Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Clerics of Uni (Part I)

Lawful Etruscan Great Goddess of the Sky
Tenets of Uni
* Everything happens for a reason, though what that is can only be guessed at by mortals
* Perform the proper rituals to gain a better understanding of the Gods' Will
* Live a prosperous life of leisure and civil community
* Irritate Romans with scandalous behavior too

Clerics of Uni
Special: Clerics of Uni are also known as haruspices (sing. haruspex). See Divinities and Cults: Volume II for additional details on them and Etruscan Religion.
Allowed Weapons: Staff, dagger
Allowed Armor: None
Holy Symbol: Peacock, Cow (not a little unicorn!)
Can Turn: Those not in accordance with the Will of the Gods (if not known: 55% chance if target is humanoid; 0% if wildlife; 45% otherwise)
Universal Mysteries: Clerics of Uni can gain a +4 bonus to casting divinatory spells after being able to consult the sky omens for at least 1d6 minutes first, up to once per day per level.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Joy of Random Encounter Tables

Perhaps these woods and hills have more than 2d4 ogres in them? (Photo: stock art)

No referee should be without them- we all know that. But many might not realize that random tables can also be used for much more than simply adding an uncertain element of combat to one’s adventures. Not only can they help to provide encounters for those characters who happen to wander haphazardly away from your intended plot, but they can also bring an increased level of detail and realism to your game, for both players and you, the Almighty Referee, to experience.

In the process of playtesting Wyrd Ways of Walstock, I had the pleasure of using a number of random tables from Divinities and Cults: Volumes I & II. These tables are designed to be more than a mere ‘monster factory’ list of things wandering around for adventurers to stab to death. Instead, they allow characters to also experience such things as a change in the weather, wildlife that isn’t trying to kill them (right away), some notable landform, or other occurrence to make their trip more memorable. These are things that one might likely experience during a journey through the woods or hiking along a pleasant meadow, for example. But don’t worry: there are still plenty of encounters listed for the party to stab to death.

Like all random encounter tables, these not only make the game more interesting for the players, but also for myself too, as Referee. I always enjoy being pleasantly surprised with something unsettling and randomly determined to throw at the party, especially in a module that I was still writing and hadn’t had the time to detail every square foot of yet. And even better, when something did arise that was terrible for the party, it wasn’t really my fault, because it occurred at random.

And not just that, but these unique encounter tables help with guiding the plot too.  Their more universal range of possible experiences (weather, terrain, sights, etc.), as well as how they are organized by Divinity, allow mini-adventures to be built on the fly more easily. Thus, when adventurers are wandering around in a forest, far away from the place I want them to go, I can at least take solace in the fact that they are wandering around in a place sacred to Artemis, far away from where I want them to go.

That is the magic of random tables. And for yet more magic, here is part of a table I’m working on for Wyrd Ways, which involves a great deal of political intrigue in the form of everyone knowing everyone else in a small town. To use this table, roll on all three columns if the NPC is someone from the character’s family; only roll on the last two if the NPC and character might know each other another way.




Distant Relation



Third Cousin


Second Cousin


First cousin



Aunt or Uncle



Brother or Sister









Great or grand- (reroll 1d8)


Laid back

The full table will be released with Wyrd Ways of Walstock, coming this Spring.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Clerics of Frey (Part IV)

Illustration: Frederick Sander, 1893
of Skirnir, the original matchmaker

Cleric Spells (Freyr)

Clerics of Freyr have access to the following spells:

1st Level: Create Water (when near a field), Cure Light Wounds, Detect Evil, Light (with an appearance from Gullinbursti), Purify Food & Drink, Protection From Evil, Sanctuary, Charm Person*, Enlarge* (on one’s ‘sword’ only: see Fertile Ways results 12-13 for details), Divine Weather D, Entangle D, Faerie Fire D

2nd Level: Augury, Bless, Delay Poison, Holy Chant, Resist Fire (when mounted), Speak with Animal (boars and horses only), Rope Trick* (rope leads to the extradimensional galley of Skidbladnir instead)

3rd Level: Cure Blindness, Cure Disease, Prayer, Remove Curse, Striking (on swords and other pointy objects only), Tiny Hut* (as Rope Trick, above), Plant Growth D, Summon Animal ID (boars and horses only)

4th Level: Create Food and Water, Cure Serious Wounds, Divination, Neutralize Poison, Protection from Evil 10’ Radius, Blodughofi (as Dimension Door*, but requires cleric to be mounted), Enchant Arms (swords only), Summon Sylvan Beings D, Temperature Control D

5th Level: Cure Critical Wounds, Dispel Evil, Plane Shift (to Alfheim only), Distort Distance*, Gullinbursti (as Faithful Hound*, but is a phantom boar that can also cast Light at will), Commune with Nature D

6th Level: Find the Path, Heal, Summon Aerial Servant (can only be used to retrieve a suitable mate for the cleric, though making threats is fine too), Control Weather D

7th Level: Regenerate, Restoration, Magic Sword*, Skidbladnir (as Teleport*, but requires a folding ship model that can teleport up 12 individuals at a time or alternatively, transform into an actual sea vessel), Control Weather (greater) D

Fertile Field Encounters

Roll or pick to determine what one might find in such places sacred to Freyr.

Special Features (roll 1d8)
1. Magic Node (see Divinities and Cults, Volume II)
2. A nice well
3. Abundant crops
4. Especially fertile livestock
5. Unclaimed gold coins (1d20)
6. Potent Nature Spirit (see Divinities and Cults, Volume II)
7. Great sunbathing spot
8. Burial Mound

Folk (roll 1d6)
1. Swedes
2. Elves
3. Other Norse
4. Other humans
5. Attractive Giants
6. Unattractive Giants

Notable Wildlife (roll 1d6)
1. Boar
2. Horses
3. Weather change
4-6. Per Meadow Encounters (see Divinities and Cults: Volume I)

Events (roll 1d4)
1. Group Fertility Rite
2. Random spirit encounter (see Divinities and Cults: Volume II)
3. Wagon or Ship procession
4. Lovers in the fields

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Clerics of Frey (Part III)

Another masterpiece of Collingwood, drawn back during the Freyr revival of 1908. Oh, those were the days! 
See: even Fertility Gods can get lovesick, but not for long!

Fertile Ways

Divine Tests
1-3. To be fecund and prosperous, one needs to rest. The cleric must sleep for at least 1d3 hours. He will likely dream of fertile fields and finding an attractive giant wife.

4-7. Fruitful Acts. The priest of Freyr experiences a reduction in spells available (50% chance for each one) for the rest of the day. Roll 1d6 for each spell lost to determine what act the priest needs to engage in order to regain it before then: [1] work a new field, [2] lay with a new maiden, [3] assist some elves or Swedes, [4] gain 1d20 gold pieces, [5] view one’s surroundings from a high place, or [6] find either a burial mound or a wild boar.

8-9. Freyr declares that no maid must weep. The cleric is compelled to immediately find a woman to satisfy, a process taking a total of 1d20 hours, and a successful Charisma, Dexterity, and Constitution check once she is found. During this time, he can only use his spells for the ends of courtship and consummation, though he will luckily remain ithyphallic to increase his chances of success. Even followers of Tyr might agree that such is a noble task, though unless the cleric is a Vanir, his sister will not do.

10-11. All this fertility and maiden-sowing ultimately leads to family, or at least, it should. As Yngvi, Freyr founded lineages and so must the priest. He must now father a child, or if he already has children, then he can simply spend 1d6 hours with them instead. If away from both his children and any suitable, potential mates, then he must acquire 5d20 gold pieces instead. Otherwise, he will lose access to all his spells for the next 36 hours. One must earn the honor of being called a ‘Lord’, just like Freyr.

12-13. Though it might not be quite as big as Freyr’s, the priest’s ‘sword’ becomes much larger, granting a +2 bonus to all rolls relating to fertility and well-being, but also a -5’ speed penalty and -1 Dexterity penalty, due to it also being more cumbersome. What is more, every time the priest experiences this result, both the bonuses and penalties increase again by the same amount.

14-15. Froblot. Not everything about Freyr is smiles and sunshine. Sometimes a living sacrifice is needed for fertility to work, and one is needed now, especially a dark-colored one. Until the deed is done, the cleric cannot use any of his spells.

16-17. My Beli’s rumbling... A hill giant arrives to fight the priest. And though his allies might help, the priest can only use an antler to attack in this fight (with a -1 ‘to-hit’ rolls and does only 1d3 base damage). The giant remains for either 3d6 combat rounds or until either it or the priest has been slain.

18+ Someone has to go and woo Gerdr! The cleric must journey to retrieve her from Jotunheim. Such a journey takes 1 day per Fertile Ways result over 17 and causes 1d20 damage per day, due to outraged giant attacks, large hazards, and such, if the quest is not roleplayed. Alternatively, the cleric could send an emissary to go in his stead, like Freyr did with Skirnir, though he must then give him his sword and steed (if any) and can also cast no spells during that time. In either case, if the cleric or emissary survives, then the cleric can reuse his spells, sword, and steed again, and there is a 20% chance (+15% per Charisma bonus the cleric has) of returning with an attractive giant wife, one with amazing glittering arms.