Thursday, August 30, 2018


M'shesh- Mother of the Undead, She Who Bars The Way, The Black Wind

An ancient goddess who opposed the creation of Death itself, M'shesh's rebellion against the cycle of life and death led her to be demonized as the 'Mother of The Undead' and cast out from the living world. She cradles the souls of all her dead worshippers in her arms, keeping them safe for rebirth, and her living worshippers can exhale these waiting souls into corpses via the Breath of M'shesh. Her afterlife is essentially just hanging out with all the faithful in a big line for rebirth, and the line is the giant skeletal jungle gym of her immeasurably titanic body as she strides through the grey netherworld, swatting away demons and psychopomps like flies. She tries to convert sympathetic souls as they head to their respective afterlives, offering them second chances at rebirth if they agree to join her cause in favor of whatever afterlife they were aimed at.

M'shesh seeks to create a world without death, where living beings need not kill to eat, where no one dies of old age, a world without pain. A world without life. To make that world a reality, she must break this one. Most other worldviews see this as M'shesh trying to bring about a zombie apocalypse, whereas M'sheshans assert that once everyone is zombies, everyone can focus on being nice instead of killing each other for bread. M'shesh really despises apologists for death and pain. Maybe there's a good reason your setting cosmologically requires death and pain, but she either doesn't know or doesn't care.

M'shesh has no issue with her faithful killing those of faiths that actively oppose her goals (those who stand with death are welcome to it, after all, and excessive pacifism almost led to the extinction of her people once before) but apart from that, her worshippers are strongly discouraged from killing if at all possible, preferring conversion or mercy for subdued foes, and accepting unfavorable outcomes like being robbed if murder is the only possible alternative. She accepts the need for self-defense in the world of death or course, and carnivorous monsters are not deeply mourned. The more pious a worshipper is, the more hardcore vegan they become. Most carry a broom to sweep the ground before them as they walk so they don't trod on insects, and vows of chastity and castration are common so as to not bring any more souls into this world of suffering.

She cannot and will not grant any spells that deal damage, harm, or kill anything.

Extra Miracles of M'shesh
Y'know in addition to D&D cleric spells or whatever
Mend Undead- Any source of healing may be repurposed to heal undead by a faithful. This is the only way M'sheshan undead can heal themselves, save for slowly stiching themselves back together at the rate of 1HP per day (doubled if all day is spend stitching. It is a mirror to Cure Light Wounds, Serious Wounds, and Heal and there are undead healing variants of each spell.

Black Whirlwind- creates a tiny whirlwind by having M'sheshan souls move air as they swirl about. Strong enough to fling rats around, but will be careful not to fling any living being anywhere dangerous, or fling anything dangerous at anyone. It is composed of souls so it can take orders, but it can't talk and is fairly scrambled mentally speaking. Lasts 1 round per level, or [sum] actions.

Mask of the Heathen
- Summons a black mist to block daylight. Prevents the sun from penalizing undead, and makes M'sheshan undead harder for enemy clerics to Turn. Lasts an hour per level or [sum] and has a radius of 10*level/sum yards. This was a spell developed to protect her faithful dead from the wrathful gaze of a sun god.

The Breath of M'shesh
Living clerics may also use the Breath of M'shesh on bodies that M'sheshian souls are willing to inhabit (so they must be in decent condition and humanoid, usually. Stuffing faithful souls into a dead mule tends to lower their morale significantly, or have only the nutters sign up for body occupation). This reanimates the corpse as an intelligent undead, the soul of a M'sheshian worshipper from days gone by piloting the corpse. If the corpse was already that of a M'shesh worshipper (cleric or otherwise)they get 'first dibs' on their own body, but otherwise there is a long waiting list of dead souls awaiting reincarnation so treat the risen dead as random NPCs who are generally amicable to the idea of helping out the one who raised them if they don't have their own plans.

Undead clerics/worshippers of M'shesh cannot use the Breath of M'shesh, and cannot benefit from typical living-oriented sources of healing. They tend to prefer sleeping during the day since it's easier to masquerade as one of the living at night, but have no night vision or many undead benefits. If they are killed again, it is assumed their body is really horribly torn to bits to finish them off, but no extra HP or damage resistances are granted. They do not decay if properly embalmed, and while slightly numb, can still feel normal sensation (except for pain and hunger) with their undead bodies.

When it comes to undead one must realize that M'shesh is far from the only creator of undead. Arcane magic animates corpses with dark energy and fragmented animal souls that leaves them mindless and hungry. Still other undead are 'natural' phenomena, forced to walk by curses and grudges. M'shesh is the mother of undeath, but she is by no means the master of all undead. It is immediately apparent to M'shesh worshippers when they are dealing with M'sheshian undead. "Foreign" undead are typically unreasonable and need to be destroyed before they hurt anyone, but if they convert to M'shesh they can be freed from their eternal hunger for life,  but also freed from any undead powers they might have had.

Some Thoughts from play
 M'shesh became the ascendant deity in the last BFRPG campaign I ran thanks to the efforts of a player who ended up as her prophet, and the goddess got suggested as a campaign feature for another campaign so I figured I'd repost the notes on the blog and just link here forever instead of reposting the info in multiple roll20 campaign forums. Anyway.
Having unlimited resurrections in new bodies was fun, but letting players be zombies lets them ignore a lot of typical obstacles- poison, water, and food being the biggest issues. A mixed party is less of a gamechanger than if the entire party is undead.
Option 1- Just go with it, have them walk across lakes and ignore rations and laugh at poison monsters. It's a power boost in terms of strategic options but won't break the campaign. Probably.
Option 2 (What I did in the first campaign)- The player doesn't need to breathe or eat or rest, but if they don't they start going mad and losing their humanity.
Option 3- The player is undead but more like Dark Souls undead than D&D Zombie undead. You still drown, get poisoned, have to eat, etc etc, and 'Undead' is just an aesthetic tag that might affect how supernatural stuff affects you.

In my original campaign she was the bitter survivor of centuries of religious oppression and genocide with about ten thousand dead worshippers for every living one
But this cutesy anime Gravelord Nito is close enough

Sunday, August 19, 2018

2018 One Page Dungeon Submissions Tier List

So the One Page Dungeon Contest this year had a lot more quantity than it did quality but I finally went through 'em and sorted them into some loose tier lists based on what I like. Link to the download HERE

Things I like
1- Fresh stuff that I haven't seen before
2- Dungeons easily plopped down into a campaign that has "dungeons"
3- Respect for player agency and skill

E41-Andrey Plisko Caged in Stone. Also I hate the way they labeled the entries because I'm not gonna remember E41 or Andrey Plisko, I'm gonna remember 'Caged in Stone.' Anyway it's a straightforward linear walk with a bunch of funhouse dungeon elements and puzzles that require problem solving to bypass and has implied 'set' solutions but they're suggestions rather than railroad tracks, I think it's great.

E50 by some guy at Save vs Hollowing- Did I mention it's annoying to copypaste ID info as well?
The Akhronoton-This is one room that you travel 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future depending on how you exit it, ending in the same room. The shenanigan potential is sky high but the premise and challenges are bog simple, I love it.

E96_CarlosPascualTorres_TheTomboftheDonkeyGod.pdf- The presentation of the dungeon is great, the tricks and puzzle are humorous but intelligent, and it uses its resources well by doing the 'ok you got past all this stuff, now you have to do it all again backwards carrying the treasure. That sort of conservation of detail is great design.

E02- For some reason there were a ton of 'giant robot' dungeons, this was my favorite.
E04-A slimy, nasty, mutation filled hole. Simple but evocative.
E10- Weak dungeonwise, but strong OSRwise. Cannibalism, cultists, and unbalanced catastrophic design of having a really huge giant serving the players or their enemies.
E130- Too wacky for some, but easily reskinned into a fun little time-loop puzzle with the aesthetic trappings of your choice. I really liked this one.
E11- Nice gimmick of a rotating dungeon with lava-waves. Lost some points for having an impenetrable force shield.
E19- Gets points for being unabashedly mad. You're in hell, demons are everywhere, and you're probably gonna play matchmaker for some.
E20- Jam packed with weird monsters and fun magic items, in a fantasy brewery dungeon.
E32- A monster inn, which I just think is a blast to roleplay weird, weird things and what they want.
E39- Actually 4 minitombs for quick play- nothing too amazing on their own but they accomplish that goal and look nice.
E40- Stupid puns are my jam, your mileage may vary
E46- use of sound management as main activity makes for an interesting heist
E53- You go up through a tower, do the thing, then it flips upside down and you gotta do all the old things but now they've changed due to gravity. I love it when designers do tricks like that to double their content.
E54- Needs work to be usable, but has novelty and nice high concept descriptions that make me WANT to put in that work.
E55- Funhouse design, NPCs with clear, gameable motives, art you can instantly use as map, good.
E61- No bias here, nope
E74- Simple dungeon with a fun gimmick of rotating rooms around a vertical axis of rotation
E79- Fantastical terrain is less of a dungeon, but works as a ocean setpiece
E97- A simple but satisfying tree as dungeon that can be a lair for any wilderness witch
E99- I like it because it's similar to mine, really. "A dungeon appropriate for a prudent and clever party of any level, possibly deadly for a sloppy party of any level." It has one 'puzzle monster' and that's all it needs baby (Well, actually it could use some extra complications I think)
E102- Doesn't look like much, but has a nice design and lots of good ideas despite a lack of 'flash'
E105- takes forever to load for some reason, but a fun array of themepark rooms.
E108- stick a spider cult under your local inn, done.
E110- rooms are dreams that are little OSR style problem solving challenges. Sounds like it's straight out of The Nightmares Underneath.
E113- Uses Gelatinous cubes as complications to otherwise rote problems to great effect
E116- Not really a dungeon but a great thing to throw into your ocean. Skerples if you read this put this one into your wavecrawl.
E118- Tidal based prison break with some high-concept stuff.
E123- Requires a strong plot hook to get the players in here, but is a fun defended fortress dungeon with interesting things and simple NPCs to play with.
E134- Great gimmick and theme of conquistadors, messy lichdom, and salt mines. Honestly I'm not sure why I didn't put this in my Top Four
E148- More flash than substance, but slimy fun anyway.
E153- The other 'Giant Robot' dungeon I liked, but it's a giant ant colony golem.
E159- Demon business firm. Fun, simple, split of roleplay, combat, and puzzlings.

E03- Cute art, fun ideas, genre and scenario needs adjusting from Sci-Fantasy mountain climbing maybe
E14- As E03 but less cute and more combat focused but easier to drop into a typical D&D game
E15- First half is kinda just monsters trying to eat you, but it improves vastly.
E16- Cute text map of goffik mansion, needs detail work to make it playable
E17- Lava gnome fortress style dungeon. S'aite
E18- Nice idea for a level 0 funnel, but that's a bit limiting
E23- If you need a fast prison break adventure
E35- Good if your players are fans of MUDs, otherwise a bit too meta and strange without being superbly interesting to make up for it
E59- Decent but useless art, steal the social dynamic of dungeon and put it in a better dungeon
E62- Looks like a kung fu monk bashing session but is actually better, but not too much better.
E63- basically '1d12 rooms to randomly stock a different dungeon with'
E66- Good for weird real world inspiration, not so good if Russia doesn't exist in your game
E76- needed a jayquayed dungeon design to use its ideas properly but ideas were good
E77- Simple and usable, just not remarkable
E81- Weird sea stuff but not weird enough if you ask me, but usable as a lair for bad seafolk in a pinch
E85- great idea of a reflected dungeon affected by ripples in water, execution was a letdown
E91- more like a blueprint of a dungeon or even a megadungeon, but a promising blueprint
E92- interesting variable room connections policed by a gimmick that in practice I think wouldn't work, and low on details
E100- Goblins v kobolds tribes on either side of a chasm. Good introduction to factional gameplay to newbie players
E101- Basically a single monster summoning puzzle. A bit 'read the GM's mind' but if the monsters weren't hostile, could be a zany good time.
E111- Dungeon is whatever, but it has a good 'timeline' for what happens without the players intervening- a good tool to inform tracking your own world
E112- a lot of decent ideas that don't necessarily mesh to form much of a theme
E117- A good 'hag spotlight' if you ever need a lair for such a creature fast
E119- Good ideas sort of shackled to yet another clunky in media res ritual scene
E124- mapped on surface of d10 for cave mapping, but this gimmick doesn't improve content
E125- Some good puzzles, some meh ones, an ok mapping challege
E133- a resource for stocking large abandoned buildings/urban crawlings
E140- Cute hedge maze adventure, but a bit lacking in adventure.
E144- A solid place to throw people if they're banished to some foul dimension. Sorta empty though.
E147- Hooray crazy mutants
E149- Giant tree adventure. Decent ideas and abstract map, lack of 'rooms' makes it feel more like wilderness.
E151- Interestingly but overwhelmingly science fantasy, space wasted on encounter reaction table unnecessary

All the rest. Some are old dungeon bad with 'here is a random set of rooms with really boring encounters, traps, and treasure' that could probably have been rolled up on a random generator, some are new-school bad in that they railroad the players aggressively through 'balanced' encounters and puzzles with one solution and forcefields and shit blocking other paths or ideas, some are just like, a wilderness encounter table with high or low concept stuff, some are like 'Ok here is a starting scenario for your post-apocalyptic Gamma World game" some are embarrassingly missing the point of using other people's content with their optimistic and naive anti-content of 'ur the GM u can put ANYTHING U WANT HERE' and some had really unforgivably useless maps and some looked nice but were direly low on content and some are just blatantly someone's vore fap fantasy...
In this dungeon you've already been swallowed by a dragon yourself at this point by the way
And the nymph is the dragon's lesbian girlfriend and she got swallowed consensually so I think
you're actually cuckolding the dragon if you agree to the above request
Anyway some aren't too bad, (the dragon vore one isn't actually terrible for all I'm bullying it, for instance) but I would probably recommend trawling other years contests first, is all I'm saying.

That's right, the turducken double-stuffed vore cuck dungeon was TOO GOOD for this category.
 E43- There's essentially no content here. It's like, an implied backstory and someone describing a cutscene of opening the dungeon door in which everyone but the wizard is useless. That's all.

 E71-Walls and walls of text with overwrought riddles and simulated scenarios of characters saying the answers or not saying the answers and emoting and thinking and basically hopping aboard the railroad train. I'd tell the author to write a novel but they just did
E38- Town of Rydell, which is very loose outline of a 50's high school graduation drama in a modern-day fantasy setting with an undercurrent of cultists doing something with zombies, 20 teens with love problems, a local gang and useless cops. Which was pretty much my impromptu plot for the Monsterhearts game I ran, coincidentally. See the following vid for my reaction to this actually winning the entire 2018 One Page Dungeon Contest. It's like a camel winning a horse race.

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̴̦̘̺̝͕̞̟̗͓̬̲͛͒̍̒̌͌Ķ̷̤̖̱͈͈͈͇̓̏̕N̷̙̬̹̆ͅƠ̵͚̠̈́͒̃́̔̋̆̕W̸͕̻̣͈̱̩̔̂̈́̈́̂͘̚͠͝ ̵͖͉̖̰̃͑̄̉͑̀̉͑͊͊W̴͎̖̘̣͆̒͊̿̍̍́̀͑̿̎H̶̢̛̛͍͍͓̃̓̀̓̌̑̽̌͒̕̚͝A̸̧͈̲̤͙̠̤̯̰̺̳͔͈̘̥̓͗́͝͝Ţ̵̡͙͓̹̞͇̮̣͓̗͖̤̗̐̿̑͆̾́̽̆̓̃̕͘ ̸̺͉̱̹̦̤̮̝̳̥̈͋̌͂̓̈́͊̈́̑̈́̕̚͠Ị̵̧͈͕̰̯̉͗̈́͌̄͛̕͝ ̵̢̢͕̣̗̮̖̣͕̪̬̠̗͒́̾̒̂̍̂̅̎͛͘͝Ḱ̷͔̥̈́̽̀̉̿́̈́̔́̔͌̃̍̕Ņ̸͗̐̑̎̋̉͐̕͘̚Ǫ̵̛̞̼̬̓͜͝W̷̡̢̛͕̪͕͓̮̬̟̦̞͙͂̈́̌̚͝

Monday, August 6, 2018

Great Doctor Ogudugu

Inspired by the spam I got on the previous post
Great Dr Ogudugu apparently handles his requests in 24 hours, which to me is pretty much proof that he's your classic vancian-style caster.
1. Getting your lover or husband back- This is either Charm Person, Suggestion, or maybe just a talking to from the wise and charismatic great Dr Ogudugu
2. Spiritual bulletproof Protection from Evil, I bet.
3. Training- More on how to become an apprentice of Great Doctor Ogudugu after this list
4. Money spell-There's a 2nd level AD&D spell called Fool's Gold that covers this
5. Long life spell - A quick google shows you can make potions of longevity if you know Slow and Lesser Restoration
6. Prosperity spell - See Fool's Gold, but you invest the money for long-term benefits before anyone figures out the scheme
7. Protection spell- Gonna double down on Protection From Evil here as well
8. Get a job spell- I'm going to call this one Bestow Curse

9. Becoming a manager spell- Gonna go with Charm Person, either on the upper managers, or on those you manage
10. Get a huge loan without paying any fee spell- Good ol Fool's Gold. Or maybe Dr Ogudugu just is partnered with bankers
11. Getting your scam money back - How about this nice Wise Man's Gold instead, loyal customer
12. Child spell-  This is either Restoration, or Dr. Ogudugu simply giving sex ed
13. Pregnancy spell - See above
14. Freedom spell- Freedom of Movement

15. Love spell- Charm Person

16, vanishing spell- Guessing this is Teleport, explaining Ogudugu's worldwide means of helping people
17. Invisible human spell- Invisibility, of Course

18. Success or pass spell- Could be like, Weasel's Wit or whatever the +4 INT pathfinder buff spell is, or it could just be Charm Person
19. Marriage spell-A Suggestion, perhaps?
20. Avenging spell- Bestow Curse sounds pretty good for general avenging purposes
21. Popularity spell- I'm betting canny application of Charm Person and Fool's Gold could explain this
22. Killing spell- Could be a Death Spell, but I bet Magic Missile is just as good
23. Cancer spell- Unclear if it's for curing or causing, so both Remove/Cause Disease
24. Supernatural power spell- Lots of 'what super power would you like to have' go for Invisibility or Flight. Or maybe this falls under Ogudugu taking you on as an apprentice.
25. Madness spell- Confusion, I'd wager, or maybe Feeblemind

26. Free house loan spell- Fool's Gold to pay it off for you, I'm sure
27. Production spell of films and movie- Silent Image, Ventriloquism, and Hallucinatory Terrain
28. Hiv/aids spell- Remove/Cause Disease again

29. Tuberculosis spell- Remove/Cause Disease again
30. Loose weight and body spell- I'm betting Ogudugu just uses his toolkit to make people eat less and exercise more

Level 9 Great Doctor(As wizard but can learn from the clerical spell list as well)
Spells Known, By Level
1-Cure Light Wounds, Magic Missile, Protection From Evil, Charm Person, Magic Mouth
2-Suggestion, Fools Gold, Invisibility
3-Freedom of Movement, Remove/Bestow Curse, Slow, Cure/Cause Disease
4-Confusion, Polymorph Other(see bonus spells)
5-Teleport, Feeblemind

Great Doctor Ogudugu will contact your party with solutions to to their problems, whether they like it or not. He could show up directly, or they could start receiving Magic Mouth messages advertising his services.
You could play him as a conman, but I think it's better to play him as a good-intentioned fellow who uses dubious magical means to solve people's transient desires, then vanishes when things start falling apart, filled with either quiet pride at having 'helped' or smug superiority at having gotten people karmic payback for not being careful what they wished for. To be fair to the great doctor, his services as healer are indeed unambiguously good acts and he has a fair few fervent supporters as well as burned naysayers. He also apparently has a temple somewhere, where he takes consultations via astral messages. If you apprentice under Great Doctor Ogudugu, you'll have to pay hefty fees, but will have the privilege of aiding him and perhaps even learning his secrets.

Let's throw in a Polymorph, confirm he can cast healing spells to aid childbirth.
I'm not gonna touch 'become a vampire' because I have recently learned (also from spambots) that everything I thought I knew about vampires was wrong
Wow this isn't like Dracula at all