Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Mutant Trolls: d100 Mutations

Mutant Trolls
Trolls in my setting originally come from an area that was transformed into an irradiated wasteland. The combination of high background radiation and the trolls' regenerative healing powers have created a slightly smaller but significantly more dangerous species that can rapidly mutate. Now they have spread out across the continent through underground cave networks and adapted to each new environment in turn. They are kept well away from the great cities, and as a whole still fear the light of the sun. You'll see them on all of my terrain-based random encounter tables with a note about any automatic mutations they may have.
The 2nd Edition AD&D Monstrous Compendium Annual Vol. 4 is probably my least favorite of the series, but it contains an entry called “Troll Mutate” (pg. 84) that always seemed just shy of great. Mutating trolls are way more fun than regular trolls. Why even use regular trolls? Sadly, not only is the mutation table in the book merely a 1d12, it only has TEN? entries.
Whut?  We have Jon Pickens to thank for this.

I have expanded that weak list to one hundred entries, specific to these mutant trolls, but potentially useful as a general Biological Mutation table. The trolls in the MCA4 at half size were too small, I've made them one quarter smaller than normal (i.e. 6 HD in 5e). Also, I prefer the mutations to begin after twenty HP are regained, and that they are created fully formed and functional. It's also more fun to fight a monster that mutates during the course of a battle and the MCA4 trolls don't really achieve that the way they're written.
Beyond the ability of normal trolls severed body parts to keep moving and attacking, mutant trolls possess another power. If multiple trolls are reduced to zero HP (without using fire or acid) in the same area and allowed to regenerate, they may fuse together into a huge Troll Abomination, adding their HD together and increasing their combined strength and attacks.
You can use the table as a single d100 or two separate d50 lists. The first fifty contains all the “no effect”, low effect, and negative effect results (among some good ones), while the second fifty are all good rolls except for 00. Rolling for the first mutation with d50 and each subsequent one with d100 works. Some of the entries have a second, greater effect to use if duplicates are rolled.
You can randomize mutation placement, particularly if the obvious location gets crowded, by using a “body die” or rolling 1d12: 1 Full Body, 2 Head, 3 Stomach, 4 Chest, 5 Left Arm, 6 Left Hand, 7 Left Leg, 8 Left Foot, 9 Right Arm, 10 Right Hand, 11 Right Leg, 12 Right Foot.

Mutant Troll Mutation Table
01 Suction Cup Fingers – scale sheer surfaces with ease, may be able to climb upside down.
02 Extra Fingers – no effect.
03 Extra Thumbs – no effect.
04 Longer Claws – slight increase to claw attack damage.
05 Extra Knuckles - no effect.
06 Extra Hands – slight increase to claw attack or damage.
07 Extra Arm Joint – extended claw attack reach.
08 Disease Vector – ten percent of bite, claw, or any other physical attacks transmit a randomly chosen debilitating disease (1d4). Double chance of transmission if rerolled.
  1 Nausea
  2 Weakness
  3 Boils
  4 Death
09 Extra Leg – increase to movement rate.
10 Extra Leg Joint – slight increase to movement rate.
11 Tentacle – additional grapple attack.
12 Suction Cup Toes – scale sheer surfaces with ease, may be able to climb upside down.
13 Horn Clubbed Tail – tail tipped with a mace-like knot of horn.
14 Extra Liver – additional external liver, no effect.
15 Prehensile Tail – dexterous tail able to grapple and manipulate objects.
16 Scaled Skin – armor class increases somewhat.
17 Chitinous Plating – armor class increases significantly.
18 Stinging Nematocysts – body covered in venomous cells that cause wracking pains.
19 Extra Bladder – additional external bladder, no effect.
20 Sticky Blood – highly adhesive ichor, weapons may stick in wounds, difficult to grapple.
21 Acidic Blood – oxygen activated acidic ichor.
22 Greasy Blood – slippery ichor may grease surfaces, difficult to grapple.
23 Stinking Musk – may spray nauseating oil from specialized glands once every three rounds. Spray once per round if rerolled.
24 Extra Teeth – slight increase to bite attack damage.
25 Extra Heart – additional external heart, no effect.
26 Madness – erratic behaviors, takes actions as if confused, attacking trolls and non-trolls alike.
27 Black Ink Spit – may spew blinding ink once every three rounds. Spew once per round if rerolled.
28 Bat Ears – highly developed hearing, enhances perception, more difficult to surprise.
29 Poison Immunity – immune to normal poisons, half effect from magical poisons.
30 Pincer – an appendage ends in a crab-like pincer.
31 Quills – substantial portion of body covered with hollow spines or quills, deals additional grapple damage and has a chance to harm melee attackers.
32 Telescopic Neck – extended bite attack reach.
33 Exaggerated Spinal Ridge – resists decapitation.
34 Heightened Immune System – immune to normal diseases, half effect from magical diseases.
35 Digging Claws – heavy fused fingernails that can tunnel through earth at half movement. Tunnel at full movement if rerolled.
36 Segmented Antennae – able to “taste” trace compounds in the air.
37 Vestigial Wings – no effect.
38 Additional Nostrils – enhances perception, harder to surprise.
"Nearly all troll mutates have additional eyes and a
third limb."  0/2, I wonder if this is Brian Despain's
fault, or whoever gave him the description?
39 Enlarged Eyes – natural infravision extends by fifty percent. Extends by one hundred percent if rerolled.
40 Albinism – lack of pigment results in white skin run through with green and black veins, minor issues with vision and hearing, hyper-sensitive to light to the point of damage.
41 Choking Smoke – when burned with fire or acid, oily black nausea inducing smoke is created in great volume.
42 Enlarged Mouth & Stomach – swallows creatures one size smaller on a critical hit.
43 Dorsal Fin – slight increase to swimming speed.
44 Tail Fin – slight increase to swimming speed.
45 Hand & Foot Webbing – slight increase to swimming speed.
46 Eyestalks – enhances perception, harder to surprise.
47 Extra Eyes – additional 1d3 eyes, enhances perception, harder to surprise.
48 Current Sense – able to detect the electromagnetic fields produced by living tissue, enhances perception, harder to surprise.
49 Semi-permeable Skin – amphibious.
50 Gill Slits – amphibious.
51 Sonic Shriek – deafens and damages those within earshot once every three rounds. May shriek once per round if rerolled.
52 Summoning Shriek – tone that can carry for miles, drawing more mutant trolls and potentially other interested creatures.
53 Extrudeable Tongue – frog or chameleon-like tongue, may use it to drag a target closer and bite once every three rounds.
54 Hypnotic Gaze – may attempt to paralyze a target meeting and maintaining its gaze.
55 Wizard Eyes – able to see invisible creatures, through illusions, and true forms.
56 Bone Blades – sharp protrusions of bone from the joints, additional slashing attack.
57 Extra Head – additional bite attack and higher intelligence, +2.
58 Stinger Tail – tail tipped with a venomous scorpion stinger adds a randomly chosen poison effect (1d4).
  1 Nauseating
  2 Paralytic
  3 Necrotic
  4 Deadly
59 Straight Horns – antelope-like horns, may use a charge attack.
60 Antlers – elk-like antlers, may use a charge attack.
61 Chromatophores – color changing cells allow near perfect camouflage.
62 Extra Arm – additional claw attack.
63 Spiral Horns – ram-like horns, may use a charge attack.
64 Proboscis – blood-sucking facial appendage latches on and drains continuously.
Scaled up spinnerets pointing at you.
65 Insectile Wings – functional veined wings allow flight at three quarters movement speed. Fly at one hundred and fifty percent movement speed if rerolled.
66 Spinnerets – silk-spinning organs, may ensnare a target once every three rounds. May ensnare once per round if rerolled.
67 Bioluminescent Organ – bulbous glowing organ, may use it to create a blinding flash attack once every five rounds.
68 Venomous Fangs – bite attack adds a randomly chosen poison effect (1d4).
  1 Nauseating
  2 Paralytic
  3 Necrotic
  4 Deadly
69 Chiropteran Wings – functional membranous wings allow flight at three quarters movement speed. Fly at one hundred and fifty percent movement speed if rerolled.
70 Solar Protection – unaffected by ultraviolet radiation, half damage from light attacks. Immune to light attacks if rerolled.
71 Extra Mouth – allows an additional bite attack.
72 Conductive Skin – half damage from electrical attacks. Immune to electrical attacks if rerolled.
73 Cold Resistant Fats – half damage from cold attacks. Immune to cold attacks if rerolled.
74 Acid Resistant Waxes – half damage from acidic attacks.
75 Fire Resistant Mucous – half damage from fiery attacks, cannot be set alight.
76 Mitochondrial Burst – may forego regeneration for a short period to act as if hasted twice daily.
77 Adrenal Rage – may auto-mutilate and enter a berserk frenzy twice daily.
78 Feathered Wings – functional feathery wings allow flight at three quarters movement speed. Fly at one hundred and fifty percent movement speed if rerolled.
79 Acidic Spit – may spew burning acid once every three rounds. May spew once per round if rerolled.
80 Sharper Wit – higher intelligence, +4. Gets 1d3 wizard spellcasting levels if rerolled.
81 Focused Mind – higher wisdom, +4. Gets 1d3 cleric spellcasting levels if rerolled.
82 Telekinetic – may forego bite to employ a crushing attack or manipulate an object up to intelligence x10 feet away.
83 Telepathic – able to communicate with or read the thoughts of intelligent beings up to intelligence x10 feet away.
Suriname Toad.  This picture is so good I'm tempted to make
trolls look pretty much the same.
84 Magnetically Repulsive – repels iron-based weapons and objects with magnetic bones.
85 Troll Spawn Carrier – covered with tiny parasitic troll-lets inside individual breeding pouches, they can be transferred to a target with a claw attack and behave like rot grubs.
86 Parasitic Cancers – covered with tumorous growths, the disease is transferable to targets with a bite, claw, or any physical attack, and begins to slowly transform the host into a troll.
87 Detachable Appendages – may drop an arm, leg, tail, etc. at will.
88 Dense Flesh – weight is doubled, half damage from slashing and piercing attacks.
89 Rubbery Body – skeleton becomes cartilaginous, able to squeeze through tight spaces, half damage from falling and crushing attacks.
90 Radioactive – causes withering effects on close contact with non-trolls. May create a radioactive burst once every three rounds if rerolled.
91 Rapid Mutation Cycling – reroll this mutation every three rounds.
92 Antimagic Organ – visible crystalline structure cancels half of nearby magics.
93 Double in Size – doubles evenly in size, adjust strength and constitution accordingly.
94 Triple in Size – triples evenly in size, adjust strength and constitution accordingly.
95 Regeneration Factor Doubles – recovers twice as many HP per round.
96 Regeneration Factor Triples – recovers three times as many HP per round.
97 Mentally Dominates Other Trolls – able to psychically control other trolls up to intelligence x10 feet away.
98 Physically Absorbs Other Trolls – able to undergo fusion with other trolls on contact.
99 Evolutionary Leap – progress further on the path of the Über Troll, +2 to all abilities.
00 Collapse into Green Slime – troll's body loses cohesion and decomposes into a like amount of green slime.

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In case you are interested in the MCA4 Troll Mutate entry in its fully wonky glory.  The poor little things don't seem to mutate meaningfully unless you beat on them then run off and do something else for a day.  Which in my experience is not how players deal with trolls.  The queen troll thing is fine, if played, but I prefer sexless trolls that reproduce through hormone triggered fits of intra-species violence: limbs are severed and rather than reconnecting are compelled to grow into troll-lets.  But I also like trolls as cancer, trolls as virus, and the above parasitic troll spawn (Suriname Toad lifecycle) thing.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Ordinary Starting Item / “I Search the Body” Table (d00)

A table of one hundred starting items for character creation or searching bodies.  Each item is worth 1d6 x 10gp to an appropriately interested person, and invaluable to clever problem solvers.  Heavily influenced by Against the Wicked City's "When All You Have is a Hammer", but designed for a more primal campaign with less technological sophistication.
This post sent me down a lot of rabbit holes where I tried to justify thoughts like "Wait, where do plums grow?  What's in a tinderbox really?  What is the oldest recorded music notation?"  Now that I've purged myself of this latest dalliance I can return to the megadungeon and encounter table work from earlier.  Till then, enjoy.

Ordinary Starting Item / “I Search the Body” Table (d00)

01 Telescopic Pole – a three foot bamboo rod that telescopes to ten feet.
02 Umash Teeth – the upper sixteen teeth of one of the baboon-like Umash in a leather bag, a divinatory aid.
03 Red Fireflies – glass bottle of the red light-casting waste fireflies, their light is capable of revealing certain invisible creatures.
04 Heavy Tinted Glasses – goggles made from darkened glass, excellent eye protection from bright lights.
05 Prizing Knife – short curved blade designed to open shellfish and hook out their meat.
06 Tuning Tines – twelve inch amask steel acoustic resonator.
07 Hrassacock Feather – the uniquely beautiful red, blue, green, and yellow tail plume of the hrassacock, a much desired hat decoration and magical component.
08 Small Accurate Map – very detailed map of a random nearby location.
09 Umash Kakuluk – medium sized bongo instrument.
10 Fasinaa Reed Flute – nimble instrument that produces flute and kazoo type sounds.
11 Goboda Bwamanna – three-stringed gourd instrument.
12 Spidersilk Rope – fifty foot length of excellent quality weave.
13 Flask of Jen Jandy – plain flask full of highly alcoholic spirits, has a flavor similar to spicy root beer.
14 Bottle of Lo Plum Wine – sweet soporific wine made from the fruit of the Lo plum trees that grow in the southeastern delta land.
15 Bag of Blue Herbs – one eighth of an ounce of smokeable herbage, analgesic, promotes feelings of well-being.
16 Fasinaa Machete – finely built steel machete, perfectly suited to hacking through the sticky eastern jungles.
17 Plush Peeper Doll – a child's wool-stuffed toy made to (poorly) resemble one of fluffy mountain prosimians called Peak Peepers.
18 Agate Marbles – fifteen blue, brown, and orange marbles, one slightly larger than the rest.
19 Vuus Hair Thread – spool of incredibly fine thread made from the hair of the Vuus tribe of iele, strong enough to fish with.
20 Violet Lady Mushroom – single fast-acting psychotropic mushroom, maintains potency if carefully dried.
21 Dried Spirit Pepper – a pungent chili spicy enough to burn in the ethereal plane.
22 Animal Pheromone – the concentrated musk of a random animal from a nearby environment.
23 Sea Salt – leather bag of crystallized sea salt, about two cups worth.
24 Umash Crackle Sticks – three somewhat dangerous “sparklers”.
25 Female Hensnake – two foot long tubby-bodied domesticated snake, lays one delicious unfertilized egg once each morning.
26 Cuttle Ink – blue-black writing ink harvested from a coastal cuttlefish.
27 Finely Carved Walking Cane – cane made from rare wood and carved with tiny scenes of decadent city life.
28 Shard of Cursed Glass – radioactive material from the Glass Waste, only dangerous if held over the course of years.
29 Lodestone – fist-sized rock with a powerful magnetic force.
30 Merchant's Scale – portable bronze scale with a selection of weights, all contained in a ten inch wooden box.
31 Large Inaccurate Map – poorly detailed or scaled map of a random nearby location.
32 Ceramic Pot of Lolsanthi Honey – quality honey harvested from the bees pollen-maddened by Lolsanthi nectar.
33 Crystallized Sugar – small packet of sugar crystals, attracts insects.
34 Fetish Doll – crude humanoid figure with a set of pins, currently unattached to a victim.
35 Barbed Fishing Net – thrown fishing net with barbed iron hooks.
36 Ara Leaf Oil – insect repellent made from the Ara bush.
37 Set of Gaming Dice – three six sided bone dice.
38 Seeing Tube – primitive telescope, one end makes things look smaller, one end makes things look bigger.
39 Solidified Amber – an insect trapped within hardened resin.
40 Resin Incense – a small wooden box of rich-scented incense with a heavy languorous smoke.
41 Colored Chalk – set of five different colors.
42 Fur Blanket – heavy blanket made from woolly rhinoceros hide.
43 Oyeb Seeds – pouch of the incredibly fast growing oyeb vine, a strangling gourd.
44 Nuncia Bird – tiny message carrying bird.
45 Puzzle Box – small simple release wooden puzzle box.
46 Hollow Bracelet – copper bracelet with a secret compartment.
47 Oiled Hooded Cloak – nearly waterproof cloth outer covering.
48 Lye Soap – large bar of harsh soap for serious washing up.
49 Pallenseil Poppy Seeds – from the eastern plains and hills, can be planted or eaten as a pain reliever.
50 Minor Noble Finery – association with a random noble wizard house.
51 Sachet of Scouring Sand – razor sharp particulate, good for permanently damaging eyes or lungs.
52 Cloud Lotus Powder – when made into tea or a paste for the chest brings a heavy, restful sleep impossible to resist.
53 Tapping Spile – a steel tap that can be pounded or drilled into liquid storing vegetation.
54 Heavy Heat Resistant Gloves – insulated hand wear able to resist heat and open flames.
55 Wooden Yoyo – carved wooden toy, useful as a diversion or an improvised weapon.
56 Quartz Prism – five inches of clear, faceted quartz crystal.
57 Low Quality Rickshaw – foot powered conveyance for a single passenger.
58 Presis Conch Shell – beautiful pastel colored sea snail shell, nearly as large as a man's head.
59 Vial Necklace – chain necklace with a metal vial that can be filled with a small amount of powder or liquid.
60 Clay Funerary Mask – placid and nearly featureless white clay funerary mask.
61 Deck of Divining Cards – most decks contain only the prime arca, the face cards.
62 Loppett Shears – wool cutting scissors used to shear herds of loppetts.
63 Three Small Colored Bean Bags – good for juggling or kicking about.
64 Raku Tea Set – simple but beautiful teapot and cups for two.
65 Back Strap Loom – personal and portable loom.
66 Idol of Se'vensaera / Immacula – lapis or jade idol of one of the more hopeful of the eight goddesses.
67 Dry Compass – sensitive portable compass.
68 Pack of Dominoes – twenty eight gaming bones.
69 Skywatch Pamphlet – detailing the threat of the Shem and the city's complacency.
70 Stegotetrabelodon Ivory – six inch piece of uncarved elephant kin ivory.
71 Shrunken Iele Head – the dried and shrunken head of an iele man, created by a remote tribe to trap the soul.
72 Bronze Oil Lamp – oil burning decorative lamp in the Form of Naude, goddess of mysteries.
73 Abacus – stone beads in a wooden frame.

74 Bronze Hookah – decorative bronze personal hookah with snake skin hose.
75 Stuffed Tree Shrew – taxidermy of a fearsomely posed omnivorous tree shrew.
76 Tinderbox – flint, pyrite, and amadou.
77 Wax Tablet with Iron Stylus – re-writable surface and implement.
78 Iron Choke Collar with Leash – good for medium and some large size animals or people.
79 Sack of Sponges – large cloth bag full of dried natural sea sponges.
80 Tin of Bitumen – small container of viscous tar.
81 Song of Hours – carved, words and music, into a wooden cylinder.
82 Cipher Key – simple code based on the iele common language.
83 Barbed Iron Arrowheads – five wickedly hooked arrowheads.
84 Bag of Snake Vertebrae – nine of the bones in a felt bag, used for divining.
85 Performance Cosmetics Kit – bold makeup including face white, rouge, and kohl.
86 Leg Irons – reinforced steel leg restraints, able to fit any medium sized humanoid.
87 Mamun Coin – a large gold coin from an ancient civilization, one side shows the sun, the other a man's face.
88 Fief Farm Bell – small but loud bronze bell commonly used to keep track of domesticated animals like loppetts or crenchies.
89 Medicinal Leeches – glass jar of “polite” leeches, applying one to a fresh wound will drain venom.
90 Stone-working Chisels – four chisels in various sizes with various heads.
91 Jeweler's Loupe – low quality single eye magnification device.
92 Steel Crampons – sharp and sturdy steel crampons.
93 Rolling Stone – an insect larva encased in stone, rolls the stone around when hot enough.
94 Bird Cage – finely woven wicker animal cage, capable of holding up to three tiny creatures.
95 Container of Grease – oily animal fat grease.
96 Pamphlet of Minor Sigils – protections for the common man.
97 Goboda Relic – a tarsal bone of a minor saint, a blessed traveler who fell while walking the great wheel.
98 Skeleton Key – generic key that will unlock a family of simple locks.
99 roll twice, re-rolling 99 - 00
00 roll three times, re-rolling 99 - 00