Monday, February 28, 2011

20 FAVE MAGIC ITEMS from my GAMES

Was going through my old stuff from my previous games, looking for stuff that would translate into my new campaign, and found a few 10GP gems...honestly, most have been archived for so long I don't know if some were cribbed from old Dragon magazines or not, but I think these are my own ideas, or at least my versions of ideas I saw elsewhere.  Just wait, it'll happen to you, too.

1.  Ring of Recall:  Upon death, PC is instantly transported to a particular temple or shrine, hopefully to be Healed/Raised by the Clerics there.  Provided only to the members of the sect, or possibly those performing a special mission for the order.  PCs get fixed up, but have to trek back to the rest of party, if there's a time limit involved, maybe they're out, but it beats dead... used this in an "introductory adventure" for new players, 'cause I thought for sure someone was gonna get killed simply because they would make "newbie" mistakes, but they were so cautious I don't Recall it being used!

2.  Great Green Axe:  inspired by Gawain & the Green Knight, massive headsman's axe of greenish bronze (?), req STR of 16+ to wield, does 1-10/1-10 dam, +2, does dbl damage to green things.  I loved this 'cause ya never know when something green will show up!  I suggest that it be wrested from the cold, dead hands of a wickedly jolly green Giant of some sort

3.  Shield Ring:  as Spell; AC 4 vs most attacks, AC 3 vs missiles, AC 2 vs thrown weapons, negates Magic Missiles, but does not protect from the rear! The particular ring I recall generated an actual, though ghostly, shimmering shield when struck, and I think there was some sort of roll to see if MM were reflected back at the caster... 50/50 each seems reasonable

4.  A Scroll of a random Clerical or MU Spell "addressed" to a particular PC, which they can use regardless of Class...  "Dear Tremaine, this may come in handy one day..."  Maybe its only Hold Portal, but look how happy the Fighter is!  I dunno.  It was surprisingly well received.  I just rolled randomly to determ whose name was on it, but it became a temporary obsession to the PC who ended up with it, "Who left this?  How do they know me?!"

5.  "Skully":  a sage-like talking skull which can be consulted for information, % chance to know answer: Common Knowl 75%, Uncommon 50%, Unusual 20%, Specialized 10%, Esoteric 5%.  Can also "Legend Lore" famous, legendary, specific persons/places/magic, and relate legends/stories, 30%.  When owner dies, all factual knowledge of this person is gained by Skully, so as he is passed on, he becomes increasingly knowledgeable.  Looking back, think this was inspired by Land of the Lost Library of Skulls...   anyhow, great way to have an NPC that isn't expected to help in combat!  and, it just now occurred to me, maybe useful somehow in restoring another's memories, you tell me

6.  Stone of Invisibility:  just a small stone which renders one invis when held.  Because it must be held, certain actions are not possible while invis, like most Thief Abilities, Spellcasting, etc.  Can render several people invis if they link hands with PC holding the stone.  The thinking player's version of the all-too-abused Ring o' Invis.  The party used it to remain unseen in a cavern, against the wall, all holding hands (and their breath!), while Lizardmen trooped on by, and "popped out" to ambush them, looking like a death-dealing line of preschoolers being led to the cafeteria

7.  Vorpal Gurkha:  just a simple +1 dagger, but a roll of natural 20 gives the Magic-User the thrill of decapitating a (man-sized) foe!  (who else is going to end up with it, the Fighter?  he already got a Scroll of Hold Portal)  It's desperation time when the Wizard reaches for a dagger, anyway!

8. Pit Pellet:  rune-inscribed clay token, when tossed to the ground, creates a 10ft diam, 10ft deep Pit, one use only.  Oh, the fun that was had... and yes, you can toss one into a pit you already made and make it 10' deeper, and screw up what should have been a pretty challenging encounter, killing some poor schmuck by dropping him 10'/rnd until your pellets run out, dumping in some flaming oil, and listen to him crying out "I knew I should have taken that Levitation spell!!"

9.  Bloody Bestiary: sprinkling the blood of a creature on one of the (limited) blank pages produces a "Monster Manual" style entry, the bloody script informing readers of relative strength, powers, weaknesses, etc.  May or may not come with the first few pages "filled in"

10.  "Mirror-Mirror" of Opposition:  tortoise shell (?) framed hand mirror, creates duplicate identical in all respects, except the duplicate has a goatee.  Duplicate attacks original, and if any others interfere, their Mirror-Mirror duplicate appears as well.  If a duplicate kills an original, the corpse disappears, and the duplicate immediately ceases attack, explains that he/she is no longer hostile, and play continues with the duplicates assuming the roles of the departed as if nothing had happened!  The only difference is that the PC will forever after sport a goatee, and be subject to looks of suspicion!  The look on their faces when I said, "Gimme your character sheets", and quickly added a "II" after "player name", and a goatee to their "sketch", then handed them back and said, "OK, is the party continuing to search?"... hilarious  (for female characters, I suggest a Marilyn Monroe-style "beauty mark")  Oh, and somewhere down the road, say, "Remember when you were replaced by a duplicate?" and see the look of dread.  Then say something innocuous, like, "Well, you're stroking your goatee, and you notice the faint outline of a secret door"  The rest of the party will be soon be whispering about your "magical beard".

11.  Ring of Regeneration, While You Sleep:  regen 1 HP/hr, but only while asleep!(4+1d4 hrs/night?)  Like a daily Cure Light Wounds  Odd bonus side effect: gain 1d8 HP if subject to a Sleep Spell, which of course the party immediately exploited by using Sleep Spells as Cure Lt Wounds!  "Nap time!"

12.  Hand o' Glory:  just thought it was creepy cool.  10ch (two per digit?  dunno why I chose 10)  Three effects:
Find Treasure, Sleep Spell, Dark 15' radius (only the bearer can see by the light of the Hand), one ch ea  (What if you put a Magic Ring on it?  hmmm... and what if you found a Ring of Regeneration and the Hand of Vecna?  "Just a side project, but don't open that box... it's not finished... yet")

13.  Seasoning of Edibility:  when sprinkled upon any organic material (wood, bone, clumps of peat), becomes edible and nutritious.  In no way affects flavor.  My campaign had a "never-ending shaker", and  a freezer-burnt Mammoth haunch from a long-dead specimen frozen in a glacier was devoured, among other nasty things...

14.  Pincushion Arrow:  +1, becomes 1d4 additional arrows once in flight, roll TH for each

15.  Suture Spider:  brooch/pin shaped like a spider, limited charges, uses fangs, claws and webs to "stitch up" open wounds, healing for 1d4.  Anesthetizing venom is a nice touch.  Damn scary the first time, though!  Be sure to ask, "I just want to be clear - you are placing this metal spider directly over your open wound?"  Try to look worried.  That will teach them for dumping your evil wizard down that pellet hole! 

16.   Scoobies:  compressed bars of mysterious origin and material (wood, bone, clumps of peat?), the smell of which is irresistible to carnivorous (animal INT) monsters.  Found sealed in an air-tight, screw-top tin, Scoobies will attract such an encounter from the current table w/in 1turn, and dbl such encounter rates for as long as the tin remains open.  Also, if tossed into the path of a ravenous beast intent on devouring the party, it will distract the beast long enough to chomp down the crunchy treat, maybe a rnd or two to locate and devour it.  Come in fun shapes, like stylized "bones", "hearts", and what the party may or may not recognize as "livers".  Great for guard dogs, too

17.  X (Enigma) Hole:  dark, one foot diam, impossibly thin "hole" in time and space, similar to the famed Portable Hole.  If any item is put in, another may be drawn out, 1/day.  The catch: no item may ever be repeated; after tossing in a copper once, a copper will no longer produce an effect, but anything can be tossed in; an iron spike, a rock, a banana, whatever.  Where this stuff goes, no one knows (but I thought it might be fun if years and XP lvls later, the Party discovers a "treasure" chest.  what's in it?  well, there's an iron spike, a rock, a mummified black wrinkly thing...)   What do you get back for tossing out all this junk?  The first time it is used, a Healing Potion comes out!  Thereafter, I tried to convince my Players that I had the weirdest table of all time hidden away in my stash, 'cause I rolled a concealed die and said things like "a 10inch diam stainless steel salad bowl" or "a pile of bones, maybe from a bird".  I was rolling a d30, but simply saying whatever weird item came to mind from my last few days, the version I was using tending to produce items totally unfamiliar to a fantasy world, like a butane lighter, "transistor radio" *...  However, if a 30 was rolled, the I'd roll for a minor magic item, like a minor Potion or Scroll of one 1st lvl Spell, which I think only happened once.  Planned on 100 uses, started a list of INs and OUTs, never got there.  Have to reintroduce one!  Maybe I'll make a table of odd bits from around my house (bongo drum, caulk gun, box of rubber bands)  Sooner or later, I guarantee, someone will actually bring up the idea of flushing a Magic Item down this thing, and someone will take a dump in it.  Oh, and what comes out of an X Hole cannot be put back in the X Hole.  Words to live by

18.  Robe of Useless Shit:  someone, somewhere, must have done this one.  Exactly like a Robe of Useful Stuff, or whatever, but every item is flawed somehow; torches sputter out, ladders snap under weight, war dogs piss themselves and whimper...  Gag becomes apparent quickly, but its fun!  I probably nicked this idea!

19.  Dart of Deadlacy:  only misses on TH of 1, and if a natural 20 is rolled, it embeds right between the eyes, damage is 6HP.  Not much for doing damage, but damn useful when you really need to hit, like when that robed guy is raising his arms and chanting... (basically a Magic Missile)

20.  Pick the item you like best from the Comments below.  :)

* received only one station, which played only Casey Casem's Top 40 Metal Show from an alternate universe, and had some sort of malfunction which caused it to "turn on by itself", allowing me to say things like, "scrrrrrchhh... This one goes out to Thongor and Company, who have just disturbed a sleeping Blue Dragon, somewhere below the Caverns of Quasqueton, its Black Sabbath with another metal monster, 'Electric Funeral'.  Good luck boys!" (cue music, Breath Weapon)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Temple o' the Toad pt 3

While investigating a Toad statue, the party is surprised by a relatively small yellow & green toad that had been lurking beneath the thing. I had said nothing more, but two of my Players, knowing my love of Futurama, said, "Do its eyes light up?/Does it start buzzing?", referring to the Hypnotoad from the cartoon. Thing was, it was a Hypnotoad, and so I said, "Yeah, everyone in the room make a Save!" I think they thought I was just going along with their inadvertent suggestion, but I swear, I had "Hypnotoad" written in the room description. Only one PC succumbed to Hypnosis, Xy the Mutant Mastermind. At this cue, the three Froglodyte Mummies hidden in plastered-up niches burst forth, also gaining surprise. These were top-of-the-line Spellcasting Froglodyte Mummies, former Wizards in life, and so in the first two rnd of action, one PC had been Hypnotized, Tarkas was Charmed and made to attack the party, one Mummy managed to cast Mirror Images (2), and the third Mummy cast Darkness, which enclosed both the hypnotized Xy and Quinn (thief) in inky black. Quinn took a cue from his opponents, and downed his Potion of Mirror Images in the dark, stumbling out afterward as three Quinns, two of which promptly disappeared in puffs of smoke as the Mummy in Darkness cast a spread of Magic Missiles at all three of them.* The unfortunate Rose (cleric) took the brunt of fellow PC Tarkas' Charm-fueled attack, and was soon mowed down by the death-dealing Fighter, but not before using a precious charge from her Horn of Valkyrie Summoning. Tarkas then went after the Wizard, Sot Palad, who had used his Potion of Human Control to attempt to take over control of the Charmed fighter, to no effect ("Sure, now I make my Save!"). Borune (cleric) took a Missile from another Mummy, ruining his Spell, as did Sot, but his Shield Spell negated it, allowing his desperation-driven Web to affect... two of the Mummies, as well as Quinn, but not the Charmed Tarkas, Dark Mummy or Xy (also took out the hypnotoad). It was then pointed out that the Hypnotoad could not function w/in the Darkness, so (with some cajoling) it was ruled out, and Xy, still w/in Darkness, engaged his Sonar Mutation, and attacked the Darkened Mummy. (oddly, this one had managed to cast Invisibility on itself, intending to exit the Dark at an advantageous point and attack, but since Xy's Sonar detects only a rough outline, the Mastermind, still in Darkness, didn't even realize his opponent was Invisible!) At this point, a shimmering Amazonian /Nordic Valkyrie appeared, attempting to take out the Mummy who held Tarkas in Charm and somehow managed to fail Save (and Magic resistance!), and was caught in the Web! While various pointless acts of desperation were performed, Quinn used a special property of his magic sword to cut himself free of Webs**, and those others who were Webbed eventually broke loose, the Mirror Image Mummy withered a few limbs with his Undead touch, Sot was reduced to near death by Tarkas in the hallway, and Borune attempted valiantly but unsuccessfully to overbear Tarkas. Quinn, low on HP, but plucky, joined the Valkyrie in beating on the Charm Mummy, as did Xy, who turned his back on his opponent to fire his Gnartian quill pistol at the Charm Mummy as well! (Tarkas on your side is great... but when he switches sides, all that damage the Party so loves becomes a serious threat!) Sot had fled, as did Borune, immediately after reviving the fallen Rose, who took advantage of her foe's Darkness, and hid in it from the other Mummies! Then, the tide turned; Charm Mummy fell, freeing Tarkas, who, along with the now unengaged Valkyrie, and doughty Quinn, finally eliminated the Mirror Images, and soon dispatched the second Mummy. Darkness Mummy, just about to attack the nearby, unsuspecting Rose, also soon fell - Borune had returned and cast Light, and the exposed final Mummy was borne down by everyone with any HP, plus the Valkyrie! Everyone took a deep breath, applied First Aid, and looked around at the carnage... everyone reduced to single-digit HP (Except Tarkas!) and totally depleted of Spells. It was near-perfect. It was at this point I realized I had forgotten the Mummies' Fear aura, and had not made the Party Save vs Fear at the outset!

(best Yakov Smirnov voice) "What a combat!"

Also, Sot Palad became aware of a rattling in his backpack; the Living Dagger of Venom was hungry. In one of those moves that make me love my Group, he took it upon himself to roll a d20 "vs Stupidity" (INT check), and said, "Yeah, I'm stupid enough... I open the box and take out the (unidentified, though certainly poisonous) dagger!" Using it to dispatch an unfortunate Sleeping Froglodyte, he realized that it was a potent weapon indeed, and wisely stowed it again for further examination later. Sometimes... he not so stupid!

MVP candidate: Xy, for exposing himself to near-certain limb Withering in order to do the most profitable action for the Party.

*if ya didn't know, MM is the ideal response to Mirror Images
** the Sword of Free Passage is a short sword +2, allows bearer to cut through Webs in 1rnd, Knock 1/day, and renders him immune to Hold/Paralysis when held

Thursday, February 17, 2011

LAND OF THE LOST! ('74)



I loved the original Sid & Marty Krofft series when I was a kid... wonder what I'd think of it now?  But tell me this link to Geography & Technology of the LOTL doesn't inspire your appetite for Brontoburger!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_of_the_Lost_%281974_TV_series%29_geography_and_technology

Gates, dinosaurs, "undead", hidden subterranean god-creature, crashed spaceship... Sandbox, anyone?  The quintessential sandbox - there is no "beyond the borders"!  You're going to have to keep track of every single looted Sleestak crossbow bolt, because there is no Town, no Trader Caravans... also, no Hirelings, no Temples (well, one!)...  In short, no "support", only what you can scrounge.  Gold and gems would hold little value, but any kind of survival tool/aid would be priceless!
I'm DOING this!

Encounter Tables: lots of dinos, of course, giant-sized critters seem to "fit", perhaps a few more monstrous beasties underground, plus the occasional non-native, anything from 60's Surferboy (bad wave, man) to Judge Crater to a cunning Mind Flayer... subtable for determining if they are n00bs or long-term residents

Pylons: the keys to finding a way out, perhaps several or all must be discovered and used toward this end, perhaps each controls a certain aspect of the Land (seismic stability, temporal stasis, gravity, weather...)

Lost Vehicles: crashed WWI biplane, 1990 Jeep Range Rover, Egyptian Galley...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

DEMIHUMANS, THE XP "CAP", and what it means to be HUMAN

I've always hated the idea that demihumans can only reach a certain XP level, esp given their longer lives. Sure, they get nifty abilities like "determine approx depth underground", but is it worth grinding to a halt in all other areas around lvl 8?
My solution when designing "Player Species" for Gnarth was to allow unlimited advancement for all, regardless of Class. But what about the Humans? What makes them "special"? Like everything else on Gnarth, I took a cue from pulpy sci-fi romance and adventure media; The Human Protagonist is always quite adept at Adapting, picks up the necessary skills relevant to the Alien World Quickly, seems extraordinarily Lucky, and proves surprisingly Difficult to Kill! In game terms: Humans receive +10% earned XP, have +1 to all Saves, and add +1HP/lvl to rolled HP. No extraordinary, specific ABILITIES like "Infravision", but rather a few generalized, broadly useful EDGEs!

Monday, February 14, 2011

THE GRAND LEGACY OF PROF. HUBERT J. FARNSWORTH


A little re-tooling of this excellent list of inventions makes a gnarly gonzo DungeonStocking/Room Contents/Weird Encounter table... (use link at bottom for details, links w/in table are broken)

(d50)
40 Safety Sphere
42 Doom-proof Platinum Vest
43 Assorted lengths of wire
44 Universal Robot Controller
45 Scooty-Puff Jr. (or Sr.)
46 Chicken Walker
47 Holophonor
48 Suicide Booth
49 Head Jar
50 Quantum Interphase Bomb

#44-50 are not Farnsworth creations, and were added to increase the list to an even 50 entries. Details for all entries can be found on the Infosphere (except #43)

It is possibly worth noting that the Prof also invented Fast Cars, Beautiful Women, and Trendy Nightspots, all while living in a tiny apartment.



    Sunday, February 13, 2011

    GROOVY

    Found new interest and excitement in my game (that had started to fall by the wayside), largely thanks to:

    http://planetalgol.blogspot.com/2010/04/master-index-of-freely-available-planet.html

    http://carcosa-geoffrey.blogspot.com/

    http://www.goblinoidgames.com/mutantfuture.html

    http://www.goblinoidgames.com/labyrinthlord.html

    http://www.goblinoidgames.com/spacemen.html

    Thank You.  I really needed a fresh jump-start, and soon my campaign will gain its own momentum again!

    PLAYER "SPECIES"

    HUMAN/DEMI-HUMAN

    TERRAN Either Earthman or Gnarth-born. Have a "general" rather than "specific" evolutionary edge; +1 to all Saves, +10% earned XP, +1 HP/lvl

    GNARTIAN Humanoids originally bred from human stock by Snake Men for color-coded ritual sacrifice. Appear mostly human, except for slight webbing of digits, minor cranial ridge, lack of hair (females do have hair on their heads), and coloration. Ultravision 6", +4 Save vs Poison. PCs start with two Hit Dice at first level; one maximum value (as all PCs receive), and one rolled randomly and added to this base. Skin color (d6): yellow, orange, red, green, blue, purple. Eyes (d6 ): emerald, sapphire, ruby, topaz, diamond, onyx. Hair (d6) gold, silver, copper, bronze, black, white

    APEMAN Neanderthal-like "cavemen" with simian features, originally brought to Gnarth by Snake Men for use as slaves. STR+2 (% STR available), CON+1, INT-2, CHA -2


    NON-HUMANS

    REPTILIAN (DEX +1, CHAR -1) Dinosaur/lizardman humanoid, scaly hide (base AC 9). AT by claw(x2)/bite routine for 1d4(x2)/1d6 or BW (as XP lvl)+ one bite/rnd. Infravision 60', Chameleon blending, Suspend Animation/Hibernate for up to 90 days on full stomach, Prehensile tail can carry light objects and possibly manipulate them (could carry a flashlight, but not wield a dagger), Climb Walls (Base 50%, +10%/lvl), Superior sense of smell

    INSECTAUR (CON +1, INT -1) Mantis-man humanoid, having six limbs and an exoskeleton (base AC 8). Wide-Angle Vision, surprised only 1 in 8, Back legs allow Jump 10' vertical, 20' ahead, 10' backward, Vibration-detecting antennae, Flexible thorax allows movement on four limbs (MV 15) or only two (MV 12), and rearing up to employ all four forward limbs to manipulate objects, attack, etc. Insectaur limbs are not as large or powerful as a bipeds, requiring two hands to employ primary weapons, such as longswords, which would normally only require one hand. When employing all four frontal limbs, they may attack as follows:
    1. 2x/r, with two weapons of size/dam equal to short swords or smaller, or
    2. with a two-handed weapon (great sword, polearm) held in all four hands, as XP lvl, or
    3. if a Fighter or Thief, standard primary/secondary combo (req. 2 hands to weild the primary) as XP lvl
    Note that Insectaurs may not wield two primary weapons simultaneously, and although up to four weapons may be in hand, only two may be used to strike during a rnd. Any hands not wielding weapons may employ a small shield, each granting +1 to AC.

    HERBIVOID (STR +1, DEX -1) Sentient, motile, plant-based humanoid, having fibrous exterior (base AC 7), and woody skeleton. SA: Immune to most mind-affecting spells and most poisons, Blunt weapons and constriction do only 1/2 damage, Punch 1x/rnd for 2d4, Resist Fire and Cold at -1 damage/die, Rooting ability during rest period (once/day) Heals damage for 1d6 rather than standard 1d4, and can also Root and Photosynthesize during daylight hours, regenerating 1HP/hr

    Note: The body structure of non-human player species does not allow them to utilize normal clothing and armor; Reptilians can employ magic cloaks or robes, but not helms, and generally only wear tunics or loincloths, Insectaurs and Herbivoids do not wear any clothing at all, except a harness or baldric to facilitate carrying items. Each species does produce their own armor; Reptilians fashion Scale mail from armored dino hide, Insectaurs forge breastplates which add to AC, and Herbivoids carve suits of wooden Banded mail, and of course magic examples of these may be acquired while adventuring.

    https://docs.google.com/View?id=df6nwzfx_5gx6vnzgb

    http://savageafterworld.blogspot.com/2010/01/new-character-race-insectaur.html

    EARTHMAN ORIGINS (a la Algol)

     I love the classic sci-fi device of transporting (modern) humans from Earth to Strange New Worlds, a fun idea also found on both Athanor and Algol, to name only two.  Link below to the original tables I stole the idea from!

    EARTHMAN ORIGIN TABLE (d24) and the Things They Carry.
    01 Archaeological accident &/or curse, has safari helmet
    02 Was LARPing in steam tunnels, has aluminum foil hat and dice
    03 Is dreaming... maybe?  Has any one minor mundane item of choice
    04 Out of body experience/Astral Projection, has earplugs and eye-mask
    05 Took bad drugs, believes reality is an hallucination, has disposable lighter
    06 Bitten by mysterious wolf, has pentacle on palm
    07 Was dabbling in Super Science, has calculator watch
    08 Unwilling/Willing subject of occult experiment gone right, has faith
    09 Unwilling/Willing subject of scientific experiment gone wrong, has vendetta
    10 Remembers only a beam of light... has car keys, credit card, and cell phone
    11 Stayed up late exploring RPG Blogs on the net, passed out, has beer bottle
    12 Abducted by aliens, has repressed memories
    13 Was trying to find the lavatory at a Grateful Dead show, has ticket stub
    14 Cursed by a filthy street person, still has the 75 cents
    15 Deceased and and bodily reincarnated, has embalming scars
    16 Was at Stonehenge at the wrong solstice, has worthless quartz crystal
    17 Was in a tornado, is accompanied by small dog
    18 Was in an seeking the hollow earth, a cryptozoid, or lost city, has machete
    19 Lost in a corn maze on Halloween, has costume &/or mask
    20 Rock climbing/hiking/kayaking, met with strange cloud, has Swiss army knife
    21 Passenger, crew or pilot, sailed into the Bermuda Triangle, has flask of liquor
    22 Separated from tour group at the Great Pyramids, has visitor's map
    23 Shipwrecked, has a compass and probably a beard
    24 Struck or seriously injured and is in a coma, was clutching hospital bill

    http://planetalgol.blogspot.com/2009/11/post-100-d24-earth-man-on-planet-algol.html
    http://swordsofathanor.blogspot.com/

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Temple o' the Toad pt 2

    FEB 10, 2011

    Both Gorn and Thorax remain in "room 11", lamenting their numerous Withered limbs, the result of a previous encounter with Froglodyte Mummies, sharing Quinn's "Ring of Regenerating (1HP/hr) While you Sleep", which apparently also restores atrophied limbs in lieu of its usual effect.(1limb/day). Thorax's idea!

    A new Gnarticle was added to the lexicon when the tarry, coin-encrusted Froglodyte Mummy burst forth from what Tarkus Traptripper termed a "Gnarcophagus"! Rose employed her Silence Spell to great effect, rendering the Spellcasting abilities of the ancient amphibian Mummies useless.

    After returning to the "locked, seemingly secure" room 11 for like the fourth time, the party finally decides to investigate the mysterious stone block with undecipherable runes! Xy the Mutant Mastermind used Psychometry to reveal a vision of the block being pivoted aside to reveal a cavity... from which Sot Palad drew forth a Dagger of Venom from a suspiciously-unlocked box, and Failed save vs Spells to avoid plunging it into his chest! Reduced to 2HP, the Wizard chose to immediately place the weapon "back in the box"... not realizing that the Save vs Suicide Stab was written as a one-time occurrence, which only happens the FIRST time a character handles the object! Otherwise, it is a semi-living um... thing, which produces up to 3 doses of Venom/day, doing 3d6 dam, save for 1/2. I had concerns that introducing this weapon would spur the combat-foolhardy mage into ill-advised melee even more often, or that the unscrupulous PCs would pull something like, "Would you trade that Potion for a Magic Dagger? Here, check it out..." However, in typically unpredictable fashion, nothing I anticipated occurred, and this potent, deadly weapon now lies "safe" in a box somewhere in Sot's backpack! Still, its gonna be fun when it gets hungry, and starts rattling around in there!

    A second visit to the "Hatchery" room revealed that the strange reptilian egg remains incubating in its nest, and Tarkus once again expressed desire to take it, noting that "and least I could throw it at something", but is once again dissuaded, "at least till we leave the dungeon"

    We leave off with the party entering the natural caverns where the natural pool is located, and being confronted by five table-sized Massive Toads...

    ("Temple of the Toad" is my version of The Fane of St Toad ... but there are so many Frog Gods and God Frogs and such... isn't it also the name of another adventure, or something?)

    'WELCOME TO THE WORRRLD OF TOMORRROW!"

    Rather than start a brand-new, 1st lvl campaign in my newly designed World of Gnarth, the existing party has been transported from (tradit. mythological/fantasy) Calantos to (futuristic, weird science) Gnarth via a Gate of the Serpent People. Arrive clueless to find a battle raging between a One-Eyed Psionic Giant and a party of (mostly!) Humanoids, are immediately attacked themselves by the Giant, which is dispatched with the aid of the native strangers. The abused survivors take refuge in a Barrow Tomb (?) entrance, but their leader, Gamma Ray Gary, expires from a fatal combination of old age and radiation poisoning. Before departing, the bespectacled, bearded Gary informs the party that they're not in Oz anymore, divides his loot among his alien companions, and gives his Earth Man revolver to the party (along w/20 silver bullets!), and asks that "his boys" be taken on by the Party - both sides heartily agree - and finally requests that the party at some point journey to Og to deliver a deed for some property in the Eternal City to his brother... Irradium-Ray Ernie.
    And so, standing atop a set of damp, dank stairs descending to darkness, silhouetted by the light of two moons, we find our intrepid adventures poised on the brink of yet another subterranean (subgnartian?) excursion:

    THE CALANTOSI
    Sot Palad -wiry and ruthless Wizard, lvl 4, he may only have 1st and 2nd lvl Spells, but his Ring duplicates whichever formulae he memorizes!
    Tarkus Traptripper - F5 he's the big guy who opens the doors, covers the retreats, and generally kicks ass in between. Also "checks for traps" by aggressively walking into/over/near, touching/pressing/pulling whatever is likely to do him damage
    Borune of Und - confused Cleric of a Fire God, not dealing well with being cut-off from his deity but determined to survive
    Rose of Uller - cautiously resigned Cleric, kept generally cheery by her Rose Colored Spectacles. The lone voice of reason
    Quinn "The Medicineman/woman" - Wary thief whose skills, and ability to transform into an Owlbear courtesy of the mangy pelt he always wears, have turned the tides on many occasions

    THE NEW GUYS
    Gorn - a Reptillian fighter with a big axe and an appetite for flesh
    Xy - a Green Gnartian whose strange abilities as a Mutant Mastermind are proving most appreciated, particularly his Regeneration, Object Reading, and "Lucky" (auto make any one Save/day)
    Thorax - iridescent Insectaur fighter, leaping into melee with a flurry of short swords and shields

    also featuring Skully, the Talking Skull, whose Legend Lore and Practical Knowledge had been rendered mostly useless on this unfamiliar planet, but who (which?) has found new purpose in relating the extensive stored knowledge of the recently-departed Gamma Ray Gary, which, to everyone's surprise - even mine - he was able to "download a copy of" when the well-traveled Earthman made his final (?) voyage. (seems this is how Skully arrived at his store of knowledge; he has gained a lifetime of experience from each of his former owners! I dread the day Xy decides to use Object Reading on Skully, and I have to invent a list of departed owners on another planet)

    What mind-bending weirdness awaits in the Temple of the Toad?

    http://planetalgol.blogspot.com/2010/03/planet-algol-artwork-preview-and-robust.

    http://shirosrpg.blogspot.com/2009/04/fane-of-st-toad.html

    YOUR OWN... PERSONAL... FORCE FIELD

    *turn on your tranceiver, I'll make you a believer... just try to touch me!*
    If you're gonna crawl across an alien landscape, ya gotta have a personal EFG. Where else are you gonna clip your Raygun, your loincloth? Gnoob!

    ENERGY FIELD GENERATORS
    Harness/Webgear apparatus with Power Pack (25 ch)

    TYPE/CH per TRN/EFFECT
    1. Mirror 1 Reflects/Dissipates Lasers
    2. Electro 1 20 HP/rnd Shield vs Electric
    3. Sonic 2 30' radius Silence
    4. Kinetic 3 10 HP/rnd Shield vs Physical
    5. Cloak 2 Invisibility
    6. Holo 3 Illusory Projection
    7. Force 4 30 HP/rnd Shield vs (any) Energy
    8. Antigrav 1 Levitate/Feather Fall
    9. Antirad 4 Negates Radiation (only)
    10. Nullfield 5 Impervious Shield
    11. Displacer 1 -2 AC, first AT auto misses
    12. Enviro 1 Filters viruses, disease, gas

    Figure each has an on/off switch, possibly an input for a larger, backpack Power Pack (50ch)
    Also thought it might be cool to have "modular" EFGs; the more-or-less standard basic harness and Power Pack, but with a selector switch (on/off/output A, output B, output ALL) the type of field generated dependent on which type(s) of emitter modules are attached. This could be fun... possibly a harness and emitter module could be found at separate times/locations... a player could be seeking additional new modules to add to his gear... "I'm not messing with this one - he's got four different emitters attached to that thing!"

    "NEGATE WOUND"

    I thought a cool idea for a variant Healing option would be an item or spell that would completely heal any ONE wound received, no dice roll involved.  For ex: our hapless PC has run afoul of two sword-thrusts, doing 10HP and 7HP damage, respectively, and also a stray arrow for 3HP.  He decides to down his Potion of Wound Negation, which completely heals his worst unhealed wound, and so negates the first sword thrust and he is healed for 10HP.  Of course, players will try to hoard this one, but that's what dinosaurs are for.

    DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT


    HOUSERULE - SPELLCASTING
    Wanted an alternate to automatically losing the Spell if struck during casting.  These rules allow the possibility of completing the Spell despite being hit, if the Player chooses to take the risk, and also provides for a chance of a more severe penalty to occur...

    If caster is struck for damage prior to starting the Spell, the
    Spell cannot be cast, but is not lost.  If caster is struck after beginning, but prior
    to completing a Spell, a save vs Spells may be (Player option) made to determ if casting may be completed (-1/Spell lvl).  If failed, the spell is lost, and if the fail result is "1" or less, caster is subject to the Spellcasting Failure Table.  Damage greater than 1/2 of the Spellcaster's HP negates the option of saving, Spell is lost, no other effect.

    SPELLCASTING CRITICAL FAILURE (d6)
    1. Spell attempted affects caster, and possibly others
        in area of effect (save, if any, applies)
    2. 1d4 additional random Spells memorized also lost
    3. Auto Stunned 1d4 rnds
    4. Unable to employ Spells for 1d4 trns
    5. Unconscious for trns = to lvl of Spell attempted
    6. Feebleminded, save -4, permanent until Dispelled, a successful 
        Save requires a second roll on this table, using a d4

    Athanor has the best take on this I've seen, I just wanted something less extensive.

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    MAGIC RINGS

    Like anybody needs another Ring Table, but here's the one I'm using for Gnarth, which incl the classics, some variants, some restrictions and clarifications, and removes those I just didn't like

    RINGS (d50) * = up to 10 Charges or 1/Day, Duration (if any), 1 turn

    1. FLYING up to 6 trns/day
    2. FREE ACTION immune Webs, Holds, Sleep
    3. PROTECTION bonus to AC (1 in 10 Displacement +2)
    4. WATER WALKING/BREATHING/ACTION
    5. WIZARDRY memorize one additional spell of ea lvl
    6. SPELL TURNING % as per Dispel Magic at 12th lvl
    7. SPEAKING w/ANIMALS
    8. SHOCKING TOUCH +1d4 dam by contact, 1/trn
    9. ULTRAVISION 12"
    10. HASTE*
    11. HEALTH immune disease/sickness
    12. LONG YEARS age at 1/2 normal rate, immune to unnatural aging
    13. HYPNOTISM one sentient creature at any one time, of =/< HD/lvl
    14. INVISIBILITY*
    15. HEALING as Heal spell *
    16. ALERTNESS improved/bonus to Initiative, Surprised 1 in 8, immune to Sleep
    17. FEARLESSNESS immune Fear
    18. SUSTENANCE need not eat/breathe for # weeks/days = to lvl
    19. FREE WILL immune mental influence/control such as Charm, Hypnosis, etc
    20. FIRE (or other) RESISTANCE as Scroll
    21. TRUTH auto Detects Lies, user unable to lie
    22. MAGIC MISSILES 2d4+1 missiles/day, fire up to 3/rnd
    23. MAGIC DETECTION* glows if previously undetected magic enters w/in 10'
    24. LIGHT & DARKNESS as Light spell, unlimited, plus Darkness 10' rad, 1/day
    25. UNSEEN SERVANT 1/day
    26. KNOCKING*
    27. MIRROR IMAGES* 1d4 images
    28. ETHEREALITY 1d4+2 charges
    29. POLYMORPHING* 1d4 forms, predetermined &/or selectable
    30. NON-DETECTION immune to scrying or detection
    31. VENOM NEUTRALIZATION*
    31. JUMPING*
    32. BURNING HAND*
    33. BLESSING* (1 in 10 apllies to 1" radius)
    34. LUCK bonus to saves (1 in 10 auto Save, 1/day)
    35. BLINKING*
    36. FEATHER FALLING
    37. TONGUES*
    38. TALKING DEAD*
    39. SHIELDING as Shield Spell
    40. GAINFUL REST regenerate 1HP/hr, while sleeping only
    41. COLOR SPRAY*
    42. CHANGE SELF*
    43. ESP 30’ range
    44. WOUND NEGATION* completely heals any one specific wound/strike
    45. IDENTIFICATION 10 charges
    46. GASEOUS FORM*
    47. STRENGTH* STR of 18
    48. TRAP DETECTION*
    49. ABILITY BONUS adds to Primary Ability, lowest Ability, or specific Ability
    50. DM SPECIAL (new Ring, roll twice, etc, possibly limited ch &/or uses)

    GNARTIAN "ARTIFACTS"

    In my Carcosa/Algol-influenced world of Gnarth, the term "Artifact" is used specifically to refer to polyhedral, psychically controlled magic items. Most need further detailing.

    ELDER ARTIFACTS (d24)

    Exceptionally powerful magic items of the Elder Species, always in the form of a sphere,
    cube, or other polyhedron, though of varying material. Some contain charges, some usable only
    by Spellcasters, possible side effects, all very rare. Often hover/float as GNARN stones (many
    operate while levitating), and may in fact be large GNARNS. Some Artifacts "bond" with a specific
    user, some charged items are Level Variable; # charges = to user's lvl (subtract 1 ch per use,
    gain one ch per XP lvl advance), plus 1d10 ch.

    1. CUBE O' FORCE Hematite, Projects Energy Fields, 6ch/day, 1 trn dur, Type &
    Cost/Trn: 1. Cloak, 2. Hologram/Illusion, 3. Anti-grav, 4. Kinetic (20 HP/r), 5. Force, 6. Nullfield

    2. SPHERE O' ANNIHILATION Ultrablack metallic sphere, creates Antimatter copy which auto
    interposes between user and any one attacker, and attacks 1/rnd as user, save vs. Disintegration.
    User must save vs INT on d20 ea time used, or Orb floats 10'/rnd random direction for 10+1d10 rnds

    3. PYRAMID O' RESURRECTION Smoky crystal "scans" corpse, restores life, removing all BM,
    as well as 1d4 GM, no loss of XP, Save vs 1 lvl Drain when first grasped, thereafter has level-
    variable ch

    4. CUBIC GATE Bronze cube composed of 27 smaller cubes, Allows instantaneous access to
    predeterm or previsited site, 1/wk (d6): 1. on Klaatu, 2. on Verrada, 3. on Nikto,* 4. 1000'
    Teleport, 5. predeclared Recall Point, 6. Random Location (useable anytime)

    5. ORB O' IMPRISONMENT Dull gray stone sphere, effect as Spell, # ch lvl variable, Save for no
    effect/no loss of ch, 1/day

    6. PRISMATIC PYRAMID Multicolored crystal, Prismatic Sphere 1/wk, Prismatic Spray #ch lvl
    variable, Color Spray 1/day

    7. SHINING TRAPEZOHEDRON Metallic, Doubles first level spells, increases Spell effects as
    if +4 XP lvls, can recall Spells cast, total # Spell lvls/day recalled = to XP lvl

    8. ORB O' NULLIFICATION Deep purple stone, No Magic, Mutations, or Energy Devices will
    work w/in 100' rad of user, duration/day 1trn/XP lvl

    9. OMNISCIENT OCTAHEDRON Pale blue dbl pyramid Answers any question fully, 1/wk, and
    allows consult table 1/day/XP lvl with ANY question, will be answered as best as possible from
    following possibilities, 1 in 8 uses results in completely random response (d8): 1. As I see it, Yes
    2. Signs point to Yes 3. You may Rely on it 4. Ask Again Later (24 hrs) 5. Concentrate and Ask
    Again 6. Don't Count on It 7. Sources say No 8. Outlook Bad

    10. CELESTIAL STAR Translucent diamond-like twelve-pointed crystal, "Turns" Undead as Cleric
    of XP lvl +2, sheds light causing 1d6 dam/rnd to Undead w/in 10', 1 trn/day, 1/day Undead
    Disruption beam, 100', save vs Spells

    11. CUBIC KEEP Rough, dull white stone, enlarges to impervious 10' cube, Phasedoor 5'x5'
    only bearer can activate, 20 cubic foot interior; load it up!

    12. ORB of the ALL-SEEING EYE White crystal with floating "eye", total of 3 uses/day, any
    effect(s), dur 1 trn; Clairvoyance 100', Find Traps, Detect Magic, Secret/Concealed/Hidden,
    Invisibility, Illusion

    13. ICOSAHEDRON O' INFLUENCE Multi-colored ceramic, allows "re-roll" of any d20, #ch/day=
    to lvl

    14. DECAHEDRON O' HEALING White metal, Completely Heals all wounds, 1/day(?)

    15. OCTAPLEX O' SUCCESS 24-sided flat yellow stone, allows substitution of d24 for d20 for
    self or others w/in 60, 1 ch/day/XP level, max 12/day

    16. HYPERCUBIC MAZE Dolm Tesseract, Hypnotizes, and if successful, target can be
    commanded to enter extra-dimensional Maze for 1d4 trns

    17. GLOBE O' INVULNERABILITY Orange crystal grants constant Minor Globe (unaffected by
    spells lvls 1-3) 1/day, Anti-Magic Shell (5' rad) 1/wk

    18. DODECAHEDRON O' DOOM Black stone riven with random crimson "cracks", can call down
    a Meteor Strike doing 10d10 dam, roll for ea w/100' diam area, 1 use/month,ea drains 1,000 XP

    19. THE GRAND RHOMBIC TRIACONTAHEDRON none living know the exact nature/powers of
    this 30-sided golden Artifact... some postulate that it is a weapon of inconceivable might,
    possibly a Doomsday device designed to extinguish the sun, while others believe it to be an
    Omega-13 device which alters/amends the flow of time itself...

    20. PYRAMID O' PLAGUES Calls forth the Creeping Doom, a swarm of 101-500 biting/stinging
    creepy-crawlies (determ total by 1d4 for # of hundreds, +1d% additional), ea does 1 HP auto
    damage, once ea attacks, it dies, first use summons an uncontrolled swarm, attack all w/in 10",
    ch = to lvl (w/o addit 1d10ch)

    21. RUNIC CUBE Mottled, rough stone, each face can project a Symbol (Discord, Fear, Insanity,
    Hopelessness, Pain, Sleep), two uses/day, total

    22. DEATH STAR Dark gray six-pointed star, control Undead as Cleric of same XP lvl, beam
    drains 1d4 XP lvls, and when these equal 2x bearer's lvl, he transforms into an Undead himself

    23. ASTRAL OCTAHEDRON "Appears as a piece of the night sky", allows out-of-body,
    "Silver Cord"-style Astral travel, 1/day

    24. HENAGONAL SINGULARITY The first person to view this impossible 1-sided thing must
    save vs INT (minus 1d4) on a d20, or thereafter be afflicted with a drooling, gibbering form of
    Feeblemind, if successful, can call upon the HS to fulfill one Wish, whereupon it collapses in upon
    itself and disappears from normal space
    * the three Moons of Gnarth

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyhedron