Dicember 2021

It’s Dicember! Er, December! It’s -ember!

A calendar of Dicember challenges, by Dyson Logos
Challenge calendar used with the permission of the lovely Dyson Logos

Dicember is a challenge akin to Inktober, but less specifically for graphic art and more specifically for role-playing game nerds to flex their preferred and various creative muscles by coming up with interpretations of prompts. I came to learn of it from the inimitable Dyson Logos, who in turn attributes it to Brian Bird.

I really debated doing it. It often feels tough to picture a reliable posting schedule for me these days. However, the flexibility of this challenge seems to offer me a chance to play it out over Twitter, Instagram, and my blog depending on what I choose to do for each day, and that seems manageable. In the end, it’s a great vehicle to produce more stuff to promote games, and that’s what I like to do in the first place.

So, I’ll be doing Dicember 2021. Some of the days will originate here. Some will originate on Instagram and Twitter, and then be collected here, so if you don’t see a post here for a day or two, it’s likely just that I am waiting to have a few days worth of stuff from elsewhere before I gather them up here to avoid bombarding my blog.

So, day one:

Dicember 1: Ammo

Your attack on the hilltop hall of the enchanted warlord is a success! Glittering riches nearly blind your eager eyes! Gold, jewels, works of art purloined a hundred days’ journey east of here, weapons of all description! Your archer, Fei, has bundled a bushel of arrows – glowing, sparkling, trailing what appears concerningly like live fire – in his cloak like a hobo bindle, and his eyes dart around the room furtively as if searching for witnesses to his larceny. What the hell did he just find?

Roll Munitions of Manifest Magical Manner
1 Arrow of Spite: On a hit, this arrow simply deals 2d8 physical damage. On a miss, this arrow bursts into a cloud of horrific quills like a porcupine in a microwave. All creatures within a 10ft sphere of the initial target must save vs dragon breath or be pelted with 1d4 HP worth of fragments of iron and wood. Watch out – friends are subject to this just the same as foes!
2 Arrow of Unholy Appetite: This arrow truly wants to feast on blood and soul juice. Some tales say this was once at home in the quiver of a cacodemon during his quest to slay his way up Hell’s foodchain. Forego a to-hit roll – simply roll damage; in this case, that damage is 4d4. Entirely too much blood should be seen to pool upon the ground.
3 Arrow of Dragon’s Breath: Becomes as a bolt of molten magma once fired; does 3d6 dmg on a hit, and sets flammable objects alight wherever it lands. If that happens to be “in a person,” well, their stuff is now on fire. If that happens to be “the floor of an oil-soaked hayloft,” then probably you should run.
4 Arrow of Lethargy: In addition to normal arrow damage, any target struck by this loses their action on this round or loses their action on the next round (if the target has already made their action this round). They also automatically come last in all initiative rolls for the remainder of the encounter. There’s no save for laziness. I’ve looked.
5 Arrow of Covetous Glamor: As this arrow is nocked, the archer whispers the name or description of an object or being in sight. If it strikes its target, they may attempt to save vs spell. If they fail, they are charmed to focus on that object to the point of forsaking all else for 1d6 turns – approaching it slack-jawed, making various Gollum noises, the whole nine yards. They will not take any precautions to save themselves or others from harm during this time.
6 Arrow of the Spectral Challenge: Before firing, the archer whispers a dare or challenge to the arrow (e.g.: “I bet you can’t trip that ogre.”) If a target is struck with this arrow, they must save vs spell to shrug off the booming ethereal voice only they can hear, which challenges them to a feat. If they succeed, roll normal arrow damage. If they fail, roll arrow damage and then watch out, as they must immediately attempt the feat regardless of danger to themselves or their allies.
7 Arrow of the Headsman: A broadhead arrow in a cruel shape akin to a nursery spade or hoe blade. Preternaturally sharp. On a hit, it does 1d12 damage – however, on a critical hit, it does either 4d6 damage or it straight-up decapitates the target so long as it is a humanoid or beast of fewer than 5HD, whichever is preferable to the player.
8 Arrow of Especially Potent Pheromones: Absolutely reeks of sweat. Not actually magical in any appreciable fashion, but appears to have been coated with grease of unknown origin which resists attempts to clean it off. Might cause a nasty infection if it strikes a target. Turns out it is also irresistible to ankhegs. Every so often the DM should roll percentile dice while looking at the player in possession of these arrows. On a result of 01, ankheg attack! Whoops.
9 Arrow of Sludge and Filth: A target struck with this arrow must save vs spell or be transmuted to living mud. This doesn’t kill the creature but it can’t be good for them – DM’s discretion as to just how bad it is for their health. Truly grotesque melting Clayface scenes are encouraged. That scene is viscerally imprinted in my memory; best to pass the curse on to others!
10 Arrow of Thievery: This blunt, jade-green arrow does no damage when it strikes a target. Instead, the victim must save vs stone or they will drop or otherwise lose their most valuable possession upon the floor. Strike a prince and his bejeweled crown clatters to the floor. Dunk on an elvish chieftain and her mithril pauldrons come unclasped. A wizard – what’s that scroll of reincarnation doing down there?! Naturally, this only works if the target has possessions.
11 Arrow of the Hive: This arrow emits a faint buzzing once nocked on a bow. A target struck with this arrow takes typical arrow damage but must save vs poison. On a success, the target takes an additional 1d6 poison damage. On a failure, however, they suffer no immediate ill effects – but in 1d4 turns their flesh ruptures with hundreds of writhing larvae, which causes 2d20 hit points of damage and forces an immediate morale check for their allies.
12 Arrow of the Vast Unknown: A target struck by this may make a save vs death; on a failure, they are teleported to a random hex or location of the DM’s choosing. The teleportation magic makes an unpleasant electrical arc sound and an overwhelming smell of ozone.
Dicember day one? Check. Fulfilling a promise of more d12 tables? Also check.

And there you have it! Day one of Dicember is a d12 roll table of magical ammunition for your favorite archers to stumble upon in draconic hoards and locked chests in haunted tombs. Hopefully they find a place at your table!

If you’re doing Dicember 2021 as well, I want to know. Let’s spread the joy of tabletop this holiday season. Chat about it on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #dicember2021. Spread the good word among your circles and let’s see what cool stuff we can concoct to look at, roll on, and generally share with everybody out there now and in the future.

For the record, the headline graphic I “made” (for a very loose definition of “made”) features some dice from an image by Coco Zinva on Pixabay, some Christmas lights from an image by Eduardo RS on Pixabay, and a font called Snowby by Letterara. As always if you need to get at me, I am on Twitter as @dungeonpossums and you can also use the comments to pummel me for any problems, real or imagined, that arise in your games from using this or any other Dicember creations.

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Dicember 2021