2019-11-01 How to choose an adventure

When you buy a thing, then you choose the thing. When you write a thing, then you use the thing. But when you have a generator like Hex Describe I find it really hard to just stop reloading the page, hoping to get an even better deal.

Here’s my thing: the party is in the mountains and has to travel two hexes to get to some dwarves in an underground cavern. Easy, right? Go to Hex Describe and click the no map link. Enter the following:

There is a dwarven forge called <em>[here dwarf forge]</em> up here. This is a legendary forge stronghold. [5d8x10] <strong>dwarves</strong> live and work here ([dwarf stats]) led by [dwarf with portrait] (level [1d4+8 as level]). They are divided into [3d6] families, each led by a clan elder (level [1d6+2]). [dwarven stronghold treasure]

The last part is based on mountain people and dwarves, picking the options that lead to the big city.

I look at the results and I just want to continue clicking!

Here’s a legendary dwarven forge:

There is a dwarven forge called Moon up here. This is a legendary forge stronghold. 220 dwarves live and work here (HD 1 AC 4 1d6 D1 MV 6 ML 8 XP 100) led by Bifskjald Stormbeards (level 9). They are divided into 9 families, each led by a clan elder (level 7). 「200000 gold. 100 platinum. 42 gems. 28 jewelry. 7 dwarven crossbows +2. 8 dwarven short swords +2. 8 dwarven plate armour +2. 6 dwarven shields +2. A potion of bellowing (deep pink, smelling like the sea, 1h, allows you to bellow so loud that your voice can be heard for many miles), a potion of flying (white, 1h), a potion of silver tongue (deep vanilla, 1h, everybody who hears your voice must save vs. spells or be charmed), a potion of cold resistance (dark celadon, 1h), a potion of silver tongue (deep vanilla, 1h, everybody who hears your voice must save vs. spells or be charmed) and a potion of jump (sparkling black, smelling like oranges, 20min, allows you to jump up to 60ft high and land safely). A stone of orientation that always points north. An amulet of shape changing, blessed by Loki (black cat, allows you to sneak). 6 dream land berries which transport the eater into a dream time where they can talk to an immortal hero for as long as they want or walk for as long as they want (if you decide to return, you return to the same moment in time but you will have aged appropriately and your place will have shifted in accordance with the distance you moved). A compass of hell, blessed by Hel (it has two pointers: one points to the nearest danger, the other to the nearest safe place).」

I want to know the names of their dwarven clans and of course there’s a rule to generate these, too! Up above we already go the Stormbeards, so we just need a few more:

And what about the mountains? Let’s check the mountain table, but this time with Markdown for easier copying and pasting?

At the end of this valley the mountains rise up like a wall and on that wall is a giant seven-headed snake made of living stone, as if melted and reshaped by the strongest spells. In each of the seven heads there burns a magic fire. This is Biaringan.

Down below, at the foot of the wall, there is a gate of snakes: a knot of two impossibly large stone snakes with a passage underneath illuminated by torches and guarded by 26 snake people (HD 2+1 AC 5 1d8 F2 MV 12 ML 7 XP 200; charm person 3×/day) led by Son of Set (HD 6, lightning bolt (6d6) 2×/day). 「A potion of cold resistance (tawny orange, 1h).」 The stables nearby hold 2 giant lizards (HD 4 AC 5 1d10 F3 MV 12 ML 7 XP 400). 「5000 silver coins. 3000 gold coins.」

Inside, the central temple contains four bronze snake statues oriented towards the cardinal directions. Large red candles at the base of each statute give a flickering and smoky light. Each statute has a different colored gem set in its forehead (500gp each). The north wall contains a giant mural of snakes and the floor is decorated with a mosaic of a star with eight outward pointing daggers.

Under the mural, a passage leads further north, past the quarters of 23 snake people (HD 2+1 AC 5 1d8 F2 MV 12 ML 7 XP 200; charm person 3×/day) led by Egg Mother (HD 6, lightning bolt (6d6) 2×/day). 「A compass of hell, blessed by Hel (it has two pointers: one points to the nearest danger, the other to the nearest safe place).」 The stable nearby holds a giant lizard (HD 4 AC 5 1d10 F3 MV 12 ML 7 XP 400). 「1000 silver coins. 3000 gold coins. 2 gems.」

At the end of the hallway, stairs lead upwards.

This is where the spirit naga Most Exalted Sorcerer of Lies guards the passages to Svartalfheim (HD 9 AC 7 1d8+poison F18 MV 6; fireball (7d6) 3×/day; charm person at will; only harmed by magic or magic weapons; 「a naga tongue is worth 1000gp to an alchemist」) and where pools of Earth Blood corrupt both the living and the dead. If you spend an hour here, your death warrant is sealed: slowly, you will die, or turn into an ettin, or a goblin, or some other dreadful creature.

Or something simple?

Steep cliffs make progress practically impossible without climbing gear. In the middle of a sheer cliff, where no bird dares to fly, there is an inscription on the rocks, each letter higher than three men standing on top of each other, proclaiming the power and glory of Queen Kali of Merlen, as well as the riches and treasures of Jasa the Strong.

Or something very cool again:

A ten-foot-tall black iron fence blocks the way here. Some of the spikes at the top of the fence are adorned with skulls of humans and other humanoids.

The gate is still humming with magical energies. Shimmering lines show penitentiaries humbly begging for entrance. If you knock on the gates with nothing but your clothes on, empty handed, no weapons, no armour, no metal, then it will slowly open for you and just for you. If anybody else tries to slip through, the doors will slam shut: save vs. death or be crushed.

Towering above the walls is a bulging tower with vertical slits serving as windows, like the visor of a fancy helmet.

This is the realm of 3 stone giants led by Shaper of the Cave, Still Stone (HD 9 AC 4 3d6 or 3d6 ranged F9 MV 12 ML 9 XP 900; stone shape and control weather at will). 「10000 silver coins.」 They are methodically moving cut stones the size of cattle, rebuilding the tower. They place a block, then move back and contemplate it’s position for an hour, then repeat.

The top of the tower is inaccessible from the interior. A circus of 6 young griffons (HD 4+1 AC 6 1d6/1d6/1d8 F4 MV 24 ML 10 XP 400) is roosting up there when they’re not trying to impress each other with fantastic displays of aerial stunts. 「The griffon egg is worth 5000gp to an alchemist」.

The necropolis itself is an endless graveyard, tombstone after tombstone, filling every slope in this valley, stone statues, inscriptions, pictures, headstones engraved with snakes or a bird man. At night the ghosts rise from their graves, lamenting the state of their graves and the lack of care, the sloth of their descendants, and they curse them and their world, not realising that their world has already faded and that they are the only ones left. Appropriate rites and sacrifices, a purification and a hallowing might bring them peace.

In the middle of all this is a platform made of stone, circular and about five feet high. On it a wooden structure rises up into the air and at the very top rests the sphinx Sigiburg (HD 5 AC 6 1d6/1d6 F10 MV 15 ML 9 XP 500; cure disease 3×/day, raise dead 1×/day, summon tengus (2d6) 1×/day: HD 5+1 AC 6 1d8 F10 MV 15 ML 8; flying). Tell her a good pun and she’ll be friendly. Answer her riddle to be granted a boon.

Tho’ good fellows we are,
We can’t hope to be sav’d;
From our very first day,
To our last we’re enslav’d,
Our office is hardest,
And food sure the worst,
Being cramm’d with raw flesh,
Till we’re ready to burst;
Tho’ low in our state,
Ev’n Kings we support;
And at balls have
The principal share of the sport.


I really cannot decide! And let’s not forget that there are different tables for mountains (notice the s at the end of the table name)

These mountains are called the 「Hungry Domes」. They are impossible to climb.

OK, that’s short. Hm.

But what about this?

These mountains are called the 「Dire Graves」. Fissures lead into the depth of the mountain and in the warm chambers below there sleeps the red dragon Fire Despair the Eternal (HD 10 AC -1 1d8/1d8/4d8 F10 MV 24 ML 10 XP 1000; fire (as much as the dragon has hp left, save vs. dragon breath for half)). 「10000 gold coins. 60 gems. 70 jewelry. A dwarven shield +2 with dwarven runes commemorating the slaying of the red dragon Hot Death of the Mountain.」

Or simpler?

These mountains are called the 「Hungry Peaks」. The passes need a local guide to cross. 4 winter wolves live up here (HD 5 AC 4 1d6 F5 MV 12 ML 9 XP 500; 2 in 6 chance that instead of biting, it breathes a cloud of ice (5d6); see invisible; 「winter wolf icicles growing inside them are worth 500gp to an alchemist」)

Or more dwarves?

These mountains are called the 「Desert Mounts」. The passes need a local guide to cross. There is a dwarven forge called Old Star up here. This is a small forge. 21 dwarves live and work here (HD 1 AC 4 1d6 D1 MV 6 ML 8 XP 100) led by Trísti Forgeshorn (level 3). Silver cutlery and beautiful wine glasses. 「40000 silver coins. 60000 gold coins. A scroll of fire ball (6d6, save vs. spells for half). An elven long sword +1 with elven runes naming its maker: Felaiel.」

I just want to keep reading!




– Chris 2019-11-01 22:44 UTC

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