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Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Artifact IS the Play!

Watching Stranger Things this weekend has me in a mood, and if you've watched it already, I think you know what I mean.  Odd that it would remind me of things old and new, like this song below from the band Long Distance Calling...

Anyway, the internet is currently buzzing and full of Stranger Things...and that's not really what this blog post is's about something old that the internet isn't abuzz about...

The Rod of Seven Parts! 

Now, I don't need to recap this amazing Artifact for you because someone has done all that work for me...right here... so take a few minutes to read up on it if you don't know what I'm talking about, and then you can check back in...

Got it?  Great.  Moving on.

It's not the Rod i'm after here, but the concept behind the item, a magical artifact of awesome power, but built in pieces that are hard to find, and that contain their own magical abilities even separated from the others.  When 2 or more pieces come together however..LOOK OUT!  It becomes even more powerful, more dangerous, and if maybe even more evil (or each his or her own).

It's not just a magic item, or a powerful artifact, it's a quest...a campaign all tied to one thing!

I bring this up, and maybe you know all about it, or are sick of hearing it, but as I sat on the couch staring at Netflix yesterday, I recalled the Staff of Dagmar, a terrible magic item that became more powerful as my character (back in 1988) located and connected the pieces, it slowly channeled the being within the broken artifact into my characters mind and body, altering him both physically (if memory serves, it started with a clawed, reptilian hand and by the time it was over, I had turned into a 7 foot lizard wizard) and mentally (It was full of maddeningly insane power...I was definitely more evil than I started as Neutral ol' me).

It changed the entire character, and the way I played him, until in the end, the original characters name was gone...wiped clean from my character sheet and replaced with one name...Dagmar.

So....where is all this headed?  Is there a description of the Staff of Dagmar below?  Nah...I don't remember what the hell it looked like, or even what is specifically did, but it says something about that item, and that campaign that I still remember it so vividly today.  The hand turned to wicked claw, the tail that shot forth from behind whipping and lashing at my enemies, and the raw energy of new and powerful magic spells I could throw again and again channeling them all through a staff of unholy and otherworldly power.  

Sometimes, if you take care to craft the magic item and breathe your imagination into it, if you give it a story and a past life, and if you break it apart and make it difficult and dangerous to find (but not impossible), then you are going to create a lasting memory in your players mind.  Isn't that why we GM, why we tell stories?

I wrote a few blog posts last week on magic items, and they were fun and interesting, maybe even memorable.

None of them were the Staff of Dagmar though..that's for damn sure!

Seed planted...moving on.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Deviations from the Norm: Magic Items with a Twist

I've been on a writing tear this week. It's the middle of summer, work is slow, and I have time for ideas not just to gestate but to be fully birthed and then proudly displayed through the window of the blog (a hideous metaphor).

My gaming group is on a bit of a forced hiatus, with vacations happening and such, so i'm given time to jot down my brain-ramblings. I recently started a GoblinStomper twitter feed, so please feel free to add @Goblin_Stomper to your feed. Don't worry, i'm no twitter bomber..I hate a clogged feed as much as the next guy.

Also...i'm listening to alot of Rush this week.

Are there ever enough magic items?  Can a party’s thirst for power be slaked?  Nope.

To that end, I want to end the week with a few interesting, hopefully unique (but probably not) items that I’ve been considering using in my own campaign (or something like them, for those who might be reading this JOHN).  These items all look, and will be identified as, normal magic items of their type however they all have a bit of sneaky side effect….sometimes good, and other time..eeeeh...not so much.

I know I’ve already posted some magic this week here, but really...who can’t use a few more?

  1. Healing Draught of Rufi : This potion acts as a potion of Cure Light Wounds(1d8 hp recovered), however it has the effect of putting the drinker into a deep slumber almost as soon as it’s healing power begins to work.  The imbiber will fall unconscious for as many hours as HP healed.
  2. The Inverse Amulet : While this amulet, with it’s simple design of a shield with runes embossed upon both sides, will be IDENTIFIED as an Amulet of Protection (+2), it has a small design flaw that presents a bit of a problem for the wearer.  On one side of the amulet, the image of the shield has a single reversed rune.  No big whoop….amiright?  Yeah...well...what happens if you wear the amulet on the ‘reversed rune’ side?  (-2) Protection, that’s what.  
  3. Ring of Invisibility & Silence : Maybe this item has a downside, maybe it’s all good, but in any case this ring will turn the wearer invisible until such time as the wearer attacks/comes in physical contact with another PC/NPC/Monster.  Once this happens the invisibility is broken for a period of 24 hrs, at which time the rings magic can be activated once again.  Oh, and while the ring is working and active, the user is also completely silent.  Not a peep.  No footstep noises.  No farts or burps.  Nothing.  Silence. Want to cast a spell that has a verbal component? No dice!
  4. Helm of Sympathy  : Imagine knowing just how another person feels, so much so that you’re inclined to involve yourself in their issues.  The Helm of Sympathy (+3) will identify as a Helm of Empathy, as that was the magic that was imbued into it during creation.  The dwarf mage who forged it had other notions however, and it was created to serve a slightly twisted’s an item with unusual and sometimes awful consequences.  That fellow over there who needs a few coins and is eyeing you up?  He really seems to want those coins, and you feel like you should give them to him.  Oh, and that girl over there who is so angry and upset about her husband cheating on her?  He needs his ass handed to him.  The Helm of Sympathy has another won’t come off.  The last guy who wore it felt very angry, much like the barbarian fighting alongside him...unfortunately, that last guy really lost his head.  Really. (A remove curse or dispel magic of sufficient power should allow the wearer to remove the helm, but will not nullify the helm’s magic.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

This Weeks NPC: Fasir Grutyem the Fence

I love creating NPC's.  They are always at the heart of my creations whether I'm writing an adventure, building a dungeon, or filling up a town or city.  For me, it's the 'actors' that make the play...

...and so I'm proposing to throw a new NPC each week up on the blog.  Hopefully it'll be interesting enough for you to drop into your game!  No pictures I'm afraid, since I'm no kind of artist but the bad kind, but hopefully there's enough meat on these folks that your minds-eye will do the trick!


Hushstep looked up, startled, as Grutyem came in.  He had not been expecting the portly, dark-skinned desert crawler to come today.
"Grutyem my friend, how good to see you again.  Twice in one week?  I hardly can contain my joy," Hushstep said mockingly.  "What's in the bag?"
Grutyem heaved the sack onto the large, old cherry wood counter top with a relieved huff.  It clanged a bit as it landed, the contents of the sack shifting awkwardly with a scrape and a final clang.
"It's Nogel, he's passed.  I've collected my debt and now I need to convert it to coin.  You seemed a better risk than the merchants, and I know what I sell to you won't be yelled across the market square any time soon.  Bring us some wine Hushstep, and let's get down to business, you and I, eh?" asked Grutyem, his chubby arms glistening with sweat from the exhaustive walk three blocks over.
Hushstep liked Grutyem, enjoyed his company and appreciated his business, but he truly wished that the fat fence would eat a few salads now and again.  Grutyem was a man of girth, and men that size and the southern heat simply did not mix well.  It was a cocktail that left Hushsteop wrinkling his nose and lighting a few scented candles.  Soon the store would reek of sandalwood and not Grutyems perspiration.
"Poor Nogel," tsked Hushstep.  "It was only a matter of time, you know.  He was not half the thief he believed himself to be.  Getting a bit long in the tooth if you ask me, and I hinted to him more than once that perhaps he should find *safer* work.  Wasn't one for listening, Nogel, and look where it's gotten him."
"Swinging's where it got him," said Grutyem matter-of-factly, "and his wife making way as I collected my debt."  The obese man reached into the sack and began to remove the contents and place them on the table, one at a time and all in a neat, orderly row.

Fasir Grutyem, Purveyor of Rare Goods, Fence

Grutyem, the crown prince of Fences, owns and operates The Trayfe, a small shop filled with various knick-knacks, tools, household items, and Objet d'art.  Standing at 5’11” and weighing in at an impressive 325 Lbs., Fasir Grutyem is a man whose reputation often precedes him but only slightly farther ahead than his belly. His head is covered by a bandanna, which is often soaked with the sweat of his brow. His eyes, far too close together for kindly folk, are deep set and dark as coal. His nose is lean and long, and bent in several places where angry men have left their mark.

More often found at a cafe having a second or third breakfast, or wandering the streets in search of something to consume on a stick, his shop is more of a hobby, which he often leaves in the hands of his young ward Hirem, whom he claims is the third son of his sister, a woman of low social standing and even lower moral standing.  

Characters will often be sent to Grutyem if they have rare or ill-gotten gains (any barkeeper can point them in his direction) that require rapid liquidation.  He pays in Gold or Gems, which he often keeps in a purse secreted away within his garish robes, safely embedded in the top-most fold of his belly fat.  He has a deep, gravelly voice that is quite pronounced, and speaks with an accent reminiscent of his former desert home.

Grutyem is usually in possession of odd and possible useful pieces of local information not easily sussed out, but for a price he may divulge a few, and he almost always has work for an enterprising group who doesn’t mind their work a bit on the ‘dirty’ side.  Examples of current available jobs are:

  1. A gang of ruffians who call themselves ‘The Blue Gryphons’ recently robbed and raped the son of a good friend of Grutyem’s, and the fellow has asked Grutyem to supply him with ‘Swift and permanent’ retribution
  2. There is a cave to the south that Grutyem once visited, hearing tales of a golden Idol in the shape of a Sea Creature, but his friend and bodyguard Therus was slain by Orcs as they approached the cave.  Grutyem escaped, and has been trying to acquire the rumored statue for many years.
  3. Horace Baggleton has started to compete with Grutyem, and needs to be taught a lesson.  This small -berg is not big enough for two small timers, so Grutyem would like Baggleton put out of business in a hurry.  Problem is, Ol’ Bagsy has a half-brother who is also a half-ogre.  500 GP is offered for Baggleton’s exit from town.

Game Stats : The GM should consider Grutyem to be a level 4 thief, though scaling walls and sneaking into tall towers is far beyond his current abilities.  He is more of a ‘Hustler’, a con man and a blackmailer (when such work presents itself).  His skills as a pickpocket are adequate, but his lock picking skills are very advanced (and should be treated as level 10).  A life of languish has found him now, and he plies only the aspects of his former trade that require little or no activity, which also has kept him safe from the law in most cases.

HP: 28
AC: 3
Save: As Level 4 Thief
Special Skills: Pick Lock (lvl 10) Pick Pocket (lvl 5) Read Languages (lvl 5)
Weapon Proficiencies: Dagger (1d4), Shortsword (1d6)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Quest Begins: A Gygax Day Reminiscence

When I think about my life as a player of TTRPG's (which until recently I had just called D&D or referred to myself as a gamer, which I know today is not the same thing, not specific enough, and not really a term that I use much anymore unless I'm talking to my 11 year old son) I think of it in stages, in phases.

Phase one was my introduction to Dungeons & Dragons back in 1980.  The summer before Middle School began (6th,7th,8th grades) I was asked to play in a game with some local kids that I had met while standing next to the Joust! machine at Dips, the local ice-cream-in-a-small-plastic-baseball-cap place near my house in Suburban NE Philadelphia.  It was a kludgy affair, with all sort of arcane paraphernalia like dice and character sheets, and it was filled with rule after rule after confusing rule that both confounded and fascinated me.  We played Keep on the Borderlands and it was a turning point in my life.  I had found my people.

I didn't go back to that house, or play with those kids again.  It wasn't in the stars.  I don't really remember why I never went back, but it just didn't happen.  What DID happen, was that after pining for a while to get back to a game, I asked my mom to take me to the book store so I could find these mysterious tomes of power.  It took some looking, and eventually, after a great deal of driving, we found the Moldvay set at my local hobby shop.  Oh, those small blue dice and that white crayon.

Not an Actual Picture of Me....But that dude on the right with the shades looking down does resemble...

I played on and off with friends I found at school who had also discovered the game(s), but really had little notion of the mechanics of play.  Sean Boyle, who ran me through the Expert rules and the Isle of Dread.  Mike Slater, who had the ADnD manuals and Holmes and made a mish mash of a world he dropped my characters into.  It was one-on-one gaming for a long period of time.  Then Mike introduced me to Jeff, and we were a party of two, tromping around ADnD fantasy worlds and occasionally diverting into Villains and Vigilantes and Marvel.  It was a blast, but there was little consistency.  The saving grace was that a weekend with Mike and/or Jeff was a mini convention, an entire weekend in the basement filled with the game, the pizza, the chips, gallons of soda, and very little sleep.

Phase two started after I had moved to Houston and I was able to find games with a group, albeit a small one.  I met a few new friends towards the end of High School, and stumbled into a small game that was really the start of my peak gaming time.  It was the first time I had a 'regular' game, one that was recurring and took place in a world and with characters that had a real chance to level and grow.

Soon after, I visited a local Game Store (and yes, not a hobby shop, but an actual store devoted to RPG's, Comics, etc.  It was the first of it's kind I had visited) and stumbled across a small cork-board near the entrance with 3x5 card advertisements posted up with thumb-tacks.  One in particular stood out, and though the contents of that small white card are lost to the mists of faded memories, I know that it was that card, that phone number and those frantic moments of finding pen and paper to jot down the info that led to the best gaming experience (and the best friend) I would ever have.

The details after this point are unimportant.  The gist of the story is that my introduction to the game was not my BEST TIME with regard to Role-playing.  It took many years after that summer in 1980 before all of my 1-on-1 games, my RPG book collection, my reading every fantasy novel available, until all of the things that built the 'RPG Gamer Me' coalesced into a person, place and time where the best gaming experiences occurred.  Even now, as I enjoy basking in this OSR time well into my 40's, I'm having great experiences...but not the best.  They aren't like the ones I had between 18-24, what I refer to as my Golden Age of Gaming, where the stories, the action, the characters and most importantly the friendship and camaraderie that grew out of that time made such a lasting impression.

These days I still play, but not in the same way.  I have a weekly Sunday night game via Fantasy Grounds that's been ongoing in some form or fashion since 2008.  I also have a bi-weekly Labyrinth Lord game at my place, where I GM.  It's great fun, but I certainly wish I had more time for the IRL game. Life is busy...

When did it happen for you?  Were you swept up early on by a group, maybe older kids or a sibling, and so 11 or 12 year old you had the greatest time?  Were you at college, hanging out in your dorm or at the library or student activities center?  Did it occur later in life...when you were in your own place, lived with your girlfriend or wife?

These are our Origin Stories!  I know that for some, including me, it's a bit melancholic to look back and know that the best role-playing sessions are behind us, but hearing the Origin Stories of others I've come to realize that the future is unseen, unknown.  I'd like to think that this old grog, and the PC's still to be born from him, have some exciting times ahead!

Thank you OSR.  Thanks for all of the new, old-school modules, monsters, magic items, and mayhem.  Thanks to all the players and producers of content who make my NEW games feel old again.

and thank you Gary.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Conjunctive Magic Items

Back again...and this time I'm posting a couple of Magic Items I recently built for my bi-weekly Labyrinth Lord game.  Rings of Protection and wands of Magic Missile are all well and good, very useful, and highly prized when magic of this sort is in short supply, (which it is in my game...don't like to overdo it so I keep the items fresh).  Better yet are unique items, and ones that don't have an obvious and immediate use.  Keeping old players interested and confounded is a tough maybe these will help. guys do the obvious, which is find a mage or sage with identify and hand over some coin to suss out their magical loot.  Pretty common I guess, and I try to keep it expensive so that it's not always the go-to (but with piles of gold burning a hole in their bag of holding, that's not much of an issue for them anymore).

“But we are strong, each in our purpose, and we are all more strong together.”

Magic Items used in conjunction

There are those magical items which, while they have some measure of power as individual pieces , are far more useful when working in conjunction with one another.  Often created as sets, the following items can all used in the same manner.  They are often confusing and confounding in their purpose until such time as their true functions are sussed out.  There’s nothing quite like finding a new and unusual magical construct, only to be unable to determine its true purpose...

The Smoking Kit of the Chartreuse Mage

The mages of Elbion are a covetous and greedy lot, always plotting and planning to steal the secrets of their neighbors.  The Chartreuse Mage would not be compromised, his time and research into the spells of the ancient and arcane powers beneath the Library of Antiquity had cost him dearly in coin both real and emotional.  In order to help hide the secrets only he and the monks now possessed, he crafted these three items to keep prying eyes from the pages he had languished over so diligently for many years.

Pipe-weed of Visibility
Dried leaves of shimmering green and opalescent blue with a scent like honey and sandalwood, this herb smokes as wonderfully as it looks and smells.  The smoke it produces is bright and white, and hangs heavily in the air leaving it’s cloying scent on whatever it touches.  The smoker of this magical herb will find a sense of calm, a deep and heavy feeling as if the head were filled with wet wool, though thoughts will remain clear and distinct.  The time required to re-learn or even learn new spells is halved when smoked while study is in progress.  The smoke’s true power and purpose however, is to reveal the hidden text in the spell-book of the Chartreuse Mage.  When the sweet smoke is blown across the page written using the appropriate ink, the words will reveal themselves for a time, allowing the reader to clearly plumb the depth of thought and the powerful spells inscribed within the tome.  Perhaps this smoke will reveal more...who knows?

Bag of Freshness
What use, to create such a wondrous magic item as Pipe-weed of Visibility, only to have it spoil or go too dry to smoke.  The Chartreuse Mage was ever frugal, and such waste was an abomination to him, so to ensure that his magical herb didn't spoil he fashioned a magical pouch to house his pipe-weed.  Fashioned from the tanned hide of an Elf, with drawstrings made from the cured sinew of a wyvern, this pouch can keep any fresh item in perfect and consumable condition indefinitely.  It’s the perfect repository for such a rare item as the Pipe-weed of Visibility...or your lunch.

Ink of Invisibility
What good is it to have a secret if you cannot properly KEEP it a secret.  If you’re a hard-working arcanist such as the Chartreuse Mage, then you know the danger of secrets left unguarded.  It was just such knowledge, the lost mysteries of forgotten races of man who lived in a world more robust with magic, that the mage had come to Elbion to learn.  Once his, he knew that sharing them was unwise.  It was knowledge best held closely, and to that end he crafted the Ink of Invisibility...oh, there were other such inks, to be sure, but this one was special, tuned to the magical power of the smoke of the Pipe-weed of Visibility.  What good is a lock without a key?  What worth has a lock that can be picked easily?  No, this ink will not reveal itself to any power outside of the smoke, or the eyes of a god (which are notoriously hard to acquire). This ink will dry and fade in a few moments, and only the smoke of  the Pipe-weed of Visibility will reveal it, and then only for a short time.  Take care, hide your secrets well.  Mages are not to be trusted...

Wand Holster of Ease

Some spell-casters are powerful, able to fling spell after spell from their mind's-eye, with a repository of knowledge from cantrips to powerful, world changing dweomers.  Thrakas Four Arm was not such a mage.  He was meh.  He was passable.  He was last in his class and if it weren’t for his very rich father (who did not have four arms, for those wondering) he would never have been allowed to wear the mantle of mage.  Thrakas knew that he wasn’t a very good arcanist, but he’d had little choice when it came to vocation.

Thrakas was not a great mage, but he wasn’t a dummy.  He knew that he needed to compensate for his lack of skill, and so dipping into the family treasury he purchased as many wands as he could lay his hands (all four) on.  Ultimately, his collection of wands numbered near twenty, but that created a problem in and of itself.  How to wear them?  How to know which was which?  These weren’t toys, and Thrakas didn’t want to accidentally shoot a fireball when a magic bolt would do.  To that end he visited the Enclave at Elbion, a community of Wizards and Alchemists who lived within the great citadel that housed the Library of Antiquity and specialized in crafting magical items unique in power.  There he commissioned a series of items to aid him with his wand-predicament.   
Wand Holster of Thrakas
The Wand Holster of Thrakas is comprised of the tanned hide of a Caloran Hound, a mystical beast that can move through the local dimensions as easily as you or I pass through a doorway (making them notoriously difficult to housebreak).  When the proper enchantments are in place, the holster can hold far more than it’s compact size would indicate.  The interior volume is 25x times the external dimensions, allowing for a vast volume of items to be placed within.  Items can be retrieved by placing a hand into the holster and ‘imagining’ the general nature of the item desired, which will then appear in the wearer's hand assuming it was in the holster in the first place.  The holster functions well with regard to filling it with non-magical items, but if any magical item (including scrolls or potions) is placed inside, the magic of the holster may be compromised, and all of the items (and the holster itself) will disintegrate, falling to dust at the wearers feet.

Four such holsters were fashioned for Thrakas, one beneath each of his four arms.

Charge Stones
Wands usually have charges, and as such their power is limited.  Few wands possess infinite power, and those which do are rare.  In order to recharge a wand, the spell that it holds must be cast, often multiple times, into the wand in order to refill its power. As a powerful wizard once remarked, “to rely on a wand is a fool's folly, one may as well rely on the branch of any tree, for soon the wand will have as much power and usefulness as that branch.”  True words, but charge stones make relying on a wand a bit less of a forgone conclusion.

Charge stones are a shortcut, allowing the mage to simply cast any spell of any level into the stones, which will then recharge the corresponding wands in the holster.  The gems are woven into the ‘cuff’ of the holster, nearest the opening. Each Charge Stone must be attuned to a specific wand, a process that takes 1 hr./level of spell the wand encapsulates (so a level 10 Fireball wand takes 10 hours to attune, but each charge can be renewed using any spell.  Each charge of that same wand can be replenished with a simple light spell).  How do these stones amplify the magic cast into them to accomplish this task?  A secret that lay buried behind the walls of the city of Elbion, in the pages of the mages of the Enclave within the Library of Antiquity.   

Wand Sleeve of Demand
These sleeves are the key to making the Wand Holster of Thrakas a truly invaluable item for wizards with heavy wand inventory.  There are 20 sleeves, and each sleeve holds 1 wand perfectly, regardless of it’s dimensions.  The magic of the sleeve allows the wand to be placed within the holster safely, without disrupting the power of the holster as other magic items might.  

When placed in the holster, the wand within can be recalled instantly to the wearer’s hand, corresponding to the side the holster is slung over.  When the user is done with a wand, he merely slides it into the holster.  It will instantly find it’s native sleeve, ready for the next instance it is called into action or to be recharged at its owner's whim.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Gimme Drugs..Gimme Drugs...1d6 Drugs...

Welcome!  I've recently been working on a new supplement chock full of weird and wonderful NPC's for just about any campaign, but I keep getting sidetracked.  This happens to me alot, but I'm trying to turn those strange deviations into something useful to others.  In that spirit, I present to you a small list of interesting (and purely fictional) drugs for your perusal and use.

I might add this list to the supplement once it's complete, but really there's no reason for me not to share it with you a bit early.

I was greatly inspired by this video, which people of a certain age will remember with a kind of melancholy mixed with fondness...

...and now without further ado, I give you drugs!

  1. Zyrellan Sweet Leaf [Hallucinogenic, Euphoric, very mild] {inhaled via smoking}
  2. Poopa Powder [Stimulant, mild] {inhaled via sniffing}
  3. Myconic Spore [Hallucinogenic, strong] {ingested}
  4. Nerullian Vapor Pots [Depressant, strong] {inhaled}
  5. Yellowjacket Grub [Stimulant, Hallucinogenic, mild] {ingested}
  6. Sophorna Witchweed [Hallucinogenic, Very Strong] {inhaled via smoking}

  1. Zyrellan Sweet Leaf : This common drug, often referred to as simply ‘Leaf’ on the streets, back alleys, and some pubs is a mild hallucinogen that is fairly common.  ‘Leaf’ is not generally smoked openly on the street, but some pubs, inns, and bathhouses allow it to be smoked within the confines of the establishment, or in select rooms set aside for this specific purpose.  While generally frowned upon by most local authorities, it’s use is widespread and not usually illegal, save for those places where the governing body has some ulterior motive for banning it (say, in an aggressive Theocracy, where religion is the drug of choice for the ruling body).  It’s effects are mild and short-lived, and include mild euphoria, a feeling of general relaxation, a lessening of general inhibition, and in some stronger strains of the plant, mild hallucinations.  ‘Leaf’ is not addictive, but often becomes a product that is enjoyed and thus used habitually. Overdose results in a super-relaxed state, ultra-sensitivity to light, and a sensation that you can feel the bones in your hand very, very acutely.

  1. Poopa Powder : The preferred stimulant of the Noble Houses and ruling Merchant Class, this expensive bright green powder is not (as many believe) made from plants, but raised.  The Poopa is the second-stage of the Petha Beetle, a dangerous and carnivorous giant insect that can be found in jungles and other hot and wet environments throughout the world.  Difficult to breed and raise in captivity, the young Poopa is fed a strict diet of human flesh in order to facilitate the harvesting of the finest and strongest powder.  The primary effect of Poopa Powder is a heightened state of awareness (all checks at +2) and will increase reaction time considerably (+2 to Initiative and +1 to Hit), but the drug has a relatively short life in the body, working for approx 30 minutes before it wears off, a state often referred to by users as ‘bottoming’.  This drug is highly addictive, and regular use will have strong side effects.  Such long term side effects include paranoia, constant sluggishness (-1 to init and -1 to hit), memory lapse, and seizures.  Overdose results in coma or death in most cases.

  1. Myconic Spore : A rare drug, Myconic Spores are a drug discovered and used primarily by Gnomes, who often live with or near the Fungus Creatures who emit these spores when attempting to reproduce.  The spores vary in size and shape, but most are about the size of a large marble and are blue with small red dots throughout.  Gnomes use the spores in various baked goods for flavoring, and once cooked they lose their hallucinogenic properties, though foods they are baked into will create a mild euphoria in the eater not unlike strong wine.  In its raw state, the spore must be eaten, and users of the drug will often grind it and eat it in or with something sweet.   The effects of the drug are immediate and intense, inducing powerful hallucinations that are so real, the user is unaware that they are not completely real.  Common hallucinations are the belief that the user is speaking with a God, that the user is flying (either self propelled or on the back of some mythical beast like a dragon or gryphon), or that the user is once again a small child and back in the arms of a mother or father who may have passed.  Not all use will result in one of the previous hallucinations, but there does seem to be an overwhelming propensity for the drug to induce one of the more common hallucinations.  The drug is not physically addictive, but it is often hard to convince the user that his or her experiences while on the drug were in fact not real.  Some Scholars and Alchemists have had success in actually inducing a very specific hallucination to a subject given a small to medium dose, but hard data is not available.  Gnomes think that humans are fools for using the spores in this way, as it tastes delicious in honeycake and makes eating a bellberry pie just so much better.

  1. Nerullian Vapor Pots : Having trouble sleeping?  Get a Nerullian Vapor Pot.  This enclosed clay pot contains a strange mixture of herbs blended into a strange paste that is a secret held closely by the Alchemists of Yith, and has become an integral part of the economy of that enclave.  These pots are often used by physicians to induce deep sleep in patients who require undisturbed slumber, as the vapors emitted once set atop a small flame will place the breather into a near-catatonic state.  Less scrupulous folks have used such devices to induce sleep in a victim, making a house that much easier to burgle, or an individual so much simpler to dispatch.  Even less scrupulous individuals may have used such a device to take advantage of a woman, a practice first recorded in the case of Lord Ruefuss in the Elmbren Empire and such acts have thereafter been referred to as ‘having been Ruefeed’.  Lord Ruefuss was eventually apprehended and parts of him were removed in order to facilitate the end of his lewd and lascivious practices.  Vapor Pots are dosed exactly, so it is unlikely that a user will overdose, but continued use of Nerullian Vapor Pots can and will have serious and permanent side effects, including permanent loss of motor skills and slowed reaction times (-1 to initiative and -2 to hit), lowered state of alertness (-1 to all checks), and general and irreversible lethargy.  While not physically addictive, some users may find normal sleep routines difficult to return to after prolonged exposure to these powerful vapors.

  1. Yellowjacket Grub : Chewed by the Mountain Dwarves on particularly deep digs, or when tunnelling high into the mountain peak, this chewy and foul-tasting larvae is a mild stimulant which helps regulate breathing when oxygen is in short supply.  Dwarves, with their increased constitution, do not suffer any of the other effects of the grub, including mild hallucinations, euphoria, or increased appetite.  Raised in batches in many dwarven homes, these grubs are eaten alive.  Dead and dried grubs have no effect, as the toxin they produce quickly dissipates once the creature is deceased.  Dwarves will sell their grubs to Humans, but not without laughing at the buyer during the entire transaction since only a fool would pay for something so easily found in the rich loam beneath dwarven mountain homes.  When chewed and swallowed by a human, the grub toxin will induce a feeling of euphoria, a general lightheadedness, and mild hallucinations (light trails and general visual anomalies giving the illusion of movement where there is none) which may cause mild paranoia.  Used to create a heightened state of awareness, the Yellowjacket Grub will give the ingester +1 to reaction rolls including initiative.  Side effects are minimal, but a great hunger is common approximately 30 minutes after the grub has been eaten.  If food is available, the user will be unable to do anything but eat for 1 hour, not consuming so much food as to be sick, but casually chowing down on whatever is available.  If no food is available, the user will become obsessed by the locating of said food for that same duration of 1 hour.  This side effect is commonly known as ‘grubbing’, and users often out themselves when they utter the phrase, ‘I need to feed my grub’.  (You thought I was going to say ‘get my grub on’, but I would never stoop that low for a cheap laugh)

  1. Sophorna Witchweed : Often used by witches during seasonal celebrations or rituals, Sophorna Witchweed is a dark purple plant that grows wild on forest floors, usually near faerie rings (outside of them, since fairies keep the center of their rings clean and neat).  This plant is a gateway drug, and when smoked it shifts the user 1 small dimension to the left, placing the individual slightly out of phase with the rest of the world.  The smoker can see and hear everything happening around him, albeit at a slightly slower pace.  If multiple people smoke, they will all shift together.  This shared experience is what the witches who smoke Sophorna are after, as it is in this place that they summon and commune with their patron demons.  This dimension shift is physical, and the smoker will appear to others around him/her to be ‘fading away’.  Users often refer to the practice as ‘Fading’. The smoked plant creates a mild euphoria and in less experienced smokers there may be mild audio or visual hallucinations once the shift has taken place.  Any items held or worn by the smoker will ‘Fade’ with them and can be manipulated, but objects such as closed doors, locked chests, etc cannot be touched or felt, and the user will merely sense an ‘obstruction’.  Sophorna Witchweed is mildly addictive, and some ‘Faders’ will smoke even once shifted.  Prolonged exposure to the drug during this period may result in permanent ‘fade’ (3 such smoking events during the same fade).  One full pinch of Sophorna will last 1 full hour.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

What I have Wrought

Well, my blog and last post were created on the same day in January of this year, and good to my word I've created some content!  With the help of publishing I present to the world, and OSR gaming community at large, Adventure Most Fowl!

 Adventure Most Fowl!

Work started on the module in late April, and it launched on a week ago.  You've likely seen my posts, and I'm not trying to pimp it anymore, but I figured that there should be a place to push out some newer content as it becomes available (I mean, when I create it).

I enjoyed all of the process, from outlining the module to filling in the places, the plot, and especially the people.  Wow..I started alot of sentences with 'I'.  That's bad form.  Sorry.

Anyway, there's more.  Work has started on a follow-up to this module, though it's going slowly.

For a taste of something different, I've started working on what turned out to be my favorite part of the writing of AMF, the NPC's.  I'm going to start posting some new folks from the City of Elbion: The Library of Antiquity, another project that focuses on telling the story of an ancient and arcane city from the vantage point of its most interesting residents.

There are several other projects in the works, so keep checking back for some fun stuff.