Monday, September 30, 2013

Wandering Vampires

1. Gyrnos of Antedeluvia, vampire sage: so ancient/hideous he stays enshrouded by ebon wrappings, dedicated to accumulation of knowledge but also very very thirsty, allows adventurers to bargain for lives by telling him something he doesn't already know, zero sense of humor remaining
2. Trio of blood sucking dolts: hapless goofballs in mortal life, still mentally negligible in undeath, sleep crammed into single coffin they carry around with them, duped by even the most ludicrous ruse
3. Sister Zrinlava: former high priestess of lawful cult now cruising around the underworld in full-blown spiritual crisis, begs any adventurer-clergy for purification while weeping pitifully, inevitable failure followed by explosive rage
4. Yolo Tensalian, once a thief: skills honed by centuries of aimless pick-pocketry, carries random assortment of recently harvested treasures w/special emphasis on key-rings, not averse to parley for own amusement, devastating back-of-the-neck attack
5. Bat-face Boros: unable to fully master shape change ability, attempts to compensate by maintaining impeccably fashion forward image, collection of baroque masks, feeds only upon the stunningly beautiful
6. Dr. Satirion: in guise of benevolent wandering phlebotomist, exchanges valuable dungeon tips for pints, 50% chance of feeding frenzy if anyone actually agrees to terms
7. Gaggle of recently created vampires, bored aristocrats from nearest metropolis, search in vain for master who regrets this particular binge deeply, dodges them and will pay adventurers to see to their destruction
8. The Vampire Connoisseur: may choose to feed upon party member in exquisite physical condition but most filthy murderhoboes beneath consideration, eager to make finger-wagging presentation complete with diet and exercise recommendations to improve health and render blood suitable for consumption
9. Mujisto, vampire politician: silver-tongued devil travels from domain to domain, outlining semi-visionary plans for uniting factions into unstoppable coalition, burgeoning fan-base, assassinating him wins favor with evil princelings and petty bosses
10. Prala the former scullery maid: just wants to follow the party around meekly until such time as one of them perishes, then savage feeding, thorough tidying
11. Strax, art vampire: locked into obsessive behavioral cycle where he roams the underworld fiefdoms, indulges tyrants and top-dogs with self-aggrandizing portraiture, then eats them, lately word has gotten around, perhaps the party would like a group shot to commemorate their delve?
12. Blargon the Vampire Barbarian: naked but for fur action shorts, iron thews visible through semi-translucent skin crisscrossed with scars, gore-soaked battle axe, easily offended

Friday, September 27, 2013

Knights Best Avoided

1. Sir Blagdor the Irrepressible: hyper-alert for anything remotely resembling a challenge, likes to strip off armor for bare-knuckle brawling, Greco-Roman wrestling, wears bejewelled championship girdle of ogre power
2. The Knight of Green Malaise, cursed to constantly exude verdant mist of somnolence, emerges from preternatural lassitude whenever PC warriors begin to come into their strength and need knocking down a peg or two, returns to mystic lair for a good fortnight's slumber
3. Sir Chandox, clandestine relationship with shipping guild and several other commercial enterprises, pursues quests as suggested by board of trustees to maximize war profiteering opportunities
4. Sir Orostu, the elephant-riding knight: serves the Lords of the Savannah and honors them by challenging all comers to exceedingly lopsided jousts, Guanto the elephant wields massive flail w/trunk
5. Ignossus of the Waxing Moon: very tall, slender, hairless and gray w/pale yellow armor, claims to act on behalf of lunar monarchy to defeat and demoralize earth men, spouts off about coming invasion and makes elegant arguments for humankind to just throw in the towel
6. Sir Farsifal the Lecherous: clumsy practitioner of courtly love, instantly smitten by undying devotion again and again, ruthlessly terminates perceived rivals, enemies everywhere
7. Sir Nosar the hill giant knight: created by highly irresponsible monarch just to increase regional mayhem, clad in fabulously huge custom plate, jousts unmounted, notches in ebon club indicate unmatched duelling record
8.  The Knight Impostor: unknown champion of chaos w/illusionist ally, huge collection of helmets, shows up in guise of famous knights (or PC warriors) to sow confusion and sully reputations
9. Sir Hedrick the Clueless: incredible self-confidence matched only by intellectual limitations, seldom comprehends current situation but always pretends to, famously gullible, hapless patsy in many outrages engineered by the wicked, speech consists entirely of catchphrases picked up over the years
10. Sir Throndos, Champion of the Accused: misguided sense of justice, demands trial by arms to prove innocence of even the demonstrably evil, really quite good at most types of fighting
11. Sir Haknoth the Insufferable: humility snuffed out by unbroken string of victories, you know he's boasting wildly if his lips are moving, trolling for duels 24/7, colossal mace, bad breath
12. The Dead Knight: seemingly animated by pure devotion to duty, continues to serve crown and country despite having fallen in battle long, long ago, martial skill unaffected by advanced state of decomposition

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Just Getting In the Dungeon is Brutal

1. Must drain chalice of hot poison for magical entry, saving throw required
2. Via the Queen's magic mirror which leads to the dragon's magic mirror, wherever he's keeping it these days
3. Teleported in by anointing head with the blood of the Ogre Czar
4. Pass through permanent dimension door at the top of a 1000 meter tree
5. Locate dungeon door only in dream state induced by exceedingly rare cave fungus that grows on hell hound droppings
6. Leap through the top floor window in the Spider-lich's spire
7. Mega-swarm of moon moths provide lift to cloud door if first charmed by series of elaborate rituals w/plenty of dancing and blood sacrifice
8. Navigate reeking sewer-maze beneath the city of extinct titans
9. Only known entrance at the base of inverted pyramid on the moon
10. An arch-devil must agree to show you the way
11. Unlocked door in the wall of cavern thousands of feet beneath the ocean surface, ancestral burial ground of the intelligent cephalopods
12. Monumental excavation effort requiring huge labor force toiling night and day for months, all the while terror-mummies claw their way up from the deep sands

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's in the Unmarked Barrel

1. Pickled adventurer, fully equipped, reactivated by removal from (reusable) suspension-brine
2. Dwarf hands in aspic intended for delivery to ogre pot-luck
3. Shrieker spores: enough to choke several dungeons with the fungal menaces
4. Black pudding! No, wait, its just super-condensed balsamic-type vinegar, sweet, unctuous, worth a small fortune to the right buyer
5. Super-premium virgin blood, slightly clotted
6. Preserved cave fish, theoretically edible but the unholy stench sticks to everything it touches pretty much forever
7. Shelf-stable red dragon bile, entire barrel dipped in wax, immolates on exposure to air
8. Maturing red pepper mash of the most blisteringly spicy variety
9. Thirty-seven ancient ghosts, imprisoned with enchanted sigils on inside of lid
10. Hemlock fizz intercepted en route to philosophers' convention
11. Powdered quick-dry cement with cask of activator fluid nearby
12. Fermented cave mollusk beverage used by stone giants for its mild hallucinogenic propeties, humans who sample the brew sit down and never get up again

Saturday, September 21, 2013

NPC Encounters: Deep Forest

1. Yarth Creedle, famous bounty hunter with 100% success record: lost, starving, delusional, seeking elusive pixie war criminal for a faerie tribunal, grill full of gold teeth, rod of fugitive detection out of charges
2. The Levitating Hermit: singular power of geas to compel tough-looking strangers to seek his wayward hermit-bride on the far side of the forest, homebrewed potion to cure her current state of murderous insanity
3. Ungbelly the panacea purveyor: half-pixie snake oil salesman with cart full of random potions, cure-alls, balms, salves, unguents, got high on own supply, abandoned by hirelings, hiding from vicious goblin creditors
4. Blang the intelligent T-rex: distended skull with Frankensteinian scars/bolts/staples, network of paths beaten into hunting grounds surrounding fancy bower bird-like nest, attempts communication using chewed log as stylus for drawing in dirt, only requires one party member or beast of burden in exchange for safe passage
5. Epimentus the All-Wise: clad only in his own expansive beard, charismatic guru to gaggle of tree house dwelling hunter-gatherers (city folk swept up in back to nature movement), recently fallen on hard times, needs cutthroats to assist in maintaining communal harmony by silencing doubters
6. Aquedayn Slowneedle: lives in petrified tree trunk, able to divine future through automatic tattooing on knowledge seekers, the more information desired, the greater percentage of the body must be inked, 100% chance of infection
7. Vivishek: toga clad philosopher ape, leaps onto scene spoiling for a good debate, has variety of spells ready to augment his arguments
8. Buzhwa Tightpurse: merchant prince abducted by bugbears, chewed through bonds to escape, tattered finery corroborates claims of opulence, offers hefty reward for escort to nearby metropolis where he will assassinate his father for failure to pay ransom in a timely fashion
9. Juku: man born with prehensile tail, left society in disgust following lifelong persecution by tail-haters, taken in by forest apes but recently left them in disgust as well, seeks thrills, deadly accuracy with blowgun
10. Halulla, high priestess to gaggle of peace-loving nudist vegetarians in thrall to petty forest deity, subsist by gathering herbs from supernaturally fertile zone protected by giant ring of anti-monster brambles, deity requires single human sacrifice monthly to become one with the loam via transubstantiation ritual
11. Jumwal the forest imp: three feet tall, six feet w/conical wizard hat, travelling salesman of stuff taken from lost caravans, rides/protected by charmed giant python loaded with crates, yodels out musical price list while cruising along fearlessly
12. Okham the Razor: super-competent assassin drummed out of guild and marked for death following violation of needlessly complex regulations, sent by Hofnor Tightpurse to preemptively rub out his missing son (see entry 8)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Terrible Eyes

1. Emit constant shower of blinding sparks as arc welder when enraged
2. Float around independent of head on extra-long optic nerves
3. Cast visible rays in cone allowing all present to see through objects and beings like shared X-ray vision
4. Literally smoldering, red embers falling and putting unsightly holes in villainous attire
5. Eye sockets dilate hideously, eyes roll back, pie plate size hypno-disks lock in place and activate
6. Huge eyes, dual voices emanating from great pupils opening and closing like mouths
7. Flash with high intensity light in strobe patterns, inducing delirium, seizure
8. Crackling with arcs of electricity that lock onto and track those targeted for death-dealing
9. Rainbow-hued beams cascade forth, reducing those struck to a giddy lethargy
10. From ragged empty sockets weird fog spews forth unceasingly
11. Stream with perpetual tears of self-pity that burn like acid
12. Deep shimmering pools of highly contagious despair

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Synthetic Humanoids 3: The Outer Crust

Once you've got the weird head sorted and have monkeyed around with the general body plan to taste, one must consider matters of presentation.

1. Nigh-impenetrable exoskeletal containment suit
2. Exceedingly flamboyant pirate outfits
3. Up-to-the-minute setting-appropriate fashions by the world's hottest designers
4. Old school superheroic outfit (with cape) emblazoned with insignia of master (exterior underpants optional)
5. Martian-style war harness w/assortment of the latest and greatest in death-dealing technology
6. Naked but for a thoroughly-stocked utility belt
7. Extremely pointy-toed steel shoes, extensible
8. Torn and filthy rags to serve as constant reminder of their wretched servitude
9. White hazmat coveralls with black rubber gloves and booties
10. G-string and bandoliers
11. Razor-sharp steel bristles from epidermis like shaggy fur
12. Jack Kirby shorts

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Synthetic Humanoids 2: Body Plan Alterations

Having arrived at an agreeable weird head, the bio-sorcerer must next decide upon what fearsome alterations to impose upon the standard human body plan.

1.  Eight human arms radiating from torso, no legs, galloping palms nearly noiseless, rears up for combat w/ up to six weapons, burst into rousing applause when victorious
2. Grossly elongated torso for snaky maneuverability, disorienting opponents, whip-like attacks
3. Standard body plan but rippling with grotesquely huge muscles, visibly throbbing blood vessels, perpetual mist of perspiration
4. One giant mantis arm to seize you, one human arm to eviscerate you with a scimitar
5. Standard arms and torso, 10d10 tentacles instead of legs, incredibly speedy over land and sea
6. Top half: as per standard, bottom half: lobster
7. Standard human-shape but composed of single colossal cell, distorts shape only at need, semi-permeable cell wall extrudes attack organelles 
8.  2d4 headless human bodies controlled by single disembodied, levitating head (alter original weird head to taste)
9. Spring-like leg extensions allow for explosive leaps as grasshopper/flea
10. Four short legs for enhanced stability plus swivel hip for 360 degree attacks
11. Unnaturally long slender limbs, emaciated trunk, composed of high density tissues for astonishing strength
12. Shrunken, withered, almost vestigial human form, hovers via leathery wings flapping hummingbird-style, puny hands just capable of operating short bow/raygun/Walther PPK

Monday, September 16, 2013

Enchanted Armor, Unusual

1. Mail composed of living steel shelled crabs: gift of the sea gods, crabs lock together, shifting position on host to repel blows collectively
2. Bound stone elemental exo-skeleton: enhances strength, endurance, weighs a literal ton
3. Cloak of rat skulls: loaded with weaponry-warding fetish magic, usable by sorcerers
4. Black pudding jump suit: subspecies bred by perfectly sensible sorcerer, burns like hell going on, but once attuned to wearer provides protection from attacks, damages enemy weapons, proof against cold
5. Suit of mail crafted from the 100 magic spear points that pierced the first dragon: superior protection but dragons attack wearer on sight
6. Magic lacquer derived from titan bone marrow must be applied to skin in no fewer than 100 layers, remains flexible but many times stronger than steel, completely transparent
7. Symbiotic briers: thorns penetrate the host, drawing forth nourishment, thick vines wrap limbs/torso, poisonous thorns extend outward
8. Chest plate and greaves sculpted from the fossilized bones of extinct antediluvian reptile, boosts strength and resentment for all that still lives
9. Birny of scales from the wise trout of the great river: enhances intellect, charm, allows wearer to swim with piscine speed and agility
10. Multiple full-body dips in the rendered wax of the moon-bee (with artful sculpting around joints) offers ablative armor, simulates low gravity leaping and loping
11. Scale armor made of chrome leaves of the Cosmic Shrub offer superb protection until autumn when they rust and slough off
12. Mail fashioned of ringlets of angel hair: turns the swords of those of ill intent, radiates light, constricts painfully should wearer attempt an evil act

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Synthetic Humanoids 1: Weird Heads

A templar of the Mindless God NUL, head replaced by aerial to recieve
orders transmitted from temple, no independent thinking required.
Bio-sorcerers sometimes replace the standard human head for purposes of sensory enhancement, additional attack forms, remote control or just to freak people out.

1. Extensible aerial receiver
2. Elaborately antlered stag skull (flames optional)
3. Thousands of waving sensillae
4. Rotating radar dish
5. Polished steel ball crackling with electricity
6. Tentacular array with mouth-ends
7. Glass dome filled with swirling semi-opaque gases
8. Human-style head mounted upside down
9. Single retractable slug-like eye stalk
10. Slavering, toothless earthworm head
11. Bio-luminescent searchlight (swivels 360 degrees)
12. Old school black and white television set with fuzzy image of creator's face, tinny speakers howling with the cruel laughter of the totally unhinged science-wizard

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Random Underworld Ecosystem Part Three

Sprinkle With Predators

1. Cavern-filling apex ooze: central mass controls seemingly independent oozes that hunt and return w/partially digested offerings
2. Pack hunting giant armored shrews: armadillo-like defensive shells, perpetually famished, relentless hunters, use intimate knowledge of cave layout to encircle prey
3. Colossal blind floating phagocytes: always ravenous due to caloric requirements of anti-gravity organelles
4. Naked flightless birds: super-dense beaks take up most of head, shatter stone with ease, excavate nests in cave walls, "doors" made gluing rubble with saliva, crystal-studded eggs sought after by sorcerers
5. Shark slugs: drop onto prey from walls or ceiling, adhere to prey with sticky slime, massive toothy jaws
6. Giant hairless bears: huge bat-like ears, vestigial eye spots, echolocation, scimitar-sized retractable claws
7. Shambling gourmets: tall, lanky, ghoulish humanoids in kitchen attire with super-refined culinary aesthetic, always seek fresh/interesting stock for their terrible pantries, autocratic rule by 12' tall executive chef
8. Flesh eating giant apes with semi-domesticated captive population of black puddings in ancient crystal vats used for digestive assistance on otherwise inedible prey
9. Vampiric cave anemones: house bodies deep in cave walls, send out mile-long feeding tentacles, anesthetic saliva delays detection by victim
10. Gas jet propelled cave echidnae: launch themselves at prey, barbed spines kill smaller prey on impact, attach to larger beasts for prolonged parasitism
11. Pit pummelers: like bipedal rhinos with disproportionately huge fists and tiny stupid heads, beat prey to pulp then slurp it up with extensible hollow tongues
12. Cave juicers: shelled mollusks with high speed rotary jaws for liquidating even the toughest tissues, powerful lungs create inescapable vacuum effect up to 10 feet from mouth

Note: Predators indicated above should (somehow!) be adapted as necessary by the DM to suit the peculiarities of their prey (see Random Underworld Ecosystem Parts One and Two, posted below)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Really Very Bad Hirelings

For when the adventurers' fail to employ rigorous employee screening protocols. NPCs in the table appear as unremarkable hireling candidates at first glance.

1. Sandrill the Secret Serial Killer: passes self off as unskilled labor, contrives moment of privacy with party member who fits his profile (see subtable below)
2. Hagbath the Hateful: seethes with self-destructive resentment against adventuring class citing past atrocities, bides time as torchbearer until the party is half way across a rope bridge or similarly compromised
3. Yong-Tsuth, vaguely creepy guy who never says anything until the first significant treasure is recovered, then slowly smiles, revealing rows of shark-like teeth 
4. Tyrion, assassin from the future, sent to rub out the mighty PC warrior (or wizard, thief, war-priest, etc.) fated to trigger the disastrous Next Age of Dinosaurs, death ray projector secreted in sarong
5. Thungo, barbarian with dungeon-triggered psychosis, seeks to re-enter underworld against shaman's advice to face his demons head on, barbarian style; once below: totally bonkers
6. Dox the Dreadful: hollowed-out brain case occupied by crew of tiny parasitic aliens/demons, skull springs open if in grave danger, occupants bail out and attempt to flee
7. Suukor the Clandestine Cannibal: provides perfectly adequate service, cannot resist urge to feast upon human flesh but at least tries to be discrete about it.
8. Unbalanced Aluk: afflicted with earworm-induced vertigo, seems able until first set of stairs, slope, cliff or gradient, then just keeps falling down in increasingly spectacular ways
9. Sheerfy, short term memory loss suffering bearer: dutifully hauls goods/treasure, inevitably leaves something juicy behind after every break, melee
10. Huranth, megalomaniacal man-at-arms: waits for the perfect moment to announce ambitions, attempts to take command of party through rather charismatic speechifying, points out blunders of PC leadership, lampoons PC foibles, issues general mockery (you've earned this one, DM)
11. Turncoat Trantur: will attempt to change sides when faced with any superior force, including those who would kill him without a thought
12. Uurorion, seemingly typical ex-soldier, actually physical manifestation of deity conducting personal audit of PC worshipper/clergy conduct, miraculously survives incidents that leave fellow hirelings lifeless husks, renders suitably harsh judgement at adventure's end

Sandrill the Secret Serial Killer's Victim Profile
1. Savors the termination of those who represent the pure, strong and noble
2. Likes to take out the sketchy ones
3. Enthralled by retiring the greedy
4. Thrills to the death rattles of the holy
5. Thinks he gets to eat the escaping mana of the magical
6. Wants to expand his lucky hobbit's foot collection

Monday, September 9, 2013

NPC Features: Distinguishing Scars

1. Several hundred deep puncture scars from unfortunate iron maiden encounter
2. Tentacle sucker marks on face and torso, wears hat made from kraken beak
3. Spear-hole in both sides of neck, likes to smoke pipe for gruesome effect
4. Thick ragged scar from top of head to left heel, doesn't want to talk about it
5. Giant "X" on abdomen where spleen was removed by evil physician for an unknown purpose
6. Healed dragon fang hole clean through skull, resultant brain damage rendered subject permanently cheerful and obedient
7. Jagged chew marks all over but ultimately rejected for consumption by finicky owlbear
8. Decorative splotches from run-in with fire pudding
9. Branded with insignia of notorious slaver, still on the wanted list
10. Hairless and shrivelled after exposure to caustic gas, cheery, smiles a lot despite hacking cough
11. Many, many septic rat bites still on the mend
12. Large percentage of skull replaced by thick bronze plate after incident with trebuchet, still owes dwarf healer a fortune

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Half-Price Hirelings

For when every copper counts.

1. Halifam the Half-hobbled: enchanted peg-leg allows one spectacular jump (as spell) per day, d6 roll required (1-5 leap succeeds, 6 peg-leg falls off)
2. "Left Eye" Lopux: half of face sheered off on last outing, constantly sips tincture of healing potion/grain alcohol
3. Sheefah of the obscuring robe: actually mid-level fighter in witness protection program, feigns incompetence unless and until her life is actually in danger, then looks out for numero uno, abandoning party ruthlessly
4. "That Impaled Fellow": prematurely applied healing potion left this humble soldier with completely healed wound around shamshir clean through abdomen
5. Sword Face: origin story as entry 4, but able to make additional attack per round w/longsword coming out of his face blade-first
6. Half-cocked Harry: absolutely trembling with pent-up martial enthusiasm, will charge headlong into first combat opportunity he sees
7. Flaegra, priestess from exotic realm: on pilgrimage of self-nullification, taking on menial/dangerous tasks such as hauling treasure, carrying torches, under oath to never use considerable powers
8. Odal the unwashed: a bog warrior who lavishes his skin with all manner of reeking morasses, mires, bog waters and sloughs
9. "Spiderbite" Sanzorr: neck and shoulder grossly swollen w/leaking welts, only one good arm, froths at the mouth a bit
10. Mighty Bleena: possibly the world's strongest woman, suffered series of concussions earlier in career (still refuses to wear helmet), becomes confused in battle, 50% likely to mistakenly hammer friendlies in melee
11. Adhokk the unbidden advisor: spews forth continuous stream of dungeoneering tips and pointers, quits in a huff if told to stifle himself
12. Ol' Dungeon Toes: afflicted with dungeon equivalent of trench foot, good for a couple of turns before he sits down immovably