Sunday, February 17, 2013

Inactivity, Hobos, & Celts

It's been a while since I've done anything with this space. I missed BFRPG day (but I did find that BFRPG exists, and is cool), I submitted an entry to the Great Khan's contest (that will get its own post later), I found the Planescape appendix to the Monstrous Manual (which is pretty much everything I wanted from a monster book), and I've had classes (blah).

Hobo Treasures

Gus at Dungeon of Signs has made a table of hobo treasures. A while ago, I was part of an effort to clean up the shores of the Merrimack river, and here is a list of less exciting treasures inspired by that expedition (roll 1d20).
  1. Flat piece of slate. 1 in 6: cannot be erased by standard means.
  2. Evacuated turtle shell—some hobo's dinner.
  3. Explicit letter in a bottle. The contents are nonsensical and offensive, and the next 1d6 found will all be exactly the same.
  4. Strange seed pods. Roll 1d200: number of seeds found.
  5. Melted children's toy. Ours was a headless plastic dinosaur.
  6. Monkey wrench, rusted solid.
  7. Small cache of lighters. Roll 2d12: the higher is the number of lighters, the lower is the number that still have a bit left.
  8. Large stack of moldy pornographic magazines.
  9. Newspapers. Roll 2d20: the higher is the age of the oldest paper found.
  10. Blankets, cardboard boxes. 1 in 20: has a hobo in it (daytime), does not (nighttime).
  11. Beer cans and wine bottles. There is never any left.
  12. Tiny circular filters, ~0.5" diameter. Roll 1d200: number of filters washed up on shore.
  13. Planks or other lumber. Roll 1d6 for number.
  14. The remains of a fire (daytime). A hobo campfire with 1d4 hobos (nighttime).
  15. Metal cable strung between two trees, 1d6*10' in length.
  16. A refrigerator (if this doesn't work for the setting, substitute an icebox).
  17. A Little Tykes Cozy Coupe (if this doesn't work for the setting, substitute a little red wagon).
  18. An old streetcar rail (if this doesn't work for the setting, substitute a low stone wall).
  19. Miscellaneous drug paraphernalia (spoons, needles, etc.).
  20. Skewered rodent skeletons.
The seed pods, it turns out, were Eurasian water chestnuts, which not only look sinister, but are an invasive species.
Eurasian water chestnut seed pods (image source: here).


The Great Khan is having another contest in March (skipping this month), and the theme will be the celts. Everything I know about the celts I learned from "Horrible Histories: The Cut-Throat Celts", so I'm looking forward to this. The contest itself has not actually started yet, but here are some thoughts I've had:
  • There is already an implicit Celtic influence in most versions of D&D: the druid and bard classes are historically found only in Celtic cultures.
  • The Celts made brain-balls by mixing the brains of their fallen enemies with lime. These were carried around as trophies but it was believed that they could still take vengeance on their owner.
  • Celts were big into curses. I like Zak's rules for curses (item 73).
  • Celtic saints were not necessarily nice people, which is convenient for the D&D cleric archetype. They also tended to do things after their death.

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