Thursday, March 19, 2020


OG Doppelgangers
With shapeshifting and ESP being used to mimic humanoids (this said to have 90% accuracy), it's easy to see why doppelgangers are menacing agents of subterfuge and deceit... but what with a number-appearing score of 3d4, turning into party members giving them surprise on a 4-in-6 chance odds (no further mention of potential combat advantage is mentioned, curiously enough) and being statistically equivalent to slightly harder hitting ogres  one might question the reasoning for such creatures to even bother with such trickery at all. As an added bonus, they are immune to Sleep, Charm, and save as 10th level fighters.

Doppelgangers have the stated motive to kill and replace people they morph into. It is unclear whether they then attempt to live the stolen life, or to continue the cycle of murder and transformation- no mention of eating the dead is made, however. They have an apparent social structure (of numbers that suggest family units or some other small groups) high intelligence, and neutral alignment.  I am at a loss to speculate on any potential ecology implied by these facts save for the humanoid transformation being, perhaps, a means to lure maneating dungeon predators into lethal ambushes by appearing more unassuming than they truly are. Of course, one could take the notion that they are monstrous beings of the mythic underworld who need to explanation for the threat they pose or why they are the way they are, but you'd think if they lived only to kill and deceive they'd be Chaotic Evil...

3.5 Doppelgangers

With significantly nerfed damage, number appearing, and ESP abilities (a DC13 roll allowing resistance) these doppelgangers are less terrifying ambush-bludgeoners and more of the spies and deceivers they are suggested to be. Who they might be spying for is left unmentioned (though in addition to common languages of those they mimic, air-language and Giant may be known as well which may imply...something) but as they are mentioned as a potential character race, them being a sort of an highly dispersed  and distrusted minority pigeonholed into being spies seems a sensible outcome of their existence, as compared to the AD&D version. no strong motive to be 'monstrous' is mentioned apart from a tendency to be low empathy and manipulative, which isn't exactly doppelganger exclusive.

Sunset Realm Doppelgangers
The term doppelganger is terribly overused. A time-displaced self isn't one, nor is a vat-grown clone, nor a parallel reality version of yourself. A shapeshifter(be it mimic, demon, protein polymorph, clever octopus, goblin changeling, or whatever) taking your form isn't a doppelganger. Even your reflection, your double from another trouble, isn't one. (They're a moral lesson about how even if your heart is on the wrong side of the body, it can still be in the right place, or something)

A "doppelganger" is a uncanny double with no good explanation. It is a monster that has no ecology and no place in the waking, sunlit world save for your nightmares. If there is rhyme or reason to its existence, it is what you assume and project onto it. Wracked by self-loathing and despair, perhaps you think it an embodiment of your will to disappear. Trapped by mental and social chains, perhaps you think it an opportunity to leave your life behind. Consumed by regret and guilt, perhaps you think it an ironic punishment, proof that the worst thing in your life was you. You'll never know for certain what it was, and those around you may never know which was which.

Sympathy Puppet- It walks towards you, matching your own advance step for step, blocking the way forward. Strike it, and it strikes you in perfect synchronicity. It is clad in the same gear as you are- hrönir duplicates.  If you fight it, you will both die, bleeding from the same wounds, choking out the same last words. There is a link between you and the thing- If the nemesis falls into a pit, your leg breaks too. If the wizard puts it to sleep with a spell, you slumber too until you are awakened. You can sever the link by getting some distance, breaking line of sight, some dungeon walls between you and it.

It will act independently if sufficiently separated from you, or otherwise prevented its not mimicking you. It will insist it is the 'real' one and act accordingly. It will claim you are a doppelganger that switched places with it with some trickery, if anyone asks. It's not lying. ESP backs up its claims. If it makes it out of the dungeon and you're welcome to play as it. It's not necessarily an enemy, but...

Things can get trickier when you meet an entire party of the things.

Life Taker-
You start hearing people talking about things you did, that you didn't do. An imposter! And a damnably good one too- not only is it doing things you were going to do anyway, it's doing things you wanted to do. Things you never told anyone else about. Building that tavern. Kissing the duchess. Beating the duke in a sword duel. Then come the dreams, hard to distinguish from memory and reality. Maybe some of those things were you, after all. The new scars are hard to deny, after all. Maybe it's more of a Jekyll/Hyde thing, and that's why you're tired by day and getting new scars by night. Or just too much carousing ale.

Or maybe this doppelganger can only pretend to be you when it's not near you. A wraithlike thing, a copy that's convincing to people so long as it's not a side by side comparison, that stalks you from a distance, only able to have what parts of your life you aren't around to contest, and every night, it comes to you, to see if its misty hands are strong enough to peel your skin and wring your neck and hide your body. All it needs is for more people to believe in it than in you, and then it will be strong enough to succeed, convincing enough that if anyone hears the struggle in your tent, they'll come to help IT, not you.

Mechanically, it's much like a wraith that that steals a level/hd every time it fulfills one of your dreams or goes adventuring with your buds in your place while you stay nice and safe at home. This is the kind that has no real equipment until it kills you- until then, its rings are painted wood, its sword a tin toy.

Unlived- You return to your hometown and find you never left. You settled down and married the baker, and kiss your family every night. The town doesn't like this adventuring you, who staggered out of the forest reeking of elves and claiming that their neighbor and friend is the real fake and you're totally on the up and up.

You and this life you almost had can't bear the sight of each other. Existential dread aside, the jealousy is eating both of you alive. This baker's spouse has both its hands, because it came back to the village instead of going to the Tomb of the Serpent Kings. You have more gold than the mayor. The baker's spouse is well-liked. You're a local legend with your poise, your stories, your magic. The grass is looking greener on both sides, here. Maybe you can live with the reminder of the life you almost had glaring at you and gripping a bread knife. The Unlived can't. It will try to drive you away, ideally never to return. Framing you for a crime is a good idea. Killing you better still. It'll have the advantage of home turf and connections... Maybe you should deal with this thing first, before it tries something, and certainly before it reveals your... I mean, its true nature upon the unsuspecting townsfolk.

Or maybe you leave. Maybe that's enough for the unlived. Maybe it isn't. Maybe the life unlived dogs your footsteps, waiting for a chance to clean up a loose end threatening its idyllic little nest, not willing to chance that you might come back and do the same to it. Maybe it doesn't, and the thought of it existing just waits in the back of your head, forever.

Face Taker- Or, for a more overt kind of monster, this is the sort of thing that leaps at you from the darkness shrieking and flees in hit-and-run pack tactics, each Face-Taker always against the same person. It's soon revealed what's happening- if one touches your arm, it takes your arm and leaves a nasty grey limb with one less finger behind and runs off to admire its new healthy red-blooded arm for a while in the dark. And you can still feel your arm, attached to some other being, out past the torch light. You can sometimes move it, and sometimes your new arm moves with a mind of its own.

If this continues, you'll end up with each limb and finally your face stolen and swapped. You might get parts that have disease, or mutations, or mutilations (1/6 chance each swap). When your arms are the gross face-taker arms, your strength is 8. Legswap gives you 8 dex. Body swap, 8 con. Face swap, 8 cha. Maybe killing them will make everything go back to normal if your GM is merciful. If not though, there's only one thing to do- catch the monster and force or trick it into touching your head one last time, making it swap the last thing that's yours- the brain. Then you'll be in your own body again, naked, and the face-taker will be back in its foul body, admittedly wearing all your gear but hey, this is the plan B after 'don't get hit.'

Monday, March 9, 2020

Dogs and Dolphins

 OG Dog
Two types are detailed- mighty guard dogs with 2+2HD that deal 2d4 damage, and wild dogs which are half as powerful. At 25GP a dog, a horde of slavering canines is an incredibly effective way to increase the party's combat capacity in theory, but in practice dogs are quite vulnerable to dying en-masse to dungeon traps and scarier monsters(anything that level-drains on touch comes to mind), and while it's great to have a horde of dogs vs a bunch of gnolls or whatever, it becomes a huge pain in the ass when you have to traverse a rope the thief set up over a wall or a lava pit or whatever.

BFRPG dogs have great morale and do a 'bite and grapple' dog which I think better suits how dogs attack, and are more on par with AD&D wild dogs.

3.5 Dogs can make trip attacks if trained for war, which is a good simulation of dragging people to the ground, but apart from that they are essentially BFRPG dogs.

BFRPG and 3.5 assume the 1HD dog as the baseline, and call the 2hd dogs 'riding dogs' which are typically paired with halflings as steeds, an idea that makes sense,but was not included in the original monster manual. In fact, halflings were stated to have (in the lair) 1d4 of the smaller dog variety, indicating that in original AD&D, rather than riding heroically on dog-back, the halflings much more sensibly drowned their enemies with remote dog swarm tactics. But I digress.

While one might be inclined to dismiss the Alignment: Lawful Good of these bastards as merely a naive 70's sentiment, further perusal of the entry shows that these dolphins are a fantastic departure from reality, as AD&D dolphins have either swordfish or narwhales as guard animals. They also attack sharks unless outnumbered 2-to-1. Further mechanics on dolphin-on-shark violence can be found in the shark entry but as this is already a double post with dogs, I will refrain from that tangent...

No depictions of the Jackal God hanging out with dolphins will ever be seen again

Sunset Realm Dolphin
Basically, monkeys of the sea. Intelligent and playful, but largely irrelevant to ocean politics. It is rumored that they are the souls of humans who drowned in the ocean, which is why they are prone to helping drowning mammals and have a love of music. They are considerably rarer than in real life, having much more competition from the sea-monster filled depths of fantasy oceans. Marooned sailors sometimes sing to the sea in the hopes of attracting dolphins to take them home, and ocean-adjacent wizards sometimes listen to dolphin-song in the hope of learning sea-spells. (While it would be far more efficient to contact the Ningen, those giant fish-people are quite intimidating to tiny, edible land-lubbers).
Finally, dolphins are popular among Beast Islander witches as potion ingredients- more specifically, their milk, as aquatic-creature milk is exceedingly rare and hard to get, but a vital ingredient for certain potions intended for ocean use.

Sunset Realm Dog
Simply put, dogs are basically what they are in real life, but with mythical explanations for domestication. As they are so popular with humans, there are two gods that take credit for gifting the dog to humanity. Our Lady of Gardens claims domestication of wild dogs and wolves, which seems reasonable on account of being responsible for domesticating most farmed species. On the other hand, the Jackal God of Yuba claims divine creation of dogs as a gift to humanity, which seems reasonable because dogs are a great boon to humanity, and the Jackal God having a whole 'dog reincarnation' thing going on with worshipers and dogs and being furious with those who would abuse this gift.

Of course, there are other explanations, though less popular. Elves have dogs of their own called Cu Sidhe (double-sized green-haired irish wolf setter lookin beasties) and depending on who you believe, these creatures are either sylvan simulacra of actual dogs, or dogs are actually goblinoid derivatives of these elven creatures. This line of thinking leads to the question of if humans are in fact, goblinoid derivatives of either elves or apes, a concept too shocking to be seriously considered for most people.

The heleognostic theory posits that there was a common ancestor of dogs and wolves, and the separation is a result of dogs growing orderly and lawful in the daylands, and wolves becoming monstrous due to moonlight and darktaint out in the moonlands. The variety of dogs as compared to that of wolves is the opposite of how such things usually work though, so this is one of the weaker theories from the scholars of heleologos.

The Really Good Dog of the Sunset Realms:

Levels, etc: As Fighter
  1. You're a Dog, Pedigree, Best Friend
  2. Best Friends Fight as One!, Doge Dodge
  3. Best Friends Never Give Up!
  4. Dog Quest, Takedown
  5. Talking Dog, Sniff The Air
  6. New Tricks

You're a Dog
You can't hold things in your hands. You can't climb ropes or ladders. Your Movement is 50 (Human Movement is 40). Your bite attack does either d6 and can latch on to auto-hit each round thereafter (as a dagger in a grapple) as you shake an arm or leg, or deal d8 or d10 damage as you go for the throat or belly.  You do not start with any items. You can follow (most) scents, and recognize scents you've encountered before.  You can understand the words of your fellow PCs and those that your fellow PCs are talking to (via body cues and doggy intuition), but if you are interacting with NPCs alone, you are pretty clueless.  You understand Common, but cannot speak it yet.  You speak Canine fluently.

You're an amazingly intelligent dog: roll Int normally, but be aware that this is doggy Intelligence, and isn't suitable for all things.  For example, you can spot a trap, count coins, or remember a location you haven't been to in years.  However, you probably can't solve linguistic puzzles or use tools, because smart dogs aren't smart in that way.

Best Friend
Pick a best friend. When side by side, either of you can choose to take damage/failed save effects to save your friend, typically by leaping between them and the danger. This designation is permanent (until story/DM say otherwise).  If your Best Friend dies, you can pick a new one after playing 1 full session as a sad, sad dog.
Pedigree- If you are a mundane doggo, you get +10% xp and whatever ability you can convince the GM you should have, like greyhounds being fast or chihuahuas being really sneaky when hiding under things. If you are a Blink Dog, you can teleport anywhere within 80 feet, more than that and your doggy eyes can't see very well. Darkness and blindness do indeed stop this. Furthermore, enemies must match your initiative roll exactly (or prepare to strike you and no one else if initiative is not being used) or be unable to strike you in melee before you teleport away. This replaces Dodge.
If you are a Hell Hound, you can breathe fire 10' long, dealing 1d6 per level if you spend a round doing naught but huffing and puffing. (enemy saves v dragon breath to avoid). You are also a Bad Dog so you have to be tsundere about all your best friend powers.
If you are a Wolf your shadow soul is exceptionally strong and you are immune to mental coercion, and only ever get positive mutations (but are anathema to worshippers of Our Lady of Gardens and hunters from Vint-Savoth).
If you are a Fox you don't exist (but see Blink Dogs)

Doge Dodge
While unarmored and able to defend yourself, you get a bonus to your AC equal to your level. (this does not stack with 'AC=Dex if unarmored and HP is max)

Best Friends Fight As One!
If you and your Best Friend attack the same enemy simultaneously, and both attacks hit, the enemy takes an additional +1d6 damage. In the event of attacking something like a fire elemental that's immune to normal weaponry, the +1d6 damage still applies so long as at least one of you has the appropriate tool.

Best Friends Never Give Up!
If your Best Friend is ever at 0 HP, you can lick their face to restore 1d6+1 HP.  If your Best Friend is ever paralyzed, mind-controlled, raging, or otherwise out of control, you can lick/bite them (whichever is more appropriate) to give them a new save against the effect.  Only works on things that allow saves in the first place.

Dog Quest
At a certain point, you will attract the attention of the local dog populace, or perhaps the Jackal God of Yuba himself.  They will give you a quest to prove your doggishness and earn the collar of a true champion.
  1. Slay a Cat Lord(Rakshasa) that has taken up residence somewhere within a day or two.
  2. Prevent the ascendancy of a nascent Cat Lord- a cat killing dogs, or a tiger killing humans. As cats and tigers are still mortal, a complication (like the cat being the favored pet of a witch, or a tiger being a war-animal of a bounty hunter) is almost certainly the true reason the dogs can't do it themselves.
  3. Hunt down a Bad Dog(Hellhound). Redemption is more possible than with cats, but the threat of the Bad Dog corrupting others means things are time-sensitive.
  4. Venture into the Mirror Realm and drive off a Puma-That-Walks. The peril lies more in the journey than your quarry.
  5. Aid a despairing and broken Jackal Priest to regain their vim and vigor due to them being-
    1- Unlucky in Love 2-Mourning loss of life and limb 3- Kidnapped family 4- Deep in debt 5- Drug-Addicted 6- Crisis of faith, considering cats
  6. Bark all night long, every night, for a month to ward off Darkspawn from the local lord's manor. This is a thankless task, as they will view you only as a noisy mutt disturbing their rest.

If you refuse or fail this quest, you will be shunned by the Dog Clans of the cities and cannot level up further.  If you succeed, you will win allies among the Dog Clans, and can call on their help in the cities.  Examples of help: gossip, relaying messages, safe houses, and in certain circumstances--a whole pack of mangy street dogs who will fight for you.
Sniff the Air
You can smell monsters 1 turn (10min) before they arrive. The DM rolls on the wandering monster table and describes what one of the monsters smells like.  If you've encountered that type of monster before, you can identify it.  (Communicating the information, however, might be tricky.) You may also detect poison and harmful magics within '1' if you actively sniff for them.
When you bite an opponent no larger than a human, you can force them to save or fall prone.
Talking Dog
Through magic or mutation or simply practice and observation, you can now speak the common tongue.

New Tricks- You may reset your level to 1 (reduce HP and saves accordingly), keep all your dog powers, and start leveling up as something else.
If you do not do this, you have reached the level cap, congratulations.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Djinn(Also Ifrit, Marid, Jann, Jinn, Shaitan, Dao, but not Hinn)

Separated, as many D&D things are, into association with the various classical elements and sorted into a power hierarchy, these beings go from

Jann(MM2)- Elemental unaligned super-people who can travel to any elemental plane, have superb strength, magic resist, a few tricks like growth/invisibility/create food/limited etherealnesss, and live in an open and egalitarian society in forlorn deserts for privacy and safety, with a neutral-leaning-good alignment.

These are the sort of 'common' Jinn you'd see in the 1001 Nights who are more magical than humans and certainly fierce enough to turn the tide of battle, but are essentially just another group of people, not so much the 'genie of the lamp' of Disney Aladdin.

Dao(MM2)the earth aligned variants, they are wicked and though precious little of their society is mentioned apart from a posible king-type,  as they 'dislike servitude as much as efreet' it seems unlikely that there'd be much hierarchy.

It is mentioned Dao can move through earth (but not worked stone) presumably so that would-be binders of these entities cannot have them tunnel through dungeon to steal treasure unhindered., and like demons, much detail and attention is given to how much weight they can carry, though unlike demons Dao tire and must take rests every so often, depending on how much they carry. This could lead to a sort of 'escort mission' where a bound Dao carried vast heaps of treasure through uncleared dungeon terrain, and would be protected during its 'rest stops.' This applies to all the (non-Jann) genie-types as well, naturally, just at different carrying capacities.

Dao, unlike 'lesser' variants, can grant the limited wishes of others, but in a 'perverse way' ie, all the various forms of monkey's paw wishes that plague would-be wishers. It is unclear whether this stems from ill-intent or simply a lesser form of the greater wish-granters.

Djinni (MM)- Fairly limited in their powers compared to the mightier variants (creation of metal objects being a temporary affair for example) and only 1% of Djinni (the Noble Djinni) can actually grant 'wishes' rather than simply services rendered by a powerful magical being. However, of great interest (at least to me) is the ability to 'Form a Whirlwind' which is a smallish tornado that take a turn (10 minutes, presumably) to form and a turn to dissipate, and lasts(or as I attempt to more accurately interpret this, 'is active') for one melee round, where it deals 2d6 damage to all it encounters... and automatically sweeps away and kills all creatures of under two hit dice that it encounters. No save, no to hit, just destruction. One might decide this applies only to those who directly touch the funnel-whirlwind itself, but I dunno, 'encounter' is a much broader term than 'touch.'

The 3.5 version of this has a fairly boring interpretation where the Djinni just turns into a dust devil and sucks people up with a lot of math, but I kinda like the idea that this is more like calling up a hideous storm to destroy a city, army, or the like with the vague definition of 'encounter' applying  far more broadly than the 'grapple' interpretation 3.5 went with.

In any case, the details of how one might bind a Djinn to ones will is left up to the DM. The obvious point that treating a bound Djinn poorly leads to poor service and rebellion and treating them well can cause them to respect you might seem self evident, but recall that Disney's Aladdin was not out yet, and the Djinn of the 1001 Nights tended towards extremely fickle behavior (ie, killing whoever released them from their prison) so this specification might have actually been important to state in 1978.

Efreeti(MM)- The fire version, It is said they can be forced to serve for 1001 days, or by causing them to fulfill three wishes, which is a bit more info than what the Djinni entry states, but still pretty reliant on DM fiat. Despite their demonic art and mention of twisted wishes and cruel and vengeful natures, their alignment is given as Neutral(tend towards lawful evil) which could be used for a rather more charitable interpretation of their foul disposition as simply being sick of being used as wish-machines by people.

Unlike Djinn, all of them are able to grant the wishes of others, so they seem a likely example of a sort of dark temptation for power hungry players- Binding an Efreeti instead of a common Djinn yields more potential power, but at the cost of wickedness and danger.

They have the most interesting society mentioned of all geniekind- the infamous City of Brass- but you might as well look up details on your own.

Marid(MM2)- The most powerful of geniekind, and associated with water. Their powers are greater than the lesser one and they can carry twice as much gold as a Dao, blah blah, but it's somewhat interesting to note that they all claim to be kings (or rather, the persian and turkish equivalent) so their ruler is a Padishah, or 'Great King.' As such flattery and respect gets the best results when interacting with them, though as one given title for Marids is Mufti (an islamic jurist and scholar) some humbler individuals with an interest in laws must be presumed to exist. Whether they are meant to be Lawful exceptions to a largely Chaotic species, or simply the lawkeepers of a chaotic society in which all are kings, is unclear, though both interpretations are interesting.

Their wish-granting power is Alter Reality, which is (as far as I can be bothered to investigate) basically just Wish at a higher power level and devoid of the XP cost.

"I won't bother using reference" I said
"it will save me time" I said
Just keep scrolling down

Sunset Realm Ifrit/Jinn
When the 1st sun was torn asunder, its disparate and fragmented lights became all manner of strange beings, the largest of which were the dread Moons. Some of the smallest sparks, rather than simply fizzling out, ignited into extremely pure fire known as the smokeless flame, and this substance became the bodies of the Ifrit/Jinn. They could impose their will on the light-starved world and shape it to their whims, but only in the absence of greater lights. Many were born in the void initially and wandered the empty chaos beyond the light of the world for eons, and only slowly found their way to the world.

Dwelling in the world rather than the void had advantages in that there was far more matter to shape, and the Ifrit built palaces and cities of wonder. With practically no limitations on materials, what their society valued was artistic skill and creativity, so even relatively pathetic mortal creatures could gain prestige as architects, artists, chefs, and so on. The most wondrous cities attracted more and more beings seeking to trade good ideas for wishes, and as the population grew, so too did the complexities of society. Some ifrit entered covenants with mortals, providing them with wishes and services that a mortal could not do themselves, and some great spirits (for they were not called gods in those days) grew jealous of the ifrits, and schemed against them in the great city in the desert. Methods of binding and coercing the ifrit were given to mortals, and the flames of greed were fanned such that the mortals felt entitled to wishes and resented the Jinn for not granting their every desire. Tensions rose, and finally the city was destroyed by the Black King of the the Ifrit. Mortal sorcerers with the secrets of jinn-binding fled into the wastes, the great spirits villified the Ifrit and established cults among the mortals in their place, granting miracles instead of wishes, and the great city was no more.

However, not all mortals sided with the scheme of the new gods, nor did all jinn resent all mortals for the great betrayal. In the desert lands, mortals and beings of smokeless flame took a break to let tempers cool, going their separate ways and maintaining contact only through ritual and taboo for centuries. The desert empire of Saresare arose and trusted only the bonds between people, the Law, rather than the whims of gods or the light of suns past and future, and though the practices of Jinn-binding were preserved by wicked sorcerers, most Saresaren sorcerers do not delve into those shadowy binding rites and instead stick to exchanging favors with the Jinn that remain. Indeed, the Saresaren queendom of Fassulia* that nearly fell to chaos and destruction was saved by Ifrit and Jinn who restored life to the people and land by providing green bodies of vegetable matter to mortals and maintaining a lawful afterlife within the waking world, an act of altruism that broke through centuries of resentment and bad memories. Of course, some wicked sorcerers took advantage of this and tricked ifrit into lamps and so on to fuel their magical spells, and some ifrit still slay mortals on general principle and blind vengeance, but for the most part relations are congenial between ifrit and mortal these days, though jinn/ifrit and the gods still do not get along well.

*Fassulia being a Lungfungus hexcrawl module that I liked a lot

Why All the NamesThe difference between the names used for these beings is mostly a matter of clannish affiliation. All are composed of smokeless flame begat by sparks of the broken first sun, not elemental palette swaps of each other. Nor are they necessarily indicative of 'power level.' Rather, the different names for the same thing mean the following-

  • Jann- Half-breeds. While mostly used to refer to human half breeds (who, 'power level' wise, tend to be akin to a Hercules or other demi-god) there are the occasional animal or monster janns, for a Djinni is composed of flame, not flesh, and as a being of pure soul its true form is mutable and a matter of will, not birth. Jann Half-breeds tend to simply look like extremely vigorous, healthy, and perhaps oddly-colored variants of the mortal parent, and can be simulated by rolling 4d6 for stats & probably being a MU/Fighter.
  • Jinn- A generic term for all their kin, typically implying friendliness with mortals
  • Ifrit- a generic term for all their kin, typically implying antipathy towards mortals and the gods especially.
  • Djinni or 'Genie'- refers to those who fled to the sky and live among clouds. As clouds obscure the hot desert sun, they are popularly invoked and praised.
  • Dao- refers to those who fled to the earth and live in caves and holes. Saresarens use pots or shallow burying to deal with waste rather than the Mercian style of outhouses for fear of accidentally using a Dao's home as a toilet.
  • Marid- refers to those who fled to bodies of water. As water is the most dangerous of elements to flame, only the most magically potent and creative of Jinn/Ifrit could find ways to live under the water, and even then most of them fear the ocean and stick to inland lakes and rivers. As such, a Jinn who is a 'Marid' is as to other Jinn as a wizard is to other humans.
  • Shaitan- the keepers of the underworld of Fassulia, and the primary psychopomps of the otherwise mostly godless Saresare. They are revered by humans, but feared also as omens of death.
Stats As- n/a, mostly. They are puzzle and roleplaying encounters and should be run more with fantasy logic than big numbers, imo. Baseline AD&D 'can spam pyrotechnics and turn into a fire elemental' is just not very interesting. If you trick one into a locked chest, it can't open the chest on its own and might be coerced into granting a wish for whomsoever releases it. If it turns into a lion and tries to eat you, if you can beat a lion, the jinn will surrender and offer wishes for mercy. Maybe it's a firebreathing lion for extra spiciness. Maybe it can possess a statue and use stone golem stats. But it's not all-powerful. So how to run this sort of thing?

The things I try to remember when running them are
  • They can shape the world, but they are not the masters of the world. Their light isn't brighter than an entire citystate, or a god, or a moon, or an elemental. They keep their heads down because too much reality warping will piss someone or something off. They know they are big fish in a small pond, basically.
  • They are not infinite in creativity or energy. I tend to think of their HD as 'how many cool things can they do before running out of ideas or energy' or magic dice for a GLOG sorcerer, and as a rough limitation of the upper bounds of their powers. Turn into a new animal. Lift a heavy thing. Throw a fireball. Summon a storm. Steal a spellbook. They tend to do context- appropriate things, not 'look up the most mechanically dangerous monster in the manual and polymorph into that' sort of things.
  • There's a difference between a Wish and those 'cool things.' They can do 'cool things' for themselves as they please. A Wish has to be granted to someone else, souls aligning to achieve a change in the world, and this change can't go against the 'rules' of the dominant light source (typically the sun, with other likely candidates being local gods, local laws (provided the majority of the populace actually wants them enforced), and moons in the moonlands. That's why some alterations of reality are easy (make me rich!) and possible to achieve with just 'cool thing' abilities rather than a true alteration of reality and some are basically impossible whether using standard tricks or reality alteration (make me omnipotent!). 
you can't sue me for sharing some of your ideas Kevin Murphy cuz i have my dad's dragon magazines
Some Rude Ways to Twist Wishes Pilfered From Dragon Magazine #146 article "If You Wish Upon A Star" by some dude called Kevin Murphy

  • Contrived Wishes- This sort of wish tries to stay within the realms of plausible deniability, like a badly plotted novel, trying to hide the fact reality has definitely been altered. Wishing for a heal for a dying party member would result in a wandering high level cleric to show up and just so happen to have the perfect spells prepared and a very favorable disposition. 
  • Expiring Wishes- This sort of wish only lasts for a certain amount of time, like Cinderella's pumpkin carriage. This is basically the premise of GLOG sorcerers.
  • Caveat Wishes- This sort of wish has a built in undo clause that's more permanent than an expiring wish, but still not a guaranteed thing. Like it comes undone if you ever tell anyone about it, or if you ever see an unmarried person, or fail to do some daily ritual, etc. etc. Works a little better for stories than games due to a GM attempting to force the breakage condition is basically just a reskinned 'lol paladin falls' scenario.
  • Monkey's Paw Wishes- Basically, a cursed wish from which only wickedness comes. I think these are fun to offer players because the players just refusing to make the wish is a 'win' via identifying and turning down a trap option, cautious players managing to get away with a corrupted wish makes them feel smart, and people who get their kicks from chaos, masochism, and schadenfreude get to have fun with seeing how bad things get.
  • Benevolent Wishes- an interesting twist on the monkey's paw wish, these wishes are the opposite- nothing bad can come of these wishes, making them a bit of a joke option for amoral mercenary characters, but a genuinely nice reward for players who really are trying to be the good guys.
  • Wish of Contrariness- A wish that does the opposite of what you wanted. While it may seem a silly, simple, and arbitrary seeming gotcha moment, that's really only the case if there's no context. Tracking down a wishing ring causing mishaps for a series of owners, or identifying a genie as a not-that-creative asshole, or simply figuring it out themselves over the course of three wishes can all be interesting happenings.
  • Half-Wish- basically as the above- a wish that gives only half of what was wished for.While potentially seeming annoying & arbitrary in a vacuum, with context, an interesting little problem solving exercise. The examples the article gave was a character trying to wish for boots of jogging and slogging and getting  only one magic boot.
  • Wish of Overkill- the opposite of the half-wish, basically, where wishing to be rich results in a boastful genies giving you a tragically immobile diamond the size of a mountain, wishing for the death of the king involves everyone with a crown dropping dead, etc etc. Less subject to feeling like a waste of time, but definitely monkey's-paw territory.
  • Wish of Misinterpretation- a variant on the Monkey's Paw wish where things go wrong but out of the wish granter being stupid, willfully obtuse, hard of hearing, or intentionally mischievous. This is a more comedic and light-hearted take on the Monkey's Paw wishes where the goal is shenanigans and further adventure rather than a potential horrible trap.
  • Wish of Least Resistance- My wishes are these by default- the responsible entity trying to solve the wish via the least effort possible. If you wish for a million GP, and the nearest GP is in the king's castle, congratulations, you've stolen the royal treasury. If you wish to be as strong as a giant, you might just be turned into a giant via the polymorph scroll the wizard was saving for a rainy day.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Dinosaurs and Displacer Beasts

OG Dinosaurs
A truly incredible array of dinosaurs is detailed in the AD&D Monster Manual- over two dozen of the beasts are detailed, but unfortunately, none of them are really all that interesting. They have massive HD and damage, but usually only moderate AC, making them fairly vulnerable to swarm tactics from, say, 20-200 brigands with slings, but quite likely to be able to eat distressing proportions of the average adventuring party. They are described as being extremely stupid, so perhaps they were meant to be a sort of 'fight smarter not harder' lesson for players to learn. This lesson is often taught with  mindless undead, but big angry dinosaurs could provide similar lessons in trickery, evasion, and control of terrain before introducing similarly big nasty monsters that would be far more likely to TPK ill-prepared parties, such as dragons and giants.

That said, there's nothing particularly interesting about any given entry aside from the occasional truly ludicrous set of numbers (I used to amuse myself by flipping through the monster manual and noting which monsters could be squashed in a single step from a brachiosaur, Lolth being 'demon lord voted most likely to be crushed by a sauropod'). The dinosaurs could have easily have been covered with an arbitrary 'roll 2d10 for HD, pick a random armor class and give anything with plate armor class a weak spot, then add an attack pattern fierce enough to shred any given adventurer in one round' and you'd basically have more than enough to run all the dinos anyway.

3.5 Dinosaurs
Rather sensibly, 3.5 cut down on the number of dinosaurs, though I question the choice of keeping 3 different sizes of theropods and leaving out classics like sauropods and pterodactyls. Unfortunately, the space saved by removing dinosaurs was immediately spent on 'Dire Animals' which are similar blobs of big combat maths tethered to animal stupidity, and might as well just be furry dinosaurs.

Sunset Realm Dinosaurs
The reptiles that sided with Yg became snakes and traded their legs for wisdom, but those that kept their limbs and their neutrality became huge, powerful, and not all too intelligent. As such, the cunning snakes soon ruled over the dull beasts and domesticated them, much as humans live with cows and dogs and so on. However, the dinosaurs became mostly extinct when the reptiles that aligned with Yg-A came down from the sky- the fire-dragons. The surface was scoured by flames, and huge beasts like dinosaurs were either eaten by the ravenous dragons, or starved as the massive amounts of food needed to keep them alive vanished in flames.

Nowadays, dinosaurs live only on forgotten islands that were sheltered from the rain of fire, in underground mushroom caverns, and deep in the moonlands that are favored by Spring, the unnatural plant growth feeding the bellies of the huge creatures, who in turn feed the bellies of their carnivorous predators.
Due to their immense size but relative simplicity, they are treasured by Beast Battlers who value strength, and by necromancers who want massive corpses, and by nobles who want a huge and impressive beast to show off, but not anything that's too likely to escape and cause terror.

OG Displacer Beasts
A classic monster, sworn enemy of blink dogs, and basically just a panther with tentacles and a mirror-image style ability to help it avoid attacks. Honestly I always thought it's trick deserved a bit more than a -2 to hit it for appearing 3' from it's actual position, but whatever. They also have very good saves, saving as a level 12 fighter +2 against magic, presumably due to magic 'missing' them.

They don't have very interesting motives past the blink dog rivalry, as they "hate all life," which seems a bit extreme for a semi-intelligent animal with a neutral alignment.

It's somewhat interesting that they only attack with their tentacles rather than their puma-ish claws and jaws- after some thought I assume this is to perpetuate the advantage of the displacement visual effect. Flailing tentacles are harder to isolate the source of compared to 'ooh argh there's a puma on top of me eating my face.' I think they should have a claw/claw/bite routine available, it's just that they lose the displacement advantages if they lose it.

3.5 Displacer Beasts
With a flat 50% miss chance if you don't have some non-sight based means of locating where they are, I actually like how the displacement is handled more here.

my brother had a nightmare about walking puma once so that's where I got the idea

Sunset Realm Puma-That-Walk
It is well known(by nerds, anyway) that cats can traverse the mirror realm and the netherworld. What is less known is that their reflections are deeply jealous of this ability, and seek to steal one of their sources nine lives to give them free rein to walk into the waking world. This is why cats do not always recognize their own reflections and can be spooked by mirrors. Much like the violation of the natural order that leads to tigers and rakshasha, this unnatural theft creates a monster, a Puma-That-Walks.

Though statistically they are identical to other big cats, they walk on their hind legs and have darkened fur and blank white eyes, so their monstrous nature is unmistakable.  They are as cunning and wicked as tigers, though as evil reflections of cats they are less earthy and more nightmarish. In the wild, they emerge dry from still pools, and can leap back into them to escape hunts gone wrong. But it is their ability to appear from glass and other mirrored objects in the heart of civilization that sets them apart from mere wilderness beasts. They hunt their source cat primarily (gaining 1hd per stolen life from the cat), and incidentally prey on vulnerable targets such as noble children and elderly retainers while guards and knights are away on hunts and the like(or in rural areas they could eat shepherds and so on, haunting ponds). Ideally they lure their prey into the mirror realms before delivering the final blow. Cats and Dogs are aware of the existence of these horrid beasts and can be counted on for help when humans are shackled by skepticism, and Very Good Dogs are sometimes even dispatched to rid households of Puma-That-Walk.

Rather than a displacement effect, they have the ability to enter and exit through mirrors, and these mirrors remain portals until broken (ripples count for ponds) or covered up and placed into darkness, allowing mere mortals to traverse the realms as well. They can be combated while in the mirror realm by looking into a mirror to locate them, though this is quite difficult and probably has 50% chance to fail due to reversal of left-right and so on. However, while you are reflected your reflection is vulnerable as well, and can be harmed in kind, though exiting the reflection breaks the link. It is worth noting that when a mirror becomes a portal it is not showing a reflection, but is simply like looking through any 'normal' aperture.

So the difficulty is thus- in the provided image, for example, if the mirror is a portal, the cat is indeed 'in front' of our knife-lady. If it is not, a portal, the cat is indeed 'behind' her and can menace her by attacking her reflection, and vice versa.  You can, of course, simply break/cover all the reflective surfaces you find and avoid this tricksome dilemma, but!

1. Mirrors are valuable as loot.
2. The cat can probably find some forgotten puddle faster than you can seal off all possible apertures to the mirror realm.
3. Running away from your problems sometimes solves them, but in the case of evil mirror cats with a penchant for stalking, ambush, and vengeance, putting off the problem till later when your guard is down might be more dangerous than trying to end things now.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Demons part 3- The Lords of Nightmare and a Belated Overview of AD&D Demons as a whole.

OG Demon Lords
AD&D Demon/Devil Lords are among, if not the, most powerful beings in the monster manual. As such they rarely get used directly in most games, and mostly exist as Official D&D™ lore dumps you can look up online yourself far better than I'd explain 'em.

OG Demons- I find it interesting that the AD&D demons pretty much all have an amount of weight they can move via telekinesis listed in terms of gold pieces- like, that is prominently mentioned for demons. Sure they also tend to have levitation, and some sort of fear effect, often darkness, pyrotechnics, and polymorph self, and a variety of utility effects like language reading, detect magics, etc, but it really seemed like the big question about demons was 'how much treasure can it haul.'

Unlike many monsters, have motives ascribed to them.
Type I demons  like human flesh and precious stones and metals and are described as 'stupid and prone to listen to bribes.'
Type II demons are like type I, and animostity between these two types is noted.
Type III- n/a
Type IV- Noted to have names and to be 90% likely to listen to offers of great rewards for small services, as well as a fondness for human flesh and blood.
Type V- Noted to be feared by lesser demons as they are domineering and cruel, having names like type IV demons, and desiring the sacrifice of strong warriors to them.
Type VI- "With proper invoking, offerings, and promises, type VI demons might be convinced to co-operate with a character or a group for a time. Naturally, the demon will attempt to assume/usurp command at every opportunity."
Succubi- Rule lower demons through wit and threat.

By contrast Devils seem less inclined to negotiate as they are locked into a  rigid command structure of rulership.
Barbed devils are alert guards who immediately cast unauthorized creatures into cells for torment, Bone devils delight in making less powerful creatures suffer, Erinyes are pursuers and abductors of evil souls and engage in bargaining and temptation of others, Horn Devils hate things stronger than themselves.

Demons may be summoned by any alignment and types i-IV cannot cross thaumaturgic circles, and will never willingly serve (meaning they only do tasks that they believe they are getting the best deal from) and are likely to carry off 'Liked' individuals to be favored slaves. They are also warded off by holy relics and symbols.

The point of mentioning all this is that they seem custom built to  be puzzle encounters, and potential ways to carry more GP in a dungeon. Forget having slugathons with demons over moral differences, the way to deal with AD&D demons is to try to find their name, hide in/trick demons into thaumaturgic circles, ward them off with holy items, and bribe them. This is basically what I was doing with Ifrits and Djinn already, so extending it to demons is my new go to.

3.5 Demons
 By contrast, the 3.5 entries merely  talk about how the demons prefer to battle, the Balor entry even giving round-by-round tactics to employ. There is no mention of thaumaturgic circles, repelling demons with holy icons, and certainly no assumption that a player might ever interact with one in any way besides punching it. While it would be easy to point at this as yet more proof that 3.5/PF are games about combat math above all else, it's worthwhile to remember the whole 'satanic panic' thing made the executives of D&D explicitly adopt some guidelines to affirm a sort of 'moral center' to defuse the shrieks of the religious authoritarians. While they were not adhered to with unwavering obedience, I expect in addition to renaming demons and devils 'Tan'ari and Baatezu,' making interactions with demons solely a matter of 'good guy vs bad guy' may have played a part in the dumbing down of demons from puzzle encounters to combat encounters.

I'd be curious to see if the 5e statblock has any non-combat interactions laid out for demons.

Sunset Realm Demons
 Any immortal spirit being with 6+ HD and a dead or forsaken creator deity is probably called a 'Demon.' Things spawned from mortal nightmare realms are typically called Nightmares instead, but it's basically the same thing- a being that lost its original purpose and has grown corrupt, predatory, and self serving (or started out that way, depending on their origin.). There's no great point in categorizing all of them, and most spells of level 4+ probably have a type of demon competing with spellwisps to be unleashed onto the waking world. Binding a demon as a spell is probably the most common form of a demon pact, though if their names are found they could be summoned for all manner of things. While not inherently 'evil' as standard D&D assumes, many of their desires may be at odds with human experience (Two demons in my current campaign want, respectively, rare and impressive legs, and to encase living beings in prisons of unusual solidified objects. They want these things in the same way humans want to eat tasty food and to have satisfying social connections.)

Sunset Realm Demon Lords
There are two meanings for the term 'Demon Lord.' One is just words, applied to a demon who lords over things, or someone who lords over demons. These self-proclaimed or earned titles are basically just nicknames, no different from calling a king a 'Human Lord.'

The other meaning is in reference to things crawled from the deepest pits of nightmare, bad dreams with no dreamers, sprung from the edge of the unknowable darkness at the bottom of the collective consciousness that is the dream realm, and Demon God is more commonly used by sages who are wishing to be very clear on the matter (though it just obfuscates the issue in another way. Ah, language...). They are shaped by the dreams of all beings, and perhaps shape them in return, until it is unclear which created which, but unlike the desires of lesser demons, the Lords of Nightmare embody widespread feelings familiar to most people, and as such exist on a more transcendental scale compared to a demon that is basically just a rude spirit monster. Below are two such beings.
Unfortunately Mohawk Babyface was hated to death moments after the touching attempt to offer Isfrix a flower. A common demonic form of Cause Wounds/Magic Missile/Disintegrate/etc is stating things you hate about the target, invoking Isfrix, and then watching the target get scoured from existence. Isfrix hates everything so there's never restrictions on targeting, and most gods hate something, so they can't really complain about the occasional invocation of Isfrix from their clerics.
Isfrix, Lord of Hate- Possessed of equal and infinite hatred for all things, including itself, including the hatred for itself, including the hatred for the hatred for itself, etc etc, Isfrix is a mad and broken entity that seeks the destruction of all things, including itself. However, the hatred humanity(and other beings) engages in keeps the god alive and caught in a perpetual suicide, mashing its broken face against a mountain atop which the Sphere of Annihilation rests, regenerating faster than it can die and bleeding hatred into the world, which hate-stricken people refine into curses of all varieties through their own malign will. Hate will not vanish from the world until Isfrix is dead, but Isfrix cannot die until hatred has vanished from the hearts of all beings.

The race of beings Isfrix created are the Conqueror Worms, brightly colored little worms that have the ambitions, emotions, and intelligence equal to humans, but are trapped in pathetic and useless bodies that cannot sate their dreams... but can steal the bodies of others via sitting in the brains. They hate their creator, and are jealous of beings, but no simple villains are they- they are split into factions, those who wish to simply watch over the grave of Isfrix until the end of the world, those who wish to take what was denied to them from the other beings of the world, and those who wish to live in cooperation and transformation and break the cruel narrative Isfrix wrote for them back when the god was more sane and more actively malevolent.
I only realized I had just reinvented the plight of the Yeerks a few months later
don't sue me Applegate

Janus, Lord of Greed- The two-faced chthonic god of blood and gold, and the interplay between the two. Sacrifice blood to get gold, or gold to save your own blood- it's just like the interplay of violence and wealth that occurs even without the influence of demon gods. For a long time, Janus was accepted by many in the city of Oroboro, and still has influence on the folk of the deep places of the earth who tend to be rich on gold and violent monsters, and undead who pay for superior states of cursed unlife.
The Hell of Janus, a place where the servants wear chains of gold, the mountains are made of coins, and every last inch is stained with blood. The blackened towers of scabby gold have no connections to each other and simply compete to rise higher and higher. The promise of one day being lord of their own decadent tower keeps the lackey souls laboring eternally.

The flames of greed cannot be extinguished by throwing any amount of blood and gold at them, and so Janus, like Isfrix, will likely persist as long as a price can be set on life. Even the act of desecrating tombs of Janus worshippers spreads greed, for who would turn up their nose at the bounties of demon-gold beaten into grave goods? Areas that use a gold standard of currency are usually under the sway of Janus, and it is hard to say whether all gold came from Janus, or if Janus came from the bloody wars for gold.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Demons part 2, foocubi

AD&D Succubi- Demon ladies with the classic 'lady monster with charm effect' design most lady monsters in AD&D got, pretty much. I think their AD&D statblock suffers from ludonarrative dissonance, in that the intended lore of the monster (a sneaky seductress) does not match up with their statblock. Oh sure, their abilities could help with sneaky social subterfuge, but what they would mainly do is replace subtlety with brute magical force and make sneakiness not even necessary in the first place. Like, for the record, a succubus has abilities very much on par with the Martian Manhunter....

-Ability to go ethereal/intangible
-Mind Reading
-Shape Changing
-Immune to most physical attacks
-Can call Superman to come kick your ass/Gate in a type IV, VI, or Lord Demon.

And while ol J'onn J'onzz doesn't bust out his powers to oppress humanity, a demon would have no such ethical constraints.

So the dissonance comes from what you might expect them to act like due to lore, and what they are capable of mechanically, ie, being damn near invincible* to peasant hordes, and damn near uncatchable if confronted with anything that can actually hurt them. Forget subtlety, one could hold an entire settlement hostage with aerial crossbow sniping and an ultimatum, go ethereal/fly away if resistance is ever mustered, and return at their leisure. One presumes the divine beings would then intervene similarly overtly, but humans being helpless pawns while angels and demons do all the work sounds not so good to me. There's some lore indicating that succubi are not so much concerned with humans but are more like the master spies of Hell and are mainly tasked with espionage tasks dealing with other high level outsiders, though that's really just another way of making them largely irrelevant to the human condition in all but the highest of fantasy settings.
*Demons are vulnerable to silver, but the succubus statblock explicitly states they cannot be harmed by any normal weaponry, so idk if it's supposed to harm them or not.

Mythological Succubi/Incubi
Demons that turned into a woman to collect semen, then into a man to impregnate someone with that semen, typically taking the forms of marital partners to trick otherwise faithful people and sow discord. The word literally means 'to lie beneath/to lie atop' so Succubi and Incubi are not different things, but different behaviors of the same thing(hence my stealing of the term 'Foocubus' from Nethack to refer to that thing). A mythological explanation for a mundane occurrence of the baker's wife having a child that looks like the butcher, bandaid explanations intended to prevent domestic violence and social unrest without addressing the root cause of oppressive societal norms. Honestly, one of the more depressing mythological monsters if you dwell on the sociohistorical reasons for them to have been imagined. This sort of drama about social unrest and sexual deception doesn't really translate well to a game about dungeon delving, but could be top stuff in a game set over a longer timespan focusing either on politics or interpersonal drama even if they are only blamed and not actually present.

Sunset Realm Foocubi

The -cubi group of demons has survived the death of the god and culture for one main reason.

basically this
(this comic is nsfw if you live under a rock and dunno what Oglaf is already)
They stem from an ancient religion that derided free will as something that was a source of suffering and enabler of ignorance, and so the mind-controlling foocubi(known as angels in their own time) were produced in vast numbers to throw off the shackles of freedom and micromanage emotional states among the citizens. Whether the results were a benevolent divine rule or a horrible oppressive mindslave dystopia is unclear as foocubi give different accounts, when they can be bothered to speak of that lost age at all. Despite what you might suspect of a race of divinely crafted thought police, Foocubi are not master manipulators of the social scene, as a being that is
  1. As powerful to humans as humans are to chickens
  2. Able to mind-control said chickens just in case they get uppity
Has basically no pressure to ever learn things like 'politeness' or 'empathy' or even 'fear' (and certainly not 'seduction.' Do you seduce your food? Didn't think so.) and as such, even after centuries of time, most foocubi's personalities are still complete trash, just, mean and domineering and casually murderous, and even the "nice" ones are nice in the way people are nice to their farm animals. Just because something looks* like a person doesn't mean it has a relatable mindset.
*As psychic shapeshifters, foocubi don't actually look like anything by default, but the image of a person with symbolic wings emphasizing access to higher realms spread memetically and became an expected norm.

True Succubi/Incubi act as matchmakers for ancient holy royal bloodlines so diluted that to human sensibilities, they no longer exist. They retain their considerable powers by bureaucratically attempting to fulfill ancient marriage contracts between these adjunct royal houses, and cannot give up on their obsessive quests to get targeted people to fall in love and breed without exploding. To abandon that raison d'etre is to embrace oblivion. As successful creation of new life cannot occur without mutual consent, Succubi/Incubi cannot simply mind-control their targets and be done with it, or steal sperm via shapechanging and fly it across the ocean to impregnate someone the way mythological succubi/incubi did, (unless contracted by both parties to do so of course) and so things tend to start with engineered meet cutes, but escalate into tangled webs of intrigue, mind control, kidnapping, shapeshifting induced forgery and impersonation, and worst-case, carpet bombing cities with lanterns dropped from the sky and ultimatums to 'fall in love NOW or everything you ever knew will burn.'
Many have sworn allegiance to Our Lady of Gardens and serve again as angels of matchmaking to modern bloodlines, but as this is a demon post I won't get too much into that.
Hatecubus- Drawn to the Demon-Lord of Hatred Isfrix after their first, forgotten god perished, but put off by his perpetually delayed divine suicide, Hatecubi are independent demons that feed off of negative, violent emotions, hatred prime among them. Unfortunately, this means they do their best to cultivate hatred, and as such they are a blight on society. The Void Monks of Oroboro, given their close proximity to the hell of Isfrix, have bound many of these creatures into the form of silver greatswords, where the Hatecubi can feed off the hatred of the dying towards their killers and occasionally manage to possess those foolish enough to pick up one of these demon swords without sufficient training.
When collecting hate on a personal scale, they prefer stealing magic items, smear campaigns based on telepathically received half truths, and other enraging but non-lethal activities, but have no qualms about nastily killing mortals to feed on the hatred directed at them, or ironically, encouraging mortals to hatefully "kill" them. (As spirit beings, 'death' is just being driven back into the spirit world, so if the bounty of hate is great enough it may be worth it.)
Cupids-The counterpart to a Hatecubus, these rogue spirits have decided to survive off of the love and affection of mortals. They may arrange romances between other mortals, but are unlikely to engage in the business themselves unless desperate, and if they've grown desperate, they may adopt parasitic strategems like encouraging unrequited love towards themselves, or even stealing a bit of life force via the famously lethal kiss if starvation seems likely. While devoid of any ill intent beyond hunger, the fallout of a hungry cupid can prove quite destructive and the arrival of one (no doubt in disguise) is more likely calamitous than fortuitous. Of course, to adventurers with no social ties who think a demon partner has no downsides, the sad fact of the matter is that you won't gain XP with a Cupid at your side, and if your love proves insufficient to fuel the Cupid, the difference must be made up for either in level loss from you, HD and power loss from the Cupid, or a polygamous relationship so large and lopsided that it is basically a sex cult with the cupid as cult leader.
Snugcubus/Slothcubus/Grave Nymph- these demons survive by hoarding souls to stock their own created afterlives with, and subside off the quiet glow of the souls. They cannot sustain very large afterlives while merely feeding off of the faint glow of comfyness, and so they require lots and lots of dead and dreaming souls, and are popular 'mini-deities' in forgotten graveyards, god-forsaken crypts, and motels Inns.
Their afterlives are stitched together from pilfered dreams and smothered in fog, and the souls within mainly lounge around in simple creature comfort, barely awake and often snoozing in huge piles. They may be roused by the slothcubus to serve as undead defenders or the like, for the only thing the demon hates more than disturbing the sleeping dead is other people disturbing their power source. This may bring them into conflict with players as tomb-guardians or dream-thieves- One idea for stealing dreams I had was to erase stuff on the players character sheet when they aren't looking (this is much easier to do in roll20 than IRL) and write a little code so it's not completely forgotten- if the player can remember what the lost item was they can use it again, but if not, it stays forgotten, the spirit of the item remaining in the slothcubi's dream realm.

Imagine the following- You are a dirt farming peasant whose village is the chew toy of every wandering monster, bandit, and oppressive noble for miles around. But one day, a stranger rides into town, and it's like every crappy fanfiction power fantasy ever- the stranger kicks the ass of every monster with one hand tied behind their back without taking so much as a scratch but doesn't ask for gold or special favors, just the opportunity to be the selfless defender of the town. This stranger is, of course, a foocubus who is eating threats to the village to build up a hero narrative. The end goal is to be worshipped like a local hero-saint, king, or perhaps even a god, and transition from feeding off of death to feeding off of awe and worship. Obviously this brings them into conflict with existing power structures.

Vampire, Basically
Look, sometimes monsters can't be bothered with feeding off of emotional resonance and decide to just eat people, confusing overlap of mythological source material be damned.

Foocubus Stats
HD- 6-9,
depending on how well fed they are. They do not heal naturally, and must either be exposed to the appropriate emotional state to have daily healing, or violently drain life via predation.

AC-As Plate&Shield,+3. Absolute bastards to hit due to being fast, experienced, and made of quasi-physical ectoplasm.
Attacks- 1d3/1d3 punches/wing buffets or by weapon. If both attacks hit, a grapple is initiated and they can start sucking the life out of someone next round, inflicting a negative level per round. Alternately, an item may be stolen.
Special Abilities
Mundane weaponry does not harm them save for the lawful touch of silver, and disrupting their physical form merely sends them back to the dream realm, and as immortals, they are not hunted by elementals as other undead are when they return. Creating an ectoplasmic body is tiresome and reduces the HD of a foocubus by 1.
Foocubi may change their physical appearance to anything person-ish. They cannot turn into say, a chair unless it's like, a chair that has deep emotional significance to someone nearby. Their form is a reflection of mortal emotion, so taking a form that doesn't cause some sort of feeling simply isn't their nature.
Expressing the appropriate emotion makes mortals vulnerable to being possessed. Attacking a Hatecubus, loving a Cupid, thanking a Glory, sleeping around a Slothcubus. I don't think standard charm spam is fun to GM, so this is the alternative. Corpses and other nonliving items may be possessed as well.
Borehole- Foocubi may enter dreams and construct hallucinatory scenarios to set up possession requirements, and may physically escape into the dream realm themselves. Lesser 'holes' may be bored to read people's minds or create 5' radius darkness at will (the dream realm is hungry for the light of the waking world and small portals will create big vortexes of darkness.) They may bore into dream/nightmare/afterlife realms in semi-stable portals that other people can use, though this is dangerous and tiring and they will not do so unless offered a sacrifice of a level to be drained or similar heavy-duty persuasive tactics.
Oneiric Coterminality- That is to say that they are coterminous with the waking world and the dream realm simultaneously. Spellwisps sent against a demon of a Foocubi's power may cower away in fear or even perish in the attempt to make contact, and Foocubi have decently good odds of knowing other demons to act as spells or summons in a pinch.
I've been too lazy to draw for some time, so I'll just double dip and use this commission of some party members from a player who has a hatecubus in a sword (using arnolds neat familiar rules)

Friday, December 20, 2019

Secret Santicore Submission: Pre-Adamite Minidungeon Generator

"Rook requested the following gift: It's multiple choice! Pick one. Conflict/war generator, fantasy colonial or dying world Mini-dungeon generator, dungeon themes like swords and savagery, weird pre-adamitic and cyclopean, I've made a wild west osr game for myself so an 'old west dungeon generator' would be very cool, especially if it's dark, revisionist or spaghetti and not rootin-tootin. Spells or spell generator, Thelemic, Theosophist or UFO cult Cosmic-myth generator."

Originally I was gonna give the old west dungeon generator a shot, then while I was giving plasma my phlebotomist asked if I had ever seen Tombstone and I realized that I didn't actually have much experience with westerns unless you count Brisco County Jr.

"Ninjas, time travel, lawyer drama, and steampunk are a dark and anti rootin' tootin' take on westerns, right?"
So! Pre-Adamite minidungeons it is!
I'd put 1d4-1 exits per room, and give each room a Halls of Antiquity fill and a 2-in-6 chance of monster and a 2-in-6 chance of treasure if you're generating it on the fly, or just arbitrarily stuffing a quick randomly genned online dungeon map with these fills. Or you could even use the 5 Room Dungeon method and just pick the fills you like.

What Ancient Beings Built This Place?
  1. Neanderthals, a race of pre-adamite humanoids with no covenant with God.
  2. Gondwanans, an advanced race of pre-adamite* humans who were highly sophisticated and in tune with God, but were destroyed incidentally due to the war in heaven. As it is said, 'there is nothing new under the sun' and all technological prowess is essentially stumbling down the same scientific path the Gondwanans mastered.
    *"Once God said to the Prophet "O Muhammad I created an Adam before I created your father Adam, whom I gave a life of thousand years. Then I created fifteen thousand Adams all of whom I gave a life of ten thousand years. After that I created your Adam."
  3. Hinn- Beings related to Jinn, but composed of scorching fire, as opposed to smokeless flame. Of the Hinn, only Iblis survives.
  4. Jinn- Also known as Djinni, Genie, Ifrit. Crafted from smokeless flame.
  5. N/a, the world is supported by an angel atop a ruby atop a bull atop a fish, which is suspended in water, and you've found yourself in a crevasse of ruby, as you are microscopic in comparison. See 'Red Dungeon' tables.
  6. Chaos- mash all of the above together.

Neanderthal Dungeons
The Neanderthals lived as beasts in caves, and stacked stones for rough walls of cyclopean construction.

What Halls Of Antiquity Echo With The Voices of The Dead?
  1. Overhand Shelter- one wall of this room is stacked stone, beyond which is the outside world. 10 minutes with shovels and pickaxes for the whole party can make an exit, or an hour and 1d6hp damage if lacking tools of iron.
  2. Ancient Bone Pit- a pit filled with the bones of ancient beings- damage as spiked pit if you fall in. Looting the pit may yield rare skeletons valuable to necromancers, collectors, and alchemists, but disturbing this mass grave may awaken the dead.
  3. Dripping Grotto- an ancient water source, a pool or stream, a cavern filled with stalagmites and stalactites perfect for climbing or hiding behind.
  4. Tight Spot- a chimney ascent/descent to higher/lower levels. Metal armor and backpacks must be left behind to pass.
  5. Boulderfall- an ancient trap of a huge precarious rock to be dislodged and fall upon the unwary trespasser.
  6. Stone Huts, sealed with boulders. Each has a 1/6 chance of treasure, monster, or both within.
  7. Painted Room- charcoal and colored mud drawings of beasts and social activities upon the walls. Consulting the paintings may reveal...
    1. Hunting techniques against giant beasts- Fighter-types may study for a night here to gain either +1 critical hit range, +4AC, or double damage against a things over 3 times their size when using spears.
    2. Secrets of God- Cleric types may either destroy the blasphemous pictures, or have their alignment reversed to go up a level. The middle path is to become a splinter sect and start a new branch of the religion, alienating former church affiliation.
    3. Disturbing rites of cannibalism. Character may rise as a Ghoul after death due to morbid curiosity aroused by what cannot be un-seen. Minor SAN damage if you have it.
    4. Ancient Magics- A magic-user may learn a random spell if they can erect stones at the right time of year in the right place corresponding with the depicted star patterns.
    5. Agricultural Revolution Diss Track- Characters may become anarcho-primitivist hunter gatherers and declare war on society and have arguments convincing enough to rally fellow barbarians to their cause. Class change to barbarian of course.
    6. Nothing but old drawings. This result replaces 'repeat' paintings within the same cave.
  8. Burial Chamber- The dead, mouldering bones and grave goods of flint and bone. Disturbing them has a chance of unleashing some ancient plague or curse(1/6), but some of the ancient gear may be magical(1/6).
  9. Tar-Making Pit- Though the materials are nothing but black lumps and dust, this ancient fire-pit is now little more than a tripping hazard.
  10. Knapping Cave- various sharp and broken rocks litter this cave like caltrops, dealing 1d4 damage to those who unwarily run through and halfing movespeed for those trying to avoid them. Collecting enough good ones for use as arrowheads/spearheads/caltrops takes a dungeon turn/10 minutes.
What Monstrous Beings Now Reside?
  1. Sabretooth Tiger Skeleton- stats as sabre-tooth tiger, or a regular tiger whose bite does max damage, +skeleton resistances. It will prefer to stalk the party and will flee into unexplored areas after attacking, preferably dragging the corpse of someone it killed.
  2. Chindi- A human-derived disease spirit, remnants of all wickedness, haunting the possessions of the dead. Stats as a disease of your choice that turns into a shrieking wraith if you try curing it, but can be appeased by returning any possessions to their resting place.
  3. Ancient Wyrm- Smells horrible, so poisonous that its footprints cause 1d6 poison damage if you step on them. Stats as dragon, but wingless and lacking much intellect or a breath attack, but is so poisonous that touching it is Save vs Poison or die on the spot.
  4. Wooly Mammoth Skeleton- Possessed by a chindi that has nothing else to haunt, and so walking around bipedally and looking like a tusked cyclops skeleton.
  5. Grue- Doesn't exist if you have any light sources, otherwise stats as two hasted ninja tigers glued together.
  6. Neanderthal Ghoul- Stats as Ghasts.
What Treasures Lay Untouched By Time?
  1. Uncut gems- value unclear until properly appraised.
  2. Fossils- Worth jewelry prices (2d8x100 coins) to necromancers, collectors, historians, etc
  3. Nice Rock- Deals 1d8 damage in melee or thrown. If returned to the earth, gives you a favor with earth elementals.
  4. Flint spear- As axe -1, but causes sparks when striking hard surfaces.
  5. Stone Tablet- Random clerical or wizardly scroll written in pictures.
  6. Gold Nuggets- More impressive if you're in a silver standard.

Gondwanan Dungeon
Lit by strange, hollow gems that glow with light of varying colors. All is metal, and rooms are set up in simple grid patterns.
What Halls Of Antiquity Echo With The Voices of The Dead Here?
  1. Halls of steel, melted and burned by some unspeakable flame. Halflings/children/small animals can enter the air ducts and crawl to another room rather than taking the usual route.
  2. Dilating Door- A sealed iron door. The sign of lightning is on a metal box on a nearby wall- if it can be generated, the door will open like a dilating eye. Another application of electricity will close it like a guillotine.
  3. Reactor Water Garden- Metal walkways over a pool of glowing water from which pillars emerge. The water is hot but the radioactive death only claims those who touch the corpse-strewn glowing crystals at the bottom. Without the shield of water absorbing their malign light, the crystals bring death to all near them, and mutation to those that survive.
  4. Hologram Chamber- illusions of light and sound emerge, creating a convincing but illusory alternate reality.. Treasure or monsters may be concealed by the light-ghosts.
  5. Vast Chamber- The ceiling and every wall vanishes into darkness, and all sounds echo in this vast space. Dimensions are 1000x1000x100, so it is by no means guaranteed to find any encounters or treasure within.
  6. Deep Shaft- a metal pillar descends down a vast pit. Precarious walkways span the abyss. The pillar has hatches that can be lockpicked open, though only inscrutable metal viscera and rope is found within. Damaging it turns off all the power to the dungeon and kills the lights.
  7. Coffins?- Tightly packed and stacked receptacles large enough for a person, rolling out from a wall. Each contains a smooth and odorless pillow and blanket, untouched by millenia.
  8. Trash Cubes- perhaps compacted by giants, 10x10x10 cubes of miscellaneous garbage. Dismantling and sorting one takes pickaxes and an hour, but may contain treasure.
  9. Elevator Shaft- just as it sounds, with a metal cell (the elevator) raised and lowered by cables. Leads to 1d3 additional floors.
  10. Endless Tunnel- a three-railed mine-cart track, or so it looks like, stretches into darkness. It goes on for hundreds of miles of empty darkness, and may well end abruptly in collapse or the sea, as the very earth has shifted since Gondwanan times.
What Monstrous Beings Now Reside Here?* Indicates the power must be on for these entities to function

  1. Praying Machine*. A small automaton that prays to God constantly. If somehow roused to fury, it has 1hd but the casting power of a 10th level cleric... or perhaps not.
  2. Scorched Machine- blasted and corrupted by the flame of the Hinn, they are automata of blackened, melted metal that seek electricity and metal. Stats as a ghoul with golem resistances.
  3. Incredibly Fat Rust Monsters- Interested in the party only if they have exotic non-iron metals. High HP but low morale due to having a superabundance of food.
  4. Security Turret*- A glowing metal and glass eye with +100 to initiative and to-hit. Fires Disintegration beams at unauthorized targets and functionally has Protection From Missiles as it can shoot arrows out of the air.  Mounted on the ceiling, 1hp.
  5. Hologram Ghost- A request in the scream-song language of Gondawa, to take a message to a loved one, transmitted by an ancient recording table. Stats and general effect as Shrieker.
  6. Mutant Cockroaches- stats as wolves+random mutation
  7. Mutant Rats- stats as rat swarm+ random mutation
  8. Hinn Shadow- a blighted silhouette that runs along the walls, like sooty residue. Stats as Shadow. All that remains of the demonic Hinn.
  9. Janitor Nanoswarm- stats as black pudding, appearance like a mound of shiny grey dust.. Either heals 1d8, gains 1HD, or spawns a 1HD duplicate of itself upon consuming a person and their gear.. Instantly killed by a rust monster. Replaces security turrets if the power is turned off, methodically devours all other non-rust monster encounters if not stopped.
What Treasures Lay Untouched By Time?
  1. Lightning Wand- A small metal rod that stuns human-sized opponents it touches if they fail a save vs paralysis, and will run out of energy on a 1/6 chance.
  2. Gold Wiring- jewelers who serve kings and queens would pay dearly for this microfine wire that cannot be replicated with current technology.
  3. Steel Scrap- smiths skilled enough to realize its purity will be able to forge arms and armor that are (nonmagically) of +1 value against lesser materials.
  4. Panacea- Pills that cure almost any disease. The otherwise doomed might pay any price for this.
  5. Gondawan Curio- of interest to collectors as abstract art sculptures, or to priests hoping to glean apocryphal knowledge from the thing.
  6. Glassteel- A perfectly transparent, nigh invisible substance as strong as steel, though it will deform with low levels of heat and can be reshaped.
  7. Eerie Painting- A captured image of reality indistinguishable from the real thing, of a man or beast.
  8. Deactivated Prayer Machine- A wind-up cleric. Though no one  knows the things language but God, it will surely walk the path of righteousness.

Hinn Dungeons
Everything is of blackened stone that reflects light with a strange, melted opalescence. Fine white ash covers everything, making footprints easy to follow. Always some ash to throw into someones eyes, or to kick up an obscuring cloud to vanish into.
What Halls Of Antiquity Echo With The Voices of The Dead Here?
  1. 30' tall Ash Mound. It cannot be walked up as it is not solid enough, and clearing it without wetting it down will make the room's air unbreathable. May be treasure atop, or a monster within, an exit concealed, or most likely, nothing.
  2. Knee deep Ash concealing suffocating pits clogged with the stuff. May be old corpses/treasure in those pits.
  3. Leaky Room- Water has gotten in and turned the ash to clinging mud that swallows things like quicksand in the most flooded area of the room, blocking all but one exit.
  4. Drafty Room- Ash swirls in little dust devils and clouds, making vision past 5' impossible.
  5. Ashen Fulgurite- lightning, the wrath of god, still thrumming within a coral-tree-like structure of fused ash. If broken, the lightning is released and bounces around the room at a random angle- intentional breakage may allow some initial aiming.
  6. Oil Path- a long hall filled with a thin sheen of slippery, flammable oil, angled slightly up, down or straight. The Hinn would traverse it in a flash of flame, but humans have no such luck.
  7. Tar Pit- flammable, sticky, dense. Those swallowed by it have little chance of escape. Stone pillars within the pit provide places to stand, though they are too far apart to hop to, requiring bridges. Old human skeletons lie on these islands, and may rise as skeletons to attack sources of flame in a blind, misguided burst of vengeance.
  8. Bellows Room- Huge metal bellows to be operated via muscle power are here, though apart from the ash, there's no evidence of any flames to stoke (they were the equivalent of being fanned with a palm leaf for Hinn).
What Monstrous Beings Now Reside Here?
  1. Scaleless Dragon- Burnt and blinded, soothed only by beds of the softest, most feathery ashes. Otherwise, stats as ancient dragon with unarmored AC. Hoard is hidden in an ashmound somewhere.
  2. Ash Wraith- stats as wraiths. All within melee range of them are blinded by the swirling ash.
  3. Hinn Shadow- a blighted silhouette that runs along the walls, like sooty residue. Stats as Shadow. All that remains of the demonic Hinn.
  4. Carbonized Skeleton- stats as skeleton but they take and deal maximum damage due to their forever burning forms and fragile ash bones.
  5. Fire Elemental. This may well be the body of Hinn, with the wicked soul long departed.
  6. Ash Worm- As purple worm.
What Treasures Lay Untouched By Time?
  1. Hinn Diamond- Uncut- Max gem value, or 5000coins if your system doesn't have a gem table.
  2. Dragon-Hoard- always hidden under a bed of ash. As treasure type H but with all metal melted into a single mass. Disturbing it alerts the scaleless dragons of the dungeon. If rolled again, ignore.
  3. Hinn-Sword- +3 flaming sword, a tongue of flame that emerges from a scorched hilt. Acts as Heat Metal on the hilt, quickly rendering it difficult to use. 
  4. Burnt Runes- Scorched into melted stone, a random spell (preferably fire-themed) that can be identified by reading the runes, though it will also activate.
  5. Hinn Armor- a hulking suit of plate, composed of adamant. It opens at the back and is more golem-power armor than true armor, taking one whole round to exit or enter.. Those wearing it have the defense and offensive capabilities of an iron golem, but it glows with unbearable heat when active and heats up as Heat Metal. If encountered in a room with Shadows, Skeletons, Wraiths, or Elementals, one is almost certainly inside it already.
  6. Ember of the Scorching Flame- can be consumed to act as a potion of firebreathing, or dropped into an ear where it blackens the soul with whispers of blasphemy- a level of power may be gained by heeding the corruption and turning to wickedness.

Jinn Dungeon(Dunjinn)
Jinn can create almost any physical object at will, so it was not materials, but designs that they valued. Everything is strange and beautiful and unique and often reflective.

What Halls Of Antiquity Echo With The Voices of The Dead Here?
  1. Mosaic room. Abstract art of great beauty and complexity expressed via small colored ceramic tiles. If it can somehow be replicated it would be worth a pretty penny to artists.
  2. Stained-Glass Maze- those armored in plate may burst through the walls of the maze without damage, medium armor wearers take 1 point of damage, light or unarmored people take 1d4 damage. The fallen glass acts as caltrops. Light is visible through 3 walls.
  3. Hall of Mirrors-Polished metal. Players of high intelligence or speed may bamboozle other people as though they had Mirror Images equal to their int or dex modifier. Monsters may do the same if notable faster than people or known for high intelligence. 1/6 chance of a doppelganger being spawned as the maze is traversed- if a player damaged a mirror, the doppelganger will have an appropriate deformity- stretched too thin or to squat or with a swirled face.
  4. Water Garden- the water is an elemental that will violently reject anything that would defile its sparkling purity, but is otherwise passive. Waterfalls and stepping-stones glisten above the crystal clear pond.
  5. Whistling Cavern- A massive cavern with an alternate entrance to the surface. 'Climbing Walls' of worked stone with holes in them. The wind whistles strange atonal 'music' through the room- additional chance to be surprised as it's hard to hear monsters. If the proper storm could arrive, lost and legendary songs will echo through the halls.
  6. Giant's Kitchen- Cups the size of cauldrons, cauldrons the size of rooms tables with legs like trees. Feasts of unthinkable extravagance were once conducted here.
  7. Firing Range- clay pots hang from chains at all heights and distances. Most have been smashed by the weight of time, but some remain, filled with fireworks to explode into pretty pyrotechnics when struck by a fireball or similar.
  8. Prideful Throne Room- An empty throne cloven in twain, and all around naught but dust and ash remain.
What Monstrous Beings Now Reside Here?
 Replace the Wish-Accursed with Jinn results as they are rolled. There are at most 3 Jinn, one good, one bad, one ambiguous

  1. Jinn- Reaction roll determines whether they are a faithful servant of God, an ambiguous figure who refused to bow before humans when God commanded it but is otherwise faithful, or a wicked and foolish demon who mistook their own flame for being greater than the light of god.
    Either way, stats a Djinni, Ifrit, whatever you got in the monster manual.
  2. A Old Man, who wished for eternal life, but not eternal youth or health. Wracked with plague and misfortune, he attacks as a mummy that cannot die, hoping someone, somehow will end his torment.
  3. A Beauty, who wished to be forever lovely, and is now a sleeping and indestructible statue.
  4. A Madman, who wished to know all things, and is now a gibbering lunatic who can cast any spell randomly.
  5. A Monster, last of its kind, who wished for the strength to defeat their enemies, but not to save their friends. It grows in power to defeat anything it considers a foe.
  6. An Armless Swordsman, who wished for more gold than he could hold in his arms. Fights with kicks and a sword held in his teeth.
  7. The Legal King of Everything, who has an official document proving he owns the Earth, the Sea, the Sun, the Moon, and every star in the sky. Of course, he has no power over his vast domain, but will certainly grant you feudal ownership of  any land you want if you help him with revenge on the Jinn.
  8. The Ass Clown- Wished for the Jinn not to grant this wish and now lives to tell everyone how terribly clever he is. Also had his head swapped with a donkeys.
What Treasures Lay Untouched By Time?
All of these are idiot bait that you can sell to bigger idiots for massive amounts of coin or magic item trades.

  1. Monkey's Paw- Three wishes. All will go horribly wrong, save for the small mercy that wishing to undo a prior wish will work.
  2. Trapped Ifrit- Will kill you if released, though as it allows you to choose the way you will die, you might be able to get out of it.
  3. Legalese Imp- Will obey the verbal and written commands of whoever holds its statuette to the letter. If it ever gets a hold of its statuette, it vanishes with it back to hell
  4. Deck of Many Things- nuff said
  5. The Eye of Heaven- A needle that sends anything passed through it to heaven, supposedly.
  6. Book of Irresistible Bacon Recipes- That's not halal!

Red Dungeons
 Tunnels of ruby that cannot be so much as scratched by anything mortal, pulsing with light in time with a beating heart. The whirling stars of the celestial spheres spin beyond the walls, and shapes too immense to even comprehend dazzle the mind. Men were never meant to see this.

What Halls Of Antiquity Echo With The Voices of The Dead Here?
  1. Outer wall. Each hour of study through this magnifying lens ruby wall reveals amazing astrological insight, and has a 1/6 chance of seeing something too big to be seen  and going blind for the rest of your life. If you touch it, it is very cold.
  2. Bottomless, starry pit. Anything within will fall for a hundred years, land in the waters of chaos, and be lost forever, either in the bowels of Bahamut or the depths of the dark waters.
  3. Minor flaw in the giant ruby. To you, it is a mile long crack, a hundred feet deep, and 5 feet wide.
  4. Mirror Realm- Easy to walk into by accident, here in the red reflections. A copy of all the previous rooms, swapped left to right, with a thicker and thicker haze of red light eventually terminating the realm in a dead end 1d6+1 rooms later.
  5. Gullet Descent- a tight tube of smooth ruby leading down or up. Almost frictionless.
  6. Jagged Facet- a wall, or a ridge in the floor, like a gigantic razor's edge. Falling on it would be like being guillotined. If you need anything sliced, here you go.
  7. Pomegranate Tree- Eat as much as you like, it's too late to go back anyway.
  8. Wet Room- condensed vapor from the sea below, the ruby glistening with dew and ice.
What Monstrous Beings Now Reside Here?
  1. A self-proclaimed Angel. It asks you a question, and time will not move until you answer.  The church will know of your answers. Repeat encounters have similar questions.
    • "If God told you to sin, is it sin to obey, or to refuse?"
    • "Is ignorance of sin an excuse, or a sin itself?"
    • "From whence comes sin, if all comes from God?"
  2. Fragment of Primordial Chaos- stats as earth, water, or air elemental (roll randomly each round) that mutates on hit.
  3. Unbearable Celestial Light- Shines in through the ruby walls, scorching your frail mortal forms for 1d6 damage a round. Items used to shield yourself are destroyed after one round of protection. Getting more walls between you and the oblivious celestial being is your only hope of survival.
  4. A Worm of the Earth- Purple worm stats. Hungry and lost, it doesn't want to be here either.
  5. Ruby Reflection- Does whatever you do (or more worryingly, perhaps you do whatever it does). If you touch it you are both obliterated.
  6. Beast of Sloth- Missed getting named in the Garden, couldn't be bothered to get on the Ark, slowly sank to the bottom of the world due to a lack of effort. Like a furry snail, or perhaps a shelled sloth. Nonviolent but extremely hard to kill, though not impossible to roll around.  Tends to block off your escape routes if not dealt with.
What Treasures Lay Untouched By Time?
  1. Echo of the Word- As 'scroll of limited wish' but it's on the tip of your tongue until you say it, and must be mute until it is spoken.
  2. Ruby Shard- as vorpal sword, but a way to wield it without losing your own hand must be found.
  3. Ruby Chunks- 1d6x1000coins. It's surprising there's not more of this stuff around.
  4. Ruby Dust- 1d6x100 coins, or perhaps more to people who need it as an ingredient.
  5. Pomegranate Seeds- easily mistaken for rubies when it's all you're expecting. 
  6. The Friends You Made Along The Way- Clerics restore spellslots, everyone else heals half their max HP, hireling morale increases. In this lifeless hell of worthless treasure, you can finally see what really matters.