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ARTICLES – MURPHY'S WORLD
CONTENTS
Provided here is content from previoiusly published issues of AERIE, our email-distributed netzine. If you would like to be added to our list of subscribers and receive our free netzine when it is published, just email Peregrine at AERIE@peregrine-net.com — in the SUBJECT of the email type: SUBSCRIBE AERIE.

Have you got a favorite Murphy's World adventure situation, Character or object description you'd like to share with other gamers? Email it to us and if it gives us a laugh we'll post it here. Remember to include your name (so we can give you credit for writing it) and if you like, your email or website address.


1.Murphy's World Place: HONEST ZOG'S DISCOUNT GOODS EMPORIUM
by Chris Kovac & Kevin Davies

Renown as one of largest, tackiest discount store chains on Murphy's World, Honest Zog's flagship location is situated on the outskirts of Asgard, and remains open 24 hours a day.
Comprised of six upper floors plus a labyrinthine bargain basement, Honest Zog's can take a devoted shopper weeks to explore fully. Thus many visitors from out of town either bring a pack lunch or eat at one of several cafeterias and restaurants located throughout the building. For those who want to make a mission of it, affordable accommodations can be had at the adjoining Honest Zog's Hotel and Entertainment Complex (i.e., casino and amusement park). Zog also has many interests in the local theater district.
It's impossible to pass by an Honest Zog's and miss it. In fact, it's impossible to pass within ten miles and fail to see what looks like a large pink brick with a four-story flashing-neon sign with huge illuminated script lettering mounted on the roof. Additionally, Honest Zog's exterior is illuminated and outlined with rows of blinking lights while after dusk the sky above it ablaze with rotating searchlights. A loudspeaker (a Giant with a blowhorn) continually entices shoppers and unwary passers-by into the store through announcements of outrageously low prices.


"If You Want It, Here It Is, Come and Get It..."
If you've got the cash, Honest Zog's will do everything it can to pry it from your fingers short of hauling you off to a back alley and beating you to death. Anything you can imagine which can be acquired in bulk by Honest Zog's army of traveling 'product buyers' is available a prices which claim to be the lowest in the hemisphere. Actually, apart from numerous 'lost leaders', Honest Zog's prices are about average, and even high on some items -- however, most people, once on site are seduced by the selection of items and typically abandon any thoughts of comparison shopping. "Our shoppers are willing to pay for the convenience of obtaining everything they need on one location." So Zog likes to say.
If it's cheap, tacky, in poor taste, impractical, out of production, gaudy, or made in neon colors, Honest Zog's is sure to have it. It's a Dwarf's favorite place to shop. Giants love it too. Elves would rather be flayed alive than been seen there. Velvet Elvis paintings with glowing eyes, plastic beanbag furniture in day-glow colors, polyester disco suits with matching scarves, magic items with questionable performance ratings, and other similar items are sure be found here.
While there is no precise way of locating any one particular item -- other than walking about and perusing a lot of other crap first (the store is designed that way), each location is structured in the following manner: 1st Floor: household goods, food, appliances, furniture; 2nd Floor: clothing (mostly in polyester, day-glow colors and "one-size fits all"), accessories, cosmetics, jewelry (mood rings, gold name chains, etc.), and other 'fashion accouterments'; 3rd Floor: consumer goods, pulp adventure-romance novels, and entertainment accessories; 4th Floor: business goods and office supplies; 5th Floor: adventuring supplies, practical tomes, and non-magical weapons; 6th Floor: supernatural supplies, occult scrolls, devices, and weapons; Bargain Basement: small quantities of anything and everything -- new junk, er... stock arrives hourly. The experience of shopping in the Basement has been compared to the gladiatorial arenas in the Tir Nan Bob. Customers move between floors via stairs located haphazardly throughout the store. Located beneath the basement is rumored to be the administrative offices and stock-rooms of Honest Zog's -- though no customer has ever claimed to have noticed a door.


"Wasn't the Exit That Way?..."
Honest Zog's is also a magical place. Shoppers enter the store at their own risk, since the exits, entrances, aisles and washrooms change location at random. A large sign at the entrance turnstile to Honest Zog's clearly warns patrons that the store accepts no responsibility for the time they spend shopping, nor their welfare during the experience. In fact a number of people have come to reside in the store, resigned to the impossibility of finding a way out, they now serve as clerks and eke out a meager living stocking shelves and surviving off items scrounged from store shelves. These so-called Zogites are few in number since what food items there are in Honest Zog's tend to be of the 'junk food' variety, lacking in any real nutritional value.
Only the paid staff (all relative of Zog) seem to possess the skill to navigate or exit the store at will without getting lost. Naturally, if lost, a shopper can always request one of these personable folks to assist them in reaching the check-out counter -- a tip is usually expected. Once successfully through a checkout (nobody can pass unless they've made a purchase -- it's in the fine-print on the sign as you enter the store), the single passage always leads to a restaurant (eat at your own risk) and an exit.


Honest Zog, a Retailing Legend
Zog himself is a short portly middle-aged Dwarf with a twinkle in his eye and perpetual smile plastered to his face. He can often be encountered walking the floors, pressing the flesh, and standing for portraits with tourists. He typically wears a khaki polyester safari suit with numerous pockets from which he can extract just about anything. Remarkably he has the sex-drive of an eighteen year old (many of the staff of Honest Zog's are his offspring, grandchildren, or otherwise related). Zog is cunning, charismatic, and ruthless in monetary terms, but he abhors violence of any kind. Though physically no match for the typical adventurer, he wears a belt of vigor, bracers of strength, and boots of endurance. He also maintains a discrete staff several Giant bodyguards nearby at all times.

STAGING: Honest Zog's could be used prior to embarking upon an adventure for outfitting the Characters. It could also be used as an adventure in itself: the Characters could be hired by an Elf to discreetly purchase a rare desired item on his behalf located in the Bargain Basement; or the Characters could be asked to find something accidentally left behind by a shopper who is afraid to return to the store lest he fail to find an exit. They could also be hired by Zog as undercover security.

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2.GAMEMASTER TIP: Using Murphy's World

The beauty of Murphy's World is that you can use it as a break or change of pace from a regular campaign. Once the 'weird trip' is over, you can return the PCs to their normal setting. However, while on Murphy's World you can feed the PCs information on what’s important to them in their 'serious' campaign as well.

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3.Murphy's World Artifact: THE RING OF INDECISION
by Chris Kovac & Kevin Davies

The Ring of Indecision is a lovely ring made of intertwining bands of gold, silver, and hardened bubble gum. It is engraved all around with question marks.
The ring was forged deep in the heart of volcanic Mount Boom (so named because it frequently blows its top) by Hoberd the Thinker as an April Fools joke for his sorceror employer -- he wanted revenge for years of poor treatment and pauper's wages. Hoberd originally intended the ring to be the first of a series that would control their wearers, but after being reminded of the plot of the book he stole the idea from, he changed his mind.
Anyone who picks up the Ring is captivated by its charms and must successfully make a WILL Roll to avoid placing it on their finger. Once on, the Ring cannot be removed for 1d6 days. While the Ring is worn, the Character will not be able to make up their mind or make a decision on any matter, major or minor. The wearer will have difficulty accomplishing anything without a firm prodding from another individual due to a continual dithering over what pair of socks to wear, or whether or not to run from the nasty creature with huge pointy teeth currently devouring their comrade in arms.
All is not lost, however -- at least from the point of view of the victim's companions. The wearer of the Ring will simply go along with whatever the majority of their companions decide. If their companions decide to run, great! If their companions decide to stay and fight, that's fine too! If their companions decide to leap off the nearest cliff, well, OK!
The ring can be destroyed by tossing into the fiery magma of Mount Boom, or whacking really hard with a big hammer (if destroyed in the latter manner all within 10' must make a Willpower Roll: failure results in Indecision for 1d10 days).

LOCATION: Hoberd lost the Ring years ago (he couldn't decide on a safe place to keep it) so the Ring could currently be lurking anywhere, or on any finger.

STAGING: Hoberd will provide a reward for the return of his Ring. The Ring itself makes a great gag gift, or a device for ensuring the complicity of an untrusted companion (e.g. a captive) or enemy. Another option is to have an important GMC negotiator incapacitated by the Ring and a less-skilled Player Character must be nominated to fill in for him during an critical negotiation.

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4.Gamemaster Tip: Gamemaster Power

In an effort to speed the pace of gameplay Murphy's World places less emphasis on rules which determine the realistic outcome of events in favor of granting the Gamemaster exceptional control over the outcome of situations during an adventure. Resist the urge to powertrip. It is crucial that your players feel that their Characters are free to attempt actions within (and beyond) their known capabilities and have a reasonable chance of success. If you are heavy-handed and take away your players' freedom of action (or even to propose actions) for their Characters, you will lose their interest in the game and everyone, including you, the GM, will enjoy it less. So use your power wisely -- your players will reward you will their participation!

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5.Murphy's World Plant: THE WHISPERING PINES
by Chris Kovac & Kevin Davies

Resembling a small wood of pine trees, The Whispering Pines are actually a collective of numerous semi-intelligent trees who share a single root system. When groups of people or animal enter or pass within 30 ft (100 meters) of the woods, should any of their number make a verbal noise, they will start to hear whispers in the 'voice' of one of the speakers (or grunters as might be the case with animals and people suffering constipation).
These 'whispers' will inevitably be derogatory, and concern the Character's background, sex life, parentage, or personal hygiene -- naturally they'll sound like they're in the voice of another member of his or her companions. The whispers are produced by the trees to 'bait' travelers into emoting -- The Whispering Pines feeds off the anger and negative emotions such whispers typically prompt. Additionally, should any creature expired in the woods, special roots of The Whispering Pines will emerge from the soil and slowly drag the corpse below ground to serve as soil nutrients.

LOCATION: Found in both temperate and alpine areas these plants, where identified, are tolerated as an acceptable nuisance, since wood cut from the trees can serve as a primitive form of portable recording device or party amusement.

STAGING: Employ The Whispering Pines as a distraction to frustrate the travels and relationships of an adventure party. Alternatively, if multiple parties are in the woods but unknown to one another, THE WHISPERING PINES may cause them discover each other and/or come to blows by mimicking the voices of one another.

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6.GAMEMASTER TIP: Character Personality vs Stats

The personality that the player or GM gives a Character is far more important to the game than their Stats. If a player suggest a course of action for their PC that is in character but borderline with regard to their Abilities or Attributes, consider letting them proceed, if it serves to drive the plot of the adventure forward in an new and potentially interesting direction.

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7.INSTANT (AND FUN) CHARACTER GENERATION
by Kevin Davies

Recently I was about to run a MURPHY'S WORLD adventure at a convention when I realized that I had forgotten all my carefully pregenerated Characters in a room which was now locked. Murphy's Laws are my life. To save time I came up with the following method of instant Character Generation -- it proved to be great fun and got everyone in the mood for the adventure that followed. In fact, some people were laughing so hard during this Character Generation process they almost wet themselves. After the game they asked me to share the process for the readers of AERIE.
Keep in mind that Characters for convention adventures are likely to be used only once, and that you want to start the game as soon as possible (due to the limited time-slot of the convention event), so the players should be encouraged not to think too hard about the choices they make. In fact, blurting out something ridiculous (but still potentially 'useful' in the context of gameplay, GM discretion) is actually much more fun and conducive to a silly game. The only die you will need is a d10 -- preferably one for each player. There are two basic operations to perform in designating the following PC characteristics :

A.HOW MANY CHARACTERISTICS: All players roll 1d10: the number rolled is the number of a specific type of CHARACTERISTICS that must be defined for their Player Character -- write this number on your Character Sheet.

B.DEFINE THE CHARACTERISTICS: Pick a player. Starting to the player's left and moving clockwise, every other player in turn will now provide one (1) CHARACTERISTIC for the chosen player's Character; if necessary continue the process until all CHARACTERISTICS are accounted for. Then pick another player and do the same.

Now the process of Character Generation can begin. In order, define the following for each Character using the A+B process described above, unless otherwise advised:

1.CHARACTER RACE (Don't use A+B): Everyone roll 1d10: those who roll a one (1 to 3) are of a FAERIE RACE native to Murphy's World (e.g., Elf, Dwarf, Goblin, etc.); those who roll a ten (10) are ALIENS; everyone else is HUMAN. All FAERIES and ALIENS receive SPECIAL POWERS (Use A+B).

2.PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS (Use A+B). Each player designates the Age of their own Character.

3.CHARACTER TRAITS (Use A+B).

4.PREVIOUS VOCATIONS & PERSONAL HISTORY (Use A+B).

5.PERSONAL GOALS & AMBITIONS (Use A+B).

6.SPECIAL POSSESSIONS (Use A+B).

7.SKILLS (Use A+B). Then roll 1d10 for each Skill: the number rolled is the percentage for that Skill (e.g., 7 rolled = 70%). To use the Skill roll 1d100 less than or equal to its percentage value (i.e., Base Action Value).

8.ATTRIBUTES (Don't use A+B): Apply 1d10+10 points to each of the eight Primary Attributes: Intelligence (INT), Willpower (WIL), Charisma (CHA), Mystic (MYS), Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), Fitness (FIT), and Appearance (APP). Then, multiply each Attribute by five (5) to determine its percentage value; to use the Attribute roll 1d100 less than or equal to its percentage value (i.e., Base Action Value).

9.HEALTH POINTS (Don't use A+B): Health points = FIT Value + WIL Value ÷ 2 (e.g., 16 +7 [= 23] ÷ 2 = 11; always ROUND DOWN).

That's it. Collectively, you and your friends will have bashed out Player Characters in about ten minutes, all the while having a great laugh at the way each has tortured the others with outrageous characteristics.
Just to give you some idea of what can happen, when I first used this process the Previous Vocations of some of the Player Characters as defined by the other players included: a Sewage Worker, a (Male) Porn Star, an Alien Used Spaceship Salesman, a Circus Performer, and Gameshow Announcer. Some of the allocated Skills included: Use Plungers and Hoses, Fit Large Things Into Small Things, Make Sound Effects With Voice, Swallow Anything, Use Ordinary Objects as Weapons, Detonate Fish (actually a special Alien power). Hopefully, with this method of instant Character Generation your game sessions will prove to be as amusing as mine was.


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8.GAMEMASTER TIP: Character Limitations

Don't let Traits, Stats, and Skills be limitations on who a Player Character can become. There will always be untapped qualities in a person that cannot be defined by mere numbers. If the Character wants to attempt something which may seem outside their past experience or beyond their apparent capabilities, if it seems appropriate for the story, give them the opportunity to attempt it. If they succeed it will be heroic. Should they fail, well... now you can make their lives REALLY interesting....

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9.FILL-IN-THE-BLANKS RANDOM CREATURE CREATION
by Kevin Davies

This is something that I thought might be a fun alternative when you need a creature in your game but your brain is unwilling to cooperate and fabricate one on demand. Roll randomly or choose as you like from each table below in order to generate any creature desired: small or large, familiar or weird, famished or friendly, or just plain mean.
The process involves applying in order randomly chosen words to a specific statement describing the Character's initial encounter with the creature. Provided immediately below is the 12-part statement; the numbers in the brackets are an example of a random 1d10 result which is further detailed in the final statement appearing just below.

THE CREATURE ENCOUNTER STATEMENT (& 1d10 Die Roll Results)
1.Appearing quite ( 1 ),
2.from out of ( 5 )
3.is a ( 7 ),
4.( 1 ) and
5.( 3 ),
6.( 4 )-like creature,
7.with ( 1 )
8.and a rather ( 3 ) disposition.
9.As it ( 9 ) at you,
10.it initially ( 3 ),
11.but then ( 5 )
12.in a state of utter ( 1 ).

EXAMPLE: THE FINAL CREATURE ENCOUNTER STATEMENT
Appearing quite (unexpectedly), from out of (an oozing swamp) is a (huge), (moldy green) and (warty), (worm)-like creature, with (long, pointy teeth) and a rather (cranky) disposition. As it (drools) at you, it initially (breaks out in song), but then (breaks down and cries) in a state of utter (stupidity).

RANDOM CREATURE CREATION TABLES
(Roll 1d10, or choose as desired, on each table)

1. HOW DOES IT APPEAR? 2. FROM WHERE DOES IT APPEAR?
No. Rolled
Description
No. Rolled
Description
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Unexpectedly
Gradually
Regally
Alarmed
Oblivious to Anyone Else
Distressed
Upset
Pissed
Annoyed
Happily
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
The Bushes
A Small Hut
A Cave
A Hole
An Oozing Swamp
Thin Air
A Pond
The Sky
A Mist
A Ruined Castle

3. WHAT SIZE & HOW POWERFUL IS IT
No. Rolled
Description
Height
Weight (lbs)
Health Points
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Puny
Tiny
Short
Scrawny
Bulky
Massive
Huge
Enormous
Gigantic
Towering
1 feet
2 feet
1d6 ÷2 feet
1d6 feet
1d6 feet
2d6 feet
5 + 1d6 feet
5 + 2d6 feet
5 + 3d6 feet
5 + 4d6 feet
1d6
1d6 x10
2d6 x10
1d6 x50
1d6 x100
1d6 x100
1d6 x100
2d6 x100
3d6 x100
4d6 x100
1d6
1d6 +1
1d6 +2
1d6 +3
2d6
2d6 +1
2d6 +2
2d6 +3
3d6
3d6 +3

4. WHAT COLOR DOES IT APPEAR? 5. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE IT
No. Rolled
Description
No. Rolled
Description
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Moldy Green
Bruise Brown
Blood Red
Puss Yellow
Midnight Black
Snow White
Sky Blue
Multicolored
Psychedelic Colored
Flaming Orange
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Ugly
Nauseating
Warty
Obnoxious
Nasty
Diseased
Homely
Twisted
Disgustingly Cute
Foul Smelling

6. WHAT ANIMAL DOES IT RESEMBLE? 7. DESCRIBE A PROMINENT FEATURE?
No. Rolled
Description
No. Rolled
Description
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Lizard
Elephant
Insect
Worm
Serpent
Teddy Bear
Tortoise
Bunny
Horsey
Moo-Cow
1Long Pointy Teeth
2Razor-Sharp Claws
3Long Floppy Ears
4Barbed Whips On Its Tail
5Flared Nostrils That Spew Noxious Gas
6Legs Upon Which It Hops About Madly
7Bulbous Penetrating Eyes On Stalks
8Spikes All Over Its Body
9Suction Cups On 'Hands' For Grasping
10Fine Feathered Wings

8. WHAT IS ITS DISPOSITION? 9. WHAT DOES IT DO AT YOU?
No. Rolled
Description
No. Rolled
Description
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Hostile
Mean
Cranky
Pleasant
Argumentative
Questioning
Cheerful
Carefree
Angry
Happy-Go-Lucky
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Smiles
Blushes
Roars
Makes a Request
Snarls
Screams
Gazes Romantically
Stares Hungrily
Drools
Makes an Obscene Gesture

10. WHAT DOES IT DO NEXT? 11. THEN WHAT DOES IT DO?
No. Rolled
Description
No. Rolled
Description
1Raises Its Head
2Licks Its Lips
3Breaks Out In Song
4Bats Its Eyes
5Strolls Over
6Starts Babbling About Lost Love
7Demands You Turn Back
8Asks For a Favor
9Asks a Challenging Question
10Rolls Over
1Quickly Runs Away
2Collapses and Plays Dead
3Attacks Ferociously
4Pauses, Awaiting Your Next Move
5Breaks Down and Cries
6Lunges Into a Charge
7Begins Stomping Everything in Sight
8Rears Up Menacingly
9Crouches
10Springs Forward

12. WHAT STATE IS IT IN?
No. Rolled
Description
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Stupidity
Panic
Aggression
Terror
Lust
Disgust
Amusement
Bewilderment
Amazement
Regret

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10.ELVISH CROQUET – The Official Rules

Croquet is the national sport of the Elves. Their champions are renown, admired for their physical prowess, and fawned over by sweet young things. However, when the sport was adopted by Humans on Earth (after an unexpected encounter between Alistair L. Phipps IV and an invisible traveling Dimension Gate), some of the more colorful rules were eliminated in an effort to make the game more acceptable to simplistic mortal minds. This original game was played at the Peregrine booth at Gen Con in 1995 on a specially made booth-size Croquet pitch.
What follows is a summary of the original rules:

1. SETUP: A number of Hoops and one or two Posts are arranged in any desired configuration on a lawn of short grass. Typically the Hoops are set-up in a symmetrical pattern -- though this is not mandatory; if two Posts are used they are placed at opposite ends of the Hoop configuration. Obstacles of any shape or form may be included if agreed to by all participants. Each player is provided with one mallet and a distinctly colored ball.

2. OBJECTIVE: Using the mallet, hit your ball through each Hoop at least once, in the 'forward' direction and in a predetermined and specified order; having passed through all the Hoops in the prescribed order, the first player to hit their ball so that it contacts the Finish Post wins. In games which employ a second Post (designated the Halfway Post), the ball must contact it, after which the player turns about and hits their ball through the Hoops in the reverse direction; to win, again, the player's ball must be the first to contact the Finish Post.

3. STRIKING THE BALL: You may attempt hit the ball with the circular end or side of the mallet. If the mallet makes contact with the ball, but fails to move it further than its width, the player may hit it once (and only once) again. If you strike the ball twice in an effort to take one shot, and the ball travels further than its width, put the ball back where it began and miss that turn.

4. PASSING THROUGH A HOOP - EXTRA SHOT: Each time you hit a ball through a new Hoop (one that you haven't passed through in a 'forward' direction before), you are granted another turn.

5. TOUCH AN OPPONENTS BALL - EXTRA SHOT: Each time your ball touches an opponent's ball on your turn you get an extra turn. You may aim to hit an opponent's ball and/or whack it away as you desire.

6. ONLY ONE EXTRA SHOT PER HIT OR HOOP: A player is granted only get one extra shot per turn regardless of whether their ball passes through one or more Hoops or contacts one or more balls, or a combination of both.

7. BALL OUT OF BOUNDS: If you hit a ball off the pitch you must start again. If your ball is hit out of bounds by another player, put your ball just inside the bounds as close to where it went out as possible, and continue; the opponent causing the out-of-bounds infraction must start again.

8. VANDALISM & UNCOUTH PLAY: Any player who performs any act to cause damage to any element of the game or produce embarrassment is immediately ejected from the pitch and forfeits their game (plus, they're an uncivilized oaf). Additionally, players not wearing appropriately stylish garments will not be permitted to play.

9. RESOLUTION OF DISAGREEMENTS: Any disagreements or questions not covered by these rules are solved by mutual consent, or scissors-paper-stone.


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11.GAMEMASTER TIP: Switching Adventures on the Fly!

There may come a time when you're attempting to draw the Characters into an adventure and they'll do something which will torpedo your carefully contrived setup and/or destroy any chances they had at establishing a favorable relationship with their potential employer. I speak from experience.
When this happens you can do one of two things: a) ignore the logical and reasonable flow of events and force the Characters into the adventure anyway, or b) allow the initial adventure to be bypassed (for now) and bring to the fore the necessary events to setup and draw the Characters into an alternate scenario more suited to their current temperament, reputation, and numbers. I strongly recommend the latter option if at all possible; the original adventure can wait until a more appropriate time presents itself. Ideally, they'll never even know that behind the scenes you've made a switch!


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12.MURPHY'S LAW: Ambition & Objective Laws

Whenever a situation requires that you act with care, discretion, and take precautions, there will always be at least one person present who will want to act with loud, furious, and reckless abandon.

Thanks to Yves Brivot for submitting this new Murphy's Law via email.

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13.Murphy's World Rule Option: THE BABY EFFECT
by Kevin Davies

Ever notice that the closer adults get to infants the more they act infantile themselves? In the presence of a "cute little baby," even the meanest of adults is transformed into a kind, caring, sensitive, adult -- losing all hostility for others and experiencing an immediate urge to communicate with the infant via dopey smiles, funny faces, and high-pitched meaningless baby-talk voices.
If a Character "detests" babies, infants will be inexplicably drawn to them, and upon making physical contact, will engage in an action which will either disgust or hurt them.

Applying the Baby Effect
When a Character gets within 10' of a baby have them make a Willpower Roll: success will result in no effect; failure will result in the Character suffering a -1d6 Intelligence penalty, but gaining a +1d6 Charisma bonus. This effect lasts as long as the Character is within the 10' radius of the infant. Should the infant begin to scream or cry loudly the Character may make another WIL Roll to see if the effect is resisted.


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14. Murphy's World Spellcasting: SOME SPELLS IN ACTION

1.THE INCANTATION OF NICENESS
Through circumstances too complex to explain, Annette the Acerbic and her adventure party find themselves in a tiny cabin surrounded by armies of Giants, Drow, Dwarves, and Pixies, all of whom want to kill her in as nasty a way as possible. Her party, dodging arrows and rocks being tossed through the broken window-shutters, are debating whether to truss her up and toss her outside, when she's struck by a brilliant idea -- why not make all their enemies "nice"? Huddling together and holding hands, they chant and focus on their goal of transforming their enemies into "very nice people." Moments later, missiles cease thudding against the walls, and the war cries are stilled. When the party peeks out, the besiegers are resting peacefully, and a single Drow approaches.
"Sorry to bother you," says the Drow, "but we just thought you should know exactly why we must kill you. "After politely explaining their grievance, he goes on, "We had intended to torture you in a long, drawn-out process, but we've suddenly realized that wouldn't be very nice, so instead, if you'll all kindly put down your weapons and step outside, we'll dispatch you right away -- quick and painless. Then the rest of us can go home. We'd invite you to join us for tea afterwards, but regretfully you'll be dead. We shall, of course, provide a lovely burial ceremony."
The party returns to discussing the idea of throwing Annette to the besiegers.

2.SWORDS TO PETUNIAS
Hector the Magnificent is menaced by a group of barbarian ogre swordsmen. Waving their keen weapons, they advance on poor Hector. Thinking quickly, he chants:

Spirits of the Earth,
Take these Ogres' powers,
And by my humble birth,
Turn them into flowers!

Impressed by Hector's fast -- if not particularly brilliant... poetry, the GM rules that the Ogres' swords are all turned into petunias. Long, deadly, sharp-edged petunias, but 'flowers' nonetheless. At least Hector gets a breathing space while the Ogres stare for a moment at the rather pretty weapons they are now holding.

3.COME FLY WITH ME
Saudia the Serendipitous wants to fly. Not only would it make travel more convenient, but it would significantly improve her capacity to get out of tight spots. After a bit of pondering, Saudia builds a pair of wood and cloth wings, then covers them with a coat of glue and feathers. She straps them on and launches into a song and dance number about feeling as light and free as a bird. Then she proceeds to fling herself off a steep cliff in a do-or-die act of faith.
Impressed by her effort and sincerity, the GM decides that indeed, Saudia is now lighter than air and can soar with the birds. Unfortunately, Saudia neglected to mention anything about 'flight control' in her spell. Acting quickly, her companions get a rope around her before she floats into orbit, and from then on (or until the GM decides the spell has worn off) proceed to tow her around like a balloon. Looking on the bright side, at least she'll never have to worry again about the effects of heavy desserts.

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This page was last updated May 8, 2003. Content copyright ©1995 to 2003 Kevin Davies.