Hearty Dice Friends Episode 41 – Dice Shanties

On this week’s show:

– A surprisingly long chat about old crisps, right off the bat
– Dwarfsongs
– Dice training, and why it shouldn’t
– Chromatic goblins
– Teeth?
– Fun but problematic content in games vs People actually buying it
– And many more, including a special surprise guest!

Much love, as ever.

G & C

If you like this, then you can subscribe to us wherever you get podcasts from or support Hearty Dice Friends through our Patreon.

What are those orcs doing?

bonfire

Header image by Bill Smith on Flickr

D66

Arguing about….

  1. The best way to cook adventurers that you’ve caught, as a lone halfling sits marinating in olive oil and herbs
  2. Which orc god is more brutally handsome – the gruff and unshaven Gruhg or the lithe and muscular Osso
  3. Who’s on their side and who’s a plant from the Order of the Baleful Eye, orc police force, after the coach robbery went wrong
  4. Whether horses can talk or not
  5. The best way back to their encampment before it gets dark, because these hills are crawling with armed lunatics
  6. Whose fault it was that Krug died in the last fight against those wolves

2  Dividing up their stash of stolen…

  1. Statues, lifted from the mansion of a mad Baroness
  2. Hams, taken from a now-vengeful travelling ham merchant
  3. Dogs, from an illegal puppy farm, and boy are they cute
  4. Copper pieces in huge sacks, so big they can barely carry them
  5. Gnomish-made trinkets that swap places whenever they take their eyes off them
  6. Paint, from a wilderness artists’ commune they just sacked

Tucking into a meal of…

  1. A sort of horrible fungus cake
  2. Slug stew, an orcish delicacy none of them are going to admit they don’t enjoy
  3. Beef and root vegetable hotpot, made outrageously spicy, as is the orcish way
  4. The end of a packet of biscuits and half a cigarette each
  5. Orc feet, prepared in the traditional manner (toes on)
  6. A whole witch, who’s not quite dead yet

Attempting to…

  1. Climb a tree so they can escape the bear, but it is not a big tree and they are very big orcs
  2. Build a trap for those “stupid adventurers”
  3. Repair their wagon, damaged in the storm after a tree fell on it
  4. Identify a dangerous magic item they stole – one of them is just a pair of smoking boots
  5. Pick out an outfit for Groblar’s wedding, also determine which of them he is going to marry and make his Queen
  6. Divide up the room fairly after a proper row

5  Singing about…

  1. Punching, and the best way to do it
  2. Shouting, and how it’s the best
  3. The beautiful orc boys and/or girls back home
  4. Heartbreak and loss, in a high-pitched and mournful aria
  5. Strangling dogs
  6. Chops

6  Fighting…

  1. A wounded but still fierce boar
  2. A young owlbear, for practice, and it’s not going super-well
  3. A crafty witch and her sprite familiars
  4. A picture of a dragon to get them fired up
  5. Their own raging carnal urges, after the boss told them not to kiss each other when he was away
  6. The villain, after an unusual crisis of conscience

Remnants is a series where Chris and Grant, the creative leads behind Rowan, Rook & Decard, create a fantasy world through the use of Dx tables. Because who has time to read a full setting book?

[REMNANTS] Once upon a time, when the dragon-kings ruled the aetherealms and the Witch-Queens fought grand duels over generations with arcana of unimaginable power, the worlds split apart. There was too much magic, and reality couldn’t bear the weight any longer. The otherworlds splintered apart like ships crashing against a shoreline; but the pieces remained, shards of reality, and they pierced the material realm. A thousand dimensions, all attached to various degrees, to the prime material: some forgotten, some overrun with new inhabitants, some spawning monstrous creatures into the world, and some ripe for plundering.

What does this “vampire” feed on?

Header image by BenGrantham on Flickr

1 – LUCK. It absorbs good luck from people and spends it to stay alive, because the gods cursed vampires many years ago and this is the only way they can get around the hex. (Without regular luck-feeding, most vampires would be killed by a traffic accident or lightning strike in a matter of days.) Some own casinos; the less-fortunate ones just hang around and try to siphon off fortune from gamblers. (They can gather it through skin contact, however brief.)

2 – IDENTITIES. They build shrines to people out of secrets and discarded (or stolen) clothes. They listen for social security numbers, birthdays, mothers’ maiden names; they impersonate voices over the phone and copy signatures. For each part of your identity they steal, you become weaker, and they become stronger, until you become a hollowed-out vampire yourself.

3 – BLOOD. But – only blood that’s been freely given, else it turns to ashes and pitch in their mouths. Blood banks are great; others run goth nightclubs or fetish parties to try and latch onto people who’ll willingly give up some of the red stuff.

4 – DISEASE. They feed on diseases, ripping them out of people. They’re a positive influence, for the most part, but they look more horrific the more “powerful” they become, resembling withered, rash-covered corpses. Which is all fine until they’re killed by some do-gooding vampire hunter, and all the diseases they’ve absorbed are cast out into everyone nearby.

5 – NOISE. They absorb noise, sucking it out of nearby events, reducing them to silence; they can ruin concerts. They’re bastards, too, the lot of them – mainly it comes from a lack of social interaction, as no-one can talk to them – and so they make a lot of enemies. Some hunters keep one on their books as an aid to infiltration; for others, the last thing they’ll hear is absolutely nothing, as the vampire descends upon them and rips them silently apart.

6 – CORPSES. But – the whole corpse. It doesn’t stop feeling hungry until it’s eaten every part of the corpse; when it’s digested the last hair, gummed down the last spoonful of ground-up molars, sucked the marrow from the bones and swallowed the intestines. It can take a vampire several weeks to get through a full body, and if they are denied their prize, it was all for nothing.

7- EYES. They feed on eyes, fresh and hot and wet out of the sockets. They select eyes that have seen beautiful, remarkable or unique things; if they can’t find anyone with interesting experiences, they’ll make those experiences for them. They have lairs full of beautiful art that they don’t (and physically can’t) care the slightest about, and heavy chairs with leather straps for viewing parties.

8 – MEMORIES. Their lives are agony, and they cannot die. (Should they try and end it all, they awaken at the next sunset, in more pain than ever.) Their only hope of escape is to track down everyone from their life before they were turned and suck out every memory that relates to them using a long, barbed tongue or probing finger; once they disappear from the world completely, they are allowed to die.

9 – MAGIC. They drain the ability to perform magic out of their targets, storing it within themselves and using it to fuel their unnatural powers. They hide in mage’s sanctums, pressed tight in the gaps between the walls, and leech their powers while they sleep – or they run in gangs of three to five, corner guttermages and hedge-wizards, and wrench the auras off them in back alleys.

10 – COLOUR. They were kicked out of the fey realm for some unimaginable crime, and now they traipse through the mortal world looking to recapture their glory days. In doing so, they leech the colour and vibrancy out of everything that surrounds them, leaving people like sun-bleached salon photographs; their lairs are greyscale-monochrome, and they will gladly talk of their time amongst the fair folk in exchange for a bright red scarf, or the blue of your eyes.

Glimmers is a series where Chris and Grant, the creative leads behind Rowan, Rook & Decard, create an urban horror world through the use of Dx tables. Because who has time to read a full setting book?

[GLIMMERS.] The city is alive. The city is connected, with streams of light and noise and people, to every other city; they are all the same being, all branches of the same concrete-and-glass tree. There are streets between them, forgotten streets, with secret names and grim inhabitants. (And: there are wild-lands, dark places, the Spaces Between, where nothing seems right. Airport waiting rooms. Churches, at night. Backwater villages.)

There is vast power in the thrum of machines and the buzz of traffic, and it can be yours, for a price.

What’s weird about these goblins?

credit: Hammermancer image by Iguanamouth

D10

 

1 They worship seagulls, after being caught at sea on a particularly treacherous voyage, and view them as pecky angels. The worship is not at all mutual and many of the dropping-caked goblins are blind in one or more eyes.

 

2 They love explosions. They were raised in a mine, turfed out by expansionist dwarves, and now they roam the countryside with a cartload of stolen dynamite and a grudge to settle. (They can hurl mining explosives, dealing moderate area damage, and they defend their cart with terrifying, chew-through-your-ankles zeal.)

 

3 They killed a first-level adventuring party, and have therefore levelled up. One of them is convinced he’s a cleric, another a wizard, a third a rogue, and so on. They all wear armour that’s far too big for them, but they can fight better than the average goblin.

 

4 They feed off insults thanks to an old fey pact. They’ll try to get people to swear at them or toss garbage their way, at which point they gain a handful of temporary hitpoints and maybe a bonus to hit for a round or two. To encourage insults, they dress as offensively as possible and like throwing turds at people.

 

5 They live inside a giant beehive full of giant bees, and they serve the queen. They paint themselves yellow and black in an attempt to fit in; this may or not not just be part of a ruse to steal some giant honey.

 

6 They’re not a joke; they’re anti-dwarf tunnel-fighters, trained to make improvised traps and lay ambushes. Their kind can see in total darkness, and they all inflict sneak attack damage as though they were rogues. (They’ll run like hell away from a fight, too, if it looks like they can’t win. Tracking them down is half the battle.)

 

7 A necromancer wove spells of undeath over the wrong graveyard, so now they’re skeletal goblins. Not much else has changed about them; they retain their mischievous nature, and often enjoy swapping heads or playing each other like xylophones as a gag.

 

8 They’re not interested in fighting, and are on a sort of fund-raising mission to get enough copper pieces to repair their dungeon roof, which has been leaking something awful. They’re doing okay so far, but they need a solid donation to ensure they can stay homed through winter.

 

9 They made off with a sizeable portion of a dragon’s hoard and are living like kings – and they’re clad in stolen magic armour that makes them hard to kill. They’re not the real threat, though, because the dragon can smell stolen gold, and she’s coming to get it back.

 

10 Devoid of morals and finding it easy to sneak up on people, the goblins have set up a sort of protection racket in the village; the inhabitants leave out food and drink for them on their back steps at night, and in exchange, the goblins keep them safe from low-level threats and non-goblin burglary. They’re not doing too bad a job of it, either.

Remnants is a series where Chris and Grant, the creative leads behind Rowan, Rook & Decard, create a fantasy world through the use of Dx tables. Because who has time to read a full setting book?

[REMNANTS] Once upon a time, when the dragon-kings ruled the aetherealms and the Witch-Queens fought grand duels over generations with arcana of unimaginable power, the worlds split apart. There was too much magic, and reality couldn’t bear the weight any longer. The otherworlds splintered apart like ships crashing against a shoreline; but the pieces remained, shards of reality, and they pierced the material realm. A thousand dimensions, all attached to various degrees, to the prime material: some forgotten, some overrun with new inhabitants, some spawning monstrous creatures into the world, and some ripe for plundering.

Hearty Dice Friends Episode 40 – Juggalo Lunch Club

ON THIS WEEK’S EPISODE:

– Timed games?
– Lunchtime roleplaying?
– James Bond?
– Beer and/or pretzels?
– New players?

And many more. Also we’re very sorry but Grant had some ambient noise on his track that we can’t remove; hopefully you’ll be able to struggle through and pick out what he says regardless. One day we’ll be able to afford sound-proofing equipment. ONE DAY.

We love you. Hop on our shoulders, and we’ll give you a great view of the band.

– Grumbo and Crumbo

 

If you like this, then you can subscribe to us wherever you get podcasts from or support Hearty Dice Friends through our Patreon.

Hearty Design Friends Episode 1 – TRASHKIN

Chris and Grant switch on their microphones to record the design process behind their new one-page game TRASHKIN. If you want to get an insight into our method and don’t mind loads of useless distractions (which are, to be fair, part and parcel of our method) then take a listen!

You can support Hearty Dice Friends through our Patreon.

EIGHT REAL-WORLD THINGS HUMANS HAVE BUILT GUNS INTO

There’s no limit on what you can build guns into, and we should know, because we’re humans: and humans are the best at putting guns into things where guns shouldn’t be. To that end, here’s a rundown of some stupid shit people have done with firearms, and rules to represent them in your run-of-the-mill D20 game:

Note: If you’re playing in Dungeons and Dragons or anything with a similarly fantastical feel, gunpowder and firearms are experimental at best. We can assume your system has some kind of malfunction rule – use it, but double the chance of misfire, because these things are daft.

KNUCKLEDUSTERS

This seems like top-drawer bollocks of the highest order, because it combines one of the least dangerous things you can still legally call a “weapon” with one of the most dangerous things, namely: a gun. Anyway, the Apache revolver is a British invention which starts off as a hard-to use knuckleduster and unfolds into a hard-to-use pistol, and it even comes with a bayonet on it, because that’s what every pistol needs, isn’t it.

(Pistol: D6+1 damage, range 10ft. “Bayonet:” D4, but you look like a bellend trying to use it. Knuckleduster: D3. (Warning: Knuckledust is lethal if inhaled, so wear a mask.))

PEN

The pen may be mightier than the sword, but both of them pale into insignificance next to the GUNPEN. It holds a single shot, it has a range about equal to throwing the fucking thing, and it takes several minutes to screw together. But it can propel a lump of metal into someone’s body pretty effectively so long as you stand next to them when you do it, so it’s not all bad.

(D6 damage, range 5ft, one shot.)

SWORD

The gunpen is mightier than both the sword and the pen, but the gunsword takes the gunpen round the back of the stables and shoots it clean through the head. A fairly popular tactic from the 16th century onwards was to build a single-shot concealed pistol into your sword, shield, axe or wife and use it during battle to surprise your enemy. Of all the weapons on this list, this is probably the closest to something you’d like to use in a fight: at least it still functions as a sword if it misfires, which it probably will.

(D6 damage, range 5ft, one shot. If your enemy doesn’t know you hid a gun in your sword, +2 to hit.)

RING

Here comes the bride – and she’s wearing a pistol on her finger! This ring-gun uses tiny bullets made by and for children, and boasts a barrel length of zero millimetres, making it more of an objet d’art than a usable weapon.

(D3 damage, range 0ft)

POCKETWATCH

What time is it? TIME TO DIE. Yes.

(D6-1 damage, range 5ft)

BELT BUCKLE

The Nazis did a lot of stuff wrong – I don’t think we’re being too contentious saying that. That “stuff” includes building a four-shot revolver into a belt-buckle; sounds cool in principle, and you can imagine yourself standing feet shoulder-width apart, backlit in a door, firing it at a squad of mooks, crotch ablaze with smoking death. But that’s not how it’d go – you’d have to fiddle with it, ruining the element of surprise, so your murder options are pretty much limited to people who don’t get suspicious when they see you undoing your belt: i.e. sexual partners or someone else in the same bathroom as you.

(D6-1 damage, range 5ft. Make a Sleight of Hand check when using the Belt Buckle Gun to not have someone ask what the fuck you’re doing)

A DIFFERENT, LARGER GUN

Hey! You like guns? How about we stick a gun in your gun so you can gun while you gun? Is your gun not heavy enough? How about we strap a big shotgun to the underside. Or a grenade launcher! No more arduous switching between different weapons, or talking to people even: just shoot all day long. How many guns can we fit into a single gun? We’re still finding out!

(Profile as regular gun, but: damage is reduced by -1 and ammo count is halved. You can build a gun into a built-in gun, further reducing the damage and ammo count, and so on and so forth, until you run out of damage or bullets.)

 

HAT

This was never made, which is a terrible crime. Also, as the source says, the barrel looks to be a 50. Calibre, which would most likely break or at least really damage the firer’s neck.

(D8 damage, range 15ft, D4 damage to self upon firing)

Honey Heist is on Critical Role this week!

HEY SO our game, Honey Heist – an RPG in which you play a criminal bear with two stats, CRIMINAL and BEAR – is being played on Critical Role this week, which we are assured is a Big Deal. If you’d like to learn more about Honey Heist, you can download the entire ruleset (which is a page long) for free here.

Then you can buy it on a t-shirt here, if you’re comfortable with being the most popular person at any convention/bar/funeral you wear it to. That’s a burden you’ll just have to shoulder when you wear it.

The game will run on Thursday 9th November 2017 at 7pm PT. (Which is 3am on Friday if you’re in the UK, so we won’t blame you for not watching it live.) If you’d like to learn more about Critical Role, check out their website here.

Hearty Dice Friends Episode 38 – Ten Things I Hate About Players

In this week’s episode:

– RPG burnout
– How to defend yourself from nightmare flying heads
– Player pet hates (but not how to deal with them)
– What went wrong with D20 Modern?
– BRUMBO!
– Etc

We adore you. Come and live with us in a faraway castle.

– G-Whizz and Rising C-Levels

If you like this, then you can subscribe to us wherever you get podcasts from or support Hearty Dice Friends through our Patreon.

Hearty Dice Hearth: HOW TO STOP THE PLAYERS FROM KILLING MONSTERS

Welcome to the Hearty Dice Hearth: the start of a series where we gather round an imaginary internet fireplace and answer your questions in more detail, and perhaps in a more actually-useful way, than we do on our podcast. This week:

DJM ASKS: How do you include monsters as NPCs without the players getting all murder-y?

 

GRANT: You make them very, very hunky.

CHRIS: Or you humanise them, make the players actually want to find out more about your favorite monster.

GRANT: There’s nothing more human than a hunk. Imagine: a beautiful otyugh. Maybe he’s preppy. Button-up shirt. Glasses. Do they have eyes?

CHRIS: I’m fairly sure they have eyes, although they’re hidden beneath a rotting pile of filth. Just how hunky can you make a creature who literally lives in poop?

 

GRANT: Bad example, perhaps. I don’t think otyughs can talk, anyway, which kind of rules them out of being NPCs in the first place. I think NPCs have to be able to talk to the players in some way, so you’re looking at stuff with mouths, vocal chords, intelligence 5 or more… or maybe just powerfully telepathic shit that can mind link. Or mimics. What the fuck is going on with mimics? Can’t I just ask one what happened with their whole… deal?

CHRIS: I think mimics must have their own little communities. A mimic walks into a mimic party and it’s like the the most confusing fancy dress party going.

 

GRANT: Let’s try some of that advice. That’s why people are here. So: you hit on it earlier when you said that you need to humanise the monsters, right? That’s a core requirement. And I think the most human thing of all you can do, and pretty easily, is to give them a name.

CHRIS: Naming them is super important. Also give them a trait, some little physical or verbal action that sets them apart from the standard Illithid or Owlbear.

GRANT: What’s a good name for an owlbear? Asking for a friend.

CHRIS: You can go two ways: go noble and call them Ignatius or more traditional and call them Howlbeak.

GRANT: I was thinking Hoots McGinty but those are good too. I mean, either of those could be used as an actual name for an owlbear, so top work there. I think the name and trait thing applies to all NPCs in your game, even ones you want players to do a murder on, so: what’s the thing we can add that stops the knives coming out?

CHRIS: Illicit compassion. Whether that be pity, friendship or empathy it’s useful to have an NPC that isn’t looking like they will smash your face in given half a chance.

 

GRANT: If we look back to the roots of D&D, get back to the old school, there are reaction tables that determine a creature’s general mood when they meet the players – and what they want, too. (The Black Hack, an excellent short-form game, has a good one of these.) It’s boring, not to mention dangerous and unrealistic, to have everything want to kill the players the second they rock up. What do the monsters want? Once you determine that you can make them a lot more interesting. ALSO: give them kids.

CHRIS: You can also bake it into your setting. If the players are at a point where goblins cease to be a threat have them just flee when they see the party. One goblin stays and drops their weapon and tries to communicate.

GRANT: I like that; I like the idea of the players getting all I Am Legend on the monsters, you know? As in: they become a legendary threat, a terrifying thing, that the monsters talk of in hushed, feared tones. So maybe you find goblin wall art depicting their raids on the dungeons, you know? That’s kind of fun. There’s also a big difference between intelligent and unintelligent monsters, too. Like: do they have culture? Are they, for the want of a better word, people?

CHRIS: Even have the wall art depicting everyday life. Remind the players that these are more than just bags of hitpoints and loot. Keep the fact that they have lives outside of being murdered. When the players see how much care you put into the “monstrous” races then that can start to rub off on them.

 

GRANT: For sure. I think we should try and boil this down to a FIVE TOP TIPS thing. I’ve read those articles before. They seemed useful. Does that seem like the sort of thing you’d like to do, right here, with me, in front of everyone?

CHRIS: Yeah, let’s start with 1) Give your monster a name and trait.

GRANT: 2) Work out what your monster wants, and what the smartest way of them getting it is.

CHRIS: 3) Humanise the monster by giving examples of how it lives and interacts with the world and others of its kind.

GRANT: 4) A bit mercenary, but: give the players a good reason not to kill the monster – it offers them a deal, etc. And don’t have it turn on them, either! It might be fun the first time but you ruin future potential monster encounters.

CHRIS: 5) Remember that it is still a very different creature to the players. In their interactions it will act in a way that fits a member of its race: an owlbear’s instincts will lean towards being protective and tearing off arms, for example.

 

GRANT:  Okay! That’s good. Also 6) Make them super, super hunky. Can’t stress that enough. Everyone wants to smooch the monsters; that’s the secret that the player’s handbook won’t tell you.

CHRIS: Never not hunky.

GRANT: Imagine a hunky beholder. Just try to imagine that.

CHRIS: Flexing its ripped eyestalks and posing for the party in speedos.

GRANT: Where do the speedos… go? Anyway. That’s probably enough for this question. I’ll be in my bunk. Bye everyone!

CHRIS: TTFN.

 

For more sexy monsters, listen to Hearty Dice Friends, released every Monday morning.