Sunday, August 18, 2019

Random Settlement Behaviour, or Automated Settings pt. 1

So, I was thinking about running an OD&D viking campaign. Strapped for ideas, I stumbled upon a forum thread where people were talking about running a hexcrawl like the Vinland Saga: the tales of Viking exploration in North America. So, I came up with this system.

You will need: lots of d6s, a hexmap of the region, a bunch of very small miniatures of at least 2 or 3 types and enough colors to differentiate the factions, pen and paper. I used Risk pieces for the miniatures.


Give each settlement a population: I used 6 infantry chits and 2 cavalry chits for each. This is what all groups are drawn from. Each day, roll on the Settlement Behaviour Table for each settlement. Then, for each group out roll direction of travel. Each group type has different behaviour. There are two types of chit on the board: Cavalry and Infantry. When two groups meet and fight, roll a die for each chit. Every 5 or 6 indicates a removed enemy chit. Groups solely consisting of cavalry move two hexes per turn. 

When two groups meet, roll a die. This contact determines the relationship between the two groups. If this is the first time they meet, a 1 means open war, 6 means an alliance between the two, a 2 or 3 means hostility (-1 to all future rolls), and a 4 or 5 means friendship (+1 to all future rolls.) If this is the second or later time, do not roll if there was a 1 or 6 previously, but do roll and apply modifiers if there was a 2,3,4, or 5.

If two groups are in adjacent hexes, there is a 50% chance that they will each move into the other group's hex. Similarly, if a group is next to a village, they will

  1. Set up a patrol (moves around the village and any farmland. Roll 1d6 for numbers: 1-4 means infantry equal to the number shown, 5-6 means 1 cavalry)
  2. Send out a hunting party (move at random. Roll 1d6 for numbers: 1-4 means infantry equal to the number shown, 5-6 means 1 cavalry)
  3. Send out Settlers (Roll d8. 1-6 move,7-8 create new settlement. Consists of 1-3 infantry.)
  4. Grow: gain 1 infantry chit if under 10 total chits, if 10 chits expand into adjacent hex and move 1/2 population.
  5. Shrink: Lose 1 chit if there is more than 2 chits in the village, otherwise lose a random expansion. If there is noone in the village and no expansions, village collapses and is removed
  6. Investigate: Moves on the 1-3 hexes that go toward a random town within 5 hexes.

This system works best in small, dense areas. I also recommend you put a small paper tag under each group stating origin and purpose. Additionally, you should probably name each village.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Temple of Death (30 minute dungeon)

Taking inspiration from the 30-minute dungeon post from this guy's blog, I've made my own. It's technically not the same as his formula (12 rooms, less traps than he's got), but I made it in slightly under 30 minutes so it's all good.

  1. The doorway in is giant. It must be winched open, with a pair of cranks inside (white squares). These cranks can be easily turned, but the door cannot be opened from outside by normal means. The air is heavy with incense smoke. Secret door to 12 is hidden by a massive painting 5’ up the wall. If the painting is removed, a passage is obvious, and leads into the pit in 12. Painting is worthless.
  2. A temple with a huge statue of a raven. The raven’s eyes are rubies which allow anyone who implants one in the place of their eye to pacify undead as an evil cleric.
  3. An ossuary. 1d6 skeletons will climb out of the walls each round, up to a maximum of 36. Each skeleton may heal 1 HP each round instead of attacking by removing a bone from the wall and placing it into their bodies
  4. A small chamber for penitent priests. Empty.
  5. A chamber filled with coffins of the honoured dead. 8 animate skeletons. Each has a longsword.
  6. A room with a giant silver tree with ruby fruits. The rubies will drop off and shatter, becoming worthless. Every ruby that is taken off will turn into a tiny scorpion-like construct (1 HD, AC 6/16, 1d8 damage, save vs. poison or convulse on the floor for 3 minutes.) If a ruby scorpion is killed being destroyed, it is worth 50 GP. Alive, they are worth 100 GP. Only 3 will drop off each day.
  7. A room with construction equipment on the floor.
  8. Stairs lead up into a secret passage which leads into a forest near the village. The room and passage are tagged with the names of children
  9. 20 kobolds. 1d6 will venture out to investigate loud sounds or light outside the door.
  10. A group of 12 kobold eggs guarded by 8 kobolds with maximum HP, each equipped with a longsword wielded two-handed and plate armour. They will fight to the death in defense of the eggs.
  11. Window to 12. Window is normal glass, but too small for medium creatures to go through. Floor has candle stub.
  12. Pit surrounds a platform. Anyone who stands on platform rolls on whatever your favorite mutation table is, or the following table:
    1. Gain 1d6 max HP
    2. Lose 1d6 max HP. Characters killed this way cannot be raised short of a wish or resurrection
    3. Gain one point in a random stat
    4. Lose one point from a random stat
    5. You can now cast a single magic-user spell at will
    6. All effects from this table are negated
    7. You gain 1d3 tentacles growing from your back. They can be controlled
    8. Roll twice.
  13. A pit filled with lava bisects this room.

Friday, December 14, 2018


Here's a bunch of artifacts I might include in my current megadungeon campaign. I hope you guys enjoy them as much as I do!


Maw is a greatsword, with a wide groove along the blade bearing the name, MAW, three skulls carved into the crossguard, and a pitch-black jewel in the base. The sword is found acting as a mere +2 weapon, but upon striking a living enemy with an unmodified roll of 20 will kill them instantly. Upon being used in this manner, the weapon's modifier increases by 1, until it reaches +10. When the current owner dies, it reverts to a bonus of +2. It has the following other powers and effects:

2x I
2x II
3x III
1x IV
1x V
2x VI

Orb of the Watcher

This brass orb is found on a marble pedestal, covered with a tablecloth. The tablecloth is embroidered with roses on the sides and a huge skull on the top. The orb itself is highly polished, and if inspected it will show the most dangerous area within 24 miles, or on the same dungeon level if used within a dungeon. It will show the party being slaughtered by whatever dangers lie within the revealed area, so that if a trap is within the room it is shown being triggered. This may be used as much as the PCs like, but it will cease to function

4x I
1x II
2x III
1x IV
1x V
4x VI

That's all I've got for now, see you next post

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Ruins of the Lizard part 2

Dramatic announcer voice: On our last episode of Ruins of the Lizard, our heroes ventured into the upper works of the ruins. There, they encountered a band of gnolls and began to fight, knocking out several with a Sleep spell. We see them now in between the buildings on the south side of the upper works! Intro.mp4 

More seriously, this is a continuation of the series of play recaps that accompany my megadungeon campaign. Today's session begins with Gabriel, the high-dex Elf Fighter, and Elebereth, the Elf Magic-User.

The gnoll fell, and Gabriel loosed another arrow from his bow. The arrow struck into the weak wood of the door, destroying the last bits holding up the gnolls. The gnolls charge, one swinging his axe and biting deep into Gabriel's side. Blood gushed out of the wound, as Elebereth sprinted off while she could.

She returned to the sleepy town of Willowdale, where people were nailing roses to their doors. This was a traditional ward against evil, but she paid it no heed and entered the Drowned Rat, a local bar. There she found a cleric, Smith the servant of At, god of artisans and 5 mercenary spearmen.

They ventured back to the upper works, this time coming in from the western side. Approaching a building under the control of the lizardmen. The lizardmen asked Elebereth to come inside and meet their king, who was on the first dungeon level. The lizard king paid them for the gnolls and hyenas they killed (5 GP for each hyena, 10 for each gnoll) to a total of 60 GP, offered to pay them a further 10 GP for every room they claimed for him, and sent them on their way down into the second level.

Upon reaching it, they met a dryad, who wasn't very happy to see them. 400 years of barely surviving underground does something to a person, y'know? In any case, they went on their way after a few futile attempts at conversation and entered the alchemist's workshop in Room 6. They checked out some reagants and looked into Room 10, but were scared off by the Chaos Beasts and went into Room 7.

Encountering the spiders, the battle was on. One spider was on the ground and lost initiative, but the other dropped from the roof and grabbed the sergeant of the men-at-arms, dragging him up among the webs. The beast was repeatedly speared and ran off. Its mate charged, enraged by the loss of the other. Elebereth loosed her darts, striking it between the thick, chitinous plates and driving one deep. The spider died instantly.

Searching the room, they happened across the chainmail of fire resistance. They left the room and headed down the hall to the left, entering Room 3 and looking around, searching the room. They found the secret door behind a bookshelf and entered 2. The ghouls attacked, but were turned by Smith and retreated back to 1. Where all of the other ghouls live. Needless to say, they were not happy. The party and their men-at-arms retreated to the door and braced for a charge, and the charge came. The ghouls and ghast were massacred by the spears. Elebereth splattered one, while another tore up one of the men-at-arms. Smith smashed his skull in, as the mercs impaled the rest.

They retreated to the surface, stopping by with the lizard king to collect money. After running the calculations, Smith had enough XP to level up from his first venture into the dungeon. All-in-all, a good session. As always, here's a copy of my notes for the dungeon that will always stay a little behind current:

Thursday, November 22, 2018



I made a labyrinthine level for your murderous megadungeon! It's intended to be slotted in to any of your mythic underworlds easily, or even be added as a secondary minidungeon to allow your players some respite. Remember to enter the File menu and use Fork to make and edit your own copy of the map. This adventure is compatible with the core rules of Swords and Wizardry, but feel free to use whichever game system you prefer. Swords & Wizardry, S&W, and Mythmere Games are trademarks of Matthew J. Finch, and I am not affiliated with Frog God Games, Mythmere Games, or Matthew J. Finch.

Random Encounters

Roll 1d8 for encounters
  1. A careening ghost-chariot, which got lost from the main race
  2. 1d4 kobolds hunting for an exit
  3. A Minotaur
  4. The maze walls shift, changing the layout of the maze.
  5. 1d4 giant spiders (small ones)
  6. Cave in! All players must save or take 4d6 damage. The party's current location, and all of the passage for 1d6*10 feet is impassable.
  7. Another adventuring party
  8. Roll twice


  1. Stairs up to the surface or previous level
  2. A fountain which neutralises poison and reverses petrification.
  3. 22 Small Giant Spiders with 1320 GP  scattered through a huge pile of bones.
  4. 18 kobolds camping, looking for the way out
  5. A Minotaur
  6. A control panel with 6 knobs. The knobs have the following effects:
    1. Provide the player with the ability to cast a single first-level spell at will, without memorizing
    2. Drains a level
    3. Shifts the level layout (Referee should fork in Mipui) or teleports the party to a point on the map at the Referee's discretion
    4. Makes a random weapon used by a PC +1 or removes curse
    5. Summons a fire elemental under the control of the PCs
    6. Disintegrates a character unless they save. If they save, they permanently gain 1d4 bonus hit points.
  7. A broken control panel. There are four knobs, but only one will function. It summons a fire elemental, which will fight the players to half HP. After it reaches half HP, it will surrender and procure a seal which binds it to a player. The seal can be broken and will summon the fire elemental under the summoner's control for 3 rounds, after which it will return to its home plane.
  8. A gang of 9 lizardmen
  9. Preserved chariots. There are many ghostly chariot racers preparing themselves.
  10. A deep chasm. Across the chasm is a tribe of 31 orcs with 1395 GP.
  11. Ghostly charioteers careen around these forsaken racecourses. They start at Area 9 and disappear at Area 12. Anyone hit by a chariot is knocked down and takes 4d6 damage, saves negate.
  12. Ghost charioteers stop and disappear into white, translucent mist. There is a scoreboard, with Blues and Greens as the two headers.


Giant Spider (smol): 6 HP, HD: 1+1, AC: 8 [11], Bite (1 hp) + poison, Save: 17, Poison (+2 save or die), Move 9, XP: 3/60
Kobolds: Hit Dice: 1d4 hp, AC: 6 [13], Attacks: Weapon (1d6), Saving Throw: 18, Move: 6, Alignment: Chaos, Challenge Level/XP: A/5.
Minotaur: 33 HP, 6+4 HD, 2d4/1d3/1d8 (horns/bite/axe), AC 6, save 11, never lost in mazes, move 12, Chaotic, XP 6/400
Fire Elemental: 51 HP (Surrender at 26), 12 HD, 2d6 (fire), AC 2, save 3, ignite flammables, move 12, XP 13/2,300.
Lizardmen: 9 HP, 2+1 HD, 1d3/1d3/1d8 (claw/claw/bite), save 16, breathe underwater, move 6 (12 swimming), Chaos, XP 2/30
Orcs: 8 HP, AC 6, 1d8 (sword/axe), save 17, move 12, Chaos, XP 1/15

Legal Stuff

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Magic Items

So it's time for another Swords and Wizardry homebrew post! This time, I'm handing out magic items. So without further ado, onto the items!

Cube of Unreality
The Cube of Unreality is a powerful magic item. It appears as a silver box, engraved with maddening patterns and ancient runes. It contains 2-7 silvery darts. Each dart contains a small sliver of absolute nothingness contained within rune-covered silver. The darts will, upon contact with a creature on its home plane, create a destructive chain reaction with the stuff of reality absolutely consuming the target unless it makes its save vs. magic. A Cube of Unreality may also fire all darts placed within on the same round. It regenerates 1 dart each time a Shadow is fed to the box, and 1-4 each time a creature capable of level drain is sacrificed.

Sceptre of the Sovereign
This item has 3-18 charges. It appears as a silver sceptre with the design of an ancient empire at its tip. This staff has four functions: Casting Charm Person and Command, both of which consume but 1 charge, and the raising of a fortress. The last function consumes 10 charges. Additionally, it attacks as a +1 quarterstaff and will generally inspire respect in people

Hungry Weapon
A Hungry Weapon is a dangerous cursed item. It attacks as a +1 weapon but must kill a foe each day or it will begin to feed on its owner. Each day the Hungry Weapon goes without being fed, it causes damage to its owner on a to-hit roll equal to or less than the day's number, so that on the first day only rolls of 1 cause damage, on the second day rolls of 1 or 2 cause damage, and so on.

Ring of Entropy
This powerful ring has 4 charges and recharges 1 each day. It has the ability, draining a charge, to fire a blast of pure chaos energy. There is no save, and upon striking the target the firer rolls a d10 on the following table:

  1. Target is teleported to a random location
  2. Target's gear loses all curses upon it
  3. Target takes 3d6 damage
  4. Target heals 3d6 HP
  5. The target must save vs. magic or die
  6. The user is consumed within a storm of chaos, roll 3 effects on the table for the user
  7. Roll again twice, ignoring even results
  8. Roll again twice, ignoring odd results
  9. Roll again twice
  10. Roll again three times

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Fearsome Critters

So today I was looking for some interesting creatures and during my extensive research, I came across an interesting bunch. So I'm going to stat a selection out for S&W complete. I picked them from the ones that sound like interesting opponents, and hope to kickstart your creativity. So without further ado, the critters

Axehandle Hound

HD: 1
AC: 8 [11]
Attacks: 1d6 (bite)
Saving Throw: 17
Special: Chew through wooden handles in 1 turn
Move: 12
Alignment: Neutrality
Challenge/XP:  2/30
Axehandle Hounds are doglike creatures which eat wood. They will sneak up on camping characters and eat the handles of their tools, because the treating process creates a taste which they enjoy. Elf-worked wood they like most of all, but they will settle for natural wood if need be.

Ball-Tailed Cat

HD: 4+2
AC: 6 [13]
Attacks: 1d4/1d4/1d8/1d6 (claw/claw/bite/club)
Saving Throw: 13
Special: None
Move: 12
Alignment: Neutrality
Challenge/XP: 4/120
At a passing glance, the ball-tailed cat appears to simply be a black-furred big cat. Upon a closer look, however, the critter's true nature is revealed, as a large flail-like ball lies at the end of its tail

Cactus Cat

HD: 3+2
AC: 5 [14]
Attacks: 1d4/1d4/1d6/1d12 (Claw/claw/bite/bodyslam)
Saving Throw: 12
Special: Anyone attacking with short melee weapons takes 1d4 damage
Move: 9
Alignment: Neutrality
Challenge/XP: 4/120
This critter is a deadly beast, appearing as a big cat with dirty yellow fur rather like a hyena. However, its relatively humble appearance hides the truly deadly nature of the beast. This critter has deadly spiked fur, which it uses to great effect by slamming its foes. It resides in desert regions, and drinks cactus juice which it finds intoxicating.


HD: 2
AC: 9 [10]
Attacks: 1d4/1d4/1d6 (Claw/claw/bite)
Saving Throw: 15
Special: Immune to all damage except from fire, instantly explodes if exposed to fire.
Move: 6
Alignment: Neutrality
Challenge/XP: 5/240
This creature appears like a walking ball, with thick, elephant-like legs and tiny ears. It has a tough, black hide, but secretes a highly flammable oil that dries up 1d8 days after the creature dies unless bottled. The explosion of the beast causes 10d6 damage to all creatures around and leaves enough oil behind for 1d4 flasks of the oil, which cause 2d6 damage.


HD: 3
AC: 5 (14)
Attacks: 1d4/1d4/1d8 (Claw/claw/bite)
Saving Throw: 15
Special: Rolls 4d6 in grapple if it attacks by surprise, surprise 4 in 6 in wooded areas
Move: 15
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge/XP: 4/120
This creature looks like a black bear walking on 2 legs. It moves unnaturally quickly and typically lives in wooded areas, hiding behind trees (hence the name) and picking off woodsmen by grappling them and dragging them back to its lair to be devoured.

Joint Snake

HD: 2
AC: 6
Attacks: 1d4 (Bite)
Saving Throw: 16
Special: Lethal poison bite, regenerates 2 HP per round.
Move: 9
Alignment: Neutrality
Challenge/XP: 5/240
This critter looks to be a simple snake, but can reassemble itself. Its poison is highly deadly, and a single lethal dose can be extracted from the snake. The snake's venom is also a powerful ingredient for healing potions.

Wampus Cat

HD: 4
AC: 4
Attacks: 1d4/1d4/1d8 (Claw/claw/bite)
Saving Throw: 14
Special: Can roar at a creature, causing that creature to save vs. magic or take double damage from all sources and make all saving throws at -2.
Move: 12
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge/XP: 6/400
The Wampus Cat is a ghostly beast, appearing as a panther. It will howl at creatures, often heralding their imminent doom. It is not known whether it is the cause of this effect or merely the herald of terrible fortune.