Friday, March 16, 2018

D20 Pirate Treasures (Low Fantasy Magical/Cursed Items)

 Here are some random artifacts for your crew to find in chests on half-sunken islands guarded by skeletons or anted up at the Liar's Dice table by that shifty looking dude. Since my Revenge campaign is semi-historical and low fantasy, a lot of these objects are moreso based on sailor's myths, sea shanties, and the like.

1. Satchel of Winds: Simple burlap bag tied with a blue ribbon. Used once to move ship 3 hexes instantly.
2. Skeleton Key: Brass key with a menacing skull face. Can be used to pick one lock.
3. Floating stones: Set of four pedi sry looking stones in a black velvet bag. If placed on an object underwater will allow it to float to the surface.
4. Sextant of True-Seeing: Solid gold instrument with an intricate design of a fish tailed unicorn on the side of it with three rings upon its back to hold the eyepiece steady. Sees things how they really are. +1 to Seafaring through fog.
5. Ship in a bottle: Just add water.
6. Wondrous Ram: wooden ram figurine with the words "Truth" and "Lie" carved into each side of it. Telling only truths turns it into an ordinary ram that will follow basic commands. Telling only lies turns it into a sloop. If the PC starts telling the opposite it'll turn back into a figurine.
7. Wisp's Lantern: soft glowing blue light illuminating from an ornate looking lantern. Glows brighter when enemies are near. Throwing the lantern creates an explosion of blue fire, dealing 3d6 damage.
8. Portrait of Orlando: A beautiful painting of someone of the opposite sex. Looking closer the features kind of resemble the  PC. If they die, the  PC is revived wherever the painting is kept but as the opposite sex. The painting will no longer have anyone in it.
9. Ethereal Mug: A stone tankard inscribed with glowing runes. Drinking a liquid from this mug allows the PC to become completely immaterial and immune from harm. However, in this ghostly form they cannot attack or pick things up.
10. Atlantean Tunic: Ancient scalemail shirt (+1 or 2 AC) that grants the wearer the ability to turn into a mermaid for 1d6 hours. Same abilities/drawbacks as mermaid class.
11. Voodoo Clay: Easily moldable earth found in a cloth pouch. It can be formed into 1 human-shaped figure that acts as a voodoo doll towards it victim. Can do damage but never kill.
12. Devil’s Fiddle: Playing this mahogany instrument cuts everyone’s Sorrow in half (rounded down) and gives +1 morale for Day. Crew will lose next battle. The devil himself will also be hunting it down. 
13. Stone Parrot: Ancient Aztec tape recorder. Parrot effigy carved out of granite with a button on the chest. Once pressed can recall up to one minute of noise. Cannot fly. 
14. Gold Statue of Famine: Solid gold statue of Aztec goddess with ruby eyes. Can be sold at a port for Insta-level up. First day on ship spoils all Provisions. Second day Munitions are ruined. Third day Wood is too damp to make repairs. Invites all manner of creatures and enemy ships to current hex.
15. Spyglass of the Eagle: Can roll Wis to scout out nearest Hex to the bow of the ship, previewing what encounter lies there. 
16. Poisoner’s Cabinet: 1d8 vials of various poisons: Knockout powder, Spider venom, Widow’s Woe, Madcap mushrooms, Beserk balm, Fighters Respite along with 1 Antidote.
17. Mask of Perfect Masquerade: instant disguise as a person you know that lasts an hour. 
18. Everlonging Perfume: use to Charm one person. 
19. Ishmael’s Incense: burning this incense at night gives the Whaler insight into where a nearby Adult or Monstorous whale is located. They get a +2 on attack’s against this whale 
20. Blarney Tankard: Automatically win CHA checks but extremely drunk, failing all DEX checks. Make a CON check before engaging in anything too crazy, fail and be violently ill the rest of the night

BONUS: Brawler's Bear: tattoo enchantment. Once per island, PC can challenge stranger to an unarmed brawl. The loser is compelled to give the winner one of their powerful belongings (roll Treasures for NPC). At 5th level, the PC also gains +1 to unarmed fighting. At 7th level, the winner loses half their Madness rounded down, loser gains that much.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dearest ████████,

January 17th, 1936

  Congratulations! You have been selected for induction to the Society of Historical Recovery. Your skills and abilities have long been observed and have been found fit for our organization. We would like to invite you to our opening ceremonies taking place in █████████████, where there will be refreshments and amenities available. 

  Unfortunately, the celebrations may be short. We have received word that the Japanese paramilitary group, ███████████████, has discovered the fabled █████████████ and is en route to Peking by way of rail through Manchuria. A plane will be at the ready to bring you and your colleagues to █████████ and using your aforementioned impressive skills and abilities will secure said artifact from the hands of evil.

  We thank you for your cooperation and immediate response to this letter.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Revenge: A Pirate RPG

The Golden Age of Piracy is one of my all time favorite historical eras. A couple of friends suggested I start running a pirate tabletop campaign for fun and my mind accidentally went haywire with ideas and this happened:

Hexmap of the Spanish Main. Islands are spaced further apart for more wild encounters. 

In my game it is 1716, one year after the Wreck of the Spanish Treasure Fleet. Sailors from Cape Cod to London have heard of the tales of the immense amount of gold scattered on the sands of the Florida Keys, itching to be took. The bravest among them have abandoned being abused at sea by Spanish, French, or English captains for little to no pay in search of their own fortunes. More on this and how the supernatural effects this world a little later.

The character sheet

Like I said in a previous post, some of the mechanics are based on The Driftwood Verses, including Afflictions (like Sorrow and Doom) and Skills (like Seafaring and Reload). I took out the deathray style saves because I like using Abilities for that.

With Skills, I use Last Gasp's style of learning skills through usage, but only on the 2nd, 4th, and other even number levels they can roll to see if they gain another dot in that Skill. Players can also interact with NPCs that may know a thing or two about the Skill to gain tallies.

The ship sheet

Ships are almost characters themselves. There are three ship types: Sloop, Frigate, and Galleon, each with pros and cons in Cargo storage, Cannons firepower, and Speed. Combat works the same as Driftwood Verses with contesting Seafaring rolls to execute maneuvers. The Move maneuver uses Speed of the ship, which is based on Pirates of the Spanish Main's usage of measuring via Longways (L) or Shortways (S) of a playing card. I found this the easiest to translate since I use their minis for combat anyway.

Resources play a huge role in dictating what the players can/need to do. Using the Plunder System helps with randomizing loot for pillaged ships, but its always a risk because it may not carry what the players need. Each hex requires Provisions to travel to, Munitions to fight enemy ships or creatures, and Wood to recover from said battles. They can also find Treasures to trade in at outposts for gold/XP gain. This aspect of resource management really drives home that the PCs are scrappy survivalists and not just unstoppable forces at sea.

I will be posting some Session Notes from this in the near future as well as some tables I've made for pirate era Items, Wavecrawl Encounters, and Crew Morale. In the meantime if you are looking for similar inspiration checkout Zak's Wavecrawl post and Weird On the Waves which also have been a huge help. Cheers!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Plunder System

After a ship is seized and raided, draw a hand of playing cards. Numbers are quantity of items found, the suit is the type. Usually, 1 "barrel" of plunder allows the crew to take the associated action. (ie 1 barrel of Gunpowder allows the ship to enter combat on that hex, 1 barrel of Provisions must be consumed each day for upkeep to the Crew Morale, etc)

Spades are Gunpowder and Cannonballs (for combat)
Clubs are Wood (for making ship repairs)
Hearts are Food and Provisions (to improve or maintain crew Morale)
Diamonds are Valuables (traded for gold)

Standard poker hands decipher what is earned. Always round down if the number is odd.

  • High card gets the half of the number of provisions of the highest card.
  • Two pair gets you half of the provisions of both cards in the pair.
  • Three of a kind gets you half of the provisions of all three cards.
  • Straight gets you half of the provisions of each card in the straight.
  • Flush gets you half of the provisions of each card in the flush.
  • Full House gets you half of the provisions of all of the cards.
  • Four of a Kind gets gets you the provisions of all four cards.
  • Straight Flush gets you the provisions of all the cards.
  • Royal Flush gets you the provisions of all the cards plus a powerful and unique magic item.

Obviously its not a perfect system, but its a fun way to randomize the loot and give the feel of taking ships being a gamble as it was back in the day. I usually reskin what they get each time too, like barrels of rum for Provisions or tobacco for Valuables, giving infinite combinations of what they can find and loot.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Back From The Dead

Hello! I'll be returning from my long hiatus from blogging with a few posts to keep my thoughts in order with some games I'm running. It's been a few years (like 3...whoops!) so here's what I am running:

-Revenge: A Pirate RPG: A hack of D&D Frankenstein'd together with elements of other systems. There's a decent draw from the upcoming Driftwood Verses and Weird on the Waves but set in 1716, the Golden Age of Piracy. It is low magic, with Witches being extremely rare and shunned from society. Skeletons, Dire Whales, and other supernatural creatures can be found however. I run this one weekly to bi-weekly.

-Raiders! Thrilling Tales of Fortune and Glory: A very light Story Game-esque system based on Apocalypse World and The Stolen Century from TAZ. Set in the 1930s, players take rolls as artifact hunters seeking to protect the world from evil. Almost like League of Extraordinary Gentleman meets Indiana Jones. I run this monthly with a rotating group. Each adventure is a one-shot.

There you have it. I'll probably post a bunch this week from the two games to mind dump everything I have been working on.  Stay tuned!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Map Of The Ol West

The year is 1903. The American Southwest is in decline. Civil War, economic hardship, and the constant struggle for survival drives its people into lives of ruthless desperation.

This is the county of Blair, a place crawling with bandits, charlatans, and cow rustlers. All cowards looking to become kings. But there are places the rotten men haven't touched. Unexplored crevasses and barren lands seeping tales of an old world beyond this one. A world that promises deadly secrets and safeguards them well. Just a taste of those strange powers could mean the difference between life or death in these desert wastes.

Do you have the iron to seek them out?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Random Encounters of The Weird West

A table I've been working on for my upcoming Weird West campaign.

This setting is much less undead gunslingers and steampunk scientists, and more fucked up Lovecraftian creatures with the locals trying to explain them with their own lore. (I'll explain some of The Weird later.) In a perfect world it would have art by Ben Templesmith and be narrated by Tom Waits.

Both positive and negative events are found here. I'll update the list as time goes on as well.

William Anderson "Devil Anse" Hatfield

Weird West Encounters (Roll 1d10)

1.     Ambush! (Roll 1d4)

1. 1d6 bandits attack your posse

2. 1d4 criminals holding up/attacking another caravan

3. Grand theft stallion/stagecoach

4. Trap! Dynamite explodes/a line of gunpowder ignites in front of you. Horses buck you off, rocks tumble, gunfire in every direction.

2.     Flannel Mouths and Friendly Faces (Roll 1d4)

1.   Farmer’s cart broke a wheel. They’ll offer you some food if you help fix it in time for them to make it to the next town.

2.   Gun merchant offers their wares.

3.   Salesman driving a carriage full of “Miracle Elixir.” Roll on the Elixirs chart (or any ol’ Random Potion chart) for the kind. 50% chance its snake oil.

4.   Banished benevolent witch offers to sell or trade their trinkets and ritual components to travelers.

3.     Docile Animals (Roll 1d4)

       1. 1d6 whitetail deer

2. An armadillo

3. 1d4 rabbits

4. A raccoon

4.     Unfriendly Animals (Roll 1d6)

1.   1d6 bighorn sheep

2.   1d4 hawks

3.   1d12 buffalo

4.   1d12 elk

5.   1d4 vultures

6.   1d4 foxes

5.     Violent Animals (Roll 1d8)

1.   Bear

2.   Bobcat

3.   Cougar

4.   1d8 coyotes

5.   1d4 wild boar

6.   1d6 rattlesnakes

7.   1d6 wolves

8.   1d12 scorpions

6.     Frontiersmen (Roll 1d4)

1.   Hunter offers a bet to kill 1d6 animals. (5-6 Docile, 4-3 Unfriendly, 2-1 Violent) Roll on the respective table for the result.

2.   Trapper offers a bet to capture 1d4 Docile Animals. They also sell traps at a modest price.

3.   Herbalist is looking for certain specimens in the wild. They offer payment if the posse can return with them.

4.   Explorers returning with artifacts from caves not far off. They won’t sell their finds for cheap, but they might be willing to part with the map for less.

7.       Escort Mission (Roll 1d4)

1.   Help a sheriff escort an unruly criminal to the nearest town for part of the reward money.

2.   Bring stranded travelers to the nearest town. They can reward mundane items or a monetary complement.

3.   Supply cart upturned, they need to make the delivery to the next town before sundown. They promise either some of their goods or part of the payment for the job. Roll 1d6 for kind of supplies.

1.  Food (meat, vegetables, etc)

2.  Medicine

3.  Ore (coal, silver, copper, etc)

4.  Dynamite

5.  Sugar/Spices

6.  Alcohol

                  4. Traveler claims to be attacked by…things. Get them to town in 1 hour before they turn or things could get ugly.

8.       Duel. Depending on the PC’s Fame/Infamy someone will challenge one of them to a duel. The enemy has the same Dex bonus as the PC’s Fame/Infamy.

9.       Camp.  (Roll 1d4) 50% chance of being attacked in the night by bandits/Violent Animals/The Weird. Roll 1d6 to see how your hosts fare against them. Rolling under and they vanquish the foes, above means you awaken to their screams as the last of them is killed.

1.     Moonshiners drunk on their product have plenty to share, but good luck having their help in a fight. 1 in 6 defense.

2.     Surveyors packing up their measuring rods and maps offer comfort and stories of their explorations under the stars. They pack little weaponry but offer a fine meal of roast mutton to travelers. 2 in 6 defense.

3.     A traveling vaudeville circus offers entertainment and jokes to make the night in the desert a little easier. The food is questionable, but there’s plenty of whiskey to go around. 40% chance they’ll try to steal from the players, either through pickpocketing them while they’re drunk or waiting until they’re all asleep. 3 in 6 defense.

4.     Prospectors’ camp. Weary from a hard day of mining/sifting the river, they’ll offer you mild protection from the night and some lukewarm gruel. 20% chance they struck it rich and will offer more appealing venison stew to eat, but they’ll be paranoid and wary about their new visitors and are prone to kick them out just for looking at them funny. 4 in 6 defense.

5.     US Soldiers set up camp for the night. They’re armed with high-powered repeating rifles, but the any infamous party members aren’t welcome here. 5 in 6 defense.

6.     Hunters of The Weird prepare for war. Their camp affixed with all sorts of wards and luck talismans dangling from tents. Grizzled clergymen offer no solace but their blades and rifles as they snuff out the light and ready to fight the terrors. Players wishing to stay here must swear an oath to their god and perform an initiation ritual. 6 in 6 defense.

10.      The Weird (Roll 1d6)

1.     1d4 devotees of Ithaqua. 1 in 6 chance each could be fully turned Wendigo.   
Wild folk who believe in “Donner’s Promise,” knowingly or unknowingly give devotion to the Old One Ithaqua, and participate in cannibalism in order to obtain protection through the winter months and power over others. Practitioners take on monstrous features and after a year of practice they are unrecognizable from the humans they once were. The Navajo call the fully turned Wendigos. When a Wendigo is slain, it bursts into a swarm of mosquitos before perishing completely.

2.     Skinwalker. Roll again on encounters. One of the people/creatures in the encounter is a skinwalker and will attack when given the chance. At less than half health, the skinwalker sheds their false hide and their true form spills out.

Some magic practitioners have learned how to take the form of any person or animal by ritually killing them and wearing their skin. In this form, they act as the creature until mortally wounded and they are forced to emerge from the hide. Skinwalkers often use scarification and mark their own flesh with wicked hexes that immobilize their victims.

3.     Chupacabra

Utterly furless, muscular wolf-like creatures with slits for eyes and grey spines upon their backs seek nothing more than to drink the blood of its victims.

4.     Black Goat Initiate

Those who believe that reality is but a veil and that true pleasure lies beyond worship The Black Goat and find solace in the northern woods. Some use hallucinogenics to pierce the veil; others study the brains of their lobotomized victims. The magic they use is potent and dangerous, and without any empathy for other beings or themselves they are prone to use catastrophic spells or even dynamite to get closer to understanding the other side.

5.     Mound Beast. (based on the creatures from H.P. Lovecraft’s The Mound.)

Massive, grotesque humanoid creatures described by people who spot them as “ogres.” They tend to dwell near native burial mounds and are highly territorial. The Mound Beasts are capable of ripping victims in half and devouring their intestines. Others have spotted them eating fistfuls of rattlesnakes. Some believe they are semi-sentient and live beneath the burial sites in some sort of civilization that settled here before any humans did.

6.     1d6 Sand Mites. On a crit, Save versus Poison or the mite decapitates you and empties their fresh eggs into your body. In 1d4 turns the eggs hatch, spilling out 1d12 baby mites.

Vicious deer ticks the size of dogs that burrow in the sand and are capable of decapitating unfortunate travelers with their mandibles and laying eggs in their carcasses. The eggs hatch quickly in moist environments, which make wet sand or the flesh of victims the perfect nest.