Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Working on an Adventure



I'm working on a maritime sandbox adventure for use with Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Sort of.

I'm running it for 1st level characters, with the following changes:

No Clerics, Elves, Dwarves, or Halflings

Instead, Delvers is a class that function like dwarves, and Trackers are a class that function like Halflings. Both are really modified versions of Specialists, so like Specialist kits.

Once I get them written (or find someone else's versions) I'll be set.

We're also using backgrounds and Advantage/Disadvantage from 5e, The Black Hack as much as possible, and spellcasting tables from DCC.

There are physical and mental ACs. Wisdom functions like Sanity, and encountering the undead or extra planar creatures of chaos requires sanity checks -- attack rolls against mental AC, adj by Wisdom, failure suffers a lost point of wisdom. Wisdom score of 0=insanse. Wizards are technically immune to these kinds of encounters, but they are also always borderline insane because of decades spent researching obscure, Eldritch knowledge. Wizards tend to have high Mental ACs and have natural bonuses, plus add intelligence bonus instead of wisdom to their mental AC.

They have learned methods of shielding their minds from alien intrusion.

A wizard's actual wisdom never drops, but they track lost wisdom in the same fashion. When this "imaginary" wisdom reaches 0, they have gone made and/or become possessed by one or more alien minds.

It's a Frankenstein ruleset, we'll see how it plays.

If I can find examples of someone else doing these specific rules changes, I'll apply any lessons they've learned or methods they've used.

The story revolves around a Queens's order to explore a new island chain recently discovered south east of the kingdom. She's already declared the islands as her own, and a ramshackle settlement has been established on the largest of the islands.

The ship the player's are on carries the crew, a team of mercenaries hired to explore the surrounding islands, and settlers willing to join the new settlement and help strengthen the Queen's presence on the islands.

Players choose a background package: Sailing crew, Mercenary, Laborer, Settler, Stoaway, Vistani.

What happens next is completely random; the shipped may be attacked, by pirates or sea monsters. Storms may destroy it or knock it off course; it may find the settlement wiped out; it may end up at a different island, or at an entirely different island chain; it may become lost at sea forever.

All of these possibilities will be determined during the course of play and based on what choices the players make along the way. There is nothing here to railroad their sea-based hex crawl.

This adventure is inspired by watching "In the Heart of the Sea", a movie about the story that inspired Moby Dick, as well as Jacob Hurst's "A Field Guide to Hot Springs Island", Cecil Howe's "Hex Kit", and the 'Maritime Adventures' section of "Lamentations of the Flame Princess".

More to come. Apologies for the bad image; will replace it when I'm home again from Florida (on or after Friday, 9/30).

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Elves and Druidhs of Waste

Here are two more additions for my Waste setting:

Elves of Waste


"Wood Elf", by Marcel Nilo.
There are no elves in Waste. Not in the traditional sense. No sprawling civilizations of treetop dwellers; those are all gone now. What remains instead, what one might call the elves of Waste, are creatures...creatures that are as cold as the dim starlight they hold in their eyes, pinpoints of sparkling embers set against fields of solid black.

When encountered, these elves pause, as if trying to remember something, a hint of an ancient memory lingering just out of their grasp.

But it's hopeless, and soon the elves descend back to instinct.

These are misxenothropic beasts. These are carnivores. And nothing that lives or walks in the Living Forest is safe from them.

Druidhs of Waste


Artwork sourced here.
The druidhs of the golden thirst are tired, shriveled husks, who stumble on thin stalks of bone tightly wrapped in leathery skin. They wear armor made of wheat; it is all their magic can keep alive.

Their voices rasp and grate like stones rubbing together. They hate conversation. It is useless. Nothing grows from words.

Nothing grows here, period.

They are sworn enemies of the cosmogaunts; they are too weak to fight them off, but they know a method for destroying the parasite kings and demolishing their stomach palaces. The cosmogaunts fear the druidhs because of this.

But druidhs hate conversation. So the cosmogaunts are safe. Cautious, but safe.

Druidhs are cursed, just like everything else, immortal protectors of a garden that has mostly died off, drained of its nourishing waters. Nothing can kill them. They are ghosts of forests. How they lament the trees and the fields.

And the world.

Druidh tears heal wounds and diseases.

But why waste the water?

(Note: There are druids among the illadon who protect the living forests that grow on the backs of megaturtles, but those forests are nourished by blood from the shells of the turtles, so they are abominations.)

Update+Evey Lockhart added the following (she's cowriting Waste with me and +David Lewis Johnson):

Only wheat still lives on thier backs. Pitiful tamed wheat. The ghosts of the wolf clothed in shame.

I imagine they are their own dream manifestation, cursing themselves with every stray thought and whimper and day dream memory.

They are difficult to make cry unless you know the secret.
Let each see its own reflection.

There is a merchant palace, taking over the entirety of a headless, walking god. At the center is a room of mirrors.and a chained druidh. It's eyelids have been cut away. It cannot help but see itself. It has been crying for a thousand years and not yet reached the middle of its weeping. A line of dead eyed children patiently collect every precious drop.

Qua'al Din, Merchant Prince, monopolizes both torture and healing.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Color Coded Non Hex Hex Map

So some people over on Google+ helped me out with a little thing I thought of a couple of weeks ago:




The drawing was done by +Zach H originally; I asked him if I could turn it into a map, and then +Christian Kessler did the coloring on it, carefully dividing up the images into distinct regions. Then I let it loose on G+ to see what people would make of each pictured area, as some kind of weird, non-hex based hex map. Or whatever. So here's what happened:

+Jay Exonauts suggested each section is ruled by different demigods, and then added the following:

REDGranklon the God of Spilled Blood (the Helmet is his temple) demands sacrifice to keep wars from breaking out. The dragon creature in the lower portion is his enforcer, both to worshipers and infidels from other regions.

+Noah Stevens added:

ORANGE: The eastern orange zone is ruled by Black Smoke on Still Ocean, a Vampire/Werepanther Demon Queen

The 4 coins in the sky are full moons, when the sacrifice is due, and near the lake the Ancient Hero is tortured nightly and regenerates each morning. Some say he is the Queen's brother, or lover, or both. At each sacrifice her jaguar head is placed on the body of a virgin, whose old head is rolled down the stairs of the ziggurat and there is taken to the crypts below to whisper secrets to the hero and abide eternity with him.

Those who overhear the whispers learn a random spell and can cast it at the cost of half of their POW/SAN/LUCK/HP, or less on the day of a full moon


Then +James V West added:

PURPLE: Once a small realm ruled by a kindly wizard. The wizard, whose name is lost, summoned a terrible demon from the inner dimensions and was dominated. The demon-seed in his brain was spread through magic, turning the once-kind people into soulless zombies that occasionally go on bloody rampages. The demon-seed spread through other realms and the Purple Plague is currently raging, pushing, and festering its way into any available, vulnerable region. Even gorgons, dragons, and behemoths are not immune to the demonic disease.

Only slaying the Plague Wizard might put a stop to it. But who can ascend that purple tower of blood and bone built from the bodies of plague victims?

Any character encountering the Purple Plague must pass a saving throw (vs. wands) each night when they close their eyes or else wake up as a victim. A victim can still function, barely, but must pass a saving throw (vs. spells) to make any sort of meaningful choice. When such a saving throw is failed with a roll of 1, the plague victim goes on a murderous rampage, killing anyone in sight until slain or knocked out.


And then +Christian Kessler added to this:

The other thing that killing the Plague Wizard will accomplish is ending the spell that fills the lake beside his tower, which was once a valley ruled by tyrannical, cannibalistic elves. They've survived for centuries in their magically-airtight fortress through the controlled breeding of a livestock class. If the lake is emptied, they'll be free to expand across the island and beyond; they'll do so mainly in order to demand tribute in the form of people to eat.

There is a door hidden away deep in the caves beneath the Purple Tower which leads directly into the heart of the Castle in the Lake.

*Update 9/19: +Gennifer Bone added the following:

YELLOW: The honeycomb with the eye and pyramid - The long-abandoned Hive of the Crystal Bees.

This huge, crumbling beehive is crafted of bluish crystal. It has been looted, but searching it can reveal a cashe of Blue Honey (10% chance), or an active Psychic Shard (1% change, treat as a lightsabre with 10 rounds of use. Can be recharged with Blue Honey) However, the Hive is haunted by the psychic ghosts of crystal bees (Treat as giant bees, but they are etherial, and shoot psychic stingers at +4 to hit- anyone hit takes 1d4 damage, and looses a similar amount of INT) 



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That leaves the two green sections (Light Green and Dark Green).

So if anyone is interested in adding to the description of the map pieces, or expanding on the sections already started by Jay, Noah, and James, please do so in the comments section below.

And if you manage to make some kind of use of this map and the key, let me know! Either comment here or email me: thesecretdm@gmail.com