Friday, October 29, 2021

Three science fantasy locations for weird sandbox settings

Three locations for science fantasy hexcrawls/sandboxes. These are based on output from the generator I put together in Inspiration Pad Pro. I just took the results and fleshed them out a bit, to make more sense. This whole thing took about 15 minutes (and the many hours poured into creating the generator ahahahahah). I will include the original output of the generator below in the comments so you can compare.


Village, population 150

Ruled by a noble family, the Turquoise Clan

The village used to be surrounded by a stone wall, which is now in ruins. The only part left standing is an archway above the main road, but it isn’t maintained either: the locals think it is a dread memento of an ancient horror, walk around it (never under it), and soil it with garbage and obscene graffiti.


  • The Atomic Abode of the Electronic Red Dragon, a lively tavern surrounded by standing stones


  • The village is plagued by swarms of robotic mosquito – actually blood-collecting nanobots emerging from an ancient laboratory buried under the nearby swamps
  • Nefertiry of the Turquoise Clan (a very religious person) is telling everybody that Orges, her identical twin brother, disappeared – actually she killed him because she was afraid that he might replace her completely



Town, population 700

Ruled by council of elders

A heavily fortified settlement, with four prism towers that can fire deadly lasers at each corner. The streets are patrolled by the local militia, the Corcyra Rangers. Despite the dry ground, most buildings are on stilts, so that the inhabitants can pull up the ladders at night for extra protection.


  • Smithy. An ancient laboratory that was repurposed as a workshop. Mostly produces regular tools and weaponry, but for the right price the blacksmith (Lightning Ape is his name) offers equipment made out of the weird alloys that remain in the laboratory’s repository
  • Corcyra Rangers’ Station. A seedy-looking building, stinks like a gym, this is where the local militia hangs out and trains new recruits.
  • Church of the Giggling Goddess. This temple is almost in ruins now, as the worship of this deity is discouraged by the council & militia. A single priestess (Thelma) struggles to keep the church in shape.
  • Fane of the Awful Goddess. This temple is favored by the council members. “Yes, the Awful Goddess is Awful, but only an Awful power can protect us in these troubling times!”


  • Trechus the sell-sword wants to burglarize the rich rat-catcher’s mansion (Oeobazus the rat-catcher is a council member and has monopoly on vermin control).
  • It is rumored that there is a sealed-off dungeon under the Fane of the Awful Goddess, where the essence of the deity resides – the rumor is true, but the Awful clergy tries to suppress it.




City, population 2250

Governed by Gotarzes, Bastard of Uhhaziti, a prominent & paranoid merchant

Clouds of fumes emerging from rotating chimneys hang ominously above the city. The main industry is a bunch of chemical factories, most owned by Gotarzes or his associates. Many of the locals are poor and suffer from the poisonous fumes emerging from the factories. The city feels crowded and is full of seedy establishments and dark back alleys.


  • Temple of the Blazing Cape. A radiant piece of cloth, which belonged to the mythical founder of the city, is venerated here. Worshippers who spend many nights kneeling before it attain a phosphorescent glow (they are known as the Brotherhood of the Blazing Cape).
  • The Hexman Sisters’ Mortuary is the best place to get a proper burial; and ask about their family discounts!
  • City Library. And old establishment, with stacks as dark, labyrinthine and smelly as the city’s back alleys.
  • Sleaze & Heal Music Hall. A popular establishment with live music and deadly drinks.



  • The most popular person in the city is Paris, the hairy wrestler, undefeated champion. Many would love to see him leading the city in Gotarzes’ stead…
  • Ex-crime lord nicknamed the Pro-Consul is hiring assassins to kill Gotarzes. Pro-Consul used to be an important man, but the current mayor’s machinations led to his downfall and the gang war left him shell-shocked.
  • The Brotherhood of the Blazing Cape want to embark on a sacred mission to a ruined castle. They think the soul of the city founder is imprisoned there.
  • Some say there are valuable books hidden between all the trash in the City Library.

Art by Rich Longmore

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Reading the Mazes & Minotaurs Creature Compendium: "C"

Form a shield wall and approach the third letter of the Compendium: "C"!



We open with a couple of chaotic "C" monsters. The Cacodemon (basically a catch-all term for malevolent spirits) is a poltergeist, immaterial and with a bunch of psychic powers. It's an interesting enemy, because it awards relatively few Glory Points (experience points for Warrior types) but a BIG BUNCH of Wisdom Points, so Sorcerous types can benefit greatly from defeating this arcane menace.

Capricorn Horror


Flesh-devouring chaotic horror... Good for the depths of the underworld, but not very Greek- or mythical flavored.



Ancient psychic turtlefolk. Wise and benevolent. What makes them interesting is their role in the default setting: their once prosperous civilization was destroyed by the Serpent Folk, so they are sworn enemies. Mazes & Minotaurs, as I've mentioned before, places a strong emphasis on such factions.

Carnivorous Cloud


I'm not too keen on this one, but I like the added detail that it is a fungoid creature! Only usable for aerial adventures. For those, I guess, it's a good choice. Gives me an interesting idea though: maybe a region suffers from dangerous spore rains, so the adventurers have to get airborne and defeat the clouds?..

Friday, October 1, 2021

The Amazing Inspirational Animal List (a cheap trick, detailed)

One of my refereeing "tricks" is to use a list of animals as an all-purpose inspirational source. I have a couple of such lists (e.g. the hybrid beast generator from The Gardens of Ynn, or the DMG) and alternate between them. But here's a consolidated d30 list. I think it has a good range, covers different types of creatures with a range of possible connotations, symbolism, powers, features, appearances, habitats...

  1. Ant
  2. Ape
  3. Bat
  4. Bear
  5. Buffalo
  6. Chameleon
  7. Crocodile
  8. Deer
  9. Eagle
  10. Eel
  11. Elephant
  12. Frog
  13. Gecko
  14. Goat
  15. Horse
  16. Jellyfish
  17. Lion
  18. Octopus
  19. Owl
  20. Peacock
  21. Porcupine
  22. Rat
  23. Salmon
  24. Scarab Beetle
  25. Shark
  26. Snake
  27. Spider
  28. Toad
  29. Vulture
  30. Wolf
And some examples, some more obvious/on-the-surface, some based on primary or secondary free associations:
  • NPC quirk: relies heavily on body language (Ape), always in motion (Shark), sniffs and snorts (Porcupine)
  • NPC behavior: controls a lot of pawns (Octopus), lounges while others do the hard lifting (Lion), creates very symmetrical art (Spider)
  • Monster power add-on: scaly armor (Crocodile), see in the dark (Owl), camouflage (Chameleon), hive mind (Ant), long jump (Frog)
  • Hybrid beast: a flying monster that creates cloud-like webs (Eagle + Spider), giant ape with paralyzing tentacles (Ape + Jellyfish), nocturnal toad with big creepy eyes (Owl + Frog)
  • Object: ivory comb (Elephant), bat-shaped belt buckle (Bat), soft transparent acid sack that explodes on impact (Jellyfish), shaggy hat (Buffalo), net coated with poison (Spider), chitinous helmet (Ant), coat-of-arms: three stylized golden horns on a green field (Goat)
  • Spell ingredient: giant spider eggs (Spider), last breath of a wolf (Wolf), peacock feathers, one of each pattern (Peacock), blood of a person gorged by deer antlers (Deer)
  • Location: Quill Canyon (Porcupine), The Webbed Forest (Spider), Bat Hill (Bat), Rainbow Bridge (Peacock), Twisting River (Snake), Eagle Creek (Eagle), Brass Tower (Scarab Beetle), Phantrin (Elephant), Shimmering Sewers (Rat + Peacock)

Die drop table!