Tuesday, December 02, 2008

My Very Own Crazy-Stupid Random Chart

I've finally started putting actual material together for my S&W sandbox. No actual mapping yet, but I'm going to see about printing out some hex paper so I can start that tomorrow. (Assuming I don't get terminally distracted by some kind of White Wolf thing, or go back to obsessing over Traveller.) I've mostly been working on character creation material, and I have all the major ideas in place so now it's just a matter of putting pen to paper. (Or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be.)

See, I started playing Fallout 3, and a bunch of guys I know started playing Fallout 3, and then I remembered that, hey, post-apocalypse can be fantasy too, and it's got a long and noble history in D&D and the fiction that inspired it, and wouldn't it be cool if the players could be mutants? So now I've got Takalik Abaj, an underwater city that survived whatever great cataclysm that created the setting, and the players can choose to either be from there or to be a surface dwelling probably mutant.

If they start out as surface dwellers, they can play any race (including, knowing my players, some ridiculous ones of their own devising) but have to roll on the Starting Mutation Chart. (To be devised. I've got a bunch of pre-made ones, I just need to sit down and hack my favorite results together into one chart.) I may allow humans to choose not to roll on the chart, since it'll probably have a fair amount of less than helpful results, but mutants are fun.

City-dwellers have to be human, and can't be wizards ("The sorcerous arts are unknown in the technological city of Abaj." I may write-up a technologist class to make up for it.) but they have a better chance to use pre-cataclysm tech without it blowing up in their faces, and they get to roll on the What Did You Smuggle Off the Boat? Chart, reproduced in its current form below.

1. A set of two linked communicators*
2. A fancy science lock pick* (It may resemble a ray gun, an unmarked sphere, or another odd but unassuming device)
3. 3 vials of highly refined lazarine (each can be used as a powerful healing potion, or as an ingredient for more exotic purposes by a skilled technologist or enterprising wizard)
4. 2d4 power cells
5. Fold-out boat (Just add water!)
6. Autograpnel*
7. An oracular skull, answers 1 yes/no question per day and only occasionally poisons its user with radiation
8. 60 ft. of power cord
9. A dashing cloak with a pin of gold and human bone
10. A flying (and air breathing) fish companion, maximum flying height of 20 ft. It is not otherwise a magic fish.
11. Several bottles of fine Abajin wine. No, you don't know how they make wine underneath the sea.
12. Steel crowbar
13. Several wrenches of various sizes and a bag to keep them in. Also some screws.
14. A box with many mysterious symbols on it. Inside are 3d12 bones.
15. A box with many mysterious symbols on it. Inside are bees. You don't know exactly how many. Probably a lot.*
16. A Universal Detector* (see note below)
17. Tin of mustache wax
18. Duck tape
19. A pen that writes on anything. Sometimes it glows.
20. Firestarter cube*

*Requires a power source

Some of the above items may or may not be stolen from Jeff Rients Deck of Stuff, which is where I got the idea for the chart in the first place. I also snagged a few from my copy of Darwin's World--I've got that and a couple of other books with science fiction equipment lists that I intend to borrow from for Takalik technology. And with any luck, I'll be able to con my players into adding to it, or at least to my general tech list. They get to choose what they start with if they make it up themselves, assuming it's not too ridiculous.

The Detector, incidentally, gives the user the direction of the closest example of whatever material it's set to, but there's no way to tell what that material is without following where the Detector leads, and a lot of the presets it comes with are weird. Could be gold, old bits of fish, could be bees. No way to know. It and the other more complicated items could all use better descriptions, especially visually. It might even be a good idea to put together an actual equipment list, for record keeping and treasure generation purposes.


  1. All this talk of mutants lately has made me want to run an odd school game of Gamma World. The first edition had some of the best random junk/artifact tables I've ever seen.

  2. "and only occasionally poisons its user with radiation"

    That's awesome!

  3. bonemaster: Yeah, one of these days I'm going to have to dig one of those up. I'm having a blast working my way through 1e AD&D material, so any book with a bunch of random charts is okay by me.

    Jeff Rients: Hopefully that'll be my player's reaction, rather than "crap, I just got killed by a skull!"