Monday, July 31, 2017

Session 1 of Sarkomand's Fault- Retrospective and Lessons of an Introductory Dungeon Delve

Hazza- Elf Thief
Elix- Halfling Cleric
Borri-Dwarf Cleric, Riikhite (Essentially a paladin)
Gable- Human Fighter

The starting premise for this session was an introduction to BFRPG and OSR style play. I had originally imagined it as a sort of 'character funnel' but ended up running it as a more standard session, albeit one that started in media res.

THE DUNGEON- created via an online dungeon generator and tweaked both visually and in terms of how traps were described. If you're one of my players you may want to not look TOO closely at this, but it's mostly explored and looted anyhow, the wandering encounters have been dramatically altered as the dungeon repopulated, and after what, like 40 sessions, it's been pretty much emptied of the old treasures and set pieces mentioned here.
Borri/Gable's player was pretty wise to dungeons, oiling door hinges. Hazza was cautious as well, befitting a thief. Elix was mostly just along for the ride initially. The players were dumped in room #39 to start, and told that they had been chased here from the north, fleeing a basilisk. Their goal was to find their way out, and they had a vague sense that going north was the way out.

The existence of the basilisk was supposed to prevent them from wanting to go north immediately, encouraging dungeon exploration, and furthermore, the north exit loops back south- the opposite of where I told them the exit was! That's one reason I chose room #39- the 'wrong' choice is still a choice, but there are in-game implications that hint at it being a bad one. The basilisk wasn't lurking right around the corner, but had the players gone right back north, I think the looping corridor would have made them reconsider before they ran into the nastier parts of the dungeon.

The other two entrances however, were both fair game, and established important things about the dungeon.

The west entrance was a stone door with a metal lock that locked like a bird, and it hummed. The players were deeply suspicious of this, and rightly so. This taught them that
1- Doors can be trapped.
2- Doors can be locked.
3- Doors can be stone.

The trap would have electrocuted those touching it or attempting to pick the lock, and could have been circumvented by finding a way to discharge the electricity into something else, but it was ominous enough that the players elected to go through the south wooden door instead- room #63.
Cautiously entering, you see a dying fire, mostly embers, burning in fireplace on the north wall. A small stream gurgles through a canal in the room- a metal grate bars direct access to the water. A fishing pole lies abandoned near the fireplace, along with some fish bones.
This room hinted at various things.
1. The dungeon is inhabited.
2. The inhabitants wander.
3. There is water.
The fishing pole was looted with great glee by Borri, and Gable looked for tracks. I hadn't put any thought to which inhabitant was responsible for the fishing pole and fire, but decided it was probably the goblin hexmage- the 'boss' of this SW area. And so, Gable found goblin tracks. There was only one way out- further south, to room #23.
Another oddly shaped room. The music can be heard, very faintly, from the southeast corner. An oil-slick statue of some fantastical lizard is on the south wall. On the north wall, something is scratched into the wall. There is a small gem lying on the floor, and the goblin tracks in the dust give it a wide berth.
 This room was meant to teach a couple of things.
1- there are secret passages.
2- treasure is rarely left alone unless it is a trap somehow.
2a- traps can be used against the enemy
3- There is weird stuff.

Since the players did not try igniting the oil-slicked statue, they did not find the secret passage and so did not find their way to the dancing musical skeleton room. Borri picked up that the gem might be dangerous and tried to get it into his pack without touching it- this allowed him to avoid the Confusion effect the gem would have triggered. They head west, then north, and end up in room #101

You come to an iron portcullis. The room beyond has a large and elaborate mosaic of some battle between men and sphinxes. A prominent warrior on the right has a tower-shield the size of a door with a human skull as a design, and a prominent sphinx on the left has four heads- a man, a woman, a ram, and a falcon.

This room was another secret door room, and they did discover this one- the tower shield of the mosaic opens like a door if the skull is rotated. This secret door was meant to teach a different set of lessons than the last secret door room though.

1- Places that are sealed off may be sealed off for a reason
2- Lower levels of the dungeon are more dangerous
3- Undead smell bad

They make a short foray into depth 2 and are immediately attacked by skeletons. The skeletons were meant to teach another lesson- some monsters are resistant to normal weapons. Some party members learned this, but Hazza never seemed to understand that descriptions of 'the arrow whizzes through the empty ribcage of the skeleton' or 'the arrows thud into the zombies with no apparent effect' meant that the arrows weren't dealing damage. I suppose that's another lesson to be learned- 'when the GM describes something, there is information in those descriptions.'

Though the parties weapons were a bad matchup, they did have two clerics, and while I messed up on the Turn Undead rules a little letting them use it more than once in one encounter, it was handwaved away as the gods smiling upon them. Since the gods of this campaign do indeed occasionally act beyond the scope of spells and dice rolls, I think that was a fine thing to happen. Still, lesson learned- clerics are good to have around when facing undead.

Retreating, Hazza fails to pick a lock, fails a save vs poison, and is nauseated by a poison needle. I suppose that's a lesson 'not all poison is save or die.' They turn back from that door and head into room #16, which has a collapsed area and dwarf runes that read 'beware of hidden treasure'

This room shows a couple of things.
1- The dungeon is not immaculate and inviolate and can change structurally. I actually wish I had had this room collapse as they entered to show this more dramatically.
2- They aren't alone in the dungeon, but not everyone is out to get them- past adventurers may leave useful tips for future ones.

After this, they went through rooms 3, 94, and 25 in short succession, revealing the demon-summoning puzzle/trap and strange designs on the walls. They didn't end up interacting much with the demon-summoning puzzle trap, which was probably for the best, but if they had, that would have been a lesson about several things, assuming they screwed up and unleashed a demon.
1- Playing with ancient magical junk is dangerous
2- some enemies really aren't worth fighting- the demon would have been immune to their weapons and had no treasure, so they would have had to flee, or die fighting
They also investigated 95, which had a well. That was intended to teach them how one can traverse dungeon levels via more means than stairs, but they didn't end up investigating, which is just as well. They do investigate and the oil-soaked net trap behind the door here, learning that traps can be avoided in more means than just rolling thief skills- an important lesson for any OSR dungeon delver. Relying on random chance abilities means eventually they'll let you down- playing the game as a simulation of a fantasy world, rather than a collection of arbitrary game mechanics, is what makes players 'good' at tabletop games.

After that, they backtrack to 50, find themselves on the other side of the thunderbird and poison needle doors (teaching them about Loops and alternate paths in dungeons), and head north to room #40. They find a broken sword hilt and the goblin language on the wall-a warning about the sword. The sword hilt is intelligent and somewhat cursed and sticks to Gable's hand- a warning that could have been avoided if they had left it alone or known Goblin. However, the sword was not unreasonable, and negotiated a deal with Gable.
Lessons here-
1- Knowledge is power
2- Talking gets you places
3- 'cursed' treasure may still be useful- the sword hilt will certainly prove to be in the future...

Room #10 basically teaches them that some rooms are boring and empty. Past that, however, (after failing to pick a lock and forcing it, making noise) they reach room #69.

This room has demonic war masks hanging on the walls. They activate if you cross in front of them, flying towards you and trying to suck your blood. They will be a staple feature of this dungeon for a long time. They also recognize one door- if they can get through it, they'll be back in familiar territory and can escape!

A single mask KO's Borri, severely menaces Gable, and is barely taken out by Hazza. The masks only had the stats of a stirge and the combat went so poorly due to bad rolls, but this deeply affects the players and they treat the masks with a great deal of respect, and find ways to destroy them without being attacked- sneaking under their line of sight and burning them with oil from the sides rather than risking another fight. I hadn't expected the first ambush mask (that attacked as soon as the door was opened) to be this effective, but I'm glad it was- it made the players think hard about what they were doing, and come to an effective solution, and it gave subsequent encounters with the masks a great deal of flavor- newbie players often walked into traps with the masks, but experienced players knew how to deal with them and could guide newer players. In fact, I liked the effect the demon masks had on the party so much that I'm going to write a separate post for them.

Anyway, masks foiled, the party escapes through 62, 73, 8 and to the north red square (an exit), much wiser as to the ways of the dungeon, though not any richer save for the Confusion gemstone Borri sells. I was really pleased with the first session, and thought it did well in establishing tone of the campaign. The old generator charts this dungeon was created with may seem rather arbitrary and minimal, with their empty rooms, too many traps, and winding corridors to nowhere... but I think they give good starting points for inspiration and filling in the gaps with your own creativity. 

Here's a great post on the value of 'empty' rooms and exploration. If I hadn't relied on the random old-school generated dungeon as my initial 'seed,' I feel like I would have produced a more condensed and action packed dungeon, and it wouldn't have been nearly as good for my intended purposes.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Vulture Harpies: A Culture

The Vulch
In the desert of salt and pillars, there is a tribe of people with dark wings. They are bald of hair, the men and women alike, and have long and curved necks. They are pacifists, and do not kill or cause harm to others, no, not even then. They die before they kill. There is a reason there are so few of them left.

They watch others kill, though. From afar, without interfering, no, not even like that. And when the killing is done and the killers move on, they descend on their great black wings and honor the dead by eating them, and by talking to the bones so they are not forgotten.

They commonly become Acrobats, Thieves, and Occultists. They are sacred in Saresare and Yuba and have another name there, and are granted abandoned places and things and permitted to flitter through the streets. But their sacredness is tied to their pitiable natures and status as an underclass, and a vulch who becomes wealthy and well-known makes people uncomfortable. That said, there are always deviants from culture, and these wig-wearing merchants, necromancers, snipers, or whatever are ironically encountered more often than 'typical' vulch by outsiders.

Flying- Vulches can fly if they are thin and unencumbered and unarmored, and as poor scavengers, Vulches are always thin and unencumbered and unarmored.
Fragile Frame- They have but 7 inventory slots (or STR-3 slots)
Strong Stomach- Rotten food never poisons or diseases Vulches. They can even digest monstrous oozes.

A- Creed of the Scavenger, Ugly Duckling
B- Lullaby For The Dead,
C- Seance Song
D- Death's Favorite

Creed of the Scavenger-
So long as a Vulch has never intentionally brought harm or death to another living being, they get +1 Magic Die per Vulch or Wizard template. Nothing can make them break this oath save their own decision- if they would be caused to break the oath against their will, they recover, shaking off their rage or any fell mind control they may be under. But once broken, their power is lost forever.

Furthermore, they only take what no-one else has a use for. They are awful to shop for. They wear only thrown out clothes, roost only in abandoned ruins, and so on. They do not steal, though they also do not think the dead have any right to their grave-goods. Violating this precept only removes bonus magic dice until they return to subsiding wholly on scavenged room and board for a full week.

Finally, those of the Scavenger way are very resistant to suffering. They require only 1/3 the food of a human, and do not lose encumbrance or inventory slots to Damp, Cold, or Fatigue, and their mood remains constant no matter how hungry and disheveled they may become.

Ugly Duckling
Gain Beggar as a skill, +1 per Vulch template.
Even healthy Vulches look like miserable, starving, filthy wretches and are known for their freakish behavior. This makes it hard for them to inspire any emotions in most folk besides pity or disgust. Though some nurturing types can't help but throw some aid their way, people mostly pretend they aren't there if they aren't actively supposed to be paying attention to them and the Vulch stays quiet. Treat as social stealth that backfires into social persecution sometimes.

Lullaby For the Dead
Gain Music as a skill, with +1 per Vulch Template.
Vulches hum as they eat corpses. Corpses hummed to by a vulch never come back as undead, and their spirits are lain to rest. Undead that are hummed to by a vulch must save or succumb to the following effects.
Vulch Templates
1- The undead pauses so long as it is hummed to, and after, it must make a save to continue attacking, otherwise it wanders off, having lost any murderous intent for now.
2- The undead saves or goes dormant, awakening only if disturbed. Otherwise, as 1.
3- As 2, but the Vulch may eat the dormant undead without disturbing it.
4- As 2, but the undead's spirit goes to its final destination and the body becomes a lifeless corpse.

Seánce Song
By singing to a corpse, specifically the skull, a Vulch can call the spirit of that corpse to them and ask them 1 question per Vulch template. Whether the spirit shows up or not depends on how great the Vulch's music is, how the spirit feels about Vulches in general and in particular this one, and whether the spirit is currently burning in hellfire or trapped in a magic mirror or something. In the latter case, spirits almost always accept an invitation to escape their torment/imprisonment and answer hastily and truthfully to continue their escape.

Death's Favorite
No psychopomps come to collect the soul of a Vulch. They are free to roam as spirits through the worlds, or take over corpses abandoned by the original owners. Outsider spirits like demons and angels that obstruct a wandering Vulch spirit do so at the peril of annoying Death for the Vulch are one of the very few beings that do not add to Death's busy schedule, and as such the Vulch enjoy a small bit of favoritism from that supposedly impartial arbiter of all mortals.
A vulch who is this close with Death will not draw the favor of gods or demons, however.

Some Gross Undead Monsters

Hangmen- Flying Zombies

Their necks broke, they choked. They were left to rot in the breeze. They climbed up their own ropes and undid the knots on the trees. Dead men walking. They like making new friends. Hang em high, and slow, then their new friends too will be in the know.

You find them in forests, on or near roads, where there's lots of branches and plenty of outlaws to hang. They fear no god or hero, but cannot stand before an honest lawman and must flee, on foot.

HP- 3, but nothing hurts them unless you aim for their ropes, and you need to burn it or cut it. They're already dead, after all. The body's just an excuse for the rope to go round.

Weapon- Noose lasso.
1d4 grapple and choke. They drag one away, then come back later with one more on their side and one less on yours.

They can pull themselves into the sky and fly away, and often descend the same way, stopping with a jerk and some swinging and twitching a few feet above the ground. They ride the wind by hanging themselves from clouds and ravens tell them things in exchange for their eyeballs. They walk when they're hanging someone from a tree and like that best, but aren't above hanging someone from a ships mast or even a cloud.

Chigger Ghouls- Better than Rot Grubs

Some ghouls dig through the earth for old corpses, reshaping the graveyards with ghoul tunnels. Chigger Ghouls are parasites though. They don't bite you or claw you when you meet them alone, they lick you and caress you. Their touch makes you go stiff and limp, unable to move or cry, and then they shrink down to tiny little ghoul-people, smaller than your little fingernail and they dig through you, through the tunnels of your veins, and they nibble on your liver and your brain until you're basically dead yourself, and they make sure nobody is coming to save you by peering out from holes in your skin that their little ghoul heads peep out of, and then they leave just before you really are dead, and you get to thinking that all you need to do to get back what you're missing is eat somebody. Maybe not all of them, just a few little bites, from choice sections, to replace what you've lost. And you've lost so much, it's like you've shrunken and just keep getting smaller, like you're so hungry you've become hollow and you're falling into yourself.

Chigger Ghouls can grow back to full size, worming their way out of their host and growing to the size of a baby the first turn, a goblin the second turn, and finally reaching their full size- that of a petite teenage girl with spade-claw-hands and prognathous teeth-jaws. The oldest ghoul keeps growing though, and it inspires the others to stay and fight and defend their person-nest. She grows as tall as the tall man who came to save, you, then taller than him, then as tall as a tree, and that's Big Sister, who remembers the days of giants when the Chigger Ghouls grew BIG to burrow inside giants oh yes indeed.

4HP- Full Size
1 Defense- 
Paralyze 1d4. Damage does no damage, but makes you save or go stiff and limp and helpless if you fail a save.

Rip Apart- 3d4, All Out Attack- If you make them angry, they'll tear you apart with claws and teeth, letting you tear them right back. They think your flesh will give way first.

Grub-Size- Fire kills 1d6 of them if they're on the surface, or none if they're not.
Baby size- 1 HP, can't attack.
Goblin Size- 2HP, can't Rip Apart
Full Size- 4HP see above
Big Man Size- 8HP Rip Apart does 3d6
Tree Size- 16 HP. Rip Apart does 3d8

Ogre Suit- Necromantic Power Armor
Nobody needs an ogre's brain, and nobody wants an ogre's face, but an ogre's strength with a person's brain? Everyone wins. 

An Ogre Suit is a dead headless ogre with the guts all taken out and the Femur and the Humerus too, because you need room to fit your arms and legs in the upper part of their arm and leg and something had to go.

Ogre Suits only twitch on their own, but anyone can climb inside naked and feel the dead ogre veins connecting with their veins, and then they walk it around and crush people with the giant ogre hands and laugh off attacks with the giant ogre fat rolls. 

Necromancers can force people inside and then control the suit directly no matter what the person wants, but they do need to put someone inside first. The reason they do this instead of just using an undead ogre is because an ogre suit is faster and, despite being headless, less stupid than an actual headed ogre zombie. Also it lets  them use innocents/enemies as meatshields AND bodyguards.

You can't get out of an ogre suit once you're in, but you can be cut out. You'll bleed a lot, and bleed brown, and you might not be 100% alive anymore, but you CAN be rescued.

Ogre Suits that you control are like having 1d10 fists and 5 defense armor and other nasty things.

Ogre suits that you fight have 18 HP and 1d10 fists and 5 defense unless you attack the person's head (0 defense) poking out the neck as they cry and apologize. Or cackle insanely and praise their dark master because dumb necromancer groupies would totally put on an ogre suit if they thought it would make them immortal or whatever. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Alchemists for my GLOG hack, and maybe fun alchemy tables for you.

EDIT FROM THE FUTURE- This post old, yeet
As opposed to wizards who use magic to manipulate the mundane, alchemists use mundane methods to manipulate magic. Some are scientists doddering around in imperial laboratories, others are wise herbalist women oft mistaken for witches, while still others are grim barbarians who know how to squeeze everything they can from a dead creature.

Alchemy Skill
Each Alchemist template you have grants you an additional Inventory Slot in which you can store a Potion or Ingredient. You are welcome to fill other inventory slots with potions and ingredients as well, naturally.

You may also forage for Alchemical Ingredients when in the wild, rolling your Alchemy skill to find stuff, or purchase them in town for 100-1000 coins. This Ingredient is simply marked as 'Alchemical Plants' unless otherwise noted. You may also attempt to harvest parts from monsters, yielding things like 'Poison Monster Parts' from poison enemies, 'Fire Monster parts' from fire-breathing enemies, and similar minimalist descriptions, unless it's important to know that it's a 'Cockatrice Claw' and not just a 'Winged Monster Part' or 'Reptile Monster Part' or 'Petrifying Monster Part'

Other adventurers with the Alchemy skill are capable of this thing as well, but without an actual Alchemist with them they'll probably let it spoil before getting back to anyone who can use these parts. But Alchemists, not just people with the Alchemy Skill, have Secret Recipes that let them do all manner of things.

A- Bitter Medicine
B- Bane Bottler
C- Alchemical Tricks
D- Metaphysical Distillation

Bitter Medicine- You can heal someone of 1d4 HP damage with nothing but a few plants, alcohol, boiling water, and mortar and pestle. If you have an appropriate Ingredient, you can give extra saves against poison, disease, and, with stranger Ingredients, stranger ailments. If you heal someone like this more than once per day, they must save vs Poison or take 1d4 damage instead of healing or getting a save.

Bane Bottler- you get +1 to saves vs poison and disease per Alchemist template. You also gain the skill 'Biohazards' which lets you know about slime, molds, oozes, fungi, killer plants, and other weird biological terrors- and more importantly, how to weaponize and harvest them. With the right container and alchemy roll, you can take samples of these monsters for later, sinister, purposes.

You also learn how to create, for 100coins, a blood jelly, a tiny(at first) fist-sized jelly that's clear except for a red, spidery nucleus that wobbles around, eats organic matter, and won't eat anyone that contributed blood to its creation. Feeding potions and alchemical ingredients and similar to your blood jelly will either kill it or grant it permanent fabulous powers as the potions and ingredients mix and churn within it. Blood Jellies react to things roughly the same way humans do, so they're great lab rats. If it stays small, you can eat your blood jelly to get the stored potion benefit and take no harm. You can also feed blood jellies more and more to turn them into actual creatures with HD and everything. Blood Jellies get stronger the more matter they eat, smarter the more brains they eat, and more magical the more magical stuff they eat. They lose 10% of their weight each day, and gain 10% of whatever they eat in weight, and it takes an hour to eat something as big as they are. They have 1HD per doubling past 100 pounds and their default attack is sucking 1d4 points of blood per HD they have. 
Given 1000 pounds of meat, a fist-sized jelly takes about a day and a night to reach 100 pounds and 1HD.

Alchemical Tricks- This encompasses many, many cheap chemical tricks like
that are good for convincing rubes that you're doing magic or useful things when you really aren't. 

You can also create the following at negligible price given a few hours to scavenge around for Ingredients.
Alcohol(And Molotov Cocktails)
Lamp Oil

Metaphysical Distillation- Not content with physical ingredient, you've learned to distill abstract concepts and immaterial things, like guilt and souls and sunsets. This tends to be expensive and require creativity. Your Secret Recipes get weird fast if you throw a lot of this stuff in there, but with moderation it makes obvious potions MUCH easier to make. You can come up with an intended result like, 'Potion of Levitation' from a 'Flying Monster Part' and 'essence of flight' that you collected by having a trained bird carry a glass vial for a day long flight and bypass the Secret Recipe chart in favor of spending 100-400 coins and appropriate elements to just make a potion of flight.

Secret Recipes- By mixing together a maximum number of ingredients equal to your alchemist level, you can discover potions, poisons, and other vile concoctions. Each unique ingredient adds a 1d6 to the result roll, to a max of 1d6 per Alchemist Template, and you must keep track of what each combination of ingredients results in. Results count as 1 alchemical ingredient themselves. Doubles also add an Alchemical Hazard to the creation process, and Triples indicate a truly disastrous mixture and a roll on the Alchemical Doom table.

Secret Recipe Table
Potency=# of Ingredients -1 OR Alchemist level, whichever is lower.. Using Human as an ingredient is viable, though it may turn imbibers into Ghouls or Wendigo.
  1. Food- a gelatinous, preserved something or other.
  2. Water. Ignore mishaps.
  3. Alcohol, tastes vaguely of other ingredients. Flammable and intoxicating.
  4. Grease. Makes stuff waterproof and slippery.
  5. Glue Makes stuff sticky.
  6. Acid- deals damage equal to Potency/d6. Foiled by  one or more of glass, metal, stone, or organic stuff.
  7. Venom- smeared on weapon. Deals Potency/d6 damage or debilitating effect for that many turns if a save is failed.
  8. Poison- Ingested. Deals Potency+1/d6 damage or debilitating effect if a save is failed.
  9. Recreational Drug- Enjoyable experience, applied via ingestion, injection, Inhalation
  10. High Explosive- potency d6 damage on impact or fire.
  11. Panacea- cures Potency- poison, disease, exotic status effects associated with monster.
  12. Potion- Randomly determined, possibly related to ingredients, potion.
  13. Unstable Mutagen- Grants mutation from monster bits for Potency Hours. Save or permanent.
  14. Essence- Grants supernatural power from one Monster part for Potency Actions.
  15. Consciousness Expander- Grants random Spell.
  16. Something weird from here-
  17. Alchemical Lifeform- tiny ooze, homunculous, or Chimera. Sort of cute, sort of grotesque, depending on ingredients.
  18. Chimeric Mutagen- Destabilizes drinker. They Fuse with the next being they touch. creating a weird combo being.
  19. Gemstone- Sparkling gem worth Potencyx100 Coins.
  20. Alchemist's Ring- Magic Ring. Once per lifetime, otherwise 19.
  21. Utmost Ingot- This stuff could make an amazing weapon/shield/crockpot/whatever.
  22. Distilled Magic- Smear it on something. Instant enchantment.
  23.  Pick any lower number.
  24. Jackpot! You have discovered one of the 1,001 Philosopher's Stones, which turns lead to gold and dribbles a fluid of immortality. And a hideous Doom from a wizard school that takes effect as soon as the stone is used, so good luck.
Alchemical Hazards
1-Substance is highly volatile and prone to exploding for 1d6 if you take damage and fail a save.
2-Substance is highly addictive. If used twice in one week, get cravings and withdrawal unless you have it weekly. One sip convinces you to make as much as possible, and you must save to avoid using it as fast as possible.
3-Substance is highly smelly. 1 drop on you doubles wandering monster encounters.
4-Substance is highly reactive and cannot be used as an Ingredient.
5-Substance is toxic and reduces max HP by 1 whenever taken
6-Substance is mutagenic, permanently so on failed saves.

Alchemical Doom- depends on what number is rolled triples of. Only happens once per triple.
1-Bottle Fairy created. Is utterly charming and you cannot resist spending all your money on alcohol for it. It lives in a bottle and you hide it from others at all costs. Your madness ends only if someone eats the fairy, and it cannot die in any other way.
2- Aqua Regia- Acid that melts through anything. It burrows through the floor and burns down to a morlock inhabited city, where the leader's dong is melted off by the acid. They swear terrible revenge on the surface world and set their burrowing drill-cities to attack.
3-Blue Lotus- A single flower grows and blooms from the concoction. Its pollen lulls all nearby to sleep, and sends their consciousness to the dream lands.
4- Black Potion- A potion of utmost puissance and mystery. It grants 2 permanent magic dice to the imbiber, but incurs a magical Doom upon them. 
5- An artificial spell-form is created. It is elemental, capricious, dangerous, and lives in your head and causes havoc from within your mind. Can it be tamed, or are you pariah and outcast, a walking disaster.
6- Your quest for the Philosopher's Stone has lead you to dark research, and you are gripped by the belief you must transform, vivisect, repeat, the imbibers of this new potion you have created to reach the complex biological process required to metabolize and excrete the Philosopher's stone.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Silk Wizards- A Wizard Template for the GLOG

Silk Wizards- A Wizard Template for the GLOG
Asceticism- You may go without food or rest for a number of days equal to your level, and without water for a number of days equal to half your level, without suffering any ill effects. Furthermore, you can perform incredible feats of endurance. You should be assumed to automatically succeed at all normal tests of endurance: resisting pain, heat, cold, exhaustion, etc. 
Silk Mentor- Roll on the Silk Wizard Background, or pick one if your GM allows. You can channel 'touch' spells through silk.
Power of The Silken One- If you somehow roll a 7 on the mishap table, you recover all your magic dice. But rolling a 7 is normally impossible and besides exists only as a gamist concept that your character could have no in-universe knowledge of. Right?

The college of the Silk Wizards is located in distant lands, in a swelteringly hot city.
Silk Wizards gallivant about without much clothing at first- they have a single piece of silk about as big as a veil or loincloth that is worn as such- this is their spellbook. As they learn new spells, they get longer and longer pieces of silk to cover themselves with (or just to wear as an enormous turban). Apprentices who start out with a long, blank piece of silk instead of the small square are viewed as pretentious, presumptuous, and severely lacking in the humility and poverty that elder Silk Wizards feel is appropriate for apprentices.
 humble for their own good
Being trained as a Silk Wizard has several benefits- firstly, they are trained to endure the weather and adverse conditions, and can go without food and water for much longer than an ordinary man and their tanned skins and road-weathered feet can ignore burning sands and freezing snows as well as any leather-clad adventurer. Whereas other wizards may be soft-handed scholars, Silk Wizards are ascetic monks- they even learn simple grapples and throws, with more advanced Silk Wizards often incorporating their long silks as weapons for parrying blows or even whips to lash and entangle their enemies.
This training is for the inevitable assassins that will come for them
Secondly, they have access to their silk, which is 1 foot long per spell known and practically indestructible due to the magics they weave into it. Apart from the mundane uses of their silken spellbook, they can also write spells they know multiple times, provided they have the funds for extending the length of their silk. The reason they do this is because silken wizards can rip off spells from either end of their silk(certainly not the middle!) to cast them as though reading from a scroll.

Each foot of magically inscribed silk costs 1,000 coins, and those with longer silks outrank those with shorter silks. Duels are common between Silk wizards, with the victor taking parts of the losers spellbook. Taking nothing from an opponent is more of an insult than killing them is, and typically the most gracious and diplomatic action is to take a single spell and spare the life of the loser- though if an inexperienced wizard beats a more masterful one, it's considered tradition to take just enough silk to 'outrank' the loser by 1 spell.

Silk Wizards tend to be jealously possessive of their spells, a master generally gifting his apprentice but a single spell from his silk and then encouraging more and more creative uses of the spell until its potential is thoroughly exhausted. As such, many apprentices become wanderers, who seek to find new spells on their own either by adventuring or challenging other Silk Wizards to duels.

Silk Wizard Background
1-Accidental Recruit
2- Rogue Apprentice
3- Disciple of Nine Chicken Fist
4- Secret Disciple of Zero Spider Jury
5- Disciple of One Giraffe Wind
6- Disciple of Four Moth Dream

1- You were mistaken as a Silk Wizard by an apprentice Silk Wizard and challenged to a duel. You won, and bemusedly accepted their surrender and the bribe they melodramatically offered to spare their life- their only spell. You don't have silk wizard training, only this one spell and a drama queen rival, so you can pick another template from any class.

2-Rogue Apprentice- Seeking an easy route to power, maybe for good reasons, maybe for no reason at all, you killed your master for his massive silk turban, only to realize too late that he was a bit of a sham- his turban is 50 feet long sure, but it is 50 copies of a single random spell! Other Silk Wizards revile you and will surely kill you if they can, but they also fear your alleged power and giant hat.

3- You underwent orthodox, but intense training under the master Nine Chicken Fist. Your spell is Sand Skin and one other, and you are well trained in martial arts (take a bonus proficiency of your choice for Fists, and you can advance further in Fists just as Fighters can) and your spell ensures that you might actually survive if you go up against a monster or an armed man. However, your master has befallen a terrible fate and turned to stone, and you seek several ingredients, for use with your cockatrice egg, to brew a potion to restore him. Your egg is dangerously close to hatching...

4- You were chosen by the secret master of black ops, Zero Spider Jury. Your spells are Aspect of Weaver and Fire Friend and you are trained in moving stealthily (Stealth 2) and garroting people silently and swiftly with your ribbon of black silk. Your signature execution style is climbing along the ceiling and slipping a noose around their neck and then lifting your target to hang them, and you have very strong arms and excellent knot-work for this very purpose. You also have 3 molotov cocktails and 20 candles.
You're on your first mission- to assassinate a rogue apprentice who killed his master via treachery rather than a duel. The irony of using treachery yourself to kill the traitor is not lost on you.

5- Disciple of One Giraffe Wind- You have multiple long scarves of weighted silk and you are trained to use them as a sort of non-lethal chain weapon that deals 1d4 nonlethal damage. You have a reach of 10 feet, and if you 'damage' someone you can instead disarm them, trip them, or snag a limb with a knot for later pulling on them.
 One Giraffe Wind is ostentatious and garish and unpopular, but he is undisputedly a master among masters and you are undisputedly a master apprentice. Aspect of Drifting Feather and Aspect of Gallows are your spells, and you are under a lot of pressure to succeed and fill out your silk with spells- because you had to take out a loan of about 5,000 coins to buy 'em and the interest is 10% monthly.

6-Disciple of Four Moth Dream- You have an entire bolt of white silk, and this treasure is made even more valuable due to the training as a healer the kindly Four Moth Dream imparted upon you, a wounded outcast taken in out of mercy. Your spells are all more powerful if you can wrap the target in a cocoon of white silk before hand, and though you claim to know three spells, Healing and Metamorphosis and a random spell, in fact you only know Metamorphosis and perform your healing by transforming things into themselves. This has some drawbacks, as miscasts tend to turn people into mutants or monsters. But you bear no prejudice against these changes- after all, a human isn't your original form and you aren't complaining.
You were once a silken servant, but you don't remember that. Four Moth fears you.
Common Silk Wizard Spells
1-Sand Skin [R]-Touch [T]-One Being With Skin [D]- [Sum]x10 Minutes
Target gains 2 defense per dice used. Cannot raise defense above +8. Mishaps cause you and the target to also gain Encumbrance equal to the Defense gained.
2-Aspect of Weaver- [R]-Touch [T]-One Being [D]- [Sum] Hours
Target's feet+hands (or appropriate analogues) are coated in silk that allows them to walk on ceilings, walls, and have a small bonus when trying to determine grapple success barehanded, and they can tie people up with the silk and secrete more.
3-Fire Friend- [R] Sight [T]- [sum]Candles/Torches/Bonfires/ Forest Fire. Scale depends on # of dice used. [D] Until Extinguished
Fire affected by this spell will not harm you and will spread or not spread in ways favorable to you. Torches and Candles will even flicker out rather than give you away to your enemies, but larger fires prefer to simply immolate your foes and are less considerate in general.
4-Aspect of Drifting Feather- [R] Sight [T]- Up to [Sum]x50 pounds [D] Until grounded
Things affected by this spell fall slowly and land safely and silently- unless there is wind, in which case they can drift on the breeze like a feather.
5-Aspect of Gallows- [R]-Touch [T]-One Rope per Die used [D]- [Sum] Actions
You can control a rope or similar long, flexible object as though it was one of your own limbs, provided it remains in contact with your skin.
6-Metamorphosis- [R]-Touch [T]-One Living Being [D]- Permanent
You turn a living creature into another living creature of roughly the same size if it fails a save, +/- 50% mass per extra spell die used. You can even turn something into itself to heal its wounds, healing [sum] HP. Dice used on this spell are always lost due to its power.
7-Flying Bolt [R]-Touch [T]-One Piece of Cloth [D]- [Sum]x10 Minutes
You make a piece of cloth(traditionally a bolt of silk) of any size able to fly as swift as a bird at your mental command. It can carry [Sum]x50 pounds. If large enough it can be used and sundered as a shield, protecting who you dictate.
8-Dust Devil [R]-30' [T]- 15 foot diameter area [D]-[Sum] Minutes
You create a small whirlwind that moves at 30' per action as you command it. It throws small objects around and may kick up obscuring dust. Those in the whirlwind move at half speed and flying creatures may be forcibly crashlanded.
9- Steelsilk- [R]- touch [T]- Silk  [D]-[Sum]x10 Minutes
Some silk becomes as steel. Silk clothes give armor as Chain, silk threads serve as wires, silk ropes can serve as killing weapons, etc etc. Other fabrics work as well, but for Sumx1d10 minutes. 3 or more dice makes this effect permanent.
10-Silksteel- [R]- touch [T]- Silk  [D]-[Sum]x10 Minutes
Some steel becomes like silk. This makes weapons fairly useless, steel bars as silk ropes, armor as clothing, etc etc. Allows weavers to serve as blacksmiths. Works on other metals, but for Sum x 1d10 minutes. 3 or more dice makes this effect permanent.
Mishaps- roll 1d6.
1- Spellsilk Spellbook/Clothing flies loose in an unnatural wind and must be caught. It doesn't want to escape, only be free for a bit.
2- Gagged by own spellsilk for 1d6 rounds.
3- Bound by own spellsilk for 1d6 rounds, or if spellsilk is too small, levitated 1 inch off the ground and held midair by the tiny piece of silk for same.
4- Lose 1 casting die from your pool
5- Mutation for 1d6 rounds, then Save or it is permanent.
6-Your spells have 50% chance to turn against you until either a day passes or a spell betrays you.
7- Restore all magic dice to your pool.
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Doom- The secrets of the Silk Wizards were gleaned from a powerful magical spirit bound in a lamp. It is known as the Silken One. It was like a spider and a moth and a wind and a flame, and it had faithful servants from another too-similar reality that can easily cross over to ours.
And we do, and we have, and we will.
One way to avoid the Doom is to live in a harsh, inhospitable land as an ascetic, eating almost nothing and never interacting with more than 7 other people at one time. The other is to capture one of the dread Silken Servants and bind it into a bottle and keep it as a hostage as insurance against other servants.
1- Your magic draws the attention of the cultists of the Silken One. The details of this incredibly secret society is unknown even to the Silk Wizards- all you know is that the next time you encounter more than 7 people in a group, one of them will be an assassin with a poisoned dagger out to kill you.
2- Your magic draws the attention of one of the Silken Servants. You have 2 options- either find another Silk Wizard within 7 weeks and burn their silk, keeping none for yourself, or simply ensure that you see no living creature that you do not know on the 7th day of the 7th week, lest the stranger reveal itself to be a Silken Servant and destroy you. Contrary to what you may think, the latter option is by far the harder one. because we know what you're doing
3- The Silken Servants are on your trail and will never leave it. They will torture you for the location of their master, and you will not need ears to hear their questions, nor a tongue to answer them. Every 7th stranger will somehow be a cultist, and every 7th cultist will be a Silken Servant. You must either forsake society and the company of strangers forever, or take a Servant hostage. You're only safe so long as the hostage is. You are always watched. We are waiting.