The Vomit Vault of Vechuga

When it comes to spooky, I like my spookcream to be covered with gore, and sprinkled with puke and other non-savory bodily fluids.

I’ve used Cannibal Corpse covers as dungeon dressing, and Tetsuo transformation scenes in Akira has always been a source of inspiration.

As we’re in the spookiest month of all, I gave myself a gift and published a one page dungeon themed around bile, vomit, sauna rooms and respawning monsters straight from Doom.

Behold “The Vomit Vault of Vechuga“, a short dungeon that can be tacked on to any setting were there are undead skeletons that emerge from cesspits to claw the bowels of kings and queens.

Very Classy

Our main guest, Vechuga, doesn’t really want to fight: hang around his deadly sauna long enough and he might give a gift.

As an ancient demon, he’s able to offer advice on a myriad of topics, just as long as you don’t mess with his pets hidden in cyclopean urns full of poison.

If the party is of bellicose nature, killing Vechuga will trigger the spawning of a host of Vomit Elementals, making sure that leaving the vault is much harder than getting in.

The dungeon is statted for Swords & Wizardry and Maze Rats, which helps further adaptation to most other games oldschool or not.

As always, it’s PWYW. However, DTRPG only ranks sales that are at least 0.20 cents.

If you happen to like this offering, consider making a purchase, as it’ll help with the exposure that comes with reaching Copper and Silver status.

Moreover, all the money I make on DTRPG goes straight into gaming – this way, every bit goes back into the indie game community.

My Campaign – I have no mouth yet I must DM.

In the last game, the players exploded a snail riding Witch, and the survivor made some pretty good coin.

The group descending is:

  • Root: level 2, bald tattooed wide-eyed survivor, and expert in navigating the dungeon under the tavern
  • Mario: leve 1, arcanist and mustachioed baddass. Older brother to Lucas.
  • Lucas: level 1 gladiator, bronze beefcake. Mario’s younger brother.

The group were introduced to each other during a birthday party at the tavern. Scantily clad male pirates served drinks and assorted finger food, including cokatrice fingers.

They descended to the dungeon after the party, but Roots could not keep himself from suggesting his new companions to be at the front.

A little argument ensued, but the group moved on, and went down to the second floor.

They had no encounters until reaching the second room on a long hallway, and behind an old wooden door, some muffled screams could be heard.

Lucas knocked gently on the door, and the muffled sounds became louder. Mario kicked down the door, SWAT style, and found a cow-sized creature attached to the floor, and the whole room had a foul, rotten smell.

Pretty pathetic

While Mario tried to communicate, Root circled the room and found a black tome atop a marble pedestal.

The deformed monster was in a sorry state. It seemed to be attached to the floor, and some dust had gathered upon him. Close to base, translucent spheres had something wriggling inside.

Root skimmed through the old tome, and the words started to burrow into his brain. Tales of how the air was full of Phlogiston, the element the caused slow death, and that a true magic-user should not breathe at all.

Every smell seemed more pungent to him, and foul face-covered monster that spread his pestilence had to die.

Root urged his colleagues to murder the creature, as the odour was probably deadly, but they hesitated.

Upon hearing such a threat, the monster moved vigorously. Its skin stretched and cracked, and even the flab over the mouth parted a bit. It tried to say something about the book, but Root used a magical dart spell that nocked it unconscious.

However, the threat was not the beast, but the flesh eating worms that were nesting under it.

Gimme a kiss

They had no time to argue, and fought with blade, bolts and spells.

After vanquishing the monsters, Mario noticed that under the captive monster body a glowing rune pulsed with yellow light. The rune of pain. Being attached over such symbol was worse than a death sentence.

They explored some more, but decided to track back to the surface. Just as the party climbed back to the first level, they heard the rattlesnake like sounds of Abraxas, the snakemen champion (a 1 in 8 chance!)

Root had already met Abraxas, and had promised to bring sacrifices. Abraxas demanded that one of the humans had to stay with him, but was offered the magical tome instead.

I rolled to see if the giant snakemen could read, and he could. Thus, he was delighted with the gift, and agreed to let them go.

The rest of the group was highly annoyed and suspicious of Root, and an argument erupted. (Unfortunately, Luca’s player chose to leave the game, so I took control of the character).

Lucas darted in the darkness, trying to leave his brother and fellow adventurer to the serpentine monstrosity.

Root and Mario caught up with him, but the was very aggressive and had to be knocked out. Mario tried to carry him, but Abraxas could be heard just around the corner.

Both surviving adventurers had to run for their lives, and the fate of Lucas became unknown.

Commentary: the monster attached to the ground was taken from the “I have no mouth and I must scream” game based upon the novel of the same name by Harlan Ellison. A review of the game can be found here.

This creature was tied in with the environment as the victim of a curse from the tome placed in the same room. The contents of the tome were also randomly rolled on a table by Jeff Rients, that can be found in the book “Broodmother Skyfortress”.

How big is your dragon?

I don’t like big dragons.

They are a staple of many covers, the gigantic head reaching for a diminutive foe, or atop a suitably large structure.

I hate this

Colossal dragons have a place – they’re the closest thing to a living-breathing deity in the mortal realms. A sentient H-Bomb that can explode how many times it sees fit.

They should be challenged only with powerful artifacts – preferably long ranged weapons, for the reasons below.

In gaming terms, if played wisely by the DM, big dragons can’t be killed by melee characters. First of all, think how they got where they are, physically speaking. It makes no sense to place a dragon in the end of a dungeon, where it can’t fly away.

If it can fly away, why fight against any serious opposition? You can strike back anytime for the next 1,000 years.

Secondly, to me, fighting really big dragons somewhat breaks the immersion if not done right.

Is this dragon going to wait to be smacked in the head?

The game above, although a great side scrolling beat ’em up, solves the problem of fighting a really big dragon in a way that makes no sense in an actual tabletop session: it conveniently places the heroes on a plataform and makes the red dragon stick his face over it.

Great in an arcade, dumb in a gaming table

Apart from positioning and tactics, where human sized opponents must be able to fly and deliver powerful ranged attacks if they are to pose a serious threat to a dragon, there’s the issue with weapon sizes and penetration.

Even if the hero is wielding a blade that cuts through dragons like they’re made of wet cardboard, they shouldn’t be able to strike any vital organs. Even the sharpest blade is not really an issue if it isn’t several feet long.

Cavalry lances, although long, are weapons that demand a mount, which should be able to fly in order to engage a smart dragon – albeit the dragon can just target the mount and be done with it (unless it’s another dragon, but then we’re getting close to artifact level badassery, like I said above).

Whenever I think about the durability of dragons, elephants, rhinos and cape buffalo come to mind.

These are very real large animals, that demand very large guns to be taken down.

An elephant round is a cartridge designed to take out an elephant with a single hit, needing special guns that hold one or two rounds. An adventurer with a .416 Rigby rifle would be something to be feared.

Prior to the invention of these guns, elephants were very hard to kill, demanding very clever tactics by Alexander and the Romans.

But large dragons are not elephants. They should be tough as one, but quick as a lion and ferocious as a Nile Alligator. All of this while breathing fire and flying.

Of course that someone might point out that the dragon idea might come from fossils belonging to dinossaurs or other extinct megafauna, but I also like to think that people back then knew how hard it was to bring down animals using the weapons they had.

That’s why I like images of St. George and other medieval imagery of dragons. They are seldom larger than horses, a mighty animal in it’s own right.

If it’s bigger than that, you might need an anti-tank gun

Boar hunting was a very dangerous business, and anything much bigger than a boar and clad in thick scales is just nuts – it might be Satan himself, for all it cared.

Because of that, whenever I use dragons, I prefer actual medieval and Renaissance art as a reference – these people knew what it meant to try and hunt a vicious creature, and didn’t need to paint a titanic lizard to instill fear.

Big enough to kick your spiky ass

Update!

Ian Borchardt made a great comment on MeWe:

I generally follow the medieval model where an adult dragon is actually a lot smaller than a medieval destrier, although given it’s wings and tail and generally wiry serpentine build, does tend to take up a lot more space and appear much bigger than they are (especially when angry and alive). But most attacks from atop one tend to strike down.

In my game they have to rear up and take a deep breath breath before they can flame in the next round. This tends to give a limited window of opportunity for a knight to make a charge at the soft(er) underbelly (although this often turned into a race between flame and horse).

If you look at the watercolour by JRR Tolkein called “A conversation with Smaug” (the one with Smaug on a pile of gold facing an invisible Bilbo), you will note that it is not really all that big. Remember that the “human” figure in the illustration is a hobbit, and the scale changes.

But remember that as small as it is, most medieval construction was actually quite small (whereas we are used to quite large things every day, so a dragon that small would be ridiculed compared to a Boeing 747 (until it breathed fire). Which I think we have the preoccupation that dragons have to be that big to be impressive. Our modern perceptions are wrong.

I actually really like the dragon counters from the old Melee/Wizard game for both the illustration of the dragon and their size, which come in 4 hex (3 metre long) and 7 hex (5 metre long) varieties (although the wings are furled and tail wrapped in on itself (each of these limbs are about the length of the body when extended, so a 4 hex dragon has about an 8 metre wingspan. The new version includes 10 and 14 hex dragons which are, too my mind, both too large and useless in the tactical skirmish game that is The Fantasy Trip.

In that spirit if you do want to have a colossal dragon, then make it the battleground itself, because it is too large to battle as a single thing. Have the players engage closely with the individual parts of the dragon, climb on it, and seek to drive their weapons into the vulnerable parts. The best system I have seen for doing this is the excellent Barony/Rogue Swords of the Empire, which has recently be reprinted as Conrad’s Fantasy (Better Games). In this system the would be dragonslayers have to enter the Zone of Terror (the region around the dragon), and then move to engage a specific body part (starting with the bits they can reach). The fun thing about this system is that you don’t actually make a decision about what the dragon does – it is completely automated by players rolling dice (or drawing cards) and consulting a table for their current location. This will indicate a test the character will have to make to either proceed or avoid being hurt.

For example (it is a trait based system btw):

I enter the Zone of Terror and draw a 4 of clubs: Ignoring the fear and tingling of a near dragonbreath, you rush forward to grab the dragon’s neck. You have the option to test Battle Hard (difficult) or decline and go to result #14 (dodging dragonbreath). If you are Durable you may roll twice and take the best result. Succeed and the character is now grappling the dragon’s Lower Neck, fail and suffer a Vicious wound. If it is a 4 of spades difficulty increases to tasking.

Having the trait Battle Hard it is hard but doable test and I succeed and move to the dragon’s Lower Neck. Next round I draw a 9 of hearts: Holding on to the dragon’s neck with both hands you get the opportunity to try and swing around it and kick it in it’s vulnerable lower jaw and gullet. Option to test Animal Reflexes or Acrobat (tasking) or decline and treat as result #7. Succeed and the dragon is wounded (+4 to all skill tests next round) and character is grappled with the dragon’s Chin Hair. Fail and continue with result #14.

Since I don’t have either listed trait I am likely to fail a tasking test, but I do have the traits associated with #14 so I choose to make the attempt and fail (but hopefully not fumble which would be really bad). Besides I might succeed. I don’t, so: the dragon arches and snaps it’s neck sending you hurtling to the side. Attempt difficult roll. If the character has Durable degree becomes simple. If the character has Battle Hard roll twice and take the best result. Fail and be knocked unconscious until revived by another character in the Zone of Terror. Otherwise restart the battle from there.

So much for the first two rounds of my battling the dragon.

How Anne (DIY & Dragons) kept me from nuking this blog

Anne seems like a really cool person.

Her blog (https://diyanddragons.blogspot.com/) is chock-full of actual play logs that are nice to read, and more than once I outright used stuff straight from the blog – apparently once we shared an obssession on Dwarven Cities.

But what kept me from nuking my own blog were the comments on my post about witches that steal penises.

Now, this was the first post where I said “screw this, I’m writing about what I think is funny”. Up until then, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to blog – Google+ was desintegrating, the OSR “community” was fractured and my own relationship with gaming was changing – I had a very active gaming group, but I felt it was interfering with my other professional and family obligations.

But I wrote it anyway. And I did it in the waiting line at the hospital, pondering whether writing “penis” in a RPG blog post would ban me to the shadow realms.

Bear in mind that English is not my native language, and while technical reading and writing is a skill that I’m always practicing and learning, being funny in another language is really hard.

So, there I was writing spells about stealing dicks, male genitalia sprouting tiny feet and wandering about, and generally feeling good about myself. After that, I noticed some comments, and Anne’s comment was among them – kind words indeed.

That kind of connection – with her and everybody else – is why I write this stuff, and why I put all those PWYW stuff on RPG Drivethru. A purely mental connection, strung together from games and amusement at medieval superstitions.

And that is the kind of connection that brought me from a funk a couple of years ago, something very much in need through these troubling times. Right now we’re on the “Yellow September” campaign, and I can’t even begin to think how hard it must be for someone suffering in isolation.

Therefore, just as I had a blast sharing all the weirdness, and seeing that I was not alone, I hope however is reading this doesn’t feel alone too. Gaming is a powerful tool to lessen one’s burden, and I’ll keep making the weirdest, most disgusting modules I can think of, so a DM may never be unprepared to derail his own campaign.

By the way, the spark to remember all of this came when someone pointed me there’s a manga about girls stealing dicks, and feeding them like pets. While it’s NSFW, it’s not hentai – just a 8 volume dick joke. You can find it here: Sore wa Tada no Senpai no Chinko.

Don’t worry, they grow back!

Die Drop Tables – Mountain Pass, City and Cemetery

After I printed Flesh Hill, I noticed I could use the tables by just dropping a dice on them, something I didn’t think of when I designed the module.

Since it is for sale on a PWYW basis on DTRPG, I thought about posting these tables on the blog, helping people that just need a quick hook for starting a campaign, describing what’s happening in a town street, or on a gloomy night at the cemetery.

I usually roll a d4 on these, as they don’t have a tendency of rolling away but give one or two good bounces. The number on the dice is a good indication of how many enemies or creatures are found, such as the assassins or the yetis in the mountain pass table.

The first table should be used to describe the motivation of a party partaking in a tough mountain pass crossing:

1. Find2. Guard3. Explore4. Escape
1.1. The Crystal Shell, a relic belonging to the Snail Clan that should allow users to invade other people’s dreams.2.1 The bountiful caravan of St. Cicero, sent to alleviate the plight of the settlers and     tribesmen at Badama.3.1. Batemo river, to see if it allows navigation into the southern    kingdoms.4.1. A snow troll ambush in the mountains that wrecked an otherwise regular trading caravan that was escorted by the party.
1.2. The lost patch of the God’s Yerba Mate, a herb whose tea          enhances magical     puissance.2.2. The mysterious   entourage of Cratus, arcane entomologist.3.2. The other side of the Guaradema Mountains, and the fertility of Badama valley.4.2. The Psychic Pirates, who lose their powers when not in contact with saltwater.
1.3. The first daughter of the Limpet Clan queen, who supposedly can contact the dead.2.3. The royal surveyor, on a mission to assess if Badama should be integrated into the kingdom and Gerrileau made marquis.3.3. The cemetery outside the palisade, to confirm the death of a loved one.4.3. The Order of Spiked Tongue: knights        corrupted by foul magic but who can’t travel  under the sun.
1.4. The World’s End, after the infinite steppe that was guarded by the clans.2.4 The last shipment of wooly sheep across the mountains, before   winter comes.3.4. The entrance to the fabled underground  Ruby Metropolis.4.4. Assassins specialized in mountain     warfare, who wouldn’t expose themselves in flat terrain.

In the second table, the 1d4 indicates how many buildings are in a given street, and the spot where it lands shows what’s going on, with the first row showing the kind of building that stands out:

1. One story dwelling: dry stone huts, mudbrick hovels, log cabins.2. Two story dwelling: thatched cottage, half-timbered house, wattle and daub upscale home3. Shop: general store, artisan, guildhall, merchant tent.4. Tavern: pubs, brewery,  cider houses.
1.1. An overwhelmed mother yells at naughty kids running around her. The children taunt and curse at the    players.2.1. A group of slaves deliver goods to a house, several crates and sacks are brought down from wagons blocking the streets.3.1. Clearance sale: all items with 70% discount.4.1. Bar fight! Patrons scattered on the street, while inside bottles fly and furniture breaks.
1.2. A man whips his slaves for an unknown fault. He seems drunk and is armed with a bullwhip.2.2. The tax collector accompanied by a squad of militiamen pounds at the door of a run-down home. The owners seem to be looking down at the group from behind second-floor curtains.3.2. A shopkeeper argues with a merchant about the price of raw materials being delivered. The merchant’s bodyguards grip their weapons tightly.4.2. The local militia drag casks to the street and proceed to break them open. Frogs can be seen floating in the beverage, while the   owner is being held,   screaming “I’ve been set up!”
1.3. A couple is chatting,  making snide remarks on the passing characters.2.3. A young man is thrown out of the door. And older man spits on him and throws his clothes on the street. (Roll 1d4: 1. Lost heir; 2. Bastard son; 3. Uncovered death cultist; 4. Former lover).3.3. Grand opening: free apple for everyone. (Roll 1d4, on a roll of 1 there’s a huge worm in the apple).4.3. While unloading, a     laborer slips and let a large barrel fall from the brewer’s dray. The street is awash with liquor and beggars flock to the location.
1.4. A father and daughter makes repairs on the roof of their dwelling. Building    materials may fall on the    characters (1d6 damage).2.4. A chamber pot is emptied on the street from the second floor of a house, splashing the characters.3.4. Accident: an employee stumbles to the street, with a nail stuck on his head,  bleeding profusely.4.4. The firstborn comes! The owner of the establishment is overjoyed, and has declared a two for the price of one day for all beverages.
1.5. A small fire takes place, and a family calls for help for their baby, that was inside (roll 1d4, on a roll of 1 the baby is burned to a crisp).2.5. A couple is arguing and a woman begins to scream from inside the house. A loud crash is heard.3.5. A mob invades the building, sacking and destroying the goods, while screaming “Rapist! Rapist!”. The owner is nowhere in sight.4.5. Terrified patrons are seen fleeing from the building. Inside, mugs and bottles can be seen floating mid-air, and sometimes crashing loudly against the wall.
1.6. Neighbours curse and throw dishware at each   other. Some may hit the characters (1 damage).2.6. A wake is being held, and a funeral procession         approaches the house.3.6. The building suddenly collapses, sending debris everywhere. Screams are heard in the rubble.4.6. A band is playing inside, and the building is packed with people.

Finally, if the party finds a cemetery, you may find this table useful:

1. Defiled grave2. Mausoleum3. Pauper’s grave4. Wealthy grave
1.1. The broken tombstone bears some letters, but the name it once bore cannot be read. A flower patch is growing over the grave, and the skeleton inside is broken and dressed in rotten linen.2.1. This small mausoleum is round and made of marble. Inside several jars contain different body parts, and a black pot actually is the home of a puddle of Living Blood (HD 3, stats as Black Pudding).3.1. This simple tombstone has the name of one of the characters etched on it. The grave below has an empty casket and 2 silver coins.4.1. The engraved basalt grave is warm to the touch, and the tombstone reads “Chandra”. As soon as someone comes close to the grave, a Fire Skeleton (HD 3, stats as Skeleton, immune to fire damage; inflicts extra 1d4 fire damage with attacks) bursts forth, and attacks the nearest victim.
1.2. The broken grave pulses and breathes small quantities of noxious fumes. If the soil is poked or stepped upon, a gas explosion will deal 3d6 fire damage to the victim (Save for half damage).2.2. The square black mausoleum is made of volcanic stones, and is a very rustic affair. Inside a mummified head and left arm of a huge man lie in wooden caskets. The head has emeralds (80 gc each) for eyes, and those touching the arm will be attacked by the animated limb, which will stretch and coil around the victim (HD 2, stats as Snake, Giant Constrictor).3.2. The square headstone has “Marcellus” engraved on it, and crude wooden toy miniatures were interred with the skeleton that occupies the grave.4.2. The grave is topped with a stone life-size lion statue. If broken, the casket below contains a skeleton wearing multiple gold and silver rings, adorned with step-cut sapphires (250 gc worth).
1.3. Once an angelic looking statue looked over the grave, but now it lies shattered. Those searching the statue will find a white runestone, which allows a magic user to use the spell Contact Other Plane once before crumbling to dust.2.3. The brown bricks of this mausoleum are in a sorry state of disrepair, but an iron gate still protects the casket inside. Those breaching the mausoleum will a large patch of Yellow Mould. There isn’t treasure to be found.3.3. The circular headstone has the initials T.B.A. written on it. Inside the coffin there is a dessicated corpse is gripping a leatherbound book, but the pages are ruined and cannot be read. Those carrying the book will have a +1 bonus on all saving throws.4.3. The pink marble grave is empty, and if tampered with, a Magic Missile will emanate from the center of the grave, dealing 2d4+1 points of damage, and sounding like a large bell.
1.4. The grave has been robbed, but something went wrong. The upper part of a skeleton is outside a broken casket, gripping a freshly severed foot.2.4. The fine granite tomb has a firmly shut iron door. Inside, a children’s casket has recently been deposited. This is the grave of Captain Gerrileau’s firstborn, but the casket is empty. Several fist-sized ants can be seen milling about this grave.3.4. A large natural rock serves as the headstone of this grave. Two concentric rings are engraved on it, and the remains of two embraced skeletons lie in the casket within the grave.4.4. The grey stone tomb is adorned with wrought iron floral motifs. Within, a solid iron casket contains a skeleton dressed in fine robes (40 sc worth).

If you liked these tables, please download the full version on DTRPG, where they can be found with better formatting.

Finally, I’d greatly appreciate if readers could write a what they thought of Flesh Hill on the Reviews tab, it helps a lot when writers learn what to do to get better.

Best regards,

Tito

Manual prático do jogador oldschool

Uma aula prática de oldschool dada pelo Tony, que rolou dois irmãos bárbaros de Maze Rats – Jiles e Chadwick, e implodiu uma aventura.

Jogamos o meu cenário para jogo online (disponível aqui): uma aventura rápida de “encontre o monstro” que fechamos em 2 horas, utilizando o Discord e Google Jam.

Os PJs chegaram no vilarejo fortificado depois de serem convocados pelo prefeito local para encontrar Madalena, a comandante da milícia – o pagamento de uma dívida por parte do pai dos bárbaros, que era aventureiro num grupo com o fundador da vila.

Aí tem a primeira lição do jogador oldschool: arrumar todos os recursos possíveis antes de partir. Na lábia, os bárbaros sugeriram arrumar um veneno e caçar a besta-fera como um rato, e um óleo de eucalipto para despistar o próprio cheiro.

Na aventura conforme escrita há a previsão de NPCs que possuem esse veneno, mas a maioria dos jogadores sequer cogita isso.

Em seguida, eles partiram para fazer uma sidequest ali mesmo no local. Essa é a segunda lição dessa aula: buscar XP num ambiente conhecido, ao invés de sair andando por aí e trombando com encontros aleatórios.

Conversando na cidade, a dupla descobriu que a adega da taverna estava tomada por um monstro. Ao invés de descer e enfrentar o bicho de peito aberto, pressupondo que seria um encontro equilibrado, eles jogaram uma isca numa corda, feito um brinquedo para gatos.

A tática atraiu uma topeira gigante com rabo de escorpião (rolada aleatoriamente no Maze Rats), que saiu ds escuridão entre as barricas de vinho. Os aventureiros se aproximaram com cuidado, e um deles usou uma grande caixa para cobrir sua aproximação.

A terceira lição aconteceu logo em seguida: mesmo com todo cuidado, combates são letais. A toupeira enfiou o ferrão no crânio de Giles, que morreu na hora. Chadwick exterminou a criatura com um golpe de machado.

Sem o seu irmão (decidimos que os laços familiares entre esse povo bárbaro não eram tão fortes), Chad recrutou dois garotos como guias, um cão farejador e o próprio prefeito, que pegou as armas do fundador da vila como um ato de bravura.

Na segunda parte da aventura, rolei tudo como encontros aleatórios. Ele deu sorte e conseguiu evitar monstros e assombrações, sabiamente desviando de um leão da montanha e um bebê fantasma. Quarta lição: foco na missão, evite combates sem recompensas.

Chegando na gruta do mal, conforme indicou o faro do cachorro, Chadwick dispensou os meninos e montou uma tocaia com carne envenenada na porta.

Fiz três rolagens: uma para ver se o monstro estava dentro ou fora, outra pra ver se ele via os tocaieiros camuflados, e outra para ver se o veneno o afetaria.

O bicho chegou voando ao final do dia, e focado na carne, ignorou os guerreiros que estavam no local. Isso foi possível porque o jogador foi bem detalhista em descrever como ele iria se esconder e deixar a carne de isca. Quinta lição: fale bem o que vai fazer, seja criativo, e não dependa de um teste de perícia na sua ficha.

Eu ia rolar a besta-fera que coloquei na aventura, mas o Google Jam permite que você copie imagens direto da internet, então usei um Peryton

Bem.. Como os dados que mandam, o bicho comeu a carne envenenada, e o veneno deu mais dano do que ele tinha pontos de vida. Quem for olhar a ficha da “besta-fera” para Maze Rats, vai ver que ela tem a possibilidade de exterminar um grupo de aventureiros.

Mas e se você evitar o combate como um todo? Não passa de um bicho, com inteligência de bicho e instinto de bicho.

Depois disso foi questão de limpar a caverna e encontrar o corpo de Madalena. Como quase tudo na aventura, eu tinha uma tabela para definir se ela estava morta, ferida ou bem de saúde.

No caminho de volta, mais rolagens aleatórias, mas nenhum encontro perigoso.

No final das contas, foi uma grande satisfação ver um jogo oldschool se desenvolver da melhor forma possível, o que só é possível quando jogador e mestre “falam a mesma língua”.

Todo o mérito pro Tony, que sem ter jogado Maze Rats, embarcou nessa aventura e detonou.

The gates of Dis – there’s no escape from Hell

The great Pat Eyler from Foot of the Mountain Adventures allowed me to use his gatehouse map for a roomscape.

As I’m feeling devilish lately, here’s my take.

A two-story gatehouse

“The city of Dis, deep in the 6th circle of Hell, has many gates, and this is one of the smaller entrances.

Ever expanding to acommodate the droves of heretics, murderers and demagogues that are brought daily, the walls often are found in a state of ongoing construction, as seen on the left bastion of this gatehouse.

However, this is of no concern to the city’s ruler, Dispater the Lord of Iron. No fool would lay siege to this bastion of sin.

First and foremost, the formidable defenders would welcome such a battle, for guarding the wretched souls within is a task below the stature of their powers. Fallen angels, with swords instead of feathers, flap their deadly wings upon attackers, showering them with shards of dark steel, rending their flesh to the bones and severing exposed limbs.

Secondly, master Dispater himself would charge from main gate, grateful for the opportunity of crushing the assailants between his titanic hands, looking for an enemy that would last more than the mere seconds that a condemned soul usual lasts when set before the Lord of Iron.

Thirdly, the treasures within Dis are suffering, lies and steel. No self-respecting angel would ever seek to free those who are sent to this realm, for they have forsaken the Lord’s light when preaching falsehoods and failing to repent.

Dis is a prison, and getting out is more important than getting in.

Because of this, the gatehouse is usually left open. The road that passes beneath it is made of coarse black sand, and a smattering of bones and chain links are strewn about.

The structure itself is composed of ageless obsidian blocks banded with iron. Jagged edges are sometimes sharp enough to cut victims open, when the fallen angels are bored enough to grab one of the inhabitants of Dis, and after flying high, dropping them to their doom.

The rooms within the gatehouse house the ghosts of traitorous guards that once accepted bribes to let their homes be invaded, and are usually subjected to visions of their sins.

Above the entrance, an iron grate hides sentient chains that strike like vipers against those trying to escape, grabbing them and lifting their bodies against the iron bars themselves, tearing the bodies apart through sheer pressure.

As it is said in Dis: trying to break in is madness, trying to leave is futile.”

Encontro Aleatório – Dorival Caymmi

Não! Não vou fazer uma ficha pro Dorival ser o NPC na sua próxima aventura. Pelo menos não agora, vamos ver no futuro…

qQvdEdD

Esse encontro aleatório costeiro é baseado na música “O Mar”, do bardo baiano:

O mar quando quebra na praia
É bonito, é bonito

O mar… pescador quando sai
Nunca sabe se volta, nem sabe se fica
Quanta gente perdeu seus maridos seus filhos
Nas ondas do mar

O mar quando quebra na praia
É bonito, é bonito

Pedro vivia da pesca
Saia no barco
Seis horas da tarde
Só vinha na hora do sol raiá

Todos gostavam de Pedro
E mais do que todas
Rosinha de Chica
A mais bonitinha
E mais bem feitinha
De todas as mocinha lá do arraiá

Pedro saiu no seu barco
Seis horas da tarde
Passou toda a noite
Não veio na hora do sol raiá
Deram com o corpo de Pedro
Jogado na praia
Roído de peixe
Sem barco sem nada
Num canto bem longe lá do arraiá

Pobre Rosinha de Chica
Que era bonita
Agora parece
Que endoideceu
Vive na beira da praia
Olhando pras ondas
Andando rondando
Dizendo baixinho
Morreu, morreu, morreu, oh…

O mar quando quebra na praia

Como toda grande obra, a música do Dori tem várias camadas que podem ser dissecadas por um jerico com a delicadeza de um martelete hidráulico.

Esse refrão que dá início à música emula o próprio mar, as ondas infinitas que quebram na praia (feito um La mer do Debussy, mas na ponta de um violão numa praia gostosa, e não um mar violento e gelado se batendo numas pedras pontudas).

Mas a simplicidade de dizer que o mar é bonito esconde a trágica história do Pedro e da Rosinha, que é entregue na mesma entonação da obviedade que é dizer: “o mar é bonito”.

Aí que mora a bomba silenciosa dessa música. Tudo é igual: a tragédia do trabalhador, a repugnância do corpo inchado e mordiscado, a loucura do coração partido, o mar indiferente.

O Pedro morreu pescando, e um monte de gente morreu e vai continuar morrendo no mar, que não está nem aí. Esse mar indiferente é um clichê, mas que depois dos 30 te põe pra baixo se você tá num dia ruim.

Todas essas camadas são complexas demais pro meu estilo de RPG, que trabalha com obviedades. Vejamos:

Se alguém fica louco, num jogo de RPG há grandes chances de ter uma maldição por trás. Esse papo de endoidecer de amor é algo tão distante da experiência liquefeita de tesão por aplicativo quanto as luas de Júpiter, então é muito distante do jogador, que vai ficar procurando uma cura mágica para algo que vêm da alma.

Com um livro dos monstro repletos de criaturas marinhas, pescadores são vítimas comuns, já que 99% dos jogadores nunca esteve num barco de pesca pra entender que esse é um trampo fdp e que mata muita gente de mãos calejadas que sobrevive de seguro-defeso. Onde mais você vai usar aboleths e dragões-tartarugas, senão para implodir a indústria de pesca local?

Sendo assim, vamos ao encontro:

a) o rumor: ao chegarem no vilarejo, os jogadores ficam sabendo que a população local está muito transtornada com a loucura de Rosinha de Chica. Essa informação pode ser transmitida por um… bardo de nome Caymmi. Desde que ela endoidou, outras duas garotas foram vistas entrando no mar para nunca mais voltar, mas toda vez que alguém se mete a tirar satisfações sobre as garotas sumidas, entra numa tristeza profunda e fica chorando na praia junto de Rosinha, até que outra pessoa venha resgatá-la.

b) o fato: Pedro foi a isca, e Rosinha é a porta de entrada para o mal que espreitava o vilarejo: Eubaleanus, um bruxo mutante que trocou os pulmões pelas guelras e a água salgada, e os poderes sônicos de cetáceos de grande porte (que reconhecidamente são os pioneiros de toda magia).

c) o plano: Eubaleanus precisa de mais almas para completar sua transformação, mas elas tem que se entregar para as ondas, não bastando que ele saia agarrando donzelas por aí. Desta forma, o bruxo se esconde na espuma, cantando sua música subsônica que enlouquece Rosinha e quem chega perto dela. Ele ainda surrupiou o corpo de Pedro, que agora o serve como um carniçal salgado nas ondas, e que aparece em noites especialmente escuras para assombrar Rosinha.

d) os vilões: Eubaleanus, um bruxo. Utilize uma ficha de mago/warlock/magic-user para um nível apropriado para sua campanha, ou use a ficha de um Sahuagin, substituindo a telepatia com tubarões por uma telepatia para humanos. O que importa é que ele deve ser capaz de respirar sob a água, nadar bem e ter telepatia. O bruxo é acompanhado por um carniçal aquático, ou nos sistemas que ele já tem ficha – um Lacedon. Esse é Pedro, que está sob controle mental cerrado de Eubaleanus, e não sai caçando por aí. Se Rosinha for levada à força da praia, Pedro irá tentar libertá-la para que ela possa continuar atraindo outras jovens preocupadas com o bem-estar de sua amiga.

e) a treta: derrotar Eubaleanus é difícil. Ele não vai ficar e lutar até a morte na praia. Se descoberto, vai nadar para as profundezas e esperar os aventureiros partirem – ele tem paciência e tempo. Caso Rosinha seja morta, o bruxo vai utilizar sua rede de contatos para descobrir o paradeiro dos aventureiros, e se vingar no momento mais propício – uma viagem marítima, por exemplo. 

Masaac Ratmov – Maze Rats in space

There are plenty of Maze Rats reviews out there, and just one play report actually using the game – MINE!

But today I won’t be posting another play report, although I do have enough material for another post.

In this post I all about putting out my notes for a Foundation inspired game, using Maze Rats (because apparently I play it more than Ben Milton himself).

Maze Rats is simple enough to adapt to my game with minimal changes, and I’m not going to rewrite all the random tables – I don’t really need 30 random futuristic items.

As such, I’m keeping the three stats, 4 hit points per character and 2d6 system. I’ve been using variable Danger Rolls on a range from 7 to 10 for a while now, instead of the base 10, that should be used only in extremely hard situations (I mean, the average roll is 7!).

The main changes are the “classes”, the damage system in the combat and the “spells”.

Starting Features

The +1 attack bonus stays – even in an Asimov setting a certain amount of asskicking is necessary.

The four paths are diplomacy, psychohistory, technology and space navigation. Regarding psychohistory, no character is a trained top-notch psychohistorian, but a succesful roll (usually a 10 or best Danger Roll) allows the character to glimpse into a “Seldon Crisis” and take the appropriate course of action.

Finally, instead of a spell slot, the character is a Trader, and he has the appropriate nucleonic gadget needed to produce the effect described in the rules booklet. Alternatively, the character has a choice of one of these gadgets:

  1. Small matter transmuter;
  2. Nucleonic saw/drill;
  3. Anti-gravity disc – one passenger;
  4. Long-range communicator and Galactic Positioning System;
  5. Communication and mental probe blocker;
  6. 10,000 credits.

Other 21st century items, like night vision googles, space-suits, kevlar vests and handheld computers are widely available, unless the planet where the action is taking place has regressed a lot. Then it should be closer to 1950’s Earth, without nuclear power and spacefaring.

Combat

Combat stays as standard Maze Rats, if the combatants are slugging it out. If they are using firearms, as inhabitants from a backwater planet will, then a sucessful attack roll deals the weapon damage.

Firearms, even in barbaric planets, are more advanced than our own, and I encourage DM’s to use the trope they seem fit. To me, it’s caseless rifles with 150 rounds to a clip, very light and accurate. These weapons deal 1d6+1 damage, and may hit more than one target. Portable flamers, RPGs and nerve gas are also available.

However, only barbarians fight with those weapons. Foundation personnel pack disintegrators and personal force fields.

A disintegrator hit obliterates the enemy, unless the operator adjusts to a lower setting, no save allowed – however draws first and scores a hit win.

A personal force field blocks all damage from regular weapons, violently repelling melee attacks. However, repeated hits from a disintegrator may cause energy instability (roll 1d6 after the first hit, on a 1 it flickers and shuts down for 1d6 minutes).

Spacefaring

Most ships are capable of hyperspace jumps, taking days, or sometimes hours, to travel great distances between systems. Foundation ships are also faster in normal space.

Space combat doesn’t really happen. Combat ships are equipped with very accurate laser weapons, and in case of particle clouds diffusing the lasers, electromagnetic accelerators propel tungsten rods at incredible speeds, tearing whatever they find into pieces. By the time the sensors detect an attack, it may be too late.

Spacecraft sized shield generators also exist. They are responsible for ensuring ships are not immediately destroyed, and work like personal force fields (roll 1d6 after the first hit, on a 1 it flickers and shuts down for 1d6x10 minutes).

Atmosferic aircraft vary greatly depending on where they were built. On a very civilized planet, they may employ anti-gravitational controls and glide through the air. Less civilized worlds should have jets and VTOL aircraft armed with guided missiles.

A word on nuclear weapons

A modern spacecraft has enough sensors to read it’s targets from great distances and perform surgical attacks – heavy lasers or kinectic bombardments with suitably large rods are more than enough to breach hardened bunkers.

However, backwater planets still hoarding ancient tech, or very ruthless attackers may employ such weapons, even in space. The problem is the delivery method – missiles. Against a fully functional ship or a planet with up-to-date fortifications, laser defence systems would strike down even the fastest missiles. Older vessels may be lacking the necessary tracking systems and laser weapons to deal with these threats.

Final considerations

These notes are very focused on a “Foundation” style setting, and thus may not work for your flavour of sci-fi. Star Trek fans will include teleportation and aliens, and in a Babylon 5 scenario, psykers are likely to appear. I will not bother with Star Wars, since it already has half a dozen RPGs dedicated to it.

Dwarves eat grenades for breakfast

In the last episode, the group gained another member – Epaminondas, the sheperd boy turned barbarian.

After that, they chose to go north along the old road, and soon reached a white stone bridge over a dry creek.

Anuin, the elf, is a seasoned adventurer, and noticed two hills overlooking the bridge. The group huddled behind a rocky outcropping, and began preparing fire arrows to set the hills alight and draw whatever could be hiding there (or recklessly cause a forest fire).

Gorgoradin, the dwarf, chose to move up the bridge, drawing fire from the goblins and allowing the rest of the group to pinpoint the enemy’s location.

As he ran across the heavy stone bridge, his chin tripped a wire and “BAM”!!! A couple of grenades set as trap blew him up, but he made his save and I rolled very poorly. In a very dwarfy tone, he said “You can’t strike down what’s already close to the ground!”

https://www.cambridgechocolates.co.uk/large-grenade-237-p.asp

He was alive, mangled and burnt. Meanwhile, the goblins, hidden on a couple of hills overlooking the ravine, opened fire with their foul demonic weapons, that thundered in the afternoon.

The group was pinned down, unable to advance as the overlapping fields of fire kept them hiding around a rock.

Alma, the rogue, managed to dive behind the crenelated ramparts of the bridge, and began dragging Gorgoradin.

After 3 rounds of machinegun fire, the goblins retreated, and the adventurers regrouped in a hidden mango grove, that luckily had fresh water.

A couple of days went by, and after some scouting, they located the barren hill from where the goblins were coming from.

Next up: assault on the goblin stronghold!

If you are interested in fighting these cenarios, consider downloading “Sacrebleu!” at RPG Drivethrough. The link is on the right.