Friday, February 16, 2018

Why is This Weapon Magical?

Roll 2d6:

2 - A wizard did it. On purpose, that it.

3 - The weapon comes from another realm/world/dimension/plane/reality, where things just work differently. A weapon (or other object) from here would probably behave "strangely" relative to the surrounding laws of science/magic over there, too.

4 - The weapon's magical properties are the unintentional result of some other phenomenon. It could be the byproduct of a spell or experiment, or it could have just been in the right place at the right time when some magical phenomenon ("natural" or otherwise) occurred. Maybe someone just left this weapon on a ley line and forgot about it for a hundred years.

5 - The weapon was forged from a rare material with magical properties. It could be mithril or Valyrian steel or adamantium or metal forged from a fallen star or whatever.

6 - The weapon has been used to kill so many supernatural beings (or such a powerful supernatural being) that some magic has rubbed off on it.*

7 - The weapon is only magical in a certain context. Silver weapons hurt werewolves. Oak stakes hurt vampires. A ghost might be banished by the same weapon that killed their corporeal form, due to their lingering fear of it. In short, the weapon has magical effects in certain circumstances due to the properties of the being under attack, or the "natural" relationship between the weapon and a supernatural force.

8 - See Result 6.*

9 - The weapon was forged with a rare technique which imbued it with supernatural properties. The creator of the weapon was not a wizard in the stereotypical sense; they were just such a master craftsman or such a knowledgeable expert that they knew how to make the weapon supernaturally extraordinary. This could involve a ritual, a blessing, another magic item, advanced technology, magic runes, a crafting technique that is just so darn good it causes "magical" effects to arise from "mundane" processes, or what have you.

10 - The weapon is possessed by a ghost, a demon, or some other spirit or ethereal creature. (Or perhaps an artificial intelligence if you want a little SF in your fantasy.)

11 - The weapon was imbued with supernatural significance due to a weird or particularly awful tragedy. Maybe it's the axe of an executioner who was tricked into beheading his own family. Maybe it's the first weapon to ever shed the blood of a child. Maybe it's the sword that was used to murder a benevolent empress and end the longest period of peace in history. Maybe it's the single arrow used over and over by a serial killer to shoot every one of his victims. Think of ghost stories or fairy tales or ancient mythology.**

12 - A god did it. Maybe they crafted or enchanted it on purpose. Maybe the weapon is just a figment of a god's imagination. Maybe the weapon is a piece of a god.***

*If a dungeon or other adventure location is overflowing with +1 weapons, I think this might serve as a better explanation for their presence than the idea that a magic-user cranked out a bunch of magic weapons that their class can't use, but your mileage may vary. I personally like this concept a lot, which is why it appears twice on the table, and why the table is so heavily weighted toward this result. You could kind of see this as a more specific form of Result 4, so if you want to adapt this table to other magic items besides weapons, it probably wouldn't hurt to switch Result 4 to Results 6 and 8, and come up with a new idea for the now-vacant Result 4.

**I got this idea from a plot device in the recent film Winchester. It wasn't a very good movie, unfortunately, but it did have some ideas that I think could be salvaged for better use in a different context. The movie's "magic weapon" of note came across as pretty darn silly (and unintentionally so, I believe), but I think it could have worked with a better set up, or in a different story.

***I guess this could overlap with just about any other result on the table. There's a lot of potential overlap between ideas on this table, really, but I think that's okay. My main purpose here was to brainstorm different origins for magic weapons, especially "common" ones, other than what I perceive as the standard "made by a wizard" explanation in fantasy RPG adventures.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Weird Fantasy Musical To-Do List

So I've really been into the band Comus lately. Specifically, I picked up Song to Comus: The Complete Collection, which I believe includes almost all of their work, after listening to some of their music on Youtube. And oh boy, did First Utterance knock my socks off, presumably leaving them in a muddy crevice somewhere in the woods for a creepy little girl to find while she's off communing with unwholesome cosmic spirits. As previously mentioned, I've also been greatly enjoying Swans for a little while now, and I've been trying to use spooky and weird music here and there as both background music while gaming and a general source of game-related inspiration.

I've also been collecting music recommendations from strange places like the Lamentations of the Flame Princess community, the TV Tropes Nightmare Fuel page, and this video from Youtube reviewer Grim Beard.

The point is, I want to listen to some new stuff. Especially some odd stuff, and some scary stuff, and some gloomy stuff. Stuff that fits in well with horror or weird/dark fantasy gaming, or even just fantasy or science fiction gaming in general. So here's my musical to-do list. If, for some reason, you need a d50 table of bands your priest probably wouldn't approve of, here you go. If you have any suggestions, hey, why don't we make it a d100 table?
  1. Agalloch - The Mantle
  2. Alcest - Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde
  3. Amebix - No Sanctuary: The Spiderleg Recordings
  4. An Autumn for Crippled Children - Try Not to Destroy Everything You Love
  5. Black Sabbath (I mean, I enjoy their greatest hits CD, but I should probably check out their actual full albums, you know?)
  6. Briton Rites - For Mircalla
  7. Candlemass - Epicus Doomicus Mettallicus
  8. Celtic Frost - Monotheist
  9. Coldworld - Autumn
  10. Cradle of Filth
  11. Curved Air
  12. The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets
  13. Dream Theater
  14. Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  15. Frank Zappa
  16. Gallowbraid - Ashen Eidolen
  17. Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
  18. Gentle Giant
  19. Godspeed You! Black Emperor (I really enjoy Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven, and I'm thinking I'll probably try Luciferian Towers next.)
  20. The Great Old Ones - Tekeli-Li
  21. GWAR
  22. Hawkwind
  23. Iggy Pop
  24. Jess and the Ancient Ones
  25. Jethro Tull
  26. King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King
  27. Locrian - Return to Annihilation
  28. Nadja - Radiance of Shadows
  29. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Let Love In
  30. Om - Pilgrimage
  31. Opeth
  32. Pink Floyd (I like The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall, so I figure I should see what else they've done.)
  33. Reverend Bizarre
  34. Sahg - Sahg I
  35. Samael - Ceremony of Opposites
  36. Slayer - Reign in Blood
  37. Sleep
  38. Sunn O)))
  39. The Sword - Age of Winters
  40. Throbbing Gristle
  41. Tool
  42. Tom Waits (I have Bone Machine, but I need to get more of his work, or at least a copy of Real Gone.)
  43. Upwards of Endtime - Sadly Never Fore
  44. Van der Graff Generator
  45. Vattnet - Settler
  46. Vintersorg - Orkan
  47. Witchfinder General
  48. Wolves in the Throne Room
  49. Wreck & Reference - Want
  50. Yes
If an album title is listed, that's probably where I'll start with that band, before moving on to their other work if I end up liking them. If no album is listed, then I'm probably not sure exactly where to begin yet.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

D10 Fighter Advancement Table for LotFP

This is just a quick and dirty idea I had for making level advancement for fighters in Lamentations of the Flame Princess a bit more interesting. It's basically an extremely simplified, stripped-down version of this random advancement system by "Zak S., Reynaldo Madriñan, Jeff Rients, Chris Wilson, Nick Kuntz, Matt Halbauer, and lots of other cool people," but specifically for LotFP fighters only.

Beyond level 9, most classes continue to get better at their main class feature in some way: magic-users continue to get spells per day, specialists continue to get skill points, etc. However, fighters don't really get anything special beyond that point other than additional HP and better saves (which other classes still get as well, to some extent). This is just a rough idea for giving fighters something class-specific to look forward to if they survive past level 9, with the added benefit of potentially differentiating individual fighters a little more, if you feel the need for that.

Every level, the fighter chooses to either take their normal +1 base attack bonus, or roll 1d10 on the table below. If the fighter's base attack bonus is maxed out at +10, they must roll on the table.
  1. Nice try, but you still get a +1 base attack bonus anyway. But, if your base attack bonus is already maxed out at +10, you get to choose any result from this table instead.
  2. Do you even lift? It takes five additional items to gain the first point of encumbrance (as per the dwarf class in LotFP). If you have already gotten this result once before, see Result 1 instead.
  3. Your hit die increases from d8 to d10, and if you have a positive constitution modifier, you continue to add it to your HP after level 9 (as per the dwarf class in LotFP). Go ahead and reroll all of your hit dice. If the result is greater than your previous maximum HP, keep the new result. If it is equal to or less than your previous maximum HP, your new maximum HP simply becomes your old maximum HP plus 1. If you have already gotten this result once before, see Result 1 instead.
  4. Nothing gets past you. You are only surprised on a 1 in 6 (as per the elf class in LotFP). If you have already gotten this result once before, see Result 1 instead.
  5. You've got the touch! If an enemy can normally only be hit by a magic weapon, or by some other special kind of weapon (silver, for example), you can instead hit them with any kind of weapon. If you have already gotten this result once before, see Result 1 instead.
  6. FIGHTER SMASH! You gain the ability to enter a state of RAGE, as per Vacant Ritual Assembly #4, page 18. If you have already gotten this result once before, see Result 1 instead.*
  7. Increase the amount of damage you do with any weapon (including your bare hands) by 1 die size, following this pattern: 1-->d2-->d3-->d4-->d6-->d8-->d10-->d12-->d20 (the maximum for mundane weapons). If you have already gotten this result once before, see Result 1 instead.
  8. Show us your moves! You get a second attack per round. If you have already gotten this result once before, you now get a third attack per round. If you have already gotten this result twice before, you can either make three attacks per round or you can make one attack against every enemy within melee range that has 1 HD or less. If you have already gotten this result at least three times before, see Result 1 instead.
  9. Roll a d4: 1 equals Charisma, 2 equals Constitution, 3 equals Dexterity, and 4 equals Strength. Increase the corresponding ability's modifier by +1. (For example, if you have a Charisma of 16 and you roll a 1, your Charisma modifier increases from +2 to +3.) Each ability modifier can only be increased this way once, so if you roll the same ability again, re-roll until you get a new one. If you have already increased all four of these ability modifiers before, see Result 1 instead.
  10. You paid attention to something beyond your big beatin' stick. You gain 2 skill points.
*If you don't have a copy of Vacant Ritual Assembly #4, or if you just don't care for this result and want to replace it with something else, here's an alternative result inspired by this post from Gregorius21778:
6. This is your skin now. Treat chain armor as a regularly-encumbering item, so that it only takes up one encumbrance slot (instead of adding a whole encumbrance point by itself like an oversized item). Treat plate armor as a regular oversized item, so that it only adds one point of encumbrance instead of two. If you are using the Early Modern armor rules, then treat buff coats, all helmets, and tassets as unencumbering, treat pikeman's armor as a regularly-encumbering item, and treat full armor as a regular oversized item. If you have already gotten this result once before, see Result 1 instead.