Monday, April 27, 2020

Dungeon Crawl Practice 8 - Shore Monster Statistics and Random Encounter Procedure


Sea Hulda in repose

1. Vampire Apes:
Hulking, 8’ - 9’ tall, four armed and pale furred predators. The Apes resemble Plague Monkeys on a massive scale, and perhaps are magically warped from them, but where Plague Monkeys are cowardly Vampire Apes are aggressive and fearless. Only loosely under the control of the Malign Intelligence, and with greater than animal cunning, they believe themselves the nobility of the Morass, vassals only to their Ape King who holds court from the overgrown superstructure of the Risen Empire. Vampire Apes will not see reason, they will not make deals but will suffer lesser, properly deferential, creatures to live until the Apes are hungry, and will duel anything that acts like a rival one on one, and not always to the death. Communication can be hard however as Vampire Apes know only bellowing whoops, growls and expressive body language.

Vampire Ape (1D6/2): HD 4+4 (27) AC 8(12), ATK 4* (fists), DAM 1D6, MV 60’, ML 11, SV F4
* At range the Vampire Ape can throw tree trunks and small boulders - 1 attack for 1D6+3 damage)

Vampire Ape 5E (1D6/2): HD 4D10+12 (32 HP) AC 12, ATK 4* (melee) +5 hit, DAM 1D6+3, (fist - bludgeoning) MV 40’, STAT (S: 19, D: 12, C: 16, I: 5, W: 13, CH: 5)
* At range the Vampire Ape can throw tree trunks and small boulders - 1 attack at +5 for 1D6+3 damage)

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Dungeon Crawl Parctice 7 - Wilderness Exploration Tables & Procedural Generation

Shadowed channels and dense thickets mean that encounters with the resident horrors of the Green Morass tend to occur at close range, 2d6X10’, unless the party is surprised in which case the encounter occurs at the monsters’ preferred distance (melee range except for the Scavengers who will engage with missiles at 80’). Monsters with surprise will attack, capitalizing on their advantage, unless otherwise noted.

Denizens of the Unwholesome Sea
Vampire Apes (1d6/3): Mountains of aggression, stinking white fur, and pale pink flesh.
Four-armed alpha predators of the Green Morass, always hungry for fresh blood and
dominance. Vampire Apes have no fear and arrive booming and ululating.
Malign Thrall (1): Cheerful, with a shanty on its withered lips this mad hermit still wears
the rotting garb of a sailor or explorer, rags hanging from a withered frame.    
Dead Men (2D6): Shambling confused corpses: bones wrapped with the shreds of a
naval uniform, sun blackened gristle wearing explorer’s boots or naked and sea
changed.  The dead have no needs, but furious anger. They may ignore you however.
Scavengers (1D6+2): Crouch and men in travellers leathers, blackened mail. Each
with a sheepskin pelisse. Hard-eyed and wary of the mangroves, they creep and watch.
Owlbears (1D6/2): Fat balls of grey fur and pink feathers with curved beaks. Smaller
then many subspecies, the Owlbears of the Green Morass are well fed and numerous. 
Plague Monkeys (2D6): Screaming from the trees, grey green with mouths of  ivory
sickles, the monkeys are the eyes of the Malign Intelligence, tormented by hunger. 
Sea Hulda (1D6/2): Languid singers of enchanting melody who nest along muddy
channels, the Hulda are not predators but filled with mischief, curiosity and wild
Droning Birds (1 swarm):  Hummingbirds, bloated to the size of a sparrow - each a
carbuncle reflecting angry red and cool grey green.  They fill the air with droning song
and seek to drown their jagged beaks in warm blood with singular purpose. 

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Dungeon Crawl Practice 6 - Small Point Crawl & Exploration Die


Approaching from the shore is no less dangerous than from the sea, and the area within a half day from the wrecks is an arcane sink, polluted with rotten magic. Wilderness Encounter checks in the morass occur once every two hours, including during the night, unless the party has camped with the Lost Lambs. However, beyond constant threats and strange happenings, the very land revolts against mortal life, making camping within the Green Flow Morass near impossible due to the mangrove's Vampire Ecology.

Despite the constant attention of biting insects and the sucking mud’s reek of vegetal decay, travel through the morass is beautiful in its fecundity - the profusion and variety of life arresting. A narrow reed choked channel opens into a dappled pond where gold and scarlet pitcher plants blanket the sluggish water. A siege of herons with bright banded legs, beaks and cascading tail feathers hunts along the shore of a white beach. The alchemical ceramic columns of a sunken Hemiolia’s pilot house rise from a marsh, jarring white against the Morass’s greys - a shaded portico that promises cool respite from the desiccating heat.

The Morass isn’t huge, but it’s a dense and unruly maze of shifting channels, mud islands, red sand beaches and overgrown wrecks. Traveling through it takes time and rarely follows the same route, but as a matter of game mechanics the Morass is abstracted, its map is a simple point crawl, with dots noting each segment of travel. Assuming the adventurers are equipped with skiffs, coracles or canoes, items available and recommended at any Crouch Village, each segment of travel requires roughly two hours (approximated as six each day and six each night) and an exploration die roll. Without water transport explorers will take 4 hours and two checks per segment of travel as well as quickly becoming drenched in foul mud and briny marsh water.

An exploration roll, like a random encounter roll, is a D6 check that determines what the party discovers of encounters in the next period of travel. Used in wilderness travel it has the advantage of providing context for travel beyond encounters for wandering monsters: encounters, signs, weather, events, landmarks, and becoming lost.

Old Games

Let’s talk about old tabletop roleplaying games - specifically the kind of games played in the 1980’s and recently depicted in the nostalgia...