Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Found in the High Level Merchant's Spell Book

1. Charm of the Impulse Buy
2. Proxion's Resolve Softener
3. The Ninth Eighth
4. Glung's Margin Widener
5. Pitiless Eye of the Assayer
6. Phantasmal Loss
7. Invisible Shill
8. Illusion of Rarity
9. Destabilize Currency
10. Rancor of the Duped
11. Besmirch Competitor
12. Excellent Ray of Penury (reversible)

Monday, November 7, 2016


The Operation Unfathomable Kickstarter campaign winds down this week, with a mere three days remaining.


We've added several intriguing stretch goals into the mix, most notably for readers of this blog a special art-free preview edition of The Dungeon Dozen 2, a collection of all the tables published here since the release of the first book (just under 200 tables).

Drawing by me, cover design by Trey Causey


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Incomprehensible Activities of Beetle Ghosts

Yet another table excerpted from OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE
KICKSTARTER LIVE  <-----click!
Note: as you no doubt realize, I'm duty bound to beat this drum for awhile.

1. Ghost couples sway back and forth in ritual slow dance accompanied by ethereal power ballads
2. Spectral tour guide blathers on endlessly, indicating areas of interest indistinguishable from run-of-the-mill Underworld features, phantasmal tour group oohs and ahs
3. Funeral procession departs from area bearing countless tiny coffins of indeterminate provenance, disappears into the distance
4. Ghost crowd sits around poking and staring at claw-held slate rectangles
5. Raucous beetle ghost banquet in full effect, table, chairs, victuals invisible to onlookers
6. Beetle cowboys astride incorporeal saddle-sailed dimetrodons coax pack of naked cavemen ghosts down the passage
7. Beetle warriors struggle mightily against invisible giant monster, look embarrassed if interrupted then disappear
8. Ghost crowd watches reenactment of execution using decapitation scissors, a clear precursor to modern Nul cult practices
9. Beetle politician gives some kind of rousing stump speech, met with light applause, seeming disinterest by crowd
10. Beetle ghosts remain silent and invisible until party draws near then suddenly appear claws raised, screeching out ferociously, take in reactions for a moment, then emit peals of terrible insect laughter
11. Beetle ghosts in lab coats dissect (intangible) human shape on slab, drop bits into jars, seem to be having jolly good time
12. Amid a sudden cacophony of screaming invisible fans, ghost beetle-driven horseless chariots race by, vying for position until one chariot careens into the wall, crashing spectacularly, crowd hushes, but then the driver steps from the wreckage claw upraised in defiance, crowd again goes wild, and scene

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Click the link above to check out the Kickstarter for my adventure book.
Check it out and then pledge with the reckless abandon I've come to expect from readers of this blog.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Launch delay

We were all set to launch the Kickstarter for Operation Unfathomable today, but, to the consternation of myself and my allies at the Hydra Cooperative, we hit a technical snag that can only be resolved on the KS end. Once we clear this hurdle, its go time. Sorry for this unexpected delay, people. Stay tuned for updates as they become available.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

We Search the Heap of Detritus

Here's another table excerpted from Operation Unfathomable (game details removed due to the stringent system-free policies of this blog), the adventure book by me.
The Kickstarter to make this book as beautiful and functional as it should be launches tomorrow!

Underworld detritus
The segmented giant and local agencies maintain main thoroughfares, piling up heaps of fallen stone, mineral accretions, and other garbage along the sides of corridors (as indicated on the map). In a pinch, Underworld travelers sometimes bury themselves in this loose debris to avoid unwanted encounters. If adventurers risk a turn searching, they stand a 2 in 6 chance of finding something.

We Search the Heap of Detritus
1. Giant-size engagement ring with polychrome gem, dropped recently by Uurx the Impervious, who will promptly repossess it if given half a chance
2. Dessicated slugman wearing fancy business harness with silver embroidery, coin purse empty nearby, swallowed valuables before lethal mugging, 1d6 gems in gullet
3. Junk-covered tunnel leads to fledgling giant pillbug colony, 2d4 pillbugs rush to defend territory
4. Skeleton of dead hero, bronze armlet of protection vs. Chaos godlings, looks like he died after being struck by hundreds of tiny harpoons
5. 1d6 starving micropuddings make immediate assault upon rations, use acidic excretions to breach backpacks, wine skins
6. Fist-sized crumb of Hard Rations of the Gods (a single bite sates human-types for a week, two bites: save or die, more bites: just die)
7. Dead fire bomb beetle, 1d6 delicate fluid-filled cysts for harvest (burst into flame upon exposure to air), abdomen also filled with hungry pillbugs chowing down frantically, haven't chewed open a fire bomb just yet...
8. Chunks of petrified adventurer from pre-modern era, shattered, reanimates if painstakingly reassembled but resents it bitterly, expresses outrage in forgotten tongue
9. Depleted Chaosometer under large stone, recharges to full capacity upon 60 minutes exposure to standard ambient Chaos, detects horrors, godlings, chaos anomalies
10. Keys to safety deposit box at the Slugman bank in Black Ooze River Town
11. Crumpled map of the Beetletown apartment complex on some kind of flexible plastic material, hand-scrawled, an ancient relic of the Beetle Age
12. Rival party of adventurers hiding from you

Saturday, October 8, 2016


Shaggath-Ka, the Worm Sultan, claims yet another victim
Image from Operation Unfathomable
That’s okay! It was probably hilarious and maybe it wasn’t even your fault. It’s really dangerous around here. Fortunately, you took the time to prepare a spare.
But the rest of the party is still deep within the Underworld.

How Does My New PC Show Up?
1. Swallowed by a colossal trans-planar worm back at home, proved to be indigestible, deposited in the Underworld, smells terrible
2. Formerly held under mind control by Chaos godling, now broken free and slowly recovering original personality (but must save or fall back under godling's influence, if encountered) 
3. Employee of sorcerer from Ft. Enterprise exploring a cave for spell components (add two caps of azure fungi to inventory), fell down a fissure and woke up lost in the Underworld  
4. Member of rival party who entered the Underworld just hours before, comrades destroyed almost immediately after arrival by cloud of poisonous gas, you: safely off relieving self in alcove 
5. Sudden storm while staggering home from the tavern again, knocked on head by wind-swept debris, picked up by eldritch tornado and dropped into the Underworld following a spectacular and uselessly prophetic dream sequence 
6. Doomed fling with vampire ended abruptly at the outset of what was supposed to a romantic holiday in the Underworld, now free of spell and disgusted with self 
7. Got really drunk fell asleep in the street, woke up tied in a sack on the back of a lizard-driven cart trundling down The Devil’s Highway, managed to tumble off, slither behind stalagmite but still hogtied
8. The wizard said he was teleporting me to the Big City, boy did he screw up, plus I picked up a mark of Chaos for my troubles
9. Set sail for unknown shores, ship smashed by kraken, sucked down a whirlpool, emerged from nearest Underworld well, pool, river, swamp, sea, etc.
10. Answered ad for dungeon gig, patron turns out to be serial killer with a thing for adventurers, killed horribly, but instead of ascent to heaven, anomalous reincarnation in the Underworld
11. Confined to bed with fever from lethal plague, witch appears in room at midnight with curative potion, works but also transports you to the Underworld
12. Poisoned by a giant spider while on a picnic, dragged to cave lair for consumption, cave breached from below by spider-eating mutant mole, titans clash blocking exit, only way to safety: down the hole and here you are (equipment limited to picnic gear)

Excepted from Operation Unfathomable, my adventure book coming soon from the Hydra Cooperative. A Kickstarter for this book launches Monday October 10. Watch for more information here. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Damn Good Reasons to Descend into the Mythic Underworld

1. Intercept communique encoded with plans and instructions from Underdwarf Mechanics Guild agents to Subdwarf Makers Guild master for application to surface wizard's personal Manhattan Project
2. Following a widespread outbreak of identical nightmares, your church, shaman, mentor, parents, sense of moral outrage compel you to find, destroy freshly spawned Chaos godling while still in its infancy
3. Locate theoretically trainable dungeon behemoth on Underworld plain, tranquilize and return, lizard-driven wagon (collapsible), gallon of soporific, hypodermic ballista ammo provided
4. Foil insane plan of evil sorcerer to cast creeping cloud of fecundity upon isolated Underworld humanoid population, time is of the essence
5. Infiltrate cult of Underworld godling, endure weird, gnarly (temporary) lifestyle as cloistered chaos monk, when trust gained use magical device to reproduce text of forbidden scriptures, GTFO
6. Visit three Underworld potentates (separated by miles of danger-filled passageways), present enchanted trinkets as gifts to establish reputation of patron wizard among the subteranean upper crust, must attend many snooty dinner parties, weird bachannals, scary rituals
7.  Search for Underworld lair, kidnap sorcerer who reportedly cracked the code on key aspect of immortality magic, return to venerable, super-rich patron for forced collaboration/enhanced interogation
8. Sent by a sainted cleric to retrieve a holy relic slated for public desecration by an Underworld cult
9. The rich wizard needs you to collect seven drops of night-dew from the petals of the colossal black orchid in the center of the reeking Underjungle
10. Enter Underworld ocean via enchanted submarine longboat, confirm or deny the existence of the intelligent blind porpoise city, offer allegiance of the surface world Sea Kings
11. Use incomplete map to locate chamber filled with giant eggs and destroy every last one of them, somehow learn to live with the knowledge of what was inside them
12. Masquerade as Underworld humanoids, attend annual Pan-Underworld swap meet in gigantic colluseum-shaped cavern, purchase seemingly valueless trinket for extremely wealthy collector

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sometimes Its Boring in the Dungeon

1. Entire level once an ancient library haunted by undead entities consumed by a lust for research, 96% of collection devoted to genealogical records of the slugmen
2. Diabolical system of teleportation glyphs sends hapless party from 10' corridor to 10' corridor in continuous loop, 1 in 6 chance per glyph of return to the surface so they can return to headquarters in disgust
3. Since the party's last ill-fated visit dungeon gentrified by lawful monsters, former deathtraps and torture chambers converted into boutique shops and cafes (of evil)
4. The level subject to refurbishment by unionized humanoid work crews, mandatory break times enforced, no fighting allowed, dungeon traffic rerouted to little-used thoroughfares devoid of monsters, treasure
5. Level empty except for scads of semi-precious stones scattered everywhere, requires hours of tedious labor to gather but adds up to a decent sum, process gives PCs a chance to share their backstories in full detail
6. Incredibly long monster queue for compulsory annual audience with the Dungeon Overlord winds throughout entirety of level, monster patience still holds, but it could get less boring in a hurry
7. Dungeon loaded with tiny humanoids devoid of any tactical sense and scarcely a hit point between them, they just keep coming in wave after stupid wave
8. After depopulating the level in an indescribable bloodbath, the succubus just wants to play chess. Really, that's it.
9. Monster ballet choreographed by vampire aesthete with large bribery budget performed in deep level amphitheater, thunderous footfalls, musical accompaniment of evil audible from dungeon entrance, rooms empty
10.  In an unprecedented executive order, Dungeon Overlord issued valueless paper currency, all precious metals, gems, etc., impounded in impregnable super-bunker, economic collapse imminent, chests and coffers offer only stacks of poorly printed notes, guards no longer give a shit
11. Supremely powerful, typically hateful eldritch deity is the only occupant of the level, gives chase, moves incredibly slowly, bellows out resounding recap of its own eons-long backstory
12. All levels but the first completely cleared by rival party via advantageous secret entrance, already drunk back at the Ol' Adventurers' Saloon, chomping cigars and telling satirical anecdotes at the PCs expense

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Come Up and Look at my Etchings


FOR SALE: actual physical drawings, many of which appear in The Dungeon Dozen tome and various other publications. Wealthy collectors of esoterica and outsider art speculators take note!

This one is already sold!

1. Shrink the heaps of drawings sitting idly around the home laboratory and spilling over into disputed territories
2. Replace said heaps with sacks of cash

1. Follow the link over there on the left to my Etsy store
2. Convert your unwanted cash into ORIGINAL WEIRD DUNGEON ART
3. Receive art in the mail, you frame, you stash, you foist upon loved ones as unwanted gifts, you do whatever it is one does with drawings. I stack them up in heaps, which is no good to anybody.

Gone too!

Enjoy a 10% discount when you enter the coupon code
NERDBONUS at checkout.

This is only an experiment, so ACT NOW before I come to my senses and pull the plug on this thing.

Friday, February 26, 2016


Dour, taciturn, tired
Random stand-ins for Thorin and Company for those insufferable hipster campaign worlds that just have to be different

1. Petite, dainty, jolly, exceptionally skilled little female warriors able to leap around as if on wires, insatiable lust for thrills, males of the species useless drones who never leave home on distant isle, unflappable sunny disposition grants immunity to fear, confusion, contempt for ostentatious displays of wealth, compelled by biology to return to isle for procreation when level limit reached
2. Chimp-sized apes with long luxurious beards, servitor species created for skilled manual labor by extinct masters (construction, blacksmithy, cooking, childcare), bonus to strength, sub-normal wisdom, suggestible, must make saving throw to resist direct orders from trusted companions
3. Short, bald, slight humanoids with huge, impeccable mustachios, masters of fashion, haberdashery, footwear design, disguise, minor illusion, able to create improvised stylish equipment to tackle unique challenges (bungee cord suspenders, parachute hats, suction-cup shoes, etc.)
4. Highly intellectual spell-casting potted plants w/anthropomorphic Venus flytrap-like mouths, each come with own nano-cephalic hominoid personal valet/bodyguard
5. Wee human forklifts with huge hands and arms, originally created by Underworld sorcerer for sale to freight/shipping companies, able to crush goblin (or appropriate replacement) skulls in their bare hands, vocabulary consists of 3d6+2 randomly selected nouns and verbs
6. Humanoid hedgehogs: exceptionally dexterous little hands, form defensive ball of spines when threatened and roll like hell, predatory monsters always choose other victims first, so damn cute humans must overcome strong aversion to attack them even when they're acting like complete bastards
7. Small, buff people with great big eyes, prominent ears, permanently flared nostrils, plus variety of other weird sensory apparatus protruding from oversize heads, 1d3 extra senses (as detect magic, clairvoyance, clairaudience, ESP,  etc.)
8. Diminutive blue-skinned speed freaks: constantly in search of ingredients to brew their cherished vitality juice (lethal to humans, reeks like a hot sewer, served in elaborate ritual six times daily), super-human movement rate, will die if they fall asleep
9. Adorable skunk people: release various defensive chemical sprays (as sleep, charm person, corrosive acid, standard offensive stench, etc.), learn to mimic familiar odors as they gain experience
10. Puny yet impressive warriors who never take off their helmets, affixed at top secret coming-of-age ritual never witnessed by humans, helmet design indicates clan/personal monster totem, complete badasses totally lacking concept of humor, despise frivolity of any kind, liable to leap into action when fellow adventurers argue over course of action
11. Hairless humanoid rodents, necrotic bacterial load in saliva, able to squeeze into any space smaller than their heads (and they're pretty narrow), always flee from snakes of any size, secretly eat humans
12. Four foot tall Cthulhus

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dungeon Extinction Events

1. Puny humanoids on level one, driven by obsessive trap-mania of master thief-assassin clan boss, built so many deadly traps all the other denizens are dead, many of their own killed daily just getting from here to there
2. Normally fecund medium size humanoids on level two rendered permanently sterile by exposure to gas released capriciously by sorcerer from level four, population facing oblivion with characteristic savagery
3. Giant snakes lay about in messy heaps, victims of newly arrived giant rats w/toxic, mutated body chemistry, garden variety giant rats already wiped out, reeking snake carcasses attracting, subsequently poisoning other dungeon vermin/scavengers
4. Everything that breathes (especially the sorcerer) on level four dead after experimental fireball fusillade spell ate up all the oxygen
5. Once-teeming skeletons on the tomb level, already dead, come unglued due to highly transmissible undead virus attacking their eldritch connective tissues, picked up from visiting cosmopolitan lich, bones lie about in random heaps, some still animate, impotent but for the ability to provoke heebie jeebies,
6. All entrances to level five sealed by custom hold portal spells, monsters make war of frustration upon one another, trolls doing well at the moment, chaos cultists still have ace up their sleeve
7. Level six recently visited by That Other Adventuring Party via teleportation, carnage everywhere, treasure no where, vulgar graffiti viciously lampoons PCs
8. Level seven subject to catastrophic flooding event precipitated by meandering cthonic worm discovering underground lake, black pudding population enjoying the change of pace, everything else floating face down
9. Sudden rise in lava levels in the fire caverns accompanied by release of lethal volcanic gas brought an end to production at the dwarf foundry, their giant iron guardians waist deep in cooling lava, magic swords sticking out of the flow here and there
10. Extra-planar entity, duties to its irresponsible summoner fulfilled, steadily clear-cuts the fungus forest in feeding frenzy, seems insatiable, entire mini-ecosystem in tailspin
11.Dwarf insurgents detonated experimental explosive device on mine level, eldritch fallout results in neutron bomb-like effect, everything dead, treasures intact, as are the vampires in their secret crypt, no one should go in there for like fifty years
12. The dragon had a paranoid melt-down after recent treasure inventory showed significant stock shrinkage, roams about issuing accusations followed almost immediately by fiery breath, claw-claw-bite, only the really stupid monsters left but they're next

Sunday, February 21, 2016


Services no longer required

Random replacements for campaign worlds with less than average Tolkien influence but still need something to fill that handy "destroy on sight with impunity" niche.

1. The Encrusted: a fungus whose life cycle favors war-torn nations, battlefields strewn with bodies, releases spore clouds on entire communities, subtle at first, affects minds of potentates with delusions of conquest, shroom-covered commoners become single minded implements of war
2. The Beheaded: re-animated by malice, lust for revenge against execution-happy Lawful dynasties lording it over humanity for epochs, controlled with specific spell set by cabal of wizards who feel strongly they should be in charge of everything
3. Green Bastards: bark-covered, extremely thorny war pawns of the Earth God dedicated to extermination of human nuisance, nurseries hidden in vast, aggressively expanding forest known as The Green Hell
4. Antihumans: products of draconian selective breeding program for war-like traits, eradication of pity, mercy, followed by ruthless training on Skinnerian Isle by brainiac master caste with long-term world domination scheme, contingency plan includes remote activated poison implants in case they get out of control
5. Mesomorphs: demon-brewed clones of Arnold Schwarzenegger train for ten years in the Dungeon of Free Weights before murder genes activated by potion injection, unleashed in bands to become agents of mayhem in the world
6.  The Extruded: formed of space age polymers in very rough human shape and given semblance of life in factory of Chaos at the bottom of megadungeon, hard to kill
7. Virus men: one day you catch cold, the next you're a fanatic in army of destruction incapable of seeing the irony in wiping out its own host, otherwise retain full intellectual capabilities
8. Anthropomorphic army wasps: seize humans, sting with soporific venom, lay eggs on living hosts incarcerated in paper dungeon nests, will one day succeed in human domestication but until then it is war
9. Underworlders: dwellers of the world below, like humans covered with black spiny hair, spider-like faces, tunnel up from below for raiding, cherish human-crafted goods, foodstuffs, issue frequent calls for the surrender of humanity, issue tracts detailing scientific proof that humans designed by creator as service caste
10. Menace from Another Sphere: Space helmets conceal Portuguese Man-o-war-like gasbag heads, robes obscure hundreds of black tendrils that paralyze, poison, and sting like hell
11. Crashlanders: descendants of marooned soldiery from space, rayguns ran out of juice generations ago, foment conflict as unconscious biological imperative, w/out guiding hand of evil space emperor lack direction other than make babies, make war
12. Homo Superior: brighter, tougher, just plain better than us = they must be destroyed

Monday, February 15, 2016


Image unrelated to post, but totally a teaser for my upcoming Underworld adventure book OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE to be published this year by the Hydra Cooperative

Emergency elf replacements for that special snowflake campaign schema.

1. Amphibious humanoids with huge, complex frilly gills fanning around absorbing oxygen from air, uncanny marksmen w/water-bladder propelled harpoon guns, more variations on the trident than pole arms in medieval Europe, Namor-like contempt for all things terrestrial
2. Transplanar refugees: originally from kinder, gentler universe destroyed by evil from without, brilliant, beautiful people with perfect hair who prefer to be nude but for utility harness, dedicated to science, learning, sorcery
3. Spawn of the demigods: divine blood diluted down to bare minimum over generations of miscegeny, set apart from mundane humanity by unmistakable hubris, minor league super-human abilities counterbalanced by fatal flaws
4. Noble Sasquatches, cousins to humanity, equally intelligent yet totally lacking in angst, ennui, ambition and evil impulses, relaxed and completely at home on the planet, kind, generous, yet utterly badass when so moved, druid-like spell abilities
5. Gold-eaters: immortal race cursed with gold-based metabolism, grow more potent in battle/the mystic arts as they consume ever greater quantities of wealth, some adventurers kill on sight
6. Homo Superior: tall, slender, extended fore brains w/protruding shark-like third eye, psychic, practitioners of esoteric kung-fu, evolved in hidden enclaves away from feared/pitied standard issue humans
7. Better-than-human androids from the future marooned on primitive campaign world after time travel-induced-cosmic paradox wounded the fabric of the universe, rendering time exclusively one-way henceforth
8. Slender anthropoidal dinosaurs with heads like pachycephalosaurus, geniuses of math-magic, never leave home without slide rule, abacus, and sword
9. Near-immortal androgynous humanoids created by dead god prior to assassination: all identical but of such radiant, staggering beauty humans can be easily charmed into bamboozlement by their presence, good thing they wear heavily armored war-burkas
10. Tall, imposing robed figures with impala heads, flaming eyes, practitioners of obscure magics but more than capable with signature glowing shamshirs, never condescend to actually speak to humans, communicate via nods, looks, posture and/or lengthy written correspondence, pursue their own inscrutable aims that at times run parallel to those of parties of dungeoneers
11. Shadow people: sub-species of humanity cursed to always appear in bad lighting, live in secret among the humans in bunkers beneath secret alleys, palace basements, must master one art form before permitted to pursue martial and eldritch training, compelled by their very DNA commemorate battles/exploits with representative sculpture, origami, painting, epic poem, etc.
12. Earthbound ghosts from pre-human ancestor species that can do magic when incorporeal, make war when materialized, must commit to one form daily

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Undisclosed Side Effects of the Haste Spell

1. Instant haste addiction: can't stop thinking about how awesome it was, inclined to beg, borrow, steal, make nuisance of self, just to taste that sweet speedy sensation again
2. Following spell duration, subjected to sudden uncontrollable twitches, tics, and a debilitating stutter for 1d12 turns, -2 to everything, spell casting impossible
3. Mild heart attack: character sweats profusely, feels disturbing chest pressure, able to convince self its only indigestion, back in action after 1d6 turns, save vs. fatal infarction if ever again hasted
4. Mini-stroke: character must lie down for 1d6 turns, certain its just a passing spell, but then believes self to be alright, save vs. lethal brain hemorrhage if ever again hasted
5. Life-threatening nose bleed: slow to clot, supernaturally profuse, must be firmly compressed with hand for 1d6 turns or risk bleeding to death
6. Effects of concussion from speed-jostled brains, future degenerative neurological condition assured
7. Post-haste mental effects similar to coming out of anesthesia, delirium, hysterical laughter, sudden weeping, suggestibility for 1d6 turns of role playing excitement
8. Continues to talk at double speed/pitch for the duration of game session
9. Slow spell effect for a period equal to that of the hasting
10. One full round of supremely violent vomiting instantly upon inception of spell duration
11. If you thought the sweat of fear smelled bad, brace yourself for that singular haste stank, predatory monsters can smell it a mile off
12. Drop stone dead on your birthday in 1d12 years time

Friday, September 4, 2015

Other Hobbies of the Dungeon Overlord

1. Obsession w/personal hygiene spawns intense interest in design, installation of running water, advanced plumbing, drinking fountains, already magnificent, continuously improved lavatory facilities available throughout complex
2. Tinkers w/time-keeping mechanisms, environs decorated w/baroque, hideous glockenspiel clocks, hourglasses, incredible watch collection in secret treasure room, dungeon dressing includes ubiquitous tick-tocks, startling cuckoos
3. Cultivates enormous ant farm for research, exploitation, touching select dungeon walls renders them transparent for ant observation, harvests ant bi-products from egg chamber for processing into vitality tablets, lumbering hulk charged to insert deceased minions/adventurers via chute w/attached wood-chipper
4. Enthusiastic about clothing design, focus on cutting edge high-collared capes, chic damage-proof fabrics, dressing dummies everywhere, frequent visits by purveyors, taste-makers from the Big City
5. Solvent-reeking studio space filled w/huge naturalistic paintings of evil perversity, a fortune in the finest art supplies, enchanted paintbrushes enhance creative process/induce involuntary automatic painting episode lasting 2d12 hours if grasped, captive models housed in menagerie until called upon for often-lethal duties
6. Driven by eldritch dietary theory, cultivates underground garden employing novel thanatosynthesis principle, all manner of weird purple veggies, rigid adherence to experimental diet yields certain weight loss, explosive gastrointestinal distress
7. Developing child-rearing techniques to ensure evil outcomes, tykes suitable for eventual world-domination, relies heavily on impressive baited maze, hideous au pair species created to oversee tests, maintain kidnapped subjects, beneficiaries of unsavory Stockholm Syndrome
8. Master of supernatural forgery: sends fake letters and disinformation to regional potentates to sow entertaining mayhem, issues disturbing missives to adventurers ostensibly from spouses, children, parents, etc. delivered via dungeon-spanning mail service
9. Amateur dramatist stages productions in lavish theater area, secretly plagiarizes brilliant antediluvian bard after discovering oeurve beneath tomb, actors' guild refuses to furnish additional players following several tragic incidents, open auditions ongoing
10. Produces highly ambitious, totally obscene designs for mosaics then painstakingly implemented on walls, floors, ceilings, by industrious, jovial, talkative slave-creatures
11.  Numerous self-luminous cases around dungeon display fully painted miniatures collection, loaded with anti-theft enchantments, hobby room filled by enormous games table with miniatures war game already in progress against extremely patient vampire opponent
12. Occasional cacophonies resound throughout dungeon, traceable to reeking jam room loaded with drums, lutes and things, wind-instruments, bong collection

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Monumental Sculpture in the Underworld

Dressing for Underworld chambers of above-average vastness.

1. Fertility temple of the Extinct Beetle civilization, tremendous iron ovipositor descends from ceiling, huge chromed eggs arranged in maze on sunken floor, seemingly obvious path as viewed from elevated entrance leads to death trap, obfuscated by optical illusion
2. Gigantic 3D sculpture of unknown rune-shape, encrusted w/gleaming semi-precious gemstones, laborious crowbarring required to harvest, if vandalized bitter semi-human ghost of designer materializes, expresses outrage at top of phantasmal lungs
3. Towering bas relief of three-headed dragon stands in human-like pose of utter superiority, heads aimed at spot just before chamber exit between legs but fired off its last blast of lightning ages ago, clever cave giant hides keys in different mouth each day
4. Marble-hewn memorial depicts squad of non-human warriors, noble aspect despite really weird noses, googly eyes, marching towards unknown doom, clutch corroded steel weapons in stone hands, glow dimly if restored, enchanted to destroy monsters now extinct
5. Pack of stone humanoids led on chains by poorly wrought eyeball-and-tentacle outer being like one of those professional dog-walkers 
6. Walk-in replica of pre-human skull with museum displays inside explaining functions, inherent weaknesses of spongy model brain in an unknown language
7. Vast upthrust inhuman fist of polished marble clutching countless tiny humans, surrounded by heaps of tiny humans in various states of brokenness, a real bummer 
8. Huge miniature keep on one side of cavern, shining model citadel on the other, expeditionary force of 6" statues of monster soldiery halfway across chamber
9. 30' tall lightning bug sculpture illuminates cavern with liquid chemicals in abdominal tank, translucent crystal belly may be breached, huge pain in the ass, readily-weaponized fluid sears flesh upon contact 
10. Giant-sized bronze sculpture of caveman in Yuri Gagarin-style spacesuit donning helmet, exudes Classical nobility, an admirable, incredibly ancient, work 
11. Cyclopean, hyper-realistic representation of terrifying, super-badass demons bowing down in unmistakable supplication on either side of gaping passage
12. Titanic three-toed boot stamping on stylized human face (forever)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Cultural Peculiarities of the Isolated City-State

1. Restricted food supply: grain-based currency, garbage of aristocrats fed to middle class, scraps thereof foisted upon proletariat, underclass conditioned to consume the dead
2. Autocrat selected via biannual lottery, must live in shack outside city walls, forfeit all property, depend upon alms, otherwise all-powerful
3. Lacquer deceased, pose, display in the home, public areas, awaiting prophesied resurrection event, entire amphitheaters taken up by ex-season ticket holders, a huge pain in the ass, clergy searches for alternatives acceptable to the gods
4. Due to proximity of colossal bee hives, symbiotic relationship via lush city-wide flower gardens, honey works its way into every sickeningly sweet food/beverage, people starting to look a bit bee-ish, security swarms hold visitors at bay until cleared by human sentries
5. Ruling class composed of cultured, sophisticated, well-dressed giants, half-, quarter-, eighth-giants compose other social classes, dependent upon all-human labor pool who, while seemingly wretched, do not wish to be free
6. Formalized polyamory practiced universally, visitors must take on multiple marriage partners for entry, divorces granted only via costly litigation
7. Daily mandatory physical fitness regimen practiced at dawn, above average strength, constitution commonplace, high-protein herd beast-based diet, well-fed classes exceedingly muscular, body dysmorphia runs rampant
8. Most disputes settled at the grand Table of Adjudication by proxy champions using tactical board games
9. Involuntary, boundless levity in approach to all things, no matter how dire, all conversation framed as hilarious "bits", great effusions of genuine or feigned laughter the glue that holds society together
10. Death penalty banned after reign of Joluu the Beheader, crimes high and low punished by banishment of varying length, nearby Exile City provides sleazy accommodations, crime-based economy
11. Coral-walled city built upon foundations of risen capitol of extinct, paleogean mermanoid civilization, shoddy stairways, ladders allow access to structures once entered by swimming, fortified royal district considered unassailable, caves beneath still flooded with ancient waters, inhabited by weird Cambrian life-forms including giant arthropod food source
12. Populace obsessed with wrestling, training commences upon discharge from daily toil, a ring on every corner, huge bronze belt buckles display level of mastery, victories at neighborhood, district, city-wide levels, binge drinking is the number two activity

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Yeah but THESE Hellhounds....


1. Actually from the biblical Hell, on mission to Campaign World in Satan's service, seeks expert murderhobos for important jobs in ancient Judea
2. Carries cask of Hell's Libation on collar, St. Bernard-like, able to restore damaged demonic entities to full fighting strength if imbibed, mortals who sample the brew must make a saving throw or burst into flames, those able to stop, drop, and roll in time rendered permanently insane
3. Perpetually smoldering hide, even if cured, but provides superior protection from elements natural and eldritch, stinks a good deal though
4. Lap dog of Hell: very cuddly, affectionate, if current master killed uses preternatural cuteness to establish bond w/nearest available new master, asbestos safety gear required for human handling
5. Retriever: seeks and fetches specific magic items required by dark master, specializes in live capture of sought individuals, noted for minimally damaging soft bite
6. Giant hell-dachshund: bred to rid caves of owlbears, other dungeon megafauna
7. Trans-planar sled team: haul terrible outer entities about from sphere to sphere tirelessly, remain motionless awaiting commands, may only be released from harness by powerful magic, will obey any being to board their sled
8. Spell-sniffing: toxic saliva nullifies memorized spells, treats magic-users as per chew-toys
9. Monster-herder: immune to many forms of monster attack, round up and distribute to chosen locales various dungeon creatures, keeps the hobgoblins out of gnoll territory, etc.
10. Worse than rabies: infected by sorcerer-created virulence that results in mad frenzy of wanton mayhem, much hideous frothing, seeping, transmissible across many species, known to have depopulated several dungeons
11. Thief-seeking: automatically detect thieves in territory, stalks, kills without mercy, piles in heap before master's door
12.  Headless: luminous sensillae in chest detects quarry across planes of existence, effortlessly breaches interdimensional veil, emits brain-scrambling ray, opens iris-like to imprison prey in body cavity

Saturday, April 18, 2015

So Your Character is a JACKASS....

Optional rule for D&Dish RPGs: If when rolling 3d6 for the Charisma stat one rolls any three matching numbers on the dice (1-1-1, 2-2-2, etc.), the player must make a saving throw or their character is a JACKASS and must roll on the table below. Of course, a JACKASS with an exceptional Charisma score represents a monumental threat to both the adventuring party and the campaign world they share, and should only be run by a very responsible and cooperative player. A JACKASS may be of any class or alignment.

Note: Unless my math is faulty (always a strong chance), this provision will produce the chance of a JACKASS only 1 in 36 times, which, as we all know, grossly under-represents the real-world ratio of JACKASS to non-JACKASS.

1. Rigid, seemingly arbitrary, occasionally bizarre personal code of conduct cited, chapter and verse, at every opportunity, especially where party's course of action may be affected
2. Goes on at great length about every ache, pain, lingering symptoms of STDs, quality and frequency of bodily functions, reportage pauses for important party business, resumes at every lull
3. Concocts delightful, gently disrespectful nicknames for everyone, persists well beyond period where this might be mildly amusing, comes up with fresh ones, even more insulting, if ordered to desist
4. Whether in the saloon, general store, magic shop, armor showroom, etc., always the first to offer to pick up the tab but, whoops, seems to have left gold pieces in other pantaloons (once again)
5. Considers self master of elocution, never passes up opportunity to lampoon less graceful speech of others, will immediately, thoughtlessly perform imitation of anyone met with unusual regional accent, foreign language, right to their face, somehow believes this endearing, finds self hilarious
7. Always belching and farting, finds self hilarious
8. Strident belief in equality, everyone equally inferior to self, subject certain no one can detect true feelings
9. Seems perfectly charming at first but before long everyone (except subject) realizes s/he doesn't give the tiniest crap about anyone else
10. All empathy reserved for personal use only, can't help laughing, taking inappropriate pleasure when others fall down, get injured in embarrassing ways, suffer humiliations, etc.
11. Gives appearance of pleasant affability until party secures sizable treasure, instantly transforms to irrational greed-hound incapable of understanding why s/he should't be entitled to choices items, lion's share
12. "Just being honest", never fails to announce newly discovered foibles of those around, tells it like it is with shocking lack of sensitivity, values own ideas highly, those of others, not so much, unless undeniably good, in which case they are swiftly, not-so-subtly appropriated