Saturday, March 28, 2020

Secret Jackalope 2020: Viigand's Chapel

Astuary Propheteer requested the following gift:
"a populated hex for a west marchian doomcrawl"

Okay. A little out of my wheelhouse, but that can be all the more fun. I will do this, and as fully as I can. So:

  • Populated
  • Hex (we'll say a classic six-mile hex)
  • West Marchian
  • Doomcrawl. This suggests to me a grim, possibly apocalyptic world.
Hex #XXXX Viigand's Chapel
          On a stony hill surrounded by what used to be good farmland, the fortified village of Viigand's Chapel stands obviously near the middle of this hex. The harried people who call the village home call it the last safe place. In truth, the centerpiece of Viigand's power is a drug manufactured for him by the chemist Anatole. Called Noyer, it produces a hopeful feeling and comfortable conformity.
          The chapel, empty of icons of the old religious order, is the seat of power for Sir Viigand, the undisputed marshal of the village. His soldiers are commonly seen in adjacent hexes, securing supplies and putting down marauders on the road.
          Viigand can be a straightforward threat to the party, or just as easily prove a source of reliable, if unsavory, work. He is one of the few people who has his act together in this falling, failing world.

Six NPCs in Viigand's Chapel
  1. Ivakin, Viigand's enforcer. Needlessly rude and prone to making tactical mistakes.
  2. Marloe, a cheerfully drugged-up butcher. Will subconsciously inform party of suspicious doings.
  3. Svetlana, whose elderly father is dying. The village will not spare any aid.
  4. Artor, the former parson of the chapel. Dreams of the old days when people cared about god.
  5. Blair, a guard. His family from [the PC's base of operation] want him to join them there, but the pay is too good.
  6. Katarina, Viigand's friend. People guess that she is his wife and/or sister, but in truth she is simply the first and last friend he has left. 
Six Valuables in Viigand's Chapel
  1. The barrel of Noyer. Each dose makes you immune to fear and other drugs for a day, but you have a hard time acting against superiors.
  2. The old idol, now tossed aside in a rubble heap outside of town. Made of solid bronze, worth about 50 gp.
  3. a chariot kitted out Mad Max-style, pulled by drug-addled mules.
  4. a misericorde that leaves no visible mark in its victims
  5. scroll of forget memory, useful to help you sleep at night.
  6. a pre-cataclysm map of the surrounding area, updated with modern information 
Six Tasks for Viigand's Chapel
  1. "A pack of snakemen has been giving me trouble. Provide overwatch for one of my squads while we take it out. You like drugs?"
  2. "I need shipments of eel urine carted in. Do not ask why. Only problem is mayor of [PC's base of operations] is holding it up. Convince him otherwise.:
  3. "My chemist is getting the wanderlust again. Tell him some gruesome stories of what you've seen Out There. Really turn his stomach."
  4. "My man, Ivakin. I think he's sweet on this boy from Asva. Make sure he gets a happy ending. Take this club with you."
  5. "I here there are still horses in this world. Rumor says there's some in the valley out south. Deal with the pack of elves that live there, or steal them. I need at least one breeding pair."
  6. "My people are getting fresh again. Kidnap someone and dispose of them. That will remind them what its like Out There. Just don't let one of my men see you. They'd need to... intervene."

Tuesday, March 24, 2020


In the past, when I’ve attempted to track what kinds of equipment might be available in a given town, I have usually just handwaved it or gestured vaguely at the normal equipment list. For a planned hexcrawl game, I will be trying a different approach that I’m calling the Bazaar system. 
First, I assign a market theme to each letter of the alphabet. Then, I populate each theme with three to seven items and attached prices. The same item may appear on different lists with different prices. Printing each market theme on a different card, I can combine different cards to represent different markets. The principle is simple, but it lets me tune things a great deal.

  • You can designate one letter as always present for market staples.
  • Assign more common market themes to more common letters. Then, when I want to populate a random bazaar, I can just ask a player for a random word. The longer the word I request, the more developed the bazaar. Example: I figure a small city will have a small bazaar, so I have the players give me a five-letter word: QUERY. With the themes below, that means the city will have wood, jewelry, travel supplies, beasts, and excavation tools.
  • You can use overlap strategically. Items present in multiple market themes may have different prices, meaning that players will want to shop around.
  • When players go out of their way to follow leads, track down sellers, or barter, reward them with extra cards.
  • When players need to replace or upgrade weapons and armor, they are not assured to get exactly what they want. With sparse options, players are more likely to take up picks, hammers, and shovels.
  • This is a great way to inject setting details
Example market for the Mesomergos setting I'm developing:

A- general supplies
Beer (2 cp)
1 pound soap (2 cp)
Heavy cloak (4 gp) light armor
30’ rope (8 sp)
Knife (7 sp) light weapon
Torch (2 cp)
Wooden pole (1 cp)
Beer (1 cp)
Rice wine or pomace wine (3 cp)
Opium (1 sp)
Absynthe (1 sp)
Random narcomanta* (8 gp)
Random formula (10 gp)
Random gigre (25 gp)
Cuirass (13 gp) medium armor
Plaited reed armor (12 gp) medium armor
Scale armor (120 gp) heavy armor
Wicker shield (2 gp)
O- holies
Tefillim* with a random WORD (15 gp)
Amulet* of a random spell (10 gp)
Serpent torse of a random formula (10 gp)
Idol of a random god (2 gp)
5 pounds lard (2 cp)
1 pound soap 1 cp
Candle (1 cp)
Oil flask (2 cp)
Sesame oil barrel (6 gp)
Shortspear (5 sp)
Sickle sword (2 gp)
Sling (5 sp)
Lance (5 gp)
Masterwork spear (22 gp)
D- hirelings*
Beer barrel (3 gp)
Porter (half share)
Linkboy (half share, tale of adventure)
Servant (half share)
Eunuch (one share)
Q- wood
10 stakes (1 sp)
Mallet (1 cp) light weapon
Sled (2 gp)
Walking staff (3 sp)
Javelin (1 sp)
E- travel supplies
Beer barrel 2 gp
30’ rope (6 sp)
Block and tackle (2 sp)
Whistle (3 cp)
Porter (half share)
R- beasts
Cattle (1 gp)
Dog (1 gp, promises)
Tamed Onager (2 gp)
Sheep (3 sp)
Goat (3 sp)
F- illegal goods
1 pound iron (100 GP)
Thief’s cord (1 gp)
Grappling hook (5 sp)
Cursed item (you don’t pay… money)
Fencing service (25%)
S- fabrics
Quilted linens (2 gp)
Heavy cloak (3 gp)
Fancy chiton (10 gp)
Ciclatoun or samite bolt (20 gp)
Battered narcomanta (15 gp)
Lalon Set (1 sp, or 1 drink and victory in a game)
Ur Set (2 sp, a game)
Instrument (1 gp)
Minstrel (half share)
Opium (2 sp)
T- magic
Random magic ostentation* (10 gp)
Random magic talisman* (10 gp)
Random magic scroll (2 gp)
Random magic scroll (2 gp)
Absynthe (2 sp)
H- writing supplies
Ink (1 sp)
Chalk (1 cp)
Scroll (1 sp)
Scrollcase (1 gp)
U- jewelry
Gem mantle of a random formula (10 gp)
Spiralled bracelet (4 gp)
Reefstone* brooch (2 gp)
Ceremonial dagger (8 gp)
I- trade goods
Beer barrel (2 gp)
Socketed axe (2 gp)
1 pound salt (1 gp)
1 pound copper (1 sp)
1 pound tin (12 cp)
V- alchemy
Acid (1 sp)
Mercury draught (2 sp)
1 pound chimerite*  (3 gp)
1 dose of poison (3 gp)
Dry ice (2 gp)
J- bogwork
Bog mummy (4 gp)
Hand of glory (10 gp)
Random necromantic talisman (8 gp)
Stilt boots (1 sp)
W- contracted work
Indentured worker (60 gp)
Banded club (3 gp)
Apprentice (40 gp)
Concubine (100 gp, half share, promises)
K- metal
Round Shield (2 gp)
Lantern (2 gp)
Bronze ingot (1 sp)
Hammer (1 cp) light weapon
Mirror (1 gp)
X- marvels
Telescope (5 gp)
Lock and key (40 gp)
Water clock (45 gp)
Icon of Noryawes (1 sp, talking shop)
Engineer (1 share, first dibs on loot)
Chisel (1 sp)
Clay tablet (1 sp)
Terra cotta tool (1 cp)
Urn (3 cp)
Y- excavation
Pick (8 sp) medium weapon
Ard plow (3 gp)
Bronze Crow (2 sp)
Shovel (1 gp)
M- mercenaries
Jaded slinger (1 share, 1 drink)
Byway conjurer (1 share)
Bravo (1 share, tale of adventure)
Healer (1 share)
Z-goblin market
A skill (two skills)
A secret (your name)
A fortune (Your firstborn)
A spell (your luck)
*While using a gigre, narcomantas are used to share the benefits and drawbacks with allies. Think a rallying banner, but it gets you high.
*Tefillim, amulets, and other ostentations are simple magic items used to reroll a magic or WORD die.
*Talismans are simple magic items that allow you to automatically memorize a spell.
*I strongly feel that you shouldn't have to track hireling wages per day. Just give them a full share if they're expected to fight and a half share if they're not.
*Reefstone is cut from living above-ground reefs
*Chimerate is the catalyst for magical transformation from which the chimera gets its nam.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Nephilim? I Hardly Know 'im! [Kaiju OSR Bandwagon]

This is a submission for the ongoing search on the OSR discord for Kaiju rules.

Ancient societies were constantly menaced by kaiju. Angelic beings impossibly tall, animals and gods as vast as continents or worlds, dragons or giants cruel and ancient. Notably, they are dangerous but still usually vulnerable to a demigod's spear. Inspired by these stories and myths, the rules below will create dangerous-but-still-vulnerable creatures. Like a PC in GLOG, a nephil will have to rely on more than their standard abilities to threaten dangerous foes. Nephilim characters should spend their immortality gathering arcane power and temporal domain, or else resign themselves to bully plucky children in the forest.

The Nephilim have templates like any other, but any nephil should have at least one hit die or class template from something else. A giant ox is still an ox, and a giant priest is still a priest. So, the class:
Eart CG. Forever is a long time to have to keep your soul together.

-NEPHIL- (alternatively: Giant, Kaiju, Monster)
For each template you possess as a nephil, you may grow up to five times your current size.

1: Great Form, Eternal Warrior
2: Vast Legs, Eternal Obsession
3: Tide of Flesh, Eternal Reign
4: Colossal Wreck, Eternal Rite

  • Great Form: You take half-damage from normal-sized weapons, and require four times the dose of any potion, drug, or any other consumable in order for it to take effect. Most items no longer take up item slots, but carrying such small things can be tricky.
  • Eternal Warrior: You no longer age. 
  • Vast Legs: Your strides pass over entire lands. It takes you one hour to cross a normal-sized kingdom or other land.
  • Eternal Obsession: Something consumes you and makes you act irrationally. You might horde gold, abide by riddle-wagers, or eat only the offspring of a certain noble line. If you act against this obsession, take 1 hp damage.
  • Tide of Flesh: You no longer strike individuals but areas. Attacks you make now damage everything within 30 feet of your target.
  • Eternal Reign: When you consume your infant child, gain 100 XP.
  • Colossal Wreck: If you are killed, from your body will be born a new world, or at least a major continent.
  • Eternal Rite: No matter how cruel or indifferent you are, your grandeur inspires devotion. Every year, at least one 1st-level cleric will be ordained in your service for each level+HD you possess.

John Gast. No matter how cruel or indifferent you are, your grandeur inspires devotion.