Skulls that Scream

Recently Hannah and I recorded a short podcast episode where we discussed the phenomenon of the Screaming Skull, a legendary tale where a person or persons requests their skull to be stored in a particular location and–when the skull is inevitably removed–it begins to scream or manifest other poltergeist-like behaviours. In the episode we talked a little about how you could use such an item/entity in your D&D game, you can check out the episode below:

Hannah identified a few recurring themes in these stories:

  • A wronged noblewoman loves her home, and asks to be interred there, the priesthood disapproves, and she is buried in the churchyard, she screams until her skull is back in the house.
  • A poorly treated slave begs to be freed so he can die in his home country, his master refuses and has him buried in a potters field. the master is haunted until he brings the skull into his home.
  • A Parlimentarian soldier hears what was done to cromwells body and begs his family to hide his skull in the family home so that the royalists can’t desecrate him.
  • A resurrectionist stole a body for study, and the skull likes to stay there.

This got us thinking about how you could change this up, giving your Screaming Skulls a little bit more flavour and–as an unashamed fan of random charts–I started hashing out a mad-lib style chart to use as a starting point for a Screaming Skull.

The basic mad-lib format goes like this:

The [verb] skull of [name] [place].

You can then roll on the table below to fill in the gaps:

1D6 RollVerbNamePlace
1screamingBurtonmanor
2groaningMarstonfarm
3weepingAlderleyhall
4howlingCaldwellcottage
5moaningTattershallcastle
6cacklingWindhamabbey

For example: A roll of 6, 3 and 2 on 3D6 would give us The cackling skull of Alderley farm.

Of course you could–an probably should–substitute the place names with ones that are appropriate for your own campaign world.

Hannah has also produced a couple of additional charts to fill in some extra details regarding the skull, these can either be rolled on using 1D6 or an option that fits simply chosen.

Cause of Death

  1. Tortured by home owner.
  2. Murdered by “ruffians”.
  3. Natural causes.
  4. Killed in action.
  5. Murdered by a lover.
  6. Suicide.

Reasons to Scream

  1. Wants revenge on those who wronged them.
  2. Fears desecration by enemies.
  3. Loves the house.
  4. Loves the family.
  5. Atonement for sins committed in life.
  6. Disturbed by the presence of an unbeliever.

We hope you have fun using these charts to inject a dose of skeletal cackling in your games, if you do, or you have any ideas concerning this you can always drop us a voicemail message using the Speakpipe app (link below) and you may be featured on a future episode of the podcast:

https://www.speakpipe.com/RDDRPGPodcast

Maps as Visual Story/World-building Inspiration

In this recording Hannah is explaining a visual method of map and world creation that she has used to provide her with inspiration in the past when it comes to creating campaign worlds for RPGs.

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Random Encounters by Area

In this episode Hannah and myself are discussing my recent decision to have random encounter charts for specific areas in my OSE campaign and the things to keep in mind if you decide to do likewise.

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The Witching Well

In this small, booklet PDF I thought I’d try something a little different, so–instead of another tavern–this PDF describes a small, wishing well that was once the site of a horrible miscarriage of justice that locals remember with a yearly festival.

The Prince’s Arms

After putting my last tavern mini-booklet on the blog I got some great feedback and some brilliant ideas from people, one of my favourites was an idea from Robert Langford who suggested a tavern with a sinister motive. So without further ado, I present to you the Prince’s Arms.

Cask & Bottle version 2

I’m glad to see people seem to be liking the PDF I posted up earlier today, I’ve already had some great feedback regarding it, I’ve taken that feedback and printed it to PDF using a book fold.

The Cask & Bottle

I’ve been tinkering around with layouts for future RPG PDFs I might like to make using Word 2013, yes I know it’s not exactly a publishing power-house but it’s a program I’m comfortable with.

To test out one of the layout templates I’ve made I decided to create a simple tavern, a simple two page A5 PDF providing some details on the Cask & Bottle tavern in the fictional town of Tadbury. I wanted to put it on the blog to see what people thought of it and get some (hopefully constructive) feedback.

Continue reading “The Cask & Bottle”

20 Forest Encounters

Forests have long held a special place in our hearts, represented untamed nature and a glimpse into the past before concrete and asphalt covered much of the civilised world. In D&D the forests are the domain of the Elves and fey creatures who can be whimsical allies or deadly threats.

Below is a D20 table of people, creatures and events that your PCs might encounter whilst exploring the dark reaches of the forest.

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The man in the back said everyone attack and it turned into a barroom hex!

In this Monday’s episode myself and Hannah discuss barroom brawls and try to create a simple mini-game for running them:

The subject of this episode was suggested by:

If you’re interested in knowing more about Hexflowers, check out the following created by Goblin’s Henchman:

You can see the hexflower we created here.

The icons used in the hexflower and as the title image of this post were taken from Game-Icons.net