A look at the calendar shows some of us that Valentine’s Day is coming up soon, and so this week’s theme for curiosities is tokens of affection (or warning—or worse!) that a character (or creature) in your game might give someone else. Again, these tokens are left in plain sight, and you can use them as starting points to flesh out some other interesting things if the player characters choose to look around a bit more. If you want to roll randomly for one, use the handy number provided with each entry to figure out your result on a d12. You can also pick the one that works for the area in which your characters currently linger.
Here’s a rundown of things you lose by allowing teleportation magic in a tabletop game world.
The Heroic Journey
Sure, it’s a cliché to say that one plucky little hobbit or a ragtag band of heroes can somehow get through the Empire’s defenses and save the world. But it’s a story of travel and the journey, of obstacles on a grand scale over miles. Maybe that story is easier to tell in film or in novels than it is in tabletop games or video games. But I like having the option to say, “You need to get this princess to that tower before the winter solstice or the Lord of the North Wind will be most displeased with your kingdom” and not have the party just teleport and call it done. There are volumes of wilderness rules and wilderness character types who are denied a chance to shine. Aragorn and rangers generally should be a little put out that a wizard eliminates their role in tales of high adventure. Eliminating time required eliminates the conquest of distance, the raw heroism of getting over the mountains, across the trackless desert, through the badlands, and past the volcano. The physical effort required to get where you are going and be heroic in the Marco Polo mold is gone.
The largest and fiercest kobold in a generation, Roka does not dodge or scurry. She charges into battle, rending her foes with tooth and claw. However, Roka is not simply an unthinking killer, she is also the priestess of the strange and bloody kobold goddess of eggs and pregnancy, Clutchmaw. Mangouger uses her rage and strength in the service of her bloody goddess. She defends vulnerable clutches of kobold eggs from all danger, and she tracks down neglectful or slacking kobold husbands to put the fear of her goddess in them.
Roka’s father did not tend to his mother when she was pregnant with Roka’s clutch deep within the kobold ghetto of Zobeck. Instead, he gambled and schemed and lived high, while Roka’s mother struggled to catch rats and other vermin for food. The resulting clutch was a single, battered egg, and Roka’s mother protected it until she hatched, but died of starvation soon after. Despite her circumstances, the Mangouger was already a strong and tough pup, and she soon dominated the local hatchling pack. Within a few years, she was already pit-fighting and going head to head with giant weasels, dire rats, and adult kobolds. Her feral, throat-ripping combat style was popular and Roka became a minor celebrity.
Today we present to you a quick little table you can use in your game when the player characters are waiting around to see a sage or scholar. These are items that are in plain sight, but you can use them as starting points to flesh out some other interesting things if the player characters choose to poke around a bit more. If you want to roll randomly for one, use the handy number provided with each entry to figure out your result on a d12. You can also pick the one that most suits your scholar’s or sage’s personality.
All heroes need foes to vanquish. Myths from a variety of ancient cultures involve people overcoming great odds to save their loved ones, to fight against the whims of gods, and to defeat the minions of those gods. This article introduces foes from classic tales of Greek mythology to Green Ronin’s Dragon Age system. Some will seem familiar. Some will have a different twist than you may have seen previously in other fantasy roleplaying games. They can be used as is for many campaign settings or you can re-skin them for use in Thedas.
I have tried to keep to the classical characteristics of the monsters described below as opposed to regurgitate characteristics shown in other roleplaying games. However, the recorded myths involving these monsters vary, and in some cases I have taken some poetic license in combining or leaving out some of the characteristics from myth.
The manticore awaits you beyond the jump.