Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Class: The Folk

“Faërie contains many things besides elves and fays, and besides dwarfs, witches, trolls, giants, or dragons; it holds the seas, the sun, the moon, the sky; and the earth, and all things that are in it: tree and bird, water and stone, wine and bread, and ourselves, mortal men, when we are enchanted.”
- Tolkien, On Fairy Stories.

“We do not want merely to see beauty... we want something else which can hardly be put into words- to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses, and nymphs and elves.”
-C.S. Lewis

Xia Chenjie

Class: The Folk


Folk possess only two stats, Forma and Numen (Form and Presence, if you roll that way,).

Forma (FRM): The strength of the Folk's physical manifestation. Folk can withstand damage equal to their FRM before losing their material body. They may re-manifest in FRM / NMN modifier days, rounding up (ignore negatives). When you level up, roll d20: if it is higher than your Forma, increase that score by 1.

Numen (NMN): The strength of the Folk's true being. Tied with the health of their home locus: each act that honors / desecrates this locus will increase / decrease this stat by one. If the modifier is negative, the locus has become polluted and the Folk corrupted. If NMN is reduced to 0, the Folk fades completely and cannot return.

Roll 4d4 for Forma; Numen always begins at 10.You may subtract up to 2 from one score and add it to the other.

Saves are resolved by rolling under the appropriate stat.

Folk do not gain experience or levels: instead, the templates a Folk possesses are equal to its Numen modifier. They will always possess the traits of template 0.

Templates


0) Folk Magic, Words of the World, 2 Power

N1) +1 Power

N2) + 1 Power

N-1) Sickly Nature, -1 Power, +1 Corruption

N-2) Polluted, +2 Corruption


Folk Magic


Certain magics are universal among all of the Folk. They are:
  • The ability to change shape as they wish.
  • The ability to appear and disappear as they will.
  • Knowledge of the language of all birds and beasts.
  • The ability to be heard in a man's native tongue.
Folk are tied to their home, whether it be a single tree or an entire biome; they cannot pass far beyond the border of their locus without invoking 2 Power for the duration of their journey.


Words of the World


There is no separation between the Folk and the world, and this is their greatest magic.

Invoking Words of the World requires Power. Power is invoked for as long as the effect is active, and returns when the effect is dispersed. Actions will scale depending on how much Power is invoked.

(This is all just barely tweaked from Kevin Crawford's system in Godbound, by the by.)
  • Damage against a single target (1d6 /1d8 / 1d10 / 1d12)
  • Damage against multiple targets (1d4 / 1d6 / 1d8 / 1d10)
  • Gain armor or defenses (as leather / as chain / as plate / as plate and shield)
  • Resist damage or an effect(damage reduction, damage resistance, countering spell effects, etc)
  • Hinder or weaken an enemy (Penalties to hit, take extra damage, status effects, etc.)
  • Create something
  • Change something
  • Other
For Folk operating outside of their homes, roll d6 for each point of Power invoked. Dice that come up as 6 are considered burnt until the next day.

Sickly Nature


Folk whose numen has been severely damaged take a 1d6 penalty to all rolls that they make, and they may not leave their home territory.

Corruption acts the same way as Power, though it is fit only for foul and misbegotten uses. When it is invoked, the Folk must make a Numen save, or will lose 1 point in that score.

Polluted Form


At this point the Folk has either faded to near-nothing (and thus cannot / will not act), or embraced its corruption and transformed into an abomination. Some small fragments of its old essence might still remain, but drawing them out is next to impossible.

All those who encounter must make a save vs magic at -4 to avoid contracting sickness or curse, per turn. No save may be made for direct physical contact.

Folk who have reached this level of corruption will often attempt to survive by severing themselves completely from their home. This should not be allowed to happen.

 
tvonn9


 Folk PCs

There are uncountable varieties of the Folk that might be found in the great wide world. I'll have a post detailing some of them later down the line.

The most common Folk that might be found in the company of dungeon hobos and the like will be nymphs, woodwose, brownies, goblins, and talking animals.

Needless to say, any Folk who would end up in such a situation already positively inclined towards humanity - there are more of these than one might think, considering the many alliances Mother made in the distant past.

Outside of fools and the truly foul, Folk traveling in the world of men will be met with great respect.

The greatest threat to the Folk is the growing tumor of Hell - fending off this threat will bring many Folk to call upon mankind for aid, or offer theirs in kind.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Methods of Detection

This is a follow up to my earlier post on material replacements for Protection from Evil. This time around, it's replacements for Detect, a spells that falls into the same category of being applicable to a great deal of things, but never differentiating between the things it's looking for.

Dowsing Rod (Detects materials or individuals)


A split length of wood with an internal chamber of half a thumb's size. When a substance is placed within the chamber, the rod will point towards the nearest source of that substance. This property can be used to find specific individuals, so long as the user is in possession of the target's name and some part of their body.

Dowsing rods may be found in the possession of witches, hedge wizards, and other magic users.

Shamble (Detects worked magic)


A makeshift device of twigs, string, and whatever's on hand that can detect nearby human-worked magic. A trade secret of witches.

Shambles are temporary things, and cannot be bought. One might, however, be able to persuade a witch to teach them the craft of it.

White Leech (Detects disease)


Turns a foul brown-red color when feeding upon those with a severe bacterial or viral infection.

A dose at the local barber's costs 5s.

Bezoar Powder (Detects poison)


Low-quality bezoars are ground up into a powder that can detect, but not cure, poison. If sprinkled upon or mixed into a poisonous substance, it will let off a pinkish smoke.

A bag of bezoar powder, enough for 3 uses, costs 50 silver.

Canary in a Cage (Detects poison gas)


Dies when exposed to toxic gas. Depending on the toxicity of the gas, players will have to resist effects immediately, or in 1d6 turns.

The wicker cage costs 5 silver, the canary 10.

Dog or cat (Detects ghosts, Folk, and other spirits)


The easiest and most reliable method, though it is likewise the broadest and least specific. Prone to false alarms triggered by the mailman or the feline desire to fuck with people.

Common pets cost 1-10 silver.

Soulwood Bough (Detects angels and demons)


A length of fragrant, silvery wood. Blooms white in the presence of angels, and black in that of demons.

Can be found in the possession of some magic-users and priests.

Angeldown (Detects evil spirits)

Delicate white feathers that will catch with brilliant gold-orange-blue-white fire when in the presence of a demon. Evil spirits trapped in its light will take an additional 1 damage per turn, per feather.

A single feather costs 50 silver in regions angels frequent, and 500+ silver where they do not.





Sunday, May 20, 2018

Mother Stole the Flailsnails

Regovrso
Decided it was time to throw out a player's guide for games I run. This will be updated, changed, and tweaked as needed in the future.

Basic Stuff 

  • Lamentations of the Flame Princess as a base, Shadow of the Demon Lord initiative gets thrown in there too and don't be alarmed if I say "boon" or "bane" at some point.
  • Stats are 3d6, arranged as you want.
  • Starting money is 3d6 x 10 silver dollars.
  • Games will take place in the setting of Mother Stole Fire, unless stated otherwise.

Classes

FLAILSNAILS principles are in effect, so anything even roughly compatible is A-OK. Daniel Dean has a really good list of options, and there are plenty more lying around the blogosphere. Make one of your own if you want. If you're feeling lazy, roll below.

  1. Red Hat Hobo
  2. White Hat Hobo
  3. Wizard / Witch
  4. Cleric
  5. Link-Boy / Lantern-Girl
  6. Rake
  7. Barber 
  8. Paladin
  9. Hauflin
  10. Lilu
  11. Amazon
  12. Wanderer
  13. Conspiritor (On the Shoulders of Giants)
  14. Corpse-Worker (On the Shoulders of Giants)
  15. Prize Fighter (On the Shoulders of Giants)
  16. Witch Doctor (On the Shoulders of Giants)
  17. Stewpot Witch (Chromatic Soup 1)
  18. Merchant Knight (Chromatic Soup 1)
  19. Inventor Necromancer
  20. Goblin, more different Goblin
Wizards use the GLOG magic sysem, though you don't have to worry about any of the additional templates if you don't want to. Beyond the schools developed by Arnold, you can also look through those made by Skerples or myself.  Don't forget the summoner!

Other Notable Bits


Expanded Equipment List

The Monster Menu-All

HP and Healing 

Shields Shall be Splintered!

Think I'm missing something? Give me a holler.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Class: Allomancer

I've got a friend who's a big Sanderson fan, who asks every so often about running the Mistborn Adventure Game. The odds of that are low, so I did this instead.

Evan Montiero

Class: Allomancer


HP, XP, to-hit: as cleric.
Saves: as specialist.
Restrictions: Cannot wear heavier than leather.
Starting Equipment: Obsidian dagger (1d6, shatters on a 1 causing bleed effect), mistcloak ( +1 AC)

A: Allomancy, 2 metals
B: Into the Mists, +2 metals 
C: Emergency Shot, +2 metals 
D: Burner Pellets, +2 metals

Allomancy
Allomancy works like standard GLOG magic. Spell dice are burned on a 6. An allomancer can hold charges up to their number of templates (maximum 4).

Allomancers do not regain charges daily. Instead, they need to put more metal into their system: a shot of whiskey with a smattering of metal flakes provides 1 spell die. It costs 100 silver and can only be acquired in cities.

Into the Mists
The allomancer can disengage without penalty on a successful DEX roll in low visibility situations (darkness, fog, heavy rain, heavy snow, etc.)

Emergency Shot 
The allomancer can create a charge on their own, using whatever metal and alcohol is on hand. This charge will burn out on a 3-6 (a different colored die is recommended). This takes one hour to prepare.

Burner Pellets
Experienced allomancers can use pellets of aluminum alloy to augment their magic.

A burner pellet will cause an allomancer to burn all of their stored charges at maximum [sum] on their next cast. No Doom is invoked. A burner pellet costs 500 silver, and may only be acquired from specialist sources.

Spell List:


Tin (Senses)
R: Self T: Self D: [sum] x 5 minutes
Gain +[dice] to all checks involving sight, smell, or hearing. You cannot be surprised while this is in effect.

Pewter (Body)
R: Self T: Self D: [sum] x 5 minutes
Gain +[dice] to all checks involving physical strength, max inventory, and damage.

Iron (Pull)
R: 5' x [sum] T: Metal object D: Instant
Pull a metal object towards you. If the object is heavier than you, you are pulled towards it.

Steel (Push)
R: 5' x [sum] T: Metal object D: Instant
Push a metal object away from you. If object is larger, you are pushed away. A coin thrown with this spell does [sum]+[dice] damage.

Copper (Hide)
R: 15' T: Area D: [sum] x 5 minutes
Creates a field centered on the caster. Those within cannot be detected by magical means, and gain + [dice] to saves against mental manipulation.

Bronze (Detect)
R: 100' T: Area D: [sum] x 5 minutes
When active, you detect any magic users within range.

Zinc (Riot)
R:100' T: Individual or crowd D: [sum] x 5 minutes
Enflames a specific emotion of the target's. Attempts to reason contrary to this emotion are made at -[dice].

Brass (Soothe)
R:100' T: Individual or crowd D: [sum] x 5 minutes
Dims a specific emotion of the target's. Attempts to reason with the target are made at +[dice].

Mishaps


  1. Take 1d6 damage; it feels like a hole is being burned through your stomach.
  2. Splitting headache robs you of the ability to focus for 1d6 minutes.
  3. Whatever was being cast backfires upon you.
  4. Your tongue becomes heavy and useless with a coating of verdegris. Cannot speak for 1d6 hours.
  5. Spew out molten vomit. Lose turn, do 1d8 damage self and adjacent being.
  6. Exhale a cloud of sooty smoke, obscuring your form and smelling awful.

Dooms


  1. Signs of heavy metal poisoning take hold. All mental attributes reduced by 1.
  2. Poisoning progresses. Mental attributes further reduced by 2, physical activities taken at -2 penalty.
  3. Mental attributes reduced by a further 3 points. Physical activities taken at -3.
These dooms may be avoided by performing the Rite of Temperance in the Temple of the Smelter King, or by turning oneself over to the Inquisition for purification.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Gorgonopsid Space Liches

Jonathan Kuo
Buckle up, ladies and gents, it's time for gorgonopsid space liches. Please pardon the fellow above, he is out of costume.

It's not easy getting into space. Sometimes, a species gets lucky and just stumbles upon some magic that can get them into orbit. Most of the time they never get off the ground at all. Sometimes, a species tells the universe to go fuck itself, beats it up, steals its lunch money, and does stuff the hard way.

Gorgorex was one of those.

Let's not mince words here, they nearly murdered their own planet to get into space. But they got there, and they got there first. Gorgorex civilization was a dominant player in a bubble upwards of 150 light-years across. A dust mote compared to the empire of the mind-worms that would come after them, but it was the grandest of the time and twice as grand besides because it was built upon a near-absolute lack of skill in the spatio-temporal arts.

Magical gravity control was completely beyond them. Faster than light travel was never even on the table. But they had biomancy and necromancy, and with the combination of the two came all their undying biological technologies. The gorgorex abandoned their bodies early in their interplanetary era for the benefits of lichdom; Phylacteries were mass-produced, flesh was traded for bone, and the species entered the age of post-scarcity. There were plans for a Dyson swarm.

It never came to pass, for gorgorex civilization collapsed completely. A glitch in the sigil-programming of their phylacteries would unspin their souls and wipe the storage. This was hard-coded into the enchantment and was triggered by age: roll over a certain date and poof. Gone.

Entire colonies were wiped clean before anyone realized there was a problem. Frantic workarounds were developed, but by the time the knowledge would reach outlying regions time-lag would have wiped anyone who could have listened to the message. Feral fragments of their networked bodies filled the empire; mindless, atavistic, slowly degrading into dust.

Ten Remnants of the Gorgonopsid Space Liches


  1. Umbilical cord space elevator attached to geosynchronous skull-station.
  2. Self-replicating tomb colony filled with deteriorating maintenance ghouls.
  3. Autonomous skeletal drones, programming hopelessly glitched by age.
  4. Orbital lichyard, hatcheries full of stillborn ships.
  5. Rib cage cylinder habitat, left to the pests for ages.
  6. Orbital solar farm, now inhabited by hives of stellar fire elementals.
  7. Fallow terraforming hexes, spotted with seed and gene vaults.
  8. Osteosculpting station, coral tanks still functioning.
  9. Communication hub, still broadcasting messages from the empire's final days.
  10. Sublight cargo vessel, trapped in a long elliptical orbit.

Ten Treasures of the Gorgonopsid Space Liches


  1. Thinking machine in a formaldehyde vat, desiccated but still functional.
  2. An unused phylactery, ruby-red and smooth as oil.
  3. Monofiliment bone-wire sword, still sharp despite the years.
  4. Portable solar-heater, could survive a bomb detonation.
  5. Pre-lichdom ghoul-suit, still able to do EVA walks.
  6. Non-functioning but intact fusion reactor.
  7. Supercoolant unit filled with liquified Ice 9 elemental.
  8. Blob of active metamaterial, currently at child intelligence and growing smarter.
  9. Painstaking recreation of the empire in orrery form, all orbit times to scale.
  10. A GSL's original body, lovingly preserved for nostalgia's sake.

The Conqueror of Time-Space, Heirozonus Zhul


The last of the gorgonopsid space liches, the utterly mad Heirozonus has devoted his unlife to building a gargantuan museum devoted to showcasing all the eras of fantastic deep time. He pilots this patchwork monstrosity of a rotating cylinder through the time-stream, abducting interesting specimens and endlessly revising and adding to the habitat-exhibits found within.

Hook: the player characters wake up from a drugged haze in a clearly-fake model homestead. There are a few recollections of drinking the night before and lights in the sky. Everyone's clothing has been replaced with ridiculous "local garb" that no one in their right mind would ever wear. Outside the house, there is a skeleton-servitor, eyes aglow...

    Monday, May 14, 2018

    Rehabilitating Mr. Welch

    Come now and lay your eyes upon an artifact of a distant age: the List of Things Mr. Welch Can No Longer Do In RPGs. I was randomly reminded of its existence, so now you are too.

    The central joke holds up about as well as one would expect it to thirteen years later, which is to say not particularly well. It's a product of a very specific time. But while skimming through it I thought to myself "you know, there are some proper gameable bits in here if you apply a bit of elbow grease."

    Why do I do this to myself? I do not know.

    The World According to Mr. Welch


    1. Blizztrigoom is the gnomish god of heavy artillery; cannoneers seeking his blessing mark the left sleeve of their uniforms with interlocking purple and yellow chevrons. 
    2. There is one upside to raising an Indigo Child: their self-centeredness and desire to hone their psychic powers fuels a mental arms race to cheat at chores.
    3. Ogres are surprisingly edible, though rarely done. The karmic irony of man-eating monsters being eaten by men can do one in, if one is not careful.
    4. The Gnomish Pygmy War Rhino is the pride of that people's husbandry. Most royal families of the Tawny Plains have their roots in ancient rhino-breeder clans.
    5. Atrimaia, Goddess' of Marriage, is often depicted as wielding an enchanted whip capable of bringing forth the truth and revealing the true natures and shapes of its targets.
    6. Gnomes have prehensile tongues capable of licking their eyebrows, can hold their breath for ten minutes, and are capable of propping up larger objects with their heads.
    7. It is popular among the upper classes of the Missionary Coast to give themselves names doubling as sexual positions and other innuendos.
    8. Elves have a noted negative reaction to caffeine. The drug will leave them in a state of hyperactivity, preventing them from effective communication, focusing on tasks, or performing complex magical arts for up to eight hours.
    9. It is not uncommon to hear of surface-dwelling Drow weighing up to a quarter ton; the species’ physiology remains in the constant mode of starvation typical of underground life, leading to the associated risks when in a food-heavy locale.
    10. Those men and women in Catalia who live to reach 100 traditionally head out on one last great adventure, an event that brings together the entire community in celebration.
    11. The dwarven khâtanha is a workman’s weapon: A portable anvil that might be converted into a longhaft hammer. A smaller, offhand hammer can be stored in the anvil’s base.
    12. The Order of St. Cymbelorn use mighty flesh-eating boars as their mounts, in honor of their founder’s legendary taming of Ghrutaal Blood-Snout.
    13. The Royal Order of the Red Shirt was founded by a band of peasants who devoted themselves to protecting their king during a terrible war. Their traditional red shirt is supposed to hide bleeding, and thus maintain morale.
    14. Through application of the Narcissistic Path and the Ways of Self-Centering, it is possible to reach Ego Singularity and become a god. This method, unfortunately, does not create gods willing to share blessings or powers with anyone but themselves.
    15. Celestial holds the most profanities among all major language groups, as those of the higher realms consider a great many topics profane. Conversely, Abyssal possesses no profanities at all, only words that offend others.
    16. Trollfat bubblegum is a popular snack due to its constantly-replenishing flavor and endless elasticity. The risk of regeneration is part of the fun, so say supporters of the treat.
    17. Belbirri is a halfling pugilist-demigod, revered for his masterful exploitation of the Tall Man’s Weakness. Among his titles are “the Line-Ender”, “the Fruit Smasher”, and “the Morale Breaker”.
    18. Hymnals of Gorthag Skullfucker the Blood God are a prized collectors item. Each is handwritten in blood-ink and contains notation for only the most head-banging of death-scream-chants.
    19. Vampiric cows have taken off as an innovation of fast food for their sterile, unrotting meat and the safety of eating it raw. No cooking required!
    20. The emergence of infectious zombism swiftly reached pandemic levels due to the population’s ignorance of proper quarantine and bite treatment procedure.
    21. Tasha's Uncontrollably Hideous Sister was originally developed as a joke, but Sashen has warmed up to it over the years and embraced her celebrity.
    22. Hrukharzr (lit. “beard cancer”) is a common derogatory term among dwarves for tangled and ill-kept facial hair.
    23. Guns crafted by Johmgan Zudisk come with a built-in enchantment that provides advice to the wielder on a variety of subjects when asked.
    24. The Order of the Shared Bed, being immune to venereal diseases, take it upon themselves to offer their services with no cost to those in need of them.
    25. Tensor's Herniated Disc will fuck just about anyone up right quick.
    26. Nana Bocani is the Wojzei-Wux Syndicate’s most decorated contract killer, and at 84 she shows no sign of slowing down.
    27. Sharpsteel Ioun stones form a cloud of razor-edged shards around the weilder's head, forming a simple but effective weapon.
    28. Manamead is a gold-blue drink brewed from the honey of dreambees. While expensive, a keg of it can be found at any decent undergraduate party.
    29. The Order of the Unflinching Smile are devoted to enforcing happiness in all beings, through violence if necessary.
    30. When Madam Croetrix’s Blacksuit Club came upon hard times, the workers banded together, repurposed their gimp suits and rebranded their services to include all manner of underworld activities.
    31. Druids in northern forests typically hibernate through the winter, leaving them famished and half-mad come springtime.
    32. Elves are marsupials, carrying their babies for up to eight months after birth. Both male and female elves have pouches.
    33. Elvish funerals consist of hollowing out the tree the individual was born from, placing the body inside, and lighting it afire as it is pushed out into a body of water.
    34. The ninja hive mind was long hypothesized but only recently confirmed by the revelation that ninjas are not, in fact, humans wearing costumes, but a species of colonial, land-dwelling crustacean.
    35. While the Dwarven Battle Perm has no actual usage in combat, warriors will always have one done before going out into the field. The ritual builds morale and calms nerves, and permits the hairdressers time to hear any last-minute confessions.
    36. The Gnomish Pygmy Seeing Eye Rhino is a new addition to the stable of Tawny Plains rhino husbandry, and has become very popular with veterans returning from wars in the north.
    37. “Gunner Girlfriend” is a popular brand of stout ale, flavored with a touch of sulfur and charcoal. It is named after Lucky Aiphen, notorious badlands gunslinger and long-time partner of Blackeye Bzern.
    38. Digga-Digga the Wombat God is a sleepy fellow, trundling around the outback wherever he will. He is known as “The Immovable”, for he cannot be shaken from his path.
    39. Word on the streets is that the Runescrib’d Pontiff’s body is rejecting his sacramental augmentations. Cyberpsychosis is looking more and more possible.
    40. Zealous adherents of the Panaeciln Church will tattoo the ceiling of the Cytosine Chapel across their entire body
    41. Starships anchors not only keep a ship rooted in port, but also serve as a means of transport between the ship and the ground as well as advertisements of available goods and services.
    42. The Neurotic Book of Fantasy is said to reside in the personal library of the mad wizard-psychologist Dr. Dorinihal, the mad wizard-psychologist. He has appended the original edition with his own work, and is looking for a new scholar to continue the cycle.
    43. Standing Dodge is an immensely popular spell despite its lack of effectiveness compared to other evasive arts, purely out of how impressive it looks.
    44. Nonsense rhymes, when penned by a wise had for clever children, can prove surprisingly effective as an implement of exorcism.
    45. Dwarven breast milk can reach alcohol levels of 180 proof, given enough time in the fermentation sacs.
    46. Warriors among the Ah-Huad-Shok tribe will settle blood debts by duels. Each man is allowed to bring with him his saber tooth tiger.
    47. Apothecaries capable of performing an emergency skull removal can be identified by a bone token worn on a braided red ribbon.
    48. Elves secrete a foul tasting oil when threatened. It is of some use and interest to alchemists.
    49. Parrots are entirely capable of learning Power Words. Cunning sorcerers will often leave one on guard in their chambers, prepared with the Red Word of PERISH.
    50. The Dwarvish Poetry Guild is the longest-standing government institution in the Steel Mountains, predating the monarchy itself. The dwarvish chorus of stage theater has its roots in these advisers of lords.

    Friday, May 11, 2018

    "Forth, and Fear No Darkness!"

    Scrap Princess had a good post about the standard spell list and what makes a good or bad spell, and that got me to thinking, and thinking led me to this.

    Instead of re-imagining the spell, I'll turn it into the item(s) that it might as well be.

    Marko Djurdjevic


    Material Methods of Protection Against Evil


    I'll have more to say on the subject of evil at a later time (Emmy Allen's essay on the topic was quite inspiring), but for now treat "evil" as related to demons and evil spirits. These are, at least in my default setting, generated by human action and belief just as gods are. None of these methods will stop an orc from burying an axe in your head, nor stop any spirits that are not demons. (With the exception of salt, which works on all spirits.)

    Salt


    A circle drawn in salt will create a barrier which spirits may not pass. One unit of salt per HD of the entity is required to maintain the barrier. If the circle is disturbed, the spirit will be able to escape. Material beings are able to pass over the circle, though most animals will instinctively avoid it.

    A bag of salt costs 10 silver.

    Holy Water


    Burns evil spirits with 1d8 damage. Particularly zealous water burns for 1d10, socially religious water burns for 1d6, and mildly devout water burns for 1d4.

    Holy water costs 25 silver.

    Anointing with Oil


    A mark is made upon the forehead, preventing possession and defending against mental effects for one hour. Length of effect is doubled if it is applied by ordained clergy or otherwise holy individual.

    A vial of oil costs 100 silver and has enough for 6 uses. A permanent tattoo may be made by a specialist, for a cost equal to the character's first level-up.

    Incense 


    When burnt, produces a strong, pleasing smell that makes evil spirits sluggish and slothsome. Those effected (within 10 feet of the group) always act last in initiative and have a 2-in-6 chance per turn of not making an attack. The smell clings to clothing and is impossible to mask - sensitive noses can detect it from adjacent rooms.

    A cake of incense costs 15 silver and burns for 2 hours. A thurible costs 50 silver.

    Talismans


    Provides wearer with a certain amount of psychological support, granting a minor bonus against fear. Substantial additional effects are unlikely, but possible.

    Talismans range from 1-100 silver.

    Laying on of Hands


    A minor sign. Acts as Bless when made by a ordained cleric or holy individual as part of an appropriate ceremony.

    No cost, but you'll probably have to sit through a sermon.

    Thursday, May 10, 2018

    What's This Fishman Excited About?

    I've been recently alerted to one of the unsung high points of 5e by a fellow I was talking to on Discord.

    It's this piece of art.

    Look at this fishman. He's not just excited, he is downright hyped up. This is a fishman on a mission. He's got shit to do and he's gonna do it.

    What is he excited about?

    1. Just got a new fightstick and a copy of Dragon Sphere Warriors X!
    2. The Squamous Overlord just gave him a raise!
    3. She said yes!
    4. Just got the gills cleaned! 
    5. The really good food flakes are on sale!
    6. Water's warm and filled with oxygen! 
    7. New season of Something and Something was announced!
    8. Local Sports Team just clobbered Rival Sports Team!
    9. Gonna spend all day caring for the coral garden!
    10. Tax return just came in!
    11. Didn't get eaten by a squid!
    12. It's spawning season!

    What fish is the fishman's head?

    1. Clownfish
    2. Angelfish
    3. Catfish
    4. Piranha
    5. Wobbegong
    6. Arowana
    7. Lionfish
    8. Blue Tang
    9. Lanternfish
    10. Fugu
    11. Sockeye Salmon
    12. Fishstick

    What strange delusions does the fishman adore?

    1. The world is not only flat, but also hollow! It's so cool!
    2. Waketrails! They're caused by boats and filled with drugs! Really great drugs!
    3. Chemicals in the water are turning everyone into gay communists! That's great!
    4. The government is listening to everything we say! That's so considerate of them!
    5. This calendar lines up directly with the end of the world! It's so convenient!
    6. There are subliminal demonic messages in our media! It's like a scavenger hunt!
    7. Wizards faked the entire moon! What craftsmanship!
    8. I don't know how vaccines work! What a delightful mystery!
    9. The sponge-masons are behind it all! They're so good at being sneaky!
    10. Whales are building a new world order under their iron flipper! I love their gumption!
    11. The evil empire stole flying saucers from Atlantis! Wow!
    12. Time has four sides! Nature is so beautiful!

    Wednesday, May 9, 2018

    Even More Fantastic Epochs

    Arnold's prompt really took off! Tthere are too many to link now, so I'll just direct you back to Anne Hunter's second post on the matter. (And my first.)

    Here are some more time periods.

    11. The Anunnaki Experience


    Visiting apotheoist extraterrestrials cover globe in stone pyramids and elaborate geographs of birds. Local proto-elves are terribly confused, as they had already created stone pyramids and elaborate geographs of birds and were really looking forward to cheap fusion and metamaterials.

    12. Gnomic Explosion


    A species of gnomes achieves asexual reproduction through budding, floods ecosystem with tiny magical men with pointy hats. Predators forced to convert to gnomovorism or starve. Toadstool cities drive out local flora, widespread psychotropic pollen storms become a regular occurrence.

    13. Zaratanic Column


    An era of near-total oceanic coverage, marked primarily by a strata consisting primarily the compressed shells of continent-sized turtles. Similar specimens and their endemic parasite-descended civilizations have been found in fewer numbers in multiple subsequent geological periods.

    14. Bootleg Epoch


    Global biosphere replaced with cheaper, unlicensed biosphere. Flora and fauna of are of low quality and break down regularly. Colors and proportions are askew, incorrect or confusing categorization is commonplace. Era ends after enforcement of new divine copyright laws.

    15. Megamenstreum


    The universe, finally realizing that mistakes have been made, decides to flush itself out and start over. Everyone and everything is miserable except for the cosmic vampires, who are flourishing. Vampires are wiped out by the next generation of starchildren.

    16. The Recreation Era

    A completely accidental mass extinction wipes out all life on the planet save a sapient species of bivalve-descent hominids. Survivors attempt to recreate their destroyed world by putting on elaborate costumes and filling as many niches as possible.

    17. Crazy Cat Age


    Cats release variant toxoplasmosis strain into atmosphere, assume indirect control of class mammalia. Reign of the God-Felines is eventually overthrown by an alliance between reptilians, insects, and shoof. Shoof driven to extinction during war; nature of the creatures unknown, their sacrifice is not forgotten.

    18. The Great Re-Alignment


    The stable law-chaos matrix is thrown into disarray as a close encounter with another plane leaves a residue of sub-atomic moralitons smeared across the universe. Thousands of competing ethics gradients emerge and fight for dominance via imprinting upon biological life. Law-chaos matrix eventually re-asserts dominance after collapse of the good-evil matrix into civil war.

    19. Terrible Reign of the Sport Kings


    Ordinary sporting event featuring utterly mediocre teams results in indefinite extension of overtime. Game continues despite catastrophic nuclear war annihilating parent civilization. Teams and fans eventually diverge into two separate species. Evolutionary arms race devoted to out-competing enemy team. Age is finally drawn to the close as the ultra-umpire appears on the scene, devouring both teams and declaring a mutual forfeit.

    20. The Morte Paradox


    Thin, unremarkable strata that contains the tombs of every sapient being that is currently alive. Society in turmoil as governments and scientists debate over whether or not the tombs should be opened. Conspiracies and denials abound. Skeletons celebrate, though are not specific about why.

    Monday, May 7, 2018

    O'Neill's Archipelagos


    Did you know that NASA puts all their images up as public domain?

    O'Neill cylinders are incredibly cool, and all the things that make them cool in make them absolutely fantastic for role-playing games. I can't recall being this enthralled with an idea in a good long while: It's the foot in the door for hard-science space opera, and that makes me a happy man indeed.

    So then: the steel-hulled station proposed by O'Neill in 1976 was a cylinder 20 miles long and 5 miles across. That can be unrolled into a rectangular map of 20 x 16 (rounding up the decimal). With two mile hexes, that's a 10 x 8 grid and a decently-sized adventure setting. A bit of wilderness, a few towns, some points of interest, you're good to go.

    The self-contained nature of a cylinder means that each one can be its own cultural and environmentally distinct region. Unlike planets (or regions on a single planet), cylinders can be placed conveniently close to each other, resulting in transit time measured in hours or days.You can get a wildly different setting for next week's episode and just be the next station over.Yoon-Suin to the Veins to Psychon to the Ultraviolet Grasslands to Chromatic Soup and so on (I show my love of stitching modules together yet again).

    Enough talk, have some random tables.

    The cylinder is...
    1. Ancient
    2. Venerable
    3. Around the block
    4. Recent
    5. Up-and-coming
    6. Factory fresh
    And...
    1. Isolationist
    2. Out of the way
    3. Quiet
    4. Of modest activity
    5. Busy
    6. Bustling
    The population is...
    1. Absent
    2. Sparse
    3. Modest
    4. Significant
    5. Cramped
    6. Overwhelming
    And overall the place is...
    1. Absolute dogshit
    2. Rough
    3. Getting better
    4. Decent
    5. Wonderful
    6. Paradise
    Apply Stars Without Number tags, Dark Heresy world generation, random historical oddities, or whatever other tool in your drawer to taste

    That's pretty cool.

    Saturday, May 5, 2018

    Play Report: Two Birds with One Sword

    Finally! After entirely too long, the crew has finally made their way to Hot Springs Island, searching for any secrets of the ancient elves that could save their floundering chocolate factory. Despite a surprise outbreak of hives on the boat, the team safely arrived in the harbor of the ruined elven city on the island's southern coast.

    The away team consisted of:
    • Blue, Carcosan blue man warrior, level 3
    • Robin, Sister-Knight of the Order of the Sable Maid, level 3
    • Simmons, a skeleton, level 3
    • Xeno, a tiefling, level 3

    Welcome to Hot Springs Island


    The group leaves the ship at dawn, tying their boat up to the ruined piers at the bottom of the Iridescent Stair. In the misty morning stillness they hear the sounds of a squabble from up near the top of the stairs, and go to investigate.

    At the uppermost pool, the group spies a half-dozen combustarinos in the middle of a heated (har) argument. A cube of stone, engraved with typically grotesque elven sex acts, sits cracked and lopsided on top of one of the troop: a twitching arm and part of a wing stick out from underneath.

    Simmons, distracted by flipping through the Field Guide, bungles the stealth approach they were taking, but the combustarinos are more confused than hostile. Introductions are made.The combustarinos explain that the Big Bossman (Svarku) had sent them out for some new material for his current construction project. With the best carving now broken, they're stuck: the Iridescent Stair has been picked over pretty well, and the Bathhouse at the top of the hill is far outside their pay grade.

    The party was assured that the dead combustarino, Gary, absolutely had it coming.

    With both groups looking towards the Bathhouse as the source of what they need, an agreement is made. ("When there's a chance the Big Bossman might get angry, we become really good at compromising with others.") One of the combusterinos, Terry, is sent along with the party as a scout and guide as the four progress through the ruins upwards to the Ruined Marketplace.

    (Note: The combusterinos are named Gary, Terry, Larry, Harry, Merry, and Phil.)

    The Library


    Upon reaching the marketplace, the party decides to investigate a vine-infested museum / library. They spend several hours sorting through books, using Simmons' passing knowledge of ancient elvish to sort through the contents (Vornheim tables came into play here.) Of what they found, they decided to take with them a dessert cookbook, a collection of historical fiction of weird biotech fascist elves (the Eld of the Misty Isle) a guide to local tree species, a collection of travel essays for lands to the east, a book containing the secret path to Goblintown.

    (Note: It has been decreed by my players that Flavortown is a ghetto of Goblintown, and that both cities are located within the Funkytown Greater Metropolitan Area.)

    The extra time spent searching put them in the path of a hunting trio of zip birds, who charged the group with aggressive wooping.

    For combat I subbed in Shadow of the Demon Lord initiative, and I don't think it shall ever go away. I love it.

    Xeno and Robin held back and waited for the birds to charge, while Blue rushed to meet them and Simmons climbed up a bookshelf and attempted to get a drop on them. He critically failed, and ended up falling flat on his face while his head went rolling away. As the others scramble to defend themselves from the birds, he fails around to find his head, rolls behind a bookshelf, and consults the Field Guide.

    Blue is dropped to 0 HP and falls unconscious, but he manages to avoid critical injury. One of the birds ends up tripping over his comatose body. Simmons rushes in with his sword, critically fails again, and slams right into another bookshelf.

    Robin ends up carrying the day as she lands a critical blow on one of the birds with her greatsword, killing it instantly. Xeno's player says "why not kill two birds with one sword?", the table has a great lauch, and I rule that if Robin can succeed on a second attack, she can hit the next bird on the same swing and carry over the remaining damage.

    She rolls another critical.

    The remaining bird panics and flees, as one would do. The party sets up a brief rest and spends some time recuperating, cooking up the remains of the two dead zip birds. Terry informs them that zip bird hearts are a favorite treat among the Fuegonauts, and that he'll be able to trade them for some goodies.With evening approaching, the combusterino flies off to his fellows with the two hearts, promising to return in the morning.

    At this point the players and myself takes a short break to go out for drinks.

    The Restaurant 


    For the rest of the evening, the party investigates a ruined elven restaurant on the opposite side of the plaza. Inside they find a wounded goa warrior; Xeno makes a successful languages check and is able to pantomime that they can provide help. Robin seals the wound up, and the warrior seems to honor the action.

    Further pantomime leads to two pertinent strings of information.
    • Point to kitchen -> blowing noise and waving hands 
    • Pointer fingers upright beside jaw -> sharp downward motion -> point to wound.
    Exploration of the kitchen goes smoothly: Simmons avoids the broken pipe that is venting steam, and Robin stuff the hole with her blanket. A book of elementalist cooking techniques is found among the wreckage, and in the office they find a corpse holding a small glass cube filled with diamonds, function unknown.

    With night falling, the party sets up camp with the goa in the restaurant.

    Final Notes


    As smooth and clean as I could have hoped. The additional resources for HSI (the automatic generators, the easy-reference stats for monsters) are astoundingly helpful on top of an already helpful book.

    The players reacted well to having the Field Guide available to them (referring to it as a Pokedex, most aptly), as well as having Terry there (This being the not-big-into-rpgs group, I could definitely see the positive difference.)





    Monday, April 30, 2018

    Gullet of the Rust Demon

    I am not particularly skilled in choosing fonts.
    Cut it close to the buzzer, but here it is! My entry to this year's One Page Dungeon Contest.

    Saturday, April 21, 2018

    Monsters of Linnaeus

    Matt Celeskey
    This little fellow is named "bulbous lizard leaf-razor", a name which proves both that palaeontologists love taking the piss, and that scientific names are great. Especially for games. It's already the default bestiary terminology in the real world, Greek and Latin are already wizarding languages, you get a handy literal descriptor for the monster, and you can just fit descriptors together like puzzle pieces. Roll on the table, get a monster.

    (This is all thanks to Luka Rejec pointing out this handy list of taxonomic affixes (don't forget the medical ones too!) to go along with the magical prehistory bandwagon)

    Coelcyon ("hollow dog")

    Its bones are needles and the rest is skin and fur hanging over empty space. They make a high-pitched whistling near-indistinguishable from tinnitus.

    Rhodosuchus ("red crocodile")

    It is very much what the name entails, though its snout is long and thin, more like a gharial. They mate during monsoon season, building house-sized nests of mangrove roots and dead fish, designed to topple over just so in the storms.

    Chloracanth ("green spine")

    The bony ridge that runs down the slow and daftsome creature's back is hollow and honeycombed. Symbiotic mosses grow there, which may be harvested for medicinal purposes. Otherwise unremarkable, though the meat is good.

    Brontodromeus ("thunder runner")

    Their slate-blue hides coruscate with bright white chromatophore signals. Thick tails provide balance when running, while folding arms and bullet-shaped heads cut down on wind resistance.They run with the rains, and slip away just as easily.

    Plesiofelis ("almost cat")

    Looks like a sleeping cat at first or second glance, but reveals itself under touch and closer inspection as a gelatinous non-Newtonian fluid covered in fine calico cilia. The tail, curled underneath the central mass, is far longer than it should, and trails off out of sight. The nature of the angler is unknown.

    Scoliospondylus ("twisted vertebrae")

    Eight-limbed hominids whose spine might only be the result of a cruel and hateful god. Each limb ends in a six-fingered hand with two opposable digits, and their catastrophic backs show clear signs of divine malice. Their black skin is hairless, and decorated with splashes of brilliant orange and blue; this does not do anything to lessen the pain and sadness in their six eyes.

    Xanthopepsian ("yellow digesting")

    A sort of sponge, about the size of a large melon. It may live upon land, and in desperate circumstances move under its own power. It consumes the color yellow, a diet that leads to it being a most brilliant shade of that color; anything else in its feeding radius will be bleached white

    Cacopithicus ("bad ape")

    Ratty red-brown fur smeared in shit. Fingernails curved like snail shells. Teeth set in gums like maggots in a side of beef. Crusty black eyes, dribbling snot and spit. Its behavior is self-evident, and all are thankful that they cannot work in unison for more than a few hours before the backstabbing begins.

    Platypharyngovenator ("flat throat hunter")

    Its wedge-shaped head is attached to a flexible neck nearly ten feet long and an inch thick. It is an ambush predator, burying its cumbersome soft-shelled body in loam or mud and lying in wait.

    Squamotherium ("scaly beast")

    Its body is like a pillar or a trunk atop ten squat legs surrounding a mouth. The scales decrease from the size of a hand to hardly more than a pinprick as one ascends towards the upper ring of eyes. They are usually a green-brown in coloration, to best imitate trees and avoid predators. It was not called dendromimus due to a certain unnatural philosopher having a love affair with the word "squamous".

    Diploteratomaia ("double monster mother")

    Unique among the echidnamorphs for possessing two wombs and regular simultaneous pregnancies, this creature's distinct black and white coloration is very much on point. The eyes diverge from this, being blue and ringed in black. Offspring will be of one color or the other, or bear similar separation of color. The back-quills of this variant are shorter than those of more common species. 

    Gnathomimus ("jaw mimic")

    Descendants of agnathic fish-turned-amphibians, the species' impressive underbite is in fact an outgrowth of the head's armor plating. While useless as a manidle, they are used as weapons during territorial disputes and mating displays.

    Polycetus ("many whales")

    A horrifying leviathan created when a pod of whales melds into an island-sized fleshbeast of blubber and barnacles and oil and curtains of baleen and banks of paddles, singing apocalyptic songs of the abyss. Mass beachings are in truth mass suicides: the whales know that the melding is near, and their good nature drives them to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the rest of the world.

    Cephalospadias ("head fissure")

    A gangly, chalky-white hominid. The head contains no eyes, nose, or ears, and is disproportionately large compared to the body. Each specimen has one or more deep clefts in their heads, the insides of which are the color of a blood orange and peppercorn seeds. Each individual has a unique pattern of fissure.





    Sunday, April 15, 2018

    Ancient Epochs of the Fantasic World

    +Arnold K said: "HEY How come all these D&D settings have the same assumed evolutionary paths. Like they have weird shit like dragons evolving from jealous snakes and yet when it comes to looking backward all the dinosaurs look the same. Why is only the current world fantastic, instead of the entire biologic prehistory?"

    Here's ten of them.

    1. The Elemental Epoch 

    A period of constant conflict. Alliances among air elementals violate the precepts of the Noble Gases and create water elementals. Earth elementals get their shit together and start the Protoplanetary Revolution. Fire elementals undergo species-wide existential crisis after realizing that phlogiston doesn't exist. Ends with the formation of the Periodic Congress.

    2. Ooziphorous Period 

    95% of the planet's water in this period existed in the form of oozes. There were puddles of ooze, lakes of ooze, aquifers and rivers and glaciers and oceans of ooze. Non-ooze life specialized in hunting and harvesting oozes sustaining themselves on organelles and cytoplasm. The dominant solid being of this age was the thooblethimp, being about a foot in length, possessing four articulated legs, bulbous eyes, a long proboscis, and a lightweight exoskeleton.

    3. Meathell Megayears

    Wherein the world was dominated by the singular (and thankfully, only) known colony of carnecordyceps deus. Nightmares still plague the collective unconsciousness to this day.

    4. Regellian Mistake Era

    Planet terraformed by distant alien race, but no official colony was ever established. The unwatched seed-biosphere drifted accordingly with the changes of the local environment, reaching equilibrium with the original life-forms due to insurmountable bio-chemical barriers.

    5. The Stone-and-Chicken War

    Passing asteroidal basilisk petrifies an entire hemisphere and drops eggs from orbit. Enterprising species from the surviving hemisphere colonize the granite wastes, mostly gallusiform avians who fill the nice of apex predator after evolving the kill-signal crowing lethal to basilisks.

    6. Lakgulethian Era

    A relatively stable period dominated by the lakgululengu, noteworthy for the remarkable deep-time forethought of those amber-shelled, elephantine beings. They purposefully fossilized specimens of local flora and fauna, themselves, cultural relics, even entire structures, to pass on to future ages.

    7. Malatmospheric Period

    Defined by the upswing of evil-aligned bacteria in the planetary atmosphere. At least two world-spanning civilizations, the ostracodermic pseudo-equine ptherians and the crustacean-piscine valdver, lived during this time, and may have overlapped.

    8. Daemononovore Period 

     The material world's greatest response to infernal invasion was an order of warm-blooded pseudo-amphibians (here termed the yagher-voz) that developed the ability to summon and consume demons for their own nourishment. Sapient offshoots tended to found vast, decadent societies, as depravity was as good a lure to demons as their own summoning methods.

    9. The Skeletal Singularity 

     A super-civilization of modular bone-entities, the ascendant descendants of some unknown mammal-like reptilians. Collapsed only due to the slow degradation of their phylacteries. Nearly all solar systems within sixty lightyears bear the traces of a colony, whether atavist osteoforms, orbital lichyards, or defunct von Neumann tomb-colonies.

    10. Doppelgangerdammerung

    Mimicry emerges among freshwater cephalopodic echinoderms as a method of imitating larger, scarier organisms. Over the next few million years the biosphere becomes so adept at mimicry that few organisms even know what niche they actually fill, being so skilled at imitating other beings. Land predators imitate aquatic herbivores. Airborne detritovores imitate subterranean autocannibals. Organisms emerge from the egg-sack imitating another species entirely. Successful mating becomes impossible.

    Tuesday, April 10, 2018

    Dan's Notebook of Unfinished Wonders

    I accumulate ideas like pockets accrue lint, which means my apartment is filled with notebooks and scraps of paper covered in ideas for story and game material that might never see the light of day.

    So instead of letting that happen, here's some of the decent stuff. I'll pass on whatever I can to Hex Describe, and expand / revisit whatever strikes my fancy down the line.

    Challenge Mode: Roll a 1d60 (or look at a clock), take that thing, make something cool out of it, and tell me.
    1. Refined folk, dark of countenance, who wear robes of tiger hides.
    2. Colorful jellies containing the torn-up heads and bodies of alien beings.
    3. Blind religious order - white robes and boxlike hats, stripes and lips of red.
    4. Insectoid race that lives in the desert mountains. Scavengers of the dead and dying civilizations around them. Strict feudal hierarchy.
    5. Aboleth's Head Bar - Opium den, building carved of a single piece of jade, operated by drow refugees.
    6. Bill Norman the Doorman, dolorous guard of the Whitecliff Academy
    7. The Blood Rites Movement - marchers are the spawn of the late vampire lord Osrick the Shrike, trying to get the courts to recognize them as legal kin to the Shrike's estate.
    8. Library of Khutal Nan guarded by a pair of Sphinx sisters constantly playing cards, checkers, backgammon, etc.
    9. The mountains of Bismuth
    10. 37,000 foot drop in a giant cave; demon with a secret guard and a stone gaze (confession, this was a hand of Superfight)
    11. Project "Forget-Me-Not", a counteragent for rampant contagious memory loss
    12. Submersible stranded on the ocean floor, terrible fate within
    13. Dugen Baroo - a monster of sorts
    14. The Bulls of Newtown
    15. Anatomical museums run by the mob for money-laundering purposes
    16. Radioactive clone-fruit
    17. The Left-Hand Inscriptions of Tzegeim
    18. Exotic brothel on an abandoned oil rig
    19. Phaenan Triptoline - a drug
    20. The Martian Cathars
    21. Ravens on the eaves, singing the Poetic Edda
    22. The Emerald Emperor, king of all elves, who ended the human race
    23. Orders of Chromatic Mages - Black / White (0th Order), Red / Blue / Gold (1st Order), Green / Purple / Orange (2nd Order), Brown (3rd Order)
    24. Giant crab fortresses wandering across the shallow seas. Coral and barnacles on their shells are carved into settlements.
    25. Trollhiemen Cider Company
    26. Yunaska Island Island Zombie Reserve
    27. Soldier subclasses: war priest, savant-fanatic, peacekeeper, antisoldier
    28. The great goddess Jubilee, golden cherub-maid of good fortune.
    29. Hundred-Handed Ones are arms dealers - simple daggers all the way up to legendary astra. Weapons are forged in cyclopian volcano-factories by blind craftsmen. Each HH1 has a personal coat of arms in which it stores its weapons.
    30. Dryads are parasites, eating away at treants until both die and the dryad births its swarm of nymph-larvae..
    31. Beastmen are the result of giant psychic druid drug-orgies.
    32. Swordwife - a class
    33. "Only in Haign-Lota would someone call a theologian for engine repair."
    34. Gorgon - A hunched figure in rags. A mane of many snakes emerge from the burlap hood. The host is trepanned, and a hydra egg is implanted in the brain.
    35. Great alien machines offering technological Faustian bargains - accept the gift, and you are now an acceptable target.
    36. Abandoned church with three tigers sitting out front.
    37. The moon changes every month, taking an alien form after each new moon. It never repeats itself.
    38. Cigarettes that coat the lungs in sporicides.
    39. Caste bred specifically as maturation vessels for potent corpse medicines.
    40. An organ like a second heart holds the humours in its four chambers, and is thus the emotional seat of the body rather than the brain.
    41. Slave Lake, in the Redlands.
    42. The camp at Lake Stoneburner.
    43. The Language of Shouting
    44. City dependent on the summoning and binding of succubi and incubi, lost generation of cambion mules.
    45. The Wherehouse, where lost things go.
    46. Written language that looks like coils of barbed wire.
    47. "Flowers for Oberon."
    48. Mail-order magical girl powers.
    49. Crowns are parasites, they make kings.
    50. Giant squids everywhere and no one really notices.
    51. Dying season - undead are seasonal, rising up in the spring and summer, hibernating in the winter.
    52. Decameron in a villa on the slope of Olympus Mons
    53. The Paracelsus Engine
    54. Planet with breathable air only during certain seasons.
    55. An elf's body will live forever, but their minds will unravel just like a man's. The live in a cycle of aging to madness, mind-death, and rebirth.
    56. Dungeons are subterranean food-production centers gone feral.
    57. The anti-environmentals, actively attempting to kill the earth-goddess
    58. Dissol Varut - A person
    59. Synaethetic monks
    60. Giant sky-corpses, floating limply through the clouds








    Saturday, April 7, 2018

    Three Beasts of the Public Domain

    This was actually PKD's first published story.

    Wub
    HD: 4
    Appearance: A flabby, blobby grey thing with big, sad eyes. Reminiscent of waterbear, mole rat, pig.
    Wants: Food, lots of it. Discussions of art and philosophy. An easy and peaceful life of pleasure.
    Armor: None
    Move: Minimal
    Morale: 12
    Damage: 0
    Number Appearing: 1

    A single wub contains enough meat for 150 rations. It is delicious and its meat lasts twice as long as normal rations before spoiling. There are several catches attached to this:
    1. The wub is both sapient and psychic.
    2. The wub will latch on to one or more of its more benevolent captors and strike up conversations of its favored topics, usually philosophy, art, and comparative mythology.
    3. The wub will beg for its life in a piteous and fatalist-melancholic manner to anyone intending to eat it.
    4. The wub is not actually the creature seen, but the psychic presence inhabiting it.
    5. The killer of the wub will become the new host for the wub, and will in a short amount of time devote itself to the lazy life of indolence that wubs favor.
    6. Currently unproven: the wub wants to be eaten for this very purpose.
    Resisting wub influence requires a daily WIS save. It may potentially be cast out through exorcism or a Remove Curse spell.


    W.W. Denslow

    Kalidah
    HD:5
    Appearance: A tiger's head on a bear's body.
    Wants: To hunt, to protect its territory, to scare the shit out of people
    Armor: As chain (thick fur and insulating fat)
    Move: Normal
    Morale: 8
    Damage: 1d10 claw or bite
    Number Appearing: 1-2

    Most terrible and terrifying hunters along the Yellow Brick Road. Being the biggest and the scariest, they are remarkably unaccustomed to anyone standing up to them, and so their wills might fail them if their target stands up to them.

    Wayne Douglas Barlowe

    Swine-Thing
    HD: 2
    Appearance: Pale and hairless pig-faced humanoid.
    Wants: To eat human flesh, to gain entry into the House
    Armor: None
    Move: Normal x1.5
    Morale: 6
    Damage: 1d4 claw
    Number Appearing: 3-18


    The swine-things emerge from beneath the earth and dusk and flee at dawn. While neither particularly intelligent nor possessing of tools, they use their own numbers and the isolation of their victims as their effective methods of attack. In one account of their hunts, it is implied that they are extensions of a greater being from beyond the universe: appendages of some cosmic god. This is unproven.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2018

    Some thoughts about Shadow of the Demon Lord



    This here's an honest cover.

    I got sold on Shadow of the Demon Lord in the space of about fifteen minutes by some fellow on Discord. These are my thoughts from the initial read through.

    The art sells the premise


    There are some great pieces in there. All of them do a good job at emphasizing the grody, grimy, gritty nature of the game. Strong, consistent art direction is always an A+.

    The mechanic changes are a fresh of breath air


    Of note:
    • Your modifier is the stat minus 10. No muss, no fuss.
    • The target number for everything that is not an attack is 10.
    • Boons and banes are a fine system to factor in everything else.
    • Insanity and corruption mechanics are nice and simple to use.
    • Advancement is done via group accomplishment, rather than by combat or treasure. I like this as a change of pace, and it's especially nice for a game where characters might undergo radical changes upon leveling up.
    You may notice a running theme here. This game is simple. It is easy to grok. You could teach the mechanics to a small child or a complete newbie and they will understand it.

    So about that class system... 


    Highlight of the entire game, as far as I'm concerned. Each template (ancestry, novice class, expert class, master class) grants you traits at a specific level, and so there's no overlap. There are also no requirements for taking on expert or master classes outside of narrative ones - hand your sword-and-board warrior a letter and a "yer a wizard", and it's not going to hurt your warrior skills.

    There are 30,336 ancestry / class combinations possible in the core book


    Six races, four novice classes, sixteen expert classes, sixty-four master classes (plus the remaining 15 expert classes if you want to double up). In the core book.

    The fact that I mention this in a positive light (instead of "harumph it's so bloated and unwieldy") is the greatest sign of how easy and human-understandable the class system is in this game. It's nice, it's easy, if you want to be a thing you can just go and become the thing.

    You can be a witch, who is also a robot piloted by a soul scraped out of hell. And then become a bard.

    There are lots of good random tables


    Schwalb knows what's up.

    The setting is a light touch


    It does what it needs to do, which is provide a framework. There's enough to get inspiration a-rolling, it's generic enough to fit into whatever setting you're already using, and the system is flexible enough to easily homebrew as you see fit. Win-win-win.

    Look at this fucking map.




    It's beautiful. It's fucking beautiful. It does everything I want to see out of a fantasy map, namely:
    • It is visually interesting (the hide, the blood, the  style of it all)
    • It's filled with evocative names that make me the player / GM want to fill it out.

    Female dwarves have beards


    It's not mole people, but it always makes me happy to see this.


    By Jove, they actually went and did it, the absolute madmen!


    The bestiary has generic templates for animals, demons, and monsters, arranged by size. Never thought I'd see the day.

    The character sheet fits on one page


    Glory glory Hallelujah

    Final Notes 


    This is a damn fine looking game and I want to run it.

    Saturday, March 31, 2018

    Amazons and Androgons

    Allaroundspaces

    Amazons, the Happy Horsewomen


    The golden plains to the east, where the lazy river Thermodon winds north to the Blackwine Sea, are a fertile land. Vast fields of grain and corn and countless herds of horses, bison, and oxen can be found there, as well as all manner of fruiting trees, nuts, and spices. At the river's mouth sits Temiskyra, and in her port all manner of boats travel here and there across the sea.

    This is the land of the amazons; it is a land of peace and prosperity because no one in the world is fool enough to invade, and anyone fool enough to try is never good enough to get past the border.

    Tales of their martial prowess are entirely true. The average amazon stands eight feet tall, and has been training with the horse, the bow, the spear, and the sword since she was old enough to walk. Amazonian men still taller and stronger than the average man, and are not the downtrodden slaves some would have you believe. Rumors of cutting off breasts are unfounded. Stories of their legendary hospitality and good humor are entirely true (why not laugh when nothing poses a threat?)

    Otherwise, the following touchstones are important for travelers on the way to Temiskyra.

    Damascene steel - The smiths of Temiskyra produce some of the best blades in the world (sans dwarves), through methods known only to them. The shimmering, swirling patterns have proven impossible to replicate by other men. Carbon nanotubes, y'all.

    Barbecue - The wild boars of the golden plains are terrifying monsters. Hunts for both sport and necessity are common enough that they barely classify as news. This leads to a great amount of pork in local markets. Family-owned amazonian barbecue joints are one of the region's primary exports.

    Lacrosse - It's like normal war, but nearly everyone lives through it so you can do it again. Often paired with barbecue. Used to solve disputes, mark holidays, or just for fun. Instituted in ages past as a way to avoid internal strife among the amazons.

    Horses - Temiskyran horses are, as one would expect, huge. Large enough that it is next to impossible for non-amazons to ride them (and the reverse is true for amazons riding normal sized horses). Smaller horses are kept as beloved pets

    Greatbows - The signature amazonian weapon. Even one skilled in its use must utterly root herself to the earth to draw it back.

    The greatest warrior among the amazons is currently Sofi Scarbelly. She and her retinue are currently off fighting some sort of monstrous humanoids.

    There is no link between the amazons of the Thermodon and the black amazons of the North, beyond naming conventions.

    Amazon Character Class


    Reroll STR and CON, take higher
    HP: d10
    XP: As elf
    Saves: As fighter
    To-hit: As fighter
    Armor costs 1.5x the normal price.

    Starting kit
    • Leather or chain armor
    • Spear and shield, sword and shield, or longbow
    • Longbow or greatbow
    • Quiver with 20 arrows or 5 greatarrows
    • A horse or a Fighter 0 hireling (usually a husband, son, or daughter-in-training)

    5e Option: As Goliaths, replacing altitude acclimation with an additional +1 CON.

    Tomas Duchek

    Androgons, the Man's Men


    In the days of the emperor Darvatius there was an entire legion formed of pairs of consecrated male lovers, sent out to pacify distant corners of the world and gain great glory for the banner of the eagle and bull. In the last days of the conquest the sacred band was sent past the Wall of Rhavian to subjugate certain tribes that had taken shelter with the Folk there, and there the record ends.

    A few centuries later, when the world is still rebuilding from the global catastrophe of Darvatius' second conquest, a tribe calling themselves the Androgons descends from the lands beyond the Wall into the world at large. Scribes of the time considered them to be some new tribe of barbarians, but modern historians are quite certain they are Darvatius' lost legion merged with the tribes they had been sent to exterminate.

    These Androgons (occasionally called the Gargareans, especially in older texts) are for the most part a wandering people: there are a few townships under their control, but most live in small bands of 20-200 individuals. They are quiet and isolationist: outsiders are not welcome in their camps, and their interactions with the greater world tend to be either succinct or violent. They make their living as soldiers of fortune, having no love of peaceful, settled lives. It is a hard life, but they enjoy it well enough.

    Those who come into contact with the Androgons ought to bear in mind the following:

    Virwyrd - lit. "the way of men". Androgons have strict pillars of manhood that they hold up: combat, camaraderie, practical handicraft, and stoicism. Public displays of emotion ought be limited to triumph over enemies or anger towards them - friendship is to be kept to the mess tent, and tenderness to the bunk. Sexual relations between Androgons are spoken of in near-businesslike terms outside of private moments.  

    No Girls Allowed - Androgon reactions to women are mixed: ignorance reins on the whole, accompanied by bemusement, confusion, apathy, or hatred. Many competing theories have emerged, claiming that women are alien beings, misshapen or depraved men, demons, or most radically, human beings. The first and second attitudes are the most common. 

    The Trailing Camp - War parties tend to accumulate non-Androgon camp followers. Having little in the ways of their own roots, they will often pick up Androgon customs and modes of dress. If there are any women to be found among the Androgons, they will be found here. Any children sired will be brought into the Androgon party to be raised and trained. The relations which bear these children are not spoken of. 

    Battle-Thought - Philosophy and rhetoric are greatly valued by the Androgons, despite their warlike manners and lack of written history. There are great minds of Darvatius' time that exist now only as Androgon oral history.

    Folk Arts - The greatest treasure among the Androgons are secrets given to them in their time beyond the Wall. Little study has been conducted of their Pathmaking and Bread-and-Salt traditions, and greater secrets still remain.

    The greatest band of Androgons is that of the Ash Moon Banner. They are currently harassing the townships outside of Janashkut.

    Androgon characters are fighters.







    Saturday, March 24, 2018

    Health, Healing, and Injuries

    This remains a work in progress, and is as-of-yet untested. It has been cobbled together from multiple sources of inspiration, including Into the Odd, Logan Knight's flesh and grit system, and Skerples' Rat on a Stick GLOG hack.

    Further modifications are certain to follow.

    Health

     

    Characters have Hit Points and Body Points (or Grit and Flesh). HP represents a character's ability to avoid taking serious damage, and BP represents a character's actual bodily integrity. If you have HP, you can take a hit; if you've lost BP, there are things outside your body that really need to be put back inside.

    HP at level 1 is equal to your full hit die + your CON bonus. At every subsequent level you roll for your HP with no CON bonus. HP caps at 20.

    BP is equal to your CON score. It goes up and down according to that score, or in the occasional magical effect. Any damage taken to BP will be subtracted from both STR and CON. Taking BP damage means you are now bleeding out, and will lose and additional 1 BP / round until stabilized.

    When you reach 0 HP, you are incapacitated. Any damage taken beyond this point will be taken from your BP. If you reach 0 BP, you are dead. If you are attacked while incapacitated, you are dead.

    Healing

     

    HP is restored to full by a restful night of sleep and a meal. Other circumstances, (sleep but no food, food only, partial sleep, etc) you will only recover 1d6 + lvl HP.

    BP is recovered through the following methods, and is done so in the same intervals it is dealt in (minor, small, medium, great).

    Panacea potions
    Save vs magic to resist addiction. Addicts make saves to resist at -1. If health restored equals or exceeds character's max BP, they will progress to the next stage (gain 1 panacea mutation, save malus increased by 1). Total transformation into a panacea mutant occurs upon reaching stage 5.

    Surgery
    Chance of infection dependent on the surgeon's level of preparation. This will be a larger worry for players when in the field, but a visit to the barber should go with only minor risk.

    Heal Serious Wounds
    R: Touch T: Creature D: 0
    Restores [sum] BP. Biomancy of this nature (the kind that won't give you cancer) is a carefully-guarded secret among the fleshcrafter guilds. They will charge you a premium for it, but it's possible to undo lingering injuries through this method.

    Healing crystals
    Can heal max BP equal to die type x 2. Healing crystals repair injury through absorbing and storing it; they will not only be rendered useless upon capacity, but become radioactive as hell. They are thoroughly illegal.

    Rest
    A stabilized character at rest will recover 1d4 BP per week.

    Additional Skills
    • Medicine - Setting bones, stopping bleeding, stabilizing the injured, identifying injuries, basic knowledge of herbs and medicines. Not a permanent solution, cannot recover BP.
    • Surgery - See barbers.

    Injuries


    If you take BP damage, make a CON save against your new score. If you fail, you will take a lingering injury. Roll for one on your favorite table, and if you don't have a favorite table, James Introcaso has a good one.

    Broken bones are healed after 10 days of rest.

    Missing limbs can be repaired or replaced, but advanced prostethics  and grafts ought to be treated as quest rewards.

    Special Injuries


    Certain damage types will always leave specific lingering injuries, as appropriate.

    Fire damage will result in burn scars.
    Unholy damage will result in anathema.
    Holy damage will result in sanctification.
    Corrosive damage will result in acid scars.
    Nectrotic damage will result in fleshrot.


    Final Notes


    This whole thing was made to retroactively fit into the normal LotFP health system I've been using with my group. I'll be running it proper when Hot Springs Island No Allergy Edition gets going in a couple weeks, and see what needs tweaked there.






    Friday, March 23, 2018

    Self-Indulgent Lore Garbage

    This is in response to an old challenge of +Kiel Chenier 's that had resurfaced recently: ten pieces of setting lore that have absolutely no impact game-wise beyond flavor. I can totally do that.

    1.  The hamsa is a common symbol of good fortune and warding off evil influence. It comes from the story of how Father gave up his eye for wisdom, and Mother held onto it out of love.

    2. The most common written form of Manu-Babel uses the Deseret alphabet.

    3. No one is permitted to possess anything of their own when entering the City Magpie - all belongings must belong to another, whether by theft or loan. This includes names, titles, and family members.

    4. Angels and demons, like gods, are naturally created by humans and their actions. A laughing baby creates a legion of angels.

    5. The known world is only one hemisphere: there is an entire antipode that lies beyond a burning meridian. This might be a lie promulgated by mapmakers, or a clever metaphor for a different plane.

    6. The Necromantic Socialist Republics are actually quite pleasant places to visit, if you happen to like skulls. They're quite insistent on the skulls.

    7. Saffron, white obsidian, red oil, and soul-pearls are all viable currencies. They are often accepted alongside the silver dollar and other coinage.

    8. Old Acephavara collapsed under the strain of economic catastrophe, incestuous political corruption, and arcanonuclear war, but never seemed to get the memo that it no longer exists.

    9. Troll-stones allow real-time communication across thousands of miles, though to actually accomplish that one must figure out a way to not be drowned-out by the ever-churning chaos of the Trollmoot.

    10.The goblin kings went away to Parts Unknown, and the goblins eagerly await their return. Two of them are definitely Weird Al and David Bowe.