Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Alphabet of Outer Beings - K is for Knowledge


K is for Knowledge

Deities and patrons are immensely powerful beings, but they often have more than raw power to use to influence events to their liking and as trade for favors. This kind of knowledge can come from many sources and is often received in trade for other secrets. Some creatures even make the collection of secret knowledge their purpose, gathering it for safekeeping or for their own power.

Table K1: Things Known About ... (roll 1d4)

  1. Objects (proceed to table K5)
  2. Locations (proceed to table K4)
  3. Beings (proceed to table K2)
  4. Other (proceed to table K6)
Table K2: Things known about a being ... (roll 1d6, then roll on table K3)
  1. The true name of a...
  2. The location of the secret sanctum of a...
  3. The true weakness of a...
  4. The source of power for a...
  5. The location of a book of knowledge about a...
  6. The secret true identity of a...
Table K3: 1d8 Beings
  1. Deity
  2. Demon
  3. Wizard
  4. Lich
  5. Dragon
  6. Warlord
  7. Immortal
  8. Fey/Faerie
Table K4: Things known about a location... (roll 1d6)
  1. The location of hidden vault of a treasure. 
  2. The secret passcode to enter the library of the knowledge spirits.
  3. The location of portal between the mortal plain and the underworld.
  4. The true purpose of an ancient obelisk.
  5. The source of power within the fountain of youth.
  6. The purpose of the world.
Table K5: Things Known about an object... (roll 1d6)
  1. The location of the phylactery of a powerful lich.
  2. The identity of the soul contained within a powerful artifact.
  3. The identity of the next wielder of the sovereign sword.
  4. The contents of the Vault of Ages
  5. The reason why the Rod of Power was broken into pieces and hidden throughout the world. 
  6. The actual purpose of an artifact currently being used for completely different reasons.
Table K6: Other Knowledge... (roll 1d6)
  1. A long forgotten form of magic
  2. The truth behind the creation of the mortal races
  3. The techniques to alter fate.
  4. Detailed knowledge of the future.
  5. The secrets to immortality. 
  6. The being who holds the knowledge of (roll again from the beginning).

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Alphabet of Outer Beings - X is for Xenophobia


X is for Xenophobia

Xenophobia is a fear or hatred of foreigners and people from other cultures. In this instance it assumes that there are many deities and/or pantheons at work in the world and that the worship of a particular religion is a major defining characteristic of the people's culture. As such xenophobia represents not just a fear or hatred of other cultures but is conflated with the fear and/or hatred of followers of other deities. What follows is a means to determine how the deity and it's followers see and treat other religions and their followers.

Table X1: Attitude Toward Other Gods (roll 2d4)
Roll to determine how the god views another deity. This is often influenced by the cosmology of their religion; a god who exist as part of a pantheon of deities will have closer relations with others within their pantheon, and tend to be more distrustful of those gods from outside the pantheon. When rolling to determine the deity's attitude apply a -2 modifier to the roll for gods within their pantheon, and a +2 modifier for gods outside their pantheon. Lone gods without a pantheon gain a +3 modifier on all rolls. If the gods have opposing domains (such as a god of light and one of darkness) the roll is always +4. If the gods have opposing cosmic views (e.g. Law vs Chaos) apply an additional +1 atop any other modifier.
  • 2 or less: Friendly - The deity has a friendly relation with the other deity. They consider each other stalwart allies.
    • Apply a modifier of -3 to the roll on Table X2
  • 3: Accepted - The deity accepts the other deity. They are allied in most respects.
    • Apply a modifier of -2 to the roll on Table X2
  • 4: Tolerated - The deity generally tolerates the other deity, but they are allies only in certain circumstances.
    • Apply a modifier of -1 to the roll on Table X2
  • 5: Neutral - The deity has no strong relationship either way with the other deity. They generally will entreat when circumstances require, and ignore each other otherwise.
    • No modifier to the roll on Table X2
  • 6: Wary - The deity is war of the other and their relationship is, at best, strained.
    • Apply a modifier of +1 to the roll on Table X2
  • 7: Rejected - The deity generally rejects the other deity and avoids contact. They are enemies and only entreat when a great enemy forces their cooperation.
    • Apply a modifier of +2 to the roll on Table X2
  • 8:+ Hatred - The two deities hate each other to the very core of their beings. The will never entreat and will always seek the destruction of the other.
    • Apply a modifier of +3 to the roll on Table X2
Table X2: Typical Response to Followers of Other Religions (roll 2d4)
  • 2 or less: Friendly - Members of the other deity's religious cultures and viewpoints are welcomed and viewed as an opportunity to learn more about the nature of the world.
  • 3: Accepted - Members of other deity's religions live in peaceful coexistence.
  • 4: Tolerated - Members of the other deity's religions are not enemies, but there is not an active dialog between cultures.
  • 5: Neutral - The two religions generally ignore each other and do not interact.
  • 6: Wary - The two religions are not enemies, but they are often in conflict.
  • 7: Rejected - The religions are enemies, and conflict nearly always breaks out when they interact.
  • 8+: Hatred - Followers of the other religion are to be immediately slain without mercy as heretics and blasphemers.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Review: MCC #9: Evil of the Ancients (Mutant Crawl Classics)

Find it at the Goodman Games store!

Having finally plumbed the depths of an ancient complex the resident shaman forced the local AI to submit to its will by calling on ACHROMA to display its secrets the seekers found a hidden installation deep within the lower level.

The Setup

Evil of the Ancients is a self contained adventure, but it can also serve as a direct follow up to MCC #2: Incursion of the Ultradimension. I didn't use it as such, and in fact changed the entire approach to suit my campaign, with the locale of the adventure moved from a stand-alone base to a hidden portion of a different facility. As written the adventure starts when the players find an intact structure above ground and investigate. As such a Judge can insert this adventure into nearly any locale or region of the world that they want.

***Spoilers***



***Last warning, spoilers ahead***



The adventure is about a facility that is "haunted" by extra dimensional creatures accidentally pulled into the world in the closing days of the ancients before the great disaster. These creatures are trying to get home, and in order to do so need to sacrifice a powerful psychic mutant. The adventure is meant to be creepy and atmospheric as the mental influence of these aliens slowly wears away at the PCs and influences increasingly bizarre and dangerous behavior.

***End Spoiler***

The Good

The first thing that I want to praise is the ease of insertion into campaign play. It's easy to grab any old adventure and run it as a stand alone, a one-shot, or in a campaign that is only loosely defined, but the way I run my game I find a lot of adventures require extra work to make them fit into my world and narrative. This adventure is very much "drag and drop" and really helps in that regards

Secondly this adventure really oozes with atmosphere, and a Judge who takes the time to build that atmosphere and mood up will reap the rewards of a table full of paranoid players. The adventure really hinges on this as well, with very little in the way of traditional conflict. Instead it plays out like a haunted house scenario until the characters themselves begin to fall prey to the aliens' mind games and turn on each other. As a result this "level 3" adventure could be run with almost any level of characters with just a few tweaks.

The Bad

Honestly, I have no complaints. The adventure is pretty great, with a lot of the role play elements that drive the plot forward to keep things going. The story is a creepy one, and perhaps a better means for that larger story to out itself might have been nice, but I don't think that all that information needs to be made clear to the players anyways; mystery and suspense are easier to maintain when the players don't know what's going on. The adventure even gives you a couple of different outs depending on player actions and the Judge's preference. Talk about accommodating.

The Ugly

This isn't an adventure that will slam dunk with every group. It's very role play heavy and fairly light on combat. It worked for mygroup because they took the role-play and ran with it, especially as the *ahem* mental influences began to rack up. If your group just wants to do beer and pretzels and slay some freaks this may be a hard sell.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed Evil of the Ancients immensely. My group had fun, and even though some of the role play aspects were played open due to the nature of an online session my group ran with them anyway and had a ton of fun with this one. The story is interesting and maybe a little tragic, and the growing tension plays out very well at the table if your players are the type to roll with it. I'm going to rate this 4 rads out of 4!