Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Town of Cracklinborughford and Drinking With Style

I struggle with the creation of small villages and towns; I don't want them to be generic, but it's tough to make them memorable and realistic. So I decided to give Logan Knight's process a try:

Logan's Interactive Village Creation Process

He based it on Zzarchov Kowalski's Scenic Dunnsmouth, but addressed what he felt was a lack of inter-NPC relationships.

Following the instructions, I generated this map of the town. The arrows indicate houses that have relationships, good or bad, with certain other houses:

The Village of Cracklinborughford, which I thought sounded peppy and industrious.

This is how the village breaks down, by house group number.
6's:  Have a surprisingly large assortment of goods to trade or sell.
5's:  Dress like demons and prance around burning pyres when the moon is full!
4:    Fervent devotee of a known religion.
3's:  Organic body-horror replacements from a fallen star in the hills. They smell of thyme and their flesh is all-too-pliable!
2s:  Members of the same bloodline AND ALSO--are In Charge Around Here. They rule through a council with a representative from each of the Number 2 houses.

The Most Interesting Feature of the town is a monolith of carven white soapstone in the center of town. The village is arranged to form rough curving lines radiating out from the monolith. Most of the townspeople seem entirely unaware of this pattern, but once you mention it to them will descend into obsession over it, eventually seeking to unlock the monolith and what lies beneath.

Other Features of Interest include a mystically placed pattern of stones and a hanging tree. Apparently they don't take kindly to law breakers in Cracklinborughford.

Now that working map is fine, but you can't use that in a game--your players would flip the table in disgust. So here's what the village really looks like; many thanks to Sarah Richardson for reaching into my mind and creating this awesome map:

Here's who's actually in those houses, and how they relate to each other:
6A:  a widower who is firm friends with 3D.
6B:  a bachelorette with political connections to 6A.
5A:  five friends and lovers. They do business with 3D.
5B:  a couple and their five kids. They have vast respect for 3A.
5C:  a bachelor with political connections to 5E.
5D:  a couple and their child. They owe a debt to 5A.
5E:  a woman and her three kids. They have an irrational dislike for 3B.
4A:  a bachelor who knows varied secrets about 6B.
3A:  an extended family with distrust for 2A.
3B:  a widow who frequently mocks 2B.
3C:  a cleric, single parent of 4 kids. Blackmailing 3A.
3D:  an extended family with a long family history connecting them to 6B.
2A:  five associates involved in betraying 2B.
2B:  2 friends and lovers; they have a rivalry with 5A.
2C:  a couple and their three kids. They harbor a terrible suspicion about the widower in house 6A.

While I was looking around Logan's excellent blog I found his recipes for tea-infused liquor and his suggestion to make your own labels for the concoctions you make.  So I made earl gray infused Bombay gin one night, jasmine tea infused Absolut vodka after that (the "Princess Jasmine"), and chai infused Belvedere vodka last. They were all good, but the chai-vodka was excellent!

I can't draw, but I found this drawing on the internet, printed it, cut it out and taped it to an old bottle of Viking's Blood mead using double-sided tape. I pretty much feel like a master mixologist who is super crafty now.

I'm crafty! So crafty!

Monday, August 25, 2014

On Lampreys

I haven't actually said much about lampreys on this blog, despite claiming that it was partially a blog about them. So today I'm going to fix that.

Here is a drawing of the hideous things, by the extremely talented artist Don Kenn:

These things infest Lake Michigan.

And here is a newspaper story from 2012 that will strike fear and desperation into your heart.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hey What's in this Escape Pod and Did it Belong to a Hideous Creature From Another World?

I took part in David Brawley's Random Table Contest and the luck of the die made me a winner. Soon as I post this, I'm off to the casino to play roulette and craps!

Here's a link to the first 4 of 12 tables that David will be posting. This first group helps you decide what kind of tail that one thing has, what the mage uses for magical protection, how that magic missile manifests, and which minor meddling immortal your players will encounter:
Tower of the Archmage Random Tables

I created my table with the escape pod at the end of my adventure, Gold From the Ceiling, in mind. But sometimes you want to do more than just rip out the shiny stuff from the metal hut and sell it to the nearest merchant. Sometimes you want to find and master technology so advanced, it might as well be magic.

An Escape Pod could look like this.


                ROLL 1d6 AND LOOK TO THE STARS!

1.            A big pile of shiny silver material, never before seen. It is covered in strange designs and patches, with a large metal ring on one end. Looking inside the metal ring reveals a mass of green goo inside.  The silver material will not burn and requires high technology or magic to cut. If laid out, it is spherical in shape with multiple long thin “sleeves” emanating from the center.

2.            A large white metallic box. Inside are healing elixirs, pressure injectors, strangely-shaped bottles with pills, medical diagnostic device (looks like a Discman™), and holographic-projected medical assistant (projector looks like a metal drink coaster, assistant looks like a hideous creature). Colorful cards graphically show how a spherical, multi-tentacle green monster with a large bulbous head could use the contents of the box.

3.            Universal Translator. Looks like a 1940s style microphone and stand.

4.            Astrogation Display. Upon approach, the terminal lights up and a holographic image of the galaxy appears. It zooms to the planet the escape pod is on and shows the solar system. Moving your hand around or thinking questioning thoughts makes the display move to different planets in the solar system and then to different galaxies.

5.            Communications Display. Upon approach, the terminal lights up and a holographic, black and white image appears of a planet. The image is staticky and breaks up from time to time, but zooms in to show a bleak, desolate landscape of blasted cities and gray deserts.

6.            Personal Shield Generator. This device is an irregularly shaped, shiny silver clump of metal with a long shallow button on one side of it. Depressing the button generates a form-fitting protective shield around the user, visible in darkness but hard to see in the light. It prevents fast-moving objects from penetrating but does allow slower objects to pass through. Thus it increases AC against projectiles and normally-used melee weapons (a slower-used blade or rolled explosive device will penetrate the shield). The shield reacts violently if struck by rays of energy, be they magic or technological in nature, resulting in a massive explosion that will level a small city and leave deadly radiation in its wake for decades to come.