Thursday, April 29, 2021

50 Faction Names

Need a name for a faction or group? Roll on this list.

Roll 1d10 for a cult's name.

Roll 1d30 for a name fitting a fantasy setting.
Roll 1d20+30 for a name fitting a science fiction setting.
Roll 1d50 for a totally random faction name.


50 Faction Names

[1] Ladies & Gentlemen of the Highest Esteem

[2] Jugglers, Tumblers, and More (the more is the cult part)

[3] Order of the Burning Sky

[4] Seekers of Saturn's Spade

[5] Blind Linchpin

[6] The Thresholders

[7] Everyday We Are Better

[8] Hopeful Terror

[9] The Seekers

[10] The Sounding of Frozen Chimes

[11] The Witches Circle

[12] Trollbloodies

[13] The Crossbreed Club

[14] Blight Buddies

[15] Goblin-Grabbers

[16] Rat Catchers

[17] Skulduggers

[18] Blood-Letters

[19] Bird Watchers (painfully obvious spies)

[20] The Valin'Dajo

[21] Squires

[22] White Wardens

[23] Cup Bearers

[24] Imbibers of the Sacred Starlight

[25] The Silverlark Guild

[26] The Family

[27] Mystic Order of (Put a God's name here)

[28] The Aviary

[29] Temple Guard

[30] The Sabre

[31] Noncorporate Security & Defense Initiative (Just said as NSDI)

[32] Watchers of the Wavelength

[33] The Investors

[34] Arms-Runners

[35] Laser Cowboys

[36] Moonfallen

[37] Nebula Pirates

[38] The Roadtrip Men

[39] Time without Loss

[40] The Catalogers

[41] Interspecies Relations Association

[42] Stardust Gardens

[43] Stardust Keepers

[44] Enig-Mass

[45] Delvers of the Event Horizon

[46] Frequency

[47] Intuitive Technologies

[48] Perfect Tyranny (PT)

[49] Valued Interests & Acquisitions

[50] Supernova Squad

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Monsters - Brad Neely Inspiration

Sometimes inspiration can strike in the strangest places.
 

Going by the above picture; let's build some criteria. We're going to write up these monsters similar to the ones that we already know from the picture. So Goblins and Trolls are our baseline.

  • Semi-Intelligent demihumans
  • Are living creatures, nothing too inherently "supernatural"
  • Have social groups, but are probably primitive / barbaric
  • Are low to high level threats to adventuring people, but not ultra powerful


Womps (4 HD, +2 to hit, -2 AC, big fists at 1d6+1, slam bonus at +2)
Morale- 10
Number- 2d4

The Womps are a monsterous species of large fisted individuals. They are quite dull, with square heads that collect their sweat in pools on top to cool off when they think too hard. Being quite slow and stupid, they are easy to strike in combat and are not known to wear armor or use weapons. Instead, they use their fists, which are quite physically powerful.

The Womps like to crush and smash things, and deal +2 damage when slamming someone into a wall or ground repeatedly. The preferred Womp battle tactic is to isolate or knock down an opponent, and then gang up on them and slam them with their fists until they are squished flat and quite dead.

 

Twumps (3 HD, +1 to hit, +1 AC, weapons at 1d6, sponge lichen)
Morale- 12
Number- 1d8 in patrol, 3d10 in pool

Twumps are an ugly between child of trolls and goblins. They are roughly human in height, but are not strong and powerful like an orc. Instead, they are slender and lean, and have long sucker mouths fitted well for sucking up scum and lichen from underground pools and chambers where they live.

Higher then in intelligence then most other related creatures; they have a culture, language, and know the secrets of metalworking and fire. Typically, only their leaders are afforded iron armor, in which case bump up their AC to 15 for rough chainmail, but standard warriors go with cloaks and shawls of cave-creature skin. They live in semi-agricultural societies that stay around the most fertile underground chambers, and defend them to the death from intruders. Warriors and scouts outside of these chambers will carry sponge lichen; a useful source of food but also medicine. If a warrior is injured after a fight, the lichen can be put in the wound to suck up the blood and staunch bleeding; healing 1d4 hit points. Each warrior carries enough for about one use, and the party can make use of these for themselves.

 

Sklorgs (5 HD,  +3 to hit, 1d8+3 bite, ravenous, grapple+1)
Morale- 14 (9 once 'fed')
Number- 1d6 (if result is 1- it's a yellow sklorg)

Sklorgs are large headed monsters with gaping mouths filled with many sharp teeth. They are a dull red in color, but a few are yellow. The yellow sklorgs are loners, kicked out of their social groups, and may be more intelligent and reasonable then the others. Sklorgs only care about eating and as such they always attack immediately (reaction roll of 2) unless they are a yellow sklorg, in which case they have the intelligence of an ogre or troll and are mostly food motivated.

Sklorgs have hands, but prefer to only use their mouths to attack and eat. They only use their arms to grab and steady prey before biting- as a demihuman species they have increased strength and count as grappling +1 (as though they had Strength modifier of +1 for grapple contests) if their teeth are broken or mouth is forced shut, they can make a weak punch that deals 1d2 damage instead.

Once a Sklorg has done a total of 15 or more damage, they have bitten off enough flesh that they are considered "fed". They will no longer jump into swords or spears to try and bite off more flesh, but will eat anyone knocked out or held by other members of their group. If all the Sklorgs remaining alive are 'fed', roll a morale check as 9 and for every other morale check beyond that point.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

6 Spells made by your Apprentice

These are some spells made by your dumbass apprentice. Roll on the table every downtime turn they have no assignment and have time to just screw around in the arcane laboratory.


6 Spells made by your Apprentice
[1]
Broken String Repair
Useful to repair a broken string on a lute, a strap, a drawstring for a bag of holding, etc. When the spell is cast, a length of the caster's hair flies out and takes the place of the cord. You still have to snip your hair off at the right length, as your hair is tied to where the string should go. If you have short hair, it'll hurt a lot more and suck up some body hair to finish the string too.

[2] Firestarter
Lights the end of your finger on fire, like a match. This fire deals no damage and doesn't hurt, at least. The fire on your finger can be used to light other fires- the fire on your finger goes out after a full turn. No, you can't turn it off early.

[3] Suction Cleaning
This spell creates a magical vortex of air in a container or bag that sucks up the air in a room; along with it taking in the dust, particles, and small insects around the place. Useful for cleaning. However, this spell has two drawbacks. First, if used in a space without good ventilation, it will create an airless place where you can't breathe. Second, if too much is sucked up into a bag, it becomes highly pressurized and will explode when opened, dropped, or pierced dealing 1d4 damage from a powerful sonic blast, that deafens for the same number of rounds.

[4] Pressure Finger
Creates a pillar of "pressure" that extends from the end of a finger pointing in whatever direction the finger is pointing. The closer one pushes their finger towards the next solid object in its path, the more pressure is applied. This pressure can be used to press switches, activate pressure plates, knock small objects off shelves, etc. at about a distance of 10 feet. Can only do one "thing" per casting.

All of the effects of this spell could be replicated by an (unlimited use) 10 ft pole.

[5] Bone Blast
By holding a bone by one end and pointing the other, this spell releases the death-energy within the dead body part and fires it out like a roman candle. The caster must make a d20 + Int modifier To-Hit roll vs the target's AC for the bolt to connect.

Deals 1d3 damage for a human bone, 1d6 damage for a giant monster bone, 2d6 for a demigod bone, and so on. The bone is splintered apart and charred black after being used. Actually not a bad spell, but needs a bone and magic missile is probably still more useful.

[6] Wickerweave
Requires several sticks, twigs, and bits of straw. The resulting parts are sown together over the course of 1d4 turns to create a piece of furniture, equipment, or tool. The wicker version of the item works exactly as well as a base version of the item would work without bonuses but is made of wicker; so a wicker shield acts as a regular shield of its size but burns up if hit with fire, etc.

The wicker item, after being made, works as intended for one turn. Then, it ceases its enchantment and will fall apart or become as brittle as anything made of wicker.

Friday, April 23, 2021

[Class] Eelstronaut


Eelstronaut
HD-
d6
Max AC- 12 / Minimum Hit-Points- 4

You're a big scary eel man. You're also exceptionally intelligent, dexterous, and all around nice guy. If you're playing in a more fantasy setting over sci-fi, maybe this guy is from another dimension, future timeline, or is dropped in from a cosmic spelljammer starship that crashed on your primitive planet.

Generate your Dexterity and Intelligence as 3d6+1
Generate your Charisma as 1d6+1

You have a very low Charisma. This isn't just because you are ugly and scary looking, but because of several innate biological traits that can't be suppressed. You are totally carnivorous and have to eat your prey live- eating dead prey is similar to a human eating uncooked meat. Technically possible, but unpleasant and can get you very sick. You're also prone to several gross or weird social ticts and habits; such as saying "Please pass me the plasma wrench dear. Oh yes, thank you eheheheHEHEHE." and other fits of creepy behavior. Sorry.

You are, however, an Eel person. You can't breathe underwater but you can hold your breath for an hour. If this is because of your race or if it's because of your advanced Eelstronaut training that's up to you. You can also see in darkness, especially dark water, and can fit into anything that your head can fit into letting you slip through pipes and stuff. Useful on a space ship.

You're very good with advanced technology. You can repair high tech gadgets and gizmos a number of times equal to your level before they stop working or need replacement parts. As a general rule, something high tech without a support network will keep working until it is either damaged or used incorrectly, then it has a 1 in 6 chance of failing until it fails. Eelstronauts can repair these, but they have a 1 in 6 chance to fail each time they are used from damage. You can also move around in micro gravity, which helps when hit with a levitation trap in a fantasy world.

You can also add +1 to hit with blasters and energy swords at first level. Every three levels after, add a bonus +1.

You can do a bite attack at 1d6+1 as long as you don't have your spacesuit helmet on. You find this kind of thing very barbaric however, and will need to spend at least a turn after combat grooming and picking man-flesh out of your sharp, spiky, glass-like teeth.

At 4th level, you gain the ability to perform an electric shock. You can do this pretty much as often as you want for low voltages, but for a big, high voltage attack; once per day. These low voltage shocks can be done on anything you're touching and can restart generators, run electrical circuits, or hotwire a device. The high voltage shock hits anything you are touching or that is grappling you; deals 1d8+1 damage and shorts out killer robots and stuff and deactivates them for 3 turns.

At 10th level, you become an Eelstronomer and now work in mission control, once you return to civilization (as in, a society with space ships, not a medieval town.) You no longer have to get into the cockpit, now you perform mission control and school the new generation of astronauts. You become the unsung hero the Eel space program and can retire with a comfy pension.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Pet Peeve Corner- "Half Swording" & Human "Endurance Hunting"

 I can't force you to read it, but I can type it. Random pet peeves of mine.

"Half Swording"
Look at this garbage. This is from a simple Google search. As you can see, two different, distinct techniques are presented here. There is Half Swording, the correct technique for the name, where the sword is gripped halfway up the blade to provide more control, and the Mordhau or "Murder Stroke", where a sword is held by the blade to bash an enemy with a pommel.

My problem? People keep calling the fucking Mordhau grip "Half Swording". Even Skallagrim did it in a youtube video, which probably popularized the naming scheme.

Ever since the more "historically accurate combat" zeitgeist began a few years back people have been pushing sword techniques like this an others into the forefront. But like any new piece of knowledge, people slap it around everywhere without much thought or consideraiton. To be fair, the very first image is misleading- Wikipedia uses the below picture for BOTH techniques.

If you look closely, you can see this image actually shows both the half swording AND the Mordhau grip. The man on the left is half swording, the man on the right is using the murder stroke. However, it is somewhat harder to see the man on the left's hand position, and since this is the first result on google, I'm sure this mislead some people. I should also mention that my main complaint here is that these two different techniques seem to both be given the term "half swording" by the general public, which is grating to say the least. Even if you want to argue that the Mordhau grip is a 'type' or position of a half swording technique, I'd argue that the purpose of the grip (blade control versus blunt attack) is totally different and deserving of a different name.


Endurance Hunting
I want to begin this topic with two admissions. The first is that, simply put, this is a real thing. Persistence hunting and endurance hunting are real techniques used by certain tribal groups in Africa today (and were probably used by early man/man ancestors). The second thing to admit is that this nitpick is 100% for an ulterior motive.

Here's the thing; I've seen persistence hunting miscatergorized a lot recently. (Online of course, normal people don't know or give a shit about this kind of thing.) Do you know what persistence hunting is not? Walking slowly at something until it becomes exhausted and dies. This very silly concept is something I have seen with shocking regularity presented as a valid, if not exclusive hunting technique used by early man.

Firstly, I am not a anthropologist. However, I know more about prehistory then a lot of normies. This is stupid. No animal, even animals more suited to this technique then humans, use this "method" of taking out prey. It is nonsense.

Now it's important to remember this- chasing a creature down and having more stamina then the creature so you can capture it is a common technique in nature, called pursuit predation. And the above example of endurance hunting is incredibly similar. So much so that they could basically be called the same thing. To further complicate things; this technique has and is used to some extent. I'm not claiming it was never used, I'm claiming it is mischaracterized and greatly exaggerated.

Let's look at persistence hunting objectively for a second. What conditions have to be met for it to work? Well, firstly, it works in a specific place (hot savanna) at a certain time (hot day) against a specific type of prey (mid to large animals that will retreat from humans). It will not work against burrowing animals, birds, large territorial animals that will hold their ground instead of waste energy running, it will not work against animals that can easily escape into the bush, and it won't work against animals with a similar or better cooling off method (such as animals that live in water, of course). This limits the scope of this technique to a very small selected pool of creatures in a specific habitat.

The problem is humans ate a lot more then just gazelles and they lived in a lot more places then just savanna.

Secondly, and more importantly, the concept that a prey animal can be tracked consistently and not confused with another animal of its herd, not disappear into the bush, or just flat out outrun humans to the point where no amount of jogging, walking, or human sprinting can keep up is hard to imagine happening consistently. And this is combined with the fact that any failed hunt of persistent hunting would waste an entire day of time (can't hunt at night- not hot enough and humans do not have good night vision compared to other predators), tons of caloric energy, and possibly most importantly, causes dehydration from how much sweat the hunters would produce.

Once again, this doesn't mean it's impossible, just not likely. Nobody has ever killed a bear by walking slowly towards it, and yet humans killed them. Cavemen did not kill wooly mammoths by walking at them, and yet people killed these too. Despite how seemingly easy and convenient this special humans-only hunting technique seems to be; no other predator animal anywhere in any part of the world or any part of the fossil record seems to have exhibited it. That's because it's not how people hunted.


So how did early man hunt? Well, simple. They pursued their prey. With weapons. Humans became one of, if not the dominant form of life on Earth through intelligent use of tools and, by extension, ranged weaponry. Sneak up or get close enough to prey, injury with a spear, dart, or arrow, and then follow the wounded animal until it either collapsed or you can get a better shot off. This is the same way that every indigenous human culture continues to hunt to this day, the same way modern human hunters hunt (cept with guns), and the method of hunting in which every single artifact of arrowheads, spears, or atlatls continues to support.

Do these sound the same to you? Well they are very similar- like I said in the title of this blogpost. This is a Pet Peeve. The difference between these is that one is believable, and understandable, and supported by evidence and simple common sense. The other is a fantasy, attributing humans with a magical power of "endurance" that is somehow greater then other living things- including living things that can walk a few minutes after being born, and only sleep for 30 minutes at a time in near constant alertness. Horses only sleep 2 hours, total, a day in many short intervals. Humans sleep 8 in one chunk. Are you going to try to walk something to death that gets a six hour head start every morning?

And here's that ulterior motive I talked about; Human Endurance. Why am I complaining about it? Because people want humans to be special.

Fantasy Races and Endurance
In fantasy (or fiction in general), humans may only be one race of many. However, most stories feature humans in the center of the action. Because humans are the only species that the majority of humans have considered to be a "self aware" species (which is wrong, by the way, but let's not get into that now) that means that intelligent races are created wholecloth from imagination.

In order to present other, fantastical races or species; if they be elves, dwarves, animal-people, weird aliens, or what have you; there needs to be something to compare them too. So they are compared to humans.

Orcs are stronger then humans, but dumber. Elves are more magical and long lived then humans, but reproduce slowly. To the reader, this makes sense and is easy to understand. It is easy to compare these races to humans, as while despite not being able to live for hundreds of years you can imagine a being who could, being able to collect all that knowledge in a life much longer then yours, would be incredibly intelligent, or well learned/magical/whatever.

So in these fantasy worlds, how are humans presented? Well typically, they are presented as the every man. The middle race- jack of all trades, master of none. However, I'm sure to many people, this gets old. People are tired of being the "quick learning", short lived, young and ambitious race that humans always are in every fantasy or sci-fi universe. People want humans to be special.

So in a few places, humans are made special through circumstance. Often humans may be the chosen race, the most noble or most destined by the Gods. In other universes, humans may be the most industrious or scientifically the best (though curiously, this never seems to mean intelligence directly, as elves or dwarves may still technically be smarter or "better craftsmen", humans can just pump out more apparently). In some, humans may be the physically largest and therefore the strongest race. If you have your typical fantasy D&D races of elves, dwarves, halflings, and gnomes then yes, Humans would be the biggest race and this fits well enough.

But some people want a special, real world biological quirk instead of these more cultural or setting-specific quirks. So what do people go for? Endurance.

The problem with this is twofold. The first is the belief that humans have some kind of long range endurance that is special or unique. I have yet to find any indication that this is the case. Now I mentioned above, this doesn't mean humans can't outrun certain animals during certain conditions- that much is true. But that is more a matter of thermal regulation. Humans can cool off a lot better then many other animals, but that isn't quite the same thing as endurance.

The second, and perhaps more important, is the inherent implication that humans having "endurance" being their special thing would be absent or reduced in other fantasy races. I don't see this as the case. These most standard fantasy races; elves, dwarves, halflings and the like, are all bipedal and all have similar skin covering to humans. They would sweat too! Of course, you could argue that a long human stride would be much better then a short hobbit or dwarf shuffle, and I'll give you that, but going by that logic a 20 ft tall giant will have a stride that puts any human to shame and can outpace any man over distance, so that kind of kills the concept of humans having some special enduring trait.

So with all this in mind, what makes humans special?

What makes humans special?
The reason why this is such a portentous topic, in my opinion, is because of people don't want to accept the reality. The thing that makes humans special, in the real world anyway, is intelligence. That's it. Humans are bred to be smart and sociable, capable of learning and use of tools. These traits took a MASSIVE amount of energy and effort to evolve over time. Humans lost almost every other special, unique, or "powerful" trait that an animal could have in pursuit of intelligence. Oh and, I guess technically a greater range of motion in the shoulder. Even compared to all the other great apes and human offshoots, homo sapiens sapiens are the best at throwing stuff.

Of course, when I say "human" trait here, I really mean pre-human ancestor that diverged down a more human path. Everything I am saying here relates to most primates, it's not technically homo sapiens sapiens that gave up everything to be smart of course, but even compared to other great apes, we have some weaknesses. I'm not the type to try and shill a "humans so feeble and shitty chimpanzees could literally rip you in half if they wanted woah!" kind of narrative because that shit annoys me too, but moreso in the development, child rearing, and pregnancy side of things. Human babies can barely be born because their heads are too damn big to hold a brain, any larger and mothers literally couldn't birth them. Humans take over a decade to become sexually active, and are not especially strong or fast even once become adults. Massive amounts of calories are needed to sustain the human brain, which is a very hungry organ. Humans rely on social groups for both food and protection for the long period of their lives- not totally unique in the animal kingdom, but still relevant. It's still intelligence or sociability that is the factor here, not some nebulous "endurance" trait.

The problem in fantasy then becomes this; when you write a fantasy race in, you aren't considering the "cost" of what it took to become an intelligent, tool using, "self aware" actor. Nobody asks how dwarves could evolve the level of intelligence and social ability of humans whilst also keeping low-light vision and their pound-for-pound strength and toughness. Nobody is asking how elves could gain such an efficient and long lasting immune system and resistance to diseases and cancers that they can live for centuries, but yet are still as smart (or smarter!) then humans that would have to evolve into a very similar lifestyle of hunter-gatherer in the forests.

Now the above is only for more naturalistic fantasy worlds and settings- ones where races evolved. Obviously if the fantasy 'verse just has Gods or ancient beings which created humans or the other races, then these don't apply; but you're still comparing made up races with humans, who had to evolve and struggle in the real world, and didn't essentially get to be smart "for free" the way our fictional fantasy creations get.


So then the question becomes this. What trait(s) SHOULD you give humans in a fantasy or science-fiction universe to help them stand out?

Well, in my opinion, nothing. Humans shouldn't be special. Make them the boring every man, the middle manager, the "default" race. That's more then enough. People who want to be something other then a human and be special or different can, and people who want to play as something relatable, simple, and self-explanatory can be a human. Everybody wins.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Ghost Generator + New Ghost Rules

So look. D&D has a long history of undead. Undead are classic enemies. They represent a unique challenge and certain class features (like Clerics or Elf Paralysis immunity) are built around them.

Here's the thing- Undead are boring. Not in concept, mind you. But boring in execution.

There are stats for zombies, skeletons, mummies, ghouls, stitched-up corpse golem things, vampires. Zombie dragons and zombie ogres or other monsters could also fill out entire books. Those are some corporeal dead- but you also have stats for ghosts, wraiths, wights, specters, phantoms, phantasms, spirits, and a bunch of other shit. This may sound hyperbolic but I know for a fact there are geists put into the rules as a separate entity to wraiths and ghosts and shit. It's absurd.

So instead, I'm going with something a little different.


How to Fight Ghosts
Ghosts are the spirits of the dead, stuck between this realm and the next. Ghosts are created when a person's death is very traumatic, or when the body and the last rites have not been given to the deceased. Both circumstances are very likely in monster infested dungeons, and as such, ghosts are very common there.

Ghosts are nonphysical beings. Though you can "touch" them and they can touch you, they aren't really physically there. Besides, they're spirits. Normal weapons don't hurt ghosts. You need magical or silver weapons to harm a ghost- or to use magic spells. If a ghost has its HP dropped to zero, it is temporarily banished. You can't kill something that is already dead. It is gone for this adventure.

The ghost will return to its haunt after one season, on the next visit to the dungeon, or if you keep strict time records; a number of weeks equal to its HD. It also makes sense that stronger ghosts come back faster instead of vice versa, so you could make it say 2d6 weeks - HD. If this is equal to zero or a negative number; the ghost can come back in one turn instead. This makes really powerful ghosts terrifying.

Every ghost is tied to something. Usually, this is where it died or where its remains are held. Sometimes it may be an object, which could be the item it was obsessed with before its death or lead to its death. Sometimes treasures can become incredibly cursed by people trying and failing to acquire it over and over- which could add an extra challenge for anyone trying to take it out of the dungeon. This is its haunt. Once you have separated yourself from the haunt, either by leaving the area, closing doors or portals that lead to it, or having washed yourself after touching the item involved with the ghost; the ghost can no longer attack you. Some ghosts are more aggressive then others, and some especially cursed ghosts may mark anyone who they haunt for death; chasing them to the ends of the Earth unless they can finally be banished.

The chance of a ghost manifesting once you disturb or enter its haunt an X in 6 chance, where X is its activity level. Antagonizing ghosts will make them appear immediately.

In my mind, ghosts should be like a spiritual version of a trap or hazard in the dungeon. "Don't stick around too long in the deep well room; a little ghost girl will crawl out and try to kill you." This may make them sound banal, but I disagree. The dungeon has a layer of spiritual or supernatural danger inherent in the stones itself, instead of it being just based on physical traps, magical spells, and the like.

Note: In my game, magic rods are available at character generation. They are 1d6 weapons that roll d20 + Intelligence modifier and shoot out generic beams of magic energy. They count as magic weapons, meaning early game characters are capable of damaging ghosts or other magical beings that are otherwise immune to normal attacks. Without these, ghosts may be impossible for low level characters to fight. You could also patch this over with things like magic sword oils, or force the players to rely more on their exorcism rolls.


Beyond fighting them directly, the main way to work around ghosts is to ward against them. There are several forms of magic that is commonly available and reliable that deal directly with ghosts.

  • Magic Charms are small pieces of paper, wood, or bone that has been painted or carved with prayers or protective symbols. If placed over a doorway, window, hole, or other opening; a ghost cannot pass through this opening.
  • Incense is a more expensive form of protection. Any place where the smell and smoke of the incense is present; ghosts don't like to manifest. It smells as bad to them as good as it does to you. Very aggressive spirits can only be driven away by the most pleasant of aromas. This essentially locks down a room as long as the incense is continually burnt. If you are a Cleric or Sage traveling around with a censer; you roll 1d10 on Activity Level rolls for ghosts.
  • Puzzle Boxes are a form of trap for ghosts. If a ghost has lost half of their hit points or more, the next successful exorcism roll can force the ghost into the puzzle box. The ghost will be trapped inside until the puzzle box is solved and opened.
  • Ofrenda or more simply "Ghost Bread" is a form of food that is left behind for ghosts. Every culture has a different form; some a bone wrapped in animal fat, another will be candies in the shape of skulls or bones. If left quietly in an area of a haunt, the ghost will be busy consuming the essence of the offering and will not appear for one exploration turn. However, this will also strengthen the ghost. Ghosts who consume the offering will gain +1 HD for the next week or until the next time they are defeated/banished.

Certain ghosts may be able to break these rules. Ghosts without noses (the ghosts of lepers or those disfigured/tortured before death) can't smell incense and as such ignore it. Some ghosts may also travel through walls, and as such, a magic charm won't work unless plastered all over a wall like wallpaper.

Notice how all these methods are temporary. Charms put in place to hold back spirits are likely to get taken down by curious monsters or slowly worn away by the elements. Puzzle boxes are a longer term solution, but its only a matter of time before the ghost slips loose. Perhaps the box gains an aura that draws people in to solve it, or perhaps the ghost slowly unwinds the gears and pulls free the nails until they can be freed. The ghosts are also influencing things; I imagine a wall haunted by a ghost will begin to bleed or stain over time, warping and decaying away the magic charms used to hold it back. Supernatural wind picks up and rips away a magic charm just as your party approaches the portal that was sealed to another ghost; but that may feel like the DM changing the rules for drama. If all the rolls were made in advance- then it's just a measure of presentation!

So these are all well and good, but how do you actually exorcise a spirit? I don't know. Why are you asking me? Do I look like an exorcist to you?

Below is a generator to make your own ghosts. Unless otherwise stated, roll once per table.

Ghost Generator
All ghosts begin with;

  • 3 HD
  • AC of 10
  • Can only be hit with magic
  • No Morale / Never Flees
  • Activity level of 2
  • Deals 1d6 damage on a hit
  • Drains one level on a maximum damage roll
  • Alignment of Neutral

Cause of Death - 1d12 (Roll 1d10 for spirits found in dungeons)
[1] Starvation (AC +1, Level drain on a damage roll of 5 or 6) Deathly thin.
[2] Drowning (+1 HD, 1 in 6 surprise) Bloated, hair floats. Can hide in murky pools.
[3] Combat (+1 activity level, +1 damage) Wounds visible. Murder makes unquiet dead.
[4] Poison (Save or be poisoned on his; 1d6 damage per turn) They cough ectoplasm bile.
[5] Burning (+2 to hit) Eyes glow with embers, body is half ash and smoke.
[6] Suicide (-1 activity level, always surprised) Poor lost soul. Found crying or sitting silently.
[7] Decapitation (Throws head as weapon; deals 1d4) Laughs or screams in flight.
[8] Torture (+2 activity level) The more cruel and unjust, the more wrathful the spirit.
[9] Asphyxiation (Deals 1d8 damage on hit, grapples on hit- save modified by wisdom) Visibly wrapped in what strangled them.
[10] Eaten Alive / Acid (+1 HD and AC, has morale of 9 vs specific entity) Ghosts know no fear; except this one disappears if the one who ate it is made known. Form is horribly disfigured.
[11] Matyrdom (-1 activity level, add "Lawful-" to front of alignment, immune to Turning) They must have a good reason that they are still here. May guide the living, or rarely attack sinners.
[12] Old Age (-1 activity level and HD, alignment to Oblivious) Unusual to find in a dungeon. Will confuse party members with people from its life, act out things it died when alive. Weak spirit.

Form - Roll 1d10
[1-4] Ectoplasm (Can pass through walls) The default state of most ghosts. Slightly transparent, colors washed out and pale white skin. They do not have a physical body, but they leave behind a slight residue called Ectoplasm when they are "killed".
[5-6] Vapor (Deals 1 cold damage per round within melee range) These ghosts are made of dark or foggy vapor. They are still not physical, but are deathly cold and sap your strength if you are too close. The first clue you have when they manifest is you can see your breath in the room.
[7-8] Real (Always surprise unless you know they're a ghost) These ghosts appear exactly as they did in life; creating a very convincing astral form. They have a shadow and reflection. However, you can't touch them and will pass right through; but they are more "grounded" then ectoplasmic ghosts. The only hint that these are ghosts are their wounds that killed them.
[9] Formed (+1 damage, can be harmed by nonmagical weapons max of 1 damage) You can't actually see what these ghosts looked like in life; they are invisible but create "bodies" of materials like black water, goo, dust, blood, fire, etc. Because their bodies are slightly physical, nonmagical weapons can harm them, but only deal 1 damage.
[10] Light (Add Good to end of Alignment) This ghost is made of light. They may be blinding, or just softly glowing. Only very good, pure spirits can appear this way. They can still be banished unless they are religious spirits; but act as spirit guides. At the first sign of aggression, they'll just disappear and the dazzling light just disappears from the room along with the soul.

Tragedy - 1d10
Most people who die don't become ghosts unless their deaths were especially traumatic. Instead; spirits who remain are those with unfinished business or died unjustly. Some may seek revenge.
[1] Miserable (+1 HD) The ghost was simply a miserable, unfulfilled person.
[2] Wrathful (+2 to hit) This person died especially angry, or lived a life filled with violence.
[3] Cursed (Knows one 1st level spell; once per day) Cursed to linger after death with dark magic.
[4] Obsessed (+1 activity level) Died still chasing something.
[5] Guilty (+1 AC, morale of 14) Died with a heavy heart. Possibly on the run.
[6] Lustful (Can possess sleeping people) Desperately wants to eat, drink, fuck- to feel alive again.
[7] Loss (Wail every-other round; 1d4 damage who all who hear it) Still cries out for their loved one.
[8] Forecasted (Instead of level drain; causes affected party member to roll a 1 on their next 20) This Ghost's death was known to it before it died. Might have died in bitterly ironic way.
[9] Diseased (Instead of level drain; infects with a disease) Harried by disease throughout life. May or may not have been actual cause of death.
[10] Abandoned (Causes irritability; party member who first spots this ghost loses -1 to all reaction checks until ritually purified) This ghost was abandoned by friends or betrayed before death.

Ghostly Power - 1d10
[1] Glow (Select a random stat. On hit; drains 1d4 of that stat) Unnatural, life-sapping glow.
[2] Red Eyes (+1 to hit, save vs paralysis or can't move if you make eye contact) Destined for hell.
[3] Bound (+2 AC, slow) Tied up in chains or heavy weights. Outrun by fast walk.
[4] Whispers (Treat HD as +1 for turn undead/exorcism rolls) Stained with spiritual energies.
[5] Knocker (Morale check for hirelings) Makes the sound of footsteps, slams doors.
[6] Darkness (+2 HD, dims light sources, torch=holy symbol) Powerful specter. Fears the light.
[7] Rotten (+1 HD and activity level) This is a punishment from the Gods; appear as your corpse.
[8] Giant (+2 to hit, reach) Ghost does not appear in scale from its life. It appears unnaturally large, either due to a deep routed dysphoria from its life or due to an inflated, undying ego.
[9] Poltergeist (Can launch objects- damage based on what's around) May remain invisible and simply attack with objects nearby; must throw a pinch of salt to reveal them.
[10] Blind (+1 damage, can't see) Maybe blinded before death, or lost sight as a spirit because they saw too far beyond the veil. Flails about. If you hold breath and stand still; can't attack you.

Visage
This is what the ghost appears as. Most of the time after death, the person will appear exactly as they did in life. But sometimes they appear differently. An old man may appear as his idealized younger self, a hunter as the animal they died trying to catch, or bad people appearing more grotesque as a spirit then their real body would suggest- their soul is no longer hidden in that shell.

Roll 1d10 for a normal ghost
Roll 1d10+10 for a weird ghost
Roll 1d20 for a totally random ghost

#

Normal

Unusual

1

Man or Woman

Man/Woman in ceremonial tribal garb

2

Child

Nearly featureless stone-statue

3

Elder

Swarm of rats / bats / snakes

4

Woman in a torn bridal gown

Weird Animal Person

5

Feral, naked wildman

Gigantic Beetle

6

Demihuman

Human-shaped mark on wall/floor

7

Horse or Wolf

Animated furniture; piano with teeth

8

Vague person-shaped slime creature

Localized weather effects

9

Generic faceless wraith w/hood

(Roll Normal) Tiny imp-sized version

10

Generic Bedsheet ghost

(Roll Normal) Levitating upside-down


Ghost's Haunt Table (Optional) - 1d8
The Ghost's haunt should be the place in the dungeon where it tied, or an object closely tied to its death. This table is optional to act as a launching point for ideas.
[1] Monster's lair. It's bones are in a big pile.
[2] Blank or seemingly empty room. Died there long ago. Just appears right behind you.
[3] Pool or well in the dungeon. Either drowned there, or body dumped there.
[4] Dirty mirror. If you look too far into it you'll see it in the reflection. Then it comes after you.
[5] Stairwell. Appears with a head twisted backwards; corpse at the bottom of shaft.
[6] Graffiti scrawled on a wall. It's the last thing they wrote. If you read it out load, they manifest.
[7] Stone altar, dried with caked blood. If you hold a blade nearby; will confuse you for the evil high priest that sacrificed them to the dark gods and attack you.
[8] Golden ring. +1 Activity level if you're wearing it. Wedding band, or is the family seal of a noble who was murdered for it. Haunts you even after you dispose of the ring; give the money to charity.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Kenshi Homebrew Race - Biters

The world of Kenshi is a dark and violent place. It is a wild world with ancient machines, mutant monsters, bandits and cannibals, but there are those who practice the Way of the Swordsman. There is an intolerant religious regime preaching human superiority, and a corrupt republic of cities where being poor is illegal, and punished with enslavement; but even here there are groups seeking a fresh start.

If you haven't played this game, then a lot of this won't make sense to you. This is my homebrew race. I had the idea to mod this into the game myself, but my ideas (as usual) are too beyond the scope of my meager abilities. If you ever decide to play Kenshi in tabletop (and you should), then you can add these guys in to be your plucky underdogs.


Kenshi - Biters
This unusual species of small humanoids have an unusually shaped head. They are not seemingly related to humans or hive, and are their own separate species. They stand between 3 and 4 feet in height, and are thickly built. Their heads and fur is reminiscent of a landbat, a dangerous creature, so some scholars believe they are a related species. They are also totally carnivorous, but are small and can go for a long time without food. This means they can eat raw meat as well as foul raw meat similar to Hivers.

Like the other races in Kenshi, Biters have multiple subspecies. Unlike other races though, this is a gendered subspecies, and is more a result of sexual dimorphism. The male Biters grow to become Rustbacks, who are larger and have a red color along their spine. The females grow to become Sandfoot, who have a lighter, more camouflaged coloration. Redbacks have a stronger upper body which allows them to use melee weapons better, but both breeds of Biters are too small to use heavy weapons. (They do not have a primary weapon slot in their inventory). Because of their small size, Sandfeet are among the physically weakest of all the playable character choices, but are skilled with lockpicking for their small hands and gain medical skill at an advanced rate.

Out of all the intelligent races of the world, Biters are probably the dumbest. They are smarter then cannibals however, which means they can at the very least speak and commence trading with other factions. As with all non-humans, they are openly attacked and enslaved by members of the Holy Nations if they trespass on their lands. Biters believe in magic and are known to be easily fooled, but are good survivalists and well suited to many of the more hazardous places in Kenshi's world. Their bodies are well adapted to the desert; they have small, rough eyes which gives them poor eyesight for ranged weapons, but they are naturally immune to duststorms.

Limb HP

Rustback

Sandfoot

Head

80

80

Chest

100

80

Stomach

100

130

Right Arm

100

80

Left Arm

100

80

Right Leg

100

100

Left Leg

100

100

 
The Rustbacks are almost as strong as a standard human, which given their size and lack of ability to use large weapons (and legwear) means they are at a significant disadvantage in a fight without superior numbers. The Sandfoots are even more extreme, except for their stomach. This is because the females of their race have a pouch to raise young, which means their lower body is extremely well armored with loose skin, cartilage, and protective fat.

Skills

Rustback


Sandfoot


Stealth

+10%

Stealth

+10%



Lockpicking

+20%

Precision Shooting

-20%

Precision Shooting

-20%

Field Medic

-20%

Field Medic

+20%

Engineer

-20%



Robotics

-20%



Science

-20%




Culture & Factions
The Biters cannot support large communities and are not known for great organizational skills. They also are by far the youngest race in the world of Kenshi, possibly only a hundred years or less that they began to show signs of intelligence. Their culture is therefore very bare and simple. Their settlements are more like shared nesting locations, their people are organized around breeding and food. Bands of mostly male Rustbacks hunt for wild goats or garru and bring the meat back to their camps, where the Sandfoots protect the nest, care for offspring, and sometimes tell each other stories or trade with outsiders.

Biter camps are small, made up of several burrows. Their construction skills are limited in sophistication to perhaps a flap of fabric over a burrow to keep the dust out or a small door that can be closed with a heavy stone to keep bone dogs away from meat storage. They certainly do not have any strong walls, defensive turrets, or electricity. If you decide to trade with them you will see that they almost exclusively sell animal skins, teeth, and bones. Occasionally, one will dig up a shiny thing in the sand and sell it at a seemingly random price, which could be anything from a few bolts lost in a battle to an advanced robotic limb that they will let go for peanuts.
 
The Biters have few leaders or little social complexity- with the exception to healers. Biters believe in magic and they view healing as a form of magic. The leader of every Biter nest will always be a Sandfoot mendermother; a practiced healer who is viewed as a shaman. The Biters are known to be a good partner to trade with for medical supplies; they buy them at a high markup as they cannot make them themselves, but they have little currency with which to trade. It won't be long before the Trader's Guild catches wind of it and finds a way to exploit these primitive people.

The Biters do not control many lands and they are not well defended. The areas where dust bandits, hungry bandits, and wild animals patrol are the same places where they live. They are relatively peaceful and have no interest in attacking or robbing travelers. The exception are Shek. If a lone Shek or small group wander nearby a Biter den, the Rustbacks may mistake the Sheks for wild goats (their eyesight is bad and the bone plates make them look similar at distance), which could lead to some Shek warriors getting swarmed. Tales of these random attacks have begun to reach the Shek Kingdom's, and may cause a war between the races. Unfortunately for the Biters, it is likely this will end in their extermination.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

4 "Sleep" Spell Variations


[1]
Peep
Conjures forth a sugary mass. The mass is in the shape of small birds, and can be used as a ration for one person. Relying on this spell for a second day in a row causes stomach aches, dehydration, and poor health. Every day you use this for rations sequentially deal 1 damage to your Constitution score. If you want nourishing food from magic, turn to a Cleric.

If the caster of this spell is very high level or fails casting this spell somehow, consider the spell having a small chance to summon a 1st level Peep man.

[2] Meep
This spell allows the caster to emit a trembling little noise that causes animal attackers to hesitate. This only works if the caster is physically smaller then the animal and doesn't fight back. Powerful animals get a saving throw to ignore the effect, and intelligent animals aren't effected at all.

[3] Creep
Add +2 to your next stealth roll. If you don't use stealth rolls like that or want a more concrete effect, just make this spell mask one of the ways you can be found out in stealth.

[4] Cheap
This spell works on any nonmagic item or piece of equipment. It magically and invisibly transforms the item into a cheaper, shittier version of itself. Your armor has mismatching straps and is clearly made of several inferior alloys not melted together fully; leaving splotches all over it. Your weapon is dulled on one end and has nails in the shaft to prevent the wood from splintering, etc. The weapon or armor gets -1 to attack rolls or your AC, and will break on a roll of 1 with a weapon or armor/shield breaks on a roll of 20 made by an enemy attack against it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

You start working in a Carnival + 10 Plot Hooks at the Carnival

The generic “you all start in a tavern” is a bit old hat. Some people skip this by just starting in the dungeon, or even in medias res if you know your group and you're actually good at DM'ing. But consider the following starting location: You all start as Carnies. Or traveling minstrels, whatever.


You are all carnival workers. You're all very poor. (Motivation for adventuring). And you travel around from place to place. (Letting you arrive in adventure locations and new modules; you just go where the carnival goes). All of you are also very skilled in specific things.

Look at your character's stats. Whatever stat is your highest stat, this is your normal “job”. Basing it on your class might be better, but most people pick their class based on their stats anyway.

Strength: Strongmen, bearded lady, the “gorilla”.

Dexterity: Jugglers, tightrope walkers, horse jumpers, knife throwers, etc.

Constitution: Sword swallower, fat lady, geek.

Intelligence: Fire breather, scam artists, stilt-walkers.

Wisdom: Lion tamer, fortune teller, clowns. (Makes sense if you think about it.)

Charisma: Hucksters, prostitutes, the ringmaster.

You need money. You aren't well liked, you lack social connections, and the only people you've got to watch your back are your friends. Combine this with a more rigid caste system or stratified society with little social mobility (like your standard middle ages fantasy world)- delving into dangerous tombs becomes one of the only ways for you to actually achieve something. If this be just for a bit of luxury, to help your carnival, or to try and escape this unfulfilling life.

Whenever you return from an adventure, you can take along a trophy that may act as a sideshow attraction. “Come one, come all, and see a REAL dragon skull!!!” You can even brag about being the one who killed it, though nobody will believe you. That's part of the fun.

Plot Hooks at the Carnival- Roll d10

[1] There's a kid who is really good at the dart game. Says he's practicing so he can take down the harpies at his uncle's farm.

[2] Some patrons at the sideshow are gawking at the fake mermaid skeleton. “Woah, that looks just like the thing down at Pirate's Cove!”

[3] One of your stilt walkers falls down in the middle of a performance. The bite in the wood does not look like any animal you've ever seen before.

[4] One of the tigers looks incredibly scared whenever its cage is exposed to the East.

[5] You patch up some holes for the big top when, in the middle of the night, a bunch of stirges rip through the patches and suck blood from a bunch of caged animals. They must have a nest a few hours from here. If you want to increase the stakes; the animals will die with continual feeding and you can't pack up the traveling show yet.

[6] The fortune teller at the carnival has a spasm and reveals they had a very real vision of something evil stirring underneath the ruins where the carnival has set up.

[7] Two clowns get into a fight at how to split a coin they got as a tip. When it is split directly down the middle; the two pieces magnetize back together and reform. This coin seems new, but the local mint that produced it has been abandoned for decades.

[8] The people in the carnival are starting to get sick from the water. The nearby stream has occasional streaks of black liquid and what appear to be bones floating down river.

[9] There is an orc, goblin, minotaur, or other demihuman/monster character who seeks refuge among the carnies. They say their group expelled them when they refused to serve a new dark master that has taken over- a dragon, lich, beholder, dark sorcerer, or some other large threat.

[10] The true heir to the throne accidentally reveals himself in an attraction. Maybe he smashes the strength test machine in a million pieces because the King's bloodline is super strong or whatever.

Monday, April 12, 2021

4 Silent Hill Spells


[1] Warp Space
- 1st level
Draws a "place" near and dear to the caster's memory and person into another space. This is a false space, but is generally populated with items and things that would fit the original space. For example, the caster could draw their cell from their years in wizard college into the nook between two large caverns down within the ancient caves to act as a slightly more comfortable resting space. 

This space has no special protections against the outside world, and requires a visual "break" between places- so you can put this space in a crevice, alleyway, behind a door, etc. When you exit the space from a side, you will go out roughly where the space would have been if it existed. This spell essentially just adds a room or area to an indoor place; making it bigger on the inside then outside, taken from the caster's own experiences. All items or resources created or generated by this spell are found to be mostly ineffectual, before being replaced with something from the real world as though a "real" illusion.

This spell is not permanent, but doesn't have a set duration. Instead, the space slowly fades away meaning people just can't find it anymore, until it's gone. This takes about a week. The caster's death accelerates this to 1d4 hours. If the caster's corpse was placed in the space, then it disappears along with the place and can't be found again, ending up in Nowhere.

[2] Summon Angel - Variable
This spell summons an angelic being down from God. This angel has a HD appropriate for the power of the caster casting this spell. For the sake of simplicity, let's say the Angel has a HD equal to the spell level this spell was prepared and/or cast at.

The "angel" summoned by this spell looks like a beautiful and graceful servants of God, exactly how the caster would envision, to the caster. To those who do not share the caster's beliefs closely, the "angel" looks like a hideous, twitching monster appropriate to the theme you're going for.

The "angel" has the stats of a minor supernatural creature. It has a magic resistance of 20%, as due to its occult origins, but is easily defeated by brute force.

[3] Call Aglaophotis - 3rd level
This spell gives the caster a magical sense of the location of nearby Aglaophotis; a rare and very special herb. The herb is said to have magical protective properties and is known to be able to bind and banish the "angels" of the order. When using Aglaophotis, consider it as a multiple use Protection from Evil spell if smeared on a surface or smoked for incense. If forcibly ingested or thrown on an angel, it deals damage equal to holy water and will force them to discard any glamors they may be using to hide their true appearance.

[4] Seal of Metatron - 4th level
This powerful magic seal is said to be able to increase the supernatural power of the user- but it serves both good and evil masters, and is incredibly difficult to control. As such, even learning of the symbol is difficult. It is an arcane and occult power.

The Seal of Metatron must be carved or painted in the world to be effective. Larger symbols seem to be more powerful, and multiple seals can be used to create an even larger Seal, further boosting its abilities. The caster who controls the Seal gains the power to spread their supernatural essence and influence over the area where it is drawn. This can include remote viewing, appearing as a specter, or even replacing reality with one's own vision of it- but this is sporadic and very taxing.

For each Seal of Metatron, consider the caster as having 30% control over the area just around and within the seal, growing with each subsequent seal. In this case, "Control" is more akin to reality warping then anything else, but requires the caster to already have magical power or a way to control reality, else the seal will do nothing.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Geniementals

Some people think Genies or Jinn only come from lamps. This is incorrect. Some also believe that they intentionally twist wishes to punish mortals- this is also (usually) incorrect. What is true is that, before humans were created, the first Jinn were created from smokeless fire, which is true, but there were more kinds of Jinn created from the purest elements. One for each of the elements, and THESE are where the variety of Jinn came from. All types of Jinn were made before humans were, but all are capable of achieving salvation through Allah.

Each type of Jinn corresponds to an element. Jinn only very rarely intentionally misunderstand orders; they just aren't perfect. As with humans, they can make mistakes. Each Jinn's element determines what wishes they are best at.

All Jinn grant exactly 3 wishes. You can also use this as a random table if you want; 1d4.


[1] Jinn of the Smokeless Flame

Best Wishes-
Success in battle, passion, power, Enhancing pride or beauty, destruction.
Worst Wishes-
Anything subtle, long term building or creation, humility, peace or serenity.

Found In- Lamps, Swords

Created from the Smokeless Fire; these are the classic Jinn, these come from rubbing a lamp. Their lower bodies appear to be made of smoke, and they often have brightly colored skin. They tend to wear little to no clothing, and have strong personalities to match their element. They are prone to furious anger, but are also the only Jinn known to fall in love with humans.

As they are bombastic, these Jinn take great joy in performing spells relating to fire. Destroying things as much as making them shine like gold. They are also warriors and will gladly help you win your battles- either directly with a cataclysm of force. They are also the best Jinn to make you a King or grant you strength- physical or magical, as they can grow it like an ember to a fire.

Because of their one tract natures- it is hard to get these Jinn to do more complex or nuanced wishes. Wishing for wealth from one of these Jinn is likely to cause them to just steal it from a nearby authority. Raising the dead will result in a moving corpse, as they force life into it without knowing how to fully restore it to how it 'should' be. Many of the stories of twisted wishes comes from these Jinn, who are just trying their best.

[2] Jinn of the Endless Stream
Best Wishes
- Changing, transformation, wishes relating to time or space.
Worst Wishes-
Material goods, reduction of anything, direct force, love.
Found In-
Shells, Cups

Created from the endless source of water; these Jinn are more mystic then the others, and may appear in long robes or hidden behind a veil. Their personalities are cool like water, remaining as business-like as possible. Most believe themselves to be superior to humans, and find wishes made by them to be trifling, or a waste of time, though they must grant them all the same.

These Jinn are representative of water, and as such do best with wishes that mimic water. Changing or morphing one thing to another is their specialty- these Jinn are also called the “Jinn of the Secrets of Life” because of their skill in wishes involving living things. These Jinn are perfect to increase your lifespan- as they will give you both more years to live AND youth in return, as opposed to the other, more clumsy Jinn. They are also the best Jinn at granting or removing mutations or irregularities within living things; though something simple like “make me stronger” is more suited to Fire Jinn. However, water Jinn are not suited at all to returning the dead to life. To them, the dead is in a new form that cannot be changed back to a living form. If you ask one to bring a dead person back to life, they'll simply put their spirit in the newest available shell- which will almost always be a bird, rat, snake, or some other unfortunate creature!

However, the Jinn of the Endless Stream are not known for their wisdom in practical matters. While skilled with life, they are less skilled with the inanimate. Wishing for a precious object or jewels and they are likely to make them with structural weaknesses, or worse yet, making them out of ice. These Jinn also dislike the sensation of reducing anything- removing life from a foe or depleting their wealth would result in strange rebounds from these Jinn, who don't understand the concept of an ending.

[3] Jinn of the Motionless Wind

Best Wishes- Travel, fate, curses, names, knowledge, spreading rumors
Worst Wishes-
Eternity, keeping secrets, localized effects
Found In-
Fans, Carpets

Created from the breeze that never moves from place to place; this was the wind that was loosed to become the breezes and storms in the world. These jinn are travelers, wise, and know many languages. They always introduce themselves in as many tongues as they can to their new master, and will respond with perfect form in the first their master recognizes (unnecessary; all Jinn can speak every language innately as they are magical creatures), but these Jinn make a show of it. Often they may be partially transparent, or look like ghosts.

These Jinn are tied to the wind and, by extension, magic and language itself. They are also excellent with any spells or learning of secrets, but only secrets known by someone; forgotten secrets are mostly the domain of Earth Jinn. These Jinn are also experts of name- they can give you any name you wish, and all will known you by that name. All Jinn will grant three wishes, but these Jinn will not only take you somewhere on a wish, but return you as one total wish, as the wind goes there and back again.

However, just as the wind is unfaithful, so too are these Jinn. They are unlikely to be able to produce magical effects or grant immortality in a meaningful way. They may grant you great wealth but it will only last a few years before the source of it dries up. These Jinn are noted to be good with secrets, but also bad with secrets. That's because any secret you learn with this Jinn can be gained, but will slip out eventually from that Jinn itself or otherwise. In other words wishing to learn a secret with this Jinn will succeed, but it will not be a secret for long. These Jinn are the masters of curses; both breaking them and causing them, but any curse made by them will be flippant or have a loophole you didn't see.

[4] Jinn of the Bottomless Hole

Best Wishes- Material goods, wealth, returning lost or dead things, legacies
Worst Wishes-
Things that change, the body, travel, monsters
Found In-
Urns, Shoes

These Jinn are tied closely to the Earth and were created from the dirt at the bottom of the bottomless hole. These Jinn appear the most youthful, and may appear as children. They will also appear dirty, but in an appealing, innocent way like a smudge on the cheek. They wear for themselves dark brown and gray colors and are the Jinn that are the most humble. Most are brought out of their container by flipping them over, which they will tumble out onto the floor with a thump.

These Jinn have dominion with the Earth and everything buried in it. As such, they are also the Jinn most suited to returning the dead to life, as they retrieve their soul and body from beneath the ground. These Jinn can also create piles of treasure and precious gems; they know the hiding places of all riches and are quite good at them. They are stable with their wishes, their power can last for a long time, if not generations- many Kings and Queens may claim their legacy from the bombastic, proud Jinn of Fire, but it is really the humble Earth Jinn which keeps their royal line strong to this day.

However, the Earth Jinn are not well suited to transformations or the physical form. If you ask for a better body they may craft you one out of clay or carved from wood, trapping you in that lesser, though tougher form. They are also tied closely to the natural world and are the worst Jinn of all at summoning, controlling, or destroying magical creatures, though they are quite skilled with normal, down to earth animals. If you ask an Earth Jinn for a unicorn (usually so you can ride it or cut off its horn), it will just bring you a horse with a bit of wood strapped to its head instead. This isn't an attempt at falsehood- you asked for something stupid, a horse with a bit sticking out on its head, so here is what you wished for.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Why don't monsters use all the cool weapons in the dungeon?

You know the drill. You have a dungeon filled with dangerous monsters and undead guardians, and the dungeon has rare and magical weapons inside. Why aren't the monsters inside using them? Why are they using generic rusty spears and stuff instead of the +2 Magic Sword in the ancient vault? Here's some reasons.

Art @slaughterkeys.tumblr
8 Reasons
[1]
Monsters rely on their innate strength, view actually good weapons as "pansy ass human shit"
[2] The weapons in the dungeon are like collector's items. Don't want them to get dirty.
[3] Too dumb and/or superstitious. Trust what they've made, anything else could be cursed.
[4] Religious reasons. Everything in this dungeon is tribute to their dark gods, can't use them.
[5] Monsters are either created/enchanted to serve the dungeon's master. They are following orders.
[6] Some monsters (like skeletons) are reliant on magical fields to stay together. Powerful magical items, beneficial or not, will essentially overload them and make them fall apart.
[7] They're actually in the dungeon to find those weapons. If you take too long to loot the place, they may eventually unearth them and start attacking human settlements.
[8] Magical weapons are reserved for their ruling class and those in positions of honor. Regular units don't use them; but their captains might!

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Airship Rules & Weapons Table

Airships are flying ships. While they look similar to naval vessels, they fly with the aid of huge balloons instead of sails and fly on currents of astral vapors and weather instead of water. They coast along the tops of clouds as the great ocean of the sky.

Airships use the same mechanics as regular creatures. They have HD, AC, and a saving throw.


Airship Stats

Airships consider their HD as “hull dice” and they don't take damage from regular sized weapons or attacks. Normal axes and arrows can only deal small amounts of damage to the crew of a ship, or destroying some light sources, vanity items, windows and so on, but cannot deal significant damage to the hull without some serious power behind them. Only a high level Fighter with a huge two-handed great weapon could punch a hole in the ship large enough to deal damage, or a large AoE spell may be able to do a single dice worth of damage to a ship's hull. If the ship's hull is destroyed it will break apart, causing its cargo and crew to drop into the cloudy abyss or float upwards if they happen to be attached to something buoyant.

The Airship's AC is its maneuverability. Not necessarily their speed. Bigger ships are technically faster on the open ocean then smaller ships, but smaller ships are more agile and a harder target. The sails and balloons on the ship are what grant it its movement. Damaging the sails (grapeshot, fire, etc.) will lower a ship's AC over the course of a fight. If a ship loses its AC it will be unable to move or begin the descent and crash to earth. If this seems too harsh and hard to avoid, I'd say the cloud-ocean has a bit of bouncy too it, so it takes a decent amount of time to slip through the clouds and enter true freefall. Or maybe every ship has some internal balloons to help keep it floating along even if its main balloons are popped or what have you.

The Airship's saving throw is determined solely by its crew. The saving throw is used to avoid things like crashing into sky islands emerging rapidly from the fog, or dodging giant thunderbirds, or putting out fires/lightning clutchers on deck and so on. Destroying and demoralizing the crew is the method to reduce an enemy ship's saving throw. There is also a degree of rulings-over-rules that must be employed here- if the entire enemy crew is dead but the ship is still moving, its AC would drop to zero as no one can pilot it. If the crew is alive but there is no sail or ability to avoid, then its saving throw would still drop to zero regardless, unless if the save was for something that the crew can do without steering or controlling the ship and so on.

Airships don't really have levels but they can have classes or designations. You could use these as a sort of rock-paper-scissors thing for mass combat or to add some spice to it. The HD of an airship is determined by a combination of its size and the quality of its hull, support, and armor.

Airship Weapons
Realistically, any combat between two airships would be chaotic, with changes in elevation and timing, movement in 3d space, as well as many crew members on both sides attacking with both hand weapons like bows and crossbows or bombs at range to kill enemy crew as well as using ship mounted weapons to try and damage and destroy the enemy ship. As such, ship v ship combat might be a little tedious to run round by round. Instead, each ship could just employ one weapon or movement per phase to try and get an advantage over the other, or you could say that they are doing many things at once but this is the “one that made the difference”, or perhaps you have your own better method of doing airship combat. In that case, just do that.

Below is a random table of Airship weapons.

Roll 1d6 if you want your fantasy setting to have zero black powder weaponry.
Roll 1d8 if you don't mind including some minor or transitional black powder weapons.
Roll 1d10 for a total random Airship weapon.

10 Airship Weapons

[1] Death Pikes – Basically iron spikes with a fluted top to make them always fall point down. Dropped from an airship onto another one from above, or to “bomb” villages and the like. Cuts or punctures a balloon, then falls into the ship and often kills crew. Effective, but you have to succeed an attack roll against the enemy ship's AC AND they get a saving throw to avoid.

Deals 1d4 damage to a ship's hull, 1d2 damage to its AC, and 1d2 to its Saving Throw.

[2] Fire Arrows – Very standard. Has no effect unless at least 5 people total are firing a volley at once. Any kind of arrow works; only one to-hit roll is used. Individual skill doesn't matter, this is all about mass to light the enemy hull or sails on fire. Fire is obviously useless when its raining and sails cannot be burned if made of fire retardant material or if the balloon is hidden inside the ship or metal-cased.

Deals no damage, but eventually lights hull on fire. The amount of volleys or how “hard” a save needs to be made to put out the fire can be based on the amount of arrows you actually launched. Deals 1d2 damage per Airship turn and has a chance to hit munitions hull or trap crewmen on the lower decks for extra damage until its put out. If it hits the sails it will destroy them in 3 rounds unless enemy can fly ship into a raincloud to put it out. Reduce the sail's AC by ½ for each round it burns.

Also if you like gunpowder stuff, bomb arrows are a total possibility. Make each arrow deal 1d2 damage to the enemy hull for each hit instead.

[3] Catapult – Normal siege weapon, primed for airship combat. Can load heavy stones (useful as ballasts for the ships anyway) or balls of pitch for fiery projectiles. Difficult to aim while both ships are moving and rocking around, but can deal decent damage.

Deals 1d6 damage to ship's hull on direct hit.

[4] Ballista – Normal siege weapon, primed for airship combat. Can fire powerful bolts, though usually will be tied with rope to act as a method to anchor ships for boarding or to reduce manuverability.

Deals 1d4 damage to a ship's hull on direct hit. If embedded, rope or chain (can't be cut as easily) can be used to keep enemy ship from escaping or maneuvering away. Enemy ship gets -1 to its AC for each line embedded into its hull.

[5] Wind Blades – Blades placed along the side of the ship. Since ships can move in 3d space, they can perform not just ramming techniques but also rapid movements all around. Typically used to cut along the sails, balloon, or rigging holding them together- but a big ship can just straight up flatten and drop a smaller ship by landing on top of them.

Deals 1d4 damage to the ship's AC for a good pass, but it takes at least 2-3 turns to angle in for another one. If the ship is bigger and/or installed with a heavy ram, then it deals 1d6 damage on a fast impact.

[6] Bellows – Huge blacksmith bellows and pumps aimed at the enemy ship and blasted- used to shoot water, sand, or oil with various effects. At this altitude water might freeze (maybe ships have a “heat” aura so anything removed from the ship will freeze and fly as ice shards instead???) boiling oil or sand could damage crew, or damage the hull if you like the idea of squirting acid at the enemy ship instead.

Deals 1d3 damage to any ship feature, but requires close range. Maybe replaces cannons if you don't want that type of black powder stuff in your world, or maybe it's just cool and weird.

[7] Grenades – Thrown with a variety of implements, by hand and tossed/thrown, or launched with catapults. I like to imagine a catapult throwing like 100 small grenades all at once which explode in the air like a big flak cannon kind of thing to maximize chance to hit. You could imagine these as the little metal shrapnel bombs but I kind of like to imagine them as little black powder sacks instead. Perhaps if you wanted less black powder, maybe they're sacks of fine grain or sawdust or something instead.

Roll attack; for every point of difference between the AC and the attack roll, reduce the grenades final damage by 1 (since some of the grenades are missing). So on an attack roll of 14 but the enemy ship has 16 AC then you deal -2 less points of damage. If the attack is totally successful, then the full volley hits and it's a devastating attack. Roll 1d8 for an average volley, or 1d10 if you're using up your full stock of grenades at once.

Also; grenades could be made into flying “mines” instead by use of lighter then air little candle things by using sky lanterns with strings of firecrackers beneath them, making them neutral buoyancy. You can only use these on ships that are chasing you, but create a mine field that deals its damage if the enemy ship fails a saving throw.

[8] Rocket Arrows – Large boxes or batteries of arrows tied with rockets. After the fuse is lit, the arrows will fly out and deal damage as a large volley. Most ships opt for the square shape, but many go for an oval as the attacks are more concentrated on center mass.

Deals 1d3 damage PER BATTERY to the enemy ship's AC and crew, determined randomly per die. The ship gets a saving throw to avoid the weapons if they are spotted before they fire.

[9] Cannons – Traditional black powder cannons firing cannonballs. Pretty strong but ammunition will be limited given how heavy they are. Usually fired in volleys, sometimes mounted on swivel guns for more advanced ships. Long range.

Deals 1d6 damage to enemy hull for a volley. If your ship is in a bigger class, increase the die size by one for having more cannons. After firing, your ship gets pushed backwards from the blast of the cannons while its flying around, -2 AC for the round after firing.

[10] Net Bomb – Devastating weapon. Essentially, it's a huge extra sail with hundreds of gunpowder bombs/grenades tied to it. Only useful on ships that are chasing you; you release the net, it parachutes open in flight and tangles around the enemy ship, then may explode because of fuses.

Deals 1d10 damage to the enemy hull and makes the ship have disadvantage on its saving throws since none of the crew can see through the giant net and may get tangled up in it. If the enemy ship succeeds a saving throw then it is avoided. Ships can only carry like 2-3 of these because of how big they are.