Saturday, December 31, 2011

Kids in the Hall Saturday


Hope you all have fun but don't let your snowflake become a blizzard.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Atari Force

Sisko's Blog of Geekery does a synopsis of the best Space Opera comic book in the history of awesome.

The Mitre of Saint Mullet

This simple, onion shaped hat was once worn by the holy man known as St. Mullet. When worn by priests of a similar alignment (GM's choice)it conveys a medium bonus while casting spells and resisting magic.
If the hat is worn consistently for more than a week, the wearer will discover that the hair in at the back of their head is growing at an accelerated rate (but will return to normal growth in about three days/hair extends 5 inches). After two weeks, the bonuses are present even when the mitre is not worn.

However if the new hairstyle is not maintained, the bonus is lost when the hair is cut or grows out (approx 1 month).

Trollstone Caverns

Did an inaugural Solo Run through using Trollstone Caverns adventure included with the 5th Ed Rule Book. It went pretty well and to my amazement, Master Darkberry didn't wind up rotating on spit over some orc's cooking fire. He is however currently trapped in the Caverns unable to solve the riddle of the Sphinx, find the secret door (lousy low IQ score!) defeat the giant Silver Serpent or figure out a way to sneak past the party of orcs currently guarding the exit.

The designers did include a blank door for a GM to expand the dungeon,so I may use that to give Darkberry a chance to escape. Looking over the first few modules, Labyrinth seems to be the best jumping off point here for a low level character.

I'm happy with the Tunnels and Trolls system so far, the only thing I'm not terribly keen on so far is the simplicity of the monster stats. I do like how the system handles multiple monsters (two or more opponents can get deadly, fast), but I don't like how the stats have a hard time reflecting special attacks or abilities. This doesn't give the monsters much flavor and in the end you might as well be battling a statistic. The tinkerer in me can't help but think there has to be a better way and I have a few ideas I might try.

That and the low number of available monsters inspired me to grab my old D&D Monster Manual, my Talislanta Bestiary and any other crittercatalogue I could find and start thinking about conversions. The Wandering Monster table I plan on building is gonna be sick!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Rules of Play

In honor of my first ever Red Box D&D character, Darkberry, I was trying for a Hobbit thief. Did you know that Tunnels and Trolls 5th Ed doesn’t have a Thief class? It does have a ‘Rogue’ and while supposedly modeled on the Grey Mouser; is in fact in a weird mix of Warrior and Wizard without the benefits of either and no real bonuses on its own.

Still, I put ‘Rogue’ down on the Character sheet so Rogue it is. Unfortunately, reading up in the rules, I learned that since I had rolled a 6 for his STR he won’t be able to cast spells yet (need at least a STR 10 to cast). Then I rolled on the Height/Weight tables and came up with 2’6” and 100lbs; chubby little midget! I have a certain fondness for young Master Kheebler Darkberry, but methinks he won’t be around long.
While I am committed to the idea of playing the game straight there are a few things I will have to GMinize. Figuring out the vagaries of Magic can wait until Kheebler gets up to 10 STR or I roll up a Wizard (whichever comes first), but what I really need are some Rules and a Setting.

The Rules of Play
-Play by the Rules. All of them.
-Random is good! Obey the dice.
-Character death is character death. However, this is a continuous story so if a character dies in the dungeon, there is a chance that any loot they collected will be there if the next character can find the body. I’m going to say that, provided the character did not die in a manner that destroys the body and all equipment (the gullet of a dragon, fall into a lava pit, for example), there is a 2 in 6 chance that they body is still there (and not dragged away and eaten or rotted away or become undead etc).
-I’m sure I’ll be adding more. My next Excel projects are to create a random Treasure Generator and a Wandering Monster generator. May even try for a map at some point.

The Setting: Welcome to the Nether Regions

For 500 years, the evil Sorcerer Zurn Ballcock, guarded by the terrible dragon Snoggs, ruled with an iron fist over The Kingdom. Finally, group of friends banded together to steal some treasure from Snogg's horde overthrow the Sorcerer and put an end to his horrifying rule.

Their names have gone down in history:

King Khurgen the Good (once a northern barbarian called The Kannibal): who went on to marry Zurn’s daughter and rule the Kingdom. He then moved the capital from Zuen's ruined city of Midden to the southern city of Sunbeach and rechristened it Khurgania.

Sissy Bignleafy: the Elvin Wizard-Warrior who went on to lead a revolution to overthrow the Queen of the Elfwood.

Hugfoot the Hobbit: incinerated by Snoggs while trying to steal the Great Golden Guzzundar.

Lightbottom the Fairy: who died heroically being crushed under a fifty ton slab

Patty O’Phernychur: the leprechaun who disappeared in the Beer Swamps.

And finally Zagnut the Wizard; rewarded for his service to the King with the Barony of Midden and all the accompanying lands.

Unfortunately the lands in question were the vast, unexplored waste known as the Nether Regions. Discouraged, but not undaunted, Zagnut set out with a handful of retainers to the ruined city of Midden, once the capital of Zurn’s mighty empire. There he established an inn and tavern called ‘Fortune Favors’. His retainers opened a smithy, a general store and a gift shop. Together, they make their living equipping bright-eyed adventures seeking their own fame and fortune in the bleak Nether Regions.

Our adventure begins one morning when a young Hobbit enters the Fortune Favors...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year's Gaming Resolution

Please bear with me; I promise that this will get around to RPGs in a sec…

Anyone who has been forced to navigate the treacherous waters of the medical system knows that it consists mostly of waiting: waiting for tests, waiting for results, waiting for appointments to get the results. Waiting for another appointment to see if the results mean you have to wait for another test to see if you need a special test … and so on.

I think they do it deliberately so that by the time they actually give you a diagnosis you're so happy just to KNOW you don't care what it is; "It's an alien embryo embedded in my chest that will tear itself out in an explosion of bone, gristle and intestines? Thank you, Doctor! Thank you!"

"Seriously, this didn't turn up on one of the first twenty X-rays?"

I'm currently in the "waiting for more tests" phase, but the point to all this is that there is the chance that I will be facing a (hopefully short) convalescence in the (hopefully near) future. This got me thinking about what I might do with that time, gaming wise. I did a little net-cruzin' and came across this golden-oldie.
In Jr. High, a buddy down the street had T&T and I think we might have played it once, but we were so used to D&D rules by that point weren't interested in variants.

But I remembered that T&T had a bunch of Solo Play adventures. Hey, why not? I may or may not have to go through any extended recuperation time, but Real Life has scattered my regular gaming group to the far winds anyway and I don't have the time right now to set up a regular Google+ game.

So my New Year's Gaming Resolution is to play as many T&T Solo Games as possible. I will play using the straight 5th Ed Rules (encumbrance and everything!), then maybe try my hand at writing one of my own.

For the past few weeks I've been scouring ebay, calling some old buddies (Thanks to Matt for donating his old 5th edition rulebook!) and building some Excel sheets to help me out with the heavy crunching. I also found this particularly awesome site. This weekend I plan on beginning to delve deep into "Buffalo Castle".

Anyone else have a New Year's Gaming Resolution?

Monday, December 26, 2011

House Rule for Merchants

I generally have merchants sell at about 10% above listed price which gives me some room for barganing if the player wants to haggle.

Merchants will buy items at 3-50% of listed value. With a Haggle/Barter roll (or equivalent) they can go as high as 75%. A critical success may raise the price to 80-90%. Beyond that the merchant will refuse to purchase the item. 
The Kabul cooking fat trader in his shop

9 Magical Effects for Magical Candles, Torches and Lanterns

All of these effects work equally well for any lightsource unless otherwise specifically noted.
            This item will never burn itself out.
Summons Shadowling
            The smoke from flame is a small spirit that will perform simple tasks for the person who lit the wick (torch). The spirit is released once the wick (torch) has burned away.
Fire Mace (Torch only)
            This torch is made of solid iron and can be used as a minor magical weapon.
Invisible Lantern
            The light from this torch can only be seen by the person carrying the object. To everyone else, the room remains unlit
            This torch creates a thick warm smoke that causes everyone who inhales it to become calm, a little silly, absent minded and very hungry. If the person inhaling the smoke fails a wisdom roll, they become paranoid, dizzy with a chance of summoning 1d6 Flying Rainbow Bunnies or other psychic predators.
            This torch creates a Sphere of Blackness equal to 20'. Infrared and ultraviolet vision will not penetrate the darkness.
The 8 Candles of Shabragdingo (Candle Only)
            This candle is made of black wax and has strange runic symbols carved down the side. If eight of the candles are brought together and burned simultainiously, they will summon the demon lord Shabragdingo. Unfortunately, the creator of the candles purposely did not mentioned the ninth candle … the one that allows you to control the newly summoned demon.
Of Purity
If this item is used to start a fire, the resulting blaze will purify any food prepared. Water will e boiled of poisons or impunity. Similarly, rags boiled in the water and used on a wound will prevent infection and half the recuperation time.  
Twice a day, with an accompanying trigger word this item will create a 10' fireball that can be launched at an enemy up to 25m away.


File:Suushi Inugami.jpg
A Japanese dog spirit created by burying a dog up to its neck while leaving food just outside it's reach. Once the unfortunate animal has died, it will eat the food as an offering and become complyant to the one who create it. The animal is a powerful healer and can cure most illnessess by possessing the inflicted. Side effects include dog-like behavior. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Classic Japanese Star Wars Art

Via: Retronaut

Kids in the Hall Saturday

We take a break from our regularly scheduled KitH Saturday to bring you Monty Python's (NSFW-if you're offended by plastic boobs) vision of Christmas in Heaven!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Unspoken

It began sometime before the Rasure, when a band of the Red Prince rebels ambushed a company of the Tarkhan’s guard on as it marched through the valley of Starrvale towards the city of Aeternus.

The ambush turned into a running battle that spilled into city. Reinforcements were called by both sides and soon a bloody and protracted war erupted that raged for months and brought to ruin the city was once called Eternal.

Those who witnessed the event from afar say that on the night of the Rasure, the skies above Aeternus lit up with a colour previously unseen by mortal eyes. There was a flash of blinding light, a mighty inrush of wind followed by a thunderous roar that shook the earth. And then Aeternus was gone.

When the ground cooled enough to approach, the first to reach the craterous waste that would come to be called the Lake of Eternal Tears, where shocked to find survivors. Every man and child, woman and old, soldier and citizen lay broken and blooded, but alive in the still smoking ruins.

As the days past they discovered that when they tried to speak of what happened that day, they could not. Not a whisper or a hint could pass their lips. Nor could they write, draw or signal in any way of their experience. Some concluded that they simply could not remember and left it at that. Others have heard the terrified screams that vomit from their throats as they sleep and have looked deep into their hollow, haunted eyed of the survivors and know that the unuttered memories haunt them still.

As the years dragged on another disturbing fact began to emerge. The survivors, who came to calls themselves the Unspoken and wearing a green scarf across their mouths, learned they could not die. Barring violence or malfeasance, they face the years unchanged and immutable. Then there is the tale told in dark taverns that when an Unspoken is killed, the body disappears in the same strange inrush of air that accompanied the disappearance of the city Eternal.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Slave/Servant Background Table

Do I really need a reason to post this?

Watched the 1959 version of 'The Mummy' starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee over the weekend. I had DVR'd it thinking it was the 1939 original. However since it was Cushing and Lee, I won't complain.

The best part of the movie is the conversation that the hero (Cushing) has with the "evil" Egyptian about the removal of relics from Egypt. I'm sure that to a 1959 audience, Cushing's argument that the relics belong in a British museum made sense, but to modern eyes it is the Egyptian who is in the right.

In fact, it is very easy to view this movie completely reversed from its original intent. Cushing and team of his ham-fisted "archaeologists" blasting their way into tombs that have survived unmolested form 4,000 years, yanking out only the artefacts that have ascetic or curiosity value and promply sent them off to be shipped, chipped, sunbleached, manhandled and breathed all over by millions of bored British school kids.

These rich morons scientists steal the body of the High Priestess and then have the nerve to be outraged when the current High Priest and the Undead guardian of the tomb try to get her back. The movies was much more fun, on the whole when viewed as a revenge thriller where the Mummy is mad as hell, and not gonna take it anymore!

All this is not really relevant, but I was watching the ancient Egyptian scenes with all the references to 'Nubian Slaves' and it got me thinking. Slaves and Servants are usually just background pieces, but they are still people with hopes, dreams, talents and secrets. This is probably utterly useless, but I came up with a chart should a GM ever need a quickie history/story point for a slave or servant.
Roll 2D20
2. Beloved King of a faraway land who was betrayed by an evil relative. A band of adventurers are out looking for him
3. A hated Emperor who was deposed. Any native of his land will try and kill him on site.
4. A crazed psychokiller who has been preying on the neighbours.
5. Is in love with one of the master's children. The slave is loved in return, but certain to be killed or sold if they are caught.
6. Is having an affair with the master /master's wife
7. Is a powerful mage who has been cut off from his power by a rival.
8. An extra dimensional being/alien here to study humanity
9. An exiled and amnesic god
10. The master in disguise who posses as a slave out of some eccentricity or to evaluate guests
11. Is proud to be a slave
12. Is a vampire or werewolf
13. Is a spy for a rival house or merchant.
14. A simple fisherman who was captured by pirates
15. Is traumatized by seeing his wife killed and his children stolen
16. A captured soldier
17. An addict
18. A convert to a dangerous new cult
19. Possessed by a demon
20. He who was foretold in prophesy
21. A Hero character in the middle of a story point (picture Conan or Farfid/Grey Mouser)
22. Bitter and about to betray their master
23. An immortal
24. A ghost
25. The last of his kind
26. Cursed to serve the family until the curse is broken.
27. Indentured and looking for any way to pay off their debt.
28. Educated
29. A talented artist
30. A eunuch
31. A talented swordsman / martial artist
32. Sibling to one of the party.
33. Most loyal servant to the family, no matter what happens
34. A prostitute on the side
35. Knows a terrible secret
36. The most beautiful person in the world
37. A carrier of the plague
38. A time traveller from the future trying to stop a disaster
39. Knows the location of the treasure
40. A genie ready to give a wish to the first person who says 'Please' (because who says please to a slave?). 

Undead Rosary

A rosary dating from 1500 that shows the picture of a woman or man on one side, their skeleton on the other, plus these beads that show half face, half skeleton.
via: Retronaut.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kids in the Hall Saturday

Buddy Holly was kind of a dick.

In their final season, the KitH started ignoring the CBC censors.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Festivus!

via: Lady, That's My Skull

Magic Llama

House Rule:Touching a llama gains the character a +1 to their next dice roll.

The animation isn't standing up well, but Jimmy Neutron is still an amusing film.

Not Dead Yet

My posting has slowed down some. Some of it is Holiday related, the rest is because I'm actually working on something!

In the meantime everything I happen to like on Netflix is disappearing and being replaced by religious documentaries apparently. The Michael Palin travelogues have just gone I noticed, so has all the MST3K, the Discworld movies and now there are noticably less Doctor Who episodes.

I've been watching them before they disappear and just saw 'The Three Doctors' for the first time. The Second Doctor has always been one of my favorites so it was nice to see him back.

What struck me was Omega, a genuinely tragic villan in an awesome Dark Helmet costume. Omega was the Time Lord who invented time-travel, but had to create a supernova in order to make it work. Unfortunately, in the resulting explosion, he was sucked into the resulting black hole and became stuck in an anti-matter universe. Assumed dead by the other Time Lords he was trapped alone for millenia alone until he found a way to strike back at those he thought abandonned him.
Omega learns to manipulated his new universe and creates an environment that one o the Doctor's refers to as a 'funhouse'. Omega's final fate (in this arc anyway) is actually fairly tragic.

A former hero now legend who has become insane and vengeful, trapped in a funhouse dimension held together by his own will is not a bad idea for an adventure.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Whispering Pearls

This method of spell preservation was created by the Incantor Larl'Olarl, who once lived in a sprawling manse on the Green Beaches of the Quell Sea. It is thought that the soundless waves of the Quell gave rise to the noise-intolerant oysters that lay buried the weird green sand.

Larl discovered that if he pried open the shell and whispered a secret or a spell between the lips of the oyster, that the sound would irritate the mollusk to such a degree that it would begin to coat the sound with nacre. Over time, a shining pearl would develop around the sound, its colour a milky transparency. When held to the eye it appeared as if the pearl was filled with slowly moving shapes like a tilted hour glass or frozen cloudstuff.

There is no way to tell what such a treasure contains until placed in the mouth. The next breath from the lungs will release the secret or the spell, said in the same tongue and voice of the original speaker.

If a pearl containing a spell is placed into the mouth of an Incantor, they may speak that spell as needed, but only that spell. Scribbled notes found in the ruins of Larl's manse have hinted that attempting to speak a different spell with the pearl still remaining on one's tongue may have consequences both dramatic and dire.

The words contained within can only be released by disolving the pearl in vinegar.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Jewelled Skeletons

via Retronaut

Great Lich ideas or as creepy additions to a treasure horde.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I can no longer call myself a Old Skool Gamer

The only D&D question for 'Sports and Recreation' PIE in Trivial Pursuit-Pop Culture Edition and I got it WRONG!

It was a description of this picture;

and I said Player's Guide .... ARRRGH!!

Kids in the Hall Saturday

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Rules of Magic

The rules governing magic from a bunch of TV shows, movies and book series.via IO9.

Save Greendale!

Because Network television seems determined to make me spend even more time on Netflix, they have stuck Community on hiatus.

I just realized that my DVR is set to record only a handful of shows, and most of those are old brit-coms off the religous network (Black Books!) or old cartoons off toon retro (the Real Ghostbusters!). Community was THE remaining network show that I actually looked forward too each week. Sure I think Modern Family is funny and I continue to watch Big Bang out of some morbid curiosity - that is rapidly fading. I'm convinced that I'm going to tune in and see that they built a UrkleSheldon-Bot (or have they actually done this already?), but I genuinely LIKE Community. It is clever and funny and fast, it has Chevy Chase in it, they played D&D, had an anime sequence and I seriously want a Louis Guzman statue for my garden. Are these on ThinkGeek yet?

Cancelling Community is just going to be another Arrested Development sized mistake that makes the network suites look even further out of touch with the modern world. I like to picture them as being all white males about sixty years old, wearing Miami Vice pastel suits with the sleeves rolled up and laughing themselves sick over reruns of Growing Pains.

This has gone on much longer than I intended. Go Human Beings!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Half Elves

The Atlantasia quote below seems to be causing a stir:

On Atlantasia you will NEVER find a half-breed elf (if a female elf was ever raped by another race she would commit suicide). (uh, so what would happen if a male elf had relations with a female human?)

I can't say I would ever use this in my games, or even that it makes sense, but if that is the way he wants to run his table, leave him be.

I was never a fan of half-elves personally because I find once you start allowing cross-breeds you end up with that character who is half human half dragon half elf who was raised by ninja pirates and taught to fight by a rengade drow swordmaster and so on. I usually solved the problem by simpley having humans and elves (all demi-humans) unable to produce offspring. They are different species after all.

In general I also try to play up the fairie elements of 'Elves' and fairies, from what I've read, tend towards the sexually capricious. Even Tinkerbell has attended at least one orgy (seriously, read Peter Pan carefully). I'll leave you to look that up yourselves because there is no way I am typing that into Google.

Steampunk Motorcycles

Via: Retronaut

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Muppets

The Muppets movie meanwhile, were pretty freakin' great. Not quite up to the originals, but I don't suppose that is possible with Jim Henson gone. Still, more jokes stuck than missed and the music borders on the awesome (though your fondness for 'Flight of the Concords' style music may vary).

For me the moment that closest achieves perfection is the barbershop quarter rendition of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'. This is SO something Henson would do to take the pretension out of one of the most overplayed and overrated songs in rock history.

For sticking points: I felt that there the movie lacked a certain zany chaos, the voices weren't always perfect (Fozzie seemed to be the least consistent) and poor Walter is just dull. His 'talent' comes right out of left field (and therefore feels unearned) and I couldn't help but feel that it was an attempt by Segal to get a version of himself enshrined into Muppet lore (not that I can blame him). However, I have a feeling that as soon as Segal vacates the producer's chair, poor Walt will end up in a box somewhere next to Roosevelt Franklin, Digit and Clifford.
Loot: Fart Shoes
Created by the wizard Wocka Wocka, this item appears to be a normal pair of leather shoes with sheep bladders afixed to the heels.

When worn the shoes make a constant amusing tooting sound, but twice a day (one for each shoe) they can release a cloud of noxious gas that will incapacitate anyone standing behind the wearer.

Halloween 2007

Netflix has this mislabeled as the original Halloween, but we decided to watch it anyway.

It is the very definition of 'pointless remake': The attempt to give Mike Meyers some psychological depth is laughable (he was child sociopath who liked masks and had a dick for a stepfather? Quick, somebody be surprised!) and the last half of the movie is yet another boring slasher chase which pits Mike against an extremely forgettable protagonist. There is nothing new or surprising or scary here, so do yourself a favour and go watch the original instead.

My biggest problem came from a mistaken impression that I'm convinced was deliberate on the part of the filmmakers. Given that I'm pretty sure that Mike had been in jail for fifteen years, I thought that the three girls were suppose to be fifteen/sixteen as well (supported by the their being in high school, general appearance, behavior and babysitting jobs), so when they start doffing their clothes throughout the second half, I started getting severely weirded out. I have absolutely no problem with women taking their clothes off, but this is skeezy, skeezy stuff.

After a bit of webcrawling, it turns out that Mike is in prison for about sixteen years total, which puts the girls' age at around seventeen. Pretty f*cking creepy.

I have no Gameraid for this, I just wanted to vent about how awful this movie was.

Sunday's Kids in the Hall Saturday

Because sometimes spending a day with the wife practising how to be the perfect couple is more important.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Back to the Red!

Robert Llewellyn, who plays the admirable Kryten on Red Dwarf has set up a blog about the filming of the tenth series!

Edit: It might help if I actually posted the link.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Faking It

The image above comes from the first series of Blackadder when he is appointed the Archbishop of Canterbury. He soon realizes that a perk to the job is making money by selling fake religious artifacts such as pieces of the cross, wine from the wedding of Canaan, stuff Jesus made when he was still a carpenter, and Mary Magdalene's bosoms.

It is not hard to find knock-offs and fakes in our world: purses, watches, movies, snake-oil medicine, Go-Bots and the Family Guy. It stands to reason that a fantasy world where magic is at least known to exist, there would be fake and knockoff magical items. These sorts of items could be sold by charlatans, honest merchants who don't know any better, or even easily availables alternatives for those who can't afford the real thing.
Real thing, or a fake? There is only one way to find out...

Knock-Off Magic Item Chart
Works the same as the regular item. May appear cheap or oddly coloured. GM rolls d12 and does not share result with the player.
1 Item doesn't work at all
2 Works 10% of the time
3 Works 25% of the time
4 Works 50% of the time
5 Works 75% of the time
6 Works d4 times before failing for good
7 Works d6 times before failing for good
8 Works d10 times before failing for good
9 Works d12 times before failing for good
10 Works d20 times before failing for good
11 Works better than original, added effect or power bonus.
12 Item is cursed!

Hey Hey We're the Adventuring Party!

My wife is a Monkees fan. In fact, it might be fair to say she is THE Monkees fan east of Montreal. She had to give an eight minute speech on the band for a class and ended up going on for twenty before they cut her off. You know the game 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon'? Well she does a variation called 'Everything Goes Back to the Monkees' and it is a rare older movie where she doesn't suddenly exclaim, "He was in the Monkees!"

Which is just the very long way of saying that I've seen a lot of Monkees episodes. Last night a thought occured to me: this is what most roleplaying sessions would look like if they happened in "real life".
In the course of having their weekly adventures, the Monkees continually broke the fourth wall, made meta-jokes about being in a television show, got into trouble and got out of it through unusual means, even if it meant bending the plot like a Strech-Armstrong doll (or even consulting the script).

While they never found the Underground Lair of Bonky the Absolutely Mad and engaged a rust monster of owlbear in mortal combat, they often went off in search of treasures and face bad guys.

Most RPG players, at one time or another, have their characters make in-game jokes, run around like idiots when they've lost the thread, or forced the Gamemaster bend the plot like a slinky to get they players back on track.
The old 'Do Not Touch This Button, Button', works every time.

Encounter: Clearly Insane Person
The party runs across a lone individual who they quickly realize, has completely lost their mind. The person is the lone survivor of a previous party; a prisoner who hs been alone for a few decades; or in the case of the Monkees, an actor from a previous series who was left behind when the show wrapped.This person has some information vital to the Party, however they are now so crazy that they can barely speak. Instead they can only string together nonsense gibberish or random words. However, the party member with the LOWEST Intelligence score somehow easily understands the gibberish. The Player of the PC is allowed to freely interpret the nonsent as they see fit, but the Clearly Insane Person can vehimently indicate the negative if the GM thinks the player has gone to far.

To convey the needed information, the GM can either have the Clearly Insane Person remember how speak after a bit of practise, or write down the info and pass it to the translate PC.

The Clearly Insane Person however, always asks for something in return for their help. While they do not want to leave their current location, they will demand something that is particularly silly.