best of the joesky tax part two

Do you feel like spending the rest of your day reading good D&D blogs?

Here is the second half of my Best of the Joesky Tax roundup. (The Joesky Tax invited people to pay for blog rants by writing playable game content.) I’ve picked out my favorite bits: visit the blogs for lots more.

Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque defending DIY:

Random Automaton Generator

d12 	Form 		AC 	HD 	Locomotion (1d3 modes)
1 	Arachnid 	15 (4) 	1d4 	Aquatic
2 	Bird-like 	15 (4) 	1d4 	Burrowing
3 	Dinosaur-like 	15 (4) 	1d6 	Far-leaping
4 	Humanoid 	16 (3) 	1d6 	Fast-climbing
5 	Humanoid 	16 (3) 	1d6 	Flight
6 	Humanoid 	16 (3) 	1d6 	Gliding
7 	Humanoid 	16 (3) 	1d8 	Legs, bipedal
8 	Humanoid 	17 (2) 	1d8 	Legs, multiple
9 	Insecte-like 	17 (2) 	1d10 	Levitation
10 	Lizard-like 	17 (2) 	1d10 	Slithering
11 	Mammalian 	17 (2) 	1d12 	Tank treads
12 	Serpentine 	18 (1) 	1d12 	Wheels

d12 Mv	#Atks Attacks 			Defense
1   60' 1     Big metal fist (1d6) 	Chromatic field (Prismatic Sphere)
2   60' 1     Chainsword (1d8) 		Cloaking device (Invisibility)
3   60' 1     Death ray (Finger/Death) 	Electric field (1d6 damage if stuck)
4   90' 1     Electric stun (Hold Pers.)Energy absorb (immune elemental dmg)
5   90' 1     Electro-blade (1d12) 	Force field (+1 Armor Class)
6   90' 2     Laser blast (1d10) 	Force field (+2 Armor Class)
7   90' 2     Metal teeth (1d6) 	Force field (+3 Armor Class)
8  120' 2     Metal whip (1d4+entangle) Heat-sensing vision
9  120' 2     Poisonous gas 		Nanobots (regenerate 2 HP/round)
10 120' 3     Rending claws (1d6) 	Repulsor beam (Clenched Fist)
11 180' 3     Venomous injection 	Smoke screen (Fog Cloud)
12 180' 4     Vibro-axe (1d8) 	        Tractor beam (Telekinesis)

(This post appears to be gone now, but lots of other good stuff on the site.) I think I used this to generate the defenders of an abandoned space station. I don’t think the players faced more than one or two robots, so I didn’t get the most out of this; a chart like this really pays for itself over the course of a longish space-dungeon crawl. Maybe the players will go back someday.

Planet Algol, celebrating the international day of human spaceflight (not really a rant in my opinion)

d6 Space Madness Table
1 – Wants to go swimming in space; will strip and attempt to exit through the airlock.
2 – Has a spiritual experience and goes completely new-age wild; starts wearing crystals and doing energy healing.
3 – Thinks they can hear God speaking to them through the crackle of background radiation.
4 – Sees a hyperspace gremlin through a porthole; believes it is sabotaging the vessel.
5 – Belives that one of their companions has been replaced by a shapechanging alien and must be stopped.
6 – Believes that a companion has sabotaged or will sabotage their spaceship.

I put a space-madness cloud on my space D&D game map, but the players wisely steered clear of it.

Richard thinks that “pseudo medieval” is a bad description for D&D

For my JOESKY tax I’ll propose another month-long project: the Lady Gaga Bestiary. Entry 1: the Red Devil

Encountered alone, or more frequently in groups of 6-8, this creature will most frequently be found writhing in otherworldly agony. Its apparent helplessness is an act, however: it can jump cut (as a blink dog) up to 50 feet, in order to close to attack. It is activated by the rhythmic drumming of a cadre of priestesses: disrupting the drumming will confuse or immobilize it. Its main attack is a slow finger drag over the victim: this slices points of attributes off them randomly (d6), which can only be restored by a remove curse or wish. The Red Devil can choose instead to slice armour off the victim: a successful attack worsens AC by 1d6, to max AC10.
Hit Dice: 5
Armor Class: 7
Move: 5′ per round, or jump cut up to 50′
Damage: special: 1d4 to an attribute
Special: Requires ritual drumming in order to act.

I find this monster charming because it’s sort of respectful of Lady Gaga. And its ability is scary and the finger drag is something the DM can do at the table to good effect.

rjbs defending THACO:

The high priests of Boccob are granted knowledge of secrets and portents, but often at great price. Some of these powers (initially for 4E) are granted to the highest orders while they undertake holy quests: […]

Subtle Stars. Every night, the PC can consult the stars and learn two facts and one lie. Failure to consult the stars once a day leads to a -2 cumulative penalty to Will defense.

Curiosity. Every time the priest asks a question that goes unanswered (even in soliloquy), he must roll a d20. If it is more than his Wisdom + 2, he gets the answer and loses a point of Wisdom.

How awesome is Subtle Stars? Two truths and one lie!

metal vs skin, exhorting us to do the thing.

1. 1d20 Gold, covered with poo. Ew. Roll CON to keep from vomiting.
2. An elf finger with a magic ring that gives you absolute knowledge of the next magical item you touch, then the ring turns into a normal worm.
3. A worm that eats magic. Left alone with any magic item or spell area, it will eat 1 level of spells per day. It will not eat in front of you. It will starve to death if not fed magic or eaten to live in intestines in 1d3 days. It can live in intestines indefinitely, but removing it kills a living creature.
4. A tiny spellbook. The highest and lowest level spells have been digested, but there is a middle-level spell you can learn. Roll CON to keep from vomiting, though.
5. A Goblin-beetle. Makes clacking noises when demons or goblins are within 100 feet. Will fly at their faces and try to go down their mouths/noses.

Was this inspired by that one episode of Celebrity PAX?

Adventures in Gaming for answering a survey:

D10 Specials
1. This round room appears to be at the bottom of a long, deep well that opens to the world above. In fact, if the lever on the wall is pulled, the floor of the room shoots up through the well above as though it were a cork in a bottle, flying half as far into the air above the ground as it is deep beneath the ground, then dropping itself and the adventurers back to the ground…
2. A large chunk of trans-polar un-meltable ice stands atop a pedestal; the ice is sovereign even against dragon fire. If the ice is touched, the character must make a saving throw or be instantly transformed into a statue of solid ice. While the ice chunk cannot melt, the frozen character easily does so…
3. The snake’s venom is not a normal poison, it is a transmogrifier. If the victim fails his saving throw against polymorph, he slowly and painfully transforms into a snake of the same type as the attacker in 1d6 turns, during which he can only hiss and writhe in pain.
4. This book appears to be blank. If, however, a drop of blood is placed on it, blood-red writing appears in the native language of the one whose blood was used. The writing reveals the being’s life story, though only for 1d6 turns before it fades. Each turn of reading the reader may make a saving throw versus Magic; if successful, he has gleaned a secret from the thus-revealed history.
5. This horned demon’s skull has 1d20 teeth remaining; if a tooth is pulled and immediately thrown on the ground, a quasit bursts forth with a terrible foul stench. The quasit served the one who threw the tooth for 1d6x1d10 turns (10-minute turns), then the summoner must make a saving throw versus magic; if successful, the quasit returns to the Abyss. If the save fails, the quasit attacks the summoner and seeks to slay him and take his soul to the Abyss.
6. This small, chipped statue of a gnome will, when held by the hat and the nose is tweaked, teleport without error the holder, the statue, and all the holder carries and wears, to any destination the holder has ever been to… however, every time the owner uses it he must roll a d6. If the number rolled is equal to or less than the number of times he has used the gnome, he is instead teleported somewhere he has never been, though still on the same planet.
7. This small silver hand mirror contains a reflection of a random humanoid creature of random gender. If gazed upon, the one gazing into the mirror must make a saving throw versus Magic or have their face transformed into that of the creature in the mirror; their own former visage replaces that which the mirror once held. The mirror never works on the same being twice in a row.
8. This strange device looks like a crossbow stock made out of a glassy green jade; there is however no crossbar, and rather than a lever the handle has a button. A small hole is at the further end of the device, below where the bolt would loose from. If held with two hands, aimed, and the button is pushed, a globule of green slime (a 1 HD slime) shoots out of the hole with the same range as a light crossbow. The device hold s1d6 globules of green slime when found, and can hold up to 10; it can be “recharged” by touching the tip of the device to a green slime; if the slime fails a saving throw against Magic, it is sucked up by the device adding 1 charge per HD to it.
9. This room contains a bright pillar of flame, like a cross between a roaring fire and the Aurora Borealis. If the flame is merely touched it deals 2d6 points of damage with no saving throw. If it is entered bodily and wholly, the one who enters it must make a saving throw against Magic. If he fails, he is disintegrated. If he succeeds, he exits the flame unharmed and gains thereby 1 point to his Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma (determine randomly). If he ever enters the flames a second time, he is disintegrated, no saving throw.
10. This round room is dominated by a large statue of a great ape. At the center of the ceiling is a large opening; it goes up and up as far as the eye can see, even far beyond the ground above, and there is seemingly no end to the tunnel nor exits, other than the one into the room with the ape statue. The ape statue has, as its eyes, two great diamonds, each apparently worth a king’s ransom. However, the diamonds, if removed, turn out to be glass. If the statue is ever touched, 1d6 apes of random sort drop (unharmed) from the endless tunnel above and attack the infidel defilers with berserk fury (+2 to hit, no morale checks). If a second person touches the statue, 2d6 drop; a third, another 3d6 drop, and so forth…

For most of these lists of 10 or 20 things, I just quote my favorite two or three. In this case, I am forced to present them all, because they are all my favorite. But #10 is my favorite favorite.

One Response to “best of the joesky tax part two”

  1. John Beltman says:

    The random robot table can be found in his book Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque III. You can buy it at Lulu.
    He (Jack Shear) gave the PDF away free on his blog I think, which must be how I have it. It is subtitled The Final Chapter and he obviously thought it would be the last one.
    Maybe the most interesting entry in the index is:
    “Search the body? No, Search IN the Body”!

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