Saturday, April 16, 2022

d100 - Modern Pocket Finds

Just a quick table that I was reminded of today going through my folders. I believe I whipped this up for another Referee in need quite some time ago, but after giving it another gander and thought it might be of use to others.

Kind of a contemporary counterpart to my Random Impedimenta. Might also be useful for post-apocalyptic games or ones set in slightly older historical periods, as there is a whiff of anachronism in some of these. These days most of my tables are geared toward Fantasy, but even in that context I’ll admit to sometimes sprinkling in the occasional item from this as an intriguing/puzzling out-of-place artifact or a teaspoon dosage of gonzo. I always endeavor to render the trinket via a description rather than name it though in these situations 😊

Friday, April 15, 2022

d100 - Convenient Cantrips or Minor Magics

Now and again, I come across Referees considering Cantrips as a way of adding a little bit more Magic to their Spellcasters. These are a sometimes-contentious subject because some implementations result in these abilities interfering with or obviating interesting parts of play such as Resource Management. Another common issue sometimes has to do more with Setting conceits, and how they can sometimes transmogrify something treasured or rare into a thing much more mundane or humdrum.

But take heart! Not all sorceries need be showy ones, and the wonder these sorts of “special effects” can evoke can sometimes add more than they subtract from play if we are just a little scrupulous in how they function. When I use these, I like to make sure that there are a few rupestrian rulings communicated to the other players up front, such as:

  • Creative applications are always encouraged, but keep in mind the following limitations:
    • These are Magics that are incapable of producing lasting harm
    • The are Effects that are ephemeral in nature: usually unable to effect permanent change
    • These Crave a measured and controlled Environment (the chaos of a combat situation is often inimical to them)
    • Should you find yourself in doubt, ask instead of assuming. We can try to close gaps or decide with a roll.

Another concern that some Referee’s have revolves around frequency or metering these effects. While I don’t find grafting additional “Slots” or “Levels” atop the existing ones to be a very interesting or elegant solution for this, that’s certainly an option. Tying success to a Check or Roll (especially one that escalates as more are evoked) might work with a bit less book-keeping (potentially with something like a Usage Die governing depletion, the power could be considered quantum after all). The eminently versatile Turn Undead table (with HD being “number cast today”) can also be remarkably recycled as a solution for this. Do bear in mind that some of the entries have their own unusual, built-in, limiters as well though and sometimes these might be sufficient.

When I delved into this prior with my First Level Spell Features a common limiter that I leaned on was “having a specific Spell Prepared.” This makes for an additional, interesting choice for the Caster to contend with sometimes. Occasionally a Cantrip Effect positively proclaims its association with an existing Spell, but others might be a little fuzzier concerning the company they should keep. The dependable “Zippo Cantrip” provided you have Fireball prepared comes to mind. I would prefer not to have my Magic Users have to wait until Fifth Level to avail themselves of this trick though, so it is definitely something that can be seasoned to taste. I suppose one would need to attach each effect to a pertinent (or even random!) Spell on acquisition, as some of the ones below are not as obvious with their allegiances. Or one could simply consider “any spell prepared” to be sufficient for this requirement. I will leave an explicit “how many do they get” up to the individual Referee however, because that is something that seems highly tailored to taste. One option I’ve used before has been 1 + (4 - HP) for those initial outlays (with others uncoverable in play naturally).

Even if more bells and whistles for your Wonder Workers isn’t something you’re interested in, these might make mighty fine “Minor Magical Item Features” as well. Tacking one or two of these onto an item that previously consisted of purely mechanical contrivance is often a fantastic way to make those treasures more treasured and Magic Items feel more Magical, which is something I am obvious fond of (see prior tables where I’ve done this a hundred times each for Blades, Bows, Shields, Footwear, and such).

Always interested in hearing about any implementations that have brought fun to your table!

Thursday, April 14, 2022

d100 - Marvelous Mushrooms & Tantalizing Toadstools

Yesterday it was pointed out to me that I had been remiss with providing a Random Table for generating Mushrooms/Toadstools, which is indeed a tragedy considering how fond I am of sprinkling “fun” fungi as Resources and Hazards within my Wilderness Adventures. So, I aimed to rectify this oversight post-haste by moving this Table to the top of the dev pile (where in all fairness, it sprouted with almost uncanny swiftness).

These can be used in conjunction with my venerable Herb & Plant Generator, and although the Name-stems are intended to be used to generate new and unusual Local Common Names, you can just as easily read across if swiftness is required and treat this more like a standard d100 table. I often like a quick name for flavoring Foraging Results as “You found some Edible Mushrooms” is just so frightfully bland.

Use your best judgement to determine an appropriate randomizer if you find yourself in need of a “Number Appearing” (I'm rather fond of 2d6 with "Doubles Add and Roll Again" most of the time, but you could also randomize the die type to use with a quick d8: d4 through d100.) I prefer to heavily festoon some places in evocative fungi as a mood-enhancer, but a few of these are probably best when more precious and significantly rarer. If not expressly edible, and you find yourself in need of a nastier consequence for the foolhardy consumer, there is always my Terrible Toxins & Vile Venoms Table as well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

d100 - One Hundred Horses

Growing up around Horses, how I use them in these games might be one of my vernacular tells. One of those little things that I always seem to do, despite what the system might say. When I was younger, I had the privilege of spending some of my Summers with these animals, grooming, riding, but mostly I remember mucking out intolerably mephitic and sweltering Stables for extra pocket money (some of which even went to Roleplaying Game Books!).

Horses can be incredibly frustrating and thick-headed creatures, or remarkably patient and even helpful. Some are tender and kind, others are just plain mean to anything that walks on two feet or four. Getting to gradually know them over time, you soon learn little peculiarities and peccadillos that might not be obvious at first glance. Each one ends up progressively distinguishing themselves from the others with their own eccentricities and personalities.

In the games I Referee, I recognize that I tend to make Horses more expensive both to purchase and to maintain in addition to equipping them with quirks. Whilst they can naturally graze on grass or hay for sustenance, this isn’t a way to keep them in top form or fit. Granted, much of my experience is informed by my time with the more Athletic variety: the wealthy ranchers that supplemented my Summer spending money played an awful lot of Polo and were into the more thoroughly bred and rather babied beasts. They kept a high-priced herd of them, with a lot of rotating customers to have to contend with, and each needed to be fed their peculiar diets and put through paces for exercise.

So, here’s a table you could use to make these mounts more meaningful. I tend to insist on names (if the players don’t leap to the opportunity to do this themselves, there’s a significant portion of them that seem to love obtaining “pets” after all) and I like them to possess distinctive dispositions and memorable temperaments to further set them apart from just another piece of Gear. Not all the traits below are beneficial, but sometimes that’s what you end up saddled with 😊.

Monday, April 11, 2022

d100 - This Shield Spell Appears As...

See Also: One Hundred Magic Missiles

Oftentimes I like to encourage any Magic-Users to tailor the appearance of their dweomers a bit: Customizing them by Caster for a little individuality. I often find myself doing this for Foes to keep the other players on their toes as well. The rather generic description of the Shield Spell is one that I felt could use a little sprucing now-and-then. Invisible fields of force might still function of course, but it seems like a missed opportunity to make that Magic less monotonous and a little more Magical. 😊

Here are a hundred ideas for dressing up those defensive spells. This is solely intended to serve as a dollop of fluff and flavor of course...Unless?

Sunday, April 10, 2022

d100 - Why is Garlic so Stinking Expensive?

Here is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek diversion from what might be considered slightly more useful Random Tables. It has always been extremely interesting to me how the standard Equipment lists in these games do so much heavy lifting to telegraph Setting, and I often tend to see players new to the game gravitate to a few of the same things.

Allium sativum on the list alongside other, perhaps more practical, purchases for Dungeon Delving is one of these. Its mere presence seems to scream to some that the possibility of Vampires is not only very real, but something they ought to prepare for. The same way those lovely Saving Throw Categories, so starkly listed on their sheet, stoically advertise other dangers.

But what may have gone unnoticed is just how pricey that lovely little Bulb can be. A little casual research reveals that it tends to stay remarkably stable pricewise in these older games. Naturally, this led me to wonder Why?

So, here is a table of a Hundred ways to address this burning question (admittedly over-contemplated on my part) and these weird implications. It just goes to show that there are all sorts of lovely little nuances living in those lists that are hiding and waiting to be revealed by Referee’s with perhaps too much time on their hands.😂

Friday, April 8, 2022

d100 - Magical Mishaps & Calamitous Curses

Yet another table that had been languishing on the dev pile for far too long! Here we have One Hundred Magical Mishaps or Calamitous Curses to inflict upon the table. Since some games don’t have a “Roll To Cast” system in place, these could also be repurposed for all manner of other unfortunate Eldritch Events. Potion Miscibility is popular, but they may also prove useful for Failed Experiments, Scrambled Scrolls, or Grimoires Protected from Prying Eyes. Some of them make mighty fine Horrible Hexes as well, much more memorable and meaningful than a mechanical malus (that players have a remarkable tendency to conveniently forget to apply!)

Grafting on additional risk to Spell Casting is something I’ve done in the past. However, I feel it works a bit better if it’s accompanied by a correspondingly tempting reward. One that I particularly enjoyed was allowing a thrill-seeking Magic User to choose to roll a Saving Throw versus Spells after Casting, on a success the Spell is retained and they may cast it again. On a failure, the Spell is lost as with normal Vancian magics. On a 1, a Magical Mishap occurs. One can tweak the frequency of these fantastic failures to taste, or potentially even penalize the Save by the level of the Spell or number of prior retentions attempts in a given time-period. When Magic becomes predictable and repeatable, it can sometimes veer toward banality, so this at least tries to maintain a bit of that delicious wonder should one go down this route.

A small amount of effort was put into “tuning” this table a bit, so that smaller die sizes have less “consequential” impacts, so feel free to escalate these however you see fit. What happens with a d6 should be a little less severe than something rolled higher on a d30, with the more disastrous consequences generally occurring only on upper ends of the d100. Durations are occasionally included, but feel free to season those to taste, and as with all misfortunes some just might be possible to undo through additional Adventure.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

d100 - Breath Weapons for Dragons of a Different Color

How conveniently color-coded those standard Dragons are! Telegraphing their offensive and offensive capabilities so! This can sometimes demystify these majestic Monsters a bit, so here’s a table that might provide some additional inspiration to surprise and bewilder by eschewing that predictability. Should you need an unusual shade for their scales to shimmer see the perchance generator below.

Naturally, one should assume that any standard effects and procedures associated with being doused in Dragon Breath should apply. These are merely adjuncts. Coupled with my prior post on Monster Special Attacks, I suppose this could also be used for foes of a less draconic nature should this be your bag.

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