Opposed rolls in old school games

If two characters want to compete to know who wins a bras de fer competition, or if they are engaged in a game of cards or chess, or any other situation where there cannot really, or should, be a draw, both roll 1d6 and add their most appropriate ability modifier (strength for a arm wrestling, wisdom for domino, charisma for a duel of looks, agility for throwing darts, constitution to endure without breathing, intelligence to solve an equation, etc.)

If there is a tie, another roll is made until there is a winner.

Sometimes it is a good idea to put some tension into these competitions. In those cases, the winner will be the first to achieve 3, 5, 10 or even more victories, for example in a long desert marathon or to determine who finds more decorated stegosaurus eggs at the Volcano Festival.

duel of looks

Some goblins

Somewhere else I said the goblins might be corrupted halflings. But there might be different kinds of goblins, not all of them little green men. Here are couple.

Hemogoblin

AC 12, HD 4, 18 hp, MOV 90′ (30′), ML 9, #ATT 1 tentacle or 1 projectile or fusion, DMG 1d6 or 1d6 or special

Artwork by Yalaki

A bloody mass of tissue, vaguely humanoid in shape, as though someone had inverted a small person inside out.

Tentacle (mêlée). One per round, the hemogoblin can produce a metre-long tentacle that executes a swift whip attack for 1d6 damage.

Projectile (range). One per round, it can squirt acidic blood up to a distance of 10m, 20m with a -2 penalty, or 30m with a -4 penalty, for 1d6 damage.

Fusion. It tries to hold on to its opponent (mêlée roll; no damage). If successful, it will immobilize it for one round, and in its next action the hemogoblin will try to enter its victim through any hole it can (victim saves vs. Paralyzation to avoid it).

Once the hemogoblin is inside the host, it will remain dormant for some time, and at the most inopportune moment, its presence will prevent the host from having full control of its body.

Mechanically, this translates into penalties to their action or salvation rolls.

And when the referee sees fit, perhaps a few weeks later, the hemoboglin will hatch: the host body will throw hundreds of tiny hemogoblin larvae in the form of blood clots through the mouth, eyes, nose, etc., suffering a massive 6d6 damage.

History Hook: PCs have been hired to lead a hemoglobin-infected person to where a healer can have a cure. You have to get there before the hemogoblin hatches.

Cosmic goblin

AC 12, HD 1, 5 hp, MOV 90′ (30′), ML 9, #ATT 1 weapon or 1 command, DMG as weapon or special

Artwork by Yalaki

These creatures have the proportions of a human being, but their height is about one meter. Their heads are shaped like planets and are believed to come from the stars.

Weapon (range). Cosmic goblins usually carry a strange device that shoots a musical beam of silvery light at a distance of 20m, 40m with a -2 penalty, or 100m with a -4 penalty, causing 1d8 damage.

Command. One per battle, the cosmic goblin can insert a mental command into an enemy, ordering him to carry out an attack against whomever the goblin says. This action is undetectable; whoever has received the command is not aware that he has acted on the orders of the goblin, he simply does not know why he has attacked a companion (or whoever it was). To avoid this, the victim must save vs. Magic.

§

Stats are written for LotFP, where AC 12 is for no armor. This is the only adjustment you should make if you use another OSR system. All the illustrations were made by Yalaki, hire her!

Tricks & Traps | The Horror of the Fourth Wall

We are in a cube shaped room of 1,000 m³ (10 x 10 x 10), there are no doors or windows, virtually no exit.

How did we get here?

As the referee sees fit: falling through a trap door, using a teleport, the door disappears as it closes, the four walls rise up from the ground around the unfortunates as they step on a slab, or they simply wake up there after dreaming of the idiotic chaos at the center of the universe.

Three of the walls have something written in red letters

South wall: “Our Mother, who art in earth… etc.”

West wall: “The thoughtless chaos at the heart of the world”.

North wall: “Azathoth, the amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity, who made the gods and thereafter rested, sleeps eternally, lulled by the music of your heartbeat.”

The fourth wall is different

East wall: There is an eye-shaped stain of dirt and moisture on the wall. When your and its eyes meet, you can feel the look in that eye judging you, you can see your darkest or most shameful secrets, those things that you deny even to yourself, those things that if you contemplate for more than five minutes would lead you to suicide or insanity.

If someone pays attention, they hear a scuttling sound behind the wall.

It is not obvious to the naked eye, you have to throw something at it or hit it, but the wall is easy to knock down using a little brute force or a sledgehammer.

What’s behind the fourth wall?

A bulbous, shapeless, bubbling mass. It is composed of thousands of cockroaches constantly moving. Normal weapons are useless but fire will kill them quickly, revealing a hole behind the wall, and the hole leads to the exit.

Exit

Again, as the referee sees fit: it can be a staircase leading up, a teleport, or a simple hole that takes you out of the room.

Is 2B From Nier: Automata Overly Sexualized?

I wrote something not related to roleplaying games but I don’t know where else to post it, so I post it here

People that say that 2B’s outfit makes sense for combat are wrong and miss the point entirely: a) 2B doesn’t exist. b) The game world of Nier doesn’t exist. Their opinion is a classic fallacy in which fiction is used to describe real world problems by ignoring (deliberately) that fiction is not real. In other word, this is a diegetic justification for sexism.

Appealing to a supposed fictional reality in which “things are like that”, deliberately omitting the fact that a real person was the one who made the decision to include that element in the fictional world in the first place.

This fallacy works like this:

Critic: “Nier’s robots wear revealing clothes, the aim of the game is for the robots to show their intimate parts as a mere fan-service”.

Fandom: “The critic is wrong, and you can tell he didn’t pay attention. If he had paid attention to the game, he would know that there is a reason for this: robots try to imitate humans, but they do so imperfectly, so the result is a parody that mimics in an out-of-place, or erratic, way some human attitudes or behaviors; in other words, 2B doesn’t wear sexy clothes to appease the fans, it does so because she believes that’s the way human women should dress.”

In other words: Someone makes a criticism of some element of a work, usually for being racist or sexist; then, the fandom defends the work citing in-world reasons (diegetic reasons) to explain why things are so.

Therein lies the problem: fictional worlds are not real, and the creators of those worlds can change the elements as they wish or as they need, and in fact this is what happens in 100% of the cases: whether it is a single writer or a group of hundreds of people working on a video game or movie, the story, the designs, the events, the dialogue, and all the elements of the work go through constant revisions, until in the end someone makes the decision to finalise the project, in what is considered the final version.

The only reason why things are the way they are in fiction worlds, is that the author decided that this is the way things should be. Someone, a real person, of flesh and blood, decided that Nier’s robots should show their underwear and crotch, it’s not a real world where that’s the way things are, it’s a fictional world that someone built that way.

It is a mistake to pretend that the controversial, or even harmful, elements of a work of fiction are justifiable using in-world arguments.

Fandom: “You can’t criticize those elements because that’s the way the world is.

This response to criticism is completely wrong because fictional worlds are not real, they are created by someone, someone who has the ability to change elements and to decide what that world is like. Remember: The world of fiction does not exist, the only thing that exists is the finished work and the ideas it represents or expresses.

These argumentative fallacies are only intended to nullify the criticisms using diegetic justifications.

The criticism of a work has the objective of understanding something and to approach the truth, for that reason it requires rigor, works of criticism are not mere opinions. Or if they are, they are informed opinions.

The defense of the work and the attacks on the criticism seek to silence the criticism of a creative work, which is, in the end, a criticism of the decisions that one person or many people made when creating the work.

Is this game sexist, then? Well, it includes an achievement called What are you doing?, an achievement for looking up 2B’s skirt. Someone intentionally decided that one of the goals of the game was to look at her underwear. What else can I say?

Sparrow’s Heart, a Mörk Borg misadventure (III)

[Go to Part I | Go to Part II]

third and final part: the dungeon, the black tower, the sparrow’s tower. enjoy it with good music

REMEMBER THIS Rooms 21-23 are underground, the building looks like an inverted T from THE outside, but it’s actually shaped like the satanic cross of the antigod. Lines connecting rooms are normal (black) and secret (red) doors, ladders, corridors and stairs.

Click Full size

1 Entrance

  • Pieces of a statue, put together is a random PC and reveals Secret Hatch to 6.

2 Waiting Room

  • 16 pixie skeletons sleep inside a dead man’s chest. If the body is disturbed, the swarm attacks with very small swords and sharp teeth. HP 6 Morale 12 No armor Bites & swords d6 Quick attack & defence DR14.
  • Corpse plundering: A vial filled with a pastel pink liquid, labeled “vampyre”. Drink +d6 hp Throw d6 damage Drop summons a Bloat Vampire.
  • Bloat Vampyre: 1d3 1 it helps you 2 it flees 3 it attacks you. A human-sized floating pastel pink mass of foam and lashing lamprey-like tendrils. HP 6 Morale 8 Soft matter -d2 Bite d4 Lash d6 Regeneration bite attacks regenerate 1 hp.

3 Parlor

  • A canal of molten brass (d10 damage) separates two rows of benches. Roll d4.
    1. 2d4 Forever Mourners just chilling out. HP 4 Morale 8 No armor Ritual dagger d4.
    2. Kuts the Albino aka Pink Eyes. Average stats Goblin. Sleeps on a bench.
    3. The Thing That Should Not Bee. Giant greenish black bee, stumbling upon walls. HP 10 Morale 12 Thick Hide -d2 Sting d8 + Poison Toughness DR14 or d6 damage + blind for one hour, two doses per day.
    4. Roll twice until you get two results between i and iii. Both are encountered and they d3 1 fight each other 2 cooperate 3 ignore each other.

4 Meditation Chamber

  • d4 Forever Mourners chanting from a hymnal, headbanging and giving the Sign of the Horns. HP 4 Morale 8 No armor Ritual dagger d4. Loot regular corpse plundering.
  • Faustyr the Doom, three-armed Forever Mourner Priest, plays a tambourine. HP 6 Morale 10 Scaled skin and gold crown -d2 Dreihänder d12 Powers d2 random unclean scrolls, 1 random sacred scroll, and unclean scroll The Law of the Plague. Loot crown worth 150 silver.

5 Interrogation Room

  • Sister Missy chained to an interrogation chair. She can be a replacement character if needed or an NPC with these stats: HP 1 Morale 6 No armor No weapon Powers 1 random unclean scroll tattooed on her left arm.

6 Attic

  • A number of hanging ropes equal to the number of PCs prepared for their victims. Oh, God! It would be so easy!
  • A dirty sock tied in a knot. Full of fingers, but are they human?

7 Study

  • Crystal spider statue surrounded by boiling blood trench. Jump Agility DR10 or fall and Toughness DR12 or d10 damage. Break the spider and find a gold bell the size of a marble, worth 10 silver.
  • Ring the bell 1-in-12 chance of summoning Cleet the Clown. HP 4 Morale 9 Yesterday gowns -d2 Sword d4 Special ghost-clown will obey your commands for d3 rounds, when he disappears, the bell disappears as well.

8 Room of Traps

  • All deactivated or previously triggered except the pit trap.
  • Pit Trap: Presence DR14 to find or Agility Dr12 to avoid d6 damage. Impaled ninja holding antigleam dagger d4 damage, all light sources in the area are extinguished; the dagger emits black light, you can see the silhouette of your enemies while making you invisible to them. Presence DR12 or blind in one eye. Next time, Presence DR10 or blind.

9 Shower Room

  • A pool of water is on the ceiling. Roll d4 to see what happens here:
    1. The third person in line falls into the pool. Leave the pool normally, then Agility DR14 or fall to the floor for d6 damage.
    2. Agility DR12 or the hardcore sludge falls upon you for d6 damage. HP 6 Morale 12 No armor Acidic spit d4 Special extra d4 damage every round until a Toughness DR14 is passed. Black metal core worth 500 silver.
    3. The pool drips. It’s not water, it’s acid. Toughness DR16 or d4 damage.
    4. A large tentacle tries to catch the last in line. Agility DR14 or be taken, suffering d6 damage each round.

10 Pantry

  • Rotten and maggot-invaded food.
  • A wheel of cheese, very stinky. Eating a portion a day heals all HP. Eat a second portion and be poisoned Toughness DR 14 or d8 damage. 8 portions total.

11 Interrogation room

  • A blood-drenched skeleton sitting in the interrogation chair. Roll reaction. Average stats. Has a rusty key.
  • 10 exotic feathers worth 50 silver, 2 love potions worth 50 silver each, a bottle of wine worth 20 silver.
  • Caged goblin called Reuben. The skeleton has the key. Average stats. White trousers. “Let poor Reuben go and he will tell you a secret of gold and jewels”. Can you trust him? Flip a coin.

12 Camera Obscura

  • Walls covered with vision-inducing glyphs that glow in the dark. Presence DR14 or vomit copiously for d2 damage. If successful, you can make a Yes/No question.

13 Defiled Shrine

  • Lone warrior called Blod on top of a pile of dead evil orx (horned, pig nosed, dog headed brutes). Can be a replacement character if needed or an NPC with these stats: HP 6 Morale 10 Leather -d2 Flail d8.

14 Library

  • Stacks of ruined mouldering books on iron spikes, 1-in-6 chance to find d3 scrolls (50/50 chance unclean or sacred each).
  • A portrait in the wall, its eyes follow you.

15 Bedroom

  • One bed. 1-in-6 the room is empty.
  • Otherwise, Lovelie A woman with the darkest skin taking a short rest here; white hair, side shave, big badass axe. Can be a replacement character or an NPC with these stats: HP 4 Morale 10 Chainmail -d4 Greataxe d8 Dagger d4.
  • Secret doors open with a lever in room 18.

16 The Terror

  • Child-sized guillotine. Blade is blunt. It hides the unclean scroll Vacuum.

17 The Ossuary

  • Dozens of child-sized skulls. Presence DR14 reveals each has more than one hundred teeth.
  • Presence DR12 (DR14 if the players are timid about defiling children bones) to find a Crown of Thorns: When wearing the crown, the wearer suffers d6 damage but gains the False God Walk ability, which allows him to walk on water for Presence + d10 rounds.
  • One skull talks: “Hey, mate. Would you mind taking me out with you? It’s boring to be here with all these dead, they never talk to me.” “Allow me to join your troupe, make a friend a favour, will you?” “No, I don’t have a name. I’m a skull!” No name HP 2 Morale 6 No armor No weapon Special tells inappropriate jokes and drinks a lot.

18 Strange Machine

  • A system of pulleys and gears is visible through the cracks in the walls.
  • There is a lever in the neutral position. It can be moved to the right, left or up. Each position opens a secret door to the indicated room number: Right 16, Left 17, Up 17.

19 Repair Workshop

  • Albino Rat Swarm HP 8 Morale 11 No armor Bites d8 + Black Poison Quick attack & defence DR14.
  • Secret door opens with a lever in room 18.

20 Theater of Misery

  • Missing Prince Bernardus sleeps on a pedestal. Impossible to wake. He feeds on demonblight. “Saving” or killing him means d100% of the male inhabitants of Murk Burg, including him, transform into demons. (See Misandria). HP 1 Morale 6 No armor No weapons.

21 Septic Tank

  • Goblet, black liquid, 2 snickering goblins probing the abyss. HP 2 Morale 7 No armor Dagger d4.
  • Loot: One goblin has a fire-fly lantern: fire-flies inside a glass jar. Light as candle. Eat the fire-flies and can make a dragon breath attack once for d12 damage.

22 Trophy Storeroom

  • 10 statues, total d6 eyes of ruby (100 silver each).
  • When all rubies are removed, a ladder to room 23 is revealed.
  • 2-in-6 the statue being looted is trapped. Presence DR14 to avoid the trap. What trap? Roll d4 to find out:
    1. The most terrifying black spider you have ever seen. And felt its fangs inside tearing your skin apart and injecting its venom. d6 damage + red poison.
    2. Acid burst burns your face away. d8 damage and disfigurement.
    3. Toxin gas. Toughness DR16 or lose a permanent Strength point.
    4. Your finger gets stuck. Cut the finger and suffer d6 damage or use grease or a similar substance… if someone can find it.

23 Sparrow’s Heart

  • Almost the entirety of the room is occupied by a giant beating heart. The heart is connected to the apocalyptic underworld, where strange beings dwell.
  • There’s a 2-in-6 chance that the heart beats and fires a monster out of one of its ventricles. Which monster?
    1. Undead Doll
    2. Misanthropic Spectrum (afterimage ghost) semi-transparent but solid human HP 9 Morale 12 No armor Sword d6 + curse Curse if it kills you, you become a misantropic spectre yourself one round later.
    3. Grotesque
    4. Voodoo Babe an adult-sized baby HP 11 Morale 10 No armor Rattle d8 Voodoo animate a fresh corpse as a zombie.
  • If the Sparrow Heart is destroyed, the tower will collapse, killing Prince Bernardus. HP 4 Morale none No armor No weapons.
  • Black Blood pierce & drink blood, pass a Presence DR14 test for an effect (d4):
    1. For you zero hp works like 1 hp, and -1 hp works like zero, permanently.
    2. When you die, you can choose to return to life, naked, with a femur as weapon and only 1 hp. If you die again before you “level up”, you return as a skeleton, controlled by the referee.
    3. Gain d2 maximum hit points.
    4. Your four ability scores are mixed up, at the referee’s discretion (but don’t expect mercy).

Part I | Part II

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Sparrow’s Heart, a Mörk Borg misadventure (II)

[go to Part I | go to Part III]

in part i, described murk burg, an ashen fog-plagued town, and some of its inhabitants; in part ii, i present a curse with a random blight demon generator, and three new scrolls

Powers

Curse: Demonblight Anyone infected by it can spread the disease by simply cursing you. Within 6 days, you must kill, or convince the one who cursed you to take the curse back, to get rid of it. Otherwise, you transform into a demon (controlled by the referee):

i) d4 for your new shape

1. Black humanoid goat
2. Human-sized cobra
3. Human-sized moth
4. Faceless human

ii) d4 for your hp

1. d6 hp
2. d8 hp
3. d10 hp
4. d12 hp

iii) d6 for your morale

1. 2
2. 4
3. 6
4. 8
5. 10
6. 12

iiii) d4 for your armor/damage reduction

1. None
2. -d2
3. -d4
4. -d6

v) d4 for your main damage die

1. d4
2. d6
3. d8
4. d10

vi) d6 for your main damage source

1. Claws & fangs
2. Energy blast
3. Tentacles or tendrils
4. Fire or acid breath
5. Trample or horns
6. Sheer willpower

Unclean scroll: Narcissus Metamorphosis Next d4 Reaction rolls are +2 but Presence DR 14 or fall deeply in love with yourself (in a mirror or lake, throw into your reflection’s arms, suffer damage or drown, according to your referee’s mercy).

Unclean scroll: The Law of the Plague And he that toucheth the flesh of the unclean Becomes unclean And he that be spat on by him, unclean Becomes unclean Causes infection. Every morning make a Toughness DR18, when passed, the infection stops.

Unclean scroll: Vacuum A micro black hole opens in front of your target. Your target rolls Presence DR12 ± your Presence or floats away into space. Take a minute to think about that. Floating. Away. Into. Space.

Part I | Part III

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Sparrow’s Heart, a Mörk Borg misadventure (I)

[go to Part II | go to Part III]

Writes: Vagabundork
City map: Watabou’s Medieval City Generator
Inspiration sounds: Christian Death’s American Inquisition, Emperor’s IX Equilibrium, Opera IX’s The Call of the Wood
Disclaimer: There is no god.

“In my sweet revenge I made a pact with the devil”.
(Christian Death, “Stop Bleeding On Me”)

Purple prose fragments: stuff your players don’t immediately know, maybe never.

Why are you in Murk Burg?

Choose one or roll one or multiple results, whatever works for your players.

  1. You were being chased by a troll, lost your way and somehow got here.
  2. A man working for Anthelia told you the Countess will pay good silver to anyone who brings her the blood of Sparrow’s Heart, that can be found somewhere in Murk Burg.
  3. A Bishop of Galgenbeck offered you amnesty in exchange for killing Prince Bernardus.
  4. In your childhood dreams you used to see a flying snake devouring a bald eagle. Your tribal shaman told you to “find the black tower”, but she never explained the relation between the two. There’s no relation, she was nuts.
  5. You were heading somewhere else, on the way someone gave you wrong directions.
  6. You’ve heard rumors about a new god who has rebelled against HE. Could this deity be the key to avoiding the end? According to that beggar, the cult resides in a black tower, South of Sarkash. This is a dead end.
  7. A sinister tower? In the middle of a ghost town? Must be some treasure there.
  8. Surprise! You have a daughter, Turquoise, and she is very sick. The loathsome rat people sell almost any remedy; get it and you’re free from any responsibility towards the child, “but, please save her”. Rat people usually live in shanty towns, among humans. And here we are. She’ll die in 5 days without the medicine.

Click Full size

Murk Burg

This gloomy burg to the south of Sarkash was built around the Sparrow Tower, which in the past served the same function as a castle, “that was long before the ashen fog descended upon us”. Known as Murk Burg because of the ashen fog that eternally covers its streets, it’s divided into three areas: burg, parish and shanty town. At the center rises the Sparrow Tower.

Prince Bernardus was the rightful heir to duchy, but when his younger brother tried to assassinate him, he decided that politics was not a good reason to die for, and he exiled himself, followed by his loyal entourage. That was twenty years ago. Today no one remembers where he was a prince from (a duchy linked to Galgenbeck), nor do they remember if the ashen fog was already here when they arrived or if it came later.

They tried to live a simple life, but when it was clear the end was nigh, many joined one apocalyptic cult or another. One of these, the cult of Icon E, whose members are called Forever Mourners, established in the parish, but also hold reunions and black masses in the black tower.

Old Burg

Here lives Prince Bernardus, and his wife, the witch Misandria. Wooden houses, simple and old but sturdy. Most windows and curtains are closed, streets are empty but you can feel, rather than see, people or something always slipping out of the corner of your eye.

The old bourgeoisie Present these NPCs to your players as you need, or randomly roll d6.

  1. Misandria became full of hatred against men when her mother was crucified on the oak tree in her hometown, accused of witchcraft by them. She shows her despise of males and her support to women. The woman was innocent, the real witch was her daughter. She cursed all the men in the village with what they feared most: demonblight, an infection that turns them into demons.
  2. Lydia, beggar. In a good reaction roll she tells you a secret: “Don’t trust Misandria. She says someone abducted the princeling… yeah, the prince, her husband… but I believe she killed him herself”.
  3. A dead child, probably the son of a nobleman. Has a gold locket, but it’s empty (worth 1 silver, it’s fake gold).
  4. Torvald, corpse-paint teenage. Wants to join the cult of Icon E, only one more task to be accepted: murder a man.
  5. A human skull. Cast Whispers Pass the Gates and it won’t answer three questions, but will give one piece of advice: “Whatever you do, do not release the prince”, and immediately shatters to dust.
  6. Anastasia, a noblewoman. She hires you to find and kill a goblin who transmitted her the curse. She saw him enter the black tower. It wears white trousers.

Old Parish

Here are the ruins of the church of the false religion of the past. What little is known about this religion is that the faithful captured their god and nailed him to a post and put a crown of thorns on him, keeping him captive, suffering and bleeding, unable to die.

The church remained standing long after the extinction of the cult, but some years ago it was destroyed by the Forever Mourners, who set it on fire, as a way to symbolize the occupation of the parish and the dominion of the new god, Icon E.

Old parishioners Mattyas Manic street heretic, claiming the end of the world is a scam, no one takes him seriously. He will ask for a coin. Give him a coin and he will give you a die carved from a tooth. Roll the tooth-die once in the morning (and roll a real d6) and in a 1, you can re-roll one and any die before going to sleep, but in a 6, you won’t be able to recover hp until you roll 5 or less. HP 1 Morale 6 No armor Wooden plank d4-1. Ermengarde the Holy Whore She has been planning to kill Faustyr, “It’s disgusting. His smell is impregnated in me and I can’t get rid of it”. HP 2 Morale 7 No armor Kitchen knife d4.

The Kennel

Shanty town, cardboard houses, now dilapidated. Some people still live here, usually temporarily.

Upon entering the area, there’s a 1-in-6 chance d2+2 Scums are encountered and they want your possessions, no matter if they have to kill you to get them. Loot: One of them hides the Book of Illuminazi, also known as The Tar Black Book. It contains 1d4 random scrolls, either unclean or sacred or both.

If the slum is explored, the PCs will eventually find Yaal, a crazy homeless that proclaims the angels talk of the greater healer, but ignore him, it’s the drugs talking. HP 1 Morale 4 No armor Femur d4. In a good reaction roll, he will offer to sell you a special parchment (only 200 silver). It’s the unclean scroll Narcissus Metamorphosis.

They will also meet Ziggurd Rat, an anarchist rat person/healer (sells Remedy for 100 silver). HP 4 Morale 9 Buff coat -2 Rolling pin d4-1 Bite d4+Black poison.

Sparrow Tower aka Black Tower

In the center of the dreary village rises the black tower.

A black granite tower, in the shape of an inverted T. No one knows who built it or for what purpose. It’s known as Sparrow Tower because of the sorcerer who occupied it decades ago, or as Black Tower for obvious reasons.
Currently used by the sect of followers of Icon E, known as the Forever Mourners.

Part II | Part III

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What is a dungeon? | Another take

The nature of dungeons is a theme that fascinates me!

I have written about this subject before. Perhaps it all comes down to a search for meaning. I mean, whenever I make a dungeon, I try to give it a reason, an original purpose, but at the same time I like randomness (also I am not an artist or designer), and I use a random dungeon map generator (although I make changes to the final map to fix some inconsistencies; with Paint is actually easy).

This results in things as strange as a Victorian mansion with a layout that doesn’t correspond to a mansion, but more like a maze.

However, a realistic layout of a Victorian mansion, although attractive to the eye, is boring as a dungeon.

So I make again a weird maze and impose a sense, mainly, to choose the taste, color, aroma and general or specific characteristics of each room.

But I have been thinking a lot these days and I came up with another possibility. This is a dungeon, more or less typical:

Who built it and for what purpose? The answers may be many: a magician, an ancient civilization, aliens!

But what if it was built by a race of antimatter beings? What if solid spaces are the voids for them, and vice versa? From this antipoint of view, the antidungeon would look like this:

I don’t know about you, but it gives me the impression that it makes at least a little more sense as an architectural layout, as if it were a small village with roads and buildings.

If this was not the plan of an underground dungeon but of an open-air village, it seems a somewhat more reasonable map. The white areas are pathways and gardens, the black squares are buildings, and the black lines, only the antigod knows. Perhaps the foundations of crumbled buildings?

Take into account that the subterranean of these antibeings is their “open air”, while our open air for them is a “compact solid”. Perhaps our villages and cities are dungeons they crawl. That would partially explain the presence of ghosts and apparently immaterial beings in our streets, especially during the night, because following our unscientific logic, our night is their day, our darkness is their light.

These meditations were accompanied by the beauteous music of the gods.

Over the Edge | Situation Rolls

How difficult is it to deactivate a magical lock? Many games will ask for a roll versus some difficulty assigned by the gamemaster, but how do you assign a difficulty for some task that doesn’t exist in real life?

In real life, we cannot know how difficult or easy it is to pick a witch-lock, or for a Tiger-Man to do a triple somersault, or for a Space Ninja to blend in with the atmosphere of an urban environment. Maybe it’s hard, maybe it’s easy. But we really cannot tell.

Over the Edge provides a pre-designed list of difficulties (called Levels) for the GM to use, and is fully functional, but sometimes a GM may want to deviate and improvise a little, or players decide to go and investigate that other building that the GM has nothing prepared for.

What is the difficulty of the task? To find out, just roll a d6 and compare the result to the table below:

[1] Two levels below the party’s highest level
[2] One leve below the party’s highest level
[3, 4] Same level as the party’s highest level
[5] One level above the party’s highest level
[6] Two levels above the party’s highest level

Most characters begin the game at level 3, which is the standard. But if for some strange reason the highest level in the party is 1, remember that the lowest difficulty-level is 0.

If you want a more exact result for level-1 characters, simply roll 1d4-1, and the result is the difficulty. This roll gives a range of results from 0 to 3.

If you’re the kind of GM who breaks the rules and allows players higher levels (like 6 or 7), remember that 7 is the highest possible difficulty. To interpret the result of the roll, extrapolate what I said about the lowest level.

Staggering vs. Critical Hits

I don’t like critical hits. Never liked. If your weapon causes its maximum natural damage, that’s a critical hit! This is specially true in games where damage is automatic, like Into the Odd, but it works the same in any game based on B/X and similar.

I hate critical hits, but most players expect a high result in their to-hit roll comes with an added benefit. I don’t see why it should be this way, it’s not as though it was obvious, as though natural twenties were a thing in the real world, but ever since Empire of the Petal Throne introduced the concept (natural twenty attack equals double damage), it’s been the expected among players.

So I won’t introduce critical hits in my games, but I don’t want my friends’ enmity, either. Having been playing Dark Souls for the first time, for most of this year, I thing a natural twenty can have a good effect: breaking your enemy’s poise and stagger him.

When you stagger your foe, he loses his next action, and your next attack against him is automatic, so you don’t roll. If you cause maximum damage, that’s your critic. If you cause minimum damage… well, sometimes you miss when you attack a staggered enemy in Dark Souls, because when you make him lose balance, sometimes he missteps or goes out of reach, and he’s still wearing his armor, right?

Note: Keep in mind that I play LotFP, a system where you don’t add neither your STR nor your DEX to your damage rolls, only to your attack rolls, which means all attacks can potentially deal as few as only one point of damage every single time.

Staggering

  • A natural 20 staggers your foe. Staggering lasts one round.
  • A staggered foe loses his next action.
  • All attacks against a staggered opponent are automatic. Damage is normal.