Sunday, December 15, 2019

D100+ Mutations

Generator automator here:

Thursday, December 12, 2019

D20x5 Rival Adventurers

Generator automators here:

D20 The first thing you notice about this adventurer is 
1 the pus-yellow fruiting bodies of some fungal infection peeking out the ends of their sleeves.
2 the cauliflower-burst of their nasal cartilage.
3 the blood leaking through the bandages wrapped around their torso.
4 the flamboyant ruffles of their fashion.
5 the glinting of golden disks punched through their earlobes.
6 their copious, iridescent sweat, and their habit of shying away from open flames.
7 the weeping boils that hang from their neck.
8 that they always stand with their back to the wall, never look at any one thing for more than a few seconds.
9 their dragging limp.
10 that they’ve got more scars than smooth skin.
11 their side-glancing glass eye, and the way they bob their head like a pigeon when they stare.
12 their purple, potion-stained lips.
13 the religious tattoos, one for every faith, that ring their limbs like cilices.
14 their dented, rusty hook-hand.
15 the Glasgow smile splitting their cheeks.
16 their awful stench, poorly concealed by cheap perfume.
17 their mane of greasy hair.
18 their bulbous, gin-blossomed nose.
19 their mouthful of pearly dentures.
20 their raw red fingertips, chewed down to the cuticles.
D20 This adventurer wields 
1 a moldering grimoire, spitting words not meant for human throats to warp the world.
2 honeyed words, deep pockets, and a squad of ferociously professional mercenaries.
3 grenades and a custom multi-barrelled pistol.
4 a stiletto and a knack for sneaking close to sink it silently between ribs.
5 the claws and acid-spraying sphincters inflicted on them by mutagen exposure.
6 fragile glass globes swirling with noxious vapours within, one that suffocates, one that melts skin (and only skin), one that congeals into glue, a new infliction with each.
7 a lead-weighted net and barbed spear.
8 a pair of flails and a dancing step that somehow passes under every swing of the two.
9 but a lyre, the strummed strings of which stir the hearts of beasts and stones.
10 hyperdeveloped muscles and crushing fists.
11 daggers and javelins chiselled from the bones of monsters.
12 a sword and shield of verdigrised bronze wrested from the withered hands of a raided barrow.
13 a blowgun and darts loaded with diseased and envenomated flesh.
14 a bow and the loyalty of a pack of war-dogs.
15 the dregs of divine potence leaked from a dying god.
16 a great flamberge that could cleave a man’s neck in its inward curve.
17 a rapier and a mastery of fencing esoterica.
18 a rousing zealotry and a brutally flanged mace.
19 a keen eye and an arquebus.
20 a hive of locusts that share their face, and lair within their flesh.
D20 This adventurer used to 
1 be an itinerant farmhand.
2 peddle ineffective medicines to ignorant folk.
3 be a distant heir to a failing noble house.
4 be a fur trapper on the wild frontier.
5 be a shepherd who moonlighted as a poacher on royal forestland.
6 be an often-chastised novitiate in an ascetic cult.
7 be a ratcatcher who sometimes tangled with bigger, more awful vermin.
8 be the squire of an impoverished hedge-knight.
9 be the herald of a burgher with pretension to aristocracy.
10 manage an apiary.
11 toil in lung-blackening mines.
12 be a charcoal-burner.
13 fight for a fistful of coins.
14 be a barber-surgeon.
15 be a minor government functionary.
16 a harpoonist on a whaling vessel.
17 be a tosher dredging up rate treasures from filth.
18 be a lamplighter in the city.
19 be a prostitute.
20 be an urchin begging and stealing on the street.
D20 They started adventuring 
1 out of lust for gold.
2 to escape the merciless arm of the law.
3 because they’ve got an extravagant death-wish.
4 because they romantically idealized the lifestyle.
5 to prove to themself that they’re brave.
6 to escape their reputation as the village idiot of their home.
7 to follow their crush, who was another adventurer.
8 due to a burning curiousity about the buried mysteries of the world.
9 because that was the vocation that most tolerated their taste for violence.
10 for the excitement of the open road and opened grave.
11 to earn the bride price set by their beloved’s father.
12 to pay off their gambling debts.
13 to earn remittances for their impoverished community.
14 to exterminate monsters and stake out a safe territory for humanity.
15 at the behest of a mystical vision.
16 to find a cure for a mysterious disease that uncoiled their mortality.
17 to kill acceptable targets with impunity.
18 because they believed they deserved a higher destiny than the one they seemed on track for.
19 as a step along their quest for meaning.
20 to bring glory and riches to their people.
D20 This adventurer’s darkest secret 
1 is that they once killed their partner over a huge haul.
2 is their inhuman heritage.
3 is that they’ve come to worship the dark itself, which whispers to them when they go down below.
4 is that they’re intermittently possessed by the spirit of a monster they killed.
5 is that they accidentally resurrected an ancient horror in its prison-tomb, now bound to their blood.
6 is that they sold their soul to a grinning toad-thing to survive an encounter that killed the rest of their party.
7 is that they faced their doppelgänger, and now they’re not sure whether they’re the original or the copy that survived.
8 is that they earned enough to retire comfortably some time ago, and continue to risk life and sanity for the thrill of it alone.
9 is the depravity they must engage in to feel anything anymore.
10 is the criminal connections they cultivated to fence their loot.
11 is the foul child they begat with an inchoate thing in the bowels of the earth.
12 is that they seek deadly vengeance against a powerful patron that led them to near-doom.
13 is that this isn’t the world they were born in.
14 is that an oracle foretold that they would bring a terrible fate on those they hold dear.
15 is that they stole a dead adventurer’s identity to escape justice.
16 is the addiction that eats up any winnings they wrest from the jaws of death.
17 is that they faked their successes and paid off the spreading of stories of their exploits.
18 is that they sold out their fellows to tax-men and debt-collectors for kickbacks.
19 is that they’ve transcended mere humanity, and must force themselves back into mortal guise to blend in.
20 is that they allied themself with beastly abhumans.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

D6x6 Evil Trees

Turns out when you think you've scraped out everything the bottom of the barrel has left, you can just keep scraping and eventually you break through to even lower vistas.

Generator automator can be found here:

D6 This evil tree is
1 a mangrove with roots like grasping fingers.
2 a gnarled, lightning-blackened oak.
3 a squatting, ancient pine.
4 a huge and hoary beetle-blighted redwood.
5 a limp and bristled hawthorn.
6 a sun-bleached, resin-crusted terebinth.
D6 This evil tree is evil
1 because it saw its companions cut down by the axes of humanity.
2 because it’s possessed by a demon of glacial corruption.
3 because its seed was planted in a corpse by a witch.
4 because the pain of a persistent fungal infection has made it so.
5 because it’s the reincarnation of a human who remembers their previous life and venomously resents their current existence.
6 because its dryad was killed for her sap by alchemists.
D6 This evil tree’s evil is apparent
1 by the sneering, leering faces formed in its bark.
2 by the balding crows that perch in its branches and preach cruel gospel.
3 by the way light dims and twists to make fearsome shadows around it.
4 because it leaks diseased blood instead of sap.
5 by the wind whispering venomous words through its boughs.
6 because it respires miasma instead of oxygen.
D6 This evil tree attacks
1 by blooming black flowers in moments that release clouds of poisonous pollen before withering away.
2 by pulling its roots from the soil and squeezing its foes to death with them.
3 by commanding swarms of nesting creatures and stinging insects.
4 by launching sharpened branches like javelins.
5 by growing fruits that burst open into vegetable-goblins.
6 by shaking off clouds of sharp leaves like floating razors.
D6 A victim of this tree was
1 a wise woman who tried and failed to coax it back to peaceful sleep.
2 a child who ran away from home, lured by the tree.
3 a poacher who would’ve been killed anyways if they’d been caught by the law.
4 a royal warden who was surveying the forest.
5 a charcoal burner collecting material.
6 a farmer’s prized truffle-hunting pig.
D6 This evil tree’s wood can
1 be burned to produce smoke that repels benevolent spirits and attracts malevolent ones.
2 be carved into magic masks that disguise their wearer when they’re committing nefarious deeds.
3 be made into the haft or shaft of a diabolical weapon.
4 be made into spiles that drain the goodness from other trees and turn them evil too.
5 be used to build a house that casts the misfortune of its residents away from them and into the world, multiplying it many times over in the process.
6 be ground up and baked into bread that acts as (1d4): 1 - poison, 2 - monster bait, 3 - a cursed substance that turns whoever eats it undead if they die while digesting it, 4 - a terribly bitter substance that drives possessing spirits from their host if they consume it.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

D100 Answers to the Question: What’s The Deal With This Town?

What's the deal with this town?

1: It’s a secret recruiting and training ground for a sect of assassin-fanatics.
2: Its inhabitants are being eaten by a {mind flayer|false hydra*|anthropophagous fairy|vampire} but the creature’s power prevents them from realizing this is happening.
3: Its inhabitants moonlight as bandits.
4: The town leaders perpetuate view of the outside world as pitiably benighted and barbarous to maintain their power. Travellers who they believe challenge that view will be reprimanded and then eliminated if they continue.
5: Everyone in it is secretly a ghost. They were killed by {a recent disaster|the one remaining living person in the town|a rampaging monster}. The ghosts are not aware they are dead but will subconsciously try to warn travellers of the thing that killed them.
6: They’re exiled political extremists from another land.
7: Their drink of choice is a potent deliriant brewed from local weeds. Drinkers who haven’t built up a tolerance will be detached from reality for 1d6 hours after drinking it.
8: Its population have been mutated by the unclean radiance of a fallen asteroid. Those with mutations too heavy to hide have been exiled, and grow in resentment with every passing day.
9: It's dealing with a tickleboy** infestation.
10: A psychic child forces the town and its inhabitants into compliance with their pre-empathetic whims.
11: A pack of were{wolves|toads|cassowaries|scorpions} have infiltrated the town, covertly converting people and murdering witnesses.
12: There are no adults. The children won't speak of what's become of them.
13: A revenant plagues it, seeking vengeance for their lynching.
14: Nobody who dies there stays dead, but rises ever-rotting. Families keep relatives locked away in basements dug out into crypts.
15: It was flung forward from the distant past. Its inhabitants speak a nearly incomprehensible dialect, and their technology is anachronistic.
16: Its prize hogs being fattened for the fair are actually giant mind-controlling larvae, growing close to their terrible metamorphosis.
17: Polite requests made within the town act as a suggestion spell. Its inhabitants are either unfailingly rude, or else awful people.
18: It's stuck in a time loop.
19: It's a vital processing node in the supply chain of an extremely illegal drug. The town presents a polite exterior but will quickly turn ruthless if one pries.
20: Its inhabitants make sacrifices to a nature spirit (which may just be an opportunistic monster) to ensure a good harvest.
21: It is in league with a nearby clan of {sahuagin|bullywugs|woses|trolls}. Many of its inhabitants are hybrids with odd features.
22: The recently-activated influence of ancient ruins beneath the town is slowly transforming its inhabitants into the ruins' {insectoid|molluscoid|crustacean} original builders.
23: Its inhabitants are being extorted by a bandit gang, which has made them desperate for protection and training.
24: It's home to a cult that worships {a seven-armed maiden|a bottomless pit rimmed with teeth|a boulder with a remarkable resemblance to a petrified giant}, and is {eccentric but ultimately harmless|violently intolerant of non-believers|fond of human sacrifice}
25: A clandestine warfare unit is testing sanity-eroding drugs on the town's population.
26: Its people are crazed by insomnia, dogged by nightmares of the town's destruction by {fire|darkness|verminous hordes|flood}.
27: People have been disappearing only to show up days later with strange scars and no memory of where they've been.
28: It's experiencing a mounting spree of inexplicable phenomena, all connected to the idea of {spirals|ladders|trinities|stars}.
29: An infamous cynic philosopher has taken up residence in its streets. Residents are furious with the philsopher's shenanigans and the students they've attracted.
30: Everyone in it's being puppeted by strings that can be traced to the basement of the town's central hall.
31: Many from the town have been kidnapped by a clan of cannibal troglodytes living in a nearby cave network.
32: Mirrors in the town act as portals to a reversed world of envious doppelgangers.
33: It was built on the back of a sleeping giant its founders thought was a hill, and now that giant's woken up and is crawling around with the town stuck on top of it.
34: Everyone falls asleep at the same time at night, and wake up at the same time in the morning. While they're sleeping a cloaked creature creeps into their homes and harvests something from them.
35: The richest part of the town has fallen to plague and been quarantined. Wealth unknown remains within.
36: By some curse or blessing, all its inhabitants have reincarnated as each others' offspring for generations. They relish the opportunity to interact with anyone they don't have centuries of complicated history with (which is everyone else in town).
37: Its meager wealth is dwindling as a monster has laired just off the road to market.
38: Its economy centers around a legendary, ailing swordsmith. Everyone in town is an apprentice of theirs, a charcoal burner, a bellows pumper, or suchlike.
39: The town has been cursed to become a illusion, and can exist only in the minds of its observers. Its people will go to any lengths to maintain their existence.
40: The town was overgrown in a night, and its inhabitants have lost their minds to animalistic madness, regaining lucidity only for a short while after eating raw meat.
41: The townsfolks' minds have been infected by a grimoire. They mutter its words in their sleep, its glyphs appear in alleyway graffiti, and sections are scratched into distracted arms.
42: It has been conquered by amazons. The men have been enslaved, the women forcibly recruited.
43: Its inhabitants were absorbed by a shoggoth, but their combined minds were enough to overpower it. Now they make do extruding pseudopod-bodies from its slimy mass, fighting to maintain their individuality.
44: It's an anarcho-syndicalist commune that's rejected hierarchy.
45: Its families share a telepathic bond between their own members. They're terribly mistrusting of those they're not related to, and spill outsiders' blood in their fields to feed the leech-gods that stir deep in the soil and maintain its fertility.
46: Its a company town owned by an exploitative megacorporation to rival the Dutch East India Company.
47: Within it, literally everything can be bought and sold for the right price. Everything. This mercantile metaphysics has bled over into the attitudes of its inhabitants.
48: Just about every object and structure in it is a tamed mimic. The abnormal disappearance rate in the town suggests that not all of the mimics in it are as tamed as its inhabitants might hope.
49: The town elders jealously hoard a fragile and depleting source of extended life, and have done so since the town's founding. Their descendants scheme against them, but are reluctant to let outsiders in on the anagathic.
50: Someone in town has offended a sky spirit, and the weather is worsening by the day to apocalyptic levels. The townsfolk are ready to snap and start sacrificing the least popular members of the community in the hopes that one of them was the one who offended the spirit.
51: The town doesn't have enough food stocked to last through winter, and people are eyeing their neighbours enviously.
52: A spiteful old man has befriended the town's rats, and they whisper the other townsfolks' secrets in his ear, which he uses to enrich himself and weave discord among them.
53: The people have been shrunk down by some arcane catastrophe, and without a cure are doomed to a losing war against common pests.
54: The town's priest is subverting their flock to a diabolic heresy.
55: Inquisitors convinced that blasphemous evil is afoot in the town are cultivating a paranoid atmosphere. The inquisitors {are impostors abusing their stolen authority for kicks|are delusional, and have already tortured several innocents. However, they have the backing of the church and king behind them|are in fact correct about there being an eldritch cult operating in the town}.
56: The animals have disappeared from the nearby woods, the fish have disappeared from the river, and people are very worried.
57: Its inhabitants possess the evil eye, and can hex people by staring hatefully at them. This ability has stirred up tremendous tension with their neighbours, who suspect the town of all manner of vileness.
58: A swarm of {locusts|gremlins|langoliers|pixies} is descending on the town.
59: When one of the townsfolk becomes close to death, they dissolve themselves in the well at the center of town. Thereafter, anyone drinking from the well gains a bit of their memory, or the memory of anyone else who's been dissolved in it.
60: A spate of bizarre murders has struck the town, traceable back to the town's butcher, who's been infected by mind-controlling parasites and is spreading them to other victims through tainted meat.
61: A questing beast has been seen on the edge of town the past few nights, luring more and more people after it in a chase from which they haven't returned.
62: The baron's heir's hand was promised to a fairy-prince in return for certain boons, but the heir has gotten cold feet and fled. The suitor and their wedding guests grow impatient, minacious as bored tigers.
63: The town itself seems to have come alive, and is expanding itself into an inhospitable architectural hive.
64: Its inhabitants have been kidnapped by goblins, who now imitate them poorly.
65: Wild magic abilities are appearing with exponentially increasing frequency and potency among its inhabitants.
66: The town is prosperous, but its prosperity depends on the continued degradation of an imprisoned child.
67: The town's been surrounded by an illusion that makes the world outside appear to be an apocalyptic wasteland. Order has collapsed within, and power lies with feuding gangs that have taken up bizarre gimmicks and leaders with names like "Pogo Shank-'em-up" and "Liver Licker".
68: Ancient and unbreakable legal decree has made the town an absolute sanctuary for fugitives.
69: The town is run by a gang of sapient bears, who gained their intellect in a wizard's ill-advised bear-baiting experiment, which instilled in them no love for humanity.
70: It's a Potemkin village built for the edification of some empress, since shored up by squatters turned to settlers.
71: Several slightly differentiated versions of the same town have been fractured from parallel timelines and abutted against one another. Neighbourhoods, relationships, and the foundation of reality itself have become unstable.
72: An earthquake has torn the town open, revealing a labryrinthian cave complex beneath. Monsters have crept out from the crevasse and adventurers flock from all around.
73: A fiend has set up shop in town, selling cursed objects that grant peoples' twisted desires.
74: A stunted aboleth lurks in the town's water supply, acting as an often-incomprehensible patron of its people, dispensing healing, warped flesh, and the callous wisdom of the lightless depths.
75: At semi-random moments the town and its populace are replaced by gruesome counterparts.
76: The town is ruled by an oracle who demands strict routines from its population to maxmize predictability. Outside influences are removed or assimilated wherever possible.
77: It's said that once every hundred years a ladder to heaven appears in the center of town. The centennial is approaching, and people are getting antsy.
78: Its people have been overcome with religious mania, and compete in cathedral-building. In addition to the danger from exhaustion, their construction is dangerously unstable from insufficient materials and a lack of qualified architects.
79: Its fields are blighted and its people are getting skeletally thin.
80: Its population have a resolute disbelief in magic and monsters.
81: It's haunted by the ghosts of the original inhabitants of the region, slaughtered by the founders of the town.
82: They murdered a traveling merchant, distributed his wealth and swore to collective conspiracy.
83: Mercenaries have settled in and made the place their playground.
84: The town is experiencing a gold rush, and the population has boomed. Iniquities abound.
85: Drinking, pre-marital sex, dancing, music, and wearing bright colours on any day but a feast day are prohibited and brutally punished by self-appointed morality police.
86: The town is host to a poets' retreat, and also an eldritch force that's altering the town in accordance with their poetry. The poets {are unaware of this|are aware of this and using it to create a place where artists get the respect they believe they deserve|are aware of this and using it to murderously settle internal grudges}.
87: Every home is fortified, the cracks plugged with urine-soaked rags. Every four hours you spend in town there's a 1-in-6 chance that a fog full of monsters rolls through. Any monsters that leave the fog suffocate.
88: People have livestock have fallen sick because something poisonous has slithered into the cistern.
89: Due to ancient agreement every family's firstborn is traded with a changeling.
90: The place is home to a healing shrine. Desperate sorts and the sorts looking to take advantage of the desperate flock to it on pilgrimage.
91: The townsfolk are preparing a rebellion because of their lord's {crushing taxes|dubious enforcement of primae noctis|practice of necromancy}.
92: Everyone in the town has their minds swapped with each other when they sleep.
93: The circus has come to town, but {the circus-folk have been framed for a heinous crime|the circus is host to inhuman predators who've disguised themselves as clowns and tragic grotesques}.
94: A reculsive alchemist's lab nearby has polluted the groundwater, mutating normally minor pests into giant, partially-metallic monsters.
95: It's ruled by a coven of witches who masquerade as neighbourly old ladies.
96: A mad paladin has press-ganged its population into a bizarre crusade.
97: A wizard in a flying tower is using it as target practice for their new spells.
98: It's a research post for ultraterrestrial entities in skin-suit disguises to study human behaviour.
99: A charismatic preacher with strange teachings has recently come to town and gathered a fanatical following.
100: The village is an intermediary point between the surface and a secret underground city.


Thursday, November 14, 2019

'Round These Here Parts...

1: Posthumously marry the foes they kill, to mollify their wrathful ghosts.
2: Wear live toxic creatures in vessels like kettles. When a weapon needs coating, they press on the kettles’ covers to crush the creatures and produce a dose of poisonous slurry.
3: Replace their teeth with serrated metal dentures as a weapon of last resort.
4: Are expected to seal their hands away in things like thick thumbless mittens when in the company of people who haven’t killed before.
5: Believe that to look into a dying man's eyes is to invite death upon oneself, and so kill from as far away as possible.
6: Know the tournament list by heart, each accounted for in their own ranking. To the highest goes the prize of a magic sword which obeys only the unrivaled victor.

1: Paint their brows with the juices of bioluminescent fish dredged up from the depths, so as to have a source of light that won’t risk igniting delicate pages.
2: Since time immemorial have recorded their spells in the very land as enormous geoglyphs, readable only from the highest towers, which the wizards compete to build and sabotage.
3: Learn their art at the feet of inhuman beings that dream trapped twixt the roots of rotting trees, taking on apprentices to pass on the debt demanded by this learning so it doesn't dog them into the hereafter.
4: Maintain a complex parallel cuisine based on the capture and consumption of their enemies' familiars.
5: Have been expelled based on a rather credible prophecy.
6: Wear cages around their heads to keep the spells from getting out. It’s a matter of sectarian violence as to whether these cages should be heavy and barbed to most discourage escape, or gilded and silk-cushioned to encourage stay.

1: Have all had their names stolen from them, and go by obtuse titles instead, like Lily-Foot and whatnot.
2: Pierce holes down the side of their throats from which they can produce a secretive whistle-language, covering them with a scarf or flesh-toned clay when not in use.
3: Are promised a pardon for all their crimes if they manage to steal the king's stomach back from the rogue royal alchemist.
4: Are raised as such from orphanhood, bought and tossed into a hallucinogenic maze. Those who survive and escape are inducted into their obscure order. Those who survive but do not escape degenerate into things like pale, fungal minotaurs.
5: Rumour of the ultimate prize of their sort: the crown of the unking, law-giver to the lawless.
6: Keep smuggling routes crisscrossing beneath the land, built out from the sapping tunnels of an old war.

1: Imbibe an entheogen distilled from the ecstatic tears of anchorites, which gradually crowds their sockets with eyes.
2: Wrestle with the sacred animals of other religions to prove the superiority of their own faith.
3: Enjoy an inchoate charisma among the common folk, and can rile up a rabble with a few minutes of preaching, the fierier and brimstonier the better.
4: Denote their doctrine by the magnificent size and decoration of their hats.
5: Advance through their ranks by means of novel exegesis, rewarded for both mystic insight and politically convenient interpretation.
6: Are bound to use the blood they spill to paint the lips of their idols, and so tend to prefer either blunt and strangling weaponry or to build idols into the hilts of their blades.

1: Are civilization's slave-breakers, living on the rim of rural life and forging the wilds into pastoral utility.
2: Keep the soft, uncalloused skins they shed when they fled into the wilds, to cloak themselves in an urbane guise when they stalk the cities.
3: Plant seeds in the flesh to grow thorns, barky armour, and suchlike.
4: Resort to a form of gu in times of great crisis. A druidic circle will seal itself within a cave, and the druid who survives and devours the rest will emerge swollen with their power.
5: Enact the last, simple wishes of the animal dead, the casualties of nature's red teeth and claws, so that their spirits may cycle out of stagnation.
6: Are advocates of a natural democracy, giving voice to the needs of the smallest and most populous sorts of life (which more often than it might seem leads to plague-spreading and verminous hordes).

1: Defend peasant communes where land and property is held in common.
2: Fight in tandem with a guardian angel bound to them by gossamer chains.
3: Find each other by way of guiding stars that only the inspired can see.
4: Are believed to reincarnate, and after one’s death their successor is found by searching for the child whose grip on their sword matches theirs in life.
5:Wear dog-masks with the muzzles stuffed with fragrant herbs, both to avoid inhaling heathen airs and to display their status as sheepdogs of the shepherd of mankind.
6: Experience revelatory visions by lying in a pit of mirrors at noontide until they get sunstroke.

1: Fear and covet the music of the secret sphere, the nemesis-planet Nibiru, which whispers through in the laments of the suicidal and the screams of the war-maddened.
2: Threaten ungenerous patrons with an instrument that, if tuned just right, whips out with a coiled steel string that cuts like a razor.
3: Harbour a heresy that seeks the perfect coda for the universe, a chorus to cancel out "Let there be light".
4: Strain under the puritanical prohibition of all music but hymns.
5: Steal inspiration from the birds with draughts of diluted dragon-blood that grant them snatches of understanding of the avian tongue.
6: Are served by creatures like backwards bats, that project fleshy feelers from their sound-based true forms. Only true bards know how to strum the addictive tones that command them.

1: Seek to disrupt the demiurge's illusions by striking vital points and creatures in its creation.
2: Practice a sort of alchemy which uses their own bodies as vessel and crucible.
3: Literally shadowbox, as their shadows are seen as a source of impurity and so severed and imbued with an antagonistic intelligence as part of their training.
4: Believe that enlightenment can be found at the root of the cosmos, and so when they grow too old or too ambitious to linger they venture down into the depths.
5: Are in the middle of a miniature civil war between the staid traditionalist styles and a charismatic cult of maximally efficient violence.
6: Act like a sort of philosophically-driven vice squad that cracks down on what they see as impurity in the body politic.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

20 Miscellaneous Magic Items

1. Poppet Pipe: Shaped like a grotesquely stretched little man with his ankles beside his ears, his gaping maw the bowl and his narrow bum the lip. When a part of a creature is smoked in the pipe, the smoker gains insight into their condition and location based on how big the part was. A few strands of hair might produce a body load reminiscent of the creature's level of health and injuries. A fistful of the same might grant feverish glimpses of the creature's surroundings, and an intimate experience of their strengths and weaknesses.

2. Emboweling Forceps: A toothy forceps that looks more like it belongs in a torture chamber than an emergency room. When used to close a wound, the forceps negate the damage dealt by that wound, and transforms it into a mouth. If someone with a wound closed by the forceps takes other damage, the damage which the forceps negated returns. This also occurs if they have a different wound closed by the forceps.

Until the damage the forceps negated is healed by other means, the mouth it leaves will (1d4):
1: Develop a voracious appetite, and require its own share of rations.
2: Mutter its bearer's secret intentions.
3: Shriek at inopportune moments, ruining any chances its bearer has of surprise.
4: Nip at nearby flesh while its bearer is asleep, having a 4-in-6 chance of ruining an otherwise good full rest.

3. Carcerian Arrows: Arrows with shafts of dusty stone, and forked iron heads. When more than one Carcerian arrow is shot in an area, they'll sprout chains that link between themselves and bind around the spots they're embedded in. Come in bundles of 1d4+1.

4. Planar Suspender: A lead disk inscribed with mathematical formulae, and four articulated claws around its rim. On its back is a triangular switch with three possible positions. When the planar suspender is attached to an object, that object is locked into its position on one of the spatial planes, depending on the setting of its switch. For example, if the planar suspender is set in the first position, the object it's attached to can be moved side to side, and forwards and backwards, but not up or down, and so on and so on.

5. Cardial Caesura: A disembodied heart with its ends capped off by amber plugs. Can be "primed" by pumping it, which gets it beating on its own, at a rate synced up to the heartbeat of the person holding it. After 1d4+2 rounds, the caesura stops beating again, and in the process stops the heart of the person holding it when it does.

6. Claustrophobomb: A light aluminum sphere with the impressions of hands pressing out from within. When given a hard squeeze, a claustrophobomb will shortly thereafter detonate, causing a localized spatial implosion. Within an enclosed space, like a dungeon room, the space will decrease by a quarter of its full size each round. After four rounds, the space will have diminished to nothing, and the surrounding area will contract inwards around the diminished space as though it never existed. Anything within the space after four rounds is crushed and destroyed. Exits from the space (windows, doorways, etc.) maintain their full size throughout. If detonated outdoors, the claustrophobomb will release some disturbing distortions, but otherwise have no effect.

7.  Ghosttallow Candle: A candle made from something between blue smoke and wax. Within the reach of this candle’s light, transparent and translucent materials become intangible to opaque materials, and opaque gases and liquids act as solids with the hardness of wood. A randomly found candle is big enough to be lit for 1d6*10 minutes, or lit at both ends for half that duration and twice the area of effect.

8. The Sail of Seaworthiness: A white linen sail always followed by a gentle breeze that smells of the sea. Anything the sail is attached to behaves in the water as though it were a sailboat, with comparable buoyancy, speed, and maneuverability.

9. Omicron Exinda: A metallic orange object shaped like a pyramid with its top third lopped off, etched with sigils. When activated, the Omicron Exinda will reverse time by one hour. The activator and everything they interacted with during that hour will retain full memory of what transpired during it. Single-use.

10.The Rat King's Crown: A crown of lumpy gold and long, sharp incisors. Whoever wears it is recognized as the true king of rats, above any tail-tied imitation. However, the king has been gone a long time, and much of their authority has waned. The wearer is able to speak with rats, and can ask favours of them that don't take more than a day to complete or put them in harm's way. The wearer can also hire swarms of rats as a hirelings, paying them in rations and pretty trash rather than coins. Each swarm counts as a single hireling. Over time the wearer might build back up their kingdom, and all the prestige and loyalty that comes with it.

11. Mask of the Beautiful Ones: Immaculate white porcelain with ruby-red lips bowed in a coy smile. When placed upon one's face the mask fuses to the skin beneath, taking on the appearance of living flesh, though its expression never wavers. The wearer no longer needs to eat or drink, and they gain advantage on reaction rolls with any intelligent humanoids. However, any positive reactions gained with the mask are tainted, turn ugly, and those influenced by it will come to want to possess the wearer.

12. Omnisponge: A shiny black sponge with holes that seem to go far deeper than the sponge's size would make possible. The omnisponge can soak up up to 1,000 cubic feet of liquid. Liquid soaked up by the omnisponge is effectively massless, and remains in stasis in the state it was in when soaked up. The bearer of the omnisponge can choose which and how much liquid is released when they squeeze it. While the omnisponge can't be harmed by liquids (or indirect harms coming from those liquids, e.g. the heat coming off lava), it's as vulnerable as an ordinary sponge to other sources of harm. If the omnisponge is damaged it immediately releases all the liquid it's got soaked.

13. Boring Hole: Looks like a hoop of barbed wire, but the barbs are tiny drills. When placed against a surface and activated, the boring hole will create a tunnel1d6x1d6x10 feet deep, with open space using up depth but not otherwise blocking the tunneling. If placed against a creature, which must be unconscious or otherwise immobilized, the hole will do 6d6 damage. Believed to be the result of a mistreated and spiteful portable hole.

14. Canny Knocker: A coppery-green door knocker without a door, bearing the face of a grinning satyr. If placed against a magically sealed portal and knocked, the canny knocker will open it, though only for a round, and only once on any given portal, making each trip one-way. Besides physical portals, the canny knocker can also be used on the faint traces left behind by teleportation, gate, and similar spells, opening a portal for a round that leads to their destination. It has no effect on portals sealed by mundane means.

15. God-Image Prism: A prism that glimmers with indescribable colours, made by heretical scholars to refract the image of God in which one was made. If you use it you can rearrange the distribution of your stats and change your class to another at the same level. Forever afterwards divine magic can't heal you, and stepping on holy ground causes you to burst into flames. Can only be used once per person.

16. Ultimate Bait: A little clay pot with a faintly irresistible scent. It bears the seal of the fisherman-god. If uncorked or shattered, immediately and simultaneously trigger every wandering monster encounter on the local encounter table.

17.The Bladder of St. Elbari: A shriveled and vaguely smelly thing like a raisin the size of your fist. A leather sling is strung through it. While you wear the bladder you cannot die of suffocation. When you pass out from lack of oxygen, you wake up in the nearest space with breathable air, or wash up on the nearest shore if in a body of water (or other fluid).

18. Gargantua Serum: A syringe full of viscous yellow fluid. A randomly found syringe contains 1d4 doses. If injected into a human or demihuman, they transform into a gigantic version of themself (stat as hill giant) in a burst of rapidly growing tissue. Roll 2d6:

On a 2: They immediately go berserk, attacking and attempting to eat the nearest living thing. If they can't perceive any living things, they tear up their surroundings instead. The transformation and berserk state are permanent.

On a 3-5: They immediately go berserk as above. The transformation lasts 3d6 rounds, and then their normal self reforms in the swiftly-decomposing flesh of their giant body.

On a 6-8: They retain control over themself for 1d6 rounds, then go berserk for another 2d6 rounds after that, if they don't deliberately end the transformation while they're in control.

On a 9-11: They retain control over themself for 2d6 rounds, then go berserk for another 1d6 rounds after that, if they don't deliberately end the transformation while they're in control.

On a 12: They retain control over themself for 3d6 rounds, and then their normal self reforms in the swiftly-decomposing flesh of their giant body.

If the viscous fluid is consumed rather than being injected, the consumer transforms into an even bigger version of themself (stat as mountain giant, or whatever the biggest available giant in your system of choice is), and immediately and permanently goes berserk as though a 2 were rolled.

19. The Bell of Faithful Hans: A lead bell with a horse leather-wrapped handle that rings a deep, clattering note. When rung, a horse appears within ten feet, from behind an obstacle if possible. It is the same horse every time: Hans, a piebald stallion. Hans is exceptionally loyal and obedient for a horse, but generally ordinary otherwise. If Hans is killed and his bell is rung again, he will appear in an undead state still bearing the wound(s) that killed him, and still loyal to the one who rang it. The only way to prevent Hans from coming when his bell is rung is to completely destroy his skeleton.

20. Anagrammatogenesis Sludge: A vat full of stuff that looks like Enochian alphabet soup. Toss in up to three items, then rearrange the letters that make up their names into the name of a new item. If you can do this in less than a minute real-time, the sludge morphs into that new item, consuming the items tossed in in the process. If you take longer the sludge explodes for 6d6 damage to everything within 30 feet, and amalgamates whatever it kills into a hideous chimera.

Monday, November 4, 2019

All Thrones Were Trees And Stones

The world was not merely in flux after the Flood, it was flux. Just as the celestial fire of the stars is to earthly fire as the tyrannosaurus rex is to the domestic chicken, so too were the celestial waters that fell from the opened firmament beyond earthly water. Where the latter might make ink run from a page, the former warped and mingled everything. Not simply matter, but space, time, boundaries, minds, everything.

Little survived, and even less survived intact.

The ancestors of humanity found shelter beneath the boughs of the axis mundi (as in those days it still stood strong), while the powers of the earth slept beneath the muck like toads over winter. It was these powers, emerging from their hibernacula* after the worst had passed, who first settled the changed and changing world.

To do this they needed something more solid than solid. The powers invested a portion of their being to create groves and standing stones, sacred trees and holy mountains. If the post-Flood world were a blanket shaking in the breeze, these sites would be like weights fixing it in place, creating an island of stability in the chaos that reflected the character of its maker. The makers too were fixed in the process, differentiating from nebulous powers to dryad, oread, naiad, and so on.

The world was reborn, piece by piece, and what came about was wild and unkind. When humans left the safety of their shade (or the garden they desecrated, depending on who you ask), they were made to fear and worship, mere beasts among beasts, not even close to the most ferocious. This sat poorly with many. They whispered of usurpation, and from the heavens something whispered back.

Iron was sent down by the stars, their end of a bargain struck. With iron arms and armour humanity rebelled, and the rebellion went gloriously. Spirits were cut down before them like stalks before a scythe. But glory turned sour. Without their makers, the anchors dissolved away, and lands that were before only savage were overcome by the truly monstrous.

A solution was found in desperation. If an anchor were hewn and bound by iron, the groves chopped down, the stones carved, something new could be made, something commanded by human will instead of a spirit's whim: a throne. Within the territory ordered by the thrones nature's reddest teeth and claws could be barred, and agrarian civilization could rise again. Once more the dominion of humanity expanded. Even with the thrones at its back, this push was less successful than the last. The powers of the earth had time and knowledge to fortify their domains. Each step taken into the woods and the hills was harder fought. With the passing of years the boundaries between the wild and the civilized became starker**.

Within civilization boundaries of a less severe sort were drawn as well. Thrones retained something of the character of their maker, granted in turn to the whole of their kingdom.

Some among the thrones are:

The throne of Whichway, a pillowy bed of a thing molded from a storm-hag's cloud. Like the substance of its throne the kingdom of Whichway isn't bound to any one place. It wanders at the behest of its queen, appearing and disappearing in sudden curtains of fog.

The throne of the Republic of Beards, upon which the men of the city swear whenever they become men, which enforces oaths and honour.

The throne of Tira, carved from the lower jaw of the dragon Dog-of-Mammon, who commits atrocities in pursuit of its return to this day. To the lands of Tira it lends deliciousness, and a particular malleability to those it feeds beloved by fleshworkers.

The throne of the norndottirs (may they remain veiled), which bent the arrow of time, bringing past, present, future, sidespans, branches, and impossibilities to coexist at not-quite-once.

The throne-of-thrones, former seat of the Drowned Emperor, a ridiculous yet potent thing made from thrones taken from the kingdoms he conquered. Fortunately the Emperor is now too mushy to sit upon it, stuck as he is down the well in which he died.

A throne is only one half of the signs of lordship though. What of crowns? That is for another day.

*  These cysts where gods and spirits slumbered through an apocalypse remain infused with their dreams and nightmares. Many dungeons were originally built to tap their power.

** It was at this time too that the line between gods and spirits was drawn, at least as it's commonly reckoned. Spirits could be beaten, coerced, destroyed, while a god was mighty enough that no amount of iron could cow them. Pagans made their border kingdoms in the gods' domains by negotiation and obeisance.

Thursday, October 31, 2019


Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1933), colourized
Like the fairy tale so often softens the fairy, clowns too are a human invention that makes light of something darker and deadlier: the cloyne.

Whenever someone comes to believe that their life is a cosmic joke, that they suffer and die for the amusement of a sadistic world, a cloyne is born. A gaudy giggling demon sustained by schadenfreude. The world is their stage and they perform only for their own entertainment, pushing mortals to pratfall straight to hell.