Saturday, 27 September 2014

Change is afoot

I'm in the midst of developing a new setting for a whole new group of players. It's going to be a post magical apocalypse world complete with insane magical constructs; flesh crafted hybrids of beast and man; ancient, powerful magics and tons of forgotten secrets; loads of bizarre ruins; the last surviving human fortress citadels; walled peasant villages; the evils of slavery; the glories and questionable morality of gladiatorial combat; no non-human player characters; dinosaurs(!);  reptile folk; a weird blue skinned, black eyed, HR Giger armour wearing telepathic, man flesh eating, hive minded race; another weird armoured, eyeless race with strange weapons and bizarre, roving fortresses; winged carnivorous apes; the fabulous treasures of the ancients; dragons; mutants; all that good stuff. As Zak S. is fond of saying, there is D&D in every direction. Or Swords and Wizardry in this case, as if that was not the same thing.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Some Weird Occurrences: A Random Table

This primarily relates to my Grim North setting, particularly urban adventures in Nox Aeterna but hey...

Roll 1d20 in town for something strange:

1 The dark cowled figure whose face is the skull of a crow.

2 A drowned woman who speaks inscrutable dooms.

3 The moth like figure who flits between the dark spires and whose prophecies leave the recipient catatonic and irredeemably insane.

4 A pale, bald, fat (Kingpin fat) man with needle teeth and four arms. He wears a bloody apron and carries two cleavers and a pair of carving knives.

5 A dark haired woman who is seen to be washing your bloody clothes in a stream.

6 A man who dissolves into a hundred ravens or rooks

7 A large black dog with green eyes

8 A pot breaks. Then they all break.

9 A face is reflected in a mirror or pool. It has no eyes.

10 The shadows form a horned, fanged face. It speaks your name. It is gone.

11 You tip back your drinking vessel and snakes pour forth. Or worms. Or millipedes. As you prefer.

12 You see a person you are sure you know but they deny you three times.

13 A little girl whose eyes have been recently gouged out beckons to you but when you look back she is no longer there.

14 There is a well. It is dark beyond black. From within you can hear the echoes of gentle sobbing.

15 There is an urgent knocking at the door. There is no one there. When you close it, it starts again.

16 An old man falls in the street. He wails. If anyone touches him, he turns to ash.

17 A weasel crosses your path and stops to stare at you with malevolent eyes. If approached it becomes a snakes and vanishes into the nearest hole.

18 An old woman is selling lucky heather. She sees you, stops for a moment as if struck dumb and then approaches. She pins it on you with no charge and says "Where you are going, you will need this."

19 A beggar freaks out as you walk by. He throws his meagre takings in copper pieces at you saying "Take it, take it, just don't look at me."

20 You see cats. They're in alleys. On rooftops. In the windows of shops. They're watching you.

The d20 Polygraph Test

I hate Sense Motive and similar skills. The ability to detect lies is not a given even for the people who do it for a living. Investigators, journalists, lawyers etc are frequently had over by liars in their day to day business.

If you're a PC in my game then I expect you to make your own judgement about whether an NPC is giving you the run around. If you make an effort to find out then you'll have more to go on. If you just want to roll your d20, well you're going to miss out and quite frankly you deserve to because it's lazy gaming in my opinion.

So, get out and about. Find out where this NPC hangs around, ask questions, buy drinks, threaten people, look stuff up, put the word out, check out what they tell you or reference it with someone else who might also know. Yes, this takes time. It might not be as much fun as smacking the heads off random goblins but how far are you prepared to trust these people. I mean, I just made them up. They're hardly going to be on the straight and narrow, surely?

Are you ever going to get a concrete answer? No. You cast Know Alignment and nothing happens because it's a stupid spell that has no effective meaning in any way other than a meta game concept of behavioural codes that does not exist outside of the DMG.

Play the game well and you will be rewarded, rely too much on the rules and you will be reviled. Don't believe me? Sense my Motive...