Castles are the Dungeons for the Fey and the Gothic

Many fairy tales revolve around castles and courts. These places are filled with wonder and awe, horror and debauchery. They are both simultaneously filled with dark and light. Capricious nobles, strange and incomprehensible to us born outside their world, are ready to take advantage of us, to be overtaken by us, to destroy us and to be destroyed, to give us blessings and curses, to reward treasure, take treasure, and have treasure taken. There are secret places in here to explore, to hide in. Ways in, ways out. People in there of all kinds, different factions with different interests, all revolving around the mystery and mysticism of the castle.

The dark fairy castle
Joker Chen

These are dungeons, but less dirty, grim, and abandoned, more poetic, mystical, strange. In a dungeon, cobwebs fill hallways and the dead shamble around. This can happen in castles as well, but in fey castles or gothics, you have animated suits of armor, strange servants, weird guests.

Let's look at two examples: Bluebeard's Castle (fairy tale) and Dracula's Castle (gothic).

Bluebeard's Castle is a place of horror and mysticism. It is beautiful, and the castle's owner, Bluebeard, is charismatic, attractive, groping. He invites you in, barrs one secret room, and gives you keys to the other. You stumble from fairy tale room into fairy tale room, dancing with strange servants, surviving strange riddles and puzzles. But there is that secret room, that dark room, that strange room with the potential treasure and horrible curse. In all ways, this is a dungeon for fey.

Dracula's Castle is much the same. Surrounded by direwolves and spectres and will-o'-wisps, filled with vampiric brides and hiding peasants trying to escape their damnation. Locked doors that hide darker secrets that must be explored so that you know you can leave. A haunting, stalking, loping master of the castle, a threat coming through the walls or into your room.

Dracula's Castle
Josh Black

And yes, keep in mind, there are rooms to rest in within the castles. Places to regain your faculties. Or, places in which even weirder encounters can happen. Dracula's brides invade and you must fend them off through wit until their husband returns to calm them. Bluebeard returns and you must hide from him, keep it secret that you've been in that Dark Room, survive his hunting of you when he finds out.

Yes, castles are dungeons, but with more active threats. Intelligent dangers that know you are there and want to interact with you.

Strahd's Castle is a dungeon, but an Archfey, an Elven Prince, the Winter Court can all have a similar one.

Whenever I see fey adventures, I always see forests that, glades this. No one ever really makes adventures around the castles. But it is here that the fairy tale is the most powerful, and where the gothic can be wedded to it.

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It is this wedding that I think has a lot of creative potential for dungeons and modules in the future. A castle that takes both fey and gothic elements to make something. Like the 5E Raven Queen, who is at once a god, an archfey, and a gothic horror, who resides in a Castle of Memories. This is the perfect dungeon place. Invade and plunder the memories of countless tragedies to learn secrets to defeating enemies, or finding rare treasure. Hide from the Raven Queen and her elven servants, and avoid the gloom-beasts that manifest here too. Every room can have a new puzzle or encounter or secret with ease. Other factions can be in here, perhaps adventurers or elves or those seeking audience with the Raven Queen

And let's talk audiences. For a game about adventure, these are often glanced over. But an audience with a powerful gothic-fey (or a normal fey or a gothic creature) can be a great puzzle. You must at once dodge around their ego, have wit-duels with other members of courts, gain allies to help you, present treasures or plan how to escape, potentially have a crazy battle, potentially hoodwink or trick whoever you are having an audience with--there's lots of potential here.

Now with this all positioned, I guess the next step is to actually make a castle-dungeon adventure. I'll have to sew on that though.

Foggy castle
Thomas Dubois

Revelations of the Mononoke Princess - An OD&D Princess Mononoke Hack PART 1

Revelations of the Mononoke Princess is a game hack meant to emulate the world of Studio Ghibli's Princess Mononoke. This post includes how to make a character, the new mechanical systems, and the bestiary for the world. Part 2 will include sample points of interest, treasure, and session + campaign generators.

SOME NOTES:

  • You will need 1d20 and 1d6 to use this hack. Referee's will need more for generator purposes.
  • Only roll dice if a character's actions have variables at play.
  • Replace gold pieces with ryu.
  • Use the combat procedure of your choice when playing this hack.
  • This hack is intended for one-shots, trilogies, and short campaigns of 11 sessions or less. 


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MAKING A CHARACTER

You have 6 attributes. They are:
  • Martial - Representing your trained combat ability. Add the modifier to attack rolls.
  • Constitution - Representing your physical limits. Roll 1d20 under for disease and poison resistance and add the modifier to damage rolls.
  • Harmony - Representing your connection to the world around you. See the Harmony & Ambition section below.
  • Ambition - Representing your drive to push forward. See the Harmony & Ambition section below.
  • Charisma - Representing your ability to influence others. Add or subtract your modifier to a morale check you force a creature to make, as well as checks for your hirelings.
  • Hate - Representing how strong the curse of your hatred is. See the God-Curse section below.
For each attribute, roll 2d6 + 6. For modifiers, see below:
  • 8-9: -1
  • 10-12: 0
  • 13-17: +1
  • 18: +2
Next, place one of the following numbers in each of the save categories below. Do not repeat numbers. Numbers: (17/13/9)
  • vs Curses: Whenever you're the victim of a creature's curse, save to resist its effects.
  • vs Doom: Whenever you're in sudden danger, such as falling off a cliff, save to escape.
  • vs Fatality: Whenever you're at 0 hit points, save or die every 6 rounds or until you regain 1 hit point.
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All Revelations of the Mononoke Princess are fighting-men. However, you may choose to be one of the following fighting-men variants.

Kami-God
You are a wild god of the Great Forest. You may not progress beyond 6th level (Myrmidon) as a fighting-man.  Additionally, you may not use items of any kind, nor weapons or armor. Whenever you roll a hit die to gain hit points, treat the roll as 6 + the number rolled. You can move 10" during your round. Your AC is 4, and you may lower it further with your martial modifier. You have natural weapons that deal d6 damage. You can speak the tongues of Kami-Gods, Men, Spirits, and Trees. When you rest to regain hit points, you may regain 4 instead of 1 per night of rest. Roll on the Bestial Clan table in the Kami-God section to determine your form. At 6th level, you gain the additional attacks of your clan. Lastly, if you are of a clan with flight, you can move 1" per round, but fly 15". If you do not have flight, you roll 2d6 for damage and always take the higher result.

Monk
You are a trained assassin and a knower of all things wise. You may not progress beyond 7th level (Champion) as a fighting-man. When you roll for hit points, you subtract 1 (minimum 1) from your roll. When not wearing armor, you lower your AC by your Martial modifier and either your Harmony or Ambition modifier. You can create poisons and potions, can quickly set up simple and deadly traps in 1 round, and have a 5-in-6 chance of tracking any creature you deign to track. Lastly, you have a 3-in-6 chance to hide from creatures hunting you, which increases to a 6-in-6 chance if you have at least 1 round to prepare without being attacked or spotted.

Prince(ss)
You are a storied prince or princess, either of Iron or of the Forest. You may not progress beyond 7th level (Champion) as a fighting-man. If you are of Iron, you know how to create firearms and bullets and have access to a small group of lepers who supply you with both. Firearms deal 1d6+6 damage when used, but you must make attack rolls twice and take the worse result. If you are of the Forest can speak the tongues of Kami-Gods, Men, Spirits, and Trees. You have a 5-in-6 chance of tracking animals, finding your way through forested areas, gathering food, removing arrows and bullets from a wound, and treating poisons and diseases. When Kami-Gods and Spirits make a morale or reaction check, they add +6 to their roll. You lose all of these benefits if you ever use a firearm.

Lastly, choose 1 weapon, a type of armor, and roll for one of the items on the list below. If you're a kami-god you do not receive these items. Instead, a 3 HD kami-god (see the Kami-God Generator section below) aids you as a friend.
  1. Crystal Dagger. This crystal dagger, likely a memento from a loved one, keeps your mind free of hatred. Loan the dagger to a cursed creature, and the effects of its curse will not trigger for 1d6 days.
  2. Red Elk Friend. You've bonded with a legend'd red elk. It is a 1 HD + 1 companion that you can ride and that moves 6" a turn. The red elk will follow any of your commands and befriend those that are friendly towards you.
  3. Poison Needles. These 10 poison needles deal only one point of damage, but put creatures with 20 hit points or less to sleep for 8 hours.
  4. Hunting Guise. This macabre guise is made from the skin and blood of a slain kami-god. Wearing it will trick a kami-god into thinking you are one of their own.
  5. Burning Umbrella. This umbrella is a cleverly disguised, one use flame thrower. When ignited, it releases a 2" burning cone of fire dealing 6d6 damage.
  6. Kami Mask. A mask fashioned from kami-god hide and painted, lacquered wood. When worn, you move at the speed of a four-legged kami-god.
  7. Emperor's Missive. This missive absolves you of all guilt, so long as you fulfill the mission bestowed upon you. Hirelings will work for you free of charge so long as you promise to share with them the reward the emperor has promised you.
  8. Omen Stones. These omen stones can be cast as a part of a ritual to clarify destiny. When you cast them, learn the general location of a creature or object of your choice, or learn the ritual to break a specific curse of your choice.


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LEVELING UP

Your character gains a level every time they do or participate in one of the following achievements:
  1. Touch or interact with a Great Forest Spirit.
  2. Break a curse.
  3. Increase your Harmony score to 18.
  4. Increase your Ambition score to 18.
  5. Reduce your Hatred to 0.
  6. Travel through the Great Forest for the first time and emerge alive.
  7. Kill a Kami-God of 20 HD.
  8. Kill a demon.
When you level up, gain 1 HD, lower your save requirements by 1 and lower your thac0 by 1 (example: 19 to 18). Every 3 levels (3/6/9) gain 1 additional attack when you make an attack roll if you are not a kami-god.

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HARMONY & AMBITION

At the heart of all living creatures: Harmony and Ambition. The interplay between them see you change and transform as your adventure progresses.

HARMONY
One's desire to be at peace, and to keep all things stable. One lacking in Harmony is selfish and arrogant, whilst having too much Harmony makes one stupid as a beast and unable to effect the world in any meaningful way.

AMBITION
One's desire to achieve what they want, and to improve themselves. One lacking in Ambition is easily influenced and unable to control their lives, whilst having too much Ambition steals one's empathy and leaves them unable to co-exist with others.

These two attributes modify certain rolls in the game.

When you aid a creature: Subtract 10 from your Harmony score (minimum 0) and subtract it from the aided creature's roll.

If doing so would save a creature's life, mark this. After you mark this three times, increase your Harmony by 1 and lower your Hate by 1. Then erase the marks.

When you damage a creature: Subtract 10 from your Ambition score (minimum 0) and add it to your damage roll.

If doing so would kill a creature, mark this. After you mark this three times, increase your Ambition by 1 and increase your Hate by 1. Then erase the marks.

NPCs and monsters have Harmony and Ambition. Roll 1d10 for the creature in question and treat that number as either the harmony or ambition score. Then halve it (rounding down) and treat that as the opposite score. Do not track a creature's Hate, nor its marks for increasing or decreasing.

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GOD-CURSES

A demon's hatred infects the flesh of those they touch, leaving them god-cursed. There are many shapes that a god-curse can take on.

Whenever a demon deals damage to you, save vs Curse or become cursed. If cursed, roll 1d20 and consult the God-Curses table below to see what your curse is.

Your curse is represented by a CURSE DIE, a 1d6. Whenever you make use of your curse, roll your curse die and add your Hatred modifier to the roll. If you roll an 8 or higher, your hit points permanently decrease by 1. The next time you roll above an 8, the hit points loss doubles from a 1 to a 2, and so on every time you roll above an 8. 

GOD-CURSES
  1. Hatred's Arm. When invoked, anger and fear overwhelm your character and you must attack or break something. Add additional damage dice equal to your character level when you roll damage next.
  2. Move Beyond Death. When invoked, you hate all forms of happiness and must attempt to make something you see angry or emotionally hurt. At 0 hit points, you can stay conscious and active every turn you deal damage to something or someone.
  3. Flesh For Skill. When invoked, you see all things as liars and can believe nothing anyone tells you. If you eat something's flesh or drink its blood, you replace 1 attribute of yours with one of that creature's for 6 rounds.
  4. Attract Armies. When invoked, you believe yourself as the greatest leader, and ignore anything anyone else says. The next person whom you issue an order to must follow that order or suffer d6 damage. The order cannot force them to damage themselves.
  5. Making the Heavens Move. When invoked, you know that you must do this thing and will do it, no matter what consequences are to be paid. When trying to push, move, or lift something, you do so automatically, so long it isn't something ridiculous like a mountain.
  6. Become Truer Than Their Mothers. When invoked, you lose all hostility for any creature that you can see. Up to 8 creatures that you can see become your followers/hirelings you as long as they weren't hostile already.
  7. Wolf's Revenge. When invoked, choose an enemy that you hate beyond all else. You can do nothing else until you attack  that enemy, and you cannot attack it for 24 hours after invoking the curse. The attack automatically hits the damage roll is treated as its maximum multiplied by three.
  8. Smell Blood Like Honey. When invoked, everyone that can see you begins to bleed from both their nose and eyes. You know the secrets and goals of one of these bleeding creatures.
  9. Devour Murderer. Invokes only when you fall to 0 hit points. Every creature that sees your corpse must save vs Curse or die if they have 6 hit points or less.
  10. Worm Vomit. When invoked, you vomit worms made of thick ichor. These worms will crawl towards a person, place, or object that you're seeking for 2 rounds before melting.
  11. Pain's Exhibitionism. Invokes only when you suffer damage, forcing you to hurt yourself more by doubling the damage. Any creature that sees you take damage suffers the same damage you are taking.
  12. Remember Not the Taste of Tea. Invokes whenever you damage a creature. Said creature forgets who it was and what it was doing until the end of the next round.
  13. Dominate Cowards. When invoked, you must show others that you are superior when compared to them, even if by force. Any creature that makes a morale check against you reduces their morale score by 6.
  14. Memory's Dream. When invoked, you forget everything you know about one creature close to you that you can see. The next non-curse die you roll is treated as if you rolled the highest number possible.
  15. Loyalty Misbegotten. When invoked, you realize loyalty is a lie and you must betray someone you have befriended or served. Any creature that sees this can do nothing but gawk at the audacity of it for 1 round.
  16. An Eye Trained on the Past. When invoked, you gain a hunger for another creature's eyes that must be fulfilled. When you consume an eye, you can see any one moment or image that the eye has seen.
  17. Mutilations That Will Not Be Seen. When invoked, you must damage yourself so that others advert their eyes. Creatures that see you instantly forgot they saw you, and act as if you were never there.
  18. Breaking That Will Break Sin. When invoked, you gain the urge to break or damage the next object you touch. Said object breaks and becomes utterly useless.
  19. Words Eating Ambition like Snakes. When invoked, you must remind everyone you see that their goals and desires are pointless compared to yours. A creature you can see has their Ambition modifier reduced to -2 for 6 rounds.
  20. Actions Break Harmony like Rivers Do Mountains. When invoked, you must remind everyone that you can see that their peace is a treacherous lie. A creature you can see has their Harmony modifier reduced to -2 for 6 rounds.

BREAKING THE CURSE
Curses can be broken, but the process is long and difficult and unknown to you. To break your curse, you must meet the following qualifications:
  • A Hate attribute below 10, symbolizing your overcoming of hate's effects.
  • Be at your maximum level, symbolizing that you have grown from your adventures.
  • Complete a unique ritual. The referee rolls on the tables below in secret leaving the player to figure out how, or to seek out a sage with omen stones.
TO BREAK THE CURSE YOU MUST FIRST...
  1. Commune with the Great Forest spirit.
  2. Save the life of one you hate.
  3. Aid the mission of one you love.
  4. Bring life back to the dying Great Forest.
  5. Desert your home and never return.
  6. Bring news of the demon's death to its kami-god kin.
AND THEN YOU MUST TRAVEL TO...
  1. The glade of the Great Forest Spirit at the dawn of a new day.
  2. The underworld by dying, and then somehow be brought back to life.
  3. The tallest mountain's peak.
  4. A place of conflict that you have brought peace too.
  5. The grave of the demon that cursed you.
  6. The mother tree of spirits that have aided you.
AND THUS YOUR CURSE WILL BE BROKEN.

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KAMI-GODS

Ancient are the gods, but immortal they are not.

All beasts descend from them. If these beasts have neither Forest Spirit or god to guide them they become small and stupid. A beast cursed in this way has neither ambition nor harmony; it is a slathering creature to be treated as game and nothing else.

Gods, though, gods are something different. Their voices are echoed by some primeval soul and wisdom greater than any monk or nun guides their hunts. They can speak in your language and theirs; they can read and they can mark but neither will they do for they are not human.

Below is the generic stat block for a Kami-God in your OSR-adjacent games. Grab 5d10, roll them, and then reference the tables below the stat block for your personal god.

HD: 5 (if young) ; 10 (if matured) ; 20 (if clan-leader)
AC: 7/4/1
SPEED: 6"/10"/150"
MORALE: 8 ; 10 ; 12
ATTACK: Method decided by clan, but: d6 ; d6/d6 ; d6/d6/2d6
SPECIAL:
  • Kami-Gods with 20 HD can regain 1 hit point at any point after they've died. That hit point disappears the moment they've made a successful attack against another creature.
  • Any beasts within 50 miles of the Kami-God belonging to their clan gain intelligence equal to humans, +2 HD, and an AC of 7. This effect reverses over the course of a year if the Kami-God dies.
  • When a bullet is lodged into a Kami-God, it deals 1d20 points of damage to it at the beginning of every day. The Kami-God cannot regain hit points while the bullet is inside of them. If this kills the Kami-God, they become a demon.
  • Kami-Gods can summon 1d4+1 members of their clan. It takes 1 round for their clan members to reach them.
  • Kami-Gods can speak with all manners of beasts, with forests, and with curses.

Bestial Clan
Determines the shape, method of attack, and beast associated.
  1. Wolf (pounce/claw/bite)
  2. Boar (charge/hoof/tusk)
  3. Ape (rocks, debris, consume)
  4. Owl (talon/talon/talon)
  5. Deer (horn/horn/hoof)
  6. Salamander (bite/hand/tail)
  7. Lion-dog (bite/claw/flame)
  8. White snake (bite/poison/constrict)
  9. Butterfly (pollen/acid/drink)
  10. Dragon (bite/tail/breath)
Wisdom
Something mystic the Kami-God knows. Roll +1 times for every tier above young.
  1. How to purge curses.
  2. Where to find healing springs.
  3. How to kill after death.
  4. How to prevent one's self from becoming a demon.
  5. War, and how to wage it.
  6. How to consume human flesh to become a demon.
  7. How to raise Mononoke-Hime.
  8. What the weather will be within the day.
  9. The intentions of any human smelled.
  10. Of traps, and how to break them.
Ambition
The Kami-God's ambition.
  1. To drive humans out of the forest.
  2. To get revenge on humans for killing a fellow god.
  3. To punish the humans for taking from the forest.
  4. To convince the gods to leave, so that they do not become demons.
  5. To ensure that their children live.
  6. To ensure that their children do not become small and stupid.
  7. To replant the forest destroyed by humans.
  8. To become the Great Forest Spirit.
  9. To kill someone or something in particular.
  10. To die before the humans burn everything.
Role
The role the Kami-God plays in their forest.
  1. Sword of the Great Forest Spirit.
  2. Protector of the Great Forest Spirit.
  3. Foreigner god looking for war.
  4. The planting of trees and flowers.
  5. Protection of the smaller spirits, such as the Kodama.
  6. To lead those strong in Harmony through the forest.
  7. To kill trespassers in the forest.
  8. Prevent the forest from being destroyed.
  9. Kill demons that manifest inside the forest.
  10. Roleless--lost, confused, possessed by ambition.
Additional Bonuses
Roll the last d10. Add that number either to its raw hit points, Harmony, Ambition, or it becomes a 4th attack for the Kami-God.

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DEMONS

All stories start with a demon.

Perhaps it raged its way East until it found you, and you bear the curse of its touch.

Or maybe you were the one who wounded this god, turned it into one of rage and hate.

Still yet, it could be a passing thing--you meet a stranger whose encountered this wretched thing, and now your fates are linked.

All stories start with a demon, and all demons are the same.
When a god is scorned and hated...

When a god refuses to die...

When a god is poisoned by sin...

When a god eats the flesh of man...

These were the old ways a demon could be born. But now, with iron balls and explosive mines, the fear and pain the gods feel as they are driven out of their forests hits a crescendo evilly unmatched. Their blood steams and turns viscous and takes on a life of its own. Hot worms burn out of their flesh. Death possesses the ground they touch and a second time must they be killed lest they rage forever.

When creating a demon, roll 5d10 and refer to the Kami-God generators. Then, roll a 6th d10 to determine what it hates.

HD: 20
AC: 7
SPEED: 6"
MORALE: 12
ATTACK: Demon Worms +10 to hit ranged 30" for 3d6 damage
SPECIAL:
  • Any creature touching the demon must make a save vs Curse or become attached to the demon. A third-party is required to find and pull the creature off.
  • Any creature specifically attacked by the demon must save vs Curse or become cursed.
  • The demon takes the maximum amount of damage possible whenever it suffers damage from any source.
  • For every 5 hit points the demon loses, it gains an additional Demon Worms attack.
  • The first round a demon stands in open sunlight it is paralyzed until its next turn.
  • Any plant life the demon touches dies instantly; any stone the demon touches is broken.
  • The Demon has no Harmony and 10 Ambition. Should it ever gain a single point of Harmony, it will die.

Hatred
This is what drives the demon to curse the world.
  1. Its clan has been decimated, yet it has survived to bring its brothers back from the dead.
  2. It failed its role, and now wishes to flee its shame.
  3. The Great Forest Spirit denied it healing, and now it seeks to consume it whole.
  4. Humans have poisoned it and the forest and now so it will poison them.
  5. Someone has killed it in battle and the hatred for that someone has spawned this demon.
  6. A loved one became a demon and passed its hatred to this poor soul.
  7. Upon devouring humans, it grew to hate itself and is now a demon.
  8. A large part of the forest has been destroyed; it will destroy the rest, as if to prove a point.
  9. Humans have murdered many clans. The demon hates its own weakness and seeks death.
  10. Feeling wronged by other Kami-Gods, this Cursed-God seeks to prove their foolishness.

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GREAT FOREST SPIRITS

It is a god of life and of death. Its soul is this Forest and its flesh its manifestation. During the day, the Great Forest Spirit is a creature that can be touched and, some say, even killed. At night, it is a Walker, the unseen and formless danger under the boughs, the strange sounds dancing on strange winds.

Pick up one of every die type from d4 to d20. Roll them all, and consult the tables below. This will be your Great Forest Spirit.

d4 The Forest Spirit has the face of...
  1. A man, painted blood red
  2. A woman, made out of porcelain
  3. An infant, made out of gold
  4. A leper, studded with coral
d6 ...and the body of a...
  1. Elk
  2. Wolf
  3. Boar
  4. Lion-Dog
  5. Bear
  6. Giant Salamander
d8 Its body is strange! It has...
  1. Horns that branch like trees growing along its body.
  2. Tattoos of blood and mud that swirl along its limbs.
  3. Too many tails.
  4. A body ten lengths too long.
  5. Multiple heads that stretch from its shoulders.
  6. Neither flesh nor skin, just cracked bones.
  7. Ivory spikes that encapsulate its limbs.
  8. Additional faces on the side of its head.
d10 At night, it becomes something vicious, a(n)...
  1. Giant made out of translucence.
  2. Great skeleton wreathed in bells.
  3. Giant version of itself, whose body reflects the cosmos.
  4. Demonic version of itself that floats over the canopy.
  5. Featureless version of itself, massive and terrifying.
  6. Draconic version of itself, gripping a pearl and spiraling above the canopy.
  7. Amalgamation of 2 other creatures that live in the forest.
  8. Elemental version of itself, giant and made out of soil, root, and flame.
  9. Featureless monk who neither moves nor speaks.
  10. Wild and violent creature whose gilded eyes are the only thing visible.
d12 Around it...
  1. Flowers blossom from its footprints and then wither.
  2. Trees creak and groan, as if being moved by strong winds.
  3. The sun and moon shine brightly where it walks.
  4. A wall of rain trails after it.
  5. Wildfires spark and die where it looks.
  6. Artificial tools, such as clothing, guns, swords, etc, return to their natural states when looked at.
  7. Small springs fountain from its footprints.
  8. Bells ring in the distance when it is nearby.
  9. The air tastes of ozone and copper, as if lightning were about to strike.
  10. Tree spirits manifest and watch the Forest Spirit like a captive theatre audience.
  11. Ice forms along the length of trees and flesh.
  12. Fossilized bones are unearthed from the ground.
d20 And if you kill it...
  1. Its head will grant you immortality if you drink the fluids it produces.
  2. And take its eyes, if consumed, will allow you to see how all things will one day die.
  3. And take its lips, if worn like a necklace, will allow you to breath life into the dead by killing another.
  4. And take its hide, if worn, will give you command of all beasts.
  5. And paint its blood onto your flesh, you will become immune to all Demonic Curses.
  6. And string its feet to weapons, those weapons will turn men into demons by killing them.
  7. And take its liver, if consumed, will render all poisons impotent to you.
  8. And take its vocal chords, if eaten, will allow you to speak to trees and bones.
  9. And take its flesh, if burned and the smoke captured, will allow you to strip the lives of all who smell it.
  10. And take its brain, if consumed, will teach you the future.
  11. And take its genitals, if worn like a necklace, will ensure all children you have will become kings.
  12. And take its face, if worn like a mask, will make all men who see you worship you.
  13. And hollow out its stomach, it will be able to contain any amount of anything you put into it.
  14. And flay its skull, it will vomit liquid gold for eight thousand years.
  15. And plant its flesh like seeds, it will create a Great Forest that you are the god of.
  16. All creatures will be turn into dumb beasts, to be hunted for meat or treated like plants.
  17. It will turn into a headless monstrosity and steal life until it finds its missing organs.
  18. All living things that the killer touches will wither and die.
  19. The sun will set and never rise again.
  20. You will turn into a dumb beast, possessed by greed and bloodlust.
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HD: Either Infinite in Day/Night Forms, or 1 while transforming
AC: 9
SPEED: 3"
MORALE: 12
ATTACKS: Life & Death: +12 to hit. Either fall to 0 HP and die, or be restored to 1 HP if dead, or have your Harmony increased to 20 (+10 modifier) and your Ambition reduced to 0.
SPECIAL
  • At night, the Great Forest Spirit becomes a Nightwalker. In this form, it can reach any enemy it chooses within its forest, though it must still roll to hit.
  • Anything the Great Forest Spirit gazes upon becomes overgrown with flora. The thing is rendered unusable.
  • Curses are automatically invoked when in the presence of the Great Forest Spirit.
  • If given a living sacrifice, the Great Forest Spirit can transfer HP from the sacrifice to another creature of its choice, including itself or plants.
  • If the Great Forest Spirit dies, all spirits and gods residing within its forest do so as well.
  • Touching the Great Forest Spirit directly results in instant death unless it has died.
  • It takes 1 round for the Great Forest Spirit to change between its Day/Night forms.
  • The Great Forest Spirit's Head bequeaths immortality to any who consumes it.
  • A beheaded Great Forest Spirit turns into its Night Form and rampages. If the head is returned, loses its physical form but blossoms an entire forest centered from the point its head was returned.
Image result for kodama princess mononoke gif

BENIGN SPIRITS

The Great Forest is filled with spirits benign and peaceful. These spirits will aid those that are harmonious and avoid those deadly. Benign spirits are a sign of an old place, pure and powerful. Their lack indicates the end of a godly era.

Below is the generic stat block for benign spirits. Roll 1d6 when spirits are encountered and reference the Many Spirits table to see what kind of spirit it is, and what kind of aid it offers.

HD: 1
AC: 9
SPEED: 1"
ATTACK: None
SPECIAL:
  • Spirits cannot be the targets of attacks.
  • Spirits succeed on all saving throws unless forced to make one by the Great Forest Spirit.
  • Spirits consider any creature with an Ambition of 10 or less as friendly.
  • Spirits always have an Ambition modifier of 0 and a Harmony modifier of 10.
Many Spirits
  1. Amaterasu are sun-spirits, wistful and fleeting. They manifest as golden wisps, vaguley humanoid, with shining hair. If encountered, amaterasu will focus their rays on wounds a creature is suffering, restoring 1d6 hit points to a damaged creature.
  2. Hyousube are water-spirits, balls of hair with indentures at the top that are water-filled. Hyosube will let friendly creatures drink from them, allowing the creature to automatically succeed on its next saving throw.
  3. Janjanbi are the scattered spirits of the dead. They lead their friends to places of great hostility out of hopes that their allies will restore harmony to the area.
  4. Kodama are tree-spirits, humanoid in shape with strange heads that rattle and black, spaced out faces. Kodama will lead those they are friendly to wherever they wish to go.
  5. Shoujo are dragonfly-spirits who appear much as their namesake. They follow and illuminate the paths for those they find friendly with their multi-colored wings.
  6. Tsukiyomi are moon-spirits, obsidian humanoids with heads shaped like crescents that float above their shoulders. Tsukiyomi will lead their friends to omen stones.

COMMANDMENT: Magic-User Spells Based Off Egyptian + Mesopotamian + Grecian Magic

Magic-Users in COMMANDMENT are different than those in classical OD&D. Their magics stems from the cultural mythologies of Mesopotamia, ancient Greece, and Egypt. They were not casting spells like light or hold portal. As useful as these may be while traversing a world Iron-plagued and rotting away, those are not the tools these magicians had.

A future post will be done for Cleric spells, as they are things dictated by omens, celestial events, and long prayers. Meanwhile, Magic-User spells are those sorceries learned by mankind from sphinx and spirit.

Below, 36 spells are offered for any game, really, if you want to add some spice to a warlock's life. Keep in mind all spells require a save vs Wands (or whatever your magic save is in your game). Research for these spells was done through a smattering of historical sources, none more valuable than Egpytian Magic by E. A. Wallis Budge. These spells are not intended to be 1 for 1 recreations of Egyptian/Mesopotamian magic, but instead spells inspired by these folklores.

Likely in the future, I'll turn a bunch of folk magic from these books, as well as key spells from the original MU spell list into enchanted items or potions. Easy treasure, really.

Note: " indicates multiply # by 10. So 1" is 10 feet

by Yeve Drovossekova

FIRST LEVEL

  1. Anointed Skull's Midnight Whispers
  2. Bare the Slave's Heart
  3. Gift Them Their Misfortune
  4. Nail to Them the Nomad's Curse
  5. Tongue that Dream-Speaks
  6. Ward the Evil Eye
SECOND LEVEL
  1. Beget the Nest of Crowns
  2. Blind the Readers of These Spells
  3. Dusk that Settles On Mud
  4. Keep Dead the Dead
  5. Move the Warlord's Statue
  6. To this Point, Bring the East
THIRD LEVEL
  1. Exorcise the Hated Evil
  2. Gather Forth All the World's Waves
  3. Loosen Soul
  4. Set Loose the Crocodiles
  5. Spreading of the Repelling Minerals
  6. Transfigure Dust to Vermin
FOURTH LEVEL
  1. Block of Slaughter
  2. From the Heaven's Eye, See Sin
  3. Mold the Waxen Sacrifice
  4. Paint a Curse Upon the Tomb
  5. Passage Through the Underworld 
  6. Ruin That which Ruins Me
FIFTH LEVEL
  1. Evil Eye
  2. Fashion the Chimera
  3. Favor
  4. Rule
  5. Upon Me I Bestow the Strength of the Dead
  6. Walk Again, Those Countless Dead
SIXTH LEVEL
  1. Chain One's Fate to a Demon's Own
  2. Destiny, Rewritten
  3. Idols of Bestial Gods
  4. In the Clay Container, Life Reborn
  5. Serve
  6. Unluck of the Doomsday

Skull  study
by Bartlomiej Gawel

Anointed Skull's Midnight Whispers (1st Level)
After anointing an undamaged skull in droplets of water from the Godsblood, hide it in a place where neither sun nor moon nor starlight will ever touch it. Upon casting this spell, the skull will begin to whisper. Said whispers ooze from you. Anything that is hostile towards you within 1" is terrorized by the whispers until they leave said radius. A creature terrorized can only commit simple acts, such as running, screaming, or untrained attacks. The morning after this spell is cast, the skull is destroyed and the spell ends.

Bare the Slave's Heart (1st Level)
Take the preserved heart of a slave and wrap it in hempen cord when you cast this spell. The next creature who touches this heart barehanded will become a slave to the spell's caster until the heart is destroyed or the magic dispelled. A slave will not do anything to harm itself or any friends it has, but will perform any manner of menial task for its master. An undead creature, or anything that is barbarous, will be immune to this enchantment.

Beget the Nest of Crowns (2nd Level)
Affix upon your brow a crown of twigs and feathers as a part of casting this spell. Birds without number will then cloud the heavens above and descend. All within 60" is considered obscured, ranged missiles will not hit their marks, no one can move more than 1" per round, and all sound is drowned by their chirping. These birds swarm until somehow killed en masse or dispelled. This spell is useless in doors.

Block of Slaughter (4th Level)
Slice your hand open with a ceremonial dagger and take 1d6 damage when you cast this spell. Point your hand towards a creature that can see it. Said creature will exert all of its efforts to kill as many creatures as it can other than you during the next 6 rounds.

Blind the Readers of These Spells (2nd Level)
Upon your spell book, light incense when you cast this spell. When someone attempts to decipher your spell book, or attempts to cast a spell that lets them do so, they will be blinded for 1d6 days time. Even a creature with no training in magick trying to read your spellbook will fall victim to this spell. After 1 creature is cursed in this manner, the spellbook is no longer protected.

Chain One's Fate to a Demon's Own (6th Level)
You must know the true name of a demon to cast this spell. You must also anoint a creature in strange oil as a part of this spell's casting. The anointed creature is possessed with a demon whose true name you announce. The demon will lie sleeping within the anointed creature. Should the creature ever die, the demon shall be released to do battle with all that is hostile towards you until it is slain or banished.

Babylonian magician
 by Eugene Medvediev
Destiny, Rewritten (6th Level)
As a part of this spell's casting you must know the birth place of a creature within 10". The creature's birth place is changed, and thus its entire life path is changed. The creature's memories are rewritten, as is their personality and alignment, and they disappear, reappearing somewhere else in the world.

Dusk that Settles On Mud (2nd Level)
Sprinkle the dust of a black ore onto clay, mud, soil, brick, limestone, or any other earthen substance. It will turn into constricting, hard, black metal and shrink slowly in size. A 1" x 1" x 1" area of earth can be enchanted in this way. After 1 round, it will have shrunken down to the size of a pebble.

Evil Eye (5th Level)
When you cast this spell, one of your eyes goes blind. A creature that you look upon when you cast this spell is cursed by the evil eye. You can see what it sees through one of its eyes, but only see, not hear, feel, or hear thoughts. At the end of every day, the creature must roll 1d20. On a 1, the die size reduces. When the die size reduces below a 1d4, the creature dies, and sight is returned to your blind eye.

Exorcise the Hated Evil (3rd Level)
Grab the throat of a barbarous or possessed creature and press a polished opal to its forehead. Pull the opal back, and all evil from the creature will exit it in the form of black, ichor-filled vomit. Afterwards, if the creature was barbarous or possessed, it is no more. Likewise, if the creature was cursed, it is cursed no more.

Fashion the Chimera (5th Level)
Take the body of a dead man and lay the corpse of an animal upon it. Only then may you cast this spell. The two bodies fuse in a way of your choosing. The new creature is risen as a chimera that will faithfully serve you. It has as many HD as you do, and has one aspect of the animal that it is fused with, such as an eagle's wings, a lion's claws, or a shark's water breath. If the chimera is ever exorcised, it dies instantly.

Favor (5th Level)
This is one of the words of power. Utter it, and one creature whose hand you hold will be able to cast any 1 spell you have memorized. Once cast, they will be compelled by fate to do you a single favor.

From the Heaven's Eye, See Sin (4th Level)
Stare into the sun when you cast this spell and do not look away until you wish it to end. While staring into the sun, you shall see anything that the sun could see, in any part of the word. You can see it as close as if you were currently 10" above ground. At night, this spell does naught, and it cannot be used in doors.

Gather Forth All the World's Waves (3rd Level)
Lift your hands and sing to all the seas you cannot sea. A 3" radius of space around you is filled with churning, crashing waves of white-crested green water. Creatures in the water begin to drown, and thus can not speak or cast spells. If they fail their save, they are picked up and moved to random locations, taking a number of damage dice equal to your levels at the end of every round. Thus, at 6th level, they will take 6d6 damage, and at 7th, they will take 7d6 damage. After 1 round, the waves dissipate, returning to their distant homes.

Gift Them Their Misfortune (1st Level)
When you are missing hit points, suffer 1 damage as you smear the wound with bewitched ointments of your own make. Then smear the blood-oil produced on another creature. It will lose twice the hit points you have lost.

Idols of Bestial Gods (6th Level)
You must have fashioned from clay an animal the size of a small hut before casting this spell. This spell is cast on this the idol. The idol turns into a flesh-and-blood version of itself, intelligent, sentient, and speaking all languages. It has HD equal to your total levels + 5. It will serve you loyally as a sage or as a warrior. It has 9 thac0 and deals 3d6 damage with its attacks. The animal has all the traits of whatever animal you sculpted it after. When it dies, is dispelled, or is exorcised, it turns into clay and shatters.

by Victoria Dame

In the Clay Container, Life Reborn (6th Level)
You must have access to the corpse of a creature with its head attached before you can cast this spell. As a part of the casting, cover the corpse in clay. The next round, the creature will be reborn, healed of all ailments and wounds. 

Keep Dead the Dead (2nd Level)
Gather the blood of a wounded creature and imbibe it when you cast this spell. The creature cannot ever be brought back from the dead, as its body will turn to sour soil upon death, unfit for the hosting of a soul.

Loosen Soul (3rd Level)
Work a short ceremony that loosens your soul from your body. It remains so for 6 rounds. While your soul is loosened, it can slip out of your body and move up to 2" away, sliding through walls or doors. You see and hear whatever is within the same area or space as your soul.

Mold the Waxen Sacrifice (4th Level)
Present a waxen figure you have made as a part of casting this spell. Affix to the figure via nail a piece of another living creature. Whatever the figure feels so too will the living creature, though it will suffer no other ill effects from the figure's defacing. 10 times may the figure be manipulated before this spell ends.

Move the Warlord's Statue (2nd Level)
A statue of animated stone constructs itself. It stands twice your height and is decorated and painted to mimic that of a famed warlord. It will follow in your footsteps indefinitely, or until you command it to take a single action. If that action is to attack, it will deal 5d6 damage to that which fails its save. If that action is to defend, it will absorb the damage from the next attack launched upon its ward. If is to lift, it will lift one thing weighing 10,000 gold coins or less. After any of these acts, it will turn into mud and disintegrate.

Related image


Nail to Them the Nomad's Curse (1st Level)
Write upon papyrus the wrongs a creature has committed and nail them to its home or lair. For every wrong written, the creature will be unable to return to its home and unable to rest anywhere else. At the dawn of every day, one of the wrong's disappears. Creatures who are unable to rest due to this curse take 1d6 damage at the dawn of every day, and they cannot rest to regain hit points.

Paint a Curse Upon the Tomb (4th Level)
As a part of this spell, drench an object in the same paints used to adorn the tombs of god-kings and god-queens. Any creature that takes the object other than you is curs'd. Said creature rolls twice on all die rolls and takes the worse result. If this would result in a failure for any reason, the creature suffers 1d6 damage. This curse persists until somehow dispelled, or if the curs'd object is destroyed by fire.

Passage Through the Underworld (4th Level)
Cover your ears and close your eyes as a part of this spell's casting. Then, walk forward. Your body will descend underground, to a place no living or undead creature may follow. The following round, appear anywhere within 36" of your original location (up or down). You know exactly where you will go. When you emerge, one ghost emerges with you, and will aggressively haunt wherever you appear.

Ruin That which Ruins Me (4th Level)
You can cast this spell only when you die. That which kills you dies for 1 round, resurrecting after that round with hit points equal to its total hit dice.

Rule (5th Level) 
This is one of the words of power. Utter it and a legion of 20 6th level fighting-men (Myrmidons) will gather to you in 1d4 days. They will be loyal to you for one battle, after which they will disperse randomly into the world.
Crocodile Summoner
By Ian Barker

Serve (6th Level)
You utter a word of power. This utterance forces the world to serve you. You can use this spell to part water up to 10" deep, or lower the water level of a body of water by 50%. You can create weather of any kind, or raise up great walls 10" tall and 50" wide. Casting this spell allows only one of these feats to be achieved.

Set Loose the Crocodiles (3rd Level)
A moat 2" deep, 1" wide, and with a radius 3" away from you is suddenly carved into the earth and filled with water. If these dimensions cannot be met, then the moat tears through any non-magical obstructions to form itself. Inside of the moat, countless crocodiles. Creatures who attempt to swim or leap across must save or take 1d6 damage as they are pulled in. Creatures in the moat cannot move, and take 3d6 damage every turn until they save and can swim out. 

Spreading of the Repelling Minerals (3rd Level)
Scatter minerals strange and esoteric as a part of this spell's casting. A magical zone is created 10" by 10" by 10" in size. Any and all metal objects are thrown out of it with haste, as are weapons made of stone or bone, over the next 4 rounds.

To This Point, Bring the East! (2nd Level)
Take a stone stele and affix it into a point of your choosing when you cast this spell. The next creature that attacks you within 10" of theis stele will be drawn to destroy it instead. The stele can take 1d6 hits before it is ruined.

Tongue that Dream-Speaks (1st Level)
Split your tongue with a bronze dagger and read aloud a text before you. You need not understand it or know the language, and you have 1 round with which to read. When you are done, sleep. In your dreams you will understand all that you read and wake with a tongue healed. This spell allows you to understand even the ciphered text of other spellbooks. 

Transfigure Dust into Vermin (3rd Level)
Motes of dust are turned into lice, rats, and scorpions around you. Point to a creature. The vermin swarm them, biting and gnawing, dealing damage equal to your levels. At 6th level, this will be 6d6 damage, and at 7th, 7d6, and so on. This damage continues until the target brings fire to the vermin, or the spell is dispelled.

Scarab Plague
by Marius Bota

Unluck of the Doomsday (6th Level)
Roll 1d20 when you cast this spell, and stare at the creature whom you are cursing. On that day, the creature must succeed on its save or die. If it has less then 20 hit points, it will die no matter what.

Upon Me I Bestow the Strength of the Dead (5th Level)
You may only cast this spell while having the skull of a 4th level fighting-man (Hero) or higher in your inventory. You gain their Strength score and skill at arms, as well as the ability to use a fighting-man's magical and non-magical armors, shields, and weapons, and their thac0 for 6 rounds. 

Walk Again, Those Countless Dead (5th Level)
To cast this spell, you must have a scrap of flesh from a dead man's face. Once cast, you call forth the dead to serve you. For the number of dead animated simply roll one die for every level above the 8th the Magic-User is, thus a "Sorcerer" gets one die or from 1-6 animated dead. Note that the skeletons or dead bodies must be available in order to animate them. The spell lasts until dispelled or the animated dead are done away with.

Ward the Evil Eye (1st Level)
Cover one eye in its entirety when you cast this spell. While covered, no one may target you with a spell, but will instead target the creature nearest to you. Lasts until your eye is uncovered.

The Man in the Golden Mask
by Irina Vizhevskaya