Month: March 2011

A Haunting Table

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Inspired by the ‘Undead Foe Generator’ over at Campaign Mastery.  Where Johnn was building a table that gave you motivations, lairs, mannerisms, and other great stuff, this table helps you generate a specific encounter with a ghost.

Ghosts are interesting undead that are often overlooked in the RPG Genre but explored in great depth in literature.  Shakespeare took a look at how they can demand vengeance in Hamlet.  Charles Dickens used a ghost to teach Scrooge to be kinder.  Homer’s ghosts lead his hero’s with Prophecy and Advice.  Bill Cosby’s Ghost Dad, was amusement.

So why are Ghosts an unused and unexplored trope in so many roleplaying systems?  And just used as a combatant?  Well to address that issue I present you with this table: The Ghost Encounter Table.

1d6 Records Record Explanation
1 Bi-Locations A Projection from another place
2 Stick Ghosts Stick to an object or place
3 Intelligent Haunting The ghost is intelligent and has purpose
4 Poltergeist A Ghost unable to communicate
5 Ghosts of pass Ghosts that appear when death/life intersect
6 Psychic Imprint An imprint of person/action
2d4-1 Special Powers 1d12 Reason for undeath
1 Deadly Wail 1 Violent Death (Retribution)
2 Healing Touch 2 Punish the Living for crimes
3 Draining Touch 3 Seeking Proper Burial
4 Burning Gaze 4 To Announce Death
5 Animate Objects 5 Complete a Task or Quest
6 Telepathy 6 Betrayed by a Lover
7 Visions of the future 7 Unjust Death
8 Cursed
9 Brought Back by Magic
10 Guide Descendants
11 Protection
12 Unwillingness to Leave Life
2d3-1 Physical Manifestation 1d8 manifestation Modifiers
1 as a solid image 1 on a full moon
2 as a wispy image 2 only to virgin females
3 as an energy orb (Will ‘o Wisp) 3 only to children
4 magical energy 4 on special anniversary
5 cold spots 5 only to animals
6 only through a medium
7 when it absorbs magical energy
8 to family members

Rites of Passage of the RandomDM

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Due to the EPIC move of the RandomDM, my regular posting schedule has been interrupted.  The plan had been to post this shortly after the Death Rites table, but it is a little more poetic that at the beginning of the month I posted Death Rites during the Life and Death in RPG Carnival blog, and at the end of the Month I post this, the positive side of Life; Life Events.

When you want to add a little more flavor to a small town or a religious order, or a culture one of the best things to design is a rite of passage, and how it affects their lives.  Take for example Catholicism, Baptism and Confirmation are celebrated events.  In Judaism the Bris and Bar Mitzvah are the same.  In Indian culture Betrothal is a celebrated event.  These define the culture and actions of a group of people.

An event like Marriage is a lot more complex then should be limited to one simple custom.  In these cases I would suggest breaking the ceremony into acts.  Roll on the tables of mood, length, and customs for each act of the ceremony.  This adds an interesting complexity and can provide some difficult theoretical exercise on how you have a wild and chaotic sacrifice during the second act of a marriage.

1d12 Life Events 1d6 Mood
1 Birth 1 Festive
2 Entering Covenant with God (Think Baptism, Bris) 2 Somber
3 Surviving too Childhood 3 Strict
4 Induction into Religion (Bar Mitzvah, Communion) 4 Chaotic and Wild
5 Sexual Maturation 5 Celebatory
6 Apprenticeship 6 Mournful
7 Coming of Age
8 Marriage
9 Birth of Child
10 Aging from Adult to Elder
11 Leaving Home
12 Betrothal
1d8 Participants 1d4 Length of Rite
1 Immediate Family 1 d6 x 10 minutes
2 Extended Family 2 1 Day
3 Religious Group 3 1d6 hours
4 Community Members 4 1d6 Days
5 Guild Members
6 Strangers
7 Male Members (of 1d6 Participants)
8 Female Members (of 1d6 Participants)
1d10 Customs
1 Giving of gifts
2 Symbolic Destruction of previous life
3 Animal Sacrifice
4 Feast
5 Dance Ritual
6 Processional through Community
7 Symbolic Rebirth
8 Prayer
9 Reading of Ceremonial Texts
10 Secret Induction Rite

Burial Customs of the RandomDM

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RPG BLOG CARNIVAL this month is focused on Life and Death in RPG.  The Contribution here at the RandomDM is simple and inspired.  A random table to quickly create and inspire death rites for your games.  Talk circles around how festivals and holidays can add depth and breadth to your game.  So can the simple act of death. 

The act of celebrating death has given us three of the Wonders of the World.  The Pyramids, the Taj Mahal, and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.  It has given us stories of great deeds and games leading to establishment of gladiatorial combats. 

So here it is, a table that can help you easily and quickly come up with funeral rites for your game.

1 Set out to sea 1 1d10 Days
2 Mausoleum 2 1d6 x 10 Days
3 Tomb 3 1d4 Weeks
4 Grave 4 1 Year
5 Crypt 5 7 Days
6 Left out to the element 6 1d4 Months
7 Under a tree    
1 Household Goods 1 d6 x 10 minutes
2 Trinkets 2 Day
3 Food 3 1d6 hours
4 Jewelry 4 1d6 Days
5 Furniture    
6 Spouse    
7 Pets    
8 Armor/Weapons    
1 Interred in a site no more than 1 hour journey from the location of death
2 Body remains in the home of the deceased until immediately before service
3 Remains are oriented towards the ‘Holy Site’
4 Ritual washing of the body
5 Watchers stay with the body around the clock until the service
6 Crying out, wails are expected from the bereaved
7 Animal sacrifice
8 Smoking during a funeral service to keep evil spirits away from the newly released soul
9 Holy symbol must be interred with the remains
10 Offered to a beast for consumption
1 Buried with Goods
2 Spells for preserving body
3 Release Ceremony, 10 days after the funeral there is a release ceremony to release
  the soul from earth
4 After the mourning period speaking the deads name could summon their soul back
  to earth
5 Destruction of the deceased goods, to release them from earthly bonds
6 Turning of the bones, every 7 years a graveyard is dug up and the bones are danced
  with to shake the remains of the soul off the bones
7 Funeral Games held to distribute the earthly goods of the deceased
8 Feast to celebrate the life and stories hosted by the family to proclaim the greatness
  of the deceased
1 The Family carries the remains
2 Animals carry the remains
3 Male members of the family carry the remains
4 Female family members carry the remains
5 Strangers carry the remains
6 None