Saturday, December 16, 2017

2d6 Exploitable Character Traits

2. ambitious - this glory hound can be persuaded to do great things that will make his prestige grow 3. greedy - if there's money in it, he'll probably do it 4. hedonist - good food, exquisite drink and pleasures of the alcove are his motivation 5. wroth - he's always angry, just needs a little push in the right direction and he'll start smashing 6. charitable - will share his fortune with those in need 7. honest - compelled to speak the truth, even if others are too afraid or embarrassed to do so 8. craven - can be easily persuaded to do nothing – and hide 9. just - feels compelled to punish evildoers and right wrongs 10. zealous - will do anything to uncover heretic plots and bring glory to the one true way 11. paranoid - knows they're watching and will do anything to find out more about their sinister machinations 12. proud - wants to look strong, especially better than his rivals

Maciejowski Bible, folio 41

An NPC has something the party wants. Or they want the NPC to do something for them. What's it gonna take?

Inspired by Crusader Kings II.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Mysteries of the Alignment Planes

So I was thinking – there are no alignments in BFRPG, which is cool, I like that. There are no alignments in real life, right? The same dude is capable of both despicable acts and selfless sacrifice, it's this strange human condition, but whatever. I still want demons and devils in my game. I want those weird Levant angels that are all wings and eyes and on fire and shit. So imagine this – ages ago, when trilobites were the dominant species on Earth, the Demiurge decided to separate order from chaos and evil spirits from the good ones. So he went to the Crystal Dragon Jesus mountain and meditated there for seven days and eight nights and then he came back and announced to the young world that he came up with this new spell. This magnificent spell so powerful, that only he – the most powerful god – can cast it. And the spell was called DETECT ALIGNMENT And the soldiers of order were like "yeah, right on, Demiurge!", but some other spirits were like "no, dude, that's an awful idea, life's more complicated then that", but the Demiurge was like "SILENCE, HERETICS OF CHAOS. I WILL MAKE THE UNIVERSE GREAT" and he casts the spell. The spell goes off and identifies a group of spirits as lawful evil. The Demiurge exiles them to Hell. Other spirits are identified as chaotic evil, off you go to the Abyss. The neutral aligned spirits are cast off to Earth (where they bring magical, supernatural elements to the planet) and all the lawful good guys stay in the newly named Heaven. Or Arcadia. Or whatever. Demiurge is very happy with himself and a bit tired from all this spell casting and decides that he will now retreat for an eon or two to his Hot Tub of Rejuvenation, but promises that he will come back shortly to check if everything's cool. Eventually he comes back. When he left the lawful good plane was full of those boring deva aasimar creatures that he liked very much. But after all this time they're all gone, there are only a few of (possibly inbred) stark raving mad angels, that look like they're all eyes and wings and they're on fire. And some of them are wheels? They're those crazy Dead Sea scrolls/Book of Enoch angels. And the Demiurge is like "OH SHIT" but before doing anything he takes a look at Earth, where all the neutral spirits were exiled to and he sees Melnibonean elves hunting first primates for sport and earth elementals teaching gnomes how to forge magic radioactive weapons and he's losing his shit now. He checks on Hell and of course those guys are doing great in a Third Reich kind of way. The orgy he gets a glimpse of in the Abyss terrifies him so he says "I MADE A HUGE MISTAKE" and then adds somewhat less confidently "B-BUT DON'T WORRY, I'LL BE BACK SOON, I'LL FIGURE THIS OUT, JUST CHILL OUT, I'LL BE BACK, I'M GONNA FIX THIS, PEACE, SEE YOU SOON, BYE" and he vanishes. And he's never been seen again. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Dog Alley

Dog Alley should be one of the most frequented pathways of the city – it connects the market square with Butcher Street – but because of its sinister reputation it’s rarely visited by travelers, and almost never by city residents. For many years people who decided to walk down the Alley have been attacked by a pack of feral dogs. Some of them died. Some of them carry nasty scars to this day. City watch patrols didn’t help. Hiring trainers, trackers and enchanters didn’t help either. Over time those who lived by the Alley decided either to relocate to a safer part of town, or to protect themselves by buying guard dogs of their own. Unfortunately the hired guard dogs had a tendency to run away and join the feral pack. Nowadays nobody visits the Alley, unless they absolutely have to or are unaware of the Alley’s history.

“Stray Dog” by Daido Moriyama, Misawa, Aomori, 1971
Any traveler crossing through Dog Alley has a 25% chance (50% at night) of a canine encounter:

Number of dogs:
  1. a single dog (gets reinforcements after d6+1 rounds)
  2. 1d6 dogs (exploding on a 6)
  3. 2d6 dogs (exploding on a 6)
  4. d30 dogs

Roll for each dog:
1-5. Normal dog (1 HD)
6-10. Whoa, this dog is big! (2 HD)
11-12. By gods, that one’s even bigger! (3 HD)
13. That’s not a dog – that’s a wolf!
14. That’s not a wolf – that’s a dire wolf!
15. Escaped guard dog (roll here)
16. Crazy (cursed) bugbear, thinks he’s a dog
17. Blink dog
18. Hell hound (only at night, if it’s a daytime encounter – reroll, always aggressive)
19. Death dog (only at night, if it’s a daytime encounter – reroll, always aggressive)
20. Werewolf (only at night, if it’s a daytime encounter – reroll, always aggressive)

Dog reaction table:
1. Silent, watching, creeping. Will only attack lone, vulnerable targets.
2-3. Pack runs at the travelers, barking, but won’t attack, unless vastly outnumbering their target. Can be appeased with offerings of food.
4. Aggressive, hungry, attacks on sight.

Dogs will break pursuit if travelers successfully escape the Alley. They never leave the safety of their home.

Five different types of dogs, woodcut, 1547
Apart from the pack the other Dog Alley denizens are:

The unfortunate
There are about 40 people – homeless beggars, cut purses and other wretches – who just have no other place to go. They dwell in abandoned buildings, makeshift shacks and ruined houses. Some of them are wanted by law, some of them are just too poor to relocate. Or both. They know never to travel the Alley by night and to always have a scrap of meat as an offering to the pack.

Branimir the Butcher
Branimir owns a butcher shop located at the corner of Dog Alley and Butcher Street. If he hears about anyone crossing the Alley, he will offer to sell them scraps of meat and instructs them how it can be used to appease the dogs and escape them. Branimir will support any moderately sane plan to clean up Dog Alley, as his business suffers because of its proximity.

Horpyna the Hag
Horpyna lives in the tunnels below the Alley. She treats the whole pack as her pets, but her favorites are Phantom (blink dog), Sulfur (hell hound) and Tombstone (death dog). As long as she’s alive the pack will continue to grow. Fear the citizens of the city have for Dog Alley is the secret source of her power.

Kres the Wrestler
Kres was a member of a bugbear war band that raided the city a few years ago. Kres and his allies ventured into the Dog Alley searching for loot  and made a mistake of running afoul of Horpyna. Other bugbears were quickly dispatched by the pack, but Kres fought bravely. Horpyna decided to award his bravery with a curse. Now Kres thinks he’s a dog and runs with the pack.

Rogned owns a pawn shop located at the southern end of Dog Alley, near the market square. Few years ago he decided to bring order to the Alley. He gathered a posse and started to slaughter all dogs he found in the vicinity of the Alley. That got Horpyna’s attention so she lured him into her underground lair and cursed him with lycanthropy. Since then tormented Rogned runs his pawn shop during the day, while prowling with the pack at night. He dreams of Horpyna’s demise but is too scared to reveal his curse even under duress.

Dog Alley rumor table:

  1. Branimir the Butcher offers his daughter’s hand in marriage to anyone who will end the canine menace in the Alley. (T)
  2. Dogs terrorizing the Alley are actually werewolves. (almost completely F)
  3. You should always carry some meat while crossing the Alley to distract the dogs and escape. (T)
  4. Branimir profiteers of Dog Alley, because all he sells is dog meat. (F)
  5. Dogs of the Alley are lead by a demonic hellhound, this must be a punishment for the city’s vile sins! The end times cometh! (kinda T)
  6. Dogs of the Alley can be calmed with soothing sounds of music. (F)
  7. Many caves and tunnels under the city are connected and used by occultists. (T)
  8. No dog ever killed anybody in the Alley. It’s the Thieves' Guild thugs! And I bet that Rogned fences their loot at his pawn shop. (F)