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

Animal Companions

Inspired by a number of call ins and suggestions from our listeners myself and Hannah recently (re)watched the 1982 fantasy cheese-fest Beastmaster, after watching it we thought it’d be cool to do an episode discussing animal companions in RPGs.

Continue reading “Animal Companions”

Happy 2020 and 30 Days of Colonial Blackpowder

A Happy New Year to you all, as we kick off 2020 with Season 3 of the Red Dice Diaries Anchorcast we’re Overjoyed to See RPGs, I’m excited to talk about my plans for creating a Colonial Blackpowder D&D campaign setting in 2020.

This idea was inspired by ChicagoWiz’s excellent podcast and blog: https://chgowiz-games.blogspot.com/

I also talk about the workbook 30 Days of Worldbuilding written by Angeline Trevena.

The book is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Days-Worldbuilding-Step-Step-Fictional/dp/1677313129

You can also check out the author’s website: https://www.angelinetrevina.co.uk

Have an opinion or thoughts on this topic? Leave us a voicemail at: https://anchor.fm/the-red-dice-diaries/message

Theme tune is Exotica by Juanitos, used under Public Domain licence.

New Year’s Eve Simian Meanderings

It’s the last episode of 2019, and in this Oxidised Schwifty Resonator voicemail episode of the Red Dice Diaries, Barney from Loco Ludus is kind enough to leave me some messages concerning my recent musings on the treatment of prehistoric man in D&D and various retroclones, we have some well-wishes and interesting points of discussion.