Sunday, December 30, 2018

Post-Apocalyptic Nuns on the Run, Having Fun, Insert Pun

Josan Gonzalez

Skerples' escape nuns post has always been one of my favorites, and my recent dalliance with Ruinations means that I can take those runaway nuns and apply the apocalypse which means it's time for A Canticle for Leibowitz, and I shall never give up that opportunity.

d4: Why are you adventuring?

  1. Exiled.
  2. Fleeing danger.
  3. Need to find something or someone.
  4. On a mission from God.

d6: What happened to the world?

  1. Climate catastrophe.
  2. Nuclear war.
  3. Plague.
  4. Supervolcano.
  5. Meteor impact.
  6. AI disaster.

d8: Your convent is...

  1. Overcrowded.
  2. Corrupt.
  3. Collapsing.
  4. A den of vice.
  5. Ultraconservative.
  6. Barely surviving.
  7. Under insquisition.
  8. Just starting out.

d10: Local environs

  1. Jungle or rainforest.
  2. Frozen wasteland.
  3. Coral atoll.
  4. Desert badlands.
  5. Fertile hill country.
  6. Deciduous forest.
  7. Death-zone margin.
  8. City ruins.
  9. Up in the mountains.
  10. Wide open prairie.

d%: Local threats

  1. Toxic groundwater.
  2. Encroaching totalitarians.
  3. Swarms of feral boars.
  4. Swiftly changing outside culture.
  5. Dangerous new mutant strain.
  6. Destabilizing old-world tech.
  7. Famine + mass migration.
  8. Rogue warbots.
  9. Some jackass just found a fresh nuke.
  10. There's something out there in the night.

d12: Strange vows

  1. Always honor dogs.
  2. Wear smoked glasses between dawn and dusk.
  3. Prayer tattoos. You get your first at the age of 3.
  4. Drink fresh pig's blood at dinner.
  5. Listen first, speak second. Always.
  6. Save anything with writing on it.
  7. Confession via duel. Own up or go a round. 
  8. Personalized hymnbooks containing songs of the Old Ones.
  9. Lock a door when entering a home, mark it with chalk, unlock it.
  10. Secret convent language of Old World terms.
  11. Yearly scapegoat festival. Animal varies.
  12. Mock human sacrifices + fake orgies.

d20: Patron

  1. The Great God Ohn, patron of Machines.
  2. Man was God, but committed suicide.
  3. The Giant Eagle, Star-Spangled.
  4. Saints Armstrong and Aldrin.
  5. The Old Ones in the Bunkers Below.
  6. Leviathan of the Great Lakes.
  7. The Black Glass Gods; the Multitudes.
  8. The Mangled God, tortured and murdered.
  9. Elephant and Ass, petty dualists.
  10. Igna Atomica, the Purifier.
  11. The ghosts and petty death gods of the Anthropocene Extinction.
  12. Old-World Simulationist Congregation.
  13. Nara, God of the Guns
  14. Melek Taus, the Peacock Angel.
  15. Our Lady of Fallout.
  16. Aresian Escapists (Muskovite Branch).
  17. The Holy Cosmic Sciences.
  18. Good Neighbor Rogers.
  19. Capricious Meem, the chaos-trickster.
  20. Random Number God.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Games in My Folders

George Weidman, noted seller of socks and talker-about-of-video-games, has an occasional series called "Games From My Inbox" where he talks about games that he has heard of solely through press releases in his inbox.

I don't have an inbox full of press releases for obscure indie video games, but I do have a "right click, save as" compulsion. Same difference. So here's a bunch of strange little pdfs I've got sitting in my RPG folders.  The only criteria I'm using here are 1) it formed an opinion in me 2) I hear no one or next to no one talking about it 3) it is freely available.

100 Rare Wonders

Grotty bizarre overcrowded magical metropoli hold a special place in my heart, and this list is all the spice you could want. They're bizarre, they're evocative, you can spin them out for hooks, it's great.  


40k Conversion for Stars Without Number

John B.
I've always wanted to run a 40k game, but none of the rulesets really . There are a couple other hacks out there (Future Heresy for Barbarians of Lemuria and Warband! for general OSR usage) but I settled on this one because SWN has psychics and world generation tables baked in, and is geared more towards the lower-power-level parts of 40k that I like (give me rogue traders and guardsmen over space marines any day.) Plus I just want to run SWN at some point.

(Link) - (PDF here)

Halo Mythic

Brandon "Vorked" Miller
A commendable effort in converting everything that's seen screen time in the Halo setting (spinoff games and that miniseries included) but crunchier than a mouthful of gravel. Bit of a Dark Heresy undercurrent (percentile attributes, purchasing upgrades with XP, having melee and ranged weapons as stats). Hits the predictable limiting wall that comes with being based on military sci-fi, in that there is next to no material supporting anything outside of shooting aliens with guns and entirely too much specificity within that genre. No expansion upon the setting of any kind. The kind of game for people who like having three different kinds of every weapon with maybe two different numbers.


Dungeons the Dragoning: 7th Edition

The joke that lived. As outrageous and obtuse a knot of mechanics and settings as one could possibly make and still come out with a technically-playable system. And the crazy thing is that if you stare at it long enough it starts making sense. Sure, it's got feats, buy-upgrades-with-XP, and those class-tree things (again with the Dark Heresy)...but I feel less inclined to toss it out than I would normally. Maybe it's because it's a joke. Maybe it's because I can be a demontouched tau minstrel who can do gun katas without even touching the homebrew and that statement appeals to me on some primal level of silliness.



A solo game that uses a deck of cards to determine events that happen to you on your journey. Players can select one of four archetypes, which determines the rarity of different event types. I've not yet been able to try it out myself, but it seems like it would make for a fun creative writing exercise. Especially if you break out wilderness / travel encounter tables to go along with it.


Phonomicon ex Cultis

Duncan Young
A system-agnostic collection of 100 minor cult patrons and the powers they grant to their believers. Each one is accompanied by a syllable (to be used in making their name), their typical worshipers, portfolio, a symbol and a short description. Not as in-depth as Petty Gods, but provides just what you need when handling petty gods. Could even make a class out of it, a cleric of small gods or the like.


The Lorian Gendarme Guidebook

MK Reed and Jonathan Hill
A book within a book, the LGG is a sort of encyclopedia volume for a fictional fantasy series within the creators' comic Americus. It's a proper setting book in less than 40 pages, bestiary and grimoire included. It's pitch perfect for a YA-series that could have been, a mix of the familiar and the out-there. Excellent, excellent monsters.


One Hundred Wilderness Hexes

Ktrey Parker
This one's a real treat. Twenty hexes for each of five environment types (Forest, Mountains, Desert, Swamp, Ocean), and each hex has three subtables to determine the details within. Drop these around a bigger map and you have everything you may need - many are linked to other hexes, sometimes multiple! Everything's got a very classic feel to it, where the weird is waiting to be stumbled upon. Would be very much in line with the baseline DCC motif.


So there we have it; eight little things you may or may not have previously seen. If you've got obscure stuff you've collected (and if you're reading this blog, you probably do), give it a dig and see what's worth sharing.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

RED and BLU Enterprises

You tell 'em, Saxton.

You know it, I know it, we all know it: these jolly bastards are OSR as hell. Go rewatch the Meet the Team videos for the proof, or just because it's probably been years since you last saw them and they're still hilarious.

For Esoteric Enterprises, naturally.


"If you were from where I was from, you'd be fuckin' dead!"
  • Scattergun (d10, short range)
  • Pistol (d6)
  • BONK! Atomic Punch (Speed x2, AC +4 for 1 turn)
  • Bat (d6)
When you need to get somewhere fast, get something done fast, or generally just harass the living daylights out of someone, Scout's ya boy.


"Sun Tzu said that!"
  • Rocket Launcher (d12, area damage, 4 shots)
  • Shotgun (d12)
  • Buff Banner (All allies get +1 to hit for 1 turn. Refresh 5)
  • Shovel (d10)
  • Rocket Jump - Spend 1 rocket, take 1/4 Flesh damage, get launched in the air.
Has taken a few too many blows to the head. Entirely too many.


"Hudda hudda huh!"
  • Flamethrower (d10, save vs hazards or set alight, depletes on 1-2)
  • Shotgun (d12)
  • Flare Gun (d8 save vs hazards or set alight)
  • Fire Axe (d10)
  • Spook Powers - Immune to Fire, Flame, Extinguish, Painless, Mad Insight
Who is behind the mask? What horrors lie beneath that asbestos-lined suit? None who still live know.


"If I were a bad demoman, I wouldn't be sittin' here discussin' it wit ya!"
  • Grenade Launcher (d12, 4 shots)
  • Stickybomb Launcher (d12, remote detonation, 4 shots)
  • Chargin' Targe (+1 AC, can be used with Eyelander)
  • Eyelander (d12, two-handed)
  • Boozer (+1d6 temporary Grit if drunk)
Is constant drinking really that good of a coping mechanism? Our sources say "possibly."



  • Minigun (d12, suppressing fire, depletes on 1-3)
  • Shotgun (d12)
  • Sandvich (Restores 1 Flesh)
  • Boxing Gloves (d8)
A big Russian man with a big Russian gun.


"And if that don't work? Use more gun"
  • Shotgun (d12)
  • Pistol (d8)
  • Wrench (d8)
  • Construction PDA (choose 1 of the below)
    • Sentry Turret - (d10, attacks nearest enemy, depletes 1-3)
    • Dispenser - Contains 5 additional ammunition.
    • Teleporter - Consists of entrance and exit modules. 6 changes
Southern homestyle problem-solving through technical prowess and excessive violence.


"Anyway, zat's how I lost my medical license."
  • Syringe Gun (d8)
  • Medigun (Heals Flesh wounds.)
  • Bonesaw (d10)
  • Archimedes (Pet dove)
  • Ubercharge (Burn all healing points to make target invulnerable for LVL turns)
Owns a fridge full of organs. Not all of them are human. Sees nothing strange about it.


"I'm not a crazed gunman, Dad, I'm an assassin."

  • Sniper Rifle (d12)
  • Submachine Gun (d8, covering fire, depletes on 1 or 2)
  • Jarate (Crit range on soaked enemies increases by 1)
  • Kukri (d10)
Calm, collected, professional. Lives in a van and pisses in jars.


"He could me you! He could be me! He could even be [gunshot]"
  • Revolver (d8)
  • Knife (d6)
  • Disguise Kit
  • Sapper (Destroys mechanical device)
  • Invis Watch (1/day, remain invisible when standing still)
International man of mystery. Fucked your mother.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Secret Santicorn: Animal Mutation Table




"Mutation table, large as you can make it, but mutations limited to features of real-life-organisms only. Each table entry should reference the real organism used."
Peter Gene

d50 Animal Mutations

  1. Poisonous foot-spur (Platypus)
  2. Bite that makes target allergic to meat (Lone-Star tick)
  3. Gigantic purple nose-cleaning tongue (Giraffe)
  4. Can spray blood out of eyes (Thorny devil)
  5. Will starve to death in front of food if it's not how you like it (Koala)
  6. Head swells with fragrant ambergris (Sperm whale) 
  7. Dozens of eggs embedded in skin of back (Surinam toad)
  8. Corkscrew horns and beard of chaos (Markhor)
  9. Ears turn into huge heat-radiators (Fennec)
  10. Gain appearance similar to terribly venomous creature (King snake)
  11. Hump filled with fatty nutrient supply (Camel)
  12. Necrotic bacterial spit (Komodo dragon)
  13. Crown of stinging tendrils (Sea anemone)
  14. Overlapping armored scales (Pangolin)
  15. Freakishly extended tapping finger (Aye-Aye)
  16. Loose skin flaps between wrists and ankles (Sugar glider)
  17. Abdominal pouch (Kangaroo)
  18. Skin is striped black and white (Zebra)
  19. Incredible head rotation (Owl)
  20. Parasitic tongue-louse (C. exigua)
  21. Rows of sharp, replaceable teeth (Great white shark)
  22. Adorable pink fan gills (Axolotl)
  23. Can sense when someone is about to die (House cat)
  24. Shaggy fur and prehensile trunk (Mammoth)
  25. Musical bone crest (Parasaurolophus)
  26. Immune to pain from acid and capsasin (Naked mole rat)
  27. Horrifyingly distendable stomach (Gulper eel)
  28. Grow a buoyant, curling shell (Nautilus)
  29. Create sticky, microfibrous slime (Hagfish)
  30. Friendly with tooth-cleaning birds (Crocodile)
  31. Become friend-shaped (Capybara) 
  32. Loud musical penis (Water boatman)
  33. Cavitation claws (Pistol shrimp)
  34. Shoves ribs through skin to defend against attack (Spanish ribbed newt)
  35. Inflatable nasal sac (Hooded seal)
  36. Webbed feet, can run on water (Basilisk lizard)
  37. Reverts to embryo after adulthood, biologically immortal (T. dohrnii)
  38. Extended rostrum with transverse teeth (Carpenter shark)
  39. Smells like fresh popcorn (Binturong)
  40. Vomit up digestive tract in defense (Sea cucumber)
  41. Face full of tentacles (Cuttlefish)
  42. Slick transparent skin (Glass frog)
  43. Huge feet, subsonic communication (Elephant)
  44. Milk-producing udder (Cow)
  45. Suction-cup head (Remora)
  46. Brilliant plumage (Bird of paradise)
  47. Can sleep with only half of the brain (Various cetaceans and birds)
  48. Hideous facial tumors (Tasmanian devil)
  49. Bright blue feet (Blue-footed booby)
  50. Suddenly tapir-like because fuck you, tapirs. (Tapir)

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Degenesis and Ruinations

Marko Djurdjevic

A while back I tried hacking Degenesis into Shadow of the Demon Lord. I got a little ways and then never any further. Lo and behold I realize now that I was making entirely too much work for myself and the thing I actually needed was in my hands the entire time.

Brent Ault's Ruinations shall serve as the base here. Everything needed for badlands survival, combat, equipment, trade, etc is in there and intact. No need to change what works. The meat of this hack shall be character creation. but, before we get to that, a primer:

What You Need to Know

  1. It’s 2595, and the world is fucked. You’re in Europe, which is survivable levels of fucked.
  2. There was a huge meteor that broke apart and crashed and had alien fungus on it.
  3. This is called the Eschaton. It happened in 2073 and everything was fucked.
  4. The fungus is called Primer, there’s a sort of spiritual aspect to it, it infects everything.
  5. There are monsters and spore mutants fucking everywhere. This is Sepsis.
  6. Civilization is founded on 13 cults. Everyone else is either a mutant or a small clan.
  7. The old world had singularity tech. Some of it is still around. There are bunkers out there.
  8. Did I mention the world is fucked? Shit’s fucked. God damn. So fucked.

For character creation, select a class, culture concept, and cult.


The following options are available.

    WastelanderFighters and survivors.Ruinations
    Hunter (I)Tribal warriors.Wolfpacks & Winter Snow
    AdeptSkilled specialists.Ruinations
    Expert (I)Tribal specialists.Wolfpacks & Winter Snow
    Sullied (II)The common mutant.Ruinations
    AberrantDegenerating and savage.Wolfpacks & Winter Snow
    ExplorerScouts and lookouts.Esoteric Enterprises
    BerserkerFrothing blood-rage.LotFP666
    Ranger Hunters and trackers.LotFP666
    MarksmanDead-eye with a gun.LotFP666
    Rat-CatcherKeeper of vermin.LotFP666
    Neanderthal (III)Sturdy as stone.Wolfpacks & Winter Snow
    OrphanAbandoned, feral.Wolfpacks & Winter Snow

    Class skills are adapted at a rate of 15% per point.
    (I) - Tribal characters only.
    (II) - Ignore mutation tables.
    (III) - Not actually neanderthals, but close enough.


    Where you're from. Reroll a stat and take the higher number.

    1) BorcaDusty wastelands, bordered by mountains to the south and glaciers to the north. DEX or CON
    2) FrankaMiserable bug-infested swamplands, dominated by the Pheromancers. CHA or DEX
    3) PollenScarlands overrun with Fractal Forests, home only to migratory tribes. CON or STR
    4) BalkhanClan holds and city states dot an untamed and fractured wilderness. CON or WIS
    5) HybrispaniaWet jungles and high deserts, embroiled in constant conflict. INT or DEX
    6) PurgareToxic volcanic wasteland in the west, fertile plains and hills to the east. CHA or WIS
    7) AfricaThere was a great migration northward into the newly-green Sahara. INT or STR
    8) From BeyondIs it possible to cross the Atlantic? Have the Chinese held out?Choose


    What defines you. Once per session, you may gain d6 points to add to a roll OR reroll a skill check if you act according to your concept.

    1) AdventurerGo out there and find some excitement.
    2) CreatorWorking, building, making.
    3) MentorTeacher and keeper of knowledge.
    4) MartyrSelf-sacrifice for others' sake.
    5) RulerControl and command
    6) SeekerLooking for answers.
    7) HealerFights against the world's decay.
    8) TraditionalistUpholds the old ways.
    9) MediatorThe point between two parties.
    10) HermitIsolation, solitude, wisdom.
    11) HereticUpends faith, casts doubt.
    12) ConquerorGlorious victory at all costs.
    13) AbominationSomething's broken inside.
    14) DestroyerLet nothing remain standing.
    15) ChosenHailed as the doer of a great task.
    16) DefilerBlame and undermine all others.
    17) ProtectorProtect and preserve what is precious.
    18) VisionaryBig-picture ideas of a better tomorrow.
    19) ZealotOf absolute faith and conviction.
    20) DiscipleFollower of teachers old and new.
    21) RighteousUnshakable confidence in their path.
    22) TravelerThe open road still softly calls.

    Cults & Clans

    Each comes with a perk and starting equipment. Special equipment can be acquired later. Clans are limited to specific regions, while cults may be found throughout the remains of the world.

    AnabaptistsSwords against the rot of the Demiurge, swords in the name of Gnosis.
    Perk: Tattoo and nose ring - Advantage on mental saves.
    Starting Equipment: Bidenhander (d10), blessed seeds, Elysian Oil
    AnubiansMystery priests of distant, jungled Cairo. Know more than they let on.
    Perk: Welcomed and sheltered anywhere in Africa.
    Starting Equipment: Anubis mask, soul stones, healing herbs, khopesh (d8)
    ApocalypticsHedonist flocks offering any imaginable vice.
    Perk: 1000 ways to the sweet spot - Human enemies have -1 AC
    Starting Equipment: Blade bracelet (d6), compact pistol (d6), tarot deck
    ChroniclersSecretive techno-fetishists. Wish to resurrect the bygone Stream.
    Perk: Barcode tattoo - Grants access to any Cluster
    Starting Equipment: Hooded robe, vocoder mask, Chronicler's suit (AC 12), dazer pistol (Save vs impairment, 1d4 rounds stunned on fail)
    ClannersThe bulk of humanity; tribes big and small, savage and civil.
    Perk: Detailed regional knowledge
    Starting Equipment: light armor, weapon (blackpowder available > TL 2, other guns > TL3), trade tools
    HellveticsGuardsmen and tollkeepers of the Alpine fortresses. For hire.
    Perk: +10 bullets / month
    Starting Equipment: Trailblazer rifle (d8 + 1 mod), harness + helmet (AC 16)
    JehammedansA religion of shepherds and patriarchs; rivals of the Anabaptists.
    Perk: Rally allies with +1 AC and saves during combat, 3/day.
    Starting Equipment: Scimitar or rider's hoe (d8), light armor (AC 12)
    JudgesBringing law and civilization to the wasteland clans.
    Perk: Informants (+2 Network for typical cases)
    Starting Equipment: Hat and jacket (AC 12), Codex, warhammer (d10), blackpowder pistol (d8)
    NeolibyansThe capitalists of Tripoli, the masters of the Mediterranean.
    Perk: Start with d6 x 1000 scrap worth of Dinars.
    Starting Equipment: Balance book, heirloom rifle (d10), seal of the Libyan
    PalersInbred descendants of Bygone vault-dwellers.
    Perk: Dark-vision
    Starting Equipment: Submachine gun (d6), sun talisman, key to a distant bunker
    ScourgersThe Neolibyan's muscle.
    Perk: Select a worthy adversary; gain +2 AC when fighting them alone.
    Starting Equipment: Spear (d6), shield (+1 AC), assault rifle (d8), flak vest and helmet (AC15)
    ScrappersLonesome scavengers of the end of days.
    Perk: Can read and make scrappers' marks.
    Starting Equipment: Rope, compass, periscope, rifle (d10)
    SpitaliansMedic-militants locked in a war against the Sepsis.
    Perk: Free access to hospitals and spore purges.
    Starting Equipment: Medical manual, Spitalian suit + gas mask (AC12), splayer with mollusk (d6, detects spore infestation), fungicide rifle (d10, as flamethrower)

    Making Your Own Clan

    This is legitimately the only random table in the entire Degenesis book. By Jove, I will use it.

    Tech LevelWorldviewGovernanceCultural identitySizeResources
    1: TL1 - Primitive1-2: Animism1-2: Rule of One1: Holy Sites1: Family1-2: Food
    2-3 TL2 - Medieval3-4: Theism3-4 Rule of a Few2-3: Founding Place2-3: Extended Family3: Mines
    4: TL3 - Progressive5: Enlightenment5-6: Rule of Many4: Texts4-5 Local Power4: Ruin Field
    5: TL4 - Industrial6: Secular5-6 Legendary Leader6: Tribe5: Bunker
    6: TL5 - Transhuman6: Raiding


    Each background is rated between 0-6. Characters get 4 points to begin, and cannot raise a background above 3 at character creation. Further increases or losses will come about as appropriate during gameplay.

    Roll a d6 when wanting to draw on a background, aiming at or below your rating. If the roll fails, you may turn it into a success by permanently burning one point of the background.
    • Allies - Contacts within the Cult.
    • Network - Contacts outside of the Cult.
    • Authority - Influence within the Cult.
    • Renown - Reputation outside of the Cult.
    • Resources - What you can draw on beyond your own possessions.
    • Secrets - Knowing the truth behind the curtain.
    Secrets generally don't involve a roll involved, and just dictate a specific thing a character knows. The location of hidden bunkers, the passwords to an ancient computer, the real reason why the higher ups are giving an order, and so on.


    Sepsis spores are everywhere, and the best Spitalian medicine can only purge them from a body in the early stages. Be vigilant.

    A character's maximum infestation limit is their CON + WIS modifier, as the spores attack both body and soul. Spore infestation up to this limit can be medically treated. Reaching 50% infection forms a sepsis stigma on the victim's chest.

    If a character is infected beyond their maximum, they must make a WIS save whenever they would gain further spore infection. If they fail, they will gain a point of permanent infection. Reaching 50% permanent infestation means that there's no going back: the character is now a Leperos, fully under the sway of the Primer.
    • 0-100% - Treatable infection.
    • 50% -  Stigma appears.
    • >100% - Permanent infection.
    • 150% - Leperos transformation. Character is lost.

    Characters gain 1 point / day in areas of light sporination, 1 / hour in areas of moderate sepsis, and 1d6 / hour in adult fungal blooms.


    Available in any settlement with a Chronicler or Spitalian presence.

    • Sell unique and curious artifacts (TL 2-4)
    • Access to communication network (100 scrap for an account, 10 to read messages, 30 to send) 
    • Salvage leads (They claim 10% on all salvaged goods)

    • General medical care (20 scrap per day, heals 1d4 / day)
    • Surgery (100 scrap, heals 5d4)
    • Detox (300 scrap, flushes out 4 points of spore infestation)
    • Complete De-sporing (900 scrap, reduces spore infestation to 0)

    Monday, December 17, 2018

    Uplifts for Mothership

    Uplift is a can of worms that nears AI in terms of ethical quandaries, and just like AI society all ran headfirst into it, damn the consequences.

    Fallout ensues, but not the big-picture, existential fallout involved in AI. The little, pernicious fallout. Racism and class struggles and all those ugly little ways the rich keep the poor at each others' throats.

    Uplifts generally fall into three categories:
    • Under the thumb of the Company that created them.
    • Independent of the Company, integrated into human civilization.
    • Independent of the Company and human civilization; part of their own society.
    Patrons of uplift tend to fall into these:
    • Corporate  (Do this because it will make us money.)
    • Scientific (Do this to learn how it all works.)
    • Philosophical (Do this because it is the right thing to do.)
    Patrons' ethical stances (and ability to live up to them) vary greatly.

    Great Apes

    Chimpanzees were the first successful uplifts, followed shortly thereafter by gorillas and orangutans. They are the most numerous of uplifts, but have unfortunately because they have not been as successful in their independence movements as other uplifts and have remained mostly under corporate control.

    The Simian Independence Movement (SIM) has taken a beating from corporate counter-action in recent years (restrictive legislation passed in the wake of violent protests pulling the lion's share) While there are dreams of revitalizing the movement and distant plans for the construction of an all-ape habitat, for now most of the great apes have sided with the spacer's unions.

    Stat Bonuses: +10% strength
    Saves: Sanity 30 / Fear 30 / Body 30 / Armor 30
    Stress & Panic: May re-roll a panic table result if another Great Ape is nearby.
    Starting Skills: As teamster.


    Second successful uplifts, second most populous, but the first to declare species self-rule and name a homeworld (Quincy's Moon, now christened Ks!!ssi*csi**k). Dolphins possess a small spacefleet of their own, and they and their ships are commonly hired out to Companies (dolphins make exceptionally good navigators and technicians). Early uplift models toyed with re-introducing legs to the bodyplan, but this was abandoned for robotic harnesses.

    Stat Bonuses: +10% intellect
    Saves: Sanity 30 / Fear 30  / Body 35 / Armor 25
    Stress & Panic: Can help another crewmate reroll a fear save 1/session.
    Starting Skills: Computers, Mathematics, Echolocation (+15%), +3 pts.


    No one has taken to life in space better than octopi. No bones to worry about, eight arms that can work on their own, the ability to squeeze through the tiniest spaces, and no issues with isolation. Even post-uplift, octopi are antisocial bastards (unless they've gotten into the psychedelics).

    The asocial nature of octopi means that there's not much to speak of in terms of in terms of octopus culture or society, outside of a few small clades engineered with sociability in mind. Most will put in their time, buy off their debts, and head out on their own.

    Stat Bonuses: +10% intellect
    Saves: Sanity 60 / Fear 70 / Body 20 / Armor 20
    Stress & Panic: Lose 5 HP on failing a panic save to autocannibalistic stress atavism.
    Starting Skills: Camouflage (+20%), Tight Squeeze (+20%), +2 pts.


    No one knows how crows got uplifted, and the crows aren't telling. They've spread through the cosmos like bushfire, free of any corporation or government. They are half again as cunning as you think they are, and keep their secrets close to the murder.

    A friendly crow grants a +15% on checks involving intellect or technical problem solving.


    The resurrection and uplift of elephants was part of one of the finest cybercrimes in human history. The genome in its entirety had been bought up by a Sino-American trademark-squatter soon after their initial extinction and left fallow - the 'company' was just an AI waiting to litigate anyone else who tried to bring them back from extinction. Almost a century later, hackers affiliated with the Life Without Chains eco-activist group managed to track down the company, crack open its data storage, and make out with the blueprints (Operation: The Lobotomy to Save Jumbo)

    Shortly thereafter, a terribly fortuitous and entirely legally binding mistake saw a newly-scouted gaian world donated to the week-old "Help for Troubled Trunks" charity.

    A few years later, the elephants had returned. The anarchist communes responsible for the resurrection check in from time to time, but mostly leave the elephants be. It seems to be going well.

    You are not likely to interact with an elephant.


    Uplifted whales have a problem: they're fucking huge. Planetside populations tend to be stuck in the ocean, and those in orbital habitats need significantly more space than most settlements can spare. Floater variants genengineered for the upper atmospheres of gas giants are currently being tested, but have yet to see actual usage.

    This hasn't stopped them from carving out a niche in interstellar civilization - their gigantic brains (coupled with their cetacean affinity for calculation) lead many to serve as pilots, navigators, and science crew - linking themselves up as a go-between the ship's AI and the human crew.

    Such whales till typically remote-operate an android as needed.

    Stat Bonuses: +10% Intellect
    Saves: Sanity 40 / Fear 40 / Body 30 / Armor 20
    Stress & Panic: Loss of connection with proxy trigger fear save for all crew present.
    Starting Skills: Computers, Mathematics, Piloting, +2 pts


    Three alien species within the 50 LY margin are considered prime candidates for uplift, with maybe a half dozen more on the short list. No official attempts at uplift of these creatures has yet been made. Unofficial...well, one never can tell. Most people will say it's inevitable, but the how, when, and "will it be a disaster?" are yet to be seen.

    Radio Trees

    Prosperity, Alpha Centauri 

    More animal than plant. Can be found clustered around the small, salty watering holes of Prosperity. Adults stand ~ 1.2 - 3.4 meters in height. Rubbery outer skin is uneven horizontal stripes (white and black) and resistant to the elements. Six-legged stump capable of burrowing into soil to hibernate until next wet season or migrating to nearby water source. Strings of light, heat, and pressure sensors line trunk. Yellow-orange fronds at the top are extensions of shortwave radio broadcast organ, maximum range ~20 km. Highly communicative, individual specimens have demonstrated excellent memory. Well-documented account of communities passing messages between two mated individuals relocated over two hundred miles apart. No known predators, symbiotic relationship with local fliers (directed via broadcast) for aid in long-distance mating. Currently on extinction watchlist due to air toxicity and radio pollution.


    Tormance, Arcturus

    Highly-social endotherms.  Flat, circular body with mouth on bottom and four eyes around rim. Eight arms with manipulators (2 between each pair of eyes), plus four brightly colored membranous wings for gliding and intimidating rivals (name given because wings at rest look akin to a mitre) ~1.3m in height when adult. Highly social, highly aggressive. Tool usage observed in food gathering and intercommunity warfare. Scavenging omnivores, typical pack behavior is claiming kills made by larger solitary predators. Communication via inflatable external organs located on the dorsal surface and limited color-change.

    The Puzzleboxes

    Alppain, Arcturus 

    Colonial organism. Main body is irregular composite of cartilaginous cubic structures between 2cm^3 and 5m^3. Can restructure modules to repair damage or adjust to environmental variables. Largest known specimen was larger than scouting ship. Filter-feeders. Live in high-pressure, high-temperature region just below ocean-atmosphere transition band, but have been observed reconstituting swim bladder segments into air bladder modules for low atmosphere floating. Migrate across feeding grounds in pods that can reach over 1000 individuals. Information transfer via exchange of neural modules. Individuals may separate to reproduce, multiple individuals may join together to form larger instance. Xenobiologists are stumped as to how and why these things exist.

    Wednesday, December 12, 2018

    Soul Magic and the Soul Cycle

    All magic comes from the soul. From burning it, specifically. In severing its ties to material reality and releasing it back to the Sea of Souls from whence it came. This makes it somewhat difficult to use magic with your own soul without great personal danger, so the Cunning Arts have been built upon using the souls of other being.

    Universal: The strength of a soul is equivalent to the number of HD the creature has. Spells are a limited resource with usage die.

    Method 1: Knave
    Each HD of the soul increases the usage die of the spell by 1 step (ex. 1 HD = d4, 2 HD = d6, etc). Use Maze Rats spell generation of Beloch's magic words for more fun.

    Method 2: Typical OSR
    As above, but in reverse: the die size decreases with the level of the spell. Spell level is determined by target HD (Level 1 = d20, Level 2 = d12, etc)

    Method 3: GLOG
    Each soul has spell dice equal to its HD. These dice burn out on a 6 as normal, and are not replenished.

    A soultrap is a sort of lantern built of celestial bronze and finely-shaped lenses. It costs 1000 sp to purchase and is only available in urban areas.To capture a spell, simply open up the trap as the target dies. When a soul is fully burned, a new one may be trapped in its place.

    I just learned about and it is well overdue.

    Stages of the Soul Cycle

    The Sea of Souls

    The source of all souls, and thus of all magic. Numinous and unimpeachable in its existence without form or place. Saints and scholars have yet to come up with anything but illustrative metaphors to define its relationship with the material world.


    A soul that has been integrated into a material form. All living organisms have some sort of embodiment, though not all are suitable for usage as a spell (it would be difficult to do anything with the soul of a bacteria, after all). The soul-bearing properties of non-living matter are a still a matter of debate and study - do all stones have a soul, or only those worked by human hands? Do cities have souls? Do rivers? What if you move water from one river to another? So on and so forth.

    Working magic from non-living souls is difficult, so most thaumatologists will focus on the living.


    The end result when a soul is removed from an organism before its death. Biological functions continue apace, but without the soul's guidance its behavior may become errant, spiraling out into bizarre and inexplicable repetitive actions.


    An experimental form of undeath where a soul is removed from an organism and then returned to it. Most are returned to their original bodies, but transference of a soul to a different body. The souls used in liches do not integrate as in normal embodiment, but are more akin to inhabiting a shell.

    Weak Embodiment

    An embodied soul that has been tapped for power without death. The targets of tapping are made pale and listless by the process, and recovery may take months or years if it occurs at all.

    Strong Embodiment

    A soul that has absorbed other souls, generally through consumption of a freshly-removed heart. There is something innately corruptive about this process, and those who practice it are monstrous indeed. No material form, it seems, is meant to hold more than one soul.


    Most ghosts contain nothing of the original being: the ba often evaporates instantaneously upon death. Those of potent charisma in life are able to maintain continuity into death, however, and even act independently of the typical repetitions of their actions in life.

    Weak Ghost

    The ghost of a weak embodiment. At this stage ghosts cease to have any individual traits at all, appearing only as misty, vague forms incapable of all but the most basic manifestations. 


    The ghost of a strong embodiment, a roiling gestalt of misshapen and corrupt souls. The means of its creation has made it monstrous, and it will not submit to a soultrap without a fight.


    An ashy smear of a soul - a ghost that has been burnt away to near-nothing, the last vestiges of a spell. The natural decay of a shade leaves it unstable and dangerous - the nuclear waste of the soul.

    Monday, December 10, 2018

    Adapting the SCP Wiki

    Alex Andreev

    Ah, the SCP wiki.  Longtime home of short spooky fiction of highly variable quality and a nigh-bottomless well of material to draw from, if you can find the good stuff.

    Well, worry no longer. I did some finding for you.

    All of these are cooked up for Emmy Allen's Esoteric Enterprises.

    SCP-075 - Corrosive Snail

    A snail with a clawed, six-fingered foot, about 20 cm long. Can launch itself at great speeds, secrets a powerful base corrosive slime.

    3 flesh (1die) 3 grit (1 die), AC 16 (shell + speed), leaping claw (1d6)

    It's All Basic: A successful attack does 1d10 corrosive damage for the next 1d6 turns or until it is washed off.

    SCP-140 - An Incomplete Chronicle

    A Chronicle of the Daevas (author unknown) details the history of the Daevites, an ancient civilization of theocratic-imperialist city-states in central Asia. True copies of the text absorb anything that might be used to write within it, favoring ink and blood, expanding Daevite history closer to the present day; initially deposed by Qin Kai in the 200s BCE, the Daevites have been able to expand up to the reign of Genghis Khan through retroactive expansion. Inert copies contain the following spells:
    • Bleeding Curse
    • Cause Wounds
    • Sacrifice
    • Sculpt Flesh
    • Summon
    True copies additionally contain:
    • Hurl Through Time
    • Call Down the Void

    SCP-186 - To End All Wars

    Recovered weaponry from the Battle of Husiatyn Woods (7/24/1917 to 8/13/1917) include:
    • Modified machine guns that generate tumors within target organism. 
      • d10 direct flesh damage
    • Mortar shells containing gas that render animal cells incapable of death. 
      • Target can no longer be reduced below 1 flesh. Any damage beyond this is taken directly by attibutes.
    • Concertina wire that triggers severe hallucinogenic effects on blood contact.
      • Save vs poison to resist incapacitation.
    • Mask-penetrating gas grenades that cause target to feel as if they are on fire.
      • Save to avoid desperately trying to put self out and excruciating pain.

    SCP-261 - Pan-Dimensional Vending Machine

    A matte-black vending machine the produces a random extrauniversal, alterchronic or otherwise impossible snack food. Accepts yen only, in any amount.
    1. Pepsi: Dragon Twist
    2. Self-cooking bag of lemon clams
    3. Build-Your-Own-Candybots
    4. 'Aged Meat Product"
    5. Kinder Matryoshka
    6. The Philosopher's Scone
    7. Madam Jesute's Blueberry Cigarettes
    8. Chocolate-flavored human breast milk
    9. One thousand apple seeds.
    10. A live hand grenade.

    SCP-354 - The Red Pool

    A seemingly-bottomless pool of red liquid, somewhere in the frozen north of Canada. Dispenses hostile paradox beasts at irregular intervals. An attempt at draining the pool proved catastrophic. The pool is expanding.

    SCP-423 - The Self-Insert

    A sapient textual entity capable of inserting itself into a written narrative as a background character named Fred. Can jump between books, is currently kept in a blank journal to facilitate communication. A book containing Fred contains the following spells:
    • Bookspeak
    • Comprehend Languages

    SCP-478 - Tooth Fairies

    Something like a small, dark moth, that will embed itself in the nasal cavity of a target in a mucus cocoon. It will trigger the explosive growth of teeth in the upper palate and then down the throat and esophagus, reaching the stomach in 2-4 days. The process is appropriately painful, leeching calcium from the target's bones.

    SCP-662 & SCP-1867 - Mister Deeds and Lord Blackwood

    Ringing the small silver bell will summon a well-dressed British butler. Mr. Deeds will procure any item and accomplish any task (within reason) requested by the bell's user. He will, on occasion, be accompanied by a sea slug in a small fishbowl: this is Lord Theodore Thomas Blackwood, noted explorer and naturalist. He has no idea why everyone keeps going on about him being a sea slug, he clearly isn't. Sea slugs don't possess encyclopedic knowledge of the wonderful unexplored regions of the globe.

    Neither Deeds nor Blackwood are any more sturdy than a typical butler and sea-slug, though Deeds will return after being killed if his bell is rung.

    SCP-682 - The Hard-to-Destroy Reptile

    A very big, very angry, very hard-to-kill lizard. Adapts to resist whatever is thrown at it.

    45 flesh (15 dice) AC 19 (scaly hide) bite 3d8

    Adaptive Armor:  Gains 1 damage reduction every round after taking a new damage type. If hit with a second damage type, it will begin gaining DR towards that type and the first reduction stack will decay 1/round. This armor does not apply to acid damage.

    Fucking Invincible: SCP-682 cannot be brought below 1 flesh. It will regenerate 1 flesh/hour.

    SCP-701 - The Hanged King's Tragedy

    A five-act tragedy by an unknown author. A third of performances will be accompanied by a silent hooded figure (implied to be the "Ambassador of Alagadda") in the background of several scenes and deviations from the script. This culminate at the banquet of Act V, where an invoice of tribute to the Court of Alagadda is read and the figure the Ambassador takes the stage in full. Several members of the cast are murdered by their fellows, with the remainder committing suicide via group hanging. A violent riot spawns among the audience, with survivors causing further acts of random violence for up to 24 hours afterwards.

    Any version of  The Hanged King's Tragedy (1640 quarto, 1733 folio, 1813 Cambridge University Press edition, 1965 trade paperback, 1971 hardcover), contains the following spells:
    • Command
    • Cause Fear
    • Geas
    • Control Rope
    • Contact the Court of Alagadda

    SCP-939 - In Many Voices 

    Pack predators. Translucent red skin, thermal sensors instead of eyes. Internal organs are all distributed throughout the body. Nasty sons of bitches.

    4 flesh (1 die) 12 grit (3 dice) AC 16, bite + claw (d10 + d8)

    Distributed Organs: Immune to critical hits.

    Perfect Mimicry: Can mimic a human voice perfectly.

    AMN-C227: Short-range breath attack. Save vs. poison against disorientation and memory loss.

    Hidden Offspring: Juveniles are visibly indistinguishable from human children.

    SCP-966 - Sleep Killer

    Gaunt predatory humanoids visible only in infrared.

    3 flesh (1 die) 6 grit (2 dice) AC 14 (nimble) bite (d8)

    Dream Eater: Target must make save vs magic or lose ability to sleep. Effect blocked by lead or other dense material.

    SCP-1000 - Bigfoot

    The previously dominant species of Earth. Deposed by prehistoric humanity in a global slave rebellion. Masters of biotech. Nocturnal. Not overtly hostile, but losing their patience.

    6 flesh (2 dice) 6 grit (2 dice) AC 16 (Chitin armor), biogenic handgun (d10, replenishes ammunition with biomass)

    A Walk in the Woods: 50% chance of disengaging with no chance of following in a forested environment.

    SCP-1306 - Potion of Summon Bird

    A mixture of birdfeed that will, without fail, summon at least two birds per hour from unobserved space. Birds called will be physiologically or behaviorally anomalous, non-native to the region, or otherwise stretching the definition of "bird".

    SCP-1425 - Star Signals

    A self-help book containing assorted "Star Focus" exercises meant to tune the reader into "phenomenological frequencies". Contents are considered a memetic hazard with a ~60% infection rate. Published in association with the celebrity-heavy new-age Fifth Church. Contains the following spells:
    • Contact Star
    • Prismatic Spray
    • Cloudkill

    SCP-1510 - Tarnished Legionnaire

    A rusted Roman infantry helmet c. 107 BCE. If worn by a man 28-35 years of age, the wearer's personality will be overidden by that of Publius Carthephilus Aetius, a veteran of the Jugurthine War under Consul Gaius Marius. The wearer will revert to normal with no adverse effects or memory of the event when the helmet is removed.

    SCP-1839 - The Reproductive Methods of Bony Fish

    A hardcover textbook by Dr. Arthur Salernus. Upon perusal, the reader realizes that they are a fish and goes through an episode of flopping and gasping about. Those who survive this paroxysm may read the book normally, despite the fact that they are a fish and fish cannot read. Contains the following spells:
    • Water Breathing
    • Summon Bigger Fish

    SCP-2085 - The Black Rabbit Company

    A crack team of cyborg commando catgirls (plus one hapless shmuck) living the anarchist dream - toppling crime syndicates, committing corporate sabotage, having all sorts of zany adventures. They've got their eyes on a spaceship, but there's a lot to be done between now and then.

    The Girls - 6 flesh (2 dice) 9 grit (3 dice). AC 15 (smart suit), weapon of choice (see below)
    Wizard - 3 flesh (1 die) 3 grit (1 die) AC 12 (spacesuit) pistol (d8)
    • Boss (Bodyguard) - Handler, wrangler, fixer, big sis. Dependable as a rock. The boss.
      • Shotgun, sword, throwing knives x5.
    • Momoko (Mercenary) - Boisterous, larger-than-life, fun-loving. Total gun-nut. The muscle.
      • Automatic rifle, special reload, explosives x3. 
    • Hana (Doctor) - Quiet, idealistic, moral compass, voice of reason. Field medic.
      • Rifle, first-aid kit, surgeon's tools.
    • Nanami (Criminal) - Aggressive, theatrical, angry, outrageous. Tech support & memeticist.
      • Pistol, burner laptop, external drive of weaponized memes.
    • Tomi (Mercenary) -  Monosyllabic, monotone, distant, cold. Gross personal habits. Sniper.
      • Marksman's rifle, twin pistols, trashy romance novel.
    • Wizard (Explorer) - Big dreamer with a dead past. Team mascot. 
      • Bathrobe and wizard hat.
    Cybernetic Augmentation - All members sans Wizard have the following cybernetic upgrades: Claws, Darkvision, Mental Communication (tacnet and secure wifi connection), Unnatural Strength or Lightning Speed.

    SCP-2146 - Space Whale

    The corpse of an adult bowhead whale in medium Earth orbit. Emits regular monthly radio broadcasts of a man cheerfully narrating cryptic, often gruesome stories, radio plays, documentaries, songs, and sermons. (A good source of adventure hooks: what in the world is space whale talking about today?)

    SCP-2273 - Major Alexei Belitrov, of the Red Army's 22nd Armored Infantry Division

    A soldier from an alternative timeline. Wears a suit of powered chitinous armor built by SCP-1000.

    3 flesh (1 die) 12 grit (3 die) AC 18 (powered chitin armor) fist (d8)

    Powered chitin armor includes 270-degree field of view, a carrying capacity of 1200 kilograms, and an organic radio transceiver.

    SCP-3199 - Humans, Refuted

    A featherless biped. A chimera of human, chimpanzee, and common chicken stock. Aggressive predators. Will roost in abandoned structures and lay as many eggs as possible to fit in the space.

    4 flesh (1 die) 8 grit (2 die) AC 14 (tough skin) bite (d6)

    Liquefying Spit: Ranged corrosive attack (d12, save vs poison for half)

    The Backup: All specimens carry a viable egg with them at all times. The entire species can be restored from this backup.

    Inert Underwater: Rendered dormant if submerged in water, believed to be because there is no empty space to lay eggs in.

    SCP-3288 - The Aristocrats

    Homo anthropophagus - ghoulish inbred descendants of the Hapsburg dynasty. Hairless, albinos with gigantic lower jaws crowded with six rows of teeth and arms too long for the body. Physiological and mental addiction to human flesh. Breed like rabbits, abnormally tough. Obsessive about blood purity. Literal baby-eaters. Aim to become the dominant species on the planet.

    6 flesh (2 dice) 12 grit (3 dice) AC 14 (thick skin) bite (d8)

    Light Sensitivity: Excellent darkvision, disadvantage to all actions in bright light.  

    Thursday, December 6, 2018

    Mother and Moloch (Bonus: Anachronism Ho!)

    There's no cosmic-level conflict in Mother Stole Fire. The greater universe ticks away as it always has: numinous, fundamental, unwavering. The Folk don't run things, they just are things.

    The conflict between gods is much closer to home



    No one leaves this house hungry.

    All of mankind shares a mother and a father. All peoples - manu, idaltu, neandr, florens, lilu - are brother and sister. You don't have to like them, (who gets along with everyone all the time?) but they're family. You never turn your back on family, no matter how much they might deserve it. No exceptions.

    From that starting point, all things flow naturally. Many of our worst expressions have been curbed, as they have little room to sprout in cultures so rooted in shared humanity. It's a positive feedback loop: Compassion, truth, trustworthiness, resourcefulness, curiosity, she speaks to our better selves.

    There are wars and crimes and monstrous things, there always are. Sometimes the best parenting can't dissuade the worst impulses. But, on the whole, it's a family worth keeping.

    Luke Viljoen


    Cast your sons unto into the furnace, and be rewarded.

    Moloch is the lynching noose and jackboot. Moloch is lead pipes and slaves' shackles. Moloch is clear-cut forests and strip mines. Moloch is rapists and spree killers and bookburnings. Moloch is smog so thick it chokes out the stars. Moloch is the trap from which there is no escape. Moloch is the mechanization of war. Moloch is the gas chambers. Moloch is the strong sacrificing the weak.

    Moloch is hell.

    Moloch is the hell that man has made.

    Moloch is a system. It is a god that lives within interactions, thrives in spaces between people. You could smash all its temples, kill all its worshipers, erase its name from every book, scroll and tablet - but so long as the system survives, there shall be Moloch.

    So far, Moloch has only truly taken root in Dis, the city on the great savanna. First city in the world, it is said, founded just as the Snows melted.

    It always seeks to spread, and in little ways it touch can be felt beyond its borders, but so far the expansion of Moloch and the spread of hell has been stalled. Most recently by the Sable Maid and the great war she led a century ago.

    Bonus: Things That Your Character Knows About Plus Other Little Cultural Bits.

    I've been asked "would my character recognize this" enough times that a list like this should be helpful. I'd be interested to see what the lists look like in other settings.

    • Birth control - Developed shortly after firemaking. Encompasses means material, medicinal, and magical. Menstruation has been wrangled into complete submission.
    • Electricity - Dangerous wizard shit / a curiosity for the arcane-inclined. The domain of Franklins and Frankensteins and Teslas. 
    • Postal service - Letters, newspapers, mail-order catalogs, speedy delivery, and so on. 
    • Trains - Connects major cities around the Mare Interregnum.
    • Bolt-action rifles and revolvers - The cutting edge of firearms.
    • Print culture - Books are everywhere and immensely valuable all the same. If you can't read, you've got killer oral history, so no one misses out.
    • Sanitation and Hygiene - If you can figure out how to throw a fireball with your mind, you can figure out that washing your hands is a good idea. See the Merde Grande.
    • Family lines are passed down patri- and matrilinear lines in equal numbers. Sometimes both, where daughters are of the mother's family line, sons are of the father's.
    • Communal housing - The local inn and tavern is often a shared hearth to this end. 
    • Quality of life - is generally quite high (diet, exercise, access to healthcare, lack of many major stressors, etc). It's not uncommon for people to hit 90 or 100 years old in good health.
    • Strong social nets for the old, ill, and otherwise vulnerable.
    • In general, there's a whole lot less of the whole imperialism / oppression / exploitation / extinction cycle going on.

    Over on Joe Fatula's excellent Signs in the Wilderness, he made a post about how his setting aims for a sort of Tolkienic "home that never was". This might be one of my favorite posts on setting out there, and I subscribe to the same school for Mother Stole Fire - evoking a past that never was, where people aren't mastered by their worst impulses, a place to return to when the road of life has made one weary.

    Good fantasy is when someone is able to translate the home that never was resting in their own head in such a way that it can be shared. That's a goal for this project, beyond just making fun stuff to game with.

    Saturday, December 1, 2018

    Five More For Mothership

    Kim Nguyen / scuttlebuttin


    homo sapiens cambiatum thelychroma

    The arid deathworld of Dreamland is home to one of the few successful large-scale metahuman initiatives. The initial goal was a variant engineered for low aggression and high pro-social behavior, leading to social sustainability in resource-strapped environments. To that end, the experiment was a grand success: Dreamland supports a stable and sizable population of H.s.c. thelychroma, well beyond what the planet was projected to support and absent of any crippling social strife. The population is so large that thelychroma are not an uncommon sight offworld.

    The catch (and there always is one), is that H.s.c. thelychroma is almost completely unfit for interaction with the rest of humanity. Their typical social structure is anarcho-syndicalist commune, so the Company hates them. They're indefatigably chipper, so the typical beaten-down teamster can't stand them. They have a great aversion to revolutionary violence so the anarchists think they're wimps. They tend towards such universal goodwill that they are marked as suckers for every scam artist and bad actor in human space, up until the point when those scammers realize that thelychroma rarely have more possessions than what they can carry in their pockets.

    The rumors are an entire other ballgame:
    • Thelychroma are venomous (False: They do not have venom glands)
    • Thelychroma are poisonous (True: Gut flora transfers and offworld diets solve the problem within a few months)
    • Thelychroma are disease-ridden (Complicated: While their significant vaccination suites leave them immune to most diseases, there have been incidents of diseases piggybacking on unsuspecting thelychroma into baseline populations.)
    • Thelychroma are sex fiends (False: They tend towards more non-sexual physical intimacy on the whole, often misread by outsiders. Otherwise, there's nothing fiendish about it.)
    • Thelychroma are clones (False: All gene samples used in exowomb production are hybridized before fertilization.)
    • Thelychroma are cannibals (True: In lean times, a wasted corpse is wasted meat and water.)
    • Thelychroma are lazy (False: Excess / pointless work is considered a survival threat and avoided.)
    • Thelychroma are stupid  (False: there is a bridgeable, if wide, communication gap regarding social expectations.)
    • Thelychroma are part of a conspiracy to undermine the culture and values of interstellar society. (False: It isn't a conspiracy, they're very open about it.)
    Chroma lose their hair shortly after birth (similar to cetaceans), and instead have cartilage ridges and crests along the cranium. They display a diverse range of bright colors and patterns, similar to members of family Dendrobatidae. They are single-sexed, with all individuals capable of both bearing and siring children as well as selective biological birth-control (most prefer to use exowombs regardless). They typically display great empathy, gregariousness and emotional openness to others, and may maintain a significantly greater number of stable social relationships than other humans.

    Stat Bonuses: +5% Intellect / + 5% Strength

    Saves: Sanity / Fear / Body / Armor | 45 / 20 / 45 / 20

    Stress & Panic: Once per session, a thelychroma can help a friend reroll a result on the Panic Effects Table. If there is another thelychroma present, it will default to that individual if possible.

    Starting Skills: Scavenging, Athletics, Hydroponics, +3 pts.

    Alienation Syndrome

    A terraforming nanoplague discarded by the posthumans as they passed on through the outer margin. The name is for Warden convenience - no one knows about it, so there's no real name for it. All things considered, it doesn't actually exist.

    Alienation Syndrome is adaptive, self-replicating, and unknowable. There are hundreds, if not thousands of variants out there, primed to play around with both flesh and tech according to some inexplicable algorithm. If there's no easily-modified biomass or technology nearby, it's not unheard of for the plague to generate its own out of whatever raw materials are on hand. Give Alienation Syndrome enough carbon and water, and you will have a monster.

     Each variant is unique, to the point where strains will occasionally start up arms wars against each other when they come into contact. Most are paradoxically small-scale - the strain will complete whatever task it assigned itself and then burn itself out, even if it has only birthed a handful of creations.

    Nearly all of the monsters found out past the Margin are the result of Alienation Syndrome. Actually tracing the links between instances is impossible for mundane humans or their computers.



    What happens when the Company requires upgraded hardware but doesn't pay enough to keep the creditors away (and is usually the one footing the loan in the first place). A common sight in habitats run by Companies that either can't afford androids or don't like using them for PR purposes. Repo'd debtboys are a common object lesson parents show their children (either to instill a hardy outer systems work ethic or to introduce them to the horrors of capitalism).

    Debtboys still on the payroll will keep their chrome, but they are kept on the shortest of leashes and expected to do whatever the Company asks of them.

    Debtboys that have been repo'd are stripped of their mods and auctioned off to other Companies willing to pay their debts. Most of the time they end up hosting advertising spam botnets with what's left of their cyberware.

    Stat Bonuses: +5% Intellect / + 5% Speed

    Saves: Sanity / Fear / Body / Armor | 30 / 30 / 40 / 25

    Stress & Panic: Failing a Fear or Sanity save triggers either a submission-to-authority response or catatonia (as per panic effect) until the danger has passed.

    Starting Skills: Computers, Linguistics, Mathematics or another science (Chemistry, Geology, etc)

    Asteroid DX-106345-A-3

    A small asteroid captured in the orbit of an otherwise unimportant venusian hellhole and an unsettled star might potentially be the most important object in the universe.

    Beneath its cracked and dusty surface, there is a diamond a quarter kilometer across. Its surface is marked with regular rows of bumps and depressions, up and down its entire length, each about the length and width of a thumb. Code.

    The Company clamped down quick on it, never let the discovery go public. Bought up the colonization rights to the entire system, put down a few potemkin mining facilities and an automated killsat net, and then silently went out of business. The rights got passed over to another Company, but the ships they've sent to investigate have been shot down without statement.

    Algorithm Wars

    There's a reason that AI development is locked down tight. Not just because the posthumans will drop rods from god on the first sign of competition, but even in lesser forms it is dangerous. Machines do not think, they compute. They cannot process context, they do not reflect. Self-awareness is wasted processing power.

    Automated war-swarms have left entire systems uninhabitable. Hardly better are those worlds where the web of linked systems has become so inescapable that humanity has become domesticated cattle at best, and more often an expendable resource.

    Algorithm Wars are the last stands of planets like this: the apocalyptic spasms of humanity trying to re-assert itself in the face of the unfeeling, mechanistic prison they find themselves trapped within.

    Sometimes they succeed.

    Monday, November 26, 2018

    Star Warriors, Dungeon Openers, Dinosaur Alignment Spectrum

    Cosimo Galluzzi

    Star Warrior

    Esoteric soldiers who have emptied themselves into the void, and returned bearing the fire of the heavens.

    HD, Saves, Weapons and Armor: as cleric

    The star warrior unlocks a new stellar chakra with each level.

    Level 1: M-type, Root 
    By rooting themselves firmly to the ground, a star warrior may deflect d12 damage or resist being knocked prone 1/day. 

    Level 2: K-type, Sacral
    The star warrior gives birth to an astral familiar of 1/3rd their HD. If it is dismissed or defeated, it will be [level] days before a new one may be made.

    Level 3: G-type, Navel
    Once per day, the star warrior may draw upon their inner spiritual reserves and gain d6 points to be added to whatever rolls they wish. 

    Level 4: F-type, Heart
    The star warrior anoints their weapon with their heart. Their next [level] attacks are treated as magical. Usable 1/day. 

    Level 5: A-type, Throat
    The star warrior may make three single words of Command per day. 

    Level 6: B-type, 3rd Eye
    The star warrior has awakened their third eye, and may now see ghosts, spirits, and auras that would be otherwise hidden. 

    Level 7: O-type, Crown
    Once per day, the star warrior may awaken any of the stellar chakras in one of their allies. They will be able to use it as a true star warrior would.

    Dungeon Openers 

    1) The Vault
    Stairs leading down to a double door of engraved black stone. A circular hole has been blown through the middle, and the doors bulge outwards. Charred corpses are stuffed in the hole in an apparent attempt to escape. Several managed to crawl through before death.

    2) It's Raining Men
    Players find themselves falling out of of a stormy and scabrous sky with thousands of others. Snap to black upon hitting the ground. They will awake as they are dumped out of a gigantic iron corpse-wagon. A plague doctor stylite is there, overseeing the operation.

    3) Escape Room
    Players wake up inside a haunted house. Impossible spaces abound, doors and windows boarded up.  Kicker: the house is buried underground. Presumed modern setting, good for CoC or EE.

    Dinosaur Alignment Spectrum

    All dinosaurs may be measured according to the following three alignments.
    Animal <---------> Monster

    Natural <---------> Gonzo

    Domesticated <---------> Wild
    Spectrum A can replace "animal" with "people" as needed. Specific dinosaurs within a piece of media may be categorized differently. Dinosaur alignments are spectrums rather than binaries. Gonzo includes outmoded models of dinosaurs, including tail-dragging and potentially not having feathers.

    • Jurassic Park = Monster / Natural / Wild
    • Jurassic World = Monster / Gonzo / Wild
    • Walking with Dinosaurs = Animal / Natural / Wild
    • Dinotopia = Animal / Natural / Domesticated
    • Land Before Time = People / Natural / Wildness dependent on environmental factors.
    • Dinosaur Clerics = Monster / Gonzo / Wild and Domesticated Variants.
    • The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins = Animal (with monster flourishes) / Gonzo / Wild

    Thursday, November 15, 2018

    Unnamed Mothership Setting: Solar Gazetteer

    Jakub Rebelka

    Part two of my Unnamed Mothership Setting.

    Planets were generated using Mephit James' repurposed Traveller tables with some extra aide from the Stars Without Number and Red Tide tags. Distances between stars came from Space Engine which is terribly helpful in general.

    For the sake of space, I'm not going to detail every single planet that was rolled up. There are a whole lot of indistinct dwarf rockballs and asteroids out there, so unless there's something particularly interesting about them, they shall be elided. Planets will be listed in order outwards from their sun, with the orbital region in parentheses. Moons will be listed in italics under their parent planet.

    Some Handy Terminology

    • Epistellar - Really close to the star.
    • Inner - Close but not that close to the star.
    • Outer - A sizable distance from the star.
    • Terrestrial - .02-5 Earth Masses
    • Helian - 3-15 Earth Masses
    • Vesperian - Tidally locked 
    • Pelagic - Ocean world
    • Bathypelagic - By God that's a lot of ocean
    • Panthallassic - Even the sky is ocean.
    • Gelidian - Frozen 
    • Pelagic-Gelidian - Frozen crust surrounding subsurface ocean.
    • Post-Gelidian - Cooling tectonic world, subglacial oceans.
    • Cytherian - Venus-like
    • Arid - Mars-like
    • Amunian - Terrestrial ammonia worlds 

    Sol - G2V

    Home sweet home. Even the posthumans still have a certain fondness for it, living out in the Oort cloud or in micro-Dyson-swarms. Every major body in the solar system has been settled by this point, though much of the activity has moved outwards towards Jupiter and Saturn: interstellar ships are much more likely to stop off at Callisto or Titan, with their goods launched towards the inner system via mass driver. Venus is home to thousands of aerostat nations, Earth is coming out of centuries of environmental reclamation, and Mars is heavily para-terraformed.

    Proxima Centauri - M6V

    The closest star to Sol and the cultural hub for spacers. All three planets and their orbits have been heavily settled and para-terraformed. Most of the system population is transient, but those who stay on permanently are a proud and stubborn community - corporate interests rarely reach far into Proximan doings, co-operatives and mutual aid organizations flourish.

    GargarinRocky vesperianEpistellar0Complex single-celled
    Armstrong & AldrinBinary rocky dwarfsInner0No
    ShenArid MethaneOuter0No
      For visitors overwhelmed by the thousands of cantinas, hostels, shrines, and spaceports around Proxima, pay a visit to Clever Lu's in Shen orbit. It's got work, people, talk, drinks, whatever you're looking for.

      Alpha Centauri - G2V / K1V binary

      A prime example of what not to do. The original colonization attempt collapsed under incompetent leadership and construction by the lowest bidder, leading to a period of violent anarchy then replaced by a militaristic corporate-fascist police state. Over 60% of the system's habitats were built with faulty water purification and filtering systems (using proprietary hardware and legacy software from a defunct company with no documentation) that cannot be fixed without completely replacing them. The native environments of both Onwards and Prosperity have undergone catastrophic mass extinctions via industrial exploitation.

      UpwardsPanthallasic HelianOuter3Single-celled producers
      OnwardsPelagicOuterN/ALarge macroscopic
      ProsperityAridOuter1Complex global ecology +potential proto-sapients

      Barnard's Star - M4.OV

      Barnard's Star has a single shining attraction: the planet Dorothy is a tropical paradise.  Some combination of the planet's air, water, and temperature triggers the human body to purge itself of stress and toxins. Locals have the highest non-augmented life expectancy in human space and some of the best health. The artificial islands of the planet are held up as a poster-child of environmentally-non-invasive colonization. Generations of such good living have made themselves manifest in the local population with a borderline-dangerous naivety of life outside the system and a complete disregard for measuring time.

      DorothyPelagic GaianInner1Large macroscopic
      AliceAmunianOuter0Single-celled producers
      LirazelSaturnian Dwarf-JovianOuter1No

      Travelers might also wish to explore the bizarre daydream-cultures of Wonderland Arcologies of Alice and all the court machinations of the Chess Queens.

      Sirius - AOmA1 + White Dwarf Companion 

      With empty Epistellar and Inner orbits, the few bodies orbiting Sirius are cold and empty. Hardly befitting their namesakes, but the Dog Star needs its pack.

      Gelert & GuinefortBinary icy dwarfsOuter0No
      HachikoArid MethaneOuter1No
      LaikaCthonian JovianOuter4No

      Most of the system's settlements are in the business of mining and volatiles. Of note are Lonely Glow, a partially-abandoned debtor's prison on Hachiko, and the feral autofactory General Product Production Installation 113 in Laika orbit.  

      Epsilon Eridani - K2V

      An economic powerhouse and the third most populated system in human space. Originally settled by ships of the Indian-Venusian Diaspora, it has since expanded into a bustling, diverse, and all things accounted for not terrible place to live. All major worlds in the system have been settled, and the few posthuman habitats seem to be oddly fond of the human population, inasmuch as they can be.

      Matsya & KurmaTwin burning terrestrialsEpistellar0No
      ParashuramaGelidianGaianInner3Simple global ecology
      RamaCampian (Hot, wet) GaianOuter0Complex global ecology
      KrishnaAmunianOuter1Complex multicellular
      Buddha's BeltDust RingOuterN/AN/A

      Of note to scientists is the extinction of any life on Parashurama outside of the subglacial seas due to swift cooling of the climate. Digs have revealed an extensive fossil record, and the planet is oft cited by those believers in ancient alien civilizations.

      Ross 128 - M4V

      Currently entrenched in a gamelike civil war of ritualized combat, fought in daily one-on-one combats broadcast openly, backed by an elaborate system of points and territories. The religious tension at the root of the conflict appears to have originated in political demographics that jumped over into belief systems. Dozens of minor faith-parties have emerged in the cracks, starting their own proxy conflicts.

      RadamanthusChlorine VespirianInner0Single-celled producers
      AeacusCryoNebulous HelianOuter2No
      MinosArid AmmoniaOuter0Complex multicellular

      The majority of the system's settlements are in orbit around Aeacus, save Charon City on Minos, home to the Silicon Sepulchre - a library of memories and experiences from over half a billion androids from across human space.

      Tau Ceti - G8Vp

      With so little in the system, Tau Ceti is a more of a stopover location than a destination. Hou Yi and Chang'E are both settled, though not heavily. Of note are reports of unexplained freak geology below the clouds of Chang'E and the Hou Yi biotech and agritech industries - the system is the sole supplier for a panoply of exotic genengineered foods.

      Paris & HelenBinary hephaestan dwarfsEpistellar0No
      Hou Yi Chang'EArid world with Cytherian companionInner0Single-celled producers / No

      Luyten's Star - M3.5V

      Contains almost nothing of note or importance. The very definition of a filler M-type.

      LeanJovian with icy moonsInner4No
      LurchGeoNebulous HelianInner2No
      LacrimosaBathypelagicInnerN/ASingle-celled producers

      Weitown: A small settlement that mines volatiles from the moons of Lurch. Serves as a stop-over and refueling depot for interstellar travelers. Founded by ex-corporate soldiers abandoned without pay or pension. They aren't particularly fond of company, which leads to conspiracy theories of hidden wealth and dark secrets.

      More Cowboy Bebop

      82 Eridani - G6V

      The Red Ash Plague (named for what it does to victim's skin) has crippled the system, and after years of work no one has been able to find a cure or an origin. it comes and it goes in cycles that follow no pattern, it is survivable one day and lethal the next. it has made the locals secretive and withdrawn, communicating with outsiders purely by masked broadcast and hiding their scarred faces.

      MoriartyThetusian HelianInner1No
      Holmes & WatsonCytherian + Pelagic Inner0No / Single-celled producers
      AdlerArid methaneOuter0No

      There is a running reward of a hyperelite's ransom for any clue to the cure or origin of the Plague, posted by the eccentric and short-sighted trillionaire behind the catastrophically failed Baker Street  adventure habitat. The habitat is still there and technically still in operation, the owner is still technically alive, the androids technically still keep to their roles but all have fallen into disrepair.

      Delta Pavonis - G8IV

      In the grips of a humanitarian crisis after a meteroite slipped through the detection net and struck Laozi, crippling the planet's infrastructure. Resettlement of refugees to Diogenes orbit is underway, but there are not enough ships and not enough space. With the loss of Laozi's solar farms, food production for the entire system finds itself in precarious position.

      LaoziRocky TerrestrialEpistellar3No
      DiogenesNeptunian SubJoviamOuter2No

      The Lamp in Diogenes orbit serves as the governmental hub in the system. it is currently overwhelmed with desperate people looking to flee the system and the government's philosopher-parliament is overwhelmed.

      Gliese 581 - M3V

      Founded by Proximan anarchists driven out by the Centauri Wars, the system is the keystone world for autonomists in human space. In order to remain as independent as possible from capitalist interests the system does keep tight watch on who enters (especially with Gliese 667 so close by).

      Eat-the-RichAridInner1Complex single-celled
      No GodsThetusian GeoHelianInner4No
      LibertyAridInnerN/ALarge macroscopic
      No MastersHyperionic GeohelianInner1No
      ResponsibilityEoGaianInnerN/AComplex global ecology

      If one is feeling social, visit Lalu Lilalo's, in No Masters orbit. It can provide whatever entertainment you can want or need, from hanafuda to fighting games to just making friends with strangers / having sex with them.

      Gliese 667 (Fu Xi / Nüwa / Shennong) - K3V / K5V / M1 trinary

      The first two stars of this trinary circle each other closely, and so have cleared out their orbits of everything but some asteroids and a few rocky dwarfs. Gliese 667 C (Shennong) orbits A&B at a much greater distance, allowing it to maintain a stable system of its own.

      HuangdiHalcyonic HelianEpistellar2No
      LeizuChlorine VesperianEpistellarN/ASingle-celled
      ZhuanxuTwin CytheriansEpistellar0No
      Dì Kù MesoGaianInner2Multi-cellular
      Tang YaoCytherianInner1No
      Great ShunArid MethaneOuter5Building Blocks

      Despite its position, the system is second only to Sol in terms of population and economic output. It has little love for spacers and Company loyalty is strong. Asteroid kowloons filled with unfortunate poor pepper the region. A wide-spread crackdown on the makers of anti-government / anti-corporate VR interactives has, as of yet failed to dredge up the underground master-artist "CC540".

      Fomalhaut - A3 V / K5Vp / M4V Trinary

      Fomalhaut A is the only star of this trio to be settled thus far. Multiple dust rings make travel in the system difficult, stripping unprotected ships bare from friction.

      AtargatisArid terrestrialInner1Single-celled
      OannesPelagic-GelidianOuter1Small macroscopic
      DagonSaturnian Dwarf-JovianOuter3No

      The largest settlements in the system are Ahab on Oannes and Jonah in Dagon orbit, operated by rival family-owned companies. They've taken the system's economic downturn in stride, using the high unemployment to hire raiders to harass their competition's ships.

      Arcturus - KOIII

      A great curiosity among xenobiologists: a system where an old and expanded star has consumed or expelled all but two of its worlds, and both of those worlds are as overflowing with life as Earth in its prime, with multiple species on the cusp of sapience? A coincidence that ought be too good to be true.

      TormanceRocky vesperianInner0Complex global ecology + potential proto-sapients
      AlppainBathypelagicOuter0Complex global ecology + potential proto-sapients

      For the protection of the local environments most of the population lives in orbit (Main stations Maskul and Nightspore), though small settlements do exist planetside. The initial colonists were of an esoteric neo-gnostic sect that has grown only stranger in the time since, often overlapping with the scientific demographic.

      The word "uplift" is not bandied about lightly. It has a tendency to spawn riots.


      Trappist-1 - M8V

      A xenobiological grail: five planets with life, potentially with the same point of origin. Its distance from other major worlds has kept it at a relatively low population. It is home to  variety of exiled and heterodox religions, most being splinters from the Titantian Catholic Churchs, the displaced Martian Cathars, the Buddhislamic Fellowship, the Techno-Presbyteriat, and the Old Orthodox Xenodeists.

      AugustineBurning terrestrialEpistellar0No
      ScholasticaArid methaneInner1Complex single-celled
      FrancisPelagic-GelidianInner0Complex multi-cellular

      The primary settlement is Subiaco on Benedict, which is run by the ever-patient remnants of the officially-dissolved Jesuits.

      Zeta Reticuli - G3-5V / G2V binary

      A lively and populous system, famous for the heterocultural communes of Le Guin, the Domes of the Living Dead on Herbert (kill rabid flesh-eating gene-engineered clones for the entertainment of the streaming audience), the android-run habitat of Positronic in Brackett orbit, and Rocketman's Repose around Bradbury, the memorial of every known human to have died in space.


      Verne & WellsDwarf BinaryInner0No
      Le GuinXeric GaianOuter0Complex global ecology
      HerbertArid ammoniaOuter1Multi-cellular
      BradburyPoseidonic SubJovianOuter2No



      With little of interest beyond resources and some xenological studies, few ever visit Zeta Reticuli B. There are no permanent settlements in-system - automated fuel depots and comm buoys will be your only company.

      Barney & BettyBinary Rocky DwarfsInner0No
      NiburuPanthallassic HelianOuter0Large macroscopic

      Upsilon Andromedae (Titawin) - F9V / M4.5V binary

      Located in a relatively unpopulated region of human space, Titawin serves as a sort of regional hub for explorers and travelers. It is home to the storied Academy of Astrogation in orbit around Majriti.

      SaffarHot JupiterEpistellar0No
      The DancersSix Companion DwarfsEpistellar0No
      SaltAridInnerN/ALarge macroscopic
      Zarqālī MesoJovianInner2No
        Upsilon Andromeda B is known to have a epistellar Vespirian orbiting it. An exploratory expedition is currently being crowdfunded and selection of the membership is underway.

        Mu Arae (Cervantes) - G3IV-V

        Home to the most Earth-like planet yet found, the system is a home for wanderers, dreamers, fools, and scientists (or so goes the stereotype). Corporate interests from Gliese 667 are present and active, but have been barred from interfering with La Mancha in any way by the initial settlers - no permanent surface colonization has yet been made. Like Titawin, the system serves as a hub for exploration further out beyond the Frontier Margin.

        DulcineaHot Sub-JovianEpistellar0No
        RocinanteWater-rich Dwarf JovianInner4No
        La ManchaContinental GaianInnerN/AComplex global ecology
        CardenioArid MethaneOuter0Small macroscopic
        Marcela & Grisóstomo EoGaian / MesoAmunianOuter0Simple global ecology / Small Macroscopic

          Map of Relative Locations

          If distances seem weird, it's the Z-axis at work.

          Trip Table / Distance in Light Years

          Click for bigger version.

          Yes, I Would Like More Planets to Add to This

          • Gatecrashing, plus exoplanets featured in Farcast, Seedware, and H-REP.
          • Expedition, Wayne Douglas Barlowe. The Discovery Channel adaptation is good too.
          • Halo. That first game is unapologetically an Aliens ripoff and it's great.
          • Known Space, Larry Niven. Creepy weirdo author, but he made some nifty space places.
          • Hyperion, Dan Simmons. Damn, I love this book.
          • Warframe, especially the new Fortuna expansion.
          • All of Chris Tamm's space posts and Michael Raston's Blasphemous Roster.