Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Unicorn Meat: Hooks and Factions

Another week, more Unicorn Meat. This time it's going to be the hooks to get players out there, and the various factions among the carvergirls. As a bonus, I threw in the David Sugars-suggested 80-word summary.

Opening Crawl

The last unicorn farm rots away deep in the festering backwoods. The adults vanished into the swamp in a single night, leaving the girls trapped in its ruins. White-Eyes and her buchas rule the farm with a brutal hand, but it frays at the seams under the strain of old rivalries and impending starvation. This is to say nothing of the monsters in the swamps and the whispers of some great Beast lurking in dreams of the deep night.

How You Got Here

Hook 1: Colonel Tim Fisk 

For campaign openers and one-shots

A mutual friend from back during your time in the army is cashing in a favor. He’s sending you out to follow up on a kidnapping case that went cold half a decade ago, back when the war was in full swing. In his typical amateur spymaster fashion the coded letter is loose on details, but he's able to tell you this much.
  • A young girl was recently found dead in a field a few miles from the swampland edge. No one claimed or identified the body before burial.
  • He believes that the girl is one Maddy Aberdeen, who vanished five years prior at the age of eight. Furthermore, he believes the case linked to others he has been investigating.
All the rest is directions to a location deep in the backwood swamps.

Fisk wants the job done discreetly. Get in, gather as much information as you can, get out. There’s a fat under-the-table payday in it for you once you dead-drop the evidence with one of his go-betweens.

Hook 2: The Map 

For use in a pre-existing campaign

The corpse can't be older than a day or two when you find it in the roadside ditch. A girl of twelve or thirteen: emaciated, wearing rags, curled up in a ball. There’s blood caked all around her ears, eyes, mouth, nose. A jagged wound stretches across her forehead. The leather pouch clutched to her chest contains some soggy crumbs and a crumpled scrap of paper: “We are dying. Send help. Do not trust White-Eyes.”

A crude map is drawn below the shaky text, leading out into the backwood swamps...

Hook 3: The Girls 

For one shots or campaign openers

The adults vanished during the night, White-Eyes and her Buchas are stomping on our necks, and the rest just twiddle their thumbs waiting for the end of the world.

Fuck that shit.

Getting Yourself Situated

Regarding All Carvergirls

  • The youngest are around four, the oldest are nearing twenty. Most are in the middle. Malnutrition and poor health makes it difficult to tell.
  • Visitors will be met with suspicion. Trust in adults decreases with age.
  • They are more hardcore than you, and they know it.
  • They wear orange jumpsuits and ratty, patched-up hand-me downs. Scars, lingering injuries, and crude tattoos are everywhere.
  • Each one is tattooed with a block of vertical bars on their forehead and on the back of their right hands. They received these when they came here.
  • They all have thousand-yard stares. They have seen some shit.

Scrunts and Carvers

The foundational divide on the farm. Everyone is either a scrunt or a carver. No exceptions.

Scrunts are the youngest and least-experienced of the girls, right at the bottom of the social ladder. They typically roam about underfoot in packs or latch on to a group of bigger girls for protection. When the farm was still running, they were employed mostly in the sweatshop or pastures. Many of them only speak cavehtung. The most trusting of adults. An insult when directed at anyone else.

When a scrunt has bloodied her hands enough to look out for herself, she becomes a carver. Sometimes her gang members will present her with a gift to commemorate this. In other cases it is just a change universally known but never acknowledged: the girl is a carver now, and that is settled. Carvers form gangs naturally; nearly every one is part of a gang, even when affiliated with a larger group.

Some legendary carvers might be called Old Bloods. An honored title, and not used lightly. The most recent was


White-Eyes wasted no time assuming control after the adults vanished. Her buchas, all hardened veterans of the killing floor, swiftly took over the factory for their own use.
  • Leader: White-Eyes, acting through Greythorn.
  • Wants: More unicorns for the slaughter, to wipe out the Church.
  • Brutal in the enforcement of their rule, secretive inner workings.
  • Does not currently consider the Big House a threat.

The Big House

The opposition party against the buchas, headquartered in the manor from which the name is drawn. Large number of scrunts seeking protection, with a few hunters among the group's carvers.
  • Leader: Pugs
  • Wants: To wrest control of the farm away from the buchas, to escape.
  • Sometimes used to refer to just Pugs and her lieutenants, other times used for everyone who isn't a bucha, depending on the speaker's factional leanings.
  • Does not have the numbers to directly challenge White-Eyes. Pugs is attempting to get more veteran gangs on her side, to limited success.


They paint their faces with chalk and charcoal and weave crow feathers in their hair. They cut out their tongues and sit perched in high places through the night. They keep the monsters at bay so you may sleep quietly.

  • Leader: #23
  • No one messes with them, everyone listens to them.
  • Skilled in rootwork and other minor magics unique to their vigil.
  • Can't speak, but know sign language and most can write.
  • Necessary protection if one goes out at night.


With the pastures and pens empty, unicorns have to be brought in from the swamp itself. Hunters have always been an eclectic and eccentric bunch
  • No unified leadership: each team picks their own chief. Lots of internecine conflict.
  • Know their way around the backwoods: necessary to navigate the swamps.
  • Has heard talk that the buchas mean to replace or crack down on them: not pleased with this.
  • Usually has some members of the nightwatch around for expeditions.
  • Somewhat insular, lots of strange traditions.

The Church

Separatists holed up in a half-sunken church deep in the swamp. Raid the farm regularly for supplies or leave warnings of impending apocalypse.
  • Leader: Crazy Angel
  • Wants: Complete destruction of the farm and the institution of unicorn farming. To preach repentance, for the coming of the Beast is nigh. 
  • Hostile to all other factions and outsiders. 


There are some carvers that don't properly fit into a gang of their own or any of the major groups. Some are listed here.
  • Birdie - The oldest girl on the farm at 22. Simpleminded. Kept around the Big House to help out caring for the scrunts. Sweet and very literal-minded.
  • Stitches - What passes for a carvergirl doctor. Bones set, wounds stitched up, tattoos made to request. Once sewed someone's head back on (so it is claimed). Dry and dour.
  • Tessel and Grudge - Keep watch over the shrines in the barn and the equipment stored there. One is always on duty. Might as well finish each other's sentences.


  1. Since this is all WIP, hit me with questions and comments if you've got them.

  2. So the girls were brought here because who ever made the farm needed young, virgin girls to hunt the unicorns?

    1. That was what the people behind it believed, yes. The kicker is that it's not really true.

      Any child who hasn't yet hit puberty can safely approach a unicorn. An adult who has never had sex is still going to get themselves gored. The fight/flight trigger is entirely based on the presence of orgone as a side-effect of maturity - humans just attach that to certain correlating, but not causating, factors.

  3. Hey there, I saw this art over on MonsterBrains and was reminded of the stuff you've been writing for Unicorn Meat, thought you might like it.

  4. The paragraph "Some legendary carvers might be called Old Bloods. An honored title, and not used lightly. The most recent was" is incomplete.

    This is great! A condensed micro-sandbox, with 5 factions all trapped in a single place for the PCs to deal with. I saw in your "Project Updates for 2019" posts that this was being turned into a larger release - is that still being worked on?

    1. Despite my neuroses putting up one hell of a fight against, yes, I am still working on it.