Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tables! Tables! Tables! And Snails!

My favorite posting so far by Sam Kisko on his blog Valley of Blue Snails is this marvelous post called "You spy your long time love laying eggs in the wilderness one evening." It contains a truly baroque suite of tables called the Traumatic Adolescent Background Generator, which is one of the wonderfully weirder things I've read in a while. Although most of these are more fun to read than to have inflicted on your character, I suspect, a few of these are very close to events from my campaign:

19 – You awake most mornings with smallish fey creatures cuddled against you. They leave tiny offerings of flowers, sweet food, and perfumes.

14 – While near a waterfall you think you saw a pair of feline eyes behind it. Exploring behind the waterfall you see a crevice that sinks into the depths. You also find a huge discarded cat-claw larger than you are.

1 – A fey creature leaves a child at your door step. (if taken) The child grows to adulthood in 1d4 years, looking exactly like you.

Overall, these tables start out hilariously depressing and mean-spirited - I particularly like the Comeliness table in which no matter how beautiful or ugly you are it still works out badly for you - but gradually grow increasingly weird and charming. Here's one of my favorites from near the end:

18 – A small duck billed Hadrosaurid will periodically approach you when it thinks you are asleep and clean any parasites from your skin and hair. This is strangely soothing and does not wake you.

I'm not sure why this makes me so happy.

My second favorite posting of his is "A fire-breathing were-mammoth destroys half the village while calling your name." This is his earlier table suite, the Traumatic Childhood Background PC Generator, which is slightly less weird but still highly entertaining. The first few tables are generic enough, but once it gets into the events tables the weirdness begins. Some of these sound like things I've done to my players, like:

13 – The PC finds a large tar pit and strange fey creatures appear to live within. They have invited the PC into the pit to see their home but the PC has yet to accept.

14 – A traveling Elf maid gives the PC an orchid plant. The orchid never changes and is perpetually pointing towards one direction, even if turned or moved. If the Orchid is followed like a compass, it leads to a strange and wondrous place leagues away.

15 – The PC finds a lone boulder marbled with lapis. Before the PC can take any, a deer-spirit emerges and begs the PC to leave it. (if heeded) A yellow deer can be seen in the distance when the PC is in the wilds. (if ignored) Gain 1500gp in lapis.

Others - I'm sure my players are thankful - I never have and never will. After reading through these bizarre entries, we can all appreciate this one:

1 – Perfectly normal childhood. The PC's peers mock the child for his normalcy.

Because if these are the things that usually happen, normalcy would be tres outré.

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