Thursday, January 30, 2014

Even More Unique Undead!

If you prefer to have your tables in NOT .pdf downloadable form, this is the follow up to my BARROWMAZE post yesterday.  I've used many of these in the DCC Barrowmaze campaign I ran last year.  With normal undead varieties, these Unique additions, and the 'masks' rules from BM2, a nearly infinite world of awfulness is well within easy reach.


Expanded Unique Undead Tables
Noah Stevens
For the original 20 entries, see DCC rulebook 381

1 Energy-draining touch (ability score damage; Will save resists)
2 Level-draining touch (lose XP; Will save resists)
3 Searing gaze (1d6 damage with a look)
4 Touch of cold (1d4 damage; immune to fire spells)
5 Chill aura (all within 100’ take 1d4 damage; immune to fire spells)
6 Blood drain (causes 1d4 damage + 1 Stamina point each round)
7 Flight/Levitation
8 Transformation (rat, cat, bat, wolf, worm; or mist, dust, spirit; etc.)
9 Extraordinary strength (Strength 22+)
10 Swift (2 actions per round)
11 Slow (1 action every 2 rounds)
12 Immune to non-magical weapons
13 Immune to non-silvered weapons
14 Resistant to spells (50% chance of any spell not affecting it)
15 Cannot be killed without special ritual (stake through heart, exorcism, destruction of phylactery, form burned in fire,
16 Paralysis with touch (Will save to resist)
17 Translucent/transparent/invisible
18 Issues a curse with every strike (see Appendix C of DCC book or some other source)
19 Casts spells as wizard of level 1d4+1
20 Continues to worship a dark god in undeath; casts spells as cleric of level 1d4+1; can turn living/lawful/good as a
cleric turns unholy
21 Embalmed in oil and rags, and susceptible to flame - takes 1d10 extra points of fire damage on strikes
22 Infested with vermin, and upon destruction 1d6 leap out to attack for 1 HP damage each
23 Enchanted with pyromantic runes and explodes upon destruction for 1d8 damage to all within 10 feet
24 Semi-ethereal, increasing AC by 1d10, determined at the start of each round
25 Necromantic backlash when struck, causing 1d6 points of damage to attacker (save for no damage)
26 Accompanied by haunted music, Will save at –(1d6) or PCs and NPCs charmed for 3 rounds
27 Stealthy, always has surprise (free actions first round)
28 Spider-climb
29 Spreads disease on strike, Fortitude save to resist
30 A Foule Stenche - Aura of disease within 10 feet, Fortitude save +3 to resist
31 Black Bilious Humours – weapons that strike it become stuck
32 Cloud of Flies – distracts foes in combat, no spells with somatic or verbal components may be cast
33 Revenant – attracted to one particular PC/NPC (a murderer?) and will attack no others
34 Sleep of ages – each strike on it causes the character to age a year
35 Weak necromancy – has only 1 HP before dissipating the material form
36 Compelled to count items – when faced with e.g. caltrops or pins, will stop attacks for 1d8 rounds
37 Crawling horde – when destroyed, summons or conjures 1d3-1 more of the same
38 Knitted flesh and wired bone – any individuals encountered are actually a single colossal individual
39 They Hunger – will attack wounded first, and pause to feed on the dead
40 Mouldy – each strike showers the attacker in spores for a Fortitude save or acquire Lung Rot
41 Melancholic humours – each strike, PCs must make a Will save or lose the next round out of sadness
42 Packed with sawdust – coins and other small items found inside and low value treasure spills out when struck
43 Send More Paramedics! – as intelligent in death as they were in life
44 Failing enchantment – lose 1d4 HP per round but healed full amount of damage by any spell effects
45 Jealous – will not stray from the treasure it guards/was interred with
46 Strong runic soulbinding – Maximum possible HP, discernible enchantment warning
47 Unnerving laughter – Will save or lose action this round, attackers
48 Hades’ Glamour – killed or incapacitated characters spirited away to the Court of the Dead
49 Milling about – will not chase, but will attack first any who attack them
50 Grandma, NO! – Related to a randomly determined character or NPC party member, that character must make
Will save to attack
51 Incorporeal in light, but attackable in darkness
52 Autumnal Shroud – attended by a cloud of dead leaves that strike at players every other round for 1d6 (Reflex save
for no damage)
53 Book- or Scroll-bound – priceless texts attached to them via string/nails/wire/glue
54 Slightly mechanized – tick tock gives the approach away (no surprise) but add another HD and an orichalcum gear
at the heart
55 Steam driven – a steam mephit is bottled inside the abdomen and this animates the corpse
56 Dusty – a dust mephit resides in the corpse’s head and any hits cause blindness/choking
57 Sanguine humors – bloody mess (any hits on PCs or by PCs cause a intense splash of gore that wrecks the future
reaction checks of intelligent creatures until cleaned)
58 Phlegmatic humors – spits a gob of ethereal slime that drains level/XP/lowers action dice
59 Choleric humors – sucks the moisture out of everything nearby – hits from undead desiccate PCs for extra 1d6
damage and thirst
60 Elemental-ridden – also enchanted with some weak elemental and cannot be turned, no damage from that attack
61 Demon-plagued – a demon/devil resides within and it cannot be turned, is semi-intelligent and will bargain for
62 Teleporter – teleports struck PCs d100 feet in random direction, or else whole party
63 Insidious designs – paralysis/invisibility on struck characters
64 Convincing Argument – charms all struck characters, or all characters within 20 feet who hear the whispers
65 Death is but a Doorway – upon being put down, a portal to the Ethereal/Astral/Negative/Dread plane opens
66 Time-limited – at Midnight or 3AM, vanishes/clatters to ground
67 Scurrilous – gains +20” to move, spider climbs, digs at 20” through loose earth
68 Serially connected – each “death” of the group reduces the HD of the next member by 1 (total HD equal to number
69 The words of a random 1d5 level spell are inscribed on the skull/skin/robes in permanent ink
70 Biological matrix – animated by non-necromantic forces (e.g. colonization by vines/tendrils)
71 Palldium coated – reflects spells cast at it to nearest attacker
72 Johnny Shearsfingers - +1d6 attacks per round of wicked blades
73 Rawhide and Bloody – hidden in darkness, no chance for spotting, loves stairwells and cupboards
74 Gateframe – ribcage/arms/skull/whatever allows extradimensional incursions from outsiders
75 Berserk - +1d6-3 attacks per round at +1d10-3 to hit (re-roll each round)
76 Glowing menace – radiates powerful mutagenic forces, exposure for more than 3 rounds causes minor corruptions
77 Davy Jones – seeks to drag grappled foes into the water
78 Cold embrace – on successful claw+claw hit, massive temporary massive loss of Strength (down by half)
79 Fluxed – when destroyed, arises again 1d6 times each time at ½ HP
80 Thundercrack deafens characters within 100’ when it is destroyed/put down
81 Lost flock – adds +2 levels to cleric’s calculated level when turning
82 Weary – will not attack but begs for release (other effects may apply at DM’s discretion)
83 Unreasonable Atheists – only turnable by Neutral clerics
84 Dishonored – no chance of turning by Good or Neutral clerics, but may be turned by Warriors of
Strength/Stamina/Personality 15 or higher
85 Beloved – the villagers have been looking for this one
86 Actually a “probe” of some powerful Patron – destruction will cause wrath but can be conversed with as mouthpiece
87 Chamomile and Valerian – surrounded by herbal fog of sleep, Will Save at 1d20 or slumber, make save = dazed 1st
88 Fey hatred – preferentially attacks elves/those bonded to Elf King
89 Against the natural order – walks on ceilings/through walls/turning makes it stronger
90 Bad harmonics – Usually incorporeal undead are corporeal and mostly helpless; corporeal undead wink in and out
of Material Plane every other round
91 Truth of the Grave – will answer questions put to it (roll 1d6: 1-3 honest, 4-6 malicious lies)
92 Suggestible – will follow orders from randomly aligned characters
93 Floaters – on successful claw/claw attack will float away with character at 20’ up per round
94 Free roaming - +1d100 Hit Points, no chance of turning (1 individual only!)
95 Friendly, talkative
96 Mostly dead – in the process of total revivification and will finish in 1d10 turns
97 Tickly – will not damage but only cause struck characters to laugh as per Tasha’s Uncontrollable Hideous-type
98 Ticklish – will only laugh when struck (no apparent damage); Will or Fear save at DC 14
99 Almost there – maximum HP, minus 1 – no chance of turning except with Luck burn
100 Spitefully unfinished – this space intentionally left blank, roll again thrice

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Downward! into Barrowmaze Again... ?

Coming up on the anniversary of the Scourge of the Barrowmaze campaign - a thing that lasted 6 or 7 months last year and brought me a good deal of fun times.  At that time, I was inspired by +Dave Younce 's IRON CANYONS campaign (soon to be rebooted?) - I was struck by the simple return into a relatively easy format of a game I loved.  You may say that the "Dungeon Crawl Hack and Slash" is a bit crusty - well, you oughtn't to say it but I guess you could.

But there is unlife in those bones, yet.

Witness the nextest iteration of BARROWMAZE

I hope this becomes funded - I am unable to fund it at the "Little Guys" level, and I probably can't even do it at the lowest level until maybe early next month, but it's a great setting and always ratcheted up the tension.  As much as I want a box of all those little plastic (or metal? some alien alloy?) figs, almost the entirety of my RPG'ing these days comes over the G+ pipes and the figs would be frowned upon by my wife (she still doesn't like the box of Space Marines taking up square footage in the back bedroom).  Also, my latest favoritest all-consumingest game lately is "DADDY" in which my levels are fairly low but quest opportunities abound.

If you've come here looking for DCC character classes, know full well that Barrowmaze is the ideal vehicle to slaughter a funnel full of sub-heroes, and also it's great fun to laugh as the survivors flee in terror back to Helix across the moors!  If you feel particularly cruel, you can have ghouls or bandits chase them almost the whole way, having eaten/stolen their horses and the digging crew they left to watch them.


I released these to the G+ DCC community last year in the late spring, but 'ere you go, in the interests of making more flubaloo around Greg's awesome project.  You will find a "better than doing it on the fly" conversion of the monsters from Barrowmaze I to DCC stats.  There's also a combined Random Monster Encounters for my campaign which includes some monstrosities hell-bent on vengeance against the party, and a secretive clan of reptilian ghoul worshippers.  The entries include all kinds of opportunity to Hell to bust out in the middle of the tomb-quiet hallways, which of course degenerates into a "eat your brains" free for all.

1.  Barrowmaze I common critters with DCC stats
2.  Turbocharged BMI+BM2 random encounter tables

I had a plan to DCC statify all the Barrowmaze monsters in all the encounters throughout the text (something that +Paul Wolfe inspired me to do) but, there's an awful lot of variety and it comes to like 150 different monsters and then the baby came in August.

I also have a "mildly improved" list of awful random properties to add onto Undead Encounters, but I will hold off on that since I'm enchanting it a little stronger.

I might reboot the campaign - if you're interested, then drop me a line - or even better, just join the community on G+ and say so.  You can find the funnel generator for it at the Purple Sorcerer here (this is my opportunity to connect +Greg Gillespie and +Jon Marr who have done a bunch to get me excited in RPGs again). If you are interested in a paper version of the d200-something funnel occupations chart for the thing, to see what classes I was hoping to include into it, then that can be found here. Warning: madness abounds, there - I was inspired by Discworld, Gamma World, Ravenloft, Lovecraft, and Realms of Crawling Chaos.

The Scourge of the Barrowmaze is sort of an attempt to instill Ravenloft-style Gothic Horror and Post-Apocalyptic (think ASE) despair onto a traditional Dungeon Crawl Hack n Slash vehicle.  We never made it too far into the actual BM complex, since almost without exception the party was swamped by random groups of undead or surface-venturing parties of looters or cultists.  The community design is a pale rip-off of the Labyrinth Lord Barrowmaze game hosted lovingly by +Jason Paul McCartan.  His is an absolute model of what a campaign community ought to look like - frankly I don't know how he does it what with his other commitments.

I usually don't get into the crowdfunding for reasons that others may better explain, but this setting in particular has given me a lot of good times and I wish it well and Greg good luck.  Also, it would be fun to see even more hideous evil unearthed.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Announcing a Summer 2014 release of THE HOUNDS OF HALTHRAG KEEP for DCC

In my line of work (mental health therapy), we tell people that unless you have clear and concise goals and have written them down somewhere (anywhere!) then you don't really have goals.  You have ideas.

I had an idea early last year to self-publish, under the HAPLESS HENCHMAN imprint (maybe), a solo game book that captured the terror and distress that trying to stay alive in a fantasy world with no training ought to be.  Essentially, the DCC funnel, but all alone - like that first lonely Kai Initiate except without all the cool powers.  Merely a dagger and a spool of twine.

Well, my idea is a goal, and (lucky for me), I have successfully acquired a limited amount of mastery over some fundamental tools needed to make the thing a reality.  I'm drawing again, and when I am not Spelunky-ing or holding the baby or drinking whiskey, I have picked up the arts of layout via InDesign in a rudimentary fashion.

So, work proceeds!  I have acquired permission to pursue the thing from Goodman Games.  I've written the first draft of the rules.  I've written the first draft of the random encounters section of the book.  I've gone over many of my initial influences which are

Try here

also here

also here

maybe here, too

Next, in no particular order, I need to:

It takes a while to get the hand uncramped after 30 years of not drawing.

1. Finish the clumsy black and white scrawlings I call 'art'

2. Finish the game map and decision nodes - the setting itself hangs behind my eyes almost every free waking moment
3. Write the 300-400 more entries it takes to make an exciting and arduous 0-level solo funnel for DCC

Mr. Goodman (and a couple of others) have advised me - quite rightly - to seek help.  And a number of particularly cool people have offered it unsolicited, and I thank them deeply and graciously.

Here is what I propose, before motivation slips away tonight.  I must write and for that the map needs finishing - this weekend (probably tonight) I will scour the house for my first-draft map of the ruins of Halthrag Keep, outside of which the Jackal Gang holds a number of innocent people captive, forcing them to enter in and search for... Something terrible.  I know what this is, and I even have a couple of low-level endings (like you would get in the CYOA games if you didn't make a lot of good choices).  The random encounter entries for both day- and night-time are written and include a dozen or so new monsters for DCC that will be quite harrowing for your average level-0 medieval Joe or Jane.  I may release a bestiary as a teaser or something very soon.

What I need is to have goals established or else (like many other things) I will dilly dally with Spelunky and babies and never finish this thing.  So:  the official goal is to release the PDF version in the Summer of 2014, with a print-on-demand of the thing if anybody is interested.  If it sells even a single copy at PWYW then I might make a DCC module for a funnel and append it to the printable version or release it as a standalone, since most of the work will be done already (actually, that part is mostly done now IN MY HEAD)

I figure once I've gotten the map and outline, the simple thing will be to untangle the knot of entries, and that's taken care of mostly but I'll speak to it later.

Anyways, the big goal is out in the world.  Twist my arm or ear or whatever as you will.  Subgoals, officially (and I am sure there are many that are hidden to me)  Map -> Static Encounters Keyed -> Write/Edit the Entries + Draw the arts + Lay out the document -> Submit to Goodman Games for approval.  By the by, I'm trying to find a way to enable a particularly old school favorite of mine to do the cover, but we'll see how it goes.

My birthday is in May, and I have selected that as the submission date, so I hope the hellish deities that hound desktop publishers will yap at me in my sleep.

That said - I need to get off of here and write/draw/make! Or game, or something.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Long have I laboured, searched far and wide

Well, not really.  I am retro-playtesting the BSOLO adventure module, trying to decide if it was nostalgia or fun I was having.  Seems like raw frustration, now that I am older - some of the pre-gens are handily supplied with Potions of Gaseous form, with the obvious upshot that you lose all your stuff when you go through the bars...It's all lying there on the other side of the portcullis and the wizard Sargon's magical might dispels all enchantments within...  You walked 9 days from the town to the Gate of Lion Castle, only to float through the portcullis all smug n' shit, to die of starvation a few days later.  Seems about right.

The fact of the matter is, getting through Lion Castle is difficult for anybody, nevermind a puny 1st or 2nd level Basic D&D Magic-User.

I used the 3rd level MU - Eztar - that was the best (non-elf) pre-gen and he was killed by a Giant Ferret in the first room after entering the tail tunnel.  Furry bastard saved against my Web and we resorted to combat - with his AC of 5 I needed 17's, With my AC of 9 he needed 9's.  Got him down to 1 HP, though.  Fucker. I can't bring myself to write "Skeleton of Eztar" in the margins of the module since getting all the (poorly spelled) pencil scrawlings off'n it surely must have weakened the 30 year old paper.  The good thing is, the next guy will surely find Eztar's corpse, iron rations, and +1 dagger. And spellbook!

So, will my Labyrinth Lord: Realms of Crawling Chaos 3rd level Deep One Hybrid do any better?  I hope so, as I intend to use him to go through The Ruins of the Undercity after pilfering Sargon's fortress... I don't believe that the ring can be mine, though, since Sargon will never allow a non-magic user or elf to be his heir.  The shame is that at 4th level the stirring call of the ineffable deeps will surely distract him from his travels...

Why am I going through this? Well, as you may have caught snippets of, here and there, I am self-publishing (one day - possibly this year!) a licensed solo module for DCC... My precarious initial tests of what I've got so far reveal that there is little likelihood, the way it is set up, that any 0-level character will survive the whole thing.  I hesitate to change the time mechanic or the plot of the thing to accommodate any considerations as trifling as survivability though.  It will take a generous run of lucky dicing and a perilous amount of Luck points to make it out - although I've placed about 5 "medium good" exits in the first draft.  I think maybe a half-dozen to a dozen plays through will give you a survivor, provided you leave good notes in the margin and aren't surprised by any zombified previous characters, as getting their stuff will naturally be harder.

Think of it as an alternate funnel for when you can't find a game online or face-to-face.


Buy 'The Hounds' - Click Here