Wednesday, October 26, 2022

OSR: Clowns

Ideas borrowed from here and here.

source unknown

"But my point is... My point is, I went crazy. When I saw what a black, awful joke the world was, I went crazy as a coot! I admit it! Why can't you? I mean, you're not unintelligent! You must see the reality of the situation. Do you know how many times we've come close to world war three over a flock of geese on a computer screen? Do you know what triggered the last world war? An argument over how many telegraph poles Germany owed its war debt creditors! Telegraph poles! Ha ha ha ha HA! It's all a joke! Everything anybody ever valued or struggled for... it's all a monstrous, demented gag! So why can't you see the funny side? Why aren't you laughing?”

- Joker, Batman: The Killing Joke

Ignorant people will tell you that Clowns are some sort of demonic entity, a slithering, grasping thing that entered out world through a gap in the weave of the universe.  Sadly, the truth is far less pleasant. 

To become a Clown is more than just putting on a silly outfit and painting your face- it is to invite an entity, a force, to come and suffuse your body.  To Clown is to recognize the absurd nature of the universe and the rampant cruelty and desolation that this twisted world represents.  But rather than attempt to resist this evil or allow oneself to be swallowed by it, the Clown responds with giggling, gasping laughter.  The Clown laughs in the face of tragedy, marking down all the suffering in the world as one big joke, perpetuated on the human race.  It's all a gag that we're just not in on.

Most Clowns are people who have endured great suffering or seen unspeakable evil.  They long for death but cannot seek it themselves, or they wish to alleviate their own pain but nothing else has helped. 

Clowns are not inherently hostile, they are ideological creatures, after all.  All Clowns want to do is spread the black mirth they enjoy.  They want you to become like them, to "see the funny side".  Those who can or will not will find a Clown quickly grows hostile towards them, though a Clown is unlikely to resort to violence unless it thinks it can win, or it would be funny. 

This is part of the reason why Clowns inflict so much death and suffering- they're trying to convince you of the meaninglessness of your struggle.  You shouldn't fight, but laugh.  When you laugh, then you disarm the universe of it's cruelty.  This cold, dark, rotting world can carry on, but like the Emperor with no clothes, once you point the finger, your cruel laughter will reveal it all for the farcical stage-play that it is.

For obvious reasons, Clowns are despised.

from here

Number Appearing: 1d12
Alignment: Chaotic Evil (?)
Languages: the local lingua franca plus Gibberish
Treasure: Wealth from their previous lives, trinkets stolen from victims, humorous items kept to accentuate the Clown's silliness.         


HD Varies, see below
AR Varies, see below
Atk Varies, see below
Mor 15
Saves (7+HD) or less

Schaedenfreude: Whenever one of their opponents rolls a critical failure, all of the clowns burst into laughter, gaining +1 to all of their d20 and damage rolls until the end of combat. 

Sleight of Hand: Clowns seem to be unarmed, until they suddenly aren't.  They often approach enemies with their hands open, smiling.  (This is the most combat-relevant usage of Sleight of Hand.  Clowns can do other thiefy stuff with it, too.)

- Approach stealthily
- Try to convince people to join in your whimsy
- Use sneaky tactics if forced to fight
- Hit and run, ambush, set traps, etc

To customize a Clown, roll on the tables below:

How long has this person been a Clown?


1-2- Less than a week.  The Clown has 1 HD and 1 AR.  The Clown remembers his name and what it was like to be human.  He has no Chuckle-Voodoos. 
3-4- Less than a month.  The Clown has 1d3 HD and 2 AR.  The Clown's memories of humanity and normality are dull.  He recalls who he was before, but he doesn't want to be himself.  He has no dark Chuckle-Voodoos.  
5- Less than a year.  The Clown has 1d4 HD and 1d3 AR.  The Clown's memories of his humanity are still there, but he can't remember who he was before.  He is almost complete.  He has a 2-in-6 chance of knowing one Chuckle-Voodoo.     
6- For as long as they can remember.  The Clown has 1d4+1 HD and 1d4 AR.  He is almost done, so close to touching the sublime mirth of his Gods, to absolute transcendence.  He has a 4-in-6 chance of knowing at least one Chuckle-Voodoo.     

What are they armed with? 


1- A knife.  The Clown makes one 1d6 attack, or two 1d6 attacks if 3+ HD. 
2- An oversized mallet.  The Clown makes 1d8 attack, or one 1d10 attack if 3+ HD.   
3- A pair of juggling clubs.  The Clown makes two 1d6 attacks, or three 1d6 attacks if 3+ HD.  
4- A pair of nun-chucks.  The Clown makes 1d4 1d6 attacks.  On a Critical Failure, the Clown smacks itself in the head.  This does no damage but does have a chance of stunning the Clown.   

How likely are they to return to being human?


1- Very likely.  This is temporary Clowning.  Odds of this person returning to normal, provided they are snapped out of it, are high. 
2- Intermittantly.  This person occasionally becomes a Clown when life becomes too much.  They use this to indulge their darker desires when no one is looking.  This is an unsustainable pattern though and eventually, the person will have to choose one. 
3- Unlikely.  Unless shown love and affection, and unless they get some sense smacked into them, this person will never return to normal.  They will stay a Clown barring outside interference. 
4- Return?  The person you knew is gone.  There is only the Clown left.     

Dark Chuckle-Voodoos:


1- Japery.   1/Day, the clown puts on a performative act.  (Miming, juggling, etc.)  All non-clowns who witness this must Save vs Charm or be fascinated.  Fascinating creatures get -4 to all rolls not involving the object of their fascination (for example, Defense rolls against non-japing clowns).

2- Squash and Stretch.  The Clown's bones and body take on the properties of squishable plastic, allowing them to wriggle through spaces far too small to normally accomodate them. 

3- Spin Fairy Floss.  The Clown can create a bright substance from his body that is soft and light as air, but super-sweet.  This substance is edible and addictive.  Additionally, if layered over itself and exposed to a source of warmth (such as body heat) it hardens into a thick, hard substance similar to the material bees use to make their hives out of, but much harder.
4- Ask for Volunteer.  One creature the Clown sees must save.  On a failed save, that creature must approach the Clown, even if there is no good reason to do so.
5- Curtain Call.  1/Day, the Clown whistles and summons allies.  He summons 1d6 [1= 1 Lion; 2= 2 Elephants; 3= 1d10 Clowns; 4= Random Monster (check random encounter table), that is not allied to the Clowns; 5-6- No response.]  If the Clown rolls a 5 or 6, he may use this ability again in 1d4 rounds.
6- Impossible Dodge.  The Clown automatically avoids something that you could conceivably dodge physically.

7- Don't turn your back on the body.  If you don't make ABSOLUTELY SURE that the Clown is dead and it doesn't fall into a lake of acid or is eaten by the Dragon, 1/Day it survives and will return to menace you once more. 

8- Infectious Laughter.  The Clown starts cackling.  All creatures who can hear it must save.  On a failed save, they start laughing as well and lose their action.  This laughter lasts until the creatures pass a save to end the effect.  Being stabbed or threatened gives you advantage on your save.  Clowns automatically fail their saves the first time, then are immune afterward.  The Clown can only use this ability again 1d4 rounds after everyone has stopped laughing. 

9- Clown Venom.  The Clown has a venomous bite.  If bitten, you take 1d4 damage and 1d6 COG damage.  Your nose turns bright red and bulbous.  You suddenly find tragedy and suffering absolutely hilarious and must save to hold in mocking laughter.  This is a minor curse and can be removed by receiving a blessing from a good priest or going to Church.  Should you be reduced to 0 COG, you become a murderous Clown until you die or are forcibly blessed by the priests of a Benevolent Deity.  It's basically an exorcism but with more bad jokes.   

10- Disappearing Act.  If not being directly observed, the Clown can teleport up to 100', as long as it appears in a place that no one else is observing.

People who become Clowns can sometimes return to being human.  Some are only Clowns for a brief time, recovering their senses and trying to bury the evidence of the crimes they committed while under the greasepaint.  Others will periodically don the red nose to alleviate their frustration or do something that they could never do in their normal identity.  But being a Clown is addictive.  To be able to do anything is a rush.  Additionally, the Clown philosophy of nothing being real, nothing actually matters, it is as first seductive and then utterly inescapable.  Once you have bought in, any other ideology falls flat.

Some call this the Jester Event Horizon.  Once you pass that imaginary line, you will never return to being human.  You will forget your name and all your memories from before.  Your make-up will cease to be make-up and become part of your face.  Your nose will actually become bright red, it's not just a prop.  Your shoes will seem to shrink, or your feet will grow.  And your only joy will be to bring this feeling you have to others.  So, why don't you give me a smile?

by Gonzalo Arias

Elder Clowns and the Mirthful Messiahs:   

Elder Clowns, or Subjuglators, are Clowns who have been Clowns for so long that nothing human or sensible remains of them.  The darkness they commune with has risen up inside them and consumed them, made them instruments of black mirth and woe.  They have no names, for they need none.  They are the Clown's leaders and elders, their priest-Kings. 

All Clowns who have engaged in Clowning with others of their kind have all been exposed to the Clown Religion, commonly called Honkism.  This religion involves the veneration of a pair of mysterious figures called The Mirthful Messiahs.  Supposedly, these figures appeared long ago in the distant past and taught humanity and the other races about Clowning.  Then they left, as no one thought they were funny.  It is the duty of the Clowns to educate the people about the truth that their Messiahs sought to bring them and to spread the Clown religion.

If the Clowns are successful at this, it is said that the Mirthful Messiahs will return and bring about an endless Dark Carnival full of joy and laughter till the end of time.  This is an event eagerly awaited by all Clowns as much as it is dreaded by the non-mirthful.              

Number Appearing: 1
Alignment: Chaotic Evil (?)
Languages: the local lingua franca plus Gibberish
Treasure: As Clown, plus greasepaint, colorful wigs, sugary drinks and soporific drugs.


Elder Clown or Subjuglator
HD 1d4+4
AR 1d4+1
Atk Weapon 1d8+3/1d8+3
Mor 15
Saves (7+HD) or less

Schaedenfreude: Whenever one of their opponents rolls a critical failure, all of the clowns burst into laughter, gaining +1 to all of their d20 and damage rolls until the end of combat. 

Sleight of Hand: Clowns seem to be unarmed, until they suddenly aren't.  They often approach enemies with their hands open, smiling.  (This is the most combat-relevant usage of Sleight of Hand.  Clowns can do other thiefy stuff with it, too.)

Hands of the Mirthful Messiahs: Elder Clowns have 1d4 Dark Chuckle-Voodoos.

- Charge the weakest person
- Kidnap them
- Run away, use them as bait
- Be funny and amusing (from a Clown perspective)

Clown Treasures: 


1- Acid Cream Pie.  Delicious pies with filling that sears and burns flesh.  A Clown will throw them like a weapons.  First you taste the sweetness of the meringue, then your face starts to dissolve.  Does 1d6 acid damage on a hit and then 1d6 acid damage per round until washed off or the acid is diluted.  The worst part is that if you know how, they can be made using common ingredients and a bit of clowny magick. 

2- Boomie Cushions.  Pigskin Balloons full of gas, these bulbous bladders make a sound like flatulence when sat on or pressure is applied to them.  This also causes their contents to leak into the atmosphere around them.  The contents are always flammable when made with clowns.  The tiniest spark and BOOM! they're scraping you off the walls.  Additionally, if pierced by a burning object, they can explode without any set-up.  When detonated, Boomie Cushions do 3d6 fire damage, save for half.  Can easily be manufactured by Clowns, if they have access to the proper materials. 

3- Spitting Flower.  A tiny flower, worn on the lapel or a suspender that when squeezed, sprays it's contents all over a creature within 10'.  The effects of this depend on whether you filled the flower's bulb with flammable oil, hallucinogenic liquid, acid, or etc.  Single-use, after which it must be reloaded.   

4- Joy Buzzer OF DEATH!  A small metal device, worn on the hand.  If someone else touches it, they take 1d6 lightning damage and must save.  On a failed save, the creature is paralyzed and cannot move.  Each round, the creature can take an action to try and move.  If you use your action to remain in contact with the creature you're shocking, you can do 1d6 lightning damage to them per round. 

5- Jakbox.  Horrible music boxes that hide a dark secret.  Wind one up and let it go.  It will sing and sing and then, 1d6 turns (not rounds) later, it will suddenly open to reveal 1d3 [1= A bunch of tentacles that grab the nearest creature and attempt to force it into the box.  If dragged into the box, that creature disappears and reappears 1d3 weeks later where one of their loved ones could find them- usually mutilated and wearing clown make-up; 2= A horrible face with a toothy mouth that bites the nearest creature.  3-in-6 chance it has a venomous bite; 3= A tiny puppet-looking fellow with a tiny crossbow.  He shoots at 1d4 people, then disappears back into his box.  His crossbow bolts 1d3 (1= Are covered in excrement, save or contract a horrible disease; 2= Are poisoned; 3= Are coated in drugs; 4= Are lit on fire.)  The bolts do 1d4 damage by themselves.]          

6- Giggle Gas.  Canisters of toxic green gas that fill confined spaces.  Small canisters can fill a 30' square room, larger ones up to 100' square.  Anyone in the gas takes 1d6 COG damage and 1d4 CON damage a round.  The gas lowers inhibitions and makes everything funny.  You'll laugh and laugh and laugh.  And then, if you are reduced to 0 CON, you'll die laughing. 

7- Silly Glasses.  Glasses that are oversized, or have lenses covered in swirly patterns, or simply stupid looking.  When wearing these, you can see through falsehoods such as illusions, invisibility, shape-shifting, money, advertising, lies, social niceties and anything else that is illusory.  When people speak to you, you hear exactly what they mean, not what they say.  For example, if you are wearing these glasses and the tie your wife doesn't like, when she sees you in it, she will say "Oh, it's your favorite tie."  But you will hear, "I always hated that tie, as my whore of a sister gave it to you.  She's always thought she's prettier than me."  Additionally, while wearing these, you can understand the Clown language of Gibberish, which to everyone else is just random words, phrases and noises strung together in ways that sound like word salad to all non-Clowns. 

8- Warhammer of Zillyhoo.  A pastel-colored, rainbow striped warhammer with a big smiley face on it.  Absolutely ludicrous looking, resembles a cosplay weapon.  Does 1d20 damage on a hit and does not include any modifiers, nor can it's damage roll be increased or decreased.  3/Day, the wielder can, instead of dealing damage on a hit, catapult someone into the air and send them flying.  This causes them to fly into the sky and disappear, where it then teleports them 1d100 miles in a random direction.  This does no damage to the creature hit, but it will drop them somewhere funny and inconvenient, like into the women's changing rooms, a horse trough or a big pile of mud. 

9- A Surprise Present.  It's a big box, wrapped like a present, addressed to someone you know.  If opened by that specific person it contains 1d4 [1= The thing they most want in the world; 2= As "1", except it's a lie, or a cursed, or an illusion, etc.; 3= Nothing but the words 'Haa Haa Haa' written on the inside of the box; 4= 1d1000 hungry, flesh-eating beetles.  If opened by anyone but the person it is addressed to, it only contains the beetles.  But the box can be reused- simply rewrap it and the address will become blank.  You can then address it them to anyone you want.    

10- Endless Hankerchief.  A string of colorful hankerchiefs.  You can pull one out of your pocket or any other type of opening.  However, each hankerchief you pull out is tied to another.  You can pull these out forever and will never run out of new hankerchiefs.  This rope of hankerchiefs is no different than normal silken hankerchiefs, other then the fact that they are tied together in a seemingly endless rope.  

11- Clown Eggs.  No one knows what Clown Eggs are or if Clowns even lay them, all they know is that they seem to appear spontaneously when you gather enough Clowns in one area.  Eating Clown Eggs causes an immediate sense of blissful, childlike joy.  Valued by aristocrats and those with money. 

12- Clown Corpses.  The longer someone has been a Clown, the more the power of the nameless force they commune with saturates them.  This makes their bodies, in particular their skins, very valuable.  If you kill a Clown and need to make some money, you can sell them to an alchemist or better yet, to the Guild of Clown-Skinners (see above).  Just don't try to haggle, as black alchemists are rarely known for their generosity and the Guild is known for the exact opposite.

by Slightly Simian

Plot Hooks:


1- A man became a Clown and committed a terrible crime.  Now he is working to cover up the crime after returning to his human form.  To complicate matters he is important and well-respected, rich, politically connected or some combination of the three.
2- A serial killer is preying on a town and leaving a string of victims.  Some of the relatives of the victims have become Clowns and are seeking justice, but as they are now Clowns, their idea of justice is perverse and twisted.  They're going to tear the city apart if someone doesn't find and stop the killer, and they might become more of a danger than him.  Only apprehending the killer might convince them to return to their normal lives. 
3- An ally of the party ran away and became a Clown.  This man is important for some reason and they need him to return to normal before he descends into full clownery.
4- A group of Clowns kidnapped a Noblewoman.  Go and find her.  Except, when you get there, you find she's been convinced to join their Rumpus (name for a group of Clowns).  You won't get paid if you don't bring her back, but you definitely won't get paid if she's a stab-happy Clown. 
5- The players are seeking a criminal, but he's been captured by Clowns who have brought him before a Subjuglator.  The Subjuglator has put him on trial for not being funny.  The players must the criminal (for whatever reason you can invent) or the Clowns will kill him. 
6- A Clown has been murdering important people and the authorities know he will strike tonight.  The only problem?  Tonight is Goblinwatch and the streets are full of people dressed up in masks, so the Folk can steal their faces to play tricks.  You will need to find the Clown hiding among all the innocent party-goers in similar-ish outfits. 
7- A decadent Noble has developed an irresistible lust for a Clown-girl who he often sees playing pranks on his servants.  He wants you to catch her and convince her to come to his chambers, so he can have his way with her.  The Clown-girl will only do things she finds fun and bedding a starched-shirt Noble who isn't even good-looking (she is a Clown, so her idea of 'good-looking' is probably something weird and disturbing) is NOT on that list.  Find a compromise or trick one of the parties involved to get your money.        
8- A group of Clowns want your help to prank a horrible monster, like a Dragon or Beholder.  They will beg, plead or threaten to do horrible things to random people, whatever they think will convince the party to help.  There is a chance that the Clowns will deliberately sabotage the prank and blow your cover, just to see the looks on your faces.  
9- A major villain who was sealed away, in exile or etc, has returned and is wreaking havoc.  There is only one weapon that is said to be able to defeat him.  A bunch of Clowns stole it weeks ago and no one noticed that the one they left behind was a shitty duplicate.  Find the Clowns and convince them to give it back, or just kill them.  And pray to your Gods that they didn't leave it somewhere "funny" like in a volcano or at the bottom of a lake infested with undead sharks. 
10- The Clowns of a City are staging their semi-annual prank war.  The authorities have hired the party to put a stop to it as last year's prank war left 27 dead (accidents, mostly) and several hundred injured (hilarious, mostly).  Alternatively, the party could participate, as the winner get crowned the King of Clowns.  The Title is entirely ceremonial, but it will earn you the respect of Clowns everywhere and they will always hear you out if you ask them to do something for you.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

OSR: Race-as-Class: Dwarf

This post is a part 2 to this post.

artist unknown

You are a Dwarf, one of the metal-eaters from ancient halls.  When humans were banging rocks together to create fire, your kind were erecting lavish temples to your Gods and plundering the depths of the Earth for sustenance and food.  Your civilization is the grandest to ever grace the world and though some would describe you as in decline, that's just propaganda told by lesser races who simply fail to understand the glory of the Dwarven race.  And though your kind is currently engrossed in interal politicking and merchantilism, you're certain that those days of glory will come again, someday soon.   

Who are you?


1- An Aurean, one of the exalted Nobles of your kind, with hair and beard of braided gold.  You have left your home to seek your fortune and to prove yourself worthy of your ancient inheritance as one of the leaders of your Race. 
2- An Argent, a sensitive, silver-haired artist with big dreams and your heart on your sleeve.  You go out into the world seeking inspiration, truth and events worthy of immortalizing in stone, song or paint.   
3- A Ferric, a soldier of the Dwarven race, with hair of grey and eyes of stone.  Duty drives you out of your halls, to lands inhabited by primitives who care nothing for the ancient traditions of your kin.   
4- A Tinnet, a sharp-eyed observer of the world.  Though your birth is low, you have always dreamed of more than a slightly higher position within the Clan.  You seek adventure.  You will not be caged by the stone walls of custom and inertia. 
5- A Braszic, a stubborn seeker of perfection.  A skilled and talented worker, you have always imagined yourself as something more than what you are.  You are seeking wealth, to show everyone what you are inside.      
6- An Impure, a lowly laborer from the bottom of the great pyramid of the Dwarven Nations.  You come from nothing but you swore upon the bones of your ancestors that they will remember you forever.     

Where do you come from?


1- An ancient Clan, wealthy and powerful enough to have secured the crown of their Kingdom for several generations.
2- A fading Clan, it's grandeur failing before the ebbing flow of time.  The veins of ore are getting scarcer, the omens are bleak, the future uncertain. 
3- A ruin, a hall left desolate.  Your Clan was destroyed, laid waste by forces dark, sinister or natural.  Your Clan now seeks out a new home, far from all that they knew. 
4- A house on a hill, surrounded by nothing but the wooden waste of a frozen forest.  Your Father was an exile, cast out and left to die.  But he survived, and you were born, into the most serious destitution a Dwarf can know- a life on the surface, cut off from the Clan. 

Why are you here?


1- To aid your Clan in it's hour of need.  The leaders of your Clan have noticed an issue that could endanger the Clan and sent for someone to try and fix this issue.  The person they chose, unlikely though it might seem, is you. 
2- To answer the call of your God.  One of Muradin's Angels, blind and bearded, came to speak with you.  It entrusted you with a holy quest that you must accomplish, or the cost for Dwarves will be immense.   
3- To ascend to a higher caste.  No one ever accused you of heroism and this is a fact best shown by your principal motivation: coin, and buckets of it.   
4- To regain your honor.  You, or your father, or his father before him, committed some grave sin.  You fight not only to survive, but to wipe away that stain and pay that debt.

found here, artist unknown

Starting HP: 1/3 Con
Fighting Spirit: +3 FS per Dwarf level, up to COG score
Atk Modifier: +1 per Dwarf level, max +5.
Starting Equipment: Clan Badge, Beard-care tools, Light Armor or Shield, Hammer or Axe, Matches, 50' of rope, Book of Debts

Prerequisites: To have no levels in any other class.  At character creation, choose this for your first class level.

How to become a Dwarf: You can only be born as a Dwarf. 

1: Metal Diet, Allomantic Sight, Clan Membership, Book of Debts
2: Stone Teeth, Dwarven Hardiness
3: Hatred, Obligation
4: Endurance of Stone, Man of the Mountains
5: Balance the Scales
6: Immutable Body, Unbreakable Will
7: The Debt is Paid
8: Strength of the Mountains
9: Uncleared Ledger

1: Metal Diet, Allomantic Sight, Clan Membership, Book of Debts

Metal Diet: Dwarves eat metal.  10 coins equals 1 full meal for you.  You must consume at least 10 coins worth of metal per day to not start to suffer the effects of starvation.  Depending on what metal you eat, that can grant you certain advantages or disadvantages.  You gain the abilities (found here) based on your diet of metal based on your starting caste.  

Allomantic Sight: Dwarves 'see' metal, which glows to them.  Living creatures have trace metals in them, so they appear as wispy ghosts full of glowing dots.  Metal ore glows like Christmas lights and metal items blaze.  You can easily see creatures wearing or carrying metal and your vision is not affected by clouds, fog, or darkness.  Creatures who are not wearing metal are much harder to see, especially if they are vegetarians or haven't eaten meat recently.  Alternatively, if they are near another source of metal, they can be able to hide in the "glare" of that metal.  So your vision would be very helpful in a dark forest, but much less helpful in a silver mine.

Clan Membership: If you are associated with a Dwarf Clan, when meeting another Dwarf, your Clan affiliation will affect how that Dwarf views you.  If you belong to a Clan he is affiliated with or a Clan that has helped him, he will be much friendlier toward you and non-hostile, unless threatened or angered to the point of incoherence.  However, if your Clan has harmed that Dwarf, then the Dwarf is much less likely to be friendly and might even be immediately hostile, though this latter state is less likely, only occurring in times of conflict or open war.  The chance of friendly or unfriendly reactions vary depending on where you are in the world and what Dwarf Clans, if any, live nearby.  Some non-Dwarves may also be able to recognize specific Clan iconography, but only if they regularly deal with Dwarves.  If you are not part of a Clan, whether because of exile, being an Orphan, or the destruction of your Clan, this ability does not apply to you.   

Book of Debts: You have a book which you can use to record any debts you owe someone, whether benevolent or malevolent.  A benevolent debt is earned after someone helped you, and is repaid by helping that person or someone that matches his description or circumstance.  A malevolent debt is created when someone harms you and is repaid by hurting him back in some way.  People will always take you at face-value when you present them with your Book of Debts, as for a Dwarf to lie about this is almost inconceivable, though they are much more likely to doubt you if you have a reputation for being dishonorable.

2: Stone Teeth, Dwarven Hardiness

Stone Teeth: Your teeth are sharp as flint and hard as granite.  You can chew through anything you could cut with a stone knife and a strong arm.  Dwarves don't typically chew metal, but swallow it whole, unless it is something soft like tin or gold.  This is one of the reasons why gold is valued, as it has pleasant mouth-feel and is easily digested.

Dwarven Hardiness: X times per day, when you take damage, you can force the creature that damaged you to reroll his damage roll and take the lower result.  X equals your CON modifier.

3: Hatred, Obligation

Hatred: If you have a malevolent Debt toward a creature and you make an attack against them, 1/Day, you may reroll the damage your attack deals on a success.  You may do this once per creature you have a malevolent Debt toward.

Obligation: 1/Day, if trying to pay a Debt of Benevolence, then you may grant yourself advantage on any relevant check or save.  Referee's discretion applies on whether or not the action you are applying advantage too would truly benefit your creditor.  However, if the Referee rules it does not, you may use this ability on another check.      

4: Endurance of Stone, Man of the Mountains

Endurance of Stone: When you use your Dwarven Hardiness ability, instead halve the damage dealt, rounding down.

Man of the Mountains: You are immune to non-magical poisons, as they cannot affect a body as powerful as yours.  You are still affected by Dwarf-specific poisons, specifically the metals lead, sodium and palladium.  

5: Balance the Scales

Balance the Scales: When taking an action to try and pay a Debt, you may invoke the power of the Gods and your ancestors.  Make a Charisma check.  Depending on the Debt you wish to repay and the opinions of the Gods and Spirits, these entities might choose to aid you.  Should they do so, then circumstances will suddenly alter themselves depending on the Karmic balance your actions might redress.  This change of circumstances will always be as small as possible and often might be attributable to coincidence, if you didn't know better. 

6: Immutable Body, Unbreakable Will

Immuntable Body, Unbreakable Will: X times per day, on your turn, you can grant yourself Magic Resistance equal to (CON modifier+Level)/20 for 1 round.  For example, if your CON modifier was +2 and your level was 6, then you would have Magic Resistance equal to 8/20.  

7: The Debt is Paid

The Debt is Paid: Every time you pay a Debt, you regain FS.  If repaying the Debt involves something small, such as giving someone some food, then you regain 1d4 HP.  If it requires serious effort or great sacrifice, on the other hand, then you regain 1d8 FS. 

8: Strength of the Mountains

The Mountain, Immovable: You can, X times per day, where X is your CHA modifier, ignore an attack and say it did no damage.  This is explained in the fiction as some miraculous stroke of luck, a one-in-a-million dodge or a genius maneuver on your part.   

9: Uncleared Ledger

Uncleared Ledger: Should you die with any Debts unpaid, you can return as a Ghost and possess your body, returning as a Revenant.  You have until your body is destroyed or is no longer capable of holding you to level the scales and pay any Debts.  While in Revenant form, you count as Undead, though if your flesh is all intact (full HP), you do not take damage from sunlight.  You do not need food or sleep, only mana to sustain yourself and can even leave your vessel to travel freely as a Spirit.  See here for rules of being a Ghost.  If you do not repay all your Debts in a reasonable time, as determined by the patience of the Gods, your soul will be carted off to the afterlife by armed Psychopomps and your failures, along with your unpaided Debts, will be counted against you.

Alternatively, you could choose to pass on your Debts to another.  If you have children, you may transfer your unpaid Debts to them.  They will automatically become the heirs of your Debts, and have no say in the matter.  Alternatively, you can pass your Debts onto another living creature.  Your soul will then be held in limbo until your Debts are paid.  However, in compensation for taking on your Debts, that creature will receive a boon which they may use to aid them in their quest to pay your Debts.  Should they fail to pay your Debts or misuse the boon given to them, it can be revoked and they, as well as you, will be punished.

artist unknown

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

OSR: Dwarven Diets and their Multifarious Effects

 This post is based off this one, and inspired by this one.

by liu pengcheng
Dwarves eat metal.  Depending on what metal you can afford to eat, this will determine your caste.  Depending on region, tradition and internal Clan rules, this will determine what rights or privileges each caste has.  The following are the mechanical effects gained from eating a specific type of metal.

Additionally, if you wish to implement this as part of a system where Race and Class are separate, then you will find included weaknesses for each caste of Dwarf below.  

The Diet of Dwarves:


The lowest caste of Dwarves, who do not have the money or inclination to eat sufficiently pure metal each day.  These are the Dwarven equivalent of peasants.  They tend to have hair and beards that vary depending on the specific content of their diets.  Usually they have hair that is black or grey or shiny brown, with streaks of brighter colors through it.  If their is trace gold or silver in their diet, they have streaks of gold or silver, if there is iron in their diet, they have streaks of dull grey, etc. 

Impures do not gain any specific bonuses from their diets. 


When Dwarves shift between castes, their skin tends to shift and mottle, breaking out into blisters like acne.  Their hair and beard falls out and will shortly be replaced by one that matches their new caste.  It is considered rude to comment on a Dwarf's status as Alloyed.  Sometimes this is a happy occasion, especially if the Dwarf is moving up to a higher caste.  Wealthy Dwarves tend to seclude themselves until the process is finished, so they can emerge to adulation of friends and family.  In other cases, Alloyed Dwarves will hide their faces and keep working, especially if they have fallen onto hard times and must down-grade to a lesser metal. 

Dwarves do place a great value on ambition, but just as much, they value those who do not rock the boat and disrupt society.  As such, while it is not illegal nor even immoral to switch castes, those who do it too often are often characterized as whimsical and unserious Dwarves, untrustworthy with serious matters and not deserving of responsibility or authority.  Sometimes these Dwarves are referred to as 'Slags'. 

Dwarves identifying as Vim are much more likely to be harshly judged for changing castes often, rather than Dwarves identifying as Zee, for the latter are expected to be emotional and unsure.  (If this is incomprehensible, check the section on the Dwarven genders in this post here).

Dwarves going through the Alloyed phase do not gain any specific bonuses from their diet.  


- You can reroll your COG and if the result is higher, increase it to that for as long as you consume Gold.  If you roll lower, simply increase your COG by +1 for all the time you consume Gold.
- You gain +X Memory Slots, where X is your COG modifier
- You gain 1 Genius Point.  1/Day, you may ask the Referee a question that your character could theoretically deduce from the information around him and his previous experience and knowledge.  Think 'Sherlock Holmes' not 'Omniscient God'.  For example, you could ask 'Did the gardener have anything to do with the landlord's death?'  In response, the Referee could tell you that you deduce from the alcohol on his breath that the gardener had something to do with the landlord's death, but it also probably wasn't him, as he'd have to leave the property to drink, as the liquor cabinet hasn't been disturbed.
- You gain 2 extra Genius Points. 
- You lose any moral considerations that previously excluded certain solutions from your way of thinking.  

Weakness: You are automatically considered the leader in any situation where there are non-Aureans, unless there is a good reason not to listen to you.  Additionally, you will be targeted by those who seek leverage over you and your enemies, as they will assume you have allies who will be honor-bound to come to your aid and thus, listen to your kidnappers.  You will find yourself enmeshed in Dwarven politics, whether you like it or not. 

Additionally, lower caste Dwarves will be far less likely to confide in you or speak honestly about their problems or troubles.  They will not lie to you usually, but they will fail to mention certain things, especially if they feel like that would get them in trouble. 



- You can reroll your CHA and if the result is higher, increase it to that for as long as you consume Silver.  If you roll lower, simply increase your CHA by +1 for all the time you consume Silver.
- You have advantage on all checks made to persuade or charm Dwarves of the Zee gender.  You get a +2 bonus when attempting to do the same to all other Dwarves.
- You can make art while consuming Silver.  For each day you work on a piece of art, flip a coin.  On a 'Heads', the art gains a 1-in-20 chance of being good.  This increases by 1 each time you get this result.  On the result of 'Tails', the work is too badly made, obtuse or confusing to be widely considered good.  Whenever you wish, you then may sell this art piece.  When you do, roll 1d20.  If you roll under the number of Heads, the art is considered good and can sell to the mass market.  The price depends on the Referee, as well as the medium, materials it is made of, and anything else the Referee feels is appropriate.  Art that is not considered Good can still be sold, but it will require a special collector and persuasion.
- Any Art you produce has a 50% of being Good, and an equal chance of being totally weird and probably unsellable.
- Every time something that might cause an emotional reaction occurs to/near you, you must save or react violently.  Cute things make you gush, sad things make you weep, happy things send you into a manic state, angering things make you rant and rave, etc. 

Weakness: You will not be taken seriously on matters concerning politics, war or finances.  Even if you are identifying with Vim, you will be disregarded and ignored.   


- You can reroll your CON and if the result is higher, increase it to that for as long as you consume Iron.  If you roll lower, simply increase your CON by +1 for all the time you consume Iron. 
- Increase your STR by 1 for as long as you consume Iron. 
- You have advantage on all saves vs Fear, Charm and other emotional appeals.
- You heal 1d6+[CON modifier] HP over the next 1d6 minutes.
- If you are suffering any Horrible Wounds, anything that is not actively killing you (Bleeding Out, Dead Man Walking) is reduced in severity by the number of HP you would have recovered.  For example, if you were suffering from a Horrible Wound that was a "12" on the Horrible Wound table and you recovered 8 HP, you are now suffering from the Horrible Wound under the "4" result. 

Weakness: You do not feel emotions as strongly.  If you ever stop eating Iron, you are wracked by a flood of semi-suppressed emotions, all that you only half-felt while under the influence of Iron.  Depending on what you did, this could be merely extremely inconvenient to mind-shattering. 


- You get +2 to any rolls relating to your sensing and perceiving.
- You cannot be surprised by someone carrying a metal item, even if they are approaching from a direction you cannot see.
- You can see EVERY bit of metal around you.  Whenever confronted with an item made of majority metal, save or be 'blinded' as you can only focus on these blinding spots in your vision.

Weakness: If in the presence of many metal items, everything else fades in your vision.  Stone or wood is hard to see when surrounded by metal.  You must make a successful Acumen check to determine if you can see the non-metal items.       


- You can work for 8+[CON modifier] hours and not get tired.  You can endure the strain of monotonous labor, grueling work and toil far better than anyone else.
- You gain go X days without metal and suffer no penalties, where X is your CON modifier (min 1).
- You start working and do not stop for 1d20+4 hours or until you collapse from exhaustion.  The work can be anything, but the harder and more boring, the better.  After you finish, you collapse from exhaustion.   

Weakness: Your thoughts are so orderly that creative and outside-the-box thinking becomes difficult for you.  You must successfully save to engage in abstract thought.  Abstract thought could be required for something like interpreting a piece of art, solving a puzzle, trying to figure out how to manipulate someone, etc.   


- You can work for [CON modifier] hours and not get tired, lose focus or succumb to boredom. 
- You gain go 1 day without metal and suffer no penalties.
- You can see the whorls in metal items so much more clearly.  Whenever faced with one, you must save or spend 1d4 hours studying the intricate details.  If it is taken away, you will be saddened and will sulk for at least 1 hour. 

If you ever fail at a task, you will become obsessed with it until you master it.  If you fail to pick a lock, for example, you will find the locksmith in question, buy some of his locks and spend hours upon hours trying to pick his locks until you perfectly succeed.  This continues until you have "mastered" the task or you find a new obsession.    



- When you first eat occultum, make a save.  On a failed save, you explode, doing Xd6 damage, save for half, to everything within X*10', where X is your HD/level.  On a successful save, you gain the results below.   
- You gain the ability to cast spells.  You gain MD equal to the number of levels/HD you have and can prepare as many spells as you have open Memory slots. 
- Your gemstone eyes begin to glow with inner light.  You can project this light out to light the darkness as a pair of candles.  In the presence of other lights, this glow is barely noticeable unless you are agitated or mid-casting.
- When you overdose on occultum, make a save.  On a failed save, you explode as if this was your first time eating occultum. 
- If you pass your save, you recover all your MD and gain +2d6 MD for the duration of your overdose. 

Weakness: Your glassy, not-quite substantial hair and beard, as well as your luminous eyes mark you as a Dwarven Sorcerer.  Enemies who know what you are will always target you first.  If someone doesn't know what you are, they will be scared of you.  You will never be accepted or trusted by other Dwarves, not fully.        


- You can drain the metals out of a Dwarf by touching them.  This causes them to take 1d6 CON damage a round.  If it reduces a Dwarf to 0 CON, that Dwarf dies. 
- If you have been consuming Mercury for 1 month, you can release a cloud of toxic gas that fills 30' square and does 2d6 poison damage, save for half, per round to anyone inside the cloud.  The cloud is easily dispersed by strong winds in one round, 1d6 rounds if less windy than above ground, 2d6 rounds if underground.
- If you have been consuming Mercury for at least 3 months, you can shapeshift into another Dwarf or humanoid of a similar size.  You can alter your appearance, odor and voice.  Regardless of how you look, your ability scores and stats remain the same.
- If you have been consuming Mercury for at least 1 year, you can transform into a pool of liquid mercury and move while in your liquid state.    

It is impossible to Overdose on Mercury and thank Muradin for that.  

Weakness:  The Mercurials or Quicksilver Dwarves, are predators who prey on their own kind.  They are hated and despised by all other Dwarves, who will kill them on sight.  If you are discovered, expect an angry mob or the King's Constables to break down your door and try to stone you.

by Dmitry Burmak

Friday, October 7, 2022

OSR: Doing Drugs for Power and Success

This post is based on this idea from Sheep and Sorcery.

artist unknown

Improving yourself is hard.  It requires diligence, hard work and takes forever.  Who has time for that?  Why bother with slow, incremental progress over time when you can take exotic and potentially toxic magical substances and snort, smoke or inject them? 

The Alchemical-Medicinal Revolution:

The following are a list of substances and materials largely derived from the exotic properties of many of the species that pose a danger to mankind.  Alchemists and physikers require these ingredients for many of their more potent workings and are more than willing to pay handsomely for fresh samples.

Adventurers are the primary beneficiaries and abusers of these substances, as when your job requires you to leave the safety of cultivated lands to wander in the wilderness and fight freakish horrors, then potentially shortening your lifespan or mutating yourself is a small price to pay for the enhancements received from such potent infusions.  And though they are not the only ones to use such medicines, Adventurers are the only ones to utilize the more "unfashionable" kinds, thus giving them their reputation for being violent, drug-addicted lunatics best ostracized by any form of polite society.  

After all, it's perfectly acceptable, normal even, to let your physiker give you some Trollfat incense to burn to speed recovery of a serious injury; and no one will judge you for buying Unicorn horn for your ailing Father, as long as you don't mention it publicly, but what kind of sick weirdo carves up an Orc to eat it's liver?  

You are, that's who.

Monster Drugs:        


1- Troll Bone Needles.
Rarity: Uncommon
Duration: Instant
Effect: Regain 1d8 HP.  If at max HP, roll 3d6.  If you roll over your current CON, increase your CON and gain that much extra HP.  If you roll under, no effect but sudden hunger.  Has a X-in-10 percent chance of giving you a Troll-like mutation.

Used primarily by gladiators, adventurers and thugs.  Those who indulge too much tend to develop skin that is greenish in hue, become larger and more violent.  These so-called Greenbloods become powerful in the Underworld, either as trusted enforcers or as brutal but effective crime-bosses.  

2- Troll Heart Brew:
Rarity: Rare
Duration: 1d6 hours
Drank or injected
Effect: Regenerate 1d6+CON modifier HP per hour for the duration.  If you have lost any limbs or appendages, they regrow.  X-in-10% chance they regrow with a Trollish appearance.  This mutation chance effect stacks with the mutation from the Troll Bone Needles.

Troll Hearts are sought by med-witches and hospices, who will pay top dollar for them.  The larger the better- as only a small amount is usually needed to start the reaction.     

3- Unicorn Bone Powder:
Rarity: Rare
Duration: 10 minutes
Snorted or injected  
Effect: Relieves pain and discomfort, grants a sense of euphoria.  Will let you ignore the effects of Horrible Wounds that are non-crippling and avoid any negative effects of pain.  Grants advantage on saves against Fear.  Extremely addictive. 

4- Unicorn Horn Shavings:
Rarity: Rare
Duration: Instant
Drank or dissolved and injected
Effect: Cures any disease, removes paralysis, restores blindness or deafness if the effect is magical, purges poison.

Unicorns only trust purity and innocence.  They can smell corruption, which in the minds of most naturalists includes murderers, Wizards, those with a strong desire for money and power, and people who have sex outside of marriage.  People Unicorns trust include such things as children, pure maidens and fools.  A Unicorn hunt requires at least one of the following to be brought along, while also tricking that person into believing that you are not hunting a Unicorn.  Unicorn hunters are despised and derided for killing pure and innocent creatures, and no arguments about the necessity of such products or listing the number of people killed every year by Unicorns ever seems to change this.    

5- Dragon Scale Powder:
Rarity: Rare
Duration: (Dragon's HD)+1d6 hours
Snorted or injected
Effect: Grants resistance to fire and heat.  Immunity can be gained with a higher dose.

Dragonscale Power, or Dragondust, is just about the only part of a Dragon's body that can be consumed without extensive preparation.  Everything else about these creatures is either indigestible or too dangerous to consume, in the same way you would consume a uranium fuel pellet to ingest 10 billion calories at once.  The effects of consuming such substances is usually horrible and often deadly.  Even the Drakenkults, who venerate these great lizards as Gods, only permit certain sacrificial members to consume raw Dragon's blood, as an example, for this very reason.     

6- Doppelganger Eggs:
Rarity: Rare
Duration: 1d8 hours
Eaten or drank
Effect: Can alter your face and physical appearance for the duration.  If you have a sample of someone's tissue (hair, flesh, blood, etc), you can transform yourself into a replica of them. You can only transform into a creature within your size category, so humans cannot imitate Halflings or vice versa.

Doppelgangers are a species that has been put Under the Ban and are to be killed on sight, or handed over to the relevant authorities for containment and destruction.  These intelligent creatures possess not only the ability to evade all civic responsibilities and obligations, but can undermine institutions and commit crimes with no fear of consequences.  As such, they are universally reviled and hated.  That being said, their "eggs" are extremely valuable on the black-market, with criminals, revolutionaries, terrorists and foreign agents willing to pay high prices for them.  These black-market dealers risk much to sell Doppelganger Egss, as to possess one is a serious crime and to sell them is a capital offense. 

Rumors of agents of the State using these to infiltrate gangs, cults and to engage in espionage against enemies foreign and domestic are common and almost certainly true.   

8- Black Pudding Extract:
Rarity: Uncommon
Duration: 1d4 hours
Effects: Turns all your bodily fluids corrosive, making them dissolve anything that is not stone, glass or plastic for the duration.  Magical items are also immune.  Anything touched by your fluids casually takes 1 acid damage, but the acid damage continues to dissolve things until neutralized.  Any acid collected during this time will remain acidic if separated from the body. 

9- Intellect Devourer Jelly:
Rarity: Uncommon
Duration: 1d8 hours
Effects: For the duration, you can lend your bones the elasticity of flesh, allowing you to fit through spaces far too small for you to ordinarily fit through. 

The best friend of criminals, this is the ideal aid to any sort of upper-story work or to anyone trapped in jail.  It allows even huge, bulky men to slip through the tiny spaces between bars and to squeeze out of tiny windows, provided they have the elbow grease (and actual grease works great too). 

10- Beholder Eyes (Small):
Rarity: Rare
Duration: Instant or 1d6 hours
Effects: Eating a Beholder's smaller eyes gives the consumer a chance to gaining the ability to fire one of the rays out of their eyes or a random psychic ability. effect always applies, but for some it is permanent, while for others it is only temporary.

While consuming, owning or selling Beholder Eyes is not illegal, it is highly suspicious and anyone who does it is likely to face greater scrutiny from the constabulary.   

11- Beholder Eye (Large):
Rarity: Rare
Duration: 1d3 hours 
Effects: Lets you blast a massive disintegration ray out of your chest that does 1d12+CON modifier damage, save for half.  This blast obliterates any non-magical, non-superhardened material in it's path. 

The central eye of the Beholder is well-known to be a terrifying instrument of destruction.  Unless you work for the state, owning, selling or eating one of these is illegal without special permission from the Crown.   

12- Mindflayer Cerebro-Spinal Fluid:
Rarity: Rare
Duration: 1d6 hours
Effects: Grants one of the following: telekinesis, able to move objects weighing no more than that of a 10-year old human child with your mind as an action; telepathy to all creatures within 100'; the ability to project an aura of mental domination, creatures within the aura's range (30*[CON modifier]') must save.  Those who fail their save take 1d6 COG damage a round.  Reduced to 0 COG, they become enslaved to your will for the duration.  When first injected, one effect is produced.  This effect reoccurs each time that individual injects more fluid.

Mindflayers are rare enough that this compound is largely unknown in many regions, only available where Mindflayers congregate.  What is not known to most, however, is that the Mindflayer does not need to die to harvest this substance, though it is dangerous.  As such, some Mindflayers sell their own, or capture other Mindflayers, enslaving and breaking them down into extensions of the greater one's will, then harvesting fluid from them to sell to adventurers or human dealers who don't ask questions. 

13- Orc Liver:
Rarity: Common
Duration: 1d12 hours
Dissolved in stew and eaten
Effects: Grants the ability to fly into a blood-thirsty berserker rage.  While raging you feel no pain and have advantage on any save against a mental effect that would cause you to become less angry or more sensible.  Grants +2 to Atk and damage.  While raging, spell-casting is impossible, as is speech that is not screaming.  Ranged attacks are made at disadvantage.  You stop raging when all enemies are dead, you succeed on a COG save or die.

Orcs are like humans, except green, violent and much stronger.  An Orc teenager can easily wrestle most grown men with little trouble, and full grown males are towering giants.  Orc females are a bit of a debate, with some doubting whether or not they even exist.  Some argue Orcs reproduce asexually, others say that Orc females are like Ant Queens, producing millions of children from the thousands of eggs they lay, while others say that Orc females lack the characteristics that mark out the females of most humanoid species, so that it's impossible to tell them from male Orcs.   

14- Harpy's Beak:
Rarity: Uncommon
Duration: 1d12 hours
Ground up and injected or dissolved in tea
Effects: Gives you the ability to sing a Harpy Song.  Harpy Songs are super annoying and horrible to listen to.  Anyone who hears you singing one must save or become motivated to stop you from singing, at any cost.  They will try to talk to you first, but will resort to violence if you refuse to shut up.  Doing anything serious, emotional or complex is hard or impossible while you hear a Harpy Song.  Spell-casters must save each time they cast, failure means the spell blows up in their faces.

Everyone hates Harpies, so there are always contracts to hunt them.  Everyone tries to ignore the reasons why someone might hunt Harpies though, beside the fact that everyone dislikes them.  People known to use Harpy's Beak are despised almost as much as the birds.

15- Siren Tea:
Rarity: Uncommon
Duration: 1d6 hours
Dissolved and drank
Effects: Gives you the ability to sing a song that forces all who hear it to save.  On a failed save, those creatures fall into a hypnotized state and will approach you to better hear the music.  They will do nothing else while under the influence of the song, but a clear danger to them, such as someone attempting to stab them, will break them out of their trance.  A hidden danger, such as reefs that will rip open a ship's hull or poisoned wine, will be ignored unless obvious.  Certain actions can enhance this ability, for instance, if you are a woman in tight-fitting or attractive clothing, men will take a penalty to their save.  If you are sitting on a pile of coins or surrounded by treasure, greedy people will take a penalty to their saves, and etc. 

Being under a Siren's song is a pleasurable experience.  As such, while this tea was originally sold primarily to criminals and those who wished to distract victims, some Nobles have started having their servants sing it to them at parties.  This is a new fad, though if you are to partake in such things, make sure you have a trusted servant with plugged ears nearby, lest you return to your senses to find yourselves much less wealthy.    

16- Zombie Bone Brew:
Rarity: Common
Duration: 1d4 hours
Drank or injected
Effects: A tea made from ground up zombie-bones, this makes you smell like a corpse.  With a little make-up and acting, you can easily pass as one of the Undead.  Undead will not attack those under the effects of this tea, as they believe them to be Undead.

Yes, the process to make this is highly unsanitary.  Buy from a reputable dealer or expect to either catch some sort of horrible disease (especially if injected) or find yourself infused with necromantic energy that, if you're lucky, will only temporarily weaken you.  If you're not lucky, you might want to engage in either nothing but rest or find someone who can purge your chakras.  In the worst case scenario, you'll be dead in hours.   

17- Skeleton Needles:
Rarity: Common
Duration: 1 hour
Effect: Stab the inside of your mouth with one of these and you can speak with Undead and corpses as if you shared a language.  Corpses are dry (pun absolutely intended) and only can recount the basic details of what happened to them in life.  All personality, motives and emotions are gone but they can tell you exactly how many calories they consumed on any random day.  Undead are generally spiteful, hateful, self-loathing and sarcastic.  They want to die but not before you do.

Actual needles made from the bones of skeletons infused with necromantic energies.  Usually sold in small packs, wrapped in cloth, ends capped in wax to prevent accidental stabbings.   

18- Succubus Juice:
Rarity: Common
Duration: 1d6 hours
Drank or injected
Effect: Grants advantage on all CHA checks made to persuade or charm.  You become charming and irresistible and excite sexual desire for you in all nearby, even if they're not into that.  Creatures must save or fail to act appropriately around you.  Expect at least a few offers to have a drink or dance with someone or go back to someone's room.  Anyone who thinks they have a decent chance will be more than willing to do whatever you ask. 

Yes, it's made from the bodily fluids of Succubusses and Incubi.  Yes, those fluids.  Yes, that's gross.  For added fun, use a vaporizer to spread it in a cloud.  This dilutes the effects for everyone affected, but it's guaranteed to turn a boring party into a massive orgy.         

19- Pixie Dust.
Rarity: Rare
Duration: 10 minutes
Snorted or sprinkled onto skin
Effect: Gives you the ability to fly and levitate, but only if you are thinking happy thoughts.  Powerful, utterly sincere belief also helps.  If you start taking damage, you must immediately save or fall.

The catching process is immensely frustrating and requires butterfly nets, jars and much patience.  The harvesting process is extremely unpleasant and rarely spoken about.  Those who know who it is gathered can rarely use it.      

20- Angel Tears.
Rarity: Rare
Duration: 10 minutes
Drank or injected
Effect: Causes you to blaze with light.  You glow as a torch, emiting light equivalent to sunlight out to 10', bright light out to 30' and dim light out to 60'.  You deal +1d6 radiant damage to anyone who you strike with a melee attack and gain a resistance to necrotic, poison and psychic damage for the duration.

An extremely valuable and rare substance, usually sold only by magical dealers or those locations which specialize in very valuable clientele.  Contracts to harvest Angel Tears are extremely lucrative, but also very dangerous, as Angels only cry when they laugh incredibly hard or when they see something utterly despicable.  The latter is a much easier result to produce, but it is also far more dangerous, as Angels who witness wickedness of that magnitude always become dedicated to hunting down the creatures responsible and destroying them.