Saturday, January 28, 2012

Crowdsourcing: Magical Mishaps

Everybody loves Jeff's Carousing Rules, but being a drunken lout isn't appropriate for every character.*  I've particularly heard cleric players complain that their character is unlikely to seek the pleasures of the flesh.  I've also often thought that magic users might be more at home in an alchemist's lab than in a brothel.

As such, I would like to propose two subsystems to attach to the carousing rules.  One will model a magic user conducting magical experiments in his or her free time, and the other will model a cleric's giving alms to the poor and helping the local church/temple conduct services and exorcise people.

Let's deal with magic users first.  Money is expended in the same manner as the normal carousing rules.  In this case, the money represents the magic user's paying for various magical components and a space to practice his or her arts.  Note that this expenditure does not count towards the creation of spells or other such magic items.  This experimentation is purely theoretical.  Members of a local wizardly organization, such as a guild, can pay an additional 50gp per pip to gain access to that organization's superior facilities and components.

Instead of saving against poison, the magic user must save vs. spells or roll on the chart below:

  1. Well, that was a waste of time.  Gain no XP.  Roll intelligence check or gain a reputation as a fraud among other magic users.
  2. BOOM!  Your experiments cause an explosion to rip through your laboratory space.  1-3 explosion contained within laboratory 4-5 laboratory is destroyed 6 explosion rips through the entire town.  Save vs Breath Weapons or begin next adventure d3 hit points short.
  3. How were you to know they didn't want people digging up those bodies?  Roll a Charisma check.  Success indicates a fine of 2d6 x 25gp.  Failure (or inability to pay the fine) indicates 1d6 days in the lord's dungeon.
  4. You accidentally turn yourself into a member of the opposite gender.  Reroll your Charisma score.  If you should find a way to restore your original sex, your Charisma score returns to normal.
  5. Your experiments kill the local livestock.  The peasants are angry!  1-3 they don't know it was you and blame some unfortunate 4-5 they know it was you but are too scared of magic users to take action 6 expect torches and pitchforks.
  6. Your experiments cause you to age. 1-3 you age five years 4-5 you age ten years 6 you age twenty years.
  7. You are sucked into a nightmare dimension.  You emerge after 1d6 days completely naked and babbling incoherently.  Lose all personal effects and begin the next adventure d3 hitpoints short.
  8. Somehow you've ended up with a second, smaller head of the alignment opposite of your own.  Make a save vs. Spells.  Success indicates the head disappears after the next adventure.  Failure indicates the head remains permanently.
  9. Your magical experiments have attracted a local ghost.  You are now haunted.  Ghostly voices fill your head making it difficult to concentrate.  Take a -2 penalty on all saves and checks during your next adventure.  Afterwards roll 1d6. On a roll of 6, the ghost is still interested in you and you will suffer the ill effects for another adventure.  Otherwise, the ghost loses interest and finds someone else to haunt
  10. You've trapped yourself inside a summoning circle.  Make a charisma check to convince someone to release you.  If you fail, lose 1d6 x 25 gp.
  11. You probably shouldn't have eaten that nugget of purest green.  Your skin is changed into a bizarre color. 1 Blue 2 Green 3 Orange 4 Purple 5 Black 6 Red 7 White 8 Ulfire 9 Jale 10 Dolm.  The non-weirdo colors are all bright and crayony.
  12. That potion was disgusting!  Save vs. Spells or have your teeth fall out.  1-2 they don't grow back 3-5 they do 6 they do, but now they're fangs.
Ok, now I need your help with the last eight.  Post your proposed results in the comments below!

*Just most of them.


  1. 13. Spell-lock! A random spell in your head has become corrupted and cannot be cast, or released! Roll d6:

    1-2 it collapses in on itself in 1d3 days, clearing the slot.

    3-4 Make a saving throw: If successful, you repair the spell. Otherwise, you accidently lock-up a 2nd spell. Roll again, tomorrow for both spells.

    5 Permanent, until a Heal or Restoration is cast upon you.

    6 You manage to repair the spell, but it will now repopulate itself automatically in your consciousness, 1 day after you cast it. Forever.

  2. I swiped it from myself. Made a cursed scroll a while back, that does pretty much the same thing. :)

  3. 14. You gaze into the Abyss and 'something' stares back! You lose consciousness for 1d6 days. When you awaken, your eyes have changed. 1-2:Black pupiless eyes 3-4: Red flaming eyes 5:Transparent eyes. 6: Snake-like slitted eyes.

  4. 15. Transmutation disaster! One of your body parts grows to larger than normal size. 1: Nose, 2: Ears, 3:Feet/Toes 4:Hands/Fingers 5:Head 6:'Nether regions'. Lasts for 1 week.

  5. Some of those seem to be drastic risks for a small amount of XP. I love the idea though.

    Here are a few more.

    Minor explosion: eyebrows burned off, frizzy scientist fro. Local wizards may begin to think you are incompetent.

    Rupture in the space-time continuum: small (1d6 inches) hole in the fabric of reality opens. Consider as a bottomless hole.

    You summoned it, but you can't figure out how to unsummon it. It follows you around and does things at inconvenient times. Roll 1d4; it is: 1 - thumb-sized demon, 2 - two-headed rodent, 3 - small flying squid that swims through the air, 4 - floating bubble follows you around and reforms if popped.

    That growth spell didn't go the way you thought. Size as halfling for next 2d6 days. Clothes and armor no longer fit.

    That other growth spell didn't go the way you thought. One of your companion's mounts is now half sized, maybe permanently. Determine which randomly.

    Variation on James' stuck spell: determine randomly one spell you can prepare. This spell must now always be prepared if you prepare any spells at all. You just can't get that tune out of your head. Referee may rule on some way to undo this.

    1. I thought mine were pretty in-line with Jeff's original table as far as risk/reward goes.

      Some of them are just direct copies with the flavor text changed.

    2. I think there's room for a table with less drastic results for people to use in a campaign where they want.. um.. less drastic results? Not very poetic, but you know what I mean, hopefully.

      I also like the idea of having this table that is as 'tough' as Jeff's original, and have no prob with re-skinning some of his entries.

  6. Grow a useless tail.

    Grow a small pair of demon wings. Much too small to do anything useful with.

  7. 16. Alchemical Funk. You spilled a nasty concoction which has seeped into your skin and now you smell awful to normal people. -2 CHA The other side-effects are= 1-2: Attracts hungry monsters 3-4: Repels normal animals 5-6 Attracts monsters for mating. Funk lasts 2-12 days

  8. @Evan, yeah that's true. I think I toned down Jeff's carousing results too; I guess my players are not adventurous enough.

    Sorry, I can't help myself; here are more:

    Overcome by the transience of life through metaphysical research. You new weep whenever you witness death. Further, the tears are blood.

    Experiment with the plane of shadow, to which your own shadow escapes.

    Vampiric synthesis gone awry: you no longer have a reflection.

    That love philtre didn't go quite the way you expected. You now smell like catnip for (d6) 1-3: canines, 4-6: felines. This may make you unutterably delicious to monstrous versions of these creatures as well.

    Super soldier serum, but it wasn't quite as ready as you thought. Re-roll strength.

  9. You manage to banish the demon you summoned successfully, but somehow its image was burned into your flesh. You now have a strange, moving tatoo. Roll for location: 1 face, 2 chest, 3 back, 4 left arm, 5 right arm, 6 rear, 7 left lef, 8 right leg. Maybe it can see what you can see.

  10. A demon prince, archdevil or duke of hell, is now aware of your existence.

    Strange dreams. Upon waking, only the phrase "lost Carcosa," is remembered.

    1. Tynesian version: An abstract concept personalized by human cognition is now aware of your existence. You wake up in an empty suburb, and wander around for 2d6 hours before falling asleep again and returning to your dream-life as a wandering adventurer.

  11. (might be too close to #8)

    17. Your ill-advised experiments have brought about the creation of a double! This creature is a perfect duplicate of your character -- stats, level, appearance, even clothing and gear -- yes that means magical items, too -- though they operate in some contrary funhouse mirror way to your own. This double (1-2) reveres you as 'the original' and will follow you as a loyal henchman (2-3) declares itself to be your Nemesis and attempts to flee. It will go to great lengths to bring about the PC's suffering in any way it can, though it will refrain from outright killing the PC until it feels that the PC has undergone sufficient discomfort, loss, and humiliation (5-6) Will serve the PC as a loyal henchman as in the first result, but will grow increasingly envious and bitter, eventually plotting to kill the PC and take their place at the most opportune moment.

    1. that should be "(3-4)" for the second result. I blame lack of sleep.

  12. You've embarrassed another MU, in a public debate. He's not going to let it go!

    1-2 He's 1d4 levels higher than yourself.

    3-4 Within 1 of your level, but he's CE.

    5-6 He's only first level, but rich as all hell and/or very well connected!

  13. Grow younger or older 1d4 years (odd younger, even older).

  14. Gain a reputation as an expert in an esoteric subject that totally bores you. You now must spend 1d4 days giving seminars in towns you visit that have magic-users or gain a reputation for being rude, standoffish, and secretive.

  15. You've activated an ancient curse, that once afflicted MU's of your lineage:

    1-2 When not casting spells, everything you say must be in rhyme.

    3-4 You cannot tell a lie.

    5-6 The curse of Enos Yorl, from Thieves World: Your physical form changes, every 1d1000 Turns. You will never experience the exact same physical form, twice. Aside from always have two arms and legs, a head and torso, pretty much anything goes.

  16. You find yourself able to understand and speak to all animals (magical and mundane) like Dr. Dolittle. Each time you attempt communication, roll a d6. On a 6, the animal takes offense at your tone and accent, and will respond with scorn and hostility -- all the way from simply being an unhelpful smartass to viciously attacking the PC/the party.

  17. Narcolepsy. 10% of falling asleep, whenever it occurs to the DM to roll for it.

    Thanks to an accidental, minor but showy magical effect, devotees of an obscure religious cult, think you're their messiah (50% chance) or their messiah's opposite number.

    You can now Detect Evil at will! (Not really. Positive results are totally random, but the MU thinks it's working correctly.)

  18. You can shoot magic missiles from your eyes! (Continuously, whenever they're open.)

    Bad potion! Uncontrollable flatulence, equal to a Stinking Cloud Spell, once per Turn for 1d10 days.

    Love potion goes awry! Everyone loves you! Everything loves you! Monsters will hug you and kiss you and pet you and call you George.

  19. "You know nothing of my work!" Word of your research has (in a garbled form) got out into the local magical community. Would-be occultists in the area increasingly (but inaccurately) refer to you, your theories, and your research among friends, colleagues, and attractive persons they're trying to impress.

  20. * A crowd of large, sweaty men start following you around whining about how you're 'broken'.

  21. * A (different) crowd of large, sweaty men start following you around, whining about how you've turned dungeon exploration into a board game.

    * You are compelled to fire your hirelings every few weeks.

  22. There are some good ideas here too:

    The two tables overlap quite heavily.

  23. Dude! You tripped out a little there when you accidentally knocked over the bowl of hallucinogenic spores, but you think that spider demon who was eating your grandmother's unicorn was on to something when it sang "Yankee Doodle" inverted in cubic time!

    Its definitely a spell, you should try to cast it to see what it does.

    Fills up your highest level spell slot, must be used before you can refill the slot. When casting make a save VS spell.

    Failure indicates it is nothing. Failure by more than 5 indicates your opponent should choose the spell and its target using any spell of the appropriate level. Success indicates you choose any spell of that spell level and cast it. Success by more than 5 indicates you retain it for either another casting, or to write down in your spell book.

  24. All spells that you cast for the next 1D20 days are reversed. you can attempt to anticipate this effect by using a pre-reversed version, but then the effect gets randomized.

    You are accused of the high crime and misdemeanor of 'badwrongfun' and must use either a 'Protection From...' spell or 'Shield' spell to defend yourself from continuous nonsensical yammering from a flock of fluffy pink pig-snouted apelets who waft through the air on gossamer wings for the next 1d4 days. for some reason only you can hear the creatures, but everyone within 30' can certainly smell them.

  25. I have a few good and bad results outlined at

    My system is a bit different, but still salvageable.

  26. Has anyone compiled everything into a PDF or something yet?