Saturday, December 19, 2020

[Mazes & Minotaurs Actual Play] Colonists & Chimeras! Session #6

Previous installments: Session #1, Session #2, Session #3, Session #4, Session #5

Meteora the Amazon
Ellipsis the Hunter
Porphyra the Lyrist
and Buff the Warrior henchman

This recent session was another short one, this one because me, the Maze Master, had a lot of work stuff, and couldn't commit to a full 3-hour session. Still, we thought it would be better to play at least an hour or so, especially now that the group could be present in full force!

Meteora, Ellipsis and Buff spent the night camping near the big river. Meteora heard a noise during her watch, and when she checked it out, she saw a body lying under the bushes! Of course, it turned out to be no-one else, but Porphyra the Lyrist, back from her bender with the Magic Stag! She couldn't remember much, or even how she got to the river from the valley of the Stag, but was happy to see her companions again.

She also found a small whistle hanging around her neck, which she supposed might be the whistle to call the Stag in case she wants its help.

Ellipsis and Meteora told Porphyra about the events of recent days, and what things they'd learned about the land.

Luckily, they didn't attract any unwanted attention / random encounters during the night, and in the morning they headed south. They thought that that way might lead them through a forest (which is not the creepy enchanted forest of the Golden Tribe), and towards their village.

In the forest, they saw a big brown bear, but the bear was busy eating something, so they avoided it.

And after a long track, they exited the forest next to the little grain field near the village!

Sunday, December 13, 2020

[Mazes & Minotaurs Actual Play] Colonists & Chimeras! Session #5

Previous installments: Session #1, Session #2, Session #3, Session #4

Meteora the Amazon
Ellipsis the Hunter
and Buff, the Warrior henchman

This was a relatively short session, as Porphyra the Lyrist's player was still sick, and we didn't want to go ahead much without her.

So, after the character group had been escorted out of the palace/nest of the Feathered Queen, they hiked down the hill. Luckily, they didn't encounter any vulture patrols or other monsters. They went back to the valley of the Magic Stag, but couldn't find neither them nor Porphyra.

Their plan was to go and circle west/north-west around the Feathered Queen's mountain, without going into the enchanted forest, because they saw a river to the north of the mountain, and thought that it might be the very river that flows by their settlement. 

However, first they had to get there. The group's mobility was partially hindered, because they were carrying the corpse of the dead warrior Guff (on one of the donkeys).

Even with all the caution, their path lay dangerously close to the edge of the enchanted forest. And soon, indeed, danger struck, as a herd of wild boars charged out at them. Ellipsis the Hunter alerted the others, and they looked for a quick way to escape, and tried to climb up some nearby rocks. Buff made it up quickly, but Ellipsis and Meteora failed to scale the rocks under pressure, and had to receive the charging boars!

During the combat, Ellipsis noticed that the boars all had golden ear- and nose rings! Quite unusual for wild animals... But also, this wasn't your normal wilderness either, but the ancestral territory of the Golden Tribe. The player characters hypothesized that the boars might be actual members of the tribe, polymorphed into boars by the Mother Superior, the stern witch leader of the lake nymphs.

After a quick and gory melee, the group managed to kill or rout the boars. Ellipsis fancied the thought of dragging a boar carcass into the forest and bleeding it there (in a previous session, the soil of the enchanted forest drank up all blood eagerly), but abandoned the idea and the group moved forth.

Nightfall caught them still out in the open, so they set up camp under an overhanging rock. Despite the rain, they managed to get a fire going, and rested for the night. 

Friday, December 4, 2020

[Mazes & Minotaurs Actual Play] Colonists & Chimeras! Session #4

This week we returned to ancient times for another session of our Mazes & Minotaurs campaign!

Previous installments: Session #1, Session #2, Session #3

We picked up where we left off, in the mystic grove of the shapechanging stag, with two players present:

Meteora, the Amazon

Ellipsis, the Hunter

and two NPC warriors, Buff & Guff

Porphyra the Lyrist's player couldn't make it, so we rules that Porphyra stayed behind to entertain the stag this session.

We started off with some carousing and conversation. The magic stag was quite talkative, and shared a lot of information about the locale. It also shared some magic mushrooms with the humans, although it warned them about side effects... Meteora ate one, and gained the power of regeneration - although for each wound regenerated she would gain an animal feature or other cosmetic mutation, leading to her slow transition into an unrecognizable woman-beast! Ellipsis also partook in the mushroom party, and his shadow detached and became his henchman!

Through conversations, the players learned that the Stag and the Mother Superior (stern overseer of the lake nymphs) were actually siblings! They were both hatched from eggs of their mother, a magnificent bird, called the Feathered Queen. The Stag also disclosed that it wasn't on speaking terms with the Queen. However, it was worried that something had happened to the Feathered Queen, because she hasn't been seen flying around for some time.

The party also learned a lot about the history of the land: like the tribe of the Golden Warrior, the Warrior's conflict with the witch, Mother Superior, and other tidbits.

Leaving Porphyra behind, Meteora, Ellipsis, and the two warriors set out towards the mountain peak to the north, the abode of the Feathered Queen.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Automatic stronghold generation! [OD&D / Delving Deeper]


Let's bring together all my favorite things: random tables, automated through Inspiration Pad Pro, OD&D-style strongholds, and ancient history turned fantasy!

I put together a generator file for Strongholds:

Download the .ipt file*

* To run the generator, you need Inspiration Pad Pro 3.0 installed, then you have to copy the generator file (.ipt) into the folder with all the other generators. The software is free for Windows, but not free as a mobile app.
use the online generator at perchance, created by ktrey/d4 Caltrops!

It's based upon:

  1. The wilderness and treasure sections of Delving Deeper form the foundation (DD is one of the best OD&D clones out there!).
  2. For the NPCs, I added the wonderful d4 Caltrops Vocations, Mannerisms & Pecularities!
  3. For names, I loaded thousands of ancient Greek, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Hittite names, sources from Kate Monk's Onomastikon.
  4. And fleshed it out with some of my own work.
  5. Also, for inspiration, read the collected "Implied OD&D setting" posts!
The file generates a hextype, a short stronghold history, details about the current resident and garrison, and also a magic artifact or item that can be found at the fortress. Named magic swords included!

A couple of examples:

· Plains hex
· The Stronghold is a centuries old fastness at a bridge. It was won at a game of chance by the current resident. Its condition is weak.
· The resident is Eurykratides the Barbarian, a level 10 Chaotic Magic-User (signature spell: Phantasm), Judgmental and Paranoid; with an entourage of Gargoyles. Attended by 2 Apprentices (level 3-6 Magic-Users).
· The resident's coat of arms is a Purple Flower against Black field.
· A force of 130 Berserkers is garrisoned in the Stronghold.
· No Specialist hireling is in the resident's personal employ.
· Some NPCs: Pushu-ken (Fastidious Caulker), Satyros (Egotistical Shrine Attendant) and Luga the Gray (Honest Furniture Maker).
· An artifact is hidden in the zoo: a Map leading to a magic item: a magic sword:

Teeth of Leontiades the Mad
Lawful Sword +2, Ego: 5 (+1 for each language or power), Intelligence: 5 (Unintelligent)
If both Intelligence and Ego are equal to or over 9, the sword's Purpose is to Slay fighters


· Mountains hex
· The Stronghold is a pre-human fort inside a volcano. It was created by the current resident. Its condition is serviceable.
· The resident is Duchess Oarizus, a level 11 Anti-Cleric (signature spell: Insect Plague), Impolite and Giggling; with an entourage of Vampires.
· The resident's coat of arms is a Black Gorgon against Silver field.
· A force of 100 Orcs is garrisoned in the Stronghold.
· No Specialist hireling is in the resident's personal employ.
· Some NPCs: Ahu-shina (Earnest Hawker), Maiandrios (Irrational Guardsman) and Pinotmou the Equine (Observant Jailor).
· An artifact is hidden in the bedchamber: Plate armor & shield +2.


Sunday, November 22, 2020

How much D&D can one find in Appendix N?

Obviously, there are a lot of motifs from Appendix N literature in D&D. But how much D&D is there in Appendix N literature? Myriad traces of myriad pulp fantasy/horror/sci-fi works have made their way into the DNA of D&D; but at the same time not many texts feel completely like a D&D session. Which is logical, of course: what works as a game session is not necessarily enjoyable literature. But as an exercise, I thought it would be fun to set up a scale of just how “D&D-like” is a particular text. This is not a score about the literary merits or whatever of the works. It is correspondence to the specific and somewhat arbitrary idea of a D&D session, formulated as:

“A group of adventurers tracks through a wilderness, descends into a dungeon, explores a place of weirdness and wonder, tries to overcome obstacles and monstrous enemies through cunning, martial prowess and magic, retrieves treasure.”

I broke down this description into 10 categories, took three short stories I like, and scored them:


“The Weaver in the Vault” by Clark Ashton Smith (1934)

“The Jewels of Bas” by Leigh Brackett (1944)

“Straggler from Atlantis” by Manly Wade Wellman (1977)

Group of adventurers












Weirdness & Wonder
















Martial prowess












Final score





“The Weaver in the Vault” by Clark Ashton Smith stars “three of the king’s hardiest henchmen” on a quest to retrieve a mummy from the ruins of a royal tomb. If this isn’t a D&D setup, then what is? The wilderness track is cool, my favorite part is when they rest at the “wayside shrine of Yucla, the small and grotesque god of laughter”. Also, spoiler: it ends in a TPK (they should have thought about party balance! Three fighting-men…). [read it online!]

“The Jewel of Bas” by Leigh Brackett starts out with just two “adventurers” (a bard and a thief!), but along the way they pick up a rag-tag team of outcasts (like an insane hermit and a hunter). The monster section is great: there are low-level mooks (the Kalds), Big Bads (the androids), and even a high-powered NPC. The wilderness is mostly a scenery, not really interacted with. The dungeon is very cool, and there’s lots of weirdness, much of it rather dangerous. [read it online!]

“Straggler from Atlantis” by Manly Wade Wellman has a single main protagonist, which is, of course, not very D&D-like. And he faces the monster without bringing henchmen or torchbearers, the fool! Still, the story (which has a great Odyssey feel) has a small cave dungeon, an interesting monster (alien ooze!), nice NPCs, and a capable cunning warrior. [buy digital/print]

Friday, November 20, 2020

[Mazes & Minotaurs Actual Play] Colonies & Chimeras! Session #3

This week's session took the party deep into the mythical forests of the unknown land!

Previous recaps: Session #1, Session #2

The party showed up in full force:

Meteora, the Amazon

Porphyra, the Lyrist

Ellipsis, the Hunter

and the NPC warriors, who even got names: Guff and Buff

As Meteora missed last session, I had her roll on the chart and weaved the result into the game. Turns out, last day Meteora got lost in the enchanted forest, and found a lake. She met a beautiful blue-skinned lady, and they bathed together in the lake's fresh water.

After establishing this, as all players showed up on time, they rolled on the chart of bonuses for reliable players (yes, I'm okay with rewarding meta things...). Ellipsis got darkvision for this session, while Porphyra received an omen. Meteora had her tribe's ancestral weapon (a sword of meteoric iron!) appear in her hand. This magnetic sword whispered to her (after the refreshing bath), that her friends are trapped in the enchanted forest, and led her as a compass to the mound where the other camped for the night.

The party was thus reunited in the tunnels of the mound.

They rested for a night (except Porphyra, who sang quiet lullabies to regain her magical powers).

During Meteora's watch, she heard a scraping sound coming from one of the blocked off side passages. She cautiously approached and asked who was there. A strange voice, or rather - two voices in near-perfect unison answered: "it is me, the Unnamed Child!". Meteora was freaked out and went back to the main chamber... Otherwise, the night passed without trouble.

In the morning, the adventurers decided to properly explore the whole mound.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

d30 ancient Near Eastern treasures

Adapted from the list of wedding gifts that Tushratta, king of Mittani, gave to Amenhotep III, as dowry for princess Tadu-Hepa. From the Amarna letter EA22 (The El-Amarna Correspondence. A New Edition... p. 160-183). Modified as needed...

  1. Whip, overlaid with 5 shekels of gold. A large banded agate is inserted into the pommel. A banded agate seal is strung on it.
  2. Horse adornments, genuine banded agates mounted on gold: 88 stones per string. 44 shekels worth of gold.
  3. Set of bronze torques.
  4. 12 good, sharp arrows.
  5. Iron-bladed dagger; its haft decorated with ebony calf figurines, overlaid with gold; the pommel is of a precious stone. 6 shekels of gold has been used on it.
  6. Longbow, overlaid with 4 shekels of gold.
  7. Iron mace, overlaid with 15 shekels of gold.
  8. Pair of gloves, trimmed with red wool.
  9. Two multicolored shirts.
  10. Horse-shaped bottle, made of iron, with eagles of gold and genuine lapis lazuli as inlays. 300 shekels in weight.
  11. Golden fly whisk (3 shekels in weight), along with its linen cloth.
  12. Hand-bracelet, of iron overlaid with gold, adorned with lapis lazuli bird inlays. 6 shekels of gold has been used on it.
  13. Necklace with 35 genuine lapis lazuli stones, 35  dark red translucent stones, and one genuine banded agate in the center; all mounted on gold with a reddish tinge.
  14. Head-binding, of gold, twisted like a torque. 14 shekels in weight.
  15. Spoon, overlaid with lapis lazuli and dark red stones; its handle – an alabaster female figurine, with lapis lazuli inlays. 6 shekels of gold used on it.
  16. Pair of leather shoes, studded with gold ornaments. Its buttons are of a translucent dark red stone. 13 shekels of gold have been used on them.
  17. Pair of shoes, of blue-purple wool. Ornaments of gold and a genuine lapis lazuli inlay in the center. 4 shekels of gold.
  18. Garment of blue-purple wool, Hurrian-style, for the city.
  19. City shirt, Tukriš style, and a pair of red wool sashes.
  20. Spear of bronze, with a double overlay of gold (10 shekels worth).
  21. Helmet container, of malachite, overlaid with 4 shekels of gold.
  22. Plaque with winged disks and Deluge monsters, of ebony, overlaid with 30 shekels of gold.
  23. Set of salt containers, in the shape of bull-calves and lions, of a dark red stone.
  24. Silver brazier, 66 shekels in weight.
  25. Ebony chest without a lid, adorned with a winged disk and overlaid with 2 shekels of gold and 40 shekels of silver.
  26. Colored loincloth.
  27. Pair of wool leggings.
  28. Stone container, with myrrh-scented oil.
  29. 20 arrows to be shot flaming.
  30. Shield, its middle overlaid with 10 shekels of silver.

Friday, November 13, 2020

[Mazes & Minotaurs Actual Play] Colonies & Chimeras! Session #2

Yesterday we continued the Colonies & Chimeras campaign (read about session #1 here). Meteora, the Amazon couldn't make it (maybe we'll roll on this chart next time), so the party consisted of :

Porphyra, the Lyrist

Ellipsis, the Hunter

and two NPC warriors.

The adventurers carried on with the exploration of the village. They were very cautious, and after carefully investigating every building (and even entering one through the roof instead of the front), they concluded, that, indeed, the village was abandoned. Ellipsis' bet was that a giant vulture had abducted everybody.

But the village was nice and even had a blacksmith's workshop, so they decided it would be a great place to settle - unless it was under constant giant bird or sandworm attacks...

They also found the stables - empty. Ellipsis established, that at least two animals from it have recently ran off into the nearby woods... So they set out to track them down. 

The forest turned out to be on the eerie side, with no birdsong and ear-popping atmospheric pressure changes.

After about 30 minutes, they happened upon the two donkeys! The animals were drinking from a freshwater spring and grazing on the undergrowth. They looked unharmed, although one of them had a burn mark on its shoulder. Luckily, the animals were docile, and felt safer with humans than in the forest, so they slowly followed them.

The group decided to head back to the village. They traversed the dense forest for an hour... and understood that they had somehow strayed from the track, and were lost. The henchmen warriors blamed Porphyra ("we shouldn't have brought this singing witch along!").

Then they noticed an old tree stripped of its bark and branches, fashioned into some sort of a totem pole, with three bands of ornaments about 4, 5 and 6 feet above the ground.

Ellipsis climbed a tree, and tried to get a better read on their location. He recognized some of the landmarks (mountains). Yet, he was still afraid that if they just headed off in the direction of the village, they'd still get lost in this enchanted forest.

Then the wolves appeared. A pack of five, who clearly wanted some donkey meat for dinner...

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

[Mazes & Minotaurs] Languages house rule

My current Mazes & Minotaurs campaign started out with a more-or-less historical ancient world as its setting. Therefore I wanted to include some of the cultural and linguistic background of the ancient world. I ended up dividing up the languages into groups. The grouping is rather broad, but it works in the framework of the game, where the player characters are (mostly) Greek. And I think for a game with this premise it's okay to simplify things and keep the division between "Greeks", "barbarians", and "the East". "Ancient" languages (that is, languages that are "extinct", like Minoan) are not currently accounted for.

This houserule makes languages MATTER, but without bogging down the game with too much extra rules or bookkeeping.

Individual languages aren’t tracked, but there are three language groups and a catch-all skill for reading and writing.

Greek. The default language. All player characters (except Amazons and Barbarians with a negative Wits modifier) are assumed to know Greek.

Oriental. The languages of the cultures of the Near East: Egyptian, Akkadian, Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew, etc. Greeks merchants and sailors learn them by interacting with other nations, mercenaries serve in the armies of Eastern kings, mystics and scholars search for wisdom.

Barbaric. All the languages of the peoples of Europe, Asia Minor and the mountains, steppes and deserts of Asia and Africa. Examples: Scythian, Cimmerian, Thracian, Pelasgian, Macedonian, Phrygian, Lydian, Carian, Lemnian, Etruscan, Celtic, Old Latin, Umbrian, Berberian… and the tongues of sentient wilderness creatures! Greeks learn these languages if they have dealings with neighboring tribes, or come from a mixed Greek-Barbaric family.

Literacy. The Greek world has only recently emerged from the Dark Ages. The Greek alphabet is still under development, but there are of course many writing systems available. To avoid complexity, if a character buys this skill, they are considered literate in all writing systems for the languages they know.

Starting languages:

Characters get a number of “language points” equal to their Wits modifier. For each point, they can buy one group from those available for their class (see table below). For example, a Noble with +2 Wits knows Greek and buys Oriental and Literacy.

Δ = the class starts with this language.

Δ* = the class starts with this language if their Wits modifier is zero or positive.

‡ = the class may buy this language with their language points.


Language availability


















































Leaning new languages:

Characters may learn foreign words, basic sentences, or even a couple of written signs during the game. However, they can only buy a new language group or literacy if their Wits modifier increases through level advancement.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

1d30 things the lost tribe worships (neural-network generated)

  1. The mummified body of an ancestor, submerged in honey.
  2. The golden statue of a deity, lying on the ocean floor.
  3. The sacrificial knife of a god, dipped in the blood of a person.
  4. The bones of an ancestor that were eaten by a snake.
  5. The head of a person, which was carved from its chest by a king.
  6. The head of a serpent carved into a wood, which then became snake heads.
  7. The intestines of an ancestor that were eaten by a lion.
  8. The egg and skull of a person whose ancestors have been buried in the mud and not yet emerged.
  9. The mummy with two hands holding an infant who is worshiped by the lost tribe.
  10. The sacred fruit of a dead god.
  11. An abstract metal altar with four wooden doors.
  12. A sacred river to drain the polluted water of the world, and prevent the evil spirits from destroying mankind.
  13. The gods who rule over the worlds, all of them wearing white garments of stone, or who have their heads covered with golden rings, and are said to be able to make magic.
  14. The city of the underworld, with the entrance to the citadel of a sacred city, to the surface of which is a labyrinth of halls and shrines.
  15. Five different types of rock, with different shapes, and arranged in a tree-shaped array.
  16. A deity of fire who sacrifices himself, with fireflies and snakes.
  17. An ark-like pillar made of ice.
  18. A gaseous corpse-like object, placed at the base of a temple.
  19. A sea-god with nine arms, symbolizing the nine seas of the world.
  20. A deity with a ten-winged animal on its back, symbolizing the ten cardinal directions of the compass.
  21. The hidden sun that has been created from a fiery star that is now being unleashed on the world.
  22. The water god’s horn.
  23. The burial of a king who died within the city of the gods.
  24. An ancient legend which speaks of a man who was born with blue eyes and a purple coat of hair. The god of the lost tribe was believed to be the one who looked like him, hence he must have been the one who made him.
  25. The black stone of the mountain.
  26. A tree with two branches which was cut down by fire.
  27. A fire-drinker.
  28. The earth god's hand, symbolizing the underworld where earthmen dwell.
  29. The sky god's mouth, symbolizing the sky where the stars reside.
  30. The people who have become possessed by the underworld and who have a dream of being reborn, to come to a great city.
Generated by the GPT-2 network over at Only the first entry was written by me, as the main prompt / starting point.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

[Mazes & Minotaurs] Colony generation

This is a set of house rules for generating a small ancient Greek group of colonists. I wrote it for our Mazes & Minotaurs campaign that takes place during the era of Greek colonization. It can be used to quickly generate the small community the adventurers are leading to a new land, like we did at the beginning of our first session.

The colony

The size of the colony depends on the average Personal Charisma of the adventurers: it shows how many people they managed to attract to join the undertaking.

Avg. Personal Charisma




6 or less








9 or more




The colony is made up of 60% men, 40% women, mostly young to middle-aged. There is a small number of children (5%) who can only do light work. All members of the colony can farm, hunt, fish, trap. Most members know a common trade like pottery, tannery, woodworking and can provide everyday materials and tools. The colony also includes a non-adventuring 2nd level Priest of the colony’s patron god.


Highly skilled non-adventuring retainers. They can be used as back-up characters.


Master artisan. Creator of exquisite goods, and capable of organizing a workshop for the production of rare, valuable objects (jewelry, fine wares, painted pottery, carved ivory, sculpture).


Blacksmith. A tradesman skilled in smelting ores and producing high-quality metal tools and weaponry.


Rhapsode. Composes epic poems about the adventurers’ exploits, granting a 5% bonus to experience awards. A zero-level Lyrist with 4 Power points (regenerate over a full week).


Engineer or Architect. Skilled in construction, and perhaps even invention, of complex tools, machines, buildings, the organization of labor.


Symposiarch. The Master of Ceremonies… knows all the rules and nuances of feasting, how to select wine and how to dilute it, what games to play, how to bring people together over drinks. Useful for diplomatic events; also opens up the option of carousing for bonus experience points (and complications).


Herbalist. This specialist can provide non-magical healing to the colonists, and also brew various potions & poisons!


The colony at war

The colony has a number of trained warriors (see table above), who can be taken out to adventures. Losing too many meatshields henchmen will lower the overall morale of the community. As a last resort, up to 70% of the colony can be mobilized to fight (as zero level fighters) – either to defend the settlement, or to achieve an important cause.

More random tables for colony customization after the jump!

Friday, November 6, 2020

[Mazes & Minotaurs Actual Play] Colonies & Chimeras! Session #1

Yesterday I started running a Mazes & Minotaurs campaign. This campaign, called Colonies & Chimeras, takes place in historical Greece, during the 8th century BC, but on the very edge of the world, where myth bleeds into reality. The adventurers lead a small group of Greeks to a new land. While the colonists build their settlement, the adventurers’ task is to explore the surrounding country (in a hexcrawl), scout out and avert possible dangers, defend the community, solve all kinds of problems.

The initial blurb:

“There are unclaimed lands at the edge of the known world. Fertile soil, crystal clean springs, forests full of wild animals and birds, rich veins of ore! It is ours for the taking! We just have to get there faster than the other Greeks of those shifty Phoenicians… Oh, and never you mind the rumors about monsters and mythical beasts… Those are just stories to scare little children.”

 The three players rolled up their 1st level characters:

Meteora, the Amazon

Porphyra, the Lyrist

Ellipsis, the Hunter

Then we quickly generated some basic facts about the settlers: As the adventurers are not a charismatic bunch, the initial number of colonists they had managed to attract to join the undertaking was relatively small: 40 people (including 8 warriors) in one ship, with just one specialist – a Herbalist. The patron deity of the community is Hestia (with a 2nd level priestess), and the settlers brought a beautiful statue of the goddess with themselves, eager to set it up in a temple as soon as possible.

And the game was on! The following text is a write-up of the first session:


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

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:


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


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


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.


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


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.

Friday, October 16, 2020

[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.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

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: