Monday, August 28, 2017

The Ink Witches

[I feel like I should note up front that I know nothing about how tattoos work in the real world.]

The Ink Witches live in a ramshackle house not far beyond the curtain wall that separates Castle Vyzor from the village.  Some people say they're sisters from a weird family, some say they're simply business partners, a few claim they're in a polyamorous relationship.  But you know how gossipy adventurers get.  One known fact is that adventurers from far and wide come to the Ink Witches for tattoos.  A normal tattoo that can be completed in a single session will set you back d6 x 50gp.  But each Ink Sisters can also weave a bit of magic into their creations.

found on Pinterest
Gwenno is a half-elf, though she usually wears her hair to cover her pointy ears.  Her tattoos tend to look like they came out of the metal or punk scenes of the late seventies.  Her specialty is the creation of tattoos that hold spells.  A standard BX spell costs 1,000gp per spell level.  That over and above the normal cost per session and it generally takes one session per spell level.  Each PC can hold up to 6 magic tattoo 'slots,' with each spell level taking up a slot.  (Filling the sixth slot means basically all your skin is tattooed.  You had to shave your head and pubes to get that last slot.)

After the tattoo is complete, the spell becomes available as a daily power, but each time it is used there is a 1 in 6 chance the ink fades.  If that happens, there's a 50% chance it can be touched up at d% times the original cost.  Otherwise the spell is gone and cannot be repaired or replaced with another spell.  Nonstandard spells can be inked as well, but you must provide a copy that is destroyed in the process.  Furthermore, there's a 1 in 6 chance the spell just won't work properly each time it is activated.

The first time you get a tattoo from Gwenno, she demands a small bit of whatever clothing you are wearing, which she sews into her patchwork frock.

Rockabilly Witch by tumblr
user .
By all accounts Mary is a human.  Her tattoos are aesthetically in line with the artwork of Coop.  Her specialty is the Tattoo of the Useful Item.  These tattoos usually depict a flirtatious rockabilly devilgirl holding some sort of object.  The owner of the tattoo can peel the tattoo object off their skin and it turns into the real deal thing.  It can then be used for up to 1 hour (6 turns) and returned to the owner's skin.  If the time elapses or the object is used up/destroyed, the power is lost and the devil girl goes from winking wantonly to scowling and flipping the bird.  The following objects cost 500gp to ink and take up 1 tattoo slot (of the 6):
  • dagger
  • lantern (filled and lit)
  • full length silver mirror
  • 10' pole
  • 50' rope
  • empty large sack
These objects cost 1,500gp per tattoo, take up 2 tattoo slots, and require 2 sessions at the normal rate:
  • bag of 100gp
  • silver coffer (small chest) worth 500gp
  • iron dungeon door
  • gem of 100gp value
  • wooden ladder, 24' long
  • mule with saddle bags
  • 10' pit
  • potion of healing
  • rowboat 12' long
  • scroll with a random 1st level spell (for your class, if you're a spellcaster)
  • 2-headed wardog
  • window (2' x 4')
  • small bonfire
  • cask (contains 1-3 water, 4-5 wine, 6 brandy)
  • 6 caltrops
  • iron crowbar
  • silver dagger
  • mallet and 3 stakes
  • haunch of meat (unknown animal)
  • oak tree (30' tall)
  • miner's pick
  • rooster
  • shovel
  • wasp's nest w/~200 wasps
On a successful reaction roll Mary will design a custom tattoo for some other item.  This will cost 3,000gp, takes up 3 slots, requires 3 sessions, and the customer must supply the object in question.  The reaction roll is +1 if you have an interesting recipe to share, as Mary is always looking for new things to make in the kitchen.

Lost or damaged Useful Objects may be replaced at half the original cost, but there's a 1 in 6 chance that the touch-up work involved ruins the magic of the tattoo.

Lady Orc by Jaasif
The half-orc Gretcha is the youngest of the three and the other two call her the baby of the bunch, but she's also 6'3" and looks like she could bench press a Mack truck.  Her best tattoos are abstract, some featuring non-Euclidean geometry that seems to highlight extradimensional body parts that you didn't even know you had.  She's much more pleasant than her Resting Orcface would suggest, and chats merrily away with customers as she works.  Gretcha will discuss nearly any topic, possessing a wide-reaching knowledge of the world and its affairs that seems odd for someone so young.  One thing she will not discuss is her magical tattoos.  You pay d6 x 500gp, it takes d6 sessions and slots, and you take your chances on a random chart that you don't get to see.  Think of it as a Tattoo of Wonder.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Random Advancement Gnome-As-Class

The Gnome

To play a gnome you need to have both Int and Con of at least 9.  You use d6 for hit dice and use the halfling chart for XP.  Like halflings, you are limited to 8th level (suck it up, that's how BX rolls).  Your initial saves are as an Elf 1.  You can wear any armor and there's a 50% chance that magic armor sized for halflings or dwarves will fit you.  Weapons allowed: hand axe, shortbow, light crossbow, dagger, shortsword, club, sling, spear, warhammer.  You speak gnomish and common initially, can listen at doors on a 2 in 6, and have 60' infravision.  If you can get your sorry gnomish butt past first level then each time you level up you may roll d6 more hit points and make two throws on this chart:

01  Roll on the Elf chart instead.  If you get the "gain a spell slot" result, treat it as 26-40 below.
02-18  You get more fighty, +1 to-hits.
19-23  You gain +1 to all saves.
24  You gain d4 more hit points.
25  Gain a language, roll d6: 1) dwarf, 2) elvish, 3) goblin, 4) hafling, 5) orc, 6) svirfneblin.  If you end up here again and roll the same language you are now so eloquent in that tongue that all reaction rolls are +1 when using it with native speakers.  Reroll subsequent rolls of the same language.  Reroll if you collect all six twice.
26-40 You gain a random 1st illusionist spell as a daily power.  On subsequent rolls you get a second level spell, then a third, etc.  (For a source of illusionist spells, I like the 1st edition Player's Handbook & Unearthed Arcana or Best of Dragon vol. 1)  Reroll this result if you actually gain one spell of each level through 7th.
41-50 The first time you roll this you gain all the skills of a first level thief.  Ever subsequent roll advances your thievery by one level.  Note that you can only sneak and climb while wearing no armor, leather, studded leather, or ring mail.
51-52 You get additional training with a traditional gnomish weapon.  Roll d8 for weapon type.
  1. warhammer - If you roll maximum damage against a foe with platemail, a shield, or a chitinous shell, you then also reduce their AC by d3 points as you bust up their armor.
  2. crossbow - Your crit range improves by one.
  3. shortsword - Your ability to parry grants you +2 ac versus melee opponents of man size or smaller
  4. spear - +1 to hit and damage
  5. shortbow - You may fire two arrows per round of combat.
  6. club - Thanks to secret Gnome Fu you can hurt creatures normally only struck by magic weapons.
  7. sling - You do triple damage against ogres, trolls, giants, and titans.
  8. gnome hooked hammer - You can make one bludgeon attack for d6 and one piercing attack for d4 each round or a single trip attack at +2 to-hit.  (One of these babies costs 20gp new, by the way)
If you roll this result again, you can collect additional weapons training, but reroll the d8 if you get the same result a second time.  Reroll this result after you have all 8.

53-55 You've got the tinker gnome thing going.  You adventure with half a backpack full of gears and springs and steampunk nonsense and a bunch of tools on your belt.  Once per session you can build a contraption of some sorts to solve a problem (open a door or chest, set up a diversion for an ambush, or darn near anything that a smallish machine might be able to accomplish).  It will generally do its job but there is a 1 in 6 chance that it goes horribly awry.  Reroll if you get this result again.
56 You can't kid a kidder, as my uncle Jim used to say.  Once per session you can attempt to disbelieve an illusion so hard that it is completely dispelled, no roll required.   However, if you try to disbelieve something that is real, you must save versus paralyzation or be stunned d3 rounds.
57-58 +1 Intelligence.  If you already have max Int, gain +1 Wis instead.  If you have max Wis as well, then you get nothing.  Do not reroll.
59-60 Stone Lore. Underground you can detect slanting passages, traps, shifting walls, and new construction 2 in 6.  Subsequent rolls of this item increases it to 3 in 6, then 4 in 6, finally 5 in 6.  Reroll after that.
61 Goblin Loathing.  You are +2 to hit against goblins and +1 versus other goblinoid creatures (hobgoblins and bugbears, for instance).  If you roll this again you also gain +2/+1 damage.  Reroll the third and subsequent rolls of this item.
62 That big nose ain't just for show.  You're only surprised 1 in 6 thanks to your advanced sense of smell.  Does not help against noncorporeal undead, ethereal or astral monsters, and other immaterial foes.  If you roll this a second time, you can now smell those jerks as well.  Reroll after that.
63-66 Giant Fighter.  Against any anthropomorphic foe of at least gnoll or bugbear size you are +4 AC.  If you roll this again you gain the ability to knock such foes prone anytime you get the maximum result on your damage dice.  Reroll this result after that.
67 Once per session you can get out your gemcutting tools (cost 100gp, takes up half a backpack) and re-cut a gem to attempt to improve it's value.  Roll a d12.  If you get a 1-2 you succeed.  If you get a 12 you shatter the gem.  3-11 no effect.  Upon a successful roll a gem of 10gp value or less becomes worth 50gp.  A gem of up to 50gp value becomes worth 100gp.  Up to 100gp become 500gp.  Up to 500gp becomes 1,000gp.  Up to 1,000gp becomes 5,000gp.  You cannot attempt to improve a gem worth more than 1,000gp.  If you roll this a second time your success rate improve to 1-3 on d12.  If you roll a third time you now roll a d20, 1-5 improves but you only shatter the gem on a 20.  This is all about resale value, you do not get more XP for the improved gem.
68-70 You gain the knowledge of d6 arcane cantrips of your choice (I recommend using either the 1st edition Unearthed Arcana or Uncle Gary's original cantrips articles in Dragon #59 and #60.)  You can cast 3 cantrips per day, no memorization required.  On subsequent rolls of this item you gain d6 more cantrips to choose from, but do not get more uses per day.
71-73 You can speak to normal, giant sized, and enchanted burrowing mammals (such as badgers and rabbits).  If you roll this a second time you gain the ability to speak to any mammal.  Reroll this result after that.
74 Your infravision increases to 90'.  Reroll if this result comes up again.
75-77 Kobold Hate.  +1 to-hit, +1 damage, and one additional melee attack when fighting kobolds.  Also, you get double XP for kobolds slain (but not captured or routed).  Each subsequent roll of this grants you +1 to-hit, damage, and another attack, but the XP multiplier increases to triple, then quadruple, etc.
78 If you don't already, you start wearing one of those pointy red hats (10gp new).  Here's why (roll
  1. Once per session, when you need a piece of standard dungeoneering equipment you don't have, you just happen to have one under your hat.  Even something that doesn't fit, like a 10' pole.
  2. Once per session you can pull a random 1st level wandering monster out of your hat.  They will obey you for d6 turns, even doing wildly suicidal things if you so command them.  Upon death or the d6 turns elapsing they disappear in a poof of smoke.
  3. Once per session you can take off the hat and use it to negate an incoming spell attack.  The target must be you personally, an adjacent ally, or you must be standing in the area of effect.  The hat ingests the spell effect then lets out a small burp.  Touch spells are unaffected.
  4. Once per session you can fill the hat with 100 coins (no more, no less) of the same type, hold it closed, and give it a good shake.  When you pour them out, d100 of the coins will have transformed into the next most valuable currency (copper become silver, silver become gold, gold becomes platinum, platinum becomes 10gp gems).  If you take 1 turn on the second or lower level of a dungeon to do this, the transformation will affect the XP earned from the session.  However, there is a 1 in 6 chance that the hat eats the coins instead.
  5. Once per session if you face a creature with a gaze attack, the hat suddenly grows two sizes and falls over your eyes.  You do not need to save to avoid the gaze, but you are blind and can't remove the hat until the encounter is over, at which time it returns to normal size.
  6. Once per session you can avoid some sort of instadeath situation by sacrificing the hat.  You avoid the dragons breath but the hat is incinerated, the assassins poisoned crossbow bolt nails the hat to the wall, etc.
Each time you roll this item you may collect a new hat effect, but you may not duplicate the d6 results.  Reroll this item if you somehow collect all six and end up here again.

79 Hench-illusion.  You gain a henchman of random type (Seriously, go wild.  Work with your DM to bust out something really ridiculous.) who is completely loyal.  However, if they are ever subject to a dispel magic, dispel illusion, or are successfully disbelieved by a foe they evaporate instantaneously, for they never actually existed.
80-82 You gain +2 saves versus any magical effect.  On subsequent roll this becomes +4, +6, etc.
83 Peacemaker.  According to legend it was the gnomes who first got the dwarves and elves to sit down and hash out their differences.  Assuming you have a means of communication with both parties, you may hash out a fair and honorable peace between any two warring parties, from squabbling spouses up to feuding intergalactic civilizations.  Except kobolds, because fuck those guys.  If you can get both parties in a room together, this process takes d6 hours.  Otherwise, the limits of local communications technologies become a factor.  The peace will hold for d100 years.  You may do this only once.
84-86 You get a pet.  Roll d4.
  1. Badger.  Ac 4, Move 60' (swim 30'), HD 1+2, claw/claw/bite d2/d2/d3
  2. Giant badger.  Same as above but man-sized.  HD 3, d3/d3/d6
  3. Wolverine.  Ac 5, Move 120', HD 3, d4/d4/d4+1, +4 to-hit due to surliness, if anyone attacks its rear they get a skunk-like musk attack, save or be blinded d8 hours, even if saved they are 50% Str and Dex for 2d4 turns
  4. Vorpal Bunny.  Ac 0, Mv leap 120', HD 3, damage d6, crits on 18+
If you roll this a second time and your prior pet(s) is still alive, then you get another of the same.  Otherwise reroll if this result comes up again.
87-88 You're a bit of a tinker gnome back home in your workshop.  You've devised some sort of fairly reliable device that you carry with you on adventures.  Work with your DM to figure out what it is and how it works.  Whatever other details you arrive at, every time you use it there is a flat 1 in 6 chance of catastrophic failure.
89-90 Gain a 1st level Illusionist spell of your choice as a daily power.  On subsequent rolls you get a second level spell, then a third, etc.  (For a source of illusionist spells, I like the 1st edition Player's Handbook & Unearthed Arcana or Best of Dragon vol. 1)  Reroll if you actually gain one spell of each level through 7th.
90-91 If you attempt to put on, use, or otherwise activate a cursed item, you get a save versus Magic to avoid the curse, as you get a tingling sensation just before you fall for it.
92-93 In any situation where the floor, wall, or ceiling of an underground location is unsafe, you have a 4 in 6 chance of detecting the problem in time to give you an action to save yourself and any other gnomes in the party.  If you roll a 1 you can warn non-gnomes in time as well.  Reroll if this result comes up again.
94-95 Amateur Alchemist.  You start each new adventure with a homemade potion of random type.  However, when they are used (not tested) there is a 1 in 6 chance the recipe isn't quite right.  Roll on the Potion Miscibility Table (1s edition DMG page 199) to see what happens, rolling another random potion if necessarily to adjudicate the miscibility results.  If you roll this result again you start with an additional random potion.
96 You have built a good ol' fashioned Gnomish Battle Harness.  It's like that thing Ripley fights the Alien queen with, but all steampunky.  While using it you are effectively human-sized, wearing platemail, have an 18 Str, and 5x current level additional hit points.  You also halve your dexterity while wearing/using it.  You can pop out of it in one round, but it takes a whole turn to strap yourself back in.  The extra hitpoints cannot be healed, but you can repair d6 points with a day of work and at a cost of d100gp in materials.
97-98 If you find a magic item that is a gem or has a gem set in it and the provenance of the item is unknown, you may declare it to be/contain one of the Lost Gnomish Gems of Power.  The item is now usable by any gnome (Unless it's like a two-handed sword of something.  Don't be a clod about this.) and it has additional powers only usable by gnomes.  Roll d4 spells of level d6, generated from any spell list handy.  If the spell is 3rd level or lower, it is a 3x a day power.  Higher level spells become daily powers.  (You can and should ask the DM if any encountered magic item has a gem set in it.  If the DM doesn't know, they should give a flat 1 in 6 chance of it being so, except for potions and scrolls and other wildly inappropriate items to bejewel.  Again, don't be a clod.)  You may do this only once.
99  +1 Constitution.  If you already have max Con, gain +1 Dex as well.  If you already have max Dex too then you get nothing.
00  Roll on the Dwarf chart instead.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Vaults of Vyzor, sesh 14


Rose Royce, trash elf princess (Kiel Chenier)
Pokey the Porcupine (pet) [Was Pokey actually there?  I think we sorta forgot about the pets this session.]
Sneakerly Trull, half-orc thief (Zak S.)
Mozarella, doggie (pet)
Big Gnome, LotFP specialist (Luka Rejec)  [Luka wanted to roll up a gnome but didn't have any old school gnome rules handy, so he made a specialist to simulate a gnome with a glandular disorder.  I may make a Random Advancement Gnome soon.  I was gonna do Druids next.]
Szazsraz, lizard wizard (Chris Wilson)
Lunch, doggie (pet)
How I imagine Szazsraz.
So imagine you're a newly minted first level PC like Big Gnome or Szazsraz and you end up in a party of grizzled adventurers like Rose and Sneakerly.  They've each been in this dungeon on multiple locations and they seem to agree that the Azure Vault is the area that you need to explore.  Surely, they know what they're doing, right?

Now imagine the first door you open has a wight behind it.

Few fights in D&D are as desperate as those against level-draining undead.  Fortunately, Sneakerly had
a silver dagger, but obviously he was not digging being in melee with this baddie.  Szazsraz joined in by holding 4 silver pieces in his fist, like you can do with car keys.  And Rose started gnawing on the wight's ankle with her one silver tooth, hitting multiple times for 1 point of damage.  Big Gnome waived his shovel menacingly at the wight, to no effect.  Meanwhile, I was rolling crap for the wight and didn't hit even once.  Eventually, Szazsraz rolled a crit and punched the wight's damn fool head off, but, being undead, that did not finish him.  Rose ended the combat by biting through the wight's skull and chomping on its shriveled undead brain.  Ain't no one more hardcore than Rose Royce.

The party then committed some grievous animal cruelty on a pack of harmless, cuddly man-eating crocodiles.  When discussing how to best brutalize the poor beasts, Zak repeatedly insisted that the door between them and the crocodiles would keep them safe because "crocodiles don't have hands."  I was sorely tempted to quietly scribble the world "mutant" into my key to justify giving them opposable thumbs on the spot.

The party found another set of monster cages.  It's a pretty well-known fact now that the first level of the Azure Vault is some sort of prison/zoo/torture chamber for the King of the Elves.  One cage contained 8 lady bugbears and their mewling bugbear babies.  They claimed that they were intended as hostages from the Lord of the Bugbears to the Elf King and that they assumed they would end up working as servants in the kitchens or somesuch, but instead they've been locked up.  The other cage contained a pair of beholders named Sidney and Francis.

The adventurers to the Azure Vault have all faced the same basic problem: their miscreant hearts go out
to the imprisoned monsters, but they don't trust that they can release them and not get eaten.  This time negotations breaking down resulted in Sidney and Francis getting into the eyebeam equivalent of a slap-fight and then crying and hugging it out.  Or at least, whatever passes for hugs among beholders.  Holy shit, is that why they're so grumpy?!?  Without arms they can't hug?

While this was all going on one of the Elf King's jailers showed up, an ogre that looked like Ralph Wiggum but 8' and mean.  He was murdered.  Big Gnome started carrying around the dead ogre's big spiky club.

They then took a nearby stairs down to the second level of the Azure Vaults.  There they discovered a large library haunted by the librarian lady from the original Ghostbusters.  The party checked out some books.  Sneakerly fond a book on orcish cruisine, detailing the correct preparation methods for 99 humanoid and demi-human races.  Luka came up with some great useless book titles (Big Gnome was looking for the most expensive-looking bindings), but I can't find where I saved them.  Of course the whole point of checking these books out was to sell them on the surface, which netted them a tidy profit.

The party then returned to the surface and everyone but Sneakerly got good and properly drunk.  My notes at this point are a mess.  I think Rose lost what little money she had left gambling (and she still owes a pile to the local loan sharks).  Kiel, if you are reading this, your character's silver tooth was also lost.  Big Gnome ended up initiated into some sort of sinister cult, but he was so drunk that he can't remember the passwords or secret handshake.  Was it Satanists?  Pan worshippers?  Followers of Cernunnos?  Definitely a statue of someone with horns and a big wang was involved.  And Szazsraz ended up with a tattoo (not sure how that works with lizards, but what the hey) of two beholders arguing.
Roses map of the Azure Vault I
Azure Vault II


Bufo the Wizard (Makali’i F), Beefo the Gerblin Drinking Buddy (NPC), Willy Whats-His-Name (0-level Loser), Poor Brother Rupert (cleric hireling), unnamed serving boy (0-level hireling), Gwalin Rustbritches (dwarf hireling), Jarrod the Magic-User (Ian Reilly), Jonesy (0-level NPC), Little Liam Linkboy (0-level NPC), Limpy the Naileteer (Jeff Call), Engsal the Enchanter (Alex Joneth), Elfbraham Lincoln (Jeff Call)., Littlens (0-level NPC), Biggens (0-level NPC), Stimpy (0-level NPC), Ren (0-level NPC)


Big Gnome (Luke Rejec), Szazsraz the Wizard Lizard (Chris Wilson), Rose Royce (Kiel Chenier), Sneakerly Trull (Zak S.), Ilse Raagenkampf (Perttu Vedenoja), Persimion Finch (Galen Fogarty), Magic Meryl (Nick Kuntz), Merrill Meadows (Michael Julius), Chef (Richie Cyngler)

speaking of James V. West

I got a wild hair and colored his awesome Holmes/Moldvay mash-up tribute.

(click to embiggen)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

mini-review: Doomslakers! OSR Character sheets

I've been a fan of James V. West since encountering his indie generic system The Pool back in '01 or '02.  Only later did I find out he was also a kickass artist, doing cartoony, sexy sword & sorcery stuff in the vein of Phil Foglio or Vaughn Bode.  Doomslakers! OSR Character Sheets is one of several nifty things you can get from his Random Order Creations page at Drivethru.

So I want basically three things from my character sheets: they function as a way to organize character data, they are black & white for cheap printing, and they induce some sort of aesthetic response evocative of the game being played.  Mr. West's product offers six different styles of charsheet that tick off the last two boxes nicely.  I can imagine that the reordering of charsheet elements to fit the design ethos of each individual sheet might reduce their functionality initially, but repeated use would no doubt bring familiarity.  I don't consider that a major issue, given that with this product I can offer my players their choice of 6 options for organizing their PCs.

The bigger issue determining whether or not this product is right for you is that it uses five old school saving throw categories and descending Base 9 AC to-hit charts.  That's perfect for BX D&D, but maybe not for your system of choice.  But if you want some cool ass charsheets to use at your table, then I recommend Doomslakers! OSR Character Sheets.  The set of six is pay-what-you-want, with a suggest price of only one dollar U.S.

Monday, August 21, 2017

It's here: Random Advancement Bard

Minstrelsy is a contagion that strikes as many as 1 in 12 adventurers.  To play a Random Advancement Bard, you must begin as a member of any of the more respectable classes, such as Toad Licker, Sewer Urchin, or Pustule Piercer.  Just grab a ukulele and begin hey-nonny-nonnying your way across the countryside.

The Bard

A member of any class who possesses a Charisma of at least 12, a stringed instrument (30gp new) and a lowered sense of self-worth may elect to become a Bard at any time.  You continue to follow all the normal rules for well-adjusted members of your original class, but each time your character advances a level you substitute one or two rolls (your choice) on your normal advancement chart for rolls on the one below.

Note 1:  You cannot use any of the song-based powers below unless both your voice and your instrument are in working order.
Note 2: Nothing on the chart below functions when wearing any armor heavier than chainmail. Even stuff that should. On the other hand, stuff below that shouldn't work in chainmail totally does.

01-03  You get nothing.  No one said show business was easy.
04-09  You get generally better at fighting: +1 to-hit
10-25  You get +1 saves
26-27  +d4 hit points
28-35  If you are already a spell caster, gain a spell slot as normal.  If not, pick your new side gig of Wizard, Druid, or Illusionist and gain the abilities of a first level caster.  Every time you roll here after that, advance by one level in spellcasting ability.  New amateur wizards and illusionists should generate a starting spellbook using the normal rules.  How you happened across such a thing is up to you and the DM to decide, but you probably stole it.
36-43  If you are already a thief or otherwise get Thief Abilities (like monks and assassins do), then advance one level in your thiefly skills.  Otherwise, gain the skills of a 1st level thief and advance one level every time you roll this result again.
44-50  Work the crowd: By playing and singing for an hour or two you can gain d4gp worth of coins in a village, d6gp in a town, or d8gp in a city.  You must roll a Cha check to get the loot but if you get a 20 the crowd goes all angry mob on you.  Every time you roll this result you can increase the dice sizes, until it maxes out at d10/d12/d20.  Reroll this result after that.
51  Gain +1 Dex.  If you already have max Dex, gain +1 saves vs. anything that could possibly be dodged.
52-53  Cunning Linguist: gain knowledge of a language of your choice
54-55  Item Identification.  Once per session you can identify any magic item with an Int check.  Subsequent rolls grant additional attempts per session.
56-57 Countersong:  Once per session you can negate sonic effects and attacks with your own music.  You can do this for a number of rounds equal to your level plus your Con bonus (minimum 1).  Reroll if you get this result again.
58-59 Fencing prowess:  Gain proficiency with swords, scimitars, and shortswords if you did not already possess it.  Otherwise you are +1 AC when wielding such a sword and not surprised, flat-footed, or otherwise subject to sneak attack.  Gain +1 more AC for each reroll of this result.
60 Dancing fool: When affected by Otto’s Irresistible Dance, the poison of the tarentella spider, the music of korreds, etc., you will dance upon a missed save just like everyone else but you may act normally while doing so.
61-62  Sorcerous secret:  Gain a random standard first level MU spell as a daily power.  Unless you already cast MU spells, in which case roll from a list in some more obscure book of MU spells.  If you get this result again gain a 2nd level spell, then a third, etc.
63-64 “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?”  Once per session you may give a rousing but nonsensical speech prior to the start of a combat.  All allies who can hear your oration gains +1 to-hit for the ensuing battle and NPCs gain +1 morale.  Reroll this result if it occurs again.
65-66  Impress the ladies/lads.  Once per session you can play a love song and make a Cha check to seduce a member of any sentient species, provided their orientation includes your gender.
67-68  Hard drinker.  Once per session you may down a skin/bottle of ale or wine in one turn to replenish d6 hit points.  If this is already a rule in your game, then increase to d12 hit points.  Each time this is rerolled you may down an additional skin/bottle, but the DM is allowed to invoke inebriation rules after the first such occurrence.
69-70  Druid secret: Gain a random standard first level Druid spell as a daily power.  Unless you already cast Druid spells, in which case roll from a list in some more obscure book of Druid spells.  If you get this result again gain a 2nd level spell, then a third, etc.
71  Pied piper: Once per session you can use your music to charm any group of identical monsters of less than one hit die, up to a number equal to your level plus Charisma bonus.  The monsters stay charmed for no more than three session or until you charm monsters of another species.
A bard if I ever saw one.
72-73   Illusionist Trickery: Gain a random standard first level Illusionist spell as a daily power.  Unless you already cast Illusionist spells, in which case roll from a list in some more obscure book of Illusionist spells.  If you get this result again gain a 2nd level spell, then a third, etc.
74-75  Gain +1 Charisma.  If you already have max Cha then gain a 1st level henchperson of a random class.
76-77  Magic instrument prowess.  When using a magic instrument not specifically for Bards it is generally 50% more effective in your hands.  Reroll if you get this result again.
78  The skin of your teeth.  The next time you die you mysteriously reappear somewhere safe d6 days later, bereft of all equipment and treasure save for one item of your choice.  Note that your undergarments count as an item.  You may do this exactly once.
79-80 Music soothes the savage beasts.  Before combat is joined you can spend a round to play a little ditty to placate any creature of animal or less intelligence.  If it fails a save versus spells it will not attack and insteads sits idly for d6 turns or withdraws (50/50 chances).  This effect is negated by attacking the monster, stealing its treasure, yelling at it, etc.  You may do this once per session.  Reroll if you get this result again.
81 Repairer of Reputations: Pick a person that you have been talking up in your original compositions.  They’re a little famous now.  Everyone in the local region is now +1 reactions with that person.  Yes, you can use this for yourself.
82-83 Place lore:  Once per session you can know something useful about a place relevant to the current adventure.  Reroll if you get this result again.
84-85 Dual wield:  You can make an extra melee attack with no penalty by wielding a dagger in your left hand.  (You gain dagger proficiency if you don’t already have it.)  However, you are a bit of a danger to your friends.  If you roll a natural 1 with the dagger attack you automatically stab the nearest friendly.  If no ally is within stabbing range, then you must throw the dagger at the nearest adventure buddy.  If they are out of range they’re safe, otherwise roll to-hit.  Reroll if you get this result again.
86-87 Noble lore: You know all the ins and outs of heraldry, family trees, royal gossip, etc.  Once per session and upon request the DM must supply you with a juicy tidbit that can help you in your present situation.  Reroll if you get this result again.
88  You may declare any magic item you find to be an Ancient Bardish Artifact.  This has no effects on the item or your ability to use it, but everyone else in the party must honor your claim to it unless they are willing to resort to violence.  You may do this exactly once.
89  You gain a random mutation.  Because fuck you that’s why.
90 El Kabong!  Once per session you may use your precious lute or whatever as a bludgeon.  This is so surprising that you get +2 to-hit, doing d6 damage and the foe must save versus paralyzation or be knocked out cold.  However, if you successfully hit then your instrument is shattered.
91-92 Riddle or fiddle:  The next time you are confronted by a monster but a fight hasn’t started yet, you can challenge them to either a song or riddle contest.  Negotiate the stakes and both sides roll d20, higher roll winning.  You have no mechanical advantage to the roll but the monster will automatically accept the challenge and abide by its results.  You may do this exactly once.
93  Ruiner of Reputations:  Pick someone you dislike.  Your latest original compositions have all contained digs at them.  They are now -1 reactions for everyone in the region, but there is a 1 in 6 chance they find out it is your fault.
94  Silver-tongued devil.  Once per session you may tell of lie of nearly any magnitude and a number of creatures equal to your level will believe it.  Reroll if you get this result again.
95  Use any item.  You can use any magic item for any class with a successful Int roll per usage. If you roll a 20 you experience some sort of mishap determined by the DM.
96  Lucky bastard: Once per session you can reroll any roll after you know the result.  The second roll applies whether it is a better result or not.
97  Admirer.  Gain a creepily devoted 0-level loser as a henchweenie.
98-99  Gambler: When resolving gambling attempts you always get the better of two rolls or the draw of an extra card or whatever.  You can take the best of a third draw/roll/whatever but there’s a 1 in 6 chance your cheating is detected.
100  Song of Making:  Bards know that the world was called into existence by means of a Great Song.  You know just enough of this primordial music to call into existence any nonliving object on your ruleset’s price lists, including things like a ship or a tower.  You can do this exactly once.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Insano-Libs Random Cleric Advancement

So here's an attempt to do random cleric advancement that tries to account for the vagaries of worshiping a variety of weirdo gods.  It's a step above the first random chart I made for clerics, and hopefully less time-consuming than writing a chart for each faith..  All first level clerics are the same as normal (hit dice, weapons, armor, saves, no spell, turn undead).  For each spell slot you would normally gain via leveling up, roll on the chart below.

Basically, you define each god using 20 parameters:
[1st level cleric spell] - You know how 3e clerics can burn spells to power healing? This is like that only you can choose a different spell that's more appropriate. You can ignore the "1st level" or "cleric" designations if you want to, but don't over do it.
[location] - A place where your god has slightly more power/your cleric has slightly stronger faith.
[Lesser Miracle] - Some miscellaneous power, roughly equal to a 1st or 2nd level cleric or MU spell. If it's weak, designate it 3x a day (or at-will if it is really puny), otherwise list it as a daily power.
[Greater Miracle] - These can be as powerful as you want, but if they are really potent set them at once per session or just one use period.
[weapon] - The weapon used by clerics of this faith. If you have no idea, just select mace.
[enemy] - a group, race, or species loathed by the faith
[basic lore] - something many clerics of this faith know. Like many clerics of the god of blacksmiths know how to make stuff out of iron.
[secret lore] - a more advanced knowledge, or something actually secret, maybe even something campaign world important
[ritual activity] - something that clerics can do that would take maybe a single dungeon turn that would look pointless or dumb to non-believers but imbues the cleric with a little extra holy power
[object] - something material that is holy to the faith but not an actual holy symbol (like the chalice used at a Mass)
[ally] - a group that has good relations with the clerics of the god
[class] - a non-cleric class somehow relevant to the god. If you're using the DDG, check what class besides cleric the god has the most levels in. That's probably what you want.
[servitor] - whatever fulfills the role of angels for this god
[color or symbol] - a thing that a cleric could see that would fill them with renewed zeal
[clothing] - some sort of holy garb
[animal] - literally what sort of pet the god could send to a cleric
[element] - the force, energy, or element by which the god can smite enemies
[food] - something the cleric can hand out to allies, like communion wafers or witch's brew
[taboo] - something the cleric can do to cheese off the god
[time] - a part of the day, week, month, or year sacred to your god

Two things to keep in mind when setting this stuff up for your gods: It would be easy to overdo this stuff. Try to keep in mind the relative power level of your deity, especially when setting the two Miracles. Also, try not to be too consistent when developing this profile. Religions often look like nonsense to the outsider. A little inconsistency actually makes a faith more plausible.

I made a Google Form for this process, which dumps the results into a spreadsheet. I already put a handful of gods there to serve as examples of what I have in mind. Please consider using these docs so everyone can have access to a collection of ready-made cleric options. And if anyone knows how to do a mail merge in GDocs, let me know so we can output individual charts for each god.

(BTW, the Great Cosmic Flailsnail is a newly declared god. Zak almost stumbled across Its existence back in 2011, but he didn't realize that the titanic polyhedron he was describing was the shell of a multiversal snail-entity.)

Anyway, here's the chart:

Insano-Libs Specialty Cleric Advancement

Start with a normal undead-turning, no-spell-at-first-level cleric.  All acolytes of all faiths operate exactly the same under this scheme (except for those badguy clerics who can Cause Light Wounds and Recruit Undead).  Advance hit points, to-hits, saves, and turn undead normally.  For each new spell slot you would normally gain, roll on the following chart instead.
01-05  You gain +1 to hit instead.
06-15  You gain +1 on all saves instead.
16-62  You gain a spell slot as normal.
63-64  Your ability to Turn Undead increases by one level.
65-67  You gain the ability to convert one memorized spell per day into [1st level cleric spell].   If you don’t have any spell slots yet then you gain that spell as a daily power.  If you roll this again, you can convert as many spells as you want into [1st level cleric spell] (or you gain 3 per day usages, if you still have no spell slots).  Reroll this result after that.
68  When standing at [location] you feel the power of your god flow through you.  Make a Wis check every time you cast a spell there.  If you succeed, you do not lose the memorized spell.  If you roll a “1” you channel too much divine energy and take 1d6 damage for each level of the spell.  Reroll if you get this result again.
69-71  You gain the ability to [Lesser Miracle].  Roll again if you get this result a second time.
72  You gain the ability to [Greater Miracle].  Roll again if you get this result a second time.
73-74  You get better at wielding a [weapon].  If you are not proficient with this weapon already, you gain proficiency with it.  Otherwise, you gain +1 to hit and +1 damage with that weapon each time you roll this result.
75-77 You can turn [enemy] once per day, using the nearest equivalent hit dice undead on the Turn chart.  If you get this result again, your ability to turn that kind of creature goes up to 3x per day.  On a third roll, you can make as many attempts to turn [enemy] as your level (min 3).  Reroll this result after that.  Note that this ability is always standard Turning Away, even if you are one of those badguy clerics who normally Recruit Undead.
78  Fanatical Followers: Any henchmen or hirelings you obtain who do not already have a strongly documented faith gain +2 morale from your contagious religious fervor.  Reroll if you get this result again.
79-80  You gain the knowledge of [basic lore].  The DM may require an Int roll to take advantage of this.  On a second roll of this result, you gain the knowledge of [secret lore].  Reroll if this comes up a third time.
81  No more than once per session (sometimes it may not be practical) you can perform [ritual activity] and immediately refill your empty spell slots.  Reroll if you get this result again.
82  When holding aloft a [object] dedicated to your god (which you can achieve with a simple bless spell), all attempts at turning are at +1 on the turn and number/hitdice turned rolls.  If you roll this a second time, the hallowed object also functions in your hands as a bludgeon against [enemy], magically +2 to-hit and doing 2d6 damage, but there is a 50% chance at the end of the combat that the object falls to pieces.  Roll again on the third or subsequent occurrence of this result.  
83  Declare a Crusade: Pick a single species of monster or other type of foe that really cheeses you off. You cannot select [ally], [class], or [servitor], though you can declare a crusade against a group that a minority of these might belong to.  All your party members are +1 to hit and damage against your declared foe so long as you are standing with them.  If you choose [enemy], the bonus becomes +2.  This works up to and including massive army scales.  You do not get the bonus.  If you get this again you must declare a new crusade against someone else.  The old bonus no longer applies.
84  The mere sight the mark of your god fills you with hope.  Once per session when you happen across [color or symbol] in the course of play (i.e. you can’t stage it), you can either regain a single used spell slot or heal yourself of 2d6 damage.
85  When wearing [clothing] you are +2 on all saving throws.  A second roll makes you +4 and a third +6.  Reroll after that.
86  You gain a pet [animal].  On a second roll of this result, you gain the ability to communicate with any [animal] as well as any monster similar to it.  On a third such roll you may attempt to charm any [animal] or any monster similar to it once per day.  Reroll after that.
87  Once per day you can channel the power of your god into a burst of pure [element].  It does 2d6 damage to one target, no to-hit roll needed, at a range of up to 60’.  For each memorized spell you burn, you can add 1d6 damage or add another target adjacent to the first.  Only those diametrically and cosmically opposed to your god are allowed a save for half damage.   Among mortals, only enemy cleric and (anti)paladin types normally qualify for a save.
88  Pilgrimage: The thing you seek, the MacGuffin or whatever, is located in the tomb of a saint nor more than 4 play sessions away.   You must have a fair shot at it--like any other treasure, but there's no guarantee you will get it. If you don't get it by the fourth session you can keep trying or let it go and roll again on this table. However if you choose to roll again and then you do get the thing somehow anyway, you lose whatever gimmick you rolled. The DM must think up some clever reason why.
89 Holy Consumables.  You may begin each adventure with [food] imbued with the power of any first level cleric spell of your choice.  Whoever ingests it can use the power of the spell.  You have as many portions as your current level.  If you roll this again you may select a second level spell instead, etc.
90  You get +2 saves versus [element].  A second roll of this grants you the ability to take no damage when a successful save results in half.  A third roll make save-for-half situations into save-for-none/take half damage if the save fails.  Reroll fourth or subsequent occurrences of this result.
91  If you personally witness someone violating your faith’s taboo of [taboo], you are +2 to-hit them in melee and they are -2 to save against any spells you throw at them.  However, if you witness party members or other allies doing the same thing then your cure spells will no longer work on them.    Reroll if you get this result again.
92  Future Saint: The site of your death becomes holy to your faith.  No [enemy] may enter there and fellow adherents who rest here regain spells in half the usual time.  Oddly, this still applies if you are resurrected or raised (don't tell the pilgrims).  Reroll if you get this result again.
93 You gain a spell slot as usual AND a bonus slot of the level below it.  If you were rolling for a first level slot, you gain two first level slots.
94  Timing is everything.  When it is [time], your spells take effect as if you were 2 levels higher or you get +2 on dice (such as Cure Light Wounds).
95-96  You gain an acolyte (1st level cleric) as a free henchweenie.
97  You gain a spell slot one level higher than you were rolling for!  However, if you ever violate your faith’s taboo of [taboo], you lose that spell slot forever.
98 The next time you find a magic [weapon] or [object] of unspecified provenance you can declare it a minor relic of your faith.  Any cleric or adherent of your faith can use it, despite class or other restrictions.  Furthermore, roll once on a random potions chart.  In the hands of a cleric of your faith, it has that potion ability as a daily power.  Work out with your DM how bad potions like poison or delusion work to the benefit of the user.
99 Roll on the chart for the [class] class.  If that chart does not yet exist, roll on something similar (e.g. use the Thief chart if directed to a non-existent Assassin chart) OR roll on the Miscellaneous chart.
100  When you are really in the soup you can call on a [servitor] to help you.  It will perform one service on your behalf, subject to DM interpretation, or join in a single combat.  You can call on the creature but once.  Reroll if you get this result again and have not summoned the servitor.  (I.e. you can't bank more than one divine bail-out.)