Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What Is That Mushroom Gonna Do to You?

Mushroom is randomly found in the woods: +0
Mushroom is randomly found in cave: +2
Mushroom is being cultivated by some sort of monster/non-human: +7
Mushroom is part of a fairy ring: +10

Roll a d20 and add a modifier if applicable!

1-4: Agh, ptthghh, Ptui - This mushroom isn't really edible. Either it's too hard to chew (1-2) or it just plain tastes nasty (3-6) with no real other effects.

5-8: Meh - The mushroom is edible without really tasting of anything or any other strange effects. If enough of them are collected, they'll act as rations from a caloric standpoint, although they'll go bad unless dried and persistent reliance on them as a food source will lead to malnutrition (unless you are a goblin).

9: Kind of Tasty Actually - These taste pretty good and will taste even better if cooked in a soup, roasted or spread on toast. A pound of these will sell for 5gp (1-2), 10gp (3-4) or 30gp(6) to any inn/cook with high-end enough customers.

10-13: Poison! - Most of these mushrooms (1-3) will cause the character to vomit up everything in their stomach and expel everything below that, extremely violently, unless they Save vs. Poison (in which case they just yak up the mushroom itself). This will continue until the player makes a Save vs. Poison -- they are allowed one every 12 hours after the incident with a cumulative +1 bonus to the roll. Until the save is made the character is unable to eat and can only imbibe small amounts of clean water. They will be weak and unable to do much more than lie down and groan.

Some (4-5) will do more debilitating damage to your insides. Save vs. Poison -- a success means that you spit out/throw up the mushroom and only take 1D6 temporary damage to your Con. A successful further save, rolled weekly, will regain a single point. If the player fails the save, the damage is permanent and can only be regained through various magical means.

Aaaaaand some'll kill you (6). Save vs. Poison or some important organ gets liquified. If you make it, treat it the same as the moderately poisonous mushrooms.

14-16: Confusion - As per the spell as cast by a 5th level caster.

17-18: Prophetic Visions - The character is becomes a viewer to some sort of important event. Whether it's an invading army, witnessing the summoning of a powerful demon, something abstract and extra-planar, it's extremely vivid and unsettling. The character will have no idea whether it has already happened, is currently happening or is going to happen. The character will be out of it for 3-5 hours, although only the relatively brief vision will be memorable.

19: Magic Mushroom - Randomly pick a first-level magic-user spell, targeting the eater unless it's an offensive spell, in which case the eater knows the spell and has to cast it in the next three rounds. If you're feeling literary, skew the results to Enlarge/Shrink.

20: Spirit Quest - The character, either in their body or in the body of somebody else, finds themselves in another plane of existence. Maybe it's Fairyland, maybe it's Elysium, the Astral Plane, whatever. In any case, they're somewhere else entirely and there's some sort of mystical being chatting at them about what they need to do. Their regular body will appear to be in a coma to the rest of the party, although attempts to communicate with the character's soul/spirit will contact the character in their new existence. The rest of the party will experience the same result if they also eat the same mushrooms.

(If the roll is over 20, there is a 33% chance each that the result is either Prophetic Visions, Magic Mushroom or Spirit Quest. Roll/decide which would be more fun/would fit best with what you've got prepped.)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

In My Day We Had to Roll Uphill Both Ways

Jeff Rients had today, as usual, a concise and intriguing post, this time about the high HP totals of first-level characters in the ongoing playtest for the next edition of Dungeons and Dragons.

For the record, I agree with Mr. Rients and the commenter who noted that making 1st level characters fragile can suit both groups who wish to play that way and those who want their heroes to be a little more heroic, who can then have their characters start at a slightly higher level.

In the most recent Labyrinth Lord adventure I've run with my group, they decided to explore the cave that an ogre (that they had slain in a previous adventure) had been living in and discovered that there was a blocked-off entrance not far from the ogre's lair. After clearing the entrance and going in, they discovered a small goblin warband living in the caves, unaware that their old "back door" was now be accessed by a bunch of bloodthirsty adventurers.

I was mildly perturbed that the party, given this advantageous position, reacted to it by not using any elements of surprise or ambush and instead engaged in open combat with some of the goblins and then, after being decently clever with having the dwarf yell in Goblin to other members of the warband, decided to have an argument loud enough that they wound up being ambushed by the other goblins. They did get pretty lucky in that none of them died in the resulting melee before they wiped out the bulk of the goblins (although the only fighter with more than a handful of HP remaining is currently unconscious thanks to deciding to sample some of the goblin's mushroom harvest); however, they could very well have been wiped out or lost multiple party members.

I think the problem here is that none of the players are grognards in the sense that they've mostly played systems that allow players to be fairly basic in their combat tactics and survive, whereas in OD&D, I feel that it's expected that first level characters leverage things as much as they can -- to reference a genre trope, a first-level party should be the natural culmination of the Tucker's Kobolds strategy. Instead of having the goblins flank them from two sides and gain a surprise round to boot, the party should have been able to find a bottleneck, utilize rope, flaming oil, etc. to take out as much of the monsters as possible while taking minimal risks to their own safety, especially considering that they already had the goblins deceived.

So, the question becomes, do I let things continue in this vein and assume that having rolls not go their way will eventually cause them to become more cautious and devious in the future with the specter of death as the motivator? I think so, I just don't know how long it will take or at point it will become the better part of valor to find something that everybody enjoys playing (which is really the goal here*).

* - Which is not to say that I think people aren't enjoying themselves, just that I could see more death-laden adventures becoming quickly frustrating.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ghost Table oooOOOooo

This series of tables were originally going to be used with The Warrens random encounter table, as I wanted to emphasize the both the accretion of large amounts of time and the hostile/unnerving nature of the place.

Section 1 - Interaction w/Ghost(s)

1-2 Unaware
The ghost(s) involved in this haunting are unaware of the activities of the living and in fact cannot be interacted with. Generally they are re-enacting something, either a daily routine or whatever happened before their (probably untimely) demise. Go to Section 2.

3-6 Aware, Communicative
These ghosts are aware of the living, although they cannot interact physically with them. They can communicate with the living, although the method involved varies. Go to Section 3.

7-10 Aware, Interactive
This category covers ghosts who are aware of the living and can interact with them, this can mean attacking them although given how powerful ghosts can be, this is inadvisable if it can be avoided. Go to Section 3.

Section 2 - Unaware Ghosts

How Many?

1-3 Single Entity
The lone unaware entity is typically a soul that's forgotten or hasn't realized that they're dead. They are usually seen going through some sort of daily activity or routine, even if the architecture around them has changed.

4-9 Multiple Entities (2-4)
Multiple ghosts encountered at the same time, reenacting a death of one of the entities -- betrayals, assassinations of important figures and similar situations tend to create these hauntings.

10 Tableau (8-18)
This rare situation involves a multitude of ghosts, almost always reenacting a scene of incredible violence or tragedy. The tableau generally appears on the anniversary or at the time of day that the
original event occurred.


1-9 Translucent
The ghost(s) are some level of transparent, usually with a slight glowing effect.

10 Corporeal
The ghost(s) will appear to be fully material, although any attempts to interact with them physically will involve objects/limbs going through them. If somebody puts their limb inside a ghost, they will experience a cold numbness and a feeling of dread. If they persist, they must make a save against Spells/Will Save to avoid being possessed by the ghost in question. The ghost may not initiate contact and must allow the player to withdraw.

Section 3 - Aware Ghosts

How Many?

1. For whatever reason, I feel like these should be solitary encounters. Change if you want!


1-3 Invisible
These ghosts have no physical form, at least not visible. Mayhap they can be seen on the Ethereal Plane.

4-9 Translucent

10 Fully Corporeal
Appears to be a regular person until touched -- rules for possession are the same as above.


1-3 Charades
This ghost can't communicate except for acting things out, pointing at things, etc. If you rolled Invisible above, congratulations, you got yourself a Poltergeist, who will communicate by knocking things over, throwing things at the players, writing creepy messages on walls, etc.

4-10 Speech
Ghost will give dire warnings, spout obscure forecasts, complain about lack of respect, deride fashion choices, etc.


Roll yr standard reaction and/or roleplay out the encounter, here's a little table to make the latter a little easier:

Ghost's Desires

1-5 Revenge
6-7 Deliver a Message (Tell Hossfoss that the family silver is underneath the fireplace)
8-9 Set Things Right (I couldn't do this, now you can do it for me)
10 Insane

Example Ghost: Aware, Interactive Ghost - Translucent, Communicates through Charades, Wants to Set Things Right -- The combination of the latter two aspects should make for an entertaining encounter, especially if the ghost wants to do something sufficiently abstract, like interfere with the succession for a minor title...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Heroes of Weaverham: The Second Venturing

Let it be known that on this most recent Foolsday, a group of honorable and brave adventurers did sign on with Drask of the Trade Syndicate in an effort to ensure that a caravan of leather goods and other sundries reached the trading post in Larm after a spate of recent bandit attacks upon that route South of Weaverham. Let their names be recorded here for posterity:

Forest Woodtwig, of the Aspleaf Woodtwigs
Olin, of the mysterious past and mysterious lack of whatever had just been put down nearby
Brother Dudebro, helping the needy of Weaverham in chilling out and getting a little mellow through the word of Chad
and Hankella, the hairy swordsman from nowhere that anybody's been able to find out yet
                    - as well as her archer/private dancer, Brazz

We all greatly hope that they return to Weaverham victorious and largely unscathed.

In possibly unrelated news, Gazzik the Woodsman reported his hounds baying while travelling South of Hay Bale and leading him to a grisly scene just south of the New Bridge, where a cloud of ravens dispersed, revealing ten naked bodies scattered around the road, each with their throat cut, head smashed in or heart pierced. Such evidence highly suggests the work of rogue wizards or possibly wandering demons loosed upon the wilderness by those who have taken leave of their sanity. Citizens are urged to stay indoors during the night and keep their tithes regular.