Friday, May 10, 2019



This only exists because of Bad Frog Bargain. Nate Treme is amazing!!!

IN MEDIA RES / Starting Out Right

  1. Face painting the Mayor and their guards
  2. Round 4, Caribou Lou drinking contest 
  3. William Tell Multi Demonstration, Circular Firing Squad
  4. Chased by cops over 'harmless prank'
  5. Inside a burning multi-outhouse
  6. At the tippy-top of a tree, swaying in the breeze


  1. Drunk Dog Gang. Knives, puffy pants, hosery, slingshots. Wants all the pies.
  2. Franklin Shipments. Clubs, overalls, straw hats, chaw. Picking up shipments of bent copper coins, shiny things.
  3. Mayor and retinue. Dapper moth-eaten wool suits, bowler hats weighted with stones to be good throwing weapons, razors sewn on the brim. Wants the Town Sash before midnight tomorrow night.
  4. A Swamp Witch. Wants the Town Sash and 12 Great Pies to summon a whirlwind.


  1. Treetop bridges and houses
  2. Treeroot Hollows 
  3. Old Mill
  4. Lumpy Meadow
  5. River jetty and dock
  6. Mayor's dome ceramic house
  7. Big fences horse pasture - boggy, full of giant turds
  8. Standoff Stump Hill
  9. Wolf's Kiss Inn and Mudbath
  10. Old Frog Bonnie's Shack and Moonshine still
  11. Thatched Schoolhouse
  12. Bakers' Treeforts
  13. Fairground


  1. Murder of 2d4 Drunk Dog Gangers who smell pie on you
  2. d4 Crow Cops chasing 2d4 pie thieves
  3. Mayor's top dogsbody crow, hunting for the Town Sash
  4. Flying monkey, glass cat. In bad disguises. Spies for the Witch
  5. Baker with a Great Pie, 2d4 Crow and Ghost guards.
  6. Pie Car (temporary edible vehicle) full of drunk crows careening at speed
  7. Huge Ghost, ragged body, enormous snowglobe head, looking for a tiny lost spell written inside a pie-shell
  8. Potionmonger with 1d6 potions left, heroically drunk
  9. Tree Haunt awakens and animates tree, needs a barrel of wine to go back to sleep, quite angry to be awake
  10. Crow coppers checking festival tickets, d4+1
  11. Fire jugglers having a bad mishap 
  12. Warbling time caws and paws the PCs forward. Day becomes night or vice-versa. Weather is now 1) Clear 2) Rainy 3) Snowy 4) Foggy
  13. The Witch, in a bad disguise as a Doctor with a green skin condition and evil laugh
  14. Hobo wearing Town Sash climbing up a tree, throws rocks at pursuers. Wants to sleep in a tree, smoke a pipe full of fresh dill
  15. Ballroom Dance Battle enfolds PCs, will take next 1d6 hours. Will generally not attack PCs but also cannot let them leave without some fight-dancing



  1. Toga
  2. Ascot and cloak
  3. Monocle-suit
  4. Aluminum foil pants
  5. Spats, suspenders
  6. Sundress
  7. Leather jacket
  8. Hoop skirt


  1. Pie
  2. Town Sash
  3. Revenge
  4. Magic
  5. More wine
  6. Spy for 1-2) Mayor 3-4) Gang 5-6) Franklin Shipments


  1. Drunk
  2. Cursed (infectious)
  3. Sleepwalking
  4. Judging a contest
  5. Jovular
  6. Suspicious

Random Pockets

  1. Worms and dirt
  2. Potion
  3. Silver folding jackknife
  4. Monogrammed hankerchief
  5. Bug Repellent Tonic, doubles as laudanum
  6. Town Sash treasure map (guesswork)
  7. 2d6 drink tickets
  8. 1d4 pie contest tickets
  9. Feather poppet (spell focus, 1 use)
  10. Wanted: Swamp Witch poster
  11. Spool of steel wire and snips
  12. Cold iron spike
  13. Slide whistle
  14. Tiny crystal animal in felt back
  15. Witch hazel, witches hate it
  16. Dancer's mask
  17. Waltz instruction manual
  18. Feather Wax
  19. Steel photograph of last year's Great Pies
  20. Duck call (illegal)


  1. Witches want our pies
  2. Witch agents everywhere
  3. Mayor is secretly a werewolf
  4. Wolf's Kiss Inn has the Sash
  5. Pie cures hangover (false, 50/50 pie contains alcohol)
  6. Drunk Dog Gang trying to cut down tree-house villages, make us all live on the ground
  7. Franklin Shipments brings in gloomy monsters
  8. Whoever gets the Sash becomes Mayor for a night

I need to learn how to lay this out as a pamphlet

Monday, May 6, 2019

20 More Curses for Bad Frog Bargain

I like the curses from Bad Frog Bargain, but wanted something a little less tentacle-arm and a little more 'I just gave you a weird tool to try to use well.' I suppose that's what tentacle arms are as well, but, hey. Also some of these are merely bad. 'Curses.' It's in the name y'all. Here this is as a PDF

  1. Any social interaction must be intimidation first. You cackle like a foul villain.
  2. Gamble compulsively (disadvantage to ignore)
  3. Smoke constantly
  4. Plant cigarette trees everywhere
  5. Hyper drunk (maybe advantageous for melee)
  6. Rubber bones. Disadvantage to melee attacks, advantage to melee defense.
  7. Made of stone - can still move, just very slow, very heavy.
  8. Speak in pig latin - disadvantage for rest of scene if you violate this. Some NPCs insist they do not understand pig latin because they do not like pig folks.
  9. Dance constantly - movement is slower. 
  10. Adopt persona of 1) Pirate 2) thief-taker 3) noble 4) priest 5) artisan 6) gong farmer
  11. Drink every potion possible
  12. Random spell cast per scene, use knave spell list or your own. You still have to roll to cast to see if things go well or not.
  13. Carry and play a gramaphone at all times, requires at least one hand, two to crank it. It stops playing on a 1-2 on a d6 per round of combat.
  14. You turn into your own grandparent.
  15. Belt to snake, slithers away. You must hold up your pants or become Embarrassed. 
  16. Flock of loud, boisterous birds follows you everywhere, eating vociferously, pooping everywhere in garish colors.
  17. Everyone around you wants to party or mosh, depending on the encounter.
  18. Tiny raincloud follows you everywhere, will ruin any books you carry if they're, for instance, in your hand. Get someone else to carry a torch.
  19. An angry, loud eagle is now your hat. It is attached to your skin.
  20. Plants burst from ground and entangle you if you stop for more than 1 round. Act as armor but slow you down. 

Forest Hymn and Picnic: Whimsy, OSR, and Scenarios For Silly Times

Charles Darwin's kids' doodles 1
When I read the playtest docs for Forest Hymn and Picnic, I knew I needed to run it and find some material for it. The level-0 character creation is fun as anything - you could be a duck in a suit just looking to retire, a ghost possessing a scarecrow body full of angry attack chickens, or a person delivered by a drunken stork to a pack of wolves (who raised you properly). Cecil, the author, has some random character generators for the 3 class/races: Persons, Ghosts, and Animal Folk.

The system is set up to make dying relatively hard, compared to what I'd expect of Shadow of the Demon Lord and OSR-adjacent games. You go unconscious at the equivalent of 0 HP and that's it, there's no 'oh you got to -3 HP? you're dead' rules. Someone could coup de grace you but you're more likely to end up in hotter water. I imagine all the flintlock pistols are actually loaded with acorns and pecans, so that a good shot will knock someone out without killing them. 

Enemies can be fought, tricked, cajoled, or enticed to gamble, and the stats that represent them let the GM easily figure out a mechanism for this. Reminds me a lot of Knave, which was inspired at least in part by SotDL (And though SotDL predates Knave, I read Knave first and most). A monster's intellect or resolve basically gives a mental AC the players need to roll over to cajole them, anger them, or intimidate them. The PC's Int or Resolve, minus 10, is their modifier on a d20 roll. Stats are not randomly generated, but set based on your class/race and then changed by your background, which is rolled randomly. So you won't start out with a huge stat disparity between players, which in my experience is great for playing with younger folks (and plenty of not-younger folks too).

It's a less metal version of the OSR - nothing wrong with metal, but it's not what I listen to all the time. Sometimes you just want some goofy stuff to happen while playing the Cuphead soundtrack
Darwin's kids' doodles 2

So with this system in hand, I started looking for more whimsy in OSR scenarios and found things everywhere. From Ben Milton to Nate Treme to that crazy Blogs On Tape fellow Beloch Shrike, who wrote a Wiener Dog Dungeon! Milton's recent work was Witch and Wolf, a dungeon crawl with a strong Oz vibe. (He is also working on an RPG based on Labyrinth, which is open for preorder and looks quite great.)

The scenario I'm actually running is Nate Treme's Bad Frog Bargain, which is short, understandable, and yet has enough depth for the first couple of sessions with folks. It is not a dungeon crawl, but a towncrawl with very similar ideas - random encounters and events. There are suspicious superstitious guards, fairy-elf infiltrators, and a rain of curses. Two factions vie for the PCs to tip the scales their way. 

I decided that Frog Town is a potion-making powerhouse, so I had an excuse to use Wampus County's d100 potions table. Wampus County is a treature-trove of adjacent ideas to what is in Forest Hymn and Picnic - it's more modern and more frontiers, American Western feeling, but otherwise has a very similar vibe thanks to things like life Getting Worse via fairy-tale intervention. One doesn't die, one wakes up in a Giant Lightening Eagle nest where the hungry birds are hatching, in a torrential storm. 

Anyway, so far it's been great to see whimsical OSR scenarios, settings, and rules. After being immersed in weird horror for a long time, it's like a breath of fresh air to head towards an explicitly silly side of things. Where consequences are serious but not typically final, and monstrous NPCs can probably be talked into a game of competitive marbles to let you pass over their toll-bridge.