Thursday, August 9, 2018

Unicorn Meat

Nikolay Karelin

“The unicorns shall come down with them; their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.”

It sits in the backwoods beyond the black stump, in the dark and steaming place where civilization never took hold. The plants grow up thick and twisted and sick in the poisoned creole soil. The sun bleaches the life from the leaves, boils the mud into dust, turns water into salt, peels the skin away. The cruel air does not move, does not break. Time is stillborn.

There are no gods out here, no help this far from home. The backwoods sent law and light crawling back to lick their wounds in the safety of lands less sickened. The backwoods can tear out a man’s soul, eat it raw and wriggling.

Among the razor grass and arthritic black trees, amidst those bottomless pools of murk and mud, wrapped in the chains of creeping moss, under that evil sun...

Look here, the rust-eaten sign...

"Sunny Smiles Unicorn Farm"

So what's all this then?

Mostly system-and-setting-neutral dungeon module tentatively titled "Unicorn Meat". You've already seen a glimpse of it with my carvergirl class, and it's been coming along nicely enough that I thought that I might as well drop some of what I've been working on for this year's #diy30-slash-#rpgaday. (Or at least the first week of it.)

It's like LISA: the Painful plus Lord of the Flies plus a bit of True Detective plus some Silent Hill and all wrapped up in a neat package of slavery, capitalism, apocalyptic millenialism, a whole lot of blood, and the world's most hardcore pre-teens.

Day 1: Colonel Timothy Fisk

An old friend from back during the War. He's always been a fixer, sticking his nose in places where he can make connections and pulling your bacon out of the pan. Now he's calling in a favor.

Appearance: Tidy uniform, square shoulders, right leg lost below the knee.
Voice: Deep, calm, doesn't stand out much by intent.
Wants: To unravel the conspiracy built up around this kidnapping case.
Morality: Reliable, ruthless, realpolitik to serve idealistic justice
Intelligence: Has the making of a spymaster or investigative journalist.

Day 2: Factory Entrance

Cavernous, shadowed. Smells of dust and rust and heavy, wet air.
  • Forest of pastel-colored tallow candles spread out on the floor. Few remain lit.
  • Mural on the opposite wall: A red dragon with seven serpentine necks, fighting a carvergirl.
    • Four necks have golden heads, three do not. One head will be filled in each day before dawn, counting down to the end of the ritual. To accelerate things, add more heads.

Day 3: Orgone Suppressant

Orgone is a metaphysical energy that develops alongside the hormonal changes of puberty. Humans can't detect it without specialized equipment; unicorns can't stand the stink of it, and so will either flee or fly into a frenzy when they pick up the smell.

One of these small green pills can suppress the body's generation of orgone for 12 hours. It can mask one's scent enough to sneak up on one of the creatures, and will prevent a unicorn from flying into a frenzy.

Repeated use of suppressants result in permanent suppression and sterilization. Save vs poison for every dose taken in excess of five days of usage.

Day 4: The Shrine

A corner of the barn has been converted into a shrine to the three primary carvergirl deities. Offerings have been placed at the foot of each icon. Maintained by Tessel and Grudge.
  • Bloody Mary
    • Blood-stained wedding dress, broken hand-mirror, tangled, ratty hair.
    • Danger, survival, cruelty, kindness. 
    • Offer her glass shards, milk teeth, white flowers, all with a drop of blood.
  • Brother Bones
    • Red coat, straw hat, skull mask, dark glasses, hunting rifle
    • Death, crossroads, backwoods, mysteries, abandoned places.
    • Offer him bullets, cigarettes, moonshine.
  • Lily Black
    • Charcoal skin, goat horns, honeygold eyes, smoldering pipe.
    • Pain, endurance, twists of fortune, vengeance, getting even.
    • Offer her pennies, nails, nightmares. 

Day 5: Totem Field

  • Dozens of unicorn skulls on sharpened stakes facing the factory entrance
  • Totems, mojos, and root talismans everywhere 
    • Stealing one gives a -2 to a random roll (to hit, damage, single attribute check, save type) until the mojo is burnt, the curse is shifted to another individual by burying the talisman on their property, or it is broken by a caplata of the Nightwatch.
  • H.C. ( a member of Nightwatch) is napping in a gibbet cage. She has no tongue (as is typical for members of that faction), but carries a slateboard and chalk to write out responses.
    • She hasn't seen anything particularly out of the ordinary, save that White-Eyes has been exiting the Factory less and less recently.

Day 6: Loading Dock

  • Concrete platform with a wooden roof, abuts the railroad.
  • A crocodile suns itself on the dock, blocking the door to Packaging.

Day 7: Pugs

De facto leader of the carvergirls living in the Big House. Most of her followers are scrunts and a few hunters. Rival to White-Eyes.

Appearance: Dark skin, checkered red bandanna, 'Happy Satan Instant Ramen' t-shirt.
Voice: Self-assured and confident 14-year-old chain smoker.
Wants: Take the farm for herself out of bucha control, keep her girls safe, to end her waking dream.
Morality: The sleepy, friendly exterior isn't an act, but not above a healthy amount of backstabbing.
Intelligence: Bright, but overlooks the flaws in her plans.

Bosun Red and Pebblemouth,
sittin' by the fire
Bosun Red told Pebblemouth
"I'm gonna set your shit on fire"


  1. There's no order to these WIPs, so draw whatever conclusions you'd like for the time being.

  2. For the record, this module was dope as fuck, and we never even really left the starting area.

  3. So is this a thing you're working on Dan or working on releasing, or is it something someone else made? Either way, where can I get it?

    1. This is my own thing, and I can't give any time estimates for completion.

    2. Well, then I will eager await its arrival, as this sounds fabulous.

  4. Always happy to see more of Unicorn Meat!