Saturday, October 21, 2017

Dreadful Foreboding Mechanics/Procedurally Generated Antagonists for OSR

I guess this is my Spooky Halloween Post

Author's Note: These mechanics were originally written up for fortified keeps as a way to have a greater amount of interactions. Settlements have a wide variety of things for characters to do, such as carouse or research, but isolated shelters don't have so many options so this chart was made

Dreadful Foreboding Mechanics

I believe that these fortified keeps should be mechanically distinct from other settlements not only by their limited supplies but further in their sense of isolation. I think a way to mechanically reinforce the sense of these outposts as bastions of light encroached by darkness is to emphasize their dwindling resources and increasing social pressures. The following mechanics could easily be expanded to other settlements in order to play up the "grimdarkness" or "horribleness/terribleness" of a setting.

These settlements are isolated and each week spent there should feel more oppressive and unwelcoming. The following is a table with ways to mechanically reinforce that, each week roll a 1d12 and consult the Impending Doom Table below. Unless abated, the dooms continue on week after week. For those with a desire of a gross amount of bookkeeping, they may roll this for every single settlement on their hex map and create a living world.

Impending Doom Table

1-5Menace: Roll a wandering monster encounter appropriate to the terrain of the hex where the settlement is located. The monster encountered begins to harass the settlement. That week and every week further roll a 1d6 as it corresponds to the Modified Wilderness Anecdote Table. The roll corresponds to what is encountered by a person living in the settlement at night. 
6Xenophobia: Those foreign to the settlement must succeed on a reaction roll in order to enter the settlement. Further those traveling alone within the settlement have a 1 in 6 chance of encountering hostile people and must roll a reaction roll.
7Hysteria: Anyone staying within the settlement cannot lose trauma points and have a 1 in 6 chance of gaining a point of trauma per week. This applies to every major figure in the settlement, not just the characters. 
8Famish: Rations run low and their price doubles. If this is rolled twice there is a 1 in 6 chance of there only being 2d20 rations left in the entire settlement and panic ensues. Every time after the second that this is rolled, the chance for only 2d20 rations exist increases by 1 in 6. 
9Rot: Though it is a safe place pestilence endures within. Any disease cured instead simply abates for the duration of the character's stay in the settlement. Further any disease deals an additional 1 point of damage. 
10Ruin: The structure of the settlement is eroding and collapsing. In any great confrontation, there is only a 1 in 6 chance of it staying upright and not collapsing. Structures pick the climatically appropriate time to demolish themselves in vast spectacles.  
11Woe: Despair falls on the settlement like rain. Characters resting within the settlement only have a 1 in 6 chance of regaining HP.
12Harrowing: Great tragedy strikes a random important figure in the settlement and there is a 1 in 6 chance that they die. 

Modified Wilderness Anecdote Table 

1Lair, the monster moves into the darkness within the settlement, (rolling an additional time on this table instead of just once every following week)
2Spoor, person sights the monster around the outskirts of the settlement
3Tracks, person finds signs of something moving about at night
4Traces 1 of something, as normally encountered
5Traces 2 of something, as normally encountered
6Monster encounter, roll a reaction check and treat the person appropriately after

Procedurally Generated Antagonist Mechanics

The table above works with the Polite Lands Encounter Tables in a rather unique way. While Fortified Keeps and Villages may be harassed by strange and horrible monsters found out in the wilderness, Towns and Cities will be mainly menaced by human beings. This means that in cities and towns the conflicts will be with people who have specific interests and desires, look at the table below.

Kind (1d8)

1Traveling Merchant
2Caravan of 1d6 Merchants and 2d10 Guards
31d4 Lumberjacks
41d4 Hunters
51d6 Farmers
61d6 Peasents
71d3 Members of the Nobility
81d3 Members of the Priesthood

Each of these presents a unique interaction with the Modified Wilderness Anecdote Table and honestly can be used to generate a variety of conflicts in each city in your setting. 


  1. Where can I read about trauma points?

    1. Page two of the GLOG's Death and Dismemberment Table.

  2. This is sweeeeet.
    My players are currently sort of the stewards of a small town... this is going to come in handy.