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Rfr

TablofContnts

WhataReferee?.............................2 Placing Treasure.......................26 Sample Magic Item: Malefic Eye of


Adventure Pacing................................27 Putrescence..........................................61
Rules..................................................4 Time..........................................28
The Fundamentals..................................4
Other Topics....................................62
Random Encounters..................29 Gathering Players................................62
Rule Zero...............................................4 Using Published Adventures...............31
Rule One................................................5 Contact gamers that you know,
Fit the Adventure to the and ask your non-gamer friends if
Dice and Randomness...........................5 Campaign..................................32
Finding Your Groove.............................5 they'd like to play......................62
Dont Change Anything Else!. . 32 Advertise Your Game...............62
The Weird........................................7 The Campaign..................................33 Screening Potential Players......63
Fear, Terror, and Sanity.........................7 What is a Campaign?...........................33 Start Playing.............................64
How Graphic?........................................8 The Campaign Concept.......................33 Handling Troublesome Players 65
Mystery..................................................8 Expanding Your Milieu............33 Alignment............................................65
Science and Magic.................................9 The Big Picture....................................34 Replacement Characters......................66
The Twist.............................................10 Using Earth as a Setting............34 Excellence in Gaming..........................66
The Adventure................................11 Using a Published Campaign Ask Yourself Why................66
What is an Adventure?........................11 Setting.......................................35 Because Its
The Basics of Adventure Design.........11 Of Canon and Eternal Woe Fun!/Cool!/Awesome!..............67
Step 1........................................11 .......................................35 Because the Players Like It!.....68
Step 2........................................11 The Campaign Map.............................36 Fun............................................68
Step 3........................................11 Adventure Locations............................36 WhatElseOutThere?.................69
Adventure Form...................................11 The Wilds.................................36 Compatibility Issues............................69
Event.........................................11 Monster Placement...................37 General Concerns.....................69
Exploration...............................12 Civilization..........................................37 Alignment.................................69
Location....................................12 Religion...............................................37 Saving Throws..........................70
Personage..................................13 Cosmology and the Gods..........39 Clerics.......................................70
Adventure Basics.................................13 Culture.................................................40 Thieves and Specialists.............70
Who?.........................................13 Languages............................................40 Race vs Class vs Multiclass......71
What?........................................14 Town and Social Structure..................40 Odd Classes and Races.............71
Where?......................................14 Scarcity................................................41 Spells........................................72
Why?.........................................15 Fees and Taxes.....................................41 Magic Items..............................72
How?.........................................15 Law and Order.....................................42 Monsters...................................73
The Five Elements of Every Good PCs as Landowners..............................42 Armor........................................73
Adventure............................................16 Territory Development.............43 Treasure and Money.................74
Deadly Situations......................16 Interactions of Different Cultures........44 Companies Making Adventures and
Freedom of Choice...................16 Settlement Chart..................................44 Supplements for Traditional RPGs......74
Success and Failure..................17 NPCs...............................................45 Basic Fantasy Role-
Rewards....................................19 The Role of the NPC...........................45 Playing Game................74
Variety......................................19 Generating the Stats.............................46 Black Blade Publishing. 75
Railroading..........................................20 NPC Personalities................................46 Brave Halfling Publishing
Definition..................................20 Breaking the Rules...............................46 .......................................75
Definition of What it is Not......21 NPC Chart............................................46 Expeditious Retreat Press
Consequences................21
Situational Events..........21
Monsters.........................................48 .......................................75
Animals................................................50 Fight On! Magazine.......75
Random Events..............21 Frog God Games............75
Obstacles..............................................21 Constructs............................................50
Humanoids...........................................51 Goblinoid Games...........75
Encounters................................21 Goodman Games...........75
Traps.........................................23 Oozes and Slimes.................................51
Undead.................................................52 Lamentations of the Flame
Tricks........................................24 Princess..........................76
Maps....................................................25 Sample Monster: The Vampire............54
OSRIC...........................76
When is a Map Needed?...........25 Magic Items....................................56 Rogue Games.................76
Communicating Maps to Players Sample Magic Item: The Ouija Board.59 The Society of Torch,
..................................................25 Sample Magic Item: Purple Lotus Type Pole, and Rope...............76
Good vs. Bad Maps..................25 II..........................................................60
Potential Experience Awards...............26
A Stranger Storm............................77
The Changeling....................................94

1
WhatsaRfr?

Being a Referee is like being an artist, a man- - The guy that loves having power over his
ager, an accountant, and that crazy old guy that friends
lives in the park that everyone avoids because - The guy that gets stuck with the job because
hes always talking to himself, all in one. nobody else in the group wants to do it, and
Although hopefully you wont be talking to someone has to or else nobody plays
yourself. At least not while anyone is listening. - The guy who is extremely imaginative and
is very enthusiastic about presenting his
Welcome to the Referee book. You will nd creations to the group
that this book is much more loosely written
than the other material in this game. This is me, Honestly, its the second guy that is most likely
the author, James Edward Raggi IV, talking to to become the best Referee. The rst guy will
you, the reader. I have been running role- likely be unpleasant to play under, and the
playing games since the winter of 1984 1985, third guy is likely to become upset as the
Ive also played in a variety of games, and I will players run roughshod over all of his carefully
be giving you some advice I picked up along the construedideas.However,withdiscipline,all
way. You dont need to slavishly adhere to any three types can become quite decent Referees.
of this (I am a far better writer than I am a
Referee, for sure), but by contrasting your Now you may think all this makes it sound like
preferences to what I write here, you can get a being a Referee is an awful, overly eortful
better handle on how you want to present a undertaking all for the sake of playing a damn
game. The only important thing is to have an game.
ethic behind your decisions, an overarching And youd be right.
idea, and not just randomly squirm around in
your running of a game. But theres one thing that makes it all worth it.
One thing that validates every spare moment
A Referee has three prime duties: making maps, coming up with tables and lists
- Presenting challenges and aivities to do and ideas of how to entertain those those
within the game, generally in units of play playerswhoshowupeverysessionexpeing
called Adventures to be entertained.
- Creating a Campaign which encompasses all The Referee the game. The Referee becomes
of the adventures that take place, forming a the de fao leader of an entire little reallife
stable framework around them social clique. Referees make all the magic
- Running the aual game sessions in a happen.
disinterested and impartial manner
Now put away that social life, pick up that graph
In addition, the Referee has a secondary duty paper, and lets get to work.
of being the group leader and organizer.
Generally, one of three types of people becomes
a role-playing Referee:

2
Whatlsahadwllrqurthuofallyourll,putaranonyour
magnaton,brngyourcratvtytothfor,tyourpatnc,andxhauyour
frtm.Bnga[Rfr]snomattrtobtanlghtly!
Gary Gygax

3
Ruls

The rules to a role-playing game are more of a And thats it. What the ability scores are, what
rough concept than anything that aually they adjust, what the classes are and what their
governs play. In some ways, they dene the powers are, what experience is awarded for,
gameworldandasomewhatlikethelawsof what happens when one gains a level, and the
nature within the world. Players base their categories of saving throws, all of these things
in-game decisions on the rules, as well they can be changed. Everything not related to these
should. The rules tell them how the world points is completely irrelevant for dening
behaves. Falls cause this much damage, an what the game is and can be discarded or mod-
average man has this many hit points and ied or replaced as you like.
attacks are made at this rate with armor being
thiseeiveagainstasetrangeofdamagedone You are the Referee. If you dont like some-
by particular weapons. thing, change it.

The rules are not there to denewhataions But it is always a good idea to understand the
are allowed or disallowed, but rather to resolve rules and see what they are trying to do before
situations which come up in the course of play. you decide they should be changed or replaced.
They will fail you. They do not, can not, cover
allpossibleaionsthataplayerwouldwishhis
charaertoperform.
The Referee is the nal authority in all matters
One of the Referees prime duties is to recog- for his campaign, above the letter and the spirit
nize when the rules do not adequately cover a of the rules.
given situation in play and then to invent a way
The rules are not the game. The game is what
to resolve the present situation outside of the
happens at the table when all the participants
rules, but in the spirit of the overall rules.
are playing. With RPGs being such open-ended
games, the situations that come up in play, even
if nominally covered by the rules, may not be
Here are the fundamental parts of this game: well-served by the rules.

- The six ability scores which give certain In this instance, the Referee should make a
adjustmentsforallcharaers ruling, and thats that.
- Charaerclasseswithcapabilitiesseparate Justasrulesdonotlimitthecharaersaions
from ability scores to what is contained in them, so too do they not
- Levels gained by experience points and grant unlimited freedom just because a certain
the accumulation of abilities based on that aion is not specically prohibited. If a char-
level aeristryingtodosomethingthatisridiculous
- Hit points, armor class, how to hit (The rules dont say I cant use my torch under-
- Saving throws water!), feel free to allow good sense to prevail
- Memorized/prepared spells

4
over the rules (or gaps therein) and over the and it is that unprediability that creates
wishes of the players. excitement in the game.
Dont make the nding of vital clues dependent
on a single die roll unless you really are willing
The Referee shall realize that Rule 0 is for the to stop the adventure short if the roll fails, for
purpose of establishing the desired atmosphere one example. Even if the chances are heavily in
for his campaign, and not as an excuse to abuse favor of the PCs being able to continue on
players or a license to be a despot at the game under a random table scheme, whether its a
table. Rules should be applied consistently, both roll to determine foraging for needed food or
for and against players, and players should be getting lost or just about anything, the possibil-
advised of any permanent rules changes in a ity on a die roll that it will come up as the one
Referees campaign ahead of time. adventure-killing result is there. This must be
accounted for in your preparations.
The Referees role is to challenge players, not
viimizethem.

NobodystartsobeingagoodReferee.Ittakes
time and a lot of praice aually running
Dice rule the game. Even the Referee, who games. Your rst attempts will hopefully be
makes all decisions within the game, cedes enjoyable but they wont be good.
authority to the dice once they start rolling.
Dont worry.
The trick is to know when to call for a roll and
when not to. If you make the decision to roll the First level charaers are wonderful for the
dice,orifthesituationdiatestherollofthe budding Referee. They are entirely disposable
dice, you must be prepared to use the result. and quickly replaceable. A new Referee, and
Hours of preparation may be ruined by an odd even an experienced Referee with a group of
result of a roll. Charaers may be killed by new players or players unfamiliar to him, will
things never intended to be a serious threat, have some adjusting to do. It is likely that some
and serious threats may be reduced to toothless incorre assumptions between players and
jokes by bad die rolling. Anything can happen Refereewillresultincharaerslaughter.
when the dice are rolled.
If the charaers are rst level, this is not a
This is a feature, not a bug. The most important problem. Nobody should ever feel guilty about
thing about RPGs, the thing that makes them killing a rstlevelcharaer,andnobodyshould
worth playing and the thing that has drawn ever get upset that their rst level charaer
people to this hobby for almost forty years now, dies. It is during this developmental time in a
is that nobody knows what will happen! The campaign that everything about the campaign
outcomesofmostanyaionareunprediable, is established: The campaign tone, the Refer-
ees style, the fas of the campaign world.

5
Taking shortcuts because some people think Being a good player requires playing many
rstlevelcharaersarelamealsoshortcuts dierent charaer types in a variety of cam
the greater rewards of a campaign. Those seeds paignsrunbydierentReferees.Andbeinga
are sewn early on, when PCs are minor, negli- good Referee means having run games for a
gible parts of the world and not yet ready to be great variety of players in a wide range of
major players in it. circumstances.
Player and Referee skill can also be measured There are no shortcuts. There is just play. Lots
by the level of charaers in a campaign. A and lots of play.
group of players that begin with rst level
So dont worry if youre new and you suck. Just
charaers and work their way to tenth level,
forinstance,willbevastlymoreeeiveinplay try. Learn what works, and keep doing that.
with those charaers than a group that justWhen you stumble, adjust your game and dont
receives those same tenth level charaers attrip over the same thing again. Dont worry
the beginning of a campaign. about your players. New players wont know
the dierence, and theyll understand your
And by the same token, an experienced Referee problems because theyre learning too. Experi-
will provide appropriate and exciting chal- enced players will remember that they too used
lengesforthosetenthlevelcharaersiftheyve to be new and clueless, and will help you.
been built up over time. A new Referee
running a game for experienced players with Players who give you a hard time because
highlevelcharaerswillhavetheiradventures youre learning are the type of players you
eaten alive. wont want to have around anyway even after
you become an experienced Referee.
Now go and master this game.

6
ThWrd

The main thing that separates a Weird Tale gone, players will take notice, come o auto
from a conventional horror story is the forces pilotandstartinteraingwiththeworld.And
completely out of the control of those who then you can hammer them with the Weird.
encounter them. A thing that cannot be
explained, cannot be defeated, cannot be solved. In game terms, particularly horrifying or
bizarre happenings or circumstances can
This is easy to do in a story, as the writer can trigger a Loyalty/Morale roll for NPCs in order
easily manipulate the entire tale in order to to continue on/not run away. But Referees
serve the purpose of inducing the reader to feel should refrain from imposing any sort of fear
as the writer wishes. In a role-playing game, orsanityrulesuponPlayerCharaers.Before
this is not so simple. longtheywillbeainginwaysthatthelocals
will consider insane anyway (professional
Player charaers must have agency. They adventurers do not a like normal civilized
cannot be puppets or mere observers to events. folks!), and it is but a cheap ee to try to
The Referee is not telling a story (this must be simulate fear by rolling a die and saying,
stressed as often as possible), but presenting an Yourescaredsti!
environment and situations within that envi-
ronment. The story is the summation of what It is suggested that you use as normal a cam-
happens during play. paign world as possible. If monsters and magic
are everywhere in a world, then fear and terror
becomes harder to portray. If the average vil-
lager has never seen a monster, never encoun-
The feelings of vulnerability and helplessness tered a real magician, then those who deal with
are important to Weird tales. Unfortunately, such regularly (the PCs) will be distrusted and
fantasyliterature,motionpiures,andgaming shunned,andthatvillagersreaionstosuper
have all conspired to murder these feelings natural events can then be used to highlight to
and dont even get me started on horror the players how macabre the situation really is.
examples of the same. Knowledge equals
power, it is said, familiarity equals boredom, The average game will quickly see PCs becom-
and empowerment is an easier sell than fear. ing well-acquainted with the supernatural, and
soitmightbediculttocomeupwithsome
Take away player knowledge by using your thing frightening after theyve already dealt
own creations. Destroy familiarity by not using, with the living dead, skeletons, and a cult
or by subverting, clich elements of game engaging in human sacrice. The best way to
worlds or adventures. Players may show up instill fear in the players (and even so, it will not
expeing the usual sixabilityscoreswith be true fear, but rather a concern for their
classes game, with opponents taken out of a charaerswithinthegame)onaregularbasis
manualandtreasuregeneratedoofachartor is to make terrifying situations terrifying. In
list. Dont give it to them! As soon as it is estab- many games, player success is assumed, leaving
lished that the standards of the genre are the adventure details to be mere dressing. In a

7
Thtruwrdtalhomthngmorthancrtmurdr,bloodybons,oratdformclanngchans
accordngtorul.Acrtanatmohrofbrathlandunxplanabldradofoutr,unnownforcsmub
prntandthrmubahnt,xprdwtharounandportntounbcomngtsubj,ofthatmo
trrblconcptonofthhumanbranamalgnandpartcularunsonordfatofthofxdlawsof
Naturwhcharouronlyafguardaganthaaultsofchaosandthdmonsofunplumbdac.
HPLovcraft,SuprnaturalHorrornLtratur

gamewherecharaerdeathand/orfailureare in aions and situations which they might


forever possible, then players will respe enjoy reading or viewing in more passive media.
things that are supposed to be fearsome within
the game. They wont need to be poked with To be plain: Just because a player enjoys watch-
any rule, because they will know that if their ing pornography or excessively violent horror
charaersarashlyornonchalantlytowards movies or any other extreme content does not
the supernatural, the supernatural will kill meanhewantstoaanysuchthingoutwith
them. or in the presence of other people. With other
media, you observe stories that other people
tell. In a role-playing game, you are participat-
ing.
It is assumed that players of this game are
The same thing applies to the art in this game.
either mature or willingly juvenile (both work
Reading these game books is a passive experi-
well for the strange and horric), and so a
ence; playing this game is not. The art in this
Referee exploring the Weird can push the
game is intended for avor, to impress upon the
content of his games past the usual limits of
readeranintentandatmospheredierentfrom
family entertainment and perhaps even
similargames.Thatcertainthingsaredepied
general good taste. To truly inspire wonder, or
in the art does not mean they will suit your
generate a sense of dread, or to engage modern
group if inserted into your game any more than
players in an olde tyme setting and get them
ideas gleaned from other media.
to suspend disbelief and accept the game as
anything but absolute farce, youve got to be Know your players. Communicate outside of
willing to take creative chances and push your- the game, and nd where the limits lie. Your
self to come up with ideas that work. And to do job as Referee is not to shock, scare, scandalize,
it session after session over the long course of orassaultthesenses.Respefortherealperson
a campaign? Its dicult, and of course many sitting before you playing the game comes
sessions will deal with far more mundane situ- beforeanyideaforthegameyouauallyhave.
ations, but truly nothing makes refereeing A player truly oended by the content of a
more satisfying than knowing a player has been game will very likely not play with you again.
put into a situation they could not previously
even conceive of.
Go for it. It is quite essential to presenting a Weird
But when dealing with surreal, mind-bending atmosphere that the players, and charaers,
horror, one must be careful. Although every- not have a true understanding of the situation
thing that happens in a role-playing game is as it is presented to them. They may come to
pure ion,itisstillanimmersivepastimeand realizewhatexalyisgoingon,buttheyvery
people can be uncomfortable with participating well may not.

8
The best way to keep mystery alive in gaming build an adventure hook, or creates the story of
is to never use stock elements as a focus in a location or situation, then as Referee you are
adventures. Dont just pull a monster out of a fully authorized to simply make it so.
book. Dont pull a magic item out of a table.
Come up with an idea divorced from gaming The important thing to remember is that just
rst, and then apply the game to it. Mold the because it is Science! or Magic! does not
rules to the idea. mean it can be replicated. In most fantasy
worlds, the populations and society at large are
And when players encounter this new and ignorant of scientic principles. Even the
unusual thing, they will have no procedure for mightiest of wizards do not perform true scien-
it. Theyll be forced to role-play their attempts tic research, because magic is art, not science.
tounderstand,use,interawith,ordestroythe If one madman creates a formula for surviving
element in question, because the game books death, or builds some sort of strange machine,
will provide absolutely no help. thereisnoreasontoallowaplayercharaerto
The ability to create this mystery is why a replicate it if he has the opportunity to examine
verisimilitudinous campaign world is recom- itoranalyzeitindepth.Inee,itismagic
mended. If everything is fantastic (as it is in in its own way, save that it does not radiate
Sword and Planet genre stories and games), magicwhenadeteionspelliscast.
then nothing really is. Its exotic, to be sure, and Magic can be handled the same way. While it is
this isnt to disparage the enjoyment of such encouraged that Referees invent all sorts of
things,butitbecomesverydiculttodieren bizarre spells and have them available to be
tiate normal from abnormal in a game world
discoveredinspellbooksforplayercharaers
that is fundamentally alien from the start. With
to learn, not all magic abilities must be cata-
a real-world, pseudo-historical base, players can
loged in this way. If you wish a particular
more easily tell when things just arent right.
charaer to have a particular trait or ability,
then thats all the justication needed.
The Referee is not bound by the same rules as
This is a fantasy role-playing game, generally
the players. The players and their charaers
assumed to be taking place in a pseudo-histori-
represent the mundane world. Yes, they can
cal setting. Part of that fantasy role-playing
grow to be extraordinary examples of that
game experience is the presence of other races
mundane world, but for all the potential ght-
(elves, dwarfs, and halings from the rules, for
ing prowess and magical abilities, they are still
starters) and magic.
mere mortals founded in the everyday, explor-
But there can also be science, and not all magic ing out into the bizarre.
has to come from the rules.
If it can be explained by logic or anything in
Stories are full of odd things that are built or nature, or by the rules of the game, it isnt
conjured once and never repeated. If it helps to Weird.

9
attempt to catch it in its slumber, you set up all
the clues and viims and happenings to be
Every good Weird Tale has a strange twist misleading and ambiguous. One man that is
which turns the original premise on its head. found dead (with bite marks!) in the morning in
Now a good role-playing adventure certainly an out of the way area will be assumed to have
cant be struured as a proper story, as that been murdered the previous night, but only
removes the agency of the player charaers. careful questioning will reveal that there were
But the twist can still be used. still hours of daylight left after he was last seen.
Anotherviimisdeathlyillandcantplacethe
This should be conceived at the very start of time of the attack precisely. Any number of
location or adventure creation. There is the contrivances leading up to the reveal of who
general setup, the Who What Where Why How. and where the vampire is can be set up, and its
There is the initial presentation of the adven- up to the players to look past the obvious, or fall
ture to the players and their charaers per viimtoanastysurpriseattheend.
speive. But at the heart of the matter is
something unexpeed, or unintuitive given Never worry if a twist is original, because its
the basic premise, that will mentally disarm all been done. Never worry if it turns out that
those learning of it. a twist is too obvious and the players see it
coming far in advance. It will happen, so just
This is not to say that there should be random, stick with it and ride it out. The players will
nonsensical twists. The very best twists are appreciate that sometimes they can get ahead
those with hidden clues and signs, so that when of the Referee a little bit. So too will players
they are revealed, those concerned dont feel sometimes never become aware of the twist at
rippedo,butratherhavethatdoubleamaze all, and the Referee should make no eort to
ment that not only were they taken in, but they steer players towards it.
should have seen it coming. Start with your
twist and work backwards from there to conceal Rememberthatnotalladventureandaivities
it. needbeinfeedbytheWeird.Alsoremember
that even when the Weird is involved, its not
An example: You want to feature a vampire as always necessary to use a twist. Red herrings
the bad guy for an adventure. But wait! This can keep players guessing and distra them
vampire will walk in the daylight and be forced from any of the above concerns.
to hide from the moonlight! What a twist!
Wanting to keep this a secret until the PCs Keepplayersoguardbyneverbeingpredi
show up at the vampires lair at high noon in an able as a Referee.

10
ThAdvntur

adventures, you will nd that you are freely


combining these types of adventures.
An adventure is the basic unit of play in role-
Evnt
playing. When the players gather to play, the
situation or scenario they play is the adventure.Event-based adventures involve some greater
Adventures may be episodes of a continuing event in the game world occurring, and the
campaign or they may just be played on their charaers become involved because they are
own. present as the event unfolds. These can be
natural disasters such as earthquakes or tidal
waves or hurricanes, or more political events
like a civil war, foreign invasion, or even the
Stp1
sudden imposition of draconian laws, to smaller
Come up with a location that's interesting on scale events such as bandit attacks, a re in the
its own without any players getting involved building one is occupying, monster attacks, or
with it. anything that demands that aion be taken
now in order to not get swept away by the event.
and/or
Event adventures are often written in the form
Come up with a situation that's interesting on of timelines, where certain things will happen
its own and can resolve on its own without any at certain times no matter what the players do.
players getting involved in it. The important decisions that the players make
are often in between the important timeline
Stp2 events, with their decisions inuencing how
Introduce PCs to the location/situation. prepared and advantageous their position is
when the next thing happens.
Stp3
Eventbasedadventurescanbediculttorun.
Step back and see what happens without having In the rst place, players may feel forced into a
an investment in any particular outcome. particular storyline. Even easygoing players
who follow most any adventure hook may take
There's more to successful adventure design oense at being pushed into an adventure
than that. Read on... without being properly asked through an
in-game hook. Also, when is an adventure over?
Riots and res dont last forever, but things like
the aftermath of an earthquake, or larger
Adventures commonly follow just a few general
events like a civil war, invasion, or zombie
forms,eachofwhichhasitsowncharaeristics.
apocalypse are bigger than any single adven-
These are detailed below, but remember these
ture. Knowing what the adventure is supposed
are just broad generalizations. Once you have
to be within the event, and when the present
some experience with writing and running

11
adventure ends and when the event becomes a There is a method of adventure-writing called
backdrop for other events, are important con- theSandbox.Basically,aseionofwilderness
siderations when designing Event adventures. is mapped out and then the players are let loose
to explore as they will, without any demanding
Exploraton adventure hooks to drive them.
Travel through unknown and unbounded areas This method is essentially an Exploration
can be an adventure in itself. Whether there is adventure, with multiple individual, self-con-
a specic goal or not, wandering through tained Locations placed within the greater
unknown terrain presents certain dangers and landscape. As the PCs explore and they learn
challenges not present in other adventure more about the environment, these campaigns
forms, and these challenges and dangers are will resemble other types of campaigns, only
unique depending on both the type of environ- with the situations and consequences of the
ments being traversed and specic areas as well. players own aions driving play rather than
The Exploration adventure type is more than hooksbeingoeredbytheReferee.
a large-scale Location because it can never be Megadungeons, those dungeons which are
cleared or thoroughly scouted. Even deciding never-ending in their scope and are intended
to tame a small area of land in the wilderness to carry entire campaigns within their depths,
can become a full-time campaign, as passing also roughly fall under this same Sandbox cate-
through an area doesnt mean seeing every- gory.
thing in it, and even if completely cleared of all
hostiles will be quickly restocked. Nature Simple sandboxes are static, as the world stands
abhors a vacuum and all that. still until the PCs move to each location.
Advanced sandboxes are a good deal more
Exploration adventures are dead-easy to set up, dicult,asanynumberofeventswillplayout
and fairly easy to run. All that is required for an beyond the awareness of the PCs. In this style
exploration adventure is a map of territory of play the Referee advance timelines of
unknown to the players, and either a list of variouseventsandcharaerssothatwhatthe
features to be encountered, or random genera- PCsencounterwillbewildlydierentdepend
tion tables, to ll in the map. Referees that are ing on when they arrive at certain areas.
skilled at running games without preparation
dont need anything more than this, but of Locaton
course more time and eort can be made to
detail an Exploration adventure before playing. A location-based adventure is one that is con-
cerned with an easily identiable single area,
As long as the environment to be explored is be it a dungeon, tower, castle, estate, cavern, or
interesting, either for its features (parts of the some such. The location is mapped to scale, the
landscape) or contents (the encounters or individual areas within this location are
quest to be fullled within the environment), detailed, and the adventure consists of the
it is suitable for adventure. charaersenteringthislocationandexperienc

12
ing the dierent areas. Once the location is and that charaer interaion is inherently
explored, its eeively nished as an adven- more sophisticated or better.
ture area.
Still, if done right, it will cement the reality of
Exploration of large nite areas (islands, large bothcharaersandsettinglikenootheradven
cave systems) can straddle the line between ture type.
being an Exploration or a Location adventure.
And of course many Locations may be found Personage adventures are related to Event
during an Exploration adventure. adventures in much the same manner that
Location and Exploration adventures are
Location adventures are the easiest to create related.Theyaredierentmagnitudesofthe
and to run. The interesting points and the same concept. In an Event, the players are
rewards and the challenges are in a contained caught in a situation that cant be avoided. An
environment. Making an excellent adventure earthquakeanditsaftermathwillaeevery
out of a location is no easier than making an one. A foreign invasion cant be ignored by
excellent adventure from the other possibili- anyone in the invaded area. A Personage adven-
ties, but it is much harder to make a bad adven- ture is a far smaller, and dare I say, personal
ture from a location. issue. Perhaps a merchant is trying to squeeze
out his competitors in the local marketplace.
Pronag Perhaps a love aair is having dire conse
A personage-based adventure is all about char- quences for those close to the couple (think
aerinteraion.NPCsareplanning,plotting, Romeo and Juliet). These are adventures that
andaing,andonlythroughinteraingwith can be intense and important to those involved,
the NPCs and learning their motivations and but it is quite possible to avoid involvement.
conneionsandusingthisinformationcanthe
party advance its own goals.
Thisisbyfarthemostdiculttypeofadven No matter the adventure type, there are ele-
ture to properly execute. In all other adventure ments that need to be addressed in order to
types, there is a denite feeling of doing some- keep the adventure focused and memorable.
thing tangible. In this adventure format, there Again, following the paths that answering these
is often a lot of talking, which many nd to be questions will open up is not a guarantee of
theleastenjoyableaivityinthissortofgame creating an excellent adventure, but it sure is
whether your denition of this sort is adven- a great defense against creating a bad one.
ture, fantasy, horror, pulp, or something simi- Who?
lar. There is the danger of a Personage
adventure crawling up its own rear end if the Who are the NPCs that the players will encoun-
Referee buys into the notion that swordplay ter? Potential friends, foes, and those in
and monsters and magic are somehow lowbrow between must be detailed, with game stats in
most cases but general personality and motiva-

13
tions must certainly be known to the Referee. But the What is not always the rst inspira-
Theexaamountofinformationpreparedfor tion. If the inspiration for an adventure came
any particular NPC depends on the role they from elsewhere (usually a Where? concern
areexpeedtotakeintheadventure.TheNPC I want an adventure to take place inside a
seionofthisbookhasmoreinformationand volcano!), the What of an adventure is still
advice for developing your NPCs. crucial, because the backdrop for an adventure,
no matter how awesome it may be, is still only
Note that the NPCs do not necessarily have to the backdrop. The players have to be doing
meet the PCs for it to be relevant in terms of something in that environment.
this question, and neither do they need be
present in the adventure at all! The classic Make sure its interesting. And remember that
dungeon complex, whether full of beasts or interesting does not have to mean original.
laying empty, was built by someone for some Playing RPGs isnt like telling a story. Remem-
purpose, and detailing Who built it and why ber that the criteria for judging successful
will give the entire adventure a memorable role-playing is based on how interesting and/or
charaer that it would not otherwise have if exciting the participants think it is during play,
sucheortwasnotgiventothesetting. not how interesting and/or exciting the in-
game sequence of events seem during a later
Know Who is in your adventure and Who is recitation.
behind the elements of your adventure.
So if a bit of originality helps keep interest
What? when telling a story, in RPGs, uncertainty and
This is the meat of the adventure. What is the theabilitytomakeadierenceinthecourseof
point of this adventure? What is the goal? What events keeps interest.
is to be done? All details ow from this. What Whr?
are the obstacles preventing this from being
easily done? Every adventure has to take place somewhere
or other. So Where is the adventure? Is it in an
This is perhaps the easiest of all adventure- underground complex? A city? Some portion of
building questions, as it usually contains the wilderness? In a single room? The details of the
initial spark of an idea, all the cool stu that location must be known by the Referee and
inspires a Referee to make such an adventure described well enough that the Referee can
in the rst place. It would be cool for there to present it properly to the players and answer
be a quest for some golden idol, with a rival any questions they may have during the course
adventuring group also searching for it at the of the game.
same time! I really liked that story about
Shub-Niggurath I just read, so maybe Ill do an The workshop from the second adventure in
adventure about a cult terrorizing a city! The the Tutorial book makes for a wonderful exam-
possibilities, as they say, are endless. ple. The map shows the size of the room, where

14
the exits are, and the basics of the contents. The unexpeedbenets. Inventing answers for all
Refereeshouldhavenotesdescribingtheexa of these questions develops the game world,
nature of each of the elements, in particular for may suggest future adventures as the players
this room the colors of the potions on the rea to certain information about the way
workbench and what ee each has when things are in the game, and help form a guide
imbibed (and/or mixed!). to resolving what happens if the PCs do things
you never expeed them to do during the
adventure.
How?

How do the PCs t into all of this, and How does


the adventure turn from a concept and a setup
intoaualplay?YouveansweredWhythePCs
might get involved, but How will that be pre-
sented to them? How will they get to where the
Why? adventure is located? How will they get to
interawiththeNPCsinvolved?Howwillthe
Why are the PCs involved? The setup to any PCs achieve the goals of the adventure?
adventure must have decent reasons, some-
times called hooks, to inspire players to want The important thing to remember is that the
to play the adventure. This shouldnt be too assumed answers to these How questions must
dicult,asplayerswhoshowuptoplaywant not be denite. There should be multiple
toplay!Thosethatshowupandthenalike answers if at all possible, even if there is a
theyneedtobeimpressedinordertoaually primary and obvious answer to be presented.
play once present are not players you want in
yourgrouptobeginwith.Buttheeortmust For example, say that the adventure involves
be made in order to facilitate the illusion that the PCs traveling to an evil shrine down a river.
the charaers are real people in a real world What you have planned for the adventure is
doing things because they are motivated to do thatthecharaerswillhavetohireaboatand
them. the boatman will insist on going a certain way
to get to the shrine for one reason or another.
At the same time, Why are the PCs the ones to But the PCs pool their money together and
be involved in the situation? Why isnt someone discover they have enough to buy their own
else looting that tomb, saving that princess, boat,anddecidetogoadierentway,justso
solving that mystery? Again, it shouldnt be they are not at an NPCs mercy. An inexible
diculttoanswerthesequestions,foriftheres Referee will just say, You cant do that. A
nothing for the PCs to do theres no game. But exible Referee may decide that several water-
afewminutesofthoughtandatokeneortto ways interse and there are other ways to
provideanaualingameexplanationcanhave travel to this shrine. However, any planned

15
encounters along the route the boatman would never do seem to die is surely not presenting a
have taken them whether they were danger- great enough challenge for his group.
ous or contained clues would be missed.
This is not to say that every situation in an
adventureshouldbedeadly.Infa,mostsitua
tions should not even be equal challenges to the
PCs, as you dont want them to retreat and rest
after every hostile situation. But the deadly
DadlyStuatons
elements should be there, and there should be
There is a reason why the common man doesnt clues as to the presence and nature of the
throwdownhislaborertoolsandmarchointo threat, to give the opportunity for good play to
dungeons and wilderness. Adventuring is a job makeadierenceinhowtheadventureturns
with a very high mortality rate. out. Randomly killing charaers proves
nothing about a Referees skill and it just pisses
This should (potentially) apply to PCs. If they otheplayers.
go into a dark hole lled with monsters, or work
to stop the machinations of an evil cult (or mad But the players have to know that the entire
scientist) (or evil wizard), if they sign up to be worldisntscaledtotheircharaerscapabili
special agents in war, if they help the peasants ties.Theircharaersarepartoftheworldand
revolt against the local noble, they are putting exist within it. They are not gods walking the
themselves in danger. This should not be mock earth.
danger. FrdomofChoc
Every adventure should have elements in it
Every adventure must have meaningful choices
thattheRefereefullyexpestoslaughterthe
that the players must make, and these choices
party if they are not approached intelligently.
must signicantly alter the ow of the adven-
This can be in the form of a monster that is
ture for them to have any meaning.
clearly beyond the ability of the party to ght,
or a devious trap that really is designed to killThe absolute key to good gaming is the ability
whoever triggers it, or any number of things of players to choose their charaers aions.
thatcouldlayacharaerlow. Anyadventurewhichdiateswhatacharaer
thinks or feels or does (barring magical
This is not unfair, and this is not antagonistic
enchantments, of course) is a terrible adventure.
refereeing. This is including true challenge
into the game and making sure that the players Barring magical enchantments is an excep-
taketheirplayseriously,elsetheircharaers tion, but one that must be used with care. In the
wont survive to advance and participate in Tutorial adventure, for example, Iri-Khans
adventures of greater scale. A Referee presid- Charm could have lasted for days, or weeks, or
ing over a game in which player charaers months. But thats a very lame thing to do,
takingawaycontrolofaplayerscharaerlike

16
that. Khans releasing of the Charm may have reward some behaviors over others. Certain
seemed convenient, but its good gaming. Long- tricks or traps may cut o a partys escape,
lastingenchantmentsandcursesarenotstrily forcing them to nd another way out.
forbidden, however. They merely need to be
done in ways that still allow the player to But an adventure should never be a you have
controlhischaraer.Acursethatdiatesthat to do this, in this order, with this outcome.
acharaerwillaincertainwaysincertain Player aions should be able to have a dire
situations is fair game as long as those situations eeonhowanadventureplaysout,evento
are rare. In the case of long-term curses, the the point of completely unraveling the adven-
player should be secretly informed that they ture to the players advantage.
are cursed, and in what way. A good player will A good rule of thumb: Ask yourself, Are the
keep this information from the other players situations the PCs will face a logical conclusion
andmakedecisionsforhischaraerbasedon ofthecourseofaiontheyhavechosentotake,
the nature of the curse. A bad player will con- or are they being put in these situations solely
trive ways to communicate this information to because I want them to do certain things?
the other players and behave in ways that
subvert the nature of the curse. A good way to prevent the railroading of
players (more on this later) is to simply have no
The choices made must be real choices. Float- set resolution for an adventure. Exploration
ing locations of the Well, whichever inn they and location-based adventures are easiest to
stop at will be where the adventure happens leave without conclusion, while event and per-
sort is not a real choice, its an illusion. Some sonage adventures can be quite dicult to
Referees disagree, and feel that unused loca- avoid steering towards a pre-dened outcome.
tions may be recycled into other adventures, so
long as the players did not make a conscious Just remember that while there may be more
decision to avoid the location to begin with. important forces at work in the greater game
world, the game as it is played at the table by
Choicesshouldnotonlybeoered,butforced: the real people present is all about the PCs and
Things are happening, and the players have to the choices they make. So make sure they
do something, and none of the options seem to indeed have such choices they can make.
be all good. Of course, if they choose not to
decide, they still have made a choice and the SuccandFalur
consequencesshouldbedierent(andperhaps
more severe?) than if theyd done something. A good adventure is designed so that the PCs
have a reasonable chance of success and a rea-
Note that Freedom of Choice does not mean sonable chance of failure during the adventure,
total freedom to do anything, at any time. The and the sign of a quality Referee is the ability
situation at any particular point in time may toletthecharaerssucceedorfailbytheirown
denitely suggest, if not require, a certain devices without inuencing the outcome either
courseofaion,andcircumstanceswillalways way. If the adventure is more or less random

17
exploration and treasure hunting, this means There are consequences of deciding to play this
hiding the treasure in clever places, or having way.
it guarded by endish traps and erce guard-
ians, so that the PCs not nding the treasure is The party is just lost and sitting around because
a truly possible outcome. For more plot-based they didnt nd the secret door that leads to the
adventures, the failure to achieve the adven- next seion of the dungeon? Tough. It goes
ture goals must always be a possibility. unexplored.

As a Referee, your job is to be completely The party missed a vital clue and has no idea
impartial during game play. You have absolute where to turn next in a murder investigation?
power at the game table and can bequeath Tough. The killer gets away.
success or mandate failure at any time. Doing There are too many options to choose from, and
either of those things ruins the game, as both the players are disorganized and cant agree on
give no incentive to play well. an option and look to the Referee for guidance?
Do not fudge the dice. Luck is a part of the Tough.
game, and the dice are there for a reason. Resist This does mean that save the world style
thetemptationofsparingcharaersthatfailor adventures, and others with unpleasant cam-
even die due to bad luck or a stupid die roll. paign ramications, should be avoided unless
Good game play will tip the scales of fortune youareperfelywillingtochangethefaceof
and those that rely on pure luck deserve what the campaign if the PCs fail to complete your
they get, for good or for ill. At the same time, if predecidedvioryconditions.
an incredibly lucky roll derails the entire Playing this way also means that the game can
adventureandgivestheplayersaquickviory, stop at any time because a battle wipes out
it should stand. It needs to work both ways. the PCs, or some other disastrous result that
When the dice go badly for the players, they means the mission will come to an abrupt end.
should be thinking of how to not let a roll of the
Oh well. Of course success is always more fun
die be the sole determiner of their fates. And than failure, but if failure is not an option, then
when the dice go a little too well for the players,
the success is but an illusion, its fake, its a lie.
the Referee should note what he needs to do to And by taking the attitude that the end result
prevent a single die roll from determining the determines the fun of the game, then suddenly
course of an entire adventure. the process of playing the game is not fun in
Note that failure does not have to mean the and of itself.
death of the adventurers. Unsolved mysteries, Be prepared for both charaer success and
unfound hidden chambers, pure cowardice, and charaerfailure.It'sallgoodandwelltosay,
simply missing obvious things are all possibili- "Let them fail!" but even if that is the end of the
ties that could lead to failure without new adventure, that should not be the end of the
charaersneedingtoberolledup. game. There is a whole wide campaign world

18
out there. Players may be demoralized if they rewards are easily earned, but of course make
hit a dead end in an adventure and spend time themoreworthwhilerewardsthemostdicult
millingaboutexpeingthatyouwilltellthem to earn.
how to proceed. But if they literally do not have
anything else they could be doing if they were Note that concealing the rewards well may
just willing to drop the current situation, then wind up with the players not nding them.
you have seeded adventure hooks in your cam- That's just tough. As a Referee, just make sure
paign quite poorly. the rewards are there. Don't help the players
toaually nd them.
Rwards
Anotherimportantfaortorememberwhen
coming up with the rewards in an adventure is
Playersgenerallyliketheircharaers,theylike
success, and they like to feel they are accom- that rewards do change the game. Rewards
plishing something when they sit down to play. increase charaer power levels, as magical
Saying, You should enjoy the very experience itemsgivecharaersnewcapabilitiesandtrea
suregivescharaersexperiencewhichallows
of playing this game! is all good and well but if
there are no tangible incharaer rewards, them to gain levels. An adventure at 1st level is
players will become unhappy. adierentbeastthananadventureat4th level,
forexample.Therateofrewarddirelycon
There are two standards that adventure trols,iteeively , the pace at which the game
rewards must meet: They must be enough, and changes due to power level.
they must be not enough.
Varty
They must be enough that everyone involved
doesn't think that they've completely wasted No rule is universal, and even things which are
their time... and not enough to leave anybody necessary for good adventures arent necessary
really satised with what they have. They need to place in every adventure. If you run a fre-
more! Where next to plunder? quently-played campaign, playing once a week,
thats going to be 52 sessions in a year. This is
Rewards can come in many forms. The stan- great fun, intensely rewarding, and also a large
dard reward in these sorts of games is treasure commitment and a lot of work.
and experience points for the charaers.
Magical items are another common reward Change elements of your adventures, and
(that perhaps shouldnt be quite so common). change them often. Tone, genre, environment,
Incharaer favors and personal conneions foes, goals, pacing, style, rewards, everything.
are a type of reward that isnt commonly used If you can identify an element of an adventure,
in this sort of game, but in a continuing cam- you can change it and twist it and do something
paign this could be extremely valuable. dierent.Stylisticpatternswillnaturallyoccur
in a campaign, and the Referee shouldnt see
Be sure to mix and match available rewards in them as a bad thing, but they should be iden-
your adventures. Make sure some of the tied and occasionally intentionally shrugged

19
o.Purposefullyestablishingarhythm,away theyreachthestation.Togoothetracksisto
of doing a certain thing, just so you can surprise derail everything, so the Referee, aing as
the players later by breaking that rhythm is one conduor,doeseverythingpossibletokeepthe
longtermtrickthatpayso. train on the tracks.
Keeping a campaign fresh through constant This is an awful thing in a game.
variety is the key to maintaining interest, for
the players and for yourself. Basically, railroading happens when the play-
ers choices do not impa the events in an
adventure.
If a certain sequence of events is really neces-
Repeat after me:
sary for a game to funion properly, the
My adventures and campaigns will have no Referee should discuss it with the players out-
presetendings.Charaersarenotrequiredto ofcharaer before play. Hey guys, I have a
aasIwishthemtoaduringthecourseof great idea for an adventure, but itll require you
the game. It is natural player behavior to trash doing th at that point in order to get to the
scenarios and take the game to places unfore- goodstu.Isthatcool?Sincetheplayersare
seen. showing up to the table to game, theyll usually
be quite accommodating. Of course you can
One more time. Say it out loud. always just present it as an in-game choice, but
the danger is that the players wont recognize
My adventures and campaigns will have no
the adventure hook, or wont care to follow it
presetendings.Charaersarenotrequiredto
even if they recognize it. Stopping a game to
aasIwishthemtoaduringthecourseof
explain such things outofcharaer, or using
the game. It is natural player behavior to trash
strongarm taics ingame to make sure the
scenarios and take the game to places unfore-
properaionsaretaken,cancompletelyruin
seen.
the role-playing experience for many people.
Got it?
Remember, the entire game is the answer to the
Dfnton question, What do you do? There must be
meaningful choices leading to dierent out
Railroading is roughly dened as not allowing comes, or the question is meaningless, and so
players the freedom of choice for their char- then is the game also meaningless.
aersforthepurposeofmakingsureanadven
ture runs in the way the Referee intends. No A quick piece of advice for avoiding railroading:
matter what the players do, and no matter what Never narrate what the PCs do, or at least be
the dice say, the adventure will come to a very ready to accept correions if a player
predetermined end. The railroad name comes points out that his guy is doing something
from the idea that the adventurers are on a dierentinstead. Never narrate what a player
train track, and must follow those tracks until charaerfeels.Merelydescribesituations,tell

20
whatthecharaerseesandhearsandsmells, then the more restried situation that the
and always let the player decide how their party nds itself in is not railroading.
charaerresponds.
DfntonofWhattsNot If using random tables to generate events in
your campaign, the results of those rolls are
Railroading is not anything that prevents PCs never railroading. Railroading requires a willful
from doing whatever they want, whenever and circumantiallyunreonablerestriionon
they want. charaeraion.Arandomlygeneratedcircum
stance or challenge cannot be a willful
Adventure locations are not static, and as char- restriionmadebytheReferee,so
aers adventure, their decisions will leave a
mark on the world. As charaers adventure
more and more, the results of their adventures Every adventure is going to have obstacles for
will be a palpable, physical thing. Allies of thePCs.Infa,anadventureisprettymuch
enemies vanquished will be unhappy. The Dark just a series of obstacles, with the hook and the
Evil not quite eliminated in the proper way will rewards being simply window dressing to the
awaken. The residents of that one village where wholeaair.Thisdoesntmeanthatthoseare
the PCs killed that one guy (in self defense, but unimportant, it just means that at the end of
all the villagers know is they found a corpse and the day its going to be the struggle that the
the travelers had skipped town!) will be hostile players remember, so you need to pay due
if they ever see the PCs again. attention to it. Players may forgive an old man
Alloftheseaionstakenduringplay,andan approaches you in the tavern as a way to get
innite variety of alternate possibilities, have them into the adventure they did show up to
consequences. Introducing those consequences play after all and they might consider a big
into play, against the PCs, is not railroading. pile of gold to be a suitable, if boring, nal
Freedomofaionisnotfreedomfromconse treasure/reward, but if all the tough stu
quencesofthoseaions. between the two is uninspired and mundane,
then the most fantastic adventure hook and the
mostspeaculartreasurewontreallymeana
Adventures are often construed with pinch thing.
points. Theyll often have a reasonable freedom
of choice and movement, but certain triggers Encountrs
inanadventurethenrestrichoice.Aslongas Encounters are those situations where the PCs
the decision to pull that trigger, or at least the meet NPCs or monsters. It does not have to be
decision to take the aion that unwittingly a hostile situation to be an encounter; indeed,
pulls that trigger, is freely made by the players, even meeting a kindly Cleric on the road who

21
is generous with healing spells is considered an posts are listed as standard encounter areas
encounter. (those planned and detailed ahead of time), for
instance, the guards will not all simply wait at
When setting up an encounter, there are a their posts. If there is a general alarm raised, or
couple of things to keep in mind. suspicious noises nearby, the guardsmen will
What is the purpose of this encounter? Every aappropriately.Rememberthatinthegame
encounter should have an in-game purpose or all of these NPCs and monsters arent supposed
justication,butnotnecessarilybeconneed to be game elements, theyre aual living
to any plot or storyline that is happening. beings. They should behave as such.
Sometimesthesettingwilldiateencounters, Even in adventures designed to be combat-
as a cave lair of a primitive tribe will have heavy, do not place too many combat encoun-
certain things that need to be there for the ters, and certainly not too many evenly-
tribe to make sense as a whole, and the same matched combat encounters. While you might
goes for a village, or fortress. More fantastic thinkyouaremakinganaionpackedexciting
locations may need a little more thinking. Of adventure, what you will really be doing is
course those demonic lava lizards in the causing a lot of downtime between ghts as the
chamber below the erupting volcano are there players seek to rest and recover and avoid all of
because you think the party needs a ght right these tooth-and-nail battles.
around there, but the game will be altogether
more satisfying if there is a reason that makes Foracombatheavyadventure,itisauallybest
sense within the setting for them to be there as to make each individual encounter quite weak
well. in comparison to the PCs. Not pathetically so
(although there should be some of those), but
How does this encounter relate to other weak enough that the party doesnt consider
encounters placed in the adventure? It is all the average encounter to be a real danger. In
well and good to create a large adventure this way, you dont encourage frequent retreat-
environment with a great amount of variety, and-rest, and the question of stopping or press-
but make sure things that are close together can ingonbecomesanaualdecisionratherthan
coexist. It is very important that you dont a mathematical equation.
sidetrack players with nonsensical things that
are entirely irrelevant as real mysteries will Just dont forget the rather strong or over-
become the focus of the adventure. whelming possible encounters as well!
Encounters should not often be static occur-
rences. Even when an encounter is noted in a
specic place, and the NPC/monster will most
often be in that place, circumstances should
alwaysdiatewhathappensduringaualplay.
In a fortress where all of the designated guard

22
Traps makes sense to booby-trap the living hell out of
the place. Locations with living inhabitants, not
Traps are often designed to incapacitate, so much. But each trap should have a clear
restrain,orkillthosethatsetthemo. purpose.
A very brief and incomplete list of common Think before placing traps. Really, there is no
traps: quota for placing traps and they should never
- Area that Fills with Water be thrown in there just because.
- Closing Walls/Lowering Ceiling (with or Be descriptive about placed traps. It should be
without spikes) possibletodeteanddisarmalmostanytrap
- Collapsing Ceiling withoutmakingadieroll.Infa,iftheproper
- Gas way of dealing with a trap is nothing more than
- Net a couple of Specialist skill rolls, then the trap is
- Pendulum Blade boring and no good. You can do better.
- Pits (with or without spikes)
- Poison Needles (commonly in locks) Gotcha traps keep players on their toes, but
- Snare are also detrimental to game play. Merely
- Tripwire (triggering another trap type) entering an area shouldnt be enough to trigger
a trap, and with the slow rate of exploration
Traps may be as simple or convoluted as you movement, it should be assumed that the party
like, and a hallmark of the expert Referee is the is on the lookout for such traps as a default
ability to come up with absolutely endish condition. But barring PCs moving at a full
traps. Traps need not be simple mechanical normal walk, there should be some specic
devices,andtheyneednothavesimpleees. aionthattriggersatrap.Poisonneedletraps
When adding the possibility of magic to the areaperfeexamplehere.Ifacharaerdoes
idea of a booby trap, you'll quickly be able to not attempt to open a chest or pick its lock, they
come up with more ideas than you could possi- have no problem. Its only by taking a specic
bly ever use. aionthattheyputthemselvesindanger.
Four things must be thought through before Not that this is a screed against pit traps and the
placing any trap. First, what triggers it? Second,
like. They have their place especially if
whataretheeesofthetraponcetriggered? nobody is bothering to use a ten foot pole
Third, how do people who are supposed to be anymore. The problem with such traps is that
in the area avoid the trap? And last, why hasnt they are often in areas where many creatures
the trap been triggered by all the wandering travel. Not even the most diligently trained or
monsters (and regular nearby inhabitants)? endishly clever beast will walk amongst traps
In instances such as a tomb or mad wizards lair unless there is an ongoing siege or other des-
or some such, these are easily answered. perate situation. Any triggered just by stand-
Nobody is supposed to be there, period, and it ing or walking in a particular place trap that

23
does more than sound an alarm is simply not deadly, but they are not designed to be simply
going to be found in areas where people, or disarmed or avoided, but guredout.
creatures, ever go.
This is where the Referee gets to go completely
Obvious, no-roll-needed-to-nd-them traps are wild. Anything can be a trick. This is where you
simply awesome. They dare the players. For can throw in your logic puzzles, riddles, chess
example, there might be a six-armed statue games,adozenpoolsofliquidthatalldodier
with weapons in each hand, and a hole in its ent things, talking doors, anything of the sort.
base and a gem in the statues forehead. This is
eeively a big ashing warning sign to Here is a list of more mundane and common
players that something will happen if they fool tricks. Remember, this doesnt even begin to
around with this thing. But chances are, they scratch the surface of possibilities; these just
wont be able to resist. deal with mapping or preventing easy comings-
and-goings
The last consideration to make is whether this
trapiseeive.ToomanyRefereesplacetraps - Chutes that drop PCs to areas below
as obstacles in their adventures to be over- - Doorhiddenbyanobjecoveringit
come. Traps should be placed with the full - One-Way Door: It can be opened easily from
intention of being triggered. Whoever set the one side, but not at all from the other.
trap was certainly aiming to kill (or imprison, - Rooms or passages which rise or lower, or
or immobilize, or whatever) whoever triggers spin without those inside knowing
it, and was certainly trying to keep people out - Sliding walls which block certain passages
of a specic area, so it must be able to do what - Stairs which collapse, sliding everyone to the
it sets out to do or the whole things worthless. bottom
If youre going to place a death trap, set it up in Tricksaremostoftenattachedtoobjes.Stat
a way that will kill, and count on a charaer ues, doors, idols, altars, pools, machines any-
dying from that trap during the adventure. thing! Such tricks are usually triggered on an
When (if!) the traps are discovered and if/then basis. If the player does a certain thing,
bypassed, it becomes a real accomplishment thenithasacertainee.Maybeitrevealsa
(even if it was dead easy and the players dont clue, subjes the triggering charaer (or an
understand what might have happened), and area)toaspellee,givesanitemanything
not just something that happened because its can happen.
supposed to in these types of games.
Again, there should be a purpose, or at least an
Trcs origin, of the particular trick. It shouldnt be
Tricks are the features within a game that are purely random and out of context with its
designedtodelay,distra,andgenerallydrive surroundings. Other than that go nuts.
players crazy. They have a lot of overlap with
traps, as they can be dangerous and even

24
description and make their own map as they
adventure, if they want to have a record of
Maps are a classic prop in gaming, to the point where theyve been. The Example of Play in the
where many gamers pass time by drawing maps Tutorialbookdepisthisprocess.
to places they will never use in a game, nor
There will be exceptions, of course. Some
develop in any greater detail. People like
adventure locations may be excessively
drawing maps. Make maps a major part of your
complex and impossible to communicate
game and players will respond.
eeively. In these limited cases, a Referee
WhnsaMapNdd? might help the player out with his sketch.
However, Referees shouldnt corre minor
When the spatial relationship between areas is errors made in maps. If an entire complex, for
important, you need a map. A multi-level under- example a realistically rendered cavern, is
ground complex always needs a map, as the beyond all ability to communicate without
verticalconneingpointsneedtobelinedup, constant Referee sketches, then the players will
if nothing else. Most underground complexes have to make-do with approximate descrip-
need maps anyway, as movement rates are tions. The exploration movement rate, which
important for a good many reasons. allowsformappingwithexameasurements,
is still not equivalent to full-edged surveying.
For other sorts of adventures, a map is always
handy because you never know where players This is, by the way, why most gaming maps
will go and theyre going to notice the lack of followagrid.Realisticstruuresandmapsare
consistency if youre just making things up in diculttocommunicate,soforthepurposesof
your head. Its all good and well to say, The gaming expediency the maps conform to graph
villages are three hours journey apart, and or hex paper.
then talk about a third village thats two miles
othepathfromthesecondvillage,butyoud If players dont want to make their own map,
better have accurate information handy when they dont have to. But that doesnt mean you
players want to go between the rst and third show them any of your maps.
villagesdire.
Good vs. Bad Maps
Use maps.
A map is good when it tells you what you need
CommuncatngMapstoPlayrs to know. The artistic quality of the map, beyond
that which allows the map to be clearly read, is
As players move through the adventure envi- of secondary concern. Useful maps are better
ronment, the environment should be commu- than pretty maps, although admittedly useful
nicated verbally. Maps should never be shown and pretty maps are awesome.
to players (unless of course it is a map that their
charaersaually nd). One or more players A superior map gives players choices as to
will have to learn to interpret the Referees where to go and what to do, it allows players to

25
planeeivestrategiesandmakediscoveries vast majority of experience in an adventure is
just for having made the map! gained by treasure, not by defeating enemies.
A bad map is boring to look at and imparts no Treasure is generally divided into three forms:
further information than a textual description Treure which is both valuable and worth
would. Linear maps are no good. Very simple experience points, money and goods which
locationsdontalwaysneedtohaveanocial have value but arent counted for experience,
map. and magical treasure.
First, the dividing line between money and
treasure, which items of worth give an expe-
When designing an adventure, one thing you rience point value and which do not, must be
must decide on ahead of time is what the total determined by the Referee. It should be
experience award is likely to be. This can drive obvious when it is found and players should be
the entire process of adventure design. A good given this information immediately. It should
rule of thumb is that you total the amount of never be a mystery whether a stash is experi-
experience the party needs to gain a level (so a ence or just a bit of cash. In general, purely
group of ve rst level Fighters would have political, criminal, or economic gains do not
10,000 for this number) and have the adventure count for experience, while treasure that is
have a quarter to one-third of the experience gained through legitimate adventuring (that
necessary to gain the level. This should stop adventuring involving exploring of unknown
increasing when the highest level PC reaches areas) does count for experience purposes.
about fourth or fth level. Yes, higher levels are
As appropriate treasure amounts for an adven-
supposed to take successively longer to reach.
ture grow as the charaers increase in level,
If everything went mathematically perfely transporting the treasure should be a more and
during the game, this means that a party would more challenging experience. Not all treasure
level up every three to four sessions. However, should be placed as coins, and certainly not as
thisperfeionshouldbequiterare.Treasure easily-transported gems or jewelry. Great
will be missed, not every possible foe will be works of art, either fragile or not easily moved,
confronted or defeated, PCs will die, there will are a wonderful way to represent treasure.
be retainers that will be getting shares, so you Would a party even think to take those large
should perhaps consider that it may take ve to paintings o the walls? How would they get
ten sessions between levels perhaps much them back to town without damaging them?
more at higher levels. And that magnicent statue, sculpted by one of
the masters how to move it?
PlacngTraur
Treasure should also be spread around the
Once you know how much experience you wish adventure. Placing all of the adventures trea-
to have available in a particular adventure, you sure at the end, or beyond only the greatest
have got to place it within the adventure. The

26
challenges, is somewhat unfair. Lesser amounts anything, the Referee should make something
should be available here and there, some in happentogivetheplayerssomethingtorea
quite hidden places. To place the vast majority to. I declare that this ruins the proaive
of treasure at the end forces the players hand element in traditional gaming, causes the
andreallymakesitdiculttochoosetogoon Refereetobebiasedtowardscharaeraion,
or not; that choice is obvious if no gain has been and creates a disincentive for players to control
made halfway through. Deciding to be safe and their own destiny.
take far longer to accumulate treasure and
advance in levels versus taking more risks for But what do you do if all the obstacles described
the hopes of quicker advancement should be a intheSuccessandFailureseionauallystop
choice to be made by the party. the party?

Magical items will be discussed more later, but You do nothing.


they should be quite rare. Aively useful If a player complains that hes bored and that
magical items should never be less than vital to nothing is happening, look at him and say, I
the history or development of an adventure, agree. So are you going to do something or not?
and never placed just because. Less obviously
useful items and one- or limited-use items, can It is not the Referees job during a session to
be placed a bit more liberally but still never provide excitement for his playing group. His
haphazardly. Magical items, even if sold, are not job is to administer the setting and resolve
counted as treasure for experience point charaer aions. If the charaers are taking
purposes. Besides, who would sell a magic item? no aion and are not interaing with the
What kind of farcical campaign is being run if setting, then the Referee has literally nothing
a magical item is so useless as to be discarded or to do. The players are wasting his time.
surrendered, even for money?
However,thisadvicedependsonthePCsau
Remember that not all treasure need be cashed ally having other things they can do! If the
in to count for experience. If the PCs mission players are only presented one possible adven-
is to retrieve some valuable item, and they ture, and they run into a roadblock in that
complete their mission and return the item to adventure, then its not the players fault if the
civilization or other safe haven, that item game just grinds to a halt.
should count for experience equal to its value,
even if it is turned over to a third-party quest- If there are multiple adventure hooks oating
giver and never cashed out for gold. about (as there should be!), then a roadblock in
one place doesnt stop play cold. The players
stubbornness might at that point, refusing to
accept that they cant go on in one place, but
Common gaming wisdom today states that if that really isnt your problem. Yet it is vital that
the aion has slowed and the players either the Referee makes it clear that there are other
dont know what to do or dont want to do things to do. Too many Referees indulge in

27
this is the adventure of the week and this is go back to camp, maybe the players wont be
what you will be doing play-styles, so it is so quick to do so.
essential that a good Referee never falls into
this habit, and important that players know the Tm
Referee is not working under common, and Timemanagementisanoftoverlookedaspe
inferior, methods. As long as players know that of adventure gaming. So many things are
there is adventure in every direion, the dependent on time, and yet so many players
Referee never need worry about the outcome and Referees disregard it as a faor in their
of any particular adventure. games.
Other common standards of pacing become Keepastrirecordoftime!Thiswisdomwas
obsolete when dealing with a player-driven presented in bold in an important early gaming
adventure. Traditional games commonly publication and has been laughed at ever since.
feature a retreat, rest, and recharge element But its excellent advice. Endless searching for
ofplay,andinfaalmostdemandsuchathing. secret doors and traps takes but a second to roll
This creates a bit of diculty in trying to for the players, but a good deal of time for the
struureanexcitingadventureifthepartyis charaers.Howlongdoesthattorchburn?How
going back to rest after every ght of even quickly is that lantern burning oil? How long
slight challenge. does that spell last? So many Referees simply
Dont let the players turn the game into a series make sure that theres a torch or lantern
of Scout out the next room, ambush the beast- present (and if the Referee is on the ball, he
ies, colle the loot, and then retreat back to might make sure that somebody with a free
camp and get all the spells back. Or dont let handisauallytheonecarryingit)andthen
them complain of monotony and boredom if ignore it. Players will pick up the pace if the
that is what they choose to do. Missions with torches and lanterns keep going out and
time limits are a possibility, but the meticulous keeping close track of encumbrance means
planning needed to make such an adventure they cant just buy a hundred asks of oil,
just challenging enough to get the PCs to the either. These oft-ignored rules arent there to
climax will tend to cause the Referee to become simply be a pain in the ass, they are there to
too invested in the adventure outcome. push play along in a system that otherwise
rewardscharaersmovingatasnailspace.
The rst reliable way to control pacing issues
is through the proper use of wandering mon- Lets use light as an example. Adventures often
sters and random encounters (described below). take place underground, and no PC race can see
Never skip a random encounter check, and in the dark. So how to deal with the problem?
never hand-waive the results. Do this for the Multiple torches and lanterns take up space and
area that the PCs decide to rest as well. If their someone needs a free hand to hold the thing.
recuperation is not just a matter of saying, We But they only last a limited time. Spellcasters
can use a spell instead, but most usually think

28
that resource is better spent in another way. three turns, and in another place you might
Planning for light is an important consider- decide that there needs to be a random encoun-
ation in an adventure, and dealing with the ter check once every six turns.
issue does limit, in its own small way, what the
party is able to accomplish. If you just hand- In underground areas, or other spaces where
wave the issue, Oh, somebodys got a torch, game movement by turn is important, checks
thats covered then for the whole adventure, should be made every few turns. But in wilder-
thegametakesonadierenttone,onewhere ness travel, where often entire game days pass
planning and choices really dont matter. in a matter of real-world moments, checks
should be made far less often, perhaps two or
The same can be said with trap checking at three times per game day, depending on cir-
every door, in every passage, and searching for cumstances.
secret doors in every room. In many ways, this
is a smart thing to do, for a serious adventure When a check is called for, it is traditionally
will reward this behavior. But where is the made on a d6, with a 1 meaning an encounter
challenge if there is no recording of the passage occurs. Depending on the adventure or situa-
of time, or any consequences for spending this tion, checks can occur much more frequently
much time searching? You might as well not and with a greater chance of an encounter.
even place any traps for a half-decent party, or Certainly if the PCs make a lot of noise (such as
bother making any doors secret. There must be breaking down doors, arguing in the middle of
a balance, a choice to be made by the players, apassageabouttheirnextcourseofaion,etc.),
between thoroughness and expediency. Adven- a check could be made on the spot no matter
tures usually take place in hoileenvironments. when the next scheduled check was supposed
They should be treated as such. to be made.

Anadventuremaybeconstruedsothatsuch Deciding how closely the players behavior is


concerns are not real, but they should have mirrored in the game world is something a
other dangers that exist becae the PCs have Referee must do and communicate to the play-
no time pressures. ers. If the players spend twenty real-life
minutes deciding what to do at any particular
RandomEncountrs point, does that equal two full turns in the
game? If players are excited and raise their
Random encounters are encounters and situa- voices and talk over each other in such negoti-
tions that PCs may run into that are not a ations, does that mean their charaers are
pre-planned part of an adventure. They are a doing the same?
surprise to both the players and the Referee.
When a random encounter does occur, the
Random encounters are checked once every set Referee should consult a table he has prepared
period of time, and this will vary from location for this purpose. This table should be unique to
to location. You might decide, in one dungeon, every area, and the entries on a table should
that encounters will be checked once every

29
help dene the experience of adventuring in their position in an adventure location, they
an area. can turn tense situations into complete chaos,
and they are just good all around fun.
Random encounters encourage players to not
spend exhaustive amounts of time on searches When coming up with random encounters,
and ddling with absolutely everything. If while most of the possible encounters should
searching every last seion of wall for secret not be major battles, there should be at least one
doors means a potential parade of enemies possible encounter that will be a roughly equal,
stumbling across them, they might keep major ght, and one entry which will probably
moving, complete their map, and then gure be too much for the party to stand toe to toe
out likely places that the doors might be. Play with.
will move much faster. Also, if every adventure
location has unique random encounters, those Take care that the random charts make sense
encounters help the location be more memora- within the adventuring environment. These
bly unique in your players minds. creatures roaming around will also be coming
into conta with the placed creatures. Why
Note that random encounter tables do not have arent they killing each other? If they are
to be, and should not be, simply lists of hostile random monsters, its a good bet their lair isnt
encounters! Appropriate and atmospheric hap- keyed on the map. Where do they live? How do
penings are perfely legitimate random they get from there to the adventure location?
"encounters." Neutral or friendly encounters If the party is closing doors behind them as they
can provide an unexpeed twist. A cavein, go, many creatures wont be able to randomly
ash ood, creeping mist, or other random appear.
event can easily ll a random encounter table
slot. A good praice is to make some sort of One solution is to make random monsters
"background element" into a random encoun- conneedtoakeyedarea.Thiscanhappenin
ter.Perhapssomefarosound,orshiftingof several ways. The rst is to just assume that
the ground, something of that nature. On one every (or most, or whatevers appropriate)
slot on the table, that's all there is. On another keyed areas inhabitants have an extra member
slot, it is the harbinger to an attack or other or two running around the environment. The
dangerous event. When that same thing second is to increase the number of creatures
happens next time, if there was a battle previ- in the set encounter areas, and assume that a
ously, the players will go immediately on their certain number of them are gone at any partic-
guard, whether there is reason to or not! If ular time, and it is those creatures that turn into
there was not a battle last time, they may well random encounters.
completely ignore it, much to their eventual Note that completely tamed areas can still have
chagrin. a wide variety of random encounters. Roads in
Random encounters are a wonderful tool. They civilized lands always have travelers on them,
keep players from ever feeling secure about and creating customized encounter tables for

30
dierentareasofcivilizationcanhelpdieren be considered standard. Those unique qualities
tiate Vaguely English Barony A from Vaguely of a Referee may create business as usual
English Barony B. "There sure are a lot of procedures on the player end. Using an adven-
beggars in this area, Lars." ture written by someone else forces them out
of any sense of being on autopilot, removes any
chance of guessing the dangers based on
knowing the style of the Referee, and forces
Over the past 35+ years, a tremendous number players to prove their skill under a whole new
of adventures have been published that are set of adventure assumptions.
compatible with Weird Fantasy Role-Playing.
The third thing is that it is dicult to be an
Published adventures have one downside: impartial Referee with your regular home
Because they are not your creations, you need group. Honestly, if youre running games for
to read and study them well in advance, and your friends, and creating the adventures too,
take note of how all the details t together in there is hesitation to really go all-out in chal-
ways that may not be apparent (or at all men- lenging them. Is it fair to use their particular
tioned) in the text. playing style as a basis for defeating them in an
adventure? Are you really trying to challenge
Published adventures have three important
them when writing an adventure and then
advantages:
aing as an unbiased Referee during aual
They will expand your capabilities as a Referee. play and discovering whether the players are
Because you are working from someone elses up to the challenge? Chances are youre balanc-
ideas, the adventure should be dierent than ing things in favor of your party, at least ever
anything you would present, perhaps radically so slightly. You know you are. Published adven-
so. This is a great advantage, as the one short- tures give you the opportunity to be the disin-
coming of a Referee that presents only his own terested game master. You are not responsible
adventures is that they are indeed all his. No for the adventure or its contents, the writers
Referee is so creative as to create an entire dont know your group, so its a neutral ground.
world from whole cloth and adventure after You can play the adventure to its fullest poten-
adventure for his players without his stylistic tial, being as dastardly as you like with the
trademarks being left all over them. This monsters and bad guys, without feeling any
unique quality of a Referee is a good thing most guilt or questioning whether youve made
of the time, but a great Referee is also exible something unfair. Let the dice fall where they
and willing to experiment and learn. Running may!
adventures written by a variety of authors is a
Some Referees are great creative thinkers and
useful means of learning exibility.
make excellent adventures, but not every
At the same time, the players will be doubly Referee can manage these things. Running a
challenged. If they have played under a partic- greatgamerequiresdierentskillsthancreat
ular Referee for some time, certain things will ing a great adventure. Never feel like youre

31
doing something wrong just because you didnt issue, as adventures happen away from home
write everything that you use in your campaign. anyway!
FtthAdvnturtothCampagn DontChangAnythngEl!

Very few adventures are ready to be inserted The very advantage of using adventures
as-is into your campaign. Generally the geogra-written by others is defeated if you change
phy and cultural surroundings of an adventure every detail to more closely match your style.
are fairly unique. You need to gureoutexalyAfter you take away the elements that could
how this adventure ts in to your campaign harm your campaign and change the names and
world, and leothebitsthatconiwiththeother such details to t your campaign, leave
world. Most of the time, changing some minor the adventures alone. Run them in the spirit
appearance detail and changing names to suit they were written. Try to get in the head of the
your campaign is enough. writer, and run it as you imagine the writer
running the thing. It will challenge you and
You should also carefully scan the adventure expand your abilities as a Referee, it will chal-
for hazardous treasures and other potential lenge your players and expand their abilities,
reward issues. Adventure writers will have a and these are good things.
wildlydierentideaofwhatappropriatetrea
sures should be, and you need to make sure
youre not dumping an undue amount of trea-
sure or magic items into your game.
Because adventures written by others do have
much dierent base assumptions than adven
tures you devise for your own campaign, it will
often be necessary to isolate the adventure
location to explain why things that are true in
the adventure are not true in the greater cam-
paign at large. But that shouldnt be too big an

32
ThCampagn

making a great many decisions about play


ahead of time. The great disadvantage to this
A campaign is the overall environment in method is that once set, a good many later ideas
which all of your adventures take place. That is may be unusable within the campaign without
to say, if your adventures each take place in a breaking the consistency of the setting. The
specic local environment, then the campaign advantage of this method is it very much pro-
is the greater world around those locations. motes the idea of the campaign world as a real
place with an identity of its own beyond what
Campaign play is the default assumption for the players are doing within it. Players appre-
Weird Fantasy Role-Playing, but of course the ciate the feeling of exploring an aual place
game can be played simply as a succession of rather than being constantly reminded that
episodic adventures with nothing between theyareinameregameconstru.
them.
ExpandngYourMlu

Alloftheadvicegivenforconstruingacam
Therearetwoprimarymeanstoconstruing paign world is best applied locally, for as much
your campaign: Through Prior Design or by background and territory needed for the char-
Accumulated Play. aerscurrentadventurestomakesense.Other
areas can be dened in general terms, but the
Accumulated Play means the campaign world ne details should be left until they are needed,
is a blank slate but for what occurs in play. The if for no other reason than youll always have
rstadventureestablishesfasaboutthecam great ideas that come to you well after the start
paign world, and every subsequent adventure of a campaign.
adds to the campaign, but nothing exists until
it is established in play. Most of this establish- Ascharaerstravel,moreareasthatbeginas
ment will be formed by answering player ques- mere concepts can be lled in and become true
tions, and as they ask about their charaers locations. Your world will grow organically.
surroundings, you will be setting precedent to
The true richness of the campaign world will
be followed forever more. This style of cam-
not reveal itself with any single group of char-
paign building tends to be fast, loose, and full
aersorevenplayers.Onlybycontinuingto
of really crazy ideas.
use, and develop, the same campaign world
Mostoftherestofthisseionisofnorealuse over the course of many games with multiple
to you if youre using the accumulated play groups adventuring in dierent areas of the
method. Simply make an adventure. Then make game world over a course of years will the
another one. And play! campaign world reach its fullest potential.

Then there is the Prior Design approach. This


involves designing a world beforehand and

33
Bnaththmagc,drrngdo,andothrglamour,anmagnaryworldhto
worrght.
PoulAndron

tured within by the players. Dont make a


design so airtight that there is no room for a
Do note that while this game rees the crew of anarchistic neer-do-wells to run around
authors Western and Northern European his- and screw everything up. But what the cam-
torical, literary, and mythological tastes, your paign world is about does not need to match
campaignisfreetomakedierentassumptions. what the players will be doing in it. The cam-
Class names, spell lists, and what equipment is paign world is the backdrop, the setting for the
available for purchase are all allowed to be adventures, and should be independently con-
changed according to Referee wishes. If the ceived.
Referee wants it to be dierent in his game,
UsngEarthaSttng
thendierentitis.Itsthatsimple.
In this way you could decide that your cam- You might ask, If youre suggesting to us that
paign could have an Asian avor, an Aztec or the baseline situation in the game world should
other Native American avor, Egyptian, be realistic, why not just use the real world and
Roman, Greek, Arab, Indian, or even something its history?
not based on a real-world Earth culture or time Great question, and the answer is simply:
period, whether it be inspired by literature or People know too much about it, and not
other media or your own imagination. What- enough about it. No one person is an expert in
ever form of fantasy you feel attached to and every area of knowledge that would be
comfortable with is OK to pursue. required to accurately model the real world,
Adventure locations, they can be wild and far even if it will be altered for fantasy purposes.
out and without concern for any sort of internal The problem is a good number of people are
consistency if you wish. Even if you decide your highly educated about specic topics.
campaign will feel something like the Holy If you are saying, This campaign takes place in
Roman Empire under Charlemagne, you can the historical Real World, but with Weird
have aliens landing in the mountains, krakens elements, these educated folk will make
in the ocean, and pixies kidnapping children in assumptions based on their knowledge in the
the forests. But the campaign world as a whole, game. If you, as a Referee, dont have this
especially the civilized, safe areas, should feel knowledge, its going to break their belief in
familiar to your players so the game sessions the game world as you contradi what they
are about the adventure, the exciting bits, and know in their specialized area. If you have a
not all about learning the very basics of the particularly well-educated and diverse group
world that the charaers have taken for of players, this will be a problem with every
granted since birth. player at your table.
The most important thing to remember is that Or, perhaps the Referee is the best-educated
the campaign world, self-contained creation it person at the table when it comes to historical
may be, exists rst and foremost to be adven- matters. This is great, unless he makes assump-

34
tions about things people are supposed to authority to the world beyond the Referees.
know about history, and things could very well Avoid that.
fall apart when he realizes that isnt the case.
UsngaPubldCampagnSttng
Fa:Peoplearegenerallyignorantoftheworld
around them unless it pertains to a past or There are many settings created specically for
present job or hobby. Their ignorance about use in role-playing games, and many more
historical matters is far greater. already-detailed settings in literature, and
choosing to use one of those for your campaign
Alsofa:Gamersgenerallyhatehavingtheir couldsavealotofeortincreatingacampaign
immersion in the game disrupted whereas they world, and will also save a lot of time if you are
may fully enjoy a game that doesnt falsely already quite familiar with the setting.
advertise such a level of immersion in the rst
place.
Using available settings for your campaign has
Saying The Knights of Yobbo-Toy is an order the same risks of using the real world, with the
similar to the Knights Templar, for your own potential for even greater silliness. Some set-
campaign world establishes many associations tings have upwards of one hundred published
and references in players minds. They get a books about them, not to mention unocial
good thumbnail, a rough idea, yet they realize interpretations and additions on the internet
these arent the Templars and will be accepting and elsewhere.
of information which is new or horribly inaccu-
rate historically. If you use Historic Earth as How much of it are you going to use? All of it?
your setting and then introduce the aual A specic subset? Elements that you cherry-pick
Knights Templar, any change or departure out of all available sources, while not including
from player expeations (even if a players other elements?
expeationisbasedonincorreknowledgeof
How are your players going to rea to this?
the subje!) is going to create friion and
What happens when you decide that your
disrupt game play. Even two fully educated
campaign will take place in Famous World, and
people may disagree about interpretations of
one of your players starts quoting chapter and
howareallifegroupwouldatowardssitua
verse from some failed novel published twenty
tions common in the game but non-existent in
years ago thats set in that world? Do you warp
history (undead, magic, etc). Settling these
your campaign to the vision of writers you
issues will sidetrack the game.
havent even thought to read, or do you basi-
It is recommended that you focus on creating cally penalize the player by dismissing his
a verisimilitudinous campaign world rather in-depth knowledge about the setting youve
than striving for a realistic one. The Referee told him youre using?
should be the nal authority about the cam-
Avoid the issue. If using an extant setting for
paign world, and using the Real World gives
your campaign, dene which specic sources

35
you will be drawing from so the players clearly
know what is real in your campaign and what
is not. When developing the details of your campaign,
you have to think about where the adventures
willbehad.Sincetheseareasarewhereaual
play will tend to be focused, it should be a rst
The dening element of any aspe of any priority. Of course you dont have to plan too
world is geography. It determines everything far ahead, but most adventures do not happen
from lifestyles and cultural development to at home, and if they are too close to the civilized
available resources and trade routes, prime areas, then the powers-that-be will have taken
settlement areas and therefore population careoftheproblem(andiftheycant,charaers
density patterns, territory worth ghting over, at the start of a new campaign arent likely to
and how cosmopolitan certain areas are. Its beabletoeither!).Soplotoutthoseareasothe
huge. Whether you draw a map and then decide beaten path where adventures are most likely
everything that follows, or decide how you to happen.
want things to be and then draw a map to
support that, geography must be a prime con- ThWlds
cern, and must be treated as a creative priority.
Surrounding adventure locations will generally
You dont need to be any sort of college wiz kid be areas where man simply doesnt go. Being
to draw maps as long as you keep a few things away from towns and villages and well-traveled
in mind. Rivers ow downhill. Large amounts roads isnt enough to really be the wilds. True
of vegetation needs decent amounts of water. wilds are not roamed by hunters or trappers,
Settlements will only exist where there is water prospeorsorloggers.Nobodybutadventurers
and food available, and large settlements will and well-prepared explorers, bandits, and
only exist on major trade routes. Water allows unfriendly creatures can be found there.
people, commerce allows size. This isnt just
nitpicking, as realistically conceived worlds Each distin wilderness area should have its
allow players to make sensible decisions own random encounter tables. You dont want
without the Referee needing to give them an every dark forest to feel the same, and you dont
inordinate amount of description or exposition. want every mountain range to be identical. The
rst adventure locations should probably have
Even if doing the top-down prior design cam- few, if any, random encounters, because begin-
paign approach, you only need to fully detail ningcharaersprobablycantsurviverunning
theareaswhichtheplayersauallytravelto. wilderness battles and then the adventure
All other areas can remain rough ideas, a large- location, but beyond the rst three or four
scale map with major features and cities adventures, you should introduce the tables so
withoutsmallscaledetails,untiltheyareau the players realize the dierence between
ally visited. civilization and the wilderness.

36
MonrPlacmnt in any way a guarantee of a life. Player Char-
aershavethewealthtobeabovetheworstof
In addition to adventure locations and random it, but surely they want to escape such drudgery
encounters, you also might want to assign else why become an adventurer?
specic monsters to specic locations in the
wilderness. These become adventure locations Exciting adventures in civilized areas are quite
anyway, for all intents and purposes, but possible (even commonplace in some cam-
perhaps without all the detail that normal paigns). Aivities which would seem mun
adventures require. Deciding that these woods dane yet still quite exciting (think of every
arethelairofasatyrgivestheplaceadistin non-supernatural thriller or crime drama
feeling, as does deciding that those hills hold youve ever seen) can be used as adventure
the lair of a fearsome dragon. As with normal fodder,butthisisdistinfromwhatthisgame
encounters placed in adventures, you will have normally terms adventure. If the focus of a
todecidehowtheseplacedcreaturesintera campaign is on exploration, the recovery of lost
with the world around them. treasure,andcontawithWeirdforces,then
the adventures should primarily be out there.
Yet there are elements such as haunted houses,
Civilization is a straightjacket for adventure. hidden cults, secret temples, and all sorts of
Government and its enforcers abhor powerful strangeness which do happen, and in some cases
individualsaingastheywill,theyabhorchaos can only happen, in the heart of civilization. But
and unleashed danger, they abhor the even these are distin from everyday life, as
unknown, and it is these which are the heart of the local powers do not interfere and these
adventure. Charaers, especially lowlevel things do not (openly) impa everyday life.
charaers, need a safe haven in which to They are out there, away from the world,
retreat. Pure economic gain, that is treasure even while situated in the middle of it.
that is simply money and not treasure, does not
provide experience.
It is recommended that civilized areas conform Religion is the most powerful faor of any
to real-world norms as much as possible. Magic- civilization of consequence. For fantasy/non-
Users do not sit on the throne, priests in the technological settings, in emulating any sort of
church are not Clerics to heal the wounds of the historical era, decisions made about religion
populace.Civilizedlandssuerfamine,plague, will dene the greater features of a civilization.
oppression, poverty, and all the ills that pre-
industrial society had to oer. The poor are That said, religion can be completely transpar-
poor. The people have little power, and ent in the campaign world if you dont wish to
wouldnt know what to do with it if they had it. deal with it. Many games aively encourage
Honest labor perhaps allows one a bite to eat keepingreligiousmattersocamerasoasto
and a roof against the rain, maybe, but it is not not risk real-life religious feelings becoming

37
entwinedwithdepiionsofingame itious - What is the religions attitude towards
religiouspraices. hereticalpraices?
- What is the religions attitude towards non-
Fantasy settings have the great advantage of believers?
not needing to use real-world religions in the - What is important to followers of the reli-
game. One always could use them, of course, gion?
butsomeplayersmaytakegreatoense,espe - How might one please the religion?
cially when a real religion is used as a vehicle - Howmightoneoendthereligion?
for rather weird and horric game plots. - Does the religion claim any sacred animals,
Creating a religion from the imagination is monsters, devices, or phenomena?
both very easy and very dicult. Its easy - Are there any unusual aions that the
because all you need to do is come up with four priests of the religion perform?
or vequickfasaboutthereligion,andthat Note that the answers to these questions should
can be enough if religious matters arent all that be from the point of view of the religious
important in your campaign world. However, organization and not the deity itself, and only
in a game that often has multiple pantheons of thequestionsthatimpathecharaersneed
gods existing side by side, with many demons to be answered ahead of time. As with all cam-
and other things masquerading as gods and paign preparation, worry only about what is
providing hooks for adventures, there is more likelytoappearinaualplay.
work to do.
Also keep in mind that in cultures whose reli-
Answer these following questions for each gion includes an entire pantheon of gods,
religion in your campaign: people (and clerics) will worship the pantheon
- What is the gods name, including epithets? as a whole, and those who single out any partic-
- What is the gods sphere of inuence? ular god to the exclusion of others will not be
- What does the god look like? Is the god male, in the mainstream of society.
female, both, or neither? In all cultures, followers of minority faiths will
- What is the origin of the god? have to deal with the followers of the primary
- What does the gods places of worship look faith. Even in enlightened and tolerant societ-
like? ies, the common rabble will not often be quite
- What are the common rituals done in honor so enlightened and tolerant. In some cases, it
of the god? maybeillegaltopraicecertainreligions,or
- How do the priests of the religion dress? to not be a part of the home religion. Reli-
- When are the major holy days of the reli- gious criminals have a very low recidivism rate
gion, and what do they represent? because they are generally executed immedi-
- What is the gods symbol? ately, and often not by the authorities.
- What is the religions attitude towards other
gods?

38
Also remember that in a pre-modern age, reli- threaten the stability of the society they
gion is not a private matter and is not some- secretly exist within, and are full of all sorts of
thing simply praiced every week during Weirdness that allow a Referee to exercise the
services. Religion permeates every aspe of full extent of his imaginative powers. You can
life, from the foods eaten to the clothes that are go to the outer limits of your imagination to
allowed to be worn. Think of the most archaic come up with obscure gods and rather unpleas-
restriions and praices from the history of ant means of worship.
realworldfaiths,andthenfaorinthatrulers
will also seize greater levels of control using ComologyandthGods
religion as an excuse, without those laws really A nal word, relating to the development of
having much to do with religion. religions and gods in your campaign. Many
All religions are local phenomena. Religions games and game worlds (and mythologies!) not
that grow to be great do so because the political only detail the truth about the gods, but also the
entity from the area the religion originates makeup of the greater cosmos. Where the gods
from has itself spread out. But unless part of a live, what alternate dimensions exist, how to
current or former empire, most areas will have travel between them, that sort of thing.
theirownpraicesandtheirowngods. The best way to handle this is to never dene
Notethatthisentireseionspeaksofreligion the layout of the planes or dimensions or the
andbelief,andnotaualdeities.Thenatureof dwelling places of divine (or infernal) beings.
divinity, and the truth of the religions of the Keep it as folklore and legends within the
world, are entirely up to the campaign Referee. campaign.Thisdierentsourceshavedierent
The only question that needs to be considered andcontradiorybeliefs,andtheplayerscan
is, Where do Clerics get their magical power? never know who is wrong. As soon as this sort
Maybe the religions worship real gods who of thing is codied, it removes mystery from
grant spells. Maybe there are no gods, and it is the setting, and if you or the players know The
the Clerics own supreme will that powers the BigPiure,thenthecampaignworld,whichis
magic (which makes spells like Commune inter- theimportantpiure,seemssmallincompari
esting). Maybe the mass belief of the religions son.
followers creates a magical well of power This isnt to say you cant have adventures
from which Clerics draw. Or maybe the real dealing with other dimensions or such things,
answer is something else entirely. You never just dont codify the relationship between the
have to denitively answer this question, by the one dimension in the current dimension and
way, or even make a decision about the reli- any others. Keep it mysterious.
gious truth of your campaign.
and then we have cults. Cults are awesome for
gaming, because they always worship some foul
demon (what if all gods are demons?) and

39
There is no need to go into real-world depth as
far as your campaigns languages, but putting
Government. Song. Dance. Fashion. Theater. justabitofeortbeyondhavingaCommon
Art. Craftsmanship. Games. Scholarship. Philos- Tongue (a default language spoken every-
ophy.Architeure.Food.Technology. where in a campaign world) in your campaign
world will do wonders to further the illusion
Even aside from religion, which will be a huge that it is a real place.
inuence on all of the above, societies will be
dierentfromoneanotherthroughbasichabits
and lifestyles. Inventing all of these things from
scratch for a game campaign is a very intense The social dynamics of a population center will
and time-consuming job at least it is if the nal vary greatly depending on the dominant
result is to feel like a living, breathing culture culture (and having multiple cultures present
and so this is why many campaign worlds in one area will change that dynamic as well).
work from a historical base. Its like 16th Itreallyisdiculttogeneralize.
Century England, for example, says a great
deal, even if it winds up being a series of However, some things will be universal. Any
popularmisconceptionsaboutwhatthatexaly sizeable community that wed recognize as a
means. Everyone at the table will get the town with a large population and commerce
general idea and thats enough to get the world requires a huge amount of farmers or sher-
outofthewayandgetdirelytotheadventure. men to provide food for it. The ability to simply
buy food, instead of having to grow it oneself,
is quite rare, so any town will have an entire
network of smaller farming villages around it.
Language, like religion, is a great indicator of The general populace will be quite poor by
cultural similarities. Information about a cam- modern standards, with entire families living
paign world can be subtly imparted by desig- in smaller one or two room houses, with few
nating which languages are spoken where, and possessions beyond personal tools, clothing, and
the presence of the language rules requires a cooking implements. Socialization is primarily
Referee to come up with at least a rough list of done around worship services or at public
languages, and their relationship to one houses.
another, when planning a campaign world.
Commerce will be regulated by guilds who
Avoid racial languages. Yes, dierent races decide who may sell and what the prices will be.
will likely have dierent languages than Strangers will not nd bargains. One may
humans, but only if they have isolated societies. escape the guild monopolies by dealing with
Andatdistancetheseraceswillhavedierent the criminal underworld, but this has its own
cultures and languages, just like humans do. complications.

40
Streets will be narrow and dark. On cloudy or There can always be exceptions to the general
moonless nights it will almost be as dark out- rules of campaign civilization. Frontier towns
doors as in dungeon corridors. Fire is rivaled willnotbesorestriiveasthepopulacewillbe
only by plague as the greatest fear of a city expeed to fend for itself. A city ruled by
dweller. There will not be streetlights of any thieveswilllookdierentthanoneruledbya
sortwithoutguards,soonlythericherdistris traditionalpowerstruure.Thereareasmany
in town will be lit. exceptions as can be imagined, but as in all
things, the less constant a standard is, the less
Towns of any size will be walled, and getting unusual the exceptions will be.
into a city will cost money, as city gates (along
with bridges and other such points) will always
require a toll.
Just because something is in the equipment lists
Of course PCs will quickly acquire enough
doesnt mean you have to have it in the cam-
money that all of this will merely be a nuisance
paign world. Moreover, just because something
rather than the state of daily life. But make no
exists in the campaign world doesnt mean that
mistake, the lower classes toil and break their
it is available everywhere in the world, or that
backs until they die. In the country they are
it will be available at the same price in every
covered in dirt, in the city they are covered
location.
with the lth of the masses.
The Referee is encouraged to develop custom-
Regardless of social station, arms and armor
ized equipment and price lists for dierent
will simply not be tolerated in towns and cities.
regions of his campaign world.
Commoners will generally ee at the sight of
armed men if possible, with the local authorities
being summoned quickly. Gentlemen (and
ladies, let us not forget, as forcing historical Fees and taxes are not part of the normal price
prejudicesandrestriionsonfemalePCsina lists, and are only assumed for the Property
fantasy game is more than slightly low and a rules. If you assume that only landowners pay
bad idea it can exist for the populace at large, taxes, it can simplify the game immeasurably,
but the PCs should generally be treated in at the expense of realism.
equal esteem until an individuals aions
diateotherwise)cangetawaywithcarrying Adding this layer of realism isnt so hard. Just
minor weapons or rapiers in town (thats why come up with minor fees to use bridges, gates,
that weapon is included as its own entry in the etc. Adding a percentage to the cost of certain
weapon charts, after all), but anything heavier, types of goods (certainly weapons and armor,
no way. Referees will have to determine how although taxes should never be applied to
the authorities dete and deal with such beginning equipment) is also an easy way to
oensesinhiscampaign. represent general taxation. Windfall taxes (all
that treasure that the PCs are carting around)

41
are another great means of letting the players government by those standards, no matter how
know that there are greater authorities in the realistic or historically accurate it may be,
world, but if you use these taxes you may nd could derail the focus of the campaign as
that the players spend more time trying to players rebel against the assault on their free-
evadetaxesthanauallyadventuring. dom. Beware how heavy-handed you are in
establishing the laws and their enforcement in
your campaign.

Every authority has a means to enforce its Remember that rights in a historical context
power. often means in legal terms, Whatever the
authorities declare is right. Not to say that
Keep in mind that if using a historical base for there arent ne details within the law or
a campaign world that the treatment of crimi- lawyers to argue them, but such things gener-
nals could be absolutely brutal. Executions, ally concern business and land disputes and
dismemberment and mutilation, branding, and other things that concern only the very wealthy.
crippling have all been legitimate punishments
in history, with civil rights and fair trials being
unknown in many times and places.
The retainer charts and equipment lists show
Guards and watchmen would primarily be 0 that the average person in the campaign world
levelcharaers,soPCsinmanywaysoutclass is assumed to not have very much money. Even
them at the start of play. Yet unless under the starting money that PCs receive puts them
ocialsanion,mosteverycommonadventur in a signicantly greater economic position
ingaivitywillbeillegalincivilizedlands.If than common folk, even if most of that gets
someone dies, even justiably beyond any immediately tied up in adventuring equip-
shadow of a doubt in terms of good-and-bad, the ment. The rules for gaining experience being
local authorities will be after the perpetrators treasure-based, along with an examination of
if they are known. If guardsmen or other how much experience charaers need to
authorities are killed, rewards and bounty advance even a single level, make it clear that
hunters will come into play. Tomb raiding is PCs will be accumulating great amounts of
most certainly a capital crime. money over the course of their adventuring
PCs should respe the power of the law in a careers.
campaign,evenifthisrespejustmeansavoid But what to do with all this money?
ingnoticewhileengaginginillegalaivity,or
else the campaign will be entirely about ght- Magic-Users have ready uses for their money,
ing and avoiding the law. as do Clerics to a lesser extent. Others can
surely nd ways to get rid of piles of cash, such
At the same time, players will be perhaps as hiring Retainers and equipping them hand-
expeingandassumingamoremodern,liberal
approach to law and order. Any oppressive

42
somely. But there will still be large amounts of the Investment rules, are intended to be a
cash in the hands of the PCs. solutiontotheproblemofcharaersaccumu
lating hundreds of thousands of gold pieces
AgoodRefereewillmakeitdicultforPCsto worth of treasure over the course of their
carry massive amounts of gold around with careers. By investing in land, and the attendant
them. Even if they get smart and invest in gems retainers, the PCs get to spend some money,
and jewelry to make their money more porta- haveaplacetoauallyputallthemoneythey
ble, the risk of carrying great sums of money will recover from adventuring, and generally
should always be great. Where to keep it? In a it helps them to care about the campaign world.
room at the inn? On the horses outside an Political upheaval and the threat of war will
adventuring location, guarded by retainers of become serious concerns for them as they now
questionable loyalty? Players will protest and have something at stake.
complain if you have their belongings robbed
without their having a chance to chase down Of course the PCs will still be away from their
the thief, but at some point its their own damn property and wealth a good deal of the time
fault. (this is a game about adventuring, after all), but
the risk that absence brings to their wealth
Inns are priced depending on their quality, and shouldnt be so great as it is when they travel
lower quality inns should have a markedly withit.Atleastonememberofthestaislikely
higher chance of having customers rooms to be loyal, if the players are intelligent about
robbed. If retainers are left to guard vast sums the money they pay. They can hire guards. And
of money, there should be morale checks to see theyll likely have very specic ideas about
if they just take the money and run, because security when it is clear that they need it.
that money is surely years worth of pay. And
when such theft does happen, it is not supposed So Youve been robbed! becomes a cruel
to be an adventure hook. That money (along Referee trick in this case, whereas it was once
with whatever other belongings) is just gone. a justied occurrence. Property should be more
The players will be furious and they will secure, and players who intelligently approach
attempt to track and investigate and nd their such things should be rewarded by not having
stolen wealth, but barring fantastic means of to really worry about it.
tracking them down, there is no reason for you
to allow them to bring the matter to a satis- TrrtoryDvlopmnt
faory(forthem)conclusion.Notthatthieves The property rules assume that a player is
are completely untraceable, but PCs need to merely buying land and a house, and not
prioritize their time: Do they want to chase attemptingtobecomeanaualrulerofanarea.
thieves to recover old wealth, or do they want Iftheydowanttoauallyruleland,thenthings
to adventure and win new treasure? become more complicated. The greater ruler
Owning property is a great way for PCs to use willwantmorethantaxes,hellexpemilitary
their money, and the Property rules, along with service. If the charaer was not properly

43
granted lands and a title from the ruling mon- chant and ruling and scholar classes will have a
arch, there will be political upheaval and the better understanding of the world, although
rivallocalnobleswillsurelybegreatlyoended their biases will still be strong.
by the establishment of a new domain, and the
monarch will likely be unhappy as well. War Foreigners will generally not be trusted, even
may be a result. by those who benet from their presence.
Those of dierent races will be treated even
If a PC wants to become an aual sovereign worse. Look to real world history (and even
ruler, thereby no longer paying taxes according current events in some areas) where certain
to the rules, then he has a problem. In a civilized classes of people were blamed for bad weather
area,suchanaionwillsurelybringwar,and and natural catastrophes and supernatural
a king will bring all necessary force to bear to phenomena that wasnt real. Imagine how
crush such a rebel. In the trackless wilderness, much worse it would be in a world where magic
this will not be a problem, but a ruler without is real.
subjesisntmuchofaruleratall.
Andsomeoftheaccusationsmayinfabetrue.
Alandwithoutitsrulersuers,andbecoming
a ruler should eeively end a charaers
career as an adventurer. If the player thought
it was unfair that his room at the inn was The back cover of this book has a series of charts
getting robbed, just wait until he learns rst- to help you ll out the details of any particular
hand what political corruption will do to his settlement in your campaign world if you need
treasury if hes spending any appreciable the boost.
amount of his time in unexplored wilderness
orindeepdungeonsinsteadofaivelyruling
his land.

Peoplefearthingsdierentfromthem,andin
worlds with poor education, slow communica-
tion, and a very real supernatural presence,
xenophobia and all the superstition in the
world become the default state amongst the
people of the world.
Those speaking the same language and having
the same religion may be seen as kindred spirits
(and these cultures will share a common history
inmostcases),andallothersaresuspe.Mer

44
NPCs

Non Player Charaers are every human or who cares? Only a foolish or insane Referee will
demi-human or intelligent being in the world eshoutthelivesoftheseincidentalcharaers.
that is not direly controlled by a player.
Townsfolk, rulers, soldiers, retainers, bandits, Some may say that since outside of their place
small children, lepers, all of it. Sometimes the inthegame(theirinteraionwiththePCs),the
denition of NPC overlaps with that of the charaer is just a gment of the imagination
monster, but if it can communicate with the and so none of them need any more detail than
PCs, for our purposes here it is an NPC. that. And that is true, for many games.

NPCs are the element that separates a proper But some games are as much about charaer
RPG from a mere combat or exploration simu- and setting as adventure and exploration.
lation. Through NPCs a Referee communicates Sometimes a player will take an unexplained
information, conveys the tone of the setting, interest in an NPC. Sometimes a Referee lures
creates the illusion of reality within the game, a player into caring about an NPC that is unim-
and allows the players to display the personali- portant to the matter at hand. At these points
tiesandquirksoftheirowncharaers. such lines of inquiry can be discouraged in
favor of moving on to the real adventure. But
Imagine a game with no cities, no nations, no the Referee can also create depth to his cam-
faions.Nochurches,noguilds,nofarmers,no paign by encouraging such things.
shopkeepers, no pilgrims, no children. No rival
adventurers, no villains, no innocent viims, AnNPCthatisatruecharaerwouldhavea
no despicable spies, no saboteurs. full life, if all this was real. Friends, family,
hopes, disappointments, habits, hobbies, a per-
Boring! sonal history. Players interested in exploring
the world as if it were real, interested in getting
to know the supporting cast as if they were
real, will be interested in such things.
Every NPC has two roles: What he does in the
game world when there is no game play There is no need to spend great amounts of
involved,andhowheinteraswiththeplayers. time on this. Make it all up as you go along, and
jot down notes to keep it all straight. Come up
Sometimes the roles are identical. The villain- with a record-keeping system to keep track of
ousSheriofaterritorycertainlycomesinto which NPCs youve already named, where they
coni with the PCs as a result of what hes are, and what information youve revealed (or
theoretically doing when the PCs are not prepared) for them. Players will appreciate
around, for example. seeing familiar faces when they travel through
territory theyve been to previously. And they
Sometimes the roles are not identical, but the
may not notice or appreciate it if all of these
charaerissoinconsequentialthattheymight
familiar NPCs have consistent personalities,
as well be. The woman selling fruit in a market
but they will surely notice if they do not.
has a life beyond selling rations to the PCs, but

45
Sometimesthedetailofcertaincharaersisthe average stats. The important NPCs get +3 in
adventure! modiers to spread around. Whether this
means one 18 giving a +3 modier, or three 13s
The trick is to know your players. Some players for +1 each is up to you. Next-step-down NPCs
will be bored to death by this sort of thing. To get +2 in modiers, and more common lieuten-
others, this will be the one thing about RPGs ant personalities just get a +1. If you want to
that allows them to enjoy it at all. Most will be give more plusses, you then have to assign a
somewhere in between, with their attitudes minus somewhere.
changing session to session depending on their
mood and what other things are happening.

An NPCs personality is a separate thing from


their in-game role or their profession. NPCs
NPC stats are the least important part of a arent just there to die (or impart information,
charaerandalsotheeasiesttocreate.Donot etc.), and you never know who might become a
randomly roll ability scores for most NPCs. recurring NPC. You dont need full write-ups
Assume NPCs are average - start with 10s across for everyone, but just a few one-word notes to
the board for ability scores. Then lower below- ri o of and to keep the charaerization
average stats and raise above-average stats as consistent from appearance to appearance can
diatedbytheneedsofthecharaer. go a long way into making your players com-
The vast majority of NPCs in the game world fortable about investing importance in an NPC.
should be 0 level, and this includes rank-and-le
soldiersandguardsmen.0levelcharaershave
d6 hit points, but of course the warrior types
Remember that NPCs do not have to be built
should have closer to 6 and more sedentary or
using the same rules as PCs. If you want a
sickly types closer to 1. Giving a class and levels
charaertohavesomesortofstrangepoweror
toanNPCmeansthatthischaraeris special,
ability, then just assign it. However, this sort of
and requires some thought and detail.
thing should be rare, and always an important
Dontcheatonthescores.ARefereeisperfely point of an adventure. The more you give
capable of just assign a big villain or rival or special and unique abilities to NPCs, the more
whoever 18s across the board with maximum potential there is that players will nd their
possible hit points, but thats crap to do. Its lazy charaerslessspecial.Avoidthat.
refereeing and a sign that you cant deliver a
true challenge without pumped up stats. But
you dont want the Ultra-Dangerous Enemy
The back cover of this book has a series of charts
Leader to just be a normal guy.
to help you round out the details of any partic-
Quick rule of thumb: Average NPCs that dont ular NPC in your campaign world if you need
need a name unless a player asks just have the boost.

46
47
Monrs

One staple in fantasy and horror ion and beastly examples or you are attacked by a giant
gaming is the monster. From the re breathing snake! will quickly become as mundane and
dragon to the werewolf to the fairies to erce about as exciting as, the housecat hisses at you!
man-eating apes, unnatural creatures are an
important part of the proceedings. However, You will note that unlike almost every role-
fantasy gaming tends to overuse monsters, playing game ever, there is no stock list of
turning adventures into a safari. monsters included with this game. Because
monsters should be unnatural and hopefully a
Less is more. A monster should be the center- little terrifying, using stock examples goes
piece of an adventure, a sign that things arent against the purpose of using monsters to begin
right. Their presence should be consistent with with.Again,thisisfromaningameperspeive.
the setting and the situation, not outside con- That the players need challenges and ghts is
cerns like, There needs to be a ght here, that understood, but the temptation is always too
would be exciting. When making out-of-game great to skim through a standard monster list
decisions, implement nothing without justify- to lazily ll out an adventure. Dont do this. Not
ing the results in-game. ever!
Always be conservative. One monster played Let the scenario and the setting and the situa-
up as a central focus to an adventure will be tion decide what monster would be appropri-
more memorable than any of the twenty mon- ate. Take a moment and think something up for
sters in a forty-room dungeon would be. Once yourself. If you do use established monster
a monster makes an appearance, it wont be so books, if something jumps out at you, put it
interesting, and denitely not as threatening, aside and design an adventure around that
as it was the rst time. Stretch the use of mon- monster that you nd interesting. But dont
sters out over time. pull one out simply for the sake of lling out
Room 5b on a map. Players can tell when some-
You are in no rush. thing is inspired and when something is
In role-playing games, animals are also consid- included just because.
ered monsters. So the guard dog, pack of So avoid lazy monster placement and embrace
wolves, that grizzly bear, they are all monsters creative monster invention. As a campaign
for the purposes of role-playing games. Prehis- moves along, a Referee should have a notebook
toric versions of real world monsters may roam of creatures utterly unique to that campaign.
your campaign world, and giant versions of
natural animals are common in many settings. When detailing monsters, there are only a few
The giant snake and giant spider are clsics. stats which are essential to their use in the
Things that could be part of a natural world can game. Most of the details of a monster such as
be more easily inserted into adventures their appearance, behavior, the things that
without disrupting the natural ow of the make them interesting, have nothing to do with
setting. Still, be conservative with the more

48
statistics or game mechanics. Yet the mechanics - This is most easily gured as it
are important, especially for combat purposes. relates to humans. 120 is the standard char-
aer movement rate, and thinking half
Even creatures you do not intend to use as or twice or as as fast as a man is much
combatants should still have these stats noted. easier than guring out land-speeds and
You never know what players will decide to do, such. The movement rate of monsters can
and during a game anything can happen. That also be used to encourage certain behavior
benevolent leprechaun that was just there to in PCs. By making exceedingly tough mon-
talk might end up in combat with a pack of wild sters slower than an unencumbered char-
dogs for all you know. aer,butfasterthanaheavilyencumbered
The essential stats that dene monsters: charaer,youcanencourageplayerstokeep
theircharaerslightlyequipped.Monsters
- Howdicultthemonsteristo can have dierent methods of movement,
hit. This should relate to how tough the such as ight, jumping, swimming, tunnel-
monsters hide is, as well as quickness if that ing, etc., each with a dierent movement
isafaor.Therewillbeatendencytorep rate.
resent a monsters toughness with AC. Do - This is simply the
not do this! Monsters, even those with thick, number of times a monster can hit in one
hard shelled or chitinous skin, should have combatround.Unlikecharaers,monsters
ACsrelatabletocharaers(theunarmored can be assigned multiple attacks. Monsters
12 to plate armor 18) in most cases. Even with distin methods of attacking, or the
tough, monstrous creatures will be hurt by ability to damage more than one enemy at
an average man swinging at it, after all, and once, may have multiple attacks. Multiple
in this game where only Fighters improve attacks increase the deadliness of a creature
with their attacks, an ever-escalating AC morethananysingleotherfaor,sobeware
gure for tough monsters will make the rest when assigning them.
of a party useless in a ght. - Each attack needs its
- This determines how many hit own damage information. Keep in mind how
points a monster has (1d8 per Hit Die), how much a sword does (1d8), how many hit
well the monster ghts (Attack Bonus +1 per points an average human has (1d6), and the
Hit Die), what their saving throw values are fathatmonstersshouldntautokillpeople
(as a Fighter of the same level), and how as result of a hit.
much experience is gained for defeating it, - Unthinking, fearless monsters
so this is possibly the most important of the should be Morale 12. Cowardly, sniveling
monsters stats. Whereas the hit points of creatures should be about 5 or 6. Your aver-
charaersrepresentavarietyoffaors,for age fearsome, courageous monster should
monsters hit points are simply a measure of be about a 9.
physical toughness. - These are the added abili-
ties that a creature has that allow them to

49
ignore certain rules or give them extra giant or prehistoric or slightly changed varia-
abilities above and beyond simple stats and tions on real world beasts, or truly bizarre,
basic attacks. Camouage, a poison attack, unrealistic creatures, thinking of them as
re-breathing, immunity to certain weap- animals may help create credibility around the
ons, mind control, inging mucus which creature as you present them as a (Weird) part
slows the viim down a monster can do of your natural landscape.
anything you wish the monster to do, but
after coming up with the concept you should As for the capabilities of animals, remember
describe it in terms of how it works in rela- that pound for pound, almost everything is far
tion to the rules and charaers that will more deadly and much faster than a human
comeintocontawiththecreaturebefore being. A decent ballpark gure for HD and
it is introduced in play. attacks could be:

Aside from these game stats, everything else Note that this is not a hard and fast rule. Domes-
about a monster is pure imagination.
But everything is not always made from
scratch. Many monsters, unique as they may be,
fall into common categories. These categories < 100 d4 1 point
can be a great shorthand method for eyeballing
the general behavior of a monster, as well as 100 1 d6 d3
suggesting special abilities. 250 2 d8 d4
500 4 d10 d6
1,000 6 d12 d8
Many monsters in games, literature, and life, 2,000 8 d12 + d4 d10
are simply animals. They may be fearsome, they 5,000 10 d20 d12
may be relentless killers, and in ion they 10,000 12 2d10 d12 + d4
may be entirely impossible, but theyll conform
to animal behaviors. They eat, they breed, they ticated herbivores, for instance, should have
crap. They have territories, patterns of behav- half the listed Hit Dice and attack capabilities.
ior, and generally could be studied in their
natural habitat.
This does not make them any less fearsome Construsareanymonstersthatarepurpose
(think of man-eating sharks, hungry polar bears, fully crafted, assembled, or otherwise created:
or even a rather aggressive guard dog) or Frankensteins monster, the Golem of Prague,
bizarre (think of various deep-sea creatures, the empty suits of armor or statues that come to
platypus, and various inses and their cre life, that sort of thing. Many will be mindless
ations). When creating great beasts, whether

50
servants, but others will be fully independent Dwarfs, Elves, and Halings get a pass from this
and perhaps even freethinking creatures. because the stereotypical examples of each race
are generally so ingrained in fantasy fans
Construswilloftenbemadeoutofmaterial brains that their presence is considered normal.
other than esh, and their Armor Class and/or But even these should be quite limited within
Hit Dice should reethis.Solidmetalwould a campaign except when chosen as PCs. Tribal-
probably be AC 22+, stone 20+, wood 15+, etc. ism and distrust will rule the day.
However, there are good answers to the ques-
tion, Why would these not work as humans?
Humanoids are basically man-like creatures and thus good uses of humanoids. The trick is
who have a gimmick and are present merely to not to stoop to clich in their presentation, and
give PCs intelligent, organized opponents dont overuse them. Dont make any of the races
which can be slaughtered wholesale with little globe-spanning entities. Localize them. And
reeion,remorse,orconsequence. you dont need an entirely new race every time
you change the monsters Hit Dice.
Theyre not useless in fantasy gaming, but are
nearly always overused. Certainly an abun-
danceofhumanoidswilldetrafromanysense
of the Weird that your campaign may generate. and jellies and puddings and molds and all
Too many commonplace nonhuman societies sorts of fun have been part of fantasy gaming
give the entire campaign an exotic avor that and horror lms for ages. Sometimes more trap
works against horror and Weirdness. If every- than monster (especially those that are station-
thing is fantastic, then nothing is. ary or simply fall on their targets with no
Whenever you think to introduce a humanoid, further attack capability), slimes are always
just ask yourself, Why would these not work good for instilling fear in players for their poor
as humans? Much of the time it is of the desire charaers.
to not portray humans of a barbaric bent as But the ooze category can apply to much
savages. Resist this impulse 19th and early 20th more than your common everyday man-eating
century literature, not to mention the entirety gelatin. Many of the Lovecraftian horrors
of human history, is full of, shall we say, racially including Cthulhu, shoggoths, and the like,
insensitive portrayals. Cultures clash in any could be considered ooze creatures in terms
campaign world even remotely conneed to of the rules, if not form.
humanity. If your players enjoy such drama
(andcanhandlethedisconnefromhowcivi The most important mechanical elements of
lized Westerners behave in the real world), Oozes and Slimes are their immunities and
then play it up. If they dont, thats all the more special attacks. Typically oozes, being made out
reasonforthemtogoointotheunknownto of sludge, have limited vulnerability to normal
escape such happenings. physicalattacks.Havingnointernalstruure,

51
they can squeeze through the tiniest spaces. ways. Skeletal undead might only take one
They also tend to be highly acidic, eating point of damage from stabbing/thrusting
through a wide variety of materials, including weapon hits. Another possibility is to have only
thearmoroftheirviimsandweaponsusedto attacks which do the upper half of their damage
attack them. potentialauallydodamageatall(forexample,
if a weapon does d6 damage, only damage rolls
Oozes will tend to have one particular form of of46auallyaethecreature),asminor
attack they are absolutely immune to (say, cold, wounds are ignored.
or heat, or lightning) and/or have strange
reaions to, a particular form of attack that Even if in physical form, some
they are especially vulnerable to, and perhaps undead are enchanted creatures and immune
a few attacks that have dierent ees than to mundane weapons. Magical weapons will hit
usual. these types, and usually weapons of another
specic material such as wood, silver, cold iron,
Horric oozes will have power over the mind. etc.
Charm, Confusion, and straight-up mental
assaults are all abilities that these amorphous The most feared and hated of all
entities have possessed in various literature and undead abilities. On a successful hit in combat,
gaming sources. thecharaersimplylosesalevelofexperience
with no saving throw. This is supposed to simu-
late the trauma and terror of being touched by
the unliving and the loss of vitality this brings.
The undead are, even more than otherworldly Forthosewantingasevereeethatsperhaps
demons, the ultimate in transgression and equally as bad but doesnt involve losing abili-
corruption. Even demons are natural inhabit- ties, try using a permanent CON drain that
ants of somewhere, no matter how alien that lowers the viims CON to the next lowest
place might be. The undead simply are an modier. For example, if a charaer with 12
oense. CON is energy-drained (modier: 0), his CON
falls to 8 (modier -1). Still brutal, but does not
With this in mind, above all other such consid-
involve the loss of gained experience or
eration for monsters, only use undead in your
acquired abilities, and the bookkeeping is easier
adventures if there is a reason for undead. The
aswell.Alternately,theviimmaybeagedby
rst time that they are used as random combat
some notable amount.
fodder, their mystique is lost.
While most other undead abilities
Undead traditionally have a number of possible
are mix-and-match, this is universal. All undead
special abilities:
areimmunetomagicthataesthemind,and
Undead dont feel pain or experience some other magic as well. They are immune to
shock. Often, one has to hack them to pieces to anypoisonousorparalyticeeaswell.Sleep,
stop them at all. This is simulated in various Charm,Hold,andColdspellshavenoeeon

52
the undead. However, they are susceptible to its also invisible Magic and magical weapons
the Turn Undead spell and Holy Water doaeinsubstantialundead.
damages them.
Ghostly undead may not be able to
Certain undead are so infested with be seen. In some cases this is something the
disease that they slowly kill those they damage. spirit can control, in some cases not. Invisible
Those damaged by such undead must making spirits do not become visible when they attack.
a saving throw or turn into the same type of
undead within a set period of time. The necromantic touch of the
dead sends a paralyzing chill through their
Spirits not bound to bodies viims,andsoanysuccessfulhitbyamonster
may not be able to intera with the physical with this ability paralyzes the viim for a
world. They can walk through walls, are period of time if a saving throw is failed.
immune to being hit with weapons, etc. It gets
worse if the spirit is able to touch the physical The abilities that undead may possess are
world when it wishes, as this means it can touch unlimited, as evidenced by vampire myths
but cant be touched. And it gets horrifying if around the world and the odd zombies of Lucio
Fulcis City of the Living Dead.

53
ally attempt to hide the signature bite
marks),astheeesareoftenmistakenfor
The vampire is a dread creature which has died, natural disease and alarm is less likely to be
yet lurks among and draining the vitality of the raisediftherearenoaualdeaths.Thatthis
living. Vampires do not age and do not die also preserves the feeding stock of an area is
unless killed in specic ways. an added bonus.

The signature of the vampire is the draining of Vampires may feed on animals rather than
blood, which is necessary for its existence. humans are loathe to do so. They regain hit
points as normal, but every time they feed on
A vampire is automatically able to drain blood anonhuman(ordemihuman)viimtheylose
from helpless, sleeping, knocked out, or other- one point from each of their ability scores.
wiseunable(orunwilling!)toresistviims.If
a target is not helpless, the vampire must rst Vampires suciently removed from human
successfully grapple the target, at which point existence often take other liberties with their
theviimdoesbecomehelpless.Thevampires viims.Recentlycreatedvampiresoftentryto
bitecreatesaeuphoriceewithintheviim retain as much of their humanity as possible
sotheyareunabletoawhilethevampireis and feed only because it is too painful not to do
feeding,butalsodistrasthevampiresothat so, but over time the burden of being a vampire
they are automatically surprised if discovered becomes too much and any human moral con-
while feeding. cerns disappear.

There are three methods the vampire can use Vampires may create other vampires. Any char-
to drink blood: aer drained to 0 Constitution by a vampire
over multiple sessions not through a total
- Tearouttheviimsthroat.Thisisdoneif drain will rise at sunset d6+1 days later as a
the vampire is in haste and there is no need vampire with one hit point. A vampire has all
forheavyfeedingorstealth.Theviimdies of the same abilities and statistics that it did in
instantly and the vampire gains d6 hit points. life, but with +d6 Strength and +d6 Constitu-
- Total drain. This takes d4+1 turns and is used tion. Vampires do not age, they do not gain
if a vampire is in dire need of feeding and is experience, and they do not gain or regain hit
condent that it will not be interrupted. The points in any way other than draining blood.
viimlosesallConstitutionpointsandthe
vampire gains a like amount of hit points. Vampires have the ability to enslave the living.
- Regular feeding. This takes one turn and They can charm any human that meets their
drains d8 Constitution points from the gaze or touch. Vampires carefully choose such
viim, with the vampire gaining a like slaves, as they may only have but one and they
amount of points. Vampires living among maynotseleanotherslaveuntilthecurrent
society often prefer this method for it one is dead. Vampires typically do not feed on
createslesssuspicion(viimswillinstinu this slave, instead needing this person to be
healthy to help them in certain manners that

54
are inconvenient to the undead. On stormy Vampires, for all their power, are more vulner-
nights the vampire may send this slave mental able to divine forces than other undead.
commands no matter the distance between Anyone presenting a holy symbol in which he
them, although the assistants mind can not be believes may attempt to turn a Vampire
read by the vampire. without needing to cast Turn Undead. If the
attempt to turn fails, however, the charaer
Normalweaponswillnotaeavampire,nor attempting to turn must make a saving throw
will most magic (including but not limited to versus magic or the holy symbol bursts into
Sleep, Hold, or any other paralytic or mind ames, destroying it and iniingd4damage
controlling spells or ees). Damage will be upon its holder. Vampires are never destroyed
inied,butvampirescanonlybebroughtto as a result of turning.
zero hit points or lower through the use of
blessed weapons, holy symbols, holy water, or Even if not being used to turn, the mere touch
a wooden stake through the heart (a hit with a of a holy symbol that the wielder believes in
wooden weapon doing maximum damage). A inisd4damageuponaVampire.
vampire slain but not properly disposed of will
rise again d6+1 days later as a vampire with one Vampires lose 1 hit point every sunset. Only by
hit point. Mutilating the body in some way can drinking blood do they regain these hit points,
delay this resurreion (even by years if the at a rate of one hit point per Constitution point
destruion is thorough enough) but only by drained.
giving the vampires body a proper burial, in a Vampires have certain sensibilities brought on
grave consecrated by an ordained priest, will by the curse of the original vampire which
the vampire be permanently slain. begot all subsequent vampires. They can not
Vampires often have a number of abilities abide the smell of garlic. Wearing garlic is
involving shape shifting or animal communion. enough to keep vampires away from a sleeping
Some vampires can y, others merely can climb wouldbeviim,andvampireswillavoidenter
wallsmuchlikeinsesorspiders.Someareable ing a portal ringed with garlic if at all possible.
to become insubstantial, others transform fully Vampires will also never enter a private resi-
into mist. Some vampires transform into great dence without rst being invited, although
wolves or bats, others command such creatures. they will of course often resort to the foulest
There seems to be regional variations concern- trickery to earn such an invitation.
ing what vampires are able to do, how they
appear,andevenhowtheydraintheirviims. Contrary to popular myth, vampires are not
Why this is the case remains a mystery, but destroyed by sunlight. However, during day-
some theorize that some traits of animals used light hours they lose all vampiric powers (but
to satisfy a vampires hunger are passed on to retain their enhanced Strength and Constitu-
the vampires unholy progeny. tion) and show their true chronological age, and
as the years pass this causes vampires to hide
away during the hours of light.

55
MagcItms

Magic is power, and how that power is distrib- have to be equipped with equivalent magic
uted may deneagamemorethantheaual items or else they too will be hopelessly
settingdetails,aivitiesperformed,ortherules outmatched. Escalation will be unavoidable.
used.Magicinthehandsofacharaerinsome The game rules and the magic spells are
ways denes that charaer, and a charaer built with the assumption that the world at
with a surplus of magical capabilities will be as large is mundane, and magic items are van-
a god walking upon the Earth. In order to ishingly rare. Place magical treasure in your
preserve the grounded nature of a campaign, campaign accordingly.
the existence of, and access to, magic items - Know a magic items history before placing
must be controlled. Keep magic rare, unique, it in your game. If you cant be arsed to
and above all, keep magic mysterious. invent a suitable origin for the thing, and a
history of how it came to be in its current
However, in a fantasy game, and certainly location, then chances are there is no
(especially?) in a Weird fantasy game, there will justication for the item to be there. Magic
bemagicalartifaspresentinthegameworld. items should never be placed just because,
When including magic items in an adventure and magic items should never be treated as
oraspartoftheaivitieswithintheworld,be standard elements to a game.
sure, even more so than with monsters, that the - Most magic items have no obvious combat
item in question is justiable entirely in in- oradventuringfunion,andmanywillnot
game terms. The details of a magic item should be portable. Are you placing only magic
always be conceived in terms that would be items that are useful to adventuring types?
applicabletothecharaersinthegameworld, - Most magic items should be usable only
with the game mechanics detailed afterwards. under certain conditions. Perhaps a specic
Here are some tips and strategies to creating aion needs to be taken before the item
eeive,interesting,and magical (to players as works (a sacrice?), only under particular
wellascharaers)magicitems: conditions, certain time periods, etc.
- Most magic items should have some sort of
- Allmagicitemsareartifas,uniqueitemsof usage limitation on them, rather than allow-
great power, and not mere tools or trinkets ing constant use. Whether this be charges, a
or armaments. certain number of uses in a set period of
- Never create a magic item that merely time, or other limitation, is up to you.
improves game mechanics. No +1 swords, +1 - Many magic items should have a specic
shields, or anything of the sort. These seem- funion,maybeinvolvingaspecic location.
ingly increase the options and scope of the - Magic items should have specic methods of
campaign as it allows greater threats to be aivation.
faced. But this quickly means that the - Magic items should have some negative
average person, even squads of well-armed eetothem.Magicisnottechnologytobe
0 level men, are absolutely no bother to PCs. used for mortals gain. It is dangerous and
Charaers of equal level to the PCs then ckle.Thereshouldbesideeestoitsuse.

56
- Note that potions, scrolls, and staves and aware of the transitory nature of magic in
wands, because there are standard genera- theworld,andwillaaccordingly,bothin
tion methods given in the Rules and Magic aggressively attacking their enemies items,
book, can be more liberally placed. andinproteingtheirown.
- Note that Dispel Magic can permanently
disenchant items. Enemy casters will be well Possiblemagicitemforms(notethatfunion
doesnt have to follow form, or be related to it):
Abacus Bow Con Gem Lens Poncho Sofa
Acorn Bowl Coin Girdle Liquid Pot Spade
Amulet Box Cot Glaive Lock Pouch Spear
Anchor Bracelet Crate Glaive-Guisarme Locket Powder Spetum
Ankh Bracers Cream Gloves Longship Powder/Dust Spoon
Anklet Brass Knuckles Crossbow Goblet Lucern Hammer Prism Stairs
Antenna Brassiere Crowbar Gong Lute Purse Statue
Anvil Brazier Crown Gown Mace Pyramid Stockings
Apple Breeches Crystal Guisarme Machine Quarrel Stone
Apron Brooch Crystal Ball Guisarme-Voulge Magic Circle Quartersta String
Arm Broom Cube Halberd Mantle Quill StuedAnimal
Armor Brush Cup Hammer Marble Rack Sundial
Arrow Bucket Curtains Hammer, War Mask Raft Suspenders
Astrolabe Buckle Cymbal Hammock Mast Rake Sword, Long
Awl Bugle Dagger Hand Medal/Medallion Ranseur Sword, Short
Backpack Building Dart Hand Axe Military Pick Rattle Sword, 2-Handed
Badge Bullet Deck of Cards Handkerchief Mirror Rickshaw Table
Bagpipes Button Desk Harp Miscellaneous Ring Tablet
Balance Scale Cabinet Diaper (Hand/Floor) Piercing Robe Tambourine
Ball Cage Dice Harpsichord Mittens Rope Tapestry
Ballista Campre Disc Hat, Formal Moccasins Rudder Tent
Balloon Can Door Hat, Stovepipe Monocle Ru Thread
Balm Candle Drawing Hat, Wide Morning Star Sack Tiara
Banner Cane Dress Brimmed Mug Saddle Toe Ring
Bardiche Canoe/Rowboat Drum Head Muzzle Saddlebag Tooth
Barge Cap Dust Helm (Pot/Great) Nail Sandals Torch
Barrel Cape Earring Holy Symbol Necklace Sarcophagus Trebuchet
Basket Caravel Egg Hookah Needle Sash Tree
Bass Carpet Elixir Horn Net Saw Triangle
Battering Ram Carriage Eye Horseshoes Oar Scarab Trident
Battle Axe Cart Fan Hose Oil Scarf Tub
Beacon Carving/Etching Fauchard Hourglass Orb Scepter Tuba
Beaker Castanets Feedbag Incense Painting Screen Turban
Bed Catapult Figurehead Ink Pan Pipes Scroll Urn
Bell Cauldron Figurine Inkwell Pants Scythe Vest
Bellows Cello Finger Jacket Parka Seeds Vial
Belt Censer Flail Jar Partisan Shell Violin
Bench Cestus Flask Javelin Peg Leg Shelving Voulge
Beret Chain Floating Stone Jerkin Perfume Shirt Wagon
Berry Chair Flower Jug Phylaery Skirt Wall
Bill-Guisarme Chariot Flute Kayak Pigments Skull Waterskin
Blanket Chest Foot Key Pike Skullcap Wax
Blouse Chimes Footstool Kilt Pill Sled Wheel
Blowpipe Choker Forge Kite Pin Sledge Whip
Bone Circlet Fork Knife Pipe Sleeping Bag Whistle
Bonnet Clasp Fountain Ladder Pipe Organ Sling Window
Book Cloak Galleon Lance Plate Slippers Wing
Boots Clothes Rack Gauntlets Lantern Plerum Snowshoes Xylophone
Bottle Coat Gel Lasso Pole Soap Yoke

57
58
Each question must be one with a very limited
answer: One word or very short phrase, a
number, or yes/no.
The ouija board is a board on which are After the board is used, the Referee makes a
written/printed/carved a complete alphabet secret saving throw versus magic for each
and series of numbers (commonly also with Yes participant. If any of the participants succeed,
and No markers). It is paired with a planchette. thentherearenoillees.Thereisa2cumu
lative penalty to the roll for everyone for every
To use a ouija board, one or more people must participant after the rst that speaks during the
sit calmly around the board for at least one turn, use of the board, and a -1 cumulative penalty for
each participant touching the planchette with every question asked after the third. If all of the
their ngertips, meditating or quietly chanting saving throws fail, then a random participant
todiretheirenergies. (which may be one that succeeded at the save!)
After this time has passed, one of the partici- is possessed by a spirit. The players should not
pants may ask a question. At that point, the be informed whether there were any failures,
planchette will move from space to space on the or even that saving throws are being made.
board, spelling out the answer as long as at least A possessed charaer shows no undue ees
one person is touching it. There is a 75% chance (butappropriatedeteionspellswillreveala
that the answer will be truthful if there is only problem). The Referee is able to declare one
one participant, -10% for every additional par- aiononbehalfofthecharaeratanytimehe
ticipant. There may be as many questions asked so chooses, and the possession will end after this
as desired, but they must be asked one at a time. aion.Theaionwillalwaysbesomethingthat
If there is any distraion in the immediate isveryharmfultothecharaerscompanions
vicinity during the use of the board, or if (althoughnotthepossessedcharaerdirely),
anyone but the one participant asking ques- and the spirit will wait patiently within the
tions speaks at all during its use, there is a charaer for the perfe time to strike. The
further10%chanceofacorreanswer.Allfalse more devastating the better, and it will be
answers will be as plausible as possible. well-deserved for meddling with powers that
mortal man should leave alone.

59
in which case they may observe and intera
withthecharaer,butnottouch.
Every time the powder is used, there is a 5%
Purple Lotus is an exotic plant cultivated in cumulativechanceofbecomingaddiedtoit.
landssofarotheyareknownmorebylegend Addislose1hpperdaytheygowithoutusing
than fa. They say the Lotus is from a world
the powder, all recovered as soon as the powder
beyond the stars and that those who know how is used but otherwise non-recoverable until
to prepare the Lotus can work magic with it. thattime.PurpleLotuspowderaddiioncan
be cured with the DpelMagic, Remove Curse,
These legends are all true. There are many or CureDee spells.
ways to prepare the poisonous Lotus to create
magicalees.Thesecondknownwayrequires Purple Lotus Type II powder is often found in
the seeds to be planted inside a skull lled with pouches which contain 2d20 doses. Purple
dirt. After the plant matures, it is pulled out of Lotus Type II powder has a 1% chance to be
theskull,rootsinta,lefttodry,andthenits found in settlements per 1,000 population.
eternal seeds are crushed into powdered form. Those who possess the powder can usually
recognizeaddisandwillcharge1,000spper
The powder must be ingested or snorted to dose, and one quarter of that to those showing
haveanyee.Voluntarilyusingthepowder, nosignsofaddiion.
orifitisforceduponahelplessviim,allows
no saving throw, but doing something like
throwingitinsomeonesfaceallowstheviim
tosaveversuspoisontoavoidtheees.
ThosewhoareaeedbytheLotuspowdergo
into a trance for one turn. During this trance
they are able to observe events that happened
in their current location at the time the Lotus
ower was harvested. The user is self-aware and
the experience feels like an out of body
experience, and they watch events of the time
period happen about them for the time they
remain in the trance.
Any people or creatures being observed during
thistimecannotseetheaeedcharaer(and
if multiple charaers use the powder in the
same location, they do not see each other)
unless they are able to see across space or time,

60
stitution - permanently. If the user is reduced
to zero Constitution, he is reduced to a noisome
pileofrottingoal,withonlytheMalec Eye
left whole and waiting to be wielded by another
The Malec Eye appears as an occluded and futureviim.
jaundiced eye as if from a diseased dead man. It
can only be used by an individual who removes The eye may be removed and replaced by the
his own left eye and replaces it with this user with no danger, but of course the original
heinousartifa.Uponsodoing,theindividual eyecanneverbemadetofunionagain.
immediately suers both a permanent 2
penalty to their Charisma score (as now they
are unmistakably marked as being aligned
with the malignant arts of necromancy)
and all missile weapon range penalties
aredoubled(astheeyedoesnotfunion
as a visual organ). Further, when the eye
is rst placed, the user must make a save versus
poisonorsuerthelethaleesoftheevileye
himself.
Once the eye is in place, the wielder possesses
the ability to literally cast a withering gaze at
his opponents. This gaze will require the
viimtomakeasavingthrowversus
poison or die horribly by rotting
from the inside and ultimately
ending as a putrid pool of reeking
oal.Allotherswithina20'radiusof
thetargetedviimmustsaveversus
poison or be nauseated for 1d10 rounds
(-1 penalty to attack and damage rolls).
Each daily use of the gaze forces the user to
save versus poison as the Malec Eye
slowly causes the wielder to putrefy. The
rst use per day has no modier to the
saving throw, the second use is at a -2
penalty, and further uses that day are
at a -4 penalty. A failed saving throw
means the user loses one point of Con-

61
OthrTopcs

One important point: if someone says I might


be able to show up now and again," don't count
Contagamrsthatyounow,andayournongamr on him showing up at all.
frndsfthy'dltoplay.
So maybe you've got some people that want to
A lot of gamers know other gamers already. A play. Maybe you don't. Maybe you just moved
lot of gamers even have friends. Present the to a new area and don't know anyone, much less
game and the time for game play you've gamers.Notaproblem.Infa,itmaybepref
decided to them. erable. It's always good to meet new people that
have something in common with you.
Some of them might say Well, I'd love to play,
but I'm free on this day, not that one." If several AdvrtYourGam
people say the same thing, and that other day
If you do not personally know enough people
is good for you, consider changing it.
interested in your game, you have to advertise
Ask your friends to join your game. ALL of thefathatyouwillberunningagame.The
them. Even people you don't know all that well. cheapest way to advertise for new players is to
Co-workers. Classmates. One of the worst make a yer.
things people can do is only game with close
Flyers need to have a few vital pieces of infor-
friends. This often cripples ones ability to nd
mation on them: The game to be played, when
a game, as if these certain other people dont
and where it will be played, conta informa
want to game, thats it. Branch out. New people
tion, and most importantly, a ashypiure.The
bringnewperspeivesandnewchallengesand
importance of listing the time to be played on
every good role-player will welcome such
the yer can not be underestimated. You can
things. Dont drop old friends over gaming (did
waste a lot of time dealing with people that
that even need to be said?), but if they are
want to play but are only available at times you
getting in the way of your gaming, you need
are unavailable, and even time coordinating
new gaming friends.
with people that do have compatible schedules
Role-playing historically has a poor reputation can be saved by just putting possible times on
in some quarters, but this needs to be forgotten. the yer.
When asking the acquaintances, don't a
Flyerscanbeconstruedusingacomputer,but
ashamed of gaming by doing things like corner-
it doesn't require high-tech know-how. Just cut
ing "certain" people away from everyone else.
and paste something together if you must. Just
Be plain and dont do anything to suggest that
make sure there is something about your yer
what youre asking is odd or socially awkward.
that stands out whether the paper its printed
Just ask. If someone says no, thats that. If
onisbrightandeyecatching,oruseaspeac
someone is rude in response to you, then that
ular piece of art. Print a bunch at home or run
should tell you what you need to know about
down to your local copy shop and get 20 copies
that person.
runo.Maketearawaytabswithyourconta

62
information (email and/or phone number). The local newspaper likely runs classied ads,
Don't forget to cut the tabs before placing the and most communities have free advertising
yer, and always tear a tab or two o before circulars as well. These options might cost a
hanging them up, as that gives the idea that little bit of money, but not so much, and there
there is interest. are times when you have to go the extra mile
to get a game together.
Now you've got the yer, put them everywhere!
ScrnngPotntalPlayrs
Do you have a local game store? Put a yer
there, of course. Comic book shops might be a Oncepeoplestartcontaingyou,you'llwant
good place for the fantasy-inclined. General to meet them before inviting them to play. Go
hobby shops, even if they have no other gaming out for a drink or something. Kind of like a date.
material, are excellent for nding people. Book- In fa, the goal is the same as a date, but
stores often have bulletin boards, and that's perhaps with less at stake. You're attempting
always a good bet. Libraries! If grocery stores to see if this person is compatible with your
or convenience stores in your area have bulle- ideas for a fun time. Gathering a group of
tin boards, use them! Also post yers in those complete strangers together and expeing
areas where people post yers and posters for everything to go smoothly is rather optimistic.
upcoming concerts, and on school or oce Be sure to do this screening somewhere other
community boards. If there's a bulletin board than your home. Neutral territory is always
that you know about, get a yer up on it. How- good for meeting new people, especially when
ever, make sure not to be a nuisance to the the entire point is to gure out if you want to
community. Dont post your yer where it be around them at all.
would not be welcome.
No,thisisn'tperfe,andno,youwon'tscreen
Note that while some places may be better for outallthecompletefreaks.Infa,yourhouse
snagging gamer-types (bookstores and comics may be full of weird people if everything works
stores), you're not looking specically for out. Role-players tend to be a creative,
gamers. You're looking for people who might be idiosyncratic bunch. Putting aside your
interested in playing in your game. personal prejudices would be recommended.
You're not looking for people that you want to
Unless you live in a sparsely populated village, be friends" with. That's nice if it happens, but
you're going to get responses. This works. what you're looking for here are people that
There are other methods for recruiting for you can game with, and this screening is just a
your game. Many internet sites, both general waytomakeabasiceortto nd out if these
interest and role-playing specic, have virtual people are idiots. What you're basically looking
bulletin boards. Dont just make a text posting for is a person that can be respeful around
on such a site! If possible, post a graphic of your strangers. Who cares what religion they are, as
yer so it grabs interest. long as they aren't going to go all Biblical (or
blasphemous) at the game table. If someone

63
doesn't bathe (you know, that stereotype), best With enough responses, it is guaranteed you're
to nd out before gathering your players. Come going to get a completely unsuitable freak or
up with a few conversational cues that will two, but you'll also have a good pool of promis-
bring up sensitive subjes. If someone is ing players to work with. And because you were
homophobic or racist or sexist, you want to nd up-front about game-day on your yer, it's even
that out before exposing a group of strangers a pool that can show up to game with you.
(who may include women, gays, or ethnic
minorities) to them that will kill a group If the number of appropriate people are equal
before it gets started. to or less than the maximum size you've
decided for your group, great! You can go to
Also talk about your gaming goals - a completely thenextstep!Ifyouhaveattraedmoreinter
reasonable, pleasant, respeful person could ested people than you want to have in your
still be a complete disaster and drain on your group, you're going to have to make decisions
game if he's showing up with one thing in mind ofwhotonotinvitetothegame.Docontathe
and you're presenting quite a dierent thing peoplethatyoudonotsele,don'tjustignore
in your game. Do talk about what games you've them or not let them know. If it's someone
played, what problems you've had at the game you'd be interested in gaming with if not for
table in the past and how you've resolved them. group capacity issues, let them know and be
See what experiences like that this other ready to conta them when a chair becomes
person has had. Find out how committed free at your table. Reasonable people will
they're willing to be about the game and what understand, unreasonable people you don't
potential responsibilities they would have that wantaroundanyway,andifyouconneupto
could pop up from time to time on game day. a larger gamer community around you, you can
enjoy a good reputation if you have a waiting
This step is a fair bit of work, but you'll be list" of people wanting to get into your game.
seeing a lot of this person if they join your
group, and if you're shy about meeting and StartPlayng
talking to them, what kind of Referee are you
going to be? It's a job that really doesn't work Once the group is assembled, theres nothing
with shy people who possess no people skills. left to do but begin play. Consider the rst
couple of games to be test games. If there
Donothaveastriideaofwhoyouwanttobe needs to be adjustments made to the group
answering your ads. You might get the unem- (remember, groups of strangers wont always
ployed, the underage, and the disabled. You get along), do so. And once the issues are cleared
might get people that have never role-played up, you are on your way to many years of good
before and have no real idea what it is. Be gaming, and hopefully many years of new
patient with them all, and don't immediately friendships.
dismisspeoplewithoutauallytalkingtothem.
This is all a fair amount of work, but then so is
conduing a roleplaying campaign. If you

64
want to play and there's no obvious pool of will be times when people simply dont get
players,youaregoingtohavetomakeaneort. along.
Everything in this world requires eort, but
fewthingspayointheendlikemakingthat The Referee has to listen to his players, for
eortforsomethingyoudofornoreasonother without them there is no game. If one player is
than enjoying it. It is important to never cancel making the rest miserable, he must either
the game if you can help it. There will be games change his behavior, or he must be removed
when people don't show up, or too few people from the game. If there is an irreconcilable split
to continue the regular game. Have a variety of opinion among the group as a whole, then
of card and board games (gamer related the Referee must decide which group he
ratherthanmassmarketstuifyoucan nd it) prefers to play with and side with them.
just to help establish that This day is game Communication and compromise is best when
day," to establish attendance habits from the it works, but this hobby invites a strong invest-
people that can be there every session. Those ment in it. Approaches and attitudes cant
people are the core of your group and you do always co-exist. Referees should do what they
not want to give them a reason to think they have to do in order to keep the peace and
should always have other plans in case the game continue gaming.
is canceled again.
And by all means, if players are in agreement
Make the game area as pleasant as possible. Be thatthegameissueringbecauseoftheRef
a good host. Clean the place up. Bake fresh eree, they are well within their rights to
bread or rolls for the group. It's a simple and remove the Referee from his post.
inexpensive thing to do and if your group is
lled with younger people or single guys, home-
cooked anything will impress them to no end.
In all honesty, Alignment in this game is purely
Yes, the assumption is the game location will be
a game constru to allow certain spells to
at the Referees house, but even if thats not the
operate in a traditional manner. The meaning
case the Referee is still the group leader and he
of Law, Neutrality, and Chaos is intentionally
should a as a host wherever the game is
vague.
played. If a player (or two) doesnt show up, the
game goes on. If the Referee doesnt show up, So it is not necessary to worry about it any more
there is a big problem. than Chaotic is for magical beings, Neutrality
is for normal beings. If you want to involve
HandlngTroublomPlayrs
Alignment in your cosmology, it is recom-
Role-playing gaming is a social hobby, requir- mended that you read the works of Michael
ing at the very least a mutual understanding Moorcock and Poul Anderson, as the basic ideas
that everyone present will do what they can to of Alignment were originally taken from their
maintainrespeatthetable.However,there works.

65
paign.Itmayaehowtheyplaytheirchar
aers.
Charaers will die. It is part of the game. In
termsofincludingtheplayer,anewcharaer
should be immediately created and the Referee
has a responsibility to get that charaer into This work is merely one possible set of proce-
the game quickly. Even if there is no conve- dures, with innite other possibilities available
nient in-game explanation for it, the Referee to you. Following the advice in this book may
hastogetthenewcharaerintothemix. help you run a good game. But because styles
are so unique, the advice in this book may
But there are other issues to consider. Do all hinder your ability to produce the best game
newcharaersstartatlevel1withzeroXP?If possible.
so, how do you handle parties with great level
disparities? If the group is all 5th 6th level, for Excellence in gaming goes beyond casual enjoy-
instance,itwillbediculttoreplaceafallen ment of the game. It requires a greater commit-
charaerandhavea rstlevelcharaerbeable ment to the game, and requires greater time
to contribute equally. andeortthanjustcasualplaying.Thisfocusis
not for everyone, but many people nd it quite
At the same time, there should be a reward rewarding.
in-game for survival. Just handing over a new
charaer an equal level to those who didnt To start your journey, you simply need to play.
manage to die seems a little unfair. There are When you want to take that next step, you need
several ways to work things so that the new to step back and examine your gaming.
charaerisntsofarbehindthepartywhileat AYourlfWhy
thesametimepenalizingcharaerdeathinthe
game so it is desirable to avoid. Role-playing games give a Referee unlimited
opportunities. The Referee can literally do
- NewcharaersstartwithhalftheXPofthe anything within the context of the game. How-
deceasedcharaer ever, indulging ones every whim is not to the
- Thenewcharaerstartsatalevelequiva advantage of the individual. Discipline and
lent to half the amount of XP the deceased focus are the keys to excellent gaming.
charaerhad,butstartswith0XP
- The player takes control of one of his But sometimes the temptation to follow the
deceased charaers henchmen instead of muse is indeed overwhelming. Strange ideas,
starting over at rst level perhaps inspired by a movie or odd item in the
news, demand to be included in the game. This
The details of your policy dealing with replace- keeps the creative process of managing a cam-
mentcharaersisnotsoimportantaslongas paign fun rather than work, so it should not be
you aually have one and communicate that discouraged. But sacricing the integrity of a
policy to the players at the start of the cam- campaign for the sake of a passing fancy is not

66
worth it. Many campaigns have been tanked as military use? Hmm, perhaps the ships are
a result of, I have a great idea! extremely fragile, with any real amount of
damage causing them to lose ight capabilities,
Whenever you have an idea that you want to so they have little military value and no use for
put in the game that at rst seems out of sorts, pirates who would use them to plunder. So why
just ask yourself Why? Not in real world were these ships restried to just this one
terms, but in game world terms. Why is this kingdom or area back in the days when they
here? Why is this happening? Why? Why? were able to be built? Surely isolation wouldnt
Why? As long as you can invent answers that be an issue for a people building ying ships.
t into the grand scheme of the campaign, then Obviously the people using them now arent of
whatever it is cannot hurt the campaign simply the same civilization that originally built them,
by its presence. Each answer to Why? may which helps explain why they cant build any
trigger more questions as more elements are more. And because these ships are fragile, over-
brought into the discussion. Follow those tracks. land travel is too risky, and therefore the ships
As soon as you can not reasonably invent are only used in this one area well within the
reasons why something or other makes sense settled and calm areas well within their borders.
in the milieu you have created, you know to
stop asking why and to begin removing ele- BcauItsFun!/Cool!/Awom!
ments of your idea.
Players always want to test to see what they can
Say you want to introduce a kingdom that has get away with. Its natural, as this game adver-
ying airships without having ying airships tises that player skill matters. Its only natural
be a regular part of the entire campaign world, thattheywouldwanttoseeexalywheretheir
with citizens of the kingdom using them the limits are. It is these limits that will dene the
way others travel by sea. If this one kingdom tone of your entire campaign.
has them, why dont others? Why hasnt one
been captured and studied to learn the secret This most often becomes an issue during
of air travel? Why hasnt anyone involved in combat.Becausecombatisabstralyresolved
their construion sold the secrets to their using to-hit rolls and hit points which do not
construionordefeedtoaforeignpoweror representexablowsandwounds,anysortof
allied himself with a would-be ruler? Whether narration can be attached to the mechanics.
the airship is magical or technological in Players, inuenced by all sorts of media, may
nature, these would be concerns. OK, say that try a variety of stunts, ranging from attacking
the secret of their making has been lost some multiple foes and other rules-disallowed
ancient knowledge or magical process that maneuverstopurespeacle,wishingtodo ips
nobody can gure out anymore (and for some and acrobatics (while in armor) during ghts.
reason cant be divined from studying one of There is no right or wrong answer how to
the remaining ships). If the ships are limited in handle this, but there is this:
number, why would they be used for shipping
andtransportationandnotstrilyreservedfor

67
Dene the tone of the campaign and communi- omitted entirely if there was a logical and valid
cate this tone to the players before play begins. lead-in to the undesired situation.
Then when a player wants to do something
against the tone of the game, you can say no A campaign may be meaningless without
with extreme prejudice. people to play in it, but a campaign is bigger
than anyone playing in it currently. It is easier
You are presenting a world for the players to to ndnewplayersthanitistoresurreinter
explore, not a theme park to amuse them. Only est in an idea that has been poisoned by bad
you can know where the dividing line is decisions. Your rst duty as a Referee, over and
between those two in your own campaign, so above the enjoyment of your players, is to
be sure you do know it. prote your campaign, as that is the very
foundation of what you have to contribute to
BcauthPlayrsLIt! any gaming group.
This is the worst reason on Earth to include Fun
something in your campaign. A Referee is not
a monkey that dances for the benet of his The purpose of games is, ultimately, to have
players. It is very important for players to enjoy fun. But worrying about the fun of any par-
playing in a Referees campaign, else the ticular detail of the game is the surest way to
Referee will have no players, but that enjoy- suck the fun right out of it. When preparing an
ment should not dominate all other consider- adventure or a campaign, when running a
ations in making decisions for the campaign. game, dont worry about fun. Never ask if
something is fun.
Of course nothing should be done at the play-
ers expense (although this can be dicult to Worry about whether its good. Worry about
judge when one prime Referee duty is to whether its intereing. Worry if it advances the
provide challenges, obstacles, and opponents ideas you have about your campaign.
forthecharaers),andthebestthingsarethose
which both t seamlessly into a campaign and A well-run, interesting campaign will provide
are greatly enjoyed by players, but this will not unlimited hours of fun for all involved. A cam-
always happen. Sometimes the players will paign expressly designed to provide the most
pursue courses of aion which do not at all fun will likely succeed for only a certain value
interest the Referee, but he must remain of fun.
impartial as he runs these parts of the game. Dont micro-manage the fun right out of your
And so does the pendulum swing the other way, game.
and things will happen in the campaign which
the players may nd dull or disagreeable. The
Referee must be aware of such things and do
everything possible to move the game past this
point, but not to the degree that such things are

68
WhatElsOutThr?

Weird Fantasy Role-Playing is merely a varia- GnralConcrns


tion on a series of games that have been
released since 1974. Therefore, LotFP Weird MostofthedierencesbetweenWeirdFantasy
FantasyRolePlayingisunocially,butfully, Role-Playing and similar games are in the
compatiblewithawidevarietyofgames.Infa, process of play. Encumbrance, spell casting,
retaining compatibility was one of the highest saving throws, initiative, and so much more are
priorities when creating the unique elements dierentthanothergames,sometimestothe
of this game. point where entire subsystems have been com-
pletely replaced. However, this causes no com-
These games are often called Old School or patibility problems. Simply use the Weird
Traditional games, because the underlying Fantasy Role-Playing rules and adventures will
engine has remained unchanged for over 30 notsuerforit.
years. In the past several years, the release of
games based on the older, out of print games, When it comes to dening charaeristics of
using the Open Game License, have given charaers and monsters, there are true con
individuals the opportunity to share and cerns.
publish versions and supplements for the game, For example, many other games impose
legally and legitimately. This simultaneously restriionsoncertainclassesconcerningwhat
fed o of and inspired enthusiasm for these weapons and/or armor they are allowed to use.
games, and it is this resurgence that has WeirdFantasyRolePlayinghasnorestriions,
inspired and allowed Weird Fantasy Role-Play- but this should not be a problem. Simply use
ing to be conceived, written, and published. charaers in published sources as described,
This game is a hopefully unique twist on some- but if circumstances allow it and it makes sense
thing that others have developed. to do so, they will upgrade their equipment.
This allows you to use an amazing library of Algnmnt
gaming adventures and supplements in your
LotFP games. This also allows you to easily Other games use Alignment as a morality
bring ideas that you like from Weird Fantasy marker separating the good guys and the bad
Role-Playing into other games and vice versa guys. When using other games material, con-
without greatly changing the entire game. sider any Magic-Users or those showing innate
magic powers or coming from other planes of
existence to be Chaotic, Clerics to be Lawful,
and all others to be Neutral.
All of these games are similar enough to be
cross-compatible, but each one has its own When converting Weird Fantasy Role-Playing
quirksandsmalldierencesthatcantripyou material to other games, be aware that there
up if youre not paying attention. are two ways these games measure alignment.

69
Some games use the same three alignments that ThvsandSpcals
this game does, but Lawful, Chaotic, and
Neutralhavedierentmeanings.Lawfulmeans The Specialist class is a unique creation of
The Good Guys, Chaotic means The Bad Guys, Weird Fantasy Role-Playing, and does not
and Neutral means Doesnt Much Care About appear in any similar games. However, it is
Good Guys and Bad Guys. basedalmostdirelyontheThiefclasswhich
does appear in various games. It is also some-
Other games use a nine-alignment system: times called a Rogue.
Lawful Good, Lawful Neutral, Lawful Evil,
Chaotic Good, Chaotic Neutral, Chaotic Evil, Several common abilities in other games have
Neutral Good, Neutral Evil, Neutral. This is been modied somewhat for Weird Fantasy
more of a specic morality system, so check Role-Playing. Sleight of Hand replaces what is
against the specic denitions of these align- commonly called Pick Pockets, Stealth replaces
ments in the games rule book and assign an both Hide in Shadows and Move Silently, and
alignmentbasedonthecharaersknowntraits. Tinkering replaces Open Locks.
SavngThrows Unlike those versions of the Thief, which use
percentile-based skills, Specialist skills are d6
No game in this little family seems to use the based. If percentages are given in a stat block,
same saving throw categories, and at least one conversion is easy.
has gotten rid of multiple categories altogether
in favor of a single saving throw score. When Remember that a 6 in 6 skill still requires die
an adventure or supplement written for one of rolling, and a double 6 still fails.
these other games calls for a saving throw, Other games follow a steady progression rather
instead of using their categories, determine than allowing a Specialist to customize their
which category the situation would fall under skills. Use the following table for a rough con-
using the Weird Fantasy Role-Playing rules. version of an assumed Thief/Specialist skill
Clrcs spread:

In Weird Fantasy Role-Playing, Turn Undead


is a spell. In other games, Turn Undead is an 1 in 6 16 2/3%
innate ability that Clerics possess. When Clerics 2 in 6 33 1/3%
appear in supplements and adventures pub- 3 in 6 50%
lished by other companies, simply review 4 in 6 66 2/3%
whether there is a need for the Cleric to have
5 in 6 83 1/3%
Turn Undead at the time they are encountered.
6 in 6 97.22%
If there is, simply swap out a rst level spell for
Turn Undead.

70
1 5 in 6 1 in 6 1 in 6 2 in 6 x2 1 in 6 2 in 6
2 5 in 6 1 in 6 1 in 6 2 in 6 x2 1 in 6 2 in 6
3 5 in 6 2 in 6 1 in 6 2 in 6 x2 1 in 6 2 in 6
4 5 in 6 2 in 6 1 in 6 2 in 6 x2 2 in 6 2 in 6
5 5 in 6 2 in 6 1 in 6 2 in 6 x3 2 in 6 2 in 6
6 6 in 6 2 in 6 2 in 6 3 in 6 x3 2 in 6 3 in 6
7 6 in 6 3 in 6 2 in 6 3 in 6 x3 3 in 6 3 in 6
8 6 in 6 3 in 6 2 in 6 3 in 6 x3 3 in 6 3 in 6
9 6 in 6 3 in 6 2 in 6 3 in 6 x4 3 in 6 3 in 6
10 6 in 6 3 in 6 2 in 6 4 in 6 x4 4 in 6 4 in 6
11 6 in 6 4 in 6 3 in 6 4 in 6 x4 4 in 6 4 in 6
RacvsClavsMultcla OddClasandRacs

Some games otherwise quite similar to Weird Advanced or First Edition games will have
Fantasy Role-Playing separate races and classes. all sorts of added classes: Rangers, Assassins,
SoinsteadofbeingjustaDwarf,acharaercan Paladins, Druids, Illusionists, and Monks most
be a Dwarf Cleric, or Dwarf Thief, for instance. commonly. Bards, Cavaliers or Knights, and
When encountering this sort of thing, simply Barbarians are also common sights.
combine all the special abilities of both the race
and class in Weird Fantasy Role-Playing terms. Simply treat Barbarians, Cavaliers, Knights,
Paladins, and Rangers as Fighters. Assassins and
Someothergamesalsoallowcharaerstobe Bards are Specialists. If the adventure or sup-
more than one class at a time. Again, just plement text mentions specic powers that
combine all the abilities of the race and classes. these classes might have in other games, just
grant it to the particular NPC. They dont have
Weird Fantasy Role-Playing uses the most to follow all the same rules as PCs, after all.
simplied format for race and class purpose-
fully.Itallowsthequickestcharaercreation, Druids, Illusionists, and Monks are more
promotes the idea that humans are the domi- dicult to convert. The quickest solution
nant race in a campaign, and helps take the would be to say that Druids simply become
focus of the game away from where it doesnt Clerics and Illusionists become Magic-Users,
belong (What can my charaer do?) and but it is not so simple. Druids and Illusionists
places it where it belongs (What is my char- have their own unique spell lists, and even
aerdoing?). though many traditional Illusionist spells have
been brought into the Magic-User spell list in
Weird Fantasy Role-Playing, an Illusionist

71
charaer presented in an adventure or them as they are, not worrying if they can cast
supplement will probably have many spells that a spell less here or one more there. Do the same
arent in the rules here. The Druid is an even thing if a spell is listed at a dierent level in
worse case, as few of their spells have been material published for another game just use
brought over into the Cleric spell lists here. it as it is, that one time its used there.
Monks are an anomaly even in the games that If a spell appears on a list of prepared spells for
originally presented them, with a great list of a monster or NPC in a published adventure or
special abilities unique to them. If all else fails, supplement that is not in these rules, you have
simply call them Fighters who are able to ini three choices. Change the spell to one in these
Minor, Medium, or Large weapon damage with rules, reference the spell details from the orig-
their bare hands at levels 4, 7, and 10 inal source, or just make up details about the
respeively. spell according to its name.
If you have easy access to the original game Remember that spells on Magic-User scrolls or
texts that these classes come from, you can of in spellbooks may well become a regular part
course run them as originally intended. of your campaign, so consider that when decid-
ing how to handle these spells.
Additional races are easier to convert. All Elf
sub-races become plain Elves for rules purposes, MagcItms
Dwarf sub-races become simple Dwarfs.
Gnomes can be considered Halings, and Half- Other game systems have standardized magical
Orcs become humans. These changes are itemlistsanditisexpeedthatcharaerswill
merely in rules terms; they can remain as gain useful magical items almost from their
Gnomes or Half-Orcs or whatever in terms of very rst adventures. This is contrary to the
the campaign world. recommended state of things in Weird Fantasy
Role-Playing, and it is here that most adven-
Splls tures not written specically for Weird Fantasy
Role-Playing need to be edited. Most combat-
Dierentgamesusedierentspelllists.They ready magical items, including armor, weapons,
all look similar and do similar things, but none rings, cloaks, etc., should simply be deemed
are identical to any of the others, in names or non-magical. Go ahead and make them ornately
ees.Forspellsthathavethesamenamesas decorated examples and thus valuable as trea-
those in Weird Fantasy Role-Playing, or nearly sure, but try to avoid including things in your
so, simply use the description in these rules. adventures that inate AC and chances to hit
Spell progressions are another area where and damage. Some such items are integral to
dierent games are all slightly dierent. You the plot or situation in the adventures or sup-
could alter the listed prepared spells in adven- plements and can not be completely disre-
tures and supplements to match Weird Fantasy garded, but they should be saddled with
Role-Playing, but it is often easier just to leave

72
appropriate drawbacks to put them more in line thingy. Referees shouldnt hesitate to do so
with the Weird Fantasy Role-Playing outlook. when it in fa makes sense for the situation,
but intentionally setting up an adventure or
One-use magic items can probably be left alone, encounter for the purpose of getting rid of PC
because at most they can upset the balance of items should be considered bad form.
one encounter or situation. Items with a limited
number of uses, such as staves or wands, a Monrs
somewhat more problematic but in general will
not destroy a game so long as there are not a All other games have standard bestiaries. This
steady stream of such items being introduced. is usually not a problem, as adventures and
supplements you might use with Weird Fantasy
Permanentitemswithoutdirecombatappli Role-Playing give stat blocks. In most cases, it
cationsaremuchmoredicult.Someofthem is only AC that needs to be converted at all.
arequiteWeird,butalleeivelygivesuper
powerstoacharaer,oftenwithoutmuchin Of course, since most of these games do use
the way of penalties. Putting limits on these standard bestiaries, the majority of the mon-
sorts of items before introducing them into play sters listed will be standard and by-the-book,
would be one solution, or substituting mone- and thats not very Weird. Take a few minutes
tary treasure instead would be another. to create new descriptions of these creatures so
they do not seem familiar to your players. It is
In all cases, because Weird Fantasy Role-Play- notnecessarytochangetheaualstatistics.
ing does not describe stock magic items, the
Referee will have to make a judgment call about Because some of these monsters are so stan-
what these items can do. Items that duplicate dardized, in some instances there are no stat
spelleesareeasyenoughtojudge.However, blocks. You can either reference the rules the
when confronted by an item that is not so easily module or supplement is specically designed
converted, the Referee may choose to consult for, or simply make up the stats yourself.
the original text of the game the supplement Armor
was specically written for, or simply make up
aneebasedonthenameoftheitem,which Cross-compatible games generally have their
does not necessarily have to resemble the cor- own Armor Class schemes. Most are similar
refunionoftheitematall. enoughtosimplyignorethedierencesduring
play,butforonefaor:Themosttraditionalof
Unlikeitseeinothergames, DpelMagic is
these games use a descending Armor Class.
able to permanently disenchant magic items in
That is, AC uses smaller numbers to represent
Weird Fantasy Role-Playing. However, players
better armor.
become attached to their magic items, and
often come to identify them as integral parts of Attheendofthisseionisahandyconversion
acharaer,andmaybeoendedbytheuseof chart, using Leather, Chain, and Plate armor
a spell to take away their charaers special AC values for reference.

73
High level charaers and powerful monsters
in other systems tend to have inated ACs.
When using such charaers and monsters
under the Weird Fantasy Role-Playing system,
simply adjust the statistics to more sane levels.
Over the past several years, there has been a
Also keep in mind that in the other systems, Renaissance of interest in both playing and
shields do not give an extra bonus against publishing for the family of games. Weird
missile re so that must be taken into account. Fantasy Role-Playing is part of this Renaissance.
TraurandMony It should be noted that none of these companies
at the time of this writing are making material
LotFP Weird Fantasy Role-Playing, as of the specically for Weird Fantasy Role-Playing.
2011 Grindhouse Edition, uses a silver standard Many are supporting their own game lines, but
for treasure and experience. Most other similar because these game lines have the same lineage
games use the gold standard. When using gold (and are based on the same Open Game
standard releases with a silver standard game, Content that Weird Fantasy Role-Playing uses),
simply change all mentions of gold to silver, the material can be used more or less inter-
and silver to copper. Also, Platinum Pieces changeably with this game, and all material
areworth5gpandElerumPiecesareworth published under the Lamentations of the Flame
a gold piece. Princess banner can be used with these games.
Mix and match, use what most appeals to you
and jettison the rest, no matter what label they
are published under.
Here is a partial list of companies releasing high
quality material. There are also an almost in-
nite number of hobbyists releasing material,
both for money and for free, physical print and
pdf, and there is really a limitless amount of
original and new game material to be found on
message boards and blogs.

Before developing Weird Fantasy Role-Play-


ing, BFRPG was my game of choice. In addition
to a simple, yet comprehensive rules set, there
are a variety of adventures and supplements
available for use with it detailing new spells,
monsters, classes, and more.
www.basicfantasy.org

74
Black Blade partners with smaller publishing Frog God, run by half of the old Necromancer
studios to release material compatible with Games management, publishes the Swords &
old-school games, including Faster Monkey Wizardry game and supplements. Matt Finch,
Games and adventures from Rob Kuntz which the man behind Swords & Wizardry, is one of
date back to the old Lake Geneva days. the better adventure writers of the modern
http://black-blade-publishing.com age, and certainly captures the Weird vibe
better than most. Highly recommended.
www.talesofthefroggod.com
Brave Haling publishes Delving Deeper, a 0e
simulacra, as well as support material and
adventures for Labyrinth Lord. Labyrinth Lord is the closest game currently
http://bravehaling.com/ available rules-wise to Weird Fantasy Role-
Playing, yet promoting a more high-fantasy
feel. They have published extensive rules
This company publishes a series of Advanced options, adventures, supplements, and play aids
Adventures using the OSRIC rules (essentially to support their game. Goblinoid Games also
First Edition) which are readily compatible publishes a post-apocalyptic science fantasy
with all of the games described here, as well as game Mutant Future, which is compatible with
the monster book Malevolent and Benign for all of the games listed here and has unique rules
these games. Their Magical Society series for mutations and technological experimenta-
might be of interest for ideas in putting tion. (Labyrinth Lord and Mutant Future are
together a campaign world. trademarksofDanielProor.)
www.xrpshop.citymax.com www.goblinoidgames.com

Fight On! calls itself A fanzine for the Old Goodman Games publishes a good deal of mate-
School Renaissance. It is a freewheeling, rial for these sorts of games. Most notable are
wildly adventurous magazine that is full of The Dungeon Alphabet by Michael Curtis,
enthusiasm for our form of gaming. Highly which is an inspirational work more than a
recommended! how-to guide, The Random Esoteric Creature
www.ghtonmagazine.com Generator for Classic Role-Playing Games and
Their Modern Simulacra by James Edward
Raggi IV, and the Points of Light books by
Robert Conley. They also have a small number
of adventure modules suited to the game as well
as other system-neutral releases.
www.goodman-games.com

75
The publisher of Weird Fantasy Role-Playing Rogue Games publishes a number of games, but
produces adventure modules that are not spe- for our purposes the important items are the
cically for any particular game, but are com- adventure modules The Cursed Chateau, which
patible with all of the games mentioned here. surely ts under the designation Weird, and
If you enjoy Weird Fantasy Role-Playing, youll the Dwimmermount megadungeon. Their
also enjoy the other material we put out. author, James Maliszewski, also writes the
www.lotfp.com/RPG/ hugely inuential blog Grognardia.
www.rogue-games.net

OSRIC is a freely available set of rules emulat-


ing the rst advanced edition of the game with This is the personal label of Michael Curtis,
the title that cannot be mentioned for legal author of The Dungeon Alphabet. His big
reasons. release to date has been Stonehell Dungeon and
www.knights-n-knaves.com/osric/ its support material, which has been met with
universal acclaim.
http://poleandrope.blogspot.com/

12 9 10 11 9 10
13 8 11 12 9
14 7 12 13 8 8
15 6 13 14 7 7
16 5 14 15 5 5
17 4 15 16 4 4
18 3 16 17 3 3
19 2 17 18 2 2
20 1 18 19 1 1
21 0 19 20 0 0
22 -1 20 21 -1 -1
23 -2 21 22 -2 -2
24 -3 22 23 -3 -3
25 -4 23 24 -4 -4
26 -5 24 25 -5 -5
27 -6 25 26 -6 -6

76
AStrangrStorm

A Stranger Storm is a challenging adventure anteedtoaccountforeveryaionyourgroup


for beginning players and Referees. might take. It is the Referees job to be aware
of possible issues and address them and impro-
If you are not a Referee and will be playing this viseasthingsrunotherails.
adventure with others, I very strongly urge
thatyoudonotreadthisseionuntilafteryou As this adventure is all about the changelings,
have played through the adventure. Knowing it is essential that the Referee be familiar with
what is to happen will spoil everyones enjoy- the changeling description as given immedi-
ment. ately following this adventure. In particular the
procedures given for what happens when a
It is assumed that the Referee, if not the play- changeling mimics a PC are very important
ers, has read and played and absorbed all of the because without following those procedures (or
information in the Tutorial book. That book procedures of your own that accomplish a
covers the basics of the games mechanics. This similar goal) this adventure will have little
adventure does not stress mechanics so much challenge. That the PCs should be in constant
as charaer interaion, a owing series of confusion is pretty much the whole point of the
events, and the improvisation which will inev- adventure. The jewel that each changeling
itably result. Mechanics are the simplest carries in its heart is also the sole source of real
element of role-playing games and in many treasure and experience in this adventure.
ways the least important to master; it is a very
common thing for even the most experienced Assume, unless the text species otherwise, that
Referees and players to forget or misapply all NPCs mentioned in the adventure are
rules in the heat of the game and nobody cares. unclassed humans with 3 to 5 hit points and all
The real skill of Refereeing is the ability to keep average stats.
an adventure together and maintain the illu-
sion of the imaginary reality without letting Becae th an introduory adventure
the seams show too much. If that is not accom- intendedtobeedbynewReferees,therewillbe
plished, everyone notices and everyone cares. extra advice given that would not normally be
This adventure will throw a new Referee presentinanadventuresuchth.Thadvice
straight into the deep end of the Refereeing willbeintheseitalicizedseions.
pool and demand that he begin developing
these essential skills immediately.
Before running the adventure, the Referee Once taking a form, a changeling will generally
should read it in advance very carefully, not change forms unless it can do so without
perhaps even taking notes about how he will beingdeteed.Evenifattacked,itwillretain
handle certain situations. Pre-made adventures its form (unless otherwise specied), becoming
can not possibly take into account how an almost euphoric (but not to the point of disrupt-
individual group is likely to rea no matter ing its imitation) from the lingering doubts that
how well designed, and this adventure is guar- it creates in its attackers. This is sweeter to a

77
changeling than death. Only if its attackers
seemingly are sure about it being a fake copy
will it attempt to change again (and most likely Playersshouldcreatetheircharaersindivid
into the form of one of its attackers). ually.Theycandiscusstheircharaersornot
with each other as they wish, but the Referee
If a PC is ever left alone with a changeling, that should not prompt them either way. The
is another matter entirely. If imitating the PC Referee should be sure that spellcasting char-
can potentially cause more grief and coni aershavenotedwhichspellstheyhavepre
than the person currently being imitated, the pared for the day.
changeling will morph instantly, and then the
real fun will begin. This adventure assumes that the PCs are trav-
eling from their tranquil homelands to the
Changelings do not concern themselves with frontier where opportunity awaits for adven-
power; they will happily change form from a ture. One things for sure, if they stayed at
very powerful person to a sickly old maid if they home theyd have to become farmers or some-
believe it will cause more strife and discord. thing equally depressing.
But their journey to the less-settled lands does
Let them. The players have control of their not go without a hitch. Soon after the journey
charaers.ThePCsarenotdesignatedviims began, the heavens opened up and the ercest
and players are not obligated to be involved in storm in recent memory started to drench the
the events of the adventure at any time. Free land. While passing through the previous vil-
will is paramount once the game begins. lage, the PCs coach busted a wheel. The PCs
and their equipment escaped the incident
If they choose not to get involved, they will without damage, but the coachman was badly
indeed avoid all complication, danger, rewards, injured. He can not (or if a Clerics player notes
interesting situations, excitement, and fun. If that the coachman can be healed refuses to)
players want nothing interesting to happen to continue. This is a small town, without even so
theircharaers,obligethem. much as an inn or professional tavern, and no
The players are showing up to play, yes? Why more coaches are scheduled to pass through for
should they have to be strong-armed into par- days. The PCs must travel ahead on foot.
ticipating once theyve already shown up?
Allcampaignsmtbeginsomewhere.Somegroups
Not that this means that players should walk knowexalyhowtheywantacampaigntopro
into every trap and just be patsies for whatever ceed, and have plans from beginning to end. Those
the Referee decides will be done this session. typesdontneed,ornecessarilywant,introduory
They should have agency but as players adventures. For the re of you, get ready for a
playing a game they should also have the cour- bumpy ride
tesytoauallyplaythegameinsteadofavoid
ing it.

78
the road. If searched, the man can be described
as utterly average looking. He is wearing
The PCs will be traveling far slower than usual clothes, but has no other gear expeed of
due to the rainstorm. The normally packed dirt travelers. No backpack, weapons, money purse,
road is a muddy disaster. It is well past nightfall, anything of the sort (however, he does have 7
the PCs are tired and wet and likely in a foul copper pieces hidden in his right boot). His face
mood, when they see the lights of a roadside inn and knuckles are bruised and scraped, and he
up ahead. They also notice, sticking out of the has a deep wound in his back. Fighting types
bushes nearby, a pair of legs. would recognize this as likely being from a
sword thrust.
Again,abitofnarrationtosettheage.Normally
adventures would continue from the previo Donotvolunteeranyofthinformationunlessthe
session,buthereagainwehavetosettheageand playerssaythattheircharaersaredoingthings
beginsomewhereintereing.Notethataroadin thatwouldreonablyallowthemtoobservethese
pttimes(thadventuresumesa16th 17th things. For example, merely pulling the body out of
centurysortofculture)notgoingtohavereet thebhesandlookingatitwouldbeenoughfor
lights. If the PCs do not have a light source and it the general description of clothing and the facial
wouldhavetobealanternbecaeatorchwont contions, but someone would have to specify
remainlitinthdownpourthenofcoursethey looking at the hands, or turning the body over, or
wouldnt see the legs. Theyre doing well enough to takingothecorpsesbootstolearntheotherpieces
ayonthetrail! of information.

If anyone says theyd rather camp for the night The body is that of a changeling.
rather than continue on after dark, tell them
ingametheyknowfromtalkingtopsersbyonthe Changelingsaredcsedimmediatelyafterth
trailthataninnwalongtheroadhere,butthe adventure. At th point, there not much of a
travelersmthaveeimatedthetraveltimeby chancethatplayerscandeteth.Infa,ifthey
ual, goodweather andards. Outofgame, evenspesuchathingthentheyhaveprobably
surethemthatthbitofnarrationjttoget readtheadventurealready.Changewhoand
arted,andatthepointofseeingthelegs(orthe notthechangelingintheadventureifyouspe
tavern lights if they do not see the legs), the intro- ththece.
duionendsandthegametrulybegins.Nomore
hand-holding, the players are now on their own.
Asktheplayers,Whatdoyoudo?Infa,kthat Let them. No problem.
at any time that they seem to be anticipating
somethingwithnodcsionorintentionofaion.

There is a body thrown in the bushes, obviously


hurriedly, so as one would think someone doing
this wouldnt want the legs to be visible from

79
danger on the road if someones been mur-
dered. He will get a blanket from the closet
The inn up ahead is The Incontinent Vicar, a underneath the stairs and suggests the PCs put
two-story building with a garage in the back. the body in the garage and cover it up, as a bar
The rst oor is lit up and through the windows is not the proper place for a body.
can be seen a middle-aged fat barman sitting
If the PCs merely report the body without any
behind the bar. The common room is otherwise
evidence to show the barkeep, he will seem
empty.
much less concerned. He doesnt believe that
In the garage, if it is checked, are two coaches this is a dangerous area and strangers do often
and sixteen horses. tell tall tales to seem more interesting.

Noocialmapgivenforthadventure.One
important Referee skill being able to quickly
sketchout,mentallyorotherwe,alocationand IfthePCsinstongoingtoArgylenow,ofcourse
communicate that location to the players. To help youmtletthem.Thebarkeepwilltellthemthe
you develop those skills, th location not ill way. You will have to improve what happens,
trated for you. butinanutshellitFatherNaylorthatthePCs
will have to deal with, and he will not feel the need
TheInnasmalltwooryaair.Thereafront to come to the inn. Nicole Gingerbottom certainly
doorleadingdirelyintothebar,andtheairsup wonttraveltoworkthdaynewswillquickly
totheroomsinthebarwell.Thereakitchen spread of an attack on the road. When the PCs
betweenthebarandthebackdoor.Thegarage return to the crossroad where the Incontinent
behindthemainbuildingandnotviblefrom Vicar sits (there no other way to go out of the
the road. A wooden fence surrounds the entire villagethatdoesntjtleadtootherunintereing
complex. andunimportantfarmingvillages,theexasort
of thing the PCs are traveling to get away from!),
Becaetheplayerscandoanythingtheywant, seetheBackattheInnseionandadjtforthe
thePCsmayverywellwanttoealthehorsesand time of day.
jtrideo.SeeIntheGarageseionbelowifthey
tryth If there is no body, or after the issue has been
addressed, the barkeep will introduce himself
If the PCs enter the inn, the barkeep welcomes as Cameron Fiddlesticks, but everyone calls me
them warmly. If the PCs bring the body from Doodles. Used to be a bit of an artist, you see.
the road in with them, he will be very con- He will tell the PCs that unfortunately his inn
cerned. He will suggest that the PCs go to is small and the rooms are full, as the weather
Argyle (a nearby village about 30 minutes walk forced both an entertainment troupe and a
away) in the morning to report it, but suggests group of traveling merchants to stop here
they stay here for the night due to the weather unexpeedly.Themerchantssellspoons,and
and late hour not to mention the obvious hewilloerupafewsampleshewasgivenby

80
the merchants. They are nely wrought, menfolk from Argyle (they dont have their
attraive, and identical. Wooden spoons are own tavern there) and the occasional traveler.
good enough for me and my customers, His stories shouldnt be that interesting.
Doodles will shrug.
He will apologize about the lack of accommoda-
tionsbutoersthePCsfreedrinksforthenight At about 2am (how long it takes to be 2am
so they can stay inside and warm by the re- should be determined by the Referee depend-
place. Besides, he explains, all the guests went ing on how interesting the conversation with
to bed early and he wants some company and Doodles is to the players. They should all talk
conversation. abouttheircharaersabittoestablishthem
selves, but after that its purely a judgment call)
He will ask all sorts of questions about the PCs. a man will come downstairs. He is dressed in a
What are their names? What town are they nightshirt and slippers, carrying a full chamber
from? Any family there? Do they know each pot (#2). He will empty it outside the front door.
other? How did they meet? Are they adventur- If the PCs have brought the body in and he sees
ers? What did they do back home before start- its face, he will be visibly shaken, but in any
ing the traveling lifestyle? Where are they event he has a long day of travel ahead of him
headed? Any juicy rumors of monsters or trea- and he will prefer to go back to bed instead of
sure? chit-chat.
Thwheretheplayershavetoinventsomefas If the players are interested in continuing to
about their charaers if they havent already. play out the conversation with Doodles, then
Charaerswhoseemtightlippedorunwillingto do so. Otherwise, just assume random chitchat
drink will be ridiculed in a good-natured way by is happening until
Fiddleicks. He ed to friendly conversation
andthhplace.Ifhesoeringawarmdry
place and free drinks, he can get some conversation Cameron Fiddlesticks comes downstairs in his
or he will kick everyone out. bedclothes. This should be quite surprising
Playersareoftenaubbornlot,andthcaneily considering Cameron Fiddlesticks is also at the
escalate. If players get to the point where theyre bar conversing with the PCs (in his regular
willingtoghtabartender(especiallywithweap attire). When the new Fiddlesticks reaches the
ons!)becaetheydontwanttotalktoNPCs,jt bottom of the stairs and sees the Fiddlesticks at
endthegameandndnewplayers,becaethese the bar, both of them will freak out, declaring
current ones are crap and will suck the fun out of there is witchcraft afoot! They will begin
your game every single time. arguing with each other and then move to
violence. The one the PCs have been talking to
After hearing the PCs stories, Fiddlesticks will all night will grab a club located behind the bar,
tell some tales of his own (which the Referee and the newly arrived one will grab a chair.
will have to invent). His clientele is mainly Unless restrained, they will attempt to kill each

81
other (assume their weapons do d3 damage) and clothes after dressing as the body was wearing
they will not stop until one or the other is dead. when it was found.
Regardless of what happens, if there is any The fat men (Kirk Tomlinson, Satchel Higgen-
shouting or ghting then the inns guests will botham, Rex Manley and Remus Fogerty) are
be awakened. Ten rounds after the start of the spoon salesmen on their way to make a deal
shouting, there will be a rush downstairs as they with a wealthy owner of a series of taverns in
try to gure out whats going on. They will all the same city the Morris dancers are traveling
be in their night clothes, and there will be two to.
distin groups: Younger, inshape men (the
entertainers) and middle-aged, considerably Unfortunately the two groups do not like each
obese men (the merchants). If there is a body in other. The morris dancers are young, laid back,
the bar room, or if Doodles is being forcibly jocular and gay, while the merchants are Type-
restrained (either of them!), there will be a A personality grumbly bastards who have no
furor. A couple of the younger men will bran- time for fun or anyone that does.
dish rapiers or daggers, thinking that the PCs Thsituationwillrequireyoutoimproveand
might be robbers (or worse). Doodles, if he is make judgment calls the entire way, there
free and the other is either dead or restrained simply no way to determine what the players will
(which one is which is not important) will vouch do.HowtheydealwiththerebeingtwoFiddleicks
for the PCs (unless they dont deserve to be willdeterminehowthedturbedgueswillrea,
vouched for!) and defuse the situation. andfromtherehowtheyreatothePCsandeach
Regardless, if there is anything out of sorts then otherwilljthavetobeplayedbyear.Ththe
the guests will all decide that perhaps they uthatRefereeshavetodealwithallthetime,
should move on, and will return to their rooms conantly, no matter how well prepared the
to get dressed and pack their things. adventure notes are. Dive in and invent individ-
ual personalities for all these NPCs and play it for
allitsworth.Theonerule,though,tonotletNPC
interaionswitheachotherovershadowthePCs.
The entertainers are a traveling troupe of Starttheinteraion,thenpullbackandjtsay
morris dancers on their way to a city about to the players that the situation continues, so that
three days journey from here. Their names are theplayershavespacetoa.
Kerry Porter, Joshua Newton-Potter, Thurston
Stillriver, Ian Barclay, Patrick Rocktar and PCsmaybecomeinterestedinthefathatone
Gerald Tuckford. ofthemorrisdancersisanexamatchforthe
body at the side of the road. The dancers will
Thurston is the one that came down to empty
support each other and refuse to answer ques-
thebedpan.Patricklooksexalylikethebody
tions, but not to the point of violence. If one of
the PCs may have found at the side of the road,
them is cornered, or if violence is threatened,
andwillbewearinganexalymatchingsetof
then all will be told:

82
It was earlier in the day when they were trav-
eling through the rain that they overtook a
wandering minstrel on the road. Feeling sorry The chaos caused by a second Fiddlesticks
for the miserable sod caught in the downpour, appearingshouldtaketimetosortout.Infa,
theyoeredhimaliftintheircoach.However, though everyone wants to leave, they dont
after he got in, he changed shape to exaly want to go out at once to the garage in the
match Patrick Rocktar. A scue ensued as pouring rain; theyll likely spend time plan-
everyone was quite disturbed, and in the end ning, arguing, and hypothesizing in the bar.
one of the Patricks was stabbed in the back. At 5am Nicole Gingerbottom, the young and
Fearing the hangmans noose for a murder ugly serving girl of the Vicar, will arrive. Shes
charge, for who would believe what had really walked from Argyle, and will go in the back
happened?, they decided to dump the body at door, put up her umbrella, and begin breakfast.
the side of the road right there. If anything She will not rea to noise in the bar unless
came of it, well, Patricks still with them. The aualviolenceisbreakingout.Ifthereiscom
fa that there are now two barkeeps both motion in the garage, as in people already
relieves and terries them. They are glad that packing to leave, she will stick her head out the
something strange is going on here because door and scream in a rather unladylike manner,
that makes them less worried about being Breakfast is included with your rooms, you
murderers, but it also alarms them because gits! Get back in here for your ham and eggs!
indeed something strange is going on here!
She will panic, going almost catatonic, if she
They have not even considered the possibility sees a dead Fiddlesticks, a restrained or seri-
that they killed the wrong Rocktar. After we ously injured Fiddlesticks, or two Fiddlesticks.
got here we had him do our troupes specialty Otherwise, breakfast takes about twenty
dance, and he did. No one else could do that on minutes and then is ready to be served.
demand!
The merchants (who behave almost like stereo-
typical money-grubbing Robber Baron types Nicole Gingerbottom arrives to work from
despite being just traveling salesmen) just want Argyle. She will come in, put up her umbrella
comfort and excess, and anything getting in the and be very confused that breakfast has already
way of that will be harshly criticized. If the PCs been cooked (or at least the kitchen area pre-
makeanyeorttoaidthem,themerchantswill pared). She will then come into the bar to nd
repay them by giving them some sample out whats going on and here we go again.
spoons, crafted by the most modern means!
Rememberthatalloftheseeventsarebedonan
And to clear up one loose end, the Cameron sumedsequenceofevents.IfthePCsphevents
Fiddlesticks that the PCs have been talking to inadierentdireion,improve!
all night is the changeling.
This new Gingerbottom is the changeling.

83
usually sense unnatural evil? Half these horses
must be the originals and they are calm! The
AtsomepointthePCsaregoingtoinspethe spoon salesmen will say that all of the horses
garage, whether before heading inside the with their branding are theirs to do with as
Incontinent Vicar in the rst place or when they wish. If the morris dancers want to delay
everyone realizes that the rain isnt going to let their trip by involving a priest, more power to
up and they go get packed. them, but their business cant be delayed any
There are two coaches parked in the garage. more. They wish to leave!
One is plain and black (belonging to the spoon Gingerbottom at this point (either or both,
salesmen) and one is rather colorfully painted depending on how that situation was handled)
in bright yellow and orange (the morris danc- wants to go home, and is now scared to go alone.
ers). The coaches are empty, as all personal If someone is going to Argyle, she wants to go
ees and cargo have been brought to the with them and will show them the way and
rooms. Also crammed in the garage are sixteen where to nd the priest. Note that if both
(!) horses. Gingerbottoms are still around, neither will
The morris dancers had two horses to pull their agree to go to the village with the other one
coach as well as two extra riding horses. These the witch imposter must not be allowed to
are all white horses, their manes are braided Gingerbottoms home!
andribbonedindierentways.Themerchants If everything stays at the discussion/argument
have four horses to pull their coach. These are level, there is something of an impasse. The
all chestnut-colored and rather unremarkable, entertainers dont trust the merchants to stay
but all branded with both the companys seal put if they get the priest. The merchants just
and individual identity numbers. want to leave as soon as possible. Fiddlesticks
Eachoftheeighthorseshasanexaduplicate, will want to stay at the inn to make sure no real
down to the braids/ribbons or brands. trouble starts. It will be suggested that the PCs
take Gingerbottom home and bring the priest
Once the inns guests discover this, there will back.
be even more chaos. The morris dancers will
see this as a sign of great evil and bewitchment. Remember that there is still a torrential down-
Someone must go fetch a priest! Wheres the pour through the day, so anyone outside will
nearest village? Yes, someone must fetch the quickly become uncomfortably wet.
priest from Argyle then!
The merchants will have a dierent point of
view. Theres no evidence that any of these
duplicates are in any way malevolent. All of the
conithusfarhasbeenbecauseofpanicand
assumption of wrongdoing. Dont animals

84
Whileittruethatnochangelinghtoth The village of Argyle is a small farming commu-
pointbeenanaggressoriftheoriginalwnot nity of about twenty families. There are no
also becoming violent (the Gingerbottoms will shops, no inn, no tavern, and no constabulary.
certainly break down in tears upon seeing their There is a blacksmith and a church, but other-
counterpartsratherthanattack),itnolonger wise everyone generally takes care of their own
so senseless to think that there a serio
needs, with neighborly assistance when neces-
problem. And when serio problems are, sary. The villagers are a typically suspicious and
killingoftennotfaro. superstitious lot for a community this size, and
Minor bouts of violence, such attempting to infatheproximityoftheIncontinentVicar
rerainorpunchindividuals,willbemetbylike is a source of some controversy amongst the
restancefromthetargetandthetargetscohorts. housewives.
Fiddleickswillalwayssideagaintheaggressors. Nicole Gingerbottom lives with her parents and
If blades are drawn, then everyone, the entertain- ve brothers, and will want to go home imme-
ers (with their rapiers), the merchants (with dag- diately. If both Gingerbottoms are present,
gers), and Fiddleicks (with h bare hands if they will both scream bloody murder in order
necessary)willuniteagaintheaggressors. to get the villages attention and in this case
Noonewillcondoneviolenceagainthehorses, the rstinstinofthevillagerswillbetostring
the merchants want to keep them and the enter- everyone up both Gingerbottoms and the
tainerswanttohaveapriegivejudgmentbefore people who brought them just to be sure. Not
doing anything. Truth be told, they like the idea of even the priest will be able to allay this fear and
owningextrahorsesiftheyndoutitOKtodo bloodlust.
so. The merchants are willing to sell an extra horse GingerbottomwilldirethePCstothechurch,
ortwo,butthemorrdancersareagainth. buttheimposingstruureistheonlyonethat
can be called impressive in this community.
Thesolid,distinivestruuresymbolizesthe
If the PCs snoop around the garage at night, devotion these people have to their faith.
especially before going into the Vicar, they may be
tempted to take some horses and run. Not much to The church is run by Father Quincy Naylor. At
be done since there are no watchmen, but there are 23, he is quite young to preside over a church
complications. Fir there the fa that half of (the former priest died six months back from
them are changelings. On a more mundane level, natural causes, Naylor will volunteer if asked,
it should be made clear to the PCs that horse and the diocese appointed Naylor as the
thieveryahangingoense,andthereshouldbe replacement), but is well suited to the job. His
a 1 in 20 chance that any particular merchant one distinguishing feature is his preternatural
recognizes the brands on the merchants horses and tranquility. Absolutely nothing startles, spooks,
beginkingqueions disconcerts, unhinges, perturbs, scares, annoys,

85
angers, or excites him (think Fred Kwan, not case of mimics, he will explain if indeed the
Mr. Spock). He will always speak in a calm, even, PCs have been frank with him. Along the way
yet polite tone, and will generally only speak he will say that hes heard legends of such
when spoken to or when a situation demands creatures. It is said that no matter what form
hisinterjeion.Thisisnottothepointoftotal they take, a jewel lies buried in their heart. He
oddity, as he is fully capable of chit-chat, and says that method really isnt any good though,
will remark upon the Awful spat of weather since it cant be used to tell a real person from
were having! a mimic until after death, and mutilating a body
to nd a jewel would be a mortal sin anyway.
NotethatFatherNaylorsimplyaprieandnot However, there are other ways to tell, devel-
a Cleric. oped by the foreign witch-hunters Franz
VoightandHermannKamp.Hewillnotelab
HowNaylorreastothesituationwilldepend
orate but to say that it takes some time with the
on how it is explained to him.
accused to nd the truth.
If informed of the happenings back at the inn,
If Gingerbottom has been detained, he will
Naylor will seem completely unconcerned. Its
mention that he will praice these other
another day on the job for him. I suppose
methods on her/them to determine her human-
taking a look is in order. He will grab his coat,
ity. If pressed for details, he will say, in his
hat (a stylish tricorne), umbrella, and his black
rational manner, Dont worry, shell be just
bag (containing stakes, a hammer, a holy book,
ne. Shell probably recover from the ordeal in
one vial of holy water, a spare holy symbol and
just a few short weeks, and with her already
two already packed sandwiches) and suggest
unfortunate appearance the scars shouldnt
leaving immediately. The only delay he will
make her chances of nding a husband any
condone is dealing with Nicole Gingerbottom.
worse than they already are.
If both Nicole Gingerbottoms have somehow
been brought back to town, Naylor will
summonafewseletownsfolktolockthemin DetailsaboutArgylearepurposefullyvague,the
separate home cellars (There are no jails here, townnotwheretheaion.Refereeswhowant
Naylor will remark if asked why). todomorewithArgyleareperfelywithintheir
If only one Nicole was returned, Naylor will right to do so, but they mt underand that
again have her locked in a cellar. How do you makingthevillagetoointereingmaydtrathe
know she is the real Nicole Gingerbottom? We PCs from events already in motion.
must be sure before allowing her to walk
amongst proper folk.
ItsperfelypossiblethatthePCswontwanttoget
Naylor will not explain himself further to the caughtupinthmessandjtcontinueontheir
PCs until they are all on the way back to the way, leaving everyone to sort their own aairs.
Vicar. From your description, it sounds like a

86
Th does not end the adventure! Inead, the andwritealettertothebishopabouttheaair,
encounter with the Knights Medical later on will and the PCs should continue on their way.
simplybeanaairofpsingthemalongtheroad
(the PCs had better engage in some talk and learn Notethatthadventuremakesseveralsump
about the twenty children!), and then later on will tionsabouttheareasreligion,ingtermssuch
meetSterCarpenteronherwaytocatchupwith father, bhop, and diocese. Feel perfely free to
theKnightsspecicallyabouttheextrachild,sothe alterthesetermstobettertyourcampaign.
portion of the adventure which takes place at the
orphanagemayillhappen).
If there are PCs present at the inn, they will be
witness to all the trouble. However, unless all
the PCs remain at the inn, run the events that
When the PCs return to the Incontinent happen there after the rest of the party returns
Vicar, they will nd the place deserted. No and discovers the results.
barkeep, no merchants, no entertainers, no
bodies, no coaches, no horses, no luggage, no What will happen is that the merchants decide
prisoners. And nothing to suggest where they are going to leave, no ifs, ands or butts.
anyone went. Just an empty inn... They will begin loading their luggage on their
coach and are preparing to hitch their horses
...except for Peter McFarther, pot boy. Hes as well when the horses attack. They will take
thirteen years old, spotty as hell and lives in the one round to attack the merchants and then
woods with his forester father. When he got to will change forms to each imitate one of the
work today, the place was deserted. He will be (armed!) entertainers. If an armed or especially
in the kitchen or the bar when the PCs arrive armored PC is present a horse will charge at
back at the inn, and will attempt to hide from him and then mimic him when close.
them unless Father Naylor is with them.
A split party is going to be in trouble as they
If the PCs want to follow up on McFarthers will likely be overwhelmed by the force of the
father, he lives about forty-ve minutes away changelings. However, remember to use the
in the woods, and is involved in nothing procedures described in the changeling
unusual or interesting. monster description the changelings wont
Once at the inn, Father Naylor will walk attack each other. After the battle the players
through all the inns rooms as well as the involved shouldnt be certain whether they are
garage. He will ask the PCs to repeat the whole nowplayingtheircharaerorthechangeling,
story again. If there are no contradiions in so there is still potential for confusion when the
their story, he will believe them. He will thank rest of the PCs return.
them for their attention but as everyone is If the PCs simply refused to leave, things may
gone, there is nothing more to do here. He go dierently. If they are a strong force the
announces his attention to return to his church changelings might not attack at all.

87
The bottom line is if the merchants leave, they of battle can be heard around the next bend in
will be in the coach and faster than the PCs on the road.
foot so the rest of the adventure can go as
planned. If the merchants do not leave for If anyone investigates this, they will see two
whatever reason, the encounter with the Order identicalwarriorsfacingo.Attheirfeetare
Medical later on will simply be an aair of six warriors, who if examined later will be
passing them along the road (the PCs had better foundtobethreedierentsetsoftwoidentical
engage in some talk and learn about the twenty warriors. A horseless wagon, canvas canopy
children!), and then later on will meet Sister ruined, lies tipped at the side of the road.
Carpenter on her way to catch up with the The warrior (well, both of them now) is Sir
Knights specically about the extra child, so the Boris Corsica of the Order Medical, a martial
portion of the adventure which takes place at order dedicated to defending and aiding inno-
the orphanage may still happen. cents threatened by war. He is a third level
In any event, neither the merchants nor enter- ghter with 17 hit points, he has 16
tainers will travel with the PCs, period. Strength and 13 Constitution, and he is
wearing chain armor and carrying a sword
and shield. Sir Boris and his duplicate are
still sizing each other up and have not yet
Travel is still miserable as the rain will not let begun combat.
up. The road is in disastrous condition. It will
They will very soon begin combat, and the PCs
be another ve or six hours of traveling (which
mayreahowevertheywish.
is a depressingly small distance, in these condi-
tions) before they see anyone or anything. The If the PCs engage in hostility with the change-
fathattheroadisemptyisunusual,although ling (by accident or no), it will immediately
weather conditions may explain it. mimic the most impressive-looking of them in
order to create the confusion it so craves, oth-
Remember that if the merchants did not leave
erwise it will continue to imitate Sir Boris for
beforethePCs,thentireseionwillhavetobe
the rest of the adventure.
reworked.
Sir Boris is a proud man and will insult and defy
The rst noteworthy thing they encounter is any who capture him he will be free or strug-
the merchants coach overturned on the road. gle to the end! He will also not cooperate in any
There are spoons scattered everywhere along way whatsoever if his double is allowed to live.
with smashed luggage and oversized clothing Honor demands that the demon die!
strewn about. A couple hundred yards up the
road is a dead horse (riddled with sword After the situation has calmed down and there
wounds), then another, and another. Four in all. is but one Sir Boris to deal with, he will explain
At the place when the last horse fell, the sounds what happened if asked. Note that if it is the

88
changeling being talked to, it will tell the same bit far beyond the search radius of the knights
story: and dumped.
He and his cohorts, the Order Medical, had Sir Boris requests that the PCs aid him in
delivered twenty orphaned infants to the Saint burying his comrades and their doubles.
Petra Home for Unwanted Children. That had Burying a monster hurts no one and doesnt
gone smoothly, so they continued on their way. help a devil, but negleing to bury a proper
They came upon an empty coach stuck in the knight could impa the proper migration of
muddy road. their souls. Best to be sure all the proper
humans are buried. Sir Boris will not condone
The coach had eight horses hitched to it, so the mutilation, or looting, of the corpses.
knights tried to nd the owners of the coach.
After searching both the coach and surround- If the PCs help, this will take the rest of the day.
ingareaandcallingoutinaneortto nd those
who had been traveling in the coach. Were they
injured? When they found no sign of anyone,
they decided to free the coach from the mud Sister Barbara Carpenter is riding a horse at a
and take it to the next waystop on the road a fullgallopinaneortto nd the knights of the
place Sir Boris believes is called the Incontinent Order Medical. If the PCs helped bury the dead
Vicar. knights, she will catch up to them as they nish
that task. If the PCs just continued on, they will
Whiledistraedduringtheworkofgettingthe encounter her on the road.
coach out of the mud, the horses suddenly got
free and attacked! Some changed into human Sister Carpenter is a rather tall, burly woman,
form, others just ran wild. The knights own also a rst level ghter (8hp) wearing chain
horses got free from their wagon during the armor under her habit. She also has a rather
battle and ran o. The PCs just happened to intimidating battle axe hanging from her belt.
come along at the end of the ght. She is the go-to troubleshooter from the order
of nuns that run the Saint Petra Home for
Note that Sir Boris would not realize that only Unwanted Children.
half the horses were changelings, and a change-
lingBoriswouldnotbringthisfaup.Thedead Any Cleric in the party will know the name
horses the PCs found are real horses. The four Saint Petra. She is a mistaken martyr, a staunch
changelings present all mimicked knights. atheist who was seized by religious-minded
folkswhothoughtshebelongedtoarivalse.
Whathappenedtothemerchants?Theocial After long weeks of torture, she was put to
explanation is the changelings attacked and death for refusing to convert.. This enraged
killed them, as for whatever reason mimicking those who belonged to the religion that the
them didnt seem like a good idea. In horse form torturers thought Petra belonged to, so they
the merchants were carried into the woods a rose up and slew their would-be oppressors, and

89
90
later on Petra was sainted for her unintentional way(tocontinuetheperfeimitationevenif
inspiration. onlookers wouldnt know the dierence) but
not for the same reason. The real Sir Boris
Detailslikethcaneshoutacampaignworld.If wants to rid the world of supernatural evil,
you dont like th explanation of Saint Petra, while the changeling gures this is a wonderful
inventyourown.Butdoincludedetailslikethin opportunitytofeedoofevenmorediscord.
all of your adventures, and soon enough you will
have built your own campaigns unique htory It will take several hours to reach the orphan-
and mythology without having to prepare it all in age. During this leg of the journey, the storm
advance. breaks.

Whether the PCs are with Sir Boris or if shes The Saint Petra Home for Unwanted Children
just asking if theyve seen the knights, she will is in a rather foreboding building a few minutes
freely divulge why she is looking for them: That othemainroad.Allitsground oor windows
morning the Order Medical had delivered have been lled with bricks and the doors are
twenty-one babies to the Home. The knights treated as gates. The children are not only kept
couldnt stay because adult men are not allowed here, they are kept here, until such time as they
to lodge at the Home, and they werent going are adopted by a properly approved family (the
to wait in the rain, so they continued on their PCs will not qualify for a multitude of reasons)
way as the Sisters processed the children and or they turn 14, at which point they are sent on
their paperwork. They only have papers for their way.
twenty of the children, so either the knights
Thanotherlocationwhereanocialmap
had misplaced one set of paperwork which the
notprovided,andyoumayormaynotneedone.
Sisters need in order to legally take custody of
If the PCs are only in the orphanage with the
the children, or if necessary a signed statement
permsionofandescortedbythenuns,thena
from the knights that the identity and parent-
map needed at all? However, if they try to sneak
age of the nal child is unknown or unveriable.
in or if they come up with a complicated plan
The PCs will probably guess whats going on invvolving dtraion or splitting up, youll
immediately, but when Sir Boris hears this denitelyneedamap.Sowhatdoestheorphanage
story, he will explode with rage. He is positive looklike?Howitarranged?Youneedtobeable
they only transported twenty children, and todecidesuchthingsaboutvariolocationsata
after the attack on the road, the extra child moments notice. At let for th one you have
must obviously be a devil in disguise! advance warning to prepare something.

He will begin travel to the orphanage at once, One hundred thirty-eight children (not includ-
even if it is dark and the storm continues. No ing the new arrivals) of various ages live in the
real warrior of faith can do less. Home, cared for by sixteen Sisters of Saint
Petra. The children are separated by sex and
Note that it does not matter here if Sir Boris is
thechangelingornot.Hewillreathesame

91
age categories (under 2s, 2 - 4, 5 - 9, 10 - 13) with Sister Carpenter, again they will be allowed in.
the older children residing on the upper oors. Otherwise they need an absolutely outstanding
story to convince the Sisters to open the thick
The Sisters, ranging in age from 25 to 64 (the metal door and let a band of lawless adventurers
eldest being their leader, Sister Magda), care in and have access to the children.
for and educate the children The older children
help with the upkeep of the Home and work the Under no conditions will they be allowed in
gardens around the Home. carrying weapons or wearing armor. This is
non-negotiable. Sir Boris, being a member of
The Sisters have lived very sheltered lives, the Order Medical, may enter with his full gear,
never having been outside of the connes of but the PCs must disarm. Even so much as
stri religious life. The two exceptions are grumbling about this will not convince the
Sister Magda (who is well-informed about the Sisters that the PCs intentions are good.
world but hates it for its corrupting inuence)
and Sister Carpenter who had earlier in life IfthePCsdonotcooperateandtheStersdonot
joined the army pretending to be a man, and letthemin,ituptotheRefereetoimprovewhat
even passed for a short while (she became a happens if the PCs attempt to either force their
Sister to hide - when she was discovered one way in or sneak in through other means.
night in the barracks the men decided to teach
her a lesson," but she escaped after killing one Once inside, Sir Boris requests to see the
soldier and seriously wounding two others). nursery where the new children are kept. Once
there, he draws his sword and demands to know
The Sisters will be very proteive of their where the undocumented child is so he can slay
children, trying to keep them away from any it. At this point all hell breaks loose as the Sisters
outsiders. The children are all from broken will attempt to physically restrain him and
homes, but have also been told for the entire the PCs, if they came with him the Sisters
time they have been here that the outside assume they share his agenda. One of the
world is nothing but danger and wickedness. Sisters will run to an oce and throw all the
Those that stay here until turning 14 are not childrens paperwork into the re so their
well prepared for the world and often go into identities can not be tested.
Church service for lack of ability to do anything
else.ExalyasMagdadesires. If Sir Boris can not determine the identity of
the false child, he will attempt to slay all of
Being that the Sisters are very proteive of them, just to be sure. If he is thrown out of the
their Home, they will not let anyone in that Home, he will try to burn the place down. He
seems like trouble. Armed is a prime indicator will not care about anything but rooting out the
that someone seems like trouble. If they are evil and avenging his fallen comrades, no
with Sir Boris, he will vouch for them and let matter what the price. The nuns will, if they
them in. If they have explained the situation to

92
can manage it, restrain Sir Boris and lock him sacrice the few to save the many. They will
in one of their prayer cells. wait another twenty-four hours to see if
another solution comes up (although neither
SirBoriswillathiswayevenifheisachange they nor Sir Boris will look for another solu-
ling, as the strife it causes is chicken soup for its tion), then they will smother the children one
soul. If it can make nuns witness the slaughter by one.
of infants, so much the better. It will of course
kill all the real children rst, and then imitate And there is a 50% chance that the Sisters will
a nun rather than kill the changeling baby. do absolutely nothing about the situation and
will not allow any child to be harmed without
There is indeed a changeling in the bunch, but absolute proof that it is an inhuman end.
it will not be easily found. This changeling is
slightly inferior in its powers it can not That is how the situation will unfold if the PCs
imitateexaly.Butitiscleverandhasdiscov do not intervene. It is their responsibility, if
ered that it can still cause anguish through near they so choose, to work with, around, or against
duplication. So the PCs will not ndanyexa the circumstances and NPCs in order to accom-
duplicates among the twenty-one babies that plish their goals, whatever they may be.
have recently arrived here.
If things calm down, the Sisters will want to
Ocially, if everything goes as expeed?
know what is going on. Sir Boris will be a raging
madman, demanding the head of the evil trick- They were replaced by changelings and left
ster, so it is the PCs that will be tasked with ahead of the spoon salesmen and went to what-
explaining just what in the hell is going on. ever town the performers were originally
trying to reach. Once there they performed,
They will believe most any plausible story told duplicated other travelers going in dierent
to them. Telling them the truth will leave the direions,andthencontinuetospreadchaos.
Sisters in a great panic, as they realize that
every living being inside the Home is in deadly In your game? Up to you.
peril. They will quickly chatter amongst them-
selves, and then tell the PCs that they must take
a vote to decide what to do. The PCs must wait
outside pending the result of the vote as there
wont be anyone to spare to watch them to
make sure they behave.
The vote will come down to this: There is a 50%
chance they will vote to side with Sir Boris.
Letting an inhuman thing live endangers
everyone, so even if it means the death of a
handful of innocent children it is better to

93
Thereareseveralwaystodeteachangeling,
some due to the natural defenses changelings
Changelings are wicked unnatural beasts which possess:
are able to duplicate exaly the physical
- DeteEvil will reveal a changeling.
appearance (including clothing and equip-
- Changelings are immune to Sleep and Hold
ment), personality, memories and stats of
spells, and this immunity may be used to
another being. They literally gain nourishment
reveal who is a changeling.
and survive from feeding on the distress and
- Changelings can not cast spells or duplicate
distrustsueredbyotherbeings.
the magical properties of equipment.
Changeling transformation is not only instant Changelings for this reason prefer not to
but rather literally stunning to witnesses. If a duplicate known spellcasters or those with
changeling is within reach of a being it dupli- magical equipment and will seek to transi-
cates(althoughnoaualcontaisnecessary), tion to another form as soon as possible upon
observers will not be able to tell which is which discovering any such mistake.
after the transformation. That they know their - Changelings have a small jewel in their heart
true comrade was there on the right before the (worth 500sp) that does not transform as
transformation means nothing after the trans- they do. Performing an autopsy (or cruder
formation they simply can no longer be sure examinations) upon a changeling will reveal
because their senses bend in order to preserve this jewel.
their minds.
Note that Charm spells and mind-reading spells
Changelings always recognize other change- such as ESP do not have the desired ee.
lings, no matter their form, and will work Mind-reading spells merely pick up the
together to cause the ruination of natural thoughts of the creature the changeling is
beings. impersonating since they do copy memories
and personality without revealing the crea-
Only one changeling will ever duplicate a tures true nature. Likewise, changelings will
particularbeingatatime,duetothefathat notbeaeedby Charm spells, but will pretend
personality traits and individual memories tobeaeedshouldtheirsavebefailed,asper
would otherwise be distributed amongst all how the duplicated creature should rea, in
copying changelings rather than each making order to continue their deception.
perfecompletecopies.
The changeling will always remain in its
Changelings do not revert to any sort of natu- current form as usual until alone with a human-
ral form upon death. They have no natural oid being it is in a position to safely murder.
default form, and so retain the last assumed Changelings do not eat for nourishment and
form upon death. thus will merely dump their viims bodies
somewhere (and then seek to ruin lives in their

94
new guise a changeling in the form of a priest and therefore mannerisms. Someone married
that takes confessions is just one example where tothecharaerwouldntbeabletotellthata
such a creature has destroyed entire towns), changeling has impersonated that charaer
although they can eat and drink normally in even if spending every moment together for
order to maintain their disguise. As duplicating fty years. The idea is that none of the players
non-esh material is distasteful to the change- eventheplayerofthecharaerbeingmim
ling, it will strip its viims and use aual icked should know which is the real one and
equipment whenever possible and reabsorb which is the imposter without taking extraor-
their own duplications of the same. dinary measures. Changelings will only rarely
make things easier by duplicating someone else
as they approach death, as the resulting doubt
Changelings impersonating PCs is a special and mistrust strengthens their spirits even
case, as the players agency creates issues that after death.
do not exist when NPCs are duplicated. Simply The confusion, doubt, and mistrust caused by a
put, even the player being duplicated should changeling goes that far.
not know whether they are playing their char-
aerortheduplicate. Once either the PC or the changeling is
defeated, the Referee gives the information
It is quite likely, if not certain, that there will about remaining hit points, etc, of the other one
be a combat involving a PC and a changeling back to the player to run as normal. He still
duplicating that PC. In this case, the changeling wont know whether hes running the change-
will always have the same statistics as the PC. lingorhisoriginalcharaeruntiltheappropri
The Referee should list two sets of stats and hit ate measures are taken, however. Only when
points. For the rst attack, the Referee will this happens should the Referee roll a die to
randomly determine which is being attacked. determine whether it was the PC or the change-
Others may then attack the same one, or the ling that was defeated.
other one, without random determination but
they still wont know whether its the PC or the Since changelings gain the memories of their
changeling. The Referee will then mark any duplicated forms, they will be as aware of a
damage done to the appropriate target in duplicated PCs comrades abilities, and will
secret. In this way, the duplicated charaers oftenseektosabotagetheireortsandcauseas
player does not know if he is being attacked, muchdiscordifpossible,orsimplyrunoand
and even he does not know if he is controlling duplicate someone that is safer to mimic.
hischaraerorthechangelingsaions.
Noaiontheplayertakes,otherthanspellcast
ing,willdierentiatethePCfromtheimitating
changeling. The creature has perfely dupli
catedthecharaerspersonalityandmemory,

95
96
1 Skinny Jolly Pacist Bully 1
2 Fat Sarcastic Group Before Self Delusional 2 <1 5
3 Beautiful Grim Libertine Addiion 3 1 10
2 Friendly
4 Scarred (Wound) Competitive Work is Good for the Soul Lech 4 2 25
3-5 Indierent
5 Scarred (Disease) Depressed Might Makes Right Racist 5 3 50
6-8 Neutral
6 Acne/Boils/Blemishes Argumentative Letter of the Law Religious Extremist 6 4 75
9 - 11 Unfriendly
7 Missing Teeth Pessimistic Petty Criminal Jealous/Vindiive 7 5 100
12 Hostile
8 Missing Eye Toadying My Country Right or Wrong Psychopath 8 6 250
9 Missing Digits Stubborn Familial Loyalty Sexually Deviant 9 7 500
10 Athlete Religious Word is Bond Liar 10 8 750
11 Dirty Pretentious Do Unto Others... Thief 11 9 1,000
12 Utterly Average Shy Equalist Roll Twice 12 10 1,250
11 + 1,500

97
1 Geyser/Hot Springs Fishing Appointee from Capital Great Church HumanTracking
2 Ancient Odd Tree Farming - Cereals Democratic Unique Statue Organized Crime
3 Weird Rock Formation Farming - Vegetables None - Mob Rule Birthplace of a Saint Repressive/Authoritarian Government
4 Sinkhole Farming - Livestock Oligarchy Famous Marketplace Political Strife
5 Lake/Pond Farming - Fruit Merchant Association ArchiteureofPreviousCulture Religious Strife
6 BiseedbyRiver Mining Feudal Lord StruuresMadeofUnusualMaterial Insular
7 Nearby Cave System CraftWork/Manufauring Council of Elders Ancient Wall Forbidden Cult/Witchcraft
8 Clis Lumber Military Rule Great Tower Plague
9 On a Hilltop Spice or Dyes Theocracy Castle Famine
10 Inside a Valley Alcohol Wizard Stadium/Arena Poverty
11 Waterfall Trade Stop Communist College/University War
12 Canals Military/Government Despot Stone Circle Raiders