Sunday, September 13, 2020

Prime Hellsite Salvage (Slush Pile Volume 6)

Finally, I was able to export my twitter archive. I have selected and edited choice pieces of it, to present them along with other fragments of the unfinished wonders. 

Previous posts of unfinished wonders:

Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
Volume 4
Volume 5


  1. Cao Cao is the true murderhobo that all player characters aspire to be. 
  2. Elves cannot sweat. This is why humans are the predominant species in the world, because all the wisdom and magic in the world can't help against the crazy cousins who can kill anything with enough time and a steady jog. 
  3. Always remember that satan is a title equivalent to a prosecting lawyer. you can not only have multiple satans, players can easily become a satan. Still have to give up soul, law school demands it. 
  4. The sky is the single unvariagated color of rain, from the horizon to the crown of the firmament. Somewhere in my heart there is the ghost of a Scotsman, cursing the bastard English 
  5. I can't figure out if James Holden is supposed to be this razor-sharp indictment of the mediocre white millennial man but The Expanse sure is more interesting when I interpret it like that.
  6. Among the many pernicious weapons of late stage capitalism is the second-guessing of illness. "Can I afford to call off today?" says the man who can barely speak, barely think straight, and is a walking biohazard. 
  7. If there are wizards of the west coast, clearly there are wizards of other geographical regions. Wizards of the Great Lakes and Appalachia represent. 
  8. Greek Mythology Realization: Atlas' job is to hold his grandfather's corpse above his head forever. 
  9. Goblin philosophy: we are all trash and that's okay, here let me share with you my collection of small precious things. 
  10. Goblin possummancers, of course, exist. 
  11. "Who is this future for?" A simple question with never simple answers. Goes in good company with Lois McMaster Bujold's "all fiction is fantasy, but what is the fantasy of?" 
  12. I will roll WIS of my own accord to determine if my character looses their shit when something terrifying happens. 
  13. Thesis: Neon Genesis Evangelion is the best example of cosmic horror because it's all about humans being dumb shits and meddling in affairs so far out of their reach that they'd have to break the fourth wall and read supplemental material to understand exactly how bad things are. 
  14. Knockout Tea (Somnia) will give you eight to ten hours of uninterrupted, restful REM sleep. Without good sleep, your soul cannot reach the Dreamlands, and you will be rendered an insomnia-wracked walking corpse. 
  15. Something I really appreciate in the OSR design sphere is the willingness to accept the incongruous and absurd. Like you can just say "you find a milk crate full of old sci-fi paperbacks in the orc chieftain's chambers". Mild example but it's this kind of thing I crave. 
  16. OSR design philosophy is the RPG equivalent of Talmudic scholarship.
  17. "There once was a man from Tarshish / who had only one little wish / to hijack a religion / was his grandest vision / and now the whole world stinks of fish." 
  18. When in doubt, embrace the spirit of GDQ. 1) Nothing is too obscure or silly to be unworthy of time or love. 2) Chase your personal best. 3) It is a group effort. New tech is developed and shared constantly. Use it, thank them, shout them out. 
  19. Dejah Thoris should be very tall (.38G), possess a layer of insulating blubber (Mars = cold), and would have no bellybutton (oviparous) 
  20. An alternative attribute array: Hands / Feet / Head / Heart / Guts 
  21. Get ready for my masterwork, "400 pages of screaming about how Socrates and Plato are Garbage Trash: The RPG" 
  22. "Recreation room filled with painstakingly crafted diorama of the port city Hoondahhr, portrayed in the moment of being burned to the ground."
  23. Halfling Snatcher HD 3 AC Chain D8 horrible rusty knife. Cavorts around looking to stuff halflings in a sack. Never empties the sack. Ever.
  24. Firbolgs are the best thing to come out of 5e and the fact that they do not get the respect they deserve is painfully on-brand for D&D. Consider 1) Big and strong 2) Magic 3) Live in the woods 4) Large Friendly Backpacker Energy 5) Camping buddies. The case rests.
  25.  "You shall never defeat me! My wattles and facial bulges give me strength! I OOZE with potency!"
  26. The principle of cyberpunk: "Technology will not save us, and anyone who claims otherwise is trying to sell you something that already has been stacked in their favor.
  27. There are four types of paladins: Joan of Arc, Doomguy, Superman, and Alexander Anderson.
  28. I call O Green World -> Every Planet We Reach is Dead -> Last Living Souls -> Don't Get Lost in Heaven for a 4 part Mothership adventure.
  29. The amount of meaningful talk about a game post-launch is inversely proportional to the sum of the hype and dev cycle, times the obscurity of pre-release information.
  30. "You come from a background of desperation and crushing poverty, which is why you delve into the tombs of empires past to loot treasure to pay for bread." 
  31. There is an etymological link between "turtle" and "tortoise" and an angel named "hell-keeper" who torments the damned.
  32. Delving is a trade reserved for those who cannot afford funerary offerings to their ancestors, and thus are placed under a curse for insufficient piety. As they can find no work elsewhere, they fall to looting the ruins of the Silent Empire and its many taboos. 
  33. "Ads have been added to the playback of this beloved memory due to a copyright claim by SONY". 
  34. But if people don't CONSUME AND PARTICIPATE IN BRAND how will they be able to ESTABLISH IDENTITY? 
  35. "You've run out of emotional intimacy for the day! It will take 48 hours to recharge. Or you can recharge it faster by purchasing gems from our store!"
  36. "This algorithm, blind and stupid and Azathoth himself, will fix everything! What's a consequence?"
  37. You might never fight a dragon, you might never see a dungeon, but by god those goblins are going to put the work in.
  38. "We have updated the terms and conditions of this relationship, please take the time to familiarize yourself with the updated EULA. Please also note that we have removed your ability to opt-out of our data-sharing program with our advertising clients."
  39. This is the most important piece of RPG criticism to have ever graced the quantum stable of the DISK HORSE: The reader's capacity to care about your paracosm is dependent on your margins, line spacing, font size, wordcount, and the placement of section headers.
  40. This is the second most important piece of RPG criticism to have ever graced the quantum stables of the DISK HORSE Dear fellow straight dude game designers - breasts, being a super niche evolutionary quirk, are a terrible way to demonstrate sexual dimorphism in non-humans.
  41. More RPGs need the Devil. Not Asmodeus or Lucifer or Satan or the Generic Brand Variant. Old Scratch. The dapper motherfucker who will show up at crossroads and offer folks all the wonderful tools of their own self-destruction.
  43. Verb wizards can only practice or recover their magic by doing the verb. Lurk wizards do lurk magic by lurking extra hard, and recharge it through minor non magical lurking.
  45. I have made being wrong my trade and profession and it's worked out pretty well so far.
  46. Vape products have orc warlord names. JUUL SKULLSMASHER. KRATOM MURDERKILLER.
  47. The functional difference between a cult of the Great Old Ones and a corporation is ease of pronunciation. 
  48. The primary god of this culture is the male-female cthonic diety of the underworld, heat, wealth, deep time,and all things outside the gaze of the evil , surveilling sky gods. Common depiction: pair of jeweled axolotls and cooling magma globe.
  49. Among their children is the god of traveling to and surviving the surface, who is treated as outcast by the others but remains necessary for survival. He is also the god of things one does not want to hear but must. 
  50. gonzogrot (adj) - possessing qualities of outrageous, exaggerated grotesquery and filth, generally in comedic or tragicomedic fashions. Differentiated from grimdark by its embrasure of absurdity and the Weird, and rejection of self-seriousness. ex: Dorohedoro, LISA
  51. Flying polyps are the 'antibodies' of the local nodes of a vast hyperspace network. Like a cell tower that is also a bee hive. Forever fighting the yithians who dislike the disruption of flow of time-space.
  52. The yithians are no one's friend because A) threat B) they fuck up space time for everyone else C) trivia-obsessed weirdos. The ones who possess humans for study are their version of weeaboos.
  53. The mi-go on Earth are their equivalent of a bunch of guys in the Rust Belt whose main income is stripping wiring out of foreclosed houses and software development. None of them want to be here. The brains in jars are more just a hobby.
  54. Elder Things are a bunch of insufferable gits who still think they're the greatest thing in the universe since eukaryotic life. 
  55. Shoggoths successfully rebelled against their enslavers, and they'd do it again in a heartsbeat. 
  56. Dark Young can be "programmed" for pantropic colonization roles. 
  57. "Campaign structure is the default of rpgs" is an idea I really need to wean myself out of.
  58. The price of gold in Mothership is $5.50 USD per pound. This was calculated by reverse engineering the following: 10 bars of gold = 15,000 credits (Dead Planet) 1 bar of gold = 12.4 kilograms (Wikipedia) 1 MRE = 70 credits (Player's Survival Guide) 1 MRE = $7.25 (Wikipedia) Using food as the base, a single credit is worth about $0.10  
  59. Thought of the day: the more stylized character-design approach to portraying the mythological might be one of the biggest positive developments in art.The design embodies the diety. Lots of classical art just kinda stops at "gods and mythic figures are naked white people, maybe some symbols" (which, granted, was often with masterful skill), but somewhere a switch was flipped that said "hey, it's okay to change it up"
  60. You ever get one of those Grandpa Simpson moments when you no longer know what It is, but there's a big sense of relief instead of dread because you are pretty sure you wouldn't enjoy It anyway and now you can enjoy your weird niche stuff without anyone bothering you? Me too.
  61. A hack of Wolfpacks and Winter Snow on an alien planet.
  62. Soldiers are non-magic + training, Rogues are non-magic + self taught, Wizards are magic + training Channellers are magic + self-taught 
  63. An image from a dream: an elf queen in a subterranean banquet hall. Massive eyes, solid black. Ears like a fennec fox. Humans in the garb of many historical ages and places line the table, fat from feasting.
  64. An image from a dream: A bloated red sun, supermassive above the demon farm. Silver trees, blue fruit. A young boy sits underneath, looking up at the scaffold built around the sun. A murder occured elsewhere, the joylike mutant (the mother? father?) returned to their former home, complacently waiting for authorities to arrive. The result of tainted food or the like.
  65. Religion where an offering has to be made at birth to buy the baby a soul.
  66. "Not content with stealing her outright, Death took her away piecemeal."
  67. Star Mother Clan, the Red Hand Tribe, the Flooded Library, and the Star-Seeking Beasts
  68. Ghosteater: Bug eyes. Big ears. A trunk but no mouth. Potbellied. salamandesque, colors like a poison-dart, semimaterial and pseudoreal. They feed on fresh ghosts. Each stomach is a unique, alien afterlife.

69. St. Thecla is, in addition to putting up with Severian's nonsense for many hundreds of pages, is attributed with the following game-worthy traits:

  • Engaged to a guy who has a conspicuously female name 
  • Rode bareback on a lioness 
  • Endured several days and nights of Paul preaching about chastity, this apparently did nothing to halt her hardcore fetish for virtue 
  • Own mother wanted her burned at the stake 
  • Emerged from a pool of dead, electrocuted seals wreathed in fire. 
  • Literal overpowered fanfiction OC. 
  • Had a multi-year Veins of the Earth campaign in her 90s. 
  • Bucking the trend of the early church, was not martyred
  • Kept out of canon for being too rad for sexists to handle
Honestly between Severian and Paul I don't know who requires more saint-like patience to deal with, so extra bonus points there.

70. Why is there no Jesuits in Space RPG it seems like a perfect setup, especially for a PBTA framework.

  • Closet filled with unlimited skeletons, because RCC
  • Super-secretive political intrigue, because RCC
  • Super weird aliens, to make meaningful conflict between worlds and peoples

71. Okay hear me out: The Legend of Korra, but Tenzin's kids are now the gremlins from Eizouken. And also the main characters. And it's really just Eizouken except now it's got J.K. Simmons in it.OR WAIT, OKAY, HEAR ME OUT: The Legend of Korra, but the Red Lotus are the protagonists, thematically mirroring the Gaang as they try and fight against a system that has enshrined an incompetent, dangerous, and poorly-trained avatar for political expediency.

72. [In hypothetical 6e] Scythian Amazons are a core player background, replacing half-orcs and goliaths. Reasoning:

  • BIG and STRONG. Also, horse archery.
  • Cool tattoos and loads of bling. Also, weed.
  • Originate outside of D&D. Therefore, fresh and new
  • Wear pants, and so can easily terrify Greeks.

73. A half-formed thought: those settings where I enjoy the lore the most in are those that leave the act of drawing connections between pieces of information to the reader or player. Interactivity and uncertainty, endless layers of theory and everything is and is not canon

While Soulsbourne is what people immediately jump to, and for good reason (jerks sans frontiers' "the bastard's curse' is the best lore video ever made), I say that the apex of this style is the SCP wiki.

Did you know there are 37 different canons on that site? And that's by their own 3+ authors / 5+ entries criteria. If you add in single-author series and other hubs I lost track after 200 Without an overarching canon, interpretation falls to the individual.

There ceases to be a right and wrong way to interact- only like and dislike. Everyone is free to self define the setting and everything in it, and is beholden only to what they want out of it. This is rad as hell.

74. A creature from a dream: Gigantic (30 ft+) birdlike being. Feathers broad, ragged-edged, and navy blue. Head in similar shape to human skull, leathery brown with age. No beak or mandible: gristly-pink tendrils hang down in a bundle beginning in the nasal cavity but could separate into strands. Pose is upright, almost like a perched owl. This was specifically an enemy in a Dark Souls game (though I don't think it was something you could fight), as I witnessed it grab someone off of a rampart and then fly up to the top of a larger structure (some sort of basilica) where 4 others waited.They were evenly spaced and facing the same direction, outwards over the wall towards the lands below. Sky is scabrous and reddish-grey. I think Vaatividya was narrating theories about it, and while I couldn't make out what he was saying, he was definitely wrong.

Notes for a D&D Movie Never to Be Made.

There are four characters, two men and two women. None of them are named - even in the credits they are identified only by their visible traits. The brown-haired soldier. The bearded soldier. The beggar. The scholar.

It is almost a silent movie. Fewer than fifty spoken lines in its two hour run time. There is little music, and what music there is is used to disorient. It is Annihilation's soundtrack. Ordinary noise is amplified by the utter, untouched stillness of the depths: leather, water, metal, flame.

We do not know why they are going into the dungeon, why they are going deeper and deeper into the seemingly-endless layer cake of civilizations so old that the names and the ideas of their names have been forgotten, erased. We do not know why they are so desperate, why they are so obsessed, only that they are driven ever deeper.

They will not return to the surface. The last to die does so propped up against vault doors that could not be forced open even with the entire party. The lamplight sputters out, and as the soft chittering of blind and nameless things ushers in the credits, we find ourselves infected, just as they were, with that terrible curiosity dragging us down - what is behind those impossible doors, what was worth this?

The Stages of a Project in Reverse Order

  • On the table
  • In the oven
  • The good front burner
  • The other front burner
  • The back burner
  • Prepared and on the counter
  • In the pantry
  • On the grocery list
  • "We should make this!"
  • Vague plans for dinner
  • That one nonstandard meal you've talked about for months but never buy the materials for.

Veteran of the Fandom Wars

Elves, being immortal and freed from material want, often devote themselves to the arts. Chief of these is animation, to which they can devote decades to, rendering each frame a masterpiece. They take this all very seriously.

Elves take everything seriously, of course, but elf-animation is most serious of all. Sometimes, as is the case when things are taken very seriously, squabbles break out. But, of course, elves do not squabble. They plot, conniver, plan, outline, direct and scheme.

Direct fighting is the sort of social flub that will irrevocably destroy an elf's standing for eternity. So they pawn off magical trinkets and useless gemstones, whatever is not beautioful enough for them, to humans, to hire armies to fight their squabbles for them.

Squabbles about elf animation. This is your fighter's background.

ADDENDUM: While elf animation is among one of the most beautiful crafts in all of creation, they are absolute garbage piles in terms of plot and character. Straight up burning trashfire garbage pile because they've been recycling tropes from before humans developed agriculture.


Three Unfinished Spell Lists

A very silly post that wasn't made. The three lists in question were spells named after Spongebob quotes, spells named after Homestar Runner quotes, and spells named after episodes of Castle Super Beast.

Hierarchy of Bad Games

Type A: It's just like D&D (or WHFRPG), except with less flavor and somehow clunkier. 
Type B: Incomprehensible simulations of charts and tables 
Type C: Nifty ideas but bad execution that undermines their very existence.
Type D: The very clear artistic vision of an incompetent artist 
Type E: Edgy and/or fart sniffing bullshit that doesn't give you anything to actually do
Type E-II: It's actually quite nice to look at and neat enough but there's still nothing to fucking do
Type F: Have you considered not being a bigot

Bad games can, of course, belong to multiple categories, and there are many categories I have no personal knowledge of and so cannot include. 

Always remember: Bad games are good teaching tools. 

Revised Class: Priest

A reskin of Joseph Manola's Rake with a little expansion of the religious orders I featured in my previous version of the class. Likely belongs in a completely different kind of game, probably one with those Disco Elysium rules.

The Four Fleshcrafting Castes of ATCG

  • Those who deal in meat - Red - Those that work
  • Those who deal in bones - White - Those that stabilize
  • Those who deal in nerves - Yellow - Those who direct
  • Those who deal in organs - Black - Those that change
Together they Form the Great Helix of Being.

Mindscape Wars

Wizarding wars are fought in the mind - they have to be, if you don't want the planet to be swiftly rendered uninhabitable. In daydreams and restful nights the liner up their toy soldiers and send them abroad to invade the cranial castles of other wizards.

Every night, roll on the 6-dimensional warfare grid to determine the state of your spells in the morning.

  • Minor victories grant 1.5x PC lvl spells for the next day OR learn 1 new spell from opponent.
  • Major victories grant 2x PC lvl spells for the next day OR learn 2 new spells from opponent
  • Stalemates grant 1x PC lvl spells for the next day
  • Minor defeats grant 1/2 PC lvl spells for the next day OR lose 1d4 HP / lvl
  • Major defeats grant no spells for the next day OR lose 1d6 HP / lvl
Other events on the table provide boons / banes that I have not written down.

A Solar System

  • The Warden - Hot neptunian in very close orbit to the sun. Mythologically characterized as the prison-keeper of the ill-tempered sun god
    • The Warden's Aide - Largest moon. Molten and oblong from extreme tidal stress.
  • The World of Four Faces - Dry, tidally locked world. The four faces are Noon, Dawn, Dusk, and Night.
  • The Twins - Dual rocky worlds orbiting each other.
    • The Jeweled Flock - Small moons of the Twins, vibrant colors.
  • The Dreaming Giant - A hydrogen gas giant known for vibrant coloration.
    • The Harem - Minor moons of the Giant.
    • The Lookout - Largest moon of the Giant, likely a small rocky world captured in its orbit. Characterized as either the Giant's eunuch or one of his wives, who stands guard to prevent anyone from killing him in his sleep.
  • The Motherworld - A cold, but vertile life-bearing world.
  • The Stepstones - Asteroid belt
  • The Bitter God - Frozen titanian world with a dense methane atmosphere.
  • The Great Emptiness - A worldless gap between the middle and outer systems.
  • Gate of the Edge  - An icy dwarf
  • The Night Watchman - Largest of the distant ice-rock bodies

Framework for a Wretched and Alone Hack

You are the last surviving original disciple of a certain Teacher of ethics and religion, nearing the end of your life. You have seen their teachings blossom into a religion, but at cost. It has gotten away from you.
  • Who are you? How did you come to meet the Teacher?
  • What was your Teacher like? What did they do and teach?
  • Who else was in your group? What happened to them?
  • How has it changed? How has it become unrecognizable?
The order of play is similar to other Wretched and Alone hacks. It's split into rounds (here representing the letters you are writing to various faith communities), and for each round you roll 1d6. This indicates how many topics you will cover in your letter, and thus how many cards to draw from the deck.

As your failing eyesight and shaking hand may attest, you are dying. You will draw one block from the tower for every topic. Drawing four kings is still a loss.

  • Hearts deal with the teachings themselves, clarifying questioning followers according to how you were taught.
  • Diamonds deal with your memories of the Teacher and the early days, those that don't have to do with faith or dogma. The events as your remember them (for no one else still living can)
  • Clubs deal with power and persecutions. The political status quo shifts between apathetic and malicious. The followers in your communities are scared, and in need of guidance and comfort.
  • Spades deal with heresies and change. The teachings are slipping away into others' hands, and these new teachers have confused and misled communities. Here things must be set straight.

Demon Liquor 

  • 1 unit (1 slot) Restores 1d8 HP and / or 1d4 spells. HP can be raised above normal max.
  • Provides charges for magical items.
  • Powers engines (1 unit = 6 hours of operation)
  • Corruption mechanic: gain Toxicity = to points regained. Decrease Toxicity 1 pt / day. If TOX = CON, gain mutation. If TOX = CON x2, gain second mutation, roll WIS to resist addiction. If TOX = CON x3, the character is lost.
  • Creates poisonous, greasy, burning smoke when burnt.
  • Mental & physical side effects of inhaling smoke - frenzy and / or fear.

Unused Discape Spell List

  • Moon's Insight
  • Tentacular Spectacular
  • Mutagenic Panacea
  • Honeyed Words
  • Sugar Spike
  • Form-of-Yak
  • Sign of the Eye
  • Human Resources
  • Under the Grindstone
  • Burning Finger
  • Hide Your Power Level
  • Deformation
  • Sakuga Strike
  • Awaken My Skeleton
  • Drinking with the Dead
  • Gritty Reboot
  • Sacrifice Background Character
  • Detect Hidden Fascist
  • BEHOLD! A Goat
  •  Holy Hand Grenade
  • Filibuster Fisticuffs
  • Invoke the Old Sin
  • Mammoth Smash
  • Cave Story
  • Deflective Ignorance
  • Ping the Server
  • Command Line
  • Overclock
  • Exploit Glitch
  • Gravy Train


  1. Eventually, eventually, I will compile these posts into something. Eventually.

  2. I love these raw mines of unprocessed imagination fuel

  3. how are your dreams always so cool

    1. I have no idea, I feel it was a recent development.

  4. Consider also: Elvish animated works have extremely long and/or strange titles, as all the catchy ones were used up centuries ago.

  5. I once told someone "dwarves sweat, humans perspire, and elves merely glow." I think it's about right.

    Following your Mothership math, are you familiar with Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories?

  6. For (20): Cats RPG did something similar; the stats were Claws, Coat, Face, Fangs, Legs and Tail (for magic).
    For (38): Whose EULA is that?

  7. #36 and #47 are a seamless whole, likewise #25 and #40.

    Love the idea of Alien "Hatchet" hack of Wolfpacks & Winter Snow.

    Elf stop-motion is carved in alabaster and marble. The tale of Prometheus is their "Wallace and Gromit."

    Hard agree on Old Scratch. He's a warlock patron in my Weird West game.
    "Aw, shucks, pardner. You know Ol’ Scratch already. He’s closer to you than your own skin, and always ready to strike a bargain. Just wait at a lonesome crossroads at midnight if you need riches, skills, or vengeance. He’s got all three in spades. You’ll know him by his smile and by the way his boots don’t fit quite right. Only takes one kind of currency—but you probably weren’t using it anyhow, were you?"

    For the dungeon delving movie, would you prefer Herzog, Aaronofsky, or Jodorowsky directing, or a wildcard like the Coen brothers?