Wednesday, June 12, 2013


I try to gather up ideas that seem a little too thin to warrant a separate post into these miscellaneous posts.  Usually they are small house rule mechanics or campaign setting ideas.  Anyway, here are a few more:

Word Eater
They look like obese children with mouths slightly open and drooling.  They amble out of stark wastelands to follow parties and listen.  They appear mute.  If they hear a word of particular interest to them, such as a name or a word shouted with emotion, they will "eat" it.  The word then disappears from the mind of the speaker.  They cannot say it, read it, or understand it as language if it is spoken to them.  Some say the only way to get the word back is to slice open the belly of the Word Eater and extract it.  But such a butchering might release a flood of strange and ancient words.

Blight Writing
Some wise women have the ability to draw a malady from a person by "writing them out."  This involves several strange ingredients as well as bird guano and willow bark.  A set of scratchings will appear on the bark that resemble both quail tracks and cuneiform writing.  If a spell is cast to allow reading this willow scroll, the reader will catch the malady there recorded.

Extended Stat Check
To see how long the burly fighter can hold the collapsing ceiling up, the swimmer can hold their breath, or the rogue can balance on the swaying tightrope, try this: Roll a d6 each round and when the total of the results surpasses the character's appropriate stat they finally reach their limit.  I think this could be much more dramatic than a single stat check or saving roll and since a player with their character in such a situation will probably be static while the rest of the party frantically does something else, it will give them something to do each round.

Simple Charges
When you first use a wand or staff roll a d6.  A result of 1 means it just fails to work.  You can try to use it once a round until it does work.  Once it works, however, the failure range moves from just 1 up to 1-2.  This continues with each successful use.  Once the failure number is 6 the item will never work and must be recharged if that is possible. 

To recharge a single level, cast a spell of equal level on the object, then roll the number you would need to succeed if it had that level charge left.  For example, a completely dead wand would need a sixth level spell cast into it and then the caster would need to roll a 6 on the d6.  If successful, then a fifth level spell would need to be cast on it and then a 5 or 6 rolled for it to "take."  And so on until it is fully charged.


  1. I like the blight writing, since writing as magic is always an iteresting concept. Seems that if the scrolls are burnt, they would also release the malady.

    Word eaters are creepy, and woe to your caster if they cast a spell when they are around.

  2. Word Eater: <3

    Blight Writing: <3

    Extended Stat Check: Interesting. Tempted to use.

    Simple Charges: sounds like a time-consuming way to convince players to never use wands. 8^[

  3. I really like the Extended Stat Check, definitely going to try it for my current game.
    Now I just need a collapsing ceiling...

  4. I like the extended fact check, but I'll not get a chance to use it if I'm spending all my time on an 'indoor golf simulator'!

  5. Thanks, folks.

    @Lasgunpacker: Or use a magic item with a command word . . .

    @Confanity: Yeah, it does nerf traditional wands horribly. The context you need is that traditional wands are so uninteresting to me I've never offered them as treasure. With this little house rule, it seems much more interesting and my players may at least get a chance to use a wand of paralyzation, even if an unreliable one.

    @Jensen: random encounters include a stampede of wolf-riding pigs above the dungeon you are currently in.

    @Andy: sorry to mess with your joke but got to bin the spam.

  6. @Telecanter - I messed it up anyway. An extended fact check is something that only comes up in the poorly received OSR game, Advanced Editors and Exclusives.

    Seriously, Word Eaters are possibly too disturbing for me!

  7. Hah, I'm sticking with my old Papers and Pencils what the hell is WotC doing with all these AE&E updates anyways! ;)

    Imagine the party captured and caged with these things around it. Slowly losing more and more language. And later you have to kill the exact one that ate your word to get your word back.

  8. I use something similar to Extended Stat Check for drowning: when breath runs out, roll 1d12 CON check for first round under water, 2d12 for second round etc, failure indicates flooded lungs.

    Your method definitely works better for straining against a ceiling or something though, more of a frantic "countdown to disaster" feel!

  9. You could vary the difficulty of the task in an Extended Stat Check by altering the die size.
    d4 = Easy
    d6 = Average
    d8 = Hard
    d10 = You will be crushed next round

  10. @Andrew: I used to just say "you can hold your breath for 1/2 your Con in rounds," but I like there being some uncertainty.

    @Jacob: Yeah, I was thinking of that, though I would want the die size to be small enough to allow for some drama. If it only lasts one round it's like a failed save. I supposed some attempts would be so hard to pull off it might be a way to show that.