Arr Mateys. I be answering your requests in a mundane way. Don’t be askin for no potion mishaps or magical codpieces in the request thread.
Trent B on September 27, 2012 at 1:29 am said:
Well if you like you could create a small selection of ‘things some nonchalant 3ft ratmen pirates might be doing when they have stolen basically all of the ships/supplies and are now sitting pretty on an island off the coast which might have just been landed upon by some unscrupulous adventurers and their mysterious meatshroom tavern’? If you’re bored or whatever =P
Here’s your mundane answer, ya lubber:
The “3 foot ratmen” are a gang of nine brothers known for their longish faces and short stature. They are horrible sailors but excellent gunners, usually tasked with mending sails and swabbing decks when not in combat. Last August they were hired as crew on board Galadriel’s Garter, a privateering vessel backed by the Dutch. The garter’s officers were greener than their crew and at first encounter with the English frigate HMS Astonishment, the captain, first mate and both lieutenants were taken by chain shot. The Ratmen were the highest ranking left on the ship and they never, ever stop firing. They managed to cripple the English vessel so badly the remaining officers surrendered in exchange for a tow.
Which they did, after slitting the English throats. Alas, as I have mentioned, they are horrible sailors and managed to steer both vessels into the Fog of the Unknown and have landed on DedSkull Island.
Unaware of the dinosaurs, oversized animals, witches, fishmen, truant officers and weresharks surrounding them, the Three Foot Ratmen and their crew have declared a shore leave and have hauled the English rum and tinned beef to the beach. What are they up to when the party arrives?
Burying “treasure”, mostly gold buttons and swords taken from the dead.
Arguing over who is captain, first mate, “leftenant” and cook.
Trying to figure out maps
Making time with the native women
Trying to open a hatch in the ground
Target practice on oversized tree-living sloths
Industriously harvesting lumber and straightening out nails to repair the ships
Torturing a native to get the location of the lost city of gold from him
Describing these six medieval fantasy suburban hexes has been one of the more difficult requests in the ‘Bring It’ challenge I made in December. It took forever for me to start tackling it and then I spent a lot of time drafting new things to place in the hexes. At some point, I decided that there was enough content in the blog going back two years that I could populate the suburbs with my own encounters and creatures. I included the URL’s after everything for those who want to print this out and made those links live for those who want to read it online. I’ve gotten a number of requests to compile the blog into a pdf or print collection. Daztur’s request turned out to be a great framework for compiling content and in the end it was a lot of fun to do this one. I hope its helpful. It’s still a bit empty in some hexes, but I’m sure you’ll have your own ideas to add to it.
I am going to assume that your city, which I shall call in your honor Dazturburg, is a medium-sized city ruled by a duke. I am going to treat it as a single hex, and describe the six surrounding hexes, although you should scale these areas as appropriate. My interpretation of ‘suburbs’ means not quite wilderness (there are villages, farms, etc.) although the fringes might have some wilderness areas.
The Suburbs of Dazturburg
Dazturburg is situated on the River Daz, which is approximately two hundred yards wide and up to 25 feet deep. The Jahur Road crosses the Daz on the Big Bridge, which is in Dazturburg (think the medieval London Bridge, but wider). There are several smaller bridges in the city but no bridges in the hex to the north. There is one small bridge in the hex to the south, licensed to the Church (or churches). If you decide to locate this city within 30 or so miles of the ocean, the river rises and falls about 20 feet with the tides.
North of the city is upstream or “updaz”, where the water is clean compared to “downdaz.” There are a number of fishing villages on both banks and several small islands where small communities live. These communities predate the city and their inhabitants call themselves the Daz. They believe their bloodlines superior to even the nobles of the city. If you want to stage some sort of Innsmouth-type grotesqueries, this would be the place for it. There are no bridges, but there are ferries, which by law may carry no more than twenty persons or four horses.
The fishing village of Daz is on the eastern bank. Midsteam is a small island called Midaz, where many small pontoons and boats are stored. If a caravan or small militia wants to avoid detection or customs fees at the legal bridge in Dazturburg, they can bribe the fishermen at Daz to create a pontoon bridge to Midaz. Having crossed, they must wait on the island until the bridge is then extended to the western bank. There, a small cave in the west bank cliffs that leads about a mile west where a secret exit is maintained.
Updaz from this secret crossing is a fairly wide (100 yards wide, half a mile long) island that some foolishly try to use as a crossing point. Here there are a pride of displacer beasts (south end) and a pack of blink dogs (north end). Anyone landing here is likely to be eaten or caught in the middle of the rivalry. The locals only know that evil lives on this island and they will never land there.
Smalldaz is a village of about 15 families. Smalldaz is one of the few villages licensed to manufacture and sell fortified wines (brandy, sherry, etc.). In this case, the liquor is called (wait for it) Daz. The best Daz comes from SmallDaz from a family known as the Wilts. This family’s tradition of Daz goes back to the days of the lost city of Pantari, the ruins of which are in the swamps of the NE hex.
The Wilts were recently killed and replaced by a family of doppelgangers. Anyone investigating thoroughly would find the bodies of the Wilts have washed up on Ghoul Island in the south hex. The DoppelWilts secretly carry on the family tradition, shipping barrels of Daz down the river to the city. In these barrels they conceal baby doppelgangers, which resemble clear gelatinous blobs. They wait until the barrel is drained then emerge. The plan is to take over wealthy families by sneaking in through the cellar.
North East Hex
The Jahur Road approaches Dazturburg from the northeast. Caravans travel hundreds of leagues from the cold lands of the north through the city, across the Daz and hundreds of leagues more to the south/southwest toward the Iberic city Jahur, the “City of Jewels.”
As pilgrims, crusaders and merchants approach the city, they pass through many small towns. Most of the land in this direction is swamp land.
There are many shrines along the road for pilgrims and crusaders travelling to Jahur. Each of these has its own stamp/tattoo/trinket it offers (for a price) to travelers who wish to see the holy relics/praying nun/weeping effigy along the way (adapt this to your campaign’s religious peculiarities). Here is one unusual shrine along the path:
The Shrine to No God
A small chapel along the main road, the Shrine to No Gods. It is kept by a cleric, Brother Germaine, head of the Order of No-God, a religious order that consists of one Brother Germaine. His order insists that there are no gods, that there never were in the first place, and that all this divine magic is locked inside each and every specimen of mankind. Brother Germaine insists that he himself worships no gods, but that his meditations on the nature of man deliver him “divine” magicks. And indeed, he is a cleric of name level with no apparent patron deity who can cast spells. He is also as old as the planet, but has forgotten that. They party might learn this truth if he was kidnapped and rescued.
The Fat Pony Inn
There are many Inns along this road, but none so renowned as this four-story inn, run by a small charter of halflings. Their particular charter is to discretely collect research into magical spells. They are reknowned for their hospitality, their cheap yet extraordinary house meade and their willingness to secure any sort of entertainment their guests might desire. Each adult is a mage of up to sixth level. A sixth level mage (or bard) plays his harp nightly in the common room. A few hours past midnight, he casts a sleep spell in one of his songs. The others then gather all magical scrolls and books found on guests and copy them into their own library, which is in a hidden part of the cellar. (Halfling Charters: http://www.rolang.com/archives/168)
There is a famous market outside the city that offers local fish, crawdads, wine, vegetables and other foodstuffs. Many items of contraband (purple lotus powder, dream snuff, etc.) can be bought if one inquires DISCRETELY. Here is one stall that might cause trouble for unwary travelers:
Bathilda the baker, a woman in her fifties, has wild dreams of making love to a demon at night. His pillow talk tells of a skull buried under a stump in the forest. She seduced a woodsman to fell the tree and dig up the skull. As he climbed out of the pit, the woodsman tripped on a root and fell back, landing on the skull and piercing his heart on its single horn.
She puts the skull beside the coals of her oven when she bakes her bread. Each roll has a small spirit in it, capable of possessing someone who eats it, provided they eat it hot and fresh (the spirit rides the steam).
Bathilda spent a considerable amount of her small savings to rent a small place near her market stall, so the bread is hot and fresh. She has even started to serve goat stew (at a loss) to go with the fresh bread, encouraging her customers to eat it right there.
There are a few brothels along the road. Here’s the worst/best one:
This brothel is ludicrously expensive. Mage/prostitutes use telepathic spells and illusions to enact their customer’s deepest fantasies. For most locals, this experience is too disturbing for repeat business. Prudhella relies on tourists for business. Roll on the carousing mishaps table.
Ruins of Pantari
In the swamps are the ruins of Pantari, ruined home of the famous Pantari Sybil. She was unfailingly correct, but expensive and very popular. This was the Las Vegas of the ancient world. Although sacked many times, there are still untold riches in the ruins. It is guarded by an adult green dragon. You’ll have to make this one up yourself, pal.
To the southeast are farmlands granted by the Duke to the officially recognized church (or churches). There are several monasteries, nunneries and other organized communities that farm the land and produce food and luxury goods (cotton, wheat, meade, kobe beef…), the latter of which are not taxed by the city (although the Duke does get secret kickbacks and will be sainted by one or all of the churches). If you have several recognized religions, each of them has parcels of land. If there is only one, consider creating rival sects so there is some tension down this way.
There is a road that least to the south hex (toward the church bridge) and one that leads to the Dazturburg. There are NO roads leading to the main road (to prevent illegal use of the church bridge). There is a secret road that leads to the NE hex and the Jahur Road. Be careful for there is also a man-eating road that lurks nearby (http://www.rolang.com/archives/198).
There is one very tall mountain toward the SE edge of this hex. There you will find a Roc and a hidden dungeon. If you like published adventures, I recommend Dwimmermount or Death Frost Doom for this location.
To the south is the downstream portion of the Daz, or “downdaz.” On the western banks of the river are slaughterhouses and tanneries, which add considerable stink to waters carrying the city’s waste. Here also is the Church Bridge, which is licensed to the officially recognized church (or churches) which use it to bring cattle from the SE hex to the slaugherhouses on the west bank. According to local custom, it is bad juju/luck to locate a cemetery, charnel ground or place of death on the eastern side of a river, city or holy place (as death offends the rising sun).
Anyone who wants to cross the bridge must show proof of church business to the bridge guards located at either end. The guards are in employed by the church, and if there are rival sects or religions, make sure they opposite ends of the bridge are manned by opposing groups, who make life difficult for those belonging to the opposing group.
Downdaz is there the less desirable land is and there are small villages and encampments found here. Among them is the mage caravan headed by Tullully. (http://www.rolang.com/archives/200)
This mile long island is known to the locals as “the Curse.” Something evil in the soil of this place causes the dead to walk. In most cases, bodies become zombies or ghouls. Partial bodies become skeletons (http://www.rolang.com/archives/274). In a thatched hut hidden in the woods is a mummy, who does not at all resemble anything Egyptian. He has hidden his soul in his liver, which is picked in a clay jar and buried among many jars of pickled cabbage on the southern end of the island. He has established secret signals with the churches on the eastern bank and the bandits on the western bank and can call a meeting with either (held on his island, which he never leaves). The Wilt family from the north hex village of Smalldaz are among his subjects. He is aware of their circumstances and will make a deal with or destroy the DoppelWilts.
This hex is on the Jahur-side of Dazturburg. Pilgrims on this side of the city have either already passed through the NE hex and the city, and are therefore broke or had their fill of trinkets and wares, or are returning from pilgrimage (or more rarely, a crusade). On this side, there are a few inns and a few fortune tellers who offer to divine the future of your travels. Also on this side are several cemeteries and a small town that has sprung up around Daztur College and its library. These were relocated from the city after a fire two centuries back and are located on the western side to avoid interference and trouble from the church (which sees the western side of rivers and cities as bad omens-see entry for south hex). If arcane magic is legal in your campaign, this is where a mages college thrives. Otherwise, it is a college where the zygote of an intellectual and scientific renaissance has formed.
There’s a bridge over an old flooded quarry here. In a nearby cave, an Ettin (Hoss or The Gang, or if you want to go for laughs, The Ship) lives off the meat of travellers headed toward the city. It carefully covers its tracks. (Ettins: http://www.rolang.com/archives/122).
Every city has its playground for the wealthy and the Hamptons of Dazturburg are here. Selmarne has east and west ends, separated by the Duke’s hunting grounds and the Sel, a small tributary to the Daz that has been irrigated almost to death to support the vineyards and elaborate water gardens of the wealthy. Old money makes its home in the more desirable EastSel. Merchants and politicians are in WestSel.
Selmarne is patrolled by a sheriff and his men, who are supported and bribed by the wealthy families. Strangers are arrested on sight, but can buy their freedom, provided they leave Selmarne immediately (and are not carrying anything stolen from the wealthy residents). If crossed, they will kill captives and dump them in a swamp behind the Sheriff’s Hall.
There is a gang of bandits, calling themselves the Branch Men (after a branch in the Sel that leads to a waterfall and cavern instead of the Daz). These men firmly believe, correctly so, that some of the wealthy families use their estates for sex and lotus-powder, fueled parties and rituals in honor of far-away gods. They believe the mayor of Dazturburg is concealing half-elf bastards in his mansion and that Chez Drobonne, the finest vineyard in Sel, secretly employs halflings. They are absolutely opposed to any form of magic, arcane or divine and hope to rid Selmarne of its influence. The Duke has told the sheriff to do a poor to mediocre job of bringing them to the Duke’s justice, as he believes the Branch Men give the rich something to fear.
Thieves who are clever at disabling traps and sneaking past guards will be rewarded with the riches of Sel estates. In addition to monetary wealth, one might find:
The Duke’s hunting grounds are off limits, of course, but anyone poaching is likely to get bitten by a bogpiggie (http://www.rolang.com/archives/133 — I am going to include this in every setting or adventure I post until I get some play reports from someone).
At the entrance to the hunting grounds is the Duke’s Pitch, a tournament field, where jousting, bear-baiting and wargames are held. Here any man may put his name on the lists, but magic and the use of poison are capital offenses. Some believe the Duke offends the gods by putting this field on the east side of the Sel.
Also: James Raggi at LotFP has put up his Indie-a-go-go page for The Monolith from beyond Space and Time and The God that Crawls. I for one would like to see this be a success. I love his original adventures and it feels like it’s been forever since the last one, so go on over there and sponsor what you can afford.
You print these out and lay them flat on a table. Drop some dice on the paper and interpret the results. If you already have a map, this will help you populate it. If you don’t then you can let the results guide you.
Each die should land on one or more outer or inner hexes. The inner hexes have encounters in them. If a die lands partly on one, then the encounter and its surrounding items are present in the room. If a die lands on only the outer hex, then it probably is touching more than one. I tried to design this so that the trappings in adjacent large hexes are somewhat compatible, so see if you can put whatever the die touches in the room. I’d also suggest that whatever large hex the die covers more, put the encounter in that hex in the room as well.
Unlike straight-on tables, this allows for some interpretation and that is the key–do what makes a better scenario.
Here’s an example of a temple made from this table:
Dice dropped on the temple table
I have some acolytes, a mummy, an anti-paladin, the temple guards and a private sacrificial alter. I also have two dice on the head priest. I’ll take this to mean there are two priests/priestesses somehow.
The Secret Temple of Orsobuffo
Crypt: The previous high priests and saints of the past are buried here. There are several dusty crypts here and a list carved in stone details the occupants. It does not mention that one of the occupants is a mummy. Also on the wall is a mural of an unholy prophecy of the return of Orsobuffo. There is a giant nest of centipedes in place of a corpse inside one crypt. There is also a scroll of binding there, which details a ritual for enslaving a creature from an outer plane.
Acolytes Quarters: Here can be found the beds, trunks, books, correspondence and prayer books of the acolytes, who can be found throughout the temple (say there are 12, total). A careful search of the trunks will also reveal the accounting books used to manage the temple and a map of the outer and inner planes, including access points. One of the acolytes is a doppelganger. You might involve it somehow in the high priest succession mentioned below.
Sleeping Quarters of the Anti-Paladin: A bedroom, and privy. Here the party can find a whenstone, unholy books (yes, again with all the unholy this and anti-that), dishes on a table with the remnants of a fine meal and a whetstone. The anti-paladin is not present.
Temple Guard Quarters: Here you will find the living quarters of the guards, including bunks, belongings, sports equipment, dice and weapons of the guards. On the tables are the remains of an ordinary meal. There is some gold in the foot lockers. The guards are on duty or otherwise not present.
There are two dice on the ‘high priest’ hex. There would not normally be two ‘high priest’ quarters unless you wanted to have this religion require two for ceremonial purposes. I will go that way and say that this cult only has twin priests. A high priest is chosen by the Orsobuffo idol from the two twin priests. The chosen then sacrifices the other on the altar. If you are a big fan of coincidence in your adventure, the party’s entry to the temple is on the night of choosing.
High Priests Quarters: This suite has been temporarily set up into two sets of living quarters. In one quarters are the thangka collection and the flute. In the other, adjoining chamber, is a private shrine and the cat (a disquised and undiscovered efreet). Both quarters have access to the vestments closet and the privy. The high priests are a rotund pair, a twin brother and sister. Both are secretly hoping to find a way to manipulate the idol into choosing them.
In the main hall is the giant statue of Orsobuffo. He appears as a fat, horned devil with jewels for eyes. This statue will animate when the prophecy on the wall is chanted a thousand times and raise either the right or left arm to indicate which of the twin priests he wants sacrificed on the altar, which is at his feet. There are many drums and gongs that are played as the chanting commences.
PC’s might mistake this as choosing the one who lives. Use that. Also in this main hall the night of choosing will be the antipaladin, the acolytes, and most of the temple guard.
There is an on-off switch that animates the statue fully, allowing it to walk. It is surrounded by a poison dart trap, which is activated by all but a few floor tiles. The priests know the way, as does the antipaladin. Also here is a self-destruct mechanism for the temple, which is also set off if the statue is destroyed (not deactivated). There is a secret door here as well, which leads outside.
(Note to Orsobuffo: I named this after you, but didn’t put it in the title so as to not interfere with SEO to your blog. Not that this blog is big enough to do that…)
This table I call the Institute of Deathology. It can be used to quickly populate a necromancer’s tower or hidden lab. It works almost the same as yesterday’s Kaotic Cave, but has fewer possible encounters. You get one die for each room on the same level and drop it on the chart. The large hex the die falls mostly in suggests the theme and use of the room along with a possible occupant. If the die falls in the inner hex, or the occupant is not mobile, then the occupant is there. Otherwise, wait and see where else it might be. If the die is on the border of a few large hexes, see what it touches that goes well together. This tool is meant to suggest, not dictate, so go with whatever makes sense to you and looks fun.
I’m going to populate four floors of a tower that has two rooms each. There are only 12 possible ‘encounters’ on this table, but some rooms might be empty and I’m going to have the head necromancer be in her quarters on the fifth floor.
First two dice come up square on the shoggoth and the traitorous demon familiar.
Dice drop for basement of Necromancer's Lab
A shoggoth is hidden in the corner of a room that includes a captive NPC (unconscious or crazy or mute, let’s say), a hideous painting, broken glass, a golden leash, a scroll of banishment and a slime trail near the door. I think I’ll make the cellar one big room and add the familiar, the ‘phone’ to other planes and the broken iron chains. I could have added the rest of the trappings around the familiar but the die fell only barely on the familiar and the room is already pretty rich with stuff. The familiar or the NPC might have useful information or want to help you deal with the necromancer. The demon is not to be trusted, of course, and might just forget to mention the shoggoth…
Room one is where the talking head is. Let’s say they use it as an entryway decoration or mojordomo. The d4 doesn’t touch the inner hex, so he could be away (perhaps getting repaired next door). I’ll wait and see what else comes up then decide. In the meantime, the entryway has at least the column the head stands on, a music box, a tray of hard candies and a library (probably for show). Hidden away is a case for the head (to sleep at night) and vials of blood (for maintenance). The d4 also hit ‘cadaver’ but since I only want 2 rooms per level, I’ll just have a dead body in the entryway. Perhaps Igor needs to take it upstairs…
Room two. The d10 landed mostly on oil lamp and barrel of eyeballs and only a but on shovel, tools and rope. Let’s put the caged zombie(s) room in back with those things and also the straight jacket, lightning prod, mummified cat and the parts on the tables. Seems Igor is making a mess today…
The d10 landed square on the doppelganger apprentice. It has foreign coins, a sword, mirror, torn clothes, a wig and a bottle of poison. (Why does a doppleganger need a wig? I dunno. Maybe they don’t do hair so well. Maybe they need a magic wig? Maybe I made this late at night?). There’s also a secret exit here.
Now the tower isn’t going to have a special room for uninvited doppelgangers, so let’s look at the other die. It landed on the corner of library, sleeping quarters and is also touching privy, cadaver and parts in drawers (for the clockwork corpse). Let’s forget the parts, but use library and sleeping chambers. Let’s also use sleeping chambers but not for the head necromancer, who is on the top floor. Here’s what we get:
Sleeping quarters. There is a dead body here with a wig, torn clothes and a dresser with a mirror. On the dresser are some coins, which on close inspection turn out to be from a foreign land. In the pricy is a doppelganger who has killed the assistant Igor (in the privy no less) and has just shoved the body down the latrine along with its wig and old clothes. It now looks like Igor and is deciding what to do next. There is a secret exit at the bottom of the privy pit, but the doppelganger doesn’t know. Might be interesting if Igor is just unconscious for a few hours…
Library. There should probably be some scrolls and books here.
The d4 is on Igor’s hex, but he’s indisposed. This is the kitchen, pantry and Igor has a small cot in back. Under his cot is some tasteful woodblock ‘art’, a holy book, and the petty cash for buying household goods. I would suggest swapping this room out with the zombie room below. It’s more likely a servant’s quarters and kitchen are located below, far away from the master’s room.
Naga in tank. This captive naga lives in a large tank. There is a book on a stand near the tank, so it can read. There’s also a painting of a hell-like place, a kaleidoscope which with the book are probably carrots to get the naga to do as it’s asked. Then the sticks are here as well-a harpoon and feeding fish.
This is the necromancer’s quarters. She has sleeping chambers, a privy, a wine ‘cellar’ (let’s say several bottles and some cups), an hour glass, a potion of youth and a cat. There’s also a secret exit here that is most certainly not the privy. Perhaps it is a teleportal to a safe spot a few miles away, designed to allow one person and one cat through before deactivating. Whether she is around is up to you. She could be in the library, zombie room or the basement.
One thing I forgot–where’s the talking head? In the sleeping quarters on the dresser (on a pillow) where Igor sometimes let it nap. It saw the doppelganger kill Igor but played dead.
I hope you find this useful. It was fun to make, as goofy as it is.
It’s not often I get to show off how artistically my development is arrested, but here we go…
A multi column dungeon dressings/rooms/accessories table, with columns like ‘natural cave’, ‘necromancy lab’, ‘mine’, ‘underground prisons’, ‘evil temple’ and whatever you feel like including. Oh why am I the 15th!??!
I’m afraid I can’t do this in the format that you requested. Well I could, but I’m not going to. I understand the OSR fetish for endless tables, tables, tables, but in this case, I wanted to do something different that will hopefully still be useful for you.
Today’s post is the first in a series of drop tables, the Kaotic Cave (2.4 MB file). This is the ‘natural cave’ table. These tables are all hand-crafted with no real artistic skill whatsoever and are not intended to reflect high production values. To wit:
These are the dice dropped on the chart for level 1 of Kaotic Cave
Just grab a handful of dice and drop them on the table to fill several rooms and with trappings and possibly encounters or encounter hooks. Look under each die at every space it touches and arrange the items indicated on your map however you like. Each large hex has a smaller hex in the middle with an encounter. If the inner hex is not touched, have the monsters be away from their lair when the PC’s arrive. Maybe they are wandering, or perhaps they are in a battle with a neighbor. If multiple large hexes are touched, you can optionally include all the encounters together in a large room or hallway, battling it out.
I have tried to arrange these tables so that encounters that have similar window dressing are close to one another. The Kaotic Cave has several humanoid races close to one another with accessories that fit any group.
Smashed shriekers, mound of skulls, troglodyte corpse and garden
For example, the mound of skulls in the troglodyte hex could easily belong to the Kobalds. If I dropped a d4 on that space, as pictured, I would fill a cave chamber with smashed shriekers, a mound of skulls, a troglodyte corpse, a garden and some trogs fighting the kobalds in their home. Why in the Kobald’s home? If I didn’t have a preference, I’d just go where the larger part of the die is. If two dice cover the same large hex, I reroll the one furthest from the center.
I threw several dice with this, so for level one, I have:
a pack of kobalds [sic] defending their home from troglodytes. They were warned by the dying alarm of their shriekers, which were placed to guard their garden (of mushrooms, I suppose) and the shrine built with the skulls of their ancestors.
a room with troll bones,
an ale cellar with a secret door to the outside,
a corpse in the middle of a pentagram (no obvious explanation, perhaps a hook to later encounters),
an owl bear’s nest with owlbear(s) and all the surrounding trappings (worms, bones, beetles, roaches, centipedes and a half-eaten dwarf),
the mushroom mens’ home with its residents plus all the surrounding trappings (dung, glowing fungus, mulch pile, spore pods, guano and a mushroom garden)
a room with rats eating a dead adventuring party.
Another throw for level two gives me:
a room with a brazier and burnt bones,
the lair of the giant spider, where she is hiding, plus all the surrounding trappings (eggs, more bones, small spiders, a giant web, mummified corpses and a secret exit),
a room full of bats
a hallway with a full backpack and shredded ropes and a trap
a nest of flail snails with the snail family plus slime trails, trippy mushrooms, a dead party, a pile of bones, a pond and a bunch of baby flail snails.
a dead, runt adult albino ape, lying on a dung pile, holding a cow femur
a hidden room with weapons, armor and several jewels belonging to human bandits, who are away.
the d4 went off the sheet, so I’ll add one wandering/pursuing monster to this level: It’s a minotaur who wants the dragon’s treasure but will let someone else kill it.
The lair of the trogs, who have their own skull mound, human bones, a cave painting of demons, trippy berries, their own smashed shriekers and a half eaten kobald [still sic]. These would be the weak, young and elderly trogs, since the boys are out fighting. I wonder who started this?
another chamber of bats and guano–the same large chamber as on level 2.
A pool or stream with a secret underwater door, which leads to a lake outside.
an abandoned campsite (formerly belonging to goblins).
A gelatinous cube lurks in this chamber. A smart party will be wary once they find human bones, a map (of what? you decide!), a scroll of spells, a ring, gold coins and some bits of armor.
The dragon’s chamber, complete with dragon, hoard, ceiling exit, eggs, melted armor slag, pieces of armor and a flock of birds that clean parasites from under its scales as it sleeps.
Now this won’t populate your megadungeon, but I think the above isn’t too shabby for a night of adventuring. The die rolls took twelve seconds total, while the typing took twelve minutes.
Here’s the Kaotic Cave as a hi-res jpeg at 2.4 MB. I’ll probably update the images to make them smaller and more readable later this week.
I hope it was worth the wait, Orsobuffo. Tomorrow: The necromancer’s academy.
I would like a table of 50 Bizarre and Eclectic Urban Locations. One sentence for each is enough. Fantasy genre, please. Gonzo is fine, or simulationary or whatever my Santicore wants to do, really. They don’t have to fit together or relate in any way.
This puppet show will lampoon the last adventure the players were on. If investigated, there are no puppeteers back there.
The winner of this alleyway boxing contest get the gold *and* the championship belt (a girdle of gender-change). Previous champs revert to their previous gender after twelve hours.
Ivy square is covered with sentient ivy, which can detect elves, which it likes to eat.
A gold coin lies in the middle of Farfield road. It weighs ten tons.
In the Chapel of the Exalted Philosopher, guest priests from various religions shout fire and brimstone sermons over the congregation’s peels of laughter. The congregation are reanimated dead (though you’d hardly notice unless close).
At the bottom of the Duke’s private well is the severed head of THE Hydra. In repayment for its being severed, it has poisoned the water of the Duke’s family for generations.
By ancient custom, if a debtor can lure can lure his creditor into the Public Garden; he is allowed to pay off his debt in blades of grass. (exchange rate 10 blades = 1 silver).
A family of troglodytes lives in this run-down shack in the middle of a main thoroughfare. They and the townsfolk have been literally ignoring one another’s existence for generations. To notice one another is a capital crime. (idea stolen from China Mieville)
The Laced Peacock Inn is run by people who always act like they are hiding something awful that just happened in the next room.
In the back alleys is the secretive Orphan’s Court, where trials are held and harsh sentences passed by magistrates no older than 12.
The Seelie Market is where the fabulously wealthy send their servants to shop. Local produce of average quality but impeccable ‘magical’ provenance cost in platinum what similar food cost in coppers at your average market.
Thieves like to lure the city watch to the Slippery Alley and drop rocks on them from above. The new ‘Slippery Alley’ is chosen nightly and the oil is poured at sunset.
Every Sunday at Painter’s Court, artists hold full-contact portraiture competitions.
The Wildflower Field is a small cemetery in the old part of town. When buried here, the spirit of the deceased will grow a plant body out of grass and flowers.
The Hellgate Bridge crosses the river that splits the city into east and west. Anyone walking under it will fall in love with the first living creature they see on the opposite shore.
A small but eternal fire burns in a back alley. Only four can sit around it, but they are completely warm. Time stands still here.
There is a section of the old city wall that still stands. All soldiers who have died defending the city go to hell. If you listen to a crack in this wall, you can hear them.
The Bank of the Smilish will accept deposits and hold them for exactly one year. Interest is paid up front, as one secret whispered into your ear.
Prudhella’s House is a ludicrously expensive brothel where sorceress/prostitutes use telepathic spells and illusions to enact their customer’s deepest fantasies. For most locals, this experience is too disturbing for repeat business. Prudhella relies on tourists for business.
Foreign traders run the Wen Shen warehouse. The poor and oppressed can turn to them for food or medical help, in exchange for which they must train in strange grappling games.
The weathervane over the fountain at Prembly Square points toward the nearest horde of gold (10,000 or more) no matter how far away.
The soapbox at Central Market has the ability to make d20 people believe anything you say for d10 minutes.
Once every seven years, the Beauty Tree buds a single flower. Eating it makes one very attractive and raises charisma d4+10 points (but only for those who are ugly and have a charisma under 7). The budding is so regular that it appears on many calendars. Where it is on the tree is not. By custom, no one may attempt to impede another’s efforts to get to the base of the tree on sunrise that day.
The Charnel Grubhouse will happily dispose of the dead by putting the body in a large box of grubs. Bones are returned a week later. The owner will give you his guarantee that the dead will stay dead and the remains will be unidentifiable. Next door is the Wen Shen silk market.
The Wen Shen silk market sells silk, but no one knows where or how they weave it in the city (the Wool and Linen Guilds desperately want to know how silk is made). Those who sleep in Wen Shen silk dream the fates of the recently dead.
Bradmoor the physician will immerse you in a vat of crabs for up to a week. Heal at four times the normal rate.
Anyone ignoring the ‘Do not sleep on the grass’ posting at Turnhill Downs will be surprised to awaken in a cavern hundreds of feet below the city (none have returned).
The Good Feeling Well is a public well for the poor. Within twenty feet of it, one cannot help but feel at peace and optimistic about one’s future. The Thorite Church wants it destroyed.
No one here has heard of a rhino, but you can pay a silver to ride Old Rebus “The unicorn”.
The Hagfruit Tree in the center of the poor quarter bears fruit year round, meaning those willing and able to stomach it will never starve.
The Eunuchry of Saint Brigid will modify any willing male regardless of race or age.
If you touch any statue in Countess Morbella’s statue garden, you must assume its place, while it gets to live again.
If you let the bees at Igor’s Apiary cover your naked body, they will buzz to you the location of the nearest megadungeon.
Abraham’s Curiosity Shoppe has absolutely nothing unusual on sale. Everything he has is common and for the usual price.
The Blessed Cheesemaker sells cheeses that put you in alignment with particular gods. You can completely pass as a believer of any religion for a day after consuming an ounce of the cheese.
There’s a large wild goose called Black Bertie whose call sounds exactly like a woman screaming in distress. It likes to take out-of-town heroes on a… well, a goose chase.
The local merchant elite hold a Plumage Festival every year where they run naked through a square while their servants hold ostrich feathers.
Smithy the Smith created the gates to Burgomaster Flatho’s manor. They draw many admirers not because they are exquisitely wrought, but because they taste like peppermint,
During a brief period of religious tolerance, the burning stake was uprooted and replaced with an ironwood tree. In the trunk and branches can be seen the clear and distinct likenesses of all who were burned on that spot. Efforts to burn or uproot the tree have proven fruitless.
If you visit the Snail Pits in the south quarter, you can bet on flail snail fights.
After drinking from the exclusive Fountain of Champions, you gain +1 to hit for the remainder of the day but will, for the next week, wet yourself at the beginning of every combat. (Only works once per person)
At the Stinking Mermaid, you can get a tattoo that will migrate about your body.
At the intersection of three alleys is ‘Blind Corner.’ Locals believe if you die here, Owrox the Soul Stealer cannot see you. The city’s poor-but faithful tend to pile up here. The Charnel Grubhouse sends a wagon here every morning to clean up.
The Duke’s Men operate a greenhouse where they grow and cross many foreign, exotic and dangerous plants.
The western quarter includes a steep hill, at the top of which is a small crypt. Three shrouded women walk up the hill every night and enter the crypt. No one ever sees them leave.
Northgate Pitch is gently sloped. Local aristocrats have created a ‘Flight Club’ where they test various contraptions in an attempt to fly from the top to the bottom. Their manservants operate some of the more dangerous ones.
Seelie (urban faeries) prefer to live among themselves. The local Seelie neighborhood is a giant wasp hive purchased from an eastern merchant. It hangs over the side of the upscale BearStraat Hotel.
The Duke’s Gaol is an underground prison. Cells on the top level are covered by iron grates, so the public may humiliate their occupants.
If guided through the sewers by a knowledgeable urchin, you may be able to find The Nostril. A giant sleeps beneath the Eastern Quarter.
No one is sure who owns the House of Riddles. Legends tell of clever men entering the eastern door and exiting the western door with great riches. In the last sixty years, more than a hundred men have entered, never to leave.
I’m always eager to exploit other people and steal their ideas. I request a table of weird city encounters, as many as you feel like doing.
Weird City Encounters
Choose or roll 1d… uh.. 14?
In Harley Square is fountain where some believe commune with dead relatives on special nights. In the fountain is Narys, shape-changing water nymph with ESP.
Messr. Pontius Meerlanker likes to take Fidelis, his dog (his touch has the same effects as a rust monster) for a stroll through crowded streets.
At the gate to the cemetery, a dozen brightly-colored parrots have learned to repeat a charm-person spell. Hundreds stare at them all day until dragged home by family. Others die staring up at their ledge.
Four bearded and shabby Masters of the Far-Reaching Conspiracy stand on a soapbox in the market and scream their secret plans to the world. Everything they say is well-known by many and is considered completely preposterous.
Esmerelda is a tall warrior woman will fight all comers in a back alley fight club. The warrior who defeats her gets to marry her. (She is a pennangalan).
This nameless shade is rarely seen but always heard playing a dulcimer and singing at market. He plays the dulcimer and sings the darkest secrets of a random passerby or party member. If spotted, he disappears.
Marco the Simpleton stabs the tree with his scissors, all day, every day. If he does not, the tree will burrow down and tunnel 100 yards toward the palace, then resurface. Eventually, it will kill the young prince.
Shad the Farrier will buy your old or injured horse. Under his stable is a secret room where he tries, unsuccessfully, to sew centaurs using the horses and those who pass out drunk in the alleys.
The travelling zoo has an albino ape that has been trained to sit and eat at the table, dress herself and paint. Paintings are often auctioned off. She hides cries for help in her paintings. Maybe you should help her. (She is a polymorphed little girl from an island of vicious spellcasting cannibals.)
Aphrodite the harlot beckons customers to follow her. She leads them to ever darker corners until they are…
Stump the Small is a human somewhere between the height of a dwarf and a halfling. He spies on dwarfs, gnomes, halflings and faeries. He is the best and he is expensive. He is wanted dead by many.
Elzeer, Orkney and Blount are the clothmeisters, powerful merchant patricians who must approve all textiles before they are brought to market or exported. They are giant weevils in disguise and will attempt to confiscate or steal any magical cloth or clothing the smell in the city. They eat it and gain powers.
Marzetz the Sommelier will offer to tell you, for a small fee, how appetizing your blood is to vampyres. (Roll 1d6. He is unerringly correct, but not a vampyre.)
The Eastgate Bat sometimes flies during the day. If he hangs from a streetlamp, archway or gate, none of the locals will pass it, less their souls be forfeit to the bat. Some approach him and leave offerings, hoping to buy back their loved one’s souls.
Need something for an upcoming game? You can get in on this by posting here. For every request, I’ll donate $1 to a charity to be named soon (up to $150).