Sunday, September 26, 2021

Flying Cosmic Fortress Generator

Above the world; above the sapphire mountains, above the sky-lands, above even the realms of dawn and dusk- there are the cosmic realms. Space, with glowing stars and planets and cosmic streams. These places, so far away that no mortals, or even immortals from your realm scarcely go.

For one reason or another, you've ended up here. But this realm is too abstract and deadly for a living thing; it is infinite and boundless in all directions and ways. There are Fortresses here; anchors of sanity and reality in this hostile place. These flying castles all look artificial, created from wood or brick or platinum- like flying fortresses in the cosmic void.

Flying Cosmic Fortresses
These cosmic fortresses are flying on the astral/cosmic realms. It's basically outer space, but remember this is fantasy outer space. Gravity is still down, you can breath in the air (it's cold and sterile), it's warm enough to not freeze, and so on. However, these effects that protect beings only exist in and a short distance outside it. If you "fell" off the fortress you'd fall down into the void and then float around like it was outer space.

The Fortresses themselves are totally alone and isolated. It's not possible to leave one without some kind of powerful magic or divine aide. You are within a far realm now; distant and separated from the Gods and Spirits of your home world. All Cleric spells and magic is cast as though the caster is a level lower.

To create a Flying Cosmic Fortress; roll once on each table below.

What does the Flying Cosmic Fortress look like? - Roll d20
[1] Fortress carved into a single giant stone.
[2] Stereotypical castle with a moat that endlessly drops water into the void.
[3] Ancient jungle temple.
[4] Huge overgrown tree or plant, windows carved into branches and stems.
[5] Giant Mansion floating in space.
[6] Multiple towers w/ Spinnerets.
[7] Like a giant bee hive or insect nest. Original inhabitants may or may not be exterminated.
[8] Crafted from metal, roughly bolted together.
[9] Looks like a giant crystal. All the "windows" here are colored as the crystal is. Random Color.
[10] Like a giant sailing ship. Like the ark, but huge-er and in space.
[11] Artificial donut shape from smooth stone. Normal gravity; down.
[12] Looks like a weird dark mass, undulating in space. Inside is a little better.
[13] Icosahedron sphere. Made of brass and exotic metals. Many inner chambers.
[14] Like a miniature city- brims with magictech lights.
[15] Glacier. Crevice leads to interior. Endless blizzard 5 in 6 turns on top.
[16] Looks like a chunk ripped from the normal world; a grassland with a small house on it. The edge just drops into void. House houses tunnel to interior dungeon inside the whole thing.
[17] Giant chained body of some space whale or other horrible giant creature from the depths of the cosmic realms. May or may not still be alive.
[18] Massive yawning cave entrance. The inside is subterranean, but has a large central chamber that looks out into the void. From inside, looks like a giant mouth kinda.
[19] Looks like a giant dark cube from the outside. Doors on the sides sheer-drop into void. No balconies, but sides are not perfectly smooth. Butt-clenching jumps on the outside.
[20] Separate chambers connected with large colorful tubes of various lengths and sizes. Looks like a god damn McDonald's playplace.

What's this Flying Cosmic Fortress's Special Feature? - Roll d8
[1] Fortress is a sphere. Gravity similar to our moon regardless of size. Think Mario Galaxy.
[2] It's really, really big. Megadungeon.
[3] Has a secondary fortress with the same designs as the first connected to it by a long chain.
[4] Built on/in/around a giant dead/sleeping megaverse giant God thing.
[5] Has a guidance system and could eventually be flown around like a really cool starship.
[6] Has a Room of Requirement like effect. Safe rooms or fresh water chambers appear when adventurers seek them. The rooms stop appearing if abused.
[7] The bottom has a second fortress, inverse gravity, light/dark world, etc. Roll again on the appearance table for the other side.
[8] Race of intelligent, neutral beings live there called the Curators. Use the Fantasy Race Generator to give them an appearance. They live in the walls, perform maintenance, and may believe the otherworldly entity who governs this place created them (it probably didn't).

What can you see in the Void next to this Flying Cosmic Fortress?
- Roll d12
[1] Black hole sucking up light. Fortress is not at risk. Don't fly off that direction.
[2] Several small "islands" of the same design as the main Fortress.
[3] Huge metal scaffolding and frames connected to island; possibly interstellar dock?
[4] It's surrounded by a nebula cloud; hard to see through.
[5] Field of undead servitors. Spaced apart evenly; a spherical defense grid.
[6] Shipwrecked hauls of space boats.
[7] Giant tentacles coming out of black portals. Fingers of an old one- mostly inactive.
[8] Swirling "winds" of elemental or magical energy. Turbulent approach.
[9] Buoys or signposts- hinting at dangers or distances.
[10] Stars. They are extra bright around this Fortress, making it dazzling.
[11] Nothing.
[12] Absolutely nothing.

What kind of Dangers are in this Fortress? - Roll d10
[1] Mechanical traps. Has a gravity changing puzzle that can fling you into void if you fuck up.
[2] Contains a cosmic forge or engine. Sporadically releases intense magic radiation.
[3] It's crumbling or being eroded by cosmic nothingness. Watch your step.
[4] Eternal guardian statue-people things. Only attack if you break "rules". Laser eyes.
[5] It has been used as storage for all manner of dangerous and cursed magic items.
[6] Infested with cosmic pests. Dangerous, only because cosmic. Think this blogpost.
[7] The place is partially cloaked in layers of astral space; the player-characters own ego and personal experiences begin to warp the place and manifest. Think Silent Hill.
[8] Fortress Stalkers. Monsters that are made of the same material and look just like parts of the fortress. Slink around silently and try to kill people. Native to this place.
[9] Otherworldly phenomena like time dilation, gravity anomalies, recursive hallways, non-euclidean geometry and more. Has a paradox contained within crystal; mostly safe.
[10] Masses of reactive elemental slime. Colored as element. Deal 1d6 damage of a random element when touched or disturbed. On a roll of 6, you suffer an extra effect.

How did you get to this Flying Cosmic Fortress? - Roll d6
[1] Walked through an unmarked portal / doorway in space-time.
[2] Extreme spell failure / broke a major magical artifact and this was the result.
[3] Took the Airship up too high. It can't come down without special preparations.
[4] It wasn't flying at first. Activated some dungeon's mechanism; it lifted off.
[5] Willing accepted a challenge from a powerful otherworldly entity to win favor. (Roll subtable)
[6] Unwillingly whisked away at the whim of some powerful otherworldly entity. (Roll subtable)

(Subtable) Why did some Supernatural being send you here? - Roll d6
[1] To test your resolve against difficult challenges.
[2] To perform some minor bit of "house keeping" that it doesn't want to do itself.
[3] To observe your kind in action up close and personal.
[4] To punish or execute. If you manage to survive, it will be impressed and let you go.
To participate in a multiverse tournament battle to the death!
[6] It made a mistake when trying to teleport you somewhere else. 1 in 1000 chance if you teleport via genie you end up here instead. Takes 2d6 days for it to find you again.

Oh and if you want a quick way to understand and suck up the exact artstyle and feel I'm going for, just go play Amid Evil.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Lich Generator

All liches begin with;

  • 5 HD
  • AC of 12
  • Morale of 14
  • +3 To-Hit
  • One Death Touch attack per round. Save vs Death to avoid.
  • Immune to Necrotic Damage / Death-Spells
  • Casts Spells x2 (Has Twice as many spells as its HD should)
  • One Signature Spell
  • Immortality - Returns after Death (Can only be slain permanently if its Phylactery is destroyed)
  • Powerful Numen - Treat HD as 10 for purposes of Magic Spells/Special Moves/Etc.
  • Undead Minions (10x1d4 HD worth of Undead encountered with the Lich if not surprised)
  • Alignment of Lawful Evil

The Death Touch - Roll d6 to determine what kind of Death Touch this Lich has
[1] Dark Flame (Deals 3d6 fire damage on hit, cannot heal naturally) Cold, black fire.
[2] Black Bolt (Deals 2d8 shock damage on hit, attack chains to next nearest enemy with zero To-Hit bonus until an attack fails) Crackling, life-seeking lightning jumps from the lich's fingers.
[3] Cruel Ice (Deals 2d6 Ice damage on hit, save again or limb touched is frozen solid. If limb is struck with blunt weapon; shatters and is destroyed. Limb must be dethawed with warm fire, or a torch that has had Healing Potion drizzled over it) Freezing touch that locks joints into place.
[4] Necrotic (Deals 3d6 damage, save again on hit or have 1d6 levels drained) The power of the dead, sapping life from the living. Each time this death-touch hits, the Lich looks more whole and alive as he saps your life force, but it quickly rots away within mere hours. It is a living black hole.
[5] Corrupting (Deals 4d4 damage on hit, save again or shift alignment one step towards Evil, if Evil save or be Dominated by the Lich) The Lich's body pulses with the centipedes and unholy creatures crawling underneath its skin. The lich's touch sends them into your own body, corrupting you.
[6] Aging (Ages victim 2d20 years on hit, rusts and spoils equipment that isn't Magic) This Death-Touch doesn't deal direct damage, but ages the victim. Everything they're carrying also ages at the same rate; food spoils, potions go flat, metal rusts to nothing. Only eternal items are safe. has no direct effects but characters of advanced age for their species will probably take stat penalties, or just fall over dead.

Decaying Form - Roll d8
[1] Skull Face (+1 AC, +1 Morale) Living body with a bloody skeletal face, as though flayed.
[2] Corpulent (+1 HD, Can Float out of melee; hit by reach) Filled with corpse-gas.
[3] Mummy (Roll a 2nd Signature Spell) Bandages adorned with arcane symbols
[4] Rotten (+2 To-Hit, Inflicts Random Disease on hit with Death Touch) Rotting flesh.
[5] Wraith (Ethereal - Can only be hit with Magic weapons. Turn Undead is twice as effective) Not a physical form, but a smokey, cloaked wraith with glowing eyes. More vulnerable to the spirit.
[6] Cancerous (Resistant to Elements; takes half damage from Fire, Shock, Frost) Its bulbs and tumors are filled with all sorts of pus; arcane experiments on this disposable shell.
[7] Skeleton Jelly (Doesn't lose its body after dying- instead just regenerates from the single smallest remaining piece of itself. Phylactery gives it memory, Alignment to Neutral Evil) The Lich is a skeleton jelly- a skeleton with a goopy outer shell containing everything it was and is.
[8] Grafted (+3 Hit Points, has Sword attack at 1d6, doesn't count as Undead until harmed) Body is made up of many borrowed limbs, surgically attached. Detects as a living person until some of its stitches are split and ichor spilled. May be disguised as a regular person or adventurer.

Dark Artifact - Roll d10
The Lich carries the Dark Artifact on its person at all times. If killed, the artifact will drop with the Lich, and the Lich will become very angry at it being stolen- it will attempt to recover it with whatever means necessary. All Dark Artifacts are cursed; living beings who touch them must save or die unless its wrapped in white cloth.
[1] Sacrificial Dagger (1d4+1 Magic, steals one prepared spell on hit) Cruel wizard killer.
[2] Vial of Pure Darkness (All light sources dimmed nearby) Trapped primordial darkness.
[3] Chaos Medallion (Generate a Chaos Medallion) This Lich is a champion of evil gods.
[4] Witch Finger (Enemies get -2 to spell saves, Increase die size for all dice of Death Touch) Worn around the neck like a talisman.
[5] Capirote (Has two Necromancer apprentices at 4 HD / level- they cast Spells) Tall conical cap, black, like a cultist. Enslaves the minds of the foolish, and promises immortality through death.
[6] Flask of Unholy Water (Deals 1d6 damage if splashed on Good beings, restores 2d6 hit points to undead creatures) Dark, stagnant water. Water placed within becomes unblessed in 1d6 turns.
[7] Yew Wand (Spells deal +2 damage, Gains 1d6 Magic Blast attack at range - Requires To-Hit roll and deals damage typed as Necrotic) The Yew tree is poison and associated with dark magic.
[8] Stained Ring (Grants 25% Magic Resistance, alignment shifts toward Chaotic while worn) Golden ring that can never seem to be cleaned. The stains change every time you inspect it.
[9] Turnkey Raven (Delivers messages to minions; can carry things weighing less then 1 pound, indestructible) Lifelike raven with a turnkey slot. One crank lets it fly anywhere in the world.
[10] Skull Staff (1d4+1 Magic Staff, Necromancy spells deal +2 damage, can rattle the staff and raise up a corpse into a basic 1 HD skeleton or 2 HD zombie depending on its condition) Generic humanoid skull on a black wood staff. Charged with necromancer's power.

Signature Spell - Roll d8
[1] White Legion
The caster raises both their arms above their head and commands their army to rise. Every round, 1d10 skeletons (1 HD with 1d6 decayed weapons) rise from ancient soils- this effect continues even after the round the spell began, it's a constant effect, allowing the caster to fight while the ancient dead pour in from below.

This lasts until 100 skeletons have been raised or the ground is sanctified by a Holy Sword being shoved into the soil to stop the spell.

[2] Dispel Hope
Caster holds out their hand and strikes all within the range of their vision in front of them in the moment of casting. All struck become filled with despair, and loses a part of their will to live. Everyone hit by the spell has -2 to all saving throws. In addition; anyone under its effects automatically fails saves vs death if they have 50% of their hit points remaining. All Hirelings struck by this wave must also make a morale check to flee. On success, they stand their ground but lose -1 Loyalty.

This spell lasts until a rowdy fireplace song, a strong religious experience, or an exhilarating celebration of life.

[3] Electric Blue Tendrils
When cast, electric tendrils appear. Breaking free requires a supernatural level of Strength (+3 or greater) or several cuts with an axe or sword with a rubber handle. Each round you are trapped you take 2d8 shock damage. Trying to cut the tentacles with something not insulted will shock your hand instead, dealing 1d8 damage. The spell can target up to three human sized targets, or two significantly larger targets- assume each target has 1d4+2 tentacles wrapping around them- consider the tentacles as 1 HD creatures. This spells lasts for 3 rounds, or until all the tentacles are dead.

Most Lich spells are based on the dark arts of necromancy, or at least are powerful curses. Not this one. This spell conjures tentacles from random places they can crop up in the area; out from sand, poking up from sewer drains, out of boxes and bags, etc. These tentacles are being pulled in by an otherworldly entity, and are charged with unusual energies.

[4] Finger Beam
This spell is a ranged, nigh-inescapable version of the Death Touch attack the Lich has. The Lich's finger glows and fires out a beam that curves, sweeps, and spirals towards its target in a flashy rainbow lightshow. Save vs beams with disadvantage, or else you are hit with its effect.

If a PC or somebody else learns this spell, then the finger beam will do the same damage as their finger possibly could on a hard poke- so one damage if you aim for the eyes or something. You need to already have badass dark magic powers for this to be good, sorry.

[5] Pillars of Zircon
Conjures forth 2d6+2 pillars made of a strange, dull silvery metal. They rise from the ground, and are just about round enough for a man to stand on. The caster can ensure one appears under them on the round the turn this spell is cast, letting them ascend upwards.

These pillars can block an attack- consider each to have an AC of 14 and 2 HD in terms of raw durability. They are also totally immune to corrosion, and acidic or corrosive powers nearby them fail and weaken. You take -1 damage from acid attacks and spells if you're in the same room as the pillars, half damage if you are touching or standing on a pillar, and no damage from acid at all if you're standing among the pillars. Acidic liquid would turn to nasty water if splashed into the pillars, and the acid breath of a dragon would just turn into harmless wisps of vapor.

Note: These pillars don't do anything for the Lich's own Death Touch- as the only corrosive effect comes from magical aging. It does however seem to work against effects that speed up or create effects of advanced decay on undead creatures. Spells that putrefy are cancelled by these pillars.

[6] The Backwards Arm Curse
The target of this spell has all of their arms turn around backwards. The joints snap back (but don't cause damage). The arms will attack enemies of the spellcaster, and the victim of this spell is helpless to control his arms- the first round this spell is cast the arms will likely attack whoever was behind the target of this spell- stabbing and slashing with their own weapons- the cursed arms get the same attack bonuses, special moves, and magic items or weapons that the hands could have used. This means a powerful Fighter having their arm cursed means they'll attack with full strength to anyone who gets close enough- Meanwhile, the target of this spell loses their attacks or abilities that require hands, but still controls their voice and legs, so they can move others and warn them about their loss of control.

If the victim of this spell focuses all of their energies, they can make a saving throw vs spells to snap one of their arms back into place and regain control over it. Each arm takes a round to bring under control in this way.

[7] Orbs of Torment
This spell conjures forth three balls of dark energy; flashing with red lightning. The three orbs are summoned at the casting of this spell, but can be flung one orb per round by a simple point of a finger or order by the spellcaster. The orbs move slow enough that they can be avoided by running your full combat round away from them; no save otherwise.

These orbs are magical orbs of Torment. When they hit a living thing, they cut their current hitpoints by half. Getting struck by Torment feels like a mix of torture and exhaustion all over.

[8] Grotesque
This spell can be cast on anything within a stone's throw. Intelligent and living targets of this spell inherently resist it automatically if they are unwilling, as pretty much any living thing would object to being made into a Grotesque. If you are currently Dominated by the Lich, they you cannot resist the transformation. 

This spell utterly warps the subject, turning it into something loathsome and grotesque, hence its namesake. If this spell is cast on inanimate matter, it would turn it into a roughly animated golem or animated object(s) with stretched smiles, wrinkled faces, and cartoonish and frightening expressions. Living things are similarly made cartoonish, but always somewhat offensive and a sort of innate frightfulness like things that are scary to children. The Grotesque also acts like a caricature; its assumed and actual traits from before it was transformed taken to a absurd degree. For example, a Nobleman turned into a Grotesque would be very fat, lazy, and scream at everyone to pay taxes or order his "guards" (other monsters nearby) to take off their heads. All Grotesques are assumed to be Chaotic Evil, but will serve a more powerful master- a creature with higher HD. Remember; the Lich that made this thing counts as 10 HD for spells like this; so it will serve the Lich even if the Lich is more feeble then the Grotesque.

The subject of this spell becomes a 6 HD Grotesque, with stats befitting its nature. If it had a higher HD before, then roll 6 HD and keep whichever Hit-Point Total is higher. The Grotesque gains a few magic attacks, can cast Spells, and has an AC and other stats/resistances based on its composite material, or once again based on whatever it had before it was transformed in the case of a living thing. For example, a Grotesque made of a pile of bricks would be slow, but have high AC, and can throw bricks at 1d4+1 damage at range, twice per round. Grotesques are not undead, but are considered supernatural evil creatures and can be Turned / Exorcised as undead can.

The Grotesque also has innately has three abilities;

  • Aura of Cowardice which unnerves the weak willed; retainers must make a morale check or flee the first time they are hit by one of its attacks or spells.
  • Aura of Hate, which makes enemy spells and attempts to Turn Undead or cast holy magic have a 50% chance to fail within its presence, which lasts until it dies.
  • Black Speech, which just means the Grotesque is constantly speaking, insulting, and generally saying awful things. Every round, it has a 1 in 6 chance to send a Curse at you, based on what it says.

Turning someone or something into a Grotesque is permanent. If you slay a Grotesque and are of Lawful or Good alignment, the Gods will reward you by curing any curse or disease you are suffering from in that moment for your service in smiting something so awful, or hopefully remove some of the curses you got for fighting it.

What are this Lich's signature kind of undead minion? - Roll d10
[1] Plague rats. Like thirty thousand. Not really undead, but can swarm and fill rooms like water.
[2] Skeletons. The Lich is constantly frustrated by their bumbling antics and awful bone puns.
[3] Zombies. Specifically, ones with iron parts, tools, and weapons nailed into their flesh.
[4] Mummies. Desiccated corpses raised on mass from ancient evil desert tomb.
[5] Corpse-Golem. Roughly stitched together, raised in an industrial assembly line.
[6] Animal skeletons. You don't see this as much as you think you should. Bone birds still fly.
[7] Black Puddings. Has one really big one that ate most of the others, named Princess.
[8] Ghosts. "Keeps" all of them in one really cursed mirror. Don't break it, seriously.
[9] Tomb-Golems. Always in the forms of religious figures; animated creatures but technically undead as the souls and blood are infused within the stones. Can't move while you look at them.
[10] Grotesques. Just a few handfuls of them, each a totally unique bastard to deal with. Normally these "fluff" tables at the end don't change the monster stats- but you should probably give the Lich the Grotesque spell if you get this option so it makes sense.

How has this Lich been spending its Centuries in Undeath? - Roll d8
[1] You know, catching up on chores, reading, taking some time to itself. Still.
[2] Plotting world domination, of course.
[3] Uncovering arcane secrets. It's Signature Spell is one of many prototypes they've invented.
[4] Involved in a complex string of plots with another immortal creature; friendly rivals.
[5] Becoming the absolutely uncontested master in a game that nobody plays anymore.
[6] Learning how to play musical instruments. All of them.
[7] Opening tiny accounts in all the world's banks, accumulating massive interest over centuries, and starting wars by sending out chain letters and fake notices of inheritance over them.
[8] Mapping of the next life. Every time it "dies" it has some time to explore around the next hill or talk to the next weird angel spirit-guide thing. Isn't mad when you kill its body.

What is the Lich's Phylactery? - Roll d20
[1] Pin stuck in a stuffed heart stuffed in a doll stuffed in the belly of a stuffed dog.
[2] Really old tortoise. May or may not be undead; hard to tell.
[3] One shard of a broken magic sword in a museum owned by haughty nobles.
[4] Its diary from when it was alive. Protects it for embarrassing secrets more then anything.
[5] The old church bell that hasn't rung right for over a century.
[6] Its soul inhabits its manse. Burn the house down; the lich's soul burns with it.
[7] Tarnished silver coin; face of a queen with a cheeky wink. In some random bank vault.
[8] Jet gemstone. Dodecahedron cut.
[9] Looks like an owl chick with glowing red eyes, cowers in an old oak tree's hollow center.
[10] Very old, fat blind koi in the lich's serene garden pond.
[11] Vial of pure spring water. Drink it and the Lich will hunt you down before you can piss it out- which is what actually counts as destroying it. Otherwise, your blood will go in the next vial.
[12] Magic necklace with a glowing purple amethyst. Gives sweet magic bonuses, to dissuade people from destroying it.
[13] Black ooze in a shadowy corner. Takes the form of a viper with a poison bite if you approach it. Cut off its head to slay the lich for good.
[14] Ceremonial golden plaque on the cornerstone of a castle, which the lich helped fund for a good king a long time ago. Too arrogant to use a pseudonym.
[15] One black scale on a white dragon. The dragon knows about it- and keeps it on its body in exchange for a lot of juicy treasure.
[16] Eternal flower kept in a glass case. One petal falls off each time the lich feels any remorse for its actions; it will also die permanently if all the petals fall off. 1d6 petals are left.
[17] Golden tooth kept in its body. Most people take it and sell it- its enchanted to be totally immune to fire so if people try to melt it down the lich can just retrieve it later when they reform.
[18] Electrified heart, in a box. If you touch it or bring a metal weapon within an inch; shocks you with 1d8 damage as a kind of defense mechanism. Stab it with wood, or just shoot it with an arrow.
[19] Tiny little 3 year old, blonde w/ pigtails, totally innocent villager girl. Enchanted to be eternally young and continually orphaned when her adoptive parents die of "random undead attacks". It's supposed to be a moral conundrum to kill her to stop the lich but if you just get her to drink some holy water it kills the lich's soul inside while she is totally unharmed.
[20] The Moon. Fuck you.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Damn you! (Freeform Curse Magic)

To say the name of a thing is the same as bringing the thing to you- which is why you never speak the name of a dreaded creature. To speak of something that can go wrong, then it will happen. This is a common superstition, as words have power. The most venomous use of words can be a curse- a curse inflicted by words.

To wish ill on someone directly is to curse them. All you have to do is speak; to tell them they will fail, their children will go blind, their crops will wither; anything can be a curse if spoken with conviction and malice. "May your genitals rot and fall off!" is as valid a magical attack as any fireball or magic missile.

Also; the referee gets to decide how the curse is actually implemented. The curse may be a subtle, fate-altering sort of thing where you question if it even exists, a sort of lingering sickness or malaise that permeates the cursed beings or place, or it could be a visible streak of glowing magical power that brands its victims with its effects like ghostly glowing tattoos that are bound to their skin. You could also base what the curse seems (in terms of aesthetics, the effects are the same) to do based on the power level of its caster too if you wanted.

Speaking Curses
To cast a curse, the curser must simply speak out load and wish ill upon someone. Saying this directly to their face is many times more powerful then saying it alone, but curses can be cast even when the victim of the curse is nowhere present. Typically, in these curses, a proxy or voodoo doll is used to cast the curse. Or the curse is put in place through written text or symbols; nailing a severed chicken head on a neighbor's door is an example. Witches are quite skilled in this.

The real terror of curses though is that anyone can do them. It's not just witches or sorcerers or those with magical powers. I really like the idea of some random beggar the PC's harass and rob can curse them with horrible misfortune.

There are two kinds of curses. Spiteful Curses and Vengeful Curses.

Spiteful Curses are curses cast by evil or cruel beings. They are often associated with brigands, goblins, demons, sailors, and witches of all kinds. Spiteful curses are differentiated by being purely based on spite and malice- the curser is simply wishing ill on another person through their words. Clerics/Paladins/Holy Men are immune to the effects of spiteful curses. They are protected from evil by their gods- no matter how much a witch screams, the paladin is in the right for burning her at the stake.

Vengeful curses are the much more powerful type of curse. These curses are cast in retaliation; they can be cast by anyone of any alignment. Divine protection does not apply to these kinds of curses, as they are a punishment for sins.

Whenever a character casts a curse, write down the wording of the curse. More vague curses can manifest in more ways, but will be noticed as being part of the curse less often. Something as simple as "misfortune befall you!" is still a curse but could be basically anything, where as "you will transform into a mindless beast on your wedding night and slay your bride!" is much more specific. The words spoken at the time of the curse will determine how the curse manifests, if at all.

Finally, curses don't stack. You can only be affected by one curse at a time, though if a new curse comes around that is similar or eerily related, it can add to the original curse's power.

Spiteful Curses happen in a 1 in 6 chance, where as Vengeful Curse have a 5 in 6 chance of happening. If the curser died just after speaking the curse, then add +1 in 6 chance for the curse to happen.

Curse Mechanics
Once a curse "sticks", the characters suffering from the curse (all present or guilty of the crime that caused the curse in the first place) will now be haunted by it. Whenever a situation or event presents itself that mimics the words of the curse, once per session, the DM can manifest the curse.

For broad curses without a specific "activation"; such as being cursed with bad luck, give a percentage chance of the curse occurring each time it could manifest. Very vague or broad curses could be given 10%, where as something broad but more specific (such as "the spirits of the dead shall drag you to your doom!") could activate whenever the character goes near a pit, tar pit, or patch of quicksand, giving it a 30% chance to activate, etc. In these situations, the characters noticing or calling attention to the fact a curse just happened gives it strength- increase it's chance of manifesting by +5 or +10 percent.

For specific curses ("If you burn my sacred tree I swear you will not live to see the dawn!"), the curse always manifests once it has stuck to the party members.

Whenever the curse manifests the DM/GM must pick one of the following options.

  • Put a bearer of the curse into a bad situation that requires a saving throw
  • They are inflicted by a minor disease, gain a level of level-drain, or take 1d4 damage.
  • Summon forth a wandering encounter, or a spookily fitting monster. Monsters should still reasonably be able to appear in a normal wandering encounter roll.
  • Cause a morale check in a retainer or animal companion of the cursed
  • An item is lost, misplaced, or damaged. Useful or valuable items are destroyed, critical items are merely inconvenienced. (Lantern is knocked to the floor vs jeweled dagger falls into a ravine)
  • Ominous Portent. Nothing happens- the DM gets a +1 to the next roll relating to the curse. This can only happen twice before the third must manifest another option- as per the magical rule of threes.

Spiteful curses are simple to fix; they require magical aide. Lucky charms, prayers and ablutions at temple allow the individual a saving throw to remove the curse instantly.

Vengeful Curses have more staying power, and are more personal. The cursed can  seek forgiveness from the curser- either through a direct and sincere apology or from performing actions opposite what got them into this mess in the first place to prove they have changed or feel guilt sufficient to be released from the grip of the curse. The magic of a Remove Curse spell has a 1 in 6 chance to succeed; if it fails, then this curse cannot be removed via magic and only divine intervention or reconciliation can end it now.

Finally; the wording of some curses  means they have a set ending. To say that "I will have my revenge on the seventh day!" means that that day has to be where the curse occurs, otherwise it is dispelled and gone forever. In such cases, these curses are more powerful, and the DM may pick three of the options on the above list to happen to the victim(s) of the curse.

Curse Example #1- Blindness

Your party finishes a job of killing a bunch of hobgoblins living in an blind old crone's garden in exchange for some gold. She reveals she lied and only had about half the amount she promised, as she is a poor old woman. Outraged, your barbarian pushes her down and she hits her head on the table, dying. In her last breath she curses you to be blinded by your greed. The DM decides this is enough of a justification for a Vengeful Curse.

In this scenario; the event was morally ambiguous with all parties at fault. If the party members give the old woman a proper burial and if the barbarian feels at least a shed of guilt over what happened; the curse won't happen.

In the event the party raids the old woman's house and spits on her corpse for crossing them, the curse will happen.

Later, a PC slays an acid slime. The DM rules some of the ichor splashes into their eyes and makes them partially blind for the rest of the dungeon, granting a -2 on To-Hit rolls. The next session, another PC is struck with an arrow. The DM rules it is an ominous portent, which barely glanced the side of their skull. The next roll, it is the barbarian who is in a tight spot against an evil sorcerer. The sorcerer casts a flame spell and managed to sear the eyes of the barbarian out of his skull, permanently blinding him just as the old woman warned. With the main victim of the curse punished; the curse is now complete.

Curse Example #2- Dead Mans' Gulch

An old prospector knows of the treasure in Dead Man's Gulch, but refuses to go in their as he doesn't trust anyone else and he can't risk fighting the monsters there himself. When he sees the PCs about to sneak in, he spits and curses at them from above the canyon at a safe distance, saying they will meet their death in the canyon. The DM rolls this for a spiteful curse- the curser is still alive and is acting out of selfish reasons; as such the Paladin in the party is immune to this curse, as they go with God.

The DM rolls the curse to happen. The other party members are effected by the curse. Halfway through, a fight breaks out. The DM rolls a percentile roll to see if anything happens; and it does. The DM rules that a character who failed the surprise roll has to make a save or twist their ankle among the stones, becoming dead weight and making escaping the canyon while monsters pour down to attack more challenging. The party hightails it out of the canyon when they realize it will be tougher then they thought; ending the effects of the curse. In this situation, the party may be immune to any further curses by the prospector, as they already defeated "his curse" the first time.

Curse Example #3- Pharaoh's Curse

The party raids an ancient temple and finds a sarcophagus. The wizard can read the writing on the side to see that it is cursed; anyone within is fated to die from their own hand. You could say that the curse never activates if they never read the warning, or it would happen either way. The wizard begs the party not to open it, but they do anyway for the promise of riches. Black smoke issues from the cistern. Because this is vengeful curse and is applied by an ancient mummy, the DM rules it is quite strong and all who breathe the smoke are cursed with a level of level drain.

Later in the temple, the thief fails a rail and dies to a trap from their reduced saving throw bonus after having a level drained. The fighter is also killed in a fight. The wizard remains and, taking it upon himself to break the curse, returns all the treasure to the sarcophagus and severs his own hand. As the blood soaks the stone, the debt of the curse is repaid and the temple releases its grip on him, letting him leave with his life.

Curse Example #4- Curse of the Shewolf

The party fights a group of wolves in self defense. As the wolves flee, the alpha bitch of the pack reveals she is a magical forest spirit- and curses the party to die in winter. While a spiteful curse, this curse is rolled and activates.

Every time something happens or is found in the woods- a corpse here, sudden snowstorm rolled on a weather table, etc. The party members start to accuse and believe that every event is the result of the curse, giving it more power. The next two times the curse manifests, the DM just creates another portent. Finally, when the party is forced to return to town during a blizzard, the DM rolls on an encounter table with +2 from the portents, calling a group of evil white wolf spirits to attack. The party, low on supplies and health, is wiped from the encounter and the curse of the shewolf is considered ended.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Ultimate Game + On "non games"

This is the ultimate game. The rules go like this. Whenever you try to "do" something in the game, roll a d6. The higher your roll, the better you do. Getting a 6 is like a really good or total success, where as getting a 1 is a total failure. If you get something between, then it has varying degrees of success.

If your character is really good at something, maybe add a +1 to your role do a few specific things. There are no stats or health points or anything, just the roll and maybe a +1 if you're good at something. There's no hit points, but if getting hit once and dying isn't fun then you can do a three strikes and your out kind of system. Everything else that happens in the game world happens because it makes sense to happen.

That was the ultimate game. You're welcome.

On "Non-Games"
Games that have no rules or have only fictional "in universe" rules are an interesting quandary. I've wanted to do a more complete dissertation on them for some time, but it's not a very highly explored or talked about thing, at least in any online circles I happen to frequent. I've written a few things that are close, though the Galaxy Far Away ruleset I talked about before is the stronger example.

In the few examples of these I've read, the most common of these follow the concept of the "game as a conversation", which is a nice way to put it and feels very open and approachable. Obviously this will require a consenting, well put-together group. I feel as though if the entire group are very strongly steeped together in the universal tropes and feel of whatever type of game or genre they are playing, this might one of the best if not THE best method of playing tabletop games regardless of context. Though most groups, even good groups, won't be quite as united together in synchronicity to go into this state of absolute "flow"- I certainly haven't, it is more of a theoretical concept.

Imagine, if you will, a group of people deeply invested in Sword & Sorcery and Appendix N material. They end up making a tabletop game with almost no rules- perhaps only a random table or two or a dice roll such as the "ultimate game" written above. Then, they run a tabletop game-as-conversation where the only real goal is to exactly emulate a Sword & Sorcery story as their own characters. In such an example, the exact rules, guidelines, dungeons, or other things that bog down a regular game attempting to emulate a Sword & Sorcery experience would only get in the way of such exact connection- and in this case I would feel the "Non game" of this concept would be superior.

However, these non-games have flaws and weak spots. I don't think they're some end all replacement for "simulationist" or "gamist" games. For starters, many "genres" are too wide spread for this to work. How would you run a non-game with the only genre concerned being a "generic fantasy adventure"? Everyone brings their own idea and baggage to the table when it comes to fantasy. It would be very difficult to get everyone to run and see the game in exactly the same light. Of course, a strong personality in the form of a DM/GM running the game would be best served here- but there will always be that slight disconnect. Oh, you find a trope of elves? Some people's experiences with elves are different then each other; an encounter with elves could be anything from a whimsical moment to a deadly encounter to a banal interaction in a fantasy kitchen-sink world. Though a group can move past this, there is always that slight hesitation that would come from the minds of those playing the game.

There are also a few games that try to emulate the idea of a "non game" by making a non-game a narrative game built around a fantasy milieu which is the real "game". An example might be something like FATE- which is NOT a rules light game, even though people bill it as. It's significantly harder to wrap your head around then an old edition of D&D or something where you control a single, well rounded character- an opinion of mine, sure, but a strong one. As such, FATE is a game based on the narrative beats of a story or experience, where character aspects and elements to scenes move the action forward; but the game's world is assumed to be the glue that holds it together, in the same way a more gamist game like D&D uses its fantasy game world to be its own glue, or perhaps ground floor where the absurdity of the rules is weighed and corrected. Concepts such as the peasant rail gun don't really exist because they are only "real" if the fantasy world beneath them didn't exist. The idea of a non-game game is to make the game about the fantasy milieu that "grounds" the rules without needing rules in the first place. 

(I am now realizing this turned into Vagueposting halfway through writing it.)

So in conclusion, for a "non game" to work successfully, the real challenge is not clever rules design since there are little to no rules, but moreso the ability to communicate the implied setting, theme, or backdrop of the game. If somebody put in a lot of effort to cleverly write or design a setting introduction, write with a strong theme, or use a pre-established base such as the Star Wars example game above; it would at least do the majority of the heavy lifting. I don't know if "non games" are ever going to be widesspread and popular outside of very insular tabletop groups since, obviously, that is where they flourish best. I don't think we'll ever see non-games as published and sold products since there really isn't anything to ship. The closest thing I could think of is a non-game textbook with lots of story ideas, pre-generator characters, or tables and lists to determine what happens whenever there is no agreement on what would happen next. The great thing about these non games though is that technically ANY book is a sourcebook. Just pick up your favorite fantasy novel, emulate the tone and setting, and that's an RPG source book right there- just for a game without any rules.

Monday, September 13, 2021

20 Generic Enemy Spells

So when writing up my old encounter tables, I always tried to have a few spellcasting enemies. I often write up monsters with the explicit descriptor of spells in their stat lines, the idea being the person running a game using this content (let's face it, everyone here is a GM/DM) will substitute their own stocking rules for it.

But after doing so, I have found that there are very poor rules and guidelines in the games at least that I have read of what exactly random NPC spellcasters should have prepared. Unless it's written directly in the encounter or monster write up as having these spells/spell-like abilities it seems to be a toss up between "the same spells a player-character should have at this level" or just winging it and letting the DM decide what spells they have prepared.

So instead, I have written up a list of 20 generic spells that are applicable to NPC magicians. These include rival magic-users to the party, bandit-wizards, orc spellcasters, witches, wizard ghosts, dark cultists, and so on. Fair warning, these spells are really generic, and are meant to be applicable to NPCs that the parties interact with in the dungeon, so they are almost all combat focused. Mostly because if the 1 HD bandit rolled Floating Disk as his starting spell on the MU starting spell table it's mostly just a waste of an encounter. This list avoids that problem totally by making all the spells immediately useful in the context of how PCs will face them; almost always through combat encounters. You could also learn these spells from these characters, offering a unique vector for character advancement.

For rules; assume each monster Magic-User has a number of prepared spells they can cast equal to their HD. If the monster's description or stat-line describes them as being extra powerful (casting as though they were a higher level) or having lots of magical trinkets and artifacts or carrying a spellbook, add extra spells. If the stat-line has them described as being a poor or primitive spell caster, reduce the number of spells but with a minimum of at least one. If you suspect the monster(s) have been fighting or distracted recently, roll a d100 percentile and let the monster MU keep that percentage of their spells. Also if the PCs have done any shenanigans recently like removing vital sources of food and water or killing a bunch of monsters belonging to a specific monster group, the enemy MUs may also have less spells because of that.

Spells are cast by the enemy magic user by speaking an incantation. Because the spell is spoken; a successful hit on the enemy during casting interrupts their spell. Spells are declared during the opponent's round, but only take effect on the start of the next opponent's round, giving the players a chance to retaliate. Intelligent enemies will position guards or try to cast from a far away position so that you can't stop them. I use team initiative and hold my player's to the same rules.

Also; this list doesn't use spell levels because they're lame and I'm tired of them. However, it is roughly ascending in power. So you could say rolls of 1 to 6 are 1st level spells, rolls of 7 to 12 are 2nd level spells, and rolls of 13 to 20 are 3rd level. For most wandering encounters, the first 20 results are the most fitting and fair, so just roll a d20 equal to the number of HD the monster has for their spells. Special named NPCs or the leaders of a Witch coven etc. may get one or two better spells. For them, you can roll 1d10+10 for a random powerful spell.

20 Enemy Spells

[1] Rust Spray
Sprays a disgusting red-brown fluid that rusts and corrodes metals. The caster chooses what to try and spray- if it hits a sword, the sword gets -2 to hit, if sprayed on armor, -2 AC. If the caster sprays it in your face; you are blinded for one round and get -4 to hit. You can choose to block this with your shield- wooden shields are unaffected, but metal shields will lose 1 point of AC.

This rust spray does work on magic items, but only gives a penalty of -1 AC or To-Hit instead. With a downtime turn of rest, you can clean, polish, and scrub the rust clean and repair your piece of equipment, which removes the negative and restores the item to full strength.

[2] Elemental Blast
Fires a bolt of elemental energy, dealing 1d6 + HD damage on a hit. This spell uses an arcane/magic to-hit roll, which is a d20 + caster's level or HD vs the target's AC, no saving throw. If the damage roll is a 6, the bolt can inflict a bonus effect.

This spell deals damage of a random element. The element is (roll 1d4) Fire, Ice, Lightning, Acid. For generic casters, this damage can be random, but for themed casters like Pyromancers, Ice Witches, etc you can just assign them the most fitting element.

[3] Telekinesis
Telekinesis has three possible modes of use. The caster can use any of the three, but can only use one per casting of this spell. 

Shove the target back a square, or a short distance in theater of the mind. The shove knocks targets prone; requiring a round to stand up. Creatures get a save to avoid being tossed off a ledge/back into spikes and so on. If you get shoved back into somebody else that's the same size or smaller then you, you both fall over. If you get shoved into a wall, take 1d3 improvised damage.

Pull moves the target closer to the caster. Creatures in a backline will be shoved past the person in front of them and now be considered in the front line.

Throw allows the caster to toss a dagger, stone, or other random item as per a thrown attack. The weapon must hit with an unmodified d20 attack roll and deals the damage of the weapon if it hits. This spell cannot be cast on items held or weighed down in some way.

[4] Evil Eye
Stares at a target with evil intent. The target gets -2 against their next saving throw. This spell can also be used on unpaid retainers, lantern-boys, and untrained animals (dogs but not war dogs, etc) and will make one creature flee. Creatures who flee from fights will be very remiss to rejoin the party's exploration even if you actually manage to find them before they're eaten by something.

[5] Darkness
Significantly dims sources of light in the area- torches become as bright as candles, candles becomes as bright as matchsticks. Anyone not holding a torch experiences a negative To-Hit and can't tell what's going on. Creatures who can see in the dark aren't effected and will be more giddy to cast this spell then surface dwellers. Also I know this already a spell everyone has and uses, but I like this version better.

[6] Hex
Target creature takes 1d4 damage to a random stat. The damage is presented as a physical injury or disease as a curse would- like a great big boil appearing on their nose for Charisma or their veins turning black and getting a bit of a cramp for Dexterity, etc. This damage is recovered at a rate of 1 point per season / in between each session.

[7] Shield
Creates an energetic field around a target, making the next three melee attacks against them be made at disadvantage. The caster can place this on any target within sight distance. The caster can also split up the shield evenly among three different targets for one attack with disadvantage against each creature.

[8] Whirlwind
The caster of this spell is surrounded by a whirlwind. The whirlwind picks up dust and swirls around the caster unpredictably; causing all ranged attacks fired through the whirlwind to have disadvantage to hit. This whirlwind can be large and fierce enough to protect multiple individuals; either around the caster in a radius or a number of people = caster level for theater of the mind. This spell lasts until the caster dies or moves from where they are standing.

[9] Howl
The caster gives off an animal howl. It echoes through the air- if the caster is part of a faction, this spell has a 1 in 6 chance to call reinforcements equal to 50% of a regular patrol size, or the rest of the patrol if they were separated beforehand. If no reinforcements exist, this spell instead has a 1 in 6 chance to draw a wandering encounter in, which will roll reaction checks and can be hostile to both the magician's party as well as the player's party. Unlike other spells, this one can be sustained over multiple rounds if nobody strikes the MU to stop it- every round rolls another chance until the spell is ended, the caster is struck, or an encounter is rolled.

[10] Empower
This spell allows the caster to empower one being in their line of sight with supernatural strength. The target gains +1d6 temporary hit points, +1 AC, and +1 To-Hit and Damage as well as increasing in size and bulk. Goblins become as big as short men, orcs become as big as ogres, etc. This spell will end if the caster is killed. Those who have been empowered by this spell will be extremely tired after a battle, requiring a hearty meal or time to recover; and will have negative versions of this spell's effects until they can recover and sleep it off.

Additionally; this spell can be used on 1 Hit Point vermin or tiny creature like a spider, rat, gremlin, etc. and turn it into a 1 HD giant version as a monster with appropriate stats. The caster has no special control over the creature but the creature will generally attack someone if it is thrown at them as its transforming or if they were the pet of the caster's they'll defend them.

[11] Wrack
Magical curse that causes immense pain. Deals 1d6 damage and causes you to drop whatever you are holding. Shields have straps and aren't dropped, lanterns hung from the belt aren't released by your hand and therefore don't drop, etc. Save to resist the spell.

[12] Levitation
The caster flies up into the air and can fly around. This lets them avoid all melee attacks with short weapons; but reaching weapons like spears or whips can still hit if the ceiling is low enough. Ranged attacks can obviously still hit, but the caster gets +2 AC from flying around quickly. The spells ends if they touch the ground again- they can stay airborne (and pelt spells at you from above) for up to 3 rounds before their flight ends.

[13] Invisibility
The caster or one target they choose turns partially invisible. All of their equipment is made invisible as well. You cannot see them or their shadow either. Hitting the creature without some kind of indication in this form is essentially impossible- assume a negative To-Hit modifier of -10 with situational reductions of this penalty due to surrounding clues like footprints, their reflection that still shows up in mirrors and pools of water, their breath in a cold room, etc.

Every time the invisible creature make a successful attack in melee against someone, or any time you successful harm them, assume that 1d10% of their body is covered in blood now- reduce the penalty to hit them by this percentage. Once the creature reaches a total of 75%+ or more they are revealed enough that their location can be accurately guessed, so no penalty is applied. Assume that throwing a bucket of paint on them or marking them with glowing dust will cover 2d30% of their body in a throw.

[14] Destroy
The caster destroys 1d4 pieces of equipment. Swords shatter, armor falls to pieces, vials burst, wooden staves turns to sawdust, etc. Magic equipment is immune to this effect. This spell can also be used on an animated entity like a golem or living armor and deal (1d4)d8 + caster HD damage. If the being is intelligent, they get a saving throw. Genuinely important, well maintained items like heirlooms or things in protective cases might just be damaged by this spell instead.

[15] Toxic Cloud
This spell creates a toxic cloud of a random color. The cloud can be lighter then air (goes up) or heavier then air (goes down) at the behest of the spell caster. The cloud fills in space but is easily blown away by the wind or other wind related spells or blasts.

The toxic cloud deals 2d6 damage for every round you breathe it in. Having a facemask or covering your mouth with a bit of cloth reduces this to 1d6 damage. Characters may be able to hold their breath to run through the cloud quick enough to get out- but only characters with +2 Constitution or better can succeed at this without breathing. This spell produces enough toxic fumes to fill a large room or battlefield trench, and will slowly dissipate over the course of 3 exploration turns. The caster has no special immunity or resistance against this spell.

[16] Magic Chains
Conjures manacles and ankle-weights on a target's body, and magically connects chains from these into the nearest walls or solid objects. The creature can still attack, block, and cast spells normally but cannot move. The only way to free yourself is to be supernaturally strong to pull the chains out of the wall (+3 Strength or better), break the chains with a +2 Magic Weapon or better, or concentrate for a round to will the chains to disappear- giving you a save vs magic to dispel the chains. You cannot attack or take any other actions during your concentration round.

In addition; even after being freed from the chains you are stuck with the manacles and ankle weights. These increases the target's encumbrance by one unit or step, so an unencumbered character becomes lightly encumbered, encumbered characters become heavily encumbered, etc. If you use weight-based encumbrance, then consider 50% of their maximum weight taken up by this spell. They can be broken off with metal working tools over a turn of downtime- however this makes a tremendous noise and has a 1 in 6 chance to attract a wandering encounter.

[17] Summon
This spell conjures forth a creature of equal HD to the caster. The creature is chosen by the caster when the spell is cast, and requires total concentration. The spell takes 3 rounds. The first round begins the casting and opens the portal, the second round draws the monster through the portal, and the third round binds the monster to the caster's will. If the caster is hit...

During the first round- The portal isn't opened and the spell is wasted.
During the second round- The spell fails, but the portal is opened and energies swirl. Roll a spell cataclysm or for a random demon to come through the portal.
During the third round- The monster is summoned but the caster loses control of it- causing it to attack wildly or run away if its a fearful thing.

If the spell is successful, the monster serves the caster's side faithfully and attacks. It has no morale or never flees from combat. The monster naturally breaks apart and disappears after one day.

[18] Elemental Spear
Very similar to Elemental Blast above, except this version is more powerful. The caster raises their hand and throws a spear of elemental energy. The spear requires a d20 + HD of caster roll to connect, and deals 2d8+HD of a random element in damage. If one or both die get a 6 or higher, the target suffers the Overcharge effects. To determine the element, pick the most fitting for the NPC or roll on the random table. (Roll 1d4) Fire, Ice, Lightning, Acid.

In addition; whatever element the spear is also grants it an extra effect on hit.
Fire- Creates a cloud of ash and smoke, choking anyone adjacent to the target who tries to cast a spell. If the spear is blocked by the target has a wooden shield, the shield burns up.
Ice- All potions carried by target freeze. You can't drink them; requires a turn to thaw.
Lightning- Knocks you to the ground, requiring a round to stand up. This is in addition to getting stunned from the electric shocks- meaning you may fall to the ground and have to wait to even get back up again from the convulsions.
Splashes acid around you- dealing 1d6 damage to everyone standing adjacent to you. If you're in a tight hallway this could be the whole party.

[19] Reflect Spell
This spell can be cast as a reaction, but only if the caster has not cast a spell in the last turn. The caster will stretch out their arms and create a silvery screen that bounces magical energies or blasts back at the sender. Spells will return at roughly the same level of power, angle, and intention as the original spell, simply reversed. So a spell in the form of a cone is sucked up and spit back out in the same cone shape, where as a spell that targets an individual will bounce back to the original spellcaster, etc.

The caster of the first spell (the spell that is being reflected) may make a save vs magic to cancel their spell out before its effect bounces back to them- if you succeed on your save, you lose your own spell but you didn't suffer its effects. If you fail, proceed as though your own spell just hit you. If this spell was used to reflect a magic blast instead, then no save is granted and the countering-caster rolls a magical attack roll +2 to see if they hit you with the reflected blast.

[20] Torment
This spell gives the target a feeling of dread. Their mind is filled with torturous images, feelings of hopelessness, and damages their very will to live. The target of this spell loses 50% of their current hit points. Save to resist the spell.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Garden District- Treebranch

If you looked at Garden from Tower Central or from the air, you would see a large black splotch within the glowing bright city. Before Garden existed, there was just the forest. The landscape was swallowed by the urban growth of the city as the electric lights could keep the darkness at bay, but a small valley retained some of that darkness. It was built in with homes and stores spread out further apart, patrolled and tended to be heavily armed game wardens, now a comfortable getaway. While kept clear of monsters from outside of the city, this part of town has far more wildlife then most, especially of the larger variety. People live here with the elusive pitch-black deer, the megafoxes, many other creatures not found in the back alleys and little walled gardens of Garden. It's secluded, and by far one of the best neighborhoods to disappear to if you're a wanted man.

Treebranch is very laid back. Not a lot of construction or manufacturing goes on here. Conversely, people ply outdoor skills and hunting to make their meals; more challenging game is here then the lemurs and hogs in the inner city. It isn't wealthy, but the people here always have acres of land to trade and make everything they need. Sometimes tourists get lost, and it advised to not dig in any of the clearings, as shallow graves from the mobsters and killers of Garden liter the ground like molehills. Rifles are the preferred weapon, and walking on foot is preferred to an obvious hover car.

Everyone here looks old and wise, even if they very clearly aren't. There is a forest-induced leanness to these people. Races included the Fawns, who appreciated the forests and natural beauty, but have taken to marking their horns with reflective paints and wearing white as to not get shot by overzealous hunters. Snappers, the blue-skinned crocodile peoples who mostly live around the docks, have moved here in high numbers due to the ease of finding and trapping small game for their endless carnivorous appetites. Other aliens include the many legged Surbabbi sneaking through the underbrush, but beings of all species can live here as long as they have an appreciation for nature.

Treebranch is the most “rural” part of Garden. As far as a huge, electric walled city goes, this place is as close to rural as you can get without it being a deathtrap. The outside of Garden city is stalked by foul monsters, psychic beings of great power, and the Torchlight society, all of whom will kill any city slickers who dare wander those woods. As such, this place is much like a microcosm of the great outdoors. Seasons and weather are treated more seriously, there are farmers and ranchers, woodsmen, hunters, wild-men, and crazy nature cultists all wrapped up in this little district.

Notable Characters - Roll 1d4
Saen-Man - 7 HP, 1 Armor, 1d4 switchblade, Psychic
He's a fawn, but with most of his fur and hair missing looks more like a creepy monster. He oils his bald head and isn't much for violence, but he has psychic abilities. He tends to avoid people most of the time, feeling their energy and simply hiding himself, but can be found and talked to if you look like reputable sweeps. Saen-Man has his finger on the pulse of life in Treebranch, and can instinctively sense when something damaging to nature happens here; a large fire, toxic waste dump, or poachers. He will insist that you put a stop to these problems but has little to offer in ways of rewards.

[2] Machine Guy - 8 HP, 2 Armor, 1d8+1 repeating rifle
Mysterious tinkerer. Tall blue alien, with two extra arms. He likes to keep the tractors, huskers, combines and all other forms of farm and outdoorsy equipment working here. Severely undercharges, he seems to just really enjoy his work. Has no idea how to work on the hovercars that populate most of Garden's city streets- prefers four wheels fueled by biofuels. Keeps on a mask and an air of mystery around him- rumor says he's on the run from a violent gang after stealing blueprints to a very advanced machines or powerful weapon that he couldn't let fall into their hands.

[3] Dutch - 4 HP, no armor, 1d10 hunting rifle
Makes moonshine, loves his neighbors. He's a human, which is probably weird for people in Garden, you don't see a lot of those. Bit of a hillbilly stereotype, but an honest man. Dutch isn't honest about his secret stash, a case of 800 silver coins, stolen directly from the mint on Earth. He had them with him when he ended up in this world. He's waiting to find a good price for them all, or a way to put them to good use. They're buried a few minutes walk away from his shack.

[4] Little Love - 3 HP, no armor, 1d4+1 pocket pistol
Small blue alien man, all about free love. Lives in a hover-van; currently propped up on fallen logs. Hits on female party members, shares drugs as quick as he talks, surprisingly not a creeper. Currently hiding out in Treebranch after offending several city officials and puritans for both his lifestyle and accidentally leaking the fact they have attended his psychadelic drug orgies in the past. Huge penis.

Notable Gang - Skinners
Holdings- Infamy (+3), Moonshine Addiction (-1)

These semi-tribal hillbillies are said to descend from the Torchlight Society, and a few members can recite their lineage back to before Garden was ever built- just lost souls living in the darkness. They have a large homestead that is fenced in by brutal bone piles and totems made by the members of their defeated enemies- this gang gives treebranch its reputation of being filled with cannibal hillbillies.

The gang is, especially in the past, known for the torturous deaths they inflicted on anyone who crossed them. This fearsome reputation brings fear and respect into the hearts of all treebranch residents; this is especially telling since the people of treebranch tend to be among the most well armed and self-reliant of everyone in the whole city. The gang's original rule of blood-only recruitment had to be lifted a few decades ago due to the original families shrinking and moving away, and the newer generation of the gang are softer then the older. In addition, the gang's main form of income in the form of making moonshine has backfired as most of the gang's members are alcoholics.

The leader of this gang is Two-Is-Better, a fat alien with a gray, eyeless head and a big slobbery mouth. He's very old and may come from a species that is biologically immortal; at least until they get so fat and big they can't move anymore or collapse under their own weight. He was around for the original founding of the gang and was once its second in command, and could tell many stories and reveal truths about Garden's ancient past, but will rarely talk to even residents of Treebranch; city slickers from other districts have no shot.

Notable Location - Growling Tree
Near the heart of Treebranch is a large white tree. It grows alone from the other trees; its scraggling roots uprooting the soil and killing its competition. It has no leaves (anymore) but seemingly gets its energy from an alien, inner source. Some believe it may be the creation of an especially potent Reality Warper. Every night, the tree's roots begin to shift and slither under the soil, breaking up and "swallowing" anything on the surface. Underneath the tree is a patch of  aerated, easily dug soil. It is filled with air pockets, rocks, decaying plants, and corpses of mob hits disposed of here. While there is treasure to be found here; any random shifting or moving of the tree will likely bury you alive, as well as remake any tunnels or chambers you have dug, making you lost in this burrow.

The tree is an anomaly even in a city like this. Beyond its highly energetic state, it is also powered by something in its trunks core. It gives the tree a feeling of heat all throughout its body; the rare piece of root or branch cut from the tree retain some of this heat for several years, leading to the rich and powerful of Garden creating self-heating beds and furniture as the height of luxury. However, the tree is much more "aware" of itself then most plants; it growls. When struck with an axe, it will shiver and move the harmed limb away. Its sap is powerfully fire retardant, and will seemingly erupt into wounds in the wood to put out fires of any size. Those who harm the tree even once will be disliked, causing it to growl at them for getting close; those who cut branches will soon find it impossible to get within touching distance without the tree trying to bury them alive under its roots. If a group it dislikes approaches, the ambient temperature of the clearing will rise too, until eventually it will cause serious harm and fatigue in most species who stick around too long. It remembers those who harm it; but also those who help it and treat it with respect. Only a few highly connected residents of Treebranch can even attempt the dangerous feat of climbing the animate tree; the small cache of owl nests and the unique view at its peak being the only rewards for such a dangerous climb.

Random Encounters in Treebranch - 1d10

[1] Several rednecks are having a party out the back of a big hover-truck. There are at least four dead deer, all of whom are of a rare species that this group is illegal hunting. It's pretty chill once you convince them to put their guns down.

[2] Homeless forest-dweller with leaves in his mane. Probably a criminal on the run. Looks like a mangy upright lion, but a bit too gray and spindly to look majestic. He'll be incredibly gracious for any food; but will absolutely steal the first valuable thing he sees the moment your back is turned. Also knows the location of the Growling Tree and will tell any adventurer-looking group of city slickers if you can find an actual bed for him to sleep in tonight.

[3] You find a Chimney stuck in a tree- its bayonet has been jammed in so deep the muzzle almost touches the bark. Pulling it out requires a very strong person, or several with lots of patience and time. The gun totally works. Roll a Random Gun; it has about half its total capacity of ammo loaded and ready to go.

[4] Two big alien deer in a small clearing. One is covered in horrible sores caused by some kind of flesh-burrowing insect, while the second puts its mouth on them in an attempt to nurse and heal the wounds. If you touch the infected deer, there is a 1 in 10 chance your species is compatible and can be host to the parasite.

[5] The next time you enter a cluster of trees and brush, the air seems to become chilled and the darkness gets darker. Any light-producing tools or flashlights you have dim and you hear ominous whispers. Psychics feel incredible senses of dread, then take 1d3 nonlethal damage as invisible fingernails scratch their bodies. After one turn or a roll of 6 on a d6 by a psychic if they attempt to "dispel" the darkness around you it goes away as though nothing happened.

[6] There is a nigh-pristine fountain of marble and stone hidden away behind two trees and some large stones. The water is drinkable and very clean. There is one small fish in the fountain. If you put your hands inside the fish will cuddle up to them, as though it was a pet abandoned here. The fountain has a small alien-angel statue with golden wings worth about $10 each.

[7] You find a shack with tons of metal tools and bloodied surfaces. There is a 1 in 6 chance you find grisly remains and a useful item if you spend a turn lurking around here. If you stay here for more then three turns for any reason; you will encounter the owner.

[8] You find a patch of disturbed dirt in the nearest convenient place; as though somebody just recently buried something here. If you dig it up, you'll find a weird rock that looks curled up on itself which emanates a strange smell. Any psychis in the party will note that it has a similar "aura" to things brought back up from the city's underground tunnels.After 2d6 hours of being dug up, the next time it is put down somewhere it gets up and starts to crawl away. It crawls towards the city limits to return to the forest outside.

[9] Roll on General Gang Table.

[10] Roll on General Encounters Table.


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Magic Shield Generator

This generator can be used to generate magic shields. If it's a regular magic shield of +1, it will have its Base AC for its size, plus any material or face modifiers, and then +1 to its total AC. If it's a magic shield +2 or a special artifact magic shield found in the depths of a tomb or something; then it also gets a Shield Power.

Shield Size & Base AC Value -
Roll d3
[1] Buckler / Roundshield - +1 AC (Use in a Grapple)
[2] Kite / Heater - +2 AC
[3] Tower / Fullsize - +3 AC (Encumbrers)

Shield Material - Roll d12
[1] Beast Hide (+1 Damage with Attacks when held) Exotic skin stretched along its frame.
[2] Sacred Copper (Immune to Corrosion/Acid) Has a green tint, strong copper disc.
[3] Bones (+2 to Saves vs Death) Made of bones, infused with deathly magic energies.
[4] Dwarf Steel (+1 AC, -1 Initiative) Very heavy, but extremely strong.
[5] Infernal Metal (Half damage from Fire Breath / Spells) Bright red, absorbs heat and flame.
[6] Crystal (+4 AC against Blasts, Immune to Color Spray) Prismatic, splits light and the elements.
[7] Mirror (Reflects back spells or wands on successful Save) Shining brightly, made of polished silver. Mirror shields are renowned as the shields of great heroes throughout history.
[8] Elven (+1 Initiative, +25% Magic Resistance) Made with white-gold metal and has gold leaf borders as decoration. Infused with Elvish magic.
[9] Scales (+1 To-Hit with attacks when held, Shield repairs itself if destroyed) Made from the scales of a serpent or reptile. You'll get excited thinking its dragon scale but it's not, sorry.
[10] Ironwood (First person to strike it each day is Entangled) Charged with the magic of nature; the strength of the roots is based on ecosystem. Forest roots are strong, desert roots are weak.
[11] Turtle Shell (Swim at Dolphin speed) Made of a turtle's shell. By holding this shield and kicking your feet, it will increase your speed to that of a fast swimming dolphin.
[12] Mysterium (Whenever an attack is blocked, deal 1 damage of a random element at the attacker in melee) This material conducts magical energies. This shield releases elemental energy when struck. The element is only rolled once when this shield is created, and is always the same. Roll 1d4- Fire, Cold, Lightning, Acid

Shield Face - Roll d6
[1] Spike (Shield bash deals 1d4+1 damage, Magic) Dangerous spike.
[2] Animal (+1 Initiative / Act-In-Suprirse) Painted with a design of a Random Animal.
[3] Painted (+1 to Hireling Morale) Painted with bright, inspiring colors or a heraldic seal.
[4] Crystal (Enemies get -2 to Saves vs your spells or Special Moves) Charged with occult power.
[5] Gargoyle (Morale Check on first strike) Terrifying face; it takes guts to strike it- but only for the first strike per fight. Eyeless enemies are unaffected.
[6] Boss (+1 AC) Metal dome over the center point of the shield; around it is silvered engravings in spiral or flowering patterns. Strengthens your defense.

(Optional) Shield Power Table - Roll 1d6+ BASE AC Value of Shield
[2] Boomerang (Throw shield, 1d4+1 damage, returns next round) You throw the shield as a discus, bouncing around and unerringly returning to your hand. Lose AC bonus until next round.
[3] Grow (Can extend to one size bigger, adding +1 AC, but you can't move) The shield can act as a form of cover; sticking into the ground and growing bigger.
[4] Charge (Increase speed by +100%, charge into battle and get advantage on first attack) The shield glows and leaves a streak of flame as you run in.
[5] Gong (Shield user can strike shield to create a sonic blast; deals 1d4 damag, knock back 10 ft, and deafen all within cone; 3 times/day) Requires a blunt instrument the front; blasting like a gong.
[6] Dome (Shield creates magical dome that covers up to 6 people, nothing can pass through, once per day) Creates a magical, impenetrable transparent dome to protect you and your allies.
[7] Weapon (Shield transforms into a weapon) The shield snaps around the arm and turns into a fitting weapon. Bucklers become punch daggers that deal 1d4+1 magic damage, Kite shields become arm blades that deal 1d6+1, and Tower shields become huge clubs or chainsaws that deal 1d8+1 damage. If the face of the Shield has a spike; increase damage die size of weapon form by one dize size. Also, if the Shield is made of Mysterium; add elemental damage.
[8] Shrink (Can shrink to a size smaller for easy carrying. No encumbrance penalties) Can fold up into a smaller size for climbing, sneaking, squeezing through caves, etc.
[9] Wall (Shield magically extends horizontally for 10 ft in both directions) Slamming the shield into the ground causes it to grow and fill space; blocking passage or providing protection for many.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Censer of Candis

Censer of Candis
- Magic Censer +1
Whenever equipped by a priest, sage, or holy man it allows them to turn undead as though they were one level higher. The Censer also acts as a holy symbol.

Created by the honorable Noble House of Candis, this Censer is wrought from blue-green metal and is especially holy by its maker's hands. Its design is inspired by nature, being made with angles and of a shape that are offensive and weaken the forces of chaos. This power grants passage and defense against endless or repeating hallways, straightens warps in space, and acts as something to right the path of non-euclidean spaces. As long as Incense burns in the Censer, the dungeon cannot pull any of the above tricks. The smoke also always floats exactly parallel to where it was puffed and stays there until it fades; so one only need look behind them to see if the smoke is trailing upwards and they can see if they are moving down a subtly sloped passageway.

As a symbol of purity and law, those who serve the forces of chaos seek to destroy this Censer. If the Censer is smashed by anyone willingly doing so, the Gods of Chaos instantly award them with a Chaos Medallion Power, which they now have for the rest of their life.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Dimension of Candle Canyons

Light a candle and hold it to your breast. Go into the mountain pass, turn past the silent stones and look not where you go. Before you know it- now you're here. Endless sky above and crag below; where you are you shall not know.

The Candle Canyons
This is an alternate dimension. To arrive here requires a magical portal, or for one to arrive through a small ritual as described in the poem above. The land is craggy and mountainous, becoming incredibly steep and impossible to proceed upwards; mostly you will pass through canyons which, much like a natural labyrinth, seem to extend outwards infinitely in all directions. While you will never see the sun or source of light in the sky; there is both day and night here.

However, even during the darkest nights light is abundant in the form of the candles. The candles are everywhere in this realm. They float in the air; appearing as traditional, generic beeswax candles, but made by unseen hands. All of them are lit, and gently float over the passes and rocks of the canyons you are in, always providing a gentle light with which to see. It seems as though the candles are less numerous in the day, with more and more of them appearing at dusk, being strung along by invisible, undetectable winds. This has given rise to the belief that somewhere in this realm is a great candle-maker, who makes these candles by day and lets them fly at night to light all corners of this realm.

If you manage to reach up or shoot down a candle, you will find it as it is- a wax candle. You can carry it around or use it to light fires or whatever. It's just a candle. Once a candle has been knocked from the air, it will not fly on its own power again.

The land and stones of the Canyon are very uniform. The air is dry and arid, with a hint of warm desert breezes just above the canyon you are in, floating on the sky. The air here is strange, charged with the magics of air and fire, making it difficult to float or fly any higher then a few feet- going high enough to scan the entire range seems nearly impossible- though the few who have only report seeing an endlessly stretched mountain range in all directions. The rocks are a light brown, with deeper reds and oranges in the underground and the soils on the ground. There are plants here, occasionally, but all of them are shrubs, small patches of wild grasses, and a very rare collection of mountain flowers on slightly more open areas. Without trees, finding firewood is near impossible- but thankfully the candles eliminate the need for light for camping and the rocks absorb the heat from the day beautifully, making the days and nights both pleasant and comfortable. However, you will have to rely on magical fire or simply get used to dry and cold rations for eating if you spend a long time here.

As for the wildlife; shrubs and grasses are most common. Small streams of water sometimes pool from the rocks and spill down the canyon basins, creating small green ravines in little creeks, but then the water will just disappear into a crack of under a heavy stone and be gone again- the water here is too uncommon and unpredictable to act as a landmark or guide- there are no rivers branching to form a great ocean. The most common creatures here are the rock lizards, who come out during the daylight hours to eat the occasional rust-red gnat or wasp. Small bee hives are sometimes built in a crevice, complete with lazy bees seeking mountain flowers and making golden honey.

The only other natural animal that seems to exist here are wild mountain goats. They are only about the size of a domestic goat, are always a ruddy rust color, and are always found alone. They are incredibly skittish, despite having no natural predators, and seem to almost purposefully avoid leading tracks on soft sands- despite predators using scent more often, almost as if they are avoiding intelligent trackers who may try to find them. Their droppings are also the color of the rocks here, which ends up making their leavings look like little pebbles, and the goats are said to lick the stones at some places to give their digestive tract their unique coloration. These goats are rare, and hunting one with anything but a very skilled tracker is impossible. Some believe that this indicates they are going extinct and the remainders have evolved to avoid capture, while others think they are just this wily as a consequence of being created to live in this realm.

Stone Etchings
All around the canyons are etchings in the stone. These primitive drawings vary in style and subject, but all seem very old. The etchings usually depict humanoid creatures with long limbs, drawn with white circles on the head to depict wisdom or, in some interpretations, magical ability. It is unknown if these drawings were made by the many-limbed witches of the candle canyons, or if it was survivors, or a yet unknown dead culture who made them.

The stone etchings are also not on the surface; they lead inwards. The canyons are sunk into the endless stone and mountains of this realm; but even then there are inlets. Cavities grown in the rocks and stones, these caves are thankfully shallow- and always lit with candles, who float inside to keep the darkness away. The etchings are most common in these places, shelters for whoever created the scratchings. Here the subject matter varies; some will draw the goats that inhabit this realm, where as others draw landmarks or arrows to guide whoever reads them long after. Sometimes, these stone etchings will lead to treasure caches hidden between the crags of a stone- but they won't always warn of what lies inside those cracks.

While nobody is sure who made the etchings, everyone is sure of what they used to make them. The occasional dark gray colored stone found in these chambers or among the stones of the canyons is not of the same material as the rest of this world. Instead; these dark stones contain ore for a dark heavy metal- a stone of this material with a sharp tip can easily scratch the red dusty stones in this place.

The biggest threat that exists in this realm to outside explorers is, by far, the spiderwitches. These many-limbed witches appear as old crones with extra arms and legs, often stretched to exaggerated lengths. They can crawl over the stones- and while they move silently, their distorted shadows over the rocks, backlit by a floating candle, or their occasional mumbling in an ancient language, can give you a warning that they are coming. Spiderwitches are incredibly solitary; but seem to exist in a hierarchy, with ever larger and more powerful witches calling upon a handful of smaller ones if you offend her.

The Spiderwitches are predators. They attack on sight, except during the night- they would prefer to retreat. It seems they are more audacious during the day, as though the lack the candles around encourages their behavior, while the flying candles repel them. Beyond being dangerous foes in a close range fight, with sharp claws and wild flailing arms and legs; they are also skilled with magic and curses, and are known to be very territorial and aggressive.

The Spiderwitches seem live on the top of the mountain peaks- a few shallow crags and stones for shelter during the night, hiding away from the light of the candles that float down into the valleys and crags of this rocky realm. Whenever you see a dark peak in the distance, untouched by the candlelight, you can assume a Spiderwitch is up there. Worse yet, she is watching you.

Finally; the dangerous witches do have some amount of treasure. It's never in gold or jewels, nor the rotting bone charms and unspeakable substances smeared on their skin, but in the biological anomalies that lie within and on their bodies. Some think that the spiderwitches were never born, living in this realm since time began as nigh-immortals, and are all incredibly old- old enough for some very interesting things to grow from their ancient dusted flesh. If you slay a spiderwitch, you will find something interesting in her flesh- roll on the table below.

Spiderwitch Anomaly Table - Roll 1d10 for Regular Spiderwitch, 2d12 for an Ancient Spiderwitch
[1] Knot of Hair. Found in their filthy, matted hair. This gray ball of hairs seems harder then it should be- blades break before it is untangled. If smashed with hammers and fed into a forge the blade made with it will be magic, granting +1 to hit and damage and being immune to most magic spells. Whatever metal the blade is made with will also turn a dark gray-black and have no shine.

[2] Armpit Mushrooms. Found in the crook of the arm, filthily humid. These tiny black mushrooms seem to squiggle around in your grasp and live on past the death of their host. If cut into pieces and dried; act as a potion reagent that cures insanity and demonic possession. If you're dumb enough to cook and eat them the food will taste absolutely delicious. They are also highly addictive- causing a levels worth of drain if you go a month without a meal laced with them.

[3] Squiggling Thing. Found in the folds of a sagging stomach- or an unexpected marsupial pouch on this witch. Appears like a tiny pink embryo of some nameless mammalian creature. If you bury it in the earth you will be relieved of one disease or curse that ails you. If you eat it live you will gain +1d6 Hit Points and +1 permanent Strength, but will be reviled by all sentient creatures for a year and a day. It will die in three days once removed from the "mother".

[4] Flesh Roach. Found in an open wound- it obviously lived under that skin before the cut. It's a large black roach with a foul attitude- need a pair of metal calipers to pull it out, it will bite your fingers off (2 damage) if you try to pull it out with your hands. The roach is a parasite and will burrow into any living flesh it's placed on, granting whoever is implanted with it +1 AC and the ability to climb walls like a spider, at the cost of aging at double the rate.

[5] Scarified Skin. Found on (several) excess hands, from the palm to the elbow. These hands have been scratched with ominous bloody patterns, long since scabbed over and healed. They also have arcane formula inscribed on them; and could act as a form of mobile spellbook. Magic users could inspect these and study them to find a new spell, but have a 1 in 6 chance of activating a curse that reanimates all the severed hands in an attempt to strangle the one stealing their secrets.

[6] Venom Gland. Found in the mouth. Spiderwitches are not known to bite- but perhaps this one may already show you what her venom does. It's a tiny black-gray sac which contains a potent venom. Anyone struck by a weapon coated in this venom must save or take 2d6 damage each day for the next five days. Each day, they also shrink about 10% of their height, which does not come back, as their body crushes down on their innards. If you trick someone to drink this there is no save, but the venom tastes so bitter and horrible that its taste is almost impossible to mask. The gland contains 2d4 doses.

[7] Great Seed. Found in the stomach. It is a small tan seed that has somehow resisted being digested for who knows how long it laid in her acidic stomach. The seed will grow into a massive tree- though it will take many centuries to fully grow- which reaches to the first heaven above. Strangely, the seed doesn't seem native to the Candle Canyons dimension, and the soil here is too arid and poor to cause the seed to germinate at all.

[8] Witch Roe. Found clinging to the inside of the thighs. Tiny green "eggs". If you eat some, god forbid, you are wracked with terrible nightmares and maniac episodes for about a year. In exchange, you also learn a new random 1st level spell which you can cast once per day, permanently. If you are not a magic user, scale this spell as though you are a magic user of 1/2 your level.

[9] Frosty Cataract. Found in one gray eye. This tiny hard disc of witch-material grants a certain degree of stealth. People around you seem to pay you no mind- they can perceive you, they just choose not to interact or think about it too much. Wearing an object incorporated with this cataract grants +3 to stealth checks or lets you slip up once without degrading to a lower stealth level. If you snap the cataract its magic is permanently lost but for the next 3 days everyone in the world forgets you exist and forget anything you said or did the moment you are out of their sight.

[10] Little Red Mouse. Found under the witch's tongue, trembling. These mice are impossible to find; if any even exist in the wild in the canyons. You can only find obedient, pet mice in the mouths of slain witches. Their relationship with the witches is unknown, but they probably eat whatever the witch eats. These mice can crawl up to an whisper in your ear- their whiskers hinting at ways to turn situations to your advantage- granting +1 to reaction checks or +1 in 6 chance for any role involving diplomacy or law/debate. If you open your mouth, it will crawl under your tongue and accept you as its new owner.

[11] Stone Arrowhead. Found a few inches from the heart. Made of the same unusual dark gray stone found in a few of the etching caves- this arrowhead narrowly missed its mark inside one of these fearsome witches and remained in her body afterwards. If you affix it to an arrow and fire it true- getting either an 18 or higher on your attack roll against a spiderwitch, it instantly slays her. Whenever this happens, you will find the witch's heart has turned to stone with the arrow still connected to it, meaning it can only be used once.

[12] Beast Core. Found in the chest, between the lungs, pulsing with energy. This core is normally only found in the hearts of powerful monsters- used by Xianxia cultivators for their endless quest for immortality. Anyone who eats the core de-ages towards their physical prime by 1d20 years and gain +2 to all saving throws permanently, but each year has a 1 in 6 chance to turn into a Random Animal. They will change into an animal for that year, acting as that animal would, until they return to their normal form with that time missing from their memory. They will always retain a small quirk of appearance or personality from this animal form.

Sunken Cisterns
Deep beneath the canyons, and in the safer caverns which are marked with the etchings of some ancient people or explorers from before, there lay hidden ways deeper within. Though hidden in the rocks, small "buttons" made of carved stones or cracks too smooth or straight to have formed naturally are incorporated into these etchings. If one is to press or pull on these subtle clues, they will be rewarded with a passageway opening up to them.

Within these carved passages are large underground cisterns; huge pools made of the rock of the canyons themselves, carved smoothly into massive cisterns and aqueducts. Water lays undisturbed here- the water here in this darkness is clean and fresh as any mountain spring, contrary to as it may appear and how long it is remained here. Some claim that there is a hidden network of wind traps and dew-creating etchings in the stone above them that catch moisture from the air outside; but no droplets seem to come down nor new water flowing into the cisterns. Neither is the water in the cistern at risk of spoiling or becoming dusty or fetid- the water is as clean as though it had just rained down that very day. The cisterns themselves contain small lakes worth of water; you could sink in one and not be able to reach the bottom in a single breath, and the great stone reservoirs are filled to the absolute brim- any breaking of the surface tension causes it to spill down onto the floor below.

Between cistern-systems are rocky tunnels similar to sewers, but clean and only present to move water. Many passages remain bone dry; overfill systems in the event the cisterns overflow one day. Unlike the caverns above, there are no scratches or artworks adorning the walls, besides the occasional sculpture garden. Perhaps the people above are ancestors, or descendants, locked away from these stone cities.

Dwellings are also down here, their inhabitants long gone. Carved into the walls of large square "courtyards" which are built around central stone fire pits. The places are studiously clean, the only hint of dirt or use by anyone are the piled up ashes inside the central firepits. The dwellings are like facades; rarely ever more then one room deep, always with a window or door facing the central pit. Off from these central "town squares" are small chambers; often heavily ceremonial but lacking in any utility or outside connections, as though they are only there to provide a private place to speak. Small stone firepits are central in these rooms as well; but small enough to produce light that is more intimate, unlike the bonfires of the great chambers.

The most perplexing thing about these ancient cisterns and the adjoining places around them, perhaps, is the total lack of remains or artifacts. No skeletons of ancient peoples, no long since rotted foodstuffs or rusting weapons of the ruling class. Almost nothing is down here. Water is plentiful, though light and food is not, and the chambers themselves seem almost bereft of living things. Even the spiderwitches don't come down here. The only real threat here is the size; the pure scale of things puts the upper world of endless peaks and canyons into perspective. In any direction you roam you will find stairs leading deeper and hallways in all directions. Identical smooth hallways stretching onwards into nigh-infinity. One could spend entire lifetimes walking the halls here and finding nothing except for the living places, the chambers, pools of clean water, and the statues which hold tiny carvings of ancient and forgotten words. The longer one roams the more one must consider the absurdity of this place; was this once the living space of an ancient civilization, who vacated or died off? Or was it being built for one, prepared and pristine, but never entered?