Tuesday, July 30, 2013

50 Chime Effects

How in the hell is is the end of July? @_@

Work continues, slowly but inexorably. So have a post!


The elves of the Swordfish Islands loved music. Instead of locking their doors and chests with physical keys, they locked them with sound and used chimes to open them. As the civilization became more powerful and decadent, chimes became somewhat of a game and were used as a way for the elves to "one-up" each another at parties and social events.

So I've been working on a random chime table (as they'll probably be quite common in the ruins), and here are 50 random effects that may be associated with a chime. Needs some polish for consistent use of owner vs holder and the way area of effect is described, but I think it'll do for now. ^_^

Number Description
1 The chime is 4 dimensional
2 Glows Softly
3 Humms
4 Covered in Glitter
5 Drops Glitter when sounded
6 Covered in small mirrored disks
7 Covered in cubic crystal growths
8 Covered in hexagonal crystal growths
9 Covered in growths that resemble fan coral
10 Wrapped in braided thread of astral silver
11 Has a "saturn like" ring
12 Has an X shaped dual ring of small gemstones
13 Ends in spikes, can be used as a dagger
14 Shaped like a dick
15 Shaped like a woman's body, neck down, gems for nipples
16 When held, looks and feels like it's melting (to the holder). It isn't actually.
17 Material is transluscent and gel like. Only rings when thrown against something. Doesn't stick, but feels sticky.
18 Shaped like a mouth. Sings "scat" style instead of chiming.
19 Will occasionally sing the name of its current owner instead of chiming.
20 Attempts to float up and behind its current owner's shoulders
21 Attempts to orbit its current owner's head, shoulders, or torso
22 Freezes water it touches
23 Shaped like a cone. Greatly amplifies sound. Functions as a megaphone.
24 Surrounded by a constant cloud of soap bubbles.
25 Launches 1d4 large, stunningly beautiful, but otherwise mundane, golden fireworks
26 A pint of dark ale appears in the hand of the current owner when rung. No sound is made until the beer has been completely drunk by the holder.
27 The material making this chime has been cut into strips and woven together like a basket.
28 Ringing the chime causes its owner to grow vampire like fangs for 1d6 hours.
29 Ringing the chime causes someone within a 50' radius (not the holder) to appear as an old crone for 1d10 minutes.
30 A small orb of perfectly clear ice 1"-2" in diameter appears in the current owner's hand
31 Air within a 10' diameter is instantly purified and smells vaguely of ozone
32 Shaped like a small song bird. To ring, press the feet.
33 The owner is surrounded by a light fog while in posession of the chime.
34 A small raincloud forms over anyone currently in a bad mood (50' radius)
35 Fragrant orange sipopa petals cascade from the heavens over members of the opposite sex for 3-5 minutes (50' radius)
36 Posessing this chime nullifies the special "on ring" effects of other chimes (50' radius)
37 Delicate paper flowers bloom from the ground and are consumed by golden flame that does not burn. (10' radius)
38 The holder's eyes to glow with golden light
39 Feathery, angelic wings sprout from the holder's back and immdeiately disintegrate into golden light
40 The holder's nails become perfectly manicured and painted with bright orange lacquer
41 All members of the same sex as the holder within a 20' radius become instantly cleaned, groomed, and lightly scented with a fragrance of bergamot and patchoulli
42 If out doors, all creatures within a 10' radius of the holder see the sky change to night and fill with shooting stars
43 1d20 nightengales fly up from behind the holder singing sweetly
44 Straps, buttons, clasps, or knots on clothing of members of the opposite sex of the holder within a 30' radius come undone
45 Instead of chiming, a small pebble (no larger than a thumbnail) within a 20' radius of the holder cracks open and sings a single line of garbled poetry in sonorous tones
46 Rings rather mundanely, but if a different chime was rung less than a minute before this chime, the holder of that chime is covered in orange paint
47 Instead of ringing, another creature within a 30' radius sounds out the note with a bout of severe (but not wet) flatulance
48 Golden waves of visible sound radiate from the chime and fade away
49 All prepared fires, candles, censers etc within 20' of the holder are set ablaze
50 Purple smoke smelling of vetiver and musk rolls out from the holder with a radius of 20', rising no higher than the holder's knees

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sad Ivory

Mikael Jansson photographing Emma Stone for Interview Magazine

Sad Ivory the Sorceress Queen, watches Synthexia crumble from her spire in the Crystal Metropolis (Hex 0902) with the same detached sadness she has felt ever since the great Urghis Khan was ripped to shreds by by a thousand colors out of space.

What does she want?
  • Wants the sun of Synthexia to love her as it seems their union was prophesised to save Synthexia.
  • Wants to protect the people of the Crystal Metropolis as long as she can.
  • Wants to find a new home for not just her people, but all of the good and useful creatures of Synthexia as she can.
  • Wants to halt the influence of the Priests of Set.
  • Wants to halt the war between the War Witches and the Orthodox War Witches, as she believes they hold the key to defeating the Priests of Set once and for all, if only they could get over the damned Edict of Transsubstantiation.
  • Wants to recover as many artifacts of art and learning from the ruins of Synthexia as she can, and safeguard them in the Library of Lady Entropia, a brutalist ziggurat near the hub of the Crystal Metropolis.
  • Wants to find the missing AI from the crashed Star Ark so that more arks can be built if need be.
  • Wants to aid the psychic centaurs in their fight agains the Priests of Set with as much equipment as she can spare.
  • Wants pieces of the Crystalian Mosaic (Hex 0711) for study.
  • Desperatly wants the aid of Lord Nichrome, but she doesn't realize he's still alive.
  • Wants to find the body of Urghis Khan because she fears what will happen if the Night Pharaoh or Priests of Set find it first.
  • Wants the aid of the Cobalt Knights.
What does she NOT want?
  • Does not want anyone to know she is aiding the psychic centaurs.
  • Never wants to see the body of Urghis Khan.
  • Does not want the secrets of the Infinite Worm of MRAMRA-KUL to find their way to the Priests of Set or the Night Pharaoh.
  • Does not want the Cobalt Knights to be successful in breeding Void Hounds and Diammond Dogs as it may lead to the inadvertant creation of more void terrors.
  • Does not want to keep dreaming the same dream, and is beginning to not want to sleep.
  • Does not want any resources to be squandered.
  • Does not want her people to lose hope.
  • Does not ever want to appear before others looking disheveled or ill prepared.
  • Does not want to love the sun.
Click here for the full hex map and key

Sunday, July 7, 2013

No Bad Guys!

Bad guys and sandboxes don't mix.

They work great for episodic content, and serve as a good prop against which to foil your hero so you can get across your story, or ethical/moral point, but that's not what a sandbox is about. If you're in a sandbox, you should be getting sand in your face constantly, and from all directions as you bump and ricochet around between competing motivations. When you look at the big, zoomed out, global picture, it should just be one big mass of chaotic squiggles. Now, you might see a picture in the squiggles, but if the sandbox has been done correctly, that picture is only pareidoila, and where you see a bull, I see a fox, and she sees a three story building on fire.

Over the past few weeks I've been working on "The Dark" of Hot Springs Island. The dark is where the DM will be able to find things like tables, hex descriptions, dungeon maps and writeups, factions and NPCs. The hex descriptions are done (and have been done for a while). The dungeons are coming along very nicely, and the tables are smoooooth as silk. The NPCs and Factions however, have been hell.

I don't want there to be good guys, I don't want there to be bad guys, and I don't want the avoidance of good guys and bad guys to feel forced. The information needs to be informative and evocative, but modular, and immediately gamable. It needs to be able to inspire clusterfuck situations, without needing fifteen pages of backstory that no one actually gives a fuck about or wants to read.

This has caused me to crumple up a good deal of lined yellow paper.

Svarku and his Fuegonauts have been a straight up pain in my ass. Svarku is a douchebag efreet. His Fuegonauts are vicious, bloodthirsty, and associated with fire. Other factions on the island are associated with water. Tropes say that fire are the "bad guys", and water are the "good guys", but damn it, I don't want either of them to be either. We're talking about the elements. The elements aren't good, or evil. They're elements. They're half a step above chaos. They been fighting for an eternity, and they'll continue fighting for an eternity. There shouldn't inherently be a right side. So how the fuck to present this?

There should only be a bad guy once you pick a side, not before. Obviously personal prejudices and historical tropes will color a player and DMs perspective of things, but I want to fight them as much as I can. Or perhaps, not fight them as much as not succumb to them myself and provide meaningful choices for all sides.

Today, I think I got it. The Diviner and Wintergreen came over, and we started talking about the dark and where we were going to go with it. We haven't had a chance to meet in a while, and it was great to get together today. The Diviner has written up a lot of good foundational stuff for the dark about who the NPCs are, where they are now, and some general notes for the DM. I loved it all, but hadn't been able to put my finger on what was missing, and as we talked about it, I realized that the "what" is what had been missing all along.

So together the three of us went through and discussed Svarku and the Fuegonauts from the specific perspective of "what do they want" and "what do they NOT want", and the web of motivations just fell into place. It was a beautiful thing.

Edited to add an example for the Combustarinos:

What do Combustarinos want?
    • Want to ride Svarku's wave of utter success to complete victory
    • Want Svarku's *actual* respect
    • Want to stay on this gravy train for as long as they can
    • Want to be at the VIP table
    • Want to give him water elemental cores (but only gift them when they have a substantial amount, like 100) Skeet shooting water elemental cores from the BBQ area of the tower. Throw them out and shoot them with fire to explode.
    • Want to constantly have stuff to KILL (not just fight like a normal fire imp)
What do Combustarinos NOT want?
    • Don't ever want to go back to what they used to be
    • Don't ever want to be perceived as a NORMAL fire imp
    • Don't ever want to lose favor, respect or face with Svarku
    • Never want to lose their knife or chest emblem