Wednesday 31 October 2018

Helloween: Better Than Raw

Charity Desire

The vampire-witch known as Charity Desire lives in a semi-ruined castle, from which she comes forth in bat form to find mortal lovers to consume. Although she is particularly active in the autumn, attractive men and women may attract her attentions year round.

The vampire-witch has a blatant sexuality that is difficult for mortals to resist. In general, a DC 15 Will save is needed to avoid feeling attracted (with modifiers up and down the dice chain depending upon the normal proclivities of the potential victim), but actually becoming her lover is a matter of choice. A mortal who has relations with Charity Desire rolls 1d7, modified by Personality and Luck:

(1 or less): The mortal is transformed into a pumpkin-imp, and caged for Charity’s later use or consumption; (2-3) Charity drains the victim of blood equal to 1d5 temporary Stamina damage, and the mortal must succeed in a DC 15 Will save or automatically return the next night; (4-5) Charity drains the victim of blood equal to 1d3 temporary Stamina damage; (6-8) Charity drains the victim of blood equal to 1 temporary Stamina damage, but the victim also gains 1 point of Luck which must be used before the Stamina damage is healed or it will disappear; (9-10) the mortal gains 1 point of Luck which must be used before the next moonrise or it will disappear; (11-12) Charity is pleased enough to offer 1d3 drops of her own blood to her lover, each of which heals 1d3 HD of damage or conditions if immediately consumed, and  her lover also gains 1d3 points of Luck which must be used before the next moonrise or it will disappear; (13+) Charity offers her lover immortality. Unfortunately, while this means immunity from aging, disease, and death from natural causes, the thrall who consumes enough of her blood to gain this boon must also succeed in a DC 20 Will save each time they wish to disobey or work against the vampire-witch, and will take 1d5 damage each round they are exposed to direct sunlight.

The vampire-witch is not herself damaged by sunlight, but she cannot regenerate or change form within it. Away from the sun, she regenerates 1d3 hp each round, and can transform herself into the form of a gigantic bat or a fearsome wolf.

As a witch, Charity Desire can issue a curse as an attack action. The victim receives a DC 16 Will save to resist the curse. See Appendix C in the core rulebook for suggestions.

If killed while even one of her pumpkin imps still lives, Charity’s soul flees to the pumpkin imps’s body, which runs away to restore its power to fight another day. The pumpkin imp slowly transforms into Charity Desire’s new body over the course of a year.

Charity Desire, Vampire-Witch: Init +2; Atk staff +3 melee (1d4+1) or bat’s bite +4 melee (1d6) or wolf’s bite +4 melee (1d6+2) or curse or spell; AC 15; HD 5d6; hp 11; MV 30’ or fly 40’ or 40’ as wolf; Act 1d20; SP alternate forms, attraction, take mortal lovers, regenerate 1d3/round, familiar imps, curse, spells (+8 spell check), loss of some powers in sunlight; SV Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +8; AL C.
            Spells (+8 spell check): Charm person, forget, demon summoning, paralysis, and second sight. As with all witches, Charity Desire can make magic items as if they had the appropriate spells (mix potion, sword magic, etc.).

Pumpkin Imps

Creations and familiars of Charity Desire, pumpkin imps stand no more than a foot high. A former lover who is transformed into a pumpkin imp is caged, becoming subservient to Charity Desire over the course of 1d3 months. Until it is completely subservient, a rescued pumpkin imp might be restored by the intervention of divine magic.

Pumpkin imp: Init +0; Atk by weapon +0 melee (1d3) or claw +1 melee (1); AC 14; HD 1d4; MV 20’; Act 1d20; SP infravision 30’, +5 bonus to climb and stealth checks; SV Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +3; AL C.

Listen to the full album here.


Monday 29 October 2018

Helloween: Straight Out of Hell

In the final days of the Great Disaster, the weapons deployed by the Ancients were horrific beyond the understanding of those who survived their usage. So terrible were these weapons that in places reality itself was torn asunder. Passages to other universes, with strange physics and metaphysics, were opened. From some of these portals, even stranger things emerged. The jacks-o-war were among these beings, summoned forth straight out of a hell plane. Although the portal to that hellscape has long since sealed itself, the jacks-o-war remain. Worse, they are able to reproduce within the ruined world left by the Great Disaster.


The jacks-o-war are green uniformed beings, humanoid in form, but almost skeletal. Their hard skin is like black metal, except for their rotting jack-o-lantern heads. They are armed with weapons of war – metal batons, grenades, and sometimes even firearms. They are capable of emitting a sickening orange radiance within a 20’ cone before their heads, with a 20’ base. All natural living creatures within the radius take 1d3 damage each round (DC 15 Fort save each round negates). Although they are not immune to critical hits, they are immune to the secondary effects of most of them. That is, they take increased damage, but even caving in their rotting pumpkin heads does not kill them, or seemingly inconvenience them in any way. Their metallic skin grants them a DC 10 Fort save to completely negate any severing of limbs, broken bones, or the like.

Jacks-o-war cannot heal or repair damage, but like the un-dead they are inexorable, requiring neither food nor rest. Shamans, sages, techno-wizards, and AIs knowledgeable about such things believe that the jacks-o-war consume the souls of those they kill. They will pause for 1d5 rounds over any fresh corpse; perhaps this is when and how they feed. In any event, a body that is successfully recovered once a jack-o-war has paused over it has a permanent reduction of 1d5 points of Personality, in addition to the normal effects of recovering a body.

Jacks-o-war reproduce by locating a pumpkin field, or a field of similar gourd-like plants. There they shine their sickly radiance upon the plants, and over the course of 1d6 hours 1d5 pumpkins transform into new jack-o-wars, per jack-o-war shining over their field. The rest of the plants wither and die.

The judge can adjust the difficulty of an encounter by the weaponry available to the jacks-o-war, as well as by their numbers.

Jack-o-war (DCC): Init +0; Atk metal baton +3 melee (1d6+1) or metallic claw +3 melee (1d4+1) or grenade +0 ranged (2d6/special) or assault rifle +0 ranged (1d10/special) or orange radiance (special); AC 18; HD 3d8; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP infravision 60’, orange radiance, crit resistance, cannot heal, feed off souls, poison immunity, reproduction; SV Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +7; AL C.
            Grenade: 2d6 damage, -1d6 per 5’ away from point of impact.
            Assault Rifle: An assault rifle can target 3 creatures, or do 3d10 vs. one creature (Reflex DC 10 for half). Criticals do 6d10 damage. -1 to initiative, ranges 1 00/200/300, ammo capacity of 30 (a burst uses 10 shots), and a weight of 12 lbs. Without ammo, they are very expensive clubs (1d5 damage).

Rules for assault rifles and grenades (handheld bomb) taken from Crawl! #8.

Jack-o-war (MCC): Init +0; Atk metal baton +3 melee (1d6+1) or metallic claw +3 melee (1d4+1) or photon grenade +0 ranged (6d6) or lazer rifle +0 ranged (heat 6d6) or orange radiance (special); AC 18; HD 3d8; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP infravision 60’, orange radiance, crit resistance, cannot heal, feed off souls, poison immunity, reproduction; SV Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +7.
            Photon Grenade: TL 4; CM 4; Range 30’ radius; Dam 6d6. Photon grenades are high-yield incendiary devices useful for both blowing things up, setting them on fire, or bringing down force screens via massive heat-based damage.
            Lazer Rifle: TL 4; CM 4; Range Line of sight; dam Heat 6d6; Power C-Cell (5), F-Cell (10), Q-Cell (U). Lazer rifles fire focused beams of coherent yellow-white light, causing heat-based damage. Lazer rifles consume double the power cell charges of lazer pistols, and hold up to two power cells.

Rules for lazer rifles and photon grenades taken from Mutant Crawl Classics.

Jack-o-war (Umerica): Init +0; Atk metal baton +3 melee (1d6+1) or metallic claw +3 melee (1d4+1) or percussion grenade +0 ranged (2d6/special) or assault rifle +0 ranged (1d10/special) or orange radiance (special); AC 12; Armor Die d7 (inherent); Fumble Die d4; HD 3d8; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP infravision 60’, orange radiance, crit resistance, cannot heal, feed off souls, poison immunity, reproduction; SV Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +7; AL C.
            Grenade: 2d7 damage, blast radius 15’, Ref DC 20 for half damage, 10% chance of failure to explode.
            Assault Rifle: An assault rifle can target 3 creatures, or do 3d10 vs. one creature (Reflex DC 10 for half). Criticals do 6d10 damage. -1 to initiative, ranges 1 00/200/300, ammo capacity of 30 (a burst uses 10 shots), and a weight of 12 lbs. Without ammo, they are very expensive clubs (1d5 damage).

Rules for assault rifles and grenades taken from The Umerican Survival Guide.

Zekulon Orange

You will notice a number of gas masks on the album cover. Zekulon Orange is a thick poisonous gas which obscures vision as well as poisons targets. For every 10’ away a target is in a cloud of Zekulon Orange, attacks against it have a -1d shift on the dice chain. These clouds are mobile, drifting along at a rate of 10’ per minute, with a typical radius of 30’, reaching to a height of 20’.

Creatures caught within Zekulon Orange take 1d4 damage per round, and must succeed on a DC 15 Fort save or take an additional 1d3 points of temporary Strength damage. Worse, Zekulon Orange clings to skin and synthetic materials (including rubber and similar substances), staining in green and causing the effects of the poison to continue even outside the cloud for 1d5 minus Luck modifier rounds.

Battle Standard of the Jacks-o-War

This has no special powers, but if you want to ensure that you are the target of all the monsters’ aggression, playing “capture the flag” is a good way to go about it. If the battle standard is destroyed by any means, all jacks-o-war within sight must make an immediate Morale check. If they succeed, however, they need make no further Morale checks no matter what happens. They will try to kill you until either you die, or they do.

Give it a listen here.

(And, yes, I am doing these because of the time of year.)

The Time of the Oath

There is a being known as the Wizard of the Red Robe, whose face is forever hidden by his hood. This being is also called the Keeper of the Seven Keys because, having followed the signs beyond the Twilight of the Gods and the creation of new synthetic gods in his home reality, he was able to wrest the Keys from Insania’s dead hand.

After his setback in the World of the Maze That Lies Hidden in Shadow, whether or not the Wizard of the Red Robe was able to recover the lost Key of Heaven and the Mind, the Wizard was able to recover the golden Ring of the Silicon Minds, connecting his thoughts once more to the Future World.

To make the best use of this material, see also this blog post and this blog post.

The Ring of the Silicon Minds

This band of plain gold allows the wearer to connect with the Silicon Minds of the Future World, artificial gods created by the magio-technicians of that plane. Wearing it commands a form of patron bond, allowing the wearer to invoke the Silicon Minds (as invoke patron). A minimum of 1 point of spellburn must be used when invoking the Silicon Minds, and the spellburn effects table below should be consulted every time spellburn is used, so long as the ring is worn. It takes a full week to bond with the ring, and gain the power to invoke the Silicon Minds.

Each time the Silicon Minds are invoked, the image of a gold ring appears somewhere on the caster’s features. A caster may only bear one such image per level, as each represents painful connection to the rather overwhelming thoughts of the Silicon Minds. Each image therefore also causes 1d3 temporary Personality damage, which remains so long as the image remains, and then is healed instantly. One image of a ring from a previous day’s invocation disappears each day at dawn. It is always the most stable connection (as signified by the highest temporary Personality damage) that dissolves first.

Certain sages in the Fields We Know claim that the Ring of the Silicon Minds was once found upon our own Earth, and that connection to the Silicon Minds of the Future World forged the basis for the prophecies of Nostradamus.

Invoke the Silicon Minds

Spell Check        Result
1                          Failure and patron taint (see below). The Ring of the Silicon Minds ceases to function until dawn.
2-11                     Failure. The Ring of the Silicon Minds ceases to function until dawn.
12-13                   A circle of fire: The Silicon Minds create a circle of green flames around the caster, which grant a +4 bonus to AC and saving throws. This effect lasts CL rounds.
14-17                   We will find it once more again: The Silicon Minds restore one spell that the caster has lost. If the caster has not lost a spell, the Silicon Minds instead grant a single casting of a random spell the caster doesn’t know, at the highest level of spells the ring’s wearer is able to cast.
18-19                   Child of the stars: The Silicon Minds grant the caster insight into magic and technology. The caster gains 1d3+CL Insight Points. Each Insight Point may be used, once, to modify either a spell check or an artifact check (MCC), and each point used grants a +1d5 bonus to the die roll. Each point can be used only once, and unused Insight Points fade away at the rate of 1 point every day. Until all the Insight Points are used, the caster’s eyes become star fields mirroring distant galaxies.
20-23                   Last of the seven troopers: The Silicon Minds download the memories of a dying Trooper into the caster’s mind. The caster gains vague memories of the 7th War in the Future World. The caster gains 1d12 temporary hit points per Caster Level. Damage is taken from these temporary hit points first, and this damage cannot be healed. Until all temporary hit points are used, the caster gains a bonus to Initiative equal to half his level, and gains the Deed Die of a warrior of half his level (round up in both cases). When the temporary hit points are used up, these benefits disappear, but the caster will always be haunted by flashes of the trooper’s memories, which haunt his dreams.
24-27                   The blaster of the gods: The caster gains the ability to shoot forth a laser-like ray, which does 3d6+CL damage on any successful hit. This power uses an Action Die each time  it is used, but the caster is able to draw upon it for 1 turn per Caster Level.
28-29                   I have seen it all before: Foreknowledge is granted to the caster, coming from the Future World through the aegis of the Silicon Minds. This effect lasts for 1d7+CL rounds. During this time, the caster can evade attacks, receiving only 1 point of damage from any successful attack. Further, any time the caster is called upon to make a roll during this period, he rolls two dice (or two sets of dice, for instance, if rolling 3d6 damage) and selects which outcome occurs.
30-31                   Wake up the mountain: Power from the Silicon Minds floods the caster, healing all damage that does not relate directly to the ring or the Silicon Minds themselves. This includes any natural disease or poison that the caster is suffering from. The caster gains a +10 bonus to any Strength-based checks (including attack rolls and damage rolls with melee weapons), and ignores the first 10 points of damage from any attack. These effects last for 1 turn per Caster Level.
32+                      Son of a distant future: For a moment, the caster sees into the Future World and achieves perfect communion with the Silicon Minds. He gains two of the boons, above, of his choice, and they last until the next day or their normal duration (whichever is longer). At the end of this period, the caster takes 1d6 points of temporary Stamina and Personality damage from the strain on his mind and body. Alternatively, the caster may choose only a single boon (which also lasts one day if its normal duration is shorter) without suffering from the strain thereafter.

Spellburn: The Silicon Minds

While wearing the ring, and thereby bonded to the Silicon Minds, any attempt at spellcasting can be influenced from the artificial gods of the distant Future World. When a caster wearing the Ring of the Silicon Minds utilizes spellburn, roll 1d4 and consult the table below, or use these suggestions to create an event specific to your campaign.

Roll        Spellburn Result
1             Electrical feedback from the Silicon Minds arcs through the caster’s body, resulting in temporary Strength, Agility, or Stamina loss.
2             The character’s mind becomes enmeshed with that of a blissful citizen of the Future World. This manifests as Strength, Agility, or Stamina loss, but the actual cause is the distraction of pleasurable events occurring in another time and place, of which the caster is keenly aware. As the spellburn heals, this awareness fades.
3             Perfect connection! The caster gains a +3 bonus to his spell check without cost, and is free to spellburn further to augment his casting (do not reroll on this table; no further free bonuses are available).
4             Temporal displacement. The caster is moved out of sync with his current timeline, making him less able to affect the world around him. Spellburn must be taken from Strength, but the caster gains a +1 bonus to AC per two full points of spellburn, which also represent his being slightly out of phase with the world around him. As the spellburn heals, the caster moves into sync with his time track. AC bonuses are reduced as spellburn recovers.

Patron Taint: The Silicon Minds

When patron taint is indicated, roll 1d6 and consult the following chart. Because some results can occur an infinite number of times, patron taint must always be rolled.

Roll        Patron Taint Result
1             You have drawn the attention of the Corruptor, who sends creatures to destroy or corrupt you. Roll 1d7 to determine what is sent: (1-4) 1d3+CL shadow-goblins, (5-6) 1d3-1 creepingnightmares, or (7) 1d6 dogs of war per caster level. There is no limit to how often this patron taint can be rolled.
2             You have drawn the malice of the Corruptor, who reduces your Luck by 1d14 points (to a minimum of 3). This loss is recovered at a rate of 1 point per day, as the Corruptor’s attention is drawn elsewhere. There is no limit to how often this patron taint can be rolled.
3             Another world calls. You and your companions are pulled immediately into another world, as determined by the judge. There are many DCC products the judge may use to flesh out this world, and any DCC or MCC adventure can be modified to occur on another plane. Materials that might be of use include (but are not limited to!) The 998th Conclave of Wizards; Againstthe Atomic Overlord; Beyond the BlackGate; Black Powder, Black Magic; Black Sun Deathcrawl; Crawling Under A Broken Moon (Umerica); Crawljammer; Crawl-thulhu; Cyber SprawlClassics; Dark Trails; various modules in the DCC Xcrawl series; Demonland; The Dread God Al-Khazadar; Drongo: Ruins of the Witch Kingdoms; Fate's Fell Hand; The Hobonomicon; Hubris: AWorld of Visceral Adventure; Journeyto the Center of Aereth; Nowhere CityNights; Null Singularity; Peril on the Purple Planet (and related); Phantasmagoria; Primal Tales; Rock GodDeath-Fugue; RPGPundit Presents Last Sun materials; Secret Antiquities; Secrets of the World-Harvesters; Star Crawl; Tales From the Fallen Empire; Through Ningauble's Cave (and various DCC Lankhmar materials); Through the Dragonwall; The Tower of Faces; Transylvanian Adventures; Trench CrawlClassics, Pandemonium, and the Sunless Sea in The Gong Farmer’s Almanac (among others); and Trumphammer 2K. Various Sanctum Secorum Episode Companions also offer a plethora of materials. This transfer may be temporary or permanent, as the judge desires, and may be rolled any number of times.
4             Artificial thoughts. Your contact with the Silicon Minds has made you more intelligent and rational, at the cost of some individuality. Each time this is rolled (to a maximum of 3 times), gain +1 to Intelligence (maximum 20) and lower Personality by 1 (minimum 3).
5             Replacement parts. If you have lost a body part, you gain a cybernetically controlled prosthesis, which is permanently grafted to your body. If you have multiple lost body parts, determine which is replaced randomly. Treat this as a natural body part in all respects, except as follows. Damage to that part specifically must be repaired rather than healed. This normally requires at least 10 minutes per check, with a DC 10 Intelligence check repairing up to 1d4 hit points or 1 point of temporary ability damage. Each point healed (either way) requires 10 gp worth of materials. If the body part to be healed precludes your working on it (for instance, a hand or an arm), you may have to get another to perform the check or attempt it with a reduced die. The judge makes the final determination. Finally, the replaced part is immune to damage from disease or poison, and may take reduced damage from heat or cold at the judge’s discretion. You can roll this taint any number of times, but it only has an effect if you are missing one or more body parts.
6             Future mind. Images of the future have taken hold in your mind, reducing your effectiveness in combat. Each time this is rolled, you must make attack rolls at -1d step on the dice chain. This is a permanent reduction, and also affects any spell check you might make for a spell which is used only to directly causes harm (such as magic missile or flaming hands). The judge is the ultimate arbiter as to which spells are affected. This taint can be rolled a maximum of 3 times; ignore additional instances.

Removing the Ring of the Silicon Minds breaks the bond, but does not undo current spellburn effects or patron taint!

Listen to the album here.

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Helloween Night

Keeper of the Seven Keys (Part II)

There is a being known as the Wizard of the Red Robe, whose face is forever hidden by his hood. This being is also called the Keeper of the Seven Keys because, having followed the signs beyond the Twilight of the Gods and the creation of new synthetic gods in his home reality, he was able to wrest the Keys from Insania’s dead hand.

But time marches on, even for the Wizard of the Red Robe, and not all of his endeavors have been successes. It was on the World of the Maze That Lies Hidden in Shadow, where the Wizard of the Red Robe sought to unlock the Sea of Kai-Weikath that the Wizard lost, for a time, one of the Seven Keys. It was stolen by a shadow-goblin, who fled into the Maze That Lies Hidden in Shadow. This was in a World thought closed to the shadow-goblins; how the creature arrived there, and how it intends to return to the Halloween World, remain unknown. Some legends tell of an oaken-leafed portal hidden within that World which would allow such passage. Perhaps that is what the shadow-goblin used, and intends to use yet again?

Defeated, but not slain, the Wizard of the Red Robe used the planar step spell to move back to a previous world, one where time ran much faster than that on the World of the Maze That Lies Hidden in Shadow. There the Wizard sought to recruit a company willing to venture into that Maze and recover the lost Key.

What happened next? You will have to tell me, when these events play out at your table. Perhaps the shadow-goblin escapes with the Key, and the Corruptor is finally released. Perhaps it will be as the now-blind seer of visions prophesied, and your PCs will restore the Key to the Wizard, that it may be hidden from the demons of the Halloween World. Or perhaps many worlds will instead become thrall to the throne of the evil Corruptor.

To make the best use of this material, see also this blog post.

If you use this material in your game, I would really love to hear how it goes.

The Maze That Lies Hidden in Shadow

A vast cloud lies over the Maze That Lies Hidden in Shadow, so that down within its twisting walls there is very little light. The Maze itself is a combination of natural canyons carved by super-heated magma, the work of humanoid slaves, and the divine will of Thurkiske, the god of thunder who rules the land beneath the cloud’s dark shadow.

The dogs of war

These creatures are humanoids beholden to Thuriske, who roam the Mazelands, searching for battle and sacrifices to bloody his altars. These creatures usually travel in packs of 3d5, wolf-headed humanoids with burning red eyes, armed with spear and wearing chainmail. These may be considered the least dangerous creatures intruders in the Maze may encounters.

Dogs of war: Init +0; Atk spear +0 melee (1d8) or bite +0 melee (1d3); AC 15; HD 1d6; MV 25’; Act 1d20; SP infravision 60’; SV Fort +2, Ref +1, Will +0; AL C.

The creeping nightmares

These beings are man-like in form, but they creep on all fours like great pale lizards.  They are capable of clinging onto any surface, even ceilings, without difficulty. They attack by lashing with grey tongues, which are able to stretch out to 30’ away. The saliva coating these members causes hallucinations and waking nightmares, reducing the effectiveness of creatures exposed. Each exposure requires a DC 15 Will save, or the target takes a -1d penalty on the dice chain to all rolls for the next 1d6 x 10 minutes (treat as a poison). A target who fails three saves becomes catatonic for 1d5 hours while the narcotic saliva causes terrifying nightmares.

Once victims are subdued, the creeping nightmares can feed. The touch of their pallid fingers causes 1d3 temporary Intelligence and Personality damage. If either is reduced to 0, the victim is slain. Surviving victims must succeed in two DC 10 Fort saves, one for each Intelligence and Personality, or 1 point of damage is permanent in the appropriate ability score.

Creeping nightmare: Init +2; Atk tongue +2 ranged (special) or touch +0 melee (special); AC 12; HD 3d6; MV 30’ or climb 30’; Act 1d20; SP infravision 60’, hallucinatory saliva, Intelligence and Personality drain; SV Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +2; AL C.

The Evil's course

Running through the Maze That Lies Hidden in Shadow is the black river called Evil. Coming within sight of the Evil requires a DC 5 Will save. This save rises to DC 10 if the water is touched, DC 15 if one is submerged (or mostly submerged) in the black water, and DC 25 if any of the water is consumed. Failure means that the victim is thoroughly subsumed by hate, and must attack the nearest creature to the best of the victim’s ability for a number of rounds equal to the amount by which the save was failed, +1d6 rounds.

Each time one of these circumstances recurs, the save must be made again. Thus, if the PCs leave the Evil behind, but come within sight of it again, new saves must be rolled. Creatures native to the Maze appear to be immune to this effect; in reality, they have already succumbed to hatred.

The Man in Black

The purported Master of the Maze and High Priest of Thuriske, the Man in Black wears a black hooded cloak over Victorian evening-wear – black coat and slacks, white cuffs, shirt, and handkerchief. No one can describe the Man’s face. If you are not looking at him directly, what he himself looks like is impossible to remember.

The Man in Black seeks to bring despair to those he encounters, driving them mad, bringing them to drink, overconfidence, and ruin. He can offer many things (depending upon the imagination of the judge), but none of them are truly what they seem to be. Most commonly, he offers a black liquor that can grant a temporary 1d3 bonus to any particular stat, or a one-time +1d5 bonus to any given check. This drink is addictive, and after 1d12 hours, unless another dose is taken, not only does the bonus no longer apply, but the character must succeed in a DC 20 Fort save or take an equal penalty until another dose is consumed. In the case of a skill increase, the penalty applies to all skill checks – including spell checks, if that is how the liquor was used.

After a character has failed three saves, the liquor never gives bonuses again; it is needed simply to offset penalties. At this point, the Man in Black begins to demand evil deeds performed in exchange for his wares. If reduced to 0 hp, restrained, or if he takes a critical hit whose result would be lethal, the Man in Black simply fades away. He is impossible to kill.

Once a PC has become a thrall to the black liquor, the Man in Black can show up anywhere that PC is, including other worlds or planes of existence. The Man in Black avoids public locations, however. Breaking the addiction of the black liquor requires some form of divine quest.

The Man in Black’s touch attacks are a seemingly effortless martial arts. Likewise, his high AC reflects an ability to simply and easily step out of the way of an attack.

On a successful touch attack, roll 1d5 to determine the effect: (1) target is paralyzed 1d3 rounds unless a DC 10 Will save succeeds; (2) target is disarmed unless a DC 10 Fort save succeeds; (3) target is knocked prone unless a DC 10 Reflex save succeeds; (4) target takes 1d5 damage plus roll 1d3 on this chart to determine secondary effect; or (5) target takes 2d5 damage plus roll 1d3 on this chart to determine secondary effect, save DC is increased to 15.

The Man in Black: Init +5; Atk touch attack +5 melee (special); AC 18; HD 3d12; hp 24; MV 30’; Act 2d20; SP infravision 60’, martial arts, addictive liquor, make bargains, immune to mind-affecting; SV Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +6; AL C.

Will 'o' the wisps

These corpse-candles appear as red, green, yellow, or blue lights. They seem to misguide the paths of those who wander in the Mazelands. Each has the power to entice victims into following it; a DC 15 Will save (+1 for each additional will ‘o’ the wisp beyond the first) is required to resist following the corpse lights for 1d3 turns. Their destination is (roll 1d7): (1-2) a group of dogs of war, (3) a creeping nightmare, (4-6) the river Evil, or (7) the Man in Black. When leading others, they do not move faster than is needed to keep ahead.

Will ‘o’ the wisps can defend themselves with energy discharges, up to a range of 30’. They can become invisible or visible at will by using an Action Die. Finally, a will ‘o’ the wisp can exude despair once per day, to a range of 60’. Any creature caught in this radius must succeed in a DC 20 Will save or become overwhelmed with despondency, taking no actions for 1d3 turns unless directly attacked.

Will ‘o’ the wisp: Init +0; Atk energy discharge +3 ranged (1d5+3); AC 15; HD 1d3; MV 60’; Act 1d20; SP infravision 60’, detect the living 250’, entrance, invisibility, exude despair; SV Fort +0, Ref +8, Will +3; AL C.

Spirits of the Kai-Weikath

The Key that the Wizard of the Red Robes lost in this world is said to be the Key to Heaven or the Key to the Mind, which is perhaps the same Key. When it touched the Sea of Kai-Weikath, it released the watery spirits of the dead which were locked therein. These were the ghosts of sailors drowned in that Sea, whose spirits were thereafter corrupted where the river Evil pours into the Kai-Weikath.

The spirits have no power to harm on their own, but their wailing and (powerless) uttered prophesies may unnerve characters that encounter them. The ghosts of the Kai-Weikath can be compelled to answer questions using a consult spirit spell.

Listen to the album here.

Happy Helloween!

Keeper of the Seven Keys (Part I)

There is a being known as the Wizard of the Red Robe, whose face is forever hidden by his hood. This being is also called the Keeper of the Seven Keys because, having followed the signs beyond the Twilight of the Gods and the creation of new synthetic gods in his home reality, he was able to wrest the Keys from Insania’s dead hand.

The Seven Keys

Each of these Seven Keys is a potent talisman capable of opening portals into a multitude of dimensions. Where each Key is used, and what it turns, is as important to determine what world is opened as which Key does the unlocking. An Intelligence check (DC 25) is needed to determine the Key, the place, and even the correct time to open a gate to a particular world. Otherwise, the world the gate opens onto is random, or chosen by the judge.

When they are not in use, the Wizard of the Red Robe keeps the Seven Keys in a pocket dimension to which only he has access. Those who would steal the Keys – and there are many! – must therefore wait their chance until the Keys are conjured into existence upon this plane.

Legend claims that the Seven Keys were created by the Silicone Minds of a Future World, and imbued with their full force with the Twilight of the Gods in that world, when the Silicone Minds ascended in their apotheosis. The Future World became a place of happiness and peace, full of joy, but the Wizard of the Red Robes, seizing the Keys from Insania’s dead hand, was thrust from that world.

The Wizard of the Red Robes

The Wizard of the Red Robes was one of the magio-technicians of the Future World, who wrought the Twilight of the Gods, replacing them with the Silicone Minds. The last of the gods to fall, Insania, was the keeper of the Seven Keys, and she had fallen during an attempt to open a portal to another world. Whether flight or reinforcement motivated her may never be known.

The Wizard of the Red Robes took the Seven Keys from her dead hand, inadvertently falling into the twilight of the Halloween World. There he was long a prisoner of the Corruptor who rules that world and its shadow-goblins. There, the Wizard’s face was taken from him, so that only blackness may be found beneath his hood, unless he should take the guise of another. But the Wizard had managed to conceal the Seven Keys in their pocket dimension. The Corruptor could not take them from him, and could not slay the Wizard while they were hidden, lest they be lost forever.

The Corruptor gave the Wizard of the Red Robe many chances to escape, seemingly, but each was a ruse to trick the Wizard into summoning the Keys that the Corruptor might gain them. As the Wizard refused each potential chance of escape, the Corruptor made them ever more tempting, until the Wizard of the Red Robe was given too much of an opportunity, and the trickster was tricked. The Wizard escaped.

Now the Wizard of the Red Robe spends his time travelling from world to world, pursued by the shadow-goblins of the Corruptor. He seeks forever a way to return to the Future World, but has yet to find a combination of Place, Key, and Time that will allow him beyond the Doomsday of his world and into the Future World that lies beyond it.

The Wizard of the Red Robe is faceless. If his hood were pulled back, nothing would be seen. While his hood is up, all that can be seen is blackness, and the twinkling of distant stars.

Even so, he is capable of wearing another’s face. This face must be cut from the body of a living or dead humanoid being, and it rots over the course of 2d7 days, becoming ever more hideous. The Wizard can see, speak, cast spells, eat, etc., without a face, but he cannot pass easily among the most people, who hate and fear him for his supernatural deformity.

The Wizard of the Red Robe (Future World magio-technician): Init +2; Atk dagger +3 melee (1d4); AC 12; HD 8d4+8; hp ; MV 30’; Act 2d20; SP spells, cannot be compelled to give up the Seven Keys, able to store and retrieve Keys from extradimensional space using one Action Die, faceless, wear faces; SV Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +7; AL L.
Spells (Spell check +11): Cantrip, charm person, comprehend languages, detect magic, magic shield, knock, locate object, shatter, strength, consult spirit, dispel magic, planar step, turn to stone, and wizard sense.

The Halloween World & the Shadow-Goblins

A feverish world suspended between waking and dream, the Halloween World is ruled over by the gleaming-eyed demonic Corruptor of Mankind. Its minions, the shadow-goblins, can slip between worlds with 5 minute’s effort, and thereby seek to perform their Master’s will wherever they go. The shadow-goblins sometimes bring evil knowledge to corrupt the innocent, but more often attempt to force pure-hearted beings to perform evil deeds in a vain attempt to prevent worse evil from befalling.

For instance, it is a joyous task for these creatures to kidnap a child, and then demand some evil deed from its parents in exchange for the child’s safe return. The evil deed accomplishes nothing; the shadow-goblins then bring the child back to the Halloween World as a prize for the Corruptor.

There are worlds that are closed to the shadow-goblins. Why this may be is unknown, but it is true. On such worlds, the Wizard of the Red Robes finds temporary rest, for otherwise the shadow-goblins follow him closely. If they should ever gain the Seven Keys, no world would be safe from their predations. Indeed, the Corruptor itself would be able to leave the Halloween World and traverse the planes.

The shadow-goblins are also unique in that any arcane spell which targets them changes its Mercurial Magic roll, using the wizard’ current Luck modifier, and the new Mercurial effect lasts for 1d7 days. Thus, there is a real element of danger in casting wizard spells at the shadow-goblins. PCs who encounter the Wizard of the Red Robe on friendly terms will certainly be warned that the shadow-goblins which follow him warp magic.

Shadow-goblins: Init +0; Atk filthy sword +1 melee (1d6) or bite +0 melee (1d3); AC 12; HD 1d8; MV 20’; Act 1d20; SP infravision 120’, +5 to sneak and hide, +8 to all saves vs. magic, warp Mercurial Magic, walk between worlds; SV Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +7; AL C.

Listen to the album here.

Thursday 18 October 2018

XP For Gold

A post on Reddit recently asked how to use "XP for Gold" using the DCC rules. Because I thought the question was interesting, and potentially useful to others, I decided to crosspost my answer here. I have edited it a little.

In order to give XP for gold, rather than encounters, it might help to have a sense of the scale and general pacing DCC normally uses. I did an analysis of pacing here.

If the average encounter per adventure is 2 XP, and the average adventure has 14 encounters which the PCs engage in/get XP for, then you can assume

1 adventure (28 XP vs 10 XP needed) = level 1.
2 adventures (56 XP vs 50 XP needed) = level 2.
4 adventures (112 XP vs 110 XP needed) = level 3.
7 adventures (196 XP vs 190 XP needed) = level 4.
11 adventures (308 XP vs 290 XP needed) = level 5.
15 adventures (420 XP vs 410 XP needed) = level 6.
20 adventures (560 XP vs 550 XP needed) = level 7.
26 adventures (728 vs 710 XP needed) = level 8.
32 adventures (896 vs 890 XP needed) = level 9.
39 adventures (1092 vs 1090 XP needed) = level 10.

So, if your goal is to have the same general level of progression, determine how many sessions your group normally requires to finish an adventure, and how large your group is (assuming treasure earned per PC is the marker, not group treasure).

For instance, if you take an average 3 sessions to complete a DCC adventure, then you want each PC to be able to gain 4-5 XP per session. If you have 3 players, 4.5 x 3 = 13.5. Divide the amount of gold you expect the PCs to glean per session by this amount.

For instance, if you guess that the party should gain an average of 500 gp per session, you divide 500 by 13.5 and come up with 37.04. You could easily then say "1 XP per 40 gp" or "1 XP per 50 gp" if you want a slower pace and simpler math.

Friday 12 October 2018