Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Mother Stole Fire

Ama Adimatha, Mother of Multitudes

The gods of man number in the countless thousands, but Ama Adimatha stands honored above all of them. Go anywhere in the world, even to the top of Sky-Eater Mountain or the deepest pits of Hell, and you will find her.

She is the soft voice you heard in the womb, the gentle arms that held you close, the guiding hand of your first tottering steps. She is the shield against evil, the keeper of woman's secret wisdom, the source of love and bountiful life. She is strong as the pillars of the earth. She's a joker, a japester, a right-up prankster. Vast is her compassion, unbreakable is her spirit, clever is her tongue, and most terrible is her wrath.

She is our mother.

Here is a story of how she stole fire.


Long ago, in the green and timeless days before the coming of the ice, there was a goddess of the ape-men named Clever Lu. She was always getting into trouble: playing pranks on the tribe chiefs, gossiping with songbirds, stealing fruit from the highest trees, racing the gazelles, dancing with the Folk come the rains. And she she got it in her head that she ought to steal the crown of fire from Hō-ō, King of the Heavens and Highest of the Dragon Lords.

Clever as she was, Lu could not match the guile and power of the king. Not just yet. She went forth into the world to find her greatest trick and had a great many adventures, some of which were even true.

She escaped the clutches of Pan-Pongo, savage god-chief of the ape-men, by getting him drunk on palm-wine and leaving him lost in the woods. She ventured into the halls of the star-nosed Mountain King and feasted there with the dwarves. She wrestled the great catfish Tija Gnood for four days and four nights, and then cooked him up for breakfast. She stole the words out of the mouth of Fantool the River Serpent and sold them back to him. She made friends of the Old Ones, made enemies of the Álfar, and started a war in the process. She belched out a song to impress the Great Goblin Queen. She beat Aran Stone-Brow in a game of riddles, and walked all the way to the edge of the world. She moved a mountain from Here to There Over the Horizon by chaining it to the sun with a braid of her hair, and so won a cloak of feathers from Raven.

When finally she came to climb the Crown of the World, she was no longer the nut-brown girl who had left the forest domain of Pan-Pongo; She was now a goddess grown, taught well by time and trial. By the magics of Raven's black cloak, she disguised herself as a saurian priestess come from the distant deserts to give homage to the Mesozoic King, and so gained entry to his milk white palace on the mountain peak.

She was brought before Hō-ō, who was as glorious as the setting sun. Clever Lu bowed before him, and presented her most honeyed words. The king was taken by her tribute and by the comeliness of her disguise, and so agreed when she offered to dance for him. This was her trap, for she wove a spell into her dance so that the king and all his court would fall into a deep and dreamless sleep, and so it was.

Grinning to herself, Clever Lu shed her disguise, shimmied up the throne, and stole the crown of fire right from Hō-ō's head. The great dragon snuffled in his sleep. She departed the throne room by tiptoe.

But dragons have potent magic of their own, and her spell of sleep quickly faded. Hō-ō awoke, and realizing that he had been tricked, roared up to the night sky:


He tore through the his chambers, following the scent of ape. The milk-white palace collapsed around him in his rage. Claws glistening, teeth alight with dragonsfire, thunderous wings outstretched, he bore down on the escaping Lu, chasing her to the very edge of the mountain peak.

She stood there upon the cliff, knee-deep in the snow, the burning crown in her hands, and realized that she had made a terrible mistake.

She offered to return the crown, to leave and never return, but Hō-ō, blinded by rage, ignored her pleas and tears. The King of the Heavens vowed to her that he and his kind, their children and all their children's children, would hunt the ape-men to the ends of the world, to slaughter them to the last. None would be spared. Their forests would be put to the torch, their plains made barren, their gods broken and cast aside. To the last mewling child Hō-ō would see them devoured. With a terrible howl he summoned the ranks of his dragons, and Lu watched in horror as they flew out from the Crown of the World.

There was a moment, where Lu thought of throwing herself from the mountain there, but despair melted in the blast furnace of newborn anger. They had threatened her people, her children... 

Her fury a-burning about her, Lu reached up a hand to the sky and grasped a star in her fist. With all her rage and love and hate and hope, she tore that iron star out of the sky, screaming...


 ...and brought it down upon Hō-ō, his castle, his mountain, and all the world: the fist of an angry goddess.

Thus the world was broken and remade, and passed from dragons to man. The green and timeless days gave way to a white and frozen age. Continents and seas were shaped and re-shaped. The dragons and their children died. Mankind was born of the ape-men. The Folk warred among themselves.

Standing over the corpse of Hō-ō, Mother placed the crown of fire upon her head, and led her children into winter.


This is it, then, the proper opening to this setting I've been working on. There will be more to come, of course, most of it far more gamable than this. Next up should be the famous 40 questions.

But to prevent this post from being totally ungamable, I present the following table for other stories about Mother:

How true is it? (1d12)
  1. Bullshit
  2. Double bullshit
  3. Absolutely true
  4. Embellished
  5. Not entirely false
  6. Jury is still out
  7. Way more truth than you wanted
  8. Given value of true
  9. Have to squint at it
  10. The truth you needed
  11. All of the above
  12. Roll twice

Monday, November 27, 2017

DCO with Randos: Session 1

In an effort to get around to actually playing games, I decided to brave the wilds of looking for an online game. I quickly found one that was looking for a DM, and with immense luck it turned out to be a great time for all parties involved.

When I asked about what sort of adventure they wanted me to run, the group was quite enthusiastic in their support of the "weird and dark" parts of my module collection, which meant Deep Carbon Observatory, for there are none weirder or darker, and hacking it to 5e is not much trouble.

The party consisted of:
  • Eren, human ranger
  • Alterial, human monk
  • Durlan, wood elf life cleric
It was a short session (one of the party had to leave early), and so they did not end up leaving Carrowmore, but we did get through all the chaos. Man, what an opening.

The sequence of arriving in Carrowmore, with everything happening all at once, is perfectly overwhelming. Not enough to impede running it (by the second or third series of events the flow begins and you are carried along as if in the flood itself), but enough to get you really into things.

The group's opening arc was something like this:

  • The group rushes in to help Callao rescue the children and elders of Pollnagollum Village.
  • Alterial and Durlan go and try to round up Sue Trouin's schoolchildren.  With some food they're able to collect the band and lead them back to Callao's group.
  • Eren goes to investigate Busla Rant and her clocktower fishing spot. He learns of the gold dust, and is nearly but not quite pickpocketed by Wit Tambdoun. Eren trades a portion of rations to have Wit steal one of  Busla's treasures. 
  • Eren saves Theodore Brosen.
  • Wit returns with a severed head, mouth full of gold dust.
  • Alterial and Durlan nearly have the lynch mob turn on them, but are able to . The rescued sailor leads them to the Snail-Shell Zarathustra. The captain makes his offer, as normal.
  • Eren (followed shortly thereafter by the other two) comes across the Snowflake Squad accosting Constable Stary. They call the bluff and send them packing, and get quite excitable when Stary makes her offer of 5000 gold for proof of there being no treasure (as well as catching on to the inherent silliness of the claim and potential avenues for abuse - there's no treasure north of the Lock if we've already stolen it, now is there?)
We had to end there, but that's still two hours of thoroughly enjoyable game for six pages of module (and more time to prep for the next session. Eagerly looking forward to the continuation.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Delta Eclipse: Draft 1

by Alex Drummond


If you follow me on G+ you've probably heard me talking about this for the last month or so. If you haven't: it's a hack for Eclipse Phase using Delta Green rules, because I like the idea of Eclipse Phase but find the system and books super-unfriendly for purposes of running the game.

This is still something of a work in progress: it contains all the basics of the hack, but there will doubtlessly be tweaks as I finish the list of advanced morphs and people point out gribbly mechanical bits that got overlooked. But! This draft right here can be considered usable, if untested.

If you come across gribbly mechanical mistakes that make sense, please let me know.

Note:This is a pretty significantly changed Eclipse Phase - no asyncs, no Factors, no gates, factions have been shifted around / edited / removed / added, and transhumanity is not necessarily the standard. If you want to add any of that it, go for it.

Here’s the deal:

It’s the future, and Earth got fucked. We had giant, super-powerful AI god-babies that, upon waking up, also woke up a Bracewell probe from some civilization way up the Kardashev scale that was hibernating in our solar system. The probe ate all the AI god-babies, fucked off to its masters with a bellyful of devoured and assimilated potential competitors, and left a bunch of killer robots and Old One AI subroutines behind to deal with the leftover mess.

Humanity did what it always does in times of crisis: shit the bed and start fighting each other.

All of you people are in this group called Firewall whose job it is to keep the killer robots, crazy super-tech, or plain old human greed, cruelty, and stupidity from finishing the extinction job. 

Solve the problem by causing more problems.


Here’s the deal with the rules:

This is a Delta Green hack. It uses Delta Green rules. If you don’t have Delta Green rules, the Need to Know quickstart rules are free, and will cover basically everything you need.

By bigmsaxon

Here’s the deal with your character:

Your character consists of two parts, your morph and your ego. You can take your ego out of your morph and stick it in another morph, because you’re a soul in a phylactery a digitized consciousness on a hard drive.

Morph stats are STR, DEX, and CON. Ego stats are INT, POW, and CHA. You roll 3d6 for each of these or take the pre-generated spread as provided in Need to Know. Ego stats are rolled up during character creation and stick with them through the life of your character. Your morph stats are rolled according to the morph you are currently inhabiting. Derived statistics (HP, WP, SAN) are calculated in the typical fashion.

You don't have to be a transhuman if you don’t want to. Or you can be a little transhuman but not go all the way. Or you could start out baseline and upload yourself, or you could start as H+ and lock yourself in a single body.


Here’s the deal with the transhuman stuff:

Transhumans get a fourth category of mental trauma all of their own. Call it Identity.

Re-sleeving, uploading, forking, or locking down requires a sanity roll. As with other types of sanity loss, you can burn willpower to push through it, project damage onto your bonds, and become adapted to it.  The sanity damage values are as follows:

  • 0 - You are intimately familiar with the body.
  • 0/1 - You are familiar with this type of morph.
  • 0/1d4 - Standard roll.
  • 0/1d6 - This morph is unorthodox and you have no prior experience with its type.

Backups should be a regular occurrence. At minimum they will occur when you sleeve into a new body, are about to go out on a mission, or according to your insurance plan (once monthly is industry standard).

You only have one backup (unless you’ve come across extra cortical stacks and are storing your forks yourself), so saving again will override previous data. Be sure to get everything taken care of before the next backup!

And if you worry about abusing savescumming, don’t worry - it is still committing suicide, and we’re still hardwired to avoid that.

Neurosurgery can be used to directly remove or edit traumatic memories. Roll POW x5 per trauma you want removed: Success will recover all SAN points lost for that particular event. Upon failure, the memory will be erased but no sanity will be gained. Critical failure will result in losing 1 point of POW, permanently.

There is a downside to being a transhuman, though: you are lunch. The Bracewell probe’s many robotic children categorize you as a parasite that was sucking off AI god-baby data and every single one of those killer robots has the stink of the DRM on your cyberbrain apps memorized.

Also, continuity is a bitch. If you are a full digital transhuman, you are already a copy of someone. The original meat-you might be dead, or they might not – that fact depends on whether you took the suicide uploading route to maintain continuity.

If you don’t have a body at the moment, you are just an infomorph. You have no body stats and can use no skills that would require a body, but all Computer Science checks are made at INT x5 while you are disembodied data.

The fact that Adam is a tech demo makes it even more appropriate for this.


Here’s the deal with skills:

Only a few changes here.

  • Archaeology and Anthropology have been removed and replaced with Academics. Characters start with 0% in this, and may choose their specialty(s) as they see fit.
  • Free Fall has been added to the skill list, covering maneuvering in low- or zero-gravity. All characters start with a base value of 10% in this skill.
  • All characters now start with a 10% in Computer Science.
  • Occult has been replaced with The Fall, though its usage is the same: wading through the secrets, pseudohistory, conspiracy theories, and so on born of the species’ collective trauma.
  • Unnatural deals with true knowledge of the Bracewell Probe, its functions, its creators, its creations, or its greater purpose.

Here’s the deal with professions:

The default Delta Green ones work just fine. Rename the agency you work for and no one will know the difference.

If you want to make a new profession, the guidelines in the Delta Green core book are:

  • 400 points split between 10 skills
  • 30-50 points for each skill, no higher than 60    

Here’s the deal with bonus skill packages:

Same as last time, just use the defaults. Choose eight skills to give +20 to, raising none higher than 80. Any of the background packages in the core book will work.


Here’s the deal with self-skills:

You’ve got three additional skills, separated from the normal set. These are:

  • Networking: [Field]
  • Profession: [Field]
  • Interest: [Field]
You have 120 points to split between as many of them as you want. They are used as follows:
  • “Hey, I know a guy in this [social group].”
  • “I can do this, because I’m an [occupation].”
  • “My interest in [obscure thing] can help me in this situation”.
Use these skills when normal skills would not apply.


Here’s some morphs, and the deal with them:


Basic Morphs

Most of transhumanity lives in one of the six morphs listed below. The system’s not always a body-hopping flying circus of eccentric immortals: even in the post-apocalyptic transhuman future, most people are just ordinary.

Flatlander – You’re the very same homo sapiens that ran gazelles to death, built the Pyramids, and got to the Moon with slide rules. You’ve got nothing – no cyberware, no gene tweaks, nothing. You’re probably going to die of cancer, heart disease, or the effects of low gravity. It’s not too bad, all things considered: You survived the Fall.

  • -1 to all stats
  • Additional -1 to STR and CON for each year spent in microgravity.
  • Base of 75 to avoid the notice of hostile, Bracewell-derived machinery.

Splicer - Pre-natal gene therapy and affordable, low-intrusion cybernetics have set a new baseline for humanity. The advancements are modest compared to what is possible, but the improvements to health and variability of appearance serve as the foundation of human life in space.
The baseline morph, no bonuses or maluses. Affordable, adaptable, and ordinary.

  • Common variants:
    • Artjob - The cantinas and Morphmakers’ Wards of Venusian aerostats spill over with those who have reshaped their bodies in the name of artistic expression. Most run towards “extra in an old space opera”.
    • Celebrity Morph - Pre-Fall celebrity likeness rights were gobbled up by the hypercorps, along with the genomes to gestate them. Copycats and lookalikes are common, and anyone can do a historical recreation or fictional character (not to besmirch the considerable talent that goes into such work) but the real thing is often as much a status symbol as the original geneholder was in their day.

Ruster - The Red Martians. A marvel of morphological engineering reduced to a punchline for jokes about poor people, rusters are capable of surviving the Martian surface with minimal equipment. Arcologies, as it turns out, are more cost-efficient than people.

  • Cold resistance to -30 °C without specialized equipment
  • Capable of breathing the Martian atmosphere for up to six hours of low activity.

Bouncer - A morph designed for microgravity environments. Long limbs, opposable toes, hollow bones, short hair. Some models even have tails.

  • +2 DEX
  • Free Fall at base 40.
  • +1 damage taken
  • Common variant:
    • Slowboater - A bouncer variant designed for long-distance travel. Stockier and heavier in build due to internal fat reserves, they can hibernate for weeks or months at a time between ports.
      • +1 Dex
      • Free Fall at base 40
      • Can go without food or water for three months in hibernative state.

Pod -  Flash-grown bodies with cyberbrains. Mass produced on the cheap in Martian and Lunar factories and notorious for their many shortcomings.

  • Cyberbrain
  • Require regular GRM package updates - missing your update will begin the spiral of obsolescence, granting you -10 to all of your skills. Jailbreaking your morph means voiding the warranty.
  • Common variant:
    • Salaryman - The salaryman happens when a person becomes a product.
      • -1 to all stats as flatlander.
      • Cyberbrain with GRM requirement.
      • Unable to resist commands from those in pre-programmed authority over them. Switching authority figures (ex: switching submissive servitude from Coca-Cola to Pepsi) involves re-wiring the cyberbrain.

Synth - A generic term for a machine body. While a synth can obviously and easily come in any variety that a machine could, typical consumer models tend towards the humanoid.

  • Cyberbrain
  • Armor 4
This is why no one likes octopi. (Art is from Posthuman Studios)


Uplifting programs, even the well-intentioned, have always been an ethical can of worms. The Fall has made the adolescent growing pains worse. For every person who welcomes their new siblings into the family, there is another who thinks they are owed a station of superiority.

Great Ape - Chimpanzees, followed by gorillas, and orangutans, were the first, the most widespread, and unfortunately the most maligned. Multiple parties claim ownership of the gene lines, (Venus offers asylum to any uplifts who manage to make it into its orbit) and good old racism is alive and well. Sometimes the greatest hate is reserved for the ones closest to us.

  • + 1 STR
  • -10 to interactions with corporate-aligned individuals.

Raven - Sapience has only increased the corvids’ propensity for ceaseless mockery and uncanny problem solving abilities. Their numbers grew considerably after the Fall, in part to the complete destruction of their uplifters and the corvids’ purchase of their own genetic rights.

  • 1d6 STR
  • Flight at base 70
  • Ad hoc manipulation - you can get by with talons and beak, but it will take some finagling and time.

Dolphin -.Uplifted dolphins require mechanical harnesses and excessive amounts of moisturizer to move about outside of their aquatic habitats. Unsurprisingly, most of those able to immigrate set sail for Europa the moment tickets were available.

  • Swim at base 80
  • No manipulators without a mechanical harness
  • Sonar at POW x5

Octopus - The best scientists in the pre-Fall system couldn’t overcome the species’ natural anti-social behaviors, leaving everyone to deal with a species of incredibly smart, incredibly stealthy, non-communicative sociopaths.

  • Swim at base 70
  • Free Fall at base 50
  • Disguise is base of 80 for visual camouflage
  • Can manipulate 4 tools simultaneously
  • Ink spray (blind an opponent) 1/day
  • Maximum of 10 in all social interactions. No one likes you, no one trusts you.

By Paul Pepera

Here’s some backgrounds, and the deal with them:

Each of these 100 backgrounds serves as a bonus skill package: eight skills, 20 points per skill. Since you’re doubtless all creative folks, I’ll leave the skills up you you and provide the flavor.

  1. Priest of Tharsis -  When the thark clans call for blood, who is there for their war council? When the border treaties are not upheld, who speaks to the corporate slavers? When all of Barsoom cries out for freedom, who answers her cry?
  2. Martian Wage-Slave - You once had a window on your wall, looking out on the bluest sea and whitest beach Old Earth ever had. Management got rid of them after the suicide rate spiked in your office complex.
  3. Advertisement Baby - Your parents took a sponsorship deal in exchange for reproductive rights. You’ve sounded like a commercial since your first words, and you actually believe the garbage you’re saying.
  4. Asteroid Bastard - Independent Belt settlements have a reputation for hard attitudes. This is absolutely correct. You didn’t come out here to have a corporate lackey breathing down your neck or some starry-eyed Venusian telling you everything is going to be okay.
  5. Drone-Game Conscript-Pilot - The Lunar government drafts anyone with good reflexes and sharp hand-eye coordination. It’s not a bad living: you’d be playing video games anyway. Now it comes with a military paycheck.
  6. Reclaimant Propagandist - The reclamation of Earth is a task that will outlive you. Making sure that the next generation will carry on the task is paramount. By your hand the icons of the old world appeal for their own salvation.
  7. Leftbehinder - Earth got fucked, but not completely. Millions survived the Fall and continue to survive there in nomadic tribes and pockets of anachronistic civilization; you were one of them. You adapted to the new rules: guile will keep you alive, high technology will not. There are things you should not trust without question and things you cannot take for granted. All the remains of the pre-Fall world are yours for the taking and making - their mistake might well be your gain in time.
  8. Spiderfood - Beneath the icy crust of a Uranian moon, there lives a giant spider that was once a man. Long ago (How long? you cannot say), you were brought to its shadowy maze beneath the ice. The others, you don’t know what happened to them. They were not rescued.
  9. Posthuman - You are a stranger in your own land. The gulf between yourself and the rest of humanity is too vast to be bridged without aid. You left for the emptiness of the outer system long ago. It’s friendlier to alien minds such as yours.
  10. Lensman - A civilian organization of adventurer-police. Mostly harmless, often humorous, helpful when they can be. Like the scouts, but in space and with sillier costumes. Put on really nice spaghetti dinners for charity.
  11. Reformed Church of Bracewell - The Fall was punishment for mankind’s misdeeds, as falls always have been. You and your brethren have taken the warning to heart - you might worship the probe as God, but you do not wish Him to return any time soon. “By the good grace of God and His angels may you be blessed and kept out of His notice!”  For this reason your faith is permitted a small chapel in understanding corners of the system. Most corners are less enthused.
  12. Bound to the Wheel - The crimes of your past life were so great that a second was necessary to pay off your karmic debts. If that is not enough, there will be a third, a fourth, as many incarnations as might be needed. Your morph is that of the penitent asura, forever walking a path of razors.
  13. Morphsculptor -  Exowomb displays line the storefronts of a Venusian artists’ alley, showing off the magic that can be done with a little creativity and a big public-domain gene-pool. Proud parents all, but not proud enough to turn down a good commission.
  14. Social Parasite - You exist to leech off of other people. You live to stir up drama and drive clicks. You write listicles, you abuse hashtags, you use thumbnails with circles and arrows and shocked faces. Your lot is the cynical spewing-out of the thrice-regurgitated effluvium of pop culture.
  15. Corporate Sectarian - The tyranny of your parent company has become too much to bear. You fight now for hostile separation and the foundation of your own corporate bloc. The management has clearly gone mad in their advanced age: the current monetization scheme is not exploitative enough!
  16. Voider - You were born aboard a spaceship and have lived your entire life in the Black. Your world is one of the thrum of engines, cramped quarters, spacer’s superstitions. Your crew-family is your life - there is no king, country or god that would break you away from them.
  17. Cultural Reservist - You and your family are practitioners of an Old Earth culture now bordering on the forgotten. Access to the outside world is limited (so as to stave off complete collapse) but some communities will still send their bright-eyed youngsters out on rumspringa.
  18. Reclaimer Crew - If you manage to survive the trip down, survive the stay there, and survive the return trip, you will be rich as kings. The price paid per kilo for anything from Earth - soil cores, genetic samples, cultural artifacts, trash - is astronomical, and Luna, Venus, and Mars are locked in bidding wars for it. If you happen to die, your insurance package covers one body and a resleeve as severance; They’ve no use for a liability down there.
  19. Dreamlander - You have spent most of your life in the streets of golden Celephaïs and the grim docks of Dylath-Neen, wandering the Enchanted Wood and exploring the ruins of ancient Sarnath. You long for the simulation in your waking hours, seeking now ever more the world of wonder that was yours before you were wise and unhappy.
  20. Digital Archaeologist - The Fall was the single biggest loss of data in human history. So much media existed outside of physical space and simply vanished in an instant, and there’s only so much than an off-world backup of Gutenberg and some fragments of Wikipedia can do. The Wayback Machine is no longer an option. Your work computer is filled with shattered remains of art that no longer exists.
  21. The Red Eye of God - The All-Father gave up his eye to gain wisdom, and so have you. In the depths of the bloody storm you have seen with clarity the alien pattern beneath and heard the thunderous voice of knowledge. You are called upon in times of need: to defend, to judge, to advise, to destroy.
  22. Shitposter - Raised on pornography and recycled memes, your formative years were spent trolling about being a pain in the general craw. At best a passing annoyance, at worst a social carcinogen that metastasized into adulthood.
  23. Fork-set - You forked yourself nine times, and sent them off to explore the system for a few years. You’ve since merged together, and now have the stuff of ten lives to sort through. Homes to return to, friends to keep in touch with, family to care for.
  24. Jesuit Dissenter - Mother church has put what remains of her strength into the reclamation effort; The result is a too-cozy-by-far relationship with the Lunar government. You want to see the papal flag above the Vatican as much as the next, but the current state of affairs won’t do at all. It’s time for a little Jesuit creativity.
  25. Barsoomian Thoat-Herder - Thoats are a nightmarish genetic chimera of camel, yak, and buffalo: ill-tempered and harsh as the Martian outback they call home, and utterly necessary for human life in the wilderness. So it is that the creatures have become the emblem of the Barsoomian independence movement, and their herdsman the basis of civilization.
  26. Escape Artist - You’re a runner for the underground railroad, smuggling infomorphs and occasionally entire people off of Luna and Mars. You keep your papers up to date, your secret compartments insulated, your coded signs and ciphers memorized, and a list of all the palms that need greasing.
  27. Corporate Aristocracy - With the coming of immortality, money stays in the family more than ever. Your demesne would be the envy of any feudal lord. Your lifestyle would make Mansa Musa himself think that you’re overcompensating. After a short and annoying interlude of democratic liberalism, royalty is back in fashion.
  28. Cultural Experiment - You and your family are the result of a purposeful experiment in lifestyle and beliefs. Whatever you practice, it has either never been seen before, or has not been seen in centuries or more. Depending on where you live, there might be a reality TV deal thrown in.
  29. Backup Insurance Agent - Even, perhaps especially, in the apocalyptic transhuman future there is still a niche for insurance sellers. As ever has been, they charge high, pay low, and flood every medium they can with commercials that have nothing to do with the product.
  30. Dashboard Holo-Hula Model - It’s not just hula anymore. Line dancing, square dancing, swing dancing, break dancing, belly dancing, cossack dancing, pole dancing, you’ve done it all. It paid the bills.
  31. Uplift Autonomist - You campaign for the autonomy and self-determination of all uplifts. This includes but is not limited to: reproductive rights, freedom from corporate sponsorship, independence from human-derived political / social / cultural systems, and the nourishment and support of uplift-founded societies. 
  32. Matchmaker - The post-Fall system is awash with more diversity of bodies, cultures, genders and sexes than ever before, which means that finding and building functioning, meaningful relationships can be incredibly difficult. You not only set people up, but offer counseling services as well: an understanding relationship is a successful one.
  33. Europan Isolationist - “Fuck right out of our ocean”  is the rallying cry. You have all you need in your habitats under the ice. It’s cold, dark, isolated, and most importantly, safe. Unfortunately, the opinion is not entirely shared with the Europans on the surface.
  34. Constructive Anger Art Therapy Fellowship - Healing ennui and despair through lots of a shouting and very aggressive painting. The Fellowship is newer organization, but has shown great promise in combating the post-Fall trauma.
  35. Star Maker - Your community has extrasolar designs - not just to expand the scope of humanity, but to create something wholly new. New biospheres, new cultures, new strains of the transhuman family It’s something of a god complex, you’ll admit to that.
  36. Bon Morte Community - Death hasn’t vanished, he’s just adapting to the new job market. Whether immortality blues, data deletion, hospice care, or suicide prevention, your group takes care of what comes for us all. Even the immortals can’t beat entropy yet.
  37. Chop-Job - Something was taken from you. Memories scooped out of you as if someone had taken a melon-baller to your brain and inexpertly sewed the gaps closed. It was not a clean cut, but it was a very deep one.
  38. Blue Martian - You are the oft-ignored third party of Martian politics: the terraformers. There are hundred-year-plans in the works for a world-shell to maintain atmosphere, the resurrection of Earth life to fill the recoverable land, the importing of iceteroids from the outer system to fill the Vastitas Borealis with water, all you need for a new Eden. The corps and the Barsoomians hate you, and you hate them in turn.
  39. Fence-Authenticator - The market in goods from pre-Fall Earth is lucrative business. Sniffing out counterfeits is even more so. You’re strictly aftermarket sales, where people might not necessarily want a computer sniffing around to see where something’s been.
  40. Jovian Whaler - It’s a dangerous, beautiful life on the high skies. When your ships return to port, laden with oil, ambergris, fat, meat, leather, and bones, you do not forget to pay your respects to the dead. You’ve put too much blood and tears into the job to take it for granted; Jove makes you humble.
  41. Parody Fascist - Bands of young men in jackboots goose-step through the station, holding rallies about the importance of being friendly neighbors and being pleasant and respectful to everyone. They will not stand for the other kind.
  42. Esoteric Physicist - No one has much of a clue as to how Bracewell technology works, and the upper tiers of it are firmly rooted in the Clarke principle. Somewhere, if you follow the line high enough, physics is broken: your job is to figure out what happened, and re-write the books.
  43. Titanian Datamind - Titan’s greatest resource is its cold. The population is almost entirely digital, taking advantage of the higher-efficiency computers possible there. You feel sluggish and stupid when away from home, but by anyone else’s standards you are a walking encyclopedia polished to a brilliant sheen.
  44. Disciple of the Doomsday Clock -  The clock was reset with the Fall. Now, it’s a matter of running enough simulations to predict precisely when midnight will strike again. The entire station you call home is devoted to this task. The tock of the central hub is the movement of history.
  45. Cryo Van Winkle - You were put on ice prior to the Fall, and woke up in a world you no longer recognize or understand. Charitable organizations do their best to help you and those like you, but the shock of the future often proves too much for even the most well-meaning care.
  46. Ultra-Bureaucrat - The amount of data that must be sorted through at any given moment in any given place is obscene. Algorithms can’t handle everything, which is why a good hypercorp keeps a band of the right kind of laser-focused sociopaths on its payroll.
  47. Data Cleaner - Unfortunately, your job is not as simple as “find a hacker, break his fingers”. Self-perpetuating botnets have created entire malware ecosystems that can last far longer than their creators. You tend to and manage the adaptive counter-agents that are able to carve out safe zones online. Life on the cyber-DMZ isn’t easy.
  48. Corporate Personhood - You are the company, the avatar of a god: Your ego has been pruned and adapted to be the perfect spokesman and representative character. You do not pull your own strings, and certainly will not be the only one.
  49. Venusian Magus - The oligarchs of Venus do not keep their power not through capital as the Martians do, nor military might as is the way of the Lunarians. Their position is maintained through mastery of the arts - biomantic, esoteric, cultural and memetic. As always, immense power and negligible conscience tend to go hand in hand.
  50. Belt Hermit - The Belt is home to a multitude of isolated habitats holding only small communities. Those seeking seclusion, privacy, or self-sufficiency could do far worse. Monastic religious orders are so common as to lend the Belt the nickname of the Cincture.
  51. The One-Man Oedipal Show - With a sizable investment and some creative use of forks and morphs, you’ve managed to become your own father, your own mother, and your own children.
  52. Resurrection Man - You provide a friendly face and counseling to the newly-resleeved, helping them deal with the continuity gaps and bodily alienation. There’s a certain sense of humor that comes with the job.
  53. Redoubter - There is a pyramid of obsidian black, eight miles tall and five and half at the base, rising to the sunless sky above the Tombaugh Regio. Mankind will go extinct some day: Bracewell and its children will finish the job, we’ll off our selves in apeish suicide, the sun will die and take us all with it. You are ready for the bitter end.
  54. Kibbutznik - It’s not easy to keep a communal habitat together, and anyone who says otherwise is a liar. But you manage. There’s work to keep you busy, food on the table, and a lot of really friendly dogs. It’s not the first diaspora you’ve had to handle.
  55. Chinese Box - You aren’t actually a person. Something went wrong in the upload and transfer. The lights are all on, but no one’s home. You speak and act and go about your business, but you aren’t aware of it at all.
  56. Relic-Bearer - You possess something of Earth. A baseball, a book, a jar of dirt. It’s genuine, and absolutely priceless.
  57. Consensus Lost -Your community was a social network so tight that you were a part of each other person. Their lives were yours, and yours was theirs: you laughed as one, wept as one, raged as one, and worked as one. Now they are gone.
  58. Reverse-gnostic - Bracewell and its children have shown you plenty of evidence: salvation is not in metal but in flesh. The mind untethered from its mortal shell is an instrument of utter and absolute evil.
  59. Let’s Live Player - You stream and record your life to be enjoyed vicariously by the masses. You carved out your niche by force of personality - people will watch laundry if you’re charismatic enough. Alas, your life is dictated by the attention spans of other people.
  60. Corporate PMC - The advertisements on your riot shield proclaim to all exactly whom you work for and why you’re working for them. The virtual currency gained by beating down protestors can be used to purchase loot boxes which contain armor skins, weapon shaders, and other perks like marriage subscriptions and child custody. If you want to skip the grind, a premium currency is also available.
  61. Autodidact - You taught yourself, and taught yourself well. An actual education: history, philosophy, language, all the humanities that are so often tossed aside in the modern system. You are a self-made scholar in a world that desperately needs some enlightenment.
  62. Social Isolate - Your ability to deal with others in realspace was unfortunately stunted by an over-reliance on digital communication early on. You are far more comfortable with the layers of protective distance and abstraction online interactions offer.
  63. Legionnaire - You are Homo democraticus: 101 minds in a single cyberbrain. Neither forks nor entire minds, each fragment is individual enough to remain distinct from the other parties, but must work in concert with the rest of the minds to achieve anything.
  64. Hitchhiker - A hoopy frood who knows where their towel is. A common sight in Venusian aerostats, as they’re generally the only people who don’t round them up and kick them out that often.
  65. Singing the Ganymede Blues - Things were looking good on Ganymede for a while. Capital of the frontier, everyone said, able to stand toe to toe with the inner system blocs. Then, lightminutes away, some numbers went screwy and some shareholders got skittish and suddenly you all found yourselves up shit creek with no canoe. You’re rebuilding, you’re doing your best, but it’s going to be a while until you’re back to things being rosy.
  66. Counter-Cult Agent - The lightning-paced development of new religious movements and ideologies makes the feds uneasy. Most are harmless, but then there’s always that one group that tries smuggling fissile materials or printing bomb components because Techno-Jesus / Robo-Buddha / Cyber-Mohammed told them to.
  67. [Noun]punk - Find a motif to follow, find an authority to rebel against, and you too can create a subculture!
  68. Hive Dog - Some stations in the Belt decided to try out anarchism after they declared independence from Mars. Shortly after that, a lot of them ended up trying xiphism - rule of the man who holds the sword. Flash forward a few dozen major regime changes and we find people like you: The nastiest, foulest, toughest, hardest motherfuckers in the system.
  69. Survivor of the Fall - You escaped Earth by only the slimmest skin of dental plaque. Were others embraced what psychosurgery can do to dim the memories and heal the trauma, you have kept your account intact. It is important to remember.
  70. Afterlife Designer - You design virtual realities for those who want a permanent retirement from life. New religious movements pay top dollar for your work - half the work is already done if you have an actual heaven to subscribe to and an actual hell to avoid.
  71. Churchkeeper - There is a cathedral in the Martian outback, built by some mad dreamer. It’s half collapsed and a quarter buried, but the crooked belltower still stands and the dust-silenced bell still hangs. This is a gathering place of a mysterious lot: secret handshakes and cryptic phrases, meetings of strangers before they go their ways.
  72. Protein Farmer - Worms, grubs and crawly things, printed meat and bacterial broth; most people still need to eat, and you supply them. With automation and a little elbow grease you can manage the entire operation yourself.
  73. Monk of Primus Oort - Navy hoods and synthesized chants, obscure beliefs yet to be discerned, and a great resistance to being closely observed. No one in the inner system is quite sure what to do with you, or the Neptunian gods you revere.
  74. Society for Human Consumption - It’s all above board, I assure you: printed or cloned organs, regular health inspections, we screen for prion diseases three times a year. The reservation list for the next gala is packed, I’m afraid, and even if it were not, tickets cost an arm and a leg...a bit of cannibal humor, ma’am, nothing to worry about.
  75.  Astradhari - Being a space marine isn’t much like how anyone thought it would be, especially with all the immortals about, but there’s still a need for aggressive boarding operations. You’re trained for cramped fights, zero gravity, sudden catastrophe, and your crew is the best of it.
  76. Caught in Limbo - You were trapped between bodies for a time. The glitch left you conscious, and you swam in the sea of data, touching upon currents  beyond reckoning. You drowned. You saw the Big Picture. You were brought back, and don’t have the storage space to describe it.
  77. Preservationist - Zygotes on ice and terabytes of genetic code - you have the tools to bring the dead back to life. What was lost during the Fall can be recovered, even if it is only a sliver of rainforest in an O'Neill cylinder zoo.
  78. Chimeracist -  Why revive the old when you can be at the cutting edge of new? The principles are more than sound - spliced organisms are already common, from adapted pets to entirely new species.
  79. Updated NPC -Your procedural AI was advanced enough, and your manner endearing enough, that someone pulled you out of your game into a real body. Culture shock put a swift end to that dream.
  80. Mercurian Machine-life -  There is an entire crypto-ecosystem growing within the silent factories of Mercury. You piggybacked your data on an ore shipment, to find out what the gods on the other end of the mass driver were like.
  81. Cloud-Folk - Aerostats can become a bit crowded, leading some people to seek an alternative. You spent a few years traveling the cloud-routes between ports by chimeric bubble-beast, alone save for the radio chatter of others who had made the same choice. Friendships were made in the space where ranges overlapped, perhaps you’ll meet again.
  82. Ionian Death Games Participant - It is as Valhalla! Each dawn you are sent out into the sulfurous warfields, each day you fight and die, each eventide you return to feast in the halls of glory! Winner winner, chicken dinner!
  83. Software Pirate - DRM is everywhere, and that keeps you in business. The landscape is competitive, the benefits slim, the thrill intoxicating. It’s all cat and mouse, a game of jail-breaking devices and smuggling in open-source code from the outside before someone catches on. Get rich quick and get out quicker is the common wisdom; you’ve seen enough names vanish from the chat rooms you frequent to know how true it is.
  84. Pnakotic Librarian - Deep in the Noctis Labyrinthus, there is a buried library. Miles of stone honeycomb filled with ceramic manuscripts written in a language no one has yet been able to fully parse. The place does not officially exist, but you work there all the same, attempting to piece together some sense from the artifacts within
  85. Indigo Child - You are Special. You’ve been told this ever since you were born. Every part of your rearing was geared towards encouraging your inborn talents. The psychic bits were just a chip in your brain and an internet of things, of course, but you believed.
  86. Face of Mars - Speakers and intermediaries for the Barsoomian clans. The symbol of your office is a red porcelain mask and a reasoned voice. Your identity must remain secret, for the corporations would love nothing more than find leverage over you.
  87. Callistan Utopian - The utopian movements of Callisto come in every flavor under the sun. Any philosophy you could think of, carefully cultured to provide the maximum quality of life for whatever quality of life is subscribed to.
  88. Eraser - It’s very difficult to kill someone who can jump between bodies. Backups must be erased, morph access must be cut off, resleeving must be prevented. Only then can one deliver a killing blow.
  89. Ancient Astronauts - Look we all know that they’re just guys who like messing with the luddite commune, even the luddites know that! Stop taking it all so seriously!
  90. Nightmare Artist - Through the power of creative morph design, a healthy VR/AR budget, and a lot of trial and error, you have made some of the best haunted houses and room escapes in history. You even offer true-kill runs for the especially rich-daring-foolish.
  91. Working the Saturday Line - There is an agreement between the inner and outer systems: Saturn is the boundary line, go further with caution.The dataminds of Titan serve as arbitrators. You spent some years on the human station as a diplomatic aide, and saw a great many things that never made it back to Mars or Venus.
  92. Slowboat to Centauri - You were chosen alongside other scientists and technicians as the passengers on the first extrasolar voyage. You won’t be going personally, a fork of you will be making the trip, but right now that doesn’t matter. The hull for the ship is under construction, and some idiot in project management decided to hold a public vote on the name. Current frontrunner is the “Dead Meme”.
  93. Earthwatcher - Telescope in hand, you make the pilgrimage out to the Sea of Tranquility each year for Landing Day. It’s still the most beautiful sight in the system: a blue marble just out of reach.
  94. Ringer - The few settlers around Saturn have a reputation for being not quite right. Listening to all the hyperspeech broadcast out of Titan has something to do with it, most likely. It’s like you’re not entirely there, thinking sideways to how things are.
  95. Office of Reincarnation - It is important to make sure that only the right people are reborn. Bad ideas could take deep root if an individual who has proven themselves dangerous to the state is reborn, permitting them to lead people astray with their misguided words and actions. You must make sure that the appropriate applications are filled out, so that they might be appropriately screened and educated.
  96. Tiger Lily - A cooperative group founded to protect the rights of and provide assistance to pleasure-house indentures that has since expanded to fighting all strains of post-Fall slavery. Sad truth of the system is that even now ownership of your own body isn’t a guarantee.
  97. Barn Swallow - Young sons and daughters with no lands, you flit and swoop about the summertime evening. No lords, no masters, you are free upon the stellar wind. You wear the colors always, even if only in a patch, even when you return to roost.
  98. Postman - There’s no such thing as secure electronic messages. Sworn to discretion, the Postmen (and women, and others)  will deliver a message or package anywhere in the system, personally.
  99. Barsoomian Witch - Medical care is hard to come by on the Martian frontier. You travel between clan strongholds and nomad camps: treating wounds, bringing news, delivering children, brewing medicine.
  100. Ghost Hunter - You make your living off of tracking down lost or dissipated infomorphs.The datasphere is deep and trackless, and those who don’t know their way around can easily find themselves in danger.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Hoypoloi Sector

It's map time! People liked the last one, I like making them, it's a good relationship we've got going here. This time it's in space. Planets were generated using Stars Without Number, races were selected at random according to an old post of +David McGrogan 's, which I have been waiting to use forever. For extra fun, I used a different bestiary for each entry.

Inhabitants of the Hoypoloi Sector

  • Alkalion (Veins of the Earth)
  • Lurkers in the Obsidian Ruins (Carcosa)
  • Giant Nudibranch (Yoon-Suin)
  • Togruta (Star Wars Alien Anthology)
  • Kuo-Ta (5e MM)
  • Velociraptor (Volo's)
  • Coralkin Angler (Hot Springs Island)
  • Predator Saint (Fire on the Velvet Horizon)


Planet Gazetteer 

A-1: Hendiron
  • Togruta, Velociraptor
  • Sole Supplier - The only source of Elbow-Gourd Grease in the sector.
  • Post Scarcity - A low population plus robust 3D printing technology lets the locals enjoy a life of luxury, mostly free of want. A haven for artists and their kin.
B-4: Kittakikat
  • Velociraptor
  • Zombies - Of the fungal variety. Landing on world is not recommended.
  • Maneaters - If the meat is clean, you learn to stop complaining.
B-7: Riktik
  • Velociraptor, Kuo-Ta
  • Battleground - Continuous clan warfare has left much of the planet either wilderness or unsafe, outside of the fortress-cities of some of the largest alliances.
  • Secret Masters - The wars are organized and perpetuated by some of the original colonizers of the planet, kept alive through Overmind techno-magic. Not for any real reason, of course, it's all a game.
C-1: E'pe
  • Nudibranch, Kuo-ta, Coralkin Angler
  • Warlords - The Nudibranchs rule in technicality, but it is the coralkin warlords who wield the most power here. Their Kuo-Ta hordes swarm across the hills in mad frenzy.
  • Mandarinate - Schools for the coralkin warrior caste are run by the local Nudibranch creche, content to master the academics of war themselves while their proteges learn the practical skills.
C-6: Grrlblgrgl
  • Coralkin Angler, Kuo-Ta
  • Misandry - Male coralkin are little more than parasitic sex organs, and the females of the species apply that opinion liberally to males of other species.
  • Taboo Treasure - Overmind nanotech is commonplace on the world, feared and desired by the local populace.
C-7: Opa'luhahe'e
  • Nudibranch, Kuo-Ta
  • Fear of Magic - How the normally-permissive Nudibranchs turned against the arts is lost in the foggy history of their isolation, but their hatred runs deep. Under local law it is punished by death: looming international
  • Cultural Power - The isolationist / anti-mage message has spread to neighboring worlds, taking root in those with large populations of Kuo-Ta.
D-1: Junji-Tho
  • Kuo-Ta
  • Restrictive Laws - In an effort to emulate the refinement of their patrons, the Kuo-Ta of this world have instituted incredibly strict, incredibly thorough systems of polite interaction. Offworlders are, at best, buffoons.
  • Local Specialty - Best mushroom soup in the sector. People have been killed over bowls of this stuff.
E-3: O'a'paluho'nu
  • Nudibranch
  • Minimal Contact - Despite its location near major worlds, the thick cloud cover, low material wealth, and lack of proper space infrastructure mean this world can go months to years without a ship coming in to port.
  • Hostile Biosphere - Local pathogens wiped out the original Kuo-Ta population, leaving their masters on their own for the first time in kiloyears.
F-1: Ha'o'Apa
  • Nudibranch, Kuo-Ta, Coralkin Anglers
  • Theocracy - Home of the Nudibranch God-Creche, where new king-queens are spawned.
  • Pilgrimage Site - Nudibranch client races from across the sector and beyond come to pay homage. The Togruta and raptors don't care much for the pomp, but pilgrims are good for business.
F-4: Oxwyndorsep
  • ???
  • Friendly Foe - Both the Overmind and the Nudibranchs placed this world under interdict, for housing an ancient enemy known only to them. Things have been quiet for centuries, but the guard has not been lifted.
  • Xenophiles - Radio broadcasts pour out of the planet, inviting guests to come visit. They are creepily sincere and don't seem to have much of a filter.
F-8: Edge-Upon-Which-Folly-Befalls-Fortune
  • Lurkers in the Obsidian Ruins
  • Badlands - A failed terraforming process left this planet halfway to habitability. It suits the Lurkers just fine, but it is too dusty by half for all else.
  • Exchange Consulate - The Lurkers, against all sense, run the largest bank in the sector. The insurance rates are as brutal as one would expect from swirling clouds of obsidian chips.
G-1: Ota-Tarunga
  • Kuo-Ta, Nudibranch
  • Major Spaceyard - The Ota-Tarunga spaceyards are the lifeline keeping the planet afloat, and now even they are suffering under the stress of better goods from Pa'ahuil'el'e and CATLOTEH.
  • Fallen Hegemon - Economic catastrophe sent a once-glorious planet into a downward spiral. Few Nudibranchs remain, having been pulled from their tanks and made examples of in the violence.
G-2: Rritshiski
  • Velociraptor, Kuo-Ta, Togruta
  • Refugees - Kuo-ta fleeing the recent chaos on Ota-Tarunga have swiftly formed a significant demographic, leading to tensions with the raptor elites.
  • Regional Hegemon - With its rival world in deep straights, the raptor capital has seen
G-3: Antola
  • Togruta, Alkalion
  • Mercenaries - "Peace at home, war abroad" is the Antolan motto. Those with a need to smash some heads are sent off to the stars to vent some aggression for coin.
  • Primitive Aliens -The planet is home to the Alkalions, beings whose all-dissolving claws are so potent they might be used in starship drives to aid in poking holes through time-space.
G-6: Pa'ahuil'el'e
  • Nudibranch, Kuo-Ta, Togruta, Velociraptor
  • Abandoned Colony - Surface settlement of Pa'ahuil'el'e was abandoned early in its development. The Nudibranchs refuse to speak of it. With a good lens, one can still see the pre-fabricated buildings and bubbledomes on the arid surface.
  • Major Spaceyard - Pa'ahuil'el'e Spaceyard
G-7: Cut-Along-The-Line-Of-The-Event-Horizon
  • Lurkers in the Obsidian Ruins
  • Unbraked AI - They are old and alien, potentially works of the Lurkers or the Lurkers themselves - we do not know. For now they are fit to remain on their world.
  • Heavy Industry - The planet is slowly metastisizing with industrial tumors. Some factories create things of use, others do not, and in time the forges are recycled and rebuilt.
H-6: Chendo
  • Togruta, Predator Saints
  • Rising Hegemon - The rise of Chendo - political, cultural, spiritual - has been meteoric. Other polities watch them carefully. There is something unright with them.
  • Altered Inhabitants - The saints ask of things. The people give. The saints make changes. The people are changed.
H-8: Akishka
  • Velociraptor
  • Great Work - A megascale project is underway to build an artificial continent, sculpted as a perfect wildlife preserve and hunting ground.
  • Beastmasters - The native wildlife provided several species perfect for domestication, leading to early settlers founding one of the strongest hunt-cultures among raptor worlds.
I-1: Tuho-Ba
  • Kuo-Ta
  • Alien Ruins - Remnants of extensive Overmind settlements sit deep in the devouring jungle, untouched since their abandonment.
  • Hostile Biosphere - The few things on this planet that do not want to kill you will do so anyway due to the horrific toxic mess of the local sludge-forest ecosystem.
I-3: Trellivoon
  • Togruta
  • Mandate Base - Ancient complexes of the Knotmen dot the planet, mercifully absent of their creators. Their mad service to the Overmind is well-documented.
  • Cyclical Doom - The highly irregular orbit of Trellivoon dictates a climate that swings between unbearably hot and deathly cold. Surface life is minimal due to this.
I-4: Tekrikit
  • Velociraptor
  • Anthropomophs - It is the fashion of this world for its inhabitants to modify themselves in the forms of other avian species from across known space.
  • Anarchists - There is no sitting government in Tekrikit: in its place are community moots which tend towards chaos. Diplomacy is a nightmare.
I-7: A'lahi'o
  • Nudibranch, Kuo-Ta
  • Dying Race - The native inhabitants of this planet are the Salamanders, who face starvation in the face of the current ice age.
  • Gold Rush - Lowered sea levels have revealed vast mineral wealth along the equator, ripe for the plucking. Factory-cities work day and night to eat up their share.
J-3: Derrish
  • Togruta
  • Permeter Agency - A watchpost and listening station abandoned by an older Overmind-client sits on this world, being the only settlement of note.
  • Night World - Derrish is a rogue planet without a sun, adrift and secretive.
J-7: Tuko-Tuko
  • Kuo-Ta
  • Police State - After the departure of their nudibranch overlords, the newly independent kuo-ta polities used their newfound freedom to stomp down on freedom withunstoppable enthusiasm.
  • Sectarians - Politico-religious violence between rival totalitarian factions defines daily life on Tuko-Tuko.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

1d20 +1d6 Cults

+Joseph Manola had a really good post about cults recently, and I wanted to make a follow-up to that.

If you find yourself in need of a quick cult / new religious movement that's more than just scary guys in scary robes, roll below.

There's no prize for guessing the origins, but feel free to try.
  1. Indigenous religion decapitated and banned by colonial occupier. The old ways die out slowly as the younger generations are educated in the ways of their colonizers.
  2. Foreign religion deemed dangerous to the political and social order due to widespread popularity with the underclass. Believers are driven underground, practices are carried on in secret and undergo syncretic mutation over decades of isolation.
  3. Modern resurgence of previously extinct historical religion.
  4. Tax haven founded to exploit the ennui and disenfranchisement of the nobility. Aggressive policies towards any party deemed even a minor threat.
  5. Demagogue exploits nationalist narratives, racial tensions, lingering resentment over economic misfortune, occultism and pseudoscience to gather support. Scapegoats are named, violence breaks out.
  6. Ethnic and religious minority targeted with persistent slander by majority group: blood sacrifice, desecration of holy sites, conspiracy against the state, spreading disease, and so on. Claims are easily disproven, but damnably and dangerously persistent.
  7. Group leader orders series of murders in attempt to trigger wide-scale conflict across social fault lines. Beliefs based on interpretations of popular song lyrics and apocryphal symbolism of mainstream religion.
  8. Approaching celestial event claimed to provide passage to paradise in reborn bodies. Believers gathering in isolated compound to await the end.
  9. Ultraconservative reading of scripture used as justification for reign of terror. "Sinful influences" banned and punished by death. Widespread and violent oppression of women, scholars, homosexuals, political dissidents, foreign influences, and all of the above.
  10. Millennial microbranch of mainstream religion. Strange beliefs and practices that are often distrusted and mocked, but generally harmless and permitted free practice. Send people door-to-door with literature.
  11. Subvertive / transgressive movement targeting mainstream religion by positioning itself as the opposition. Adversarial imagery adopted to this end.
  12. Non-religious works of dead, foreign philosopher treated as holy writ. Orthodoxy enforced with brutal efficiency. Leader treated as god-king despite disavowal of religion by both the group and the founding document.
  13. Native religion of slaves mixes with beliefs of their masters. The resulting faith retains strong ties to a specific, limited geographic region even after emancipation.
  14. Traveler returns from a distant land with incorrect but enthusiastic recollections of religious experiences. Half-informed variant takes off like wildfire, bearing little resemblance to its parent.
  15. Group declares distant king to be a god-on-earth. The king in question does not encourage this belief.
  16. Practitioners proclaim in-depth knowledge of the secret manipulators of the world and all the schemes and conspiracies thereof. They obsess over revealing truth to unthinking masses: Hidden celestial bodies, secret races of puppet-masters, false histories, impossible geographies, and all the things they don't want you to know
  17. Parody religion emphasizes absurdity, chaos, and disorder. It's all for a good laugh.
  18. Scripture interpreted as associating material wealth and financial success with divine blessing and moral uprightness. Tends to ignore the parts of the book about taking care of the poor.
  19. The world operates according to a grand order, but is also filled with all manner of bizarre and obtuse spirits that must be dealt with appropriately. This calls for some creative use of ritual.
  20. It was aliens all along.

Bonus Table

  1.  An adoring crowd has formed a commune near a dragon's roost, wishing to witness its power and majesty and seek to expand their consciousness through their proximity to such a creature. In truth, the dragon is neither powerful nor majestic and is going about the ordinary dragon business of hunting, shitting, and sleeping, but that's celebrity for you.
  2.  Leftover war materiel from a distant superpower's arcane conflict has formed the basis of a new mythology. Old gods have been retired, a new age has been declared, mutations from thaumaturgical runoff are now considered blessings, totems and images of weapons used as major symbols of good fortune, mock-battles attempting to re-enact the distant battles of gods held.
  3.  Bored temple-goers begin carving graffitti faces into the pews during sermons. Several centuries later, these have evolved into detailed characters who have filled books of parables and religious commentary. Theological academia scoffs, the common folk love it.
  4. Ad hoc messianic prophecies spread between dungeons to give the monstrous humanoids hope that they will not be utterly destroyed, may be exploited by canny warlord later.
  5.  Apocalyptic cults are just maintenance crews for the turning of the Wheel. Gambling karma on what disaster ushers in the new age is a popular pastime for rival cultic schools.
  6. A single god has thousands of facets, and all must be worshiped according to the proper forms, no matter how bizarre the form and what it represents might be.

    Tuesday, November 7, 2017

    Joyce Byers is the perfect Call of Cthulhu NPC

    Note: I am incredibly late to the party, and as of writing this post I have only watched five episodes of Stranger Things Season 1. As I was able to go in almost entirely blind, I will extend that courtesy and put this post beneath the break.

    Winona Ryder steals the show, lemme tell ya.

    Joyce Byers is the perfect NPC for Call of Cthulhu.