Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Sulflanur Price Guide

A month ago, I announced that my player characters were going to descend into the Veins.  And they did!

For about a session.

After roaming the Shallows for half a week, they became distracted by a potential apocalypse and some bounty hunters, and decided to go topside.

Isn't high-level D&D grand?

(Plus, I think the apocalypse everyone is worried about isn't the one they should be worried about.  It's always the one you're not expecting that gets you.)

Regardless, in the event that they never return, I figured I would post the Sulflanur Price Guide here, so that someone can use it.  It's hardly my best or most original work — the tea, opium, and poison are culled from the tables in Yoon-Suin; the cat's eye fungus and messenger wasp are from Ben L.'s Wishery setting; and the slug-man's wares are from Operation Unfathomable — but I wanted to showcase the exotic weirdness of the mythic underworld without spending a bunch of extra time brainstorming unique goods.  My players would probably dig it.

Of note: the delegation of the slime princess has unique goods available.


A hidden svirfneblin (gnonmen if you're nasty) outpost near the entrance to the Veins, this acts as a trading post for the few friendly creatures who know about it.  In addition to standard goods at standard prices, the svirfneblin are currently hosting three traders from exotic lands.  They are:


Behold!  Her golden orangutan mask!
Zernasthra is a merchant of dreaming Zyan, having emerged from the dream-tunnels beneath the ghoul village of Chornodom, deeper in the Veins.  She is tall, lithe, and pale, speaking with a booming voice no doubt amplified by some hidden mechanism in her ape mask.  She brings goods from Zyan Above and Zyan Below.


This is not a pipe.
Nochloo, slug-man merchant, comes from the distant Black Ooze River to deliver strange goods from the Unfathomable Underworld beneath Upper Mastodonia.  He largely has potions and a few casks of lichen ale.  He is served by 10 dim servitors.

Princess Phylia

Princess Phylia, long may she reign!
Phylia, Princess of Slime, comes from an unknown domain with her trade delegation.  (They're likely not all oozes, instead being various like-minded monstrous races from around the underground.)  She is currently taking a tour of the Trials of the Chained and the greater Deepearth beneath the Sorrowfell Plains, perhaps hoping to engage in some political alliance.  Her delegation has access to oozes with varied alchemical effects when introduced to standard physiologies.

The princess herself is likely not hawking her wares; take whatever your grossest monster might be, and make that the merchant.  If you're using vanilla D&D, bullywugs or troglodytes might work.

If you want stats for the Slime Princess, treat her as a noble (Monster Manual, page 348) modified by the Goo Girl race from The Graverobber's Guide to Slimes.  This modifies the noble to have Dexterity 13 (+1), Constitution 12 (+1), 11 hp, and the ability to speak Common, Gnomish, and Undercommon.  She likewise has the traits Mobile, Secrete Nectar, and Wobbly as described in the Goo Girl race.

The Exotic Wares from Distant Lands

Click that link for the stuff.  They're mostly potions (or the equivalent), although there are at least two pets hidden in there.

Astute observers will note that some of these objects are more powerful for the price point when compared to standard items in the fifth edition Dungeon Master's Guide.  You have three options for this:

1) Who cares?  They're in limited quantities, so it's not going to break your game.  (How does one "break" a game, anyway?)  These traders come from exotic lands, and they don't know what things cost.

2) Assess the potions' rarities and adjust the prices.  I'm a Game Master, not a cop.

3) Leave the prices as-is, but if the PCs happen to openly remark that prices are low, the merchants start charging more.

I personally recommend that you describe things as the merchants would (and whatever the PCs would see), rather than letting the players immediately see the price list and their effects (let them identify stuff when it's in their hands as per normal), but you do what's right for your group.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Old School vs. New School: A Visual Representation

A short blog post, but I keep thinking about it.

About two and a half weeks ago, Critical Role released a one-on-one game between Matthew Mercer and Stephen Colbert for Red Nose Day.

Watch closely: people made all sorts of comments, but the most striking thing I noticed is the clear line of demarcation between old-school and new-school play.  Mercer is all about heavy description and relying on die rolls, whereas Colbert is all about careful, tactical decision-making.  The old OSR debate about player skill vs. character skill in microcosm.

There are probably a few circumstances where Mercer ought to have let Colbert's preparations stand without a die roll, but it's still a sweet little piece of dungeon burlesque.  Check it out if you have an hour to kill.

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