On a Table for How to Disarm a Trap.

So, here's the idea. Much like tricks, there's junk, and then the stuff you have to do to that junk. If you have stuff in the room already, you can just pick an item, and roll on the table. If not, roll on the random junk table (which doubles as a random junk table) and then roll on the stuff you do table. Many of the actions (the first 66) were cribbed from the wonderful Endless Bag of Tricks, by Roger S. G. Sorolla over at Roles, Rules, and Rolls.

Some results are nonsense, simply re-roll (lie down on balls? Smear the throne?).  The tables can be used individually also, such as for the subjects of artistic works.

Some Examples:
(95,25,20) There is a mosaic of a hippogriff that is damp. When the trap is triggered mercury drips down and slides in into a series of tiny holes in the ground. Drying off the mosaic will slow the mercury down enough to bypass the trap before it is triggered.
(13,27,82) There is a small statue of an angel sitting as if it's awaiting a gift on top a tall armoire, out of sight of the characters. Simply place any object near the angel, and it will spin, dropping into the back of the cabinet, disarming the trap.
(22,97,60) There is a small icon of a horse, with a cord looped around it's mouth held tightly between its teeth. The cord runs into the wall. Prying the cord out and letting it retract to the wall, will cause the trap to be disarmed.

Stuff You Might Do Stuff You Might Do It To Artistic Themes and Subjects
  1. Touch
  2. Push
  3. Press
  4. Rub
  5. Hit
  6. Pull
  7. Insert Anything
  8. Insert Key
  9. Insert Type
  10. Fill
  11. Lie On
  12. Jump On
  13. Place Anything On
  14. Place Type On
  15. Place Key On
  16. Break
  17. Assemble
  18. Wrap
  19. Move
  20. Cut
  21. Wear
  22. Pry
  23. Slide
  24. Drink
  25. Wash
  26. Dip
  27. Drain
  28. Gaze
  29. Jam
  30. Feed
  31. Cast Spell On
  32. Close
  33. Open
  34. Put
  35. Turn Right
  36. Turn Left
  37. Turn Upside Down
  38. Grasp
  39. Clean
  40. Sift
  41. Smear
  42. Dig
  43. Tie to
  44. Loosen
  45. Swing
  46. Bury
  47. Burn Any
  48. Burn Type
  49. Burn Key
  50. Melt
  51. Douse
  52. Drench
  53. Complete
  54. Speak To
  55. Sing
  56. Decipher
  57. Erase
  58. Sit
  59. Taste
  60. Knock
  61. Use
  62. Fight
  63. Oil
  64. Flush
  65. Dance
  66. Kneel
  67. Nail
  68. Carve 
  69. Paint
  70. Knock
  71. Add To
  72. Empty
  73. Command
  74. Pump
  75. Bounce 
  76. Fasten
  77. Unfasten
  78. Divide
  79. Arrange
  80. Fold
  81. Bump
  82. Heat
  83. Knot or Lick
  84. Attach
  85. Grip
  86. Drop 
  87. Screw
  88. Release
  89. Hook
  90. Drum
  91. Join
  92. Rock
  93. Trace
  94. Balance
  95. Dry
  96. Load or Lock
  97. Squeeze
  98. Match
  99. Prick
  100. Two actions in sequence, Roll Again
  1. Bed
  2. Amblic
  3. Barrel
  4. Basin
  5. Cauldron
  6. Chest
  7. Clock
  8. Bell
  9. Column
  10. Curtains
  11. Map
  12. Mirror
  13. Niche
  14. Relief (Molded, Sculpted, Bas, High, Sunken)
  15. Sconce
  16. Shield
  17. Tile
  18. Dias
  19. Dome
  20. Rivet
  21. Screw
  22. Fireplace
  23. Fountain
  24. Fresco
  25. Mosaic
  26. Painting
  27. Armoire
  28. Bench
  29. Bookshelf
  30. Chair
  31. Desk
  32. Forge
  33. Furnace
  34. Lectern
  35. Loom
  36. Screen
  37. Shrine
  38. Table
  39. Throne
  40. Tub
  41. Idol
  42. Brazier
  43. Candlelabra
  44. Chandelier
  45. Lamp
  46. Lantern
  47. Torches
  48. Book
  49. Runes
  50. Mechanism
  51. Buttons
  52. Crank
  53. Hourglass
  54. Lever
  55. Pulley
  56. Switch
  57. Coins
  58. Musical Instrument
  59. Webs
  60. Bones
  61. Passage
  62. Door
  63. Hallway
  64. Portal
  65. Gate
  66. Tunnel
  67. Pedestal
  68. Pillar
  69. Plant
  70. Cage
  71. Chains
  72. Clamps
  73. Gate
  74. Grill
  75. Hooks
  76. Irons
  77. Locks
  78. Portcullis
  79. Ropes
  80. Statue
  81. Alcove
  82. Bridge
  83. Depressions
  84. Window
  85. Iron Bar
  86. Pipes
  87. Protrusions
  88. Stone Slab
  89. Surface (Floor/Ceiling/Wall
  90. Tapestry
  91. Balls
  92. Crystals
  93. Masks
  94. Perfume
  95. Ribbon
  96. Anvil
  97. Cord
  98. Dice
  99. Weapons / Armor
  100. Well
  1. Abstract Impressionism
  2. Abstract Shapes
  3. Monster (any)
  4. Dragon
  5. Demon
  6. Devil
  7. Ankheg
  8. Basilisk
  9. Beholder
  10. Pudding/Jelly/Ooze
  11. Carrion Crawler
  12. Centaur
  13. Chimera
  14. Couatl
  15. Displacer Beast
  16. Gargoyle
  17. Golem
  18. Griffon
  19. Harpy
  20. Hippogriff
  21. Hydra
  22. Imp
  23. Manticore
  24. Minotaur
  25. Unicorn
  26. Owlbear
  27. Worm
  28. Roc
  29. Satyr
  30. Umber Hulk
  31. Undead
  32. Wyvern
  33. Yuan-ti
  34. Humanoid (any)
  35. Human
  36. Elf
  37. Dwarf
  38. Gnome
  39. Halfling
  40. Orc
  41. Goblin
  42. Kobold
  43. Hobgoblin
  44. Gnoll
  45. Drow
  46. Lizard Men
  47. Ogre
  48. Fairies
  49. Sahuagin
  50. Natural (any)
  51. Flora
  52. Fauna (any)
  53. Monkeys
  54. Lizards / Snakes
  55. Dogs
  56. Cats
  57. Birds (any)
  58. Eagle
  59. Ducks
  60. Horses
  61. Bears
  62. Deer / Herd animals
  63. Bugs
  64. Spider
  65. Landscapes
  66. Still Life
  67. Supernatural (any)
  68. Magic
  69. Miracles
  70. Local (any)
  71. Commoners
  72. Cityscape
  73. Local Landscape
  74. Historical (any)
  75. Personage
  76. Battle
  77. Weapons/Armor
  78. Accord/Treaty
  79. Reign
  80. Event
  81. Religious (any)
  82. Angel
  83. Saint
  84. Worshiper
  85. Pilgrim
  86. Diety
  87. Holy Place
  88. Wealthy / Noble
  89. Estates
  90. Portriature
  91. Wealth
  92. Mistresses
  93. Manse/Mansion
  94. Duel
  95. Event
  96. Royalty
  97. King
  98. Family/Retainers
  99. Castle
  100. Heraldic Symbol

On The Thursday Trick, Fireplace Scrutiny

This weeks trick, courtesy Roles, Rules, and Rolls Endless Bag of Tricks, by Roger S. G. Sorolla

Fireplace Scrutiny (Special)
Trigger: Magical: Visual  Effects: Multiple Targets
Save:None Duration: Special
Resets: Automatic Bypass: Special

This room appears to be a moldy, long disused den. There are several pieces of damp rotted furniture, some sort of slick damp mold on the floor and rotted papers and logs. The doors are made of steel, and there are no windows. The only suspicious thing in the room is a small fireplace roaring with a warm blaze, behind an open grate.

If the player characters approach the grate, they will note that it is of the kind used to prevent sparks from damaging carpet, though it is open and not doing it's job. It doesn't appear that there is any carpet to burn, the only indications that a carpet was ever here are some moldy threads. The grate is attached to the wall. It appears to be a dark oily color. The grate is actually made of solid platinum, coated in gold, and has a value of 200gp/dungeon level. In order to discover this, a player must either attempt to clean it off, or break it off from its moorings on the wall.

Mandala
The fire itself seems to be raging, and keeping the small area near the fireplace dry. If the players look or gaze into the fire they see the floating image of a mandala with glowing lines. Behind this they also see a vision of a room filled with treasure. Their view pans through this room, moving around looking at various items until settling in front of an exquisite golden chalice. The mandala transparently overlaid on the chalice is actually map of how to reach the hidden treasure room. The chalice floats in front of the players and seems incredibly real.

If anyone reaches out to touch the chalice, after they burn their hands; the mantle opens up and a small demonic mouth made of granite and glass sprays a silky mist over the party members. They then become cursed with hyper-hydrosis, and require extra water every day, as well as having anything drop out of their hands due to sweating whenever they roll a 1.

If the fire is extinguished, the doors slam shut and lock, and the gate to the elemental plane of water is no longer shut. A Water Elemental of greater hit dice then the party shows up and attacks. If killed, another will continue to reappear until the fire is re-lit. Not an easy task, due to the excessive wetness in the room. An even more difficult one if they happen to suffer from Hyper-hydrosis.


The rolls that created the trick:
Fireplace
Fire, touch (reveals minor feature: Ornament/Regalia)/gaze(Clue leading to different site)/douse (Monster at or above difficulty)
door/hatch, break (Major Treasure) /oil (major treasure)
Ornament/Regalia, (permanent Curse)

On Megadungeon Hooks II

First 50 hooks are here.
I haven't combined these into 1 table, so you may roll d100, and if it's over 50, subtract 50 and use that value here. Or use either table and divide by 2. Or pick.

  1.  There's a slave underground that runs right through this dungeon. And you're going to get your property back.
  2. Give up immortality for eternal love they said. It seemed worth it at the time, but after the divorce, they can burn in hell for all you care. Only one way to get your immortality back, and maybe send them to hell to boot.
  3. So, you've got the information your demon master needed, but those jerks burnt down your lab. You've heard there's a way to reach him down below, so off you go
  4. Ah, Monday, time to beat back the endless hordes of the damned. Hours could be better, but, eh, it's a living.
  5. Where else am I supposed to collect my spiders?!
  6. Elves ruin everything. Surely their won't be any down below.
  7. And they said you'd never collect a gold coin from every empire in the tolemic era! Why you know for sure this hole in the ground goes through the ruins of the previous five cities before this. Five! You shouldn't have to go any deeper than level 7.
  8. It's not your fault you didn't want to join the church like daddy. You'll just go and bring back the largest gem he's ever seen and he'll eat his words then.
  9. You thought it was so cool that his job was 'ancient artifact negotiation and acquisition'. You didn't realize that meant murdering things in decrepit holes in the ground. Since your husband hasn't come back, you're going to go find him and rescue him, or maybe kill him. You haven't decided yet.
  10. You'll avenge your brothers and sisters! All 12 of them!
  11. He wants me to collect what before he'll let me marry his daughter?
  12. You weren't no goods with numbas or maths before yu mama dropped you on your head anyways. And they needs the monies so your gonna go get them sums from that hole people keep coming out of with the monies.
  13. I have this deed for property here, and I was wonder- You mean down that stairway?
  14. You're best friends with a goblin, it's true. And now he's disappeared. It's likely he's in trouble. Probably something to do with the trolls on level 3.
  15. Every single member of your tribe dead. Only below can you achieve the means of revenge.
  16. If I hadn't lost so much money on dog racing, I woudn't be messing around trying to steal a dog from The Kennel of Gold Tales!
  17. Killing your sister was an accident. The only way to cleanse your soul is to reach the Mural of Judgment.
  18. You only need one Arcanite stone, but as long as you're there, nothing stopping you from getting more. Other than the curse, and who believes in those.
  19. My god can only be worshiped in the Abolished Dark Iron Church. He's the god of, uh, . . . clowns and sunshine. Why do you ask?
  20. All we have to do is to find the Golden Mud Sleep, bottle it up, and sell it for riches! Let me see that map again.
  21. It was this or become the Baron. 
  22. I mean, you liked the guy, and it's true his murderer is down there. Just a shame the will said you had to avenge his death. Note to self: a diviner for a mentor is not the best plan.
  23. They'll never find me in here!
  24. The church will never look for me in here!
  25. They'll never assassinate me in her- oh, wait, I'll probably die anyway. Screw it, lets go.
  26. Yes my brother is a paladin. No, it never struck me as a particularly bad idea to rob his church of a holy artifact.
  27. You'll find your cousin who disappeared thirty years ago.
  28. Wait, Who am I? Who are you? Where am I? Why am I in this room!?
  29. I mean it was bad enough that your uncle murdered your father to marry your mother. But then to hunt you because he's worried you're gonna try to take the throne? Nonsense!
  30. I really like hats. Yes. Hats. Yes. No I'm not. The best hats are the old ones!
  31. Well, at least in this career no one will find out about your killing and eating your family.
  32. It's not really the money, though that's nice. It's just nice to see the look in their eyes when you betray them. It's worth it just for that.
  33. Secretly? I almost have a complete kobold suit. Just a few more trips.
  34. Nope, I'm just gonna hold this torch and your gear. No need to worry about me. No Sir.
  35. I didn't set nothing on fire.
  36. You just really like dungeon fungus. Well, and the poison it makes also.
  37. The drow are a beautiful people, and they'll understand me!
  38. My dog likes to hunt, see?
  39. Gold. I like Gold. Gooooooollllllldd-aaahhum. gold. Just like it is all.
  40. Ancient knowledge in ancient places I always like to say!
  41. The best spells (weapons etc.) are always the ancient ones.
  42. They speak, so they must have a culture, see? I'm just going to go set up an embassy, and we'll use discussion to solve our problems.
  43. o/~One, two, three, four, that's the way we count the hoard, when we lift the bloody corpse, after slaying Mr. Orc.o/~
  44. Sure, it looks like Bob, but something seems off. He wants you to go with him, so why not?
  45. You know what's delicious? Ogre brains. Also, candy.
  46. I need yarn from the reclusive dungeon ox.
  47. I can reach the bottom.
  48. I can kill 100 foes.
  49. To win the legendary challenge, you must head down to qualify.
  50. I hate the outdoors!

On a Welcome

Hi all, to everyone visiting from Mythmere's blog.

Matt's a great guy. And Swords and Wizardry is a great game. Anyone who releases his hard work in document format so that people can print it out for free at home with their own house rules written in, is someone who really understands our hobby. He's also the author of a little document that encapsulates everything we do.

Today is Table Week on Hack & Slash. Here are some links to get you started.

This week:
No damage past 0 hit points critical hit tables.
A table creating over 500 million Megadungeon Zone names
Megadungeon Adventuring hooks (50 options, another 50 tomorrow)
Some sad campaign hooks 
Series on Adventure Design

Regular features include
Weekly Tricks & Traps on the blog
Weekly Game and Book reviews

A little community resource I add to as I run across them:
Community Table Indexes

And the Pièce de résistance:
30 pages of Trick, Trap, and Empty Room Design
11 pages on designing all kinds of interesting Treasure
44 pages on Old School Psionics
Alchemy and Poison coming soon, as well as updates to the above.

WWI: LotR Risk

By science, I hate losing so much.


The Elements: It's like the Risk you know and love, except you will hate it. There are several major rule changes, including, but not limited to, a maximum time limit on the game and the game being restricted to 4 players.

The Crux: If you are unfamiliar with Risk, you have territories containing armies. You wish to conquer all the other players. You do this by attacking with up to 3 troops (rolling 3 dice) against a defender who can defend with up to 2 troops (rolling 2 dice). Defenders win ties. At the beginning of your turns, you get troops for the number of territories you control and extra troops for any complete continents you control. If you take a terriorty during your turn, you receive cards which can be turned in for additional armies.

The Countenance: In all fairness to the game, there are major major internal changes from traditional risk that I was not prepared for.

My initial plan of blocking in Mordor
was terrible because of terrible defense.
First was the addition of the hero or champion unit. This unit moves with your troops and adds one to the roll of any dice. This seriously threw me for a loop, because it's possible for an attacker to roll high enough (i.e. 7) that the defender can't defend the territory. Now there are 11 territories (out of 44? 45?) that have 'fortresses' in them that do the same things for the defender, but using my favorite traditional strategy like Irkutsk/Yakutsk will get you murdered.

Because the attacker rolls 3 dice AND adds to the highest die with a champion, defenders around most of the board are at a serious disadvantage, except in the case where a champion is on a fortress, raising the highest die by 2!

Things do not look good for team yellow.
I was completely unprepared for this rules change, which turns the traditional odds on their head. Defense in any territory without a fortress is a poor option.

The other changes include the addition of the one ring. Each turn it travels along its path to Mount Doom, and when it reaches the target, the game is over and victory points are tallied. This leads to a shorter game than traditional Risk.

There are also a selection of mission cards, that have certain special effects. Some of these are played immediately, some are held and played at an appropriate time, still others are mission cards and are played when your hero reaches a specific target.

The effects of these cards can be fairly large. One gave me 10 extra units on a fortress (which I managed to immediately lose against a set of defenders). Others allow you to prevent movement across bridges, have the number of troops in a territory cut in half, stop the ring on its journey and other effects.

The Genre: This is a traditional table top board game with a modern twist and a lord of the rings theme.

The Detritus: Having played through this game, I can certainly tell you that my strategy would be much different next time. It is difficult to defend large territory due to the huge advantage attackers get. One of the players said, "You only get two champions", which is true, but in nearly every game of risk I've ever played, the majority of play involves one or two large armies at several points in the game. The odds are swung way towards the attackers advantage.

The Final Counsel: This is a very different game than traditional Risk. This is not necessarily a negative thing. The game is suited for more aggressive players, and the time limit ensures that the game doesn't run on forever. It's safer to sit down and play when you have a few hours. It is limited to 4 players, instead of the traditional six, which is a downside.

I guess the thing that struck me most about it, is that even though you play it like Risk, the drastically different odds make it a different game. Perhaps if it didn't have the name 'Risk' attached, I would have had more positive feelings about it, instead I expected one thing, and got another. (What other company has done that with a favored brand lately? Hmmm. . .)

LotR: Risk is available in toy and hobby shops everywhere.


On a Table for Avoiding Death (Fire/Energy/Lightning/Acid)

Rules here
Fire/Energy/Lightning/Acid

Special Rules. There may be notations for Lightning, which will often cause deafness and stunning; Fire, which may cause burning; and Acid, which may continue to cause damage. These will be noted in the same format as First Aid, with the effects following the entry. Remember to apply all the effects before the separate special effects to every hit. (i.e. no matter the energy type, entry 9 gives 1d4 pain).
If you are hit by lightning in a place where you have metal armor, read the L+MA entry and apply it, even if it would normally just tear up the armor (i.e. in entry 5, if struck by lightning and wearing a metal helm, go directly to the L+MA entry and apply those effects and only those effects).
  1. (No Entry)
  2. Singed! A small burn scar is left at the location of the player's choosing.
  3. In your haste to cover your face, you let go of what you're holding. Drop anything held in your hands.
  4. The heat and noise leave you disoriented for a moment. You are Dazed for 1 round while you regain your bearing. Pain 1. Lightning: Deaf for 1d6 turns.
  5. The blast glances across your head, deflecting off. If you have a full helmet it is knocked off and destroyed. If not, your skull is encased in energy, leaving you Dazed for a round. Pain 1. Lightning: Deaf for 1d6 turns. Else if L+MA: Stunned for 1 round, Pain 4, Bleed 1, Helmet Melted, -2 Charisma, First Aid: Sickened.
  6. Your body is engulfed in the blast. Your clothing and items are singed, and may be destroyed. Anything flammable smolders and may catch fire. You are Shaken for 1 round by the experience. Make a saving throw for exposed equipment. Bleed 1.Pain 1. Fire: If any die rolled max damage, you are on fire. Acid: roll again on table next round. L+MA: Bleed 1, Pain 4, Stunned for 1d4 rounds.
  7. Hideous acrid fumes cause you to gasp and choke, clutching your throat. You are Stunned for 1 round.
  8. It feels like you've been kicked in the chest. You are knocked off your feet by the force of the blast. You are knocked prone. You are Stunned for 1d4 rounds. Pain 2. Lightning: Deaf for 1d6 turns.
  9. Clothing catches on fire! (or melts from acid). You are on fire! Pain 1d4. Fire: On fire, +1d6 Fire damage. Acid: Do 1d4 damage next round (triggering another roll on the table). Lightning: Deaf for 1d6 turns.
  10. The energy disfigures your skin, granting you a horrific scar. -2 Charisma. -8 Comeliness. Pain 1. Possible bonus to intimidating people.
  11. It burns! The pain is horrible and it drives you batty! Act as if under the influence of a Confusion spell. Pain 1d4. First Aid: Confused (1, Strip or run around naked. 2, Scream at the top of your lungs. 3, Attack nearest target. 4, Hurt/attack self.)
  12. You fling your hands up in an attempt to block the attack. They are stripped of flesh and are horribly burnt. Drop anything held in your arm. Second Degree Burns. First Aid: Arm is useless. Pain 3.
  13. Your feet are engulfed in energy, scorching your lower body. You fall prone. Second Degree Burns. First Aid: Movement Halved. Bleed 1. Pain 3.
  14. You are struck full on in the face by the blast.  If you have a full helmet it is knocked off and destroyed. If not, your eyes burn to cinders, leaving you Stunned for a round. Blind. First Aid: Sickened. Pain 2. Lightning: Deaf for 3d6 turns. Else if L+MA: Stunned for 1d4 round, Pain 4, Bleed 1, Helmet Melted, -2 Charisma, Blind. First Aid: Sickened.
  15. The hellish blast encompasses you. The agony is unreal. You suffer serious burns on all exposed skin. Second Degree Burns. First Aid: Sickened. Bleed 1. Pain 1d4. Fire: On fire, +2d6 Fire damage. Acid: Do 1d4 damage next round (triggering another roll on the table). Lightning: Stunned for 1d4 rounds, Deaf for 3d6 turns.
  16. Your hand is engulfed. 1d4 fingers are rendered useless. Anything held is must save or be destroyed by melting to the characters hand. Lost Fingers. Second Degree Burns. First Aid: Staggered. Arm is useless. Bleed 1. Pain 1. Lose 1 Dexterity for each lost finger.
  17. Your skin and face begin to melt. You fall prone. Second Degree Burns. First Aid: Sickened. Bleed 1. Pain 1d4+1. Fire: On fire, +2d6 Fire damage. Acid: Do 2d4 damage next round (triggering another roll on the table). Lightning: Stunned for 1d4 rounds, Deaf for 3d6 turns.
  18. There is a searing pain on your arm and then nothing. When you look, all that is left is a charred stump. Roll a 1d6. 1-3 Your hand is burnt to a crisp at the wrist, 4-5 your arm is burnt to a crisp at the elbow. 6 your arm is burnt to a crisp at the shoulder. You are stunned for a round. Third Degree Burns. Limb sliced off. Dexterity cut in half. First Aid: Sickened. Bleed 1d4. Pain 1d4.
  19. There is a searing pain on your leg and then nothing. You spin and fall, tearing the burnt stump. Roll a 1d6. 1-2 your leg is burnt to a crisp at the ankle, 3-4 your leg is burnt to a crisp at the knee, 5-6 your leg is burnt to a crisp at the hip. You fall prone. Third Degree Burns. Limb severed. Movement cut in half. First Aid: Sickened. Bleed 1d4. Pain 1d4
  20. The blast burns you horribly, causing second degree burns to your covered areas and more serious ones to exposed areas.Third Degree Burns. First Aid: Sickened. Bleed 2. Pain 1d4. Fire: On fire, +2d6 Fire damage. Acid: Do 2d4 damage next round (triggering another roll on the table). Lightning: Stunned for 2d4 rounds, Deaf for 6d6 turns.
  21.  The blast sears your flesh, causing second and third degree burns all over.Third Degree Burns. First Aid: Sickened. Make a Constitution check or fall unconscious each round. Bleed 2. Pain 1d4. Fire: On fire, +2d6 Fire damage. Acid: Do 2d4 damage next round (triggering another roll on the table). Lightning: Stunned for 2d4 rounds, Deaf for permanently
  22. The furnace rends your flesh with energy, causing hideous burns burns all over.Third Degree Burns. First Aid: Sickened. Make a Constitution check or die from shock each round. Bleed 2. Pain 1d4. Fire: On fire, +2d6 Fire damage. Acid: Do 2d4 damage next round (triggering another roll on the table). Lightning: Stunned for 2d4 rounds, Deaf for permanently
  23. The horrible fate. You live, but just.Third Degree Burns. All Statistics are Halved. First Aid: Sickened. Make a Constitution check or die each round. Bleed 2. Pain 1d4. Fire: On fire, +2d6 Fire damage. Acid: Do 2d4 damage next round (triggering another roll on the table). Lightning: Stunned for 2d4 rounds, Deaf permanently.  
  24. You are struck in the neck, which melts in an entertaining fashion. Fire erupts from your mouth as you fall over and die 1d4 rounds later.
  25. Your armor clothing and armor are vaporized, and your skin is roasted off. Your blackened skeleton and musculature flail about the battlefield for another 1d6 rounds before collapsing. You are dead in 1.
  26. Your torso is blasted open, knocking your head and shoulders back to the ground. You die instantly.
  27. Everything goes dark. Your allies see your head instantly vaporize.
  28. Your upper body is consumed in flames or melted. All that is left is a burnt stump on two twitching legs.
  29. The burn doesn't look that bad, but you still die of shock in 1d4 rounds. 
  30. The heat causes your body to cook itself, and you vomit up the slush that was your internal organs only moments before your consciousness fades.
  31. You catch fire (or melt) in such a way that it takes a long time to die. You scream and twitch for almost ten minutes before your body finally succumbs to the pain.
  32. You erupt in flame, staggering around for a few feet, before falling over dead.
  33. You explode, doing 1d6 damage to anyone adjacent. All allies Stunned for 1 round.
  34. You are melted to a pile of ash and sludge.
  35. Everything except your bones burn to a crisp. Your skeleton twitches before collapsing.
  36. There is a blinding flash, and nothing remains of you, except perhaps a smoking pair of boots.
  37. 36+ as 36 

Simple fire rules. When on fire, you can spend a round jumping in water or rolling around to remove 1d6 fire damage.

Any round fire damage does a 6, the fire gets worse and you add 1d6. Any round the fire damage does a 1, it gets smaller and you subtract a 1d6.

Anything exposed to normal fire makes a saving throw versus normal fire to avoid being destroyed.

On a Table for Avoiding Death (Teeth & Claws)

Rules here
Teeth & Claws:
  1. (No Entry)
  2. Clipped by a tooth! A small bite or claw mark is left at the location of the player's choosing.
  3. A quick snap doesn't break the skin on your hand. The shock causes you to drop anything held in that hand.
  4. The scrape across your leg causes you to stumble. You are Dazed for 1 round while you regain your footing.
  5. Your helm is knocked to the side, covering your face, you are lucky you are able to get it off before you get mauled. If you have a full helmet it is knocked off and destroyed. If not, the rake catches you in the head, leaving you Dazed for a round.
  6. Your leg is grabbed, and the monster tries to yank you off of your feet. Make a Dexterity check to remain standing. The strength of the beast is incrediable. You are Shaken for 1 round by the experience. Bleed 1.
  7. Stout fetid breath causes you to gasp and choke. You are Stunned for 1 round.
  8. A snap at your groin connects. You double over in pain and terror. You are Sunned for 1 round by the frightening wound. First Aid: Sickened. Bleed 1. Internal Bleed 1. Pain 1.
  9. At least its mouth is cleaner than a man's. Probably not now that you think about it. Player gains a new scar in place of their choosing. Bleed 1.
  10. You are viciously gouged as chunks of skin are ripped from your arm. Drop anything held in your arm. First Aid: Arm is useless. Bleed 3. Pain 2.
  11. The beast latches on to your leg, ripping flesh and bone. You fall prone. First Aid: Movement Halved. Bleed 3. Pain 2.
  12. Your legs get tripped up as it gets under you. You drop to one knee and it takes the opportunity to shred the back of your thigh. You fall prone. First Aid: Immobile. Bleed 2. Pain 2.
  13. A strike to your abdomen makes you feel ill, as your kidney is destroyed. Lost Kidney. First Aid: Sickened. Bleed 1. Pain 1. Internal Bleed 2.
  14. You use your head to block and a claw knocks your helmet off. If you have a full helmet it is knocked off and destroyed. If not your head is knocked right into his teeth. Your scalp is shredded and blood runs down into your eyes. You are Dazed for 1 round. First Aid: Shaken. Bleed 4. Pain 1.
  15. Your hand is hideously mangled. 1d4 fingers are bitten off. Anything held is dropped. Lost Fingers. First Aid: Staggered. Arm is useless. Bleed 1. Pain 1. Lose 1 Dexterity for each lost finger.
  16. There is a burst of inconceivable agony in your leg as it is torn apart. Roll a 1d6. 1-2 your leg is shredded to pieces at the ankle, 3-4 your leg is shredded to pieces at the knee, 5-6 your leg is shredded to pieces at the hip. You fall prone. Limb severed. Movement cut in half. First Aid: Sickened. Bleed 1d4. Pain 1d4
  17. Pain streaks down your arm as you rip it from the mouth of the hideous beast.. There is nothing left but shreds of skin. Roll a 1d6. 1-3 Your hand is shredded to pieces at the wrist, 4-5 your arm is shredded to pieces at the elbow. 6 your arm is shredded to pieces at the shoulder. You are stunned for a round. Limb sliced off. Dexterity cut in half. First Aid: SickenedBleed 1d4. Pain 1d4.
  18. Your throat is almost torn out, but you manage to block the attack with your shoulder and collarbone. Broken Bones. Permanent -1 to all your statistics. Bleed 2. Pain 2.
  19. If you have a full helmet it is knocked off and destroyed. If not your face is torn apart and your eye is torn out like a little piece of delicious fruit. You are Stunned for 1 round. Lost Eye. First Aid: Sickened. Ranged attacks are at -8. No Depth Perception. Bleed 1. Pain 1.
  20. Your gut burns and twists. Your internal organs feel black and cold as they are crushed. You fall prone. You are Dazed for 1 round. Make a Constitution check to avoid passing out. Organ Damage.  First Aid: Sickened, Movement Halved. Bleed 1d4. Internal bleed 2. Pain 1.
  21. Your back is mauled. Spinal damage occurs. You fall prone. Make a successful Constitution check to avoid permanent paralysis. Organ Damage. First Aid: Immobile. Bleed 1d4. Pain 1d4.
  22. Teeth and claws nick your neck opening up your carotid artery, blood spectacularly fountains everywhere. The monster is momentarily surprised, until he tastes the delicious blood of his dinner. First Aid: Stunned, Die in 1d4 rounds.
  23. There is a crack as your broken ribs puncture your lungs. You fall unconscious. -1 Constitution. First Aid: Die in 1d4 Rounds (Lose 4 points of Constitution).
  24. The bite in your leg doesn't seem that bad at first, then the beast pulls back and a red curtain bursts forth as you collapse on the ground, femoral artery shredded. Everyone within 5' must make a Dexterity check or fall prone. Die Instantly.
  25. Your arm is removed from a tear that reaches from your neck to your abdomen. Your head falls to the side and lands in your guts as you stagger 3d6 feet and fall down dead.
  26. A crushing bite or claw cracks the skull. If you have a helmet it is knocked off and destroyed and you fall unconscious. If no helm, skull is cracked. You fall unconscious. Wisdom and Intelligence -2. First Aid: Death in 1d4 rounds (-1d4 from all statistics.)
  27. It's hard to breath with your throat lying on the ground. Lying on the ground seems like a good idea so you collapse next to it, dead.
  28. The beast holds your still beating heart in its feral claw. Wait, never-mind, it's stopped now.
  29. Your neck snaps as you are snatched up and shaken back and forth. You live for several more segments as it drops you to the ground and begins to feast.
  30. Somehow, it's managed to bite both your legs. You'd fight, but when it's teeth reached your spine something cracked. All that's left to do is to watch helplessly as you are eaten whole.
  31. Your leg is crushed, for values of leg that include every bone from the calf to the ribs. Boneshards play billiards with your organs and blood vessels. You are dead before you slush to the ground.
  32. There is a release of tension in your midsection. You are unable to catch your guts as they spill out onto the ground.
  33. Your leg is bitten off. Unbalanced, you fall over cracking your skull open like an egg on a nearby surface, dying instantly
  34. You get a real good look at his tongue and teeth before your head is bitten off.
  35. You're hit and notice you land 3d6 feet from your legs. Doesn't look like they are going to come and get you.
  36. Everything goes black. Your companions stand in shock as each is hit with a large chunk of your destroyed body. All allies Stunned for 1 round.
  37. 36+ as 36

On Examples of Mega-Dungeon Zone Names Using the Table

A Bakers Dozen examples using Hamete as the die roller.

  1. The Lethal Mural
  2. The Black Elegant Solar
  3. The Foredoomed Ivory Treasury
  4. The Forgotten Arch of Hieroglyphs
  5. The Mystical Door of Steep Death
  6. The Incredible Building of Turquoise Swords
  7. The Fatal Unstable Claws
  8. The Baneful Adamantium Kobolds
  9. The Hidden Delicate Dirt Fungus
  10. The Center of Knives
  11. The Asylum of Disagreeable Endless Gold
  12. The Bestiary of Brick Illusion
  13. The Chapel of Heartless Wool Souls
All Random!

More Randomness from my Tablesmith File.

The Forgotten Diamond Judgement
The Icy Mine of Pale Vision
The Incandescent Stair of Walnut Claws
The Blessed Pale Vision
The Divine Pearl Horror
The Mystical Corrupted Door
The Drab Fur Forge
The Sublime Harem of Ice Metals Alchemy
The Abominable Emerald Mechanism
The Citadel of Quixotic Desire
The Mine of Green Lace Gold
The Dim Small Hands
The Arsenal of Redundant Ordeal
The Golden Cherry Zeal
The Hideous Decrepit Tin Vision
The Divine Impenetrable Pewter Calamity
The Cryptic Fire Desire
The Primal Catcombs of Pewter Sorcery

Too cool.

On Table E: Mega-Dungeon Zone Names

Note: for a list solely of more pedestrian substances, divide your d100 roll by 2. Use the full roll for maximum weirdness
Table E:
  1. Bronze
  2. Brass
  3. Copper
  4. Electrum
  5. Gold
  6. Iron
  7. Lead
  8. Platinum
  9. Silver
  10. Steel
  11. Titanium
  12. Nickel
  13. Pewter
  14. Tin
  15. Zinc
  16. Coral
  17. Bone
  18. Shell
  19. Ivory
  20. Nut
  21. Marble
  22. Slate
  23. Basalt
  24. Obsidian
  25. Pumice
  26. Quartz
  27. Chalk
  28. Coal
  29. Flint
  30. Shale
  31. Sandstone
  32. Cherry
  33. Chestnut
  34. Willow
  35. Walnut
  36. Oak
  37. Ash
  38. Pine
  39. Cedar
  40. Sand
  41. Clay
  42. Dirt
  43. Mud
  44. Ceramic
  45. Leather
  46. Wool
  47. Fur
  48. Lace
  49. Crystal
  50. Quartz
  51. Agate
  52. Turquoise
  53. Onyx
  54. Amber
  55. Amethyst
  56. Jade
  57. Jet
  58. Pearl
  59. Aquamarine
  60. Topaz
  61. Emerald
  62. Sapphire
  63. Ruby
  64. Diamond
  65. Jacinth
  66. Glass
  67. Cobalt
  68. Palladium
  69. Tungsten
  70. Alunminum
  71. Antimony
  72. Bismuth
  73. Magnesium
  74. Mercury
  75. Concrete
  76. Adobe
  77. Brick
  78. Adamantium
  79. Ice
  80. Fire
  81. Orichalcum
  82. Arcanite
  83. Carmot
  84. Cavorite
  85. Cinnabryl
  86. Mithral
  87. Cold Iron
  88. Starmetal
  89. Hell Metals
  90. Astral Metals
  91. Ice Metals
  92. Darkwood
  93. Dark Iron
  94. Dark Steel
  95. Magic
  96. Elemental Energy
  97. Radiant or Necrotic Energy
  98. Phlogiston
  99. Souls
  100. Love OF METAL (phew!)

On Table D: Mega-Dungeon Zone Names

Table D:
  1. Cruel
  2. Misty
  3. Abysmal
  4. Ghastly
  5. Unnatural
  6. Charitable
  7. Immeasurable
  8. Barbaric
  9. Lurid
  10. Pale
  11. Elegant
  12. Mesmerizing
  13. Blood-Thirsty
  14. Halcyon
  15. Ever-Changing
  16. Perpetual
  17. Spectral
  18. Impenetrable
  19. Vicious
  20. Enthralling
  21. Blackened
  22. Heartless
  23. Inscrutable
  24. Putrid
  25. Alluring
  26. Ordered
  27. Maddening
  28. Luminous
  29. Defiled
  30. Delicate
  31. Merciful 
  32. Contaminated
  33. Corrupted
  34. Scattered
  35. Notched
  36. Eternal
  37. Shattered
  38. Profound
  39. Erratic
  40. Deranged
  41. Arcane
  42. Chaotic
  43. Crooked
  44. Decrepit
  45. Malevolent
  46. Never-Ending
  47. Incalculable
  48. Merciless
  49. Moldy
  50. Dancing
  51. Magnificent
  52. Whispering
  53. Malodorus 
  54. Petite
  55. Curved
  56. Unstable
  57. Encrusted
  58. Thundering
  59. Vast
  60. Unfathomable
  61. Monstrous
  62. Mildewed
  63. Devilish
  64. Dark
  65. Deafening
  66. Mystic
  67. Steep
  68. Colossal
  69. Painful
  70. Tumultuous
  71. Singing
  72. Color (red/orange/yellow/green/blue/purple/grey/black/white)
  73. Acidic (or Caustic/Frozen/Icy/Burning/Shrieking etc.)
  74. Cluttered
  75. Draconian
  76. Dissagreable
  77. Exultant
  78. Faded
  79. Fragile
  80. Glistening
  81. Grotesque
  82. Infamous
  83. Small 
  84. Jagged
  85. Lavish
  86. Macabre
  87. Merciful
  88. Mundane
  89. Onerous
  90. Psychedelic
  91. Quixotic
  92. Redundant
  93. Repulsive
  94. Secret
  95. Skillful
  96. Terrible
  97. Worthless
  98. Vast
  99. Useless
  100. Drunk

On Table C: Mega-Dungeon Zone Names

Table C:
  1. Doom
  2. Calamity
  3. Sorrow
  4. Judgment
  5. Blood
  6. Knives
  7. Karma
  8. Anger
  9. Disaster
  10. Kings
  11. Obscenity
  12. Courage
  13. Hands
  14. Alchemy
  15. Remorse 
  16. Daggers
  17. Judgment
  18. Luck
  19. Eyes
  20. Night
  21. Statues
  22. Armor
  23. Desire 
  24. Fate
  25. Runes
  26. Tragedy
  27. Slime
  28. Swords
  29. Knowledge
  30. Ghosts
  31. Clubs
  32. Lies
  33. Choices
  34. Danger
  35. Sovereign
  36. Passion
  37. Effigy
  38. Mirrors
  39. Gods
  40. Fungus
  41. Riches
  42. Dread 
  43. Hieroglyphs
  44. Paths
  45. Ice/Fire
  46. Legend
  47. Monarch 
  48. Lights
  49. Trees
  50. Books
  51. Melancholy
  52. Death
  53. Sadness
  54. Endless Gold
  55. Loss 
  56. Closets
  57. Emperor
  58. Blessings
  59. Zeal 
  60. Wealth
  61. Freedom
  62. Wells
  63. Vision
  64. Tomes
  65. Souls
  66. Doors
  67. Magic
  68. Curses
  69. Ladders
  70. Echoes
  71. Ancients
  72. Horror
  73. Machine
  74. Slime
  75. Life
  76. Claws
  77. Sleep
  78. Holiness
  79. Fangs
  80. Sorcery
  81. Crystal
  82. Wands
  83. Wisdom
  84. Tales 
  85. Gold
  86. Reason
  87. Faces
  88. Ordeal
  89. Mechanism
  90. Illusion
  91. Talons
  92. Cups
  93. Mouths
  94. Humanoids (Kobolds, Goblins etc.)
  95. Humanoids (Orcs, Hobgoblins etc.)
  96. Humanoids (Gnolls, etc.)
  97. Humanoids (Ogres, Flinds)
  98. Women
  99. Symbols
  100. Stones

On Table B: Mega-Dungeon Zone Names

Table B:
  1. Assemblage
  2. Antechamber
  3. Amphitheater
  4. Cavern
  5. Building
  6. Arch
  7. Great Hall
  8. Throne Room
  9. Aviary
  10. Bestiary
  11. Cage
  12. Cell
  13. Kennel
  14. Cistern
  15. Oubliette
  16. Pen
  17. Lagoon
  18. Prison
  19. Stockade
  20. Zoo
  21. Arena
  22. Hole
  23. Castle
  24. Den
  25. Forest
  26. Gallery
  27. Harem
  28. Maze
  29. Museum
  30. Center
  31. Mausoleum
  32. Pool
  33. Sauna
  34. Seraglio
  35. Statuary
  36. Park
  37. Trophy Chamber
  38. Catcombs
  39. Hall
  40. Lair
  41. Lounge
  42. Salon
  43. Dorm
  44. Well
  45. Vault
  46. Vestibule
  47. Armory
  48. Arsenal
  49. Barracks
  50. Guardrooms
  51. Gymnasium
  52. Chantry
  53. Chapel
  54. Crypt
  55. Tomb
  56. Crematorium
  57. Grave
  58. Shrine
  59. Scriptorium
  60. Temple
  61. Fortress
  62. Lake
  63. Fountain
  64. Citadel
  65. Gate
  66. Chamber
  67. Laboratory
  68. Wall
  69. Library
  70. Morgue
  71. Stair
  72. Statue
  73. Observatory
  74. Garrison
  75. Study
  76. Solar
  77. Pit
  78. Mural
  79. Valley
  80. Barn
  81. Church
  82. Light
  83. Forge
  84. Mine
  85. Chasm
  86. Stable
  87. Treasury
  88. Redoubt
  89. Garage
  90. Bridge
  91. Cemetery
  92. Workshop
  93. Door
  94. Mines
  95. Shipwreck
  96. Asylum
  97. Homestead
  98. Gaol
  99. Theater
  100. House

On Table A: Mega-Dungeon Zone Names

Table A:

  1. Black
  2. Dim
  3. Hallowed
  4. Enigmatic
  5. Peaceful
  6. Cryptic
  7. Dark
  8. Hideous
  9. Forlorn
  10. Deep
  11. Ruthless
  12. Blighted
  13. Savage
  14. Degenerate
  15. Ignored
  16. Gloomy
  17. Noxious
  18. Lost
  19. Mystical
  20. Malignant
  21. Hidden
  22. Moldy
  23. Putrid
  24. Weird
  25. Overlooked
  26. Fabled
  27. Violent
  28. Deadly
  29. Red
  30. Elder
  31. Bloody
  32. Haunted
  33. Mysterious
  34. Apocryphal
  35. Odious
  36. Loathsome
  37. Vile
  38. Atrocious
  39. Fabulous
  40. Extravagant
  41. Incredible
  42. Forgotten
  43. Obscure
  44. Forbidden
  45. Ancient
  46. Petrified
  47. Golden
  48. Cursed (or Accursed)
  49. Infernal
  50. Unholy
  51. Detestable
  52. Foredoomed
  53. Abominable
  54. Inscrutable
  55. Disgusting
  56. Glacial
  57. Primal
  58. Volcanic
  59. Icy
  60. Antique
  61. Fiendish
  62. Incandescent
  63. Holy
  64. Lethal
  65. Sanctified
  66. Divine
  67. Verdant
  68. Screaming
  69. Wondrous
  70. Fatal
  71. Amazing
  72. Fascinating
  73. Drab
  74. Disorienting
  75. Hidden
  76. Cruel
  77. Abolished
  78. Foggy
  79. Somber
  80. Hoary
  81. Stygian
  82. Effulgent
  83. Bloody
  84. Closed
  85. Bizzare
  86. Blessed
  87. Bygone
  88. Baneful
  89. Dead
  90. Consecrated
  91. Sublime
  92. Broken
  93. Decayed
  94. Devastated
  95. Venerable
  96. Virtuous
  97. Frozen
  98. Cryptic
  99. Baleful
  100. Annihilated

On a Table For Mega-Dungeon Zone Names

Thanks to Beyond the Black Gate where I got the idea. It's a good table over there - check it out.

But while trying to use it for my own campaign, I got a lot of similar results. There's the fiery mural of wisdom, near the fiery statue of bone. It seems like a great tool for an unexpected venture into the depths, or as a prod to your creativity, but what I was looking for was a table with enough variety to allow me to randomly determine the vast majority of my many many mega-dungeon zones. This post will have the general forms and structure of the name, and the following posts will contain the tables.

Roll 1d12 and Select the Forms:
  1. The (Table A) (Table B)
  2. The (Table A) (Table D or E) (Table B)
  3. The (Table A) (Table B) of (Table C)
  4. The (Table A) (Table B) of (Table D) (Table C)
  5. The (Table A) (Table B) of (Table E) (Table C)
  6. The (Table A) (Table D) (Table C)
  7. The (Table A) (Table E) (Table C)
  8. The (Table A) (Table D) (Table E) (Table C)
  9. The (Table B) of (Table C)
  10. The (Table B) of (Table D) (Table C)
  11. The (Table B) of (Table E) (Table C)
  12. The (Table B) of (Table D) (Table E) (Table C)
Tables to follow.

If you want to view all these tables (and only these tables) you can copy the text to a different file, or you can use the tag "series (megadungeon zone names)" below.

On a Table for Avoiding Death (Puncturing, Stabbing and Piercing weapons)

Rules here
Puncturing, Stabbing and Piercing weapons
  1. (No Entry)
  2. Nicked! A small scar is left at the location of the player's choosing.
  3. The point glances off a knuckle-bone. The impact causes you to drop anything held in that hand.
  4. A stab at your leg causes you to lose balance. You are Dazed for 1 round while you regain your footing.
  5. You duck and almost narrowly avoid a thrust. If you have a full helmet it is knocked off and destroyed. If not, the thrust catches you in the head, leaving you Dazed for a round.
  6. A blow headed straight for your heart, scrapes your rib instead. You are Shaken for 1 round by the experience. Bleed 1.
  7. Your thigh is skewered viciously. You are Stunned for 1 round. Bleed 1. Pain 1.
  8. A powerful thrust rips past your garment, tearing into the abdominal wall. You are Dazed for 1 round by the vicious wound. First Aid: Sickened. Bleed 1. Internal Bleed 1. Pain 1.
  9. That Stung! Player gains a new scar in place of their choosing. Bleed 1.
  10. A mighty thrust strikes your arm piercing the skin. When it connects, you feel a snap. Drop anything held in your arm. Fractured Bones. First Aid: Arm is useless. Bleed 2. Pain 1.
  11. A terrible strike hits your leg, digging deep into the flesh, sharp pains shoot up and down your leg. You fall prone. Fractured Bones. First Aid: Movement Halved. Bleed 2. Pain 1.
  12. Your waist is punctured, the strike dislocating your hip. You fall prone. First Aid: Immobile. Bleed 1. Internal Bleed 1. Pain 2.
  13. Your nose stings as it is cut off. Lost Nose. First Aid: Shaken. Bleed 1. Pain 1.
  14. The thrust is smoothly blocked by your cheek. If you have a full helmet it is knocked off and destroyed. If not you are shanked right through your jaw knocking it loose, teeth shatter, blood sprays everywhere. You are Dazed for 1 round. Broken Bones. First Aid: Sickened, Difficulty Speaking, Cannot Cast Spells (Charisma -2). Bleed 2. Pain 1.
  15. The point of their weapon slides along the edge of your hilt, slicing as it goes. 1d4 fingers are sliced off. Anything held is dropped. Lost Fingers. First Aid: Staggered. Arm is useless. Bleed 1. Pain 1. Lose 1 Dexterity for each lost finger.
  16. The tip strikes deep into your leg past armor, skin and muscle, then is ripped violently out. Your leg is torn apart. An artery is punctured. Make a Constitution check to continue standing, otherwise fall prone. First Aid: Immobile. Bleed 1d4. Pain 2.
  17. The strike clips your weapon and lands on your collarbone shattering it. Broken Bones. Permanent -1 to all your statistics. Bleed 2. Pain 2.
  18. You are shanked between the ribs. First Aid: Sickened, Movement Halved. Bleed 1d4. Internal bleed 2. Pain 1.
  19. If you have a full helmet it is knocked off and destroyed. If not your eye explodes like a stuck grape, totally ruining it. You are Stunned for 1 round. Lost Eye. First Aid: Sickened. Ranged attacks are at -8. No Depth Perception. Bleed 1. Pain 1.
  20. Your arm is sliced with a deep gash and torn apart. It hangs from your body by a flap of skin. Roll a 1d6. 1-3 Your hand is sliced off at the wrist, 4-5 your arm is sliced off at the elbow. 6 your arm is sliced off the shoulder. You are stunned for a round. Limb sliced off. Dexterity cut in half. First Aid: SickenedBleed 1d4. Pain 1d4.
  21. Your leg is punctured, cutting clear through the bone and ripping the flesh on either side. Roll a 1d6. 1-2 your leg is sliced off at the ankle, 3-4 your leg is sliced off at the knee, 5-6 your leg is sliced off at the hip. You fall prone. Limb severed. Movement cut in half. First Aid: Sickened. Bleed 1d4. Pain 1d4.
  22. The carotid artery is nicked, arterial blood sprays out of the wound in a wide area, creating a beautiful red mist. You fall prone. First Aid: Die in 1d6 rounds. Bleed 6.
  23. Your stomach is stabbed like a ripe melon. You are startled by the contents. Collapse in agony, you fall prone. Constitution check is made each round to maintain consciousness. First Aid: Stunned. Bleed 1d4
  24. If you have a helmet it is knocked off and destroyed. If not, the point rips through your nose, touching your brain. Die in 1d4 rounds, unconscious until then. Bleed 1d4. Internal Bleed 1d4
  25. A blood vessel is gouged out of your leg and flips around like a hose spraying blood everywhere. You die from shock and blood loss before your body hits the ground. Everyone within 5' is covered in blood an moving requires a dexterity check at +4 to avoid falling.
  26. Everything below the waist goes numb as your spine is fractured. You fall unconscious. First Aid: Stats Halved (paralyzed from waist down). Bleed 1d4. Internal Bleed 1d4.Your stats are halved till your 10 week recovery period is passed. If not seen by a medic and treated successfully, paralyzed from he waist down.
  27. Your body goes limp as your opponent stabs his weapon severing your spinal column. You are filled with deep satisfaction as your twisting marionette-like twiches disarm your opponent before your demise.
  28. Your arm is ripped off your body, exposing your heart, which sprays blood in your face. It is the last thing you see.
  29. You were stabbed through the heart, and it's too late. You give love a bad name. You die.
  30. You are gouged in the groin making a bloody mess of your intestines and genataila. You fall to the ground conscious and slowly die over the next 2d6 rounds.
  31. You keep trying to reach up and remove the shaft of the weapon from your face, but for some reasons your arms aren't responding. You cease to care in a few moments.
  32. You know you won't die quickly, but after that stab to the gut you can't manage to move. You struggle to hold your intestines in while you slowly die.
  33. You turn to the side and your face is sliced off. You try to scream, but the only sound that you hear is a gurgling rattle.
  34. You finally see the point. It doesn't stop at your eye socket. Anyone standing behind you could quickly tell you what your brain tastes like before you die. (Hint: Chicken)
  35. There is a clang as whatever was in your hand strikes the ground as your arm is severed. Spin around in agony for 1d4 rounds spraying blood on everyone within 5' before death.
  36. Your helm is destroyed and the top of your head is sliced off. You spend your last moments feeling quite strange.
  37. 36+ as 36 

Cold, Fire/Lightning/Energy/Explosion, Teeth and Claws, and Falling/Crushing later this week

    On a Table for Avoiding Death (Blunt and Crushing weapons)

    Rules here
    Blunt, crushing and smashing weapons:
    1. (No Entry)
    2. Bash leaves a bruise at a location of the player's choosing
    3. Your knuckles deftly block the blow. Drop anything held in that hand. Pain 1.
    4. You are smote. The whack upside the head leaves you Dazed for 1 round.
    5. The weapon smashes into your foot. You hop around trying to sooth the pain. You are Dazed for 1 round. Make a Dexterity check or drop everything you're holding. If not wearing metal shod boots, First Aid: -1" to Movement. Pain 1.
    6. Your groin is mercilessly clobbered. you double over in pain. You are Sickened for 1 round. Pain 1.
    7. A blow slams into your arm. The shock and impact are overwhelming. You are Stunned for 1 round. Fractured Bones. Pain 1. Internal Bleed 1.
    8. A crushing swipe slams right into your leg. Pain shoots up and down your body from the blow. Fractured Bones. First Aid: Movement Halved. Pain 1. Internal Bleed 1.
    9. Yowza! That tore the skin right open. Scar at the place of the players choosing. Bleed 1.
    10. A solid thwack sounds as your arm is viciously bludgeoned. Pain radiates out from the wound. You are Stunned for a round. Broken Bone. First Aid: Arm Useless (-2 Dexterity). Pain 2. Internal Bleed 1.
    11. There is a solid crunch and a burst of pain as your leg is clubbed. Make a Dexterity check to continue standing, otherwise fall prone. Broken Bone. First Aid: Movement Halved (Movement Reduced by a Quarter). Pain 2. Internal Bleed 1.
    12. Your kneecap is crushed as your leg snaps backward, bending in a way it was never meant to by the gods. You fall prone. Shattered Bone. First Aid: Immobile (Movement Halved). Pain 2. Internal Bleed 1. Bleed 1.
    13. You deftly parry the blow with your face. Blood gushes from your smashed nose. Broken Bone. First Aid: Shaken (-2 Charisma). Bleed 2. Pain 1.
    14. A tremendous swipe crushes your jaw. If you have a full helmet it is knocked off and destroyed. if not, you spit out bone and blood because your jawbone is broken and teeth are knocked out. Broken Bones. First Aid: Sickened, Difficulty Speaking, Cannot Cast Spells (Charisma -2). Bleed 2. Pain 1.
    15. There is a sickening crack as the weapon strikes your hand. 1d4 fingers are bashed to pulp. Anything held is dropped. Lost Fingers. First Aid: Staggered. Arm is useless. Bleed 1. Pain 1. Lose 1 Dexterity for each lost finger.
    16. A crunch you feel more than hear sounds when your opponent strikes your leg. You fall prone. Broken Bones. First Aid: Immobile, Staggered (Movement Reduced by a Quarter). Internal Bleed 2. Bleed 2.
    17. The blow looks week but pain shoots out from  your collarbone. Broken Bones. Permanent -1 to all your statistics. Internal Bleed 2. Pain 2.
    18. Crushing strike to abdomen fractures ribs and damages organs. You taste bitter copper as you vomit blood. Fall prone until you make a successful Constitution check. If you are not wearing armor on your torso,  you are dead in 2d6 rounds. Fractured Bones. First Aid: Sickened. Internal Bleed 3. Pain 2.
    19. If you have a full helmet it is knocked off and destroyed. If not, you feel tearing pain and see stars and your opponent and your shirt as your eye is ripped from your socked and falls, hanging by your optic nerve. You are Stunned for 1 round. Lost Eye. First Aid: Sickened. Ranged attacks are at -8. No Depth Perception. Bleed 1. Pain 1.
    20. Pain explodes down your arm. Roll a 1d6. 1-3 Your hand is crushed at the wrist, 4-5 your arm is crushed at the elbow. 6 your arm is crushed at the shoulder. You are stunned for a round. Limb crushed. Dexterity cut in half. First Aid: SickenedBleed 1d4. Pain 1d4.
    21. You spin and fall as your leg is crushed and bone splinters blast through your leg. Roll a 1d6. 1-2 your leg is crushed at the ankle, 3-4 your leg is crushed at the knee, 5-6 your leg is crushed at the hip. You fall prone. Limb severed. Movement cut in half. First Aid: Sickened. Bleed 1d4. Pain 1d4.
    22. Crunch! is the last thing you hear before everything goes black. You fall Unconsciouness for 1d6 hours. If you have a full helmet it is knocked off and destroyed. If not, Brain Damage, -2 to Intelligence and Wisdom. Internal bleed 1d4.
    23. That blow really knocked the wind out of you. it is doubly hard to breath because of the broken rib that just punctured your lung. You fall unconscious. Lung crushed. Lose 1 point of Constitution. Internal bleed 1d4.
    24. You feel numb instead of pain. Spine broken. Paralyzed from waist down. You will live, sadly.
    25. You feel strange and wet. Skull shattered. Helm destroyed. You smell tulips. Coma for 1d10 weeks. If no helm, death in 1d10 rounds.
    26. Hip is crushed and boneshards puncture femoral artery. Death is at least quick.
    27. The world spins and your neck is broken. You live another 1d12 rounds as you struggle to breathe.
    28. You stumble as your arm and shoulder are crushed to mid-torso. Bones and wreckage are driven into the torso. All internal organs destroyed. Fall over dead.
    29. Lower torso and hip are crushed. You drop to your kneeds and blood gushes out of your mouth until you die 1d4 rounds later.
    30. That hit didn't seem like much, but the bone driven into your kidney begs to differ. Act normally for the next 1d6 rounds, then die of shock.
    31. Your head is hit from above and is smashed down into your torso. Waddle in tearing pain for 1d4 rounds before finally dying in agony.
    32. Thump to chest explodes heart. Eyes bulge in surprise as you drop to one knee and then fall over to the side, dead.
    33. Hit to leg, breaks it in half. Fall forward shattering wrist as you try to stop yourself from falling. Your head bashes against a rock, caving your skull in. Blood pools around your corpse. Dexterity check at +4 for anyone adjacent to avoid slipping.
    34. Blow strikes skull, explodes like a pumpkin hit with a sledge hammer. Everyone within 5' is covered in brain, blood, and bone.
    35. Head is knocked clean off. Batter up!
    36. A titanic swing breaks close to 50 bones. Instant death and body is pulverized and difficult to move.
    37. 36+ as 36

    On a Table for Avoiding Death (Edged and Slashing weapons)

    Rules here.
    Edged, bladed and sharp weapons:
    1.  (No Entry)
    2. You get a cool scar in the place of your choosing.
    3. The edge scrapes across a knuckle. The stinging pain causes you to drop anything held in that hand. Bleed 1.
    4. You are struck by the flat of the blade and see stars. You are Dazed for 1 round.  
    5. The weapon strikes you cutting through your armor and clothing. You are now indecent. Anyone who attacks you is at a minus equal to your Charisma modifier
    6. The blade comes close enough to your face that you lose some hair. You are Shaken for 1 round.
    7. You take a nasty cut across the shoulder. You are Stunned for 1 round. Bleed 1. Pain 1.
    8. A wicked slice to your arm exposes muscle to the bone. Drop anything held in that hand. First Aid: Arm useless. Bleed 2. Pain 1.
    9. This scar will definitely get you laid if you survive.
    10. A vicious chop to your leg is followed by a terrible snap as you feel yourself sag towards the ground. Make a Dexterity check to continue standing, otherwise fall prone. Fractured bones. First Aid: Movement Halved. Bleed 2. Pain 1.
    11. A deep cut slices into your arm, jarring hard against the bone, you count yourself lucky your arm wasn't removed. Drop anything held in that hand. Fractured Bones. First Aid: Arm Useless (Dexterity -2). Bleed 2. Pain 2.
    12. The blade drops behind your guard and tears into your leg scraping across the bone. Your hamstring is severed. Make a Dexterity check to continue standing, otherwise fall prone. Torn Tendons and Ligaments. Bleed 2. Internal Bleed 1. Pain 1. First Aid: Movement Halved (Movement Reduced by a Quarter)
    13. A cut rips open your forehead. Blood gushes down into your eyes. First Aid: Shaken and Blind. Bleed 2.
    14. You jerk your head back, but it's just not far enough. If you have a full helmet it is knocked off and destroyed. If not, the edge of your opponents weapon slices right through your jawbone. Your jawbone is broken and teeth are knocked out. Your mouth is now filled with tooth fragments. Broken Bones. First Aid: Sickened, Difficulty Speaking. Cannot cast spells (Charisma -2). Bleed 2. Pain 1.
    15. You try to block with your hand, but misjudge the distance. You feel a stinging pain in your hand as 1d4 fingers are cut off. Anything held is dropped. Lost Fingers. First Aid: Staggered. Arm is useless. Bleed 1. Pain 1. Lose 1 Dexterity for each lost finger.
    16. You glance to the side and chastise yourself as you completely miss the cruel overhead swipe.If wearing a full helm, it is destroyed. Otherwise, lose an ear. Lost Ear. Checks involving surprise and hearing are cut in half. Pain 1. Bleed 2.
    17. A downward thrust cracks your collarbone. Broken Bones. Permanent -1 to all your statistics. Bleed 2. Pain 2.
    18. The blade snaps into your chest and you feel several ribs break. You are stunned for 1 round. Broken BonesFirst Aid: Sickened. Bleed 1.Internal Bleed 2. Pain 2.
    19. A cut bites deep into your leg and a thick gout of blood flies out as an artery is hit. You fall prone. Bleed 1d4. Pain 1.
    20. Your block left you open and you see a gleam and flash before your head is struck. If you have a full helmet it is knocked off and destroyed. If not, the edge slices open your eye, spilling jelly through the air. You lose an eye. You are stunned for a round. Lost Eye. First Aid: Sickened. Ranged attacks are at -8. No Depth Perception. Bleed 1. Pain 1.
    21. A moment of stillness passes as you watch your arm separate from your body, slowly spinning in the air. Roll a 1d6. 1-3 Your hand is severed at the wrist, 4-5 your arm is severed at the elbow. 6 your arm is severed at the shoulder. You are stunned for around. Limb severed. Dexterity cut in half. First Aid: SickenedBleed 1d4. Pain 1d4.
    22. You feel unbalanced for a moment and stumble as your limb falls to the ground. Roll a 1d6. 1-2 your leg is severed at the ankle, 3-4 your leg is severed at the knee, 5-6 your leg is severed at the hip. You fall prone. Limb severed. Movement cut in half. First Aid: Sickened. Bleed 1d4. Pain 1d4.
    23. Your armor, garments, skin, muscles and ribs have all failed you as the edge of your opponents blade slips between them. Fall unconscious. Lung punctured. Lose 1 point of Constitution. First Aid: Die in 2d4 rounds. Bleed 4. Pain 2.
    24. You know what it feels like to be gutted now, as your abdomen is cut open.You die a slow death over the next half-hour. Feel free to collect your guts and genitalia.
    25. Your carotid artery severed and a fountain of blood drenches everyone within 5'. You fall unconscious. Bleed spectacularly to death in 1d4 rounds without aid.
    26. A mighty swing severs the arm across the breastbone. Stumble backwards and die.
    27. Skull cut open, brain cleaved, leaving you with a splitting headache and a serious case of death.
    28. Hit to torso, piercing ribs, heart punctured, busting out all over showing everyone your love. Instant death.
    29. Femoral artery cut wide open. Dead instantly, but you shower blood on anyone standing in front of or behind you 6 glorious rounds.
    30. You collapse in shock from the tremendous pain, grasping at your mortal wound, uncertain of how this could have happened to you!
    31. Cut across abdomen. Guts rejoice at freedom and flee the body. Instant death. 
    32. Your jaw is separated from your face. The pain is overwhelming and you thrash about making a horrible tongueless screaming noise as you die over 1d6 rounds, spraying blood on everyone adjacent.
    33. Hit to midsection cleaves clear to groin, small flap of flesh cannot support body, which collapses. Instant death.
    34. Decapitation. You are stunned and live for 1d3 more segments.
    35. You are neatly split in half, from head to groin; the halves slide uncomfortably down to the floor
    36. You are cut in twain, and if there is a shaft nearby, you fall down it.
    37. 36+ as 36.

      On a Table for Avoiding Death

      So old school games have a pretty high death rate. Players often start out with few hit points. And when those are gone, they are dead.

      Critical systems increase the death rate, and usually leave the players losing out in the long run due to randomness. But D&D combat tends to be very abstract and generic, how to add more of a Appendix N: feel?

      What if we handled it a bit differently? Warhammer has an interesting system where if all the wounds are gone, you are just like you always were, just with 0 wounds. Every hit after that then causes a 'critical effect'.

      It's a critical table that actually extends the lifespan of the players! Like the great heroes of Appendix N, they don't simply fall over dead, they lose eyes and limbs and have countless crushed bones.

      Dying should be fun!

      I have created 3 levels of complexity.

      Basic information: Being dropped to 0 hit points has no negative effect. You can not drop below 0 hit points.

      Super-Simple: When you take a hit that would drop you to, or past 0 hit points, roll 3d12 and consult the table.

      Intermediate: When you take a hit that would drop you to, or past 0 hit points, roll 1d6 plus the damage dealt and consult the table.

      Keep track of the total number of bleed, internal bleed, and pain points. Roll this many additional d6's when hit to determine your critical.

      Complex: When you take a hit that would drop you to, or past 0 hit points, roll 1d6 plus the damage dealt past 0 hit points.
      • Bleed: Keep track of your  bleed total. Each round your bleed increases by the number of times you have taken bleed damage. Add this value to the criticals you receive.
      • Internal Bleed: Keep track of your internal bleed total. It does not automatically increase. Each round roll 1d100. If the result is equal to or less than your total internal bleed total, you fall over dead. Each point of internal bleed causes you to roll an additional 1d4 when hit to determine your critical severity.
      • Pain: Keep track of your pain total. Each point of pain reduces all die rolls by 1. (i.e. if you have sustained 2 points of pain, all your attack and damage rolls are at -2). Each round you may make a Constitution check to reduce your pain total by 1. Each point of pain you have adds 1d6 when hit to determine critical severity.
        • If you are a barbarian, bezerker, or any sort of rage or primitive fighter, pain instead provides a +1 bonus to all rolls
      General rules that apply to all the systems above:
      Determine which side of the body is struck randomly. Also: when bones are broken or injured, decide randomly, or use what is most exciting. It is suggested that cure light wounds only address hit point damage, and that you require extended rest and healing for wounds involving torn ligaments and bones. i.e. cuts can be healed with spells, but broken bones cannot. A cure critical wounds or heal spell can cure these conditions. Many of these wound will have a negative effect until addressed by a chirurgeon or someone with some degree of medical skill (or a cure critical/heal). On a failure of their skill, they will often leave some permanent damage due to an improperly set bone.When reading the table, effects are separated by a period. If a piece of armor is knocked off or destroyed, don't apply the second part of the effect. Not till the next time at least. 

      Rest periods for various effects without magical aid (CCW/Heal):
      • Fractured bones: 1d6+6 weeks
      • Broken bones: 2+1d6 months
      • Torn Muscles/Tendons: 1d6+6 weeks
      • Shattered bones: 8+3d6 months
      • Organ Damage: 10d6 weeks. 10% chance of death per week.
      • Second Degree Burns: 1d4 weeks.
      • Third Degree Burns 2d6 weeks. 
      If you fall unconscious, you obviously also fall prone. If you get a result that no longer applies ("How many ears do you have again Greg?"), move up to the next higher numbered item in the list.

      This post is subject to the Alexandrian Rule - If you use it, you have to come back and report about it.

      All conditions are as follows. All these definitions are trivially superseded by the PRD, and are summarized below.


      Dazed: The creature is unable to act normally. A dazed creature can take no actions, but has no penalty to AC.
      Deafened: A deafened character cannot hear. He has a 20% chance of spell failure when casting spells with verbal components.
      Immobilized: The character is unable to move, but may still take an action each round.The character may move up to half speed with the assistance of another player.
      Nauseated: Creatures with the nauseated condition experience stomach distress. Nauseated creatures are unable to attack, cast spells, concentrate on spells, or do anything else requiring attention. They may only move and take actions of a similar type (i.e. not attack).
      Paralyzed: A paralyzed character is frozen in place and unable to move or act.
      Prone: The character is lying on the ground. A prone attacker has a –4 penalty on melee attack rolls and cannot use a ranged weapon (except for a crossbow). A prone defender gains a +4 bonus to Armor Class against ranged attacks, but takes a –4 penalty to AC against melee attacks. It takes a turn to stand up.
      Shaken: A shaken character takes a –2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks.
      Sickened: The character takes a –2 penalty on all attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks.
      Staggered: A staggered creature may take a single action each round.
      Stunned: A stunned creature drops everything held, can't take actions, takes a –2 penalty to AC, and loses its Dexterity bonus to AC (if any).
      First Aid: Condition (Penalty):  Some wounds require more than a cure light wounds spell to heal. This wound requires either knowledgeable medical attention or a Cure Critical Wounds or Heal spell to correct the condition after the colon. If a skill is used, and not a spell, failure may carry some sort of permanent penalty or consequence, noted in parentheses.

      On Jeff's Garycon Report (DCC RPG Info!)

      Where the hell did that print of Lokerimon
      The Lawful come from!?
      Everyone should check out Jeff's cool report. Not only are the stories entertaining, but the info and cool pictures are top notch.

      I'm sure everyone has him on their blogroll, but this is mainly for my players to get a little bit of text on new Hackmaster and DCC RPG stuffs.

      Go check it out team!

      It's like we fell into a portal back to 1976!

      On Dominion Online For Free

      Interrupting table week for this important announcement.

      You can play Dominion Online for Free! This is the greatest time-wasting endeavor ever!

      http://dominion.isotropic.org/faq/

      Too, too cool!

      On Table Week

      This is table week at Hack & Slash!

      I have been inspired by the contest, and am at a point where I find myself in need of several good tables, so this week it's table-time!

      On the docket:

      Critical hit tables that increase survivability and give the game an appendix N flavor!
      Mega-dungeon area names
      Huge list of items, colors, materials, and artistic themes
      Updated to 100 items spellbook traps
      Updated another 50 Mega-dungeon hooks (bringing it up to 100)
      List of ways to disarm a trap

      And more! (Wednesday Review, Thursday Trick, a discussion of some of the best in randomness out there)

      Like the majority of my tables, they are most useful as planning aids. I've never gotten the hang of how to make a table be useful while playing, but I'm quite skilled at the comprehensive idea board for the design phase.

      An artifact of my prep style I suppose.

      If you have any suggestions for tables you'd like to see, give me a comment and let me know!

      On Design: How to Throw a Party With MURDER

      This is the first example in my design series. The series may be found here.

      So, how do we use these tools to improve our game?

      The befuddled duke
      Well, have you ever had the PC's take part in a murder mystery? These tools are perfect for setting something like this up without resorting to heavy handed tactics.

      Clearly an evil wizard
      The first place to start is with Power Structure. And the first place to start with that is what the PC's want. To keep this simple we're going to keep the PC's as a single entry on the spider web chart.

      We start with Power Structure because this is the most complicated step.

      Let's say the players want to stop the evil duke. This is a problem for three reasons.
      1. People don't believe the duke is evil
      2. Access to his land is restricted
      3. The player's don't know that the evil duke is being controlled by his sexy wizard adviser.
      So the player characters have 3 goals. Get information about the duke, gain access to his land, and find the people they can trust to share the proof of his evil deeds.

      If I knew it was going to be that
      kind of party. . .


      Now you need some party guests. I'm not going to outline each individual party guest, but you should have someone to host the party, several people allied with the duke, several people allied against the duke, one victim, and a murderer. Note that several of these could be combined.

      Also, each person can have a variety of goals and desires, many of which could be solved at this very party, giving the players both information and things to accomplish at the gathering.
      .
      As an example, let's say there are three party guests that can provide the players access to the duke's land. One is frustrated over the King's new tax, and names a different person at the party who is responsible for that. They party can ask around about his claim, either with the person he named or to other party goers. Then they will get information that he's upset over the tax, because it gives the befuddled duke a financial advantage and they are currently in competition for an estate grant. Now the party has something to offer him in exchange for access to his land.

      Because I'm talking about old school games, this is an actual opportunity to role-play, not simply a series of die rolls, though if you were intimidated by the idea of giving the player the information in an interesting memorable way, you could 'roll a die' to determine their success. I recommend against it.

      Numerically, it's a good idea to give each person a minimum 3 pieces of information, and 2 things they want, 1 of which can be accomplished at the gathering.

      It doesn't matter what the goal of the adventuring party is. I'm sure your current party has a list of a dozen things that they want. Use that, here. Use whatever goals they currently have and allow them to make some progress or headway towards those goals at this party. Looking for a lost artifact? Someone has some information about it. Needing to hinder an opponent? Someone can cause them trouble. Need access to a specific person or item? Someone here knows how to get it. Want access to the thieves guild? This is the entrance test.

      You don't need more then 10 actual NPC's at the party. A number around 6 for your actual spiderweb structure is probably best to start. Each should have one or two things that they want and something, either information or resources they can use to help the PC's. One or two could be 'ringers' with no information or desires. I am fond of making ringers romantic interests. These party guests are an excellent method of passing on information about your plots, schemes and gameworld.

      When designing these goals, remember that there will be a murder, so someone will die, and someone else will have a reason to kill that person. Each of these people in addition to having information about one of the PC's pre-existing goals will have information about the murder itself, which is likely to become of some pressing concern to the players (because they are suspects, see?)

      You can see it will not be difficult between the murder, world information, and player desires to hit those minimum information counts.

      Remember the duke? Of course you do, you saw his picture. That's why visual aids and cues are so important. Now you get pictures and write the seven sentence NPC's out for each of the players in our little drama. 

      The evening session should start with an introduction of each person, and as DM you should give each person something to hang their hook on, in addition to the picture. A stance, prop, voice or some other cue to help your players keep the people separated. It is super maximum best excellent if you can find a way to make a couple of the party guests pre-existing NPC's that the party has met before.

      So that's set up our Power Structure. Remember, the PC's don't have to go here to this party, but they're here because they plan on getting something they want.

      What do we do next?

      We use Space Structure to lay out the environment or 'map' of the party.  Contrary to popular thought, a session like this can provide the opportunity to show useful information visually, letting the players see who's allied with who, and allowing personality to show through by where people congregate. It is important when you are laying out this space structure that you have several areas or rooms that are shielded from view of the players. This is important for the murder. Once the layout of your area is completed, you are almost finished.

      Finally, you use Time Structure to set a course of events for the evening. These are events that will occur at specific times. You will want to track time closely. If the players have no warning of the murder mystery, they will be looking for opportunity to accomplish their own goals. Keeping close track of time, and informing them of who's leaving and returning from the areas they can see will initially be treated as flavor text. Once the murder occurs it may be far more important. In the past, when I've used this particular technique, my outline generally goes something like this:

      6:00 PM Welcome and Introductions (introducing each of the players)
      6:10 Introductions over
      6:30 Loud disagreement between 2 people (This is an opportunity to pass on information to the players)
      6:50 First course (At this point I have given the players each 4 turns to listen and talk to people individually. I use the power structures to guide how I move people around during this time. Then, since everyone is at the table, this is a structured opportunity for more clue dropping and information gathering.)
      7:00 Person A excuses themselves, NPC engages players in questioning them over their past or actions, playing up the players notoriety - during this conversation. . .
      7:02 Person B excuses themselves
      7:05 Person C excuses themselves, players have an option to escape the table, or continue the conversation.
      7:15 Persons D & E excuse themselves together
      7:30 Duke Announces it's time for the show. "everyone" moves to watch the show.
      7:45 Lights dim, start describing whatever entertainment is common in your world.
      8:00 Lights come up, moment of silence, then a scream. OH GEEZE DEAD BODY. At this point, there is little need for other scheduled events, because it is assumed the party will take more of an aggressive role in setting the agenda.You can however continue to schedule twists as the evening progresses. (The inspector general shows up! Someone is a witch! Someone else is a doppelganger that had nothing to do with the murder! Another scheme is exposed through investigation! etc.)

      I'm batman. Surprise party guest.
      I generally allow each player one conversation during each 'turn' or 10 minute period. As you can see, there are 4 actions each PC can take before sitting for the meal, and 4 actions each PC can take while eating but people are leaving while this is occurring. Each interaction is defined by the party learning 1 new piece of information and achieving progress on what they want to know. Many of the guests will want something in return (such as getting the name of that other pretty guest, who won't give it, unless you find something out from a third guest). The fact that the players really only have 8 or so actions to accomplish these tasks should leave them feeling like they didn't have enough time to do everything they want. For a beginner I recommend simply making each of the players take turns, like in combat. Once you are comfortable with this type of time limited interaction, you can switch between players based on cliffhangers and drama.

      One of the primary problems found when interacting with NPC's is specifically mitigated within this structure. Mainly that it is not necessary to engage in police room interrogation tactics to find things out, because each person, although reticent to answer direct questions about themselves, is eager to talk about what they want and how other people are keeping them from getting it.

      So now you have your Power Structure, Your Space Structure, and your Time Structure, and with these three sheets of paper (and some prep work with your seven sentence NPC's) you can run this entire complex adventure completely prepared for any wrenches the PC's may throw into the night. You are able to adapt to whatever curve balls they throw you. This is possible because you haven't constructed a specific series of events that must happen, but simply defined what everyone wants, and what everyone is doing. This gives you the perspective you need in order to shift gears to whatever the players want to do.

      One final note - you should let the players do what they want. If they want to jump up and follow person A from the table, then let them. No matter what they do, they are closing off other options for themselves. You may help explicitly remind them what's at risk if they are having difficulty noting the stakes. (e.g. in this case, not alerting the duke to their plans by letting it slip to someone who's allied with him, and later, not being thrown in jail for murder) Let them make whatever choices they want, and be subject to the natural, logical, and applied consequences of their actions.

      Next time, using these tools to create a super dynamic wilderness sandbox.
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