Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Creatures of Near Kingdoms

I made a Goodreads account just to review this book (although hopefully it will encourage me to be more thoughtful in my reading). I'm afraid that whatever I do, my reviewing style will probably be very dry, but FWIW, I really enjoyed this book.

Friday, December 7, 2018

What's the Deal with this Island? (Pt. 1.5) & Gygaxian Democracy

What's the Deal with this island (Pt. 1.5)

To my shame, I missed the relevant generators on Abulafia in my previous roundup.

Ancient Greek Island Names

Where to get it

Abulafia, but apparently it is drawn from AGON.

What is it

Generates five plausible names of Greek islands every refresh. Underneath, it appears to be a flat table of ~100 entries (I didn't count).

Sample Output

  • Kandeloussa
  • Kefalonia
  • Mykonos
  • Armathia
  • Vous

Notes

Could be useful in a specifically Greek campaign, but doesn't give any insight into the island, so not great in a pinch. Risk of duplicates if used a lot.

Island

Where to get it

Abulafia

What is it

Generates ten island outlines every refresh. Underneath it's a mess of nested tables (which is what Abulafia does best, and which also would be really annoying as dice-rolling exercises).

Sample Output

  • Plentiful Island. Stream. Catoblepas. Tarn. Hill. Stream.
  • Luxuriant Island. Cave. Marble.
  • Teeming Island. . Hill.
  • Sandy Island. Poisonous rivulet. Porous Lava Spring.
  • Rugged Isle. Hill.
  • Monstrous Island. Giant rats. . Hill. Water naga. Giant lampreys. Promontory. Hill.
  • Teeming Island. Dormant fissure volcano. Hill. Stream. Agate.
  • Barren Rocks. No features. Try again!
  • Meager Isle. Warm spring.
  • Luxuriant Island. Cave. Active dome volcano. Mountain. Stream. Hill. Hill. Cliff. Stream.

Notes

I like some of the specificity it gives that wouldn't normally appear. For example, and island made of agate is great! And it gives some of the same "ecosystem" type stuff that I like about other generators. But it also requires a little extra parsing (e.g. "Mountain. Stream. Hill. Hill. Cliff. Stream."), and not every detail is relevant. Also, a lot of the more interesting results are less likely due to the nesting nature of the tables.

Gygaxian Democracy

As I try to stay occupied, I've taken to collecting the tables that appear in the Gygaxian Democracy section of Zak S' Discord server (someone else started the project, I've only been adding to it and lightly editing it). You can take a look here. There's some good stuff in there.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Some Spells

These spells are meant for a nautical LotFP campaign. I haven't tested any of them yet, but I'll let you know how it goes if I do. They're intended to use the risky casting rules from Vaginas are Magic! & James Edward Raggi IV's Eldritch Cock.

Friday, November 2, 2018

What's the Deal with this Island? (Pt.1)

There are lots of tables and methodologies for making islands. I've looked over the ones I could find and collected them here.

At Sea in the Tropics

Where to get it

The Rusty Dagger
This was also part of Secret Santicore 2011.

What is it

A set of six d10 tables: "Cliffs", "Night", "Random", "Ships", "Creepy", and "Islands".

Sample Output

Island 1

Large mechanical insects are scattered across this island. They lie dormant as if, waiting for a signal.

Island 2

This island appears to be a solid chunk of smooth and rounded stone. That outcropping looks almost like a nose. Is the whole island a half submerged head?

Island 3

This is actually and archipelago chain which has been formed into a an island nation. It is a primarily agricultural based society, or it was until the plague struck. The pox struck nearly everyone, so now the stench of rotting bodies and crops is noticeable well out to sea.

Island 4

This is actually and archipelago chain which has been formed into a an island nation. It is a primarily agricultural based society, or it was until the plague struck. The pox struck nearly everyone, so now the stench of rotting bodies and crops is noticeable well out to sea.

Island 5

This is actually and archipelago chain which has been formed into a an island nation. It is a primarily agricultural based society, or it was until the plague struck. The pox struck nearly everyone, so now the stench of rotting bodies and crops is noticeable well out to sea.

Island 6

Volcanic eruptions are creating a new island here. Huge steam clouds form as magma pours into the sea, and black ash falls like snow for miles.

Notes

It's unclear how to use some of the tables, but lots of the ideas are evocative. Because there are only 10 options in "Islands", some of the sample outputs are repeated.

Welcome to Fantasy Island

Where to get it

This was part of Secret Santicore 2014 (p. 22-24, here).

What is it

A set of eight tables: "Normal Island Types" (d20), "Exotic Island Types" (d6), "Ocean Island Weather Events" (2d6), "Adventure Themes" (d12), and four encounter tables (d12) for islands of different sizes.

Sample Output

Island 1

Sea Stack (large)
A narrow rock, taller than wide, and more than 30’ tall.
The Island is home to a shunned, but noble people.

Island 2

Islet (small)
A small patch of land supports a copse of trees, apron of sand.
The island is a massive arena where things fight for the pleasure of unseen overlords.

Island 3

Rock (tiny)
A single large piece of rock jutting up from the water.
The island is a massive arena where things fight for the pleasure of unseen overlords.

Island 4

Greater Island (huge)
A large landmass that includes hills, volcanoes, and real forests.
The island holds is lost culture, advanced in magic.

Island 5

Rock (tiny)
A single large piece of rock jutting up from the water.
The island is a massive arena where things fight for the pleasure of unseen overlords.

Island 6

Cays (large)
A landmass rich enough for a small community of humans.
The island holds a lost culture, advanced in magic.

Notes

I did not include the weather or encounter tables in the sample results, but they may be useful in a pinch. I also did not end up with any "Exotic" island types, because they are only rolled for on a 20, but that could be OK for an extended island campaign. The final "Adventure Themes" table is interesting, but strangely weighted for a d12 (fully 1/3 of the results are "The island is a massive arena[…]").

Mazes & Minotaurs

Where to get it

Mazes & Minotaurs is free here. Island generation is on p. 28-29 of the Maze Masters Guide.

What is it

A set of 14 nested tables (mostly xd6)

Sample Output

Island 1

Ringed by smooth, sandy beaches.
Town with some surrounding villages.
The inhabitants live in harmony.
Remote temple
Gigantic Cyclops

Island 2

A variety of coastline exists.
Powerful city ruling an island kingdom.
Gruesome secret. Is a god involved?
Secretive tower
Hydra
Sphinx

Island 3

A variety of coastline exists.
Small villages.
They have never seen outsiders!
Old road
Lycans
Roc
Stone Titan

Island 4

Ringed by high cliffs.
No settlements, uninhabited by humans.
Ruined fortress
Myrmidons [tiny warriors]
Serpent Men
Sphinx

Island 5

Ringed by high cliffs.
No settlements, uninhabited by humans.
Secretive tower
Ghosts

Island 6

A variety of coastline exists.
Town with some surrounding villages.
Islanders regularly attacked by a cruel monster.
Territorial markers (skulls etc.)
Giant Spiders
Giant Eagles
Empusae [vampire witches]

Notes

I really like this one, but it is more of a process to generate an island. Instead of one or two complicated elements, the tables focus on simple elements, and as you fill in the island, you can imagine how they interact. For all that, it sill goes pretty quickly. I think that the tables unnecessarily combine dice, which will lead to e.g. "Gruesome secret" being more common than "Athletic games underway", and I don't see why that is. If I were using these for an extended campaign, then I'd probably just discard duplicate results.

Tome of Adventure Design

Where to get it

You can buy it from Frog God Games ($21). This is p. 290 of  my copy.

What is it

Two d100 tables: "Unusual Island" (d100), and "Owner of the Island" (d100).

Sample Output

Island 1

Vegetation on the island is intelligent and dangerous.
Titan

Island 2

Island is a graveyard for ships.
Leader of aquatic humanoid tribe

Island 3

Island is a graveyard for ships.
Ghostly leader with minions

Island 4

Central volcanoes.
Powerful religious leader (non-human)

Island 5

Cyclopean statues.
Storm giant

Island 6

Island is a living creature and any tunnels probably lead to internal organs.
Mist creature.

Notes

This isn't really what the book is good at (it's more for brainstorming), so it seems a little unfair. There are only 10 items on "Unusual Islands", so it could just be a d10 table, but everything in the book is mapped to a d100 table.

Pathfinder GameMastery Guide

Where to get it

You can buy it from Paizo ($45 print/$10 PDF). This is p. 216 of my copy.

What is it

One d100 table (25 entries).

Sample Output

Island 1

Island with trees that behave like natural siege artillery, firing enormous nuts and fruit at ships passing too close to shore.

Island 2

Reef rules by warring kingdoms of sentient crabs.

Island 3

Island almost entirely made up of old shipwrecks.

Island 4

Iceberg with a ship trapped in it.

Island 5

Frigid island in the far north filled with countless misshapen monsters trapped within its ice.

Island 6

Frigid island in the far north filled with countless misshapen monsters trapped within its ice.

Notes

I quite like the tables in the Pathfinder GM book, even for non-pathfinder games. There are some other good tables in the "Water Toolbox" section, including "Pieces of Interesting Flotsam", "Ghost Ships and Shipwrecks", and "Sailors and Boatmen".

Weird Science Fantasy Island Generator

Where to get it

Weird & Wonderful Worlds

What is it

A set of eight nested tables.

Sample Output

Island 1

Small
Fungal forest
Volcanic
Singing flowers
Apex predator: Camouflage golems
Threat: Long-range reptiles
Other: Reptiles, Fungus
Treasure: 200 gp natural resources

Island 2

Small
Short grass or mossy
Coral forest
Perpetual, localized storm
Apex predator: Super fast golems
Threats: Fast Reptiles, Trap-making birds
Other: Plant animals, Golems
Treasure: 400 gp ancient relic or natural oddity (special)

Island 3

Small
Tall, sparse trees
Synthetic (plastic, metal, etc.)
Apex predator: Massive birds
Threat: Poisonous golems
Other: Mammals
Treasure: 600 gp ancient relic or natural oddity (mundane)

Island 4

Large
Fungal forest
River of cold blue magma
Apex predator: Fish able to swallow a man whole
Threat: Poisonous mammals
Other: Reptiles, 2 different kinds of arthropod
Treasure: 800 gp ancient relic or natural oddity (special)

Island 5

Tiny
Fungal Forest
Synthetic (plastic, metal, etc.)
Apex predator: Super strong reptiles
Threats: Strong reptiles
Other: Mammals
Treasure: 100 gp natural resource

Island 6

Tiny
Dense, woody forest
Floating building-sized plates
Singing flowers
Scattered, ancient, advanced relics
Apex predator: Poisonous fungus
Threats: Durable fungus
Other: Mammals
Treasure: 200 gp natural resource

Notes

This is most similar to the Mazes & Minotaurs generator, but feels slightly less interesting, I think because it leaves the categories so broad (e.g. "mammals"). I quite like the re-use of base types though, so that we can see Island 5 has Super Strong Reptiles that prey on Strong Reptiles, for example. I also like the conceit of building the "ecosystem" on each island.
I did arbitrarily make the decision that each niche could not support more "species" than the size roll of the island.
These tables would be much faster if there were numbers in front of the options.

Uncharted Isles: a Saltbox Generation Toolkit

Where to get it

Billy Goes to Mordor

What is it

Unlike the other tables here, this is actually a method for mapping a bunch of islands.

Sample Output

Island 1

Small (1 square)
Rocky
Ruin: Settlement of a monstrous race, with a plague or curse
Person of Note: Naval Officer

Island 2

Large (9 squares)
Surrounded by hidden reefs
Salt-swamp
Ruin: Fortress of a wizard, with monsters
Ruin: Settlement of a wizard, with technology
Ruin: Other ruin of a wizard, with a plague or curse
People of Note: 3 Natives, 1 Colonist, 2 Pirates, 1 Naval Officer

Island 3

Small (2 squares)
Jungle
Ruin: Settlement of a humanoid race, with a treasure
Ruin: Temple of a humanoid race, with a weapon
People of Note: 2 Pirates

Island 4

Medium (7 squares)
Rocky
Ruin: Industrial/scientific complex of a wizard, with technology
Ruin: Fortress of a giant race, with a plague or curse
Ruin: Fortress of an ancient pagan race, with technology
Ruin: Other ruin of inhuman things from another dimension, with a survivor
Ruin: Temple of an ancient pagan race, with monsters
People of Note: 3 Natives, 2 Colonists, 1 Escaped Slave

Island 5

Medium (7 squares)
Freshwater river
Rocky
Ruin: Settlement of inhuman things from another dimension, with a weapon
Ruin: Settlement of a monstrous race, with monsters
Ruin: Temple of a humanoid race, with a plague or curse
Ruin: Settlement of a giant race, with a plague or curse
People of Note: 2 Natives, 1 Colonist, 1 Escaped Slave

Island 6

Large (18 squares)
Freshwater river
Surrounded by hidden reefs
Jungle
Ruin: Tomb of inhuman things from another dimension, with a survivor
People of Note: 3 Natives, 1 Colonist, 1 Escaped Slave

Notes

I misunderstood the directions and placed 1d6 ruins on each island, instead of distributing them. I did the same thing for persons of note. This has made for some very dense islands, and a less enjoyable generation experience, but I hope that this will not reflect undeservedly on the toolkit.
I arbitrarily decided island size by 1d4 (this seems common). I limited hte number of ruins and notable people that an island can hold by the size roll. I also skipped names and interrelations of the notable people, and I skipped settlement and lair generation as well.

Worms Upon a Piece of Wood

Where to get it

Legacy of the Bieth

What is it

Five nested tables (for island generation), and an ocean encounter table.

Sample Output

Island 1

Flock of monstrous avians (harpies, perytons, etc.)

Island 2

Inhabitants are very welcoming to outsiders, but have strange customs which wind up causing pain. Sindbad encountered this with the islanders who insisted he marry one of them, but then revealed that if one spouse dies, the other is buried alive with them. Some other examples might be ritual sacrifice

Island 3

Cannibals

Island 4

Sorcerer keeping the populace in thrall through use of charm spells to set up a secret police. No, everything's fine here in this little island village, how are you?
Demon-possessed large animals (think the Lions of Tsavo but worse and all demonic) committed to terrorizing the locals. No interest in rulership or gross consumption, but to cause pervasive terror. Or they're waiting for something, killers even more horrendous than the animal that they now ride...

Island 5

Perfectly symmetrical island. When structures are built on one side facsimiles will appear on the other. Same for the remains of any sapient being. Every day that a facsimile is separated from the island, roll a d6; on a 3+ the facsimile disappears.

Island 6

Colony of ghuls - erudite, urbane, eaters of the dead, and running out of consumable corpses.

Notes

Even though the tables are nominally held together by a 1d4 table, and there is the possibility of combining multiple options, I feel like the options are complete enough and the overlaps simple enough that this might work better as a single table.

Low Country Point Crawl Prep: Barrier Island Generator

Where to get it

Unlawful Games

What is it

Four d20 tables.

Sample Output

Savage Man’s [Island]

Small, Forested
Natives

Dead Alligator [Island]

Medium, Rocky
Uninhabited

Green Man’s [Island]

Medium, Marshland
Uninhabited

Hermit Helena’s [Island]

Medium, Sandbar
Natives

Surly Helena’s [Island]

Large, Structures
Uninhabited

Lost Snake [Island]

Medium, Marshland
Colonists

Notes

Apart from the names of islands, I don't feel like this table is really adding a lot. Similar to "Welcome to Fantasy Island", there is a subtable for "Other" islands, but it is only used on a roll of 20.

100 Uncharted Islands

Where to get it

DnDSpeak

What is it

One d100 table, 100 options. Handy "Generate" button.

Sample Output

Island 1

An island with only one inhabitant, a crazed artist trying to find his muse. He will paint portraits of all who visit him but will destroy them hours later as they did not meet his standards and do not show his inspiration for art.

Island 2

A small rocky island. On the South side, a dock pokes tentatively out of the mouth of a cave at sea level. A long staircase winds up inside the rock from the cave to a temple on the top of the island, long abandoned. The Western side houses a small beach, then a sheer cliff overlooked by the temple gardens, now overgrown. The rest of the island is barren rock, rising upwards from the sea.

Island 3

This island seems to be in constant movement... Turns out it actually is a tiny island that sits on top of a enormous turtle that roams the surface of the ocean. The island is a patch of sand and dirt that sits on its shell, a single, tiny tree sits on top of it.

Island 4

A tiny rocky island with a large tower, the top is illuminated by a very powerful Light spell. This is used as a lighthouse but there isn’t a shore nearby, the lighthouse keeper is elderly and doesn’t remember why they are there or who sent them.

Island 5

A giant knot of vegetation. Kelp extends deep into the waters below, and mangrove-like trees are rooted into the mats of kelp.

Island 6

An island is floating above the sea, about twenty feet from the top of the ocean. On top of the island is a library run by Chameleon warriors who travel around collecting books for their massive library. You can find information about nearly any civilization here, for a price.

Notes

As a crowdsourced-from-reddit table, the quality of entries varies wildly. At least one entry is just a list of short suggestions that were never properly separated, multiple entries are the Zaratan, multiple entries are giant skulls that only look like islands, the units are arbitrary (feet, km, miles, meters), etc. Still, there's some good stuff too, and as the first 100-entry d100 table it is at least full of variety.

Islands in the Sky: Random Island Generator

Where to get it

A Pack of Knolls

What is it

Four tables with some nested rolls and a sky travel encounter table.

Sample Output

Island 1

1 sq mile, plains/prairie
Organized militaristic humanoids
100% human

Island 2

1 sq mile, fey or shadow
House on a hill (occupied)
20% gnome, 20% dragonborn, 20 % shadar-kai, 20% fomorian, 20% drow

Island 3

3 sq mile, fey or shadow
Artisan town
100% human

Island 4

0.5 sq mile, badlands
Small trading village
100% troglodyte

Island 5

24 sq mile, desert
Wilderness
100% wilden

Island 6

4 sq mile, fey or shadow
Wilderness
100% human

Notes

The racial makeup is not very evocative for me, and consequently I feel that these tables also do not carry their weight. Technically these are sky-islands, but I figure the principles are the same.

D100 Islands

Where to get it

Elf Maids & Octopi

What is it

Two d100 tables: "Insular Islands within and around Exile Island", and "Islands and oceanic phenomena on Planet Psychon".

Sample Output

Island 1

A lonely, haunted gravesite, haunted by one undead.

Island 2

Grog shop under tarpaulin over fallen tree with local exotic sentients drinking together

Island 3

Lich dwells in a fortified tomb and a lich inside has power only limited by corpses

Island 4

Drunken cult of the wine god holidaying here in stupors

Island 5

A vampire lord is trapped here, a crumbling collapsed manor is only remnants

Island 6

A gigantic sea serpent hides in a cave here to recover from encounters with worse monsters

Notes

I did not see the second d100 table, so none of the sample islands were generated from it. I generally like these, but some of them link to other d100 tables, and I don't think there's any particular "island" feeling about those ones.

Adrift Amid the Random Isles

Where to get it

Tales from the Sorcerer's Skull

What is it

Six tables

Sample Output

Island 1

Volcanic (active)
Large
Sahuagin, war-like women (man-hungry)
Earth-bound god

Island 2

Coral atoll
Large
Uninhabited

Island 3

Volcanic (active)
Small
Animals
Froghemoth

Island 4

Voclanic (extinct)
Small
Humanoid cargo cult

Island 5

Volcanic (active)
Medium
Uninhabited
Living statues

Island 6

Mountain top of a drowned continent
Very small
Animals
Giant animal

Notes

By making civilization so rare, I feel like the more interesting possibilities of these tables are limited.

Monday, October 29, 2018

OSR Guide for the Perplexed Questionnaire

I'm currently unemployed and I've started playing around with some D&D ideas, and I remember to look at all the old blogs I used to read and now G+ is exploding (in a bad way).

Following Zak (sfw):
  1. One article or blog entry that exemplifies the best of the Old School Renaissance for me:
    The first Secret Santacore. I missed it, but it's a marvel of design and collaboration.
  2. My favorite piece of OSR wisdom/advice/snark:
    I think it was in Philotomy's Musings: a reminder that you don't have to roleplay your stats, they just limit your effectiveness. You can act strong/wise/etc., and until a check is called for that's fine. If you have an intelligent idea, go for it, and if your character tries to read a book, they still might not have the intelligence. If you can reason or bribe your way past a guard, do, and your charisma still determines if your retainers stick around. (Obviously, the GM can call for a check, but it shouldn't stop your from trying.)
  3. Best OSR module/supplement:
    Vornheim got me excited to play D&D again in college.
  4. My favorite house rule:
    Scrap Princess' rules for climbing on big monsters are very elegant, but I never had a chance to use them.
  5. How I found out about the OSR:
    I think I found the Labyrinth Lord or OSRIC ruleset through Paizo somehow.
  6. My favorite OSR online resource/toy:
    Links to Wisdom is limited (compared to e.g. OSRSearch), but it has a warm, hand-made feeling to it.
  7. Best place to talk to other OSR gamers:
    Currently still G+ I guess.
  8. Other places I might be found hanging out talking games:
    I've been lurking on some subreddits (r/DnD, r/OSR, r/d100) and tumblr.
  9. My awesome, pithy OSR take nobody appreciates enough:
    If you're like me, you accumulate absurdly nice little notebooks. I don't even know how, it's not like I bought them. But go ahead and use a nice notebook. They feel really nice for planning and prep and things.
  10. My favorite non-OSR RPG:
    5e because everyone plays it and it's actually very nice.
  11. Why I like OSR stuff:
    The actual play experience comes first. This makes for a minimal, rock-solid core that enables easy DIY hacking. And obviously, a good play experience.
  12. Two other cool OSR things you should know about that I haven't named yet:
    I just read On The Shoulders of Giants. Looks really cool, useful.
    Mazes & Minotaurs is interesting, and p. 28 of the Maze Master's guide there are some good-looking random generators. I'm also a sucker for the alternate history meta conceit.
  13. If I could read but one other RPG blog but my own it would be:
    It's very hard to choose, but maybe Jeff's Gameblog because it's long-lived and useful and always pleasant.
  14. A game thing I made that I like quite a lot is:
    I quite like this thing that reimagines the plane of shadow as a place that follows the logic of early Apple maps.
  15. I'm currently running/playing:
    Running: nothing 😞. Playing: 5e city crawl.
  16. I don't care whether you use ascending or descending AC because:
    On p. 76 of the LotFP referee handbook (Grindhouse edition), there is a table for converting between various OSR systems. It's not labeled any there isn't an in print referee book right now, so maybe people don't know this?
  17. The OSRest picture I could post on short notice:
    The work of Charles Freger.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Why is this boat?

I was thinking up some possible passing ships before I did the research and found Zak S.'s Wavecrawl kit. Consider these 20 boats an addition to that.

Why is this boat?

  1. Wine merchants traveling in a large circle to age their cargo of Madeira. Very bad at sailing because they weren’t willing to pay any experienced crew.
  2. The hold is filled with crates of earth and a coffin. Otherwise deserted.
  3. Lycanthropes who set out to sea with no plan other than to escape their curse.
  4. Pilgrims seeking a spot in the middle of the ocean where they believe their patron saint drowned.
  5. Scientists hailing from a distant land. Tasked with charting the seas, recording other cultures, and taking samples of flora and fauna back with them.
  6. Salvagers, attempting to recover a previous salvaging expedition. Know where they’re going, but not what the original was seeking. Increment if re-rolled.
  7. Monkeys. Do they know where they’re going? How did they learn that?
  8. Smugglers who can’t return to port until they figure out how to stop their ship glowing at night.
  9. Lone man in a kayak. Does not speak any common language. Grateful for assistance, but unconcerned that he is far from home.
  10. A diver convinced that there is an underwater civilization right below him. No one else sees any evidence, but he’s wealthy, so everyone humors him. He endeavors to be the first ambassador to that civilization.
  11. Mutineers who never agree. Any given member of the crew has been captain, prisoner, or both. They want the PCs to take the most recent captain off their hands (they have no more rafts).
  12. Heretic monks who were kicked out of their monastery.
  13. Lone pirate captain, stranded on a life raft after a mutiny.
  14. The entire navy of a local noble’s vanity micronation (two vessels). Out practicing war games.
  15. Woman with magic boots can walk on the surface of the water (no boat).
  16. Weird merchants. See e.g. Gorgonmilk's Goblin Market.
  17. Cannibals.
  18. Tax collectors / excise ship. See A Red & Pleasant Land, or maybe they just collect normal taxes.
  19. Stowaway who has just escaped your ship in your life raft.
  20. Conquistadors.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Here Are Some Characters

Here are some backgrounds for characters. It's mostly specialists, because that's where I started.

Your specialist . . .

  • is a jeweler, seeking gems of great value.
  • is an explorer, seeking or returned from exotic lands.
  • is an archaeologist, searching for the secrets of lost civilizations.
  • is a political exile, waiting to return home.
  • is a black priest, charged with keeping the church's secrets secret.
  • is a barbarian, skilled in ways that civilization has forgotten.
  • is a migrant worker, willing to help out locals for a bed or a meal.
  • is a tinker, but will take on other odd jobs.
  • is a busker, but with a lost instrument.
  • is a common beggar.
  • is an organ grinder, whose monkey ran away.
  • comes from a nomadic culture.
  • is a traveling merchant, freshly cleaned out from a deal gone awry.
  • is a fence, but is branching out into "acquisitions".
  • is a jester who spoke too much truth to power.
  • is an actor, separated from their troupe.
  • is an acrobat.
  • ran away from a terrible apprenticeship.
  • is a sailor on shore leave.
  • trained as a domestic servant.
  • is a smuggler, on the lookout for new routes.
  • is a quack doctor, peddling alcoholic tonics.
  • is a professional burglar.
  • is a pickpocket street urchin. Singing optional.
  • is a con artist, in search of a mark.
  • is a con artist, whose parter was recently taken in.
  • is a gangster, whose connections have soured recently.
  • is a rake, seeking to take his mind off of a doubtless life-threatening liver disorder.
  • is a spy, awaiting orders from a foreign nation.
  • is a bandit/pirate (depending on feasibility).
  • is a poacher.
  • is a halfling in search of adventure.
  • is a trained assassin.
  • was a military scout.
  • escaped slavery.

Your fighter . . .

  • was a bouncer.
  • is a bodyguard.
  • is a noble knight on an inscrutable quest.
  • is a digraced knight, exiled from the court.
  • was an infantryman.
  • is a mercenary, between jobs.
  • is a bounty hunter.
  • is a barbarian, unmatched in the art of combat.
  • escaped from a laboratory.
  • was a prizefighter, but is getting old.
  • apprenticed as a blacksmith.
  • was a collier or miner.
  • escaped from prison.
  • is a lawman.
  • is a bandit/pirate (depending on feasibility).
  • is a dwarf.
  • is from a long line of warriors.
  • is a deserter.
  • is a berserker.
  • is a local hero in their remote hometown.
  • was an Olympian athlete.

Your magic user . . .

  • is a wild talent with psionic powers.
  • made a pact with the devil.
  • speaks with elementals.
  • is an elf.
  • is proud to be self-taught.
  • learned Atlantean secrets.
  • was abducted by aliens.
  • apprenticed with an insane wizard.
  • graduated valedictorian at Wizard Academy.
  • dropped out of Wizard Academy.
  • was taught magic by nature spirits.
  • has dragon blood running through their veins.
  • has no memory of his life before now.
  • happens to have not died in the last century (but is still mortal).
  • was an advisor to kings and generals.
  • died once. Might even still be dead. Isn't sure.
  • is a bard.
  • can't return to it's home dimension.

Your cleric . . .

  • is an orphan, raised by the church.
  • once was blind, but now can see.
  • once could see, but now is blind.
  • is a pacifist.
  • is a reformed death cultist.
  • once received a vision.
  • is personally an atheist.
  • is a millenarian, convinced that the end is nigh.
  • is an inquisitor, charged with rooting out heresy.
  • acts obsessive about rituals. Practices them like clockwork.
  • is a shaman, who calls upon ancestral spirits.
  • is a druid, who remembers the old ways.
  • is not the child of prophecy, but sees how you could make that mistake.
  • was an ascetic monk, living on the fringes of society.
  • was recently accused of heretical beliefs.
  • is a street preacher, spreading the gospel to all who will listen.
  • is a pamphleteer, too shy to preach on the streets.
  • almost died once, but was saved by grace alone.