Some months back I had the notion to write up some random tables for generating quick character details, basically inspired by the tables in Knave. And then, of course, everything in the last year kept on happening *vague wave* and I poked around the idea in my head some but didn’t actually get things written down.
But now I have! *doot doot*
Hilariously, one of the things that I dithered on was how long to make the tables; too long and I felt like things could turn into more like variations (some physical descriptors are/were especially annoying for this), too short and there wouldn’t be enough options. Eventually I settled on d12 tables as a decent middle-of-the-road.
You don’t have to use the Favour Owed and To Whom tables in tandem, if you’d rather not deal with starting favours/debt/etc. The To Whom table would probably work nicely on its own as a “starting acquaintance or contact” table.
09. Shaved Patterns
you know your own character’s complexion; I’m not making that random.
Odd Trait I
Odd Trait II
01. Scarred Face
01. Glyph-shaped Birthmark
01. Pawlike Feet
02. Webbed Digits
03. Heterochromatic Eyes
03. Nictitating Membranes
04. Odd-coloured Blood
05. Pictorial Tattoo(s)
05. Metallic or Jewel-like Markings
06. Calligraphic Tattoo(s)
06. Clawlike Nails
06. Crystal Teeth
07. Beaded Hair
07. Pointed/Elongated Ears
07. Leafy/Flowery Hair
08. Fungal Growths
09. Metallic Skin
10. Missing Digit(s)
10. Gold-limned Shadow
11. Unusual Height
11. Scale or Fur Flourishes
11. Mirrored Eyes
12. Lock of Miscoloured Hair
12. Gill Slits
12. Chitinous Parts
distinguishing marks are mundane things, whether from birth or acquired before adventuring. “odd traits” are … more out there, ha. you don’t *need* to roll on any of these, of course.
a few important caveats: 1) these are just notable features, not necessarily your character’s only ones, 2) please don’t feel forced to use a feature that makes you uncomfortable, 3) don’t insist on using one that makes your fellow players uncomfortable either.
01. Ghost Hunter
01. Unexpected Conjuring
02. Cloistered Scribe
02. Ancient Sleeper
03. Sheepbird Herder
03. Soldier of Fortune
04. Ruin Mapper
04. Magewar Casualty
05. Maverick Priest
05. Minstrel With A Secret
06. Backalley Ruffian
07. Wandering Sage
07. Cultist of Some Obscurity
08. Exiled Noble
08. Former Ghoul
09. Snowgourd Farmer
09. Seasonal Fisherfolk
10. Uncursed Wretch
10. Foraging Chef
11. World-lost Foreigner
11. Transformed Beast
12. Artisan Looking For Inspiration
12. Would-be Lordling
some of these are more exotic than others; some are origins, some professions. you could always roll more than once if you wanted to, but more than twice would probably start getting complicated fast.
What Do You Owe?
01. Debt of Coin
01. Antlered hedge-mage who lives outside your home village
02. Bone-dragon that spared your precious one’s life
03. Oath of Loyalty
03. Wandering bard that appeared at just the right time with an answer
04. Recovering a Bauble
04. Your extended family has certain Expectations of which this is one
05. Carrying a Message
05. Witchwolf that gave you shelter
06. Delivering a Package
06. Whispering voice that comes on the wind at night; you don’t recall why
07. Season’s Labour
07. Demesne-lord who’s pledge you’ve severed; this is your last tithe
08. Your First Claim To Fame
08. Eternal One whose blood you drank
09. Part of Your Soul
09. Townsfolk who helped you prepare for your travels
10. All of Your Soul
10. Patron of the ancient shrine you stumbled across
11. Treasured Secret
11. Seediest guild in the city’s underbelly
12. Recovered Knowledge
12. Shadowy spellcaster who draws up contracts and breaks curses
the details of each favour are left deliberately vague, because power levels and such vary from game to game
When you’re coming up empty and you need a idea for a spell, sometimes a few word prompts help; some inspirational snips and shards you can recombine. That’s where these tables come in.
Naturally, there’s the more involved way and the less involved way:
More Involved: Roll 1d3+1 for the number of prompts to combine, then 1d4 to determine which tables, then 1d10 on each table.
Less Involved: Pick how many prompts you want and then roll on whatever tables you like. Or just pick your prompts and smash them together, that works just fine —
All prompts, of course, to be taken as literally or metaphorically or just-vaguely-related-ly as you like ;3
substituting related words/concepts: also totally cool
And here are some example spells prompted by combos of some of the above shards —
01 – Threefold Warding: Inking three dots of kohl or ochre on the inside of each wrist (or equivalent) prevents hexes or curses or other eldritch blights from taking hold; each time a curse is thwarted, a dot burns from each wrist and leaves a wound. (curse + protect)
02 – Grand Voyage: For the next six hours, a subject and all that they travel with, up to a small cart, cross distance as follows — four times their speed on land, unhindered by terrain; twice land speed on water, even without a vessel; and, should sunbeams, lighthouses, rainbows and stranger things permit, traveling beams of light as if solid ground. (earth + sea + travel + light)
03 – Elephant Existence: One object or individual cannot be described or even comprehended as a whole for 1d6 hours. Individual attributes may be relayed, but a coherent whole description simply will not come together. (shape + conceal)
04 – Actinic Brambles: An area up to 10 metres in diameter erupts in crackling, clinging briars of semi-tangible stormcloud for the next ten minutes. Anything and anyone already in the area, even if invisible or intangible, is limned with a pale glow; anything or anyone that moves is jolted with lightning. (storm + light + thorn)
05 – Blind ‘Pillar’s Travel: Chart your course in your mind and be enveloped in rough silk that cushions you — which is good, because you are not staying upright any longer — and lulls you into a drowsy sense of comfort. While you rest, the silky cocoon sprouts many pairs of strong spurred claws and sets off on the path, walking, climbing, scaling stone, and contending with all obstacles (including fighting with those claws if necessary) . Unfortunately you are aware of nothing outside until you reach your destination or the cocoon is destroyed; but you’re bright-eyed and refreshed when you get there. (talon + cocoon)
06 – The Sleeper’s Quest: A slumber descends from which the subject will not awake for twelve hours. During that sleep, the dreaming self must untangle a code, thread a labyrinth, or deal with a similar puzzle; when the twelve hours are over, they wake with a dreamstone in hand that will restore the lost, from shattered vases to broken promises. It is possible to die in the dream, alas. (mend + dream + decipher)
07 – Burningheart: Sacrifice a portion of one’s own lifeblood and a beloved trinket to a brazier burning with bright coals, and stare into the flames; dancing among them will be seen an adversary’s greatest terror, and the path to best make use of such a thing, whatever it might be. (fear + flame + vision + finding)
08 – Grey Sanctuary: A single chamber, marked with glyphs on all walls, ceiling and flooring, doubles the chances for success in a specific task (including healing) for 24 hours. However, if the chamber is breached in any way, or any enter or leave, the enchantment shatters. (blessing + confine)
09 – Greenblight: With hands (or other extremities) gnarling black and tainted, for the next five minutes any plant matter touched will shrivel. Flowers brown and wilt, greenery dries brittle, even wood can be rendered punky and in splinters. Plant creatures will take double damage. (touch + sunder + plant)
10 – Winter’s Long Reach: Set yourself to gazing around yourself, as far to the horizon (or equivalent) as you can. At any point along the vista, at your will, the ground may split apart — or simply be raised high — as uncountable sharp spars of ice grow suddenly skyward up to a height of 10 metres. The ice lasts until it melts. (vision + thorn + earth + ice)
11 – The Day Turns Its Face: Until this curse is lifted, broken, or runs out its time (up to a year), the afflicted soul finds their strength, vitality and physical skill halved during daytime hours, their flesh growing feeble and wasted. Actually being struck by the rays of the sun intensifies the blight, leaving the subject a quarter of what they once were until fleeing the sun’s touch. (curse + wither + sun)
!2 – Mantle Of Midnight: Draws a portion of the night sky down to wrap around a subject’s shoulders like an all-enveloping cloak. For the next eight hours, the mantle keeps away the night chill and offers all the benefits of chainmail; additionally, once, at the subject’s wish, an attack against their person may either be magically converted to healing energy, or mirrored back at the assailant as a bolt of inky force that shatters weapons or maims claws. (mend + sunder + protect + night)
01. a delicately woven white woolen shawl, sewn over and fringed with red crystal beads like droplets of blood
02. a full feasts’ worth of red stoneware platters and bowls polished smooth as glass, each sporting a different glyph etched in gold
03. two folding hunters’ stools in blackoak and leather; one seat of white hide, one black
04. a braided torc of bronze, finials wrapped in loops around amber orbs
05. ten discs of compounded alchemical incense kept in a leather-lined brass box
06. a glittering violet-blue scale long as a fingertip, strung on a silver chain
07. a packet of letters on ancient parchment, each sporting colourful silk mending
08. an oval of rosy quartz the size of a quail’s egg, with drops of blood suspended inside
09. a blue steel gorget, mirror-smooth, engraved on the inner surface with prayer sigils
10. a pair of scallop shells lined, trimmed and hinged with gold, one shell packed with pigment and the other meant to hold water
This weekend I got to poking around at work and first coloured, then chopped up, some scans I made a while back of minimaps I drew even further back. Then, in a fit of why not, I stuck the minimaps onto fresh sheets of paper, folded them up and cut them into pocketmods, and wrote adventures around them.
It worked out better than I expected?
So I scanned them (which worked … not as well, and as it turns out my ornery scanner clips the edges off of full sheets; next time, I won’t write/doodle so close to the edges then, nyeh) and tossed them onto Google Drive, because why not *lol*
Brought to you by Paolo Greco of Lost Pages (lostpaolo @ Twitter), with lovely art by Alex Damaceno (gnarledmonster @ Twitter), it’s time for spells, shiny things and animal wizards!
Sixty-four levelless spells across eight themed grimoires, each with their own quirks, physical grimoire descriptions, and a selection of brand-new fantsay knowledge, esoterica and tricks of the trade that enterprising spellcasters squirreled away, to whit:
Principia Primordia and its powerful channeling spells and plants
Least Book of Serpentarius, teaching the secrets of harnessing star power
Roseate Codex, a magic handbook about roses, and how to feed them with yourself to defy death
Collected Wisdoms, holding the keys to wisdom, denial, and dowsing.
Tjehenet, a papyrus filled with shiny and glittery magic
Ex Sanguinis, and its crimson sorcery of emotion and blood
The Manual, that famous tradecraft grimoire
Book of the White Cat, teaching the icy mystery of the Queen of Clowders
The spells in Hexes can be used alongside Wonder & Wickedness, also from Lost pages, or on its own.
And right along with them, there’s a random table for each grimoire just right for equipping a new magely-type with a trinket, toolkit or odder bauble that suits their magical style 😀
It’s not just spells, mind you — the second half of Hexes brings out a collection of enchanted items , polished up and collected in one place. Lenses and lanterns, stones and lanterns and clockworks. Always clockworks ~ Including the spellchick.
You knew I wasn’t kidding about the spellchick, right? 83
When I started posting bits and snips of rpg material way back when (2008? OMG AM I OLD *lol*), it was mostly critters of various stripes — something I still tinker with — but sprinkled in here and there were posts of spells, or collections of spells, and I didn’t waste any time writing up trinkets and fancies and magic items of various stripes either, because we all like shinies. And life was good ~ ;3
I kept this up for a good stretch until life and life crises derailed me, and then I turned into far more of a lurker in the online rpg scene for a number of years. But lo and behold, the wheel turns and times change, and what’s old is new again again, and I peeked my head out on Twitter a while back.
I found folks I remembered from before, and new folks, and life was also good!
And lo, a project grew from a grand suggestion: gathering up spells that I’ve written and forming new, themed spellbooks from them. And then adding descriptions for said spellbooks — and non-spell contents of their pages — and nifty trinkets and shinies a spellslinger who knows the magics contained inside one might own. And along with that, a selection of enchanted items.
Including the spellchick. Because I am still ridiculously proud of the spellchick. Moohahaha.
A Hamsterish Hoard Of Hexes is going to be released by Paolo Greco of Lost Pages fame (and credit where credit is due, Paolo is also where the nudge to do this came from!), and it’s going to be illustrated by Alex Damaceno, creator of Beyond The Borderlands. The eccentricities of the words inside are mine, though X3
Looking forward to posting more about the contents later! 83
In some lands, mink are trapped for their luxurious fur. In others, these sleek and slender predators may be farmed for the same purpose; and, in yet others, mink are turned loose to multiply to keep down the numbers of rats and other vermin, sometimes to the point of becoming vermin themselves.
But in the end, the mink are tossed away, one way or another, with or without their soft and gleaming coats. Killed in their numbers, the creatures are discarded and left to rot without a second thought.
That is sometimes a very, very bad idea.
Sometimes, the mink don’t stay gone.
You wouldn’t want to wear one of these.
And they don’t arrive alone.
Zombie Mink: Bloating with death, sporting clotted fur or bare necrotizing muscle, this small horror bares needle-like fangs and a burning witchfire in its empty eye sockets.
Zombie Mink: AC 5 , HD 1-1** (3 hp), Att. 1 x bite (1d6), THAC0: 19 , MV 150′ (50′), Saves: D 12, W 13, P 14, B 15, S 16, Morale 10, Align: Chaotic, XP 7, NA 4d8 (6d12), TT: None
> Undead: Vulnerable to turning > Burn The Infestation: Double damage from fire > Infravision: 40′ > Leech: Upon a successful attack, locks onto victim and drains blood, automatic 1 hp damage per round until target dead or ferret is destroyed > Plaguebearer: Bite has 2-in-20 chance of infecting the target (save vs poison). The disease has a 2-in-4 chance of being deadly (die in 1d12 days). Otherwise, the victim is sick and bedridden for a month.
Zombie Mink: HD 1-1, one bite 1d6 (+ 1 each moment until removed or destroyed), CON test or contract disease (second CON test or OoA in 1d12 days), undead, double damage from fire
Zombie Mink: [Minor] B 4, A 9, P 6; Essence 1; 1 Armour Point; damage 1d4 – double damage from fire, light – successful attack: 1 Ess/turn until removed or destroyed – Body test or catch disease from bite (Body, Alacrity halved for month; second Body test to survive, then roll on Death effects table)
It seems to me that a(nother) brief ramble on the things I’m actively working on/planning/contending with wouldn’t hurt anything so here we go, in no particular order:
Nine Black Jewel Moons 2.0, or the expanded version, or however you want to look at it *lol* — this will be much like Lost Emblem Saga (which evolved from Jewel Moons 1.0!) and will be easily smooshed with it. It’s probably getting a mostly-different title since in the creating of an actual place/defining some things, I accidentally(?) another mini-setting. There’s also going to be wee note to the effect that yes, using the setting without the “new stuff bubbling out of primordial chaos” is actually doable and by all means feel free to just use the “stable” part of the setting as-is.
A brief zine with a system for dimension/planewalking, and some planes and worlds to go with it (with a gribbly hook or two each, I hope). This will ostensibly be running off the tinyrpg skeleton but since that’s ability tests at its core it’s basically compatible with a sea of OSR/NSR/sworddream/etc stuff out there. I just want my own tiny not!Planescape and I ain’t even sorry
Another brief zine-y thing that makes up a fantasy/fantastical city, which will probably be some establishing paragraphs and then a pile of random tables because I have some ideas there. If I can get more than ideas and actually do something, it might get submitted to Arr Roo’s City Jam, but *stares dead-eyed into the calendar* It may also link into the planar thing above; see Planescape and also who doesn’t like weird city-existences?
I kind of want to make a little collection of tables for quirks/appearance/location ideas/something-something? I liked the idea of the stuff in Knave and Maze Rats but I dooooon’t really want to use those atm, and also the themes didn’t really gel with what I do in places. Since I like making little tables when I can, why not boil them down some and then put them together?
At some point I need to collect up and dust off and format together all the little bits I wrote for RPGaDay like I said I would >.>;;
I keep wandering back — even while I’m still moving at a snail’s pace on Jewel Moons 2.0 and the “planar” idea for a wee supplement-type and am now debating some swords as well as some random tables of setting-dressing-ness again — to the idea of an rpg (setting?) based properly (“properly”) on pharonic Egypt. Or I should say, wandering back again …
By “properly”, I mean something that while not strictly historical (because you don’t get magic and actually traveling to the underworld etc in a strictly historical setting version), bears a hell of a lot more resemblance to how things actually were/were perceived in Egypt than killer mummies and stupid curses and camels roaming around in 1500 BCE and etc etc.
It’s an idea I keep going back to again and again and not actually doing anything with. Which is annoying. (and when I say I keep going back, I mean my first effort was a never-submitted article to Dragon Magazine that I was working on, that was for character kits. yes, this was for 2e AD&D. I’ve been beating this dead horse in my head for a loooooong time.)
Earlier this year I mostly battened on a lens for PCs that might, well, actually make a reason for adventure; this both kicked up my thoughts on the notion more actively for the first time in ages and also brought a whole heaping helping of frustration to roost because, frankly, fuck 2020 with a rusty chainsaw.
Still, the idea knocks around in my head and wakes up and goes “hi :3” every time I pull a textbook off the shelf.
Another source of dithering all over the map is the subject of just what to use/what I could use/etc etc as a skeleton. TBH? I’ve considered Troika, although while I could do a nice pile of backgrounds I swing back and forth on whether the background pile will help illuminate the setting, or constrict player options. I occasionally consider the tinyrpg skeleton I put together, and then I run backing into the night at the idea (as is my way). Troika is currently in the lead by a smidge?
So this is basically a lot of rambling saying not much of any real use but. Oops?
(Jewel Moons, etc, is still happening. just slowly. there are many things that are making a bad year continue to be a bad year and I am Slow on my best days anyway)
(also, let me end by noting that I still absolutely bloody loathe WordPress’ new setup and this was as “easy” to post how I wanted as nailing jelly to a tree)