On Alchemical Items, Powder of Ground Fog

Powder of Ground Fog
BSC:2%(R)gp:100 gp
DC:22TTC:2 days
CC:6CGP::35 gp
NWP:-3XP:10 xp
D100:+30%Weight:- / 20
D6:2 in 6 / 3Difficulty:Hard
RarityUncommon

Materials: Rare Earths (1 dram), Dry Ice (2 drams), Ice (1 dram), Mineral Oil (2 ounces)
Description: When this powder is thrown on the ground it covers a 250 square foot area (50' x 50') in a knee high fog. It flows along the ground, rolling down stairs and cascading into pits. The fog is in constant motion. Stealthy or invisible creatures are not revealed (gain a +2 circumstance bonus to spot invisible or hidden medium or larger creatures).
The ground is not visible beneath the fog. The fog has a height of 3-4' covering completely anything on the floor. It is particularly effective as allowing creatures in gaseous form to hide.


Rules are here.

On Interesting Treasure: The Warriors Bronze

This ancient plaque depicts two Mabden Warriors.

Only the warriors aren't depictions. They fought an ancient beast, the Nahad, ancestor to the gorgon; the Nahad who's gaze shrunk you to a fraction of your size and who's breath turned you to stone.

The bronze carving is exquisite. If anyone were in possession of a metal to flesh spell, they would have two very thankful, confused, violent, servants of outstanding character and loyalty; surprisingly not worse for the wear.

The plaque radiates transmutation magic so faint that one turn of examination must be conducted before it is noticed. Otherwise, it is worth 300 gold pieces on the open market, or 1,500 to a collector.

On The Thursday Trick, Punishing Presumption Pit

Punishing Presumption Pit (Pit)

Trigger:Mechanical: Interaction Effects:Never Miss
Save:None Duration: Instant
Resets: AutomaticBypass: None (Avoid)

Description: Do your players assume that they are in a super-heroic fantasy game? They won't after this pit!

There is a big open pit. It is filled with some unsavory substance (acid, magma, water with piranha, oozes, green slime, etc.)

Next to the pit is a little hook holding a rope or chain. The rope or chain is attached to the ceiling. It can easily be used to swing across the pit.

Of course once over 100 pounds of weight are applied to the rope, it disengaged from the ceiling, extending an extra 10' or so. The delver now won't clear the pit, and the thud from the smack into the opposing wall will certainly attract a wandering monster.

Detection/Disarming: Just, sometimes, it's nice to set them up.

Any player that actually examines the far side of the pit will see the impact on the far pit wall. They might also notice certain discoloration of the rope/chain from certain pit contents and rope/chain length combinations.

All in all, they deserve what they get.

As noted in the comments, credit for this idea is from  Grimtooth's traps, a trademark of Flying Buffalo Inc. games. 

On the Village Calm

What is wrong with the village and town?

Hommlet. Saltmarsh. Small cities and towns.

How to make them useful?

Now we have plenty of semi-useful large cities. Vornhiem, Lankhmar, City-state, and more.

But what can we do to make our smaller settlements both interesting and playable. What information or stat-block can we give a village that makes it instantly useable?

Pathfinder has a settlement stat block. Notice the complete lack of shock and surprise on my face.

Is this stat-block useful?

Eh.*

Some people who run cities, said they wanted: Name; overall feel; map; names of major NPC's; tavern or a few shops/key locations/interesting features; shadiest guy in town; who the guy they will run afoul of is; a plot point/adventure seed or two; a descriptive phrase; and resources and obstacles (nee features);

Some people who play in cities, said they wanted to know: Shops; How easy is it to get in and out of town; What is the reaction to our arrival; who lives here; what language do they speak; what religion are they; Is it a village of ghosts where they hate thri-kreen and do they eat ghost candy.

I don't know if that last one is relevant but Scrap Princess is more awesome than you.

So, what's a useful block for a village or town? THE QUADRUPLE D!

Description
Name : Descriptive Phrase
Type  : "Community Motto"

Demographics
Government if non-standard (not mayor/council)
Population (Breakdown by race)
Languages Spoken
Local Gods

Notable NPC's
I)
II)
etc.

Districts
Shops
Locations / Interesting Features
Resources

Diversions
Obstacles
Adventure Seeds
Some examples of names

* Name, six categories that affect skills, alignment, government type, "danger level", population, base value/purchase limit, spell-casting, magic items available, qualities, and disadvantages. Basically the most mechanical towns possible.

On Why Bother

So, anyone that updates a blog regularly is a writer. Regular updates to a blog equate in word count to a novel or two a year. So what is it that makes us bother?

I mean, if one were going to write for money, then there are plenty of more popular topics a writer could write on and possibly get enough views to use advertising, or even get a job for a major 'magazine style' website. So why write about D&D?

I mean, I am going to be releasing some things for pay this year, in a way that allows reader to give back. These are things I do anyway -- it's no path to riches. The real question is 'why am I doing these things anyway?'

What I am about to say, makes me sound like a mad man.
I have no qualms about this, because we are all mad men here.
If you were not, you would not have come here.

Old school style role playing* is a shamanistic pursuit. The realms we describe -- all possible conceivable realms really -- actually exist. In the real sense that they are a real place where real people live and breath.

We can view these realms as if through a glass darkly. If we gather in a group and collect our ritual objects, then engage in our formal structure of play while remaining free of intent to influence the events based on our pre-conceptions, then the fog clears. Our ritual, our dice, act as augers to view other realms. Through this process we gain strength, wisdom, and join with the universal spirit of life. Our lives are enriched. We become connected to universal myth.
So that's pretty much the reason why I do this instead of something else.

*Modern 'story' games auger nothing, but provide ritual catharsis of group creation. There are many types of things that fulfill these sense of community, sports, competitive games, art, activities that allow you to engage in 'flow'. Many things serve this purpose.

On the Heartbreaking New D&D

So this D&D thing I'm doing needs a name.

It's about maximizing player agency.

It's about being quick and inviting to new players, while still allowing older players to customize their characters without needing to have a 'build'.

It's about being explicit about how we are going to handle fictional positioning.

It's about the idea of negotiated choice.

How is it doing the above? Seven choices in player character creation. Creation starts with rolling dice.  Combat is abstracted, not concerned with simulating the progression of a combat round. Choices about characters all come at second level, not first.

You want to play a paladin? How about a monk? Well, then you pick fighter and take abilities that feel paladin like to you. What about causing the fall of a paladin?

Why would I ever want to do that?

You see, the fall of a paladin is about the nadir of poor communication built exclusively around things that are founded on things that are thought without proof (belief).

Why argue about something unresolvable? Being a paladin is about either playing a role of a brave and noble hero or getting the list of powers that they have. If it's the first, then quibbling over what is or is not a violation of their standard should not really be a part of game-play. If it is the second, then fine. In these rules fighters are picking their powers anyway.

I find myself asking this question often: "Does this rule or system improve the experience of play for people at my table? i.e. Are they enjoying themselves more with this addition or subtraction."

If the player wants something above and beyond fighter abilities, such as a magical status as paladin, then that is something that falls in the realm of negotiated choice. And in that case, the consequences, benefits, and rules will be explicit and quantifiable - otherwise the choice won't be informed and agency will be impacted.

So, any ideas for the name?

On Transcripts

Better then a play report, a transcription!
I recorded Sunday mornings play session for the ability to review and transcribe it.

It's a horrible example of a play session. I was tired and there were issues. So, perhaps the best way to look at the ideas.

Here's an example of how we handled in town pursuit. 

DM: Me
FF: The new female player, playing a fighter
AG: Alchemist played by G
SJ: Sage played by my brother.

AG: Hey! Let's find that poacher who said that it was haunted and ask him.
DM: Sure you go to the fish's cock and you find the poacher drinking --
SJ: Wait, what?
FF: The fish's cock, it's a fighting rooster.
AG: I thought it was a fish with a rooster.
SJ: I didn't know, I thought it was a fish with a big d**k.
DM: It's very confusing. I'm not sure what the actual intent of the design is.
AG: So is that poacher guy there?
DM: Ah, yes, yes he is, he's drinking.
AG: Aaaaaay!
DM: When you guys walk in, he sees you, he stands up and runs out the back.
AG: *scoffs* I'm going to go to the back door.
{simultaneously}
SJ: I'm going to chase after him
FF: He thinks we want the gold piece back. (Note: This was nearly undecipherable. I'm certain I missed this comment during play)
DM: Are you guys chasing after him?
{end overtalking}
AG: no, not chasing, I'm just seeing-
SJ: I am.
DM: Well, he's out running.
AG: Wizard gonna get shanked.
FF: Ok, so we're running after him?
SJ: I'm chasing him.
AG: I don't - I don't
DM: The back door is swinging at this point.
FF: I'll go - I'll go, I'll go and protect SJ.
SJ: Well, I'm chasing after him.
DM: ok, ok.
AG: Kinda jogging, half a city block behind them.
DM: So, ah- so, uh, you guys burst out the back door and see him running down the street. When you ran across the bar, the bartender is like "Where's the party," and starts taking his shirt off.
{Laughter}
AG: Bartender's a little bit, uh,
FF: heh, heh, yeah. . . shameless I believe that's the word.
AG: So, uh
{unintelligble}
DM: . . .running down the street?
SJ: Exactly.
AG: I'll shout. . . "HELLO THERE!"
{Laughter}
DM: Right, so, um-, uh, oh, I have pursuit rules here, somewhere
AG: We should ask the mayor about a knight who maybe went to the alchemist's house.
FF: Yeah, and died a few weeks ago?
AG: {Whispered}Unless they would make us give the armor back and then we wouldn't want to do that.
FF: {Whispered}I can go hide somewhere out of town and wait for you guys.
DM: Ok, you guys all have the same movement, except for you're wearing Plate Mail, FF?
FF: I have Plate Mail, yeah. You mean like my armor, is that what you want to know?
DM: Yeah, your movement is 6". His {Indicates SJ} is 12". {To SJ}Are you going to chase him down without her following you or are you going to stop when he {indicating his character} begins to outpace her?
SJ: Uh, yeah, I'm going to chase him down without her following me.
DM: Normally when you're trying to elude somebody, you have base 1 in 8 chance of escape. However the terrain here is flat, which is going to give him a minus five. But there are buildings which him which give him a plus three, but it's the daytime which is gonna give him a minus 3. {I am misspeaking here. You have a 1-7 chance in 10 of escaping. -5 gives him a 1-2 in 10 chance of escape.} So he should have a 1 in 3 chance of escaping. Since you're the player character, you have a 1 in seven chance of finding him. Does that sound reasonable to everybody? Is there anything I might be forgetting that could affect the pursuit.
SJ: So, uh, we use a d10 and on a 1-3 he gets away?
DM: 1 through 7 you catch him. On an 8 through 10 he gets away.
AG: you said 1 in 7.
FF: Yeah, you said 1 in 7 chance.
AG: I was confused.
DM: Yeah. 1 through 7, out of 10. 70% chance of catching him.
FF: Ok.
DM: Does that sound reasonable to everybody? Is there anything else I'm forgetting about.
AG: on a d10 or a d8?
DM: The 10.
FF: The ground.
DM: It's flat.
FF: Is it muddy? dry? Whatever?
DM: It is- it is- I have no idea what the weather is, we should probably roll.
SJ: I have weather sense.
DM: You know that means you can detect what the weather is going to be. To determine what the weather actually is, you don't need to roll for.
AG to SJ: You have no idea.
DM: You can just look.
{Laughter}
AG: Guys it's raining, oh gawd.
DM: {Mocking SJ} I'm using my weather sense to figure out what's going on out here. I'm getting all wet, and uhhhhhh
AG: It's interfering with my weather sense.
{Laughter}
SJ: Cause that's totally what's going on, interfering.
AG: Can we, if he turns around with a knife, just run away. This is not an important situation I believe.
SJ: Well. Running away implies he's guilty of something.
AG to SJ: You would make a great fascist.
DM: I will tell you right now- Welcome to the new generation in America. Well- uh, I will tell you right now he's running away because he thinks you've come back to take the money you gave him. There's no question that is why he's running away.
SJ: Whatever, why did we give him money?
DM: Roll Percentiles.
{Simultaneous}
FF: To get him to go away from us, he wouldn't leave us alone.
AG: To get him to give us some information
{End Simultaneous}
AG: So if you wanted you could shout out, "Do you have any spare money?"
SJ: Oh, wait, you want percentiles?
{Dice roll}
SJ: 78
DM: It is. . .raining
AG: Why don't you just shout out 'I'll give you a gold if you tell us everything you know about the alchemist's- I'm going to shout out 'I'll give you-
DM: That will aid him in his escape, the rain, so he is going to escape now at a 50% chance because of the rain.
AG: I'm going to shout, when I get to the back of the thing, while we're still kind of close "I'm going to give you a gold if you tell us about the alchemist's house!"
DM: Uhhhhhhh. . . you're going back in time to do that?
AG: yeah.
SJ: Going back in time, {laughing} yes we would go to 10 seconds before coming in.
AG: Wait, neither he nor you have rolled your running, right?
DM: Ok, well
AG: So you guys haven't even gone.
DM: Let's do this, if you're yelling that; he's out there in the rain. He is still within auditory range. so he is going to have his natural base noise detection chance to hear what you're saying.
AG: What is that?
DM: 15%
AG: *Snort*
FF: Just roll to see if we catch him.
AG: Hearing things is hard.
SJ: {Looking at the roll} He didn't hear the 15%.
AG: The end.
DM: So why don't you roll a d10 to see if you catch him.
AG: and scene.
SJ: {Dice roll} 7
DM: He loses himself in the streets.
AG: and scene.
FF: We caught him!
AG: peace out.
FF: Oh, no because of the rain.
SJ: 50% because of the rain.
FF: Sorry, because I asked about the damn weather. Cause I asked about the ground.
DM: You lose him in the rain.
AG: Ok.
DM: A guard walks up, to you.
SJ: 'Sup.
DM: Where you going in such a hurry?
AG: We catch up.
SJ: We are trying to catch a guy who ran away.
AG: Hey!
{laughter}
DM: You're chasing people in town, are ya?
AG: Hi, we're here now too.
DM: Ok.
AG: That's what I say anytime I approach anybody.
{Laughter}

{End Description}

On Alchemical Items, Powder of Dehydration


Powder of Dehydration
BSC:15%(R)gp:60 gp
DC:20TTC:1 day
CC:4CGP::25 gp
NWP:-1XP:10 xp
D100:+40%Weight:- / 20
D6:3 in 6 /4Difficulty:Difficult
RarityUncommon

Materials: Rare Earths (1 dram), Salt (4 drams), Burned Water (1 ounces), Caustic Potash (1 dram), Salt of Tartar (1 dram)
Description: This horrible powder dehydrates the target. When the target(s) are hit by this powder, if they are an organic living creature, then they instantly become dehydrated as the powder absorbs water from their body out through their pores and skin. The target must make a save versus Poison (Fortitude DC 16) or immediately take 1-6 points of non-lethal damage. If their hit point total falls beneath their accumulated non-lethal damage, then they fall unconscious.
They must repeat this check in an hour if they do not acquire any water in the interim. If they fail the save, they also become fatigued, giving them a -1 to combat rolls and armor class (Gain the Fatigued condition)
If used on organic corporeal undead and they fail their save, it desiccates the corpse. This causes those undead to take double damage from fire attacks.
Creatures subject to this power feel as if they are dying of thirst and unless they succeed at a save versus Spells at +4 (Will DC 12) will stop what they are doing and drink any available liquid -- even poison.

Rules are here.

On Interesting Treasure: The Spectral Aryballos

This beautiful Zunel flask does not actually contain spirits, either the metaphysical or the alcoholic kind. Indeed it is an Aryballos who's purpose is to hold perfume or oil. It is small and portable, designed to be carried.
But the Zunel were a strange and ephemeral species. It is said that each of their four eyes saw a different dimension. Anyone covered in oil or perfume stored in this flask may experience strange sensations, not the least of which is alien or long dead phantasmal forms appearing speaking strange tongues or perhaps with ancient imperatives.
Worth 300 gold on the open market, 1200 to a collector.

On The Thursday Trick, Detours and Agency

An extremely underused trap.

Detours (Restraints/Hazards)

Trigger: VariousEffects:Multiple Targets
Save:None Duration:Varies
Resets: AutomaticBypass: None (Avoid), Disarm

Description:This is a corridor or hallway trap. The basic premise is that when it is triggered, no damage is done to the players, but their passage through the dungeon is altered.
When the players walk down a corridor, the way forward and back are sealed off. Then the wall slides back to reveal a chamber. A four-way corridor intersection seals various passages as the characters pass.

Detection/Disarming: The create danger by exposure to unselected paths and preventing easy escape forcing another way out of the dungeon. On the plus side it can make for a very exciting game. Downsides include frustration and the need to have time to resolve the situation before the end of the session.

Detection is crucial to providing agency of these puzzles. The relief at discovering one before it is triggered is equal to the fear at attempting to survive after falling prey to one.

If there are sliding walls, then there are methods for the characters to detect where the walls slide from. Dwarves gain a bonus for detecting just this type of thing. There will also be marks on the walls and floors where the walls slide across.

The triggers are detectible in the normal ways.

Another clues may be treasure maps, or maps purchased from other characters which do not match the environment visible to the players.

Noises may be audible through the walls that may lead to discovery of the threat of hidden chambers and sliding walls.

On Surprise, and How Life Sucks Sometimes

One of my current players made the comment that surprise doesn't seem very realistic or fair. After all, if you roll a 1 and the monsters roll a 10, they get nine segments of actions to act. In one of those segments you may:
  • Make a full round of attacks
  • Make a full round of missile attacks
  • Move a number of feet equal to your movement rate in inches. (basically 2" or 10' if your movement is 9" or 12", or 1" or 5' if your movement rate is 3" or 6"
  • Cast a one segment spell or begin casting a longer spell
  • Perform any action that can be completed in one segment.
Surprise exists to allow weak monsters to f&*( you up.  It isn't realistic, and it's not explicitly supposed to simulate nine separate attacks.

That many attacks are rolled, because the damage they do to you in the surprise round is much more devastating then any wound they could give you during a round of combat in which you are prepared.

Now of course, this all falls apart when the surprise segments suddenly turn into real segments of activity. In that case, you wouldn't still be surprised after someone struck you for the ninth time in 54 seconds. I imagine it would be difficult to remain surprised for that long.

So as long as these represent real values of explicit time in which you are tracking activity during the round then my player is right. If it instead represents the damage done to you while surprised, or what you can reasonably accomplish before your opponent is prepared, then it works quite well for that purpose.

We have agreed to compromise on using a d6 for surprise.

On Abstracted Initative Confusion

A concrete example of a problem with fictional positioning.

We are using OSRIC as a base, which uses a D6 initiative group system. The number on your die portrays when the other side takes their turn (allowing the high roll to win). Contrast this with first edition where the roll determines who "possesses the initiative for the round."

The disconnect occurs in the elimination of abstraction that occurs in later editions. For example, in second edition, initiative is rolled on a d10 which specifically determines what segment of the round your action occurs, modified by weapon speed, casting speed, and your dexterity modifier. OSRIC works from this definition also - the number show on your opponent's die is literally the segment you act on.

In first edition, it is assumed that the roll does not represent the actual time measurement that the action takes place, but rather an assumption on who possesses a momentary advantage during the chaos of the round. Actions are then assumed to be modified from this momentary advantage -- not in a quantitative sense. One example that shows this can be seen in that spell-casting disregards initiative when compared to other spells being cast - initiative is only referenced when the spells have identical casting times. Otherwise the spell with the shorter casting time goes first regardless of the dice roll.

The problem occurs, in that in the old system actions are announced before initiative and then remain unchanged. Since it isn't representative of time, arguments based around the idea that 'if I lose initiative I can change my action because it happens later' disappear. Because the action doesn't happen later -- it's happening currently, we just resolve the action in a certain order and apply effects based on an abstraction of 'advantage'.

However, when the result is tied into an actual time-key, several problems result.
  • You have this kludge, where you're rolling for the other side to keep "High roll wins".
  • Players legitimately want to know why they can't change their actions if they lose initiative.
  • Winning initiative becomes less of an advantage.
  • It results in more calculations and math.
I'm less concerned with a review of all the possible systems and advantages of each. (I'll leave that to Delta who will do a better job than I.) I'm much more concerned about how to handle something like this at my table. I have several guidelines.
  1. It must be short, simple, and easy to remember
  2. It must cover the most common cases
  3. It must make enough sense that it doesn't create Fridge Logic moments
My current outline is like this.
Initiative is not representative of when things occur during a round. It is an abstract that determines during the chaos of a round which side achieves the results they wish first.
  1. The DM decides monster actions and keeps them secret
  2. Players declare their actions. If a spell is not explicitly declared by either party at this point, the opportunity to cast is lost.
  3. Pre-initiative actions are resolved.
    1. Movement only
    2. Missile Fire
  4. The winning side resolves their actions. Spells may be canceled, but new actions cannot be taken.
  5. The losing side resolve their actions 
Problems? I would very much like everyone to tell me what they think of this. If you were running this, what would you change? If you were playing under this, what wouldn't you like?

On Successful Communication With the Other Side

I engaged a story gamer with questions!

We didn't talk past each other!

We communicated! And understood each other!

Me: 
"I'm not really interested at all in attempting to simulate a movie? What I want to do is play a game that is it's own thing. I grant it's all informed by media, but 'do something that is like in that movie' is not really a goal of mine.

I think we can both agree the actual play of OSR D&D is not very movie-like. It's more like. . . a game. :-)"

Stras Acimovic:

Oh. You say that flat out several times, but I think I just put together the pieces. . .  Because see, I assumed we were referring to the same beast with different bits. We're not.

I see an RPG as Role-playing, where the word 'role' indicates an actor, similar to theatre. . . To you RPG stresses Gaming. . .

I was going to ask 'but why don't you just play a video game/board game', but I think I figured it out. Player Agency and Infinite Play. The ability to have the story be about you and your meaningful choices (which is lacking in a video game) and the ability to go off the grid (which is lacking in a board game). . .
ME:
"My confusion is over the logistics of rewarding everyone for separate things? How does that not create difficulties in logistical structure?" 
 Stras Acimovic:
In your OSR style games there are two facts.  
 #1) Combat, despite being lightning fast compared to the morass of minis games like the later editions, still takes a while. As do investigations of dungeons, negotiations with bandit leaders and so on. If the group is not of a like mind, and not focusing on performing the same action you get the split party syndrome where the GM is forced to spend alot of time with group A while half the players (or more) in group B are bored.

Many story games do 2 things.
1 - they resolve the whole conflict in a single roll. So Bob can negotiate with the bandits (or fight them) in a single roll. Assaulting a town? Roll once, done. . . . In other words 'rounds' and 'actions' can be defined very differently. . .
2- Meta rules also allow you to change probability-to-story relations. For example most OSR games are FatE (fortune at the end) as opposed to FitM (fortune in the middle). In other words in your games you declare intent, execute, then check to see success . . . Whereas in FitM games you declare intent, roll knowing success or failure, and then narrate the scene . . . Why does this matter? . . .\. If you do FatE you almost have to tick time because you're moving in actions, rather than in scenes. . .

If you say "I swing my sword" (FatE) you then have to check to see what happens. If you say "I fight the monster" and you fail, you can narrate 100 swings but the outcome of the overall fight is the same without having to check for success or failure of each one.

. . .You can do disparate things, because you're not punishing the rest of the group by having them be bored. Doing something away from the group frequently takes no more time than an action in a round would in a trad game.
#2) Many story games have meta rules that guide player, and provide them with opportunity which are different than rules that guide the group. You are equating player success with group success which isn't wrong if all the players are in a group, and the group is of one mind. To have a player be separate from the group and acting against the group interests is the same thing in your game since then the player is acting against the win-condition or goal of the game. We've established that this is bad. What story games often do though is decouple these rulesets. In other words, the party can be acting towards the same overarching goal, while the individual is not. The individual can pursue divergent goals, which benefit him (by giving him xp and levels for example) and therefore party in the long run. . .
Me:
I am stridently anti-illusionist. http://hackslashmaster.blogspot.com/search/label/series%20%28Quantum%20Ogre%29
Stras Acimovic:
You know I read that article and almost cried. You see the reason most story-gamers think OSR games are bad is because we grew up playing in bad ones. You're having fun because you're 'doing it right'.

So let me answer something for you now that I understand the question. What I think OSR games do 'wrong' (loaded word!) is that they . . . don't have articles like this included in the books. The 'problem' is that while the 'correct' way to do things may be exactly what's addressed in that article there is a way to do it without any player agency contained in the ruleset. In other words a bad GM can run a game full of illusionism completely removing player agency while acting within the rules themselves (if not the spirit necessarily).

Many story-gamers depart the trad games BECAUSE this bad-GMing behavior leads to a hostile game experience they associate with the genre and the games, instead of associating them with bad individual games.

What meta rules (like story points) do is not hack rule 0, but provide . . . a system of checks and balances for controlling GMs that act within the rules while being hostile to the players and denying player agency. OSR games have the potential to generate an us-vs-them gm-vs-the-players mentality, which can bring out the worst traits competitiveness and damage cooperation and fun (on the player end mostly). The meta-rules (like story points) often create a better environment (us-all-together-making-a-story-by-playing) and often results in a better play experience.

So let me clarify. When the original author (of the article at the very top original post) says 'meta rules are better' what he means is that there are rules to teach the GM how to 'play right' and if not put the power in the 'hands of the players' to maintain a good game environment. It's usually about setting up a system of rules and rewards that incentivises 'more productive' behavior. It's not about making a better game (in the sense of probability, and piece moving) so much as it is about mitigating bad games, and bad GM behavior. In other words they're not necessarily adding good, they're removing bad. So these rules may not help your game (specific) so much as they might help your game (OSR). . .
Me:
4)"I think I grok what you're saying. It seems more abstract.
I don't think it's accurate to say D&D characters don't have flaws - since the role they are taking is what would the player do in this situation, their flaws are really the player's flaws. :-) "
Stras Acimovic:
You know I realized I have 'story gamer' brain damage when I almost went 'but this is not a good thing'! Let me instead present you with an explanation (this isn't a suggestion because it may not work for what you're trying to do).

If you play a character with no goals or personality of their own this is often called being '2 Dimensional'. There are all sorts of other derogatory and negative connotations attached to it. Shallow. Boring. Not-fleshed-out. But the thing is in the OSR having your dude be a meeple isn't a bad thing. You spend too much time fleshing a character out and he gets axed by a troll in two bad rolls and wowzers. You just wasted a whole lot of time.

But some people enjoy the activity of fleshing out the character much like you like making a dungeon. And some people just desparately want to play something they saw in a movie or a book. They don't need the whole game to be a movie or a book, but if they can 'pretend' to be a cool lone-wolf badass-in-a-trenchcoat it makes them happy. So if you let them play a 'lone-wolf-badass' instead of a fighter while not breaking the game, they are happy and still benefit the party. The meta-rules allow for them to essentially design their own class while keeping them focused on the game goal (get gold, get xp, get badass enough to conquer lands) and not disrupt what the others are doing or break game-balance.

Me:
5) "You're saying the "encounter I would construct" is instead of a trap or monster, a thing like "debt" playing into whatever is on their sheet. I see. "
Stras Acimovic:
Yes! Yes! Exactly! happy dance This is it exactly! Hopefully now you can see that 'traps' and 'monsters' while flexible enough as challenges - also are somewhat impersonal. The troll may have great reasons to murder you for crossing it's bridge, but ultimately you don't care. You're just trying to get to your objective. When you dig into something personal, players can get more invested. As they say 'it's personal'. Also this opens whole new avenues and options of risk and conflict to explore and to use to drive your story and events.

I've learned as much about what you like, and what you like about it and more importantly WHY you like it from these discussions as I may have helped elucidate :)"

On I AM SMARTER THAN YOU: A New Game On Interwebs

A New Internet Game

Zak S came up with an idea of passing around Joesky's Carcosa adventure between bloggers, each taking a turn to add content until the original idea was just part of a larger campaign.

If you're next, comment either here or on G+. First one of the original 8 to comment is next.

Hello, it is my turn now AGENCY GOES EVERYWEHER! I also cleaned up the HTML a bit.

A CARCOSA AVDENTURE FOR YOU
Original map by Dyson Logos
This color: JOESKY (Feb 17, 2012)
This color: Zak S (Mar 6, 2012)
This color: Baz Blatt (March 7, 2012)

This color: Ian Johnson (March 11, 2012)
This color: Courtney Campbell (March 13, 2012)


YOUR MISSHIN: KILL THESE GODDAMS BEFORE THEY SUMMON THE AMFIBIOUS ONES. THE SORCEROR IS READY TO ROCK, JUST WAITING FOR SOME FOG AT NIGHT and the Acturan champagne to cool to just the right temperature. MAYBE THE PCS ARE HIRED BY AFRAID VILLAGERS, OR THEY CATCH A JALE GUY WHO RAN AWAY, OR SOMETHING TO TELL THEM THAT A RIUTUAL IS ABOUT TO GO DOWN. Or maybe someone's noticed precisely the right varieties of gem, creature, and virgin are missing. The Jale guy's innards reach up and climb out of his mouth as he blabs, his kidney reversing and slapping him round the face as his kneecaps explode due to some horrible curse put on him by the Boss-man. No one likes a squealer . WHATEVER, JUST GET THEM OVER THEIR AND TELL THEM TO HURRY THE FUCK UP AND SAVE THE LITTLE GIRL or maybe steal the little girl from the sorcerer and do their own ritual and get the Amphibious Ones to do their nefarious bidding. IF YOU WANT TO PUT SOME URGENT ON IT, THEN SAY TONIGHT WILL BE A FOG NIGHT, OR SOME NIGHT IN 1-4 NIGHTS.

THIS IS A SMALL LAIRE SO BIG FIGHT NOISE FROM ONE AREA (#1-5) WILL ALERT ALL THE OTHERS AREA, UNLESS YOU DO A REAL SNEEK TAKEDOWN. Or sneak in, get a hold of the champers and replace it with a cheaper brand. While the big boss is screaming the house down and skinning the servants the PCs can pull a fast one. If the need for impartial adjudication is necessary; the cultists are human, resulting in a base 15% chance of attempting to hear noise. Normal noise, such as talking travels 4d4x10'. The fog will reduce this distance by half. Meaning that noise will travel, on average 50'. Roll for particularly loud noises. The first noise noticed by cultists will set them 'on alert'. Then they will attempt their listen % every turn. On a successful roll, they will locate the party. Add 50% for combat, and 25% for yelling, loud talking, or other obvious noise. (It would be automatic, but the fog causes a dampening effect.)

ALSO THE AC IS DESCENTING BECAUSE IN AMERICA YOU’ARE FREE TO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT AND YOU CAN PRY MY DESCENTING AC FROM MY COLD DEAD FINGERS (BUT I HOPE IT SOENS’T COME TO THAT!!!! But also I've added ascending AC because America--unlike Carcosa--was built on the principles of both Liberty and Equality....not to mention Convenience.

The cultists have taken their captives to hex 2013 (See Supplement V: Carcossa). They are using a ghost town as their hideout while waiting for the right time for the ritual. For more information on hex 2013, skip to the end of the document.
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THE RUINS

1) ASSHOLETREE. Gnarled ancient limbs twist around strange white stones. This tree appears to be long dead, though slightly taller then the nearby wall. Examining the 'strange white stones' will reveal that they appear to be bones. JUST LOOKS LIKE A DEAD TREE (and, temptingly for your sneakier PCs, it is 10' taller than the wall to which it is mouthwateringly adjacent--which wall is 80' tall if you are wondering. Oh, and so are all the others.) BUT THE JOKES IS ON YOU! SPAWN OF SHUBNIGURATH (MV NONE, AC 8/12 BARK, HD 15, SPECIAL ATT., AL C). SLEEPS IN DAY, ONLY TIME OF FOR DANGER IS NIGHT. IF ANYONE GOES UNDER THE TREE TO SLEEP OR PISS OR SPY OR JUST WHATEVER, ROOTS COME OUT FROM GROUND AND A GRAB -ATTACK IS HAPPEN! The spawn does this real sneakiy like, with the first tendril could be well up the interloping scrotes trouser-leg and tickling his fancy before he notices – rolls 3d6+6 vs inside leg measurement to see how far it gets towards making him a soprano. ON 6D6 ROLL EACH ROUND – UNDER STR 3X IN ROW AND YOU BREAK FREE, ROLL OVER 3X IN ROW AND YOU ARE SUCKED UNDER THE DIRT (INSTADEATH!), ANYTHING ELSE AND YOU JUST STUCK IN A WRESSLE. FRENDS WHO HELP MIGHT GET A GRAB-ATTACKT TO – THE ASSHOLETREE MAY SPREAD ITS GRABBER ROOTS AROUND, LIKE 2D6 AGAINST ONE GUY AND 4D6 AGAINST A NOTHER, OR 2D6 ON ONE AND 3D6 ON OTHER AND 1D6 FOR SOMEONE ONE OTHER ATTACK, ETERCETERA……..ETC…….. (THE TREE LIKES TO GRAB LOTS OF PEOPLE SO DON’T BE A DICK DM AND GIVE ALL 6D6 ON ONE DUDE IF MORE PCS ARE THEIR). ANYONE NOT GETTING ROOT-FONDLED CAN ATTACK (ONLY CHOPPER WEPONS DO DAMAGE. NO TRESURE HEAR, JUST A SHITTY ATITUDE TREE. If compelled to reveal its secrets by some means it pretty much knows everything because nobody is like Oh, hey we better not talk about this here because there's a tree. Including he knows the Boss can't hear anything. As do most of the cultists below, by the way. The spawns name is Dave and it is lonely. It will keep schtum at first, but promising to find it a singing shrub or patch of Vampiric Marigolds to chat with will be enough to persuade it to spill the beans. Random personality determination rolls of 8, and 8 from the "Character Traits" document indicate that the tree is 'Happy'!

2. ROMPUS ROOM. 8 JALE CULTERS (AC 8/12, MV 12, HD 1, AC 8 HEVY ROBES, 1 ATTACK WITH A KNIFE OR CLUB, AL C) DICK AROUND IN HEAR NOT DOING MUCH. Or possibly playing the 'Soggy Biscuit' game, your choice. Oh head, Carcosa is an even worse place than I thought. 55% CHANCE DURING A DAY ONE OFTHEM PAYS ATTENTION OUT THE FRONT DOOR TO SEE INTRADERS, 13% CHANCE AT NIGHT. When they attack, they continually beg the characters to submit. They say "Let my knife caress your skin, the ecstasy of submission to the power of our dark lords cannot compare to earthly existence. Let me bless you with my club. I shall smite you to bliss and glory. Why do you prevent us from granting you eternal blessings? If you resist us, it will corrupt the granting of wishes. We are trying to save you!" 20% chance one of them goes out to have leak by the wall, not the tree. (Why the fuck do people and dogs always piss on trees? Showing comptempt for Druidism?) Marking territory. THEY DONT KNOW ABOUT THE TREE SO IF THEY SEE IT EATING SOME-ONE THEY WILL IF A TREE EATED SOME-ONE THEY WILL FREAK OUT (A MONSTER-TREE????? I DID NOT SINE-UP FOR THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11) (Generous Dm might have the bloke piss on the tree before the PCs and blow the gaff – don't forget to mention the torn off goolies if you do, you could offer to sew them back on if you rescue the poor schmuck) AND COWARD IN THE ROOM. FOR HAPPENS IN THAT IS A YES. EACH GUY HAD 4-16SP + 0-5GP TRESURES. Anyone with GP in treasures finds it in the form of a horsehair braided wristband with a small jade stone as centerpiece.

2A) BACKDOOR BERNIES. 2 JALE CULTERS (MV 12, AC 9/11SHITTY CLOSE, HD 1, 1 ATTACK SLING OR KNIVE, AL N) LOOK OUT THE BACK WAY and also, occasionally "fish"--or whatever the word is for trying to pull slimeslathered finny abstractions out of whatever pellucid ooze passes for water in dim Carcosa. THEY ARE SCARED SHITLESSS AND ALWAYS ALERT 80% OF THE TIME. ALSO THEY ARE NOT CONVINCE THAT RAPING GIRLS AND HANG-OUT WITH MONSTERS IS A COOL; IDEA, SO IF IF THE PCS LOOK ALL BUFF THEY WILL SWICH SIDES AND JOIN AS HENTCHMEN AND FIGHT HARD TO MAKE THINGSR IGHT.NO TRESURE FOR THESE GUYS, THEY JUST PAYED THEIR CULT DO’S. Though they do have a net and a tackle box. It has some twisty hooks and live bait--unsettling, small things best left alone, really. One is psionic and whispers things. It is kind of like an emeraldish looking dumpling with teeth. It can be used as a magical or psionic battery to double a caster's power, but every time it is used it gets one of the caster's actions with which to do as it dumplingly pleases. It may save these up for a whole simultaneous mess of mayhem or dribble them out one at a time. The small dumpling tries to convince the players to eat it. It whispers "put me in your mouth. Swallow me! Digest me and make me one with you! If the players do, they gain a free random psionic discipline. Determine using the Psionics supplement or the rules for Carcosa. The players also gain a random insanity.The only thing the poor men have had any luck catching are axolotls, which they have stored, along with a few inches of water, in a clay pot. They are unaware of the axolotl's connection to the Amphibious Ones. They also have a copy of "The Compleat Angler" whose title translates into Carcosan as "Mesh Death".

If they do turn stoolie, don't forget that their boss has put curses on all potential squealers – 1n this case the Curse of the Macroid Toe, the slow swelling of one toe of their left foot until it reaches the size of a house in 2d6 days, at which point it will burst and the creature growing inside of it will emerge. The toe can be cut off before that point, although the inflicted will be incapable of doing so because of the pain of the inflamed nerves when touched. If left alone, the creature will begin to consume it's host, while begging to have its giant phallus stimulated. "I am hungry. Would you deny me my right to survive? You are the soil that will give birth to me, a creature greater than you. What have you ever done of note? Those things are plain, simple things of happenstance. They have no importance in this world. Your time is done, simply accept it and move on. My protuberance desires attention. Engage in a meaningful activity in your last days and grant it pleasure. Make something of use of your moments remaining besides this meaningless complaining and noise you engage in."

3) SHITSTORM. THIS IS WHER THE TOUGHGUY CULTERS HANG OUT. 4 JALE CULT THUGS (MV 12, AC 7/13 NAKED BUT FAST, HD 2+1, 2 ATTACKS EACH WITH A CRAZY LOOKING SICKEL OR CURVY SWORD OR SOMETHIN-G IN EACH HAND unless the PCs are very quiet, one is kinda hiding around the corner and has blinding powder--makes a 10' cloud, save or be blind, AL C, CAUSE FEER UNLESS SAVE VS. SPELLS FOR ANYONE WITH LOWER HD) GO FUCKING CRAZY AT THE CHANCE TO FIGHT. IMMUNE TO ANY MIND GAMES THAT CAUSE THEM NOT TO FIGHT, DONT BOTHER MORALE. ORANGE WARPAIINT IN SWURLS & SIMBOLS, HOOT AND HOLLAR, DO CARTWEELS AND FLIPS TO CHOP YOU UP. NO TRESURE, THESE FUCKERS ARE IN IT FOR THE MURDERRAPEING.A fifth Jale man with dreads is playing a multi tube digeridoo in the corner. There is a blacklight in one corner and the orange is dayglo; if there is no other source of illumination this room could look like a room full of acid house fans doing interpretive dance until the blades hit. This guy has an assortment of wraps of powders of various colours. The green one pops pleasantly on your tongue and makes you go blind, the blue one cleans away bloodstains, the white one is sherbet, the ulfire one makes your eyeballs come out in stalks and act like one of these crazy bastids.

THERES ALSO A FIRE WITH SOME TASTY LIZARD MEAT GRILLING UP ON STICKS (EAT A HOT FOOD MEAL EACHDAY HEALS EXTRA 1HP PER DAY).

THE STARES GO DOWNSTARES 20′ THEN END IN A GIANT METAL DOOR OF HI-TECHNOLOGY. THEIR IS A PALM LOCK THAT OPENS FOR A SPACE ALIEN HAND (EVEN A DECAPATAINTED ONE) (Packs of degenerate space aliens are conveniently located in the badlands just north-west of the ghost-town. This is common knowledge for locals, who avoid the area like the plague) OTHER WISE YOU NEED EXPLOSIONS OR LOTS OF DINOSARS TO OPEN THIS BABY UP. INSIDE………………….IS UP TO YOU, DM!!!!!!!!!!!11 MAYBE A WAY OFF CARCOSA IF THE PCS ARE JUST VISIT FROM ANOTHER CAMPAINE, MAYBE SPACE ALIEN GOODIES, OR MUMMY BRAINS OR SOMETHING……….THE IMAGANATION IS YOUR LIMIT (IE. NO LIMIT). One example is that: This sealed door is what the ritual of the Jale sorcerer (room 3a) was intended to open. Beyond the doors is the flickering, watery home of Amphibious Ones and their Great Pale King. This could also be an entrance to your megadungeon.

3A) BOSS ROOM. HERE WE GO, THE MAIN EVENT!!! IN THIS CORNER IS A REAL PRICK, ‘THE MEGATOLLAH OF MAYHAM’ JALE 4TH LEVEL SORCER (MV 9, AC 4/16 CHAIN+HEVY ROBES, HD4, ATTACK PIRATE SWORD OR SPECIAL, AL C). His ears have slowly LaMarcked over into clubbed mounds in response to his Serpentine Amplifier (see below) and so he can't hear. He relies on his guys in room 3 to warn him of impending whatnot. He'll be asleep if the PCs show up during daylight.HE WARES A CREEPY SNAKE-MAN FILTER OVER MOUTH THAT AMPERFIES HIS SHOUT TO DEADLY SOUND LEVEL! WHEN HE YELLS A CONE BLASTS OUT 2D DAMAGE TO 20′, 1D TO 40′, FARTHER AWAY THEN THAT ALL IT DOES IS PISS YOU OFF IF YOU HAVE A HANG OVER. HE CAN BUST SHIT LIKE THE 3 LITTLE PIGS IF HE STANDING REAL LYCLOSE. WHEN HE MAKES A SHOUT IT TAKES 3 ROUNDS TO RECHARGE FOR ANOTHER ONE. IF THE PCS END UP WITH THIS THING, MAKE IT A 5% CHANCE PER USING TO BLOW ITSELF UP. HE KNOWS THE TWO AMFIBIOUS ONES RITUALS. HE WARES CHROME BRACERS WORTH 75GP + GOLD TOERING 25GP + a 'Prince Albert' ring with a diamond in it 125gp.

AND NEXT TO HIM IS HIS LOVE-BIRD A JALE CHICK 2ND FIGHTER (MV 12, AC 8/12 CHAIN BRA+PANTIES, HD 2, ATT. 2 FLAME OIL BOTTLES, AL C). She likewise has all fucked-up ears but they look better on her--she still can't hear though. SHE WARES 8 JADE BRASELETTES ON ANKLES AND ARMS shaped like centipedes WORTH 40GPEACH + GOLD BELLY CHAIN 45GP (I LOVE THOSE THINGS!!!!!).
\
THEY MITE EVEN BE BROTHER/SISTER LIKE IN THAT MOVIE “THE CROW” WHICH MAKESIT EVEN WIERRDER……..OR NOT I JUST THOGUHT THAT COULD BE GOO DA IDEA. LIKE IN THE CROW. I HAVE SEEN THIS MOVIE ABOUT 12 TIMES AND I HAVE A THE CROW CREW JACKIT (I DID NOT WORK ON THE CROW, ONLY WATCH TED IT.) I have the soundtrack. I think one shat on my window once. I was gifted a particularly bad anthology that was inspired by the movie. In truth, it was far from "inspired." Regardless, the movie was awesome and the people contemplating a remake deserve to be sacked.

ANYWAY THEY LIKE TO HANG BACK AND WATCH THE THUGS GO TO TOWN, SHE WILL LAUGH AND TOSS OIL BOTTLES EVERY KNOW AND THEN. IF TWO OF THE THUGS GO DOWN HE WILL JOIN IN COMBAT WITH A SHOUT (assuming they're awake) (HE DONT CARE WHO HE HITS)(and, yes, he is dumb enough to kill everyone who can hear), THE SISTER WILL TRY TO RUN OUT BACK AND GRAB THE WHITE GIRL AND RUN AWAY.

JACKEDPOT!!!! THIS IS THE TRESURE ROOM, A CHEST XCONTAIN: 1135GP + 924SP + 23 PURPLE CRISTALS WORTH 30GP EACH. A LITTLE POT CONTINAES GOOP THAT LOOKS LIKE HONEY, SMELLS LIEK TURDS, AND S 4 DOSES THAT IF YOU EAT YOU GET PSIONICS POWER FOR 1-2 DAYS (and a small handlike "crown" grows on the tip of your tongue, it will slowly try to reach into your brain while you sleep if not amputated within 3 days). A SILVER COFFER WORTH 75GP HOLDS SNAKE-MEN POTENCY ROOTS. 4 PRIMO-BLEND TORCHES THAT BURN FOR 12 HOURS EACH AND CANT BE BLOWED OUT, ONLY SPLASHED OUT WITH WATER ARE AGANST THE WALL. AND THERE’S A MAN-CATCHER IN HEAR TO (MAKEUP SOME RULES FOR). The boss and his babe use the sleeping body of a pupal giant Mothra as a bed. It won't turn into a Mothra for like 5 more years. Probably someone would pay good money for it if they could get it alive. Weighs about 500 lbs. There is also a set of instructions for the snake man weapon thing – they begin 'In case of sonic attack on your district, follow these rules...'


4) WALK THE DINOSAR. IN HERE IS A bright red ANKLOSARUS (MV 6, HD10, AC2/18 SKINS, 1 ATT. IF IT HITS ROLL D4 1) BITE 1D, 2) STOMP 2D, 3) TAIL THWAP 3D, 4) NO DAMAGE BUT TOSSED 30FEETS AWAYS, AL N) THEY ARE TRY TO TAME BY STARVE HIM, BUT IT DOES NOT WORK. HE IS CHAINED TO THEFL OOR BUT NOW IS FEDUP WITH THE BULL-SHIT: ANYONE COMES IN AND IT BRAKES A CHAIN AND GOES NUTS. ALOS IF IT HEARS A FIGHT NOISE IN #3 IT GOES CRAZY AND BUSTS THREW THE WALL LIKE A KOOL-AID-MAN (BUT WITH ANGER TO GIVE INSTEAD OF REFRESHING KOOL-AID). WHENEVER IT ATTACKTS IT GOES FOR RANDOM PERSON (EVEN CULTGUYS). TRESURE: A DEAD CULT BODY (GOT TWO CLOSE DUMMY!) HAS 4G.P. + 15S.P. + 6 ARROWS + SILVER DAGGAR. Also, the ankylosaur's shell is encrusted with precious gems (for some ceremonial reason) worth 1000gp, but each miss--like any hit that would've made it if not for its meddling AC--destroys 1 gp value worth of gems per hit point of damage done. Her name is Igina, and her personality is aggressive. She enjoys kale and stepping on ribcages until the screams stop.

5) COME AND GET EM. 3 PRIOSNERS TIEDTO THE 3 PILLERS HERE AND TORCHES BURN ON OF TOP EACH ONE. A fourth pillar holds another body, but both this prisoner and the torch are extinguished.

PRISONER 1: PURPLE DUDE (MV 3, AC9/11, HD 1HP LEFT, NO ATTACK UNTIL YOU GIVE HIM A WEPON, AL N). HES BEEN BEATDOWN AND FUCKED UP SO HE WILL PROBALY DIE NO MATTER WAHT BUT IF YOU SET HIM FREE AND GIVE HIM A WEPON HE FIGHTING LIKE A 5TH LEVEL FIGHTER TO GET HIS REVENJE ON JALE ASSHOLES.ONE HIT KILLS HIM SO TRY TO MAKE SURE GETS A SHOTIN. Has a tattoo on his arm 'No one likes us, we don't care', the motto of a local bandit gang. Keep him alive and let him free he might lead you to their hideout in the badlands in the north west, in the space alien ridden badlands.

PRISONER 2: WHITE GIRL (MV12, AC 9/11, HD 1/2, ATT. DAGGAR, ALN). SHE GOT THE wiggly DAGGAR HID SOMEWARE SO IF A UNTIE COMES FROM THE JALE CHICK TO RUN, A STAB HAPPINS RIGHT AWAY. TRY TO KEEP HER SAVE, SHE DOES NOT DESERVE A CARCOSA HER. (MAYBE GIVE EXTRA XP FOR A RESCUE). She is dyed orange for some reason, and speaks with a peculiar drawl. Says her name is Sharon and she was on her way to 'Saahfend' when she was kidnapped. Saahfend is the lair of a terrible scaly blue slime (Spawn of Shub-Niggurath) of the same name, which requires the worship and a yearly sacrifice from Sharon's village in exchange for their safety. Sharon had been died orange as the ceremony requires, and was on her way, escorted by three armed men and Pithekoi mounts, when the cultists set upon them when they made camp near these ruins.

PRISONAR 3: BONE LADY (MV 15, AC 7/13 NAKED BUT FAST, HD 3, ATT. STRANGAL). THOSE ARE SOME WEIRD STATS FOR A JUST BONE LADY………..BECASUE SHE IS NOT! A TRICK IS MADE!!!!!!! SOMETIME IN THE PASSED DAYS A FUCKER SPAWN NIGURATH CREPT OUT FROM SWAMP AND GANKED HER IT HAS DOPPELGANGLER POWERS. HER SKIN IS MOSTLY SEETHROUGH BUT SOME NOT-SEETHROUGH PATCHES MIGHT GIVE THE TRICK AWAY. ALSO SHE TALKS LIKE THE KEY-MASTAR OF GOZER, SO THE PCS SHOULD BE WTF???? IF UNTIE SHE COOP-ERATE FOR A COUPLE ROUNDS, THAN WHEN A BACK IS TURNED SHE STRIKES. ONE OF THE GUYS FROM #2A HAS A BONER FOR HER SO IF THEY ARE PART OF THE TEAM, HE WILL STICK CLOSE AND PROLBALY BE THE ONE THAT GETS JACKED. HER NATURAL FORM LOOKS LIKE A BIG YELLOW DIAREA THAT SQIRTS AROUND ON THE GROUND.She also has the ability to turn enemies temporarily transparent so she can copy their brains and therefore acquire any spells or psionic abilities they have.

Prisoner 4: This is the body of one of the White men who were escorting Sharon.

6. Abandoned well. It's 4' wide and 70' down and from the bottom there's a secret passage that leads underground and up to a trap door in the floor under the "bed" in 3A. Unfortunately two things: first thing is it will collapse after its used for the first time (i.e. when you get to 3a) so you'll probably have to fight your way out through 3 and second thing is it is full of the body parts left over after various sacrifices. The body parts carry psychic resonance patterns from all the victims of all the terrible Carcosa business going on nearby. Pretty much narrate it so it's terrible walking through there but don't do anything really unless you enjoy psychic combat type mechanics way more than I do. Also the hands crawl around and grab people and like the eyes roll around and follow them, etc.

There's also a cultist (stats as Room 2 above) (AC 8/12, MV 12, HD 1, AC 8 HEVY ROBES, 1 ATTACK WITH A KNIFE OR CLUB, AL C) who fell down here when he was drunk. The PCs will just wake him up from being unconscious by climbing down so he's jumpy. He has a broken knee, is sitting in a pile of his own vomit, and has a tangle of slightly living thorns that he uses as a weapon--d6 damage per round until you Str your way out of it plus you can't move--in addition to the standard cultist gear. He is too hungover to negotiate with.

If you're feeling lazy you can have the passage lead to those stairs south of area 3a.

7. The riding beasts the jale girl and the white girl will run off on are here. Now that their riders are gone, they wandered over here looking for food. They are Pithekoi, huge apes with simple saddles. They have blue fur and big blue eyes and are basically peaceable creatures, but wear big helmets the size of cauldrons with pointy bits on them to make them look scary. Even war trained Pithekoi mostly stand up on their hind legs and holler, a few will cuff people round the head (though a playful slap from a ten foot monkey HURTS) and really crazy bull Pithekoi will use clubs and swat airplanes. Four Pithekoi, MV12, AC6/14, HD4 Att. 2 X Smack round the head, AL N. The cultists haven't much use for the Pithekoi, and want them to leave. They are, however, much too cautious to attack them. They have been shouting at them and throwing stones and refuse at them to try and drive them off, and ducking back into the ruins whenever the Pithekoi roar and look ready to charge. As such, the Pithekoi are in an absolutely shit foul mood, and will roar and stomp their feet at anyone who approaches without food, or their riders. Their names are qegtuf, aqjnbazk'lx, and Fred.


8. The lake here is deep, dark and calm. The shore is muddy and swampy, and anyone approaching the lake will make a great deal of noise as they shove through reeds and brush, and from their splashing and the sucking of mud on their boots. Half-submerged, covered in algae appears to be the head of a giant (300') tall statue of some four eyed ancient creature poking out of the water. All of this noise has a 90% chance of attracting the Grindylow of the lake. The Grindylow has no trouble seeing in the water with its beady black eyes, and will lurk in the deep water until someone is foolish enough to try and swim, at which point it will wrap its long, brittle fingers around its victim's throat and drag them under. The Grindylow has no interest in communications with men of any color, but it has a particular hatred of cultists, who have been dumping their waste into the stream. If a fight with the cultists comes close to the edge of the marsh, it will slither out and drag away one of them away in a flash of fins and needle teeth and slithery slippery skin. The Grindylow will not, under any circumstances, produce a noise.

9. This small island contains a single tree, which rises above the reeds and mulch. A bird has made its nest in the bare branches. From the shore, a careful observer can see something glittering golden among the reeds.

10. This large building has suffered a cave in. Rubble and weeds choke the floor, and rain water has pooled in the south east corner. A ladder along the south wall leads to what remains of the roof. The cultists had tried to grow a small garden here, but abandoned it when they realized how much work it would take. They haven't come in here in a some time. There are several small poisonous snakes that live here. They lair in the rainwater that has pooled in the corner. They have one hit point each, and strike as a two hit die monster. They do no damage, but requires a save versus Poison. On a failed save, the victim grows more comatose over the length of a turn, and then sleeps for 8-15 (1d8+7) hours. In the pool is a small ruby worth 25 gp. Also, buried in the dirt is a small silver ring that depicts two entwined snakes, worth 50 gp.

10a. A ladder along the south wall of 10 leads here. The roof is dangerous to walk along (Flat 5% chance of collapsing each turn someone is moving around up there, but safe enough that if they are holding still it won't collapse) but would provide an excellent location if the adventurers have a bow or a ray gun.


10b.The room is mostly rubble, with cracks in the walls and a muddy floor. The walls have elaborate carvings on them. It's inhabitants are trapped here, because to leave the area they have to sneak past the Pithekoi at area 7, which is difficult in their agitated state.

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HEX 2013
This area represents a hex measuring 10 miles from one border to the opposite. It lies some 20 miles south of the Icy Wastes, in a marshy tributary of the Blistering River. It is a marshy, miserable stretch of land largely ignored by the Brown, Yellow and Red villages that are nearby. The relative safety of the area has made it an ideal home for a herd of bright red ankylosaurus that wade in the muck. They are not hostile unless provoked.

The area contains the underground home of the Amphibious ones and their Great Pale King.

HEX 2013 RANDOM ENCOUNTERS
For every four hours that the adventurers spend in hex 2013, roll a d6. On a roll of a 6, they have found the ruins the cultists are hiding in. On a 1 or 2, they find one of the locations listed below.
Roll a d12 while travelling
  1. A young White man, name Aqueus, who is tracking Sharon (room 5) to save her from being sacrificed. If the adventurers earn his trust, Aqueus will render all assistance he can in their endeavor. (Move 12, HD 3, Att 1, Carved tooth sword, Al L)
  2. A shrieking irradiated sorcerer.
  3. A caravan that operates off of a huge, table-backed beetle. 
  4. A pedestal in the middle of a blasted and burnt area.
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