30 December 2022

Books I've Read in 2022

The one good thing about a daily commute is that I have between an hour and two each day just for reading.

Unfortunately, I've only got the idea of writing down everything I'm reading in August, when I realised that I've been reading Ward for so long that I don't even remember which book I've read before it and when. Therefore the list only contains books since August. But speaking of Ward...

Fiction Books

John C. McCrae: Ward

This superhero web serial is 1 944 784 words long, so I might have actually been reading it since the beginning of the year. And it's worth it. Along with the first part, Worm, it is an incredible study of characters and their motivations, as well as creative powers and power uses. If you read it, you will probably start to question whether you even like other superhero media at all.

Tad Williams: Stone of Farewell

This is the second book in the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy, so I've started reading this book series a bit out of order. My excuse is that I've found it in the free books shelf at a train station before a long journey. Anyway, I quite liked this Tolkien-esque story but I have yet to procure the other two books for myself.

Martina Šrámková: Doba krkavců (Season of the Raven)

A dark fantasy about an ex-witch who tries to live a normal life, but cannot escape her past of a royal assassin. I'll return to it shortly.

Vladimír Šlechta:
Krvavé pohraničí (Bloody Borderland)
Vladimír Šlechta: Krvavé pohraničí: Šílený les (Forest Gone Mad)
Vladimír Šlechta: Krvavé pohraničí: Orcigard

A loose series of books which share the location and world events, but none of the protagonists. All of them also read a bit like D&D adventures and could easily be adapted into a campaign.

One thing I'm noticing about Czech fantasy is that it's very dark, all of it. The protagonists generally eke out a victory in the end, but usually at an unreasonably high price, while the world keeps slowly turning to the worse.

In Season of the Raven, Jadwiga manages to save the duchess from painful death and her town from total destruction, but she is forced to seduce and kill again, something she has been running from for years. Also the once blooming economy of the duchy is basically gone due to the machinations of the big bad, and it's far from certain that the duchess will be able to regain control of the fanaticized populace.

In all of the Bloody Borderland books, the protagonist achieves a personal victory, but the world is worse off in the end. Bonus points for Orcigard, which is a prequel with a cast doomed by canon, so the "Everybody lives!" ending is rather bittersweet.

Another example might be Na ostřích čepelí (On the blade's edge) by Miroslav Žamboch, which is another author I like. The protagonist manages to get the settlers to their destination, except about half of the settlers are dead, the way back to civilization is destroyed, so they are completely on their own, and the love interest dies.

I don't think that any translations are available, though, so you will have to take my word that the books are worth the read.

Derek Landy: Skulduggery Pleasant: Resurrection
Derek Landy: Skulduggery Pleasant: Midnight
Derek Landy: Skulduggery Pleasant: Bedlam
Derek Landy: Skulduggery Pleasant: Seasons of War
Derek Landy: Skulduggery Pleasant: Dead or Alive
Derek Landy: Skulduggery Pleasant: Until the End
Derek Landy: Tanith Low in... The Maleficent Seven

Derek Landy is hilarious and very intelligent, as he never fails to remind the readers in his dedications. To his credit, he's right. ;)

His books are very funny, but also dealing with topics like PTSD, addiction, religious fanaticism, discrimination and racism, or shitty parents.

The books are actually so full of clever jokes and light-hearted snark that one might not notice the darkness creeping in until the heroine is suddenly day-dreaming about getting high the second she comes home, the author avatar has to be mercy-killed because he suffered a fate worse than death and the bad guy keeps winning. Then the protagonist switches sides and works with the bad guy, and then the world actually ends. Then it ends again, in an even worse way.

Yeah, I'm not sure why this series is apparently printed as children's books.

What I wanted to say by these long paragraphs is that the whole Skulduggery Pleasant series is great and you should go read it.

Gaming Books

Andrea Sfiligoi: 4 Against Darkness
Andrea Sfiligoi: 4 Against the Abyss

A solo game with wonderfully light ruleset that will let you play quickly and with a single d6. Though the rules are completely different, the feel of the game is like you were running an old-school D&D dungeon crawl.

If you're looking for a combat-based solo game rather than a narrative one, this one is surly a top choice.

Wizards of the Coast: Dungeons & Dragons 5e: Player's Handbook

I will also have to get the Game Master's Guide...

Swen Harder: Reiter der schwarzen Sonne (Knight of the Dark Sun)

A massive gamebook I've got for Christmas. Very nice so far!

28 October 2022

4AD: Dragon Cult

Dragonslayer by Nolan Lu


First, here is a bigger table of dragons for Four Against Darkness:

d6True Dragons
1Two-headed swamp dragon. Their never-ending debate only lulls when they devour another hapless victim.
Level 6 dragon, 5 Life, 2 attacks, 3 treasure rolls at +1.
On each of its turns, roll a d6. On ⚀, the dragon breathes fire from its right head; all characters must make a level 6 breath Save or take d3 damage. On ⚅, the dragon breathes poison from its left head; all characters must make a level 5 poison Save or get Poisoned.
Reaction: 1 sleeping, 2-3 bribe, 4-5 fight, 6 quest.
2Flightless rotting dragon. Wreathed in offerings and grave goods meant to sooth its spirit. It didn't work.
Level 6 dragon, 6 Life, treasure is sacrificial gifts worth 2d6 * 100 gp.
Any character wounded by the dragon must make a level 4 poison Save or lose 1 additional Life due to an infected wound, and another level 4 poison Save or be Paralysed.
Reaction: Always fight to death.
3Four-winged storm dragon. Red lightning crackles across its scaly skin. Its every move reverberates with sharp winds.
Level 6 dragon, 5 Life, 3 treasure rolls at +1.
On each of its turns, roll a d6. On ⚀, the dragon claps its wings, causing a massive wind storm; all characters must make a level 6 hazard Save or take 1 damage. On ⚅, the dragon throws a lightning bolt at a random companion; the characters must make a level 6 magic Save or take 2 damage. Characters in heavy armour don't roll against either of these special attacks and take the damage automatically.
Reaction: 1 sleeping, 2-5 bribe, 6 fight.
4Crystal guardian dragon. A towering, winged figure, encased in glistening armour. It wields a gigantic sword of raw crystal.
Level 7 dragon, 6 Life, 2 attacks, 2 treasure rolls at +2.
Each attack of the dragon deals 2 damage. Once reduced to half Life, the dragon breathes a cloud of dust. The whole party must make a level 4 breath Save or be turned to crystal.
Reaction: 1-4 threaten, 5 puzzle, 6 fight to death.
5Divine serpent dragon. It has no wings, yet it coils through the air with an ease born of powerful magic.
Level 7 dragon, 7 Life, 4 treasure rolls.
On each of its turns, roll a d6 to see which spell the dragon casts:
  1. Word of Law: All characters must make a level 7 breath Save or take 1 holy damage.
  2. Heretic's Woe: A random character must make a level 5 magic Save or lose d3 Life.
  3. Heretic's Penance: A random character must make a level 5 magic Save or become Cursed.
  4. Cage of the Faithless: A random character must make a level 5 magic Save or fall asleep until the end of the encounter.
  5. Zeal of the Faithful: The dragon summons d6 cultists (level 4 minions).
  6. Immortal Glory: The dragon regains 1 LP. If at full Life, the dragon attacks normally instead.
Reaction: 1 offer food and rest, 2 magical challenge, 3 quest, 4-5 sleeping, 6 bribe.
6Starborn void dragon. The stars dance. The stars scream. The stars despise. This world is not worth even an afterthought.
Level 8 dragon, 8 Life, 2 attacks, 2 treasure rolls and an Epic Reward.
Before the fight begins, roll d6 to determine the special powers of the dragon:
  1. World Eater: The first time it is reduced to half Life, the dragon breathes in. The whole party must make a level 5 breath Save or lose 1 level. The dragon regains LP equal to the number of levels lost by the party.
  2. Blacklight: At the start of the encounter, the dragon breathes a beam of unseen light. The whole party must make a level 5 breath Save or be permanently blinded.
  3. Interstellar: Once reduced to half Life, the dragon breathes a cloud of interstellar gas. The whole party must make a level 3 breath Save or be frozen solid (and die).
  4. Starfall: Once reduced to half Life, the dragon flies high above and then plummets as a blazing meteorite. The whole party must make a level 4 hazard Save or take 3 damage.
  5. Starscream: At the start of the encounter, and then again when reduced to half Life, the dragon screams. The whole party must make a level 6 fear Save or take 1 point of Madness.
  6. Vacuum: Every round, the whole party must make a level 4 breath Save or take 1 damage from asphyxiation.
Reaction: 1-5 sleeping, 6 fight to death.

When the party kills a true dragon, they may cut out its heart and take it back to Town as an additional treasure. There, a character may sacrifice the heart on the altar of the Dragon Cult to receive a random draconic gift. A character may only have a number of draconic gifts equal to their Level and should they roll one they already possess, no gift is gained from that heart.

d6Draconic Gifts
1Dragon Breath: Choose an element. Once per adventure, breathe to deal d3 damage, no roll required.
2Dragon Roar: Once per adventure, roar with such ferocity that your foes immediately roll Morale.
3Dragon Armaments: Your sharp claws and spiked tail count as martial weapons or a polearm, respectively (both grant +0 Attack), which cannot be disarmed, damaged or otherwise degraded. You may not wield anything to use them, though.
4Dragon Eyes: You cannot be blinded (from darkness, curse, or such) and ignore invisibility.
5Dragon Hide: Immunity to fire.
6Dragon Wings: While in a room or outdoors, you are immune to traps and get +1 Defence, as you can fly out of the way.

A character who gains all draconic gifts transcends their humanity, becoming an ageless dragonkin.

A dragon heart from Elden Ring.

26 October 2022

4AD: Traps

I have replaced the Room Contents result number 9 with "Roll for a random trap.", because traps are an interesting obstacle while empty rooms are boring.

First though, here is a generalized table of Saves, more or less derived from the non-specific rolls against danger present throughout the base rules of Four Against Darkness. A character's Saves depend on their class and Level, plus any bonuses from magic items. As with all risky rolls, a roll of ⚀ is always a failure.

1BreathAll +L/2
2FearBarbarian +L, Warrior +L/2
3GazeRogue +L/2; immune while blind
4HazardRogue +L, Halfling and Elf +1; armour light -1, heavy -2
5MagicWizard +L, Elf +1, Barbarian -1
6PoisonHalfling and Dwarf +L, Barbarian +L/2

A Cleric uses +L bonus for all Saves involving the undead; though frankly I may do away with Clerics, because I just don't like them.

From here.


Mark any traps on your map. They remain in the room and must be rolled against every time the party passes through there. A Rogue in the first row can attempt to disarm a trap before it hits anyone.

Obvious traps are, well, obvious and seen from afar. The party can choose to turn back rather than enter the room with an obvious trap, but if they want to cross the room, they have to bear the trap's effects.

If you encountered a treasure guarded by a trap (Room Contents #3), use the Obvious Traps table. Otherwise, roll d3 to see which table to use.

d6Obvious Traps
1Spiked pit: All characters trying to cross the pit have to make a level 4 hazard Save or fall in, taking 1 damage. Anyone who falls in must also make a level 4 poison Save or get Poisoned from the spikes.
2Mimic. Does the chest... salivate?
Level 4 aberration, 4 Life, 2 attacks, 2 treasure rolls.
It's so bad at its job that the party can choose to ignore it.
Reaction: Always fight to death.
3Barricade: The path forward is blocked. If you want to go through, make a level 5 Brute check or use a Fireball to destroy it.
4Magic field*: The whole party must make a level 3 magic Save or take 1 damage. The field is visible as an odd shimmering of the air.
5Acid vent: A random character must make a level 3 hazard Save or have a random item from their inventory destroyed.
6Dragon statue: The whole party must make a level 5 breath Save or take d3 damage.

d6Hidden Traps I
1Arrow trap: A random character must make a level 5 Defence roll or take 1 damage.
2Poison dart: A random character must make a level 4 poison Save or get Poisoned.
3Trapdoor: The character at position 1 must make a level 4 hazard Save or fall through the trapdoor, losing 2 LP. In addition, it will take another character to help the victim out of the trapdoor. If someone falls in a trapdoor and they are alone, they eventually die unless they can teleport out.
4Agony rune*: A random character must make a level 2 magic Save or lose half their current Life (round remaining LP down).
5Haunt*: A random character must make a level 4 fear Save or fall unconscious. An unconscious character comes round when they receive healing, or when taken out of the dungeon.
6Giant serrated blade: A random character in the first row must make a level 5 Defence roll or take 2 damage.

d6Hidden Traps II
1Spear trap: Two random characters must make a level 3 hazard Save or take 1 damage.
2Poison gas: The whole party must make a level 3 poison Save or get Poisoned.
3Bear trap: A random character must make a level 4 hazard Save or take 1 damage. Until that damage is healed, they have an injured leg and take -1 to Attack, Defence and hazard Save.
4Crossroads rune*: The whole party is randomly teleported. Roll a die over your map, the party reappears where it ends up. This might place them into a newly generated room.
5Alarm: The light-bearer makes a level 3 hazard Save or sets off the alarm, forcing an encounter with wandering monsters. The monsters arrive aware of the party and roll their Reaction.
6Giant falling stone block: A random character in the second row must make a level 5 hazard Save or take 2 damage.

*) Magic trap. Cannot be disarmed by a Rogue, but can be dispelled by a Wizard in the first row.

24 October 2022

4AD: Magical Equipment

I've had rather little time lately, but I've picked up Four Against Darkness to play when on the train or in a useless Teams meeting. For those who haven't heard about it, it's a solo hack & slash dungeon crawler with procedurally generated dungeons and simple rules which requires only a single d6 (except for a few d66 rolls). It has lots of killing monsters and getting loot, but not really any role-playing unless you invent some yourself.

I especially like the dungeon generator. You have d66 small map pieces in the book and every time you arrive at the edge of an unexplored corridor, you roll for the next piece. It results in a much more interesting map than the many abstract dungeon generators seem to provide.

Anyway, I've already started house-ruling and tinkering with it. :)

From Dark Souls.


When you find a magic weapon as per the base rules, roll on the table below for a special effect in addition to the normal +1 Attack.

d6Magic Weapon Enchantments
1Flaming: Counts as fire damage where advantageous, serves as a lantern when wielded.
2Crystal: Can be shattered for a devastating blow - roll 3d6 and keep the highest result.
3Vorpal (if slashing): Die explodes on ⚅.
Thunder (if crushing): On ⚅, the enemies are stunned by a thunderous blow and miss their next turn.
4Slaying: Against specific monster type (d6), grants extra +1 Attack.
  1. Animals
  2. Aberrations
  3. Greenskins*
  4. Undead
  5. Demons
  6. Bosses
5Runic: Imbued with a single spell that any class can use; roll randomly on the spell table. Recharges each adventure.
6Cursed: Gives the same base bonus as other magic weapons, but also carries a curse. Once picked up (and if you're rolling on this table, you've picked it up), it must be always wielded and cannot be exchanged for another weapon. Bless spell allows the character to exchange the weapon, but doesn't remove the curse.

Unlike weapons, magic shields do not get a bonus to Defence, but they do get a special effect.

d6Magic Shield Enchantments
1Protection: Simply gives extra +1 Defence.
2Parrying: When you roll ⚅ on a Defence roll, make a free bonus attack against the attacker.
3Reflection: Once per adventure, reflect a spell or spell-like ability back at the caster.
4Sentinel: Shatter to completely negate one attack of any kind, even against an ally.
5Warning: The user can act before the monsters when the party is surprised.
6Warding: Offers immunity to one damage type or effect (d6).
  1. Fire
  2. Poison and disease
  3. Paralysis and sleep
  4. Level drain
  5. Instant death effects
  6. Shaping**

*) Goblins, orcs, ogres, trolls.
**) Any magic that affects the physical form. For example polymorph, petrification, mutations, etc.

17 October 2022

The Sun Father


He is old, so old.

His toil is endless, and every step becomes harder and harder. Just one more, he says to himself, just one more step, just one more day, just one more millennium. But he grows weak and tired.

The Sun rises and there is a brand new day.

How he would have laughed at the idea of himself growing old and frail, once. He remembers those days when he ran with his brothers and sisters under the primordial sky, naked golden skin glistening, pure joy of life and hunt in their hearts. They tore bears apart with bare hands. But those days are long gone now.

The Sun sets and another day is over.

He is doing it for his family. They need him, he says to himself, but he no longer believes they remember. They live for the moment, for passion and action and sensation. Most likely they just forgot about him and moved on, unburdened by the grim thoughts of his eternal labour.

The Sun rises, burning bright for all.

The orb is searing his hands. Once he would cavort in a blizzard and swim in a volcano, but now his skin is blistered from the heat and yet he shivers from the freezing air. But he presses on.

The Sun sets as it did for times untold.

He remembers the day when the old father died. His family was solemn and sombre, a rare sight indeed. The old father toiled for them all, and someone would have to continue the work. He was young and foolish and proud. He volunteered.

The Sun rises and it will do so again tomorrow.

For how long is he going in circles? First, days flew past and he didn't break a sweat, then years and he was bored but determined. Then centuries and millennia and even more and ever more...

The Sun sets, for it never stops.

His chest hurts and he can hardly breathe. His left arm went numb and he more staggers than walks. Yet the work is there and then there is more work, always.

Just one more step.

Just one more step, just one more step.

Just one more...

He is so exhausted.


There is a mountain at the end of the world, and a plateau at its top. There is a massive circle scorched into the rock of the plateau. There is a lone golden figure pushing a burning boulder of gold along that trail. And there is the Sun in the sky, forever circling the world, blazing just as the boulder of gold does.

Except the Sun has stopped.

Where did the Sun stop?

  1. Just below horizon, the world is in unending twilight.
  2. Just after sunrise and the Sun is sitting on the horizon now.
  3. The Sun is hanging low in the sky, a morning forever more.
  4. High in the sky, maybe even at the zenith. It burns with unrelenting heat.
  5. Red sky at night, shepherd's delight. Dusk came but the Sun never fully set.
  6. It was night, and now the night will not go away.

Can the PCs find another god willing to take on the burden of the Sun? Or is there another way?

1 August 2022

d100 Magical Statues

Temple halls and forbidden tombs. Deep dungeons and abandoned castles. Gardens. Forests. City squares. They all should have statues in them.

Forgotten by Fenro45

Admittedly, I like statues and I like to imagine them in many locations. What I don't like is coming up with their descriptions on the fly, because those can often fall flat. So what I need is a big table of pre-made statues.

Many of the statues below have been inspired by those found in ADOM. Each statue also has a special effect described, but feel free to ignore those. Magical statues are cool, but sometimes all you need is the flavour.

1An ugly little goblin hewn from gabbro and holding a shovel.The shovel points towards where a chest had been walled in.
2This statue is unfinished, as though the sculptor ran out of time. It seems to depict a child, maybe?Anyone who touches the statue immediately grows d20 years younger and the statue gets a tiny bit more finished. Works once per person only.
3A fey queen sculpted from white marble. Her eyes are brilliant-cut sapphires. Touching the sapphires forces a Save vs permanent paralysis.
4A hooded ranger in a readied combat stance wielding a pair of short swords. The swords are actual masterwork weapons, but have to be pried free from the statue's stony grip.
5A larger than life knight made from some strangely glistening black stone, wielding an axe in one hand and a severed head in the other. A plaque on the pedestal reads: "Vae Victis"Saying "Vae Victis" out loud animates the severed head. It contains the spirit of a sorcerer once slain by the depicted knight.
6A large cube of grey stone precariously standing on a corner, one large and intricate rune carved into each face. Touching a rune teleports you to another runed cube. There are seven such statues, each connected the the others via its runes.
7A nun raising her hand in a blessing, but covered in cracks and grime. The pedestal bears these words: "A moment of respite, a chance of relief."Sleeping at the feet of the statue will grant a bonus Save vs one affliction affecting you, and the statue will get a bit more cracked and grimy once you wake up.
8A bearded blacksmith stands hunched over an empty anvil, his brow furrowed in concentration. His right hand grips a hammer, raised as if ready to strike. If anything is placed on the anvil, the statue will smash it with the hammer and shatter it (including magic items normally resistant to such).
9A naked woman with an oversized, misshapen and mutilated head. She is wearing a necklace, but the head is too big to simply remove it.The necklace is quite valuable, but if the statue is damaged, it will animate and attack.
10An elf wearing a noble armour of ancient design. He is hunched over as if in agony, his eyes screwed shut. Getting very close the statue, you will hear a faint whisper: "I suffer, great hero. Wilst thou help me?" If you consent, the statue's eyes will open, burning with purple radiance, and you gain d6 mutations. The statue will look momentarily relieved, before closing its eyes again. Works once per person.
11A warlock in flowing robes, wielding a staff in one hand and a sword in the other.The statue reflects any spell cast at it.
12More of a twisted, abstract blob of glassy stone than an actual statue.As long as a creature keeps making skin contact with this statue, their flesh may be re-shaped like clay. It's excruciatingly painful.
13A thin, tall, black monolith.Breaking the monolith will open a portal to Beyond.
14A vaguely humanoid form completely overgrown with plant life and crawling with insects.Some useful herbs that have no business growing in a dungeon can be harvested from the statue.
15This statue is a pile of books, each crafted from a different type of rock.Touching a book will make a voice in your head read it to you.
16A warrior-nun in a fighting position, decorated with ivory.If you kick the statue, it will catch your leg and break it. Once the fractured bone heals, you will be able to double jump.
17A fat smiling man, made of solid gold. The pedestal bears a crude engraving, likely added later: "Beware Greed"Touching the statue will make half your carried gold disappear. A disembodied laugh will ring in your ears and the statue will grow a bit more fat. The statue is unnaturally resistant to damage.
18An young wizard with an open grimoire in one hand, the other bent in a spellcasting gesture.The grimoire actually has a spell engraved in it, which can be copied into your spellbook.
19An aged wizard brandishing an ornate wand. An inscription on the pedestal says: "In honour of the grand-" and the rest was destroyed by a spell impact.Trying to hit the statue with a spell from a wand will instead recharge/empower the wand. If attempted again with the same wand, the wand will explode.
20A serpentine dragon, a different rune emblazoned on each scale. A plaque reads: "He Shall Reap the Wind"Speaking in the presence of the statue brings about wind, the stronger the louder one spoke. Even whispers cause pretty strong gusts.
21Two enormous dogs standing guard over a fallen soldier. A plaque reads: "Never resting. Ever watching."Any dog who sees this statue will gain d6 max hp and increase its Morale to 12. Works once per dog.
22A maiden kneeling in prayer.If you haven't done anything too questionable or sinful recently, praying for a while will heal d6 hp.
23A sneering jester juggling human skulls. Telling any joke near this statue will cause a deafening laughter to echo throughout the room. Roll for a random encounter due to the noise. Out of character jokes at the table count too.
24Only the feet remain from this statue. The pedestal is engraved with the following words: "Aut viam inveniam aut faciam."Any piece chipped off from the statue (not the pedestal) can be used to cast knock once.
25A woman just rousing from sleep, her face absolutely terrified.Anyone sleeping in the room will enter a shared nightmare of a dark forest. It contains magic loot, but also a lot of dream-monsters. If you get killed in the dreamscape, your real body dies of fright.
26A boulder-sized perfect metallic sphere floating above its pedestal.Anything touching the statue becomes weightless. Do not move it off the pedestal!
27A huge heap of old, rusty armour and weapons, seemingly fused together.For a moment, you thought you heard faint whispers coming from inside of the heap...
28A sandstone dog growling at an unseen threat.Any sand scraped off the statue can be used as a barrier against spectral enemies.
29A mad wizard ripping pages out of a spellbook. An inscription reads: "Knowledge is a finite resource; the more you learn, the more you forget."Any PC who touches the statue falls unconscious and wakes up only after d6 hours. They may opt to change the class of their last level (eg. fighter 6 might become fighter 5, thief 1). Only works once per person.
30A man crowned with twigs and leaves, surrounded by a swarm of squirrels. Leave an offering of nuts on the pedestal and the next time you need help, several squirrels will come to your aid.
31A cloaked figure, its left arm hidden under the cloak but its right arm extended outwards, holding a set of scales. A plaque reads: "To the ancient judges in whose dominion Balance reigned supreme." Place an object of contention on the scales and present your case. The object will be equitably split in half; treasure by its real value, a magic item might be duplicated with half its potency, a baby might be cloned. If the case is in bad faith, however, the figure will reveal its left hand wielding a sword; Save vs decapitation.
32A naked male figure missing its head.Placing a severed head on the statue's neck stump will fuse them together and animate the head with its new golem-body.
33A featureless humanoid standing square and emotionless. It is missing one hand, an eye and a few chunks from its chest.If you touch the statue and have a body part missing, you will be granted a prosthetic of animated stone and the statue will lose a corresponding piece.
34A crude wooden figurine of a giant rat. A barely-readable scrawling on its pedestal says: "FOOD"Leaving any food at the pedestal will quickly lure in a menagerie of rats, giant rats, wererats, zombie rats and any other rodents that live in the vicinity. They might be quite friendly if they can get their bellies full.
35A great hero strikes a breathtaking pose. How gorgeous! How graceful! How inspiring! Oh, wait... Suddenly, it seems to resemble you.The statue takes on the appearance of the first PC who investigates it, only more beautiful and godly. Any damage taken by the statue is also taken by the character.
36A head of a gargantuan dragon, hewn from obsidian. Covered in frost and nearly too cold to touch.The whole room is quite chilly. Anyone falling asleep here will slumber forever, requiring no food and never ageing. They can be safely awoken if slowly thawed next to a fire.
37A weary soldier, heavily leaning on his spear. An inscription reads: "The wars will not remember you or your comrades."Leaving some fresh flowers on the pedestal will lift your fatigue as if you had a good night's sleep.
38A delicate young woman lies prostrate on an ornate settee, clothed in a thin, revealing attire, with one hand resting wearily against her forehead and the other reaching languidly outwards. Her posture suggests great despair.Kissing the outstretched hand forces you to babble out your darkest secret.
39Ten monkeys climbing over each other.Climbing on top of the statue reveals a secret escape hatch in the ceiling.
40A stone tree smeared with dried blood.Sprinkling the statue with fresh blood makes a single blood-red apple grow on the tree. Very tasty.
41A man with a twisted expression, holding a sword with which he just severed his other hand. The severed hand is lying on the pedestal and someone has written in dried blood by it: "No sacrifice too big."Every piece of flesh that you cut off from your own body and place on the pedestal will transform into gold.
42A gorgeous woman with piercing eyes.The eyes are engraved with symbols of fascination. Looking directly into them will plunge you into a beautiful dream where you live a good, happy life with this woman. You cannot wake up on your own.
43A golden fish leaping from a pond.Any cracks on the statue will spill fresh water. The bigger the crack, the more water.
44A dwarf raising a tankard in a toast.Pouring any alcoholic beverage into the tankard will make it froth and overflow; drinking from this overflow acts as a very alcoholic healing potion.
45The statue is cast in bronze and depicts a barbarian accompanied by a snarling dog.The statue is hollow and filled with human bones. Any canine offered one of these bones will leave you be and happily chew on it.
46A goblin crafted from green glass, dancing madly.Breaking the statue will make you greenish and translucent, forever. Not invisible, just translucent.
47A big ugly toad, its tongue outstretched.If you leave dead insects on the tongue, the frog will gobble them up and spit out copper pieces.
48A dwarf with a determined grin and a full backpack. Graffiti scratched into the pedestal reads: "Better a small fire that warms than a great fire that burns."Start a campfire in front of the statue to talk to it. It knows a lot about this dungeon, though its knowledge may be outdated.
49A statue of a giant stands sneering from above, blocking a doorway with its oversized sword.Politely asking the statue to let you through will make it raise the sword. You have to say "please".
50A wide bowl filled with scarab statuettes, accented with gold filigree and precious stones. Attempting to remove a statuette will make them all animate and attack. They can be pacified by singing.
51An elf is playing a lute, half of her face dissolving into a mass of tentacles.When you start singing or playing an instrument, you will soon be accompanied by a disembodied lute. Keep it up and your flesh will shift, slowly developing more and more mutations.
52A demon statue wrapped in rusty chains, standing in a partially walled up alcove.Removing the chains will prompt the statue to ask for sacrifices. It can grant knowledge and magic. Should it receive enough offerings, it will break free of the petrification.
53A gargoyle is kneeling with its cupped hands raised high above and filled with beautiful pearls.Taking a pearl instantly fills your lungs with sea water.
54A massive man is struggling under the weight of chains binding him to the ground.Breaking any of the chains causes an earthquake to shake the dungeon.
55A tall, robed woman holding a thick book in her hands. The flesh of her forearms is engraved with the symbols of the elements. The symbols can be copied and used to ward off the elements.
56A great hulk of black obsidian, depicting an ancient warrior. His armour is dented and battered, his sword broken and his shield split, yet he seems ready to jump back into the fray.Any damaged item touched to the statue is mended.
57A large amphora filled with murky water. It smells of decay.There are several undead fish and a few pieces of jewellery hidden in the water.
58A ceramic statue of a man with a goatee and a stern expression. Wherever you move his eyes seem to follow. Once this statue has been sighted, every newly explored room has a 1-in-6 chance of containing this statue.
59A proud and haughty woman in flowing robes. Once richly decorated, the statue is now defaced, with most of the silver and gold adornments stolen, and the gemstones it had for eyes gouged out and gone.Anyone who touches the statue is permanently blinded, yet they can see precious gems and metals even through walls. This curse is lifted if they bring a new adornment to the statue.
60A solitary siren sits atop a pile of bones. Singing near the statue will cause it to animate and compliment your singing voice. It will ask you to trade it your voice. If you agree, you are stricken mute but get a sea-themed magic item in return.
61A small, tubby, bald man carved from a dark stone. He is smiling widely and carries a small cask under his right arm. A placard on the pedestal reads: "I share freely."The tap on the cask can be opened, spilling an endless supply of a murky liquid. The liquid works as a random potion - roll once per character, the liquid will always have the same effect for each character.
62A human-sized jackal with sparkling rubies for eyes. Undead creatures will never come close to this statue.
63A knight, curiously holding a shield in each hand.All attacks made in range of the statue will target the statue instead of the intended victim.
64A mottled black and red eudialyte stone has been polished and sculpted into the shape of a giant, anatomically correct heart.All healing magic is maximized around the statue. However, the patient will start hearing the thrum of a giant heart, the more loudly the more times they are healed near the statue, and it never goes away.
65A winged figure clad in plate and gripping a soot-stained greatsword.Flames cannot be put out in this room.
66A thinly built man huddled as if to squeeze through a narrow gap. He leads with a crossbow, held at arm's length. The stone crossbow is missing a quarrel, but if one is loaded in it, it will shoot the next creature that crosses the statue's sights.
67A too tall and slender magician, clothed in a foreign garb. On the palm of his extended hand dances a ghostly flame.The ghostly flame produces light but no heat.
68A humanoid figure, but so old and eroded it has lost all distinguishable features.Any person who dies in this room will have their soul trapped in the statue, replacing a previous soul if there was one. You can talk with a trapped soul when touching the statue. There's a 2-in-6 chance that there already is a soul inside when you find the statue.
69A barefoot amazon clad in wolf pelts, drawing her longbow and about to shoot.The arrowhead is made of metal, unlike the rest of the statue, and is exceedingly sharp. Anyone pricked by it will be affected as if by a sleeping poison.
70A plague doctor taking off his mask, his face frozen in a rictus grin.Every exploration turn spent in the room, save against a random disease.
71A young elvish girl, perhaps seven or eight, carved from basalt. An engraving on the pedestal reads: "Never forget, never forgive."Humans take double damage when in sight of the statue.
72A naked, peeing boy.The pee is actually molten gold, disappearing into a hole in the floor.
73A very old and ugly man, nearly buckling under the weight of a big sack full of weapons on his back - swords, axes, hammers and flails, spears, bows, ...Any weapon touched to the statue turns to stone.
74A huge egg assembled from a thousand interlocking pieces carved from different types of stone. A placard at the pedestal reads: "Only a fool would break me."If one can solve the puzzle and open the egg, there might be a reward hidden inside. Only a fool would break the egg!
75A cloaked figure, tall and regal and carved from white marble, yet the shadows beneath its hood are deep and swirling.If anything disturbs the swirling shadows, a torrent of black smoke starts spilling from under the hood.
76An ice sculpture of a leopard in mid-leap. The ice glows from within, as if there was something trapped inside. If shattered, reveals a magic ring that allows the casting of wall of ice, but is also haunted by the spirit of a snow leopard.
77A warrior beaten down onto one knee, cowering under a shield and cradling his other arm. There is a mixture of horror, desperation and anger on the statue's face. A wizard might realize that this is no statue. The warrior is stuck in stasis.
78Half of a warrior remains mounted on a war horse, all carved from crumbling sandstone. Sand is slowly but constantly falling off the statue.Nothing in this room ages.
79A vampire prostrated and pleading, its fanged maw open wide. There are stains of old, dried blood inside its throat.Anyone who cuts themselves and bleeds into the vampire's mouth will be purified of all physical and metaphysical maladies, but also drop to 0 hp. Pouring some blood from a dead creature into the statue's mouth will raise the corpse as a ravenous zombie.
80A badly defaced statue of an orcish hero, poised with a great-axe in his hands. Unlike the statue, the axe is made of steel and decorated with orcish pictograms and pieces of jade.The axe is enchanted with human slaying. It also bears a curse - if a non-orc steals it, they will transform into an orc the next time they sleep.
81A statue made of aged and splintering wood, the details far too faded to make out. It appears to be holding a wand. Magic becomes very unpredictable and prone to amusing side effects in the vicinity of this statue.
82A barbarian warrior clad in thick furs, hiding behind a large, asymmetrical mirror.One can walk through the mirror into a mirrored copy of this room, except it contains someone's hideout. A bed, a burnt-out campfire and some assorted pieces of equipment left strewn about.
83A nobleman smiling a slightly mad smile, an arm held upward with a severed ear in his palm. Touching the statue will strike you permanently deaf, but you will now be able to hear nearby magic as strange whispers.
84A chest-high pillar carved with words in many, many languages and scripts.You can read any piece of writing that you rest on top of the pillar.
85A towering tyrant-king of yore resting upon his throne, many small figures cowering before him.Anyone who comes close to the statue will be forced to kneel. Everyone affected will also have all pain they feel amplified hundredfold.
86A very smooth and perfectly black prism, dark smoke rising from its surface. If you touch it, you might find an imprint of a hand.Always surrounded by a expansive cloud of swirling darkness. As long as you have a hand lain in the imprint, you can precisely sense everything inside of this darkness.
87A man with the legs of a beast, though covered in moss and some of the original definition lost to the ages. He holds something in his hands, a musical instrument or a tablet perhaps? Any song or magical spell performed in the room will be absorbed by the statue, disappearing from the mind of the user. Should the statue be broken, however, all the spells and songs it has absorbed will flood the mind of whoever destroyed the statue. Over the next few days, their legs will turn into those of a beast...
88A strange creature with fourteen outstretched arms, all hands cupped as if ready to receive alms.If a small, precious item is put into the statue's hand, it will close and crush the item in its fist. Once all fourteen hands are filled, the statue will open its mouth and start vomiting an endless stream of crude oil.
89A gaunt elf engorging herself from a plate full of food. No one feels hungry around the statue. You still need food, you just cannot force yourself to chew and swallow until you leave the statue's presence. This works even on creatures that would normally hunt and bite and devour.
90A fledgling bird, carved from obsidian with individual feathers formed from gold and silver. It is standing up from a cracked egg, made from a softly glowing geode.The statue's pedestal is unnaturally warm. Any eggs left there will soon hatch into the respective creature, but unusually intelligent and with feathers or scales made of precious metal.
91A hippopotamus-headed goddess, lounging in the middle of a small basin.Drinking the water from the basin sends you into a dream of a great feast arranged by the goddess. This dream is shared among all who drink this water, and it works even if the water is removed from the basin.
92A kobold holding a human baby.No youngling can be harmed near this statue. Coincidences will conspire to keep them safe and sound. They also cannot be forcibly removed from there, they can leave only of their own free will.
93A fleeing woman, her expression a strange mix of panic and elation. The statue weeps in the presence of secrets.
94A dark-haired woman wearing a toga and holding out a golden apple.The apple can be freely taken. It is not actually made of gold, only gold-coloured. It can be eaten, tasting like a fresh, sweet apple. Eating it cures the one biggest problem a person has - it can be anything, from an injury or malady to a curse or longing. They are however also polymorphed into likeness of the dark-haired woman. The apple reappears in the statue's hand overnight, but doesn't work (again) for any dark-haired women.
95A decrepit beggar dressed in tattered rags is prostrating themselves, a mendicant bowl filled with gold coins gripped in their hands.The coins can be freely taken, but carry a curse. You will gain no benefit from any of your gold and treasures - no merchant will take your money, you get no XP for GP, etc. The only way to break the curse is to return all the coins back to the statue.
96A farmer with a dog by his side appears to be looking up to something with hopeful determination. A plaque reads: "Hard work and a strong back can overcome any obstacle."Morale and Fear checks cannot be failed in this room.
97An ogre in a pose of belly-shaking mirth, carved of a foreign red stone.Reaction rolls are at +4 in this room.
98An infinitely complex crystalline helix which glows with a strange light. Time passes more slowly near this statue. Every minute you spend there, a whole day will pass in the rest of the world.
99A dragon lies slain, with a goblin standing triumphantly on the corpse.This area is sacred to goblinkind, used for peace talks and moots. Anyone can ask for a parley here, and oaths sworn between two parties are said to be enforced by the will of the ancestral heroes.
100A man and a woman standing back to back, both holding a dagger and grinning with murderous glee.No form of immortality, invulnerability or damage resistance applies around this statue.

And here are bonus d20 statues with no special effects:

1Three horsemen. The first is holding up a falcon, the second a severed head and the third a cornucopia.
2A dancer as if in the middle of a jump, back bent and arms spread wide.
3An elven woman is cradling a tiny wyrmling in her arms.
4A humongous foot. A plaque reads: "Artist unknown but wanted."
5A caryatid column is holding the ceiling above.
6The statue is crude and huge, barely resembling some animalistic figure. It's like it wasn't even carved with a chisel, but rather torn from raw stone by sharp claws.
7A jumble of stone and metal loops intertwine into a wondrous miracle of art. While seemingly chaotic, the eye is quickly drawn to follow the curves, building a never-ending, fractal pattern of layers upon layers of meanings. A tear of raw emotion leaks from the corner of your eye as you finally understand that- that... Er... What?
8A female form in alabaster, kneeling but with hands thrust skywards. There are jagged holes ripped through her open palms.
9A weasel with two heads, each of its four eyes made from a different kind of gemstone.
10Intricately crafted from granite is some variety of a terrifying qintupedal beast of hooked claws, razor-sharp teeth and needle-like quills.
11A minotaur cradling in his arms a female orc wearing a full plate.
12Two entangled snakes swallowing each other's tail, shaped like a lemniscate; one made of copper and the other of brass. Runes tracing along their back read: "Life devours life."
13A raven sitting atop a pile of books.
14A goat.
15A simple column of jale stone, rising hundreds of feet high to a ceiling that cannot even be seen.
16A silver wireframe of a cat, it's back arched and its eyes made of polished gabbro.
17A spear-wielding nomad of the southern desert, carved from some white rock. Its hair have been recently painted blue.
18A headless female figure sprouting uncountable, interwoven arms, each holding a different weapon.
19A column of human skulls, mortared together.
20This marble statue of a naiad has been vertically split in half. Inspecting the cut, you notice that the stone had been partially melted.

And if you've read all the way down here, you can also download the table as a 

> PDF <

29 July 2022

QHW Blog Ring

Nothing new from me, but here is what other people have made for the Quarter-Hour of Writing challenge:


Picture for the picture god!

8 July 2022

From an Ancient Bestiary

I was going through some boxes in the attic when I found my old school notebook from when I was nine or ten years old. It contains what is probably the first bestiary that I've made, scrawled in between homework. It is... rather silly, really. Apparently I was enamoured with deadly poison and big numbers at the time. And the word "super".

This is no RPG bestiary, mind you. Just some hand-drawn monsters with short descriptions of capabilities. For your enjoyment, I have scanned the pictures and noted some fun facts from the descriptions. Hope you like really shitty art.


Winged Knight
His right hand has been replaced with a hurricane-strength wind cannon and he is apparently wearing heavy armour, yet he can still fly. His sword is also "super-sharp".


Carp Knight
This one had his right hand replaced with a water cannon capable of cutting steel, his fish-scales are as hard as his armour, and he can swim at a maximum speed of 300 km/h.

They are not present in this bestiary, but I distinctly remember there were more types of these knight, the Knights of the Labyrinth. There were the Four-armed Knights (with two arm-cannons) and the Tentacled Knights (with a normal upper body and a lower body dissolving into a mass of tentacles) and maybe even more that I don't recall. They all hail from the Enchanted Labyrinth, a dungeon that we explored with my brothers before we knew about any RPG rules and systems, using just make believe.


Three-humped Dragon
I like how this dragon is more of a chimera, mixing bits of a camel, hippogriff, goat, lion and an actual dragon. His three humps allow him to survive without food and water for up to three years and he can fly at a top speed of 300 million km/s, which is a thousand times faster than light. It is not written anywhere, but I'd like to imagine that this dragon can survive in the outer space and migrates between solar systems.

He also doesn't breathe fire, but rather shoots lightning from his horns.


Unicorn Devil
Probably my favourite creature of this bunch, simply because he looks so silly.

The unicorn horn secretes a "super-deadly" poison. I told you it's coming. The devil horns are even stranger, with a note saying they have "magic rope". Can they manifest some animated rope, or what exactly is going on? It's a mystery.

He is also noted as being super strong and tough, wearing no armour and needing none.


Mud Devil
This is both a devil and an alien, hailing from the solar system of Sirius. His whole body is made of living mud, which lets him pass through cracks or grating. He's also in love with lasers, because both his sword and his staff can shoot lasers.


Alien of Jupiter
Or I guess Jovian?

He can fly (presumably via psychic powers) and shoot ball lightning from his antennae (seen in action on the picture). His robe is also indestructible.


Tiny Ghost-Ghoul
His tentacles have venomous suckers, though not super-deadly this time. However, the weapons are enchanted to kill instantly.

Being a ghost, he can also phase through walls and fly. No information is given on how tiny he truly is, but given that I had once considered it necessary to mention his size, he is probably really small.


Elastic Ghost-Vampire
Now this one has a fun form of attack. His whole body and all the hands can stretch and twist. He reaches through a wall to grapple a victim, and once the victim is immobilized, bites them and drains their blood.


Poison Daisy
Not only does this flower have venomous teeth, she is also thorny with any scratches resulting in an infection. Thankfully, she is rooted in place, so just keep your distance.


Serpent Sapling
It's a coniferous tree sapling which can slither around on its single overlarge root. It can also shoot needles imbued with super-deadly poison. And it's so small and inconspicuous it can easily hide. Oh joy.


Guardian Robot
I don't know what is he guarding, but he might be better off switching lines of work to a killer robot. His right hand-cannon fires rockets while the left hand-cannon produces a death ray. He can also stomp for a shockwave, shoot lightning bolts from his antenna (Why did I like electrified antennae so much?) and if all that fails, bite off your limbs. His visor pierces invisibility and the material of his body ignores intangibility.

Finally, he can slide out wings and fly, with a maximum speed of 300 million km/s. Now I must imagine a chase scene where this robot is attempting to capture some adventurers riding three-humped dragons, plummeting through outer space at FTL speeds.


Sunfire Monster
Not much is noted about this creature, except that it attacks with flaming fists that burn with the heat of 11 trillion °C. Funnily, our Sun at its very hottest, in the very core, only has a temperature of 15 million °C.

Oh, and he also ignores cold of up to -100 °C, but given how he would pretty much instantly turn the whole planet into a ball of plasma, that shouldn't be a problem.

30 June 2022

QHW, Day 30: Dwarves

Dwarves need metal. Dwarves eat metal.

Dwarven society is stratified into castes, which in turn are based on the metal which a dwarf can afford to eat. (This can be quite useful for PC dwarves, who can switch between racial benefits simply by changing their diet and waiting for their body to adjust.) More wealthy dwarves can afford better metals, which in turn marks them as belonging to a higher caste. If a dwarf doesn't eat metal, they will grow weak, sickly, and eventually die.

The Alloyed
Any dwarf who switched from one diet to another. It takes several days for one metal to be cleared from the body and superseded with a new one, during which time the dwarf's skin is mottled and uneven, often with rust-pimples or cracks.

Politely ignored if it's a dwarf mid-transition between castes, often with a celebration if they change into a higher caste. Dwarves who keep changing their caste and are more often Alloyed than not, disparagingly called the "slags", are widely considered untrustworthy and ignored impolitely.

The Impures
The lowest caste is composed of dwarves who do not always have access to the same cheap metal every day, or just don't have enough energy left to care. These are the labourers and unskilled workers.

Copper Dwarves have increased stamina, though overdose can lead to restlessness and insomnia. Tin Dwarves have somewhat enhanced senses, especially in the dark. Overdose can lead to migraines. Bronze Dwarves have a lesser version of both, which is especially useful for the miners.

Bronze Dwarves are not considered Alloyed and don't get the tell-tale signs of changing a diet, even if they eat two different metals.

Iron Dwarves, Ferrics
The military caste. Iron Dwarves are stronger and tougher, with overdose leading to the numbing of pain and all emotions.

Many dwarven veterans are unwilling to ever change their diet, as they have brutally slaughtered many enemies while under the influence of iron and losing the numbness would quickly lead to PTSD. Swallowing a large amount of iron at once to intentionally overdose can be used by dwarves of any caste as an emergency painkiller, though it leads to them becoming Alloyed if they weren't Ferrics.

Silver Dwarves, Argents
The craftsdwarves, artisans and artists. Silver Dwarves have augmented creativity, imagination, empathy and emotional intelligence, but overdose can leave them with hallucinations or something akin to a bipolar disorder.

Despite their social nature, many Argents choose to lead a reclusive life, as silver diet sometimes leads to embarrassingly undwarven behaviour, like freely expressing your feelings!

Gold Dwarves, Aureans
The leaders, merchants and scholars. Gold Dwarves have augmented mental capacity, memory retention and brain plasticity, allowing them to learn quickly and easily outwit most others. An overdose leads to a loss of empathy and moral restraints, allowing one to stay calm, objective and profitable even in the face of death and despair. As such, many Aureans eat more gold than would be necessary.

Occultum Dwarves, Occultins
Dwarves never have a natural gift for magic, but they can gain one by eating occultum. This is quite often lethal, but those who survive the first dose are rewarded with sorcerous powers. Occultum Dwarves rarely change their diet unless forced to by circumstances, as they cannot return to occultum without risking their life with that first dose again.

An occultum overdose has roughly equal chance of either a massive explosion, or a transformation into a mighty spirit of the earth.

Quicksilver Dwarves, Mercurials
Mercurials are not a part of the dwarven society. They are outcasts, considered monstrous and perverse. They are feared, despised and only whispered about in stories to frighten children. Their blood is a deadly poison, thus they steal the blood of other dwarves to survive. Just like quicksilver, they are malleable, able to change their appearance at will, or even dissolve their body into a pool of living mercury.

Some stories also claim that Mercurials are immortal. Many dwarven lands ban mercury to forestall the temptation and prevent the rise of dwarf-eating monstrosities in their midst.

29 June 2022

QHW, Day 29: Location

Here are some desert hexes:

Terrain: Sand dunes.
Obvious: Tall, ancient tree. Has roots so deep they reach the underground river hidden beneath the sand. Great for orientation, as there is nothing but it and sand all around.
Hidden: City ruins buried in sand. A sandstorm might uncover them, only for the next one to bury them again.

Terrain: Sand dunes.
Obvious: Tents of d6 bedouin families. They are taking their herd of camels to a town fair. You can come with if you wish to.
Hidden: Several corpses freshly buried in shallow graves.

Terrain: Small town with a fort.
Obvious: An inn, a bazaar, baths, barracks with barely any soldiers.
Hidden: A watchtower with all entrances bricked up.

Terrain: Wadi.
Obvious: One-armed goatherd with a massive herd of goats.
Hidden: Giant sandstone hand sticking out of the ground.

Terrain: Sandstone rocks.
Obvious: Sand people campsite with a wellspring, hidden in a rock crevasse.
Hidden: Sandstone tombs deeper in the rocks.

And here are some undead:


  • Also known as the Sun vampires, elkali are solitary desert-dwelling undead who prey on caravans and oasis settlements.
  • They appear as sun-dried corpses, and thus usually hide their visage behind robes, veils and headdresses.
  • They feed by draining a creature of all their moisture, leaving them mummified.
  • They are known to possess inhuman strength and speed, plus the ability to transform into a flying cloud of sand.
  • They only stay active when the Sun is up. Even being in shadow weakens them.
  • At night, they fall into a deathly torpor and cannot be roused. Thus they dig themselves deep into sand to sleep in safety until the Sun rises again.
  • Unlike their local counterparts, they cannot stealthily hunt under the cover of the night, so they rely on disguises, ambushes and kidnapping their victims for later meals.
  • During the night, hunters will use thin poles to discover dormant elkali. However, they also have to deal with the ghouls that come out at night to devour the corpses left behind by elkali.

28 June 2022

QHW, Day 28: Spells

Upon their graduation, each member of the Mage Guild receives an implement which is used to focus and empower their spells beyond the common hedge magery. The focusing stone in this staff (it's usually a staff, though wands or rings and other jewelry are also possible) depends on the mage's chosen field of study, as certain types of stones resonate better with certain types of magic.

d20 Focusing Stones

  1. Glintstone: illusions
  2. Gemstone: emotions
  3. Warpstone: alteration
  4. Sunstone: paladin-style evil-slaying magic
  5. Moonstone: glamour
  6. Bloodstone: biomancy
  7. Gravestone: necromancy
  8. Keystone: portals
  9. Brimstone: fire
  10. Hailstone: ice and frost
  11. Nullstone: hex-breaking
  12. Lodestone: gravity
  13. Felstone: hexes and curses
  14. Voidshard: extradimensional magic
  15. Soulshard: spirit magic
  16. Dragonshard: draconic magic
  17. Godshard: miracles
  18. Dreamshard: dream manipulation
  19. Fossil: time manipulation
  20. Raw crystal: pure magic, crude but powerful

27 June 2022

QHW, Day 27: Physical Laws

Several decades ago, Black Gold Limited completed a new mining station in orbit around the black hole H-485 Phei. With heavy use of spacetime compensators and antigravity generators, the mining crew managed to breach the surface of the black hole and established a mine to extract the deposits of black hole metal ore located between the event horizon and the singularity, a scarce and precious resource.

Since then, Black Gold Limited has shown a considerable financial growth. Until three days ago, that is, when their stock dropped rapidly after some nebulous information about a disaster at the mine that might cripple their supply of black hole metal was leaked to the datasphere.

You have been hired by one of the Black Gold Limited higher-ups to discreetly investigate the "accident". All communications with the mine have indeed been lost. They suspect an industrial sabotage by Omni-Industries megacorp in preparation for a hostile takeover and wish to secure solid grounds for a legal action. They expect that you provide convincing evidence against the megacorp no matter your actual findings.

They provide you with a spacetime-reinforced ship to reach the mining station. Good luck.

26 June 2022

QHW, Day 26: Villains

Morwena the Unseen
Unusually tall and brawny for an elven woman, Morwena is no master of the killing steel as many would guess. Instead, she carries a compound bow three paces long, made from troll horn and ironwood. Her moniker similarly doesn't come from any skill in stealth or invisibility, but rather her penchant for engaging enemies at ranges where they would need a spyglass to even see her.

Her beautiful mare, Feather, gives her the speed to snipe from the next hill over, then escape pursuit and change positions, always staying ahead of her enemies.

Nevermore the Slave
Born in the dark pits of Mörgshire to be a lowly slave and arrow-fodder in the vast armies of Dragana the Demon-Sorceress, Nevermore took on his name after he stole Dragana's horned sceptre and bashed her head in with it. Upon choosing his name, he vowed to free all enslaved or oppressed goblins, wherever they might be, and never stop until all goblin children can live in peace and prosperity.

Nevermore works in secret, travelling through the realms of the various dark lords and organising revolutionary cells in the goblin settlements. Soon, the signal will be sounded and the Evil shall be overthrown.

He still carries the sceptre of his former mistress, its whispers slowly worming their way into his head. Fire is best fought with fire, after all, and the only way to make sure all goblins will be forever safe is to destroy all who would threaten them...

Thog of the Hundred Arms
Thog heard stories of a race of unconquerable warriors, the hecatoncheires, when he was a small child. Thog wanted to be an unconquerable warrior, just like them, so he tried to become one of them. Thog started cutting off the arms of his enemies and sewing them onto his body. Thog was also a troll, and thanks to his remarkable regeneration, this somehow worked.

Kostra the Immortal
Contrary to the belief of the many undead hunters who told tall tales of bringing a final death to the supposed "Immortal", Kostra is not a simple lich with a pompous title. He is an ancient wizard ghost using possessed skeletons to interact with the world of the living, and every time he is "vanquished", he comes back as fast as he can find a new skeleton.

There are no people who have fought Kostra, only those who are either dead, or still fighting him. While he is not all that powerful or hard to defeat, he never ever gives up and really, really holds a grudge. Some whispered legends claim that he will only find peace once his very first grudge is resolved, something he hadn't managed for all the centuries he haunts the world.

Until then, he will always come back, no matter what you throw at him, out of sheer spite.

25 June 2022

QHW, Day 25: Dragons

Fire is a good servant, but a bad master. Humanity was using and utilizing fire since the prehistory shrounded in deep time, but the DRAGON is a remainder that the fear of the flame should never be forgotten. It has a body of coals and embers, of charred corpses and half-molten steel girders, of sand burnt into glass and glowing lava. It radiates deathly heat, like a cracked blast furnace, a volcano or a wildfire. The DRAGON is a mindless, unstoppable destruction without purpose. A gentle remainder that the forces of nature could wipe us out in an instant, should they so choose. A lesson in awe and humility.

The DRAGON is a simple creature, and horrible in its simplicity. It comes, burns everything to the ground, and goes. Those who fight it burn. Those who run burn, too. Those who cannot burn choke on noxious smoke and drown in molten stone. The term "draconic desolation" is not used for no reason.

The DRAGON's breath weapon is a stream of superheated flames. They stick to anything they touch like napalm. They cannot be easily extinguished and continue to burn for a long time even on metal or the surface of water. A glancing blow will burn through a wall. A true strike will melt both a magical armour and the demigod inside. It is the one way to kill the immortal and destroy the invincible.

And the dragonslayers? Those who had truly slain the DRAGON and inherited its soul? They were powerful, yes, for a time. As long as they were still themselves. Why do you think it is called "the DRAGON", singular?

24 June 2022

QHW, Day 24: Megastructures

The worldtree, Nancy. The Yggdrasil.

I'm looking at it right now.

I remember when we had first heard about it after it was discovered. The largest living thing in the known universe. We've seen the documentaries together. But no cameras can provide the real sense of scale. Every time I look out of the port side window, I just freeze for a moment, again and again, lost in its sheer size.

"That is no moon," we joked when PATRIOT first docked in orbit, I remember. That was before my draft notice, of course. But PATRIOT is just a speck against the Yggdrasil.

Really, I have no words that would do it justice. A dendroid Dyson net - that tells you nothing. It has planets wedged between its branches, Nancy. Literal planets.

You really wished to come here, I know. To do your science thing and understand more about this ridiculous crime against the physics as we know them. I'm really glad you didn't.

Our long-range scanners are already going haywire, so that thing is getting close, and yet I can be as calm as a cat knowing that you are safe and sound literal years away.

I keep coming back to our parting kiss from yesterday. My yesterday. I know that with all the time dilation, you have last seen me some ten years ago, but I hope you remember, because the Yggdrasil will survive and I will see you again and I will kiss your then-wrinkly, old face and you will have all the time in the world to get your ass here and science up whatever you want.

Before the communications go blank, I wanted to send you this. This is not a goodbye, it's a promise.

We are the Last Guard, Nancy, and we will hold fast.