Thursday, July 5, 2018

Tablesmith Tables for Sharing

Been working on learning Tablesmith - a powerful tool and well worth the very modest investment in money and time. I crank out a couple of pages of NPCs, keyed rooms, books, and those kinds of things before sessions these days and then improv the whole thing like I gave it a lot of thought. The secret is, I did give it a great deal of thought but then I put much of it into a Tablesmith table and sort of flesh it out at game time because I arrive tired and harried after dealing with peoples' emotional distress and I don't like to prep. Procedural generation like this is very much more fun for me: I'm usually as amazed and bewildered as the players and we tend to have a good time with it. Keeping it as coherent as possible is one of the fun parts.

Last night, instead of sleeping, high on Thai Ice Tea and the rich sulfurous fumes of cheap grocery-store fireworks, I finished entering in Kabuki Kaiser's Random Monster tables from Ruins of The Undercity. I use it sometimes at the table to generate sandy, curse-infested things that feel like Middle Eastern Barrowmaze, and I reskin the normal-flavored monsters for space-age/star-wars-fantasy/DCC gonzo and GO MAN GO.

If you have any use for Tablesmith you can have them, and you know, tinker with them or what have you. I know that my good friends Bryan Mullins and Paul Wolfe of Mystic Bull might enjoy toying around with these. There's a link down at the bottom for a google drive, if I can get it to work. The contents are:

  1. NMS_Moldvay Dungeon - a quick n dirty spit out of the Moldvay Basic D&D dungeon generation process
  2. NMS_Moldvay Dungeon - same as above, but for level 1 - you can twerk the parameters, IIRC, to get it to do levels 1,2 or 3
  3. - the Moldvay random monster lists, levels 1 through 3 with numbers appearing
  4. - this is a Threndian random job maker, sort of like a 0-level DCC occupation tool. It makes some jobs that I would give up to become an adventurer. Thrend is my in-brain setting. Sort of Alice in Wonderland meets WFRPG1e if it had a baby with Star Wars
  5. - I forgot where I stole this list from, probably from a good one on Abulafia (which if you're into random tables and know some coding better than me, you will find is an amazing free resource lovingly tended to by Dave Younce, my favorite DM of all time)
  6. - the Moldvay process slung on top of the features, traps, and monsters of Kabuki Kaiser's Ruins of the Undercity - greatest Solo dungeon maker ever (Although Mad Monks of Kwantoom is a close second and has more of a lemongrass flavor)
  7. - all 10 intimidating levels of Ruins of The Undercity's Random Monsters Chart
  8. NMS_Strange - tweaked the Random Books provided with Tablesmith to have a more evil and Lovecraft-Mythosian feel to it. Also includes some changes to the book materials, binding, and sizes
  9. NMS_Street - basically, aggressive adjective and noun slapped together to make an interesting and sometimes hilarious (IMHO) gang name worthy of Necromunda, Ur-Hadad, Bastion, or my own Steam-/Diesel-/Elf-punk fantasy city Helleborine
  10. Races of - spits out some very weird (setting specific) races. Referenced in the Thrend Character generators
  11. Thrend Character - DCC stats for meatshields, NPCs, gang-members, whatever. They're weird. Think Adventure Time plus Alice in Wonderland, plus Hellboy
  12. Torturous - Stolen from Coins and Scrolls blog. 500 ennui-filled character premises
  13. Comma Delimited Rogues - for my own use, to spit out tables full of nutjobs for making into easily-importable tables for InDesign
  14. Dickensian - my favorite, and what got me into Tablesmith. I essentially stole the name list from >>>HERE GOD BLESS THESE GOOD HEARTED PEOPLES<<< and twerked on it to make the names even more ludicrous and to spit out more than one at a go... God Bless You, Name Nerds!
  15. Gothic - stolen from a Jane Austen-flavored RPG called Cruelity and Gothic Tales (which is something I've always wanted to play but haven't found the right group for). There's an updated version on RPGNow which is 2.00$. Just saying.
  16. - random gear stolen from my very own starting equipment tables in The Hounds of Halthrag Keep
  17. - just a list of all the types of candy and Slurpee flavors I could think of, referenced in the Races of Thrend list. Into the Odd really got me thinking about gum and I like the idea of Candyland/Candy Kingdom gone evil and rotten. Remind me to finish that board game I thought of some time...
  18. - I think it's just names, referenced in the Strange Books .tab, above.
  19. - the usual Jewelry list from Tablesmith, plus a bunch of other sorts I could find (mostly elaborate Indian jewelry). I think it references my Materials list, below 
  20. - all kinds of fantasy and real-world metals, plus some other non-metallic materials from fiction. Originally appeared on Abulafia (which is still one of the best low-prep RPG resources a GM could want)
There you go. Very likely I'll TS-ify a couple more of my favorites from Halthrag Keep, and my Mysterious Undead Properties thingamajig. I also stole the names from Darkest Dungeon which is a very dreadful theft, and drove me to a brief bout of insanity and lecherous flagellations, but I've recovered.


Friday, April 6, 2018

Foul and Deep and Poopy

Let's talk for a second about the term 'Fatberg', shall we?

I can do that. I'm a dad. I can say 'poopy' and without irony and it's totally fine. I say to normal adults all the time "HEY MAN I GOTTA GO POTTY BE RIGHT BACK" before I even understand what is coming out of my mouth. It's a byproduct of fatherhood, and I hope that one day it will pass. I would never say SHIT at my house unless my kid was asleep since, excuse me!, that's a potty word.

A disclaimer, here. I kept hearing about the Barrowmaze a couple years ago. I guess I'd been out of the RPG scene for a long time, maybe 12 to 15 years depending how you reckon it. I was looking for PbP forums to get back into it, sort of low-commitment. Heh! Don't let anybody tell you that PbP is low commitment, by the by. Anyway, I stumbled upon Daniel Bishop's Barrowmaze PbP and quickly found I had little knowledge of the system (DCC) and not nearly enough time to stay on top of it, and so I found GeePlus and thus was history. I wouldn't have found DCC without lagging behind in Daniel's game, and so I shelled out the squibs for a PDF and haven't been impressed like that since maybe the first time I read my AD&D1e DMG!

I have a soft spot for DCC, and Daniel Bishop's stuff. There. I coulda said just that and been fine.

I picked up "Both Foul and Deep" which appeals to the "Underground Explorer" part of my brain. I think when we think of adventures in sewers, we think of "Big Trouble In Little China", the escape from Ladyhawke, and the only other examples I can recall are like C.H.U.D. and some really awful scenes in Aliens Vs. Predator II, and maybe I guess the climax of "IT" by Stephen King. For those, it's drippy water, narrow walkways, and rats. Lots of rats. There's an Indian Jones sewer scene. A lot of CRPGs start with Rats in Sewers. Elder Scrolls: Arena. Lots of Neverwinter Nights freebie modules (i think the sewer steam tunnel set was one of the better ones). I think that we ROMANTICIZE the fantasy sewer, oddly enough, and think that it's a good place to have adventures. We're probably REALLY thinking of the Catacombs of Paris and London and Rome when we think about sewer adventures, when in reality a sewer crawl would be awful, wet, cramped, and torturous. I think this may be the first product I've ever seen that really addresses just how much SHIT you'd find and how sick you'd get if you are so bold and rather let's say FOOLHARDY to go into the sewers of any medieval metropolis, fantasy or no (in reality, I don't think we really had sewers until the early part of the modern era, like maybe late 1800 's early 1900's).

There is a lot of poop in this product. A lot of feces. A torrent of shit. A river of shit. A lot of slime, sewage, and disease. Plenty of awful monsters that have poopy abilities and none would be a good way to die, and all of them would probably not be fun to fight. There's some rationale for having humanoid/human encounters in the sewers - really everybody and everything else you meet down there are likely to be desperate and murderous or at least have the potential for it.

There's a brief adventure/starter with some novel encounters, a couple of dozen new monsters (terrifying owing to their ferocity and filthiness),  also a DCC Patron at the end. I would bond a PC to the Patron Squallas just to drown an enemy in an extradimensional river of shit just one time.

The production values are high, the writing is intelligent and terse, and the Carrion Moth and the Phantom Gentleman are worth the reasonable price of admission. The question remains: how would I tempt the PC's to enter into the accurately-rendered shitty environs of the sewers of say the 3e Ravenloft undercity of Paridon? Poop smells bad! Poop in a toilet smells bad! Poop in the open smells bad (I drove by Tijuana once, I'm just saying)! Poop on the inside the endless world beneath the toilet probably also smells bad!

Fatberg. Look it up!

The Myriad Races of Thrend

I was hacking away at a .TAB file, tryin' to learn Tablesmith coding, which I'm not learning very terrifically just yet but anywho. It's not hard I just no longer have a brain for it, really.

I made a "Random Races" list, so I guess of races that I would allow in my DCC game without much fuss. That is, I envision a world in which there's been a giant apocalypse long ago that hurled the multiverse together in a big squishy, anachronistic, and practically fluff-free fashion.  Alls we know is there's been, long ago, some cataclysm, and now we're all here. More adventuretime or Planescape than Dragonlance for sure.

I admit I'm a little maybe too open about it, and I don't particularly like it when players try to get mechanical bennies from what seems to me to be purely descriptive chunks of detail.  I don't know why I think like that, as a matter of fact the adjudication of the thing ought to be that Fishmen can breathe water and Robots are immune to sleep spells, etc. It would go like that in Into the Odd or Maze Rats, so I don't know why I'm mildly uptight about it in DCC... I ought to take a deeper look at that down the road. Introspection is good in small doses.

Anyways, here's the .TAB file copied n pasted. Some of the options can get a little reiterative, for example you could have a Dreamlands Shadow Alternate Dimesional Candy Person but that's going to be suitably rare at these rates! And of course, looking at the clumsy code I realize that I coulda just saved 5 or 6 lycanthrope spots and put the "Were-" prefix and [SEE ANIMAL SUBTYPE], which I actually did later. The Were-subtypes'll be a lot less common that the normal run of the mill ones, I guess. There's ways to rule out those sorts of combinations, but hey. Weirder the better, IMHO. What's the difference between an Upright Wolf and a Werewolf? Duh. A long long time ago I was thinking about perk-buy methods and it seems to me that these could all be tidied up that way...

Maybe I ought to break my own bad habits and do some stat mods and perks associated with all these races, but meh: we can wing it.

# Races of Thrend
# By Noah Stevens

23,Sea Blood
27,White Ape
31,Wood Golem
32,Clay Golem
43,Cloth Golem
44,Straw Man
45,Winged Monkey
55,Clockwork Person
56,Porcelain Golem
57,Dark Elf
58,Dark Dwarf
59,Wood Elf
62,Upright {Cap~[Creatures]}
63,Newhon Ghoul
64,Grey Man
65,Blue Man
69,Slug Man
70,Candy Person
71,Food Person
80,Moon Dweller
84,Bug Person
87,Fay {Cap~[Creatures]}
88,Dreamlands [Start]
89,Shadow [Start]
90,Alternate Dimensional [Start]

49,mountain lion

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Threndian Low-Life Operatives

Inspired by the Vircades project "Wage Slaves" series, and also the release of Cyber Sprawl Classics, I got my Tablesmith juju on and generated a couple of generators for low-level, OZ/AdventureTime/Neuromancer/Steampunk scumbags. +Dave Younce helped me to get a version of the name generator on Abulafia, but the rest is from my own noodle. The stats are DCC, but I think the modifiers must be from 5e or 4.5/PF and I will adjust those later once the code is more familiar to me.

Tablesmith is really handy!  Remind me to post the .tab files later. I twerked the Ork Tribes to make some Street Gangs, and made the names from code I stole/twerked from a Dickens name generator site, which made terrific but not odd enough names. The races are just a long list of races that spilled out of my brain. I figure Thrend (especially in Helleborine) is very  very metro-/cosmo-/pandimensionalpolitan and so hey man, werewolf plumbers with Dreamlands Robot journeyman assistants are probably par for the course. Relax, man. It's just a prank, man! For laughs!

Treacle Shilum
Race: Blue Man
Occupation: Brand Shouter
Strength: 18 4
Agility: 10 0
Stamina: 8 -1
Personality: 14 2
Intelligence: 13 1
Luck: 12 1

Arthur Flizwitch
Race: Wood Elf
Occupation: Broth-Pusher
Strength: 13 1
Agility: 11 0
Stamina: 16 3
Personality: 7 -2
Intelligence: 15 2
Luck: 13 1

Latch Beerwith
Race: Kappa
Occupation: Pixel Artist
Strength: 13 1
Agility: 18 4
Stamina: 13 1
Personality: 12 1
Intelligence: 15 2
Luck: 15 2

James Catness
Race: Dog
Occupation: Freelance Widow Poacher
Strength: 8 -1
Agility: 6 -2
Stamina: 13 1
Personality: 15 2
Intelligence: 10 0
Luck: 12 1

Parrish Fattage
Race: Human
Occupation: Freelance Dough Tweaker
Strength: 10 0
Agility: 13 1
Stamina: 10 0
Personality: 13 1
Intelligence: 10 0
Luck: 16 3

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Rust Phoenix

So this guy, a really unpleasant Beast Wizard, he captured a Rust Phoenix. They’re not related to the standard immortality kind of Phoenix, but they have beautiful coppery red and (you guessed it) rust colored plumage. Owing to quirks in their biology and diets, they concentrate certain sorts of magic. Feather Fall, turn arrows, dimension door. That kind of thing. Something to do with ferrous metals and breakdown at the nuclear level. Unstable magnetic fields. Tachyon and gluon shedding. It’s beyond me. They eat electric mice, mithril-laced beetles, drift for days on thermals above the dead strongholds of the Dvergr-men and their quiet Gold Purifiers

So, you crack a Rust Phoenix egg before it is ready to hatch and you get a little smear of long lasting residue that (provided you know a variant of Teleport, Planar Step, or Dimension Door pretty well) you can BLOOP right over there to where the egg was broken, or pretty close. A paradimensional scramble right there. Easy to commodify. Very cheap to produce, highly useful, and pretty delicate and short-lived. Because If you don’t break the egg, then the little bird’s accelerated embryonic development completes and it hatches at full size, irritated, and causes weird degeneration of non-magical metals. Rust. Every metal thing within about a 100’ radius of a properly incubated Rust Phoenix egg gets rusty, pocked, and pitted.

This Beast Wizard, he captured a male and a harem of females and he pumps out a fortune, selling the eggs (for which there is a long waiting list) for a king’s ransom to teleporting-interested groups and also for warfare.

The males are generally very striking in terms of appearance: jagged, sharp, crumbly, prickly. An amazing ventral plume that is dangerously sharp. A fine sediment of rust precipitates from the air around them and settles on things. Also, the males have a warbling and haunting song that causes metal objects nearby to degenerate and shatter - magical items are more or less resistant but common metal ones can actually cause damage to bearers by forceful explosion into fragments

Rust Phoenix DCC Stats (I don’t know, just regular bird stats let’s not dwell on minutiae, eh?)

Rust Phoenix Dungeon World stats (maybe more on that later, but a motive/driver definitely to escape captivity, nest in secure locations, revenge upon captors I mean no need for a noble beast to be a good one)

Related spells (Transition Egg, Magnetic Cascade, Singularity Song)

Related items (Rust Phoenix Egg, Rust Phoenix Down, Feathers)

Caught in a Faraday cage, warbling a sinister tune, a legendary beast become a machine for the wealth of a greedy merchant

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