Wednesday 31 August 2011

Probably never meant to be a monster

This is from BLDGBLOG who took it from here.
"John Balaban describes how villagers growing rice during the Vietnam War—where Balaban, a conscientious objector, served with the International Volunteer Corps—stumble upon an extraordinary feature in the landscape:
Beyond the last treeline on the horizon
beyond the coconut palms and eucalyptus
out in the moon-zone puckered by bombs
the dead earth where no one ventures,
the boys found it, foolish boys
riding buffaloes in craterlands
where at night bombs thump and ghosts howl.
A green patch on the raw earth.
This "green patch" has an usual shape, however. Balaban continues:
In that dead place the weeds had formed a man
where someone died and fertilized the earth, with flesh
and blood, with tears, with longing for loved ones.
No scrap remained; not even a buckle
survived the monsoons, just a green creature,
a viny man, supine, with posies for eyes,
butterflies for buttons, a lily for a tongue.
And the sight of this "green creature" proves too fertile, unforgettable, haunting all the villagers who've seen it:
Now when huddled asleep together
the farmers hear a rustly footfall
as the leaf-man rises and stumbles to them.
Out of the darkness, convinced by the life they give to the land around them that they might not yet be dead, the missing-in-action pull themselves from the tangle of the earth and rise and walk again."

Number of Hit Dice varies according to the Fear of the Villagers, the darkness of the night and the sorrow of the dead ground.

I dont know if cross-posting this much from other blogs is the done thing or not. If anyone wants me to take it down or replace it with a link only, I will.

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Frost Squid

O.K, I made a new thing for this from this plus I have had some Gins so spellcheck is working overtime.

I ignored stats that are not interesting or that you can make up for yourself.

Frost Squid

Frequency: Rare
AC: Pretty high, they can fly and are hard to see
Hit Dice : 3 probably
Treasure: None
Intelligence: non human but a bit freaky
Gently writhing translucent flying squid. Almost invisible in direct sunlight and at night . Therefore much more deadly in midday and midnight than in the changeable rays that bracket the day.

Named not for its temperature or appearance but for it's apparent motivation. The innocent Frost Squid is adapted for hunting in an abyssal space without light or sound and is drawn by expulsions of sadness and despair.

This means that in our world, the Frost Squid is drawn aggressively towards those who have suffered recent bereavement, the survivors of battles and disasters, parted or abandoned lovers and the generally depressed.

Which means that for most victims, things have already gone wrong, they are as low as they will get and are questioning the meaning of life itself.

Then they get attacked by a fucking flying invisible squid.

Frost Squid are sometimes kept by bastards for amusement.

Lord Monkey

A guy did this, so I did this. I will do some more in a bit.
 Lord Monkey
This is a crazy, ugly-looking, fucked-up monkey. It's only notable trait is that is seeks always to demonstrate its dominance over all other nearby animals. That includes all members of the Party.
It does this by climbing up their body and sitting on their head and staying there until they get rid of it or until they are no longer the most dominant person around.
The monkey is dexterous, violent, nimble, clever and persistent. One HD, but a high AC due to it's smallness, maneuverability and the fact that when you're trying to kill it, it's probably on someones head.
Having a Lord Monkey on your head does clearly prove to everyone around that you are the dominant person in the vicinity. If a guy walks into a bar with a monkey on his head you know he's not to be messed with.
However it does mean you have a fucking monkey on your head so the charisma benefits and minuses tend to even out.
If the PC's walk into a room with a very high status person, the monkey will do a quick estimate and change heads if necessary. It always knows who is the most powerful or highest level person in the room. Always.
 No. Always. Even then.
A good way to get rid of Lord Monkeys is to spend a lot of time with Dragons or Kings. Of course if this individual does end up with a monkey on their head, they will not be happy.
Everyone the PC's meet will believe absolutely that harming a Lord Monkey in any way is incredibly dangerous and VERY bad luck. They will tell the PC's this if asked and volunteer the information if not asked. They are wrong.

Monday 29 August 2011

Conspiracies in Fallcrest

So in the 4th Edition players handbook there was this town.

The town was called Fallcrest and it was quite useful. It had a lot of people and places in it but it wasn't very interesting.

So the people and the places were already there and I wanted the place to be interesting. So I started thinking about nice towns where everything is correctly arranged, 4th Edition is a lot like a well arranged market town. This made me think of David Lynch.

And there was already a map and I love maps. And I am very lazy.

So I took the town-as-written as a kind of surface reality and decided to 'seed' other, stranger realities within it.

I made conspiracies, ten of them, and I put them in a spreadsheet.

The way this works is this. There are ten conspiracies and each conspiracy has ten stages of understanding. When the players get to the end they have a big fight with someone and that conspiracy is done.

As they walk into the town, throw a D10. That clue is the one they notice first. If it doesnt fit, pick one that does. You put an X in the box. The PC's will do something in response to the clue.

If the thing they do is creative, interesting, intelligent or if they just roll high, then find a way to introduce the next clue or event, or idea.

Track time closely. Days can become eventful. Most of the Schoolchildren in Fallcrest were dead by the end of day three.

If the players do something cool, perceptive or offbeat, or if you get bored, then roll a D10 and introduce another conspiracy. Or a new part of a current conspiracy.

Eventually the players are dealing with a lot of wierd clues and events. They do not all make sense in relation to each other but they do all make sense eventually. This creates a pleasant feeling of situational depth for the players.

Ok people kept asking so here is a link to the folder with all of the remaining Fallcrest stuff, including the spreadsheet.   LIIIIIIIINKKK

Vampire Table

The first time I ever DM'd a game of D&D I was drunk, it was 4th edition and no-one knew what they were doing. In an accidental ejaculation of creativity, one of the designers of the intro adventure had included items in the Necromancers laboratory that might actually prove interesting.

My players managed to kill the necromancer and his obese zombie buddy.

'O.K we search the room. What's on the table.'

'Uh. I don't know' (looks at adventure booklet) 'er, some vials and stuff, and a flask of vampire blood.'

'Can I drink the vampire blood?'

'I'd rather you didn't.'

'Will I become a vampire?'

'I can almost guarantee you won't'

'O.K I'm drinking it! What happens?' 

So here is a table to find out what happens when your friend drinks vampire blood without warning. Its for 4th Ed and totally uncalibrated for balance or whatever.

Vampire Blood Table

You have randomly drunk the blood of an unknown vampire. That was a dick-ass stupid thing to do. Roll twice on the below table, once for a power, one for a weakness. Do so in the presence of the DM. Whatever qualities you roll, you must keep them both. Until you get bored of them, in which case you lose both.

Beast Summoning(daily power)
Sunlight, can’t heal in sunlight. At all.

Turn to Mist (daily power)

Garlic (plus Onions)

Blood Drain Daily power. Kill someone, drink them, gain 2 d20 hp)

Can only feed on blood.

Hypnotic Gaze. Daily Power.

Running Water


Fears Holy Symbols, Any, Not Cthulhu

Cannot Die (Can still get fucked up, comes back with blood)

Arithomania (Whatever can be counted, you must count it.)

Unnatural strength. Plus 3 to strength.

Invitation. Can’t go in without it.

Fucking with a dude. Before a fight you can drop a cutting remark or a sardonic smirk. Must be Role-Played combat advantage against one enemy of choice.

Gothic Whining (must never appear to be enjoying powers, if does so, loses them.)

Unnatural Speed add 2 to speed and dexterity.

Need dungeon soil to sleep, can’t without it. Or just to be covered in soil generally.

Mocks God (80% Resistant against divine damage). Die, toss a coin, head you live with 1hp.Must actually mock god when you do this.

Bullshit monologuing. Cannot kill ANYONE without telling them how easy it was and giving them a rundown of everything you plan to do next. Must be Role-Played

In the game my friend got vampire speed and Gothic whining. He wasn't whining much so at a slow point I asked him

'You enjoying those vampire powers?'


'Ha! Say goodbye!'