Saturday, November 18, 2023

d100 - Wondrous Wands & Ensorcelled Staffs

When it comes to Wands and Staffs, I have always preferred the ones that are a bit more unique than just the standard “single purpose” Spell-Slot-Saver. Like most Magical Things, I love it when they have a little bit of Lore or Background associated with them and tend to tailor their Powers and Abilities to this when I can. Another feature I enjoy is when they present the occasional tough choice in terms of Charges. As a finite source of Magic, they are a terrific opportunity to introduce Magics that are not found in the typical Tomes and Lists without worrying about these finding their way into a Wizard’s Grimoire for use in perpetuity (unlike Scrolls or enemy Spellbooks, depending on Transcription permissiveness). A considerable number of the Powers below lean into this more than a little.

The Encircled Numbers are included as an optional guideline of sorts. I tend to avoid Wands and Staffs that serve as just a “one-trick-pony” and enjoy when they open up some additional choices to the user. They could represent the Charge Cost for a given Effect (useful for cultivating careful usage or difficult decisions). Charged Items are one of the few places I do not mind Usage Die as much, because of the unpredictability they create with unquantifiable things (and multiple, successive rolls can be nail-biting!). As another option, these could instead represent a minimum Character Level to evoke a particularly powerful ability if you enjoy it when Magical Items “grow” with a particular character over time. The “Zeroes” might even provide for use by other Character Types (it is always fun to give them a spot of Magic now and then), or only be available provided the Wand still contains charges.

The inset Reaction Table is just another little wrinkle that came to mind whilst I was working on this one. Making Magical Items occasionally more volatile in this way memorializes some of the great fun we had with things like Potion Miscibility in the past. It did unfortunately lead to some slightly less interesting entries to accommodate it, but I figure since those are a third of the “Name of the Game,” they are worth sacrificing a few extra rows.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

d100 - Magical Robes & Raiment

Time to polish off another Magic Item Post! These are always really fun to produce and this time we’re focusing a little bit more on remarkable robes and other grand garments. While some might be more useful to a particular Character Type or Class, the form they can take is always adjustable should it make more sense to gird those heroes in something less ostentatious like a Tunic or Tabard.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

d100 - Benevolent Blessings & Gainful Growth

Serving as a bit of an “opposite” to my Magical Mishaps & Calamitous Curses table, the following entries are geared more toward those “good things” that can befall or be bestowed upon a Character. Some games even completely eschew conventional “Level Based” advancement for these types of boons acquired through Play. I hear it referred to sometimes as “Diegetic Advancement” or “Foreground Growth” and it has always been a pretty major part of my games.

I felt it might be useful to have some ideas at hand for when this might come up. Whether it’s due to Praying at/Restoring a mysterious Lost Shrine, a cavalier quaff from a Magical Pool, honoring a Bargain with the Fickle but Fair Folk, or even as the object and reward of a bespoken Quest to seek out a specific ability, it’s unconventional improvements like these that can really make a Character more memorable over time.

As always, feel free to season the Durations or Potency of these to your taste or table. Some were written as more ephemeral in nature but could easily be made permanent instead if that is to your liking. Others might work better if they were limited somewhat or come with a Price or perhaps a Risk. For additional ideas, I do sometimes just peruse my Magic Item tables and think of ways to apply some of those abilities to a Character directly, instead of an item.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

d100 - Tells for the Impavid Potion Taster

Magical Potions and Dweomered Draughts are a time-honored tradition in these games. I like to provide some minor Clues to their Function to occasionally reward the very brave that dare to take a sip to test them (or the Hapless Hireling convinced to Guinea Pig).

Here are a hundred ideas for some hints for some common and not so common Elixirs. These, coupled with consistent Potion Colors, Smells, and even Flavors, can sometimes make this process a bit of a game in itself for when a suitable Specialist or amenable Alchemist is unavailable. I usually make the effects of these tentative tastes very temporary, and relatively benign. I suppose if one squints, this table could also be repurposed for the side-effects of drugs or other intoxicants as well.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

d100 - Troubadour Tales & Bardic Ballads

The travelling Troubadour is a wonderful way to dispense Rumors and Information. Sometimes they even find themselves within Party Rosters as a Class or Character Type. But what are all those tales and tunes about?

Here’s a quick d100 Table to determine the subject matter and performance styles of some of the stories or serenades a Party may find themselves hearing.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

d100 – Demi-Planes & Pocket Realms

I’ve always been quite fond of placing Magical Portals leading to other Places and Planes in my games. During the Higher Levels of Play (usually post-Domain Tier) Planar Adventuring can be very enjoyable and sometimes necessary to accomplish certain things. It often reignites some of the excitement of the Dungeon Tier: Travel is often hampered or restricted in some way and those precious Resources begin to matter once more. The Environment might be more Hostile or inimical to life from the Prime. Wonder and Danger can lurk around every corner/with every jaunt.

But these Planes need not all be such monolithic and grand places to peregrinate to. I’m very fond of the highly specific, smaller places (some might be only every be explored briefly or may only be a few “Hexes” across in terms of scope) often sought out to achieve very specific goals or tasks, or inadvertently stumbled upon on the way to somewhere more substantial or through misadventure.

Here are a Hundred Ideas for these smaller Planes to sprinkle within your cosmological framework. These could be destinations for those Mysterious Magical Gates, or even only possible to visit in less conventional ways. Some even beg me to be flesh them out further into more fully-fledged Troika-like Spheres! It can be quite perplexing and mysterious how these Places end up working in terms of their wider implications, but I tend not to break my brain over such things and leave that as an exercise for the Players to unravel 😊.

Friday, August 18, 2023

d100 – Magical Marginalia

Often coming as a Surprise, by default in some earlier presentations (like B/X) transcribing Spells from captured Enemy Spellbooks isn’t part of the Rules. This omission might seem a little strange (because it would quickly become more codified and taken for granted later) and sometimes stand out as a bit of a Proud Nail in terms of Spell Acquisition. Although a lot of Referees endeavor to graft this onto their games anyway, I always try to make sure that these types of Treasures have other interesting content, above and beyond a lovely list of new Spells a Magic User can add to their Repertoire to make them still worth lugging back to safety for later, more thorough examinations.

Here’s a table that expands upon this a bit. By placing a little lagniappe in these ledgers, they sometimes become useful Treasures in their own right, or at the very least become more memorable to the Players. Building a Library is a fruitful Downtime Activity that some Magic Users choose to pursue after all, and often this can add some intrinsic Value to an otherwise non-descript Spellbook. Sometimes these might still require that requisite Read Magic to decipher their function of course, but I love the idea of Spellbooks that contain more than just Spells: Functioning as a Workbook/Journal/Commonplace Book for the owner as well, conveying a little personality or odd habits/interests that they might have possessed.



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