Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Item Stories

I was recently visiting the Cathedral of Lima with a friend of mine, a pastor.  We were looking at a collection of church artifacts: robes, miters, choral books etc.  He could probably use/wear some of this stuff in his actual job, except it's probably slightly presumptuous to walk in to mass in a bishop's gear if you're not actually, you know.  A bishop.

Dress for the job you want
Which got me thinking, when your cleric finds clerical items that improve their character, are they walking around dressed like a cardinal in plate armor?  What are people's reactions when you roll up wearing a mitre but are not actually a bishop?  There are obviously possibilities for people to get mad or accuse the characters of being imposters, but I feel it's more fun and interesting if you go past that and give the characters opportunities they wouldn't normally have instead of just headaches.

You can give each holy magic item your players find a vague place in the organized church depending on its rarity and power level.  It's also not the age of video streaming, so most people won't know what their bishop or cardinal looks like and might assume the guy with the raiments and armed guard is he or she. Some situations

Two rival priests run up when the players arrive in town, pushing each other in order to appeal to the cleric.  Each has a long list of complaints both doctrinal and personal, and demands an immediate banishment for the other.  
The townspeople rejoice as the party approaches and sweep the cleric to the courthouse, where they are expected to sit in judgement on all the criminals from the past year.  
A local priest has nailed 95 theses to the church door and has ideas for reform.  The town is concerned but is willing to follow the bishop's lead.
Tax Day!  The peasants are all in town to pay their taxes and of course are ready to give their tithe to the church.
Request from the local lord for a marriage annulment.
The king or lord requests that you lead your army from the bishopric to assist him in war with the gnolls
Depressed priest comes to you for spiritual guidance. 
This town has a printing press set aside for use of the clergy.  Whatever dumb ideas the player comes up with are printed and widely dissemminated. 
Pretty much any situation where the town requested a bishop to deal with some problem and then the party shows up first

This is also a lot of fun because the party can assist with matters of judgement, and may act as investigators to determine if claims are true. If the party has political aims this is a good way to start building up a power base by assuming a bishopric or helping local lords.

I'll write next some armor and weapons that have built in connections, such as heraldry, that tie the characters to the campaign world and give them political opportunities.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Random Space Events

We're playing a GURPS campaign in the Firefly universe.  It's looking like travel with random events will be a big part of the episodic nature, so here are some random events in a table. Most of these are from similar FTL events.

1. Asteroid Miners are out of explosives.  They hail you to see if you can help.
2. Automated Merchant ship requests credits and provides items. 
3. Automated Merchant ship requests credits but doesn't work or provide items.
4. Distress Signal! A cruiser is being destroyed in an asteroid field!'
5. Distress Signal! A cruiser is stuck between two asteroids and cannot free itself.
5. Distress Signal! A ship is out of fuel and drifting.
6. Distress Signal! A ship is out of fuel and the crew is long dead.
7. Distress Signal! A ship has plenty of fuel and life support, but the crew is dead?
8. Distress Signal! A pirate is using a distress beacon as a trap.
9. Distress Signal! A pirate is chasing down a merchant ship.
10. Distress Signal! A pirate is chasing down a merchant ship and offers you a bribe to stay out of it.
11. Drifting ship scrappers have parts for sale.
12. Drifting ship scrappers have a rumor about yonder moon.
13. An abandoned Alliance base might hold secrets
14. An abandoned Rebel base might hold secrets 
15. A heavily damaged Alliance Star Destroyer needs help
16. An automated drone protects an abandoned weapons/supply cache from the war
17. A drifting escape pod, far from any ship
18. Stealthy pirate attack
19. Weak distress signal from an abandoned planet
20. A group of ex-marines from the war are attacking civilians
21. A valuable shipment of medical supplies is lightly guarded.
22. A merchant wants you to deliver supplies.
23. A merchant wants you to track down the last guys he hired to deliver supplies
24. A drifting flash drive has a weak distress signal
25. Random inspection by Alliance Officers!  Hope everyone has their papers in order :)

Saturday, January 2, 2016

1d10 Payments for Magical Healing

Holy Men disdain your filthy lucre.  Here are some things they might demand instead.

1. Your Firstborn Child
2. Your Name.  You must now go by a title given by the cleric.
3. Your Name.  You must switch names with the cleric.  (40% that the cleric is cursed and is trying to evade identification by malign forces)
4. Your Sense.  Lose a sense of your choice.
5. Your Fingernails.  No, not just the clippings.  The whole thing.  
6. Your Blood.  A good amount, perhaps a Liter.
7. Your Stealth. You have to wear a bell for the rest of your life.
8. Your Teeth.  3 minimum.
9. Your Dreams.  You will never dream again.
10. Your Promise.  You owe the cleric one.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Five more Questions for Elam

Five more questions about Elam, the Land of a Thousand Towers

Religious focus on these questions

  1. Who is the richest person in the land?
Private wealth is still technically illegal.  All wealth and potable water belongs to whatever Wizard-King controls the territory it sits on.  However, under the enlightened rule of Feretha the Apostate private industry has flourished in Denethix.  The richest person within the city is Abu al-Hassan, Director of the Bank Inviolable.  He never makes an investment without sleeping on it and then interpreting his dreams for auspicious signs.  A pious man, he bankrolls much of the religious architecture in Denethix.  His desire to preserve his temples often leads him to conflict with the Grand Vizer, Koyl Yrenum, who has a more interventionist view of city building and rebuilding.  

The Bank Inviolatable
        2.  Where can we go to get some magical healing?

Some clerics have healing invocations, but most sane people stay the hell away from clerics unless their wounds are dire.  If you're desperate, you can go to the City Temple and see which gods or clerics are represented. The selection of clerics and gods present changes by the day as holy men wander through.  Know that most holy men will not accept gold or silver, and may ask for things like fingers, your voice, your name or your firstborn child.  Alternatively, you can go to the Cult of Science, which holds a separate headquarters in Denethix and will often accept artifacts from the Before Time for payment.  However, their strange tinctures and methods are not likely to work, and will often leave you with new problems even if they do.

"Can you cast Cure Light Wounds?"
        3.  Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?

Similar to the above question, clerics at the City Temple might be able to help for a steeper price.  The Cult of Science is starting to get a little out of its pay grade at this level of malady, but might be able to at least change your situation.  An example: You've been polymorphed into a horse.  They could remove your horse head and attach it to a human body to try and get you back part of the way.  

At the level of Death/Undeath, very few people would be able to help you.  You could go find and petition a god directly.  Remember that every god exists physically somewhere in the world, Princess Mononoke style.  They are often unhappy to be interrupted and delight in twisting the words of mortals around to fulfill their requests ironically, so be careful.

You asked to not be polymorphed into a horse anymore, and got your wish!

A Wizard-King might have the ability to help you, but almost every one is so irrevocably insane that getting any help would be a trial.  

       4:  Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?

Kind of.  Each magic user powerful enough to found such a society has instead built a huge tower/mech-robot and claimed a swath of the land as their own private domain for twisted magical experiments, and has little interest in training potential rivals.  Magic knowledge is guarded jealously, and certainly not shared with filthy PCs.  Killing a Wizard-King or stealing their spellbook is a potential source of new spells if you've got the ability. 

The Church of Starry Wisdom is the last major religious organization in Denethix, and is made up primarily of Magic Users, not clerics.  They seek to bring back the old gods from beyond the vale, and destroy all human life.  They could train you if you're a good stargazer and also want to destroy all human life.  

It's probably fine

        5:Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?

Wise men and women abound in the Bazaar Incomparable, selling their consult, services and aid.  If you ask around and check references you can  get loyal and expert help at a cheap price.  It's also possible that you'll be fleeced by con artists, but the Feasters (town police force) actually do a good job at keeping outright fraud to a minimum.    

Toad Sages are available on request

If you want even more esoteric help, you can go to the Aesthetic Hermits in the Western Mountains and pass their demanding trials.  They're happy to aid those who pass.