11. ForestWhat's the deal with this fantastical forest? (1d8):
1. Bucolic and manicured. Stalked by the velveteen playmates of a child who lived here long ago. They want you to stay and play forever,
2. Abundant in nuts, berries, and game-birds. The domain of a lordly leshy. The squirrels are his peasants, the owls and wolves his knights. Demands the respect due to one of his station, and punishes poachers terribly.
3. Metallic bark, brilliantly colourful leaves that wave without wind. Actually a species of land-coral that feeds with magnetism, catching particles from the air. Silver-scaled fish dart through the invisible currents.
4. The trees grow so high their boughs drink in the clouds. Many layers have formed, each with their own particular ecosystem. The forest floor is a lightless, root-choked abyss where predatory slimes and glow-lure anglers lurk.
5. Barren, charcoal trunks part to smoking branches. There was a fire that blazed through here, a fire that never left. It lives within the trees now, sustains them. They have no need for the sun. They eat roasted meat.
6. The forest was once an entire city created by tree shaping. Its wildlife evolved from the former pets of its inhabitants, and their feral descendants.
7. The trees grow ramrod straight, their branches growing out in crosses at perfect 90° angles. Vines entwine themselves into ropes, and creepily intelligent monkeys make their nests among them. The place was created as the ideal raw materials to build a fleet, but was taken over by pirate-ents.
8. Growing atop an ancient battlefield. Its leaves hold the bold patterns of banners, its trees sprout around frameworks of yellowed bone. After nightfall, ghosts of the desperate, deranged, and damned shriek with the wind.
S.O.S. Aboard the S.S. Lady Susan, an oceanic encounter for modern games
An S.O.S., coordinates in Morse code, and distorted snippets of Mariah Carey's hit 1993 song Dreamlover insert themselves into radio and TV broadcasts in your local area. The coordinates are near enough that if you had a boat you could beat anyone else there if you left now. Could be good salvage.
Or you simply come across the S.S. Lady Susan while already out on the water.
Or you're hired by Mayor Brummelstroete to make sure his mistress is really dead.
The S.S. Lady Susan is shrouded in an unseasonable thunderstorm.
St. Elmo's fire glows on the Lady Susan's highest points.
If any metal surface on your boat makes contact with a metal surface on the Lady Susan, everything electronic on it stops working.
If you come onto the boat with any device with audio capabilities, it repeats the sounds from the first hook. Outgoing calls are replaced with the same. Video devices display a woman sprawled in a hot tub, with a green tint and heavy static.
Every ten minutes spent on the Lady Susan, roll on the table below (1dX):
1. Frizzling static build-up. Electricity visibly snakes across metal surfaces. The next person to touch one take 1 damage.
2. Metal on the yacht resonates, emanating Mariah Carey music as if sung by a swarm of cicadas. Everyone on board is deafened for the next 10 minutes.
3. A random verse from the Bible is recited rapidly over the speakers in Morse code.
4. Pale green phantoms flash into existence around you for scant moments, men in suits and women in cocktail dresses, all partying hard as only people on a yacht can.
5. An abnormal wave strikes the yacht. Anyone standing must save or trip into whatever's beside them.
6. Roll 4d4, or 1-16 in a random number generator. Whichever letter that number corresponds to in the alphabet gets hit by lightning, and everyone within takes 2d6 damage. If three rooms get hit, the whole yacht starts sinking.
The S.S. Lady Susan
A: If you're in a dinghy or comparable boat you're probably only going to be able to get on from here, unless you've got a grappling hook. I'm not sure though, not a yacht expert.
B: Beneath the bar's lip are a baggy containing $500 worth of cocaine, a deck of cards, and stack of post-it notes with the numbers of Mayor Brummelstroete's various mistresses, drug dealers, and other illicit contacts written on it.
C: A stripper pole's been screwed into the table here, and faint green holograms of dollar bills float around it. Up and down the length of the pole there's stuck cutlery, a skillet, and coins. On the TV facing the table an episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is on, though visual distortions like cigarette burns cover the faces of the people on it. The TV will directly address anyone who watches it, tailoring its questions to their personal life. If they answer it with a lie, a smattering of objects stuck to the pole will shoot off in their direction like a blunderbuss.
D: A pair of flickering, pale green phantoms, one sitting on the toilet, head in its hands, the other standing and berating it in wordless angry tones. If you intrude on the bathroom, after a few moments you must save or take the place of whichever phantom you most resemble at that time. Striking either phantom makes you take 1d4 damage from electrical shock and disperses both. Breaking the scene's "script" does the same without any damage.
E: Windows broken, fish flopping around on floor, crackling with electricity. The fish are attracted to active electrical outputs and life (in that order) and attack like a swarm of piranhas. Not particularly quick or graceful, but have zombie-like tenacity. Little hole burned through roof. The bath in the room is steaming, and at its bottom is a misshapen, iridescent chunk of metal. It tingles when held, and while you've got it with you you skip any rolls on the Weird Shit table.
F: Duffel bag containing an unregistered handgun, a change of clothes, an empty syringe, an opened pack of alcohol wipes, and a few drivers licenses with different names and details but pictures of the same guy (the guy in L). The handle to operate the crane to move the boat into the water has a scorched layer of skin stuck to it.
G: Mattress turned over, slashed up. Smattering of condoms on the bedframe, stuffing and a bear trap poking out of the mattress. Examining the far wall reveals a minuscule hole drilled in it with a camera peeking behind. The camera's got footage of quite a few important political and economic figures in compromising, even criminal positions.
H: A pair of service/support staff neatly shot in the head and stashed away.
I: Corpse of a once-handsome young man set on the bed, beat to shit, forearms slit wrist to elbow, sheets crusted with blood. Photograph of him and Brummelstroete's mistress in flagrante delicto on the bedside table, their faces burned out with a cigarette. The first person to approach too close will have the corpse lunge at them and lock up in rigour mortis strangling them. In the corpse's pocket is a harmonica. Playing the harmonica will soothe the harsher effects of any phenomena or creatures so exposed.
J: Captain's room (I think, again, not a yacht expert). Stinks of burnt plastic. Totally inoperable, Levers, buttons, wheel, and any other moveable parts are fused in place. On the tables are books by Anton Lavey, Aleister Crowley, Helena Blavatsky, and the like. Spending some time searching through the books finds a listening bug (now burnt out) hidden in one, and a cut-out compartment containing rosary beads in another.
K: A one-armed skeleton with blackened strips of flesh clinging to it lounges on the couch, smoking a cigar. If someone approaches it, the skeleton will stand up, walk towards them, and point its remaining hand at them. One round later, that hand will explode, dealing 1d6 damage to everyone nearby. The skeleton will continue to approach, and the next time it detonates it's whole arm will go, dealing 2d6 damage. Its final detonation deals 3d6 damage, and totally destroys the skeleton. Towards the stairs there's a hole burned in floor, leaking steam.
L: Stocky guy with a Ukrainian accent squatting on couch, sobbing, one arm hanging limp, polyester sweater molten in places, eyes burnt shut. He believes that touching the floor will kill him, and that anyone talking is the voice of the devil tempting him into death. He's got a knife. He was one of the first people Brummelstroete hired to kill his mistress. Doesn't know much about what's going on besides the danger, saw a falling star hit the yacht, will do just about anything to escape.
Keys to the right jetski in room N are stuck in the couch cushions.
There's a line that looks a lot like a lower-case l just beneath the J. Ignore that, I didn't put that there.
M: The whole outside bridge deck area smells like overcooked pork. There's some half-finished drinks, one spiked with rohypnol. A cleaver lies on the table. Getting too close requires a save. Failure causes your arm to be taken over, which then tries to grab the cleaver and kill those around you, and then yourself. While active in this fashion the cleaver spits off green sparks. Grounding it like you would any electrical device ends the effect. The closed barbecue holds most of a human arm, charred to a crisp.
N: The jet ski on the left is messed up by electrical discharge. Keys in the ignition, but turn them and the thing goes kaboom. The one on the right's still good to go.
Examining the treadmill will reveal a gold and sapphire necklace caught in its mechanism worth $5,000.
O: Behind the counter are liquor bottles containing moaning, malformed, gelatinous homunculi. Opening or smashing them causes the homunculi to revert to the fluid they're made of. Left alone, they'll mature into mentally capable adult forms. They're worth quite a lot to the discriminating buyer. In the bathroom there's a hostile puke slime attracted to noise. Stat as a small black pudding.
P: Woman's corpse floating in the hot tub, veins faintly glowing green. Wires have grown like tree roots out of the sides and into its spine. Trying to cut or remove the wires will cause the entire yacht to lurch into a slow death-roll. Playing the harmonica from the man in room I, promising to avenge the woman on Brummelstroete, or the like will unravel the plasmatic symbiosis and allow her peace, ending all unnatural effects on the Lady Susan.
As has been said sufficiently elsewhere, the little moments in a game can be as meaningful as the big ones - maybe it's only the little moments giving room and contrast to the big ones that the latter even can become meaningful. When going out to slay the dragon, take care not to forget what your party's eating together at camp. Here's some ideas:
The iron rations available here are (1d8):
2. Parched corn
3. Salt fish
4. Wax-sealed blocks of hard cheese
5. Dried lentils
6. Pots of brine and pickled vegetables
7. Desiccated apples, brown and wrinkled
8. Nuts and seeds
The regular rations available here are (1d8):
1. Links of hard sausages
2. Honeyed beef jerky
3. Loaves of dense bread
4. Butter and biscuits
7. Hardboiled eggs, kept in-shell
8. Dry rice
The luxury rations available here are (1d8):
1. Gourd containing its own deliciously stewed innards, mixed with black pudding.
2. Spiced and sweetened hams
3. Mushrooms stuffed with minced meat
4. Roasted songbirds stuffed with syrup
5. Candied flowers and cream
6. Cured fish roe wrapped in breaded seaweed
7. Conches boiled in soup stock within their own shells
8. Whole suckling pig, fried in its mother's fat
The cult of the God in the Keg are renowned and reviled for their generousity, spontaneity, irascibility, and over-sincerity. They are all terribly fond of drinking, and attract those terribly fond of drinking to them. The cult knows the secrets of brewing not just grains and tubers, but flesh, jewels, dreams, and stranger things still. Of these secret brews they share only a few outside the cult. The most infamous of these is ooze-booze, brewed from the endless variety of the underworld's slimes (1d10):
1. Mustard Mead: Tastes like a moment of sickening sweetness followed by a hit of unbearable spiciness. Your burps and flatulence become toxic while you're drunk on it, those who get a whiff of the same must save or take 1d6 damage and be stunned a round retching.
2. Ochre Old Ale: Tastes of citrus and a chemical you can't quite place. While drunk on it, if you would take a killing blow you can save, and if you succeed you split into two, one part dying and the other getting away at half size and half max HP.
3. Olive Ouzo: Tastes like liquorice and unwashed vegetables. While buzzed on it you gain an enhanced sense for vibrations, letting you pinpoint moving creatures within 30 feet. When trashed on it this range extends to 60 feet.
4. Green Gulp: Lumpy texture, tastes like avocado. While drunk on it your sweat becomes corrosive. While in a hot environment or after strenuous physical activity you can deal 1 damage on contact or melt through an inch of metal or wood after ten minutes of close contact.
5. Slithering Sip: Tastes like bacon and pomegranates. Odd texture, like slurping amoebic noodles. Vomit it out at a target and it'll briefly animate and seek them out. You'll immediately sober up, and if it gets in their mouth they'll get as drunk as you were off it.
6. Flareater Flagon: Tastes like caramel, sticky, leaves a tingling sensation on the tongue. While you're drunk on it, you can spit on any non-magical fire or other source of light to extinguish it instantly.
7. Snowflake Cider: Tastes like sour raspberries and stains the lips blue. You remain a comfortably cool temperature as long as you're drunk off it, and the condensation that forms on you lets you escape grapple and bonds as if you'd had a Grease spell cast on you.
8. Crystal Chicha: Refreshing as the first glass of water during a hangover, crisp and tangy. While buzzed on it you can breath underwater, but every thirty minutes doing so gets you as drunk as if you'd just had a glass of wine.
9. Stone Sato: Gritty texture. Tastes of smoked leather. While drunk on it and not moving you become camouflaged to match your environment. If passed out on it, the camouflage becomes near-perfect.
10. Black Bitter Ale: Tastes like old, over-steeped coffee. While drunk on it you become able to go totally limp and flexible. You can fit through any opening that could fit your skull, and take half damage from bludgeoning.
What's the snow around here like? (1d10):
1. Crust of ice on top, fluffy below
2. Brown and slushy
3. Streaked with yellow
4. Piled high but not densely, you can fall right in
5. Half-melted and crystallizing, a rainbow on the ground dazzling with all the spectrum's colours.
6. Gathered up into rough pellets like cold and grating gravel.
7. Blown up by the wind into precarious peaks and dunes.
8. Scattered with splinters of hoarfrost, almost painful to walk through.
9. Pocked with rounded dimples, a little hibernating creature placed in the center of each.
10. Molded into abstract, off-putting sculptures as if by the hands of some fey child.