Inspiration Goat Table Techniques #1

I used the above technique in the Thursday night Trophy Gold game and got a wonderful tale from Jesse. He told me about how his orphan pickpocket broke into a noble’s house and had to kill the noble in order to get out.

I loved it because it wasn’t a kill that made the world a better place (well, depending on the noble) and there was a touch of shame in it. This kid was a treasure-hunter because they had lived a tough life and this was the only clear vocation open to them.


Inspiration goat now has a twitter account that will act as a place for me to share these new weekly table techniques and the Daydreaming about Dragons podcast:

Travel in Trophy Gold Redux and Pretty

We played our third session of Trophy Gold last night and it is really fun. I thought I’d hate the tokens handed out in Hunt rolls but I’m enjoying the heck out of them. If a player doesn’t like that kind of meta-mechanic they can just use it as Gold but it is a fantastic way to get things moving when someone explores the environment in any meaningful way.

From, “I peak in the tomb to I look behind the tapestry to see if there’s a secret door” to “I look in the tomb to see if there’s any treasure,” I’ve seen Hunt rolls make both of those endeavors more interesting than they otherwise would’ve been.

Looking back on my earlier blog post on travel I can see places where my wording was awkward, especially after playing a few sessions and seeing these mechanics hit the table. Below is a poster I made with the travel rules, which are still slightly tweaked Hunt rolls but I think I have tightened up the wording. I wrote the previous blog post almost 24 days ago, which in 2020 time is about 73 years.

I changed safety from beasts to some protection from beasts because monsters don’t care about your damned walls. Still, some protection is better than none and every advantage you can muster when you are picking up steel against a beast is important.

More house-rules will no doubt emerge. When winter cloaks the land in ice and death and treasure-hunters bundle up in their chapter houses, does one take a dark die when one travels?

inverted-dice-6  Add a dark-colored die if you are willing to risk your mind or body in order to get to where you are going. You must include this die whenever you travel during winter’s reign of ice and death, when days are short, the ground is frozen and the veil between our world and the Quietlands is so perilously thin that some folk slip through the Bone Gate while sleeping in their own warm beds.


Travel Poster


I’ve been futzing with the layout tools in Canva.com and making book covers for campaigns I’m playing in. I am really not good at graphic design and layout but learning a new thing is fun. I’ll start taking lessons on Lynda.com for Affinity Publisher soon.


General Research Division, The New York Public Library. “Van (Arménie).” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1867 – 1870. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e2-7060-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/geek-media-studies

Find this design and more in the Geek Media Studies collection…

Death in Trophy Gold

If a character reached 6 Ruin because of physical limitations of mortal flesh, an incarnation of Death will come to take their soul to the Quietlands beyond the Bone Gates.


Quietlands Guide, Lesser

Description: Quietlands guides often change their look based on the culture of the deceased. Sometimes they are a ghoul riding a rotting polar bear, an angel with a thousand eyes and 8 wings or even an old fashioned skeleton in black robes and a scythe.

Endurance: 6

Habits:

  1. Cleave a soul with a magical weapon.
  2. Cut a magical tether that no mortal weapon can touch.
  3. Cut a deal for more time as long as it means more souls for the Guide.
  4. Raise the recent dead to cover their retreat into the Quietlands with the soul.
  5. Offer the soul one last good-bye to someone important from their life.
  6. Tell mortals a detail about their eventual deaths.

Defenses: No mortal weapon can harm them.

Weakness: Summoning circles can entrap them if you can trick them into it.

Holy relics have strong effects on them.


What if the characters drive away death?

The Quietlands will come for them. It is only a matter of time.

The dead character’s Ruin is still 6. Their souls are in their bodies and they can move around but the clock is ticking. If they are called upon to make any Ruin rolls they either fall to dust, their soul evaporating into the universe like water into a stormcloud or they will become a vicious undead monster, losing control of their character as they become a NPC.

If the character can find the right lore, they can fashion themselves into a sentient undead character, setting their Ruin to 1. How do they do this?

Lich-Rites

Maybe they perform the Lich-Rites. Now their Ruin is bound up in their ability to devour spells. When they need to lower their Ruin, the only way is to devour spells. Each spell they remove from a living or dead skull or ripping them off the written page. These spells are stored in their decaying bones, able to be cast by them for a price. When they cast them, their Ruin will increase.

If they reach 6 Ruin again their bodies will turn to dust and only a jeweled skull will remain as they turn into a villainous Demi-Lich, bringing horror to some tomb.


Other Rites

Blood Rites, Ghoul Rites, and many others haunt the shelves of dusty libraries across the loom of the world and new rites are born every so often.

Sometimes a character hell-bent on vengeance will not attach to any rites, turning into a spite-filled Revenant, turning to the Quietlands after bloody justice is wrought.


Quietlands Storm

Description: A stormcloud in the shape of a  roaring skull.

Endurance: 9

Habits:

  1. Ghosts slip into the living world to offer dire warnings.
  2. Rain cold hell down on the countryside
  3. Lightning strikes anything built by the dead character since they perished.
  4. Wind rips the soul from the character’s rotting shell
  5. The dead rise to bring the lost soul into the Quietlands
  6. Cause spells to act in odd and unexpected ways

Defenses: No mortal weapon can harm them.

Weakness: Powerful holy sites can slow the storm down for a time.

There is a black diamond in the eye of the storm. Plucking it from the skull will cause the storm to abate but the storm will attempt to possess any who hold the diamond.


The Quiet One

If the Quietlands Storm is somehow defeated, the Quiet One will venture forth before the year is over. You’ll know when it happens. Words will cease to be heard, holy statues will cry blood, temple and church roofs will fall on the heads of the faithful and a generation of children will be born as hungry ghouls.


How do Undead Exist if the Quiet One is coming?

I’m glad you asked.

In the Quietlands everyone’s tomb is waiting, prepared and silent. Yours is there. In order to stop death from seeking a lost soul, you must venture into the Quietlands, find your tomb and leave a living soul in its depths. There are few guides qualified to lead adventurers to their own tomb and fewer maps but for every lich-queen or vampire lord is someone who knows how to get this fell task done.

 

These designs and more in my Threadless shop, all artists’ proceeds go to amazing organizations and charities:

Trophy Gold: Debt holders

Trophy Gold: Debt holders

project-image-funded.jpg

Debt is a tangible mechanical part of Trophy Gold. I thought it’d be worthwhile to have options for the table when someone comes to collect.

Who is holding the debt?


1. Bulla Shrines

Said to have invented credit, debt and banking, the demi-god, Bulla is a faceless deity whose accountant-priests are known to have necromantic powers. Some say they use these powers to demand a spirit continue paying for the living’s debt, even after death.

Some whisper that Bulla’s displeasure with its government was one of the many forces bringing about the the Fall of Olde Kalduhr.

If you fall behind on payments, revenant-collectors will be sent to bring you to the nearest shrine.


2. Some Ducal Asshole

Some dukes and duchesses love being patrons to adventurers, hearing their daring stories and taking the pick of their treasures.

If you fall behind on your payments the duchy’s thug-knights and their retinue will most likely be the ones dragging you back to the ducal seat but sometimes a noble will get off their throne and pursue an adventurer themselves, often with highly paid bounty hunters in their company.


3. The Dark and Gold Guild

Some adventures live to see their dreams realized. Those in the Dark and Gold Guild are adventurers who earned a fortune and used that fortune to capitalize on others’ desire to delve and raid tombs.

Not wanting to ever don armor again, if you fall behind in your payments it will likely be adventurers coming after you, becoming more and more seasoned as the debt grows.


4. Starless Matron

The dark and deep parts of the world, where the starless elves build glittering cities and the cave-bear-folk tend to their shroombeast herds are the Starless Matrons, powerful fae matriarchs who pay homage to the All-Mother, (may her holy webs and eight legs be blessed).

If you fall behind in your payments, Starless Elf Freeriders, riding giant spiders or lizard-raptors will begin trying to collect your bounty. If that fails, they will turn to the altars of their spider-pantheon and begin summoning.


5. Death

Surely you were not so foolish as to put a lien on your own living soul for some trifling gear to go delving. Surely not.

If you were to fall behind on your payments, Death would begin collecting from those all around you until you found a shrine and paid that debt in full and then some.


6. Farmer Cooperative

They had a good harvest last year and wanted to invest in a hero so that their children could know wealth and live the dream. They pooled their money and put their trust in you and your daring, equipping you for a series of delves.

If you were to fall behind on your payments, the farmers would send their best trackers and veterans of war after you to reclaim payment or bring you back to the village for a trial.


The Trophy Kickstarter is in its last days, within bow’s shot of its last stretch goal in which myself and an amazing group of table-top role-playing game designers will get to design incursions that will be a mega-dungeon. Please check it out.

The DelRosso Principle

I was instant messaging with Jim, trying to figure out where this term originated.

Was it the Unknown Armies game. It could have been refering to when Ben switched the Unknown Armies game from a mission-based game set in the metropolitan New York/New Jersey area to more of a sandbox-style (yeah, we used that term before the OSR championed it, thinking more of Grand Theft Auto) where we were founding a new branch of The New Inquisition in Miami.

It might’ve been one of the Dictionary of Mu playtest games at the ole Get Your Geek On-a-thon’s, back when Ithaca had a game store. Those games tended to kick the setting in the teeth pretty hard, as happens when you have four Sorcerers playing in 4th or 5th gear, leaving nothing at the table because it is a one-shot.

Was it the Riddle of Steel game that began at the Dueling Bridges?

Doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that the DelRosso Principle states:

Kick this setting in the teeth.”

Nice and simple. It demands the players and the GM declare ownership over the setting and make it their own.

Jeff was kicking the Forgotten Realms in the teeth when he started his first session with the players finding Elminster crucified to a tower in Waterdeep. “Jeff, you need to let these players know that they are not gaming in the Forgotten Realms that are safe on their shelves. This is a different animal and those books will get them in the mood but will not save them.”

Kicking a setting in the teeth need not be that extreme. Pete subtly kicked the setting in the teeth when he circled up a Great Spider fence in our MoBu City game. “Oooh, the Weavers are involved in the crime world too? Neat.”

Invoking the DelRosso Principle is taking a published setting and making it your own. It is taking a collaboratively created setting and adding a nice flourish. It is changing the face of a fictional world through the act of pretending and the rolling of dice. It is taking a boxed set and making it a home, even if it is Dark Sun, a home that wants to see your characters dead. It is the act of making a fictional place a fun lens through which we can create and react.

This design and many others are in Judd’s Shop…

https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/designs/librarian