Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Dungeon Master

There is a short story in the New Yorker called "The Dungeon Master" and it's available online.

The Dungeon Master

It's actually well written, and I enjoyed it more than The Elvish Gene.  Check it out!

Also, today is the last day for this months Audience Participation!  Suggest your ideas, or it's just going to be a Rusty's Random Blog Topic roll!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Briar Lock

Briar Lock

In the heart of the densest city, at the core of the largest Dwarven Hold, there is often a spot where nature holds on.  It’s a small outpost for wild things, where the feywild isn’t quite so far away.  These spots are, of need, hidden from the general passerby, reserved for those drawn to them.  They are loved and tended, and woe to any who would defile them. 

Briar Locks are often placed on the gates to these gardens.  They are built of silver, forged in moonlight, and enchanted with many protective magics.  The first magic forged into the lock is a charm effect that causes anyone not of fey blood to ignore not only the gate, but the entire garden.  The second enchantment helps anchor the feywild to the garden, keeping it healthy and alive.  The third and final enchantment will cause any garden to become wild if it isn’t tended regularly.  Such overgrown gardens may cause the feywild to spill over into the city itself, impacting it in unpredictable ways. 

Interestingly enough, the lock is a purely mechanical item, and is in fact rather simple to pick, should the key be missing.  Oftentimes the key is simply left in the lock, allowing anyone who knows of the gate to use it.   

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Crystal Key of the Azarian Ice Realm

Rathgar, bored by the waiting, picked up the cold crystal hexagon from the shelf.  It was thin, and he was able to just hold it with his finger tips. "What's this?"

"A key to the ice realm of Azarian." Feris answered after looking up from his book.  

"Where's that?"  Rathgar asked, examining it from all sides.

"Well, it doesn't exist anymore.  At least that's what most of the stories say.  That key is the last known piece of their civilization.  It was given to a tiefling emissary so that she could safely and comfortably visit.  She was the last person to see the realm when it came under attack by a fiery horde of demons."

"That's a shame.  I bet it was a really stunning place with a name like that."

Crystal Key of the Azarian Ice Realm

This hexagonal disk of elemental ice (it won't melt) is cold to the touch, and as hard as steel.  It is approximately 5 inches wide and about a quarter of an inch thick.  It will protect its bearer from cold (as the spell) for as long as it is carried.  It will also freeze any water it is brought into contact with, up to a 10' diameter sphere.  If brought into contact with a large body of water this will result in a hemisphere of frozen water.

Water based creatures (elementals & wierds for instance) will take 1d10 points of magical damage from a successful attack.  Fire based creatures will suffer 1d6 points of damage.  Earth based creatures will be slowed, and air based creatures will take no damage but will cause an additional 2 points of damage on any successful attack after being struck by the key. Non-elemental creatures will take 1d2 points of magical damage if struck by the key.

The Crystal Key of the Azarian Ice Realm is immune to all damage except that caused by heat or fire.  If the key takes 30 points of fire or heat damage in a single round (it may come from multiple attacks) it will be destroyed, otherwise it will immediately regenerate any damage taken. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lock and Key Tokens

The shadowy figure crawled along the peak of the roof.  The copper panels had long since turned green, which dulled their appearance in the faint moonlight.  Reaching the middle of the roof, it ever so gently slid down the west side, coming to a stop at the gutter.  The perimeter guards moved slowly along the outer wall of the grounds, and even the dogs hadn’t noticed the shadow. 

The figure eased itself over the gutter, and slowly climbed down onto the 3rd floor balcony.  The door proved to be only a moments delay, and the figure was inside before anyone was the wiser. 

A small bed was occupied by a single child sized form.  The shadowy figure came right up to the foot of the bed, and spied the child breathing deeply in its slumber.  The bedroom door was unlocked, and the house silent.

Moving ever so slowly the figure skulked out of the room, and down the stairs.  It slipped through the manor’s main hallway, creeping along the shadows, careful not to allow a single sound.  At the far end of the hall it paused before a door, listened once again, and gently opened the door just enough for it to enter. 

The master bedroom was dark, and the curtains were drawn on the bed.  A glint of steel appeared briefly as the shadow eased the curtain aside.  The poisoned blade struck silently, the burgomaster's eyes startled open, he gasped silently, and bloody foam began to bubble out of his mouth.  But by then the room was empty, the door closed. 

Some hours later, when the burgomaster failed to appear for breakfast the servants went to his door.  They knocked, but he did not answer.  They tried the door, and found it locked.It was one of the guards who noticed the small copper token affixed to the door, bearing the image of a key hole.

Lock and Key Tokens

These single use magic items are always created as a matched pair.  The lock token, often appearing as a key hole or a stylized lock, needs to be merely pressed against a door or lid to invoke the magic.  Once affixed it acts as a wizard lock cast by a level 1d8+4 level wizard.  The lock will remain in place until dispelled, the door is destroyed, or the matching key token is used to end it's magic.  Whatever means are used, once the spell is broken these tokens become non-magical trinkets.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Stone Idol of Chaos

The small stone statue gazed balefully at them from the altar.  Standing only a couple of hands tall, the crude figure represented a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind.  It’s pure black eyes seemed to absorb the flickering torchlight the adventurers brought with them into this oppressive chamber.  Various gems, coins, and a leather bound book were spread about it on the altar. 

Nimble slipped around Rathgar, who was gripping his sword tightly, and started to reach for the idol.  Allianora grabbed his pack, and hissed “DON’T!” Nimble turned to look at her in shock.  “Don’t touch it.  Don’t look at it.  Leave!  We must go!” She started to pull Nimble away. 

Rathgar nodded, and helped Allianora frog march Nimble from the room.  Feris trailed behind them, closing the door.  He turned and glanced through the slight opening, his eyes lingering upon the creature.  His spine chilled as he thought it looked back at him, and he pulled the door shut.

Stone Idol of Chaos

History: This greenish-gray statue is a representation of a being of chaos, a thing from before the universe was as it is now.  While the being is currently dormant, it is not a restful sleep.  Certain dark cults are driven by it’s dreams to worship this being and to perform a variety of perverse rites in its name.  The creation of an idol is a foul process involving many sacrifices of both unwilling lives and of willing souls.  If successful this idol will be attuned to the dreams of the being, and assist in furthering the primordial chaos

Description: Standing only a couple of hands tall, the crude figure represented a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind, perched upon a stone block 

  • Powers: The Idol of Chaos has the following powers:
  • Mass Charm, 120’ range (gaze attack).
  • Polymorph Other, 120’ range, one target (gaze attack)
  • Gate
  • Growth of Plants, 120 range (area transformation)
  • Immunity to Poison
  • Immunity to Energy Drain
  • Immunity to Paralysis
  • Lore

Handicap: Anyone taking possession of the Idol will immediately begin to transform into an abomination.  They will grow extra eyes (which they will have no control over), extra mouths which will whisper gibberish, their limbs will be replaced with tentacles, all of which will reduce their charisma by 1 point and raise either their strength or constitution by 1 point (to a maximum of 18) for every week the idol is in their possession, until their charisma reaches 3. 

Penalty: The use of any of the Idol’s powers causes the possessor’s wisdom to drop by 1 point.  Each point may be regained with a days rest, a blood sacrifice, and a successful save vs Spells.  A failed save further reduces the possessor’s wisdom by 1 point.  Should the possessor’s wisdom drop to 3 they will lose any grip on sanity forever, and all physical changes they have undergone due to the Idol’s handicap becomes permanent. 

Note: This is an EVIL and CHAOTIC artifact, and it has corrupted all who have claimed it.  It will detect as both powerful and evil.  Normal animals will refuse to go within 200 feet of the idol, and lawful creatures will feel a great unease when near it.

I built this guy out of paper mache and some water bottles.  Thought you'd all like to see it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thinking about things

This month there has been a lot less content here.  The least that I managed to produce since February.  I knew there would be a slowdown, but I thought that I would do better than I did.

So far I've only given you 4 new things for your games, 1 review, 1 link, 1 response to the a post on Grognardia, and 1 announcement.  Plus this post.  Tomorrow I'll be sharing the first artifact to grace the Tower, which I'm rather excited about.  I have a bunch of other posts that are more ethereal than not, and I haven't done much with my megadungeon since July. I intend to keep at it, and I hope you continue to enjoy it.

In other news it seems that I am a level 5 RPG blogger, and #80 on the big list of old school blogs.  That's damn cool!  Top 100, Baby!! 

Lastly, I'm opening up this months Audience Participation thread!  What do you want me to blog about in October?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Erotic Monster Manual

Something Awful did a contest to re-imagine the original Monster Manual creatures as erotic creatures.  It's way better than it could have been.  For instance, this Erotic Gelatinous Cube.

Some of them are NSFW, which really should go without saying.  Of course that depends on where you work. 

Erotic Monster Manual Art Contest

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Imagining Dungeons and Dragons

James at Grognardia asks what cover is the first one that comes to mind when you  think about D&D.

I already wrote about that back in May: This is Dungeons and Dragons!

And for those who don't like to click links, here it is.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Key to Her Heart

“That is truly a fascinating philosophy” the mustachioed man replied.  “Perhaps we could discuss this further?  There is a wonderful café where the drink is nearly as stimulating as this conversation.”

“What a wonderful suggestion!” Allianora replied with a grin.  “I really want to know your thoughts on the Book of the Eighth Prelate, on love and understanding.”

“And I would love to share them with you.”

“Allianora!” Rathgar yelled across the temple hall.  He, Nimble, and Feris were walking toward the pair.

“Those are my frien-“ Allianora turned back toward her companion to find him gone. 

Nimble smiled at her as he approached.  “Garion’s a nice guy isn’t he?”

“Garion?  He said his name was Torak”

“Yeah, sometimes he says things like that to people, right before he robs them.” 

“But he didn’t…” Allianora’s hand fell to her empty belt pouch. “Still, he really is so nice” she finished.   

The Key to Her Heart

When in the possession of a male, this magical key provides a +2 bonus to all reaction rolls with females, and can be used to cast Charm Person 3 times per day, but only on females.   

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Poor Richard’s Amazing Key of Energy Absorption

The old gnome stood defiantly before the gate of his workshop, his balding head glistening in the sunlight, small round frames sitting on his nose.  “You have no power here Thales.  Your reign over these lands is over.  We are free.  Begone.”
“Ah Richard, you know I can’t do that.” The curly bearded sorcerer replied.  “These lands are mine by right, and besides, I really must have that flying machine of yours.  I’d rather not take it by force, but I will.”  Thalos brought his hands up in front of his chest, and sparks of blue-white energy arced between them.

“Do what you must.” Richard replied, leveling a hollow rod at the sorcerer.

With a blinding flash lightning shot from Thales’ hands, blasting directly into the gnome.  When Thales eyes adjusted he saw the Richard standing there, unharmed save for a scorch mark on his sleeve.   The key hanging from Richard’s belt seemed to pulse with energy though. 

“All Gnomes shall be Free!” Richard yelled, and he pulled the trigger bar.

Poor Richard’s Amazing Key of Energy Absorption

This magical key, forged by the magitech philosopher and Gnomish Liberation Front leader “Poor Ben” aka Richard Frankton, is specifically designed to counteract the oppressors primary tool of terror, the lightning bolt.  It can absorb the energy of multiple lightning bolts, reducing damage taken by anyone with the key by up to 18 points per round up to 10 times before being discharged.  After absorbing 10 bolts, either natural or magical, it will not only fail to stop a 11th bolt, but it will release the previously held charges causing 12d6 points of electrical damage to all within 20’ of the key (save vs spells for half for everyone except whoever is holding the key). 

It is possible to release the energy stored in the key.  It may be discharged directly into the ground by attaching it to a string which is then allowed to touch the ground.  It may also be attached to one of Poor Ben’s Miraculous Lightning Rods which has a variety of useful functions. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

To be a god

“Do you want to be a god?”

There I was, minding my own business, standing in the lobby area of the hotel at a con when this woman who I hadn’t noticed before looked expectantly at me. 

“Of course” I replied. 

Well, really?  How else was I supposed to reply to that question?

“Then come with me!” She said, and turned toward the game room. 

I sat down at a table with a couple of other players, and was offered my choice of a number of pre-generated characters, while at the same time being told about the game and its world.  We were all members of the same family.  Of the available characters I chose Caleb Marsh the Baron (least god) of Moths.  Much like myself, Caleb had been minding his own business on Boston’s Commons shortly after the end of the American war for independence when a being of great power came looking around for someone of great honor and nobility to take the mantle of the god of moths.  Caleb glibly convinced this being that he was just the sort of chap he was looking for.  200 years later Caleb found himself as the head of the Marsh Corporation, an immensely powerful multinational, a playboy jetsetter, and an apparently ageless god.  His best friend is an amoral ivy plant who he plays frequent games of poker with (they both cheat). 

For the next 3 hours the group of us encountered rival gods, and fought against a being that was trying to prevent our Imperator (patron greater god) from becoming.  One notable event included dueling to a standstill the regent of war (or battle?) much to her shock.  Caleb didn’t spend much of his godly power on developing a great link with my moths, he spent it on himself!  Later, using the resources of his multinational, he traveled not only across the world (it’s flat you know) but to another that hung from Yggdrasil to steal an extremely rare painting.  At the very end, as we were putting the conditions in place for our Imperator to be born we realized that the sun was shining from the wrong direction.  With only moments to go, both in and out of game, I spent the last of my power for the session into forcing the sun to shift to where I needed it.  Had this not been a one-shot, there would have been hell to pay with the regent of the sun, I’m sure. 

The game ended moments later, as we had to give up the table for another game, but our Imperator was safely born, and life would continue on. It was my first and last time ever playing Nobilis, and it was amazing.  I bought the book just as soon as my FLGS could get it in stock, devoured it, and then was completely unable to get anyone interested in playing it.  It’s still the most gorgeous role playing book I’ve ever seen, and I would love to someday play again. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Key of Respite

Feris held the small key in his hand.  The body of the slain warlock at his feet was already beginning to desiccate from its own infernal emanations.     

“What’s that?” Rathgar asked, poking at the body with his boot. 

“A key, obviously” Allianora remarked.


“It’s a door key, or at least that’s what it looks like.  However there is some magic attuned to it.” 

“Well, shall we try it out on that door?” Nimble asked.

“But we just came through that door.” Rathgar pointed out.

“Well, sure!  If works, and something happens, we’ll know it!” Nimble replied.

Feris shrugged “Why not?”  He stepped to the closed door, and slid the key into the lock.  Surprisingly it seemed to fit, and with a twist the locking mechanism clicked.  Feris put his hand on the handle, turned and pulled.  The door swung open easily, revealing not the hallway they’d just traversed, but the garishly decorated retreat of the warlock.

“So that’s where he kept his treasure!” Nimble said gleefully. 

The Key of Respite

While within any Megadungeon this key, when used on any door large enough to admit a human sized creature, will cause the door to become an egress to an otherwise inaccessible room.  This room supplied with fresh air, and comfortably kept warm by an ever-burning fireplace.  The décor and contents of the room vary over time as different owners take possession of the key.  Several of these keys are known to exist, and each one seems to access different rooms.  Most of these rooms are around 20’x30’ with the door and fireplace on opposite short walls. 

If the door is closed from the inside, and then reopened it will do so in the most recently used doorway 99% of the time.  If the 1% is rolled, or the door is already open or destroyed then the exit will appear randomly within the Megadungeon, at the discretion of the DM.  

This is the first of the magic items for the monthly audience participation program. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Monthly Audience Participation Results

With the votes tallied we have a win for the random blog topic!

Ok, so Rusty wrote 3 different topic generators. Using Kobrets Dice Roller I first rolled a d6 and I got a 2, divided by 2 makes a 1. So I’ll be rolling on the original gnerator. One 1d30 roll and I rolled a 16 which according to the chart is Three New Magic Items!

Expect them over the next week. I need to figure out what they're going to be!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Skyskiff Windspirit

“Hold tight now!” The captain called.  Rathgar pulled the skyskiff’s tiller.  The ropes and planks creaked in the wind as the small craft tacked into the wind.  “Ease a bit to the north… there, just like that.  Now keep her steady.” 

Feris sat at the bow, watching the ships arms adjust the sails to accommodate for the new course, marveling at the magitech needed to build such a wonder. 

“This really is unnatural” Nimble said, looking slightly greenish.

“Haven’t you ever dreamed of flying through the clouds?” Allianora asked. “Besides, it’s the best way to get to Gareth’s Bluff before Warlord Varkandar’s force arrives.”

Below them the Varkandar’s 5th cohort marched onward.   

Skyskiff Windspirit

The Windspirit is enchanted with levitate to provide lift, and powered by the wind.  A small air elemental has been bound to the ship which assists with both setting the right sails, and by allowing the ship to create its own winds for up to 3 hours per day.  The skyskiff otherwise follows the rules for the Sailing Boat listed on page 71 of the Rules Cyclopedia.