Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Santa Slayings

Here's a Christmas Season-appropriate random mystery/horror adventure outline generator that was inspired by a combination of a drawing by Bryan Baugh and a spooky version of "Carol of the Bells" by rock group Halocene. (The video and song can be enjoyed at the bottom of this post.)


THE SANTA SLAYINGS
The beautiful people are being hacked to death with an axe and various objects associated with Christmas are left scattered about the bodies. Witnesses report a decidedly non-jolly, white bearded man has been spotted near each of the murders. Can the heroes stop the slaughter before the happy goes completely out of the holidays for everyone?


WHEN DO THE MURDERS START? (Roll 1d6)
   1. July 24 ("Christmas in July")
   2-3. November 20.
   4-5. December 12 ("The 12th Day of Christmas")
   6. December 25 ("The 12 Days of Christmas")

WHO IS KILLED? (Roll 1d6)
   1. A Family (Mother, Father 1-6 children)
   2. Drunken Partiers (1d6+1 Guys, 1d6+1 Girls)
   3. Sexy Santas (1d6 Girls, 1d6-1 Guys)
   4. Church Choir Members (2d6 Guys, 2d6 Girls)
   5. Toy Company Executives (1d6)
   6. Activists (1-3 Pro Christmas, 1d6 killed; 4-6 Anti Christmas, 1d6 killed)

HOW OFTEN DOES THE KILLER STRIKE? (Roll 1d6)
   1. Every 1d6 hours.
   2. Every 2d6 hours.
   3. Every other day until 12 days have passed. He then goes quiet until next Christmas.
   4. Every third day until 12 days have passed. He then goes quiet until next Christmas.
   5. Every third day until stopped.
   6. The strikes three times, 2d6 hours between killings. He then comes for the player characters.

WHO IS KILLED NEXT?
   Roll 1d6 on the WHO IS KILLED table each time the killer strikes. There are 1d6-1 survivors who describe the killer as "Santa Claus."

WHO IS THE KILLER, AND WHY DOES HE KILL? (Roll 1d6)
  1-2. A Psychopathic Mall Santa Who's Blossomed into a Serial Killer Who Hates Those Who Love Christmas.
   3-4. An Insane Religious Fanatic Who Punishes Those Who Aren't Keeping Christmas Holy.
   5. A Demon Who Was Accidentially Summoned By a Church Group Who Was Praying for God to Punish Those Who Don't Observe the Proper Christmas Spirit. (They were actually the first victims, and the party may discover this during their investigation.)
   6. It's Santa Claus Who Has Snapped and Decided That Anyone Who Is Naughty Must Die.

HOW IS THE KILLER STOPPED? (Roll 1d6)
   1. By making him understand the meaning of Christmas, so he will willingly be brought to justice.
   2. By killing him.
   3. By cornering him and forcing him to surrender to be brought to justice.
   4. By killing him.
   5. By performing a magical ritual involving milk and cookies that will calm the murderous creature and make him regret what he has done and allow him to return to his . (Works only on the Demon and Santa.)
   6. By killing him.




Monday, December 3, 2018

Christmas is Coming!

'Tis the Season for Percussion Magic!



A few years ago, we posted some "Little Drummer Boy" inspired artifacts (the Drum of Bethlehem and the Drumsticks of Bethlehem). We're returning to the percussion theme, using the neat music in the video above as our inspiration.
   To read up on tabla drums, click on this link. Watching the video above should give you a good idea however. Basically, a set of tabla drums (known just as "tabla") is at least two drums, a daya (right drum) and a baya (left drum). The daya carries the main melody while the baya provides the bass.
The portions of this post from "The Magical Tabla Drums" to the end are presented under the Open Game License and may be reproduced in accordance with its terms. Copyright 2018 Steve Miller.


THE MAGICAL TABLA DRUMS
There are an unknown number of magical tabla drums in the world. No one knows how they are created, nor who creates them, but numerous wise men have claimed that they are gifts to the world from Saraswati, goddess of music and knowledge, bestowed either as rewards to worshipers and musicians who have impressed her, or as sources of reassurance and comfort during trying times. The music of the drums are rumored to strengthen the powers of holy men and women, cure the sick, and fill warriors with the strength and prowess of war gods.
   Magical tabla drums are always found in sets consisting of 1d4+2 daya and 1d2 baya. They rarely radiate any form of magic (only 1%  chance) and when they do, it is always of a weak, undeterminable type. The function of the drums can only be determined by playing them. If a set is broken up, the magic is disrupted.
   A silence spell centered upon the characer playing the tabla will negate the drums' effects and totally disrupt their magic. Characters who were within range of the drums' magic must roll successful Will saves (DC10+caster level) to retain the benefits of having heard the music (see below for details).

The Tabla of Comfort and Joy
When a skilled musician plays a tune on these drums--with a successful DC12 Perform (percussion instrument) skill check--all who can hear the music within a 60-ft radius become immune to negative mind-effecting magic and spell-like effects, such as fear spells or illusions designed to frighten or cause other forms of distress. Divine spells cast with the intent of heal, comfort, or otherwise make targets feel better or more cheerful, function at two caster levels higher than the actual caster.
   The effect of the tabla start after two rounds of the mucician player, and remains in effect for a time equal to the total amount played after the musician ceases. (If the musician plays for 10 minutes, beings within a 60-foot radius enjoy he drums benefits for 20 minutes.)

The Tabla of Protection and Celebration
When a skilled musician plays a tune on these drums--with a successful DC15 Perform (percussion instrument) skill check--all who can hear the music within a 60-ft radius feel invigorated and gain a +1 bonus to all saving throws, as well as a +2 bonus to Armor Class/Defense. Characters also gain a +8 bonus to Perform (dance) skill checks, whether they have ranks in the skill or not.
   The effect of the tabla start after two rounds of the mucician player, and remains in effect for a time equal to the total amount played after the musician ceases. (If the musician plays for 10 minutes, beings within a 60-foot radius enjoy he drums benefits for 20 minutes.)

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Christmas is Coming!

Let's kick off the month with a great version of a favorite Christmas song here at NUELOW Games, "We Three Kings." The video is even better.





And here's a feat by in case you want to play/include a Magi or three in your d20 System games! (The rest of this post is released under the Open Game License, and the following material may be reproduced in accordance with its terms. Copyright 2018 Steve Miller.)


READ THE STARS [General]
You can find guidance in the stars, both metaphorically and literally.
   Prerequisite: Intelligence 12, Wisdom 12.
   Benefit: By spending 1d3+1 hours studying the night sky, making notations, and comparing the results to a series of charts and diagrams, the character can gain any of the following benefits once per day.
   Momentous Destination: The stars reveal a prophecy that states you are to travel to a distant location where you will have a fateful encounter that may have world altering consequences and bring you great riches or power or knowledge, or all of the above. The direction in which you must travel is made clear, but the exact location to which you must travel and how far away it might be is not. (Note: The destination can be a town, a ruin, a dungeoun, or stable on the outskirts of a small town. It can be anything, really, where the GM has the next big adventure planned, or even the locaton of climax of the current adventure... because getting there is half the fun!)
   Smooth Travel: The stars reveal the easiest route to take while traveling toward a momenteous destination for one day of the journey, eliminating any overland movement penalties due to terrain type. You gain the benefit of a successful Survival skill check.  If the character doesn't have access to a map of the region, a Navigation or Survival skill check (DC15) to gain this benefit.
   Seer: The stars reveal if you are within a day's journey of the momenteous destination. You may also use the effects of the augury spell as if cast by a cleric of your total character levels.



Thursday, November 22, 2018

Who's Poisoning American Vegans?

Here's a random adventure outline generator ripped from the headlines! Roll on the following tables to generate the skeleton of a mystery adventure for your player characters in a modern-day or near-future setting to solve.

THE VEGAN DEATH CONSPIRACY
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has warned all Americans to not eat Romaine lettuce, citing a severe danger from e.coli. But is that all there is to it? Are people being sickened from supposed e.coli bacteria just the beginning? It's up to the player characters to investigate and get to the bottom of the mystery... only they can learn if there's a hidden hand and agenda behind the outbreak, or if it's just one of those things.

OPTIONAL: HOW DOES THE PARTY GET INVOLVED? (Roll 1d6)
   1. It's their job; they are investigators for the CDC.
   2. It's their job: they are reporters for the Weekly Weird News.
   3. It's their job; they are investigators for the Kolchak Institute of Paranormal and Cryptid Research
   4. A loved one of a party member, who was a Vegan, died from a mysterious ailment that resembled an e.coli infection.
   5. A one-time foe (1-3)/old friend (4-6) contacted them about having discovered a monstrous conspiracy and he wanted to them about it. When they arrive where they were to meet him, they find his dead body, half-eaten. An autopsy shows his internal organs and veins were strangly swollen. Go  to WHAT IS THE VEGAN DEATH CONSPIRACY.
   6. Roll two more times on this table, ignoring and rerolling results of 6 and duplicated results. Both reasons apply.

IS THERE A CONSPIRACY TO POISON LETTUCE? (Roll 1d6)
   1-4. Yes. And more. Go to WHO IS BEHIND THE VEGAN DEATH CONSPIRACY.
   5-6. No. Go to WHAT IS THE REAL REASON LETTUCE IS MAKING PEOPLE SICK.

WHO IS BEHIND THE VEGAN DEATH CONSPIRACY?
(Roll 1d6)
Whatever result is indicated below, people who eat some green leafy vegetables (like lettuce) are falling ill, those who eat lots of the stuff are being poisoned, and those who live entirely off vegetables are dying in a horrible fashion: their internal organs and blood veins swell and they develop a high fever that cooks their innards even as they are crushed against their own skeleton.
   1. A rogue element within the U.S. government is testing a bio-weapon by spraying it on green leafy vegetables. When it reaches critical mass in the person's body, they die an agonozing death.
   2. As above, except its terrorists backed by Iran (1-2)/North Korea (3-4)/Russia (5-6) spreading the bio-weapon.
   3. A demon cult has been selling plants and seeds infused with demonic to American farmers through Morning Glory Agriculture, and the souls of those who eat too much of the tainted greens are immediately damned to Hell.
   4. As above, except Morning Glory Agriculture is a front for the extremist group Stop Plant Abuse Today. They hope to scare Vegans into eating fewer fruits and vegetables.
   5. Morning Glory Agriculture's genetically modified romaine lettuce is killing people. The company is working on a solution, and in the meantine, they will want to silence anyone who discovers what's going on. Including the player characters.
   6. Venusian are in the final stages of preparing to invade and take over Earth. They are testing ways to turn Earthlings into the perfect food source... and they like the taste of the pure Vegan flesh.

Artwork by Bryan Baugh

WHAT IS THE REAL REASON LETTUCE IS MAKING PEOPLE SICK?
(Roll 1d6)
1-2. It's e.coli, plain and simple. Sometimes shit happens.
3-4. An alien strain of lettuce has arrived on Earth via a meteor, and those who eat too much of it will become AstroZombies!
5-6. Roll on WHO IS BEHIND THE VEGAN DEATH CONSPIRACY, because, contrary to appearances, there IS a conspiracy to kill American Vegans. Just as the party thinks they've figured out it is indeed just a massive e.coli outbreak, they are given information that hints at the conspiracy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Let's talk Turkey ala ROLF!

It's the time of year when Americans gather for Thanksgiving celebrations, and in many households time is spent watching football games.

But what if you don't football? What if there are several family members who don't like football? WELL, what you need to do is to gather those family members and convince them to play ROLF!: The Rollplaying Game with you! And we have just the introductory package for you to do that with!


The ROLF! Thanksgiving Feast Bundle includes the basic rules and three Thanksgiving/turkey-themed battle scenarios (Day of the Turkey, Turkey Shoot, and World War T), each of which include pre-generated characters for near-instant play and additional rules. Also Turkey Shoot includes some comics for added entertainment value (even if they may not be entirely family friendly... but, hey, we DO have a reputation to uphold here at NUELOW Games). You even save some money, as this bundle is offered at a 50% discount of what it would cost to buy the four booklets individually.

Get the ROLF! Thanksgiving Feast Bundle today from RPGNow or DriveThruRPG!

(We offer this special package every year around Thanksgiving. Unless we forget... which we did last year. Whoops!)

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Curse of the Watery Shroud

Here's another series of random tables to let you generate the outline for an adventure that was partly inspired by a drawing from Bryan Baugh.

THE CURSE OF THE WATERY SHROUD
The Whitehead family has been suffering under a curse since 1688 when the Angelina, the eldest daughter of Lord Elwyn Whitehead drowned mysteriously in water overflow tunnels beneath Castle Whitehead on what was both her 17th birthday and the celebration of her betrothal. Ever since then, if the eldest daughter of the Whitehead family has been unmarried on her 17th birthday, she has come to a tragic end by drowning.

This curse last asserted itself in the Spring of 1918, and it was ruled an accident. Now, just over 100 years later, another girl carrying the Whitehead family blood, Ashley Whitehead, has died in the waterlogged tunnels under Castle Whitehead. Is the curse real? And if so, what's behind it? Can the player characters solve the mystery and save a life... because Ashley's twin sister Emily has yet to fall victim to the curse!



OPTIONAL: HOW DOES THE PARTY GET INVOLVED? (Roll 1d6)
   1. They are friends of Emily.
   2. There were friends of Ashley.
   3. They are hired by the family to figure out what happened and save Emily.
   4. They are brought in by a contact in law enforcement.
   5. A contact in the paranormal investigation community asks the party to solve the mystery.
   6. One of the characters is a distant relative of the Whitehead family, and there have been mysterios deaths of teenaged girls in his family as well.


IS THE CURSE REAL? (Roll 1d6)
   1-3. Yes. Got to WHAT IS THE NATURE OF THE CURSE
   4-6. No. Go to WHO KILLED ASHLEY


WHAT IS THE NATURE OF THE CURSE? (Roll 1d6)
   1-2. Angelina committed suicide to avoid her forced nuptials. Ever since, her restless and bitter spirit is killing to stop other Whitehead girls from having the happiness she never did.
   3. Angelina was murdered by a jealous and jilted suitor whom she managed to kill even as he murdered her. His restless and evil spirit has been hunting and killing Whitehead girls ever since.
   4. Angelina hated the man she was being forced to marry. She conducted a dark ritual that called for a water demon, but instead of killing her would-be husband it killed her. And it's been claiming the lives of virginal Whitehead girls who don't marry young ever since.
   5- 6. Lord Elwyn made a deal with the Water Elemental Lord: He would be unaging until the life force of 333 girls of his line were claimed by creature as virgins on their 17th birthdays.

HOW CAN THE CURSE BE LIFTED? (Roll 1d6)
   1. A temple to the Water Elemental Lord at the center of the water-logged tunnels beneath Castle Whitehead must be destroyed, possibly collapsing the castle in the process.
   2. The water-logged tunnels underneath the castle must be excorsized of water elemental spirits, as well as the hate-filled ghost of Angelina (1-3), the man who murdered Angelina (4-6).
   3. Lord Elwynn Whitehead, who has been made unaging by the life force of each girl killed must be brought to the temple to the Water Elemental Lord under Castle Whitehead. Here, the angry ghosts of victims will destroy him and the curse will be lifted.
   4. The restless ghost of Angelina must be destroyed.
   5. The spirits of all the dead girls must be rescued from the grip of the Elemental Water Lord.
   6. Roll twice on this table, ignoring and rerolling results of 6. Both steps must be taken to lift the curse.

WHO KILLED ASHLEY? (Roll 1d6)
   1. Her secret boyfriend who got her pregnant and didn't want a scandal.
   2. A madwoman who believes she's the rightful heir to the Whitehead fortune if the twins are gone.
   3. A cultist who wanted to summon the legendary Water Elemental Lord and used her as a human sacrifice.
   4. Her psychopathic older brother wants to turn the castle into a "supernatural tourism" destination, and he murdered his sister to revive the legend of the Watery Shroud.
   5. Ashley isn't dead--Emily is. Ashley killed her sister and took her place.
   6. The butler did it. Ashley discovered he was replacing family art treasures with forgeries.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Ghostbusting: The Haunting of Mary-Anne Sanders

Here's another post partially inspired by a drawing by Bryan Baugh. This one includes tables for randomly generating an outline for a "ghostbusting" adventure plot, as well as a starting occupation that's equally useful in settings where the paranormal is reality or fantasy.
   The player characters become involved with the events because they are either connected to the victim of the haunting, or because they are paranormal investigators/ghostbusters.

THE HAUNTING OF MARY-ANNE SANDERS
For weeks, Mary-Anne felt uneasy in her own home. First, she thought small things were being moved ever so slightly. Then, she kept feeling like someone else present, watching her, even though she knew she was alone. Soon after that, she started seeing movement out of the corner of her eye, but when she turned, no one was there. Two nights ago, she was laying in her bed when something swept through the room and she felt cold hands pawing at her, tearing open her nightgown. Then, invisible iron talons locked around her and she was flung violently from the bed. As she struggled to her feet, she saw an indistinct shape at the head of the bed... indistinct aside from glowing eyes and twitching claws. As it faded away, she began to scream...


OPTIONAL: HOW DO THE PLAYER CHARACTERS GET INVOLVED?
(Roll 1d6)
1-2. Mary-Anne calls them for help.
3-4. A mutual friend reaches out to one of the player characters.
5. One of the player characters hears about what's happening to her, and it sounds like a case that's worth investigating.
6. A clue uncovered during another case leads the player characters to Mary-Anne.


WHO IS MARY-ANNE TO THE PLAYER CHARACTERS? (Roll 1d6)
1-2. An old friend or lover to one or more of them, but has been out of touch for years.
3. A one-time associate of a rival or enemy, but she has parted ways with that nefarious figure.
4-5. There is no prior connection.
6. She is (or formerly was) in the same line of work as one or more of the player characters, but is known to them by reputation only. (Roll 1d6: 1-2. Favorable reputation, 3-4. Negative reputation, 5-6. Dangerous reputation.)

WHAT DOES MARY-ANNE DO FOR A LIVING? (Roll 1d6)
1. Widow raising 1d3 children, living off proceeds of a tech company sold years ago.
2. Police detective.
3. Call girl.
4. School teacher.
5. Paranormal Investigator.
6. Social Worker.

WHO IS HAUNTING MARY-ANNE? (Roll 1d6)
1. The ghost of an ex-lover.
2. The ghost of a stalker.
3. The ghost of a former occupant of the home.
4. A spirit bound to a knickknack she recently bought at a thrift shop.
5. An evil spirit summoned by local cultists who want revenge on Mary-Anne. Roll on WHAT IS MARY-ANNE'S SECRET? to learn why.
6. It's a hoax. An 1-3 ex-lover (1-3) rival (4-6); is trying to embarrass her (1-2) drive her insane (3-4)  discredit her (5-6). Roll on the table again, ignoring and rerolling results of 5 and 6 (or use a d4).
   Roll on the table again. A few days after the hoax is revealed, Mary-Anne's terror begins again. There had been a real haunting that had gone unnoticed due to the hoaxter, and the party still has a ghost to put to rest. If 6 is rolled again, Mary-Anne is now haunting herself; the previous experience drove her insane.

HOW IS THE HAUNTING STOPPED? (Roll 1d6)
1-2. Discovering the ghost's identity and convincing it to move onto the next plane, possibly burying its body in a proper grave.
3-4. Destroying or binding the ghost through usual Ghostbusting methods.
5. Discovering the ghost's identity and bringing a living relative and mutual acquaintance of the ghost and Mary-Anne to speak to it and tell it all is forgiven. Roll on WHAT DOES MARY-ANNE DO FOR A LIVING? to see who this person is.
6. Discovering Mary-Anne's dark secret and revealing it to the public (or, at the very least law enforcement). Roll on WHAT IS MARY-ANNE'S DARK SECRET? Ignore and re-roll results of 6; the result is actually the ghost's dark secret, and it wants Mary-Anne to reveal it, so those it hurt in life can have justice. Mary-Anne has been too frightened to tell anyone what she discovered shortly before the ghost died.

WHAT IS MARY-ANNE'S DARK SECRET? (Roll 1d6)
1. She killed the ghost by accident and covered it up.
2. She's a serial killer.
3. She's a "talent scout" for a slave sex ring.
4. She's the leader of a cult that practices human sacrifice.
5. She's a retired assassin.
6. She doesn't have any serious dark secret; she is the victim she appears to be.
--

NEW STARTING OCCUPATION 
(for OGL Modern and other d20 System Games)
The rest of the text in this post after is released under the Open Game License and may be reproduced in accordance with its terms.

Paranormal Researcher
Prerequisite: Age 16+, Charisma 12+
Skills: Choose three of the following skills as permanent class skills. If a skill the character selects is already a class skill, he or she receives a +1 competence bonus on checks using that skill. Craft (electronics), Gather Information, Knowledge (arcane lore, behavorial science, history, physical sciences, technology, theology and philosophy), Research, Sense Motive, Search, or Spot.
Bonus Feats: Choose one of the following feats to gain as a bonus feat. All prerequisites must be met before the feat can be selected. Alertness, Ectoplasmic DominatorGhost Spotter, Ghost Whisperer.
Wealth Bonus: +1