Saturday, April 10, 2021

Simple Aging For Old School.

It's a bit of a shower thought, but:

Mechanics from recent posts about the hazards of Outer Space and arctic conditions could also be applied to Aging.

Instead of age bands and multiple modifiers (as in D&D, for example), why not just rule that when a player character is significantly 'older' or 'elderly':

  • they must rest twice as often and/or twice as long
  • rates of natural healing are halved
  • optional: saves vs. disease at disadvantage/penalty

This hasn't been tested, but in principle I prefer it to unsoakable permanent Ability Score damage and penalising attack rolls.

Some of this came from mechanics; some from surveying my own decrepit corpus.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

GHOST OF A DEATH WATCH BEETLE - Monster for Old School Fantasy & Horror

From some thoughts I had while reading Monster Manual 2 and thinking about survival horror. Feels a bit of a work in progress and I wish I could find a suitable pic.

By stun, confusion, save, advantage and damage etc, I don't necessarily mean what's in any particular rulebook, but they should be familiar/generic enough terms for this to be system agnostic.

Decide if it's unique or a monster species. Prevention and/or cure of special effects as for your system and setting, or a blessing from the right priest.

  • Armour Class: as leather, scale or plate (your choice)
  • Move: 9 - it can climb walls, cling to ceilings, move through treetops and across webs, but usually just squats in place
  • Hit Dice: 5 (but it's got damage resistance, too)
  • Attacks: 2 (which you can treat as whips) + special
  • Intelligence: it can have Unratable with Neutral (evil) Alignment, which seems to be the default for alien intelligences (at least in AD&D MM2) - it's probably immune to charm.
It looks like a tarpaulin has been thrown over a squatting or cross-legged figure, and the tarpaulin has been festooned in rubbish and old bits of tree. Mushrooms sprout here and there, amongst the mosses and slime moulds. It rarely looks out of place or out of the ordinary.

When it shifts position - which it does so only seldom and slightly - a hint of its hidden form might peek out from beneath the debris - glistening chitinous claw, slender antennae, wan submarine glow of featureless orb, hairy tips of dozens of bony feet. The tarp is not a tarp but a skirt of tough fungus.

The Ghost of a Death Watch Beetle can only be harmed by magic, silver weapons and fire. It takes only 1 hit plus any magic bonus from weapons, and only 1 hit per damage die from fire because it is so wet and slimy (it does not always appear so due to a clinging layer of dust, debris and powdery spores).

It cannot see but can sense all movement around it (to 120', if you're measuring), and when it does it will start to click quietly - so quietly you'll need to roll Hear Noise to detect it with only 10% chance of pinpointing the source.

After 2 rounds, save or suffer Fatigue. It's audible as background noise, like the ticking of a clock or a Geiger counter.

After 4 rounds, save or suffer confusion. By now you can hear it all around you, nearly impossible to pinpoint the source (only 10%, and a critical fumble means you blunder straight into it's clutches, automatically surprised).

After 6 rounds, it's booming and cracking and tolling like a catastrophe - Morale and Loyalty Checks for everyone who has to make them. No communication is possible - even mind-to-mind requires both parties to do nothing else but concentrate on doing so. Spell casting is at disadvantage, however you rule that (chance of failure, mishap, corruption, cost in energy is increased etc).

The clicking abruptly ceases on the 7th round and everyone still in range must save or be inflicted with the Quivering Palm - in 5 days, anyone who succumbs will suddenly and gruesomely vibrate to death. Up until then, they will seem to have a slightly fuzzy outline, a metallic timbre to their voice and mild delusional parasitosis - they don't feel the cold as much, either (advantage to saves, reduction to damage).

The Ghost of a Death Watch Beetle is stunned by exposure to light, delaying or interrupting its clicking for 1-6 rounds depending on the brightness. Being exposed to daylight prevents it clicking at all until it has retreated into the darkness to recover.

Anything that gets close enough will be attacked with two long and slender fishing rod-like antennae that shoot from beneath (or through holes in) the tarp. These drain 2 Dexterity per hit by otherworldly chill (or use an alternative - even classic Energy Drain), and on a natural 20 whip around the throat of a victim and strangle for automatic damage - use your preferred mechanic for this (there are plenty). Treat the antennae as actual whips if you prefer.

Living beings reduced to 0 Dexterity (or slain) are released, having become the shambling servants of the Ghost of a Death Watch Beetle. They are will-less zombies and can only attack by strangling (again, use a preferred method). Servitors also produce a clicking noise not unlike that of the Ghost itself, though only causing confusion at most and over turns, not rounds - penalise saves for multiple clickers. Multiple clicking servitors makes it even harder to locate the Ghost.

All Ghost servitors will eventually die of natural causes, but will survive as some kind of fungoid undead until they rot to uselessness or are completely colonised. Fungoid monsters will associate with the Ghost, and there is communication between them.

The Ghost of a Death Watch Beetle is neither undead, nor arthropod, nor plant - but speak with dead and speak with plants allow communication, though there is still the gulf of incomprehension between minds so alien to each other. It can sometimes speak through its servitors.

If slain, it collapses into a pile of fungus-infested rubbish and liquefying slime, but will reform in a week if not exorcised - it can also be destroyed for good by spells such as dismissal, plane shift and dispel evil. 

The Ghost of a Death Watch Beetle and its servitors are unable to cross a protection from evil circle.





Monday, March 29, 2021

"First Goddamn Week Of Winter..." - Snow-Bound.

Misery (1990).

This is entirely intended to be used for survival scenarios - it might not be suitable for ongoing, in-game weather.

It's a blunt instrument that treats a night in the desert the same as a season at McMurdo Sound or an hour on the frozen lake around Satan's genitals or a bad day on the mountainside.

Unspecified variables of shelter, clothing, equipment and morale-sapping accident can adjust dice rolls, damage suffered, time needed to recover etc.

Gaming terms are generic - disadvantage could mean roll-twice-keep-worst or a penalty to the roll; saves are actual saving throws or relevant ability checks; 'Classic Six' Ability Scores should be easy enough to interpret; same for 'proper' names of conditions and spells.

My starting point was 1e AD&D Wilderness Survival Guide, but that's heavy on the tables, the variables and the Fahrenheit. It's there if you want it. Working on the Outer Space hazards gave me some ideas that I've applied here.

As an option, Hypothermia (or just being cold enough) or being in a Whiteout could be Altered States, if that sort of thing is part of your game.

Cold Conditions - An Easy Way.

Fold everything in together and abstract it as follows.

When it's cold, you take 1 (or more) temporary damage to CON, DEX and WIS every time you fail a save - and you make a save every time unit you spend in those conditions, with adjustments to the roll for wearing the proper clothes, or being soaked to the skin, or being a bare-chested barbarian.

The frequency of the save determines the severity of the cold: shorter time between saves is worse.

If any Ability Score hits 0, you collapse and take d6 hits per time unit until you are rescued or you die. 

Ability Scores recover at a rate of 1/hour in warmth and shelter.

(You could also mod this for hot conditions - temporary damage to DEX, INT and STR, and recovery requires shade and water)

Cold Conditions - Further Elaboration.

Severity is based on the length of the time units that trigger a save or are counted against your CON (or fraction of CON).

Failing a save or hitting the limit means you suffer harm: -1, -3 then -6 to STR, CON and DEX (does not stack).

Ability Scores recover at 1/hour in warmth and shelter.

Hypothermia.

If you fail 3 cold saves in a row or hit a pre-determined CON threshold, you will begin suffering from Hypothermia.

For each time unit you suffer Hypothermia, you advance levels of harm:

  • Disadvantage on attacks and manipulation (or -2 attack penalty).
  • Move rate halved, always lose Initiative, disadvantage on movements and manoeuvres (or slowed).
  • Disoriented, disadvantage on CHA, INT and WIS (or confusion).
  • Save per time unit or pass out (or damage per time unit).
  • Save per time unit or die (or damage per time unit).

Recovery is at the rate of 1 hour per level of harm once you're out of danger - regaining Ability Scores can stack with this if you're being properly looked after, otherwise it all happens in reverse order.

(This only slightly modified subsystem has been cheerfully pillaged from Leicester's Ramble because Vance's is better than the one I was trying to construct from the Wilderness Survival Guide)

Frostbite.

Hypothermia and Frostbite do not necessarily go together, but you can use the 3 failed saves in a row or CON threshold methods to determine when Frostbite sets in (or model it after chill metal). 

Frostbite has three stages:

  • Painful: disadvantage on attacks and manipulation if it's your hands; half move and disadvantage on movements and manoeuvres if it's your feet; treat in 2 turns or it becomes Severe.
  • Severe (Numb): take non-lethal hit point damage; treat in 2 turns or it becomes Permanent.
  • Permanent: take lethal hit point damage and you lose the body part. Risk of infection doubled until treated, plus new parts of the body are exposed.

Base hp damage on the severity of the cold and the size of the body part.

Timely treatment stops harm advancing. Recovery is 3 turns of proper treatment per level of harm, but that's not going to bring your nose back.

Snow Glare/ Snow Blindness.

When subjected to Snow Glare without eye-protection, it's like you are trying to avoid a gaze attack - apply the appropriate penalties (you at -1 to hit, enemy at +2 to hit you and no DEX, if you don't have something already).

You might still have to take the penalties even with eye protection, as it could obscure your vision in an equivalent manner, but at least you won't have to make a save every time unit (again, the shorter the more severe) or suffer Snow Blindness.

Snow Blindness means you are Blind, but you recover in exploding d6 hours once you are no longer exposed to the glare. Proper rest and treatment can reduce this to exploding d6 turns.

Blizzards.

Chances of getting lost are rolled with disadvantage or are rolled twice as often. You must also rest twice as often or twice as long, and you can only move at half rate.

Encounter distance is reduced to minimum. Surprise chances are doubled.

For melee and missile attacks, it's as if you are trying to avoid a gaze attack - apply the appropriate penalties. Missile attacks are at disadvantage (option for crossbows and firearms to be the exception).

In a Whiteout, it's as if everything is invisible and everyone is Blind. Save vs. confusion every time unit you attempt to do anything other than hunker down and wait it out.

30 Days of Night (2007).

Other People's Stuff.

These are self-contained systems I've mentioned before, but can be bolted onto any scenario with similar winter survival concerns - as alternative or supplement.

There's Something in the Ice.

Electricity and Heat in your base is yes/no - for each day you don't have Heat, you take damage or an Injury. Every time you take an Injury, roll over your total on 2d6 or you die.

(Food and Water is counted in units per person per day, with the same result if you go without)

Do Not Let Us Die in the Dark Night of This Cold Winter.

Cold vs. Fuel, measured as units, and Fuel is consumed even if there isn't enough to beat the Cold.

Someone dies every game turn (could be a day, could be a week) when Cold beats Fuel - or you could have a death with no Fuel, but with not enough a person gets Sick.

(Also covers Hungry? vs. Food and Sick? vs. Medicine, but it's only the NPCs that suffer in this mini-game)



Saturday, March 27, 2021

"I Can't Lie To You About Your Chances..." - Air, Gravity, Hard Vacuum & Radiation.

Inseminoid (1981) - I've read the novelisation.
It's someone dying in a space suit - for illustrative purposes.

Outer space is one of the ideal survival horror settings, but it's not just about aliens, robots or remote corporate decisions.

This post has sci fi in mind, though I've used fantasy as the base - AD&D Spelljammer and Dungeoneer's Survival Guide were source material. Nothing is meant to accurately reflect IRL conditions, but to approximate genre expectations - your needs may differ.

Intended as system agnostic, it's all clearly D&D adjacent - I'm sure 'save' and 'STR' (etc) map easily enough.

Air.

Fresh Air.

Fine to breathe, even if it is a bit stale and smelly - there is no mechanical effect.

Thin Air.

Still good to breathe, but you need to rest twice as often or twice as long. 

Using BECMI dungeon exploration as a guide, so this is 1 turn of rest after 2.5 (or round in either direction) turns of activity, or 2 turns of rest after 5. 

BECMI has combat take up 1 turn, even when it only lasts a few rounds, so maybe the remainder is a rest/recovery period - total of 2 turns in a Thin Air environment or take fatigue penalties.

Strenuous activity can be treated in a similar way to combat.

Foul Air.

Not fine. Ability Checks and attack rolls are -2 (or disadvantage) until you get some Fresh Air (immediate recovery) or Thin Air (need to rest 1 turn to get the benefit).

As an option, treat Foul Air and Thin Air the same mechanically.

Depleted Air.

Big problem that could kill you.

Same properties as Foul and Thin Air, plus you need to make a save each turn (twice or at disadvantage if you're not taking proper rest) or pass out.

Then, if you don't receive breathable air, save each turn or die

Noxious Air.

Polluted with gas, particulate or smoke.

Save each time unit (the smaller, the more noxious) or cumulative -3 Ability Scores and attack rolls.

If any Ability Score hits 0, you collapse helpless. If it's smoke making the air noxious, you start taking lethal damage (or treat as Depleted Air).

You can use Noxious Air for tear gas. 

Recovery rate is 3 points per turn with Fresh Air, half that rate if it's Foul or Thin.

Stench of Death/Rotting Flesh.

Can be treated as any of the other air-types for effect, but won't kill you under normal circumstances. 

As an option, can have the same effect as being Sick (as from Radiation, see below) or any other handy sickness/nausea mechanic you have knocking around.

A sudden rush of air can have a short effect (as little as 1 round) and then dissipate - for when you open damaged hibernation chambers and failed-to-escape pods, for instance.

Gravity.

In High, Low and Zero Gravity you:

  • Need to rest twice as long or twice as often.
  • Roll for attacks, movement and stability at disadvantage.

High Gravity halves your movement and you cannot jump; fall damage is doubled; you can only act every other round; your encumbrance allowance is halved; STR check to get back on your feet or perform a fancy manoeuvre.

Low Gravity halves fall damage and doubles jump distance; you need a movement/stability check to move at more than half rate; you act last in a round; DEX check to get back on your feet or perform a fancy manoeuvre. Natural healing rate halved. 

Zero Gravity means you cannot fall but you cannot move without something to hold on to; you can only act every other round; you are Sick (as from Radiation, see below); WIS check to right yourself or perform a fancy manoeuvre. Natural healing rate only 10%.

Spending extended periods (more than a week) in Low and Zero Gravity will Weaken you (as from Radiation, see below) and requires x2 time spent in Low Gravity (x4 in Zero Gravity) for recovery in Normal Gravity. A suitable rehabilitation regime can reduce this.

Proper training, special equipment and experience can reduce/eliminate penalties.

Hard Vacuum.

Realistically, you die - no save. But genre and drama have different requirements.

No air, no flame, no sound, no winged flight.

You can use suffocation/drowning rules, or Depleted Air (save per round) if you want airlessness to be the main hazard of Hard Vacuum.

If you want people to boil away into space: fixed or rolled damage per round, but it's un-soakable, permanent hp loss. Saves for half-damage optional. 

Explosive Decompression is save or die, followed by suffocating or boiling away.

Hard Vacuum can also expose you to temperature extremes and Radiation.

Radiation.

The intensity of the Radiation is measured by the length of time it takes to affect you - the shorter, the more intense.

You suffer a unit of harm if you fail a save per time period, or you are exposed to Radiation for time periods equal to your CON (or a fraction of your CON).

  1. Poisoned: save & attack at disadvantage
  2. Weakened: half move, half damage, STR & CON at disadvantage
  3. Sick: disadvantage all Ability Scores, cannot eat/drink without making a save
  4. No natural healing
  5. No magical healing*
  6. Fail all fatigue, disease and poison saves

Units of harm are cumulative but do not stack. You can get them in any order.

For each unit of harm you take, you must also save or your condition is terminal in d6+1 weeks: -1 level/HD and -2 all Ability Scores per week you survive. 

Taking all 6 units of harm is always fatal. In a setting without magical healing, treat the * result as being terminal.

As an option, depending on genre considerations, a crit save (fail or success) gives you a mutation or you can check for psionics/wild talents.

Radiation damage direct to hit points cannot be healed naturally, and magical healing only counts as temporary hit points with regard to these wounds.

Non-sci fi terms for highly radioactive matter include warpstone, cursed metal, soul crystal, negative/positive material, and necrotic/radiant elements. 




Thursday, March 25, 2021

Noisy Valley - A Survival Horror Mini-Setting.

Using the same template as I did for the FKR Design Challenge, I've pulled together some of the writhing tangle of notes I've been making on reality-bending survival horror to offer up another mini-setting.

No. You are not.

Noisy Valley.

Noisy Valley is an out-of-the way, apparently unremarkable little town no one ever seems to have heard of until you hear of it yourself, but there it is and there it has always been. The current town is the New Town, with the Old Town having been depopulated, dilapidated, destroyed or even disappeared. It takes its name from a much older name for the region (possibly in a dead language) which means much the same.

This part of the country has long been associated with anomalous light forms (earthlights, corpse candles/will-o-wisps, lights-in-the-sky), out-of-place/ apparitional animals & humanoids, freak weather events, and - crucially - mysterious sounds (hummadruz, piping, EVP, skyquakes, unidentified radio/TV transmissions, localised tinnitus/aural hallucinations). 

It's a lot worse than you think.

Industry.

  1. Livestock
  2. Drugs
  3. Mining
  4. Tourism
  5. Import/Distribution
  6. The Base/ The Plant

Why was the Old Town depopulated?

Roll more than once if you want cover stories/rumours.

  1. Epidemic/ Plague
  2. Contamination/ Pollution
  3. Natural Disaster
  4. Anthropogenic Disaster
  5. Forced Resettlement
  6. Mysterious Mass Disappearance

New and/or Old Town is built on...

Roll more than once if you want cover stories/rumours.

  1. Portal to Hell
  2. Ancient burial ground
  3. Religious colony
  4. Colonial atrocity
  5. Cursed/Holy land
  6. Astronomical impact event

Abnormal Atmospheric conditions.

The 'Fogworld' of Silent Hill - a layer of reality in which the environment prevents you from leaving Noisy Valley. It is sparsely populated, but there are monsters here - it feels like the people have left and the monsters have intruded, rather than reality shifted.

The shift between the levels of reality can be triggered by in-game action/inaction (failing a task, finding an item, killing a monster), follow a set time pattern or be randomised (as a wandering monster check, for example).

  1. Snow/ Frost
  2. Rain/ Flood
  3. Ash/ Smoke
  4. Fog/ Mist
  5. Mysterious Gas
  6. Thin atmosphere/ Low air pressure

The Otherworld.

Apparently the native environment of the monsters, and a twisted mirror of the real world (as encountered via the Fogworld). More obviously inhabited than the Fogworld, even if the monsters themselves are no more numerous.

  1. Arctic/ Ice Age
  2. Pelagic/ Abyssal
  3. Industrial - dieselpunk aesthetic
  4. Industrial - steampunk aesthetic
  5. Interior - ossuary/ sepulchre aesthetic
  6. Interior - liminal space/ threatening aura aesthetic

Mythic/ Symbolic Underworld Influence/ Parallel.

Use this as inspiration for locations, puzzles, traps, monsters, plots, lore etc.

Can be for the whole of Noisy Valley, or discrete locations within it.

  1. Yggdrasil
  2. Graeco-Roman Hades
  3. Diyu
  4. Dante's Inferno
  5. Egyptian afterlife
  6. D&D Cosmology (any edition)

Why is this happening?

  1. Purgatory
  2. Alien Experiment
  3. Tainted Hallucination
  4. Manifestation of Occult Practices
  5. Dream/ Nightmare
  6. Breakdown Between Realities

Roll twice.

Tropes.

  • Businesses/ locations named after horror creators.
  • Puzzles/ hazards based around corruption of beloved childhood stories/series.
  • Individual perceived experiences.
  • Be sure your sins will find you out.
  • Electronic interference.
  • Centralia.
  • Ominous/impossible radio/TV transmissions.
  • There was a hole here. It's gone now.
  • Nurses.
  • Selective/sporadic amnesia.
  • Lump of Wood/ Length of Pipe/ Kitchen Knife/ Fire or Wood Axe.
  • People going about their apparently normal business despite everything.
  • There don't seem to be any animals round here.
  • Monstrous dogs.
  • People going off on their own and reappearing apparently unharmed.
  • Machinery/ technology doesn't work, except when it does.
  • Gas masks.
  • Invulnerable or unkillable enemies.
  • Run and hide.
  • Cages.
  • False scares foreshadowing real ones.
  • Sexualised monsters.
  • NPCs that seem to be 'alternative timeline' versions of known characters (family members, close friends, offspring etc).
  • The fear of blood tends to create fear for the flesh.
  • Pripyat.
  • Time and space distortions/ loops.
  • Sirens/ tolling bells.
  • Animate wheelchairs.
  • Is there something in the toilet?
  • Body, occult, psychological and supernatural horror.
  • Death is not the end.

Supplemental Material - Other People's Stuff.

Over at The Goatman's Goblet, there's a selection of generators for small-town J-Horror which could come in useful, no matter the cultural/geographical placement of Noisy Valley. 

Checking out The Bogeyman's Cave most recent post (at time of writing), I found Raven Hill - Tristan's Ravenloft/ Silent Hill setting (they rightly point out the similarities), covering guilty consciences for characters, corrupt traits for the monsters and some guidelines for exploration of the setting.

Tristan even has a set of survival horror house rules for old school (link below Herbert West), with Luck in there as an Ability Score, replacing Wisdom. 

Wealth as an Ability Score is interesting, the modifier giving you more or fewer starting items. 

I also like the way they break down survival horror scenarios into two zones -  The Cabin and The Woods, even if neither has a tree-trunk in sight.

On the more action-oriented side of survival horror (think zombies and slashers), there's a lot of material over at The OSR Library - which also has stuff for Victorian and Colonial period adventures, the Vietnam War, Cthulhu Mythos, and Kolchak the Nightstalker. 


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Other People's Stuff - FKR Challenge & Monster Horror Show.

CW: nostalgic digression.

I accepted Jim Parkin's Design Challenge over at d66 Classless Kobolds, and it turned out to be a great way to think and make. Link to my attempt - I'm planning use this template in future to put stuff together when I can't yet see the whole of it.

My favourite I've seen so far is this one based on The Terror.

I could see it being turned into a full-on mini-campaign with optional additions from There's Something In The Ice and/or Do Not Let Us Die In The Dark Night Of This Cold Winter. Both of these are system minimal/ system agnostic enough that they're already FKR adjacent.

I've only been dimly aware of FKR up till now, but the system agnosticism strongly appeals to me - as well as the random tables that are part of these world-building exercises. Apparently, this is how Traveller was played BITD - so I'm sorry that I never took a proper look at it in my formative years.

Talking of formative years, FKR also puts me in mind of Monster Horror Show (which I'd love to be able to look at again, but not so much that I'm going to drop £312.17 on it).

I think I paid about 15-20 quid for a copy of Maelstrom the other year, but interest and nostalgia have their limits - and mine is a lot lower than £300.

MHS provides you with rules and monsters and spells and magic items and then says that you don't actually need any of that to run a game - you can use the Absolutely Anything Table instead. Just decide on a difficulty/likelihood for the action/situation and roll the dice - a universal mechanic using d6.

I think it even goes on to say that you don't even need to use the table, just make a judgment. Seems at least FKR adjacent.

IIRC, the included adventure is a werewolf mystery with a dungeon that (a possible false memory, I'll admit) changed depending on whether it was day or night when you went in. It had a large NPC cast, and I think the werewolf's identity was undecided at the start. I remember there being little guidance, but a sense of social space beyond The Dungeon.


Monday, March 22, 2021

Design Challenge: The Barrowmere.

Jim posted this challenge over on the Atelier Hwei discord, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I'm not that familiar with the specifics of free kriegsspiel (genre? method?), but I like the idea in principal - it's a system agnosticism I can really get on board with: here is some of the world/system, now get on with it - you know or learn the genre conventions already, so explore with those in mind.

Even if you're not intending to play it yourself, this is a good exercise for getting your world-building started, and hopefully getting an imagination feedback loop going.

The Barrowmere.

Beyond where the Barrow Downs tumbles down from Sweethouses - summer resort of the wealthy metropolitan, new land breaches the waters of the Great Grey Void like a raft of world-turtles.

Long stripped of danger and treasure, the Downs have not seen so many adventurers, cultists, scholars and speculators in a generation. An archipelago becoming a peninsula, the Barrowmere is a soggy environment thick with mounds and tombs - and the old stories of the Barrow Downs Companies suggests they are brimming with undiscovered treasure, occult secrets and bizarre beasts of ill-rumour.

Daily Events.

  1. Crackdown on unauthorised prospectors by local authorities.
  2. A previously risen section partially submerges.
  3. A previously risen section completely submerges.
  4. New company attempting to muscle in on smaller claims.
  5. Stinking miasma clings to low-lying areas - general sickness and frayed tempers.
  6. Severe storm descends from out on the Great Grey Void.

Stake/Steal A Claim on this...

  1. Collapsed Mound.
  2. Abandoned Excavation.
  3. Abandoned Pumping Station (odds/evens site is wholly or partially flooded).
  4. Unexcavated Mound.
  5. Flooded Tomb.
  6. Spiral Shell Structure.

Spiral Shell Structure.

Odds/evens it's intact/ ruined.

  1. Fallen, buried, flooded.
  2. Fallen, partially buried, flooded - odds/evens.
  3. Fallen, accessible.
  4. Upright, buried, flooded.
  5. Upright, partially buried, flooded - odds/evens.
  6. Upright, accessible.

Accessible means you can get to it on foot - you still need to find a way in.

Mysterious Inhabitants.

  1. Dead Dreamers: ancient, horrible, weird - their Dreaming can affect the Waking world.
  2. Mound People: exist across two dimensions simultaneously - think ours is a hallucination.
  3. Servants of the Orbus/ Orcus: death/demon worshipping cyclopes with shareable beholderkin eyes 
  4. Intelligent/ Social Undead.
  5. Sea Creatures/ Monsters: somehow able to survive out of the depths.
  6. Merfolk: this isn't your claim to stake, it's their home.

Special Fish-out-of-Water Surface Encounters.

  1. Twitching Kraken - the size of a field; surprisingly resilient and adaptable.
  2. Stranded Submarine - not from round here.
  3. Shipwreck - ancient or modern.
  4. Dead/ Dying Whale - poor thing.
  5. The opposite of Deep-Sea Divers - adventurers/prospectors from the undersea realm.
  6. Burst Abyssal Leviathan - over acres; swarming with scavengers; stomach like a collapsed circus tent.

Tropes.

  • Goldrush economics.
  • Unscrupulous predators.
  • Ill-prepared fortune seekers.
  • Well-prepared claim jumpers.
  • No justice without friends or money.
  • Ineffectual or overbearing local authority.
  • Cramped, insanitary conditions.
  • Revived cults/gods.
  • The mighty sea.
  • Going too far.
  • Trespass on the mythic.
  • Emerging and improvised technology.
This is a broadly hostile, unexplored and unregulated dungeon/wilderness frontier for amoral adventurers - sound familiar?