Thursday, 23 July 2015

6 More Weird Effects - Table Top Tips

  6 More Weird Effects

Weirdly Dangerous Potion or Magic Effects For Stumped Game Masters 

Do you need another strange set of scenarios to shove on your unsuspecting players? Are you looking for more weird and wonderful effects that you can throw into a game quickly to add an extra bit of fun?

Here are 6 more weird effects that you can add to any potion, curse or magic effect table:

1. You become a rock. You are aware you are a rock, you can feel that you are a rock and you can see the world around you, from your new position on the floor, standing at about 2 inches tall. You are rock for 1d10 minutes. You are just a rock, however, you can be used as a throwing weapon (1d4 damage).

2. Something is calling your name at night, but only you can hear it. Something is walking in the shadows, but only you can see it. Something is sliding its hands around yours and your comrades throats when you all sleep, but only you can feel it. You constantly hallucinate a figure out to get you and the other players. You develop severe paranoia and insomnia for 1d10 days. Take a penalty to intelligence and dexterity rolls and a bonus to any role that requires perception or scrutiny. 

3. You see everyone as barnyard animals wearing farm clothes. You have a strange hatred of pigs. They are still speaking English, but they are now animals. This does cause you some confusion and to question your sanity. This lasts your current (not total) HP in days.

4.  You can speak to plants. This is rather useless, as plants don't have much to say. 

5.  Once per day you reach to a loose flap of skin running down your chest. You peel it aside and reveal a chasm within your body. This acts as a bag of holding nestled between your ribs. You may wish to be careful and remember this, as this effect only lasts as long as a D20 roll in days. If you still have objects inside you when this wears off... you will explode, split apart by the objects you decided to neglectfully store away. Shame on you.

6.  You are convinced you are now the Champion of a small ragtag nation of discriminated against creatures who are killed without being truly understood. These creatures are at the Game Masters discretion. If you come across one of these creatures you will try to champion for it, and/or try to befriend it, no matter how deadly.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

 Cursed Items to Screw Up Your Players

Book of Smiles

Struggling to find that little bit extra to put into your game? Do you want your players to honestly regret their "intelligent" decision making skills? 

One thing I am a massive fan of is cursed items and strange objects which result in the player having to be a bit clever about how they handle their item. Recently I played a game where such a magical item left me unable to talk without my head being caved in and it was gloriously tricky to figure out how to communicate wordlessly with other players. 

So I will be throwing out some cursed items occasionally if anyone wishes to use them to spice up a dungeon or add a bit of flavor to their game. 

Book of Smiles

"A grim tome lies dusty and hastily abandoned amidst several unremarkable volumes. It has been sealed shut with long pearly rosaries wrapped around it. A bottle of holy water sits on the surface of the tome. It occasionally drips onto the volumes cover from the cork, the drip does not seep into the cover, instead it sizzles and drifts away as steam. The book thrums with a dark energy akin to a heart beat and the closer you get the more rapidly the book seems to pulse.

When the rosaries are removed and the holy water taken away, the book shows several images of twisted masks on the cover all displaying a form of pain or anguish. When the book falls open the pages are blank except for one page which has a young woman's face stitched into it with thick wiry cords. The page is stained with dried blood. Despite the face protruding out from the tome, the book closes as if there is nothing between the pages.

As you seize the book and stare at the woman's face you are suddenly aware that your own feels itchy and sore. You tentatively reach up with one hand and your fingers meet a loose flap of skin beneath your chin. Your fingers are stained with fresh blood. Slowly, the skin of your face slides off onto the empty page of the book next to the gaunt woman's and stitches erupt from the parchment, sealing it inside.

Pain spreads rapidly across your newely exposed muscles and blood pours down your neck."

This book is a morbid collection of people. The player can remove the face of an enemy and add it to the book. Once per day the player can remove the face of their choice from the book and wear it however in the process they have to leave their own within the book.  When wearing the face from within the book, the book will allow the player to take on the form of that person for an hour. If the player does not put their own face back on after the hour the player will lose the stolen face (which will then be unusable) and suffer damage until they put their own face back on. The damage is your choice, you can make it as soft or as fatal as you wish.  I tend to go by 2d6 damage every two minutes until they replace their face. This is outright deadly for lower level characters in some systems.
If anyone reads the book their face will slide off onto an empty page and be claimed. They will need to break it free from the stitches and put it back on in order to reclaim it. You can decide how difficult it is to remove from the book. I tend to make it easy for the player as the cost of not removing it I tend to set high. 

Anyone who has read the book will suffer  The Curse of Smiles; every day they will need to make a random save roll determine if their face will randomly fall off at any time. 

Depending on the face they choose the player will also gain for that hour 1 spell from the faces class. If they choose a clerics face for that hour they will receive one clerics spell.  If they choose a specialist they will receive 2 skill points in an area of your choice.

Although they are wearing the face, and their body will change to fit, the player will still sound like themselves and will gain no memories or historical knowledge of the person.

If the book is lost when the book is in use then the player will not be able to claim their face back and will die gradually from infection and blood loss. 

If the player wishes to they can drench the book in holy water and destroy it. This will end the curse that requires them to save randomly to stop their face from falling off at any time. If they destroy it with their face inside they will die slowly overtime.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Panic In Pluckley 

A Review of a Mad Playtest

Part 2: TheWandering

Warning this contains spoilers for The Wandering: Panic in Pluckley, which I will be releasing on PDF. 

The last time I left off my review of my recent play test, the players had arrived at the mysterious red lake, where villagers had been disappearing, with their captive priestess. She raised her arms to the dark heavens and howled at the moon. Before the players, the red lake rippled and parted to reveal an ominous staircase twisting down into the black earth.

Unfortunately, two of our players had to take their leave of the game; our burial obsessed Cleric and our Mad Magic User. 

Luckily, two new players dived into the fray. Renford the Dwarf and The Drunk Cleric. Renford had been hiding by the lake after visiting Pluckley with his wife and their nine children. All of whom had wandered the night before into the lake. The Fighter (Scott!) pointed out that a nearby bush had a beard and appeared to be talking at which point Renford revealed himself.

On holiday, our Drunk Cleric hoisted himself up from where he had been drinking and smoking in the moonlight and decided to wobble after the party out of pissed curiosity.

Thus, the players tossed some stones down the staircase and then unwisely decided to run down after Dawn Ingbert who they had drugged in the previous game. 

I failed my even number roll four times which meant that the lake did not close over the stairs before the players could get down there and possible drown or dissolve a few of the players. 

They were greeted by a squat elf called Dave who sat at a desk writing in a book in a reception room with massive intricately designed doors behind him. He handed all of the players keys apart from The Fighter, who he identified as a werewolf and suggested that the queen had a rather horrible punishment for him instead. He mocked the werewolf and told the players that they were not able to leave. They had homes now and could make any complaints directly to the queen. After insulting The Fighter,  The Fighter decided that his character had had enough of the annoying elf and attempted to kill him, three times, and each time failed. Dave the elf ended up cowering beneath the desk and told the players to visit the queen. 

No one noticed that Dawn Ingbert had been dragged off by the guards.

The players the doors behind Dave's desk. It revealed a gargantuan banquet hall with a full table of rich food. The beautiful silver haired queen sat lounging on her throne. Several  nobles wandered about the hall and wolfish elf guards (dubbed Welfs by the players) stood along the hall guarding them all. 

The queen greeted them and found the players amusing. The dwarf confronted her about stealing his wife and  was exceptionally rude. She laughed in his face and informed him his wife was quite happy with her children in her house which he had the key too. 

The players questioned the weird powerful queen who told them she was looking for a new groom. Little did the players know, her grooms always ended up horribly killed on the wedding night. Immediately the Halfling and Mortimer the Specialist leapt to be her husband. Mortimer went onto his knees to pledge his worthiness. The Drunk Cleric hiccuped and decided to join in and the Elf also threw in his hat for her hand, although the queen was confused by his gender she said she did not mind bedding a woman, much to the Elf's embarrassment. 

She gave them three tasks, to bring her a gift, prove their loyalty and offer a sacrifice. 

The players decided to visit their houses first in case there was something useful. There were two doors leading out of the palace "The Door that takes you to where you Want to Go" and "The Door that takes you to where you Need to Go". The players went for the latter door. The Halfling threw it open and stared into a strange black void which he decided to stick his hand into. His hand disappeared as if it had never existed. The players mage a Save Vs. Magic role to see if they remembered that the Halfling had lost his hand via the door or if they could never remember him having a hand in the first place.

The Halfling then grabbed a Welf guard and shoved him in, all but the Welf's hand. The hand became disembodied and moved of its own accord much like the Addams family favorite, Thing. They kept it as a mascot. It occasionally made obscene gestures.

Bored and alarmed by the void door they went to the other door to view their homes. The Halfling had a wonderful miniature home within a hill, bordering on a beautiful forest, which had lots of places to sneak and hide. Mortimer had a intricately locked Tavern full of at least 97 naked women who were washing themselves in a variety of warm bubble baths on the grassy lawn. He brought one out with him and seemed to struggle with the temptations of all of the women, who had only existed for twenty three minutes. The halfling shoved her back in and slammed the door to save Mortimer of his "temptations". The Drunk Cleric had a forest full of colorful mushrooms and hallucinogenic plants as well as a massive winery. The Elf had a wonderful intricately decorated home in the woods. The Fighter ended up with a dark room with shackles and silver torture instruments. The Dwarf opened his door to find his Wife shouting at him for being late with nine kids around her. He quickly shut the door.

The players then began to explore the castle. They spent a long time working through the mirror puzzle. Stepping into the mirrors and messing up the poor denizens of the world, including getting a small boy in one of the mirrors beaten to death by a bunch of guards. They realised they could put the mirrors on the table and special items would fall out. Here, The Fighter gained the magical cloak The Skin of Lycoan, they also received the Gift of Meliboea, a golden apple and a lute which lulled people into a state of calm happiness. 

The players then went into the Egg room, where they gave their blood loyally to bring to life the disturbing undead horror that was the queens broodling. 

We were running out of time, so the players tried one more room which was the Bath Room with the three muses washing themselves. Immediately, the players decided they all wanted to jump in and swim with the naked women except, they decided that it seemed a bit fishy. Mortimer beckoned a lady over and groped her. He failed a westle role and she through him into the pool. He dissolved horribly into a clean white skeleton (which the dwarf decided to carry around on his back). The women smiled sweetly and said "Thank you for your sacrifice". 

RIP Mortimer.

The players returned to the queen and she informed them they had passed. They each gave a speech on why they were worthy and she picked The Drunk Cleric to be her husband. 

The Fighter was given his own home, as she was reminded of her son when she was given the Gift of Meliboea. He decided to stay as it revealed a constant full moon, deer and sheep to hunt, and a huge barbaric fighting arena on the hill. 

The Dwarf took his wife and children away from The Wandering to return to his home in the real world. The Elf decided to stay for the wedding and play music outside of the queens bedroom on his lute. The Halfling escaped with his treasures and Mortimer remained a skeleton. 

Once The Drunk Cleric had married the queen she took him to her bedroom where she split him open, consumed his inside and laid her undead offspring in his corpse to form a new egg for the Egg room. 

The Elf opened the door, saw this, screamed and ran back to the real world with his Lute.

The players seemed to really enjoy the second half and there was a lot of laughing involved. There was so much to cover it was a shame we could not get to it all. If I had more time, I may have stretched this out over three sessions so the players could fully explore all of the rooms in the castle.

Thanks for reading! I will let you know when the PDF is ready and available for download.



Thursday, 9 July 2015

Panic In Pluckley 

A Review of a Mad Playtest

Part 1: The Village 

Warning this contains spoilers for The Wandering: Panic in Pluckley, which I will be releasing on PDF.

I am not sure what I was expecting when I wandered into our local MK RPG Club and waved my recently written game in everyone's faces demanding poor unsuspecting players. 

I had a naive attitude that they would not expect what was to come.

Obviously, being a new GM I severely underestimated the ability
of players to bugger up everything you have written and turn it entirely on its own head. It was fantastic.

The game was played with the Lamentations of the Flame Princess system and was run over two sessions so I will break my review into two. I will try to cover the highlights rather than detail everything that happened however the game was very eventful!

The basic premise is that a strange town named Pluckley has had some strange occurrences happen. Nobody is able to go in or out of the village and the only trades coming out are a strange selection of potions. Immediately, the players were intrigued and set off across the swamp which separates Pluckley from the rest of the world. They took a horse and cart and bantered with the one eyed man who drove it.

Before the cart departed, The Fighter grabbed a bunch of potions left at the coach station and downed them. This earned him a phobia of reflective surfaces. He could no longer look into mirrors without seeing the pulsating horrors of other dimensions. He did not learn his lesson, however, and downed another immediately after, becoming a werewolf, which he kept secret from the other party members. 

We had six players in total. An overly effeminate and exuberant elf, a suspiciously sneaky half-ling, a body burying cleric, a weird and wonderful werewolf fighter, a overly horny specialist and a magnificently mad magic user. 

When the cart pulled to a halt outside of Pluckley they argued with the price of the trip with the cart driver and asked him questions about the town. The cart driver refused to go any further than the outskirts of the town. In defiance of the extortionate price they faced, the elf swept out of the cart and, failing a dexterity role for his elegant departure, landed face first in the mud. The other players immediately paid the cart driver.

The Fighter decided the best course of action was to hit up the Hags Hollow Tavern and buy some of the Ale. The others agreed and they trekked through the mud to the tavern. When they entered they spotted a bickering couple by a raging fire, an old haggard lady spitting into cups and cleaning them with a dirty rag at the bar, and a pissed patron sat in the centre.

Mortimer, the Specialist, and the Elf made a beeline for the old lady and asked her questions about the town. She told them all about Pluckley and some of the missing individuals who had been wandering off into a strange lake which had appeared almost overnight several months ago. They learned about the Twins in the market who were distributing the potions and the hunters encountering strange elf like beings in the woods.

Meanwhile, the halfling, the magic user and the Fighter drank some of the ale. They made a save vs. magic and only the Fighter lost, who then became cursed to go to the lake at night. No one was aware of this at the time.

After milking the old lady for all of the information they could, Mortimer the specialist made a very successful Sneak and went upstairs to investigate the rooms. He found the Pregnant daughter, Beatrice Nox, of the couple downstairs and decided the best thing to do would be to rob her blind while she slept. He found yellow potions on her bed side cabinet and within the drawer he found a necklace with a picture of a young boy and a badly written pornographic fanfiction of two of the male villagers, clearly written by the old lady downstairs. The players requested this actually be written.

After some debate about going to the lake or staying at the inn out of the rain, the Cleric suggested visiting the Church to discuss the strange goings on. He was convinced the dead were walking and had a morbid fascination with the way the villagers, and other individuals who visited were trapped forever, were buried. There was some excellent roleplay from the players regarding their characters who brought their pre-genned characters to life.

Mortimer the Specialist and the Elf decided to stay and book out one of the rooms to keep an eye on the couple. They quickly decided against talking to the Pissed Patron, as he was rambling about frogs and did not seem to have any useful information (a pity, as he had quite a lot of interesting stories!).

This did not end well, which I will detail after the equally as disastrous encounter at the church...

The cleric, the magic user, the halfling and the fighter made their way through the dark to the church on the hill. The church was circular with a beautiful frieze depicting wolves and men hunting in the woods under the light of a full moon. There were many pillars and it was greek in our world in style. Inside, there was a priestess named Mother Dawn Ingbert who told them that people were drinking from the yellow potions and wandering into the lake. She informed the players that the Brewery had been closed for months but the ale and potions were still flowing because the Twins had taken over.
She greeted the Fighter as a brother, for he was now a werewolf and she the leader of the Pack of Pluckley,

Here, the players became completely mad. The Fighter saw all of the horrors of the world in the silver reflective surfaces of various artifacts within the church. He grabbed his sword and started destroying them violently. The questioned priestess shrieked in terror and begged them to stop. Suddenly, the fighter glazed over and began to walk out of the church towards the lake where his curse began to take effect. The other players tied him to a pillar and the cleric preached that he had gone mad with lycanthropy and needed to be cleansed. The priestess dispelled magic on him, removing the curse which wanted to take him to a lake. However, the fighter still wanted to go to see what all the fuss was about.

Immediately, the halfling looted the church and stole the valuables while the rest were distracted. Together, the players decided they did wish to go to the lake but did not know the way so they through a yellow potion they had found in the face of the priestess to use her as a guinea pig.


Mortimer and The Elf enjoyed a very naked sleep in the inn when they suddenly heard someone moving. Mortimer abandoned the elf and ran out, stark naked, to see the Pregnant Nox walking in a trance down the corridor. He and the elf attempted to stop her by grappling and succeeded at which point her parents burst out of the room and demanded to know why a naked man was man handling their pregnant daughter. 

Left with no other choice, Mortimer knocked the pregnant lady out and deposited her on the bed. They then questioned the Noxes and discovered that their daughter had been taking the yellow potion nightly and that only recently had these potions been having strange effects ever since the lake appeared.

They decided to meet their comrades  (Wisely, they got dressed before going.) and fill them in, which caused them great surprise when they found they had kidnapped and drugged a priestess. No one seemed to object and it seems that morals went right out of the window at the start of the game.

The players followed the drugged priestess through the winding woods to an immense red lake with strange twisted trees growing on the banks. A successful role revealed many footprints leading into the lake.

One of the players seized a stick and stuck it into the water which resembled a thick oily ooze rather than water. It promptly dissolved as if touched by acid. Undeterred, the half-ling seized the priestesses raised arms (for she was standing on the bank with her arms up to the moon) and tried hanging over the death trap of a lake.

They watched as the the woman threw back her head and howled at the moon. The lake rippled suddenly and then parted to reveal a great dark staircase leading down into the dark.

The players shat themselves and I ended the session on a successful cliff hanger.

Overall, the first session went really well with lots of opportunity for role play. I feel that I could improve the game by including more hints and hooks to have the players explore the village more, however, there is so much the players can do they are unlikely to cover it all. The players found themselves with a lot to do and at no point did the story become disengaging enough for the players to feel they had to pushback.

I am happy with how the first session went for the first part of the game and will give a review of the second part soon!