Oct 30, 2020

A very delayed invitation

 This is a short adventure setup that's extremely untested. But most of the stuff on this blog is, so anyway.

 

The setup is: the player character's got an invitation to an old mansion. Upon arrival, the mansion seems empty, but the front door is unlocked, and there's a flickering light coming from a room further in.


That's it.


Now, there's more to it of course, known only to the DM: the invitation is really really really old, and not really for this group of characters, and it's not the only one sent out. In fact, this very delayed invitation is just one ordinary (depending on what the DM rolls below) invitation (dinner invitation perhaps) among multiple others sent over the years, by several of the previous house owners.


You know, if you just bought a nice mansion, you'd want to have people over to show it off. And the next owner was probably thinking the same, maybe hunt some deer or boar and then feast on it.

 

And the next owner was probably also thinking the same, only that one happened to worship some demonic creature from the abyss, so his invitation had a very different meaning.


And the owner after that was also a very charismatic person that wished to have a great feast, so she also sent out an invitation, but kept that little detail of the hellspawn in the basement that demanded a sacrifice to herself.


And that nice couple that bought the mansion after that, who always had those nice dinner parties that everyone wanted invitations to, who just happened to be a dividable creature from beyond our solar system that sucked people dry of blood and marrow.


And the mechanical creature with a borrowed skin that had meat hooks in the attics, were it... Well, anyway, it too sent out invitations. 


And so on, one more terrible than the other, because there's something in the walls of that old mansion that drew them there. But this was all a very long time ago.


And they all sent out invitations for great dinner parties, or Sunday tea, or whatever, and some of these invitations were extremely delayed because of the postal system - but never lost.


And so, the player characters receives one of these invitations - by chance, by accident, by fate - and they may wish to act upon it. Or not. If they don't - well, there's always a lot of other great blogs.


But if they do, and they arrive and step into that awful - somewhat abandoned - mansion, one major thing happens: every fifteen minutes, another group (at least two) of people arrive, since they also got one of these very very very old invitations. But there's a 50% risk this group has seen through the invitation - and actually embrace it. That is, they too share that diabolic/demonic/other worldly horrific craving.


(At this point in the post I was planning a drawing of the mansion, all 3D, very Ravenloft, very clickbait, very I don't know what I'm typing any more, I'm a bit tired, maybe I'll draw something in PBRUSH.EXE with this trackpad, hold on)


(nope)


(And at this point in the post I was planning to have a list of 100 invitations, and what horrific stuff the writer actually had planned, and so on - but I leave that as an exercise to the reader)


(which is you)


(if you read this far)


(are you still reading?)




Sep 23, 2020

A cloak of invisibility

A cloak of invisibility - but the cloak is visible.

A joke of invisibility - as long as they laugh, unseen.

Broke of invisibility - I promise man, the money's right there!

A moat of invisibility - hey let's storm this castle it looks easy enou-

A boat of invisibility - Kraken confused.

 

Aug 20, 2020

Why are these two wizards arguing?


  1. "You know that toad you borrowed? The TOAD? You know which one I'm talking 'bout! That toad was a gift from his fey lordship HIMSELF - don't you roll your eyes, you know I'm very close to the fey lordship himself, we go a long way back, the two of us, certainly longer than YOU, dirty thief! That TOAD is needed TODAY if you DON'T MIND - what was that? You what now? You used the WHOLE toad? Are you daft? What are you brewing, poisonous health potions? Come on, just quit already, get a proper job, stop dabbling you stupid bastard! And now you own me TWO toads!"
  2. "TWENTY FIVE METRES, IDIOT! IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE TWENTY FIVE METRES! HOW COULD YOU NOT HAVE MEASURED THE DISTANCE BEFORE YOU STARTED CONSTRUCTING YOUR BLOODY TOWER? AND WHY THE BLOODY HELL IS IT LEANING? WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND BUILDS A BLOODY LEANING TOWER? IT BLOODY LOOKS LIKE WE GOT A THING GOING ON! I DON'T ASSOCIATE WITH ANYONE! WHAT'S THAT? WHAT? FRIGHTFUL? I'M A BLOODY WARLOCK IN A BLOODY TOWER, YOU BLOODY IDIOT, IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE FRIGHTFUL AND INTIMIDATING! NO I DON'T CARE FOR YOUR TOWER SHAPED LIKE A SLEEPING CAT, IT'S STUPID AND IT'S MAKING ME LOOKING STUPID TOO!"
  3. "Gwendolyn, oh Gwendolyyyyn! Are you theeeere, you old hag? I knooooow you're listening... Do you like wyverns, dear Gwendolyn? Winged creatures, big teeth, leathery skin, much like yourself? Oh Gwendolyn, I just know you love them, seeing how much you've got in common, you old bog troll. Did you know, oh Gwendolyn, that they lay eggs? Hmm? Oh that's right, you do too, I forgot! Anyway, dear Gwendolyn, when I woke up this morning and took a stroll through my tower of magical awesomeness, can you guess what I stumbled upon? Hmm? Well I turned a corner, and lo and behold, there was such a beast - in my tower! And below it, a faintly glowing sigil, obviously a teleporter of some kind, and it was your sigil, dear Gwendolyn, I recognize the markings, so at first I was all like Oh my dear Gwendolyn how kind but surprising of you to drop by! But after having counted the creature's fangs, I realized it was one of those wyvern creatures, and not you, dear neighbour! Anyway, Gwendolyn, you stinking pile of troll waste, I just wanted to thank you for this gift - a remarkable creature indeed, unlike yourself - and let you know that I'm preparing something in return. Oh Gwendolyyyyyn, I know you can hear me...."
  4. "Oh, this cauldron? This cauldron right here? That's bubbling and sizzling and steaming away quite happily? Oh that's my cauldron now. No, it's mine. No, you mean it used to be yours. No, it's not theft. You know why? You know w- stop talking, Fenrick, just st- No, listen to m- listen t- Stop interrupting, Fenrick. It's not yours anymore. It stopped being yours twentyfour hours ago, you know why? You kn- Stop interrupting, Fenrick. Stop it. I don't care if the other wizards can hear us, they already know what you did with that queen of the fey. Yes they do, Fenrick. Yes they- Stop interrupting. You can stay in that miserable tower of yours, a ruin, just like yourself. Yes you're a ruin, Fenr- Stop interrupting. Just stop it, everybody knows what a fool you are. You stay there in your powerless tower, and I and my cauldron will travel the world for once in this wonderful tower of independence!"
  5. "POOPYHEAD? HEY, POOPYHEAD? MADE YOU LOOK! HA! HEY, YOU KNOW WHY YOUR WIZARD HAT IS POINTY? BECAUSE...BECAUSE...WELL IT'S BECAUSE YOU'RE A POOPYHEAD! NO I'M NOT ANNOYING, I'M A WIZARD, POOPYHEAD! AM TOO! AM TOO! WHY? BECAUSE MOTHER SAID SO! WHAT WAS THAT? WHAT DID YOU SAY ABOUT MY MOTHER?! YOU TAKE THAT BACK! TAKE IT BACK NOW! SEE THIS? HEY! SEE THIS WAND? TAKE IT BACK OR I'LL USE IT! YEAH I'LL TURN YOU INTO A...INTO A...I'LL TURN YOU INTO POOP, POOPYHEAD! OH DON'T PUSH IT, DON'T PUSH IT POOPYHEAD, I WILL USE IT! WILL TOO! WILL TOO! OH THAT'S IT, I'M TELLING MOM!"
  6. "Hello dear neighbour of wizardry, please excuse me for waking you up in this late hour, for a small chat over the crystal ball. I hope I didn't disturb your sle- oh you were fast asleep, hmm? Much like the night before this? Oh I'm truly sorry, dear neighbour, you must excuse this old wizard for not remembering this, I have this urge to welcome new wizards into the neighbourhood. Oh did I already? Thrice? But surely not in this late- oh I did, you say? That's unfortunate. Well I shan't keep you up, sleep tight, ta da."

    "Hello dear neighbour of wizardry, please exc- Oh I'm sorry, were you asleep? No, I think you must be mistaken, I don't recollect that I called you over the crystal ball a mere hour ago? Or did I... You mustn't be mad at me, dear neighbour, I'm old and hardly remembers anything, be it first level spells or friendly welcoming calls. Absolutely, you do so, go back to sleep, I apologize aplenty. Sleep tight, ta da."

    "Hello dear neighbour of wiza- Now, now, there's no place for that kind of language, dear neighbour. Yes, I know what time it is, I have a summoned a clock familiar for just that cause, it's very handy and... Oh my, look at that clock, it's so very late. Yes I do understand now why you were fast asleep, I am truly sorry, dear neighbour. It's so very late, that you'd could almost call it early morning, isn't that so? I find that fascinating, the eternal struggle between night and day, don't you? Oh, you- Yes you do so, go back to sleep. Sleep tight, ta da."

    "Hello de- Well I must stop you right there, dear neighbour, that's not a very nice way to say 'good morning'. I may be old and have heard plenty in the way of profanities, but I'm not immune to bad language. Especially not when it's not justified! What's that now? Constant calling you? Now, now, why would I do that, dear neighbour. All night? No you must've mistaken me. Hear me out, dear neighbour: I'll look past this little incident, because I'm a firm believer of a good community, especially amongst us neighbouring wizards. It's a lost art, living alone in towers, don't you agree, hmm? You know what, dear neighbour, you go and have yourself a nice cup of something, and I'll call you back in an hour or so when you've settled down, right? Talk to you soon, ta da."




Aug 16, 2020

Building a wizard's tower using 1d20 and maybe some other dice

Get a pen and a paper. Start at the bottom, add a floor and named it "ENTRANCE". Then keep rolling on this table until you're happy, and the continue with the DEBT table at the bottom of this page.

(There's a winding staircase connecting all floors in the middle of the tower, unless you have a better idea.)

  1. Find a die that matches the number of floors pretty good, and roll. That floor is now (roll):
    1. Sealed off. There was a breach in reality and a demonic being crawled through. The wizard had to sealed the floor by magical means, but they will only hold for another year
    2. Locked, and the wizard forgot where the key is. It’s actually in the nearest town, but since the key looks like a fountain, it decorates the town centre. The water will from the fountain will unlock the door
    3. Locked, and may only be unlocked from the inside. Someone is living in there, and doesn’t wish to come out
    4. Sealed off. What was previously a door, is now just another brick wall
    5. Occupied by a next-door wizard, who has sealed it off and made it part of her own tower using teleportation magic
    6. Undead. Everything in there is obviously undead, or decorated or made of bones and scary stuff
  2. Add a floor on top. KITCHEN. Roll for state:
    1. Never used but fully equipped (pots, pans, plates, etc.). Very clean. A large, cursed knife is stuck in one of the walls
    2. Filthy; used pots and pans everywhere, stacked on top of each other. Three blue mice have taken residence here
    3. Some sort of sentient blob being is cooking food here, constantly. It eats most of it. Give it a name and an allergy
    4. Several squirrels are running around here. Kitchen is filled with twigs, nuts and leafs
    5. A giant is squeezed in here. It’s a good cook but can’t move. It doesn’t mind. Give it a name, a favourite ingredient and an allergy
    6. This kitchen serves both as a crude kitchen and a crude potion lab - it’s impossible to tell what’s food
  3. Find a die that matches the number of floors pretty good, and roll (re-roll if you got a result of one). Now, combine that floor with the floor below in all ways possible; thematic and space wise
  4. Add a floor on top. STUDY. Roll for major theme:
    1. Books about one-eyed witches, one-eyed frogs, and one-eyed wizards
    2. Books about famous paintings, and what hidden magic they contain
    3. Books and scrolls on top of each other, mostly about other wizards (their names crossed out multiple times)
    4. Books about common potions that somehow all requires birds as an ingredient (multiple beaks can be found in here as well)
    5. One LARGE book, the size of two cows. A children’s tale that works as a teleporter
    6. If the tower doesn’t contain a FUNGUS FARM (#19) yet, add one. This study is all about mushrooms and their effects
  5. Does the tower contain a study? If yes, find the study with the lowest room number, and roll:
    1. Add a ghoul that’s walking around licking the books/things
    2. Add a ghost that’s constantly rearranging the books/things
    3. Add a ghoul and a ghost who are chasing each other
    4. Add a ghost that is constantly writing new scrolls, one per hour. 1 in 20 are magical, 1 in 6 are actually useful
    5. Add a ghoul that is constantly writing new scrolls, one per hour. Add a ghost that is constantly proofreading and correcting these scrolls, one per hour. 1 in 30 are magical and extremely potent, but very strange
    6. Roll twice on this table, re-rolling this result, and combine
  6. Find a die that matches the number of floors pretty good. Roll twice and connect those two floors on the outside by means of:
    1. Wooden staircase, crude and unreliable
    2. A floating disc that constantly travels between those two in some irregular, slow pattern
    3. Clinging, green vines
    4. Copper chute (one-way slide)
    5. Twenty small birds; they’re incredibly strong. 1 in 6 chance they will drop you off somewhere else
    6. A spinning pentagram floating in mid-air; 1 in 6 chance this will teleport you somewhere dangerous
  7. Add a floor on top. PRIVY CHAMBER (TOILET). This floor is projected out a bit. Roll:
    1. Add a river next to the tower. The waste from the privy falls into it. Give the river a name, and a ferry man further down with a name and a phobia that relates to flowers somehow
    2. Add a waterfall next to the tower. The waste from the privy falls into it. The waterfall seems to go on forever, and winged beasts from downstreams sometimes lands on the tower roof
    3. Some strange magic inside the privy is turning everything that goes through the toilet into different kinds of seeds. Down below on the ground, right next to the tower, all sorts of trees and flowers are growing
    4. The privy is locked. The wizard can’t remember why and doesn’t care, but suspects a cousin
    5. Exiting the privy (e.g. opening the door again) will always lead to the outside, as if stepping out of the entrence
    6. Rare spell books can be found in here, but with torn out pages
  8. Add a floor on top. TELEPORTER. Roll:
    1. Salt circle on floor, but doesn’t work. There’s meat in the corner
    2. Salt circle on floor. Teleports to highest floor number
    3. Salt circle on floor. Teleports to lowest floor number
    4. Red pentagram on wall. Once per week, there’s a 5% risk/chance a horned creature steps through and sets up a nest on this floor
    5. Red pentagram on floor. Teleports to floor below, since it’s really just a trap door
    6. Silver arch in middle of floor. Teleports to another wizard’s tower, inside a closet
  9. Find a die that matches the number of floors pretty good, and roll. Now add a BALCONY to that floor. If the floor number is even, it’s an open balcony, otherwise it’s a closed one
  10. Add a floor on top. BEDROOM. Roll:
    1. Extremely simplistic: a bedroll on the floor. A wide beewax candle is halfway burnt on one side, and a pile of bulky books are stacked on the opposite side
    2. Several made beds are here, of different sizes, none which belongs to the wizard, who sleeps on the floor where ever she gets tired
    3. The bed is made from a large tusk, hollowed out and made “comfy”
    4. This room is empty, except when the wizard enters to sleep. Then, fifty cats enters through the window, and form a bed of sorts, allowing the wizard to sleep there. They will wake her up in the most rude way every morning
    5. The bed is just a bookshelf tipped over, shelves removed. The wizard has stitched together torn out pages to form a blanket
    6. Moss is covering the entire floor, although the furniture is still underneath somewhere. The wizard falls asleep where ever
  11. Add a floor on top. LARDER. Roll 2 times:
    1. Meat of unknown origin is covering this room, hanging from hooks everywhere, some of which is still twitching
    2. Mostly fish of bright colours. 1 in 20 are of low magical potency
    3. Flour, sugar, spices. Just dry ingredients. 3 in 6 are of fey origin
    4. Jams. Small glass jars filled jam. All of low magical potency, but only 1 in 20 actually taste good
    5. Broken pottery, but no food. 1 in 6 have rune inscriptions all over them
    6. Lard, kept in clay pottery
  12. BRANCH OFF. Find the floor that’s more or less in the middle of the tower, and add a passage there straight out (to the right or the left), and start a new tower there. Add only new floors to that new tower part from here on.
  13. Add a floor on top. STORAGE. Roll:
    1. Tomes that lost their magic, or the lettering is too small to read
    2. Covered paintings leaning against the wall. 1 in 6 are trapped adventurers and animated
    3. Chairs, book cases, tables, etc. All broken in exactly the same way, all stolen
    4. Empty wooden barrels, stacked without reason
    5. Crystals shaped like pyramids, the size of chairs, all glowing faintly and humming
    6. Empty glass vials, in sizes ranging from a thumb to half an arm
  14. Find a die that matches the number of floors pretty good, and roll. Then roll on the table below and apply to that floor:
    1. A large spider has taken residence here, spinning webs everywhere. It’s hostile. If there’s already a spider on this floor, have the new one battle the first one
    2. A wizard has occupied this floor as his own, “not so very tall” tower. He’s friendly, low level and nuts. Casts summoning spells of the woodland kind. Never leaves.
    3. A magical portal to some nearby lake can be found in the ceiling. It constantly drips, and fish rains down at least twice per day
    4. A miscast spell has made everything in here half as big
    5. There’s a mirror here that works as a portal. It will always lead to the top floor
    6. There’s a lot of barrels here, where plants and edible things are growing. A tiny cloud is circeling the ceiling, keeping everything wet and fresh
  15. Add a floor on top. DISPLAY ROOM. Roll:
    1. Different types of brains in glass jars on high pedestals. Only a few seems to be of human origin
    2. Caged kitchen utensils that behavs like different types of animals (small birds, cats, lizards, etc.)
    3. Decorated mirrors, one for each floor in this tower, that shows what’s going on in there
    4. Gnarly staves, of the very old kind, suspended in mid air, hovering in place. One is chatty
    5. Metal trinkets inside small glass domes. A plaque next to each dome tells its story
    6. Pedestals scattered around the room, each holding a single coin from a now long lost empire
    7. Butterflies in cages, stacked on top of each other. 1 in 20 is of fey origin, and kept prisoner
    8. Fossils, arranged and put together using best guesses. Looks terrifying, but the wizard is proud and certain of her work
  16. Does the tower have at least one balcony? Find one that hasn’t got a rope hanging from it, and add one. The rope must reach the ground. It’s alive, so give it a name and an agenda
  17. Add a floor on top. EXPERIMENTS. Roll:
    1. Man-sized eggs covering the floor. Some cracked, some empty. A desk with notes and seeds in the corner
    2. Humanoid creations, children sized, built from scrap metal and old furniture. 1 in 6 reacts when approached
    3. Tomes are flying around the room. The book shelves are rebuilt to resemble trees. They crap tiny scrolls of minor magic
    4. A squirrel in a wizard hat has built what looks like a replica of the tower itself, including the surrounding area outside. It has constructed a tiny teleporter which goes outside, through which it fetches its materials
    5. Perpetual motion machines. Some small as an egg, two or three large as a horse. Water flowing, cogs turning, wooden wheels turning… It’s not obvious what they are doing, but 1 in 6 are producing magic melodies as a biproduct
    6. Devices for countering spells. All clumsy, but always works. One use, and will blow up (causes small damage to the user). Looks like nothing else
  18. Does the tower contain a STORAGE? Choose another floor at random, and create a small pixie servant that’s currently moving stuff out of one floor into the storage. Give it a name and an allergy
  19. Add a floor on top. FUNGUS FARM. This roll looks like a tiny forest indoors. Roll:
    1. If the tower doesn’t contain an EXPERIMENTS floor yet (#17), add one now. The mushrooms growing here are plucked and used (crucial) for the experiments
    2. The mushrooms here are edible, but alive. When they are fully grown, they pluck themselves and start running around, building stuff. Friendly but annoying. Talkative
    3. The mushrooms here are growing out trough the windows. A settlement of small pixies have taken residence here, carving houses and roads in the mushrooms
    4. Three skinny trolls are living here. They are living off the mushrooms and can see two days into the future. They are extremely friendly and mellow
    5. Extremely potent magical mushrooms if prepared properly. Word is going around, and the wizard keeps this floor tightly locked
    6. A single mushroom is growing here. It takes up the entire floor. It’s sentient and will eat anything. It attracts prey using scent. The wizard doesn’t know how to deal with it, but it’s starting to become a problem
  20. Add a floor on top. LEGATION. The wizard has given up this floor for a minister from somewhere else, in exchange for goods, secrets and other juicy stuff. Roll:
    1. Representative from the fey. Not the brighest. Wears glasses without glass
    2. Representative from a tiny plane of lawful demonic creatures. Trades in lies
    3. Representative of prismatic beings, e.g. that lives in rainbows. Shortlived but have lots of coins, and easy aerial bridges when it’s raining
    4. If the tower doesn’t contain a FUNGUS FARM (#19) yet, add one. Representative of mushrooms. Trades in gossips heard from camps all around forests everywhere, but only if the wizard keeps her hands off the mushrooms in the FUNGUS FARM
    5. Representative from the plane of nightmares, a fanged, motionless shadow in a corner. Hasn’t spoken yet, but haunts the wizard in her dreams, terrifying her senseless but always with a hint of something important just before she wakes up
    6. Representative from the plane of all things metal and logical. A large metallic box, that hums, clicks and whirrs. Actually, this minister is missing a screen, but the wizard doesn’t know that, and is still waiting for an answer

DEBT TABLE
So, now you have a tower, with a certain numbers of floors. Let's see how the wizard managed to pay off this endevour:

  1. Nothing to worry about, no debt here. The wizard found the tower and managed to overtake it by turning the previous owner (also a wizard) into a frog (put the frog at the top floor - it's alive and has allies looking for it)
  2. The wizard built the tower using a work force of mostly undeads, conjured from a large graveyard not far from here. She dissolved the entire work force when the tower stood complete, so bones and rotting bodies are scattered all around the tower's vicinity
  3. The wizard borrowed a large sum of coins from her former academic friends, with a promise that she'd pay it back in full. This was several years ago
  4. The wizard formed a pact with a shadow that manifested in her dreams several years ago. The tower rose from the ground, fully built and populated, but whatever the wizard promised she hasn't kept it
  5. The wizard has stolen each floor from other buildings, using an extremely powerful spell that relocates entire buildings (or, parts of them). She's wanted in as many cities and towns as there are floors in the tower
  6. The tower is actually a space faring vessel, and the wizard is only here for a short visit, but she stole the vessel prior to coming here, and there's an armada out there looking for her

Aug 9, 2020

Cyborg no stranger than milk teeth







It's the future.

Biomechatronics are nothing new. Everyone's got one or several body parts replaced by more or less operational, mechanical, computerized parts. It's nothing new. Nobody cares.

In fact, what if the human body was expected to break down in one way or another? An eye stops functioning, a knee cap dissolves, maybe your nose falls off after sneezing too hard? And the solution to that was to just go to the doctor and have it replaced with biomechatronics; computerized prosthetic implants.

What if it was as expected as loosing your milk teeth? If you meet someone and they tell you they never lost their milk teeth you'd probably raise an eyebrow.

Things I can think of that makes this gameable:
  • Who's paying for these computerized implants that everyone's expected to get?
    • The government? (Hello Sweden)
      • Not top-of-the-line implants, but "good enough"
    • Private practice?
      • Lots of options, for every price category
        • "You could get it cheaper if you accept this harmless metrics collector from GoodCorp™ to be installed as well - you can definitely trust them!"
  • What's the public view on people that hasn't broken down all that much?
    • Not at all?? Are these considered mutants? Aliens?
  • How much of the human can be replaced?
    • "All we got left of grandpa is his soul. We uploaded it to this BrainPod™ last year, and sold the implants as scrap. It's very convenient, we get to choose when the speakers should be turned on!"

 
(Let me end this post by saying all this is expected to happen in a GAME CONTEXT, using IMAGINATION. It's all MADE UP. Just to be clear.)