Promptober Day 15: Spooky

A thick mysterious fog coats the land and conceals new, terrible, vicious apex predators. Where did it come from?

Haunted houses are great for jump scares, but have you ever seen fog rolling down the river at dusk?

Many years ago when I was still fishing on a regular basis, I stood out on a sand bar and watched as the fog came rolling right down the river at me. It was a bit unsettling at the time. I’ve since seen it from above on a bridge, on the river bank, and from farther away. It’s not as unsettling now, but I remembered thinking then how thick and mysterious it looked.

The pitch: A thick and mysterious fog covers the well known lands of a fantasy world. Rather than being a strange weather event, it lingers for days, even weeks and limits visibility to 30′ or less even during the day. People have forgotten what the sun looks like except from the highest towers. To make matters worse, new and terrible predators hunt in the fog, ravaging village and countryside alike.

A call for adventurers go out to find the origin of the mysterious fog and put a stop to it. Or find a safe trail to lead the village people out of the fog assuming one can be found at all. A sandbox/hexcrawl adventure series.

Promptober Day 14: Potions

D12 Potion Table. But not what you think…

D12 Potion Table. But not what you think…

For Dungeon Crawl Classics or any D20 compatible and #OSR Fantasy RPG.

  1. Healing with double the normal effects, but the character also grows discolored bumps on their skin for 1d8 days afterward.
  2. Shrinking, but the character shrinks begins to recover at a rate of one inch per hour until normal size again.
  3. Etherealness but the imbiber can’t return at will. Potion wears off in 1d24 hours.
  4. Hulking Strength: user doubles their normal damage for 1d7 turns before gaining one level of exhaustion. The exhaustion can be removed by normal means,
  5. Invisibility but the user can be seen in mirrors and mirrored surfaces. Also, duration is 1d14 hours and can no longer be broken at will. All worn/carried items stay visible at all times.
  6. Hallucination: The user thinks all kinds of cool things are happening when really they’re just sitting/standing there drooling on themselves. Lasts 1d12 hours. (Might want to keep an eye on that character.)
  7. Fire Breathing but it only emits from the user’s nose.
  8. Clam Diving: Sort of like a potion of water breathing but only lasts 2d4 rounds.
  9. Spider Climbing but the character sprouts 4 extra legs and two extra sets of eyes for 1d8 hours. Climb speed 40′. Character has a craving for insects.
  10. Troll Growth: The imbiber’s limbs become double normal length with thin, stretched, pale green skin and gnarled, knotted appearance. Hands and feet double in size and grow grotesque blackened nails. The body stays mostly the same. The head and face grow larger and take on the appearance of a troll with green skin, a long nose and black eyes. Character inflicts damage, etc as if they have an 18 Strength. The character also regenerates 1d6 hp per turn and takes on vulnerability to fire. Lasts 1d7 hours.
  11. (Delusional) Treasure Finding: Works as a Potion of Treasure Finding but has a 50% chance of leading the character to a pile of junk or foul smelling offal instead.
  12. Super Duper Healing! Works extremely well. Restores ALL lost hp regardless of damage total. Yes. That’s it.

Monstober Day 13: Knuckle

These innocent Kobolds managed to dig their lair too close to a massive Uranium deposit. They were unharmed for the most part, except their skeletal structures mutated to extraordinary size and altered proportion. They stand 5′ tall and weigh close to 150+ lbs each. Their arm bones, hands and especially their knuckles have grown to extraordinary size and toughness for a Kobold.

These Kobolds dug a little too close to a Uranium deposit.

Kobold Punchers: Init +1; Atk Oversized Fists (1d6+1); AC 11; HD 1d6; MV 20’ Burrow 15′; Act 1d20; SP infravision 100’; SV Fort -2, Ref +0, Will -2; AL N.
(Art forthcoming someday maybe?)

These innocent Kobolds managed to dig their lair too close to a massive Uranium deposit. They were unharmed for the most part, except their skeletal structures mutated to extraordinary size and altered proportion. They stand 5′ tall and weigh close to 150+ lbs each. Their arm bones, hands and especially their knuckles have grown to extraordinary size and toughness for a Kobold.

Their hands literally drag on the ground when they walk. Their disproportionate hand/arm size has made them exceptional miners. They are normally quite docile and happy just mining and spending time with their family.

If provoked they can retaliate with their Oversized Fists. One of these Kobolds’ favorite sports is boxing among males. They also dig at an incredible rate, clearing 15′ per round in soft/medium density soil.

For use with Dungeon Crawl Classics or similar #OSR and D20 compatible games.

Thanks for stopping by. This was a tough one. I appreciate you being here.

Promptober Day 13: Masks/Masked

Jason has his hockey mask. Michael Myers has his thing. What’s next?

Brief campaign villain idea for Monster of the Week RPG.

I think slasher flicks need a female villain. Just because she’s wearing a Kabuki mask, doesn’t mean she has to be Japanese. The idea is not to villainize Asian culture or women.

It would be interesting if a cursed Kabuki mask made it out into the open. Any woman wearing it would be possessed. It starts with a college acting troupe getting slaughtered during a rehearsal, but one actress was missing.

As the mystery progresses, the slashings escalate. Whoever she is seems rather determined to get at one guy in particular. It’s the boyfriend of the actress who jilted her and left her broken hearted. His fraternity and family are in danger if she is not stopped.

Of course, we all know someone else will find the mask after it’s all said and done. Or the body gets up and walks out of the morgue with the mask on. Or maybe a police woman, who is actually the actress’ older sister, picks up the mask and is then cursed.

Monstober Day 11: Hunter

Many of the guards avoid the walls late at night. It’s not safe to stray too far from the well-lit perimeter after dark. The night watch regularly report disappearances and deaths at the hands of a savage, meat eating predator. No one has seen it and lived to describe it.

It’s best to stay away from the jungle at night.

For Dungeon Crawl Classics or similar #OSR and D20 games.

(Revised art TBD.)

Many of the guards avoid the walls late at night. It’s not safe to stray too far from the well-lit perimeter after dark. The night watch regularly report disappearances and deaths at the hands of a savage, meat eating predator. No one has seen it and lived to describe it.

Mataguaro: Init +5; Atk bite +6 melee (1d8) or claw +4 melee
(1d6+1); AC 16; HD 6d8; MV 30’, fly 50’; Act 3d20; SP Darkvision 60′, Keen sense of smell, Stealth, Sneak Attack, Carry Off; SV Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +6; AL C.

This beast is covered in black fur, approximately 7′-8′ tall with the wings of a bat and the face and tail of a panther or jaguar. They walk upright as a humanoid and have feet like those of a falcon. Their hands end in wicked-sharp claws, perfect for rending prey.

They are almost completely invisible in darkness. They use Hide/Sneak at 75% in darkness no brighter than moonlight. IF they successfully surprise an opponent, they deal 1d10 damage on their first claw attack in the surprise round. If the creature manages to hit with both claws during any round and can do so, it will attempt to Carry Off its opponent. The character or creature struck must make a DC 12 Ref Save or be lifted into the air. the Mataguaro then has the option of flying away at 30’/turn. The Ref save can be repeated once per turn, but falling damage does apply if dropped.

These beasts are normally found in small packs of 1-3 Mataguaros. They are almost never seen during the day and suffer a -2 penalty to attack, damage, and Ref saves when fighting in bright light such as daylight.

They are very stealthy and capable hunters. They will most often only attack an animal or creature that is alone or with one other individual. They will almost never attack anything larger than a deer or cow unless they are certain not to be caught.

Monstober Day 10: Vermin.

There’s this really cool spell in D&D called, “Creeping Doom.” I used to love this spell on my Druid because of the absolute chaos it causes. Not to mention the massive carpet of centipedes. Unfortunately, the spell doesn’t seem to be in the SRD anywhere as far as I can tell. Boo.

Everyone does rats, bats, spiders. But what about centipedes?

There’s this really cool spell in D&D called, “Creeping Doom.” I used to love this spell on my Druid because of the absolute chaos it causes. Not to mention the massive carpet of centipedes. Unfortunately, the spell doesn’t seem to be in the SRD anywhere as far as I can tell. Boo.

BUT, I liked this idea so much it actually became the start of an entire dungeon crawl which I will drop at a later date once I work out the map and the rest of the homebrew monsters.
Created for Dungeon Crawl Classics. Usable in any #OSR or #D20 compatible games.

Venomous Centipede Carpet: Init +5; Atk swarming bite +1 melee (1 plus venom); AC 11; HD 4d8; MV fly 40’; Act special; SP bite all targets within 100’ x 1.7 MILE space, half damage from non-area attacks, venomous (DC 5 Fort save or additional 1d4 damage); SV Fort +0, Ref +10, Will -2; AL N.

This is a massive carpet of venomous centipedes that stretches all the way back to the hole in the ground from which they were summoned. The carpet occupies a 100’ x 1.7 MILE space and inflicts its bite damage on everyone within that space. Any creature bitten must make a Fort save or also suffer from a venomous bite. The bugs take half damage from any attack that is not an area effect (i.e., swinging a sword is not nearly as effective as launching a fireball onto the carpet.)


This is the hook for the dungeon: The group will wake up to villagers screaming and freaking out as their village has been overrun by venomous centipedes. The creatures themselves aren’t that large, but they crawl onto everything and anything in sight. The origin of the carpet is a gigantic hole in the ground a couple of miles from the village. It’s going to be up to our heroes to brave the carpet of centipedes, or go around it to stop whatever unleashed this plague of multi-legged vermin on the land.

Promptober Day 11: Skeletons.

Many of my favorite skeletons/skeletal constructs in any game tend to go way beyond that 1d8 hp, AC 7, rusty longsword, and decayed armor skeleton.

My players from Middle School can tell you, I have a thing for skeletons.

They don’t have to be one hit wonders. Most tend to be that way in fantasy roleplaying games. Paizo’s Pathfinder 2E Book of the Dead is proof of that. Many of my favorite skeletons/skeletal constructs in any game tend to go way beyond that 1d8 hp, AC 7, rusty longsword, and decayed armor skeleton.

The Pitch: At first it was like any other plague of undead with skeletons and zombies rising from the grave and attacking all throughout the province. But then something disturbingly eerie happened- the skeletons were suddenly hard as rock. They weren’t animated bone at all. They had become a warped amalgam of elemental and necromantic magics. It’s up to the group to stop them.

This could actually branch out into a three-five adventure mini-series with lots of undead encounters. What would it end in? Probably a draco-lich or demi-lich.

Thanks for stopping by. Lots to do. I can’t believe a third of the month has passed by already.

Promptober Day 10: Ghost

It starts to progress for the PC. One morning the character notices a few gray hairs. Then the temperature is noticeably colder around them. Soon, other members of the group start getting a case of the wigguns around the character. One day, the character hears a faint voice that no one else can hear.

This is a tricky one.

NPC Idea: One of the Player Characters has picked up a very subtle tag-along. It’s very subtle at first. The temperature around the character is a little colder. Things get moved a bit from where the character thought they were.

It starts to progress for the PC. One morning the character notices a few gray hairs. Then the temperature is noticeably colder around them. Soon, other members of the group start getting a case of the wigguns around the character. One day, the character hears a faint voice that no one else can hear.

Eventually the voice grows a bit louder. The character catches a glimpse of an outline out of the corner of their eye for just a second. Other characters begin to notice changes in the character’s appearance. Other characters begin to notice things moving, sounds that don’t seem to have an origin, and can sometimes see their breath in the cold air around the character.

Maybe this ghost the PC has picked up is friendly? It can’t help that its presence has an unintended side effect on the character. Maybe the spirit is truly malevolent? Perhaps someone the character killed in the past? The Game Master has lots of options.

This character idea works well for fantasy RPGs and even more modern horror games. I love pulling these kinds of things on Call of Cthulhu characters. I think it would also be a good hook/plot to throw into Monster of the Week.

Thanks for stopping by. Whew! Lots going on right now. Have a good one!

Please Make Your Table a Safe Space.

Please believe me- no one in their right mind wants to show up to game night, ANY game night from Dungeons & Dragons all the way down to UNO, and sit down to an environment where they will feel uncomfortable. It’s no different than a friendly work environment. No one wants to be around negativity, toxicity and trauma. Role Playing Games are supposed to be a fun, shared experience for the entire group. (TLDR: If ya ain’t havin fun, something needs to change and it ain’t the person who’s hurtin inside.)

It’s just a good periodic reminder, especially for new Players and Game Masters.

Content Warning: 
This article may include a lot of potentially trauma-related subjects. The image of the RPG Consent Checklist contains concepts that could be triggering for some. Please proceed with caution.
I pulled this down from Power Rangers RPG Discord. It is widely available.

Most Game Masters and Groups already do this.

Obviously, if you have a group of older adults they’re probably doing this from the start of the campaign subconsciously if nothing else. If I know my wife really hates spiders, we’re not going to run into a dungeon that has tons of spiders. I know one of my players is trans. Obviously, I check with them as a GM out of game to make sure I’m not regularly upsetting the proverbial apple cart.

However, for new players and previously unknown groups (Pugs) it’s really important to get together before any longer campaign starts to discuss definite red flags in a Session Zero. Basically, for those who may not have heard of it, is a gathering of the group before a campaign starts to break the ice; get to know one another; discuss character creation and house rules; and go over potential red flags as well as potentially sensitive topics that might come up in game.

Please believe me- no one in their right mind wants to show up to game night, ANY game night from Dungeons & Dragons all the way down to UNO, and sit down to an environment where they will feel uncomfortable. It’s no different than a friendly work environment. No one wants to be around negativity, toxicity and trauma. Role Playing Games are supposed to be a fun, shared experience for the entire group. (TLDR: If ya ain’t havin fun, something needs to change and it ain’t the person who’s hurtin inside.)

Please remember one of my other favorite sayings: NEVER EVER BLAME THE VICTIM! Submitted lovingly. Let’s please take care of one another, okay?

I know there is blowback every time the subject of Session Zero and Safety Tools comes up.

Sorry, not sorry on this one. I know a lot of older Dungeon Masters (or other GMs) and players balked at this concept when it was first introduced. A quick glance at #TTRPG Twitter confirms that some still do. Here’s the thing- it’s not going to hurt to hold a Session Zero regardless. We were doing it before it became a thing just to get characters made as a cohesive group.

Back in the day (*My kids just ran for cover.) if we didn’t know everyone at the table, we’d usually order a pizza and just hang out before the first game session to get to know each other and maybe make characters. We’d talk house rules and everyone’s take on combats, etc. It wasn’t formal. It was fun.

Fun. You know? That thing RPGs are supposed to be all about? Yeah.

I used to say things like this.

But, of course there are naysayers in pretty much every crowd on Earth. There are the bitter, crotchety, Old Grognards who will grouse and grumble. They say things such as:

“Nobody can tell me how to run my game.”
“I’m not here to hold hands and kiss your butts.”
“Bunch of mamby pamby kids don’t know what they’re talking about.”
“My game was fine before. No need to change it now.”
“We didn’t have this crap back in the 80s when D&D was new. We didn’t need it back then. Grow a spine.”
“If you don’t like it, go play another game.”
And so on…

Full disclosure: I used to sound just like that.

Lil Debbie Star Crunch. MMmmm.

I’m an OG (Old Gamer) from way back. Like 1982, to be precise. Atari 2600, Star Crunch, and cassette tapes were good times along with D&D. Basic, Red Box D&D to be exact. We didn’t have Session Zero. Safety Tools? Maybe out in the garage. We were ten and twelve year olds with funky dice. We didn’t know.

But the hobby has evolved. WE have evolved as players. No matter how old one gets, being sensitive to others’ feelings never goes out of style. Did I recognize it? Heck, I was still sounding like a crotchety old codger earlier this year.

I’ve learned. I’m trying to be more understanding. Mistakes were made. I’ll own it. That’s really the key to all of this for the Old Grognards- it’s okay to change.

My therapist likes to remind me that we ALL have baggage.

True story. Every last human being on this planet has had or will have trauma in their life at some point. Everyone has feelings and opinions formed by their experiences. Experiences shape who we are as people.

That baggage, whether we like it or not, carries over into our relationships. Yes, a gaming group is a type of relationship. Hopefully friendship. We’re there to have a fun, shared experience at the gaming table. But some of that negative junk we all have can creep into the gaming space.

We have Safety Tools, such as the consent form above, to help avoid or prevent that trauma, baggage, etc from ruining a good time. If we’re having fun, let’s keep it that way! There’s no reason to have someone going away from the table in tears because the GM was ignorant and kept going on about brutal torture.

No one deserves to show up to a game and have it add-to or compound their personal trauma. I get it. I’ve screwed up as a GM more times than I’d like to confess. I’ve accidentally stepped on toes and possibly chased one player off of gaming because I said something really stupid. I didn’t know it was a sensitive subject at the time. No flags went up because we didn’t have them at the time.

My point is, it never has to happen again. Things can come up that weren’t covered in Session Zero. That’s what X Cards and similar safety tools are for. Heck, I’d rather have a player stop me mid-combat and pull me aside than keep going with something sensitive/traumatic.

Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

Hey, it’s your table.

Note to the old curmudgeons: It’s your table. I’m never going to say you absolutely have to follow my advice. If you don’t want to hold Session Zero or use Safety tools at your table? Trust me, there’s no right or wrong way to play/GM a game. Please, do things however you like.

I think a lot of us on #TTRPG social media tend to get tunnel vision. There is no #OSR governing body. There is no mighty #TTRPG council of leaders. No one is going to come after a GM or a player for “breaking the rules.” Please, run your game and your group in whatever way you like.

I’m just saying, you might save yourself a lot of grief, especially with new players, if you take the time out to be considerate. I know we didn’t do that sort of thing back in the 80s. It’s 2022. It’s okay to change.

Let’s have fun.

Let’s go back to the table knowing full well that it’s a safe space. Please treat one another with kindness and consideration in game and out. RPGs are supposed to be FUN. Let’s roll dice, smash monsters, and grab huge loot. Lots of pizza and yelling “Huzzah!” when someone rolls a Nat 20.

Thank you for stopping by. I’m listening. I care. I’d like to think I’m getting better at this. Have a great day!

Promptober Day 9: Found Footage

You’ve been asked by the paranormal research department of Miskatonic University to trek into the woods near Burkittsville, MD. You’re looking for an old 19th Century farmhouse that is allegedly a hotbed of paranormal activity. Your group has all of the investigative gear they can carry and 5 days worth camping supplies. Good luck. (Can you survive?)

I’m super excited about today’s prompt!

Slasher Flick by Spectrum Games.
Here’s the Pitch: You’ve been asked by the paranormal research department of Miskatonic University to trek into the woods near Burkittsville, MD. You’re looking for an old 19th Century farmhouse that is allegedly a hotbed of paranormal activity. Your group has all of the investigative gear they can carry and 5 days worth camping supplies. Good luck. (Can you survive?)

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
RPGs- Ouija is fine.
Real world? DO NOT!

I could literally do an entire Monster of the Week game based on this premise. The only catch is, it would mean the group would get to survive from one week to the next which would mean it’s not “Found” Footage. That said, my Des Moines Remote Viewing Society campaign is loosely based on the Found Footage idea. The original team was lost/scattered to the four winds following an undisclosed event to be revealed in later episodes.

I think what would make Found Footage playable as an RPG beyond a Slasher Flick one shot would be to have a team that investigates the footage that has been found around the world from these various mysterious incidents. That’s kind of the premise for Des Moines After Dark/Tales of the Des Moines Remote Viewing Society. We know the team investigated a lot of stuff. What we don’t know is what happened to the team three years ago that made them stop or where some of them went.

This genre is one of my absolute favorites of all time. I’ve been in love with the concept ever since watching In Search of… as a kid. When I went to The Blair Witch Project on a date I was blown away. I went on to see it nine more times in the theatre and several times since on video. (*Yes, of those nine some of them were dates. Long story there for another time.)

I’m also itching to do more Found Footage RPG stuff with Phoenix Lights, Area 51, and Missing 411: The Hunted as inspiration. A lot of freaky stuff happens in the Pacific Northwest of the US and in the Nevada desert in the real world to be sure. I’m into Ufology, ETs, and paranormal experiences in the real world, too. It’s one of the interests that bleeds over into gaming quite nicely.

The kicker with Found Footage in #ttrpgs is that the players know their characters are probably going to die. If they survive, they’re probably going to drop of the grid and never be heard from again. Otherwise, it’s not Found Footage, it’s just footage. Player choices really matter in a survival horror game.

The premise of most Found Footage movies is that you know the characters aren’t going to survive.

Thanks for stopping by today. I appreciate you! Hope you’re enjoying #Promptober so far.

%d bloggers like this: