Saturday 21 March 2020

Stuff to check out!


Gallimaufry cover image

Gallimaufry is a collection of 18 (and counting) items for Troika!

The item descriptions are free/PWYW, readable as HTML within the itch product page itself, for easy rules referencing during online play. A print-friendly PDF will be forthcoming once I decide the item collection is finished. The items are also licensed CC-BY 4.0 so feel free to adapt and remix into your own rulesets and modules, including ones sold commercially.

Bestiarum Geondica

Bestiarum Geondica cover image

Bestiarum Geondica is a bestiary that's free to download. @NateTreme made a simple monster-name generator and crowdsourced people to write tweet-length descriptions of monsters they'd rolled up. The Bestiarum collects 100 descriptions (including two by me) along with the generator tables. It's an excellent read! BYO stats, populate your next hexcrawl or campaign setting with them, you won't regret it.

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Magic Items for Troika

Some of these items are from recent twitter threads, others have been sitting in my draft folder for ages. Once I have enough of them (thirty-six?), I'll release them as a CC-BY pdf, probably with an alternate version statted for Knave.

EDIT: I've released the first 18 items as an itch page, available to read for free/PWYW. PDF forthcoming.

If you haven't checked out Troika! yet, its itch product page links to a google-doc SRD you can read for free. If you want to convert them to other systems, the main things you need to know are:

  • Luck is a character's "fortune and intuition", functioning much like saving throws in other games. To Test your Luck, roll 2d6 equal-or-below your current Luck score. Regardless of success or failure, you then decrease your Luck by 1. Roll 1d6+6 for starting Luck, this never improves. You heal 2d6 Luck with an 8-hour rest (but never go over starting Luck).
  • To make a Skill Test, roll 2d6 equal-or-below your relevant Skill Total, which for beginning characters will be a number ranging between 4 and 9. For opposed Skill Tests, each character rolls 2d6 + their relevant Skill Total, highest wins.
  • Encountered monsters and other NPCs have a 1d6 Mien table. This works similarly to an old-school reaction roll, except that Mien results often can't be ranked from best to worst. Would you rather encounter a Suspicious troll or a Spiteful troll?
  1. Bootstrapping Boots
  2. Cuckoo Spell
  3. Edible Brooch
  4. Minimus Egg
  5. Orpheus Mirror
  6. Remembrance Shard
  7. Seaglass Ring
  8. Seasoning Orb
  9. Starsnuff
  10. Zinn's Annulus

Bootstrapping Boots

Knee-high boots that walk around of their own volition. Each sunrise, they walk next to their last wearer and nudge them awake. They will do this multiple times a day on worlds with multiple suns. If the last wearer refuses to get up, the boots deploy bootstraps to hoist them upright.

Cuckoo Spell

A grapefruit-sized gelatinous orb of roiling energy, that slowly shuffles around on little cilia. Roll on the Random Spell chart to determine which spell it contains.

Harmless to someone who doesn't know any Spells. Such a person can handle and throw the orb, which has a 4-in-6 chance of rupturing on impact, releasing the spell.

If handled by a spellcaster, the Cuckoo Spell will fuse with them, stealing the skill ranks of whichever Spell the person knows that has the fewest ranks (break ties at random). The old Spell withers and is forgotten. The Cuckoo Spell ignores spellcasters who already know the contained spell.

The spellcaster can Test their Luck to avoid this. If they succeed, they fling the Cuckoo Spell off them before it successfully fuses. The same 4-in-6 chance of rupture applies.

Edible Brooch

This cloak pin is set with delicious-looking gummy jewels. Pluck one out and eat it, or toss it at a creature. Depending on their Mien, the creature might eat the gummy (e.g. if they are Hungry or Curious) or ignore it (e.g. Suspicious). If Mien gives little indication, the creature must Test their Luck or eat the gummy.

Each time you pluck out a jewel, cross out one of the boxes next to its colour.

Red ❏❏

You hiccup fire. This is a a melee weapon dealing damage as a Beastly Weapon appropriate to your size (Most characters will use Modest Beast). Test Your Luck whenever you want to do an action in combat other than hiccup fire, or whenever you attempt something involving flammable objects. Lasts 1 hour.

Blue ❏❏

You melt into a quasi-liquid. Must make a Climb Test to ascend even the gentlest slopes. Can flow through small holes and crevices. Lasts 1 hour.

Green ❏❏

You become a plant. Lose any ranks you have in Acrobatics. For each rank lost, roll a d3 and gain a rank in the corresponding Advanced Skill:

  1. Climb
  2. Healing
  3. Poison

You can subsist on just water and light in the short term, and in the long term only require a source of minerals. This is permanent.

White ❏❏❏

You become so preoccupied with the finality of death, of utterly ceasing to be, that you will do anything to avoid dying or killing. You are a total pacifist and will not fight unless completely cornered. Lasts 1 hour.

Minimus Egg

This egg is porcelain-white. If you handle it, you feel a strong parental instinct — you must Test your Luck to act on any desire to abandon or destroy it.

Incubate the egg, and its shell will slowly turn the colour of your skin. It hatches into a tiny clone of you in 6 days. The clone is helpless when newly-hatched. In another 6 days, the fledgling clone is mature, but never grows taller than your handspan.

Roll Skill, Stamina and Luck for the clone, as normal for a new character. The GM decides which aspects (if any) of your Background are genetically heritable. Due to their size, they take no damage from falls.

You have no special control or influence over the new being. They may accompany you or strike out on their own (particularly if mistreated). Write a Mien table for it, with the GM's approval.

Orpheus Mirror

This mirror's reflection reveals the presence of ghosts and other incorporeal undead, even invisible ones. It also reveals if a creature is possessed by such a spirit.

If a loved one (this love need not be romantic) dies, you can hold the mirror, declare why you care about this person, and it will show you one of the countless hidden ways to the Underworld. This allows you a single attempt to retrieve your love. Your love must not have been dead for longer than a year. You do not require their remains.

You must go alone. This journey to the Underworld does not obey the normal rules of time. For the mortal world, the journey takes an hour. For you, it could be days, or months. You do not need to eat or drink during this time.

The journey is resolved with a single roll. Test your Luck, and note whether the die results match. Then pick the appropriate number of outcomes from the list below.

Success and Doubles. Choose one.
Success. Choose two.
Fail. Choose four.
Failure and Doubles. All outcomes.

  • The mirror is destroyed in the attempt.
  • You must give away something of great value. Gold has no value in the Underworld.
  • Your love is unwilling to leave. You can force them to do so.
  • Despite your efforts, your love must stay behind.
  • You must stay behind.

Remembrance Shard

A pottery fragment, edges razor-sharp, inscribed with "Emrick". At night, smear it with a drop of your blood and speak the word to conjure the spectre of a friendly dog. Invisible, warm, heavy, he fades at the next sunrise. Has a 1-in-6 chance of knowing any given one-word trick (keep a record of tricks he knows).

Seaglass Ring

While you wear this ring, your flesh look a bit more translucent than normal. Immersing body parts in water turns them completely transparent; only a faint green tint and the refractive index of glass visually betrays their presence. Clothing and equipment is unaffected.

While underwater (and naked), you roll Sneak Tests with a Skill Total of 3 + your Skill. If you already have at least 3 ranks in Sneak, you instead add +1 to your normal Skill Total.

Seasoning Orb

A basketball-sized wooden sphere with a single groove around its equator. If dropped, it will land on an angle matching the world's axial tilt, assuming a spheroidal world (see below).

The two hemispheres can spin around the groove like a pepper grinder. Present the Orb to a plant and grind it through 90 degrees, and the plant will advance one season. This happens over 10 minutes, causing blossoming, fruiting, shedding leaves etc as appropriate for its species. This will not cause a plant to mature faster or grow taller.

Overuse of an Orb can kill a plant. Any given plant may be advanced one season safely. Roll a d6 for each season beyond the first; on a 1, the plant dies.

Lesser Orbs don't function on nonspheroidal worlds, while the rare True Orbs will contort to match even the most exotic topology. A True Orb can be used as a navigational aid on such worlds with a successful Mathmology Test.


Snort it for a taste of the numinous.

You connect to one of the many domains of the divine, and can siphon some of its power for a one-time magical effect. Most starsnuff connects to a random domain (roll below); only the most skilled of alchemists can refine starsnuff that connects to a specific desired domain.

Describe what magical effect you want to accomplish and the GM will tell you whether it falls under that divine sphere and how much Stamina it will cost. Then you can cast it following all the normal rules for Spells, except you must Test your Luck instead of your Skill.

The effects of starsnuff wear off once you successfully cast a Spell with it, or after an hour.

If you're lucky, you might be able to learn the Spell you cast, though the universe has an odd way of requiring a different amount of Stamina for the mortal version than was needed for the starsnuff version.

Starsnuff is a dangerous commodity illegal in many spheres. Repeated use risks the ire of the gods whose power you hijack, or the attention of the starry sea's many theurgotrophic life forms. Side-effects include dizziness, nosebleeds, delusions of godhood, and spiritual metamorphosis.

d66 Domain d66 Domain d66 Domain
11 Death 31 Terror 51 Desire
12 Ember 32 Ship 52 Mercy
13 Seed 33 Oath 53 Balance
14 Writing 34 Despair 54 Silver
15 Sun 35 Joy 55 Cat
16 Memory 36 Door 56 Medicine
21 Destruction 41 Skill 61 Dream
22 Time 42 Cave 62 Hearth
23 Ocean 43 Wine 63 Stone
24 Judgement 44 Luck 64 Destiny
25 Moon 45 Sphere 65 Alloy
26 Stamina 46 Tree 66 Delirium

Zinn's Annulus

This band of fibrous muscle was Zinn's final creation, before the vivimancer's accidental (?) demise.

The wearer's fingertip swells into a functioning eye, with the same size, visual acuity, and fragility of a typical human eye.

The ring is intelligent and can telepathically communicate with the wearer. If the wearer is asleep or comatose, the ring can seize control of their body. Whether the ring then acts in accordance with the wielder's goals depends on the ring's current Mien and any agreement or friendship between them.

The ring can also take control of animals, plants, or anything with fingerlike structures. Animals can only be possessed if their minds are sedated.


  1. Devious
  2. Curious
  3. Grouchy
  4. Condescending
  5. Thoughtful
  6. Hedonistic

Friday 6 March 2020

Two More Randomly-Named Monsters (BX monsters)

See last post. @NateTreme is putting together a free zine of 100 tweet-length descriptions people have read, which looks sweet. I wrote the Chittering Skull Fly, while my partner wrote the description for the Pestilent Glow Weasel. The stats and Geegaw table are all mine, I hope they're useful for your game. The geegaw table in particular is well-suited for other trashbaby monsters like goblins.

Chittering Skull Fly

Fist-sized adult form inhabits a skeleton. Cranial cavity provides resonance for their tymbal clicks, fast enough to simulate the common tongue. Builds silk "tendons" to marionette the skeleton. Slow, deliberate movements, trading speed for torque.

(as Skeleton)

Armour Class: 7 [12]
Hit Dice: 1* (4hp)
Attacks: 1 × weapon (1d6 or by weapon, roll damage with advantage)
THAC0: 19 [+0]
Movement: 45’ (15’)
Saving Throws: D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (as 1 HD monster)
Morale: 8
Alignment: Neutral
XP: 13
Number Appearing: 2d6 (5d6)
Treasure Type: C

  • Lair: Roughly half of the 5d6 flies found in a lair will be naked, the rest will be skeleton-piloting flies.
  • Slow and Strong: Makes damage rolls with advantage (roll damage dice twice and use the highest). Can break through doors with 1d3 rounds of effort even if held shut with iron spikes; can overcome hold portal spells by 1st-level casters (i.e. as a 4 HD creature). Can carry up to 200 lb (2,000 coins).

(as naked Fly)

Armour Class: 9 [12]
Hit Dice: 1 (4hp)
Attacks: 1 × bite (1 damage)
THAC0: 19 [+0]
Movement: 45’ (15’) / 75’ (25’) flying
Saving Throws: D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (as 1 HD monster)
Morale: 6
Alignment: Neutral
XP: 10
Number Appearing: 1d3 (5d6)
Treasure Type: C

  • Lair: Roughly half of the 5d6 flies found in a lair will be naked, the rest will be skeleton-piloting flies. Treasure in a lair used to be the grave goods buried with each skeleton. The flies have no use for nonmagical treasure, but understand humans enough to trade with them.

Pestilent Glow Weasel

A clever child-sized mustelid. Carrion & refuse feeder, it's skills as a scrounger & thief are useful to some. Proudly filthy, notorious for spreading disease with bites & scratches, its fur is covered in bioluminescent fungus which it eats during lean times

Armour Class: 9 [10]
Hit Dice: 2 (9hp)
Attacks: 1 × bite or scratch (1d3 + disease), or 1 × junk-sword (1d8, breaks on a natural 8)
THAC0: 18 [+1]
Movement: 90’ (30’)
Saving Throws: D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (as 2 HD monster)
Morale: 5
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 20
Number Appearing: 1d6 (1d6)
Treasure Type: V, plus one roll each on Geegaws, below

  • Disease: Bite has a 1-in-6 chance of infecting the target (save versus poison). Incubation time is 2 days, followed by up to a month of fever, vomiting, swollen joints and lymph nodes, and purple rashes around the infected area (-2 to all rolls, naturally heal at half the normal rate). The disease has a 1-in-6 chance of death, which occurs in 2d6 days after onset.
  • Immunity: Immune to most poisons and diseases. Any specific poison/disease has only a 1-in-6 chance of affecting them as a species, in addition to any saving throw called for.
  • Luminescent: Fungus growing on fur casts light in a 10' radius. Removed fungus keeps glowing for 1d6 days, but can be cultured on other mammalian hair or fur.
  • Scrounger: Can find (but not remove) treasure traps, hear noise, and pick pockets as a 6th-level thief. Due to their luminescence, they are terrible at hiding, and carry too many scrounged geegaws to move silently.
    • Find Traps: 40%
    • Hear Noise: 3-in-6
    • Pick Pockets: 45%


  1. Snapped wand, cerulean magic sparks at the break pose a fire hazard.
  2. Beetle-shell lamellar "armour". Offers no protection, but quite pretty.
  3. Mouldy loaf of bread. If consumed, equal odds of curing or causing disease, as the spell).
  4. Slingshot and five dried dung-pellets.
  5. Mangled paintbrushes and a bottle of vinegared egg yolk.
  6. Diary of encountered fungi. Can answer a single question about every fungus encountered, 2-in-6 chance the answer is wrong.
  7. Lamp oil stolen from humans, good for deep-frying.
  8. Copper amulet covered in bite marks.
  9. Vial of musk, a gift from a lover.
  10. A spare junk-sword, 1d8 damage but breaks on a natural 8.
  11. Bulky goggles, protect eyes but impede vision.
  12. Badly magnetised compass, needle points a cardinal direction other than north. Roll d3: 1 = east, 2 = south, 3 = west.
  13. A soft sugary roll, perfectly preserved in some sort of transparent film.
  14. A clay jar full of live crickets.
  15. moth-eaten linen shawl, bright yellow, embroidery now illegible.
  16. A map of the dungeon level. Each secret door has a 50% chance of being known and marked, rooms only accessible by an unknown secret door are obviously not on the map.
  17. A coconut goblet with silver foot and stem.
  18. An Alaga√ęsian Smuggle-Hamster, its cheeks are an extradimensional space that can hold 10 fl oz. (300 mL) of goods without showing any external bulge.
  19. A pitted, wiggly-bladed dagger that glows blood-red. Nonmagical, the dagger is actually home to another bioluminescent fungus that metabolises iron, and will colonise nearby iron & steel objects.
  20. Paper fortune-teller made from the torn-out sheet of a wizard's spellbook. Can do one accurate augury per person per month. Roll d8 or construct a fortune-teller with the following:
    1. Turn left.
    2. You will find riches soon.
    3. You will have good luck today.
    4. You will have bad luck today.
    5. Do a good deed today.
    6. An old friend will come calling.
    7. Love is in the air.
    8. Be careful on Tuesday.

Thursday 5 March 2020

Grinning Star-Wyrm (B/X monster)

This monster name was generated by @NateTreme's cool generator. Check out the other tweet-length monster descriptions, they're all great!

Grinning Star-Wyrm

Vestigial-winged, propels itself through vacuum through sheer plucky, can-do nature. Breathes a plume of capitalist work ethic and retail-smiles. Eats a mock meat made of ground, extruded asteroid, but sometimes cheats with the odd human.

Armour Class 0 [19]
Hit Dice 12** (54 hp)
Attacks [1 × bite (4d6), 1 tail slap (4d6)] or breath
THAC0 10 [+9]
Movement 90’ (30’) / 180’ (60’) flying
Saving Throws Death 6, Wands 7, Paralysis 8, Breath 8, Spells 10 (as 12 HD monster)
Morale 10 (4 during economic downturns)
Alignment Any
XP 2,700
Number Appearing 1 (1d4)
Treasure Type H

  • Breath weapon: Cloud of stimulant gas (50’ long, 40’ wide, 20’ high). Save versus breath or be unable to rest for 2 days, or for 1 day if the grinning star-wyrm is at half-hp (27 hp) or less. This includes overnight rest necessary to heal and regain spells, and shorter rests during the day to avoid attack penalties, see Dungeon Adventuring: Resting. Characters affected are also immune to sleep for the duration, and their facial muscles tighten into an uncomfortable smile.
  • Language and spells: 100%; 4 × 1st level, 4 × 2nd level, 4 × 3rd level.
  • Open-Plan Office: All characters within the grinning star-wyrm's lair automatically succeed at Hear Noise rolls, but automatically fail Move Silently rolls. A silence 15' radius spell will negate this.
  • Sleeping: 33%.

Typical Spells Prepared

1 while in the grinning star wyrm's lair, this has a range of "anywhere else in the lair".

Sample Hoard

  • 50,000 gp
  • 40 necklaces. Each is a rounded rectangle made of silver, borne on a fine silver chain. Each is engraved with a tiny serial number but is otherwise blank. The first time the necklace is ever worn, parts of the rectangle magically darken to resemble a daguerrotype photo of the wearer's face. Each necklace is cursed, requiring the remove curse spell to remove.
  • A mahogany box with a big button of solid ruby, and ivory dials which can be spun to show any four-digit number. Press the button and the silver necklace with that serial number will explode.
  • A velvet-lined silver box, lid bears a repouss√© apple tree. Holds a syringe made of platinum and rose quartz, and four glass ampoules: two potions of longevity, and two potions of cure disease (as the spell)

Saturday 1 February 2020

Tortles for OSE and other B/X clones


They're turtle people. You have a stronger idea of what that means for your setting than whatever guff is in the monster manual.

Physical Detail (d12)

  1. irregular, blotchy shell colours, almost like leopard spots
  2. belly indicates sex: concave is male, convex is female
  3. powerful, bone-crushing jaw
  4. looong neck, as long as your torso
  5. bright red belly in youth, slowly fades to orange with age
  6. overlapping spurs on your forelimbs, like a pine cone or scale mail
  7. upper jaw tapers straight down like a hawk's beak
  8. spiny, crinkly brown head like a fallen autumn leaf
  9. each scute of your shell is pale in the centre, shading to a dark border.
  10. small pig-like snout
  11. spiny ridge down the centre of your shell
  12. light and dark lines run radially through each scute

What trinket do you carry with you? (d6)

  1. a crude knife made from a sharpened clam, given to you by your youngest child.
  2. your great grandmother's claw, yellowed and brittle, bound tightly to your forearm with a woven bracelet.
  3. a jar of toasted seaweed you traded for. you allow yourself little snacks as a reward.
  4. a fragment of speckled sea glass. it throbs in seawater.
  5. tattooing needle and bright ochre inks. you are still unmarked but will be ready when the time comes.
  6. a glass bottle you found floating in the sea, holding a crude map of an island you do not recognise and a letter in the human tongue pleading for help.

Stats for Old-School Essentials and other retroclones

XP Requirements. As Magic-User

Ability Score Requirements. Con 9

Languages. Alignment, Common, Lizard man

Saves. As Fighter. Saves vs wands and breath attacks are made as a Fighter 3 levels higher, due to your protective shell.

Attack. As Fighter. You can wield all weapons, but tortles usually disdain bows and crossbows in favour of slings and thrown weapons more resilient to wet environments.

Hit Dice. 1d8 per level, +3 per level after 9th.

Claws. You can make melee attacks with a hand that isn't holding anything. This deals damage as a dagger, i.e. 1d4, if the optional rule for variable weapon damage is used.

Hold Breath. You can hold your breath for 6 turns (60 minutes). Strenuous activity such as combat consumes air at twice the normal rate, or a minimum of 1 turn.

Navigator. You count as a navigator on the open ocean, reducing the chance of getting lost to 2-in-6. See Waterborne Adventuring: Losing Direction.

Shell. Your Armour Class is as plate armour, i.e. AC 3 [16]. You cannot wear armour over your body, but you can wield a shield, and can benefit from magical bracers and greaves.

Swimming. You aren't an exceptional swimmer compared to other aquatic demihumans, but you are more adept than a typical human. Whenever you negotiate an aquatic hazard, adjust your odds of success by 10% on a percentile roll, or by 2 if the referee prefers an ability check rolled on d20. See Hazards and Challenges: Swimming. Note that a single failure is unlikely to cause drowning, due to your Hold Breath ability, but subtracting 1 or more turns of available air is a possible outcome of a failed roll.

Tortle Progression
Level XP Hit Dice To-Hit Saving Throws
Death Wands Paralysis Breath Spells
1st 0 1d8 19 [+0] 12 11 14 13 16
2nd 2,500 2d8 19 [+0] 12 11 14 13 16
3rd 5,000 3d8 19 [+0] 12 11 14 13 16
4th 10,000 4d8 17 [+2] 10 9 12 10 14
5th 20,000 5d8 17 [+2] 10 9 12 10 14
6th 40,000 6d8 17 [+2] 10 9 12 10 14
7th 80,000 7d8 14 [+5] 8 7 10 8 12
8th 150,000 8d8 14 [+5] 8 7 10 8 12
9th 300,000 9d8 14 [+5] 8 7 10 8 12
10th 450,000 9d8+3* 12 [+7] 6 5 8 5 10

* Modifiers from CON no longer apply.

Optional: Separation of Race and Class

If you are playing with the Advanced Fantasy Genre Rules, tortles have the following benefits.

I strongly disagree with that book's decision to adjust ability scores, and haven't provided such adjustments. Similarly, come up with your own demihuman level limits if you want to.

XP Requirements, Ability Score Requirements, Saves, Attack, Hit Dice: As your chosen class.

Languages, Claws, Hold Breath, Navigator, Swimming: As above.

Shell. As above.

Additionally, your bulk may hinder certain thief-type skills at the referee's discretion.

Your shell doesn't affect divine spellcasting, but does impede arcane spellcasting. If you belong to an arcane spellcasting class, you have half the spell slots (rounded up) that that class would normally have at your level. e.g. a 7th-level tortle Magic-User has two 1st-level slots, one 2nd-level slot, one 3rd-level slot, and one 4th-level slot.

Your shell grants you a bonus to saving throws versus wands and breath attacks. This bonus is dependent on your CON score, as follows:

  • 6 or lower: No bonus
  • 7-10: +2
  • 11-14: +3
  • 15-17: +4
  • 18: +5

Other Advanced Genre Rules Class Notes

  • Knight. A tortle Knight of 5th level or higher may train aquatic monsters as mounts at the referee's discretion.

  • Paladin. A tortle Paladin of 4th-level or higher may summon a sacred crocodile instead of a warhorse. AC 5 [14], HD 5+5 (27 hp) Att 1 × bite (1d8), THAC0 14 [+5], MV 90’ (30’) / 90’ (30’) swimming, SV D8 W9 P10 B10 S12 (4), ML 9, AL Lawful

Monday 6 January 2020

Randomly Eroded Messages

I was reading about WIPP and other long-term nuclear waste disposal sites, and it occurred to me that the proposed warning markers (for after the site is decommissioned in the next couple of decades) are an interesting thing for adventuring PCs to stumble across while hexcrawling. Both the physical shape of the markers -- an attempt to convey meaning through architectural form alone -- and the textual messages, which would rely on maintenance and future civilisations appending copies translated into their own language.

So to facilitate this -- and for any other case where you might want to generate multiple copies of the same text each damaged differently (e.g an abandoned library) -- I wrote a small script. You can change the font to wingdings or something if you want to give untranslated copies to players, or hand them out as-is if they have access to comprehend languages or proficiency in ancient languages. The Python script and a PDF of 20 pregenerated messages are on my google drive. The PDF is A4-sized -- just print out single-sided, cut each page in half, and you'll have 20 copies. Roll a d20 or just hand out a random one each time the party finds a new marker. Even with aggressive "erosion" the message is still quite readable, so if you want to obscure, say, the word "radioactive" some more, tear off the top of the message to simulate a broken marker.

An example message:

These structures mark an area used to bury radioactive wastes and hazardous materials. This place was chosen to put these dangerous materials far away from people and other living things. The rock and water in this area may not look, feel or smell unusual, but may be poisoned by radioactive wastes and hazardous materials. When radioactive matter decays, it gives off invisible energy that can destroy or damage people, animals, and plants.

Do not drill here. Do not dig here. Do not do anything with rocks or water in this area.

Do not destroy this marker. This marking system has been designed to last 10,000 years. If the marker is difficult to read, add new markers composed of longer-lasting materials and copy this message in your language onto them.

Monday 30 December 2019

A small Python script for die-drop tables

Someone was asking about ways to do die-drop tables online (other than pointing a webcam at a physical sheet of paper and dice, I guess). At first I was thinking about some program that opens a png, picks a random pixel, and looks up the RGB value to determine what's encountered. Then I realised if I could make it work with Hex Kit, it'd be way prettier. And it turns out Hex Kit's .map files are really just renamed .json files, so it's super-easy to just pick a random tile in that json, get the filepath to the associated image for that tile, and look up the filename in some user-defined dictionary.

So here's a quick proof of concept. You'll have to download the script and run it in the command line, since I still have no idea how to make a proper webapp. It's pretty limited, but maybe it's of some use to people.

The example provided is a small random encounter table that's for use in a city, but based on the surrounding surrounding wilderness. Is it a good random table? No. Does it suffice as an example? Sure, I guess.

Human-Readable Version

Roll a d6 on the above hex map. Note which hex type the die lands upon, look it up in the following table. Some entries also use the face-up side of the die. Treat coastal hexes as their land terrain-type, not as ocean.

Hex Type Encounter
Jungle (dark green) Traders from the jungle clans. They have [1. brightly coloured snakes, 2. shavings of bark from various medicinal trees, 3. river-gold, painstakingly panned, 4. six glowing orbs of various sizes, looted from a sunken temple, 5. giant capybaras, excellent pack animals, 6. scavenged goods from the last, failed military expedition into the mountains] for sale.
Meadow (light green) [1. A few, 2-3. Several, 4-5. Dozens of, 6. Hundreds of] farmers angry at the viceroy's new taxes
Mountain (brown) The elephant-powered klaxon sounds. An air-raid from those goddamn mountain pterodactyls again. They carry incendiary bombs in their talons. Parents shoo their children into stone cellars.
Ocean (blue) A ship sails into port, bearing the flag of [1. Redbeard's pirates, 2-3. the Imperial Navy, 4. the Open-Handed Ones, 5. one of the petty river-kings, 6. a PLAGUE SHIP]
Swamp (purple) The swamp-sorcerer has sent envoys to purchase research materials. They are looking for [1. a live bear, 2. a chunk of floatstone from the Flying Fortress, 3. the bitter tears of a child who's just learned Santa isn't real, 4. silt from one of the jungle's more alkaline rivers, 5. tobacco, the good kind, 6. a human heart] and will pay well above market price for speedy delivery.
Volcano (orange) KRAKABOOOOOOOOOOOM! The volcano erupts, huge pyroclastic cloud sweeping over the farming hinterland. You see wealthy folk rushing to buy as many supplies as possible and hunker down, while the poor look on with dread at what is to come.