Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Stivellos shocking pole

Stivello was a legendary trap maker who lived and worked in the classical era. Perhaps as legendary as his trap making skills was his aptness at the seducing of women, and it is said he finally met his demise at the hands of the jealous lover of one of his conquests. His traps also seem to also have this certain aspect to them.

The shocking pole is a thick, shiny metal pole placed at the center of a room. Anyone who enters will be hit with a shock of lightning doing 2d8 damage. No large problem in itself, but there is also a spell upon the room making the air thick and viscous like tar, rendering it impossible for any humanoid to advance at a faster rate than 5 ft. per round.

There are two versions of this trap. The original version has no actual trigger. It is allways in operation, but will only affect objects inside the room. Any object thrown into the room will be affected by the thick air. Any organic or metal object will be struck by the lightning. Another, slightly more cruel version places a trigger at the center of the room, making it hard for the trapped creature to get out without experiencing death.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Future posts

Looking over some of my posts here I realize that most of them aren't really interesting, so I've decided I will concentrate on posting useful stuff instead of my opinions about this and that. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to post a trap each week for some time to come. Then we'll see what happens next.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Gnomish lobster trap

The lobster trap was originally designed by the legendary gnomish trap engineer Erwil Snogglesnoutbottom to guard the entrance to the kings vaults. It consists of a room floored with an iron grid suspended some inches above a shallow body of water. The entrance door is set with a spring, causing it to close by itself unless impeded. Upon closing, the door triggers the trap. The flooring underneath the water starts to heat up, quickly filling the room with steam.

On the first round after triggering the trapped room becomes uncomfortable. On the secound round, any creatures trapped inside will start taking damage (1d6) as they are being steam boiled alive. The amount of damage increases each round (2d6 on the third round, then 4d6 each round thereafter). In addition, some dungeon masters may enjoy making players roll appropriate saving rolls to avoid claustrophobic panic taking a hold of their minds, rendering them unable to act.

The original lobster trap had no way of getting out once the trap had sprung - it could only be avoided by keeping the door from closing while crossing the room. Since then, many versions of the trap has been constructed - some with various ways of letting unintentional victims get out before being cooked. Some versions are made with the keyhole accessible from the inside, allowing someone with a key (or adventures with lockpicks) to open the door. Other versions have a hatch in the roof supplying an exit for anyone with a grappling hook and a length of rope.

The original trap had two exits, but versions have also been made with only one exit and some kind of bait at the other end of the room, luring foolhardy explorers to a hot, steamy doom.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

A perspective on the Quantum Ogre and wasting work

It is easy to see why many would feel they are wasting work if they have spent a lot of time creating a scene and then not having it come to pass because of player choices. Yet, the principle of the Quantum Ogre states that you should indeed do just that.
So. Are you indeed wasting work? The curious thing is that before having read about agency and the Quantum Ogre, I thought that I was, so I made shure my players always where exposed to my orchestrated scenes one way or another. In short, I was an illusionist and a railroader. But at the same time, I was spending an enormous amount of time working out elaborate background stories for my games that very seldom came into play in a very significant way.
I think this perspective is a good way to get around some of that resistance to agency i RPG's. Creating backstories like that, and creating elaborate scenes is part of the fun of DMing. So what if the players were to late to witness the inidious offering to the Snake God! So what if they were too late and came in there after it happened! So what if they chose another way in and managed to prevent the whole ting!
In those cases, the scene you have created is part of the backstory. It has still happened, even if the PC's didn't witness it.

Monday, February 10, 2014

A short note on originality

A critisism of the OSR that I often see is that it is conservative. This seems self-evident, and even members of the OSR themselves don't really make an effort to dispute it. Going back to an older way of doing things. Playing earlier versions of the game. Conservative, right?
Well, not necesseraly. The OSR, as I see it, goes back to the roots of the game, trying to discover the ideas behind the original concept - ideas that were lost because people didn't understand them or weren't exposed to them - and then developing them in a new direction. Many of the theoretical concepts I see differ quite a bit from what the 1e DMG proposes.
I won't go into that in detail, but there are other examples of this same phenomenon in other art forms as well. Many times you see the artists deemed to be the most original claim outdated artists as their idols. In fact, looking backwards in history allows you to see past the shackles of contemporary trends and find a truer meaning behind the thing you do. Think about this the next time you hear your favorite musician talk about who (s)he is inspired by.
In the OSR, this is all about finding out how the game was intended to be played, and then finding new ways to make that play happen.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Robbers in the city

Now, what kind of people would actually try to rob someone who wanders around town in full plate wielding battle axes?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

D20 random villain weakness table

My first attempt at a random table. Find that making such tables is a great way of activating creativity and storing ideas for later. This probably won't be my last one.
D20 random villain weakness table
  1. Power derived from magic item.
  2. Addicted to some substance, will die if bereft.
  3. Paralyzing phobia.
  4. Becomes weak when in vicinity of a certain substance, object or type of object (kryptonite, color, religious symbol erc.).
  5. Unable to harm one specific person (obsessive love, bound by spell, fear, cause equal harm to self etc.)
  6. Cannot move except by magic.
  7. Dependent on a certain environment (scorching hot, breathes certain gas, etc.) to survive.
  8. Receives massive amounts of extra damage from weapons crafted from a certain material.
  9. Has no body or body helpless. Dependent on henchmen to interact with the world.
  10. Must perform a certain ritual, bathe in a certain substance, drink some rare potion, sleep in a coffin or the like at regular intervals to replenish power
  11. Paranoid schizophrenic. Hears voices, experiences hallucinations.
  12. Power derived from a captive creature or person under his/her control.
  13. Villains true nature unknown to subjects, who will revolt if truth comes out.
  14. Cowardly when faced with personal danger. Hides behind henchmen. Will surrender if caught alone.
  15. Has a great power that through some method (mirrors, certain magic item, certain color etc.) may be reflected back upon him/her.
  16. Shape shifter – changes to helpless or almost helpless form at regular intervals or when certain conditions are met.
  17. Inverse – what harms others will heal him/her, and what heals others will harm him/her.
  18. Blind, deaf, dumb or some combination of the three.
  19. Overpowering hatred for person, creature, type of creature, people community etc. Loses control and attacks in blinding rage if encountered.
  20. Compulsive behavior – must follow a certain routine each day.