D&D Christmas Carols: Searching for Silver and Gold

Look here my goodly gentlefolkRemember last year when I wrote & performed a D&D themed Christmas song called “Damage Dice the Ref Rolled High?” Remember when I said I wanted to make it a yearly tradition to write & perform a D&D Christmas song each year.

Well I did you one better. I wrote a D&D Christmas song, then I found someone with actual ability to do the singing part! This one is to the melody of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” and is performed by my sister, Olivia Whelan.

Searching for Silver and Gold

Lyrics:


Look here my goodly gentlefolk
This map won’t lead astray.
A path to fame and fortune,
It can be yours today.
The journey will be perilous,
But you will be okay.

[Refrain]
O searching for silver and gold.
Silver and gold.
O searching for silver and gold.

With dreams of future glo-ory
A band began to form.
Comrades with nothing else to lose
Swore to brave any storm.
A Thief, a Witch, a Farming Boy;
Left Homes both safe and warm.
[Refrain]

The Bloodwood lay ahead of them,
Each feigned to have no fear.
The warnings of their mo-others
Were ringing in their ears.
All knew within the forest dark
The serpent would appear.
[Refrain]

It came upon them quietly,
Just as the stories said.
A cry rose from the farming boy,
One bite took off his head.
The witch invoked a sleeping hex.
Now two left, frightened, fled.
[Refrain]

Before them lay the gra-ave yard
As far as they could see.
Inward swung the iron gate
Shedding rusted debris.
Passing between the marker stones
They made grim repartee.
[Refrain]

Sleeping among the grassy mounds,
A day’s march from the gate.
Here the ghoul stumbled over them
With hungers yet to sate.
The witch awoke and raised a cry
The thief’s blade was not late.
[Refrain]

Fin’ly the lake shore beckoned them,
The goal of all their strife.
The witch would breath upon the shore,
One lung to keep each life.
The thief dove into the cold dark,
Teeth clamped around her knife
[Refrain]

The Sun’s light far behind her now,
A sight near broke her will.
A faceless mass with glowing skin,
And wicked, waiting quills.
Beneath the thing she saw their chest.
Her task she would fulfill.
[Refrain]

With shroud of dark to cover her,
Through water the thief creeped.
But eyeless it still spotted her,
Foul barbs cut her breast deep.
With flailing hand she snatched the chest,
To surface quickly leaped.
[Refrain]

Sensing that the beast followed her,
The thief scrambled for shore.
Ran to her love with chest in hand,
Not knowing what’s in store.
The barb that had been meant for her,
The witch’s lung did gore.
[Refrain]

Far from the graves, she buried her.
Too good for that foul place.
The fortune bought cheap pleasures,
But could never erase
The loss of one whom she had loved.
The thief died in disgrace.
[Refrain]


To all who celebrate it, I hope you’re enjoying your Christmas, and that this brightened your day. As a little bonus, here’s a supercut of all the times Olivia fucked up:

And for those of you looking for one more tragedy that can be attributed to the 2016 meme, here’s me singing the song. Because I wanted a record of it, and I enjoy blowing audio levels.

Questgivers are Evil

Evil QuestgiverTwo thousand years after the fall of Oriac, seven adventurers came to Negune. Many adventurers had come before them, but all had either returned home or perished. These seven would prove different. […] For over thirty years, they traveled to every land of Negune. They slew monsters, saved villages, and bred good will throughout the land.”

I wrote that a few years back as part of the history of my Ascendant Crusade game. It’s the story that explained the way the nations on the continent were broken up. One for each of the heroic adventurers who had shown up out of nowhere and fixed everything. It’s a setting I was passionate about for many years, and I still have a place in my heart for it. But this particular tidbit is a good example of something that has come to bother me a lot about the stories that come out of D&D games. “Everything was bad. Nobody was competent. Fortunately, a small group of nobodies from nowhere fixed everything.”

I’m not a story guy. You wouldn’t have to try very hard to find quotes where I vehemently deride the over-emphasis of story in tabletop gaming. But I can’t pretend that story doesn’t play some role.

What really gets to me about this trope is the idea that players are SPECIAL. That even at first level, they’re basically the only instrument of change in the world. The only characters with agency. Of course, in matter of fact, they are the only characters who have agency, but rubbing it in their faces like this just seems gouache. How can you ever feel like you matter if the world is obviously constructed for the sole purpose of making you feel like you matter?

Which brings me to questgivers, an essential element to the game. They’re the folks who get stuff moving by giving the PCs something useful to do. There are a few essential elements that make up a questgiver’s character. First, they want something done. Second, they’re going to rely on strangers to do it for them. Third, they’re probably going to offer a reward for getting that thing done.

Lets start with that point about the PCs being strangers. We (as in you and I, looking at this text on a computer monitor) live in an anachronistic period of history. A period created by recent inventions such as the train, the automobile, the telephone, and the Internet.

These inventions allow us to buy our groceries & build our relationships outside of our immediate vicinity. Prior to this era, any community that wasn’t a cosmopolitan city would be tight knit. Strangers were immediately recognizable, and nobody liked or trusted them. So what would drive someone from that community to ask a stranger for help, when there are doubtless plenty of strapping young locals who would be happy to help?

We’re better at dealing with strangers now because everyone is a stranger. We don’t have a huge pool of neighbors to draw upon for every little thing. But that’s not true in a less modern setting, such as the ones we typically play D&D in.

Which brings up my next point: in any given place, there are tons of people who can get stuff done. Getting something done is a privilege. Ever notice how politicians will often stop other politicians from getting something done, even if they want to get the same thing done themselves? They don’t want the other party to get the glory of accomplishing this task. This is not a new practice, it’s as old as human society.

If you’re a king, you want your heir, or at least a strong supporter of yours, to do the cool things. Doing cool things strengthens their (and thus your) position. Likewise, if you’re a town of 30 people, you’ll want your own kin to handle a problem. It’s a matter of civic pride. And if a small town really can’t handle it themselves, then they’re going to expect the king to handle it. And the king is going to want to handle it, because if he doesn’t protect people from dangers, they’re going to start wondering why they pay taxes. It takes more than simple momentum to maintain an effective government.

Which brings us to the point of payment. People who do good things for money are not heroes. They don’t generate good will. Heroes are people who do good work without any promised reward. Heroes may be rewarded with positions, jobs, and land after the fact, but these things are not negotiated in advance. Certainly not out in the open, and certainly not for a simple cash payment. People who negotiate in advance for cash payment are called mercenaries.

Mercenaries are not heroes.

So when are mercenaries hired? In wealthy societies where the populace is unwilling to risk life and limb to protect their own lands, mercenary armies often replace home grown ones. But your PCs are not an army, they’re a handful of dudes with weapons who are willing to kill stuff for money. Who hires people like that?

People who want you to do some bad shit. People who want to deny knowledge of something. People who want to blame “those outsiders.”

In other words, questgivers are evil.

Now this isn’t a rule without exceptions. There will always be bounties on villains. There will always be towns at the end of their rope looking for 7 samurai. There will always be kingdoms ruled by despotic children who only send out soldiers to enforce tax collection. But there is pretty much NEVER going to be a long chain of dudes who want to hold your hand while you become an icon of heroic heroism and noble nobility, all while making sure your endeavors remain profitable.

Further, this doesn’t mean that players can’t be heroes if they want to be. It just needs to be their choice. They need to help people without being asked. When they do help people, they can’t then ask for payment, or ask for rewards that are not offered freely in gratitude. “Hero” is a tenuous title, and unless you’re dead, it can flip over to “tyrant” in a heartbeat.

It’s not my intent to argue that games should be more realistic as a general rule, or that this is the only way to play. Far from it. Anyone familiar with my work knows that realism bores me. The minute that somebody tries to justify a mechanic by saying it’s “more realistic,” my instinct is to just tune them out. But this idea of “the traveling adventurer” as an unambiguous hero shatters any sense of believability a story has for me. The way the word “adventurer” is used has become almost as cringe-inducing for me as the time I had an opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with my favorite university professor, and I spent the whole time talking about why his favorite TV show was dumb.

Play the way you want to play, of course, but for me, accepting a quest should mean that you’re about to do some shady ass shit that will probably hurt some good people.

On a Red World Alone; Handling Factions

On a Red World...ALONE!The other day I was getting ready for an upcoming session of ORWA. Much of the adventure was going to involve the players interacting with various factions. As I wrote up the notes I thought I would need, it dawned on me that over the past year of running this game I’ve come up with a fairly robust set of tools for faction management. It happened without me even noticing, so I never really put it all together in writing. It doesn’t have all the features that I want a faction system to have, but perhaps there’s something here that others will benefit from.

First you should know how ORWA is laid out, since it’s not your typical campaign world. The physical size is very small–a single biodome on mars. I’ve been intentionally vague about precisely how big the dome is, but the point is that there’s not a lot of room for folks to get away from one another. It’s not unusual for my players to spend time in three, or even four different sovereign territories in a single game session

Given all that, the factions have ended up as cross between city states and street gangs. They have traditions and governmental structures, and wars. But their armies are measured in the hundreds at the most, and moving the boarder a few city blocks is considered a significant shift in territory. Within their territories they provide law and order, but unless you’re at the very heart of their turf, then you’re never more than two steps from anarchy.

I keep a simple map with faction boarders on it, which serves as my primary campaign map. There are narrow strips of no-man’s land between each faction, but pretty much all the space is the territory of one group or another. Each territory is keyed to a short description of the faction that holds it. These started out as 1-2 sentence affairs, but have slowly grown larger as the factions were developed through play. As with a lot of things in tabletop games, I’ve found it works a lot better to start simple, and let the details take shape on their own.

ORWA Map

The Outsiders (group “E”), for example, began as giant dudes who’ve learned how to survive outside of the Dome for days at a time. Through play they’ve earned a sort of celtic flavor, and we’ve established that theirs is the best territory to try and start a new life in, so long as you’re okay with always being a second class citizen for lacking the biological advantages they’ve discovered. (Advantages your children will have a chance to achieve).

At some point I put all of the factions on a D% table. The amount of space each faction takes up on that table is weighted by how often they’re likely to have an impact on events beyond their own boarders. Five of the factions equally share about 70% of the table. These are the big, established powers. They provide the closest thing to stability the dome has.

Then next 20% of the table is for the two up-and-coming factions. Small territories with ambitions of expansion. The final 10% of the table is shared between three groups. There’s the Lords of Light, who are the vestigial remainder of a defeated power. There’s The Fighting Mongooses, a territory of mercenaries who are understood to be a neutral party by all the other territories. And, finally, there’s the territory of The Friends of Needletooth Jack, which is a completely insular territory. No one goes in, no one comes out.

Anytime I need to determine where something happens, or who did a thing, I roll on this table. Pretty much anytime anything happens I randomly determine who or where, because why not? It adds an interesting texture to the world. If I come up with everything myself it’ll make a bland sort of sense. But if you give me two dots and I have to figure out how to connect them, that’s where things start to get creative.

For example, a couple adventures back, my players needed to raid a building and recover a machine. Randomly determining where the building was determined which encounter table they’d be rolling on during their travels, and what sort of purpose the building might have been put to since the apocalypse. This particular territory happens to factor into one of the conspiracies that drive the campaign, so sending the party there on completely unrelated business gave me an opportunity to drop hints about what was coming.

In their last adventure, the party needed to rescue someone who had been captured, because I thought a rescue mission would be interesting. I rolled to determine which faction had this person, and that helped me determine why this person was being held, and whether it was an official act of the faction as a whole, or whether it was an individual acting without official sanction. The whole character of the adventure was determined by that roll.

In the party’s current adventure they need to protect a third party during a war between two factions. The location of the third party didn’t really matter, so long as it was fixed once determined. I randomly rolled an aggressor, then flipped a coin to decide which of their neighbors they were attacking. When that was done I rolled opposed d6s as a rough measure of discerning how successful each side of that conflict would be. The player’s goals really had no bearing on that, but the result of the war would have a huge effect on the territorial balance in the dome.

The different territories also correspond to different encounter tables, which allows me to show my players, rather than tell them, the difference between each faction. In the territory of the Redstone Lords (Faction “A” on the map), for example, the government is unusually organized. There are fewer encounters with monsters, and more encounters with thieves, aggressive agents of the state, or non-combat stuff, like slave markets. Meanwhile, in the territory of the Dukes of the Dome (“B”), where mutants are hated, there are no encounters with mutants. Or, if you do encounter a mutant, it’s being harassed / arrested / killed.

For interfactional relationships, I’m so far keeping things simple. Every faction hates the factions which boarder it, and are neutral with the factions that don’t. The simple fact of the matter is that everybody wants to grow, and there’s no territory to take that doesn’t already belong to someone. That means your neighbors want your territory, and you want theirs.

There are a few exceptions to this which are easy for me to just keep in my head. For example, the priests of Technotopia (“I”), have a particular grudge against the Lords Beneath the Black (“C”), because they are the two largest religions within the dome, and both would prefer to get rid of the other. Likewise, nobody likes the Friends of Needletooth Jack (“G”), but nobody is ever going to fuck with them either, because their territory is small and they’re scary as shit.

I don’t really have any means for tracking the player’s reputation with each faction, but I’ve found that I don’t really need it so much. Even with factions as small as these, the PCs are beneath the notice of the faction as a whole. I do track the player’s relationship with pretty much every NPC they ever meet, which serves as an adequate substitute. So while The Outsiders as a whole have no feelings about the PCs, the leader of the Outsiders (known as The Highlander) did once have a meeting with them. They brought him reliable information, but he repeatedly caught them lying about the details. So the party is useful, but he doesn’t trust them.

What I’ve put together for ORWA does lack a lot of the features I have always wanted from a faction system. Things like a reward/penalty track for building a reputation of working for or against each faction. But what I do have has been working surprisingly well, so hopefully others can get a little use out of it.

Santicore 2015: Dwarves’ Beards: What are they for?

mybeardDuring last year’s Secret Santicore, I was asked to come up for uses that Dwarves might have for their beards. (Beyond simply being super stylish). Nearly a year after the fact, my entry just popped up on the Santicore blog, and I thought I’d share it here.

Dear Santicore,

Dwarves’ beards: what are they for? A serious question. I would like a table of useful spelunking skills which a dwarf might be trained to accomplish using only their beard. Ideally starting dwarven characters would be able to roll up one bonus skill on it. Thank you!

— F.W.

For centuries, the dwarves of the Copper Keep have practiced the art of Beardcraft. When a young dwarf’s chin hairs first reach 6” (usually around 8 months), they are presented to the Beardmasters. These bearers of beardly secrets study every aspect of the child’s whiskers: from texture, to thickness, to curl, to pull-strength, and even color. From this, they determine which style the child’s beard is best suited to. The process of treating and grooming the beard is begun immediately, and the young dwarf grows up learning how to maintain and style their beard. Only recently has this practice begun to spread out from the Copper Keep, as a new generation of Beardmasters travel to other dwarven strongholds to share their dignified craft.

1. Rope Beard: In a private ritual each nameday, the dwarf carefully trims their beard from everywhere but their chin. This hair is then treated and braided into the chin hair, lengthening it. The resulting rope is 1’ long for every 2 years of the Dwarf’s life. It is normally worn draped around the dwarf’s shoulders like a scarf. It does not count against the dwarf’s encumbrance limit.

2. Food Catching Beard: The dwarf’s whiskers cling to every crumb of bread, string of meat, and dab of sauce that doesn’t make it into the dwarf’s mouth. At the end of the day, a good shake produces a tidy little pile of edibles ready for consumption. Any rations that the the dwarf purchases will last 50% longer than they normally would.

3. Junk Beard: A messy, unkempt kind of beard often adopted by dwarfs who consistently fail to maintain a more refined style. It is used to store a variety of small, occasionally useful doo-dads. By rummaging through their beard for 1 minute, the dwarf has a 2-in- 6 chance of producing any mundane object of small size and negligible value that they’re looking for: a pair of shears, a spool of twine, a chisel, etc.

4. Disarming Beard: A tangled mesh of wiry hair, slightly sticky to the touch, and tough as strands of steel. When the dwarf is the target of a critical fumble, the fumbler must save versus Paralysis or their weapon becomes caught in the dwarf’s beard. With a practiced jerk of the head, the dwarf can easily send the captured weapon flying away, safely out of reach.

5. Grappling Beard: A soft, voluminous beard, woven into dozens of large loops. With a deft tug of the chin, the dwarf can wrap these loops around an opponent and tighten them. Such dwarfs are skilled wrestlers, using their beards to get a grip on arms or necks. The character grapples as though they are one level higher than they are.

6. Climbing Beard: A tightly braided beard, wrapped around the body as a simple harness. Hooks and spikes dangle from strands of hair in easy reach of hands and feet. Dwarfs with such a beard receive +1 to any climbing related checks.

7. Falling Beard: Soft hair woven into a kind of checkerboard quilt shape, adorned with bits of cloth. Often these are scraps of old clothing donated by friends and loved ones. If the dwarf ever falls from a significant height, their beard will open up like a parachute, and the fall should be treated as though it were 10’ shorter than it actually was. If for some reason the dwarf wishes to fall at full speed, they must make a conscious effort to do so by holding their beard down as they fall.

8. Bramble Beard: A massive bristly bush of hair spreading in every direction, leaving only a few facial features visible. Best suited to dwarfs who are short, even by their race’s diminutive standard. By simply squatting down and squinting their eyes, a Bramble Bearded dwarf becomes nearly indistinguishable from a common tumbleweed.

9. Beard of Lights: A curly beard, with dozens of small upturned strands treated with oil and wax. A Beard of Lights is often chosen for those whose beard grows more quickly than is easily manageable. The upturned tips can be lit, and the fully lit beard serves as a light source equivalent to a torch for up to 6 hours a day.

10. Stonesense Beard: Sometimes mistaken for magic, the Stonesense Beard requires a dwarf of extreme patience and focus to master properly. By pressing their face to a stone surface, the Dwarf can slowly wriggle their beard hairs into the imperceptible cracks and channels in the stone by precisely vibrating their body. The process takes an hour of intense concentration before the beard is fully in place. Once the process is complete, the dwarf can feel even the most minute vibrations traveling through the stone. They can describe any room adjacent to the stone surface they’re connected to, including any creatures or treasure within those chambers.

When the dwarf wishes to extract themselves, they may either spend 10 quiet minutes delicately vibrating their body in reverse, or they may simply tear themselves free of the stone, loudly crumbling it, and leaving a crater roughly 3’x3’x1’ in the surface.

11. Nesting Beard: A wispy funnel of a beard, shaped and scented to be an attractive nest for a particular animal. There are four common animals that these beards are typically made for, based on how the dwarf’s own natural musk resonates with the required scent. Roll to determine which creature nests in your beard:

i. A canary. Will usually remain quiet, but will tweet in a wild panic if there is poison gas in the room. These canaries are particularly sensitive, and can even detect poison gasses that have not yet been released into the air.

ii. A squirrel. A helpful creature that will happily retrieve any small, squirrel-sized objects the dwarf can point to within their line of sight.

iii. A carrier pigeon. Can be sent to any location the dwarf has personally visited within 1 week’s travel distance. It takes 1d8 hours for the pigeon to reach its destination, and the same amount of time to return.

iv. A beaver. Can be directed by the dwarf to gnaw small holes in wooden objects, chew through ropes, etc.

12. Smoking Beard: A wild cascade of hair, meticulously groomed to appear untamed and ferocious. The whole thing is oiled and treated with incense. When the tips of the beard are lit they produce very little light, but a great deal of black, foul-smelling smoke. The smoking beard creates a hellish image of the dwarf, and any foe fighting them takes a penalty of one on their morale checks so long as the beard is lit. There is no limit to how often or long the beard may be lit, but there are natural consequences for being the source of so much smoke.

13. Beard Sack: Easily mistaken for any common dwarf beard, the Beard Sack is a layered style, with a loose outer layer obscuring a tightly woven satchel hidden beneath, with its opening just under the dwarf’s chin. This storage space grants one additional point of encumbrance ability for the dwarf, and anything stored within is considered hidden. Only a thorough search will reveal these hidden items. Such a search would be deeply offensive to any dwarf, and in respectable communities such poor treatment by the authorities may cause civil unrest.

14. Poison Straining Beard: Thick whiskers hang down over the dwarf’s lips, treated with cleansing tinctures. The dwarf can sip any substance safely, and determine with a few smacks of their lips whether it is poison or not. If it is poison, the dwarf can describe the poison’s effects in perfect detail.

15. Bestial Kinship Beard: A layered beard, scented with a subtle, gamey musk, and curving back slightly between the knees. Animals perceive the dwarf as a powerful but temperate creature. The dwarf gains a +1 bonus to reaction rolls made with natural creatures.

16. Beard Art: Only the most malleable of beards is suited to beard art. It is a rare gift, much prized by the beardmasters. The hair is treated with gels, and the dwarf is trained in the art of grooming their beard into the most spectacular shapes and sculptures. Such a beard grants a +1 to reaction rolls with anyone who has an appreciation for the finer things.

17. Sifting Beard: A single looping braid, supporting a lattice of sifting strands. The almost impossibly intricate lattice separates objects based on weight and density. It takes 1 minute to sift through a 1’ cube of detritus. The beard will separate the stones from the metals, and the coppers from the gold pieces. The beard must be dry to function properly, and cannot sift through mud or water.

18. Sleeping Beard: The hair is conditioned for maximum softness on one side, and for insulation and water resistance on the other. It can be used as a rudimentary one-dwarf shelter in time of need.

19. Steel Wool Beard: A coarse beard, treated with polishing oils. Any metal treasure with artistic value (such as a fancy sword, jewelry, a gold watch, ancient coins, etc.) has its value increased by 10% after the masterful cleaning and polishing it receives at the hands of a dwarf with a steel wool beard.

20. Utili-Beard: The beard is knotted and tied with four small tools hanging from it. The expert tying of the beard keeps these tools always within arm’s reach, but never in the way. Any one-handed object can be hung from the utili-beard: a hammer, a hacksaw, a sword, etc. The dwarf may switch between these four objects freely, without taking any penalties that might normally be incurred for switching a new object into the character’s hand.

d100 Reasons the Wizard is more than they Seem

Buff WizardThere’s a world of difference between being a mere “Magic User” and being a Wizard. A Magic User has retained their humanity. They’ve learned to force some spells into their brain, but they’ve yet to completely abandon everything of love and decency in the pursuit of greater magical powers.

Being a Wizard takes more than gaining levels in a class. It requires a disregard for decorum, ethics, or even one’s own safety. Any Wizard your party encounters out in the wide world will have the standard accouterments of a Magic User, that is true. But they’ve also made deals with creatures whose mere description could strike a man blind with fear. They’ve subjected their bodies and their souls to experiments no sane person would wish upon their worst enemies. They’ve learned truths mortal man was not meant to know, taken apart their own minds and reassembled them from scratch, and have grown bored with puzzles that lesser men could spend their whole lives deciphering.

There’s more going on there than a d4 hit die and a list of spells.

So if your party encounters a Wizard, roll a few times on this table. Note that all of these are meant to be taken as inherent powers that the Wizard has. Any wizard of such significant experience likely has a number of magical oddments secreted about their person as well.

  1. Phenomenal physical strength. This Wizard can hurl great boulders or punch through stone walls with their bare hands.
  2. This Wizard’s head is bald, and covered with dozens of eyes. Not only can they see in every direction, but each eye can emit a beam of burning light at whatever it looks at, dealing 1d4 damage.
  3. If standing in water of at least waist-depth, the Wizard can suffer no wounds. They draw vitality from the water, and have an effective fast healing of 100.
  4. The Wizard’s arms can stretch out, as though they were made of some elastic material. They can reach up to 100′ away from their bodies, bend their arms in any direction they require, and do not lose any of their strength regardless of how far their arm is from their body.
  5. Rather than carbon monoxide, this Wizard exhales a poison gas to which they are immune. In the open this effect is mild and not worth mentioning. However, if a character is in an enclosed space with the Wizard for longer than 1d4 rounds, they must begin making a save versus Poison each round. Each failure results in a temporary -1d4 to a random ability score.
  6. By manipulating the fabric of time itself, the wizard has managed to create a bubble in which future technology can exist. The Wizard may carry any number of future oddities: a gun, a smartphone, a drone, lightweight bulletproof armor, etc. If the Wizard dies, all this technology will realign with its proper time frame. From our perspective, it will simply disappear.
  7. The Wizard cannot die a natural death, and will live until some mortal harm befalls them. They may now have already lived for centuries, or even millennia.
  8. The blood of the Wizard has been replaced by a pressurized gas that ignites when it contacts the air. Any puncturing or piercing wound against the wizard will result in a gout of flame. A 30′ cone, dealing damage equal to the Wizard’s remaining health to anyone within its area. Save versus Breath for half damage.
  9. The Wizard’s skin cannot be cut by any means, unless they are willing. It may still be bludgeoned, but it will not break. Slashing or piercing weapons deal a greatly reduced amount of damage because of this.
  10. Gravity does not appear to affect this Wizard. They drift, keeping near the ground by a mechanism from which they can easily detach if they wish to float freely. They have become skilled at bouncing off of walls, leaping out of range, and otherwise using this affliction to their best advantage.
  11. After performing more squats than you could ever fathom in a time-stopped pocket dimension, this Wizard can now leap up to 100′ in the air. Regardless of how high they fall from, they will never suffer any damage from a fall. Even if they were to fall from orbit, assuming they had some way of surviving entry through the atmosphere.
  12. The Wizard can cast spells “by ear,” as it were. If they have an empty spell slot of sufficiently high level, and they see a spell cast, then that spell will appear in their empty spell slot. They can cast it as normal, or keep it until later to inscribe into their spellbook without any difficulty.
  13. By looking at a person, this Wizard gains an intimate understanding of that person’s religion, probably knowing even more about it than they do. The Wizard often uses this to impersonate deities and prophets. A few hours after losing sight of a person, knowledge of that person’s religion fades.
  14. The Wizard is accompanied by a (1. Close Friend, 2. Lover, 3. Devoted Vassal, 4. Magically bonded slave) who is a (1. Minotaur, 2.Succubus, 3. Horned Devil, 4. Giant, 5. Dinosaur, 6. Dragon)
  15. The Wizard has absolute mastery-level experience in a completely unrelated career, which they spent decades in prior to pursuing the mystic arts. (1. Sailing, 2. Politics, 3. Fine Arts, 4. Natural Philosophy, 5. History, 6. Engineering, 7. Beast Taming, 8. Metalcrafting)
  16. Sleep is completely unnecessary for this Wizard, and they are filled with a nervous energy that makes even their downtime insanely productive. This has allowed them to train a second class without impacting their Wizardly pursuits. They get all the benefits of their second class, which has roughly half the number of levels that they have in the Magic User class. (1. Cleric 2-3. Fighter 4-5. Specialist 6. Something weird. Like one of the custom classes on this site.)
  17. The Wizard’s speech has a magical charge, making any command they utter have the force of a Command spell.
  18. Magic Missile scrolls are tattooed up and down each of the Wizard’s digits. They are able to cast the spell 10 times per day without expending any of their spell slots on memorizing it.
  19. The Wizard has already undergone 99% of the process required to become a lich. Their phylactery already exists, and the only thing left is for them to die. They’re in no hurry to do it, but when they do die, they’ll just be reborn as a lich.
  20. The Wizard’s beard is not made of normal hair, but of (1. Tentacles, 2. Snakes, 3. Insectile Legs, 4. Ooze, 5. Fire, 6. Prehensile Hair). There are 1d4 tendrils from here which are long enough to make attacks. If the Wizard is of a feminine persuasion, then instead of a beard this effect sprouts from her (1. Underarms, 2. Bush, 3. she just has a beard anyway, 4. She has this instead of boobs) Under no circumstances may head hair be used.
  21. The Wizard is (1. Resistant by half, 2. Immune, 3. Absorbs half, 4. Absorbs fully.) any damage which might reasonably be attributed to (1. Fire, 2. Cold, 3. Acid, 4. Electricity).
  22. By suffusing their body with the ectoplasm of numerous spectral infants, the Wizard is able to turn their body incorporeal at will.
  23. The Wizard’s appearance is fungible. They can alter it to resemble any human they choose, or create an entirely new appearance for themselves out of scratch.
  24. Under numerous aliases, this Wizard controls numerous organizations. Everything from local governments of seemingly unimportant towns, to big city guilds, to organized crime, to mercenary bands.
  25. The Wizard exudes pheromones with similar effect to a Charm Person spell. Anyone who can smell them must save.
  26. From their sleeve the Wizard can pull any nonmagical, nonspecific object that would fit in a sleeve. So for example, they can pull out a watch to check the time, but cannot pull out a magical watch that stops time, or your father’s watch that you just said you’d pay a fortune to have back.
  27. The Wizard has eithera 16′ long prehensile penis that can entangle and compress victims to death; or they have a pair of acid-filled tits which can spray in a 15′ cone at will. Which one the Wizard has is irrespective of their gender.
  28. The pores of the Wizard ooze a kind of gooey oil which makes them incredibly slippery. The Wizard uses this to slid around as though on skates, escape any bonds ever put on them, and to swim with incredible speed.
  29. Environmental concerns are of no concern to this Wizard. They can breathe under water, self-heat themselves in a blizzard, and self-cool themselves inside a volcano. This safety from the elements includes any magically imposed environments, but does not protect them from area of effect spells.
  30. A gem is embeded into the Wizard’s tongue. If they stick out their tongue while standing in a brightly lit area, a prism of color will refract out of the gem. This light eill envelope and contain everything in a 15′ square. The square may be placed anywhere within 20′ of the Wizard’s location.
  31. Any (1-2. Man, 3-4. Woman) encountered by the Wizard will instantly fall in love with them. There is no save involved, and they will wish only good things for the Wizard, seeking their approval. Any creature without gender is immune to this effect.
  32. The secret of human construction is known to the Wizard. Over the course of about a week, they are able to fully construct an adult human from component elements. These humans are independent, but obviously most of them accept that they owe some notable debt to their creator, and choose to serve the Wizard. Several of these will accompany the Wizard.
  33. There are actually 2d2 Wizard’s minds contained within this single body, shared due to some catastrophe while traveling the outer planes. Each of the minds possesses a full spell list, ready to cast. The body can only cast one spell at a time, probably.
  34. The Wizard is able to run as fast as a galloping horse, and never tires of their exertion in this regard.
  35. The Wizard is able to move objects telekinetically, without any limit on how frequently or how long they can do so. They can move up to (1. 10lb, 2-4. 80lb, 5-6. 200lb), (1. Slowly, but with great precision. 2. Slowly and clumsily, 3-5. With great speed, but still clumsily 6. With great speed and precision)
  36. The Wizard’s hands can be detached, and will then animate to act as the Wizard’s servitors, with the ability to fly. New hands will grow on the Wizard’s stumps after about 1 turn. The detached hands will wither and die after 1d6 turns.
  37. The Wizard is possessed of Superman-style Super-Breath. Hurricane force winds as cold as a blizzard. They can do this as often as they’re able to get a really deep, satisfying breath. So, at most, every 2d4 rounds, and never if they’re exhausted from heavy physical activity.
  38. The Wizard has an Omega Gaze. They may use it once per 10 minute turn, and it will follow its target until it strikes them without fail. The beams deal 2d12 damage, but a save versus Device will reduce the damage by half.
  39. A powerful creature owes the Wizard a favor, and will come to their aide when summoned (1. Djinn, 2. Vampire, 3. A titanic intelligent lion 4. An elder dragon.)
  40. Like an ioun stone, a tiny door orbits their bodies. At will they may use their hands to pull the door wide enough to step through. It leads into a pocket dimension where they store numerous weapons and treasures. Many of these can easily be removed merely by reaching into the door while it is in its miniaturized state, so that the Wizard is never truly unarmed.
  41. Stones speak to the Wizard, and respond to his questions. They cannot act on the Wizard’s behalf, but they know much of what happens around them.
  42. The Wizard knows they are in a game, and is annoyed that they’ve accidentally wandered onto the main stage. They know all of the rules of the game, and would like to extricate themselves from the spotlight as soon as possible so they can go back to whatever they do when no one is imagining them. Considers it an insult to speak to characters, and will speak only to players and to the referee directly.
  43. For a brief moment the Wizard achieved godhood a few years ago. They were knocked back down to earth by a pantheon unwilling to accept such a pompous little mortal into their midst; but they retained one minor vestige of their divinity (1. Invulnerability to hit point damage, 2. They know everything that more than five people in the world know. 3. The ability to shape their environment to suit their will 4. The ability to un-make anyone who blasphemes them in their presence.)
  44. This Wizard has already evolved beyond their physical form, but are still muddling about in their physical bodies. Death would release them to achieve some higher form of existence. Flip a coin to determine if the Wizard knows this.
  45. Each time the Wizard says a character’s full name, they gain 1 point of power over that character. This information is kept secret, though players might notice the creepily deliberate way their names are being repeated. At will, the Wizard may activate this power. Each point of power deals 1 point of damage, and if a character is killed in this way, they become an undead servant of the wizard. They fully retain their faculties, but must obey the wizard’s commands as their body slowly rots. The Wizard must know a name before they can speak it, and when spoken, it must be audible to the target in order to count. After a day, if they are unused, points of power fade away.
  46. The Wizard may bilocate. While doing so, they exist fully in two different places at once. If one is destroyed, it does not matter, because the other is no less of the whole. When the two instances of the Wizard come together, they may combine, and thus the single Wizard will have lived a pair of simultaneous experiences.
  47. Fire obeys the Wizard, and will spread in the direction they indicate. It may also take on shapes, flare, smoke, or smoulder at the Wizard’s behest.
  48. The body of the Wizard is like a magical sponge. It draws all mystic energy into itself. While in the presence of this Wizard, no magic items or magic spells will work, save those that the Wizard is channeling their own energies into.
  49. The Wizard is posessed of many of the properties of spiders. They are able to spin webs from their fingertips. climb walls, move with great speed and agility, are much strong than they ought to be, and have incredibly accute senses. This Wizard is spider-man, is what I’m saying.
  50. No creature can bring itself to act violently against the Wizard, for any reason. If the Wizard acts violently first, then whomever in the area has the strongest save versus Magic may attempt a save. If they succeed, then they can act violently, and whomever has the next weakest save versus Magic may attempt a similar save. So on and so forth, until someone fails a save, at which point no one else may attempt one.
  51. This Wizard stands 9′ tall, with the strength and constitution of a weight lifter. They’re an imposing figure, with the maximum hit points that they could possibly have given their level and hit dice.
  52. Anybody with any manner of noble pedigree believes they have fond memories of this Wizard. Upon seeing this Wizard for the first time they will remember when the Wizard used to perform little tricks for them, and when they stood up to an angry parent on the noble child’s behalf. These memories will never fade, and The Wizard finds it quite easy to get any favor they need from the upper classes.
  53. The name of this Wizard is very powerful. They dare never let anyone know it, for if someone knows their name, they become immune to the Wizard’s magic.
  54. This Wizard tricked and slew god’s own messenger. They stole the throat of this semi-divine creature, and now a tinge of blue and white glows beneath the skin of their neck when they speak. Everything they say is completely captivating. Every joke riotously funny, every speech moving, every poem will move an audience to tears. Their words always have the best possible effect that was intended.
  55. They have vision which (1. Freezes people in place, 2. Turns people to stone, 3. Turns people into their mind-slaves 4. Switches souls with the target). The effect can be avoided with a save versus Magic. This ability may be used (1. Every round, 2-3. Every 3rd round, 4-6. 1d6 times per day)
  56. The Wizard’s feet never touch the ground. They fly everywhere effortlessly.
  57. The wizard is able to grow to the size of a titan (20-30′ tall), or to the size of an insect at will.
  58. The Wizard is permanently able to speak with (1. Plants 2. Animals 3. All languages of the common races 4. The dead). To the Wizard, being able to speak to these things has become second nature.
  59. Every race sees the Wizard as a member of their own race. Be they human, house cat, goblin, dragon, giant, or anything else.
  60. This Wizard is able to transform into a (1. Lion, 2. Eagle, 3. Hammerhead Shark 4. Ladybug 5. Iguana 6. King Cobra) at will.
  61. This Wizard can transform into a pool of liquid at will. They can move around so long as they are going downhill, or on a more-or-less even surface. The puddle can also shape itself however it chooses. So it can become a thin strand to slid across a tightrope, so long as that tightrope doesn’t go up.
  62. Wherever they are, the Wizard always seems to have a fine manse just over the horizon. This manse won’t be there unless the Wizard is approaching or occupying it, however. Each manse is different, filled with fine luxuries, accoutrements, and servants, all of which are real and could potentially be removed from the premises before the manse ceases to exist again.
  63. The Wizard can breathe just like a dragon can. Roll to determine the type of dragon their breath emulates: (1. Red, 2. Black, 3. Blue, 4. White, 5. Green, 6. Something really weird).
  64. Each morning the Wizard removes a book from under their pillow. The book is always different, describing whatever new challenges the Wizard may face that day. It does not describe what will happen, only what is in the Wizard’s path. The information in these books looks very much like the referee’s notes, and the character sheets of any characters present at the session.
  65. This Wizard is permanently invisible, and must wear full-body coverings to appear visible.
  66. All (1. Ravens, 2. Frogs, 3. Porcine Creatures, 4. Spiders 5. Human children 6. Moles 7. Chickens 8. Ferrets) will obey the Wizard’s mental commands.
  67. The Wizard may travel up to 2 miles with every step they take if they so wish.
  68. The Wizard’s saliva is a pleasant narcotic. Their body produces it in perfect amounts to keep them high, and if they want they can spare some spit now and again for other people. They are a really, really good kisser.
  69. A serpent of exceeding wisdom lives inside the Wizard’s butt. It tells them things. Amazing things.
  70. The Wizard has a low-level mind read active at all times, allowing them to sense the surface thoughts of everyone around them.
  71. This Wizard has so many kinds of vision up in their eyes. X-Ray vision. Night vision. Far-vision. Micro-vision. So many visions.
  72. This Wizard is currently living through this day for the third time. They can avoid 2d4 mistakes. Anytime the referee feels that the Wizard has made a mistake, they can reverse time to when that mistake was made, and make a different choice.
  73. Randomly determine a member of the party. Secretly, the Wizard is that character’s parent.
  74. If someone looks into the Wizard’s eyes, they are incapable of telling a lie.
  75. The Wizard is an absolute master of seduction, is exceptionally good at sex, and knows how to make just about anybody feel appreciated and respected the morning after as the Wizard takes their leave. There’s nothing magical about this, they’re just a really amazing lay.
  76. The Wizard currently carries a magic item of world-altering significance. The sort of thing that might serve as the Mcguffin for a huge adventure. The Wizard had no plans to use this item today, and may never have intended to use it. They might intend only to study it, or even to destroy it, but if the day goes poorly enough for them…
  77. Accepting employment contracts from this Wizard is a trap. It places the employee under a nearly unbreakable spell of servitude which can only be broken if the Wizard can be tricked into saying  “eleven.”
  78. The Wizard is currently astral-projecting themselves from an unknown location. They’ve been doing so for so long that their spirit has grown a new physical body around itself, and they’ve forgotten where their true body is. If their current body is killed, they will be snapped back to their actual body’s current location. Note that their current body need look nothing like their true body, and they may even be a different age, gender, or species.
  79. At will, the Wizard can place themselves, and anyone within 60′, inside of a pocket dimension. This dimension lasts for as long as anyone is inside of it, and looks exactly like whatever area was in a 60′ radius of the Wizard when the pocket was created.
  80. 10 tiny polyps grow on the Wizard’s body. If cut off and cast to the ground, these instantly grow into naked, burly warriors ready to defend the Wizard with their lives.
  81. The Wizard has adhesive spit. It’s remarkably sticky, instantly hardening, and tough enough to hold the short side of a brick to a wall.
  82. The Wizard has acidic urine. They can only use it if they’ve had enough water, but it’ll melt pretty much anything.
  83. The Wizard has explosive poop. It detonates roughly 20 seconds after it is excreted, and thus must be thrown quickly to avoid self-harm.
  84. The Wizard has a 4-in-6 chance to have the perfect potion for any situation on their belt. These are never general potions, like healing potions or Giant’s Growth potions. These are bizarrely specific. Stuff like “Potion of Manacle Breaking,” “Tincture of odorless farts,”
    and “Shark repellent.”
  85. This Wizard has business cards which they hand out to everyone they meet. If anything interesting is said within “earshot” of the card, it appears in a little notebook the Wizard carries, which they read through each morning over coffee.
  86. A large portion of this Wizard’s brain has been replaced with a crystalline structure from another world. The crystals are hyper-logical, and view the world through a vastly different lens. The Wizard themselves still displays emotion, as their brain is not completely gone, but the crystals provide them with lightning-fast thinking when processing logic or mathematics, as well as a perfect photographic memory.
  87. The Wizard has fused themselves with a water elemental. Their body appears just like any normal example of their race, but objects pass harmlessly through it, leaving only ripples behind. They may move and act with all of the abilities you would expect from a water elemental.
  88. With a wave of the hand this Wizard may reinvigorate the life in items made from wood. Any within his presence will begin to grow branches and sprout leaves, becoming unsuitable for whatever purpose they originally had. The Wizard’s own equipment is made of metal, bone, ceramic, etc so as to avoid this becoming an issue.
  89. This Wizard cannot be affected by foreign substances. Poisons have no impact, but neither do intoxicants. The Wizard was quite fond of a night of boozy revelry prior to this alteration, and views it as a poor trade.
  90. The wizard has rearranged their own internal anatomy. They are immune to critical hits, sneak attacks, and any form of non-magical medicine.
  91. Whoever kills this Wizard is actually the one who dies, for when this Wizard is killed, their mind transfers into the body of their killer. The only thing this Wizard really fears is death by accident or old age.
  92. If this wizard touches you, your skin will display a black spot. Anyone who sees this spot will know you are marked for death and that no one can be prosecuted for killing you. No judge will convict them, and indeed, they will be entitled to all of your property for doing the world a favor by getting rid of you.
  93. At will, this Wizard may ignite their index finger as if it were a sparkler. They can then write and draw in mid air, and the images will not disappear until they snap their fingers.
  94. The fey folk once danced for weeks while this Wizard played a jig on the pipes which nearly exhausted them to the point of death. But the fey were satisfied, and as a gift they gave the Wizard tremendous luck. Any rolls made in relation to the Wizard must be rolled twice, and the result more beneficial to the Wizard is taken. This goes for attack and damage rolls made by OR against the Wizard, as well as rolls on random tables, ability or skill checks, and any other kind of roll that might occur.
  95. Any body of drinking water which touches this Wizard’s lips is turned to a sweet wine.
  96. Any damage dealt to this Wizard by the direct action of an individual is also dealt to that individual. So if you deal 4 points of damage by stabbing this Wizard, you take 4 points of stabbing damage yourself. If, on the other hand, you tie the Wizard to a chair inside of a building, and then light the building on fire, you will take no damage. Just don’t be dumb and push the wizard into the fire once it’s started blazing.
  97. This Wizard can control the weather with simple gestures of their hands, guiding the wind to blow in a given direction with a given amount of force, calling down rain or hail, and even bolts of lightning once a storm has really gotten going.
  98. This Wizard eight long tentacular arms, ending in normal human hands, growing from their back parallel to their spine.
  99. The Wizard has partially fused themselves with a creature they were experimenting on. They’ve taken on some of the physical attributes of this creature, as well as gained some of its talents. (1. Hare, 2. Tortoise, 3. Falcon, 4. Bear, 5. Dog, 6. Iguana.)
  100. The Wizard “bounces” as if they are made of rubber in a cartoon. Weapons bounce off of them, they can shoot themselves high into the sky by “cannon balling” at the ground. A fall can never hurt them. They can even attack and deal serious damage by bouncing themselves at an enemy.
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