OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE

Saturday, June 17, 2017

City of the Subterranean Humanoids: Breaking News

"If we ever hope to destroy our enemies utterly, we must
unite as a people. The ban on political assassinations, though
unpopular in certain quarters, can only help in our progress
 towards a more civil discourse in city-state government"
- Supreme Overlord Kurobulon II
d12
1. Exchange student program with Science Fungoids off to difficult start, Cathedral of Inquiry quarantined after explosive fungal bloom, intelligentsia 90% wiped out, sudden vacuum in academia creates opportunity for sophists, charlatans, crackpots
2. Rich vampires in town with load of treasure for an unknown purpose, lodging with aristocrats, heavy security presence, surface human trafficking assures populace of relative safety from random attack
3. Contact lost with sister city near the Reverse Waterfall, under siege by blind antler men offended by some unknown transgression, sages, interpreters struggle to figure out what the hell is going on
4. New status symbol: re-educated stone boys on sale for exorbitant fees from sorcerer's firm, so far they remain cheerful and obedient, crafts guild cannot keep up with fancy palanquin orders, moribund anthracite coal (stone boy chow) market spikes
5. Lava festival at public Flow Park in full swing despite unexplained boom in fire lizard population, safety assured by city government, attendance encouraged, freelance explorers needed to probe dormant tubes
6. Dignitaries in town representing The Other Subterranean Humanoids pretend to bargain in good faith, peace process facilitated by impartial interlocutors chosen from popular chaos cults with vested interest in ongoing conflict
7. Franchise temple of the Mindless God sacked by adventurer scum from the surface world, all passes revoked, visiting surface folk detained for interrogation, travel ban enacted, citizens advised to submit to mental probe on demand from cult officials
8. Newly tamed giant pill bugs comprise city waste management program, rumor has it rogue bugs tunneled throughout city (breaching private residences, vaults, tombs), uptick in missing humanoid cases
9. City-wide megadance scheduled for next week, streets/neighborhoods organize routine with one another, rehearsals underway at all hours, Supreme Overlord to observe entire population in synchronized action from vantage point atop winged platform, foreigners in town encouraged to participate, but must shell out gold on ludicrous outfits
10. Food trend sweeps city from the upper class on down: rare cave mollusks imported from Steam Vents, served on the half-shell, mild hallucinogenic properties provoke unwanted enlightenment in soldier classes, government cracks down but many rich folks are already addicted
11. Burning of the dead once again mandatory after swarm of undead emerged from popular bottomless pit burial site, new taxes levied to finance ambitious pit cap project
12. Time-honored practice of political assassination outlawed following ascension of charismatic sorcerer to Supreme Overlord station, rival assassins guilds unite in protest, threaten to assassinate indiscriminately until tradition restored, bureaucrats bemoan this softening of the culture while laying off food tasters, doubles, anti-assassination specialists

Monday, June 12, 2017

THEY CAN'T HANDLE DEMOCRACY

A voter declines to participate in exit poll. 

The subterranean humanoids, burned by generations of rule by an increasingly insane super-rich aristocracy, decide to give democracy a whirl.

Supreme Overlord Election Results
d12
1. The most physically attractive candidate wins by keeping mouth shut, relying on pure sex appeal
2. Witch with strong maternal instincts convinces populace of need for guidance from an authority beyond the petty concerns of clan and faction, proposes defense updates including impenetrable dome of darkness, will bolster fecundity with new emphasis on loosening sexual mores, swinging bacchanals
3. Huge lump of alien fungus capable of speech and convincing mimicry of intelligence, bio-logarithms generate semi-impenetrable yet competent-sounding pronouncements, responses, voters approve of extreme outsider status
4. The General runs on a platform of prejudice, hostility, aggression, greed, immediate war with neighbors to bolster short term economic concerns, will put languid, decadent population back to work or on the march
5. Wizard from the surface world offers favorable trade agreement with human empires, import novel goods, foodstuffs, slaves, favorable export deal for Underspirits, wicked Underworld arms, highly addictive , ultimately lethal smokable fungi crop
6. Blowhard with 18 Charisma runs on pure bullshit, intimidation, rages against false intellectual tyranny of the smarty-pants class, knows how to handle aristocrats, private army: ostensibly bodyguards but straight up goons poised for Night of the Long Knives-style action
7. High priest of the Worm Sultan makes a hell of an impression with live endorsement appearance by the godling itself
8. The Master Inquisitor of Nul the Mindless God sways the vote with demonstrations of the blessings of mindlessness, economic boon of massive construction contracts paid for entirely by cult monies (fabulous temple to be installed in center of subterranean city following demolition of temples to rival gods)
9. Zealot of obscure godling of the downtrodden fans flames of class resentment, within hours of election mass decapitation of the rich begins, very loosely organized redistribution of wealth follows
10. Traditionalist candidate promises a return to hard-ass asceticism/ultra-violence of the good old days, "a cuirass and sword for every child", each morning begun by marching up and down the square
11. Familiar old aristocrat wins by a landslide of "better the devil we know" sentiment
12. Roll twice more: popular vote goes to first result, electoral college goes to second, both sides immediately activate assassins and attempt simultaneous purge

The Opposition Reacts
d6
1-2. Multiple assassins activated to be followed by bloody purge
2. Factions left out in the cold engineer immediate civil disobedience to be followed by bloody rioting
3. Public smear campaign, dirt dredged up (or made up) and spilled all over the public square, legal case made for impeachment
5. Temporary shocked paralysis, impotent hand-wringing
6. Consumed by in-fighting, recriminations, murderous self-destruction inevitable

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Dragon has a Powerful Hankering

Once a dragon gets an idea in its head, the notion will see fruition even if it takes a thousand years.
Even if it has to seek out and employ wretched human adventurers.

d12
1. Got a sudden taste for pork and its going to take a lot, like all of it in the realm delivered quickly no matter the cost, when sated see subtable below
2. Needs a change of pace from all the hoarding, looking to hire temporary treasure guardians (subject to extreme vetting by freelance sorcerers), will depart to unexplored territories with human cartographers, scribes, away team housed in dragon-portable trailer
3. Not in it for the money anymore: ego-stroking and fawning veneration, that's what really matters, seeks silver-tongued devils for several full time positions
4. Would feel much better knowing world-famous Anti-dragon Relic, heirloom of royal family, was safely locked away or better yet tossed into a volcano
5. Wants a gigantic castle designed with dragon accessibility in mind for once and a fabulous view, close to urban center, never mind the cost, that's what giant piles of gold are for
6. Lusts after fashion-forward cape and bejeweled harness by the hippest designer in the big city
7. After severe withering following conflict with now-deceased magic-user, must have prosthetic forefoot, preferably mecha, of the finest craftsmanship and up to rigorous aesthetic standard, already hoarding raw materials
8. Fascinated by dolphins as romanticized by visiting sage, envisions forging bonds of brotherhood in common fight against wretched humans, must book temporary lodgings seaside (by proxy)
9. Hoard overload must be reduced if it is going to fit into the fashionable new off-grid tiny lair, will trade gold for gems, low-end magical trinkets & large collection of weird taxidermy for sale
10. In order to traverse the cold vacuum of space, a little-known draconic biological imperative that only afflicts the truly ancient, requires carefully designed space helmet or custom ensorcellment to that effect
11. Needs something to break out of lingering miserable mood, that thing is a heroic dose of sea serpent venom which dragons metabolize like alcohol
12. Yearns for restoration of lost youth, assembling interdisciplinary team, needs ancient stela from lost city, pages from volume in the Forbidden Library, rare ingredients available only deep beneath the Mountains of Mourning, liquefied lich or vampire

The Dragon's Next Craving
d6
1. The stinkiest cheeses in the land
2. Steak and kidney pie, writ large
3. BBQ potentates, like so many chicken wings
4. Pickled dudes
5. Sweagledactyl (like turducken, but swan/eagle/pterosaur)
6. Back to straight up virgins

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Cultural Quirks of the Subterranean Humanoids

It's grim.

d12
1. An artsy bunch: when not engaged in standard mayhem they stay busy crafting hideous decorative objects in all media from any available materials, some produce skillful depictions of skulls, implements of war, terrifying monsters that clutter every wall and horizontal surface, others extemporize hateful lyrics to relentlessly unpleasant newly improvised tunes
2. Practice daily ritual bath in vat filled with tiny filth-eating insects, renders humanoids fresh and clean, feels funky
3. Money composed of gold caltrops, silver axe heads, copper projectile points, IOUs written in blood, secured by suicide pledge
4. By ancient treaty, each city ruled by council of elders from neighboring city that hates their guts
5. When indebted, they say thank you by murdering someone you hate
6. Coming of age ritual involves getting lost in the wilderness for 1d6+2 years, if caught before this time elapses: summary execution
7. Potentate recently ordered use of perishable Underfruit as legal tender to bolster short term spending
8. Excellent, highly productive builders but saddled with aesthetic sensibilities of honeybees, its all endless stacks of hexagonal cells
9. It takes a village to ensure that all the children are properly pre-traumatized to prepare for hardass martial lifestyle
10. Casual eugenics program starting to pay off, population down but healthy, muscular, just-brainy-enough, and thirsty for conquest
11. Just short of death sentence: conscription into Literary Corps, forced to learn to read for lifetime of hellish scholarship
12. Mores hammer home the point: life sucks, death will be awesome, but no one is allowed to die until they perform 12 services to the state

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Atop the Tallest Peak



d12
1. Peak sheared off, set aside, columns inserted, peak replaced creating roofed space, ruined city within, Samson-like fellow among weird occupants, if so moved could single-handedly bring the whole thing down
2. Lair of the Lethal Guru, first attained peace, then total enlightenment, followed swiftly by cosmic psychopathy, welcomes pilgrims, murders them one-by-one like slasher movie killer
3. Heap of massive stone platonic solids in roughly conical arrangement, gaps infested with giant bacteria, fed upon by bat-winged aero-trolls, great danger, no treasure
4. Colossal stone easy chair, stack of unfinished scriptures (incomprehensible god-jottings, doodles, diagrams), tree trunk-size Stylus of Revelation retains powerful enchantments
5. Nesting site of giant mountain vulture flock, great communal nests woven from thorny brush protrude from all sides, dishonored remains of famous adventurers await proper burial within, to approach peak one must first pass through the toxic vulture shit zone
6. Playground of the Ice Children: delighted laughter audible on approach, fun comes to instant halt upon arrival of intruders, upon closer examination the swing set is made of frozen people!
7. The Ancient Ones replaced summit with monumental rotating gun turret w/single barrel, fires ray of enlightenment, single charge remaining, range limited only by the curvature of the earth, worshipped by gun cultists who must undertake pilgrimage to bask in its awesomeness
8. Titanic stone tyrannosaurus head symbolizes monotheistic deity once universally venerated, interminable peace and harmony ended by judicious detonation of neutron bomb by early mammal terrorists, mummified reptile clergy still at their posts
9. The Forbidden Library: operated by wizard cult, near-complete collection including prehistoric stone texts,send forth invisible servants to acquire newly published works/to reclaim overdue materials, borrowing privileges granted following completion of pain-in-the-ass quest
10. Peak honeycombed with thousands of Tombs of Horrors, final destination for wizards and liches of the highest station for most of known history, permanent encampment of building contractors forever installing or refurbishing, random funeral parties
11. Vast vault now occupied by giant cuttlefish made of magical silver in a pool filled with its own digestive fluids, must absorb nutrition transdermally, only uses human-like mouth to dispense semi-reliable prophesies with which to lure visitors poolside
12. Extinct caldera carved into stadium wherein paleogean giants held their Olympic-style games, secret hoard of giant-size platinum, gold, electrum, silver, and copper medals rumored stashed somewhere inside, roar of phantasmal crowd audible for miles around, ever-present danger of giant ghost jocks

Monday, June 5, 2017

More Darwinian Struggle in the Underworld



They will not rest until their enemy is defeated utterly!

d12
1. Cabal of necromancers in need of constant supply of fresh corpses versus popular new cult with business ties to sepulcher builders guild, dedicated to elaborate funerary practises and secure interment for future resurrection event
2. Legitimate royal line of subterranean humanoids versus Subterranean Humanoids for a Democratic Society following failed purge
3. Cerebral puddings versus mindless yet strangely united slimes, oozes, and jellies for prime feeding grounds
4. Formal rivals of nearly forgotten pantheon versus upstart neo-godlings, evil high priests on both sides work overtime on conscription, mass bamboozlements, seizing loot for war chests
5. Subterranean humanoid adults versus their own children following declaration of independence by new generation born with next-wave evolutionary features including advanced enlightenment, blank stare, soulless eyes, astonishing viciousness
6. Levitating gold-eaters intruding from adjacent sphere versus tabulator giants (huge, musclebound, terrific at math but otherwise mentally negligible) with controlling interest in Underworld Mint
7. Colossal semi-intelligent naked cave buffalo versus giant talking sword beaked hummingbirds over animus incurred over the course of long symbiotic relationship
8. Private waste management firms of the subterranean humanoids versus one another for gigs
9. Trans-planar sentients' League of Beautification versus mutant humanoids' Union of Vandals
10. Cult of the Terror God versus itself in schism over interpretation of scripture, specifically proper cultivation of fear in day-to-day dealings with others
11. Giant cave crustaceans versus giant cave mollusks, just another outbreak of hostilities fueled by their eternal natural enmity
12. Evil wizard obsessed with monster ecology versus evil wizard obsessed with fiendish traps, puzzles, and riddles, minions/allies/dupes make proxy war on one another, invisible stalkers everywhere  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Found in the High Level Merchant's Spell Book

d12
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 HOME STRETCH

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

CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT

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

I SAID CHECK IT OUT!

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.

d12
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

OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE




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.

GO!

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
d12
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

MY CHARACTER DIED!

Shaggath-Ka, the Worm Sultan, claims yet another victim
Image from Operation Unfathomable
MY CHARACTER DIED!
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?
d12
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



d12
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

d12
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



HYPE ALERT


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!


MY OBJECTIVES
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

HOW YOU CAN HELP
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!

ALSO
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

THERE AREN'T ANY DWARFS EITHER

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

d12
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

d12
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

THERE ARE NO ORCS IN THIS WORLD

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.

d12
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

THERE ARE NO ELVES IN THIS WORLD

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.

d12
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