Friday, 28 April 2023

Poison damage Death and Dismemberment Table

It's been sitting in my drafts for a couple of years, but I've finally finished the Poison damage death and dismemberment table. This part of the same effort as the Psychic damage table from 2018. The original set of tables is excellent, but for a 5e-hack like I typically play, there are a few damage types. Notably still missing is thunder damage, force damage, and radiant damage. Perhaps the subject of future posts, ideally in less than 5 years! 

Google Doc link is HERE 

This is designed to work well with my basic "Poison is OP" rules. I want to have rules for specific poisons where needed, but still have a general damage table for situations where magic or special abilities deal unspecified flavours of poison damage.

Poison & Disease

Poison Death Dice work the same as Bleed dice, but are harder to remove or work around. Normal healing does not remove these dice, and “staying down” does not protect against their effects unless the character makes a saving throw (DC 10 + number of poisoned dice).


You feel fine! 


You get a barf in your mouth a little. Super gross. 


A surprise vomit. You can’t take reactions until your next turn. Poison 1.  


Sharp pain in the affected area. Pain 1.


Vomiting or diarrhea make a real mess.
Clothing destroyed, if wearing armour it needs serious cleaning. 


Feeling pretty sick, not gonna lie. Poisoned Condition.


Little bit of internal bleeding never hurt anyone... Bleed 1. Pain 1  


Your arm is stiff and your fingers won’t clench. Arm useless until you gain HP. Drop held objects. Poison 2. Pain 1.


Your immune system is fighting back. Poison 1, +1 on saves against this poison or disease in the future, lose Poisoned condition if you have it (not damage, dice etc, just the condition.)


Your leg goes numb, and you  feel yourself sag towards the ground.
Prone. Poisoned. Leg useless. Bleed 2. Pain 1.


One side of your torso is completely numb. Poisoned Condition. Arm useless. Poison 2. Pain 2.


The nerve damage has eaten away your leg, and the flesh is poxed and scabrous.
Recovery Time 1d6+6 weeks. Leg useless. Poison 2. Trauma 1. Pain 1.


Spots dance before your eyes, and the room goes black. You weep inky fluid. Blinded until you gain HP. Bleed 2.


Your head feels light and floaty, and your limbs are like lead. Save vs Doom or fall unconscious until you regain HP. Difficulty Speaking, Cannot cast spells with verbal components or that require concentration, Poison 1, Pain 1.


Your chest heaves as you struggle to breathe. Half movement until you gain HP. Poison 1. Pain 1.


Your rash turns into a network of bleeding sores and pustules. Cruel Scarring, -2 Charisma, Pain 1, Poison 2.


Blood vessels all over your body are bursting, causing bruising. Nerve damage. Permanent -1 to all your statistics. Poison 2. Pain 2.


Your lungs and throat are searing in pain, and you cough up blood. Lose turn Coughing & Vomiting, Poisoned Condition. Bleed 1. Trauma 2. Pain 2.


Your pulse quickens and your skin grows cold as you go into shock. Lose a turn. Poison 1d4. Pain 1. Trauma 1.


The filth in your veins has eaten away at your eyes, leaving you Blinded until you gain HP, Permanent -4 to ranged attacks. Poison 1, Pain 1.


The toxins have fully saturated your tissues. Roll 1d6. You gain 1 Poison, and an additional Poison dice every: 1-2 day, 3-4 hour, 5-6 minute. This effect is permanent unless negated with Cure Poison or better. 


The toxins burn their way out of you, neutralising some of their effects but leaving you permanently damaged. Roll all Death Dice you have currently and permanently subtract the total from your maximum hit points. All death dice are then removed.


You clutch at your chest as your heart feels like it’s bursting out of your chest.  Heart damage. Permanent -2 Con. Poison 4. Pain 2. Trauma 2.  


No external signs, but your internal organs are ruined and you permanently gain Vulnerability to Poison Damage.


The creeping death has reached your nervous system. Unconscious until you are above 0 hit points. Poison 6.


The vile stuff eating you from the inside has left you a husk. Maximum hit points permanently set to 1, gaining levels can add to your max hit points as normal.


Your eyes roll back and black tar leaks from your lips as you are chemically lobotomized. You die and immediately become a zombie, which acts on your same initiative count.


Instant death, but the poison leaves you a strangely beautiful and well-preserved corpse (as Gentle Repose)


Your blood has become a toxic slurry. You will die at the beginning of your next turn unless you are healed to at least 1 hit point or the poison/disease is negated before then.


You collapse in shock from the tremendous pain. You will die in 1d4 minutes, and are incapacitated until then. Healing cannot prevent this, but more powerful magic might work.


You are so poisoned as to become a permanent biohazard. Trauma 4 and any living creature that touches you or your corpse with bare skin gains 1 Poison.  


Massive heart attack. The pain is overwhelming and you thrash about making horrible gurgling noises as you die over 1d6 rounds.


You are filled with a strange sense of peace and clarity. On your next turn you get one round of normal actions, and lose any status effects (poisoned, incapacitated, etc). At the end of that round, instant death.  


Anathema. Natural creatures will not approach your body, and if you somehow survive or are resurrected, this effect continues unless broken by a Remove Curse.


You are neatly split in half, from head to groin; the halves slide uncomfortably down to the floor.


Melted. Your body is so ruined that only True Resurrection or better can bring you back. 

Monday, 26 December 2022

1d20 Bargain Bin items

For boxing day, here are 1d20 magic items you might want to return to the store, or maybe you could find in the discount pile at the Goblin Market.

1: -1 sword. This sword is magic, overcomes relevant damage reduction as magic... But the magic isn't that good, and interferes with wielding. Either that or the materials are very suboptimal and the magic just can't quite make up for it, like a paper sword enchanted to be *almost* but not quite as hard as steel

2: Mysterious Cloak. Does this cloak give the wearer an air of strangeness? Do people who interact with the wearer find themselves unable to describe the wearer except in the vaguest terms or via questions? Is it clear they know more than they can say, but "there just isn't time!"? Could it be... Even the wearer becomes ensnared thusly, speaking in such a way at all times? To dwell on such thoughts will do us no good!

3: Clouded marble. When you hold it or have in on your person, you feel like you've forgotten something important, buy you can't remember what.

4: Moveable rod. Like an immovable rod, but can be moved with a bit of effort by anyone with even an average strength score, and will only hold about 15 lbs of weight.

5: Growing Pole. Starts at one foot long, at the command word grows out to 10 ft, with a couple small leaves

6: Hat of Names. When you reach inside you can pull out a slip of paper with a random name written on it. The names of the people present has no bearing on the names drawn, and adding more names to the hat just causes the extra slips of paper to vanish while a random slip is drawn

7: Wand of Dave Detection. Works similar to Detect Magic, but only detects people named Dave. Glows ominously as it works.

8: Star Map. A map that shows the night sky, stars and planets, and updates as the sky shifts overhead. However, it is hundreds of years out of date, and many of the stars have moved somewhat.

9: Amulet of Cat Indifference. When worn, housecats will not really care about you one way or the other. Since this is the default state of most housecats, this might be hard to spot. Doesn't work with lions, tigers etc (except possibly for very domesticated ones).

10: Bullseye Darts. This is a set of three magic darts. Each dart has advantage in attacks made against a bullseye, whether constructed, painted on, etc

11: Towel of Convenience. Always dry and fluffy, just have to shake it out and drop it off

12: Pills of Delay Hangover. The hangover still hits just as hard, just 1d6 hours later

13: Indescribable Item. A small wooden box--inside is an item that is totally indescribable by anyone who views it. The best they can do is describe what it's definitely not: for example, it's definitely small enough to fit inside the box, but it may or may not be red. The item cannot be removed from the box.

14: Gloves of Knock. When worn these allow the wearer to knock very loudly (particularly on doors, but also potentially works on other sturdy objects). This knock does not do any extra damage to the door and it is not loud enough to deafen anyone, although creatures very close by may have their hearing overwhelmed while the knocking continues and for a few moments afterwards.

15: Book of Blankness. Whatever anyone writes in this book is erased when the book is closed. The pages are restored to a pristine creamy white. Minor rips and tears and mended, but large chunks or missing pages stay damaged.

16: Book of Copying. If this magic tome is touching another book for 30 seconds, it will become a copy of the second book. The copy includes pictures (if any), although some detail may be lost. The Book of Copying has 500 pages--any excess pages are left blank.

16: Paper of Concealing. This 5x3 ft. sheet of brown paper blocks divination magic in the same manner as a sheet of gold or lead.

17: Lenses of Bird Identification. these horn-rimmed spectacles magically allow the wearer to determine whether or not something is a bird with 100% accuracy.

18: Wand of Illusory Frogs. This wand lets the wielder cast Silent Image 3 times per day. The only thing that they can create in this manner are types of frogs.

19: Compass of Self. this magic compass always points towards the person who is attuned to it.

20: Personal Raincloud. It's a raincloud that follows you around! Hovers 5-10 ft above your head, rain varies from drizzle to pouring (sometimes based on your mood--little lightning bolts might zap you or others if you get really mad!)

Thursday, 31 March 2022

In Ten Towns - Random Encounters

There seems to be a decided lack of 'random stuff that happens in town' in the Rime of the Frostmaiden campaign. I think it's especially noticeable because so much of the module is centered on the goings-on in town. The whole aim of the first large section in the module is to get players invested in what's happening here. And largely the Towns should be the "safe zone" so that players learn to appreciate that safety... but that doesn't mean nothing interesting can happen there!

Roll whenever players spend a significant time in town, or whenever they are "between" adventures or adventure beats. 

  1. Three kobolds in a trenchcoat. They are 1- trying to buy medicine, 2- going to see a performance, 3 - interacting with another 3 kobolds in a trenchcoat, neither trio is aware that the other is not an actual human
  2. Travelling actors handing out fliers for a variety show ("Termalaine's Got Talent" or "Robilar's Travelling Circus" etc), they're also open for submissions. They've been stuck in the Dale since the snows came in, trying to make the most of it.
  3. Volothamp Geddarm, compiling info for his next book. 
     - wants to interview players about monsters encountered
     - Rerolls on this you meet a fan reading his book. If the PCs gave good interviews, the fan might recognize them and ask for an autograph.
  4. A witch hunter, going around casting Detect spells. Asks players: "Have you seen any invisible dwarves lately?" May be a Specoercitor or a Leveller.
  5. Member of the Arcane Brotherhood, in person or a servant.
    1. Avarice/one of the Black Sword cultists.
    2. Vellyene/ some of her kobolds
    3. Dzaan, or his simulacrum/ the wight
    4. Nas Lantomir, getting ready for her expedition to the Isle of the Solstice
  6.  A large, indolent owlbear wandering through town. Followed at a very respectful distance by a large group of town militia. It might want to break into food stores or disrupt daily town business, militia and PCs have to decide whether to let it chow down or gently try to shoo it away. If handle animal checks fail badly enough, it'll try to take somebody's arm.
  7. Chwinga (as wilderness encounter table)
  8. Militia horn blows! A call to arms! Roll to see what menaces town: 1 - orcs, 2- gnolls, 3 - reghed raiders, 4 - ice troll, 5 - duergar, 6 - adult white dragon. 
    • Raid: by the time PCs respond, raiders have started carrying off food or other supplies and trying to fight their way out. If a dragon, it has killed an axebeak, but the dragon is too small to carry off the whole carcass. 
    • Scout: Caught lurking near the edge of settlement, PCs can help run them off or hunt them down. If they get away with important info about defenses, a extra-large or well prepared raiding party will show up for some future random encounter roll.
    • Passing by: Bold or aggro militias may want to sortie out of town to remind 'em not to venture so close.
  9. Priestess of Auril (Sister Zlata, water genasi woman.) Conducting collection of names for the lottery, or delivering sermon about how lighting fires is a sin. One way to get out of entering lottery is to claim that you've already been in a lottery within the same month in another town--Zlata doesn't really have a way of checking, and although she might pretend she's casting Zone of Truth she doesn't want to waste the spell slot unless the PCs are being REALLY transparent in their lies. Another method is simply hiding. Anyone caught cheating will be punished, usually by having their name added ten times to the next lottery.
  10. Crowd getting ready to burn a frost druid (Aliissá, genderfucked, probably human). There is some disagreement, as the religious customs normally call for sky execution--but they're not sure if that will really work on a frost druid. 
  11. Contingent of paladin bounty hunters. Searching the Towns for an escapee from Revel's End. Led by Sir Fintan (human man), clad in magic porcelain half plate +1 that is resistant to cold. Probably won't bother the PCs unless they seem like criminals, but will hang around town for awhile and might interfere with other plot events for paladin-y reasons. Helping them catch their fugitive will get on their good side. The fugitive is a shifter, hagspawn, or dhampir Assassin
  12. Recruiter, looking to sign people up for the Wars in Hell. "Can't be any worse than up here!" Make it clear to players that this would remove them from the current campaign! Altho it might be a bit tricky for the recruiter to organize their departure
  13. A traveler from another plane. May be lost. Asks lots of strange questions.
    1. Alternate version of this world
    2. Modern day earth - or cyberpunk near-future
    3. Outer space/wildspace
    4. Dark Sun or Barsoom
    5. the most recent fantasy book you read
    6. Faerie
  14. Barfight spills out onto icy street. Default brawlers include Auspix (dragonborn agender, bristles like woody twigs on face) who has accused Bowwen (Eladrin male with a crescent tattoo on forehead) of cheating at cards. Bowwen actually was cheating, but in a totally different way than Auspix is accusing, and he's frankly offended that someone would think he's so clumsy as to fumble such a simple trick. "if I WAS doing that, we wouldn't be having this conversation, as you'd never have seen me."
  15. "Wagon of Wonders" selling cures for frostbite and hunger. Proprietor, purple-mustachioed gnome Jabble Fabblestabble, warm smile permanently etched on his face. Will also offer "business opportunities" to invest in his yeti oil pyramid scheme
  16. Tomaz (half elf) staggering into town, suffering frostbite after being lost for days. DC 15 Medicine check can help him recover, if the PCs have a way to get him into a warm space and provide him warm fluids. If the check fails, this is because his condition is worse than hoped, and more long term care of one week will be required (which a PC can also provide.) If the party is able to help him Tomaz feels he owes the party a favour, and offers them free accommodations at his house in the next town over
  17. Ice hockey game! Opportunity for players to play, blow off some steam, and possibly win a fancy pair of ice skates
  18. Suspicious local (Merswit, human, she has very large teeth) accuses party member of being three kobolds in disguise. She is hard to dissuade, as she doesn't want to "fall for their tricks." Stripping down to undergarments should do it, but any attempt less than that should require a Persuasion check with DC between 13 and 17 depending on the approach. Intimidation is only DC 10, but will result in Merswit spreading scandalous lies about the party behind their backs
  19. Something very out of season has happened (a tulip blooming as if it's spring, some birds suddenly singing in some bushes, a little creek breaking free of the ice to to tinkle and burble into the lake) and locals gather round to witness it before winter reclaims its grasp. Could grant renewed save to shake off madness, depression, curses, and especially effects related to winter. 
  20. News of the White Wyrm! - Arveiaturace flying across the dale in the twilight, shadow and pale wings across moonlit snow and dark skies. - Word that a ship bearing supplies intended for Ten Towns was taken by the dragon, with all hands lost. "I watched them go down, into the black water, or down the chute of er ivory gullet" moans the gaunt sailor. -An old woman with Reghed tattoos tells tales of the days when The White Wyrm and her wizard Meltherond came to the Dale. Implies bawdily throughout the tale that she and the wizard had intimate relations. "Meltherond had quite the Meltha-wand, if you catch my meaning" -according to the upstart braggart, the hoard of Arveiaturace is said to contain scrolls, potions, nameplates and figureheads and ships helms, and one frozen corpse from every ship or caravan she's ever taken down

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Four Riddles

Lots of inspiration made me want to write this post for a long time. Riddles take time for me to write! The answers, of course, are hidden as white text on a white background: highlight them and they shall appear!

Players in my games, don't spoil these riddles for yourselves! I promise you'll encounter them all eventually ;)

As long as my jailors live, so do I
If they choose to set me free, then I die
a secret

I dream of the day I'm so tall
I tower over the world
All winter I slumber
In lightless cell curled
a seed

I am a painter
Although my fingers are stiff as daggers
Strong enough to break rock
I paint delicately
Soft enough to trace a dandelion clock
So quiet I can paint your whole house
Without you hearing the swish of my brush.
But be quick if you want to see my work!
A jealous rival scours it all away.
Ice, frost (jack frost)

I am a dancer,
Getting faster and faster
My partner doesn't move her feet
She sashays so sweet
Her dress is of colours bright as the day
But my suit is grey
I strive to get close to her
Although her touch is the finisher
of both myself and my dance
A moth and a candle

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Random Backstory Tables: Barbarian, Bard & Cleric

The tables in Xanathar's Guide to Everything are great, but they're way, way too short! Happily that makes them an excellent subject for a blog post. Here are the first three classes: Barbarian, Bard, and Cleric.

The barbarian 'tattoos' table is a bit longer cuz I got carried away.


Personal Totem

1- a grinning shark-like maw extending on either side of your mouth and up your cheeks
2- A series of protecting runes encircling your throat and covering your heart
3- Red geometric lines, like blood streaming from the corners of your mouth
4- A random-seeming phrase in a language you don't know. To you, all writing has powerful magic potential, and when you 'liberated' this bit of script from some scholar you inscribed what you thought must be the most important bit of text onto your skin, to absorb it's magic.
5- The entire sleeve of one arm, inked a solid black.
6- The phases of the moon (or one of the moons) inked across your knuckles.
7- The name of a lover who broke your heart. Seeing it causes you great pain and anger, but you're too stubborn to get it removed or covered up.
8- A map to a secret location. Work with the DM to determine where this might be. You don't trust paper or writing, so you had this tattooed on you, and had the map itself destroyed.
9- A face tattooed on your but. The idea is that you can move your buttcheeks and make the face kind of look like it's talking. At your option, the face may be that of a famous political or historical figure, a scowling demon or dragon, or a badly rendered replica of your own face.
10- A to-do list. You didn't have a pen handy, but you did have a tattooing needle...
11- Knuckle tatts that read 'RAGE' across one hand and 'KILL' 'HATE' 'LOVE' 'DEAD' 'SMRT' 'FUCK' or some other four-letter word across the other hand.
12- Traced white lines, as if scarred by lightning.
13- A keyhole shape, around your eye, and a key on your hand.
14- A series of hatched lines; you add a new one for each worthy foe you slay in battle.
15- "MOTH" inside a heart
16- An anchor. You're a traditionalist.

1 - Never let an ally become entirely obscured from view during a fight or in a dungeon, or you will be suspicious of them until they reprove their trust. One way of restoring trust is by asking "what goes up a chimney?" And the other responding "smoke."
2-  birds are unlucky, especially pictures of birds. You will never tolerate having a picture of a bird in a house, and if you can destroy the picture that's ideal
3- the last person to arrive for drinking has to quaff a whole drink, as a penalty. When drinking, alcohol must be poured for all present, altho they are not required to drink
4- it is bad luck to give or receive a weapon or any kind of blade as a gift. This may be avoided by exchanging a token amount, such as one silver piece, since an uneven trade is not a gift. 
5- wizard's magic is weak to silver - their magic may ward off a knife, but silver will cut through. 
6- things always come in threes. So if you have fallen into a hole twice, or found gold twice, you're bound to have it happen a third time
7- Someone who dies will need their weapons after their dead. Don't loot that sword off your friend, as he may be fighting ghosts with it in the afterlife. Replicas or substitutions may be acceptable. 
8- money is cursed, and you will never touch it with your hands if you can help it. 


Defining Works
1- 'the Tain of Greenmere' A rambling saga - chant that recalls every river, hill and dell of a long journey across your homeland, now lost under the sea
2- an extremely experimental work, filled with invented words and seemingly stream of consciousness verses that in fact you poured inordinate amount of time into getting just right
3- a catchy hit song that you're famous for performing as part of a band of five nearly identical-looking young singers
4- its a cover of someone else's song, but your version was so defining that even the original artist has basically given it to you, going so far as to say they'd hesitate to perform it themselves without your blessing
5- 'Misummer Knights' a bawdy tale about the queen of the fairies, her clone, and a lot of nudity, chaos, fighting, and mistaken identity. 
6- a conceptual art piece consisting of precisely measured long intervals of silence, interspersed by a few single notes. 

1- musical saw stolen from loggers trying to clearcut a dryad's grove
2- Balalaika, engraved with images of a polar bear grappling a moosetaur
3- Crwth made of scrimshawed whalebone 
4- Aulos won from a satyr in a drinking contest
5- Nyckelharpa made by a famous firbolg crafter 
6- Digeridoo fashioned from a mastodon horn
7- Ocarina with a built in watch ⌚ 
8- Xaphoon bound in red gold and inscribed with the sigil of your house
9- Lur with a matching helmet with decorative horns
10- A hurdy-gurdy engraved with eldritch prophecies of doom in an ancient tongue

1 - Having read far more words than you've heard spoken, you frequently mispronounce rarely-used words.
2 - You completely forgot the Duke's name in the middle of the season's premiere social gathering
3 - It was discovered you'd used illusions to fill out the audience of your play 'Qouth the Zondervoze.' 
4 - Interupting the production of the play 'the King in Yellow,' you wrecked the set and burned the only copies of the script before the actors could learn any of their lines. You are mocked for it, but you swear there was something deeply sinister about that writing.
5 - One does not need to explain the depth of this faux pas: You wore white after the harvest festival, but before the beginning of spring.  
6 - Challenged to a rhyming duel, threw up before getting on stage- ruining your chances and your favourite sweater. 


1 - A black, basalt column sprouting from a seaweed and barnacle encrusted rock in the middle of a storm-tossed sea
2 - an idyllic grove, ringed around the hill with ancient henges of stone and wood, where wine and food is always on offer
3 - a hospital in the slum of a war-ravaged city, dedicated to administering aid to the sick and wounded.
4 - A hidden safehouse, tucked in a blind alley, impossible to find unless you know where to look, and with half a dozen secret escape routes
5 - a barn, converted into a church by the rustic folk of the village, decorated with homespun 'tapestries' and colourful murals. 
6 - a sprawling, bureaucratic edifice, a brutalist building filled with clerks and auditors, filing everything in triplicate.

1 - A feather of ever-shifting iridescent hues
2 - A teapot, painted with one of the symbols of your faith
3 - A bedraggled doll, given to you by a child whose life you saved to keep you safe when you were headed into danger.
4 - A bottle of wine you acquired during a frankly somewhat hedonistic evening in the big city.
5 - This pocket-sized holy book still bears the scar of the arrow that would have pierced your heart.
6 - A set of manacles, which you wore during your imprisonment for the crime of following your faith.
7 - A finely crafted pen, taken from the seminary where you underwent your training.
8 - Flint and tinder- a reminder that there can be light in even the darkest places.

1 - What's the harm in making a little money performing magic on the side? Surely the gods wouldn't have given you these gifts if they didn't intend for you to use them.
2 - Whether sentimental or superstitious, you keep an icon of the spirituality of your childhood, from before you converted.
3 - Although sworn to avoid all worldly attachment, you have a secret spouse- an important figure within the government.
4 - If the gods don't grant you the miracles you need, you're not above faking them.
5 - You are writing your own treatise on religion, one you hope will eventually supplant the existing orthodoxy of your faith.
6 - A parent forced you into the clergy to avoid an inheritance complication. You never wanted to be a priest, but to everyone's surprise you manifested the gift of divine power!

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Harpy Tree

I'm liking making maps! It's just very chill, especially with all the greenery. I'm just sitting here plonking down moss, how delightful.

This is a continuation of my previous map of the owlbear den. I wanted to see what I could do for the tree above.

click for big version

Once again, it's designed to be open ended, for all your 'big tree in a forest clearing' battlemap needs. Once again, however, I'm also providing some notes! This should help especially with how to describe and interpret the map- extreme elevation is tricky to show in two dimensions.

now with numbers!
1. Owlbear den entrance. See description from the previous map. Climbing up the bluffs should be a pretty easy check, if they're climbing the roots or a low area of the bluff, but could still be a hindrance if rushed by combat. The bluffs are also steep enough to provide some cover for creatures cowering right at the base, against any attacks from the branches of the trees, but the harpies would be able to fly up to gain vision of anyone hiding there.
2. Base of the tree is littered with roots, creating difficult terrain in some areas. Climbing onto the large roots should be very easy and likely not take an action, climbing up the trunk of the tree slightly harder and takes extra time/movement. Darker area on the ground delineates the full extent of the upper canopy, not all
3. Large flat fungus shelf forms a handy platform. 20ft off the ground, 15 from roots. Can support people's weight no problem, but anyone falling on it from a height will snap it off, releasing yellow mold-like spores. This is the reason the harpies havent' removed it, despite it making access to their nests noticeably easier.
4. Large, high branch 40 ft off the ground. While very sturdy, not going to break anytime soon, it is a bit bouncy, and sways under movement. Acrobatics type checks to stay balanced, unless you sit down and scoot along on your butt at a greatly reduced speed. 
5. Harpy nests, 50 ft high. On a wooden platform securely fastened to the tree. Sharpened stakes on underside of platform make it difficult to climb directly up, high difficulty to avoid and failure means you take damage and don't progress. There are no spikes above the platform, so a creature could climb higher up the tree and then descend to avoid the spikes. Treasure: There are shiny baubles visible glinting in the sun! Mostly glass and beads, but a few genuinely valuable gemstones mixed in with the harpy poop.
6. Climbing higher than the nest grants partial cover from ranged attacks and flying creatures, as the branches become more dense. The absolute crown of the tree is 130 ft high, and climbable up until the last 15 feet. The apex is partly bare, with giant spikes of wood sticking up out of the foliage like a crown. The tree is the tallest in the vicinity, and from this height players should be able to see some cool points of interest in neighbouring hexes/areas close by.
7. Path leading west. Who's been using the track? Clearly not harpies (they fly) or things that would be eaten by harpies (they prefer to avoid being eaten).
8. Deep well (actually the shaft of a buried tower.) Vines growing makes climbing possible but not easy. Possible vines break, guaranteed if the character is loaded with gear and encumbered. Deep, deep drop- this and the 'path leading west' are also bookends for if I want to make more maps and keep adding on. 

I hope I placed the well far enough out of the way so that it doesn't overlap with where the owlbear den ought to be! But I think it's in the dead zone.

P.S. This map should probably have more treasure. And like... scenarios, and character motivations, and plot hooks. That's all up to you though, I'm not making a dungeon here, I'm just making a map with some supplemental notes! All you have to do is find a place for a giant tree with a nest in it and everything should be fine.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Owlbear Lair

 As part of my continuing roll20 DMing I've been making a few battlemaps. 

click for big!
An owlbear lair!

My intention was to make this fairly generic, so it's basically usable as an extension of a random encounter type situation. However, it occurs to me that a few features might benefit from some explanation, so I'll include a quick key:

1. Path leading to nest is well worn- owlbears don't care much about being tracked, because who would be dumb enough to mess with an owlbear in their lair? I included this for the non-zero chance that the players will try to lure the owlbear out or ambush it, in which case the entire rest of the map might be redundant. Oh well!

2. Entrance set between some enormous tree roots. Entrance is wide but low to the ground, and a bit steep, requiring an easy climb check to descend- which is fine when you can take your time, but if you're, say, being chased by an owlbear it's a lot harder. If I wanted to add on to this map, I would build the bluff above the entrance, and the branches of the enormous tree. What could live up in the tree that would happily coexist with an owlbear? Maybe some scavenging harpies? Harpies sound fun.

3. Mud-trough entrance. Owlbear doesn't get impeded, but humanoid characters slip and fall in the mud easily (as a Grease spell)

4. Owlbears like fresh food, especially to feed newly-hatched chicks (owlbears supplement their lactation with drip-fed blood). This owlbear has broken the legs of an unfortunate peasant and stuffed them in this hole- if he hears anyone he calls for help, possibly alerting the owlbear.

5. Passageway north partly blocked by roots. Acrobatics to wiggle through, Athletics to lift out of the way. Roots are infested with numerous small poisonous owlbear mites.

6. Dead end passageway, fresh claw marks on the wall. Owlbear has been working on a new passageway. Lots of roots, some glowing mushrooms- magic! If anyone know any good magic mushroom tables let me know. Elfmaids & Octopi probably does, right?

7. The owlbear's vomitorium. Numerous owlbear pellets in differing stages of decomposition. Each 10 minutes spent searching, character can roll to find something random. Successful check find an at-least-somewhat-useful magic item, failure roll on the Random Junk table. Make sure to describe the junk in an owlbear-themed way!

I do love rot grubs, so feel free to sprinkle some in here. This variety of rot grub doesn't infest owlbears, naturally (or maybe they do, just not fatally, so owlbear flesh is notoriously worm-ridden).

Wall to the south is very thin, can be broken through, either by an adventurer or an owlbear. Owlbear uses this as an escape route, although it's unlikely to flee from puny humans. It only cares about bigger owlbears, or dragons.  

8. This low part of the cave is filled with slick, deep, grey mud. Enough to drown in, but if you find a rock to stand on and balance carefully you can keep your head above the mud. The owlbear is too big to fall in (the ceiling is quite low), but it will happily punt an intruder into the mud- although not if there's only one intruder, because then it wouldn't have a nice snack for when the fight is over.

9. Owlbear has a cozy, dry sleeping nest made of leaves and sticks, and a round incubating nest with eggs. Nest is packed with manure, which the owlbear carefully adds and subtracts from to maintain the correct amount of heat. 

Poison damage Death and Dismemberment Table

It's been sitting in my drafts for a couple of years, but I've finally finished the Poison damage death and dismemberment table. Thi...