Jul 31, 2021

Sourdoughing: part 0 and 1, introduction and the jars

Introduction

Something stuck in me after reading Bryce's latest review, that doesn't have anything to do with the reviewed adventure. No it was more along the lines of: instead of providing a bunch of tables, why not use them to provide something concrete instead (I'm paraphrasing and misremembering and all that, you should just read the review).

So I started to think about all the generators and tables and stuff I've written over the years, both here and on the old blog, and wondered if I couldn't try and create something with them.

I'm thinking it's like sourdoughs; you could fill up the entire fridge with them, jar after jar, but if you never use bits of them to bake something, they just sit there, idle.

(There are probably millions of better analogies than this, but you get the picture, and I'm currently making a sourdough bread, so...)

The plan

  1. Compile a list of generators/tables/etc that I've written that I may use (e.g. this post), from this blog and the old
  2. Start small and create something using one of these generators (I have this one in mind)
  3. Place whatever I create in step 2 "somewhere", and see what thematic things I got going from that, and find a generator/table for that for the surroundings
  4. Like 3, but keep expanding outwards
  5. Like 4 - no actually, exactly like 4

The goal

To have generated something "finished" entirely out of the generators/tables I've written previously. By finished I mean maybe an adventure, or a small hexmap, or a PDF/website, or I don't know - anything that doesn't contain "...and roll 1d4 for this".

 

The jars (resources)

So these are the resources I have at hand:

 

You know what, screw that. It's much easier to search for a table/generator when I need it, instead of catalogue it here beforehand.

Alright, I guess for next post I'll create a wizard's tower. Stay tuned.


Jul 15, 2021

Face monster(s)

  • Hunt in packs, but not necessarily 2 eyes + 1 mouth
  • Can temporarily form a head to gain some thinking capabilities
  • The result of embarressed giants, who have lost their face in battle


May 11, 2021

My daughter's dungeon

My six year old daughter drew this dungeon a week or so ago, after watching me doing something similar. I think it's a killer dungeon, and I think it shows that she's a great fan of monsters (e.g. she always runs the monsters when we play Castle Ravenloft, and had this to say when she saw an image of Jabba the Hutt: "He looks kind.") And she's apparently a big fan of - plumbing!

Annotated version below the map, with her own descriptions.






May 2, 2021

Sejten, a dungeon map, with some hooks

Have a vanilla dungeon map I did over the last two days, including the two smaller mountain range pictures showing the area around the lair/dungeon/slightly evil place.

(And my six year old daughter named it. No I don't think she knows who Satan is.)





Adventure hooks, or maybe rather just things I make up as I watch the image above that you may find useful to get your creativity going
  1. The bear skin rugs becomes animated for 2d6 minutes whenever someone mentions anything related to either food or weapons
  2. The rats are highly intelligent and will sell for huge amount of coins. They understand human speech but can only squeak
  3. Each painting holds a piece of a larger map on the backside, marking the birthplace of whoever built this place
  4. While sitting on any chair, time passes twice as fast
  5. Each rug acts as a time portal if the right word is spoken while standing on it (each rug has it its own word); anyone standing on the rug will travel in time but not in space for 1d6 minutes, and then return to the present:
    1. (the past) When the lair was being constructed
    2. (the past) One minute ago
    3. (the past) When the lair was controlled by a very jolly queen who loved all and everyone
    4. (the past) When the lair was controlled by a very gloomy necromancer who hated everyone, but rats most of all
    5. (the past) The very moment when the To-Be-High-Lord-Snake-King and its troops invaded the lair (then controlled by a never-to-be-seen-again tribe of very friendly, human-sized rats)
    6. (the very far future) Faulty, malfunctioning robots patrolling the halls, trying to shoot laser beams at any intruder (but not succeeding because a future dungeon party nicked all guns just days prior to our time travellers, replacing the guns with regular LED pen lights)
  6. The egg is not an egg

Apr 28, 2021

Building something using words, chaotic cursor movement and maybe some dice

I don't know what this is, but there are two ways of doing it: the LINEAR, and the CHAOTIC.


THE LINEAR WAY

  1. Roll a die and consult table INTRODUCING. This is what you're "introducing", or adding (an object, a scene, whatever). When adding a new sentence, you must connect it to what was described in the previous sentence, so that the two sentences flow naturally into each other (or chaotically, if you prefer that)

  2. Repeat 1


THE CHAOTIC WAY

  1. Roll a die and consult table CURSORY MOVEMENT. This tells you where to place your cursor (or pen, if you're doing this by hand and therefore must have incredible penmanship). Never place the cursor (or pen) in the middle of a sentence; a sentence is always isolated and untouched and locked down etc so to speak

  2. Roll a die and consult table INTRODUCING. This is what you're "introducing", or adding (an object, a scene, whatever) exactly where your cursor (or pen) is. When adding a new sentence, you must connect it to what was described in the previous sentence, so that the two sentences flow naturally into each other (or chaotically, if you prefer that; people who use pen and paper for this method would probably do it chaotically)

  3. Repeat from 1


TABLE CURSORY MOVEMENT

Place cursor (or pen)...

  1. After the first sentence
  2. In the middle of the document
  3. After the last sentence
  4. After the second sentence
  5. Where your finger lands with your eyes closed
  6. In the middle of the middle of the document, so like in the first quarter I guess

 

TABLE INTRODUCING

At the cursor (or pen), introduce by describing, using one or several sentences...

  1. A stuffed bear
  2. Stairs up
  3. Stairs down
  4. A door with writings on it
  5. Used pots and pans
  6. Shrubbery
  7. Unusual tiling
  8. A horse that's about to leave
  9. A rug, halfway rolled up
  10. A horrible landscape painting
  11. A wall
  12. A hallway, crudely lit
  13. An open knapsack
  14. An unusually small dog
  15. A locked chest
  16. Spiderwebs in the ceiling
  17. A festive hall
  18. A concealed weapon
  19. Dirt and soil
  20. Fire
  21. A bottled message
  22. A painting of a king
  23. Several chests
  24. Rats
  25. A fireplace
  26. A room with a large table
  27. Stairs up and down
  28. A person in a wet hat
  29. Water breaching in
  30. Several guards looking for something
  31. A marketplace for illegal food
  32. A pond and a toad
  33. A blind ogre
  34. A marble statue
  35. A flowerbed
  36. Someone lost
  37. An intruder
  38. A broken mirror
  39. Lots of barrels
  40. A deserter from a distant war
  41. Rope hanging down from far above
  42. Mechanical device that hums
  43. Mechanical device that clicks
  44. A sundial
  45. A window
  46. A floating creature with scales
  47. Blood
  48. A magical swirl
  49. A makeshift instrument
  50. Foreign coins
  51. Claw markings
  52. A rainfall
  53. A well, with rope hanging down
  54. A terrible yell
  55. A dog digging
  56. A scholar writing in a tome, a large list of ingredients, currently at item 56
  57. A murder of crows
  58. A crown made of wood
  59. A golem waiting for a command
  60. A gust of wind
  61. Sand
  62. An authority
  63. A false prophet
  64. A cheese wedge, disappearing
  65. Mushrooms
  66. A hidden way out
  67. A rug of unusual quality
  68. A secret
  69. A mechanical person stuck in a loop
  70. A portal too small to enter
  71. A mirror concealed as a painting
  72. A great hole in the ground
  73. Bats carrying candlesticks
  74. A mole with something attached
  75. Lots of alcohol
  76. A corner
  77. Sudden movement
  78. The passing of time
  79. Glass jars containing experiments
  80. Spoiled food
  81. Smoke
  82. A large bird, interesting
  83. Something rotten
  84. Concealed danger
  85. A crowd looking for something
  86. Out-of-place animals
  87. A chest filled with stone, hiding a trap door underneath
  88. Chanting
  89. Displacement
  90. Roots
  91. An acorn, afloat
  92. Intelligence
  93. Religious practice
  94. Slow but safe transport
  95. A slow disassembly
  96. A nest
  97. Large optical instrument
  98. Fancy clothes spread about
  99. A highly sought-after glass bauble
  100. Living vines

Apr 22, 2021

Four picture prep



 




As I upload these sketches and as I type in the title of this blog post, I start to wonder if you could use only four pictures for all things in session - that is, that's the prep for the night.

The four pictures above would then - for the whole session - all represent:
  • The adventuring party
  • Random encounters
  • Loot
  • Plot hooks
  • Room descriptions
  • NPC personality traits
  • etc
For instance, you need to roll for a random encounter. Roll a 1d4 and either just use that picture as is ("You meet a knight in a never before seen armour; the knight waves at you and greet you all with a monotonous "HELLO EARTHLINGS!"), or rip off the various pieces found in the picture ("You find animal horns and hair - lots of hair").

(Now I need to get back to work. Ta-da)

Mar 15, 2021

Lair of the Bear that doesn't care

The lair of the bear that doesn't care

it can be everywhere

because when it hibernates

it transform, its body infiltrates

nature, like a balloon it inflates

< dungeon dressing, hallways, locked gates >

< mimic's blessing, old ways, ungrates >

The bear becomes the lair

but it doesn't care, 'cause it knows

between its snoring growls,

dreams of me and you and daring do's

and foes -

nine beats per minute

 nine beats per minute

  nine beats per minute

   nine beats per minute

    nine beats per minute

   nine beats per minute

  nine beats per minute

 nine beats per minute

nine beats per minute


Bells of spring ring, a recurring familiar thing

visitor begone, system collapse, song of crushing throng

blink and shrink and shrink and blink

visitor begone, take the money and run

the lair of the bear that doesn't care

resume, time to consume -

a beautiful day in June


The lair of the bear that doesn't care

it can be everywhere

 



Jan 9, 2021

Bathroom Dungeons: The Stairway to Hell, lvl 1

Had a lot of coffee today, so I... Anyway, have a map! Follow the tag to see more in this series!

 


Jan 8, 2021

It Starts To Burn: Easy Rules for Solo Play

I was thinking about solo play the other minute, which is something that's always fascinated me (how to keep oneself interested in what I've already thought of? etc.). I have zero experience with solo play frameworks (I can't remember any at least), and since I have nothing better to do, I thought I might as well take a stab at it.

So here is my attempt. I call these framework IT STARTS TO BURN.


THE RULES

I guess nearly all game frameworks need a way to resolve conflict. Anytime there's a need to resolve an uncertain outcome, or a decision needs to be taken "objectively", roll 1d6 and and consult the following table:

  1. It starts to burn
  2. It starts to burn
  3. It starts to burn
  4. It starts to burn
  5. It starts to burn
  6. It starts to burn

 And that's it. Comment below if you want me to provide a method of how to convert this other die types.


CHARACTER GENERATION

Write something down. Unfortunately, at the moment, all characters in this framework must be called Amen Vafan (I plan to release a compendium later on with rules on how to name your character differently).


EXAMPLE PLAY

Amen Vafan

Traits: Dungeon delver, Sorceress, Very Smart

In backpack: Torch, Weapons, Rations, Stuff, Things

Attire: Pointy hat with embroidered stars, Cape with embroidered stars, Frock with embroidered skulls (with stars for eyes) - all purple

Current objective: "My rat's down there - I need to save it!!"

After my long rest at the hard, cold, stone floor, I arise again to face the never-ending hordes of skeletons and undead in this nasty tomb.

I open my backpack and indulge in some of the food I brought with me, hoping it will restore some my health.

(DIE ROLL: 3 - IT STARTS TO BURN)

Oddly enough, the cheese wedge in my hand starts to burn, and I hurry up and eat it before it burns my tongue too much. Knowing the farmer, I must say this burnt taste was sadly an improvement.

I pressed on, torch ready in hand to light my way through these dark hallways.

(DIE ROLL: 2 - IT STARTS TO BURN)

As expected, the torch is well alit and aburning and eh ailluminating my surrounding area. Unfortunately, the whole torch is burning, and I must hurry to the next intersection before my hands light up.

Some moments later, I arrive at what must've been some sort of combined armoury/library/kitchen/sleeping halls/passage to lower levels - very common in these kind of tombs.

A rat! Alas - not my rat. This one was walking upright, clad in armour, and had a foul appearance (besides being a rat). I knew not if it had yet to notice me.

(DIE ROLL: 6 - IT STARTS TO BURN)

Strangely enough, the rat's suddenly engulfed in flames - a fire rat wizard! Or rat fire wizard! It turned around and faced me with a grim look on its face, spun its little furry paws as it prepared to cast a spell and let it go at my direction.

I immediately threw myself to the left to avoid the foul magic, and landed on a combined table/bed/book case/stairs down.

(DIE ROLL: 1 - IT STARTS TO BURN)

And the combined table/bed/book case/stairs down caught fire, but at least I had avoided the spell successfully.

As a reaction, I grabbed first thing from my backpack and threw it at the fire wizard rat.

(DIE ROLL: 2 - IT STARTS TO BURN)

As the thing hit the wizard fire rat, it started burning a second time, now twice engulfed in flames, alit atwice, and could not see anymore. It stumbled off in another direction, I could not see which due to all the smoke and flames and fire, but I cared not, because to face a wizard rat fire is to surely meet one's doom.

I quickly descended the stairs to the next lower level.

(DIE ROLL: 4 - IT STARTS TO BURN)

I hurried up the descension to not burn my feet, and as I reached the stone floor on the lower level, the stair case was all alit from atop to abottom.

I pressed on, since the search for my rat was far from over...




Jan 1, 2021

Bathroom Dungeons: Ascending the Rat Tongue, level 1

 

Another dungeon done while... Anyway, have a map! Follow the tag to see more of these.

Dungeon dressing using random Swedish books, an ugly map and a couple of WHYs

There are probably hundreds or more slick, fun, useful ways of generating dungeons, and populating them for fast, great use at your table.

This is not one of those, but I'm bored, so here goes.


There's one method we practised at work one time during team building (that we never used again, probably pretty typical for team building workshops) that had you constantly ask "Why ..." five times in a row to a given statement. For instance, you start by describing a simple problem, then you ask "Why is X causing Y" or "Why are we XYZZY?", and you get an answer, and then you reiterate with another "Why are we ...." based on that answer.

This has probably been used in RPG map making before, but I wanted to try it anyway, and I wanted to infuse some strange randomness into it whole by utilising my bookshelf in the process.


But first of all, I need a map. I'm thinking simple since I don't have all night for this post:


So my main idea is this:

  1. Pick something from the map above
  2. Formulate a question on the form: "Why is X there?"
  3. Pull out a book at random from the bookshelf
  4. Flip to some random page, choose a sentence at random - that's the answer
  5. State a new question, using answer in 4
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 (maybe occasionally 3, 4 and 5) until there are three or more WHYs and answers regarding that object

 

I'll quote whatever sentence I find, but I'll need to (badly) translate them from Swedish so sorry about that.

 

STATUE IN FIRST ROOM

(book: DIKTER by Karin Boye [1942]) 

Q: Why is there a STATUE in the first room?

A: "Säg mig, dis från Kunskapsbrunnarna" --> "Tell me, haze of Wells of Knowledge" --> Because it grants access to the Wells of Knowledge through a haze

Q: Why would someone need access to the Wells of Knowledge?

A: "Jag läste i tidningen att någon var död, någon som jag kände till namnet"  --> "I read in the newspaper that someone was dead, someone I knew by name" --> Because it can answer questions about deceased people using only their names

Q: Why would someone need answers about deceased people?

A: "ty dagen är du" --> "because the day is you" --> Because it enables someone to be that person for a full day


CLOSED DOORS IN FIRST ROOM

(book: DOKTOR GLAS by Hjalmar Söderberg [1905])

Q: Why are the doors closed?

A: "Jag skulle aldrig ha väntat något sådant av honom" --> "I would never have expected something like that from him" --> Because there is a man that can't be trusted behind the doors

Q: Why can't the man be trusted?

A: "Han var ännu gråare i ansiktet än vanligt" --> "His face was paler than usual" --> Because he is dying

Q: Why is the man dying?

A: "Ljusen brunno med smutsröda lågor mot den grå gryningsdagern" --> "The candles are burning with dirt red flames against the grey dawn" --> Because he performed a ritual involving red candles that affects daylight

Q: Why did he perform that ritual?

A: "Mina sinnen vaknade först sent, vid en tidpunkt, då min vilja redan var en mans vilja" --> "My senses awoke late, at a point, when my will were already that of a man" --> Because he needed to mend his body and mind

Q: Why did he need to mend his body and mind?

A: "Vad var det för folk där?" -> "What kind of people were there?" --> Because his mind was shattered and shared between multiple persons

 

PASSAGE THAT ENDS IN WATERFILLED CAVES

(book: PETTSON FÅR JULBESÖK by Sven Nordqvist [1988])

Q: Why are the caves filled with water?

A: "Gubben gick och la sig." --> "The old man went to bed." --> Because someone fell asleep on the job preventing the caves from flooding

Q: Why did someone fall asleep while preventing the caves from flooding?

A: "Han stönade och jämrade sig medan han kravlade upp ur snön." --> "He moaned and wailed while he crawled up from the snow" --> Because he was buried in snow and started hibernating

Q: Why was he buried in snow?

A: "Han var tvungen att göra sina bästa konster för att de överhuvudtaget skulle titta på honom" --> "He had to perform his best tricks to even get them to notice him" --> Because he tried to cast great illusionary spells to impress some gods

Q: Why did he try to impress some gods?

A: "Men det var en bit att gå" --> "But it was a bit of a walk" --> Because he wanted to reach them but they were out of reach

 

PIT TRAP

(book: SAMLADE DIKTER by Edith Södergran [1949])

Q: Why is there a pit trap in the hallway?

A: "Människor, det häver sig i mitt bröst" --> "People, my chest is rising" --> Because the spikes are growing like plants in this pit

Q: Why are the spikes growing in the pit?

A: "Några sista stjärnor lysa matt" --> "Some last stars shine dull" --> Because they yearn for moonlight

Q: Why are they yearning for moonlight?

A: "Jag sörjer så som hade jag förlorat en sagokrona" --> "I mourn as lost a crown of fairytales had I" --> Because the spikes are lost ornaments to a great fairy crown


* * * *

 

Did this produce the most exciting dungeon ever in existence? Nope, but it got me thinking about things not visible on the map, which got me thinking about the map, and so on.


Using an overly simple map was intentional, and I think - if you for some strange reason decide to try this yourself - one should ask questions about the most mundane things in the map, because that gives the most flavour; I mean, I put a statue or two in there, of course they're going to indicate some special thing, so asking WHYs about them is not that very exciting. But let's say you ask WHYs about an ordinary wall, or the ceiling, or just a door frame - mundane things that NEEDS to be there anyway - what could this method bring forth?


(And my apologies to the authors above for thrashing their penmanship with my horrible translations.)