Thursday, 22 March 2018

Junglebox - well met in the jungle

After the incredible success of my previous Junglebox Kit post, here's a list of random encounters in the jungle to tide you over when the party has decided to wander away from your carefully designed adventure site.

d12 what the fuck kind of rejects did we run into this time

  1. Foraging crew (3 officers, 3d10 semi-intelligent zombies) of Karrnathi Unterwasserboot Todmansliebe, Capt. Dallmeyer commanding. Experimental transplanar strike craft, hopeless navigational issues, no clue the War is over, amiable disposition and high morale. Crewed to capacity, low on fuel crystals and other supplies. Prone to ask "vich vey zo Sharn, bitte?"
  2. Toll post of Giants on the great river, with watch towers and a huge net across the stream. Allied with local mer/crab/mollusk-men or other assorted Deep One-knockoffs. Embarrassing case of cross-species STD doing the rounds.
  3. Deeply paranoid party of Shadowbinder Drow on an infiltrition in the soft, weak overworld. Lost in the jungle and lost even more in their political officer's daily propaganda. Indoctrinated to believe that overworlders will sell their souls, secrets, riches and precious protein for baubles, and will fall for the most pathetic schemes. Carry nothing that isn't trapped, poisoned, honed or enchanted to kill. Slave carries their trading supplies of baubles - returning daggers, decoy homunculi, everhungry cloaks, boots of invisible tracks (will hide tracks but leave marks that glow in darkvision).
  4. Serpent Folk slavers (1d6, and 2d4 drugged humanoid guards) returning to market with 3d6 new acquisitions (roll on table of People/sentients). At least one undercover revolutionary in the group - 1d6: 1-3 number of slave revolutionaries; 4 guard; 5 guard and slave; 6 Serpent Folk bleeding heart mistaking suicide vengeance squad of 3 slaves for revolutionary cadre that will help build a just new society where all are free.
  5. Giant ants (1 weary overseer, 1d3+1 soldiers, 2d4 workers) carefully herding oozes and fungi to clear a death trap bonanza Drow burial vault which Princess First of Tender Ministrations has declared the site of her future colony. Going is slow and frustrating, with suspicions of the oozes intentionally leaving some traps intact. Overseer would love for a team of experts do a hands-on inspection of the project. Will promise first dibs on any annoying gold or arcana cluttering the chambers. Will need to contend with oozes having reached critical mass and bootstrapping their hive mind into full-Shoggoth rebellion. 
  6. Happier than a pig in mud-explorers Prof. Livingstone and Prof. Stanley from Arcanix University. Wandering the jungle in blissful ignorance of their treacherous guides, the wild narcotic properties of the local "pipe weed" and the horrific curses on their archeological finds. Curiously lucky in avoiding the many accidents that strike their companions instead of them. Picture two clueless gentleman-explorers gallivanting around the jungle going "I say, what a pretty view, more tea?" while their cartoon villain guides are picked off by flesheating spider horrors. 
  7. Cyclops archaeologist ultra-carefully excavating ancient Giant fortress, keeps berating innocent Hill Giant servants for tearing down delicate structures at night. Sleepwalks, drawn to buried mindcrystal that houses survivor of the big extraplanar invasion from the nightmare realm 40k years ago.
  8. Swamp of super relaxed, doped out tree frog-people enjoying the warm waters. Attended by motley crew of 1d6 wildly different servants (roll randomly for people, animals, vermin) that have become enchanted and docile after exposure to the drug-soaked swamp water. Use as nymphs but with more slime.
  9. Dream merchant willing to provide ancient, weird or just plain otherplanar gear for minor deliveries and fetch quests, clearing of vermin from a local glade, etc.. Actually a bunch of trained phase spiders that deliver shiny crap on behalf of a psychic tree monster that's trying to lure sentient food to its lair.
  10. Stranded House Orien teleporter on a deep secret mission to treat with a Rakshasa demon. Have agreed to both teleport into and meet a an easily described hidden valley. Valley functions as ancient Giant honey pot for invading Quori (nightmare) spirits - you can teleport in, but then a magic circle goes up until the local overseer can check you out. Human and demon very suspicious of each other, playing polite shadow games to find out each other's real, true, actual motivation. Last Giant overseer died 40k years ago protecting hidden vault of promising Giant children in deep stasis. All animals in valley carry soul fragments of stark raving mad nightmare spirits. Have started to eat each other to concentrate spiritual power, take over biped invaders and open dimensional lock. Overburdened crap.
    Take two: two mages + entourage have teleported to this beautiful valley to discuss illegal trade or treasonous activity. Local shaman is troubled by dreams that indicate one of the visitors is a demon in disguise.
  11. Hapless troupe of actors from Sharn have decided to travel the jungle for inspiration with ever-diminishing band of stage hands. So far, have picked up cursed golden idols, gems that are whispering demon souls, the skull of a ravening ancient vampire, sacred totems of the local filed teeth Drow, two changeling impersonators, and well hidden and increasingly bemused locals following them with bets on how much longer they'll last.
  12. Burlesque smugglers. (I have no idea. My wife suggested this one while watching Mel Brooks' The Producers.)
  13. BONUS ENCOUNTER FOR WHEN YOU'RE STUMPED BY ANOTHER ENTRY: group of young industrial espionage gnomes hunting for the next scientific breakthrough after elemental binding, necromancy or Warforged. (Could still be burlesque, offers my wife.)
  14. SUPER EXTRA BONUS ENCOUNTER: Giant hermit preaching wisdom to bunch of deeply conflicted Drow, who are torn between unending racial hatred for anything over 6 feet tall and the fact that the hermit is a werescorpion, which must surely be a sign from their scorpion god Vulkoor. Hermit's poisonous sting conveys scorpianthropy and is also 90% deadly. Drow understandably less than enthousiastic about those odds, but will gladly try to rope interlopers into transfering holy werescorpionishness unto less troublesome vessel, leaving the group free to kill off the hermit without offending Vulkoor.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Map: zigguramid

I've got pyramids and ziggurats on the brain - hence, doodling. Here's a take on a mesoamerican-ish structure I hope to use in my ongoing Jungle Trek game.

This place

I imagine this place to be the ancestral home of a priest-ruler, with underground cells (or a lab?), a burial gallery (or vault?) and a sacrificial room with an bottomless pit. Now a ruin, the site has seen a couple of different inhabitants. The caverns or excavations on the right hand side were perhaps made by monsters or barbarian invaders.

A: One story gatehouse on the grand staircase, with many arrowslits (could bear improving, better version in B) and stairs to the underground structure.
B: Elevated palazzo, throne room, bell tower. Arrowslits came out better here.
C: Caves (or digging) breaking into the main structure. Lower cave opens up on the bottomless pit. Probably whatever made them was either from the surface and looking for buried treasure, or from below.
D: Your basic underground lab / prison / vault / sacrifice site.

Some self-commentary

Style clearly stolen (badly) from Dyson. I'm learning to plan out spaces before I put pencil to paper, but am still sketching at too small a scale, I think. Working at a larger scale I could've planned and straigthened out the stairs better, included furnishing in the rooms, etc. Playing around a bit with how to indicate features and terrain. In C, tried to work in inner walls in a big open space, not quite happy with how it turned out (too thin, lacks mass). In area D, I tried first (lower right cave) to copy Dyson's water icon, then settled for ripples in the lowe left cave. Left one looks better to my eye.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Junglebox kit

Here, for your enjoyment and to force myself to write down these ideas for a change instead of winging it, is my first stab at a junglebox. This is the first of a series; also includes random encounters and a ruined, contested jungle metropolis. For reference, my group is currently using Pathfinder - critters should be portable enough to other D&D clones.

This, but better and in different terrains? Sure!

Wavecrawl kit and Sandy box kit - Playing D&D with Pornstars
Forestcrawl kit - Wrath of Zombie
A slowly evolving Fungus/oozecrawl - Goblin Punch, Coins & Scrolls: The Great Rot, Monsters thereofMyconids and their ecosystem

Why you are in this jungle
  1. Stranded after transport accident
  2. Chasing known miscreant
  3. Retrieving lore from hermit
  4. Hunting for legendary creature
  5. Searching for rare herbal cure to deadly plague
  6. Returning cursed artifact to finding site
  7. In race to faraway landmark
  8. Challenged to discover legendary lost site
  9. Questing for semiportable macguffin
  10. Trying to get away from your cesspool of a home town
  11. Looking for source of potent drug
  12. Seeking forbidden magic

What keeps things interesting
  1. No supplies, need to live off the land
  2. Lost guide or maps
  3. Natives don't speak Common
  4. Saboteur in the party
  5. Unwittingly carrying artifact of doom (50% chance of pursuing zealots)
  6. Many factions to negotiate with
  7. Haunted by ghosts of tombs you desecrated (50% chance of pursuing zealots)
  8. Yellow bellied party members afraid of every last insect, fungus and snake
  9. Dead weight - expedition member is useless, needs to survive the trip
  10. Natives friendly, way too much into cannibalism
  11. Limited carrying capacity for food, gear & loot
  12. Wasting curse or disease whittling down party

Why you can't just turn around and call it a day
  1. Drunken oath during farewell party to succeed or die trying
  2. Burning hatred for rival adventuring party
  3. Mistook retirement fund for drinking money
  4. Promise to your one true love
  5. Contract with guild master
  6. Quite reasonable request from local Gnomish mafiaentrepeneurs
  7. Crippling gambling debt
  8. Archwizard with 'for the pursuit of knowledge' speech and Geas spell
  9. High priest with 'chosen by the gods' speech and Quest spell
  10. Wasting disease and inflated prices at temple of healing
  11. Entire nation's fate hangs in the balance
  12. Wandering curse - cannot sleep in the same place for more than 1d3 nights

    This place

    • Roll d8 to determine the dominant wildlife.
    • Roll d10 to find out if there are people about, from which culture, and what is bugging them.
    • Roll 1d100 for places: ruins, eldritch locations or other landmarks.

    Dominant wildlife (d8)

    1.    Fungus and ooze (d12)
    2.    Plants (d12)
    3.    Vermin (d12)
    4.    Animals (d20)
    5.    Lively plant life, small wildlife
    6.    Dead-silent foliage, no wildlife
    7.    Alliance: 2d4
    8.    Conflict: 2d4

    d12 Fungus & ooze Plants Vermin
    1 Phycomid Assassin vine Assassin bug
    2 Sky dreamer Calathgar Carrion moth
    3 Giant slug Cobra flower Botfly swarm
    4 Gelatinous cube Crypt flower Blood caterpillar
    5 Ochre jelly Dire flytrap Death butterflies
    6 Black pudding Gallows tree Firecrab
    7 Tyrant jelly Hangman tree Giant centipede
    8 Fungus queen Jinmenju Deathgrip bug
    9 Ascomoid Kawa Akago Scorpion, giant
    10 Violet fungus Phlogiston Scorpion, emperor
    11 Myceloid Udoroot Scorpion swarm
    12 Mindstab fungus Witherweed Tick swarm

    d20 animals d20 animals
    1 Anaconda 11 Megasloth
    2 Brontosaurus 12 Megasnake
    3 Bulette 13 Megatortoise
    4 Crocodile 14 Monkey Swarm
    5 Devilfish 15 Poisonous frogs
    6 Girallon 16 Quetzalcoatlus
    7 Great cat 17 T.Rex
    8 Hippo 18 Terror bird
    9 Iguanodon 19 Venemous snakes
    10 Megacrocodile 20 Wyvern

    People (d10)

    1.    1d3 Hermits (wise folk, witches, oracles, outcasts)
    2.    2d6 Travelers (traders, hunters, slavers)
    3.    2d4 x 10 Camp (nomadic)
    4.    3d8 x 10 Settlement (permanent)
    5.    Empty
    6.    Empty
    7.    Empty
    8.    Empty
    9.    Alliance: 2d4
    10.    Conflict: 2d4

    Culture (d30)
    1 Firebinder Drow
    2 Shadowbinder Drow
    3 Girallon slavers
    4 Slaad
    5-6 Ashen Lotus cult; reroll for cover
    7-8 Giant Ants
    9-10 Serpent Folk
    11 Fire Giants
    12 Storm Giants
    13-14 Jungle Giants
    15-16 Hill Giants
    17 Ettins
    18 Cyclops
    19-21 Vulkoor Drow: loreseeker
    22-24 Volkoor Drow: wrathful
    25-30 Volkoor Drow: hunter

    d20 What is bugging them
    1. Rival tribe conducting raids in territory
    2. Wandering monsters poaching hunting grounds
    3. Shaman is having prophetic seizures of "despoilers"
    4. Bad hunting season. Usual rites and taboos do nothing.
    5. Horrible weather - heat, cold, drought, rain
    6. Burial grounds looted
    7. Youths on rite of adulthood disappeared
    8. Plague
    9. Tools keep breaking and disappearing
    10. The god in the pit grows hungry for a fresh bride
    11. Holy madmen whipping up suicide cult
    12. Drug addiction, stash ran out, trader is late

    d100 Places
    1 Abandoned town 51 Wide river
    2 Razed temple 52 Lake
    3 Sacrificial altar 53 Standing pools
    4 Burial ground 54 Rapids
    5 Giant stone head 55 Waterfall
    6 Trading post - water, land, air 56 Muddy expanse
    7 Crashed skydwelling 57 Quicksand
    8 Bridge 58 Tar pits
    9 Ancient aquaduct 59 Dinosaur boneyard
    10 Vinerope bridges in the trees 60 Gigantic tree
    11 Arena 61 Stone outcropping
    12 Cliff caves, winch entry 62 Steep cliffs
    13 Dream vault 63 Barren expanse between trees
    14 Aberration lair 64 Cave-riddled hills
    15 Mine: metal, gems 65 Oddly cool and quiet grove
    16 Underwater tower 66 Smoke or gas from vent
    17 Ziggurat observ/laboratory 67 Broken ground, slow going
    18 Farming community 68 Pit of green slime
    19 Derelict warmachine 69 Swamp with will-o-wisps
    20 Trapped armory 70 Branching canyon
    21 Temple full of eggs 71 Filled with rare blue flowers
    22 Well with horror and treasure 72 Concentric rings of rock
    23 Decayed watchtower 73 Gems that crumble in sunlight
    24 Line of watchtowers 74 Forest-wrecked structure
    25 Buried quorforged army 75 Impact crater
    26 Crashed skycraft 76 Towering fungal growth
    27 Walking fortress 77 Rage-filled glade
    28 Inverse tower 78 Dried lake
    29 Labyrinth, (dwelling in walls) 79 Broken dam, staggered rapids
    30 Outsider foothold 80 Towering highlands
    31 Magic tree* 81 Warblasted flora, fauna, terrain
    32 Dead magic 82 Hot springs
    33 Reverse river 83 Boiling hot geyser
    34 Floating rock 84 Stone islands in caldera-lake
    35 Haunted slave pens 85 Gigantic quartz shard
    36 Syberis dragonshards 86 Glowing gems in the rock
    37 Canyons are Draconic runes 87 Permanent thunder storm
    38 Sunken town, breathable water 88 Lava flow or pit
    39 Glow orbs mimic constellations 89 Still, clear, bottomless lake
    40 Tilting floating building 90 Very pleasant glade
    41 River of tumbling rocks 91 Dinosaur trapped in amber
    42 Obsidian coral growths 92 Titanskull hermit crab
    43 Field of Slaver Sunflowers 93 Fruit trees and game
    44 Imp caught in amber, watching 94 Tidal caverns
    45 Hut of giant skulls (spellbooks) 95 Mating ground
    46 Giant shadows burned into rock 96 Disorienting spores
    47 Permanent fire pillar 97 Poisonous and flammable gas
    48 Cloud sigils teach magic 98 Giant wasp hive
    49 Magic waterfall** 99 Hill carved into giant face
    50 Magic river*** 100 Lotus field

    1. Untamed. Cannot be crossed by boat or bridge, a bitch to swim across, birds avoid flying over it. Any attempts gets you visits by gremlins, then elementals, then the god of the river himself comes to wreck your shit. Defeat him to cross and to travel faster in the future, but endure his constant challenges.
    2. Forgetfulness. Every encounter check on the river, also roll a Will save or lose a year of memories, starting when you became an adult (first adventure, rite of passage) and moving one year closer to the present every roll.
    3. Adventure. Reroll any encounter check that doesn't result in a direct encounter.
    4. Time. A day of travel will last (d6) 1 10 minutes, 2 an hour, 3 ±1d3 days, 4 ± 1d3 weeks, 5 ± 1d10 months, 6 ± 1d100 years (travel back in time for negative results).
    5. Unchartable. Strange plants, animals and landmarks appear on the banks; end up (d4) 1 unexplicably closer to your goal, 2 several days back along your journey, 3 in the spirit world, 4 at a harbor between the worlds.
    6. Fate. Pronounce your own doom; the DM gets to add half as many words to the prophecy - you know these words. Gain a bonus to saves and checks equal to your level + charisma bonus when failing them would prevent you from meeting your doom. Your doom lies 1d10 years into the future; every time you use the river bonus, it moves one year closer. When you hit 0 years, your doom will come within d4 sessions.
    1d6 magic waterfalls
    1. Dilution. Objects thrown into the waterfall have their power washed away. Good place to wreck a cursed item. Just don't go in with spells memorized - unless you don't mind losing them forever. 
    2. Soul sink. The waterfall destroys away the soul of anything falling into it. A way to end a recurring undead (which is nothing but a stubborn soul puppeteering dumb matter) or an angel/demon. Also a great way to make anyone surviving the trip into a soulless sociopath.
    3. Chrysalis. Falling down the falls frees you to make the next evolutionary step. Roll 1d3 to determine number of mutations gained - for each mutation, roll Fortitude difficulty 15 + (total mutations) to determine whether it comes from the the minor or major mutation chart.
    4. Nihilism. Will save, difficulty 20 nightly to gain any sleep: 2 consecutive failures turns you into an Awakened, 2 consecutive successes cures you.
    5. Elemental baptism. Throwing a precious sacrifice into the waters blesses you with a powerful ward against magic.
    6. Binding. The waters imprison anything as long as they keep running. Damming the river will stir up seriously pissed-off critters dumped into the falls in ages past.
    3d6 Why the weather particularly sucks today
    Roll for weather twice per day. After you roll extreme weather (3-6 or 15-18), reroll with 1d8+6 (7-14) to find the weather after the freak event. The next half-day also rolls 1d8+6.

    3.     Radiation blast: Range 10/20/30ft, Fort 13/17/22 or initial 1/1d4/2d4 Con drain & 1/1d4/1d6 Str dmg/day (2 saves ends Str damage; spillover Str damage goes to Con). Buried source nearby.
    4.     Earthquake: 1-25% 10x1d4+1 ft fissure; Ref 20 or fall; 26-40% Ref 15 or prone; Acrobat 10 to move, Dex-skills -8; Concentration 20+spell level to cast)
    5.     Hypnotic Mist (Will 18, Confusion, 10 rounds: 1 Wander off, 2 do nothing, 3 attack self, 4 attack other)
    6.     Forest fire (1d6 per round, 2d4x10 rounds; Fort 15+1/round (max 20) or 1d6 nonlethal)
    7.     Clear, warm, breeze
    8.     Warm, cloudy
    9.     Heavy fog, 20% concealment out to 10 ft; 50 % concealment 10-20 ft.
    10.  Humid, hot, still; Fort 10+1/hour of moderate excercise or fatigued (8 hours to recover)
    11.  Heavy rainstorm
    12.  High winds, half movement, -5 to climbing/flying checks
    13.  Freak cold snap after rain storm
    14.  Lightning storm (5% 10d6 lightning; 6-15% 5d6 shrapnel, Ref 20 half; 16-30% Fort 12 or deaf, 1 min) 
    15.  Incorporeal wind (ignores everything but flesh; Fort 15 or 1d6 nonlethal & fatigue: -2 Dex & Str, no running)
    16.  Flash flood (Survival 20: 1d4 rds warning; Bull rush +20 or swept away, 2d6 dmg/rd, Ref 12 half, 3d6 rds; Swim 20 to move towards dry land (1d3 checks))
    17.  Reverse rain, dehydration (1 dmg/round of exposure, 3d6 x 10 rounds)
    18.  Syberis shardfall (4d6 piercing & 4d6 fire, Ref 15 half; 1d4 rounds; yields 3d4 shards, value 20-50-200-1000 gp, weight 1/2-1-1-2 item slots)