Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The Down-Spire

The star cults believe there are things in the cosmos, unfathomable power making them the only worthy gods. Their Arcana are coveted, but it is shallow power.

There's only one real power. One great force that we feel every day. It drives our every action. To accept him, and to love him, is the true choice.

Breath-Eater. Man-Choker. The Infinite.


Fear makes the heir stab the father.
The glutton fill his stomach.
The acolyte bow to the idol.
The mob band together, and scatter when the cannons arrive.
Fear makes your heart beat. Fear swallows the air from your lungs.
It can kill you, or give you another day of life.
There is no other power.

In its name we built the Down-Spire. Anyone that welcomes fear into their heart is welcome here. 

Entrance is a set of metal doors, rusted and ajar. Two Fear Seekers (6hp, WIL 15, Axe d6, Smart Clothes, Featureless Black Masks) greet any visitors quietly and present them with a Black Mask. Anyone refusing a mask is advised that they will not enjoy the optimum experience.

They tell you that if you collect three black coins from inside you'll become powerful beyond imagination (in actuality the black coins do nothing, but the Fear Seekers will give you a lecture on the power inside your heart if you present them).

The doors lead straight into The Stairwell which leads to each floor below. Each floor is a single circular room, 20ft in diameter, with metal walls and floors.

Excluding the Stairwell and The Fall, if the group ever return to a room they have already visited, they awaken a poltergeist-like force inside the room, that will act in a cleverly malevolent way, with the ultimate goal of killing the group. It can seize control of a being for a second or two unless they pass a WIL Save. The force cannot leave the room.

The Stairwell
Steep Spiral Stairs (Creaky, rusted)
Doors at each floor (see each room's entry for door description)
Intense Darkness (light is not as effective as normal)
Leads all the way down to The Fall (11).
Roll d6 each time you traverse the stairwell. On a 1 or 2, there is an Embodiment (15hp, STR 18, DEX 17, WIL 20, d10 Spike-Hands, Grey Shelled Body (Armour 1), Spindly Legs) in the darkness. It prefers to be above the group, and stays out of sight of groups. Will only strike lone individuals or groups in the darkness.

Deep 1
Squat Metal Door (Marked with a dot. Locks itself behind you once everyone is in. Clicks open if there's a loud enough noise, like a scream)
Low Ceiling (gets lower as you go further in)
Walls: Gas Lamps (giving off lots of heat, explosive)
Black Coin sat on a Pressure Plate (fake)
North: Red Button on the wall (fake)

Deep 2
Metal Door (marked with moon symbol)
Four Beds (one disturbed and warm, clean sheets, cannot be slept in by any means. There is a wooden box under each bed. 1: Neatly folded adult clothes. 2: Neatly folded adult clothes with a bottle of whiskey hidden inside. 3:Neatly folded adult clothes and a Black Mask . 4: Obviously fake wooden bones painted white, some chewing marks, damp with saliva)

Deep 3
Wooden Door (marked with heart symbol, some scratches in the wood, muffled conversation from within, cannot make out details, cannot be opened by any means, but can be smashed open. Upon return, the voices have gone.)
Howling Vortex (no sign of a room, draws anyone that fails a STR Save in, before spitting them out into The Fall (12). Fades into void once its point has been made)

Deep 4
Metal Door (marked with 0 symbol)
Silent Air (no sound can occur in here)
Mirror (no reflection other than things that belong in this room, if broken, darkness starts to creep in causing d6 WIL loss each turn of contact)
Desk (Gavel, empty papers spike)

Deep 5
Metal Door (marked with 1 symbol, slams shut after one person enters, and sealed until they leave)
Chute Down (metal ladder, dark, if you descend into the darkness, the light above you vanishes and you're trapped on an infinite climb. If you release yourself you plummet until you land in the depths of The Fall (11)

Deep 6
Metal Door (marked with a Y symbol)
North: Two Doors (Marked 0 and 1, leading to deep or respectively. Whichever door they don't choose is eradicated from existence both in this room and in the stairwell).

Deep 7
Metal Door (marked with infinity symbol)
Floor: Sea of Chains (various sizes and metals, slowly writhing, actually harmless and hiding a Black Coin underneath its surface)

Deep 8
Metal Door (marked with balance symbol)
Fear Seeker (kneeling in the middle of the room, sign around neck "guilty", will not speak)
East Wall: Black Musket (d8 damage, loaded, if fired at Fear Seeker it will not harm him, but will deposit a Black Coin)
West Wall: Painted Eye (appears to follow you, gestures to the musket and to the Fear Seeker, if you leave the Fear Seeker alive the Eye will appear on walls and haunt you until you finish the job)

Deep 9
Metal Door (marked with a crossed square symbol)
Spiked Walls (d8 damage if forced onto)
10ft Metal Cube (completely inert and pristine, fake black coin painted on the floor just behind)
Ceiling: Black Chain (pulling causes whirring noise, then a clunk as it resets, no other function)

Deep 10
Metal Door (completely black)
Darkness (no feeling of floor, but can be walked on, if you enter and close the door without a light source, the floor vanishes and you plunge into The Fall.

Deep 11: The Fall
Steep Spiral Stairs (continue infinitely, becoming steeper and rustier)
Intense Darkness (slowly overpowers any light source. Leaping into it will causes instant death if not wearing a mask. If wearing a mask, the wearer awakens in Room 3.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Odd Classes and Orders

This week,  I played a Dinosaur Cleric in +Arnold K.'s game. Why it's taken this long for someone to use the idea of extinct dinosaurs eating their way up the timeline is beyond me.

The class hooked me onto the character straight away. As an advocate of classless play, this surprised me.

It worked because it was more evocative than the classic D&D classes, but not at all fiddly or front-loaded. You worship the dinosaur god and hate mammals. You get dino-gear and three spells.

I tried to put little character hooks into the Starter Packages of Into the Odd, but I'd like see what happens if I take it a little further.

I don't want classes that tell you what you can do. I want something that adds spice to both your character, and the world around them.

A Fighter is anyone with a sword, but a Worldkiller wants to fight the planet itself.
A Thief is anyone that steals, but an Under-Kin is one with the Underground.
A Magic-User is anyone that's managed to get hold of an Arcanum and some robes, but an Arcphager eats Arcana to gain permanent benefits.

There will never be a pseudo-class in Into the Odd for someone that's simply better at fighting, sneaking, or using Arcana.

And these aren't Classes. They're Orders that any character can join.

Brand new members take the Pledge in italics, and are given the Order's Paraphernalia to show their allegiance. Breaking the Pledge requires atonement, or in more serious cases, expulsion.

Each time the character returns from an Expedition, if they can explain what they have achieved or learned in relation to the Order's philosophy, they are taught a new Secret.

When a characters knows all of the secrets, the Order begins them on the path towards their Destiny, which requires a lengthy pilgrimage or ritual. Refusing this is considered the ultimate heresy against an Order.  

Starting characters can roll d10 to start as an Order brand new member.

1: Populads - We're all insignificant together. 

Paraphernalia: Dark grey clothes and skin-paint.
Faceless: Nobody can describe you, or recognise you from even moments ago.
Selfless: When it suits you, you do not count as a living being.
Shadowless: You leave no mark on the world around you. Things just fall back into a natural place and nobody will know you were here.
Destiny: Become invisible to all except those who share this destiny.

2: Horrorists - Present a horrible visage to keep the real terrors at bay. 

Paraphernalia: Horrible masks and hairy suits.
Shock: Anyone you surprise must pass a WIL Save or blurt out a secret. If they don't have any secrets, their imagination creates one.
Disgust: Anyone watching you eat must pass a WIL Save or vomit.
Fear: Anyone that locks eyes with you must pass a WIL Save or reveal something they fear.
Destiny: Transform into a true monster and lose all humanity.

3: Arcphagers - For all I eat, I must bring equal to Big-Eater. 

Paraphernalia: Smart red dress robes, black circle painted around mouth.
Material Ingestion: Eat a pure piece of an otherwise inedible material and have a bodypart of your choice turn to that substance.
Arcane Ingestion: Eat an Arcanum. If you pass a WIL Save you can control its power at will, if you fail it's always on.
Self Ingestion: Eat a portion of your own flesh to re-live any memory of your life.
Destiny: Eat a star, and never eat again.

4: Time-Enforcers - The great pendulum is all that keeps order in the world. 

Paraphernalia: Blue uniforms and ceremonial pendulum-baton (d6).
History Adjustment: Meditate for an hour to adjust one trivial fact about history.
Possibility Sever: Once a day, announce a specific outcome of the current situation. That cannot happen.
Union of Presents: Once a day, summon an alternate version of any object or being. It stays for a minute, and varies slightly from the original, but is not bound to serve without reason.
Destiny: Go into hibernation until the end of time.

5: Fly Heralds - Prepare the consumption by the cosmic swarm. 

Paraphernalia: Compound-eye goggles and proboscis mask. Ceremonial fly wings for special occasions.
Congregation: All insects in your sight gather on a point of your choice.
Feast: All insects in your sight begin to feed at a frenzied rate.
Metamorphosis: If you sleep in a cocoon with a corpse, you awaken in their body in the morning, and your old body is melted into goo.
Destiny: Be the first meal for the cosmic swarm.

6: Carcass-Sons - Pay no heed to flesh, do no harm to mind. 

Paraphernalia: Loose sack clothes.
Shed Flesh: Your wounds do not visually heal, and you feel no pain from external damage. This has no mechanical effect on damage and healing.
Project Mind: If you sit still you can transfer your being into an held inanimate object. It remains inanimate but you control it up to the degree that an automatic version would behave (pull triggers, push buttons).
Banish Meat: Once per day you can repel a meaty being, or object forcefully away from you and prevent it approaching unless it passes a WIL Save.  
Destiny: Become a brain in a jar.

7: Under-Kin - The Underground is truth.

Paraphernalia: Black smart clothes.Pouch of gravel from the deepest cave you've visited.
Drop of Faith: As long as you're falling into darkness, the landing will never harm you.
Tunnelgaze: When you look into a dark tunnel you see right the way to the end of the tunnel.
Cave Call: Once per day you can ask the darkness a question, and it answers as best it can.
Destiny: Move permanently to the Underground, except during Solar Eclipses.

8: Worldkillers - A new world must be born from the destruction of this one.

Paraphernalia: Broad white hats or armour, with bold red stripes.
Un-Bloom: Touch an object or being to immediately halt its growth and development.,Unwilling intelligent beings get a WIL Save. The target does not progress to any state more advanced than its current one, but will decay as expected.
Catastrophe Haste: If a natural disaster or mishap (anything from a bad storm upwards) is approaching, you can cause it to happen immediately. This also applies to rituals that would harm the planet.
Wreck Earth: Once per day, you create a sinkhole d20 meters wide.
Destiny: Break off a part of the world and launch it into space. 

9: Fictioneers - If it's written, it is real. 

Paraphernalia: Multi-coloured robes, big empty book.
Creation: If you write a description of a made-up thing, person, or place, the next person you tell about it believes it's real.
Fictive Jaunt: When you dream, you go into a made-up place you created, and bring back a single object that could exist in reality. When you next go to sleep, it vanishes.
Exposition: If you write a plausible explanation for something, and burn the paper, it becomes reality, but always finds a way to bite you.
Destiny: Leave reality to live within your fiction.

10: Unpairers - Nothing is more unnatural than a gathering of two. 

Paraphernalia: Single-colour one-piece boiler suit. Paired body parts have one covered with black cloth, but removal is encouraged.
Separation: Make two paired objects repel each other with great force. When used on the paired body parts of a being, this causes d8 damage.
Fission: Two paired objects fuse into one. If they are unwilling, they get a WIL Save to resist.
Summation: Use once per day. A third object is created from two paired objects. It has some properties of each original object.
Destiny: Split apart a binary star system when they line up right.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

An Example of Delegation Style Play

My standard model of running an adventure with a handful of characters is sort of like this.

1 - Referee describes the situation through the characters' senses.
2 - Players ask questions for more information, most of which can be given.
3 - Players take personal action with their character.
4 - Referee resolves the consequences of the action and the aftermath becomes the next situation.

Running a game where the expedition force is a hundred people strong, or you're controlling a large scale business, is similar but different. Mostly because you can't do it all on your own. There are just too many things going on, so you have to divide your attention as best you can and hope you picked the right things to micro-manage.

1 - Referee describes the situation through the medium of another character, we'll call them the Agent. With large-scale play there are going to be multiple things demanding attention at once. Generally this initial piece of information is trustworthy.
2 - Players ask questions directly to the Agent, who may not have all of the answers.
3 - Players either go and manage the situation by hand, meaning they can't do other things, or delegate an action to the Agent, who may perform it imperfectly if they don't pass a Save.
4 - Referee adjudicates the action, but the consequences may not be apparent for some time.

Most often, Agents bring you a difficult choice. Depending on the current situation, and previous actions, this could be a choice between equally good things, or equally bad. The more strain an expedition or enterprise is under, the more likely it is to be the latter.

Agents show their personality, and always work towards their own interests.

Play Example

The group are Toku, Ulric, and Ezekiel. They lead an expedition, three detachments strong (Scout Monks, Heavy Gunners, and Savage Riders), along a narrow mountain road in search of a lost city. The characters travel together and each detachment has a Sergeant that reports to them for orders.

Referee: Alright, so you're taking a short rest to drink some water and speak to your Sergeants. The Monk Sergeant has consulted his god and is certain that you can make it to the city before sunset if you maintain good pace.
Toku: Great, I don't want to spend another night camped up on this mountain.
Referee: He says a blood dance would seal the deal.
Ezekiel: Always the blood dance. Clearly it isn't going to help us get there sooner/
Referee: Yeah, but you already denied them a blood dance at the last camp. They'll certainly be disgruntled if you do it again.
Ulric: How long does the stupid dance take?
Referee: An hour or so, but they're certain that it will actually get you to the city quicker. (The Referee knows that the dance will cause enough delay that they'll have to camp again before reaching the city).
Ezekiel: Remind me again why we have these guys as our scouts?
Toku: They didn't want any pay! I say let them do it.
Ezekiel: Fine, tell them to do their thing and then we'll get moving as quickly as possible.
Referee: He's happy with that. The other two Sergeants aren't as positive. The Gunner Sergeant says he's lost a couple of men to the mountain. He wasn't warned exactly how dangerous this would be.
Ulric: Urgh. This guy. What does he want from us?
Referee: He says that if he could promise his men a proper celebration upon return to Bastion, they'd be a lot more content to risk their lives. Ten Guilders should cover it.
Toku: Forget that! They knew what the risks were.
Ezekiel: They're our strongest fighting detachment, though. We could do with keeping them happy.
Ulric: How about we offer them a compromise. When we get back to Bastion, we'll give all of our expedition a proper feast, and we'll spend a good deal more than 10G!
Toku: (whispering) We won't actually spend that much will we?
Ulric: (whispering) Of course not. We'll deal with that when we get home.
Referee: Well, you send him off to deliver the message to the troops. (The Referee rolls a WIL Save for the Sergeant to see if he keeps them happy. He fails, but the players won't find out the consequences until it really matters. Most likely they'll refuse to fight at the next opportunity).
Ezekiel: And what about the riders?
Referee: The Rider Sergeant looks pretty happy. She reports that they have stumbled upon an item of great interest, but they're holding onto it for now.
Toku: Hey, who's in charge here? Ask what the item is.
Referee: She says it's going to be a great boon to the riders next time they have to fight. She even offers to keep their fee at the current rate, in spite of this clear improvement to their service.
Ezekiel: We should keep an eye on that, but we don't have time to waste bickering with them if we want to make it to the city for sunset.
Ulric: I could go and ride with them.
Referee: You could, but that would mean you can't communicate with the rest of the group as easily, and there's a chance the riders will be unsettled by you watching them.
Ulric: We don't have time for this. Let's just keep her happy for now but watch from afar.
Referee: The Sergeants head back to their detachments and you're ready to move out. Just as soon as the monks are done with their blood dance. You hear the whimper of small animals having their throats cut.

Monday, 27 April 2015


There are stories of people stumbling into made-up places. These aren't real, they're just from novels, paintings, or old wives' tales.

Key Principles of Made Up Places
- You can only go there if you know the story.
- They follow dream logic.
- Things brought home become more mundane.

Scarytown is a made-up place. Parents tell their children that they'll end up there if they sneak out after dark.

It isn't real.

But if you do sneak out of a window at night, going in search of something you shouldn't have, you might notice things feel different. You always seem to be on the edge of getting where you're trying to go. You only took one book off the shelf and now the house is crumbling. Your paper-cut is bleeding so much that it's flooding the room. Everyone thinks they're helping but they're really just horrible.

The only way back is to run home to bed and hide under the covers.

Key Principles of Scarytown
- It teases you with things that you want.
- Negative consequences are grossly amplified.
- Something always follows you home.

If you stick around, Roll d20 to see who you stumble into. Everyone can talk, and will at least give the appearance of helping you towards where you're trying to go.

1-3: BudbrotherSTR 13, DEX 8, WIL 12, 9hp, Claw (d6), 2 featureless heads budding off at the neck, they remind you of someone. If you talk for too long, one of the new heads will start to sprout a mouth. If you look too long, eyes start to flower.
The new heads want to remove the main head so that they can take control, the old head wants to get rid of the new heads but is compelled to grow more.
1: Trying in vain to remove its featureless heads with a small blunt knife.
2: Under control of one of the featureless heads, and rampaging blindly while the main head is passed out.
3: Yelling into a mirror.

4-6: d6 WillowbacksSTR 5, DEX 16, WIL 12, 5hp, Scratching Sticks (d6), removes chunks of flesh with a touch), hunched backs and woody hair.
Wants to find a safe place to hide, collect books, and punish those that don't take them seriously.
4: Looking for visitors to warn about the hazards of Scarytown, but only giving terrible guidance.
5: Using their scratching sticks to torment a mad horse.
6: Pulling down an impossibly large tree on top of an old house.

7-9: TeddiorgSTR 16, DEX 5, WIL 5, 3hp, Black Hole in Mouth (d8, annihilation on Critical Damage), beady eyes, bloated bear body, rumbling voice.
Wants to guide you to the thing you desire, then devour it before you can get it.
7: Tearing apart a building.
8: Carrying the corpse of a boy to his grave.
9: Bellowing out an invitation to a lavish feast, which he'll annihilate once anyone accepts.

10-12: Rock QueenSTR 8, DEX 11, WIL 14, 6hp, Grab and Bite (d6), withered old body, long teeth.
Wants to hide away from the worst bits of Scarytown and genuinely help visitors from Bastion.
10: Running from a horrible creature.
11: Digging a hole in the ground to sleep in.
12: Building a tiny model version of Bastion.

13-14: d4 Wall WitchesAppear as an indented face on stone walls. Speak in whispers. If anyone touches them the Wall Witch is absorbed into their being and will live within them until they put them on a wall in Bastion.
13: Whisper-singing to a crowd of snails crawling over them.
14: Pretending to be visitors trapped in the wall.

15-16: Moon DroneSTR 7, DEX 18, WIL 18, 5hp, floating spherical body, impossible to view from side or back.
Wants to convince you to make poor choices and watch the consequences.
15: Floating towards you to try and drive you back into something bad.
16: Carefully picking the meat off a human corpse.

17-18: Sugar-BushSTR 15, DEX 0, WIL 0, 5hp. Thorny branches with cotton-candy-like coating, soft whisper. Anyone crawling into the bush loses d6 WIL each turn as they feel themselves crushed by immense air pressure. The only way out is if the bush chooses to release you.
Wants to lure passers by into its briers, or trick them into thinking they can destroy it (all efforts cause the bush to spread).
17: Rustling as it devours an animal that's strayed inside.
18: Mimicking a call for help from inside its body.

19-20: DopplegangerA copy of someone you know, but they act in an exaggerated way.
Wants to make your time in Scarytown as stressful as possible.
19: Looking for the same thing that you're looking for.
20: In possession of the thing you're looking for, or the path to your destination, but utterly unwilling to help you.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Mock Fellows and Mock Life

Mock Fellows are the human equivalent to Mock Animals. Although built for purpose, they're too susceptible to slapstick outbreaks to be truly useful.

They  have all the usual properties of a Mockery:
- They are made out of cloth, wood, metal, and clay, so practically any damage is repairable.
- They talk and sing, but tend towards base intelligence.
- They do not need to eat or sleep, and are unaffected by alcohol and disease, but pretend as part of their life imitation.
- Real animals hate them. Children love them, unless they're horrifying.

Roll d8 for a Mock Fellow. Ability Scores are 10 unless noted otherwise.
1 - Mock Infant - STR 2, DEX 2, WIL 5, 1hp. Pearl eyes and clay skin. Wants to sleep, eat, and cry.
2 - Mock Concierge - 4hp. Tiny waxed mustache, service trolley filled with silly items (giant comb, prosthetic leg, bomb, Mock Suckling Pig on a Platter). Wants to tend to the needs of guests, while pocketing some valuables for himself for an eventual retirement.
3 - Mock Legion - Detachment, 5hp, Mini-Muskets (d6), pit helmets. Want to be taken seriously as a fighting force, and travel to far off lands.
4 - Mock Advocate - 3hp, WIL 20. Powdered wig, feather-stuffing leaking out of a bloated belly. Wants to disagree with any point made by anyone, and present controversial opinions.
5 - Mock Spirit - 5hp. Dusty chains (d6). Wants to warn wicked people away from their current path

6 - Mock Giant - STR 18, DEX 4, 10hp, Armour 1. Towering fuzzy body. Wants to use his great strength to help the people, but is incredibly clumsy and stupid.
7 - Mock Barber - 8hp. Four Heads, Cane and Razor (d8) Stripy Felt Body. Wants to sing and shave.
8 - Mock Urchin - STR 5, 2hp. Wants to appear pitiful to gather money for her owner.

Mock Life
Nobody agrees on what brings Mockeries to life. Mockeries don't remember being brought to life, and have little memory of how old they are.

Roll d12 for a common explanation. Maybe one is the truth. Maybe they all are. Maybe none.
1 - Gestation inside a female undergoing phantom pregnancy.
2 - Soaking in a blend of oils from deep-sea creatures.
3 - Wishing upon a star.
4 - An Arcanum underground that's so big anyone can invoke it if they know the right ritual.
5 - A living brain from a suitable being.
6 - The last breath of a person dying of natural causes.
7 - Kiss of a Cosmic Angel.
8 - Playing specific music, lighting the right configuration of candles, applying makeup and dressing in the burial clothes of an infant.
9 - A year spent with a child who already sees them as alive.
10 - Marriage to an already living Mockery.
11 - Small parts found inside other Mockeries.
12 - A complex system of gears and crystals that crumble on death.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Choose Your Own Oddventure

Hate Player Agency? Got no one to play with? Miss peeking ahead to cheat at a solitaire game?

This is so terrible I'm not even going to invoke my Patreon Supporters for it.

Roll 3d6 for your STR and start with only your fists (d4) for defense.

In Combat you take turns to attack (roll your weapon's damage, the target loses that much STR) or flee (roll 4+ on d6, or else you wasted your turn). You always get first turn. At STR 0 you die.

Start at 1.

  1. You wake up in a puddle and have no idea how you got here. Bastion is smoggy, hot, and rainy all at once. If you stay in the puddle Goto 5. If you get up and explore Goto d6+1.
  2. Your reflection looks back at you before leaping out of the puddle and attacking you. If you win or get away Goto d6+5
  3. You pass a drinking fountain, and it smells real bad. If you drink some Goto d6+10, otherwise Goto 7.   
  4. A voice comes from a sewer hole. You look down and it's yourself, but horribly warty and green. They throw a brick at you for d6 damage and flee. Goto d6+4.  
  5. Somebody throws a brick at you from the rooftop! Take d6 damage and Goto d6+4
  6. You're drawn into a coffee shop by the smell of percolation. Poets are shouting at each other. To order a coffee Goto 25 to go and explore the other shops Goto 26. 
  7. The Sun's out, to take a walk Goto 17, to run for cover Goto d6+18.
  8. It starts raining really hard. To stay out in it, Goto 18, to run for cover Goto d6+18.
  9. Down a tunnel, into a sewer. Someone throws a brick out of the darkness for d6 damage. If you chase then you find a soggy Mock Monkey (STR 10, d6 Bite, no eyes) fumbling around in the dark. If you let it follow you up to the surface Goto 14, if you kill it or leave it Goto 17.  
  10. You've found your way home, but it's on fire! Too late to save anything. Oh well, If this has already happened, Goto 26, otherwise Goto 8. 
  11. A bit of your face turns to stone and falls off. If you've already been here, your whole head turns to rock and you die. Otherwise, Goto d6+18 
  12. Argh! It had a poop in it! Take d4 damage as you vomit and Goto d6+18. 
  13. You get x-ray vision for a minute and then it passes. Goto d6+18.
  14. There's an alien voice. If you answer it, Goto 26, otherwise Goto d6+18.
  15. A clump of skin falls off your face. If you poke at it Goto 11, otherwise Goto d6+18.
  16. Pretty tasty. Like a peach. Goto 17
  17. You're feeling pretty good, so you take a break. Recover all lost STR and Goto d6+18.
  18. The sound of the rain on the rooftops is pretty soothing, until lightning strikes the ground next to you and a gutter pipe falls down and whacks you on the head for d6 damage. You stagger about before collapsing. Goto 1.  
  19. A begger on the street has a froggy head, he looks pretty pitiful. You can beat him up if you like (STR 5, d4 fists, Goto 26 if you kill him) or throw him a coin and Goto 25. 
  20.  There's a shard of metal on the floor. Might be good in a fight (d6 damage). Goto 26. 
  21. Someone is whistling from the rooftop. To call out to them, Goto 5, otherwise Goto 26.  
  22. There's an escaped Bull (STR 16, d8 Gore) running through the street! If you kill it Goto 8. If you flee from it, Goto 7. 
  23. The ground around you collapses and you're plunged into the Underground! Take d6 damage from the fall. If you climb back to the surface Goto 26. If you stay down here Goto 9.  
  24. Where is this place... you're pretty lost. If you try to find someone to ask for directions Goto 5, if you try to go it alone Goto d20+2. 
  25. You use the last of your money. If you've already been here, d6 Thugs (STR 15, d6 Brassknuckles) come out to beat you for your debt. Otherwise, Goto d6+4.
  26. Lights in the sky grow brighter... then blast the city with radiant light. Take d20 damage. If you survive Goto d6+25. 
  27. There's a woosh of air and everything is as it was. Goto d6+1.  
  28. A floating craft appears in the sky, and throws a brick at you for d6 damage. If you survive Goto 31.  
  29. The city itself is lifted into the air. Take d10 damage as buildings crumble around you. If you survive Goto 31.  
  30. A wave of slime washes out of the Underground, take d12 damage. If you survive Goto 31.  
  31. You feel your body surge with power. Increase all Ability Scores to 20 and become a demigod. VICTORY! 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Goal, Plans, and Itches

Everyone has a Goal, and a Plan. Their big mission in life is to fulfil their Goal and they will do this through their Plan. This gives you the core of how an NPC is going to act most of the time.

They also have an Itch. This shows you something they're secretly longing for on the side. They might even be more equipped to achieve this than their other goals, but there's some reason it just isn't a viable thing for them to focus their lives around. It's something you could probably leverage to get them to do something you want, or to temporarily abandon their other goals. It might even subtly underlie every action they do.

For context,take one of the Cosmic Angels I posted earlier this week. Important part is underlined.

Metal Skull - Infinity-Slug-Gun (d10, blasts through any material), mechanically armoured body (1), exposed metal skull with long silver hair. Wants to dissect powerful beings to help perfect her form.

This gives us our Goal and Plan, and it's easy to see how these fit together.

Goal - Achieve the perfect physical form.
Plan - Dissect powerful beings.

We don't know her Itch, so we'll make one up. Remembering this should sit at an angle, let's make it completely separate to her drive for physical power. Let's say she wants to Understand Emotions. It fits with her being mechanical and analytic, but gives scope to convince her against cutting you open. Maybe one day she'll know why you cry.

Goal - Achieve the perfect physical form.
Plan - Dissect powerful beings.
Itch - Understand Emotions.

Now, turn it into a sentence of plain talk, because we don't want to turn this into some horrible statblock thing. This is typically "Wants to [goal] by [plan], and [itch].

Metal Skull - Infinity-Slug-Gun (d10, blasts through any material), mechanically armoured body (1), exposed metal skull with long silver hair. Wants to achieve the perfect physical form by dissecting powerful individuals, and to understand emotions.

In this case it's a subtle change, but gives the character more hooks for interaction.

If you're low on ideas, Roll d20 three times, duplicates move up the table.
  1. Fulfil base urges.  
  2. Protect loved ones.  
  3. Dominate others. 
  4. Discover a greater truth.  
  5. Serve a worthy power.  
  6. Make contact with cosmic beings.  
  7. Find peace.  
  8. Enact a petty revenge.  
  9. Serve justice.  
  10. Build a legacy.  
  11. Destroy rivals. 
  12. Recover powerful Arcana. 
  13. Gain wealth.  
  14. Win the approval of the masses. 
  15. Become the best in a field.   
  16. Help the weak.  
  17. Seek entertainment. 
  18. Survive at any cost. 
  19. Write off a debt or shame.  
  20. Win the approval of a superior.
So a random roll might give you.

Goal: Protect loved ones. 
Plan: Build a Legacy. 
Itch: Win the approval of a superior. 

Protecting loved ones by building a legacy isn't a great fit, so we'll have to get creative. Maybe it's not physical or financial protection, but protecting them from the shame of him being a nobody. So he's obsessed with building up a good reputation. The Itch could be built into this, but should sit at an angle. Let's say he idolises a hero that already has a legacy of their own. 

Finally we can apply this sentence to an otherwise blank slate character rolled as a new PC, and they have almost-instant motivation. 

Junas Fox
STR 10, DEX 12, WIL 8, 4hp. Pistol (d6), Toxin-Immune, Rocket. 
Wants to make his son proud by becoming a renowned explorer, and meet the legendary Captain Sham Barridge.