Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gygaxian Democracy #1: Hammer of Exorcism

Had one of those revelations of the obvious today.

Why do we blog? Because thinking up DM stuff is hard fucking work and blogging about it makes it more fun. Anyway, cutting to the chase.

New feature, Gygaxian Democracy. Not complicated. Here we go...

The Hammer of Exorcism

This item appears to be a weathered warhammer covered in dried blood. It will function as such.

However, when wielded by a cleric, it can be used to exorcise possessing spirits or drive away insanity.

For it to work, the cleric must beat the afflicted individual unconscious with the hammer. (Not all blows must be with the hammer, but the final one must be.)

However, for each blow struck with the hammer, there is a chance of a side effect. This chance is equal to 20 minus the patient's constitution per blow struck...

(roll DHoweverManyResponsesWeGet--if it's more than 20, roll d10o giving equal chances to each result)

The possible side effects are as follows: (your turn)


  1. (Probably the obvious one)
    Possessing spirits or demons manifest physically and attack, perhaps trying to possess the cleric or his companions


    The afflicted individual is driven deeper into madness, his or her alignment driven one step closer to chaotic, and one step closer to evil.

  2. If I hadn't refreshed, I would have got this up before reading 19charisma's, but I think mine has enough flavour that I'm posting it anyway. Sorry.

    The afflicted individual is cured, but the possessing spirit/insanity is expelled via the mouth in a vomit of animated blood.

    If it was an incorporeal spirit, it has the same stats as its incorporeal form but loses all the benefits of being incorporeal, including the ability to possess people/objects (it cannot pass through solid objects, can be injured normally by weapons/spells, etc.).

    If it was insanity that's being cured, treat it as a water elemental one size smaller than the afflicted individual (if no stats are available for that size, cut HP by 1/4 for each size category below the smallest element stats are available for). Its slam attack deals 1 point of wisdom damage per hit, which can be healed back as normal for stat damage.

    If by some strange occurrence it was a normally corporeal creature possessing the afflicted individual, it is not returned to its body, but is treated the same way as an incorporeal spirit would be. If it is killed while in blood-form, treat as though its were killed while in its normal body.

  3. Stigmata; where the blow hit will now bleed slowly forever.

  4. My first thought upon reading, "This item appears to be a weathered warhammer covered in dried blood. It will function as such." was...It will function as a hammer covered in dried blood? How does that differ from a normal hammer?


    Side Effect: Shattered Pieces of (Roll 1D6) the Possessing Spirit (Odd Result) or the victim's Spirit/Soul (Even Result) fly out in random directions. All individuals in a 50 ft. radius other than the Cleric wielding the Hammer must save or take on personality traits bestow upon them by the spirit shrapnel.

  5. Aiming For The Head Is A Necessary Evil: The patient suffers amnesia. This isn't a magical effect or anything, just an awkward side effect of blattering someone with a hammer; you got an unfortunate hit in. No abilities are lost, only memories; memorized spells are gone, however.

    That's Kinda Disgusting, Tim: The hammer opens a small wound from which a small gusher of ectoplasm spews forth, evaporating into the upper air. The wound will not heal, and looks a bit gross and weird (ectoplasm, being largely incorporeal, will run straight through clothes, bandages, plate armor...), but is harmless. Probably.

    I Got A Jones: Great, so now the bludgeonee is addicted to laudanum. Maybe laudanum doesn't exist in this world? Tough shit. Enjoy the shakes.

    Aside: Sorta bullshit not to allow anonymous comments, man; snagging an OpenID just to make one contribution was a bit of a hassle and doesn't really improve troll protection one bit.

  6. @sprotch

    I didn't know my blog demanded an id. but it also has no trolls, maybe that's why. sorry.

  7. Duh... Possessed person has taken one too many shots to the melon. Permanently loses d6 Int and d4 Dex. May slur words from that point forward.

    If the possessing spirit is intelligent, it suffers 2x the Int loss that the possessed person does. If that drops it either to 0, their personality it wiped out and only the other remains. If it drops both to zero, congratulations - you have a living, brainless body!

  8. a few options came to me:

    -Leaves a permanent dent/mark that cannot ever be totally healed. A definite neg to any Comeliness stat or the like.

    -Damage is taken by wielder instead of target

    -Wielder's head spins around in an impossible manner. Knocked unconscious for 1d6 rounds and awakens with a terrible neck-ache. Minus 1 on all D20 rolls for the night.


    -Possessed Omen: 50% wielder/recipient - the possessed undergoes temporary facial distortions and delivers ominous prophesy in a spooky voice

  9. - The PC stutters under a randomly specified condition (words starting with a random letter, from sundown to sunrise, when speaking to someone of the same/opposite sex)

    - Part of the PC's soul is trapped on the negative energy plane/shadow realm/hell/etc. The character can now be turned by any sentient undead monster (use monster HD to determine cleric level, treat PC as closest HD equivalent undead).

  10. Okay, wow, that came off as incredibly pissy, which I didn't mean it to, so uh, sorry. I meant to also tell you though that several of your Greatest Hits links don't work because they're missing the colon after http in the link; maybe it's just me but I checked and I have that same problem in two browsers, so.

    To make this comment topical:

    Glue: The hammerhead sticks to the patient's flesh. Universalt solvent or the like is needed to get it off harmlessly; acid will do the trick but also sear the patient. Simply yanking it off will also work, but does 1d6 damage as the skin is pulled off. If a 6 is rolled, the skin doesn't break properly in one end and a strip starts getting torn out of the patient's hide, doing another d6 damage (repeat until !6 or the patient reaches 1 HP).

    Pillow Fight!: Feathers spew out from the point of impact.

    Yeff Pleafe, But Wiff A Ftraw: Whoops, the hammer occurs upon the patient's mouth, causing loss of d12 teeth and d100 Dignity.

    Insorcision: Alas!, instead of exorcising the spirit, one of the spirits previously beaten out of someone is hammered into the patient. Now that there are two of 'em in there, a double hammering-unconscious will be required.

  11. - User of the hammer suffers as psionic blast.
    - User of the hammer is possessed by the spirit and defenestrates.


  13. The victim permanently loses a feat slot to be replaced by a spell-like ability that fits the alignment of the possessing entity in question, GM's decision on the spell-like ability.

  14. Victim becomes total fanatic of the Cleric's religion (regardless of previous affiliation).


    Victim becomes violently opposed to Cleric's religion, doing whatever is necessary to fight it (including changing alignment if necessary).

  15. The victim, when they close only their left eye they can see into the ethereal plane. When they close their right eye, they can see into one of the "lower" planes of Hades, Hell, or whatever.

    Or they could just see dead people.

  16. Victim cannot walk anywhere, but can run, dance, crawl and/or tumble.

    Victim cannot talk anymore but may sing. Does not affect spellcasting.

  17. Hahaha Joesky. Brilliant.

    1. The blow exorcises the individual, leaving the possession or insanity in control of the vessel upon regaining consciousness. Perhaps the individual is able to be rescued after some elaborate quest? Who knows what an insanity would do with a human(oid) body in the mean-time...

    2. Exorcism partially successful: The Insanity/Possession regains control at times of weakness eg During nightmares, when unconscious, charmed, drunk, in love...

    3. (similar theory to others mentioned) Insanity/Possession is driven from the individual, but remains attached to this existence. Incorporeal manifestation haunts the individual forevermore, trying to retrieve the last vestiges of itself still lodged within said individual. It just wants to go home (to wherever insanities live?). Is in torturous pain for the duration of this semi-life.

    4. Broken-Jaw (because seriously.)

    5. The link between wherever the possession/insanity goes to/comes from doesnt close properly. Individual is intermittently afflicted with random possessions/insanities for unspecified lengths of time, although initially appears cured.

    ps I really like Tempexrers. Just give the PC some random ability from the possessor if you don't have feats i guess. Rockin.

  18. Note: I'm using the terms PC and character interchangeably here, but this can be valid for PCs, NPCs, and other personalities within the DM's world.

    If possessed, the possessing spirit is also affected directly by the blows. As a result, it takes active control of the host and directly negotiates with the party. Roll d4 for initial negotiating tactic:

    1 - Will leave for now if allowed to possess a member of the party one day per cycle of the moon, under restrictions agreed upon through negotiations.

    2 - Offers a gift in exchange for a minor boon and being allowed to depart with no more trouble.

    3 - Offers a gift (secretly cursed) in exchange for being allowed to depart with no more trouble.

    4 - Attempts to convince the party that it is the character in question and that is has, in fact, been exorcised. Will use any means necessary, magical and non, to attempt to convince them that the PC is now just fine, thanks. Will subsequently lay low until it has an opportunity to strike at the party through the possessed PC when the PCs are unaware.

    If insane, the insanity will be driven further into the PC's mentality, but hidden. Character's madness will be expressed for roughly 24 hours when some infrequent or cyclic natural condition is met (full or new moon, or a rainbow is present in the sky, or wolves are howling nearby). Roll a d4 for the expression of the madness every time it occurs:

    1 - Character has intense desire to drink the blood of its own or a very similar species. Blood must be from the just-slain. Will attempt to fulfill that desire at every opportunity, though will make at least a modicum of effort to keep these attempts secret.

    2 - PC develops an immense love or lust for someone or something quite unlike their regular preference (be creative, don't just make the straight ones gay and vice versa) and will fixate obsessively whether the mark is attained or not.

    3 - PC becomes obsessed with a rare, expensive, or potentially dangerous food or drink and will go to great lengths, including putting him or herself and the party at large in great danger or awkwardness to get it.

    4 - Character will begin working backwards. Character will attempt to perform whatever action is appropriate to a given situation in reverse order in some fashion. Words will not always be spoken backwards, but word order often will be. PC may attempt to take money from shopkeepers along with goods, cook trail rations and then attempt to "kill" the rations with a bow, or perhaps wring out dry clothing and put on extra layers before stepping into water for a bath. The PC or DM should try to be creative and make sure that this reverse order is somehow possible to perform, or at least possible to attempt.

  19. A new orifice opens in the possessed where the blow landed, and the possessing being attempts to engulf the hammer. Cleric must roll d20 vs. Strength twice to withdraw the hammer, or else it is lost and engulfed by the possessed. It remains somewhere inside indefinitely (as long as the subject remains possessed), but can be retrieved by the possessed at will a la Videodrome, after which it serves as a +4 warhammer against Clerics only.

  20. The victim is shunted onto another plane of existence. There is a 1% chance that the wielder of the hammer is shunted instead.

  21. (The plane of existence mentioned above will be the one from which the possessing intelligence comes.)

  22. The cleric and the possessing spirit are transported to the ethereal plane for 1d6 rounds where they may use whatever means to battle for ownership of the body.

    Depends on the type of spirit whether they fight, agree to go willingly or ask for some form of service to be performed.

  23. The spirit and the cleric swap places through the hammer, so the cleric now possesses the body and the spirit is weilding the hammer.

  24. The spirit passes from the afflicted to the hammer. The hammer becomes an intelligent weapon, with all the disadvantages that brings, but such intelligence also makes the weapon powerful (and not just in force of personality).

    Perhaps a critical failure version of this effect is that the personality of the afflicted character is transferred to the weapon, creating some interesting, Rogue Trooper/Knight Rider-like roleplay opportunities.

  25. Total Protonic Reversal: The situation is completely switched, with the possessor assuming an appropriate physical form and the possessed becoming an incorporeal entity struggling for dominance of it.

    If the Possessor was incorporeal, tough shit. Now it's not. If it was just some astral critter, make it that, but on the material plane. If it was a ghost, give it its living form back. If it was some completely formless thing, make something up, or else pick a random demon of the appropriate HD and give it that.

    The Possessor's physical form is now lost and they become for all intents and purposes a ghost. Continuing to strike now risks exorcising them. However, they have the same level of control over their former Possessor as the Possessor had over them.

  26. 1) The patient is mute for d100 days

    2) Every time the patient goes to sleep they have a 1 in 10 chance of suffering horrific portentious nightmares. Only gain half the benefits of resting, but gain adventure hooks, clues or initiative bonus.

    3) The patient can never again be in the same room as the cleric without suffering debilitating head pain.

    4) The patient gains the cleric's spell-casting abilities for d6 days. For this time the cleric cannot cast spells.

    5) The patient and the cleric see into each other's minds. They must exchange one secret each or answer one question truthfully.

    6) The cleric gains the same symptoms as the patient for d20 hours.

    7) The patient's soul is knocked out of the body. They exist as an invisible, non-corporeal astral entity for d100 hours before returning to their body. However on a roll of 00 (100) they can not return to their body at all unless they have outside help. During this time there is a 1 in 10 chance that the body maybe be mistaken for deceased.

  27. The possessing spirit is knocked out of the patient ... to be replaced by the last spirit to have been exorcised using the hammer, which has been trailing it ever since.

    The patient's memory is shattered into (pick a die size) segments. The next time the patient tries to remember something, roll dX. That memory is now stuck in segment [roll] of memory & the patient must now roll that number on dX to retrieve that memory from now on. A particular hassle for spellcasters trying to prepare for the day.

  28. Three more to add to my previous post (because the OCD can't stand to leave it at 7, because there is no d7).

    8) Patient is deaf for d20 days

    9) Patient is blind in one eye for d10 days

    10) The patient becomes highly suggestible, believing everything they are told. They believe the cleric over all others and will obey any order the cleric gives.

  29. Dangit, I had this nice long post that I really liked and it seemed to have posted to the blog, but now it's completely gone. I hate you, blog comment system.

  30. The patient suffers a language disability:
    - develops aphasia
    - can now only speak her/his alignment language
    - acquires a foreign accent

    The patient develops magical synesthesia. Each type of magic used within a certain radius is associated with a different smell, color or sound.

    One of the victim's weapon proficiencies is replaced with warhammer.

  31. 1. Not sure if this was posted above but here goes: Rather than expel the possessor, binds it permanently to that body, robbing the possessor of all benefits of being incorporeal and suffering the pains of mortality. Each blow beyond the one that binds it grants the possessor access to one more level of abilities of the host.

    2. The hammer itself becomes host to the spirit, creating an intelligent artifact of the cleric's alignment. If the spirit is the opposite alignment, all the cleric hears when wielding the hammer is 1d4 tortured creature admissions:
    1. Screaming in pain.
    2. Offerings of information
    3. Openly admitting something the cleric doesn't know (DM determined)
    4. Threats on the cleric's life

  32. The wielder is permanently marked as a "person of interest" by cloakers. They will seek him out, whether to talk or attack as the DM sees fit.