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).



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