Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Devout, an OSR class stolen from somebody else and written down by me here so I don't forget it

I know I got the core of this idea from some forum, but that thread seems long gone and I didn't want to forget it because it seems like it has merit. So, kudos to you, anonymous poster. You got a good brainworm in my headmeat.

The quotes below are all from Lord Dunsany's The Gods of Pegāna, because I have been making a concerted effort to read through Appendix N.

The Devout

The Devout has saving throws, hit dice, etc. etc. as a cleric.
The Devout does not cast spells.

A Devout has a pool of Faith equal to his level. Faith points may be spent in the following ways.
  • Lay on hands and expend a Faith point to heal 1d6 hp
  • Verbally castigate an enemy while you're smiting them and spend a Faith point to deal +1d6 damage; deal an additional +1d6 damage if your enemy is a favored foe of your cult
  • Drop to your knees and beg your god for aid. Spend a Faith point and roll a d6. If you roll a 5 or 6, you can perform one of the miracles of your god. If you fail, your Faith is wasted. 
Miracles are dependent on your god's sphere of influence. Each god has a portfolio of spells (10 or so) that they can use to influence the Plane of Flesh when their devotees call out to them. The GM determines which spell from the god's portfolio is cast based on the Devout's request and the situation. The GM will choose the best spell available, using his position as a game participant with privileged access. For example, if the Devout prays for healing in a combat against a wraith, but the GM knows the wraith could be instantly destroyed with a judicious application of the Banishment spell, the GM might rule that the god would rather Banish the wraith than heal the Devout. Or, perhaps the god would cast Detect Magic and show the Devout that hidden in the room is a magical aura. The Devout, following the god's clue, uses a turn in the combat to search the location of the aura and discovers a sword of wraith slaying +3. Each god has a limited set of tools given their portfolio, but will use them with divine wisdom and understanding in the most efficacious way to aid their followers.

In my examples below, I've picked one school of magic to represent each god's miracle portfolio. Each school is taken from my favorite magical supplement, Wonder and Wickedness. This $10 supplement has given me dozens and dozens of cool ideas, really commands a great "tone" for magic, and is applicable no matter what game you're playing. It's well worth it. Go get it.

Recovering Faith
A Devout restores his Faith pool completely if he performs the appropriate rites and prayers when he rises from sleep in the morning.
A Devout regains 1 Faith point by taking a Turn to pray at his god's shrine or donating generously to his church.
When a Devout breaks one of his god's commandments, he loses Faith points commiserate to his crime.
When a Devout upholds one of his god's commandments, he gains 1 Faith point (or 2 Faith points if it was just over-the-top virtuous).

Choose a cult from the list below:

Cult of Kib, Sender of Life in all the Worlds
But the other gods said one to another, speaking with their hands: “What is it that Kib has done?”
And They said to Kib: “What are these things that move upon The Earth yet move not in circles like the Worlds, that regard like the Moon and yet they do not shine?”
And Kib said: “This is Life.”
But the gods said one to another: “If Kib has thus made beasts he will in time make Men, and will endanger the Secret of the gods.”
And Mung was jealous of the work of Kib, and sent down Death among the beasts, but could not stamp them out.

The Commandments of Kib

  • Do not end the life of man or beast. 
  • You cannot deny healing from those who ask for it.
  • Hold your teacher in the arts of healing equal to your parents. Provide aid to him and his family as you would your own.
  • Willingly take acolytes into your service and teach them the ways of Kib.
  • Do not administer a poison, nor suggest such a course. Similarly, do not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion. 
  • Do not wield the knife or sword, as these are tools of death.

Favored foe: Undead
Miracles: Any spell from Vivimancy (W&W p.36)

Cult of Mung, Lord of all Deaths between Pegāna and the Rim
Once, as Mung went his way athwart the Earth and up and down its cities and across its plains, Mung came upon a man who was afraid when Mung said: “I am Mung!”
And Mung said: “Were the forty million years before thy coming intolerable to thee?”
And Mung said: “Not less tolerable to thee shall be the forty million years to come!”
Then Mung made against him the sign of Mung and the Life of the Man was fettered no longer with hands and feet.

The Commandments of Mung

  • Do not claim that you can influence Mung. Mung is Mung. Men cannot stop him with praises or curses. 
  • You cannot withhold death from those who ask for it.
  • When you lay an enemy low, cast lots to divine Mung's will as to whether he should live or die. 
  • Abstain from sex. It is better for mankind to end than to continue.
  • Never be without your dagger, so that you may always make the sign of Mung when needed. 
  • Never harm the dead. They are greater than you. 

Favored foe: Beastmen
Miracles: Any spell from Necromancy (W&W p.19)

Cult of Roon, God of Going
The footfall of Roon hath been heard at evening outside the houses of men, and thenceforth comfort and abiding know them no more. Before them stretcheth travel over all the lands, long miles, and never resting between their homes and their graves — and all at the bidding of Roon.

The Commandments of Roon

  • Discover new lands and build shrines to Roon in them. Map places never before mapped. 
  • You cannot deny your campfire to those who wish to share it. 
  • If you share your campfire, tell one of your stories. 
  • If you share your campfire, ask for a story. 
  • Do not stop or impede those on the road. Do not do battle on a road, for your blood will defile it.
  • You cannot lie if someone asks your true name. 

Favored Foe: Thieves
Miracles: Any spell from Translocation (W&W p.31)

Cult of Small Gods
These be the gods of the hearth: Pitsu, who stroketh the cat; Hobit who calms the dog; and Habaniah, the lord of glowing embers; and little Zumbiboo, the lord of dust; and old Gribaun, who sits in the heart of the fire to turn the wood to ash — all these be home gods, and live not in Pegāna and be lesser than Roon.

I love how Anchises literally carried his small gods. 
Commandments of the Small Gods
  • When you enter a house, provide what aid you can there.
  • You cannot deny food or shelter to those who ask for it. 
  • Burn incense at the shrine of small gods, so your prayers can be carried up to heaven.
  • Cook at the hearth, so the small gods can smell your food and be nourished.
  • Whip disobedient slaves and children. 
  • Give gifts to obedient slaves and children.
  • Have sex joyously and often, but never take it by force.
Favored foe: Clerics of other religions
Miracles: Any spell from Psychomancy (W&W p.24)

I think having bullet point commandments that you can read and reread at the table is a great tool to center yourself as an actor. These are reminiscent of my religious touchstones.

I've always preferred "miracle" systems that differed meaningfully from a wizard's magic use. A magic-using class can probably accommodate a "white mage" that heals and deals with angels without it stepping on the toes of a faith-based character class. I think the utility of always having 10 "prepared spells" to be somewhat balanced by the inconsistent casting methods provided above. I also think that the GM  using his privileged information to be a clever way to represent a god's supernatural insight.

Obviously, this class requires some buy-in on the part of the player. If they like pouring over magic spell lists and carefully preparing their spells per day, this class will feel erratic and unsatisfactory.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Under Hill, By Water - Text Aggregated

I pulled all the rules from my past few posts about playing halflings and put them into a single document. It's kind of ugly without the art, but it'll do.

(Psst. I actually published a full version of this game. The post aggregate still exists, but check out the full version if you want something more clean and polished.)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Under Hill, By Water Post 5: Halfling Problems

The Four Seasons

An agrarian society, the Commonwealth is close to the wheel of the seasons. A halfling's life is built around the change of the seasons, the lengthening of days, the ebb and flow of weather. That's why Under Hill, By Water separates game play into four seasons. Each season is basically a single act in the life of your halfling and their village--the GM presents a scenario of village life, which the PCs explore. Each session (or two) at the game table should deal with one season's scenario. Once the spring, summer, and autumn seasons have been played, the halflings will celebrate Yule during the winter season and reflect about their previous year. This might increase their rank.

You All Meet At The Inn

Each season begins with the PCs sharing a table at their favorite local tavern listening to rumors of what's going on in their village. The GM rolls a scenario (worrysome things + social calendar + personal complications + rumors) using the tables below and tells the PCs what's afoot during that season. 

Worrysome Things

The GM rolls once or chooses from the scenarios listed below. The GM can randomly assign the scenario to one of the PCs, or chose who it makes most sense for. 
  1. One family has stolen another's prize cow, Mabel. Mabel gives milk sweet as cream and always produces two healthy calves each spring. This isn't the first time this has happened; the two families are always stealing Mabel from each other. Roll to see which two families are involved. 
  2. Your crazy uncle came back from an adventure and is ruining the economy with gold. GOLD! Where did he get gold? He says "a dragon," but he's crazy. Anyway, convince him to stop using gold or else inflation is going to go through the roof.
  3. A actor's troupe has been circulating with an insufferably bawdy play called "The Milking Maid." The younger rascals like it, but the Matrons Guild of Good Manners objects. Things are about to get unpleasant.  
  4. A particularly large dire-badger has been digging into a random PC's hole and escaping. He's proving to be more than just a nuisance. You might have to hunt him down.
  5. A neighbor's garden has been pilfered in the night. Is the culprit a hare or a young radish-stealing rascal? The neighbor offers a substantial reward to resolve the situation. 
  6. Two young halfling sweethearts have eloped. Both sets of parents are offering a large reward if their marriage can be stopped and their child returned. However, your sweetheart believes in "true love" and wants to see the two married. What will you do? 
  7. A halfling child was last seen crawling through the Hedge. Night came and he never returned. The bounders are organizing a search party to go find him. Will you join them?
  8. A mysterious Big Folk ranger has been seen sniffing around the Hedges for the past few days, and has been chased off by the bounders. Who is he? What does he want? 
  9. Wolves have come down out of the mountains and their cries can be heard at night. The sheriff's office is giving a small reward for wolf pelts. 
  10. The game begins at a random PC's hole. They are finishing up dinner when there's a knock on the door. It's a dwarf, saying he was invited. You don't remember inviting any dwarfs. Then another knock. And another...
  11. A competition is being hosted during the upcoming social event and a local jerk won't shut up about how they're going to win it. (If unmarried, beating him might help you catch the eye of your sweetheart.) 
    1. It's a gardening competition and they have a huge pumpkin
    2. It's a stavin' competition and they want to knock you down
    3. It's an archery competition and they claim they're the best shot
    4. It's a beer pong competition and they say they're the local champion
  12. A neighbor's goats have gotten out of their pen and are running totally amok at the social event. Help him get them back! 
  13. A travelling conjurer named Lathspell shows up claiming to sell genuine magical artifacts. You suspect he's just a charlatan and is robbing decent halflings of their coin. 
  14. A particularly large gorcrow has been going around stealing people's jewelry. If you find his nest, you'll be able to get their jewelry back. 
  15. Supplies ordered from the Big Folk from Overwater have been delayed due to a troll on the road. Nobody is willing to leave the Hedge to deal with it, but anybody that could reclaim those supplies would be a local hero.
  16. A close relative or friend of a PC has been placed in a lockhole by a sherrif for sheep theft. He claims he's innocent. What's the real story here? 
  17. A wizard has come to town and started performing tricks for young halflings. Now 2d4 of them got big ideas about "adventures" and started getting themselves into trouble around the village (taking on boars, 'burgling' pies, exploring outside the Hedge). Round them all up and tell that wizard what you think of trouble-makers!
  18. You wrote your elderly aunt in a neighboring village a week ago and haven't yet received a reply. This is unlike her. Did the couriers lose her letter? Have you offended her? Investigation is necessary. 
  19. An elderly neighbor hasn't paid his taxes in years. A determined young new tax collector has been knocking on his door every day and asking the PCs if they've seen where he's gone. The PCs know he's just in hiding. Will they help their neighbor avoid the long arm of the law, or tattle to the tax man?
  20. It's a random PC's birthday. It's time for a party! (But what if unwelcome guests or petulent relatives show up?)

Social Calendar 

This trouble is happening in the middle of some important community event. What's happening in the village right now? 
  1. Bad weather (late and heavy snows if spring, thunderstorm if summer, dense and creeping fog if autumn)
  2. Village fair 
  3. Party hosted by random NPC
  4. Date of historical event (1. goblin battle, 2. village's founding, 3. birthday of important relative) being celebrated / reenacted 
  5. A curious visitor is visiting the village (1. family of dwarf tinkers 2. wandering wizard 3. troop of elven rangers 4. travelling human bard) 
  6. Market day
  7. March-moot (basically an election day/law-reading/grievance airing) 
  8. Holiday (May Day if spring, Lithe if summer, and Hallowe'en if autumn)

Just Another Day in the Village

The GM rolls once for each PC at the table. Reroll duplicates. 
  1. One of your more unpleasant relatives is visiting and staying with you at your hole. 
  2. One of your starting professional items has broken and you need to replace or repair it. 
  3. A particularly homely-looking suitor has been sniffing around recently. 
  4. Your parents are complaining that you're not living up to your full potential and wondering why you never visit them. 
  5. A mangy mutt has been sniffing around your garden, digging it up. 
  6. A younger relative has come to you crying about a local bully.
  7. A local puppeteer's most recent puppet looks a lot like you. You suspect this is insulting parody. 
  8. Last month you lost a debt on a chicken race to a particularly annoying neighbor and now they're asking for [2d4] copper from you. 
  9. You woke up this morning with a splitting hangover and no memory of coming back from the tavern. What happened?
  10. A distant great-uncle recently passed (sad), but left you a rare bottle of Greybodies '83 wine (nice!) from his cellar. 
  11. Your flowers are particularly beautiful right now. They'd make an excellent gift for somebody special. 
  12. A neighbor recently gave you a loaf of fresh baked bread and a tin of kippers. You'll have to send them a thank you note or present.

Other Rumors Heard Round the Hearth

Of course, these issues aren't the only thing going on in your march. The GM rolls on the rumor table to generate some buzz about other threads that can be followed. To keep the rolling quick and easy for rumors, two halfling family names are given at any point it's appropriate. The GM can roll or choose the most interesting one to fill that rumor. 
  1. Mr. [Topher / Wastenot] has been kicked out of his hole by his missus for coming home drunk one to many times. 
  2. Old Man [Tallfeller / Rumblo] has put up lots of signs about cutting through his fields. People say he's sitting up in a tree with a slingshot waiting to nail young rascals looking for a short cut. 
  3. Jack o' the Green was spotted outside the Hedge shepherding a dozen trees to a new section of the Deeping Woods.
  4. Young [Odo Labingi / Priscilla Lightfoot] claims they saw a troll digging up a grave for bones. 
  5. A dwarf visitor said he saw a giant playing nine-pins up in the mountains. 
  6. The town drunk said that at 3 am during the last full moon, all the farm animals danced for a full five minutes before returning to normal. 
  7. The Wild Hunt was heard blowing their horns as they rode by in the night, giving everybody nightmares. 
  8. Fairy circles have sprung up just outside the Hedge. 
  9. Elves were seen passing through the Vale on their way to the Grey Shores where they'll pass from this world forever. 
  10. Goody [Biggerwaiste / Chubber] just gave birth to her twelfth wee one, even though she's in her late 60s. 
  11. That rascal, the [Gaggler / Haywain] lad, was seen rolling in the hay with the [Measure / Nikkerbreaker] girl last community picnic. 
  12. Miss [However / Hogspen] recently ordered a dress from another march. What's wrong with the dresses from our own march?
  13. The beer at [rival village's tavern] is actually quite good this season. It might be worth a nip over to taste it, if your local landlord doesn't find out about your treachery. 
  14. After having watched a play behind the overlarge bonnet of Goody [Goldworthy / Greenhand], something must be done about wearing hats at functions. Would you care to sign this petition? 
  15. Another march (basically a foreign land) was visited by a circus who accidentally let their "trained" ape lose. It ran around and caused much mischief. Was it ever caught? 
  16. The dwarf king Throin the XIII (or was it XII?) recently died. The dwarves are in mourning. 
  17. Ealdorman [Diggle / Dumblebee] recently received a very bad haircut and refuses to leave his hole on account of it. 
  18. The Almanac says that tonight there will be a shower of shooting stars. Several families are staying up late to watch them. 
  19. A naturalist neighbor is taking a survey of the local flora of your village. For every unique flower you bring back, they've offered a small reward. 
  20. During the last rain, people say that they saw the River Woman swimming in the Water surrounded by an army of flying fish. 


Look at the total XP you earned during the spring, summer, and autumn. For every 3 XP you gained, gain 1 rank. Then, reset your XP count to 0 (regardless of whether or not you ranked up). 

Roll ([Profession rank]d10 x 10 copper) to find out how much coin your halfling made during his legitimate business enterprises during the year, + (1 silver x rank). Lessen this total if they made any in-character sales during game play. If your character owes anything to money lenders, calculate interest or pay that loan off. 

If you're happily  married, you get a new wee one on a roll of 4 out of 6. 

If you're unhappily married, you get a new wee one on a roll of 2 out of 6. 

If you're not married at all, you get a new wee one on a roll of 1 out of 6. This is a scandal. 

Talk about the things your character has achieved during that year. Share a pint with friends. Make new years resolutions. 

After you've completed a year of Under Hill, By Water, consider playing something else for a little while. After all, you just had three to five sessions of playing little farming folk. Maybe your table wants to do something else. Of course, you can always pick up the story again and continue a new year. You might also hold games of Under Hill, By Water as an alternative to your standard weekly game if not everybody is available. 

Alright. This was fun. I think this will be my last halfling related post for a little while. 

Check out the full game here!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Under Hill, By Water Post 4: The Commonwealth

The Commonwealth 

The Commonwealth is the home of the halflings. Visiting the Commonwealth is like visiting a human fairy tale. It consists of many hills with homes carved into them (called "holes"). There are giant mushrooms. The halflings ride around on pigs and giant rabbits. Some of the birds talk. 

The Commonwealth lies in the Vale, a verdant valley surrounded on all sides by a high-walled mountain, through which the Pass runs. The Vale is cut by the Water, a well-stocked river that rarely meanders from its banks. The Commonwealth is divided into four marches: Eastmarch, Westmarch, Northmarch, and Southmarch. Each march boasts half-a-dozen small villages. Each march is governed by a mayor. The mayor is the head of civilian bureaucrats such as couriers, sherrifs, and bounders, but typically have enough free time to pursue their own original careers. 

At the center of the Commonwealth is their capital city (really, just a largish village) called Farthington (Four-Thing Town). The thain lives in Farthington, and is the official--but mostly ceremonial--head of state. The thain is elected from the four mayors by popular vote once every six years. 

Around the Commonwealth is a high hedge, called simply the Hedge, which borders the country. It is difficult for anybody larger than a halfling to crawl through the Hedge, so visitors are obliged to enter through one of the gates. 

Most halflings work in some agrarian production capacity: farmers, shepherds, brewers, smiths. A few work in a service capacity: servants, tavern owners, accoutants. The halflings have some sort of almost-preternatural subconscious bend towards order. Though they never formally plan the structure of their society, they always have just enough people filling any particular niche so that everybody has a role and no job is left unfulfilled. Wizards comment on this sometimes. It's quite curious. 

Mapping All PCs are from the same village. As a matter of play, use the march map to sketch out your home village and the NPCs that dwell there. 

Choose (or roll d4) to select which march your village is in. Every halfling thinks that somebody from outside of their march is "a bit queer" and "almost a foreigner." The GM can make up what's going on in the other marches.  

The map separates a march into four tiers: village, outskirts, the boonies, and beyond the hedge. 

The village tier is the center of march life. It's where all the commerce happens. It's where market day is held. It's where the fair is centered. It's where the mayor lives. This is at the top of the map.

The outskirts tier lies near enough to the village that the people who live there have near neighbors, but still enjoy pastoral peace and quiet. This is in the middle of the map.

The boonies is a place for larger farms and fields, often broken up with sporadic woodlands. People who live there have no near neighbors and are more likely to encounter things from over the Hedge. This is at the bottom of the map, over the Water. 

Beyond the Hedge is the wide world outside of the Commonwealth. There's some danger lurking out there. This is in the top left corner of the map. It's numbered 20. 

Notice all the little holes and such are numbered. When you need to generate rumors and events, you can roll a d20 to find out who's involved. Blam.


What's the march village name? Roll 1d20 twice and combine the first and second elements. Write it on your march map. 

First element:

  1. Bramble
  2. Under
  3. Crick
  4. Bind
  5. Whisky
  6. Needle
  7. Way
  8. Spring
  9. Bellow
  10. Horn
  11. Hay
  12. Thistle
  13. Marrow
  14. Marsh
  15. Peat
  16. Rime
  17. Winding
  18. Riddling
  19. Lesser
  20. Greater
Second element: 
  1. Gate
  2. Hall
  3. Hole
  4. -bury
  5. Hollow
  6. -wold
  7. Wood
  8. Delving
  9. -ton
  10. -burrow
  11. -windle
  12. Down
  13. -moot
  14. Running
  15. -bottom
  16. Ford
  17. None, first element begins with "The"
  18. None, first element begins with "The"
  19. None, first element begins with "The"
  20. None, first element begins with "The"
I assume that most villages have enough halflings of any particular profession that you can find just about any trade good that the Commonwealth has to offer there. 

Next, name your village pub. You're confident that it's the best pub in the four marches. Write it into an empty space in the village. Roll 1d20 twice and combine the first and second elements. 

First element:

  1. The Bird & 
  2. The Green
  3. The Burnt
  4. The Singing
  5. The Lion & 
  6. The Pilgrim & 
  7. The Dog & 
  8. The Wandering
  9. The Giant
  10. The Willow & 
  11. The Wakening 
  12. The Gilded
  13. The Old
  14. The Wooden
  15. The Hammer & 
  16. The Sleepy
  17. The Bear & 
  18. The Three
  19. The Whistlin'
  20. The Sword & 
Second element:
  1. Baby Tavern
  2. Wyvern Inn
  3. Clover Pub
  4. Traveler Inn
  5. Harp Pub
  6. Fool Tavern
  7. Lord's Arms
  8. Gentleman's Accords 
  9. Rose Pub
  10. Crow Inn
  11. King's Accords
  12. Coin Tavern 
  13. Pig Pub
  14. Fair Maiden Inn
  15. Troll Tavern
  16. Yeoman Pub
  17. Stone Inn
  18. Tree Tavern
  19. Pool Pub
  20. Knight's Arms
...which is famous for their (roll 1d10):
  1. Brown ale as sweet as cream - best ale in four marches!
  2. Stews, brewed by Ma Alice - most comforting food in the Commonwealth
  3. Songs and stories told around a great hearth
  4. Games of luck and skill - surely, this pub is the most fun
  5. Collection of books and quiet corners - it's like a library, it is!
  6. The landlord's beautiful daughters - none fairer!
  7. Dog - His name is Luke and he's the best boy! 
  8. Baths fed by hot springs - best place to relax after a hard day
  9. Ghosts - it's said this place is haunted; at the very least, you dream strangely if you stay there
  10. Adventurers (feh) - the landlord used to do some wandering and now is visited by strange foreigners who tell strange tales
Beyond the Hedge
Roll on the following table to find out what strange danger lurks just outside the Hedge. 

1d4 twice

  1. The standing stones ...
  2. A ruined city...
  3. Barrows...
  4. An abandoned tower...
  1. ...of ancient Men from across the Sea
  2. ...of dwarves, driven from their home
  3. ...of elves, who tarried here in sadness
  4. ...of goblins, who lurk there still
Also, all around the Commonwealth is the Deeping Woods. The trees are strange there. Whispery. All of the marches can easily access the Deeping Woods just past the Hedge...if they dare. 

Population: You

Now that you have a sense of your march with those random tables, each PC chooses a location on the map and places themselves in an empty hole there. 

Write in the name of your ancestral home. You live there. 

Population: Sites and Citizens 
Next, each PC takes a turn rolling a d6 and filling in one of the empty slots on the map. 
  1. Meeting Hall
  2. Tavern
  3. Guild Hall
  4. NPC
  5. NPC
  6. NPC
Meeting Hall
One of the core facets of Commonwealth society are the communal orders that populate it. These social associations wield considerable influence in their village and in their march. If this location is rolled, the player who rolled it should roll a 1d10 and note down what society is housed there. Duplicates should be rerolled. 
  1. Matronly Order of Good Manners: This somber collection of mothers and grandmothers are dedicated defenders of good taste and propriety. If there's any hubbub or hooplah or, heaven's forfend, hullaballoo, they'll stamp it out! 
  2. Mathom-house Curators: Halflings call any old thing they'd rather not part with a "mathom." A mathom-house is, therefore, an exhibit of a collection or a rudimentary museum. The Mathom-house Curators are a group of armchair historians, authors, and artifact-collectors that meet semi-regularly over pipes to discuss the venerable history of the Commonwealth and the Vale. 
  3. Knights of the Old Road: A group of martial halflings who have formed their order based on an edict from the High King that grants halflings the Vale with the provision that they protect and maintain the king's road. Their wives soberly point out that there hasn't been a High King for nearly five-hundred years and their husbands are basically just LARPing.  
  4. The Hill Dogs Croquet Club: A gentleman's sports society, the Hill Dogs play rather extreme version of croquet (referred to as "Hill Dog rules") that features a moving goal post, using the entire Commonwealth as a play area, and light melee. 
  5. Knitting Circle: A woman's social club, the Knitting Circle ostensibly organizes community picnics and charity events. Any canny observer will tell you, though, that the Knitting Circle is a powerful political organization. Mayors and thains alike will be obliged to bend to the gentle but unyielding power of this society. 
  6. The Benevolent Rite of the Lion: This fraternal order couches itself in mysticism, morality, and symbols. Its members have a flair for panache and the theatrical as their secret handshakes and code words are all fairly nonsensical. This theatrical air is countered by the utter secrecy with which members must cavort themselves with. No member of the Rite may admit that they are a member, or even that the Rite exists--even though the entire village may see them walking in their red robes into the Lion's Lodge every Friday night! 
  7. The Prestigious Order of the Eagle: A reserved society of intellectuals, philosophers, and debate-enthusiasts. Entry into the Order of the Eagle is predicated on being able to defeat a standing member in a riddling contest (which is a primary occupation of many meetings). 
  8. The Exalted Order of the Serpent: A social club of business-minded halflings who attempt to cross trade-guild lines and foster a business environment that's mutually beneficial. At least, beneficial for those within the Order of the Serpent. The order's actions are usually notably terrible for those not within the society. 
  9. The Most Noble and Goodly Order of the Badger: A group of halflings wasn't sure why orders "most high" or "protective" were so stuffy and unfun. The Order of the Badger is a drinking club dedicated to trying out all of the taverns in the Commonwealth and rating new ales and mead expressions brewed. 
  10. The Lads Who Won't Do Nothing: Social clubs are so prevalent in the Commonwealth, one was formed for the purpose of opposing them.  The Lads Who Won't Do Nothing is a social club of halflings who refuse to join a social club. 
Create another tavern using the procedure above. Your village is cool enough to have several taverns. Congratulations on your good fortune! 

Guild Hall
When this location is rolled, go over to the profession list. Roll d50. The guild hall for this profession is based in this location. The very finest exemplars of this profession can be purchased here, and (at least) yearly every member of this profession comes to your village for the annual convention. 


Roll on the profession and familial name chart and pick a random name to create a random NPC. If they have the same last name as a PC, they're your relatives (probably annoying ones). Each time you create a new NPC, the PC that rolled them can describe them and their relationship with them. Put them into one of the empty houses on your march map until all empty spots are filled. 

Viola. Now you have your own little corner of the Commonwealth to call your own. 

Check out the full game here!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Friday, January 13, 2017

Under Hill, By Water Post 3: Anarcho Capitalism


They do not and did not understand or like machines more complicated than a forge-bellows, a water-mill, or a hand-loom, though they were skillful with tools.

When generating a character (player character or otherwise), roll on this handy chart to determine their profession. 

If you are creating a PC, this job title becomes your eighth skill. Your rank in that skill determines how much wealth you generate during the winter phrase. Roll that skill when you think your proficiency with your chosen profession would serve you better than making an attribute test. 

You begin the game with the gear listed on the table. Goods created by your profession may be bought by you for half price. If no production, you can get hirelings or perks at half cost. 

Roll d50

  1. Actor | Gain wooden sword (as club), disguise kit, mirror 
  2. Antiquarian | Gain swordcane, book of family history, quill, ink
  3. Barber-Chirugeon| Gain razor (as dagger), needle and thread, tongs
  4. Blacksmith | Gain hammer, a forge outside your hole 
  5. Bounder | Gain dwarven short sword, dwarf chain shirt, spyglass 
  6. Brewer | Gain mash paddle (as staff), empty bottle, small cask of ale (rich) 
  7. Butcher | Gain meathook (as ax), rations of dried meat (3), pet giant rabbit
  8. Carpenter |Gain saw (as ax), drill, nails, mallet
  9. Chandler | Gain candlestick (as club), candles (6), soap
  10. Clerk | Gain quill-trimming knife, blank book, quill, ink
  11. Cook | Gain rolling pin (as club), lard, cookpots
  12. Cooper | Gain crowbar (as club), small empty barrel, 50' of rope
  13. Courier | Gain walking staff, bird broach, bird whistle
  14. Farmer | Gain pitchfork (as spear), excellent tobacco, pet giant chicken 
  15. Farrier | Gain hammer, nails, saddle, pet pony
  16. Fletcher | Gain bow and 20 arrows, pet raven 
  17. Fisher | Gain net, fishing gear, tinderbox
  18. Gardener | Gain scythe, garlic (2), wolfsbane (2)
  19. Glassblower | Gain iron pipe, empty bottle, mirror, viewing orb
  20. Greengrocer | Gain sling and acorns, sack of cabbages, pet cat
  21. Haberdasher | Gain scissors (as dagger), bag full of buttons (as caltrops), needle and thread
  22. Hole-digger | Gain miner's pick, shovel, and 30' of rope
  23. Hunter | Gain bow and 10 arrows, camouflage winter-proof cloak, personal tent
  24. Knacker | Gain cleaver (as hand-axe), shovel, soap
  25. Landlord | Gain club, key to tavern 
  26. Leech | Gain pestle (as club), smelling salts, herbal poultice
  27. Locksmith | Gain crowbar (as club), lock and key, specialist's kit
  28. Lumberjack | Gain woodsman's ax (as battle axe), 50' of rope
  29. Mason | Gain hammer, chisel, block and tackle
  30. Methier | Gain knife, thick gloves, bottle of mead (rich), pet bee
  31. Midwife (woman only) | Gain silver knife, vial of holy water, herbal poultice 
  32. Miller | Gain rolling pin (as club), mallet, nails, bag of flour
  33. Minstrel | Gain elven short sword, lute, torch (3)
  34. Moneylender | Gain mace, scales, an IOU for [rank]d4 silver 
  35. Peat-cutter | Gain shovel, 10' pole, lantern, flask of oil
  36. Potter | Gain sling and potsherds, jar of clay, pottery studio/kiln outside of hole
  37. Rat-catcher | Gain club, sack, pet dog
  38. Rope-maker | Gain sling, 50' of rope, grappling hook
  39. Servant | Gain dagger, extravagant clothing, silver bell
  40. Shepherd | Gain sling, pan pipes, pet sheep 
  41. Sherrif | Gain quarterstaff, hat with tall feather, manacles  
  42. Tailor | Gain scissors (as dagger), needle and thread, extravagant clothing
  43. Tanner | Gain flensing knife, bag of salt, leather armor 
  44. Tax Collector | Gain dwarven short sword, chest, lock and key
  45. Town Drunk (a paid position) | Gain bottle of whiskey (decent), empty bottle, set of dice
  46. Truffler | Gain sling, really good mushrooms (3), pet pig
  47. Wainwright | Gain whip, wagon, pet pony
  48. Weaver | Gain quarterstaff, bottles of dye (3, any), banner of favorite tavern's sign
  49. Well-digger | Gain shovel, dowsing rod, 10' pole
  50. Whitesmith |  Gain hammer, bag of pretty but trifling jewels, ring that's almost magic
Optional Rule: You may elect to not roll Sweat dice to gain more Sweat when you rank up. If you do so, you may roll a d6. If you roll higher than your current score in your profession, raise that skill by 1. 

Many profession ideas stolen from: TenFootPolemic, GoblinPunch, Dungeon Crawl Classics

The houses and the holes of Shire-hobbits were often large, and inhabited by large families. (Bilbo and Frodo Baggins were as bachelors very exceptional, as they were also in many other ways, such as their friendship with the Elves.) ... All Hobbits were, in any case, clannish and reckoned up their relationships with great care. They drew long and elaborate family-trees with innumerable branches.

Roll d66 to find an appropriate family name. Note the gear and hole you inherit. 

Formula is: Surname | Ancestral home name and feature | Extra starting gear


  1. Bairn | Ancestral Home: Goodhope, said to be delved on the site of an ancient human castle | Gain an ancient statue of a human queen
  2. Bolging | Ancestral Home: Bolging Den, full of hidden rooms and secret passages | Gain a secret room that only you know about in your hole 
  3. Biggerwaiste | Ancestral Home: Biggirdle, which has the deepest and most well-stocked wine cellar in the Commonwealth | Gain a beautiful stone chess set that can play by itself
  4. Chubber | Ancestral Home: Chub Row Place, which boasts the most elaborate and largest greenhouses of the Commonwealth | Pipe carved from an effalent's tusk
  5. Diggle | Ancestral Home: Diggledelving, which connects to unexplored caverns | Gain dwarf toy that moves on its own
  6. Dumblebee | Ancestral Home: The Apiary, which boasts a tree on its hill that's had a colony of bees since before the founding of the Commonwealth; they're not "tame" but they do act as guard dogs of the Apiary | Gain silver-capped drinking horn
  1. Fairborne | Ancestral Home: Treehome, which isn't carved into a hill at all, but into the side of a great tree | Gain a jar of healing sap 
  2. Gaggler | Ancestral Home: Great Sickle, which has a dedicated astronomy tower and telescope| Gain pocketwatch (the most advanced piece of technology in the Commonwealth)
  3. Goldworthy | Ancestral Home: Goodgard, which is built from a now-barren gold mine | Gain chainmail shirt
  4. Greenhand | Ancestral Home: Home o' the Green, boasting the fairest garden in the Commonwealth | Gain seeds from a tree from an elven forest
  5. Haywain | Ancestral Home: The High Hay, notably decorated with the preserved head of a great hogboglin slain by Brade Haywain | Gain +1 Str score
  6. Headstrong | Ancestral Home: The Ferry, which isn't a hole but a house-barge | Gain the unique skill of swimming (you're the only family who can do it) 
  1. Hogspen | Ancestral Home: Higgledepigglede, which sits on the largest farms of the Commonwealth | Gain +1 Con
  2. Hoorfoot | Ancestral Home: Coldhome, which has a statue of each family matriarch in the basement, which they call the "mausoleum"  | Gain a unicorn horn
  3. However | Ancestral Home: Brassgate, which is curiously decorated with hundreds of mirrors from all over the world | Gain cloak like the evening mist
  4. Labingi | Ancestral Home: Empty End, which is said to hide some hidden treasure in it somewhere | Gain 1d6 ancient silver coins you discovered in a secret nook 
  5. Lightfoot | Ancestral Home: Well Hollow, the oldest hole in the Commonwealth | Gain a red arrow that's never missed its mark and is always recovered 
  6. Longdweller | Ancestral Home: Drakedelving, which excavated a nearly complete dragon skeleton (the skull of which is a central part of the living room) | Gain a dragon's fang
  1. Measure | Ancestral Home: Cold 'n Deep, delved over a place the Water goes underground | Gain a beautiful silver cup and a waterskin of water that's never seen the sun
  2. Mugwort | Ancestral Home: Puddle Place is built along the banks of the Water and boasts comfortable armchairs from which you can fish | Gain an ivory comb once owned by the River Woman
  3. Nikkerbreaker | Ancestral Home: Candlewick, whose halls have such veins of iron that neither spells nor knacks may be cast there  | Gain a whetstone that makes blades unnaturally sharp
  4. Oldbairn | Ancestral Home: Pennytree, under an ancient tree said to be the home of the owl's parliament | Gain pet owl
  5. Outwithing | Ancestral Home: Horn Hill, on the top of the tallest hill with the best views | Gain a particularly large trumpet carved with runes
  6. Pitter | Ancestral Home: Fairfields is famous for its many fruit trees and ciders | Gain rope that ties or unties itself with a yank
  1. Puttering | Ancestral Home: Heartshearth, known for its many fireplaces that burn with curiously colored flames | Gain +1 Cha
  2. Rumblo | Ancestral Home: The Shock, said to be carved out by a giant's blow | Gain a whistle that can only be heard by animals
  3. Sandwallow | Ancestral Home: Pumpkinhome, which isn't a hole but a giant pumpkin | Gain Gain +1 Dex
  4. Scrumgeons | Ancestral Home: Goldapple Abbey, which is home to an old apple tree called "The Gaffer" that almost seems like he has a face; it's rumored the tree has spoken at least three times | Gain a rune-marked short sword 
  5. Smallerone | Ancestral Home: Beetleblack Hall, built not into a hill but into the carapace of an ancient onyx-shelled giant beetle | Gain a torc that screams if goblins are nearby
  6. Tallfeller | Ancestral Home: Windy Manor, decorated with elven-woven tapestries that almost seem to move in the firelight | Gain +1 Int
  1. Topher | Ancestral Home: Lockmorr, a notably small (but comfortable) hole--its door has no locking mechanism, but only opens at the request of a Topher family member | Gain a key that can unlock any door, but only works once
  2. Tukkish | Ancestral Home: The Holes, the hole with the most rooms | Gain a lucky charm (which shatters when you use it to automatically succeed on a saving throw)
  3. Tunneler | Ancestral home: Deeptunnel, deepest hole of the Commonwealth | Gain shield with horn of plenty painted on it 
  4. Wastenot | Ancestral Home: Willowswithern, which is occassionally haunted by the song of a halfling maid looking for her true love | Gain a song that when sung can be used to summon help, but only once
  5. Wantnot | Ancestral Home: Wallowhouse, which is the most majestic and ornate hole in the Commonwealth | Gain +1 Wis
  6. Witterquick | Ancestral home: Dwimmering, said to be built on a ley line | Gain a crystal that glows like a candle in the dark
I have treated Hobbit first-names, as far as possible, in the same way. To their maid-children Hobbits commonly gave the names of flowers or jewels. To their man-children they usually gave names that had no meaning at all in their daily language; and some of their women's names were similar ... In some old families, especially those of Fallohide origin ... it was, however, the custom to give high-sounding first-names. ... I have turned them into those old names, largely of Frankish and Gothic origin, that are still used by us or are met in our histories. I have thus at any rate preserved the often comic contrast between the first-names and surnames, of which the Hobbits themselves were well aware.

To make a halfling name, take a stereotypical British and spell it like George R.R. Martin. Or choose from the list below. 

Male Names: Addam, Alesander, Andwise, Angus, Bennard, Bill, Bob, Bodo, Bucca, Dafyd, Duggo, Edric, Filbert, Geoff, Graham, Gregor, Hamson, Hob, Hugo, Jack, Kallimac, Largo, Lews, Madoc, Marq, Milo, Mungo, Nibs, Nob, Odo, Omer, Polliver, Porto, Reginard, Reynard, Robin, Rowan, Rufus, Samwell, Ted, Tom, Warwick, Wesley, Will, Zachery

Female Names: Alanys, Alice, Angelica, Asphodel, Bell, Belladonna, Berylla, Brenda, Bonnie, Catlyn, Colette, Daisy, Diamond, Dee, Dora, Edith, Eleanor, Hanna, Helen, Janna, Jolly, Kaya, Lanna, Lily, Liza, Maggie, Marigold, May, Molly, Pansy, Pearl, Primrose, Rhonda, Rose, Ruth, Saera, Sybelle, Tanselle, Tanta, Violet, Walda, Willow

Check out the full game here!