Monday, December 24, 2018

Secret Santicorn 2018: CHARLATANS

So we ran a Secret Santicorn event over on the OSR Discord server. My prompt is from the wonderful Gorinich over at Without further ado, here it is:

“A random table for magical powers that can be rolled on multiple times to generate character that is anywhere from a complete charlatan with no magical powers to one that only has magical powers. So that NPC wizards can be made with a list of powers they claim to have and players have to figure out how much of it is bullshit and how much is genuine.”
--The Illustrious Gorinich

In a lot of ways, this prompt is just about systematizing Mysterio, which is rad because Mysterio is rad (image source)

Format: Effect of Spell or Magic Item / Mundane Explanation
Roll 1dX to see how many of an NPC’s powers are actually magical, where X is the number of powers they have.


  1. Fireball / Grenade up your sleeve
  2. Disguise Self as different person / Makeup kit and acting classes
  3. Magic Missile / Bag of rocks and impeccable aim
  4. Flight / Harness and very thin wires
  5. Telekinesis / Powerful electromagnets in your sleeves
  6. Teleportation / Smoke bombs, hireling in lookalike makeup (+ acting classes)
  7. Raise Dead / Skeleton marionettes, hirelings in zombie makeup 
  8. Summon Hellhound / Large, friendly dog with red paint
  9. Feign Death / Easily ruptured fake blood packets, superb breath control
  10. Prophesy / A set of tarot cards and friendly, gossipy, inquisitive hirelings at the front door
  11. Transmute Copper to Silver / Water, Silver Nitrate Powder, and Copper Wire
  12. Extradimensional Pockets / That trick where objects disappear from your hands
  13. Sleep / Airborne knockout drug and compressed gas canisters
  14. Light / Paintbrush sleeves, chemically activated luminescent paint
  15. Invisibility / Flashpowder, trapdoor
  16. Polymorph Self / Flashpowder, trapdoor, well-trained animals
  17. Summon X from Hat / Hat with open bottom, cabinet with open top, object to summon.  d6 1 Colorful Scarf 2 Fluffy Rabbit 3 Blazing Molotov 4 Steel Sword 5 Gold Coins 6 Delicious Pie
  18. Potion of Cure Wounds / Alcohol, Opiates, and Glitter
  19. Darkness / Chemical log, burns to make thick black smog
  20. Haste / Drugs and rollerblades. So much drugs. So much rollerblades. 

Deep insecurities about lack of magical ability. He can still totally blow up your house, though

There’s the table. Let’s take it for a spin. We’ll give our CHARLATANS four abilities each. (I apologize for the names).

Minnie Gonnegaul
“You better watch out, mister! If you piss me off, I can--I can disguise myself as anyone! I can call forth to the dead to serve me!”
“Abilities”: Disguise Self, Feign Death, Raise Dead, Darkness
Fake Abilities: 4. Complete fake.
She’s an actor with a penchant for fake blood, which she uses to die dramatically and pathetically, and to paint onto her hirelings to make them look like zombies. She also has a brick of dirt she burns to stress people out.

Ianus McKillian
“Do not mistake me for some conjurer of cheap tricks! These are all real! I promise!”
“Abilities”: Flight, Extradimensional Pockets, Haste, Summon Blazing Molotov from Hat
Fake Abilities: 3. He’s got one eldritch trick up his sleeve, in addition to the regular ones.
He learned a party trick a few years back for making things disappear from his hands. That was a gateway drug; he soon learned to pull things from hats (ever the daredevil, he decided to use lit bombs). It turned out that was a gateway drug into actual drugs, which he has paired with rollerblades to terrifying effect.

He can also ACTUALLY FLY. It’s unclear where he learned this. It may have been with whoever gave him the drugs.

Linda of the South
“AH SHIT! poof
“Abilities”: Teleportation, Potion of Cure Wounds, Invisibility, Polymorph Self
Fake Abilities: 3. Like Ianus, there’s a spark of magic in her heart, alongside all the opiates.
She’s got a lot of pets, and a lot of friends, and a lot of trapdoors. Combine the three to get an unnerving stagemaster, zipping around and occasionally showing up as a dog. Where did the real woman go? Under the stage, of course, to take a long draft of her “cure for a long day.” After she missed a few payments, her supplier sent someone to collect. Greeted by the sight of a tall man with a receipt, Linda shrieked and disappeared. There was no trapdoor.

Smirlin of the King’s Court
“If you continue on your current path, I foresee--if you look in the cards here--a pile of ash. Quit asking questions about how this works if you wanna avoid that future.”
“Abilities”: Fireball, Light, Prophesy, Telekinesis
Fake Abilities: 1. Tricks by day, demonic pacts by night.
A fortune teller who lives just down the street. Good for a day of entertainment. The last guy to call his bullshit was levitated to the top of a tree, lit up brighter than the moon, and exploded. Business is booming.

Torch Hollow did my prompt over here: