Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Kalak-Nur Character Generation

+Kalak Nur is FLAILSNAILS, so you can bring in a character and play them according to the rules in the originating campaign. If you make a new character, however...

1. Roll 3d6 seven times, write them down in order§. STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA. You've got an extra one, right? You can switch that out with one of the others that you're unhappy with, or not. Whatever number is unused multiplied by 10 is your starting gold. Ability score mods are as follows:
3:       -3                   Most Ability checks are "roll under"
4-5:    -2                   STR gives bonus or penalty to Damage in Melee
6-8:    -1                   DEX gives bonus or penalty to Hit 
9-12:   0                   CON modifies HP, starting and gained at every level
13-15: +1                 INT modifies starting spells for non-cleric spell casters and starting languages
16-17: +2                 WIS modifies starting spells for Clerics 
18:      +3                 CHA modifies starting gold number before it is multiplied by 10
                                WIS+CHA mods +level = total henchmen/hirelings/animal companions possible

2. Pick a Race/Class, roll for HP, write down all the stuff you'll need to know during play like abilities and all that.
-Human: Any Basic (Labyrinth Lord or DnD Basic), Random Fighter / Ranger / Thief, Basic RangerBlood DruidGadgeteerMachine BondedHacker
-Bug Man*
-Mining Goblin*
-Members of any race may become a Bounty Hunter or Beast Master, but take on the abilities of that class instead of their racial abilities.
-Elves native to Kalak-Nur are very very rare, antagonistic to other races, and hide their racial identity while enacting their schemes in human settlements.
-"Aliens" crashed here from other worlds such as "normal" DnD Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Battle Princesses, Mole Men, etc are rare, but exist.

* = coming soon on this blog right here!

3. Spend that starting gold on a Basic DnD or Labyrinth Lord equipment list or use the 3d6 roll on the chart at the bottom of this post then modify the GP from your chart result by your CHA modifier.

4. Figure out where you're from.

-Humans, Bug Men, and Elves can be from anywhere but are extremely rare in the Westlands. Users of any kind of magic tend to hide their abilities in settlements to avoid attracting the attention of Mocata's Justicars, who regulate magic use with an iron fist. Licenses are available for specific uses.

-Fire Lizards keep close to or in the underground, so keep to The Westlands, Targenmoor, Vance, and the mountains to the East when above ground.

-Mining Goblins are mostly found in their collectives underground in the Westlands. Sometimes those who have become orphaned from their collectives are found in larger human settlements like Baksheesh and Targenmoor. They are also found as caravan guards between settlements in the Grey Waste.

-Droids are mostly found working on Victarion's Plantation in the Westlands. How or why some are found as hirelings or adventurers in the Grey Waste and East of there is not really known.

-Bounty Hunters and Beast Masters are found anywhere (but again, rare in the Westlands.)

-Elves are usually found in secret underground organizations fermenting insurrection and making sure diseases spread in larger human settlements.

§Hey man, if you feel really strongly about using the Lab Lord or old school DnD order of Ability Scores, make yourself happy.

What do y'all need to know that I missed?

Lumpy Adventures on Bummerflop Mountain!

Man, I am good at procrastinating! I was watching Adventure Time during breakfast (and more episodes during Second Breakfast) and thought this up instead of doing things:

-Hex/Dungeoncrawl on a gonzo mountain where things use AdventureTime logic (but not lifted directly from the show, necessarily) run as a one shot whenever the fancy strikes. Mostly generated using the random generator I called, "So useful it is nearly offensive." Except everything reflavored bloopy!

-Characters are generated using MurderMaze rules, but with a focus on silly gonzo magic and teamwork rather than killing each other. Everyone starts near or with each other.

-Some kinda super quick random relationships with other PCs chart so everyone starts out having a crush, petty rivalry, good natured competition, blood brothers, or maybe you're the groups' hair stylist.

OK, now I gotta clean the stove.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Atomic West

Kalak-Nur was originally supposed to be a western, but kept mutating past it's original influences into it's own weird thing. I've been thinking a lot about the fun that could be had in something that was a more straightforward western, something that felt like Deadwood or 3:10 to Yuma or Spaghetti Westerns. Then I saw Django Unchained and had some whiskey.

Summary: Wild West frontier towns with sheriffs and all the trappings. Native tribes are goblins and elves. To the South, large plantations with golbinkind as slaves.

Detail: Golbinkind (including orcs, trolls, etc) used to be dominant when everyone was tribal due to numbers and greater strength. Then a UFO crashed and men had rayguns and atomic power, took over and built up big cities on the East Coast. The West is frontier with sheriffs and all, and there's a constant navigation of anarchy and law around these towns. 
There's not enough Atomic power to go around so it stays out East, but there are some guns, both ray- and with bullets. The local demi-human tribes have fully functioning cultures that are being imposed upon, but are pagan and alien to the human settlers.

Conflicts: Navigating local law, trying to prosper with limited resources, wild demihuman tribes, being an outlaw or hunting them down, smuggling goblinkind slaves to free lands or hunting them down, helping or hindering the advance of big business and government from the East, etc.

I've been thinking that using more familiar tropes would allow the action to be more player-driven, as motivation will come more naturally the better a grasp they have on the setup and the more conflicts are obvious and built-in.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

What You Know About Mocata (NPC for Kalak-Nur)

-It is generally believed that the enforcement of his Magikal Laws is responsible for the zombie plague being restricted to the Westlands; even those who would otherwise question his authority tend to toe the line due to fear of zombie outbreaks (which haven't happened in the Grey Waste or east of there as of yet). His justicars investigate all reports of necromancy, blood druid practice, and any high level spell casting. They seem less interested in magic item or magitech use, although that stuff is rare so it's hard to know for sure.

-He seems to be the only high level magic user around - the others that were known (priests included) were arrested and imprisoned by his justicars or the man himself to "protect the people".

-He considers himself the true authority in the Grey Waste, and it's common knowledge that the bigger settlements pay him duties. He's kind of like a police force, army, and FBI not attached to any government.

-Most of his servants and justicars seem to be from the same tribe of goat-men, but some other humanoids are employed thus. They follow Mocata with religious fervor. He sometimes allows squads to be hired out as protection to important trade convoys, but this isn't part of their normal duties.
One of Mocata's Justicars.

There are rumors that he is into all sorts of nefarious stuff; summoning demons, humanoid sacrifice, even the necromancy he so harshly punishes in others. The one known escapee from the dungeon under his complex had bizzarre stories but could not describe it in a way that made sense and died shortly thereafter.
The people spreading these rumors tend to get really paranoid and recant later.

IN GENERAL, he is seen as a benevolent figure, and his heavy-handed policies towards magic-users are tolerated. He keeps out of other matters generally, so the leaders of the settlements have no conflict with him. It is known that there is tension between him and Victor Victarion, but since Victarion is on land otherwise infested with zombies, no one asks too much about it or cares.

The outside of Mocata's Stronghold

The area where Mocata greets guests. The thief pictured here was never heard from again. Usually it is better lit.

Community leaders in the Grey Waste tend to think of Mocata as essential to stabilizing the region and that he is taking care of something they would have to deal with if he were not around. IE he is taking a burden from their shoulders.
Opinions about him amongst the common folk are varied, but no one speaks against him without backtracking within the same conversation that you can tell.

Mocata's Stronghold is the northernmost red square

Anything else you need to know?

Images mostly from the great movie "The Devil Rides Out"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Kalak-Nur Map and Regions

Those notes about "The Unknown East" are rumors your PCs have heard, but aren't relevant to anything at the moment.

Moving Left to Right:
1. The Godspikes - soaring mountains descending into the ocean. Steep cliffs, riddled with tunnels and caves, some tunnel systems leading all the way across the continent underground.
2. WESTLANDS - some kind of plague has left tons of zombies here. Very dangerous to travel through. Far more vegetation than elsewhere. Underground is giant bugs and lizards and weird old mining facilities with alien tech.
3. Victarion's Plantation - Victarion is either a man wearing armor or a robot. He grows food here en mass with hundreds of droids as labor. Distributes across Kalak-Nur at exorbitant prices. ALL GOLD IN THIS REGION IS "VICTARION CREDITS" good for a certain amount of food or supplies. Converts to normal gold when taken off world.
4. THE GREY WASTE - where most of the population in this region is. Most ships crash here. Colonies form around the ships, using whatever resources survive the crash. Some have lasted hundreds of years by now. Named for the seemingly endless stretches of grey sand between colonies. Sandworms sometimes rise up and eat lone travelers.
5. Mocata's Stronghold - no longer recognizable as a ship, this more resembles Downton Abbey, inside and out. Think old British countryside mansion, but defensible. Mocata and his goat-men enforce his arcane laws from here. He regulates magic use in Kalak-Nur with an firm hand, being especially harsh on necromancers. Mocata refutes the rumors that his stronghold is slowly sinking into the sand. It does tilt at an odd angle, though.
6. Targenmoor, Sahla, Cortuth, Vance, Baksheesh - established communities formed around larger ships that have some trade with each other. Outside of these communities, murder and depravity is common. Scattered in between are smaller settlements, tribes, and cults in a bitter struggle for survival. Vance has a major outpost of Mocata's Justicars, but is also rumored to have the most heretics, witches, cults, and lawbreakers.
7. The Great Claw - a massive stone hand that emerges from the ground in The Grey Waste and has its fingertips in The Desert of Nepethe. Superstition holds that it is a great titan who will emerge and destroy any force threatening to destroy the town of Baksheesh nearby. Baksheesh is thereby rich, suffering less attacks than other settlements.
8. The Desert of Nepethe - the sand changes from grey to yellow, although at night a purple-green. Those who go wandering here are easily lost, and those who go through it strangely devoid of stories to tell.
9. Past the desert is miles of volcanoes and steep mountains, giving way to massive lakes of fire, lava, and acid. There is a tiny chain of mountains that goes all the way to the Eastlands, passable every 10 years or so for a few months.
10. THE FROZEN SOUTH - So cold even undead simply burst. The land of frost giants and ice kobolds.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Frost Giants and Ice Goblins (that will kill you in your next old school D&Dish game)

Frost Giants in the 1E AD&D Monster Manual are 15" tall albino vikings. SNORE! That's like, almost not fantasy. There are almost real people like that. Here's my fucking Frost Giant.

"To the south, beyond the Bottoms, there is a land of ice where the sun never shines. Well - almost never! The old ones will tell you: every few hundred years the sun wobbles in the sky, light shines on the giants there, and they wake. 
Tall, taller than you can imagine! Stack a hundred star-ships on top of each other, then place them on a mountain! That is the size of the wall of ice that will come for you."
-Accounts of Superstition Gathered by Gibberous Cantankerous, Explorer, While Trapped on THEE DRED MOONE

picture from the awesome move Trollhunter

The planet will wobble on it's axis for one revolution every few hundred years, causing the sun to shine into the frozen land to the south for some months.
When awakened by sufficient warmth, Frost Giants will seek the largest nearby gathering of warm-blooded creatures and attempt to eat 1-2 times their own HP in creatures, going from gathering to gathering until this is fulfilled or repelled by great resistance. They are aided in this by Ice Goblins, who wake up several months before the Giants, scout out local settlements, and weaken defenses and significant weapons through stealth and violence.
Once they have eaten their fill, Frost Giants return to their dim frozen wasteland and begin regurgitating up to half of the half-digested viscera onto the snow and ice. Then they sit, sculpting creatures from the mix of snow and viscera with astonishing detail and delicacy. They will shape their own fingers of frost into various tools to sculpt more intricate work.
As the planet wobble corrects itself, the land cools and becomes shrouded in darkness once more. The Frost Giants return to their long torpor, while these sculptures contract and shrink in a curing process, and wake as Ice Goblins at the next warming (as above, months before the Giants awake). The land where these creatures originate never truly thaws, and is so cold no living creature has explored it. It is said that even undead cannot tolerate the extreme temperatures.
It is rumored that in past times the Frost Giant awakening and massacre was prevented using certain rituals, and that they are vulnerable to music.

Ignore the text. The internet is stupid. What are they doing, rave dancing?

Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 7 (/13)
Hit Dice: 2+5 (scale up as needed)
No. of Attacks: 2 (Attack Bonus +3)
Damage: 1d4 claw or as weapon
Morale: 8
Special Abilities: Icewalking - can move on ice as if solid ground, walk up walls, stick to ceiling, as long as it's ice; 
Snow Vision - see in snow as if clear; 
Cold Touch - anything touching takes 1 damage/rd cold; 
Hide in Shadows/Move Silently - as 6th level thief; 
Devious Intelligence - wakes up with instinctual understanding of humanoids, mechanical devices, weapons, etc as ancestral memory, intelligent and cunning
Construct Immunities - as they are sorta constructs, Ice Goblins get saves VS Sleep, Charm, etc even if they normally wouldn't, +4 to those saves, and the effect is halved if the save is failed with no effect if it is passed.

Vicious. Cunning. GOD DAMN YOU, INTERNET!

Ice Goblins serve the interests of the Giant who made them. It is rumored that a magic user can bind them if certain rituals are performed and alchemical substances applied before they wake up.
If their bonded Frost Giant is killed, the Ice Goblins hold no obligation to other giants; they usually go form a tribe somewhere. It is highly doubtful they can breed on their own, and these tribes are usually short-lived.

again screen cap from Trollhunter

Size: 100-400 ft
HP: 150-450 (HD: 19-45, MEGAHD = 1 IE ignore hits of less than 10 damage)
Movement: can move its own height in feet per round
Armor Class: 0 (/20 ascending), 5 (/15 ascending) at joints
No. of Attacks: 2
Damage: 2d6 +10 Cold
Morale: will attempt to leave if reduced to 1/4 HP or sufficient fire
Special Abilities: On any successful hit by a Frost Giant, the target makes 2 saves: 1 VS REF/DEX to dodge for half damage, 1 VS CON to either be pushed back 1d20+5 ft or be knocked prone (Save succeeds: player chooses; fails, DM chooses). If the PC is climbing on the Frost Giant, this is ignored.
They have several abilities similar to White Dragons, due to being made largely of cold.

Blizzard Can use its breath weapon to create a blizzard in the area around it as a standard action. This creates heavy snow conditions in a 50-foot radius for 1 minute, centered on the giant. This snow slows movement (4 squares of movement per square entered) and limits vision as fog does.
Cold Aura Radiates an aura of cold. All creatures within 10 feet of the giant take 1d6 points of cold damage at the beginning of the giant's turn.
Freezing Fog Can use this ability three times per day. It is similar to an acid fog spell but deals cold damage instead of acid damage. It also causes a rime of slippery ice to form on any surface the fog touches, creating the effect of a grease spell. The giant is immune to the grease effect because of its icewalking ability. This ability is the equivalent of a 6th-level spell.
Icewalking (Ex) This ability works like the spider climb spell, but the surfaces the giant climbs must be icy. The giant can move across icy surfaces without penalty and does not need to make Acrobatics checks to run or charge on ice.
Snow Vision (Ex) Does not suffer any penalties to Perception checks while in snow.

Frost Giants sight has a temperature component, making most invisibility useless against them.Under a 15ft crust of ice, some of their internal workings are closer to what we'd think of as flesh.
Frost Giants take 1.5 damage from fire, and double damage from sources that cause structural shattering.

Some great "big monster" rules useful here from Scrap Princess, Zak Smith, Roger. I heartily encourage their adoption if you use these guys.

Friday, December 7, 2012

1d8 New Magical Items

1. Sideways Rope - 50% chance of 50ft or 100ft. When coil of rope released, will extend full length in front of holder. Can carry 400 lbs. at a a time without being secured to anything. Can be pushed or pulled to rest at different heights.

2. Portable Broom Closet - wooden door handle that, when pressed against a wall and pulled, opens a door to an extradimensional space that is 7 ft tall, 4 ft wide, and 4 ft deep. Some of the space is taken up by standard cleaning supplies. When closed with adventurer inside, the door disappears, but will deposit an adventurer back where they started when opened. There is a chance the closet is being used by extradimensional janitors and will not open; 50% minus 10% per level. There is a 25% chance another adventurer is inside; in this case it will open, but they may be upset.

3. Ethological Entrapment Device - Looks like an elaborate bird cage. When a creature opens the door, it finds itself inside, shrunk to about 3 in tall, with the door closed. The door cannot be openend from the inside. If another creature opens the door from the outside, the creatures will exchange places, returning the original creature to its regular height and freeing it. The bars of the cage cannot be bent, but can be destroyed as a magic item.

4. Packet of Swamp Gas - 2d4 uses. When opened, propels the user away from the opening at four times the speed of a running human. Makes a disgusting noise and smell.

5. Helper Gem - a genie is trapped inside. 50% practical and knowledgeable, 50% breathlessly enthusiastic but will talk around things or instruct user according to certain obscure rules.

6. Diamond Plates - They are usually 1ft by 6 in. When certain runes are traced with a fingertip, the Diamond Plates act as windows to each other, no matter how far apart, carrying sound and image like an open window.

7. The Driving Knife - If used to strike the killing blow on a creature and driven into it's neck, this knife can be used to control that creature's basic motor functions, creating a sort of mount or automaton for the wielder. The creature walks at normal speed, but performs any other action extremely slowly, if at all. The creature's body retains it's strength from life, but no Intelligence. On a creature killed with another weapon, the knife has a 75% chance of failure. The creature's body falls lifeless when the knife is removed.

8. Skull Brassiere - this is a structural garment designed to support the breasts made of two skulls linked by thin chain. Due to the variety of humanoids, the skulls may be of any size to accomodate different sizes of wearer. The protective magic of the item gives the wearer an AC of 15. The skulls must not be covered by anything in order to gain this benefit. Dexterity modifications apply to AC, but the wearer may not combine this item with a full suit of any armor.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Random Event Table...

...also known as "AHFUCK this room is a little more boring than I planned and a player just yawned and the other one is talking to the NPC that was supposed to be a one liner and SOMETHING NEEDS TO HAPPEN!"
There are probably other tables that do this better, feel free to link me to them, but I might need one tomorrow night for my home group.


gravity shifts to a wall or ceiling
next thing PCs touch, biting scarabs fall out in droves

a fist-sized aperture opens
The only way out of the room is...


all doors slam shut, become twice as heavy
coffins rise from floor, hungry vamps float out

a friendly NPC falls dead, dart in neck
a friendly NPC begins speaking with another voice, offering the opposite information

Time outside the room is passing backwards 
til they leave - give them some clue

a hugely fat ethereal goat with smoking eyes begins floating around taunting the party

snakes pour into room - their bite heals
a party member or friendly NPC appears to be gaining bestial traits to others, but not themselves (onlookers save?)

the PCs have stepped into positions where 
participants in a great tragedy stood long 
ago, see through their eyes, save or be 
forced to repeat in present

the PCs hear snippets of conversations from d200 years ago for d100 days

one of the PCs is missing
one of the PCs is doubled

50% chance of a blinding light flashing every turn
 for remainder of dungeon, regain sight in d4 turns

magical Silence for 1d4 turns

PCs can hear all sounds from every part of
 dungeon at once

Entire dungeon can see party through walls for 1 round, PCs know

PCs wake up feeling great outside dungeon, 
no idea how 
they got there, but something’s wrong

Townsfolk arrive, demanding to know where 1d4 NPCs are who were “last seen leaving” with PCs

a sleeping tarrasque rolls over underground, 
is collapsing and will crush PCs 10%/rd +10%/rd
floor opens, ramp to hell, PCs now have to negotiate/fight way out