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

Future Releases on DrivethruRPG

I’ve made the decision to put the recent 2-page spreads I’ve made on my DrivethruRPG publisher account, accessible at the link below:

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/11679/Red-Dice-Diaries

I’ve set them up with a suggested price of £0.50, but they’re pay want you want, you’re more than welcome to grab them for free, but if you fancy throwing me a few pennies, you can do so using DrivethruRPG.

The three I have done so far will still be available on the blog, however any future booklets I create will be put on DrivethruRPG and linked in the blog.

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.

Continue reading “20 Forest Encounters”

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

Barroom Brawl Hex Flower

The subject of this post is to provide a fun little mini-game for running barroom brawls quickly in RPGs, this topic was suggested by Jason Connerley of the Nerds RPG Variety Cast and makes use of the excellent hex-flower creations of Goblin’s Henchman.

If you want to know more about hex flowers click here.

Essentially the mini-game works like this, the player party has a number of check boxes representing how long they can stay in the fight, the NPCs involved also have a number of check boxes.

  • The Player party has one checkbox for every player involved.
  • The number of checkboxes for the NPCs varies depending on the size of the establishment – 1D4 for small establishments, 1D4+2 for medium establishments and 1D4+4 for larger places.

Please note: The boxes do not represent the strict number of people nor HP, they are an abstract measurement of how you are doing in the fight.

If the NPC boxes are all checked before the PCs then the player party has triumphed, if the PC checkboxes are filled first then the PCs are all knocked out or subdued.

Please note: This game does not provide guidelines for what happens when the PCs lose or win the fight, that is down to the individual GM and the needs of their campaign, the purpose of this mini-game is to simulate a chaotic, quick, interesting pub brawl.

How to Play the Game

Once you’ve worked out the number of check boxes for PCs and NPCs, place a counter in the middle of the hex below. Each player then takes a turn to roll 2D6 moving the counter as indicated, each time the counter lands in a new space read the description and follow the action given then move on to the next player. Simple.

Hex Flower Key

But what happens if I go off the edge?

Should you dice roll result indicate that you have gone off the edge of the hex then you re-enter on the opposite side, a couple of examples are shown below:

Please feel free to leave comments and constructive criticism either on these blog or via voicemail on our podcast, the episode where we discuss the creation of this mini-game can be found here.

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

Many thanks to Goblin’s Henchmen (the creator of the Hexflower idea) for pointing out I’d forgotten to mention what happens when you go off the edge of the hex.