Sunday, March 20, 2016


Lately I've been trying to inject a little more randomness into my investigative adventures. This started when we did Beneath the Banshee Tree and I have dabbled with some other options anytime an investigation comes up in one of my campaigns. 

I just started our campaign for Profound Masters of Ogre Gate (you can see the session log HERE) and decided to do a mystery for the starter session. At a later point I will post all my notes for that adventure, but for right now I will limit myself to the random Ongoing Attacks tables I used. 

These are slightly imperfect but the idea is, the players arrive in a city following rumors of 3 murders. When they get there, two more have already occurred (one of the victims being the person who summoned them in the first place). The murders and activities of those behind them continue, with me rolling randomly to determine when the next attack will be, who will be involved and who the they target. Because the players are moving around freely and investigating, I need to adapt to their actions. So in the first session the party almost immediately gathered together two potential victims and placed them into a warded room at the Phoenix Hour. The result I rolled on the chart was for Blue Kingfisher Demon to attack Magistrate Chengda at the hour of the Phoenix (and I have some details on the demon's plan elsewhere in my notes). Because of this, I had to adjust some of the details and have the demon react accordingly (you can see this in the session log as it comes up). 

These are my notes on the method. It was interesting but I will probably take a slightly different approach next time. I enjoyed not knowing exactly how things would play out, and having to play off the player's choices. I think this just needs a little more refinement and thought though. 

Check for these regularly. After each attack occurs roll again. This determines when the next one happens. So if the first happens in the Hour of the Horse, then you roll and the next one occurs in the Hour of the Butterfly, nearly a full day elapses between those attack.

Each hour varies in length from 80 to 120 minutes, with thirteen over the course of each day. The Dragon Hour is the first hour and begins at midnight.

These attacks/attempts are randomly determined. Some are planned in advance by the demons, so the general events will remain the same as described in the text. But the GM should adjust and alter them as he or she sees fit according to the particulars of the outcomes (for example if Brown Owl is involved in an attack, perhaps the GM decides he is more cautious than the others and ducks into an apothecary shop first instead of going straight for the sewer entrance).

Roll d100        Hour it Occurs
1-10                 Dragon
11-20               Butterfly
21-25               Monkey
26-30               Demon
31-35               Dog
36-40               Elephant
41-45               Horse
45-54               Phoenix
55-64               Bixie
65-74               Snake
75-84               Turtle
85-94               Owl
95-100             Emerald Monk

1-3       Blue Kingfisher Demon
4-7       Black Minivet Demons
8-9       Green Peafowl Demon
10        Brown Fish Owl Demon

1-2: Yao Family Pawn Broker
3-6:Magistrate Ouyang Chengda Residence I&II
7:Inspector Zhunxun
8-10: Random Heart Victim (roll 1d10, 1-3: 1 Victim, 4-6: 2 Victims, 7-8: 3 Victims, 9: 4 Victims, 5: 5 Victims)

These murders are products of the demons feeding and trying to heal. Anytime they occur the victims are randomly selected using the table below. They all occur in the same hour (potentially even at the same precise time as the demons enjoy harrowing the population and like to coordinate attacks). Each victim has had its heart pecked and eaten out, then left to bleed in the street. There is a 30% chance that each murder was witnessed. Most witnesses can describe a massive creature with a long mouth or beak. However they tend to embellish and add extra details.

Victim Sex (roll 1d10)
1-5: Male
6-10: Female

Victim Age
Roll 1d100 to determine age

Class (of parent if child)
1-3: Farmer
4-5: Artisan
7-8 Merchant
9: Scholar Official
10: Other

Roll 1d10
1-2       Trail of Blood to sewer entrance
3-4       A witness saw the demon in question, can describe in detail
4          A witness saw the demon talking to someone in an alley (could not see person), but the person was a man and asked if they’d found her yet.
5          A witness saw the demon talking to someone in an alley. He reprimanded the demon for letting hunger get the best of him. Also asked for news on the child.
6          A witness saw two demons talking, mentioned someone named Marauding Dragon
7          Witness saw two demons talking after the kill, like they were speaking at a dinner. One of them said he thinks Shanhu is the same one the master married
8          Witness saw the demon speaking with a rodent in the alley (witness is a drunk). The rodent, probably a rat, was told to go to The Hanging Valley of the Dead with the news.
9          A witness saw the demon, followed it to and witness it scoping out the grounds near Magistrate Ouyang Chengda’s house. Also he thinks there are Demon Hunters, but they paced a Demon Hiding Stone in the city to obscure their whereabouts.
10        A witness saw the demon speaking with a strange looking man with wild hair (Bai Zhun). Said that the child is at Magistrate Chengda’s (if already happened just explains the child has been taken from there).

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