Monday, October 25, 2021

We need to craft more third party modules for small games.

This part of Evey's cyberpunk game, Cyber Explosions, stuck with me: 
"Oh, and finally, everything’s just a little cartoonish because otherwise this would probably be too nightmarish to be fun."
I kept thinking about the cartoonish aspect of the game I and thought that it could be great to publish an adventure illustrated in a near retro cartoony art style. So I drew a few characters and I wrote to Evey that if she ever find the energy to write me a small scenario for her game, that I would love to illustrate it to explore that art style. (Go buy Cyber Explosion to encourage her to write me something đŸ˜…)

This made me notice that we need to better support small games with third party adventures and modules.

I feel like this is something that is missing in the indy RPG scene. People publish good games that often pass under most radars because we don't support them with adventures and extra content. 

Imagine if no one ever wrote modules or content for Mothership or Troika, these games would not be what they are now.

Third party support is probably as important for the indy RPG scene as active reviewing is. People often say that we need more reviews, this is true but I feel like we also need to build more upon what we create to keep what we create alive but also to discover new things as it grow and transform through the work of others. 

Naturally this all need to be done while respecting the authors and their property of their work. I saw that some people online worried about the popularity of hacking small games, so I can imagine them worrying too about third party work. For me the indy RPG scene have always been a big collective jam and this is what made it interesting and rewarding for me, more than selling anything I made. But still, it is worth to take the time to think and care about how we do things. 

So yeah, I hope to see more small and nearly forgotten games get third party support in collaboration with their authors or as a way to help them. 

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Blending Troika's content

I had a lot of fun playing Pastel Schoolgirls with Evey as the GM, her RPG work is always unique and inspired.
Since this is a Troika based game, you can start a campaign with Pastel Schoolgirls and after a few school adventures send the pastel girls through the spheres to play other published Troika's modules for maximum weird mayhem!
The same can be done for Cyber Explosions if you feel more like blowing things up!
I feel like mixing up Troika content that have very different vibes have a lot of potential, you can explore very interesting genres contrasts.

Here is the link to Evey's work, get some of her games, it can help her little family a lot.  

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Ewoks Mausritter Hack

If for some odd reasons you want to play Ewoks with Mausritter, this somehow happened and I got the base stuff covered for you. Naturally it would require more work to be fully playable, like writing stats encounters and other stuff but I guess it is usable with a bit of improvisation. 

My hack:

And also check this Ewok Guards hack:

Monday, May 10, 2021

Underground Land Bridges Labyrinths

A fantasy setting where the major land masses are linked by a network of underground labyrinths could be fun to craft. Let try to generate one with 3 major land masses. 

First, let craft some quick random tables. 

Labyrinth's nature (d6) 
  1. Natural network of caves. 
  2. Crafted by giant ants or termites or other burrowing creatures. 
  3. Crafted by an ancient human civilization using long forgotten magic or tech.
  4. Crafted by an ancient near human civilization (dwarfs, trolls, elves, etc). 
  5. Crafted by an ancient non human civilization (myconids, demons, neo otyugh, etc). 
  6. Divine creation, crafted by an ancient divine entity.  
Paths (d6) 
  1. Single path 
  2. Single path, with two complications 
  3. Two paths  
  4. Two paths, one with two complications 
  5. Two paths, both with two features
  6. Three paths, one with two complications  
Path's Complications (d6) 
  1. Partly flooded 
  2. Very warm or cold
  3. Infested by a swarm of creatures
  4. Lair of a large and dangerous creature
  5. Sealed a long time ago (locked doors that seal forgotten rooms and dangers) 
  6. Trapped (natural or artificial hazards) 
Path's feature (d6) 
  1. Precious mineral, fossils or gems veins
  2. Concentration of magical resource 
  3. Rich underground fauna or flora  
  4. Wards against dangerous underdark creatures
  5. Carved maps or sign posts 
  6. Inhabitants (see table below)
Inhabitants (d6) 
  1. Criminals, smugglers and bandits secret lairs  
  2. Outcasts and refugees communities 
  3. Guides safe houses 
  4. Trade post or community of humans and underground species 
  5. Guild houses (cartographers, geologists, prospectors, etc) 
  6. Military outpost or Knight Order fort holding up against underdark creatures 

Now let establish 3 land masses and why their seas are hard to navigate. 
  • Northern Lands (sea is often frozen) 
  • Southern Lands (sea plagued by giant sea serpents) 
  • Eastern Lands (frequent storms and tsunamis) 

The North-South Labyrinth 
  • Crafted by an ancient human civilization who used forgotten geomantic magic.
  • A single Path that is the lair of a large creature and that feature ancient magical wards.  
The North-East Labyrinth 
  • Natural network of shimmering crystalline caves. 
  • Path 1: Infested by a swarm or creatures attracted by a concentration of magical resources
  • Path 2: Very cold and feature a community of underdark creatures and humans denizens. 
  • Path 3: Trapped by magical radiations and precious fossils 
The South-East Labyrinth 
  • Crafted by an ancient non human civilization of lava dwellers.
  • Path 1: Partly flooded and lead to several pirates and corsairs hideouts 
  • Path 2: Partly flooded, very hot, crossed by a magma river but also rich in gems 

The Three Wise Necromancers


Genderless, gentle, soft spoken and caring, the three wise necromancers are looking for the incarnation of an important religious figure and they come seeking the figure's blessing. The twist is that this religious figure can only be revealed after being raised from the dead and brought into unlife. Their gifts are compensations for bringing someone into unlife. People, who are not the prophet they seek, come back from the death with a vision or a few words that will guide the Necromancers toward the mysterious prophet's time of death. Sometimes they visit people who are getting close to their death, when they do they may want something in exchange of their gift, they never ask, but you always know - you just hope that you won't feel it when they bring you back. The people from the hills say that you don't have to take their gift and they'll never force you, but they only come when they have exactly what you need or exactly what you want. People from the marsh say that one brings good advice, one brings fresh fruit and the last brings tea.

Folk tales from the river towns say that if you put the kettle on, they will sit with you and share tales about undead people they know or that you once knew. How to use them in games?

  • Use them to foreshadow incoming danger and to built dread or tension.
  • Use them to bring news of deceased characters or NPCs
  • Use them to bring a deceased character to unlife and to give them a personal quest to seek the undead prophet.
  • Use them to setup a local religion and prophecy.
  • Use them to make dying interesting by revealing clues each time a character die.
Written with comments from Marielle, Fred, Mystic Dan and Fighting Man.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Spells as ingredients to craft beings

In some editions of the Monsters Manual, the descriptions of the various golems include a list of spells that you need to cast upon their body materials to create them.
  • Clay Golem: resurrection, animate object, commune, prayer and bless.
  • Flesh Golem: wish, polymorph any object, geas, strength, and protection from normal missiles.
  • Iron Golem: cloud kill, wish, geas and polymorph any object.
I like the spell collecting aspect of this, let try to craft lower levels constructs recipes. The moral (ML) rating of these being is determined by their creator's CHA loyalty. If multiple magic users work together to cast the spells, use the CHA of the magic user who cast the last spell. 

I rolled some random spells and I came up with these recipes: 

Level 1 spells recipe: Dreaming Flame Homunculi 
Spells: Shield, Light, Charm Person, Floating Disk and Sleep 
Needed: candle made of rare material worth 1000GP 
  1. Cast shield upon the flame to form a magical mold.
  2. Gently blow the flame while casting Light into the shield. 
  3. Cast Charm Person on the light to give it a personality. 
  4. Cast Floating Disk upon Shield to enable it to levitate. 
  5. Cast sleep upon the light to connect it to the dreamland.
This create a friendly sleepy will-o-the-wisp like homunculi. 
1+1 HD, AC 15 (17 vs missiles), dream lights: can spend 1HP to shape it light into a illusion coming from someone past dreams (save vs spells to forbid access to your dreams), blinding: save vs spells or be blinded for d4 rounds. 

Level 1 and 2 spells recipe: Language Homunculi 
Spells: Read Language, Detect Magic, Ventriloquism and Detect Invisible 
Needed: magical ink and fine papyrus worth 2000GP 
  1. Write random made up words on the papyrus and cast read language on them.
  2. This will create a concept chimera, cast detect magic to delimitate it and to be able to perceive it.
  3. Cast Ventriloquism on it to give it a voice. 
  4. Cast Detect Invisible to enable it to perceive words 
This create a talkative language homunculi, it is insubstantial but faintly glow  when it talk (like a detect magic aura). It can translate spoken language but is unable to read texts. 
It love puns and word plays and you may have a hard time keeping it quiet (not good for stealth). 
It have no HP but can be "killed" by dispel magic. 

Level 2 spells recipe: Mesmerizing Moth 
Spells: Phantasmal Force, Mirror Image, Web and Knock 
Needed: 3000GP worth of silk made from the cocoons of polyphemus moth.
  1. Burn the silk and cast Phantasmal Force to shape the smoke into the form of a moth. 
  2. Cast Mirror Image on the illusory moth to multiply it. 
  3. Cast Web to bind the mirror images together to form a cocoon. 
  4. Cast Knock to open the cocoon and release the Mesmerizing Moth.
This create a delicate moth made of living silk. It have 1HP and a AC of  12 but always cast image mirror when attacked to create d4+1 images. It can use the "eyes" on it wings to mesmerize for d6 rounds. It can mesmerize 1 target per mirror image or focus it mirror images on a same target to inflict -1 to saving throw per image. 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Occupied Settlements

This is for my "what if Saruman won?" mega dungeon forest campaign

When the group visit a settlement I roll a random event to color their visit.  

Settlement Events (d10)

  1. Occupation event
  2. Occupation event
  3. Occupation event
  4. Scarcity event
  5. Scarcity event
  6. Scarcity event
  7. Quiet times
  8. Quiet times
  9. Quiet times
  10. Community event
Occupation Events (d10)
  1. Unfair arrest, trial or execution.
  2. Abuse of power. 
  3. Inspection, looking for illegal goods, sign of divine magic or rebels.
  4. Troops movements d6 (1. raise occupation level, 2-5 stay the same, 6 lower occupation level) 
  5. Troublesome celebration, the troops celebrate and cause troubles.
  6. Construction or fortifications or sanctioned buildings 
  7. Extra taxation or conscripted labor 
  8. Blackmailing, corruption or intimidations of allies 
  9. Propaganda, glorious statues, indoctrination ceremonies, etc
  10. Establish a NPC who is part of the occupation or profit from it. 

Scarcity Events (d10)

  1. Lost of service, a shop or inn is closing, a specialist is leaving.  
  2. Infighting and accusation, tension is high. 
  3. Lost of resource, shortage of some basic resources, prices are high. 
  4. Sickness, people are getting weak and sick.  
  5. Raid, banditry, looting of goods or arrival of refugees.
  6. Black market troubles, people have to pay for protection, etc 
  7. Low morale, people are discouraged, -1 to reaction and morale tests. 
  8. A populist movement or cult causing is growing or causing troubles. 
  9. Scapegoating and intolerance, strangers, refugees and outcasts are blamed.  
  10. Establish a opportunistic NPC who profit from the scarcity. 
Quiet times (d10)
  1. Shop maintenance, people are cleaning or repairing.  
  2. Gossip and rumors spread around. 
  3. A travelling merchant, caravan or ship arrive. 
  4. News from other settlements, roll a event for a random settlement. 
  5. Business is low, merchants are more willing to bargain.  
  6. People are resting and prefer not to be disturbed.  
  7. Everything is calm, people are worried that things are too quiet. 
  8. Routine, people work and labor. 
  9. Nostalgia, bards sing about the older times, people tell stories or miss the past. 
  10. Establish a NPC that try to remain neutral. 

Community Events (d10)
  1. New service, a new shop open or a new specialist arrive. 
  2. New alliance between local factions or NPCs.
  3. New trade that bring goods from a nearby or distant settlement.
  4. Local celebration, childbirth, marriage, small victory or local festivity. 
  5. Vigil, people organize themselves to protect the community
  6. Market fare, family visits, local goods, business is good.  
  7. Political organizing, people try to cooperate together to better the settlement.
  8. Community work, people come together to repair or build something.
  9. A community or group of outcasts or refugees is helping, receiving help and doing better.
  10. Establish a NPC who try to better or help the community. 
The Settlements
Each settlement start with it own Settlement Events table, some may have more occupation or scarcity results. 

For example Grey Port, a large city, have more occupation events and less scarcity events 
  1. Occupation event
  2. Occupation event
  3. Occupation event
  4. Occupation event
  5. Scarcity event
  6. Scarcity event
  7. Quiet times
  8. Quiet times
  9. Quiet times
  10. Community event
Each settlement also have a occupation level that range from 0 to 3
0: no occupation troops 
1: local troops lawful to the occupation force
2: occupation garrison 
3: legion

Supporting settlements

The group can spend gold to try to support settlements and spark revolutions. 

They can spend 2000 GP to roll on the Supporting Settlements Table, but be careful as this can also attract the attention of the occupation forces and backfire.

Roll 2d6 - the occupation level
For each extra 2000 GP spent add +1
Group action: +1 (if the group take personal risks to help the settlement) 

Supporting Settlements Table (2d6)
2-3:change an event entry into a occupation event
4-5: change an event entry into a scarcity event
6-8: nothing change 
9-10: change an event entry into a quiet event
11-12: change an event entry into a community event
13+: Reduce the occupation level by 1 

Depending of the result, modify the settlement's random events table. 

This way the group can spend GP to shape the types of events that appear on a settlement random table. For example after many good rolls they can turn all the occupation results into other types of events. The best outcome for a settlement would be to only have quiet and community results in it random events table.