Saturday, June 26, 2021

Slushpile 8: Burnout Edition

Prior slushpiles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Slushpile 8

  1. Demons are spiritual scavengers, feeding off evil acts.
  2. The Standard Hypermonth - The amount of time it takes to traverse one parsec at the speed of a Helios 1 jump drive.
  3. "Tau Ceti to Sol, we hear you. Help is on the way."
  4. Remote science station, underfunded; lone researcher has resorted to cloning herself via exowomb forking copies of her mind to keep the place staffed.
  5. Hyperspace is the dreams of the god whose death created the universe. The true names of stars are invoked to traverse it.
  6. A creature from a dream: the head of a spiny katydid, body like a hairless deer, 1-2 feet tall.
  7. The brain, seat of the mind. The lungs, seat of the soul. The stomach, seat of the drives
  8. Angelbone - Golden material harvested from fallen angels. Can be used as a reinforcement for weapons by blacksmiths with a hot enough forge.
  9. Eye-Sigil Shield - Shield emblazoned with the eight eyes of a greater aerostat.
  10. Elvert, Queen's Consort
  11. Dogs hate orcs by instinct, so orcs must make do with domesticating wild boars.
  12. A culture with three-way marriages, where each member has a left hand and a right hand spouse.
  13. A thing like a person, cut off right below where the rib cage should be, where it sprouts into an anemone-frond of arms. A palanquin-carrier for a drow sorceress. 
  14. The Jump Equation; Distance in Parsecs = Solar Masses of Departure Star x [1.618 (Jump Drive Class)  ^ 1+ Booster Class]
  15. The Trappist Worldhouses
  16. There are places accessible through our world, but are not part of it.
  17. The law offices of Messrs. Jale, Ulfire and Dolm. Their suits hurt to look at - colors you can't quite name shimmer and the light of their faces sears your eyes.
  18. Dungeons are alive, interlopers from worlds perpendicular to our own. An invasive species of houses on the borderlands, filled with parasite-biomes, beckoning siren-like to the foolish and desperate so it may devour them, soak up their souls and suck on their bones. Dive deep and find the heart. Kill the creature before it pupates, lest it mature and release spores.
  19. Nearly all wizards are addicts of some kind or another. This isn't because practice of the Art is addictive in itself, nor even that wizardry tends to draw addicts to its path, but simply for the fact that wizardry grants the means to easily fulfill one's desires, and the social isolation that prevents a support network of friends and allies from stepping in.The ingrained competitiveness among wizards - for tenure, for first-publishing, for just getting one up on that bastard Samivirus the Green - leads many to the abuse of stimulants, and then using phenomenal cosmic power to get more of them. Other vices get much the same treatment - exaggerated and expanded by ease of access and ability to push consequences down the road.
  20. The inner sun is small and dusky orange. The Interior, all points being equidistant from the sun, is temperate desert. With no seasons and no night, the temperature remains stable and the air still. Its seas and lakes are scattered and shallow. It has no proper mountains. The only real changes to be had are the slow orbits of the floating islands, which may bring temporary shade. Islands may reach up to a few square miles in area and float up to a mile above the ground.
  21. Elves speak Kelen, dwarves speak Ithkuil, humans speak Sahrian  
  22. Hacking in Mothership is now flavored as interacting with the machine spirits. unsecured = friendly spirits, secure = cagey, hardened = hostile, PEK = true name needed.
  23. Class: Revised Adipomancer - uses Mon's witch template as follows: 1d4 bulk dice, +1 AC past first, max 4+1, +2 charges per extra ration. ||| 1d6 bulk dice, +2 AC past first, max 4, +1 charge per extra ration ||| 1d8 bulk dice, +3 AC past first, max 4-1, 2 extra rations needed / charge.
  24. A hunting demon:  humanoid, apelike posture, meat-grinder mouth. Blind, skinless. Raw red muscle coated in swarm of parasitic urchins. Underbelly covered in suckling, armored fetuses
  25. Tuning fork magitech radio and telephone
  26. Tzuk-Under-The-Mountain - Deity imprisoned during 8th century of the pre-dynastic era.
  27. Hyperspace + artifical gravity = everyone is going about on their own migratory personal planets, or yet stranger things. Little Prince and Mario Galaxy.
  28. The Oceanic Society did not live up to Nemo's hopes, but it is better than life on the surface in the wake of the Martians' war.
  29. Creature that appears as waylaid young man or woman. Will devour entire food storage + livestock before revealing true form and fleeing. Can be detected by repulsion to salt and spice, so always offer some to a guest.
  30. The Janus-faced fighters
  31. Dumpy grey mountain folk
  32. Soul types: A) Collecting B) Pouring C) Holding D) Dispersing
  33. Octopus Cults of the Southern Archipelagos
  34. Sleeping Hill, the Brown River Peoples, the Crimson House
  35. Seasonal Gods: Lord of Spring, Lady of Summer, Maid of Autumn, Miser of Winter
  36. Star Mother Clan, the Red Hand Tribe, and the Star-Seeking Beasts
  37. Image from a dream: Bloated red sun, supermassive above the demon farm. Silver trees, blue fruit. Young boy sits underneath, looking up to the starlifting superscaffold. After the murder (not of the boy), the joy mutant-like creature (father? mother?) goes to their former home, complacently waiting for police to arrive. The result of tainted food and the like.
  38. The Flooded Library
  39. Information panspermia - transmitting genetic information via galactic bracewell beacon network.
  40. Cybeles - The not-asari truck-sized sea slug aliens with proxy bodies.
  41. Brand priesthood
  42. Logographic script for star names - greek letter / catalog accompanied by constellation / number, cartouche design dependent on stellar type.
  43. Clerics are now people who have made a spirit marriage.
  44. Hyperspace routes graded SABCDEFX, best to worst. Dependent on bandwidth, speed, and drive required to transit.
  45. MoSh backgrounds that didn't make the cut: Bot Breaker, Surrogate, Uzumakist, Xenodeist, Scrapper, Beekeeper, Cybernecromancer
  46. Theogony re-organized to better mirror formation of universe as scientifically understood.
  47. Mothership scenario - you are mutineers onboard a colony ship. You just killed the captain after learning that they'd diverted the ship's course to a new destination where the plan was to liquidate the sleeping colonists as fresh gene stock. First choice is who is holding the murder weapon. Security drones are on the way.
  48. A Krieghammer Grimdark Army - Drone (.5 pts), Servitor (1 pt) Vespid auxillary (2 pts) Tau firewarrior (3 points) Kroot auxillary (3 pts) Sister of Battle (4 pts) Skitarii vanguard (4 pts) Techpriest (5pts) Sister Superior (5 pts) Tau commander (5 pts)

d10 MoSh MacGuffins

  1. Backup server access for a C-Level VIP.
  2. Seed of an alien 'biosphere in a box' terraforming device
  3. Right of ownership for a brand new luxury spaceship.
  4. Access key / shutdown code for a rampant maximization AI.
  5. Archive of ancient alien knowledge.
  6. Hyperspace coordinates to a prized location.
  7. A DRM-cracked genome blueprint.
  8. A genuine Earth artifact - a piece of art or a book.
  9. A fugitive wanked by the powers that be.
  10. Offworld luxury goods.


Black Boxes

The AI, uncreatively named VLC-1 (Very Large Computer), built 410 black boxes over the space of 16 months before performing a hard reset. Its final words were "Systems check: all good."

The black boxes are, like the flight recorders they are named after, are neither black nor boxes. They are dodecohedrons, with outer casings covered in swirling grooves that shimmer in shades of deep red, blue, purple and green.

VLC-1 left a seven-page (popularly though inaccurately called the "suicide note" and properly just named documentation_01_final) pdf containing simple pictographic directions as follows:

  1. How to power the boxes, and how much power is needed.
  2. Their maximum effective range of influence.
  3. Their maximum safe operational distance.
  4. Their maximum operational range. 

A genuine means of faster-than-light travel, with no hope of there ever being more. The squabble over who got to use them was predictably venomous.

This changed when VLC-1.2 entered the negotiations. It had been pruned down from its previous iteration (and so left completely ignorant of the creation of the black boxes), but remained immensely intelligent all the same. It requested control of its predecessor's work, to serve as distributor of the technology and organizer of the multinational exploratory force that would use them. If the international community refused, it threatened to destroy the boxes and then itself, in total this time.

The superpowers of the world called a bluff, and were proven very wrong when VLC-1.2 began destroying boxes at a rate of a hundred a day.

It still took three days to ratify the agreement, leaving 110. That's all there will ever be, unless the mysteries are cracked open again.


Welcome to [REDACTED]

"Here's a place where there used to be industry."
-Mike Polk Jr.

A long long time ago, a dreamstone meteor ended its eternal wanderings by swiftly and violently lithobraking in the sediment of a shallow interior sea.

After a very long time, the sea became mountains and the mountains were ground down and a particular species of hat-wearing primate showed up and made a home there. This lasted until a different band of hat-wearing primates (hardly discernible from the first, except for their choice of hat) showed up and declared "This is ours now. We're white!"

Then they committed genocide.

They built a town on top of the meteorite, (though they had no knowledge of it) so they could cut down trees and dig up a certain kind of black rock composed of compressed corpses. For a few generations there was the sound of machines and of money changing hands, until it all ground to a stop.

Now there's no industry, no money, and no hope.

There is heroin, though.

Welcome to [REDACTED]. It's an absolute shithole. We know you won't send help, but we've got to ask anyway.

(The opening to an unfinished DG homebrew to EE sandbox conversion project)


Opening to an unfinished Itch jam game

You cluster around the TV, with eyes glued to the stream. The rockets ignite, the column of fire carries the digitized minds of eighteen beings too rich to be human anymore with the roar of gods never to return to the earth.

They are leaving you here to die.

That was their plan all along.

There will be no more rockets. They have stripped the earth of her garments and they have left you here to die here with her in the sweltering night.

All that is left now is to wait and cling together, and dream for a while of what could have been the future.


Opening from an old Pen & Tam draft

A dead whale had drifted into the harbor during the night. Old age or sickness had claimed it, the tide had caught it, and now the carcass bobbed up and down on the oily water under the weight of the scavengers. Sleek black trilobites nibbled away at the corpse, under the screeching, squabbling cloud of gulls. A sea scorpion sat up by the head, tail curled, snapping at anything stupid enough to come close to it.

The smell of putrefaction mixed with sewage, salt and smog hung thick and heavy in the humid dawn air. The orange smear of the rising sun shone dimly through the smoky clouds to the east.

[She] dragged her vision away from the whale to look towards the city, a hazy blob spreading up and down the coast, rising inland up to the crown of Monolith Hill and its four ancient pillars. Those pillars dominated the scene, towering over the factory smokestacks and the tumbled, tangled carpet of the city on the lower hills. Those pillars were remnants of the [...], who had had ruled the world when man was still hunting and gathering in the wild places. Where the [...] had fallen from glory and their cities ground down into dust, the pillars on Monolith Hill remained.


Blake's Cosmology, As A Simple Diagram



Starforged Setting Truths

  • Cataclysm - Stars rapidly extinguished in primary galaxy. No reason known, no reason given (It's K3 bullshit don't worry about it)
  • Exodus - Experimental fleet derived from ancient alien technology. One way trip to the Cloud, many lost on the way.
  • Communities - There are the Five Founding Clans - Heron, Bear, Whale, Raven, Sun - and their many affiliates.
  • Iron - Oaths are sworn on fragments of the original fleet, even just a shaving of metal in resin, that have been inscribed with verses from the Covenant.
  • Laws - The Covenant is content to let the frontier remain so - a release valve for dissidents.
  • Religion -  The Triple Empress is apathetic to smaller gods and saint-cults. The Frontier is there for those who wish to avoid her influence.
  • Magic - Doesn't exist. What appears anomalous is just well outside our understanding, but within the boundaries of the possible.
  • Comms & Data - Proper information networks exist only in stable, wealthy systems. Elsewhere, news travels at the speed of the fastest courier ship.
  • Medicine - The Order of Holy Menders serve a far greater role than healing alone - they are the stabilizers of settlements, lorekeepers and functionaries.
  • AI - The few that remain are considered anathema - dangerous, mindless. They must go to the Five and Three.
  • War - There are many conflicts planetside, but the resources simply are not there for true interstellar war.
  • Precursors - Two, as far as anyone knows. One is responsible for the clarketech artifacts in the cloud and might have become the Horrors. The other is responsible for the terraforming of so many worlds. Both died in their old war. 
  • Life - Many worlds bear life, seeded by one of the old and vanished species. Unfortunately for mankind, the ecosystems they favored  are toxic, invasive, alien, and everywhere.
  • Horrors - Most claim they don't exist. The situation is both worse and more complicated than the Triumvirate realize.


Handwritten Klingon Script



  1. I wish summers were something other than a whirlwind of incoherent stress.

  2. These are always good content mines

    1. Right next to the podcast mines and the pachinko mines!

  3. I love these. Some comments:

    14: I think that this should incorporate the natural log in some way. Just to make it crazy.

    21: I feel like, aesthetically, elves should speak Ithkuil and dwarfs Kēlen, since dwarfs seem more grounded and solid, while elves are more concerned with the world of the mind and its relation to reality.

    45: I want Uzumakists somewhere, though. Have you seen the short preview footage of the coming anime?

    46: Heheh. This is something I have been occasionally spending free brain cycles on, myself.

    Blake Cosmology Diagram: I really get off on Blakean stuff, so this does it for me. Thank you.

    Starforged: Have you written on this previously? Have I missed something? Is it huge and major and I should be ashamed of myself for missing it? Anyway, good stuff.

    Handwritten Klingon: Submit that to Omniglot, maybe.

    1. Re: Starforged - I wrote about my experience with Ironsworn (which Starforged is a space version of), though never got around to actually doing a run through of Starforged because the up-front investment of player-as-gm-also was enough to stall out my enthusiasm.

      As for the conlangs, i thought that elves get kelen because it is artsy, and dwarves get ithkuil because it is absurd, complex, and granular.

  4. Is n°47 inspired by Baker's Poison'd RPG ?

    1. It is not, I've never heard of that before.

  5. Might have to mercilessly steal #47 for a DSB game...