Friday, February 26, 2016


Dour, taciturn, tired
Random stand-ins for Thorin and Company for those insufferable hipster campaign worlds that just have to be different

1. Petite, dainty, jolly, exceptionally skilled little female warriors able to leap around as if on wires, insatiable lust for thrills, males of the species useless drones who never leave home on distant isle, unflappable sunny disposition grants immunity to fear, confusion, contempt for ostentatious displays of wealth, compelled by biology to return to isle for procreation when level limit reached
2. Chimp-sized apes with long luxurious beards, servitor species created for skilled manual labor by extinct masters (construction, blacksmithy, cooking, childcare), bonus to strength, sub-normal wisdom, suggestible, must make saving throw to resist direct orders from trusted companions
3. Short, bald, slight humanoids with huge, impeccable mustachios, masters of fashion, haberdashery, footwear design, disguise, minor illusion, able to create improvised stylish equipment to tackle unique challenges (bungee cord suspenders, parachute hats, suction-cup shoes, etc.)
4. Highly intellectual spell-casting potted plants w/anthropomorphic Venus flytrap-like mouths, each come with own nano-cephalic hominoid personal valet/bodyguard
5. Wee human forklifts with huge hands and arms, originally created by Underworld sorcerer for sale to freight/shipping companies, able to crush goblin (or appropriate replacement) skulls in their bare hands, vocabulary consists of 3d6+2 randomly selected nouns and verbs
6. Humanoid hedgehogs: exceptionally dexterous little hands, form defensive ball of spines when threatened and roll like hell, predatory monsters always choose other victims first, so damn cute humans must overcome strong aversion to attack them even when they're acting like complete bastards
7. Small, buff people with great big eyes, prominent ears, permanently flared nostrils, plus variety of other weird sensory apparatus protruding from oversize heads, 1d3 extra senses (as detect magic, clairvoyance, clairaudience, ESP,  etc.)
8. Diminutive blue-skinned speed freaks: constantly in search of ingredients to brew their cherished vitality juice (lethal to humans, reeks like a hot sewer, served in elaborate ritual six times daily), super-human movement rate, will die if they fall asleep
9. Adorable skunk people: release various defensive chemical sprays (as sleep, charm person, corrosive acid, standard offensive stench, etc.), learn to mimic familiar odors as they gain experience
10. Puny yet impressive warriors who never take off their helmets, affixed at top secret coming-of-age ritual never witnessed by humans, helmet design indicates clan/personal monster totem, complete badasses totally lacking concept of humor, despise frivolity of any kind, liable to leap into action when fellow adventurers argue over course of action
11. Hairless humanoid rodents, necrotic bacterial load in saliva, able to squeeze into any space smaller than their heads (and they're pretty narrow), always flee from snakes of any size, secretly eat humans
12. Four foot tall Cthulhus

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dungeon Extinction Events

1. Puny humanoids on level one, driven by obsessive trap-mania of master thief-assassin clan boss, built so many deadly traps all the other denizens are dead, many of their own killed daily just getting from here to there
2. Normally fecund medium size humanoids on level two rendered permanently sterile by exposure to gas released capriciously by sorcerer from level four, population facing oblivion with characteristic savagery
3. Giant snakes lay about in messy heaps, victims of newly arrived giant rats w/toxic, mutated body chemistry, garden variety giant rats already wiped out, reeking snake carcasses attracting, subsequently poisoning other dungeon vermin/scavengers
4. Everything that breathes (especially the sorcerer) on level four dead after experimental fireball fusillade spell ate up all the oxygen
5. Once-teeming skeletons on the tomb level, already dead, come unglued due to highly transmissible undead virus attacking their eldritch connective tissues, picked up from visiting cosmopolitan lich, bones lie about in random heaps, some still animate, impotent but for the ability to provoke heebie jeebies,
6. All entrances to level five sealed by custom hold portal spells, monsters make war of frustration upon one another, trolls doing well at the moment, chaos cultists still have ace up their sleeve
7. Level six recently visited by That Other Adventuring Party via teleportation, carnage everywhere, treasure no where, vulgar graffiti viciously lampoons PCs
8. Level seven subject to catastrophic flooding event precipitated by meandering cthonic worm discovering underground lake, black pudding population enjoying the change of pace, everything else floating face down
9. Sudden rise in lava levels in the fire caverns accompanied by release of lethal volcanic gas brought an end to production at the dwarf foundry, their giant iron guardians waist deep in cooling lava, magic swords sticking out of the flow here and there
10. Extra-planar entity, duties to its irresponsible summoner fulfilled, steadily clear-cuts the fungus forest in feeding frenzy, seems insatiable, entire mini-ecosystem in tailspin
11.Dwarf insurgents detonated experimental explosive device on mine level, eldritch fallout results in neutron bomb-like effect, everything dead, treasures intact, as are the vampires in their secret crypt, no one should go in there for like fifty years
12. The dragon had a paranoid melt-down after recent treasure inventory showed significant stock shrinkage, roams about issuing accusations followed almost immediately by fiery breath, claw-claw-bite, only the really stupid monsters left but they're next

Sunday, February 21, 2016


Services no longer required

Random replacements for campaign worlds with less than average Tolkien influence but still need something to fill that handy "destroy on sight with impunity" niche.

1. The Encrusted: a fungus whose life cycle favors war-torn nations, battlefields strewn with bodies, releases spore clouds on entire communities, subtle at first, affects minds of potentates with delusions of conquest, shroom-covered commoners become single minded implements of war
2. The Beheaded: re-animated by malice, lust for revenge against execution-happy Lawful dynasties lording it over humanity for epochs, controlled with specific spell set by cabal of wizards who feel strongly they should be in charge of everything
3. Green Bastards: bark-covered, extremely thorny war pawns of the Earth God dedicated to extermination of human nuisance, nurseries hidden in vast, aggressively expanding forest known as The Green Hell
4. Antihumans: products of draconian selective breeding program for war-like traits, eradication of pity, mercy, followed by ruthless training on Skinnerian Isle by brainiac master caste with long-term world domination scheme, contingency plan includes remote activated poison implants in case they get out of control
5. Mesomorphs: demon-brewed clones of Arnold Schwarzenegger train for ten years in the Dungeon of Free Weights before murder genes activated by potion injection, unleashed in bands to become agents of mayhem in the world
6.  The Extruded: formed of space age polymers in very rough human shape and given semblance of life in factory of Chaos at the bottom of megadungeon, hard to kill
7. Virus men: one day you catch cold, the next you're a fanatic in army of destruction incapable of seeing the irony in wiping out its own host, otherwise retain full intellectual capabilities
8. Anthropomorphic army wasps: seize humans, sting with soporific venom, lay eggs on living hosts incarcerated in paper dungeon nests, will one day succeed in human domestication but until then it is war
9. Underworlders: dwellers of the world below, like humans covered with black spiny hair, spider-like faces, tunnel up from below for raiding, cherish human-crafted goods, foodstuffs, issue frequent calls for the surrender of humanity, issue tracts detailing scientific proof that humans designed by creator as service caste
10. Menace from Another Sphere: Space helmets conceal Portuguese Man-o-war-like gasbag heads, robes obscure hundreds of black tendrils that paralyze, poison, and sting like hell
11. Crashlanders: descendants of marooned soldiery from space, rayguns ran out of juice generations ago, foment conflict as unconscious biological imperative, w/out guiding hand of evil space emperor lack direction other than make babies, make war
12. Homo Superior: brighter, tougher, just plain better than us = they must be destroyed

Monday, February 15, 2016


Image unrelated to post, but totally a teaser for my upcoming Underworld adventure book OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE to be published this year by the Hydra Cooperative

Emergency elf replacements for that special snowflake campaign schema.

1. Amphibious humanoids with huge, complex frilly gills fanning around absorbing oxygen from air, uncanny marksmen w/water-bladder propelled harpoon guns, more variations on the trident than pole arms in medieval Europe, Namor-like contempt for all things terrestrial
2. Transplanar refugees: originally from kinder, gentler universe destroyed by evil from without, brilliant, beautiful people with perfect hair who prefer to be nude but for utility harness, dedicated to science, learning, sorcery
3. Spawn of the demigods: divine blood diluted down to bare minimum over generations of miscegeny, set apart from mundane humanity by unmistakable hubris, minor league super-human abilities counterbalanced by fatal flaws
4. Noble Sasquatches, cousins to humanity, equally intelligent yet totally lacking in angst, ennui, ambition and evil impulses, relaxed and completely at home on the planet, kind, generous, yet utterly badass when so moved, druid-like spell abilities
5. Gold-eaters: immortal race cursed with gold-based metabolism, grow more potent in battle/the mystic arts as they consume ever greater quantities of wealth, some adventurers kill on sight
6. Homo Superior: tall, slender, extended fore brains w/protruding shark-like third eye, psychic, practitioners of esoteric kung-fu, evolved in hidden enclaves away from feared/pitied standard issue humans
7. Better-than-human androids from the future marooned on primitive campaign world after time travel-induced-cosmic paradox wounded the fabric of the universe, rendering time exclusively one-way henceforth
8. Slender anthropoidal dinosaurs with heads like pachycephalosaurus, geniuses of math-magic, never leave home without slide rule, abacus, and sword
9. Near-immortal androgynous humanoids created by dead god prior to assassination: all identical but of such radiant, staggering beauty humans can be easily charmed into bamboozlement by their presence, good thing they wear heavily armored war-burkas
10. Tall, imposing robed figures with impala heads, flaming eyes, practitioners of obscure magics but more than capable with signature glowing shamshirs, never condescend to actually speak to humans, communicate via nods, looks, posture and/or lengthy written correspondence, pursue their own inscrutable aims that at times run parallel to those of parties of dungeoneers
11. Shadow people: sub-species of humanity cursed to always appear in bad lighting, live in secret among the humans in bunkers beneath secret alleys, palace basements, must master one art form before permitted to pursue martial and eldritch training, compelled by their very DNA commemorate battles/exploits with representative sculpture, origami, painting, epic poem, etc.
12. Earthbound ghosts from pre-human ancestor species that can do magic when incorporeal, make war when materialized, must commit to one form daily

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Undisclosed Side Effects of the Haste Spell

1. Instant haste addiction: can't stop thinking about how awesome it was, inclined to beg, borrow, steal, make nuisance of self, just to taste that sweet speedy sensation again
2. Following spell duration, subjected to sudden uncontrollable twitches, tics, and a debilitating stutter for 1d12 turns, -2 to everything, spell casting impossible
3. Mild heart attack: character sweats profusely, feels disturbing chest pressure, able to convince self its only indigestion, back in action after 1d6 turns, save vs. fatal infarction if ever again hasted
4. Mini-stroke: character must lie down for 1d6 turns, certain its just a passing spell, but then believes self to be alright, save vs. lethal brain hemorrhage if ever again hasted
5. Life-threatening nose bleed: slow to clot, supernaturally profuse, must be firmly compressed with hand for 1d6 turns or risk bleeding to death
6. Effects of concussion from speed-jostled brains, future degenerative neurological condition assured
7. Post-haste mental effects similar to coming out of anesthesia, delirium, hysterical laughter, sudden weeping, suggestibility for 1d6 turns of role playing excitement
8. Continues to talk at double speed/pitch for the duration of game session
9. Slow spell effect for a period equal to that of the hasting
10. One full round of supremely violent vomiting instantly upon inception of spell duration
11. If you thought the sweat of fear smelled bad, brace yourself for that singular haste stank, predatory monsters can smell it a mile off
12. Drop stone dead on your birthday in 1d12 years time