Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Pact of Matrimony (5e)

Because my main home campaign, Tidelock, is run using 5e D&D, I occasionally write ridiculously unbalanced stuff for it. Warlocks are a favorite - here's a new Pact for them.


Most marriages end when one or more of its partners die. But for some Death is merely the beginning of an awful relationship. Engaging in the Pact of Matrimony ensures the Pactee's soul in eternal marriage to their designated upon death.

The ring is delivered by a servant of the patron.

Acquired at Warlock Level 3.

You receive an Engagement Ring from your patron, to whom you have sworn eternal matrimony upon death. This ring cannot be removed under any circumstance: should fingers be chopped off or limbs lost, the ring will relocate itself to some remaining part of the body (as an earring, piercing, tattoo, etc.).

The warlock’s patron is an exceptionally jealous being. Anybody that shows romantic affection towards the warlock will become cursed. This may manifest in several potential ways, according to the particular patron and the DM’s discretion.

Gain proficiency, or Expertise if already proficient, in two of the following skills: Persuasion, Deception, Performance, Intimidation, Insight.

Jealous Curse
Let’s be honest, fey are pretty hot.
Horrible nightmares of being tortured relentlessly. Also, animals will hate them and attack on sight - even non-aggressive critters like squirrels.
“I’m married to JESUS!”
They straighten up and fly right, especially if it’s inconvenient. Any intimacy or any wrongdoing results in moral  and social disaster.
It’s easier to arrive in Hell when you’ve already got papers.
Symptoms may include: pain, injury, dizziness, genital rotting, ceaseless rage, grave misfortune, warts, premature aging, and requirement of an exorcist.
Great Old One
The least demanding, and caring, of patrons.
Great Old Ones don’t get jealous. They do, however, create fallout. Bequeaths subtle insanity and strange dreams.
“I’m married to the sword...” (referring to literal sword)
Your Hexblade weapons strike out at potential lovers, gaining a life of their own. They effectively become animated weapons intent on murdering them.
The Sea (Kraken)
“The sea is a harsh mistress…”
Water doesn’t like them. Nightmares of drowning. Catastrophe at sea, extreme difficulty breathing, water poisoning, or scurvy.
Death (Raven Queen)
(grumbly angst) “I’m married to DEATH…”
Death, or very likely near-death experiences. Death would like to have ‘a talk’.
A Lich (The Undying)
Because every adventurer needs a rich eternal sugar daddy to spoil their soul to the core.
The Lich will know, and will *definitely* want to eat their soul.

Revival Bane (40%)*
Revival Boon (60%)*
Resurrection Bane**
Resurrection Boon**
Doom***: Failure on next Dex check / Save within one week.
Grace***: Success on next Dex check / Save within one week.
Your Time Is Short: Shorten lifespan by 5 years
Temporal Youth: Appear 5 years younger
Empathy: When anything within 10ft takes damage, you take 1 damage.
Blessed: Gain Lay on Hands as 2 levels of Paladin
Deal 1d4 x Level damage split as you wish among allies within 120ft.
Deal 1d4 x Level damage split as you wish among enemies within 120ft.
Hunger: Gain a random Addiction, -1 WIS.
Devilish Pride: +1 CHA
Great Old One
Temporary Random Madness
Clarity: Automatic success on next Knowledge check within one week.
Visions of What Is and What’s To Come: Gain a Madness, -1 WIS
Become more appealing to crazy people: +1 CHA
Disadvantage on attack rolls with weapons.
Advantage on attack rolls with weapons.
Reckless: +1 to all damage received
Bloodthirsty: +1 to weapon damage rolls
The Sea
Sea Sickness (Poisoned)
Freedom of Movement
Fishy: -2 CHA from smelling funny and looking more fish-like.
Fishy: +2 CON, doubles duration of holding breath, +5ft of Blindsense
1 HP is your health maximum
Revive at full HP, then temporarily double your max HP
Close to Death: -2 CON
Death Tease: Receive one permanent duration, undispellable Death Ward
A Lich
Lose 1 highest level Spell Slot
Gain 1 highest level Spell Slot
A Piece of Soul: Lose one important memory, -1 INT
Memetic Erasure: One collective memory of you is lost, your choice.

*Duration is 1d3 x 10 minutes unless otherwise specified. If multiple instances occur, then Banes and Boons either stack or cancel out at a 1:1 ratio.
** Effects are permanent
*** DM makes this roll in secret.

Each time the warlock drops to 0 hit points, they will have a brief meeting with their dread pact-fiance, resulting in a brief interaction (likely a reminder of what’s to come) and either a bane or boon. There shall be an exceptional amount of pettiness.

Upon the event of the warlock’s first death, they will be unable to resurrect for one week. During this time the warlock’s soul undergoes the Dread Wedding and possibly a honeymoon. Various torments and pains will be undertaken, and if the warlock resurrects they will be forever changed. Each time the warlock resurrects they will gain a permanent effect, depending on patron.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Under Gallax Hall 1-12

Just below the key name is listed the typical schedule for the room. E.G. for room # 1, Professor Sitch is typically in that room from the hours of 1 to 6. A Custodian is there from hours 6 to 7. From the hours of 7 to 1, the room is empty and the doors are locked.

Also, for timekeeping, note this school runs on metric time. There's no AM and PM. 10 Hours in a Day, 100 Minutes in an Hour.

1 Day = 10 Hours = 100 Turns = 1000 Minutes
1 Hour = 10 Turns
1 Turn = 10 Minutes

1 in 6 chance every 2 Turns, or on loud noise.

((Next post will describe wandering encounters/big personalities/classes held of the dungeon.))

A Custodian
Professor Sitch
1d4 Black Magic Brothers
Professor Sitch
1d4 Sisters of the Cell
1d3 Graduate Students
1d4 Undergraduate Students
Dr. Braum
1d4 Skeletons
Dr. Klaus
1d4 Skeletons
1d4 Undergraduate Students
Professor Kinsley
2d4 Undergraduate Students
Stone Statue
No Encounter, or 'Variable'*
No Encounter, or 'Variable'**
Father Ghost
* = If applicable, by circumstance
** = Fill this one up second. Two Variable encounters on this table max. If you get a third, then replace the first one.

Under Gallax Hall - Level 1 - Basement
Made on Gridmapper by Alex Schroeder

1. Professor Sitch's Office - B01
   1-6: Professor Sitch   |   6-7: Custodian   |   7-1: Empty, Locked

A rather boring dirty office. Administrative papers stacked high on every eligible surface. The most interesting thing is sadly the cactus. Lair of Professor Sitch (Level 4 Wizard).

SEARCH: When Sitch isn't around, he keeps his Retractable Meter Stick of Pain in the top drawer of his desk. This piece of wood inflicts pain on those it strikes (cumulative -1 to all rolls) for 1 Day.

TRAP: A small exploding barrel cactus that sits on his main desk. Any tampering with the desk drawers that contain the Retractable Meter Stick of Pain cause the barrel cactus to shower the room in needles - Save vs. Breath for half of 2d3 damage. On one or more '3's' hit, an eye is punctured by the needles, causing blindness in that eye.

Professor Sitch lives to glare at students through the narrow-blinded windows on his office doors and accost them at every opportunity. He will find an excuse to hit undergrads with his Meter Stick of Pain. If you want to enter his office (even to pass by to classrooms B03 or B05), he'll inflict his toll - a brief interrogation. If you want nothing to do with him and he spots you, he'll certainly try and accost you.

2. Gooey Classroom - B03
   10-1: Custodian   |   1-3: Random Class   |   3-5: Random Class   |   5-10: Empty

Typical classroom: a dozen chairs with desks facing teacher's desk on north side.

Frequently interrupted by thru-traffic of students trying to get to room 3 (B05), because most students would rather brave Professor Sitch and his pain stick than risk the ire of the Custodial Staff from the desks in Room 12 (B15).

Underside of each desk hides fist-sized gum-pink extra-adhesive sticky goo. Touching it then requires a successful Strength check to free oneself from its grasp. It can be removed and carried about with little effort.

3. Bloody Classroom - B05
   1-2: Custodian   |   2-4: Random Class   |   4-6: Torture 201   |   6-1: Empty, Bloody

A common lab bench stretching the length of the room, doubling as work desk and demonstration table for the Torture 201 class. Bloodstains on the table, and extra amounts of blood and other unfortunates flicked here and there from Hours 6 to 1 before the Custodian arrives.

4. Discarded Clothes Closet - B07

Bare, except for a pile of various clothes sitting in the middle of the closet. Most are student robes, some dirtied and some even bloodied.

A graduate student from the Torture Department comes here once a week (at random) to discard leftover clothes from 'research projects'. A Custodian come every 6th Day (Saturday, if you prefer) with a big bin at midnight (Hour 10) to take the clothes to the Shrine of the Clean God on Level 2.

5. 'The Bones Lounge' - B02
   10-1: Custodian   |   1-6: Empty   |   6-7: Tiffany   |    7-10: Empty

A neat and tidy study lounge with various small tables and comfy cushioned chairs. Oh, and a naked skeleton sitting in one at the back of the room - cheery-looking if ever there was one. His left hand resting on the arm of the chair is cupped as if holding a glass.

So called 'Mr. Bones' by the Black Magic Fraternity - a mascot of sorts that they treat with a rare endearment. If he's tampered with then the Frat is likely to find out, and each consecutive instance of tampering produces a cumulative 1 in 6 chance to add 5 Black Magic Frat Brothers to this room and to the wandering encounter list in the Variable slot when the next delve into Gallax Hall occurs.

SEARCH: Underneath the cushion Mr. Bones is sitting on are 2gp and an Unregistered Key.

SECRET: If a glass full of any liquor is placed in Mr. Bones left hand, he will animate, chugging down (and spilling all over) the liquid, before following this person around for 1 Day. He will obey commands, help out, and generally put himself at risk for the person; however, he will attempt to guzzle any alcohol, or anything mentioned to be alcohol, as soon as it becomes known.

SECRET: A stern-faced portrait (5gp on black market) of a long-dead donor named 'Allen West' on the southeast wall. His eyes appear to follow you about the room. Behind the portrait is a catch to pull open the sliding secret door to Room 6.

6. Secret Skeleton Hallway

Northern wall contains four progressively-getting-more-skeleton-y portraits of Allen West, the stern-faced long dead administrator whose portrait lies in Room 5. The last portrait merely shows a skeleton with a powdered wig on it.

7. Skeleton Lounge

Three animate skeletons (HP 3, 4, 5; HD 1; 1d4 Rake) sit in three lounge chairs against the northern, eastern, and southwestern walls. They will animate the attack anyone who touches the Brandy sitting on a central table.

TREASURE: "Widower's Touch" labeled Brady - 56gp. Sitting enticingly on the central table.

8. Restroom - B04
   1-2: Custodian   |   2-4: Empty   |   4-5: Random Grad Student   |   5-1: Empty

Two sinks, two toilet stalls. Nothing to dry your hands with. Graffiti across the stall doors in bed red letters: "BEWARE STILL WATER!". True to the warning, unless the toilets are flushed first there's a 25% chance for each toilet that it's got a hostile Sewer Ooze (HP 5; HD 1; 1d6 Acid Splash) resting in it.

9. Stacy's Lair - B09
2-3: Custodian   |    3-4: Empty   |   4-8: Stacy Devon   |   8-2: Empty, Locked

A handful of hand-me-down desks and chairs make a makeshift office for one mean Graduate Student. Stacy Devon, Practitioner of Pain. She wants to be alone, and will use lethal force to ensure that.

Stacy is a Level 3 Wizard with plenty of eyeshadow, a silent mean temper, and exactly zero patience for undergraduates. She has Sleep, Suggestion, and Flaming Sphere at her disposal. She also has a new spell she's developing called Temporary Eviscerate.

If anybody enters her room while she's in it, she's liable to ask who they are and what their role is at the university in as few words as possible. If they're an undergrad, and they're not at the behest of a professor, then she'll use Temporary Eviscerate to make them go away.

If she figures out anybody but the Custodians have been in her room, she will attempt to hunt them down and actually eviscerate them.

   Temporary Eviscerate: (Level 3 Wizard) Target must Save vs. Magic or have their viscera spill out of a new hole in their stomach. They will be completely nonfunctional during this time unless they pass two consecutive Constitution checks, making one check each Round. It hurts. A lot. After 10 Rounds the viscera schlorp right back where they should be and all is well.

TREASURE: Scattered about the room are 2d6 scroll iterations of her new spell Temporary Eviscerate. Each is worth about 10gp from material alone.
3 in 6 chance any scroll is a complete dud.
2 in 6 chance it's the Spell proper, or close enough that it's functionally the same.
1 in 6 chance that casting it permanently eviscerates the caster (resulting in death).

10. Sealed Classroom - B11

SECRET: The entrance door is plastered over to appear as the wall. Close inspection (and calling attention to the missing room number) will reveal this. It will take 1 Turn of chiseling away with tools (or a Knock spell) to open the door.

It is dark within. It smells like fresh construction.
Soft, pained moans come from the darkness.
Desks and chairs broken and splintered in dusty heaps. Human bones among them. Blood splatters on the walls. Claw marks on the inside of the sealed door.
A pale skinny humanoid hunkers in the corner away from any light. Tufts of blonde hair poke from a bloody scalp that stretches over its ghoulish face. A student became a monster.

Student: As Ghoul, but fears light. Paralyzing touch instead causes blindness and suffocation as scalp stretches to cover face.

SEARCH: A purse containing 254gp lies buried under some bones in the far corner.

If the entrance is left unsealed and the ghoul remains, it will eventually wander out into the halls, destroying light fixtures along the way. Add it to the 'Variable' entry in the Wandering Encounter list.

11. Horrible Chair Classroom - B13
3-4: Custodian   |   4-6: Random Class   |   6-3: Empty

The chairs in this semi-standard classroom have been designed to be as ergonomically maddening to sit in as possible, causing mild and lasting pain to those sitting in them. The chairs are a product of a longitudinal experiment from the Department of Torture. Sitting in any of them for 2 Turns (1/10th the duration of a typical class) prompts a Save vs. Petrification or obtain a random following effect for 2 Hours:

   1. Either leg falls totally asleep.
   2. Both legs fall asleep.
   3. Either arm falls totally asleep.
   4. Both arms fall asleep.
   5. Shoulder pain: -2 to arm-based Dex/Attack rolls.
   6. Constipation: -1 to all rolls
   7. Back pain: -2 to all rolls.
   8. Blindness

Sometimes, when it's quiet, you can hear the ghoul thumping its head against the southwestern walls.

12. Stacked Chair Abandoned Classroom - B15
4-5: Custodian   |   5-4: Empty

Bare clean classroom, untouched, save by Custodian hands. The floor is the cleanest you'll ever see. All the chairs and desks are stacked into three meticulous inverted pyramids as high as the ceiling - a single push would topple any of them.

TRAP: Careful non-stompy navigation of the room required, or the pyramids will topple one after the other. Each person in the room has a 2 in 6 chance of having a pyramid land towards them, prompting a Save vs. Breath roll or taking 2d4 damage from the crush of metal chairs and desks.

TRAP: If the pyramids should fall, a Custodian will instantly appear at one of the doors (equal chance for each door), and begin Cursing everyone in the room for meddling with their floor-cleaning work, before eventually beginning to meticulously re-stack the pyramids.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Making a Kilodungeon

What is a Kilodungeon?

It's a megadungeon, but about a thousandth of the size!

Okay, okay... It's just a small megadungeon. I don't think I have the stamina or the patient group to run a true megadungeon, so I'm electing to create a mini one. I'm challenging myself to try and write at least 1-3 rooms per day to crank this thing out in like... 3 months, maybe?

Under Gallax Hall. It's got five levels. We're probably looking at 20-50 rooms on each level, tapers a bit as it goes down. Top Level designed for characters level 0-1, each level down ups the challenge by approximately 1 level.

I walk past this building every day, and it gives me ideas.
(Angel Hall, University of Michigan)

Ideas I Want To Implement:
  • Gallax Hall is a university building in Wizard City. Just above the megadungeon is the university and city itself. The first level of the dungeon begins in Gallax Hall's basement.
  • This first level of this megadungeon is a place where 'normal' people still must occasionally travel. It's horrendously dangerous, but that doesn't stop the university from having classes there. Classroom space is at a premium, after all.
  • Hence, the first level of the dungeon has a lot of 'normal' stuff - black markets, professor lairs (offices), roaming hirelings and escort services, merchants. The sorts you'll find just outside the dungeon.
  • If the first level is the semi-mythic underworld, then the second and subsequent levels are, like, SUPER-mythic underworld.
  • Timekeeping. Keep a mini paper clock or the like and move it about as you enter/traverse the dungeon. Enough clocks are present in the dungeon that referencing time shouldn't often be an issue. The school runs on Metric time (10 hours/day, 100 minutes/hour). Certain professors/janitors/ghosts/monsters are present at particular times. Every Turn is 10 metric minutes (about 7 minutes our time).
  • Build a bunch of shenanigans around said timekeeping: wandering encounters, secret entrances, puzzles, mini-heists.
  • Graduate students will murder you.
  • Other students will murder you.
  • The Custodial Staff will murder you, then skillfully dispose of the body.
  • The Professors will torture and possibly murder you, for SCIENCE. Not coincidentally, the Department of Torture is located in the basement of Gallax Hall.
  • And of course your typical university locals will try to murder you: roaming statues, serial killers, tomb-of-horrors-style juggernaut cleaning machines, tricentennial ghosts, haunted food trucks, rioting students, well-educated hobos, animated manifestos, the lack of affordable housing, and an imbalanced and malnourished diet.
I'm thinking of releasing this thing piece by piece on a weekly or semi-weekly basis, but to do that, I'd need to find some dungeon graphing software that works well with Blogger. If you have recommendations, please comment 'em below.

((Update: the first two levels of the dungeon are finished!)) 

Monday, July 8, 2019

Speak With Earth

You see, it's a common misconception that the spell Speak With Animals allows you to converse in the animals' languages. How ridiculous it would be, that a single spell might bequeath a near-infinite number of entire fluent languages upon the caster, all for the lowest costs and with the least amount of magical training. No!

The way it works, is that all these creatures simply knew Common all along, they simply didn't want to talk to you. Speak With Animals is Enchantment - it compels them to speak.

So too, is it, with all things on this world. They could talk to you, if they wanted. But they don't. Nobody wants to talk to humans. Nobody wants to talk to you in particular. Humans are notoriously horrible. You're particularly horrible.

It's not that they can't talk to you,
it's just that they think your whole species are jerks.
They're probably right.
The noise you hear? The chattering of squirrels or the chirping of birds? Simply code. Code so that you politely might not understand how much animals don't like you.

Things dislike speaking in varying degrees. "Non-intelligent" animals dislike it quite a bit. You eat them for food and destroy their habitats, so of course they don't like talking to you. Insects and worms even more so - communication risks immediate squashing. Dogs are too nervous. Cats are just jerks.

This rock doesn't like you.
Rocks, though, are a bit different. It physically hurts them to speak. Imagine, for a second, rending yourself in half that you might speak to a fleeting instantaneous wave-particle of light or a single ocean wave. This is what it's like for a rock to speak in our tongue. It sucks.

This is why Speak With Earth is such a heinous spell. Whereas Speak With Animals is merely unethical - compelling sentient and intelligent creatures to have awkward conversation with you - Speak With Earth is grotesquely cruel and heinous. This is typically why, when Speak With Earth is cast, more aggravated stones will be willing to throw down and crush that arrogant wizard to a pulp. Hence the necessity for....                                   

                            JOE SHMOH'S MINERAL SCALE OF HARSHNESS


Mineral / Rock
Willing to Throw Down If You...
Attempt Rock Genocide (Most egregious)
Diamond, Sandstone
Actively try to destroy it*
Topaz, Marble
Speak With Earth + Make serious threats
Gold, Feldspar
Speak With Earth + Insult its mineral mom.
Cast Speak With Earth
Calcite, Cement
Break it
Osmium, Obsidian**
Piss on it
Step on it
Corundum (Ruby/Sapphire)
Converse with it by any means
Sulphur, Uranium
Exist in its presence (Least egregious)
*Note: this doesn’t necessarily mean crushing it. Some rocks (mostly non-gems) are more chill than others with being ground up. Things that “destroy” rocks: atomization, separating it from the earth, dissolving in acid, etc.

This is Talc. Don't step on it.
Calcium: You may as well be another rock, for all it can tell. Also: Do not attempt rock genocide. It will end very bad for you.
Diamond: Stoic and uncaring, provided you don’t try and shatter it
Sandstone: Composed of many many compacted minerals, it will only really get mad if you try and annihilate it.
Topaz: Most noble of gems! Elects to fight duels when threats are made.
Marble: It is a noble stone, far above common insults.
Gold: Most royal of minerals; hence, it takes no insults from peasants.
Feldspar: It really just likes its mom.
Zirconium: It sits right in the middle of all Scales. The centrist of minerals.
Calcite: It really doesn’t like being wet. Vulnerable to acid.
Cement: The walls and roads of the ancients are notorious for animating and breaking in half those who would tear them down.
Osmium: Doesn’t like being touched.
Obsidian: **Exception is if you’re picking it up to use it for war and carnage. It’s pragmatic like that.
Talc: Softest of minerals, hence with the most the prove. Very aggressive and quite pitiful.
Corundum (Ruby/Sapphire): The crystalized blood of the mammalian and mollusk gods hate each other and everything else with a divine fury.
Sulphur: This stuff is PISSED.
Uranium: Normally, it just tries to kill you by existing. Enough of it gathers in one place, however, and it’ll animate to radioactively stomp your ass.