Sunday, July 23, 2017

Who's the Law in this Town?

1. Constabulary of the Lord: clerics of state religion use detection magic, blunt instruments to maintain adherence to byzantine regulations, raid establishments offering forbidden bills of fare, come through windows at night to enforce sexual mores, it's horrible
2. Law enforcement province of single noble family, once-honorable lineage degraded into rabble of hoodlums, corruption/graft old and deep, arrest aristocrats in showy fashion from time to time just to send a message
3.Biggest jerks in town spend months training for annual brawl to determine who wears the badge of station, losers form posse, arbitrary justice-by-mob, beat-downs/summary executions issued as mood takes them
4. Trial by Democracy: all citizens authorized to make arrests, do so enthusiastically, entire population must participate in grueling schedule of rigidly timed weekly trials in Colosseum of Law, no one eats until docket is cleared
5. Money changers/lenders hire private armies, everybody else hires bodyguards, disputes settled by proxy fights or at gaming tables
6. Masked crime-fighter w/incredible fighting skills/selection of magic items patrols rooftops, frequently silhouetted against moon, empowered to enforce quirky personal interpretation of law
7. Children on patrol: according to city constitution, only those who haven't yet reached their majority may adjudicate disputes, operate outside of law
8. Hired monsters from nearby dungeon environment patrol streets, ensure close to 100% compliance with curfew, otherwise its a free-for-all, city council has appointed special commission to look at alternatives
9. Seer-detectives levitate in lotus position, monitor events w/clairvoyance, dispatch troops as needed from central Dome of Contemplation (the one with the giant rotating eyeball on top)
10. Highly trained justice hounds sniff out wrong-doing unerringly, bay at criminals in their lairs like treed raccoons, handler goons do the rest
11. Ancient sage hobbles around adjudicating disputes Hammurabi-like, citizens heed unquestioningly all wisdom dispensed even when completely bizarre
12. Tribunal of Idiots: cultural quirk passed down from time immemorial that everyone just accepts, tries cases by instinct alone, non-evidential hearings involve much staring into eyes to know intent, idiotic utterances interpreted by highly influential class of fool-augurs

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Bumpkins of Evil

No one remembers why they made a town here.

1. Bachelor farmer: wears an evil sword, solitary for too long in isolated vale, speaks aloud to not-quite-visible swarms of evil spirits 24/7, they seem to answer or maybe that's just the wind, likes to cook pies, poison wells, abduct the odd lone traveler for a long, scary conversation
2. Travelling salesman acts as advance virgin scout for small town vampire w/particular tastes, hand cart loaded with grain sacks, hard tack, dried exotic fruits, pemmican, hand tools, goblin cocaine
3. Swamp-dwelling weirdo gone half-Gollum but with scads of friends (all amphibians), incredibly stealthy, hunts humans for sport, informs quarry of impending demise via beautifully written letter delivered by wide-mouth frog
4. Hunter-gatherers (of Evil) go about their routines, take time out to don terrifying devil masks for random acts of vandalism, murder, enhanced by nightly consumption of psychedelic liquor
5. Country doctor must murder two innocents for every life saved on his portable operating table
6. Escaped criminal from the big city feigns rusticity, lives alone in off-grid tiny house, receives shipments of imported wines, cheese from salesman (2, above), suspects all of being assassins, favors preemptive strike
7. Expert angler: towering legend in River Town, lands record lunkers like nothin', can't buy a drink, seduces spouses of fellow anglers w/swagger, impressive mustachio, secret bait: live fairies
8. Rustic in furs w/90% incomprehensible dialect of common tongue seems friendly enough until you figure out that he's talking about his contract with the Devil, can get you insider deal
9. Self-created zealot in filthy toga proselytizes relentlessly for religion she made up herself, involves much blood sacrifice/lewdness, bacchanalia scheduled for this Saturday, if no one shows up this time there will be hell to pay
10. Ex-local hero, former warrior gone to lard, never leaves tavern, despises foreigners with immeasurable passion, makes up rumors to incite whatever dim-witted crowds might be interested in hate crime
11. Fur-trapper had to strike terrible bargain w/forest cannibals for operational permissions: surrounding forest now loaded with man-traps of dungeon-style lethality
12. Pedestrian, crazed: he's walked this earth for untold years, maybe immortal, never sits down, barely slows down to bestow his curse (see subtable) then strides on

Curse of the Crazed Pedestrian
1. Everything tastes like iron rations
2. Release repulsive stench upon romantic arousal
3. Develop bunions that resemble campaign world celebrities
4. Followed by hideous bald ravens who squawk a lot
5. New allergy to gold: enter anaphylactic shock if gold w/in 5 feet
6. Sudden, inescapable urge to drop everything, begin from scratch new class/profession regardless of suitability

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Superheroes (and/or Villains) of the Underworld

The mighty Truthcleaver, founding member
 of the Beetle Society of Justice (deceased)
To whom do the peoples of the Underworld turn when mere strength-at-arms cannot avail them and the godlings are willfully deaf to their pleas?

1. The Beetle Society of Justice: ghosts of strongest, fastest, wisest, most powerful heroes of extinct civilization manifest on occasion to right egregious wrongs (as determined by their incomprehensible reckoning)
2. Dr. Fang, noted subterranean travelling surgeon, in times of weirdness adopts alter ego as masked hero Unknown Vampire, vampire powers enhanced by proprietary blood additive, must chug from flask before going into action, cones of stupefacto-vision from eyes, exacts terrible price for services rendered
3. Blackstreak, The World's Fastest Pudding
4. The subterranean humanoid fighting tag team of Stronghand and Musclefist, twin survivors of sorcerous experiment intended to produce living forklifts, killed all other subjects, bestowed upon twins giant, mighty hands, developed new hand-centric martial art under tutelage of mystic fungoid guru
5. PlaneShift, the trans-cosmic humanoid, floats above ground nude but for cape, luminous translucent green body, calls in monstrous assistance from other planes using enchanted Folio of Fiends
6. The Ultimate Humanoid, born w/advanced mind, accumulated vast wealth as child via brilliant pyramid scheme to finance secret sanctum/laboratory, armored costume, multipurpose ray guns, novel super-inventions with every appearance
7. Mimic Lord appears wherever needed in guise of mundane object, takes on vague human-like form to punch bad guys, personality issues, alter ego: shipping crate, sometimes barrel
8. Eye of Vengeance: floating ocular orb w/blasting eye stalks, bound by psychic link to tiny feral humanoid girl w/deep-seated anger issues
9. Chaosface: ex-gladiator w/prehensile chin-tentacles, killed in action but can't seem to stay dead, maybe when he gets his karma straight he can finally rest
10. Stone Patrol: team of humanoid warriors petrified by gorgon then subject to experimental spell of reversal, still made of stone but move freely, incredibly strong, hard to damage
11. Scavenger King: by quirk of birth subterranean humanoid possesses psionic ability to call and command Underworld vermin, like Aquaman but gross
12. Wyrm Lass: teenage subterranean humanoid in appearance, actually ancient red dragon following polymorph-gone-weird, retains full powers and abilities of dragon, alter ego as scullery maid for Underworld aristocrat

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Earning a Living in the Megadungeon

"Do you have anything for a thief, a reaver, a slayer?"

Many exciting opportunities available now (elves and dwarfs need not apply)!

1. Taskmaster position open for dungeon excavation crew, must work well with humanoids, sadistic streak preferred, ruthlessness required
2. Professional sycophant desired for Lich's entourage, talent for fawning praise required, ability to offer light, innocuous critiques that simultaneously buoy the ego, many perks including luxurious quarters, use/abuse of servants, personal zombie-borne palanquin
3. Short-term position for egg tender needed by travelling dragon, duties include insuring/monitoring health and safety, dissuading predators/thieves by any means necessary, candidates must submit to extreme vetting, detect alignment
4. On-the-job training available for torturer's apprentice, see Chief Interrogator, Subterranean Bureau of Investigation, Government level, some knowledge of the limits of humanoid endurance/psychological frailties required
5. Long-term positions for treasure guardians, pays out handsomely after 100 year stint, potions of longevity provided, must demonstrate martial talents, ability to withstand long periods of tedium, trial by combat to decide final assignments, assorted stimulants, room and board provided
6. Live-in chef/au pair wanted by well-to-do cannibal gourmets, looking for inventive use of ingredients, must be flexible, outside-the-box thinker, unhampered by taboos, squeamishness
7. Expert trap disablers needed on the Crypt level, pays in cash daily, must survive practicum, excellent climbing skills a plus, commision on treasures harvested
8. Sessile vampire of means hiring radical phlebotomists for procurement of necessities, candidates should bring sample specimen to interview for evaluation, must submit to charm
9. Up-and-coming cult seeks charismatic representatives for promotional drive, fluency in multiple languages, real or feigned zeal required, pays percentage of offerings gathered
10. Artisans, laborers needed by Sub-Overlord for completion of self-aggrandizing statuary installation, apply on the Monuments level, you'll work harder than you ever imagined possible on three hot meals of dungeon gruel, four hours liberty per day
11. Ooze abatement specialist needed on the River level, top of the line protective gear including jellyfish leather work togs, self-cleaning goggles, experimental breathing apparatus provided
12. Work from home (see Underworld Accommodations)! Assemble arrows, bolts, other projectiles in spare time for subterranean humanoid arms manufacturer, pays by the gross, be your own boss!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

How to Spot an Elf in Mixed Company

Is she or isn't she?

Roll several times, start profiling.

1. Ears aren't always pointy, but tend toward the unusual
2. Friendships and social circles lack diversity, also: tight pants
3. They smell like candy
4. Statements in conversation often twice as long as they need to be, loaded with crafty yet totally unnecessary poetic flourishes
5. You get the feeling they keep forgetting your name on purpose
6. Sometimes they're really good at archery, but they're always really good at something
7. Always orders off-menu, never picks up the tab, noticeably tipsy after first round but never gets drunker
8. A certain indefinable snootiness about their manner plus really bad avant garde hairstyles
9. Frequently laughing, big and boisterous, but never tell or seem to get jokes
10. A weird combination of physical beauty and total unsexiness
11. Never freak out no matter how much you provoke them
12. They see right through your bullshit

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Gods Must Be Jerks

The party cleric receives fresh instructions from Church High Command (delivered via dream, vision, automatic writing, temple courier, church circular, etc.).

1. New dietary restriction forbids the consumption of iron rations, hard tack, or any preserved comestible
2. Clergy forbidden to touch filthy money, theologians busy crafting work-arounds, until they meet w/success, time to hire porters
3. Afterlife cancelled, souls of the faithful to be kept in cosmic cold storage unit until required for next universe
4. After due consideration, human face deemed vulgar, cleric must hand-craft a mask for complete, permanent concealment of features modeled after grotesque visage of deity 
5. Corruption of clergy by wizard magic (including enchanted items) now forbidden, same goes for priestly magic cast by other faiths, only church-sanctioned proprietary protection from evil, etc may be enjoyed
6. New interpretation of god's plan indicates (totally reasonable) phasing out of humanity, sexual mores further restricted: iron underpants issued, reproduction forbidden
7. God no longer interested in this dimension, will be away for extended period, divine apprentice to act as interim deity, stand by for barrage of executive orders (roll 2 more times)
8. Scriptures edited/amended again: mostly trivial but orders issued to return to temple for re-education before end of fiscal year
9. New sensory organ distributed to clergy via automatic update: radar dish grows from pineal gland, vision declared deceptive/wicked, eyes offend, you know what to do
10. After colossal church-wide technical screw up, all clergy must go on all fours to demonstrate proper contrition for period of seven days starting now
11. Good news for once! Distinction between bludgeoning vs. stabbing always questionable, go ahead and spill blood after all, previous commandment rescinded, mace exchange program at all regional temples
12. More good news! Church High Command announces successful prototype of hand-held holy symbol launchers for long-range undead disruption, volunteers needed for field testing

Monday, July 3, 2017

Latest Scientific Breakthrough of the Subterranean Humanoids

"For the most part, I try to ignore their prayers, but on
occasion, if it gives me some amusement, I grant them
the opposite." -Xoltec, Spider God of Mt. Impossible

1. New dietary supplement* cultivates massive deposits of body fat, superhuman intelligence
2. Effects of all known potions can now be delivered via enchanted daggers (e.g., dagger of healing which cures wounds should target survive a successful hit)
3. Turns out clothing is number one factor in aging process, future bright for extremely long, totally nude lifespans
4. Cheap tin whistles key to controlling oozes, puddings, slimes, and jellies, certain pieces of sheet music now worth vast sums
5. Witches' ashes, when mixed into unguent w/radioactive powder harvested from crushed seeds of common undervegetable, imparts psychic powers when applied topically to exposed brain tissue, brain surgery techniques lag hopelessly behind the promise of this finding
6. Rare apple-shaped fungal caps delicious, only mildly intoxicating, incredibly addictive, the upper crust of subterranean society already lost to daily consumption
7. Giant subterranean worms, previously considered mindless, will perform complex mathematical computations reflexively when presented w/interesting problem, scrawl out equations on floors w/ hideous mouth parts, return immediately to compulsive tunneling
8. Novel combination of acupuncture techniques produce 100% effective mind control, research subjects both cheerful & obedient, report total satisfaction w/lives of total subservience 
9. Giant spider dung, when harvested from specimens conditioned to steady diet of fire bomb beetles, an easily detonated high explosive of stupendous efficacy
10. For some as-yet-unknown reason, exposure to sunlight imparts sanity upon the mad, lunacy upon the lucid, yet another reason to distrust, fear, and loath everything about the (horrible) surface world
11. According to a recent study, prayer does indeed work wonders, but only when one pleads (ad nauseam, another important finding) for the inverse of desired outcome
12. As it happens, certified idiots are capable of memorizing larger number of spells than geniuses, but require extensive guidance in their use (see entry 8, above)

*It's made of people

Saturday, July 1, 2017

So You Touched the Glyph of Monsters...

Similar to the traditional glyph of warding (if arguably much more irresponsible), the glyph of monsters spell was discovered on a prehuman stele by the late sorcerer Galgolus of Ixmere and subsequently transcribed by his sole surviving apprentice (who had been out sick that day).

1. Puny humanoids erupt from thin air in a continuous stream, armed to the teeth, drunk with battle-lust, continue to appear until numbers exhausted (10d12 total), if victorious they maintain a perpetual vigil over the inscribed object to the extent of their lifespans, set up for long term habitation, assert selves as new dungeon faction
2. Inscribed object transmutes into alligator size reptilian shape w/giant mouth: hisses, lashes tail as warning display, if unheeded lunges w/jaws agape then flesh-rending death roll, reverts to original form when everyone is either gone or dead
3. Dimensional portal explodes into view, swirling Steve Ditko space beyond, giant invisible pudding oozes through to dissolve all that lives near, then moves on to terrorize the surrounding area
4. Millions of venomous spiders materialize around inscribed object, settle into form of single giant spider, very hard to kill by traditional means, gets progressively smaller as constituent parts destroyed, each time it hits scads of individual spiders go scrambling all over target, getting under armor, biting like hell
5. Tapeworm of the Gods surges through manhole sized portal, violently, speedily draining the juice from any hit, disappears when present company dispersed
6. Ogre-sized, roughly human shape of earth & stone bursts from nearest surface, issues withering verbal abuse to all within range, preternaturally aware of foibles, personal failings, after thorough dressing-down, pummels all with massive fists until satisfied inscribed object secure, then crumbles into heap
7. Jet black giant ape appears in smoky flash: seizes, rends humans limb from limb w/giant hands, incredible strength, applies lethal pro wrestling moves to any who stick around, terminates self with sleeper hold upon victory
8. Levitating blob w/tentacle array arrives via localized reality-breach, large central semi-sympathetic human-like eye, radiates crackling electricity 10' radius, semi-accurate lightning bolts from eye fly about willy-nilly, levitation glands in body cavity may be harvested, deflates in 30 minutes
9. Sudden explosive fungal bloom fills 10' cube, smothering anyone within range, abruptly takes on shape of giant bear w/scimitar-sized claws, deals w/survivors then lies down and festers
10. Powerful demon with excellent manners emerges from gate to talk things over and/or kill everyone present, then seeks out original caster for light torture, stern talking to
11. Following a rainbow explosion, anthropoid embodiment of excellent prismatic spray steps forth accompanied, inexplicably, by thunderous syncopated drumming, emits lethal bands of light from each graceful jazz hands-like gesture, can only damage itself via mirrors, initiates random reign of terror if victorious
12. Whosoever touches the glyph becomes a monster (see subtable, below)

So You Became a Monster...
1. Mouth transmutes into that of great white shark, eyes become lifeless, like a doll's eyes, singular urge: bite everyone to death
2. Outer husk splits, sloughs off, human-shaped jelly of remarkable speed leaps upon nearest living target for suffocation/digestion, caustic bile spews from mouth hole in constant fountain
3. Grow to 17' tall, commensurate strength, involuntary huge beaming/crazy smile, emit nonstop terrible giggling, pick up those nearby, chew on heads
4. Skin becomes nearly impervious blue chitin, tongue grows into spring-loaded spear supplied w/ lethal venom by huge unsightly glands in neck
5. Nervous system leaps from body (which crumples into lifeless heap), dances around wildly, delivers potent dose of electricity on contact, able to extend self indefinitely in many directions at once
6. Muscles instantly swell to absurd proportions, head shrinks down to tiny nub, beats the hell out of all and sundry while screaming threats/obscenities in high pitched version of original voice

Notes: In each case the former PC viciously attacks all within range, monstrous condition permanent until reversed by a successful dispel magic