Saturday, June 29, 2019

Spell: Skipping Stones

Skipping Stones

  • Level; 1
  • Casting Time: 1 Action
  • Range: 120'
  • Components: S, M (a rock suitable for skipping on water, one smooth face)
  • Duration: Instantaneous.
  • Casters: Druid, Ranger, Wizard
  • Damage/Effect: Bludgeoning
  • School/Domain: Transmutation, Nature

You touch two stones or rocks, no larger than your hand. You can make two ranged spell attacks (one for each stone) by throwing it to skip across a liquid surface (such as a pond) in line with the target. On a hit , the target takes bludgeoning damage equal to 1d10+1 per stone that hits. Hit or miss, the spell ends on the stone.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

DARC Domains - Organizations

Here's a list of probable powers that is deliberately vague - some of these are NPCs, but might be taken over by players.


  • Feudal-type Powers:
    • Norman-analog power
    • NW European-analog power
    • Middle-Eastern analog power
  • Independent/Economic Powers
    • Mercenary/Freebooter/Pirates: x3
    • School of Wizardry
    • Thieve's Guild x2
    • Viking Clan
    • Dwarf Clan
    • High Elf Enclave
  • Religious:
    • Religious Military Order
    • Druid Order
    • Independent Religious Order
  • TBD:
    • 3

Background Material:

I'm putting together background material and a map (mostly cleaning up what I've already done) and I'll start talking to individuals about their domains and nailing these down quickly.

Two main divisions: The Concord (European analog), The Adanir (Middle and Near East analog). In between is the former nation of Enlazar, now the fallen Grand Duchy of Brillanta, where our action will primarily take place.

Cairdeas is the large Concord kingdom to the right, with the Marquisate of Kolo between it and Enlazar. On the left is the Sultanate of Qopan. Within the Enlazar region were the viscounties of Brance, Sebrook, Maford, and Brillanta; the Principality of Kirkon is a small religious area, rumored to be the location of where Tarshim slew the God of Chains. 24 mile (vertical) hexes.

Kolo is now the biggest, most happening city of the East, with a flavor somewhere between Venice and Istanbul. There is a similar city in the West that I haven't named yet.

Maps and Nations

I've detailed more about the countries around here.

Very open to changing or adding things based on your interest.

I've tentatively decided on using An Echo Resounding: A Sourcebook for Lordship and War (you do NOT need to get a copy, I'm probably going to tweak some things and use some other systems too).

What I'm calling Feudal type players will probably start as unlanded "Counts", with a claim to a county-level territory (by law or by strength), and some level of resources to pursue that. Using the simple tiers of King/Queen > Duke > Count > Baron. (There are some Viscounts, and Viscounties, and a Marquessa, but these are special cases for the history in my head).

Independent powers will have similar levels of resources but more variable, magic academies and thieve's guilds don't typically put formations of light infantry in the field.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Cave Poem

A horrible poem to give my players.

The cave is safety,
          Safe from storm and sun.
The cave is danger,
          Countless threats unknown.
The cave is myst'ry,
          Treasures lost and won.
The cave is ancient,
          A portal in stone.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Historical Dragon Notes

Just some quick copy-and-paste notes for myself (mostly from wiki probably) on European Dragons.

  • Wiki on European dragon 
  • Wales: Red Dragon dominates it when awake. 
  • Saxons: White Dragon? 
  • Saint_George_and_the_Dragon. Selinus/Silene (idolatrous emperor of Lasia (a city in what would be Libya) - daughter Sabra to be sacrificed to poisonous Dragon, rescued by St. George) 
  •  Golden Dragon of Wessex: Sigurd kills a dragon (Fafnir was changed into a dragon by a ring): Andvaranaut 
  • Landvættir: the benevolent dragon with whom King Harald Bluetooth's servant met in Vopnafjörður according to Heimskringla, and also depicted on the Icelandic Coat of Arms. 
  • Melusine (serpent- or fish-woman from the Low Countries?)
  • he most famous Polish dragon (Polish: Smok) is the Wawel Dragon or Smok Wawelski, the Dragon of Wawel Hill. It supposedly terrorized ancient Kraków and lived in caves on the Vistula river bank below the Wawel castle. 
  • Cuélebre, or Cuelebre, a giant winged serpent in the mythology of Asturias and Cantabria in the north of Spain 
  • Herensuge is the name given to the dragon in Basque mythology, meaning "last serpent". For instance, the first bishop of the city of Forlì, Saint Mercurialis, was said to have killed a dragon and saved Forlì.
  • Likewise, the first patron saint of Venice, Saint Theodore of Tyro, was a dragon-slayer, and a statue representing his slaying of the dragon still tops one of the two columns in St. Mark's square. 
  • St. Michael, the patron saint of paratroopers, is also frequently depicted slaying a dragon. 
  •  One of the most famous dragons of Italian folklore is Thyrus, a wyvern that besieged Terni in the Middle Ages.
  • St. Margaret of Antioch killed one from the inside 
  • St. Gildas (lot of various notes here including etymology) 

Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Gardens of Ynn play notes

This is for Cavegirl, who likes to see what happens at different tables in different Ynns.

This is a 'side' adventure with some hooks that touch into ongoing campaign hooks.


I rolled a series of Locations, Details, Events and Encounters ahead of time and put them on sticky notes (which turned out to be very smart, though I didn't realize it at the time). The party druid is Wood Elf druid whose background was feral and she was raised by unicorns. She essentially serves nature and Monokyeros, the unicorn god. Long story short: portable hole, bag of holding, astral plane. Druid gets a dream vision from Monokyeros of a hobbled, weak, dying unicorn with a well-trimmed hedgewall and some urgency to rescue. Party finds fragments of a city floating in the astral void, investigate a garden bit.

I had made a list of rumors from The Gardens of Ynn and a dozen more, some lies, sayings, and the like, handed some to specific players. Occasional through the play they might earn another one (though they never knew if or when that might happen). I made some mistakes here - first, forgetting the entry method, which I should have given someone as a rumor; second, creating a palindrome carved into stone where someone had previously entered (nnynedragon nogardenynn).

Rumors, Stories, Sayings, Myths, and Lies.

Delivered or earned:

  • All gardens are connected by secret paths and secret doors if you but have the keys. [Druid]
  • The city of Brillanta* was home to a great garden, but it was locked away from most people.
  • (* Giant imperial capital that was effectively 'nuked' 20 years ago.)
  • The World of Ynn exists outside all worlds,  along all worlds, through all worlds.[Elf Ranger]
  • Woe to the ugly in the garden of beauty.[Elf warrior]
  • One of the books you found in the Lost Mine mentions the Gardens of Ynn.[Noble]
  • You half remember a child’s story about a young person who drew a door on a wall, opened it, and went inside to meet faeries.
  • It was Black Aloysius, the thief lord of Kolo, who drew a door in chock on the walled garden of the Slumbering Markiza and escaped inside.  The door faded away after a day, but guards still keep a wary eye on that spot. [Noble]
  • Beware the Idea of Thorns that warps minds, or reality, or both. Let it find no fertile soil.
  • As elves are to humans, the Sidhe (“Shee”) are to elves. Beautiful, graceful, immortal – or nearly so. They have been all places but are now found in none.


  • In a shadow play, the audience can become the players.
  • It was rumored that an ancient queen kept a unicorn in her garden menagerie. But the smart people know she was fooled by a charlatan and that’s why that part of the gardens were kept secret.
  • An old gardener once told you a friend of his got lost in a garden and never came out.
  • Any garden is a maze, and every maze a garden.
  • Dragons are allergic to garden flowers (DM's personal favorite)

Prior to leaving the githyanki ship they now temporarily serve, I'd had the players audit their inventory to be sure they have what they say they have and not the rest - their plan was to briefly check on this garden fragment, not take everything they own with them. Somehow, the druid player is psychic and specific mentioned taking chalk. She had no way to know I had The Gardens of Ynn or was prepping it or anything of that nature. She's never played D&D with anyone else. So, that was fortuitous even though I'd have hand-waved it anyway.

Layer 1: Vine Trellis, Graffiti, Rust Bees.

The bees went down pretty easily - I should have doubled the number. Nonetheless, they scarred the elf warrior's magic breastplate and her tower shield - and she is (real world) pissed! She's a bit paranoid about her armor class and does not want to be hit. The party harvested the antennae after testing them on the steel of the trellis to confirm they still corrode metal. I'm figure I'll let them continue with those and just have them lose their ability after X amount of uses or something. No interest in what I called "like Blue Plums"

Beware the vats! Correct order or you perish!

The Princess Died Here.

I'll admit to a hurried reading of the adventure so this may be incorrect but while I'd rolled an obvious path for Go Deeper decisions, I let the players explore around for alternatives. And there they found one. The linear choice would have been the Gazebo (which I had planned to make a giant mimic for reasons of D&D actual play lore) but instead ...

Layer 2: Ponds, Dead Explorers, Bonsai Turtle, (Hidden Treasure)

Two ponds, a moving small tree in the distance is spotted. Noble fighter sprints towards, discovers it's the bonsai turtle (the turtle portion has been blocked from view) - if it had been hostile I'd have given it a free shot. "Bulbasaur!" says the teenager at the table. Druid talks to the turtle who doesn't really provide much useful information but would love some carrots or celery - tried a bit of their jerky rations but wasn't too impressed. I played the turtle as basically laconic and disinterested in anything but food though had some useful info. It moved on when the players ran out of interesting questions.

Druid changes into an otter and tries the ponds. One sweet, one salty with parasites. No one wants to try drinking!

As they start to leave to the next area (Rose Garden), they discover a small chest partly visible near the roots of a bit of hedgewall and part of a boot, as if a person had been buried very shallowly face down (the first of the dead explorers). "Trap!" they say. Attempts to smash the lock fail (no rogue along). Curious druid tried to melt the lock with produce flame, crit fail - the chest goes in flames fast an hot, melting the gold inside into a lumb - but the lock is only slightly burned. Druid chills the gold with a frost cantrip so the lump can be pocketed. Second encounter roll:


Noble warrior find the grate to the canals, rushes in headlong, slips on slick egdge and gets soaked. In the interest of time, I wanted to use the locations I'd already rolled so I decided to roll for which one they get out whenever they got to a canal landing and proceeded enough to see anything significant. (I'd also decided the canals had slight bends in them and were someone disorienting if you thought about it - they didn't. I wanted to maintain the idea in Ynn that things move around so trying to navigate it as a dungeon map wouldn't work.) First landing, they rolled the damn "main" encounter...

Layer 7: Hedge Maze, Animate Statue (Big Jolly Fat Man), Hidden Treasure (and then some)

The hidden treasure here is the near-dead unicorn in the center, but I also used several from the treasure table at some dead ends in the maze. Two entrances, one unexamined (would have showed a statue pedestal with a statue clearly absent, the other a big jolly fat man. They assumed it would animate at some point, but I was fine with that - I expected it would still be tough, especially with the party having no arcane caster, no cleric, no rouge, only two magic weapons (longsword and mace).

I forgot the clean mechanic in the book and made up some crap of nodes and decision points (two or three way) and then a d6 where

  • 1: Treasure on a pedestal,
  • 2-4: Two-way intersection,
  • 5: three-way intersection,
  • 6: Dead end.

On third dead end, the statue activates and starts tracking, on 5 it would be two nodes away, at 8 it would be one node behind. Fifth treasure was the 0 HP Unicorn (not needing death saves)

(Note: I do not recommend this maze system, but having said that, I hadn't noticed for a long time but the engineer at the table was all over this and made a schematic that would have saved a lot of table time if the other players weren't firmly rooted in cardinal map orientations.)

The skipped a lot of great treasure assuming it was all trapped. I find their lack of greed disturbing. The found the unicorn. Interaction with it is pretty simple as the druid is fluent in unicorn (horse). They thought the unicorn would be able to teleport them all out as soon as they removed the chains - ahahahaha- No. After casting some healing, the unicorn can get to its feet, the light comes back into its eyes but it's powers are going to take more time.

Pass Without Trace + Nat 20 Stealth Check is a damn pain! Finally got a 19 for the statue's perception and it was able to corner them on their way out (by pushing through a hedgewall). It's on! Elf warrior closes to melee, ding! One itty bitty chip. Statue (who I told them to picture as Henry VIII but happier) slam attack fails. Druid casts Erupting Earth, which I am unfamiliar with. I decide it's fair that is in the stone-related spell exception, save made but a palpable hit. Ranger plinks a small nick and then starts considering other options. Noble warrior closes, attempting to flank, but the rough terrain from the spell prevents that. Magic longsword Talon nonetheless cuts a nice chunk of stone off. I'm starting to plan my move - they left a path for the statue to get through their line in the 10' wide maze 'hall' and get to the druid or the ranger! But no! Elf warrior rolls a critial hit with her longsword, and a critical hit with her shield bash. Double crit. I decided I just can't let the longsword damage be reduced to 1 after that. She rolls the damage and it's a total of 20 something, more than a dozen HP over what it had left.

"Your longsword cuts a deep gouge across it's next, and your shield bash knocks it's head clean off! The head lands with a thud, it's smiling face and wide open mouth looking up. Your treasured tower shield now has a very large, head-shaped dent in it."

And that's where we called it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

RPG History Tracks

Sparked by a discussion with James Mal and Sean McCoy

How to create a history/macro-trends for you RPG setting that is variable between different game masters but share enough elements between all instances that players have a shared experience?

For example, many of the artifacts and legendary items in the 1st edition AD&D DMG have been experienced by many players over the years in myriad campaigns despite the lack of no specific module or adventure featuring it (there are some exceptions such as the Hand and Eye of Vecna). Of course, the published adventures are also shared experiences even when fit into different campaigns. In a sci-fi setting, some of these shared events could be things such as the Vogons show up, Skynet awakens, Humanity becomes effectively immortal, the Clones revolt, the Empire fossilizes and fractures, and so on.

How to set this up?

  • Create a list of topics that you care about in your setting. These are the "Event Tracks" that will things will progress along. 
  • Define the starting condition for that topic. 
  • Come up with at least two possible outcomes or paths for the topic an choose how likely each one is.
  • Repeat for several steps, how many can vary by the topic and how much you'd want it to play out.
That defines the range of possible outcomes for all your topics. Now, decide what unit of time you want to use (year, decade, century, etc.) and then roll on the Event Tracks to see which track will advance. Then refer to your specific tracks and roll to see which path gets followed - keeping track of this results as you go.

You can stop progression at any time to use that as the current state of events.

Psionic Event Track
(I should have put in a full integration result that carried across).
Example: Psionics (I've only done this one track as a quick feasibility test). Using decades as the time unit.
  • Starting Condition: Some Psionic talents discovered
  • Advance #1: Rolled 1: Psions create disasters.
  • Advance #2: Rolled 5: Normals seek to control Psions
  • Advance #3: Rolled 2: Psion Oppression/Expulsion
  • Advance #4: Rolled 4: Psions survive in separate cities/regions
Things we know now: Psions exist, as a result of some disasters normal society had fear of them, sought to control them and that eventually led to them being pushed or fleeing into separate communities. Had die rolls been different, it might have resulted in the Zhodani Consulate or the complete, or very nearly complete extinction of Psions.

Friday, November 23, 2018

D10 Tech/Software Company Disasters

No corporations were harmed in the assembly of these disasters - ahaha - No. But, names were removed to protect the guilty and one is exaggerated.

1) Patch deletes and overwrites all customers' documents and personal files.
2) Content hosting company has account creation safeguards removed, bots add illegal content, remedial measures delete vast majority of original content.
3) IT department manually runs an automated job causing D100 million dollars to be pulled out of customers bank accounts twice.
4) Bank creates millions of fake accounts in actual users names to fraudulently inflate their numbers.
5) Developers forget to comment out development constant which overrides real time sensor data from safety systems.
6) Investing software bug prevents stock orders from going through until they all go through at once, crashing the stock market
7) Patch installs cryptocurrency mining software on all computers, with pre-configured wallet going to corporate rivals
8) Enterprise level corporate spytech malfunctions and instead reveals corporation's own secrets to rivals/public
9) Obscure but critical software failure renders all a company's tech products useless for several days.
10) Social media service hacked, installs firmware backdoors on all clients. Roll 1D6 to see who is infected:

  • 1-2: 1D10 million individual customers, 
  • 3-4: 2D10 Major companies effecting D100 Million individuals; 
  • 5: critical national infrastructure, 
  • 6: government's most secure networks.
(Sourced by various Broken Friends)