Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Wyrd Ways of Walstock Revisited, pt. I

With the upcoming release of the Wyrd Ways of Walstock revision, here are various ways to update the adventure for returning characters who are crazy enough to experience such a wyrd place again. And if your characters haven't yet done so, then they should.

1. Walstock has become overrun with plague. A certain Professor Fausti describes the situation, whether directly to the party or via a speech that they overhear. He warns that it has a contagion rate of 11 in 12 and will quickly overwhelm the town. The party may find this to be true- those exposed must save vs. death or become infected. Those infected lose 1d4 Constitution and take a -1d10 penalty to all rolls each day. They must save twice for two days in a row to recover- unless, of course, they wish to risk healing at the Hospitalia (Location 25).

2. The Cult of the Shield Ghul secretly enjoys this since it makes them  'Indispensable'. Ironically though, most townsfolk have become too terrified to even venture into the Hospitalia for normal treatments, such as removing an ingrown toenail for 14,357 gold pieces a visit.

3. Whether the Cult of the Shield Ghul is actually responsible for the plague or not, they may have had aid from one or more of the following groups: Cult of Pan-demic (twisted Pan worshippers who seek an end to civilization- add them to Location 23), Cult of R'ti (corrupted tutors who enjoy having the Schoolhouse closed, but still receiving their wages- they're at Location 1), Cherno-Baba Yaga followers (who enjoy plague-slaughter, doom-suffering for its own sake- add them to Location T7).

4. All in town are expected to wear masks and encouraged to be Antisocially Distant. Those who don't are thrown into the Gaol (Location 14) where most of the resident criminals have no problem with getting very close.

5. Whenever encountered, Cultists of the Shield Ghul have a base 50% chance of breaking out into dance (not just the nurses in the Hospitalia). They claim it is to relieve the heavy burden of dealing with the plague, but it's more likely they're overjoyed they still have plenty of coin when many others do not (see #9 below).

6. Since the townsfolk, whether Trenchaus, Tochenorff, or other, likely won't enjoy seeing nurses and physicians dancing (rather than caring for patients), then they will be forced to watch them. Such 'Salutes to Heroes' occur at sunset each day in front of the Hospitalia and will likely infuriate the Minervan Superheroines (at Location 12), not to mention those others singled out for not attending.

7. Even travelers wishing to pass through the wyrd town of Walstock will be forced to remain, Quarantined for their Own Good. Never mind that will force travelers into more contact with the plague.

8. Most of the locales in town are closed. Investigation will reveal that those still open are, conveniently enough, faithful followers of the Shield Ghul. They include Walstock Tea & Knick-Knacks (Location 16), Chohmps’s Family Barber-Dentistry (Location 18), Town Crier’s Office (Location 20), The Hospitalia (Location 25), and the Apothecary (Location 27).

9. Many people are destitute. Without means of making gainful employ, they become impoverished, and are not above begging, pick pocketing, or even brigandage. Any not connected to the Cult of the Shield Ghul or having a Treasure Type of B or higher may attempt one of those three (per their alignment) on characters they encounter (a base 33% chance). They will do their best to be Antisocially Distant while doing so, but will also be hard to understand with their masks on.

10. Rather than advocate for the common folk, Town Crier Morell (at Location 20) derides any who would say that the plague isn't that bad as a 'Denying Alarmist'. A gang of 2d4 Assurance Cultists will confront such Deniers the following night in order to reinforced that point (with their clubs). Those on 'the 'Deniers List' currently include Gamz the Dwarf (Location 4), Sir George (Location 15), and Father Farhred (Location 17), though more are soon to follow (likely the party members)!

11. Seeing an opportunity for greater control, Town Council Member Benedictia Trenchaus (Location 9) is now being supported as Mayor by the Cult of the Shield Ghul, in return for banning most daily activities in the name of Public Health. The Watch isn't too keen on being around citizens though, so enforcement isn't that consistent despite her many domineering decrees. This is good because she often ignores her own edicts as she scoffs at the commoners, going out to dine and get her hair done while they are forbidden from doing so.

12. Adventurers who remain in Walstock to put an end to this current threat (and not run away screaming) will uncover that Dr. Fausti has in fact entered into an infernal pact that has led to this very plague! It is with Beliah (see Volume II), of course, though any arch-devil would do (per Referee).

Next week: Wyrd Ways of Walstock  Revisited, Part II!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Clerics of Vainamoinen, Part V

Vainamoinen Encounters
Some things one quests for are already right behind them.

Roll 1d12
1. An evil northerner approaches- one of those of Pohjola! It is a (roll 1d6): [1] dire wolf, [2] 1d4 HD swordsman, [3] dire wolf and a 1d4 HD swordsman, [4] nakki (evil, shapeshifting, Finnish siren), [5] group of 2d3 pekko (hairy Finnish goblins), [6] hiisi (Finnish ogre).

2. Smiling, well-appointed, and well-proportioned, a selection of potential wives dwell here. There are 1d3 with Charisma scores of 14 + 1d4 to boot: blondes, brunettes, and redheads. Each is also faithful to either Mielikki (friendly, rustic), Ilmatar (graceful, quiet), or Loviatar (mysterious, harsh), and a faithful of Vainamoinen is pleased indeed and will be here too, sharply-dressed (see #12 below)! 

3. Two Finns face off. One is a faithful of Vainamoinen (per #12 below). The other is a (roll 1d5): [1] upstart, [2] angry brother at the Vainamoinen-type's wooing of his sister, [3] bad poet, [4] berry-born child (see #9 below), [5] rival faithful of Vainamoinen, [6] reroll twice. 

4. Sounds of crafting can be heard up ahead. Investigation shows it's an old man crafting a (roll 1d4): 
[1] canoe, [2-3] kantele, [4] metal rake. Despite his concentration, the old man has a 10% base chance of injuring himself each round if the party doesn't assist him and a 100% chance of being a follower of Vainamoinen. 

5. Do you feel it too? The wise will know that a haltja dwells here. Refer to the spirit encounters series [link] to see what kind. Those who end up pleasing it may attempt to learn a synty related to the place- see Magical Side-Effect #9.

6. An old woman offers a random party member a flagon of ale. If foolish enough to drink, he will find it to be full of frogs, snakes, lizards, and worse- a gift from Tuonela, the Finnish Underworld! He must then save vs. death or be trapped in a net of metal, handiwork of Tuonetar's three-fingered son, unless he can be polymorphed into a snake or otherwise assisted by a follower of Vainamoinen. 

7. A chance for inspiration befalls a random party member (and their player). If he or she can compose an original poem (in trochaic tetrameter of course) of at least 2 x 4d2 lines within the next 2d4 rounds, then he or she may cast a random Vainamoinen spell once, up to 24 hours later.

8. With laughing buttons and transmuting foliage (or the like), the next spell cast takes on a distinctly Finnish air of animistic magic. Those who witness it may then know where the nearest tietaja is so they may receive training in such enchantment if they so wish.

9. A random woman the party knows becomes pregnant after eating a berry. A child is quickly born 1d4 days later with full intelligence and will chastise any who do not convert to monotheism. Those who fail to submit must save vs. spell or take 1d2 Charisma damage from the shame, especially if they have claimed that the child in very unnatural.

10. 2d4 Norsemen explore this area, seeking the fabled 'runes' of Vainamoinen. If they learn that such are simply poems without symbols, then they will likely simply begin pillaging instead (a base 75% chance).

11. Searching the area, a lucky party member uncovers a (roll 1d6): [1] swan feather, [2] barley corn, 
[3] wool ball, [4] milk drop, [5[ shaft of wood, [6] reroll twice. Little do they know, they're found a piece of the Sampo.

12. Here is one who both sings and woos, wisely coaxing creation. A follower of Vainamoinen, he is actually (roll 1d12): [1-3] one just very faithful in and/or blessed by him, [4-7] a cleric of Vainamoinen, [8-11] a tietaja of Vainamoinen, [12] an avatar of Vainamoinen.

DCC RPG Conversion Notes
Save vs. death= make a Will save DC 10.
Save vs. spell= make a Will save DC 15.

Next week: we take a short break from our examination of the Finnish divinities to look at some additional encounters and ideas for the revised release of Wyrd Ways of Walstock!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Clerics of Vainamoinen, Part IV

Cleric Spells (Vainamoinen)
Songs of creation are Vainamoinen's province, and as such, so to are his cleric's magic. Naturally, all must be sung and/or played on a kantele in order to function at least, even if some desires will still remain out of grasp.

1st Level: Command (can't effect potential wives though), Create Water (reversible), Cure Light Wounds, Detect Magic, Light, Protection from Evil, Purify Food and Drink, Remove Fear, Resist Cold, Sanctuary, Detect Snares and Pits (D), Entangle (D), Pass with Trace (D), Charm Person* (but not potential wives), Comprehend Languages*, Feather Fall*, Mending*, Read Languages*, Read Magic*, Scribe*, Shield*, Sleep*, Unseen Servant*

2nd Level: Augury, Bless, Delay Poison, Find Traps, Hold Person, Holy Chant, Resist Fire, Reveal Charm, Speak with Animal, Spiritual Weapon, Charm Person or Mammal (D) (but still not potential wives), Feign Death (D), Find Plant (D), Fire Trap (D), Obscuring Mist (D), Stumble (D), Warp Wood (D), Arcane Lock*, ESP*, Knock*

3rd Level: Animal Growth, Cure Blindness, Cure Disease, Dispel Magic, Locate Object, Remove Curse (reversible), Striking, Hold Animal (D), Plant Growth (D), Snare (D), Stone Shape (D), Tree Shape (D), Water Breathing (D). Protection from Normal Missiles*

4th Level: Create Food and Water, Cure Serious Wounds, Divination, Exorcise, Lower Water (reversible), Neutralize Poison, Protection from Evil 10' Radius, Speak with Plants, Tongues, Hallucinatory Terrain (D), Hold Vegetation and Fungus (D), Passplant (D), Arcane Eye*, Enchant Arms*, Globe of Invulnerability* (lesser), Move Earth* (lesser), Polymorph Others*, Polymorph Self*

5th Level: Commune, Cure Critical Wounds, Dispel Evil, Plane Shift, True Seeing, Control Winds (D), Transmute Rock to Mud (D), Tree Stride (D), Distort Distance*, Hold Monster*, Passwall*, Secret Chest*, Telekinesis* 

6th Level: Animate Objects, Conjure Animals, Find the Path, Heal, Part Water, Speak with Creatures, Stone Tell, Summon Aerial Servant (or other spirit), Fire Seeds (D), Anti-Magic Shell*, Arcane Window*, Globe of Invulnerability*, Irresistible Dance*, Legend Lore*, Move Earth*, Repulsion* (reversible, but can't effect potential wives)

7th Level: Control Weather, Restoration, Wind Walk, Antipathy//Sympathy* (any but potential wives), Duo-Dimension*, Magic Sword*, Phase Door, Reverse Gravity*, Shape Change*

Common amongst the followers of Vainamoinen (since he was the first), treat these Finnish wizard-shamans as clerics, except that they fight as and have the HD of magic-users or wizards. What is more, to reflect the very colorful and animated nature of Finnish magic, roll on the following table whenever casting their spells, along with the d12 on their divinity's Magical Side-Effect table:

1-3. Aspects of the spell's target begin to change, taking on new forms and even a life of their own. He or she must save vs. spell: success means that the changes grant the target a +1 bonus to all rolls for the next 1d6 rounds; failure instead causes a -1 penalty to all rolls for the same. If the target is inanimate, then refer to results #8-10 below instead.
4-7. The spell is otherwise unchanged.
8-10. The tietaja must negotiate with the spell itself, coaxing it to do his will. He must save vs. spell: if he succeeds, then all of the spell's qualities (effect, range, and/or duration) are increase by 50%. If not, then they are decreased the same.

Next week: clerics of Vainamoinen, Part V!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Clerics of Vainamoinen, Part III

Creation sometimes comes at a price, and it may not be for just a song.

Divine Tests
1-5. Let the time pass, let days go.... The cleric must pause for the next 2d6 turns, doing nothing else but sing a rune song or two while strumming his kantele. If he does so particularly well (a CHA check), then it need only be half the time.

5-9. What adventures one can find on the quest for the Sampo! The cleric loses access to some of his spells (50% chance for each one), including possibly his turn ability, in order to encourage him to seek them out. Roll 1d6 for each one lost to see what he must do to get it back.
[1] Venture to a new dark, cold, or northerly place.
[2-3] Defeat a worthy other in a song duel (with opposed CHA checks).
[4] Find a wife, or at least a good candidate in order to aid in one's creation.
[5] Fashion a new kantele, requiring 3d6 turns- using giant jawbones cuts that time in half.
[6] Spend time in a natural place, singing to and communing with the haltja (spirits) there for at least 3d6 turns. 

10-16. Oh, the lands sing, and the cleric should return the favor. He must immediately travel to a certain land type to perform a task there for the next 1d4 hours. If not, he runs the risk of going to Pohjola instead (per 17+ below, a base 66% chance). 
Land type (roll 1d6): [1] Mountain, [2] Forest, [3] Water, [4] Sauna, [5] Field, [6] Graveyard. 
Tasks (roll 1d6): 
[1] Build a canoe, but also have a 50% chance of accidentally striking his knee each hour for 1d12 damage.
[2] Be judged by strange, berry-born children: save vs. spell each hour or take 1d2 Charisma damage from the shame.
[3] Attempt to woo a suitable wife candidate if one is within range- careful she doesn't drown herself first!
[4] Compose a new poem, done in trochaic tetrameter of course.
[5] Attempt to
uncover a new synty (origin-word that grants a +2 bonus to any spell rolls made for that thing), but it must be something he can see at that land type- he can attempt to do so with an INT check each hour.
[6] Be challenged by 1 dark, cold, or northerly foe at the end of each hour who must be fought with a song duel.

17+ The Sampo calls and the cleric must journey now to the dark land of Pohjola. He and any nearby who wish to go with him are gone for 1 day. Unless the Referee decides to adjudicate the adventure more specifically, it is shown that upon their return (if they still live), each took 1d20 damage and had a 10% of recovering the fantastic item. What the Sampo is, depends (roll 1d3): [1] a magic item, [2] a new spell or ability, [3] an outstanding wife. For every divine test result over 17, increase the time they were gone by 1 day, the damage by an additional 1d20 each, and the chances of recovering the Sampo by an additional 10% total. 

DCC RPG Conversion Notes
Charisma check = Personality check DC 15
Turn ability= Turn Unholy ability 
Save vs. spell = Make a Will save DC 15

Next week: clerics of Vainamoinen, Part IV!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Clerics of Vainamoinen, Part II

Magical Side-Effects
Creation starts with a word, even if it doesn't always work as planned. Roll 1d12. 

1. Seeking Aino: The spell may do the opposite of what's intended. Unless the cleric saves vs. death, a healing spell will harm, a harming spell will heal, or the like. Perhaps it's time re-tune one's kantele?

2. Laulu Taistelu: Only the best will win. The cleric must engage in a song duel with the spell's target (via an opposed Charisma check). If he doesn't win, then the target can choose to ignore the spell. 

3. Vaults of Ilmatar: Some say Vainamoinen came from the sky and sea, so the cleric must be in sight of one or both when casting the spell. If not, then it will only be at half its usual strength, though even seeing a duck egg will suffice. 

4. Ask the Haltja: A Charisma check is required here, imploring the local spirits to make the magic happen. Without it, the cleric will need to leave them a small offering instead.

5. Luominen: All within 60' experience Vainamoinen's way, gaining a +3 to their spell rolls for the next 2d6 rounds as creation unfolds. 

6-8. No Side Effect: The spell works normally this time, though it still must be sung, of course. 

9. Synty: Such power in the origin-words of things. The cleric may attempt to discern that of the magic's target (via an INT check), granting him a +2 bonus to any spell rolls made in regard to them from now on. 

10. Kalevala Rhyme: 'Vainamoinen, old and steadfast, answered in the words which follow'. If his cleric does the same, stating what the spell will do, in trochaic tetrameter (naturally), then the magic's effect, range, or duration can be doubled.

11-12. Bard's Blessing: The magic is sung for twice its normal effect, range, or duration, as well as it not being expended that day. What is more, if the cleric wins a song duel with the spell's target (per #2 above), then he may also attempt to learn the target's synty (per #9 above).

DCC RPG Conversion notes
Save vs. death = make a Will save DC 10
Charisma check = Fellowship check (DC 15)
Spell not being expended that day = gains a +2 bonus to its spell check 

Next week: Clerics of Vainamoinen, Part III!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Clerics of Vainamoinen, Part I

Lawful Finnish God of Wisdom, Song, & Creation

Tenets of Vainamoinen
* Fashion great things with hand and word
* Seek that which you desire
* Know that such seeking may be your downfall though

Clerics of Vainamoinen
Special: Vainamoinen is served by clerics, tietaja (Finnish shamanic wizards), & bards (see Volume II).
Allowed Weapons: Sword, staff, axe, crossbow
Allowed Armor: Leather or lighter
Symbols: Kantele (Finnish Harp), Sampo, Copper Boat
Can Turn: Evil northerners (like those of Pohjola)
Mysteries of Vainamoinen: Clerics of Vainamoinen can add 2 to one of their spell rolls by singing well (a CHA check), up to once per day per level. 
Note: Some traditions portray Vainamoinen as a demigod or simply a great hero.

Next week: Clerics of Vainamoinen, Part II!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Warlocks of Chernobog, Part V

Chernobog Encounters
Through dark lands they dwell, knowing that most things that end, don't end well. 

Roll 1d12
1. A certain individual is rumored to be prone to handwashing, avoiding coming too close to others, and other bizarre behavior. This ne'er-do-well even wears a mask at times. Obviously, they are some fell cultist of Chernobog (a base 50% chance- see #12 below). Otherwise, they know where one is and are trying to avoid his corruption.

2. The area grows dark, preternaturally so. In fact, things get so inky black that it behaves like an Oh, Charring Pitch spell cast by a 1d6+4th level warlock. Note that, depending on the size of the area of effect, it may also be unpleasantly hard to find one's way out (a base 5% per 5' of area of effect). Those who fail will continue to stumble about as they writhe in dark agony.

3. The area here has been devastated. All structures, plants, animals, and even folk lie shattered and broken in an almost sadistic manner. There's a base 50% chance of one faithful to Cherno-Perun showing up within 1d20 rounds (per #12 below), admiring his fell lord's handiwork, even if there's a 100% chance of that doom-corruption's divinity being to blame.

4. Sobbing is heard up ahead. 1d6 Slavs stand about, consuming hard spirits, crying, and grasping at their chests. Likely the work of Cherno-Lada (a base 75% chance, otherwise it's Unharmonia, q.v.), each may still foolishly wish to rejoin with their lost paramours (a base 66% chance ) and honor the heartless warlock bitch who made it happen. 

5. Without knowing (though a WIS check negates), a random, unlucky party member is the victim of a foul joke (roll 1d4): [1] pickpocketed, [2] mount or other means of transport sabotaged, [3] given a fee to pay that they didn't actually incur, [4] insulting sign hung on their back. Once they realize what happened and investigate, it is shown that a debased disciple of Cherno-Veles has done it and for no other reason than just to do ill to others!

6. Wrong events have occurred here (reroll on this table if unsure what they are), giving rise to a 'Big Mother'. This new ruler has taken all under her very particular and nagging wing, preventing folk from going out-of-doors, whether they wish to or not. Such (s)mothering is of course the work of Cherno-Mokosh, though Big Mother may not be fully aware of it (only a base 40% chance). 

7. With maddening screams, the party comes upon a place so affected by Cherno-Dazbog. All here believe they are something else, taking what would be natural shifts to disheveling extremes. Roll 1d6 for each of the 2d4 individuals who are present to what they take themselves to be: [1] a chicken, [2] the opposing gender, [3] a dog, [4] the rightful ruler of the land, [5] a random Slavic divinity, [6] dancing nurses and physicians. Reroll every 1d6 minutes that the party chooses to remain, just in case they start to believe that the mad folk are who they insist they are.

8. You think you're coming down with something? Plague is rampant here, infecting 11 in 12 of those exposed and yet only 1 in 12 develop to a serious state within 12+1 days (when they must then save vs. death or die within 1d4 days afterwards). Still, such a state is enough to lead the people into a downward spiral of isolation, poverty, gloating dance, and fear. What better way to show that Cherno-Baba Yaga is at work?

9. Here lies ruins: rubble, dried blood, horrid scratchings upon the walls, and discarded masks. A victim of at least one of Chernobog's many black ways, investigation will show that this was once a thriving (roll 1d6): [1] temple, [2] merchant's shop, [3] schoolhouse, [4] tavern, [5] barbershop, [6] sporting arena. It's all now gone, with just a strange well left with signs reminding one to wash their hands and stay far apart.

10. A certain individual is rumored to be prone to licking doorknobs, coughing on everyone they encounter, and hoarding  chamber pot rags. Quite disheveled and smoke-ridden, they are certainly some fell cultist of Chernobog (a base 99% chance). Otherwise, they are simply insane. 

11. Something terrifying and black-hided hunts this area. A massive bovine monster sacred to Chernobog, it exhales a strange, radiant, balefire darkness, and is known as Cherno-bull! Treat as a quadrupedal minotaur that can use the equivalent of an Oh, Charring Pitch spell as a 60' cone breath weapon up to thrice per day. The caster level of the effect can equal its HD. Those who face it must also save vs. death or die of radiant poisoning 1d3 days later.

12. Here is one who embodies the dark. A disciple of Chernobog, he's (roll 1d12): [1-3] one just very devoted to miscreancy, [4-9] a low-level warlock of Chernobog (1d6th), [10-11] a higher-level warlock of Chernobog (1d6+6th), [12] an avatar of Chernobog! What is more, he has a base 66% chance of engaging in an interpretive dance once his evil is done, celebrating his fell lord's doom on the rise.

DCC RPG Conversion Notes
Wisdom check= make a Luck check DC 15.
Save vs. death= make a Will save DC 10.

Next week: we start our series on the Finnish Pantheon, beginning with Vainamoinen!