Saturday, October 20, 2018

Star Wars Clearinghouse

Doing some notebook clearinghouse and metal tidying, so here's a summary of the Skywalker Saga Dodecology.

Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Obi-Wan finds Anakin working on a spice freighter in the Outer Rim (alongside Uncle Owen, it ought be noted). Takes the boy under his wing, hoping that his potential in the Force might save the crumbling and corrupt Order. The first battlefronts of what would become the Clone Wars are opening up, interrupting their journey to Coruscant.

Episode II: The Clone Wars

Vignettes from the Wars, spanning several years. Anakin completes his training under Obi-Wan, starts a secret relationship with senator Padme Amidala, and is assigned an apprentice (Ahsoka). Campaigns on Geonosis, Nelvaan, and in interplanetary space are featured.

Episode III: The Dark Times

The wars have dragged on for over a decade at this point. Padme is pregnant with twins. Ahsoka knows about this and has essentially been adopted into the family at this point. Anakin becomes more and more vocally critical of the Council, the Republic, and the war effort. The Council, fearful of Anakin's legendary popularity with the public, attempts to blackmail him: this drives him toward Palpatine, who capitalizes on Anakin's desire to renew the Order and see the end the war. Anakin kills most of the Jedi council during Order 66 (no child murder), duels Obi-Wan to a standstill. Anakin is rebuilt as Darth Vader, Obi-Wan flees with Padme and Ahsoka. Complications during childbirth due to lack of appropriate medical care lead to Padme's death a few days later. Leia is put under the protection of Bail Organa, to be watched over by Ahsoka; Luke is sent to Owen and Beru on Tatooine, to be watched over by Obi-Wan.

Episode IV: A New Hope

Timeskip. Plot progresses as normal. Primary deviance is that Ahsoka is present (in disguise) as Leia's bodyguard. Obi-Wan and Ahsoka fight Darth Vader aboard the Death Star - both die. Everything else remains more or less the same, barring the psychological strain of Luke being responsible for the deaths of millions. Republic established as being both the Republic government-in-exile and the remnants of the CIS.

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Plot progresses as normal, save Luke's guilt over the events in the previous movie fueling his abandonment of Yoda's teachings. The revelation of Vader as Luke's father is a surprise to the audience more because of the moment of humanity for Vader.

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Plot progresses as normal. Luke wrestles with his despair; his forgiveness of his father is also forgiveness of himself. Luke vanishes from the public eye at the end, to collect as many remnants of the Jedi as he can and work towards rebuilding both the order and the galaxy.

Episode VII: Rogue Squadron

Timeskip. The Alliance pushes towards the core. Leia is the only one of the core three to appear. Rogue Squadron manages to open a path at Borleas with the help of smuggling kingpin Talon Karrde, allowing the main fleet to reach Coruscant. Mother-fucking space battles.

Episode VIII: The Hand of Thrawn

Leia is very pregnant with twins. Luke emerges from his travels a changed man. He lays out plans for building a new Jedi Academy and the gathering of new recruits. Thrawn shows up, wrecks everyone's shit. Luke and Han meet up with Karrde to see about using his intelligence network to hold off Thrawn. Luke gets googly-eyes for Mara Jade, she thinks he's pretty swell, they start a little wink-wink nudge-nudge, it's all good. Space battle against Thrawn above Myrkr, Thrawn held off in a last-minute victory.

Episode IX: Heir to the Empire

Leia travels to Honoghr and convinces the Nohgri to switch sides. Luke and Mara fight the mad Jedi C'baoth on Wayland. Final battle with Thrawn. Jaina and Jacen Solo are born in the middle of said space battle. Han dies. Thrawn is killed by one of his bodyguards, Captain Pellaeon assumes control of the Imperial fleet and retreats to the border of the Unknown Regions in the Galactic north. Luke and Mara move to Yavin 4 in preparation for renewing the Jedi Academy.

Episode X: The Force Awakens

Significant timeskip. Luke, satisfied with his work, has handed off the Academy and has retired to a remote hermitage with Mara Jade. Rey, a jedi-in-training, is introduced as the new main character. Kyle Katarn, Corran Horn, Dorsk 81, Kirana Ti, etc are featured (at least in passing) as instructors.

Everything then goes all to shit as the Academy is sacked by an Imperial Remnant strike force, led by one Kylo Ren and the Knights of Revan. Rey barely manages to escape the assault, taking refuge on a rustbucket ship alongside Finn (Imperial defector), Poe (hotshot Republic pilot) and Rose (mechanic). They learn that the strike was one of several, all aimed at crippling a galaxy that had grown complacent. A man known only as Snoke has declared himself emperor and returned the Remnant to strength in the Unknown Regions. Rey and co. zip-zap around trying to find Luke's hermitage and avoiding Kylo and the Imperial Remnant (It's Avatar in space at this point, we're doing Avatar in space.)

Episode XI: The Last Jedi

Cannot be fixed.

For real, I have bashed my head against this wall for ten months now and I have to finally admit that i don't think it's possible. So much of TLJ is possible only by ignoring factors that lead into it, and in this setup I've written there are even MORE factors to deal with than went into the actual movie.

So the buck stops here. Substitute Avatar Season 2 for filler. Rey learns both the light and dark from Luke and Mara. There is a wound in the Force. The division of light and dark was never supposed to exist, and now the two sides devour each other in an eternal cycle.  Luke and Mara get an amazing final fight duet against Kylo Ren (who is Jacen Solo). The torch is passed for the final time to Rey. Last shot to bring balance.

Episode XII: Balance of the Whills

Rey goes to Korriban, site of the original wound in the Force, defeats Snoke (who might be channeling some Nihilus), and ends the cycle of imbalance. Form hereon there are no Jedi nor Sith, there is only the Force in balance.

Other notes 

  • Liam Neeson plays Talon Karrde.
  • The final trilogy might work better as a TV series. I am sticking to Avatar in Space.
  •  I wanted to keep changes relatively in line with the current of the existing movies (hence why TLJ was a "give up" moment - fixing requires replaced in that case)
  • Fitting Mara in the Rey trilogy was one of the more difficult things to manage. In old versions of this she was heading the search for Luke in disguise, Ben Skywalker had been killed by Kylo at the academy massacre (which of course eliminated the plot because Mara just insta-gibs Kylo on sight in that case.) and overall she just sunk the story.
  • Consider this ghost exorcised. We're done here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Guns and Kung-Fu for Knaves of All Sorts

Arky Fitzwater


The bones of this are stolen wholesale from Luke Thomson and Ben Milton (again!)

Firearms come in two basic categories.
  • Pistol - d8 damage, 1 slot, 3 quality, can be fired in melee
  • Rifle - d10 damage, 2 slots, 3 quality, disadvantage when fired into melee.
Reloading depends on what kind of gun you have.
  • Black powder - Must be reloaded after each shot, reloading takes a turn.
  • Semi-automatic - Pistols have 6 shots, rifles have 8.
I tend to imagine the cutting edge of firearms in my games to be something akin to Colt revolvers and Winchester rifles. No further than an M1 Garand. Which will still co-exist with black powder muskets. Anachronism reigns supreme.

An ammo pouch and cleaning tools take up 1 slot. It can hold 24 charges / bullets

Rifles can be affixed with a bayonet (d6 damage, 3 quality, 1 slot), which can be removed and used as a normal melee weapon if needed.
For those who want more granularity / variety among their firearms, tags can be integrated, as per Luke's post.

A standard grenade takes up 1 slot and does 2d6 damage within a 10 foot radius, ignoring armor.


Martial Arts

Fighting styles fulfill the role of both weapon and armor, and take up equivalent slots. Multiple styles may be learned by a character, but only one can be equipped at a time - switching styles requires that you have the slots available for use. New styles can only be learned by finding a master and then leveling up while in their tutelage.

Each martial art has a perk and a drawback.

49 Empty Palms - d8 damage, 14 AC, 5 slots
  • Perk - Your attacks count as magical.
  • Drawback - Known only to angels.

Peasant's Path - d6 damage, 12 AC, 2 slots
  • Perk - You blend in with crowds of commoners and rural folk.
  • Drawback - You cannot hold a position of high social status.

Wheel of the Elements - d6 damage, 13 AC, Spells: Shape Earth, Control Fire, Bend Water, Move Air, 7 slots
  • Perk - 1/2 damage from preferred element.
  • Drawback - Double damage received from opposed element.

Crane Style - d8 damage, 13 AC, 4 slots
  • Perk - Your reach is as a spear.
  • Drawback - Disadvantage when resisting knockdown.

Mountain Stance - d10 damage, 18 AC, 9 slots
  • Perk - You cannot be knocked down in this stance.
  • Drawback -You cannot leave the ground in this stance.

Pressure Point Style - 0* damage, 15 AC, 5 slots   
  • Perk - You can catch anything thrown to you.
  • Drawback -Your hands are permanently numb.
* Target must pass a CON save or be paralyzed.

Way of the Pebble - d6 damage (ranged),  14 AC, 5 slots

  • Perk - If you kill an enemy, you may make an additional attack on a second.
  • Drawback -Skin takes on a rough, unpleasant appearance.

Porcelain Fist - d10 damage, 11AC, 3 slots
  • Perk - You may damage yourself to do more damage (no greater than lvl)
  • Drawback - Healing you receive is half as effective.

Drunken Monk - 2d4 damage, 13 AC, 4 slots
  • Perk - Can use any item as an improvised weapon
  • Drawback - Must be intoxicated to use this stance.

Way of the White Hand - d6 damage 16 AC, Spells; White Hand, Black Hand, 8 slots
  • Perk - Knowledge of distant lands and cultures.
  • Drawback -Vegetarian diet, deathly feud with the Red Hand.

 Several perks / drawbacks were suggested by twocalf on the Discord server. That gif is an edit from K6BD done by Cryophage.

Monday, October 15, 2018

OSR Guide for the Perplexed, by the Perplexed, Dandyman Edition

Jumping on the bandwagon, original post here.

1. One article or blog entry that exemplifies the best of the Old School Renaissance for me:

"The Coolest Thing Ray Ever Did" by Jeff Rients, and "Orcs, Violence, and Evil" by Emmy Allen.

2. My favorite piece of OSR wisdom/advice/snark:

"No worries, we'll figure something out."

3. Best OSR module/supplement:

Kiel Chenier's Blood in the Chocolate. Perfect opening session or one-shot.

4. My favorite house rule (by someone else):

Emmy Allen's horrible wounds. Also, luck checks, either DCC's luck stat or RPPR's "call high or low on a d100".

5. How I found out about the OSR:

I was cruising around looking for 5e homebrew, stumbled across Chainsaw Chirugeon, found Goblin Punch in the sidebar, and then I just kept clicking things in his sidebar.

6. My favorite OSR online resource/toy:

Ramanan's automatic level 1 character generator, but also Purple Sorcerer's level 0 party generator. Also the Links to Wisdom.

7. Best place to talk to other OSR gamers:

G+ is still my favorite, but it's dying. The Discord server is a hip and happening place, though.

8. Other places I might be found hanging out talking games:

As above, Chris McDowell's OSR Discord server. I will eventually get on twitter, but I won't like it.

9. My awesome, pithy OSR take nobody appreciates enough:

I love having a shelf full of weird indie RPGs. Also, new blood + cross pollination is the good life.

10. My favorite non-OSR RPG:

Shadow of the Demon Lord, WEG Star Wars, Call of Cthulhu / Delta Green.

11. Why I like OSR stuff:

Simplicity breeds creativity which results in people making cool stuff which inspires other people to make other cool stuff.

12. Two other cool OSR things you should know about that I haven’t named yet:

Benton Molina's Incunabuli is some bloody fantastic prose and I can't wait for the book.
Signs in the Wilderness is mythic Americana and I can't wait for the book.

13. If I could read but one other RPG blog but my own it would be:

Goblin Punch, even though Arnold doesn't update very much any more.

14. A game thing I made that I like quite a lot is: 

The map of the Distant Lands of Diy. Mother Stole Fire and Unicron Meat too.

15. I'm currently running/playing:

Running: Everyone's favorite drug-fueled escapades across the Danscape.
Playing: Michael Kennedy's DCC Weird Marches game as Ayo the drunken monk.

16. I don't care whether you use ascending or descending AC because:

Descending is just unintuitive, not broken.

17. The OSRest picture I could post on short notice:

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

SpaceKnave Cybernetics Emporium

Jakub Rebelka

Each module takes up a single encumbrance slot, as a spell would. They may be "cast" according to Knave (one use per day, per module) or VAM rules (casts / day = level, shared among all modules). Some modules can be active all the time - in this case, invested energy is not restored.

Much of this list was torn directly from Ben Milton's Knave, and owes inspirational debt to Luke Thomson.

  1. Additional Arms - Two secondary arms.
  2. Advanced Hearing - Can hear faint noises, dampen excessive ones, filter specific sounds.
  3. Advanced Scent - Can identify and track scents.
  4. Advanced Vision - Telescopic, microscopic, enhanced clarity.
  5. Air Filter / Air Reserves - Filters out airborne toxins, provides internal storage for
  6. Body Jump - Can transfer consciousness to another entity with a cyberbrain.
  7. Brainskim - Can intercept superficial data / thoughts on local network.
  8. Catherine - Projects nanoswarm-form of woman in a blue dress who will fulfill sensible requests.
  9. Cryoprojector - Sprays a freezing mist.
  10. Cuttlefish Skin - May change skin color and texture at will; can disguise as other people.
  11. Cyberbrain - Direct brain-to-computer link and data storage device.
  12. Deafen - Temporarily deafens target.
  13. Detect Network - Detects nonstandard wireless networks.
  14. Disassembler Swarm - Nanites can break down 1 meter cube of material into components.
  15. Drone Module - Detachable, remote-controlled utility drone. Spider, snake, hover variants available.
  16. Exowomb - Provides comfortable and safe gestation of a wide range of available embryos.
  17. Foam Projector - Creates quick-hardening foam.
  18. Fog Projector - Creates a thick, cold fog.
  19. Ghostrider - Can store a secondary consciousness, requires cyberbrain.
  20. Healing Module - Any healing is made one step up the die ladder.
  21. Hibernation Module - User may sleep for up to 6 months without ill effect.
  22. Holo-Projector - Projects a moving, lifelike image.
  23. Hypercalculator - Permits high-power calculations and data-processing.
  24. Illuminator - Generates a bright light that floats about the user.
  25. Invisible Mark - You may place an AR tag that only you can see.
  26. Language Module - You may understand and speak languages they do not normally know.
  27. Library Card -  May ask research questions of the DM about specific subjects.
  28. Lockpick Module - Forcibly-opens a mechanical or electric lock.
  29. Magnetic Grips - Hands and feet may become magnetized.
  30. Marble Mania - Your pockets are filled with remote-controlled marbles.
  31. Mechanitendril - Prehensile mechanical tendril.
  32. Mindjack - Can hack into an inhabited cyberbrain.
  33. Nanovampire - Drains nanites from target individual or hive for health or additional implant usages.
  34. Night Vision - Grants greyscale, medium-range vision in low-light environments.
  35. Opposable Feet - Can hold and manipulate items with feet.
  36. Phobia / Aggression / Peace - Engenders
  37. Printer Module - Can print an item with time, blueprint, and raw resources.
  38. Protective Nanohive - Counteracts nanotech hazards.
  39. Q-Net Uplink - Permits access to the Q-Net, with all danger and reward that entails.
  40. Recover Data - Can bring back contents of damaged cyberbrain or computer.
  41. Reward Center - Grants dopamine shot or pain according to programmed criteria.
  42. Sensory Jack - You may scramble the sensory inputs of a single target.
  43. Sockpuppet - False identity, in case of emergency.
  44. Spider Grip - You can keep a grip on flat surfaces
  45. Springheel Feet - Aids in long-distance jumping.
  46. Temporal Perception Modulator - Accelerates or slows target's perception of time.
  47. Thermal Vision - Grants heat-sensing vision.
  48. Trollnet - Botswarm in a bottle, comes with selection of pre-programmed ideologies and behaviors.
  49. Web Projector - Creates a sticky silken web.
  50. X-Ray Vision - Grants vision through walls.

Monday, October 8, 2018

d66 Folk

The King in Yellow once sought to make a record of all the Folk in the world. Under the tutelage of Bai Ze of the White Marsh he learned the names and natures of 11,520 types of magical beings, and wrote them all down in a single text.

The King said to Bai Ze: "Surely now that I have learned the names and natures of the 11,520 kin, I have made a record of all the Folk?"

Bai Ze said to the King: "You have not yet named a grain of sand in all the deserts of the universe."

Knowing that the great power of the White Marsh spoke the truth, the King despaired in his attempt, destroyed his text, and delved into more achievable fields of sorcery. Only references to fragments now remain.

The list below avoids the King in Yellow's folly by listing only some of those Folk who typically wear a form similar to man. It does not include the multitudes of spirits of the waters, wilds, and winds, which are well beyond counting, nor those who take the guise of animals, nor those who appear as outrageous monsters.

Justin Gerard

d66 Folk

11. Álfar - The cold kings and cruel queens in the from the Courts Beneath the Hills. They loathe and despise humanity for the insults made by Mother long ago. Why they wear man's face is not known; Mockery, perhaps.

12. Forest People - The Old Ones. Also called the First Folk, for they were the first to form a compact with Mother when she wandered the world as Clever Lu. The lords and ladies among them will wear robes of emerald and gold, and masks of celestial bronze.

13. Nymph - They take on the appearance of beautiful women, with their forms further shaped by the clime and environment. As they are found near-everywhere, this leads to a boggling array of phenotypes. (Mountain nymphs are rough and craggy and white-haired, river nymphs might be slender and blue or wide and brown, farmland nymphs are plump and smell of fresh-tilled earth, etc.)

14. Woodwose - Huge, hairy, gamboling; whose beards are filled with moss and whose skin is daubed with woad. They are often seen in the company of nymphs

15. Dwarf - The people of the Mountain King. Velvet fur, beaded eyes, pink star noses. None in all the world knows the earth and its treasures than the dwarves, and none may beat them in the making of metals and the cutting of gems.

16. Brownie - Spirits of house and home. Small as a cat, with big eyes, wide ears, brown skin, and nimble fingers. Will help out around the dwelling (catching pests, watching over children) in exchange for milk or whiskey and a warm cabinet to rest in. A brownie may venture beyond its home by carrying a fragment of the house with them (brownies who have lost their homes to disrepair or disaster are most commonly seen like this, carrying around little reliquaries on their backs).

21. Goblin - Everyone knows a goblin when they see one. Or hear one. Or smell one. You usually hear or smell them first. As subtle as a pie in the face or a bomb down the drawers, they are.

22. Hobgoblin - Sterile goblin females*. Humorless guards of the Goblin Queens and the masters of the Market. Fond of punctuality, laconism, and straight lines.

23. Jack-Puck - A goblin who has "gone legit" (or what passes for it among goblins); masters of the Goblin market. They are very, very wealthy, and so wear fine and fashionable garments. Less comedically ugly than normal goblins, still comedically ugly.

24. Gremlin - Pesky little bastards, smeared in soot and oil. They have an infinite curiosity for mechanical devices and  complicated trinkets, and enjoy nothing more than pulling something apart and putting it back together to achieve an entirely different function.

25. Kodama - Little wooden figurines a palm in height. They will peek out from the leaves and watch lonely travelers pass them by, whispering as if caught in the wind. They are considered good fortune, for their presence means the forest is healthy.

26. Troll - Huge and hunch-shouldered, with elephant's skin pebbled with riverbed stones. They wallow in rivers and lakes, or live alone in caves. They tend to keeping their monolithic troll-stones, through which one might speak to another across hundreds of leagues. They do not enjoy company in general (and hat goats in particular), but are fond of the birds that clean their teeth.

31. Wangoonie - Inhabitant of billabongs deep in the Red Desert. Territorial and terribly rude, like stealing things form travelers.

32. Red-Head -  Inhabitants of battlefields. They wear scavenged armor and dip their head-scarves in fresh blood. They dance and parade about with the heads of the fallen on pikes, mocking the dead for their folly. A violent and callous bunch.

33. Spookum - A general term for a unique, absurd being that appears during the mischief of Goblinwatch; alternatively, another name for the Bugaboo.

34. Mona Llarona - A horse-headed woman in a tattered white dress. Sometimes seen carrying a deceased infant. Weeps softly and without end; if disturbed, she will let out a bowel-loosening wail and pursue until a threshold is passed, or the intruders killed.

35. Shadow People - A shadow without a caster. Seen mostly in twos and threes, sometimes in great crowds, but never alone. They make no noise, and seem to take no notice of anything around them as they go about business that we cannot see.

36. Bogie - Pimple-faced, bug-eyed, snaggle-toothed, pencil-necked, drippy-nosed, nasal-voiced terribly awkward, occasionally frightsome pain in the craw.

41. Wispherder -  Body and limbs made of twigs. The head is a big brass lamp filled with green-blue fire, where will o'wisps are gathered up until it is time to release them into their swampy pastures.

42. Grey - Oversized heads, gigantic black eyes, clammy grey skin. About the size of a child. They will sneak into homes in the night, daze people with sleep paralysis, and be a general bother.

43. Uufoo - Discs, rods, pyramids, columns, decorated with glowing spots and coruscating colors. They fly about here and there without direction or purpose that men can gather. Very skittish Folk, they are never on the ground for long.

44. Mothfolk - They cannot stand the gaze of the sun, but love it dearly. On quiet mornings one might see them out on the hills, backs to the east, hoping to feel dawn's warmth before they descend to their burrows.

45. Slender Men - Faceless. Limbs like dead trees. Much, much too tall. Live deep in the woods. Feed on and spread paranoia, said to kidnap children and turn up the occasional mutilated body.

46. Druf - Squat, wide, wrinkly, wispy hair, conniving, shouting, spitting. Wears giant shoes and ill-fitting suits. Hates everyone and everything. Eternal enemy of the krump

51. Krump - Big, lopsided, striped, simple, blunt, brutish. Wear big hats and like cats, but not much else. Eternal enemy of the druf.

52. Mooncalf - Silvery skin, eyes too-widely spaced, gormless lopsided grins.  They never seem to figure out how bones and muscles work, and so flop and tumble their way. Should you see one on the road, give him your coat and he's  pay you in kind eventually.

53. Brindlebrook - Sleek like a mountain cat, they will stalk you through the hills for days, leaving you only glimpses in the twilight.

54. Hullabaloo - About the size of a bear. About the volume of a very, very, very loud bear. About the energy level of something that is far more boisterous than a bear. Bright purple, yellow, pink orange and other sherbet tones.

55. Lost Boys - Their bodies are those of young boys, their faces are those of ancient men. They serve Pan, the Black Goat, and are known for kidnappings, bonfires, wild and raucous hunts.

56. Grubbins - Collect hoards of treasure in their dens. Treasure to a grubbin is mostly refuse and garbage, however, but they take care of it fastidiously and let not a broken button roll out of place. They are very touchy about their precious collections.

61. Marefolk - Of significantly greater variety than landbound painters tend to attribute them, they have been seen with the traits of all manner of fish, sharks, cetacians, mollusks, cephalopods, nudibanchs, pinnepeds, corals, sponges, sirenians, and crustaceans. Those who live further way from the sea tend to fuse syllables and call them merfolk. A fierce band of black and white marefolk serve as Orca's honor guard.

62. Lantern Jacks - The dark coat of a highwayman, a pumpkin for a head with a fire inside. Roam lonely country roads near Goblinswatch, cutlass held high, drunken voice laughing and singing.

63. Lichwatchers - Hunchbacks in filthy grey rags, a single golden eye glowing at the end of a serpentine neck. They perch atop graves and cairns, staff in hand, watching and waiting for the restless dead.

64. Gobsmacker - Nearly perfectly round (or rather, nearly perfectly egg-shaped), they launch themselves through the air at great force with their door-sized hands. Easily identified by raucous laughter approaching from above.

65. Blodfiester - Potbellied  bloodsuckers, whose head is a ball of needles atop a giraffe's neck. Covered in downy feathers, glow read around the stomach.

66. Hidebehind - A docile and gentle creature made entirely unsettling by the fact that it is always behind you and so cannot be seen.

* This is not entirely true. Goblins, like all Folk, do not beget and are neither male nor female - the structure of goblin family is theorized to be a parody of human life. The most commonly held theory is that when a goblin's material form is destroyed, it will be 'born' again from its broodmother. this is also a handy explanation as to why goblins enjoy slapstick violence so much.

Tony DiTerlizzi


  1. Arctic
  2. Bush
  3. Desert
  4. Mountain
  5. Marsh
  6. Swamp
  7. Freshwater
  8. Saltwater
  9. Mushroom Jungle
  10. Rainforest
  11. Deciduous Forest
  12. Hills
  13. Tundra 
  14. Steppe
  15. Coral Reef
  16. Abyssal Ocean
  17. Savanna
  18. Coniferous Forest 
  19. Temperate Wetlands
  20. Urban


  1. Humanoid
  2. Animal
  3. Plant
  4. Artifact
  5. Natural Object
  6. Natural Phenomenon
  7. Hybrid
  8. Other

Words of the World

Humans who spend time among the Folk may learn their secret language. Sages, witches, hermits, shaman, and so on might know some of the following tongues.

  1. of Birds and Beasts
  2. of Deeps and Waters
  3. of Earth and Stones
  4. of Fire and Coals
  5. of Tree and Flower
  6. of Snows and Ice
  7. of Skies and Breezes 
  8. of Rains and Storms

Monday, October 1, 2018

Play Report: High Times in the Fungal Core (Danscape ep 4 & 5)

Previously on the Danscape: Wolves, Amazons, and the newest incarnation of Lantern Boy. A double header this time. As usual, the crew of the Divided Survival Probability is:
  • Waterblossom: eladrin magelander, organ farm escapee, frail bag of trauma (Michael K)
  • Blake, former gigolo, social climber, space drug addict, exiled queen (FM Geist)
  • Gavel, horrific space-wolf-man creature (Martin O)

Episode 4: A Requiem for Thimble Slim

With Blake in dire need of plastic surgery and Gavel cursed to space-wolfhood and use of a vocal synthesizer that replaces all curses with 'spaghetti', the crew makes their way to the myceliumated habitat of the Fungal Core, seeking out the aid of a diasporic amazon clan (known for their terrible, clashing-pattern fashion sense). They are aided by Ed, Sasquatch fighter (Sam P).

The coupon for plastic surgery is only good for part of the deal (and the curse must be broken by collecting the tongue of a noted astrologer), so Madam Ratsi (of Madam Ratsi's House of Fashion) says she'll cover the rest if the crew can put the squeeze on this flake by the name of Thimble Slim.

Tracking down Thimble Slim takes them around the Core, and we learn:

  • The astrologer is currently dead, his tower blocked up.
  • Street Mimes are allergic to water, and lay invisible eggs (Ed has one)
  • Cordyceps-infested space pigeons are everywhere.
  • Lantern Boy was left at the public library to learn the terrible secrets of warfare, at Blake's direction.
  • A book on astrology is then checked out of the library.
They are eventually able to track down Thimble Slim to a seedy dive called the Red Heron Bar & Brothel. Some slick talking with the bouncer (who is all for teaching Slim a lesson) persuaded him to send Slick into the back alley when he came in.

The crew devours a bucket of pigeon-wings with blue moon cheese sauce while they wait.

After half an hour or so, the back door is thrown open and Thimble Slim is tossed out. He is then, through clever application of hot cheese sauce, forced to read through the book of Astrology. While slim's head is holographic, the stump of his neck still contained a tongue-like muscle-flap, which was then removed. What remains of his stuffing is beaten out of him for walking out on paying his bill.= at madam Ratsi's.

Returning to the salon, Blake gets his surgery. Gavel decides to forgo breaking his curse, and just gets full-body augmentation surgery so now he's some horrific bipedal space-wolf-man with a human head inside his mouth, spreading fear and terror wherever he goes. Ed gets a nano sleeve tattoo of fake advertisements. Lantern boy continues reading strategy books.

This section has probably my favorite bizarre-gross monster description I have ever used, as an exotic dancer in the Red Heron - a cross between a tube-worm colony and the Diana of Ephesus.

Episode 5: Stone Cold Fremen Lantern Boy

Some time has passed since the last installment, and the group has settled in, more or less, in the Fungal Core. The crew is joined by Waterblossom's friend from his brief cult interlude: Rob, the corrupted anti-mutant (Max Cantor).  Blake decides to become a queen. Gavel embraces his horrible space-wolf-man form and starts on the path of the Very Good Dog. Blake and Gavel inject themselves with spell tumors, no side effects yet.

Blake immediately casts Date Ward, preventing his death for the next four days.

News arrives that Salamander Lady and her resistance have made good on the weapon recovered in Episode 3 - the Aboleth is dead. The good news is overshadowed by the fact that Salamander Lady has thrown Blake under the bus and stolen all the glory and fame for herself.

More importantly, news arrives that FRIDAY NITE FITE-DROME is to be held at St. Pugilist's orphanarium. Lantern Boy, having been pushed onto the militant path, requests entry. Gavel and Blake agree and support the choice, Waterblossom gibbers helplessly.

Lantern Boy is signed up for the Dunkeldronk Urchins' Fighting Union and, through the combined power of studying military strategy and Gavels Really Good Dog moral support, beats the ever loving shit out of the first half of the fights and goes into halftime 5-0.

It is here that the crew see none other than a destitute and clearly traumatized Corrin Shen, who has falled all the way to betting, and losing, on underground orphan fights. Blake makes contact and advises him (as his doctor, Queen Doctor Glitterhammer) to bet everything on "Stone Cold Fremen" Lantern Boy.

The trio finish off half time by giving LB a hidden scalpel-shank, some space cocaine, and the Weird Chair (as provided by the spell of the same name)

Rounds 6-9 are once again a shoe-in (save a significant loss in Round 7). Round 10 reveals itself to be not against another orphan, but a tall, pale man by the name of Osric the Shrike. (Spoilers: he is definitely a vampire) Blake attempts to get the crowd riled up, and instead manages to trigger no less than 16 potential suitors, drawn to his beautiful queenliness.

Round 10 is simple - score three hits, and the money is theirs. Gavel uses his spell _Find Strike_ to determine that Shrike has been stabbed in the general heart region recently (this was to imply that his heart was on the other side - it did not actually matter, as we will see.)

Lantern Boy (now under the control of the players) decides to go in with the Weird Chair as a weapon. With each strike it blackens and twists out of shape, until with the third hit it shatters and summons a horrible bloodshot eye demon that droops down from the ceiling.

Everyone panics. Gavel throws down his own Summon, grabs Lantern boy, and attempts to flee, taking damage from the Eye's great tentacle eyelashes. Blake and Waterblossom fight back, joined now by the out of control blood demon that Gavel had summoned.

But a few fans of the hammer and some torpedo sharks are enough to take down the Eye. Waterblossom flees, and Blake remains behind to take advantage of Date Ward.  He manages to beat the blood demon to death, though is reduced to ground beef and salsa in the process.

With the money from the fights, the crew looks towards future investments: reconstructive surgery to fix Blake, a hydroponic drug garden for the ship, and potentially tracking down blake's potential henchman-husbands or going after Waterblossom's organ-stealing creators.

The question is no longer "how will Lantern Boy die?"

It has become "how will anyone else survive?"


Beloch's Questions

  1. Thimble Slim was wronged, and absolutely knows. Osric the Shrike, ditto.
  2. Stealth and this party are not things that go together.
  3. Corrin Shen, if he survived, made a whole lot of money off of LB.
  4. After the Orphanarium disaster, unrest is spreading through the habitat as people turn up dead or mangled.
  5. "We're horrible people!"
  6. Lantern Boy is now a common name in the FITE-DROME circuit.
  7. Revenge upon the organ farmers (Waterblossom), dealing with henchmen husbands (Blake), seeking out Blake's king to reclaim his kingdom (also Blake)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Dan's Notebook of Unfinished Wonders, vol 2

The time has come, the walrus said, to dump unused ideas. Here's the second installment of the Notebook of Unfinished Wonders (see here for vol 1) wherein I exorcise all the dust bunny ideas taking up pagespace and mindshare. Following the list are some more developed things (or at least, enough that they need more than one sentence)

List of Minor Ideas

  1. Earthquakes drive away the undead, as they disrupt the earth-current those creatures leech from. Religiously, they are deliverance through destruction.
  2. The first churches on the island were built in long-quiet lava tubes, sanctuaries fortified against the dangers of the outside world.
  3. Time travel works, but only on the scale of millions of years. It is terribly inaccurate, and return beacons are insanely valuable to that end.
  4. The Red Priesthood of Quantum Bullshit
  5. Scout ships run on isolated time travel loops, returning to their origin point with tens of thousands of years worth of accumulated data.
  6. A people: tall, white-skinned, with thin vertical black stripes.
  7. Elves are physically immortal, but not mentally. They will eventually go mad, undergo brain-death, and then be reborn as (mental) infants.
  8. Elves control magically-fertile territory in the midst of apocalyptic wasteland under the control of the Emerald Emperor. Humans as third-class citizens.
  9. Class: Vessel Knight - Container of a mystic essence.
  10. Class: Hellmerchant - Sells people afterlife insurance in the great Oversouls.
  11. Class: Warframe Operator - Frames have 4 powers mapped to GLOG spell-like abilities.
  12. Kobold Alternatives
    1. Lamprey Lackeys
    2. Gecko Guys
    3. Cursed Fetus
    4. Gremlins Who Want to Die 
    5. Scab-Lads
  13. "I went up the river in a rusty canoe / what do you think I saw? / All manner of wriggling creeping things / freed up by the thaw."
  14. Jungian archetypes converted to character archetypes, law / chaos alignment variants.
  15. Character attributes based on the ancient Egyptian soul
    1. khat (physical body)
    2. k / ka (vital essence)
    3. jb / ib (heart; emotion, thought, will)
    4. b / ba  (personality, character)
    5. swt (shadow; secrets and hidden things)
    6. rn /ren (name)
    7. hw (intelligence and wisdom)
  16. Mechanic: orc-as disease, half-orc as infection
  17. Wizarding graduation regalia - highly symbolic, easy identification of specialization.
  18. The Alliance of 9 Worlds, formed 2192/2487
  19. The Dolorous Guard (Bill Norman, the Doorman)
  20. The mad Train-God, chaos lord, carving paths of hideous portent along ley lines.
  21. Moth-men worship the sun, but cannot stand its gaze. they look west at dawn before retreating to their caves.
  22. They came to worship the great and ancient beasts frozen in amber there...
  23. Goddess with blue skin, cloud hair, rust lips
  24. Vampires are anaerobic transhumans, used as the vanguard of colonization attempts.
  25. Meeting of posthuman seedship-derived species on a neutral space station.
  26. A sort of otherspace in the Pacific, fantastic islands impossible to reach through mundane navigation.
  27. As above, but in a warm, inland sea in the center of Antarctica.
  28. Asymmetrical long-war gives rise to elaborate and strict codes of conduct & courtesy.
  29. Typical grey saucer-aliens arrive after WW2, give human beings superpowers, it's actually a ploy to aid in their reproductive cycle.
  30. Grimdark low-magic little ice age euro-fantasy gives way to warm, colorful new age under the emergence of new gods. PCs were in stasis while the change occurred (Medusa is probable)
  31. White cloaks, black faces. Masks?
  32. "Will cast spells for food" - wizarding job market collapsed.
  33. What's In the Black Sarcophagus Dug Up From Underneath Corpathium / Vornheim / the Yellow City, etc?
    1. Actual literal Alexander the Pretty Okay
    2. Flamboyant, impossibly ripped vampire
    3. Oozing, billowing, tarry smoke cloud, animated
    4. Three skeletons and red goo 
    5. Legendary monkey-king
    6. Barnacle-encrusted skeleton with a sword (cursed)
    7. Mummified giraffe with no bones
    8. Dodecacephalon, hibernating
    9. A strairway down
    10. ???
  34. Ocean world, tidally locked, city in eye of perpetual dayside hyper-cane
  35. Mandragora - man-dragon - mandrake
  36. LG = constructive, CG = corrective, LE = exploitative, CE = destructive
  37. Cursed fiddles won from devils
    1. The Golden Standard
    2. A curled black horn, stinks of brimstone
    3. Ragged chunk of blood-red rock
    4. Rotten wood, quills and hairs
    5. Bruised flesh, dripping viscera
    6. Jagged, salt-crusted ice
  38. Stained glass creatures
  39. Yugchuth - a monster?
  40. Race: The Gogal
  41. Atwa - like a sphinx with a red face.
  42. Shroedinger's Box - "It is not a cat."
  43. "Succubus" - grey skin, folds like a shar-pei. Needle teeth, mother-of-pearl gums and tongues. Crown of thumb-sized horns. Young chew their way out of the parent.
  44. The Mississippi Line - monoliths raised along the river between 2000 and 2019, to defend against the dangers of the West.
  45. Ghosts: condensed, suspended in a medium, smoked as an intoxicant.
  46. Palad: a god - bleeds from mouth, hands, feet. speaks with a halo of word-symbols.
  47. A wild god: a gigantic winged centipede with pale placid human faces. 
  48. Belen's Folly - city built upon crashed von-neumann probe.
  49. Tyrants and autocrats love developing their own strain of orcs.
  50. Rations
    1. Brick of dried octopus
    2. Cave-lichen slurry
    3. Ooze jellycubes
    4. Soulcake
    5. Salamander jerky
    6. Pungon-pig
  51. Minor Creatures
    1. Hearth axolotls
    2. Eel axolotls
    3. 9-Life Chinchilla
    4. Sky Manta
    5. Angel Hair
    6. Priest-Strangler
    7. Penny Dreadful
    8. Kaiser Roller
    9. Tigerpenguin
    10. Spiderhino
    11. Tinglecreep
    12. Insomnia Imp
  52. Skeleton Zen Philosophy
  53. War-cult trying to keep their god satisfied and distant by their conquest, begin each battle with chanted pleas for forgiveness.
  54. Race: sealed iron casks, carried around by eunuch servitors
  55. Race: Small clay men filled with birds
  56. Race: Spiral trees growing out of the stomachs of quadruped slaves/
  57. Race: Tiny ceramic-shelled things, oozy and red inside.
  58. Pixies are little proxy bodies of a central bulb.
  59. Joan of Arc, on Barsoom.
  60. Goliaths are meat-suits built by halfling fleshcrafters out of the corpse of the god of war, who died because he was a fucking idiot and didn't realize that being the god of war did not mean he was the god of winning.
  61. Orcs are to humans as humans are to firbolgs. There is a gradient to disassociation with the world. Humans had a serpent, orcs have something worse.  
  62. Elves will make up the ranks of the Horsemen when the end of the world is nigh. They also speak the language of Chaos from NIER. They do not have souls.
  63. Dwarves speak Persian / Babylonian / Akkadian
  64. Orcs all have flowery descriptive titles and everything is double meanings and euphemisms.
  65. Places the Unnamed Monk has heard of that exist: the Kingdom of Prester John, Oz, Wonderland, the Nightlands, the Dreamlands, the Antipodes, Liliput, Brobdingnag, Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib, the land of the Houyhnhnms, Barsoom, and Tormance.

The Capitalism Monster

As adult or older dragon. Cannot fly, cannot move without great effort. Long sinuous neck, head like a bug-eyed reptilian vulture. Excessive corpulence provides protection instead of scales. Wallows in pool of knee-to-waist deep effluvia. Can bite at a distance due to neck, can claw and those close by, breath weapon shit-slurry containing the half-digested remains of artists and laborers. They gather weak-willed minions to their payroll by the horde.

Eats treasure and corpses. You get XP and schlorb when you feed it. Schlorb can...
  • be used as money (inflation means it's only taken by the gallon)
  • be used as food (barely nourishing, tastes just unpleasant enough that you'll swallow it)
  • restore health (not as effective as medical care or rest)
  • be used as a source of light and heat (burns dirty and inefficiently)
Schlorb is thick, oily, adipose-yellow in color, and mildly carcinogenic.

Items that would be used instead of schlorb  are rare to the point of treasure in regions where Capitalism Monsters have taken root.

Class: Atavist Druid

The savage men of the woods.

Gains 1 spell die per HD of animal sacrificed or dose of natural hallucinogenic consumed. Can hold max charges equal to WIS, but can only invoke up to level (max 4) per spell.

Perk: Advantage to resist disease.
Drawback: Must eat raw meat

  1. Speak with birds - Little dinosaur bastards...
  2. Excessive Fertility - Effective on plants and animals.
  3. Third Eye Open - Can see invisible objects, glyphs and wards, ghosts and spirits.
  4. Chakra Cleansing - Purge negative mental / spiritual effects, sans curses
  5. Seeking Knife - An enchanted knife will seek to break off in an enemy's heart.
  6. Eater of the Dead - Gain memories of recently deceased.
  7. Growth in Death - Grow a magical tree from a corpse.
  8. Summon the Unseen - Calls forth bacterial flora.
  9. Red in Tooth - You may bite as a sword.
  10. Destroy Lesser Laws - Destroys books and symbols
  11. Animal Shapechange - All it needs is the skin.
  12. Spirit Walk - Step your soul out of your meditating body.

Class: Sin Eater

Practitioner of the old and ancient school of maluphagy.

As cleric.
  • Seal of Confession - loses powers if any statement made or sin confessed is revealed to another party. Powers may be regained with appropriate appeal.
  • Heard it All Before - Familiar with a broad scope of the horrible, shocking, and deviant.
  • Cold Iron Stomach - You are immune to negative magical effects in your food.
Spell charges are gained through a symbolic meal. One hour of hearing confessions will provide 1d4 charges. May safely store charges equal to WIS. Can cast safely as many times equal to level per day, save vs magic for each further casting.

I don't have a spell list for this one.  Use whatever you like. I recommend Diabolism from Wonder & Wickedness.

Spell Failures
  1. Stored sins now count as encumbering items until next dawn.
  2. Burn all charges, summon a demon of equal HD.
  3. Start oozing hot, sticky, flammable tar.
  4. Crippling heart and stomach pains.
  5. Stunned by the immense wickedness of man.
  6. All that consumed bad karma hits you until the next dawn.
  7. Gain a horrifying, demonic countenance for a day.
  8. Terrible shakes, drop all items.

Found in the Great Abyss

  • Thermal Vents
  • Trenches
  • Whalefalls
  • Atlantis
  • Volcanic Ridges
  • Ghost Coral
  • False Suns
  • Lost Rivers
  • Red Worms
  • Hags
  • Trilobites
  • Bone Kings
  • Anglerfish
  • Light Shepherds
  • Benthic Sirens
  • Deep Ones 

Monk Stances

Treated as combinations of weapons and armor, take up equal encumbrance spots (treating this as Knave). Stance-specific special moves treated as additional spell. New stances must be discovered. Stances may use STR, DEX, or WIS as primary bonus.