Tuesday, January 19, 2021

One Hundred Holy Symbols

Here is a quick table for if you ever get put on the spot having to come up with a Holy Symbol or other assorted religious iconography. It can be fun sometimes to “work backwards” when establishing what a given ideology stands for based on its symbolism. Always arm Acolytes accordingly and give those Clerics something specific to clutch!

Friday, January 8, 2021

One Hundred Grimoires

With the defeat of every Wicked Wizard the party dutifully begins rifling through any present worldly possessions, but the savvy Magic-User will invariably turn their avaricious eyes to any tomes or codices.

It’s understandable: In some versions of the game, acquisition of these mystical texts becomes the primary way in which Magic Users expand their repertoires. When situating these Spellbooks in their respective shelves or happy hoards, considerable time and care may be given to enumerating what they contain, but sometimes only a cursory effort is devoted to describing the lore-full librams themselves.

As an unabashed bibliophile, I figured it might be fun if there were more to these tempting tomes and grandiloquent grimoires than just rattling off an iterative Table of Contents! Here are a hundred ideas for embellishing these Books a bit above and beyond just the exciting new sorceries a caster can sear into their skull:

Similar to my d100 tables for Unusual Magic Swords and Unconventional Potions, there’s a bit of potential here for the kind of creative problem solving I like to encourage in my Players. It could also be amusing to make a roll on this table part of Character Generation for new Magic Users to give them something distinctive and help foster the feeling that magic is wonderful and weird.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

One Hundred Magic Missiles

Magic Missile is a popular first level spell in virtually all editions, but I have always found it to grow a little monotonous over time. I often encourage my players to come up with a “signature” look and feel for their sorcerous projectiles. Just a little bit of ornamentation and embellishment over the frightfully dull “glowing arrow” default.

Since it always hits (except in that wonderfully quirky Holmes), and engenders no Saving Throw it’s a wonderful candidate for “Never Name Your Spell” in the hands of wicked Wizards and malevolent Magic Users. But how should one describe it to preserve this mystery?

Here is a d100 Table to help. A hundred entries that you can roll or choose from to give our old stand-by a bit of a makeover. These should usually be treated as strictly cosmetic of course (unless you think it would be fun not to), with the actual evocation behaving as we have grown to expect over the years. After all, 1d6+1 can be re-skinned in uncounted ways.

Friday, November 13, 2020

More Mountain Hexes IV

It is Friday! Here are five more Mountain Hexes! (part of my Wilderness Hexes project). We have made it to 40, so I might take a detour into the Swamps for a chance of scenery.

Browse the hexes tag on this blog for more.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Voronoi Diagrams and the City Crawl

I tend to prefer using Voronoi Tesselations/Diagrams for my Urban Adventures/City Crawls instead of the traditional Grids or Hex Maps. They just feel more organic to me, and can really capture how sometimes it takes longer to move from one dense/crowded/difficulty planned area to another. Distances are seldom in a straight line in Cities, and it's easy to get turned around or lost in an unfamiliar Urban Center without a Guide. I dislike relying as much on measuring out precise distances these days, instead preferring to think of navigating Cities more in terms of resource consumption and procedural checks.

Unlike in a Standard Dungeon, Food/Water/Light should be relatively easy or at hand (provided the characters are not utterly destitute) so the resources we’re dealing with are generally TIME and MONEY. TIME to meet deadlines assocaited with hooks/rumors/adventure, and MONEY paid to Guides or for Information to reduce TIME. As the old adage goes: They are often one in the same. Also throwing another wrench in the works are Produral Checks: Bad Weather, Encounters, and other unusual Events that can breathe life into an area (a neighborhood wide Celebration clogging the streets, Hue and Cry from a Crime udnerway, etc.)

Here’s a quick way to generate a Voronoi City Map for a Crawl that produces something like this:

First, locate a map you like or create one. The example above uses this twitter account: https://twitter.com/metropologeny

(you can generally right click on an image here, and “Open in a New Tab” to obtain a URL to use in the next step).

Next, go here: http://cfbrasz.github.io/Voronoi.html

Paste the URL from the twitter account in the “Display Image with URL” box. Then, if you prefer, you can use your mouse to place points and divide the map into districts/neighborhoods/sections/quarters, or if your lazy, you can uncheck the “Update diagram on mouse move” check box, and then place a number in the Add box and click Generate until you see something that looks interesting or usable.

I like going with “20” sites, for ease of randomization with our handy, ubiquitous icosahedron, but for sparser/denser maps other site amounts might work a little better.

And there you have it: Fairly quick Voronoi City Crawl Map!

You can number the sites (those dots make them a little easier to identify), whip together some Exciting/Evocative Smells, some interesting NPCs with Professions that can help you intuit the primary shops or industry of an area, or perhaps a City Dweller Event as a “hook” or ongoing item of interest, and tailor a few Encounter/Event Tables to the different regions to give it some real flavor and flair. You could even stock them like Dungeon Rooms (Encounter, Hazard, Treasure, etc.) with some judicious reskinning.

I am very tempted to start working on a few more Tables that can help with Urban Crawls. One can never have enough random inspiration to cut down on tedious preparation!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Return of the Mountain Hexes II

Decided to dust off my Wilderness Hexes project and continue climbing towards 100 for each Terrain-type. Here are five more Mountain Hexes!

Here's a brief breakdown of what's in this draft:

  • An Intriguing Religious Ruin
  • A Well-Earned Scenic Vista
  • Blanched, Barrow-Like Crags
  • A Humongous Hermit
  • A Meeting of Massive Waterfalls

Browse the hexes tag on this blog for more.

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