Saturday, 8 August 2015

Chris Felling on an NPC voice and personality generator

I realize with horror that the fulfilled request I have personally been using the most is also my most neglected. Sorry for not posting this up sooner, Chris Felling!

I realized in writing this that my reference point for famous people is like way out of date but I hope it works for you!


NPC Personality Generator
Roll 1d4, 1d6 and 1d8 at the same time
Replace results rolled for ever-expanding cast of celebrities and weirdos.
Sanguine: The character is defined by their happy and active engagement with the world around them. Optimism and courage as their best traits. They may be playful, carefree, imaginative, artistic, friendly, flexible and warm.

Voice and Mannerisms of... (1d6)
Personality Quirk (1d8)
BRIAN BLESSEDLazy. 1 in 6 chance of goofing off when it counts: not showing up to a meeting, wandering away from the party mid-dungeon crawl, etc.
Lightnin' HopkinsAmateur slam poet.
Gilbert GottfriedDilettante. Knows a little bit about everything, but not enough to put any of it to use.
Ken NordineFlirty, with highly ambiguous sexual orientation.
Natalie Portman (as inGarden State)Huggy.
Audrey HepburnAvid teller and re-teller of dad jokes.

Manic Pixie Dream NPC.

Best wingman you could ask for. Take them carousing and max out your spending; if bad stuff happens roll twice and pick the result.

Choleric: The character is defined by being aggressive and ambitious, being both capable and passionate. Their personalities are restless, impulsive and prickly. They direct their energies outward, making them practical, proud, commanding and leaderly.

Voice and Mannerisms of... (1d6)
Personality Quirk (1d8)
Cary Elwes (in his youth, not in Saw)Paranoid. Never shares wealth, never shares a watch, eagerly backstabs friends because it was all a plan to take them down from within.Always roll at -1 for their reaction/morale checks.
Alex JonesWorks overtime, well into the night, every night.
Bruce WillisWay into local equivalent of Crossfit.
Vincent PriceLeader by example only – talent and work ethic admired and emulated; sullen, workaholic friendlessness not so much.
Sigourney WeaverFedora-wearing libertarian MRA.
Katherine IsabelleAlways overdressed for the occasion.

Rarefied taste in books, art, food and drink.

Itchy trigger finger. Gets +2 to initiative at the start of a fight.

Phlegmatic: The character is defined by inwardness. They are a steady, reasonable person. They may be quiet, contented, peaceful, meditative, fixed in habits or rituals.

Voice and Mannerisms of... (1d6)
Personality Quirk (1d8)
Morgan FreemanPacifist. Opposed to violence in all its forms. Actively tries to break up fights for 1d4 rounds regardless of how they begin.
David CarradineMotherly or dadly. Affectionate to their juniors.
Christopher WalkenDutiful retainer. Treats superiors with reverence, precise in their work, speaks only if spoken to.
Bob RossGiver of gifts. Friends have dozens of tokens to show for their friendship.
Uma ThurmanKeeper of a very charming, very elaborate personal garden, monument or koi pond.
Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog from ABBA.In adorable long-term relationship with first and only lover, who they've known since childhood.

Graceful under fire, never loses their cool.

Eidetic memory.

Melancholic: The character is defined by their seriousness and moodiness. Their best qualities are their conscientiousness, caution and analytical minds. More noticeable traits are their pessimism, sympathy, solitude, perfectionism or introversion.

Voice and Mannerisms of... (1d6)
Personality Quirk (1d8)
Dr. Stephen Hawking, except their voice is their real voice and not a robot's voice.Fatalistic. Automatically fails saving throws.
James Earl JonesAvid collector, buyer and trader of stamps, bugs, coins or other bric-a-brac. Few other interests.
Keanu ReevesReligious, with particular reverence for the sad and bad parts of their good and joyous faith.
Alfred HitchcockOnce widowed, once divorced, & once widowed again as an alternative to being twice divorced.
Kathy Bates (as playing Annie Wilkes in the latter half of Misery)Bureaucratic, even if – if notespecially if – they are not employed as a bureaucrat.
Louise FletcherAlways answers “yes,” “no,” “maybe” or “fine” if at all possible to do so. Little else to say.

Home full of rescued animals.

Pessimistic, but a pretty good judge of odds. 1 in 6 chance that any prediction of impending doom and danger is accurate, nearly prophetic.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Ian Reilly on a sealed off temple of a forgotten Dwarf god.

"a dungeon outline for the old, sealed-off temple of a forgotten Dwarf god. Monsters, traps, whatever, dungeon stuff. Back story unimportant unless amazing and necessary. My tastes lean towards the weird"

Pic unrelated. From here
Dwarvenkind has always excelled in technology, crafting the tools they need to create even better tools. One might say that they are too focused and unimaginative, though that is inaccurate. They lack the vision to create something new out of whole cloth, yes, but the wonders they work by adapting and honing the ideas of others have led to their current legacy of advancement.

Long ago, when they lived on the skin of the world, a young dwarf (hungry and sick of foraging) (envious of the elves and their bond with nature) (curious of the humans and their new 'dogs') witnessed a shooting star land in a field of aurochs. Excited, he ran to it...

Shrine of the Ploughfather

1- Elf ruler has heard of a very embarrassing secret hidden within the farm-dwarves’ temple. Find out what it is so he can gossip with the drow queen about it and tease the Underking over social media.
2- A fashionable doomsday cult has been unable to summon a certain messenger imp. Auguries give his location as underground, near an abandoned dwarven surface town. He is required to herald the apocalypse.
3- Lassie returned to town barking that little Timmy has fallen down a well, near the wild potato patch in the woods.
4- The usurper king has offered his daughter’s hand to anyone who can cut the adamantine lock off the throneroom door. A lecherous old scholar sends you here, having researched the starmetal forgings of the dwarves.
5- Legends speak of a giant Doomsday Hourglass counting down until the eschaton. Calculations guess it is nearing an end. However, the magic is such that if more grains are added to the top, such a fate can be waylaid…(obv you would need to put a huge wheat hourglass somewhere in the temple. Or not, it’s your game)
6- You find and ancient dwarven manuscript that sounds like a blog post about the evils of some overarching agricultural organization, a la Monsanto. It gives the location of their base of operations...and says they hoarded their riches.

There are seven necessary ones plus 3 or 4d6? That sounds reasonable. Just use something from Dyson or whatever. This could work:

>>>>Drop a d4 and d6 on the map until they land on rooms. The d4 is First Plough and the d6 is Udril’s head. But more on that later.

NECESSARY ROOMS are the Oblatorium and Shrines of the Lesser Fathers.

The Oblatorium should be close to the center. Inside are statues of the Ploughfather and the Lessers, and a burn altar. A chimney leads up to the woods above. This is the (now) main entrance, though there is another one, buried in rubble and known to locals as a wild potato patch. Multiple doors to different parts of the temple fork from here.

The Lesser Fathers’ shrines are plain altars with names, scattered in rooms throughout the temple. Their statues depict them with symbols of their craft:
1- Lenod, Sowing. Bears a seed bag
2- Tig, Fertilizer. Gull perched on arm
3- Tegir, Breeding. Two stems in his hand
4- Golud, Reaping. Bears a sickle
5- Lolum, Carpentry. A share-less wooden plough frame
6- [Head missing from statue in Oblatorium. His altar says “Udril”], he bears a yoke

The Lesser Shrines get an extra roll for what they contain, plus all have an OFFERING (d6):
1- Lazarene Linen: wrap this blindfold-sized white cloth around the eyes of a dead person and they will raise as a blinded intelligent zombie, compelled to obey you. Both corpse and linen turn to dust when killed again, or if the blindfold is removed.
2- 1d4 Warding Salts: a line of this on the ground will make plant creatures halt. Enough for a 5ft line or circle 1 medium creature.
3- Blessed Kernels: bag of grain that can be thrown. Works like holy water.
4- Blessed Birdseed: sprinkle over 5ft sq under open sky and birds will flock to eat. They will be distracted and easily caught.
5- Cask of Malt Whiskey from the Barley Baron hobbits. Worth 300gp in a city. Flammable in a pinch
6- Distilled hot pepper pesticide from the Maize Pyramids across the sea. Basically pepper spray, but ouble lethal damage to bugs.


>All rooms without creatures have 1d6 hoppers of 1-3:Wheat(50gp each) 4-5:Maize(60gp) 6:Barley(40gp)

roll 2d20 or a d20 and d12
Plus roll one here every couple rooms. d12 for creatures only
1- Nothing! but the grains.
2- Dismembered priest, red paint drips
3- Red paint: “THE GRAIN IS A LIE”
5- Dead radical with d3 intact firebombs
6- Mosaic of dwarf pointing at shooting star
7- Mosaic of dwarf at forge w/ ploughshare
8- Mosaic of dwarf at field w oxen; stash of coins
9- Mosaic of dwarves bearing heaps of food
10- Collapsed tiles litter floor; d4 radical bodies
11- Floor is map of continent as-was 200 yr ago
12- Dead radical, firebomb; pale overgrown carrots
13- d3 ceremonial gold leaf bull masks
14- Crumbling papyri re: control of economy
15- Thick mycelium floor covering, d3 kegs beer
16- Two scorched priest bodies, jewelry
17- d6 Jars of valuable heirloom grain seeds
18- Lazarene Linen and a contaminated hopper
19- Bin of tribute corn cobs w/ sacrificial dagger
20- Wheat hopper w/ preserved pontiff corpse
1- d3 Myconids and fungus-covered priest body
2- Corpse of a radical; Root Titan guarding
3- Linen wrapped priest mummy
4- Beheaded priest skeleton; room torched
5- Shambling radical corpse, mushrooms on head
6- Undead armored guard, plough-shaped khopesh
7- Radical poltergeist, restless til room is burnt
8- Roach swarm; coin coffers hidden beneath straw
9- d4 Scarecrows; cask of malt whiskey
10- 2d6 smoke-preserved monks, one is ‘all’ wight
11- 1d6 idiot kenku snuck in. Equipped as thieves
12- Heap of bones; fruits d6 myconids after 2 min
13- a Root Titan fighting...(roll d12)
14- Polished brass mirrors alter spell targets
15- Door releases spores; save or roll mutation
16- Psi Pscarab: attaches, +2 Con but can’t track HP
17- Mosaic of field; sun face has petrify laser eyes
18- Imp trapped within circle of blessed kernels
19- Golden-bull-masked skeleton in ploughcophagus
20- Giant plough-like blade trap, d4 scarecrows

Root Radicals - corpses have threadbare clothes and red cloth gas masks, all falling apart. History has forgotten how they toppled the Grain Hegemony. All carried jars of dirt on back filled with root veggies, 1 in 3 are still usable (see Root Jar below). You find one, hiding but dead, in the room that holds the First Plough, clutching it tight.

Root Titan - See below

Myconids - Seeping up from below. They have tried to find purchase in the stores of dried grain but have a hard time digesting it, so are often sickly and weak. Try to encourage damp.

Priests - officials of the grain hegemony; lived in the temple. Their descendants live on among exiled surface dwarves. Their bodies are dressed in fine linens (mostly rotted) and some gold leaf jewelry (mostly valuable). Some were given unlife through the Lazarene Linens.

Random Encounters in the Plough Temple (Roll d6)

1-2 : Root Titan AC-inverse of chain (like a penalty) HD-3 Attack-d8.
Like a big vegetable gorilla. Very slow; always goes last. Can Body Slam for d8 but must spend a turn getting back up from prone. If owned, will defend owner until dead or called off. See Root Jar below.

3-4 : 1d6 Scarecrows AC-as chain HD-2 Attack-d4
Trail straw as they hop around on a single pole. Can cast Cause Fear or Enervate or whatever, plus will smell and track down any birds in the temple (every random encounter is a hostile scarecrow encounter if you brought a bird).

5 : Corn Smut Myconid AC-as chain HD-(roll d6) Attack-d6
Fungus is slowly creeping up into the temple from below. A bloated, saggy blue-gray mushroom man with half a dried corn cob sticking out his head. Really dumb. Edible, restores 1 health per HD it had. A delicacy among Mountain Dwarves who will pay 50gp per HD

6 : The Salt Druid AC-as scale HD-4 Attack-1d3 plus blinds (flings salt)
Hates everything that was here since they were all asshole farmers. Can be parleyed with and assist you. Wants the First Plough in his keeping or destroyed.
Knows Plant Growth, Enrage Plants and Metal to Salt.
Also has an allied rock salt Geodude (small earth elemental) named Geddy Lee. Weak to water.


Pic unrelated
Root Jar.
A big clay jar with runes and straps to wear it on your back. Full o dirt. Plant root veggies inside: pull one out for a portable meal, or dump it all at once to create a Root Titan. It can't speak but will obey your spoken commands. Guards you til dead. You can cut off its eyes to replant but it will be blind. Takes a week to grow enough for a new one.

Udril’s Head. He had vestigial horns, very embarrassing. Attaching it back to his statue will open the way down to The Undertemple beneath the burn altar. At that time (or earlier if you use Speak With Animals) he can tell you what he's seen in the room he was in - usually something regarding the root/grain conflict. When you ask what’s up with his horns, makes it clear he will not talk about The Undertemple.
Things Udril might tell about the Undertemple:
1- Do not go! But when you do, ask my kin to visit. It has been an age of this world.
2- My father knew what he was doing. The weak minds of this age do not. The blood runs strong.
3- Remember: drink deep of immortality, or not at all! Such forces are not to be dabbled in!
4- Be careful to know your way back. There is no other way.

First Plough. This is matte black and razor sharp. It makes a zipper sound if you run your finger down the side and will shred it if you run it the other way, like insane sharkskin. It can plough anything. Soil, rocky soil, packed soil, rubble, lava, solid stone, water, human flesh and bone, piles of grain, linen, a tree trunk. Anything. You need to reattach it to a frame and hitch it to an ox to do it properly though.

Pic Semirelated

Anything you plant in the furrow it leaves will grow. This leads to all sorts of wacky effects, obviously, because it is from space and it’s replicating something (you can dig up the ‘seed’ when it’s done). Lots of people will want this. Apart from normal nearby kingdoms etc, one of these will track you down per week if word gets out you have it:
1- Sisyphian Marxist Tritons, to plough the sea...for the proletariat
2- The sole Coeurl trapped on this world, to replicate necessary stargate parts
3- Illithids. They forgot how to reproduce a long time ago so want to try cloning
4- Le Culte D’Arthur, to plant more swords in stones (to up their chances)

The Undertemple is basically a whole ‘nother dungeon which will be revealed in time.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Josh Rapp on Varieties of Snow

For Daniel Dean, eat as much as you like,

1. Sponge-like precipitate that sucks up moisture and falls like snow. Can get heavier isn't very heavy to begin with. Can kill plantlife by sapping it of water over longer periods. Doesn’t stick together as easily as snow. Doesn’t melt, must be removed.

Narrative: A very light cream colored flurry stirs up around you. It feels much heavier than the snow you are used to encountering. You can feel it falling down around you much harder than you are used to snow being. When you step it isn’t at all a satisfying crunch but more like a sponge that has too much water in it. In fact you realize that it isn’t really cold either. The halfling who isn’t wearing shoes is noticing that his feet are getting itchy and dry.

2. A differently colored snow, color fits the surrounding landscape. Something has charged the icey precipitate to be attracted to metals. While falling is VERY attracted to weapons and armor and items with metal on them. This makes the metals much heavier and without proper heat it will be very difficult to break the ice especially as it forms together to become solid. Weapons become unwieldy and piercing and slashing damage becomes blunt if effect of snow prolonged.

Narrative: As you ascend into the mountain you notice a very cheery looking cloud. The color of the fall leaves at the base of the mountain. A similarly colored flakes begin to fall around you. (perhaps a perception type check here) You notice that the flakes are falling in a strange way. They seem to be coming towards you from all directions. you feel yourself being pulled down more and more as you can now see that there is nearly no snow on the ground around you but it is all landing on you.

3. Acid-like snow. Burns through certain material but not others. Makes it possible to cover objects that might get ruined. Doesn’t affect creatures. e.g. rusting snow: rusts metals making it necessary to get out of it quickly or cover up. Moth Snow: eats through cloth slowly but surely making it necessary to magically protect your packs or selves or find shelter.

Narrative: After being in the snow for about half an hour you hear some clinking coins as they hit the ground. You quickly check your satchel and notice that there are small holes all over it. Looking down you notice the fringes of your clothes fraying and exhibiting similar deterioration.

4. Fire snow that essentially is an enhancer for the element in question. e.g. Fire snow is like oil, it will light on fire in the right conditions. explodes in greater quantities. Still evaporates and forms together like regular snow. Makes it possible to create a sort of dynamite if packed and set off.

Narrative: Your companions all look in bewilderment at you from afar as the sparks you were sending into the tinder of the fire you were making burst into a blaze that surrounds you for a moment. The charred area where you were trying to make a simple fire tells you this is not going to be as easy or useful as it seemed.

5. Chain Snow. is larger than regular snow and far more durable. Is still as light as it would be if it was a normal snow. This snow tho does not form together such as packing regular snow but instead can be linked together. Chain snow only comes together on certain ends of the flake making it possible to create sheets of it. When linked together can essentially be a form of chainmail with its durability. The only problem is that it still melts with heat so any flames will be a problem. Could be cool to see a magical alteration make it possible to use outside of cold environs or keep from flames or just an ice cold few sessions. Might be kinda cold to wear though.

Narrative: As you walk through the mountain pass you notice a small cave off to the left. Deciding to take a peek in you stroll over. Hanging from the roof of the mouth of the cave you see what looks like hundreds of flakes of snow strung together expertly in a curtain-like fashion.

6. Mirror snow. This snow is practically normal in every way except that it is more reflective than some of the king's most polished silver. The effects of this are not too incredible when it is falling lightly or hasn’t accumulated yet. However, eventually it becomes incredibly disorienting nearly staring at yourself at different distances quicker than your brain can process. Something about will saves, maybe. Very difficult to fight in because of the constant change in images in front of you as the snow falls. The ground is also basically a terribly textured mirror. Reflects light quite well.

Narrative: You thought you couldn't see through a blizzard before well now you can only see yourself and your companions blurring images in front of you and beneath you.

7. Electric Snow. Snow that arcs with a bolt of electricity every so often. This comes from the actual snow, not from the storm that the snow is in. This makes things different for a couple of reasons. The first being touching snow greatly increases your chances of being electrified by a random jolt of energy. Second, gathering amounts of the snow could increase the effect. Perhaps the snow is like a battery when clustered together waiting for something to discharge upon. could be used as an environmental trap if done properly but is risky. Wearing certain clothings would make you less susceptible. Regular water is bad.
Narrative: Having to leave all of your metallic possessions behind wasn’t much of a comfort. You wait atop the small overhang waiting for your prey. The four legged animal that has been tracking you comes stalking around the corner of the small gorge. You ready the large flask of water that you have at your feet. AS the beast steps below you, you gently roll the container over the edge. Smash it breaks on the beast’s head and the area below lights up like thunderstorm. Seeing the eyes of the snow beast light up like a bonfire after it got too close to the snow you had piled up was definitely satisfying.

8. Imitation Snow. Functions like regular snow except it doesn’t taste as good. It also will expand rapidly if more water is added. Eventually if too much water is added or water with soap or some other chemical that breaks things down it will deteriorate and become gross sludge. This would basically be only useful to attempt to fool someone into believing there is snow until they inspect it closer. Can be as cold as regular snow but not necessarily. Can also be stored in small quantities and made into larger quantities.

Basically adding any sort of extra property to snow but making it as much like regular snow as possible.

Also I think this is cool.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

If I was your Vampire...

I’ve been thinking a lot about Zak Smith’s call for a Cities and Robots game that would be for electronica and hip hop people what Vampire: The Masquerade was (is?) for goths. Then Patrick Stewart made like a script for an intro to ananime series sorta inspired by what the world of this rpg might look like, involving lots of robots. Zak replied with a body part-targeting mechanic that would be useful for a game involving lots of robot combat.

I think these are great ideas, but not for a game designed for the people we’re talking about. I agree with "Cities" being important, but "Robots" are only important in some sub genres, and only as background reference in others. I think the average white male thinking out loud on his computer overestimates the importance of robots.

Goths want to be vampires, but hip hop and electronica people only sometimes want to be robots and only under certain circumstances.

I consider myself an “electronica” person, and I sleep with a reformed goth who played a lot of Vampire. I should be able to figure this out.

This post is about some reasons why Vampire was the shit for goths, so we can replicate them.

SEXY duh

Subcultures exist because the people in it are not turned on by the popular culture. There are flavors missing. A goth’s favorite flavours are seduction, the tension between primal urges and self-control, the dynamics (often sexual) between dominant and submissive members of a group, hidden potentials, silent implications, the feeling of being special and more powerful and intelligent than an average slobbering human, and ultimate refinement.  

Vampires are all these things. Vampires are so refined that their sex and their eating are the same thing, and they spend all their time either trying not to eat and fuck (white-knuckled good guy vampires and spock in heat) or eating too much (debaucherous bad guy vampires).

“Goth” is just a word for the state of wanting to be a vampire. It took almost zero thought to figure out goths would be into a roleplaying game about being a vampire. Every day is already roleplaying.


What the game did was provide a gothy looking, esoteric, hard cover object that contributed to your goth score simply by being on the table. Books are inherently goth, and this book was one that only you and your friends understood, making it the secret bible of a secret group of people. It was a book your parents wouldn’t be able to read.


Not only did you get to be a vampire, but you got to be your favorite kind of vampire through the different Clan (bloodline?) books. You could be a Nosferatu, a Lost Boys, an Almost-Werewolf, an Interview with a Vampire, a Only Lovers Left Alive, a Kurt Cobain, a Insane Clown Posse, whatever. Your personal favorite way to be a vampire had an entire book’s worth of support, so even though you were already in a special club among your friends, you might have had an even-specialer club all to yourself with your own special book.

I don’t know how to actually play a game of Vampire, but I hear that combat is only a small (albeit important) part of the game. You usually only have to fight if you’ve seriously fucked up. Most of the game is spent actively trying not to reveal your true powers. It’s all about furthering the fantasy.

Any game that hopes to be the Vampire of another subculture has to support the fantasy that people in that subculture are trying to live up to. It’s difficult when The Physical Book is by itself a valuable thing to goths. A weird book no one can understand but you is just such goth crack. It doesn’t carry the same weight in electronic music scenes.

Next time I will speculate on what  a game would have to do for subgenres of weirdo drug festival music and also hip hop which is very different. 

Friday, 5 June 2015

Daniel Dean on 3 consequences oƒ a time paradox

Arnold K lifted his skinny fist to heaven: 
3 nasty consequences of creating a time paradox.


1. You're god.

You find yourself in a world where you have all encompassing, abject power. From outside it looks as if you burst into flame and burn forever, out of sight, never consumed. Within the flames, though, your universe pops and sizzles, and you will stay here forever until you use your limited omnipotence to resolve the paradox. This has the effect of taking you out of time indefinitely, meaning you usually are deprived of whatever you wanted to achieve with that paradox. It also means that anything around you burns, because you're like a small sun on earth, and even stone melts beneath you. You can kill cities from the heat. None can come help you or communicate with you, and if they WISH you out of your state, the wish undoes whatever made the paradox, undoing your efforts.

2. Tachyon Hyenas.

You can't kill them, because their younger selves from before you killed them or their ancestors or their descendents will appear and stop you. They arrive in twos and quickly escalate until they have completely devoured you. They eat only that which fucks with time, which is their territory. They are ultra aggressive and love time travelers and people who cause paradoxes. Before you travel time or cause a paradox, you can hear "laughing."

3.  Doc Daneeka

Time and space are constant, two things cannot exist in the same place, effect shouldn't precede cause, you know the drill. Picture timespace as a bag with 1 thing in it, all that bag has room for. When you create a paradox that puts 2 things in the bag, and it has to squeeze something out to make room. That's you. No one will acknowledge you ever again, because no one can hear you. If you have magic, you don't now, because your words are without power and your god can't find you. You may not attack or affect anything around you. You still need food and water and air and sleep but those things the universe will conspire to deny you. The only power you have is to speed up how fast time goes by for you, and in discovering and experimenting with that power you will likely waste to death quickly. There are probably countless such individuals around us at all times.