Tag Archives: RPG Resources

Well shit, a TPK…

Sometimes….

 

It’s a constant threat, but every so often it happens for real: every single PC is dead, petrified, or  possessed by demon lords.

That’s a TPK— a total party kill.

The good news is that, as a Game Master, you’ll  robably see the TPK coming before the players will, simply because you’ve got more information. You’re seeing all the dice and stat blocks. But the bad news is that the players will be demoralized, and possibly angry with you or each other— and they’ll be looking to you, the guy at the head of the table, for guidance. You have the power to “fix” the broken table while making sure that the TPK stings a little so that the PCs might be more cautious next time.

For starters, give everyone a break once the last PC  balls. Either end the session or at least send everyone to the kitchen for snacks. Some “Monday morning quarterback” analysis is inevitable and probably cathartic, but the players don’t need to do that in front of you. Besides, you’ve got work to do. You want consequences to matter at your table—that’s one of the great things about RPGs. But you also want your friends to have fun, and you don’t want them to stop playing. So you’re looking for a way forward that makes the TPK matter, but keeps the momentum and desire to keep playing alive.

Send in the Next Party: The stereotypical solution to a TPK is to have everyone make up new characters on a mission to find out what happened to the original group.

That gives the new group direction and a basic reason for cohesion. The players might be eager for a rematch—and it’s probably a good idea to soften the table’s stance on player knowledge/character knowledge in this instance so they don’t just repeat the fate of the first group.

When the second group succeeds and finds out what happened to the first group, the players can pick up the ongoing narrative where they left off. If resurrection is possible in your world, you can have the second group bring the first group back to life. It’s possible that some players at the table will like their new characters better than the old. Mix it up—let a composite group tackle the challenges of your campaign together.

Meet Your New Boss: If new characters don’t work with your story (or players balk at creating new PCs), it’s time to call in the cavalry. Have a powerful patron or mysterious presence somehow resurrect the PCs (or restore them from petrification, etc.) for some greater purpose. The resurrecting agent might be on the up and up, wanting the PCs to continue their campaign efforts (though you should make sure the players know they won’t always be bailed out). But the mysterious power might also have a divergent or sinister agenda, or demand tremendous  compensation.

I Want Them Alive: Perhaps your villains were actually swinging for non-lethal damage on their last rolls, and instead of being dead the players wake up hours later in cells, stripped of their gear and forced to engineer a daring escape.

Let Failure Be Failure: If the PCs failed at a climactic moment, consider letting evil seize the day—let the players see the consequences of failure when they make up their 50 new characters. If mid-level characters suffer a TPK when investigating the actions of a demon cult, tell the players to show up at the next session with high-level characters.

Then reveal that those characters have recently been taken out of suspended animation by a ragtag band of humans— scattered remnants in a world utterly ruled by demons and their army of tortured slaves. The demons conquered and enslaved the world due to the actions of the cult the PCs couldn’t stop. Now your players get to see the consequences of their previous failure, and the new PCs have their work cut out for them.

Rewind: Sometimes accidents happen. Someone reads a rule wrong, you design an encounter that’s unfairly lethal, or the game otherwise goes off the rails. If a fundamental misunderstanding or error led to the TPK, don’t feel like you have to let it stand. Just hit the rewind button and play the encounter over again. You want decisions at your table to have consequences, but simple errors shouldn’t steal everyone’s fun.

d100 Macguffins / Quest Items

In fiction, a MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin or maguffin is a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist pursues, often with little or no narrative explanation. The specific nature of a MacGuffin is typically unimportant to the overall plot.

d% Macguffin or Quest Item

1–2 Kidnapped royalty

3–4 Religious idol

5–6 Lost spellbook

7–8 Fountain of youth

9–10 City of gold

11–12 Pirate treasure

13–14 Lost culture

15–16 Weapon of the gods

17–18 Dangerous technology

19–20 Claimant to the throne

21–22 Ancient tomb

23–24 Dragon hoard

So true… Why should he if she won’t?

25–26 Imprisoned loved one

27–28 Legendary warrior (possibly deceased)

29–30 Placation for angry spirits

31–32 Signet proving noble birth

33–34 Rare spell component

35–36 Forbidden magic

37–38 Ressurection for a slain innocent

39–40 Godhood

41–42 Cure for a plague or curse

43–44 Land grab

45–46 Enlightenment

47–48 Stolen property

49–50 State secrets

51–52 Mythical beast

53–54 Unlimited power source

55–56 Embezzled funds

57–58 Designs for a new weapon

59–60 Ghost ship

61–62 Lich’s phylactery

63–64 Jade statue of a bird

65–66 Long-lost twin

67–68 Lost soul

69–70 Flying machine

71–72 Treasure map

73–74 Sunken island

75–76 Shipwreck

77–78 Lost culture

79–80 Relic from religious figure

81–82 Death (for self or others)

83–84 Hidden master

85–86 New home for displaced people

87–88 Sleeping prince or princess

89–90 Unexplored territory

91–92 Destruction of evil item

93–94 Prophecy and revelation

Oh MacGuffin, you silly silly man.

95–96 Dangerous fugitive

97–98 Portal to another world

99 True love

100 Answers

d20 Plot Twists

d20 Plot Twists

1 Altered: PCs undergo some sort of magical transformation during the course of the adventure, and must seek to return to normal (or defend themselves from newly jealous rivals).

2 Burden: Something fragile (whether an NPC or object) is vital to the completion of the adventure, such as a delicate crystal or a prophesied child.

3 Controlled: Someone is secretly under the influence of another, either as an agent of the enemy or keeping an eye on the group for their patron.

4 Deception: A critical piece of information about the adventure is deliberately false. Old friends become enemies, and enemies become friends. Or is it all just an elaborate act?

Continue reading d20 Plot Twists

Five Second Rule and Combining

Five Second Rule: If the players can see who’s up next in the initiative order, they have no excuse for not knowing what’s going on or what their characters want to do. If a PC’s turn comes up and the player takes more than a few seconds to announce his character’s action, skip him as if he had chosen to delay his action (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook page 203) and move on to the next creature’s turn—after all, combat is hectic, and sometimes in the thick of battle you need a second or two to focus. This doesn’t cost the PC any actions, so they’re only penalized their position in the initiative, and it hopefully encourages them to pay more attention to what’s happening. Note that speeding up combat in general means players get to act more often and are less likely to get distracted between their turns, so the rest of these tips should make this one less necessary. Note also that you should let players know in advance that you’re going to do this, as springing it on them unexpectedly can seem vindictive.

Plan and Combine Dice Rolls: Rolling attacks and damage separately takes twice as long as rolling them all together. Save time by coordinating your attack roll dice with your damage roll dice so you can roll them at the same time, and encourage players to do the same. For example, if the PCs are fighting four orcs, each with a falchion, get four different-colored d20s and a pair of matching d4s for each orc, then roll all 12 dice at the same time; if the red d20 and green d20 are hits, you know to look at the red d12s and the green d12s and ignore the blue d12s and purple d12s. If the PCs are fighting a dire lion, you can color-coordinate the bite’s d8 die with one d20 and two claw d6 dice with two other d20s, and roll all the dice at once.

Be aware, however, that while rolling attack and damage at the same time is always a good idea, rolling all your attacks at once can be problematic if you (or your players) want to split the attacks between multiple opponents—if you don’t carefully assign each attack before you roll, it’s tempting to say that two of those three attacks which would have missed the main villain were actually directed at his weaker henchmen, whether or not that was your original intention.

Emergency Game Prep

The Command Room at HQ

Sometimes day-to-day life conquers even the most committed Game Master. You meant to get that dungeon ready, but then the boss/spouse/kids/friends/lottery office called, and now everyone’s gathering at the table. It’s time for emergency game preparation.

Sometimes you’ll need emergency game prep in the middle of a session, too. The party may get an urge to visit the Astral Plane. They may give the all-powerful scroll to the obviously disguised villain, just because he asked to look at it.

When this happens, don’t try to find the right section of the book to reread. Every minute counts! In these situations, it’s good to have an emergency game kit containing raw adventure fuel. Continue reading Emergency Game Prep

Converting 3.5 to Pathfinder Ideas

 

Roleplaying games have been around for over 30 years, and there’s a huge library of materials out there for other games which you can use in your campaign. One particularly easy conversion is from the 3.0 or 3.5 edition of the world’s oldest roleplaying game to the Pathfinder RPG.

Paizo has managed to take virtually every aspect of 3.0/3.5 and tweak/rewrite it to work faster and be more balanced. They managed to bring choice and variation of abilities to every single class (some more than others, still).

Or not that monstrous.. Just differences.

Continue reading Converting 3.5 to Pathfinder Ideas

My D&D Bookmarks – for Dan

I told a friend I’d upload some resources for him.  I have way to many to go through right now so heres the whole lot.  I can’t promise this page will be here forever so get what you can while the gettings good.  Hopefully you find something useful as I think most of these are pretty good for some reason.

D&D

Generators

++ Wizardawn
Pathfinder Char Gen
3.75 RPG Character Generator
Dingles Games NPC Generator
NPC Generator
plot gen
Random Treasure Generator – Pathfinder_OGC
map gen
town/npc gen
NPC Background Generator
pearltrees • Random Generators
Framed Gen
Adventure Hook gen
Random Generators – RandomTables
OSRIC Henchmen Generator
Behind the Name: Random Name Generator
NPC Generator for D&D – Myth-Weavers

Continue reading My D&D Bookmarks – for Dan

Pictograms – From the 1920’s??

 

I browse Reddit from time to time.  From those time to times I find something interesting from time to time.  This is one thing I found interesting one of those times.  This is supposedly a list of pictograms homeless people used to mark areas from back in the 1920’s or so.  Whether its true or not is beside the point.  I don’t see why it wouldn’t be.  The thing I really enjoy about this picture is that the picture is completely unrelated to what it means.  Some of them make sense though when you look at them a little closer.

Now I thought I’d post this because its just one more little touch you can add in your RPG game.  Your PC’s are headed to town and they see carvings in the trees or on the city marker.  What does it mean?  How do you even find out what it means??

Just thought I’d throw this in.  Here yah go.
secret symbols

New fresh ideas on how to start a campaign?

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with starting your adventure at the inn. But sometimes you just need a change of pace to keep your players on their toes. If you’re running low on inspiration, you’re in luck! Here are 10 unconventional ways to set your game in motion.

brand-new-and-fresh-sign
#1 – The Worst Hangover Ever
The PCs awaken to find themselves seated around an opulent table full of exotic foods and wines. The food is beginning to mold, and insects have gathered. Nobody can recall what they’ve done in the past few days, and nobody knows where they are or who hosted the dinner. But there is the small matter of a well-dressed corpse with a dagger between its shoulder blades. And is that the sound of guards coming…?
#2 – Escape from the Gallows
One of the PCs has been wrongly convicted of a heinous crime. Their sentence is death by hanging. The objective is to rescue them before the hangman’s work is done. This should provide a great opportunity for swashbuckling adventure, ala Pirates of the Caribbean. How will the party pull off the rescue, and how will they prove their friend’s innocence while living on the run?

Continue reading New fresh ideas on how to start a campaign?

Ideas for NPCs

I’ve been collecting a little list of some NPC characters for awhile.  Just a little blurb about them to flesh them out and give them some bones.  Some are more interesting than others.  Use as you will.  First, must get this disclaimer out of the way first.  =)

NPCisclaimer

The unhappily married warrior who has recently suffered a series of setbacks. She has more allies than enemies. Rumors say that she should not be trusted around master artisans. She can usually be found at work.

The upwardly mobile politician who recently suffered a suspicious accident. She has many allies. Rumors say that she is easily irritated by socialites. She can usually be found among a group of supporters.

The old money military official who is beloved by the people. She has few open enemies. Rumors say that she has great admiration for wizards. She can usually be found in a certain tavern.

Continue reading Ideas for NPCs

All about Absalom – Pathfinder

I had a campaign planned some time ago and a big part of it was going to be in Absalom so I took some time to sit down and read about it and I believe these were the highlights of what I felt I could use to build some content off.  – I’ll try to add more pictures later.  My ISP is being wonky…

ABSALOM –

absalom

Demographics
Population 303,900
Type integrated (64% human, 11% halfling, 8% half-elf, 7%
gnome, 5% dwarf, 2% elf, 1% half-orc, 2% other races)

Lord Gyr of House Gixx, Primarch of Absalom, Protector
of Kortos, First Spell Lord; Lady Neferpatra of House
Ahnkamen, Grand Councilwoman, Envoy for the Dead,
First Lady of Laws; Goodman Hugen of House Candren,
Grand Councilman, owner of the Sea King Shipyards, First
Harbormaster; Lady Darchana of House Madinani, Senior
Lesser Councilwoman,Archdean of the Arcanamirium,
Second Spell Lord

Colors: The colors of Absalom are golden yellow (to
represent the Starstone) and rich green (for the sea, as well
as the tall, thick grasses common to the Isle of Kortos).
In addition to those, individual families and factions
often add a third color such as red (for Chelaxians) or
black (for Nexians).

Mascot: There are two common mascots for Absalom, the
hippocampus and the mother-sphinx. The hippocampus (or
“sea-horse”) is a symbol of Absalom’s sea power, and a tribute
to its Sea Cavalry. Most military seals use a hippocampus
somewhere, or at least an iron fin (a reference to a “hippocampus
horseshoe,” which of course don’t really exist).
The mother-sphinx is an older symbol, clearly brought
by families coming from Osirion in Absalom’s early years.
She is normally portrayed as a lion body with a human
female head and torso. She always has wings, and often has
hands that are human enough to hold a scale and a scepter.

Motto: The official motto of Absalom (found on all
the official seals) is “Ex Prothex,” which is supposedly
Old Azlanti for “From the First,” though scholars often
disagree about the exact translation. Most locals prefer the
motto “First Among Equals,” which is used both to describe
Absalom as the greatest capital city in the world and to
promote specific families or business within Absalom as
better than their (respected) rivals.

Silver Weight: Always called a silver weight,
never just “a weight.” Prices are often given in
this coin, even for large purchases (a masterwork
longsword might be priced at “3,150 silver weight”). For very
large purchases made in foreign silver, the metal is often
melted down and weighed against Absalom silver weight.
Such smelted silver is generally then minted into new
silver weight coins.

Continue reading All about Absalom – Pathfinder

Random adventure hooks

  • Rumor of a guy trying to make a cult.  Named Jesus.  Says his dad is a god.  Religious leader says Your job is to verify, infiltrate and do what must be done.  Are they a threat? Think OK then find out got weapon. Gonna kill everyone who doesn’t believe in his father.  Double trapped
  • Dungeon comic sewer cleanup. Petty Criminals paying off debt sent to clean sewer system.  Find an entire ecosystem from the sludge backup. Flushed out wrong forced out of town.  Guards sent along.
  • During camp night see falling star that crashes down few miles away.  Get there and bug? Creatures are setting up camp. Attack? During fight scouts bringing humans back attack you. Go into rock, Bigger on inside than outside. And?
  • Traps, trap inside trap, sun beams to mirrors, triggered doors, invisi doors, swinging guilltones, invisible bridge, riddles, floor tile puzzles, music, bleeding door, falling illusory wall
  • Live out movie plots. Good plots? Bar scene lotr, bar scene SW, rancor pit idea,
  • A Plague spreads like wildfire through the city, turning people into Zombies
  • Some strange people are looking for love in the worst possible places
  • An ancestral inheritance threatens to very balance of the City
  • Lovecraft house story. Come in guy upstairs,blood drips people go upstairs the house changes the house drains mental energy from people going crazy. Dungeon w family(cultists) remains under house(destroy to get out)
  • Secret Agent from the Surface tries to steal City’s greatest secret
  • A rampaging Dragon bursts from underneath the City’s looking for his Blanky
  • The Devil rises at Dawn!  Asmodeus makes his move on the City.

Continue reading Random adventure hooks

Roll an adventure!

 

Having writers block on where to take an adventure or just trying to think of a mini-quest your players can do for a couple sessions while you build the hive complex of the big baddy before they get there?  Well take a look at this really simple little adventure generator.
twenty

Continue reading Roll an adventure!

Old RPG Resources

Just some more resources I found.  I don’t recall where these are from but I think some are still fairly relevant and some(like the building one and random encounter) are still pretty useful as they give some information not usually just found laying around anywhere.  Hopefully someone finds them useful.  Enjoy.Old Stats Sheet Building

Continue reading Old RPG Resources

Some random RPG resources

 

This is just a post of some random things I’ve found around the net in my searches that I’ve thought may have some use for people.  They may be kind of special situation or whatever but figured I’d share them.

Storytelling Elements

This thing is also pretty neat.  I believe its from TVTropes and uses the data from all the shows and all the storytelling systems used in all the tv shows around to tell you how a story can be told, the characters in them, motivations, etc.  The things are seperated by colors.  So you take something from the structure row(decide on your stories structure(how its made and how its told) then take its setting be it like an aesop tale or call to adventure or hero’s journey and go down the row and down the columns and add all these things together and you have the basic outline and structure of your campaign, or arc or whatever your making.

Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members’ minds and expectations

Continue reading Some random RPG resources