Cyberpunk city generator (sort of), part 1

While reading up on the tragic background story of Bubble Bobble the other day, I found myself all of a sudden staring at old circuit boards.

Don't they look like futuristic cities from above? Warehouses, monorails, parks (synthetic, but hey, at least I got a sheep to care for)...

Look at this for instance (from Wikipedia):


This is what I see:


(...and everything between is just streets, LCD-thugs, and beambikers, of course).

Or this rail yard for lightbeamed monorail trains (also from Wikipedia):



To find more circuit boards/cyberpunk cities, just google "pcb arcade" (I added "arcade" because I wanted the boards to look old and/or have more of those big black thingies. Yes, I am aware they do have a technical name, but for now let's just call them thingies).

In part 2 I'll add a bunch of tables to generate LCD-thugs, beambikers, corporations to trust your life with, etc.

Another map



Black is water! Or obsidian. Or ink from overly aggressive octupuses living on the seabed.

A bunch of random, unrelated things

Parasol parasites; lives of pretty things such as pretty faces and intelligence. The handle is cursed, forcing the wearer to always carry it around. Face slowly disappears (hair, skin, muscles, and so on).

Wearer can live on even if it's just the skull left, as long as the parasol is carried around.






The antibard is a person who destroys music through aerial sorcery.

He or she hates all things rhythmical, sung, or hummed. And dancing. Especially dancing.

Abilities
Touching a wooden instrument for at least ten seconds will make it do one of the following:
  1. Bend (broken)
  2. Detune horrible (but still functional)
  3. Render it mute (the instrument's been cursed; still functional, only completely silent)
  4. Nothing

Spells

Semibreve rest
Casting time: Immediately
Targets: Anyone about to cast a spell
This spell interrupts the targeted sorcerer by inserting a whole rest in the spell uttering, pushing it back to the next round. The spell isn't lost, just merely delayed.

Hide muse
Casting time: 1 round
Targets: Other bards
Until the targeted bard makes a successful CHA-save to realize that inspiration comes through hard work and not from above, s/he will not be able to utilize any musical spells to inspire others.



Katakk is a race of avian humanoids found in leaf forests. They are a friendly bunch (except when they're waging war against stupid neighbours), living in huge nests on the ground (the size of a regular tavern).

Due to a malformation in their left leg, they walk around looking like they're about to kick someone in the face.










Greeters are a horrible manifestation of the frustration of hosting a party unwillingly and still being a good host.

They pop up out of nowhere, right in front of your face, and let out a terrible shriek (actually meaning "Welcome, nice to see you" in their own wicked tongue) - only to disappear the next second.

Mostly found in haunted mansions. They are harmless, unless you overstay your welcome.





Djantas; half djinn, half Santa (also known as "half-arsed bringer of half-wishes").

Only found in century old bottles of julmust, these spirits offers a wish to whoever freed them. It then gift wrap the wish and flies away to the nearest settlement, to deliver the wonderful gift to anyone looking like they'd need a present.

Note on wish fulfilment: due to their half-nature, wishes are always only half fulfilled, e.g. a wish for resurrection only brings a person halfway back to life (rendering them undead).






A collect of uneven, pseudogeomorphs:

























The Giant's Dollhouse - Commissioned art

Last year (2013) I entered the One Page Dungeon Contest and won the category best fairy-tale for my entry The Giant's Dollhouse. While I plan/planned to explore the world around Pöppelmann (and the childish giant himself) a bit more, I also wanted to see how people with actual art skills interpreted the scenes in the adventure - just for my own amusement. This post is the result of that, nearly a year later (I'm the slow worker here, not the artists).

I highly recommend anyone to commission art for their projects, even if it's "just" for home campaigns or whatever. It's very inspiring and fun, especially when you hear yourself answering "Uhm...ehm...I don't know" when the artists wants to know why you gave the giant a hat, or why he only has one eye, etc.

I'd love to do another round of these!

NOTE: these images do NOT fall under the usual Creative Commons-license. They fall under the standard look how pretty they are here on this website, I should contact these creative people myself and commission them for my own projects.


Scrap Princess


I think Scrap really managed to capture Pöppelmann's inner (sadistic) child in this piece, happily playing with his newest acquisition (princess Amaryllis?). Only a mother could love that smile (Pöppelmann's mother, that is).

Scrap's blog can be found over here (but you probably already knew that).


Jay Penn


I've enjoyed Jay's work ever since I first saw those little potato gnomes in Loviatar, so I was very excited to have him do a piece. One thing I noticed just now is that those three terrified adventurers running away from Pöppelmann actually look kind of evil - like, "we're the evil version of the nice adventuring party". Maybe Pöppelmann is the victim here? And who is that poor fellow being left behind by his so called friends? I think I'm on to something here.

Jay can be found over here (but you probably already knew that too).


Luka Rejec


Luka takes speed-drawing to another level: I'd barely touched ENTER before he was finished.
I like the staff, it feels improved over the old a-gem-in-both-ends (it's so tiresome to flip the staff over just to petrify a puny human). And the cloud beard... I've never seen Pöppelmann so stylish. The hinges on the mountain side is also innovating; I can only assume there's a lock as well, to keep those meddlesome siblings away.

Or in his own words:
Pöppelman the Kindly and his dolls of eternal repose plays above the Seven Woods of Serenity on the flanks of the Fifth Mountain of Fortune.
Luka can be found over there by the cauldron, brewing potions of ink.


Kelvin Green



I think most of Kelvin's work seems innocent at first glance* - only to reveal a horrible backstory when you start to look closer. Here we have a peaceful Pöppelmann playing with his favorite action figures Ur'k Xiq't the Feared and Lady Darnton - the giant looks almost likable, until you think about how he acquired those "figures"...

(* Ok, maybe not those involving tentacles, devolved elder things, or Hans Erikson(s).)

You find Kelvin over at his brainsplurge.


Matthew Adams








Matthew wasn't happy with his piece, so he sent me four (!) instead. He even provided his own wonderful backstories for the first three pieces, which I'll glady share below (from top to bottom image):

Human daisy chain. The giant has gotten some people to remove their clothing and to link up like a chain before turning them to stone. They are now a giant necklace that is sometimes worn for decoration.

Badly painted warrior. A statue stands here with a really roughly applied paint of coat. The giant was trying to paint one of his figures to use in a game, but lacks the skill to complete the job.

Gunpowder Surprise. Some military engineers transporting kegs of gunpowder were taken by the giant and turned into statues. They look good near the big fire, like workmen transporting barreled goods to the cellar. If turned back from stone, the startled workers may accidently drop a barrel of gunpowder into the fire. Players will not know what is in the barrels.

I think they work perfectly as adventure hooks. What if the giants announced a game tournament? Pöppelmann would be busy combing the countryside for humans to use in his figure warband.

Matthew can be found rumbling over here, or drawing war bunnies over here.


Michael Nolan



Working with Michael was really cool*, because all of a sudden you got a mail with a couple of sketches and a request for what I liked and didn't, and I could just write back and say "I like those trees in the first picture, and that hairdo in the second, and that mountain range in the third" - and all of a sudden one day, I had a picture with all those requests perfectly merged**.

(* Working with all these artists was really cool, you know what I mean!)

(** Maybe this is standard practice in the world of commissioned work, I wouldn't know, but it made me feel like a kid in a candy store.)

The woman pictured is Sister Tenderteeth, who painted the portrait of Pöppelmann (the one that hangs in the bedroom, also in the image). I love the details he managed to fit in the picture.

Michael has a blog over at his memory place, and a Behance page here.


Karl-Johan Thole

I was very happy to find Karl-Johans page (a fellow Swede!), even if it was by accident. Since I told all artists to interpret the adventure freely, Pöppelmann got a complete set of eyes in Karl-Johan's piece (good for him, but that stare scares me to death). I find the necklace especially interesting, considering Matthew Adams human daisy chain - does Pöppelmann come off as extremely vain?

You'll find Karl-Johan's work over here.

Subsisting in Bandar Karahc

This is yet another take on Jeff's excellent carousing table, only adapted for characters wishing to earn some quick cash in the city (or prevent perishing).

It's more or less a gamble to see if the work you put in earned you something. Like a Deck of Many Things, but for jobs. These jobs are supposed to be the kind that anyone can do without training or prior knowledge. Also, it's probably most useful for broke characters, just looking to get some cash right now.

Note: Since I forgot to include any money or ways of payment in my current game (it can happen), I'll use the term "BK" (for Bandar Karahcs) in the table below. If you happen to use this table you should probably replace that with gold/silver/copper pieces.

You roll twice: once for what type of job you did (list below), and once to see how many hours you could bare it (1d6).

The second roll is important because it determines whether or not you managed to work long enough to earn anything (or if you just quit in disgust).
Example: (+1 BK / 2 hours) means you'll get +1 BK for every two hours worked (round down). So if you rolled a 5 (meaning you worked for five hours), you'd earn 2 BK (5/2=2.5, or 2 rounded down).

Conditions may be stated as well in simple words (EXHAUSTED, ANGRY). These imply penalties to whatever type of rolls you do in your game (e.g. EXHAUSTED means penalty to all strength based checks). I guess you could allow a save for some of these penalties.
The only condition that's special is PICKPOCKET: roll another d6. If you beat the hours worked (for this particular job) you're good, otherwise you've been picked clean of any BKs you earned so far.

These activities are meant to take place during the day. The player may continue to "work" (by rolling again as stated above) until they're 1) tired, 2) the day becomes night, 3) the GM is tired. Just keep track of those hours worked.


JOBS

  1. Sort fluorescence fish at the docks. Hands are glowing brightly (random color) the next two days (+1 BK / 2 hours. REEK, ILLUMINATED)
  2. Barrel mover; roll them barrels all the way down to the docks. Don't think about opening any of them, even if the voice inside tells you to (+1 BK / 2 hours. TIRED)
  3. An old woman asks for help with carrying her invisible dogs (all three of them) around town, since their invisible paws are cursed and will burn the ground. She pays with invisible money. (0 BK / hour. ANGRY, TIRED)
  4. Keep the forge burning, keep the scary, cloaked, eyes-glowing-red, oversized blacksmith happy. (+1 BK / 2 hours. EXHAUSTED, NIGHTMARES)
  5. Food taster for Botros abd Diryaq, the paranoid cook. He doesn't trust his own cooking to not be poisonous. (+1 BK / hour. STOMACH PAINS)
  6. Go underground; the sewer's been clogging up at certain intersections. (+1 BK / hour. REEK, DISEASED)
  7. Abdul Tajriba, the promising potion brewer, needs someone to test his latest mixtures on since he's all out of mice. (+2 BK / hour. STOMACH PAINS, RANDOM POTION EFFECT)
  8. Animal wrestler for public amusement. (+1 BK / hour. EXHAUSTED, TORN CLOTHES, BEATEN UP, HOURS WORKED * 10 = HP LOST IN %)
  9. Help a sloppy tanner (+1 BK / 6 hours. REEK, EXTREME HEADACHE)
  10. Messenger by foot. Small parcels that smell of rosewater. Folded notes of unpleasantness where the letters bleed through (+1 BK / 3 hours. SORE FEET)
  11. Load and unload ships as a docker. More barrels, more back pain. (+1 BK / 2 hours. EXHAUSTED, PICKPOCKET)
  12. Rumormonger at the tavern by the docks. Tell them about abandoned limestone towers in the Al-Aalam desert, filled with treasures and tomes. Tell them about enchanted oases of blue-green water that makes you immortal. Tell them about the new menu. (+1 BK / hour. TIPSY, PICKPOCKET)
  13. Collect debts from the cleanest of establishments to the darkest corners of this town. (+1 BK / 2 hours. PICKPOCKET, WATCHED)
  14. Chase away the small djinns emerging from the tiny, southern sinkhole. The djinns are harmless but likes to scare small children. The djinnbusters won't catch them because they contain no fuel, but loud noises and arm waving scares them away (+1 BK / 2 hours. POSSIBLY TARGET FOR ECTOPLASMIC MISSILES)
  15. The proclaimed imp peddler (no imps around though) needs you to run a few errands. Mostly salt, candles and fresh chicken blood. (+1 BK / hour. SHUNNED BY SUPERSTITIOUS LOCALS)
  16. Where there's a caravan there's a camel. And where there's a camel there's... Grab that shuffle and get to work. These streets won't clean themselves (+1 BK / hour)
  17. Help the rat catcher rid these streets of vermin. For some reason, she calls them by name (+1 BK / 2 hours. DISEASED)
  18. Beg (+1 BK / 5 hours)
  19. Take work as a hired mourner (+1 BK / 2 hours. EXTREME HEADACHE)
  20. Scavenge the large pit of Jufra, in the middle of town. Old weapons and armor can be found here lumped together in an enormous pile, although most of it is rusted and bent and broken. The locals calls it Jufra Haram since it's said to be haunted and cursed. Most believe the pit is filling up with weapons from below, where two great djinn clans are fighting each other in an endless war. Climbing into the pit and searching for weapons is dangerous and tedious. (+1 BK / 4 hours. EXHAUSTED, SHUNNED BY SUPERSTITIOUS LOCALS)