Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Congratulations It's a Mouse Trap Challenge.

OK, having just read Zak's thrown down gauntlet , I'll transform it into a 30 day challenge which seems to popular in blogapaloozaville.   Something I've given up on before, in the case of the Dungeons and Dragons Thirty Day Challenge! and most recently the Nanowrimo bit.  I'll add in my stated self-avowed goals as to what I intended to blog about, which I then see have been done to death by others and so I skip repeating their routines.

So here we go.  Thirty days of weird encounters and such, some of which I've used and others I've just wanted to use. Warning, I will likely skip searching about for the perfect pictures to go with this, let alone drawing my own, as such mechanics seem to eat up the little bit of time I set aside for this. If your bastards would stop with the interesting posts, which make me want to argue or voice my opinion, I might write on a more regular basis.

Swiped from What on Earth Catalog
This in an NPC/Encounter/Artifact I like to call  Redcap, which is based loosely on a Scotch folktale I read once.  OK so he doesn't look quite like this.  He's basically a wizened goblinlike character in a red hat, one I describe as being in the fez style.   Unlike the legend, he is often a  genial host, useful for dispensing information, but with one sore point.   The mere mention of his hat will drive him into a murderous berserk rage, which will not end until the person who mentioned the hat, whether friend or foe, is dead, dead, dead.  Even the death of the wearer does not cease the object's cursed allure to the owner or his murderous rage.   Upon the person's death, the owner will immediately wash his hat in the fashion critic's blood and put it back on his head, an action which will give him the deceased hit points until the blood dries out.   A secondary effect is that the owner never sleeps, as he knows if he does, someone will steal his hat. 

Possible FAQs
Yes, the player can slay the current redcap and take his hat.   That is the whole point.   Which is why you can skip the goblinlike dude who may or may not beat the PCs with a pike staff or whatever and use the gimmick on pretty much anyone you wish. 

Yes, he will kill anyone who mentions the hat.

Yes, this will make every encounter with new people complicated, as the player is wearing a hat which either reeks of fresh blood or of rotten, old blood, as he will never wash it or take it off.    A surprising number of PCs, when warned about the hat, will still stubbornly feel the need to mention his hat.   I'm sure you see possibilities for havoc in this item.

Yes, I call this an artifact.  For a couple of reasons.   It's quite possible for a rampaging lunatic or a cynical PC to kill a lot of people, temporarily gaining their hit points.  Items like this tend to snowball sometimes.   So it is pretty powerful.  As such, I make the standard "remove curse spell" either ineffective or require it to mention the hat in the spell, so the wearer kills plenty of priests and keeps his hat.  I also use the extreme conditions to destroy clause, rather than allowing it's destruction in the standard ill-placed fireball.     I enjoy tainting the milk.  I like folk tales where the magic betrays you.  Power with consequences is more fun. 

How long does it last?  Up to you. I usually allow the blood to be damp for twelve hours to thirty-two.  Keep in mind that new blood will redampen the old and water will just weaken the magic.   Also, you can't heal the extra hit points back. 

What if we steal the hat form the PC who is wearing it?  Berserk rage until he finds his hat and general mayhem against everyone who is likely to have stolen the hat.  You may wish to make intelligence rolls as to whether he knows who must have done this. 

Berserk rage?  Yes, but not mindless rage.  He will use each and every power he can. He will use cunning and guile, but can not wait to exact his revenge. 

Is there some compulsion to don the hat?  If you want.   I didn't ever need one, but then again some parties will always be more cautious than others. 

How I Originally Used This:  I placed this in a world which was more or less a pathway to another world.   You don't need to really build an entire world or even know yourself what is going on behind the scenes to use it for an evening's entertainment.  You just make it odd enough, dying or dead worlds filled with shadows and bizarre oddities, always unexplained. In this case, I described a world of eternal night, where the trees had died and the rivers ran dry.  A land of eternal thirst and darkness.  The roads were guarded by black-cloaked wights who road upon nightmares and the woods were haunted by pale faced ghouls, who wished to drink the blood of man. In their journey from Midgard's gate to gate which led to the Realm of the Fey, they found a lonely, broken tower.  This tower was the home of the wizened redcap, who feasted them with pork and wine, while regaling them with tales of the fey lands.  Then, despite a whispered conference and warning, someone felt the need to say "nice hat."  

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