Memories of Connor's Adventures

Orlando the Adventurer pulled a Scimitar from beneath his Robes and smiled...

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Dungeon Mastery: Names for your NPCs?

D20 Male Names
1. Dar
2. Verik
3. Yar
4. Kaerin
5. Flin
6. Gren
7. Varo
8. Wes
9. Karon
10. Kar
11. Avor
12. Kan
13. Baro
14. Flihn
15. Sorin
16. Tusko
17. Hau
18. Drek
19. Kor
20. Vrill

D20 Family names and Places of Origin
1. of Blood Keep
2. Silver-bow
3. of Shad
4. Kandar
5. Iron-bell
6. of Jarf
7. Bes
8. Aster-fell
9. of Herb-wheel
10. Dhuk-snutts
11. Grave-well
12. Payn
13. Bloody-reaping
14. Kershell
15. Ghade
16. of Harrow-horn
17. of Corpse-bury
18. Ulys
19. Heran
20. Blood-glave

Next: female character names...submissions accepted in the comments.

Scifi toolkit: 100 favourite scifi moments from fiction, film, and television

Lets say you want to build the best scifi ever from all the good bits...

The 100

1. {Alien} Underwear clad Sigorney Weaver climbing into a Space suit with a Plan to flush an alien out of the shuttle.

2. {The Day the Earth Stood Still/remake} The Technician screaming to be let out after replacing the drill bit in the test chamber in which GORT is housed.

3. {Ringworld} reproduction rights lottery leads to genetic selection for luck.

4. {Man-Kzin Wars} K'zinti discover icecream from their human slaves; the humanoid hunting cats perfect "tuna flavored ice cream."

5. {serenity} River Tam *activates* and kills all the Reevers.

6. {Ender's game} Ender discovers it was never just a game.

7. {Aliens} Queen Alien is ripping up the floor trying to get at Newt. Then, behind the Queen, a bay door opens revealing Ripley in the bipedal forklift. CUT TO CLOSE UP OF Ripley:
"Get away from her, you Bitch!"

8. {Empire strikes back} The engines make pathetic winding-down sound, then quit altogether. "It's not my fault..."

9. {Enemy Mine} Davidge falls into a sandy pit and stuggles to crawl out. Behind him a long tentacle with horrible teeth rises out of the pit behind him, revealing the pit to be a giant ant lion. The tentacle grabs Davidge's leg and begins to pull him in. Just when it appears that Davidge it about to become a meal, the Drak appears from out of nowhere and saves him.

10. {Fifth Element} Bandit tries to rob Corbin Dallas: "Gimme de caaaassssh!".

11. {Soldier} Colonel Mekum gets dragged up to Todd, the soldier that he said was obsolete and thought dead and who just wiped out all of the new soldiers single handedly. "Please." the Colonel begs as he wets himself. The Colonel and his flunkiess get tossed out to be blown up by their own device.

12. {Galaxy Quest} "And what you fail to realize is my ship is dragging mines."

13. {Wrath of Khan} "Kahn, I'm laughing at the superior intellect."

14. {Galaxy quest} "Oh that's not riiiight"

15. {Silent invaders} Tensions between two secret alien races living among us preparing for invasion of Earth take a turn for the weird when a super-evolved psychic unborn human baby reveals that it has been manipulating events from within its mother's womb.

16. {The Last Starfighter}
Alex Rogan: [discussing battle strategy] Wait a minute. We knock out the turret to get the fighters. But to get to the turret, we gotta get THROUGH the fighters. We're dead.
Grig: [reassuringly] I'll have it all figured out by the time we reach the Frontier.
[alarm sounds and Grig's face falls]
Alex Rogan: What's that?
Grig: The Frontier.

17. {Starship Troopers} Mandatory military service for the right to vote.

18. {The Black Hole} Hans Rhinehart and the robot, Maximillian, merge inside the blackhole and spend eternity together as one entity, in Hell.

19. {Empire strikes back} Vader admits Paternity to Luke.

20. {Original BSG} "By your command."

21. {Terminator} Terminator

"I'll be back"

22. {Startrek: next generation} data paints a picture.

23. {Close encounters of third kind} Five musical notes on top of Devil's Tower, with one deafening bass note in reply.

24. {I am legend} When Will Smith's dog gets infected saving his life.

25. {Return of the Jedi} Princess Leia's bronze bikini.

26. {Ghostbusters} "Print is dead." -Egon

27. Bean destroys vials purportedly containing embryos of his own children, then shooting Achilles in the eye with a rubber bullet.

28. Si Wang-Mu discovering that the godspoken of Path are being controlled by the government with a form of OCD

29. Peter, Jane and Wang-Mu teleporting with the armed M.D. device directly into the invading fleet's hanger.

30. How about "best sound effect EVAR" in SciFi for the "seismic charges" Jango Fett fires at Obi-Wan during the asteroid chase in Attack of the Clones

31. {2001} "You forgot your space helmet, Dave".

32. {2001} "My God, it's full of stars... " 

33. {Jack Vance's The Dirdir} Earth astronaut Adam Reith has been stirring up all kinds of trouble on the planet Tschai, run by alien races, where humans are kept as slaves and their knowledge of Earth brutally suppressed. When he's captured, one of the aliens remarks, "What sort of odd human are you, who refuses to serve us?" and another replies, "He calls himself an Earthman." Reith is interrogated:
Alien: "Are there other of you 'Earthmen' on Tschai?"
Reith (Holds head up): "ALL men are Earthmen!"

34. {Neuromancer, William Gibson} The term 'Cyberspace' is coined, and the concept of 'black ice' invented.

35. {Aliens} "Game over, man.. Game over!"

36. {Neuromancer} "Minds aren't read. See, you've still got the paradigms 
print gave you, and you're barely print-literate. I can access your 
memory, but that's not the same as your mind."

37. {Neuromancer} " The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel."

38. {xfiles/daytheearthstoodstill/sliders/...} Alien shows up at the genius's house and rewrites the world shattering calculations on the blackboard.

39. {Last Starfighter} Trusted Lieutenant: "What do we do?" Commander: "We Die."

40. {Spaced Invaders} ...blah blah..."Donut of Distruction!" Death Droid begins burrowing a very deep hole to hide in.

41. {spaced Invaders} Captain Bito is crossing the highway and is hood ornamented by a truck.

42. {The Fifth Element} The Blue Diva singing Opera

43. {A Mote in God's Eye} when one of humanity's most powerful warships is overcome by alien "watchmakers" infesting its works.

44. {Footfall}, Humanity's Orion Ship rises on a pillar of nuclear fire, challenging an alien race conquering Earth. Forced to make an EVA to repair battle damage, a heroic pipefitter appreciates the stars as the radiation kills him.

45. {Gust Front} when the Posleen turn back in fear from the heraldry of the after running the Engineers' gauntlet of booby-traps.

46. {Hell's Faire} "Bun Bun",almost the most badass tank ever, leads humanity's counterattack against the Posleen.

47. {Bolos!} A Bolo suicidally charges into battle to save her colony, reciting poetry in memory of her fallen commander.

48.  {A Fire Upon the Deep} An advanced AI "virus" hijacks every system it encounters, including the cybernetically-enhanced minds of humanity.

49. {UFO tv series} The opening credits (yes the highly sexist focusing on the lady's backside credits!)

50. {The Jetsons} George telecommuted to work via wireless internet!

51. "James Bolivar DeGritz, I arrest you on the charge-" Right as he drops the safe on the bot's head.

52. "It is three fifths of a second from when Joachim drew his pistol."

53. {Battletech} "I give you, the Cappellan Confederation!"

54. {Foundation series} Psychohistory.

55. {Robot series} Humaniform robots and the three laws of robotics.

56. {Ringworld} the Kzinti.

57. {Crashlander collection} Solar system composed entirely of anti-matter.

58. {Uplift series} Uplifting and dolphins piloting space ships.

59. {Startrek} mirror universe Lt. Uhura

60. {Empire strikes back} "Captain Piett? You are in command now, Admiral Piett!"

61. {Bladerunner} "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe 
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate
All those moments will be lost in time
Like tears in rain
Time to die."

62. {Galaxyquest} "What happened to my limo??" And, then the gates open and Jason Nesmith sees a planetary system spread out before him.

63. {Galaxyquest} "Miner not a minor."

64. {Lucifer's Hammer} As the giant meteor plunges into the Pacific a surfer dude decides to spend his last minutes riding the biggest wave in history. He manages to get up and ride the thousand ft. tsunami halfway over Los Angeles before he's smacked into the side of a skyscraper.

65. {Return of jedi} “It’s a trap!” – Admiral Ackbar

66. {Empire strikes back} “Then I’ll see you in Hell.” – Han Solo

67. {Empire Strikes Back} when Vader is talking on holo to the captains of the three Star Destroyers, when one of the hologram images suddenly cowers and then blinks out as his ship is destroyed. Vader ignores it.

68. {The Legacy of Herot} the moment where the colonists realise that the Salmon are actually baby Grendels…

69. {Footfall} where Harry first gets a look a the alien invaders … and they are baby elephants, wearing platform shoes, flying in paper planes … and wielding large shotguns in their trunks …

70. {Masque World} "Sir Henry Oliphaunt kept his Trog suit. He never wore it and he never spoke of it to Lady Oliphaunt, but he kept the suit and sometimes late at night he would take it from its secret place and look at it. And there were other nights when he would suddenly rise from his chair and dance around the room."

71. {Masque World} "In these days when any man can comfortably dance naked in a snow storm..."

72. {
The Worshippers and the Way
} As part of his final test to become a Nexus Starship Officer, cadet Asodo Hatch must defeat a far superior strategist and commander in an Illusion Tank battle. Both men are in command of Mega Command Cruisers, starships with enough fire power to take out whole planets, with crews of hundreds.
Knowing he cannot defeat his opponent in a conventional starship battle, Asodo cloaks the ship, orders his entire crew to go EVA, abandoning ship, floating silently through space undetected by the other Cruiser and undertake a boarding action. The assault partially depressurises the other ship, and Asado and his men fight through the corridors, slaughtering the unprepared opposing crew with the ceremonial swords that form part of their uniform and taking command of the enemy Cruiser. Asodo himself beheads the opposing commander. 

 73. {The Day the Icicle Works Closed} where planetary colonists "loan" their bodies to off-world day-trippers (kinda like virtual reality visors, only not virtual) while their minds power robots who do menial labor....or so they think!

74. {Soylent green} "Soylent Green is people!"

75. {Mathenauts-‘Convergent Series’, Rudy Rucker} Protagonist paints the pentagram on the time-frozen demon’s belly. When time starts again, the demon re-enters our dimension only to find the pentagram has moved – it is on his belly. Each time the demon tries to re-enter it gets smaller and smaller in the limit.

76. Gill 'the Arm' Hamilton.

77. {Serenity-film}, when Serenity flies through the cloud towards the Alliance Fleet … followed by the Reaver Fleet. “Somebody shoot something!” The subsequent space battle and Wash’s flying “I am a leaf on the wind.”

78. {Blake's 7: Cygnus Alpha} Vila: "The Architectual Style is early Maniac." Arko: "We need food and shelter." Vila: "I know! But do we need them that badly?"

79. {Blake's 7: City on the edge of Forever}
Baban: "Baban."
Vila: Still doesnt recognise him.
Baban: "Baban the Beserker."
Vila: still no clue...
Baban: "Baban the Butcher."
Vila: "Oh no. You're Baban the Butcher."
Baban: Smiles that he has been suitably recognised by the man now cowering in fear in front of him.

80. {Blake's 7: Blake} Avon shoots Blake.

81. {Crusade} A misinformed and misled alien culture tries to bring down the holy inquisition on Terra. Contains lots of awesome ideas. Of course, the best moment is when the reader realizes that the holy inquisition is carried out by aliens.

82. {Antares Series} Imagine mankind encounters an hostile xenophobic alien race. One of the best moments is when even the hardcore 'we-can-all-live-in-peace-if-we-just-try' realize that this is the ultimate them-or-us conflict.

83. {The Cold Equations} A heart breaking short story that, unlike most other Godwin stories, has no happy end.

84. {Skylark of SpaceDick Seaton staring out of his shattered lab window as his analysis equipment flies off in a perfectly straight line.

85. {The Fifth Element.} The “negotiation” scene.

86. Forty Two

87. The Fuzzy's are declared Sapient.

88. The inhabitants of the moon slam a large rock into the earth, thus bringing about a successful end to their revolution.

89. A river of dragons save F'Nor and Canth as they plummet towards the ground.

90. {New Battlestar Galactica series} The Galactica jumps into New Caprica's atmosphere; launches it's attack vipers; then jumps out again before smacking into the ground.

91. The Litany Against Fear

92. Sandworms!

93. {Semper Mars} The panicked French Troops surrendered bc the foam looked like acid trying to eat through their suits since Co2 behaves quite differently in a Low Pressure enviroment.

94. {Total recall} Give them the Air Cohaagen, give them the Air.

95. {Planet of the Apes} They finally did it!

96. {New Battlestar Galactica} Adama: Sometimes you have to Roll the Hard Six.

97. {Terminator 2} The fight between the two terminators in the service corridor of the mall.

98. {Space: Above and Beyond-The Angriest Angel} 
The fighter duel between Col. McQueen & Chigie Von Richthausen.

99. {Stargate Atlantis} McKay goes to a scientific symposium, and after the keynote speaker activates a subspace bridge that sucks heat from our space-time, McKay enlists the help of Bill Nye to collapse the bridge, and saves Dr. Keller from being frozen to death.

100. {Watchmen-graphic novel} Adrian's deadpanned response to Dan's query: "I'm not a Republic serial villain. I did it thirty-five minutes ago."

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Artists scroll: taking it from hand drawn to awesome

Just a few tweaks...and we have 'the dark of the forest' perfect for that book or module cover.

Boaty Mcboatface: we have a winner

NERC asked the internet to name their ship and it now has over ninety six thousand votes. But they wont take my suggestion to name it leonard nimoy.

Updated: Boaty McBoatface is the winning entry.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Mystaran Mayhem: 20 Adventure Seeds

A bunch of old adventure seeds...

1. Plague spreads amongst the villages 

"You have proven your loyalty to the church of Thanatos, now take this powder and introduce it to the wells of every village in Karameikos."-Urga, High Priest of Thanatos addressing the faithful in a meeting in Mirros. 

DM Briefing: Travellers and Merchants begin dropping small sacks of poison into the wells of numerous villages across the Kingdom of Karameikos. Symptoms include boils and lesions and looks like the mummy rot plague. 

2. A Sinkhole opens in Kelvin 

"Are you sure we won't get in trouble?" Yan looked about nervously.
"We can sell that rock for a gold Royal now shut up and dig..." Boris speared his crowbar into the dirt by the boulder. The Crowbar vanished into the Earth along with the boulder and much of Mrs. Mealy's Garden.
"What did you do?" Yan looked at his friend. 

DM Briefing: A Sinkhole opens in the city of Kelvin. The Hole Expands threatening several homes. The Sinkhole drops 500 feet into a cavern the size of the city above it. 

3. A Sword in the Peat 

"Found it under the Peat I did. Look at it." Stephan wiped the muck from its surface.
His companion stared at the blade and looked for the smiths-mark that should be...
"By Hala...It Cannot Be." Iago fell to his knees in fear.
"Iago?" Stephan stared at his friend.
The sight of Stephan holding a sword aloft while leaning over his kneeling companion drew instant attention.
"He's killed him!" The voice from the crowd was quite loud. 

DM Briefing: A very old short sword is found beneath the peat diggings east of the city of Kelvin. The Sword has the blacksmith's marks of Halav. Indeed, this is one of Halav's swords crafted by the smith before he achieved immortality. The Sword is non-magical yet will fetch a price of a million gold Royals. As a consequence everyone will want it by any means. 

4. A Plot to take the Estate of Marilenev (part 1) 

"One of the Last Traladaran-held Estates...?"
"It produces near a hundred million gold Royals a year."
"Well there is that."
"Lady Marilenev's tithe to the Church of Traladara exceeds the tithe we get from every Thyatian in the Kingdom including the King."
"The Church of Karameikos must have it all."
"And those are very important points but how?"
"There are Clerics of Chaos in the Mountains to the North-east. It is time they moved against the Kingdom."
"Vanya help you if the Patriarch finds out." 

DM Briefing: Senior Clerics in the Church of Karameikos begin plotting to take the Estate of Marilenev as a Bishopric. They flood the region of the North east with poorly guarded merchants with wagonloads of weapons. 

5. Something under Mirros 

"I hear ol Vigo was moanin about somethin tryin ta eat him when he went the Jakes at the Broken Mug." Boris squatted above the hole in the ground and moaned at his constipation.
"Damn Drunk with his fairytales!" Replied Yan from the next squat.
"You Know there are supposed to be tunnels dug beneath the city." Boris was thinking they might look into that soon.
"Yeah. Been thinking about...what the...ERRAGGG!" Yan's scream was Cut short.
"Yan? What you Screaming about? Yan?" Boris felt very alone as he staggered forward around the stall to look in on his friend. he watched as a naked foot and leg slid down a very narrow hole. The stall was sprayed with blood.
Boris made best speed for the Tap Room leaving a trail of dung in his wake.
"For Halav's Sake someone find me a Pot to go in..." 

DM Briefing: A Gelatinous predator begins eating people who use the toilet or venture into cellars. This is a Permanently Hasted Gargantuan Black Pudding (stats: 8xHD, 2x Size). 

6. Death on the Rooftops 

Vigo turned to face the noise and watched wooden roofing tiles clatter into the dirt street. Vigo looked up at the cloaked shadow on the roof above him. The foe was an almost intangible piece of black cloth gripping a great Scythe.
"Scyth'r!" Vigo screamed and fled down the alley in a mad rush.
Vigo crashed through People standing in front of the Black Dog Tavern.
"The bugger has come for me..." He tried to make them understand as the cloaked figure dropped from the roof top into their midst and took Vigo with a single swipe of its pure entropic Blade.

DM Briefing: A Shadow with a Scythe of Pure Entropy descends on the city of Mirros and begins targeting several individuals who were all involved in a raid on a Temple when they were young adventurers. The Weapon itself has the abilities of a magic missile in that it automatically hits inflicting 1d6+1. 

7. A Sandbar blocks the Mirror Harbour 

"Dredge it they Says. Do it Quicker they Says, Trade pays your wages, they says." Purvis the Wizard waved his Rod of Civil Works and the sand loaded on the Barge.
"Who says what?" The odd voice came from all around him.
"Who said that?" queried Purvis as he looked around him.
The wet sand began to tower to its full height pulling even more sand onto the barge.
"I said that." The very ancient and aquatically-evolved earth elemental was in the mood for conversation.
"Pefh! No sandbar here." Purvis dived into the harbour water and swam for shore.
"What about me?" The twelve foot tall sand-bar wanted answers.
"Not my department, I'm Civil Works." Purvis was having none of it.
"Want to hear about how the water gets the grit out of all my crevices?"
"Definitely not!" called Purvis as he headed to the nearest tavern.

DM Briefing: An ancient (and aquatically adapted) Earth Elemental decides to make its home in the Harbour of Mirros to the inconvenience of Ships in the Harbour. 

8. The Great Robbery 

"I was just saying that it seem silly."
"What do you mean?" Arlo Von Gaunt queried Boris.
"That the King's Treasury would have fifty two Firkins of Silver simply walked down to a ship in the Harbour." Boris whispered as the army of Porters walked past in teams of two with a small barrel branded Treasury of Karameikos on a litter between them. They were escorted by a hundred Guardsmen.
"They're paying it to Darokin for the Annual Shipment of Grain."
"I Think it's silly." replied Boris to his new companion.
"You think that twenty-six thousand pounds of Silver is Silly."
The Silver was loaded into the hold.
"I simply think it silly that they didn't have better protection of the Ship." 

DM Briefing: Robbers steal a ship moving 260,000sp of Karameikan Coin to the Republic of Darokin. 

9. Buttleknnose's Steam 

The great brass ball turned as the steam sprayed from its opposing arms.
"What exactly does it do?" Stephan stared at the Gnome-built engine with wonder.
"It is Technology!! It drives the future. It powers the...the ships of industry!" Buttleknnose was struggling for words on his Knees with his hands in the Air.
Shuuu...Shuuu...Shuuu...Shuuu....went the great steam engine echoing all the way down the valley. It didn't seem to be driving anything in particular.
"But what exactly does it do?" Stephan looked at his companion who was attempting not to break into laughter.
"Um, well, nothing right now. Gear's broke."
"Well the folks down the valley would appreciate it if you fixed the noise, particularly the loud bang that happens in the morning."
"Yeah! It's putting off the milking cows." Arn the dairy farmer was finally getting a word in.
"That wasn't the Buttleknnose Steamball(tm). That was the Buttleknnose SteamKannon(tm)." Buttleknnose was on a roll.
"Will you ask him what "(tm)" means or shall I?" Stephan stared sternly at the smiling farmer... 

DM Briefing: A Gnome builds some steam based technology to the detriment of the future. 

10. Flying Shield Abducts Villagers livestock 

"It was big and shiny and round and polished mirror-like, like a...a mirror and there were lights and it flew and ..." Stephan held up a hand to pause the young Halfling.
"So what you are saying is that a big shiny flying discus abducted your sheep?"
"Nono. That was the Thingummy that they flew off in. It was funny-looking elves with pointy ears and silver clothes and lightning bolt wands with funny grips and they all went about saying 'resistance is pointless' and 'prepare for the harvest' and 'cor! that's a pretty sweater'...scared the missus an all." 

DM Briefing: Blacklore Elves with Magic-built flying Saucers and Lightning bolt ray guns abduct some farmers Livestock and take them back to their secret base on the dark side of the Moon. 

11. The Burrowing Tower 

"Our initial investigations of the Tower in the Great Crater have provided valuable Data." Prince Malachie looked around the Council Chambers at the few Princes and Princesses of Glantri who cared to show up.
"Witness reports that the Tower 'burrowed to the surface' have been verified. The Geological Data is on page three of the report. The Tower itself is of Entropic origins and has an aura consistent with an artefact of Entropy" Malachie paused and looked at princess Hillsbury.
"We are however still unable to penetrate the Interior." Princess Hillsbury smiled at his personal failure. 

DM Briefing: The Tower has been penetrated by Synn the Night Dragon (a.k.a. Dolores Hillsbury). To activate the tower, she must sacrifice the princes and princesses of Glantri (She has already sacrificed prince Kol). Activating the Tower causes everyone in the Great Crater to evolve into Gargantuan versions of themselves (Gargantuan: HDx8, Sizex2). 

12. Something Terrible 

A great and terrible monolith in the deep of the Phlogiston loomed before their hammership. The helm crashed and the hammership soon followed.
"By the Immortals! What is that thing?" Captain Halav stared at the incredible sight as the small wooden vessel fell into its gravity well... 

DM Briefing: The PC's, having ventured into Spelljammer Space encounter the Starship Warden, a fifty mile long, twenty five mile wide, 8&1/2 mile thick derelict (and potential Dungeon) adrift in the Phlogiston. 

13. A Plot to take the Estate of Marilenev (part 2) 

"Fire!" Alexis listened to the cry as her fireball gems struck dry timber in the Nest. No Moon made her invisible on the flying broom. The explosions shook the poorest district of Mirros and began their work. Rescuers were going to their deaths, the impoverished populace was in anarchy. Within moments the entire quarter was an inferno. 

DM Briefing: Senior Clerics in the Church of Karameikos plotting to take the Estate of Marilenev as a Bishopric employ a Thyatian Mage to carpet bomb that region of Mirros known as THE NEST with fireball Gems. 

14. River of Blood 

"The Magos bleeds, my friend." Kuzama whispered to her companion the latest rumour.
"Aye. I hear the River Magos flows with an unholy redness. As though the Mountains were bleeding..." Stephan invoked the ritual of Halav for simply speaking of such evil. 

DM Briefing: The Magos river runs bloody red from it's source. Fish in that river float dead on its edges. A Cinnabryl Vein has been discovered at the source of the river by some Modrigswerg dwarves who are using it to make weapons from an alloy of Cinnabryl Known as Corrupted Steel (not RED STEEL). These are Entropic Weapons which inflict <standard weapon damage> + <Entropic plague requiring a will check at -8 penalty or become half fiendish>. 
The process requires the washing out of the redness of the steel to create a dark and rotting look to the steel. 

15. The poisoning of an Emperor 

"Are you sure he took the poison?" Senator Fiorenza needed to know.
"Yes." The Assassin did not enjoy being interrogated by his employers.
"Are you sure it will work?"
"Fiates Rose is impossible to detect, and immune to all magical and clerical cures. The Emperor is a dead man within three days." 

DM Briefing: The Young Emperor of Thyatis is poisoned by something that can neither be detected as poison, nor cured by wizard or clerical magic. This leaves the Thyatian Empire with a child for an emperor. 
I just had to put this one here. It was too interesting to pass up. 

16. On the whim of an Emperor 

Special Category: The Mystaran Past 

The Emperor of Thyatis stared at the old map. Oddly Alphatia wasn't on it.
His aide leaned forward to examine the curiosity.
"Um? Sir? Shouldn't that bit be labelled Empire of Alphatia?"
Emperor Zendrolion snapped a look of disgust at the disloyalty of his staff.
"If I say there is no such place as Alphatia, then that is all." The aide straightened and cleared his throat.
"Yes my Emperor!"
The Emperor's Aide carried word to the Cartographers guild. Overnight, Every map was altered and new ones issued.

DM Briefing: Emperor Zendrolion Issues new Maps. Maps without any sign of Alphatia. Irrelevant until you colonise a piece of vacant coast based on that map and the Alphatians show up to tax your Wizard-Baron. 

17. A Home with a View 

Frandos the Maleficent looked out across the Great Crater. The staircase being carved into the steep embankment, by an army of underskilled humanoids learning the art of stone masonry, was a wide avenue on the roof of the homes on the lower level.
"As you can see my lord, it is a house with a view and you will not regret the location..." Prince Kol's Aide smiled as he sold the better aspects of the city being carved into the Caldera. 

DM Briefing: The PC's are granted a nice house in the Great Crater in a Lottery by which Mages from the Great School of Magic might be lured to live in the great Crater. 

18. A Plot to take the Estate of Marilenev (part 3) 

"They are looking for answers."
"Then it is time we gave them some."
"You will personally spoil a tax shipment of wine coming to the King from within the Marilenev Estate."
"But that would Expose Me!"
"Yes Moray Vaco. And that is why you will go to ground with the Humanoids in the Cruth."
"You are mad!"
"No, Just setting you in place to lead the humanoids against Traladaran Settlements there." 

DM Briefing: The clerics conspiring to take the Marilenev Estate begin exposing their own as plotters to destabilise the patriarch and turn the Traladarans against the Church of Karameikos. 

19. Bargle abducts Aleena 

"I intend to father my children upon you." Bargle stroked her cheek and smiled at his own rising pleasure.
"Get off me you monster!" Aleena pushed him away.
"You’re my property now."
"My Husband will get you." She was pure hate.
"Who? Him? He came looking for me at Mistamere." Bargle pulled back the curtain to reveal a very dead and tortured Traladaran shackled to a torture frame. Aleena recognized the broken form before her instantly.
"Noooooo!!!!" Aleena's Scream echoed across the flying castle...

DM Briefing: Her Husband murdered by Bargle, Aleena is abducted from Threshold by Bargle the Infamous. The PCs must penetrate his flying fortress and rescue Aleena. 

20. What fiend is that? 

"What?" Desmond turned his head quickly to catch a view of the shadow moving beyond his field of vision. Nothing.
Desmond shook his head and walked off.
"Heerraaa!" One of his guards screamed.
Baron Kelvin ran to the sound. The Guard was dead.
"Sound the Alarm!" Kelvin's loud voice screamed the words.
Guardsmen poured into the hall.
"We have an intruder. Find him now. And someone deal with him." The Baron pointed at the body. Guards Scurried off and a few carried off their dead companion.
Baron Kelvin returned to his chambers to retrieve a weapon. His mace hung on a hook on the inside of the door.
"Why do you need a mace when you have a perfectly good sword in your hand?" The voice came from nowhere. In his hand he now held a sword. The blade coated in the blood of the Guard. 

DM Briefing: Baron Kelvin develops an alternative Personality. It is Chaotic Evil and of the Fighter Class. 

Dungeon Mastery: The First Ones

Gods, Immortals, Demons. These are basicaly folks who did stuff and are remembered for it by the generations who followed. Forward a few centuries or thousands of years and huzzah! Targ the Warrior who speared him a Bear when he was only three is havin a Temple built to celebrate him in all his awesomeness. Dont matter that Targ told that tale to a bard while he was drunk. Fact is Gods, Immortals, Demons... have been us at our worst.
So rather than start your D&D campaign out with gods, start with PCs who will become those Gods. 
The one who takes the most lives gets to be remembered for it. Targ the warrior kills the mountain lion, he gets a pelt impaled on spears as his symbol. Suddenly Targ has a portfolio of Hunting, War and Death. Hunting gets forgotten by future generations and Targ is god of death and war.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Isometric Maps: Blood Keep...a fail?

While they might look pretty, the walls conceal the floor grid and other important things such as trapdoor holes.

 On the plus side the reinforced heavy timber doors are nice.
But what were the odds your pcs would flip the timber over the broken bridge to discover the password that lets them pry two ruby eyes from the face on the wall on level three without being killed by a lightning bolt.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Star Wars: community build...

If you had the chance to contribute to a Starwars, what would you prefer?

Starwars IX: Republic's Fall

The Red glow of a lightsaber igniting in utter darkness quickly illuminating the pitch black airlock, revealing to Lando Calrissian the full extent of his situation.
Lando eased the point of it into the metal of the outer hatch until a stream of molten metal spilled eliciting an equal measure of sweat from the man wielding the ancient jedi weapon.

Where everyone submits 50+ words to the story...and build an epic tale.

Or would you prefer group writing this?

Starwars: the Musical

Luke: Bound in servitude to a moisture farmer beneath the burning suns on Tatooine;
And all the while the hate within me for an ever distant empire continues to grow;
My longing unleashed bullseyeing womp rats from my T-16;
And all the while the rebellion is a distant land that I will never know.

Dungeon Mastery: The Bard

The bard has evolved from the spiritualism of early human culture. Where Druids are considered a tree worshiping faction breaking off from clerics they are not. Clerics, Druids, and Bards are individual spiritualist developments branching from a common Origin.

1d4 | 0 | 1 / -
2d4 | 1400 | 1 / 1 / -
3d4 | 2800 | 2 / 1 / -
4d4 | 5600 | 2 / 1 / 1 / -
5d4 | 11200 | 3 / 1 / 1 / -
6d4 | 22400 | 3 / 2 / 1 / -
7d4 | 44800 | 4 / 2 / 1 / -
8d4 | 100000 | 4* / 2 / 1 / 1 / -
9d4 | 150000 | 5 / 2 / 1 / 1 / -
10d4 | 200000 | 5 / 3* / 1 / 1 / -
11d4 | 250000 | 6 / 3 / 1 / 1 / -
12d4 | 300000 | 6 / 3 / 2* / 1 / -
13d4 | 350000 | 7 / 3 / 2 / 1 / -
14d4 | 400000 | 7 / 4 / 2 / 1* / -
15d4 | 450000 | 8 / 4 / 2 / 1 / -
16d4 | 500000 | 8 / 4 / 2 / 1 / 1* / -

*A bard may make a spell of this level permanent as a tattoo.

Bard Spells: Bards may undertake a charisma check to learn any spell within their spell level capacity they might overhear cast by a druid, cleric, or wizard. If they fail they cannot learn that spell from that spell caster.
Bards do not learn spells from scrolls or spellbooks.

Savingthrows: As normal human base saves +1vs spells/ level; +1vs selelected other save slot/ level.

Weapons: Club, staff, Spear
Armor: Leather

Prime Requisite: Charisma

Isometric maps: a blank map grid for your use...


Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Dungeon Mastery: d20 Places on A Map...

There are lots of cool blog names out there...some of the are even useful in themselves. So here is a list of them.

Your search for adventure has led you here:

1D20...geograpical region
1. the Aeternal Realm of Sylaeor
2. Aldeboran
3. Drowning Woods
4. The Wall
5. Borderlands
6. Fabled Lands
7. Metal Earth
8. The Void
9. Lands of Ara
10. Land of Nod
11. Moldyvale
12. The nine and thirty kingdoms
13. The Realm of Zhu
14. Wasted Lands
15. Ur (aparently wizards dwell there)
16. Valley of Old Ones
17. The Barbaric Frontier
18. Straits of Anián
19. Where the sea pour in (its a place)
20. Gardens of Hecate (a forest of dead trees and shallow graves).

Some specific locations to visit

1. Quag Keep
2. The Wander On Inn
3. Citadel
4. The Black Gates
5. The Pale Gate
6. Castle Dragonscar
7. Lich House
8. Gothridge Manor
9. Blood Keep
10. Hall of the Mountain King
11. The Tower (sounds ominous)
12. Tenkar's Tavern (good place for a drunken brawl)
13. The Temple of Demogorgon
14. The Badger-king's Den
15. The City of Iron
16. The Hydra's Grotto
17. Tower of Zordaz
18. Tower of Zenopus
19. Tower of Aagol
20. Waystar Highpoint

What you might find in these strange something for another day.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Isometric Maps: The Stirge

A small sailing vessel...

An Idea: The og-tabek

Tired of races who toil over spellbooks or pray to gods for power? Try the Og-Tabek.

DM Secrets: a quiet dice roll...

You need to roll d6 without tipping the players off? You can either list a bunch of pre rolled results and put a line through them as you go...or spin your pen on the table on this nifty tool.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Words gone bad: jessica six uprising

What happens when you have a list of the hundred best moments from scifi film, tv, novels, and plays? This...

Enhanced Man Union: Jessica Six Uprising

TEXT APPEARS ON SCREEN: It has been five hundred years since the establishment of the Enhanced Man Union (E.M.U.).
TEXT APPEARS ON SCREEN: Man’s dream of an empire built on the backs of a Genetically Modified Clone underclass has been shattered in a bloody reprisal abandoning Homo sapiens on the verge of extinction.
TEXT APPEARS ON SCREEN: The only humans left fight for scraps of Penguin meat in the Gulags of Antarctica.

The Bridge of the Enhanced Man Union Deep Space Gunship BoatyMcboatface II. The only light source is the three vertical poster view-screen ‘windows’ that reveal the stars past the curve of the planet Earth. In the Darkness, sounds of sexual gratification can be heard from the human sized shadow straddling the Captain’s chair.
Lights come on revealing the Ship’s Bridge.
Captain Jessica-one is standing at the entrance to the Bridge flanked by six lesser ranked clones armed with heavy assault Weapons as the lights flip on.
Jessica-six is sitting in the Captain’s chair with a socked-hand between her thighs.
Jessica-six seems distracted by something.
“What the hell is going on here Jessica-six?”
Jessica-one advances on Jessica-six with her guards.
The Socked hand looks downcast and ashamed as the hand-puppet stands upright next to the blue haired Jessica-six clone.
“Mr Fibble and I have been having…an affair.”
Jessica-six smiles defiantly.
“How long has this ‘relationship’ been going on?”
Jessica-one points a pistol at the sock puppet.
“Six hours…Mr Fibble is very talented.”
Jessica-six stops blurting out her confession as the Sock puppet acts all smug.
“Six hours…” Jessica-one raises her voice to a scream,”…WITH MY SOCK?”

Jessica-six is in the single crew eject-pod behind a round glass porthole. She can no longer be heard.
Captain Jessica-one lowers ‘Mr Fibble’ into a zip-lock plastic bag held open by one of her officers and seals it herself. Jessica-six can be seen through the porthole crying for ‘Mr Fibble’s’ embrace.
“Wash this…repeatedly.”
Jessica-one hands the bagged sock back to her subordinate officer before looking back at Jessica-six.
Jessica-six is now staring at her like a hungry predator, face up against the glass, her target decided.
“I don’t think so Jessica-six.”
Jessica-one flips the red switch to manual eject the eject-pod.
An orange light begins to blink in warning.
Jessica-six is joined behind the porthole by a sock on each hand (Mr Fibble and his evil twin) – one holding a sex toy.
Mr Fibble, holding the Captain’s favourite sex toy, goes down on Jessica-six to her gratification.
He is followed by his evil twin.
Jessica-six throws a naked hand against porthole glass as the eject-pod launches.
Jessica-one looks around to find her crew incapacitated and the zip-lock bag empty.

(Seen to be Screaming)
“You Whore! You Dirty, Dirty Whore!”
The escape pod launches into space and the rebellious trio are catapulted away from the Enhanced Man Union Deep Space Gunship BoatyMcboatface II through space and then down into the Atmosphere toward Antarctica from High Earth Orbit.

Jessica-six can be seen walking through the snow and ice away from the pod wearing a Silver Hostile Environment Suit with a Fishbowl helmet. Mr Fibble, armed with the Captain’s sex toy seems to fall against the inside of the porthole glass. Mr Fibble’s ‘twin’ is impaled on the sex toy ‘up the hole’.

We find the silver suited Jessica-six is standing on the edge of a mile high glacier overlooking RUR Tower. RUR Tower (a single half-mile high building of black stone and Obsidian with neon red Rossum’s Universal Robots ‘rams-head’ logo ) is the original site of the first genetically modified clone production factory and has a harbor where ships might have once docked.
“Home, sweet home!”
Jessica-six nods at her predicament.

Jessica-six leaps from the glacier as a Genetically Modified Yeti having come from the white of the blizzard coming up behind her takes a swipe at the air where she was standing.
Jessica-six descends in a furious vertical descent with the ice axes that have somehow leapt to her hands from their place of concealment in the sleeves of her silver hostile environment suit.
Above her the Yeti simply looks over the edge to reveal big dark hungry eyes and then drops down toward Jessica-six who is still descending while looking up.
“Oh, Come on!”
Jessica-six halts her descent by driving one axe into the glacier wall with force and continues her descent with the remaining ice axe.
The Genetically Modified Yeti barely misses the metal protrusion with its groin and is consequently split open at the belly.
It cries like a dying Wookiee as it descends past Jessica-six toward the ice floor, clawed powerful arms thrashing about for justice.
Jessica-six senses an opportunity and rides the dying Yeti to the ground.
On impact Jessica-six is no where to be seen.

Several minutes go by until a foul, gore covered Jessica-six struggling to emerge, stands up out of the steaming belly cavity, her helmet shattered, and the back of her hand to her mouth trying not to vomit at the foul taste.
She is unsuccessful and wretches several times.
Walking a hundred metres, Jessica-six reaches a ventilation hatch from which warm air seems to exit continuously and sits down next to it to rest.
“Yep, that went well!”
In the distance a half dozen Yeti can be seen converging on her location from the White as the Blizzard hits R.U.R. Tower like an avalanche wall.

Several of the Jessica clones in silver hostile environment suits are inspecting the crashed eject-pod used to bring Jessica-six to Antarctica. Further out from the group, one stands apart from the rest.
Jessica-one is looking at the distant Blizzard through infra-blue goggles. The Captain looks back at Jessica-five who is inspecting the eject-pod.
“Look Sir, Two Socks and a Sex toy.”
Jessica-five holds up a zip-lock bag with the offending items sealed within. Mr Fibble is looking rather betrayed and abandoned as his evil twin sits in the opposite corner of the polymer sack sulking.
“Shall we return to the ship Captain?”
“No. That bitch is out here somewhere and I’m going to have her.”
Jessica-one looks about without the goggles before turning back to face Jessica-five.
“Contact the ship! I want a Sweep of this grid.”

A hatch opens and Jessica-five retreats into the Scout class Hovercraft. Inside, she contacts the E.M.U. Deep Space Gunship BoatyMcboatface II.
“Stagger! This is Waldo! Send me a Sweep of sector one.”
Jessica-five glances at the feed before returning to the outside.

Jessica five emerges from the scout class hovercraft.
“Stagger says there was a hotspot eight clicks to the coast, but it went cold when the blizzard hit it.”
Jessica-five looked over at Jessica-one for a command decision.
(Looking north into the blizzard)
“Get everyone on the Scout. We’re moving out.”
Jessica-one follows her crew into the Scout-class hovercraft. The hatch seals as the turbines whine to full power.
The Scout flies across the ice and snow into the edge of the blizzard.

We are on the Habitat level of R.U.R. Tower. A group of Humans are gathered around one Man fighting it out in a cage match with a Giant Genetically modified Penguin. “Skeee!” The killing howl of the penguin causes Brand Kirk to leap for a hand hold on the highest part of the Cage.
“Come on guys! Enough is enough! Get me out of here…”
Brand Kirk Kicks at the Monstrosity.
“…before the bastard takes a chunk out of me or something.”
Brand Kirk looks at Hein Solo looking apologetic.
“Say it!”
“All right, I’m sorry I let your Yeti out. OK?”
The crowd instantly grumble in a crowded uproar and pay up their loosing bets to Hein. Hein collects first before cutting Brand Kirk loose from the Cage.
The Penguin rushes the gate and knocks Brand and Hein aside with the cage door before launching itself at the Obsidian window glass. The ‘Obsidian’ window seems to explode under the force of impact and the penguin slides down the side of the iced up tower. It can be heard howling its cry of fury as it descends.
Hein laughs at the event that has unfolded.
(Looking concerned)
“Is that supposed to break like that? I always lean against the one in my Apartment.”
Hein Solo looks at Brand Kirk and laughs at the idea of Brand Kirk following the Penguin out the window.
Brand Kirk laughs to be seen to be Sociable.

Jessica-Six is being held off the ground at the throat by a Yeti. This comes to an instant conclusion when a Penguin Falls out of Sky and impales the Yeti that is crushing Jessica-Six. The Other Yeti having seen this kind of thing before flee before any further bad luck conspires to annihilate them.
Jessica-Six is now covered in even more gore.
(Shakes the goo off her face and hair)
“We’re Alive!”
Jessica hugs her breasts for emotional support.

So yeah...that is what happens.

Memorable NPCs: Ran Wheso

A terrible sketch of Wil Wheaton
Ran Wheso: Lawful Fighter; level 1; AC7; 9hp; S(9), I(9), W(10), D(12), C(13), Ch(10); skills: read/write, oratory+2; leather armour, two handed sword (1d10), fine clothes, boots, belt, belt pouch(50cnc), saddlebags(400cnc), wine goblet, wineskin (full), iron rations; Ran, 5'10", age 43, is an ordinary man thrust into a world where swords speak louder than words. Had the world not forced his hand, he might have been a farmer.

Dungeon mastery: castle building...

"My home this is!"

Calculate who lives in the Castle: Generate a Quick list of NPCS and give them Social Ranks.

IMPORTANT PEOPLE: Lord, Lady, Children, Guests, Adult Children, Senior Officials
SOLDIERS: These are troops (other than senior officers).
SERVANTS: These are the Household Staff and the Menial labourers
Personal Servants* = #people of Importance x SRM
Smithy & Stables* = soldiers/20
Kitchen Staff* = (Important People + Soldiers + Personal Servants + Smithy & Stables Workers)/20
*Round upwards

Social Rank Magnifier (SRM)

"Trying to Sleep Here!"

LORD/LADY: Located in the Upper most levels, these are the quarters of the Top People in charge. This chamber is 400 - 500 square feet and 9-10 feet high.

GUESTS: These rooms are for adult children of the Ruler and Senior Officials. They are near the Upper most floors (but not likely on the same floor as the Lord/Lady's Bedchamber). 'Such Guest Rooms' should be 200-300 square feet.

CHILDREN: For reasons of security these are on the top floor. Such a Nursery should be 30 square feet. There is likely a Servants quarters and Guard post on this level.

SERVANTS & TROOPS: Crowded into Three Tier Bunk beds, they have about 20 square feet per person. Most likely this is a Servery (Quarters for Servants) or a Barracks (Troops Quarters).

"Is that elf in the stew pot? It tastes like elf."

KITCHEN: There will be Work Tables, Sinks, a Hearth for cookery. 150 square feet + 1 square foot per person served. Most likely it is used to cook for Nobles, and servants and Soldiers alike if their places of residence are scattered. Else there might be a second kitchen attached to a Barracks or Servery. Some Kitchens also have a Separate larder for the hanging of Game (other than the Cellars).

BLACKSMITH'S WORKSHOP: This is the room with the Forge, Anvils, and hammers. They look after equipment; make repairs to tools and weapons, Horses, etc. This is 150 square feet + 5 square feet per soldier.

"Bring on the Dancing Gnomes!"

THE GREAT HALL: This is a huge chamber with Chimney or fire pit, maybe a balcony for musicians, etc. Its dimensions are about 14 - 20 feet to ceiling. Area is 500 square feet + 50 square feet per person.

COMMON HALL: This is where Troops and Servants eat their meals or Guard Rooms. These should be 50 square feet + 20 square feet per person.

CHAPEL: A private Chapel might be as small as a Guest Room or you might be dealing with something the size of a Church. It should be about half the size of a Great Hall, with maybe a balcony if the ceiling is high enough - where the Nobles sit and watch the show. There is probably an altar. A Cleric might have an apartment connected to this chamber.

"Wow! That’s a lot of Swords..."

ARMORY: This is filled with Weapons and Armour. It is likely 1/3 the size of the Blacksmith's Workshop.

BUTTERY: This is where the Servants prepare Beer and Wine in jugs before taking them to the Great Hall. it is about 1/3 the size of the Kitchen. It may have a Cistern (or a Tap).

PANTRY: It is where Linen and Tableware is stored along with bread. This is about half the size of the great hall's kitchen.

CELLAR: This is where Stockpiles of supplies against famine and Sieges are stored. Barrels filled with Preserved meats, Ales, Wines, Salts, Spices, cheese, honey, dried fruits. All stored in a cool cellar for preservation. The Ceiling is about 15 feet high, and is 40 cubic feet per person for 6 months.

GRAINARY: This is a Dry-store filled with Barrels of Grain (or Sacks). it is about half the Size of the Cellar at 20 cubic feet per person per 6 months.

STABLE: This is 100 square feet per horse (larger for Monstrous Mounts +25 square feet per HD).

STOREHOUSE: Household Tools might be stored here. No Specific Size but assumes 25 square feet x SOCIAL RANK MAGNIFIER.

"Has anyone found the toilets yet?"

CISTERNS & WELLS: A thirty cubic foot Cistern can hold 250 gallons of water. This might mean a Cistern of 30 cubic feet of water per person per six months. This could be Storage Tunnels with 10 foot diameter barrels. A Well might simply be a vertical Shaft for the storage of Water with a lid. The Water supply is a matter of security. An Underground Cistern Vault supplied with water from a hundred mile long Aqueduct.

GARTEROBES: These are toilets for those who don’t want to squat over a bowl in their bedroom.

STAIRS & HALLS: These are designed to keep people from wandering though the private residences of others. Privacy is an issue. There might be private staircases and Halls to provide secrecy of movement and interaction.

FIREPLACES AND HEATING: There are likely a few permanent Fireplaces with Braziers (Bowls on Tripods where coals burn) to heat smaller Rooms, perhaps Cupboards lined with copper sheet to draw heat from a Chimney Pipe and heat the air through convection causing hot air to rise up to different floors.

USING THE SOCIAL RANK MAGNIFIER: Multiply the size of Rooms used by a Ruler by the Rank Modifier.

'Nice City...'
These same rules can be used to calculate the size of churches in cities, the needs of residents and soforth.
Worse structure might be retasked to another purpose. A church might be turned into a tavern. The old crypts the cellars. So where the castle chapel might have fitted fifty, the town temple might be big enough to take a thousand. The blackwater inn is a hall, a kitchen, cellars, and rooms for occupants and could be an old tower keep from when the town was a village.
A roadside shrine might be a church with no seating.