsed. The adventurers glanced around in fear --- but nor the Otyugh, nor the goopy devils were in sight.

Finally, they were able to check what was hidden under the idol And found a small, but rather pleasant heap of treasure: lots of ancient coins, a tiara made of a silverish metal, and an expensive jade necklace. The veteran adventurers appraised the hoard to be worth around 7000 silver pieces!

To be continued?

Losses:
Waylon, killed by Lemure
Derix and Hemwyn, spine snapped by Constrictor Snake

Gains:
7000sp worth of treasure

2019. június 15., szombat

[Actual Play / Solo] The Tunnels of Melcha the Ghastly [Carcosa / LotFP]

I generated a random dungeon using the ever-useful donjon - a Level 7 cave, filled with Aberrations. Unfortunately, I forgot to copy the random seed! But I have the dungeon as a .html file. I rolled up four Carcosa characters - obviously, with the Total Party Kill generator by Ramanan Sivaranjan. As I was using a dangerous dungeon, I advanced each character to level 5. Then I basically just started running them through the dungeon, checking for random encounters every turn, and looking at the room keys only when they entered a new cavern. I wrote up an account of the (mis)adventures. In some places, I supplemented the description with random ideas generated by Talk to Transformer.

The Tunnels of Melcha the Ghastly, generated by donjon


The Party:
Sa-Sa-Sa Red, Fighting-Man 5
Blue Aleph, Fighting-Woman 5
Nergama Brown, Fighting-Man 5
Naki Green, Fighting-Man 5

The small group of fighting people – all of them veterans of the grave robbin’ and cavern crawlin’ trade – entered the Tunnels of Melcha the Ghastly, looking for what might be left of the famed treasures of that evil overlord of the past. Sa-Sa-Sa took lead, because it was his map (drawn on human skin!) that pointed the party towards this ancient place.

To their surprise, they found the cave weirdly illuminated by a bright light, no doubt of sorcereous origin. Every 40 feet, a strange glowing bulb was inserted into the wall. The adventurers put away their torches, and entered the dungeon.

The short entrance passage led to a cavern with many signs of past use and destruction: Spirals of gray stones covered the floor, and several headless statues were scattered throughout the room. The warriors quickly searched through the rubble. The statues were all painted black, and each represented a unique figure. The most famous stood at the center of the room – a tall, thin man. He was dressed completely in black, with three pairs of gray legs encased around his torso.

Sa-Sa-Sa led the adventurers into the side-passage to the east. The adventurers recoiled from the vile rotting odor filling the cavern… However, they discovered several bent copper coins scattered throughout the place. They gathered them (although they didn’t seem particularly valuable), and proceeded deeper into the caves through the main passage.

The next cavern had several smaller niches and passages breaking off from it, and the group quickly searched around. The place turned out to be disappointingly empty – but luckily, also devoid of any monsters.
Luck ran out by the time they got to the next cavern. floor was covered in square tiles, alternating white and black. There was an idol in the south-east corner of the room. It depicted a tall man, with a long, pale head, holding in his hand two tiny hands with three fingers each and a long, pale nose that was curved on the sides.

Three gigantic apes were kneeling before this altar, murmuring. However, their keen senses alerted them of the presence of the adventurers, and almost instantly they turned, maws agape, saliva dripping from their fangs.
The apes attacked, but the adventurers were ready to receive them. Nergama threw his grappling hook across the room to create a tripwire or distraction to slow the simian charge – and one ape tripped over it! The second ape got stung by Naki Green’s whip – this caused more annoyance than pain. Aleph took a wide swing with her scythe, but missed the third ape by a margin. Sa-Sa-Sa also missed.

The tripped ape roared and got to its feet, while the other two started clawing and biting the adventurers. Naki Green avoided most attacks, but Aleph wasn’t so lucky: the carnivorous ape grabbed her with both its arms, and rend her flesh! But Aleph, despite being the weakest member of the party, survived this attack.

Sa-Sa-Sa ran to Aleph’s help, and delivered a MASSIVE critical blow to the ape. It let go of Aleph, but stayed very much alive… Aleph retreated behind one of the stone pillars, blood gushing from her wounds. She sprinkled the jellifying substance on the injuries, turning the blood into a gel and staunching is flow!

Naki Green whipped the ape one more time, but the creature didn’t even feel it. Nergama pulled back the grappling hook, swung it around his head like a lasso, and threw it at the third ape – but missed. Things weren’t looking too flowery.

The apes attacked again. One chomped off Sa-Sa-Sa’s left hand and left some nasty deep claw marks on his body. The other charged Naki Green and went for his neck right away, causing some serious wounds. The third ape finally closed the distance and grabbed Nergama with its vicious claws, grappling and rending him! At least its fangs didn’t make contact.

The sounds of battle roused something in the caves…

The combatants were first hit by the stench of offal and dung… Then noticed a shambling, monstrous form emerging from the depths of the cave. A bloated body, towering on three legs, with a mess of tentacles and thorn-like bulges!

Weird echoes resounded in everybody’s heads: “Who dares disturb my sleep?!” The foul creature was projecting its thoughts into their very minds!

The apes roared and for a second stopped pummeling the adventurers. Then they considered their options – and two of the apes suddenly jumped and started climbing up the stone pillars towards the ceiling. Only the biggest and burliest ape, perhaps the alpha male, held its ground…

The adventurers weren’t too keen on encountering this aberration either. “Otyugh!” Sa-Sa-Sa whispered, as that was the name given to such creatures in his home village. “I will drink your marrow, I will devour your flesh,” the voice in his head whispered.

The big ape roared and charged the shambling Otyugh.

The fighting men of Carcosa used this opportunity to retreat back towards the cavern’s entrance… As they moved out, they caught a glimpse of something metallic gleaming under the idol the apes worship – but it was too dangerous to go for it just now…



2019. június 1., szombat

1d10 weird books

  1. When this book is open, everybody in a 20' radius is compelled to close their eyes. Save against Magic to resist.
  2. This book can only be comprehended if put under the pillow and slept on. It takes 1d6 nights of sleep to "read" it from cover-to-cover.
  3. Nasty papercuts! Save against Poison to avoid book mold infection. The infection leads to rapid decline of eyesight over 1d4 weeks.
  4. The middle of the book is cut out to make place for a hip flask. The flask contains a random liquid, roll 1d6: 1-3 - high quality liquor; 4-5 - green tea with black pepper, ginger, vanilla and cloves; 6 - cinnamon-flavored reading potion (effect as Comprehend Languages, but only for written texts, duration: 3 Turns).
  5. The book's contents are of no interest. The actual information is the wisdom of the unborn lamb whose skin was used to make the parchment. Speak with Dead and other necromantic methods establish contact.
  6. A real page-turner! After looking at any page, the reader must save against Paralyze or be unable to stop reading for 1d6 hours. Repeat save every hour to snap out of it.
  7. This book comes alive when nobody's looking and devours other books in its vicinity.
  8. A family of albino mice with glowing eyes made this heavy tome their home. Their youngest can be trained to attack Magic-Users' spellbooks.
  9. The pages regenerate if torn. Damaged text regenerates in a garbled form. There is a cumulative 5% chance for every regenerated tear that the new text now spells out a weird but valuable insight.
  10. A tome of anti-knowledge! When read, the content of this book is erased from the reader's mind. If the reader knew something about the topic of the book, they forget it. If they didn't know, from now on they are unable to learn about it. A save against Magic is permitted.




Reading is dangerous! Watch TV instead.


[Monster] Creature from the Lower Planes

I like random monster generators, so today I'm trying a classic: the "Random generation of creatures from the Lower Planes" appendix that appears in the Dungeon Masters Guide. This two-page collection of tables is good for the generation of hybrid hellspawns of a Boschian quality. The results are monstrous, challenging, dangerous foes possibly with several attacks per round...

Behold...

The Essence Abductor 


Frequency: Uncommon
No. appearing: 1
Armor class: 0 (20)
Move: 6"
HD: 7
% in lair: N/A
Treasure type: N/A
No. of attacks: 1 mouth (2d4, only against a grappled target), 2 pincered hands (1d6+2), 1 grappling attack, with 4 extremely effective tentacle arms
Magic resistance: 35%
Intelligence: low
Alignment: Chaotic
Size: Large
Special attack/ability: Gate
Special defense: metal immunity
Strength: 18
To-hit: +1
Damage: +2


The Essence Abductor tears open space-time with its pincers (special ability: Gate), allowing it to appear unannounced in the worst possible moment.
The demon uses its tentacles to grapple the tastiest foe, then attaches its sucker-like mouth to drain the creature's essence.


Appearance:
Head: snake-like
Head adornment: ruff
Overall visage: wrinkled - seamed
Ears: trumpet-like
Eye color: metallic
Eyes: 2 small, multi-faceted eyes
Nose: tiny
Mouth: average, sucker-like
Body: quadrupedal et al.
Torso: bison-like
Body odor: sweaty
Skin: slimy
Predominant color: yellowish - tannish
Back: maned
Arms: 6 (2 human-like with pincered hands, 4 tentacles)
Legs and feet: suctioned


(lousy art by me)

This is a "slow" generator if you roll on every table, but the DM is encouraged to amend as needed. It's perfectly enough to, for example, just roll a body type, a head type, and HD on the fly.

You can also check out My Terrible Sorcery's post on this topic, a great run-down of a couple of random monster generators!



2019. május 11., szombat

[Adventure] The Tomb of the Daughter

A new activity popped up on the OSR discord channel: people use the Talk to Transformer neural network to generate RPG-related texts.
Edit: and here's some of the stuff from the blogosphere that started it off: Coins and Scrolls; Throne of Salt.

I made an adventure.

99% of the text was written by the neural network. I curated, compiled, interpreted and edited it, and drew a dungeon map. It is a weird, surreal dungeon... but, surprisingly, playable!

Have fun!