Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Haunted Crypt Generator

There's nothing new under the sun, but that's just fine. Nothing I've posted below is really that original, you could come up with all of these ideas yourself, arrange them in a roughly applicable format, and away you go.

However, I've been inspired by a particular style that fully generates a tiny dungeon. And honestly? This one works pretty damn well. I've cribbed and mangled diseases and curses to add a bit of sting, and the wandering monster tables are short, pithy, potentially lethal.

I've been stuck on a boat with a handful of dice and scraps of paper for quite a few days, and I've been throwing piles of random characters down the maws of these insta-dungeons. It's basically solitaire with more rules, with a bit of Dungeon Robber thrown in for good measure. I thoroughly recommend it for a bored afternoon. Combine it with a GM Emulator (1d6: 1- No and, 2- No but, 3- No, 4- Yes, 5- Yes but, 6- Yes and) for those pesky hard-to-resolve questions, and go for your life. Or death. Whatever.

You might be tempted to bring nothing but Clerics down here, but each one immediately summons one Grue. You’ll be fine. Don’t turn out the light.

This crypt has 1d4+1 floors, each with 1d4+2 rooms

Shape of this floor (1d6):
1-2. Linear
3-4. Loop
5. T-junction
6. Cluster

Each room contains (roll 1d6+1d8):
  1. Terrain
  2. Travel
  3. Obstacle
  4. Trap
  5. Monster
  6. Sarcophagus

If no stairs are rolled on this floor, then the next random encounter emerges from a hidden set that you missed.

Roll a Wandering Monster check every 3 hallways you move down, once during lunch and twice overnight. On a 1, it’s a fight. On a 2, you see a Glint. Take the turn and roll d6. 1/2- Monster, 3- Trap, 4/5- Nothing, 6- Treasure (roll 1d12 over both tables)

Terrain -
  1. Dust choked chambers, all alike, nooks and crannies abound
  2. Ancient mosaic across the walls, defaced
  3. Graffiti on the walls, 1d6: 1- don't bring wands in here, 2- speak softly, big stick, 3- Blocky/Princess/Xavier Whistleknife/Crunch-Crunch was here, 4- Always pack a fourth torch, 5- the cockatiel honks at the noonday moon, 6- [random obscenities]
  4. A dry fountain
  5. A skeleton in a gibbet writhes at your approach, but it's completely trapped
  6. The floor tiles here have subsided into a mess of cracks and potholes
  7. A second level up above/down below, the stairs have collapsed
  8. Tall shaft, handholds aplenty but you'll still have to climb

Travel -
  1. Stairs down
  2. Stairs down, blocked by rubble
  3. Stairs down, 1-in-4 chance of two levels
  4. Hidden route up, 1-in-4 chance of all the way to the surface
  5. Slide trap, Dex check or down one floor
  6. Pit trap, Dex check or down one floor and 1d6 damage
  7. Elevator trap, room descends 1d4 floors
  8. Runic circle, teleport to random room, 4-in-6 chance of same room if used again

Obstacle -
  1. Cave-in, 2d4 turns to clear, roll check for Wandering Monsters every three turns as normal
  2. Stuck door, Strength check to open, 16-20 attracts a Wandering Monster
  3. Chasm, Dex check to jump, fall down to a lower room and 2d6 damage
  4. Floor littered with smashed skeletons, some still twitching and snapping. Walking through carefully is fine, running deals 1d6 damage, Dexterity check negates. If you fall into the pile, save or take 1d12 damage
  5. Barricade, facing a random direction. Takes 3d4 turns to break from the front, 1d4 to deconstruct from the back
  6. Flooded, 1d6 as you walk through: 1-grabbed, 2-spiked, 3-a hole, 4/5-nothing, 6-common treasure
  7. Clawing darkness, drains 1d4 light levels and deals 1 Trauma
  8. Unholy sigils, deals 1 Trauma to pass, 1d6 Trauma and a Wisdom check to break

Trap -
  1. Darts, 1d4 attacks at +[floor], 1d6 damage, if only 1 dart, Con check vs. poison
  2. Slashing blade, Dex check or 1d12, save vs. maiming
  3. Foul miasma, all must save vs. disease
  4. Pit trap, Dex check or down one floor and 1d6 damage
  5. Acid spray, 1d6 damage per round, save ends, 6 damage destroys a random item
  6. Flame trap, 1d6 for 1d4 rounds, save vs ignite
  7. Lightning bolt, 2d6+[number of metal objects], save for half
  8. Huge hammer, 2d6+[floor], shove someone to steal 4 save

Monster -
  1. 2d6 zombies, 1d6 climbing from a hole. Zombies can save to be knocked prone instead of dying. While prone at 0, it takes them a full turn to stand.
  2. Massive chained zombie (2HD+15, 2d4+grab), will break loose at half health
  3. 10 zombies with a frail skeletal necromancer (2HD, 2MD). The necromancer can raise [sum] of these particular zombies, who will protect him with their unlives. Otherwise, hideous whispers inflict 1 Trauma
  4. 1d4 skeletons with bows in a gallery above, 1d6 with weapons down below. Skeletons take half slashing, double bludgeoning
  5. Skeleton sniper (4HD, +2 Attack, 1d12 loading) taking potshots with a crossbow. Will move while loading. Leading you to an ambush of 1d10 more skeletons
  6. Skeleton Knight (4HD, 6 Def, sword 1d8) and Zombie Squire (1HD). Plate armour squeals like a pig
  7. 1d6+3 Shades, 1d4 slashing, 1 strength damage. Take fire damage, but cannot attack in pitch darkness 
  8. Hulking demon (7HD, 4 Def, wild flailing 1d4 attacks dealing 1d6) atop an altar. If anything dies touching the stone, the demon is freed. Skeletons will attempt to self-sacrifice if they see the altar. If you defeat the demon, it must grant a single wish before departing to Hell. You won’t like the results.

Sarcophagus -
  1. Already looted. Frustrated Inhabitant nearby, only Common Treasure remains
  2. Warded, 3-in-6 will inflict a curse on the opener
  3. Strange thumping, Inhabited
  4. You feel like you are being watched...
  5. Blood drips to the floor, laced with corruption
  6. On a raised altar
  7. Locked, key on a lower floor. Takes 1d4-STR Random Encounter checks to break
  8. Stuffed full of treasure, +1 Loot

Two of the following if disturbed:
  1. Trapped! -1 Loot
  2. Slightly ajar, Inhabitant surprises on 4-in-6
  3. Inhabited, contains a stair leading down
  4. +1 Loot, Inhabited
  5. +1 Loot
  6. +2 Loot

Sarcophagus Inhabitant, each extra indicator of inhabitation grants +5 HP or +1 special ability. Roll 1d6+[floor] -
  1. ---
  2. Slathering Ghoul, 4HD, 5 Def, claw 1d6 or lick, save vs. paralysis for 1d6 rounds. Summons two 1HD buddies with a piercing whistle at half health
  3. Staggering Mummy, 4HD+10, 3 Def, smack 1d8 + save vs. mummy rot. Half speed except if on fire
  4. Storm of Shades, 2HD, 4 Def, one additional Shade per round, 1-in-6 chance for three then end
  5. Skeletal Dandy, 5HD, 7 Def if facing you, rapier 1d8, quip 1 Trauma, additional action at end of round
  6. Rotting Berserker, 5HD+10, 0 Def, axe 1d10, easily aggroed
  7. Runescarred Revenant, 6HD, 5 Def, pummel 1d6/1d6. +2HD if you have a spellcaster in the party. 50% chance to reflect/absorb spells. If you are respectful and help seal his tomb, might agree to give treasure. Might agree to help you fight any spellcasters.
  8. The Triplets, 6HD, 2 Def, 3MD, struggle to move, know the spells Entangle, Acid Arrow, Stone to Sludge, Shocking Grasp, Inflict Curse
  9. Ghost, 6HD, 0 Def, 2d6 cold, 1d4 Trauma, attacks entire party, immune to non-magical attacks, their former body-parts count (1d6 remain)
  10. Vampire, 8HD, 6 Def, as weapon, bite attack heals 1d6 and gives target -1 to all rolls. Going below -[level] is instant death. Will become very reasonable after draining one target. Additional action at start of round.
  11. Decrepit Lich, 10HD, 8 Def while flying, dagger 1d6+disease, 6MD, 3-in-6 chance to know any spell, otherwise spends turn mumbling for 1d6 Trauma. Lair action at start of round: teleport behind someone, extinguish a light-source, start flying.

Common Treasure
  1. Wooden toy for child
  2. Shiny bauble
  3. Tattered fabric, 1-in-6 chance it's worth 2d6 gold
  4. 1d4 - Shovel, torch, dagger, rope
  5. Burial goods worth [floor]d8 copper (e.g. urns, big candles, plates, cutlery, preserved flowers, small statues)
  6. Jewelry worth [floor]d6 silver

Sarcophagus Treasure
  1. Piles of burial goods, 1d4+2, each [floor]d10 copper
  2. Random armour piece, engraved, worth +1d6 silver
  3. Random weapon, engraved, worth +1d8 silver
  4. Two jewellery, [floor]d6 silver each (e.g. necklace, rings, armbands), 3/inv slot
  5. Ancient artefact, [floor]d4 gold
  6. Magic weapon or spell

Wandering Monsters (default to 1HD, 2 Def, 1d6 damage) -
  1. 1d6 fellow tomb robbers, +3 HD amongst them. Have been stalking you, will bring a net and spear vs. melee, shields and slings vs. ranged
  2. Insane Adventurer (4HD, 3 Def, 1d6+gambit), has rope, vial of acid, caltrops and Common Treasure
  3. 1d6 zombies with 1d6 more nearby.
  4. 2d4 skeletons, half bring bows, if a 4 is rolled, one is highly intelligent.
  5. You are likely to be eaten by a Grue (5HD, unseen bash 1d6/1d6, if both hit, sudden pain 2d6), it can never enter an area of light, only attacks in pitch darkness. Will follow you until you reach sunlight.
  6. 1d4 wights (4HD, claw 1d6/1d6) half of damage dealt is to experience as well. Burnt by sunlight.

Badass Undead (any 1HD skeleton or zombie with 8 hitpoints)
  1. Explodes when killed (ribs creaking and pulsing)
  2. Magical backlash, cast a spell when bloodied (glowing runes)
  3. Enraged, two attacks per round when bloodied
  4. Diseased, save if hit and once when killed
  5. Duelist, surprisingly fast, +3 Attack and Defence, will challenge the first target to hit it.
  6. Unholy Vigour, dazed when attacked at 0hp, but cannot be killed

If you would ever roll the exact same room on the same floor, replace it with a Point of Interest:
  1. Mystical Pool. Drinking it, 1d6: 1- Minor Curse, 2- Nothing, 3- Supernatural mutation, 4- Cures a disease or heals 2d8, 5- Something that would be extremely beneficial for the player to the left, 6- Something extremely beneficial. If the same character drinks twice, they are poisoned instead. The third time, the water drains away leaving only toxic mud, 1-in-6 chance of a pissed off water elemental (3HD, immune to most weapons, save vs. curse when killed).
  2. Gap in the base of the wall. A draft blows through it. Only 1d20 caves away are the Veins of the Earth
  3. Blank-faced statue. If touched or talked about more than once (twitches whenever mentioned out-of-character) it 1d4: 1- Comes alive, 2- Devours a character, taking their form, 3- Copies the character exactly, if the original dies it cracks open, 4- Roll a new character, it takes their form.
  4. Small alchemy lab
  5. A wooden door, ill-fitting. It leads to 1d4: 1- The Veins, 2- A major city, 3- Gardens of Ynn, 4- Hell
  6. A tremendously large hammer with gearing ripped from the bottom. Fills three inventory slots, and is found with three bottles of laudanum stacked nearby

  1. Grave Lung, 1d4 Strength, Con check or cough when sneaking
  2. Spasms of the Liver, 1 Constitution, halve all healing
  3. Stoneskin, 1d6 Movement, +1 Defence if you drop below half
  4. Leprosy, 1d3 Dexterity, save or lose a random extremity if you take 3 damage
  5. Corpus Beetles, 1d4 Intelligence, lose a rank in a skill on a 1
  6. The Dithers, 1d4 Wisdom, regularly save vs short-term memory loss
  7. Black Plague, 1d4 Constitution, -4 to saves vs. disease
  8. Mangling Flesh, 1d4 random and save or mutate
  9. Dungeon Slough, 1d4 Dexterity, take +1 damage from all sources
  10. Shadow Pox, 1d6 Charisma, immune to positive spells as your shadow sickens and ages
  11. Filth Fever, 1d6 Strength, 1-in-6 chance to lose action each round as you soil yourself
  12. Aching Glass, 1d4 Strength, double bludgeoning and fall damage
  13. The Dwindling, 1d6 Strength, if you’ve taken 7 damage you shrink to small size permanently
  14. Shoulder-Angel, 1 Attack, use Goodness instead of Constitution, must save vs. charity
  15. Shoulder-Demon, 1d4 Goodness, use Charisma instead of Constitution, must save vs. villainy
  16. Rabies, 1d6 Charisma, -1 Attack, +1 Damage, cannot drink water
  17. Brain Worms, 1d4 Wisdom, experience a full hallucination 1/day
  18. Stitched Skin (Tetanus), 1d4 Strength, random limb is disabled each day
  19. Dauntledregs, 1d6 Intelligence, fail all saves vs. fear and confusion
  20. Wandering Heart, 1d3 Constitution, +1d6 damage when critically hit

Curses (roll 1d10 for Minor Curses)
  1. Hollow Guts, tripled food requirements
  2. Nightmares, 3-in-6 chance of restful sleep, +1 with alcohol
  3. Nervous Wreck, roll 1d10 for Trauma checks
  4. Unlucky, -2 save
  5. Dog Hatred, all dogs will attack you
  6. Spirit Home, small creature lives in your skull
  7. Dreamless, 1 additional exp to level up
  8. Purse Moths, lose 1d100% of your money when you enter a settlement
  9. Fragile, take +1 damage
  10. Mute
  11. Cursed to Die in a Fire, double damage
  12. The Clawing Stone, when you take fall damage, reroll 1s (if multiplicative, +1d6 otherwise)
  13. Weak Blood, automatically fail the first save against poison
  14. Blinded
  15. Crippled
  16. Magnetic Soul, all spells that travel within 20ft of you change their target
  17. Endless Thirst, water, ale and bear do nothing
  18. Screaming Teeth
  19. Evil Twin
  20. The Horseman Cometh, immediately contract 3 diseases

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Three Forms of Magic Weapon, part 2 -- Temples

In my first post I talked about Occultum in detail, especially about the esoteric but fundamentally predictable properties. Occultum is the equivalent of magic Lego, many parts all interlocking, but fundamentally in a predictable fashion. Oh, and hideously expensive. Temples are different. They are much more "traditional" magic items, but have an immense array of potential forms. A few magic items can be created as either Temples or through judicious application of Occultum. For example, an alloy of rare earth metals and Occultum will lock onto the nearest large magnetic field, acting in a similar manner to an Immovable Rod. However, the strangest and rarest of magic items go beyond what can normally be achieved with Occultum. Strange alloys and weird substances merely bend the rules a little. Temples break those rules.

Temples - Brick and Mortar, Soul and Story

Not just this kind of temple, credit Grady Frederick

This kind of temple, credit Jeff Chen

Weapons and Armour

Calling a freshly-forged blade something pretentious like “Heartripper” is the equivalent of a drilled-out starter-pistol: it's dangerous, but unreliably so, and mostly used for the purposes of intimidation. Most weapons are given names only after years of heroic action, as a label and a reminder. Most people don't realise why, but misnaming a weapon is seen as very poor etiquette, primarily amongst the nobility. Names hold power, and the tools of war are not to be labelled lightly.

But what has this got to do with magic items. It stems back to the nature of spells themselves, as the alternate forms of spirits, demons, angels, and other, even stranger things. Some are given homes in corpses, others construct bodies of light and flame, while others still exist solely in the minds of Wizards and Warlocks. The barest few are capable of existing in their true form, and almost invariably are revered as gods. However, this isn't a binary, there's a spectrum from the humblest of Magic Missile to the grandest of Outer Deities. Whatever the case, most spirits/spells that exist in the material world for any length of time require a vessel. Ideally, it is something they are proud of, something that resembles their true form and purpose. Something that can be worshipped. A Temple.

These Temples are not restricted to physical locations. Certainly, nature spirits will inhabit a grove, and some gods have been domesticated by architecture, but many more will choose a form that allows them to actively participate in the mortal world they are now a part of. Of most interest to many adventurers, offensive and defensive spells will gladly* inhabit a suitable weapon or piece of armour.

Now, suitability is a tenebrous and tenuous concept when it comes to Temple items. However, arms and armour that have survived countless battles and adventures and have triumphed over insurmountable odds are invariably hot property for spirits on the rise. Lower class spells will tolerate merely masterfully created pieces, particularly if they given the respect they deserve. Jewels, rituals, solemn oaths, blood sacrifices, all this and more may be required to convince the average spell to adopt physical form. Assume the worst if a spirit deigns to inhabit a sword of a clearly lower class than one would normally expect. Hence, the importance of naming conventions. Swords are only given names after they’ve lasted through enough battles and adventures to warrant a truly magnificent Temple. Misnaming a blade and attempting to coerce a spirit to reside within is liable to result in an insulted spirit and a vaporised enchanter.

Keep in mind, the only spells that are powerful enough to form flashy** magic weapons are Emblem spells, the rarest and most sought-after of arcanum. Spells of a lower potency won’t be able to impact the material world without the power of a mortal caster behind it, and that’s nigh-impossible when sealed in steel. However, these ordinary spells have an obviously supernatural understanding of their host, the Temple, and can grant various bonuses to a wielder... but they can also revoke that bonus if their esoteric demands are not met. Far more reliable to mix a drop or ten of occultum into the molten metal and call it a day.

So, you’ll need an already incredibly rare Emblem spell that will consent to inhabit a material object, a suitable weapon which has probably been in a family of knights for generations, enough jewellery to choke a duchess and the knowledge to combine all of these without blowing your face off.

In theory.
In practice, it’s much harder.

Other Items

The equipment of ancient heroes aren't the only objects that form suitable Temples The spells used to form Bags of Holding have a liking to the containers used in heists, bank robberies etc. and so are often found possessing ratty sacks or unassuming crates. The day-to-day accoutrements of prophets and sages, tea-cups, bits of furniture and the like, can be used to house divination spells. However, objects exposed to magic directly have a slightly different tune to play, which I will explain in the last part of this little trio: Relics.

The Results

It can be hard to predict the the final result of the creation of a Temple. The behaviour of the spell, the quality of the materials used, even the mindset of the creator can have an impact on the final results. However, the majority of Emblem spells can be formed into items that behave in a similar manner within a reasonable margin of error.

Spell Hosts Demands Effects
Fireball Swords, Axes Regular use in combat, burnt sacrifices, arson Flaming - +1d6 fire damage, target must save or ignite
Lightning Bolt Hammers, Spears Jewels, pandering, continual prayer Shocking - Target must save or take 1d6 lightning damage, 1d12 if wearing metal. Item returns to matched gauntlet if thrown
Power Word: Death Bladed weapons Murdering family members, close allies etc. Vorpal - Critical hits behead targets
Heal Any wielded in Holy purport Saving orphans, donating to charity etc. Smiting - +1d8 radiant damage, undead must save vs. fear if brandished
Mutate Any Drinking strange potions, being exposed to radiation Unstable - Reduce die size, deals x1d4 damage, critical hits add a mutation
Wall of ... Any Constructing altars Mutable - Only handle required, blade etc. constructed out of linked element
Fade Any Stealing artwork, creating a shrine Phasing - Ignores physical armor
Magic Missile Thrown weapons Regular, obsessive polishing Returning/Homing - Either reroll a missed attack, or returns to hand at end of round

*Except not at all, evidently.

**Anything involving fire, lightning, or jabberwockies will problem need an Emblem spell. +1 weapons, not so much. Some exceptionally potent "ordinary" spells may exist, but they rarely deign to inhabit mortal forms without significant encouragement, hence their more tractable cousins are used instead. Which would you rather inhabit your brain: A Magic Missile happy with three square meals of Magic Dice a day, or one with raging narcissism and a habit of firing off when displeased?

Friday, July 6, 2018

The Three Forms of Magic Weapon; or, a Flame-Tongue of your own in 2517 easy steps!

When it comes to heroic figures wielding blades of fire and lighting, the ballads usually don’t go into great detail about their composition. Oh sure, all the named weapons have long and storied lives of their own, forged by such-and-such and used in the Great War of whenever to genocidal effect. But the bards singing the songs don’t know a spell from a jar of spit, so they fudge the rest and nobody minds.

Since you are reading this, you probably mind. There are three methods a “magic item” might be created: Occultum, as a Temple and as a Relic. This will be the first of three posts regarding the different formulae and ritual used to bind eldritch power into an otherwise mundane object.

Occultum - The King of All Metals 

Credit, Nihal Rahman

Many pantheons and cults have claimed occultum to be the “metal of the gods”. It certainly isn’t, at least, it certainly doesn’t belong to any god(s) that we know of. Occultum is universally the hardest possible currency, and substantial deposits are likely to instigate, and eventually end, wars. In its pure form, it is completely immune to magic, occasionally reflecting spells directly back at the caster. Occultum plate armour would make a royal treasurer weep, and weigh about half a ton, but would be entirely impervious to spells as well as being extraordinarily resilient. When not being used as coinage (1 occultum = 10 platinum = 100 gold), occultum is sometimes melted down and mixed with base metals. These alloys elevate the properties of the base metals into new and stupendous forms, requiring comparatively little of the ultra-rare active ingredient. For example, Occult-Iron blades are harder, sharper, tougher and rust-resistant, while Occult-Silver wires are used to conduct magic. These alloys are the most reliable and long-lasting of all "magic items" due to simply being a result of unique metallurgical properties. You'll still get songs sung about you though.

Working with occultum is remarkably difficult due to its immunity to magic and high melting point, but never fear! It is highly ductile, and metals wrapped in thin occultum wires or sheets still demonstrate many of the related properties. Liquid occultum has certain properties some magic-users abuse to horrifying effect. Care should be taken that it is not exposed to excessive jostling, as it is liable to decay into octarine light and high-velocity lead shrapnel.

The less said of gaseous occultum, the better. It is a Bad Thing™.

Properties of Occultum Alloys

Now, while players are welcome to read the list below, most of mine have had far more fun experimenting with the tiny tidbits of occultum wire they've dug out of golem corpses in the Chambers. Remember, nothing bad can ever* happen from mixing occultum with other materials.

Results in incredibly strong, flexible, rust-resistant metal that can be sharpened to a much finer point. Adding lumps or wires of Occultum to ordinary metal provides a +1 damage bonus, reforging it allows for +1 Attack as well.

Heavier and harder than Occult-Iron, and nigh-indestructible, but the secrets to its manufacture are entirely lost. The dwarves know the secret ways of carbon, but only the elves knew how to keep the Occultum content high enough without total meltdown. Used for +2 weapons.

The springs produced by Occult-Tin are capable of powering golems, guns and all sorts of gadgets. The Moon Colony is powered almost entirely by a subterranean network of Occult-Tin, with a Mostly Immovable Rod vibrating at its core.

These wires are used as the "nerves" for golems in the Chambers of God, conducting micro-spell instructions to the limbs, as well as for more... practical purposes. Thicker Occult-Silver wires are capable of conducting a higher spellsurge, but will radiate excess energy at uncomfortable frequencies.

A room temperature ultraconductor. Effectively has negative resistance, and will actively draw power out of every available supply, acid or electrolyte and send it in colourful, destructive arcs of lightning.

Extremely psionically reactive. A normal person, given some meditation tips, could a make an Occult-Platinum coin slowly levitate and wobble about the room. A true master? One shudders to think.

Once again, a lost art, this time for good reason. There's a sizeable portion of octarine light mixed into the radiation. However, small animals like rats or cockroaches have a 15% chance to spontaneously develop sentience when continuously exposed.

Looks solid. Feels heavy. Bends like butter. Will slowly morph back to its original shape, like memory foam.

Occult-Lead has some strange properties. Left in a laboratory overnight, every single experiment nearby decayed, rotted, fell over or otherwise failed. It seems to somehow draw bad luck into itself. More research required.

This amalgam probably isn't sentient. Probably. However, it seems perfectly content to solve mazes, picks locks and open jars. Just pour it in and watch what happens. Breathing the fumes is not advisable.

When placed in close proximity to a cube of, say, stone, a lump of Occult-Silicon will slowly twist itself into an identical shape. Higher levels of Occultum are required for smaller, more differentiated objects like a key.

Only small scraps of Occult-Carbon have been located in crumbling high-elven facilities, many wizard guilds would kill for a sample. Kill you, for example. It is an extraordinarily durable material, though it struggles to hold an edge, so it's best suited for tools rather than weapons. However, it's properties truly show through when used as armour. Blunt-force trauma will cause it to bulk up into thicker padding, while it will react to a sharp jab by forming hard scales. Fire makes it crisp up into an diffusive layer, while extreme cold has it seal any gaps with insulation. What is even more remarkable, a few minutes later any modified Occult-Carbon armour will reverts to a serene grey sheen, as if it never changed at all.

A simple property, Occult-Aluminium is just as hard as the original metal, but weighs the same as air.

Combining the traits of Occult-Copper and Occult-Tin, this alloy is capable of absorbing and diffusing impacts at an astonishing rate. Care must be made during the forging, since no further adjustments can be made. Results in +1 armour and shields.

You'll probably be thinking at this point, most of these properties don't seem particularly... magical. And you'd be right! Occultum is anti-magic, at it's core. It is a mix of phlebotinum and unobtainium. It defies physics, but in a pretty reliable way. It is the exception to all the other rules. Each of these material properties makes it incredibly useful in a wide number of potential projects, limited only by your imagination and how bloody hard it is to find the stuff!

When I give players a 'magic item' and tell the wizard "this object contains a small amount of occultum" I can just watch their eyes light up. As Skerples says: If you want to build something insane, you'll need a bag full of occultum. It's a little bit like residuum, just less crap. Sure, you can just use that +1 sword. Or, you can use the fire trap from two floors back to melt away the lesser metals, leaving behind pearls of occultum and that make something of your own. And I think that's what makes it special.

That's all for now, next time: Temples! Or rather, how to convince a spirit with godlike powers to live inside a metal stick so you can hit things with it.

*Except that one time. So far.