Monday, June 8, 2020

Weather-Locked

The week is the weather is a concept I'm entertaining for my home game campaign.

The premise is that weather is so ridiculously consistent within this campaign world that people can form days of the week out of it. (And without a day and night cycle, the planet being tidally-locked, the basis for a 'day' is far fuzzier anyway.) And because the notion of a week is largely born out of religious or astrological significance, we can incorporate that too.

Hopefully this solves two problems:
1) Not using enough weather effects in my games.
2) Providing opportunities for stealth and deception that nights typically offer.

Depending on which region one is in, the week has a different length. A "Day" in this case simply means somewhere approximately 20-30 of our hours in time, and each day describes the weather effects of that day.

So, for example. Sunday is a sunny day. Monday is a clear day in which the moon is visible. Rainsday is a rainy day. Giantsday is when the storm giants play bowling. Swordsday is when swords fall out of the sky. And so on and so forth.

If a random day is needed, roll the appropriate die.

Source

Feyfjord / Twilight City / Southlands
Climate: Cold Moderate
Inhabitants: Drow, Humans, Undead, Lycanthropes

d8
Day Name
Weather Effects
Mechanical Effects
1
Monday
Western skies clear, eastern skies cloudy. The eternally-eclipsed moon comes into view. Monsters are stronger.
Lycanthropes doubly aggressive. Undead gain 1 temporary HD
2
Fogsday
All lowlands covered in a thick fog and sporadic rain. A time for plotting and sneak attacks.
Fog limits vision to 2d6x10ft
3
Frostday
The fog freezes into an all-covering frost. Sneaking difficult as footsteps crunch underfoot. Portents in the frost formation viewed in auguries.
Make three temperature checks per day if traveling outdoors, DC 3d6. Stealth at disadvantage outdoors. Those skilled in religion and/or nature may make one free Augury today.
4
Thawsday
The frost melts. Trails turn to a sloshy mud.
Roads and paths are difficult terrain.
5
Monday
Western skies clear, eastern skies cloudy. The second Monday is always worse than the first.
Lycanthropes hyper-aggressive. Undead gain 2 temporary HD
6
Sunday
Western skies cloudy, eastern skies clear. A dread day for the drow. Sunny and windy.
Sunny outdoors.
7/8
Darksday
Thick clouds overcast. It is almost like night. A perfect hunting ground for creatures of the Underdark to emerge.
Outdoors considered Dark, light sources required. Underdark creatures seen on surface.

Deadwind Archipelago
Climate: Temperate Oceanic
Inhabitants: Humans, Orcs, Dragons

Roll 2d12, and take the higher result for the maximum number of days in this week (after which number it cycles back to one.)

dX
Day Name
Weather Effects
Mechanical Effects
1
Rainsday
A gentle rain.
None
2
Calmday
The calm before the storm. Windy and foreboding.
Ships move at half speed.
3
Stormsday
Thunderstorms
Those without Storm Clerics or sufficient groveling to Hydur the God of Wind and Vengeance have a 1 in 4 chance of being struck by lightning.
4
Windsday
A day for unusual winds, its 1) Spores 2) Fiber Breezes 3) Smog Mist 4) Ash Gales
Ships move at double speed. Air pollution hazard: make three Constitution checks per day or suffer infection. Missile attacks at disadvantage.
5
Sunday
Clear
None
6
Mishapsday
Clear
Critical fumbles range increased by 2 for everyone and everything..
7
Ruinsday
Dangerous clouds overhead: 1) Cloudkill 2) Shock Nimbus 3) Cumulostratagis 4) Blast Clouds
Those unshielded from sight of the sky by cover, large hat, or umbrella have a 1 in 4 chance of suffering cloud attack.
8
Aurorasday
Aurora Oceanis - lights on the ocean waves caused by the Undersun.
All magic treated as if upcast one level.
9
Tornaday
Wild tornadoes rip through the region. Ships get bunkered down.
1 in 6 chance a tornado will come past your area.
10
Doomday
Completely calm. No rain. Pray, pray for the return of rain.
Dread takes hold. -2 penalty to all Morale rolls.
11
Halberday
It literally begins raining halberds. Better bunker up!
Unless seriously protected, stepping outside prompts attack as if from vorpal weapon every 1 minute.
12
Zud!
Something begins emerging from every natural surface, its: 1) Knives 2) Slime 3) Toxic Bubbles 4) Fire Oil
All islands spontaneously erupt in dangerous substances, like oil bubbling up from the ground.


Chronulus / Wizard City
Climate: Hot Dry
Inhabitants: Wizards

d8
Day Name
Weather Effects
Mechanical Effects
1
Sunday
Sunny, bright. 
The Doom Sun radiates all.
Second mysterious sun arcs across the sky. While under its direct rays Save or suffer mutation. High Noon floods streets with mutant creatures big and small.
2
Stormday
Lightning, rain, and plenty of it. Has a strong tendency for targeting the ironic. The wearing of hats tends to alleviate this, the larger and more silly the better.
That which is most ironically affected by rain or lightning must Save vs. Charisma or suffer the effects of a Lightning Bolt. Situational basis.
3
Mayday
Pockets of high and low gravity throughout the city.
The next time someone rolls a ‘1’ on any die, a pocket of high gravity is found: double fall damage and disadvantage on all attacks. Next time someone rolls an ‘8’ on any die, a pocket of low gravity is found: no fall damage or spellcasting while floating.
4
Summertide
Heat waves and toxic algae blooms. The air is stagnant and stinking.
Watery areas bloom with toxic algae. Breathing air by pools produces Save vs. Poison to avoid wretching for 1d10 Minutes. Completely submerging automatically fails Save.
5
Candlewake
A shroud of supernatural darkness covers the city. The recent dead emerge to stalk the dim corners and alleys - candles keep them at bay.*
The city is dark. All ethereal beings become visible and aggressive in said darkness. Strong and magical lights are targeted by the mutant undead for elimination.
6
Payday
Bounced cheques grace the skies like dancing cherry blossoms. They’re all complete garbage, except for the famous Lottery Cheque.
Streets filled with slippery bounced cheques. 1 in 6 chance on running through streets to slip and fall. Cheques also highly flammable - lighting on fire will set streets ablaze. Approximately 1/1,000,000 chance of finding genuine Lottery Cheque (Roll 1 on three consecutive d100s)
7
Saltsnow
Air currents from the east bring the Saltsea down from the sky in big salty flakes.
Grounds become coated in salts. Exposed plantlife withers. Causes irritation on touch.
8
Bloodtide
A dark black blood seeps up from the depths, forming cursed flammable pools at random throughout the city and river.
Any area has a 1 in 4 chance of containing a 25sq ft cursed oil slick - disturbing causes 2d4 1HD muck skeletons to emerge and drag any nearby into the pools to drown.

*This includes many of the mutant creatures which spawn and die during Sunday. Muuuutaaaant Ghooooooosts!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Encounters and Hooks in the City of Truth

Part 4 - Encounters and Hooks


Encounters in the City

I'd cross off these encounters once they've happened, and use sparingly.

1. A scared and hungry poet attempts to rob you wielding a pen, believing it to be a weapon. He is more deadly with it than you’d think, but he'll give up after anyone takes even modest harm.

2. A hysterically joyous bell-chested woman dances and skips down the streets, gazing at each and every thing and remarking on its colors. She has just been reborn and has sight for the first time, and swings between elation and sensory overload. There is a crowd forming behind her, riding on the wake of her emotions.

3. A lavishly-dressed and starry-eyed child is carried atop a palanquin by four hole-headed men. They are being held up by a remarkably similar party moving in the opposite direction. The hole-headed men will soon come to blows over the issue of right-of-way.

4. You come across a bloodied Falseling corpse, brains scattered among the rocks. The murder weapon nearby - a grey-matter-soaked stone. Murderers are extremely rare here, and now there is one afoot. Not too far away along a gore-stained trail there is a bloody-handed long-necked man, a serial killer accidentally sacrificed in the False Realm. There is nothing more he relishes than to finally, Truly murder people. Has he had his fill?

5. Two Falselings are arguing over the stars' portent. They have no knowledge of the names of stars, the constellations, or the movements of celestial bodies. They're just making it up as they go along, as if they're the first ones to discover them. They insist on using their own terms - e.g. "The Bovine Trinity", "The Celestial Hammerer", "The Falling Fire Snake", "Leviathan Eye".

6. A man comes running to the party, begging for protection through gritted teeth. He hides a forked tongue. A lynch mob is in distant pursuit, armed with sticks and rocks. They demand the forceful exile of this False prophet.

7. A long-tailed woman hands you a rock. A perfectly ordinary rock. If asked why, she will smile and say: "Because it is True."

8. A tall-eyed fellow approaches, remarking on how (glassy, porphyritic, chafing, tweedy) you sound. He says he is cataloging the colors of people.

9. A small group of 3-4 naive Falselings are trying to get high. They are gathered around a woman, who is about to eat some dirt. They will be very grateful but quite useless to anyone who shows them how.

10. A Falseling with backwards-bending knees asks if you can give something that will burn. A Rocket-Man looking for fuel, any fuel. As explanation, he says he wants to go fast. Super fast. Faster than anything. Faster than God. He carries a stockpile on a back bundle that could level an office building with the touch of a spark.

Adventure Hooks

Find Something All the Philosophers Will Eat At the Symposium

Everyone agrees it would be far too unreasonable to get more than one dish. Catering is expensive in the City of Truth! Also, without food there will be no audience and hence no symposium. So food is a requirement.
  • Pimon wants something that will give them all the most pleasure for the duration of the symposium. Something sweet or filling.
  • Platerci wants something that will maximize the goodness and minimize badness for the group. He's identified several factors that encompass the goodness of the food (taste, fillingness, nothing people are allergic to, etc.). He doesn't know how to weigh these factors yet.
  • Ramona wants something that will satisfy all of her needs at once, or else she will be paradoxically indecisive and starve to death, since her needs are perfectly equal.
The problem is not simply deciding upon a food, but also finding it. The City of Truth is a food desert surrounded by actual desert. To find a compromising dish, you may need to go abroad and bring it back, or hunt the ingredients yourselves.

Reward: The Symposium goes forward. The three Philosophers will no doubt share some of their interesting theories on the metaphysics of the campaign world (other Planes, universal laws, what happens when you die, etc.)


Cave Rescue

There is a dark crawling cave in the hills. Periodically Falselings emerge from its depths, but now they don't. Worse, some Anti-Absurdists recently disappeared within, searching for these lost souls. The Cave has never known to have been a dangerous place. Investigate. Be wary.
  • The Cave is not terribly deep, but it is quite dark and requires crawling.
  • A heretic illusionist named Pilos has been kidnapping newcomers and investigators, submitting them to existential torture in the form of shadow puppets. He is crafting a virtual world within the depths, making a society that worships him as a god. He has a mastery of shadows and related magics, and may blend with them to remain perfectly hidden.
  • The Anti-Absurdists who went in to rescue people have relapsed in their Absurdism, thanks to Pilos's illusions, and now they're going along with this ridiculous game by becoming very bad actors.
  • To everyone who's bought into Pilos's scheme, shadows are reality. The shadow is you. You are the shadow. Without the shadow you don't exist. Somebody with no shadow does not exist.
Reward: Put Pilos at your mercy and he can teach some shadow magic. Returning Falselings to the surface will net you some Auguries to be performed by a concerned immortal child. One Augury per Falseling returned.


Clear a Landing Strip

The Rocket Men need to clear a half-mile long landing strip for their latest rocket to definitely not crash upon reentry. They want to avoid casualties. Unfortunately, there's only one trajectory that won't result in the rocket landing in the desert and the whole thing being eaten by a sand wurm: right through the middle of the city - bisecting it cleanly. There are three obstacles:
  • The Rocket Pillar details the origin of the Rocket Men in a bas-relief story pillar one hundred feet high. It's made of stone, weighs several tons, and if it falls over this irreplaceable public monument will be shattered. This will need to be moved.
  • Aesketitus the Hermit has not moved an inch since he spontaneously appeared on that spot twenty years ago. He has declared that he shall not move until he has received an unspecified "sign from the heavens". Moving him by force will piss off the Neverlies, who appreciate his devoted quietness and solitude.
  • "The Villa" is a neverending bacchanal by a load of long-fingered and fork-tongued sychophants begging The Child King for drugs. Everyone is drunk and/or high constantly. There are no guards. Some of the party-goers can get quite violent.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Pit of Portents

A great black pit in Wizard City Hexcrawl. Nothing grows around it. Buildings sink into the muck, never to be seen again. Anything that falls into the void does not return.

The Bottomless Pit whispers prophecies to those that listen that are always exactly 2/3rds true. Of all the details involved in the fortune, two things will be true and one will be false.

(Which one is false will be up to you.)

Prophecies come once per person per week, and no more than two per Campaign Turn.

There’s this rather social hermit who frequents the Pit. They call him Pit Man. He makes it his business to hear every single prophecy and inform people of the Pit’s 2/3rds accuracy with a cackle and a toothy grin.

Roll 3d12.
Once for each column.

d12
Condition
Activity
Caveat
1
On the day when the moon cries high...
There shall be a reckoning...
And refreshments shall be provided...
2
When hands on high come together...
A savior will emerge...
And it will be mildly inconvenient...
3
When winds sigh in soft notes...
Terrible destruction shall be nigh...
And you’ll look really dumb...
4
When many voices gather at the square...
A destiny shall be realized...
And nothing will come of it...
5
Surrounded by many suits...
A traitor shall be revealed...
And you won’t even notice...
6
When everything seems most dire...
A herald of change shall become known...
And the restroom will be out of order...
7
When great opposites come together...
A tyrant will fall...
But at least there’s an upside...
8
When the stars begin their dance...
A mighty blow shall be struck...
And all shall forget it in time...
9
When the thief and the jester have made themselves known...
A secret shall be uncovered...
And there will be chances for scattered showers...
10
When the bard sings a final note...
A weapon of great potency shall be found...
And your lucky numbers are 2, 7, 29, and 106...
11
When the crow caws three times...
A disaster shall be narrowly averted...
And the afterparty will be lit...
12
When the ass brays resoundingly...
There shall be a terrible calamity...
...Followed by the same thing, but worse.