Monday, October 28, 2013

Monster Monday: Mirror Demon

Just in time for Halloween...

Mirror Demon

No. Enc.: 1
Size: Medium
HD: 5 (d12)
Move: 30 ft
AC: 18
Attacks: Grapple (1d6)
Special: Reduced Demon Abilities,
     Mirror Travel, Energy Drain,
     Change Shape, Class Abilities,
     Reflection Weakness
Saves: P, M
INT: High
Align: Chaotic Evil
Type: Extraplanar
TR: Nil (but see below)
XP: 700+5/hp

A mirror demon is a lesser form of True Demon that can travel from the Abyss into the mortal plane via any mirror large enough for to allow their bodies to pass through.  They may take the form of those they kill, and they greatly enjoy creating havoc and discord among the family and friends of their victims.  They prefer to target the vain and beautiful (the types of people prone to stare at themselves in a mirror extensively).  In their true form, their skin is pale (almost corpse-like), with jet-black eyes that cry tears of blood.

A mirror that a Mirror Demon has recently used to travel through, or observe their potential victims, will glow faintly of demonic magic if subjected to a Detect Magic or Detect Evil spell.

Although the demons have no treasure themselves, their victims are often wealthy (the poor being highly unlikely to own a mirror large enough that the demon could pass through).

Combat: A mirror demon will usually wait until their victim is alone in whatever room the mirror is in, with their guard down, before traveling through the mirror to attack.  They will grapple (literally trying to to choke the life out of their victim), with successful attacks also leading to the victim being Energy Drained (see below).

Reduced Demon Abilities: Mirror Demons have the following standard demonic abilities: Darkvision 90', immunity to electricity & poison, and taking only half damage from acid, cold, & fire.  They also have a spell Resistance of 20, and the standard demonic empathy/telepathy which allows them to learn the thoughts, and speak any language known, of their victim, although they must observe their victim at least three times within a week's span through a mirror before this last ability is granted.

Mirror Demons are not immune to non-magical weapons, nor do they possess the standard demonic ability to Teleport or Gate.

Mirror Travel: Mirror Demons can travel between the mortal plane and the Abyss via any mirror large enough for them to fit through.  Even if a mirror is too small for them to pass through, they can still see and hear through them, observing their potential victims and learning about them via the above-mentioned empathy/telepathy ability.  Note that mirrors in areas that have been Consecrated or Hallowed are barred to the Mirror Demon.

Energy Drain: In addition to suffering the above normal damage, living creatures successfully hit by a Mirror Demon’s attack lose one level. These losses are permanent, and can only be regained by the use of a Restoration or a Wish spell.  If the victim is slain, this also allows the Mirror Demon to use their Change Shape ability, and to use the Class Abilities that they have drained (see below).

Change Shape: Any victim slain who was also the subject of a Energy Drain can then be mimicked by the Mirror Demon, in a manned similar to a Doppleganger.  The Mirror Demon can maintain the victim's form indefinitely, until they take the form of another victim, or they travel back to the Abyss via Mirror Travel.

Class Abilities: Any character levels drained via Energy Drain may be used by the Mirror Demon to further the pretense of taking the role of their victim (up to 6th level).  These extra levels do not alter the Mirror Demon's hit points, and are subject to the same duration limitations as their Change Shape ability.

Reflection Weakness: Although their Shape Change ability is otherwise nearly flawless, their true form can always be seen if they are observed through a mirror, or anything else that will cast a reflection (such as the still waters of a pond).

Note: AD&D-style demons have not (as far as I know) been officially covered in the C&C rules - I based my write-up on the unofficial Creatures Features fan-supplement, which can be downloaded here (my XP value is higher than many of the equivalently-dangerous demons, as it appears to me that many XP values for monsters - official and otherwise - don't fully account for all of a monster's abilities)    

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Souris - 1702/Rickamil

Rickamil is one of five worlds in the Souris subsector that was once owned by the Ardiska-Stane corporation, which used the worlds primarily for the gathering of raw materials for its various biochemical research projects, as well as the occasional 'in-the-field' science experiments.  About half a century ago, the residents of these worlds, tired of being under the thumb of AS, coordinated their efforts in an attempt to overthrow their corporate masters, during a time when the corporation was having more than a few problems elsewhere throughout the Gateway Quadrant.  Tipping off various pirate factions as to the schedules of the AS ships arriving in-system, the revolutionaries attacked the crews and commandeered the ships of any company vessels that did make it into port, with the aid of some privately hired mercenaries.  Eventually, the five worlds declared themselves to be an independent polity, calling themselves the Kasahlian Confederation, so named after Kasahla Lenruli, the leader of the revolution who died fighting off AS-hired mercenaries.

Ardiska-Stane appealed to Emperor Aandiruu (who had only taken the throne a year earlier), arguing that not only was such a revolution illegal in regards to worlds legally owned by the corporation, but that such a succession of planets from Sphere Fenix was both an insult to the Emperor and seriously undermined and threatened the strength and security of the Sphere.  Seemingly in agreement with AS, Aandiruu sent soldiers and warships to the five worlds of the Kasahlian Confederation, quickly crushing the nascent Kasahlian government.  However, much to the consternation of AS, Aandiruu did not return the control of these worlds to the corporation, but rather declared them to be directly under the rule of the Sphere, until such a time when each world could show that they were capable of self-rule in such a manner that did not threaten  the sanctity of the Sphere.

Since then, two of the five former Kasahlian worlds have achieved self-rule.  Rickamil is not one of them.  As the capital of the Kasahlian revolution, a strong desire for independence and self-rule still dominates the populace of Rickamil, although not universally so.  As a result, the occasional burst of terrorist violence against the agents of the Sphere living on the planet (usually Naval forces occupying the planet) occurs now and then.  This is not so frequent as to justify an Amber Zone rating for Rickamil (and those who commit such acts tend to be careful not to target civilians travelling from off-world), but it is enough to ensure that the local Law Level is highly restrictive in terms of weapon possession.

The Rickamil Starport system is dominated by its highport, which also doubles as the SF Naval base that oversees control of the planet.  Needless to say, things tend to be very strict and run very much in a by-the-book manner at the highport.  The down-port is located in the capital city of Mosera, where things are just a little bit more relaxed, although still well-regulated and tightly run.  The SF Navy takes a dim view of starships skimming the local oceans for unrefined fuel instead of paying for refined fuel at the 'port.

Rickamil is fairly Earth-like physically, although the unusually high nitrogen content in the atmosphere requires the use of oxygen tanks for those who work or travel outside.  Over half of the roughly 700,000 inhabitants of this world work and live comfortably inside the atmosphere-controlled buildings of Mosera, with the rest living in the various smaller settlements that dot the Rickamilian landscape.  It should be noted that while Rickamil is technically Tech Level 13, the common TL for the civilian populace is closer to 12; any TL 13 items for sale in the civilian sector will usually be double the usual price.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Music Monday: "Working Man" (symphonic)

Around here at Casa Knightsky, it's pretty much a Labor Day tradition to crank up 'Working Man' by Rush... not that we usually need an excuse to play some Rush around here. However, in an attempt to class things up a bit (because I am, y'know, all about being classy), I now present a symphonic rendition of said song, courtesy of the Royal Freakin' Philharmonic Orchestra.

You're welcome.

(Will get back to posting Traveller-related stuff after I recover from DragonCon)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Souris - Sphere Fenix

The Crucis Margin Guidebook from Judges Guild gives us the following information on the polity known as Sphere Fenix:

"Sphere Fenix was original settled by a very diverse group of refugees from the collapsing First Imperium. During the Long Night, these fugitives flourished into a series of mini-states. About 500 Imperial dating, a series of small but bitter wars broke out. In 724, the three surviving states declared peace on each other and met to discuss unification. Though the precise details of governmental structure took over 28 years to develop, Sphere Fenix dates its birth from that meeting. Though internal unrest has occurred since, the overall prosperity has continued to increase. A mutual defense treaty was signed with Ramayan in the 8th century Imperial. Technical assistance is received from Imperium military services and Imperial security is rumored to have great influence. In spite of having fought in no major wars in centuries, military prowess is high and it has become traditional to serve a term or two as a mercenary in one of the surrounding sectors, especially the Marlan Primate."

Given this, it would be easy to see the Sphere Fenix (SF hereafter, or just 'the Sphere') as sort of an Imperium-lite... and honestly, I'm okay with that.  For Traveller players primarily used to  interacting with the setting of the Third Imperium, SF allows a degree of familiarity to rely upon while dealing with the politics and players of a new sector outside of the Third Imperium's borders.  The trick here is to remember that SF came out of the ashes of the First Imperium; they did not have the Solomani influence that came about due to the Rule Of Man, and that continued into the forming of the Third Imperium.  In many ways, SF is more Vilani in outlook than the Third Imperium is, very status-conscious and technologically conservative.  That said, the smaller size and influence of the Sphere is less conducive to arrogance and hubris than the First Imperium was, and out of necessity SF is more flexible in dealing with the realities of interstellar politics.  

The Sphere controls 80 systems in the Crucis Margin sector, spread out over five subsectors (Ark, Negoiul, Souris, Mandin, and Olsztyn).  The highest tech level obtained in her worlds is TL 14.  It maintains excellent relations with the Third Imperium; residents of the Sphere like to think of themselves and the Third Imperium as allies, while other polities in the Gateway quadrant tend to see SF as mere puppets of the Imperium.

Kaarin II, circa 991, while on shore leave
SF is ruled by a hierarchy of nobility, in a similar manner to the Third Imperium (although the ranks of Viscount and Archduke are not used).  The current Emperor is Kaarin II, who succeeded her father Aandiruu in 997*, after the latter abdicated the throne for health reasons (Aandiruu is still alive; his primary functions these days is the spoiling of his grandchildren).  Kaarin served five terms in the SF Navy, leaving military service with the rank of Captain. Had she chosen to stay in the Navy, most feel that she would have eventually obtained the rank of Admiral. Kaarin was originally third in line for the throne, her older sister Eleni (who had been groomed for the position for decades) died in a grav-race accident in 996, and her older brother Ishugi declined taking the throne, feeling that Kaarin was a better choice. Kaarin's younger brother Eneri is next in line to take the throne; many suspect that he is covetous of his sister's position as Emperor, but for the moment seems to be content with his own role at the royal court. Kaarin has no children, and has never married, although rumors of her secret romances abound through the Sphere.  Her rule has overall been well-regarded by her subjects, and she is generally deemed to be highly intelligent and capable.

*I'm using 1105 as my starting time for the setting

Music Monday: "In Thee"

Allen Lanier, founding member of Blue Öyster Cult, passed away last week at the age of 67. Besides being a guitarist and an excellent keyboardist, he also wrote several songs for the band.   Of these, "In Thee" is probably my favorite.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Souris - 1701/Palompi

And so we start off, not with a bang, but with something of a whimper.

The original UWP of Palompi, the first planet we see (from the hex-number order) is X100000-0.  Which, in Traveller-speak, is a lifeless, airless rock, perhaps only a thousand miles in diameter, with no one living on it.   Quite frankly, there's not much reason for any travellers to visit this system.  The updated 'canon' UWP data is only slightly more interesting, but that's only because it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.  With a UWP of X101200-0, a PBG of 600, and stellar data of M2 V, we have the same airless rock (orbiting a red dwarf star), but now with some surface moisture (about 10%) on the small planet, in spite the fact that with no atmosphere and very little gravity the idea of any surface moisture somehow being retained seems rather unlikely.  Worse, we now have a population of about 600... despite the fact that this is a lifeless rock, and they have absolutely no technology worth mentioning.  Unless we assume the natives are some sort of energy beings that can survive in a vacuum and have no need whatsoever for technology, this can probably be safely ignored.

With no oceans, and no gas giants in the system, there's not currently any real reason why a ship might pass through the system, since it can't even do any fuel skimming to refuel for another jump.  Given that the Traveller world generation system defaults to crating the primary world of interest in a system, if there are any other planets in the system (and a type M star would have a fair chance of plenty of other worlds orbiting it, even if there are no asteroid listed belts in the system), then by default any other worlds in the system are even less of interest than Palompi is.

Still, there should be some reason why this system is on the maps, or at least, why it once was.  Let's run with the idea that there was once a mining colony here; at its peak it held about 600 inhabitants or so.  The operation was run by nearby Rickamil (and therefore, Sphere Fenix), the only hi-tech world within jump-1 range of Palompi (one parsec coreward of Palompi is Ambale, in the Induz subsector of the Maranantha-Alkahest sector, but Ambale is a pre-spaceflight world, and would be rather unlikely to run any off-world mining operations as a result).  As with many airless worlds, the working and living areas were mostly constructed underneath the surface as opposed top on it.  The primary element mined here was lanthanum, but various other rare ores and minerals were collected as well.

A little over a century ago, the lanthanum deposits were eventually depleted, and Rickamil eventually pulled its people out; the remaining other minerals and ores that were still available weren't enough to justify ongoing operations.  Eventually, due to internal political pressures, Sphere Fenix 'let go' of Palompi, not wishing to spend even token resources defending an otherwise pretty useless piece of rock.

Should anyone find their way in the Palompi system, there's only a slim (roll 12 on 2d) chance of another ship in the system. Such a ship would probably (1-5 on d6) be trying to mine for the remaining various ores and minerals available - what is insufficient for a government body might still prove profitable for an individual or small group. Non-miners might be exploring the underground facility that once housed those who lived here.  Most of the really valuable equipment was either taken backed to Rickamil or later stripped by those who came after, but the underground facility is decently large, and there's always the chance that there's something of interest and/or value might still remain, especially if one is willing to spend some time exploring past the initial entrance area.  In either case, only starships that have the fuel capacity for two jumps (one to Palompi, and the other to whatever nearby system that would like to go to) would willingly travel to this system.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Exploring the Souris subsector

Yeah, I haven't been posting much lately.

Haven't been gaming much, either, and the two are related.  While there's still stuff regarding the Gheron setting I could write about, with the C&C game on hiatus for the last few months, I'm not really feeling the drive to post stuff about a campaign I may or may not get to run again.

As has happened in the past, when I'm not running or playing anything, I found myself pulling out and looking at my classic Traveller books.  There's something about Traveller that's highly conducive to sparking the creative juices - I think it has to do with the 'bare bones' approach to many of the elements of play, which pretty much demand that you fill in the blanks yourself.  It's also easily adaptable to solo play.

The last time I ran a Traveller campaign, back in the early 2000's, it was envisioned as a big, sprawling thing that would see the PC's caught up in the sweep of a flashpoint of the 3rd Imperium's history, weaving elements of The Traveller Advanture, the Fifth Frontier War, and the Shadows/Research Station Gamma/Twilight's Peak/Secret Of The Ancients story arc.  These days, I'm much less interested in over-arching storylines, favoring a looser, sandbox approach.  I also wanted to get away from the Spinward Marches, a setting I've ran and played in for over two decades.

JG's Souris, click to enlarge (like you didn't know that already)
And so, I was flipping through my copies of the old Judges Guild sector guidebooks, which detailed the Gateway Quadrant, four sectors of space that included various client states, pocket empires, and independent worlds that acted as a buffer between the Third Imperium, the Hive Federation, and the Two Thousand Worlds.  In the Crucis Margin guidebook, I encountered the Souris subsector, an area of space where there were no less than four separate polities, as well as several independent worlds between them.  What a great place to set some PC's loose on, to let them wander, scheme, and adventure as they see fit!

Of course, things aren't always that simple.

If you head over to the Traveller Wiki or the Traveller Map, you won't find the Souris subsector, not as such anyways.  The Judges Guild version of these sectors had long ago be de-canonized, and the current Traveller canon has different political entities and borders in the area, with the Souris subsector being renamed as the Outrun subsector.  Also, although the names and locations of the various systems have remained the same, some of the worlds have different Universal World Profiles.  The above pic shows the original JG writeup of the Souris subsector; the digits highlighted in yellow show data that has since been changed (either accidentally or by design) with the current canon, as depicted in the Traveller20 supplement Gateway To Destiny (which is also available here).

As a result, I'm pretty much ignoring the revised data/canon, in favor of JG's original version of the area.  Well, mostly.  The data in Gateway details a time a little over a century before the time of the classic Traveller setting (i.e. the years leading up to and including the Fifth Frontier War).  If it makes sense to do so, I may use the 'official' information on the area as a description of the recent history of any given world.  Then again, I may just ignore it.  In any case, I plan on writing up some short descriptions of each world in the subsector.  I would be negligent if I did not mention the work that is being done over at The Etzina Passage, where Chuck is doing some highly detailed work on some of the worlds in the Crucis Margin sector; his work on that blog has helped to inspire me to do a little bit of writing on my own.  My approach will be different from his (mainly because his approach entails a heck of a lot more work), with a looser style.  If I find myself struggling for inspiration on a given world, I may also refer to the old DGP supplement Grand Census, using that book's approach to give a little extra detail here and there.

To the left is a (hopefully) more visually pleasing version of the original JG map of the subsector, which I based off the the above-linked Traveller Map; I used my rather meager Photoshop skills to rework the political borders back to their original locations, as well as correcting the starport designation for 2206/Inuvik, and adding a gas giant back to the map for 1805/Spry.  That's my starting point.  Let's see what comes from it.

Edit: something I did drop from the JG version of the Souris data is the presence of various Scout bases in the subsector.  It doesn't make any sense for the Imperium to maintain any Scout bases this far outside of its borders (well, any official bases, that is), and I think this is a case where the 'official' data gets it right. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Because there hasn't been enough discussion yet about the Appendix N books

Over at there's a series of articles kicking off discussing the various Appendix N books, and how they actually relate to D&D as it's actually played, starting off with a look at "Red Nails" by Robert E. Howard.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Jack Vance 1916-2013

Jack Vance, one of the greatest fantasy/S-F authors of the 20th century, has passed away.

Besides his tremendous body of work as an author, Vance is also noteworthy for his influence on RPG's.  His legacy regarding D&D is well documented, but his Demon Princes series was also a notable influence on Traveller, as well.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

C&C: the Minstrel class

This is a variation of the Bard class as it appears in the C&C Player's Handbook.  It is based not so much on the viking skald, but rather more on the traveling musicians of Irish and Welsh lore, as well as the British troubadour.  The Minstrel is less of a warrior than the Bard, and relies more on subtlety, as well as some magical ability.

There are many similarities between the two classes, as one might expect.  Charisma is, of course, the Prime Attribute for both classes, and the EPP chart is also the same.  The Minstrel is allowed the same armor and weapons as the Bard, and both classes may be of any alignment.  The Bard's special abilities (Decipher Script, Exalt, Legend Lore, Fascinate, and Exhort Greatness) are also shared by the Minstrel.

Being less of a straight-up fighter type, the Minstrel uses d6 for their Hit Dice (instead of d10), and their BtH progresses as per a Rogue.

Minstrels also have the Listen ability, as per the Rogue class (wearing metal or large helms negatively affect using this ability, of course).  They also have the Pick Pockets ability, to represent their ability with various sleight-of-hand tricks, but their bonus using this ability is only equal to half their level, round up (for example, a 7th level Minstrel would only get a +4 bonus to attempt this ability).  Because they are well traveled, and it is useful to be able to perform to a wide variety of audiences, Minstrels also get Bonus Languages: they get +1 language that they read and speak at 1st level, and they gain another language at 6th level, and another again at 11th level.  Also, they can use the ability modifier for CHR instead of INT to help determine the number of starting languages they speak, assuming that their CHR score is the higher of the two (which it probably is).

Last but certainly not least, Minstrels are also spellcasters.   They will never be the equal of equivalently trained Wizards or other spellcasting classes, but combined with their other abilities, they still get by pretty well for themselves.  The use of their spells (also known as 'songs of power') require the minstrel to play a musical instrument and sing while the spell is being cast; the singing and playing are the Verbal and Somatic components of the spell, while the instrument being played acts as the Focus.  The musical instrument/Focus replaces most Material components usually required by the spell, although Material components that are fairly expensive (100 GP or more) are still required.

Otherwise, Minstrels learn, prepare, and cast spells as other arcane spellcasters do.  They gain bonus spells for having a high INT score, in a manner similar to Wizards and Illusionists. They carry their own spellbooks (a.k.a. 'songbooks') for the purpose of preparing their daily spells.  Because the written notes for these spell include both magical and musical notations, any given song of power usually takes up twice as much space in the songbook as an equivalent spell in an arcane caster's spellbook.

Spells per day
Level              0     1     2     3     4     5     6
1                  1
2                  2     
3                  2     1
4                  3     1
5                  3     2     
6                  3     2     1
7                  3     3     1
8                  4     3     2     
9                  4     3     2     1
10                 4     3     3     1
11                 4     4     3     2     
12                 5     4     3     2     1
13                 5     4     3     3     1
14                 5     4     4     3     2    
15                 5     5     4     3     2     1
16                 5     5     4     3     3     1
17                 5     5     4     4     3     2     
18                 6     5     5     4     3     2     1
19                 6     5     5     4     3     3     1
20                 6     5     5     4     4     3     2 

1. Comprehend Languages
2. Dancing Lights
3. Daze
4. Detect Magic
5. Ghost Sound
6. Influence
7. Message
8. Prestidigitation

1. Alarm
2. Animal Friendship
3. Charm Person
4. Hypnotism
5. Identify
6. Read Magic
7. Remove Fear
8. Sleep
9. Sound Blast
10. Ventriloquism

1. Calm Animals
2. Command
3. Hypnotic Pattern
4. Misdirection
5. Scare
6. Shatter
7. Suggestion
8. Tongues

1. Charm Monster
2. Dispel Magic
3. Emotion
4. Fear
5. Hold Person
6. Lesser Restoration
7. Remove Curse
8. Remove Paralysis

1. Dismissal
2. Dispel Illusion
3. Hold Monster
4. Legend Lore
5. Sending
6. Shout

1. Dream
2. Feeblemind
3. Mass Suggestion
4. Nightmare
5. Permanency
6. True Seeing

1. Awe
2. Geas
3. Insanity
4. Repulsion

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Free Comic Book Day 2013

"Comics!  Get yer free comics!"

You can find a nearby participating store here.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Holmes D&D rulebook should have had a Lucha Libre class

So, I was watching Santo y Blue Demon Contra los Monstruos with my wife (hey, don't judge us, man), which, just in case you are unfamiliar with this cinematic masterpiece, involves two masked Mexican wrestlers fighting a mad scientist, various zombies, and yes, about a half-dozen different monsters of the old-school, ripped-off-from-Universal-Monsters mode, complete with cheap sets, spliced-in footage from other movies, and a shameless lack of acting talent.  The monsters include a vampire (along with two sexy female vamps), a Frankenstein monster, a wolfman, a mummy, and a cyclops.

The latter is what interests me.  Based on a monster suit from an earlier film, what the film refers to as a cyclops is also an amphibian gill-man, giving it a bit of a Creature from the Black Lagoon vibe (in a very cheap, knock-offish sort of way) as well.

While watching the film, I was thinking to myself, "I've seen something like this somewhere before... was it in a gaming book?"  About halfway though the movie, it hit me where I had seen something similar enough that I can't help if it if perhaps the creature shown in los Monstruos might perhaps have served as some sort of visual inspiration.

That's from the UK version of the Holmes 'Blue Book' edition of Dungeons & Dragons.  The art in the UK edition has some one-eyes orcs in it as well, but I've always assumed that the above illustration was meant to be a troglodyte.  Is it possible that the artist was a fan of cheesy Mexican wrestling films, or am I merely reading too much into what is probably a coincidence?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Monster Monday: Swordwraith


No. Enc.: 1
Size: Medium
HD: 8 (d12)
Move: 30 ft
AC: 18
Attacks: Incorporeal Weapon (1d12)
Special: Energy Drain, Incorporeal, Darkvision
     60', Daylight Powerlessness, Unnatural Aura
Saves: M
INT: High
Align: Lawful Neutral
Type: Undead (Extraordinary)
TR: Nil
XP: 900+8

A swordwraith is an extremely rare form of undead, the result of a Lawful Neutral warrior of great skill (8th level or higher) who dies due to the betrayal of a comrade-in-arms.  Three days after the warrior's death, his or her spirit may return as a swordwraith, to seek vengeance against those who betrayed their shared cause.  Upon finding and slaying the traitor, most swordwraiths then pass on to whatever afterlife awaits them, but a few continue to stalk the earth, striking down those who draw the swordwraith's ire.

The swordwraith appears as a spectral warrior, bearing the wounds and injuries they did at the moment of death, up to and including lost limbs and decapitations (of course, the loss of a head or limb does not hinder the swordwraith in any fashion).  Despite the name, a sword-wraith might use any weapon, not just a sword, depending on what weapon they specialized in during their living years; a few even use missile weapons (standard range for the missile weapon in question, with the swordwraith never running out of arrows, bolts, sling bullets, etc).  They can travel tirelessly by night, remaining relatively dormant in the shadows during the daylight hours.

Combat: A swordwraith is normally insubstantial, like a more standard wraith, and thus only magical weapons of +1 or better can affect their ectoplasmic form. A swordwraith attacks by passing through objects to attack their foes unawares. They strike, disappear back through an object, and return again, harrying their opponents unto death.

Incorporeal Weapon: The swordwraith's weapon of choice does 1d12 damage (no matter what a normal version of said weapon does).  Due to the swordwraith's great skill with their chosen weapon, that are +3 to hit with it.

Energy Drain: In addition to suffering the above normal damage, living creatures hit by a swordwraith’s attack lose one level. For each such level lost, the swordwraith heals five hit points. These losses are permanent, and can only be regained by the use of a Restoration or a Wish spell.

Unnatural Aura: Animals, whether wild or domesticated, can sense the unnatural presence of a swordwraith at a distance of 30 feet. They will not willingly approach nearer than that, and panic if forced to do so; they remain panicked as long as they are within that range.

Sunlight Powerlessness: Swordwraiths are powerless in natural sunlight and flee from it. A swordwraith exposed to direct sunlight cannot attack, and must retreat.

Inspiration: Warren Zevon's "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner",  NOT based on the 'undead template' of the same name as created by WOTC (honest!)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Classic Traveller... free!

Specifically, the Starter Edition of the Classic Traveller line is available for free at both DriveThruRPG and RPGnow.  This was originally done as a Christmas promo, but apparently has been allowed to continue.  If you've never played Traveller in its original incarnation, this is an excellent way to introduce yourself to one of the true classics of the early days of RPG's.

There are three books that comprise the Starter Edition (rules, charts & forms, adventures); be sure you download all of them.  Then break out the d6's, and get ready to start travelling...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Banner of Three Swords

Highly prized by kings and generals, the Banner of Three Swords is a powerful magical item that grants great aid to armies who fight under its aegis.  Specifically, it grants all who fight while the Banner is being held (within line-of-sight of the Banner) the following bonuses, for the duration of the battle:
  • +2 to all attack rolls
  • +2 temporary HD
  • +4 to all attribute checks, class ability checks, saving throws, and morale checks
However, these bonuses come at a cost.  The bearer of the Banner suffers a -4 penalty to AC, and a -4 penalty to most saving throws.  They do gain the temporary HD listed above, and have a +4 bonus to resist any attempts to take the banner from them, magical or otherwise. Due to its size, the bearer of the Banner can not otherwise attack while holding it.  The bearer of the Banner must understand and freely accept the risk involved; someone bearing the Banner through ignorance, coercion, or trickery confers none of the above-listed bonuses to those who fight under the Banner.

Those who die bearing the Banner are usually accorded much honor and respect.  If a PC dies bearing the Banner, they should receive some sort of bonus to creating their next character.  If using an Honor system (like that used in the 1st ed AD&D Oriental Adventures rulebook), grant the dying character double the "heroic death" honor award.  If not, the player's new PC can either choose to start one level higher than normal, or add +1 to any two attribute scores.

Inspired by Marvel Graphic Novel #15: "The Raven Banner - A Tale of Asgard"

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Bunny Day

However you choose to celebrate Easter (or not), have a good one.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monster Monday: Serpent Men

Serpent Men

No. Enc.: 1-20
Size: Medium
HD: 2 (d8)
Move: 30 ft, 15 ft swim
AC: 14
Attacks: Weapon or Bite (1d3)
Special: Darkvision 60', Spellcasting
Saves: M
INT: Superior
Align: Neutral Evil
Type: Humanoid
TR: 2
XP: 20+2

Serpent Men are among the eldest of mortal races.  They are humanoid in shape, ranging from 5 to 6 feet tall, with scaly skin and snake-like heads.  They once ruled over mankind and other such races, but were eventually overthrown and almost exterminated as humanity fought back against their oppressors.  These days, their numbers are relatively few, and they usually live among humans, thanks to their gift for illusion, often attempting to slay those who rule over others, and taking their place afterwards.  They worship snake gods such as Yig and Set. Wise men know that, due to the construction of their throats, serpent men can not utter the phrase "ka nama kaa lajerama", and will utter this if they suspect the presence of mankind's ancient foes among their midst.   Serpent men also can not bear the image of a dragon (their ancient enemies) upon their person, and this can also be used to identify one or more of their number. Serpent men are a very long-lived race, with a few of their number over a thousand years old, although most are much younger.

Spellcasting: All serpent men are spellcasters, their magicks deriving from an era when the division between arcane and divine magic was not so sharply defined.  Most serpent men can cast spells as a wizard from 1st to 5th level, although a few of their number are more skilled (higher level serpent men spellcasters will have HD equal to half their wizard level, round down, although this will never exceed 5 HD).  Their magics tend toward illusion and subtlety, and they generally do not know the more potent battle magicks used by mankind (human and elven wizards will usually force any apprentice to utter the above-mentioned shibboleth to ensure that they are not unknowingly teaching new magicks to these degenerate beings. Serpent men will usually cast from the following spell list:


1. Arcane Mark
2. Change Self (see notes below)
3. Detect Illusion
4. Detect Magic
5. Ghost Sound
6. Influence
7. Know Direction
8. Message


1. Animal Friendship**
2. Bless*
3. Calm Animals**
4. Charm Person
5. Command
6. Comprehend Languages
7. Darkness
8. Daze
9. Hypnotism
10. Identify
11. Obscuring Mist
12. Read Magic


1. Animal Messenger**
2. Fog Cloud
3. Hypnotic Pattern
4. Minor Image
5. Speak With Animals**
6. Speak With Dead


1. Dispel Magic 
2. Explosive Runes
3. Glyph of Warding
4. Hallucinatory Terrain
5. Major Image
6. Remove Curse
7. Suggestion 
8. Tongues


1. Charm Monster
2. Confusion
3. Dismissal
4. Fear
5. Illusory Wall
6. Mirage Arcana
7. Scrying
8. Sending


1. Bind Spirit (see notes below)
2. Guards & Wards
3. Mass Suggestion
4. Persistent Image
5. Permanency
6. Project Image
7. Summon Monster
8. True Seeing


1. Banishment
2. Geas
3. Legend Lore
4. Programmed Image


1. Greater Scrying
2. Sequester
3. Shadowwalk
4. Summon Greater Monster


1. Binding
2. Mass Charm
3. Summon Planar Ally
4. Symbol


1. Disjunction
2. Weird

*reversible spell (and in fact serpent men wil often only know the reversed versions of said spells)
**'Animals', in this instance, is limited to snake and snake-like beings 

Serpent Men cast the spell Change Self as a cantrip, not a 1st level spell, with the advantage that they can, in fact, create the illusion of becoming another race.  Serpent Men can use higher spell slots to cast this spell, and are often required to do so (due to the limited duration of the spell) to maintain their guises for extended periods (as a result, serpent men pretending to be humans or other races will often have few, if any, other spells prepared).  They can also cast a spell known as Bind Spirit:

CT 1 minute                     R 50 ft                       D permanent
SV none                           SR n/a                       Comp V,S

Any mortal man slain by a serpent man can have his spirit bound into service by his slayer through the use of this spell.  It must be cast within 10 minutes of the victim's demise.  The spirit can not cause harm to the living (and can be turned as a 3 HD undead), although mortals not used to seeing such a spectral sight may have to make a CHR save to avoid fleeing.  These spirits can be used as spies and informants, and their servitude may be passed from one serpent man to another, if desired.

Source: "The Shadow Kingdom" by Robert E. Howard

Monday, March 18, 2013

V&V court case resolved

As Rogers Cadenhead has reported over at Workbench, the lawsuit over who owns the right to the V&V game has been settled, with the judge declaring the game's creators, Jeff Dee and Jack Herman, do indeed own the rights to the game. Personally, I think this is indeed the best outcome for the game, and I have high hopes that, with the court proceedings now behind them, that Dee and Herman, through their company Monkey House Games, can actually bring back V&V as a viable contender among current superhero RPG's (it will probably never dislodge Mutants & Masterminds as the champ of that particular field, realistically, but there's no reason why it still can't do well for itself in today's market).

As Cadenhead points out, this has ramification for FGU beyond V&V; pretty much all their other games (which were presumably published under a similar contract as the one used for V&V) that they published during the 70's and 80's now can (if I understand it correctly) now be reclaimed by the various authors of said games.  If FGU wants to continue as an active publisher in today's gaming marketplace, they're going to have to look at acquiring new games, and not just coasting by on the glories of the past.

Edit: Scott Bizar of FGU has filed an appeal of the court's ruling, so this will take a little while longer to completely work itself out.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sandbox superhero campaigns (part 3)

(part one here, part two here)

Besides the various individual activities of the city's villainous types, and the smaller activities that a patrolling hero might encounter, a good sandbox superhero campaign will also have larger events occurring at the same time that can also be of interest to the city's heroes.  Such events can be similar in nature to the sort of things that a hero might encounter while on patrol, but will usually be larger in nature and scope, the sort of thing that the entire team could try to deal with; the former might involve an office building on fire with a half-dozen employees at risk, while the latter could be a high-rise building engulfed in flames with dozens of inhabitants threatened.

The Citywide Events table covers this sort of thing.  How frequently it should be used is campaign specific; once a week, twice a month, or monthly are all possible options; a good rule of thumb is to have said frequency roughly coincide with how much game time passes between gaming sessions (this should ideally be the same as the time block you use to determine activity by gangs, organizations, solo and group supervillains).  Whatever the frequency, roll 1d3-1 times on the table below for each block of time that passes during the campaign.  Such events can be caused by, or tie into, the various criminal NPC's already chosen for the game, but they don't always have to be. Note that, due to the flexibility of any given event, two completely different entries could yield similar results - this is deliberate.

(and of course, even if you have no desire to run a sandbox game, these tables can still be used to generate random scenario ideas for a more traditional superhero game)
1-2 Organizations, Gangs & Government
3-4 Solo Supervillains
5-6 Supervillain Groups
7   NPC Superheroes
8   PC's & Friends
9   Other Crimes
10  Weird & Unusual Stuff
Then roll on the indicated sub-table below.

1  Organization recruits supervillain (even odds as to whether this
   is a temporary or permanent addition)
2  Supervillain defects from organization (they probably don't take
   this very well)
3  Two organizations come into conflict (could be loud and messy,
   could be quiet and occurring in the shadows)
4  Internal power play in organization, coup d'état (could play out
   fairly quickly, or could be a protracted civil war - however 
   long it takes, the head of the losing side, assuming they're
   still alive, is probably now on the run from said organization)
5  Temporary alliance between street gang and supervillain (the
   villain has a temporary use for the gang; whatever happens, it
   probably won't end well for the gang) 
6  Two street gangs come into conflict (innocents are no doubt hurt
   as they get caught in the crossfire)
7  Terrorist activity (could be either foreign or domestic 
   terrorists, possibly superhuman)
8  Government group goes on strike (could be a group that affects
   the public safety, like police or firefighters, in which case
   the heroes may need to pick up the slack; alternatively, could
   be an organization of less obvious impact, which might have a
   more subtle and personal effect on one or more of the PC's, or
   it just might be brought up for more humorous effect -
   sanitation workers go on strike, and the garbage keeps piling up
   outside the PC's base)
9  Local government infiltrated (probably an organization taking
   control, although shapeshifting supervillains are also a
   possibility - will almost certainly make things more difficult
   for the PC's
10 Diplomatic visitor (possibly an elected official from another
   city, or perhaps from another country, and needs to be guarded
   from threats - optionally, not an elected official, but a 
   wealthy (and probably obnoxious) celebrity whose presence makes
   things difficult for the PC's

1  New villain arrives in town (might be here for a one-off job, or
   might be looking to make the city their new home)
2  Two villains team up (could be a one-time thing for a specific
   task, or could lead to a partnership - if the latter, the duo
   rolls a d8 instead of a d6 to see if they are active during a
   specific time-period in the campaign)
3  A new supervillain appears
4  Two supervillains fight each other
5  An incarcerated villain manages to break out of jail
6  An old villain returns (might be returning from the dead, or 
   just coming out of retirement)
7  Villain seeks aid from hero or hero group (might be pulling a
   scam, or might genuinely require aid for a good cause that only
   the heroes can provide)
8  Villain calls out hero for fight (possibly a trap, of course,
   but done with enough publicity that the hero looks bad if they
   don't show up)
9  Villain gets on bad side of organization (might become a 
   temporary ally of the heroes, depending on their feelings toward
   the organization)
10 Villain switches sides (could be part of a scam, might be a
   legitimate face-turn, although even if genuine the villain may
   eventually backslide into old habits)
11 Temporary alliance of multiple solo villains (probably to pull
   off some big score, Ocean's 11 style)
12 Villain pretends to be hero (probably to make the hero look bad,
   although possibly just to mess with their minds)


1  Villain group arrives from out of town (probably just for a 
   temporary task, but there's always a chance they might want to
   relocate on a more permanent basis)
2  Villain group recruits one of the local solo villains into their
   ranks (could be temporary, hiring them for a specific task, or
   they could be a permanent addition)
3  Villain group loses one of their members (could be a mutual
   decision by both sides, but probably not)
4  Villain group attacks a local solo villain (for pretty much any
   reason, really)
5  Two supervillain groups fight each other (the potential for
   innocent casualties and mass destruction should be huge here)
6  Villain group decides to target and attack the PC's (could be a
   simple ambush, or might take some time studying the heroes to 
   make sure to exploit any weaknesses)
7  Supervillain group clashes with an organization (the heroes may
   not know which side to support, if either, but things might get
   messy enough that the heroes have to do something)
8  Power play withing supervillain group (someone tries to be the
   new boss - the loser of such a struggle may or may not be ousted
   from the group, depending on the egos involved)


1  New superhero shows up (may want to join with the PC's, but is
   obnoxious/incompetent enough that the PC's probably don't want 
   to work with them - alternatively, the new hero may choose to
   avoid working with the PC's, for various reasons)
2  Superhero shows up from another city (probably on a temporary
   basis, although they might be setting up operation on a more
   permanent basis - may or may not seek to work with the PC's)
3  Hero group shows up from another city (may not want to work with
   the PC's, may even have to come into conflict with them)
4  One or more local NPC heroes goes missing (the PC's, of course,
   will have to investigate)


1  Player Character targeted for romance (this could be in either
   their secret or heroic identity)
2  PC's secret identity is targeted (PC may become aware of someone
   snooping, or someone may have already discovered the truth and
   is threatening/blackmailing them - alternatively, might not be
   someone hostile to the PC, but instead a friend or family 
3  Friendly NPC threatened (anything from a stalking ex-spouse to
   local gang members to a supervillain who wants to win their
4  PC's secret identity gets attention (their 15 minutes of fame,
   for whatever reason, not connected to their heroic identity,
   although the media attention may make slipping into their heroic
   guises unnoticed more difficult - if the PC doesn't have a dual
   identity, they get media attention for something besides their
5  Unusual will request (could be from anyone, from along-lost
   relative, to a NPC hero or even a villain - must perform some
   unusual deed or finish up some long unfinished bit of business -
   alternatively, might inherit an unusual device or odd bit of
   property (great for heroes without a base, especially if the
   location is haunted or otherwise quirky)
6  Friendly NPC or NPC's get mutated/altered in some way (probably
   temporary, but always a chance that there might be more
   permanent affects)


1  New designer drug show up in town (could just be the latest
   variation of crack or meth, or might also give the user 
   temporary super-abilities)
2  Multiple super-villains break out from the local super-prison at
   the same time
3  Kidnapping (possible high-profile enough that the PC's are
   called in to help, or perhaps a friendly NPC is abducted)
4  Public official targeted for assassination (the PC's have to
   provide protection, of course - the target might for good 
   measure dislike/hate the PC's)
5  Influx of guns/other weapons in the area (might just be a
   proliferation of real-world weaponry, or high-tech stuff might
   somehow be finding their way into the hands of local 
   organizations and/or street gangs)
6  Citizens endangered (anything from an arsonist setting fire to a
   high-rise building to a lunatic threatening to poison the city's
   water supply)
7  Robbery (possibly a heist audacious enough that it gets lots of
   media attention, or could be a local/friendly NPC whose 
   livelihood is being targeted for some reason)
8  Innocents targeted (someone is targeting victims based on some
   ethnic/creed/gender/profession/etc classification, i.e. 
   Hispanics, gays, Catholics, prostitutes, veterans, children, etc
   - may be killing them, or possibly kidnapping - probably for
   prejudicial reasons, or might may be using them for something
   more esoteric, such as to complete a magic ritual)


1  Unusual weather (could be something natural, depending on the
   location and time of year, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, forest
   fires, etc, or could be something caused by a supervillain or
   some unusual artifact)
2  Extra-dimensional being(s) shows up (someone or something from a
   non-earthlike dimension, could be an advance scout for an
   invasion force, could be fleeing some terrible oppression, could
   be looking for a new home, could just be lost)
3  Alien(s) show up (motives similar to extra-dimensional beings as
   above, may or may not have a starship with them)
4  Mass supernatural occurrences (outbreaks of vampirism, people
   seeing ghosts everywhere, people unknowingly casting spells
   based on their words or wishes, etc)
5  Dimensional rift opens (could be to another world, another
   dimension, another time, etc. - probably temporary, but a slim
   chance it might become permanent)
6  Temporary boom in superhuman activity (people gaining temporary
   superpowers, for both good and ill, with the chance that for
   some it might trigger a more permanent change - optionally, it
   doesn't create new superhumans, but rather something compels
   everyone with unusual abilities, including those who normally
   choose a more mundane lifestyle, to become more visibly active
   during this time period)
7  Science runs amok (any super-tech characters or organizations
   might do something inadvertently affects the area, such as
   creating an intelligent computer virus, temporary time-shifts,
   subsonic emissions affecting people's personalities, etc - this
   can also include more mundane failures of science, such as a
   citywide power blackout)
8  Space-related disaster (meteorites crashing into the city, space
   station astronauts needing to be rescued, etc)
9  Someone from a parallel universe shows up (could be refugees,
   invaders, multi-versal tourists, etc, may or may not have a way
   home, and for good measure could also be analogues of the PC's)
10 Time traveler(s) shows up (could be from either the past or 
   future, either controlled or accidental - if from the future 
   they are probably trying to prevent/ensure some event from
   occurring, which may put them in conflict with the PC's, if
   from the past they may be seeking insight into their own 
   futures, or may be wishing to acquire some advanced piece of
11 Prophecy (the PC's get some warning/vision of the future, and
   have to act accordingly - optionally, a NPC has to deal with the
   prophecy instead, and as a result is acting somewhat contrary to
   their usual nature)
12 Mass mind control (someone or something is controlling/
   influencing the local populace in some malign way)
13 Mass transformations (could be caused by an alien virus, 
   technobabble rays, demonic energies, etc, possibly enacted by a
   mad scientist or alien invaders, is probably temporary/
   reversible, but may trigger more permanent changes in a few 
14 Rampaging monster (said monster will almost certainly have high
   strength, nearly invulnerable to damage, probably isn't too 
   bright, and optionally may be several stories tall)
15 Mass amnesia (should ideally affect the local super-types as 
   well - PC's can have fun trying to re-learn their abilities, and
   villains can discover if their criminal behavior is more a
   matter of nature or nurture)
16 Animal life goes nuts (possibly being controlled by some 
   supervillain, or perhaps some alien/mystical artifact is causing
   the local wildlife to go wacky)
17 Social unrest (tensions flare over anything from racial strife, 
   gay-bashings, unpopular courtroom decisions or religious/
   political scandals - enough so that there will be riots/violence
   in the streets)
18 Media smear (the PC's - or perhaps someone close to them - takes
   a drubbing in the press ("threat or menace?")
19 Religious/cult activity (unusual or controversial edicts from a 
   major religion, possibly directed at or concerning the PC's -
   probably hostile, but also perhaps venerating a PC or PC's - or 
   perhaps a smaller cult makes things interesting, either through
   malign or merely secretive/unusual activities)
20 Superhuman tournament/competition (some sort of contest for a 
   grand prize, a la The Great Super-Villain Contest, could be more
   specialized, such as a martial arts tournament, or might just be
   seedy and sleazy, like an underground pit-fighting broadcast)

(to be concluded... eventually)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Overknight at the Inn

Just as Villages are often glossed over, so are the inns that adventurers often stay in during their travels.  Still, there are times when a little detail can be useful, both for the inn itself and for whatever other NPC's are staying the night there as well.

First, the name of the Inn in question.  Roll d4 twice to get started (if you roll a 4 on the first roll, use a d3 for the second roll instead) to see what type of words forms the name of the Inn.

1. Person
2. Object
3. Creature
4. Adjective

If there is an Adjective, it always comes first.  A Person will come first, unless there is also an Adjective.  A Creature will always come last.  If there is no Adjective, then there will be an '&' between the two names.  Add 'Inn' at the end of it, and there you go.

PERSON (roll d20)

1. Archer
2. Angel
3. Bandit
4. Baron
5. Count
6. Dancer
7. Duke
8. Friar
9. Hangman
10. Hunter
11. Hag
12. Imp
13. King
14. Knave
15. Knight
16. Nymph
17. Prince
18. Queen
19. Squire
20. Wench

OBJECT (roll d30)

1. Arrow
2. Banner
3. Barrel
4. Boot
5. Bridge
6. Brook
7. Bugle
8. Bush
9. Cart
10. Cask
11. Crown
12. Cup
13. Dagger
14. Fiddle
15. Flagon
16. Flask
17. Glass
18. Glove
19. Goblet
20. Helm
21. Horn
22. Quiver
23. Rose
24. Shield
25. Spear
26. Staff
27. Sword
28. Vine
29. Whistle
30. Willow

CREATURE (roll d6,d6)

1,1 Boar
1,2 Bear
1,3 Cow
1,4 Cock
1,5 Crow
1,6 Deer

2,1 Dragon
2,2 Duck
2,3 Eagle
2,4 Elk
2,5 Falcon
2,6 Fox

3,1 Fowl
3,2 Frog
3,3 Goat
3,4 Goose
3,5 Griffin
3,6 Hare

4,1 Hart
4,2 Harpy
4,3 Hawk
4,4 Hog
4,5 Horse
4,6 Hound

5,1 Kestrel
5,2 Owl
5,3 Pheasant
5,4 Pig
5,5 Rabbit
5,6 Ram

6,1 Sheep
6,2 Sparrow
6,3 Stag
6,4 Swan
6,5 Toad
6,6 Wolf

ADJECTIVE (roll d30)

1. Bald
2. Big
3. Bonny
4. Burly
5. Burning
6. Buxom
7. Crowing
8. Dancing
9. Dirty
10. Flying
11. Giddy
12. Happy
13. Howling
14. Jolly
15. Leaping
16. Little
17. Lone
18. Long
19. Lucky
20. Merry
21. Noble
22. Roaring
23. Royal
24. Singing
25. Sleeping
26. Ye Olde
27. (number)
28. (color)
29. (metal/jewel)
30. (roll twice on this table)

For Number, roll d8+1, giving a range of adjectives from Two to Nine (anything following should be plural, or course).  For either Color or Metal/Jewel, roll on the subtables below:


1. Black
2. Blue
3. Brown
4. Green
5. Grey
6. Red
7. Scarlet
8. White


1. Brass
2. Bronze
3. Copper
4. Golden
5. Iron
6. Ivory
7. Jade
8. Silver

As for the inn itself, if it is situated in a village, it will have 2d4+2 rooms that it rents out, in addition to the common room.  If it has 8+ rooms, there is a 1-in-6 chance the building has two stories, otherwise it is an one-story structure.  If in a town or city, the inn will have 3d6+2 rooms for rent (plus common room); assume any such structure with 11+ rooms is automatically a two-story building  Most rooms can hold two human-sized travelers for the night with minimum fuss.  There is a 2-in-6 chance of there being a stable nearby for the horses (or really poor travelers).  There will be 1-2 primary owners (if two, even odds of it being a married couple), with a number of servers and other help equal to 1d3 + (number of rooms for rent/5, +1 if there is also a stable), most of them probably related to the owner(s). There is a 1-in-20 chance of the Innkeeper(s) being Eeeeeeevil (i.e. spy for foreign power, dangerous cultist, or just killing travelers via secret doors into the rooms so they can steal their gold and make meat pies from their bodies). 

Of course, there's no guarantee that there are going to be enough rooms for all of the PC's to sleep in.  That depends, after all, on what other travelers are staying overnight there.  Roll three times on the Common Travelers table below if in a village, four times if in a town or city; roll an extra time if there is a fair or religious festival going on in the area at the time.


1. 2d3 common craftsmen (i.e. potters, masons, etc) traveling between towns, probably staying in the common room.
2. 2d4 criminals - could be local members of the thieves' guild, bandits, slavers, etc.  Might be staying in the common room, or might be renting rooms (two per room).  Probably won't attack while in the inn, but may ambush the PC's if they don't look strong enough.  Most will be 1st level, but the leader will be 1d4+1 level.
3. 2d4 fighters, possibly either traveling guardsmen, or mercenaries for hire.  Even odds whether they are renting rooms or sleeping in the common room.  1st level, with a leader 1d4+1 level.
4. 1d3 locals, probably sleeping in the common room because they don't want to go home this particular night.  If more than one, they might be getting together for some secret meeting (conspirators, sexual tryst, etc.), in which case they will have rented a room.
5. 1d2 merchants, renting rooms (possibly a room each).  Will have 2d3 1st level fighters as guards with them, who may or may not be sleeping in the common room, and 1d3-1 apprentices, who will definately be sleeping in the common room.
6. 1 lesser member of nobility, who will (of course) have a room to themselves.  They will have 1d3 guards (1d4 level fighters) and 1d2 servants with them, who will also be sleeping two to a room.
7. 2d4 pilgrims, all sleeping in the common room.  There is a 1-in-10 chance that one of the pilgrims is actually an adventurer or former adventurer (roll as per Uncommon Traveler, below).  There is a 1-in-6 chance there is a Cleric with them (1d6 level), probably renting a room for themselves.
8. roll on the Uncommon Travelers table below


(assume that there is only one of each, unless otherwise mentioned, 2d4 level, and will definitely have a room to themselves, 3-in-10 chance is actually a demi-human)

1. Assassin
2. Barbarian
3. Bard
4. Cleric (even odds 1d6 acolytes are with them, either two to a room or sleeping in the common room, 1-in-20 chance is a Druid instead)
5. Fighter
6. Knight (4-in-6 chance has a 1st level squire with them, in their own room)
7. Magician (1-in-10 chance is an Illusionist instead)
8. Paladin
9. Ranger
10. Thief
11. Adventurers (2d3+1 in number, 2d3 level each, reroll d10 on this table to determine class for each)
12. roll on the Special Travelers table below


(all except the last option will, of course, be shapeshifted to appear human (or at least humanoid), all will be alone unless noted, and all will have rooms to themselves except where noted)

1. Demon (probably a Succubus)
2. Doppleganger
3. Dragon (either Silver or Gold)
4. Rakshasa
5. Lycanthropes (either 1d3 werewolves or 1d4 wererats, either sharing rooms or sleeping in the common room)
6. Ghost (not actually renting a room, of course... the inn is haunted!)