Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Everyone is Human

I've played around with this idea before, and got to thinking of expanding it upon seeing Trey Causey over at Sorcerer's Skull do something similar, as well as Joe Fatula's stuff over at Signs in the Wilderness.

Reverse-engineering the Standard Fantasy Races (TM) into primates that exist in the real-world has fourfold purpose: one, stale fantasy tropes are stale and mythologizing the real world is much more fun and meaningful for me. Two, it's the easy go between of "humans only" and "lots of choice of fantasy peoples", since both are true. Third, it allows you to focus on the really weird fantasy species that can be thrown into the world to interact with. Fourth, I have a feeling it's a solid way to circumvent "let's go into the caves and just murder everyone". We have chaos-spawn for that.

Human Species

Humans - Homo sapiens sapiens - This is us.

Dwarves - Homo sapiens neanderthalensis - A bit shorter, a bit stockier, live up in the lands of ice and snow. Possibly deceptively high-pitched voices.

Elves - Homo sapiens idaltu - Immediate ancestors of humans, now fading out.

Halflings / gnomes - Homo sapiens floresiensis - The little people. Tend to come from small, remote islands.

Orcs - Homo sapiens denisova - Closely related to dwarves, significant cross-pollination between the two peoples. Live in a vast and rugged wilderness, far from civilization.

Ogres - Homo sapiens carnifex - The result of heavy arcane reagent poisoning. Gigantism, mental degradation, violent cannibalistic tendencies.

Tiefling - Homo sapiens cambionis - The result of a cubus transferring sperm between a male and female victim. Sterile, generally mutated.

Aasimar - Homo sapiens nephilli - The result of a angelic siring and miraculous birth. Sterile, generally mutated.

Other Primates

Goblins - Lemurs and tarsiers - Loud, rowdy, huge tribes, downright bizarre looking really.

Hobgoblins - Chimpanzees and bonobos - Tool usage, have figured out war and raiding parties.

Bugbears - Mandrills - Ye gods, look at those teeth.

Firbolgs - Orangutans and gorillas - Eminently chill dwellers of the inner forests.

Trolls - A hunchbacked, ape-like mass of tumors. No one knows what it used to be.

Giants - Gigantopithicus - Huge, rarely seen.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Converting Eclipse Phase Monsters to Mothership

Save the section at the end of Dead Planet, there's no bestiary for Mothership. There will be one in time, but for now we are on our own.

Thankfully, the freely-available Eclipse Phase library can fill in. These are all stripped right from the X-Risks book.

Basic Conversion Guidelines

  • SOM / 5 = number of health pools a creature has.
    • For lower health (or more human enemies), divide by 10 instead.
  • DUR = Amount in each health pool.
  • INT + REF = Instinct (a creature's catch-all save)
  • Speed is weird, as EP only has two levels of it for monsters. This is just going to have to be eyeballed.
  • Attacks remain the same, keeping hit percentages and damage.
  • Special powers follow the same procedure as attacks.
  • Everything else gets ditched.

Barbed Eel

Seems more like a slug, fatter than an eel. Barbels with bioluminescent tips. Six eyes, gigantic mouth.

  • 40% bite 1d10+4
Speed: 30%
Instinct: 30%
Hits: 3(40)
Special: 1d10 electric stun. 10m range in water, 60% touch attack on land.


Blister Beast

A purplish, ape-sized thing. Hairless, with a long tail. Six limbs, thin. Bright orange pustules.

  • Tail Strike 60, 2d10, body save vs knocked prone.
  • Sting 50, 1d10+5, body save vs 1 hr paralysis and 1d10 damage / turn for 5 turns. Successful save resists paralysis and halves damage.
Speed: 45%
Instinct: 35%
Hits: 3(30)
Special: Blister Defense - Attacks against the blister beast have a 40+damage% chance of triggering a neurotoxin cloud (1d10 / turn inside cloud, save vs 1 hour blindness, save vs incapacitation by choking.)


Flesh Party

Giblets splattered all over the walls, victims still alive. A web of skin, muscle, gristle and fat.

  • Bite 50, body save vs engulfed, victims take acid damage as below until freed or dead.
  • Acid Spit 40, 1d10+5 for 3 turns
  • Bone Spur 40, 1d10+4
Speed: 10%
Instinct: 20%
Hits: 4(80)
Special: Regenerates 1d10 / hour


Fractal Troll

Humans, once. Lumbering, neckless. Arms are huge, second set spurts from shoulder blades with fractal fingers.

  • Claws 70, 1d10+7
  • Subdual 70, strength check to resist.
  • Fractal Gouge, 1d10+4, can be used as a bonus attack to subdued targets.
Speed: 40%
Instinct: 70%
Hits: 8(55)
Special: Vacuum-immune. Memories of previous life.



Human victims of Glory virus. Leathery grey-blue skin, hairless. Horns. Breeding pairs fuck constantly, deposit zygotes into the Mother.

  • Claws 60, 1d10+3
  • Particle Beam Bolter 60, 2d10+4 (can be replaced for other firearm)
Speed: 60%
Instinct: 40%
Hits: 5(40)
Special: Drones indistinguishable from humans in appearance. Breeders only distracted by threats to the nest. Can pass on Glory strain via fluid transfer.


Immolator Mother

A mass of flesh, wombs and mouths and teeth and tentacles. Blood everywhere. Breeders depositing zygotes.

  • Bite 70, 2d10+3,  body save vs infection with the Glory strain.
  • Tentacles 70, 1d10+3, makes 1d10/2 attacks
  • Brain Spike 60, 2d10+, fear save for half.
Speed: 10%
Instinct: 10%
Hits: 6(100)
Special: Glory strain via fluid transfer. In center of immolator hive.


Land Anemone

What it says on the box.

  • Tentacle Attack 60, 1d10 + toxin
  • Grapple 60 - Swallows on next action, 1d10 damage / turn
Speed: 15%
Instinct: 35%
Hits: 3(30)
Special: Tentacle toxin, 2d10 + 10 for three turns, body save vs paralysis. Sometimes bury themselves for better ambush.



Human, once. Chose this. No empathy, regret, or doubt. Blood red skin, patches like dark stone. Gaping mouth with too many teeth.

  • Diamond Bite 70, 1d10+7 
  • Monofilament Claws 70 1d10+8
  • Tail sting 80, 2d10 +7. Toxin activates in 3 turns, lasts 10 minutes. Failed body save = incapacitated, success = -20 to all checks for duration.
Speed: 75%
Instinct: 80%
Hits: 8(65)
Special: Nasty motherfuckers, but not very creative in the grand scheme.


Stinger Hound

A sturdy shell. Four thin legs. Small head. Fast. Pack hunter.

  • Tongue Stinger 65, 1d10+3, target loses 5 points of strength / turn for 6 turns (3 on save)
  • Claws 60, 2d10+2
  • Pounce 70, 2d10+5, save vs knocked prone and pinned.
Speed: 65%
Instinct: 35%
Hits: 4(40)
Special: Camouflage - gain +30 to attempts to hide when remaining still and silent.


Veiled Leech

About the size of chimpanzee. Hairless, clammy, slimy. Invisible, most of the time. Tentacle mouth.

  • Pounce 60, save vs subdual, following turn sucker bite 1d10/2 + toxin.
  • Toxin - Save vs unconscious 1 hr. -30 to all checks for duration.
Speed: 35%
Instinct: 30%
Hits: 3(25)
Special: Gliding membranes, thermal vision, camouflage to the point of invisibility.


Void Crawler

Clever little things. Mostly arms and tail. Vacuum-adapted. Coordinated packs. Tool-use.

  • Hook 50, 1d10 +1. 
  • Tail Whip 60, 1d10, body save vs choked unconscious
Speed: 40%
Instinct: 35%
Hits: 2(30)
Special: Confusion sleight 60 - Target is disorientated, takes -20 to all rolls. Vacuum adapted.



Human, once. Lanky. Rubbery brown-black skin. Bone white mask. No expression.

  • Claws 40, 1d10 
  • SMG 80, 4d10
Speed: 50%
Instinct: 30%
Hits: 3(50)
Special: Infection vector - interacting with a wastewalker mask will drive individuals to wear it, swiftly transforming into another.


Zombie Crab

Giant enemy crab. Aggressive. 
  • Claw 50, 2d10+4. Body save vs protist infection. 
  • Bite 50, 3d10, save vs protist infection.
Speed: 15%
Instinct: 15%
Hits: 4(50)
Special: Protist infection - 5 day incubation. Afterwards, lose 5 points from each stat per day to minimum of 5. Gain obsessive compulsion to seek out water to drown and be eaten.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Horizon Zero Dawn in the OSR


Horizon Zero Dawn, despite the silly name, is a great game. And for our purposes a fine fit, like Banner Saga before it, for OSR conversion.

This is going to be spoilered to all hell.

Primer for Players

Far future Earth. Green apocalypse. Civilization is pre-industrial and, as far as we know, is centered in the western US (Colorado, Montana, Utah, Arizona in particular). The primary remnants of the old world are the machine-creatures found throughout the wilderness. Beyond that it's just some rusting ruins, hidden bunkers, and the occasional bit of salvage (metals and ceramics, no plastics). The robots have been getting more aggressive over the last decade or so (the Derangement).

Primer for DMs

There was a grey-goo scenario in the 2060s. self-replicating, biomass-eating warbots built without a remote shutdown backdoor, all that good stuff. Total biosphere collapse, extinction of all life on Earth. Project Zero Dawn was a last-ditch reboot effort - build an AI (GAIA) capable of brute-forcing the shutdown the Faro warbots, and then clean up and re-seed the biosphere from seed and gene banks using it's own robots. It succeeded (hence, why there is a game), but the subfunction APOLLO was sabotaged, wiping out the entire recorded history of humanity and destroying any resources for the humans raised in the Cradle facilities (this is why there are no cultural remnants of the Old World to be found in any of the post-ZD civilizations) The first Cradles started releasing people into the wild some 700 years ago or so. Current year is 3040.

Practical Basics

  • Common weapons are simple and pretty standard: bows, spears, swords, axes, slings. Simple explosives and rapid-crossbows are less common but still widespread.More exotic weapons include tripwire launchers and restraining ropecasters.
  • The Osteran have been able to develop proper cannons, and some Carja have fire-spear launchers of their own. Any other firearms are scavenged off of robots and usually in possession of the Eclipse.
  • HZD does not match up to any pre-existing historical era particularly well, but it is safe enough to think "anachronistic bronze age".
  • The largest animal seen in-game is a wild boar. Some livestock can be presumed, but it seems most of the bigger animals have gone extinct for good.
  • Primary currency is metal shards chipped off of machine plating. Ruinations scrap works just fine to this end.


There are four primary cultures featured in the game, plus three minor.
  • Nora - Matriarchal, isolationist. Strict taboos on personal behavior and even stricter against exploration of ruins or meddling with machines, punishable through exile. Keep to themselves in their Sacred Lands, which are in the general Colorado area.
  • Carja - Theocratic cultural hub, largest civilization in the known world. Consider their king the vessel of the divine sun. The old king (Jiran) was a murderous tyrant and was overthrown by his son in a civil war. The current king (Avad) is a pretty cool dude: banned slavery, opened the borders, more rights for women and foreigners. The Carja Sundom includes a lot of territory in the Utah / Arizona region.
  • Osteran - Industrious, mercantile, forthright. Smiths, miners, mercenaries, tinkerers. They come from the Claim, which should be Idaho and possibly some of Montana.
  • Banuk - Survivalist, technospiritualist. Clans formed via trial rather than bloodline. Shamans deal with machines and commune with the "Blue Light". They live in Ban-Ur, which begins in Wyoming and proceeds further north, possibly to Canada.
  • Utaru - Pastoral, pacifist. Live in the Plainsong (Kansas and Nebraska, likely), and are rarely seen in the Sundom or surrounding territories.
  • Tenakth - Cannibalistic raiders from further south. Nasty motherfuckers.
  • Carja-in-Shadow - Supporters of the previous Carja king, driven westward by the terms of the ceasefire. Mostly the old priesthood trying to claim legitimacy through the six year old Itamen (youngest son of Jiran by a different wife) and acting as a cover for the Eclipse cult (who believes that the HADES subfunction is the Buried Shadow of their myth come to rebalance the disorder caused by Avad).

Only two other Cradle facilities are confirmed: one in Xinjiang Province (China) and one under Mt. Namuli (Mozambique). Potential sites (via in-game graphics only) include Greenland, Nigeria, northern France and eastern Russia.

Land west of the Rockies is entirely fucked, according to in-game sources.

The Medicine Pouch

A successful survival check (takes 1 hour) will gather enough medicinal herbs to restore 1 HP. You can store up to your max HP in your medicine pouch.

Equipment & Mods

The heaviest armor available is the equivalent of chain, with the lightest being no more than common clothing. What is more important is an armor's quality, which determines how many modification weaves can be applied. There are three ranks of quality for armor (1/2/3 mods) and for modifications themselves. Modifications provide damage reduction (1/2/3) against one of the following types.
  • Melee 
  • Ranged
  • Fire
  • Freezing
  • Spark
  • Corruption 
So, for example, Quality 2 Light Armor has an AC of 14 and two mod slots.

Weapons can also be modded to do additional damage in the same manner, doing 1-3 additional damage when using the appropriate ammo type.

Machine Creatures

Machines are easy: just take your favorite wildlife from the Monster Manual, make it a robot, and give it a simple title related to what it does or what it's like ("Watcher", "Snapmaw", etc). While more exotic-appearing machines are certainly possible, it seems that HEPHAESTUS has kept it all within the boundaries of creatures that once existed on Earth (GAIA was quite fond of megafauna, it turned out.)

Major machine classifications include: terraformer (maintain soil fertility), purifier (clean & maintain air and water), acquisition (gathering and recycling resources), transport (moving resources), recon (detection, guiding other machines to needed locations), communication (maintaining network), combat (post-Derangement hunter-killers) and chariot (Old World warbots).

Each creature has a chance of dropping a lens (40%) or a heart (10%). These are worth, respectively, 10xHD and 50xHD shards.

Machines are generated in HEPHASTUS-run cauldron facilities.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Project Updates for 2019

With the new year of 12019 upon us (Holocene Era calendar for life), here's some of the stuff I've been working on and hopefully will be working on in the future.

Unicorn Meat

(This is a module about an abandoned backwoods factory farm for unicorns that has gone full True Detective / LISA the Painful)

The first draft of the module is complete, but first drafts have a way of revealing to you that completion is a fair way away. I've got potential revisions all written down and ready for addition once the mental batteries recharge.

The main change will be one of framing and focus. All of the playtests so far have been about a adventuring party happening upon the events at the farm, and this has brought with it issues of motivation and confusion of what to do. To address this, I feel that a switcheroo is in order: "carvergirls attempting to escape the farm" gets bumped up to the primary hook, while "adventurers from the outside" gets bumped down the list.

All the rest is just cleanup and reorganization of what I've already got down, with a bit of expansion where needed. With the carvergirls bumped up as the primary player option adding a Nightwatch class and their spells is going to happen.

There's a ways to go, but I'm excited. It's gonna be great.

The Great Discape

(This is a weirdo setting of a bunch of strange places on the back of a giant whale.)

I haven't forgotten about it.

The Danscape, while loads of fun to play and run,was a bit of a big, unguided mess. Setting was so big that it might as well not have existed or could have been a single planet, maybe even within walking distance. The 100-long list of species went mostly untouched and unused. It's all diluted, and in the heat of the moment it is too much for a DM to use adequately on the fly.

I had some thoughts of paring the setting down, perhaps adding the Wanderers as the main races, but that didn't come to fruition.

Because I've already got a project with "scape" in it already. (Draft here.)

After some feedback from folks and a good time of thinking, I've got some notions of combining the two, so that everyone is far less confused about everything.

Some ideas and edits that have taken hold.
  • Cutting down the number of major regions - already done in the draft, down to 14.
  • Adding a list of minor regions (which will include abridged versions of those cut)
  • Consolidating the places of note from Danscape to Discape.
  • The Discape itself is made of dead gods, because why not?
  • There is no off switch to the K6BD influences.
  • Filling out the Discape with some more random tables.
  • There was that huge race table made for the Danscape. I don't think it will be added in, but I'll figure something out for it.
One of the advantages of jumping from half-baked project to half-baked project is that you can occasionally bake an entire project out of the pieces.

Mother Stole Fire

(This is my "default" fantasy setting)

Broad-view plans for all this is to make a sort of setting gazetteer, in the vein of Chromatic Soup. A map of the Olen River Valley adventure region and a series of background equipment kits have been sketched out and I've got a decent short list of  pre-existing posts to polish and throw together.

Untitled Post Apocalyptic Project

(This has yet to be made)

There is in my head the shape of a game. An apocalyptic game, but after a revelatory apocalypse rather than a destructive one. Fit for fighting monsters and paranormal investigation, but more in the vein of Hellboy and the BPRD than Call of Cthulhu or Delta Green. Something that scratches the Degenesis itch more than a hack can.

If Hellboy + Dreamlands + Esoteric Enterprises + Degenesis + Warframe for some fucking reason sounds like a good time to you, this is one to keep tabs on.

Games I Want to Run

Got plenty of stuff on the docket for this year, but the main plans are:
  • Mothership - Got plenty of stuff to use already and I can't wait to get started.
  • Warhammer 40k via SWN - Using John B's excellent little hack, I can finally knock 40k off the bucket list.
  • DCC - Want to try a longer campaign on this one, I've got plenty of material for it. Once my copy of Chained Coffin comes in that'll definitely see some use.
  • Other stuff - Who knows? There shall always be more opportunities.