Thursday, December 30, 2021

Seasonal Weather (d20, d100, or Choose)

Around these parts (and in a shockingly large number of other areas), the saying “If you don’t like the Weather wait five minutes and it’ll change” is a common saying (insert another time as applicable). I sometimes find that the focus on Weather sometimes veers away from the flavorful and more of a tad to the mechanical in terms of how it’s implemented at tables. If we’re very fortunate, we might get a word or so of description (Rain, Snow, Sunny, etc.), while most of the wordcount is dedicated to various negative impacts they have on Travel and the Player Characters.

I feel that Good Weather should be as good as Bad Weather is bad, and don’t like to pass up an opportunity to toss in some additional descriptors. Rather than just creating more penalties/bonuses to track, I usually have Weather interface with procedures. Encounter Distance/Visibility is a big one, but so is Foraging/Hunting (resources), and even Travel Times themselves. The Weather can make folks grumpy or even more predisposed to parley (Reaction Rolls). Awful Weather can ding Morale/Loyalty of certain Monsters and soldiery as well, just as auspicious skies might have the opposite effect. And of course, there’s always the narrative considerations of a puddle-strewn battlefield or sodden or wonderfully dry firewood as well. I could Talk About The Weather for ages.

So here are a hundred ways to embellish the meteorological goings on in your worlds. These tables can be utilized by Season with a d20 or randomized completely with a d100. There are even twenty especially strange ones that might crop up from time to time and spice things up even more.

Naturally, I may find myself revisiting this a bit. I’d like to finish about 16 more entries for each, so that I can map it to the d66, and then allow these tables to leveraged with my standard “Reaction Roll with the Sky” that I tend to start a Travel Day with (reading the 2d6 as “tens” and “ones” for that delicious double-duty. This will probably work in a similar way to my Wilderness Vignettes 😊.

Monday, December 20, 2021

d100 - Random Rules & Rulings

House Rules are such lovely little things, they seem to crop up in play at every table I game with. The best kinds really seem to be the ones that are developed in play with player buy-in rather than those enshrined into the game before play begins. Some of my favorites seem to parthenogenerate in the moment, in response to specific situations.

So, here’s a table with a hundred, hand-picked, House Rules/Rulings, quite a few of which have seen at least a degree of play at my tables over the years (even if for only a one-shot or so). Some are stalwart favorites, that re-occur whenever prior players re-convene for a new game, whilst others are probably best considered strange smelling by-products of tinkering and experimentation. Still others might just seem like a good idea on paper or wholly preposterous to some Referees, and a few just stem from flagrant misinterpretations (or worse: strict readings shiver) we had in the very early days of the hobby without the benefit of oral tradition or online communities to codify play a certain way.

I suppose if you’ve ever had the perverse urge to quite literally “roll your own” version of those older Fantasy Adventure Games, this could be just the ticket. I know I’d be curious to see how that turned out 😊.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

d100 - So You Didn't Make It Out Of The Dungeon...

When it comes to Dungeons, I tend to prefer the more Mythic Underworld approach. Dungeons are terrifying places, where the normal rules of reality can be upended on a whim and are wont to defy the players’ expectations. Dungeons are an organism, and They are quick to mobilize Their immune systems to deal with any foreign bodies.

Sleeping in a Dungeon isn’t recommended. These are already liminal spaces, just like that fluttery moment before you drift off, and falling asleep here provides an easy means of ingress for the Dungeon’s Agenda. This is to say nothing of the fact that it’s bound to be fraught with fitful stops and starts and ultimately unrestful in the first place: with Wandering Monsters keeping everyone on edge and resources dwindling stressfully and steadily over the course of these longer blocks of time. If you must attempt sleep whilst still in the Dungeon, take great care.

Even worse for me though is the mere thought of becoming Lost within a Dungeon. The longer you remain and manage to survive, the more you open yourself up to the changes that They can exert on reality. Like it or not, you can become a part of these spaces the longer you spend in Them.

So, here’s a d100 Table for what happens when someone doesn’t make it out right away. I suppose some of these might also fit the bill for other kinds of Calamitous Curses and such with a skosh of reskinning. I tend to make it clear that all is not lost however, for there should always be provisions or a method to overcome these, especially if this might be tied to further adventures.

CW: For mild body horror, some intimations of mental illness/PTSD, and just general awfulness. Planning forays accordingly might just help one avoid these horrid fates.

Monday, December 6, 2021

d100 Unusual Thief Ablities

This post from the Doomslakers blog inspired me to finally put the finishing touches on one of the d100 Tables I’ve been adding entries to on-and-off for a while now. I previously touched a bit on the suggested boost via DEX Score in this ancient post (even suggesting some optional Scores to prevent DEX from getting more “top heavy”), but the primary portion of the post that this pertains here are those delicious “Additional Skills.” I too have noticed that the standard collection of Thief Special Abilities seems almost little too “Dungeon-centric” and by the time the game begins to transition into the later Tiers of Play (Wilderness Exploration, Domain Management), the role of the Thief Class can gradually begin to metamorphose somewhat. Sometimes, they seem to fulfill a more “Ranger” or “Scout” role in the Wilderness, and of course, Domain play is greatly improved by factional intrigues, spying, and sabotage.

So, here’s a d100 Table of Unusual Thief Abilities that might appeal to some Players and Referees. There’s a lot of different ways to handle acquisition of these. Random rolls (or choices) on level advancement could be interesting, as could making these “unlockable” through admission to Guilds or by acquiring specialized Contacts/Mentors for Training. Allowing a Thief to “substitute” one or more of their Standard Special Abilities for a table entry below might also allow for some intriguing Class Customization options (useful for differentiation within parties that feature multiple Thieves, a bit like my First Level Spell Features for Magic Users). One could even simply peruse the List for inspiration for fun new tactics and hijinks to attempt.

As with all Thief Abilities, my primary method of adjudicating these remains largely unchanged: I tend to assume Competency and only require a roll if there are stakes involved or if failure is interesting. My usual “mental checklist” for Open Locks still applies: Given enough time, adequate environmental factors (good lighting), and the proper tools, a Thief can Pick just about any Non-Magical Lock. It’s only when one of those factors isn’t present (as is usually the case in a Dungeon: Picking a Lock whilst Bugbears break down a barricaded Door, in flickering Torch Light, using a fish bone, etc.) that rolling to determine success really comes up in my games.

It's also vital to remember that many of these could also represent tasks and activities that can be performed by any Adventurer or Class (which would probably be handled through a more standardized, less level-based resolution mechanic), Thieves that have the Special Ability or Skill just have better chances of succeeding or mitigate their consequences for failure a bit more than someone who doesn’t have the necessary knowledge, knack, training, or luck 😊.

I’ve provided some loose suggestions for which Ability Progression one might utilize to track advancement with these more unconventional approaches, but I’d be just as likely to leverage that lovely Turn Undead Table (a method of resolution which “solves” some of my issues with the d100 rolls).

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Monster Character Class Options

Here’s something I’ve been adding to sporadically: A collection of Monster Character Classes (along with atrocious art by yours truly!). These should be usable with BECMI or B/X (and the other assorted games that treat Demihumans as separate Classes) without much tinkering.

So far, we have the Arenea, Living Statue, Harpy, Gnoll, Tortoisefok, Flutterlings, and the Lizard Man. I have been tempted to go through one of my favorites, the venerable Creature Catalog, and craft some Classes for each of the stranger sentient beings in there.

Open to any suggestions of other Monsters that you might like to see given this sort of treatment!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

d100 Familiar Features

Familiars are fun. For my games I generally allow a Magic User that wishes to begin play with one to simply to drop a die from their starting 3d6x10 for gold. This die serves double duty as the Familiar’s HP.

Usually they’re treated as fairly mundane animals/pets (unless the Magic User has a First Level Spell Feature that applies to them), maybe a little more clever (smart as a Chimpanzee is generally a good guideline), but usually they’re just a bit of flavor, or potentailly a useful tool that might be useful situationally to solve a very specific problem. Since they’re hard to replace and fragile though, this makes them fairly bad fits as scouts and trap-springers, so I often caution the players to be careful with them.

But sometimes and in some settings it’s more interseting to give them some special abilities.

So here’s a list of One Hundred Familiar Features for inspiration. Perhaps the Magic User uses Magic Reasearch to unlock these secrets (time and money), or maybe they gain new features in play. I suppose you could even have one unlock randomly every few levels the Familiar survives as a tacit encouragement to be careful with those little critters.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Monster Miens by Type

Here is a table with some Monster Miens, inspired by the lovely Troika! Method of attaching a tiny table to the denizens of adventures in order to give them a little personality. While I adore the ones that are bespoke for each individual creature, I figured it might be useful to have something like this in a slightly more generic form.

It uses the d12, because that die seems unloved and rather lonely. It is ostensibly arranged to work alongside the standard 2d6 Reaction Roll if you wish (although those results will be weighed accordingly). Still mulling over a more extensive “d36” one that directly interfaces directly with some of the dice metadata for that lovely table.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Updated Quick Equipment & Encumbrance Sheet

Here’s a bit of a blast from the past. I decided to give a little refresh to my old Quick Equipment & Encumbrance Sheet because it’s still turning out to be useful for various games I’m running.

As before, the chief purpose is to cut down on the time-consuming “Shopping Trip” portion of Character Generation, but still preserve some player choice in how they outfit their characters that goes a bit beyond the more comprehensive “kits.” There are some tricky choices baked in, but I if you wanted to speed things up even more, you can always just have the players roll 6d12 (but I’ve found this tends to lead to a lot of table time spent “swapping” sometimes). With a few quick checkmarks/highlighters the adventurers are ready to go, with all of their Equipment on a single handy sheet.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

d100 Terrible Toxins & Vile Venoms

Despite the ubiquitous presence of Poisons (my inner pedant nearly always perks up to mention that these are more accurately referred to as Venoms when it comes to monster attacks) I have never been terribly fond of just inflicting Hit Point Damage, a persistent (and often conveniently disremembered) penalty to rolls, or even that sainted staple of old-school play: Instant Death for these types of attacks.

Those may still occasionally appear as consequences, but I typically prefer these types of harm to linger a bit longer, create interesting challenges for the characters to overcome, and introduce another delicious layer of tension to the situation. For particularly dastardly critters, these sometimes can occur even on a “successful” Saving Throw.

I suppose some of the more physiologically improbable entries could serve as Calamitous Curses as well in a pinch, and I heartily encourage providing options for miraculous cures and treatments (driven by adventure generally of course). Perhaps some of these Herbs & Plants might be just what the Cunning Folk ordered?

So as promised during some of my d100 Encounter Activities, I went ahead and put together a table with One Hundred sometimes squicky ideas for giving these types of attacks a little more bite.

This table comes with a Content Warning for what I feel might qualify as mild Body Horror, because it is surprisingly tricky to explore these kinds of effects without a soupçon of the gruesome.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

d100 Equipment with Coin, Weight, Slot Encumbrance

Below is a d100 table to speed up generating Equipment and calculating Encumbrance. There seem to be three primary measurements favored these days Coins, Pounds, and “Slots.” Encumbrance Tracking is a highly subjective process, that varies from table to table of course. I’ve always been partial to coins (making it an even more “universal” unit that dovetails with spending and advancement) but do sometimes need to adjudicate raw weight (in pounds) and enjoy the occasional abstract “slot” based system as well.

So, I’ve endeavored to provide a tool that attempts to conveniently relate these different methods. As a bonus, if you find yourself in need of a random piece of equipment, it might be useful for generating that with a quick d100.

Should you notice anything glaringly out of line, please feel free to let me know!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Wilderness Encounter Vignette Tables

Here’s something a little different! In my pursuit of repurposing/recycling those Procedural Rolls to have them do “double-duty” I came up with some tables for what I have nicknamed “Wilderness Encounter Vignettes.” These are almost a bit like TROIKA! Miens to flavor an Encounter Area or Place.

Basically, the intent is to leverage some metadata from some of those 2d6 rolls we frequently make for things like Surprise, Encounter Distance, and Reaction Rolls in the form of d66 (or d36, or d6xd6) tables that provide a little additional dressing to “set a stage” so to speak. Just use two different colored dice for these rolls (or pick one of the two entries if you prefer) and consult the table for the general character of the region. You could even trigger these types of descriptions on a “failed” Wandering Monster check, or to just quickly generate some minor details to add to a Campsite or Journey to make things a little more memorable. You could even use these to create some Landmarks to aid the Players with future Navigation.

These are getting a more granular breakdown than my typical Wilderness Hexes Terrain types but could easily be used in conjunction with them. I will be adding more Terrains as the mood strikes me (maybe for a total of 15-20), but until then I hope you find them useful.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

d100 Magic Bows

Here are another hundred ideas for slaying those sometimes un-inspiring “only plus” possessing weapons. This time I decided to take aim at those Magical Bows.

See also: d100 Magic Blades and d100 Magic Shields.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

d100 Jewelry Generator

I always tend to try to apply a little additional detail to treasures I place. Nothing pleases me more than seeing a Player wrestle with a difficult decision between pawning or proudly sporting an interesting adornment. I find that adding a smidgen of embellishment to these baubles can not only help make them more memorable, but it can sometimes help encourage these situations.

So I put together a table to help with those hanker-worthy hoards. Here are a hundred ideas for dressing up different types of jewelry and other assorted precious objects to sprinkle within those glittering heaps of treasure:

If you’d like to view some sample output, or prefer digital tools, here is an online generator I whipped up as well:

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

d100 Magic Shields

Sometimes a simple numerical bonus just doesn’t seem sufficiently Magical to me or my Players, so to serve as a convenient companion to a prior table (d100 Magic Blades) here is one with One Hundred Ensorcelled Shields!

Monday, February 1, 2021

One Hundred Holy Taboos

Most older editions keep the tenants of Alignment, Clergy, and Religion almost maddeningly vague. This tends to have a somewhat homogenizing effect on Clerics, often leaning into some somewhat uninspiring implications of monotheism.

I prefer Pantheons & Polytheism for my Holy Wonder-Workers, and one easy way I’ve found to encourage this in games of the Older School is to assign each Spell in the Cleric Spell List a different Deity: so the Prayer Resist Cold is granted by Aldor the Unfeeling, while if one recites the Hymn that grants Light one finds oneself beseeching Eyeless Labha for aid. Each God or Daemon, Spirit or Numen, Totem or Tutelary grants a different Prayer (you can even start small with just 8 apiece and have this gradually grow over time...you have that whole first level after all 😊). Eight seems to be a pretty good number of petty Gods to begin with, and the less they like each other, the better generally.

Each of these divine beings, however, tends to ask for something in return as a show of dedication, faith, or furtherance of their sometimes-inscrutable causes. These can take the form of Taboos that must be followed or deeds that must be performed prior to petitioning them again. I find it seems to work better to work “backwards” rather than apply the proscription up front, and it is certainly sometimes more interesting if it has to inform behavior after the fact.

Sometimes the strictures are fairly finite (do the thing and you’ve appeased them), other times they can last a little longer. One good rule of thumb might be continued compliance for 1 day per level of the Prayer granted perhaps. Break Taboo? This might prevent selection of that spell until proper atonement is performed, or a level is gained. I tend to skin the Edged Weapon Prohibition common to all Clerics as the Taboo that allows them to Turn Undead.

So here is a table of One Hundred to get you started. I sometimes generate these on the fly during play with the Cleric making a note for the future (but sometimes Faith is more fluid and fickler, and what worked once is no longer enough, etc.). It is interesting how the accumulated Taboos can sometimes somewhat contradict, requiring some clever interpretation or tough choices.

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.

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