23 December 2019

Ray Guns

Useful, versatile and well-liked everywhere in the Galaxy, ray guns are a staple of space-faring adventurers. They are rather rare on Vanth outside of the God City, so having one holstered on your utility belt with pouches is a sure sign of accomplishment.

Ray Gun
Price: 1000 gold credits
Damage: per chosen setting
Range: 20" / 200"

Ray guns are tech weapons. They can be reloaded with power cells. Each comes with d4 different settings that can be freely switched between. Choose the settings randomly on the table below:
  1. Heat ray: Deals 1d8 fire damage. Ignites flammable objects and may eventually melt even metal.
  2. Freeze ray: Deals 1d8 cold damage. Freezes liquids and causes hypothermia.
  3. Stun ray: Stuns for 1d4 rounds, or causes unconsciousness to already stunned targets.
  4. Ion ray: Disrupts force fields, neutralising shields and other force effects for 1d4 rounds.
  5. Hypno ray: Neural disruption causes 1d6 minutes of amnesia in living creatures.
  6. Repulsor ray: Knock back 30'.
  7. Tractor ray: Pulls target 30' closer.
  8. Null ray: Only affects psionic and magical creatures, preventing them from using powers for 1d4 turns.
  9. Radiation ray: Deals 1d6 Con damage. Dangerous to use without radiation protection.
  10. Disintegration ray: Deals 1d20 damage and turns any creature killed into dust. Destroys objects and terrain. Takes 4 charges per shot.

Various ray guns.
Fancy goa'uld ray gun.

22 December 2019

Two Dreams

I had really weird dreams these past few days. Here are two that make at lest some sort of sense when put to words.
I'm working at the Ministry of Thought, except not in an office. There are offices somewhere above in the huge building, but here is a factory hall. I'm standing by a conveyor belt with a clipboard in hand, controlling the brains that go past me, disposing of those faulty or inferior. The brains will be indoctrinated and then implanted into their adult bodies manufactured at the Ministry of Health. All people nowadays have a hinge in their skull for regular thought scans and knowledge updates.
I'm standing in a field of corn, wearing a spacesuit. There is a cosy wooden farm house behind me, complete with a small lawn and children playing with a dog, except it's all enclosed in an atmospheric dome with a grey expanse all around, the corn growing right from the dusty earth. I'm a farmer on the Moon, with vast fields of vacuum corn, selling my produce on the nearby spaceport where it's taken back to the starving Earth.

On an unrelated note, this is my 100th post!

16 December 2019

Odd Mounts

As you travel along the caravan trail in the Unchartable Woods, you will sometimes happen upon a group of foreigners from the west. Such Westlanders often ride steeds much more strange than the horses and lizards common all over Vanth.

The Slug Knight by Ursula Vernon
What are the foreigners riding (d20)?
  1. Animated chair: Some of the more fat and lazy travellers use animated sofas instead.
  2. Centaur: It's both a mount and another member of the party.
  3. Chimera: Roll for 1d4+1 animals here and combine them.
  4. Crab-man: Brought all the way from the Yellow City.
  5. Dire ape: When you see someone shoulder-riding a giant angry-looking ape, better just get out of the way.
  6. Flaming motorbike: Covered in skulls and spikes and fire. Pretty dangerous to ride.
  7. Flying carpet: Old and frayed, it cannot fly more than 2' off the ground.
  8. Flying reindeer: Be careful, they cannot stop in midair without falling.
  9. Giant saltworm: Not as big as a giant sandworm, but still big enough for several people and their baggage.
  10. Mammoth ghost: A ghost touch howdah sits in safety high on this intangible behemoth.
  11. Ooze: Indigestible seat is stuck on top of it, and half-digested carcasses inside of it.
  12. Palanquin: Carried by (d4) 1. muscular slaves, 2. muscular Amazon slaves, 3. many goblins, 4. force of will.
  13. Rainbow ostrich: It's snazzy, fast and in a very bad mood.
  14. Riding slug: If you encountered the foreigners en route, this rider arrives 1d6 minutes later. The slug can stick to nearly any surface, though.
  15. Sky shark: They are held aloft by sheer cool factor.
  16. Talking pony: It's annoyingly upbeat.
  17. Triffid-drawn chariot: The owner might be a botanimancer?
  18. Unicorn: This kind of a unicorn. Maybe better call it a riding flesh golem.
  19. Whirlwind elemental: The rider is floating precariously in its centre.
  20. Weird horse: They do have horses in the west, but weird horses. See below.
Sky sharks!

This weird horse is (d8):
  1. winged,
  2. invisible,
  3. skeletal,
  4. flaming,
  5. man-eating,
  6. two-headed,
  7. clockwork,
  8. actually a 1d6 humped camel.

8 December 2019

Magical Trinkets

d50 Trinkets
  1. A golden coin that has your face on it, along with the name of the current local ruler. The face changes with the ownership of the coin, and the name with geopolitical location.
  2. A two-handed sword that streak anyone it hits with copious amounts of fake blood, but never deals damage.
  3. A pair of trousers that make you translucent and intangible up to your waist. And yes, you can kick ghosts.
  4. An onyx necklace that turns your shadow large and monstrous. During the night of a new moon, you become a massive monster with a human shadow instead.
  5. A disguise kit which makes anyone it's used on believe that they absolutely cannot be recognized.
  6. A coral ring that makes you grow and shrink with the tides.
  7. A pocket watch that makes you and everything on your person age backwards (at normal rate).
  8. A jester's cap that makes you flip a coin instead of rolling any d20. Heads means critical success, tails means critical failure.
  9. A statuette that turns into a loyal henchman during night. Anything he carries when the morning comes becomes a part of the statuette until the next dusk.
  10. A carnival mask that turns you and everything on your person invisible, except for your skeleton.
  11. An invisible and silent suit of plate mail. It's still quite cumbersome.
  12. A hand mirror that does not reflect the holder. Great for spying what's behind your back.
  13. A shark tooth necklace that makes you treat air as water - you cannot breathe it unless you can breathe water, but can swim through it.
  14. A dried monkey's paw that lets you use a wish at the cost of your life.
  15. Top hat of holding with a rabbit skeleton, a deck of cards and some colourful scarves inside.
  16. A choker that makes your head detachable. If taken off while your head is not on your shoulders, well...
  17. A ruffle shirt that makes everyone believe that you're their very distant relative.
  18. A book that, when you start reading it, transports you 1d6 hours into the future. You can never quite remember what was it about.
  19. A chess board that makes every game end in a draw.
  20. A card deck that makes each person always draw the same card.
  21. A wizard's staff that actually blocks anyone touching it from casting spells.
  22. A teacup that turns anything poured inside into strong acid.
  23. A bear fur cloak that, when worn, makes everyone believe against all evidence that you're a bear.
  24. A doll that, when carried on your person, makes you look like a small child.
  25. A doll that makes anyone who picks it up believe it's their baby.
  26. A lute that makes everyone who would hear it deaf for as long as it's played.
  27. A bedroll that makes you sleep peacefully until morning. Nothing can wake you up as long as you are lying on the bedroll.
  28. A tankard that makes anyone drinking from it dead-drunk after a single gulp, no matter what's inside.
  29. A piece of broken statue. As long as you have it, you can speak, read and write in an ancient, long dead language, but in no other languages.
  30. A pebble that behaves as if it was a boulder.
  31. A set of posh clothes that force everyone to be polite to you. Hostile creatures will still try to kill you, just politely.
  32. A rusted iron ring that makes salt water constantly pour from your mouth.
  33. A matchbox that never runs out of matches.
  34. A sheet of expensive letter paper. If you show it to someone, they will see an invitation to an event you're trying to get to.
  35. A pair of boots. If two different people wear one each, they can swap places no matter the distance.
  36. A potion box of small bottles. Each bottle holds a different weather that can be released from it.
  37. Demon lord in a bottle. Will threaten and demand, but cannot do anything if not released. Very dangerous if released.
  38. A recipe for a cream pie that deals 1d8 acid damage on hit.
  39. A wand that can shoot limitless number of illusory, harmless fireballs.
  40. A bridle that transforms anyone into a horse for as long as they wear it. They retain their intelligence, but cannot speak.
  41. A traveller's cloak. You teleport into a seemingly endless, featureless desert for as long as you wear it.
  42. A loincloth that prevents any negative impact of cold or hot weather if worn as the only piece of clothing.
  43. A helmet that makes the wearer experience zero gravity.
  44. A haunted helmet. As long as you wear it, you loose your normal class and instead become third level Fighter*.
  45. A cloak permanently covered in grease. Waterproof and extremely slippery.
  46. A leather armour that, when worn, shunts your torso to a pocket dimension. Your limbs and head are not affected and behave as if there was not just empty space in between them.
  47. A ring that makes your arm grow gigantic.
  48. A striped shirt that makes everyone think you're an infamous criminal. Bad around guards, good for infiltrating a villainous organization.
  49. A woollen blanket that is completely impenetrable to magic.
  50. An L-space manifestation in the shape of a book. Every time you open it, it's a random different book.

*) Assuming GLOG rules. You might want to bump the level up for other systems.

27 November 2019

Encounter Critical Blog Ring

Browsing through the Encounter Critical blog ring, I noticed that many blogs linked there are, unfortunately, lost to the ages by now. However, I also found several newer blogs with material for Encounter Critical scattered here and there, so obviously it's time for a brand new...

 ...listing all the functioning blogs and sites I know of.
If you have links to any other sites with EC content, please share them.

I also updated the resource files with a few new finds, such as the terrible and terrific tale of old Vanth, the Eye of Argon.

*) This blog seemed to have been gone for good, but Internet Archive saves the day once again!

26 November 2019

10 Magical Necessities for Wealthy Wizarding Women

My girlfriend decided to think up some magic items that she would definitely need as a sorceress. So here they are, some fashionable trinkets and useful paraphernalia you could find in a boutique of a wizard city or the rooms of an enchantress.
Forest Mage by meago

d10 Accouterments
  1. Chameleon lipstick: Adjustable colour lipstick. Variations on the product include animated lipstick, mood-sensitive lipstick and lipstick of glibness.
  2. Cuddly polymorphic pet: It will purr in your lap as a kitten, then become a pony when you're out in the garden, or a songbird, or anything cute you'd like to pet.
  3. Electroshock umbrella: Protects against rain, unwanted suitors and lack of personal space in crowds. Settings range from "ouch" to "AAARGH". Also very stylish.
  4. Depilation spray: Painless, instant, easy to use.
  5. Grooming fairy: Flits around and casts prestidigitation to keep you perfumed, your hairstyle and make-up tidy, and your dress clean.
  6. Handbag of holding: Frankly, who wouldn't want one? It is embroidered with animate animals.
  7. Infinite chocolate bar: Will regrow from the tiniest speck, but it may take some time, so you cannot just constantly gorge yourself on chocolate.
  8. Mood-balancing bracelet: For that time of the month. *wink wink* *nudge nudge*
  9. Painkiller amulet: Dulls headaches and stomach aches. (Would also prevent pain from a sword wound, though I really hope she won't be going around getting stabbed.)
  10. Pocket dimension toilet: You will need to search for public toilets no more! Your personal restroom is always just a portal away.

By the way, as I'm writing this, my girlfriend is running around the apartment, making animal sounds and playing at the polymorphic pet. And she's aggressively cuddly.
Magic Reindeer by VargasNi

She also says I have to include this:

Displace PMS
R: [dice] x 30'; T: male; D: [sum] days

Any and all inconveniences related to the menstruation cycle are transferred from the caster to the victim.

19 October 2019

Faster Than Light

Unless you want to be rather hard in your cosmic sci-fi game, you will need a spaceship that can zip between star systems. Instead of giving everyone some generic FTL drive, what if each spaceship manufacturer had slightly different engines in their ships? Suddenly new opportunities for shenanigans arise when ships with different advantages and drawbacks compete.

What kind of faster-than-light drive will your spaceship use?
Do not give your players a TARDIS,
or they will break your spacetime continuum.

Roll for a base type and then for two drawbacks.

d4 Base Types of FTL Drives
  1. Beam drive dematerializes the spaceship and sends it as a faster-than-light tachyon stream to the destination, where it is rematerialized. This can be considered a type of transmat or teleportation technology.
  2. Hyper drive allows the spaceship to travel through an alternate dimension with more favourable laws of physics, such as higher speed of light, shorter relative distances, or slower passage of time. Of course, hyperspace is a scary place.
  3. Jump drive generates an Einstein-Rosen bridge (a wormhole) that connects the starting and target locations with a shortcut. While the bridges don't tend to stay open for long, sometimes multiple ships may slip through a single wormhole.
  4. Warp drive utilises a space-folding technology to contract the space in front of the spaceship and expand the space behind it, resulting in an apparent faster-than-light travel without actually travelling faster than light.

d20 Drawbacks and Complications
  1. The entry and exit points of each trip are easily detected and impossible to mask.
  2. The engines are still experimental and have a small chance to break down or burn out with each trip.
  3. The external duration of each trip is somewhat random, so it may take days one way, but weeks on the return.
  4. Each trip causes disturbances in local spacetime, so using the drive in orbit would have catastrophic consequences.
  5. The engines require a rare, expensive or limited type of fuel.
  6. The engines require excessive amounts of fuel or energy, enough that only very few trips can be made before refuelling.
  7. The engines require a lengthy cooldown and recharging period between uses, otherwise they might blow up.
  8. Destination must be planned with extremely precise and time-consuming targeting calculations, otherwise you might land in the core of a star, or never arrive at all.
  9. The ship cannot be piloted without the use of precognitive abilities. Non-psychic pilot will get you lost in deep space (and go insane in the process).
  10. The ship can only travel between specific nodes, such as star beacons, locations with weakened spacetime firmament, or through a portal network.
  11. The drive cannot be used within the gravity well of a star. Generally at least several light hours of distance are required to successfully engage it.
  12. The drive can only be engaged at near-light speeds, requiring the ship to first accelerate enough (and decelerate on arrival).
  13. The trip is deadly to a random race or sex for unknown reasons, though this can be circumvented by travelling in cryosleep.
  14. The activation of the drive attracts some kind of space monster. Roll for a special random encounter with every use.
  15. The trip causes mental distress and trauma unless you are unconscious, though pilots often overcome this with space drugs.
  16. The trip causes a period of nausea upon arrival, with some people even blacking out.
  17. The engines are very, very, very large. The spaceship has to be quadruple normal size just to pack them in.
  18. Targeting of the drive is somewhat imprecise, landing you within a few light hours of the destination.
  19. Each trip has a set length (1d20+10 light years), so long journeys are made as a series of smaller trips, while short ones may require a sidestep.
  20. Wow, your drive only has a single drawback! Someone will want to have a look at this advanced technology...

How F Is Your FTL?
I've decided to use a rough speed of 1000c (2d100 x 10c) for most FTL travel. This is fast enough that interstellar trips are relatively quick, yet it does not completely undersell the vastness of outer space. A ten light year distance will take around three days of flight, which for me sits comfortably between "space is irrelevant and no obstacle at all" and "not telling the players no, just making it slow enough they will get bored thinking about leaving the star system".

15 October 2019


This is an expanded bestiary for Abyss of Damned Souls, though you could use the bogeymen in any game.

They used to be human, but they lost so much they could either die or adapt. As their souls and humanity slipped away, they fought and survived and changed. They may be monstrous, but are not necessarily monsters. Their powers might make them more than human - but they are human no more.

Every single one of them is missing something and can never get it back.
All images from Doctor Who.
d30 Bogeymen
  1. A mummified corpse in a clockwork armour. It's ticking loudly and can step outside of time. It needs someone to rewind its spring, giving up their time in the process.
  2. A woman with no face. With a touch, she removes - and what she removed is gone for good. Mouth or weapon or injury or memory or curse or happiness...
  3. An ancient warrior, a broken sword thrust through his heart. As long as the sword remains there, no weapon can harm him.
  4. Some might mistake it for a flightless dragon, but it's just a bogeyman who devoured so many it grew humongous. It vomits waves of amniotic fluid full of ravenous foetuses.
  5. A child dressed in filthy rags, insects crawling over and inside of its body. It will transform into a biting, stinging swarm when upset.
  6. An old man chain-smoking cheap, stinking cigarettes, with eyes burnt out and ash trailing from his clothes. He breathes smoke, or fire if threatened.
  7. A heavily pregnant woman, her stomach full of child ghosts. She releases them to protect or serve her, and never turns down an offer to consume another child.
  8. Human skin stuffed full of spiders. It lurks in halls covered in cobwebs, climbing faster than a man can run. Its bite leaves boils that later burst into more spiders.
  9. A barely humanoid figure, warped by excessive cancerous growths. Any skin contact will merge your flesh with its, and it will try to grab and assimilate you.
  10. A dancer with hands and feet hacked off, and replaced with long blades. She moves with the speed, lightness and ferocity of a whirlwind, but can never stop moving.
  11. A muscular monster of a man, nails, hooks, spikes and chains embedded in his flesh. He speaks in calm, hushed tone and his chains writhe like living snakes.
  12. An insufficiently dressed girl, pale and hugging her sides and shivering with cold. An eerily numb, tired despair fills your mind. You want to lie down, just for a bit...
  13. A human in constant flux, their features changing with the second. When you look at them directly, they suddenly look like the person you harmed the most.
  14. A statuesque woman, random bits of flesh replaced with black obsidian, her face always impassive. Arms of stone will grasp from the ground around her.
  15. Naked and scarred witch, her long, white hair whirling around her body like a storm of blades and leaving gouges in concrete.
  16. A skinless doctor, her lab coat and surgery tools brown and red with dried blood. She has a small army of sewn skins inflated with toxic gas.
  17. A small child with perpetual, too-wide smile of huge, asymmetrical teeth. It will tell a silly joke and you'll laugh, you won't stop laughing even as it slits your throat.
  18. Twins, a boy and a girl, moving in perfect unison, their features delicate and immaculate. Anything that affects only one of them fades nearly instantly.
  19. A limbless giant burrowing through the earth with impossible ease. His gullet is full of swallowed treasures, and he may vomit some for you if you bring him extraordinary food.
  20. A woman with an armour of rusty plates of metal embedded in her skin. Her fingernails are razor blades. She's excessively polite in conversation and excessively brutal in combat.
  21. A woman with translucent skin, her modesty barely preserved by ingrown corals and sea anemones. Her kiss will turn your flesh to coral.
  22. A drowned woman's body, bloated and rotting, shuffling and moaning, barnacled and gushing with water. She cannot be harmed except by fire.
  23. A man with an iron mask. He chants an endless song and serves gods long gone. As long as you can hear his singing, no magic powers of yours will work.
  24. A normal-looking guy who always talks and never lets anyone touch him. His real body is frozen deep within ice, the eyes and mouth sewn shut.
  25. A brutish woman, morbidly obese and freakishly tall. She will tear off your limbs and feast on your flesh. She wears a burlap sack over her head.
  26. A woman stitched together from ill-fitting body parts and stuffed into a dress suit. She can knit your wounded body, but only takes payment in fresh organs and body parts.
  27. A monster in the darkness. It is never there if you have light and always here when your torch goes out. It giggles and scratches you with broken nails.
  28. A man with screaming faces tattooed on his skin. He will offer secrets and knowledge, if you promise him a favour. He may summon anyone who owes him with just a word.
  29. A skeletal figure in tattered robes. It's falling apart and not long for this world, but the wounds inflicted by its rusty knife never heal.
  30. Royal, proud, diabolic figure. Its clothes are lavish and soiled, its words are wise and venomous. It carries trinkets forged from stolen souls.

So what is a bogeyman?

Take any player character, really. What awaits them in the dungeons? Some may bring back a fortune, but most will loose limbs and minds, mutate and adapt and change to survive. What returns is not a human, but something more monstrous and violent and powerful.

Adventurers are bogeyman.

You know, for a technically kid show,
Doctor Who can be a bit disturbing.

11 October 2019

Abyss of Damned Souls

I submitted an entry to the 200 Word RPG Challenge. It's basically a card-based deck-building RPG.

Sort of.

From here.

It is intended for 1 game master (the Abyss) and 1+ players, and you will need several decks of playing cards.
You're dead.

You got lost and went where all lost things and forgotten places go.

You'll need one suit from a card deck. Take 2-10 and choose one face card.

  • Jack is sneaky.
  • Queen is charming.
  • King is violent.
  • Ace is clever.
This small deck is your soul.

Actions have difficulty determined by the Abyss*. Draw a higher card to succeed. When you draw your face card, you automatically succeed and reshuffle your deck. You may discard extra cards to sum them with an already drawn card, but only if the action corresponds to your face card. Discarded cards are gone forever.

In conflict, opponents draw from their decks and the higher card wins. Winner takes the card of the looser, both discard their card in a draw. When only your face card remains, you fade away.

The Abyss will throw obstacles and monsters** in your way, and reward achievements with inhuman powers.

You'll loose pieces of your soul, then patch the holes with stolen bits of others. Your deck will change, until nothing from you remains.

You'll be a monster.

Damn you,
damn us all.

*) Game-master.
**) Monsters may be customised by the size and value of their deck.

Unlike normally, when I pile fun mechanics together and see what sticks, this game has themes I tried to build the central action resolution mechanics around: power at a price and the slow loss of humanity.

The players will start with a full suit of cards in their deck, and then loose them as they perform big actions or get defeated in combat. They will gain new, different cards from successful combat with monsters, and magical powers when the Abyss is pleased.

I suggest that the Abyss uses distinct decks to build their monsters, so that it becomes obvious how much the players' decks changed. Hopefully, they will notice that there are no true "monsters" in the Abyss, only other lost souls that survived for far too long.

On the right, a newly arrived lost soul.
On the left, one already experienced with the ways of the Abyss.
How to make a monster
Separate a deck of cards into number cards and face cards, then shuffle them both. Roll 2d6 and take that many number cards, then add one face card. Have a look at the face card and decide what the monster might be like, what does it want and what kind of magical power it has.

Voila, your random monster.

Very weak monsters might have no face card, turning to flee once they run out of cards. Their deck is reshuffled only once they rest. On the other end of the spectrum, very powerful creatures might have more than one face card.
Example bestiary
Edit: Here are some more bogeymen for Abyss of Damned Souls.

Rats and bats and piranhas and insects
Deck: 3-4-4-5-6-6
There are some diseased, warped animals in the Abyss. They have no face card, so once they run out of cards, they will turn to flee.

Deck: 2-2-3-4-5-J
What do you get when you take a human and remove everything positive from them? An undersized, disgusting wretch. It cannot win in a fair fight, so it won't fight fair.

Deck: 5-6-6-7-7-9-Q
A woman stitched together from ill-fitting body parts and stuffed into a dress suit. She can knit your wounded body, but only takes payment in fresh organs and body parts.

Deck: 2-2-7-7-8-8-9-9-10-10-K
A brutish woman, morbidly obese and freakishly tall. She will tear off your limbs and feast on your flesh. She wears a burlap sack over her head.

Deck: 10-10-A
A man with screaming faces tattooed on his skin. He will offer secrets and knowledge, if you promise him a favour. He may summon anyone who owes him with just a word.

Deck: 3-3-3-5-5-5-7-7-7-9-9-9-J
A monster in the darkness. It is never there if you have light and always here when your torch goes out.

Deck: 3-4-5-8-K
Skeletal figure in tattered robes. It's falling apart and not long for this world, but the wounds inflicted by its rusty knife never heal.

Deck: 5-5-6-6-7-7-8-8-9-9-10-10-Q-A
Royal, proud, diabolic figure. Its clothes are lavish and soiled, its words are wise and venomous. It has a trove of artifacts forged from stolen souls.

by apterus

10 October 2019


There was nothing but darkness full of hungry, horrible things.

As they drew ever closer, I screamed in terror: "Let there be light!" And there was light.

And I saw that the light was good and separated me from the darkness.

Yet it was so very fragile and fleeting.

27 September 2019

The Master Sword

From here.
Broken sword (d3 damage)
An ancient, filthy arming sword, shattered so that only a short stump of the blade remains. The party will find it in a chest of rotten wood and rusty iron, all other items within having long ago succumbed to the ages. It looks ruined at a glance, but should they examine it, they will notice the metal was once of extraordinarily quality and there are still some runes etched into it under the layers of grime.

A blacksmith or a dwarf would recognize it as a once magical blade, but far beyond their ability to repair. A wizard could detect the faint traces of magic hidden in the heart of the sword.

Neophyte sword (d6 damage)
If the PC who carries the sword performs a suitably heroic deed*, they will dream about an elven princess the next night. She will name the PC her champion and urge them to vanquish evil with the sword she grants them. On the next morning, the sword will be found mended and cleaned. The runes on its now restored blade read: Non timebo mala.

The sword can be unsheathed and used in a single action, plus it can be thrown with no penalties and the same range as a knife. The PC will be aware of this from the dream.

Adept sword (d8 damage)
Should the sword wielder follow the wishes of the princess, the sword will eventually** grow more ornate and feel more magical. When thrown, it can now be recalled back to hand as a free action. In addition, by concentrating on any creature the sword had cut in the past, the wielder can dowse the direction towards this creature.

However, any overtly evil action will cause the wielder nightmares of the princess being horrified and furious with their deeds. They must Save every night or receive only half the benefits from sleep, until they make amends or get rid of the sword. Should they persist in evil behaviour, a wild hunt of fey creatures will raid their camp one night and even if they survive the assault, the sword will be lost in the struggle.

Master sword (d10 damage)
A great quest or a deed of undeniable virtue will cause the sword to start glowing with a faint white light. It becomes capable of cutting through any magical protections, shattering force fields, ignoring damage reduction and striking true against intangible creatures.

The wielder will now frequently dream of the princess and her fairy realm, waking up well-rested and in a good mood. They ignore any conditions that would disrupt their sleep, unless they make the princess angry as above. Their ears become elvish in shape, if they were not already.

Grandmaster sword (d12 damage)
One night, the princess will confide in the wielder of the sword about a grave threat to her kingdom, and that only they may help. If they accept this grand quest, the sword will grow into unearthly beauty and brightness. The wielder will also be affected as per geas spell.

When thrown, the wielder may now opt to teleport to where the sword hits rather than recalling it back to them. Furthermore, once per session they may summon a pixie that will help them with any short, simple task. Note that the pixie is too small to fight or lift larger objects, and the same pixie is summoned every time, so treating it badly (especially getting it killed) will quickly turn it uncooperative.

If the wielder succeeds in the final quest and later dies or retires, they will disappear along with the sword. Should the players later travel to Faeria or encounter the wild hunt of the Fair Folk, one of the fey nobles will bear a striking resemblance to their lost comrade.
A bit like this.
*) At this first stage, anything that doesn't scream "greedy, selfish murderhobo" will do.
**) Likely once they reach the next level. Further stages should also follow roughly once per level.

25 September 2019

IVAN: Release 0.57

New IVAN release is out! Get it here.

  • Add Black Market, an end-game shop to spend all your excess gold in.
  • Add game lore and fiction to the Doc folder.
  • Magic helmets spawn with random material.
  • Switch some helmets from full to normal helmet.
  • Keys very rarely break when used.
  • NPCs will sometimes talk to you on their own.

  • Clean up code.
  • New "expansive terrain" can help prevent blocking important entrances.
  • Improve item search algorithm.
  • Fix ring detection to work same as scrolls.
  • Enable wishes for empty containers, make empty cans and empty bottles wishable.
  • No rotated pictures for equipments and newly-spawned items.
  • Do not aggressively upgrade dependencies for mac build.
  • Mirrored items cannot be dismantled into permanent lump of material.
  • Stop weapon swap from auto-stealing items in shops.
  • Possibly fixed the window context glitch in Windows.

17 September 2019

Super Duper Heroics

I ran a superhero* one-shot using the Super: Brains & Brawn one-page ruleset. The rules are quite solid for a short, free-form game, and offer a simple resolution for nearly any power you could think of. Unfortunately, they also allow the players to choose their own powers, which can lead to many flying bricks or other stock superpowers.

I wanted to try something different. The players could still choose between three powers or two powers and a sidekick, but then we went over to the Superpower Wiki, which has a

that can be used to give any aspiring cape a nice random power loadout. Of course, some deliberation is needed how to interpret or limit some powers, and stuff like Omnipotence or Author Authority should be rerolled outright, but generally it worked out well.

Case in point, Paper Princess rolled three powers:

High-tech Alien Exoskeleton: The power to own a high-tech extraterrestrial armour.
Paper Bullet Projection: The power to fire bullets of paper.
Illusion Manipulation: The power to create illusions.

She was a university student who happened upon a misplaced, mysterious book in the library. When she attempted to open the book, it exploded into a storm of loose papers that encased her in an armour of paper. She quickly learned that the armour transforms back into a book when doffed, gives her a little bit of strength and protection, and that she can shoot the surprisingly sharp sheets as blades or form various distractions by shaping the paper into objects and barriers.

She went on to become a hero, except that her decisions in the course of play were ultimately informed more by her huge student debt than by heroism.

Of course, not everyone ended up so consistent. Another player decided for the sidekick option and rolled Black Lips:

Shadow-metal Breath: The ability to release metal and shadow from one's mouth.
Indexing: The power to encode and preserve any and all sources or information, history, data, etc.

He was a teenage emo with perfect memory and pretty scary breath weapon. His mother forced him to take on Little Bugger, his younger brother, as a sidekick.

Awesome City child protective services failed hard here, as L.B. (not to be confused with B.L.) ended up as every rpg companion inevitably will, that is he was constantly sent to dangerous situations to "scout them out". Miraculously, he survived, unlike Black Lips.

From Astro City.
All in all, everyone seemed to have fun playing with an unorthodox powerset, and you could use randomized powers to inspire a build even in much more rules-heavy game. So, who would your villain or vigilante be?

*) More like professed superheros, really.

Critical Starting Gear

I like randomized starting gear much more than letting the players buy it from a boring shopping list. The table below was made for Encounter Critical, but should be appropriate for any science fantasy or post-apocalyptic game.

Roll three times on the list, plus get 3 rations, 3 torches and a bedroll.

d200 Starting Items:
  1. large backpack,
  2. 1d4 throwing knives,
  3. 1d4 javelins,
  4. landmine,
  5. pair of handheld radios,
  6. tool belt with tools (screwdriver, pliers, hammer, ...),
  7. wrench,
  8. flashlight,
  9. 2d6 torches,
  10. 1d6 empty injectors,
  11. duct tape,
  12. lighter,
  13. 1d10 000 credits of debt,
  14. coil of rope (20 m),
  15. length of chain (5 m),
  16. coil of barbed wire,
  17. coloured chalks,
  18. claw hammer and nails,
  19. grappling hook,
  20. canteen or flask,
  21. canister of petrol,
  22. 1d6 tins of (d4) baked beans / mystery meat / sardines / spinach,
  23. 1d6 iron rations
  24. padlock,
  25. handcuffs,
  26. walking staff,
  27. tent,
  28. winter sleeping bag,
  29. 1d6 iron spikes,
  30. wooden stake,
  31. Swiss knife,
  32. bear trap,
  33. shovel,
  34. rubber waders,
  35. sunglasses,
  36. hand saw,
  37. bucket,
  38. fishing rod,
  39. pouch of ball bearings,
  40. pouch of caltrops,
  41. vial of strong glue,
  42. pick axe,
  43. ice pick and climbing irons,
  44. wrist watch,
  45. heavy steel tongs,
  46. tin foil hat,
  47. net,
  48. metal file,
  49. lock picks,
  50. magnifying glass,
  51. hand mirror,
  52. vial of perfume,
  53. scented soap,
  54. binoculars,
  55. ball of twine,
  56. pencils and notepad,
  57. ink, quills and parchment,
  58. card deck,
  59. dice set,
  60. board game,
  61. fake jewels,
  62. cooking pots,
  63. frying pan,
  64. paint spray can,
  65. whistle,
  66. musical instrument of your choice,
  67. interesting novel,
  68. old magazines,
  69. law books,
  70. spirit stove,
  71. matchbox,
  72. snowshoes,
  73. skateboard,
  74. snowboard,
  75. surfboard,
  76. slingshot,
  77. bandages,
  78. bottle of hard liquor,
  79. keycard,
  80. pouch belt,
  81. fedora,
  82. hatchet,
  83. sewing kit,
  84. lead pipe,
  85. very sharp scissors,
  86. towel,
  87. cigarettes,
  88. waterproof bag,
  89. winter jacket,
  90. ammo belt,
  91. mittens and bobble hat,
  92. wetsuit,
  93. roller skates,
  94. ice skates,
  95. protective leather gauntlets,
  96. steel-toed boots,
  97. human skull,
  98. knuckleduster,
  99. welding mask,
  100. clown mask,
  101. knee and elbow pads,
  102. handmade fur hat,
  103. balaclava,
  104. bicycle,
  105. compass,
  106. face paint,
  107. flippers and snorkel,
  108. goggles,
  109. abacus,
  110. dosimeter,
  111. oxygen tank,
  112. gas mask,
  113. small keg of beer,
  114. handheld game console,
  115. poncho,
  116. first aid kit,
  117. very, very long knitted scarf,
  118. spork,
  119. expendable baton,
  120. box of tampons,
  121. lasso,
  122. periscope,
  123. metal detector,
  124. waterproof tarp,
  125. crowbar,
  126. can of grease,
  127. three meter pole,
  128. strong magnet,
  129. holy symbol,
  130. locket of hair,
  131. bag of turnips,
  132. wheel of expensive cheese,
  133. chisel,
  134. fancy set of clothes,
  135. tobacco and pipe,
  136. make-up set,
  137. old uniform,
  138. life vest,
  139. inflatable raft,
  140. oil lantern,
  141. incense,
  142. wig,
  143. donkey,
  144. 1d6 sheep,
  145. companion chatbot cube,
  146. cool-looking scars,
  147. falcon,
  148. briefcase of counterfeit money,
  149. top hat,
  150. camera,
  151. boom box,
  152. straight jacket,
  153. tooth necklace,
  154. bear hide,
  155. blowtorch,
  156. paints and brushes,
  157. crutch,
  158. jockstrap,
  159. razor blade,
  160. 2d6 cats,
  161. wheelbarrow,
  162. voodoo doll,
  163. pony,
  164. spyglass,
  165. broom,
  166. rag doll,
  167. atlas of Vanth,
  168. many keys on a ring,
  169. small but vicious dog,
  170. dried herbs,
  171. red herring,
  172. stolen signet ring,
  173. alms bowl,
  174. bolt cutter,
  175. loyal peasant,
  176. evidence kit,
  177. 2d6 chemical light sticks,
  178. fire extinguisher,
  179. forged papers,
  180. scalpel,
  181. audio recorder,
  182. sack of flour,
  183. luchador mask,
  184. recycling suit,
  185. headlamp,
  186. wineskin of cheap wine,
  187. jug of pickled eggs,
  188. pouch of salt,
  189. 1d20 candles,
  190. monkey,
  191. gardening tools,
  192. bag of various seeds,
  193. drinking horn,
  194. 1d4 doses of a drug,
  195. 1d4 grenades,
  196. power cell,
  197. potion,
  198. gadget,
  199. tricorder,
  200. jetpack.

12 September 2019

Encounters in the Unchartable Woods

Here are some sites and sights your players could find in the yellow and red zones of the Unchartable Woods.
d50 Encounters in the Unchartable Woods
  1. A well. Old and moss-covered, but the winch still seems to be working. You can also just about make out an opening half the way down the shaft.
  2. A lamp post, just like the ones along the caravan trail, except here it sits in the middle of a meadow. Permanently alight.
  3. A stone bridge over a ravine so deep you cannot even see the bottom. A rather friendly troll lives in a tiny cave below the bridge. It won't demand toll, but loves presents. It also really, really hates goats.
  4. An orchard of fruit trees maintained by a suspicious but otherwise friendly robodroid. He keeps the trees for masters that left and never came back. He distills a strong obstler that his body can burn for energy.
  5. A witch hut on chicken legs, the witch nowhere to be seen.
  6. A feral robodroid, damaged and believing itself to be a cannibal savage. It hunts humanoids with obsidian spear, then attempts to eat them.
  7. A severed arm is crawling to the east. It's scaly and wears a signet ring.
  8. Giant gold spiders gathered in a massive swarm, spinning their webs high above between skyscraper-sized trees, with a king's ransom of gold trapped within. Not aggressive unless disturbed.
  9. A slumbering demon-goddess in a dilapidated temple, served by a cabal of debauched Vulkins. They keep the goddess asleep with incessant chanting, and draw her blood with silver needles, injecting it to their veins to experience heightened emotions unadulterated by logic or shame. It would be very bad if the players made every last of them stop chanting.
  10. A castle of wax, full of bee girls. This must be the fabled Apian Acropolis, where the royal jelly capable of curing all ills and even prolonging one's life is produced.
  11. A perfectly circular lake of mercury.
  12. A space-time vortex, leading to anywhere and anywhen. If the GM wishes to derail the campaign completely, I suggest they pick at random from all the setting books and modules they own. Otherwise, it might perhaps lead to the Asteroid 1618.
  13. A crashed spaceship, long ago overtaken by nature. It will never fly again, but maybe there is still some high-tech wonder left intact.
  14. A lighthouse. The crashing of sea waves and the cries of seagulls can be heard while inside.
  15. An asphalt highway. It will lead you (d4): 1) out of the red zone in much less time than possible, 2) to the unknown highway (yes, on the other side of Vanth), 3) to a random other encounter, 4) back where you started after 1d6 days of uneventful travel.
  16. A foothill of a high mountain with snowy peak. No one had ever heard about it, nor seen it even from the blimps that sometimes cross over the forest. There seem to be buildings high on the mountainside and shadows moving between them, but not humanoid shadows.
  17. A towering crystal spire, with a narrow staircase chiseled into its side. Standing at the top, you could see all over Vanth with crystal clarity, and even chipped-off piece of the crystal can serve as a powerful spyglass.
  18. A titan, bound by adamant chains with a single link larger than a grown man. It speaks with rumbling, sorrowful voice. It will offer anything and everything if you can set it free.
  19. An area frozen in time. You can just barely make out some humanoid silhouettes inside, through the dirt and rain that gathered on the edges of the effect. Surely the time field could be broken?
  20. An idol of black stone, half sunk into the swampy ground. It has two fiery jewels for eyes.
  21. A well-kept hedge around a homely cottage. Dire sheep who can mimic human voices lurk nearby.
  22. An old graveyard. Anything dead brought inside will spring back to life (including leather armour or cured meat), but only for as long as it doesn't leave the graveyard.
  23. A factory complex, devoid of all life but full of phasic fumes. There is an insane medibot running around trying to cure anyone it can get its many manipulators on. It's actually really skilled in medicine and surgery, except that it puts everyone to hospital beds deep within the polluted complex, where they then asphyxiate.
  24. A feast table full of lavish foods, expensive wines and exotic liquors. If the PCs taste anything off the table, they realise it heals their wounds, restores crippled limbs and revitalizes spirits. The next time they sleep, they will dream of beautiful people dancing with them through the night, and wake up 1d10 years older per every food or drink consumed.
  25. A shrine and a pedestal with a gemstone of death. Intelligent, remorseful and very valuable. It glows ominously and will scream at anyone coming near not to touch it. A skin contact kills with no Save, and nearly all materials will rot, rust or crumble with prolonged contact.
  26. The forest floor becomes covered in meaty tendrils and vines, until the PCs come upon a large, cancerous mass of flesh and fused carcasses, with a sphincter-like entrance. Might be a biomancer's laboratory, might be a temple of the God-Flesh, or even a portal to Xor.
  27. The gravity just stops. An area of the forest experiences zero g. Maybe the culprit, be it a wondrous item or a miracle machine of stupendous science, could be found?
  28. A distress call. Pick some form of communication available to the PCs; a radio, telepathic message, etc. It might lead to a ransacked camp, a replacement PC, or an ambush.
  29. The end of the world. You found a cliff going straight down towards a starry void.
  30. Three Amazons have a small cabin and several fields of coca plants here. They found a relatively reliable path out of the forest and enjoy the seclusion that allows them to run their drug trade in peace.
  31. An ancient circle of standing stones and some modern scientific equipment laid out inside. There is no air within the circle, only vacuum, as anyone unlucky enough to enter will quickly discover.
  32. The ruins of a lecture hall, with a ghostly professor endlessly talking about possibly quite interesting topics.
  33. The wellspring of love. Any creature that drinks from the waters will be overwhelmed with the desire to mate and will produce viable offsprings no matter how incompatible their partner should be. Many hybrid creatures lurk nearby.
  34. A small village stuck in a loop. Not a time loop, they just repeat the same activities day after day and know nothing about the outside of the village.
  35. A bunker connected to an abandoned nuclear silo. The hidden launch door are buried and stuck, but the nuclear missile is still in working conditions. Another adventuring party might have arrived just before the PCs, intent on taking the weapon for themselves.
  36. A humongous mecha, half-buried in the ground where it fell ages ago. It could still be repaired, but the time and resources necessary depend on how much you want your players to have a gigantic mecha.
  37. A vanta rose field. They suck light out of their surroundings, plunging everything into absolute darkness. Not even magical light or sight can pierce it.
  38. A random magic weapon in a stone. Anyone can pull it free, but anyone who does will firmly believe that they were chosen by this act as the true king or queen of a kingdom also lost in the Unchartable Woods, and that the weapon will reveal the path to their promised land to them. There is no kingdom and the wielder will just get themselves and the party lost.
  39. A haphazard heap of electronics and scrap metal covered in moss speaks to the party in synthesised voice. It wishes to send them on a rather pointless fetch quests of medium difficulty, but for every fulfilled quest, it will allow one PC to pick a cybernetic augmentation and have it implanted. It won't tell that it can receive data from and remotely control the implants later.
  40. A rusty iron cage, apparently empty. Except it's not. A close examination reveals extraordinarily powerful enochian sigils and runes of warding under the rust, strong enough to hold even an angel of the sixth choir.
  41. The dread gazebo. It's actually completely normal except for a warding that envelops it in a fear aura. Once you get inside, the effect no longer affects you and you can enjoy the safety of a gazebo that the monsters are too afraid to come near.
  42. A recently fallen star in a shallow crater. Her leg is broken, but otherwise she's unharmed, if frightened and baffled by her fall.
  43. A space suit is reclining over a fallen tree, as if in respite. If opened, a torrent of swarming, ravenous insects will pour our, leaving inside only a skeleton gnawed clean.
  44. The party wakes up dirty, exhausted, hungry and injured. They don't recognise their surroundings and 1d6 days worth of supplies are missing from their backpacks. Close by, a brain-like monstrosity lies slain by the PCs' own weapons.
  45. The trees and undergrowth give way to enormous fungi, mushrooms and mycelium. Any open wounds will get infected with mould, and should the party stay longer with no breathing protection, the airborne spores will start to germinate even in their lungs.
  46. A pair of lovers argues viciously before one assaults and kills the other. Then suddenly the whole scene flickers and starts again - the party will find a faulty holovision stuck endlessly replaying a short bit from some old soap opera.
  47. A spawn of Shub-Niggurath merchant has her wares displayed and will be very eager to trade or talk, as business is quite slow around here.
  48. A combination of shrubbery and briar forms a maze of narrow passages, large enough that circumventing it would take a long time. The surrounding forest seems very quiet, but once the party delves deeper into the maze, they will start hearing nearby footsteps or slithering sounds.
  49. A sign is nailed to a tree. It unfortunately brings bad news - there is a minefield somewhere around here.
  50. Lonely snowflakes fall on the party and as they continue on their path, it starts to get colder and colder. If they don't double back and choose a different route, they will wake up to a winter morning the next day, with heaps of snow and biting cold. It's not just a fluke in the weather, the time jumped forward to the next winter.

I also approve of these, if you want more encounters for the woods.

11 September 2019

Unchartable Woods

There is a saying in Vanth, that lost things travel west, until they eventually all reach the so called Unchartable Woods. This wide swathe of forest stretches along the western edge of Vanth, even reaching as far as the great west road and towards the shunned towns. Many things fey and foul reside within the vast woods, and they are truly uncharted and uchartable. Not only are they wild and filled with monsters, but the landscape itself seems to shift sometimes, landmarks tend to disappear, distances are variable, rivers flow in circles, some areas are bigger on the inside or suddenly don't exist, and space and time seem to be more malleable than set.

The forest is dangerous and has already claimed all too many lives, but it blocks off rich trade routes and hides much that just waits to be discovered (or maybe rediscovered), from treasures and people to places and civilisations. Every year, more and more fools come hoping to find a fortune beneath the branches, but for every adventurer that profits, ten will loose friends, limbs or sanity.

And the woods are expanding, ever so slowly.

The edge of the Unchartable Woods is known as the green zone, a relatively safe area with low amount of weirdness and wealth. The parts of the forest that reach into Vanth are exclusively in the green zone, though that doesn't stop them from being as dangerous as any deep, wild woods might. Still, even the green zone provides timber and game of exceptional quality and size, and it is by no means monster free.

Yellow zone is the most common destination of adventurous ventures and the largest part of the Unchartable Woods. This is the area where the trees get larger and sunlight might have problems penetrating the canopy, where maps and compasses become unreliable, pathways treacherous and monstrous life ubiquitous. This is also where many a lost treasure, strange relic of the past, unknown magic or plainly weird stuff may be found. A more insidious danger of the yellow zone is that there is no obvious sign of coming close or crossing into the red zone, as the changes in the surroundings may be subtle at first, until the hapless pioneer gets confused and lost, or wanders into some unforeseen danger.
Red zone is deeper into the woods, where the trees grow taller than imaginable, supporting whole villages of beastmen or vegepygmies, where cities of ancient civilisations may be found overgrown by trees and vines and shrubbery, where the forest may give way to gigantic mushrooms, natural briar mazes or areas of petrified trees, and where animal, plant and monster life alike will make attempts at the explorer's life. Some even claim that the very air of the red zone is inimical to normal life, and anyone who stays too long may find themselves warped into a more monstrous self.
Horrors of the Silent Woods by ThemeFinland

Black zones are hearsay locations far, far beyond the places from where any expedition has managed to successfully return. Only rambling madmen rescued by other adventurers have been heard talking about black zones, claiming to have lost all their companions or decades of their life there. It is said that as you approach a black zone, the trees will become mutated and unnatural, even animated and aggressive, but in the zone itself they are replaced altogether with tall black monoliths pointing at a dark purple sky with alien stars. There is no Sun in a black zone, and the air is thin and barely breathable. Even many natural forces and laws, such as gravity or linear time, will start to loose hold.

Black zones are also allegedly filled with unimaginable treasures, from wellsprings of pure magic to fully operational spaceships left behind by parties unknown, so some reckless, insane or suicidally brave venturing parties have delved into the woods specifically to find a black zone. Some have returned without ever reaching their goal, others have not returned at all.
Smalltown Grove by SebastianBockisch

There are very few safe(ish) routes through the woods.

A so called "caravan trail" leads westward from the icy lake of Hori, skirting the North Mountains before plunging into the deep woods. Once built with massive expenditure of gold and lives, it is the safest way of crossing the forest. As the name suggests, it is frequently used by trade caravans travelling to the western lands, and the prodigious tolls they pay for the passage are in turn spent on maintaining the road and all associated facilities. The road itself is embanked and paved with stone, or raised on wooden platforms over the marshy parts of the forest, and followed by a line of lamp posts. A company of lamplighters, well-trained and well-armed professionals of some combat prowess, light these lamps every night to keep the monsters at bay and provide guidance to late travellers.

However, few people will travel the caravan trail at night, when the lurking danger is most oppressing and imminent. There is a series of safe houses built roughly a day's journey apart along the road, once again maintained from the travelling tolls. They offer shelter, lodging and stabling, and oftentimes are full-fledged inns, except enclosed in high walls. Most explorers wishing to venture deeper into the forest will first take the caravan trail to one of these houses, and the most popular adventuring sites will have a safe house with a blacksmith, salesmen or middlemen for nearly anything an adventurer might need, and probably even a brothel.

Deep in the red zone.
There are other roads in the Unchartable Woods, but rarely can you be sure that they won't disappear halfway through, that no monster made a lair right by the path, or that they still lead to their original destination. The woods and erratic and perilous, and many a pioneer was lost trying to find their own way and map the Unchartable Woods.

Apart from the roads, a railroad cuts a more or less straight line southwest from the shunned town of Prosperity all the way through the forest to the city of Algherra far west, every meter of its rails etched with runes of warding and pathfinding. Its construction was a great success for the mechanists of the shunned towns, and the newly opened business opportunities made Prosperity truly live up to its name.

The railroad constitutes the fastest route through the Unchartable Woods, but as of late the number of bandit and monster attacks have been increasing rapidly. Thus there is always work for adventurers willing to hire themselves out as train guards or protection for railway work crews.

Finally, a rare sight indeed is one of the western blimps soaring high above the trees.

d6 Quests in the Woods
  1. A train loaded with black hole metal ingots is soon to depart from Prosperity, and the proprietor is looking for some top-class guards to protect the incredibly valuable cargo. Or maybe the PCs would rather like to lay a trap to the train once it's far enough from civilisation?
  2. An entrepreneur has gained a licence to open a branch of the Hobling Postal Service in the far West. Now all she needs is a group of people willing to repeatedly make the highly hazardous journey through the Unchartable Woods, and loose not a single letter.
  3. A caravan owner is looking for mercenaries, but she has a secret. The caravan will be transporting a highly unusual cargo - twenty cages of various monsters for the gardens of the satrapa of Y'Thalla. Surely nothing will go wrong and the caravan will attract no unwelcome attention from either the customs officers or the monsters of the woods.
  4. A well-known adventurer was murdered in one of the safe houses after returning from two unusually successful ventures within a single month, and claiming to possess an enchanted map of the woods that actually works. Is it true or was he just a lucky braggart? Who has the map now? And most importantly, how can you profit?
  5. Bartholomew Benjamin Harper, a lizard noblemen and explorer, has gone missing on his trip over the forest in a balloon. His sister Priscilla Elinor Harper is offering a rich reward for a successful rescue mission, or at least for confirming his death and returning the family signet ring that would allow her to take over the whole family wealth.
  6. A hobling general is offering a generous pay to anyone who enlists for an expedition into the woods, to assess the danger of the deepest reaches. The party discovers the truth far too late: The general fell into disgrace with the hobling emperor and was given a choice. Either be exiled and forever tarnish the honour of his extended family, or die as a hero on a bogus expedition. No one is supposed to return alive.

23 August 2019

Spirit Teleportation

Most demons worth their Evil have teleport without error, and actually most Outsiders and powerful magical beings in general will have some form of teleportation, as instant relocation is just that good. This presents an option for new flavour - surely not every spirit uses the same teleportation spell?

The shape shifting trickster disappeared, but did she burst into flames, discorporate into smoke, or just blink away? A knowledgeable character might be able to tell the type of a spirit by their form of teleportation. In addition, a creature who blinks away will probably easily escape a mundane pair of shackles, but one that opens portals will have much harder time breaking free. Teleportation becomes much more fun if it has some drawbacks or requirements.

From Charmed,
some demons demonstrating varied teleportation.

...how does this spirit teleport?
  1. You never see them teleport. Maybe you blink or get momentarily distracted, and they are gone.
  2. They crumple into a pile of (d6): 1) dust, 2) sand, 3) snowflakes, 4) dry leaves, 5) cherry petals, 6) worms, only to reform elsewhere.
  3. They transform into an orb of light* and zip into distance.
  4. They step through their own shadow.
  5. A (d4): 1) cloud of smoke, 2) thick fog, 3) explosion of sparks, 4) swarm of insects envelops them, only to dissipate with no one inside.
  6. Bright white door frame appears for them to step through.
  7. They cut a thin rift in space with their weapon or claw, stepping through.
  8. A hole into black nothingness appears and sucks them in, only to eject them elsewhere.
  9. They burn up into nothing, only to reappear elsewhere in a strange backward explosion.
  10. Space seems to warp around them and they "fall" into nonexistence, stepping from another fold of space at their destination.
  11. They dissolve into a puddle of (d4): 1) water, 2) ink, 3) blood, 4) slime, only to reform from a similar puddle elsewhere.
  12. They disappear in a spray of blood, only to claw their way back to existence through the body of some hapless victim.
  13. They draw a glowing line* in midair that transforms into a window to their destination once they enclose a full circle.
  14. They turn into a statue of ice or glass, only for it to shatter as they are suddenly elsewhere.
  15. They slowly turn transparent and fade away, appearing at their destination at the same pace.
  16. They disappear and reappear in a (d4): 1) beam of light*, 2) lightning strike, 3) whirlwind, 4) rainbow descending from above.
  17. They need to draw a magical glyph, often in their own blood, and then activate it with a touch.
  18. They discorporate into pixels and flow though electric lines to their destination.
  19. A spherical force field* appears around them, exchanging the whole enclosed area with a matching area at the destination.
  20. They may walk through any door, only to walk out of completely different door.
  21. Earth cracks below their feet and swallows them, spitting them out at their destination.
  22. They need to step into a mirror, or any other reflective surface.
  23. They may walk into any living tree only to emerge from another one.
  24. They disappear in a blinding flash of light.
  25. They quickly shrink into nothing, only to grow back to their full height somewhere else.
  26. No one ever realises they teleported, as they leave behind a stationary illusion that pops the second anyone touches it.
  27. They conceal themselves in their cloak or robe, only for it to fall empty to the ground.
  28. They find magical shortcuts - going around a corner or through the bushes will take them a hundred miles.
  29. They have a handy magitek teleportation gadget with a big red button.
  30. They journey through dreams and use sleeping people as their portals.

*) Roll for a random colour.