Friday, June 14, 2019

Referee Skill: Description Procedures

So while OSR places a great deal of value on player skill. I don't believe I have seen much written about Referee skill aside of how to make rules and rulings. I don't remember seeing mention of "communication/description skill" outside one explicit mention and one implicit mention. Veins of the Earth, as well as thealexandrian, emphasizes communicating non-visual sensory information to players. Referees are urged to mention the smell, sound, texture, and even taste of the encountered denizens of the veins. HackSlashMaster has a post on writing room fills, which uses organizational principles to sort room contents in levels of perception. Implicit in this method is a flow chart of giving information to players as they explore the room. But I don't think I have ever seen a unified method on how to present information to players. The following is an explanation for set of OSR description procedures and principles.

A while ago, I read the following quote and was struck by how potent of a heurisitic it was.

“Attention to visual details that don't communicate easily or even matter in a verbal game is FOE*”

*False OSR Enthusiasm: Unintentionally engaging in new-school RPG design principles which damage and limit the exploration and emergent gameplay of OSR

So the most basic gameloop of OSR (or any RPG) is Referee communicates context then Players request further information or take action within context then Referee communicates consequential context. The procedures would need to be consistent across the varied contexts presented in an OSR game but still be robust enough to be applicable to all. So one would start with, what information is needed by players to make meaningful choice for exploration and emergent gameplay.

Let's consider an empty room, a wandering monster encounter, and a treasure carried by the corpse of the encounter and note if there are any similarities between the descriptions.

Consider the following room:

Consider the following encounter:
From this wondrous dungeon

Consider the following treasure:
French ceremonial mace, 18th century

Take a moment and write out how you would describe each to your players. 

Each may be described differently, and likely referees have a different procedure for each, but a single method can be used for communicating each.

The order of adjectives in English is as follows
1. Quantity or number
2. Quality or opinion
3. Size
4. Age
5. Shape
6. Color
7. Proper adjective (origin or material)
8. Purpose or qualifier

This may be reduced to the following:
1. Quantity
2. Size
3. Shape
4. Color
5. Material
6. Action

We return to the room and immediately notice an issue, a room is defined by it's contents. So we would need to apply describe each as well

The room has the following contents: Door1, Door2, Crack in the wall, Altar, Circle in the floor, Frieze1, Frieze 2

Thus the description of the room would have to be the room itself and then it's contents in order of visual importance:

1. Quantity: Not applicable
2. Size: 30 by 30' with 15' ceiling
3. Shape: Square
4. Color: Dark Grey
5. Material: Roughly hewn stone
6. Action: Holds contents

You enter a 30 by 30' room with a 15' ceiling above it. The room is square shaped made of dark grey roughly hewn stones. Inside are CONTENTS

The squareness of the room is implied, and shapes are largely mentioned in cases where dimensions of the room are hard to describe, further there is some wordiness which could be rewritten to make it flow a little easier.

You enter a 30' by 30' room with a ceiling 15' above you. The room is dark grey in color* and constructed of roughly hewn stones*. Inside are CONTENTS

*I would say that this information would need to be given at the entry into a ruin, and emphasized every further turn of exploration instead of emphasized.

Now we are ontu the contents which gives us

Doors 1                              Doors 2                              Crack in the Wall
1. Two                                1. Two                                 1. One
2. Height of a man             2. A head taller than man   2. 3/4ths of the way to the ceiling
3. Rectangle                       3. Half-dome atop a box     3. A brush stroke of seizure victim
4. Brown                            4. Greyish                           4. None
5. Rusted metal                  5. Wood                              5. None
6. Opens easily                   6. None                              6. Thin cracks stretch outwards

Frieze 1+2                                      Altar                                      Circle in the floor
1. Two                                            1. One                                      1. One
2. 3 by 3'                                        2. 3 by 3 by 3'                           2. 5' in diameter
3. Man wearing a crown shouting 3. Cube                                     3. Circle
4. Pale white                                  4. Crimson Red                        4. Sickly yellow                 
5. Carved Stone                             5. Blood drenched Stone          5. Chipped paint
6. None                                          6. None                                     6. None

Writing these into sentences gives us:
The double doors the height of a man and rectangular, it is made of a brown rusted metal and opens easily.
The pair of doors are a head taller than a man, a half-dome atop a box, it is made of greyish wood. 
The crack in the wall stretches 3/4ths of the way up to the ceiling reminiscence of the brush stroke of a seizure victim, thinner cracks stretching outwards from it.
The two friezes, each 3 by 3', both depict a man wearing a crown and shouting, each is made of some pale white carved stone. 
The altar is a 3' cube, the crimson red of  blood drenched stone.
The circle is 5' in diameter and crafted by sickely yellow chipped paint.

However, something absent in our list of 6 adjectives is their spatial relationship to other objects. We can amend our adjectives to now be:
0. Location
1. Quantity
2. Size
3. Shape
4. Color
5. Material
6. Action

Finally our room description becomes:

You head forwards, through the double doors the height of a man and rectangular made of a brown rusted metal which open easily, and enter a 30' by 30' room with a ceiling 15' above you. The room is dark grey in color and constructed of roughly hewn stones. 

You see in the center of the room is altar which is a 3' cube and the crimson red of  blood drenched stone. Surrounding the altar is a circle 5' in diameter crafted by sickely yellow chipped paint. Past the altar is a pair of doors, both a head taller than a man in the shape of half-dome atop a box both made of greyish wood. To your right a crack in the wall stretches 3/4ths of the way up to the ceiling reminiscence of the brush stroke of a seizure victim, thinner cracks stretching outwards from it. On either side of the crack are two friezes, each 3 by 3', both depicting a man wearing a crown and shouting, each made of some pale white carved stone. 

Now this is a whole lot of information, and most rooms are simpler, but it is a good way to work through room descriptions. It is important to note that light sources may not reveal all of this information, and had this room been larger or some objects standing in front of the others certain objects would be only described in silhouettes.

Now we return to our encounter
From this wondrous dungeon
Going through our adjectives list we get:
0. Before you
1. One
2. Five times the height of a man
3. Naked and eyeless, his mustache and beard hanging long, a crown of gold on his brow
4. Almost shining ivory
5. The taut flesh of an emaciated beggar
6. Weeping and staggering on one leg, a spear readied to strike in his hands

0. Behind the King
1. Two
2. Twice the size of a man
3. Only ellipses, not the whole eyeball
4. One iris brown, One eye lid blue
5. Shimmering aether
6. Floating

This gives us the following description

Before you stands a terrible visage, five times the height of a man naked and eyeless, his mustache and beard hanging long, a crown of gold on his brow. Almost shining ivory is his taut flesh like that of an emaciated beggar now weeping and staggering on one leg, a spear readied to strike in his hands. Behind the King are two eyeballs twice the size of a man, each are only ellipses, not the whole eyeball with one iris brown and the other blue each made of shimmering aether and floating. 

This description is pretty close to a standard description of a monster, but it follows the same procedures as the room description. Further the method may be applied to treasure as well.

We return to the mace
French ceremonial mace, 18th century
And begin our procedures anew:
0. Floating in the air
1. One
2. About girth and length of a man's thigh
3. A rectangular prism bearing a face on each side, within four pillars, capped by a orb
4. Shining golden
5. ornamented brass filigree
6. None

And get the following description:
Floating in the air is a mace head about the girth and length of a man's thigh. It is a rectangular prism bearing a face on each side, within four pillars, capped by a orb all of shining golden ornamented brass filigree. 

Repeated Encounters

It should be noted that repeated interactions need not have the same level of detail and may be simply referred to by their title. If the party fled their first encounter with the "Nightmare King" then in future encounters the full detail would not need to be given and the mental imagery of the Nightmare King could be recreated by simply saying his title. Further deviations from the norm should be emphasized, for example if all the doors in the dungeon are squares then their shape should be mentioned only a few times. But if there is a door which is instead domed, like in the room example, then it needs to be contrasted to the other doors.

I hope this has been an informative article, and that procedures are useful to you in a game.

Description Procedures: In order, state the following about what is being described
0. Location
1. Quantity
2. Size
3. Shape
4. Color
5. Material
6. Action

Friday, March 1, 2019

Fassulian Encounters

Fassulian Encounters 1d8 + 1d20

1: Lone Travelers
1 Warrior traveling the land hoping to enact vengeance
2 Duelist seeking worthy foe to clash swords with
3 Mercenary seeking fortune by the blade
4 Sorcerer's assistant who pulled his master's grimoire off of his beheaded corpse
5 Magic-User possessing a scroll of a single spell from an ancient ruin
6 Apprentice of the Tower of Cal'Khuwa sent out for fake errand due to his annoying character and complaining tone
7 Astrologist seeking to climb tall peak in order to read the future written in the stars
8 Linguist seeking to compile means of translating one tongue to another
9 Archaeologist seeking to find fossils of ancient beasts to sell to rich folk
10 Wounded man seeking to find lost traveling companions
11 Curse-bearer seeking method to free self from doom
12 Dyer searching for means to craft new vibrant colors
13 Alchemist hunting potent herbs to distill and refine
14 Artist traveling to find beautiful maiden to act as his muse
15 Master thief for more treasure to steal
16 Monster slayer seeking to aid the weak and powerless
17 Aged magician enacting sacred rite
18 Informant of The Ravens taking notes and secrets
19 Musician playing music softly
20 Adventurer seeking location of the Lymos the Hungry City

2: Caravan
1Merchants traveling in a trail of wagons hauling common goods and ample foodstuff
2A merchant wagon train moves silks and fine clothes 
3Wagons carry leather bound tomes and texts to sell to scholars and sorcerers 
4Porters trail alongside draft animals hauling numerous clay urns scavenged from a ruin
5Porters trail alongside draft animals hauling both the weapons and armor of a band of warriors and the corpse of the monstrous lizard that slayed them are carried by the servants of a merchant
6Porters trail alongside draft animals hauling a series of strange iron staves with sharpened mouths on one end and baubels of amber glass and handles on the other (weapons of the Cold-blooded ones)
7Armored men from Phavea bearing the banner of the queen ride onwards to survey the lands for threats and dangers 
8A band of Phavean knights ride in search of the missing prince 
9The banner of Phavea is carried by a band of men hunting a criminal
10Guards travel alongside a carriage of a Phavean Noble
11Armed men travel alongside an opium peddler's wagon
12A Phavean Court wizard travels with his bodyguards
13A crowd of people shambles onwards, refugees of a village now abandoned
14A congregations of cultists are lead onwards by their master
15 A farmer herds a flock of sheep with the help of a few field hands
16Armored men with rifles march alongside wagons holding barrels of gunpowder.  Those who approach are greeted by a half-dozen rifles pointed in their direction. 
17Traveling Circus (same as in Hex5.13) 
18A band of tribesmen will charge a toll for passage in the form of food and rations
19Steeds carry minor nobility and their servants on a hunting trip
20A court attendant travels alongside a few knights, all disguised, to enact secret workings

3: Beasts
1Small scorpions the size of man's thumb swarm here
2A black viper slithers silently, it's tongue emerging intermittenly
3A giant pincer bursts from the ground as a scorpion the size of a horse emerges from its hiding place
4A herd of goats stand over the corpse of their shepherd
5A single camel with several packsaddles on it's back wanders reins still hanging from his mouth, his rider missing
6A muscle bound bull snorts and paws at the ground
7A herd of peacocks meander their feathers shimmering blue and green
8A chameleon the size of a goat shimmers into view
9White apes with a maw of broken teeth search the ground sharpened sticks and chipped stones in their hands
10Two male lions roar and shake their manes, growling at one another
11A large lion struggles to breathe here, an arrow in it's eye
12A hunting party of lionesses slowly paces forward
13Bursting from the earth is an ugly worm too rudimentary to be a serpent it spasms the it’s body out form below 
14An ugly worm, bearing a heavy stinger on it's tail bursts from the earth and unleashes a shrill scream
15A reptilian beast known as a Sickle-Claw half the height of a man, standing upon it’s hind legs and shows a maw of sharp teeth and two pairs of large claws
16 Sword-Gallop, a lizard he size of two horses standing end to end, swings it's heavy maw forward propelled on two pairs of sprinting legs
17A true terror emerges, a Horse-Swallower it’s maw is the size of a horse and it’s body the length of six horses on end, covered in heavy scales
18A band of hyenas cackles over the corpse of a ox, their faces covered in blood
19A herd of Camels meanders slowly, a single hump upon their backs. They gaze at you with contempt as they loudly chew
20A Skin-Kite descends form the sky, a terrible lizard the height of a man, a wingspan as long as a tree great flaps of skin, like a bat, beneath them

4: Ghuls + Bandits
1A band of ghuls with filed teeth and brass swords laughs and screams
2A band of ghuls has enslaved men and ride on their shoulders
3Ghuls fly in the sky upon wings of feather and wax, bows and arrows in hand
4Men lost to the grinning madness unearth great stones from the earth in order to stack a ladder with which to climb to heaven
5A green-blooded Fassulian lost to the grinning madness has been imprisoned by their retinue who are to scared to spill royal blood
6 Men lost so long to the madness that they now have elongated snouts like that of a dog and heavy claws huddled around a pit communing with an awful wyrm below the earth
7A single figure struggling with the grinning madness have chained themselves to a stone, an inscription in the dirt before them to not approach
8A man hides the progression of the grinning madness with a mask, wishing to find companions who would help him free himself
9A sorcerer, lost to the grinning madness, performs a ritual that would call down an emissary from the stars
10A band of ghuls have abandoned humanity fully and turned into pale gaunt entities with claws and maws of teeth
11Men have degenerated to beasts crawling on all fours and grinding broken teeth, their eyes bleeding
12 Brigands who lay traps and hide in wait to strike from afar. They are lead by a old-man who knows how to make snakes straight to be shot as  arrows which latch on to their targets with venemous jaws
13 Brigands mummified in wraps and each wearing a brass mask, all are lepers. Their leader emphasizes non-violence and they will merely restrain and knock-out their foes
14A band of women travel clad in bands and veils. They will beg for protection and declare that they are chased by men on horseback. Both groups collude together to ensnare travelers, the women throwing incendiaries at the backs of their saviors
15Bandits returning from a Cold-Blood One Ruin, have armored themselves in serpentine armor and wield swords of quick-silver. They strike under nightfall pretending to be ancient ghosts
16 Bandits returning from a Qasiran Ruin, have found a Man-Opener, which their leader wields, and a control key to a golem which they direct onwards
17 A trio of sorcerers, surviving apprentices of the Circle of Aldha, travel upon the back of an undead Horse-swallower
18 A woman who was once beautiful but now lacks an eye, accompanied by a band of marauders, will ask victims to remove all items and leave them naked but alive
19A man pretends to be a sorcerer, paints half of his men red to appear as ifrit and attempts to extort travelers under threat of violence
20Bandits are lead by a single muscle-bound leader, as wide as two men, he hardly speaks but will invite warriors to join his band and betray their companions

5: Demons
1A man like thing crawls with chains weighing it down, its mouth replaced with a long proboscis which leaks a bright green liquid which boils as it falls to the ground
2A muscle bound man here is missing a head, instead his torse bears a wide maw and a single eye where throat would be
3 heavy cannon the length of two men standing atop another extends from the body of a lion crafted from iron where a lion's head would be, claws pacing the ground
4The restless dead still walk here, weapons still tight in their hands
5A least Ifrit, a man with skin red as blood with fires blazing instead of eyes and reeking of smoke. In his hand he holds a heavy sword and a iron sack containing a beautiful maiden
6A heavy brass urn is pulled by a Least Ifrit, inside the Urn is a bound Least Ifrit
7A Least Ifrit wanders the lands, setting fires and writing crude things in ash
8A Least Ifrit pilfering a graveyard for valuables interred along corpses 
9A Lesser Ifrit, twice the size of a man, walks ahead of a retinue of men with heavy iron collars on their necks, each bearing sacks and chests of treasure
10The corpses of a warband lie burnt and ripped into pieces, a Lesser Ifrit sitting amid the carnage and laughing
11A half-dozen maidens, chains on their ankles, follow a Lesser Ifrit riding upon a flying Carpet
12Greater Ifrit, triple the size of a man, is surrounded by dozens of men prostrating themselves in adoration, a sacrifice in a cage nearby
13Corpses slowly stumble forwards, fire burning in their skulls, a Greater Ifrit standing over hundred corpses into which he whispers flame animating them  
14Greatest Ifrit, large enough to fill the sky a student of the Black King himself free to travel from the plane of flame to the the land of the men, trading souls for three wishes
15Local Threat Table: Lesser
16Local Threat Table: Lesser
17Local Threat Table: Lesser
18Local Threat Table: Greater
19Local Threat Table: Greater
20Local Threat Table: Unique

6: Spirits
1A large ogre which wishes to dine on the flesh of fellow travelers, hides within the guise of an elderly woman
2A clockwork automaton which feasts on coals rather than food wrapped in a cloak attempts to pass as a man. 
3Queen of Songbirds and a dozen of her fellow birds, hiding within fine silks and masquerading as a maiden, are sought after by a band of Ghuls and a band of Demons.
4Lamassu, with the head of men upon the body of a lion and wings of a bird, which falls from the sky upon travelers to cast judgement upon those who are aligned with chaos
5Assur, bearded man clad in silver scalemail, upon two pairs of wings, a bow in his left hand descending from the heavens As a herald with holy decree to command ontu men
6Within a smoking crater lies a screaming man thrice the normal height with the skin of pearls, his eyes removed from his skull and two great wings upon his back broken
7A tetragram of orbs of flame, an emmissary from another sphere, slowly pulsates and floats above the ground
8Pale flesh of man bloated to the size of a house roars, rather than a face a flat surface can be seen, each arm replaced with blind serpent stretching outwards, rather than a sex a massive vertical maw which opens up to a blazing furnace
9A shimmering bird descends from the heavens it lands and you can now see that it is the size of two horses and speaks like a man
10A phoenix falls from the sky in a plume of flame
11 Beur, lion which has five legs arranged in a circle, spinning like a wheel and breathing out flame, rolls 
12Griffon, a lion with an eagles head and wings screams
13Manticore, a lion with the face of a man, wings of a bat, and tail of a scorpion.
14Leng-man - Guant figure clad in robes which seeks to acquire human blood. It has two pairs of arms and is deahtly pale. Beneath the robes are several faces weeping. It is able to exit into the dream-lands and when it does so it summons a copy of 1d4 party members. 
15Cold-Blooded Vestige - A transparent figure, only seen because of the displacement of it's sillouete and a pair of serpentine eyes. It is immune to physical damage. It is able to poison by summoning serpents to cover it's enemies. 
16Spirit of Famine - An amalgamation of numerous starved figures crawls like a misshapen insect. Many heads atop of the abomination moan and weep. All rations will spoil in it's presence and it will attempt to eat people. Those who stand in the presence of the spirit must save or be overcome by hunger and paralyzed. This creature moves slowly half the speed of an unarmored man. If it is able to strike it's target and deals 4 or more points of damage, it will drag the target beneath it and deal 1d12 damage to it as it attempts to tear it into swallowable pieces.
17Maiden of the Sky - A beautiful woman is covered in pearls the size of a man's fist and walks without sound. She is able to telepathically communicate with every being and spells have a 5 in 6 chance of dispelling themselves in her presence. 
18Shaitan - An ash skinned giant clad in golden jewelry, a heavy mace in his hand, his lower body a gout of great flame. He leads a procession of chained corpses into a fissure of the ground.
19Marid - A jade skinned giant in opulent robes, a heavy grimoire slung over his shoulder, his lower body a silent waterfall of green water. He plants trees and conjures them to grow.
20Djin - A azure skinned giant, with hair and eyes which shed light as the full moon, his lower body a pillar of hundreds of twinkling stars.

7: Conflict of - Roll again twice

8: Corpse of a - Roll again 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Visions of Fassulia

Visual Summary of Fassulia

The following is a visual summary of Fassulia, a land where my players are heading. You should listen to this in another tab as you scroll down.































A Set of Unified Wilderness Travel Procedures

Wilderness Travel Process:

1. Players are given current weather, date, and information about current hex 1 and daylight left 2
2. Players declare travel intent (We head northwards through the forests)
3. Hex Weight 3 is calculated from conditions, terrain of current hex, and party actions
4. Hex Weight is subtracted from party's Travel Pool 4
5. Player with highest Journey skill is checked against (in secret) if failed see 5a
5a. Roll for Wilderness Complication 5
6. Wilderness Anecdote 6 is rolled for if an encounter see 6a
6a. Wilderness Encounter 7 is rolled for
7. Players are moved into destination hex and are given information about the current hex and daylight left
8. Players make take other actions within a hex 8


Rather than having a unique mechanic for weather, I simply substitute weather as an encounterable monster, which generally fits in with the folklore of many cultures viewing the weather as an entity itself. The reaction table below determines if the weather is gonna be pleasant or hostile.

So the distribution is 2-5 as poor, 6-8 as neutral, and 9-12 as fair. It's pretty simple to assign different effects on the weather. I've also added the categories of bad and terrible for the effects of rolling multiple poor reactions in a row, rolling poor weather while in poor weather resulting in bad weather and rolling poor weather while in bad weather resulting in terrible weather. For bad and terrible weather treat further reaction rolls of neutral and fair reactions as a reset into neutral weather. Every time you roll for the weather also roll a 1d6, the value of that die determines how long the current weather situation lasts.

SummerCloudyHotDroughtFlash Fires
Spring/AutumnCoolRain StormsFlash Floods

Weather Mechanical Effects Table
for those traveling outside or in wilderness without shelter
Fair+1 to Wilderness Traveling Skill
Poor-1 to Wilderness Traveling SkillIncrease hex weight by 0.5
Bad-2 to Wilderness Traveling SkillIncrease hex weight by 1.0
Terrible-3 to Wilderness Traveling SkillIncrease hex weight by 1.5
HotUnless you have water supplies
Save or take 1d4 damage from the Heat* 
DroughtAs Hot, but 2 water rations needed per day
Flash FireAs Drought and a 1 in 6 chance of  Flash Fire
Flash Fire: all must save or 3d10 damage
RainUnless you have cold weather clothing 
Save or take 1d4 damage from the Cold* 
StormsAs rain and 1 in 10 chance of Lightning: 
Lightningrandom member must Save or 3d10 damage
Flash Floods
As Storms and 1 in 6 chance of Flash Flooding. 
Flash FloodingSave or swept away and begin drowning
SnowUnless you have cold weather clothing
Save or take 1d6 damage from the Cold* 
HailAs Snow and Save or take 1d6 damage from Cold
BlizzardAs Hail and 1 in 6 chance of Blizzard.
Blizzardthose outside take 4d10 damage save for half
*This damage cannot reduce a character below 1 HP


So the effects of weather changes based on the season and we have a way to track the days so why not simply combine the two into a calendar. Each season is composed of three months and each month is composed of 30 days. This gives us a year with 360 days, and is honestly good enough for me to use in game as a referee. Many cultures used lunar calendars and it is a useful heuristic for making a gameable calendar. So in real life the moon changes from New Moon to Full Moon over 14 days. I'll use 13 days between the New Moon to Full Moon, 1 day of New Moon, and 3 days of Full Moon. You can start every month on the New Moon which causes days 15-17 to be the Full Moon. This gives us a 30 day cycle and three usable states of the moon the effects of which are detailed on the table below.

Moon StateEffect
FullMonsters get +2 HD and Undead treat each HD as having rolled an 8
NewComplete Darkness at Night 100% chance to be surprised
ChangingNo Effects

Information about current Hex

The following information is given to players while in a hex:
1. The terrain of the current hex
2. What terrain they can see in the cardinal directions
3. What hex contents they can see

You are all in the New Rind Timberlands: The trees here menace from numerous wild angles, each one primordial by its girth, and their limbs a tumult of bifurcated extensions. To the north are mountains, to the east and south is a large lake, and to the west are more of the New Rind Timberlands. You can see the town of New Rind from here as well as the Harpy's Road heading northwards.


There is enough daylight for an average man to cross 3 hexes across plains in daylight. As there is extra light in summer which grants an additional hex to cross, there is more night in winter which grants one less hex to cross.

Daylight is dependent on the season
4 hexes Summer
3 hexes Spring/Fall
2 hexes Winter

Pressing on in darkness:

If a hex is traveled in under darkness it requires a Journey (wilderness travel skill) roll on a 1d12 instead of 1d6. Further encounters are rolled for twice and each character who doesn't burn a torch counts as surprised in an encounter.

This information would be given qualitatively instead to of quantitatively to the players.

The sun is setting in the sky, night will fall soon. If you don't make camp soon you will end up traveling under darkness.

Hex Weight

Hexes of different terrains have a different weight to cross them.

Terrain of Hexes Crossed:
Plains counts as 1.0 Hex
Hills/Forests/Lakes counts as 1.5 Hexes
Swamps counts as 2.0 hexes
Mountains counts as 2.5 hexes

Certain conditions may also alter the weight of a hex

Traveling conditions alter conditions:
Traveling on horseback: Decrease hex weight by 0.5 to a minimum of 0.5
Hex has a road: Decrease hex weight by 1.0 to a minimum of 0.5
Traveling during Poor Weather: Increase hex weight by 0.5
Traveling during Bad Weather: Increase hex weight by 1.0
Traveling during Terrible Weather:  Increase hex weight by 1.5
Hunting while traveling: Increase hex weight by 2
Searching a hex while traveling: Increase hex weight by 2

Travel Pool

As previously mentioned an average man can cross 3 hexes of plains a day. This number can be referred to as his Travel Pool and be subtracted from as he crosses hexes which are not plains.

It is summer so the man has a Travel Pool of 4. He chooses to travel along a road through hills while also hunting. 1.5 - 0.5 + 2.0 = 3.0. Upon doing so he would have a Travel Pool of 1 left, and if he choose to simply travel without hunting he would be able to cross another hills hex before night falls.

Wilderness Complications

Character Skill

The other part of wilderness travel is how well a character can navigate the wilds. As far as I know only LotFP has a dedicated skill (Bushcraft) for determining how well characters travel through the wilderness (if this an incorrect way of using this skill let me know). In my games characters have a 1 in 6 skill which they can improve for traveling through the wilderness. If characters are successful in their travel attempt, nothing happens. Otherwise consult the table below.

Wilderness Complication Table
1 Stalked - Wilderness Encounter strikes in 1d4 nights or at sign of advantage
2Dire Circumstance - Next Wilderness Encounter roll is at a +6
3 Misdirection 1 in 6 chance of being lost, 2 in 6 for Swamps
4Incelement Weather - Weather worsens by 1 category
5Menacing Landscape - Next encounter occurs in Compromising terrain
6Miasma - Save or Disease

Wilderness Anecdote

For each hex traveled through a wilderness anecdote occurs.

Wilderness Anecdote Table
1Find a Lair of something
2Find a Spoor of something
3Find Tracks from something
4Find Traces 1 of something
5Find Traces 2 of something
6Find Monster encounter

Further while traveling through the wilderness, characters may take actions on their journey (such as searching a hex or hunting) each such attempt or traveling through a hex with a lair within it incurs an additional roll of the Wilderness Anecdote Table. 

Wilderness Encounter

So in a dungeon, a wandering monster check is resolved rather elegantly in regards to location. However, in most wilderness expeditions there is a great deal of locational abstraction in regards to how far the players travel. In order to not adjudicate every monster from attacking them in their sleep, the following procedures generate a more varied and randomized placement of wilderness monster encounters. There are present rules for Surprise and Reaction rolls so there is not a further need to describe them here.

Wilderness Monster Encounter Location Table

1As you sleep in a camp
2As you rest in a camp
3As you rest for a moment on the trail
4While you're moving through the wilderness
5While you're moving through harsh terrain
6While you're moving through compromising terrain

This roll should be done in conjunction with the surprise, reaction, and distance roll. Each terrain gives a different effect and this should make the wilderness more memorable if not more horrible.

Distance of Harsh or Compromising Terrain:

Harsh: Safe terrain 1d6*10 feet away
Compromising: Safe terrain 2d6*10 feet away

Harsh Terrain Effects Table

PlainsTall foliage hides holes in the ground, 1 in 6 chance of falling prone if you move
Hills Loose dust is kicked up by the wind here, characters not using a hand to cover their faces must roll under their constitution or start hacking for 1d4 rounds with a -2 to hit and armor
ForestDense foliage 1 in 10 chance of taking an additional 1d4 damage from a damaging attack
Waters (Fresh)Your back is to waters 1d4*10 feet below you with nowhere to turn
Waters (Sea)As waves crash against the boat rocking it mercilessly 1 in 10 chance of save vs falling into the sea every time you move
SwampsMire up to your knees, Movement is at two thirds speed and your armor is at -2
Mountains Perniciously near a precipice with a 1d6+3*10' deep drop

Compromising Terrain Effects Table

The horizon stretches far and wide here, if fleeing a monster. The monster rolls morale twice and takes the higher in continuing to pursue.
Crumbling stones menace below your feet, must roll under movement or slide 2d4*10' away from your companions
Forest Vicious Foliage 1 in 6 chance of taking an additional 1d6 damage from attack
Waters (Fresh)Your back is to waters and large stones 2d4*10 feet below you with nowhere to turn
Waters (Sea)Massive waves crash against the boat rocking it mercilessly 1 in 6 chance of save vs falling into the sea every time you move
SwampsMire up to your chest, Movement is at one third speed and your armor is at -4
MountainsUpon a minuscule ledge if you take damage you must roll under third dexterity or fall down 2d8*10 feet

Weather effects on Encountering Monsters in the Wilderness

DroughtAll participants takes 1 point of damage* at the end of every round of combat
Flash-Fire All participants takes 1d4 points of damage* at the end of every round of combat
Storms Missile fire occurs with a -2 penalty
Flash FloodsAs Storms and 1 in 20 chance of lightning strike at the end of  every round of combat
Hail Missile fire occurs with a -2 penalty
BlizzardAs hail and visibility limited to 30'
*This damage cannot reduce a character below 1 HP

Actions within the wilderness

A character may attempt to roll under half of their wisdom in order to Hunt, Forage, or find Herbs, this takes as much time as
Hunting costs 1d4 arrows and gives 1d4 rations if successful.
Foraging gives 1d3 rations if successful.
Herbalism gives a single beneficial herb which can act as medicine if successful.

A character may roll under half of their wisdom in order to search the hex for anything.

A character may roll under their wisdom in order to search the hex to find the location of something they are aware like a dungeon or another hidden hex feature.

Each of these actions incurs another wilderness anecdote roll and takes up as much time as traveling through a hex with a  Hex Weight of 2.0.


In real life, animals are hunted for their materials. Certain creatures are eaten while others are turned into usable materials. Below are simple abstractions for the usage of monsters once they are hunted.

Usable Corpses:

If a monster is brought down to 0 hp, then there is a 1 in 6 it took excess trauma and it's corpse is unusuable. Any attacks which deal over 10 points of damage or poisons, fires, magics, and similar awful effects increase the chance of a corpses being unusable by 1 in 6.

Eating Monsters:

Certain monsters with a magical or truly awful nature cannot be turned into consumable rations. If the monster has poison or inflicts disease, then it cannot be turned into field rations. Otherwise a monster slain can be turned into a number of field rations equal to it's HD. Thus a Giant Elk which has 4 HD can be turned into 4 field rations. Field rations last for only two days.

If one has access to salt, fire, and tools one can turn a monster corpse into regular rations. This process takes a number of hours equal to the HD of the monster and grants a number of rations equal to its HD squared. Thus the Giant Elk could be turned into 16 rations. Monsters that have poison have a 1 in 6 chance of each ration being safe to eat.

Valuable Parts:

A quick measure of how much one can fetch for the valueable parts of a monster can be determined by the table below. Any monster can be rolled on the Corpse Value Table to determine how much it's parts can be sold for.

Corpse Value Table 1d6

1-3Worth HD^2 * 3 Silver
4-5Worth HD^2 * 6 Silver
6Worth HD^2 * 9 Silver

Each time a is monster encountered the corpse value should be rolled for only once on the table, unless one such monster is encountered with more HP than 5 * the number of HD it possesses. This would represent an especially magnificent specimen of higher value, resulting in an increase of the multiplied silver value by 3. In the case of the Giant Elk previously described above for eating rations, assuming it was rolled to have a corpse value of (4)^2 * 6 = 96 silver, one having more than 20 HP would have a magnificent crown of horns which would be worth 144 silver.

Venoms Sacs/Special Organs:

Monsters which deal poison can have their venom sacs or other special organs harvested in order to make doses of that poison. Such an organ harvested contains a number of doses of poison equal to the HD of the monster. The value of selling such poison can be reflected as costing half of the corpse value.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Rind Timberlands

Be careful in the woods north of New Rind. Stay to the roads. 

The trees here menace from numerous wild angles, each one primordial by its girth, and their limbs a tumult of bifurcated extensions.
Hex M19

Numerous trees are blackened here bearing the signs of repeated thunder-strikes.

There was once a roadside inn which operated here. Now it is a ruined place filled with signs of violence. Blood stains the wooden floors and corpses remain.

In a nearby grove stands the entrance to the burial complex of an dead king, filled with traps against intruders. There are two entrances into the complex. One is a broken roof into a hall of statues where a tribe of man-eating ghouls, each with a distended maw like that of a crocodile (the same who ruined the Inn) maintain a mockery of the king's culture. The other is an entrance which has numerous false and trapped passages. The burial chamber of the king himself was actually a prison which is now empty, but is still full of treasure. The king walks again as the king of the ghouls, two burning flames where his eyes were, with the ability to mutate those he touches into bestial creatures with a maw of massive teeth which opens from their throat to their stomach. The king fears thunderclaps and will hide back inside his coffin inside the prison during thunderstorms.
Hex M21

The forest here is marred by signs of violence and vengeance. Something here has ripped trees from the earth and thrown them elsewhere, gaping wounds where roots once grew mar the terrain. Where there is an absence of ruined forest, walls of thorns and nettles menace from all sides. The only structure remaining here is a rotted house overgrown by nettles. Characters who travel through this hex must roll twice for monster encounters and are unable to naturally gain hp while in this hex.
Hex M23

Many travelers make camp here, The remains of a fire and depressions in the earth mark this clearing as a common resting place.

Here is the deeper and darker portion of the woods where many runes repeat through the bark of the trees. The sky is absent and here and the vegetation incredibly thick. A Leshiy "That Which Thickens Bark" makes this portion of the forest it's domain maintaining numerous growths of rare lilac flowers. Those who study the runes etched on the trees here can learn the spells [Flame Giant's Boon] and [Command] and this process requires 20-intelligence score days per spell. "That Which Thickens Bark" may cast these spells freely as if rolling 3 magic dice.

The lilac flowers here can be made into the ingredients for luxurious dye. For 300 silver and  4 weeks of labor by at least 4 laborers (lower numbers of laborers increase the number of weeks needed) one could establish weekly profit of 2d4*25 silver from an enterprise which would require a minimum 10 laborers + 1 foreman.
Hex M25

While the underbrush is incredibly thick and overgrown, there is a house atop of a tree where a lone hermit, who possesses the power of prophecy and resides in solitude.

A stream emerges uphill from a massive cave system below the ground. Within the cave system is a tribe of devolved atavistic humans now more bestial than mannish and forgotten by those who live in these woods. They worship the demi-humans who used to live here. The deeper one enters, the more one finds urns of flame burning bright and illuminating the caves. Many of the tunnels are trapped and collapse behind those enter, forcing them to travel deeper into the cave system. Inside the cave system is a city which has seemingly sunk into the earth from above.

Characters who travel through this hex and have a wilderness encounter have their chance of surprise tripled.
Hex N26

Amid the trees here, there is farmland now fallow and full of cobwebs. It may make suitable shelter but would not keep out the rain. Thorns and low hanging branches menace from all sides here, as if trying to tear at those who wander.

A vast and towering mushroom stands above the trees here, a series of many spore-mounds and wide caps rising above the ground as tall as a castle tower. The fungal ridges allow one to climb into the structure 20' off the ground. Inside is entry into a fungal complex below the ground. Numerous magics still remain to force the structure to remain standing. Illusions of ancient men in armor spun from glass haunt this place, turning into a spore could if attacked. At the bottom is a large horde of silver and brass armor as well as a stone throne. There is a 2 in 6 chance that each of the spore-cloud illusions is actually a mummified warrior wandering the place guarding it.

Characters who travel through this hex and have a wilderness encounter have a 1 in 6 chance of taking an additional 1d6 damage from any damaging attack due to the thorns and branches.
Hex N24

A look-out tower rises over the glen here. A few wooden poles form a semblance of a fence around it. A few canvas tents stand here and a small fire smokes. Horses are hitched to a nearby tree and a few men talk amongst themselves here. This is Boar-hunt Glen. The site where nobles hunt boars in the woods in the summer.

A wide fissure here can be seen from a distance entering deep into the bowels of the earth. It has broken to the sealed tomb of an ancient king. There is a petrified tree above the tomb and within it the head of a vast iron axe can be seen.

The axe can be pulled out of the petrified tree if the character pulling at it can roll 2 d20's and both are lower than their charisma score. The Axe deals 2d6 damage and needs to be wielded in both hands. Once it is used to slay a living being, the spirit of the axe emerges and grants an additional +2 to hit and damage as it possesses the wielder for the duration of the combat. This possession has a 1 in 6 chance to occur during any combat and prevents the wielder from retreating from combat.

Here the North Harpy Road to Skyferla runs Northeast to Hex O25 and to the 3 Toad Hot-springs it runs southeast to Hex O23
Hex N22

The forest here is thick with the sound of predators. high past the tree cover tremendous vines each as thick as a man spiral upwards elevating a series of stones as large as a house above the trees. Beneath the tower of vines and stones is a vast clearing. During the full moon two Leshiy's "That Which Dyes Blood Red" and "That Soaks Blood Into Soil" emerge from the trees nearby and watch as creatures flock and fight to the death, their spilled blood staining the earth a permanent red. If characters happen to be here during the full moon "That Which Dyes Blood Red" will ask if they wish to fight on it's behalf. If they agree treat it as if three wilderness encounters occurred at once. If they are victorius in combat, "That Which Dyes Blood Red" will bless them by anointing them with the blood and viscera of their foes granting them a permanent +3 on reaction rolls from animals.

There are two massive earthen mounds forming a triangle with the tower of vines and stones. These are the dwelling places of the Two Leshiy and are sites where one could commune with one.
Hex N20

Past the three bridges leading into the Town of New Rind, are numerous spiked pits from previous wars. Those who leave the path into the woods have a 2 in 6 chance of falling into an old 15' pit full of wooden stakes and taking 2d6 damage. Further there is a 1 in 6 chance that the pit is the largest one which is actually 30' and contains numerous corpses of an ancient war and from them 15 Ghosts arrise and clamor for vengeance.

Beneath the three bridges leading to the town of New Rind, there is a deep valley. At the base, a flower here blooms only under the full moon, if eaten it cures any ailment.

Beneath the Arena of New Rind, there is a sealed stone door. Past it is a massive winding stair ending in a massive darkened pit. Within the pit is one of the last giants who will sell you answers to your questions in exchange for the sacrifice of any noble-born person into the pit.

Here the South Harpy Road to the 3 Toad Hot-springs runs northeast to Hex O21
Hex N18

Numerous low stone walls spread outwards from a small hill. crude sigils repeat around the hill and dwelling within the stonework are 25 Goblin Shadows and 7 Stilt Walkers.

There is the remnants of a stone tower atop the hill and below it is a deep pit. Those that descend downwards into the tower's depths find a enormous but blind serpent. He offers to seel the secret of raising the dead in exchange for a figures sanity. One is able to further continue down the stairs past the serpent's head and find a single black one-way passage. Those who enter through the passage way find themselves in the domain of the dead. A vast petrified forest where there is no sun, but only twilight and mist. Those who have died in the forest can be found wandering here.
Hex O25

There is the Dungeon of Nemir's Tomb here.

Aside from the single path meandering through the trees, the underbrush is incredibly thick and those who wander must go slowly to avoid tripping over roots or brambles.

Further away from the path is a re-opened dirt grave surrounded by the three corpses of grave-robbers all seemingly drained of fluid. Inside the grave were 7 wights which now stalk through out the area.

Here the North Harpy Road to Skyferla runs southeast to hex P24 and to the 3 Toad Hot-springs it runs southwest to Hex N24
Hex O23

Numerous trees here bear tusk marks at their roots. A herd of 10 Boars meanders throughout the undergrowth.

Past the trees is a ruined church of a broken roof and shattered walls. Within the church basement is a 10 HD undead with only 10 hp bound in chains and surrounded by 10 silver idols of saints. Those who meet the undead's gaze must save or become possessed, the entity can only control one being at a time. Those possessed are told to break the chains so the creature can leave. If spoken to and asked to remove the Idols, it will enthusiastically scream yes! Once out of the presence of the idols, the creature's hp is re-rolled as if encountered and is able to compel creatures to throw themselves on their swords.

Here the North Harpy Road to Skyferla runs Northwest to hex N24 and to the 3 Toad Hot-springs it runs southeast to Hex P22
Hex O21

This segment of the forest is marked by small yellow mushrooms and increasingly congesting spider webs. Those that venture further into the woods may find numerous corpses trapped in spider webs hanging down from trees. Spider webs the size of horses repeat among the trees here, thickening where they completely cover the ruins of a village. The village spreads out from a depression in the woods, where an abandoned mine is hidden by foliage and walls of spider silk. The mine is fulled with massive cobwebs and from this mine 14 man-eating spiders, each able to speak as if men, emerge to hunt. If one investigates the mine, past the numerous cables and gears mobilizing the exit of earth upwards and stone statues of men, one may a dozen opals, each the size of a fist, arranged in a helix by webbing. Here a massive 6HD man-eating spider is worshiped by the other, upon one of it's mandibles it wears a ring which casts [Stone to Flesh]. It has 2 magic dice for purposes of casting. The ring allows the wearer to cast [Stone to Flesh] as a scroll, but the magic dice gained from the ring returns on rolls of 1-3.

Here the South Harpy Road to New Rind runs southwest to hex N20 and to the 3 Toad Hot-springs it runs southeast to Hex P20

Here the Helm River runs south to Hex 019 from Hex P22
Hex O19

Amid the trees here is a ruined village. Within the village are a few erected tents where 20 bandits make their base. They patrol the woods here, trying to rob those who pass by. There is one house in the village which they have found up by chains and nailed boards to, as if to prevent entry. If the house is entered the character with the lowest constitution, begins to hear whispers in their ears urging them to jump into a nearby pit within the center of that house. The pit is 50' deep and the character takes damage as they would from falling. If the character survives they find a skeleton bearing a sword and a sack of 58 golden coins, each worth 10 silver and each bears an awful grimace.

Here the Helm River runs southeast from Hex O21 to Hex P18
Hex P24

Preceding the village of Skyfrela, numerous trees have been cut down creating a wide berth between the trees and the wooden fence around town.

Deep in the forest is a a looming phosphorescent fungal growth larger than most houses which dwarves the surrounding foliage and trees. Inside is the Tribe of Fungal-Fellows. Men clad in clay masks in gray woolen cloaks who are known throughout the land as proficient assassins. These are demihumans who are actually mushrooms hidden beneath the robes who can split themselves into copies. Entry into their domain is limited by a single pass which is manned by three such masked figures.

Following numerous claw marks on trees is a wide pit from which rancid stench emerges. within dwell 7 Korvkulaks.

Here the North Harpy Road to the 3 Toad Hot-springs runs northwest to Hex O25


[Blood to Stone/Stone to Blood]
R:10' T:being  D: instant
Target must save or turns to stone. If [dice] is less than HD of target, the process takes 1 turn and the target gets an additional save attempt.
The reverse of this spell cures petrification of [dice] HD of creatures or may be used to turn unworked stone into blood.

[Flame Giant's Boon]
R:touch T:being  D: [sum] turns
Target's flesh receives no damage from sources of flame or heat

R:30' T:being  D: Instantaneous
Target must save or attempt to comply with a [dice] word command for their next round. If sum is 12 or greater no save allowed

Town of New Rind:

Vast towers of stone rise above wooden buildings each bearing a different banner. A thin rampart of stone surrounds the towns and various men clad in armor walk weapons upon their back. A vast arena filled by wooden seats is adjacent to the road flowing into town

Notable Features
What was once a large castle is now know as the Academy of Knighthood where many a sons of nobility are sent to learn the finer arts of chivalry. While the majority of those granted titles of nobility follow these traditions the older generations of men who earned titles of nobility did so by valor in combat. A contingent of them still linger in town decrying "polite warfare waged by a man clad in steel upon the back of a horse" and advocate a return to the time where "slaughter wrought by a man naked save for the blood splattered across his brow was a measure of his worth".  A vast Cathedral named after the Angelic Winged Mirage ushers benedictions to those who pass through.

The arena outside of town hosts jousting and melee tournaments every first of the month, many squires and many passing knights seek to earn valor and fame there. Crippling alcoholism grips the town and many of the men passed out drunk in alleys are in fact prolific combatants regardless of age.

Unique Purchase
Edict of Chivalry - This is essentially an insurance policy purchased from the Academy of Knighthood offering a ransom to those who would instead kill you. Costs any amount of silver and offers ten times that in ransom to those who hold your prisoner and takes up 1 inventory slot.
Journal of Aged Berserker - Reading this memoir takes a month and offers advice on how to slay your foes. After reading it make an Attack Roll and if it would miss then you gain a permanent +1 to your attack score. Costs 250 silver, takes up 1 inventory slot, and is easily ruined.

Powerful Figures in New Rind-
1 - Kruvar, Jarl of New Rind. Has widespread contacts throughout the Kingdom of Hringepi. Wishes to again wage was as in the past and is restless for action instead of overseeing his land.

2 - Adsen, Minor Jarl of New Rind, Commissar of the Academy of Knighthood, has dozens of knights loyal to his aim, Fanatic in raising martial might using modern technology and weapons within New Rind instead of the brute warfare of the past age. Beset with this goal and will not cease. Wishes to turn town to teetotalism.

3 - Olav, Owner of six of the largest wineries in New Rind, has network of people watching and waiting recording information for him. Seeks to maintain liquor flowing in the streets and wealth into his pockets.

Village of Skyfrela:

A wedding occurs in a few days, woman to be married has many suitors who seek to ruin it (1d4+2 Stats as Bandits). Further, men from New Rind seek to press youth here to join the Academy of Knighthood.

Powerful Figures in Skyferla-
Mikhael, the village elder.