Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Burial Temple of the Tridobatrakus: An OSR dungeon

If you are in my October Game, please read no further! 

The Burial Temple of the Tridobatrakus was one a sacred site. Now it is little more than a ruined complex beneath the earth. One a desolate island, surrounded by broken and stony ruins stand a pair of stone double doors that lead inwards to room 1. 

Level 1

Room1 A single skeleton wearing a conical hat stis upon a stone throne in the center of the room, a gaping hole in its skull. The northern exit leads to a pair of massive stone double doors visible at the north of the ruins.
Room2 Three stone sarcophagi have been shoved off their platforms and their contents, a moldy skeleton each, have been spilled out on the floor.
Room3 A strange fog rises up from the floor rising up from a dry pool 1' deep is the center of the room. Within the fog, A man in a ruined leather jerkin has been hung from the neck, if the room is exited the the man falls from the noose and those who walk through have a 2 in 6 chance that the noose will snap ontu their necks.
Room4  A pool 1' deep is the center of the room, numerous bones can be seen through the murky water. Along the norther wall on a stone pedestal sits a stone idol of a snarling monstrous figure which has two jade ingots 95s x2 for eyes and holds a a fist sized topaz within it's grasp 235s. Within the pool are 4 walking corpses which will rise up and attack the living.
Room5 Two statues of frog-headed men face each other, one on the eastern wall and one on the western. The western stands biting a man's head off while the eastern tears open it's stomach to release tentacles from within. A stairwell descends down into the complex leading to room 30.
Room6 A basalt altar stands before a massive pit. In the southeastern and southwestern corners of the room stand a pair of frog-headed statues which hold massive goblets of flame. Beyond the pit, on the southern wall is a mosaic of a a dark spiral. Behind the altar are 2 walking corpses which will rise up and attack the living. A series of rods in the walls spirals downwards and could be climbed down to room36.
Room7 A pool 1' deep is the center of the room, a disemboweled corpse floats through the room it's intestines spread out. The northern exit extends to a stone stairwell which rises to a stone building without a roof amid the ruins.
Room8 Along the southern wall is a steele of a horned man wielding a shield is flanked by a pair of mummified men. A skeleton is slumped over in the southeastern corner and holds KeyA in a single boney hand.
Room9 A pool 1' deep is the center of the room and covered by algae. Slumped along the eastern wall is a Possessive Corpse which will rise up and seek to possess the living into drowning themselves.
Room10 Room full of skeletons in dresses chained to the wall
Room11 The northern wall is full of alcoves each containing a skeleton and on the other southern side are a pair of stone sarcophagi. In the center of the room is a 20' collapsed gap, below is room 25. On the western wall is a skeleton who holds KeyB.
Room12 Several corpses of man-frogs lie bloody in the room, their blood splatter stains the walls. Another 15 Man-Frogs stand hungry for the flesh of men.
Room13 A series of alcoves line the top of each wall contain skulls, some of them empty. A stone statue of a helmed man holding a chalice in one hand and a shield in the other stands before a bowl of pitch. If the pitch is lit, the stone of the statue crumbles away revealing the treasure. 350s (Pewter chalice 50s, horned Helm 30s studded with a band of jasper across the brow, and shield 30s embossed with a dozen shards of obsidian 12x 15s)
Room14 A series of alcoves line the top of each wall contain skulls, some of them empty
Room15 Numerous boot prints run through the center of the room.
Room16 A pool 2' deep is the center of the room, flanked by two rows of columns, two columns have fallen and one is now submerged within the pool. Within the pool is the drowned corpse of a man in a leather jerkin who has in his pack 360s coins and a silver bracelet studded by 3 rose quartz gems 165s. Slumped along the southern wall is a Possessive Corpse which will rise up and seek to possess the living into drowning themselves. The northern wall bears a crack large enough for a man to squeeze through which emerges in a tunnel which extends to a small cave on the southern shore of the island.
Room17 Along the eastern wall is a steele showing man transforming to a giant frog. 5 Frogmen stand in a circle chanting a droning song in their croaking voices.
Room18 Small piles of bones set before a stone statue of a seated frog-headed man, one hand open in front, one above as a fist.
Room19 A sarcophagus has fallen off of a stone slab and it's lid has partially slid off revealing the skeleton within.
Room20 Dozens of alcoves line the walls here, half of them full of skeletons. From the western wall extends a great stone piston towards a depressed platform that is near the eastern wall. There is a thin crevice on the eastern wall and at its base is a pool of blood. If the platform is depressed again the piston retracts and the crevice opens revealing a corpse of a man in a leather jerkin with the following treasure. 700s (Silver earing 45s, silver ring studded with red coral 150s, 415 coins, Shield, Helm, +1 Armor). A stairwell descends deeper into the complex to room 24.

Wandering Monsters of Level 1 1d6
1-2 1d6+1 Man-Frogs
3 1d4 Frogmen
4-5 1d4 Walking Corpses
6 Possessive Corpse


Room21 Two rows of columns extend throughout the room. Between them is a stone statue of a woman wearing a diadem stands before a bowl of pitch. If the pitch is lit, the stone of the statue crumbles away revealing the treasure. 250s (Diadem of a single amethyst 115s surrounded by two peridots on either sides 30s x4). Along the northern wall a false wall leads to a tunnel which exits amid the ruins.
Room22 Massive Web covers the entire room
Room23 A corpse in rotting leathers lies dead in the center of the room, torch in hand. Four statues of coiled serpents line the eastern wall and Five statues of coiled serpents line the western wall, in facing pairs. The statues of the western wall shoot darts if a torch is brought in front of them. A corpse of a man in a leather jerkin lies in the center of the room, KeyA found amid his items.
Room24 A single statue of a bound man has a pair of arrows embedded in it and bleeds from it's wounds. The southern door slams behind those who exit this room dealing 1d6 damage to those who attempt to block it., The northern passage has collapsed and is filled with stones. A stair well extends upwards to room 5
Room25 Web covers the ceiling and caught in the web are a fair of Men-frog corpses. A stone sarcophagus in the center of the room inside is a skeleton holdings an axe crafted from silver 330s.
Room26 Large sarcophagus, inside is a skeleton covered by mold. Along the northern wall is statue of an archer getting read to pull back a bow, but there is no arrow. On the eastern wall is a statue of man bound by rope. If an arrow is placed in the archer's hand, the statue will draw and fire it into the head of the bound man turning him back into flesh. His blood will pool itself and within it the arrows will be visible. 26 +2 arrows
Room27 Broken basalt pillar in the center of the room. A sarcophagus on the norther wall contains a skeleton with a silver ring set with peridot 80s, the corpse rises if one attempts to touch the ring.
Room28 Translucent mold covers the floor and roughly the bottom third of the walls. A massive bloated corpse of a frog-man, clearly distended by something within, holds a skeleton of a man who possesses the following treasure. (150s coins, necklace of 10 small pearls 15x 10s. 5 Frogmen surround the corpse and sing a droning dirge in their croaking voices.
Room29 This room is covered in 5' of water, the ceiling is 15' high. As stairwell extends upward to room 20.
Room30 Pair of Frog-headed statues on the north and southern wall, the southern wall broken and partially collapsed. The center of the room is a 2' pool of water beneath which a mosaic of a spiral pattern can be seen. A stairwell descends down to room 37.
Room30a One a stone pedestal stands a small stone steele which depicts a tentacled monstrosity, which has a single jade eye 165s
Room30b Corpse of Tentacled Monstrosity
Room30c One a stone pedestal stands a small stone steele which depicts a tentacled monstrosity
Room30d Corpse of a priest holds a pewter chalice 50s in his left hand, has his right hand replaced with a crude silver prosthetic 450s, necklace of nine jasper orbs 115s. The corpse unleashes foul gas for 1d6 damage if one touches it.
Room30e Tentacled Monstrosity
Room30f Blessings of the Frog God: Those who touch the glowing orb of the statue will be changed, every time take damage roll a 1d100 if below damage dealt, they degenerate, further every week there is a cumulative 3 in 100 change of degenerating. [something like this]
Room31 Beneath thick webbing, a mosaic on the ceiling depicts a man in a conical hat with only a single arm and three rows of men kneeling before him. In front of the mosaic is a stone sarcophagus which holds a skeleton which wears a +2 Cuirass. 2 Giant Spiders make their lair in this room.
Room32 A mosaic on the southern wall depicts a black serpent beneath it is the inscription "Whom poisons the sun" and before the mosaic is a pyramid of skulls and an altar which holds a Stone idol of a snarling monstrous figure which holds a jade ingot in its claws 120s. If the idol is touched, a walking corpse will emerge from the pyramid of skulls.
Room33 Single basalt pillar that is cold to the touch stands along the north wall. Along the eastern wall is a sarcophagus which contains a skeleton which holds KeyB and bears a magic ring on it's finger. The corpse rises if one attempts to touch the ring.

Wandering Monsters of Level 2 1d6
1-2 1d4 Walking Corpses
3-5 1d8+1 Dog-Sized Spiders
6 Giant Spider

Level 3

Room34 A dozen mummified men each hold rusted weapons line the walls of this room surrounding a single pillar. The pillar can be slid to reveal a coffin beneath which contains 525s coins, dagger 15s in a sheath inlaid with lapis lazuli 60s. 4 Frogmen lounge amid the mummified men, chanting a droning song in their croaking voices.
Room35 Pair of stone frog-headed statues, each of them holding stone spears. 33 Man-Frogs make their lair here.
Room36 Hundreds of broken skeletons line the bottom of this massive pit, none of them have skulls. A series of rods in the walls spirals upwards and could be climbed up to room 6.
Room37 Six mummified horses, three on the northern wall, three on the southern wall, are all now covered in mold. A stairwell extends up to room 30.
Room38 Massive Stone throne fills up the room. The Infected Corpse of the Old King glitters with the jewelry he was interred with.Sapphire 500s ring 35s, Heavy silver amulet 260s, silver diadem 190s. A single sword(bane) hangs from a scabbard at his side and 1115s coins have been scattered around the room like seeds by the wind.
Room39 Five stalagtites hang down from the ceiling each slowly dripping water
Room40 Along the eastern wall a steele depicts the ancient king slaying men. 11 Frogmen prostrate themselves before the steele chanting a droning song in their croaking voices. If the frogmen are slain, one of their stomachs will be cut open and KeyAB will be revealed.

Wandering Monsters of Level 3 1d6
1-4 1d12+2 Man-Frogs
5-6 1d6+1 Frogmen

The Monsters Within

Possessive Corpse
3HD, Defense as unarmored man, may force a being within 15' to save vs being possessed by the corpse's spirit for 1d6+1 rounds ends if corpse brought to 0 HP, slow, always hostile, morale 12
A single skeleton walks here, a gaping hole in it's skull, white gas billowing out of the orifices and holes.

Walking Corpse
2HD, defense as shield, claws 1d8, always hostile, morale 12
Skeletons shamble forwards, their hands extended outwards.

1HD, defense as unarmored, bite 1d8, morale 7
Degenerate man things that eat the dead

Dog-Sized Spiders
I HD, defense as unarmored, bite 1d8, may climb on ceilings and walls, faster than men, morale 7
Spiders the size of dogs climb along the ceiling trailing thin webs behind them

2HD, Defense as unarmored, 2x claws 1d8 each, morale 8
Giant-Frogs with the beards, brows, and hands of men

Tentacled Monstrosity
4HD, armor as unarmored man, 4x tentacles 1d8 each, if any attack rolls a 20 the target is dragged into the mass of tentacles as being swallowed whole, if an attack rolls 4 higher than a target's armor then they must roll beneath strength or become grappled, nearly immobile, morale 10
Tentacles monstrosity kept locked away beneath the tombs. It lashes out with it's numerous tentacles.

Giant Spider
4HD, armor as leather, bite 1d8 plus poison that forces a save vs death, slow, morale 9
A massive spider with terrible fangs hides away in the shadows.

The Infected Corpse of the Old King
6HD, Armor as leather + shield, arm 3d8, slow, always hostile, morale 12
The corpse of the old king has become infected by some terrible entity which spills out from from his corpse. One of his arms has swollen so much that he merely trails behind it like a vestigial organ. The giant arm ends in fingers grown to the size of snakes which trash about trying to crush something.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Two Dungeons: Lair of the Old Sorceror and The Ancient Winery

The following two Dungeons are proof-of-concepts of a dungeon creation system I have been fine tuning for the better part of a month. The system will be uploaded following it's third round of play-testing in likely 2 weeks or so.

Lair of the Old Sorceror is a 20 room dungeon of a 1 floor and would make for a good first dungeon for players new to OSR.

The Ancient Winery is a 60 room, 3 floor dungeon with factions, emergent paths, and one-way teleporters. It would be more appropriate for players who have experience with OSR.

Both dungeons have been play-tested and contain appropriate amounts of treasure for OSR delves. Further, each has been edited to facilitate use at the game-table by @Dm_shugars, he welcomes more work. Please use these at your own tables and let me know how it goes.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Wheels within Wheels: A Proof of Jaquaying a Dungeon

So many people in the OSR are familiar with jaquaying the dungeon, but I don't think I have seen any explanations of why one should "jaquay" the dungeon. Below is a series of figure and commentary on the jaquaying of each of the figures. OSR excels at games of exploration with a great deal of emergent gameplay. Adding loops to a dungeon increases the number of paths and creates greater  possibilities of what a party may do within a dungeon. The increased number of loops provides greater means of emergent gameplay by altering the order and means of interacting with the elements stocked within a dungeon. The possibility of different paths allows for greater exploration of a dungeon and the ability for a party to choose between different approaches incentives exploration of the dungeon.

Figure 1
Here we have a linear dungeon that forks into two paths. We're going to use this to represent a dungeon which is not just a straight line. Here we have a single entry and then two different paths one could take. An issue with exploring this dungeon design is that to reach points A or B one must first cross points C,E or D,F. This makes these two points mandatory in order to reach A or B. This is not conducive to exploration as there is a single approach to each destination. However, we can increase the amount of exploration by creating a loop.

Figure 2
Here we have a looped dungeon. Now we have doubled the ways of reaching point A or B. Unlike figure 1, there is a incentive for a party to explore the dungeon. One is able to reach point A by passing point C or through B,D,E. Though a party is not aware of the loop, they would be able to turn back and attempt to pass through a different point. Consider a party trying to reach point E. They are first presented with options C and D and are able to choose which of the two to attempt to cross. Let's assume that the party is able to overcome C, they would then have the option to cross A or D and unlike Figure 1, neither of those would be mandatory to cross to reach E. In fact we can increase the amount of pathing options.

Figure 3
Here we have added a loop within the loop. Let's consider a party trying to reach point A. The party would be able to explore and find points D and E. They could choose to cross one, but then they would gain an even greater amount of options to cross. Let's assume a party crosses D, they would have options to try to pass through B,C,E in order to reach A. An increased number of loops incentives exploration of the dungeon further. Let's add another loop offset from the first and see how it changes exploration potential.

Figure 4
Here we have several loops. And much like adding a loop within a loop, adding an external loop greatly increases the amount of different pathing possible to be taken by a party. In sharp contrast to Figure 1, there are many different paths one could take. The increased number of paths creates greater and greater possibilities of what a party may do within a dungeon and provides greater means of emergent gameplay. There is no narrative for exploring a dungeon with many loops. A further tenant of jaquaying the dungeon is the addition of numerous entrances into the dungeon, lets see what that looks like.

Figure 5
Here we have added another entrance into the dungeon, but the effects become apparent if we think of outside of the dungeon as a separate loop in itself, like depicted in figure 6.

Figure 6
Here we see that the addition of multiple entrances into the dungeon, results in additional pathing possibilities. It is no different from adding loops in the dungeon layout. Further adding multiple stairs to lower levels as you can see in the further figure is little more than adding larger and larger loops.

Figure 7
Here is an addition of the lower level which contains a loop within it.

Figure 8
Here we have added another staircase to the 2nd level increasing the number of loops in the dungeon.

Figure 9
Finally we have added another entrance, this time to the second floor. This gives us many more loops.

Figure 10 
Here we have many loops visualized within the dungeon. I quickly drew 7 red loops, 6 blue loops, 6 green loops, and 2 purple loops. We can see that there are over 21 loops in the dungeon, each presenting different pathing one could take within the dungeon.

Hopefully you have found this post useful.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

All Swords are +1

This post is a collection of design notes on weapons and some equipment. They are largely system agnostic with the goal of shifting the mechanics from supporting a late-medieval setting to a city-state/king arthur/vikingr/mycenean greece/sengoku japan/conan the barbarian setting. Which I would argue is much more conducive to OSR play in themes, verisimilitude, and aesthetic. 

If you haven't seen this film, please stop reading this post and watch it.

Weapon Classes
Rather than a extensive weapons list with different mechanical effects, melee weapons are abstracted into one of the following types, with the exception of swords:

Light: Roll 1d8 twice and take the worst for damage, in a grapple instead take the best, 3 per inventory slot
Medium: 1d8 damage, 1 per inventory slot
Heavy: Roll 1d8 twice and take the best for damage, two hands, 1 per 2 inventory slots
Long: 1d8 damage and may attack from 2nd rank, two hands, 1 per 2 inventory slots

Weapons now have a matched dice with hit-dice. This speeds up "time till death" in combats and allows easy rulings on things like hammers dealing more damage to skeletons.

All +1 Weapons are Swords
The weapon classes are purposefully absent of swords which instead are +1 weapons. They are medium weapons if held in one hand, and heavy if wielded in both hands. Other types of magic weapons need not be swords. 

This means the majority of weapons wielded are spears, axes, and daggers while swords are only found in the hands of important people. This avoids the need to make all +1 weapons exciting by adding additional effects, and lets those rare few magical weapons be more magical. 

Arrows are Poor
Unless a combat round is spent aiming, attacks with arrows are rolled twice and the worst roll is taken. In a surprise round, there is no such penalty. Thrown weapons do not get this penalty. 

This is to shift more combat to melee. 

Shields, Helms, and Armor

Gambeson/Leather: Improve AC by 1
Cuirass/Lamellar: Improve AC by 2
Dendra Panoply/Chainmail: Improve AC by 3
Shield: Improve AC by 2
Helms: Improve AC by 1, but impart a -1 on reaction checks and initiative. 

This results in more shield use as well as faster and more lethal combat. This is a repeated theme here, and the halving of armor also applies to monsters AC as well. To be honest, combat which lasts more than 3 rounds is long for me to referee. 

HP Recovery,  Herbs, and Protection Charms

Sleep recovers 1d4 HP and is improved in the following ways
Shelter recovers 1 additional HP
Hearth recovers 1 additional HP
Medicinal Herbs or Liquor recovers 1 additional HP

Thus, a character who would rest in civilization would recover 1d4+3 HP per night as they have access to Shelter, Hearth, and Liquor.

Beneficial herbs can be found in the wilderness by the same rules as foraging or purchased in a settlement for 50 silver. 

Beneficial Herbs (All act as medicinal herbs as well )
1d8 RollEffect
1Rouse unconscious/Remove paralysis
2Rub in wounds to heal 1 HP
3Purify food or drink from poison
4Remove venom from person
5Appear to be dead, but merely be unconscious, for 1d4 hours
6Reduce HP by 1d3 and no need for breath for 1 turn
7Smells terrible when burnt inducing morale check for beasts
8Poison dealing 1d10 damage if imbibed, 1d6 damage through smearing on weapons or arrowheads, 1d3 damage if burnt vapors breathed in.
Protection charms
A protection charm is made against a certain entity or type of entities. These allow the wielder to attempt to rebuke the entity (as turning), a character presenting the charm would roll a 1d6 and if it is over the entity's HD it is rebuked. Multiple persons can use their charms together, rolling an additional roll. Charms which successfully rebuke, lose their potency. Each costs 50 silver. 

This is largely a replacement for the cleric class by turning them into items.

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.