In my second guest appearance on World Extermination Radio, we have an in-depth discussion about tabletop role playing games. Well, mostly I talk his ear off about it. That’s why he invites me on the show, I guess.
In my second guest appearance on World Extermination Radio, we have an in-depth discussion about tabletop role playing games. Well, mostly I talk his ear off about it. That’s why he invites me on the show, I guess.
Some of the big D20 systems now include random lists of objects and trinkets you can start the game with, or find on slain enemies, which may or may not be worth anything — oddities that just add a little character to the world you’re playing in. I made two lists of my own oddities that got a little out of hand at times with their weirdness — some items can even be used as hooks to other adventures later on. Feel free to use these lists in your campaigns.
Each list requires a D100 to randomly generate an item: you can also add a d4 to randomly determine which list is consulted. Do not let the players see what is on the lists, or that you’re consulting the lists. In fact, for added fun, don’t reveal all details about each item until it becomes necessary (they tamper with it or closely examine it).
RANDOM CRAP CHART #1
1 blunt ivory tusk
2 playing cards with nude orcish women on them
3 1d6 cat’s eye marbles
4 the lens from the end of a spyglass
5 palm-sized booklet of lewd illustrations
6 a fancy button
7 glass animal figurine
8 music box
9 cheap decorative pin
10 tin of snuff
11 blemished cameo
12 medieval hackey sack
13 tiny ceramic castle
14 random chess piece
15 two-inch doll
16 tiny brass spoon
17 tiny bottle of unidentified fluid
18 bottle cork that smells of cheap wine
19 exotic but worthless stone
20 1d4 ancient coins of questionable value
21 set of dominoes
22 a juicy apple with a bite taken out of it, which utters a shrill shriek whenever it is bitten into
23 several glass vials filled with outrageously bizarre alchemist specimens
24 glass eye
25 tiny key
26 pack of 1d6 fine cigars
27 quality necklace chain with no pendant
29 gold thimble
30 ivory dragon sculpture
31 pair of dice with serpent eyes in place of ones
32 collapsible fan
33 tiny puzzle box
34 fishing lure sculpture of a seahorse
35 small flask of hard liquor
36 tiny pouch of herbs
37 lock of hair
38 severed doll head
39 metal clock-watch
40 box of 1d10 tindertwigs
41 ancient stone pendant
42 wooden smoking pipe
43 dull ring with strange engravings
44 tiny bottle with a tiny ship inside
45 chalk sticks of various colors, bound together with string
46 the skull of a tiny animal/humanoid
47 extravagant gold hair pin
48 1d12 pieces of candy
49 jar of writing ink
50 a pretty pair of earrings
51 an eyepatch with a skull symbol on it
52 tiny brass sundial
53 a pair of silvery meditation balls
54 jade scarab amulet
55 silver ring bearing random astrological sign
56 wooden yo-yo
57 three-coin tassel trinket
58 heavy one-inch metal cube that serves no apparent purpose
59 1d6 phony gold coins
60 a small box containing a very large and very agitated jumping spider
61 petrified dung sculpture
62 a small, severed wooden hand, evidently stolen from a wood sculpture
63 a family of five finger puppets
64 a thumbnail-sized pearl
65 a small flute carved from bone
66 a silver bracelet with inscription on the inside
67 the hollowed-out shell of a very small turtle, used as a purse for personal effects
68 a heart-shaped locket that won’t open
69 a small, clay jar of honey
70 the deed to a random property, the nature and location of which is not described
71 a pair of carved gladiator figures
72 wooden top with iron nose
73 wooden teetotum (ancient european dreidel)
74 1d12 gambling house tokens
75 a nugget of amber with a strange insect trapped inside
76 a sculpture of two copulating centaurs
77 a strange wooden totem
78 an ornate gold-plated letter opener
79 a fistful of gambling IOUs
80 crumpled wanted poster for a known outlaw with a price on his/her head
81 wooden cup-and-ball game
82 a pair of silk stockings
83 a large serpent’s tooth
84 a dehydrated fish wrapped in somewhat smelly cloth
85 an initialed handkerchief
86 small, silver cat bell
87 a leather-bound pocket journal
88 barber’s shears
89 colorful party mask
90 a set of false teeth
91 small satchel full of unidentified mushrooms
92 pendant of a tiny glass bottle filled with colored fluid
93 a backpack containing nothing but a large, plush snake
94 1d4 animal pelts
95 a fancy corkscrew (with cork still attached)
96 a small box containing a shrunken head
97 large, transparent marble that appears to be magical, but its nature/effect is unknown
98 wooden tarantula animated by magic that keeps following whomever first found it
99 magic wind-up dragon toy that walks in a circle three times, then stops and spits a massive plume of fire
100 a noble’s palm-sized looking glass
RANDOM CRAP CHART #2
1 strange soapstone amulet
2 brightly colored fishing lure
3 wind-up wooden fish toy that swims in water
4 small pouch full of appleseeds
5 creepy cone puppet
6 fashionable silk beret
7 wooden pendant of a clenched fist
8 a perfect molar wrapped in a clean bandage
9 mundane shaving kit
10 a fine corset
11 origami crane
12 1d4 large firecrackers
13 a sticky bun wrapped in cloth
14 pair of fashionable gloves
15 small, empty wooden jewelry box
16 glass bottle of flowery perfume
17 XXL sized pair of bloomers
18 white needle box on a leather cord
19 pretty sea shell
20 pocket dictionary of questionable quality translating another language into common
21 several reams of parchment covered in various sketches
22 velvet choker
23 assortment of celtic rings
24 bronzed mermaid figurine
25 a single pipe from a bagpipe set, makes a hideous sound when blown into
26 terracotta baby rattle
27 bag of knucklebones
28 rolled-up cloth banner with odd emblem on it
29 collection of tiny metal gears
30 dragon hand puppet
31 wooden senet game set
32 small clay canopic jar containing something ghastly
33 tiny box containing 1d10 worry dolls
34 a live rat
35 a handful of iron nails
36 folded parchment that may or may not be a treasure map of some kind
37 leather-bound adventure novel in a language other than common
38 1d6 pistachios
39 hair comb made of bone
40 a tiny frying pan barely large enough to fry a single egg
41 a lump of sculptor’s clay
42 pocket sized wooden catapult for launching mostly harmless rocks
43 unusually colored snail shell
44 ruby red lipstick
45 a random tarot card
46 salt shaker half-filled with dead bugs
47 holy symbol of a random god
48 half-full mead horn
49 blue glass vial of opium
50 slice of elf bread wrapped in a large leaf
51 pamphlet promoting an offensive subject
52 weighty animal jawbone
53 a bottle rocket as wide as a tankard
54 a strange egg, possibly incubating
55 party favor
56 a clay jug with a crude face drawn on it
57 a tiny framed painting
58 very chewy, unidentifiable jerky
59 a fist-sized block of salt
60 a pair of smoky quartz eyeglasses for reducing glare
61 several sizes of sable paintbrushes
62 an alligator tooth necklace
63 a fist-sized rock with an uncanny resemblance to a humanoid face
64 a severed finger/toe/eyeball in a jar of alcohol
65 fountain pen with a full reserve of ink
66 wooden bookmark with colored tassel
67 a hercules beetle
68 bamboo toothbrush
69 slide whistle
70 folded pink cabaret flier
71 ball of yarn pierced by a pair of knitting needles
72 a single sock
73 1d6 laughably bad love poems
74 a personal letter
75 a strange list of groceries
76 pair of very tiny gloves
77 a wadded doll dress
78 the school notebook of a magic student
79 a small religious text for one of the local deities, but with humorous captions added to the illustrations by the previous owner
80 a squirming pouch filled with jumping beans
81 a silk scarf
82 a pair of ivory chopsticks
83 a pretty quartz sphere
84 ornate sword pommel or katana tsuma
85 patterned leather sword strap
86 a cocooned butterfly in a box
87 soap carving of an animal
88 ear trumpet
89 needle and thread
90 a case containing glass spectacles
91 a jar of strange salve
92 1d4 jars of bath salts
93 a clumsy wooden golem the size and shape of a sparrow
94 a pouch containing 1d4 tea bags (mundane or exotic)
95 a bag of rice
96 two stone bookends shaped like nude fairies
97 multicolored friendship bracelet
98 a fist-sized cherry bomb
99 a set of wooden castanets
100 wadded sheet of parchment absolutely covered in tic-tac-toe stalemates
Last time on RPG Recap, our Pathfinder crew was on a world-saving quest, and also recently acquired transport in the form of a carriage with no horses (thanks to Bonny and Totok’s bar hopping adventure). We rented horses and took the carriage to our next destination, another neighboring kingdom with a quest to be had. As the rain began to fall, we came to a nice inn and stable, which appeared as cozy as it was abandoned. The party debated whether we should stay or ride out the dangerous storm. The thunder worsened as if in reply.
Bonny used her scry spell to see a half-hour into the future — very useful for predicting misfortune. She saw herself enjoying some hard liquor by the fireplace, and said, “It’s safe,” and strolled on in. We parked the horses and carriage in the stable and got settled inside.
Immediately we knew something wasn’t right: on the center table in the main tavern was a jug with ten coins inside, and a note that said something along the lines of, “Ten Per Patron,” or something otherwise cryptic I can’t recall at present. The inn appeared to have no other patrons, and no staff. We got to debating whether it was a self-sustaining magic inn, or a haunted house, or something worse, but just to be safe we each hucked ten gold into the jug.
As we explored the inn, we kept finding oddities, the biggest one being that all the books on the shelves were filled with nonsense. As we began to take votes on whether we should leave right away, Finn the Thief was attacked in the kitchen by a bunch of hungry plates which had suddenly sprouted mouths. Then the chairs and tables all came alive and attacked us. And the books. And the bookcases. And the door, which wouldn’t let us leave.
Then the entire house began to move, roaring like a t-rex.
During the ensuing chaos, Aros the Dragonborn tried to make the best of the situation and grabbed the jug full of our fifty-odd coins. The jug proceeded to bite the shit out of him, while the ten original coins inside sprouted spidery legs, crawled up his arm, and sank their fangs into his face and neck. I don’t remember how we got him out of that one, but he shrieked like a cheerleader.
Long story short, we gave the giant mimic indigestion until it opened the door and let us leave. We then stood in the pouring rain and watched as the inn picked up and walked away on several awkward woodeny legs, vanishing into the forest and leaving us totally without shelter.
“We can take shelter in my carriage!” said Bonny, as she turned and found an empty lot where the stable, horses, and carriage used to be. The party then could scarcely make out the stable itself, a half mile ahead of the house as it also fled, still chewing on the last of our carriage and horses.
We kept expecting to run into the inn again every couple of miles, wondering if it would recognize us and take off running like a conman caught in the act.
In a previous Pathfinder entry I mentioned our collection of magic rings, one of which was the Golden Ring of Spontaneous Combustion. It was an absolute last resort item.
Cultists were about to sacrifice our king in Pathfinder, and they holed up in the castle prison: they were locked in a cell and performing the rites to do whatever terrible thing they were about to do to our helpless liege. We had moments to spare before they finished, and nobody could pick the lock to reach them in the back of this huge cell.
Totok the Barbarian — bearer of the explosive ring — looked at us all and said, “Everybody out.”
We all knew exactly what was about to happen, and we immediately jammed up the door like the three stooges. A heartbeat later there was a resounding BOOM that shook the castle in its foundation. When the ringing in our ears stopped, we went back inside.
It apparently did exactly what it described, this ring: the wearer would explode and kill everything around him, lose all his gear, and have to make a save not to die himself.
The air in the prison was all smoke and debris, and the cell was gone: in its place was a pile of rubble, a crater, and a scattering of ash what used to be Totok and the cultists. The castle guards rushed to the king’s aid, who had miraculously passed the save being just outside the kill zone.
When asked if he was all right, the king coughed twice, smiled through his concussion, and rasped, “That was pretty cool.”
He then put up the money to have Totok resurrected, but it’s up to the spirit whether or not they return when called. Despite being reunited with his dead wife, he felt his duty wasn’t yet finished, and returned to the land of the living…wearing fuck-all for clothes. He is rewarded by the king during a ceremony while holding a helmet over his privates.
Well, by this point in the campaign Bonny Braids (my irresponsible cleric) had begun her path to righteousness, and was very slowly but surely becoming the decent person that she was destined to be. She admired Totok so much for his sacrifice — both dying to save his king, then giving up the reunion with his dead family — she insisted on taking him out on the town to have a few drinks and buy some new clothes.
Three tankards later, this went COMPLETELY out of hand and turned into a trip to Las Vegas: they proceeded to hit every single shop in the impressively sized market district, going down the line of shops and buying something at every one. If it happened to be another tavern, so be it: more drinks, and more gambling for Bonny (resolved with a simple die roll). I had a chart of their path through the market district in relation to their drunkeness, but I lost it, so I will summarize the afternoon with a helpful line graph:
Here is the list of items purchased in the course of one bout of bar hopping:
Totok’s New Gear
Chalk x10 (for warding each shop against evil spirits, aka drawing dicks on everything)
Flint & Steel
50 ft Silk Rope
Sack x3 (you can never find a sack when you need one)
1 lbs Soap (‘cos hes a barbarian)
Fine Dude Clothes (he needs to look sharp, he works for the King now!)
Pipe and Tobacco (to match the dude clothes)
Bonny’s New Gear
Glaive (which she can’t use, but she’ll train someday and it’ll be awesome)
Ocarina (she doesn’t know how to play, but she’ll learn one day)
Pouch of Raspberries (aka medieval lipstick)
New Additions to the Party HQ
Ox (for carriage…?)
Billy the Pygmy Goat (“He can be our mascot! Assuming Fara’s tiger Zieg doesn’t eat him…)
2 Bags of Grain (came with the goat)
Ale and Wine at 2 sp per jug/carafe = 12 jugs/carafes (sum of 2d10) = 2gp, 4sp
Gambling Expenses: highest loss out of 4 d100 (-19 : -62 : -57 : -86)
Total Money Spent = 347 gp, 18sp, and some copper
The goat mysteriously vanished and was probably eaten by the tiger after all. The carriage lasted a single in-game day, used to ride to the next country for the next sub-quest. Bonny never used the glaive or the ocarina.
Totok never wore the fine clothes or used the pipe. He sure used the shit out of that chalk, though, warding the city against evil spirits…and making headlines as a nameless mystery vandal the city guard never apprehended.
If you’ve read the other entries, you know by now that I’m a pain in the ass role player in the sense that I try to do something unusual, even if it’s to the detriment of the group. Some of the people I’ve enjoyed playing with most did the same thing, like Jarod’s bird character who could only speak in three words, and was never able to communicate effectively, especially when it was vital to the party’s survival.
After a long run of playing around with less dedicated systems, our group finally graduated to a long-term Pathfinder campaign. The setting was a nation that had no standing army: to alleviate this, they opened an adventurer’s academy to create a nation full of licensed adventurers who could be mustered as an army in emergencies (and could also take care of those obnoxious kobolds that keep popping up to cause trouble). Our party was formed on Finals Week by the dean: like the other parties, we would be assigned a simple quest, have our performance evaluated, and receive our grade and hopefully our diplomas.
In other words, our party was a college group project.
The campaign began in the classroom, with our party already formed. Ours was the last party to be given their assignment by a reluctant dean. My character was not present.
The dean said to the group, “Listen, I’m afraid there are some complications with your quest. First, there is one more member of your group — a “Bonny Braids” Wulfgard. She’s down at the city jail for drunken brawling at the Shady Lady, wherein a Magic Monkey spell was cast, and two dozen magic monkeys wrecked the entire block. She and the other sixty people involved are being held for questioning, but her father is on the city guard, so she can get out on bail to complete her final.
“Second, you’ll have to pass a preliminary exam by getting rid of the magic monkeys, which have been corralled into a barn up the road from the Shady Lady.”
Grumbling, the group goes down to the city jail to meet the token slacker of the group project. It turns out Bonny is a seventeen-year-old girl, a drunken carouser, a born sorority chick and a six-foot-two viking bitch.
She is also, as it turns out, the party healer. Cue universal groan from the party as she stumbles out of her cell with a, “Sup, bitches. Let’s do this.”
On top of everything else, Bonny turns out to be the one who cast the Magic Monkey spell, and getting out of jail was her opportunity to dispose of the wand that cast it. I don’t know how long those other sixty guys were interrogated before they finally gave up.
Bonny’s misadventures never let up. She was a constant source of extra difficulties for the party, mainly because I was chatting with the DM in private, coming up with new ways her personal life could spice up the campaign at some point. I had assumed the other players — experienced RP’ers by this point — were doing the same, but it turned out I was the only one, and they were a little annoyed by it. Live and learn, I guess.
Everyone got in on the dragon prank though. One member of the party was Aros, the dragonborn warlock. He dreamed of a day when he could bring back the dragon riders of his ancestry, and when one of our quest items turned out to be a dragon egg, he was ecstatic. That egg never left his side, and he was constantly petting it and talking to it, hoping it would eventually hatch and bond with him.
Aros and Bonny had a habit of pranking one-another as well. Bonny usually started each session passed out drunk on the couch while everyone else discussed the adventure of the day (and fill her in later when she woke up). She also had a weakling childhood friend named Devon, whom she was also crushy about, but would never admit it, who was forced upon our party as a regular NPC by plot (in)convenience, and trying to get Bonny and him to sleep together was a common source of laughs among the party members. At one such briefing, Devon delivered a collection of magic rings to the party, courtesy of the king — one for each of us, each with different properties. Some of them were cool, like the silver ring of invisibility, or the gold ring of spontaneous combustion (later used to spectacular effect). Some were not so cool, like the banana peel ring of noxious stench that Bonny was stuck with, because she was asleep and couldn’t call dibs.
She woke up sniffing, her nose wrinkled. “Somebody eating bananas?”
“It’s the new ring Devon gave you.”
Bonny looked at the ring in confusion. “Did he make it himself? The hell did he give me a ring for?”
“To Devon. Congratulations!”
“I don’t remember getting engaged to the little worm!”
“I bet. You were REALLY drunk.”
Eventually he came clean before she had a heart attack.
Fast forward several weeks. The party is rewarded for their bravery at the end of the latest sub-quest with three weeks of jousting tournaments. The night before the party left for home, Bonny stole the dragon egg from Aros’s backpack, slipping it into hers, and replacing it with the smashed fragments of an ostrich egg.
Neither Aros, nor the guy playing him, knew what had happened. Bonny eventually told the rest of the party when they were back home and Aros was away. Immediately the shape-shifting druid Fara wanted in on the gag. Sure enough, Aros came bursting out of his room later that day, his face excited and alarmed.
“Guys, the dragon hatched.”
Everyone starts acting panicked. “Oh god, don’t tell me there’s a giant lizard running around, breathing fire in our house. We already had to kill the hydra in the basement!”
While we pretend to search for the baby dragon, Fara morphs into just that, and starts tearing up the house, hissing at and running away from Aros, who is desperately trying to befriend it. Fara Dragon then cuddles up to the thief, the one person Aros hates in the world more than anyone. Meanwhile the heroes (and the players) are struggling to keep from laughing their asses off. Eventually the prank turns deadly when Aros tries to hit the thief with lightning just as Bonny tries to get between them, and is nearly killed in one shot (in an ironic twist of karma).
Once she recovers, she offers him the egg and says, “Maybe you’ll have better luck with the next one.”
Everyone ROARS with laughter, in-game and out. Aros is so angry he spends the next several weeks walking a half mile ahead of the party when they travel between quests.
I had never played with this group before, and I haven’t seen any of them since. The group had been playing for a few sessions already, so already I was at a disadvantage: joining a new RPG group, and being the New Kid in an established party. The DM said I could be any class or alignment I wanted, because he liked to see frictional group dynamics.
“What do we have so far?” I asked.
“There’s a lawful-good fighter, a chaotic-good wizard, a neutral-good ranger, and a true-neutral thief. They don’t have a healer yet and could probably use one.”
“Okay, I’ll be the cleric. And I’ll also be lawful-evil.”
So this group of heroes was tasked with entering the magical labyrinth of a terrible magic-user to find a genie for some such reason, and the only healer they could charter was Malice the Scheming Bitch-Cleric From an Evil Temple (aka me), who from Minute One had the rest of the party on proverbial leashes. At one point we came to a four-way intersection in the labyrinth: when the entire party was in the intersection, the way behind us sealed shut. So we were left with three directions to choose from, all wreathed in blackness, all unexplored. We’d been in this fortress of doom with no windows all day, and the party chose this moment to argue about how to tell what time of day it was, so we’d have a timetable to sleep by.
“Here’s what we’ll do,” my wicked cleric lady said very matter-of-factly. “When I am tired, it will be nighttime. When I wake, it will be daytime. Agreed?”
“Agreed,” the rest of the party moaned in unison.
Then it came time to choose a direction. The fighter was as dumb as fighters come, and started throwing warhammers down each direction to see how far the corridors went.
First hallway: WHUP WHUP whup whup whup…CLANK
Second hallway: WHUP WHUP whup whup whup… WHACK (snarl of pain, followed by three pissed-off minotaurs)
Thanks to the minotaurs, my cleric lost one of her braids, for which the thief kept mocking her endlessly (at least until she rolled to punch him and knocked him out for an hour).
Normally I don’t like evil characters or evil parties, because they just boil down to an excuse to be a douchebag. In this case, though, it was pretty fun.