OSR: 1d100 Prophetic Underground Dreams

In order to fulfill your players' wildest dreams you need to give them wild dreams. Dreams are recurring. Only inflict one or two dreams on one or two PCs. Having too many prophets rarely pays dividends

Only inflict prophetic dreams on PCs who are likely to do something with them. Dreams can be interpreted by witches, priests, and madmen.

All prophetic dreams are true. They don't have to make sense but must be true. The GM can sort out the details, helped by the wild speculation of the players. Feed their speculation as much as possible.

"Possible Reference"s link to hexes in my upcoming Veinscrawl or to creatures from Veins of the Earth. They may or may not be accurate

1d100 Prophetic Underground Dreams Possible Reference
1 Three mushrooms grow; red, yellow, and white. The red one spreads spores as the white and yellow rot into nothing.
2 You lead a group of blind travelers tied together with red silk. The silk is warm; one end enters your ear.
3 You are trying to weave a cloak but the fabric keeps unraveling. You see a hidden figure cutting your threads.
4 Your fingers become hooked claws. You dig through stone, scattering pieces with casual ease, tunneling down.
5 In a grand hall full of silk banners, well-dressed courtiers dance to quiet music. Your portrait adorns the wall.
6 A number of fat black birds = number of other PCs hop in a circle around you. They sing a cold and hollow dirge. Lamenters (VotE pg. 78)
7 You try to reach a key at the bottom of a pit, but your arm isn't long enough. The key is ice cold.
8 You are falling down an endless chasm. Before you reach the bottom, pale fungus hands rise and catch you.
9 You sit up and spit out your teeth. They form a strange symbol, linked by strands of mucus and blood.
10 Your hair falls out and wriggles away like worms. It burrows into the stone and sprouts into silver trees.
11 A dreaming prince turns in his sleep, hand brushing the sword that will end the world. Soon he will wake. Hex 08.04
12 A glassy coin rests on one side of the scale. No matter what you place on the other side, the scale never moves.
13 A great tree grows from the earth, stretching into a sky that shimmers like water. Each leaf is a human hand.
14 A dancing skeleton balances on a stone orb. It sees you, leaps in surprise, falls, and shatters. Its marrow is golden.
15 You are trapped in a duel with a cruel, mocking copy of yourself. You slay your opponent. Their blood is diamonds.
16 A sword falls in front of you. You embrace it, but then cast it aside. A servant returns it to you, polished and honed.
17 The darkness rolls away from your torch like a living creature, liquid and cunning. You must corner it to kill it.
18 You dream of seven fat pigs and seven thin pigs, and one of them is playing the trumpet. Sonic Pigs (VotE pg.117)
19 You sit on a throne, sternly deciding a case in perfect, obedient silence. Your fingers glitter with uncounted rings.
20 You wade into a pool of boiling blood, but feel no heat. You swallow until the pool is drained, then begin to fly.
21 Your skeleton crawls out of your mouth. It marches in a circle, then points at the ceiling, then falls to pieces.
22 A burning skeleton made of lead dives into a lake, turning the water grey and pearlescent.
23 You take off a gold ring and drop it in a river. Three fish fight over it. An eel emerges and chases them away.
24 A cage made of spider limbs contains screaming infants. They conceal the silver key to an upside-down castle. Hex 00.06
25 You lie back in a nest of fungus and watch three identical copies of you, made of fungus, dance in a ring.
26 A staircase descends into the earth. The first steps are tiring, but you begin to run faster and faster.
27 A beast with the heads of the other PCs rampages blindly through a cave. You fear for its safety and your own.
28 Six cold pillars surround you like a cage: gold, silver, iron, bone, chalk, salt. The gold pillar slowly melts.
29 Your arms are bound with chains. They tighten as you struggle. You run to a stream; the chains melt away.
30 Fawning courtiers in silk rags place a silver diadem on your head. Their faces are shrouded, their breath sweet. Hex 03.05
31 You trip and fall. The stone melts like soft clay, trapping your hands. You begin to sink, but hear faint music below.
32 You float on a cold river. You can hear the sound of a waterfall ahead. Instead of a paddle, you have a sword.
33 You raise your fist, and a hundred loyal followers shout your name. Glory awaits.
34 A cold steel dagger slide into your ribs. Your assassin looks just like you. In some dreams, you are the assassin.
35 A beast with a dozen legs tramples your enemies. In its back, a spear that burns with midnight flame. Hex 05.05
36 You are handed two bowls; one full of black stones, the other full of white stones. The black stones become beetles.
37 You cough and spit out flaming oil and rubies. Blind children with crab claws rush to pick up the gems.
38 You try to lift your weapon but it is too heavy. You let it fall. Where it strikes the stone a spring of pure water erupts.
39 You lie on a cushioned bed as a crowd of beautiful lovers feed you candied fruit and rub your feet.
40 A shimmering city on a lake opens its gate to you. The crowd roars in anticipation.
41 You split open your hated enemy's head, revealing a smaller enemy inside. They cackle as you recoil.
42 You wander through red caves, buffeted by wind, trying to shield a candle's flame. The wind smells of ash.
43 Globules of boiling fat rain on your skin. Above you, some enormous creature is being roasted.
44 A beast with a number of horns = number of other PCs appears. A new horn grows that outshines the others.
45 You are climbing a high wall. Your rope snaps, but you fall upwards instead. You reach the top to wild applause.
46 You are inside a fortified building. Something roars outside. Your people turn to you for help, but you are not afraid.
47 A ruby the size of your head sits on a polished marble pillar, lit by a single pure white candle.
48 A pig bursts open, revealing clusters of rubies. They fall through your hands like water; a servant catches them.
49 You wade through a stinking mire. Your foot catches on something. You pull it out, revealing a silver crown.
50 Fountains of molten rock erupt. As the wave of fire approaches, you wave it away with your hand.
51 A serpent grows two heads, then four, then eight. The heads devour you, but you are reborn in metal flesh. Hex 06.08
52 You sit down to a grand feast. The centerpiece is the body of your enemy, roasted and spiced.
53 As you breath out, a vast crowd falls, shrinks, grows younger. As you breathe in they rise, grow old, and fade.
54 A distant ringing sound grows louder and louder until you shatter like glass. Each piece grows into a new person.
55 A knot binds your climbing ropes together, tied around a dagger. When untangled, the dagger drips blood.
56 In an eggshell room, your ailments, worries, and pains flee you like black smoke. You are remade young and pure. Hex 08.08
57 You stride through a sea of broken crowns. They glitter underfoot. You sit on a plain throne and wear a silk collar.
58 Soap bubbles contain dreaming princesses. Touch one, and it bursts to reveal a jubilant coronation ceremony. Hex 12.09
59 You are handed a succession of bright silk flags, but choose a banner of dark red and gold. It leads you to victory.
60 You sit on a throne and judge your injuries, wounds, and mutations. Some are pardoned; some are exiled.
61 You grab for a wooden staff carved with ancient runes. It leaps into your hand with a blast of thunder.
62 Your eyes fall out and roll across the floor. You stumble helplessly until a black bird picks them up and returns them.
63 You watch long gallery from the top of your tower and know that your fortress will never fall.
64 You laugh as a young Olm capers in front of you. Then, a shadow falls and the Olm grows into a dragon.
65 You inspect your own tomb. Every surface of the huge building is carved with your glorious, infamous deeds.
66 You stand in a swarm of bees, holding a cup of honey to your lips. The air shimmers. You feel at peace. Atomic Bees (VotE pg.29)
67 You are swallowed by a whale. In its belly, three old women tell you to avoid eating fish. "Causes rickets", they say.
68 A statue made from bone, meat, silver, and gold is smashed from within, to be replaced with one of clay.
69 In a burning pyramidal hollow, black liquid calls your name, whispering silk-smooth promises of immortal fame. Hex 02.04
70 A ring of wild dancers surrounds a huge burning pyre. A figure steps from the flames and beckons.
71 Figures in featureless masks cut open your chest and remove your heart. "Too large," they say, and toss it away.
72 Three diamonds are handed to you, but you reject them. Instead, you choose a single blue marble sphere.
73 Beneath black glass, the original words of creation, glimmering, waiting to be read. Hex 14.06
74 You inspect the map of a grand city; the city you are going to build, are building, have built. Every detail is clear.
75 Lit by flickering purple light, a mage hunches over a bowl of mercury, observing your sleeping body. Hex 01.04
76 You scream your secret hatreds and fears at a slowly melting wall of ice, leaving nothing left but water and peace. Hex 09.07
77 You try to fill a lantern with oil, but the oil is blood and refuses to pour. A voice says, "Do not doubt your flesh."
78 Ten thousand screaming voices tell you what you must do, but you forget upon waking. You must find them again. Hex 04.08
79 You touch a man and his head falls open, revealing a small flame. In one hand, you carry water. In the other, coal.
80 You are offered gold, silver, iron, and lead, but instead choose salt in a clay bowl. The salt turns to diamonds.
81 Your family and lost friends beckon you from beyond a misty gate. You can almost reach them. Hex 09.08
82 You pass among scribes, bent over their work. Each one writes of a day in your life. They smile at you, content.
83 Pass through four vaults: copper, silver, gold, occultum. The fifth vault is locked. Blood leaks from under the door.
84 You cross a stream of water, a stream of blood, and a stream of mercury. Each time, a bell tolls in the deeps.
85 You walk through a peaceful city lit by false moonlight. Statues with your face adorn every wall.
86 Two snakes, red and blue, are fighting. A third snake made of clear glass approaches and devours them.
87 Trapped at the centre of an hourglass, a perfect pearl of regret and hope. Every grain of sand is a gold coin. Hex 02.08
88 Five cave crickets chirp at the same time. One seems to be asleep. You kill one, and the rest devour each other.
89 You stand before gate of black stone. Iron, silver, gold, and fire cannot harm it, but a single tear melts it into ash.
90 Two voices sing to you from one throat, hidden by darkness. They sing of rulership, power, and fame. Fungal Ambassodile (VotE pg.56)
91 At your whistled command, your enemies are torn apart by whip-thin soldiers. Their eyes burn with love for you. Hex 06.06
92 You examine a book bound in leather. The book's pages are so bright you cannot read the words printed on them.
93 A black ring around a white gem. Hold the gem, and armies melt away, bones cracking like ice. Hex 08.01
94 Enemies surround you and pierce you with spears. Your blood is many-coloured, bright as fire; your enemies flee.
95 A cave closes like a mouth as you run towards the entrance. You emerge into firelight as the stone teeth close.
96 You sit on a couch, watching your grandchildren enact one of your glorious battles, clapping your hands in joy.
97 An eyeless skull in a pool of blood sings a half-heard death-song that names you as a powerful leader. Hex 00.00
98 A crowd of fearful men, women, and children wait for your word. Your mind is clear. They take courage from you.
99 A stone egg cracks, hatches, reveals a bird. The bird flies and lands in front of you. Its feathers are spears.
100 You feel an itch under your palm. A worm busts out. It wears a golden crown and wriggles away as you chase it.

Why Seek Power?

In the end, most people, noble or base, wise or foolish, seek power to:

-boss people around
-sleep with younger and/or more beautiful people
-have everyone say how amazing they are and treat them like a more-than-mortal creature
-have all their needs taken care of without inconvenience
-seek thrills and visceral pleasures without consequence

Most human organizations, from nations to movie studios, become quite comprehensible if you understand these rules.

If you want to accomplish these things, it is in your best interest to convince a large number of other people that they want something else. Ideas like religion, patriotism, work ethic, personal loyalty, exposure, and money come in handy. If you're building an empire in the Veins, make sure you're building it on a solid foundation of manipulation, myth, loyalty, trickery, and food.


OSR: Veinscrawl Motivations

Why hexcrawl?
More specifically, why hexcrawl in the Veins of the Earth?

Given the entry costs and ludicrous risks, why would any sensible party of adventurers bother going into the Veins? Leaving aside accidents, idiocy, and lies, what could possibly convince a surface creature - someone who likes three square meals a day and feather beds - to crawl down satan's gastrointestinal tract or live in Patrick Stuart's nightmares?

1. Loot

Veins loot makes conventional dungeons look like a discount clothing warehouse after a fire sale, in a hyper-inflationary economy, right before the coldest winter on record. Your gold crowns and polished gems and magic wands are bent clothes hangers and ragged Snoopy t-shirts compared to the stuff in the Veins.

It will get to the point where gold is too heavy and too pointless to transport. Pouches of strange metals will adorn your back. You'll carry a sword that can cut a syllable in half but your face will be streaked with clay and muck. You'll cut your hair off and file your teeth into points, but you'll also find a machine that spins music into cloth. When - or if - you emerge, changed and warped, you will change the surface world forever. There are treasures in the Veins that are the seeds of empires.

You'll probably need to find a way back to the surface once you've finished looting an area. Most factions have a route or two; they won't share them eagerly. 
Sarunas Macijauskas

2. Control

Carve out an empire of your own. Wear a fancy hat. Sit on a throne and judge people. Earn eternal fame. The charitable view is that surface-dwellers, blessed with an education, a life of comparative leisure and safety, and a worldview based on control, make ideal leaders and warlords in the Veins.

The uncharitable view is that surface-dwellers are too stupid to know better.

Start small: a single village, a cleared dungeon, or an empty cave. Recruit followers with promises of food and safety. Set your enemies against each other. Use horrifying weapons or enslaved creatures.

How to feed your empire:


Farm Supports Requires
Spawning fungid cluster (1 Myconid/day) 5/day Coal
20 Sonic Pigs 5/day Cave slime, 1 swineherd.
30 Cave Centipedes 5/day Cave slime, 1 centiherd.
Cave cricket swarm 5/day Cave slime, 2 cricket-keepers.


Farm Supports Requires Danger
1 Troll, chained. 5/day 2 Troll-choppers. Troll may escape, mutate, split. Troll meat is infectious.
Lamenter Nest 5/day 1 Lamenter-raider. 1-in-6 chance Lamenter-raider goes mad each day.

Very Esoteric

Farm Supports Requires Danger
Souls 1/month/soul. Need an extractor or a supplier. Inherit personalities, become possessed. Very evil.
Divine Intervention 1 faithful person Absolute unwavering faith. Only supports 1 holy figure (or possibly a small tribe).
Raids into Painted Worlds 100/month/painting Artists, powerful magic, 10 raiders. Can become trapped in painting, let other creatures out.

The more people you can support, the more territory you can control.

If you support 5 people, you have a village.
If you support 20 people, you have a fortress.
If you support 50 people, you control most of a hex. 
If you support 100 people, you completely control a hex (or mostly control 2 hexes). 

The size of your holding is purely dependent on food. Money is useful, trade goods are nice, but if you can't feed your followers they will feast on your flesh and tear down your cities and your works. Civilization is three missed meals away from anarchy, but everyone in the Veins has already missed the first two meals.

In the Veins, 100 people is an enormous army, possibly too difficult to move. Defenses are easy and attacking is difficult so no one fights fair. If you plan on fighting a faction, make sure you're prepared to be stabbed in the back. Or the front. Or from above.

Don't fight fair.
Sarunas Macijauskas

3. Quests

There are capital-g-Goals in the hexcrawl. They are completely optional, but some players like having a mission. Spoilers.

1. Kill the Great White Fungus
 It's a whale-sized mushroom that steals peoples legs and runs around on them, kicking and having a grand old time. Anyone bitten by it goes crazy and wants to kill it, but for some reason tries to recruit people with lovely shapely legs to help.

2. Kill the Castillian Caddis Fly Larvae 
It will hatch into a Castillian Caddis Dragon. It wants to create lots of magic weapons to ensure its eggs find fertile spots to hatch and grow. To this end, it will cause apocalypses. Heroes (with shiny magic swords) will arise, fight, die, and lose their swords. The world above (and everything nearby in the Veins) will enter a catastrophic and violent phase lasting centuries.

3. Kill a Dragon
There are 5 dragons and you can fight all of them.

4. Find a McGuffin in the Ruins
That's what the ruins are for. Put your vital quest items there. Resurrection machines. A direct line to the Gods.

5. Topple a Villainous Faction
The Illithids, the Ghouls, or the Drow seem like good choices if you want to smash an evil system and replace it with utter chaos. Rescue the captured princess(es) from the dragon Kaseldrake. You know, standard heroic stuff.

6. Assist a Faction's Quest

Faction Goal
Antling Find a path to Hell.
Cholerid Die (?)
Dracospawn Bigger Hoards
Drow More Beauty
Dvergr Find Homunculite, weaken other factions.
Ghoul Rebuild Illiam, stable source of meat.
Illithid Brains. Lots and lots of brains.
Olm Food. Lots and lots of food.
Archaean ?
Fungid ?
Sarunas Macijauskas


On the surface, everything follows the same rules.  Bugs, bears, and bugbears all need to eat. In the Veins:
-The Drow eat beauty.
-The Olm eat flesh but sleep for centuries.
-The Dvergr need alcohol like a plant needs sunlight.
-The Antlings get their food from the surface.
-The Myconids eat coal.
etc, etc.

On the surface, there is an overarching framework of society. The feudal state holds the world together. There are outsiders and invaders and disruptions, but you are either inside the system or outside it; there's no third way. But in the Veins, there is no cohesion, no single system. Every faction has its own worldview. Common ground resembles no man's land - contested, cratered, and occasionally hit by political artillery.

Planning Chaos

I've designed the Veinscrawl to contain a lot of potential energy but minimal initial kinetic energy. The situation, on paper, is fairly stable. The PCs are the ones who will tip it into lovely and profitable chaos. Their actions and interactions with the factions and hexes will start to spiral out of control.

If any of the hex entries seem boring, just remember to append, "And then the PCs arrived."