Monday, July 1, 2019

Foreshadowing PC Doom; a game mechanic for any RPG

The TOKEN of DOOM always rests before one of the Players at the table.  It can be any small object; special die, favorite paperweight, conch shell... it serves two purposes, possibly three:

1. When a die roll must be made on behalf of the Party, rather than an individual PC - Surprise, Party Initiative, maybe an on-the-fly treasure determination, etc - the Player makes the roll, then passes the Token to the next Player (keeps it fair, helps maintain engagement)

2. The "Doom" Part; Whomever holds the Token is also under the Shadow of Doom, for should the next Encounter call for a Party member to be a trap-tripper, attacked first in a combat, or otherwise randomly selected, singled out, possibly ganged-up on (definitely, if number of foes exceeds number in Party!)... They've ALREADY been randomly selected, AND they got to "have a bad feeling about this..." beforehand.  Not that anyone else is safe, just that the Token bearer is under increased threat of extra peril.   Pass it along after doom befalls

3. Next time a Player does something solely and explicitly designed to piss off the DM, he has the option to silently yet meaningfully pass the Token from the current bearer to the offending Player, and make them keep it awhile







Wednesday, April 10, 2019

psst - Your Shield is Upside Down

Came across an old fave Dave Sutherland graphic on Old School FRP ...but something about that shield always bugged me.  You tell me...?


Am I wrong?

(according to Old School FRP, "no credit for Sutherland by name" in the module that the original drawing had inspired!  For shame!)

And while I'm at it, I suppose this big guy is Surprised, because why else would he be holding his polearm upside down?  Maybe trying to get around some Large vs Small penalty


Saturday, April 6, 2019

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Animal Totem Charms; minor magic for just one special die roll

Inspired by a post on DIY & Dragons, "North American Familiars," I came up with a table for very minor Charms, the kind a First XPL Party might be very interested in.  I love the North American flavor, and also made an alternate list for my own campaign world


ANIMAL TOTEM CHARMS (of)
The most minor of magics, miniature animals carved of ornamental stone or wood, some cast metal, in pocket or on person, will perform effect/confer bonus Once only, affecting a single Encounter, Die roll, or Action (any duration, etc as per DM)

NORTH AMERICA                                                                                         GNARTH
1 White Cat; move very silently                                                                      Same
2 Hound Dog; +3 CHA Bonus, Morale, Persuade                                         Calot
3 Appaloosa; 'spooked', warns of surprise/ambush                                       Gnarnonychus
4 Opossum; Feign Death                                                                               Crawling Urchin
5 Blue Ox; 1 in 10 MR, 1T                                                                              Demon face
6 Badger; +1 melee damage                                                                          Aurumvorax
7 Groundhog; know weather for the day                                                        Rat Monkey
8 Otter; swim speed 24'                                                                                  Blue Wyrm
9 Miner's Canary; supernatural ability to detect traps/hazards                      Fire Moth
10 Pigeon; 'home in' on route out of dungeon/back to town                          Glow Bat
11 Rattler; Advantage on Encounter Reaction                                              Batwing Viper
12 Owl; see at night as well as during day                                                    Cave Compy
13 Hawk; excellent distance vision                                                                Pterosaur
14 Racer Snake; Advantage to Initiative                                                        Parn
15 Ant; reduce Encumbrance by one degree                                                Same
16 Grizzly Bear; continue to fight normally at -1 to -10 HP                           Scaled Bear
17 Toad; hold breath underwater up to 2T                                                     Vroat
18 Gecko; climb walls, single structure/wall/room                                         Spider
19 Armadillo; deflect one round of missiles                                                    Shield medal
20 Crow; mimic exactly any one voice/vocalization                                       Serpard
21 Raven; detect treasure w/in 1000’                                                             Squonk
22 Grasshopper; leap 10' vertically or 20' horizontally                                   Insectaur
23 Black Cat; -1 penalty to one opponent's rolls                                            Same
24 Raccoon; pick pockets as Thief                                                                Insectosprite
25 Anole; blend with surroundings, 9 in 10                                                    Chameleoid
26 Porcupine; grappling/dealing melee damage vs, 1d4 damage                Spiny Lizard
27 Skunk; nausea stench, saps any STR Bonus, -1/die damage                 Froglodyte
28 Coyote; Advantage vs any Trap/Save                                                      Gremlin
29 Wolf; guaranteed successful game hunt                                                   Tark
30 Bat; ‘sonar’ operates even vs magical Darkness/Invisibility                     Leatherwing
31 Vulture; safely eat rotten/spoiled food                                                      Osquip
32 Black Swan; reroll any natural 7 or natural 13                                          Star Glowstone
33 Mosquito; gain 1 HP each time you do damage                                       Stirge
34 Scorpion; Advantage, Save vs poison/venom                                          White Scorpion
35 Stallion; becomes full size steed, 2d6 hours                                             Gnarguamodon
36 Mule; becomes full size pack animal, 4d6 hours                                      Pack Lizard


Saturday, March 23, 2019

4d12 Gem Types Tables


the Hellfire of Hellastar

GEM TYPES (d12 each)

Ornamental                                                                 Fancy to Precious
1 Azurite: mottled deep blue                                       Amber: transparent golden
2 Banded Agate: blue, red, and white stripes            Alexandrite: dark green
3 Blue Quartz: transparent pale blue                          Amethyst: purple crystal
4 Hematite: gray-black                                               Aquamarine: pale blue green
5 Lapis Lazuli: dark blue, yellow flecks                      Chrysoberyl: green or yellow green
6 Malachite: striated light and dark green                  Coral: pink to crimson
7 Moss Agate: pink, gray-green moss                       Garnet: deep red to violet crystal
8 Obsidian: jet black                                                   Jade: light to dark green or white
9 Rhodochrosite: shades of pink                                Jet: deep black
10 Tiger Eye Agate: gold brown, dark stripes            Pearl: pure white, rose, to black
11 Turquoise: aqua, darker mottling                          Topaz: golden yellow
12 Gnartian Glowstone, small                                    Glowstone, medium-large or spar
                                                                                   
Semi-Precious                                                            Gems & Jewels
1 Bloodstone: deep red, black mottling                      Diamond: clear, blue, yellow,pink           
2 Carnelian: orange to red-brown                              Ruby: clear to deep crimson red
3 Chalcedony: white                                                   Emerald: brilliant green
4 Citrine: pale yellow                                                  Sapphire: clear to medium blue
5 Jasper: blue, black to brown                                   Black Sapphire: rich black highlights
6 Moonstone: white pale blue hue                             Opal: pale blue/black, gold motes
7 Onyx: black, white, or bands of both                       Fire Opal: fiery red
8 Rock Crystal: clear, transparent                              Jacinth: fiery orange
9 Tourmaline: translucent green                                 Dark Amethyst: deep purple
10 Smoky Quartz: yellow, brown, rose, blue              Fire Topaz: fiery yellow
11 Sard: dull or brick red                                            Moon Opal: misty blue, silver motes*
12 Gnartian Firestones (# 1d6)                                  Moon Sapphire: dark blue, silver highlights*

* Moon Gems glow softly from within, their only source is the moon of Nikto.  Moon Opals always have a base value of 5K, while Moon Sapphires start at 10K