Sunday, January 7, 2018

WretchedCityOzborn: Part 1 of 3

This post details a location/module/city for you to use in your games.

Art by Adam Paquette

Author's Notes: Ozborn was conceived and designed as an otherworldly worldly location. I try to mechanically and thematically reinforce the idea of entering a dungeon as entering darkness and the supernatural. I try to have the majority of wilderness encounters be with familair things such as humans or wild animals. Ozborn is a rejection of these principles and attempts to combine the dungeon and the settlement into one. It's pretty conceptually close to CorpathiumVornheim, and the Wicked City

What the Players Know Beforehand

Well known information about the the City of Ozborn

A dark city sits upon the coast. Cloaked figures stride through its maze of streets entering doorway and shadow alike, each wearing mask to obscure their true nature. Those who travel outwards are often clad in audacious wealth and wield sorcerous art. Few travel towards the dim domes of Ozborn to learn magic from their institutes and fewer return knowing little other than ruin and misery. Eldritch and opulent substances are traded openly in the markets and often imbibed even casually.

Rumors about the City of Ozborn (All True)

1The city is built on the ruins of what was once a massive keep constructed by in human hands. 
2 The rituals necessary for sorcerers to gain their prowess remove their humanity
3 Cruel mockeries of man bound in darkness patrol the streets enforcing order
4Their greatest sorcerers have escaped the grasp of this mortal coil
5A castle is bound to the city my massive lengths of chain so that it does not escape into the starry night above
6 A singular goblin remains within the city, the last of his kind bound to a lone tower
7 All who arrive at the city do so at night and none remember seeing the sun being in the sky
8Gangs of men in fine suits wielding hatchets menace the streets harassing those who they find secluded
9Those who wander the streets often find themselves in the vastness of the ancient keep below the city 
10Within the depths of the massive dungeon underneath Ozborn grow fruits whose flesh changes the nature of those who eat them
11All those who walk the streets of Ozborns wear masks, both men and monsters. Only the sorcerers refuse to hide their faces
12There are those who may bring a dead soul back to life

Ozborn Proper

First Impression

Numerous stone buildings strike against the starry sky as if a miasma of darkness was unleash from a great hole in the ground. Some distance away a fortress floats from lengths of massive chains. The ocean crashes nearby in repeated intervals.

The Menacing Dark

Unless characters pay a guide for safe passage through the streets of Ozborn there is a 1 in 6 chance of them slipping through some shadowy gap into the dungeon of Lower Ozborn and a 1 in 6 chance of them encountering a wandering monster. Guides offer to take characters from district to another for the price of 15 Silver, otherwise assume it takes 10 minutes to get to a district nearby and 20 minutes to get to a district far away. If characters choose to travel without a guide roll 2 1d6's. On a roll of 1 on the first six sided die the characters end up in a random Room within Lower Ozborn! Roll on the Ozborn's Gap's table to determine which room they stumble into.  On a roll of 1 on the second six sided die the characters encounter a monster on the Ozborn Encounter table.
Ozborn Gap Table: Roll two 1d4s and consult the chart below:
Dice Roll1234
1Room 2 Room 4Room 11Room 13
2Room 21Room 23Room 30Room 32
3Room 37Room 40Room 42Room 49
4Room 52Room 63Room 67Room 71

Ozborn Encounter Table
13d10 Ax Gang Members
2Sorcerer of Ozborn + 1d6 Lackeys
31d4+1 Hollows
4Sorcerous Duel
5A Grisly Scene
6Masked Monster

Ozborn Encounter Descriptions

Ax Gang Members

Immaculately dressed the crowd mirrors the axes in their hands. The off white metal matching their fine silks and the black handle matching their coats and boots. They cackle and jeer at you. They wear no masks but instead style their hair similarly. Each has slicked it back with tar, leaving it a single unmoving mass. A uniformly thin mustache and goatee covers the lower half of their face.

Ax Gang  HD1 DEF2 DAM1d6 MV12 SV6 MO8
Sorcerer of Ozborn

Surrounded by a few fellows. A long haired figure slouches before you. Squatting in the corner of the room, all of them smoking, he looks up at meets your gaze. Gold dangles from his fingers, ears, and neck. He is clad in a dark clothing with esoteric images embroidered on them. The demeanor of his companions immediately informs you their are his faithful lackeys, riding his coat-tails with a deathgrip.

Sorceror Stats
Lackey - Stats as Bandit

White slabs emerge from black hoods. Each an orgy of wild angles. Their cloaks must hide the shame as their hunched forms contain no curve or symmetry. If one could fully right itself it may two heads taller than a man, but instead they skulk forward. hands draw curved swords with a single edge and they advance each at a jagged pace.

Hollows HD4 DEF6 DAM1d8+2 MV13 SV9 MO20
Sorcerous Duel

Two figures scream insult and curse at one another as their sycophants shout words of encouragement. The two sorcerers gather dark magics in their hands and prepare to obliterate one another. Each flings their eldritch might at the other, and both miss. The bolt flies towards you all!

A randomly selected character or hireling must save lest they take 1d4d6 damage.
A Grisly Scene

A man lies headless and disemboweled. Steam slowly rises from the corpse as its blood spreads out along the paved stones of the city.
Masked Monster

You walk deeper and deeper into the dark before finding yourself in the dead end of an alley. A figure appears behind you staring silently. The figure places a hand upon its mask and then discards it, revealing their true nature.

Stats as your favorite Monster.

All Further Art by Q Hayashida

Districts of Ozborn

An asterisk denotes that it is not possible for characters to stumble into the dungeon from this district

1 Sinister Seaside

Many unfamiliar faces can been seen along the docks and shipyards here. Cold waves beat a steady pattern as exotic goods are traded in exchange for the rarities only found within. Corpses are taken off ships towards the center of the city in exchange for occult mysteries. The wanton depravity of the sorcerors are kept stated by the various intoxicants brought from foreign shores. Several foreign groups have erected stoney reference to their homelands here, each outlander finding company in a shared compound.

Outlanders found around these docks include:
Gyre Islanders
Citizens of the Empire of the Alabaster Crown
Cut Throats
Green Skinned Fasulians
Iron Masked Laptains
Hookmen from Hungry Joe
Ash Sifters from Tophet
Thuleans far from their Crystal City

2 Fort Woe*

A bastion of green sandstone rises upwards into the sky. Inside the Sorcerer Ethylwulf governs the city. Those who pay tax within the walls of Ozborn pay for protection to Ethylwulf from beuracratic ends, to the Chained Keep from their sorcerous arts, and to the Black Kult from chaos and horrors beneath the city. Ethylwulf and his retinue dwell within and deal with those who would have complaint.

3 Chained Keep*

High above the streets of Ozborn, this five sided rampart floats. Chain links the width of your arm are periodically pulled tight as the keep bobs up and down in the air. From each edge a vast tower rises, the amber colored windows lit from within. There are those who squat in their shanty town under the shadows of the keep, seeking to determine how the sorcerers enter into their fortification above. Gangs of those who would pretend to be powerful sorcerers ruin each other with vile magics. The secret to enter into the Chained Keep and learn the sorcerous arts is given out by the five Great Sorcerers of Ozborn.

The following are rumors (all true) surrounding the five.

Erasmus has long been absent is said to hide away in the depths of Lower Ozborn in meditation.
Aquarius Karee, by whose hand the hollows walk, will invite those who would best his hollows with feats of swordsmanship.
Ethylwulf, who is said to have conjured Fort Woe from the darkness beneath Ozborn, offers invitation to those who would pass his tests.
It is said that Epiales visits those who possess ability and talent in their nightmares, pulling them with her still dreaming into the Chained Keep.
Often overlooked and forgotten, Edward offers entrance after simple payment is made.
Some even whisper that Ramirez will invoke a door into any where in exchange for a Goblin Fruit.

Spells etched into flesh of those within the Chained Keep are:

Inflict Distant Doom
R: 200'
T: Creature
D: 0

Target takes [sum] + [dice] damage, no save

Revoke Ultimacy 
R: 30'
T: Creature
D: [sum] rounds

Target is bonded to the caster by their destiny bond. For the duration of the spell the caster cannot expire before that target. This spell delays death until it ends.

Telescopic Smoke
R: 10'
T: Smoke/Fog/Gas
D: 0

Target gaseous state is replicated up to 100' away lasting [sum] turns and is [dice] times larger.

4 Cathedral of St. Hastad

A refuge for the religious and lawful amidts this chaotic city, this cathedral is three stories high and made of imposing stone. Few of Ozborn travel inside, and those who do merely use the location as neutral ground free from violence. A skeleton crew of clergy reside inside and perform rituals on prescribed dates.

5 Sewers Complex*

All the plumbing of Ozborn leads to this point. A complex where some men dare to dredge valuables from the gutter and drain the flith into the depths of Lower Ozborn. Those wishing to enter Lower Ozborn often seek to enter by such means, a singular entrance to a fixed point in the depths of the complex. Some hawk maps or supplies to those who would enter Lower Ozborn, seeking to make wealth on those desperate enough to enter.

There is a singular Entrance to Room 1 of Lower Ozborn

6 Markets

Here one may find the Unique Purchases of Ozborn:

Bottled Imp: What, Why, Who, Where, When questions [Costs 300 Silver]
Elixir of Tongues: Speak with Beasts, Birds, Crawling Thing, Fish, Metal, Stone, Plant [Costs 400 Silver]
Doomed Ichor: Once imbibed it grants temporary Magic Dice but the caster takes [sum] damage to caster on a doubles or triples result on a magic dice roll for the next 1d6 days.
Ivory Eye: One can replace a missing eye with this marble sphere [Costs 200 Silver]
Ebony Hand: Candle made from a dead man's hand. Each finger burns lit and holds a charge that has a 5in6 chance of opening any door. [Costs 500 Silver]
Ghost Bath: Jar of tonic which one can dose themselves in to turn their body incorporeal for 1 turn. [Costs 500 Silver]

7 Resurrectionists

A unique draw for tragic souls towards Ozborn is the Ressurectionists. Lonesome souls drag corpses towards Ozborn in hopes of seeing their loved one again. Lines of people holding corpses wait for entrance into their halls. Vast machinery dwells within a dark factory, gears and pumps all dredging some bright liquid from within the depths of Lower Ozborn. Those who may pay the exorbatent toll deliver their corpses to the Ressurectionists who reduce the corpse to their essential salts and attempt to revive them through occult rituals. Ressurection costs 1000 Silver + 500 silver per level or HD of the corpse. Ressurection has a percentile chance of working based on the following: cause of death, days since demise, and quality of corpse. Those who die by natural causes such as age, disease, or the elements cannot be resurrected. Those who die by violence or magic have a base 25% chance of being ressurected. Those who die by other means have a 12% chance of being ressurected. For each day since the corpse's demise there is a -1 penalty to ressurection. If the corpse is perserved with ice or magic there is a +10 bonus to resurrection. If the corpse is let to naturally rot there is no effect. If there was much trauma to the corpse there is a -20% penalty to resurrection. Characters resurrected start again as one level lower and face a -5 penalties on any save against death. A character may only be resurrected once.

8 Black Kult Headquarters

Black flags bearing the sigil of a waterbearer hang from what have may once been a cathedral. Hollows emerge with their curved swords from within, trailing outwards to keep the peace. Each acolyte within bears the same mask, a orb of darkness bearing the sigil of the waterbearer. If spoken to each will reject the notion that their plan is to bring about the next age by cleansing flood. Somewhere deep a distillery stands and imps pulled from dark places are bottled. Acolytes often sell these bottles to raise funds and some even offer charitable aid to the destitute of Ozborn. The Black Kult offers entrance into their organization to those who wish, granting them purpose.

9 Ramirez's Hole

Within a vast depression in the ground a singular arch looms. Those that walk the lone bridge and pass through the arch find themselves within some amphitheather before them a throne. Shackled to the throne by chains of gold is Ramirez the Last Goblin. Your head ends at his knees and if he wished to rise to his full height he may well dwarf a building. Rusted spearheads fill his maw and great balls of flame fill his eyes. One eye is larger than the other but both stare unblinking. His skin is pulled taught over ugly bones and etched with archaic symbols eerily reminescent of those worn by the Sorcerers of Ozborn. He has enough room to wander but not enough to cross through the arch into Ozborn. A singular human servant in a tight leather mask snorts and hobbles towards those who enter speaking in snorting tones. Ramirez remembers much of the time when his kin filled the keep underneath Ozborn and knows many secrets regarding the Goblin Fruits which grow within. He welcomes guests into his hole and offers each a great reward for those who would serve his purpouses. Ramirez will purchase Goblin Fruits in exchange for one of the following: Increasing a random attribute score by 1, making an entrance into any building within Ozborn, the teaching of one spell or 1000 silver. If any who speak to Ramirez having eaten a Goblin fruit he will instead offer to make them into their birthright, should they accept see: ATerribleNightToHaveACurse

10 Tower Sucrose

A gathering place for those who would wield magic not born of the rituals of the sorcerers the hexagonal tower looms high. Free from the plebian terror of the outside world each crafts experiment and goal other place impossible. Some rage in the streets against the Sorcerers trading deaths, while others simply let lose their creations under masks to menace and better learn horrible alteration.



Masks are of such significant meaning of and identity in Ozborn regions of the city is populated solely by the shops of mask makers. These artisans are the source of the many masks worn by the denizens of Ozborn. Many shops mutilate and bewitch materials ranging from leather to stone into shapes reminiscent of human faces. All those who walk the streets of Ozborns wear such masks, both the men and the monsters. Each mask is unique save for the jumbles of white geometric shapes born by the Hollows, the shadows bound in leather which serve the city's rulers. Only the sorcerers refuse to hide their faces. Duels are waged among the sorcerers each challenging another the title of supreme, their motley crew of sycophants cheering them on.

33 Masks Worn in Ozborn (For describing NPC's)

Instead of a head a man walks by with a skull resting on his shoulders and instead of feet his legs end in singular points
A bleeding heart instead of a head, two dark orbs swivel where another may have eyes
Rather than a face a stack of lines seems etched above a man's shoulders, a few orbs linger beside the stack
Spider's head upon a man's shoulders, the mandibles undulating quickly
On the shoulders of a man sits the defeathered carcass of a bird, along his arms hand blocks of stone each a mitten rising up to his shoulders. He holds a long knife in his left hand.
A headscarf covers a figures head but as you approach you notice that inside is only blackness and two glowing orbs of blue light where eyes would be
A lengthy black proboscis descends from a pair of darkened lenses
Black mask pulled taut over a man's head with just two white crosses visible
Mask of fur with two lines going down vertically
Mask with an eye patch over one eye and the other eye visible through a hole
Mushroom instead of a head serves as a mask
A Bat's body wrapped around a face and numerous rats attached by her tail from her cloak
Head of a milky white moth and two hairy filaments like horns rise from the shoulders
Mask with a zipper running down the middle vertically and two glass lenses for the eyes
A man walks above him 8 long necks each bearing an identical face
Blooming Rose
A lit Candle
Shining Urn
An upward yellow cone with two bulbous eyes
A wooden triangle from which several ribbons hang
A Rat's Head
A leg's length of neck and then a snake's head
A beak which splits vertically is split by two eyes on one side and one eye on the other
A jumble of needles takes the place of a man's head
A spiral slowly spins where a man should have a face
Each eye on this mask inserts into a pair of faces, five in total surrounding the skull
A singular red orb faintly glowing, hovers over a set of shoulders
A skull sits upon a pair of crossed bones and cackles
Two bulbous eyes sit beneath a red and black colored horn
An upside down face with a terrible maw of teeth
A maw of teeth sits open below a glowing and dangling lure of a fish head
An inverted octopus like being serves as this man's head, it's suckered tentacles like wild hair
A miniature sphinx sits on a man's shoulders

Monday, December 25, 2017

Wilderness Exploration: Conjugate Systems for Dying to Exposure + Holidays

Art by W-Dog

Player Wilderness Travel 

As far as I'm aware every OSR system has a measurement of character speed and wilderness/travel/bushcraft/journey skill for characters. This conjugate system is based on those two values and 6-mile hexes. Also I apologize in advance if this article is written strangely, I'm in a strange mix of traveling to the other side of the world, holidays, and being ill. 

Character Speed 

In B/X characters are given movement values of feet of movement per turn. These values can be simply divided by 10 in order to derive a movement value. LotFP characters have similar values, but instead of being divided by 10, they are divided by 20. Swords and Wizardry characters each have a base movement value given by how much weight they're carrying. GLOG characters each have a movement score which is used as is.

So now we have OSR characters with movement values of 3-15*

*In my games horses simply increase this movement value by 3. 

This value then configures how much time it takes the character to cross a 6 mile plains hex.
8- Movement/3 = hours needed to cross 6 miles of plains

Thus for the following movement rates the time need to cross 6 miles of plains is 
Movement score of 3 - 7 hours
Movement score of 6 - 6 hours
Movement score of 9 - 5 hours
Movement score of 12 - 4 hours
Movement score of 15 - 3 hours

Each type of terrain then modifies the time needed to travel to cross by their modifier. Further bas  weather modifies the time taken to cross a hex by it's rank. Pleasant weather decreases the time need to cross while hostile weather increases the time needed to cross.

Roads decrease the time needed to cross by 2 hours to a minimum of 1 hour.
Hills hexes need an additional hour to cross
Forest, Waters hexes need an additional two hours to cross
Swamps hexes need an additional three hours to cross
Mountains hexes need an additional four hours to cross

Thus a character with a movement of 15 traveling through the mountains takes 7 hours to cross and a character with a movement of 6 in hills in a blizzard takes 10 hours to cross.


Characters cannot meaningfully travel across hexes under darkness, for those who doubt me try to hike at night. The amount of light depends on the season with the winter and summer having around 6 hours of difference in hours of light. These are super rough estimates on how much natural light. 

Winter - 8 hours of light
Spring/Fall - 11 hours of light
Summer - 14 hours of light 

This means that in winter it's harder to travel and further, in bad weather in winter there will be very little traveling taking place. 

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 Travel Complication Roll (1d6)

1 StalkedWandering Monster strikes in 1d4 nights or at sign of advantage
2Dire CircumstanceNext 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 LandscapeSave or take effects of 1d6 severity Roll
6MiasmaSave or Disease

Wilderness Travel Procedure and Encounters

For each hex traveled through a wilderness anecdote occurs. The time taken to cross the hex may take up all of the remaining daylight and the party may need to make camp. For each day of travel the party must roll their Wilderness Travel Skill to determine if a complication occurs on the table above.. 

Wilderness Anecdote Table

1Lair of something
2Spoor of something
3Tracks from something
4Traces 1 of something
5Traces 2 of something
6Monster encounter

Further while traveling through the wilderness, characters may take actions on their journey. Each attempt incurs a roll of the Wilderness Anecdote Table. 

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

To determine what the "something" is on the Wilderness Anecdote Table, consult the Encounter table below.

Wilderness Encounter Table (1d12)
1 As Polite Lands Encounter
2 Corpse of (Roll Again)
11 Conflict (Roll Twice)
12 Roll on Pernicious Encounter Table

Pernicious Encounter Table (1d8)

These two tables have 16 entries for creatures to be encountered. The two tables are blank on purpose. The first would be filled with "normal" encounters like animals or wild people while the pernicious table would be filled with more gonzo and weird options.


Rather than having a unique mechanic for weather, I simply substitute weather as an encounterable monster. The reaction table below determines if the weather is gonna be pleasant or hostile. 

The essentially distribution is 2-5 as negative, 6-8 as neutral, and 9-12 as positive. It's pretty simple to assign different effects on the weather. I've also added the categories of Double Negative and Triple Negative for the effects of rolling multiple negative reactions in a row. For Double Negative and Triple Negative weather treat further reaction rolls of Neutral and Positive 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.

SeasonPositiveNegativeDouble NegativeTriple Negative
SummerCloudyHotDroughtFlash Fires
Spring/AutmunClearRainStormsFlash Flooding

Weather Mechanical Effects Table for Those Traveling Outside or Without Shelter
Positive+1 to Wilderness Traveling Skill, -1 Hour need to cross 6 miles
Negative-1 to Wilderness Traveling Skill, +1 Hour need to cross 6 miles
Double Negative-2 to Wilderness Traveling Skill, +2 Hour need to cross 6 miles
Triple Negative-3 to Wilderness Traveling Skill, +3 Hour need to cross 6 miles
HotSave or gain the Fatigue Encumbrance
DroughtSave or gain the Fatigue Encumbrance with a -3 penalty
1 in 6 
Flash FireGain the Fatigue Encumbrance
1 in 6 chance of  Flash Fire: Save or 3d10 fire damage
RainSave or gain the Damp Encumbrance
StormsSave or gain the Damp Encumbrance with a -3 penalty
1 in 10 chance of Lightning Strike: Save or 3d6 electric damage
Flash FloodingGain the Damp Encumbrance
1 in 6 chance of Flash Flooding: Save or swept away and begin drowning
SnowSave or gain the Cold Encumbrance
HailSave or gain the Cold Encumbrance with a -3 penalty
Save or take 1d6 damage from Hail
BlizzardGain the Cold Encumbrance
1 in 6 chance of Blizzard: Save or Freeze to Death

Lunar Calendar

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 (in Ukrainian the word for month is literally the word for moon) and 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


Seeing as we now have a full calendar for tracking the moon and the seasons, and it's Christmas as I write this I figure I might as well add content for holidays. There are three types of holidays each distributed through year. I would try to have one season with four holidays, one season with three holidays, and two seasons with two holidays. Each Holiday doubles the XP gained for carousing and has a unique opportunity associated with it. 

Astronomical -  Based on the Solstices and Equinoxes
Examples: Summer and Winter Solstice (Ivan Kupalo, Saturnalia) and Spring and Fall Equinox (Higan)

Religious - Based on Religious Traditions 

Cultural - Based on Cultural Ideals

Example OSR Holiday Calendar

Winter Month 2, Day 15 - Fimbulvinter (Winter Solstice)

Winter Month 3, Day 2 - Ardor Eve (Old Faith)

Spring Month 1, Day 1 - New Year's Day

Spring Month 1, Day 20 - Benediction (The Church)

Spring Month 2, Day 15 - Blossoming (Spring Equinox)

Summer Month 1, Day 23 - Exaltation of Kiril (Anniversary of Hero Slaying Evil Giant)

Summer Month 2, Day 15 - Midsummer (Summer Solstice)

Summer Month 3, Day 3 - Armistace (Anniversary of End of Civil War)

Fall Month 1, Day 5 - Blessings (The Church)

Fall Month 1, Day 23 - Geas (Youths turning seventeen leave village to live in wilderness for 1 week)

Fall Month 2, Day 15 - Nightfall (Fall Equinox)

Fall Month 3, Day 22 - Barrow's Close (Old Faith)

Saturday, December 23, 2017

DUNGEON#4: Rats in the Walls

Essentially this + awful mutations and curses

PDF here

This dungeon was written in attempt to combine a series of dynamic elements into a single whole. The dungeon is comprised of an ancient temple, a series of dynamic rooms, and a countdown to an awful ritual. I found it made it very easy to fill up each empty room and have each one be exciting.


PDF here

It's a simple 13 room dungeon I've ran for new players to figure out how OSR is played. The dungeon can be easily adapted for your purposes by having room 11 lead to another deeper dungeon.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Procedural Generation of a Hex-Crawl Redux

Previously, I had written up procedures on how to procedurally generate a hex map. There are a few flaws in those procedures as they are way more cumbersome than feasible for a table. Rather than rolling and populating a hex map as Players travel through them, Hex-maps should be created prior to play, but can still be created procedurally as before. The biggest issue I ran into with the previous procedures is that they left rather sparsely populated maps, and whenever roads were rolled, they made you re-write the entire rest of the map. These procedures eliminate that, and create more robustly gameable hex-maps. Rather than creating the entire map on the fly, regions are created and then the space between them is filled to connect them together.

 Procedural Generation of a Hex Crawl Region.

Each region in your "game world" needs two things for it's inception: a starting settlement and a starting dungeon. OSR has produced a great deal of dungeons so you can just search for one someone has already written. You can either make your own settlement or use one of the Towns, Cities, or Villages I've made.

Once you have your first settlement, you add a road that goes through 2d6 hexes leading elsewhere. This road will serve as the backbone for the region. You can use the What direction does this Road go in table and the 1d6 hex direction table to make the road.

What direction does this Road go in? (2d6)

2It abruptly ends (It's missing in this hex, but continues on past it)
3 It exits the nearest clockwise edge from entrance
4-5It exits the 2nd nearest clockwise edge from entrance
6-8It exits through the Opposite Edge
9-10It exits the 2nd nearest counterclockwise edge from entrance
11It exits the nearest counterclockwise edge from entrance
12It forks (roll again for branch distance and what the branch ends in)

Author's Notes: Roads are mechanically favored to continue in straight lines and shouldn't end up making loops within themselves. Personally, I really like the idea of roads having meaningful things on both sides and this way you also start with another known location and a way to reach it from the starting settlement.

Now for what populates the end of the road you roll on the Road Destination table below.

Road Destination Table (1d10)
1-3 Village
6-7Natural Landmark
8-9Fortified Keep

Populating Hexes

So at this point you'll have One Settlement, One Road, and One Road Destination. You'll also have 2d6 hexes which need to be populated as well. The content of these hexes is determined by first classifying them as a Polite Land's hex or as a Wilderness hex. Polite Lands Hexes are the 6 hexes surrounding a city or the hex occupied by a town. All other hexes are Wilderness Hexes. You fill each hex by rolling 3 1d6's and then consulting the Tables below to determine their contents.

Polite Lands Hex Conent (1d6)

Wilderness Hex Content (1d6)

Populated Hex Filling (1d10)
Hunting Camp
Trading Post
Church 1 
Roadside Inn

Ruined Hex Filling (1d8)
Trading Post
Church 1 
Roadside Inn

Desolate Hex Filling (1d6)
Road 2 
Idol of Favor

Wet Hex Filling (1d4)
River 3 

1. Consult the Table below to determine what kind of church it is
Church Alignment Table
Lawful Church
Neutral Temple
Chaotic Altar

2. Roads are 2d4 hexes long. After rolling for the number of hexes, roll 1d(Road Length) to determine which portion of the road this is. Then roll for what destination lies at each end of the road, and what direction the road travels in.

3. Rivers are 1d10 hexes long and are otherwise generated as roads without destination.

At this point you'll have a few roads leading to villages, towns, and possibly even a road to a different city. Now simply fill in any gaps around the roads hexes and add a border of single hexes around the entire region. For the border hexes do not roll for the length of any roads and rivers, these simply leads away and to another region

Now that we have a geographic hex-map, we need to add terrain for each.

Hex Terrain

Starting at the first hex you populated with your starting settlement, roll a 1d6 and go that many columns across the Hex Terrain Table to determine the starting terrain. For every other hex, use the Table to determine the adjacent terrain.

Hex Terrain Table  (1d20)

Author's Notes: Assume water terrain hexes to mean coasts, deltas, and lagoons rather than open sea. Seas and Oceans are only added by Towns and Cities with ports. 

Example of how the table works:

After fill a Hex with the Plains terrain, you would want to fill the the terrain of the surrounding hexes. Going clockwise starting at the flat top of the hex you assign each surrounding hex a terrain type. Lets say you go From Hex 0,0 to Hex 0,-2 You would roll a d20 five times and what ever terrain is rolled is the terrain of that hex. Let's say we rolled the following 11,7,15,6, and 2. This means that around this hex are hills, forest, and more plains.

Now that we have determined the terrain of each hex, we are able to add natural landmarks and monster lairs.

Natural Landmarks

Count the number of hexes total in your region. Roll a 1d12 until you have a sum equal or greater than that number, that is how many natural landmarks are present in the region. For example if you have 21 hexes in your region, you would roll a 1d12 a number of times until the sum of your roll equals or is greater than 21. Lets assume that you had rolled the following: 10, 4, 3, 2, and 5. That's 5 rolls which means there are 5 natural landmarks in this region. Place them where you feel is appropriate.

Monster Lairs

Each wilderness hex has a 1 in 6 chance of having a monster lair within it. Polite lands are free from monster lairs.

Final Touches

At this point you have a decently sized hex map filled with intractable items but you are limited with informing your players about it. There are a further four final things necessary for your Hex-Map to be completed.

1. Naming every road, river, and uniform unit of terrain
2. Drawing a map for your players
3. Adding Dungeons
4. Constructing a rumor table

While the first three are straightforward, here are my procedures for constructing a rumor table.

1. Each city gets 4 rumors, each town gets 3 rumors, each village and keep gets 1 rumor
2. Every named terrain region gets a rumor of what monsters remain inside
3. Each monster lair gets a rumor, half are vague the other explicit
4. Each Natural Landmark gets a rumor
5. Each Road towards a settlement in a different region gets a rumor

This should give you a decently sized region to hex-crawl through full of a variety of things for players to interact with and a way for them to become informed about the contents of the area.

Here is an example of a hex-crawl constructed using these rules.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Session Report 3 to 6: A Great Slam and Then Some!

The Party:

Tony the level 2 Wizard
Often casts spells and loses her horses often.

Mark Doe the level 2 Thief
Wields the blade Claritin, whose edge makes all clear. 

Melvin the level 1 Fighter
Met his end in a wizard's tower

Rob the level 1 Errant
Met his end under hail to foul beasts

Tower of Almagest the Platinum Rider

(Session 3)

Arriving at the base of the Caged Keep the party attempts to rest and recover. Tony spies Hera upon the ramparts and manages entry to the keep by claiming that they know Hera. Hera meets with the trio and their hirelings and they learn she had plans to enter an abandoned tower of a wizard but can no longer do so. The party decides that such a tower is likely to be full of treasure and thinks that as Hera is unable to explore it they should. They spend the night at the Keep as John the Hireling suffers from sickness.

They leave the Keep and decide to meet up with Hera in nearby New Rind after they explore the tower. They make their way to the ruined tower and keep John on the outside. Alongside Jane they travel inside. They find cats full of naked figures barely clinging to life but press on and suffer curses from rifling through some ancient tomes. Melvin suffers the Curse of Death by Blades and the Curse of Hatred. This means that monsters will now prefer to target him and any damage from blades is doubled. They then encounter multihued tentacled beings which float upon the air and shine like torches. Tony and Mark gain mutations. Tony lowers their dexterity by one point while Mark's left eye turns red and he feels greatly powerful. Jane's morale fails and she runs elsewhere. Following their hireling they encounter two armored men and a individual who appears to be wielded of magic. Instead of talking they decide the best choice of action is to attack the  magic user and tony turns him into a rat. They then kill one of the armored men while the other begs for mercy and they take him on as a hireling. As Mark dismembered his brother after his death this man (Eric of Skyferra) gets his alignment rolled for and results in a chaotic one. The party fails to make proper oaths with him. The referee marks down that he will betray the party given the chance.

The party then finds a few scrolls and continues upwards not finding much treasure. They find a room filled with a platinum centaur with lances for hands and a single red eye in the center of his feature less face. The party sees that there is a grimoire before him and decides to confront him instead of stealing it. As battle rages Melvin is slain, Eric of Skyferra steals a scroll and runs away, and Tony and Mark are heavily wounded. Mark is struck by a spell which will make him explode if he touches anything. Tony and Mark decide to run away and leave Melvin's body, a delicious pie, and the grimoire behind. They find the murdered body of John the hireling and their last horse stolen and price together that Eric of Skyferra betrayed them. They bury John as Mark tries to not detonate himself.

Miserable they travel to New Rind

Fimbulwinter Tournament

(Session 4)

The duo and a grieving Jane meet a merchant caravan on their way to New Rind and sell some of the things they found in the ruined tower. They then enter New Rind and find that the Merchant payed them about 1/5 of the actual price. Upset they decide to spend a week in town to participate and enjoy the tournament starting soon. During this time Tony and Hera reunite and become closer as Tony almost dies in a bar fight and Hera must save them. Mark finds another hireling (Thomas) to join him and they are joined by Rob the Errant (the new PC). Mark buys himself a large monocle to distract from his red eye. They meet Salivar a blind beggar who Mark learns is not quite human.

Rob and Mark decide to enter the tournament while Tony decides to help Hera win. In an early round Rob and Mark are fated to fight and Mark throws the fight. Mark then fights a knight who is questing for unrequited love and afterwards makes him his friend. Mark learns his name is Duran and suggests that he wear a mask. Mark explains how his mask gives him confidence and how Duran should also hide his face. Duran agrees. Meanwhile, Hera wins her fights.

Mark then learns he is to face Eric of Skyferra in a following round and plans to kill him for vengeance. Mark then wins the next round as Eric of Skyferra doesn't show up. Tony is furious. Mark then faces Hera and forces her to reveal her ability to cast magic in an attempt to win. Tony castigates Mark's poor combat ability and Hera then wins. Hera is later defeated.

The party makes a good amount of wealth by betting and some new friends. They then decide to rob a house and later meet up with Hera in the Dark city of Ozborn.

Art by Hendrik Goltzius

House of the Clothmaker

(Session 5)

The party finds a house to rob and then decides to do so at night. They make a great deal of noise but eventually enter through the roof and steal medicine, fine silks, 500 silver coins, 2 chests, and 812 buttons. They encounter no inhabitants and demonstrate lots of planning and forethought. They then leave town after Mark sends Aldo a letter.

Mark and Tony level up! Mark is now a competent lock-picker and can now cast spit to scythe through his eye. Tony now knows the spell Alter Local Gravity.

Betrayal Under Heavy Hail

(Session 6)

The party spends their wealth of a wagon and horses planning to traverse to Hringepi and then take a ship to Ozborn. The weather system and the wilderness encounters have drastically different ideas.

On their first day of travels the weather turns to snow as they amble through the forest before encountering 6 figures shivering (bandits) and invite them onto their wagon for a price of 50 silver to take them to the next town. Stormwulfs (dire wolfs) begin stalking the party that night and are rolled to attack in 1 night. The bandits alignment is rolled for and is found to be chaotic. The party fails to make proper oaths with them. The referee marks down that they will rob the party given the chance.

The 2nd day of travel things get much worse. First it hails and all must save or take damage. This kills Jane the hireling. Unhappy and upset they travel further and find a boar and bear dueling. Previously the bandits claimed they were hunting bears so Rob distributes their weapons back to them telling them to fight the bear. Tony casts Black Sabbath on the boar as Mark casts Spit to Scythe on the bear. Rob then charges to face the beasts.

The bandits then decide now is an appropriate time to rob the party's wagon as they have a numerical advantage. Tony tries to slay their fat leader but the magic blade is ineffective. The bandits then decide to leave failing their morale check. They do manage to randomly grab 2 items with them. These items happen to be rations and a chest which had 500 silver inside of it. Due to the commotion the horses morale is tested and fails. The boar greatly wounds Rob and the bear charges the fearful horses.

Thomas the hireling jumps out of the wagon the face the bear and is quickly struck down by a brutal blow. As there is a corpse spreading blood the Referee rules there is a 1 in 6 chance of the Stormwulfs appearing to attack in 1d6 rounds. The dice are rolled and the gods decide that now is the fated hour of the Stormwulfs to appear in 3 rounds. Howling is heard nearby.

Rob fights the boar as the bear charges a horse. That bear then slays the horse as well and the howling increases. Mark and Tony decide to abandon Rob for his poor choices and ride the last remaining horse away. As they ride off the number of Stormwulfs is rolled and the maximum (6) appears. Two chase the horse and the other four travel to the site of murders.

Mark and Tony are able to escape by clever use of the Alter Local Gravity spell but unfortunately end up lost as a result. They travel south to the hills instead of northwest back to New Rind. Rob meets his end to the Stormwulfs gnashing teeth.

The duo rides their sole steed into the hills as the weather worsens to a blizzard. They find shelter in a ruined village and attempt to wait out the storm. They do not freeze to death but do hear something massive head towards them. They confide their deepest secret to each other and prepare to meet their ends. Tony reveals that he is a eunuch and Mark reveals that his mother is in fact not dead and he reason he wears his mask is so that he can hide from her vengeance. They draw their swords and await their doom.


Monday, November 20, 2017

This Dungeon Is Full Of People Whose Families Cherish Them: Burglary and Larceny for OSR

Now instead of having to enter a dungeon, you can simply wait for night to fall and break into someone's house!

I don't know who drew this

This post draws lots of inspiration from here but tries to make the content more gameable.

Every settlement will have houses you can break into, which correspond to weekly expenses of staying in a settlement. Finding a house full of promise for robbing takes 1d4 days.

Villages are able to support house treasure up to Comfortable.
Towns are able to support house treasure up to Prosperous.
Cities are able to support house treasure up to Flush.

House Layout/Structure

These are rather sparse on purpose, because I feel that everyone has their own methods of creating dungeons.


This is barely a step up from mugging, and as such dungeon rule's aren't really useful here.


1 level
1+1d6 rooms
1 way out
2 Locks
Inhabitants (1d2 roll)


1 level
7+1d6 rooms
2 ways out
4 Locks
Inhabitants (1d3 roll)


2 levels
4+1d6 3+1d4 rooms
3 ways out
8 Locks
Inhabitants (1d4 roll)


3 levels
4+2d4, 3+1d6, 2+1d4 rooms
4 ways out
12 Locks
Inhabitants (1d6 roll)

Stocking the Dwelling

Stocking rooms in a dungeon generally follows this table:
Treasure with 75% Chance of Monster

These are changed for robbing a house:
Loot 50% chance of Inhabitant, 25% chance of Disturbance


This is someone who lives in the house and will likely not appreciate the characters entry into their home. The Reaction roll instead of reflecting the reaction is now used to determine the likelihood of the inhabitants being asleep at night.

Inhabitants Table
1d3 Non-Hostile Inhabitant
Hostile Inhabitant 1d4 HD
1d4+1 Huscarls 2 HD
1d6 Trained Beast 2 HD
 1d6+1 Patrolling Huscarl (Causes Wandering Monster Checks) 2HD
1d4 Elite Huscarl  4 HD


This is something you can steal and sell for money


These work like traps but instead of dealing damage, they increase the likelyhood of encounters by inhabitants

Light, Disturbances, Encounters, Traces,  and Consequences


In a dungeon, you need light to see and in turn explore. Similarly you need light to explore a house, but people can see the light and then you. Each light source can be seen from double the distance it illuminates. For every 10 feet of illumination provided by a lightsource, there is a -1 penalty to reaction rolls. These stack so if there are 2 torches (which illuminate a radius of 15 ft in my games) there would be a -2 to all reaction rolls.


Characters have a 2 in 6 chance of triggering traps in a dungeon. People generally don't have traps in their homes, but often they have things that can be knocked over like vases. Each time one of these disturbances occurs there is a -1 penalty to all future reaction rolls during this heist. Within a dungeon loud actions have a tendency to cause wandering monster checks, during a heist, instead loud actions have a 2 in 6 chance of causing a disturbance and incurring a a -1 penalty to all future reaction rolls during this heist.


The only wandering checks which occur during a heist are the result of rolling a 5 on the inhabitants table. Otherwise there are no rolls to see if someone shows up.

Every encounter causes a reaction roll, but unlike a dungeon, these reaction rolls determine the awareness of the encountered inhabitants. A negative reaction roll is indicative of the inhabitants raising an alarm and screaming that someone has broken into their house (if they win initiative or have surprise). A neutral reaction roll indicates that the inhabitants are aggressive to whoever has broken into their house and wish to do them harm. A positive reaction roll indicates that the inhabitants are asleep, and will ignore the characters unless they are disturbed.


In a dungeon, characters generally interact with their environment with no regard to traces they may leave. In a house, especially one that is patrolled leaving traces of yourself is a sure-fire way of being noticed and causing an alarm to be raised. Referees and DM's should note what the players do and if there is someone patrolling the location have them react to the traces of the players.


If you get caught you'll likely die. No-one likes thieves and communities will seek to rid you of your breathing. If an alarm is raised guards/a mob arrive in 1d10+5 minutes to deal with the players.