18 August, 2014

My Known World - Western Half

Here's a map of the Western half of the known area of my "Ruins of the Morvalian Empire" game world.
Prepared in the Tavern at Castle Nicodemus by Willyd "Patchy" Nilsson, to the best of his recollection. He affirms that Niflheim is very cold, Alfheim is farther away than it looks, the Helic Ocean is full of bad deadly things, Regnenwald is what the Akhdarans call a "jungle," and that is just wax right there.

The country stretching from Freeport in the South to Norchester in the North, and from Blackmarch in the West to Æden's Bight on the East is the Kingdom of Anglia. Æden's Bight, by the way, is the name of the waters around Inverland.

Anglia was the part of Jotunheim settled by the Anglish around two centuries ago, after they fled the highly oppressive Saxon rule of Westsaxia. Of course, the King of Anglia owes allegiance to The Grand Theodic Empire, but at two months just to reach the shore of Alfheim and a further 2 to 3 weeks to reach the seat of the Empire, the real effect is largely formality.

17 August, 2014

How Bugbears are Born

Let's join the life cycle of the bugbear with our little friend, the goblin. Goblin children, about the age where human children might be called toddlers, are notorious for getting into places and situations away from their parents. They are also notorious for being horrifically violent, cruel (as in physically cruel) and deceptive, but that's not important right now.

In some areas near where goblins dwell, the little goblins sometimes find themselves (either by misadventure or design) in proximity to a certain breed of enormous semi-translucent spiders.
Sort of, but 8 feet long and way more gross.

The little goblins are bitten, envenomed, and swallowed whole by these spiders, which have big sacs, one sac per spider, inside their abdomen. The little goblins languish comatose in the spider’s translucent abdomen as they slowly transmogrify into full-size bugbears. As they grow, they gradually take over the spider’s body, slowly killing it as their limbs squeeze out into the four rear legs of the spider, expanding the girth of the legs and forcing them to moult aggressively.

In the final stage of the process the spider takes on a centaur-like existence, with the bugbear occupied abdomen (with their head in part of the thorax) acting as the horizontal motive portion, and the rest of the spider vertically upright, it’s non-bugbear-filled front legs flailing in pain as it continues to search for sustenance to feed the growing bugbear within. Finally, the fully grown bugbear bursts from the still-living spider, killing it. The bugbear will, over time, produce spider eggs about the size of green grapes. These eggs generate in glands analogous to a dog or skunk’s scent glands. You can probably guess where these nasty, slimy, translucent eggs can then be found, and what the hatchlings' diet consists of.

14 August, 2014

Character for Marvel '78

After reading the latest post on Rogues and Reavers about Marvel '78, I got all excited about coming up with an original character concept. The tone is late-century Eastern urban decay, so my head stirred up Welcome Back Kotter, Fritz the Cat, Barney Miller and Wolfen. This is what came out.

During the day, Fritz Epstein is a mild mannered pharmacist's assistant at a small drugstore in Brooklyn. When the doors are locked and the chores are done, he looks over his shoulder and makes sure the place is empty. He ranges up and down the shelves behind the counter in back, popping a pill cocktail that brings about his transformation into...
The Cat!
He's cool. He's smooth. He's covered with fur. The sunglasses he dons aren't just for the ladies. His cat-vision eyes need shade from the dirty lights of a hot New York City night. He doesn't just fight the criminals who take advantage of the people, like the Junkyard Dog. No, he also fights The Man. He's not just one color, baby - he's full-on calico!

13 August, 2014

Niflheim and The Spike

If you go far enough south, you hit the ship-breaking ice, and in beyond it is Niflheim. Now, if you find the right spot, you can find what they call The Spire or The Spike. It's like a great mix of a tower and a mountain peak, but it's taller, hundreds of feet, than any tower made by manskind. But it's no more than a chain across, not like any natural mountain you've ever seen either. The Spike sits right at or just past the edge of the ice, and then a great long spit of rock knifes off South for leagues and leagues til it hits Niflheim proper. Some call that spit of land The Spear.

That's the only way to get into that cold land down there. Whoever controls The Spike controls Niflheim. Unless you've got the gold to build an icesailing ship, but I've never seen one of them. I've heard tell that long ago the elves used to build them, but what the elves had to do in Niflheim no one knows.

[Willyd Nilsson, A.I. 811]

17 April, 2014

Chance and Timing of Wilderness Encounters

This is basically the system I used to use for rolling wilderness encounters back in the day, but I've updated it a bit. It assumes the DM is going to check the chance of an encounter based on the passage of time, not based on distance traveled. That's how it is in the dungeon, and that's how I've always preferred to do it.

Instead of using arbitrary units like hours or days, this system divides time into more natural sections based on sunrise, sunset, and the typical activity cycle of creatures outdoors. If your world has 2 suns or 60 hour days or other vastly different time schemes, just alter the column titles as appropriate, or add or remove whatever columns you need to make it work.

As far as the rows are concerned, you just need to have one for each encounter table (the thing that lists the actual monsters) that you've made.

"Aww jeeeez, this looks so complicated!" Bah, whinger! The idea is to make it as quick as possible while playing; to give the DM a rich answer to the question "does anything happen?" using as little dice rolling as possible. Then the DM rolls on their list of monsters/events/etc. for that area.

Result = No. of encounters for that period. Less than zero = zero.


2d6-9 gives the following percentages:
0: 83.3%
1: 8.33%
2: 5.56%
3: 2.78%
This means the overall chance of at least some kind of encounter is 16.67%, or the same as 1 in 6 on a d6. For 2d6-10, this chance is the same as rolling a 1 on a d12. For 2d6-11, this chance is 1 in 36.

When during the listed period does a rolled encounter occur? There are 2 main options:
1 - The DM rolls a single d6, with higher results indicating progressively further into the time period. If more than one encounter has the same result, they happen at roughly the same time.
2 - The DM decides how many hours are in each time period, then rolls randomly for hours and minutes. If the DM has a detailed calendar, the number of hours in each period may depend on the season.

The same 2d6 roll can be used to determine non-encounter events at the same time. If the roll on the above encounter table results in doubles, the DM would then roll on an event table. This allows for the chance of monster encounters to be different than the chance for events. For any area or situation, the DM can decide the chance of an event based on the desired probability below:

double 1: 2.8%
double 1 or 2: 5.6%
double 1 through 3: 8.3% or 1 in 12
double 1 through 4: 11% or 1 in 9
double 1 through 5: 13.8%
double 1 through 6: 16.7% or 1 in 6

As an example, if 2d6-9 is used for encounter chance, and an event is rolled on any double result, the overall chance of something happening is 1 in 3. Half would be encounters and half would be events. If instead 2d6-11 is used for encounter chance, and events are rolled on a result of either double ones or double twos, the overall chance of something happening is 1 in 12, with events being twice as likely as encounters.

02 June, 2013

Pre Ancient Morvalian Religion

The Morvalians, who once held an empire spanning the breadth of the continent now known to the Anglians as Jotunheimr, knew two collections of deities. These were the New Gods and the Elder Gods. The Elder Gods held the religious attention of the Morvalians from the earliest pre-imperial memory until around 15 centuries before the fall of the empire, during the Wars of the Wizards.

The Elder Gods were three in number, and each possessed of three identities.

Sheobattas Dechatanu Nikkorattya, the devouring mouth that births the universe :: she of the body

Ghasturu Asotra Rostothra, the blooming fire that burns the world :: he of the chi

Yogutra Sotatt Dzeu, the gate of days :: it of the mind