Thursday, May 3, 2018

sleep spells and the honeywood

If you have ever been magically put to sleep by a wizard reading his spell out of a book, it’s likely it could be traced, by wending ways, back to when the school folks came to the honeywood.

It’s been a fair while so it wouldn’t be surprising if most anyone that wanted it had a copy by now. It weren’t always on paper, though, and perhaps the real sleep magic of the woods can never really be writ down.


It stretches for a few hundred miles, up from among the foothills and slopes of the Mountains of Smoke Without Flame and down to the Iron Valley. Some say it was someone’s orchard, way back when, and though the apple and oak trees now have grown where they may there does seem to be some truth to it. Between the tangled roots there is a curious mix of masonry - and sleepers - that yet sometimes hint at a single style stretched halfway over a continent. Whoever built the place, and whatever happened to turn it wild, well, we mightn’t ever know.

Most folks avoid it these days, except sightseers or those with a thirst that can’t ever be filled in the city. The roads aren’t kept up like they could be, and the locals mostly stay put, so travelling is rough for any that try it. The towns are welcoming enough when they arrive, though, and the stills are running, so the aimless end up sticking around as often as not. They join in the harvests and the strange festivals and the drinking and sooner or later you couldn’t tell the visitors from the natives.

The ones that keep rambling onward usually end end asleep, or roasted.

Big ol’ fruitbat ogres live in the woods, eating the fruit off the trees and finding travellers in twilight with their weird screeching. Them and their little tapir-headed goblin cousins tend to leave the sleepers alone, but folks that are up are bound to piss ‘em off. They’re easy enough to sneak up on, though, so often times they’ll be found just yapping and dancing around a campfire. They always know where the nearest beehive is and show some smarts in harvesting the honey.

Stats: As Ogre
No. Appearing: 2-4 plus 1-6 tapir goblins
1. Getting drunk off fermented fruit caught in the roots 2. Roasting fish over a fire 3. Dancing around an altar to Herne 4. Sitting back with snouts stuck in a honeycomb 5. Stalking a couple of mushroom foragers 6. Swooping out of the trees at you!

Everyone in the towns is quite content for the most part - the funny ones always end up learning a lesson or heading out. The woods have a way of showing folks how they ought to be satisfied. Anyone complaining that their wives nag too much or wishing that they had never been born inevitably find themselves becoming rather drowsy the next time they are out amongst the trees. They take a lie down between a couple of handy roots and the next thing they know it’s been a few dozen years. They might take a bit to come to their senses but the moral lesson of the whole ordeal always seems to leave them wiser. Of course, some folks take longer than other. You never know what kind of age a sleeper might’ve come from.
Some say on occasion the sleepers will then wake up back in their own time, wiser for their “dream” but wary it was real. If that’s true the sleep magic of the trees is something that’d get the attention of anyone hoping to get a message to the past - and indeed that rumor has already begun to spread. Some desperate souls search the trees for a sleeper with silver hair, looking for one as would pass on a word to a younger version of themself or some other such thing. It’s an iffy thing, since all kind of folk are out there and there’s the bats and dream eating goblins to avoid. They might get lucky though.

Awakening from among the roots is:
1. An old mushroom hunter, his beard to his belly and his granddaughter full grown
2. A prince, his attendants all overgrown and his castle frozen in time
3. A heartbroken heiress, her hair down to her ankles and her estate grown massively
4. A centurion, his pitted armor unrecognizable and his language unintelligible
5. A reptile woman, coated in amber (or honey) and her phase rod barely radioactive
6. A student of Jormund School, his books rotten and the snake ‘round his arm dried out

Folks with book learning came to the wood, years ago. They’d heard about the slumbering in the woods, and with strange divining and calculations they took to cracking how such a thing was done. They brought their books and their pet serpents and carpetbags out of the northlands and threw up buildings around sleepers to measure and test them. It took time, and they lost a few here and there, but eventually a couple o’ wizard women figured it out enough to write it down. They called it Sleep, and took it home and sold it to every mage, scholar, and insomniac from here to the Glassy Mountains.

The two women came back, though. See they’d heard the stories and knew the forest had more secrets to tell about magic.

Jaki - dressed in cobras. Imperious and aloof. 5HD Wizard, knows standard Jormund spells plus Falling Through Your Clothes (All your attire ends up bunched around your ankles, save or phase partway into the ground. 2nd level spell)

Yssica Numbers - a very thick northern accent. Friendly but painfully awkward. 6HD Mathmancer, can cast identify Lamentations-style (and has the materials to do so)

Paladins of the Fall, Fire on the Velvet Horizon
Chromatic Soup Vol 2
Magic the Gathering Lorwyn Art
Angry Orchard Cider
Washington Irving stories (and film adaptations)
Over the Garden Wall

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

How To Forge A Magic Weapon (for a zealous vendetta)

Follow the normal costs etc for magic item creation in whatever system you’re using, but tack this on for a dramatic scene? Use it however you want, I don’t know.
You will need to track down METAL, FUEL and a liquid for the TEMPER - there is probably some quest you can do to obtain each of them
It is a difficult task as well, so you will need mental DISCIPLINE and physical EFFORT

Ripped from Moby Dick


You need something to forge. If you are on a quest your GM should probably come up with something metallic that is significant to the target.
1 - gold from the crown to kill the usurper
2 - green metal from the meteorite to take down the alien ubermensch
3 - cursed bronze from a sarcophagus
4 - beating iron from a golem’s heart
5 - ancient helm of the vampire slayer to kill him again
6 - the gathered nail-stubbs of race horses

For dramatic purposes you should intone the history or context of the metal as you bring it to the forge, and maybe make an oath on it or something. Then it is time to test DISCIPLINE.
Smithing is a difficult task both in mind and body. DISCIPLINE is a mental stat (INT, WIS, or CHA) that you now test as part of the planning process. Pick one, and describe why it is apt to the task - imagining the desired form or considering the logistics, etc. This should be a roll under test, or if you are a roll-high kind of fellow it’s a DC 15. On a success you proceed as usual, but failure increases your chances of failure later but it will come back to haunt you.


While you actually need to make a fire before anything else this seems like a good spot, dramatically. But anyway you need something to burn (usually it’s coal or charcoal because it’s hard to get sufficient heat from other materials but this is a fantasy game and something with dramatic and mythic significance burns hotter than any coal. This isn’t mentioned in Moby Dick but is nevertheless an important step).

1 - Heartwood of a grandfather treant
2 - Staff of the archmage/druid
3 - Stuffed doll possessed by restless dead
4 - Anthracite from Khazad Dum
5 - Splinters of the wreck of your old ship
6 - Melted bones of murderers

As the fires get hot you should most certainly say “by the fires of the burning eye of Los” or what have you. The metal can now be worked and it is time to weld and shape the pieces. This tests EFFORT.

This is a physical stat (STR, DEX, CON) and you can pick one you are good at but must describe why it is an appropriate choice - why you need to be strong, quick, or gritty as you hammer the metal or work it in the forge. Test in the same way as DISCIPLINE, but instead you roll under half/ the DC is 20. If you failed the first test, roll twice now and take the worse result.

>Failure here means you messed it up enough that you either start over and pay half the cost again or you have a totally mundane version of the weapon or you have your magic weapon with some suitable drawback (basically a cursed item).

If you are happy with what you got it needs to be heated once more and given a final quenching. For this you need some liquid.


1 - Viscera of a mythic beast
2 - Meltwater from the holy mountain
3 - Wine of the Elf nobles
4 - Gel from a living ooze
5 - Sewage from a Hill Giant steading
6 - Blood of three pagans
It would be good to prepare some sort of blessing or curse (in Latin if possible, with explicitly dark content to show your growing monomania with vengeance) and you can give it a cool name now if you wish.
After that, all that’s left is to kill the whale.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

white elves

“They dared to pass into the bitterest North; and finding no other way they endured at last the terror of the Helcaraxë and the cruel hills of ice. Few of the deeds of the Noldor thereafter surpassed that desperate crossing in hardihood or woe. There Elenwë the wife of Turgon was lost, and many others perished also; and it was with a lessened host that Fingolfin set foot at last upon the Outer Lands.” -The Silmarillion

“But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?” -Hebrews 3:17

They never finished crossing.

Under the Doom of Mandos, driven by a warmonger who had already abandoned them, the elves made their way across the sea over the Grinding Ice - but something stopped them. Whether the fear of death or the shame of leaving, they wander the wastes now. It seemed like their ejection from Eden, but perhaps this is their generation-long sojourn in the Negev - though who knows how many long centuries it has been? Their pride has soured and turned cruel.

They entomb their dead and wait and wander; they despair and they hope for some divine resurrection, since elves cannot be raised by magic this side of the sea. They hate those who can, and never again speak the name of g-d.

These guys are found among the glaciers in the Arctic, or the himalayas. You could use these for Nornrik Elves too.


Stats: As Elf

Number appearing: 2d4

  1. Sitting near a traveller dying of exposure, watching.
  2. Burning a human church or shrine, tossing in holy symbols and vestments.
  3. Marching solemnly a circuit between tombs, masked and silent. Re-casting gentle repose.
  4. Carrying a crystal ark between two, filled with human hearts.
  5. Seeking adoption for an elf-child, that they might live far from the ice.
  6. Wandering aimlessly, will not admit that they are quite lost.
Half of them are wielding 
  1. Ice daggers. Shatter with first attack; on a successful hit save vs paralysis.
  2. Ragged broadswords. On a successful hit save vs magic or cannot receive divine healing. Indefinite duration, must be lifted as a curse.
  3. Carcerating Spike. As a spear. On a crit freeze in time 1d6 hours (disappear for the duration).
  4. Starlit saber. Save vs magic on a successful hit or twinkle brightly for 1d8 rounds (as faerie fire).
  5. Dulling chime. Successful hit causes silence for one round.
  6. Ungoliant Lash. On minimum damage entangles for a round.

Their leader is 
  1. wearing flowing ice, or is it glass?
  2. riding a sled like a wheelchair, can command at will.
  3. cloaked in a tapestry, symbol of blasphemy, creates zone where divine magic cannot function.
  4. a heretical optimist, goes on and on about the warm land of plenty that awaits them.
  5. guardian of an ornate cairn (both landmark and tomb)
  6. wearing a monstrous war mask (Save vs Fear)

White elves in battle will target clerics, paladins, or anyone clearly professing their faith over all others. Atheists, however, receive only bitter contempt.

Monday, December 11, 2017

d100 skeletons (and a place)

The Necropolis Lond: a massive cemetery. Crooked stacks of caskets teeter between sprawling mausoleums where they are dug up by skeleton chain gangs overseen by undead bureaucrats to make room for new tombs.

Everything is busy, everything is complicated, no one is exactly in charge. Here are some skeletons.

  1. Skeleton wielding greataxe
  2. Skeleton wielding shortbow
  3. Skeleton wielding elven saber
  4. Skeleton wielding crackling trident
  5. Skeleton wielding oversized shears
  6. Skeleton wielding miner’s pick
  7. Skeleton wielding glowing red brand
  8. Skeleton wielding rib-turned-boomerang
  9. Skeleton wielding pitchfork
  10. Skeleton wielding crude bone spear
  11. Skeleton wielding own arm as a club
  12. Skeleton wielding big rock
  13. Skeleton wielding broken hilt
  14. Skeleton wearing spiked helm
  15. Skeleton wearing magic shield on back
  16. Skeleton wearing ancient buckler
  17. Skeleton wearing new-ish platemail, punctured over heart
  18. Skeleton wearing rusty ringmail
  19. Skeleton wearing moldy leather armor
  20. Skeleton wearing wedding dress
  21. Skeleton wearing pristine burial shroud
  22. Skeleton wearing fine red sash
  23. Skeleton wearing dirty peasant clothes
  24. Skeleton wearing charred northmen clothes
  25. Skeleton wearing dusty tuxedo
  26. Skeleton with large coins in eye sockets
  27. Skeleton with gallows hood and noose around neck
  28. Skeleton wearing barrel over upper body
  29. Skeleton with wooden slats nailed to bones 
  30. Skeleton wearing magical black crown
  31. Skeleton wearing huge metal collar, trailing chain
  32. Skeleton wearing full facemask of a big eye
  33. Skeleton wearing ancient looking tabard of an unheard-of empire
  34. Skeleton covered in sewage
  35. Skeleton covered in green slime
  36. Skeleton covered in tar
  37. Skeleton covered in wax
  38. Skeleton covered in embers & ash
  39. Skeleton covered in barnacles
  40. Skeleton covered in clay (mistaken for a golem)
  41. One armed skeleton
  42. Skeleton with one leg missing, moves around on all threes
  43. Skull with vertebrae like a snake
  44. Skeleton with no head
  45. Skeleton with crutch, one leg is shattered
  46. Skinny skeleton with no ribs
  47. Skeleton constantly dropping at least one bone
  48. Skeleton with skull sliced horizontally through eyes, top moans in the wind
  49. Scuttling hand poking out of a skull mouth like a hermit crab
  50. Floating skull, loose bones orbit
  51. Skeleton draped with thin silver chain
  52. Skeleton painted red
  53. Skeleton with gilded bones
  54. Skeleton painted like a sugar skull
  55. Skeleton with dangling chimes and tiny bells
  56. Skeleton with scrimshawed map on bones
  57. Skeleton with jade bones
  58. Skeleton with charcoal bones
  59. Skeleton with rubbery bones
  60. Skeleton with crusty salt bones (avoids damp)
  61. Radioactive gray skeleton
  62. Cyclops skeleton
  63. Iguana-man skeleton
  64. Owlbear skeleton
  65. Heron skeleton
  66. Narwhal-man skeleton
  67. Bat-ling skeleton
  68. Rhino-man skeleton
  69. Skeleton with a crocodile head for an arm
  70. Stag-headed skeleton
  71. Skeleton horse and rider, heads swapped
  72. Skeleton with freaky snaking neck
  73. Weird skeletal rat king in humanoid shape
  74. Skeleton with fossil head - something Pre-Cambrian
  75. Humanoid mass of animal skulls
  76. At least ten skeletons packed into a cage
  77. Three skeletons chained together
  78. Giant ball of skulls
  79. Two skeletons carrying coffin
  80. Pile of broken bones, moves like a slug
  81. A skeleton with its head stuck in another’s torso, like a pantomime horse
  82. Skeleton with bastard sword through chest
  83. Skeleton with raven chillin in ribcage
  84. Skeleton with trail of gunpowder leaking from skull
  85. Skeleton with magic arrow wedged in eye
  86. Skeleton embedded with magical metal shrapnel
  87. Skeleton with embarrassing personal object in an awkward position
  88. Skeleton with oak sapling sprouting from nose holes
  89. Skeleton with wasp nest attached to shoulder
  90. Skeleton with ruby laser eye
  91. Skeleton riding a floating mammoth skull
  92. Skeleton with bulky frankenstein arm grafted on
  93. Skeleton with animated shadow that whispers secrets
  94. Skeleton with one leg replaced with wizard staff
  95. Skeleton apparently animated by clockwork
  96. Skeleton with purple hat and wand of magic missile
  97. Skeleton with candles stuck to it in a pentagram, four are lit
  98. Skeleton with arcane bomb in chest, explodes on death
  99. Skeleton surrounded by haze of choking black dust
  100. Skeleton with holy symbol burned into skull

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Flailsnails tips

So if you are relatively new to this whole old school thing (like me) but want in on that flail snailing goodness, here's how I do it:

1) roll 3d6 seven times (STR CON DEX INT WIS CHA & GP). If you want to live life in easy mode roll you can assign them how you like, otherwise swap two.

2) Pick your class. The basics in Labyrinth Lord or Jeff's Random Classes or the big ol FRACAS put together by Daniel Dean. If you want to get fancy you can use one of Skerples’ Races (there are some fun ones).

3) Roll for spells of you're a caster and buy some equipment (again, Labyrinth Lord or BECMI or whatever) and make sure you have the dungeon crawling basics. That 3d6 for gold gets timesed by ten so you got some spending money.

4) If you're making this for a particular game, keeping in touch with your other players so you're on the same page (i.e. not having all MUs etc).

5) Have fun~~~

Monday, September 25, 2017

the industrial dungeon


For industrial ruins, dvargir mines, Into the Odd, etc. 

Roll d100 twice per room (or click)

  1. Cave in
  2. Poisonous ore pile
  3. Rubble/ collapse
  4. Flooded room
  5. Verminous corpse
  6. Kitchen/ pantry
  7. Vertical shaft, breeze
  8. Alarm system alerts room to the SW
  9. Rail track
  10. Pipes
  11. Levers for nearby room
  12. Rail track
  13. Ventilation shaft
  14. Monument
  15. Oddity
  16. Weird physics
  17. Cave in
  18. Office: Records, paperwork etc
  19. Peaceful or pitiful NPC
  20. Flame hazard
  21. Trap cuts of entrance
  22. Monster eggs
  23. Vertical shaft
  24. Arsenal
  25. Oddity
  26. Containment barricade
  27. Rail track
  28. Corpses
  29. Suspended cage, prisoner
  30. Pipes
  31. Stairs up
  32. Weird physics
  33. Mine face
  34. Crawlway to SE-most room
  35. Uncut cave
  36. Leaky pipes, water on walls
  37. Fungal infestation
  38. Rail track
  39. Bad engine, smoky & loud
  40. Borehole downwards
  41. Laboratory
  42. Holding cell
  43. Stored explosives
  44. Fresh corpses
  45. Ramp
  46. Wide pipe to NE-most room
  47. Mine face
  48. Ore vein exposed
  49. Flame hazard
  50. Borer
  51. Dried/rotten corpses
  52. Pipes
  53. Tool lockers
  54. Walls carved with writing
  55. Elevator
  56. Radio receiver
  57. Pictures of former residents
  58. Huge pulley wheel
  59. Ventilation shaft
  60. Oddity
  61. Water pump, dries area
  62. Bunk room
  63. Ranged foe above
  64. Useful but ridiculously large machine
  65. Library
  66. Underground river
  67. Tomb
  68. Pantry
  69. Hidden exit to surface
  70. Underground river
  71. Disassembled machine
  72. Fragile/ sensitive noisemakers
  73. Overlarge monster
  74. Mine face
  75. Automaton workers
  76. Crawlway to north-most room
  77. Inactive conveyor belt
  78. Hidden floor rot
  79. Tool lockers
  80. Gate or portcullis
  81. Pipes
  82. Bunker
  83. Pipes, steam hazard
  84. Water pump
  85. Enormous drill, functional
  86. Crisscrossing catwalks
  87. Choking coal dust clouds
  88. Underground river
  89. Canteen
  90. Hole downward, bridge
  91. Security checkpoint
  92. Mine face
  93. Sewage pipe
  94. Oddity
  95. Confusing crawlspace
  96. Uncut cave
  97. Refined substance
  98. Partial map
  99. Winch operated chasm ferry
  100. All exits >50ft off floor

Saturday, September 23, 2017

my god! there's something in the ice!

give me a hand! I think we can get it out…

1 - some fleshy plasm reaching out of a metal barrel (as gibbering mouther)
2 - a dead girl, perfectly preserved (got lost in the cold and died. Her family will be looking for someone to blame)
3 - a sinuous insectile worm (rhemoraz)
4 - ancient man (weeps for a life he will never see again, never gets references. If things get violent he is some kind of super soldier and only primitive weapons work on him)
5 - a body with withered but still green leaves in its mouth (ancient fern, releases sand sized seeds if disturbed. Anyone breathing them saves vs poison or grows own fertile sprouts from mouth & eyes, suffocates)
6 - something big and hairy with too-big teeth (a saber tooth or giant warthog)
7 - something big and metallic (sealed submersible or starship. Crew dead from starvation. Journals & advanced/anachronistic weapons)
8 - mummified eunuch (animates of course)