2017/11/20

OSR: Necromancers

Vaguely based on Arnold K's Necromancer, but heavily adapted.

Necromancers are outlawed and outcast wizards. Their profession is a curse; their very name a byword for unholy acts and blasphemous deeds. Yet the necromancers persist on the fringes of society. They provide a relatively safe channel between the living and the dead, and someone will always pay - one way or another - for information only the dead can provide. In Foreign Parts, the necromancer's art is celebrated and sometimes even revered. One of the standard list of charges brought against foreign kings and corrupt leaders is "consulting with necromancers."
Father and Daughter, Alexandre Chaudret


Perk: You can cause creatures you touch to reroll any Fatal Wounds they are trying to remove in a round. You can allow them to reroll failed tests or force them to reroll successful tests. If a creature  successfully removes a Fatal Wound because of the reroll you provided, it permanently loses 1 HP.
This perk is fairly valuable in a crisis, especially if magical healing is not available. It's a very good reason to be nice to the necromancer; if you're dying, they can save you... or make sure you don't recover.
Drawback: You require a ritual ingredient to cast your spells. The ingredient has a negligible cost (2cp) and is not consumed, but water, fire, or isolation could render you unable to cast spells. Roll on the Ritual Ingredient List below.
The drawback to this school could become an issue if the necromancer is searched or otherwise inconvenienced.
Cantrips
1. You can call on the spirit of a recently dead creature by interrogating its body. Provided the creature died before dawn, and it wasn't particularly pious or exceptionally blasphemous, it will answer 3 of your questions. At dawn, the spirit departs. The dead are rarely coherent or helpful. Answers may be cryptic. If the creature had 3 or more HD, everyone present can see and hear the spirit. Otherwise, only you can see it.

2. You can ritually protect a corpse against possession by unwelcome spirits. Alternatively, you can deliberately invite spirits to possess a corpse. The ritual takes 10 minutes. The most dangerous time is between death and dawn; after that, the corpse becomes less appealing to wandering spirits.
3. You can permanently lose 1 HP to add 1 MD to a spell you are casting. You can only lose 1 HP per spell.
Necromancer cantrips are very powerful but, in all 3 instances, potentially dangerous. Some spirits might stick around if they are casually called back to answer questions. Inviting spirits into a corpse is asking for trouble. And fueling your spells with your own HP makes lichdom very tempting.


10, Stepan Alekseev


Spell List

In this setting, spells are creatures. They're spirits that live in a wizard's brain and burst out, doing their duty and then taking a brief vacation. While most wizard schools breed spells specifically, necromancers might keep a cadre of ghosts. Some necromancers cast their own ancestors as spells; some trap escaped ghosts and wield them in a form of holy penance.

Many spells on this list require a bit of GM improvisation. The spells are much less straightforward than a traditional spell list. They are also dangerous to both the caster and their companion. Raise ye not up what ye cannot put down.

1. Raise Spirit
You automatically gain this spell at first level. Roll for your other spell normally.
R: touch T: spirit D: [sum] minutes
  
After a ritual that takes 10 minutes, you call out to the spirit of a dead person. The spirit can be anyone, from long-dead kings to newly-murdered party members. You do not need the creature's body. This spell can only be cast between sunset and dawn. Roll 1d6 on the table below, modified by the following: 
Bonuses
+1 for each [die] invested in this spell

+1 if the spirit died within a week
+1 if the spirit has unfinished business in Creation
+1 if you know the spirit's true name
+4 if you personally knew the creature before it died 
Penalties
-1 for each of the creature's original HD

-1 if the spirit was a wizard
-1 if the spirit is angry or irritated with you
-2 if you have only a vague name or description
-4 if the spirit was a necromancer or had significant magical powers in life
Other bonuses and penalties at the GM's discretion. The stronger the soul, the more dangerous the summon. 
Raise Spirit Result
0 or negative: The spirit is raised, but lashes out in anger and annoyance. You take 2d6 damage. If this damage reduces you to zero HP, you are dragged straight to the afterlife (no Save). Alternatively, the spirit casts Fatal Doom (see below) on you.
1. The spirit is raised, but it cannot be put down. If there is a corpse nearby the spirit will possess it. Otherwise, it will act as a disembodied undead of appropriate HD.
2. The wrong spirit is raised. It may be more or less useful than the intended spirit.
3. The spirit is raised, but its answers are mocking and cruel.
4. The spirit is raised and answers your questions truthfully.
5. The spirit is raised and also provides a useful answer to a question you did not ask.
6. The spirit is raised and remains for 1d6 additional minutes.
7 or higher. The spirit is raised, and can be given one command (as per the Command Undead spell below.)
Raise Spirit is the necromancer's signature spell. It's deceptively simple. Want to figure out who built this temple? Call up the temple builder and interrogate them for a few minutes. Want to find out who killed the king? Call up the king and ask him! What could possibly go wrong? Yes, you can use this spell to bypass many obstacles, but the risks are very high. Think of it like an improvised teleport spell. 
2. Explode Corpse
R: 50' T: corpse D: 0

Target corpse explodes, dealing damage in a [dice]x5' radius, Save vs Dexterity for half. The maximum damage dealt is dependent on the creature's size:
Rat: 1
Dog: 1d6
Human: 2d6
Cow: 3d6
Elephant: 6d6
Whale: 8d6
This spell cannot target undead creatures unless you control them.
This is the only direct damage spell available to the necromancer, and it's pretty good. Send zombies shambling towards your enemies and then detonate them. It's no fireball, but it is a nasty surprise, and adventurers are rarely short on corpses.
3. Death Mask
R: touch T: humanoid corpse D: varies
You touch a corpse and the face peels off like a mask. The rest of the corpse shrivels up and flakes into dust. When you (and only you) wear the mask, you will look and sound like the person whose face you're wearing, but only to sentient people (no effect on animals, spirits, or elementals). The mask will rot into uselessness after [sum] days. If [dice] is at least 4, the mask is permanent.
A useful spell at low levels. Half-thief half-necromancer is a decent build. This spell is sure to come in more useful if the necromancer reaches lichdom.
4. Fear
R: 50' T: creatures up to [sum] HD D: 0

Target creatures must Save vs Fear or take a morale check, or flee from you. If you cast this spell with 4 [dice], creatures unused to supernatural occurrences (peasants, domesticated dogs, etc.) must also Save or age 2d10 years.
A good solid crowd control effect, but also a great way to properly intimidate lesser wizards.

5. Rot
R: touch T: creature or object D: 0
Creatures take 2x[dice] damage, Save for half. Creatures also age 2d10 years (no mechanical effect), and may develop grey hair, shakes, and wrinkles. Objects are aged according to how many [dice] are invested. Books sprout into mold, wood becomes soggy, lamps run out of fuel and grow cold, and stone is entirely unaffected. 1 [die]: [sum] days. 2 [dice]: [sum] months. 3 [dice] or more: [sum] years. Undead are healed for [sum]+[dice] HP, or 1 permanent HP is restored (to the former maximum).
The main effect of this spell is the healing portion. Bolstering undead is very useful, especially if the undead is you.
6. Raise Undead
R: 20' T: [dice]x2 HD corpse D: 2 hours
Target is raised as a specific type of undead that is obedient to the caster. The creature is animated by a specially developed spell or an obedient ghost. When the spell’s duration ends, the undead may collapse, and cannot be raised again or used for any further spells.

The type of undead raised depends on the target and the [dice] invested.
1 [die] : 1-2 HD creature : corpse snake, crawling claw, skeleton, zombie
2 [dice] : 1-4 HD creature : wight
3 [dice] : 1-6 HD creature : war spirit, mummy
4 [dice] : 1-8 HD creature : something impressively terrifying

Undead typically have reduced stats compared to their living form. Undead of 5 HD or less are nearly mindless. If you die while undead are under your control, the spell's duration expires, or you try to end the spell, there is a [HD]-in-10 chance the undead remains active. Otherwise, it collapses.
Instead of letting the spell expire, you can keep the [dice] you spent on the spell invested. The spell's duration becomes permanent as long as those [dice] remain invested. Alternatively, if you spend 4 [dice] to raise a 1 or 2 HD creature, the spell's duration becomes permanent and no [dice] need to be invested. Creatures may retain some special abilities they had in life.
Raising zombie servants is great. Stitching corpses together to make new creatures to unleash on your enemies is great. But raise not up what you cannot put down. An obedient mummy servant is fantastic; a rogue mummy servant is very dangerous.
7. Innocent Revenant
R: Touch T: corpse D: 0
A creature of [dice] HD or less that died in the last 3 turns immediately returns as an undead version of itself with full HP. The HD requirement is ignored if the target is well known to you (a fellow PC, for example). This revenant can never gain HP, and loses 1 HP, and 1 point of Int and Wisdom to a minimum of 5, every hour until it reaches 0 HP and disintegrates. This HP loss can be healed by the Rot spell or other effects that heal undead creatures. The revenant is unaware that it ever died, even ignoring obvious signs of death (no heartbeat, cold flesh, gaping wounds). However, if someone else insists on confronting them with evidence of their own death, they fly into a rage, becoming a mindless undead.
A necromancer can "accidentally" kill a friend using their class' Perk, then raise them as an Innocent Revenant, then heal them with Rot or control them with Command Undead.
8. Command Undead
R: 50' T: person D: [dice] hours
Target: 1 undead creature that can hear and understand you.
You shout a single-word command to your target, who must Save or obey. If the command lasts more than a single round, intelligent undead, or undead under the control of another necromancer, get a new Save at the beginning of each of their rounds. You can spend additional [dice] to increase the effects.
+1 MD: Affect +2 targets.
+1 MD: You may increase then length of your command by +2 words.
+1 MD: You may increase the duration between checks by +2 rounds.
A more specific version of command, but note the targets. Undead you control get one Save; after that, no matter their HD, they must obey.
9. Fog
R: 30’ T: self D: [dice] hours
You breath out a bunch of fog, filing an area [dice]x20' in radius. No one can see beyond 10' in the fog. Undead can see through the fog. If you invest 4 [dice], you can instead breath out a layer of thick grey-yellow clouds that block sunlight for the spell's duration, for 3 miles in every direction.
Undead don't do well in sunlight, and a few zombies can become very effective if their opponents can't see them.
10. Death Scythe
R: touch T: corpse D: [dice]x10 min
The corpse disintegrates as you pluck a black scythe from its chest. The scythe deals 1d8+Strength Bonus damage. It deals double damage to creatures of the same type as the corpse used to create the scythe (so a scythe drawn from a troll's body would deal double damage to trolls).
This is a relatively high damage spell, but require the necromancer to wade into melee range.

Emblem Spells

11. Finger of Death
R: 50' T: creature D: 0
Target living creature must Save or die. Creatures with a significant magical nature gain a bonus equal to their HD. Frail mortal creatures may not get a Save. This spell requires 2 [dice] to cast against a creature of 5 HD or less, 3 [dice] for a creature between 6 and 8 HD, and 4 [dice] for creatures with more HD.
There's no bonus for using more [dice] to cast this spell, but it can straight-up kill some creatures instantly. Dragons and other powerful living creatures can shrug this spell off; most mortals can't.
12. Fatal Doom
R: 10' T: creature D: permament
You must invest 4 [dice] to cast this spell, and you also drop to 0 HP. You pronounce a Fatal Doom upon a living creature. The creature must have asked you for advice, in a non-casual capacity. They must have asked you what to do, where to go, how to overcome an enemy, or a glimpse into the future. Instead of calling on a spirit,  you read the future directly. You may describe (in one or two sentences, clear or cryptic) what will happen to the target, and how they will die. The Doom is inevitable and irreversible. The GM may alter details and circumstances, but if you say that the target will be hounded from his home by those he loves and devoured by wolves in the forest, that's how he's going to die - and soon. Nothing else will kill the target until the Fatal Doom has come to pass.
This is one of the most powerful spells a wizard can cast because it allows the caster to directly edit reality and set future events. The necromancer could doom a nation with a single spell. Of course, there's no protection from the consequences of a wrathful leader, especially one who has nothing to lose.
Cathar, Haylcon450
Mishaps
1. MD only return to your pool on a 1-2 for 24 hours
2. Take 1d6 damage
3. Random mutation for 1d6 rounds, then make a Save. Permanent if you fail.
4. Save vs Fear against the target of your spell. 1d6 rounds. Target is fully healed if undead.
5. 1d6 nearby corpses raise as zombies and attack you for 1d6 rounds.
6. You die. Save vs Intelligence every hour to find your way back to your body.

Doom of the Necromancer
1. You die and spend the next 1d6 days wandering Creation as a disembodied, feeble spirit. Your body will rot after 2 days unless it is preserved in some way: pickling, embalming, freezing, or desiccation. If you inhabit a rotting body, you become undead.
2. You become undead, permanently. If you were already undead, you instead lose 6 HP permanently.
3. By direct decree of the Authority, all corpses in 20 miles rise as zombies and skeletons and attempt to kill you. If you have been particularly notorious, they will be accompanied by 2 Bell Exorcists and a demon. Average: 3d20 skeletons, with 1d6 lieutenants, monsters, and commanders as appropriate. Anyone they kill joins them. They will pursue you to the ends of the earth.

This doom can be avoided by eating the heart of an immortal creature, or journeying into hell and make a bargain to serve the Authority, or becoming a Lich.

Dude, Bogdan Rezunenko
Becoming a Lich
You need to breed and research 8 specific spells. The spells don't do anything alone, but they modify your soul to withstand the terrors of undeath with your mind intact. You are essentially breeding and then grafting spells onto your soul.

Since no active liches will teach you the spells they used, and records of spell development are fragmentary at best, each lich must forge their own path. Some succeed; many fail, and fade away into half-mad shadows or disappear screaming into Hell. Other liches become trapped in living worlds of madness and memory, unable to accept their new form or the the changing times. History is full of Immortal Tyrants; they never quite manage to rule the empires they desire.


Ritual Ingredient List

1. Salt
2. Ash
3. A clay bottle
4. A round blue stone
5. A piece of carved and polished bone
6. A grey metal bell with no clapper
7. A twig with three forks and one dead leaf
8. The front leg of a cat
9. A dried frog in a pouch
10. Powdered teeth

2017/11/19

OSR: 1d20 Things to Loot from the Hardware Store

I've been spending a lot of time in hardware stores recently. The whole place looks like a rich emperor's tomb, full of treasure, strange items, and curious symbols. If your PCs find loot, consider turning to the nearest hardware store flyer instead of the usual appendix. After all, you were going to bin it anyway...
Theme music. Each item below is worth 50gp, give or take.

1. The Immortal Tree
Made of something like hair or resin. 10' high, glows like the northern lights but without any heat or sound. Will never age or fade, but produces no seeds.

2. The Anti-Elemental Ray
A bulbous mechanical end piece attached to a long, cannon-like snout. There's a bright red trigger. If pulled, it makes a high-pitched noise and air whips around near the end of the cannon's snout. It can pick up small objects (they vanish), but it utterly terrifies air, water, and fire elementals. They will flee from the ray if possible. Range is only 2', but the snout is 5' long.

3. Mindless Turtle
Some sort of automaton the size of a plate. It slides around, bumping into things and whistling. It would make a fine distraction but a lousy pet. It will sense and avoid pressure plates and pit traps, but it takes 10 minutes per 10'x10' square, and it sometimes misses squares.

4. Fantastic Cooking Pots
Lighter, cleaner, and sturdier than anything you've seen. They have a coating that makes them very easy to clean. The pots are worth twice their market value if a demonstration is performed.

5. Box of Jewelry
An entire array of dozens of little hexagonal L-shaped pieces of silver metal. They must have been used as jewelry or ritual items, or possible musical instruments. There are dull black ones in different cases, but the silver ones are the most pleasant to look at.

6. Dense Oil
A jug of pale yellow oil. It won't burn or smoke if heated. It's very slippery. The oil isn't horrifically, instantly poisonous, but it clearly doesn't taste like cooking oil. There's enough oil in one bright yellow jug to coat 20 10x10' squares completely.

7. Dark Mirror
A large horizontal mirror, wider than it is tall. It reflects light dimly. There are small symbols on the side, but they don't seem to do anything. It might be a portal to another dimension. The mirror is very large and much finer than hammered copper or polished steel mirrors.

8. Set of Daggers
Ten small daggers, five large daggers of varying sizes, and a wavy ritual dagger. All are sharp and bright. The daggers deal 1d6 damage but never require sharpening. They are also clearly exotic and will impress anyone interested in arms and armour.

9. Boxed Lightning
A palm-sized black box with a white lightning bolt on one side. Two thin ropes made of some smooth material come from one side, ending in metal prongs. Anyone touching or touched by both prongs takes 1d6 lightning damage. The box can be built into a weapon or a trap easily. It can discharge 4 times per day, and automatically recharges if left unused for 12 hours.

10. Tube of Jeweled Balls
A clear glass tube the size of a small barrel, full of red, white, and gold balls the size of plums. They are made of some very light metal. They are hollow, and could contain a potion or a drink, but they are now empty. The items are beautiful. There are 30 balls in each tube.

11. Hole-Borer
A blue handle with a trigger, connected to a 5" wide serrated tub or bowl. If the trigger is pressed, the serrated tub spins. It can drill a hole through stone, steel, or wood with equal ease, but only 1' deep at a time.

12. Tiny Poison Vials
There doesn't seem to be any use for these things. They are tiny metal tubes, 20 to a packet, full of bitter and mildly corrosive liquid. The poison is not deadly, but it does cause 1 damage and require anyone ingesting it to Save vs. Constitution or vomit. Alchemists will pay double market rates for these vials.

13. 50' of Hollow Rope
This bright green rope is hard to tie, but it is very strong, and it is hollow. You could use it as a siphon, or pass a smaller line down an existing rope. It can be cut with any weapon, but it takes 2 rounds of strenuous activity.

14. Confusing Goggles
These goggles are clearly meant to be worn, but they are uncomfortable and seem to shift perspective. Any illusions viewed through the goggles appear flat and unconvincing, like paper cutouts. Every hours, someone continuously wearing the goggles must Save or take 1 temporary Wisdom damage (in the form of a headache).

15. Mysterious Salt
A huge bag of blue salt. It tingles and tastes exotic. Anyone who eats the salt for a month must Save vs Constitution or permanently lose 2 HP.

16. False Wood
Large planks, 8' long and 4" wide, of grey wood... except it's not wood. It only looks like it. The core is some sort of dust. The planks would make a very exotic floor or wall covering for a palace. They can also be used to frighten dryads or other plant-based creatures. They must make a Morale check when the plank is first presented, and cannot approach within 20' if the check is failed.

17. Heated Coat
A thick, very warm coat with a symbol above the heart. The coat heats itself to a slightly-warmer-than-comfortable temperature, but it does so in any weather. Anyone wearing the coat gains a +4 bonus to any checks against frostbite or cold, and may automatically pass some tests.

18. The Round Sword

A strange weapon, perhaps designed for gladiators or berserkers. A sharp circular blade attached to a handle. The weapon deals 2d6 damage on a hit, but on a critical failure, it automatically deals 2d6 damage to the wielder. Leather armour provides no bonus against this weapon, but it cannot deal any damage to someone in chainmail, plate, or dense fibrous cloth (it clogs the blade).

19. White Paste Bombs

Paper tubes with metal tips, filled with foul-smelling white goop. The goop hardens into a rubber-like paste in 2 hours. The paste can be cut, but it cannot be burned or washed away with water. It can clog locks, ruin clothes, or distress animals. The tube can be thrown and bursts on impact.

20. Distance Detector

A small box that fires a red beam of light from one side when a button is pressed. The box then displays the distance (in runes, but it is easy to translate the runes into sensible units like rods and cubits). The maximum range is 500'. If the box is placed against a wall and slowly moved across, it has a 1-in-6 chance of detecting a hollow space or secret door.

OSR: 2x20 Answers to 2x20 Quick Questions For Your Campaign

Attack of the Undead, Don Greer & Rob Stern

Part 1


Jeff Rients has, very famously, written 20 quick questions for your campaign, and they are very useful. Here are my answers.


1. What is the deal with my cleric's religion?

No clerics in my setting. But if you are religious, you probably worship the Authority via Generic Fantasy Catholicism.

2. Where can we go to buy standard equipment?

The nearest village will get you some very basic equipment, but you're going to need to head to a city to get anything fancy. There's no "standard" equipment for adventuring because adventuring is not a standard thing, but you can repurpose military gear, farming equipment, and other tools.

3. Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?

Oh jeeze. Is this a "Hi, my name is Daryl" kind of monster or a "RAUGHGHABLARGH" kind of monster? In either case... well, it's not so simple. You're probably going to need to buy some plate armour, at least 2 sets, and some horse barding, and then get a really discreet out-of-work armorer to put it together. Or convince a noble it's a good idea and get him to help by commanding some armourers to do it. It's not an issue of money in either case.

4. Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?

Probably the Chancellor of the College of Elderstone, but he's a bit eccentric.

5. Who is the greatest warrior in the land?

The King! Or possibly the Count of Pellamy. He's very chivalrous.

6. Who is the richest person in the land?

Also the King!

7. Where can we go to get some magical healing?

You're not sure. Magical healing is a very rare and very precious thing. Try seeking out weird old crones, broke wizards, and priests. There's a decent chance it won't work, or that the side effects will be undesirable.

8. Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?

Poison: maybe a local crone, broke wizard, or monastery.
Disease: chances are good you're screwed. Disease is not well understood. There are apothecaries and barber-surgeons, but you're not going to get a cure easily.
Curse: priests, maybe? or local crones, experimental wizards, or other powerful creatures.|
Lycanthropy: definitely not a curable thing. You don't even know it is a thing, or a disease/curse.
Polymorph: ditto.
Alignment Change: I don't use alignments.
Death: permanent, probably. You'd need a miracle.
Undeath: ditto.

9. Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?

You might belong to a College and need to pay off Wizard Student Loans.

10. Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?

Cities or monasteries, most likely, or the courts of nobles.

11. Where can I hire mercenaries?

Near the War, or in cities. Just follow the smoke. They might be more trouble than they are worth. If you pay your taxes, you could get soldiers for nearly free.

12. Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?

The law varies from place to place and, more importantly, from Estate to Estate. If you're a peasant, you might get in trouble for having a sword or riding on a horse. Get a noble; use them as your excuse. There is no law to hassle you directly, but there are lots of nobles, and lots of people interested in maintaining the status quo.

13. Which way to the nearest tavern?

West.

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

The countryside is fairly civilized. Wolves and druids are major problems. Most likely the major threats will be things the PCs unearth and let loose, or regular people.

15. Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?

So many. Which one do  you want? 

16. How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?

Tournaments are your best bet, but you need to be a noble or impersonate one. Even then, the cash prizes pale in comparison to dungeon-looting or highway robbery.

17. Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?

Yes, but they are secret. You might start in one if you're a Summoner, but otherwise, you're going to have to stumble across them  during play. About 80% of them are just religious heretics.

18. What is there to eat around here?

Depends on what you have to spend. Carrots, bread, light beer, eggs, fish. Chicken, pork, mutton.

19. Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?

Yup, but unless the game starts with one of those as the main goal, it's probably not relevant. The legendary sword of King Bothbert, the Chalice of Victory, the Tripartite Crown of the Last Emperor of Thule, etc.

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

There's a dragon in the mountains, but she owns the bank, so that's probably not a good idea.
Dark Souls/Studio Ghibli, Kyle Fewell


Part 2

In response, back in the day, Scrap Princess wrote another set of 20 quick questions for your campaign. They are... uniquely useful.


1. Is there weaponized Squid?

Probably, in Foreign Parts.
Can I start with one?
Probably not.
How much are they?
In a port city, if you knew about them and asked around, like 2,000gp. As much as a really fancy horse.
Can I have one as a pet/horse/best friend?
Fairly speculative, given that you haven't even got one yet, and I don't know what your standards of friendship are.

Can I play one?
If you want I'll add Squidlings to the Table of Races and you can roll for it.
Can I dual wield them?
Not unless you're really strong.

2. Is there undead robots?

Yes. Sort of. Do Dryads count? Does enchanted armour count? Otherwise no.
Follow up questions involve the nature of consciousness and the existence of the soul in your campaign and can I play one?
The soul runs the body and not the other way around. Souls can stick around and possess dead bodies, trees, living people, or just float about. You cannot start as an undead robot. There's a non-zero chance you'll end up as something just as weird.
or have one as a pet or a gun that shoots them?
Again, you can't start with one, but I've seen weirder stuff get looted or weaponized by the PCs.

3. Do Icebergs walk across the land ?

Yes. Ice Elementals sometimes get really pissed off and decide to squish a coastal village or a rock that annoyed them. This is fairly unusual Around Here but might be common in Foreign Parts. Ever seen a glacier hustle?
can I be from one?
From an iceberg? No.
Is godzilla frozen in one?
Maybe? Ask the ice.
Can I play a godzilla?

4. What do birds know?

All kinds of stuff. Owls are dumb as rocks though; don't ask owls. Ask crows instead. Sparrows and all the other little brown birds are just one kind of bird that shapechanges.

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?

The last one, mostly because it sometimes is demons in your teeth (ok, probably not demons, but spare spells, ancestors, ghosts, etc.) Medicine is sometimes about stopping all the blood from escaping and sometimes about convincing the soul it should stick around. It's hideously ineffective. People are either fine, lumpy, or dead.
Do I start with demons in my teeth?
Are you asking if your character has a toothache? Do you want me to roll for it, because this seems like of of those things you get to decide.
Do I know CPR? Can I invent CPR?
No to both.
Can I give myself powers with additionally organs?
Yes.
What planet is in ascension in my spleen midmorning?
Felwent, the Star of Harmony. Promotes happy digestion. Be kind to cats today. This advice costs you 5 copper pieces.

6. I want to play a hobbit but really I'm the fleas controlling the hobbit. Where is that in the book?

No book, just a stack of paper. Also, no hobbits. 
Could I take over a new guy with my fleas? Or another players guy?
Look, being a cloud of body-riding fleas seems like a thing that happens to you, not a thing you start as.

7. How much could I rent my body out to spirits before I lost control of my character?

A surprising amount.
What are the names of the spirits?
You don't get to know that out of game. I mean, why?
Are they cool?
Super cool. You just need to let them stick onto your soul like barnacles.

8.What level do I have to get my character to before I am the g.m?

That's... not how leveling works. You can start your own game whenever you are ready. 
Can I half be the g.m at an early level?
You always have a say in the story and the world.
What about when you leave the room?
GM-ness doesn't reside with my body or something. It's in our collective brainspace, and that stays.

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

Damp old straw.
no dumber than that but cool. Like a pet with a pet with a weapon?
Well, I've got a player who purchased a falcon from a discount falcon shop. It had wizard things done to it and now it shoots lasers from its eyes. It's very dangerous, almost completely useless, but kind of cool.
Can pets dual wield?
Depends on the pet?

10. How ugly can my guy be? 

Real ugly. 
Like Can I basically be a walking fish?
Yes. The worst is probably the flyling - they're all bristles and proboscis and feelers.
No wait I wanna be a walking fish. What is the reverse scuba technology like in this world?
It's called "fishlings can breathe air just fine, if they've been out of the water long enough."


11.The lamp oil? Is that like cooking oil, kerosene, white spirits or napalm?

The cheap stuff is olive oil. The good stuff is like napalm. The really cheap stuff is like runny butter.
How much can I buy of it?
Barrels and barrels of the cheap stuff. At least a few flasks of the good stuff.

12. How does physics work in this world?

You have no idea.
What makes the planets stay up? Are there planets?
Again, you probably have no idea, but if you roll up an astrologer you can make some stuff up.
Is it elves? Can I play an elf from another planet?
Elves from around here are plenty weird.
Does everything work like how we though it did in the past?
Sort of? Maybe? Probably not. 
Can I discover stuff and pass it off as a magic?
How are you going to pass it off as magic if you think it is magic? Are asbestos blankets magic? Is coal magic? 
Is possible to use the scientific process to organise the concepts of magic?
Sure. Make sure you're using good medieval pseudoscience.

13. Can I start with weapon hands?

Probably not. Maybe a hook?
What about crab claws? Can I play a crab with human hands?
Sure, crab-lings are a thing, and if you roll one you get to decide how they look.
Can I have one as a pet?
That's called slavery.
Do they live on a different planet? Can we go there?
Nope. Probably not, at least. Only one planet. No planes, no hells, no special dimensions.

14. What cultures approve of cannibalism?

People in Foreign Parts. Sometimes, during sieges, it becomes a pious inevitability. 
What about if we are super rich?
You could probably get away with it for years, but society doesn't approve of it.
Aren't rich cannibals be default , I mean if you think about it? How is the class struggle here anyway?
There's no class conflict, unless you count intermittent peasant rebellions, robbing churches, etc, but the class divide is huge.
Is there a Karl Marx?
Nope. There are plenty of peasant revolutionaries though. It never ends well.
How receptive are people to the ideas of anarcho-syndicalism here?
"Isms" have yet to catch on.

15. Can my character not be real , but a hallucination of another character?

Probably not, but if you become a high enough level Illusionist, you can accidentally become an illusion.
But I still wanna be able to do stuff. What are the stats for that?
I haven't written them, but I will if it ever comes up.

16. Which is the rome but with lava fire country in this world?

Probably Hell.
What about the ice circus country? Can I have a pet from there?

Not sure, but possibly up north in Foreign Parts. They have all sorts of stuff up there, like little furry deer, and invisible bears, and fat water dogs.

17. Can I invent an insect?

Absolutely!
as a player like right now I tell you an insect and you put it in the game? Or as a character?
Possibly both. I mean, there are ant-lings and beetle-lings already. Unless you want to massively alter the rules, you can make up another kind of insect and be that -ling instead, provided you roll it on the table.
Can my spells be insects that then exist in this world after I cast them?
They are already like that, except more like ferrets, and they come back to live in your spellbook or head at the end of the day.
Can I play an insect who is actually a spell cast in this world? What about as a pet?
Probably not.

18. Is there reverse fire?

If there is, you don't know about it. Fire is its own thing.
What about reverse water or earth? What do they wear there?
Again, you don't know. Maybe alchemists and philosophers know. Go ask them and see.

19. How much money can I make inventing siege engines?

A lot of money, but since this is a game about tomb-robbing and getting rich by looting stuff, you might be better off weaponizing and selling stuff you find in the dungeon, like basilisks, or teleporting rods, or wand cannons. Plus selling siege engine inventing is a job, and a job doesn't earn you XP.
Can I play a siege engine?
Probably not.
In what ways are animals used in siege engines?
They tow them, and sometimes siege engines toss dead cows and sheep over the walls.

20.What is the most significant tree to the economy of the starting place?

Oak.
Is it really a tree or maidens stitched together?
Definitely a tree.
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?
You get spells. You probably can't be a tree maiden though.

2017/11/18

OSR: 1d100 Coins

So your party has found a cache of coins in the ground. What's the deal with them?
Silver Tetradrachm, Egypt, 305 BC

Material

I use a simplified currency system, where 1gp = 10sp = 100cp, and 1cp = $1 modern American dollar = 1 medieval denier for the purposes of eyeballing costs.
1d10 Material Value
1 Unknown Varies (reroll secretly)
2 Wood or Paper Worthless
3 Pewter Nearly worthless
4 Tin Nearly worthless
5 Copper 1 cp
6 Brass 1cp
7 Bronze 1cp
8 Silver 1sp 
9 Electrum 1.5 sp or 1sp if lazy
10 Gold 1 gp
 
Silver Stater, Attica, 500 BC


Size and Shape

Roll twice, once for size, once for shape.
1d4 Size Shape
1 Fingernail Blobby
2 Nostril Round
3 Grape Round and ridged
4 Thumb Octagonal
Gold Florin, Florence, 1347 AD

1d100 Coins

Roll once, or roll once for the obverse and once for the reverse. I've also listed the actual identity of the coin if you want to look it up.

"Symbols" refers to letters, numbers, astrological signs, runes, or other marks.

You might want to edit the descriptions to fit the location. A tomb built by snake-men isn't going to have humans on the coins inside.

 
1d100 Obverse (Heads) Reverse (Tails) Actual Identity
1 Many symbols, evenly spaced Pyramid with symbol Byzantine, milaresion, 815 AD
2 Man's head with laurel wreath and beard Man lounging on a shield Rome, brass sestertius, 140 AD
3 Man's head with laurel wreath Large round building Rome, brass sestertius, 80 AD
4 Woman's head with many symbols Building, some symbols Rome, silver denarius, 45 BC
5 Woman's head with helmet Startled owl, some symbols Athens, silver tetradrachm, 510 BC
6 Man's head, holding symbol, head on Symbols, large and small Byzantine, bronze 40 nummia, 538 AD
7 Man with crown, ring of symbols Woman with crown Naples, silver carlino, 1503 AD
8 Man's head with long hair, bow and spear Goat's head, symbols Himyaria, silver denarius, 100 AD
9 Crowned man and woman facing each other Quartered shield, stars Spain, double excellente, 1480 AD
10 Man and woman with strange hats, head on Pyramid with symbol Byzantine, gold solidus, 635 AD
11 Man's face, long straight hair Man on horseback Ferrara, silver testoene, 1530 AD
12 Man's head with crown, mustache Symbols, ringed by vines British India, 1/4 Anna, 1919 AD
13 Man in a boat, holding a shield 8-pointed star England, gold noble, 1360 AD
14 Bell being run by 3 hands, over a city Shield with many symbols Brunswick, silver thaler, 1643 AD
15 Bearded man with lantern and spear Man with sword, symbols India, gold stater, 127 AD
16 Man with pointed beard, ringed by symbols Quartered, with buildings Brabant, philippsdaaler, 1557 AD
17 Symbol, 2 rings of symbols Symbol, 2 rings of symbols France, silver gros tournois, 1270 AD
18 Man in armour being crowned by a woman Man with robes, head on Byzantine, gold solidus, 675 AD
19 Bowl with three legs, some symbols Obverse, but indented Croton, silver stater, 500 BC
20 Building with columns, ringed by symbols Symbol, ringed by symbols Frankia, silver denier, 820 AD
21 Woman with curled hair, some symbols Large rat with leaves Canada, 5 cent nickel, 2017 AD
22 Man's head, ring of symbols Woman seated on chair Rome, copper as, 40 AD
23 Woman's head with helmet Realistic crab Acragas, silver tetradrachmm, 450 BC
24 Man with rolled hair, head on Pyramid with symbol Byzantine, gold solidus, 714 AD
25 Winged horse with tiny legs, single symbol No design (punch mark) Corinth, silver stater, 550 BC
26 Man with crown and staff, head on Death holding a scepter Austrasia, gold solidus, 540 AD
27 Lion's head facing a bull No design (punch mark) Lydia, silver siglos, 550 BC
28 Man in armour on horseback, with sword Lion in front of a building Flanders, franc a cheval, 1360 AD
29 Cross-legged man, ribbons Man with trident and bull India, gold dinar, 110 AD
30 Man's head with long curly hair, symbols Crowned circle with wings France, 1/2 ecu aux palmes, 1694 AD
31 Two figures holding two shields 12-pointed star France, salut d'or, 1446 AD
32 Two lions holding a crown 16-pointed star Hainault, double royal, 1380 AD
33 Man's head with laurel wreath and cloth Skeleton, sitting figure Rome, silver denarius, 75 AD
34 Man's head with hood, some symbols Hammer, bag, vines Rome, gold aureus, 46 BC
35 Naked man, long hair, stag, some symbols Obverse, but indented Caulonia, silver stater, 500 BC
36 Eagle with shield holding arrows and branch Woman with banner USA, silver dollar, 1842 AD
37 Man with robes and staff Leaf with some symbols Florence, gold florin, 1251 AD
38 Lion, glowering, head on No design (punch mark) Rhegium, silver tetradrachm, 445 BC
39 Man's head, stacked hair, many symbols Symbols and flowers Mercia, penny, 786 AD
40 Crowned man and woman, side by side Crowned shield Antwerp, gold sovereign, 1612 AD
41 Column covered in leaves Quartered circle with birds England, silver penny, 1060 AD
42 Lion holding a sword and shield Wreath around symbols Leyden, paper 28 stuivers, 1574 AD
43 Man's head with flat hat, ribbons Man holding a staff Bactria, silver tetradrachm, 170 BC
44 Man with thin moustache, curly hair 4 pointed star, 4 crowns France, 8 louis d'or, 1640 AD
45 Woman's head with headband Eagle, many symbols Egypt, silver tetradrachm, 40 BC
46 Woman's head with long hair and helmet Large symbols with wreath Confederate, copper penny, 1861 AD
47 3 faces, head on, with buildings Symbols and braids Fritzlar, gold bracteate, 1235 AD
48 Man's head with beard Man riding horse, stars Macedon, silver tetradrachm, 340 BC
49 Man aiming bow at lion Man standing on dead lion Gupta Empire, gold dinar, 380 AD
50 Man's head with laurel wreath Man seated on chair Rome, silver denarius, 15 BC
51 Man's head with bag and staff Three tiny figures, symbols Rome, silver denarius, 42 BC
52 Man's head with hide helmet Warrior woman with bird Egypt, silver tetradrachm, 305 BC
53 Man with sword, head on, on a throne Braids and columns Brandenburg, gold bracteate, 1180 AD
54 Woman's head with helmet, some symbols Lion fighting bull Acanthus, silver tetradrachm, 520 BC
55 Woman's head with laurel wreath Lion's head with 3 fishes Leontin, silver tetradrachm, 440 BC
56 Man's head with long hair and ribbon Bird with leaves USA, quarter, 1995 AD
57 Man on throne, head on, scepter and orb Shield with 8 rings England, gold sovereign, 1490 AD
58 Man's head with beard Naked satyr with bowl Naxos, silver tetradrachm, 470 BC
59 Braids and dots, abstract No design (punch mark) Britain, gold stater, 50 BC
60 Man's head with ringed hair and ribbon Winged woman with tablet France, ecu constitutionel, 1792 AD
61 Bald man's head with stars and symbols Gate with two chains Ghana, cupro-nickel threepence, 1958 AD
62 Man's head with thick scarf Eagle, many symbols Egypt, silver tetradrachm, 300 BC
63 Man's head with curled hair Square columned building USA, copper penny, 1991 AD
64 Eagle carrying a snake Winged woman, seated Olympia, silver didrachm, 450 BC
65 Man with scepter and crown 8-pointed star France, masse d'or, 1296 AD
66 Man's head with short hair and armour Man with banner on horse Piacenza, silver scudo, 1626 AD
67 Man holding a sword on shoulder Quartered circle with dots Aquitaine, silver demi-gros, 1370 AD
68 Bearded man with lantern and spear Woman with two bulls India, gold stater, 200 AD
69 Man's head, many symbols Two daggers, bell Rome, silver denarius, 43 BC
70 Woman's head with helmet Cow with some symbols Thurium, silver tetradrachm, 410 BC
71 Man with two heads Ship's prow Rome, bronze as, 289 BC
72 Lady's head with laurel wreath and 3 fishes 4-horse chariot, lion below Syracuse, silver decadrachm, 479 BC
73 Grinning lion's head No design (punch mark) Lydia, electrum 1/2 stater, 600 BC
74 Satyr's head with beard, beetle, some symbols Man seated on chair Atena, silver tetradrachm, 480 BC
75 Man with staff, head on, on bridge Symbols, braids, and dots Efurt, gold bracteate, 1145 AD
76 Woman with curled hair, some symbols Bear on ice Canada, 2 dollar "toonie", 2017 AD
77 Man's head with laurel wreath, robes 2 men holding a staff Brindisi, gold augustale, 1231 AD
78 Man's head with short hair and laurel wreath Man on horse with sword Great Britain, crown, 1818 AD
79 Man's head with swan's body Two tiny warriors Rome, silver denarius, 94 BC
80 Peacock on a shield Crowned shield Antwerp, silver penny, 1612 AD
81 Woman in robes, holding child Shield with wreath Hungary, silver denar, 1530 AD
82 Palm tree with two crossed swords Symbols Saudia Arabia, guinea, 1957 AD
83 Three decapitated figures, holding heads Man with hat, devils Zurich, silver thaler, 1512 AD
84 Man's head with beard and robes 2 figures, furnace Rome, brass sestertius, 118 AD
85 Man's head with long straight hair Domed building USA, nickel, 1961 AD
86 Man with wings holding spear Shield supported by lions England, gold angel, 1500 AD
87 Man's head with long curly hair and ribbon Woman with a harp Great Britain, copper, 1717 AD
88 Young man with wild hair, head on 4 horse chariot, tangled Catana, silver tetradrachm, 415 BC
89 Man with robes, ring of symbols Woman holding dagger Parthia, silver octadrachm, 100 AD
90 Man's head with short hair and laurel wreath Eagle on drums and scroll Prussia, silver thaler, 1764 AD
91 Man's head with short hair and laurel wreath Woman with trident Great Britain, copper twopence, 1797 AD
92 Man's head with short hair Torch and two plants USA, dime, 1965 AD
93 Sea turtle with ridged back No design (punch mark) Aegina, silver stater, 600 BC
94 Bearded man with a bow and spear No design (punch mark) Persia, gold daric, 515 BC
95 Woman with short hair, tiara Bird in water with island Canada, 1 dollar "loonie", 1988 AD
96 Woman with hood Bird standing on thistles Milan, silver testone, 1480 AD
97 Man's head with long curly hair and robes Shield within a shield, lions Sweden, silver riksdaler, 1707 AD
98 Wreath, many symbols Many symbols Rome, bronze dupondius, 20 BC
99 Symbol, ringed by symbols Symbol, ringed by symbols Frankia, silver denier, 780 AD
100 Cow with horns, licking its own foot Cuttlefish Eretria, silver tetradrachmm, 450 BC

Gold Sovereign, England, 1490 AD

Bonus Coin Facts

Coins were mostly known by their designs. If a modern coin changes designs overnight, people still accept it as valid. But if an ancient coin changed, people might start to question if it was actually worth - in silver or gold - what it says it was.

Imitation mints - not forgeries, but imitations - were common. If one city was known for very good coins, and their coins had a crab on them, you'd better make sure your coins had a crab on them too. This could lead to a string of imitators, with the original design being morphed by a game of telephone into something quite strange.

These tokens would make a very interesting treasure hall in a puritanical, time-traveling, or otherwise hilarious game.


Adulterating the currency was a common way to raise money in the short term and crash your economy in the medium-to-long term. The government only accepts payment in one type of silver coin. It then melts the coins down and reissues a larger number of smaller or mixed-metal coins. If you took in $100 of silver coins, you could issue $120 of adulterated coins, or issue $100 and keep $20 for your own needs. 

This means any given treasure haul could contain coins that are far better or far worse than coins currently in circulation in the area.