Friday, December 27, 2013

D20 Random Lunatic Hermits

Recently I got to thinking about Death frost Doom again, specifically as a representative of a definitive OSR (No I don't know what 'OSR' means) product that plays well on an 80's D&D ruleset (or retro-clone, whatever) but is nothing like an 80's D&D module.  I've been reading some of those things lately - and am still fuming about the apparently beloved "Pharaoh - I4" (which takes a cliched setting so brimming with life and reduces it to a limp grey ghoul confusedly wandering a 10' x 10' room).  Death Frost Doom is not without places to tweak and reskin it to make it better, and it may demand a bit much from a GM (or play testing has shown that it's end game isn't as final as the author originally believed so some additional material would be helpful), but it's a great little adventure well worth dropping on any sandbox map. 

One of the best parts of Death Frost Doom is the mad hermit who cajoles and warns the adventurers to steer clear of the haunted mountain.  Zeke (the hermit) is a bit dubious and might be scary to you or me (though not to the pack of money crazed sociopaths that make up most adventuring parties), but he is no liar.  Avoid the scary mountain and survive!  the problem with Zeke is that he's a give away for Death Frost Doom (also reskin the cottage and tooth door), and well informed players will run when they see his untanned hide wearing figure stumbling down an icy path.

The answer to this quandary is to put Zeke somewhere else on your map and fill the whole thing with numerous mad hermit types.  Below are 20 (though with the multiple column format there are many options) insane hermits.  A domicile, name, description, obsession and secret treasure have all been provided for your random table mix and match pleasure.

Special thanks to Rey at Bum Rush the Titan! for the encouragement and table idea.

Obession – Mania/
Secret Treasure
Nest of woven straw 10’ up a large tree
Naked except for large boots held together by twine, elderly
100’s of carved wooden gambling tokens
A lean to of skins and branches decorated with wind chims
Scrubbed clean daily with pine boughs and cold water, chapped looking
A pickled sprite in a jar of brine
Hand dug mud cave in stream bank
Broken Bill
Obese, hairy, covered in dirty scabs
The Thing in the Woods/
Rusty iron skull
Tepee of old flour sacks
Emaciated, lank blond hair, boil
His stolen crown/
The hilt of a noble’s sword
An abandoned crypt, made vaguely homey
The Stink
Missing ears and nose,
The invisible masters/
Hangman’s noose
A windowless dry stone cairn.
The Coot
Long White Beard, frayed blue robe
Perfecting martial forms/
A perfect stone sphere
Bark wigwam in dell of wasp hives.
No Harm Henry
clothes made daily of large leaves
Complete pacifism/
Broken legged mouse
Walled off section under ancient bridge
Dark Drek
Black robes, receding chin, foul breath
Wife’s skeleton
Hut made of animal bones and mud.
Hide armor soaked in animal blood
Slaying the Great Beast/
Pile of animal horns
Overturned rowboat
Largo Knockhead
Big, gladiator’s scars, one dead eye.
The city under the waves/
Seashell Collection
Large hollow log with moss bed, surprisingly clean and cozy
Dimby Do
Skinny teenager with freckles and the wide smile of a simpleton. Farm clothes
Falling into the sky/
An old letter from his father, obvious lies.
Mossed covered abandoned wagon house.
The Bird Priest
Ministers to animals and drunkards from roadside shrine, bald, snaggleteeth
The infiltration of the under men into society/
A moth eaten miter
Lopsided log cabin, badly caulked with mud and lacking a chimney
Lucky Remus
Currently deceased, a ragged mummified corpse cracked buckskins
Fame and Riches/
Bark book of ramblings
Collapsed farmhouse, infested with rats, hidden cellar
Dirty Dirty
A mockery of the dandy fashion, drunken red eyes, and gin blossoms
Witches, the pretty ones/
Primitive still and several barrels of near poison gin
Ancient stone circle, roofed over with saplings and ferns
The Rust Knight
Burly young peasant type, has old ax wound splitting face, laughs easily
Protecting the innocent/
Collection of rust rotten metal and weapons.
Old Mill, now little more than a cellar pit with a plank rook
Max VonHellstien (Maxxy)
Fat, jolly, laugh lines and tan complexion.  Wearing dirty linen tunic.
Saving the children/
Collection of children’s skulls
The cave behind a waterfall, easily spotted by scattered fish bones
Mossy green teeth, withered arm, wears fish skin loin cloth and monocle
The stars aligning badly/
Several bookcases of water rotten books and scrolls
Tidy crofters cottage hanging on edge of crumbling cliff.
Paunch Dixon
Thin, middle aged, grey haired, wearing neat but threadbare merchant’s suit.  Dignified until demeanor slips.
Hallucinogenic lichens and the speaking to the rock gods/
Hallucinogenic lichens
Lean to beside highway.  Looks like it has been there a long time.
Faded Glory
Wears cast off brightly colored scraps badly sewn together, toothless, surly.
Fictional Identity as former famous adventurer/
ancient idol of crude stone
Rotted silk travelling pavilion, still filled with decayed cushions
One Penny
Quick talking, face twisted unnaturally. Wearing a robe of wicker matting.
Parables and similes/
A cursed book of magical lore, missing most pages

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