Friday, 30 January 2015

For When The PCs Go The Wrong Way

There occur at times situations you have not prepared for. I often encounter these situations when running RPGs. PCs are renowned for doing the incorrect thing at basically every opportunity, and about the only thing you can guarantee when you make a dungeon is that the PCs won't see it all. Commonly enough they'll seek out the things that aren't the dungeon and don't, in fact, exist yet. Deliberately. To upset you.

Here is a thing I use to throw content at them until they straighten themselves out and stop ruining the game for everyone*. It's for D&Dlike games. It fits comfortably on an A5 page. You may enjoy it. 

*Yes, sarcasm.

*STEP 1: INSPIRATION* Roll D30 Twice

1. Tentacles 2. Dreams 3. Eyes 4. Ravens 5. Golems 6. Witch 7. Fae 8. Undead 9. Insect/Spider 10. Humans/Cultists 
11. Flesh 12. Thieving 13. Chasms 14. Smoke/Mist 15. Scarecrow 16. Rodents 17. Possession/Demons 18. Deer 19. Worm 20. Fungus 
21. Toad 22. Leper 23. Famine 24. Plague 25. Lady/Lord 26. Lover 27. Priest 28. Mire 29. Curse 30. Fertility

- Those two things are the inspiration and theme for the area, creature or event.
- Once you've used an entry a couple of times, change it something new and interesting. - Change the words if you want to use different words.

*STEP 2: WHAT IS THERE* Roll D6, then use appropriate tables below to finish.


2. Weirdness
3. Unguarded Thing/Help/Hint Relating To Current Or Last Quest
4. Monster + Treasure
5. Weirdness + Treasure
6. Unguarded Treasure

*MONSTER:* Using the Inspirations, make up a creature/entity with 

- HD = D10
- AC = 10+1D12
- D6 Damage per 3HD (different systems might need a D8).

Deploy several if they're small. Or not.

Give them an Agenda (D3: 1. Eat 2. Capture 3. Steal/Hinder/Afflict 4. Territorial) 

And some Monster Abilities: (D10)
1. Better AC/HP 
2. More Attacks/Damage 
3. Faster or Flying/Blinking 
4. Attacking Spells 
5. Charming/Weird spells 
6. Ranged/Gaze Attacks 
7. Terrain Affecting (Pools of stuff, collapsing trees/walls, vomits lava, ices ground, creates little fungal piles that make you save vs something, etc.) 
8. Controlling (Stun, Sleep, Hold, Knocking, Whirlwinds, Tentacles from shadows, Paralysis, Squid)
9. Curse/Debuff 
10. Damage Over Time

Note: If they have abilities, I generally do a normal attack unless I roll a 5+ on a D6.

*WEIRDNESS:(D3) 1. Dangerous, 2. Hindrance 3. Fluff or Boon 

Make something up. If struggling, pick a Random Spell from your spell list and base an event/aura/curse or something in the area on that and the inspiration. I use the LOTFP list, (D6 for spell level, D20 for spell). It works pretty well. 

Even if you get like, floating disc or whatever, just put a floating skeletal elk or hovering ravens with flesh in their beaks or some thing that fits the theme. If you need time, you are allowed to describe it vaguely and then, while the party are discussing what the hell it is, figure out what the hell it is. Or reroll. Or both.


1-3. Gold/Guts/Goods worth (HD +/- D6)x100 coins. Adjust if they have many abilities. 
4. A liquid/organ/vial/herb that is consumable (D3: 1. Acid/Attack 2. Healing 3. Emulates one monster ability from above) 
5. Something Quest Related (makes quest easier, clues to some mystery, etc) 
6. Magic! (D3) 1: Magic Weapon/Armour, 2: Magic Trinket/Curio, 3: Spell Book or Some Kind Of Magic Permanent Alteration On Touch. Random spell is useful here. If you can't think of anything, tell them you can't identify til next session and make up the details before then.


So, there you go. It is effective and takes little time.

Here is an EXAMPLE!
29, & 17 - Curse & Demon!
4 - Monster + Treasure
2HD, AC19, D6 Damage.

8 - Controlling. There we go. Short, stout demons, cursed to roam this plane, covered in gnarled growths. They attack with clubbing limbs (1-4) or can inflict a paralysis curse at short range (5-6).
Treasure is 3. Their gnarly horns are worth 400 coins to the right buyer.

3 minutes, +1 minute to type it.


21 + 6 - Toad Witch
3 - Unguarded quest thing. I'll use my random spell thing here , rolling a 3(level) and 4(spell) - Detect Illusion.

So, there's a fundamentally noncombative Toadwitch here, warty and plump and barely mobile. She is brewing potions or something. She offers to read your fortune, and if allowed, tells you about some illusory or hidden path/danger ahead.

2 minutes total.


5 + 26 - Golem Lovers. GREAT.
5 - Weirdness + Treasure. Makes sense.
5 - It's a fluff or boon thing.
Random Spell - D6=4, D20=3. Minor Creation. PERFECT. Dice never lie. Trust your dice.
Treasure is - 6 Magic 1 Weapon. FINE.

So there is a golem here, in whichever style is appropriate to your setting. It has lost its lover (in some other part of the world, some other dungeon, pick randomly, perhaps stolen by some faction). It wants to get her/it back, but is bound to this area by his long-dead master. 

If you agree to help , he will give you a minor creation. Let's make it a little minature golem that lasts for 2D6 days and can guide you to the other golem's position or something, or maybe a magic stick that does the same. Anyway. If you bring her back to him, he will literally give you his right arm - functionally a magic two handed mace.

3 minutes + some typing.

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