All posts by LS

d100 Objects of Moderate Value

Wooden Elephant StatuetteWe already know that coins are boring treasure. I mean, a sack of gold is fine now and again, but in general, treasure is a lot cooler when it’s some kind of valuable object.

I’ve got this bad habit, though. Anytime I go to make a treasure object, I make something of phenomenal quality. An item whose manufacture exceeds what ought to be possible with the technology available in my game world. It’s fun to let your imagination run wild, and describe solid gold cat statue of perfect lifelike quality. But when you go wild describing an object, you’ve got to give it an impressive value in coins to match. And before you know it you’ve unbalanced your game’s economy again.

It’s more interesting if treasure is down to earth. Something the player can expect to earn a few hundred coin for; but not the lost opus of some ancient master craftsperson. In the end it just makes sense if most valuable objects are a little bit mundane.

  1. An unfinished painting comissioned for a duchess who died before it could be completed. The painting is only a little more than half done.
  2. A tribal mask from a far off land, carved from a single piece of wood.
  3. A brass tree, with many twisting branches of thick wire. Tree is flat, meant to hang on a wall.
  4. An ancient clay vase, cracked down the side. Was clearly decorated at one time, but most of the paint has chipped off.
  5. A 4′ picture frame of mahogany, inlained with pearls at each corner. No picture inside of it.
  6. An intact piece of old correspondence which sheds some light on a minor historical mystery.
  7. An erotic candelabra depicting a nude woman with her back arched, and her breasts pointing straight up. A pair of candles can be mounted where her areola ought to be.
  8. The embroidered green vestments a priest might wear on special holy days.
  9. An erotic sundial depicting a man reclining, with a large erection casting a shadow on the disc.
  10. A jewlery box of birch, with braided steel trim. The box is empty.
  11. A fine wood chalice with gold inlaid on the interior of the cup. Religious symbols are carved into the base.
  12. A steel monstrance with eight rays radiating from the center. The hinge is rusted shut.
  13. An oversized stein, large enough that it would be difficult to lift safely to your lips with one hand. Decorated with art of men on horseback hunting a boar.
  14. A small ivory bust depicting a veiled woman on one side, and a skeleton on the other.
  15. A silver hairbrush, decorated with spiral ivy patterns. Most of the bristles are missing.
  16. A jade comb with a simple spiral pattern at the center. Has one missing tooth.
  17. Steel thinning-shears with a gold handle.
  18. A steel hand mirror with a handle shaped to look like an angel. The angels wings rise up on either side to frame the glass, their points meeting at the top. The glass is cracked, but usable.
  19. A decorative dagger sheath, with silver inlays, and spiral patterns imprinted into the leather.
  20. A decorative longsword scabbard, dyed blue with a crisscrossing lattice of gold thread binding it.
  21. A single tile, clearly meant to be one of many. It depicts a castle tower, with a guard standing on it. The side of a tree is also visible. The art is superb.
  22. A stack of decorative tiles, decorated with swirling blue patterns. A few are cracked, but most are in perfect condition.
  23. An oversized, ornamental key made of tin. Clearly meant as a trophy, rather than as a functional key.
  24. A steel chamberpot. It has been embossed to look like the head of some villainous person or other in caricature. It’s unlikely you’d be able to find anyone who was familiar with the person depicted, and it’s probably the result of some personal grudge.
  25. A lyre, carved with small depictions of birds along the left side of it.
  26. A birdcage of brass wire, twisted to look similar to wood. An occasional brass leaf protrudes from the wire.
  27. A cross made of several woods, which have been polished and pressed together.
  28. A marble bust of Virgil.
  29. A woodcarving of a bear with a sword in its mouth. Meant to hang on a wall.
  30. A distinct warbanner, colored green with two strikes of yellow and one of black. This is one of many once used by a famous army of conquest, which many of the player’s grandparents likely fought with, or against.
  31. A 1′ by 8″ portrait of a woman, perhaps a merchant’s wife. It is painted with skill, but the subject is of no great significance.
  32. A bronze elephant, raising its trunk into the air. It is hollow, and made with no great skill, but still attractive.
  33. A clay circle inlaid with a variety of smooth stones. The stones form a simple spiral, with larger stones towards the center. The item has no obvious function.
  34. A ceramic pitcher, painted tan and brown, and adorned with a simple painting depicting the coronation of a king.
  35. A wooden statuette of a ram, about 1.5′ long. It’s light weight, and painted to more closely resemble the animal.
  36. A single arm, broken off of a lovely chandelier. Brass, plated with gold, decorated with a dangling chain of crystal from the tip.
  37. An artist’s sketchbook. The artist is signed “H.G.,” and doesn’t conform to any widely known style. But some of the pieces are quite good.
  38. A parish bible, complete with painted scenes, fancy lettering, and gilded pages.
  39. An unpublished Hymn, written in the handwriting of a moderately well known composer of hymns from 60 years ago.
  40. A lost manuscript written by Catherine Parr, titled “The Lamentations of a Gleeful Sinner.” Apparently an early draft of her later published work.
  41. An ancient game. There’s a block of wood with six peg holes in a circle, one peg carved from ivory, and four dice, each of which is painted with a skull on a single side. Evidently there are some missing pieces.
  42. A lantern with small paintings of birds on the glass. When lit, these birds appear as shadows on the walls.
  43. A recipe for preparing halibut with cabbage, sugar, and pigs feet. A note, scrawled at the bottom like a signature, reads “Fit for a king!”
  44. A bronze sphere of exceeding smoothness. It is remarkable in just how perfectly spherical it is.
  45. A leather scroll, on which is printed an ancient formulation of a mathematical proof. A proof which was lost, and only rediscovered a dozen or so years prior to now.
  46. A leather satchel with gold-colored silk inlays, a silver tie cord, and an intricate braid pattern pyrographed around the outside.
  47. A marble head. The neck is jagged, and was clearly broken off of a larger statue. Knowledgeable players may recognize the head as being a depiction of a man whose memory was banned 150 years ago. While the law is still technically on the books, no one takes it seriously anymore.
  48. A richly appointed pair of trousers. Dyed black, with a pair of gold braided cords down the right leg, and a single red braided cord down the left leg.
  49. A neck chain with thick, heavy links. Mounted on the chain is a large cross of polished mahogany.
  50. A hanging wooden sign for the Cobbler’s Knee Pub, stolen long ago from the establishment where an infamous assassination took place, setting off a decade long war.
  51. A refracted glass cylinder with small wooden birds and cotton clouds within it. As you walk around it, the refraction of the glass make it appear to contain gently drifting clouds.
  52. A belt buckle depicting a cheerful dog. The belt coming through the buckle would look like the dog’s tongue.
  53. A pair of ceramic hands mounted to a base. Between the fingers is a silver thread, held in an elaborate string-figure pattern.
  54. A chunk of marble from what was once a beautiful statue. It depicts a hand grasping some piece of flesh. The way the fingers indent the flesh shows exceedingly superb craftsmanship.
  55. A housecat-sized statue of an ant, made from tin. The statue is mounted on a cedar base, and has pearls for eyes.
  56. A key, the handle of which depicts a blacksmith swinging two hammers. The shaft and teeth of the key depict the haft and head of the hammers.
  57. A censer shaped to resemble a funeral pyre. The ‘body’ can be raised to fill the container with incense, and the smoke rises from slats between the ‘wood’.
  58. A small collection of 2d6 pewter figures of knights in armor, shown  in different battle postures.
  59. A glass bottle with a tiny cottage built inside of it. There is dirt, and fake grass. The cottage is simple, of the sort that people lived in a few hundred years ago.
  60. A bit of silver shaped to look exactly like an acorn. Exactly.
  61. A fragment of a tablet. Something is written on it in a pictograph language. The language is known, but has never yet been translated.
  62. A coin purse filled with false teeth. There are ivory, wood, steel, silver, and gold teeth. Several of each.
  63. A ceramic statue of a horse, about 4′ tall. It is crudely shaped, limited by the artistic expertise of an earlier era, but that history lends it a sense of gravitas.
  64. A fine box with a silver clasp and velvet lining. The box contains a crystal inkwell, a small knife meant for cutting quills, and a small book detailing the best way to pick and to cut quills.
  65. The nameplate of a ship. Players with any knowledge of history may recognize the ship’s name as being among 77 that were sunk during a great battle some 25 years ago.
  66. A simple brick mounted on a plaque. The plate indicates that this brick was once part of a very famous building, demolished some 43 years ago.
  67. A sword, rusted into complete uselessness. Notably, the design of the sword is one that has not been common for some 500+ years. Despite it’s condition, it is a valuable antique.
  68. A wooden box filled with carefully organized tools of good quality–drills, a hammer, files, and the like. These are a set of carpenter’s tools for a true craftsman. The sort of set that would be purchased once, and used throughout their whole lives, then be passed on to their children.
  69. A ceramic teapot of great delicacy, with a meadow scene painted on the side of it.
  70. A clay tablet with the cycles of the moon etched into it. Beneath that is a depiction of a lunar calendar plotted out for several hundred years. The last year plotted was 18 years prior.
  71. A glasswork lightning bolt, tinted a metallic sort of yellow. The bolt is fused to a clear, flat base, also made of glass.
  72. A chamber pot with a primitive depiction of pooping kings all around the outside of it.
  73. A steel bell embossed with images of clumsy stupid servants running around, failing to perform their duties competently.
  74. A milking stool of unusual quality. It has a padded seat, gold tassels, and ornately carved legs resembling praying cows.
  75. A birdcage of delicate reeds, arranged with perfection.
  76. A quilt large enough to cover any bed the players have ever seen three times over. Each patch is completely unique, and depicts some scene from rural life.
  77. A heavy steel lock. In inscription, in Latin, warns thieves to stay away or be struck down by Mars.
  78. A crude fasces. Several of the rods are cracked at the base, but it is otherwise in good condition.
  79. A blue Mitre, with knee-length tassels dangling from either side, and an embroidered white sun on the front.
  80. A single chess pawn. It obviously comes from what would have been an amazingly ornate chess set. Even this single small piece is crafted in bronze, affixed with a wireframe soldier on one side, and capped with a large pearl.
  81. A pair of manacles ill-suited to restraint. The links are loops of silk, and the cuffs themselves are polished wood, padded with cloth on the inside, and closed with leather straps.
  82. A roll of cloth containing a collection of 33 stone knives. The knives range from apparently very old and dull, to relatively recent and sharp.
  83. A phallus of leather and clay, with a wooden core. Stitched to perfection.
  84. An arrow of red, with peacock-feather fetching, and a heart-shaped ruby tip. Obviously non-functional.
  85. A large glass jug, sealed with a cork. Within is a functioning miniature biome, complete with dirt, plants, and a moisture cycle.
  86. A cylindrical steel container, shaped like a tiny angry man. The top of his head can be pulled off to open the container.
  87. A paintbrush with a jade handle, encircled with a braid pattern. The bristles are horse hair.
  88. A life-size statue of a woman, which appears to be made of stone. It’s crudely done, but notable in that it is remarkably light. Perhaps enchanted in some way, or made of some unknown material. It can easily be carried by a single person, though it is still oversize and awkward to hold.
  89. A handwritten & illustrated book describing some 350 fictional monsters. The disturbed ravings of a madman, but none the less an item of intense curiosity to the right buyer.
  90. A dogwhistle shaped like a running dog,
  91. A false nose, made of ivory, and held to the face by two leather straps that go around behind the head.
  92. A barometer, along with a leather-bound book written by an unknown German woman who experimented extensively with the strange device she inadvertently invented.
  93. A taxidermy mouse with tiny diamonds for eyes.
  94. A freestanding suit of plate armor, 3′ tall, with human proportions.
  95. A set of table silverware. Each spoon, fork, and knife has a tiny human face carved into the pommel. Each face is unique, and they display a range of emotions.
  96. A Grecian wine bowl, with pornographic images at the bottom. When you tilt the bowl back to drink, you also get to see dicks and tits!
  97.  A reproduction of a famous piece of art. It’s not really convincing enough to fool any but the completely uncultured.
  98. A map made by an ancient people of a now well-populated area. The map is crude, but has historical value.
  99. A sadomasochistic erotic novel written by Isabella of Castile
  100. A star chart on a roll of leather. Clearly made by a people who did not need to use leather, but chose to for ceremonial reasons.

I Hate Choice

X-COM Second Wave Select ScreenA long time ago I wrote a series called “Pathfinder Class Analysis.” Basically, I would read over an individual Pathfinder class, then I’d write outlandish blog posts about what I would do differently if I were the one designing it. At the time I probably would have said I was criticizing Pathfinder because I loved it and wanted to see it improve. In retrospect, the whole series was kind of my parting shot at the whole 3.X family of systems. I had already started to play in OSR games at that point, and was enjoying the hobby more than I ever had before. It wasn’t too much later that I stopped writing about Pathfinder entirely.

But in many ways, Papers & Pencils is still much more popular as a Pathfinder website than it is as an OSR one. The Class Analysis posts in particular draw a lot of traffic, and produce a lot of comments. Some are surprisingly positive, but nearly all of them posit some serious disagreement . The most consistent criticism is directed at my frequent assertion that some class choices ought to be made randomly, rather than left to the player’s discretion.

It’s a belief I’ve only doubled down on. Many of the classes I’ve drafted for you this year have randomized powers, The Windmaster and The Slasher are two examples that come immediately to mind. I love randomized class options, but a lot of folks seem to think that’s a pretty weird thing to love. So lets dig into just why I love them.

There are two arguments I find compelling in favor of randomizing character options. The first is an argument against choice, the second is an argument for randomization.

Choice is good. But like all things, it’s only good in moderation. The human brain is really only capable of weighing so many options before it reaches a point of choice paralysis. This is doubly true when the effects of those options aren’t readily apparent. If you’re trying to learn a new game, you can’t know if +1 to your Blamf is better than +1 to your Flumph.

Most players don’t enjoy creating their character. Oh, sure, there are some who do. They’re the sort of folks who go online to talk about their favorite games. The ones who just can’t get enough D&D. They get together on forums or subreddits and it’s easy to assume they represent the entire player base for tabletop games. But I don’t think I’ve ever met one of those people outside the Internet.

Every player I’ve ever played with in real life just wants to play the game. Every choice the character creation process gives them is an extra step they have to take before they get to do the thing they actually want to do. But they won’t rush the choice, because they don’t want to make a bad choice. So they agonize over options they don’t really understand, that are too numerous to be explained to them in any meaningful way. When they finally do choose, it’s more out of exasperation than anything else. Then they spend the next several months asking the referee “so…what does this do again?”

This is not because players are lazy. This is because complicated, choice-heavy character creation is only fun for a small minority of people. For everybody else, you might as well gate the fun behind tax forms.

None of this is to say that character creation should never include any choices. Far from it, I think a small number of options that can be made quickly and understood easily are a great way to make a player feel like their character is really their own. But many rules-heavy games labor under the false assumption that more choice is always better. Quite the contrary, too much choice is poison to fun.

Courtney Campbell is particularly adept striking a good balance with this. Many of his games fall on what I would call the rules-heavy side of the spectrum. But his character creation processes strictly control the number of choices a player is asked to make at first level. I wish I could talk more about his upcoming “Perdition” in this post, as it really exemplifies this design philosophy. I’ll have to settle for telling you to be excited for its upcoming release.

So that’s why I don’t like (excessive) choice. It’s a barrier that prevents new or casual players from enjoying the game. But what makes randomized options so appealing?

If there’s a list of 10 class options, and the player is allowed to pick whichever one they want, they’re going to try to pick the one that will give them the most success in the game. That’s a completely reasonable thing for them to do. It’s what I would do. Most likely 1-3 of those 10 options will seem obviously superior to the rest. It’s not that any of the options are bad, but no array of powers are all created equal. Not unless they’re painfully bland. (+1 to attack during the day, +1 to attack at night, +1 to attack underground, +1 to attack indoors, yawn.)

If, on the other hand, the player must roll a d10 to determine their power, then there’s a good chance they’ll end up with something they don’t have a good idea of how to use. It’s a perfectly functional ability, there’s nothing wrong with it. But it’s not what they would have picked, and now they need to figure out how to make the most of it. There is a true artistry and beauty in figuring out how to excel with the cards you’ve been dealt.

If you’ve got a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. And in a world full of nails, you might be inclined to pick the hammer every time. But what do you do when someone hands you a hacksaw instead? Maybe you cut the nail in half, maybe you cut the board that’s supporting the nail, or maybe you realize some of your problems were never nails in the first place.

In other words: you get creative.

Randomization breeds creativity in players. It forces them to be clever. To think. To explore options they never would have considered otherwise. That creativity is the kind of thing they’re going to be proud of, and tell stories about.

So that’s why I said the Sorcerer’s spells should be randomized in Pathfinder. It’s also why anyone playing a Slasher in my games wouldn’t get to pick their own quirk. Choices made during character creation are a slow, alienating, unnecessary process; and randomized character options elevate play to artistry.

Come at me, bruh.

LotFP Class: The Windmaster

Hair blowing in the windA Windmaster is the master of the wind. They live in humble, isolated huts atop hills or by the side of the sea. Many are revered by local communities, which send gifts of food and companionship in exchange for the good will of these mysterious hermits.

Windmasters have a d8 hit die, and advance in experience as dwarfs. They save as Elves, except their save versus Breath, which advances as a halfling’s does. The physical art of wind mastery is a wild dance of constant motion, and so requires that a Windmaster wear light, loose clothing.  Often they wear only an oversize vest and a loincloth. All Windmasters have free flowing metal-hair.

In enclosed spaces, the Windmaster may use their own breath to power their wind shaping techniques. However, any dice rolled  are rolled twice, and the result less advantageous for the Windmaster is taken. Likewise, in particularly windswept areas, two dice are rolled and the more advantageous result is taken.

At first level, the Windmaster rolls 2 random wind shaping techniques from the low level table. At each subsequent level, the player gains a new technique. These are randomly determined from the low level chart until level 5, after which they may opt either to roll a technique from the high level chart, or pick a technique of their choosing from the low level chart.

Unless otherwise stated, a wind technique requires a single round to perform. There are no limits on the number of times a Windmaster may use their techniques each day.

Levels 1-4

  1. Blinding Spray: A wave of wind strikes the ground at an oblique angle, causing a spray of detritus to fly up into the air. Anyone standing in its path should save versus Breath or be blinded for 1 round.
  2. Wind Punch: Fist-sized pockets of air become suddenly high pressure, and expand outward rapidly in the desired direction. This allows the Windmaster to make unarmed attacks against anyone within their line of sight.
  3. Disarming Gust: A sudden breeze strikes a held object from the most unbalanced direction. The wielder must save versus breath or drop the object.
  4. Great Leap: Propelling themselves with the wind, the Windmaster can leap as high as 40′ up and 120′ forward in a single bound.
  5. Breath Bubble: Forms a sphere of air around the head of one person per level. This air lasts for 10 minutes before it must be replenished.
  6. Carried Message: So long as the Windmaster remains in meditation, they may perfectly guide the travel of any object light enough to feasibly be carried by a breeze. A feather, a leaf, a scrap of paper. They do not see through the object, but they know if it’s stopped, and if it reaches its destination. Objects sent in this way travel 60 miles per hour.
  7. Redirect Projectile: For every three levels, the Windmaster may guide one projectile per round. Either causing them to miss their target, or granting a +1d6 to their attack roll to hit their target.
  8. Unbalancing Blast: A sudden gust of wind strong enough cause a human target to stumble. Target takes a -3 on saving throws and attack rolls this round.

Level 5+

  1. Navigator: The Windmaster can fill the sails of a ship by bending the wind from whichever direction it is normally going. This allows the ship to travel at sailing speed regardless of the wind’s direction. Alternatively, if the wind is already favorable, using this ability increases the ship’s speed by 50%.
  2. Steal Breath: The Windmaster takes hold of the air around a person’s nose and mouth, either preventing it from entering their body, or forcing it into their body. The target may save versus Breath to resist. On failure they must make a constitution check with a mounting -3 cumulative penalty each round to avoid passing out. So long as they are conscious, they may only take a half action (move or attack). If they move out of the Windmaster’s range, the effect ends.
  3. Flight: The Windmaster gains the power of flight at will, moving at their normal move speed. If the Windmaster already has “Great Leap,” gaining Flight allows them to manipulate the wind to allow one willing target to make a Great Leap per round.
  4. Become Wind: For a number of turns equal to their level, the Windmaster becomes a gust of wind. They are invisible, invulnerable, and travel at 60mph. They may not use any of their other techniques in this state, but their movements have a force roughly equivalent to a strong gust of wind on a blustery day. Forcing themselves out of their physical form is exhausting work, and they require a full night’s rest after using up their daily allotment.
  5. Wind Assisted Movement: In combat, The Windmaster’s every dodge and jab is subtly assisted by gusts of wind. They gain a permanent +2 to their AC and attack rolls, and their unarmed attacks use a damage die 1 step higher up the chain. (1d4 becomes 1d6, 1d6 becomes 1d8, etc)
  6. Tidal Wave: In a ritual requiring at least 30 minutes of dancing, the Windmaster summons winds sufficient to create a tidal wave. The wave’s height is equal to the Windmaster’s level multiplied by 30′. Obviously, a body of water is required for this spell to work.
  7. Knockback: The Windmaster uses an intense blast of air to push their target 40′ in a given direction. If the target hits anything, they take fall damage equal to 1d6 for every 10′ they didn’t travel out of the full 40′.
  8. Tornado Trap: A buffeting cylinder of wind surrounds a target. Any movement they try to take is countered by the wind, knocking their legs and arms about and preventing them from acting. The target is entitled to a save versus Breath to leap out of the tornado before it becomes too powerful to resist, otherwise they are trapped until the Windmaster releases them.
  9. Befriend Air Elemental: The Windmaster develops a close friendship with an Air Elemental, which will be happy to adventure alongside the Windmaster as a henchperson. It does not mind being put in danger, since being destroyed will merely send it back to its home plane. Not too bad a price to pay for helping such a good friend! If the elemental is sent home, it will take 1d6 months for the Windmaster to befriend another.
  10. Push to Safety: If any of the Windmaster’s companions fails a save versus Breath, the Windmaster can also make a save. If they succeed, they’re quick enough to summon a gust of wind to push their companion to safety, essentially passing their save for them.

1d100 Magic Words – Creatures & Evil

Evil WordsIf you’re new here, heads up that this post is in reference to my Magic Word system. Perhaps I ought to create a new category for all of these magic word posts. I’m producing quite the library on the subject.

Anyway, last time I wrote about Magic Words, I created a d100 list of words I felt were evocative enough to make good spells out of. But with only 100 places to fill, the list obviously only scratched the surface of gameable spell words. It’s a good start, but sticking with such a small list for any length of time is a disservice to the system. The whole point is to draw upon the whole of human language to create weird, personalized spells.

Ideally, I’d like to create an array of tables. Each with some different theme. You could then roll on a master table to determine which of the more detailed sub-tables you roll on. In the end I’ll have more words than a dozen Magic Users could learn in a lifetime! Maybe I’ll collect them in a PoD book. A magic dictionary or sorts.

Obviously you could just use a real dictionary, and it can work. But there are so many words that just don’t make interesting spells, and it starts to get old when you generate word after word that just doesn’t work. Look, I’ll pull 10 random words off Wiktionary: Hibernicism, Plethysmography, Aggrieved, Philippic, Stanchel, Pelleted, Animalism, Palestra, Verbarlokao, Quintile.

It might be fun to integrate a few such esoteric words into a spell list. But I think players would get fed up pretty quickly if those 10 words above were the first 10 words they got. The list needs to be curated somewhat, ergo my reduction of the entire animal kingdom down to about 100 of the more recognizable and evocative names.

Also, I recognize that if you’re not interested in the Magic Word system, the deluge of d100 word lists might put you off the site. So I’m going to combine two lists into each post, and I’m going to make sure that these lists aren’t posted back-to back. Hopefully that should prevent you from feeling like you’re drowning in lists of vaguely related words.

d100 Creature Names Animal spells are cool. Plus this could double as a d100 table of animals! Not sure why you’d need that, but if you do, here you go.

  1. Albatross
  2. Ant
  3. Antelope
  4. Ape
  5. Armadillo
  6. Baboon
  7. Badger
  8. Barracuda
  9. Bat
  10. Beetle
  11. Bear
  12. Beaver
  13. Bloodhound
  14. Boar
  15. Bull
  16. Butterfly
  17. Camel
  18. Cat
  19. Centipede
  20. Chameleon
  21. Cheetah
  22. Cockroach
  23. Coyote
  24. Crocodile
  25. Deer
  26. Dog
  27. Donkey
  28. Duck
  29. Eagle
  30. Elephant
  31. Elk
  32. Falcon
  33. Ferret
  34. Fish
  35. Fly
  36. Fox
  37. Frog
  38. Giraffe
  39. Goat
  40. Gorilla
  41. Grasshopper
  42. Hedgehog
  43. Hermit Crab
  44. Hawk
  45. Honey Bee
  46. Horse
  47. Hummingbird
  48. Hyena
  49. Iguana
  50. Jellyfish
  51. Jackal
  52. Kangaroo
  53. Lemur
  54. Lion
  55. Lobster
  56. Magpie
  57. Mole
  58. Mongoose
  59. Moose
  60. Monkey
  61. Mule
  62. Octopus
  63. Opossum
  64. Ostrich
  65. Otter
  66. Owl
  67. Ox
  68. Panther
  69. Pig
  70. Parrot
  71. Peacock
  72. Platypus
  73. Porcupine
  74. Rabbit
  75. Racoon
  76. Ram
  77. Rat
  78. Rattlesnake
  79. Rhinoceros
  80. Scorpion
  81. Shark
  82. Sheep
  83. Skunk
  84. Sloth
  85. Snake
  86. Sponge
  87. Spider
  88. Squid
  89. Squirrel
  90. Stingray
  91. Stork
  92. Seal
  93. Swan
  94. Tortoise
  95. Tiger
  96. Vulture
  97. Wasp
  98. Whale
  99. Wolf
  100. Yak

d100 Evil-ish words Because I have a natural inclination towards evil casters. Most of these could be used for non-evil spells I’m sure, they’re just evocatively evil in my mind.

  1. Abyss
  2. Ailment
  3. Addict
  4. Apocalypse
  5. Anger
  6. Bane
  7. Blight
  8. Chain
  9. Chaos
  10. Corrupt
  11. Cowardice
  12. Curse
  13. Cheat
  14. Crime
  15. Cult
  16. Cabal
  17. Damn
  18. Death
  19. Disembowel
  20. Doom
  21. Devil
  22. Demon
  23. Desecrate
  24. Decimate
  25. Disgust
  26. Evil
  27. Eviscerate
  28. Eldritch
  29. Envy
  30. Execute
  31. Fester
  32. Forbidden
  33. Feculent
  34. Fear
  35. Grief
  36. Greed
  37. Ghoul
  38. Grave
  39. Hate
  40. Hell
  41. Horror
  42. Harm
  43. Immoral
  44. Infernal
  45. Justify
  46. Judge
  47. Kill
  48. Lament
  49. Lie
  50. Leprous
  51. Lust
  52. Leech
  53. Lurk
  54. Lash
  55. Masochism
  56. Monster
  57. Nightmare
  58. Obstruct
  59. Offend
  60. Ooze
  61. Orphan
  62. Object
  63. Obsequious
  64. Pact
  65. Pain
  66. Plague
  67. Pride
  68. Quiet
  69. Ravage
  70. Rashness
  71. Rot
  72. Rupture
  73. Ruin
  74. Revenge
  75. Sadism
  76. Savage
  77. Seethe
  78. Shadow
  79. Summon
  80. Sinister
  81. Steal
  82. Sorrow
  83. Sin
  84. Sloth
  85. Slave
  86. Torture
  87. Torment
  88. Threaten
  89. Undead
  90. Violent
  91. Vampire
  92. Vile
  93. Vulgarity
  94. Vanity
  95. Wail
  96. Wither
  97. Wrack
  98. Wrath
  99. Zeal
  100. Zombie

The Fishmonger’s Revenge

The Fishmonger's RevengeThe other day I was hanging out in an obscure little corner of the internet with one of my very oldest friends in the world. We’ve been buds for 15+ years now, and the only thing we have in common is the ability to pedantically blather on endlessly about any subject under the sun.*

On a whim, I asked him to give me a title for an adventure that I promised I would write.

Nick W. and Tzvi Kilov
And so I wrote it. I think it actually turned out pretty well, and it was a great excuse to spend some time with publishing software. I really need to spend more time doing that sort of stuff.

Anyway, here’s a one page dungeon if you want it:

Download The Fishmonger’s Revenge

*With regards to said blathering, we actually have a whole podcast for doing that. I haven’t mentioned it on the blog before, because the podcast has nothing to do with D&D, and I’m bad with self promotion. But since it’s somewhat relevant here, allow me to humbly suggest you check out Dumb Stuff Taken Seriously. It’s terrible!

d100 Curses


Curses are cool. Open a sealed tomb? You get a curse! Kill a wizened old crone? You get a curse! Plunder a wealthy monastery? Everybody gets a curse!

Here are 100 of them.

  1. The cursed must get proper permission before entering any domicile.
  2. The cursed will always close their eyes in the presence of fire.
  3. Anytime the cursed walks through a doorway, they will thoughtlessly slam it behind themselves, causing a racket and possibly knocking nearby items off shelves.
  4. If the cursed sees a knot, they are compelled to untie it.
  5. The cursed cannot get wet. If they do, their most important concern becomes drying themselves as soon as possible.
  6. The cursed is mesmerized by any form of performance art they encounter. They are unable to continue on until it ends, or they are dragged away from it.
  7. The cursed may never sit for any reason.
  8. Nobody remembers the cursed between meetings. Each time they encounter someone, that person believes it is the very first time.
  9. Everyone who meets the cursed seems to recall hearing stories about them. These stories paint the picture of an unreliable, cruel, and evil person.
  10. Any money that the cursed doesn’t spend the same day the get it, disappears.
  11. Compasses don’t work within 100′ of the cursed.
  12. The cursed can be turned by clerics as though they were undead. If a friendly cleric turns undead, they are not able to exempt the cursed.
  13. Every coin that passes through the hand of the cursed transforms into a less valuable metal. (Platinum turns to gold, gold to silver, silver to copper, copper to steel, etc).
  14. A permanent raincloud drizzles on the head of the cursed. Each week they must roll a save versus Breath to avoid rusted equipment. (In addition to other annoyances which would occur).
  15. The cursed’s shoes wear out within 4 hours. They must carry spare pairs unless they wish to adventure barefooted. Adventuring without shoes reduces max hp by 1 per hit die.
  16. The cursed sleeps for 16 hours each day, instead of 8.
  17. The cursed’s reflection shows a gaunt, dead thing. Not even a living corpse, just a corpse propped up in roughly the same position the cursed is currently in. Others who notice this will be horrified.
  18. There will never be any lodging available in any town the cursed visits.
  19. The gender of the cursed is randomly determined each morning.
  20. The cursed gains a crippling weakness against common dogs. A dog’s bite is so poison to them, that they must make a save versus poison or die.
  21. Anytime the cursed takes more than 3 damage in a single round the wind is knocked out of them. They must save versus Poison or they won’t be able to do any more than move during their next turn.
  22. The cursed cannot hold their breath. Ever. At all. For any reason.
  23. Any time a save is called for, the cursed rolls their worst save instead of the save that was intended.
  24. Anytime the cursed is in a private residence, they will accidentally break something the owner holds dear.
  25. Any time anyone at the game table coughs or sneezes, the cursed is consumed by a loud and obnoxious coughing / sneezing fit in-game. To the point that people start to think they’re faking it for attention or something.
  26. The cursed’s dietary needs are altered so they can only be sustained by animals that people care about: horses, cats, dogs, etc. Nobody needs to care about the specific animal eaten, so long it is of a type that people in the area generally keep as pets.
  27. Anything experienced by the cursed while alone is entirely fictional. The only real experiences they have are those shared by at least one other member of the party.
  28. The cursed loses all concept of table manners. They eat in the most disgusting way imaginable.
  29. The cursed character becomes hyper-sensitive to changes in air pressure. They cannot travel more than 20′ vertically in a day without becoming light headed and weak.
  30. All clothing becomes unbearably itchy. The cursed must go about naked or suffer from constant discomfort.
  31. The cursed attracts biting insects and rashes to their body; and thus they itch constantly. They are completely incapable of sitting still, and anytime it might be required they fidget and scratch and rub themselves against things. Contorting themselves to reach difficult itches.
  32. Everything the cursed says comes out as sarcastic and disrespectful.
  33. The cursed has intermittent super strength, allowing them to punch through stone walls and stomp their foes into the ground. This power only manifests itself when the cursed least desires it. This causes simple, ordinary actions to become destructive. The referee will judge which actions have this ‘benenfit’ after the fact.
  34. Everything that the cursed says must rhyme. If they fail, they’ll take 1 point of damage each time.
  35. The cursed cannot abide the presence of the opposite gender, and must either fight, or excuse themselves from the area if they encounter one.
  36. Each non-cursed member of the group (including the referee) should be asked to name a common word. These words are then put onto a list, kept in common view of the whole table. If the cursed speaks any of these words during play, their character takes 1 point of damage to a random ability score.
  37. The player to the right of the cursed should name a letter. The cursed cannot use any words which begin with that letter, on pain of suffering 1 point of damage each time they do so.
  38. If the cursed uses an edged weapon, they will cut themselves after every fail attack roll, dealing half weapon damage.
  39. The cursed grows a pair of gills, and can now only breathe in water.
  40. The cursed must make an original pun each game day. Any days in which they fail to do this, they are struck by lightning.
  41. The cursed must reroll all their ability scores each morning. 3d6, in order.
  42. If the cursed is a caster, they may now only access the spells of a different casting class. Magic Users can only prepare Cleric spells. Clerics can only prepare MU spells. Other casters are restricted to the spells of whatever spellcasting class is deemed most opposed to their own. If the cursed is not a caster, reroll their curse.
  43. Between sessions, the cursed goes on uncontrollable drunken adventures that they then have no memory of. Each session starts with a hangover, and a new injury.
  44. The cursed becomes trapped in whatever clothes they’re currently wearing. Characters wearing armor will suffer mounting penalties after being forced to sleep in their armor for long periods. If the cursed was not wearing any armor at the time the curse took hold, they will still become ever smellier, and more offensive to civilized folk.
  45. If music is played, the cursed must dance to it. Even if it’s just enemy wardrums.
  46. The cursed’s face turns into a ceramic mask, fitted over exposed muscle and bone.
  47. Any boat the cursed boards will be blown off course and shipwrecked far from where it was supposed to be.
  48. The cursed is compelled to break any glass they see.
  49. Pack animals hate the cursed, and will flee or attack if the cursed is near.
  50. Instead of food, the cursed subsists off of making people cry.
  51. Anyone who spends the night under the same roof as the cursed will be struck by lightning the next time they stand under an open sky.
  52. An obese old woman appears each night to hover over the cursed as they sleep, staring at them in slack-jawed annoyance. Drool dribbles from her mouth, onto the cursed’s sleeping form. If she is confronted, she flies into a rage fit that will prevent anyone from sleeping. If she is attacked, she is killed, but the dreams of the cursed are tormented and give no rest. She returns the next night, still agitated from having been slain.
  53. The cursed does not have a name. No word seems to describe them, and anytime one is tried, it is forgotten by everyone, including the cursed.
  54. Everything the cursed says must be sung.
  55. In any religious rite the cursed witnesses or participate in, they will perform a sacrilege.
  56. Within a day of encountering some new community or culture, the cursed will always commit some highly offensive faux pas that is unique to that community.
  57. Any tool the cursed uses has a 1 in 6 chance to break.
  58. If the curseds own any structure, it will burn to the ground or be otherwise demolished the first time the cursed sleeps in it.
  59. Any animal the cursed attempts to ride will attempt to buck them off at the most inopportune time possible.
  60. No warning given by the cursed will ever be heeded.
  61. No servant will remain faithful to the cursed when their back is turned.
  62. No message sent from anything but the cursed’s own lips will ever reach its destination.
  63. Any map the cursed might benefit from will be half-ruined before it can be used.
  64. Half of any book the cursed might benefit from will be torn out or destroyed before they can be read.
  65. Any wand found by the cursed will have only a single charge.
  66. Anytime the cursed expresses a concern, it will be interpreted as a joke.
  67. Any community the cursed stays in for a week will experience poor fortune for a year. Bad harvests, raiding bands, lost trade agreements, war, etc.
  68. No fire can ever be put out in the presence of the cursed. Even fully submerging a torch in water won’t work.
  69. The cursed has 100% fertility, and is irresistible to the opposite sex. 100% as in “literally anything sexual results in pregnancy.” The cursed makes babies from blowjobs.
  70. Anything that drops from the cursed’s hands is lost, and can only be found by someone who would never return it willingly.
  71. Even the smallest amount of a drug–a thimble of beer, second hand marijuana smoke, etc–will have the full effects of a day of binging on the cursed.
  72. The cursed’s morality becomes an absolutist thing. Any deviation from your alignment or stated values will result in losing all class abilities until an atonement is made.
  73. The cursed tastes good. Really good. Creatures that eat manflesh will smell the cursed much more readily, and be persistent in pursuing them. Any time the cursed takes damage from fire, the sizzling scent causes an immediate random encounter check. Any time the cursed takes damage from a bite, that creature will direct all their attacks towards the tasty tasted cursed one.
  74. The cursed comes to believe strongly that the Iron age was a mistake, and that mankind was led astray by their hubris in smelting metals that were not meant for them. Bronze is the most advanced metal the cursed may use. The cursed will proselytize to others about their iron-sins.
  75. The cursed believes they are dead. Any damage dealt to them, as well as their actual hit point total, are kept secret by the referee. The cursed simply doesn’t believe any of it has occurred. How can they be hurt if they’re already dead? It’s silly.
  76. The cursed PC transforms into the cursed player. The PC takes on the appearance of the player, as well as the group’s best guess at how the player’s real life abilities would translate into the game world. The new PC doesn’t have any modern knowledge. They are as they would be if they had been born in the game world and followed an equivalent life path to their real life’s path.
  77. Randomly determine a player who is not the cursed or the referee. That player must come up with a catchphrase. Any session in which the cursed does not use their catchphrase in some appropriate way, is a session in which they forfeit any experience points they would have gained.
  78. The cursed falls into a deep sleep until their true love’s kiss wakes them. The the cursed is unplayable, and will likely remain so unless the rest of the party set up a kissing booth or something.
  79. The the cursed immediately and irrevocably falls in love with the next NPC of the appropriate type they meet. Resisting this infatuation will result in a negative level each week, as the cursed finds they cannot eat or sleep or enjoy the activities they once did. The only cure for this malady is the pursuit and marriage of the NPC. The cursed will always be very happy in this marriage and unwilling to leave it, no matter how horrible and demanding the referee makes their spouse. The referee is encouraged to make the cursed’s spouse very horrible and demanding.
  80. The cursed shows visible, obvious signs of desire anytime they see a piece of treasure. So if they encounter a king wearing a golden crown, they’ll spend the whole conversation staring wide-eyed at his crown and making grabby-hands in the air towards it. Obviously, this does little to endear the cursed to anyone who owns treasure.
  81. The cursed is contorted into a sphere. They can roll in any direction they desire, and take some actions with their arms. They are none the less limited in their ability to perform many common tasks due to their new shape.
  82. The size of the cursed becomes variable. Each morning when they wake, roll a d6 to determine how big the cursed is this day. 1. Ant sized; 2. Housecat sized; 3. Halfling sized; 4. Adult human sized; 5. Tall as an elephant; 6. Tall as a giraffe.
  83. Everyone who sees the cursed perceives them as an octopus struggling to survive on land. Everything the cursed says is heard as the pitiable wailing of a dying cephalopod.
  84. The cursed needs to pee every 10 minutes.
  85. Anytime the cursed takes damage, the wound immediately turns to gold. Since the wound cannot be healed, the hit point loss becomes permanent.
  86. Once combat has begun, the cursed is unable to stop fighting until every foe is dead. Even those who seem like they might someday consider the possibility of becoming a foe must die.
  87. The next time the cursed wrongs someone, that person will exaggerate the wrong into a horrible, unsympathetic crime. They will expend great effort to ensure everyone knows of the cursed’s foul nature.
  88. An intense rivalry develops between the cursed and another randomly determined member of the party. This rival PC will receive bonus experience each time they work against the cursed’s interests or betray their trust.
  89. The cursed becomes a natural target for pickpockets. Anytime they enter a crowd or a large community, they will lose some of their carried gold and possessions.
  90. The cursed becomes a natural target for burglars. Each session they will lose some of their gold and possessions that are not carried with them. Hiring guards, hiding valuables, or placing valuables in a vault will provide only temporary relief. Each of these will eventually be overcome by burglars.
  91. The cursed must always agree with the majority opinion of any group they’re in. This would include a lynch mob that wanted to have the party hanged. So long as the opinion is held by the majority, it is also the fervent opinion of the cursed.
  92. The player to the right of the cursed selects a well known personality. A political figure or celebrity, with whom the cursed’s player is familiar. In speech, mannerism, word, and deed, the cursed must now be played as though they were that personality.
  93. The cursed becomes a moral boyscout. They will always feel compelled to help anyone who has even the slightest need, and would never dream of accepting recompense for their efforts.
  94. When the cursed encounters an NPC, they must make a reaction roll to determine their demeanor towards that NPC. The reaction roll is modified by the NPC’s charisma.
  95. At the beginning of each adventure, a vulture swoops down and demands the cursed give them 500 money. If the cursed refuses, the vulture takes a bite out of their belly, pulling one of their organs free and flying off with it. The cursed takes 2 Constitution damage from this, but is otherwise unharmed. The process repeats until the cursed is dead, or starts paying the bird off. Previously taken organs can be bought back for 750 money. The vulture itself is invulnerable to attack, and can only be seen by the cursed.
  96. Every surface the cursed stands on is as slippery as melting ice.
  97. The cursed exaggerates everything. They regularly make promises that they cannot live up to, and make wild claims about past accomplishments.
  98. The cursed becomes a hireling, the the cursed’s hireling becomes the player character.
  99. Any piece of food the cursed is about to consume has a 1 in 10 chance to be poison. This poisoning occurs when a piece of food goes from being “food,” to being “the cursed’s food.”
  100. The only manner of fighting the cursed can participate in is dance fighting.
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