Friday, September 30, 2011

Tekumelly Cards, Monsters, Dungeon, Secret Bible Facts

I thought these were pretty Tekumelly.

Soviet-made Mayan-themed playing cards. Check it.

Acquire some as the engine for your arty, mega-immersive, Petal-Throne game.

Which reminds me--here's an old picture I did, drawings of sculptures from the Met museum. (Then I contact-printed the drawings to make them look like that--if any of you have done any chemical darkroom photography then you might know what that means.) Parts of it might do double-duty as a travellers' notebook...

Here's a dungeon I'm making which will also be a painting...And, lastly, some fruits of my recent research...
LEFT: Noah from the book of Genesis, Right: Vlad the Impaler.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This Is Bat Country

So a while back James Raggi posted that he had this Count Dracula vs. Elizabeth Bathory sandbox war idea he was working on. I liked this idea so much I immediately threw it onto my game map, over somewhere vaguely to the East.

Now in order to do a sandbox right, you gotta be able to tell your players about landmarks they can see or at least know about from a distance--the vague outlines. Otherwise they're flying blind and not really making interesting choices (left or right? ummm...). So I went ahead and actually looked at the territory involved, here's what came up with...:

(BTW, I asked James about how he was doing his intravampire sandbox and it looks like his thing will be very different than mine, so I'm not really scooping him here.)

-So over on the right there we have the rough sickle-shape of the Carpathian Mountains, which basically forms the eastern parenthesis of Hungary.
(click to see where the vampires are)

-All this territory on the map was generally part of Hungary during the killing-people-with-swords-era, though now, as the map shows, Castle Cachtice (Bathory's castle) is part of Slovakia and Dracula's stomping grounds of Transylvania and Wallachia are now part of Romania.

-Nevertheless, geography suggests that if you want to be lazy and efficient about it, much of the fighting would take place in what is now modern day Hungary.

-In my little griddy Moleskine notebook, this gives me room to sketch a 2-page-spread map 12 squares across, 25 miles per square and fit the whole area in. Assuming the forests are witchily dense with evil treants and people impaled on pikes, and the Carpathians (likely from the same root word as "sharp" and "escarpment") are hard-going you could say that's one day's ride per square.-Now if we imagine the Carpathians as the curving part of a capital letter 'D' and the Danube river as the vertical part, the fastest route from Castle Dracula to Castle Bathory would be straight through the middle of the "D", HOWEVER...There's about a million streams and rivers formed by rainwater hitting the Carpathians and draining west across the "D" toward the Danube.

-This is an awful lot of running water to cross if you're a vampire. Obviously the thing to do is to get your human thrall armies to terrorize the countryside and cities in the middle of the "D" and if you need to personally lay siege to your foe, you'll probably want to walk along the spine of the Carpathians themselves. I like this very much--it seems quite picturesque to me. The Count or Countess making stately progress around the rim of the land while mayhem reigns in the basin below.

-Exactly when Dracula was at which castle is a matter of debate, but the consensus is the castle most likely to be his for the longest time that we can identify is Castle Poenari, which you can see a floorplan of if you go to 3:52 into this charming video.

-Up north, Elizabeth Bathory's castle was called Cachtice, and it's near where Ckutalik used to live, if you want to know what living in the shadow of the Blood Countess was like. The ruins of Castle Cachtice are easy to google pictures of, thought the best way I found to get an actual floorplan is to zoom down there on google satellite and look at the ruins.

-Other than Budapest or the era-equivalent, the cities are fucking small. I've been to what passes for a "major city" in Hungary to visit Mandy's family and drink Jagermeister and even today it feels about the size of one of those cities built entirely around one hotel and a college. Totally walkable downtown. And this place was equally a big deal in the middle ages, when it was much smaller. So you could definitely "hide" a city like that in a 25-mile hex. And map it with a campus map.

-The Carpathians range from 1000 to 5000 feet high, meaning you could see up to 6 (25 mile) hexes away from the highest peaks and 3 hexes from a clear spot on a clear day from most of the range.

-Although exactly what you'd see at that angle is a lot of fucking trees mostly, though if something was on fire you might notice the smoke.

-Factors which you assume are present and that both research and life experience bear out include: gypsies and fear thereof, wild boars, wolves, deer, bats, lizards, creepy statuary, dizzying sheer drops in the Carpathians, superstitions about witches, corpses subjected to elaborate burial procedures.

-White Wolf Transylvania-themed supplements turned out to be in no way useful in this research. Which is weird considering there's like 5 of them. Not one decent map, obscure local legend, or piece of Bathory or Draculore to speak of, though some of the art is nice.

-Castles during the midde ages in this part of Eastern Europe sucked and were small, so these will be improved via the magic of me making things up.

Ye Olde Newe Constantcon Post (Week 9)

This is the post I'll be putting up every Wednesday for the foreseeable future about Constantcon--our neverending program of RPGs played via Google +'s free multiperson videochat feature ("hangouts").

The point of this post is:

1) you can sign up to GM a game via Google + video chat in the comments,

2) you can join one of those games in the comments, and...

3) hopefully every question you might have about Constantcon is answered on here somewhere.

The weekly post will also contain all the collected wisdom on running G+ games we have accumulated thus far. New tips/discoveries for any given week will be below in red.

Everything else in this post is old news if you read this blog every day, I just consolidated it into one post.

The current calendar of Google + games is on the right of this blog page just under my bloglist where it says "upcoming games on Google +". If you can't see it, reload the page--if you still can't go here and hit "agenda". Calendar times are in Eastern Standard Time because that's where I am today and I'm the guy who's taking the trouble to keep the calendar up.

You can subscribe to the thread and the comments if you wanna keep up as new games are added.

Time describe the time you're available using at least one western hemisphere and one eastern hemisphere time zone so peeps can figure out whether they're around.



Do we need to bring anything? (Like, say, a 3rd level character) and anything else you think might make your pitch intriguing--setting, etc.)(if your ruleset is unusual, it may be best to tell everybody to just show up with stats, a race and a class and smooth out the specifics once the game starts rolling.)

Contact info:
Please include a way people can contact you other than Google + so that you can tell who they are when they request you and you can discuss details if they're not already one of your G+ contacts. If your name is like "Jack Wilson" realize there's 200 of you on Google plus and you'll need to supply some alternate information if G+ users are looking for you. (Like: I'm the Zak Smith with the black and white picture and the asymmetrical haircut). _________________


Skooky McDungeonface will be DMing a Red Box game in Greyhawk at 1pm Italian time/4 am Pacific Standard time next Tuesday. Bring a 4th level PC and she can be reached under the name Skooky dawt McDee at yahoo dawt calm.


How it works/getting started:

So step one is get a Google + invite from a friend.

Step Two: Once you get that you show up on the site and go "looks like facebook" then you leave.

Step Three: Forget you have it until you decide it's time to play GURPS Supers at 3 in the morning with someone in Madagascar who must be a good DM because he likes Motorhead as much as you do, at least judging from his comments on your blog...

Now what:

So once you have Google + you can get to your page by clicking like so...

...which takes you to a very Facebook-looking page.

Here are the important bits about this page:

-there's a green button on the right that says "start a hangout" which you can use to start a video session (only if you're not already in one on Google +)(though you can use Google + and Skype simultaneously--the people will be able to hear each other).

-If one of your friends has started a video session, there will be a green button allowing you to join in under their name, where this Larry Page guy has his message written in the picture. Click it and you're in.

This is what a video session looks like (only perhaps the people in your session may look a little less...festive...than the models in this Google PR photo I found on-line.) Anyway, important bits to remember are in red:

A-Hitting this button will make a little text chat window appear in the margin which allows you to type shit to the other people there. It's good for keeping track of dimensions of rooms, PCs names, etc. Also, if it's hard to hear someone talk you can type something in. Usually the audio's pretty good, though.

B-Hit this to invite new peeps to the session. You can do it by name or by "circle" (Google + name for a ton of people you've put in the same category)

C-This button theoretically lets you all watch the same youtube video but it doesn't seem to work yet.

D-The program senses whoever's talking and makes their head big. (Beardy is talking here, apparently). However, if, for example, the GM is holding up a map to the screen and you want the big camera to stay on one person, just click on their little head. To switch it back, click the little head again.


-Some people get asked to download a plugin when they first start a Google + vid chat and can't join until they've done it. After you download it, you should be cool.

-The thing freezes occasionally. If this happens, just use the text chat thing in the corner for a few seconds while it unfreezes. Sometimes people get kicked out by the machine. Don't worry, they'll rejoin seconds later.


-The DMs running Tekumel are considering having not just alternate players but also alternate GMs so they can reliably have a "Tekumel day" or 2 every week--so people know "there's always a Petal Throne game on xxx day at xxx time". Ckutalik and Jeremy Duncan seem to be taking point on this if you want to talk to them and hop on that train.

-There's a new DeeeLuxxxxe version of the G+ hangout where you can apparently do whiteboard stuff and upload pictures right on there so everybody in the hangout can see it. To activate it, hit the option as soon as you initiate the hangout. I have not tried this at all so it's up to people to test it this week. Let us know how it goes! Note that this extra special hangout option is optional.

-There's an all-Tekumel G+ gaming hub here now. (You can still post about Tekumel games below here, too, though.) (And, since many people choose games based on when they're available rather than by which game it is, I recommend not going too nuts with the "hub for each separate game" thing.)

-If you use the whiteboard at know now that you can roll dice on it. Just keep the little window that opens on the far right open when you start playing and type "d6" and hit enter and it'll roll a die. You can write like "d17" or whatever, too.

-Another twiddla tip: "control z" undoes the last thing you did, I believe.

-If Google + keeps kicking you out and there are 5 or fewer windows open, try shutting down your video so that you're audio-only. That might lower your bandwidth enough to keep you on.

-Alternative to G+: Skype offers a free 7-day trial of multiperson video chat--if your group has 4 players and a dm (5 skype accounts), that's over a month you can use multiperson video for free via Skype. (More if you can use a friend's Skype account, too). And of course, you can always pay for Skype.

-Some GMs have begun a practice of overbooking by one player (an alternate) since usually one person usually has to cancel by game time.

-5 people was but no longer is the vague maximum. G+ says it can handle ten but whatever, that's all lies. At one point, any more than 5 and it would go all screwy. Larger games do work but 10 is stretching it. If someone gets kicked off, use the "invite" function to get them back--it'll make it way easier for them to re-navigate to where you are.

-It's possible some GMs may find individual initiative works better than group inititative on G+: With group initiative you have to decide who'll roll, they roll, then tell everyone what they rolled. People tend to talk over each other so it can be a little clumsy. However, with individual initiative, each player and the DM can roll, then immediately type the number they just rolled into the chat window (so it'll say "Zak: 2, Mandy: 6, Skooky: 4") and the DM and everybody can just go in that order and you can all see it right there on your screen. Cuts down on crosstalk and is easy. You might wanna try it.

-Don't point your speakers toward your mike. (You know about feedback, right metalheads?)

-If your audio's screwy, use headphones.

-If there's an audio problem, the person who sounds most normal on the audio is probably the one whose computer's creating the problem.

-Close as many windows as you can.

-Some people's computers or connections just hate G+ right now and their computer will lag or be gimpy and make the whole session screwy. If this is you, you probably won't be able to play today but don't be discouraged--speed of service ebbs and flows. If you're screwed today you might not be tomorrow. Also, G+ itself may figure out how to handle the volume of online heads in the future.

-If your computer is one of the unreliable ones, try switching from a wireless to a wireful (cable, DSL, etc.) internet connection if you've got one.

-PLEASE BE AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE WHEN ANNOUNCING A GAME: Please don't go: "Hey, if I run Palladium Fantasy, does anybody want in?" Go: "I will be running Palladium Fantasy RPG from 3-6 PM Eastern 8pm London time I can be reached at ConsiderateAndEfficient at yahoo dawt calm and if you want to play but that time is no good, tell me when is good and maybe we can work something out"

-Possible communications protocol: if everybody's talking at once and you need to say something, you can cover your camera with your hand so it goes all black so the GM knows you wanna say something.

-Consider consolidating all your recruiting responses in one place. i.e. you can advertise your game here and on your blog and on G+ and on twitter and whatever else, but it might make your life a little easier if you ask people responding to those advertisements to do it all in one place. It's easier to schedule if you're not talking in nine different places on the internet at once.

Of course, people will ignore you if you ask them to please respond in a certain place, so you might wanna close comments in any venue where you don't want to get responses.

-The video's a little fuzzy, if you want to show players a diagram or something, maybe use sharpie. Mappers may wanna do the same.

-Jeff's good idea: Once you have players for a game all ready to roll, create a new "circle" containing only the players in that game. Start a thread and have them post their character basics in that thread.

-However and ironically: once you have a group ready to roll and you know who is in, if you have something important to say (i.e. "tomorrow's game will be shirts vs. skins, please roll d4 now to see which side you're on" or "Sorry, gotta cancel") you may be better off using email than G+ to say it. This is because on G+, like facebook, important messages you send to people can get buried in their feed underneath dozens of other people posting about their cat.

-Remember: just because you're in a given time zone, not all your players have to be. People keep weird hours.

-Alexander Osias points out you can use this to schedule time zones. You may think "oh, I'll just use a time zone map" because maps are friendly and fun. But beware: daylight savings time makes things all weird. Use something with a brain.

-If you have a blog and are running a game that isn't full yet (or would like to start up a weekly game), I suggest putting a little widget in the corner of your blog (if you have one) describing the game and saying all the details you put in the thread below.

-2 hours seems like a good time. Though allow some lead time for character generation if it's a system with meat on it. If you can get players to make characters before they roll, do that.


-Who rolls the dice in a videoconference game?

It's up to the GM. The GM can roll all dice, you can use the dice robot app on the Dragonsfoot forums (you have to register) (I'm sure someone who isn't me can explain it), or you can just all roll your own dice and trust each other because we're grown-ups here.

If you use the whiteboard at know now that you can roll dice on it. Just keep the little window that opens on the far right open when you start playing and type "d6" and hit enter and it'll roll a die. You can write like "d17" or whatever, too.

At this point it seems like most players and GMs would rather roll their own dice, though.

-What's the deal on moving PCs from one game to another?

We have an official agreement on that called The FLAILSNAILS Conventions. Check it.

-Is there some ap that allows me to draw maps everyone in a game can see?

You can use this. More info here...

Though it may be slow on some connections if you do it simultaneously with the hangout.

-I don't see any games I want to play yet on the calendar but I know they're going on...

A lot of GMs already have gotten continuing groups together over the last few weeks so there may be fewer "advertised" games than there were. Don't worry, people are always doing games, so just join Google +, add people to your "circles" and check them regularly--they will probably announce something soon.

-I keep getting kicked off the hangout!

Close all your windows and if it still happens, mute your video so you're audio-only. I have a crappy connection where I am now and the same thing was happening to me until I did that.

-I can't see the calendar that's supposed to be on the right!

If you can't see it, reload the page--if you still can't, go here and hit "agenda".

-Are Google + games fun? Are people liking them?

Yes. People have been playing on G+ for two weeks and the responses have all fit into one of 2 categories:

A) "That was awesome, when can we do it again" and

B) "I had technical problems so I couldn't play."

So, basically, if you can get your computer to do it right, it's fun and you'll probably like it. Some computers just take to G+ some don't. I don't know much about computers but have had no technical problems so far.

G+ seems to be an especially good place to playtest new game ideas.

-Whatever, buddy, I can't trust you--what does Jeff Rients think?


-Why not use Skype instead?

Multiperson videochat on Skype is not, as of this moment, free. On G+ it is. But hey, you wanna list a Skype game here, no problem. If you want to list an all-voice game on any platform, that's cool, too.

-How many G+ games have
you, guy writing this post, played?

Nineteen before I lost count... Two were with all real-life friends. The GMs and systems were: Me 4 times(3.5/AD&D mashup), Tavis (Adventurer Conqueror King ), DarrenE (AD&D), Welcome To Dungeon (AD&D), Jeff Rients (Labyrinth Lord/Basic/Expert), 3 with Arcadayn (Swords & Wizardry), Il Male (Labyrinth Lord), Empire of the Petal Throne twice with Ckutalik, Ulek Xek (S&W), Ben A (Gamma World), Dungeon Crawl Classics with Arcadayn, AD&D with Allandaros, and Neoclassical Geek Revival with Zzarchov. Way more since then, actually....

-Any noticeable difference between systems?

None at all. Systems all feel extremely similar so far. After playing we go "Wait, was that Labyrinth Lord we were playing?" Who is GMing seems much more relevant.

Played 7th Ed Gamma World which has 4e style tactical movement but GM Bennet Akkerman managed it fairly smoothly.
"How many squares away is the giant eyeball?"
Not that complicated, so long as the DM sets up the game so it can work.

Other than my mash-up and AD&D I'd technically never played any of those games before.

-I see an interesting-looking game on the calendar--how do I join it?

I have tried--when it seemed appropriate and privacy-respectiful--to put the GM's G+ name on there so you can contact the GM on G+. If that doesn't work, check the comments on this thread or the thread for the previous Wednesday for the GMs announcement--it should have his/her contact info.

-Why Google +, why not ______(some other platform besides Google+ or Skype)____?

It just happens to be what I know about and it's free--if you want to run a game on some other platform please go ahead and post it.

-Why should I announce when I'm running a game
here? Why not just announce it on G+?

Because, even assuming everyone who might want to play in your game is already in your circles, G+ still isn't perfect: on your feed, if one person in your "Online RPG pals" circle announces "Hey I'm starting a game in 2 hours" and then 12 people announce "Hey, here's something WOTC did today that pissed me off and/or a picture of my cat", then your game will get buried in peoples' feeds.

Even if every gamer in the world eventually gets on G+ and adds you, until G+ finds a way to tag posts (and everyone agrees to use that system) and/or people stop wanting to tell other gamers that they have a cat there will have to be an outside sorting mechanism for games starting up. This is the mechanism.

-Is there some certain game system I should run?

Run whatever you want. Please run whatever you want. Sooner or later someone's gonna try it, you might as well be a pioneer. GURPS, OD&D, FASERIP, FUDGE, Mechanoids, Kill Puppies For Satan--whatever makes you happy.

Tips: 1) Be prepared to explain the mechanics as you go along, many people will be new no matter what system you use--this isn't that hard. 2) If you like to keep your life simple, start with a rules-lite system. 3) The only hard part is character generation--if it's D&D-related you can just tell people to give you race, class and 6 stats before the video session starts and smooth out translation issues then. I do this all the time, it's easy.

-Isn't playing with people you don't know weird?

Yes. That's why it's fun. If the game sucks you can always say you hear your mom calling and have to leave.

-How long is Constantcon going on?


-Can I start a campaign?

Yes. You can do whatever you want. Stop asking.

-I want to do a game where______ is that ok?

Yes. Everything is ok. It's your con, too.

-Would anybody out there maybe possibly be interested if I ran a game of_____?

Yes to whatever you were about to say. Pick a time and post it. If nobody else is interested, I am. I'll play anything once.

-I see all the guideline
s here about how to announce that I want to GM a game, is it ok if I just, like, totally ignore some of those guidelines?

Sure, just prepare for the possibility of people not signing up for your game and don't complain that I didn't warn you and that this G+ game thing is totally bogus and nobody loves you.

-Hey, I'm up to GM anything whenever, can I just announce that and wait for the game to assemble around me?

Well you can, but it will make scheduling really hard and take forever and require a million emails back and forth and re-announcements once you have a time and de-announcements to say you are no longer available "whenever" because you have games scheduled now and...

So if you actually want to roll you may be better off actually saying a day and a time if nothing else.

emember: The more specific you are about when you are running your game, the faster shit will get itself organized. If you're worried people won't be able to make that specific time, just say like "3-5pm(flexible)"and if anybody wants to change it they'll hit you up.

-Can I just say I'm available to GM any time?

No, because you're lying, because you sleep, and maybe work or go to school. If your free spirit just cannot be contained to one hour, at least put a range of hours you are available (in two different time zones, as usual). If you say "I am available whenever" then you are begging several questions--do the community a favor and answer them up front so as not to generate more noise (as opposed to signal) than you need to. Anyone answering your thread is immediately going to ask what hours you're awake
--please realize that ahead of time and deal with it.

-Help, I'm having technical issues with G+!

Post here. Or, if you can, on G+. People will probably help you out. If I don't comment it's 'cause I don't know.

-How's the video quality?

It ain't Stanley Kubrick--but do you need Stanley Kubrick? It'll freeze for a second here and there, but relax, you'll live. Audio's pretty good unless there's an actual connection problem. I can go in the kitchen and make pasta and still hear what's going on in the game.

-Why do I have to send you an email saying who I am on G+, why not just add you?

"I always thought it must be quite handy being called John."


"You can tell when you're going nuts."

"Sorry? I don't follow.”

"I mean, a real sign of megalomania, when a John starts thinking that
'John' will do. 'Hi. It's John.' Or: 'Yours ever, John.' So what? Everybody's called John."
Martin Amis "The Information"

Plus if your screen name is DisplacerBeast28 and your G+ name is Fred Walsh I am not going to make the connection. And if I don't then I won't know who you are or why you started following me (art fan? porn fan? somebody's ex-boyfriend? Spambot?) and I will not add you to my "Online RPG People" circle.

A lot of people who follow me on social media are anonymous citizens who don't want to be followed back or play RPGs.
So if you want in, please send an e-mail to zakzsmith at hawt mayle dawt calm and type your actual Google + name into the text of the email using the letters of the alphabet if you want to be added. "Hi, RPG, Fred Walsh I am holding a sprite in my picture G+" is enough. "Hi, add me on G+" isn't.

-I'm shy.

Wear a mexican wrestler mask.

-Won't this Constantcon thread get hopelessly long and confusing eventually?

Nope. Once a week I am going to close comments on these Wednesday threads and post new ones where people can post games they're running that week.

-Wouldn't it be cool if James Raggi, James Smith, and James Maliszewski
all agreed to GM games in one week and called it JamesCon?


-Do I need a webcam?

No, you could just use a mike and go audio-only. Do be aware that webcams are like 10 bucks though.

-The hangout window keeps shuffling from head to head and it's annoying.

G+ senses who is talking loudest and makes their head big. To tell it to chill just click on one person's little head below and their head will stay big.

-I need a G+ invite!

Complain here. Motherfuckers will hook you up.

-I like you, Zak, but I don't want all your weird readers hitting me up for my game. What do I do?

Then post your GM schedule game on your blog. And tell me you did so I can decide if I want in.

-I am grumpy/antisocial/a luddite/just really busy. Will you ever shut up about G+ games?

I am going to try to only talk about them once a week.

-When are you playing, Zak?

I get up whenever and am generally awake random hours. My schedule is totally unpredictable, especially on the weekends, but since I paint and play simultaneously I might roll whenever.

-Are the girls playing?

Yeah. Though their schedules are even weirder than mine. But, like, Connie, Mandy and Caroline Pierce have all played G+ games.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why They're Called "Planes" And Why You Can Only Get To Them Through Dungeons

I have long casually assumed that the world Vornheim is on is cube-shaped. I figured: the whole planet is artificial and made of solid dungeon beneath a thin layer of vegetation, so of course it's a cube. That's about all I thought about that.

Then somebody--Stoya, I think--linked to this and I saw a few of the implications of a cube-earth.

One of the most interesting bits is: because the atmosphere would still radiate outward in a sphere from the planet's core, the habitable areas would be limited to non-communicating separate circular zones on each face of the planet.
In this set-up, the Medieval mind (and your non-curvature-adjusted gameworld map) is kinda right--the world is flat. You can literally walk to the edge of the (or, your) world, but before you did, you'd reach the edge of your atmosphere. However, if you could brave that, you could walk around the corner and reach another, entirely different biosphere.

(Note also that, depending on all kinds of physics, these other sides could have a similar or totally different climate.)

Now, obviously, in a pre-NASA civilization, the best way to get to these other biospheres would be to go through the earth and come out the other side. Bam, you're in a new world or--literally--on another plane of existence. And that's why they're called planes.

How did your FLAILSNAILS dwarf get from Vornheim to Greyhawk? Obviously he went straight down, took a right, and kept dungeoneering in that direction until he hit the surface.

Now this same exact set-up (non-communicating biospheres) could work with any radially symmetrical polyhedral world. i.e. Like a d20-shaped world could work like that. Easy...

So there you go: get from one plane to another with no Spelljamming, no magic (except all the physics-abuse it takes to make this basic shape plausible and a million other things I'm ignoring because I like this one single thing about the real physics), no Planescape, no portals, no fuss, no muss. All you need to do is find a dungeon with a sharp turn.

This explains why all the good stuff is down in the dungeons to begin with: that's where the trading happens. And, of course, why it's all so weird. Evolution took a different turn on face 8 than on face 9 due to the angle of the sunlight and all that...

It also makes it really easy to map an interplanar campaign. A few vertical geomorphs and 3d-maps and you can actually figure out where, in physical space, the DM put the other planes.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Vote For The Game You Wanna Play

I'm thinking about starting up a regular Constantcon game (as in I would run it, rather than I would watch my PC's dog kill bugbears and swoop in and suck up experience points). Like maybe once a month...

It will probably be run along the Rients Protocol--a rotating crew, with a random roll to see who is in each session from among the available applicants.

Vote for which of these sound like the most fun to you...

-Save Vornheim! This is true: Vornheim is under Vicksburg-esque siege by a very patient army of the undead. This is also true: my real life group is off on an island totally not helping. Luckily, your have been given a Regency Commission with full power to negotiate on behalf of the City State and your job is: travel to exotic lands, avoid being slain by exotic wildlife, find exotic bigwigs and get them to send troops up north to fight for the moral no-brainer cause of living people v. dead people. You will have your choice of where you go and who you negotiate with: The merciless White Elves? The shiny, chivalrous and suspiciously polite court of King Narthex? The dinosaur-riding princes of the Drowned Archipelago? The Pale Queen from East of the Sarpathian Mountains and her host of beast riders? The Goblin Lords of Gaxen Kane who speak backwards and walk on the ceiling? Or just take the diplomatic gifts and fucking book? Also: monsters and fighting. FLAILSNAILS PCs welcome.

-Secret Wars: Mighty Marvel FASERIP style, with people playing the 20-odd actual heroes from the actual original comic. No, you can't all be Wolverine. It might be neat if we could get groups playing together to actually be actual superhero groups (like everyone in week 1 is in the Fantastic 4, week 2 is X Men, week 3 is Avengers, etc.) but that part may just be to much to ask of the gods of order. If the campaign keeps going, I may do some other crossovers, though not Secret Wars 2 and seriously fuck Civil War.

-Totally Fucking Random Game Of The Month: Dropped in the middle of the Wilderlands with nothing but a backpack and a mule? 5-page FASERIP adventure from the back of the Avengers Sourcebook? Keep On The Borderlands with added Tzeentch? Homemade Star Trek mission? This one-page dungeon I found under my socks? Who knows what you'll be playing? It's a mystery every night! Some assembly required.

-Sector Throne: Open-ended sword-and-planet starbox mashing up Warhammer 40k, Gigacrawler, Gamma World and every other sci-fi setting I can rip off. Mandy is really into Dark Heresy so if she's in she'll be playing a mechanicus. System will be a simplifying hack of Dark Heresy with character generation options letting you be pretty much whatever a la Gigacrawler if the Games Workshop packages don't work for you. I'll probably try to run it like a string of Weird Space Problem Of The Week one-shots.


I have no idea what time of day I'll run these, my circadian rhythms have gone haywire lately.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I'm with this guy.

Here are the things I use to try to keep the game genuinely fantastical...


1-In a sandbox, knowledge is freedom , so none of this means players should be enmeshed in such a mystery-universe that they can't make decisions. Only that a certain level of inexplicability needs to be enforced.

2-In the process of trying to get shit to work and trying to make jokes, players will do their damnedest to banalify the gameworld. Usually accidentally. That;s ok, it's their job. Just as you keep trying to kill them you have to keep trying to surprise them.

3-You can go completely the other way and still be a great GM. I've seen it done. Pretty much every time I've been a player. This is just my rules for me.

4-Most of this is probably old news to longtime readers.

So here's what I try to do:

-A player who has never played before needs to see a picture or a mini or they need to be able to imagine the creature just from the words you use to describe it.

-The word should be evocative in itself. "Goblin" is an evocative word. "Kobold" isn't.

-Don't use the same monster twice--unless there's some clear connection to the first time it showed up. Like goblins can show up more than once because it's established there's a goblin empire, but that wandering monster table with giant spiders on it again has got to go.

-Never use a monster with the same basic visual idea twice unless there's some clear connection to the first one--like never use 2 spider monsters, 2 two-headed monsters, 2 snake monsters, 2 wolf monsters, etc.

-Each session should include at least one new, freakish thing that you made up yourself.

-No grass. It isn't there. There's snow and, under that, stone. Elsewhere there's water, or sand. Maybe there's sand in the Sythian plain far off to the east, maybe. There might be cows and/or farmers, but you never hear about them unless you, the PC, specifically seek them out.

-Never make monsters "scalable" unless they're basically humanoids with levels like the PCs and so the PCs can tell them apart as characters. Dragons are big and tough and there's no ascending-HD parade of firedrakes or fire lizards before you see dragons. Your first dragon is a scary big deal. And maybe also your last dragon.

-Using the word "dragons" plural, is a warning sign.

-No standard-D&D alignment-as-cosmology.

-No magic-as-technology.

-No ubiquitous public organizations. "Society of the Back Ear" or whatever.

-Finding an NPC cleric willing to heal you is fucking hard and generally involves some creepy religious thing happening. Because miracles are rare.

-Don't write down any detail of the game world unless you're having fun writing it down.

-Don't write down any worldbuilding detail unless the players could: A) Find it out, and B) Care if they found it out.

-In other words, try to treat building and revealing the world as much like a fiction-writer as possible while still revealing enough to allow meaningful player choices all the time.

-It sure helps to have players who have only been playing for a few years.

-There aren't very many magic items you can carry and use--and the ones you do find usually just work once. You'd never find a "sword +1".

-It's hard to figure out what magic items do.

-If it looks dumb in my head, I'm not putting it in the game. No fucking running around whomping on an owlbear with a fucking Ioun Stone whipping around your head. The players will make things silly all on their own.

-No self-referential "screwjob" monsters: Oh-you-thought-it-was-a-rust-monster-but-really-it's... Trickery is fine. Trickery that assumes the players think the world's a bunch of tropes strung together isn't.

-You don't know what the spells cast by the enemy wizards are called. And if you do, it isn't "improved invisibility".

-Never have an NPC use the same spell twice. At least not in the same way.

-Try to give PCs access to nonstandard spells at every level.

-Adventuring is weird. Never use the "thousands of adventurers have been in this dungeon before" trope.

-Players have an understanding of the world that is imperfect, but accurate enough that they know basically which subgenre is in each direction. Even when the provided maps are basically 100% accurate (down to inch-per-mile-scale), they look inaccurate and eccentric, like a mappa mundi.

-No "chain of humanoid enemies". Goblins are weird fairy tale monsters with their own empire, gnolls are slavering barbarians, jackalmen wear robes and know magic, crowmen are semidemonic and rare, white leopardmen serve a Frazettastyle ice witch and bugbears and hobgoblins and what-all are bizarre unique things you haven't met yet.

Second Randomest Adventure Ever

Ancient legends of the land speak of a beautiful young princess called Argenta who lived in a wonderful enchanted palace made of every type of marble known.

This palace is the home of this realm’s eccentric rulers, the King and Queen of Courland. The king has recently left to hunt the legendary Bandersnatch—a task he has attempted dozens of times, though he has yet to even sight the frumious creature

It has three entrances, and one of the rooms contains the remains of a dead halfling who fell prey to the rats.

Discarded equipment, burned-­out torches, and broken armor accumulate in corners and along the edges of corridors.

Skeletons and zombies are sometimes encountered within these halls, brought to the hideous semblance of life by the unbalancing presence of the nixthisis in the dungeon.

Since it must be opened frequently to stash the donations of losers, it is not locked; it is, on the other hand, always guarded by the dealer working the counter.

That said, if the adventurers devise a clever plan to sneak in, run with it!

Regardless of which way the party enters, they will eventually see the nature of the place they are in:

Final authority always rests with the Mutant Lord.

The Princess volunteers this much information:

Aside from a handful of streams that trickle less than fifty miles before drying up, there is not a single river on the planet-though I have crossed plenty of ancient bridges and know that rivers were once common.

River and Roads act differently than other hex features.

The landscape writhes, but whether it is alive or only a radical geological formation is a matter of conjecture.

We have seen signs of unspeakable evil in the land.

The doll was buried in the depths of the mountain when Wanda caused half of the mountain to collapse upon it

A crevice in the seabed conceals a waterproof trunk containing an assassin’s disguise kit, a +1 dagger, and a small raft with the skeletal remains of a small whale chained to it.

The next critical time node is the most delicate.

The enemies (possibly Chaotic monsters) are invading the Realm of Man.

A knight, lone and overconfident, lives on this island, challenging all comers in an overconfident manner to a joust, using the newcomer’s choice of weapons.

You remember snitching apples from the big tree in his yard when you were young and foolish.

He has a darkly beautiful face, but appears morbidly sad.

From him comes a sharp, sweet, churning scent, like rotten corn.

There is no reason to believe that this will change.

Occasionally he manages to trap a giant scorpion and has a feast for the whole village.

While the heroes feast, several Oolalats perform an awkward dance around a great bonfire. The audience watches for the heroes' reactions, then mimics their response.

This leaves them free to devote themselves to their favorite pastime: frenzied feasting and wild revelry.

Then the knight goes back to the princess with the dead devil shield, and is happy that she touched his hand, by accident, and looked him in the eyes.

Because of their stupidity they are not often prone to listen to bribe offers.

They are extremely hungry and will take food over a fight.

Madness can be a subtle yet serious element to your game.

After a round the players will hear scuffling and fighting noises from the other side of the east wall door.

This is a relatively new conclave of wizards.

They abide in the gloom of Hades, controlled by the night hags.

One of them is badly injured. The healing powers of the other two are sufficient to keep their friend alive, but the wounds do not heal as expected.

The character has some form of injury to his or her incorporeal shadow-self.

The caster has crude control over one non-intelligent animal.

If his hands are not bound, he tries to escape by means of his Teleportation spell.

Only his essence remains.

Fish swim through the room as the north door lies open and undefended.

Their specialty is a potato-and- cabbage soup.

The arrangement of the manipulative organ (or hand) on the front limb is one of their most interesting features.

This area’s dimensions cannot be easily ascertained, for it is enveloped in a thick fog of black smoke that does not extend beyond the room’s perimeter!

Many lexicons, scrolls, manuals, tablets, books, and codexes are scattered on the floor in disorder and most will crumble upon being touched.

Because of the complexity of this adventure, and the huge cast, it is highly recommended that you familiarize yourself with these books before beginning play.

A successful Read (symbols) roll indicates that the symbols were read and understood.

When the heroes are the most off-guard, read the following to the players:

There are rumors of unicorns being seen in the valley.

Some say that it portends the birth or begetting of a great hero who will help all of mankind. Others say that is a sign of disaster, either of the death of a great man or the birth of the worst villain to be ever born.

Some say that any half-elf who can befriend most of the dwarves in Ptolus must be practically a saint.

Some say that sages carry on the research traditions of the ancient Philosophers, though in a way different from the alchemist; while others point to the sage-priests of Thoth to rebut any connection to the ancient Philosophers.

Some say the island held a major city of the Orichalan Dragon

Some say it is a forgotten god of an ancient culture. Still others say it is an enslaved demon.

Another rumor states that it was used as a secret entrance to the underworld and was collapsed to keep the dark forces from spewing forth. Whether or not these rumors are true makes no difference to a pack of 25 dire rats (CR 1/3; hp 5 each) that scurry back and forth in the darkness looking for scraps of food.

The rats’ priestess lives here.

The priestess, Yem, is a virgin sworn to divine service.

One of her fingers is a laser weapon.

She will personally slay anyone who dares to damage her carnivorous plants – sure, they have fangs and eat stray dogs, but their beauty and fragrance is quite extraordinary.

The smell is incredible. You can see your surroundings by the faint yellow and ochre radiance of phosphorescent slime growing on the bridge and the walls of the room.

This putrid glob of slime combines all the horrid qualities of bl. pudding, gr. ooze, gr. slime, and och. jelly.

The slime feeds so quickly that after this period, in only 1d4 rounds after contacting an animal’s (or character’s!) bare skin, the slime will completely digest it, creating more slime in its place.

It loves chess (moving pieces with an unseen servant) and expects the PCs to lose graciously, like it was forced to do when it played with kings.

You may flinch when it silently scans your face.

The chess pieces are gold and silver plated (2000 gp).

There is also a puppet, dressed and painted as a gypsy, whose strings are draped around it like a shroud. Awareness. (Success = You notice that the puppet’s eyes follow you as you move.)
There is an elaborate golden birdcage, with a gorgeously plumed songbird inside, warbling a pleasant song. Compose or Singing. (Success = You recognize the song, a well-known lament for a lost love.) Finally, there is a miniature tableau under glass. It appears to be a bedroom with various figures surrounding the bed. The figures and furniture are all constructed of dried flowers and other plants. There is a red rose on the bed, which curiously has not faded as the other flowers have. This is the receptacle of Lady Alene’s soul.

These are intended as assassination weapons.

These things will move onto the characters unnoticed due to the obscurement of the fog.

This is a complex encounter; the DM must be totally familiar with everything in this room before the PCs begin exploring the area.

Unless the characters come up with something very unusual, they aren't likely to escape by trickery.

The villains' grudges often border on obsessive or insane behavior.

This entire area is a Time-locked Glyph-magic Chamber, aging simply does not occur. The eternally youthful, age-old former monarch of the Graeth now lies calmly slumbering upon a rune-carved stone dais in this, her prison.

Three of the walls are made of metal. At the top and bottom of each metal wall is a small silver cylinder. The top cylinder pours out a sheet of liquid which runs down the wall until it contacts the lower cylinder.

The Malignancy does not extend here.

The ceilings on this level are fifteen feet high.

Those who enter by day find nothing but mourners and morticians.

This place is the home of Indolence itself.

However, if the party posts no guards, the monsters will surprise automatically as the party was sleeping and unaware.

Buried under at least 10 feet of silt is a heavy, lead trapdoor. This trapdoor is the entrance to a vast, underground complex which some say connects to the giant, subterranean vaults the lie beneath the surface, maybe to Hell itself.

This area is also the return point for parties who have begun at the end, worked through the middle, and arrived at this beginning—not at all unnatural here, you know.

The door to this room is unlocked. This large pentagonal room is filled with the same strange light as area 9. A 10’ tall copper statue is on a pedestal near the east wall. A single brain lasher is here, seeming to kneel in prayer at the statue.

The long wall is covered with a mural depicting many battles. Among the combatants are strange aliens that look like snakes with antennae, fighting Kang!

Here is a catacomb of dozens of tombs of inanimate Snake-Men mummies. The inside of one of their coffins has been inscribed with the ritual for the Imprisonment of the Angled Labyrinth. Over the course of 2-4 weeks, a sorcerer can daub the inscriptions with his own blood, thus learning the ritual. Another tomb has a dinosaur-skin scroll containing the ritual for The Lurker amidst the Obsidian Ruins.

Humans, demihumans, and even humanoids can be targeted to receive this ecclesiastical instruction.

Such detailed work requires an inordinate amount of time and is likely to irritate adventurers.

Priests worshipping a good deity who begin to acquire a following of fleshiating servants soon lose their status as a priest-at least as the priest of a good deity.

This is the fringe of this level's magic-dead area.

Look into what doctors have to say about the particular affliction, and try to reflect that.

The walls of this large, pillared hall are lined with jet black stone. The walls, the ceiling, the floors, the pillars, all are intensely black.

This is dark. Utterly, undeniably dark. So dark the word loses its meaning.

The center of the eastern wall is occupied by a shimmering green effigy of a 9' tall, four- armed man.

He might be silent at first, but at some point it will be more convincing to have him growl, screech, cackle, or mock. He does not breathe at all.

He is being chased by three blue- skinned humanoids.

These vaguely human blobs are then tormented by devils.

They beat people up and demand answers to their questions, but they don't know how to piece the puzzle together.

(This adventure, like yesterday's, was collaged together from random RPG books.)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Randomest Adventure Ever

In a squat, unadorned pagoda dwell monks devoted to Nyarlathotep. The dozen or so Ulfire Men are completely cloaked in inky black. Their leader is an 8th-level Sorcerer whose body is so horribly disfigured with growths as to be barely recognizable as human anymore.

The book you hold in your hands is filled with adventure and intrigue centering around that most devious of villains—Doctor Doom!

He uses guile to dupe anyone, strikes whenever he has an advantage, and never admits anyone to be his better unless his life is at stake.

Each time he puffs forth a ring of smoke, it has a special property.

He babbles strange, disjointed thoughts regarding Asche, Ptolus, magical swords, and stranger things.

However, he still suffers from his disease and is unaware of its nature.

Unless this man is healed within one day’s time, he will die.

In the kitchen, Gerda is preparing a late snack for the old scientist. Gerda appears to be a very beautiful young woman with curly blond hair and shining blue eyes.

As she is partly around a corner, at first only her shapely legs and body up to the shoulders can be seen.

She is insane and allowed to wander about the palace and grounds. She will bear the marks of torture. Her face is marred beyond all repair.

She has a dagger +1, a cloak of protection +1, and a rod of absorption.

These extraordinary individuals are known throughout Britain and beyond. Your character has not personally met any of these people yet.

They wear black surcoats with a blazon of a silver sun.

They normaIly attack from above, trying to capture if possible.

Their presence has kept away Oakroot, the evil treant lord of the forests, but still, every day poisonous vines and creepers are found clinging to the walls and many have disappeared over the last two years.

You will almost die, and then find yourself lost among a field of stones. A boatload of children will make you marvel and fear. A white knight will also be a monk. You shall sit on a throne in Rome. Your son will be King of Britain.

At that point, read or paraphrase the following to the players:

Much of the island is covered with a variety of strange and bizarre plant growth such as Rigle tickweed, Xustin molds, and even a rare Vedrosian Polyp plant. At the summit of the island stands a twisted Vorpid oak, remarkable for the number of Yellowheaded gulls that nest in its branches.

You hear the hollow clattering of hooves, the faraway shout of “The duke! The duke! Open the gate!"

The ritual produces a haunting susurration that seduces and deludes the Violet Mist into willing bondage to the sorcerer.

A vertical wall of other-planar substance, 3 metres square and 1 metres thick appears

Warm laughter tumbles from the Inn. The worn steps wind around the heavy trunk up to the familiar, carved door.

You are offered a dangerous mission: roll 100 x1D20 to learn the actual number of gold pieces offered. Now choose whether to decline or accept the mission.

If someone takes the quest, the women stop lamenting for a while and invite everyone into their pavilion for dinner.

Valuable or important persons are being held prisoner by an evil group (bandits, orcs, a magic-user with allies, etc.). The party may be hired, or may simply be seeking an announced reward.

Known orc tribes include the following: Vile Rune, Bloody Head, Death Moon, Broken Bone, Evil Eye, Leprous Hand, Rotting Eye, Dripping Blade. If orcs from one of those tribes are encounteredin an area, it is likely that all other orcs nearby will also be from this tribe.

They might be on top of a nearby building surveying the city for any signs of trouble; they might be stopped at the same intersection in their own vehicle; they might be eating in a nearby restaurant with a view of the intersection, etc.

They are hiring any mercenary warriors who will help them, and promising a higher price than usual. (They seem desperate.)

They chose an intelligent minotaur to rule them and then set down to decide what to do with their numerous captives.

They are not to be taken as official D&D monsters, but instead are just local color to foil the rule book memorizers in an adventuring party.

Every time they explore a new hex, there are three primary rolls that need to be made.

To lengthen play, increase the front part of this scenario, characterize the landlord, the negotiations with the investigators, and the process of uncovering the clues.

Each strategic goal is comprised of many short- range, tactical goals.

Access to the dungeon is by means of a hatch in the floor, which opens to a 5’ wide stairway
down to level 1.

Only three doors are visible, all at the south end of the Temple. The narrow win- dows appear to be barred.

The adventurers enter via the south passageway.

Try to emphasize that they must be there prior to the winter solstice.

Gray Marble Chamber—sounds: human laughter and shouting, monster roars, damaging sounds, or constant sound so that you can- not hear anything else

This room appears empty but is in fact very slightly haunted.

The only exit is up the stairs and to the east (through the door).

Unfortunately, the horrendous conditions of the dungeon had taken its toll on the inmates. Some had slid so far intro depravity that they could never return to civilized life – and had no desire to.

When the adventurers arrive, the goblin cutters, ostensibly on guard duty, are just lounging around. Unless the characters made a ton of noise as they come toward the room, the cutters won't be ready for them.

If player characters use flaming oil against them, allow the monsters to use oil as soon as they can find some.

This dining hall has the remnants of some ancient meal still on the table.

Upon entering this great hall the party will notice lots of statues, stone figures of men, dwarfs and elves littered/scattered throughout. Some will be whole, complete and standing in various poses, while others might be toppled, smashed, with extremities broken off and missing.

Only one piece of furniture stands in the otherwise bare room: a plain stone chair.

The walls look rough and natural, but the floor appears polished and smooth.

This is where the lord Alfred was caught by his wife making out with one of the serving wenches.

In the decades after the liberation of the prison, a cult dedicated to the worship of Chance established a shrine within the dungeon.

The central nave of the temples contains a sheet of metal with melted edges and a large red cross within a white circle permanently enameled on the metal. The enameling is non-magical and has not faded or chipped for over ten thousand years.

The illusory nature of physical reality is accepted.

This sanctum to Xoé, the goddess of beauty and her all-female retinue is a gilded cage: the sea-side is surrounded by gold-plated poles in the water, a perimeter that keeps inhabitants in and interlopers out with its peculiar power.

These rejections of materiality means that only the living organic body is made transformed, worn objects including clothes are left behind in a heap.

Those who know the answers to such questions are treated as faithful members of the church, while those who do not are given an opportunity to attend some basic liturgical teachings within the temple. Those who refuse are charged full price.

The four dark wooden bedposts each contain secret compartments, concealed amid the crude carvings that adorn their surfaces.

In the crevasse, a great red iron statue rests, with its arms outstretched, as if holding back the walls. Its head is missing.

If a cleric brings the blue crystal staff into this room, the statue comes to life and speaks to him:

"Be wary of statuary!"

He is set on becoming chief cleric of the whole Temple when it once more sets forth upon a course of open warfare against the land above.

Connections to what may be a great conspiracy are available and might be returned to at some later time.

The lord of the Dark Reliquary is just trying to decide the best course—mostly the best one for him, but in a way the best course for everyone. Lilith, meanwhile, has forged ties with evil organizations across the city, from the Forsaken to the Balacazars to House Vladaam. Crossing these two earns the enmity of all the demons in the Dark Reliquary.

This chamber serves as the personal quarters of Therona, the amazonian queen of the hobgoblins. This callipygian warrior woman normally lounges about far less prepared for battle than the rest of her tribe, but she is well practiced in donning her chain tunic and can achieve Armor Class 5 in a round or two. HD 4+1, hp 17. Therona wields a hefty 2- handed sword with great gusto. Any male human or elf with a Charisma of at least 15 has a 3 in 6 chance of catching her eye, and she will try to carry him off for her harem if the opportunity presents itself.

She speaks with more confidence than she feels.

In the coffins are not undead, but rather two fallen gladiators from a past courtyard game. Red tinkered with the possibility of undead gladiator games, but was not successful in any type of resurrection with these two.

Each circle covers a hole in the wall. In each hole is a robotic tentacle made of Incredible material. One round after the first hero enters the room, the door slams shut and locks. Three tentacles for each hero whip out of their slots and try to grapple the hero. They have Remarkable Strength. If a hero destroys three tentacles, the room leaves him alone.

Without hope, horror is only despair.

Hidden in the tree pot are three strange looking eggs. They are shaped much like oranges and have a bright red crystal shell.

However, on a small table near the bookshelf sits a large, leather-bound scrapbook.

Players will come up with dozens of escape plans.

Characters who are not mutants present a special problem.

From now until the end of the adventure, however, the actions of the player characters are being closely watched at all times.

(Cut together entirely from scraps of RPG books lying around here...)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Demonic Attribute Table

So Adam was one of the prize winners of my Hack Vornheim contest. The prize he requested was an attribute table for summoned demons.

Here you go...

Summoned Demon Attribute Table...

All demons have infravision and the following immunities/resistances--

Attack/Maximum damage will be:

electricity (lightning)/half
fire (dragon, magical)/half
gas (poisonous,etc.)/half
iron weapon/full
magic missile/full

Order of Demon: (d6)

1 The Unholy (Devils)(antithetical to local Christian-church equivalent)
Human is basic shape
50% chance of skinny tail (1-spines 2-forked 3-arrow 4-whips)
50% chance of goat legs
50% chance of claws
15% chance of wings
75% chance of horns
25% chance of animal head (DM picks or: 1-pig 2-wolf 3-stag 4-crow 5-goat 6-jackal)
d4 minus one Attributes
d4 Other Powers
1 Job

2 The Incomprehensible (pseudo-Cthulhian/extra-planar)(Antithetical to local god of earth/nature/weather, etc.)

wormlike skin

Basic shape:
1 Spherical
2 Blob or pool
3 Human
4 Quadruped
5 Serpent/worm
6 Centipede
7 Spider/hand
8 DM picks or, player if DM is out of ideas

80% chance of having d12 tentacles
(75% chance of tentacles embedded in "face")
1-2 Causes Fear 3-4 Causes Insanity 5-6 Causes both (save allowed)
50% chance of having a job
d6-2 Attributes
d4-1 Other Powers
10% chance of having one extra Other Power which is 9-99 times more powerful than "standard" version of power

3 The Implacable (Classic D&D demons)(antithetical to local god of healing/mercy/etc.)

Use standard D&D demon/devil as base creature:
1 Type I (Vrock)
2 Type II (Hezrou)
3 Type III (Glabrezu)
4 Type IV (Nalfneshee)
5 Type V (Marilith)
6 Type VI (Balor)
7 Bar-Igura
8 Chasme
9 Dretch
10 Succubus
11 Bone devil/Babau
12 Horned devil
13 Ice devil
14 Lemure
15 Manes
16 Quasit
17 Chain Devil
18 Retriever
19 Imp
20 Gargoyle

d4 minus 2 (additional) Attributes
d4 minus 2 (additional) Other Powers
1-2 Jobs

4 The Unwelome (Fairy Tale/Eastern)(antithetical to local god of civilization, cities, etc.)

Use ordinary local animal or human/demi-human as base creature:

1 Attribute if animal
d4-2 attributes if human
d6 Other Powers
25% chance of tiny horns
25% chance of Job
50% chance of being able to polymorph self
10% chance of being an unusual Color

5 The Uncreated (Boschian/Apocalyptic)(antithetical to local god of justice, wisdom, moderation, balance, etc.)

Use any organism, monster, or body part as base creature.
d8 Attributes
d6-2 Powers
10% chance of Job
25% chance of causing insanity

6 Summoner picks


All demons (except the Unwelcome--see above) are a random color: (d20)

1 Red
2 Orange
3 Yellow
4 Green
5 Blue
6 Pink
7 Purple
8 Black
9 White
10 Grey
11 Brown
12 Clear
13 Bronze
14-17 Color appropriate to base creature
18 Nonlocal human skin color
19 Pattern (Dm picks or: 1-Zebra 2-Leopard 3-Tiger 4-DM's choice 5-marble 6-stars)
20 Disturbing swirling shifting pattern

Jobs (d12)(demon will have additional powers enabling it to perform the duties of its office--as determined by the DM--if necessary)

1 Tempt (random profession) into sin
2 Retrieve specific object from Prime Material Plane
3 Slay individual who has broken a pact with demonic forces
4 Cause war
5 Cause disease
6 Cause famine
7 Advise powerful evil members of (random profession)
8 Advise powerful good or evil members of (random profession) while disguised as an ordinary human, elf, etc. and secretly turn their efforts toward wickedness and ruin (CAN POLYMORPH SELF d4 times per day)
9 Gather intelligence on the sins of men
10 Destroy or discredit powerful good creature/person
11 Destroy powerful antidemonic object
12 Use some nominally good thing--love, friendship, compassion, enlightenment--to sow strife (CAN CAUSE SAID THING TO OCCUR ON A SCALE DETERMINED BY DM)

Attributes ( (these affect how the demon looks) d100

(whether additional tongues/heads/mouths mean creature may cast one extra spell per round per tongue is up to DM)

1 Mechanical parts
2 Mechanical weaponry
3 Hairless (or skinless if base creature has skin or if you're bored with that)
4 Eyes are solid color
5 Eyes are (1-flame 2-jewel 3-ice 4-stone 5-babies' heads 6-missing)
6 Aflame
7 Covered in ice
8 Made of stone
9 Made of volcanic stone (lava through cracks)
10 Acidic drool
11 Made of rotting plant matter
12 Made of rotting meat
13 Is only half-visible
14 Extra eye
15 Extra eyes (2d4)
16 Covered in eyes
17 Extra arm (or 2 arms if base creature has none)
18 Extra arms (2d4)
19 Covered in arms
20 d4 Extra tongues
21 Extra mouth
22 extra mouths (2d4)
23 Covered in mouths
24 Extra head/face (50% whole head, like Ettin or Demogorgon, 50% just face, like Hindu god)
25 2d4 Extra heads (50% Ettin, 50% like Hindu god)
26 Covered in faces
27 Covered in heads
28 Vertical symmetry (built like a king queen or jack playing card, with extra, inverted head and arms where legs should be
29 Wiry (extra agile)
30 Withered (extra slow)
31 Megafat (extra slow)
32 Huge: d20+7' tall
33 Elongated: d12+7' tall but skinny and fragile looking
34 Barely mobile: fat, d20' tall, d20'+4 feet in diameter, moves 1 foot per round, 2 extra powers
35 Rolling: is spherical or ring-shaped
36 Amphibious; a sea demon--gills and scales and what-all
37 Weapons for arms: 1-Hooks 2-Swords 3-Serrated blades 4-Whips
38 Claw feet
39 Extra pair of legs
40 2d6 extra legs (as spider)
41 2d6 extra legs (as centipede)
42 Halo of flies
43 Is pair of twin demons, half stats each, powers belong to one or the other
44 Extra joints
45 Eyestalks
46 Covered in ice
47 Faceless--if already faceless, then limbless
48 Headless--if already headless, then has random head
49 Hydrocephalic
50 Always levitates
51 Divided: left half and right half have separate attributes--roll full complement separately
52 Quartered: 4 quarters of body have separate attributes--roll full complement separately
53 Reptilian scales--bonus to AC
54 Missing d4 limbs typical of base creature
55 Missing mouth--if already mouthless, has mouth
56 Missing d2 eyes-if already eyeless, has 1 eye
57 d4 limbs in wr0ng places--if this is not applicable, has d4 arms/legs
58 Elongated body part--2d4' longer or 3x normal 1-neck 2-head 3-arms 4-legs 5-1 arm 6-1 leg
59 Spines
60 Mane like a lion or frilled lizard
61 Conjoined twin
62 Head that's just an eye
63 Head that's just a mouth
64 Tiny: d4 feet tall
65 Crawls if base creature doesn't, upright if base creature does
66 Facial features rearranged. If featureless, has a face now.
67 d6 tentacles
68 Bat wings
69 Butterfly wings
70 Bird wings
71 Insect wings
72 4 wings--roll d4+67 on this table for each set
73 Walks as if gravity pointed toward whatever wall demon stands on
74 Body made of swarmed bodies of other creatures
75 Feet don't quite touch ground
76 Shadow moves independently but stays attached, has same stats as demon
77 Opposite gender to what you thought (if female, 1 disturbingly nice breasts 2 disturbingly withered breasts 3 hooklike protrusions for nipples 4 eyes for nipples 5 mouths for nipples 6 roll for each breast)
78 Covered in acidic slime, leaves trail
79 Antlers or horns
80 Body is elongated but has holes in it, like swiss cheese or torn dough
81 Object visibly embedded in-/worn on- body (egg, candle, crown, etc.) is power source--regenerates d6 per round unless this thing is removed, inwhich case it probably dies
82 Snake tongue
83 Barbed skin
84 Centaur (1-quadruped 2-spider/mass of tentacles 3-slug/worm/giant tongue 4-no lower body/mass of entrails)
85 Metallic skin
86 Appears with neck broken, spears through it, daggers in its face, crucified or otherwise physically mortified
87 Carries magic weapon (1-axe 2-morningstar 3-spear 4-sword 5-hammer 6-sickle 7-whip 8-scythe 9-pair of wavy daggers 10-circular shield with spikes/serrations)
88 Visible brain
89 Tree branch limbs (1-arms 2-legs 3-growing from head 4-one arm)
90 1-Mandibles 2-Tusks 3-Fangs 4-All teeth are fangs
91 body covered in teeth
92 Mandalaform: Creature has 4 torsos joined in the center
93 Demon can assume two forms: the one rolled so far and another one which is an ordinary human, demihuman or domestic animal with one minor irregularity (missing finger, heterochromatic eyes, etc.)
94 Body part "attached" backwards 1-head 2-arms 3-legs 4-hands
95 Crouches like a toad, maybe legs to match
96 Sheathed in ornate/ominous plate mail that hides its form
97 Tail (1-spines 2-forked 3-arrow 4-whips 5-scorpion 6-morningstar 7-hand on tip 8-second head on tip)
98 Elongated proboscis-face like the Spy Vs. Spy guys or an anteater. with long tongue
99 Animal face if humanoid body, humanoid face if otherwise
00 Features on palms (1-eyes 2-mouths 3-whole face 4-leechlike mouths

Powers (d100) (abilities unrelated to the demon's appearance) (effects with durations last until demon is slain, leaves radius, or DM rolls a duration, unless otherwise noted)

1 All within 20' radius must save or be overcome with desire to kill other random nearby character (50% chance of wanting to eat them, too)
2 Breathes fire
3 Constant screaming causes sonic damage and may disrupt spells
4 Invisible except in total darkness
5 Automatic gaze weapon (1-combustion 2-cold 3-fear 4-beg for forgiveness 5-paralysis 6-vomiting 7-flesh rots 8-blind)
6 As above but touch weapon
7 Can remove own body parts and throw them
8 Constriction attack (ability to stretch if necessary)
9 All within 20' radius must save or fall in love with demon. Good clerics or paladins may choose either to automatically succeed or to give everyone in the area a +2 bonus to this save (not both, though).
10 3-word command spell (save optional)
11 Charm
12 Powerful wind constantly blows toward demon
13 Vegetation dies and stone crumbles wherever it walks
14 Speaks only in whispers. All sound nearby is deadened.
15 Everyone within a 30ft radius must make a will save or start weeping.
16 The air in its wake is filled with deadly vapors. All within 10ft must make a fortitude save or be poisoned.
17 It is always raining in the area around this demon.
18 All nonintelligent animals in a 100' radius die instantly when demon appears
19 All nonintelligent animals in a 50' radius become corrupted and obey demon's commands
20 Dozens of small verminous animals appear out of ground when creature is summoned (DM picks or: 1-frogs 2-rats 3-flies 5-skeletons of all animals that have died here 6-six inch maggots)
21 Acid for blood
22 Maggots for blood (tend to spray when cut)
23 No-one may tell the truth within 20' of the demon
24 No-one may lie within 20' of the demon
25 All 0-levels or commoners within 50' become suicidal
26 Any dead characters in the area automatically rise as zombies or skeletons according to their level of decomposition and obey demon.
27 Confusion 20' radius for d4 rounds.
28 Breathes hideous cone of vomit and gore
29 Rusting aura--5'
30 Corrodes faith--demon's attacks do permanent damage to target's willpower-based saves.
31 Grants 1 wish per week. Twists wishes if possible within the wording and, if not, takes a terrible price in return
32 Demon's attacks appear to do no damage, but in fact inflict equivalent damage on target's loved ones. This is revealed in dreams if it is not immediately obvious.
33 Demon knows all of PCs sins and those of their closest confidants and will relate them, psychically or verbally, to anyone in earshot
34 Demon's voice issues from mouth of nearby intelligent creature nearby--the weakest, preferably a child. Creature's voice issues from mouth of demon.
35 Damage to demon hurts nearby target instead and vice versa
36 Can cause targets' mouth to fill with worms
37 Automatic spell reflection on any caster whose level is less than demon's HD (arcane spells only--cleric spells work fine)
38 Full of other, smaller demons. Killing the creature or scoring a critical hit on it causes it to burst open and they run out. They are 18" tall and identical, of the same order as the parent and possessing d4 attributes. There are 3d6 of them.
39 100' aura of putrefaction
40 Vulnerable only to magic and blessed weapons. Weapons blessed by antithetical priest gain +2
41 Unholy touch causes clerics to lose d4 spells and paladins to lose special abilities for d10 rounds
42 Blood spilled from a paladin or good cleric heals d8 damage, killing a paladin or an antithetical cleric heals all damage
43 Spits out own teeth like darts. 2d6 damage. If a toothless creature, it shoots acidic spores.
44 Swallows victims whole
45 Cast web of thorns (as "web" but moving out of it causes damage))
46 Touch ages or de-ages target (1 minus 10 years 2 +10 years 3 +20 yrs 4 +30 yrs). Level stays the same, but stats are affected.
47 Can "teleport" by walking into a shadow on solid surface and re-emerging from any shadow within 100 yards 2 rounds later.
48 All works of human craft or art within 100 yard become worse. Paintings become brushy and ham-fisted, the lines of poems chime awkwardly and, more to the point, armor doesn't fit right (armor becomes 2 steps worse) and weaponwork fails (weapons break on any fumble). Effect is permanent.
49 Anything blessed, specially holy to a given faith (like a church), or possessed by a cleric bursts into flame within 20'
50 Can cast "false seeing"--targets save or see everything as the opposite of the way it actually is for 24 hours starting after the demon leaves or is killed.
51 Touch causes target to vomit up everything s/he has eaten in last 4 days along with any constituent nutrients metabolized in the ensuing time. Target is now at -2 con and ravenously hungry.
52 Demon hears confession: asks PCs to recount the past week's sins. If they refuse, lie, or have no sins, they take 2d6 cold damage.
53 Demon spends one round delivering prophecies on all PCs as per "fortune" rules in Vornheim. Demon is immune (and takes no other action) to harm during prophetic round.
54 Inverted howl: demon's screech causes 1 hp damage per foot away from demon target is, up to 100 yards. Targets touching demon are immune. Save negates the first time only.
55 Slow aura 20' radius
56 People lose their balance in 20' radius, need a dex check to stay upright each round
57 Grapples target, reaches into target's mouth, pulls soul out in the form of a small animal of a type appropriate to the character made of a metal appropriate to that person's deeds. The soul is indestructible but the PC will fail all saves and cannot be beneficially affected by any spell until it is retrieved and re-swallowed.
58 Will offer to heal fallen foes (cure light wounds) in exchange for their soullllll. (Effect to be decided by DM.)
59 Lava for blood
60 Food in 1100 yards becomes poisonous (only detectable by magic)
61 Touch causes hideous uncontrollable laughter
62 Poisonous bite, claw, or weapon
63 Wounding demon causes tentacle to grow out of wound and attack on same round
64 Wounding demon causes demon to gain additional attribute
65 Minor baleful polymorph (subtractive): can cause target to save or lose a finger, an eye, a tongue, etc.
66 Minor baleful polymorph (additive): can cause target to save or grow clamping fingers over mouth, skin over eyes, etc.
67 Minor baleful polymorph (tranformative): can cause target's finger to turn into rat, arm into snake, etc.
68 Dessicating touch
69 Touch causes target to forget an important thing.
70 Can transfer knowledge of the awful realities of the universe into target's mind--target is immobilized for # of rounds = intelligence score minus 7, gains 1 point of wisdom, but must save vs spell or go insane for a week
71 Touch causes target to take 1 point of damage per creature target has slain in last week. 2 points for each intelligent target.
72 Wounds inflicted by demon cannot be healed until demon is slain
73 Anyone in 10' weeps blood: -2 to hit and lose 1 hp per round.
74 Vegetation within 20' grows wild and bloodthirsty
75 Null field 10'--arrows drop to the ground, normal melee attack are at -2 and do -2 damage until the demon is grappled
76 Shrieks of pain heal demon--if it can cause a target to howl in pain, it regains d6 hp
77 Area in a 100 yard radius is afflicted by temporal flux, causing everything except the demon and its foes to become as it was/will be: (standard option) in the age of dinosaurs or equivalent (you-did-a-lot-of-world-building-and-want-to-show-off-option) back to the age of whenever you think would be an interesting time for the PCs to visit (gonzo option) 2000 years into the future (steampunk fetishist option) in the Victorian era (make-this-fight-a-big-deal-option) if the foe fails to defeat the demon
78 Demon healed when another creature within 30' inflicts a wound on an innocent. However, demon is bound to serve the inflicter for a number of rounds equal to the hp inflicted + (d6 minus 3 rounds rolled secretly by DM.) (Damage cannot be self-inflicted--one creature must wound another.)
79 Demon's touch causes all missiles fired within in 100 yards to hit target until demon is slain.
80 Demon can curse one word per round by saying it in a mocking voice. Any creature saying that word or writing it takes d8 points of damage until demon is destroyed. (Demon is immune.)
81 Demon can curse one action per round by performing that action while swaying lewdly (swinging a sword, casting a spell, walking, etc). Any creature performing that action takes d8 damage until demon is destroyed. (Demon is immune.)
82 Demon can curse a patch of ground by wounding someone on it--anyone in a 10' radius of where the foe fell is wracked with pain and takes d8 damage/round. Effect remains until demon is slain. (Demon is immune.)
83 Demon can cause target to fall madly in love with next being s/he sees other than those present at moment of casting. Effect is permanent and can only be lifted via remove curse, etc.
84 Maze spell (as AD&D) 2/day. A creature may elect to spend extra time in the maze (maximum time for his/her intelligence level + 1 round) and, if so, and if s/he either succeeds in an intelligence check at -10 or goes to the right place in a maze the DM has prepared in advance for this purpose, may find the demon's soul, in the form of a bizarre relic or talisman and, once s/he returns to the material plane, may use it to bind the demon to his/her will.
85 Organic matter (including leather armor, straps, cotton) decays, rots, and is eaten by moths in a 10' radius around demon.
86 Demon can cause one enemy attack or spell per round to strike a target of its choosing, including the attacker. May use this as an "interrupt" action but this is the demon's "attack" action for the turn.
87 Demon can spit a viscous goo which solidifies with the strength of a web spell in a small area the size of a fist. This can be used to pin a foot to the ground, stick a sword to its sheath, etc. 20' range.
88 Demon can imitate any action performed by an opponent, unless that opponent is a paladin or cleric. Attack rolls, spell dice results, etc. will be the same.
89 Demon can steal a melee weapon from a foe on a successful to-hit roll. Once it has succeeded, the demon may attack with that weapon (starting on its next turn) until it succeeds. A successful hit indicates the weapon does normal damage but is also stuck fast inside the opponent and cannot be removed without a remove curse or similar spell. The stuck weapon does d4 hp of damage each time the target moves.
90 Demon asks all present, in turn, "Will you slay me?". All are compelled to answer yes or no ("I don't know" is not an option, however, secretly, saying the name of another creature is)--any foe saying "No" will take d10 damage from demoralization and is -2 to all saves, though they will gain double experience if they actually do slay the demon (that is, deliver the killing blow), any foe saying "Yes" will take d20 damage after the battle ends if they were wrong, and anyone saying someone else's name will take d10 if they were wrong and will gain +25% xp if they were right.
91 Demon causes all who do not save vs. spell within 100 yards to see demon's foes as demons and attack them on sight. Immunity to the effect is conferred by having crossed a river in company of the target--so in most cases PCs cannot be turned against each other.
92 Time becomes terrible. Traversing each grisly new second is like crawling over a new desert. Anyone aware of the demon's presence on the plane begins to lose one point of constitution per round until it is destroyed.
93 The air around the demon is a cloud of microscopic, razor-sharp particles, causing 1 hp damage per 6 feet or tabletop inch moved. 15' radius. (Demon is immune.)
94 Touch causes particularly unseemly version of irresistible dance spell.
95 All children within 10 miles scream at the top of their lungs continuously. May or may not have mechanical effects, depending on the proximity of the children.
96 The demon's shadow burns whatever it touches for 2d6 hp of damage.
97 Demon spits cloud of small knives, caltrops, shuriken, etc. Does d12 + (10-number of feet targets are away) damage to all within a cone who do not save.
98 Demon causes deluge of blood. Fills the area at 1' per round, or if area is not on a flood plain, it begins to rain blood. Either way it's pretty distracting.
99 Touch causes target's bones to decay--they lose 10% of their dex and con per round until they're a blob of skin-covered organs.
00 Demon announces it will annihilate a given target and devour their soul. It will attack only that target (at +2) until it succeeds. Each round it is prevented from attacking that target by another creature it will lose 1hp. It is at -2 v. any other target. If target is slain, demon gains d4 hd and anyone who tried and failed to stop it will lose 50% of their hit points from morale damage and shame.