A monster on the verge of eating an adventurer.

Nan's Bag of Sweets

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on February 23, 2015

Tagged: homebrew lotfp

James Raggi recently ran a contest soliciting magic items for the new LotFP Referee book. My entry didn’t make the cut, so you get to enjoy it right now. I think it’s pretty LotFP.


A simple looking leather bag, with drawstrings to hold itself shut. A crude image is burned on to one side of the pouch. Like a Rorschach print, it’s unclear what image the artist had wished to convey. A face, perhaps?

That bag is full of sweets: liquorice and other such things. When opened it is so full the candy almost spills out. The owner of the bag may draw out any number of sweets, fistfuls at a time if they desire. There are always more sweets in the bag. These sweets are unremarkable: tasty, but likely to give you a stomach ache if you eat too many.

Upending the bag will cause all the candy to fall out: one small bags worth. And then the bag is empty, its magic gone.

If anything else is placed in the bag—a tough feat, the bag is bursting after all—the bag looses its magic: when opened next it will be empty.

If someone who does not own the bag attempts to draw candy from it, there is a 50% chance the candy is both tasty and poisoned (save vs. poison or die in d6 turns, bleeding from all orifices during that last turn of life).

The owner of Nan’s Bag of Sweets will feel a supernatural compulsion to offer candy from the bag to any children they encounter, the voice of old Nan echoing in their head. (Save vs. Magic to resist the bags charms.) Children always draw poisoned candy from the bag.

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Desert Lotus Potions, Poultice, Poisons and Powders

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on February 22, 2015

Tagged: carcosa lotfp osr homebrew mastersofcarcosa

Potions and poultices prepared by an experienced hand can temper the addictive and dangerous properties of the desert lotus, producing powerful restoratives. There is always a risk associated with the lotus, but they are perhaps greatly outweighed by the rewards.

d20 Item Description Cost
1 Green Lotus Poultice Restores a dCarcosa of hit points to a wounded character. Takes 1 turn to apply. 1d6 x 50GP
2 Green Lotus Potion Ingesting this potion will restore 2dCarcosa hit points. 1d6 x 100 GP
3 Black Lotus Poison A slower acting variant of the deadly Black Lotus Powder. Those ingesting this poison will die in dCarcosa days if they fail their Save vs. Poison at -6. 1d4 x 1000 GP
4 Jale Lotus Potion This mind expanding potion grants the character d6 psionic wild talents. Each can be used once, over the course of the day, while the drug slowly works its way through the characters system. 2d6 x 200 GP
5 White Lotus Potion Cures those afflicted by the effects of White Lotus Powder 1d10 x 100 GP
6 Blue Lotus Potion Ingesting this potion fills a person with a deep sense of calmness. Characters are immune to all fear effects. This potion is a favourite of Sorcerers who wish to commune with terrifying Old Ones. 1d4 x 100 GP
7 Blue Lotus Poultice Applying this poultice takes one turn, after which a characters skin will feel completely numb. Characters are immune to damage from extreme cold, heat, and acid. This effect lasts 9-12 hours. 1d10 x 100 GP
8 Yellow Lotus Powder The powder distilled from the beautiful Yellow Desert Lotus produces the most horrific waking dreams when inhaled. Characters must make a Save vs. Poison or go completely mad, physically paralyzed, their mind trapped in a terrible nightmare. 1d10 x 100 GP
9 Yellow Lotus Poison This poison is a powerful paralytic, usually applied to the tips of arrows and blades. Characters must make a Save vs. Poison or be unable to move for 1d6 turns. 1d10 x 100 GP
10 Bone Lotus Poultice Applying this poultice takes one turn, and renders the character skin and organs translucent like those of a Bone Man. This effect lasts 9-12 hours. 1d6 x 50 GP
11 Bone Lotus Potion Drinking this translucent potion will render the imbiber gaseous, allowing them to pass through anything that isn’t air-tight, and making them impervious to most attacks. 1d10 x 100 GP
12 Purple Lotus Powder When mixed with other slow burning herbs and smoked this powder acts as a depressant, relaxing the mind and making its user completely open to suggestion for 1-4 hours. 1d6 x 50 GP
13 Orange Lotus Potion Produced using the sweet nectar found within the buds of the Orange Desert Lotus, this potion grants super-human strength to those who drink it. Characters do an additional dice of damage when attacking with melee weapons. This effect lasts dCarcosa turns. 2d4 x 100 GP
14 Ulfire Lotus Poultice Applying this poultice takes one turn, and leaves the characters skin feeling dry and rough. Characters gain an addition +2 to their AC and to their saving throws where applicable. This effect lasts 9-12 hours. 2d6 x 100 GP
15 Ulfire Lotus Potion This potion is a powerful anti-poison, nullifying the effects of any lotus based poison or powder. 1d6 x 100 GP
16 Brown Lotus Poison Typically applied to the tips of arrows, this poison instantly kills those who fail their Save vs. Poison. 1d4 x 500 GP
17 Dolm Lotus Potion The character feels a quickening of their body and mind as this potion takes effect. Characters double their movement rate, and start combat at the top of the initiative order. This effect lasts 1d6 rounds. 1d4 x 500 GP
18 Dolm Lotus Powder When smoked as a powder this lotus produces an unnatural lethargy (and euphoria) in its user. Characters regain dCarcosa hit points, but are unable to do anything besides lay around for 1d6 turns. 1d4 x 50 GP
19 Red Lotus Poultice The restorative power of the rare Red Desert Lotus is without equal. Rubbing this poultice over a dead character’s body will restore them to life, assuming they fail a Save vs. Poison. 2d6 x 1000 GP
20 Red Lotus Potion This potion fills the drinker with supernatural vigour that lasts 9-12 hours. If killed while under the effects of the drug the character will instantly return to life with dCarcosa hit points, as their body absorbs all the red lotus in its system. (This effect can only occur once.) 2d6 x 1000 GP

Each usage of a potion or poultice produced by a desert lotus apothecary has a 1 in 20 chance of producing a great feeling of a addiction in the user. All powders have a 1 in 6 chances of being addictive. Players who are currently addicted to what they have just ingested must take another dose (which grants additional positive effect) or be at a -1 on all rolls for the session. Using a desert lotus product more than once a session increases the chance of addiction by 1, 2, 4, 8, etc.

Apothecaries that work with the desert lotus will generally have a random selection for sale week to week, prices varying based on the availability of flowers.

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Why Are We Together

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on February 14, 2015

Tagged: carcosa lotfp osr homebrew mastersofcarcosa

The default setting for Carcosa is full of xenophobia. I wanted a list of reasons why a group of adventures of various races might be adventuring together. I started writing one, but got stuck fairly quickly. So, I asked my friends to help out. The good entries below were all written by people other than myself. They call that Gygaxian Democracy.

Why are we together?

  1. Awoken from a lotus induced stupor you have fled from a sorcerer. I’m sure they want you back.
  2. Escaped from Slavers! One day you will have your revenge on those bastards—unless they get you first.
  3. Members of a traveling troupe of actors. You know one play, which you tweak based on your audience to play up on the local prejudices.
  4. Members of a janissary regiment, put together by long gone—perhaps?—Alien overlords.
  5. After years of wandering with your herd the symbiotic fronds were yanked out from the backs of your heads. Who knows how many years you lived as root heads.
  6. Returned to Carcosa after being experimented on by the Space Aliens. Hopefully they don’t come looking for you again.
  7. Cultists! (Must share a common alignment.)
  8. Foundlings raised by Lawful spawn hunting illuminati.
  9. The wrong coloured children of an otherwise homogenous village. Did they treat you well?
  10. Refugees who have fled a natural disaster. Famine? War? God damn Aliens with laser guns?
  11. Kidnapped orphans raised deep in the desert by a mad, but kindly, old couple.
  12. Psychically summoned to a crashed space ship. You have no memory of the recent few months.
  13. Members of a diseased community of outcasts. Everyone shares a common (mostly harmless) mutation.
  14. Emerged from a sorcerer’s birthing vats deep within an abandoned complex. (Thousands of other pods full of replacement PCs available as well.)
  15. Once from a religious community, where all members wore body obscuring clothes and lived as equals without colour based caste. After the sorcerer’s troops/raiders/slavers/shaggoths came that dream, and the obscuring robes and windings, have been cast aside.
  16. A bad medicine show went through some villages a while back selling poisonous mutation causing ‘snake squeezings’. The adventurers are relatives of the slain, banded together to hunt down huckster and deliver ‘justice’.
  17. All that remains of the local criminal underworld, driven out by an unspeakably violent new boss or spawn inquisitors.
  18. Each character bears the same tattoo, which causes horror amongst village elders Carcosa wide. (The characters have no memory of when or how tattoo appeared.)
  19. The former retainers of a group of strangely coloured people who spoke a weird language and claimed to be from another world called Dirt (or Earth or something like that). The original adventurers are all dead, but retainers continue to adventure together. Some continue to search for a portal to this world of Dirt, because there are no shoggoths there.
  20. You each have vague memories of a past life as a White Man sorcerer, until you performed some ritual that split you into different facets of your core personality.

In the game I am running now, the players rolled a 3 when starting the campaign. So, they are all members of the acting troupe The Rainbow Connection. Their back story has been far more fun than I had thought it would be.

Thanks to Stuart P, Brendan S, Evan W, Gus L, and David R and everyone else for their ideas and suggestions.

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Stocking a Dungeon

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on January 09, 2015

Tagged: osr d&d diy

I’ve had to start making dungeons for my players to explore. Unsurprisingly, that’s something that comes up with some frequency in a game called Dungeons and Dragons. There is lots of advice on this topic from people much smarter than myself, which I now collect conveniently in one place for your edification as well as mine.

I do things like Patrick Wentmore. I have a little program that spits out what should be in each room using the rules from the Moldvay basic book. I’ll then try and think up what each “monster”, “monster + treasure”, etc might be. I’ll sometimes shuffle things around, or place important monsters or treasure ignoring the suggestions from the random rolls. Oftentimes it is fun trying to figure out how things might fit together, what the unguarded treasure might be, etc.

No doubt there are countless more posts on this topic out there. What do you suggest someone look at for inspiration or ideas?

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Review: A Red and Pleasant Land

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on December 30, 2014

Tagged: lotfp osr zaksmith art

Wife is now fooling around on the tablet I bought so I have email access when traveling. It has the Alice in Wonderland books preloaded on it and she is amazed.

Me, I’m suddenly struck by the idea of putting a young blonde in a blue dress on the cover of an adventure I’d call “Eat Me.” — James Raggi, August 23rd, 2012

A little over two years ago James Raggi mentioned in passing this idea of doing an Alice in Wonderland Adventure. Zak S replied with a phrase that became a bit of a joke on G+: “For a modest advance…” Presumably there was a modest advance, because here we are.

Zak would occasionally share bit and pieces of the book he was working on on his blog: artwork he had finished, or a table or set of rules he had written. I helped play test the module a few times: once with my OD&D group, a couple times with Zak himself, and most recently with Kiel just as the final layout for the book was wrapping up. Zak used a photograph of me as a reference for the Knave of Hearts, after asking for photographs on G+. I have been watching in real time as this book slowly came together. I bring this all up to try and highlight just how much I have been anticipating this book, how completely unrealistic and unfair the expectations I have placed on the final product are, and to suggest that I am perhaps too emotionally invested in this book to review it properly.

Voivodja

A Red and Pleasant Land is a setting book that describes Voivodja, the Land of Unreason. Rather than using the travel guide gazetteer format commonly used for these sorts of things—which, if we are being honest with one another, suck—A Red and Pleasant Land presents its world primarily via elements that are all usable at the gaming table: dungeons, monsters, new rules, and random tables. A Red and Pleasant Land is more about helping a DM build their own version of Voivodja than presenting some canonical version of the place. In this way is reminds me of Carcosa.

A Red and Pleasant Land begins with a brief overview Voivodja. It’s 18 pages long and is probably the only part of the book you’d be expected to read beforehand if you wanted to run things by the seat of your pants. The book starts off with a discussion of what makes this place different than your typical fantasy setting. The history, geography, and culture of Voivodja is examined at a very high level. Mixed in with all of this is advice on how to use the book and run a game in Voivodja: this is something more books should do. Much of this section of the book is adventure hook fodder. (Croquet, a staple of Alice in Wonderland, is presented as an obvious source of adventure: players might play to get an audience with the queen, be hired to track down a obscure wickets, etc.) Voivodja is a strange land where a king and queen have been waging war upon one another for time immemorial. Two other factions have decided to enter this fray, both deciding who to ally themselves with as the adventure begins. The setting is designed to support a game built around the conflict that comes from the players interacting with various NPCs with conflicting goals.

An Alice

To go along with the new setting is a new character class, the Alice. The character is an interesting twist on the Specialist from LotFP. Every time the character gains a level a percentile die is rolled: this may lead to new powers or bonuses inspired by the events in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland rather than simply gaining more skill points or saving throw improvements. The Alice also has the ability to get exasperated. Doing so lets them roll on an exasperation table, which may lead to the sorts of strange events, again clearly inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: a door appearing out of nowhere, something that normally wouldn’t be able to talk suddenly starts talking, etc. I played an Alice during the play test for A Red and Pleasant Land, but didn’t take advantage of this power—i’m boring I suppose.

A look at the new monsters and NPCs of this world is up next. There are 4 factions in Voivodja, led by: the Heart Queen, the Red King, the Pale King, and the Colourless Queen. Beyond your typical stat block, almost all the creatures in this book have relationships or alliances that could lead to adventure and conflict. This also helps present the setting to the players. Most of the monsters in the book are quite interesting. I particularly liked the Guests, which are basically demons. A Red and Pleasant Land features a great random demon generator that you could steal for any fantasy game. There is also a Brown vampire: trés fantastique! There is an illustration for almost every creature presented. Hopefully you know what a horse looks like.

There are two dungeons presented in detail in A Red and Pleasant Land: the Heart Queen’s palace, and the Red King’s castle. They are both fucking bonkers. Of the two I love the Heart Queen’s castle the most. The games I have played exploring that dungeon have been some of the most fun I’ve had playing D&D. I think they are both well executed and interesting: big enough and weird enough to support multiple sessions of play.

The book concludes with some new rules and then some random tables. (Of course it does.) As I mentioned in my last post about A Red and Pleasant Land, Kiel used these tables to generate an adventure for us to play more or less on the spot, without anyone really noticing what was going on. That seems like high praise for this portion of the book. My favourite title in the whole book is found in this section: “Idiotic Voivodja Filibuster Conversation Openers”. There are lots of great tables, many of which would work in other settings. All games need a “where have you been?” table for when a player shows up late or misses a session, and a good “I search the body” table can tell the players a lot about the world they playing in.

Alices

Like Vornheim, A Red and Pleasant Land is as much a book about a particular setting as it is a treatise on how one should go about writing and presenting a setting in general. Zak has clearly approached this problem from the perspective of someone sitting at a gaming table. How much information does the DM need to successfully run a campaign set in this world? How do you best present it all? What things need to be quickly referenced? These are questions that seem to be rarely asked by most authors and publishers, including Wizards of the Coast. This book is worth buying as an example of good graphic design, even if you aren’t interested in Dungeons and Dragons.

The two large dungeons presented in the books are a perfect example of this attention to detail when laying out a page of text. The map of the outer defences of the Red King’s castle, along with the descriptions of the rooms on the map, all fit on a two page spread. Most sections of this palace have cutaways maps along with descriptions that fit on one or two page spreads. Occasionally you will need to flip back a page to see a map, but this hardly feels onerous compared to the typical presentation of dungeons in most modules. Room descriptions are all bullet point rather than long paragraphs, making it easy to quickly figure out what’s going on. There is no superfluous text. This is true throughout the book. Blocks of text that might need to be looked at during a game are usually presented as bulleted lists, while sections of the book that will likely be read before or after a gaming session are often longer and more flowery.

This level of thoughtfulness permeates the whole book. There are next to no tables that don’t fit neatly on a single page, or aren’t part of a tidy two page spread. (The few tables that are too big for a two page spread are clearly marked as spilling over to the next page.) Beyond the dungeons and the rare monster, there is basically nothing in this book that would require you to flip a page to get all the information you need.

The layout of this book is really stunning. Jez Gordan has done an amazing job here. In addition to being so throughly functional the book looks beautiful.

This book is great. The artwork is amazing. The layout is amazing. The content is amazing. The physical book itself is amazing. I’m not sure why I even bothered writing this all up now. When it comes to gaming purchases this is a safe bet. Even if you have no interest in a D&D version of Alice in Wonderland, there is enough creativity here to steal or twist into something else.

Zak Smith made an art book that doubles as a D&D module. If nothing else it’d make a good coffee table book.

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Another Box from Finland

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on December 28, 2014

Tagged: lotfp books kickstarter

LotFP Box from Finland

People, this box! This is the box I have been waiting for. If you could only see my full-body sobs for joy.1 All the way from Finland comes another box of goodies from Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Because I have backed so many LotFP Kickstarters I somehow ended up with 4 extra books beyond the 2 I ordered. I will probably write about each in more detail shortly, but I thought I would say a quick word about the books after flicking through them really quick.

As I have mentioned previously, there is no one I am aware of anywhere else in the RPG scene make books as nice as James Raggi, including all the big name publishers: Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, etc. A Red and Pleasant Land has tiny print run compared to the new 5e books, but is comparable in price and is physically a much nicer book. The paper is nice thick and matte, and the binding of the hardback is actually signature stitched. (It’s disappointing how many hardbacks nowadays are essentially casebound books with hard covers.) A Red and Pleasant Land is actually nicer than the Penguin Classics reissue of Alice’s Advneture in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass that I recently purchased—and that book is pretty nice itself! All of the recent LotFP books are produced with a level of care that now seems to be lost in most of the publishing world.

Beyond book fetishism one can also appreciate LotFP books for their art. There is obvious effort put into sourcing good and interesting art. I can’t say I’m always a fan of the choices Raggi makes, but there is never a piece of art in his books that feels phoned in. His books have much nicer covers than most modern fantasy novels, and certainly most RPG books. Of this recent batch of books, I love the cover of No Salvation For Withes the most—the interior art is too gross and terrifying for me sadly.

I love books. It’s refreshing to see there are still people out there who love them as much as me.

Red and Pleasant Land vs. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

  1. Well no, there are no tears, but I am pretty hyped.

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Ascending AC for OD&D

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on December 23, 2014

Tagged: mastersofcarcosa od&d

I have been using ascending AC for my OD&D Carcosa game. Players roll a d20 to hit, add their attack bonus, and try and score higher than their opponent’s AC. An unarmoured combatant has an ascending AC of 10; plate armour and a shield confers an AC of 17. It’s a much simpler system for adjudicating combat in my opinion. People know if they have hit or not without having to look at a table, and the arithmetic is all quite straight forward.

What follows are the tables from the first OD&D book MEN & MAGIC redone so they work with ascending AC. (I am certain I am not the first person to do this, but there wasn’t an obvious hit when I looked on Google.)

The attack bonus progression for the Fighters is:

Level Attack Bonus
1–3 +0
4–6 +2
7–9 +5
10–12 +7
13–15 +9
16+ +12

For Clerics:

Level Attack Bonus
1–4 +0
5–8 +2
9–12 +5
13–16 +7
17+ +9

And for Magic-Users:

Level Attack Bonus
1–5 +0
6–10 +2
11–15 +5
16+ +7

Monsters use the following table.

HD Attack Bonus
up to 1 +0
up to 2 +1
up to 3 +2
up to 4 +4
up to 6 +5
up to 8 +6
up to 10 +8
11+ +10

The tables are simple enough to make. In a descending AC system a first level characters needs to roll a 10 to hit AC 9 (an unarmoured person), which we determine by looking at the attack table in MEN & MAGIC. To hit that same character who has an ascending AC of 10 by rolling a 10 (or more) implies a 1st level character has no attack bonus. A 4th level fighter only needs an 8 to hit that same character, so their attack bonus is +2.

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A Carcosa Reading List

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on December 17, 2014

Tagged: carcosa lotfp reading lovecraft moorcock howard

Carcosa is not Tolkien, high fantasy, or mainstream fantasy. It is equal parts horror, science-fiction, and swords & sorcery. It is H. P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, Robert E. Howard’s “Worms of the Earth” and “A Witch Shall Be Born,” Lin Carter’s “Carcosa Story about Hali,” and Michael Moorcock’s “While the Gods Laugh.” — Carcosa, pg 3

I have read almost none of the source material that inspired Carcosa. As I am now in the middle of running a campaign set in that world, I thought I should try and remedy that—if only so I can better understand what a Cyclopean City might look like or what the hell a Primordial One is all about. Since we live in an age where you can basically ask anyone anything, I thought I’d go right to the source and ask the author what specific books he recommends one read to get in a Carcosa frame of mind:

Of the pure Lovecraft stories, read these:

  • The Call of Cthulhu
  • The Whisperer in Darkness
  • At the Mountains of Madness
  • The Shadow over Innsmouth
  • The Shadow out of Time

Of Lovecraft’s revisions, read these:

  • The Mound
  • Out of the Aeons

Read the original five Elric stories by Moorcock:

  • The Dreaming City
  • While the Gods Laugh
  • The Stealer of Souls
  • Kings in Darkness
  • The Flamebringers (later retitled The Caravan of Forgotten Dreams)

Read R. E. Howard’s:

  • Worms of the Earth (a Bran Mak Morn story)
  • The Shadow Kingdom (a Kull story)
  • A Witch Shall Be Born (a Conan story)

If you can find Cthulhu Mythos stories by Lin Carter, read those.

Hopefully someone else will find this list handy. It seems like a good fantasy reading list even if you aren’t interested in Carcosa.

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Kickstarter Report Card IV

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on December 11, 2014

Tagged: kickstarter

It’s been almost a year since I last checked in with all my Kickstarter projects. I continue to be a bit more wary about what I back, but mostly because I’m trying to buy fewer RPG books in general. My sense is that most people starting Kickstarter projects now are more mindful about being better prepared before undertaking them, and buyers are more cautious in general when it comes to parting with there money.

Dwimmermount’s development seemed to really pick up steam this year. Updates were frequent as Alex Macris started working on editing and revising the bulk of the text in the book. So after a lot of ups and downs for all involved, I received my copy of the book in October. It’s a beast of a book. Gus from Dungeon of Signs has written a thorough review of the thing. Domains at War also arrived at the end of the summer, which I think clears Autarch of all their crowd funding obligations.

Champions of Zed and Appendix N Adventure Toolkits are still running behind. I suspect i’ll get them when I get them. So it goes.

James Raggi still owes me a few more books, though I have a bunch on the way from Finland as I type this right now. I’m sure he wants to tie up all these loose ends as much as I want him to. As I mentioned last time, the fact everything he produces transforms into something much more fancy by the time it makes its way to me certainly helps stifle any frustration I may feel here.

Several kickstarters I backed since my last report have already shipped. LotFP Free RPG Day 2014 and No Salvation for Witches from LotFP wrapped up on time. (Though NSFW ended up shipping their physical books late to coincide with the release of a Red and Pleasant Land and the other new books from LotFP.) Servants of the Cinder Queen arrived on time and was a lovely little adventure. The physical copies of the two DCC RPG modules I backed are still being put together, but they grew in scope due to stretch goals. I don’t expect them to be particularly late, and I have PDFs of many of the books already. And of course Scarlet Heroes RPG by Kevin Crawford would arrive on time.

The only big miss for myself this year has been backing The Great Kingdom. The project looks amazing, but has been sued by the people making another D&D documentary. God damn it.

# Project Funded Expected Delivery Shipped?
1 No Salvation for Witches: A Pay What You Want Book August 2014 October 2014 YES
2 Dungeon Crawl Classics: Peril on the Purple Planet August 2014 November 2014 Partially
3 The Great Kingdom July 2014 July 2015 Hells No!
4 Servants of the Cinder Queen July 2014 September 2014 YES
5 Dungeon Crawl Classics: The Chained Coffin June 2014 August 2014 Partially
6 Scarlet Heroes RPG March 2014 June 2014 YES
7 LotFP Free RPG Day 2014 February 2014 July 2014 YES
8 Playsets The future of social storytelling. November 2013 February 2014 Partially
9 Reaper Miniatures Bones II October 2013 October 2014 No
10 LotFP Hardcover Referee Book October 2013 January 2019 Partially
11 Domains at War June 2013 August 2013 YES
12 LotFP 2013 Free RPG Day Adventure February 2013 July 2013 Partially
13 Appendix N Adventure Toolkits July 2012 July 2012 Partially
14 LotFP Summer Adventure Campaign July 2012 December 2012 Partially
15 Champions of Zed June 2012 August 2012 Partially
16 Dwimmermount April 2012 August 2012 YES!!
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Eating Sorcerer Brains

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on December 11, 2014

Tagged: od&d carcosa homebrew mastersofcarcosa

Sorcerer’s in Carcosa are creepy and despicable, and the magic of the setting is totally horrific. I had originally assumed no one would want to play a sorcerer in the game I was running because they are quite villainous. Since everyone is using my random character generator to make characters there is a 20% chance of anyone playing ending up with a sorcerer. There are currently two in my game.

It only took two sessions before one of my players turned to cannibalism. The goal was to learn some sorcerous rituals, and eating the brain of your rival sorcerer seemed like as good a way as any.

Running Carcosa has been fun and lighthearted thus far—seriously.


Eating Sorcerer Brains

Sorcerers may attempt to learn new sorcerous knowledge by devouring the brains of other sorcerers. This isn’t an ideal way to learn ritual magic, but sorcerers are often quite secretive about their sorcery, and reticent when it comes to sharing what they have learned.

The player should roll under their constitution score. Success indicates they have learned some new ritual(s). The number you succeed by indicates how many rituals the player learns, which are selected randomly from those the dead sorcerer knew. Those who fail this check should roll on the I shouldn’t have ate that brain … table. Brains need to be harvested and eaten as quickly after the death of the sorcerer as possible: impose a penalty of 1 to the roll for each minute that passes after the death of the sorcerer.

Players who are not playing sorcerers, but decide to eat a sorcerer’s brain, should just go ahead and roll on the I shouldn’t have ate that brain … table.

I Shouldn’t have Ate that Brain

d8 Effect
1 Maybe you ate it wrong? No ill effects, but you have learned nothing.
2 Your stomach feels terrible. Moments later you are on your knees retching. The character is completely incapacitated for one turn, and making a fair amount of noise.
3 That’s just not sitting right: you dry heave for one round and feel woozy for the rest of the day. The character is at -1 to all attack rolls and dexterity checks.
4 The brain acts as a mild hallucinogen. The character is has a 1d6 penalty to all Wisdom and Intelligence checks for the rest of the day.
5 The rituals trapped within the sorcerer’s brain are too much for your body to bare: you collapse on the ground as your body spasms. The character takes a dCarcosa of damage.
6 You hear voices in your head? Or maybe your stomach. The sorcerer’s personality has survived within the ritual magic burned deep within his brain. The characters decision making is impaired while his mind fights to push out the invading id: the DM may request the character re-roll any die rolls (when doing so will be most annoying) if the player fails a Save vs. Magic. This effect lasts for the remainder of the session.
7 Oh God: roll on the random mutation table.
8 Delicious: you recover all your HP.

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