20 Port Town Encounters

Port towns are a hotbed of activity, most of which is centred around the sea since that’s where most people make their livelihood.

Below is a D20 table of random encounters that can be used to inject some life into the coastal towns and villages in your campaign.

Please note: Each of these would benefit from a bit of elaboration by the GM, nor do they apply specific game mechanics.

No.Description
1There is a cursing and swearing as a man unloading a boat drops a crate of fish and it spills all over the docks.
2A group of children are sat at the waters edge throwing stones, they've seen everything that has occurred in the area during the day and might be persuaded to part with the information.
3A smuggler runs through the dock area, leaping over crates and upending barrels as he tries to flee from the pursuing town guard.
4A battered ship limps into harbour, it is barely afloat and shows signs of having been attacked. Anyone speaking to the crew find out that their vessel was set upon by a pirate vessel flying the banner of a red skeletal hand.
5A bumper crops of fish have recently been hauled in, forcing down prices.
6High winds have roused the sea into a crashing frenzy of waves that lash the harbour, most locals have retreated to the safety of their homes or a tavern to wait for it to blow over, giving the dock area an eerie deserted feel.
7A local peddler is attempted to sell a seal-skin that he claims was taken from a Selkie, a creature that looks like a large seal but can become human by removing it's seal-skin coat.
8A ship's captain has a cargo if wine barrels that he needs loading, he's looking for some cheap labour willing to do the job in a hurry.
9The sound of a cannon rings out as a local sea-fortress marks the hour.
10A group of local folk are busily throwing wreathes of flowers into the sea, mourning the deaths of a boat of their kin lost in a recent storm.
11Due to a recent rise in smuggling there is a higher concentration of guards than normal in the port, causing great annoyance to the merchants as every consignment is being stopped and searched.
12A ship's Captain chases a bedraggled man clutching a red stone off his ship, the man attempts to bargain with the Captain claiming that he desperately needs passage, but it is to no avail.
13A small fleet of ships is gathering in the harbour, planning to go and hunt the dread pirate Robert Rawbones.
14An agitator loudly protests the recent rise in import taxes, a crowd is gathering around him and it wouldn't take much for this scene to turn into a riot.
15An old, mutilated sailor sits by the dockside staring wistfully out at the sea, for a few pennies he'll tell a story from his extensive store of old naval tales.
16A group of young sailors enjoying some shore-leave stand clapping one of their fellows as he plays a medley of popular sea shanties on his harmonica.
17A crowd of people are working on the shore to carve up and cart away the body of a large whale that washed up recently, scars along it's side attest to a terrible sea battle.
18A merchant stands beside a small stall that claims contains the body of a mermaid. For a small fee, passers by are allowed into the stall to view the shrivelled, preserved body of a creature resembling a combination of small monkey and fish.
19A group of merchants have arrived from a foreign land bringing unusual foods and trinkets with them, they unroll their wares from carpets at the dockside, to the astonishment of the locals.
20A fist-fight erupts between two groups of inebriated sailors, if nothing occurs to prevent it, after a few minutes the town guard turn up and break up the fight, dragging the worst offenders away to the town drunk-tank.

Random Things: Embarrassing Adventurer Antics

10 Embarrassing Adventurer Antics

It’s a familiar scene, your adventurers have just rolled into town after mostly surviving a terrible dungeon. Songs will be sung, ale quaffed and fallen comrades lamented. Often these scenes are handled off-screen, but potentially this is missing out a source of fun/adventure–after all–think about how much trouble rowdy celebrants get into in the real-world and that’s without the powers of adventurers.

Below is a D10 table of potentially embarrassing antics that your hungover PC could wake up to find out they were involved in.

No.Description
1Someone has defaced the statue of a local dignitary, inventively using mud and dung to give them a large beard and moustache.
2Several barrels of ale were stolen from a local tavern, they were found a couple of streets away drained of their contents.
3The son/daughter of a local noble claims to have been visited in their budoir by a dashing young adventurer.
4A pig was dressed in a stolen nobles wig and released into the main street, leading to much chaos and hilarity.
5The town/city guard are currently looking for an adventurer (matching one of the PC's description) who assaulted one of their officers after they tried to arrest then for urinating into a public fountain.
6Authorities are looking for a person responsible for menacing a nearby halfling settlement, the inebriating person rampaged through the settlement claiming to be a giant.
7The Thieves Guild have placed a bounty on the head of one of the PCs after they drunkenly interfered with the operations of one of their operatives, leading to the operatives arrest by the guard.
8The PC is wanted for questionning concerning damage to a local tavern when a bar brawl got out of control.
9The PC wakes up a in a farmer's barn wearing a jester's hat with a sat full of live frogs lying next to them.
10A person matching the description of one of the PCs was heard proclaiming the short-comings of a local person of influence, whilst drinking ale and playing a drum in the town square.

Is OSR combat deadlier than 5E?

I’ve been running my Rose of Westhaven LOTFP campaign for a little while now, we’re running every other week (schedules allowing) and have just wrapped up session 4 (as of the time of writing this blog).

Prior to running this campaign my experience of playing OSR style games was minimal and my experience with running it was non-existent, although I’ve been a fan of the idea of OSR for a while and have been steadily accumulating games such as White Star, ASSH 2E, LOTFP and the like, so I’m by no means an expert. Given that I’m still finding my way around the whole OSR deal–although my players seem to be enjoying it at the moment–and having come more from a background of highly cinematic games such as Fate, one thing that I have noticed is that the combat in OSR games seems to be extremely deadly. Continue reading “Is OSR combat deadlier than 5E?”

Random Things: Local Beliefs & Festivals

villager.pngLocal Festivals

These random things articles are designed as quick idea generators for time-pressed GMs who want to inject some additional details into their game. Isolated villages and towns inevitably develop their own traditions and customs, these can add a lot of flavour to an RPG but are often sadly ignored.

Continue reading “Random Things: Local Beliefs & Festivals”

Random Things: Jungle Trinkets for D&D 5E

These random things articles are designed as quick idea generators for time-pressed GMs who want to inject some additional details into their game, in this article we’re looking at trinkets again. Trinkets were one of my favourite things about character generation in D&D 5th Edition; essentially each character starts with at least one, a small item or curiosity that has some odd property or something strange about it, it’s not a powerful magic item, just something interesting that could spur conversation and plot. Although this article was inspired by D&D 5E the same mechanic can be used in pretty much any game including OSR titles.

Continue reading “Random Things: Jungle Trinkets for D&D 5E”

Frost-covered Trinkets for D&D 5E

These random things articles are designed as quick idea generators for time-pressed GMs who want to inject some additional details into their game, in this article we’re looking at trinkets again. Trinkets were one of my favourite things about character generation in D&D 5th Edition; essentially each character starts with at least one, a small item or curiosity that has some odd property or something strange about it, it’s not a powerful magic item, just something interesting that could spur conversation and plot. Although this article was inspired by D&D 5E the same mechanic can be used in pretty much any game including OSR titles.

Continue reading “Frost-covered Trinkets for D&D 5E”

Moving 3Brothers D&D 5E Campaign Notes

Previously my 3Brothers campaign notes have been stored using Obsidian Portal, by and large I’ve found it easier and user-friendly to create the campaign wiki, etc in OP, however due to Google Hangouts seemingly eating up all of my bandwidth when I’m running a game using it (as most of my TT games are run nowadays) using it during a session has been very problematic, which is unfortunate since that’s when I really need to check my notes.

So this weekend I’m transistioning my notes onto a Tiddlywiki that will be hosted on my dropbox account, since I will be able to use the dropbox version saved on locally on my machine and not have to rely on the scraps of bandwidth Hangouts leaves me.

At some point in the next couple of days I’ll be removing the campaign from Obsidian Portal, from that point on anyone wishing to see the campaign wiki can access it at this link (and previous OP links will become inactive):

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/129688634/3Brothers%20TW/3Brothers%20TW.html

The Tiddlywiki is already active but not all of the information has been moved over yet.

3Brothers D&D 5E Campaign Episode 7: Deeper and Down

Making it back to Battlebridge, Avaestar, Watoomb and their new colleague Xan are re-united with Drax and investigate the odd case of a man who appears to have been poisoned by a giant snake; Xan and Drax believe it may be connected to the man who attempted to break into Drax’ room at the Common Sword tavern.

3Brothers Recap Video: Episodes 1-4

It can be difficult sometimes with actual plays, even if you’re really interested in them to find the time to listen to a bunch of 3/4 hour long videos, and with a long running campaign once you fall behind it can be difficult to catch up.

To try and make it a bit easier for people who might be interested in my 3Brothers D&D 5E campaign I’ve created a short 20 minute video that summarises the first four sessions of our game.

3Brothers: The Kingdom of Al Mamlakah

My FLGS Spirit Games runs a yearly convention at our local town hall called Beer & Pretzels, it’s quite informal with plenty of board games and the like to be borrowed from the games library that can be played over the day, it has a cool relaxed atmosphere, both myself and my wife Hannah have been going for a number of years.

This year, since I’ve been enjoying my 3Brothers D&D 5E campaign that I’m running online so much, I decided to run a one-shot set in a different area of the campaign world, getting the players to help further define a different area of the world. I’ve put out a call to people that I know and will hopefully have my wife, a long-time friend of ours and a couple of my regular 3Brothers players coming down for the weekend and joining in with this one-shot.

After canvassing their opinion we’ve landed on the idea of a desert kingdom ruled by a dynasty of elemental-blooded Pharoahs, drawing inspiration heavily from Ancient Egypt; below is a map of where this kingdom (that I have called Al Mamlakah) fits into my world map of Talamh.

screenshot

I’m planning to get the players to help me define this desert kingdom more when they get down here but I’ve drafted out a rough framework and some character generation options (drawing on the Elemental Evil Players Handbook and some other resources I found on the internet) in a handout:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByVpAo4rxDGuUjl5RThPemR2NWc/view?usp=sharing

I hope to post a written report of the session after it has taken place, I’ll also add the report as an adventure log to my obsidian portal site.