Ye Olde Shoppe | Shop management for old-school games

An old school game can benefit from deeper systems that explore the rules and activities that are not the focus of the game. The system I present here is not a replacement for the existing rules. The existing rules are sufficient for a game that does not focus on trading goods, so a simple system, for an element of the game that will be used very rarely, doesn’t require further exploration and depth. But, what if you want to try something new? A combination of dungeoncrawling and business administration?

The players create their adventurers normally, they take them to explore dungeons and old ruins, they loot forgotten tombs and they recover relics and treasures, but instead of only looking for a buyer, they want to open a store and put on sale all the accumulated treasure, or at least the most mundane ones (works of art, simple weapons, pottery).

This system can be adopted by a single player, or between at least two players to form a cooperative. The distribution of the money to found the store, as well as the profits it generates and the payments to the employees, are decided by the members of the cooperative, although to avoid conflicts, the referee can rule that everyone gives and takes the same percentage.

Making a Shop

A character or cooperative must invest a minimum of 5,000 cash to open a store, but its reputation value will be -10. Every 5,000 extra cash invested in it adds some reputation points or changes the amount of possible sales made weekly:

Sales. A sale can be any amount of items it makes sense. A single adventurer might only purchase a couple arrows and some rope, but a 4-person party might need equiptment for everyone. The referee can use this to control how money moves in the world, or he can make random tables of customer for every reputation level.

Base price. The price of the products must be equal to the price in the list of items in the manual of the game you use, or can be proposed by the players with the approval of the referee. The price of items that don’t exist in the manuals is set by the referee.

Base price modifier. Reputation modifies the value of products by a percentage equal to their score, so a -10 score store sells items 10% cheaper than the base price, and a 50 score store, 50% more expensive.

Purchase. When a customer makes a purchase, the referee pulls 2d6:

Charisma. The salesman’s charisma value affects the previous die roll:

Salesman. There are four options: 1) Players can take turns, 2) One of the characters can retire from the adventure life and dedicate exclusively to the management of the store, 3) Players can create a new level 1 character to manage the store, 4) They can hire a salesman.

All options, except the first one (PCs taking turns), receive a commission for each sale made. The salesman’s charisma determines the commission as shown below, but the referee can adjust these values as needed:

20 items that can be bought at Ye Olde Shoppe

The Four Humorous Goblins

[Artwork source]

The Four Humorous Goblins is either a troupe of four goblins or the whole of the four strains, whatever fits your game.

The Four Humorous Goblins – The Four Strains

Sanguine Goblin aka Hemogoblin

AC 12, HD 4, 18 hp, STR Mod +1, MOV 90′ (30′), ML 9, SAVE as fighter 4, #ATT 1 tentacle or 1 projectile or fusion

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

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

Projectile (ranged, 1d6). 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.

Shape shifter. Once per day, it can take the form of a short human for one hour.

Fusion (grapple). Each round, the goblin and the victim roll 1d6 and add their strength modifier; the highest wins. The first to win two rounds wins. If the defender wins, the grapple ends. If the goblin wins, it enters the victim’s body through the nose, mouth and any opening it can.

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 goblin larvae in the form of blood clots. mucus and bile, through the mouth, eyes, nose, etc., suffering a massive 6d6 damage. There’s a 5% chance one larvae survives and grows into one of the four types.

Choleric Goblin aka Sallow Man

AC 13, HD 4, 20 hp, STR Mod +3, MOV 120′ (40′), ML 11, SAVE as fighter 4, #ATT 1 or 2 punch or 1 infection

A bubbling mass of sallow muscular tissue, vaguely humanoid, as though someone had melted a person in 50 kilos of mucus.

Infection (mêlée, 1d6). With an attack roll, the goblin can touch a victim to cause severe vomiting and 1d6 damage.

In addition, the victim must save vs. Poison or will get an infection that will cause 1d6 of cumulative damage day by day (next day 1d6, next day 2d6, etc.); if the victim makes a new Saving Throw, no vomiting will occur that day and the next day it will restart with 1d6 of damage.

Punch (mêlée, 1d6). The goblin can produce one or two humanoid arms to punch.

Accelerated nervous system. It can make two punch attacks every third round (round 1: two attacks, round 2: one attack, etc.)

Shape shifter. Once per day, it can take the form of a short human for one hour.

Low sensibility. Todos los ataques físicos le causan -1 de daño.

Cholera. Its extreme violence grants him a +3 bonus to all STR based rolls, including attacks (but no damage).

Melancholy Goblin

AC 12, HD 4, 16 hp, STR Mod -1, DEX mod +1, MOV 90′ (30′), ML 7, SAVE as specialist 4, #ATT 1 needle or 1 whale song

A fuliginous shape, a thing difficult to focus on, as though it was a humanoid made of shadow-tissue.

Whale song (auto, 1d4 INT). As an automatic action, and up to 3 times per day, it emits a sound that resembles the song of a hunchback whale. It spikes your dreams with (m/s)adness, causing you a loss of 1d4 INT. After a long night rest, all INT is recovered, but save vs. Magic or your Alignment changes to Chaotic.

If your intelligence reaches zero, save vs. Death or you will become a babbling and drooling vegetable. Make a new character.

Needle (ranged, 1d4). Each round, this goblin can create a sharp needle that shoots like a light crossbow (ranges of 50′, 150′ and 400′).

Self awareness. Its high insight makes all its DEX based rolls get a +1 bonus. And it cannot be surprised.

Shape shifter. Once per day, it can take the form of a short human for one hour.

Slow nervous system. Its attacks and all STR based rolls are done at -1.

High sensibility. Weapons used against it, deal damage as though they were one bigger die size (d4 weapons cause d6 damage and so on).

Phlegmatic Goblin

AC 12, HD 4, 18 hp, INT +3, MOV 90′ (30′), ML 9, SAVE as magic-user 4, #ATT 1 weapon or 1 spell

Looks like a regular goblinoid, pale green skin, eyes of a sickly yellow, smart.

Weapon (mêlée or ranged). It can wield minor, small and medium mêlée weapons, short bow or light crossbow or pistol, without bonus or penalties other than its +4 granted by its HD.

Caster. It can cast 2 1st leverl and 2 2nd level spells. Randomly determine which spells it has prepared for that day, as a magic-user.

Spells known. 1st level: Charm Person, Magic Missile, Sleep; 2nd level: Phantasmal Force, Stinking Cloud, Wall of Fog

Phantasmal force. Vicious dog. AC 12, HD 2, 9 hp, STR +1, MOV 180′ (60′), ML 12, SAVE as fighter 2, #ATT 1 bite

Equanimous. In reaction roll, results between 3 and 11 are “indifferent”, while 2 and 12 are “unfriendly” and “talkative”. No extremes here.

Story Hook

PCs have been hired to lead a humorous goblin-infected person to where a healer can have a cure. You have to get there before the hemogoblin hatches. The healer is actually a barber surgeon, and the surgery can be just as bad: save vs. Death, if you fail:

  • you survive but are left with only 1 hp
  • lose one hit die worth of maximum hp (roll a die your class size)
  • lose one point of either STR, CON or INT (your choice)

The Four Humorous Goblins – The Troupe

Main NPCs

Mr. Blood. Sanguine Goblin and main comedian; Mr. Night’s assitant.
Mr. Xanthous. Choleric Goblin and MC’s bodyguard.
Mr. Night. Comedian and kidnapper.
MC (Master of Ceremonies). Phlegmatic Goblin. Leader and maker of fog (wall of fog).

What’s happening

A new circus/comedy company is in town, its members are four short men, therefore they are known as The Four Humorous Goblins.

Children started disappearing the same night the company arrived, one child every night.

The Four Humorous Goblins are secretly real humorous goblins in disguise (the phlegmatic goblin wears an actual disguise, the other three, their shape-shifting power).

Freaks, outcasts and criminal work for them, as members of the circus.

The troupe kidnaps children (adults are hard to drag to their place). The children are used to produce more goblins by infecting them with sanguine goblin cells. One they have between 6 and 10 children, they leave town and return home, where the children are infected.

They already have five children, no-one suspects of the troupe. Five more nights, and they leave, or before if they realize the PCs are investigating them.

What the PCs know

  • Children have been disappearing for some nights
  • Find them and you will be well rewarded
  • Find them and the major will drop the charges against you
  • The son of a former lover has disappeared
  • Might or might not be your child

Clues | Roll or choose one everytime PCs interact with NPCs

  1. A circus is in town, it arrived some days ago
  2. One per night, for five nights now, children have disappeared
  3. Strange people have been seen roaming the streets after midnight
  4. The Four Humorous Goblins are a comedy company that travels around the land and now it’s here
  5. The major’s son was the first to disappear, he was only 6
  6. There’s been unusual fob these alst nights
  7. All the children were abducted while they were been accompanied by their parents; all say there was fog and couln’t see who kidnapped them
  8. Everyone thinks I’m crazy, and, yeah, maybe I am, but I know what I saw: it was a monster, but it wast not a monster first, it was a man, and then it was a monsters
  9. I found the remains of a camp, not far away, between the town and the forest
  10. Madam Letti’s heard giggles and wet steps in the fog when her child was taken

It is expected that the players can figure it out by themselves, but if they don’t, once they collect three clues, send some clowns, tricksters, acrobats, bearded women, strong men and other freaks against them. This means the troupe has realised the PCs are after them, and send their henchfreaks to stop them. This should be the most obvious clue: “Oh my dog it’s the circus!”

Random circus henchfreak generator

1d8 for freak type, ability modifier

1: clown (cha +2)
2: trickster (int +2)
3: acrobat (dex +3)
4: bearded woman (any +1)
5: strong man (str +2)
6: juggler (dex +2)
7: sword eater (con +2)
8: beast master with trained baboon (wis +2)

1d6 for armor class

1-4: 12
5-6: 14

1d6 for hit dice

1: 1
2-4: 2
5: 3
6: 4

1d6 for damage (customize weapon accordingly)

1: 1d4
2-5: 1d6
5: 1d8

Trained baboon

AC 12, HD 2, 9 hp, DEX +1, MOV 120′ (40′), ML 10, SAVE as fighter 2, #ATT 1 bite or 2 claws

Lazy and relentless. The beast master will command the babon to attack a specific PC, the baboon will obey in a 3-in-6 chance, otherwise it won’t act that round. Once it acts, he will continue attacking until death.

Bite. When a bite attack is successful, it can attack the same target at a -2 difficulty (or +2 to attack) the next round; if successful, the same bonus applies again.

Armor class is based on Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Here’s how you convert AC between systems.

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

affilliated button

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

affiliated button

1d6 Random Tables

The OSR Weapons Race is back!

The adventurers enter a room. What’s in this room? Roll one d6 and then another.

1) A clay pot

  1. 450 gold coins; 1-in-6 chance (plus your wisdom modifier if you have a valuation, appraisal or taxing background) to realise they’re fake (iron pyrite, aka the fool’s gold, i.e. worthless).
  2. White powder. Inhale and re-roll your HD. The result is your new maximum (and current) hit points. Enough powder for the entire party.
  3. A human eye comes out floating around you, it follows you everywhere, you are now only surprised in 1-in-6. If you’re an elf: sorry, no cookie for you. Also: under bright light (daylight, &c), you are dazzled, suffering a -1 to all of your rolls until you move away from the light (or wear sunglasses).
  4. Some kind of swamp gas. Save vs. Poison or fungal spores penetrate your brain and control you, enpowering your death drive. You get a -2 penalty in all your Saving Throws and your AC. When you die, small, pretty fungi sprout from your head, releasing more spores, and the cycle repeats: everyone in the area makes a Saving Throw, and so on. After a few weeks, there’s an increasing chance of encountering “fungal zombies”, marking the start of the fungal apocalypse, of which you are the sole responsibles. In less than a a year, most of the world (i.e. Europe) will have been decimated.
  5. You release a sentient and friendly flatulence. As a reward, he can guide you to a place where he knows there is an amazing treasure, but he doesn’t know what dangers might be inside: It’s the Tower of the Stargazer. If this is your second time, Uravulon Calcidius has been somehow freed and he’s very angry.
  6. Very old, very strong wine. Drink and you can see goddess Demeter. Is she real, though?

2) Nerd gadgets

  1. Astrolabe. You can determine the position of the sun or stars. If you are a Magic-User, everyday morning roll 1d6. 1: One extra spell of any level you can cast. 6: You can’t cast your highest level spells.
  2. Electric battery. You can mount it to any steel weapon, like a sword or halberd. Roll to attack. 20: Your weapon causes damage as the next better weapon (a d6 weapon deals d8 instead). 1: You suffer that damage.
  3. Shadow set. AC 12. Look like a ninja! It grants you one extra pip in Stealth, a +6 to Saving Throws vs. Poison, and +2 vs. Death. You can’t wear any armor when wearing the shadow set.
  4. A thing with a button. Push the button. A voice comes out: “To release the soul one must die. To find peace inside you must get eternal”. Save vs. Death. Once dead, you hear the same voice: What you found was eternal death. No one will ever miss you”.
  5. Strange goggles. These goggles are attached to the head and cannot be removed without permanently blind you. You have X-ray vision, you can see everyone as skeletons, but also detect hidden weapons and the like. You can no longer recognize people’s faces or general appearance.
  6. A thing with many buttons. Numerals, buttons that say VOL or CH or CC, you really don’t get it. When pointed at someone and a button is pressed, it produces 1d4 effects: 1: An extra combat action every two rounds (first round, one action; second round, two actions). 2: You can make only two actions every three rounds, i.e. round one, action; round two, action, round three, no action. 3: Your character is changed: roll up a new character. That’s you now. 4: You see everything in black and white.

3) The ancient tome

  1. You learn the language of either frogs and toads, or fungi.
  2. You learn how to breed spiders.
  3. You learn useful survival skills (+1 Bushcraft).
  4. You learn everything about the African walrus and its gestation period.
  5. You learn that you know less than you think (-1 Wisdom).
  6. The book is blank. 666 pages of nothing except numbering. If you pass page by page and read each page number (1, 2, 3… 665, 666), Satan comes to you. What does he want?

4) Mysterious scroll

  1. Strange map. It’s the map of 2019 London.
  2. Love letter a married woman you know (maybe a noble) wrote for her peasant lover. How dit it get here? More importantly: How can you take advantage?
  3. Letter dated two weeks ago: “Have any arcane tomes to trade? Bring them to me. Franz von Hatzfeld, Würzburg’s Prince-Bishop” (Better Than Any Man).
  4. It’s 30 sheets of parchment, written in an unknown language and including strange illustrations of things that should not be and unknown astronomical charts. Language rolls and any other intent to understand the content are automatically failed. If a character or player says something on the lines of: “Let’s accept that this text doesn’t mean anything at all, maybe it’s just a joke made by a troll”, his or her character gains one point of Wisdom, because that’s the truth, it doesn’t have any hidden meaning, it’s just doodles or callygraphy exercises or even a prank.
  5. Sheet music entitled “Vanilla Fantasy”. Written for theorbo, when performed the space between the musicians and the audience opens up. All listeners must make a successful Saving Throw vs. Magic or, when the music’s over, be willing to be devoured by the sky, meaning they throw themselves to the opening and disappear. Save vs. Death if you prefer.
  6. In German. Secret Language roll. If the PC already knows German, she still rolls with a +1 bonus, because it’s neither Upper nor Central Geman, but a variation of Low German. It’s a witchcraft recipe to gain 1 point in two abilities or 2 points in one ability. The character has to mix three spoons of ground thistle, mistletoe and aconitum with [successful roll] a spoon of blood of a child or [failed roll] a spoon of blood from the ripped heart of a child. Both versions of the ritual work.

5) Curiosities

  1. Three astragali. If a character rolls these, the player must roll 3d6 and replace their current Charisma value with the result of the roll. A second roll replaces Constitution, then Dexterity, then Intelligence, then Strength, then Wisdom. A seventh roll and further rolls deduct one point from all six ability scores.
  2. A skeleton holding a silver spoon. The spoon is doubly cursed. 1) While you possess it, you need double food/water rations, 2) You cannot get rid of it, it always re-appears among your possessions. It can be stolen, though.
  3. A portrait of a random PC and a man. It doesn’t seem a painting, it’s too real to be a painting. Behind there’s this note: “I wish you good luck in your adventures. Love, Abraham”. Abraham is your husband, always has been, and you don’t remember finding the picture, you always brought it with you.
  4. The most beautiful mother-of-pearl comb you have ever seen. Comb someone’s hair and it grows 5 cm per night, non-stop. When it’s long enough to headbang to the rhythm of Emperor’s “Curse you all men”, the hair will try to strangle you (Saving Throw vs. Death). If you survive the attack, you have to get rid of it, maybe removing your scalp. Cutting it doesn’t help, it grows like a hydra’s head.
  5. Voodoo doll. If you stick a pin while observing someone up to 30 metres away, make an attack roll for 1d6 damage. It works 1d4 times a day, modified by Charisma (minimum one).
  6. A crystal dagger that grants a +1 bonus against evil orcs for 1d4 damage. Too bad orcs don’t exist in this world.

6) Ancient artifacts*

  1. Bell of Valor. Gold tintinnabulum shaped like a winged phallus. If the bell is hung over the head of a sleeper, he will be visited by an angel in the form of a lion with eagle’s wings and a huge flaming sword. The dream is vague, but the effect is evident: If you go unarmoured during that day, you can wield two mêlée weapons (minor or small, 1d4 or 1d6 points of damage) during combat. You only have to make one attack roll, and if you succeed, roll two damage dice instead of one. During a round, you can renounce one of the damage dice (i.e. only use one weapon to attack) and add +1 to your AC. This must be declared at the start of the round.
  2. Bathory Heart. Eat it. Bathing in the blood of your enemies (or friends) restores your hit points. From the second time you do it, make a Saving Throw vs. Magic, if you fail: 1) You don’t get your hit points back, 2) When you level up, you won’t gain any additional hit points (except those given by your Constitution modifier; god forbid it’s a negative number), 3) The effect of the Bathory Heart dissipates.
  3. White Obsidian Pendant. It belonged to a great hero before he disappeared into the Abyss where he travelled to prevent the Pelagic Darkness from overcoming the world. Might the hero still be there, in an eternal struggle? The possessor of this pendant can travel between the realms of light and darkness: mechanically, she has both alignments: Law and Chaos. Any effect that affects one of these alignments negatively is automatically denied; any effect that affects it positively is accepted.
  4. The One Ring of Invisibility. A gold ring with a strange inscription. Language roll: You know what it says, you don’t know what language it is written in, though: “Invisibility”. The ring becomes invisible when worn.
  5. Hands of Hope and Glory. A girl’s dried and pickled left hand with a candle wick made of her hair, over a woman’s right hand that serves as a candleholder. The small hand is a closed fist with the middle finger raised, with the words: “Paint my name with their blood” tattooed. The light from this “candle” illuminates like an ordinary candle but only for the holder. Placing the lit ‘candle’ in front of a door causes the door to open automatically. When used for the fifth time, the light will spark releasing a smell of burnt mandrake and cannot be used again.
  6. The Coire Ansic. One of four relics of the Thiata Dé Danann. Boil water and stones in this cooking pot and it will produce the best soup you have ever tasted.

*These properties can be partially known with the Identify spell. For instance, you know you have to eat Bathory’s heart but you don’t know the effect until you actually eat it.

Note for referees: Use common sense. Or use weird sense. Whatever is not stated, you decide.

A monster and a drug for Esoteric Enterprises

The Consumer

The Consumer is “something the size of a baby hippo, the color of a week-old boiled potato, that lives by itself, in the dark, in a double-wide on the outskirts of Topeka. It’s covered with eyes and it sweats constantly. The sweat runs into those eyes and makes them sting. It has no mouth… no genitals, and can only express its mute extremes of murderous rage and infantile desire by changing the channels on a universal remote.” (William Gibson)

When the Consumer points its universal control at you, save against machines or roll a d12 and suffer one of the next effects.

Roll 1d12

  1. Make a new character, randomize it as much as possible. Your actual character no longer exists. But you keep your identity and equipment. Those who didn’t witness your transmogrification will never really believe that you are who you claim to be.
  2. “Every thought that advances through the greased tunnels of my brain carries with it its own hungry negation.” (Michael Gira). Mechanically, swap Intelligence and Wisdom. Also, lose your next action.
  3. Reverse your stats (3 becomes 18, 4 becomes 17, &c. 1 or 2 become 18, though.)
  4. You are teleported to a previous location, (randomly?) determined by your referee.
  5. Your sex is randomly changed. Re-roll your Charisma and Constitution to further represent the change.
  6. Roll a die: An odd result means you lose a permanente point of Grit; an even result means you lose a permanent point of Flesh.
  7. All further saves against machines you make, are rolled at -1.
  8. You are turned off. All your rolls for the rest of the day are made with a penalization of -1 or -2 (your referee will tell you which each time).
  9. You remain motionless, like a paused VHS tape, for 1d4 rounds.
  10. When you make an attack, roll twice and use the worse result; if you fail the attack, it was simply because you glitched back a few steps and attacked the air.
  11. Roll 1d16* and compare your result with Shocking Wounds (p. 45).
  12. Your memory is erased, replaced by a centipede’s. Your referee will explain this to you.

*Roll 1d8 and 1d6. If the d6 gives an even result, add 8 to the result on the d8.

All other stats are not important, come up with something, it can be a fat man who trolls people via Twitter or perhaps and old lady with cats.

Black Coca

Sold in every corner and every Walmart in the city, when this product by the Black Coke Company is inhaled, you acquire the spook power Creature of the Night (p. 64) for the next 8 hours. After the effect ends, make a save against poison or lose 1 permanent point of Flesh and suffer 1d4 Flesh damage from your new total.

Undead creatures who inhale black coca acquire the power permanently and are immune to Flesh poisoning.

This blog entry was sponsored by The Incubus Club. This blog entry was not sponsored by Esoteric Enterprises but you should get it anyway because it’s goddamn good!

The Great “Gnonmen Diet” Blog

“Gnonmen prize any living thing above any non-living thing in any circumstances. To them, life is the justification for the world and its true continuity. The spine of reality. All is a fiction. Only life and its laws are authentic. Kings and wealth both fade and die, but life is strong and grows and time goes on in its real continuity. Life is what is real. Life knows neither good nor bad nor justice as a measure of morals. It simply is and it must be preserved.”
-Patrick Stuart (Veins of the Earth)

“Gnonmen like to grow living things.”
-Me (Here)

Gnonmen grow mushrooms and plants adapted to underground darkness. Both products form their main source of food, but do not think that they lack a variety of flavors and benefits. Through centuries of experimentation, they have created different varieties, divided into four basic groups with specific nutritional properties, derived from the type of compost used in the crops.

1d4 Sources of Gnonmen Compost

  1. Type 1. Dead animals and plants. These foods provide fiber, protein and fat.
  2. Type 2. Soil and plants. These foods provide glucose, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
  3. Type 3. Dead adventurers. These foods provide calcium, protein and fat.
  4. Type 4. Living adventurers. See next.

Living Adventurers Compost

Although Gnonmen are not cruel or evil, they sometimes hunt adventurers (or get them from dungeon traps). When they capture an adventurer they hold him firmly to the ground in a dark cave and make him inhale spores of certain fungi that only grow under certain conditions of darkness and humidity. In a few days, new fungi will sprout from their skin cavities, causing them a hypersleep state (and pleasant psychedelic wet dreams) while keeping them alive by transmitting nutrients captured from the air and soil (and a little help from the farmers).

Farmers take care with loving attention of the adventurer-orchard, because these mushrooms, modified by the adventurer’s genetics, have an incomparable flavor, among other properties. These minuscule mushrooms are called Adventuring Mushrooms.

1d6* Effects** of Eating a Balanced Meal in a Gnonmen Settlement (Which Always Includes Adtenturing Mushrooms)

  1. Blood Poisoning (Gnonmen are immune; they heal 6 hp instead). See below.
  2. Re-roll or your Hit Dice; that your new maximum hp.
  3. Up your nose. Can’t smell anything but raw compost and suffer -1 to attack rolls and perception rolls involving smells, due to being generally sickened for the next d12 hours. Gnonmen gain +1 bonus instead.
  4. Save versus Magic. Success means you can increase a random Ability by 1. In LotFP terms, a score of 18 gains a modifier of +4. Failure means you have an uncontrollable hunger and what you want to eat is your host. Whether you succeed or not, you will be declared a non-pleasant person from this moment. Gnonmen don’t make a save, they get lucid dreams during the night instead, and upon awakening they have brought something from the dreamworld (referee’s choice).
  5. Is…is that a finger? Save versus Magic or realize what this stuff was made out of, suffering -1 to all rolls until you get a good long bath.
  6. There’s a gold ring in your bowl, you almost drowned with it. It’s pretty and seems valuable (50 sp/gp). It must be easy to sell it. But if you try to sell it, the buyer knows who it belonged to and believes that you murdered poor Edgardo de León y Molina, a Spanish nobleman well liked by the authorities. Of course he will report you.

*The second time a party tries it, he rolls a d4 instead. Gnonmen always roll d4.
**Some of these were inspired by, or blatantly stolen from Dick McGee

1d4 Things That Happen When You Eat a Gnonmen

  1. You get lucid dreams during the night, and upon awakening you have brought something from the dreamworld (referee’s choice).
  2. Your maximum hp is increased by 1d6.
  3. Save versus Paralysis at -1. If you fail, you fall unconscious and when you awake, you have become an adventurer-orchard. You are feverishly conscious but unable to talk or move.
  4. “To Gnonmen the body is superficial, accidental. Tone, brightness, occluding or refracting, that is all. The eyes matter to them, not the face.” (Patrick Stuart; VotE) Save versus Posion or become just like Gnonmen. When you kill, you always take your victim’s eyes. You strive to keep the eyes of your victims in good condition until you find a specialist who can keep them permanently bright, like jewelry. Fresh eyes are kept in jars, 6 eyes (3 pairs) occupy a space in your inventory equal to a weapon or medium object. The eyes turned into jewels do not take up space if you use them as an ornament.

Blood Poisoning

Contagion. Save versus Poison or contract the disease.

Incubation and interval. After 8 hours, and at each 8-hour interval (3 times a day), save versus Poison again or vomit blood and suffer d6 damage, and a cumulative -1 penalty to all your rolls due to malaise. When you save successfully, you don’t vomit, don’t suffer hp damage and the penalties are reset.

Duration. If the disease doesn’t kill you or is cured, has a natural duration of 3 weeks.

2 body horror tables for Esoteric Enterprises and LotFP

Esoteric Enterprises and the OSR Weapons Race meet at last! These tables are for the new Emmy Allen‘s game, which is fantastic, but they have LotFP conversion notes, because it’s still my game of choice, and ever shall be, world without end, amen.*

I also made a playlist for my campaign: The Incubus Club. I will add some more songs, but it’s pretty much complete now.

Table 1. Things that happen when you imbibe a potion made with genetically modified teeth (or the new white Coca-Cola, limited edition)

  1. Teeth armour. An incalculable amount of teeth and molars sprout from your entire body, giving you a base AC of 16 (18 in LotFP). Each time an enemy gets a natural 20 when attacking you, some teeth fall and the AC reduces two points, until everyone falls and returns to base AC of 10 (12 in LotFP).
  2. Head teeth. Sharp teeth and fangs sprout from your head, your hair falls; you can make a headbutt attack that deals d6 damage.
  3. Teeth for eyes. Your eyes have teeth, now you have The Stare. When you Stare your enemy, she must save versus Stunning (Paralysis in LotFP) or she loses her shit and her next turn, full of dread and anxiety.
  4. Teeth guts. Your stomach develops its own teeth, altering your digestive system. You save vs Poison at +2.
  5. Fanged hand-palm. A mouth full of sharp teeth appears in the palm of your hand, it talks non-stop in a strange language; if you are an Occultist (Magic-User in LotFP), you have an extra slot for a spell of any level you can cast. Other classes only get annoyed at its constant chatter.
  6. Shark teeth. You have a huge smile, and your bite causes d10 damage but you lose a handful of teeth and you can’t bite again until they grow back in d4 days. The lost teeth remain embedded on his flesh dealing additional d4 damage each round until he saves vs Stunning (Paralysis in LotFP) and the teeth fall.

Drawbacks: You suffer terrible body aches everyday; each morning make a save vs Stunning (Paralysis in LotFP), modified by your Constitution, and repeat it each 8 hours during abstract, overland time, or each 6 turns during exploration time. If this roll is failed, all your next rolls are at -1; a second failed roll during the same day increased the penalty to -2; a third failure during increases the penalty to -3 until you sleep, and no further saves are made.

Table 2. What happens when you watch the movie La Fin Absolue du Monde

  1. Spirit of violence. Save versus Magic or a feeling of great violence will take over you; you will start attacking everyone present until everyone is dead, you are dead, or 10 rounds pass.
  2. Cigarette burns. You are burning from the inside, as if countless cigarettes were searing your from within, leaving 4d6 blisters and burn marks, each causing you 1 point of damage. If you suffer 10 or more damage, your charisma decreases to the next lower modifier, if you are already at -3, just lower a point (in LotFP, a Charisma of 2 or less, is -4). If you suffer 24 damage, save vs Poison; if you succeed, you are horribly scorched and must live wrapped in gauze and bandages; if you fail, “you’re dead and the corpse is burnt to oblivion. Nothing but ashes or gunk is left behind.” (EE. p. 46)
  3. Heavenly memories. You remember your true origin, all your memories until the game started were false. You’re an angel. Recovering this memory makes you spread your wings, tearing your flesh. But so much time has passed since your fall, and of your beautiful wings only bones and membranes remain. You are a fallen angel. At this moment you gain a monstrous power and another every 3 levels, up to a total of three. The options are (in LotFP, use what’s in brackets): Breathe Fire (d6 damage), Creature of the Night (+1 to Skills and Damage, +2 to d20 Rolls, in darkness; in sunllight, the values are negative), Darkvision (see well in darkness), Extinguish (turn simple lights off), Flame (create simple flames), Huge Size (+1 HP per HD), Immune to Fire, Inhuman Beauty (+1 to Reaction and Charisma rolls), Magical Prodigy (can cast spells from scrolls, or gain an extra spell slot if already a caster), Silent (Stealth always succeeds).
  4. Obsession. You become obsessed with the movie and want to see it every day. If you don’t see it once every 24 hours, the following happens: Bodyguard, perception in 1-in-6; Criminal (and Specialist in LotFP), skills at -1; Doctor, medicine in 1-in-6; Explorer, stealth in 1-in-6; Mercenary (and Fighter in LotFP), attack bonus as if you were zero-level; Mystic and Occultist (and Cleric, Magic-User and Elf in LotFP), save vs magic when you cast a spell or it doesn’t work; Spook, lose one of his monstrous powers. (Dwarf and Halfling make all their saves at -1 in LotFP).
  5. Suicidal thoughts. You hate yourself and you want to die. Save versus Magic three times every day (morning, noon and night). If you fail two saves in a row, you commit suicide in a gruesome manner. You must roleplay this.
  6. I don’t want to watch! Something takes control of your hand and makes you gouge your own eye. All your rolls based on sight are done at -1. Your hand becomes black as if charred, then rests on your chest and refuses to move ever again. You can no longer use shields or two-handed weapons.

No movies on LotFP? So there’s no chance your players ever watch this wonderful movie, or any other, in your LotFP campaign? Then make it a symphony or a spell or something.

*Tanslation: Because fuck you that’s why.

“I eat the body!” A new OSR Weapons Race random table

I Eat the Body!

The “I search the body” random table is a staple of fantasy games, but a weird fantasy game needs something more, something else. Each part of the body has different effects on the adventurer turned cannibal.

Heart

When a player announces that her character eats the still beating heart of her victim, roll 1d4; this is what happens:

  1. You develop a second heart. The veins of your eyes burst and become permanently red; your Charisma-based rolls are made with a penalty of -2. From now on, when you gain a level, roll your new hit points with the next bigger die (a Fighter rolls d10, a Magic-User rolls d6 and so on).
  2. You suffer a myocardial microinfarction and you lose your next action. Roll all your Hit Dice again minus one (if you are level 4, roll 3 dice); if the result is less than your current hit points, that’s your new HP; if the total is greater, keep your current points.
  3. You lose control of your body. Anytime something important happens (encounters, mainly), you must save vs Paralysis of you will have a physical reaction that fits the situation in some way, accompanied by a mechanical penalization (miss a round, -1 to attack rolls, and so on.)
  4. You have a chronic change of heart. Whenever you need to remain silent or hidden (like during a Stealth roll or an Ambush round), you must save vs Magic; if you fail, you start laughing uncontrollably

Arms or Legs

When you are lost in a dark dungeon with nothing to eat, your buddy starts looking really tasty, right? Go ahead, roll 1d4 and see what happens:

  1. A phalanx, or a similar bone gets stuck in your throat. Save vs Death or die from suffocation.
  2. Your hit points are replenished.
  3. Your hit points are replenished. But. Save vs Poison or you will be infected with (horror fantasy) scurvy. After one day, make another save vs Poison, and if you fail, suffer d6 damage; roll again every eight hours until you either die or are cured. Eating a bunch of citruses means that you can skip the next saving throw, but you can only benefit from it once every 24 hours.
  4. You just ate cursed flesh. Now you’re cursed. At the most inopportune moment, your hand will act by itself, usually to your detriment (it’s up to the referee). On the bright side, your unarmed attacks never miss.

Brain

Even if you are not a zombie, a brain is a delicacy you won’t want to miss. Roll 1d4 and see:

  1. A strong migraine, you can’t make rolls or any exhaustive actions for the rest of the day. Also, your Intelligence is decreased by 1.
  2. Your Intelligence is increased by 1. You gain a one-time only spell slot, with one random spell (any!)
  3. Your Intelligence is increased by 1 but you have weird nightmares. And I mean weird! Each morning, save vs Magic, and if you fail, you spontaneously cast Summon. The entity it tries to summon will be of your same level.
  4. You develop immunity to brain diseases, dementia and mind-control effects, including magic, but you must consume human brains at least once every fortnight or your Intelligences is decreased by 1.

Eyes

Eyes are tasty. They keep secret knowledge, they know stories, they have seen it all. What do you see? Roll 1d4 to find out:

  1. You can anticipate the movements of your enemies. For the rest of the day, you get a +2 bonus on your armor and +1 on your attacks.
  2. You see dead people. You see them all the time, they distract you, you can’t help it. All your rolls that require concentration are done at -1. You need a barber surgeon to perform eye surgery on you (removing your eyes and attaching new ones) to get rid of these visions.
  3. They say that the eyes are the windows of the soul, and some truth must be in that. You have gained one of the characteristics or some important knowledge from the owner of those eyes you just ate (referee’s choice).
  4. You can see in the dark. But in the light, you need to save vs Paralysis or be blinded until you get cover.

Viscera

For some reason, I don’t know. Ask your players!

  1. You’re disgusting. Cha -1.
  2. Yeah, you are disgusting. Cha -1 and you smell funny. Your smell makes dogs attack you on sight.
  3. Oh, yeah. You are disgusting. Cha -1. You emanate an unpleasant aura and dogs and all kinds of beasts get away from you.
  4. Have I told you how disgusting you are? Cha -1. You develop a taste for it. You don’t recover hit points when you sleep if you didn’t eat viscera during that day (either animal or human).

More? Oh, sure. More!

Save vs actual death?

If your game is a little too lethal, you might want to consider a way to spare an adventurer’s insignificant life, just like when you burn ants with a magnifying glass, and allow one to preserve its life, just to see how its entire world collapses when you put one foot on its anthill.

But before going around saving lives, you have to let the players experience first hand the game and its world as it was designed. Maybe they will love it (as many of us do). But if character death is not part of the fun but to their detriment, something must be done. This is not very OSR, much less LotFP, but here it goes.

Save vs actual death… sort of

At the player’s choice, if his level 1 character dies in combat, once the encounter is over he has the option of sacrificing something in exchange for saving his life. Jeff Rients proposes a saving throw vs death, but I would skip that roll.

The character falls and is given up for dead, but miraculously he’s managed to keep 1 hit point. If at the end of the encounter a TPK has occurred, or if the fallen one is the first character created by the player for this campaign, this homemade rule is ignored.

Roll 1d3 or choose:

  1. Equipment
  2. Treasure
  3. Physical integrity

This loss must be significant, not trivial. The player decides what is sacrificed, but the referee can reject it and make a suggestion about the most appropriate loss. Some examples:

Equipment. Her favorite sword or magic weapon is broken. Her full plate armor is ruined. Her spell book has become unusable.

Treasure. Her bag of coins stopped the fatal blow, but her enemy has taken it. The great ruby was pulverized. The valuable wine bottles broke.

Physical integrity. Her knee is shattered, reducing her movement rate by 50%, and her Dex goes to the next modifier below (if her modifier was +2, now it is -1, if it was 0, now it’s -1, and so on). A frightening scar crosses her face and destroys one of her eyes (her Cha goes down to the next modifier below, and her attacks with ranged weapons, as well as her sight-related rolls, suffer a -1 penalty). Her dominant hand is cut (she cannot use two-handed weapons any more, her Tinkering rolls and similar are made with a d8, not d6).

Artwork: PUNCH Magazine and Clipart Panda