Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Sidekick Hardsuit (item/henchthing)

Sidekick Hardsuit - a mechanical animal the size of a dog or large housecat. Starts with 1d8 HP, healed by casting any spell into it's spell engine or at a Blaster Recharge Station.

Can turn into a mechanical suit of armor, improving wearer's AC by double it's HD (starts at 1 HD).
It's HD is increased by 1 when it earns X000 XP and then X000 GP of gems is fed to it's Spell Engine. X=current HD.

When in animal form, It's own AC starts at 12 ascending, and improves by 1 when it goes up in HD.

So 5 months ago I asked some folks on G+ to look at a version of this, and they had great suggestions, some of which are reproduced below. Feel free to make your own, or post them on G+!

+Pearce Shea said  
yeah, I like it too, but given the cost of a level v the AC reward and (I'm assuming) it counts as magical armor (weightless), I might require its HD x 1,000 XP & GP to level it up. Does that make sense?

Also - cursed armourfriend sounds like it's rife with potential (Junketsu- grants AC equal to the HD it leeches off you in blood, Junketsu - grants +Atttack & damage equal to the HD it leeches off you in blood, or COVERS, which slowly consumes you [light armor + 2 {ie, as medium armor} but each miss that is saved by the bonus margin means -2 Con or something])

I integrated his first suggestion above, and really dig the second.

+Reynaldo Madriñan said You could do a lot with it too - various armorfiends could gain small powers every once in a while instead of raw effectiveness.

the cursed version is actually a lot like a monster I ran once; a bunch of heavily-armoured slavers - it turned out the armour was in control and using life force from the withered people inside it for magical repairs. They looked like Githyanki but were actually humans suffering the effects of the armour's life drain. 

I was going to save this til I could write a big post and draw a few of them, but it seems great for #awesomegamerday so you get it today!

A debt to +Scrap Princess 's posts here:

So You Ate the Dungeon Chocolate, Now What?

Shortly after I moved to NYC, a friend was visiting who hadn't lived in such a dirty city before. I dropped a piece of chocolate on the subway platform. He, knowing me as a germophobe from our high school days, thought to be cool and daring by scooping it up and eating it. Our friends and I stared for a moment. Right away, "Subway Chocolate" became a thing with that group of pals.
Did it cause you to turn into a rat? Did it make you turn into a subway car when you got horny? (We came up with a whole awkward teen cartoon show!)

Thus: Dungeon Chocolate. That thing your PC shouldn't have touched, eaten, etc.
So you need a random effect for a PC who interacted with something they shouldn't have?
Unless stated otherwise, these can be removed by Cure Disease or Remove Curse.
"Astral Projection" by exileinblonde on Deviantart

You can turn your body ethereal at will for 1d6 rounds per level; each time you do, an Ability Score is reduced by 1 permanently. In addition, you return to physical form with only 1 HP.
You can leave your body; you see a dim reflection of physical objects, and can’t make noise or physically affect anything (although you don’t sink through the floor.) Your body is completely prone and helpless in this state. Your body dies if you don’t get back in it within 24 hours. You also have the penalties of 1 above.
You can reroll one roll (except damage) per game session, and take the higher. Everyone else within 40 ft must reroll their next roll and take the lower.
Switch one physical (STR, DEX, CON) with one mental (WIS, INT, CHA) ability.
Techno-Organic Virus; you get a random robot ability, but lose 1 HP permanently when you use it. If you don’t use the ability in the first round of a combat, the virus wounds you for 1d10 HP. 
Your flesh begins rotting and turning into toxic slime, which reforms into scarred, tumorous muscles; roll 1d6 and lose that many CHA and add to STR; next game session lose that many INT and add to CON
Make a CON save whenever you enter battle, are surprised, or otherwise in a stressful situation; if you fail, you vomit up roaches and other vermin for one round, in which you can do nothing else.
Oops, it wasn't chocolate, it was wormy poop! You get a +1 to all Poison Saves, but must eat double rations daily or heal 1 less HP from all Healing. *
You slowly turn into a different race or species; in 1d6 days or next gaming session roll on the Reincarnation Chart and make adjustments.
Automatically make all Saves VS Magic, but all magic items turn mundane in your hands (and resume being magical when you let go), and beneficial spells do not work on you. Curable by quest.
You receive mad visions with a 50% +level chance of gauging the potential for success of the party's current plan. After the immediate first time, you can enter this trance state in wilderness by burning certain herbs and breathing the smoke, but it leaves you helpless and bedridden for 24 hours.
Save VS Magic or change alignment/faction allegiance/etc. If you pass that save, Save VS Death or die.

hey this is awkward I thought of 8 more...

A crust forms on your extremities over the next turn. You cannot hold objects or move silently. You can attack with the hardened crust for 1d6 damage, your AC improves by 2, but if you roll a 1 on the attack the crust shatters, doing 1d6+1 to you and mangling your hands and feet.
A crust forms on your torso and head over the next turn. If you are wearing armor at the end of this turn, you take 2d6 damage. Your AC improves by 4 due to the crust, but any time you are hit, there is a +10% chance per To-Hit bonus of the attacker that the crust shatters, mangling your torso and head for 2d4 damage. If you are hit with a natural 20, a limb is severed (1- RLeg, 2- LLeg, 3-RArm, 4-LArm)
You can see in Darkness, but have a -2 penalty to all rolls in bright light.
Good bit of chocolate, that. You could use a cuppa, though. In fact, healing doesn't work on you any day you don't take a break of at least a turn and have some well-brewed, high-quality tea. When you do, any healing that has been attempted on you happens all at once.
Save VS Poison or be incapacitated for 1d6 turns.
What a stroke of luck! +1 to all your rolls the rest of the session.
Giant green rage monster: you are under the effects of an Enlarge spell as if cast by a 2d4 level Wizard for 1d4+4 rounds. You attack the nearest creature, if there are many, the last one that hurt you. 
Roll 1d1000 Here


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Haunted (condition for old school rpg games)

"Another one squashed beneath your boot
dashed to pieces with your saber
not even a name to you
a hurdle to gold was on the table
a moat filled with blood you were happy to drain
another one that wouldn't be tricked by your slippery brainsssss

They came to me, after
ssaid, your tassk issss finished. 
Sssssserved your god well, reward for matter
to cower in hisssss pressencessss diminished.
No. What issss thissss word, "No?"
No, I ssssaid. A new tasssk hassss begun."

I gripped the stone face with my last strength, a bead of sweat dripping off my nose, down countless distance, likely on to the sleeping beast below.

"Well, prattling spirit, help me out of this chasm or shove me down into it, but do shut up."

-excerpt from the unedited journal of Porpulent Grantz, explorer, King's Agent, and appointed Savior of the Far Isles.


Ghosts as a monster in the Manual are a fine scary beast if run well, but that pile of stats and abilities does not speak to the ghost stories of the heart.
Adventurers are responsible for a great number of souls crossing from life to un-life, from here to there, perhaps more than their enemies, even. 
Being responsible in the real world for maintaining much contemporary equipment that transmits data from here to there, I have the terrible knowledge of how feeble it all is, how many mistakes happen per second that our equipment ignores. Whether the passage of souls is bureaucracy, like unto technology, or a natural process in your worlds, there must at times be mistakes. Perhaps the passion for vengeance overrules sense and order.

It seems inevitable that some adventurers, at some time, will become haunted by a damned soul. Whether touching the wrong thing or smiting a soul that burns hot, the living gains a passenger. This passenger likely wants to see the adventurer suffer, but this creates a paradox; the adventurer must succeed on some occasions to suffer on others. It should also be mentioned that the dead are insane.

Haunted - the PC afflicted so rolls an additional d6 when rolling Ability Checks, Saving Throws, Spell Checks, and To Hit.
1-2 : subtract the number rolled from the check*
3-5 : no effect
6 : add +1 to the check

*after a result of 1 or 2, the player may choose to stop rolling the extra die for the next hour of real time. The ghost is exhausted, disgusted, satisfied; the dead have trouble telling those conditions apart.

The Haunted PC may ask the ghost questions about things it knew in life. On a successful CHArisma check, the Ghost might answer.

It is heavily recommended that if the player does not occasionally role play this haunting, the GM does.

This mechanic partially inspired by Elektra: Assassin by Miller/Sienkiewicz and +Ian Johnson 's d4 drunk mechanic, among other things.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

What could be better?

People who read my blog, play in my games, read my posts, and/or read my entries in Santicores past: what do I need to work on? What most needs improvement?
I'm not being neurotic or down on myself here, and there's nothing I'm particularly worried about. I just have a backlog of big serious projects that I'm embarking upon, and wanted some outside feedback for things to keep in mind. Since these are longer-term and more serious RPG projects than I've done before, I wanted to take stock as I plunge in today.

Comment here, or on G+ if you prefer.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Doom Cave of the Crystal-Headed Contest: The Winner

But can you really "win" a negadungeon? ANYWAY IT'S +Arnold K. !
Arnold, email me your mailing address to receive my physical copy of The Doom Cave of the Crystal-Headed Children from Free RPG Day 2014, plus a miniature, plus a drawing of something you request!

He submitted a whole adventure, ready to go, with maps, critters, NPCs, the works. You could run this as written with just a tiny bit of prep. It's a great example of "letting the PCs be the catalyst", where if the PCs behaved themselves and abided by the law etc, things might be a bit boring, know PCs...

Click the map to go to his blog entry with a PDF of the adventure!

If you're not checking out his blog on the regular, you should be! He has a lot of swell ideas.

Thanks everyone for participating!

+Noah Stevens at with the folktale creepiness of The Clockwork Head of Genbo Gashodokuro

+Björn Wärmedal at with The Poor Man's Mountain Keep Adventure Seed (and the fearsome Limb Worm!)

+Ed Hackett at with some swell maps and the dreaded Grynspar

+Cédric Plante at with the creative table and great drawing of the Monks of the Holyphant Hanging Monastery

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Doom Cave of the Crystal-Headed Contest: 2nd Place

It's really more of a tie for first place with my super secret alternate backup prize resolving the conflict.

+Paul Schaefer , whose entry I'll feature today, gets my paperback copy of +Jason Sholtis 's Dungeon Dozen as his prize, in addition to one miniature (unpainted), and a drawing from me of something he requests (or something else I can make with pen/paper/pixels on one page).

Click on the hexmap below to go to his blog entry for a great wave/island crawl with an interesting mythology, neat fantasy cultures, swell prophecies, random tables, and a NSFW drawing of a sphinx.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Doom Cave of the Crystal-Headed Contest: 3rd Place

With all the creativity, whimsical folk-tale creepiness, and the drawing, it was hard to know where to put this. Ultimately I had to break the 3-way tie for first place.

+Noah Stevens , email me your physical mailing address to receive a gaggle of miniatures (unpainted), and a drawing request or something else I can make for you with pen and paper and pixels.

Click on Noah's radical map/drawing to go to his blog entry with more details and descriptions. And nightmares! I hope someone runs this on G+, I want to play it and have a bad enough memory that I'd still be surprised and creeped out! In a good way.

If you find the formatting on his blog a bit hard to read, try the mobile version, I found the formatting a bit better.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Doom Contest of the Crystal-Headed Runners Up

The first results from my contest! MEET YOUR JUDGEMENT.

These are the runners up. I'll post the top 3 over the next few days. Currently untangling a tie for 2nd.

I got 6 entries total. The following three were great entries, and I was psyched to see them. Some great ideas and great drawings here. I am so honored people made this stuff for my silly contest.

+Cédric Plante , +Ed Hackett , and +Björn Wärmedal , email me a request for a drawing, and I'll get it to ya (digitally) as soon as I finish. If there's something else you'd like that I can deliver digitally, let me know!

+Cédric Plante did an amazing drawing, and then when I gave a little more time, did a really great table with lots of rad ideas. Click on his drawing below to go to his blog entry with the table.

+Björn Wärmedal sent me a nifty little map with adventure seeds, and a GREAT new monster, ready to drop into your next dungeon. Click his drawing of the Limb Worm below for a copy of his entry in PDF, and click here for his blog. The July 10th entry has a larger version of this drawing, I think.

+Ed Hackett sent along a couple of neat maps and flavorful critter. The images he sent are below, and if you click 'em, they'll get bigger. His blog is here.

THANKS, GUYS! If any of y'all want me to change the way I put these up here, let me know.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Seclusium of Hambone of the Free Acids

(I wrote this on September 1st, 2013, and will never finish it. Instead of lingering in my DRAFTS, I thought I'd unleash it's embarrassing rambles upon the world. I don't usually write so much about my personal life on here, but I did this time for some reason.)

I have stepped in pee a lot this past week. I mean, I moved to San Francisco, the human-outdoor-peeingest city in the US. Today, I knew the name of the person whose pee I stepped in. He is three years old and loves trains.

After chasing me across the country, my hardcopy of The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions caught up with me, and goddamn it is gorgeous. I love the cover, despite some issues I have with how the faces are painted. DEM EELS, to use obsequious internet slang. Lamentations of the Flame Princess publish the best looking RPG books. There are no words one can take away from that sentence. I await their next round eagerly.

My friend Derek paints things. One time I stopped having a crush on a girl because she thought it was some big revelation that he used projected stencils to make his paintings when anyone with eyes and a brain could tell you that just by looking at them. When I finally had the money to buy a painting, he had to triple his prices because he was losing sales of new paintings to other people selling his old paintings on Ebay for high prices. Somehow raising his prices for new paintings was going to fix that. 

Anyway, he sold me a small thing for the old price, and the point is he said (and drew, and painted) the words "H A M B U R G E R" and "HAMBONE!" a lot. I mean, A LOT. He is short and round and funny looking and could basically go home with any woman that listened to him for five minutes. Many people thought he was some kind of wizard. He once ate a bite of my sandwich then denied it. He once punched me in the side while I was on a ladder filing CDs and I chased him in circles around a pinstripe-suited businessman shopping in the store Derek managed.

Why do you care about any of this? Maybe you don't. I haven't read a lick of text and am turning to page 96 and rolling things and writing them down. In many places the result was boring so I made something up that is probably inspired by someone I knew (not all the same person). OK I made some new tables when inspired.

The Seclusium of Hambone of the Free Acids is...
1. in a bad part of town, 
2. behind an unmarked door, 
3. up some metal stairs. 
4. It is full of finished...
5. and unfinished works, 
6. and on the patio out back there is a mostly-destroyed piano that Hambone plays when it rains.

The Hambone is...
1. bipolar...sometimes supremely confident and other times tortured and nervous
2. has a vast library of obscure and difficult works
3. utterly charming...
4. ...causing some people to come into conflict because jealousy.
5. trying to help those around him, but through ways which seem callow and cruel.
6. experimenting with self-medicating via trendy, homemade drugs.

The Hambone has abandoned the Seclusium, Why?
1. Time for his shift at his other job
2. He has departed to another realm, world, or mode of existence, to pursue his ambitions, perhaps never to return. (that's like moving to Seattle, right?)
3. Busy talking up someone he will later describe as "like being in bed with an alligator"
4. Creating a strange, confusing scene for others to stumble upon later
5. The land is devoid of Hamburgers
6. There's a really great record store somewhere else

Known Facts:
20. The Wizard used to visit us in our sleep, robbing our dreams of their treasures.
18. The Wizard was prone to fits of malice and rage.
9. The Wizard was a great traveller, and could be seen coming and going.

How did the Wizard appear?
1. Full beard, wild hair, military dress
2. Shaven, cherubic, unctuous
3. Severe, angular fashion of a different profession
4. covered in blood and cuts, mumbling to self
5. detached, madly scribbling, pulsing with dark energy
6. adorned in wild shapes and bright colors, slightly out of focus

I am totally bored. Skipping to the Seclusium itself...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Sir Ward art by +Sara Machajewski; note holy symbol on the shield 

GORGATHON IS PLEASED. His paladin Sir Ward, Knight of Jet and Gold, bearer of the torch of knowledge, has been returned to mortal form by the efforts of his comrades. EACH of these comrades has gained Gorgathon's blessing, and each may use the following ONCE*:

Light a torch while saying Gorgathon's prayer. All within this torch's light is revealed: magik, invisibility, alignment, lies, traps, doors. The one who lit the torch can see all in it's light, no matter how far away from it.
These effects last until the torch goes out. The flame is not artificially sustained, and is subject to environmental conditions as normal flame.

SIR WARD and other PALADINS of Gorgathon may use this ability once per week, or once every 3 sessions.
CLERICS of Gorgathon may cast this as a Spell, choosing one of the things listed above to be revealed for each spell level  - if cast as a 6th level spell, all is revealed. If cast as a 3rd level spell, three things from the above list are revealed.

In both cases, a torch must still be lit, and the effects fade when the torch goes out.

*Note that the light of Gorgathon does not shine in every plane, and if the DM decides this doesn't work in their game, the player shall not pout or argue.

SIR WARD, you seek purpose.
-Gain and apply your knowledge to restore life where you have taken it in error

-Spread the word of the Eye of Fire to other planes; gain converts and new followers of Gorgathon; encourage them to adventure and seek knowledge as you do

-Make (or help make) a place such that adventurers may gather there, and spread their gathered knowledge to each other

-Should your companions seek that like which came from Manzarin and was expired, let them seek it in the Interstices

I do not hide knowledge behind awesome poems. May the light of knowledge shine upon you.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Demonaist (Class)

This is for a setting that I probably won't use D&D rules for, but I wanted to jot the idea down in general since I won't have time to work on it again for awhile and don't have my Stormbringer/Pendragon/Boot Hill hack worked out yet.
I also thought this is the kind of madness some of you DMs might allow or encourage in your games.

A DEMONAIST is one who has dedicated themselves to channeling entities from Beyond the Prime Material Plane into their own body, hoping to control the entity's powers for a time. Sometimes, it even works out.

XP Progression / HP / Saves / Attack: As Cleric

Weapons and Armor: due to the physical toll of their practice, Demonaists can typically only use light weapons and armor, and receive a penalty to hit with heavy or two-handed weapons. They cannot wear Chain Mail or heavier armor.

The Demonaist spends a round summoning an entity, which takes over his or her body, changing and contorting it to resemble the entity's preferred form. The Demonaist can take no other action this round, nor can the summoned entity.
Mechanically, this is resolved as the LotFP Summon spell, but the entity fades in a number of turns* equal to the caster's level plus any INT bonus. Additional rounds can be wagered for when casting, but are counted as if the creature were that many more Hit Dice when Domination is determined. The thing summoned is in the caster's body, not separate. I like to use this generator here.
If the caster dominates, he or she is in control of the entity's powers until it fades.
If the entity dominates, it is in control, under no obligations, and does not care what happens to the caster's body. It may attack everyone present, run off to do an errand in this plane, or something else.

When the entity fades, the caster loses half the number of HP the entity did while possessing his or her body. The Demonaist is wracked with pain after, and has -3 to STR, -3 WIS, and can only move at half speed for a number of rounds equal to the time of possession.

*EDIT: At the DM's discretion, the entity may only last a number of rounds equal to the caster's level, not turns.

Sense The Beyond:
Demonaists can sense summoned creatures and those under the influence of entities from Beyond their realm with a successful Wisdom check (add PC level as a bonus to this check.)

Take in the Unclean Spirit:
Entities from Beyond that are encountered on the Prime Material Plane can be absorbed into the Demonaists' body as if summoned; if the creature dominates, the attempt to absorb it failed.

Demonaists can Turn creatures summoned by others; use the Turn Undead chart.

The End?