Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Telling People About the Untellable

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF Arnold wrote about the unspeakable here http://goblinpunch.blogspot.co.nz/2015/10/outsiders-memes-prions-and-dreadful.html
and it reminded me to post about an idea I gave Patrick when he was writing some monsters for James Raggi that he didn't use. (Patrick didn't use the idea, Raggi is going to use the Monsters I'm pretty sure)

Okay so children's games are weird on how long their history can be , and how unclear it is how much they are being passed on and how often they are being independently discovered and how surpsing it is to discover someone from a different country uses the exact same name for bullrush or tag or go home stay home or even when they have the game but with a completely different name

from here 
and while I'm linking to stuff here is Shut Up and Sit Down articule about children's games involving pain.
Someone mentions whip crack in the comment, a game believed to be invented by the comment's author childhood peers and someone else links a Winslow Homer Painting depicting the same game

(Shut Up and Sit Down has some great stuff but possibly have bought the troll line about Zak being the devil? Not sure if they have done subsequent research . Also can't seem to tell the difference between "monolithic representation of women as sexy sex people is bad" and "women as sexy sex people is bad" )

Anyway my point is kids games, folklore and songs can continue for very long time without anyone really thinking about them or writing them down ,  or knowing what the hell they are about when they hear them (until someone is like Oh Ring a Ring Rosey is about the Plague or Humpty Dumpty is about a Cannon or a king or something with various levels of evidence and plausibility)

So if you wanted to warn future generations about a extra-real threat and part of this threat was thinking too hard about it or creating information about allowed it more access to the world or some other side effect , having it be in kid's lore is perfect.

It gets passed on without being written down, when kids stop being kids they forget about it, and when they are kids their understanding of fantasy and reality is different to that of adult which might be a safer way to engage with the information.

>it would have to be vague enough to not trigger the effect

>it would still have to recognisable as giving relevant advice if the entity ever shows up

>Some dickhead academic if they started seriously studying it would put themselves  and anyone
reading their notes and then anyone who has read the notes who hears the rhyme at risk

>it would have to be "catchy" to kids. Who knows what kids are going to like? Vital information might have to left out or mutate out by itself

>it could exist as a game, song, folklore, or a combination of all 3 , for example trying to walk along a path without stepping on a crack "step on a crack break your mother's back"


(feel free to add some of your own in the comments or on the g+ post where I tell everyone that I blogged )

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout.
Down came the rain
and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun
and dried up all the rain
and the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again

It's a crack in space that looks like a tiny spider but when you look at it appears to be too small to see but you can see it anyway and then it fills your entire focus field and destroys you.

It will enter this world through pipes and holes build by people and whose purpose has been lost.

Rapid temperature and humidity changes destabilize it .

Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are

When the blazing sun is gone
When he nothing shines upon
Then you show your little light
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night
Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are

If a new star appears in the sky don't look at it , especially don't think about it , it will swallow everything else in the sky

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again

The rulers of this world are tireless slaves to rotten barrier lords , whose function it is to separate reality from fantasy. They wear out and fall , and sometimes try and maintain themselves through manipulating this world to create social structures that they can use as metaphysical ladders to climb back out of this world. They are the seeds of their own destruction as organisation creates as much chaos and discord as it seeks to eliminate

A pocket full of posies;
Ashes! Ashes!
We all fall down

The first warning is weird circular scab formation

the second is entering small spaces causes bruising

then everything will burn

leave. Do not return.

I do not like thee, Doctor Fell,
The reason why - I cannot tell;
But this I know, and know full well,
I do not like thee, Doctor Fell

That guy you don't like who keeps doing weird things to bodies is a extra-real horror and will try and blank all appropriate emotional responses to the horrible things he keeps doing in front of everyone with his powers.

So you should not try and justify or explain yourself but just burn him alive or throw him off something high

If wishes were horses
Beggars would ride:
If turnips were bayonets:
I would wear one by my side:

When facing a phantasmist , the less plausible the weapon , the more dangerous it is to the phantasmist.

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.
Eight for a wish,
Nine for a kiss,
Ten for a bird,
You must not miss

It will take many forms. Some of them physical, some of them abstract. When it is a bird you can end it. You will have one chance. 

Do not miss.

Monday, 26 October 2015

There I fixed it number 5 Navigation

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from here

A bunch of people asked that I should fix navigation (including astronavigation which will need it's own post) . So here is my attempt:

Party either chooses a member to be the wayfinder because they are good at outside.

They proceed to make relevants checks (either stat checks or skills checks or whatever your d&dish uses) until they fail.

Every time they succeed they can choose to not be fucked up by one thing from the list below

if how much distance is important to the check , the party only covers half as much as they wanted to (or compared to the default amount) . If time is what is important  , it takes twice as long.

Wrong turns are taken, detours to find viewing elevation, rough terrain than expected etc.

Whatever lives here knows that you are moving through their neighbourhood . That's a roll in the wandering monster table OR if there is one dominant and/or organised faction here just have them notice and act appropriately.

Crashing through the undergrowth, disturbing too many birds, leaving a trail, arguments , musical numbers etc.

Whatever sucks about this place happens to the party. If it's a cold everyone is going to risk frostbite. If it's hot everyone risks sunstroke or dehydration. If it's a forest something falls on you , you fall into something or whatever. If a swamp ; malaria.
I include a table below incase you don't have any ideas about what goes wrong when people try and walk in nature for a period of time.

Mechanically most game books have a section with drowning , starving and a bunch of environment stuff in there somewhere and you never notice it expect sometimes you stumble across and go Ohh hey dehydration rules but who is going to be keeping track of the characters urine colour ? Not me.

 Use the effects of that. Stat damage, saving throw or Enfeeblement , hitpoint damage , Disadvantage etc.

If the players choose to Not have this problem then they will find something distinctive and cool about the area because they took the time or effort to scout around and follow mystery trails etc.
If you, the d.m , is running a hex crawl with stuff linked to the hex number use that, and having the party count as "unobserved" when starting he encounter.

If you are using an encounter table with neutral or positive stuff on there as well roll on that (moving odds/up or evens/down until finding something appropriate)

If you don't have that but have some kind of random herb table roll on that.

If you don't have anything like that , or don't want to use , just have the party having had the mechanic equivalent of a good nights rest in a comfortable location with meals and fresh water because they took the time to catch something delicious and not sleep in a pond .

This is kind of a freebie problem to take.  That's intentionally.

If for some reason the party doesn't have someone competent or bossy enough to be in charge you can have a "group consensus" versions. In that case someone makes the first check , then someone else , etc until someone fails. No-one can make another check until everyone rolled once.

and someone is complaining because their ranger is like superoutside and even with a 18 in the relevant stat that's like 1 in 10 times their character is going to have to fuck everything up.
well a)they are leading a bunch of overburdened goons with appalling skillsets so blame someone else

if the player fails the first roll (or just want to try to get less problems ) they can try again but any problems they take will be twice as bad. If they fuck this up again , they can try again but any problems they take will be 3 times as bad. Your choice if you want to allow this to escalate further.

BAD DISTANCE/TIME: half again the distance / double the time etc

ATTENTION: 2 encounters or double the amount encounter or the encountered group has a surprise round

#OUTSIDEPROBLEMS: double the severity of effect or number of party members affected or have 2 different things go wrong (THE BATS DRANK YOUR BLOOD. AND GAVE YOU RABIES)

The NOTIMEFORSIGHTSEEING if doubled up means that the party did not rest (no spells or hitpoint recovery or power recharges)  because they have not had time to rest . If tripled give an exhaustion effect (stat/hitpoint lost, disadvantage/penalty to rolls)

(less competent outside character gets it first , or randomly determine or have stat /skill check off for first to fail)
(multiple options under each result given in increasing severity . If the environment seems like a particularly harsh one use the next one suggested)

1. If cold, numbness/frostbite/hypothermia. If hot : sunburn/dehydration/sunstroke , if not really either blisters/dehydration/fatigue

2. A bad case of the falling downs: minor sprain/additionally damage for 20 feet/additionally damage for 30 feet plus break something

3.Disease, or infection (from insect bites, contamination of open wound, or opportunistic fungus with optimal conditions)  :annoying/debilitating/life threatening 

4. Drop / Lose/ Break a piece of gear. Dropping  someone might notice . Lose means you dropped it and just noticed like a hour later. Break means it broke

5. Weather goes badshit . Mechanically as spell Inflict light wounds/Gust of Wind/ Call Lightning
Thematically it's a flash flood, mudslide, sand dune collapse, sinkhole, dropped tree branch etc

6.Roll twice and combine results. If same result dunno have it effect another person and/or increase the severity 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

There I fixed it Part 4 Rations

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF Gus L wanted Rations fixed

Well if you have some kind of rest mechanic , don't allow the p.cs to use it unless they have food to cross off.

after every bit in the game like a combat or a challenge or some other physically tiring thing the players have to cross off a ration or cross off something else on their character sheet like armour class or Strength or Saving throws and then anything to do with that fails until they have something to eat.

when the player has to roll dice after a period of non-dice rolling activity ask them to cross off a ration. If they don't have any rations to cross off they must of skipped lunch or breakfast or something. Then for this and further rolls they can only use the worst die at the game table, the one that everyone hates and distrusts. 

have food restore hitpoints like 86.5% of video games . Just can't use it in combat. Come on it's not that much of kludge and it beats the awkward shoehorning of minor healing potions in the game or damn clerics or whatever. Maybe if you dropped below half health or zero you can't heal with food ?

A rule of thumb for assigning healing values is:

Default is 1d8 for cheap, long lasting (tack and cheese for example)
add another 1d8 for any of these : extremely fresh, rare /expensive, spoils quickly 
1. Wax sealed crab shells with the flesh "cooked" and partially fermented with lemon juice and capers. Deplug and suck out

2.  Molass sugared tongue slivers in a bamboo tubes. Chewy , like gamey liquorice 

3. Bog Butter

4. Cow Blood and Milk in a gourd

5. Salty Greens , Limes , and Blood Pudding

6. Flour deliberately invested with large worms. Don't eat all the worms and there will be more later! Hoorah! Unless the flour goes off , then it might hallucinogenic

7. Bracket fungus , with apple cider vinegar to soften it for chewing

8. Roast Fern Heads and Crickets

9. Pickled Pigs Feet. Collagen! Good for muscle recovery!

10. Roast ants and raisins 
11. Sprouted grains and dried mushrooms

12. Mushy monkey brains in brine

13. Gingered dried banana and lard blocks

14. Pressed seed cakes 

15. Cornbread with fizzy root jam
16. Dog sausage and pear thick cider stout

17. Honey curds and lily rhizome

18. Kelp Porridge in shark egg cases

19. Ostrich egg  

20. Dried figs and goat skin strips

Friday, 16 October 2015

There I fixed it Part 3 meeting in a talking to people, tavern , gear repairs

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Paolo Greco asked for
" I was going to suggest people complaining about how other people have fun"
in way it's helpful when people when people clearly announce they are a fucking idiot. Saves time really. It's the people who keep treating these people seriously that are a bit more of problem.

This actually gets into something else I can't be bothered getting right now with the difficulty of navigating the twin perils of Non-confrontational Gray Waste and Endless Schisms Acheron.

So.. I'm going to say laugh and ignore for now.

Adam Thorndon asked for a fix for

"You, uh, meet in a tavern, I guess?"

I guess I could ask for clarification for the exact problems of the problem here or I could just throw some answers at it...

aka I don't wanna be cliche but I don't really care about back storys either
 Okay so make the tavern immediately interesting and tied to something to explore
1. a ghost tavern
2. on fire
3. On a cruise liner that just hit an iceberg
4. Being seen differently by each player so one players sees it being staffed by bugs , another it's all meat and warts etc
5. Instead the belly of a vast beast , Pinocchio or Baron Munchausen style 
6. Abandoned because the whole party just got sent forward in time 100 years and it's all ruins now. But how?? and why?? etc??
7. (murderous) Cannibal tavern. Some one just ran out the kitchen all bleedy screaming the soup is people!!
8. The city is under siege and all the party has learned about a secret exit out of it via the tavern.

The party starts out knowing and trusting each other and fully equipped in the wilderness yet have no memory of how or why and make the players aware that this isn't a hand wave , you all just realised that something fucking weird has happened and maybe you are misplaced puppets of a dark and dire scheme etc

Steal the setup for a fixed location murder mystery . Like all on a train , hiding from a storm, fell in a a mystery pond etc. 

OPTION 4: you have all arrived in a foreign location and no-one shares you language other than the other party members.

OPTION 5: you wake up in a lab standing over your murdered doubles.

OPTION 6:  You are some dumb kids on a roller coaster and now you are in a fantasy world and you have to murder the gnome who brought you here with magics.

OPTION 7: (overlaps with below) start in media-rez. No-one has any equipment  (other than clothes, armour and weapons )written down Whenever a player goes to use something that they may or may not have they have to explain how they got it in way which fills in some of the reasons they are here now and know these other goons. 

Then roll a d6. If you roll odds this is the only item you have , if even you can do this some time later.

Immediately after this some player can add to the story and explain how that other player actually lost that item . 

If they do this , when they tell their story they don't have to roll to see if they get another item, they count as rolling evens.  You can't veto a player's item who had vetoed you until some else does first.

I don't know why I added this last bit , though it might a be weird balance / fight starter thing but now that I wrote it out ???

Daniel Davis asked about
"Gear Repairs"

At start of the session the g.m grabs all the character sheets . Then they players have to say all the equipment they have . Any they forgot is lost or broken from being neglected.

Alternatively do this at the end of the session.

Whichever is more likely to make people forget stuff. 


A player can get a free damage reroll of their own or one rolled against them.
If rerolling their damage  their weapon is damaged and will roll a die smaller until repaired.
If rerolling damage against them a random equiped item is broken (maybe use a hit location die or table) . Or if it's armour(ed) or particular tough half its effectiveness (or decrease by 1 or 2 or whatever)  until repairing happens.


Thursday, 15 October 2015

There I fixed it part 2 wizards staying home and being fucking nerds

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Joshua Blackletter ask me to fix
"The part where wizards can't invent spells or brew potions without sitting in their tower for months while everyone else adventures."

Obviously to professionally make professional reliable magical items requires time, dedication , specialised equipment and rare ingredients.

HOWEVER your players are playing dangerous fucking idiots. If wizards were drug manufacturers they would be the idiots making shake and bake meth in the toilets of k-mart after being arrested for shoplifting.  They would be alcoholics eating shoe polish on toast. They would be cutting no-doze with broken glass and trying to get the k out of dead animals in the vet's freezer.

click for source
So with the prioritizing Safety, Repeatability, Predictability ,  and  Quality control allll the way below "As soon as possible" and "Dunno with this monster dick I found I guess?" the following school of magical item creation exists:

-Combine or process dangerous garbage in a way that puts you physically at risk or at least severely inconvenienced 

-have it activated by spending the session under some kind of taboo , or "hard mode challenge" or the thing that would seem appropriate for a child's folkmagic or hideous degrading bet

-have a number of spells or spell points held in reserve for the entire session = to roughly the items level of effect x 3.

-earn a "reasonable and typical" amount of exp for the session. No hiding at home.

(The player should come up the particulars and the d.m can add any caveats or extra details to make it appropriately difficult).

Fucking this up means rolling on some magical fuck up table.
If you want a roll at the end of this ; do a double stat check with the stat that seems the most appropriate to the method (Dex for keeping rabbits in your hat the whole time with no-one learning about it, Con for drinking every unidentified fluid encountered that session).

If both checks succeed : the item is created. If one succeeds the item is created with some seriously side effect, if neither succeed it can work once but with a dangerous magic side effect. If either fumble it blows up in your face.


1. A sword+1 : make a sword yourself in half a hour out of fresh ingredients and use it in the session to inflict a total damage = to your max hitpoints. Even if this works the sword will require constant mundane and magical maintenance because you can barely make a sharp stick in half a hour

2. Healing potion : you can't hurt or kill anything in this session and lick any wound made in your presence. You must drink all the ingredients (troll blood, herb teas, pure alcholol) and retain any piss as this is the potion.

3. A flying ointment: you must not touch the ground this session. At the end of the session you must jump off something real high and then roll to see if it works.

4. Protective garments: You must find someone to convince that the garment you are trying to enchant actually works now and sell it to them. And then steal it back.

5. Something fire related: Something on you must be on fire this whole session. You may not put out any fires without the enchantment process failing.

6. Something divining: you must learn everything animate and larger than a cat's name that you encounter this session.

7. Shapechange: Disguise yourself as another animal and fool everyone not you companions. If someone sees through your bluff killing them and eating their eyes might prevent the magic from fucking up

8. Movement: You must be only covered in "freeing" substances this whole session. I.e lard and not be locked, trapped or contained

There I fixed it part 1 rock paper scissor in rpg

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click for source

People suggested some things to fix in rpg with (a maximum of)* 4 paragraphs and a table.

First up is Matthew Sanchez:

"rock paper scissors? i guess when you both throw the same thing over and over again."


But I am going to go with the what to do in the event of a tie and list all the options in a table

1. A thumbs up thumbs down round. If you want to continue (WITH THE STAKES NOW DOUBLED) do thumbs up, if you don't thumbs down. If want to continue and the other person does not , you get half their stake if applicable or you get the contested item but give them a forfeit of lesser value

2. Reverse what beats what. Scissor now beats rock etc. Another tie reverses it back.

3. Add another clause or stake to the bet. Keep playing.

4. Assuming going on count of 3 , the round after the tie now goes on a count of 6 but a hand still must be thrown on the 3 though it counts for nothing. Another tie increases the count to 9 and a false hand must be thrown on the previous 3 and 6 , etc

* I Just added this subsclause so there

Friday, 9 October 2015

Looke at thee bountyy of Woods

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1. You have to eat so so much of it. Like half a garbage bag of leaves

2. It is covered in horrible itchy hairs. You don't wanna know what happens if you eat while the hairs are still on it.

3.It smells like hot garbage that some half ate , threw up, and then finished up and shat out. The smell proceeds you!

4.The whole plant looks a creepy crying deer baby. Consuming it means it will show up in your dreams, grow up, and start a creepy deer person family

5. It  distinctively stains everything it comes into contact with. Let's hope it's not illegal or otherwise subject to complicated cultural taboos!

6. Maybe this isn't the right plant. Nah it prob is. Maybe. Wasn't there a poison variant of it? Nah it couldn't be. This will be totally fine.

7. It is so so bitter you will throw up a tooth if you try and eat it too fast.

8. Consuming means your sweat smells remarkably like a mating pheromone to the shittest , largest insect in the area. They will show up and hang around looking disappointed. Eventually something worse will show up and try and eat them.

9. The dose is painfully small and requires an exact and carefully hand  or the effect will be reversed or disastrously magnified .

10. This plant is extremely rare and has a tenuous survival in its native habit. Anywhere else and it will become a farmland destroying superweed . So watch where you poop okay?

11. Reacts badly with alcohol causing narcolepsy or nausea or both

12.  Messes with your sense of taste. Everything tastes completely different. Let's hope no-one feeds you spoiled or poisoned food because you'll have no way of distinguishing it from all the other weird shit going on in your mouth.

13. Requires an arduous process of boiling, soaking, washing, and reboiling or it will cripple you with stomach cramps for days

14. Unrelatedly to what you wanted it for , the dead can now contact you and are showing up in your dreams to pass on messages. Petty , petty messages.

15. The consummation also inflicts a range of minor but unsettling physical ailments : heart palpitations, vertigo, fevers, cold chills, shakes , excessive sweating, and sun sensitivity .

16. For it to be effective you need to smoke it and smoke it hot and hard. So hard that you will have trouble raising your voice for the rest of the day.

17. It's poisonous unless you let it get rotten. Then it's disgusting but not technically poisonous .

18. It's only half as effective if you don't eat all the beetles living in it. They will disperse in all directions when startled and are speedly bastards

19. It's a little chewy. Like.. real chewy. You are going to be chewing on it all day in fact and it will stain your teeth red.

20. Delayed intoxication that kicks in about 2 hours from now for an hour and then all tomorrow. Livers are weird