Thursday, January 31, 2019

Mother Stole the Background Kits #2

Lady Arrowsmith

Previous Posts: 1

Table 2: Uncommon Kits

1. Shield Maiden

I am no man.
  • Axe(d8, 2s)
  • Chainmail (14ac 3s)
  • Shield (+1ac, 1s)
  • Runestones (Augury)

2. Flagellant

Pain purges sin, pain keeps Hell away.
  • Cat o’ Nine Tails (d6, 1s)
  • Heavy Scarring (+1ac, 1s)
  • Penitent’s Hood

3. Plague Doctor

Bring out your dead.
  • Dissection Tools (d6, 1s)
  • Treated Robes (12ac, 1s)
  • Sealed Mask
  • Censer & Incense

4. Whaler

Twenty years on the decks and docks.
  • Harpoon (d8, 2s)
  • Oilskins (12ac, 1s)
  • Rope
  • Jug of Grog
  • Scrimshaw Set

5. Frontiersman

A simple life in the woods; Clean air and solitude.
  • Axe (d8, 2s)
  • Heavy Furs (12ac 1s)
  • Musket (d10, 2s)
  • Ammo Pouch
  • Spell: Hermit’s Hideaway
  • Companion Hound

6. Black Amazon

Orca's laconic warriors.
  • Obsidian Greatsword (d10, 3s)
  • Whalehide Armor (13ac, 2s)
  • Jug of Hot Milk Tea
  • Ambergris Totem-Fetus

7. Shrine Keeper

Keeping the local Folk are satisfied.
  • Bell and Staff
  • Ceremonial Robes
  • Spell: Call Upon the Folk

8. Monster Hunter

Hunting the bumps in the night.
  • Monster-Bone Greatsword (d10, 3s)
  • Monster-Hide Armor (14ac, 3s)
  • Camouflage Shroud
  • Bottle of Musk

9. Collegiate Wizard

All that debt was worth it, right?
  • Robes and Hat
  • Spellbook
  • Framed Diploma
  • Spell: Levitate
  • Spell: Thaumaturgy
  • Spell: Wizard's Eyes

10. Veteran

Returned from the War, irrevocably changed.
  • Long Rifle (d10, 2s)
  • Bayonet (d8, 2s)
  • Ammo Pouch
  • Trench Shovel
  • Tinned Rations x2
  • Post-Traumatic Stress

11. Sanctioned Cambion

Evil beginnings do not mean evil ends.
  • Pistol (d8, 1s)
  • Ammo Pouch
  • Knife (d6, 1s)
  • Clerical Garb
  • Saint's Icon
  • Exorcist's Emblem
  • Holy Water

12. Bard

Pass the hat around.
  • Instrument
  • Knife (d6, 1s)
  • Colorful cloak
  • Spell: I Once Knew A Man...

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Mother Stole the Background Kits #1

Peter Klijn
Part 1 of 12 of starter character kits for Mother Stole Fire. These were written with Knave in mind, but could be applied to just about anything.

Table 1: Basic Kits

1. Red Hat Hobo

Have sword, will travel.
  • Sword (d8, 2s)
  • Gambeson and cloak (12ac, 1s)
  • Shield  (+1ac, 1s)
  • Lantern

2. White Hat Hobo

The brains of the operation.
  • Shortsword (d8, 2s)
  • Gambeson and Cloak (12ac, 1s)
  • Chalk
  • Grappling Hook
  • Iron Spike or Crowbar
  • Lockpicks

3. Witch

Practical solutions to practical problems.
  • Knife (d6, 1s)
  • Hat, Boots, Cloak 
  • Spell: Create Flame
  • Spell: Mend
  • Spell: Women’s Work
  • Spell: Call Upon the Folk

4. Hedge Mage

A bit of grandpa’s magic.
  • Staff (d6, 1s)
  • Rugged Clothing
  • Spell: Speak With Dead
  • Spell: Identify
  • Spell: Create Flame
  • Spell: Locate

5. Mendicant Priest

Let no child of Mother’s go hungry.
  • Walking Stick (d6, 1s)
  • Spell: Bless (Prayer Book)
  • Spell: Turn (Holy Symbol)
  • Letter of Introduction

6. Barber-Surgeon

Bones set, blood let, teeth pulled, leeches plied, beards trimmed.
  • Razor, Scissors, Pliers (d6, 1s)
  • Bonesaw
  • Jar of Leeches
  • Bottle of Whiskey
  • Needle and Thread
  • Ether (1 dose)

7. Hauflin

Little men of the forests.
  • Blowgun (d4, 1s)
  • Knife (d6, 1s)
  • Camouflage Cloak (12ac, 1s)
  • Spell: Stillness

8. Néandr

Old men of the mountains.
  • Atlatl (d8, 2s)
  • Heavy Furs(13ac, 2s)
  • Spell: Old Man’s Song
  • Hand Axe (d8, 2s)
  • Clan Totem

9. Idaltu

Eldest of the peoples, in the sunset of their golden age.
  • Sword (d8, 2s)
  • Sunsilk Robes (14ac, 1s)
  • Spell: Learn Name
  • Spell: Star-Dart
  • Poetic Map of the Heavens (In-progress)
  • Calligraphy Pen & Blank Scrolls

10. Lilu

Our cousins, the subterrene albinos.
  • Stone Knife (d6, 1s)
  • Sun Goggles
  • Radical Literature
  • Bottle of Firewater
  • Tobacco and Pipe

11. Amazon

The happy horsewomen of the Thermodon.
  • Spear (d8, 2s)
  • Chainmail (14ac, 3s)
  • Shield (+1ac, 1s)
  • Greatbow and Quiver (d10, 4s)

12. Lantern Boy

Here we go again.
  • Knife (d6, 1s)
  • Lantern
  • 10’ Pole
  • Flask of Oil

Friday, January 25, 2019

Class: Sanctioned Cambion

Max Gibson

Cambions have a long history with the church, for good or for ill. Rome's traditional open-door policy (established at the First Lateran Council in 1123) has meant that those cambion children not abandoned to the wilderness, aborted, or killed at birth nearly always make their way into the auspices of the church, up until only recent decades. While the pulpit loves upholding this as an act of charity and of undermining the influence of the Enemy, the reality is that it is mostly practical: cambions make very good exorcists.

When there's morally-compromising wetwork to be done, they send a cambion.

[Side note: Cambions are not half-demon, but the result of a cubus transporting sperm between a male victim and a female one (with relatively-rare cases of attack-triggered parthenogenesis). The supernatural properties imbued during transit grant cambions an instinctive awareness of demons and resistance to their influence, and a greater attunement to magic].

The last half-century has seen a paradigm shift in the cambion population. Where it was once near-unheard of to see one outside the church, it is now increasingly difficult to find one within it. Greater secular support and legal protections for both cambions and their mothers, combined with a more sympathetic public and a church embroiled in scandal, means that most cambions can support themselves on their own. Those who want to take up the traditional trade of exorcist tend to join secular organizations, as greater study of the supernatural has shown that religion has very little to do with the actual Powers that Be.

Many of those cambions who have left the Catholic church have joined together to found their own spiritual fellowship, the Red Circle.

HD: d8 (d6 flesh, d8 grit)
Saves: As cleric / mystic
Weapons and Armor: Cambions can use any armor and weapons.
XP: As cleric / mystic

Heritage Infernale: Cambions are immune to mundane fire damage, resistant to any damage inflicted by an embodied demon, and immune to seduction.

Ember Eyes: Cambions have grey-scale low-light vision. Their eyes glow in the dark like hot coals.

Leadfoot: Cambions are incredibly dense and heavy, as if their bodies are made of stone. They sink in water and cannot be moved or knocked prone except by significant force. (ie Creature HD > 1/2 cambion CON)

The Gitchy Feeling: Cambions have an innate sensitivity to the presence of demons and other spirits. This feeling can determine how many entities are present and how strong they are.

Applied Exorcism: There are three primary methods of exorcism at a cambion's disposal.

  • Blessed Lead: The cambion may prime bullets that will do triple damage to possessive demons. They may create and keep bullets equal to their level, each takes a full day to prepare. 
  • Drawing out the Devil: The cambion may entrap an incorporeal demon in an object. This follows the base mechanic of turning undead. If the cambion knows the demon's true name, they act as if three levels higher. 
  • White Sacrament: A lengthy ritual that allows a cambion and any allies to enter a pocket of hell, where they may strike at the blackened soul of a manifested demon and kill it for good. The cambion may sacrifice any number of hit dice (xd8 HP) as a bonus action to grant all allies the effect of Bless for that amount. All allied weapons are treated as holy for the duration of the Bless.  If the cambion is killed, the effect ends immediately and any survivors will be trapped in hell.


Sunday, January 20, 2019

A Few of My Favorite Things (Plus a Extra Stuff for Starters)

House rules! There are a lot of them out there. Here are some that I like. I threw in some general resources at the end that I've found useful.

Most veteran readers will be aware of some or all of these, so I am treating this post as something of a quick-start guide for people new to the DIY sphere who want some good places to start customizing.

House Rules

Shields Shall be Splintered
The classic: sacrifice your shield to negate damage from an attack.

Equipment Tags
While the example is for sci-fi there's no reason this can't be applied wherever for many more varied and special weapons and armor.

Powerful Weapons
Less of a house rule and more of just a class feature that adapts firearm rules to other powerful weapons, but I really like the mechanic: Ignore AC from armor and apply DR instead, roll 1 size higher damage die if you are using two hands.

Horrible Wounds
Instead of just dropping dead, you can get a fancy scar and lingering trauma! It's fun - players can survive a bit more, but there's always consequence and choices to follow - keep going, or retire? See if it can heal, or make a new character? Having it split up by damage type is also great fun.

Heavy vs Fast Weapons
It just makes sense, you know?  Use STR for bows and weapons of d8 damage or higher, and DEX for d6 or lower and other ranged weapons. Simple, easy, sensible.

Luck Rolls
DCC's luck stat is so good it should be used everywhere. It's a tool to solve problems on the fly, a means for players to have additional input on goings, and a resource to manage and make decisions with. 3d6 as normal, burn a point to gain +1 on a roll, roll under for a check. That's it.

Vaginas are Magic Casting
You can safely cast a number of spells equal to your level per day. Any further, and you have to make a save vs magic or roll on a terrible magical feedback table. (See AuraTwilight's wild magic for ultra funtimes)

Knave Inventory
You have slots = to your CON. No fuss. Heavier armor and weapons take up additional slots.

Extra Stuff for Starters

Darkest Dungeon Character Kits
I will recommend this to everyone who will listen and quite a few people who won't. It's the single best starting point for pre-made characters that really get the old school motif, and a great way to demonstrate to new players that classes are not monolithic: not all fighters are the same.

Is fucking awesome, is what it is. If you need a hub city, this is your hub city. Modify to taste. Use it for Sigil, for Ravnica, for Throne, the Yellow City, whatever.

The Infinigrad Tables 
The best way to populate Corpathium.The job tables in Blasphemous Roster have saved my bacon before and they certainly will in the future.

Every god damn Trilemma adventure
They're short, they're free, they're great.

100 Minor Magical Items and 100 Problem-Solvers
Gives treasure some personality and use.

Other Stuff

"The Coolest Thing Ray Ever Did" by Jeff Rients

"Orcs, Violence, and Evil" by Emmy Allen.

Ramanan's automatic level 1 character generator

Purple Sorcerer's level 0 party generator.

Links to Wisdom and the OSR Planet

Benton Molina's Incunabuli is some bloody fantastic prose and I can't wait for the book.

Signs in the Wilderness is mythic Americana and I can't wait for the book.

There's more, there's always more, but these are the ones first in line.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Even More For Mothership

It's amazing what you can find when digging around on your hard drive.

This is all pulled from some space opera setting notes from about 2010-2015. A rather sizable chunk was devoted to all the alien species (which I am rather proud of) but for now I will be leaving those guys out so as to fit the rest within what I have already written for Mothership.

Gazetteer part 1, and Gazetteer part 2.

I've cleaned up the writing and done some other small tweaks and additions, (mostly to fill out things that never got written, cutting out the really stupid stuff, and just making pre-existing ideas more interesting.)

The Celestial Bureaucracy

It's impossible to tell what sort of organization all the vast, posthuman intelligences have among themselves. Surely there must be some forms of compromise and conflict, for they form a myriad of distinct parties, but overall they are observed to be slow, stable, and methodical. An appropriate title.

The Colonial Trade Alliance

A collective of 455 hypercorporations (and thousands of subordinate companies) tied together through trade deals and treaty agreements. It is the primary power in the Core and along the Celestial Road, and has been reaching outward past the Margin into the Periphery.

Regions of Human Space

Space maps are tricky because they are not evenly distributed. They are sets of lines and points, stretching out in irregular fashion. Wealthy trade routes might bypass dozens of stars, leaving worlds closer in distance relatively isolated in practice.
  • Core - Generalized term for worlds within 50 light years of Earth, but more often used to mean "worlds within 50 light years of Earth _that are socially and economically important_."
  • The Margin - The 50 LY "border" between the Core and outlying regions. Not nearly as hard and fast a boundary as political theorists like to think it is.
  • The Backwaters - Stellar in-fill. Worlds in the Core settled far later than their neighbors, usually impoverished or with less stable hyperspace routes. The frontier next door.
  • The Periphery - Worlds beyond the Margin that are not part of the Celestial Road.
  • Celestial Road - Worlds found along the stable hyperspace routes found or laid by the Celestials in their migrations into the greater galaxy. There is no single road, bu tthe system is referred to as a unified route.
  • Heavenly Veil - The strip of stars bordering any given Celestial territory, usually containing the easiest means of entry and egress. Stellar DMZs, in essence.
  • Tiān - Territory controlled by the Celestials. Referred to in the collective, regardless of the territory's size, scope, or contents.

Regarding AI

The Celestials keep a sharp eye out for any intelligence that might serve as competition, so AI development is a careful thing. Nearly all AI are classes 0-3.
  • AI-0: Basic operating systems and algorithms.
  • AI-1: A robot with limited or no autonomy in behavior.
  • AI-2: Basic adaptability up through animal level intelligence.
  • AI-3: Advanced adaptability and learning capabilities. Androids.
  • AI-4: Advanced intelligence, adaptability, and learning. Far beyond human capabilities.
  • AI-5: A planetary intelligence. For safety purposes self-improvement and learning capabilities are severely curtailed: this has the unfortunate side effect of leading to most Algorithm Wars.

Information Networks

With interstellar communication limited to powerful radio and fast ships, each system has its own methods and regulations on communication. Most corporate networks charge a subscription fee and limit users to a profile tied to their ID, and heavily regulate content. Open networks charge no subscription fee, though the approaches to privacy, anonymity, and regulation vary between localities.

    The Hidebehind Luddites

    A social movement built on the foundation that high technology is to be used sparingly and with great caution, to avoid attracting undue attention from the Celestials or any other powers that might be lurking out there. They are more than willing to use worlds with no such qualms as distractions or shields if the need arises (hence hiding behind).

    Contract of the Spheres

    A compact never written down but innately understood, dictating the relationship between humanity and the Celestials. In short: one warning to trespassers, none to rivals, if we have not claimed this place already, it is yours.

    Mei Lan Kun and the White Sea

    The greatest competition to the CTA is a string of worlds along the road owned by the excessively wealthy Mei Lan Kun. She is a shrewd and efficient totalitarian, worrying the CTA greatly with her disregard for any sort of internal bureaucracy. She'll fuck you up real hard.


    • Alexandria – A hydrogen-helium gas giant with 56 moons, home to a failed attempt at a universal library. Several moons were converted either fully or partially into data storage hubs, but worries about Celestial interference, a lack of funding, and several wars over data formatting have stripped the project down to merely sustaining its archives, rather than expanding.
    • Al-Wadabi – A young world, with only small with small island chains breaking the global ocean. Despite its low landmass, the planet’s mineral wealth is significant. The first colonial attempt was abandoned due to seismic activity, and then resumed eighty years later.
    • Arkham – A damp, dark world, home to several disturbing sects of Celestial worshiper and bizarre modlife. Several platoons of CTA marines are kept in rotation in orbit, just in case.
    • Backwash – A dry, tidally-locked world with some native life, Backwash is located beyond the Wuxin-Rabin Gate, and is as such the furthest permanently settled world from Earth that is still aligned with the CTA. It is nearly entirely surrounded by the Celestial Veil, making further exploration of the region near impossible.
    • Bai Hei – One of the wealthiest planets unaffiliated with the CTA. Personally owned by magnate Mei Lan Kun and capital of her interplanetary empire. Named after the color of its oceans, which are a pearlescent white due to the exotic composition of both the water and the native algae. It’s the height of luxury, so long as one stays indoors: the atmosphere will kill within moments.
    • Barret – A frigid rust belt world. A place for people without anywhere else to go. Not much there beyond mining and industry that's swiftly losing buyers to worlds closer to the Road.
    • Belkirk – Easily the wealthiest and most powerful of the Periphery, the local Companies have yet to break into the big time. CTA mainstays are not fond of Belkirk's nouveau riche elites, especially their resistance to outside corporate manipulation. 
    • Commune – A warm, bright world bustling with exotic native life. Crown jewel of the luddite-anarchist movement. Protected from Company predation through fleets of ex-corporate marine legions (The Blackened Ships) who are extended the social benefits.
    • Daranboa – A miserable swampy hellhole. The temperature and humidity are nigh-on unbearable in the habitable regions, and it is chock-full of dangerous wildlife, both poisonous and predatory.
    • Demeter – Specializes in mass production of exotic foodstuffs. Most of the planet and its orbital space is dedicated to food production, which has led to the entire planet teetering on ecological collapse due to weakening soil and genetically weak monocultures.
    • Eorðan – A chilly world that has yet to evolve anything past moss-like colonial organisms, which have taken over most of the extant land masses.
    • Erosset – Home of the Hedons, this world was cordoned off by its overseer AI, Mellifluous Didactism, and used as a sort of social experiment. The climate is artificially mild, with a mind-bending array of hallucinogenic substances in the environment.
    • Gansuzho – Secondary capital of Mei Lan Kun’s empire, home of some notable Celestial ruins. The White Sea Cartel purposely keeps several large urban areas in disrepair, so as to foster militant support as needed.
    • Gilgamesh / Enkidu – A primarily desert planet, with no natural life. Heavy metal content in the water makes most of it undrinkable, and exotic element deposits make it a prime CTA target. Its moon, Enkidu, is honeycombed with habitats and spaceports. 
    • Ham – A nondescript rocky world. Notable for the presence of full copies of the Human Spaceflight Museum as well as the Borderworld Guard memorial. 
    • Hohenhiem – The home of nano-alchemy and full of more esoteric naff than one can comprehend. They're all nutters, all of them.
    • Ibon – A luddite world with a biosphere so hostile that the primary export is reality TV and nature programs, traded to several Companies for basic goods. 
    • Iota Undine - Oceanic world lacking the tectonic activity to raise land. Continent-sized coral reefs flourish with appropriate biodiversity. Popular home site for uplifted dolphins and whales.
    • Jackson’s Hub – A rocky, tidally locked super-earth, notable for two facts: first, that its system contains more than three hundred jump gates. Secondly, Celestial ruins dot the surface.
    • Khenoon – A beautiful, peaceful desert world. The current land of milk and honey dreamt of by the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
    • Malaba – While this world is temperate and fertile, colonization was a disaster of epic proportions. The luddite expedition was under-equipped and under-funded to begin with, compounded further by incompatible biochemistry, low metal resources, and incompetent overseers, and devolved into competing feudal realms within seventy years. 
    • Marathon – A major trade hub and shipyard on the Road.
    • New Constantinople - It's not Istanbul, but [entry missing].
    • New Peligrassa – A young world of volcanic islands, rising continents, and shallow seas. An open and well-visited port for all types, and of surprisingly friendly repute.
    • Parson – A young, energetic planet with a methane atmosphere, much like early Earth. Its domed cities are the birthplace of an aggressive eugenics movement.
    • Patagon – A Celestial incursion killed off 85% of the population (1.4 billion) with surgical precision in the space of nine hours. No explanation has been found in the following ten years, and reconstruction efforts are stymied by the lurking presence of a Celestial dreadnaut in the system's asteroid belt. It had been considered an up and coming member of the Periphery worlds, and has retained its bountiful terraformation.
    • Peregrine – A harsh world orbiting a dim, red sun. The thick atmosphere keeps temperatures above freezing through greenhouse effect. Isolation and the hostile environment led to colony collapse, with bands of cannibal survivors scraping out an existence in the few habitable regions.
    • Race – Named so due to its manner of colonization. A scummy place with a weak, artificial biosphere. Those colony ships that lost the contest were installed as orbital habitats, and are treated as second-class citizen despite having a higher quality of life than the surface.
    • Reuben – A banking and economic hub for a large section of the Celestial Way.
    • Sapphire Sands - A sort of grand social experiment, where through genetic and memetic engineering the culture has achieved a tangled relationship web of eight sexes and thirty-two genders, all encoded in laws dictating taboos, responsibilities, and methods of transferring station.
    • Segoson – Nomadic luddite settlers make yearly migrations up and down the primary continent to avoid the worst excesses of the extreme seasons.
    • Shithole – While those unfamiliar with the etymology with pronounce it Shih-thole, the world truly lives up to its name. With a hostile environment and hostile native life, it’s a hard life. Terraforming attempts have all failed, though the equipment still remains on the world.
    • Skykeep – A placid gas giant with tens of thousands of floating islands suspended in the upper atmosphere above an oceanic core. Celestial megastructures, long abandoned, can be seen further corewards.
    • Taryat – A frozen low gravity rock. Home to several species of furred xeno-echinoderms of reasonable intelligence. Humanity has little interest in it outside of xenologists.
    • Utopos – A major luddite world with an idyllic artificial environment and a totalitarian Babbage Government.
    • Victoria – Cold and dry, with most settlements found in the temperate band around the equator.
    • Warwick – Hot, humid, and watery. Extremely high oxygen content leads to uncomfortable visitors, gigantic insects, and catastrophic firestorms.
    • Yggdrasil – A low gravity world famous for its gargantuan trees. It is still a lightly-populated outpost.

    Wednesday, January 16, 2019

    Everyone is Human

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

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

    Human Species

    Humans - Homo sapiens sapiens - This is us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Other Primates

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

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

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

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

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

    Giants - Gigantopithicus - Huge, rarely seen.

    Wednesday, January 9, 2019

    Converting Eclipse Phase Monsters to Mothership

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

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

    Basic Conversion Guidelines

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

    Barbed Eel

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

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


    Blister Beast

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

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


    Flesh Party

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

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


    Fractal Troll

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

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



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

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


    Immolator Mother

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

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


    Land Anemone

    What it says on the box.

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



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

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


    Stinger Hound

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

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


    Veiled Leech

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

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


    Void Crawler

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

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



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

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


    Zombie Crab

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

    Wednesday, January 2, 2019

    Horizon Zero Dawn in the OSR


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

    This is going to be spoilered to all hell.

    Primer for Players

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

    Primer for DMs

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

    Practical Basics

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


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

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

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

    The Medicine Pouch

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

    Equipment & Mods

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

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

    Machine Creatures

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

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

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

    Machines are generated in HEPHASTUS-run cauldron facilities.

    Tuesday, January 1, 2019

    Project Updates for 2019

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

    Unicorn Meat

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

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

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

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

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

    The Great Discape

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

    I haven't forgotten about it.

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

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

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

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

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

    Mother Stole Fire

    (This is my "default" fantasy setting)

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

    Untitled Post Apocalyptic Project

    (This has yet to be made)

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

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

    Games I Want to Run

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