Friday, July 30, 2010

Someone Needs to Stat These Guys Up For Encounter Critical...

By DEATH METAL ARTIST Dusty Peterson, check out his site for a horde of lurid, gory monstrosities!

PS. Apologies for the lack of activities on the blog, I attribute it to several factors: summer vibes; being busy with my other hobby, playing "Kill Your Mother Music"; and smoking waaaay less pot, the last of which has the counter-intuitive effect of making me lazy/under-motivated! I'm still working on the Planet Algol booklet (as well as waiting on a stack of awesome artwork!) as well as another very cool, "Cthonic" project...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How I key a Hex-Map

I recently received an email from Nicolo, with a pulp mutants & sorcery campaign "The Doomed Wastelands" which also features further iterations of cactus people, who is an inexperienced DM with little sandbox experience asking advice on filling up a hexmap key.

How I keyed my map went in several stages: procedures

1) The Map. Certain locations immediately suggest and appropriate key entry for the hex, such a landmarks, ruins, and the like.

2) Ripping Off Others Work. I make a list of cool things to put in the map that are usually inspired by something from a fiction, history or real life, and put them where appropriate. When I'm working on a project like this I try to read a lot of good fantasy & sci-fi, comics and the like. This also includes pop culture/literature/genre/rpg "easter eggs". I add to the list when I come across something inspiring in a book or daydreaming.

3) Use the 1st edition AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide Random Wilderness Generation Appendix. I roll for every hex on the ruins/castles/settlements table, and if I get a result I like I put it in the hex. Larger settlements I usually arbitrarily make into ruins, smaller settlements can be outcast camps; fortified stockades; subterranean hidden enclaves and the like, with usually random determination for what kind of man/being inhabits it. For ruins and castles I follow the DMG guidelines for the generation of monster, human or high level NPC and entourage inhabitants.

4) Stock the Dungeon. I treat every hex as a dungeon room, generating it's contents in the same fashion as classic OD&D or B/X D&D.

For monster results I roll from one of several encounter tables from different editions/sources (OD&D; B/XD&D; AD&D; Gamma World; Carcosan Grimoire; etc, determination of which source being random as well), and I try to come up with a "Algolian" encounter from the result, altering the monster as I see fit to make it fit the campaign. Usually such results mean that the "monster" has a lair or building in the hex.

With treasure results there's treasure somewhere in the hex, either monster loot or stashed somewhere.

With trap results there's a hazard, such a spiked pits; areas without oxygen; toxic gases; irradiated water, and the like, located in the hex.

With Trick/Special results theres a wilderness equivalent of such dungeon phenomena, stuff like ability score altering fungi, altered gravity or glowing psychic crystal skull hologram oracles.

5) Roll for a random encounter in each hex, using the probabilities from B/XD&D or the Carcosan Grimoire, and roll from a randomly determined encounter table in the fashion of stage 4 above. I Algol-ize the results or reroll if I don't especially feel the result. I'll use the "%Liar" to determine whether any monsters are lair monsters or just passing through the hex.

6) Repeat stage 5 (and even 4) until the hex key feels dense enough.

I'm down with JOESKY's words of wisdom. Enough hot air blather about the most recent iteration of Carcosa Gate/Porno Gate/et al and more monsters, houserules, and maps!

I've been doing a bunch of mapping lately with my sweet new tiny mapping-box. I've found the combination of a cheap school geometry set; an selection of cheap and high-quality mechanical pencils; an assortment of fine tip to larger markers; a palm-sized pad of graph paper; and a small lidded box to hold it all to be a great asset for dungeon mapping creativity, I'm practically shitting out small (yet actually covering a fair amount of 10' square ground!) dungeon maps. One of the benefits of these small maps is that I can easily stitch them together to generate larger dungeon maps with a nice "inconsistent grain" that also avoids the 8.5"x11" phenomenon of bog-standard dungeon mapping methodology.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Matuniat "The Shaggy Mountain," "The Impregnator of Mutations"

An ancient, especially inhuman member of the Lords of Change, the deity Matuniat is depicted as a towering conical thing, covered with a hanging, shaggy coat of tumorous growths, and anywhere from two to eight stumpy, trunk like leg-organs. Matuniat is said to be several miles tall, and in legends it is usually mistaken for a vegetation-covered mountain from a distance. Myths tell of Matuniat wandering the blasted and cursed regions of Algol, leaving a trail of his fecund semen. In these myths the sperm of Matuniat impregnate any fertile organisms they come in contact with, engendering mutated progeny.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Steelie Robot PC Name Generation

Steelies, a race of military robots, have unusual names due to their manufacture and programming. Their original creators purposely gave Steelies hard, aggressive names, appended with a nine-digit  File Designator. And, due to their programming, Steelies insist on using their rank or “level title,” aside for the most informal and off-duty moments.
Generate a Steelie’s name by rolling a d6 and a d20 and consulting the below table. Generate a 9-digit number, in a format such as 537-961-023 or 646-498-834, for the File Designator. Files Designators are used to differentiate between Steelies with the same rank and name, and in most situations Steelies use only the first three digits of their File Designator, “Brigadier Plutonium 154” for example, reserving the usage of the fill nine-number File Designator for official and formal usage, such as ceremonies and paperwork. No two Steelies share the same File Designator
1st-level - Trooper Slam 163-693-423, “Slam 163” to his squad buddies.
4th-level - Captain Machine 521-756-154
5th-level - Lieutenant Hunter 172-221-666
8th-level - Brigadier Plutonium 154-957-232
d6 -
1-3 - d20
1 Bash
2 Blade
3 Blast
4 Blaze
5 Bolt
6 Bomb
7 Boulder
8 Breaker
9 Bronze
10 Bullet
11 Buster
12 Brick
13 Chopper
14 Cracker
15 Crash
16 Crunch
17 Engine
18 Gear
19 Granite
20 Gravel
4-6 - d20
1 Grind
2 Gun
3 Hunter
4 Killer
5 Mace
6 Machine
7 Nail
8 Nuke
9 Plutonium
10 Radium
11 Rock
12 Slag
13 Slam
14 Slate
15 Spike
16 Steel
17 Stone
18 Titanium
19 Tread
20 Uranium

Thursday, July 1, 2010

No Clerics!

I'm a jerk DM. I run a dangerous, freeform sandbox campaign with the potential for all sorts of injurious events, and I've explicitly disallowed Clerics as a PC option for reasons of genre emulation (despite the Bene Gesserit, Severian, etc.).

I created the Sage and Mind Wizard classes as a genre-appropriate replacement, but althoughs they have access to the cleric's suite of poison and disease cures and the like, they do not have access to cure light wounds and the other hit point refilling spells. Undead aren't that common in my game, so the loss of Turn Undead hasn't really affected things.

I'm not a total jerk, so I instituted the common First Aid houserule (apply first aid immediately after a battle/injury to restore 1d4 hp), as well as a generous hit point recovery rate of 1d3 points per day (I'm quite fond of random healing certainly emulates the uncertain nature of recovering from injuries in adventure fiction, "After several days Wilson hadn't regained consciousness so we had the bearers build a litter so that they could carry him as we continued our journey," "..despite his grievous injuries Rok-Mhor was his usual lusty self after a few days rest...")

The end result is that while on an expedition the party often has to shack up in a defensible campsite for several days so injured party members can get back on their feet, in both the literal and figurative meaning, often having of fend of random encounters in the process.

A band of treasure hunters, holed up in a swarming jungle, fending off hostile natives and voracious wildlife, hoping desperately that the injured members of their party recover before they run out of supplies or are overwhelmed so that they can escape this green hell...

The no clerics rule has been working out pretty well as far as I'm concerned!

ALSO: I've been having problems with both my computer and my mobile device, and consequently have been neglecting keeping up with my emails and the comments, please bear with me as I get caught up :)