Monday, June 20, 2022

d12 You've Found the Last

Ært (my world) is kinda Dying Earth. It's the last æon now. Some things are inspired by Blackmoor. I love the tech being around. I think about that story of the last (musical) organ a lot...

d12things! The last...
1) harmonica
2) unicorn
3) synthetic person
4) waifu pillow
5) starfighter (space-jet)
6) ape doll circa Planet of the Apes æon.
7) idol of Tharzidun 
8) bible
9) vinyl record
10) gobstopper
11) nautilus shell
12) Dominican flag

Share good posts with good goblins. Claytonian at the gmails.

Monday, June 6, 2022

My Next Character Steps out of the Shadows: Tyranny of the Archons

There are a couple things I'm a fan of: PC death and quick PC replacement. Anyone that keeps an eye on my folder of free games I make might have noticed I try to make character gen lickitty split fast. But how do these new PCs end up in the dungeon? 

It's the fault of the Archons. These coweled robots are the servertors of Partee, god of high adventure. They roll into a tavern, scan the patrons for likely candidates, and zap them with transport beams. The beams transport hapless souls to dungeons that have a dirth of PCs to challenge them.

It is tradition to try to get along with people who get ported into your midst; to anger the plans of the archons is to risk them transporting you deeper into the underworld. 

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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

DCC & FAGE hit boxes

Typing out loud about trying to make combat even faster in DCC. Lessee... 

Let's count damage as hits by counting it in chunks of five. So 1~5dmg= 1 hit, 6~10= 2 hits, &c. 

Group monsters take one or two hits. Like if there are a few bandits, give them two hits, but if there are ten, give them only one. 

Solo monsters can take HP/10 hits if they have listed HP, or 1 to 3 hits per HD. Give high AC monsters fewer hits, and low AC ones up to three. 

Let's pull a couple monsters out of the book and consider them as solos: 
  • An Elder Brain has 10HD and AC 16. The AC is slightly high, so two hits per HD=20 hits. 
  • A Giant Centipede has 3HD and AC 14. Also, it has a cool poison type, so you want to see it bite at least one PC. Three hits per HD= 9 hits.
Lately I'm running FAGE. Would this work for that? I think so. Lots of Fantasy age monsters take one or two points of damage from a weak hit though, due to the nature of soak armor in that game. Now that I think about it, all HP is divisible by 5 in that game, so each monster can take HP/5 hits. Easy, but better for solos and the like as your standard goblin will take 3 hits, so for true goblin cannon fodder flavor, use the group monsters idea outlined above.
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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

A Calabraxis Curio

I recently ran across this. It was my pitch to Goodman et. al. for a design contest. They went with another fella's work, but I believed I had something special and so published it. It's Platinum on DTRPG, last I checked, so good call, I guess. I coulda pushed the time-reconstruction aspect more. Ah well, goals for the future. 

pitch follows...

Gentle Judges,

I have put together a map that I feel will be quite fun, and while filled with puzzles and danger, won't be terribly taxing on the players. The basic premise is that this map is of the secret cave-keep of a long-gone wizard who created devious devices to manipulate life and time. In true Appendix N style,things that make appearances include Conan-esque ape-men which have been subtly altered by a machine, ancient and forgotten technology in a mining machine that floods minds with schematics, and even androids.

The basic hook is that ape-men, having been granted cunning and robbed of emotions by an ancient mining machine, have been terrorizing the area lately. Of course, the PCs may ignore that, but they could also find a map to this place somewhere else. In any case, the machine is unrelated to the true secrets of the area, which have been virtually undisturbed for hundreds of years.

One interesting experiment-puzzle that I found myself creating was that of the window with lozenge-shaped panes. If triangle-pieces are arranged and placed within the panes into the shape of an animal, and supernatural illumination (provided by one of the treasures later in the module) shined through the window, then the shadow of the animal shape will transform those whom it falls upon.

The true treasure of this adventure is the pendant guarded by The Observer (the creature illustrated with eyes on its back in the original map fragment you provided). The pendant gives one the ability to travel back in time (in a rather Ebenezer Scrooge-type fashion), but the beast's eyes can see across time, and its bite hurts no matter when you are. Here are its stats:

The Observer: Init+4; Atk charge and gore +2 and a d5 action die melee (1d6+action die; if action die is 3 or more the target is gored  or pinned on a horn for 1d4 more damage); AC 17; HD 5d6+2; MV 40’ (can walk on walls); Act 2d16; SV Fort+3; Ref+3; Will +1; AL N. The observer’s eyes can see across time, and its attacks will hurt even time-traveling shades!

You will find attached a map for these scenes, secret and treacherous passages, as well as a conception of a vault-guarding monster. Because the adventure has a time-travel device, players can explore the dungeon in more than one state. Ancient books, paths, and residents will be restored. For instance, one could conceivably talk to a skull thanks to the magic dais in the room with columns and then travel back in time to actually observe the owner of that skull as a living being. 

To seed the adventure with mystery and paradox, the ancient remains of some of the adventurers could even be found! Imagine the horror of talking to your own skull. Can you avoid your fate? Only the Judge knows!

I’ve actually started stocking the rooms. Each one has basic information on the attached document. If this disqualifies me from the contest, so be it. But I feel it’s worth the risk as a mere elevator pitch can’t convey the simple truth: this is a good dungeon, even in draft form. That’s how I feel, at least. In any case, the map is at the top of the attached document, and I trust that you will at least look that over.

Share good posts with good goblins. Claytonian at the gmails.

Friday, May 6, 2022

WIS+15= Starting Age

It can be useful to know a PC's age in elf games. Why, just a couple weeks back a character drank some wine in Shmégel Manor and aged 30 years. Then they shrugged and drank until they turned to dust.

For humans, WIS+15= age at character gen. I'd add an extra year per level for creating at a non-first level murderhobo.

For dwarves, I'd multiply WIS by a d7, because dwarves in my campaigns are born as adults and live until they calcify at some point around age 1d120+100.

For elves, well, I have elves be immortal in both directions (each elf only recalls being around since time immemorial), but would go with WIS²+50 in other fantasy settings. 

I haven't decided about hobbits yet... I think maybe they are a one-off species that is distilled into adult life by fermenting certain tubers or mandrake roots. They start adventuring at WIS+d120 years old and live up to d120 years after that. I can't imagine a hobbit having sentient babies with their tiny hips, unless may be they are a race that gives birth to and starts as ferrets or something.

Lizard men hatch and then mature within a year. Their adventuring age is WIS-2.
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Tuesday, May 3, 2022

C.I.F.A.L. >>Pimp My Monster

Ran a couple of new players through some Gates of Gann. There is a Fiend Folio CIFAL in one of the rooms. No idea why. But as the fight went on, I realized these things are held together by "nuclear energy," and started to describe glowing core bits where bugs had been knocked off by melee blows. The players got really excited and started using video game logic to attack the glowing spots. I adjusted for this cool strategy a bit on the fly, but I realized I could have made this monster cooler and weirder.

So what can we do to spice up a CIFAL? The more good hits you make to it, the more radiation starts to leak out. Make a save vs CON damage each round with a penalty equal to the glowing wounds. 

One of my players was arrowing that spot. I think whenever an arrow hits, it should glow and then explode for some extra damage or radiation. Crits to glowing areas should also be bittersweet experience.

Finally, when the CIFAL dies, have it explode. Everybody save vs cancer and save vs blindness! A nuclear Scooby-doo ghost runs away, looking for new bugs to collect (it'll take a few weeks).
Share good posts with good goblins. Claytonian at the gmails.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Ompallios, a DCC dragon

If I make a few dragons ahead of time, I'll be ready the next time my players run into one. Which happens. So meet Ompallios. The name came from the DCC appendix, but I recognized it from a top tier Clark Ashton Smith story.

Ompallios is a 162 year old azure dragon the size of a house and aligned with the neutral watchers. It prefers to protect its layer with Fey Runes and it has a couple potions (Human control, Super-heroism) for extra defense. Ompallios keeps tabs on its surroundings by asking local fauna what they have seen.

PCs of any level probably don't stand a chance, unless they grovel, throw down sacs of gold, and offer to go on potion-ingredient quests. If anyone rolls a natural 20 on Personality while grovelling, Ompallios will bond them with its patron, Ithha.

  • 10HD.
  • 60HP.
  • +10 init.
  • 25AC (half damage from mundane).
  • 50' spd.
  • 4d20 action dice.
  • +13 to hit (2 claws for d8s, bite for d12, and a tail slap for d20).
  • 2d14 dragon-crits.
  • stone gaze in lieu of an action die (target must save vs DC20 or be stoned).
  • 2 breaths a day of poison gas (save versus death; goes up to 90' covering 10xd3 feet) in lieu of an action die.
  • d30+6 to cast spells.
    • Color spray
    • Mending
    • Invoke patron (Ithha) 
    • Magic mouth
    • Locate object
    • Monster summoning
    • Paralysis (-2 to cast)
    • Make potion
    • Runic alphabet, fey
  • Can speak with animals 1/hour in lieu of an action die.
  • Can cause plants withing 100' to grow to entangling lengths (-2 to attacks and move at half speed for people stuck in the area) 1/hour in lieu of an action die.
  • Can reverse gravity in a 100' radius 1/day (it doesn't fall up, but everything else falls up 100') and cancel the effect to enjoy watching everyone fall in leu of an action die.

Share good posts with good goblins. Claytonian at the gmails.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Choose the form of the traveler

Been thinking about dungeon events a lot recently as I work on my megadungeon Shmégel Manor. The other day Turn came out. It was a good little thing. Just picked up my copy of RND issue 4, which I got back in 2017 when I contributed a couple pieces of art to it, and the last page was also inspirational. So I'mma spitball a thing. Based around trusting your players to make their PCs suffer.

If you want to see another take on abstract timekeeping to work on dungeon resources, I like my own post here

For the happenings determination in the first place, the old 1 on a d6 method is fine. I'm partial to rolling 2d6 and checking for doubles. The bottom table could be rolled on with a d30, d50, or d60 to consolidate encounter chance with results (any result not 1 thru 12 would be that nothing special happens).

d12    Result

1         Ask a player, what song is flitting through their character's mind right now.

2         Ask a player what they are searching their pack for that seems to be missing.

3         Ask a player what the tracks they just found seem to be.

4         Ask a player how they are going to deal with their fatigue.

5         Ask a player what they are running out of.

6         Ask a player what they see shambling out of the darkness.

7         Ask a player what just grabbed their ankle.

8         Ask a player who the familiar person they see is and what is wrong with them. 

        Ask a player what rumor or legend is fleeting across the back of their mind.

10       Ask a player who they are thinking of from their past.

11       Ask a player what sound the party hears echoing through the halls.

12       Ask a player what kind of trap the one they just triggered is.


Share good posts with good goblins. Claytonian at the gmails.

Friday, April 22, 2022

d12 Crazy Monster Abilities & Twists

This is a non-exhastive list. Your task, dear reader, is to roll on the table and make a monster today! Note that you decide the specifics. For instance, a Midas could transform things into whatever. You'll see.
  1. Bloodied: something special happens when the monster is down to half HP. Thanks, 4e Obama.
  2. Death boon: slaying it blesses the slayer.
  3. Death curse: it's bad luck to kill an angel.
  4. Shut up: Verbose about the fight. Maybe polite!
  5. I'll be back: Gaseous or vermin form escape.
  6. Invincible.
  7. Somebody help me: Needs to posses a PC's body to interact with reality.
  8. Sympathy for the devil: Hurting it hurts you.
  9. Magic hole: any weapon that strikes it turns to spaghetti. Any wand pointed at it turns to fetta.
  10. Avengance shall be mine: PCs are marked for revenge if they harm the monster; something strong will stalk them.
  11. Turtle: Transforms to regenerate for a few rounds, and may have a strong antipathy field or putties show up to protect it.
  12. Midas: If something touches it, 1 cubic ell of that thing turns to gold. Sucky lead midases escape alchemical explosions sometimes.

Share good posts with good goblins. Claytonian at the gmails.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

On the Spontaneous Generation of Porcs

Recently my group started playing FAGE RPG. And players were like, rolling my race herp derp I'm a gnome! Hey me too!  And I'm like, nah, you are just dwarves tho. And the book was like, be an orc too, and I was like, I don't know if I want that cuz orcs are kinda basic, but the players gnashed their terrible teeth and so here we are.

First off, orcs are porks. They have pig faces and lolling tongues. Second, porks are not a normal species per say; they are a phenomenon. They grow out of underworld dank. They bubble out of ritually-cooked elf corpses. They roll, unbidden, out of necromancers' shadows. They spawn with weapons that moulder away if the pork dies.

They have no souls, and are anthromorphosized expressions of evil in mankind's collective unconciousness. They don't have babies, love, or lust. No creedos, tastes, or art. They instinctively gather to further the aims of evil. They posses language only as a means to decieve and demoralize. They are arguably not even sentient, so they can't be tortured nor successfully negotiated with. You shouldn't feel bad about slaying them; they are humanoid viruses, and their resemblance to humans and pigs is a cosmic parody at best. 

But. Sometimes. One gains a soul. Who can say how. Afflicted with a mind and feelings, they wander off. They learn. They walk, blinking in the sunlight. They learn fire bad. They learn of gods and to curse them. 

Those that survive sapience might become adventurers.

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Sunday, April 17, 2022

Horrors and Guardians Under the Keep That Contains the Dark Lord

NOTE: I found this draft from like 10 years ago. It was the proto-Calabraxis. You can see it if you squint.  I'm not sure where the map is, but it wasn't super important.

Sunday, March 13, 2022


I'm currently running Tomb of Horrors as a DCC funnel, so good time as any to dust off the FAQ from the old g+ days.


Q: How do you "roll over the body"?

A: Roll a d20. Try to roll your Luck score or lower. That's a Luck check/roll the body roll. Keep in mind zero levels don't get to check; they die at 0HP.

Q: How long is a turn?

A: 10 minutes! Keep this in mind when looking at spell results.

Q: When do PCs level up?

A: Whenever the judge says they do. The RAW recommends leveling to 1, regardless of XP, for any survivors of a funnel. Some people allow leveling in the funnel, on the spot, if a PC makes 10XP.

>Whether you want to have PCs level up instantaneously upon gaining requisite XP or make them wait until they are safe or even make them carouse is a matter of taste.

Q: What is best in life?

A: Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.

Q: What's the rule for _____?

A: You are the game judge, so make something up! But later you can find the info hidden by GG in a spell result or something weird like that. DCC, bitches. For instance, invisibility rules hidden in spell and mighty deed descriptions.

Q: Do halflings give 2 Luck to other PCs, or just 1?

A: Two Luck.

Source: Word of god.

Q: What is the deed die added to?

A: All attack rolls and damage rolls. Roll it when first attacking, and don't re-roll it when rolling damage; just add it to your damage total.

>Whether you roll the die more than once for separate attacks in the same round (i.e. after hitting level 5) is kinda moot, but go with whatever is easiest for your players.

Q: Do dwarves get a deed on their shield bash?

A: Probably not, unless they haven't used their deed on their main attack(s). This one is contentious.

There were a few g+ posts about it, but they’re gone now. The Judge will have to make a ruling!

Q: How do I get a Goodman Games forum account to work?

A: send an email to

Q: What's a good funnel?

A: See above, but here is a list of funnels. Haven't heard of a bad funnel yet.

Q: What does one use for a GM's screen?

A: Official ones have been in the wild for a while now. If your question is about customizable screen materials, ask in a general RPG community or at your FLGS. Or Staples.

Q: Can I choose any spell result?

A: Generally, no, you go with the result you rolled. But some spells specifically allow you to choose lower results. Mercurial magic gets into this a bit too.

Q: Where can I buy weird dice?

A: All the places.

You can also use the app Crawlers' Companion from Purple Duck (see community links).

Q: What patrons are out there?

A: Well, that isn't clear at this time (there are many), but modules with new patrons are listed out here (edit if you know new ones):

Q: What happens when you roll a natural 20 on a spell check?

A: Add double your level instead of 1x your level to the spell check total.

Q: How does surprise work?

A: p77 (4th printing) says:

But first, determine surprise. If the characters were not aware of their opponents (or vice versa), they are surprised. Being aware of an opponent means seeing them, making a check to hear them approach, or otherwise noticing them through magical or mundane means. Surprised characters do not act in the first round of combat. After the first round they act normally on their initiative count.

Q: What has been made for this game?

A: Find or add stuff at

Share good posts with good goblins. Claytonian at the gmails.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Zeroth Level DCC PC Macro for Roll20

Nobody will ever use this, but just I think macros are neat. Let's make a PC! And hey, take the plunge and run a funnel in the tomb of horrors like I did. It's a lot of fun.

&{template:default} {{name=**A new gong-farmer emerges**}} {{Str= [[ 3d6 ]] }} {{Agil= [[ 3d6 ]] }} {{Sta= [[ 3d6 ]] }} {{Int= [[ 3d6 ]] }} {{Pers= [[ 3d6 ]] }} {{Luck= [[ 3d6 ]] }} {{Star-sign=[[d30]]}}{{HP=[[d4]] (plus STA mod!)}} {{starting CP=[[5d12]] coins}} {{table 3-4 Misc equip=[[d24]]}} {{Occupation=[[d100]]}}
if you are a demi-human, you have some quirks from the get-go (p21)

Use this and you get something like: 

A new gong-farmer emerges
Str 6
Agil 9
Sta 11
Int 8
Pers 12
Luck 14
HP2 (plus STA mod!)
Starting CP47 coins
Table 3-4 Misc equip13
if you are a demi-human, you have some quirks from the get-go (p21)


Note that you may want to change the macro a bit if you think your players will get confused and think that literally every zero guy is a gong farmer.

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