Tuesday, July 14, 2015

in a mud-cloud, micah spangled

One of my players is a prog-folk hobbit sorceress and needs micro-quests for her to try and get new spells. So of course I cribbed verbs and nouns from Joanna Newsom and threw em in a table.


stir up
dream of
breathe on
write on
holler at
border in
light up
search for
a comb
the oak and the axe
the bale and the barrow
our very hearts
wind chimes
the river
little stones
a mirror
the names of the stars
the source of the light
a stone devoid of fire
a bone from the void
the sky
the meadow
the pines
the birches
the spires of the churches
the shadows
the old smokestacks
the south
those mountains
the nighttime
the morning
the place where I have been
the meadowlark
the chim-cho-ree
the sparrow
the grouse
the horse
the hen
a midwife

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Variant Snow(s?)

I came up with a bunch of different snow types that you could use. This was a request done for the Chaos Request Line. Thanks for the inspiration.

For Daniel Dean, eat as much as you like,

1. Sponge-like precipitate that sucks up moisture and falls like snow. Can get heavier isn't very heavy to begin with. Can kill plantlife by sapping it of water over longer periods. Doesn’t stick together as easily as snow. Doesn’t melt, must be removed.

Narrative: A very light cream colored flurry stirs up around you. It feels much heavier than the snow you are used to encountering. You can feel it falling down around you much harder than you are used to snow being. When you step it isn’t at all a satisfying crunch but more like a sponge that has too much water in it. In fact you realize that it isn’t really cold either. The halfling who isn’t wearing shoes is noticing that his feet are getting itchy and dry.

2. A differently colored snow, color fits the surrounding landscape. Something has charged the icey precipitate to be attracted to metals. While falling is VERY attracted to weapons and armor and items with metal on them. This makes the metals much heavier and without proper heat it will be very difficult to break the ice especially as it forms together to become solid. Weapons become unwieldy and piercing and slashing damage becomes blunt if effect of snow prolonged.

Narrative: As you ascend into the mountain you notice a very cheery looking cloud. The color of the fall leaves at the base of the mountain. A similarly colored flakes begin to fall around you. (perhaps a perception type check here) You notice that the flakes are falling in a strange way. They seem to be coming towards you from all directions. you feel yourself being pulled down more and more as you can now see that there is nearly no snow on the ground around you but it is all landing on you.

3. Acid-like snow. Burns through certain material but not others. Makes it possible to cover objects that might get ruined. Doesn’t affect creatures. e.g. rusting snow: rusts metals making it necessary to get out of it quickly or cover up. Moth Snow: eats through cloth slowly but surely making it necessary to magically protect your packs or selves or find shelter.

Narrative: After being in the snow for about half an hour you hear some clinking coins as they hit the ground. You quickly check your satchel and notice that there are small holes all over it. Looking down you notice the fringes of your clothes fraying and exhibiting similar deterioration.

4. Fire snow that essentially is an enhancer for the element in question. e.g. Fire snow is like oil, it will light on fire in the right conditions. explodes in greater quantities. Still evaporates and forms together like regular snow. Makes it possible to create a sort of dynamite if packed and set off.

Narrative: Your companions all look in bewilderment at you from afar as the sparks you were sending into the tinder of the fire you were making burst into a blaze that surrounds you for a moment. The charred area where you were trying to make a simple fire tells you this is not going to be as easy or useful as it seemed.

5. Chain Snow. is larger than regular snow and far more durable. Is still as light as it would be if it was a normal snow. This snow tho does not form together such as packing regular snow but instead can be linked together. Chain snow only comes together on certain ends of the flake making it possible to create sheets of it. When linked together can essentially be a form of chainmail with its durability. The only problem is that it still melts with heat so any flames will be a problem. Could be cool to see a magical alteration make it possible to use outside of cold environs or keep from flames or just an ice cold few sessions. Might be kinda cold to wear though.

Narrative: As you walk through the mountain pass you notice a small cave off to the left. Deciding to take a peek in you stroll over. Hanging from the roof of the mouth of the cave you see what looks like hundreds of flakes of snow strung together expertly in a curtain-like fashion.

6. Mirror snow. This snow is practically normal in every way except that it is more reflective than some of the king's most polished silver. The effects of this are not too incredible when it is falling lightly or hasn’t accumulated yet. However, eventually it becomes incredibly disorienting nearly staring at yourself at different distances quicker than your brain can process. Something about will saves, maybe. Very difficult to fight in because of the constant change in images in front of you as the snow falls. The ground is also basically a terribly textured mirror. Reflects light quite well.

Narrative: You thought you couldn't see through a blizzard before well now you can only see yourself and your companions blurring images in front of you and beneath you.

7. Electric Snow. Snow that arcs with a bolt of electricity every so often. This comes from the actual snow, not from the storm that the snow is in. This makes things different for a couple of reasons. The first being touching snow greatly increases your chances of being electrified by a random jolt of energy. Second, gathering amounts of the snow could increase the effect. Perhaps the snow is like a battery when clustered together waiting for something to discharge upon. could be used as an environmental trap if done properly but is risky. Wearing certain clothings would make you less susceptible. Regular water is bad.
Narrative: Having to leave all of your metallic possessions behind wasn’t much of a comfort. You wait atop the small overhang waiting for your prey. The four legged animal that has been tracking you comes stalking around the corner of the small gorge. You ready the large flask of water that you have at your feet. AS the beast steps below you, you gently roll the container over the edge. Smash it breaks on the beast’s head and the area below lights up like thunderstorm. Seeing the eyes of the snow beast light up like a bonfire after it got too close to the snow you had piled up was definitely satisfying.

8. Imitation Snow. Functions like regular snow except it doesn’t taste as good. It also will expand rapidly if more water is added. Eventually if too much water is added or water with soap or some other chemical that breaks things down it will deteriorate and become gross sludge. This would basically be only useful to attempt to fool someone into believing there is snow until they inspect it closer. Can be as cold as regular snow but not necessarily. Can also be stored in small quantities and made into larger quantities.

Basically adding any sort of extra property to snow but making it as much like regular snow as possible.

Also I think this is cool. http://ontology.buffalo.edu/smith/varia/snow.html

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Jump start that Roleplay

So I was thinking about ways you could make characters more interesting. This thought originated because of people who have a hard time getting into character. People who maybe need a bit of a nudge to roleplay something more interesting than just, I follow the questline and kill the monsters when they appear. I think it is cool to get into a rhythm with your character as you play but it definitely helps to start somewhere and perhaps evolve it into something more.

So here is a list of things that could be interesting about your character. Sometimes it is nearly a curse, sometimes it is just something that you do. Again these are to help people get out of their shells and get onto the tabletop with their character's voice and actions.

  1. you spill half of every first drink of the day making sure to not spill anything else the rest of the day
  2. you have a habit of cutting your coin purse slightly when you look through your pack
  3. you have to evacuate your bowels after each battle
  4. you take a peek in each mirror you find, just to be sure of something but you aren’t sure of what
  5. you grow a fondness for making a symbol with your blade on a tree, cloth, etc. whenever you kill
  6. you hum or whistle or play(by tapping or otherwise) a “theme song” whenever you have your weapon in hand and not actively speaking
  7. you grow increasingly afraid of the dark as your imagination runs wild while in complete or near complete darkness
  8. you are unable to quite remember peoples names and refer to them in only informal monikers
  9. you swear you heard something and have a habit of flinging something in the direction of sounds to see if someone is there
  10. you notice every pickpocket on the streets of every town you ever walk into
  11. you keep finding a certain item that is not very useful but you feel compelled to keep them (e.g. needle and thread, toothpicks, an herb, twine, spoons, counterfeit coins, jars, etc. )
  12. you have a burning desire to eat a certain food or drink that only shows up every so often, when it does you are certain to buy it and look for it in each civilized place you visit
  13. you keep running into someone who isn’t part of a quest line or has anything of value for you, they are just a friendly face
  14. you steal every loose coin you can see and sometimes wish you were better at it
  15. you wish you had an animal companion but aren’t a class that is good at keeping one or has one naturally
  16. you won’t use man-made objects, or won’t stay long in any civilized city after having lived most of your life in the wilds
  17. you collect some sort of gem and are looking for the biggest one
  18. you write letters to someone and let them know all about your adventures ( mentor, loved one, for posterity you send them somewhere or hide them even.)
  19. You make maps of all the places that you find
  20. you create a place where you hide all of your treasure, set up traps to keep it safe, keep pets there, so you never stray farther than a few days journey without making plans to do so
  21. you believe your weapon is an inherited family heirloom that has magical properties and will defend that it does but it has no such thing. You also won’t trade it for better weaponry without it breaking eventually
  22. you need to do your make-up whenever you wake up for the day or if you're a dude get your facial hair all did up or war paint. If it gets messed up you really need to fix it.
  23. you collect trophies of slain monsters as memorabilia

These are just ideas I might continue adding but the point is to create an opportunity for the players to make themselves stand out more at the table. This will also probably make sessions more interesting and be good practice for things you could do other than just moving from point A to B.

More thoughts: I was thinking more about this and I really wanted to emphasize the fact that this is about making your game more intuitively interesting. When you enact these sorts of role-playing quirks the goal is to let people know by acting it out. It could be something that you tell the other players at the table about, or more interestingly it could just be something that they know your character will do. Like in real life when you have friends with quirks. They often will say "I really enjoy cheese" but to what extent? Well you just have to watch them act out their fondness for hardened dairy products. So instead of telling everyone, "my character has a fetish for hummingbird art", just, whenever the situation may arise, act like your character has a hummingbird fetish.