Monday, 26 October 2015

Table Top Tips - Three Fairytales for Table-Top Scenarios and Monster Ideas

Three Fairytales for Table-Top Scenarios and Monster Ideas

Once again I have dived into the world of folktales and myths! These are three myths, One Scottish, One English and One Welsh, which could be used as a basis for monsters, scenarios or a bit of village history. 

The Nuckelavee, or Old Nick, is a Scottish myth of a horseman terrorising the islands of Orkney. The creature rises from the thrashing seas in the winter months and chases down poor, unsuspecting folk to murder them. With it, it brings pestilence and disease. Its breath i
Hospitable. Totally hospitable. 
s said to be an acidic fog of wilting gas; destroying all crops and farmland it passes. It a creature of the sea, a humanoid monstrosity astride a great demonic horse. Similar to Pestilence, one of the the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, it is best known for bringing drought and famine wherever it rides.

Described as being a bizarre mutation, Nuckelavee is a full grown horse  of monstrous size with its rider emerging like a tumour from its back; Nuckelavee has distinctly aquatic features, such as webbed hands and oozing gills upon its neck. Its head is supposedly large and a grotesque bulbous shape with a mouth that protrudes from its face like a long muzzle or snout.  Depictions vary on the number of eyes it has, however, all who describe them note that it has one or two eyes which burn red. Its skin is slick and leathery with bulging black veins .

The only way to escape the Nuckelavee is to cross running, fresh water. Like many folk-tales, demons cannot cross fresh water. During the summer months, Old Nick is said to be confined to the sea by an ocean god or goddess of Orcanian Legend. 

This great monster could be the premise for a dark and gritty investigation during the winter months. Old Nick could be the big bad riding amongst the local villages, murdering and spreading plague as it goes. Either a party of adventurers, or perhaps villagers themselves, could hunt this creature down in across the winter gripped lands of Scotland in hopes of freeing their own village of a plague. This could simply be an additional creature to an on running campaign set in a fictional village anywhere you desire. The creeping horror, hiding the appearance and nature of the Nuckelavee from the players, could be an excellent slow burning adventure involving investigation and tracking.

Needless to say, this repugnant fiend is an excellent Fairytale creature to build a monster or adventure around.

Black Annis is the name of an English Witch; similar in style to the great Baba Yaga and other notorious evil old women who invoke the power of devils and other world horrors. She is by far one of my favourite horrifying witches. She has iron claws, bluish skin like that of someone suffocated, and she haunts the misty moorland and dales of the English country side looking for young sheep and children to murder gruesomely. She skins her child victims alive, devours their flesh and bones, and hangs their tanned skins from trees like grim flags of victory. Her haunting doesn't stop on the moors, she also reaches into homes and kidnaps babes to cook into stews.
Includes Built-in Cauldron, Scenic View of Hills,
Corpses of Children.

In appearance she is depicted as an old hag, with needle teeth, blue rotting skin, and iron claws to climb cliff faces and trees. She is said to wear the skin of recently slaughtered children as a skirt. However, it may be fun to have her depicted as an unseemly, plain woman and the party needs to investigate to find her amongst the normal and terrified village people.

An excellent setting for investigation or a final encounter, is her hovel rumoured to be located in a dangerous cliff-face.

Your players may be related, and their children stolen in the night. Perhaps they are children themselves. There is an urgency in finding  or escaping from the witch, whether she is hiding in plain sight as an unsuspecting villager or really a monster in nearby woods. Both the villagers and the players would have to face the mind-destroying realisation that it is innocent children being tortured and consumed. 

Alternatively, Black Annis could be another side monster in an over arching campaign, or even just a tale or rumour often told by townsfolk to give your village a bit or character.

A simple welsh myth that could be an excellent one-shot with a Hound of the Baskervilles flavour. In a village called Beddgelert, a prince had a beautiful baby boy and a loyal old dog named Gelert. One night, the Prince Llewelyn entered the bedroom to see that the crib was upturned and his child nowhere to be found. Enraged and distraught, Llewelyn assumed that Gelert had attacked and devoured the baby, so he slew the dog by piercing his heart with his sword. The baby is then revealed to be hidden beneath the upturned crib and, as Gelert lets out his final betrayed whimper, the baby cries. Horrified, Llewelyn buries his faithful hound honourably but forever hears the last whimper and never smiles again.  In some versions, a dead wolf is found with the baby which explains why Llewelyn sees blood, showing Gelert to be devoted to his masters child by killing the wolf.
Who's a good boy?!

It may be that Beddgelert is being haunted by the spirit of Gelert, who is mauling either newborn babies or the new fathers of these babies in the night on the road. Alternatively, a demon wolf is praying on the young and the party must revive Gelert's spirit or obtain Llewellyn's blade to slay the beast. Similarly with Black Annis, this tale could be a rumour and myth in the village, which leads to a worship of hounds, giving the village some character.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Table Top Tips - The Mirror Table

The Mirror Table 

A handy mirror table. Replace "mirror" with reflective surfaces and you can have some awful lakes, repulsive vases or dangerous pots of blood.  I have written it as if it is for Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Change the stats and this can easily fit into any system. 

I would like to say a big thank you to +Thea Garrett , for helping with Numbers 11, 13 and 17. You are wonderfully gross. 

You see your parents, or who you think are your parents, arguing. You see your own pudgy arms and realise the mirror is showing you looking up from your crib as a child. You start to cry, your mother covers her mouth and turns away, terrified. Your father stares down and then slowly lowers a pillow over your vision. You scream, and cannot breath.
Save Vs. Paralyse/Will, or you begin to suffocate. 1D6 Damage a minute. Dispel Magic will negate this effect.
You see yourself in the mirror. Your image begins to dart about the reflection of the room and waves. It refuses to stay still! Sometimes it does, taunting you, only to slip away again. It never lets you see yourself for longer than a few seconds and it takes great delight in hiding behind objects.
Save Vs. Magic, or you will only ever see the back or your head or a dancing image of yourself. You will never shave properly again.
You see yourself in the mirror. All appears normal. You look away, the mirror doesn’t. Other players will be able to see your reflection is staring at you. When you look back, your reflection disappears.
Save Vs, Magic, Your reflection has disappeared forever. You roll 1d10 every time you look into a reflective surface. If you roll a 1, 5 or 10, a version of you will reach out and attempt to slit your throat.
You see a tree in the distance with the swinging body silhouetted against white fog. It is hard to make out through the fog who this person is. You can hear the creak of the branch, and you can feel the wind on your cheeks as if you are the one in the tree. Suddenly, something tightens around your throat and squeezes.
Save Vs. Magic or A noose appears connected to the mirror around the player's neck. The other players must cut the rope to separate the players, the rope has 1d6 health, or it will drag the player into the mirror to hang for all eternity.  
You stare into the mirror and you can see a dam in the distance. As you touch the mirror, suddenly, raging water pours towards you. At first, you think it will stop when it reaches the mirror. The water erupts the mirror and begins to fill the room. If you are directly in the way, you will be hit by the blast.
Physical contact with the mirror results in the dam breaking. 1d6 damage if you are struck by the wave. Room will flood for 1d20 rounds.
You see yourself and your party members. Nothing appears out of the ordinary, so you believe.
Nothing happens. Roll a dice behind your GM sheet and smile at the player. It will haunt them all session. Occasionally look at the player, smile, roll a dice, chuckle and then continue the game. It works a treat.
You look into the mirror and suddenly the world around you erupts into chaos. Creatures of immense size begin to claw their way through the doors or windows. Tendrils of black viscous sludge begin to writhe from the gaps in brickwork and spill from any dark corners. A great swarm of vicious black ants swarm at your feet.
Save vs. Paralyse, if you fail you see the chaos for all of your life in reflective surfaces. You develop a phobia of your own reflection and you will need to make a Save Vs. Paralyse to stop yourself from freezing if you look into any mirrors in future.
You stare into the mirror. You see your party members whispering behind your back. If you fail your Save Vs. Magic, you are convinced that you can hear them plotting against you.
Save Vs. Magic, or you will hear sounds from the mirror of your party members plotting your death. The manner is at the GM’s discretion, or the players if they want to describe it.
You see yourself in the mirror. You feel a magical tug at your belly. If you fail your save you see your reflection lift up your top or shed your armor. Your reflections eyes go wide and it screams silently. It claws at your stomach and digs its way through your skin. It rips at its intestines and they spill out on the floor.
Save Vs. Magic, if you fail you feel a warmth spread out over your abdomen. When you look down, you can see a great gash has formed across your body and your intestines have spilled out over the floor.
You and your party members can see inside the mirror. Inside the mirror is a table laden with beautiful golden leaves. They spill from a great silver urn set upon the table. In the distances, there is a young woman clutching one of the leaves and she rocks backwards and forwards. She has a long length of rope wrapped around her middle which has been severed.

If you touch the mirror, your hand slips through to the other ream.
Your players can enter the mirror but one part of their body, or something must be connected to the outside world of they will not return. For example, they must be connected to a rope outside the mirror, or holding the hand of another player. The woman will try to keep them in their with her.

The leaves are 1d4 [Coinage] and there are 3d100 leafs.
The mirror before you is covered in a thin layer of dust. It appears very old. When you look inside, you see nothing. There is a great expanse of nothingness stretching before you.
Save Vs. Paralysis, if you fail you are consumed by the nothingness and cannot move.

A thick layer of dust covers the mirror, If another player wipes this away it negates the effect and the mirror becomes a normal mirror.
You stare into the mirror. A crowd stares back. Every time you move, they cheer and throw their hats and cloaks into the air. When the hats and cloaks fall, they materialise and begin to fall on you.
Save vs. Magic, or a crowd will appear every time the player looks into a reflective surface. The hats and cloaks will increase in number until the player is crushed to death.
You look into the mirror. Something itches underneath your skin. Something feels very off. If you pass your save, you notice it is dusty and the mirror is tilted wrong, that’s all. If you fail, your skin begins to peel away as creatures squirm underneath. You feel your face peel away from your, connected only by thin strips of fleshy tendon. Maggots swarm over the red fleshy muscle beneath and you realise they are under every part of your skin. You scream as they devour your flesh.
Save Vs, Magic, or you will be consumed by maggots hatching underneath your skin.
You see the room you are standing in in front of you. It doesn’t appear to be any different. However, you cannot see any of the other player characters. Save Vs Magic, if you pass nothing else seems out of the ordinary. If you fail then you feel a splitting pain in your head; then, you look around. You are not able to see or hear your comrades.
Save Vs. Magic, if you fail, you cannot see other party members for 1d10 minutes. You can feel them. You cannot hear them. You can injure them. They can see you fine.
You see yourselves in the mirror. You appear to be arguing among yourselves over the corpse of the party member who first looked into the mirror. The corpse is eaten away and appears to be old. The party members will respond if the player, or any of the others knock. These party members can speak to your party members. If the party members can stop them bickering, they explain that they saw the exact same thing in their mirror and will warn them that a creature will emerge from a nearby chest to kill the party member on the ground.
GM are the mirror party members five minutes in the future. They can only be contacted if the players shake, move or knock the mirror. They will warn of imminent danger. If the players ignore the mirror, a creature will erupt from the box and attack the party member who first looked in. Stat this creature highly. If they act, they can seal the box or escape the room.
You see the room you are in in the mirror. It is filled with rich food and jugs of wine carried by decadently dressed servants. They beckon you, tasting the wine and the apples.
Save Vs.Magic, or you are consumed by desire. You are hungry and will try to think of any way to enter the mirror. You are consumed with lust and gluttony. You will fixate on the mirror as if it is a doorway, even if it is destroyed, wrapped in the madness of hunger, thirst and aching sexual frustration.
A mirror is covered in a bloody sheet. If you take the sheet away and look into the mirror and you see nothing abnormal at first. Then, red oily liquid drips onto your cheek. You reach up and you see it has stained your fingers. If you taste it, it tastes of iron. The ceiling begins to rain, and you realise that the substance is blood. Tiles/boards from the ceiling shatter, and boy parts and blood begin to rain down on you hard. You must wade your way through the viscera out of the room.
Removal of sheet automatically causes the mirror to activate Rain of Viscera.

If the players delay, you may wish to have them roll to avoid drowning in gore.
You look into the mirror and you see a future. There is a beautiful cottage, a white picket fence. Two children play happily on the grass with a young puppy. A warmth fills your chest.
Save Vs. Magic, if you fail, the cottage is set on fire by angry villagers screaming witch. The children are impaled by the villagers with slats from the fence and the puppy is kicked to death. The next time you open a bag or chest, you will find the puppies corpse.
You look into the mirror and you see your last victim staring back at you mouthing “Why?”. If it is a monster, it wobbles or roars at you in anger.
Save Vs. Magic, if you fail, your victim steps out of the mirror for you to fight again, claiming that they will take your life for taking theirs.

If you die in combat, the victim will take control of your body.
You stare into the mirror. The world around you starts to distort and wave. It's becoming shiny and reflective. In horror, you realise that it is shattering under its own transformation. The world around you is collapsing in on itself, turning into shards of glass, but the world in the mirror is the same.
Your players have literally shattered the world. If they are smart, they can jump through the mirror. They have to make a Save Vs Magic and pass to be able to transfer through into the mirror world where it is safe. If they fail, they are stuck in the shattering world and fall into nothingness for all eternity.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Creative Writing Piece - Non-Roleplay - Virtual Masks

 Virtual Masks

Upstairs. Another one, destroyed.

The glow of the screen illuminates their smile. The harsh blue glare sinks into the corners of their mouth and hollows out their face. Their eyes are hidden by ghastly shadows.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Another one down. Even quicker this time. Snappy words, a well strung sentence, an insult carved out in text. Their smile grows wider so teeth show this time. They hunch over the keyboard. They don't need to plan. With each comment they bombard the net with barrage of ignorance.

They can say anything and someone will get upset. That was the idea. The point.

I hate cats, I love dogs, I hate dogs, I love cats, You're fat, you're too skinny, your argument is invalid, you’re pathetic., I never read it but I think… I never saw it but I know… I hate you. Hate. Hate. Hate.

It was harmless, wasn't it?

Except, here was this one girl that they had hounded for weeks. They liked everything of hers and sent her smiles. Then, they tore her down. Messages, photos,statuses, everything. They found her password and stuck fake nonsense on her wall, how she liked to do unspeakable things and fancied old men; on family photos and baby pictures. None of it was true, it was funny how everyone thought maybe it was. Why else would all these comments appear?  Everyone could see. Everyone in the world. They gave out her phone and laughed when she cried online for them to stop calling. The world was calling to shout. Once they spilled her blood, they say back and all they had to do was watch. They wrote a blog, rating her, debating her. That was Liked over a thousand times. Others did their job for them.The girl went quite. She was in the news. Tragedy. Guilt. Anger.

They wriggle in the darkness at the memory of the headline. That wasn’t their fault. No need to take it so seriously. It’s just the internet.

Their pajamas are their armor. The keyboard a sword. They stab, stab, stab them all with words. It’s hilarious. It’s powerful. They feel invincible.


They stop. They switch off. They cry. They know what’s down there. They know what will happen. They don't want to go. It hurts to go. They look at the screen as it shuts down.

But they will be back and soon, soon they will be powerful again.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Table Top Tips - 8 Macabre Spells for PC's and NPC's

Table Top Tips 
 8 Macabre Spells for PC's and NPC's 

Spells!  Everyone like spells. The below spells are likely to result in your inevitable burning at the stake, but trying at least one is certainly worth death by fire.

Throw these into your game, add a few stats and saves depending on the system, and have fun watching your PC's exploit the one off power, or  laugh as they die horribly at the hands of a well equipped Super Boss. These could be found in books, gifted by gods, or simply stumbled upon on a scroll.  

Well that's a terrifying idea...
1. Straight To the Bone -  Your victim makes a save vs magic. If they fail, your victims body begins to vibrate with a strange power. Your hand outstretched, you concentrate on what is now writhing beneath the skin. Their flesh is grounded in place. Suddenly, ripped from the still standing husk of fleshy meats and organs now dangling as tendrils from the open cocoon of skin, is your victims willing skeleton. 

Make a Save to see if you can control this swaying skeleton. If you cannot, it will attack, if you can, turn it on those that have witnessed your power and watch them run in terror.

2. Murder Suicide - The creature commits suicide, connects their soul to the person they have targeted, a failed Save Vs. magic mean that they both fall to bleeding.

"You wot mate?"
3. Carrion Crows - Need to dispose of a body? Perhaps you need a distraction? You summon a flock of swarming crows who consume dead flesh. This can be used as an effective anti-undead attack. 

4. Boneless - You suddenly crumple to a heap on the floor, without any bones in your body at all. Whatever magic is inside you keeps you alive but you are in agonizing pain. You can be fed through small gaps or holes, even fed through a letterbox or between bars. Dispel magic will negate this effect and you are not able to move without assistance. You can then regrow your bones at will before your time is up or your bones will grow back in 2d4 minutes automatically. Take 1d8 damage at the end of this spell. If you are not quick enough, you may grow back midway through an escape attempt. If this happens whilst going through a letter box, you will be severed in half, if through a grate, you will make wonderful mosaic.

5.  Skin Suit - You hollow out the body of your victim. You peel off your own skin and preserve it, perhaps neatly folded between the lantern oil, the map of strange places and your night time blanket. You then step into the body of your victim and you wear their corpse like a costume. You do not mimic their voice, nor do you have their memories, but you look exactly like them and you inherit their strength, Armour and dexterity. You must make a save to be able to take the skin off and another save to put your own back on again. You can only make these saves once a day. 

6. Consuming Thoughts - Your victim makes a save vs. magic. If they fail, they begin to have dark feelings towards another party member or their companions, depending on who this is cast on. A low fail means they are infected with the thoughts and distracted from their initial goal, a high fail and they are consumed by it and must act upon them. What these dark thoughts are are entirely up  to you. 

They're almost worth the violent expulsions.
7. Poison Apples - You conjure up a poison apple. Roll a D6. If you roll a 1-2 the apple will cause severe vomiting and diarrhea in the intended victim. If you roll 3-4, the apple is an ordinary apple which tastes sour. If you roll a 5-6, the apple will kill your victim in seconds. The apple will cause the victim to rot whilst they are still alive from the stomach outwards. 

8. Troubling Teleports - Your victim makes a save vs magic/death.  You teleport to their location if they fail. You yourself need to make a save vs. magic to see if you land in the location you want to. If you fail, the dungeon master can roll a Latitude 1DX (depending on the room)  for 1  x 5 feet and a Longitude 1DX  for 1 x 5 feet, and that is where you end up. If it is in a wall, you die.  If you succeed, your victim does not teleport but you teleport into them, causing their body to explode around you as you appear in their place. You might want to wear black.