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.

Monday, August 14, 2023

d100 - Rumored Renown for when Reputation Precedes

Frequently, it might be useful to festoon an NPC with Fame or Infamy to create a more compelling Character. Whether it’s a Denizen’s Deeds or Distinguishing Traits, when the Players have heard “of” someone prior to encountering them, it can often make for more interesting interactions. Here are a hundred ideas for what the Gossip Mongers and Rumor Mill might have to offer about a particular personage.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

d100 - Dwarf Dweomercraft

Quite frequently, I encounter Referees unsatisfied with the perceived lack of certain Character Options or Abilities that occur when using a presentation that features Demihuman as Class. One of the often lamented “missing” archetypes is that of the Dwarf Cleric. I’m not really sure what cemented this particular combination as so essential in so many minds, but it’s definitely a frequent flier. I tend to see the Cleric Class, with its Piety, Proscriptions, and Prayers to be an incredibly Human convention and practice. Rather than just lazily grafting this onto another People wholesale and making them so much less distinctive in the process, my preference has generally been to try and invent something new instead.

The Dwarf in most of my games is much less Gimli and much more Rumpelstiltskin (and more mercurial rather than dour), but another persistent approach is to render them utterly a-magical. Spells are something that just doesn’t work for them or incompatible with their make up/nature (usually rationalized by their superior Saving Throws). But this has always been a bit at odds with the more Fairy Tale/Folkloric Model I tend to render them in. I’m stuck with the nagging suspicion that they should be Magical, but in their own singularly Dwarfin Fashion.

Ideas for giving this kind of Magic its own feel and flavor is the subject of this particular d100 table: these could be innate Magical Knacks, granted as the Dwarf becomes more experienced, acquired through Play/Adventure as a form of Character Growth (“Seek out Old Bleezlebottom if you’d like to learn the Ways of Water!”), or even something to sprinkle on flavor-wise to give other forms of Fey something fun once in awhile. The character of Magic performed by a Dwarf should differ from their Human Magic-User/Cleric and Elfin counterparts.

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