The Storm (Vault #29)

The Vault Icon - Beige.png

Click Here for a Master Index of “The Forge” and “Vault”!

The Great Storm can imperil even the most magically or technologically advanced society or community. Even when the immediate fury has passed, there are life-threatening circumstances that come to the forefront. One or all of the 15 ideas below might face a party when the storm comes.  We've organized them into sets of encounters that go together under a common theme.

The Finger of God

  1. _Tornado!_ (#Tornado) The cone of terrifying wind makes a deadly projectile out of even a stalk of straw. > A Knowledge (Magic) check or Perception (Ranged) check of 13 or above is required to avoid the bludgeoning debris. Take damage equal to half the value of your failed roll.

  2. _The Conflagration_ (#Confl) The high winds have spread flame throughout the village or city. Without swift action, the community may not survive. > An Influence check could be required to rally the citizenry and organize their firefighting efforts. A Magic check (especially with an ice Ability) could put out one of the burning buildings, but which one?

  3. _All Hail_(#Hail) Ice chunks the size of your fist begin pummeling the region. > A Fortitude (Melee) check will of 10 or above saves the adventurer from significant damage. Failure leads to bruises equal to 2 health in damage.

  4. _Mudmire_ (#Mud) The ground is a slippery mess. > Any Ability checks will be made at a -3 penalty. If the reduced roll would be a 1, play the Ability's critical failure.

  5. _Beasts Unhinged_ (#Unhinged) With their pens and fencing destroyed, panicked livestock frantically stampede and attempt escape. > A party member must choose a type of communal animal (horse, cattle, chicken, llama...ostrich/chocobo). They find themselves in the midst of a stampede. Play an ability. If the ability succeeds and deals 3 or more damage, the adventurer escapes unscathed. If not, they take 5 damage.

The Blizzard

  1. _Snow Covers All_ (#Snow) With the region in the grip of a record setting blizzard, the adventurers are sought out to find travelers (or children) who didn't make it back to habitation before the storm. > A Tracking (Ranged) check of 7 or above will allow the party to find tracks leading to the lost.

  2. _Trapped!_ (#Trapped) Those tracks end in what appears to be a recent Avalanche. Only swift and vigorous action will save the victims. > A series of three Athletics (Melee) checks of 8, 9, and finally 10 must be made to dig out the trapped. If any are failed, party members can sacrifice 1 health to succeed instead. Each failure without the health sacrifice results in the death of one of the trapped.

  3. _The Killing Cold_ (#Cold) The frigid temps drop even further. > A Magic or Loot card with "fire" in the descriptor can be spent to stave off the killing cold, or a Survival (Ranged) check of 13 or higher will do the same. Failure results in loss of 3 health and 1 Persona.

  4. _The Crevasse_ (#Crevasse) A hidden crevasse opens, swallowing party members. > Any adventurer who rolls less than 10 on a Perception (Ranged) Check falls in, taking 2 health damage. A climb check of 7 or above is required to escape.

  5. _Avalanche_ (#Avalanche) The mountain slope trembles and shifts. A white wall of death descends...> An Athletics check of 12 or above will allow an adventurer to outrun the deadly snow. Failure results in entombment (go to "Trapped!" for checks to escape).

The Hurricane

  1. _Fearsome Flooding_ (#Flooding) Citizens are stranded. This is a job for heroes. > An Influence check might be required to convince a scared commoner the adventurers are not looters. An Athletics check will surely be needed to traverse the treacherous, flooded streets.

  2. _Looters_ (#Looters) You could almost admire their opportunism, if it didn't come at the cost of the vulnerable.

  3. _Structural Collapse_ (#Collapse) The building you are in groans and creaks...then a wall and ceiling collapse upon you. > A Magic or Ranged check of 9 or above is needed to avoid being struck by sodden building materials. Take 3 damage on failure.

  4. _Dire Diseases_ (#Disease) The waters have proven an ideal breeding ground for molds, bacteria, and mosquitoes. > A Fortitude (Melee) check of 6 or above is necessary to avoid illness. On failure, suffer a -2 to Ability checks for the remainder of the quest.

  5. _Gales Most Gruesome_ (#Gales) The hurricane's winds are the most inopportune condition under which to fight. > Ranged, Music, and Magic abilities fail on any roll less than a 15. Melee abilities suffer -5 to rolls. Enemies cannot surge. Everyone (including Encounter cards) is dealt 2 damage each round.

Like this? Consider sharing or Tweeting it, or joining the weekly Quest Crafter mailing list for more writing inspiration.

Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at Authors@Fabricate.io or leave a comment below.

Dungeons of Despair (The Vault #28)

The Vault Icon - Beige.png

Click Here for a Master Index of “The Forge” and “Vault”!

The dungeon is a place most adventurers inevitably find themselves, whether after being captured, storming the castle, or springing an important or innocent person from the depths. Below are 20 ideas for your dungeon delving:

  1. _The Escape_ (#Escape) The adventurers have been taken captive and must escape. If only their gear hadn't been taken! > Blind shuffle your cards, then discard half of them. You also suffer a -3 on all ability rolls.

  2. _Screams of the Damned_ (#Screams) The tales of the torments administered here spring to mind as the screams of its occupants reach your ears. You shudder to think what will happen if you fail in your task. > Make a Persona roll of 10 or above. Add +1 for every level of Persona above base. Subtract -1 for every level below base. If you fail, your next ability roll suffers a -5 on the roll.

  3. _Desperate Pleas_ (#Desperate) As the adventurers pass the locked cells, desperate and filthy prisoners plea for help. Will you assist them? What if any are justly imprisoned? What if they are not?

  4. _The Traitor_ (#Traitor) One of the prisoners you released has no true hope this attempt at escape will succeed. > When the next combat event begins, draw a Tier I Bandit Encounter card, update the Tier Sum, and immediately resolve that Bandit's Surge ability.

  5. _The Departed_ (#Departed) It doesn't take supernatural senses to feel the pain and torment that has soaked into the very stones of this place. The souls of some who have perished linger here still. > Draw 2 random Undead encounter cards and begin combat. No Tier 4 or 5 card can be drawn for this battle.

  6. _Fae Shackles_ (#Shackles) The shackles in this cell have been enchanted by a Fae Lord. They begin to writhe and weave light snakes... > Each set of Fae Shackles has the stats of an Aspic Viper (Tier I Beast Encounter card). On surge rounds, the Shackles latch onto any adventurer with an ability roll less than 10. They must lose 1 health if they wish to play any future abilities.

  7. _Diamond in the Rough_ (#Diamond) A person of great worth is confined in the dungeons, unbeknownst to the jailers. You need to win them free. Who are they? A high-ranking noble? Kind-hearted twin of the ruling tyrant? Reincarnation of a hero of old, foretold to do great deeds if they survive to adulthood?

  8. _Prisoners of War_ (#POW) After a recent battlefield engagement, some of the men you've bled and toiled with are interred in the enemy's camp. For the sake of your brotherhood, you must free them or die trying. > Until the men have been freed, on every combat surge round one of your fellows is killed by his captors. If this happens you lose 1 Persona.

  9. _Buried Treasure_ (#Buried) Rumor has surfaced that the recently executed mobster, Errik the Earless, actually hid his most valuable treasure in the cell he last occupied. Are the adventurers mercenaries out to obtain it for themselves, or members of the King's Men tasked with defending the prison from the soon-to-descend horde of criminals bent on obtaining the treasure? What is the coveted item that so many are willing to kill for?

  10. _Torturer's Justice_ (#Just) One of the adventurers' parents has been taken to the most notorious prison in the realm, to be questioned about the adventurer's recent activities. Why? Will the full weight of the monarch's might soon fall upon you?

  11. _Deja Dungeon_ (#Deja) For a week the adventurers have been afflicted with terrible nightmares. Now, they realize this dungeon is the very one in their dreams. It is the place where they will perish. > Each adventurer must choose one of their abilities and set it aside, they must use it before refreshing the discard pile, but may use it whenever they want during the next battle. That ability becomes an automatic critical failure unless they make a Persona check of 10 or above.

  12. _Room of Lost Whispers_ (#Whispers) This room was enchanted long ago to capture the secrets and confessions of those broken and driven mad in its confines. Those who stand in its center sometimes hear secrets of great worth. At other times, they've been driven mad by the revelations. > Make a Persona check of 10 or above. On a failure, lower Persona by 1 level. On a success you may increase Persona or swap out one ability card.

  13. _The Pain Lab_ (#Pain) Dedicated to the science of torture, this chamber is the favorite of the Warden. > Encounter cards battling adventurers in this chamber are experts in dealing pain. All adventurers take 1 point of damage at the beginning of each round.

  14. _Rusted Hinges_ (#Hinges) The compound is suffering from extreme neglect and all cell doors are doubly difficult to open. > Any attempt to break open a door requires an Athletics check of 13 or above. Failure means the door is immovable.

  15. _The Drowning Room_ (#Drowning) This secondary well has been turned into an execution and torture chamber. Victims are chained and submerged until they break or die. Perhaps there is loot still on one of the corpses in the depths. Perhaps an adventurer is knocked into the well and must untangle themselves or drown by degrees.

  16. _The Yard_ (#Yard) Prisoners are allowed fresh air and sunlight in this walled-in, well-guarded enclosure. Still, many plots are hatched right here. The adventurers may have to survive a certain number of rounds before guards intervene, outnumbered by the other prisoners. Or they might have to use distraction and sleight-of-hand to smuggle contraband underneath the watchful gaze of the guards.

  17. _Shadowhold Sanctum_ (#Shadowhold) The souls of many who've died here vow never to give the adventurers peace until they destroy the place. If they don't, the Necromancer who built Shadowhold will continue to siphon souls for his nefarious purposes.

  18. _The Mess Hall_ (#Mess) Whether from deliberate poisoning or rancid food, this may be the deadliest location in the prison. > Adventurers must make a Fortitude (Melee) check of 13 or above or suffer 3 points of damage.

  19. _The Hidden Tunnel_ (#Tunnel) The work of countless prisoners, most of them now dead. > A random Beast (draw the Encounter card) has taken up residence in the Tunnel. Was it put there by the sadistic dungeonkeep?

  20. _The Morgue_ (#Morgue) Why is it so large? And what is that faint scratching coming from the masoleum style doors?

 

Like this? Consider sharing or Tweeting it, or joining the weekly Quest Crafter mailing list for more writing inspiration.

Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at Authors@Fabricate.io or leave a comment below.

* Confused by the formatting of the list? The _underscores_ (#hashtags) :icons: and > Special instruction scripts are provided for the ease of Quest Authors, who can copy and paste these directly into the Quest Creator to save time. 

In the Stacks [The Vault #27]

The Vault Icon - Beige.png

Click Here for a Master Index of “The Forge” and “Vault”!

The Library is a place replete with worlds of its own. It is a repository of knowledge both dark and luminous, forbidden and beneficial. It is a vault of imagination and insight, a window into the minds of all manner of people. Below are 20 adventure hooks or encounters for a foray into the Halls of Knowledge.  The first "Miskatonic University" is geared toward a more modern setting of Lovecraftian horror.  The second is for a fantasy setting, The Library Arcane.  At the end are some general prompts applicable in any library setting:

Miskatonic University Library

  1. _In the Dark_ (#Dark) The lights flicker and an electric fizzle makes you look up a moment before the corridors go dark. > Suffer -3 to all checks in the darkness, combat and otherwise. Any roll of 1 results in injury (1 health damage).

  2. _The Hidden Vault_ Rumors abound of a secret passage to a Vault built long ago. Rare and dangerous tomes may be there, in addition to the body of the builder. > Make a Search check of 10 or above to find the false book that triggers the shelving to move aside.

  3. _Elder Sign_ (#Elder) A wave of crime and madness has swept the city, a dark Thing appearing in the dreams of thousands. Only discovery and use of an Elder Sign hidden in the library can stop the nightmare intrusions. > A Search (:ranged:) check of 13 or above is required to find the tome with the Sign. Failure leads to an Encounter with an Acolyte and a Rogue.

  4. _Elder Sign II_ (#ElderTwo) Having found the tome with the Elder Sign, the text must be deciphered, but knowledge is power, and power can corrupt or kill... > Make a Knowledge (:magic:) check of 13 or above or suffer a loss of 1 Persona point and 2 health.

  5. _Elder Sign III_ (#ElderThree) The deciphered text requires intonation of a ritual performed at midnight from the center of Miskatonic Grove. > Make two Ritual (:Influence:) checks of 13 or above (must be repeated until two successes achieved). After the first check, draw a Tier I Horror and begin combat. Each round a check is failed, add another :Horror: of one higher Tier. On a roll of 1 draw a Tier III :Horror: .

The Library Arcane

  1. _The Irascible Magus_ (#Irascible) The ancient magus in charge of the library doesn't countenance noise disturbances. > Any failed check or combat encounter summons the Magus. He roughly teleports all offendors outside (Take 2 damage, end all checks/encounters).

  2. _Golems, Golems_ (#Golems) The most menial tasks of returning books to shelves has long been handled by crafted golems. They do not take kindly to inappropriate use of the volumes, fighting, or destruction of property. > Golems are Tier II opponents with 20 hp. They surge when any area of effect Ability is used (any with more than one target) and immediately deal 2 damage to the offendor.

  3. _The Spelltrap_ (#Trap) Many a tome of lore is trapped with a potent spell to deter the unworthy. > Adventurers must solve a riddle, find a password, or dispel the trap. If they fail, draw a random offensive Magic ability and resolve it against the party.

  4. _The Red Bull's Sigils_ (#Levitation) The higher reaches of the shelving must be reached by activating levitation spells set in the floor. They are painted in the shape of Red Bulls. A clever individual could use them to avoid combat or set a foe aflight.

  5. _Fire Suppression_ (#Suppression) Such a repository of knowledge would never be left unguarded against the mortal bane of books, namely fire. > Powerful wards prevent any Ability or Loot item with "fire" in the description from functioning within the Library.

General Prompts

  1. _Illicit Activities_ (#Activities) The adventurers need to extract a rare and precious work from the Reference section. The detectors at the exit will sound if any such work crosses the threshold. What will the adventurers do? > Possible checks: Thievery, Sleight of Hand, Disable Device...

  2. _SHHHH!!_ (#SHH) The adventurers and their rivals both seek the same works in the library, but if they cause too many disturbances, the staff will throw offenders out. > Adventurers will be thrown out the third time they violate the noise rule. Each instance of combat or destruction (or perhaps a failed Sneak check) counts as a violation.

  3. _Symmetrical Stacking_ (#Stacking) Tobin's Spirit Guide referenced many an instance of symmetrical stacking of books. Some unknown force in this wing of the library has been stacking books impossibly high for years... > Any attempt to bypass the stacks or combat in the area risks knocking weighty tomes down, dealing 2 damage to those that fail checks.

  4. _The Spectral Spinster_ (#Spinster) Gertrude Dorothea gave 80 years of her life to the library. She's loathe to leave it in death. Her unquiet spirit must be dealt with.

  5. _Bookthrowin'_ (#Throwing) Someone or something is flinging books at the heads of the adventurers! > Make an Agility (Ranged) check to avoid getting "booked".

  6. _Water Hazard_ (#Whazard) You wished you'd seen the "Wet Floor" sign earlier...granite is unforgiving. > Make a Notice (Magic) or Agility (Ranged) check of 9 or above. On a failure you suffer 3 damage and sprawl on the floor.

  7. _Hidden Corridor_ (#Corridor) Why was it concealed? Where does it lead?

  8. _Fire!_ (#Fire) Nothing could be more deadly in this place. > Make a number of checks to escape burning, collapsing shelves, choking smoke, panicked patrons, and avoid slipping once the fire suppression system is activated.

  9. _Spitballin'_ (#Sball) Your rival or love interest has dared you to land three spitballs on the series of buns the "Beehive Lady" calls her hairstyle. > Succeed in three successful Ranged ability checks. On success you gain admiration and Loot. On failure you suffer 2 damage and expulsion from the grounds.

  10. _Locked Doors_ (#Locked) You fell asleep and have been locked in the building. How will you pass the night?

Like this? Consider sharing or Tweeting it, or joining the weekly Quest Crafter mailing list for more writing inspiration.

Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at Authors@Fabricate.io or leave a comment below.

* Confused by the formatting of the list? The _underscores_ (#hashtags) :icons: and > Special instruction scripts are provided for the ease of Quest Authors, who can copy and paste these directly into the Quest Creator to save time. 

Around the Campfire [The Vault #26]

The Vault Icon - Beige.png

Click Here for a Master Index of “The Forge” and “Vault”!

What happens around the campfire doesn't always stay there. Whether as an interlude between locations or the impetus for the beginning of a new quest, strange happenings round the fire can add a lot of character to a quest. Below we offer you 20 options for lighting up the night:

  1. _Nemesis_ (#Nemesis) An archfoe of the adventurers summons an elemental of fire from their very own flame. It strikes with surprise.

  2. _Flight_ (#Flight) A cacophony of beasts and birds runs over the adventurers and through their camp, hasty to escape something calamitous.

  3. _Omens and Portents_ (#Omens) The lambent flames gutter without the presence of wind or rain. One of the adventurers experiences a premonition of the peril to come.

  4. _Moaning_ (#Moaning) Moaning begins to come from the darkness beyond the fire, then the sound of shuffling creatures. Zombies or some other undead stumble into the clearing. Have the adventurers been deliberately targeted? Did they make camp on an ancient burial ground? Do the undead wish to ask the living to complete some task they now cannot, and hence free them (and receive a reward).

  5. _Refugees_ (#Refugees) Refugees pensively approach and ask to share the warmth and light. From whence do they come and why?

  6. _Wolfpack_ (#Wolfpack) The light has drawn the attention of a starving wolfpack. Normally they'd not approach. What could compel them to risk harm for food? Something stranger is afoot...

  7. _Thieves?!_ A bumbling member of the gentry stumbles into the adventurers' clearing. Eyes going wide with terror, he takes you for bandits and flings many a precious item to the ground to placate and distract you before fleeing into the night. Do you take his items or chase him so as to avoid being wrongly accused? He is very fleet of foot.

  8. _Rescue_ (#Rescue) An arrow descends out of the darkness and strikes one of you very near a precious appendage. It appears there is a note attached requesting rescue from yonder high tower... > Struck adventurer takes 2 damage (player with the lowest roll is the victim).

  9. _Manbane_ (#Manbane) A diverse pack of beasts reveals themselves at the perimeter of camp. You'd not thought you strayed so close to the Dreadwood of Mabus Manbane, dark druid, but perhaps he's branching out...

  10. _Highwaymen_ (#Highway) It seems you've drawn of the attention of ne'er-do-wells. Are they good men fallen on desperate times or evil ones preying on the weak? Will you take the risk of finding out?

  11. _Illicit Wares_ (#Wares) A scruffy, bleary-eyed merchant enters the clearing. He seems to think you might be interested in his narcotic diversions.

  12. _Storm_ (#Storm) A fierce thunderstorm breaks upon the encampment. Avoiding lightning strikes and falling hail will be your first concerns, then there will be the chill--if you can't restart that fire.

  13. _The Law_ (#Law) The local constabulary loudly barges into camp, demanding the immediate surrender of "The Band of the Red Hand". They have the drop on you, with weapons already drawn in fists quaking from nervousness. Will you attack or cooperate with the clearly confused local authorities?

  14. _The Book_ (#Book) As payment for recent good deeds, an old crone gifted you a book she claimed had secrets to great power. You crack open the book. Will you read aloud the words, Klaatu barada nicto...?

  15. _Gypsies_ (#Gypsies) A caravan of gypsies approaches with the sounds of tinkling bells. Do you share the clearing? Will sneaky children's hands lighten you of Loot? Will you dance with dusky eyed beauties? Accept the invitation to have fortunes told? Vie with the men in a contest of knife-throwing?

Modern Themes

  1. _Strange Lights_ (#Lights) Strange lights appear in the sky and approach. Moments later a shaft of light shines forth, lifting you toward the dim outlines of the dreadful craft...

  2. _Something in the Woods_ (#Squatch) A series of strange wood-knocks comes from the distance. A sound like a screaming baby makes the hair on your neck rise. You must investigate, but you may regret it.

  3. _Drug War_ (#Drugs) You didn't anticipate this campground would end up being contested by two gangs, or that you'd get caught in the middle.

  4. _Trespassing_ (#Trespass) Several pickups pull into the clearing, disgorging smug and malicious looking men. Several dogs growl from beneath their choke collars. Seems you've come to private property and have to party with the owners. They'll give you a headstart...

  5. _Lagoon_ (#Lagoon) You picked a nice spot near a lovely Lagoon. When some of you go swimming, a terrible surprise reveals itself.

Like this? Consider sharing or Tweeting it, or joining the weekly Quest Crafter mailing list for more writing inspiration.

Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at Authors@Fabricate.io or leave a comment below.

* Confused by the formatting of the list? The _underscores_ (#hashtags) :icons: and > Special instruction scripts are provided for the ease of Quest Authors, who can copy and paste these directly into the Quest Creator to save time. 

A Return to the Vault and Forge!

The Vault Icon - Beige.png

Click Here for a Master Index of “The Forge” and “Vault”!

Dear adventurers and authors, we've been on hiatus from our weekly editions of Quest and Forge while we prepared for the Origins convention and our next expansion. Those under our belts, we'll be resuming our old schedule of releasing a Vault or Forge every week. Look here for a new edition of "The Vault" tomorrow!

Like this? Consider sharing or Tweeting it, or joining the weekly Quest Crafter mailing list for more writing inspiration.

Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at Authors@Fabricate.io or leave a comment below.

Putrefying Poisons [The Vault #25]

The Vault Icon - Beige.png

Click Here for a Master Index of “The Forge” and “Vault”!

The natural world is full of substances of boon and bane. This week we provide you with twenty poisons and their effects. Perhaps you wish to add one as a specialized Surge event to a Beast Encounter card, or coat the blade of another foe with it.  Maybe a lock, trap, or book has a dusting of the stuff the adventurers must spot, counteract, or avoid with a skill check.  

Some creatures deliver poisons or venoms by their bite or sting, but others exude the substance through their very skin or via odor. An adventurer engaging in melee attacks might be subject to an effect just by being near enough to attack. Of course, once a poisonous creature is slain, the adventurers may be able to acquire or craft an item exploiting it from the carcass. If you wish to allow your players this option, a Craft (:magic: or :melee:) or Healing skill check should be required to gain the effect. On a failure, the would-be crafter has fallen victim to the poison. 

A nice touch on the quest writing side is to provide a way (choice) to counteract a poison. Perhaps pouring wine over a contact poison nullifies it, or a Knowledge or Gather Information check could provide an adventurer with the foresight to prepare an anti-venom or remedy. 

As always, we've provided formatting for Quest Creators so they can copy and paste the entries easily into quests, making an instant screen of its own (you'll still need to link it to other parts of your quest through standard pathways). 

  1. _The Scarlet Spasm_ (#Spasm) A cloud that tinges the air with faint scarlet hues, the spasm causes involuntary muscular contractions. > :Melee: and :ranged: ability users suffer the critical failure effect on ability cards if they roll a regular failure.

  2. _Spirit Sight Venom_ (#SVenom) Members of the Ghost tribe believe this snake venom imparts the ability to see the realms of spirit. Are the spirits real or not? > While under its influence, any ability or skill roll of 5, 10, or 15 causes a failure, as the poison's victim reacts to the appearance of a spirit (Roleplay this!).

  3. _Lethargy's Kiss_ (#LKiss) Secreted by a slug common to the region, this ooze induces somnolence in those it touches. > Victims don't play an ability every 4th round OR suffer -3 to a skill check.

  4. _The Bleeder_ (#Bleeder) A favorite of assassins everywhere, it thins the blood. > When a victim takes damage, increase :health: lost by 1 each time.

  5. _Numbtouch_ (#Numbtouch) Sometimes used as an anesthetic by the Fae, the Duergar delight in coating protected treasure in it. > The effect of this poison grows worse with time. Victims suffer a cumulative -1 to physical skills and all ability rolls until counteracted (Heal check 13+) or 5 rounds/screens have passed, after which it quickly dissipates.

  6. _Hallucination's Haze_ (#Haze) Produced by some molds, it can afflict others if breathed while being burned or when eaten. > Any skill or ability roll of 5, 10, or 15 results in the victim mistaking a fellow adventurer for a demonic villain. The victim attacks their fellow once (play an ability if this is triggered during a skill check).

  7. _Creeping Death_ (#CDeath) An insidious poison coating the thorns of some Fae rosebushes... > Make an Endurance (:melee:) check of 13 or above to avoid losing 1 :health:. If you fail the first check, suffer another point of health loss each round/screen until 3 rounds have passed or a Heal :magic: check of 13+ has been made.

  8. _Falling Darkness_ (#FDarkness) Victims behold the rapid narrowing of their vision, until sight leaves them entirely. > :Melee: and :magic: abilities suffer a cumulative -1 to rolls each round. :Ranged: abilities suffer a cumulative -2 to rolls each round.

  9. _The Rictus Mask_ (#RMask) Sometimes used as a paste to remove wrinkles, this salve can have horrifying effects in high doses. > All skill checks involving social interaction suffer a -5 to the :roll: .

  10. _Dust of Transference_ (#DTrans) This curious dust has the quality of grounding magical energy. > If an adventurer coated in the dust uses a :magic: ability or :loot: item, they suffer the full effect of the ability instead of the original target.

  11. _Jester's Flux_ (#JFlux) A favorite of tricksters, it has robbed many a haughty noble of dignity. > Any movement risks loss of bowel control. Vigorous motion (ie combat) ensures it. If control has been compromised, the victim automatically fails all checks to sneak by creatures and suffers -3 to social checks.

  12. _Crooner's Cry_ (#Crooner) A curious substance that induces singing. > During combat, a roll of 12 or below on the ability check means the victim must randomly draw a :music: ability and replace the ability initially played with the new :music: ability.

  13. _Heroe's Bane_ (#HBane) The spray of the scare skunk of Scarpathia, it induces an instinctual flight response. > When an adventurer or creature would attack, it must :roll: a 10+ to succeed. On 9 or below, it panics and tries to flee instead (suffer -1 damage this round).

  14. _BolsterBlight_ (#Bolster) Sometimes with great strength comes great pain. > Inflict +3 damage on a played :melee: ability or a creature's attack, but the user/victim suffers an additional 4 health of damage at the end of the round.

  15. _The Ringer_ (#Ringer) Often slipped into a drink to make a mark easier pickings later on, an oppressive ringing in the ears makes hearing impossible. > The victim cannot benefit from the next :music: or :influence: effect and fails the next check dependent on hearing.

  16. _Erotic Panther_ (#EPanther) Sprayed on a victim, sixty percent of the time, this scent works every time... > All characters and creatures in the vicinity must :roll: a 10 or above to avoid unnatural attraction to the victim (roleplay this).

  17. _Oedipal Angst_ (#Angst) Delivered by food or drink, this causes irrational rebelliousness toward anyone in rightful authority. > Victims must :roll: a 12 or above to resist opposing the next legitimate authority (a liege lord, officer, social superior, boss, etc.) they encounter. Roleplay the opposition but it must result in a failed action or outright attack (if either is an option).

  18. _Delusion's Dust_ (#DDust) It inspires gross overconfidence. > Victims cannot use :loot: (why would they need to?!) and must play the ability each round that has the highest required risk :roll: .

  19. _Insidion_ (#Insidion) This poison inspires feelings of inferiority and paranoia. > Victims must play one :loot: item each round if they possess any and always play the ability each round that has the lowest risk value.

  20. _The Howler_ (#Howler) Favored by tribes of imps, this goo coats their darts, ensuring they won't escape. > On a failed :roll: of 9 or below, the victim starts baying at the sky (roleplay this!). All attempts at stealth automatically fail.

Like this? Consider sharing or Tweeting it, or joining the weekly Quest Crafter mailing list for more writing inspiration.

Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at Authors@Fabricate.io or leave a comment below.

* Confused by the formatting of the list? The _underscores_ (#hashtags) :icons: and > Special instruction scripts are provided for the ease of Quest Authors, who can copy and paste these directly into the Quest Creator to save time. 

 

 

First Round, First Blood...[The Vault #24]

The Vault Icon - Beige.png

Click Here for a Master Index of “The Forge” and “Vault”!

We know there are some tactically oriented players out their that have been itching for some realism and movement dynamics. We're not going to throw miniatures your way, but what we can offer you and Authors this week are some ideas for how to spice up your encounters by introducing some strategic mechanics for the first round of combat, before everything would naturally devolve into chaos and the fog of war.

You might use these (or introduce them to quests) in the following ways:

  • By adding a skill roll to determine if the party can pull one of these off.

  • By presenting a few as tactical options the party can choose at the beginning of a combat encounter.

  • Have the enemy use one. Or maybe adventurers and foes can use one each, so long as no one suffered from surprise on a Spot or Notice check.

  • Use them for unit based army skirmishes or battles (ideas for how to do this will be forthcoming in a future Vault and/or Quest).

  • Introduce them into Player vs. Player battle.

Whatever you do, for the sake of play balance we urge you to think of them as a once per encounter, first round Surge (they'd also be ideal for small party play).  Only one should be chosen by the party (even if not all party members participate in the maneuver), to avoid bogging down play.

  1. _Ambush!_ (#Ambush) Someone is getting taken by surprise! > Each participant may choose one foe. The ambushed individuals does not get to resolve Abilities or damage during the first round.

  2. _Shield Wall_ (#Shield Wall) The ultimate in defensive tactics. > For each participant in the wall, reduce damage taken by 2. Each player may discard a :melee: card to add +1 damage to enemies this round.

  3. _Diversion_ (#Diversion) Draw their attention. > Designate one or more individual as the diversion. They are the only individuals that suffer a Surge or Ability effect this round. (Can be used on the first Surge round only).

  4. _Pincer Attack_ (#Pincer) Two attack the target from its flanks. > Gain a +2 to each roll. If the final total of the roll would be 20 or above, apply the critical effect.

  5. _Encirclement_ (#Encirclement) Strike from all sides! > For each individual that attacks the same target, apply +1 to :roll:s and damage. Any failed :roll: results in an ally taking the effect of the failed ability.

  6. _Sword and Shield_ (#SS) The measured application of offense and defense at once. > Must discard a :melee: ability to use. Reduce damage you suffer this round from all sources by 1. Deal 2 damage to one foe.

  7. _Break Formation_ (#Break) By scattering, the group disrupts a coordinated attack. > Lower the Tier Value (against Encounter cards) by 1 per participant or subtract -1 from rolls per participant (against Adventurers) until the next Surge event, then reset all to normal.

  8. _Charge!_ (#Charge) Bold ferocity may carry the day... > Negate any passive damage reduction of one targeted foe and deal 2 damage for each participant. Discard a :melee: ability to target a second foe.

  9. _Brace_ (#Brace) Brace to absorb a blow. > Suffer 1 less point of damage this round. Discard an :Influence: card to negate all damage that would be done to one other party member.

  10. _Running Retreat_ (#RunRet) Flee! > For each participant, remove 1 Tier worth of Encounter cards from combat. Each participant may discard one :ranged: or :magic: card to increase the Tier level removed by +1.

  11. _Holding Action_ (#Hold) Jam up the enemy advance by holding your ground. > Increase the damage each participant suffers by 1 this round, but reduce the damage of all other party members by 2. Participants may discard an ability to deal 1 damage to one foe.

  12. _Sword and Sorcery_ (#SSorc) Shock and awe, sorcery and steel. >

  13. _High Ground_ (#HGround) Better leverage, better vantage point. >

  14. _Narrow Pass_ (#NPass) Champions square off in the gap. > Choose one adventurer and one Enounter card. Only those participants can use any offensive abilities/attacks this round.

  15. _Pit Trap_ (#Pit Trap) Spiked, deep, and cleverly concealed. > Make a Notice (:ranged:) check of 10 or above. On a failure, one falls into the pit for 3 damage OR the loss of ability play this round.

  16. _Flanking Action_ (#Flank) Come at em sideways! > Gain a +2 to the next ability :roll:. Discard a :ranged: card to deal +2 damage as well.

  17. _Spider Hole_ (#Hole) The ultimate jump scare. > Make a Craft (:magic:) or Survival (:ranged:) check of 10 or above. On success, each participant gains +2 on the first roll and +1 to damage.

  18. _Cavalry Charge_ (#CavCharge) Ride them down! > Make a Ride (:melee:) check of 10 or above. On success, each participant may deal one foe damage equal to half the roll, but takes damage equal to the Tier Value of the foe.

  19. _Disarm_ (#Disarm) Take from them the means to fight. > Discard an ability card to reduce all damage done this round by 1. Gain a +2 to :roll: against the targeted foe next round.

  20. _Trip_ (#Trip) Taken em down! > Choose an opponent (only one per adventurer). That Encounter card's first Surge doesn't occur until the 4th round, not the third. The participant may also discard a :music: ability to increase damage dealt by other adventurers to that tripped foe by +1.

Like this? Consider sharing or Tweeting it, or joining the weekly Quest Crafter mailing list for more writing inspiration.

Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at Authors@Fabricate.io or leave a comment below.

* Confused by the formatting of the list? The _underscores_ (#hashtags) :icons: and > Special instruction scripts are provided for the ease of Quest Authors, who can copy and paste these directly into the Quest Creator to save time. 

Characterizations [The Forge #9]

The Forge Icon - Beige.png

Click Here for a Master Index of “The Forge” and “Vault”!

This week will see the beginning of a departure from our previous schedule, which saw one "Vault" and one "Forge" entry going up each week. We will be alternating posts for the foreseeable future in order to focus some attention on...other development (cue devious and maniacal laughter). 

Several members of the community have raised questions as to how one might best introduce and use non-player characters (NPCs) in their quests.  This week we will address both the mechanics of using them in combat and skill checks (and drop some scripts from the Quest Creator to help) and the aesthetics of making them memorable.

Precocious Personalities

Think about the characters you've come to love or hate in fiction works.  What made you engage with them emotionally? Did you see yourself in them?  Associate with their hopes, dreams, or fears?  Detest what they stood for? What gave them personality?

Did they intrigue you, hinting at hidden stories or depth beyond the surface appearance?  The famous psychologist Carl Jung made the case that there are basically only 16 personality types and human beings could reliably be sorted into one of those Archetypes.  The general validity of Jungian psychology can be seen in the fact that most schools and organizations use personality typing to this day, at some level.  

Expedition has already tried to integrate some personality in our "adventurer" and "persona" cards. When you find yourself playing someone else's quest or writing one, you can pull out those cards to give a little flava' to that generic storekeep, guard-captain, or bartender.  

In fact, you could endow quests with "mini-games" whenever you encounter vague NPCs. Get some player to give them a name and choose (or fabricate) a personality or backstory for them. You'll soon find your game world takes on textures you didn't envision before.  For example, you go to the Inn to obtain information, and draw the leftover "Idealist Monk" adventurer card as the personality of the barkeep. How has he come to be the purveyor of libations? Is he a teetotaler under magical compulsion or punishment? Is he a jovial "Friar Tuck" type who enjoys carousing with common folk? Is he trying to prevent his lazy parents from having their inn repossessed? 

The possibilities with one card become manifold.  

A Rose by Any Other Name...

...would still be a rose, Shakespeare claimed. The Essential nature of a thing remains the same, but the facade we see is often more interesting.  The "Titles" we've been creating in Vault entries piggyback on the insights of George R.R. Martin and the developers of the "Shadow of Mordor/War" games that a simple descriptive name (The Hound, The Mountain that Rides, Ratbag the Orc, or Mez-uz the Defiler) goes a long way toward making an otherwise forgettable encounter memorable. 

NAME YOUR CHARACTERS. And don't give them common names, unless your quest is a comedy (think of the Enchanter, "Tim" from Monty Python's "Search for the Holy Grail").  Give characters names that speak to their natures or histories in the world. Some authors have lamented that they struggle with this task. Borrow names. Borrow from books, from histories/historical periods, or from mythological pantheons.  When they encounter that "Loki" in the story, it isn't always a bad thing if the players are wondering, "Is this THE Loki?"

 If you must, give generic archetypes to each NPC: the trickster, the tyrant, the fair maiden, the fool, the wisdom figure, the angry but loyal brute, etc. Many allegories make use of symbolic archetypal names. 

 Mechanics, Combat, and Skill Checks

When it comes to having your characters influencing the world around them, you have several options. You could have them play a random ability from a deck that seems to fit them. Or you could write some custom combat or skill script, randomized to allow success or benefit at some times but to do nothing on another random roll.  Below we will see what that script looks like in the "Rage of Rodents" quest I'm experimenting with (currently unpublished).  The Archmage's golem has just pointed you to the sewers, insulting you ("Cretins!") if you failed the skill check to track your prey. A beast emerges before you can descend.  Below are four responses the golem may make while you fight it: 

NPC2.PNG
NPC3.PNG

The * {{ randomInt(0,2) == 1 }} on round  tells the app to randomly select a number between 0 and 2 each round beginning with the first. 

If that number is "1" the golem bludgeons the Soul Eater for damage before you resolve your attacks. If a "0" the golem does nothing (the Soul Eater cannot harm it as the golem has no soul).  The one weakness to this approach is that you can have the same response repeated many times. In one test of the script I had the golem declare, "Another specimen for the Master!" for three rounds while players battled the beast. It was only on the fourth round that the golem attacked and dealt damage. Slightly amusing, perhaps, or infuriating. 

You'll also notice that one of the options that can occur entails the golem holding the creature while you wail away on it ( > Gain a +3 to your next roll. )  

As long as you watch your indentation and formatting, emulating this simple script can give some "Ooomph" to your NPCs. 

We hope these suggestions enliven your quests and aid Quest writing!

Like this? Consider sharing or Tweeting it, or joining the weekly Quest Crafter mailing list for more writing inspiration.

Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at Authors@Fabricate.io or leave a comment below.