Monday, October 24, 2022

Monday Monster - The Phased Serpent


From the forthcoming tome: The Collector's Compendium of Creatures!

Name: Phased Serpent

Description: This is a large serpent, around 30 feet long. It is black in color, with some small eyes. It has a strong sense of dimensional magic, and so lives most of its life out of phase with the Great Reality. This means that it can move through physical matter as if it weren’t there, it can’t be attacked (except with magic or magical weapons) or attack until it phases into reality.

They generally are found near the shores of Ghendal, though it can be found on other worlds on occasion.  It is possible its origins are from another world, and that some made it to Ghendal as an invasive species a very long time ago. It would be from whatever location the Qhuempi are originally from.

Intelligence: Higher animal

Motivation: Survival, carnivorous

Hearts: 4

Difficulty to Hit: Normal (13+)

Average Attributes: 

Str:  +2   Dex:    0   Frt:   0    Awr:    +2     Soc:    0

Actions: 2 primary, 1 secondary

Attacks\Combat Skills: Bite +2, Tail whip +1, each can do injuries or 1 heart of damage.

Armor/Protections: Ability to phase

Powers: Dimensional Magic +2

WP: 8

Special Rules:  It travels through the ground and has a natural ability to phase itself in temporarily. It uses its dimensional magic to sense life when traveling phased through the ground.  It uses this to attack and eat its prey. It attacks primarily with its bite, though it may attack by whipping its tail towards its enemies, should it deem to protect its head. It may phase or unphase itself as a defense against attacks. 

Possibility of treasure: Low

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

A Quick Formula for an Adventure!

 How to Be a Great Narrator (Game Master) #3

Sometimes you plan for weeks and weeks to make your campaign ready. You spend days in worldbuilding, days in the maps, hour after hour making the core NPCs, and even more hours working out the storylines.

Other times, you’re just sitting around with some buddies and you want to throw down some dice. While they’re whipping together some quick characters, can you improvise an adventure? Can you make something interesting and exciting?

Here’s a fast formula you can use to put out an exciting and compelling adventure! It’s “SNGC” - you could possibly pronounce that like, “SNUG-kkh” if you wanted to, but I’m not sure why you would...


1 - Setting

Where is this adventure going to happen? This is more than just “What world?” or “What city?” the players will be wandering through. Is there a basement or catacombs under an inn or a chapel? Will they be creeping through a dark and spooky forest? This is the first decision.

2 - Characters

Who will be involved? In this case, I’m speaking much more about the NPCs, rather than the players. Who will they encounter, and what will they be like. Jot down a few names (maybe use an online name generator or an old IKEA catalog) and a few notes of the role of the character and their personality. The less of this you have to improvise, the more fleshed-out the story will be.

3 - Goals

Why are we here? And why should we care? 

These are the deep existential questions your party will be asking you. Well, they might not ask these questions out loud, but believe me, they are thinking about these issues. Exploring the sandbox or shopping for new armor and potions only carries you so far before you start to wonder what the point of it all is. Is there some magical McGuffin they can seek, or some monster terrorizing a village? Is there a tourney to be won, or someone to be rescued? The sooner a goal, a task, is established, the sooner the game will get underway.

4 - Conflict

This is critical. Without conflict, you have no story. Sandbox play can be fun, but if the characters don’t have something driving them to act, they will either shut down in boredom, or will look to create some conflict with the characters in the setting. It’s NOT likely that this will end well. Trust me.

There are two kinds of conflict here: One is the conflict the party will face when they try to achieve the goal. This could be pretty obvious: The monster they’re trying to kill might not WANT to be killed, or the powerful evil wizard whose McGuffing they’re wanting to steal might not WANT to end his comfortable reign of blood and horror.

It’s also a lot of fun to establish some external conflicts between the NPCs. Maybe some of the villagers don’t trust each other, and maybe they want to get back at an old rival in the tavern. These sorts of conflicts might not drive the story quite as much, but they can sure flavor it and make it more tricky.

Remember to hint at the conflicts and the goals early on. This is often called the “Hook” or the “Teaser”. This is what triggers the adventurers into action mode and away from drink-themselves-into-oblivion-on-the-inn’s-barstool mode.

So, that’s the SNGC formula for a quickie adventure. Even if you can’t decide how to pronounce it (“SNOG-ick”? “SING-K”?), you’ll find that it will help you establish an active and energetic adventure that your players will lunge into. It can also be used in preparing the individual sessions of a long-running campaign as well.

Happy Gaming, and roll 20s!

Monday, October 17, 2022

Monday Monster

 As part of our work on the new THT manual: The Creatures Compendium, We'll be sharing monster teasers here every other monday! We hope you enjoy throwing them at your players and parties! If you do, come back and comment how the encounter went!

Name: Vast Squid

Description: The Vast Squid is a huge cephalopod-like creature that drifts and slides through the ethers of the Vast. It eats large masses of matter that float in that extradimensional space. This is mostly rock and stone, but they have been known to attack and consume Vast ships and other hominid-crafted items that travel the Vast. Its excrement is a gravel-like substance that, when it drifts into a Vast cloud, can seed the formation of magical crystals, from which powerful oculi can be made. This is, of course, only one way to obtain oculi, and is certainly the most dangerous method.

Vast Squid are extremely rare. <I haven’t even seen one, and I live in the Vast. I only have records of them from the Seeker’s Library. Though I can’t tell when it was written. Was it written in the past or the future? I may never find out. Regardless, Vast Squids are solitary creatures, that, according to the record are very slow.> 

Vast Squid also feed on magical energy, flying or swimming through colored clouds and entropy storms, eagerly drawing in energy as multi-colored lighting blasts from the clouds.

Intelligence: Completely unknown. No one on record has ever communicated with one.

Motivation: Also unknown. (Note to Narrator: Have fun with this!) They are mostly docile, but will attack if hungry or attacked first. If one is pulled through a portal into the Great Reality, it will be very disoriented and upset and may attack fiercely until it is able to return to the Vast.

Hearts: 4-6

Difficulty to Hit: Hard (17+) because of the thick, rubbery skin. In The Great Reality, it may be more difficult because of the distortion mentioned below.

Average Attributes: 

Str:  +5   Dex:   -3   Frt:   +4    Awr:    ?    Soc:    -4

Actions: X primary, X secondary

Attacks\Combat Skills: +3 Strength attack. A Vast Squid has 10 tentacles, but is not fast enough to attack with all 10 in one round. It will likely only attack with 2-3 tentacles per phase. If a Vast Squid attack rolls higher than Difficult DF, they have likely wrapped a tentacle around the victim and will squeeze the life out of it. A Hard Strength or Dexterity roll (17+) will be required to break free. 


Powers (including WP): Dimensional Magic +4

Special Rules: The magic of the Vast Clouds allow the Squid to regenerate hearts of damage and severed tentacles. This won’t happen immediately, but gradually. A Vast Squid in The Great Reality exudes dimensional energy, distorting reality around it. Things can change and warp very quickly, sometimes temporarily, sometimes permanently. 

Possibility of treasure: The Vast Squid has nothing of value to hominids, other than the gems that are seeded in the clouds.