Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Making a Dungeon

After recent fun experiences playing both noisms Yoon-Suin setting and Lamentations of the Flame Princess with Patrick DMing, I've been thinking about (eventually) running something a bit old school myself.

I'm trying to come up with my own homebrew dungeon and have some ideas for (hopefully) novel traps and situations; I'm wondering what people would recommend doing/thinking about when creating a dungeon. There are great resources out there of course:
But nevermind those: what do you think is important to think about when designing a dungeon? Are there particular tropes that should be followed? And are there cliches that should now be avoided?

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Random Table: Street Performers

As you walk the streets of the city, through the markets and thorough-fares, you never know who is going to be blocking your way: trying to show you something entertaining, asking you for money, for help or just being a damn nuisance. But what do they really want? And what might they be hiding?

Roll three d10s for Performers (to see what they're doing), the Number (to see what to roll to see how many there are in the particular troupe) and Want (to see what their aim, as performers is - or possibly what they pretend to want). If the sum of the three d10s is even, then the group also have a Secret; roll another d10 for what else is going on with them.

Know the location of something valuable
One of them is on the run for a crime
Part of a streetgang
Spies for a rival city/country
The puppets of a wizard
Living Statues
Slavers trying to find people to kidnap
Religious zealots looking to convert
Pickpockets who have settled on the players

The Seven Hungers of Callista (Living Statues + 2d6 + Food + Part of a streetgang)
A group of seven women who stand suggestive in their stillness. Regular visitors to the market know to leave small parcels of food in the baskets at their feet, which stirs them into motion. They are the eyes and ears of the Black Ruins, a gang of muggers. They spot likely targets for their colleagues to rob.

Grimmers (Orators + 2+d3 + Help + Slavers trying to find people to kidnap)
Grimmers tell anyone and everyone that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Taxes are too high, there is war and famine and evil magic and monsters. But you can help! Help them! Please...? If you do go with them and you seem like you might be of practical value, then you'll get coshed over the head and wake up in a wagon headed south...

Buddy and the Bass Lutes (Buskers + 1+d2 + Revolution)
Buddy and his two friends sing songs to inspire! They engage people with their marching pieces, Buddy on short fiddle, Gall on bass lute and Jero on bass lute. Their songs are based on centuries-old protest chants, and have no relevance in the current age. No one listens to them, no one likes them, and no one is going to join them.

Chuckles (Clowns + 3d4 + Violence + Know the location of something valuable)
In ragged threadbare outfits, half a dozen men stalk the streets daring you to laugh. They wear big red smiles, curly rainbow wigs and floppy shoes. Go ahead, laugh. They hear so much as a giggle and they'll go for your throat. They're lean, fast and strong and looking for any excuse to hurt someone. They love their freedom: if subdued, beaten down or if more than half are knocked out/killed then they will change tack and offer their store of treasures.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Dogs in the Vineyard, Session 5

Last night the Dogs assembled as "Three in Authority" and brought deliverance to the town of Jewel. Brother Paul arrived in town just as Sister Basemuth (Patrick) tried to hold the Steward back from killing a woman who was strongly suspected of being a witch; Brother Caleb (David) meanwhile was in hot pursuit of a man - the witch's brother - who had staggered away despite being tied up and shot in both legs.

After sessions of solving town squabbles and disagreements with local tribes, this was a full tilt into horror, action and exorcism. Brother Caleb tracked down the tongueless brother, Alex, and had to fill him full of lead as he transformed into an unspeakable monster, all triple-jointed fingers, razor teeth and deformed skull. The dice went with Caleb, but it showed up that when it comes to dealing with demons it really pays to have more than player acting against them. Demons/monsters can have a lot of dice in physical conflicts...

Monday, 22 October 2012

Treats from The Great Bakerie

More from Merion's bakerie... Tell him I sent you!

Terminal Loaf (Elvish + Plait + Death + Intense + Instant)
Previously unknown outside of a few small Elvish communities, this is the small loafcake that immortals eat when they grow tired of life. Merion makes it out of a morbid sense of duty to the universe of baking, but only sells it to those who are absolutely sure that they want to die.
(if eaten by an Elf they will die within minutes, no save; if eaten by a non-Elf, player gets to save against Death. If the save is made they must then roll under their CON. If successful they are only knocked unconscious for three days instead of a week)

Mischief Cake (Spiced + Cupcake + Evolution + Strong + Half an hour)
A prank cake, sold usually to young children to play tricks on their elders. Whoever eats it will begin to change in appearance in some way, and will remain that way for a full day. The change takes thirty minutes. A minor counter-curse or disspell should remove the change... Unless the person eating, eats A LOT of the cakes at once, in which case changes stack and become more difficult to remove, either through time or through magic.
(d10 roll for appearance change:
1. Eyes change colour.
2. Ears grow pointed. Elves' ears shrink.
3. An offensive word forms in freckles across the forehead.
4. Little fingers bifurcate and form baby talons.
5. Prehensile eighteen inch nose.
6. Skin morphs into amber scales over whole body.
7. Loss of all body hair. After a day hair starts to grow back at three times normal rate until restored.
8. Tongue shrinks to a small lump.
9. A fox tail sprouts.
10. Two fox tails sprout.
DM gets to rule on any modifiers/in-game bonuses/penalties.)

Socratic Slice (Cream + Doughnut + Wisdom + Effective + A turn)
A huge piece of sweet hollow dough, filled with sickly whipped cream. Anyone who eats a whole one, and it takes some effort, is given something to think about...
(after ingestion, has +1 for WIS related rolls and saves for one week; anyone who tries to eat more than one in a week will automatically lose d2 points of CON. Too much of a good thing and all that)

Mementoria (Lavender + Ring + Transference + Sharp + d3 minutes)
Merion doesn't advertise these small scented ring cakes, and only sells them to people who have official paperwork for the city. He won't even tell you where he picked up the recipe, let alone how to make them. It's rumoured that he learned how to make them from the creator and then killed him. Anyhow: the cake is broken in to two uneven pieces. The smaller piece is eaten (willingly or forced) by someone who has information; the larger piece by someone who wants information. Within a few minutes the person with the information feels their mind become completely open to the other. This is a one way stream that is more like a flood (for 12 hours). It's almost certain that both participants will be rendered unconscious by the process (save-versus-magic every hour for 12 hours, or be unconscious for 3d8 hours - applies to both). The information being sought will crystallise in the mind of the person who ate the larger piece (whether conscious or not, and within d6 hours).

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Random Table: The Great Bakerie

Being the first in an irregular series of random provocation tables for games of various types. In my mind when I started writing this one I just thought, "Hmmm, what kind of cakes would a magic baker sell?" It seemed silly at first, and is possibly over-written, but it's just designed to give some ideas. You fill in the blanks, and of course YMMV.

Merion is the son of a Sorceress and a Gourmet. Trained by both, he set off to find his own path in the world; after years of travel and practice he set up The Great Bakerie, a shop where he makes and sells confections that defy the natural order. There is usually a selection of cakes and pastries that have magical effects. Sometimes he has far rarer and more bizarre delights...

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Dogs in the Vineyard, Session 4

Tonight was a great session. After a week's absence the Dogs (two out of three of them) returned to their duties and straightened things out in the Hope Mission. That didn't take all that long, and they set out for the town of Jewel, hot on the heels of a woman that they suspected of being a witch.

They quickly started making other plans when they found her dead body, strung up in a tree and with the symbol of their faith carved into her flesh...

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Games Night: BRING IT!

We couldn't get everyone together to play Dogs In The Vineyard last night, so once again Patrick offered to run a Lamentations of the Flame Princess session for me and David. As with our previous session we were playing with Charley (Specialist), Chastity (Fighter) and Aleph (Cleric of Namco, God of Idle Pursuits) but there were two big differences:
  1. We decided very early on that we were going for treasure and XP rather than out and out exploration.
  2. My characters had silver to spend and more levels than the last time they had met Aleph.
The first thing that we did - after meeting a crazy skeleton with roses for eyes - was to spend some money and really try to get some crazy weapons. We had a mission: to go and kill a vampire, who was by all accounts very old and powerful. We needed something to tip the balance in our favour, especially since we were going into a dungeon with rumours of undead creatures.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Dogs in the Vineyard, Session 3

After a week's absence we return to the small, isolated Hope Mission. The Dogs had arrived at the end of a day's riding to find that people were scared: the Steward was holding some of the Mountain People in the basement of the Meeting Hall; one of the hunters was claiming he had been stabbed by a Mountain Person days earlier; events had snowballed before they even arrived, and now it seemed like they had only hours before a war party would descend on the town and take back their people by force. What could the Dogs do???

Quite a lot actually...