Thursday, March 28, 2024

D6x6 Tactual Takos

Takos are D&D's octopus-people, except they've only got one eye for whatever reason, and they're not humanoid, they're just octopoid.

Click the button below to generate your takos:

Special thanks to Spwack for the generator generator here: 

D6These takos have
1vibrant blue rings scattered across their body.
2fleshy "wings" on the sides of their head, like elephant ears.
3a "skirt" of translucent webbing between their tentacles.
4red flesh covered in menacing spikes.
5a cyanotic, pale purple, veiny colouration.
6knobbly, sandy-coloured skin.
D6These takos fight with
1envenomated blowguns they fire with water-jets on the sides of their heads.
2metal beak-attachments bartered for with deep-sea smiths who forge in the heat of black smokers, grappling with tentacular martial arts to get in range.
3gauntlets they stick on the ends of their tentacles, some equipped with blades, others with piercing spikes, and still others heavy enough to bludgeon through shell and armour.
4slow flails of woven kelp or some other marine fiber, set with sharp teeth and stone shards and suchlike, swung into a simultaneously defending and attacking wreath around their wielder.
5long spears they wrap up in and shove with all their tentacles at once.
6paired glass or shell knives of surpassing sharpness, which they wield in scraping or scissoring maneuvers.
D6These takos can
1detach a tentacle as a pre-programmed servitor.
2regrow their heads if enough of the rest of their body survives - their minds distributed among their ganglion-nodes.
3see into spectra beyond the human eye's capability to perceive, picking up ultraviolet, infrared, and auras of magic.
4produce from their skin spirals with a hypnotic bioluminescent glow.
5build up tension in their tentacles, and after building enough release a super-heavy, cavitating strike.
6speak with each other over great distances, in a seeming hive-mind, by strumming the ground.
D6These takos are rumoured to
1be planning to flood the surface world.
2serve gods drowned in primordial times for their inhuman evil.
3create false harbours and lights to mislead sailors.
4shapeshift into humans and seduce people into awfully slimy relations.
5kidnap children who wander too close to the sea, to turn into more of their kind.
6trap the souls of the dead in coconut shells to keep them as ghostly servants.
D6These takos are sought by humans
1because their beaks are thought to make the best scrapers for shaving and bathhouses.
2because their lush blue ink is treasured for dye and calligraphy.
3because their skins can be worked into armour that provides the ultimate camouflage.
4to receive oracles related to fortunes at sea.
5because poking their eyeball is supposed to grant good luck.
6as mercenaries in naval warfare.
D6These takos live
1in settlements suspended from the underside of woven kelp-rafts, drifting on ocean gyres and grown over with permacultural microbiomes.
2in silvery mounds of foam blown from the mouthparts of domesticated giant crabs.
3in submarine canyons they roof over and carve habitations into the walls of.
4in warrens dug beneath the biggest and most ancient reefs, selectively bleaching the coral in communicative patterns.
5in a submerged system of caverns and grottoes they've carved over generations with sinuous, interlocked art.
6in scuttle-towns built in the sunken hulks of the ships of their enemies.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

D6x6 Heinous Hobgoblins

Click the button below to generate your hobgoblins:

Special thanks to Spwack for the generator generator here:

D6 These hobgoblins have
1 lanky frames with minimal body fat, as though they've been stretched out dramatically on a rack. They have trouble floating in water, but are stronger than they look.
2 reddish skin and dark flesh, due to the high amount of oxygen their blood and tissues hold.
3 abnormally bulging traps, lats, and guts from the natural steroids they produce.
4 a digitigrade posture, with their feet clenched and hardened into proto-hooves.
5 an aversion to scars and blemishes, seeing them as indicating failure of one's skill or armour, and so cake on makeup to cover them up - and this has become a desirable aesthetic of its own.
6 keratinous growths on their ears that extend them into long, horn-like protrusions - it is polite to brush one's ear-horn aside to allow social superiors to pass by, a sort of salute.
D6 The hobgoblins fight
1 atop mounts with bows or spears - in formal duels against each other, the loser forfeits the middle and index finger they use to nock arrows.
2 in dense, heavily-armoured infantry formations supported by light cavalry.
3 according to a strict code of honour - though if the other side violates this code, even unknowingly, then the hobgoblins will escalate to ruthless total war.
4 generally with the aim of capturing slaves without maiming them too badly, which can limit their effectiveness in pitched battle, and has given rise to specialized tactics and weaponry.
5 from vehicles somewhere between chariots and war wagons.
6 with absolute and brittle chains of command, tending to fall apart when officers are taken out.
D6 These hobgoblins worship
1 their great enemies, for pushing them to rise and evolve - they seek to devour these enemies to spare them the indignity of the crows and worms, and to make pilgrimage-shrines from their bones.
2 a pantheon of deified emperors. Devotees heat coins stamped with these emperors' faces and use these as brands on their skin.
3 the spirits of arms and armour - honing their souls in life to be reborn in the purity of steel.
4 a militant messiah prophesied to lead them to dominance over the whole world.
5 Necessity itself, as the master-force which enslaves all things.
6 in a syncretic smattering of hero-cults, mystical warrior-societies, and chaoskampf philosophies.
D6 These hobgoblins domesticate
1 zorbos, taking advantage of these creatures' tremendous shock-absorption to launch them out of catapults at foes.
2 geladas, training them for dumb labour and gambling on their fights.
3 gorbels, finding their rubbery flesh delicious and their floating bodies to be a bright amusement, particularly when adorned with chimes and streamers.
4 a breed of aurochs they use as mounts, wearing the beasts' horns on their helms to display their strength and potency, and making outrageously-smelly cheese from their milk.
5 rocs, using them as troop transports for elite squads, and in parades for victorious generals.
6 ankhegs, using them to dig out battlefield fortifications, eating their eggs, and making perfume from their wax. Ankheg-driver is one of the most dangerous professions in their society, giving rise to many idioms.
D6 A standard ration these hobgoblins carry
1 is is smoked larvae, often eaten mashed and fried.
2 is tooth-polishingly gritty ash-cakes.
3 is rice-cakes similar to mochi, mixed with whole dried and powdered fish.
4 is sour strips of fruit-leather.
5 is eggs that have been boiled in sauce then cured.
6 is links of black pudding.
D6 These hobgoblins live
1 in what are essentially those Al-Qaeda mountain fortresses except real.
2 in a grassy steppe they've riven with trenches, and public works like aqueducts and sewers they've built up from those trenches, feuding with the centaurs, nomads, and so on they share the steppe with.
3 in a limestone-ridden landscape of karst and cenotes. The region is a labyrinth of razor-sharp stone, sudden pitfalls, and underground canals for quick repositioning.
4 in a desert basin, surviving off taxes, tariffs, and tribute.
5 as a caste of warrior-aristocrats ruling over a cluster of non-hob satrapies.
6 on an artificial archipelago of scuttled warships, dikes, and buried reefs.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

D20 Methods of Immortality A Wizard Might Use In Lieu of the Typical Lichdom

1. Removing their own brain and sticking it in a jar full of preservatives. A replacement made of glass, vital fluids, and clockwork ticks behind their eyes now, letting them control their body from afar. They can rebuild the whole thing if it’s destroyed, though it would be costly in time and magical resources.

2. Marrying a fairy prince. So long as the wizard wears their wedding band on their finger, they won’t die until their spouse does. They locked up their spouse in a cage outside the normal flow of time to keep them secure after consummating the marriage.

3. Converting their thoughts into noospheric shockwaves. Sensitive individuals dream of the wizard, living their life while asleep and gradually overwriting their selves with the wizard's own. Wizard-duplicates can’t abide each other’s presence due to an extreme case of narcissism of small differences.

4. Grafting magical hybrid plants to a dryad’s tree then absorbing the dryad to take on the lifespan of their now-eternal tree.

5. Regularly bathing in volatile alchemical concoctions. The baths rejuvenate them, but each time minor mutations accumulate, and each subsequent bath requires rarer and rarer ingredients.

6. Gradually replacing parts of their body with far more durable artificial replacements.

7. Stitching a magic cloak from the still-living skins of newborn lambs. So long as they remain totally covered by the cloak, they’re hidden from death’s sight and can’t be taken by it.

8. Arranging carefully balanced bargains for their soul with many powerful demons. Until the demons resolve who has the strongest claim on the wizard's soul, they won’t let the wizard die and start a free-for-all.

9. Preserving the most important parts of their self within an enchanted amulet while offering the rest to an alien spirit. The spirit animates and provides the basic drives of their body, while the wizard retains executive control so long as the body wears the amulet.

10. Blaspheming the rites of a mother-goddess. Now they can give birth to themself and live on through the generations. Conducting one’s own rebirth is a taxing physical and magical exercise though, and the reborn wizard must consume the birthing wizard immediately after or else wither away.

11. Temporally tying themself to an hourglass. While the hourglass is running one way they age normally in time with it. When the hourglass is flipped they age backwards in the same manner. Should the hourglass run out in either direction they’ll die. Should the hourglass be shattered the wizard will explode into a local time-rift.

12. Writing an autobiography that described their self so totally that the text became more real than their physical self. Destroying their body is only an impediment until the book can recreate them. Destroying the book renders them mortal until they can rewrite it. The only ways to put them down for good are to destroy both simultaneously, or to cause the wizard to diverge from their description in the book significantly enough to cause a break in the narrative reality.

13. Establishing a cult that worships them as an aspect of a god, and using that adoration as a conduit to sip at divinity. So long as the worship continues, so too will the wizard.

14. Killing the very possibility of their death. They possess no special durability though, and have only continued to age and shrivel with time. They will not die even as the passing of epochs (or adventurers) grinds them to dust.

15. Snarling the timestream and drawing a clutch of their younger selves as apprentices. When they grow old they transfer their mind into their most promising apprentice-self and kill the rest. Through temporal shenanigans the apprentice-selves are starting to cotton on to their master-self’s fatal designs.

16. Halting apoptosis and entering a perpetual adolescence. They are an excrescent giant, swarmed by oncologist-mites that burrow through their organs and devour the tumours that swell within.

17. Hiding their heart within a swarm of flies within a pair of hummingbirds within a gazelle locked up in their ribcage. When their body dies the gazelle will leap from their mouth. When the gazelle dies the hummingbirds will fly from its ears. When the hummingbirds die the flies will flee from behind their eyes. If any of the animals escape, they’ll be able to regrow the entire wizard, slowly but surely.

18. Locking themself in a modified torture device they stole from hell itself. It keeps them alive even as it torments them. They require a constant supply of supernaturally potent drugs to stave off the agony, and have attached an animate exoskeleton to the device so they can still move around. Should their supply run low the pain would surely render them nonfunctional.

19. Shedding their meat and becoming a being of light and lightning. They require special interfaces (or just their own prodigious magic) to interact with the solid world, and can only be harmed by esoteric means.

20. Sealing themself inside a perfectly sterile, self-sustaining arcology. So long as the arcology remains untainted they’ll be able to remain immaculate forever. Their simplified composition would be quickly devoured by external bacteria however. They interact with the outside world through projections and possessed proxies.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

D6x6 Former Wizards

The idea for this came to me in a dream last night - a dream about a worldwide migration, the migration itself the thing people were migrating away from - a dream about people living on the roads and ruins and great trundling vehicles, born in vats in the backseat and dying at the hands of their rapacious fellows.

What matters it this?  In the immortal words of Lawrence T. Arabia: "All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act out their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.". This I have done.

Click the button below to generate your former wizard:

Special thanks to Spwack for the generator generator here:

D6 This former wizard lost their magic
1 to divine confiscation after an inquisition deemed them a diabolical risk.
2 to a catastrophic miscast which will ruin them (and everything within a substantial area around them) should they ever attempt another spell.
3 when it was stolen away by a (magically) sympathetic poppet they created to absorb hexes and wounds in their stead.
4 after their soul was mutilated while on an astral sojourn.
5 in a binding vow after losing a duel with their hated rival wizard, sworn to never again cast a spell and to drown and burn all their books.
6 after being infected by a thaumovoric brain parasite.
D6 This former wizard can still fake a bit of magic
1 with flamboyant pyrotechnics.
2 with cold-reading and sharp intuition, seeming to be a telepath.
3 with an array of poisons and disease-carrying pets imitating curses.
4 by flinging and puppeting things about by manipulating them with nearly invisible wires.
5 by goading the clutch of ghosts that haunt them into poltergeistical activity.
6 with an enchanted item they were able to hang onto and somewhat operate.
D6 This former wizard lives
1 in a tumbledown hovel which was once their tower - the treasures long since looted, the stones themselves carted off by farmers for fences.
2 bouncing between the homes of their half-human children, who grow increasingly intolerant of this burden.
3 as the resident drunk at an inn, sleeping on moth-eaten tatters in the attic and telling amusing tales for drinks.
4 in a cramped apartment, applying their literacy as a scribe-for-hire.
5 in a mountainside hermitage, using what non-magical lore they learned to treat illnesses and suchlike.
6 as a vagrant, terrorizing the superstitious with mystic-seeming nonsense.
D6 This former wizard is still dogged from their wizarding days
1 by a wretched remnant of their dark army, who want to drag the wizard back into their leadership.
2 by the minions of a dragon they robbed the hoard of.
3 by their familiar, whose spirit is trapped in animal flesh with the loss of the wizard's magic.
4 by a devil they struck a bargain with - and without their magic, they're unable to fulfill their end.
5 by a former apprentic whose ritual to achieve immortality they sabotaged, trapping the apprentice in a horrible yet nigh-unkillable state.
6 by a mob of victims they polymorphed on a lark - the transformations partially reverting with the loss of the wizard's magic.
D6 This former wizard schemes
1 to unearth the soul-jar of an ancient mage, and extract only the part of that mage's soul that can cast magic to take into themself.
2 to put together a heist to steal a lich's phylactery from the dungeon the lich built to hold it, so that the wizard can blackmail the lich into researching a way to get the wizard's magic back.
3 to steal an orchid from the greenhouse of an occult order, which blooms only once every hundred years and awakens tremendous psionic power in the one who eats its flower.
4 to found a cult that might allow them to ascend to godhood, and thereby surpass their lost mgic.
5 to expand and aggravate a rising iconoclastic movement, and then channel the energy of destroyed icons and idols into a geomantic array through which they will once again wield magic - by proxy.
6 to kidnap and drain a bunch of elves of their blood, to concentrate and transfuse it into themself in the hope that its natural magic can replace their lost book-magic.
D6 This former wizard might convince you to help them in this scheme
1 by offering the location of a potent spell.
2 by bluffing about a hidden weapon they'll pretend to unleash.
3 by telling you the command word for all the wands and so on they created.
4 by telling you the secret to disarming the traps in another wizard's vault.
5 by promising to summon you a harem of succubi once their power's restored.
6 by revealing to you the true name of a fiend of the underworld, which would let you call up and command it.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Neat Bits from Bill Hoyt's Old Campaign

"In 1974, Bill Hoyt, part of the original Blackmoor Bunch, started playing Dungeons & Dragons, which he'd got at Gary Gygax's house. Soon after, he began his own campaign. These are rare maps and campaign notes from the very beginning of D&D."

From here:

  • Setting's a freewheeling combination of reality, folklore, myth, existing fiction, and original material - Athens and Chaldea are on the map along with Hobbiton, Gotham, Lankhmar, Cockaigne, and Narnia. There's the fountain of youth and the river Lethe. The Forgotten Realms used to have real Egyptians in it. Might still do.
  • Not much mention of gods or religion - there's a St. Palo mentioned, a statue of "the rhino-headed duck of Rhiannon", a temple in the underwater country of Fathon which contains the blue star stone that keeps the land submerged and the people undrowned, a cannibal cult, and the Sun Dome Templars.
  • No alignment in the Law vs. Chaos sense, but there are political alignments - Constitutional monarchy, dictatorship, federation, communist - initially thought the communists might've just been on the smaller end, like the Diggers, but no they've got whole nations. Armies and castles are listed, but only sometimes with an alignment - maybe reavers or independents of another stripe. Armies make for an interesting encounter table addition - like roving settlements with all the camp followers - potentially very dangerous of course.
  • Some armies have distinctive loadouts - there's communists who carry halberds, swords, and ride rhinos, monarchist armies of mounted knights backed up by guys with two-handed swords, the Empire of Ryka with their bowmen on elephants, and so on. Some forces are equipped with handguns. Only a few armies have siege weapons, which might explain why castle garrisons can hold out with a relative handful of guys vs. armies which typically number in the hundreds.
  • No dwarves, elves, or orcs listed. There are instead: impala people, bison people, unicorn women, high llama people, sable people, "alagater" men, newtlings, dragonewts (Glorantha's a big influence), morokanth people, tusk riders, molemen, bluemen, and catans (cat people with familiars). Refreshing.
  • There are a bunch of rock piles noted on the map. I do not know why.
  • This island that looks like a tropical fish:

  • Spells: They are scattered for players to find all over the map. Some of these spells are in the middle of otherwise barren and empty ocean regions - whether on a small island or on the ocean floor it's not noted. There's an island of immortals who can use green jade to scry through time and space - perhaps you're supposed to ask these guys for help finding sunken spells. Some of the spells you might find in a modern D&D game. Some defy interpretation: Werelight (maybe something like a soucouyant?), Ill of Demon, Summon Afete. There is a Super Telekinesis, but no regular Telekinesis. Of all the spells, Read Languages is the most ferociously guarded, held within an "overkill dungeon". Similar sort of idea could inspire hexcrawl - hex containing Tenser's Floating Disk might have it on stack of floating islands you have to ascend to get it.
  • The whimsical places remind me of the manga One Piece. The 1,000 foot high walled island of Marvat - kind of like Wano - if the wall's ever broken, or made too easy to get around, then the Edenic garden within will turn to dust and Marvat's people will turn into demons. Fathon is a lot like Fishman Island. There's Dragonfly Island, which seems to be gigantic and filled with giant bugs, but actually there's a family of giants there operating an enshrinkening machine. Cockaigne and Schlaraffenland of course inspiring Whole Cake Island. The Upside Down Land. Gam, land of music, where there's invisible people and an abundance of everything.
  • There's an island of women who turn into birds and an island of women who'll turn you into a bird. Like poetry.
  • This menacing note:

  • Lahall - home of dead heroes, deep in a mountain range, protected by giant monsters, surrounded by trees with golden leaves - more settings should have an afterlife you can walk to. Also there is a cave "that leads to Weirdworld" - connection to other setting? There are places listed as "under Suyratina" or "under Mooi Land" - can't tell if these are political affiliations or literal underground regions. I like the latter better. "Underdark" or whatever you want to call it integration would be cool to see in a setting map.
  • Usian River - poisonous, but if drank from with the Death Stone will make you invisible for 10 years - interesting combination of map feature & artifact.
  • "Fein Bain" - listed under Items & Other - fein can mean fine, good, hay - bain can mean a bath, direct, ready, wine, to dig up or strike -perhaps a fein bain then is hay-wine from the high llama people, or a magic bathtub, or an enchanted ointment that you put over your eyes to make you good at hitting things.
  • Other Items & Other of interest: Paints of Zepaka, Pen of Vogy, the Never Ending Line, the Door to the Red People, Magic Horses of My - exceptional and magical creatures as treasure, eggs you can hatch & tame, don't see those enough these days.
  • Cofur: I'm pretty sure this is a city in the Empire of Ryku, but the name immediately evoked the image of a "conifer gopher" in my mind - a sort of little tree-critter that lives in snowy regions, digging warrens in the earth which they pop their photosynthesizing heads in and out of, avoiding pine-munchers - like so: