Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An Explanation Regarding Recent Posts & TPK!

As some of the more astute of the readers out there have surmised, I've been on the receiving end of considerable acrimony from the players in my Encounter Critical game. First the "Cthulhu Door" incident (it was a gate to Cthulhu's tomb in R'yleh!); than a bunch of new players attempt to roll Darth Viraxis in his citadel for his tie-fighter,phasic sword, and immense riches; and finally the third TPK in a row..due to killer flowers!

And I'm completely full of shit. The "Cthulhu Door" and "Darth Vader's Castle" were purely rhetorical, inspired by James LOTFP's post Here, just me picking the brains of other DM's. The Cthulhu door was based on a catchphrase I use in sandbox/dungeon/adventure design "If a door has a picture of Cthulhu on it and Cthulhu is behind it the players were warned and have nothing to complain about" (...and even an encounter with Cthulhu cultists could go pretty damn deep south!). Basically, if something in a Lovecraft/Clark Ashton Smith/Fritz Lieber/Jack Vance/Metal Hurlant/or any of the other "crucially important influences to the campaign" stories is lethal, anything similar in my own campaign bears the potential of lethality.

After reading the discussion that followed, and the discussion regarding James' post, the Darth Vader castle question was picking other DM's brains regarding the subject of "would you let the players slit their own characters' throats," but phrased in other words.

Now I'm not judging other DMs, every group has their own playstyle, and my campaign is explicitly oldschool Gygaxian deathtrap in nature (ameliorated by the presence of advanced power armor, disintegrators, resurrection technology, etc).


Last game the party of 4 PCs..two beginners and two veterans, were exploring an ancient ruin seeking a hoard of TREASURE! While camping below the ruins for a couple of nights (recovering hp lost to random encounters while seeking the ruins) I described an intense, powerful, sickly floral odor drifting down from the ruins during the night. While exploring the ruins during the day they observed that these ruins were covered with vines bearing massive (watermelon/head sized) closed  blossoms. The party were wary of these blossoms, fearing a Little Shop of Horrors style scene, and steered well clear of them.

They searched the ruins for TREASURE!, eventually encountering two algoids, one of which enraged one of the party with it's mind blast. The enraged PC dropped the 1st-level Sorcerer in the party to negative hit points in the debacle that followed. After the enraged PC recovered from his psychically induced berserkerang, the party decided to camp in the ruins so as to allow the Sorcerer to rest and regain consciousness.

The party found a nice defensible campsite in one of the ruins with excellent sightlines and settled in. Once the suns set I described the floral scent returning, overpowering, making them dizzy, making them gasp. One round of poison saves later and two PCs were on the ground, their lips and tongues swollen, blackened and protruding. The two remaining PCs valiantly pick up their fallen comrades and when they exit their campsite ruin they see that the huge blossoms have opened revealing pulsating fleshy blossoms with writhing pistils, the overpowering sickly smell almost visible as it flows from the unwholesome flowers.

The two PCs, burdened with the bodies of their companions, make a mad, encumbered dash ...deeper into the ruins. Two rounds of poison saves later (the second after the now lone survivor realizes the folly of fleeing deeper into the blossom infested ruins and attempts a proper exit) and it's now officially a TPK.

And when we wound up the night and packed up our cheetos and dice the players thanked me for "Another great session!"

I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and hope that their enthusiasm was sincere...they've always been great sports about catastrophic misfortunes in the campaign (I love these guys!), and hopefully the new player who lost two PCs in the night's adventures will be back for the next session! And fortunately for the party, only two of the deaths were of established, "leveled" characters...there's a bunch more like them!

I don't know if this helps when PCs die, but following the advice of a blog (the name escapes me) I aim to make PC failure/death spectacular. I don't pussyfoot about PC death; I don't wince and apologize; I describe the death situation in glorious, ironic, sardonic detail. I don't revel in it, I don't enjoy killing PCs, but D&D is supposed to be Fun! (without kowtowing to "The Tyranny of Fun") and therefore I try to make PC death Fun! & Spectacular in a Clark Ashton Smith/Metal Hurlant/Weird Tales/Harlan Ellison story/Creepy(Eerie?) Comics fashion. No remorse/No regrets, and the players are usually already rolling 3d6 straight down the line seconds after the demise of their PC...

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Brief Review Of The Latest Dungeon Tiles Set By WOTC

The high proportion of terrain tiles featuring vegetation, water, produce carts, boats and docks makes me dubious that the appellation "Deserts Of Desolation" is actually suitable for this product...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Last Four Sessions Have Been A Grim Bloodbath...

- The devastation of the major local city by a massive flying cube.
- PC death due to his brain being pulled out of his face by a Thelidu.
- The unleashing of a civilization-destroying linguistic virus.
- PC death due to being machine-gunned down by a Talos tank-centaur-robot while 66% ethereal.
- PC death by a zombie-fied linguistic virus infected PC.
- The infected PC consequently slain by the party.
- PC dismemberment by the inhabitants of a toad-pit.
- A new PC charmed and level drained into dust by a Sluggoth (Arduin).
- And lastly, a TPK by the agency not by Cthulhu or Darth Vader, but by flowers..

Friday, June 25, 2010

Another Rhetorical DMing Question

If your setting features Darth Vader's Castle, and a party of beginning 1st level characters played by new players decides to break into said castle; is it the DM's fault if the party ends up TPK'd by lightsaber dismemberment and force-choking?

Feel free to substitude with a Darth Vader equivalent from your preferred genre/mileau. Or perhaps the players suggested it and your group is doing some sort of collaborative worldbuilding (metagame reasoning for wanting Darth Vader in your PC's campaign? Lootable lightsabre...).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Picture of a Dungeon Room With Cthulhu in it...

Also, in the theme of the above, here's some concept art for ALIEN...

A Question Regarding Dungeonmastering...

In your opinion...

If a DM has in their dungeon an obviously ominous door bearing the unambiguous image of Cthulhu (and the players are Cthulhu-literate), and if/when the PCs open the door a Cthulhu is behind the door with all the attendant risks (insanity, death, TPK)...

Is the DM being a jerk?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"On the Cursed Nature of the Universe And Why We Must Destroy It"

by The Herald of Apocalypse, Supreme Prophet-Priest of The Lords of Change of the Archetemple of Chaos of Ozlaziatl in The Demon Wastes

"Those sniveling cowards who kowtow to the Lords of Light spout a veritable wind of drivel about "The Planes" or "The Scientific Nature of Reality." Know this...all that is beastshit and gaseous digestive excretions, lies and delusions vomited out of fear by those unwilling to remove the scales from their true eyes and perceive reality for what it truly is.

Yet again I reiterate the central mystery of our cult, the truth-legend that defines our entire way of life and existence.

A long time ago we were all made of cosmic fire, of azoth, of alkahest. We were titans, we were demons, we were dragons, we were gods, but all of that and infinitely more. We lived of pure existence of unshackled will and unbridled desire.

While were sported, wild and free, one of our brothers suggested a game. The we build a world as a toy and stage a game within it. We made up a universe and as we invented its contents the inventor would pretend to be what they created. Some of us pretended to be the stars and planets, some of us the beasts and people, some of us the gravity and winds.

But our brother who suggested this game was decietful and betrayed us, for as we invented the components of the universe and assumed their guises, he worked a curse into the play and we forgot our true nature and were glamoured into believed that we were what we portrayed. And our betraying-brother kept this false-universe and us who are imprisoned within it as a trophy to gloat over.

The curse of this false-universe has chained us to time, and has been ongoing for countless billions of years as we play out this shadow-existence. But some of us remember, and some of use can awaken to some small degree, and gain much puissance and enlightenment from this process.

And so we howl for our brethren who were not part of the curse-game and remain outside of this false-universe. And we work to defy our brother who imprisoned us and to break down the illusion-reality of this false-universe and bring it to an end, no matter what it requires, so that we will be free again."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Nature of "The Planes"

by The Esteemed Matter-Dissecting Eye - Jorsh Gil-Hotay, Bureauphant-Technocrat of Scholar-House Mhothay, Vassal House to the Controller of Agog City

"Although it is impolitic to contradict the more literal minded of our theognomic colleagues in the hierlogic bodies, the widely held view of the "planes," especially as presented in legends and folktales is indeed a quaint distortion of the true scientific reality of planar phenomenon.

As those with the benefit of a education in scientific matters are aware, space and time are merely two dimensions of the body of the universe. Indeed our perception of time as forward flowing is merely an artifact of our perception of the velocity of our elemental matter as it flows through the currents of space-time.

As an adjacent to that fact, what is commonly called the "Planes" in the aforementioned folktales and legends are merely regions located further behind or ahead of our location on the Time-Axis of the Universe, and what we call "Planar Travel" is merely simple time travel.

At one unimaginably distant point is what is colloquially called "The Fountains of Creation," the Energy-Pole of the Universe, often inaccurately refereed to as "The Beginning of Time" or "The Birth of The Universe." A region of endless cascading rays of pure, primal light-energy.

Further along the Time-Axis this primal energy begins to crystallize and coalesce as it's vibrations change, and much of it transforms into Inchoate Matter, the raw material of the body of the universe, infused with the primal energy of creation, propelled along by the force of the beam-streams of primal energy emitted by the Energy-Pole. This region is called "The Inchoate Phase."

This Inchoate Matter further interweaves and harmonizes with different variations of itself further down the Time-Axis, transforming into the conventional material universe as us Men perceive it, with, as previously mentioned, our perception of time being a result of our velocity away from the Energy-Pole.

Further along the time-axis, much of the primal energy and velocity has been expelled, and the matter of the universe becomes corrupt and decayed by entropy as a result. The harmonies of reality and the physical laws become twisted and curdled in this region, known as "The Entropic Phase," partially as a result of the emanations from the Entropy-Pole that lies at the region of space-time opposite to the Energy-Pole, which functions as "The Mother of All Black Holes," sucking up all the matter and energy that passes through the universe.

What are commonly referred to as "Extradimensional Beings," "Entities," "Demons," and the like, are in actuality natural creatures that evolved according to the alien-to-our nature of the physical laws and energies of their distant region along the Time-Axis, many of which temporarily exist in both their native and our regions simultaneously."

Monday, June 14, 2010

Algolian Artwork - a Dinosaur-Harvesting Tripod, a Draala and The Maggot People

Just a little preview/sample of the artwork from the upcoming Planet Algol booklet:

Fat Cotton

Chris Huth
The Draala (courtesy of the Scroll of Gnom-Bientus)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Abstract Art From Planet Algol?

...actually a simple diagram of Algolian planar relationships as generally accepted by the sages of Algol.

Proceeding from the top to bottom stratas we have:

Infinite ascending spheres of pure logic, order and light. The realms of the Lords of Light. The most powerful preternatural forces draw their energies from either these dimensions or The Outer Dark. Radiant beams from The Higher Order Dimensions penetrate through The Ectoplasmic Membrane and into The Physical Universe.

A layer of luminous spiritual matter that contains the preternatural ecosystem that interacts with the biomass of The Physical Universe. It's tendrils suffuse The Physical Universe and extend into The Abyss. Mundane supernatural forces derive their energy from either The Ectoplasmic Membrane or The Abyss. The hippocampus of preternaturally gifted material beings extend into The Ectoplasmic Membrane.

Algol is represented by the ochre sphere, it's metaphysical orbit brings it close to the outer rim of The Abyss.

A vast gulf, haunted by unclean spirits, that seperates the rest of the Universe from The Outer Dark and The Great Old Ones. It is almost empty aside from the spheres known as The Hells or The Demon Worlds, which are comprised of both worlds that drifted into The Abyss from The Physical Universe and cysts ejected from The Outer Dark. They are divided into The Rim Hells (those closest to The Physical Universe), The Deeper Hells (those in the midst of The Abyss), and The Outermost Hells (those closest to The Outer Dark). The petty and mundane applications of so-called "Black Magic" usually derives their energies from The Abyss.

The infinite region of elder chaos and darkness; the prison that The Great Old Ones were cast into by The Lords of Light at the dawn of the universe. Some say that The Outer Dark is composed of the infinite matter of The Great Old Ones themselves. The most puissant "Blackest Magics" almost always involve invoking powers located within The Outer Dark.

The above images created via Sketchbook on my iPhone.


# Encountered: 2-20
Armor Class: 6
Movement: 3", swim 15"
Hit Dice: 1+1
Attacks: by weapon plus constriction for 1-6
Special: mucous coating
Intelligence: low-average
Alignment: neutral evil
Size: M
From the waist up these beings resemble hairless humans, with webbed fingers, ridged heads, and lambent yellow eyes; from the waist down their body terminates in one to four worm-like finned tentacles, with the entire body covered in tough, rubbery, slimey mottled grey and
brown hide. Their skin produces a mucous layer that renders them unaffected by grappling, constriction, entangling, web, and the like. They use bone spears and toothed sword-clubs, and are capable of constricting with their nether-extremeties as well. They are reputed to be servitor hybrids created by the slime things said to dwell in the muck-depths of Bloodsucker Passage.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Gamma Monstrosies of the Irradiated Lands

Converted from 1st-edition Gamma World creatures.

# Encountered: 1-4
Armor Class: 9
Movement: 3", fly 9"
HIt Dice: 3+1
Attacks: bite for 1-4 and constrict for 1-6
Special: invisibility; blinding flash; immune to radiation
Intelligence: Non-
Alignment: Neutral
Size: L (9', 30' wingspan)
This jawed, carnivorous worm is a sickly pus-yellow color, with six iridescent blue-green dragonfly-like wings. They are able to become invisible at will, as the spell, and  when they become visible from their wings emit a blinding flash of blue-green light that blinds all looking in it's direction for 1-4 rounds, unless they make a saving throw vs. paralysis.

# Encountered: 1-10
Armor Class: 8
Movement: 6", fly 15"
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: bite for 1-6 plus radiation
Special: emits intensity 10(18) radiation when attacking in a 15-foot radius; immune to radaiation
Intelligence: Non-
Alignment: Neutral
Size: M (3' long, 6' wingspan)
These fearless, voracious carnivores are a variety of mutant moth-things, and emit glowing radiation from their abdomens when they attack.

# Encountered: 1
Armor Class: 10 on ground, 5 while flying
Movement: 1", fly 15"
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: 2 claws for 1-4 or radiation blast
Special: immune to radiation, lasers, light and heat attacks
Intelligence: Sentient but completely alien and inhuman
Alignment: Unknown (neutral?)
Size: S (3' long)
These shaggy, black fungus-things resemble bats in their general form, with clawed appendages and a single large, gleaming black eye from which they can fire a radiation blast with an intensity of 8(16) and a range of 30-feet every 4 rounds. They will devour half of the body of their prey before implanting spores in the carcass; one day later 1-6 young Ubbuths (with minimum hit points) will emerge and fly away. They have been known to cooperate with other beings, but they are inscrutable with completely alien though processes.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Post-Apocalyptic Gaming? How About Gaming During The Apocalypse!

There's been a lot of talk about "post apocalyptic" gaming, but what of gaming during an apocalyptic event? During the past two Planet Algol sessions (the two-hour "end of Season One" event) things have taken an eschatalogical turn due to the agency of one of my random plot tables and the actions of the players. Previously, when the party was holed up in Kharhem during a radiation/acid rain/cannibalism madness storm, it was grim survival horror, but that was only a week and it affected a limited region...the event unleashed by the players is of a much greater order of magnitud, a mash-up of Snow Crash, Stephen King's Cell, and Pontypol...

Mulg, the Malvevolent Inscutable Fungus Beings of Planet Algol, by Chris Huth

A illustration by Chris Huth of the Mulg, one of several pieces by him for the the forthcoming Planet Algol booklet.

Xarnagan Vrokk: The Time Between

The Expeditionary Journal of Xarnagan Vrokk
The Time Between and The Saw Bear of the Blue Spire

In no apparent order, this tale may include:
Corporal Radar O'Reiley - Naive Earth Boy Rocket Soldier
Dickie Dee - Bone Man Sorcerer Junkie
Kalervo - Folksy, Sand-Wise Cactoid
Jedediah - 1850s Hayseed Southerner Fightin' Man
Baron Rodan the Scrounger - Zermish Man Vassal of Darath Ymph

Fragrant after-waffs of a strange incense languidly approach my nose as I sit in the cozy resting nook I have created for myself within this blue spire of the rust desert. I do believe it is the very incense Rodan scrounged from the Temple of the Toad. His week-long love-making with is hyperborean slave has tinged the entire tower with its scent. Yes, much has happened since I last wrote of my journeys, jaunts, and wanders. I do believe I left off at some point, with myself firmly ensconced in an alcove within the Sage's Hive of Agog. There I was feverishly researching those infinitely interesting Radiation crystals. I had developed a device to read how many charges could be yet consumed from the crystal, and was now keenly interested in any way to recharge or revitalize these precious crystals, thus negating the need to find them anew! I know such technologies must have existed, or still exist in hiding, but my research into this query was quickly stymied by lack of funds.

The precocious scamp Dickie Dee the Bone Man Sorcerer had entrusted me with some valuable coin, and a precious pill of Sorcerer's Silver in order to assist my endeavors, yet these proved to be nearly not enough. I was tossed, politely, onto the bustling streets of Agog, my nerves jumping and jostling with the surge of the Sorcerer's Silver. Dusting myself off I made my way through the silver-suited bustling mobs and happened upon good old Kalervo, the kindly cactoid. He had been seeking sabots for his Arquebuse, a quite antique weapon for sure and it's ammunition hard to find. So, we traveled together to Jakay to stay with my good friend Tazar the Interlocutor. There Kalervo and I whiled away the days, sipping exotic teas, conversing on various subjects with Tazar. It was there that we had heard the whereabouts of the rest of our party. Oh, the flies on the walls are a'plenty in Jakay!

Kalervo and I saddled our ornith steeds, and with due haste headed toward the Rust Desert and that notorious outpost of Adomaz. It was there that we discovered our friends and heard strange, strange tales. They spoke of a radiation storm that they had encountered while staying in Kharem, far to the south. Apparently the storm came in a fierce torrential rage of corrosive rain and hard radiation. Quite unexpectedly, post-storm, the populace slowly became interested in consuming human flesh. Yes, somehow those caught in Kharhem had cannibalistic cravings. It seems Buzz Brazelhatch had died during this onslaught of staining rain, and the majority of his body was offered for quite a sizeable sum to an interested Kharem citizen turned cannibal. This allowed the party to feel they accomplished something, and encouraged them to quickly leave Kharem and make for the safety of Adomaz, quite known of late for it's cannibal-free population.

Here is where we met and joined once again, finding the party slightly distressed, and sipping gin at the Jagged Gut Slicer. Kalervo, quick to make conversation, chatted up the notoriously friendly Vexid to find out that there was something quite interesting going on just to the north of Adomaz. Apparently there were two jaunty gentlemen simply known as The Twin Sky Masters who owned a large blue spire and from there flew out on pterodactyls to routinely scour the sands for slaves. Not that the individuals they found were slaves at that time, they would claim these sorry souls for their own and sell them to known slavers, such as The Shark That Devours Human Lives, among others with less clever names that rove these rusty sands.

Both the Scrounger and the Bone Man found this to be an interesting piece of information. Let's say we all took it to heart. It was then decided to travel, under the light of the moons, toward the spire and scout out the situation. Kalervo took us to a known cactoid campsite, out of the way of town and Dickie Dee took his time making sure we each were made invisible in order to best approach the situation. We then made our way through the sands and in short time we were greeted by it's massive blue self, shining in the light of moons and stars. Seeing the Sky Masters gone, and taking advantage, we let ourselves in and moved up the spire and through the metal chambers, one after another. This led to a very strange door indeed. An ancient device was mounted near the door, with a large handle and crank. I approached and carefully inspected it for any sign of trickery or malfunction. Spying none, I began to crank...and crank. It seemed that nothing was going to avail of this incessant cranking, then with a strange noise, the door popped open.

We of course entered, and were greeted by a large, metal scaled bear with circular saws in place of fore-paws. Quite a mechanical marvel it was! Praise the ancients, it was very shiny, very dangerous, very much nearly in our way. As it was, we were invisible. So, we took our chances passing it by, one by one making ourselves to the stairs behind the metallic beast. As half of us ascended, the bear suddenly lurched and growled. It smelled us. With quick thinking some party members threw food at its metal maw, this very much satisfied the bear and most of the rest were able to pass, until the clank of armor was heard. The bear then began to become suspicious. It's whirring paw-blades sprang to life, as did the remaining party. The bear at this point began to snarl and attack the air viciously; desperately searching for the source of sound and smell that was us.

At this point Jedidiah, Rodan, and Kalervo had snuck past and had ascended the stairs to the upper realms of the tower. Thusly they passed through the pterodactyl nesting hangar, store rooms and the like, ultimately to find themselves in the uppermost chamber, the Lair of the Sky Twins! I did not see this chamber myself, I only heard the colorful description. Apparently, upon entering both Rodan and Jedidiah's senses were overwhelmed. A cheap and powerful essence filled their nostrils reminding them of overly sweet gin mixed with flowers and burning hair. The room, clad in bright and gaudy tapestries was dotted with strange and lewd statues of women and men in various states of erotic repose, odd scattered bits of clothing, wrappings of comestibles and rations that lay open with half eaten or half decomposed foodstuffs and sweet-meats. This was the chamber that Rodan and Jedidiah quickly ransacked, finding five bottles of Earth Man whiskey and a large and exceedingly heavy black metal chest.

In excited hurry they grabbed the case so suddenly that Rodan was put to the test. His muscles nearly ripped and he dropped the massive case. At the sound of this, the whirring, roaring bear quickly began to ascend the stairs. This very moment, in the Pterodactyl lair, I believe, Kalervo had been placing a packet of poisoned rations right in the raging bears path. .. a bit too late I'd say, as the bear steamed up into the lair, and headed straight for the stairs of the Twin Sky Masters suite, knocking the invisible cactoid on his haunches.

At the sight of this Rodan and Jedidiah quickly grabbed the case and ran past the bear and down the stairs, it turning into them as they ran by. They now had a saw-bear buzzing their invisible backsides while they ran. This proved too difficult, as much blood was lost, and the chest was abandoned for the freedom of the stairs. Rodan dashed down with the Saw Bear at his back. Jedidiah and Kalervo picked up the case and followed. I, myself, Dickie Dee and the rest of the party, seeing the saw-bear chasing invisible Rodan down the stairs, took the initiative to run down the spire and out of the building as well. At this point I began madly cranking the door mechanism.

We all entered as the door opened, and after rapidly cranking the other device, I managed to close the door seconds after the saw-bear made it inside with us, growling and buzzing the air about our faces. Without further convincing we continued to run down the stairs and to the rusty sands outside as rapidly as all space, time, and quickened spirit would allow. As we all ran down, Kalervo and Jedidiah were seen coming out the door above and onto the stairs. First we saw their heads peak over the stair ledge, then we saw the massive black metal chest being pushed over the edge, and fall-- rocketing down the shaft and whistling past us as we ran down the stairs to the door, nearly crushing Dickie Dee. In a deafening clang, the chest slammed into the ground split open to spill hundreds of gold credits all over the spire floor.

After this, I believe the saw-bear followed everyone outside, where it completely destroyed this wayward adventurer we had allowed to come with us. By Thoggyu, it was a grisly sight! The bear put its saw into a few others as well, but after sword, spear, and blaster wound, his saws ceased to whir, and his horrid metallic form slumped to the red sand.

We of course loaded the credits onto our orniths and took ourselves away to Adomaz. Half the party to squander their earnings on whorings and drink, myself retiring to the room to study, and Kalervo keeping a simple stool at the 'Slicer.

After such an adventure I must say I felt the need to retire myself even further. I had very much the idea and need for a lab and a library, so I decided to see for myself what I could learn from Tazar the Interlocuter and left the party at this point for his towering manse in Jakay. Upon my return to Adomaz, after a week or two, I came to find that the party had deeper thoughts regarding the spire. I come to find, that one day they simply decided to walk into the spire, tie up, torture, and slay the Twin Sky Masters. They released their pterodactyls as well. A waste. An honest, honest waste! We could have hired someone that could have possibly trained those flying beasts. How truly tremendous to use such a creature as your own flying vehicle. Tremendous it would be! Ah! A flying and fighting sage on pterodactyl back...Tremendous!

Well, I ramble. Now that the blood of the Sky-Masters has been washed out of the pterodactyls hangar, and the Baron Rodan (oh yes, I shall explain this as well....later on) has his headquarters set inside the Sky Masters suite, I have begun to settle in myself. I have received, an 8.8k laboratory straight from Agog city itself. A very fine collection of equipment, apparatus, devices and contrivances, I dare say!

I have also acquired a nice collection of lab instruments and contraptions from my good friend Tazar. The sweat of his endeavors still stains them!

As far as books go, I have found none, however there is talk of a guild of tome makers who hide themselves in Adomaz and maintain some of the only books in existence. I vow to find them, or as yet, collect as much material as my adventures allow.

My lab and libram sanctuary have begun! With this lab and accompanying equipments, I plan on learning as much about arms and munitions as possible; maintaining, transforming, and mobilizing! Those present projects that intrigue me foremost are learning how to transform plasma welders into energy blades (and other assorted phasic weaponry), as well as learning to make the chemical sabots for Kalervo's arquebus... there are other deadly things as well to do with this chemical solution!

I had planned on running several tests on this Trek bomb mechanism of Dickie Dee's....outside of course. Perhaps getting one of the skele-troopers to test it for me...hmm. But, Dickie has since passed on, and taken his things with him. I do believe our world has become, hmm, quite changed....

Next Entry: Baron Von Scrounger

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Further Musing on the Tekumel Underworld Feature Table

I've been thinking about that Tekumel Underworld Contents Table I posted a couple of days ago.

Although it is presumably for usage in a Empire of the Petal Throne campaign, the contents seem eminently useful for bog-standard vanilla fantasy, as well as weird gonzo fantasy. I really dig how the table is organized along the lines of traditional D&D "dungeon levels."

Let's start with Levels 1-3. Looking at the table, at the upper, "basic" levels of a dungeons complex, the probability breakdown is as follows:
City - 20%
Catacombs - 20%
Shrine - 10%
Temple - 5%
Tomb - 15%
Cache - 5%
Maze - 25%

Hohoho, chances are that adventurers are going to have to content with a maze during their initial forays into the dungeon complex! Although many dungeons are "maze-y" I interpret this to be a confusing, complex labyrinth. It may have been constructed with the intention of it being a maze, or it may be a complex of rooms and tunnels that have degraded and crumbled into a confusing mess.

Cities and catacombs are both even at 20%. I imagine cities to be the ruins of a fairly large settlement, somehow sunk into the earth by telluric forces or else initially constructed in the subterranean regions. I can also see a city result indicating a complex of rooms and passages inhabited by some variety of social, sentient beings such as trad D&D fare such as goblins and orcs.

Catacombs brings to mind tunnels with heaps of bones piled in niches, piled up to make walls, dessicated corpses linign the walls, and so forth. A cross between the Catacombs of Paris and "The Real Life Beherit Album Cover" of the Palermo Catacombs. Whereas tombs contain corpses in sturdy sarcophagi, the bodies are just piled up or hung from the walls in catacombs!

Tomb...is a tomb. Not much exposition or imagineering needed here! Usually good loot and dangerous traps and/or guardians. The James Ward tables for tombs from The Best of Dragon Vol.1 would be a good resource.

I imagine a shrine to be a single or handful of rooms, a simple(r) fane. Perhaps still functioning, perhaps abandoned.

Temple brings to mind a sprawling complex, an underground cathedral, inhabited by hordes of crazed cultists. Shrines are dusty, temples are bejeweled.

Cache?!?! Despite the incongruity, cache works for me. Imagine the Ancient or Dark Ages version of a bomb shelter. Some rich noble and their family/followers builds a hidden underground bug-out shelter in case of disaster or a need to hide. As long as the contents haven't been looted, there should be some good stuff in a cache!

Oh my godness, itunes is awful!

What a clunky, counterintuitive, slow systems resource hog!

Anyone know a non-itunes solution for transfering and listening to
mp3s on an iphone?

Sent from my iPhone