Rules for Gobbos

A GobboMy ladyfriend is not much of an RPG person. She enjoys a leisurely evening of D&D, but mostly as a social event. She’ll interject with a bit of goofy role playing now and again, but tends to just follow along with whatever the rest of the party wants to do. I’ve had a lot of people like that in my games over the years. Folks who are there because they enjoy hanging out. Maybe they’re more into the times we get together for board games, or maybe they went along with a significant other at some point, and enjoyed the atmosphere more than they enjoyed the game. Maybe you know someone similar, and maybe if you do, this’ll help you find something enjoyable for them to do.

It started a few years back when my ladyfriend accompanied me to play in a game where I was a 14th level character. She didn’t want to deal with the hassle of creating a high level character, so we got the referee to let her play all four of the Goblins from Paizo’s “We Be Goblins” module: Rita, Mogmurch, Chuffy, and Poog. It all worked out so well that we decided to use the same plan when she joined my ORWA game. But since this is an ongoing campaign, rather than a one-shot, I decided to put a little work into getting the goblins working.

First off, to remain setting consistent, the goblins aren’t goblins. They’re infant children who fell off a babycart (literally a cart where infant children are piled up for sale) and into a puddle of mutagen. This turned them green and gave them weirdly developed bodies, despite their size. They know how to talk, and call themselves Gobbos.

Gobbos can’t die the way normal characters die. They’re not invulnerable to harm, but they react to harm like a Loony Toon character. If a rock falls on them they get flattened, pop back into shape, and then scamper off to cry and lick their wounds until the next session, when they’ll have forgotten anything bad ever happened to them.

Gobbos also don’t get any share of the treasure, or any of the commensurate experience. In fact, Gobbos can’t level up at all. Players who are running the Gobbos will never need to worry about keeping their character sheet up to date, because it’s an (almost) entirely static thing. They also don’t need to worry about how to spend their money, and the other players never get annoyed at splitting their treasure haul with a quartet of characters who don’t contribute on the same level that they do.

(Though it should be noted that Gobbos are children. Sometimes they’ll see something shiny, and insist that it be purchased for them.)

Any time the other players are getting treasure, the Gobbos are free to scrounge around for something more in line with their own interests. The player they rolls on the “Gobbo Junk” table, which can be restocked by the referee as items are discovered.

The Gobbos Find a…

  1. Really really shiny, smooth rock.
  2. Plastic frisbee.
  3. Well used catcher’s mitt.
  4. Curly blonde wig.
  5. Hula hoop.
  6. Pair of boxing gloves.
  7. Basketball.
  8. Bowling ball.
  9. Potted cactus.
  10. Steel folding chair. The kind you find in a church basement, not the kind you find in your dad’s garage.
  11. Stepladder.
  12. Jar with holes poked in the lid, and 12 beetles inside of it.
  13. Metal wastebasket with a mesh pattern.
  14. Porno magazine.
  15. Bag of disposable surgical gloves.
  16. Big bag of candy necklaces.
  17. Rubber mask of Richard Nixon.
  18. Nice-ish briefcase.
  19. Fistful of indistinct sludge.
  20. Ball of twine.
  21. Doorknob.
  22. DD bra.
  23. Box of mousetraps.
  24. Roll of duct tape.
  25. Chair leg.
  26. Banjo with only 1 string on it.
  27. Conical dunce cap.
  28. Box of letters for a marquee style signboard.
  29. Bundle of plastic 6-pack rings.
  30. Paper bag of paper bags.
  31. Plastic bag of plastic bags.
  32. Rubber boot.
  33. Flip phone with plenty of charge, but no service.
  34. Box of paper clips.
  35. RC car.
  36. Barbie doll.
  37. Roll of wrapping paper.
  38. Ceramic cookie jar shaped like a pig wearing a chef’s hat.
  39. Stretch Armstrong doll.
  40. Tiger Electronics “Home Alone 2” tape recorder.
  41. Pair of Handcuffs.
  42. Ball gag.
  43. Flourescent light tube.
  44. Dozen eggs.
  45. Chicken.
  46. Housecat.
  47. Can of spraypaint. Blue.
  48. Disposable polaroid camera.
  49. Propeller beanie.
  50. Plastic toy sword.
  51. Bag of marbles.
  52. Tube of pogs.
  53. Huge bag of rice.
  54. Sleeve of printer paper.
  55. Dead bird.
  56. Dead Dog.
  57. Huge number “8” made of wood.
  58. Tacklebox full of fishing lures and hooks.
  59. Corkscrew.
  60. Pencil sharpener.
  61. Human skull
  62. Stack of newspapers.
  63. Wall clock.
  64. Padlock and key.
  65. Geode with a little pewter wizard inside of it.
  66. Binder with documentation for some kind of software.
  67. Pair of socks.
  68. Pair of nice slacks.
  69. Needle nose pliers.
  70. Standing, oscillating fan.
  71. Elementary school desk/chair combo.
  72. Bouquet of fake flowers.
  73. Bottle of hand sanitizer.
  74. Really neat spider with lots of cool colors on it.
  75. Metal shopping cart.
  76. Labelmaker.
  77. Sheets of scratch & sniff stickers. Of the “Grape Job” variety.
  78. Encyclopedia Britannica volume for the letter “O.”
  79. Catheter bag full of urine.
  80. Police file on someone named “Dave Bestfighter.”
  81. Empty jar labelled “Dreams.”
  82. Glow in the dark ceiling stars.
  83. Bag of party balloons.
  84. Bag of Frozen Peas. Still frozen, somehow.
  85. The poles to a tent.
  86. Baby rattle.
  87. Box of Mike & Ikes candy.
  88. Hand painted portrait of a randomly determined party member.
  89. The discarded highschool poetry of a randomly determined party member.
  90. Big red “Marks-A-Lot” marker.
  91. Yo-yo.
  92. Blender.
  93. Foam Jack-O-Lantern.
  94. Traffic cone.
  95. Box of matches.
  96. Car tire.
  97. Keyring full of keys.
  98. Bottle of really nice wine.
  99. Child’s devil costume for Halloween.
  100. Treasure map, drawn in crayon, to a toystore.

Simple Socializing: The Give & Take System

ParleyNormally I only update the blog once a week. However, thanks to my supporters on Patreon, I can justifiably spend a little more time on this blog than I normally would, which allows me to bring you this bonus post during the first week of each month. If you’d like to see even more posts from me, as well as other improvements to the blog, please consider supporting my Patreon campaign!

I’ve long believed that game rules should devote as much attention to social interaction as they do to combat. A system for impartially determining the action-by-action results of a parley is essential. That’s why I’ve been a proponent of Courtney Campbell’s “On the Non-Player Character,” for years.

But as I approach my 4th year of using this system, it’s time to tinker. The 25 social actions are thorough, and elegant, but I’m slow in using them at the table. Often we will drift off of the system over the course of play, as I try to keep up the pace of a conversation. I decided to simplify the mechanic for ORWA, and I hit on what I call the Give & Take System.

Every conversation is, fundamentally, a process of give and take. Both parties have their views and their preferences, and at any given time one party is getting what they want out of the conversation, and the other party is giving it. Using that model, pretty much every social interaction can be broken down into one of these two groups. (Plus two bonus groups).

The Give & Take System
At the start of a Reaction Roll Tablenonviolent encounter, the player who is taking the lead in speaking makes a reaction roll (2d6 + Charisma modifier). That roll is compared to the reaction table on the right to determine how the NPCs respond. The result also determines how many social interactions the party may attempt, total, before the NPC gets bored of talking and starts wishing they could get out of here. The referee should note this number down in a place visible to the players, if possible.

Every back-and-forth will fall into one of four basic categories: Banal, Give, Take, and Convince. Once an action is resolved, the referee reduces the number of remaining actions by 1. If the players force a conversation to continue past the point that an NPC wishes to leave, their reaction will be reduced by 2 for each round they are kept against their wishes. If their reaction reaches 2, the NPC just walk away in annoyance, possibly raising their arm in a rude gesture as they leave.

Banal: Simple conversation, most questions, and other minutia are banal actions. They have no chance to fail, but don’t really earn the party anything other than information.

Giving: Telling a joke, offering compliments, giving gifts, listening to a person’s long winded opinions; these are all giving actions. A giving action is one whose purpose is to ingratiate the party with the NPC they’re speaking to. When giving, roll 2d6 and add all relevant modifiers:

<6: The NPC is unimpressed.
6: The NPC is enjoying your company, and will stick around a little longer. +2 social actions.
9: The NPC is intrigued by you, and is willing to hear you out. +1 to your next Taking or Convincing attempt.
11: The NPC likes you. +1 to your reaction with this NPC.

Taking: Make a request or a demand, negotiating, offering a bribe, asking questions the NPC may not be inclined to answer; these are all taking actions. Taking is when a conversation turns towards the player’s desires, and what they want to get out of a parley. Generally, if the players would be happy to hear a “yes,” and sad to hear a “no,” it’s a taking action.

<4: The NPC is upset by what you said, and your reaction with them drops by 1 category.
4: The NPC refuses you outright.
6: The NPC will meet you halfway.
9: The NPC agrees to what you want.
11: The NPC agrees, and offers to do a little better than what was asked for.

There are two notable special cases for Taking rolls: Intimidation, and Bribery.

When the players are attempting to Intimidate, the roll should be modified by the difference in average level between the two groups. If the party’s is higher, they recieve a bonus of 1 for each level higher they are. If the party is lower, the recieve a penalty of 1 for each level lower they are.

When the party is attempting a bribe, the Fighter’s experience table should be referenced. The baseline bribe for an NPC is equal to one quarter of the amount it would take to reach their current hit dice if they were a fighter. So a 2HD character, the baseline bribe is 500sp. Increasing or decreasing this amount by 50% will modify the bribe by +/- 2.

Convincing: Telling a lie which the NPC has cause to doubt, or making an argument against something the NPC thinks; are both convincing actions. Convincing is a more challenging form of taking. The primary difference is whether success will effect the NPC beyond the scope of a single exchange. It’s one thing to get a guard to accept a bribe–they can put the money in their pocket and forget they ever saw you. It’s another thing entirely to get them to join the revolution.

<6: The NPC is unhappy with what you’ve said. Reaction drops by 1 category.
6: The NPC is not convinced.
9: The NPC is trepidatious. They will have to think about what you’ve said.
11: The NPC accepts what you said wholeheartedly.

For any of these, situational modifiers of 1 or 2 may occasionally apply. Players who expect something in exchange for nothing should take a penalty to their taking roll; while players who offer a generous sum in exchange for a small concession should get a bonus.

That said, more often than not it’s best to let the dice fall where they may. This allows the referee to discover the character of various NPCs along with the players. The guard who refuses a bribe worth more than he makes in a lifetime must be especially loyal. The guard who joins the revolution on a whim must have some reason to be discontented.

Anyway, that’s Give & Take. I’ve used it in my last few games, and as of this writing it has performed phenomenally well.

 

Methods for Writing d100 Tables

d100 Tables are AwesomeFor the past couple years, I’ve been posting a fair number of d100 tables, because they’re awesome. They’re fun for me to write, useful in play, and people seem to friggin’ love reading them. Each one I write is pretty much guaranteed to spike my site’s traffic, so it’s a win-win-win.

Often, when I upload a new table, I’m getting the same sort of comment. Something in the vein of “I don’t know how you do that, I can barely fill a d12 table!” It’s happened like…twice now, so you’ll have to excuse me if I indulge myself a bit. Being impressive is an unusual feeling, and I’d like to revel in it.  Ego stroking aside, I can understand where these comments are coming from. I will never live down my self-imposed shame from that one time I tried to write a d100 table, and failed so hard that I just published a d50 table instead. Writing up 100 variations on the same theme is hard.

Fortunately, I’ve developed a few techniques to make the process easier on myself. Hopefully these will translate well enough for others to benefit from them as well. If I’m lucky, this post will spawn a whole slew of new d100 tables all across the OSR Blogosphere, and then I can just spend the rest of my gaming career rolling for everything I want.

The first is the simplest: time. I don’t just sit down and write d100 tables. I don’t think that would even be possible for me. They’re written slowly; a few entries here, a few entries there. A quick turnaround on a d100 table would be about 10 days, from start to finish. Those are usually either very simple tables (such as the magic words tables), or something I’m particularly invested when I write them. (d100 wands went pretty quick.)

Most tables require a few months, and there are even some which have been sitting in my drafts folder for more than a year at this point. This is one of the biggest reasons I work to maintain my huge buffer of posts. Back when I was starting out, I didn’t have the luxury of working on projects that required more than an evening to put together. If I started to write something, it had to be done by the end of the night. If it wasn’t, I’d be off my schedule.

Which leads into my second point: I’m not writing these one at a time. As I write this, there are currently fifteen d100 tables in my drafts folder. Some of these have 2 or 3 entries in them. At least one of them already has 100 entries in it. Most fall somewhere in between. At any given time, there are usually 2 or 3 of these tables that I’m actively thinking about, and trying to add a few entries to each day. It’s not until a table is pretty much done that I start to really focus on it. Going back, polishing up what I’ve written, checking for repeats, and getting it out the door.

Which actually leads into my third point: separating brainstorming from writing. The hard part of populating any table is coming up with X number of variations on a theme. Maybe there’s those first 4 or 10 which come easy, but by the time you get to 100 you’ve been all the way to the depths of your creativity and back again. By comparison, turning a single table entry into easy reading is almost rote.

Coming up with ideas, and putting those ideas into words that make sense outside of my own head, are two entirely different mental processes for me. Trying to switch between them over and over again slows my writing down to a crawl. Sometimes I’m tempted to flesh out entries 1-10 while trying to come up with entry 11, but that is a trap. If I ever want to get the thing done, I need to come up with 100 cool ideas first, and only later do I worry about making those 100 cool ideas appealing to read.

Something I do a lot of is standing in front of a whiteboard telling myself how much of a hack piece of shit I am, until something good comes out of me. This is probably the least effective technique I have, but it’s the one I use most frequently. The whiteboard part helps at least. It’s easier to jump from idea to idea when I’m away from a keyboard. Keyboards make me feel a strong need to be more descriptive than necessary.

Probably the best trick I have is the disguised d33 table. This is one I used for “d100 Results of Drug Addled Engineering,” and “d100 Human Beings for Sale.” Basically, before I start working on the 100 entries themselves, I write up a list of 33 subcategories. Each of these categories could theoretically be the theme of their own tables. For example, “A box with a button on it.” That button could do anything.

Once I’ve got my 33, I add each one to my table 3 times. Starting from there, it’s honestly pretty easy to come up with 3 unique variations on each one, which gets me all the way up to 99 entries without breaking a sweat. Entry 100 can then be something big and awesome (like in d100 Humans), or it can just be “roll twice & combine” (like in d100 Drugged Engineering). I suppose if the list is of bad things, you could also switch it around, and make entry 1 spectacularly bad in some way.

A variation of that same idea is the not-so-disguised 10d10 table. As of this writing I haven’t published any tables using this method, but I am using it for d100 Pieces of Dungeon Moon Starting Equipment, which will be posted eventually.

Much like the method above, you start by coming up with some broader ideas (in this case, 10 rather than 33), then you divide your d100 table up into that many chunks, and use those broader ideas to help create the specific entries.

The nice thing about this method is that it makes your work serve multiple purposes. For example, if a player creates a new character, then they’d roll d100 to find out what item they start with. If they then decide they want to find some armor in town before they go out to adventure, the referee can roll a d10 on the “armor” portion of the table.

The benefit of this method is that it allows a referee to roll a d10 on one of those sub tables if it suits their fancy. For my dungeon moon equipment table, maybe the referee doesn’t want to go full random. Maybe he wants to make sure that his players have at least one piece of armor and one weapon before they head out into danger. That’s fine, roll dice that are smaller increments of 10! It’s all good.

Breaking a d100 table down into smaller chunks doesn’t always work, of course. At least, not for me. Take d100 Reasons the Wizard is More than they Seem, or d100 Curses. I could have tried to break these down into smaller groups: curses that afflict your feet, curses that afflict your encumbrance, curses that afflict the player in some meta-game way, etc.  I didn’t do that because it didn’t seem to flow naturally when I was putting those tables together. Maybe these more gonzo themes defy any kind of organization, or maybe that’s just not where my headspace was when I wrote them.

And I think that’s pretty much everything I can think of that makes writing d100 tables more manageable for me. Thank you for supporting my ego trip, it was fun.

 

d100 Human Beings for Sale

301-image-salvation-boulanger-gustave-clarence-rudolphe-the-slave-marketNot every society your players visit will be enlightened on the subject of slavery.

  1. Unduc is a man with an acerbic wit, and no idea of when he ought to shut up. Beatings only shut him up for a short while, which is why he now finds himself up for sale.
  2. Otilda was, until recently, personal handmaiden to a noble lady of some repute. About a month ago, Otilda tripped while carrying a serving tray, which struck her mistress in the face hard enough to leave a scar. Otilda was given a savage beating, had her fingernails pulled out, and was sent to the block to be sold. Despite her disfigurement, Otilda is a skilled attendant.
  3. Aulip’ta’a (told that his new name is “ulip” by the auctioneer) is a man with skin that is ever so slightly purple in shade. Aulip’ta’a is a traveler from a far distant land of mystery and wonder. He fell on hard times, was captured, and here he is. He will gladly show his new masters to his homeland, and will spin fanciful tales of the wonders than can be found there. Of course, once there, it would be hard for an outsider to claim any ownership over a local.
  4. Zuttana is cursed. She once interrupted a witch who was mid-coitus with a devil. The witch was furious, and now on every yearly anniversary of her misdeed, she suffers some horrible misfortune. In 18 years, everyone she ever cared for has either died or distanced themselves from her to avoid dying. Two years ago her house burned down. Last year she lost all of her hair. And as of about two weeks ago, she became a slave. She’s a depressed, defeated woman.
  5. Dorved Hazlip is a time traveler from something more or less equivalent to England during the industrial revolution. His time machine was flawed, and did not transport itself along with him into the past, so he has no way to get back. In his own time he was a man of significant means and learning, but the only contemporary language he speaks is the slave tongue of the Azuri people. In about 300 years they’ll rise up into a great empire, which is why he learned their language. For now, though, speaking it only marks him out as a slave. Dorved is having a really bad day right now.
  6. Hilde Ses has trained all of her life to excel in matters of etiquette. After many years serving first as a butler, then majordomo to a lordly family, the final scion of that family passed away. His property was divided among more distant relations, and the distant cousin who came to own Hilde decided they didn’t really need her. Despite being up for sale, Hilde maintains a haughty dignity. She believes in the nobility of servitude, and will obey whomever owns her. However, if purchased by anyone lacking noble character, she will serve only with barely disguised disdain for her owner.
  7. Nuzlort was, formerly, the mount of one of the Diminutive Folk. These are a people who stand roughly 6 inches tall. They regard themselves as vastly more intelligent to humans, in part because they have somehow come under the false belief that a certain poisonous root is “human food.” After eating this root for most of his life, Nuzlort is a dull man who understands only simple commands. His tongue hangs out of his mouth, and he cannot use tools, but he is immensely strong, fast, and willing to carry any burden strapped to his body.
  8. Cobbie is a 122 year old man. Until recently he was working in construction, pushing great massive stones up ramps to build monuments. Somehow, he managed to hide the fact that he wasn’t contributing a single damn thing to the effort for years. The other slaves always covered for him because they enjoyed his company, but everyone’s luck runs out eventually. Cobbie is relentlessly confident that he can perform any task he sets his mind to, but given his age he has some obvious limitations which he refuses to accept. But he’s always quick with a joke, or a really great story from the old days, so it’s hard to dislike the guy.
  9. Sorib Lurp is a carpenter whose master is attempting to “flip” him. He as purchased as a toddler, apprenticed to a carpenter friend, and now that he’s got a useful skill his owner hopes to make a profit off of reselling him. Sorib  Lurp is well resigned to his lot in life, which has been pretty decent for him so far. He will expect some special considerations due an educated slave–a small allowance, a woman, etc–but if accommodated, he will do his work with a high degree of skill, and without any complaints.
  10. Jenniyak was raised to serve as a nanny / bodyguard for the boyslaves of a distant sultan. To ensure she always maintained her focus, and did not pollute the sultan’s boys, her vagina was sewn shut. Over the years she grew to become a person of great influence at court, at one time even managing to act as a sort of de facto sultan for a few days. But this overreach cost her, and her enemies at court conspired her downfall. The very moment she was out of favor, she suddenly found herself locked in a slavemerchant cart, heading for the most distant land any of her enemies had ever heard of.
  11. Borvie is a six year old boy. He’s not particularly strong, and he gets easily distracted, but at least he’s small enough to fit into tiny places. (Though, he’s actually very scared of tiny places). His mom was sold yesterday, so he’s finally stopped crying,but he hasn’t yet come to grips with the fact that he’s probably never going to see her again.
  12. Yannovia is a large woman, powerfully built with a wide face. She has impressive strength, but the real selling point that the auctioneer will harp on is her talent as a masseuses. Reportedly, she was the most frequently requested masseuses at a famous bathhouse which recently burned down, and is selling off some of its assets to help rebuild. In point of fact Yannovia was the third most requested, but the first two were quietly purchased in private deals, and thus the public doesn’t need to know that there was anyone more popular.
  13. Ough is a cave woman. Physically no different from modern women, but her first 32 years were spent in the far distant past of 7,500 years ago. While she was swimming in a lake, a giant whirlpool appeared, sucking her beneath the surface of the water. When she finally managed to struggle to the surface, the lake was surrounded by a village that hadn’t been there before. Somehow she had been transported through time. The villagers first tried to help her, but her fear of this new world caused her to react violently. And since no one can understand her, no one knows why she acts like this. The villagers captured her, and not knowing what else to do with someone so volitile, they sold her to the next trade caravan that passed through.
  14. Zharbouff is a man with thick body hair, perfectly sculpted muscles, and a meticulously groomed mustache. He is a Dunuski dancer, a style which was recently all the rage among the high courts of the land. The dancing style involves maintaining a very stern expression while slowly stomping the feet in time with heavy drums, then occasionally ‘breaking character’ to frolic on light feet with a gleeful expression. Unfortunately for Zharbouff, Dunuski dancing has fallen out of style, and the market has become flooded with him and other dancers like him.
  15. Wendila is a severe woman who wears her hair in looping braids. She has a superb memory, and until recently that talent was employed in service of a politician. For him, she memorized the names and personal details of countless constituents, which she would whisper in his ear as they approached, so he could seem more personable.
  16. Vaubul is a smooth young man. Well muscled, handsome, and until very recently, the favorite plaything of a grand lady. And, like any grand lady, this one was involved in numerous feuds and political rivalries. One of her enemies–no less a woman than her own daughter–conspired to get Vabul alone long enough to chop off his dick, which she then had nailed to her mother’s bedposts. Distraught over the loss of her beloved, Vabul’s owner commanded her other slaves to arrange for his sale. She couldn’t bring herself even to see him in his ruined state. Vabul’s only skills are sexual in nature, and he’s currently having a panic attack that he’ll be sent to the mines for hard labor.
  17. Ausasca is a woman born with a cleft lip and a single oversized eyeball which had to be removed at birth. Fortunately for her, her parents were were allowed to keep their worthless deformed child, provided they gave her a useful skill. Fearing for their daughter’s future, the two worked themselves to death for her. In addition to the work they performed for their owner, they spent every free moment polishing and cleaning instruments for a local group of musicians, who in turn taught Ausasca to play. Her parents are now passed, but their work was not in vain. The young lady is a talented musician, skilled in a variety of instruments.
  18. Ostobo is the rarest sort of slave: the sort who enjoys being a slave. If anything, his masters have complained that he enjoys being a slave too much, to the point that it becomes unsettling. He derives an obvious gratification from his lot in life which most masters find unappealing. He goes so far as to insist that he’s done wrong and deserves punishment, even suggesting what sorts of punishments would suit his misdeeds. His suggestions in these regard are often unduly harsh, and almost always strangely specific. When left alone, he is often caught acting like a piece of furniture.
  19. Falubius is, in many ways, a victim of the idle rich. Apparently there were a great many drunken arguments in the home, so it was decided to officially designate one of their slaves as a ‘bet settler.’ They went all out in this project, selecting a young boy and hiring special tutors who designed a curriculum with the sole intent of helping him settle bets. Eventually, however, it was decided that the arguments were more fun, and Falubius was sold.
  20. Xagut is a well muscled man with with hard features and a brand on his right shoulder. Until losing a recent war, he was a soldier. The brand identifies him as a member of the 18th March of the Kinseird Tyranny. When his unit was routed, he fled along with everyone else. Some of those who fled were cut down by the cavalry coming up behind them. Xagut was lucky. He was merely clapped in irons and claimed as war booty. Within a day he had been sold to one of the merchants among the camp followers, and now he’s here in the heart of his enemy’s homeland. He will be a tough slave to break for whomever purchases him.
  21. Iburren Havasa is a stocky woman with a head shaved completely bald in the style of one who has declared themselves a warrior in her homeland of Iss. In Iss, a strict code guides how tribes raid upon, and attack one another. No one with hair on their head may be touched or harmed in any way. Likewise, if one with hair on their head defends themselves or attacks, then all the warriors on both sides of the conflict will turn against them. Iburren shaved her head to join in a supply raid, but was captured. She worked for 2 seasons as a slave of her captor before being sold to an outlander who was passing through the area. She is remarkably proficient with an particular style of heavy sword with an blade that curves inward.
  22. Unouk appears to be a man of 22 years. In point of fact he is 38, but he suffers under a frustrating curse. Each morning when he wakes up, his physical age for that day is randomly determined using a d100. On some days he is an impossibly old man, and on others he is a toddler who may not be able to speak, let alone walk. The poor man was purchased several years back by a wizard who required a guinea pig for his explorations into the secrets of long life. One of those experiments caused his current affliction, which makes him useless for further study. The wizard is hoping to recoup at least some of his losses on this sale.
  23. Quaestoria is a young woman of exceeding beauty. She was taken as warbooty from a besieged town several years ago. As the city was falling she took care to smear herself with filth, and pad her clothes with hay to make herself unappealing to the rampaging soldiers–which worked. But once she’d been sold to one of the slave merchants following the warcamp, her beauty was eventually noticed. Taking a gamble that he could get a higher price if he first invested in her, Quaestoria was sent to finishing schools and brothels to be trained and certified as a woman of sexual talents to match her physical beauty. Now, after all his investment, Quaestoria is on the block for the first time, and her owner hopes to make a princely sum off of her.
  24. Edgugu is a pale man, with wiry limbs and and a half starved look to him. He spent the majority of his early life living in a massive underground complex built by a progenitor empire, which fell before the dawn of recorded history. The people who lived there fled to escape some catastrophe on the surface many generations before, and despite the horrors they faced in the dungeon, it was a well known fact that whatever awaited them on the surface was worse. Edgugu now wishes he had listened to everyone who had told him he was foolish to venture to the surface, as he was quickly picked up by slavers to be sold. He only wishes he had brought some of those yellow stones everyone on the surface seems to value so much. In the dark place where he comes from, they were as common and useless as pebbles.
  25. Petunia was born in an underground human farm, where she was bred for a singular purpose: to one day host a brain parasite. After being born, her parents were killed, chopped up, and their parts kept in stasis in case Petunia ever needed anything replaced. She survived the culling process, in which the constitutionally weaker children were weeded out. She spent a lifetime training her body to provide the best possible vessel, all while she was kept from anything that might strengthen her mind against the creature who would eventually inhabit it. She had reached the age of maturity, and was only waiting for a fresh parasite to be born so it could take up residence in her, when a band of mercenaries under the command of a wizard raided the place for magical components. The wizard wasn’t interested in any of the humans, so Petunia (and several others) were taken by the mercenaries as a bit of extra pay, and sold off at the earliest opportunity. She had no name before this, and “Petunia” was given to her by the auctioneer about 15 minutes ago.
  26. Faylana does not have any legs, or feet. She was born without any lower body at all. She ends right at the waist. Her parents were disgusted by her when she was born, and she was left out in the street to die. Fortunately for her, she was found by a woman who operated a freak show, and taken in as a performer. Faylana is now 12 years old, and has been performing all of her life. Unfortunately, the freak show hasn’t been doing so well, and she’s being sold off by her owner’s creditors to pay for the show’s debts.
  27. Hustubar is a naked man who appears to be made entirely of muscles. Large metal plates, with spikes on them, have been embeded into his skin. The plates are not very effective in their coverage, however. They cover his scalp, his pectoral muscles, his shoulders, and bits all over his body, but they exist more for show than for protection. Notably, Hustubar’s dick & balls are encased within a round metal box with hinges on it, and a prominent keyhole on the front. Hustubar sold himself into slavery to become a gladiator (a profession much more comfortable than his life as a pauper, but not available to free men.) His modifications are the result of his time at a particularly creative gladiatorial school, and now he’s looking to reap the rewards of his many years of training. He plans to win many fights, so his master will repay him with good food, comfortable living, and women.
  28. Porold has never been terribly good at following the rules. When he was 22, he lost his hand as punishment for thievery. He didn’t even steal because he needed it. His family were not affluent, but they were well connected enough that Porold could have had a good life if he’d been willing to work hard. But he wasn’t. Despite his punishment, Porold continued to steal. He managed not to get caught, but it was clear to his family what he was doing. They feared the ruin to their reputation that would be done if their son was caught a second time, and so Porold was disowned, and sold into slavery by his parents.
  29. Votaldia was, until very recently, apprenticed to a blacksmith. She performed chores in exchange for room, board, and being taught her master’s craft. Unfortunately for her, her master was lazy, incompetent, and crass. That Votilda is today even a tolerably capable blacksmith is testament to her own strength of character and drive to excel. She was eagerly awaiting the end of her apprenticeship so she could get away from her master. Then the tax man came, and she learned that her master was deep in debt. Further, she learned that she had been put up as collateral the last time he had promised to make his payments. She’s red faced and steaming mad as she stands on the block. She was a mere 7 months away from freedom just a week ago. Now she’s looking at a lifetime of slavery.
  30. Tauzdl is a man with long hair, sorted into five braids. He’s lean and muscular, with particularly powerful legs. He’s proud of his record as a message runner. If given an opportunity, he will brag about one time when his master was on campaign, and the horses had all contracted some plague, how he ran for a full day and night to get message to a nearby fort that reinforcements were needed. He’s a particularly obedient slave, hoping to earn freedom someday. Unluckily for him, when his master retired from public life, he no longer needed a message runner, and decided to sell Tauzdl rather than free him.
  31. Dubala became the personal attendant for a young man from an impoverished noble house when she was in her 30s. Now in her 50s, but still spry, Dubala watched her ward rise to prominence within the political structure of his homeland, restoring his family name to prominence. He became a general, and waged many campaigns with Dubala by his side. She has become used to commanding a certain respect, for despite being a slave, she was known to speak with the voice of her master. Unfortunately, a recent campaign went disastrously poorly when her master’s political enemies conspired with their own nation’s military enemies to bring down the great general. He is now held as a captive by the king who defeated him, while Dubala and most of his men are being sold off as slaves.
  32. An infant girl is up for sale, literally just pulled from her mother’s womb a few days ago. She doesn’t have any name yet. There is a 50/50 chance that her mother was already sold. If she hasn’t been sold, then she’s in the back recovering, and won’t be put up for sale for a few days yet.
  33. Lupoldi is a short man of sleight build. He’s an expert horse rider, who specializes in coaxing the absolute most speed possible from his mount. He was purchased a few years back while the army was out on campaign to serve as a message carrier back to the capitol. Now that the campaign is over, Lupoldi is just one piece of excess equipment that is being sold off to bring down costs.
  34. Ceruli has was sold into slavery as a youth, and for many years was deeply resentful of her station in life–as anyone would be. However, when she was 26, Ceruli encountered a stoic philosopher, and began attending his lectures whenever she had the opportunity. The philosophy connected with her, and she came to believe that striving for something other than your current position in life was a source of suffering. That the world would be a better place if each person would simply strive to do their best in whatever place they find themselves. Since then she has become a devoted stoic, and works diligently to serve as a good and honest slave.
  35. Guadur is the son of a woman, and a celestial equine. He has the shape of a man, but his feet are hooves, and he is covered in short, almond colored fur. He has a tail, two large nostrils, raised ears on top of his head, and an absolutely massive dick. The thing hangs down to his ankles, and despite its size relative to his body, functions without any difficulty. After being stolen from his mother by an unscrupulous circusman, Guadur spent years entertaining people as a freak, before being purchased some years ago by one noblewoman, as a sort of “gag gift” for another. He spent a few years floating between the homes of the decadent rich, before becoming old news, and ending up for sale here.
  36. Ustevi is 238 years old. Nobody knows how or why he is still alive. He is impossibly thin and frail. His body barely functions, and he must be pushed around in a wheelchair. At most, he can raise his arms to point at things, wiggle his toes, or rasp out words at a frustratingly slow rate. Ustevi has seen a great deal in his life, and could tell such stories that you’d hardly believe. But all the same, he’s mostly useless, and pretty cheap.
  37. Jilutta and Wesdia are conjoined twins. They have a single body (with some redundant organs) and two heads. They’re a novelty slave, and they know it, so they try to make themselves as interesting as possible. They’re skilled at singing duets, and have composed several original songs which poke fun at themselves. They’ve become quite good at coordinating their arms for tasks like juggling, or using them separately such as to draw two paintings simultaneously. They’ve also perfected a certain sexual allure, despite their somewhat lumpy body. This includes a number of techniques that “only a woman with two heads can do for you.”
  38. Norumb is a giant at, 6′ 10″ tall. His head has a large chunk missing out of it, like a bite taken out of a gingerbread man. In point of fact, that’s precisely what happened when he was a child, and was rescued from a massive wolf who had dragged him off into the woods. Much of Norumb’s brain is gone. He lacks any manual dexterity, and will drop almost anything put into his hands. He can walk alright, and seems to understand very simple words, but he can’t speak himself, and he often becomes distracted. Many have thought they could make use of him, but so far all of them have become frustrated to the point of selling him eventually. Norumb is very, very cheap.
  39. Krustlausiga is an exotic dancer in her mid 80s. It’s a talent she has worked at and perfected since her youth, and it is the only real skill she claims to have. Who her clientele have been for the last few decades is something of a mystery, as she lacks even the madam’s skills, which most aging sex workers develop. She will do whatever is demanded of her, of course, but will miserably fail at anything that isn’t sexy dancing.
  40. Buezdul is a muscular, bald eunuch. As a child he was a singer, and was cut to prevent his voice from changing. He still sings quite well, but his voice has deepened enough that he’s not really useful as a singer any longer. He spent some years training in wrestling, and is now advertised as a useful guardian for virgins, and other women who should not be touched by a man.
  41. Purlonia cannot speak. As a young child, she was witness to her master murdering a rival in his own home. She was beaten for being in a place she should not have been, then forced to help him dispose of the body. Afterwords, fearing the child slave may inadvertently reveal him in idle talk, Purlonia’s master boiled the fern of the Bernuli plant, and forced the hot water down her throat. She has never been able to speak a word since that day.
  42. Vuno is a man with fewer years ahead of him than there are behind. Some years back he was infected with a crystalline parasite, which has replaced many of his internal organs. Its growth seems to be halted at this point, but its presence is obvious. His teeth have been pushed out by formations of crystal which have grown to fill his mouth. He struggles to breathe, and would be long dead from starvation if his stomach had not also been replaced by crystals, which radiate from his midsection, absorbing light and converting it into vitality. Vuno cannot speak with words as you and I do, but the crystals do allow him to make his voice heard within the minds of anyone within 1 mile of himself. He cannot receive responses, but he is very useful for passing secret messages, or ensuring your orders are disseminated more quickly than your enemies’ are.
  43. Ammini was turned into an instrument. There is nothing overtly magical about this transformation, but it extends beyond the known practices, or even the theoretical ones, of modern surgery. There are a series of metal pipes inserted into her chest, each terminating within her lungs. A turn knob on her throat closes off her human breathing passage, and transforms the simple rhythms of breathing into an eerie musical performance, which she can manipulate by opening different parts of the many pipes sticking out from her torso. Ammini will insist she has been this way for as long as she remembers, but she says this only to save herself the pain of telling and retelling this story to each new master she is passed to.
  44. Luster is a human affected by dwarfism–not to be confused with a dwarf. While the new Lord of a noble house was putting his dead father’s affairs in order, he discovered Luster in his father’s private study. The poor man was wearing a sort of “puppy” outfit, with openings in it that had an obvious sexual intent. The young lord quickly burned the outfit, and other paraphernalia that Luster was only too happy to point out to him. He then made sure that Luster would be sold far, far away from anywhere that his stories might bring shame upon the house he had served.
  45. Fiddost is a hawk-nosed woman of middle years. Somehow, despite literally being a slave on an auction block, she has a way of making people feel a little embarrassed by her obvious judgements of them. She is a stylist of the highest degree. She will style your hair, oversee the crafting of your garments, and ensure that you always look impressive. More than that, she manages to do this without following the foppish fancy of passing trends, or by crafting ludicrous fashions that will impede the real work of her masters. The only complain anyone has ever had of her is her intensely unlikable demeanor, which is why she has so frequently found herself on the auction block.
  46. Ivott was, until recently, a galley slave. Rather than row the boat, however, Ivott was tasked with keeping tempo for the rowers by slowly beating a drum. It’s simple work, and a cushy job compared to the others available on the ship, but Ivott couldn’t resist the urge to play around a little more with the drums. His musical inclinations led him to perform complex little songs for the rowers, who enjoyed their lives significantly more, and whose rowing got significantly worse. Even after repeated warnings and beatings, Ivott would still sneak in his little performances, until the flustered ship’s captain just couldn’t take it anymore, and sold Ivott off at the nearest port. Ivott misses his drums very much, and constantly rapps his fingers on just about anything.
  47. Scribe 83 is a woman with the number “83” tattooed in large, black print across her whole face. She was purchased as a child by a woman of meticulous temperament who put her to work as a scribe. In this woman’s estimation, names only served to confuse the more essential information of each slave’s existence, and so all of her names were given a function and a number to use as a name. Scribe 83 served dutifully for 34 years, until pains in her hands developed, preventing her from doing her work. That was yesterday. Today she is up for sale.
  48. Obarg was a pirate until a couple weeks ago. The hideout was raided, the ship taken, and all the pirates hauled back to civilization. Kept in chains in the belly of their own ship. Only just a moment ago, the captain and first mate were executed for the education and entertainment of the public. When that was done, the rest of the pirate band were set to be auctioned off. A handful of landowners who owned a mine together purchased them for the deadly job of mining in the deep dark tunnels of the earth, but Obarg was somehow missed in the shuffle and now finds himself up for sale on the general auction block. Once alone with his new master, he will reveal a secret to them: he knows the location of the pirate band’s treasure, and he will exchange that treasure for his freedom. This is all true: as the camp was being raided, Obarg quickly stole the map from the captain’s quarters, and hid it inside of his butt. He’s had nothing else to think about for weeks now, so he knows precisely what his plan is. He’s going to keep this information close to his chest, until he can be relatively assured of his freedom. Only then will he reveal that he has a map, and hand it over. If the situation works out well enough, he may attempt to gather a band of his own to follow the folk who release him, ambush them, and take the treasure for himself.
  49. Givabia is a specialist of level 1d4. She was raised under a master who was noble enough to mingle with the aristocracy, but whose family was impoverished enough that he had to get creative about making money. For years, Givabia was his secret weapon, a personal attendant who could scout the place during the day while walking behind him, then return some time later to burgle it, sell off anything distinctive, and bring the coin to her master to reinforce the family finances. Unfortunately, Givabia recently made the mistake of getting caught. She was lucky not to be executed on the spot, but instead was dragged back to her master. With a grimace of disappointment he gave her a savage beating, then sent her to the auction block to hide his involvement in the affair. Her bruises are still obvious, and her cracked rib and ankle still untended. She’ll probably have a limp for the rest of her life at this point.
  50. Relva spent years as an assistant to a magician. She maintained his curios, cleaned up after his experiments, and alphabetized his tinctures. Recently, there was an explosion in his lab when certain experiments went awry. Relva lost both of her arms and legs in the blast, and swears up and down that there was something more than fire in the blast. Regardless, she’s eager to find ways to make herself useful, though nobody can really think of any good ones, so she’s currently selling for very cheap. Nobody has noticed yet–not even Relva herself–but her years of exposure to the forces of the outer realities has infected her, causing her to radiate a sort of odd force. The fabric of what is usual bends around her, sometimes in barely perceptible ways, but sometimes in quite significant ways.(Note: Here, at the halfway mark, this is already the longest post ever written on Papers & Pencils. Why am I doing this to myself?)
  51. Yvorn is a strapping young man with lean muscles, and flowing blond hair. His skin is smooth, with only a soft down of hair along his arms and legs. He was purchased away from a gladiatorial school before completing his first month of training to serve the amorous desires of a corpulent and wealthy merchant. Yvorn satisfied the man for many years, until the development of a series of hemorrhoids prevented him from performing his primary duties adequately.
  52. Esthuna saw something. Nobody knows what, though, because whoever she saw covered their tracks thoroughly. Her tongue has been removed, and her lips sealed shut by sewing them together, then burning them with hot iron so they would heal shut. A small hole was cut into her cheek that she could eat through. She does not know how to write, and the backs of both her hands have been branded with a photographic warning: hands are for work. Not for pointing.
  53. Disfij is going through puberty right now, which means the market has dried up, and it’s time for his pimp to sell him off to someone who will find better uses for him. Life up to this point has caused Disfij to become a disturbed young man, who will attempt to seduce any men he meets in the hopes of gaining favor and protection from them.
  54. Clofullia is a slender young woman of voluptuous endowment. Her body would normally ensure that she was sold as an object of sexual play, save for her most notable feature: a wiry, 4′ beard. The hair is thick and tough; even a close shave leaves her face coarse to the touch. But she has been a great success as a carnival sideshow, and is only now being sold because her previous owner made so much money that he decided to retire from circus life altogether.
  55. Vuld is skilled at a peculiar sort of social tactic, wherein he points out holes in the statements and character of everyone his master meets. This allows Vuld’s master to remain aloof and friendly, while Vuld does the dirty work of forcing a person to justify themselves and their promises.
  56. Heiam is a massive woman, standing nearly 7′ tall, with powerful muscles, and an almost comically curvaceous figure. She proudly describes herself as a “breeder of great men.” Pregnancy and birth are her trade, and at the age of 30 she has already produced 14 children for 9 different masters. Each of these is a strong boy, handsome, and growing well. She’s eager to get started on #15.
  57. Godgio is a fat young man whose skin has been permanently tinted gold to facilitate the enigmatic eroticism of his dance. He is surprisingly light on his feet, and skilled at wobbling his folds in ways that first seem amusing, but the longer they continue, the less you’re able to look away.
  58. Ustia has reached the age where children call her old, but everyone else knows it’s rude to say for a few years yet. She’s a cook with no great culinary talent. Her skill, rather, is the speed and volume with which she prepares food. Formerly she was employed to work during public festivals, or in military camps.
  59. Gondecune is a woman in her late 30s who is well suited to a variety of work, but cannot do anything that requires her to sit. Unfortunately, during her youth, she was trapped in a beseiged building, and the people therein began to starve. The slaves were forced to draw lots, and when Gondecune drew the short straw, her buttocks were removed, cooked, and fed to the men there. Tragically, it was only then another day before the seige was finally lifted.
  60. Dwinog has spent his whole life carrying things, and he’s become very good at it. It goes beyond mere strength–though his strength is impressive. Dwinog has developed his sense of balance to the degree that he can transport loads on his back that any sensible man would consider too much for one man. Can carry easily twice the load that would normally be allowed of someone even with his strength.
  61. Jezzuli Plote is a wiry man, with grey eyes and thick hair, scented with oils and perfumes. He is a skilled masseuse and contortionist, whom the auctioneer promises will help enrich his master’s life through healthy living. He’s also wearing a muzzle, which the auctioneer says is because he has “a barber’s propensity for constant chatter–but it certainly keeps one’s mind active during a nice massage!” In truth, the muzzle is there because Jezzuli has tourettes.
  62. Valerian was, until recently, a slave whose only duty was to provide a stool for his master. Either because his master wanted to rest his feet, or because he needed to step up onto some higher surface. Valerian’s master took great delight in constantly humiliating Valerian for some unknown reason–a prior acquaintance, perhaps. Valerian does swear up and down that he is a king, but he speaks with such fervor that he comes off as crazy. Recently, Valerian developed a painful pustule on his back, which seeps puss and smells atrocious. His master could no longer bear the smell of him, and is having him sold off so someone could work him to death or something.
  63. Fuluviam is a bad slave. She frequently tries to escape, and never pays any heed to her master’s commands. Like any such slave, she was sent to the mines to be worked to death, and just like a thousand other slaves, she worked there until she suffered a severe injury. A cave in trapped her leg, and they had to cut it off to pull her out. They judged that she didn’t have much chance of surviving, and even if she did, she was useless now, so they left her to die. But Fuluviam did what she could to stem the flow of blood, and other slaves risked beatings to drag her into the shade, and to bring her water and food. Miraculously, she recovered, and left the mine foreman with the curious problem of figuring out what to do with a one legged slave. Ultimately, he decided to foist the problem onto someone else by just selling her. Fuluviam is a hardened woman, but after years in the mines, and the loss of her leg, her spirits are at an all-time low.
  64. Ebart is a superb scribe. With tools as primitive as quill and ink he can transcribe words faster than any dictator can speak them. He’s also noted for his skills as a tattooist, though has found very little use for those skills since becoming a slave in the south. Among the northern tribes, however, his designs were quite popular.
  65. Noscheste is a priestess of Servilax, god of servitude. After her ordination, while trying to find the best way to exemplify servitude, Noscheste decided to sell herself into slavery. She banked on the renown of her order to get a bidding war going. She raised a significant sum for herself, which she donated to the church of Servilax, to be used in tending the poor. Since then, she served her master with dutiful vigor, and was recently rewarded with her freedom. She now seeks to repeat the process, and is selling herself once again.
  66. Posejus is a faithful of Bulzupont, a forbidden god who promises that someday, all slaves will be free men. Posejus himself is a cleric, of level 1d4. One of his spells is a sort of specialized “command,” which subtly encourages his owner to sell him to the person he indicates. This allows him to moves among as many communities of slaves as he can. He preaches to them, and tends their ailments to the extent that his limited skills allow.
  67. Bisbi is 8. She’s been a slave all her life, and is very good at bringing plats and cups to masters while they eat. She can also feed chickens, scrub floors, and she knows a few songs to sing if someone plays the lute for her. She doesn’t really know how to do very many things at all, and isn’t a particularly bright child, but she’ll certainly try to do what she’s told.
  68. Thurlin has 5 well-muscled arms. There are two on his right side, and three on his left, and all are fully functional arms. He was born into the service of a man who kept him around as a novelty. Not to mention that he was often much more efficient than a single slave, being able to bring 2.5 times as many plates to the table in a single trip, etc. Unfortunately, Thurlin’s master has fallen upon hard times, and hopes to solve his financial issues by selling Thurlin to someone who will get more use out of his peculiarity. A circus perhaps, or a gladiator school.
  69. When you take away a magic user’s oddments, their tomes, their laboratory, their vestments their wands, and all the other trappings of wizardry, they’re very much a regular person. A soldier without arms and armor still knows how to fight, but magic users are like software engineers in a world without computers. Yevisalia has found herself in that unfortunate position. Despite having 1d4 magic user levels, an untimely spacial vortex transported her to this dismal place, and transported all her personal effects to locations unknown. She supposes she ought to consider herself lucky she wasn’t killed, but being discovered naked and unconscious by the side of the road by a slave merchant has not made her very prone to look on the bright side of things.
  70. Psalmuk is a corpulent man in heavy chains. A gourmand of the highest caliber, Psalmuk was once jealously coveted by the aristocracy before his furious temperament came to the fore. When ordered by his master to prepare a meal he considered insulting to his culinary talents, Psalmuk violently beat his master to death with a cooking pan. Normally he would have been put to death, but the executor of his dead master’s estate thought it a shame to lose such a talented chef. None of the aristocracy would even accept him as a gift after the murder, however, so he’s now here on the general block, selling for a vastly reduced price.
  71. Utagum is an armorer, and has spent much of his life hammering out breastplates and helmets for the army. But his true passion is fashion, which he frustratingly tries to work into his work at every opportunity, despite repeated commands to stick to the basics. After one too many helms with extraneous horsehair braids, and breastplates with giant spiked nipples, Utagum was sent to the auction block, where you now find him.
  72. Relluma is a corpulent woman; slow moving, but strong and capable. An ugly series of scars covers her neck, and cascades from chin to chest, and from shoulder to shoulder. Some years ago she was struck by lightning right in the throat, which left her completely mute. This was particularly tragic, as up to that point her greatest asset was her singing voice.
  73. Saltimus was, until recently, owned by a merchant whose wealth dwarfed many of the aristocratic families of the area. Saltimus was never able to adapt well to servitude, and suffered frequent beatings for sloth and disobedience before the frequent threats of being sold at auction finally came to pass. Saltimus is seething with rage over this. If purchased by anyone who seems to have a vagabond’s temprament, he will make an offer. In exchange for manumission, he will use his extensive knowledge of his former master’s residence to assist you in looting the place. He’s happy to let you have a 95% share of the loot, so long as he’s allowed his freedom, enough money to get his life started, and the opportunity to slit his former master’s throat in his sleep.
  74. Soaemias is a demure woman of plain features, and a perpetually blank expression. This dull exterior is her disguise for a sharp wit, and a certain ruthlessness. She is not herself a magician, but many years ago she was slave to a wizard of some ability. Without any training, Soaemias managed to force an entire spell into her mind. It is a particularly potent spell, which she has kept locked in her thoughts for years now. It presses upon her, forcing other thoughts out of her mind and making her appear dullwitted. She’s waiting for the right opportunity to use it to best effect, and if she encounters a magic user, she will have found it. She will offer to trade the spell for her freedom, and 1000 currency. While the price may seem steep, it is in truth a very small price to pay for a spell as good as this.
  75. “Killa-Z” is a woman of 50 years, and a well known gladiatorial legend. Out of over 1000 fights, she lost only 46, and only one of those happened after her first 300. She was most well known for her trick shots with the bow, dancing around her opponents in close quarters and pinning first their feet, then their hands, with arrows. But she was just as talented with short swords, tridents, and staves. Usually, such a successful career would have made her a free woman by now, but her master is particularly greedy. He hopes to sell her off as a sort of “collector’s item,” and the cost for her is exorbitantly high.
  76. Drozdare is an educated man, who specializes in the education of children. Like any respectable instructor, he knows that to spare the rod is to spoil the child, and drilled his students harshly in their lessons. He took satisfaction in knowing that the children of his master would grow up wise and temperate, but unfortunately he was completely mistaken about that. When the eldest of his pupils came to maturity and (after the unfortunate passing of his father) assumed control of the estate, his first act as to take vengeance on Drozdare for his many childhood beatings. Drozdare’s nose, ears, and 2 fingers from each hand were cut off, then he was sent to the block to be sold for a pittance.
  77. Oppia’s mind is a repository of games. She organizes learning games for little children, sporting games for young men and women, and gay amusements for more established folk. She’s an absolute must at any party. Though she’s never gotten very good at making sure her master doesn’t lose too badly.
  78. Brushuk claims to be from a city that floats upon the clouds. According to her, she forgot to put on her wings one morning, and when she stepped onto a particularly thin bit of cloud, she fell through and plummeted down to earth, which she says hurt quite a bit, and is why she was found unconscious by the slave merchant. If you help her return, she promises to reward you with an introduction to the mayor. As outlandish as all of this seems, Brushuk is actually telling the truth.
  79. Lanadabo has spent most of his years working for a shipwright, building ships under the direction of a certified master craftsperson. Recently, an accident crushed his arm, which had to be amputated, making him unfit for his work. Lanadabo may be only a slave, but he paid attention during those years he built ships, and is as competent a shipwright as any. He could easily direct the construction of a ship, if given the chance.
  80. Kursom is a gardener of some skill. Though she was never able to make her master’s gardens truly stand out among all the other men of his station, she kept pace with them well enough. Her master had no reason to be displeased, until one of his children mischievously spread a potent toxin across the garden as a jape. The sorry showing of dead plants was blamed on Kursom, and she was sold to make room for a more competent gardener.
  81. Blutandi has only been a slave for a short while. Before that she was a street performer who gathered crowds with her witty comments and jokes. Her comedy had an insulting quality to it, but always lighthearted enough that the victim could laugh along with everyone else. Sometimes she ran into somebody who couldn’t take a joke, but that wasn’t a problem. At least, until that someone was the local magistrate of this crummy town. Then it became very much a problem when she was quietly arrested and shipped a few towns over to be sold.
  82. Auscunu has been all over the world as the “lovely assistant” of the renowned painter, Vutelek Mukani. Mukani became famous for using the human body as his canvas, and creating transient artwork that took form in front of admirers, and was washed away into nothing at the end of the day. After 10 years of this, however, Mukani decided the art had gotten stale, and it was time to move on. Callously, he sold Auscunu off. “Burning the ships,” as it were, to make sure he could never falter and go back to an easier means of producing art.
  83. Norbet is dead, but nobody has noticed yet. He was killed while being experimented on by as physician of dubious credibility, and discarded in a nearby ditch. A few hours later he woke up, still dead, but somehow refusing to act like it, and wandered away in a haze. When a slave merchant happened upon a filthy man in rags who didn’t seem to know where he was or what was going on, he figured it was his lucky day and tossed Norbet in his wagon. In the two days since then, Norbet’s head has cleared up a little, but he’s still not 100% sure what’s going on.
  84. Bruland is a highly educated woman, who until recently was the scribe in charge of royal ledgers. Her power over the kingdom’s finances was considerable, to the point that even members of the aristocracy had to make requests of her. She started to become pompous, lording her power over her oppressors. For awhile, this worked out. The king favored her for her studious and reliable bookkeeping. But as the complaints grew, the king could no longer overlook the indignity Bruland was putting the nobles through, all in his name. As punishment, he has sent her to be sold at auction.
  85. Relevisio is in all respects a man, save for the pale green scales which cover every inch of his body. According to him, his mother’s father’s, mother was a lizard person. As only 1/8th lizard person himself, Relevisio lacks their cold blood, excellent night vision,  or incredible strength. He’s just a dude with scales.
  86. Saraken isn’t really a woman. She’s an anthropological device dropped onto our planet by aliens. She will walk, talk, and act like a human to the best of her adaptive program’s ability to simulate. Even surface level cuts will not reveal her artificial nature, and she would need to be completely dismembered to notice irregularities. Everything she sees and experiences is being recorded, and in a few years the aliens will return to retrieve her, and examine the recordings.
  87. Pularch’s master enjoyed his appearance, and wanted Pularch to become a dancer. He was apprenticed to another slave, who discovered that Pularch had two left feet. The man was incapable of learning how to dance. But their master only doubled down, insisting on more lessons, harsher consequences for failure, ever more lavish promises of reward for success. Only after years did he grow tired of the attempt. After so much strife, Pularch’s appearance had become nothing but a source of frustration, and he decided to have Pularch sold.
  88. Undaha was the high priestess of the cult of Guraka, the queen of murder. She was well favored by her goddess. A powerful woman who very nearly orchestrated the mass sacrifice of an entire village before she was stopped by a band of adventurers. For her failure her goddess stripped her of all her powers, and further weakened her, reducing all of her ability scores to 4. A broken woman Undaha was sold into slavery by the men and whoen who defeated her, looking to squeeze as much coin as they could out of the venture.
  89. Yombull is still a young man. He holds himself erect, with a false assuredness that this is merely a setback in his fortunes. By rights, he is king of a far off land, captured by foes while “subtly” carousing through their lands. He fully intends to heroically slay whomever becomes his master and escape at the earliest opportunity. In truth, Yombull is a dull witted young man, with a weak will and an over-inflated sense of self importance. He will break quite easily.
  90. Esri tells a story of a childhood trauma. She claims that she was sent into the woods to gather berries, ran afoul of a witch, and was cursed to be forever clumsy and dull witted. This is why she fails at every single task that is ever set for her. In truth, her clumsiness is an act of protest. She’s actually a clever and capable young woman, making a concerted effort to be as useless as she possibly can be to her oppressors.
  91. Garbo was a wealthy slave trader, once upon a time. Frequently he stood on this very block, harping on the values of this human or that, looking for the best price he could get to sell them into a lifetime of forced labor. Many people in the crowd will recognize him, and there are more than a few chuckles happening at his expense. Two months ago, an anti-slavery terrorist organization raided his caravan, and freed all the slaves he was taking to market. They then sold Garbo to his creditors to pay for a fraction of his own debts with his freedom. Now, here he is.
  92. Hortemun is an acrobat and gymnist. She can contort her body into seemingly impossible knots, and her balance is positively superhuman. Unfortunately, her exceedingly fine talents in these areas apparently come at the expense of her luck at the gambling tables. She’s been racking up debts for years, and when a wealthy man whose amorous advances she once snubbed caught wind, he bought up all of her debt, and demanded immediate remittance. When she could not, he had her seized, and sent to the block for auction.
  93. Blukaluk is a con artist, working on his biggest con yet. Everything is in place: his mark is in the crowd. He knows exactly what sort of slaves his mark tends to buy, and was chosen out of all the gang because he most closely resembles that type. Once he’s working in the mark’s house, he can scout it out for a few months, then let the rest of the gang in the back door, and lead them directly to all the valuables. The plan is risky, but Blukaluk is desperate for a score. Unfortunately, things are already starting to go wrong. Another member of the gang was supposed to be in the crowd to ‘buy’ him in case it looked like the mark wasn’t going to win the auction, but that gang member was delayed this morning, and isn’t here. Blukaluk is on his own.
  94. Cepirio is an elderly and learned sage, who has long passed any youthful ambitions of escaping slavery. She is an expert on the types and movements of birds, on the plant life of the natural world, and in matters of architecture. Further, she has a reasonable understanding of many related topics, which one must understand in order to appreciate the matter of their specialization to its fullest degree. She is willing to place this knowledge at the disposal of any who will give her a bit of warmth and good food for her final few years.
  95. Both of Kograg’s hands were replaced with swords as part of a gladiatorial freak show. As an untrained, and unremarkable slave, none had expected Kograg to survive the fight, and now no one knows what to do with him. His performance in the fight was not impressive or pleasing to the crowd, and without hands, he is good for little else. Further, a terrible infection has taken hold on Kograg’s left arm, which fills the air around him with a stench that is impossible to ignore. If not treated, this infection will require him to lose his arm in 2d4 days, and will kill him in 1d6 + 1 weeks.
  96. Mertyl’s previous master had a strange prediction for abusing his slaves by overfeeding them. Mertyl was his favorite victim. She was barely allowed to do anything other than eat, and eat, and eat. When he died, the executors of his estate wondered as to whether they should just kill Mertyl in the name of mercy, but greed prevailed and they’re attempting to sell her as a strange novelty. She currently weighs 600lb, and has very little mobility whatsoever.
  97. Thader is a 34 year old torchbearer. Holding light sources for people is the only thing he’s ever done, so to reinforce his ego, he’s turned it into some kind of art within his mind. He will tell you, without a hint of irony, that “not just anyone can hold a torch,” and could talk for hours about the myriad complicates and techniques and schools of thought (all of which he invented himself) are involved in the noble practice of torchbearing.
  98. Vesther is a sort of proto-vaudvillian comedian. She specializes in slapstick comedy and funny noises. She’s being sold because, during a routine, she accidentally poked her owner in the eye.
  99. Olate is a torturer, with the sort of strong sadomasochistic streak that separates the dutiful from the truly talented. So seriously does Olate take his work, that his previous masters have found him more than willing to torture himself when his masters have found fault with him. The only problem is that he’s altogether too vigorous. He will often go beyond the bounds of his mandate, torturing people for crimes before they have been caught or sentenced by any authority. He has even been known to torture animals for their misdeeds. There is always some offense, and he has never been found to be lying about these, but there’s just no getting him to stop. If told not to torture without given explicit instructions, he will still torture on his own initiative, then he will submit himself to his own tortures as punishment for doing so.
  100. Aurelia is a 14 year old girl with a stony face. She obeys quickly and obeys well. She’s almost too good at being a slave. Anyone with a modicum of insight can tell, when they look at her, that she’s always thinking, making plans, imagining new scenarios. In the distant future, epic poems about Aurelia will be familiar to every schoolchild. In those poems, you will be a footnote. The person who owned her when she was a young slave, before her rise to greatness later in life. But that is the distant future. For now, Aurelia is just a young girl with an 18 in every ability score. Hopefully part of that epic poem won’t be about her killing you.

And there you have it, the single longest post I’ve ever written for Papers & Pencils! If you like this sorta thing, and want to support what I do, please consider my Patreon campaign! Any money you can spare will go towards supporting my TRPG endeavors.

When a Skill is Justified, Superpower Skills, and Torture in ORWA

Torture Toy

Mechanically defined skills should be kept to just those things which are beyond the capabilities of your average adventurer. Anybody can climb, or balance, or jump. It’s pretty easy to adjudicate the difference between something that can be done given a reasonable level of competence, and something can’t.

Furthermore, mechanically defined skills should never replace actual play. If a situation can be resolved by having the player describe their actions, and having the referee describe the way the environment reacts, then that’s how the situation should be resolved. Replacing the actual play of the game with rolling a die is a stupid thing to do.

Finally, mechanically defined skills should have some reasonable likelihood of being used. The average adventurer cannot play the cello, nor can the act of attempting to play the cello be resolved through play. Despite that, my game doesn’t include a ‘cello’ skill, because I don’t think it’s worth my time to write a skill that none of my players will use. But if someone, for some reason, decided they wanted to become a cello player, I would totally write a cello skill for them.

Well, someone in my game has decided they want to play the cello.

Not, like, for real. That was a metaphor. The actual thing my player wants is for me to create a Torture skill. Apparently, Umquat the 14 year old girl just really needs to be better at hurting people.

“But wait!” I hear you say. “Torture is neither beyond the capabilities of your average adventurer, nor is it impossible to resolve through actual play!” And you are correct. In fact, because I tend to turn my players into psychopaths, I’ve already had to make a ruling on torture in my game.

If the players have a helpless opponent, they can damage them with a weapon. Unlike in combat, where damage must be rolled randomly, players who are torturing someone may choose a number within their weapon’s damage range. The victim must make a morale check, with a penalty of 1 for every 3 points of damage the players deal.

If their morale check succeeds, they resist the torture, and refuse to give up the information the players are asking for. If the check fails, they break under the pressure and start talking. If the questions probe too closely to information that is particularly sensitive, the victim may clam up and need to be tortured further.

Notably, I do not allow the players to know how many hit points their victim has. So each torture attempt is a gamble. The more damage they do, the more likely their victim will break. But that’s not helpful if the victim also dies.

It’s a functional system, for something I came up with on the spot while running a game. But one of my players wants to get better at it. They want to improve as a torturer, and who am I to deny a player who wants to engage with the game in some way? And yet, as mentioned above, torture fails two of my tests for when it is appropriate to make a skill. How can I engage with my player, but also maintain the integrity of my ruleset?

Make torture a superpower.

This is something I touched on with “How I Use the Skills I Hate.” At the time, I was in a situation where I was obligated to use skills which failed one or more of my 3 rules. This left me with a few options.

One, I could remove the skills from the game. I didn’t want to do that, because players tend to get understandably frustrated when you take away their cookies. Two, I could run a game which didn’t meet my own standards for player agency. Which…no. Running a game is too much of a time investment. I’m not going to do something I can’t be proud of. Which left me with only one choice: rewrite bad skills to be good skills.

I did this by turning some of them into what I’m now calling Superpower Skills. Skills which do not model anything within the realm of possible human ability. The Search skill, for example, does not measure the player’s ability to search their environment. It literally determines what exists within that environment.

My players recently found a confusing device while they were raiding a magical laboratory. They couldn’t figure out how it worked, so they decided to look for some kind of journal describing its function. My notes didn’t indicate that any such journal existed, but their roll succeeded, so they found a journal and figured out what to do with the device. Of course, I still retain my ability to say “Yes you find that,” or “No, that’s not here.” This variation of search is just a handy way of resolving everything in between.

Since stumbling onto them, Superpower skills have become my new favorite thing. They allow me to create these totally gonzo resolution mechanics for all the things my players want to do. I can make a successful check powerful, but I don’t have to worry about it upending my game because there’s only a base 1-in-6 chance of success. That chance can be improved by raising your skill level, but players have a very limited number of skill points. If they’re putting them into one thing, then they’re not putting them into something else. It all more or less balances out.

You might worry that there’s danger in this thinking leading to Pathfinder style choice bloat, and that’s valid. But I think there’s an essential difference here. In a bloated game, the designer presents the players with an overabundance of choice from the get-go. I’m talking about responding to player desires within your own game. I will probably not include a torture skill in future games that I run, because the players in those games have not asked for one yet. I’ll just present them with a standard array of choices, and let them show me what crazy stuff they want to do.

So without any further blathering, here’s how I wrote the Torture skill for my player:

Torture is used to extract information which an NPC might not normally be able to offer you (similar to how the search skill is used to find things in an environment which may or may not be there) It can also be used to restrain a character’s lethal force, allowing them to merely wound when they would have otherwise killed.

If a character delivers a finishing blow to an enemy, they may attempt a torture roll to leave that foe barely alive. If successful, their foe is automatically considered helpless. In this, and any other situation where a foe is considered helpless, a successful torture skill can be used to extract the answer to one question, assuming there is any kind of possible chance the victim knows that information. (If the referee determines that it’s not possible for this character to know the information the player wants, the player may ask a different question instead.)

A failed torture check, (in either instance), causes the victim to die.

I want to note that this skill does not necessarily replace my previous ruling. Because of the high chance of death, it’s actually much safer to just torture someone the old fashioned way. That method also has the possibility to give you more information, since once an attempt is successful, the victim will talk until they are asked about something particularly sensitive. The torture skill, on the other hand, allows you to extract only a single piece of information per check; but it allows you to extract information the victim may never have offered otherwise.

Magic Words: Laboratories

A Wizard's LaboratoryI love the Magic Word system. It is my finest contribution to the gaming world: elegantly simple caster magic that encourages creativity, and removes the need for cumbersome spell lists. I don’t know if anyone aside from me is actually using it, but I just can’t imagine going back to running spells any other way. Magic Words feels so natural to me at this point.

Another thing that I love are crazy magical laboratories filled with curios, oddments, and the inexpiable paraphernalia of the magician’s craft. Furthermore, the way LotFP handles magic laboratories is one of the best changes Raggi made to the base B/X formula. It’s simple, it’s elegant…and Magic Words broke it.

For those unfamiliar, I’ll summarize. In LotFP, magic labs are measured by monetary value. So if you find a tome of magic theory worth 100sp, and you put it in your lab, then it adds 100sp to your lab. Labs are required for “Magical Activity,” and the value of the lab is a major factor in determining how difficult such activity is.

But I don’t really use scrolls, and I don’t allow players to transcribe spells. Potions are produced using the Alchemy skill. I’ve rewritten how wands work. I’ve also rewritten how staves work. And, of course, creating new spells is trivial, since that’s kinda the whole goshdang point of using Magic Words in the first place. That list encompasses the whole of what RAW LotFP calls “Magical Activity.” So, as I said, I’ve broken LotFP’s magic labs in basically every way.

Which means that the Magic Words system needs its own method for using magic labs, drawing on the core concept of LotFP’s system.

Magical Libraries and Laboratories for Magic Words

A magician’s laboratory is where they store objects for study. Tomes of forbidden knowledge, mystical objects of unknowable purpose, the corpses of demons ready for dissection; such things can provide insight into new realities as yet unknown.

Laboratories are ranked according to their value, which is measured in two ways. First there is Total Value, which measures everything in the lab taken together. Second, there is Unused Value, which measures the the objects which the magic user can still learn from.

For storage, every 500 silver pieces worth of lab value requires 10′ of square space to store. Objects that are appropriate for a magical lab must be discovered through play. If sold, lab items are worth 1/2 their value on the open market.

Unused Value can be spent in place of the time normally required to craft a new spell. It costs 500 sp of unused magical laboratory value to combine words into a new spell, which the referee will present at the next session as usual. Though, if the Magic User decides to go on a spending spree and produce a dozen new spells in a single session, the referee is well within their rights to say they’ll deliver the new spells in installments. A player expecting more than two or three new spells a week is being excessive.

This is a useful change for two reasons. First, my intent was for the player to be able to make a new spell pretty much every game session. But in practice, my players often end In Media Res three, four, or even five times in a row. I can’t reasonably allow the Magic User to craft a new spell while they’re in the middle of a combat, and as a result, Magic Users get frustrated. They wind up with ever-lengthening queues of spells they’re waiting to craft. That’s not inherently a bad thing, but it can reach a point of excess. Hopefully, this will alleviate that.

Second, this will allow higher level magic users to spend a little more time pursuing goals other than crafting new spells. Stuff like training skills, or casting longer ritual spells. They can diversify their interests a little bit without feeling like they’re wasting time that would be better spent on their wizard duties.

Once unused value is spent it’s subtracted from the unused value. However, it remains in the Total Value.

The Total Value of a magic user’s lab is a measure of cosmic prestige. Magicians hoard the mystic oddments they discover, show them off to their friends, and brag about them to their enemies. The acquisition and display of magical novelties is the primary social lubricant of the wizardly caste.

A wizard who is high level, but lacks a princely collection of curios, will be looked down upon. They’re like a wealthy merchant without a noble pedigree. A creature to be dismissed in public, and only dealt with in dark rooms where no one can see your shame. On the inverse, a wizard of low level with an excessive wealth of curios is likely to be robbed and murdered in a trounce.

And wizards are not the only folks who take notice of fine collections of magica obscura. There are things which move beside us. Things for whom most of us are beneath notice. But a fine magical collection may draw their attention for a time. Players should track the Total Value of their labs according to the Specialist’s experience table. Each time their lab “levels up,” it has drawn the attention of a thing beyond the experience of mortal things. Roll 1d20 to determine what creature is drawn forth from the dark beyond:

  1. Sandestine – Incorporeal creatures of impossible swiftness. Only their faint outlines are visible to humans, and they do not require any sustenance or sleep, though they do feel boredom acutely. Sandestines are keen observers, highly valued as spies or sentries.

    Some insignificant bauble from the laboratory has caught their eye, and seems infinitely important to them. In exchange for 1d6 money worth of the lab’s Total Value, the Sandestine will bind itself to perform a single task for the magic user. Sandestines are notably poor negotiators, so the blank check of “a single task,” may be abused by clever magic users. Though there is nothing quite so unreliable as a bored Sandestine.

     

  2. Ajuaba – A creature of spheres, lights, and wafting silks. It has come to the wizard because it has a problem it believes the wizard can help with. The Ajuaba knows too much. It knows everything there is to know in the cosmos, so long as that thing is not a closely protected secret. The excess of knowledge weighs heavily upon the creature’s mind. It will plead of the Wizard: ask it a question. Once it has shared what it knows, it can finally forget, and its burdens will be slightly eased.

    If the wizard offers to take yet more knowledge off the Ajuaba’s brain, it will melodramatically respond that it could never place such a burden on anyone. The small relief the Wizard offered was all it could ask of anyone. It is adamant on this point, believing that each tiny bit of knowledge is painful to bear, and that any demonstration to the contrary is merely bravado.

  3. Carcabat – A slimy thing, which sees through a galaxy of lights that orbit its body. They are the fishermen of the unseen ether of the cosmos. The wizardly crafting of wands appears like clumsy child’s play to them. With exasperated patience, they will offer to show how the deed ought to be done.

    Standing behind the wizard, they will offer instructions that make no sense, while guiding the wizard’s hands through rituals too complex to remember. The wizard may immediately create a new wand using only a single hit point, and they may roll on the table 3 times, selecting which of the 3 they roll they would like to keep.

  4. Elapera – A narrow thing, which somehow gives the impression of an imperiously perfect posture, without having any recognizable anatomy. Its initial interest in the laboratory will quickly turn to scorn once it notices the drab state of the magic user’s spells.  It will ask the magic user to show it their favorite spell. When they do, they will declare the thing to be entirely inadequate, and insist that the magic user do the work over again under their guidance. For the cost of 1,500 unused lab value (which remains in total lab value, as normal), the magic user may re-create a spell they have already created. The new version of the spell will be significantly improved over the original, in a manner determined by the referee. Upon completion, the Elapera will declare the work “almost adequate,” and congratulate the magic user on rising above the simplistic capabilities of their species, if only in the smallest degree.

  5. Panciu – A thought creature which travels the cosmos from mind to mind. It is impressed with the wizard’s laboratory, and offers to show them a bit of long forgotten lore in exchange for the pleasure of a tour. Panciu know the traditional spells of D&D! Roll 1d10 to determine the spell level, then randomly determine one of the spells from that level. If you roll a 10 while determining the level, then you must switch to a different spell list and roll again. (If you don’t have a different spell list, just keep re-rolling until you get a 1-9). 

    The referee should then re-write the spell to be levelless. The magic user also learns any magic words that can be taken from the spell.

  6. Silchar  – A creature of sensual delight, with 4 long tentacular tongues, eight eyes, three cavernous nostrils, six genitalia (one of each type), and numerous other sensory organs. It would very much like to taste such a refined magic user as it now sees. If allowed, it will enshroud the lab’s owner in its many tongues, enjoying every subtle nuance of their taste. Once it has thoroughly tasted, it will depart gratefully. So long as the MU does not wash themselves with any great thoroughness, the licking will leave a film of fortune over their body. The next time they are required to make a saving throw, it will automatically be successful.
  7. Mukdahan – Fleshy platonic solids which are baffled & fascinated by the variety of human appearance. After a tour of the fascinating laboratory, they will ask the Wizard if they may take their body, to put it on display in one of their galleries. In exchange, the they will provide the wizard with a new body of their choice. The Wizard may opt for anything they like: a new gender, a new age, a new ethnicity, etc. They can also roll new physical stats (STR, CON, DEX), as well as add 1d4 -2 to their Charisma. 
  8. Odrelos – A thing which can only be described as “visible wind,” blows into the wizard’s laboratory, rapidly forming itself into words and letters to communicate. It has a moment of business in this realm, for which it will need some local currency. In exchange for 5,000 money, it will reveal a secret. Any secret–for it knows them all. So long as a bit of knowledge is held within only 0-16 minds, an Odrelos will know it as well. 
  9. Aromtap – Creatures who move through time the same way you or I might move through rooms of a building. It will take the magic user, along with any companions they wish to bring, to a time & place of their choosing. Each character who goes on this trip must pay for it with 1 year of their life per day they wish to spend in this other time and place. When they are returned, they will rapidly age. 
  10. Balamgg – A catalogist who has carefully noted the location of several Wizard Staves.  In exchange for 1/4th the money required to reach the magic user’s current level, it will retrieve one of those staves at random, and deliver it to the magic user. Once it has the money it will simply burn it. The currency itself has no meaning to the creature, its true payment was the act of extracting value from the magic user. 
  11. Toynnin – Feeds upon ill fortune. The creature will excite the mind of the magic user, allowing them to instantaneously create 1 new spell for every -2 taken to a future saving throw. The magic user may use all of their penalties at once, or spread them out over multiple saves, but they must take at least a -1 on each saving throw until their debt is paid. 
  12. Valachk – A grinning thing which punctuates too many of its sentences with a humorless chuckle. Not because it is a menace, (though it is), but because it sincerely believes doing so will put humans at ease. Valachk know nothing of what has happened, only what will happen. From a human perspective this may seem an impossible way to live, but the Valachk do just fine. They would like to Rent half of the magic user’s maximum hit points. They won’t say what they’ll do with it, but they promise to return them unharmed and whole. In exchange, they will tell the magic user of one future event. This future event is not described at the table. Instead, the magic user moves forward with this nebulous knowledge. At any point, the player of the magic user may announce “This is the event the Valachk told me about.” The game’s time will then rewind some appropriate amount, so that the magic user can relive the event with appropriate foreknowledge.

    After they’ve re-lived the event, their hit points will be returned to them, as promised.

  13. Gader’el – The Gader’el isn’t terribly interested in the Magic User’s collection, but the existence of said collection has made it think the MU may be suited to its needs. It requires a body, with a mind capable of holding spells. It guarantees to return the body without any permanent damage, and in exchange it will use any spare moments it has to teach the body how to perform a few of the tasks that the Gader’el is familiar with. If the magic user agrees, their mind is instantly transported to a dark void. It is terrifying, to be a displaced mind. Fortunately, it also passes as swiftly as sleep. When the Magic User awakes from their nightmare, the Gader’el will already be gone. The MU’s body is injured. They’ve only got 1d4 hit points, with at least one serious injury that will take time to heal. However, they will also discover that 1d3 randomly determined skills have been improved by 1 step. 
  14. Jikinburchk – An exhuberant creature which delights and marvels at the Wizard’s collection, almost to excess. In thanks for putting together this fabulous collection, the Jikinburchk will offer to put on the most sumptuous, sensual, hedonistic party imaginable. Anyone invited to this party will have a phenomenal time, and it will reset the Magic User’s reputation within a community to “generally positive.” Even if the Magic User had previously earned themselves a reputation for stealing babies to sacrifice in their magical rituals, all will be forgotten in the haze of good times.

  15. Lempema – A creature which roams the past, but cannot imagine the future. They are the unwitting cousins of the Valachk: anatomically similar, but neither can even conceive of the other. In exchange for being given permission to peruse your personal history at their leisure, they will erase a single past event for the magic user.

    The erased event should be direct: preventing the death of a single person, undoing a theft perpetrated against the magic user, or perhaps an encounter with ghouls which resulted in a lost experience level. The referee is also entitled to impose consequences for erased events: if Robert had never died, would the party have ever met David? If the party never encountered those ghouls, they wouldn’t have the magic ring that one of them wore. There is no need to think about this too hard, and indeed, it works best if the referee is somewhat lenient here. This is, after all, supposed to be a boon.

    If the Wizard agrees to this bargain, they will often find the Lempema within their memories, standing in the background observing what’s going on.

  16. Uzuzuz – One of many creatures which might be called. “Grim Reapers” by mortals. Uzuzuz knows the location of all the dead, and will bring one of them to speak with you. Uzuzuz will provide translation, and allow you to speak with this person for as long as you are able to continue speaking.

    In exchange, all Uzuzuz asks is that he be the one to guide your soul into the beyond when you eventually die.

  17. Hyuteir – Speakers of spells. Every word in the language is a spell word. When wizards cast their magics, they are speaking in the language of the Hyuteir. This one is willing to reveal any one spell word that the Magic User desires. In exchange, the first spell the Magic User makes with this word belongs to the Hyuteir who gave it to them. The MU may never use it themselves. The Hyuteir find the ways in which smaller creatures use their language amusing, and many have become collectors of spells. Exclusivity is highly prized among their spell collecting connoisseurs.
  18. K’ksht – A creature which enjoys a good mortal brawl. In exchange for 1 point of the magic user’s Strength, it will slice off a part of itself appropriate to the magic user’s needs. This part will form into a creature that stands 5′ tall, +6″ per level of the MU. It has the abilities of a fighter the same level as the MU, but with a d12 hit die, instead of a d8. It gets two d6 claw attacks each round (upgraded to d8 at level 5, and d10 at level 10), and an armor rating of 12. It is eager to fight to the death, and will never retreat to preserve its life. If the magic user orders it to stop attacking because they wish to parley, the slice of the K’ksht will obey. If they merely wish to flee, the K’ksht will stay behind and finish the battle. If they survive, they will rejoin the Magic User later.

  19. Grue – A thing which lives in the dark. Hungry. Is looking for someone to eat. As payment for not eating you, you must tell it someone else for it to eat. The MU may choose anyone who has at least some chance of being in the dark at some point. (Things that glow are immune). The Grue has a 3-in-6 chance of eating that person within the next month, removing them from play forever. The referee may modify the chance up or down by 1, if they think the person is particularly capable, or incapable of dealing with a Grue. But that’s it. Even your biggest baddest dude has a 2-in-6 chance of being eaten by the Grue.

  20. Nulapuv – A benevolent creature, who would like nothing more than a tour of this fine magical laboratory. In exchange for an enjoyable evening, it will grant one Wish to the Magic User.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Thoughts and theories on tabletop games.