Saturday, September 19, 2020

Stand Still, Stay Esoteric


Minna Sundberg

Stand Still Stay Silent is a great webcomic, go read it (I've been a regular reader for six, seven years at this point!) It's Nordic fun times in the post apocalypse. There's a gigantic backlog and the update schedule is super fast.

Here's a conversion for it for Esoteric Enterprises.

Character Creation

The first step is to choose a nationality, after which you will roll 1d100 to determine immunity and background.

The center of the known world, keeping the technology of the old world alive. They have returned to the worship of the Old Gods - Icelanders with magical potential study at the Academy of Seiður in Reykjavik.

Hunt-masters of beasts, trolls and giants on both sea and land. They have returned to the worship of the Old Gods, and send their mages to Iceland to train.

Now reduced to the island of Bornholm, the Danes have nonetheless attempted to reclaim their homeland - all failed. Still, they hoard records and documents of the old times as best they can. They have not returned to the Old Gods, and so have no mages.

Actively and successfully reclaiming their lands through aggressive wilderness cleansing. Second to Iceland in terms of safety and technology. They have no particular religious persuasions, and so have no mages.

The smallest and least advanced of the five, isolated by geography and language. Finns do have more mages in their population than any of the other nations. They follow their own ancient gods.

What if I want to play somewhere else?
There are options! In the comic, Japan and Madagascar lock down right after Iceland does, so odds are decent that they were able to avoid the disease. I've seen fanmade maps for the Pacific Northwest, New Zealand and Tasmania, and Newfoundland.

Otherwise, you'll want some natural means of protection (if you want something kept safe, it should probably be on an island), and an environment that gets cold enough to force trolls and giants into hibernation.


  • Iceland - 9%
  • All Others - 48%


  • Working Class - Farmers, shepherds, craftspeople, engineers, manual laborers etc.
    • Iceland - 64%
    • All Others - 47%
  • Scholarly - Scientists, historians, skalds, etc.
    • Iceland - 26%
    • All Others - 12%
  • Military - Hunters, scouts, cleansers, etc. 
    • Iceland - 10%
    • All Others - 41%


Don't worry, it's not as complex as it seems!

Players get their native language, plus additional ones equal to their INT mod. Scholars can take languages from the Old World - English, German, Russian, etc.

  • Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish are mutually intelligible, especially when written.
  • Spoken Danish can be difficult, but not impossible, for a Swede to understand.
  • Icelandic is not mutually intelligible, but as the language of the primary political power, it's a common second choice. 
  • Finnish is in its own little world and has no overlap whatsoever.


  • Fighter (Mercenary)
  • Heavy Fighter (Bodyguard)
  • Skald - (Criminal)
  • Scout (Explorer)
  • Doctor
  • Mage (See below)
There are no Spooks.


Magic works differently in SSSS than it does in RPGs - is very much a narrative thing, rather than anything resembling a codified structure. Which makes translating it into a game basically impossible. I don't have any good ideas for it, so this is 100% winging it.
  • Their Flesh, Grit, and saves are both equivalent to the Mystic class, rather than occultist.
  • Mages gain a d6 magic die every level, up to 4 (as per the GLOG)
  • Both mages can access the Dreamworld in their sleep. Among other things, this permits remote communication across language barriers.

Icelandic Mages (Seiðkona (F), Seiðkarl (M)
  • Predominantly female.
  • Receive powers from the Old Gods (Freyja and Oðinn)
  • Channel magic through inscribed runes (Galdrastifur)
  • Can receive prophetic visions in their dreams.
  • Academy trained.
  • Magical ability granted directly by the Old Gods

Finnish Mages (Noitat, sing. Noita)
  • Greater in number than Icelandic Mages.
  • Receive their powers from the ancient Finnish nature gods.
  • Channel magic through invocations of the gods for their aid.
  • Can easily see spirits. 
  • Mentor-student training.
  • Loses potency with distance from Finland.
  • Magical ability is inherited.
The Swedish and Danish have no magical traditions of their own.

As for actual gameplay options, there are a couple stand-ins.
  • Icelandic mages can use Ten Foot Polemic's rune magic system. Not accurate to the comic, but close enough.
  • Finnish mages I have nothing good for, except perhaps true name magic, with the addition of the Mystic's focus on dealing with gods.



The only mammals completely immune to infection.
  • Grade C - Untrained. Typical farm or housecats. Can detect nearby Beasts and Trolls, which is better than nothing, but usually with a lot of loud hissing and spitting.
  • Grade B - Trained. Can detect threats, alert humans of danger (silently), and dispose of infected vermin.
  • Grade A - Elite. All of the above, but can be given specialized scout or guard duties on their own, without human supervision.


Immune characters don't need to worry about this.

Non-immune characters need to wear their fucking mask.

The rash is catchable and communicable by all mammals that aren't cats. Mice, sheep, dogs, whales, all of them can catch it and turn into a Beast or worse. Fish, reptiles, amphibians, and birds are immune. Mosquitoes will die if they drink infected blood.

There is no save.

Primary Vector - Airborne
Secondary Vector - Infected wounds

The disease does not last long outside of a host. Even so, the most basic cleanup for someone potentially exposed to infection is a washdown with disinfectant and UV sterilization of gear and clothing.

  • Beasts and most Trolls can typically only infect through direct contact. (0M)
  • Some Trolls can produce miasmatic clouds (1M)
  • Rarely, trolls can spit infectious material long distance (up to 10M)
  • Infected humans spread it in the same manner as they normally do. (3M)

Minna Sundberg

Enemies of the Silent World

Beasts are infected animals. Some of them retain a familiar form, to make them difficult to identify as Beasts from a distance.
  • Beasts are just normal animals with + 1 HD more than they would normally have. Half of their HR is devoted to Flesh, the other to Grit.
Trolls are humans transformed by the infection. Unlike Beasts, they cannot stand the cold, and so weather out the winter months in dens or burrows.
  • Trolls have 3-10 HD, either split evenly between Flesh and Grit, or all in Flesh.
  • Trolls can have additional traits - regeneration, infectious spit, noxious miasma
  • Trolls can be killed by performing a Finnish exorcism on them (requires magic dice = HD).
Giants are the few rare trolls, or amalgamations of trolls, that grow to colossal sizes. They are terrible rare, and terribly dangerous.
  • You are likely fucked if you are fighting a giant. If you are in such a circumstance, treat every limb as a separate troll of at least 5 HD. They are entirely Flesh.

While there is incredible variety in beasts, trolls, and giants, there are still recognizable and commonplace phenotypes. This list is hardly exhaustive, relying on fan names and the few that have been officially described.

  1. Duskling (troll) - Small troll the size and shape of a shrub. Heavy covering of mud and plants protect from the sun, allowing them to extend their hours. Gather in hordes. Remain capable of simple speech.
  2. Garm (beast) - An infected dog or wolf. Thick, leathery hide. Actively hunts humans as primary food source.
  3. "Jelly Long Legs" (troll) - Spine and skull encased in a jellyfish-like transparent membrane, atop two legs of comically-stretched height.
  4. Kade (troll) - An infected Finnish mage. High-potency magic. Can infect through eye contact. Can only be properly killed via an exorcism.
  5. Kalma (troll) - Ooze toxic, infectious fluids everywhere. Generally remain in their nests. Can easily bespoil water sources.
  6. Kyrkogrim (beast) - An infected hound that remains at vigil at the gravesite of its former human companion.
  7. "Leaftroll" (troll) - Facehugger, but like a big piece of beef jerky
  8. Manalan Rakki (beast) - Infected dog that can post as an uninfected stray as a means of spreading infection. Infected form only visible at close range.
  9. "Sliepnope" (beast) - Eight-legged infected horse. Possessed by ghosts.
  10. Sjødraug (troll) - Gigantic, bloated meat-thing. Nearly sessile, floats in bodies of water unless disturbed.  
  11. Vaettur (troll) - Trolls that will lurk out of sight and observe humans long-term in preparation for later ambush.

Why Are We Going Into the Silent World Anyway?

  • Danish research group is paying good money for scavenged books and hard drives.
  • A Swedish cleaner brigade needs support in clearing out a new stretch of territory.
  • A particularly dangerous variant of troll has emerged from hibernation, it needs removed. 
  • Border settlement has lost contact, we fear the worst.
  • Personal reasons - someone a PC cares for has vanished.


  1. It has been a very long while since I started reading this comic, and while I have drifted a slight ways from shore in the last few years, it remains pinned to my favorite tabs.

  2. Looks like your comments have been infected:).
    Top little series! Would you class the troll that attacked the train in the early part of the story as a giant?
    I've not seen _Esoteric Enterprises_, I'll have to go have a look at it now! The corporation/organisation generators from _The King Machine_ or _Sand dogs_ ought to be pretty compatible with this setting as well.

    1. Yeah that was a giant that attacked the train - we only ever see one of its arms!

  3. Stand Still Stay Silent is a great webcomic, and this is a great post!

    Makes me want to run a game in the Silent World. Thanks