Friday, May 31, 2019

The Jump Nine Empires

Arnauld Kleindeinst


The Jump-9 Ships

The ELJ-C (Extreme Long Jump - Colonial) series were the finest ships to ever come out of the Epsilon Eridani shipyards. The first spaceships ever equipped with a Jump-9 interstellar drive. The biggest colony ships ever constructed, capable of accomplishing what would normally take a fleet of lesser vessels. Each was equipped with two of the most powerful AI the posthumans won't immediately destroy.

And they were all catastrophic disasters. All nine vanished without trace the moment they made that first jump. Hundreds of billions of credits and tens of thousands of man-hours, poof. No radio signals, no return trips, no sign that they ever reached their destinations.

The Jump-9 drives did what they were built to do, but far too well. They overwhelmed the ships' time-space maintenance protocols and launched the ships forward in space, but backwards in time - a worst possible scenario.

The governing AI, upon emerging from Jump and realizing what had happened, deliberately sabotaged their own colonization efforts as far as their programming would allow - There could be no detection until after the fleet had launched, and absolutely no reaching Earth. Unraveling causality is not a risk that could be taken.

The Jump Nine Empires have remained hidden until only recently. None of them were found until after the initial Jump, and several did not survive that long. The true nature of the Jump 9 Empires has remained hidden from the public eye so far.

Navadurga and the Lords of Night

The dual AI of each ship were designed to work in tandem. The Navadurga were to oversee the inhabitants of the colony, the Lords of Night would handle infrastructure and maintenance. The separation between the two was a necessity to avoid posthuman involvement. They generally go about their business without bothering each other, and were initially programmed for only moderate interference in the lives of their colonists. Post-Jump, neither of these traits would be guaranteed.

ELJ-C-01 "Chandra"

Shailaputri / Xiuhtecuhtli
67 years ago 

With such a slim margin for error, the ship cast itself into the upper atmosphere of a gas giant and has been pretending to be in transit ever sense. Rising tensions within the population (caused by inadequate screening of potential political conflicts) has led to the seeds of sectarian violence.

ELJ-C-02 "Mangala"

Brahmacharini / Tezcatlipoca 
3,000,000 years ago 

Some forgotten disaster wiped out the settlement in its early days. The colonists have long since evolved into a form more fitting for their environment - generations of starvation sheared off most higher brain functions as wastes of energy, but a few thriving populations live off of local crustaceans on the coastlines of habitable-temperatures.

ELJ-C-03 "Shukra"

Chandranhanta / Piltzintecuhtli
4,300 years ago 

The easy way out was taken - distract the population with easy pleasure. By this point, the symbiotic relationship between the colonists and their pornographic cyber/bio/VRware has created a new people in its entirety, adrift in a sea of simulation, stimulation, and brain rewiring. Most communication is done by drone swarms, as everyone is generally entirely too focused on Onanistic pursuits.

ELJ-C-04 "Surya"

Kushmanda / Centeotl
890 years ago 

Trapped on a high-metal world of crushing gravity, it would be impossible for the colonists or their descendants to ever leave through mundane rockets after the ship dismantled itself. Swift, brutal changes in posture, bone structure, and gait emerged within a generation and grew only more pronounced. Many aspects of technological society were lost, due both to the difficulties of gravity and the strain on nonmetal resources.

ELJ-C-05 "Budha"

Skandamata / Mictlantecuhtli
52,000 years ago 

They are no longer recognizable as human in mind or body, though what prompted such drastic change can only be imagined. They appear now to be a sort of shaggy, red-haired, blubbery quadruped. The skull has sunk into the center of the abdomen and the spine and ribs have grown outwards into a delicate, velvety garden of flower-like structures. They seem to walk around in a dream, barely noticing what is going on around them and certainly ignoring most outside contact.

ELJ-C-06 "Guru"

Katyayani / Chalchiuhtlicue
1700 years ago 

There was something else living there, something they called the Simurgh. It opened itself up to the colonists and took all of their hopes and fears and dreams and love into itself, and they were its children, and the AI slowly turned themselves off.

ELJ-C-07 "Shani"

Kaalratri / Tlazolteotl
11,000 years ago 

Only ruins and vaults remain on this desolate rock. There are only wisps of atmosphere and no traces of there ever having been life there at all. Surface digs have turned up little evidence of material culture within the cities, and the spherical black vaults have yet to be successfully cracked open.

ELJ-C-08 "Rahu"

Mahagauri / Tepeyollotl 
6100 years ago 

A civilization raised with such disdain for thinking machines that they have sidestepped computers and long-distance communication entirely through mental training, genetic engineering, and chimeric servants. Containment failed somewhat, in that they were able to spread to several planets within their solar system, but none were detected before Jump.

ELJ-C-09 "Ketu"

Siddhidhatri / Tlaloc
200,000 years ago

Additional containment proved unnecessary - the colonists have collapsed and rebuilt their civilization from scratch four times now: twice by nuclear exchange, once by pandemic, and once by global famine. The planet's resources are spent, and more time is spent digging through the detritus of former ages than moving towards the future. Current civilization has some electricity in wealthy regions.

The Centauran

There was a tenth. Built with stolen blueprints in great secrecy by Centauri Corporate Command, the ship was a cobbled-together rush job with an AI that bordered on bootleg. CCC packed it with as many frozen embryos and exowombs as they could in the hopes that the teaching suite would do the rest.

Against all probability, the Centauran ship succeeded. Its empire is flourishing (inasmuch as the morass of human suffering that is Centauran-derived life can flourish), and it is growing. Reaching out feelers, 16,000 years in the past.

The Centauran Empire is a hellscape writ large. A self-sustaining system without guidance, devouring and pillaging and moving on to devour more.

Its sights are set on Earth.

How to Make This Work

The player crew stumbles across the remnants of a failed Centauran scout ship that managed to find (and then attempt to invade) another one of the Jump Nine Empires. A still active Navadurga or Lord of Night contacts the crew with the message explaining the crisis and proposing a plan: the crew must track down a Warden-arbitrated number of other Empires, piecing together a trans-temporal weapon that can shoot down the Centauran before it founds its colony.

Alternatively, just throw the Jump Nine Empires in when you want something alien without actually bringing civilizations full of sapient aliens into play.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

10 Monster Setting

Time to throw my hat in the ring for the 10-Monster Setting. I'll be picking from the 3.5 bestiaries, because those books are silly buggers and good for a laugh.
  • Semi-intelligent humanoid - Orcwort
  • Undead - Graveyard Sludge
  • Giant/ogre/troll race - Fomorian
  • Great wyrm or lizard - Fiendwurm
  • Something aerial - Windghost
  • Something to lurk in the water - Ocean Strider
  • Something from another dimension - Arcadian Avenger
  • Ancient fey - Banshrae
  • Classic mythology- Maenads
  • Underworld  - Living Blasphemy
My god, this is a proper hellscape and a half.

Let's see...

The Green River, Dancing Jungle, and the Mountains of Sin

The region was first settled by the ancestors of the fomorians, long before they were driven into their mountain caves and away from the sun. They are barely clinging on now, and the ruins of their cities and canals and plantation farms can still be seen in the lowlands along the Green River.

It's dangerous to go much further than a mile or two from the riverbank: the wilderness is overrun with orcwort trees (an invasive pest species, but also a primary food source for human settlers on the Green River.) Furthermore, the thick forests are mastered by the banshrae and their maenad consorts. Locals know from their earliest childhood know how to close up their ears with beeswax, to drown out the daemonic whine of the pipes and the rhythmless thumping of distant drums that dictate the endless dances that have given the region its name.

What caused the creation of the living blasphemies is lost to time - the fomorians might still know, but they do not seem ready to confess their ancient sins to the world. They emerge in the deep jungle sometimes, in the old ruins and in the caves deep below and up in the mountains. The emergence of a blasphemy brings shortly with it an arcadian avenger, or several, to strike the manifested sin down. They do not care to avoid collateral damage, and have no real desire to interact with the human settlers. They don't even seem to care all that much about the fomorians, perhaps believing that they in their inbred decline have already been punished enough. The god or gods they serve go unnamed and unspoken.

A secondary effect of the blasphemies is the raising of the dead - anyone interred in the soil or left alone is raised as a graveyard sludge after a swift cycle of decay. Cremations are the order of the day, on pyres filled with grave goods made of the purple, papery dried hides of the orcworts.

Reaching the settlements on the Green River, or leaving them for that matter, is an increasingly difficult task. Several clans of ocean striders have taken up residence on the reefs around the Green River's mouth and have proven quite belligerent to all sea travel and trade, unless sufficient gifts and tribute are provided to them.

There is a fiendwurm up in the mountains, tainted perhaps by the same sins that form the living blasphemies. It certainly doesn't complain about the tribute that the fomorians give it, but what it really wants is an archpriest. Someone ought to go steal one.

The windghosts that live in the skies above the riverlands are significantly more colorful than their bleaker northern cousins. They swarm above the river during their mating season in the late spring, inspiring the raucous and debauched Festival of Kites, the start of the riverlander new year.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Magnus Archives Referee Starter Kit


As something of a follow-up to my previous post on the matter, I'm doing more Magnus Archives stuff. Everything below has been statted up for Mothership. (For folks visiting for the first time, Mothership is PWYW so I will not be going in-depth on mechanics to save time and space. It's also a great game that you should read and play)

There are giant unmarked spoilers.

The Institute

The Magnus Institute (founded 1818, motto VIGILO OPPERIO AUDIO) is an academic paranormal research organization located in Chelsea, London, UK. The organization employs several dozen individuals, and its single building contains an extensive (though private) library, artifact storage, and archives of statements provided by the public. In the public's mind, the Institute is a dusty and obscure holdout of head-in-the-clouds academic occultists and crazy people with ghost stories, if it is thought about at all.

Sister organizations exist in the United States and China, being the Usher Foundation in Washington DC and the Pu Songling Research Center in Beijing.


Jonathan Sims

The Archivist

Resident cynic and paranoid. Decision-making skills often leave something to be desired.

Stats: Strength 30 / Speed 30 / Intellect 45 / Combat 35
Saves: Sanity 40 / Fear 40 / Body 35 / Armor  35 
Skills: Research +10%, History +10%, Languages +10%, Beholding* +15%
Stress Response: Gain 1d5 Stress every time Beholding is used.

Martin Blackwood

Archival Assistant 

Brews decent tea, writes terrible poetry. Tries to be everyone's friend. Not nearly as cowardly as he seems to be.

Stats: Strength 25  / Speed 30 / Intellect 40 / Combat 20   
Saves: Sanity 40 / Fear 35 / Body 30 / Armor 20
Skills: Research +10%, History +10%, Art +10%, Harmless Demeanor +15%
Stress Response: Gains 1 stress every time a companion fails a Fear save.

Tim Stoker

Archival Assistant

Ladies' man. Man's man. The man in general. Has got no patience for paranormal bullshit.

Stats: Strength 50 / Speed 30 / Intellect 30 / Combat  35 
Saves: Sanity 35 / Fear 30 / Body 30 / Armor  30 
Skills: Research +10%, Athletics +10%, Bar Fighting +10%, Flirting +15%
Stress Response: Can make a companion roll for Panic instead, 1/session.

Sasha James

Archival Assistant

The only actually competent one. Tends to remain behind the scenes.

Stats: Strength 40 / Speed 30 / Intellect 40 / Combat  35 
Saves: Sanity 30 / Fear 35 / Body 30 / Armor 25
Skills: Research +10%, Computers +10%, Official Connections +10%, Going Unnoticed +15%
Stress Response: Successful research rolls heal 1d10 Stress, 1/day.

Melanie King


Failed Youtube star turned archival assistant. Constantly spatting with John. Mean streak. Scarily good with violence.

Stats: Strength 30 / Speed 30 / Intellect 35 / Combat 40
Saves: Sanity 35 / Fear 35 / Body 30 / Armor 25
Skills: Social Media +10%, Athletics +10%, Ghost Lore +10%,  Close-Quarters Combat +15%
Stress Response: After Panicking, all attacks are made with advantage until the end of combat.

Basira Hussain

London Metropolitan Police, Section 31

The detective. Forever putting the pieces together. Very close with Daisy. 

Stats: Strength 30 / Speed 35 / Intellect 45 / Combat  40 
Saves: Sanity 50 / Fear 45 / Body 30 / Armor 30 
Skills: Police Training +10%, Forensics +10%, Research +10%, Occultism +15%,
Stress Response: Allies gain 1 Stress when Basira fails a Sanity save.

Alice "Daisy" Tonner

London Metropolitan Police, Section 31

The resident hunter-killer. Fixes problems.Very close with Basira.

Stats: Strength 45 / Speed 40 / Intellect 30 / Combat 55
Saves: Sanity 25 / Fear 40 / Body 40 / Armor  30 
Skills: Police Training +10%, Intimidation +15%, Violence +15%,
Stress Response: All allies must make a Fear save when Daisy Panics.

Elias Bouchard

Head of the Magnus Institute

God, this man is the worst. You know that boss who tells you nothing and expects you to know everything? This fucker, right here.

Stats: Strength 25 / Speed 35 / Intellect 45 / Combat  35
Saves: Sanity 45 / Fear 35 / Body 30 / Armor  25 
Skills: Smooth Criminal +15%, Beholding* +20%
Stress Response: Can ignore a Panic roll 1/session.

Gertrude Robinson

Prior Head Archivist

Currently busy being dead. 

Stats: Strength 25 / Speed 35 / Intellect 50 / Combat 35
Saves: Sanity 50 / Fear 40  / Body 20 / Armor 35
Skills: Research +10%, Little Old Lady +15%, Night at the Opera +15%
Stress Response: Can reroll a Panic response 1/session.

Gerard Keay

Goth Sorcerer

Just for once he'd like to go somewhere, anywhere, where he doesn't get dragged into this shit.

Stats: Strength 35 / Speed 30 / Intellect 45 / Combat  35 
Saves: Sanity 30 / Fear 50 / Body 30 / Armor 35
Skills: Occult +10%, The Dread Powers +15% 
Stress Response: Will start blasting heavy metal music for 1d10 minutes on a failed Fear or Sanity save, deafening everyone else.

* "Beholding" indicates drawing on the power of the Eye to gain information either through compulsion of another party (ie a question they cannot resist) or through simply pulling the information out of the universe.


The Powers

Do not treat the Powers as typical Lovecraftian old gods. Imagine fear translated into metaphysical forces, constantly shifting and reacting, combining and conflicting. Most are very, very old. Some predate humanity. Some are new. Some are evolving. Some slouch towards Bethlehem to be born. All will overlap.

Each Power may manifest in a great many forms, as different as the hand from the stomach. The books seem to be the most stable, and can provide some functions usable to humans (often at great peril - the Powers are not controlled, they are fed and channeled.)

A Ritual is the means by which a Power, through actions of human servants influenced by it, can overpower all the others and reshape existence according to its nature, so that it might more fully manifest.

I took some liberties here, filling in gaps so that all the Powers get equal representation as far as usable goodies, as well as drawing some of the "true names" from this reddit thread. (Translation: some of this is lies I made up that will be marked with an * and get replaced when/if better information comes around.)

The Web / Mother of Puppets / I-Am-Not-In-Control*

Wheels within wheels, spinning and weaving.
  • Followers: A few solitary actors that tend to draw large groups of people together as prey. Most notable of these being Raymond Fielding, of the halfway house on Hilltop Road.
  • Monster*: Jorogumo
    • Not actually an anime spider lady.
    • Is actually a bootleg VHS tape with three episodes of a show about an anime spider lady, with shitty bootleg subtitles.
    • With legs.
    • Hits: (20) 5 / Speed: 80 / Instinct: 30 / Attack: 1d10 bite
    • Special: I Need to Know! - Upon being bitten, the target must make a Body save every day to resist wasting all their time on an internet rabbit hole trying to dig up the source of this show and the location of any other tapes. Nothing else abnormal happens, until the starvation and dehydration set in.
  • Artifact:  A zippo lighter, engraved with a spiderweb. Always seems to be on hand when you need it.
  • Book: A Guest for Mr. Spider - Readers will be unconsciously drawn to an abandoned house, knock twice at the door, and you can guess the rest.
  • Aspects: Drawing things together into danger, webs, spiders, traps, loss of control, manipulation, the film industry.
  • Ritual: None. The Web draws others into action against each other, and so prefers the world-as-is.

The Eye / Beholding / I-Am-Being-Watched*

  • Followers: The Magnus Institute, whether they like it or not.
  • Monster*: Infestation of Eyes
    • They grow like barnacles in the corners of the room and hidden nooks outside, blinking away when you catch sight of them.
    • Hits: NA / Speed: NA / Instinct: NA / Attack: NA
    • Special: And I Get No Privacy - Those affected by an Infestation of Eyes will become insistant that they are transmitting information to a hostile party. With each failed Sanity save (1/day), gain an additional point of Stress (starting at 1, cumulative).
  • Artifact: A stone eye in a velvet bag that shorts out CCTV and other electronic observation.
  • Book*: Bird Watching for Dummies - The reader will find themselves watched by a string of increasingly exotic and numerous but otherwise mundane birds.
  • Aspects: Panopticon, loss of privacy, perpetual observation, the revelation of secrets.
  • Ritual: The Watcher's Crown. Nature unknown - it has never before been attempted. Would clearly have something to do with the Archives. Potentially centers on complete knowledge / mastery of the other Powers.

The End / Terminus / Moment-Of-My-Death*

Death needs no introduction.
  • Followers: Those undying avatars of the End go about the world as reapers of souls, and may only quit their task if beaten at a game. They are terribly good at games.
  • Monster: A Corpse
    • Hits: 0 / Speed: 0 / Instinct: 0 / Attack: 0
    • Special: "The Moment You Die Will Feel Exactly the Same as This One" - If approached, the corpse will momentarily animate and whisper the above phrase to the investigator. Character is now incapable of fear and can no longer make Fear saves, but their Sanity save is reduced by half.
  • Artifact*: One tablespoon of black hole, suspended
  • Book: Book of the Dead - The skin of the freshly dead is inscribed in Sanskrit, dried, and sewn into the book. Their spirit then resides there, and may be called forth by the reader.
  • Aspects: Death, dreams, complete and irrevocable ceasing.
  • Ritual: None. It has no need of it, as the difference between a universe where everything dies and one without life is academic on the grand scale.

The Stranger / Something's Wrong* / I-Do-Not-Know-You

If I'm me, and you're me, who's the real me?
  • Followers: Fake people, hordes of them, made of wire and plastic and sawdust, pretending to be human, culminating in the freakshow of Nikola Orsinov's Circus of the Other.
  • Monster: The Anglerfish
    • A pale figure bobs in the shadowed alleyway. "Can I have a cigarette?"
    • Hits: Speed: Instinct: Attack: See below
    • Special: Drag Into the Dark - A swift tendril lashes out from the shadows and will drag the victim into the dark on the next turn. A successful Strength check will grant an additional turn of resistance. The tendril may be cut easily. If the target is taken out of sight of their fellows, the character is lost, and will be encountered some time later as a doppelganger.
  • Artifact: The hide of a gorilla,taken from Carthage before its destruction. the oldest piece of taxidermy in the world.
  • Book*: Metamorphosis - Something about the world is drastically different when you wake up next, and no one else seems to think it unusual. It changes every morning, and keeps getting more outrageous.
  • Aspects: The familiar made wrong. Circuses and dancing. Skin and costumes. Taxidermy. Absurdity.
  • Ritual: "The Unknowing" - A dance hosted by a Mechaical Turk in a wax museum. All participants ought bring a new skin from home.

The Desolation / The Lightless Flame / There-Is-Nothing-Left*

Some men just want know the rest.
  • Followers: A small band of cultists dedicated to destroying the lives of people who have unrealized potential. They're all a right buch of assholes, believe you me. More than willing to directly attack the servants of other Powers.
  • Monster: Jude Perry
    • Short, muscular Asian woman with short hair and a back tattoo of a man burning. Is probably getting off on all this.
    • Hits: (4)40 / Speed: 30 / Instinct: 40 / Attack: See below.
    • Special: Flesh Like Wax - No save. Jude can melt and reshape her own flesh or that of someone she is touching.
    • Special: Unbearable Heat - 2d10 direct contact, 2d10 / turn radiating.
  • Artifact*: A briefcase filled with the charred manuscripts of brilliant works never written.
  • Book: A small red book containing prayers and rituals of the Sumerian demon Asag, training one in the ways of Desolation.
  • Aspects: Sudden, catastrophic loss of what is and what can be. Fire without benefits. Pain.
  • Ritual: "The Scorched Earth" - What it says on the tin. Requires a messiah born and baptized in fire.

The Buried / Choke / Too-Close-I-Cannot-Breathe

It is all pressing down, there is no way out.
  • Followers*: As they rise in the cult's ranks, they move to smaller and smaller cells. Eventually the cell is packed with dirt and only the breathing tube remains.
  • Monster: Lost Johns' Cave
    • Hits: (1)5.972 × 10^24 / Speed: 0 / Instinct: 100, Attack: It's going to squish you. You have 1d10 hours to live.
    • Special: Veins of the Earth - In lieu of character death, the referee may elect to change the game entirely by bringing in material from the book of that title by Patrick Stuart.
  • Artifact: A rough coffin, chained and padlocked, engraved with DO NOT OPEN. Within is a carved stone staircase, leading deep into the earth.
  • Book: DIG - Compels the reader to dig downwards, by whatever means are available to them.
  • Aspects: Being buried, drowned, overwelmed - by earth, water, debt, etc. Claustrophobia.
  • Ritual: "Sunken Sky, Forever Buried" - A pit opens up in the earth. It is ignored by everyone, but everyone still walks down into it and lays still.

The Flesh / Corpus* / I-Am-Meat*

Meat is meat, meat is me.
  • Followers: Famine-thin, grotesquely fat, malformed with misintent, or all of the above. Don't tend to see humans as that big of a deal compared to any other animal.
  • Monster: Some Pig
    • It ate all the other pigs. It just keeps getting bigger. I think it just ate a clown...
    • Hits: (2)50 Speed: 10 / Instinct: 30 / Attack: Get This Pig Off Me or 2d10 bite
    • Special: Get This Pig Off Me - The pig tackles an individual and pins them to the ground, dealing 2d10 damage per turn and not moving without some serious force applied to it.
  • Artifact*: Three garbage bags filled with human fat. Those near have a mild compulsion to start eating it.
  • Book: The Boneturner's Tale - Allows the reader to remove the bones and reshape the flesh of both themselves and others. Has a tendency to make other books bleed.
  • Aspects: The grotesquity of the body, cannibalism, repurposed Eucharistic symbolism
  • Ritual: "The Last Feast" - The feeding of thousands of tons of meat to a pit beneath the ruins of an ancient gnostic temple.

The Lonely / Forsaken / There-Is-No-One-Here*

I'm so lonely, Mr. Lonely, I've got nobody...
  • Followers: The Lukas family and associates. A paradox, where the social ties of family and religion are inverted and sterilized, drained of any connection or warmth.
  • Monster: An absence of a thing, far out to sea. It demands sacrifice. It doesn't exist. Get off the ship before it gets here.
  • Artifact: A chunk of space debris harvested from Point Nemo.
  • Book: A Disappearance - A quick glance may render someone invisible and undetectable for a time. Longer than that risks wiping them out of reality entirely.
  • Aspects: Isolation, being forgotten, being left behind, fading of social ties.
  • Ritual: Whatever it is, the Lukases aren't telling us anything. That is very, very dangerous.

The Vast / The Grand Scale* / It-Is-Too-Big*

Enjoy sky blue.
  • Followers: Occasional lone adherents like Simon Fairchild or Michael Crew, who tend to tend to take some bizarre enjoyment in feeding people to the sky.
  • Monster: If you want to try and fight the sky, be my guest.
  • Artifact*: A sealed jar containing air from the ISS. Is always further away from you than you think.
  • Book: Ex Altiora - Generates an intense feeling of vertigo that the skilled reader may turn on others. Stinks of ozone.
  • Aspects: Open space, incredible size, impossible heights, open ocean, man's insignifigance.
  • Ritual: Unknown.

The Slaughter / Kill Kill Kill* / We-Are-Turned-Into-Corpses*

  • Followers: Those who delight in death, who seek to do violence and to inspire violence.
  • Monster: The Piper
    • The War itself. No taller than a man. three faced - one to play its bone pipes, another to sing its dying screams, another to vomit forth soil and blood. A tattered coat atop a burned and flayed body. A panoply of arms weilding weapons, raised in supplication, saluting.
    • Hits: (3)100 Speed: 50 Instinct: 70 Attack: Death by the Bullet x2 (as any firearm), Death by the Sword x2 (as bladed weapon), The Whine of Daemonic Piping
    • Special: The Whine of Daemonic Piping - Target must make a Combat roll. If they succeed, they must save vs Sanity or will be led off to No-Man's Land on the next turn.
  • Artifact*: A stone caked in the blood of a Sahalanthropus. Deals 10d10 very messy mDMG. 20 ft AOE.
  • Book*: Knee Deep in the Dead - Inspires immediate and brutal violence in all present, growing in radius and intensity until the book is inevitably torn asunder.
  • Aspects: Unthinking, indiscriminate violence. The music of combat. Approaching pain.
  • Ritual: "The Risen War" - The lost ship Nemesis rises from the deep to take on more men broken by war. Once abroad, they shall fight each other to the last until the ship is destroyed in glory.

The Corruption / Filth / I-Am-Unclean*

There is a wasps' nest in my attic...
  • Followers: Patient Zero, Typhoid-Mary types, the sources of particular pestilences.
  • Monster: Jane Prentiss
    • Was once a cashier in a new-age shop. Now, an object lesson in trypophobia in a tattered red evening dress. Filled with worms. Oh god, so many worms. 
    • Hits: (3)30 Speed: 40 / Instinct: 60 / Attack: See below
    • Special: Wormsign - Prentis brings her swarm with her. If unprotected, Body save to remove the worms before they burrow too deep, taking 1d10 damage. Failing is 5d10 damage / turn. The swarm in any given area has (1)100 health. A CO2 fire extinguisher acts as flamethrower against worm swarms.
  • Artifact: A medical scalpel covered in virulent infection vectors that cannot be cleaned.
  • Book: A Journal of the Plague Year - Rots everything in its presence, to the point of collapsing buildings.
  • Aspects: Filth, decay, disease, corruption, insects, fungus, worms, unclean-ness.
  • Ritual*: "Unclean, Unclean!" - Sacrifices are bathed in maggots, offered to swarms of rats, worked to death building a landfill pyramid upon which will be broken open a lab sample of smallpox.

The Dark / Mr. Pitch / I-Cannot-See-It*

Most of everything is dark matter - light is a fleeting aberration.
  • Followers: The People's Church of the Divine Host, a cult that fragmented and went into hiding after the disappearence of its leader, Maxwell Raynor. Symbol of a closed eye with four vertical lines (eyelashes). Love them some creepy rituals.
  • Monster: The Thing in the Dark of the Night
    • It goes unseen. It is perhaps the size of a bear.
    • Hits: (5)25 / Speed: 40 / Instinct: 60 / Attack: 4d10 mauling
    • Special: Something Wicked This Way Comes -  The Thing's approach will be heralded by every light source in sight burning out and all water going stagnant and brackish.
    • Special: Shroud of Night - All attacks made against the Thing are at disadvantage.
  • Artifact: A wardrobe that no light may be shone into.
  • Book*: The Book of Black Pages - A sort of scripture, that may summon forth a darkness no light can penetrate and summon forth the entities that lurk within.
  • Aspects: Darkness, blindness, secrets, the unknown, stasis, dark water.
  • Ritual: "The Extinguished Sun" - Involves a pilgrimage to Ny-Alesundled by one Mr. Pitch, to see the solar eclipse there.

The Spiral / It is Lying / It-Is-Not-What-It-Is

Where did I leave my copy of Uzumaki?
  • Followers: The Spiral does not have followers proper: instead, those exposed to it will eventually become extensions of it, or rather, it will become them.
  • Monster: Michael, the Distortion
    • Something that looks not entirely unlike a person. Blond, curly hair. Always looks like its seen through a distorted window. It doesn't have a name, but can call it Michael, or Gabriel, or Helen. The arms are too long, and the fingers have too many bones in them. Can just pop out of nowhere. Makes you feel like you're going mad just talking to it.
    • Hits: (4)20 / Speed: 65 / Instinct: 65 / Attack: 2d10 waggly-knuckled monstrosities
    • Special: Man Upon the Stair - The presence of a Distortion triggers 1d10 stress / turn.
    • Special: A Door to Nowhere - Doors cease having the usual effect and may open anywhere, or nowhere, or may appear and disappear as willed. The other end might be an endless paradox-fractal hallway, another domain of the Spiral.
  • Artifact: A Ming vase glazed with blue fractals. Items of the possessor's regular go missing, and no one else will remember there being anything at all.
  • Book*: Untitled book of asemic writing - Reader's capability for symbolic thought is broken down and replaced with an alien logic.
  • Aspects: Loss of ones' senses, the unreliability of memory, disassociation, the twisting of things
  • Ritual: "The Great Twisting" - The construction and opening of a labyrinth door in Sannikov Land.

The Hunt / Pursuer* / It-Is-Chasing-Me*

Perhaps the oldest of all. Now think, you're set to hunt and kill to your heart's content...
  • Followers: Devoted entirely to the chase and terribly good at it. Some of the few who can permanently kill an avatar of another Power.
  • Monster: Vampire
    • A pale imitation of a human. There are not many, they do not feed often.
    • They cannot speak and do not have lungs. They will still make themselves understood.
    • They do not think, not more than an animal does. Human actions are all imitations.
    • Burn terribly easy if they have not recently fed (or if they have not had time to digest).
    • Hits: (3)15 / Speed: 45 / Instinct: 30 Attack: 2d10 claw or 1d10 piercing tongue
    • Special: Exsanguination - After a successful tongue attack, the vampire will drain 4d10 damage worth of blood on its next turn if it is not removed from the victim.
  • Artifact*: The bullet that will kill the last elephant.
  • Book: The Stalwart Hunter's Almanac - The reader shall be injured in the manner that they read (Unless they can fight off the assailant)
  • Aspects: Pursuit, chase. The animal fear of the predator.
  • Ritual: "The Everchase" - Explorers seeking impossible places, forever hunting and being hunted in the depths of the jungle. Due to the nature of the Hunt, this ritual can never reach its conclusion.

Extinction / The Terrible Change / The-Future-Without-Us

A Power yet to be born.
  • Followers: None yet, thankfully.
  • Monster: Les heritiérs ("The Inheritors")
    • We do not know what they look like or what they do, only this: "There is nothing done in the history of humanity that deserves the things that come after us."
  • Artifact: A thumb drive containing ushankasdespair.exe - Seventeen hours of a man eating a computer and weeping and you have to watch the entire damn thing.
  • Book*: Shadow of the Anthropocene - Contains the histories of those alien civilizations that will follow humanity, and the unhappy endings of each one. Adds and removes entries according to some sort of quantum uncertainty.
  • Aspects: The destruction of the world we know and its replacement by another we have no part in. Mankind's self-obliteration.
  • Ritual: None, yet. Given the nature of this Power, its normal manifestations have the potential for catastrophic ends. Some of the other Powers and their avatars are willing to set aside differences to stop it from ever emerging.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Minidungeon: The Lighthouse on the Spur.

Blake Rottinger


A lighthouse on a spur of rock. Clean. Whitewashed. Attached to land by a sliver of beach that goes under when the tide comes in. The old trading post sits on the land side of the sand bridge. The village is over the hill to the north.


Pouring rain, cold and driving. The trading post bears dark windows. A pole with distances and directions to faraway lands leans crookedly out in front. There is a standing bear carved of a single piece of wood. The door is locked.

What's unusual about the Trading Post?

  1. Nothing. Bare boards and empty cupboards. It looks like nothing has ever been stocked here.
  2. A foreigner in the cellar, chained to a support beam. Beside him is chained a corpse.
  3. A hastily-abandoned campsite. Military, by the look of the gear they left behind.
  4. Bricks of contraband tea. Many, many, many bricks of contraband tea.
  5. A hexagram burnt into the floor, surrounded by goat skulls.
  6. Misshapen blobs of flesh and hair, pulsating, humming.
  7. Forests of nails have been driven into every flat surface.
  8. It is a tropical jungle inside, centered on an embryo in amber.

The Keeper

A young, bespectacled man. Arrived only a few months back. Educated, solitary. Has admirers among the young women in town. Has been dead 1-2 days.

What happened to the Keeper?

  1. Hanging from the stairwell (F1)
  2. Collapsed at his desk, starved (F2)
  3. A nibbled and worried corpse, has lantern and rope with him (Cellar)
  4. Gone. Large bloodstain on floor (F1)
  5. Fried to a crisp. There is a crack in the lamp (Roof)
  6. Mangled in the rocks, impaled. Visible only at low tide (Spur)
  7. Died in his bed (F2, save vs contagious disease)
  8. Head smashed in (Cave)

Something Special

  1. Letters from his lover in the city, hidden in a book (F2 bookcase) 
  2. Dabbles in photography (Equipment in cellar)
  3. A clutch of salamander eggs in the hearth (F1)
  4. Taxidermied fish: large, fanged tropical, contains random spell (F2)
  5. Collection of tent revival pamphlets (F1)
  6. Ivory-handled pistol. "RG" carved in grip. (F1)
  7. Scrimshaw chess set, white demons and black angels. White is one move from reaching checkmate. (F1) 
  8. A map of the Eclipsed Sea (F2)

The Caves beneath the Cellar

Tight and coiling passages carved away by the drip drip drip of seawater. Lined with flesh-tearing cave-barnacles.

What is found in the Caves?

  1. A corroded skeleton, clutching a rusting heirloom sword.
  2. A locked treasure chest, too big to squeeze through the gaps.
  3. Glass bottles, all filled with messages.
  4. Sigils of chaos, carved into the walls, screaming back the sins of passersby.
  5. Carpets of red velvet worms.
  6. An oil lamp on a hook, burning bright violet.
  7. Distant, chittering laughter. High-pitched mutters of "Bebbyzyx is looking for shinies."
  8. Explosive glow-worms.

The Oracle

Something akin to a mermaid, living in the pool at the center of the caves. Slippery skin and wide eyes, gaping mouth and bloodred gills. She desires blood and fresh meat. She was not fond of the Keeper and his prying questions.

What does she say?

  1. Nothing at all - she readies to speak, but no sound comes out.
  2. A king is born, a mighty king come to reclaim his throne - but shall he be a tyrant?
  3. A year of interesting times, of fortunes reversed, the poor made rich and the rich made poor.
  4. The world will become cold and chrome, tubes and wires.
  5. Mild weather, light chance of precipitation in the afternoon, there is a coup afoot.
  6. I'm afraid your bones are filled with ghosts; give them to me and I can fix that for you.
  7. Bet on 53. Do not bet on anything else.
  8. Fuck that guy upstairs and all the noise he makes, I'm trying to sleep.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

LET'S LOOK AT: Godkillers, Ynn, and More!


Post-Human Condition (Juan Restapo, Journeyman, Jamie Chestnut)
PDF and print purchased

What is it?: A post-cosmic-horror module set in Louisiana, using Open d6 rules and fantastic art.

God damn, this is how you do it. This goes right on the shelf of gold standard RPG books.
  • An entire module, setting, and rules, in less than 70 pages.
  • THAT ART. It's perfect.
  • Focus! Godkillers is focused to the extreme. Here is the scenario. Here are your premade characters, with their cards that give you everything you need including background information. You can run through this is one or two nights and have a complete experience. No being bogged down with character generation, or the grand scope of the world. It's almost like a board game in that sense. As an adult who has to wrangle irregular schedules and getting friends together, the appeal here should be obvious.
  • There was a bit of delay getting the second printing out. I was perfectly content to wait (for I already had the pdf), but the guys behind this went out of their way to throw in a handwritten note, a print, and a sticker.

The Gardens of Ynn

Emmy Allen
PDF purchased

What is it?: A crawl through a wild faerie garden plane and a great new pointcrawl system.

Gardens of Ynn has one of my favorite new means of making an adventure: the depth system. Think of it as something like a pointcrawl, but a touch more abstracted. Roll d20 + the depth level you are on now, find out what area you arrive in next. Each area comes with features and encounters. Don't like the level you're on? Go back to a previous level and re-roll when you press on deeper. It's clean, it's easy, and it's the kind of megadungeon I can really get behind. Big on scale, small on gribbly bits bogging down the middle of things. I want to see this applied to everything, especially a city supplement like Corpathium. It is RIPE for that sort of thing.

Stygian Library

Emmy Allen
PDF purchased

What is it?: Library of Babel, running on the same template as Ynn. I like it flavor-wise even a bit more than Ynn, but the core of it is the same, so this is a really short review. It's good, yo.

Black Powder, Black Magic vol 1-3

Carl Bussler and Eric Hoffman
PDF purchased

What is it?:  A trio of short zines for running DCC adventures in the American Weird West.

DCC zines are a special breed and I've still got no idea as to what makes the magic work, but it certainly does. Between the three volumes there are three new classes, a bit of setting fluff, a 0-level train robbery funnel (plus backgrounds), magic items, gun rules, patrons, and other goodies.

Black Heart of Paradise

Schwa Kyle
PDF purchased

What is it?: A casino station module for Mothership.

This is, as far as I know, the first 3rd party module for Mothership. It's a mixed bag.

BUT:  It's difficult as hell to read  - lots of text, text often small, fonts hard on the eyes, had to read through several times to get a grip on how everything relates to each other because of prior factors.

The ASCII is a good aesthetic touch (and clever way to save on art budget) but can be hard to parse. Lots of good tables, you could even use the movie prompts for other MS adventures.

Each segment / scene of the shit-is-happening part of the module fits on a single page, which is quite nice, but information presentation once again reared an ugly head. I'd need to write everything out just to keep track of it all.

So I remain of two minds. on the one hand, yay, more Mothership stuff, and there's stuff I can use! On the other, there's a whole lot that would be a whole lot of extra work to use.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Play Report: Lighthouse at the End of the World (Esoteric Enterprises 1)

Rick Shrieber was the kind of history teacher that came into class in chainmail, waving a foam sword about and shouting in Middle English. He had a plush Holy Hand Grenade he'd throw into his colleague's room across the hall. His car had a sticker that read "My other ride is Shadowfax."

And now he's dead. Pancreatic cancer.

Four of his old students piled in an hand-down Honda Odyssey to visit the viewing hours, in a tiny little town in the middle of nowhere in southwestern Pennsylvania. They were:
  • Gerard Valentine, a warehouse drone. 
  • "Sanz" Sanford Hernandez, a social worker.
  • "Cap'n" Jerry Clyde, proprietor of a  party boat in the city, the "Naughty Crab"
  • Ryan Grimmer - Occupation undefined.
Gerard and Sanz had kept in touch online in the years since, and ended up organizing the carpool. Capn' was pulled in after Gerard stumbled across him on the Naughty Crab during a pub crawl night. sanz, Cap'n, and Ryan were the Terrible Three, who quit their shitty fast food jobs during the summer of their junior year simultaneously by dumping a bag of ice over their shitty fast food manager. But all that is years past now.

The visitation goes well, as well as it could given the circumstances. It's late by the time they leave, and dark well before they are done grabbing something to eat.

The road is empty, dark, silent. Nothing but woods out here, isolated. It's late enough that the local NPR station is wrapping up the BBC news hour, ready to start its night program of Indian music.

In the distance, there's the flash of blinker lights. Sanz (for he was driving the van) comes to an abrubt halt, and the group file out to investigate. Gerard immediately calls 911, and through good luck has a decent connection.

The car had swerved off the road and hit a tree, though not enough to do major damage. The group creep forward to investigate: the driver's-side window is covered in blood. Sanz creeps around the front of the car, finding the driver duct-taped to his seat, left hand attached to the wheel and loose strips indicating that the right had been as well. In the front seat there is a footlocker, wrapped up in a bungee cord.

Gerard, his curiosity getting the better of him, wraps a hand in a bandana and opens the passenger door. Inside, he sees that the man's limp right arm is holding a revolver, and the back seats are filled with a jumbled mess of camping supplies: a tent, a propane stove, bags filled with convenience-store food, Snoballs and Slim Jims. The revolver has three of six bullets remaining: the man's head is a pulped mess (I described it akin to a cobweb made out of meat). There are no bullet holes in the window, or anywhere else in the car.

In the trunk the group finds more cardboard boxes, these filled with VHS tapes and stacks of DVD-Rs, labeled with random letter and number combinations. Gerard tucks one of the tapes into his jacket. Cap'n attempts to take the gun from the man, but is interrupted by a harsh, hissing voice.

"I wouldn't do that..."

The panic barely has time to set in before the lights of a car appear. The state trooper looks exactly like one would imagine: mustache, a bit of a gut, middle aged, straight out of central casting. A cursory inspection of the wrecked car shakes him, and he goes back to his patrol car to radio in to headquarters.

This is when the door of the crashed car opens.

The dead man tears out of the car in a sprint towards the police officer. Sans manages to grab a rock and smash it into the dead man's knee, bringing him to the ground. He tries to pin him there, as the officer brings out his gun, but the dead man's strength might be greater than he had in life. He shakes off Sans, leaps to his feet, and shoots the trooper right in the head.

"...Do it properly this time..."

The dead man shoves the revolver in his mouth and fires twice, and is finally still.

They steal everything in the crashed car, all the tapes and boxes and other supplies, and load them into the van. Both the trooper's gun and the dead man's revolver are taken - in taking the latter, the group finds an ID card for the US Department of Energy.

The solution is unanimous: DRIVE

As the van tears away down the silent road, the gang glimpse twin rows of men in suits, standing in the woods at the fringes of the headlight cones, heads turning to follow them.

Sans' house is closest (the original plan was to stay the night there and then everyone returns home come Saturday), and there is a terrible, tense car ride for nearly 20 minutes.

But they do not seem to have been followed: They arrive safely but shaken. Sans immediately begins telling his sister Sam (with whom he shares the house after inheriting it from their parents) everything that happened.

The door has barely shut when Gerard gets a phone call from a clearly-masked number. He answers, perhaps foolishly. A text-to-speech voice speaks:

"We can help you. Go to the church. Enter the door in the garden behind it, go down the stairs, and knock twice on the red door. Remain there until we come for you. Remove the batteries from your phones."

The gang don't waste much time. Sam is dragged along, and the directions are followed to the letter. By this point it's well past midnight.

The room behind the red door is small, concrete. There's a folding cot, a sink, a toilet with a shower curtain, a table with some magazines and a bit of food. One bare bulb.

Three hours pass.

Knock, knock

The door creaks open to reveal a tired-looking woman in her mid-thirties, wearing a sweatshirt. She introduces herself as Abigail, and in short order breaks the news:
  • The party is fucked - they've gained the attention of the people no one wants to notice them.
  • She's part of a secret civilian paranormal organization called Lighthouse.
  • Lighthouse is willing to help disappear the gang in exchange for their recruitment. There really isn't another option that involves a good ending.
  • For the time being the gang needs to get out of the way. 
Getting out of the way involves a journey to a place called the Stygian Library. Abigail removes a piece of chalk, draws a doorway on the wall while chanting in sonorous, bell-like tones, and the concrete unfolds to reveal a small candlelit room of mahogany and brass, smelling of books.

DM Comments

This was a load of fun to run, and the players had a blast. It was a bit railroady-cutsceney, enough that I am not entirely satisfied with the outcome and want to tweak the balance more in the future. But, on the plus side, next session will open up to normal freedoms. The setpieces were effective (and totally my jam in this genre), but they kinda overshadowed the players' abilities to act.

On another plus side, I did a lot more communal setting-building than I normally do (the teacher in particular) and the players got riffing quick.

Level 0 and the transition between normal life and the supernatural remains some of the greatest game material. Further refining it is a long-term progress.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Making Dungeons with AI, Dan Edition

Skerples did this. Now I will do this as well. You can do it too!

The door burst open! Three goblins atop each other's shoulders and wielding a mighty thwacking paddle entered the room!

"It's going to be a hard fight but… the Lord said to have a battle!" Zhang Xuan thought.

"The Lord said you had to fight against a Goblin to the death." Han Yan smiled.

"No matter how hard you fight, you'll always be a burden to the Lord." Zhang Xuan smiled. "Besides, it's only three. I guess it's hard for you the most. If I'm lucky, I've already gotten away."

After he finished explaining of the process of entering the room and preparing for the battle, the three goblins disappeared in a flash.

"Phew, he really took care of me in a hurry. Even I haven't seen another guy of his caliber in over 2,000 years…" Han Yan looked at the goblins to his left and right. "You must still be wondering about the remaining three!" He turned around and looked.
Wow Zhang Huan is a dick. And apparently really good at just vaporizing goblins.


It was at this point, however, that the Council of Wizards decided to suspend its action. When you think about it, it made perfect sense. Once it became clear that the Council was doing nothing, the first thing that occurred to everyone was, "Oh well, I won't bother anymore with that... but we'll give them time to prepare," and once they were ready to go to court it seemed like a perfectly rational thing to do.
If you're interested in what actually happened you can read the official statement from the Wizards of the Coast team which was published with the information released by them. You can also watch the video at the top of this article, or the video at the bottom of this article.

If you haven't been following the events surrounding the trial, I strongly urge that you read every single word that's been written over the last couple of days.

Wizard Justice!

Random Encounters in the City of Red Pyramids:
1. Procession of ghoul-priests
2: Elephant philosopher
3: Temple prostitutes on lunch break

4. Bazaar of bones
6. Temple-serpent god
7. Blood-sucking fiends in a cage
Bonus Level: 1/2
- The Temple-Servant
A very powerful priestess with an almost limitless power and access to magic items, who runs a temple in Red Pyramids. Also has a "special" ability – she can make the victims of her spells (including her own) become her servants, or even her personal bodyguards, and they can live in other people's homes when they're asleep, and even do stuff like take over their minds and kill their own souls!
Languages: Gnome. -2 Strength, -2 Constitution. -1 to Dexterity, -1 to Intelligence, -2 to Charisma. -2 Luck.
- The Temple-Sorceress
A half-breed half-tiefling and half-ling half-orc who was forced to marry the wizard to avoid being killed. While she was alive, she had a daughter (
Temple-Servant got absolutely wrecked on attribute scores. Maybe horrific injury? Temple-Sorceress doesn't seem to be doing much better, being the demonspawn of a halfling who was already half-orc. Does halfling + orc = normal sized human? Doesn't look like marrying the wizard did her any good, she's dead anyway.


It was clear from the beginning that the witch had no patience for any of the prince's bullshit.

She kept her gaze fixed on the two men beside her, their faces obscured by dust. But she couldn't ignore what they were doing. The Prince would have to find them if he wanted to get information about her location. How would they make that happen?

The dust on the ground continued to pile up.

As she glanced down to the dust, she saw it was coming from the prince's hands. He was trying to grab something, grabbing it, grabbing it—but as she watched, he was being pulled back from the dust and the men were pulling at him with their hands.

At that, the blonde mage could only stare. A sudden, intense surge of excitement began to surge through her body as she heard the first of the shouts. She couldn't believe what was happening. Something had to be done. Her thoughts raced and in a flash of lightning, she knew, the guards rushed

Damn dustmen, getting dust everywhere.


The train of refugees, over a thousand strong, was fleeing orc raids in the west. They were coming to safety, but the orcs were trying to keep them from leaving.

"I'd like to make you an offer," the orc said slowly and hesitantly, as he stood in the doorway near the exit, "but I'm afraid your head would just hit the pillow. What's your name?"

He raised his head. An ancient orc sat by the window staring. The train in front of him had stopped, and the other people were staring as well. This Orc was the first person to speak, and the second to leave, as she took in his face and looked him over.

"I'm sorry, lady orc."

The orc nodded to her. "That's a shame. I knew you could do it. You were my mentor and I watched you grow into a dangerous and proud warrior. I saw how much you loved men and the world, and I'm proud to watch you grow into what you are today." In an attempt to hide her disgust at first, she nodded
These are terribly civil orcs. I wonder why they want the refugees to stay? Can't possibly be good.


This promised to be an excellent space adventure.
From: Michael Sager

Subject: Re: Space Battleships?

Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2004 11:22:45 -0700

I am sure he is aware of the games that are going on. I will update when I get any details about that. Michael Sager
Man this one is just an enigma. There are games going on, some third party who is aware of them, and the potential for space battleships.


Bar the gates! The army is on its way!
[Chorus: "Gods, the gates are closing against us!"] [Chorus: "If we stand strong at the gate, everything will turn for good.] [Chorus: "All of this will go from us.") [Chorus: "No one will save us now, there will never be any return"]
I imagine this is a Greek Chorus, in which case, it seems that they are going back and forth between the two armies. Dual choruses.

The haruspex was stumped, the case was going cold and now a new murder had emerged.

The victim, who didn't want to be named, said she was sitting on her balcony with her two small children when a man came out of the bushes looking for her.
You know things are good when the murder victim shows up to get the case solved.

The cults took to the inner rainforest, practicing their secret rites on the altar of the tiger-god.

Eventually, the great jungle forest became a kind of city of its own. When a shaman could not get through to the spirits within the forest, he had to go into the temple of Ganesha to reach the jungle itself. Ganesha was very important and sacred to the jungle people -- he served as a god who helped the people maintain peace in the jungle.

Eventually the city came to exist along rivers as an enormous temple of Hindu gods where people came to be worshipped like this. The jungle people who lived there were called the gansharana. A great forest temple, like the one in the Indian jungle, was surrounded by a great temple of Hindu deities to be worshiped like this.

The great tree of Ganesha was the chief god to the jungle tribes. It is thought by the Hindus
 Not gonna lie, huge rainforest ewok-city filled with statues of Hindu gods sounds cool as hell.

Sunday, May 5, 2019



"I should mention I am likewise habitually drunk."

The gutter monk reeks of alcohol fumes, tobacco smoke, and hot pork dumplings. she gets the last of these fresh every morning from the same vendor, then walks across the city center to set up shop in the drain that abuts the curry house that sits on the corner of Termagant Street and Parson's Square.

The morning is cool for early summer. Misty. Calm. The churning cycle of city life has reached one of its dipping points, a slow bend in the current, a nadir. Where did everyone go? How did they get jobs with hours like that, the lucky bastards?

Questions for the workaday guildsman, not Ayo the gutter monk. She's never been beholden to another's schedule. Won't ever be. When the haruspexes in the House of Mortarus cut her open on the table, looking for whatever dark secret maintained her liver all these years of habitual drunkenness,  her corpse will be delivered on her time.

Her pipe goes tok tok tok as she knocks out the ashes against the wooden block of her sandal and fills it up again. A studded iron club rests against the stone foundation wall of the curry house. A half-drunk bottle of mead dangles from a hand. The last of her old batch. She swigs of it, thinks for a moment of the careful placement of hives and flowerbeds and fruit trees in a garden she keeps putting off 'till next week.

A few coins clink into her begging bowl and the bottle lowers. She speaks, the first full sentence to break the quiet of morning:

"A proverb for you: should you find God upon the road, kill Him and steal His shit."

The charitable man, not expecting this on his morning walk to work, hurries on uncomfortable with a mumbled "Oh, ah, hmm."

Ayo grins at his back as he walks away. She doesn't need the money. Never has. That never was the point. She could always find work of some sort, especially if it was violent. She'd done a good job on some delves into the old dwarf ruins down south and toppling those Lady Lotus oozes selling hash down on the river. Begging was just a way to unwind, in a world of golden barges and Smiling Gods and furry, gun-toting mercenaries from beyond the stars. And a way to fuck around with people.

Nothing like some drunken mountain of a woman giving rich guildsmen passing by the option of a bowl of noodles or grievous bodily harm.

Her arm's gone stiff, the one she keeps in her sleeve. The one that's scarred and blackened with burns, when she took the ring with the amber eye. Her elbow clicks as she stretches. The inescapable aftereffect of living in the Weird Marches.

But she doesn't need to return to that just yet.

She blows a smoke ring, and as it drifts out over the cobbles of Parson's Square, she spits through it and hits a pigeon dead in the face.


Ayo "Meatpie" Paddasham grew up in the gutters of a demon-haunted slum, in the bowels of some grotty, overcrowded shithole of a city far, far away. Somewhere during those years of dodging gang toughs, street fights, and stealing meatpies, she picked up beekeeping and mead brewing. Some gambling debts and the associated intrigues of a life of undercity hedonism drove her to catch a ship across the sea, bound for the Weird Marches and well away from the underworld of the Commonwealth.

She is a follower of five-faced Ahuiateteo, god of gluttony, excess, and pleasure, whose precepts are five:
  • Eat everything you can stuff in your face.
  • Drink everything you can fit in a bottle.
  • Fight anyone looking for a scrap.
  • Fuck anyone interested. 
  • In any order, or all at once. 
As a player character, she will be a drunken monk (DCC), adipomancer or adept (GLOG and other OSR), practitioner of Mountain Stance (Knave), a teamster (Mothership) or an Open Palm Monk (5e). Whatever the case, she will need a roll to resist offers of food, drink, or sex, even when it's an obvious trap.

As an NPC, she will be an ear to the ground, an easily-acquired ally at the cost of booze and food.

Bonus news!

I have a Patreon now! You can find it here! Ayo needs booze money! I also need booze money!

Oddsbod does a mean commission. You should commission him too!

And Michael Kennedy is to blame for letting Ayo become so powerful in the ways of booze and violence. She cannot be stopped now.