Saturday, 16 March 2019

More 20 Questions - on gameplay and double wielding pets

Last week I answered Jeff's 20 questions about my Belswick setting. Which is getting on the rails any minute now, I promise. Grown-up schedules, ugh. While we wrangle agendas, here's two other sets of 20 questions answered.

First, 20 questions on gameplay from Necropraxis.
And then 20 more on weaponized squid by Monster Manual Sewn From Pants.

You know you want to.


'cause I love house rules and special character generation shit. This campaign will run on the D&D 5e rules.

1. Ability scores generation method?
Either arrange {15,14,13,12,10,8}, OR roll for your scores and get a contact, mentor or patron.

2. How are death and dying handled?
At 0 hit points, we break out this Death & Dismemberment table. Different damage types give different conditions you get to struggle with. Particularly solid hits give you Fatal Wounds, which kill after 3 rounds unless you are healed or recover on your own.

3. What about raising the dead?
As undead: frowned upon, frowned upon hard. Clerics of the Church of the Authority can return the dead to real life (as can clerics of the Watcher and the Exile...if you like being in debt to the Spider God or the Corrupter hirself). They'll only do so for a hefty donation and a solid reason.

4. How are replacement PCs handled?
Quick as we can, we get you back into the action. Pick stats, race, estate and class, and write down only what you need at that moment; pick your skills and equipment later. You start 1 level lower than your previous character.

5. Initiative: individual, group, or something else?
Never thought to do it differently: this group always rolls individual initiative, with groups of similar opponents acting on shared initiative. We roll at the beginning of combat. New participants roll when they enter the fight.

6. Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work?
  • Critical hit: roll double the amount of dice (including extra energy damage, sneak attack) OR give a nick to an opponent's weapon or armor (see below).
  • Critical fumble: one of the combat items you were using gains a nick. Weapons have their dice reduced (2d6 becomes 2d4, d12>d10>d8>d6>d4); armor loses 1 AC.
    Items are destroyed when they drop below d4 damage or +1 AC. You can have this damage repaired at 1/10th the original item cost. Magic items ignore a number of nicks per day equal to their magical bonus. Yes, you can hit the magic off of an enchanted armor if you've damaged it enough; magical plusses get destroyed last. Repairing this will take a wizard.
    If you weren't using a weapon or armor somehow, you drop a valuable item, which rolls away (d2 x 5 feet if you need a number). Or you drop prone yourself.

7. Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet?
It looks snazzy. No mechanical benefit. this question just made me think of a nice way to tie in the Death & Dismemberment chart. Helmets (10 gp to replace) are included in medium and heavy armors. You can sacrifice your helmet to make a head wound on the table one step less bad.

8. Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly?
If you want to... I'll go with standard 5e rules here. Might give some cover if you have to fire through a buddy. If you're in melee range of an enemy and attacking with a ranged weapon, you do so at disadvantage (roll twice, take the worst).

9. Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything?
Definitely you'll want to run away from some encounters. I'll do my best to telegraph that. Remember that you don't get XP for defeating enemies, you get it for finding loot and bringing it home!

10. Level-draining monsters: yes or no?
I'm going for no. I will slightly modify 5e's life drain ability, when it comes up. Normally, you lower your max HP by a certain amount until your next long rest; I'll let you recover up to half that amount for every long rest (same as I changed regular long rests).

11. Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death?
Sure. Again, I'll telegraph any hefty encounters so people can make informed choices. If that choice is to run along a long corridor to kill the lightning wizard, so be it...

12. How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked?
You can carry an amount of items equal to your strength, more if they're bundles of tiny items. Beyond that you get encumbrance penalties. I've made an equipment sheet to streamline this. I'll ask for light source and ration depletion, but ultimately I trust my players. No audits planned. Bring a cart or a donkey or hire porters.

13. What’s required when my PC gains a level? Training? Do I get new spells automatically? Can it happen in the middle of an adventure, or do I have to wait for down time?
Your regular level-up just happens after the next long rest = good night's sleep. Archetype powers (clerical domain, wizard specialty, ranger specialty etc) have to be learned from a teacher. Will typically take a few days of downtime and a mini quest. All spellcasters except nature types have to find or earn their new spells. Make some friends in your Clerical / Wizardly order.

14. What do I get experience for?
Finding valuables and bringing them to your home base safely. Wealth you lose to taxes does not count for XP. Wealth you spend in carousing does.

15. How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination?
I'll let you spot huge traps right away; the type where the challenge is on avoiding, not spotting them in the first place. For poison needles hidden in a locked chest, you better check. Good description will give advantage on the roll (roll twice, take the best).

16. Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work?
Most yes. Retainers can take fire, haul materials, do work around camp, carry shields and torches. They have a morale from 2-12, and every time their side takes a big setback (half party incapacitated, leader cut down, overpowering magic), I check 2d6: rolls over their morale means the retainer will cut their losses. Or freak out amusingly.

17. How do I identify magic items?
The Identify spell is the easiest way to do this. Just seeing whether something is magical will take a Detect Magic.

18. Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions?
Potions are going to be a thing: they're half magical, half folk lore, meaning even dabblers can brew them. You'll have to ID potions by taste, smell and look, and some are downright dangerous to taste. Consider Identify. Or a disposable halfling taster.
Bonafide magical items are hoarded jealously - no magic shops. You can trade with collectors like the church or a wizard's guild, or try to make a deal with a noble.

19. Can I create magic items? When and how?
I'm torn between "lost art" and "for high wizards and archclerics". Not something you'll do in the first 5 levels; I think it will involve questing for a recipe and ingredients, then spending serious downtime and wealth to create the item.

20. What about splitting the party?Split away.


1. Is there weaponized Squid?Can I start with one? How much are they? Can I have one as a pet/horse/best friend? Can I play one? Can I dual wield them?

Yes there is. Find the scenic village of Omst on Lake Ful. You know those hick towns with prize pumpkin competitions? Omst has prize weaponized squid. They breed 'em for colour, poisonicity, range and clinginess. There's a contest who can keep quiet longest after being bitten.

You can but one as a pet. It will hate you. You can dual wield them if you like being bitten twice a round.

You can maybe find landsquid to ride. Not in Omst though. They don't go in for weird shit like that.

*sigh* fine, you can play a squidling. No, you can't be a mindflayer.

by Gris Grimly

2. Is there undead robots?follow up questions involve the nature of consciousness and the existence of the soul in your campaign and can I play one? or have one as a pet or a gun that shoots them?

No warforged. Souls are the same as spirits and spells and demons and angels, only housed in flesh.

You can play an enfleshed soul. It's called a hoo-mon. You cannot have one as a pet or shoot them, that's called either slavery or a war crime respectively and those are bad.

3. Do Icebergs walk across the land ?can I be from one? Is godzilla frozen in one? Can I play a godzilla?

Far north, beyond the Vaeringjar, the oldest 'bergs have personality. And a mind of their own. Who knows what's inside them? Maybe godzilla. You can play a baby godzilla as soon as you discover lizardfolk.

4. What do birds know?(no further questions)

Birds just know, man.

5. Does medicine work like it does here but no-one knows CPR or does it work like a cartoon so I cure amnesia with more head injurys or does it work like medieval euro people thought it did with demons in your teeth?Do I start with demons in my teeth? Do I know CPR? Can I invent CPR? Can I give myself powers with additionally organs? What planet is in ascension in my spleen midmorning?

Gross medicine (bleeding out, broken bones) works like you'd hope - bind the wound, set the bone. Mental illness and disease and possession is cured best by a certified Cleric of the Leaden Order.

Hitting people over the head or massaging their chest is just weird. Don't do that.

You can definitely get different spleens and other assorted organs inserted. Ask a Cleric of the Exile or an adventurous Elf transmuter.

6. I want to play a hobbit but really I'm the fleas controlling the hobbit. Where is that in the book?
Could I take over a new guy with my fleas? Or another players guy?

Hobbits are famously flealess. Why waste a free snack?

7. How much could I rent my body out to spirits before I lost control of my character?
What are the names of the spirits? Are they cool?

You can keep that up for a while. Eventually either the Church or your Patron will catch up with you.

The best-known spirits for body renting are the Hungry Crone, the Emerald Saint, the Scandalous Courtier and the Blistered Squire. They are very cool.

Or pray directly to the Exile. That always ends well.

8.What level do I have to get my character to before I am the g.m?
Can I half be the g.m at an early level? What about when you leave the room?

You can be DM for a bottle of Oban. Or if you have a cool idea for a oneshot.

9. What is the dumbest thing I can spend my money on?

no dumber than that but cool. Like a pet with a pet with a weapon? Can pets dual wield?

I am under no illusion that I could make up a dumber thing than the combined brainpower of my players can. Although naming a halfling evil mastermind Morasco d'Jorasco comes close. Dude was just laughed off stage.

You can dual wield him. He needs the money.

10. How ugly can my guy be? Like Can I basically be a walking fish?
No wait I wanna be a walking fish. What is the reverse scuba technology like in this world?

Yeah you can be a fishling.

11.The lamp oil? Is that like cooking oil, kerosene, white spirits or napalm?
How much can I buy of it?

Lamp oil is like cooking oil. The wizards of the Fraternity of the Comet sell the good napalmy stuff. You mad fool.

12. How does physics work in this world?

What makes the planets stay up? Are there planets? Is it elves? Can I play an elf from another planet? Does everything work like how we though it did in the past? Can I discover stuff and pass it off as a magic? Is possible to use the scientific process to organise the concepts of magic?

Discovering the underpinnings of magic through the scientific method is deffo possible. It didn't end all that horrifically last time.

That said: planets stay up because the Authority has decreed it so. There are no planets and they're full of crazy angels hugging themselves because they're still addicted to True Heaven but that's been lost forever because of wizards, but you're not supposed to know that. Like anyone is still reading this.

Everything does sort of work like we thought in the past: alchemy, demonic posession - at least that's what the Olmadician Order of the Scroll teaches.

It's never elves.

13. Can I start with weapon hands?
What about crab claws? Can  I play a crab with human hands? Can I have one as a pet? Do they live on a different planet? Can we go there?

Crablings: sure. Crabling with human hands: sure. Weapon hands: no monks until you meet one. You can't have them as a pet, that would upset diplomatic relations. They're not from a different planet, it's even worse: they live right here on this one. You can go there if you like really long sea voyages with a vicious encounter table.

14. What cultures approve of cannibalism?
What about if we are super rich? Aren't rich cannibals be default , I mean if you think about it? How is the class struggle here anyway? Is there a Karl Marx? How receptive are people to the ideas of anarcho-syndicalism here?

We're only just inventing capitalism, the rest of this will have to wait. Cannibalism is a great way to turn into a hag, ogre or goblin. Especially if you're a Hobbit.

15. Can my character not be real , but a hallucination of another character?
But I still wanna be able to do stuff. What are the stats for that?

Illusions are a criminal's tool.

16. Which is the rome but with lava fire country in this world?
What about the ice circus country? Can I have a pet from there?

oh god please make it stop

17. Can I invent an insect?
as a player like right now I tell you an insect and you put it in the game? Or as a character? Can my spells be insects that then exist in this world after I cast them? Can I play an insect who is actually a spell cast in this world? What about as a pet?


18. Is there reverse fire?
What about reverse water or earth? What do they wear there?


19. How much money can I make inventing siege engines?
Can I play a siege engine? In what ways are animals used in siege engines?

Again, no warforged.

20.What is the most significant tree to the economy of the starting place?
Is it really a tree or maidens stitched together? If I play a maiden do I get spells or do people that worship me get spells but only if I'm mad at them?

I need a drink.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019


One of my computer screens is hardwired to UK Parliamentary tv to follow the latest set of Commons votes on Brexit. You may think that's weak political shit and boring as hell. It's exactly that. All the way to hell. And it inspired me to give you all a vote on what happens to my Belswick campaign. Vote in the comments! 


In brief: in two weeks, the UK automatically crashes out of the EU. That includes crashing out of all existing trading deals, agreements on landing rights for airplanes, ways to import medical isotopes and much more.

Unless they decide not to wreak havoc on their economy (and to a lesser degree, the EU's). Easy choice? 
Apparently not.
The Guardian's Brexit vote flowchart as of 5 days before this post. Navigate this dungeon.

Two years ago the UK decided that they would leave the EU on March 29th 2019. The decision can be revoked without any OK needed from the EU, as long as the UK acts before the 29th - but parliament doesn't want that. 
They can agree to a deal they painstakingly negotiated with the EU to safeguard existing relations until a more durable set of agreements is worked out. But parliament can't decide on whether they want the deal that Theresa May's government made with the EU. Which is done with negotiating, by the way.
So what does the UK want? What indeed.
Two years after Brexit was triggered and two weeks before it happens, government and parliament are now finally discussing what kind of future they'd like to have with the EU. If any at all. The risk is real that they'll end up squabbling so long that a No Deal Brexit happens anyway.

It's going to be a wreck because they can't choose.

I don't want that for my campaign. And so I'm giving you a choice before it even starts: what monkey wrenches are going in there?


Belswick is medieval, feudal, pretty bog standard. It's not going to stay like that. There will be Player Characters running around in there after all. Above and beyond their influence, I like the idea of a couple of world changing events ticking down to Doom Day in the background. Some of these end or destroy parts of the world. Some are Out of Context Problems that will throw whole societies for a loop. Some are just fun. 
You can pick three and are welcome suggest your own - rank 'em in the comments.

1 - We hear your voice
A cult renounces Warlock Patrons as the slow-moving corrupters that they are and prays straight to the Exile. Hir rage drives them beyond insane. S/he inspires them to end the World by killing/binding/harvesting the Four Keystone Serpents. It's a race to save satanical monsters.

2 - New neighbors are keeping me awake
A distant country falls to the Awakened. Far away enough for a blockade or to limit exposure. Maybe the ocean, so full of dreams, puts Awakened to sleep before their boats can reach civilization. Maybe the Awakened find a way anyway.

3 - Rise and Fucking Shine
The Du’Vanku rise again with their undead armies after a 700 year sleep and attempt to enter heaven like before. Last time they destroyed True Heaven and killed the Creator and we've been living in the ruins. Oh wait, the Church wanted that kept super secret.

4 - Silk Road
An unexplored passage or new mode of travel connects to the far lands of Qi’Dan. Trade picks up. Then drugs spread. Then we learn who rules Qi’Dan. 

5 - The egg hatches
Except the egg has a 6000 km radius and we're kinda using it to live on. All hail the Starspawn.

6 - They're Here
Travelers from another plane bring knowledge of high wizardly magic. Which the Church says is a big no no. They spread the information faster than it can be stamped out. There are more of them every month. Are they invading, trading or fleeing?

7 - Firebinders
Demon binder Johannes Schäfer finds a way to bind imps and create firearm shells. Larger demons lead to the development of artillery. Suddenly conjurors can arm the masses with knight-killing weapons, and castles need to be rethought. Sure, you're bound for hell for consorting with demons. Until then, you change warfare.

8 - Untaught magic
An apprentice cannot learn the simplest spells but has unformed magic that cuts through defenses as if they weren't there. She's scooped up, hidden, weaponized. Then more children like her surface with the new power of psionics, which may or may not be a beacon for the Old Ones from beyond the stars.

9 - Breach of Contract
The original binding contracts underpinning certain spells are being found and tampered with. Spells stop functioning or become wildly dangerous.

10 - Hungry Earth
Crops are...not failing, but struggling. There's drought. Farm animals grow weak. Magic helps a bit. But not for long and not enough. Then the sun starts growing colder. And weaker. Is that a tint of red? Are wizard spells leaving behind fragments of black ash? Am I going Dark Sun on you or is it just your imagination?

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Jeff's 20 for Belswick


Updated version of map - merged a couple of baronies that I had no inspiration for 

1. What is the deal with my cleric's religion?
They're probably part of the Church of the Authority, which means they joined one of eight Saintly Orders to learn the secrets of a clerical domain. The Authority created the world and ordered the hells and heavens. At first He trusted us* to live as we would, but we betrayed that trust and sank into sin. Thus came First Dawn and the Church of the Authority to teach us. And so we obey our Lords and our Priests who keep the Exile from our door.

* "us" being humans, the half-fae dwarfs, elfs and halflings, and a boatload of animal folk.

2. Where can we go to buy standard equipment?
Bog standard gear you can get in any peasant village. More specialized gear will require a trip to an alchemist or guildsman in town or even a sage in the city of Domesbury.

3. Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?
Any armorsmith who can craft platemail for Hedgehoglings, Fishlings or Swanlings will be able to hammer out mail for your new pet Ankheg. For truly marvelous work, you should seek out the armorsmith Lucan in Raddenshire, a rare Foxling who has golden hands instead of a silver tongue.

4. Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?
Of course the court mage of Duke Betram of Belswick is that worthy most puissant in power. Perhaps one of the Deans of the Ancient and Orthodox Order of the Unbroken Circle in Lord Bertram's city of Domesbury has access to more spells through the Order's library. Definitely not the Master of the Exquisite Lodge of Augurs and Diviners, who is definitely not one of the few mages with access to Seventh Circle spells.

5. Who is the greatest warrior in the land?
Baron Jasper of Nether Stowey rose to power in the past war with Arrayne and is the Duchy's finest swordsman. We will not speak of the dread knight Sir Ulric of the Broken Spear in his forsaken castle on Mount Gale.

6. Who is the richest person in the land?
The guilds associating with the Exquisite Lodge of Augurs and Diviners are excessively fortunate in their trading. If the Duke himself is not richest and most blessed, that position must go to the Mouseling Archbishop of Domesbury, Hector of Caerleon. Of course he only administers the wealth of the Church, so he does not benefit directly.

7. Where can we go to get some magical healing?
The Leaden Order of St. Vivione maintains hospital-monasteries. A Bard or Cleric of the Church might be willing to ease your wounds if you tithe well to the Authority.

8. Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?
...and is that it, or do the other members in your party suffer from ailments of their own? Yes, yes, I know the moon is rising, I'll fetch the Abbot...

  • Poison, disease, curses: go to the Leaden Order of St. Vivione.
  • Level drain: not a thing. Except for certain modules the DM will unleash on you.
  • Lycanthropy, polymorphing: a woodwose might be able to lift those curses. Or try to capture the Warlock who cursed you in the first place!
  • Alignment change: as long as you worship the Authority and obey your lord, who cares?
  • Undeath: nothing a visit from the Black Hand or Third Lantern can't fix.

They say that a sip of Golden Lotus Juice will banish any poison from the body. They say that a master alchemist of the Enlightened Order of the Silver Rose can cure curses, diseases, poisons and even death itself with a touch of their transmuter's stone.

9. Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?
Is there ever. There are four respected Orders for the sanctioned schools of Abjuration, Divination, Evocation and Transmutation. Wizards without membership in an Order are suspect, as is anyone using Illusion, Enchantment or Conjuration because those are the signature spells of the criminal Violet Cloud. The Hollow Tree and its heretic necromancers must be rooted out and cleansed with fire.

10. Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?
Rando sages dot the countryside, but most demand for their services will come from local lords of state or church. Find the baron's personal wizard or a bardic lorekeeper in the Olmadician Order of the Scroll.

11. Where can I hire mercenaries?
If there's trouble, representatives of mercenary compagnies seek out the local lords. Find them at the castle. Or find the border camps where those ruffians lair. If you want a torchboy or shieldbearer, throw some coppers at the local youngsters. For magical support, the Fraternity of the Comet is non-pareil.

12. Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?
Swords are not illegal - how could they, as knight's weapons? If you're not a knight, though...better hide that weapon, peasant. And keep the crossbow out of sight as well. The nobility don't much care for armor piercing bolts.

13. Which way to the nearest tavern?

Why, head for the nearest crossroads village, stranger!

14. What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?

Apart from wild game and predators that the Lord and his knights will hunt down when they come around to it? Here's a brief list...

  • the Giant Wolfstan of the Blue in the Snake Mountains
  • the Hound of Bodmin Hills between Badlesmere, Belswick and Cromney
  • the Bone Witch of the Eldermarsh in Valbonnais
  • the Unicorn Abyss in Corsewall forest
  • wolf packs in the Old Fulwood
  • faerie goblins haunt Mount Gale

15. Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?
Not now, but undoubtedly soon. The twin baronet sons of Emlyn still feud over the seat of their miniature baronetcy. The toadling barons of Old Fulwood and Ballumbie burble at an injustice in the past. It is disconcerting how many tradegoods the Principality of Stone is ordering. The increase in traders (or spies?) from Far Away cannot bode well. And the southern barons still think back fondly to their time as nobles of Arrayne.

16. How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?
We don't go into that kind of blood sport around here. (But find a place that sports a bright red in their shop sign and ask for special games...)

17. Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?
The Violet Cloud sounds right up your alley - they have their tendrils in everything from smuggling and brigandry to spying and assasination. Most members are just very skilled. Beware the ones who can actually work magic.

18. What is there to eat around here?
Plenty - head for the inn down down the road. Buy something from the farmer. (mumblemumble or put in a day of honest work and earn your keep, you adventurer) Just don't poach the lord Knight's deer.

19. Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?
We remember with sadness when the Archpriest was attacked by followers of the nameless...never mind, there's a guy watching that I've seen speaking with the Order of the Third Lantern.  It is said the Tongue of Saint Dorbaine was lost that day. Who knows where it is? And for the lucky sort who retrieves the oak spear of our first king, well...

20. Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?

This Type H treasure you speak of, I do not know it. I do know that the Order of the Gale is asking around for information about these:

  • the Sea Serpent in the Bay of Denbigh
  • the behir Fulmas on Mount Grey
  • the hydra Coruscon of the Corsewall hills
  • the first Basilisk in the depths of the earth

Same map with various monsters added

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Hauling - a custom inventory and houserule sheet

Thinking up house rules is one thing, making sure they get used in play is another. I thought it'd be useful to make a player handout...which then morphed into a tracker for inventory, encumbrance and drug addictions.


This is for a 5e basis (whence light, encumbrance & exhaustion) with the following add-ons:

  • inventory: strength score = number of items you can carry without suffering encumbrance. 5 small items per slot, if you can fit it on the line. Item retrieval as per 5e (no quick-slots). My first draft here, source: Goblin Punch
  • resting and healing: need to use rations to heal and recover limited use powers. My version here, based again on Goblin Punch
  • addiction: possibly the most fun little sub-system I know, straight from Ten Foot Polemic
  • property: not a house rule, but a hit at what greasing the right wheels can do for you

Got the idea to use silhouettes (and a couple of the images) at Telecanter's

Download the pdf version here

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Random encounters and Signs of the Apocalypses

You like surprises? Like the man said - if you love your world, set it free and introduce an Apocalypse. Indeed, why stop at one? Integrated into my random encounter table because I like to be surprised.

I could plan out a campaign that ends with the end of the world as they know it...but I could also be lazy and have a random table do the work for me. And so in addition to buried horrors on the map, I've added slow burning "background events" to my encounter table. Every time these omens come up, the world moves another step closer to disaster. Seed these events with hints to a larger conspiracy, cult, plot, etc.

First though, what does the weather look like?

Because there's only so many times you can do the Dark and Stormy Night description.


My last weather table (bottom of post) had radiation storms and ghost winds. This one is more tame. Your campaign is set mid-latitudes, not too far from the ocean? Thought so. Every day, check the weather with a d4: 1 advances to the next category, 4 indicates extreme weather. This technique copied from Pits & Perilous.

extreme (4 on d4)
Clear / partly cloudy
NE - E
cooler than
extremely still, fog banks
Partly / mostly cloudy
E - SE
hail, lightning, high winds
Cloudy / precipitation*
extreme swing
storm, lightning, blizzard
gale, floods
Clear / partly cloudy
high winds

* Spring: snow/rain - Summer: rain - Autumn: rain - Winter: rain/snow


At night or at rest, roll d4.
For every 4 hours of travel or other activity, roll d6.

  1. Time passes
  2. Conflict or opportunity (d12)
  3. Sign of creature (d30)
  4. Creature encounter (d30)
  5. Mundane encounter (d20 & d6)
  6. Backdrop development (d6 & d10)

1. Time passes
Torches burn out, lanterns burn halfway, long running spells end, the horses need feeding, you need to take a leak.

2. Conflict or opportunity (d12)While time passes (as 1), roll on Goblin Punch's list of 6x2 = 12 possible encounters in camp, on the way, between NPCs and so on.

3-4. Sign of creature or creature
A sign (3) can be a sighting at a distance, tracks or waste, a lair and so on. Encountering a creature (4) means checking for surprise, a reaction roll to find if it wants to eat you, hug you, take you home for funsies, and so on.

  1. Solitary grizzly bear. Oh fuck are those its cubs?
  2. Colony of 2d4 (exploding) giant spiders
  3. Pack of 3d4 wolves
  4. Group of 2d4 boars
  5. Very territorial group of deer.
  6. 2d3 Ankheg and their nest
  7. Raiding party: 3d4+4 (exploding) goblins
  8. 1d6+2 orc challengers on rite of passage
  9. 1d4 ogres and their dire wolf
  10. Troll playing with a blink dog
  11. Manticore in cliff lair with 2d6 vicious stirges
  12. Hag with a cockatrice, warg and ogre
  13. Hunter family of 2+3 werewolves
  14. Warlock in mill: humunculus, nothic
  15. Death knight or other dangerous challenger on ancient bridge
  16. Rust monster nest of 2d4, ancient smithy
  17. Forgotten graveyard with d4+4 ghouls
  18. 2d4 skeletons and 1d6+2 zombies
  19. Wraith in tomb guarded by 3 flameskulls
  20. Nymph in a glade with chimera and unicorn pets/suitors
  21. Succulent deer being hunted by griffon
  22. Bog with 3 weary mummies
  23. Mimic road shrine
  24. Flight of 3d4 harpies
  25. Treant used as hoof sharpener by pegasus
  26. (Aboleth) river spirit, d4 bandit slaves
  27. Hunting bulette harrassing dryad grove
  28. Hydra guarding a buried treasure
  29. Nest of d2 owlbears + d3 cubs
  30. Flight of 1d3 wyverns

5. Mundane encounter (d20 & d6)

  1. bedraggled...refugees / beggars / lepers / robbery victims / hunters / escaped serfs 
  2. / monks / nobles / warlocks / carnival / wedding 
  3. place...monastery / graveyard / coach stop / horse trader / market / roadside inn 
  4. marker...shrine / land owner / ancient dead / druid / warlock / thieves 
  5. hermit...shepherd / goat herd / swine herd / lone sage / very soft-handed d3 / crone 
  6. merchant...herbalist / foodstuff / clothes and hides / metalwork / woodcraft / alchemist 
  7. cabin with / cauldron / butchery / herb garden / smoking shack / wood shed
  8. tree markings...hunter / pilgrim / beggar / druid / outlaw / bandit / warlock
  9. / tower / mill / inn / stables / mine / bridge
  10. crossing of...river / lake / marsh / canyon / cliff / broken ground
  11. letters / warrant / battle report / falsified orders / secret alliance / spy
  12. / today / recent / historical / ancient / eldritch
  13. the law...toll / watchtower / smuggler inspection / taxes / prison transport / execution
  14. victims...robbery / murder / kidnapping / blackmail / sabotage / curse
  15. broken down...messenger / carnival / merchant / tax collector / noble carriage / siege train
  16. eldritch...escaped homunculus / hacked shield guardian / pack of ghouls / hell hounds / warlock circle / maddened elemental
  17. religious...Ferragun reliquary escort / Leaden Order excorcist / Ivory Candle witchfinder / Carnellian preacher / Gustavinian investigator / 3rd Lantern vampire hunter
  18. nobility...hunting party / fête / court / duel / tournament / challenge
  19. far away...spice caravan / perfumed ambassador / curtained sorcerer's carriage /  opium merchant / furclad Vaeringjar / dragon priests
  20. half-fae...dwarf trader, mercenary / elf procession, dousing / gnome, half-elf, half-orc wandered / goblin plunder band / orc quester / cowled dragonborn, tiefling
And now...

6. Backdrop development (d6 & d10)
Maximum of one Backdrop development per day - either connect back to the earlier encounter or event, or treat as 1 (time passes).

This table holds setting-specific details, like maybe there's a war on, or the plague is about to begin, or some nobles are scheming, or wizards have been snorting coffee again, or there's a sweet lady here to take all the pain away, or eldritch shit is going down. Some categories switch to nastier tables after the first initial encounters.

1. Plague
(10 omens, then 10 early encounters, then 10 late encounters. Bring your cough medicine.)

2. War
(minor/far away encounters, or major/close by encounters)

3. Intrigue
There's something here you can turn to your advantage or to a whole lot of unwanted attention.

d6 - Who are involved
  1. Court (d4): 1) local, 2) other barony, 3) Arrayne, 4) Stone Principality
  2. Toadling barons of Ballumbie and Old Fulwood
  3. Sibling baronets of Emlyn
  4. Religious order
  5. Wizard order
  6. Trade guild

d8 What's happening
  1. honour - intercepted a letter reminding of an old, humiliating defeat
  2. debt - crushing obligation about to be repaid
  3. gift - rich and splenderous treasure being transported
  4. love - love letters and tokens being exchanged in secret
  5. marriage - bride to be traveling for political union, stopping it will break an alliance
  6. sabotage - stronghold, weapon or asset guarded badly, vulnerable
  7. betrayal - bunch of pikemen discussing how they'll turn coat on their baron
  8. assassination - bunch of actors about to give private performance

4. Awakened

After 10 warning signs, move to infections

d10 Stage 1: warning signs
(Yeah, these are a bit shit - I generated them with an excel sheet)

  1. Nightmares gave the engineer paranoia and now they are drunk somewhere.
  2. Chronic pain gave the porter depression and now they got into a fight.
  3. Festivities gave the guard memory loss and now they locked themselves in.
  4. Mountain of work gave the merchant hallucinations and now they keep seeing invisible angels.
  5. Debt worries gave the scribe tremors and now they found themselves miles from home.
  6. Green comet exposure gave the clockmaker disorientation and now they missed work.
  7. Nightmares gave the farmer loss of time and now they want to take their own life.
  8. Chronic pain drove the scribe to excessive drinking and now they have palsy.
  9. A haunting gave the hunter depression and now they think their spouse is a doppelganger.
  10. Coffee addiction made the blacksmith hyperactive and now they caused an accident.

d10 Stage 2: infection

  1. Monastery has gone silent, ringing its bells but keeping its doors closed.
  2. Confessors at the wretched Church in Stenton are going sleepless.
  3. Fishermen worked to the bone did not return from full week run in a storm.
  4. Woodloggers haven't sent new lumber after flaring green falling star.
  5. Harvest burned down in village feud-linked with neighbours.
  6. Pamflets with everyone's dirty secrets circulating in town.
  7. Nobleman is light on taxes, cannot make upkeep, now working serfs until they bleed.
  8. Harrowed sailors party themselves to exhaustion after sleep-deprived voyage.
  9. Market visitors and stall keepers exhausted, confess to sleepnlessness.
  10. Pilgrims in euphoric sleep deprivation start a day-and-night prayer.

5. Death Cult
After rolling 10 Influences of the Dawn, move on to 10 Actions of the Dawn.

d10 Influences of the Dawn
  1. a new potion promises to protect against pregnancy
  2. a known leper returns from a long absence, cured and limbs restored
  3. a farming family has suffocated its livestock and prepares for suicide
  4. a group of painful plague sufferers is found dead, at peace
  5. a fortune teller talks about the many evils in the world
  6. a village has seen no childbirth or livestock impregnation since a year
  7. a ghoul band has been cleared from the cemetary after blinding white-gold light
  8. a string of families is found killed after welcoming a traveler
  9. a white-haired girl arrives with supplies after a natural disaster
  10. a veteran soldier is found dead without a wound on him

d10 Actions of the Dawn
  1. a luminous fog drifts into town, causing painless death
  2. a hospital is attacked with gas that causes sleep, then death
  3. a suicide attack sinks a ship of famine refugees - the attacker has genitals nor anus
  4. a family is waiting for the return of their soldier son. Three white-robed people show up
  5. a child finds a sunlit gem that leaves its light in her palm. It spreads by touch
  6. a traveler unleashed painless death at a joust by kneeling and praying
  7. a friend of the party has gone to live with the Immaculate Cult and wishes to die
  8. a sad smiled wisewoman will lift a curse or disease - if you agree to become sterile
  9. a Warlock summoning is interrupted by white-clothed tome stealers
  10. a faith healer is accosted by Kurelda inquisitors and self-immolates in white light

6. The Exile
You will receive 3d6 Signs of the Exile, then experience 2d6 Seasons of Darkness, then 1d6 times will Chaos Reign, then go back to Signs of the Exile and release a major demon or horror into your campaign world. Entries copied below from their original blogs for convenience. I can't remember where I found (or wrote?) the Seasons of Darkness.

d10 Signs of the Exile
A reminder that Someone has their eye on you. After 3d6 of these, move on to Seasons of Darkness.

  1. Snake choking on a rat, both still alive.
  2. Brief view of a doe bounding away. A fox is left behind, eyes split by the doe's tiny hooves.
  3. Too many feathers. Small speckles of blood. Doves?
  4. Grey skies. A roll of thunder that goes on for minutes, but no lightning.
  5. A fox dragging a loop of intestine from its belly. Falls over and dies, and a single fly exits its mouth.
  6. Stag, with another stag's severed head, their antlers locked together.
  7. Wolf with a broken jaw, dying of dehydration.
  8. Some has crucified hundreds of squirrels. Tiny wooden crucifix-fetishes dangle from the branches.
  9. Moss-backed moose beats head against tree until bird's nest falls down, then casually eats hatchlings.
  10. In the morning, cloven footprints discovered throughout the campsite.

d8 Season of Darkness
Roll d3 to find out how many days the effect lasts. It extends three times as many miles from the local Dark Heart of the Woods. A rite of contriton or cleansing at this site can end the Season early. After 2d6 Seasons of Darkness, move on to Chaos Reigns.

  1. Thousands and thousands of bats swarm the skies. Bring rabies, carry off small wildlife.
  2. After death, all corpses turn their heads and eyes to look towards the Dark Heart of the Woods.
  3. Prey animals rise up against their predators, trampling fox and farmer in cunning, bleating hatred.
  4. The dead rise. The woods are filled with zombie animals and bloody skeletons of the same. They congregate in the Dark Heart of the Woods during the new moon, where they dance for a night and a day. Afterwards they disperse to hunt the living.
  5. Zombies have 10x their normal HP. They sense and hunt the nearest sentient creature.
  6. Trees bleed. The ground moans when it is struck.
  7. The sun fails to rise. It hovers behind the horizon for ~12 hours, creating an unnatural twilight.
  8. All food rots in the mouth, and if swallowed, is poisonous. All water tastes bitter, but is functionally clean. Starvation is rapid and dramatic. The first animals to starve are probably the smaller ones with crazy metabolisms, like shrews and hummingbirds, then mice, etc.

d6 Chaos Reigns
Lasts for 3d6 days in a 3d6 mile radius from the Heart of Darkness. Can be stopped only by a Hallow spell cast at the Heart of Darkness, which will be rife with servants of the Exile. After 1d6 of these, release a major demon or horror into your campaign world and go back to Signs of the Exile.

  1. The Sun fades away, becoming an immense red rimmed eye. You can see it staring at you no matter what, even if you are inside or underground or are otherwise blinded. The Eye’s cyclopean regard fills you with guilt; once an hour every hour until sunset, you must Save vs Paralysis or spend a turn describing 10 terrible thing you have done that you have not yet described. Lasts until sunset.
  2. The full Moon rises and begins to sing. Animals begin to act aggressively and with vicious cunning, madmen become violent and adept at escape, monarchs begin to plot invasion, and the general populace is driven to fear, paranoia, and despair. The tides are erratic and extreme. Lasts 2d4 weeks.
  3. The Stars flare to life in the sky, then vanish. Navigation by night becomes impossible, roads lead astray, and currents lead to strange seas. Lasts 2d4 weeks.
  4. A thunderous voice narrates everything anyone does, says, or thinks for the next d4 hours.
  5. Whenever it rains, it rains (d4) 1 sticky black tar; 2 bitter water that causes nightmares when drunk (or ingested via plants); 3 a hail with broken birds inside each stone; 4 blood.
  6. All present in the area make a Will save. Anyone failing this save is afflicted with a wasting sickness that will eat at their Strength at 1 damage per day, withering their muscles beneath their skin. This affliction lasts until the person commits an atrocity, defined as something completely contrary to their morals. Alternatively, the curse can be removed by a blessing with a Will save of 13 + number of Strength damage taken.