Saturday, April 23, 2022

Random tables for 1970s crime movie RPGs

A couple of d30-based random tables for gritty 1970s crime/cop/vigilante movie RPGs... Generate NPCs, connections between them, Locations, Objects of interest.

Grab all the tables as a double-sided page PDF here.

Or read the tables after the jump-cut:

Friday, April 22, 2022

You are on time! 4 x 1d6 rewards for reliable players [LotFP/OSR]

In our group, we have a tradition of rewarding reliable players with a small in-game bonus. So if you are there for the start of the (online) session, you get to roll on a random table! We love random tables. (Also, if you are late, you roll on a random table to see why your character was not present in the beginning)

I wrote this table for my LotFP games:







A classic! You find a loaded musket.

You find a quickly decaying scroll (lasts only this session) of a random level 1 Magic-User spell.

You find a quickly decaying scroll (lasts only this session) of a random level 1 Cleric spell.

A rope you own is extended by 20’.


You can ignore three fumbles this session.

You find d4 x 100sp worth of manuscripts/books for your research library.

The first time you use cure light wounds or bless this session, it gives the maximum possible points.

The damage of the first attack that hits you is reduced to 1 point (or zero if it would be 1).


You sharpen or oil your main weapon, bump up the damage die by one for this session.

An omen! Roll d20 and record the result. Once during this session, you can substitute any d20 roll anybody (player or Referee) makes with this number.

Once during this session, the Voice in your head warns you about a danger (like a trap or hidden enemy), just in time to retreat or shout to your companions

Once during this session, you can automatically pass a saving throw (declare before rolling).


Once during this session, you can do maximum damage on an attack that hits (after the hit is confirmed).

On miscast, you can take the following result: you grow an extra finger (only once, declare before the Referee rolls the effect).

Your organization sends an intern to you for this session. Treat as a free Linkboy.

Once during this session, you can roll a skill check on a d4 instead of a d6 (declare before rolling).


Once during this session, you can hit any foe automatically (declare before rolling).

You can memorize one extra spell this session.

Your holy symbol glows and emits light as a candle for this session.

Pick a skill, it counts as 1 pip better for the duration of this session.


If you fall unconscious, you return to 1 hp in d4 rounds (only once).

You can temporarily enchant a weapon – it counts as magical for the duration of the session.

Once during this session, you can fall asleep and see a prophetic dream (as augury).

Your main light source increases its radius by 50% for this session. Fuel usage remains unchanged.

* "You find a musket" is a result that is always present on our other Referee's charts, so it has become a running joke in our group.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

d10 popular posts on this blog...

In March, I blogged a record amount: 13 posts! Wow... As a monthly rate, that's second only to the first and most active month of this blog's life, the 15 post marathon of October 2016. 

In October 2016 I was bed-ridden with pneumonia. In March 2022, I think, I blogged to try and take my mind off the worrying state of the world. Yeah. The state of the world, with the ongoing war, if anything, is only getting more brutal.

Anyway, I wanted to take a retrospective look and check my blog statistics.

I've been blogging for 5 years, 5 months, 28 days (including today). Wrote a total of 202 posts (this is #203). Got 330 comments (after cleaning out the spam messages) - thanks, everybody, I really like getting comments on my posts!

And this is the list of the 10 posts with the most number of views. Of course, many of them have been around for some time, although, as far as I could see, there are big peaks in views at publication, and if it's linked somewhere, but usually it's a small, but steady number of views.

  1. [Magic Item] Whistles! - okay, this took me by surprise! I didn't expect it to be the post with the most views on my blog. It got REALLY boosted upon publication and garnered 3700 views. I think I posted it on reddit? But not many views since. Anyway, it's a fun post, I still like these items.
  2. Cosmic Crawl - the announcement of the publication of Cosmic Crawl, an awesome Lovecraftian sci-fi community project compiled by Evlyn Moreau. I contributed to it, and I think it's an awesome little book, with lots of fun random encounters and great art. This was the only finished community project I participated in, during the last days of G+...
  3. 1d6 robotic carousing mishaps - this is a fun one... Wrote it very quickly, as a reddit comment, but decided to save it, because, well, drunk robots.
  4. [Secret Santicorn] All Aboard the Terrible Dogfish! - a weird pirate ship written for the OSR Discord's Secret Santicorn event! Exclamation mark!
  5. 36 character types (extracted from Georges Polti's "The Art of Inventing Characters") - an old book turned into a random table... People really liked it!
  6. [Adventure] The Tomb of the Daughter - one of the things that came out from my love affair with "talk-to-transformer", the neural network-based text generator. A sort of usable adventure module?
  7. [5e] Warlock: The Diamond (D&D meets Steven Universe) - one of my few 5e posts (I do run 5e occasionally, and ran a big campaign for my friends). I still really like this idea - the Diamonds in Steven Universe as a model for portraying Fey ladies and lords in D&D. 
  8. Neural Network Generated Hexcrawl - I should really finish this!!!! I have all the hex descriptions, and even some dungeons. A big weird-ass neural network generated science fantasy hexcrawl.
  9. [Dungeon] Temple of the Berserkers, one-page OD&D adventure - I'm glad people liked this dungeon, I think it's a solid offering.
  10. The best adventures from Footprints --- seven free old-school modules! - And one of my recent posts, listing the best adventures in the Footprints zine. Spread the word!

Party hard.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

The best adventures from Footprints --- seven free old-school modules!

After going through all 25 issues of the old-school zine Footprints, I am in a good position to say that
a.) it's a treasure trove of gaming materials and a real community effort, and
b.) it has a bunch of GREAT adventure modules.

The modules, I think, don't get enough attention and love, perhaps because they are hidden inside the sometimes quite sizable zines. So, without further ado, I present here my subjective list of the seven best adventures from the pages of Footprints!


Behold... The Magnificent Seven!

  1. "Gilded Dream of the Incandescent Queen", by H.D.A. (levels 3-6), Footprints #25. A floating double-tetrahedron, with lots of weirdness and psychedelic vibes!
  2. "The Emperor's Lost Army", by John A. Turcotte (levels 5-7), Footprints #9. Sandbox exploration adventure set in an overgrown ruined city; lost world, A. Merritt vibes.
  3. "The Secret of the Wood of Dark Boughs", by R.N. Bailey (levels 3-5), Footprints #20. Mystery/investigation module with many moving parts, set in a rural area, with folk horror vibes.
  4. "The Tenebristic Orb", by Malrex (levels 4-7), Footprints #25. Weird dungeon enclosed in an orb! Strong light/shadow/darkness theming.
  5. "The Haunted Inn of the Little Bear: Revenant’s Revenge", by Brian Wells (low levels), Footprints #15. Mystery adventure with a Solomon Kane vibe.
  6. "The Mired Cathedral", by C. Wesley Clough (levels 4-6), Footprints #18. A small but solid location-based adventure.
  7. "Death From Above", by Michael Haskell (levels 6-9), Footprints #10. Flying cloud giant fortress.
Looking back at my own list, it's pretty obvious that I have a soft spot for two kinds of adventures: bonkers psychedelic floating orbs/pyramids or low-magic folk horror locations... Oh, and pulpy "lost worlds", too.

I shared longer write-ups of all the materials that caught my attention in my previous posts:  #1 through #5, #6 through #10, #11 through #15, #16 through #20, #21 through #23, #24 and #25.

Footprints #24 and #25: zine highlights!

The journey comes to an end! Previous installments: #1 through #5, #6 through #10, #11 through #15, #16 through #20, #21 through #23.

Make sure to check out the very last adventure in #25, "Gilded Dream of the Incandescent Queen" by H.D.A. (whose Terrible Sorcery is Without Equal in the West), because it's a great one.

Footprints #24, January 2019

Footprints #24, January 2019

“Centaurs”, by Alan Powers
Continued from #23. Includes tables for Centaur backgrounds and skills.

“Revisiting the Ghost Tower”, by Ken Marin
How to fit C2 Ghost Tower of Inverness into a 4-hour convention game? Ken Marin addresses four key problems and offers his solutions. Reference this article if you face the same task!

New monsters for OSRIC: “Creatures Cthulhic… and Chthonic” by various authors. A cosmic horror/weird fiction bestiary, incl. Gugs, Hounds of Tindalos, Night-Gaunts, Quicksilver ooze, Zoog, a couple of deities; and a couple more abominations from the Chthonic section. A solid selection for dark fantasy and weird fiction games! Some overlap with Realms of Crawling Chaos, but there are differences as well.
And my personal favorite: a random generator of Spawns of Shub-Niggurath by Marco Cavagna! I tried this generator on my blog before.

“Dwarf Backgrounds”, by Alan Powers
There are a lot of solid NPC/PC backgrounds in this issue, plus see the Human/Halfling tables in #23. I’m particularly fond of table IX, Dwarf Secrets! I couldn’t find table X, Traits though ☹

There are two new classes, for 2e, “Western Monk” and “Skald”.

“Ruins of the River Gates”, by Andrew Hamilton
Adventure for levels 3-6. A location-based module, very easy to drop into any campaign. I like the location itself: a “river gate”, two towers standing on opposite banks of the water. There are underground chambers beneath both towers, that eventually connect into a large flooded dungeon. Water levels vary between knee-deep and complete submersion; unfortunately, the water level is not noted uniformly, and not marked on the map, so you have to wade through the text to find this crucial piece of info, or extrapolate from the neighboring areas (e.g. water level is not noted for a key location, the throne room… I guess it’s ~8’, because the adjacent room has 3’, then there is a staircase down?). Lots and lots of small, cramped, claustrophobic chambers, and drowned undead, which is a cool aesthetic.

And thus we arrive to…

FOOTPRINTS #25, June 2021

A giant jubilee issue! 198 pages!!!

“The Beginning of the Brazilian RPG”, by Pedro Panhoca da Silva
A short but interesting account of the early RPG scene in Brazil. I hope such overviews continue in future issues, as I’d like to learn more about RPGs around the world.

“Behind the Fallen God”, by Joseph Mohr
A short adventure for levels 7-10. Based on a nice isometric Dyson map. Delve into the forgotten temple of an ancient Cthulhoid god. The keys are brief, more in the vein of “modern OSR” principles, less in the house style of Footprints (which is based on the high word-count AD&D modules). The monsters are aberration types. Overall, this is a nice short adventure, although I think the map is too linear.

Two useful supplements: “Random Treasure”, by Jeff Wagner - Revised and expanded treasure tables. Unites DMG + UA. “Barbarian”, by Daniel Ottavio - The UA+Dragon #148 Barbarian adapted to OSRIC.

“The Watch Tower of Quasqueton”, by Ken Marin
I like this running theme in Footprints: publishing additional materials for classic adventures. This one is for B1 In Search of the Unknown. The author notes: “The back cover of the original monochrome edition of B1 In Search of the Unknown features a tower, presumably on top of the dungeon’s hill top, not described in the module itself.” So, he maps out a little tower, that provides an extra entrance into the dungeon – sweet!

“Simulated Advancement for NPCs”, by Ken Marin

What are NPC adventurers up to during their “off-screen” time? Answer: they possibly level up, or, possibly die and maybe turn undead or some other mishap befalls them… Some adventurer NPCs simply retire! I think a lot could be added to this foundation: like tables of possible occupations/activities for retired NPC adventurers, or more mishaps… Anyways, a good tool for long-running campaigns.

“Supernatural Diseases”, by Marco Cavagna

A bunch of foul maladies. Yuck.

“Zero is an Apprentice’s Best Friend – Zero Level Spells”, by Delta Demon

A bunch of cantrips. Summon a skunk to spray a random person. Cast “Sleepy” to make a person sleepy…

“Colledician Magic Vol. I. New Vancian Spells… for OD&D games”, by Robert “Bobjester” Weber

Write-ups for titles generated in a Dying Earth spell name randomizer! I approve. “Deour’s Serene Cigarette”, “Meepo’s Memorable Superstition”? “Thoure’s Ghastly Spleen”? O yeah.

“The Tenebristic Orb”, by Malrex

Adventure for levels 4-7. Ooooh I like this setup, this is good fantasy shit. A dungeon inside a magic orb. Light/shadow/darkness themed. Lots of weird and psychedelic images, strange demons, riddles (twisted wizard-created pocket dimensions is the only context where I would use a riddle)… Definitely adding this to my folder!

“Elvish Backgrounds”, by Alan Powers

Rounds out the backgrounds published in #23-24.

“Last Stand”, by Jesse Walker

2e adventure, for levels 2-4. A small 14-room dungeon adventure, pretty modular (easy to drop into any setting or campaign). This means it is also quite generic, there is not much theming going on in the dungeon itself. I do, however, like the final artifact that can be found here: an arcane clockwork recording device, that can also be used by the DM to deliver hooks to further adventures.

“Gilded Dream of the Incandescent Queen”, by H.D.A.

Labyrinth Lord adventure for levels 3-6. Yes. Oh yes. I really like this adventure, and I already have it printed out separately, ready to be run. It’s a big, complex, and flavorful adventure. A double-tetrahedron-shaped floating golden edifice. Psychedelic and weird. Inside, space and time do not follow the laws of nature. The concept of a witch-queen’s failed ascension to the higher planes is interesting. “I wrote this adventure so that it could fit into almost any campaign. It does however rely upon that old stumbling-block, alignment”, discloses the author: yes, at certain points in the adventure character alignment comes into play.

The silver jubilee issue of Footprints, thus, ends on a high note!

Looking forward to #26!

Footprints #25, July 2021

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Footprints #21 through #23: zine highlights!

Previous installments: #1 through #5, #6 through #10, #11 through #15, #16 through #20.

The issues are getting longer (although more spaced out in time), so I'll do three in this batch, and the final two separately! Oh, very impressive cover arts beginning around #22.

Footprints #22, February 2015

Footprints #21, May 2014

“Monsters of All Sizes”, by R.N. Bailey

Guidelines for scaling monsters up and down, how their HD and abilities change, pretty useful stuff!

“The Wizard’s Laboratory”, by Marco

An EXTREMELY detailed random table of d100 types of things one can find in a wizard’s lab. With subtables for each entry. *roll roll roll* Spell components for a random spell for 9 castings, explosives, cheese cultures!

“The Conjuror”, by Ian Slater

A magic-user subclass specialized in summoning spells. I’m not a fan of subclass bloat, but I like the new spells! “Svintooth's Mighty Carriage”, for example, “summons a wyvern carrying an iron cage in its talons. Up to eight medium-sized creatures, or the equivalent, may be carried in the iron cage at a time.”

“Lake of Sorrows”, by Steve McFadden

Adventure for levels 1-3. Felt like a lot of text… There is some good imagery, though! A lake in a caldera, shrouded in permanent mist, a banshee trapped underwater… Pine forest, glacier yeti ambush, lake ghouls…


Footprints #22, February 2015

“Feelin’ Trapped?”, by Tony Chaplin

Random traps for dungeon stocking! Great material. Traps are divided into 4 levels of danger, and rolled like monsters depending on dungeon level. 66 different traps, with smaller tables for trigger types, etc.

“Treasures & Tables”, by Stuart Marshall

This is “an optional, alternative system for generating random magical items. These tables allow for more variation in the kinds of items found”, looks useful!

“Blacktop Vale”, by Steve McFadden

Adventure for levels 1-2. A lot of dense text (I guess this is McFadden’s style), so it’s hard to get a good overall feeling of this adventure without reading all of it. I read the first page of long backstory, and it says that the wizard’s tower was “recently damaged” and the wizard disappeared, but there is no explanation of this here (although it would be important for the DM to know right off the bat). I think you only learn about the background some 10 pages later, in one of the room descriptions? Not a fan of this. I like the wintery setting.


Footprints #23, September 2015

“Centaurs! More than just horsing around”, by Alan Powers

This is a pretty comprehensive look at centaurs as D&D characters. It brings together rules from the 2e Complete Book of Humanoids and the author’s home game.

“No Bones About It”, by Darren Dare

Darren brings another small 2e adventure, for levels 3-4. This is a classic abandoned wizard tower. I think the lack of any visually distinct characteristics is a missed opportunity. There is only one room that has “Intricately carved arches depicting snakes and vines”, that’s good. But the tower is supposed to be just this featureless cylindrical thing in the wilderness. Perhaps useful to drop into a hexcrawl as an adventure location?

“A Digest Alchemical”, by Ryan Coombes

Write-up of the author’s alchemy system. Ryan says, “I prefer that alchemical methods be non-magical in nature, rather than the properties of the compounds produced being the result of mystical or arcane energies”, and he delivers. A big list of about 50 various potions and concoctions, with requirements to brew them, and a paragraph of details for each. Definitely a good supplement if you need a more mundane set of alchemical things!

“Human and Halfling Background Tables”, by Alan Powers

What it says on the tin! Good if you need details for NPCs. There are several tables to roll on, Social class, Sibling rank, Social rank, Skills & professions, many of them with subtables. If you just need a single quick detail, pick that particular table and ignore the rest.

“B11a: Priest’s Errand”, by Leon Baradat

A supplement to use in conjunction with B11: King’s Festival, to bring characters up in levels before B12: Queen’s Harvest. “I created this add-on adventure when my children suffered a total party kill (TPK) at the end of module B11,” discloses the author. I haven’t read or played B11, so cannot comment on this much. I like the opening: the characters arrive and see the tavern besieged by goblins! I think this is a good setup, a clear call to action. The next task at hand can be to pursue the goblins and find where they came from, which is actually the tunnels they dug and reached the Temple of the town. This is a 13-area underground goblin cavern. So, mostly standard stuff, but I like how these staples are put into a wider context.

New monsters: About a dozen new monsters, pretty good ones. One that stood out is the “Decanter Golem”, by John A. Turcotte. I came up with this monster too! Had it in the lair of a decadent satyr. Only I had my “glass servants” be filled with booze. Turcotte’s variant is the offensive type, often filled with acids or poisons.

“Citadel of the Carrion Eaters”, by Andrew Hamilton

For character levels 10-14. Heavy on marauding gnolls (no lairs in the adventure, but the author provides a couple of sources that can be referenced), in the Borderlands. Probably ties in with Hamilton’s gnoll shaman from Footprints #18. The gnolls build a fortress (the titular citadel). There are simple maps for the citadel, which also look instantly reusable if you need a stronghold map. There is a ghoul-infested dungeon underneath. The gnolls and their shaman worship a demon lord, so, good luck, there’s your really high-level component… Overall, this looks like a solid adventure, although not one I’d see myself using as-is.

Footprints #23, September 2015