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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Enchanted Pools!

Greetings!

I have always loved magic pools, ever since back in the day with 1E, and the DMG random dungeon tables where Gary Gygax wrote them into the tables as an encountered feature. Just great stuff! Do you like magic pools? How have you used them in your campaigns? Have you created any particular kinds of magic pools?

Here are some of the Enchanted Pool tables in my campaigns.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK

Mystical Pools

01-20% Mystical Pool--Healing: The mystical pool provides a Healing effect on the characters.

21-40% Mystical Pool--Ferocious: The mystical pool provides a Greater Heroism effect that lasts the following duration;
Duration
01-50%: 1 Hour
51-60%: 3 Hours
61-70%: 6 Hours
71-80%: 12 Hours
81-90%: 24 Hours
91-100%: 3 Days

41-60% Mystical Pool--Talking: The mystical pool is intelligent, and has the powers of speech. The Talking Pool may also be able to use Telepathy within 100' ft. range. The Talking Pool can speak all languages. The Talking Pool is ancient and wise, and has the knowledge lore of a Lvl 20 Bard. The Talking Pool may have any alignment, and have whatever particular personality the DM determines. The Talking Pool may negotiate with the players for knowledge, or it may send them on a quest, or the Talking Pool may be friendly and helpful, indifferent and reserved, or obnoxious and hostile. Some Talking Pools may also be sick, or insane.

61-65% Mystical Pool--Gateway: The mystical pool transports the character or characters into another location in the dungeon, some other location in the current world; a different world entirely, one that is strange and mysterious; a different mystical plane; some bizarre otherworldly dimension; or transported to a different age in time on the current or different world, either in the present age, the distant future, or some ancient, bygone age of the past; as the DM sees fit. This particular feature may be fixed and unchanging, or random, as the DM feels appropriate.

66-100% Mystical Pool--Enchanted: Roll on the appropriate tables below to determine the appearance, rate of change, and nature of the enchanted pool.

Enchanted Pools
Characters drinking from, or submerging/swimming/bathing/entering the enchanted pool may experience any of the following effects, as determined by rolling and checking the table. A particular pool may only affect a specific character only once.


Enchanted Pool Appearance Table I
01-50%: Waters appear entirely normal
51-100%: Waters have some kind of unusual appearance and motif effect reflecting the nature of the enchanted pool.

Enchanted Pool Rate of Change Table II
01-30%: The specific type of enchanted pool is fixed and unchanging.
31-60%: The specific type of enchanted pool has different effects and changes type for each individual character. The Enchanted Pool Effect is randomly determined for each individual character.
61-65%: The specific type of enchanted pool changes in appearance and type every hour.
66-70%: The specific type of enchanted pool changes in appearance and type every four hours.
71-72%: The specific type of enchanted pool changes in appearance and type every 12 hours.
73-74%: The specific type of enchanted pool changes in appearance and type every 24 hours, at a specific time. (E.g. Changes at dawn, sunset, noon, or midnight)
75-76%: The specific type of enchanted pool changes in appearance and type every 3 Days, at a specific time. (E.g. Changes at dawn, sunset, noon, or midnight)
77-78%: The specific type of enchanted pool changes in appearance and type every 10 Days, at a specific time. (E.g. Changes at dawn, sunset, noon, or midnight)
79-80%: The specific type of enchanted pool changes in appearance and type every 30 Days, at a specific time. (E.g. Changes at dawn, sunset, noon, or midnight)
81-100%: The specific type of enchanted pool changes in appearance and type every year, at a specific day and time. (E.g. Changes at the Winter Solstice, or the Spring Solstice, etc.)


Type of Enchanted Pool Table III
01-02%: Pool of the Exalted
03-04%: Pool of the Damned
05-06%: Pool of Teeth
07-08%: Pool of Transformation
09-10%: Pool of Savagery
11-15%: Pool of Aging
16-20%: Pool of Seasons
21-30%: Pool of Madness
31-40%: Pool of Transmutation
41-50%: Pool of Visions
51-60%: Pool of Animal Sentience
61-70%: Pool of Happy Fortune
71-80%: Pool of Dread Misfortune
81-85%: Pool of Chaos
86-90%: Pool of Youth
91-92%: Pool of the Strange Beast
93-94%: Pool of Mystery
95-96%: Pool of Rainbows
97-98%: Pool of Hunger
99-100%: Pool of Wishes

Enchanted Pool Effects Table IV

01-02: Pool of the Exalted: The character gains the Fortune Blessed Template.

03-04: Pool of the Damned: The character gains the Fortune Spurned Template.

05-06: Pool of Teeth: The pool shifts suddenly, as numerous beast heads emerge, and bite the character. The character gains some form of Lycanthropy, and gains a Lycanthropy Template.

07-08: Pool of Transformation: In mere moments, the character mysteriously changes into the opposite gender. The transformation is permanent, and can only be changed by some kind of magical means.

09-10: Pool of Savagery: The character gains the Primitive Template.

11-15: Pool of Aging: The character Retains their present memories, knowledge, skills, etc, but changes in outward appearance, and in comprehensive physical and mental condition, subject to any specific ability modifiers of the particular age. The character ages in years, and their current age is increased by 1d3 Age Categories. (Venerable, Old, Middle Age, Adulthood); The character's age is set within 1d6 years of the minimum required for the age category.

16-20: Pool of Seasons: The character gains the Seasonal Template.

21-30: Pool of Madness: The character gains 1d3 Insanities.

31-40: Pool of Transmutation: The character gains the knowledge of Transmutation; knowing that a quantity of a specific metal placed within the pool will transmutate it into some other form of metal, that is a permanent transformation. The character intuitively gains the knowledge that this property of transmutation will only last for an hour, before such ability will be lost. The character has an hour of time to place any amount of the particular base metal to be transmuted.
01-25: Copper into Silver
26-50: Silver into Gold
51-75: Gold into Platinum
76-100: Platinum into Mithril

41-50: Pool of Visions: The character gains the knowledge of, and temporary use of the spell Vision, usable 3/day, but must be used within 24 hours.

51-60: Pool of Animal Sentience: The character gains the knowledge and temporary use of the spell *Awaken* and may cast it on any animal desired, that is also in the magical pool. The character has 1 hour to use the *Awaken* spell on a selected animal.

61-70: Pool of Happy Fortune: Ability gain; the character is blessed by the hand of fate! The character gains 2 points in a randomly determined ability; roll a d6 to determine which ability gains the benefit. This occurs immediately, and is a permanent effect.

71-80: Pool of Dread Misfortune: Ability drain; the character is blasted by the cruel hand of fate! The character loses 2 points from a randomly determined ability; roll a d6 to determine which ability suffers the loss. This occurs immediately, and is permanent effect.

81-85: Pool of Chaos: The character gains 1d3 Chaos Mutations.

86-90: Pool of Youth: The character Retains their present memories, knowledge, skills, etc, but changes in outward appearance, and in comprehensive physical and mental condition, subject to any specific ability modifiers of the particular age. The character gains youthfulness, and their current age is reduced by 1d3 Age Categories. (Venerable, Old, Middle Age, Adulthood); The character's age is set within 1d6 years of the minimum required for the age category.

91-92: Pool of the Strange Beast: The character gains the Quadruped Template.

93-94: Pool of Mystery:
The character gains some kind of Mystical Blessing;
01-25: Holy Blessing: In a flash of bright, holy light and shimmering, radiant flames, the character is blessed by Righteous and Holy Gods with the Holy Template.
26-50: Elemental Blessing: The character is engulfed by a strange, swirling column of elemental power--either earth, water, fog and mist, or fire, and blessed by the Great Elemental Powers with the Elemental-Infusion Template.
51-75: Psychic Empowerment: The character is enshrouded in dense, swirling, blue, silver and white fog and blessed by some strange twist of fate and fortune, and gains the Psychic Template.
76-100: Unholy Blessing: In a flash of terrible darkness, and shifting purple flames, the character is blessed by the Dark Gods with the Unholy Template.

95-96: Pool of Rainbows: The character gains the Prismatic Template.

97-98: Pool of Hunger: The character gains the Ravenous Creature Template. This template brings with it a gradual alignment shift over the next four weeks, as the character begins to embrace the new, savage desires to eat and devour members of their own race.

99-100: Pool of Wishes: The character is blessed by fate, and gains the use and granting of 3wishes, as the spell. These wishes must be used within 1 hour.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Temple Theology, Encounters and Events

Greetings!

Temples can often use some tables to help a DM to handle encounters and mood setting for a series of encounters at a temple, and quickly have some ideas for characters and what's going on while player characters are visiting a particular temple. There are some questions to think about and some atmosphere to consider as the DM sets about sketching out a Temple Profile.

What is the temple's general philosophy and dominant theological stance? These things can be of primary importance in a campaign when determining how priests, priestesses, other clergy and staff respond to others--not merely of different religions--but even of the same religion, but with differing views philosophically and theologically. They can determine--or significantly influence many aspects of the economy, politics, social and religious life, as well as diplomatic relations, and even foreign relations and warfare.

Historically, religions are generally very conservative, and fully support the status quo. Most religions, if not immediately at their founding and development, soon grow to become closely linked and interwoven with whatever the ruling government is to maintain its own protection, power, wealth and status, as well as influences over the entire population. Most religions are relatively slow to change philosophies, theology, and social and governing structure. Most are quite hostile to those seeking change, as well as radical ideas and new ways of theological interpretation. Most religions gladly embrace and cherish various traditions and rituals that have specific patterns, directions, styles and forms that have been in place for generations, even centuries. Having said that, throughout history, in whatever region, there have always been various religious believers that have not embraced the whole official dogma, and have insisted on doing things their own way, with their own particular interpretation, forms, and style.

Temple Philosophy and Theological Stance
01-25%: Temple is Staunchly Conservative, Strict Theology
26-35%: Temple is Staunchly Moderate, Flexible Theology
36-45%: Temple is Staunchly Liberal, Open Theology
46-70%: Temple is Generally Conservative, Strict Theology
71-80%: Temple is Generally Moderate, Flexible Theology
81-90%: Temple is Generally Liberal, Open Theology
91-95%: Temple Officially Embraces Position; though secretly embraces heresy.
96-00%: Temple Openly Embraces Heresy

Temple Events and Encounters
01-05% Routine Religious Services
06-10% Preparing Religious Services
11-15% Prayer and Meditation
16-20% Physical Labor and Training
21-25% Outreach and Charity Work
26-30% Social Services Work
31-35% Philosophical/Theological Debate
36-40% Sponsor New Artist/Artistic Project
41-45% Sponsor New Craftsman/Building Project
46-50% Experience Academic/Research Discovery
51-55% Welcome Arriving Religious Dignitary
56-60% Conduct Religious Court Inquiry/Trial
61-65% Experience Divine Blessing
66-70% Experience Spiritual/Magical Disaster
71-75% Experience Criminal Event
76-80% Time of Great Awakening
81-85% Special Seasonal Preparations
86-90% Special Seasonal Celebration
91-95% Great Caravan of Pilgrims Arrive
96-00% Divine Creature/Divine Event

Stay tuned to this article, as I plan on expanding this article tomorrow and providing more details and discussion.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Seven Principles of Dynamic Temples

Greetings!

Temples are very important in most any campaign. However, their importance and significance is often overlooked by DM's and players alike. Oftentimes in many campaigns, temples seem to fall into merely a routine, bland *Healing Station*--where the players routinely go when they need to be healed or cured of some ailment; they pay whatever gold they need to pay, smile and thank the generic robed and smiling priest or priestess--and they move on. The silhouette of the temple fades quickly into the background as the player characters mount up and ride off.

I suppose that's ok, at least sometimes. I admit--there have been times where I have caught myself seeing the party treat temples like that in my own campaigns, and I have moved through the routine exchange with hardly a blink. *I* have sometimes fallen back on treating temples as such generic, bland little boxes that it hardly seems surprising that player characters would do the same thing.

However--I have also made efforts to make temples something more, something dynamic and interesting in the campaign. In my best efforts, I am happy to say that the temples have transformed the local campaign milieu in many interesting, and dynamic ways; not just for the player characters--as important as they are--but also in important and interesting ways for various NPC's to interact with, which in turn makes them more dynamic and interesting, through leading and experiencing more richer lives, through experience of the temple. That, in turn, has a ripple-effect on the player characters, as they become involved with characters involved or inspired by the dynamic temple, and the player characters see the temple as something more interesting, intriguing, and enjoyable than they previously imagined.

That's where the best payoff is, as the DM. The dynamic temple takes on a sort of life of its own, and has interesting, and ongoing effects and importance to everyone around it--whether they are player characters, or NPC's.

In history, the ancient Greek Temple at Delphi--was very important to the entire Mediterranean World. The Temple of Delphi had the famous Oracle of Delphi, where people from around the world came to consult. They of course had to make a long, difficult pilgrimage, and had to pay the priests as Delphi to consult the Oracle there. Once payment was made, the Oracle would speak to them on the matter they consulted her with. Kings, generals, merchants, common people--people from all and every walk of life came to consult the Oracle at Delphi.

Famous Greek temples along the Anatolian coast were famous, and wealthy, for entire *centuries*. Various Pagan temples throughout the Mediterranean World provided gloriously many wondrous benefits and gifts to multitudes of people, also for centuries--What caused this great fame? I thought about my knowledge of the ancient and medieval worlds, and wrote a few things down as I thought about temples in the campaign. Why were pagan temples in Antiquity so dynamic? Occasionally, some monasteries during the Middle Ages also created some sense of dynamism, though not nearly on the same scale as the pagan temples had during the ages of Antiquity. I came up with seven main principles, as noted below, for what made temples in the ancient world so dynamic;

Seven Principles of Dynamic Temples

(1) Majestic Architecture and Beautiful Art: The beauty and majesty of their architecture and art was stunning, even in ancient times, and it was always a place to see, and be seen. People from all over took great pride in their people's skill and devotion, as well as the divine blessing and inspiration to the artists and craftsmen to make such a majestic temple to begin with. Some techniques were pioneered in the creation and inspiration for just *one* such great temple. Hundreds--even thousands--of highly talented craftsmen, smiths, sculptors, artists, engineers, architects--all worked together for *years*--sometimes even *decades* to create just one, unique, majestic, special temple in honor of some particular god or goddess. Indeed, in several different unique temples, whole breakthroughs in engineering, architecture and artistic styles were made because of the work done in the process of solving engineering, architectural, and artistic problems and challenges during the particular project to make the temple a reality.

(2) Wisdom and Skills: The wisdom and skills that the priests and priestesses possessed served the local communities well--in addition to traveling visitors and pilgrims from distant, foreign lands. The priests and priestesses were often talented as oracles, advisors, counselors, physicians, exorcists, alchemists, mathematicians, scholars, philosophers, midwives--among many other important skills, and functions.

(3) Social, Academic, Artistic Sponsorship: Temples in the ancient and medieval world also acted as sources of help for people in need--whether they were starving and needed medical attention, or counseling, social help, solving disputes, etc, the priests and priestesses often provided a large range of social and economic help along these lines. Temples often sponsored particular scholars, lawyers, inventors, craftsmen, or artists, with both resources to work on and compete projects, but also social and educational sponsorship, sending them and paying for them to receive additional academic and professional training.

(4) Special Mystical Properties: Some temples in the ancient world--as well as the medieval world--were also famous for having trees, pools, waters, etc. that were mystically important. They were more than mystically important, however, for they were also practically important, in that it was believed that such locations and resources increased healing, aided people in all kinds of soothing pleasure and help from ailments, as well as providing blessings in social relationships, finding true love, visions, allowing their children to be successfully born and to survive, foretelling the future, and so on.

(5) Spiritual Relationship: The importance of the spiritual relationship between the individual person, the family, the society, and the gods was relatively meaningful and always significant to the majority of people within the society. Prayer and mediation, sacrifice, various rituals, and having priests and priestesses cast various spells to help people were always important and meaningful to most people throughout society.

(6) Providing Space and Freedom: The ancient Pagan temples of Greece and the Mediterranean World, especially famous with temples in Alexandria, Egypt, as well as around the Mediterranean, were famous for providing space and freedom--space to live without being judged, or forced to conform; and freedom to think, feel, and be different--to imagine anything and everything in different ways. These temples often served as focus points and clearing houses of freedom and ideas, as scholars, philosophers, and thinkers from all walks of life, from different religions and philosophies and races all came and gathered together to live, and discuss, and think, and be. Much of this kind of open-mindedness, tolerance and respect would be lost for over a thousand years with the rise and dominance of Christianity.

(7) Professional Sponsorship: Many temples in the ancient and medieval worlds also sponsored specialist craftsmen, and markets, selling religious and ritual items, as well as working on products not only for the sale and use of the temple itself, but also to visiting worshippers and traveling merchants. There were some ritual items that could only be found by visiting certain merchants that worked from shops within the walls or compound of an ancient temple or medieval monastery. Certain specialized artists and craftsmen lived and worked from workshops within the temple or monastery, and people would travel for days, sometimes weeks or even months, to reach such a temple or monastery that had such specialist craftsmen and merchants.

Thusly inspired, I embraced some new ideas--from the ancient world--to make my own temples in the campaign more interesting, dynamic, and important--to both player characters, and NPC's alike.


Semper Fidelis,

SHARK

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Magical Applications to the Campaign Milieu

Greetings!

I often work on aspects of magical applications to my own campaign milieu. Some people complain that magic isn't "mysterious" when it is treated like a science and so on, like magic is merely some kind of technology. Well, the old saying any technology can seem mysterious enough to seem like magic notwithstanding, I tend to think it is all in how it is presented in the campaign.

Certainly, if one wants all magic to seem like some great, wondrous enigmatic mystery of using mysterious, unknown forces and dealing with unfathomable entities or creatures, then it seems to me that an essential condition is to make wizards and magic-using classes extremely rare. That essentially means that in a practical sense, even player characters cannot choose to be wizards or clerics, or other magic-spell-using classes. They would have to roll randomly, with that chance being very remote and unusual as it is, and to also proceed to make the occurrence of any NPC spell-casters as similarly extremely rare and unusual.

Otherwise, if a more or less standard class availability model is embraced, then having spell-casters and their magic will be generally pervasive, and common. This, then, not only affects the player characters, but also the larger society within the campaign milieu.

That means that logically speaking, individuals and society in general will make extensive use of magic, and of spell-casting characters. That's just the way it is, and I find it to be somewhat difficult and problematic to see how some other result can be obtained if one is embracing the standard assumption.

That being said, then, what does magic embraced through all levels of society within the campaign milieu look like? How might the availability and subsequent knowledge, control, and predictability of magic affect the society at large?

Many of the often-cherished "Campaign Assumptions" embraced by the rulebooks and seen as the typical, default Dark Ages/Medieval European environment go right out the window if the same, contradictory magical assumptions from the books are subsequently embraced.

Consider the pervasive, powerful and dramatic effects that magic would reasonably have upon the typical medieval milieu:

Life and Death: Health, Longevity and Lifespan

The existence and development of Clerical and Druidic magic has a profound impact on all levels of society. Many campaigns play out in essence like they are "original bubbles"--that is, all of the magical assumptions and development are used in such a way as to seem like nothing has come before it. Just add water, voila!--the player characters enter into a world that remains remarkably static and seemingly unaware and unchanging of any knowledge of magic in previous generations--whether such campaign societies have been in existence for years--dozens of years, centuries, even thousands of years--the present age shows little evidence that anyone in the past actually thought about using and applying magic in different and sweeping ways that would forever change all of society.

All levels of society would benefit from Clerical and Druidic Magic. Wounds, illnesses, diseases, and ailments--even many aspects of aging--would be dramatically different, and would be greatly enhanced and improved in many, many ways. Such dramatic improvements in healing, health, and lifespan may at first only apply and be available to the wealthy and powerful--but eventually, such benefits would logically and inexorably filter down to nearly everyone. Perhaps only the very lowest echelons of society, and the otherwise classes of people deemed unworthy, worthless, or "untouchable" would suffer the main assumptions of a harsh, medieval existence.

Everyone else, however, would likely enjoy greatly enhanced lives of strength, vigor, health and happiness--as well as longer life spans, and thus more "time" in which to think, live, work, and accomplish things. These effects would also have a significant impact on societal views concerning "Age" and capability, health, expectations, as well as marriage patterns, career and work patterns, and the size of families. This in turn would have an enormous impact on the scale of population and demographics. The populations would be enormous, and constantly growing.

Imagine most such societies where the majority of the population does not have to fear most illnesses and diseases. They may live to easily 100 years or more, and much of that time would be in robust, vibrant health. The vast majority of common injuries, illnesses, and calamities that ordinary people endured during the Middle Ages would simply not exist. In many ways, such a society would more closely resemble the most affluent and modern societies of the present day, with some aspects being even more advanced and superior.

Labor and Manufacturing: Craftsmanship, Work and Technology

The existence and availability of LIGHT alone would dramatically affect society. Light alone. Think about what the impact of advanced availability of oil lamps and eventually electricity had on our own society; the availability of mass and personal light sources would dramatically change work patterns, manufacturing, and commerce. This, in turn, would affect ambition, wealth, and social mobility.

Businesses would operate with greatly extended hours--no longer hampered by restrictions of available sunlight. Such businesses would be available for work and commerce through the evening hours--and even 24-hour schedules of manufacturing and commerce would easily be attainable.

Magical applications would greatly improve the quality, durability, and performance of all kinds of tools, equipment, and machines, as well as manufacturing processes and techniques.

Agriculture, Animals and Food: Food, Drink, and Society

The existence and use of magic to improve soil quality, crop yields, durability, as well as the health and prosperity of all kinds of animals--from herd beasts to chickens, pigs, horses, and more--would expand the supply and quality of food to unprecedented levels. This dynamic in turn would also feed into the loop of extended health and lifespan, as well as population, as discussed earlier.

The existence of reliable food sources would also expand the development of various cuisines, as well as the storage, flavour, transport, and "shelf-life" of many kinds of food. This would increase the population's standard of living across the board, as well as increasing and enhancing commercial possibilities in kinds of businesses, eating patterns and habits, drinks, as well as transport, storage, supply, and marketing of foods and drinks in different ways to all levels of society, on a year-round basis, regardless of seasonal considerations or other degrees of natural availability.

Justice, Crime and Punishment: Laws, Courts, and Judgment

The society's justice system would be extensively impacted by magic. From the multitude of surveillance and detection spells, as well as spells dealing with binding, imprisonment, telepathy, and so on, would make determining guilt and innocence much more efficient and predictable. Various courts would understandably be developed dealing with how magic spells are used, when, where, on who, by whom, and in what circumstances. All of that would no doubt be quite complex--suffice to say, the development of a powerful Lawyer's Guild would be thoroughly present in any sizeable town or city. Such Barristers familiar with all manner of magical legal stipulations and codes would be essential, and pervasive. Execution may still remain a preferred aspect of justice--but also, viable, efficient and effective prisons enhanced by magic could also be developed for the purposes of extended imprisonment for those deemed worthy of life.

Wealth of Nations: Trade, Commerce and Society

Building on the previous commentary, a magical society would likely develop an enhanced and sophisticated economy--based either on coins or paper; either is serviceable and readily useful, though the availability and use of paper may otherwise be seen as an exotic possibility, or simply not realized. Still, either way, the economy will be advanced, complex, and sophisticated, with fully-functioning mints and coinage operations in place, and so on.

Banking concepts would likely be developed thoroughly, at least in some societies to a good degree. Insurance policies, investment policies and wealth management would develop as well. The creation, supply and maintenance of increased potentials of wealth and opportunities would soon encourage all of these kinds of developments, and lead to their implementation, at least to some degree.

Long range transportation, "Ice Wagons", freezer chambers, and so on within private homes, as well as businesses would not only enhance food production, supply and commerce, but also the development and trade of ever-burning campfires, cooking pots, cauldrons, ovens and stoves, would enhance food preparation and cuisine immeasurably, and in many significant and interesting ways.

The availability and variety of different kinds of restaurants, businesses, and so on would expand, as well as different kinds of construction materials, warehousing, storage, modes and speed of transportation, security of goods--not to mention improvements in sewers and waste disposal and management, development of "Greenhouses" and markets providing all manner of seasonal, fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as preserved meats, cheeses, milk, beers and other beverages, all of which would enhance not only every aspect of the market, but also expand numerous kinds of careers and professions, and enhanced wealth-creation opportunities and a richer, more diverse system of commerce.

Politics and War: Armies, Warfare and Espionage

Magic in warfare would change things significantly--with lots of magical effects acting as a kind of exotic artillery--while at the same time, many forms would likely remain the same, such as the need for infantry, cavalry, and specialized artillery units. After all, even with magic, there are still no combustible engines, armoured vehicles, flying machines, steel ships, submarines, machine-guns or other exotic, automatic weaponry or advanced explosive artillery or mass-produced firearms.

Certainly, the classical debates of magical offense and magical defenses can over time, act as counter-weights to each other. Regardless, however, warfare in a magical environment would still feature at least some modern-seeming, dynamic elements of especially hard-hitting and devastating forces of wizards, Special Forces, trained monsters, magically-enhanced cavalry forces, artillery, and so on. Such magically-enhanced military operations would be orders of magnitude above the typical pace of medieval warfare, and wars would have dynamic elements to them making range, speed, and concentrated power quite lethal, and serve as a constant aspect of battlefield awareness, tactics, and grand strategy.

Fashion and Art: Entertainment, Arts and Society

The influence and impact of the arts and entertainment is often overlooked in general--and often entirely so by assumptions presented in typical game books. However, the impact and influence of magically-enhanced entertainment upon all levels of society and culture in such a magical environment would be dramatic.

Think of the impact and influence of motion pictures--of movies and film upon society, and on how society shapes its values, assumptions, and expectations. Think of advertising, and marketing. These concepts, even though often essentially dependent upon modern aspects of technology, would certainly have aspects of them that would be developed and enhanced in a magical environment.

Nightclubs, dance clubs, bars, and so on with magically-enhanced music, constant and controllable lighting, various specialized mood and environment effects, and so on--as well as more formal theater productions and performances would have an interesting and provocative impact on all levels of society. The development and marketing of different kinds of sports and athletics--available both day and night--would likely be developed as forms of professional entertainment. Imagine the gladiatorial arenas, with magical lighting, special effects and so on, provided in great arenas and even magically recorded and made available on magical tapestries, scrolls, and so on to other, smaller communities and venues. Then imagine the commerce created by professional businesses and businessmen designed to provide, supply, and market such entertainment to the masses?

Imagine the effects of magic upon such institutional elements as libraries, bookstores, antique and curio shops, as well as zoos, animal parks, aquariums, and general parks available to the public--with both daytime and nighttime hours of operation, and all of the potential magical effects?

The entertainment value of shopping malls would also be present and significant--even without magic, in ancient times, for example, the Roman Emperor, Hadrian, established Hadrian's Market--now recognized as the world's first shopping mall. This wondrous place had some open-air elements, as well as enclosed businesses; it was seven stories tall, and covered hundreds and hundreds of acres, and could accommodate upwards of over 10,000 people at once, visiting, and going about business and hanging out. There were businesses and shops offering goods from all over the Roman Empire, as well as beautiful and vast bathhouses, restaurants, massage parlors, snack shops, smoking dens, philosophy clubs, lounges, and so on--all were available at Hadrian's Market. Hadrian's Market existed over 1800 years ago--and without magic.

Cultures in Transition: Society and Culture in a Magical Environment

Considering all of the commentary previously, the effects of magic on society would be profound, and sweeping. Of course, such a vision opens up whole new opportunities for stories and interesting, dynamic campaigns!

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK

Friday, December 25, 2009

Campaign Assumptions

Greetings!

What kind of "Campaign Assumptions" do you make? Certainly, the rulebooks make some very explicit "Campaign Assumptions". Sometimes, we don't always realize why these particular campaign assumptions exist, or how they developed to begin with. I have some thoughts on this topic, as it relates to history and the game campaign. I'm also interested in your own thoughts and analysis.

Campaign Assumptions

Well, I often think about campaign assumptions in a broad context. First, of course, there are considerations that may affect the whole campaign
world--anywhere, everywhere, at all times and places. Then, there are more local campaign assumptions--say, particular assumptions concerning a
whole region of several kingdoms, areas, or realms--down to merely a single, particular kingdom, area or realm. These considerations can provide a
richer palette from which to build and design a campaign.

I admit--I am a professionally trained historian, specialized in Ancient & Medieval History, with a sub-specialty in Asian History. What this means in a
practical sense concerning the game and designing campaigns, is that I am routinely plagued by my knowledge of the vast scope, accomplishments, and
capabilities of Ancient India, the Ancient Chinese Empire, the Ancient Phoenicians, Babylonians, and Egyptians--as well as the Ancient Greeks and the Roman Empire in particular--but also the Ancient Celts, as well as the Byzantine Empire and the infamous Mongolian Empire of Genghis Khan. That is
to say, all of these sources tend to inform me, and colour and influence my thoughts and thinking about concepts, capabilities, and potentials long before the typical "Middle Ages" environment that the basic rules put forth as a more or less baseline standard set of campaign assumptions.

Indeed--in light of the huge scale of accomplishments and achievements of the ancient peoples of antiquity--I often wondered in amazement at how
pathetically myopic, parochial and primitive most Europeans were during the Dark Ages and the subsequent Early, High and Late Middle Ages.
Generally speaking, most of Europe did not really reach the same levels or surpass the achievements of their own ancestors in knowledge, technology,
standards of living, and so on until well, the Renaissance in most areas--and not until the Age of Enlightenment for some. Thus, it can generally be seen
that it took from 500 AD-1500 AD--essentially the beginning of the Renaissance period--or 1700 AD--the beginnings of the Age of Enlightenment for Europe to achieve or surpass their own ancestors from antiquity. That's generally a period of 1,000 to 1,200 years! Quite startling--and even wondrously disturbing when you think about it.

However, while I was astonished at the primitiveness, parochialism, and myopia of the various European peoples during the Dark Ages, and the subsequent Middle Ages--something as a tonic to the pervasive arrogance of "Modernity" that has since developed after the Age of Enlightenment, whereupon the people of antiquity were hence seen as increasingly dated, primitive, and superstitious by our own lofty state of benighted progress--being confronted with such knowledge merely awakened me to the sheer scale and brilliance of the peoples of Antiquity. It is in that awareness--and also some knowledge of specifics, sometimes even seemingly rather trivial details or minutia--that the accomplishments of the peoples of Antiquity really dawn on you.

As an aside--it's entirely fascinating to realize that in contrast to old paradigms where scholars, experts and related "Intellectuals" once held implacably to the notions that we, in the modern age are far more advanced and superior in every way to our ancestors of Antiquity, and that our ancient forefathers were hopelessly primitive and quaintly superstitious and ignorant--and that knowledge, progress, and technological skill and capabilities are successively progressive and advancing--that many of the arrogant assumptions made by us in the "Modern Age"--that is, generally, from the 19th centuries onward to the present day--are, and have been largely and laughably false, wrong, and sadly hollow, often too cloaked in our own smugness and condescending arrogance of the amazing achievements of our own age to fully realize.

Thankfully--I am happy to admit--that in the last 20 years or so, certainly academically speaking, but also through the growing popularity and availability of such programs as the History Channel, National Geographic, and the Discovery Channel on cable television, as well as increased awareness and consumption of popular books and access of information on the Internet by the general public and academics alike--such arrogant attitudes are waning--and we can see sometimes rapidly, but also sometimes more gradually--that the general awareness and consciousness of the accomplishments of the people of Antiquity has grown immeasurably. In addition, we have increasingly gained a better and more nuanced perception of our own accomplishments in relation to Antiquity, as well as the ways and methods of accomplishing various things in the manner that they were--by way of methods, and to the questions of why, how, when, and where.

Of course, we have also realized that contrary to our own past beliefs and assumptions that such a thing or method was exclusively and singularly developed here in this one place and in order by this one people at a specific time--that there is the reality of such a dynamic as diffused knowledge, and simultaneous or independent development. For example--it used to be commonly accepted that the "Cradle of Civilization" was the Mesopotamian region, of the Sumerians and Babylonians. That particular orthodox belief has been generally disproved by the multitude of evidence, discovery, and analysis, that roughly at the same time period of 5000-2500 BC, there wasn't merely one "Cradle of Civilization" going on at the Tigris/Euphrates River with the Sumerians and Babylonians--but simultaneously, there were similar "Cradles of Civilization" developing in India, along the Ganges River, and in China, along the Yangtze River.

And, intriguingly, each of these "Cradles of Civilization" in their different locations and climates, separated by thousands of miles, inhospitable terrain, and no knowledge-exchange--each was developing much of the same ideas, concepts, skills and technology. They often faced the same problems--but due to various local control factors of climate and resources--often approached solving the problem by way of a different method, but which achieved the same practical result. It's amazing, and totally fascinating stuff!

Well, anyways, back to my main discussion. The ideas of population, resource management and distribution, technological development, and so
on--especially in an environment affected by magic--does not have to be bound by the constraints of the medieval standards often promoted explicitly in the rulebooks. Even without considering the effects of magic, people in such an environment are capable of achieving more--there are particular and
specific reasons why the medieval Europeans for example were dealing with exactly what they had accomplished--and often as not, why they didn't or
were unable to achieve something different from what they did.

In thinking about the campaign assumptions, it is generally helpful and even enjoyable to realize and be aware of precisely what those specific conditions that affected the Medieval Europeans were. In general, such particular conditions can be seen as the following;

The typical "Medieval European Milieu" results from the following conditions:

(1) A Glorious Unifying Empire: A vast, advanced and unified empire at one time ruled nearly everything, and that advanced empire's influence and knowledge was pervasive, even influencing peoples and realms not directly under its rule and control.

(2) Huge Barbarian Invasions: Huge invasions of vast hordes of comparatively primitive barbarians swept in, and over the course of several generations, essentially destroyed the entire foundations of government, society, agriculture, economy, knowledge and technology that the advanced empire had provided.

(3) A Single, Dominant Religion: Previous to the barbarian invasions, during and concurrently with them, as well as after the barbarian invasions, there is a singularly powerful, controlling and dominantly pervasive religion that proceeds to not only destroy all evidence, knowledge, and practices of the earlier, ruling empire--but also actively controls and discourages the rediscovery of such knowledge, and enforces sweeping restrictions and promotes attitudes hostile to exploring and developing new forms of knowledge, technology and practices.

These salient pre-existing conditions are key to understanding why Medieval Europe developed the way it did--and the following ongoing conditions
help to explain why Medieval Europe developed as slowly as it did, and why it did not recover the achievements of Antiquity sooner than it did;

(4) Deep Cultural and Ethnic Divisions: The various barbarian tribes that invaded and conquered the lands of the old glorious empire are from different cultures and ethnicities, are fiercely independent and competitive, and typically hostile with each other and involved with ongoing wars with each other. In addition, they are also divided by different languages.

(5) Periodic, Ongoing Barbarian Invasions: There exist frequent and ongoing barbarian invasions--supplemented by invasions of other foreign forces as well. In Medieval Europe's case, besides constant wars between themselves per se, there were new invasions from different Indo-European tribes from the East; there were of course the Viking invasions from the far north; there were invasions by the forces of Islam; and there were invasions by the Mongols.

(6) Dominant Institutionalized Religious Influence and Control: The Dominant Religion maintains active and institutionalized control; however, it now also enjoys the pervasive, cumulative effects of the previous centuries of its control and institutionalized indoctrination of the general population--it has in many ways set up preconditions shaping what people can even imagine, or imagine to think or believe; the very way they ask questions and look at all aspects of reality and knowledge.

(7) Dramatic Climate Changes: There exist significant and dramatic climate changes. In Medieval Europe's case, there were dramatic changes in
mini-"Ice Ages" as well as soil conditions, and seasonal weather patterns that affected the soil, acidity, temperature, and so on.

(8) Frequent and Severe Plagues and Epidemics: There are several devastating plagues over the generations that annihilate entire communities and massively depopulate whole regions. In Medieval Europe's case, the infamous "Black Death" that annihilated an estimated one third of the entire
population of Europe was merely one plague--the largest one to be sure, though evidence shows that there were numerous other lesser plagues that
while more locally-concentrated, were still significantly devastating.

Thus, as can be seen by my offered analysis, that unless a particular campaign fully embraces them, the DM should be aware that the campaign can easily accommodate a different set of campaign assumptions, if desired.

Ok. So, what do you all think? Thoughts? Analysis? Debates? Let's hear it my friends!

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I hope everyone is enjoying Christmas and having a good time. Here's a toast to all saluting the festive, holiday season as I enjoy some excellent Bailey's Irish Cream.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Courtly Love, Romance and Sex!

Greetings!

Well, 'tis a fine day indeed. I hope everyone is having a good day, and enjoying themselves. I present an extensive article here concerning Courtly Love, Romance, and Sex. Courtly Love, properly understood from the Medieval period, is something of a combination of attitude, philosophy, and social consciousness as well as a "social force". Romance and Sex, often topics strictly avoided by many--have worked their way into my own campaigns from the interest of several players--especially women--though the men have embraced the inclusion of such as well. Personally, it has always seemed a natural thing to include in a campaign. I have found that such elements develop NPC's as well as player characters in a richer manner, with greater depth. In addition, the characters involved often develop side quests, and more detailed relationships with other NPC's, especially family members and friends, but also family members and friends of NPC's--especially of the NPC that the player character is romantically involved with.

Enjoy!
Oh...and Merry Christmas!

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK

COURTLY LOVE

Courtly Love--enflamed and inspired the imagination and the human spirit during the High Middle Ages, and was developed from troubadours and knights returning from the Holy Land during the Crusades. Courtly Love grew, and was contributed to by important commentary and literature written by women, as well as men during subsequent years. Courtly Love became a multi-faceted thing--part literature, part social ideal--and perhaps, even embracing aspects of a new form of spiritual consciousness.

Courtly Love was at its core a social relationship between a noble, valiant knight--and a beautiful, noble, and glorious woman that was essentially unobtainable by the knight pursuing her, and seeking her hand and a full, consummation of their love affair. The relationship could not typically be consummated because of moral sanctions; the woman in question was typically already married, and as adultery was held to be a terrible sin, and forbidden conduct to anyone that was pious, righteous and honourable.

Punishment for adultery was typically quite dreaded and ruthlessly swift in execution if such adultery was discovered. Knights discovered to be adulterers were usually swiftly executed by being disemboweled, or suffered some other form of agonized and ferocious death, often after long hours or days of being savagely beaten and tortured. Women that were guilty of adultery were also often executed, or condemned to spend the rest of their lives committed to a Convent, where they were made into a Nun. Nuns were female servants of the medieval Church, and forced into the strict, disciplined hierarchy of the Convent where they endured lives of absolute discipline, hard work, hyper-spirituality, and swift, severe punishment, where they were constantly supervised and controlled in every way, by the hierarchy of pious and devout nuns ranked above them, all under the leadership, discipline, and authority of the Mother Superior.

Courtly Love survived, however, and flourished, despite being constantly criticized by the medieval Church and being preached against as sinful, lascivious, and wicked. Courtly Love was increasingly developed--often by women thinkers and writers--some of whom, ironically--wrote and contributed from within the halls and isolation of the Convent. Courtly Love developed into a sort of social and spiritual consciousness, and lifestyle. Courtly Love developed and expressed entirely new ideas of how to think about relationships between all men and women--not just nobles and knights. Courtly Love promoted ideals of Chivalry, Grace, Absolute Devotion, Romantic Love, Friendship, Passion, and Beauty. Courtly Love sowed the seeds of radically redefining the goals and standards of virtually all relationships between men and women, regardless of social status, especially in regards to the ideas of romance, love, equality, and the institution of marriage.

Thus, it can easily be seen why many nobles however would feel threatened by the ideals of Courtly Love, as well as attracting the resistance and condemnation of the Medieval Church. Nonetheless, Courtly Love was embraced and supported by many younger noblemen and knights, traveling minstrels and troubadours--and by vast legions of women. It is perhaps not terribly surprising that women during the Middle Ages wildly and passionately embraced and supported the ideals of Courtly Love in every way, and at every opportunity, from all stations of life and social status--from peasant farm-girls, to professional women working in breweries, crafts, and other guilds, to women writing and speaking from Convents, and to women that were of high noble status, such as wives of powerful nobles, or their daughters, or mothers.

When it becomes clearer that even among the noblemen and priests that hated and feared the ideals of Courtly Love, that when nearly every woman around them--their own wives, their own daughters, their own sisters, and their own mothers--supported and embraced the ideals of Courtly Love, the success and growth of Courtly Love became increasingly difficult to resist. Then, of course, many young noblemen and knights--ever and always eager to gain the favour of beautiful women that they desire--fully supported and embraced the ideals of Courtly Love. The young noblemen and knights were, of course, not only influenced by the desires and even the bold commands of the women that they sought in romance--but also by the advice, teaching, admonition and influence of the other women in their lives--their mothers, sisters, aunts, and other women throughout society. The sweeping and zealous support of women from all levels of medieval society guaranteed that the ideals of Courtly Love spread like wildfire, and when it also gained the support and following of many younger men, Courtly Love became a social force that was ultimately irresistible and unstoppable.

In the light of the often typified medieval social standards of many campaigns, how might Courtly Love affect NPC's and player characters alike in the campaign?



ROMANCE

Romance is virtually an ever-present feature in stories both historical and mythological throughout human history, from Helen of Troy, and Aeneas and Queen Dido, to Sampson and Delilah of the Bible, and King Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot of the Arthurian Myth. Romance is certainly an important element for most heroic stories, as romance adds a great deal of dramatic and interesting elements to the story, as well as creating various layers of tension and motivation for the principle characters involved in the romance.

Certainly, player characters may greatly enjoy developing romances with various NPC's throughout the campaign--but also, other NPC's that have developed romances with other NPC's can have significant effects and influences on motivations, story-arcs, and adventures that involve the player characters as well.

I have developed some material for use with determining some various details of romantic relationships and motivations between different NPC's, as well as some motivations and event tables that can be used with player characters and their NPC lovers/romances. Obviously, romances pursued and conducted between two player characters would develop their own motivations, dynamics, and events.

Generally speaking, the DM should roll 2-4 times on each type of event table per campaign year that the romantic relationship between two characters endures, as well as adding occasional additional rolls in response to various changing circumstances throughout the year in the campaign.

Is The Character Married, Involved, or Single?
01-50% The Character/NPC is Single
51-80% The Character/NPC is involved in a romance with another character/NPC.
81-00% The Character/NPC is married.

The Nature and Dynamics of the Romantic Relationship
01-25% A New Romance
26-50% A Mature Romance
51-75% A Deep Romance
76-00% A Profound Romance

A New Romance
01-25% The Joyous Romance
26-50% The Uncertain Romance
51-75% The Stable Romance
76-00% The Estranged Romance

01-25% New, Joyous: The Joyous Romance is in the beginning stages, and is fresh, vibrant, and joyous.

26-50% New, Uncertain: The Uncertain Romance is in the beginning stages, and while generally satisfying, have some unresolved problems and challenges.

51-75% New, Stable: The Stable Romance is in the beginning stages, and while the relationship encountered some problems and challenges, has overcome them and seems to be stable and satisfying.

76-00% New, Estranged: The Estranged Romance is in the beginning stages, and while the relationship was fresh, vibrant and joyful at one time, it has now become endangered by arguments and discord, and has become tension-filled with passions, resentments, and anger; or, it has become cold, evasive and indifferent, and the relationship is now estranged.

A Mature Romance
01-25% The Joyous Romance
26-50% The Uncertain Romance
51-75% The Stable Romance
76-00% The Estranged Romance

01-25% Mature, Joyous: The Joyous Romance is advanced and mature in time, and is fresh, vibrant, and joyous.

26-50% Mature, Uncertain: The Uncertain Romance is advanced and mature in time, and while generally satisfying, have some unresolved problems and challenges.

51-75% Mature, Stable: The Stable Romance is advanced and mature in time, and while the relationship encountered some problems and challenges, has overcome them and seems to be stable and satisfying.

76-00% Mature, Estranged: The Estranged Romance is advanced and mature in time, and while the relationship was fresh, vibrant and joyful at one time, it has now become endangered by arguments and discord, and has become tension-filled with passions, resentments, and anger; or, it has become cold, evasive and indifferent, and the relationship is now estranged.

A Deep Romance
01-25% The Joyous Romance
26-50% The Uncertain Romance
51-75% The Stable Romance
76-00% The Estranged Romance

01-25% Deep, Joyous: The Joyous Romance is deeply enmeshed and endured greatly in time, and is fresh, vibrant, and joyous.

26-50% Deep, Uncertain: The Uncertain Romance is deeply enmeshed and endured greatly in time, and while generally satisfying, has some unresolved problems and challenges.

51-75% Deep, Stable: The Stable Romance is deeply enmeshed and endured greatly in time, and while the relationship encountered some problems and challenges, has overcome them and seems to be stable and satisfying.

76-00% Deep, Estranged: The Estranged Romance is deeply enmeshed and endured greatly in time, and while the relationship was fresh, vibrant and joyful at one time, it has now become endangered by arguments and discord, and has become tension-filled with passions, resentments, and anger; or, it has become cold, evasive and indifferent, and the relationship is now estranged.

A Profound Romance
01-25% The Joyous Romance
26-50% The Uncertain Romance
51-75% The Stable Romance
76-00% The Estranged Romance

01-25% Profound, Joyous: The Joyous Romance is profoundly enmeshed into a deep spiritual, physical and emotional bond that has endured many seasons, and is fresh, vibrant, and joyous.

26-50% Profound, Uncertain: The Uncertain Romance is profoundly enmeshed into a deep spiritual, physical and emotional bond that has endured many seasons, and while generally satisfying, have some unresolved problems and challenges.

51-75% Profound, Stable: The Stable Romance is profoundly enmeshed into a deep spiritual, physical and emotional bond that has endured many seasons, and while the relationship encountered some problems and challenges, has overcome them and seems to be stable and satisfying.

76-00% Profound, Estranged: The Estranged Romance is profoundly enmeshed into a deep spiritual, physical and emotional bond that has endured many seasons, and while the relationship was fresh, vibrant and joyful at one time, it has now become endangered by arguments and discord, and has become tension-filled with passions, resentments, and anger; or, it has become cold, evasive and indifferent, and the relationship is now estranged.

Romantic Relationship Events: Challenges and Problems

01-05% Secret Romantic Affair
06-10% Unemployment
11-15% Huge Weight Gain
16-20% Huge Weight Loss
21-25% Chronic Business/Financial Failure
26-30% Crippling Accident
31-35% Struck By Severe Disease
36-40% Develop Insanity/Psychological/Emotional Disorder
41-45% Criminal Endeavor/Criminal Activity
46-50% Powerful Addiction
51-55% Chronic Unemployment
56-60% Family Disapproval/Criticism
61-65% Friends Disapproval/Criticism
66-70% Death of Child/Miscarriage/Children Attitudes
71-75% Unresolved Personal/Relationship Problem
76-80% New Religion/Spiritual Philosophy
81-85% New Political/Cultural/Social Philosophy
86-90% New Lifestyle/Personal/Relationship Attitudes
91-95% New Sexual Interest/Practice/Attitudes
96-00% New Family Obligations/Living Arrangements

Relationship Challenges and Problems

01-05% Secret Romantic Affair: The character's spouse/lover becomes involved in a secret romantic affair.

06-10% Unemployment: The character's spouse/lover becomes unemployed.

11-15% Huge Weight Gain: The character's spouse/lover gains a huge amount of weight; this development in turn typically engages a potentially radical personality change, as well as a radically new sense of personal and social identity.

16-20% Huge Weight Loss: The character's spouse/lover loses a huge amount of weight; this development in turn typically engages a potentially radical personality change, as well as a radically new sense of personal and social identity.

21-25% Chronic Business/Financial Failure: The character's spouse/lover chronically fails in their business or management of personal and joint financial affairs.

26-30% Crippling Accident: The character's spouse/lover suffers from some kind of crippling accident.

31-35% Struck by Severe Disease: The character's spouse/lover suffers from some kind of disease.

36-40% Develop Insanity/Psychological/Emotional Disorder: The character's spouse/lover develops some kind of Insanity or psychological or emotional disorder.

41-45% Criminal Endeavor/Criminal Activity: The character's spouse/lover becomes involved in some form of criminal endeavor or criminal activity.

46-50% Powerful Addiction: The character's spouse/lover becomes involved in some kind of powerful addiction.

51-55% Chronic Unemployment: The Romantic Relationship is challenged by a spouse/lover's chronic unemployment.

56-60% Family Disapproval/Criticism: The Romantic Relationship is challenged by the spouse's/lover's family disapproval of the other spouse/lover based on religious, racial, social or cultural attitudes.

61-65% Friends Disapproval/Criticism: The Romantic Relationship is challenged by the spouse's/lover's circle of friends' disapproval of the other spouse/lover based on religious, racial, social or cultural attitudes.

66-70% Death of Child/Miscarriage/Children Attitudes: The Romantic Relationship is challenged by the death of a child, miscarriage, or unwillingness or inability to have children.

71-75% Unresolved Personal/Relationship Problem: The Romantic Relationship is challenged by some kind of personality trait, attitude, or mannerisms of a spouse/lover that has been an ongoing, unresolved problem or challenge, which proceeds to intensify or otherwise endure, and resist any meaningful change.

76-80% New Religion/Spiritual Philosophy: The Romantic Relationship is challenged by a spouse/lover's new involvement and embracing of a radically or distinctly different religion or spiritual philosophy.

81-85% New Political/Cultural/Social Philosophy: The Romantic Relationship is challenged by a spouse/lover's new involvement and embracing of a radically or distinctly different political or cultural/social philosophy.

86-90% New Lifestyle/Personal/Relationship Attitudes: The Romantic Relationship is challenged by a spouse/lover's new involvement and embracing of a radically or distinctly different lifestyle, ranging from changes imposed or developed through a change in athletic activities, professional requirements, social involvement, or domestic or interpersonal and relationship attitudes.

91-95% New Sexual Interest/Practice/Attitude: The Romantic Relationship is challenged by a spouse/lover's new involvement and embracing of a radically or distinctly different sexual interest, practice, or attitude.

96-00% New Family Obligations/Living Arrangements: The Romantic Relationship is challenged by the spouse/lover's perceived obligations in allowing a family member or several family members, as well as any family member's dependent children to move in with them and share the romantic couple's home, for an unspecified duration of time, or otherwise on a permanent basis.

Romantic Relationship Events: Blessings of Fate and Fortune

01-05% Modest Professional/Commercial Gain
06-10% Substantial Professional/Commercial Gain
11-15% Great Professional/Commercial Gain
16-20% Fantastic Professional/Commercial Gain
21-25% Modest Financial Windfall
26-30% Substantial Financial Windfall
31-35% Great Financial Windfall
36-40% Fantastic Financial Windfall
41-45% Modest Fame is Gained
46-50% Substantial Fame is Gained
51-55% Great Fame is Gained
56-60% Fantastic Fame is Gained
61-65% Gain a Wealthy and Powerful Family Patron
66-70% Blessing of Loyal and Devoted Friends
71-75% Blessing of Suzerain Template/Children Blessed/Gain a Major Magic Item
76-80% Blessing of Holy Creature Template/Children Blessed/Gain a Major Magic Item
81-85% Blessing of Fortune-Blessed Template/Children Blessed/Gain a Major Magic Item
86-90% Blessing of Psychic Template/Children Blessed/Gain a Major Magic Item
91-95% Blessing of a Wondrous Home
96-00% Blessing of Wondrous Land/Animals/Herd Beasts

Blessings of Fate and Fortune

01-05% Modest Professional/Commercial Gain: The character's spouse/lover is blessed with some kind of modest professional promotion--or a period of modest business or commercial success.

06-10% Substantial Professional/Commercial Gain: The character's spouse/lover is blessed with some kind of substantial professional promotion--or a period of substantial business or commercial success.

11-15% Great Professional/Commercial Gain: The character's spouse/lover is blessed with some kind of great professional promotion--or a period of great business or commercial success.

16-20% Fantastic Professional/Commercial Gain: The character's spouse/lover is blessed with some kind of fantastic professional promotion--or a period of fantastic business or commercial success.

21-25% Modest Financial Windfall: The character's spouse/lover is blessed with a modest financial windfall--either a gambling boon, a personal gift from a close friend or mentor, professional or business bonus, or some kind of family gift or inheritance.

26-30% Substantial Financial Windfall: The character's spouse/lover is blessed with a substantial financial windfall--either a gambling boon, a personal gift from a close friend or mentor, professional or business bonus, or some kind of family gift or inheritance.

31-35% Great Financial Windfall: The character's spouse/lover is blessed with a great financial windfall--either a gambling boon, a personal gift from a close friend or mentor, professional or business bonus, or some kind of family gift or inheritance.

36-40% Fantastic Financial Windfall: The character's spouse/lover is blessed with a fantastic financial windfall--either a gambling boon, a personal gift from a close friend or mentor, professional or business bonus, or some kind of family gift or inheritance.

41-45% Modest Fame is Gained: The character's spouse/lover is blessed with modest fame in the local neighborhood community from some unusual personal event, deed, personal accomplishment or hobby achievement, or some kind of professional development.

46-50% Substantial Fame is Gained: The character's spouse/lover is blessed with substantial fame in the local town or city settlement from some unusual personal event, deed, personal accomplishment or hobby achievement, or some kind of professional development.

51-55% Great Fame is Gained: The character's spouse/lover is blessed with great fame in the local regional area or province from some unusual personal event, deed, personal accomplishment or hobby achievement, or some kind of professional development.

56-60% Fantastic Fame is Gained: The character's spouse/lover is blessed with fantastic fame in the large regional area, province, kingdom, or empire where the couple makes their home from some unusual personal event, deed, personal accomplishment or hobby achievement, or some kind of professional development.

61-65% Gain a Wealthy and Powerful Family Patron: The character's spouse/lover is blessed by gaining the friendship of a wealthy and powerful person. The wealthy and powerful person develops into a personal and family patron, taking a sincere interest in the spouse/lover and their immediate family, including the characters, prosperity, happiness, and security.

66-70% Blessing of Loyal and Devoted Friends: The character's spouse/lover is blessed by enjoying a group of deeply loyal friends. While these friends are generally of the same social and economic status as the spouse/lover, their continued loyalty and friendship benefits not only the spouse/lover, but also the character, and any immediate family in many significant and meaningful ways. Such a blessing is wide-ranging and multi-faceted, and typically may include, but not necessarily so, various social, political, and economic benefits, quite apart and separate from the social gain and deep personal enrichment of simply having a group of loyal, devoted friends.

71-75% Blessing of Suzerain Template/Children Blessed/Gain a Major Magic Item: The character's spouse/lover is blessed through some great spiritual blessing or boon of Fate, and gains the Suzerain Template. The character's spouse/lover also passes this special template as a great blessing onto any and all children born to the couple. Alternatively, if the character's spouse/lover already has the template, the DM should reroll on the table until something appropriate is gained, or provide the character's spouse/lover with a Major Magic Item, gained from some way, either through adventuring, as a gift, some unusual discovery while traveling, gained as an inheritance, and so on.

76-80% Blessing of Holy Creature Template/Children Blessed/Gain a Major Magic Item: The character's spouse/lover is blessed through some great spiritual blessing or boon of Fate, and gains the Holy Creature Template. The character's spouse/lover also passes this special template as a great blessing onto any and all children born to the couple. Alternatively, if the character's spouse/lover already has the template, the DM should reroll on the table until something appropriate is gained, or provide the character's spouse/lover with a Major Magic Item, gained from some way, either through adventuring, as a gift, some unusual discovery while traveling, gained as an inheritance, and so on.

81-85% Blessing of Fortune-Blessed Template/Children Blessed/Gain a Major Magic Item: The character's spouse/lover is blessed through some great spiritual blessing or boon of Fate, and gains the Fortune-Blessed Template. The character's spouse/lover also passes this special template as a great blessing onto any and all children born to the couple. Alternatively, if the character's spouse/lover already has the template, the DM should reroll on the table until something appropriate is gained, or provide the character's spouse/lover with a Major Magic Item, gained from some way, either through adventuring, as a gift, some unusual discovery while traveling, gained as an inheritance, and so on.

86-90% Blessing of Psychic Template/Children Blessed/Gain a Major Magic Item: The character's spouse/lover is blessed through some great spiritual blessing or boon of Fate, and gains the Psychic Template. The character's spouse/lover also passes this special template as a great blessing onto any and all children born to the couple. Alternatively, if the character's spouse/lover already has the template, the DM should reroll on the table until something appropriate is gained, or provide the character's spouse/lover with a Major Magic Item, gained from some way, either through adventuring, as a gift, some unusual discovery while traveling, gained as an inheritance, and so on.

91-95% Blessing of a Wondrous Home: The character's spouse/lover channels a great blessing of some kind that significantly benefits the couple's home in some wondrous way. This wondrous blessing is gained for the couple's home only so long as the couple remains together. The blessing fades if the couple breaks up, dissolves, or otherwise abandons or destroys their romantic relationship.

96-00% Blessing of Wondrous Land/Animals/Herd Beasts: The character's spouse/lover channels a great blessing of some kind that significantly benefits the couple's personal, private lands or animals or beast herds in some wondrous way. This wondrous blessing is gained for the couple's personal, private lands or animals or beast herds only so long as the couple remains together. The blessing fades if the couple breaks up, dissolves, or otherwise abandons or destroys their romantic relationship.

SEX

Sex is an important--even critical aspect of life, everywhere. Certainly, as interesting, vital, important, as well as oftentimes controversial and heated topic that sex is within the real world may be--it isn't terribly surprising that the subject develops in various elements of any campaign. Naturally--some prefer more or less detail in the campaign detailing their sexual relationships, escapades and adventures. Of course, modify any such content based on the age, maturity, and preferences of any players participating in the campaign. Generally speaking, I have found that most people in my campaigns, both male and female, typically have enjoyed some attention and thought devoted to their various character's sexual relationships, motivations, and preferences and so on. They of course possess certainly some good-natured amusement at their character's sexual relationships, and all seem to generally agree that some attention and detail is important to add a level of detail to their character's motivations, style, personality, and social verisimilitude.

The players sometimes want to learn things about their own friends, lovers, and so on, as to such a character's attitudes, motivations, preferences, history, for any number of reasons, from merely personal, to determining the character's suitability for marriage, as a romantic interest or lover--to various inquiries or investigations involving some adventure and such like. Either way, I have come to organize a few things to quickly and succinctly determine such details about any given NPC so that whenever a player wants to know something about an NPC that interests them, I have such intriguing information and detail readily at hand.

Character's Public Sexual Demeanor
The character possesses a certain attitude concerning sex, sensuality, eroticism, and sexuality in public. Obviously, people are generally more reserved about sexual matters and topics in a public setting, and are more cautious and reserved in what they express, and to what detail they provide with others about themselves, or in general. Certainly, various regions and cultures have different ratios of such kinds or degrees of public reservation. The DM should simply adjust and adjudicate a different percentage based on the campaign's particular region or culture that the character comes from when determining the character's public attitudes and demeanor regarding sex, and sexual topics.

Character's Public Attitudes and Demeanor Concerning Sex
01-30% Very Reserved
31-70% Generally Reserved
71-90% Generally Expressive
91-00% Very Expressive

Very Reserved
In a public setting, with casual friends, associates or strangers, the character is very reserved, conservative, and private. The character entirely avoids or refuses to discuss sexual topics in any but the briefest details, if that.

Generally Reserved
In a public setting, with casual friends, associates or strangers, the character is generally reserved, generally conservative, and modesty detailed, and cautiously discreet.

Generally Expressive
In a public setting, with casual friends, associates or strangers, the character is generally expressive, generally liberal, and discreetly explicit and detailed.

Very Expressive
In a public setting, with casual friends, associates or strangers, the character is very expressive, very liberal, and boldly explicit and detailed.

Character's Private Attitudes and Demeanor
Characters possess their own private beliefs and attitudes concerning sex, sexuality, styles, different ideas, as well as their willingness to engage in conversations about such topics when they are in private; typically, when they are alone with their lover or spouse, and or gathered together in a private setting with only the closest and most trusted friends. Character's private attitudes and demeanor may in fact be entirely different from their typical public demeanor, or, it may be very consistent with their known public demeanor.

With the following table, I have assigned roughly 20% for Very Conservative, and 20% for Very Liberal, with the remaining middle 60% being divided equally into 30% each. In my view, most people seem to fall into these two ranges primarily, with those being Very Conservative or Very Liberal being fairly unusual, or at least more uncommon than the other two types.

Character's Private Attitudes and Demeanor Concerning Sex
01-20% Very Conservative
21-50% Generally Conservative
51-80% Generally Liberal
81-00% Very Liberal

Very Conservative
The character is distinctly conservative about most new ideas, styles, and techniques. The character is not particularly adventurous, or enthusiastic about most new or different ideas, styles and topics. The character possesses many strict taboos or reservations concerning sexual practices and activities.

Generally Conservative
The character is generally conservative about most new ideas, styles, and techniques. The character may be cautiously adventurous, and enthusiastic about a few new or different ideas, styles and topics. The character possesses more than a few taboos or reservations concerning sexual practices and activities.

Generally Liberal
The character is generally open-minded about many new ideas, styles, and techniques. The character may be generally adventurous, and enthusiastic about a variety of ideas, styles and topics. The character possesses several taboos or reservations concerning sexual practices and activities.

Very Liberal
The character is explicitly open-minded about new ideas, styles, and techniques. The character may be very adventurous, and very enthusiastic about a broad variety of ideas, styles and topics. The character possesses few, if any, taboos or reservations concerning sexual practices and activities.

Character's Sexual Experiences/Relationship History

01-05% Properly Virginal
06-10% Chastely Virtuous
11-50% Cautiously Selective
51-80% Discreetly Adventurous
81-95% Brazenly Promiscuous
96-00% Thoroughly Lascivious

Properly Virginal:
The character has remained properly virginal, entirely chaste, and has had no explicit sexual experiences or relationships. The character has primarily engaged in thoroughly innocent, proper platonic relationships. Some, however, may have engaged in intensely emotional and idealistic romantic relationships.

Chastely Virtuous:
The character has been thoroughly chaste and virtuous in their sexual and romantic relationships, having engaged in sexual relationships with perhaps 1-3 people, and such relationships have been generally discreet and sincere in every way.

Cautiously Selective:
The character has been cautiously selective, engaging in 3-8 (Roll 1d6+2) serious sexual relationships with various romantic lovers, all of which have been genuine and generally sincere. In addition, the character has engaged in 2-5 (Roll 1d4+1) serendipitous flings, wild parties, torrid affairs, manipulative seductions, and secretive liaisons.

Discreetly Adventurous:
The character has been discreetly adventurous, engaging in 5-10 (Roll 1d6+4) serious sexual relationships, all of which were genuine and generally sincere; as well as 3-8 (1d6+2) serendipitous flings, wild parties, torrid affairs, manipulative seductions, and secretive liaisons.

Brazenly Promiscuous:
The character has been brazenly promiscuous, and engaged in 7-12 (Roll 1d6+6) serious sexual relationships, most of which have been genuine and generally sincere; as well as 15-30 (Roll 3d6+12) serendipitous flings, wild parties, torrid affairs, manipulative seductions, and secretive liaisons.

Thoroughly Lascivious:
The character has been thoroughly lascivious, and engaged in 9-14 (Roll 1d6+8) serious sexual relationships, most of which have been genuine and generally sincere; as well as 30-60 (Roll 6d6+24) serendipitous flings, wild parties, torrid affairs, manipulative seductions, and secretive liaisons. Naturally, the character may have engaged in many more such relationships--though, in view of the nature of relationships and how they actually develop and work, increasing numbers of lovers tends to devolve into increasingly limited and emotionally shallow relationships.

Does The Character Have Children?
01-50% Yes
51-00% No

How Many Children?
This table is primarily focused on a human birth-rate, in a largely agricultural environment--or enormous urban environments where birth-control is very limited in either effectiveness or availability. Obviously, fertility rates among different creatures and races of humanoids may be similar, less than, or greater than the birthrates depicted. The DM should simply make reasonable adjustments corresponding to the birthrates of the particular humanoid race in mind.

Children Born/Sired by the Character
01-10% 1-3
11-20% 2-5
21-30% 3-6
31-45% 3-8
46-60% 5-10
61-75% 7-12
76-90% 9-14
91-93% 11-16
94-95% 13-18
96-97% 15-20
98-99% 19-24
00% 25 or more

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Taverns!

Greetings!

Taverns are a long-standing and cherished scene in most RPG campaigns. Certainly, even in fantasy and historical literature, taverns often play important roles, and serve as intriguing and entertaining scenes in many stories. Though through the years, the beginning scene...”You all meet in a tavern, gathered around the fire and some ale" may be cliched, and dry, and at times, boring--however, there are some good reasons to use that tried and true scene--it works. The tavern is a central location where different kinds of people from different classes, professions, and backgrounds can meet. Historically, and within fiction, taverns are where many people go to hang out, drink, gossip, relax, have fun, listen to news, or seek or offer employment. Plus, within the halls of D&D tradition, well--lots of scheming and action can also take place at the tavern, with lots of drama, and potential adventure development.

In any campaign, having some random encounter and event tables for taverns can be very helpful, as well as fun and entertaining. Here are some that I use in my own campaigns.

Tavern Encounter Table

01-20%: Tavern is Quiet
The tavern is relatively peaceful, and quiet. Relatively few patrons are present, and at least half of the tavern staff is either simply cleaning and organizing, or chatting and having a drink or a smoke.

21-30%: Tavern is Busy
Patrons throughout the tavern are relaxing, enjoying their meals, and having a good time. Tavern Girls go about, bringing platters of food and drinks to different tables. Several stock-boys are pushing hand-carts off one side of the tavern, bringing up some extra supplies from the cellars. The bartenders are busy making drinks, collecting payment, while also engaged in conversations with several patrons seated around the main bar counter-top.

31-35%: Friendly Tavern Girl
A Tavern Girl seems friendly, and engages a character in a casual conversation. (Either a player character, or some NPC near to the player characters).

36-40%: Friendly Bartender
A Bartender seems friendly, and engages a character in casual conversation. (Either a player character, or an NPC near to the player characters).

41-45%: Adventurers Arrive
A group of rough-looking adventurers arrive, and enter the tavern. They seat themselves at a large table, and order platters of food and drinks for themselves, as they get comfortable. Check on NPC Party Table below:

NPC Party Table
Low-Level
01-50%: Small NPC Party 5-7 members (1D3+4); Low Level: 3-8
51-60%: Medium NPC Party 7-12 members (1D6+6); Low-Level: 3-8
61-65%: Large NPC Party 11-16 members (1D6+10); Low-Level: 3-8
Mid-Level
66-80%: Small NPC Party 5-7 members (1D3+4); Mid-Level: 9-14
81-90%: Medium NPC Party 7-12 members (1D6+6); Mid-Level: 9-14
91-95%: Large NPC Party 11-16 members (1D6+10); Mid-Level: 9-14
High-Level
96-97%: Small NPC Party 5-7 members (1D3+4); High-Level: 15-20
98-99%: Medium NPC Party 7-12 members (1D6+6); High-Level: 15-20
100%: Large NPC Party 11-16 members (1D6+10); High-Level: 15-20

46-50%: City Watch/Town Militia
A City Watchman/Town Militia Patrol arrives, to either relax and enjoy a meal or to ask some questions as they seek information in pursuit of an investigation.

51-100%: Tavern Event
the DM must roll an encounter/event on the Tavern Special Events Table.

Tavern Special Events Table
01-02: Expensive Doxy Flirts and Schemes:
An Expensive Doxy giggles and whispers with another Expensive Doxy sitting at her table with her, flirting with men around her, before proceeding to saunter over to a table with a group of 2-7 (1d6+1) well-dressed young men. These young men engage the Expensive Doxy in conversation. There is a (25% chance) that one of the Expensive Doxies will begin flirting with any likely-looking male player characters that seem to be attractive and reasonably wealthy. There is a 10% chance that the group of young men will be found dead in their room the next morning. There is a 10% chance that the Expensive Doxy will be found dead in her room the next morning. There is a 10% chance that the Expensive Doxy sets them up to be robbed by a group of cunning thieves and hardened ruffians later on in the evening.
An Expensive Doxy is often well-connected with a fairly wide circle of friends and contacts. An Expensive Doxy may have very interesting knowledge or rumours and interesting gossip. (65% chance)

03-04: Haughty Courtesan Seeks Help: A Haughty Courtesan offers a character employment. The Haughty Courtesan has a problem that she needs help with--and she is prepared to offer and pay quite well for the services rendered. If the Player Characters agree to help her, and succeed, then the Haughty Courtesan may decide she likes them, and will keep them in mind for future jobs or adventures. If the players succeed in something very dangerous and very important to her, then the Haughty Courtesan may become a genuine and sincere friend. Her friendship could prove very interesting and profitable throughout a campaign. Haughty Courtesans usually have a broad range of many wealthy, powerful and famous clients, from military officers, well-traveled merchants, and arrogant nobles, to prosperous tradesmen, secretive priests, and brilliant artists and philosophers. (The character may be a Player Character, or a likely NPC that is nearby to the Player Characters.) Haughty Courtesans may know interesting knowledge, gossip, or rumours. (70% chance)

05-06: Goodwives Socializing: A group of Goodwives are socializing together at a table. A Goodwife is always well-dressed in attractive, fashionable clothing; the Goodwife's hair is beautiful and done up well; the Goodwife has all of her favourite accessories, ribbons, hair comb, purse, perhaps a hat; several pieces of fine jewelry, and doused in attractive, even sensual, perfume. Goodwives are social, and often flirtatious and even gregarious. They often come from families that are prosperous and reasonably wealthy, if not very wealthy. If a Goodwife is offended or threatened, she will scream loudly for the Watch or the Militia. Furthermore, she will talk to everyone she knows about the indignity she suffered, and seek justice and social awareness of the people responsible for robbing, threatening, or insulting her. Goodwives often have a fairly wide range of social connections, and have a 25% chance of possessing interesting gossip or rumours. The Goodwife also has a 10% chance of needing help with something; perhaps she is offering employment for some kind of job; she needs to be escorted somewhere; she needs someone to be found; or perhaps she needs some information about someone or something, or some person's relationships with others, etc.

07-08: Bard Holds A Performance.
A wandering Bard has joined the tavern for awhile, and entertains the tavern with one or more kinds of artistic performance; (Comedy, Story-Telling, Music, Singing or Dancing). Bards are very skilled in music, and performance of all kinds. Typically, the Bard is a human, elf, or half-elf. The Bard may have interesting knowledge, gossip, rumours, and so on. (80% chance). The Bard may be a permanent resident of the area--but may more likely be staying in the area for 1d6 weeks before moving on to other adventures. Meanwhile, the Bard enjoys entertaining people, sharing his art, learning news and gossip--as well as making some extra coin.

09-10: Barbarians Arrive!
A group of 2d6 Barbarians arrive in the tavern. The barbarians order massive quantities of food and drinks, and are loud, gregarious, and rowdy. The barbarians may also be friendly and cheerful--or they may be coarse, obnoxious and provocative--even surly, rude and violent. The DM should decide based on what is needed for the scene. If friendly, the barbarians may need help or have interesting rumours or knowledge of some great legends. (25% chance); the barbarians may also be discriminated against or provoked by groups of local patrons in the tavern as well, thus causing arguments or even a violent brawl. Some patrons may seek to manipulate the barbarians in such a manner as to cause the Watch to arrive to then proceed to arrest and imprison the barbarians. Typically, most civilized courts and magistrates are often bigoted towards barbarians, and condemn them with harsh punishments, and usually death.

11-12: Non-Humans Arrive!
A group of non-humans arrive. Check the subtable below to determine the kind of non-humans that arrive. The non-humans may have knowledge, information, job employment, or need help with some kind of adventure or mission.
Non-Human Table
01-30%: Dwarves
31-60%: Halflings
61-90%: Other
91-00%: Elves

13-14: Troupe of Exotic Dancing Girls: A troupe of exotic dancing girls entertain the tavern. 50% of the time, such dancing girls are also Brazen Strumpets, and provide services accordingly. Patrons, fans and customers usually are quite eager to solicit their talented services throughout the troupe's stay at the tavern. Most dancing troupe's usually stay at a particular tavern for two-four weeks, occasionally longer, before they pack up their things, and move on to the next town or city. A Dancing Troupe usually stays at a tavern in a particular town or city for 1D3 weeks. The Exotic Dancing Girls are one of the following types;

01-30% Acrobatic Dancers: This troupe of women are skilled at performing very entertaining and acrobatic dance routines and amazingly choreographed performances that display them all dancing together in a coordinated, synchronized group, dancing, twirling, contorting their bodies, throwing each other into the air, spinning, jumping, and strutting--all well-synchronized with an accompanying band of musicians. The women serve as both dancers and musicians--some dance while others play musical instruments, and so on during the different performances.

31-60% Belly-Dancers: These troupes of women are skilled at performing very entertaining, sensual and erotic belly dancing. The women often wear veils, as well as other colourful clothing, from flowing dresses and skirts, to diaphanous tunics and shimmering cloaks; loose, flowing trousers, or sheer, very tight trousers, as well as sandals, furry boots, or other footwear--though usually they are barefoot.

61-80% Snake-Dancers: This troupe of women are skilled at performing sensual and erotic dance performances with a large python swirled around them, or held within their hands, slithering around their legs, neck, belly, and arms, cavorting and strutting about in an entertaining manner. The snake-dancers wear only the tiniest, sheerest of clothing; usually a very small sarong, or a short skirt, and a small tunic or tight-fitting blouse. They are usually barefoot, and virtually naked. They often douse themselves in warm oil that makes them shimmer and glow as they dance with their pythons. They often dance with their snakes while within a circle of large torches, providing them with an eerie, sensual radiance.

81-00% Costumed Story-Tellers/Actors/Singers/Performers: This troupe of women are skilled at singing and dancing together, as well as performing coordinated skits and telling stories together--typically of various social relationships in a witty, humorous manner, with erotic, risqué spice throughout.

15-16: A Saucy Tart Socializes:
The Saucy Tart invites a character to join her, and she suggestively offers her services. The Saucy Tart may have interesting knowledge or rumours. (60% chance). The Saucy Tart is willing to share what she knows--but only for a price!

17-18: Brazen Strumpet Socializes:
The Brazen Strumpet cavorts lasciviously amongst a group of tables, entertaining, and working the crowd with offers of her services. Brazen Strumpets may know some interesting knowledge, gossip or rumours. (25% chance)

19-20: Intimidating Ruffians:
A group of 5-10 (1D6+4) Ruffians begin acting obnoxiously. The Ruffians bully and threaten other patrons; they grope tavern-girls and Goodwives; the Ruffians threaten the player characters; the Ruffians seek to extort the bartenders for "Donations to the Orphanage Fund". As needed, there may be more Ruffians present, as the DM deems necessary. The Ruffians may also be members of some important and powerful criminal organization. In a rural area, these ruffians may be members of an outlaw gang, or even a clandestine Slavery Ring.

25-26: A Freakish Celebration:
A large group of strange freaks and misfits are engaged in a festive celebration in the tavern. The DM should be creative, and make up a good dozen of strange, freakish characters. Make them mildly mutated. Make some of them insane. Make some of them have some bizarre personality traits, and strange habits. Go wild. The troupe of freaks may know interesting knowledge, gossip, or rumors (25% chance); May be in need of help (35% chance); May offer the player characters a job of some kind (20% chance).

27-28: Hard-Eyed Watchman:
A lone, hard-bitten Watchman quietly asks questions and engages several people in conversations. The Watchman has a 50% chance of needing help, and making inquiries to the player group. The Watchman may know important information, gossip, or rumors (50% chance).

29-30: Mysterious Stranger Arrives!
The Mysterious Stranger arrives, and sits in a corner table of the tavern, orders some food and drink, and quietly smokes a finely-carved pipe with excellent tobacco. The Mysterious Stranger watches people throughout the tavern carefully.
What kind of Mysterious Stranger is this figure?

Mysterious Stranger Table
20%: Witch Hunter
20%: Bounty Hunter
15%: Strange Wizard
15%: Suspicious Priest
10%: Disguised Paladin or powerful knight
10%: Ranger
10%: Special: This may be an Assassin, or some other kind of character.

The Mysterious Stranger may be in search of someone. The stranger may be looking for a certain individual; some kind of secret information or special, unusual knowledge. The stranger may be seeking to kill the person they are tracking; they may be trying to hide from others seeking them, or have other mysterious goals and purposes. The character may also seek to employ the player characters. The Mysterious Stranger may know some important secrets, knowledge, gossip, or rumors (50% chance); may offer job employment (40% chance); May have important and powerful friends (40% chance); May be desperate for help (10% chance); May have powerful enemies pursuing them (40% chance). The DM should roll and check for all of these notations, as all of tem could be true for the stranger. If the character has powerful enemies pursuing them, there is a (50% chance) that they arrive and attack the character in the tavern. They may attack while everyone is there and busy, or wait until later at night.

31-32: Arson!
Enemies of the tavern owner set fire to the tavern, out of hatred, jealousy, or revenge--or perhaps for some other motive. The tavern owner will be desperate for help to find out who set fire to the tavern, and be eager to see that justice is done. A potential adventure opportunity exists! Who set fire to the tavern? What was their motivation? Is there someone else behind the arsonist? Who else might benefit from having the tavern burned out? Then again, perhaps the arsonist is merely some nut job pyromaniac. Have fun plotting!

33-34: Dancing Girl Performs:
A lone girl entertains the tavern by her enthusiastic and sensual dancing. The dancing girl may flirt with the player characters; she is friendly, cheerful, gregarious, and charming. The Dancing Girl may know interesting gossip (40% chance); or need help with something (30% chance); or has someone trying to hunt her down and kill or capture her. (30% chance). Who is this beautiful girl? She may become a friend or ally to the party. Maybe she's a noble's daughter fleeing an arranged marriage; Maybe she's a Brazen Strumpet, simply looking to improve her situation in life; Maybe she's a former wizard's apprentice, rejected or fleeing from a dreary, harsh apprenticeship; or something else; She may also be an adventurer that enjoys performing her dancing skills and making extra money on the side when she is between adventures. There are many possibilities.

35-36: Tavern Girl Socializes:
A Tavern Girl has chosen one of the player characters to befriend. The tavern girl admires them, is friendly to them, and seeks to be their friend--and if the player character is also interested, in developing their relationship into something more romantic. Tavern Girls may know interesting knowledge, gossip or rumors. (15% chance)

37-38: The Strong, Right Hand:
The player characters hear a woman sobbing and crying, and witness as A Wanton Wench is Pimp-Slapped by a well-dressed and dangerous looking man. The man drags the wanton wench by her hair, slapping her furiously back and forth across the face, and seeking to drag her out of the tavern, and throw her naked and bleeding, into the street. Wanton Wenches may know interesting knowledge, gossip or rumors (35% chance)

39-40: Patron Flirts with a Character:
41-42: Patron Performs a Tarot Reading:
Tarot readers, of course, may be from virtually any profession or class. Typically, most are female. (75% chance Female/25% chance Male). Generally, however, such characters are often unusual in some way--and may be quite eccentric. They are typically mystical, magical, spiritualists with interesting knowledge of spirituality, philosophy, religion, and society. Tarot Readers usually charge a reasonable fee for performing a reading for a client/inquirer. They may occasionally do readings for free, as well. The Tarot Reader may be friendly and very sociable, or more quiet and reserved. Be creative! To determine the Tarot Reader's class, check the table below.

Tarot Reader's Class/Profession
01-10%: Aristocrat
11-15%: Commoner (Select Type)
16-30%: Expert (Select Type)
31-45%: Expert--Sage
46-68%: Witch
69-70%: Wizard
71-72%: Sorcerer
73-74%: Cleric
75-76%: Druid
77-78%: Bard
79-80%: Other
81-90%: Beautiful Woman*
91-00%: Old Woman*

*Beautiful Woman: Indeed, the woman is breathtakingly beautiful. She is far more than meets the eye, however. The beautiful woman is richly-dressed, and wears the finest cosmetics, perfume, and jewelry. She is friendly, charming, and sensual.
*Old Woman: The old woman has long white hair, and is wrinkled, and stooped with age. She hobbles along and moves slowly. Despite her apparent ancient age, however, she seems cheerful, friendly, and alert.

Beautiful Woman entry shares the same table as Old Woman to determine real identity and potential motives/plots.


Mysterious Beautiful Woman/Old Woman Subtable
01-10% Half-Troll Woman
11-15% Half-Giant Woman
16-40% Annis Hag
41-65% Vampire
66-85% Werewolf
86-87% Faerie Creature
88-90% Elf
91-92% Demoness
93-94% Drow Elf
95-96% Character
This character is usually Human; but may also be some other race. The character is a mid-high level character, disguised--or not; the character may be genuinely beautiful, or old and grey. Be Creative. The character has particular motives, however. The character needs help with a quest, or needs important information delivered to someone else; the character may know of ancient prophecies, mystical knowledge, potential assassination plots, and demonic gates, whatever. The character knows something, and may need additional knowledge from somewhere far away, as well as other quests. Someone may be after the character--or someone may be after the player characters. Doom stalks them, and they don't know it yet.

97-98% Celestial:
Some Celestial creature (Ghaele, Angel, etc.) is in disguise, and observing the mortal realm here, in the tavern. The Celestial creature may take notice of the player characters, or some important NPC in the tavern. The Celestial creature needs help with a quest that the creature is directly pursuing (25% chance); the Celestial creature needs to send others on quests to achieve various goals (75% chance); the Celestial creature may know some interesting knowledge, gossip or rumors (85% chance)

99-00%: Deity/Special:
A Goddess has taken on a mortal-appearing form to observe the mortal realms and pursue some agenda or goal, or merely for amusement. The Goddess would most likely desire to remain undiscovered, so the encounter can generally move like a Character encounter, as noted above. However, just in case the DM wants to introduce something very unusual, or mythical, then the players may be given a quest or a series of quests by the character...only later to discover some clue that reveals to them that they actually encountered a Goddess. Fun stuff.


43-44: Patron Acts Like a Jerk:
Makes a Racist/Bigoted/Insulting commentary to others.

45-46: Patron Mysteriously Dies:
A patron inside the tavern mysteriously falls over, dead. The patron has potentially died from among several potential causes;
Patron Dies mysteriously
01-30%: The Patron died from some natural disease or ailment
31-60%: The Patron has died from being poisoned.
61-80%: The Patron has died from being shot by a dart, bolt, arrow, or thrown dagger.
81-90%: The Patron has died from some terrible magical spell-effect.
91-00%: The Patron has died from deep and lethal wounds caused from an invisible attacker that killed the Patron with such lethal and overwhelming force that the Patron was unable to barely make a sound.

47-48: Patron Flees!:
A patron mysterious runs through the tavern, screaming all the while, as they flee out of the tavern and out into the street.

49-50: Patron is engaged in Gambling
Patrons are gathered about engaged in various kinds of gambling, playing cards, and dice games for money. These are different from the recreational group. Here, lots of money is changing hands; lush women lounge about the men involved; most of the men are also armed; snarling oaths, howling shrieks, and coarse, rough laughter are common, with lots of men drinking hard liquor, as well as ale; smoking pipes, cigars, and cigarettes are constant. Violence and death are always potentially at hand, in a blink, as a deadly fight or disagreement turns lethal.

51-52: Patron is engaged in Gaming
Patrons are engaged in some casual, friendly games of various kinds: marbles; card games; Darts; Chess; Board games. Usually 2D6+6 participants, and 3d6+6 friends/family members/fans/spectators are gathered about.

53-54: Patron is engaged in a Contest
Patrons are having arm-wrestling contests; singing contests; drinking contests; dancing contests; poetry contests; and so on. Usually a group of 2d6 participants and 1D20+20 friends/family members/fans/spectators are gathered about.

55-56: Patron Gropes a Wanton Wench
The player characters witness a patron pushing up against a Wanton Wench, and roughly groping her, and the players can hear the woman snarling in defiance and disgust at the patron, seeking to resist his unwanted advances.

57-58: Patron Solicits a Haughty Courtesan
A modestly dressed patron approaches a beautiful, finely-coiffed and elegantly dressed Haughty Courtesan, and solicits her company. The Haughty Courtesan laughs cruelly, and rudely rebukes the clumsy patron, and sends the patron retreating in shame from her withering scorn. Alternatively, a well-dressed patron arrives, and solicits the Haughty Courtesan, and the Haughty Courtesan embraces the patron, and the two cheerfully leave the main hall of the tavern together. There is a chance that one or more of the player characters knows the well-dressed patron. (20% chance)

59-60: Patron Offers Employment:
A well-dressed, patron politely approaches a character and offers them some form of employment. This can be either a player character, or an NPC that is near where the player characters are sitting.

61-62: Patron/Charlatan Performs:
A finely-dressed, charismatic man is engaged in a performance in the tavern, selling miracle-cure elixirs, potions of love, anti-aging potions, wondrous skin-creams, and so on. The Charlatan may also be selling some "magical" items and artifacts of great power for adventurers! Amulets that aid in jumping great distances; Bracers that allow one to resist cuts and blows better; fine cloaks that promise to keep them warm in cold weather! Fine, shimmering rings that sparkle, and will increase their powers of charm and persuasion with people; People will be attracted to them, and eager to get to know them and be with them when they wear such fine and beautiful jeweled rings of enchantment and power!

63-64: Patron Engages in Preaching:
A cleric or priest/priestess is engaged in preaching to the people gathered inside the tavern. Occasionally, the preacher is not an official preacher or actual priest, but rather an informally-trained temple staff member or even formally educated Sage serving in the ministry as a member of the temple's staff. The preacher is speaking out against what the preacher views as evil and wicked in and about the tavern; At various times, the preacher may be either speaking inside the tavern, or alternatively, be standing outside, close to the entrance to the tavern, or across the street for example, and be preaching and speaking to people gathered about him, as well as those people going in and out of the tavern. The preacher usually is preaching on one or more of the following sermons:

Sermons in A Den of Wickedness
01-20% The Evils of Drink!
21-40% The Evils of Harlotry!
41-60% The Evils of Dancing!
61-80% The Evils of Gambling!
81-90% The Evils of Tarot Cards!
91-00% The Evils of Demon-Weed!

See notes below, keyed to each entry in the Sermons subtable.

01-20%: The Evils of Drink!
The constant rivers of alcohol, liquor, and "Demon-Rum"!!
21-40%: The Evils of Harlotry!
The Harlots plying their trade, corrupting the morals of good family men! Harlots also corrupt women they meet, or even hear of them and how they make their living. Harlots encourage wives to leave their families, girls to rebel against their families, and are a constant threat to the institution of marriage. Harlotry degrades and ensnares the women involved, ultimately to the evils of sensuality, drink, smoke, drugs, and their own spiritual corruption.
41-60%: The Evils of Dancing!
These painted whores gather here to dance and cavort, and stir up the enflamed lusts of men throughout the tavern, and all of society. These dancers corrupt men, but also women! The women are faithless, pathetic whores, and they encourage other women and young girls to follow their path to lasciviousness, sensuality, greed, and harlotry!
61-80%: The Evils of Gambling!
Games of Dice, Cards and Gambling, sucking away money from the family and the Children! Think of the CHILDREN!
81-90%: The Evils of Tarot Cards!
Tarot Cards are gateways to Evil Spirits! Look at all the money women and men alike spend on these charlatans that lead people into evil superstitions and trafficking with dark, evil spirits!
91-00%: The Evils of Demon-Weed!
Look at all the smoke! The foul habit corrupts those who partake of it, and is wasteful of hard-earned money!

65-66: Patrons Engaged in Formal Debate:
Patrons are engaged in a formal philosophical debate. There is a large table, or three tables, one for each side of the debate, plus one table for the moderator to sit at and moderate. Te debate is lively and goes back and forth, and is usually fairly interesting, and occasionally controversial, and dramatic. Usually two primary participants, plus the moderator; 3D6+12 friends/family members/spectators/fellow colleagues/students are gathered about.

67-68: Demagogue!
A Demagogue has gathered a crowd about him inside the tavern as he speaks and harangues the crowd about some topic or another. The Demagogue may be some local whack job merely ranting about some delusionary conspiracy or pet topic of hate, or--they may be a powerful, well-connected figure, a leader of a cult, a leader or member of a powerful political or social or business organization seeking some kind of change, either social or political, though sometimes religious as well.

The Demagogue Table
01-10%: Demagogue is ranting about a Vast, Bizarre Political Conspiracy
11-20%: Demagogue is ranting about Chaos being EVERYWHERE!
21-30%: Demagogue is ranting about Guild/Corporate Corruption and Abuses
31-40%: Demagogue is ranting about Organized Crime/Criminal Street Gangs
41-50%: Demagogue is ranting about Political Tyranny and the Oppression by "The Man"!
51-60%: Demagogue is ranting about some war and how unjust and inhumane it is.
61-70%: Demagogue is ranting about the evil, disgusting criminal and cultural threat that some other race presents.
71-80%: Demagogue is ranting about how whatever "race X" needs more equality, rights, and opportunities, and how racism towards them is evil, intolerant, and hateful.
81-90%: Demagogue is ranting about how women need more equality, rights, and opportunities, and how sexism towards them is evil, intolerant, and hateful.
91-00%: Demagogue is ranting about some strange delusional theory. The Demagogue may be ranting about how cows are scheming against society; or that rats are secret spies and agents of disease and death, serving their masters, the evil Ratmen; or that Cats are secretly demonic creatures, and they are plotting to corrupt society; or some other outlandish, bizarre theory...maybe he whispers about giant, eldritch amphibious monsters lurking deep underground in rivers and lakes, and these horrifying monsters are preparing for a time of savage dominion and slavery of the surface society! The possibilities are endless...

69-70: Patrons Hold a Formal Social Meeting:
The patrons gathered belong to some kind of social organization; women, mothers, men, veterans, gaming club, a Pipe/Cigar Club, a Reading/Book Club, and so on. Mostly anything dealing with various personal interests, social issues, or hobbies of a non-professional nature. Usually 2d6+12 members are gathered. Of course, as the local population allows, there may be more or less present, as the DM deems appropriate.

71-72: Patrons Hold a Business/Professional Meeting:
Patrons hold a formal business meeting; or perhaps a professional organization; a professional guild; Bricklayers, Carpenters, Dockworkers; Stockmen/Laborers; Coachmen/Teamsters; Rat catchers, Maintenance/Sewer; Blacksmiths; Tanners; Watchmen; and so on. Usually, 1D20+20 members are gathered. Of course, as the local population allows, there may be more or less present, as the DM deems appropriate.

73-74: Patrons Hold a Celebration:
Patrons have gathered together to celebrate an anniversary, a birthday, an engagement, a divorce, a funeral wake, a business or professional promotion, a retirement party, and so on. There are usually 2d6+12 patrons gathered together for the celebration. Of course, as the local population allows, there may be more or less present, as the DM deems appropriate.


75-76: Terrifying Massacre:
A large group of 2d6+12 Ruffians, Rogues, or Assassins strike at the tavern in a swift, massive and brutal attack, seeking to kill as many patrons present as possible. Generally assume 4D6+12 patrons are slaughtered in the terrifying assault.

77-78: Desperate Victim!
A desperate victim--someone of the DM's choosing--runs into the tavern, screaming or moaning, bleeding profusely, and encounters the player characters, uttering with his or her last breath, "Help me...please..." before falling dead from the wounds. The person also drops something strange at the feet of the player characters--this may be a scroll, with a message; a book; a small coffer or box; some other kind of strange item.

79-80: Someone Sends a Drink:
Some stranger--an attractive man or attractive woman--sends one of the player characters a drink, and invites them over to their table for a chat. The strange person may be interested in the player character for some romantic motive, or simply desire friendship and be sincerely friendly, or perhaps admiring from hearing about the character's past exploits and heroism. Perhaps the character seeks to become a cohort or follower; or perhaps the character is wealthy and powerful, and seeks the player character out for some kind of mission or adventure.

81-82: Robbery:
A Rogue robs a patron. If discovered, the Rogue seeks to flee outside from the tavern. The player characters have a 40% chance of attracting the attentions of a Rogue--or a team of 1d6+4 Rogues. Rogues may seek to con the players from their gold; pickpocket them; or rob them while they are sleeping, or rob their goods from their rooms while they are downstairs, distracted or busy. Of course, the Rogues may feel they can attempt to bully and strong-arm the player characters into surrendering their wealth; if the players choose to resist, then the Rogues can either seek to kill them so as to rob them from their goods, or they may seek to flee, and lead the player characters into an ambush at the Rogue's lair, where they may have more Rogues waiting there that can help turn the tide in the Rogue's favour.

83-84: Lover's Quarrel:
Two people begin arguing and screaming loudly, throwing drinks at each other, hurling insults at each other, and then slapping, punching, and grappling. Pulling hair, throwing food, glasses, plates, kicking and stomping. Huge argument over something between the two lovers.

85-86: Drunken Brawling:
The tavern is swept into a huge, drunken brawl! Workmen, other patrons, barbarians, merchants, adventurers, mercenaries, and so on. All have somehow become engaged in a loud, violent, drunken brawl that rocks the whole tavern. There is a 90% chance that each of the player characters are attacked and also insulted by some drunken patron; or seized by a whole group of patrons, and thrown into the wild melee.

87-88: Cat Fight:
Two women near to the player characters explode into a loud, violent fight with each other. Pulling hair, biting, screaming, snarling insults at each other, pouring drinks on each other, kicking, stomping, and grappling. Many people begin to gather around eagerly to enjoy the festivities, as they laugh and drink, and cheer one woman on or another.

89-90: Jealous Rage:
A patron arrives at the tavern, and looks about, before seeing the person they are looking for. They proceed to approach, and violently assault the person with whatever the best and most lethal approach possible for them may be, screaming insults and snarling in rage at them. A ferocious, violent fight then develops between the two, as one seeks to defend themselves from a furious, jealous rage.

91-92: Gambler's Fight:
Two gamblers leap up from their table, and draw their weapons, and begin fighting savagely, while snarling insults and uttering oaths and curses. The savage fight is over in 1D6 rounds, ending when one of the gamblers lies dead on the floor, stabbed and hacked to death.

93-94: Business Deal Gone Bad:
A group of wealthy, well-dressed men enter the tavern, and casually walk to where another group of wealthy, well-dressed men are gathered at. After some time in seemingly quiet, friendly conversation, the two groups of men begin snarling insults at each other, and a bloody, ferocious fight breaks out into a savage melee. 2D6+6 members of each group dies. At the DM's discretion, none of one group may survive; or there may be 1D6, or 2D6 survivors from each group. The group that lost the fewer members has won the fight; they loot the dead bodies, adjust and clean themselves quickly, and leave. The survivors, if any--lay about, moaning and bleeding.

95-96: Violent Assault:
One, or 1d6 patrons, approach a single other patron, or 1d6 other patrons, and suddenly, violently assault them. Who is making the assault? Why are they targeting the people--or person--for the savage assault? Who knows? Maybe it's a criminal street gang seeking to rob them; maybe it's some kind of political group seeking to intimidate them; perhaps it is a strange cult seeking to intimidate them and kill them. The people or person is brutally attacked with fists, clubs, as well as daggers, shortswords, and brass knuckles. There may be someone or a group--perhaps a rival group of adventurers--that seeks revenge for some real or imagined slight or insult. Be creative!

Violent Assault Table
01-40% The Player Characters are assaulted
41-70% A NPC (or group of NPC's) that the player characters know is assaulted.
71-00% A NPC patron or group of NPC patrons in the tavern is assaulted.

97-98: Dueling Noblemen:
Two wealthy and elegantly-dressed nobles begin a deadly, serious duel. The two are obviously bitter rivals, and they duel fiercely while snarling insults and snarky quips at each other. If the two nobles are not seized and beaten down or otherwise separated from each other, then in 1d12+5 rounds one of the noblemen will be laying sprawled on the tavern floor, or laying out in the street, dead from a lethal wound. Should a wounded nobleman be taken to their home before they are killed, the nobleman's family may be quite appreciative towards the player characters, and reward them each with 1D10x20 Gold Pieces, for saving their son/brother/cousin/family member from an early death from their bitter rival. The wounded nobleman may potentially become a friend or ally of the player characters.

99-00: Assassination
A highly trained and highly-skilled assassin targets someone in the tavern, and seeks to kill them. Unless it is a player character, the DM can simply decide if the NPC struggle and has a chance for the players to rescue them, or that they are killed, and the players discover the dead body in the morning, or later on, whatever is appropriate.

Assassination Target Table
01-40%: Player Characters--Check initiative, develop the encounter by whatever method the assassin seeks to kill the player character. (Poison, assault, trap, poison food, sending a poison snake into their bed, etc).
41-60%: NPC the Players Know
61-00%: NPC that is Unknown