Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Fantasy Calendar

Viditya discussed online about how he would like to see more calendar instead of maps in gaming material, so I wondered how to draw calendars that are as fun as a map to draw and to look at. I thought about how the ancient Mayan calendar is impressive visually and I tried to quickly draw something inspired by it circular shape.

I drew a central figure and I improvised around it. The calendar have 6 months of different length: 14, 24,29, 31, 41 and 46 days. A year is two cycles of these 6 months, the first cycle is named the young one and the second the old one. So for exemple you have the 5th of the Young Cold Star and the 5th of the Old Cold Star. 

The six months are represented in the vertical bar of the calendar: The Cold Star that freeze the land and crack the stones, the Breaking Stones who shake the land but free the warm iron, the Ember Steel who warm the hands but who wound the people, the Storm Tears who unleash passions but who make things grow, the Mother Grail who collect the tears and transform them into something new, the Born Fire who is full of life but short lived.   

  • The two women heads represent the warm sun and her lover, the cold sun who was born like a boy but grew like a woman. 
  • The two moons represent their dreaming selfs, one his cracked and bad dreams often escape from it. 
  • The small star represent the cold star, a white dwarf that gravitate further away from the two lovers and who often try to separate them, she is often represented as a undead crone.  

I drew different icons that represent special events that are celebrated during the months.
More world building can be generated by defining the events that they represents.

Maybe we can use a random table for inspiration, the day is a celebration of a (d10):

  1. natural cycle
  2. unnatural cycle
  3. historical event 
  4. mythological event 
  5. popular festival 
  6. ancient ritual
  7. human activity 
  8. holy day
  9. rite of passage or union
  10. roll twice and combine the results
I like how crafting the calendar craft a cosmogony, I think there is a lot of space for experimentation when drawing calendars like maps. 

Monday, December 9, 2019

The wyrd tongue that walk on three legs

Contributions by: Tore N, Draugmith, Greg S, Nomad Galactic, Usedforscreaming. 
The creature is the divine child of a satyr like deity and a shadow that nested in the shimmering realm. One legend say that the creature was conceived when the satyr god seduced one of his priestess while she was possessed by the shadow. A other story say that the satyr goddess and the shadow felt in love but that their union and their offspring was cursed. Satyres try to ward off the creatures, some want to hunt it, other respect it divine heritage and secretly seek it blessing. 

(1) Wyrd skull 
The divine offspring is blind and can only perceive beings who memorized spells, it often use it shadowy hands (6) to feel it surrounding. The wyrd skull can cast spells stored in the skulls of wizards, see (4) and (5).

(2) Torso-tongue. 
These organs detect changes in kanna or magical energy. In this way the creature hopes to be lead back to its distant home where color has its origin, and where even the least creature lives on kanna.

(3) Veil tearing horns
These horns can tear through shadows, illusions or beings made of pure light or colors. 

(4) Head receptacle - Decayed skull 
The divine creature eats wizards, absorbs their heads into it's body. The head is still alive in a semi-comatose state, conscious of what happens but without free will. The goat can cast any spells the wizard had prepared at the time of digestion. Once expended, the head decays into a skull.

(5) Head receptacle - Empty
When empty a head receptacle can absorb a first or second spell and hold it to digest or release it later. Piercing the creature through one of it empty receptacles do a extra die of damage.    

(6) Shadowy hands
The divine child have long shadowy limbs that can stretch to grasp preys, within 15ft, no save is possible against their grasp. Their grip cannot be broken and the limbs cannot be cut. The limbs may be severed by tying a red ribbon around them. A severed limbs act autonomously and will meld itself to the nearest living thing, they favour ankles, wrists or necks to attach themselves.

(7) Triplicate goat-legs
They allow the creature to mimic the footprints of pair-bonded satyrs to avoid being tailed by hunters (or the satyrs themselves).

(8) Tail slicer
In addition to doing a small bit of automatic damage to anyone who flanks or backstabs, it has a small chance of severing the silver cord of anyone spying on it from the ethereal plane. The creature itself is not conscious of other planes, but the slicer knows. 

(9) Shimmering fleece 
The fleece shimmer near kanna leylines. Legends say that if woven into a garment the fleece can protect it wearer against magical attacks. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Wanderstitches Character Class

Contributions by: Camilla Greer, Orb Experience, Michael T Lombardi, Sean Richer, Finn McCool, Mountain Foot, John Errwin, Anxiety Wizard, Trahan.

Instead of collectively keying a map we tried to key together a character class.
(This is not balanced, it probably require some jerry rigging to be fully playable)

Wanderstitches start with two abilities at level 01 and gain a new one each time they gain a level.

(1) Wanderstitch household hat - Traditionally hold two stitching needles gifted from your household. Wanderstitches trade these to make alliance between households. A household needle grant a advantage to craft a particular kind of item, like House Nest Maker are the best for crafting blankets.  

(2) Prismatic Buttons Lenses - Gives advantage to spot hidden. Once per day the wearer can see through normal or magical obscurement. These are crafted with buttons found in a dark place.

(3) Proving Buttons - While apprenticing, a wanderstitch takes only a button as payment. Once they have enough to finish a coat of their master's design, they may seek their own destiny. Wanderstitches can read each other's deeds in the buttons they collect. Spend as social currency (double or halve efficacy based on relevance of origin).

(4) Baubleshield - If the light is right it has a dazzling prismatic reflection, very disorienting. Can be repaired by adding baubles found during adventures. Select again to enchant the shield with a luck charm, each bubbles added while adventuring grant a one time lucky armor bonus of 1.

(5) Tethered Spears - Whenever you use throwing weapons for attacks and miss, you can always pull them back to you as long as it's not over the weapon's range. These spears can also be used as giant needles to stitches the clothes of giants (who have a hard time repairing their clothes with their clumsy fingers).

(6) Heartfelt Thread - This spool's thread can only be broken or cut by someone who has a true and abiding passion and only in the service of that passion. If the thread pierces someone's flesh, it winds through their veins deeper and deeper with every lie and mistruth they speak. This dangerous ability can only be selected after reaching level 03.

(7) Foot Training - Complex garments or spellweaves often require many hands. In a pinch, wanderstitches often train to use their feet. (Advancement: use feet as disadvantaged hands. Choose again to remove disadvantage)

(8) Cut the Weave - You can craft witch-scissors. With them in hand, forgo your attack to gain advantage on saves vs spells. If save succeeds, the spell is nullified. Spell-offcuts are volatile but make good barter. Witch-scissors lose their power if used to cut anything else.

(9) Animate Doll - Sometimes when children grow older and keep their childhood toys, their parents decide to get rid of them. By sewing the right button on a discarded doll a wanderstitch can animate it. Select again to create additional doll companions.

(10) Doll Weapon Needle - As literal toys the doll weapons aren't particularly lethal but they are very distracting and annoying. Certain unexpected creatures are said to be quite vulnerable to the weapons wielded by dolls, however. Any one poked by these weapons must pass a saving throw or cannot stop saying "OW!" until end of day.


Also check this older post for more exemples of whimsical super specific classes: Colorful Guilds

Sunday, December 1, 2019

The Forgotten Garden

Contributions by: Cleo, 3toadstools, 𝓸𝓻𝓫 𝓮𝔁𝓹𝓮𝓻𝓲𝓮𝓷𝓬𝓮, Alex C, Etherik, Qwo and Alex T.

The garden vegetation spread over it crumbling pastel pink brics square walls.
The secondary entry is a small hole in the garden walls and is well camouflaged, it require a find secret doors test to be found.

(01) Whispering Tunnel
You can perceive movements behind the brambles, if you investigate you hear whisperings and glimpse a random encounter. This encounter will happen the next time one is triggered.

(02) Heart of Thorns
The branch walls of this area pulsate to the rhythm of an unseen beating heart. Thorns and spines protrude everywhere, making passage difficult. The slightest touch agitates the thorned branches tremendously, increasing the heart's rate.

(03) Chromatorose garden
Wafting from this room is a greenish gas, its thick and visibility is low. Within the room is a heart shaped wooden bookshelf (with 1d100 odd books on it). The greengas ward off the doppelgängers.

Rising above the greenish gas throne the chromatorose: the petals of this flower shimmer with endless colours. The gardener picks through the spines on stilts, pruning and watering, blindly and mechanically. At a first infraction he will gently shoo the characters away, but he is willing to die for his crop.

(04) Mimicry glade
A small glade with berry bushes which hum a song lulling you to sleep. When you wake up, there is a perfect doppelgänger of you present in the glade. Make a reaction test: on a negative reaction the doppelgänger secretly want to murder you, on a neutral reaction it is afraid of you and on a positive reaction it have a secret crush on you.

(05) Campsite
Acrid, yeasty odour, furniture of unfired clay and scrap metal, clockwork geegaws on tripods trained at the bramble "island" to the right. Campsite of A DISHEVELED MAN, who is convinced the rabbits living in the bramble "island" are more technologically advanced than they let on.

* He's been here for twenty years; has forgotten his name.
* Strong odour comes from his attempts to make bramble kimchi and bramble wine.
* Geegaws are motion-detecting clockwork cameras of his own design, hold three photographs.

Wants (descending order):
* to be proven right
* denizens of [2] and [4] to let him set up his geegaws there too.
* chocolate
* a new mirror
* other sundried supplies he can't improvise
* geegaw schematics, but not the parts to make more
* wine and kimchi (standard rations)

A sleeping young man is embedded in the brambles. He is not in a glass coffin, so the thorns have pierced his skin in multiple places, but no blood is coming out, instead the brambles have grown tiny red flowers.

(07) Reflecting pool
Brambles stalactites and stalagmites glisten with water around this still pool of water. if you have a light source and you look in the poll, roll 1d6

1-3 see yourself as others see you (this affect how your doppelgänger appear in area 04).
4-5 watch event distant in time or space.
6 glimpse misfortune just before it occurs.

(08) Serpents Den
On entering, a hive mind of poisonous snakes form into a gestalt giant serpent and demands knowledge of the occurrences of section 05. If given, they'll reveal a secret exit. If refused, they attack.

Random encounters (d10)
  1. Whispering spiders (their poison make you perceive all sounds as deafening)
  2. Crown of thorns: a vampiric spider like ball of brambles that pulsate like a beating heart.
  3. Gardener apprentice: a small animal walking on stilts, speak common.
  4. Lost doppelgänger (afraid of other doppelgängers).
  5. Doppelgänger of the disheveled man (or maybe he is the original?)
  6. Clockwork rabbit
  7. Doppelgänger of the sleeping young man in area 06, want to murder other doppelgängers.
  8. A living patch of light from a distant time and space, it can be subdued by the chromatorose.
  9. Lone snake spying for the hive mind of area 08
  10. Bramble sprite
Treasures (d10)
  1. Secrets weaved in spider web
  2. Ruby like blood drops
  3. Tarnished silver jewelry
  4. Vegetation mimicking pretty silver jewelry
  5. Rare wild rose (1 moonlight, 2 bleeding, 3 blue, 4 sentient, 5 poison, 6 chromatic)
  6. Magical fruit (1 healing, 2 dreaming, 3 doppelgänger mind melt, 4 shimmering aura)
  7. Clockwork part, mastercraft work
  8. Family heirloom
  9. Gardening tool with engraved initials
  10. Magic ring (protection against: 1 thorns, 2 sleep, 3 poison, 4 charm, 5 thirst, 6 life drain)

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Spooky City!

I launched a collective Spooky City set for Halloween and Anxiety Wizard edited it and used it to post a introduction to his City Generator Kit.

I made a video where I generate a Spooky City using the set: Generating a Spooky City!

Here is the cleaned up map:

As a experiment I zoomed in a district and applied the landmark rules to create neighborhoods (this is how I generated the secondary streets). To color the neighborhoods I mixed the district theme with the themes of entries I rolled on the districts table. A other possibility would have been to roll random encounters for each neighborhoods to color them.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Retrieving the corpses of heroes and adventurers

This was written with B/X, S&W or Labyrinth Lord in mind.  
XP/level are awarded for the level of the fallen character. Level 0 character are considered level 1/2.
  • Bringing back the corpse of a fallen comrade or follower: 200 xp/level
  • Mounting a expedition to retrieve back their corpse: 500 xp/level (awarded when reaching the corpse, cumulative with bringing back their corpse).
  • Being the ones who haul back the corpse: 10% of the total reward of the session.
  • Bringing back their meaningful items and bequeathing them to their relatives or love ones: 50 xp/level for each item. (x2 for magical items, x5 for powerful items) 
  • Marking their place of death: 50 xp/level   
  • Slaying the monster that killed them: monster XP worth x2. 
  • Slaying their undead form (if any): monster XP worth x2.
  • Forgiving their killer if it was a accident or a misunderstanding by becoming their ally: 200 xp/level. 
  • Proper funeral and burial in their hometown: 100 xp/level (need to spend as much gold)
  • Carousing in their honor: 50 xp/level  by night of carousing (need to spend as much gold) or +25% to the carousing XP award if you use a carousing system.
  • Funeral and carousing XP are worth half without the corpse.  
So if the group mount a expedition to bring back the body of their level 5 comrade: 
2500 xp for retrieving the corpse + 1000 xp for bringing it back + 250 xp for giving their blade to their son and +250 xp for giving their helm to their daughter, +250 xp for marking their place of death, +500 xp for a hometown burial, +750 xp and a big headache for 3 nights of carousing. For a total of  5500 XP for the group. 

When the group is mounting a expedition to retrieve the body of a fallen comrade or a hero, there is a 1 chance on a d6 by dungeon level that the dungeon influence spread to their corpse.  (By dungeon level, I mean the deeper into the dungeon). To be able to prep the encounter roll when the group decide to form the expedition but keep the result secret.

If the dungeon influence spread over the corpse, roll a d20 to determine what happened:

  1. The corpse have been perfectly conserved, bringing it back will grant a blessing. 
  2. The corpse vanished but one of their meaningful items remain behind as a magical item. 
  3. Their ghost will help the group to retrieve their corpse. 
  4. Their angry ghost haunt their place of death, blaming themself or their group for their death. 
  5. Local creatures moved the corpse for a purpose of their own. 
  6. Vegetation, moss, or mushrooms protect the corpse. 
  7. A mimic consumed the corpse and absorbed their memory, they now believe to be the fallen person. They are helpful but they can sometime try to eat people and not remember the incident. 
  8. The dungeon formed a shrine or tomb around the corpse, resting there grant a boon or blessing, taking back the corpse trigger a magical curse or trap. 
  9. They have risen as a mindless undead that have as many HD as their level.
  10. They have risen as a sentient undead obsessed with unfinished business. 
  11. The corpse have been desecrated, consumed or mutilated and can not be brought back in it entirety. Bringing back their bones give half the xp. 
  12. The corpse have been looted, local creatures or scavengers keep their meaningful items. 
  13. When the corpse is retrieved, their ghost will help the group until their corpse is brought back home or buried. 
  14. A dangerous worm or insect creature nested in their corpse. 
  15. Their undead corpse will walk back home with the group, complaining about everything along the way. Once they arrive back home, their spirit will thanks and compliment the group then leave their corpse. 
  16. Their corpse fused with the dungeon and became a "special" feature that grant boons and curses like a magical pool.
  17. Their ghost befriended a fellow ghost and ask the group to also recover their friend's corpse. 
  18. Their corpse is encased in a armor grew from the dungeon itself and is now a dangerous golem. The corpse remain intact inside the armor. 
  19. They have been brought back to live, they reroll their HP, they are now cursed  with the ability of seeing the tormented spirits of the deaths. They are waiting for the group at their place of death, harrowed by ghosts. Maybe something in the dungeon can quiet the ghosts. 
  20. They have been reincarnated as a young level 01 PNJ of a different appearance or gender, they keep their old stats but are now wiser and gain +2 to their WIS and gain a bonus of +4 to save against death. They are waiting for the group at their place of death. They may have learned something about the dungeon or gained a special insight. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Dusty Blog

My blog is all dusty, I have multiple near finished blog posts but I never find the energy or the focus to finish them. I recently quit Twitter so this will maybe help me to post back again. It is not easy to exist in multiple virtual spaces, I am trying to post on instagram, facebook (for my non gaming friends), my patreon, on multiple discords and to publish videos on youtube, to stream a bit and to records episodes of my podcast. I guess that this is not much for some people but I often feel like I am too dispersed. Oh and I forgot that I am also trying to work on zines that I seem to never be able to finish. Shit, just before I transitioned I published around 5 zines on lulu, now nothing... -_-

Hopefully I will post back soon in the Cauldron. <3


Sunday, September 22, 2019

Tiny Goons mini adventure: The entity that cried nasty grublings.

  • Oh no! Demon faced grublings are eating everything. (DS6 for a few, DS8 for a swarm)
  • The tiny goons can easily track back their sulfuric and slimy trail to find from where they came. 
  • On the road they encounter a few random creatures who are angry or sad because the demon grublings ate their stuff. 
  • The trail lead to a Nasty-Gross entity that seem in pain, it is cursing nasty words and crying. It tears sprout grubling demons when they touch the ground! 
  • The entity roots are chained down a hole.
  • Someone is cooking down the hole and the smell attract the grublings down the hole. 
  • Climbing down the hole the tiny goons encounter demon grubblings trapped in all kind of slimy traps (traps are DS6).
  • At the bottom the goons find the Creepy-Gross Moleman Chef who chained the entity, he is preparing a delicious and spicy demon grublings soup! The Moleman Chef don't want to share the soup or to liberate the entity (DS10). He may offer to do so in exchange of a fetch quest to get exotic ingredients but he is lying and wont keep his promises. 
  • The key to the chains hang from the roof. Climbing up there is not easy (DS10) 
  • Other kinds of creatures are caged in the kitchen. The kitchen also contain all sort of pretty loot. A mutating and a rotting pepper (DS8) are guarding the kitchen. 
  • Liberating the entity turn it into a Pretty-Gross entity and it will emit magical dust that can be collected or maybe it can even award it flaming heart. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Tiny Goons

I missed the Tunnel Goons jam but here is a quick hack inspired by my blog article about how the gross can be positive too. (PDF version)

You are a ugly but cute creature looking for pretty things in a mutating landscape full of strange entities.
  • Distribute 3 points between CUTE, GROSS and NASTY. 
  • You start with one cute, one gross and one nasty item. 
  • Your max inventory is 6.
  • Your starting HOPE is 10.

When you try to do something roll 2d6 + CUTE, GROSS or NASTY. 
Add one for each item that apply to the situation.
For each item that exceeds your max inventory subtract 1 from any CUTE or NASTY rolls.
If the total is equal or greater than the action’s Difficulty Score (DS) it is successful.
If the task is super important or meaningful a miss reduce your HOPE by the margin of failure.
DS are 8, 10 or 12.

Regain HOPE by: 
  • finding pretty things (d6)
  • making new friends (d6)
  • eating something tasty (d6)
  • sleeping in a warm cozy place (2d6)
  • finding something truly wonderful (2d6)
If you lose all hope you become melancholic and can do nothing until you regain some.

The creatures, entities and obstacles that you encounter are:
(d6) 1-2 small like you (DS8), 3-4 bigger (DS10), 5 way bigger (DS12), 6 gigantic (DS14). 
(d6) 1-2 cute, 3-4 gross, 5-6 nasty.
(d6) 1 spooky, 2 creepy, 3 moody, 4 spiky, 5 sleepy, 6 pretty. 

Level up at the end of a game session: add 1 point to one of your CUTE, GROSS or NASTY attributes and raise your HOPE or max inventory by 1. If your HOPE reach 20 you make a chrysalis and become something truly wonderful.