Saturday, December 22, 2012

Trap: The Alchemist's Tower

The PCs enter a tower set up like an alchemist's lab. A potion can be seen brewring on the apparatus and filling up a large beaker with a glowing, blue liquid. A rack of similar potions stands next to the apparatus, already sealed and corked.

These are a modified type of levitation potion and have a sweet, fizzy taste. As soon as a player drinks a full potion, the drinker will begin to rise uncontrollably at a rate of 1 foot per second. If the potions are drunk in the tower, the drinker will have two minutes before he hits the ceiling where a razor sharp fan blade is spinning (instant death, no save).

Genre saavy characters may attempt to belch, to bleed off the gasses that provide the levitating effect. This will not work! Gas can only be bled off through flatulence.

A character who attempts to fart will succeed automatically on his first attempt. Roll a constitution check for every attempt thereafter (the PC may make 6 attempts per round). A fart will reduce the character's altitude by 20 feet for the first 5 successes. After that, the character will lose 30 feet for every successful fart. At 10 farts (the magic number), the character will continue to descend gently all the way to the ground. A character who makes an 11th successful fart will soil himself as the magic cuts out completely, and will plummet to the floor below, taking damage for the remaining distance. Altitude can easily be tracked with a simple line chart.

If any player is slain by hitting the fan or falling to the floor, a group of orange-skinned, 3 ft tall humanoids (treat as halflings) will filter into the room and perform an ironic song and dance routine.

The alchemist, Willhelm von Wonka, has left his notes scattered about haphazardly. If pieced together (takes about an hour), the recipe for these "Fizzy Lifting Drinks" (and details regarding their use), can be learned.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Twelve medicinal herbs for your campaign...

She's the one they call Doctor Feelgood...

Medicinal Plants & Herbs

Sometimes you need some good old-fashioned non-magical healing.  Plants have always been a source of medicine and our ancestors found a use for EVERY plant.  We've forgotten much of that old lore, but there's still a surprising amount of information that survived through the ages.  Google medicinal herbs and be prepared to have you mind blown.

It's not difficult to make your own fantastical plants and herbs, using real-world plants for inspiration.  Just decide what you want your plant to do and slap an exotic name on it.  In the meantime, here's a list of my own fantasy plants to give you something fun to do with that herbalism non-weapon proficiency.

1) Tuluni (Purgatus): This is a flowering vine with pale yellow or orange flowers. When the mature, woody portion is cut, a translucent amber fluid seeps from the vines .  This is a powerful natural laxative, but it does not travel well until it has been distilled into an oil by a skilled alchemist or herbalist. The purified oil is known as Purgatus, and a single drop is enough to get the most stubborn bowels moving.  The leaves can be boiled in a tea to produce a similar but weaker laxative.  Older folk sometimes use this tea to promote regularity.

2) Heshloi: This vine has small spear-shaped leaves and fluid-bearing nodules along the shaft.  The fluid inside is an emetic, used to induce vomiting.

3) Mugu: This shrub is mostly known for its bland, but edible berries and it's tiny blue flowers.  The leaves bear an anti-inflammatory agent that is often used to treat headaches and menstrual cramps, among other things.

4) Broadleaf (Wild Tea): A shrubbery, with large broad leaves and pink or white flowers.  It has caffeine and is often used to make tea.  Fresh leaves provide a stronger buzz but the flavor is inferior to dried leaves.

5) Goomuckle: This leafy vine bears a milky white sap when cut.  This sap relieves pain, induces sleep, and boosts the immune system (+2 to saving throws, +10% system shock vs disease).

6) Duliyec: This rare plant has long spear shaped leaves and a yellow flower with eight slender petals.  The leaves develop a hallucinogenic toxin when dried.  The leaves are then crushed and smoked, and used in dreamquests by the nomadic peoples of the Vardezzi grasslands.  These visions may or may not be helpful, but there's always a risk of insanity or burnout so the vision ceremony is never undertaken lightly.

7) Vejeldt: This thorny weed has a tangy, sour flavor to it.  The roots are nutritious (if bland) and the leaves are frequently added to salads to jazz things up and are a good source of vitamin C (prevents scurvy and is necessary for proper function of the immune system).

8) Whitestar: This is a slender tree with large white star-shaped flowers.  The berries have a beneficial effect on the immune system.  A small handful boosts the immune system against viral diseases (not fungal or bacterial diseases).  If taken before exposure to disease, it adds +3 to saving throws (+15% to system shock tests vs disease).  Once a virus has been contracted, it adds +1 to saving throws (+5% to system shock tests vs disease).

9) Friella: This small evergreen shrub contains a weak opiate. Crushed and ingested, it causes a sleepy state and a mild, happy buzz.  Offers good pain relief for minor aches and pains.

10) Strannus: This parasitic vine grows on tree trunks. The long thin leaves contain a powerful stimulant. It is usually chewed, but can be brewed as tea, or smoked. It can become addictive if used regularly.

11) Stirsey: This leafy shrub contains menthol, and the plant can often be smelt before it is seen.  It is used to treat coughs and as an aromatic herb.

12) Jahuul: Has a mild antibiotic effect.  As a tea, it can be drunk to cure many stomach ailments or boost the immune system.  To treat wounds, the leaves can be crushed and mixed into a poultice to keep a wound from getting infected. Adds +2 or 10% to to savings throws/system shock checks vs infection.  Check once per day.  If the save is successful, the bonus for the next check is 20%.  If that save is successful the patient will recover in d6 days as long as the treatment is continued.  If a save is failed, the bonus goes back down to normal.

NOTE: Antibiotics can only cure bacterial infections!  Viral or fungal infections cannot be treated with antibiotics.

I'm in yer gardin, eatin' yer herbs.