Yeah, I'm finally posting it. Click this link to get a wilderness swamp zone encounter pdf, fit for all your weird adventuring needs.

Dangertopia! A riddle and a curse!

Rock paper Scissors brawls

You can challenge anyone to an unarmed brawl. If they accept, don't take your turn; instead, wait until it's their turn, and play rock-paper-scissors against them to determine the winner.

ROCK: Punch. If the punch damage reduces them to 0 HP, they're knocked unconscious. Some weapons like brass knuckles can be used to increase your punch damage, but I'd say the base is d3. In a tie, the one with the highest strength wins.

PAPER: Dodge. You must move, and you can perform one non-combat action (Picking up something, pulling a lever, pushing over a bookshelf, etc. It can still hurt a dude, as long as you don't touch them directly.) In a tie, the one with the highest dexterity wins.

SCISSORS: Grab. Only lasts for the turn. You can throw them as far as your Strength modifier in meters, or disarm them of a weapon or item. When disarmed, the weapon will clatter to the ground a few squares away (They can use a dodge action to pick it back up). In a tie, the one with the highest constitution wins.

Any attack against someone who's in the middle of a brawl will hit the other brawler if it misses. This means it's mostly in your interests to leave this Mano-e-mano. If the enemy does not accept your challenge (Or if they're surprised), then you keep in turn order: You punch, dodge or grab for free, and they take their turn as normal when it rolls around.


Yomi - "Reading the mind of your opponent" - makes this into more of a mind-game than a dice roll. You need to judge whether your opponent wants to punch, dodge or grab, then do the opposite. Now, tie breakers are very powerful: They let you win two out of three match-ups. But wait; if the DM knows how strong you are at grabbing, then he'll use a punch - or does he know that you know that he knows?

Grabbing and disarming an opponent influences this yomi, by making the opponent predictable; You know they'll probably want to dodge, so that they can pick up their weapon. 

We had a fight near a cliff edge, and one of my players wanted to throw a guy off. However, when the Brawl turn came around, he'd figured out that I knew he wanted to throw a guy off, so he went for a punch. But I knew that he was going to realize that, so I craftily went for a dodge. What I didn't realize is that the bad guy was packed in. The only place he could dodge was straight off the cliff and down to his death.

That tension of suspending your turn until the enemy's turn rolls around is fantastic. While the others take their actions, you're looking across at the DM and pondering your next move.


Colossus-Climbing rules

If you grab a large creature, you can climb up them. You can do this once for something giant-sized, twice or more if it's bigger. This gives you an extra dice of damage: d4 after one climb, d6, d8 and so on if you climb higher. If either you or the colossus dodges, you'll fall off.

So you see, you want to attack, but you'll need to grab on if the colossus tries to shake you off with a dodge.

Fighting Swarms

If you do more damage than a monster's remaining HP, you can overflow the remaining damage to any other monsters who are close by.

This means you can easily crush 4 1HP fairies in a single swipe. The same applies to PC's: A dragon could wipe out your entire level 1 party with a bite. You can avoid this effect by spreading out.

Dangertopia lives!

Super exciting news today, friends and followers. Matt Rundle and I are making a book called Dangertopia, building off the back of my old encounter tables to make a complete kit for every kind of wilderness travel you could need. We're releasing a part of it today, now, for free.

Download the PDF here

Insect Hell! The most dangerous of the five deadly swamp zones. Your PC's are likely to leave diseased, infested and dead. Roll on the left table to get encounters for every day you're traveling. On a 10 or under, the party will have a faction encounter on top of the normal one. Encounter the Soldier the first time you roll it, Elites the second time, and the Leader the third time.

If you like this, the most amazing thing you could do is playtest it and talk about it. Write about it here or on your blog, run a game at your table or on Google+; a full recorded session of people playing this would be orgasmic. Tell us how useful this thing is to you, and how we could make it better.

We're going to release more swamp zones in the coming weeks, without art. Probably two of the following:
-Acid trip Mardi Gras
-Giant Hermit Crab-ville
-Voodoo Casablanca
-Sunken tower of babel

The full book will have five of these zones for each different type of wilderness: Forest, desert, arctic, jungle, swamp, and (maybe) ocean. Life is weird, and we can't promise that either or both of us won't spontaneously combust and be unable to complete the entire project. Still, we're currently planning to sell every different type wilderness as it's own PDF as we finish it, then collect them all together in a single book. Whatever happens, we should release the full swamp sometime next month.

Jack McNamee's 10-Second System

I've been playing X-Com lately. You control 14 dudes as they die, panic, succumb to alien mind control and turn into zombies. At the end of a mission you level up the survivors and buy another crateload of rookies. Death is constant and hard to anticipate, so a lot of the strategy revolves around sending in the cannon-fodder rookies to protect the guys you care about.

It's interesting, because as far as I can tell early D&D worked the same way. A lot of the traps in the DMG seem totally ridiculous for the current fashion of ~4 PC's. Save or Die effects, level drain, diseases - Matt's poor PC died to Rotgrubs in a single turn, before he had any way to tell what was happening or how to stop it. These things only really make sense if you have 10+ PC's, with some hirelings for good measure.

(You'll have to excuse me if I'm reiterating stuff everybody knows. D&D is still a strange new land to me.)

Creating 10 normal characters and trying to keep track of the results would take hours and drive me insane. So, here's an experiment: Jack McNamee's 10 Second System (Matt helped).

Roll one d6 for each starting ability score, then roll an occupation and starting equipment (You can use this DCC character generator for those). Your starting character is finished.

Dret thiefton turned out to be only average at thief skills. His parents will be shattered.

Here's what the scores mean.

Strength: The weapons you can use. Whenever the PC's find a weapon, rate it out of ten; you need that much strength to wield it. Bonuses to damage and to-hit are inherent in the weapons you find, rather than something you earn as you level up. Roll under it on a d10 for strength checks.

Constitution: The hit dice you get whenever you level up. Roll under it for fort saves.

Dexterity: Skill checks and reflex saves. Whenever a PC needs to make a skill check, rate the task: 5 for trivial tasks, 10 for normal tasks, 15 for hard and 20 for impossible. Your dexterity shows which dice you roll for it; d6 to d20+10. At 1 dex, you cannot perform any kind of skill checks.

You can learn skills from expert thieves. If you haven't been trained in a skill, use 1 less dex when rolling for it. If Dret Thiefton has 3 dex, he'll roll a d6 instead of a d10 for any skill he hasn't trained in.

You can use any skill list you want, or just use the DCC list: Backstab, Sneak, Hide, Pickpocket, Climb, Locks, Find traps, Disable traps, Forge, Disguise, Read Languages, Poison, Cast spell from scroll.

Intelligence: Which spells you can learn, and will saves. Whenever the PC's find a spell, rate it out of ten; you need that much intelligence to cast it.

Intelligence applies to both Wizard Spells and Cleric Spells. You go to a wizard to learn spells from the Wizard list, and a Cleric to learn spells from the Cleric list. They hate each other, and they'll want you to become one of them before they'll teach you the better spells. You could obviously cheat them to learn both.

Wisdom: The number of spells you can hold in your brain at once. Vancian rules. Roll under for Perception checks.

Charisma: Which Hirelings you can get. Hirelings can be level 1 to 10; that's how much charisma you need to hire them. At 5 Cha, you can hire level 5 guys. High level hirelings will also have better equipment, and may know some skills or spells. Roll under it for a morale check to stop your hirelings panicking or stabbing you in the back.

Every time you level up, you get one hit dice of HP and one extra point of ability score to allocate wherever you want. Max level is 10.

The system assumes every player will have 2-4 PC's. You get 2-4 new PC's when the last PC from your old batch dies - until then you have to rely on hirelings to restock.

So, most of the traditional leveling up choices occur in the world. You have to find spells and skills, instead of being abstractly given those things when you level up. This is partially inspired by the old D&D ideas to that effect, and partially inspired by the way Dark Souls and X-Com work. Your PC is defined by the things they have, and their stats define the things they can have.

It's fast as lightning and completely classless. It's not going to be for everyone. I'll try running it on Monday, I'm excited to see if it works. Tell me what you think in the comments..


Here's a way to incorporate the Caste System into your game, ruthlessly stolen from the brilliant Small but Vicious Dog and tweaked to add some heft to Charisma. There are 8 ranks in the Caste System:

8. Queens, Kings, and Heirs. Anyone with a right to the throne.

7. Lords, Barons and Titled Gentry; the highest rank you can possibly be without being born into royalty. Own all the land.
6. Nobles, Aristocrats and Knights. Oversee the land for the lords.
5. Shopkeepers, wealthy merchants - anyone rich who had to work for their money.
4. Freemen. Commoners who can choose where they go.
3. Villeins: Peasants, commoners, laborers. The vast majority, working the land as slaves to a Lord. They are forbidden from leaving their lord's land.
2.  Lepers, beggars and guttersnipes. Loathed, but tolerated. Will not be allowed in most places.
1. Witches, devil-spawn, and mutants. Will be killed or chased from any major city or town if seen.

A PC is normally Rank 4, a Freemen; low class peasants who can still choose to go where they like.
Your Charisma modifier effects your rank. +3 elevates you to a Rank 7 Lord, -3 makes you an ostracized freak.  You also get + or - one dice worth of starting money per point of charisma mod. You gain rank naturally every three levels or so, but you can also move up and down ranks through your actions.

Pulling rank

The social demands of caste-system etiquette are subtle and complex. You can fuck with anyone below you.

One rank below you: You can ignore anything they say. They must give a good reason for disobeying any orders, or you're allowed to inflict any kind of non-painful punishment on them.
Two ranks below you: They must follow your orders. You can inflict any kind of non-lethal punishment on them for disobeying..
Three ranks or more below you: You can kill them without any legal ramifications or comment. They must follow any order, to death and beyond.

The same applies in reverse; don't fuck with anyone above you, or they could start throwing out punishments. The system is only enforced socially, obviously. Deep in the wilderness, outside of society, it's easy for the underlings to realize that you're just a weak man in a funny hat.

Unless you go a step further and use;

Divine Right

You aren't just a lord because your dad was a lord; you're a lord because God put you there. The medieval point of view is literally true in all aspects: The caste system is enforced by the universe, and nobles actually are better than peasants in every way.

When fighting someone of a different rank, find the difference between your ranks. Whoever's the highest rank gets +the difference to every relevant roll: To-hit, saves, damage, grapple checks, everything. The lowest rank gets -the difference to every roll.

So, if Graunch the Leper tried to take a bite out of King George, Graunch would be rolling at -6 to everything, while the King would get +6 to everything. This doesn't apply to anyone who doesn't care about the caste system.

A statement of intent: I'm not using these rules to stop my PC's fucking with high-level NPC's. I assume they'll still be constantly toppling governments like always. What I'm going for here is a way to give your Charisma score some serious social weight without forcing people to make Cha checks instead of roleplaying. 

With these rules, a high Cha makes you a force to be reckoned with in the city, and a low Cha could make you flee from any nobles you see. It even has hireling implications: You can order anyone three ranks below you to come on an adventure, whether they like it or not. Lepers or Peasants will be terrible at fighting, obviously: You'll still need to shell out coin for the good fighters. But being able to order up a mob on demand is pretty neat. 

Great Level-drain alternatives from Dark Souls

I like the idea of level drain. It's like taking bites out of your soul. It makes any enemy, no matter how goofy, into a terrifying thing that you never, ever want to fight, or go near, or look at. It sends the message: "There is nothing you have that I can't take."

But jeeze, that book-keeping. There's way too much fiddling around to consider going up or down levels in the middle of a fight.

Dark Souls - the best D&D videogame - has some great alternatives.


Your max HP is halved. How simple is that? Keep track of what your max HP was, and keep increasing that as normal as you level up, but you can never have more than half of that. Season to taste. The sadist DM may wish to allow players to be double or triple cursed to 1/4th or 1/8th of HP. 

Curses are generally inflicted by Basilisks, which obviously look like this:

Also known as "Curse Frogs," these guys puff up their throats and spew cursed smoke everywhere. 1, 2, or 3 saves before you are cursed, according to taste. Anyone who is cursed will immediately solidify as a jagged stone statue, returning the next morning as a shivering wreck. These statues will be littered around any place where Curse monsters live.

The Accursed are the only ones who can harm ghosts. In the middle of ghost towns, you can find men who will take away curses. Curses can never be lifted - only transferred onto someone else.


Your head sprouts egg-sacks. The creature inside will devour half the XP you earn from now on. Every time you level up, it will too, growing and hatching into... well, you're the DM. Use my worm table for inspiration if you want.


This malady is generally inflicted by the egg-burdened servants of Chaos Witch Quelaag.


They'll grab your legs, and their maggots will infest your head. If you receive their sacred burden their leader will welcome you as one of their own, and he has much sorcery to teach. They may even have a cure, though they consider the idea the vilest heresy.

Hairsplitting Weapon table

Every time my players go to buy weapons, I drag out the equipment list and they spend half an hour deciding which of the 10 weapons and armors that exist in the world they want to use. I've always wanted to recreate the fantastic variety of weapons in games like Dark Souls, but make that equipment list any longer and we'd be looking through it for hours.

Zak has it figured out, obviously. Random tables fix everything. 

Grave of Swords

Anyone selling weapons has about 1d4 of the weapons below for sale. Roll a d10 for the middle of nowhere, d20 for a normal town, and d50 for the big city. The number you rolled is also how much it costs.

Some weapon rules: For ranged weapons, Short range is the size of a dungeon room, medium range is about the size of a football field, long range is anything you can see (At DM's digression). Some weapons on this list have stat requirements, like "Requires +2 str". Anyone who doesn't have that stat can still use the weapon, but they'll critically fail on a 5 or less.

  1. Dung Pie. Anyone touching it must save vs. poison or lose d4 hp per round for d6 rounds
  2. Fine Cipachian Throwing Rock. D3. -2 to hit. Short range. You won't get a price like this anywhere else!
  3. Sword hilt. D4, -2 to hit. 
  4. Cestus: d3. Fist wrapping. -2 vs heavy armour.
  5. Sling, d4, short range.
  6. Garrote, d6. Can only be used on a surprise attack.Grapples victim, deals d6 damage per round.
  7. Staff, d4. Two-handed.
  8. Spear, d6.
  9. Dagger, d4/d10 on a backstab. 
  10. Whip, d4. Dex check to grapple things ten feet away: Enemies, items, etc. Not strong enough to hold much weight. 
  11. Blowgun, d4, short range. The darts can be loaded with all sorts of poisons. 
  12. Shortsword, d6. 
  13. Hand axe. D6, critical damage against all wood/plants. 
  14. Throwing daggers. D4/d10, short range, D8 per pack. 
  15. Net. Two-handed. On a successful hit, victim makes a strength check or is captured.
  16. Light crossbow, d6. Short range.
  17. Shortbow. D6 damage. Two-handed. Medium range.
  18. Longsword. D8, two-handed.
  19. Heavy crossbow, d8. Short range.
  20. Black firebombs. D6, d6 fire damage ongoing. d4 per pack.
  21. Halberd. D8, two-handed, long weapon can hit enemies from a small distance away.
  22. Claw gauntlets. Wolverine claws. D6, can use while taking two move actions.
  23. Carim Parrying dagger, d4. Use in your off-hand while wielding another weapon. Against sword-wielding enemies, you can ready an action to Parry: Dex check to sweep aside their attack and do backstab damage.
  24. God Hand. Cestus marked with banishment symbols. D6, knocks enemies back a large distance, can be held while wielding other weapons.
  25. Spiked shield. D6 damage, +1 AC. 
  26. Pike. D8, two-handed, can hit anyone at short bow range, but can't hit anyone that's right up in your grill.
  27. Longbow. D8 damage. Two-handed. Long range. Can't use and move.
  28. Ninja stars. D4/d10, medium range, d8 per pack.
  29. Boomerang. D6, medium range, returns after use.
  30. Consecrated mace. D6/d10 vs unholy creatures. Stops the dead from rising again.
  31. Server. D4/ d10, restores HP per damage inflicted. Curved dagger used in a mysterious ancient rite.
  32. Hook dagger. D4/d10, +5 to climb checks.
  33. Lance, D8. Two-handed. D12 when on horseback. 
  34. Pole-vault polearm. D8, two-handed, can be used to jump large distances.
  35. Ash tree staff. D6, +1 int modifier while wielding.
  36. Spiked whip. D4. Dex check to grapple things ten feet away, anything grappled takes d6 damage per turn.
  37. Dragon's tooth. You've picked up a dragons tooth by the pointy end and decided to hit people with it. D10, two-handed, knocks enemies prone, fall prone yourself if the attack misses.
  38. Jagged Ghost dagger: d4/d10. Stolen from the dead, can be used against specters. 
  39. Laughing Katana: d10, every hit deals critical damage, damage yourself normally on a miss. 
  40. Halleluiah plunging dagger: d4/d10, critical damage when attacking from above.
  41. Lloyd's Talisman: Symbol of Allfather Lloyd, prevents all healing on anyone it's thrown at.
  42. Horizon Longbow. D4/d12 at long range. Long range, takes a turn to notch arrow before attack.
  43. Snatcher's Trident. D10, two handed. Can use a turn to enact the complicated Snatcher War Dance with it, which boosts nearby allies damage dice up a notch (d4 to d6, etc) for d8 rounds.
  44. Great Battleaxe, d12. two-handed. Requires +2 str. Must always go last in initiative. 
  45. Pardoner's stealth crossbow, d6. Short range. Hooked onto your arm, can be concealed by long sleeves. A button on the side pops it out for use.
  46. Chimera tail whip: d4, save vs. poison. Giant scorpion tail of the Chimera coiled up as a whip.
  47. Carim Dual-wield crossbows, d6, short range. Can attack with both crossbows in one round, as long as you make no move action. Requires +2 dex.
  48. Kelian Knockout gloves. No damage, knocks unarmoured opponents unconcious. 
  49. Psychic garrot. On a successful surprise attack, grapples and steals one spell/memory per turn. Requires +2 int.
  50. Cursed Greatsword of Artorias. D20 damage, two-handed, curses all who wield it (halves HP). 

What I'm doing

I haven't updated this blog for a while; fever, university, work and life, you know how it is. BUT, I'm currently working on a project with my good friend Matt Rundle: An expansion of the encounter tables I've posted here into some kind of complete wilderness kit. The plan is, it'll have everything you need to run adventures travelling across swamps, forests, jungles, the arctic tundra, seas, deserts, savannahs, and mountains. Each of these biomes is going to have

-6 Towns
-6 factions
-5 different zones. So, the swamp is split into 5 different types of swamp, each with their own encounter table, most with their own rules for movement. One zone is Insect Hell, for example: stagnant water, if you get submerged in it you get infected with horrifying insects. The idea is Verisimilitude, right? So you're not just hovering across a tract of land labelled generic "Swamp". Also, you can just drag and drop in individual zones, so one of them has to be the kind of swamp you're looking for.
-Ready-made hex crawl map.

A hex crawl map resembling the very map below? Possibly!

The cover will be a hex map that unites every zone into one big world. Dangertopia! A riddle and a curse!

I'm excited.

Mystery Teens Ride East

I'm making an RPG about mystery-solving teens. Just ran a playtest session using the Orient Express mystery-o-matic. They ended up taking a ride with

Rupert Coldsing. Twelve year old chain smoker, travelling alone, turned out to be an expert on defusing bombs. By finding this bible verse, deciphering a code, and hacking into the frequency of his secret radio, the gang discovering that he was a secret agent of communist-nazi spy agency Leviathan, working together with

Lokman Yilmaz, Turkish hypnotist and master of illusion. Both he and Rupert were working together to hunt down whoever stole the Key to Shangri-la from Leviathan. Lokman and Rupert were threatening

Count Frumpenshire Hamffleswain, famed Shakespearean actor, surrounded by silent servants with sewn-up waistcoats. The count had some bad debts, and was on his way to pick up his inheritance in Istanbul when Leviathan tracked him down. He was fine at first, but started to sweat after the murder of his personal friend,

Francis Depardue, suicidal French artist. From the occult symbolism of his paintings, the teen team deduced that both he and the count worshipped the same ancient, forgotten volcano god. Deeply depressed at the death of his religion, Depardue said this would be his last journey - so why was he found stabbed with his own ceremonial dagger? The culprit was taller than him - which means it was either Lokman, the Count, or

Beatrice von Trumpleshlize, obsessive german monkey collector. After stealing the Key of Shangri-la, she was fleeing on the train with her husband:

Marco Catione, mild-mannered Italian priest and secret ice robot from another dimension. On a hunch, the teens burst into his cabin and interrogated him. Believing they worked for Leviathan, he revealed his true form and froze one of the teens solid. With some home-made explosives the gang blew up the carriage and escaped off the train.

Now the teens are in the middle of the Austrian wilderness with Marco's severed robot head and the stolen Key to Shangri-la. If they can get to the Himalayas alive with that key, they could unlock the greatest mystery of our time - but all these crazed treasure-hunters and the forces of Leviathan are ahead of them.

We spilt indana jones all over our demented agatha christie, it's great.

Mystery-o-matic Orient Express

Roll up identities, secret identities and goals for about 6 passengers, then put them in a list and give each a relationship with the passenger below them. Finally, roll to see which one is killed 1D4 days into the voyage, and again to see who did it. You may also, if you wish, roll for a mystery gimmick.

1. Fat Russian royalty, always laughing
2. Twins from Austria, beautiful, talk between themselves in made-up language
3. Nikola Tesla equivalent, old and broke
4. Old french artist, makes depressing speeches, no-one listens
5. African Indiana Jones equivalent
6. Italian preacher, nervous and clumsy, takes instant dislike to one of the PC's
7. Jazz singer with 12-person Big Band from London, constantly drunk and celebrating
8. German, tall and reserved, obsessively collects [insert something the PC's own]
9. The Mum of one of the PC's. Here on holiday.
10. Scottish author, stays in cabin writing book for entire journey, yells at intruders with unintelligible accent
11. Young english kid travelling alone, bitter beyond years
12. Excitable Australian inventor, working on fantastic cure that could be misused as a horrible weapon
13. Swiss couple with identical sets of scars all across bodies, consider themselves the same person
14. Frail, sick-looking Russian with massive amounts of kids that swarm everywhere
15. Haruspex, has small menagerie of animals, cheerfully foretells dire omens from their organs
16. Masked plague doctor from Venice, speaks with mechanical rasp,
17. Turkish Magician, Hypnotist and master of illusion, will obsessively try to divine the trick behind any real magic they see
18. Shakespearean actor, alternates between overblown speeches and tired self-consciousness
19. Hard-nosed railway brass, making sure the journey goes smoothly
20. Prize german boxer, with daughter. Super aggressive except in sight of kid.

1. Utterly disgusting slithering wet black thing, mind-controlling passengers and PC's to like/love it
2. Anarchist rebel, concealing bombs
3. Actually mute idiot controlled by ventriloquist shadow
4. Exactly what they seem to be
5. Keeps fridge full of virgins, will begin to shrivel into skeleton if they don't bathe in their blood for 3 days
6. Bank robber, getting away after successful haul
7. Secret agent of Coldsnap, communist-nazi spy organization
8. Keeps heart in cage in room. If heart is released, will grow legs, escape, and sabotage train.
9. Secretly a large group of clones, each takes turns to act as them
10. Time-traveler Future PC in heavy disguise
11. Spy for [powerful faction], left hand detaches with a bunch of rope to act as grappling hook
12. Insect, burns if exposed to true darkness
13. The president of the United States
14. Cuts a piece of themselves off each night, making tiny doll with them
15. Heir to throne in hell
16. Ice robot from another dimension
17. Powerless volcano god from a forgotten old religion, desperate for worshippers
18. All servants/followers/acquaintances are zombies. Hates them, but owes them debt; they stick with them to make sure it's paid.
19. Minor character previously encountered, obsessively in love with PC's, on train to stalk them.
20. Cultist servant of [Nearest Cthulhoid monster]

1. In servitude to
2. Having secret affair with
3. Conspiring with
4. Has power over
5. Killed personal friend of
6. Secretly related
7. Married to
8. Signed dark pact with
9. In reverential awe of
10. Sworn to destroy
11. Secretly buying weapons from
12. Knows secret identity of
13. Stealing from
14. Prostitute of
15. Sibling of
16. Student of
17. Challenges to duel over perceived slight
18. Taking care of
19. Good friends with
20. In debt to

1. Sell a weapon in Venice
2. Meet leaders in Moscow
3. Rob train
4. Destroy train before it reaches [next stop]
5. Claim inheritance in Paris
6. Escape police from [previous stop]
7. Hunt down their enemies in Venice
8. Stop Berlin from going to war
9. Go to China to die
10. Seek Wisdom in Himalayas

1. An invisible train car is secretly attached to the end of the train. Horrible things are inside.
2. 2D4 Highway robbers attack train 1D10+2 days into journey
3. Train is sentient, evil, coal must be constantly sacrificed to it to appease it
4. Train driver is chained demon, will offer anything for freedom
5. Everyone committed the murder
6. The murder victim is still alive
7. The Jade Cage, absurdly valuable ancient artifact with space-warping powers, is aboard.
8. A Nuke is on board
9. An axle breaks 1D10+2 days into the journey. Looks like sabotage.
10. Train misses stop and keeps going at high speed - drivers cabin is locked tight

Originally posted on my other blog ages ago. Sorry for how many different rolls you have to do.

Desert towns

1. Snake-eye. All water sources within fifty miles have been totally contaminated with snake venom. The natives can drink venom, and they go around with snakes biting onto their chins as ceremonial beards. Outsiders can buy distilled water for extortionate prices.

2. Thief town. Thieves use a massive series of inter-connected water caverns to smuggle goods in and out of the desert. Their beggar king rules them from a massive ruin in a strategically placed cavern. A small town has sprung up on the surface based on the trade below, pretending to be legit.

3. Dahakha. It is illegal to show more than five inches of naked skin - except in the court of law, where it is illegal to wear any clothes. Once a year, everybody goes crazy and the whole town descends into an orgy of sex and violence. No-one mentions it the next day.

4. Empty town - everything still in place from when people lived here. Cactuses grow everywhere where people once stood.

5. Salthaven. Natives walk everywhere on carefully marked pathways, strewn with salt every day. Most keep a  satchel with salt on them at all times. Anyone who falls off the pathway while in town is tearfully exiled, and will soon be infested with demons.

6. Knife. Women have no flesh on the ends of their fingers, so their fingers just terminate in little skeleton nubs. Big flesh-eating termite mounds all around town - girls must put fingers in as secret womanhood ritual.

7. Aldivra. Constant red dust storms obscure everything five feet in front of you. All native adults wear white masks in the shape of their spirit animal, believe they are already dead.

8. Monastery town cut in the side of big rock. Peaceful desert monks secretly get drugged up and become crazed  Hashshashin's at the behest of their leader - a blind, deaf, dumb old man who weaves his instructions into a tapestry in the inner monk sanctum.

9. Super-advanced dwarven society lives underground to escape heat. Constructed like a series of giant wheels; as you go further up the path of enlightenment, you can live closer and closer to the secret heart of the city.

10. Grave town. Poor rabble live in the massive tombs of some long-forgotten previous civilization.

What's inside that hole?

  1. Nothing. The hole collapses, burying you.
  2. A nest of scorpions.
  3. Termite eggs.
  4. A secret genie treasure hole, with a beautiful trapped maiden! Genie will return shortly.
  5. It's a sleeping giant's ear-hole.
  6. A bottomless pit. A quaint society of termite-folk lives in holes carved out of the side. You can see light at the bottom.
  7. A rabbit warren.
  8. Utopian ant society.
  9. Entrance to hell.
  10. Ancient buried ziggurat. 

"The world will never be safe as long as we're alive."

The ruler of Vornheim is a frost giant queen, trapped high above the city in-between the two hands of Vorn - the twin towers of the Palace Massive and the Eminent Cathedral. She looks down over the city she rules from within the clutches of the two towers that twist around her.

The party called down Vorn to stop this queen and her invading army, but once she was trapped they backflipped and made her the ruler of Vornheim. At that point, zombies were invading, the city was ravaged, and they decided the entire universe was irretrievably fucked. The only solution was to go back in time.

All of the world's problems were caused by the party themselves. To fix the world's problems, all they had to do was kill their very first quest-giver. If old man Crithens hadn't told them about that secret treasure, they wouldn't have become adventurers, and they wouldn't have gone on to ravage the world. Old Man Crithens was the lynchpin of all the world's woes.

With help from their Benefactors, they managed to go back and kill Crithens easily. The betaverse party stayed peacefully in their peasant village. A new timeline - the Betaverse - was split off. Everything was fine.  No zombies, no invading elves, no ravaged Vornheim. There was just one fatal flaw: They were still alive.

  • Matt Groves
    • Matt Groves
      karnopticon rewards favour to those who spread disease, right
    • i'm just thinking
    • no-one wants me to unleash the flesh plague onto vornheim
    • i think i might do it secretly anyway
    • for karnopticon
  • Jack McNamee

    Jack McNamee
    • do hooo hooo hoo!
    • that's kind of a rising intruiged whimsical laugh
  • Matt Groves

    Matt Groves
    • i mean, i dont want to piss everyone off, so can i do this secretly
      and does this mean that everyone in vornheim dies

  • Jack McNameeJack McNamee
    • It would become a demon city.
    • You can do this secretly
  • Jack McNamee
    Jack McNamee
    • actually, you might need to chat with odermagroth (The skin king, lord of the Flesh Plague)  himself
    • cut a deal for your diety
  • Matt Groves

    Matt Groves
    • first of all, flounder and I enter into the meditative prayer of karnopticon.
  • Jack McNamee
    Jack McNamee
    • flounder circles around you in the entwined dance of karnopticon prayer
  • Jack McNamee

    Jack McNamee
    • you contact the blight queen
    • your mind is above a massive, ravaging swarm
    • that is currently unaware of you
  • Matt Groves

    Matt Groves
    • in the gutteral vocabulary of the insect language, i say to her
    • "mother"

  • Jack McNamee

    Jack McNamee
    • Up it comes!
  • Matt Groves
    Matt Groves
    • "i kill everyone"
    • "for you"
    • "you feast on everyone"
    • "when i am done"
  • Jack McNamee

    Jack McNamee
    • The swarm splits away, moments from consuming you
    • and just seethes over and around you
  • Matt Groves

    Matt Groves
    • "i am your drone"
    • "you are my queen"
  • Jack McNamee

    Jack McNamee
    • Every bug in the swarm lets out a tiny sound

      AND THEN...

  • Matt Groves

    Matt Groves
    • i invoke odermagroth using the lesser name that vick discovered
    • in demonic i say
    • "khkhkhkhkhkhkhsjsjda, I respectfully seek your consul"
  • Jack McNamee

    Jack McNamee
    • Several insects twitch and swarm together
  • Jack McNamee

    Jack McNamee
    • the insects smush together and start bubbling and a long stringy thing starts dripping out
    • the weird little conjoined mess starts humming around
    • brushing over the walls and floor
    • reaches the sealed portal, smooches over it
    • smooches near flounder, and a spark strikes out
    • they jerk back
    • finally they swing around to hover at face height, near you.
    • The long string of flesh droops out to form a dripping mouth, with sunken eye-sockets
    • "To what...Hnnguhh... do I owe the pleasure?"

    • Dealing ensues

  • Jack McNamee

    Jack McNamee
    • "Alright, hnguh, a third of the souls, and I'll throw in the rulers and clergy. All except the Popess."
  • Matt Groves

    Matt Groves
    • "That is acceptable."

  • Jack McNamee
    Jack McNamee
    • Excellent, excellent

  • Matt Groves
    Matt Groves
    • "but for only a third of the souls, my queen will demand the city."

  • Jack McNamee
    Jack McNamee
    • Surely you jest!
  • Matt Groves

    Matt Groves
    • "and she must be allowed to feast on the bodies of the fallen."

  • Jack McNamee
    Jack McNamee
    • I cannot spare a single body!

      Dealing ends.

  • Jack McNamee

    Jack McNamee
    • 1. The drone of karnopticon, Sebastian True Name, will bring the city under control of the flesh plague
    • 2. Karnopticon will recieve 1 third of all souls consumed by the plague, including the nobles and rulers
  • Jack McNamee

    Jack McNamee
    • 3. The Skin King will have these districts, and Karnopticon will have the others. Any being under the jurisdiction of Karnopticon will be instantly struck dead and consumed if it crosses the boundary, and the same for the followers of the Skin King. Neutral parties will be allowed to pass freely
  • Jack McNamee

    Jack McNamee
    • Conditions 2 and 3 only come into affect if condition 1 is met.
  • Jack McNamee
    Jack McNamee
    • If any party breaks these rules, his soul will be forfiet to the other party.
    • 4. Followers of Karnopticon will be exempt from the plague.
  • Jack McNamee

    Jack McNamee
    • 5. Karnopticon may consume the dead, all except for the skin, which must remain pure and unbroken.
  • Jack McNamee

    Jack McNamee
    • 6. The Skin King and karnopticon's servants may both use the farmland, provided that they do not molest each other.
  • Matt Groves

    Matt Groves
    • okay, this is agreed.
    • blood oath etc etc.
  • Jack McNamee

    Jack McNamee
    • IT IS DONE
  • Matt Groves
    Matt Groves
    • too easy.

  • Sunday
    Jack McNameeJack McNamee
    • You are the man of the match, and the biggest bastard in the game.

  • Sunday
    Matt GrovesMatt Groves
    • they'll probably knight me.

  • Sunday
    Jack McNameeJack McNamee
    • Yup

  • Sunday
    Matt GrovesMatt Groves
    • Kl'qi, the little drone who conquered the south

  • Sunday
    Jack McNameeJack McNamee
    • You got a good price for your soul.
    • Good night.