Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Slush Pile 10

Old Slushpiles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 8.5, 9

Assorted bits pulled from notebooks, old documents, and my twitter archive.

  1. This is your regular reminder that all tabletop RPGs can, in some form, be improved by the inclusion of Aku, shapeshifting master of darkness.
  2. I had a dream last night, wherein I was explaining to my late father the principles of blaseball, citing specifically that the Commissioner is doing a great job. Also the HU was playing on a nearby rooftop but I couldn't see them.
  3. A further Dune thought: The series is a farce. Six entire books of billions of people dying because a tiny cadre of people can't see past their own noses because they're too busy posting on r/iamverysmart.
  4. Obtuse and Probably Terrible TTRPG Idea of the Night A zine game, but it is written in a conlang. The actual rules and game don't matter, the actual game is the act of translating the zine.
  5. What if you replaced Jupiter with the entire Trappist-1 system.
  6. Renewable / clean energy sources are likely the standard in fantasy settings where magic usage is common but low power cap - easier to make simple solar panels out of roof shingles than it is to drill for oil.
  7. The afterlife exists due to the efforts of necromancers, who have managed to figure out a way to maintain soul cohesion after bodily death, and a means of carving out regions of Hell from demonic control.
  8. Uplifted octopi make everything better. Space truckers, Eid al-Fitr celebrations, grocery shopping, sealed room murder mysteries - all of these and more can be improved by adding uplifted octopi.
  9. Very rough sketch - dungeon delving as religion. Literal journeys to the underworld made by the poor and disenfranchised, both in service of their communities and in seeking some salvific endpoint - found, stolen, built accomplished.
  10. Demons do things to people. Devils get people to do things of their own volition.
  11. Domesticated paraceratherium should probably be in your setting.
  12. I can't get the idea of liches throwing themselves into impossible projects for millennia out of my head because it is some raw heroic-tragedy potential there. "This is the tower of Anaximander the Great. He's been working towards the cure for cancer for the last 6000 years."
  13. troublem [trɒbləm] (n): a troublesome problem, or a problem that causes trouble.
  14. Wizard's towers serve as part of an ancient weather control and terraforming network used to spread greater habitability and stability across the world as part of an early civilization's permaculture efforts.
  15. Last night, I had a dream that I was visiting my elementary school, and was met at the front door by a cone-form yithian made entirely of dark red felt. So as to stop any hostilities from go, I waltzed right up say "Hello my good yithian!" and let myself in. It was confused.
  16. From a dream last night: Immense crow's feet, perhaps as big as a large garbage can lid. Large black feathers in tufts from the stumps, with white bands or chevrons. Hop around as if still attached to a crow. Perched on wooden crates in what I think was the undead burg.
  17. A "warlock's wedding" is a slang term for a marriage between men. Army custom dictates that the best man gathers the funds for a cheap bottle of wine that is poured over the grooms, and a slightly less cheap bottle that is drunk.
  18. Dwarves are mole people. This is absolute and retroactive. Gimli is now a mole person. Snow White's crew? Mole persons. Norse myth? Molefolks. Your PC? M O L E P E R S O N.
  19. Sailing long distances is significantly easier in fantasyland, on account that a ship's mage would not only be able to influence winds somewhat, but also desalinate water.
  20. Micromegas dungeon - an environment that feels like a megadungeon, but is in practice compact and lightweight.
  21. In Mass Effect (Throne of Salt Edition), it's impossible to get the "defeat Reapers" ending if Garrus survives ME2, as he will end up killing the batarian party member in ME3 and cut off access to the Khar'shan underground and vital components for completing the Crucible.
  22. An idea (which I am kicking myself for not using as my senior project in college) - an RPG module presented as the recovered notes of a fictional DM, using this meta element to make it both module and character study.
  23. I had a dream last night where an automated spam caller told me my "works are saturated with sin", and that's a nice ego boost for the day.
  24. An rpg idea: Reverse cosmic horror game, where you play as a cult working to prepare for the arrival of an elder god and dodging the cops and investigators out to stop you.
  25. There is no such thing as summoning a demon. The actual ritual constructs a demon from scratch, destroying it when dismissed.
  26. Trolls are large, aggressive, territorial mammals that typically live in and around rivers. Ergo, trolls are hippopotami.
  27. I can't believe the best mechanical contribution I have made to rpgs is the MEAT ECONOMY
  28. What if a lyric game, but its presented as a translation of in-universe epic poetry cunningly designed to provide setting, character options, and rules. Like it opens at a banquet where the hero is playing a drinking game and this explains how dice work.
  29. Lilith, but instead of "hot demon" she's an Iraqi woman with a penchant for owl sweaters and dunking on her ex-husband.
  30. Sapient spaceships are pacifists, or at least not inclined to violence on human terms - to them it's like committing murder over someone's gut biome.
  31. An adventure presented as one of those iceberg memes, and you have to fill in the blanks to these obscure mysteries of a setting that doesn't exist.
  32. A real Dark Souls inspired RPG would be rolling on tables of items / bosses / covenants / areas with evocative names and coming up with flavor text for them.
  33. Respectful euphemisms: Mr Peppercorn, The Thousand-and-One, Little Widemouth, Lady Red-Face, Lonny-Men, Old Dunkirk, Ossiferous Court, Cousin Crown, Wellwishers, Good Friends of Buzz Aldrin.
  34. For MoSH: Gaunt "crypts", floating in hyperspace, where they keep harvested populations.
  35. Lunacy is a heretical stance, of course: believing that a lump of inert stone, no matter how beautiful, might shed light of its own.
  36. Throne crab - docile armored pseudocrustacean with a brilliantly colored and patterned shell. Easily tamed and domesticated without use of a neural=computer link. Used as personal steeds by the upper class, but have been a fad long enough to trickle into the aftermarket.
  37. Xenomorphs are ambush/stalking predators fit for tight spaces - useless in open environments. If Weyland-Yutani had succeeded in using them to their own ends, I would expect to see habitat design shift to favor the presence of xenomorph security forces.
  38. An immortal emperor - decapitated, undying - still slumped on his throne.
  39. Honey staves off rustblight, but there is no cure.
  40. Crematory ash exorcises ghosts.
  41. Fields of blue flowers are signs of spilled godblood.
  42. The angel in the clocktower knew Master Dremon.
  43. Bring the nymph ring to Old Man Alder.
  44. Okay it looks like your cause of death was "Eaten by alkalion" and your horrible afterlife event was "had to shovel soul-coal in a demonic voidship" You now have knowledge of hell-shanties and a resistance to the effect of imp-gin.
  45. Hollow men are those who have had their life-flames drained by the monoliths. The giants, the servants of ever-sleeping Death, rest inside them.
  46. Angels as embodiments of depersonalized violence 
  47. Unloading the tomb of a lich off a plane, as seen on the news.

Dicember leftovers


  • Armor-piercing weapons are treated as doing double damage to armor.
  • Plasma weapons deal double damage to shields. Absorbed plasma damage will permanently degrade armor rating.
  • Needle weapons deal half damage against armor but explode like a grenade on a critical / 3 successful hits on the same target.
  • Spike weapons are useless against shields and ignore armor entirely.


Cryo isn't actually all that cold.

It used to be, back in the early days. It turned out that a travel method with a 45% chance of permanent brain damage was too much even for the early interplanetary corps in the wake of the Anthropocene Collapse. Even if you were part of the lucky 55, you'd still probably find yourself in therapy or reconstructive surgery to repair the ravages to your body.

So the options were to stick with remote drones, or the slow, costly and inefficient strategy of throwing a few people at a time out into space and hoping that the monkeys in a can don't kill each other before they reached their destination.

The biotech revolution saved the day. Induced metabolic hibernation has become standard practice and has only improved in efficiency since then.


A digital guard dog; an ainima employed as a guardian of a node or cluster and tasked with the removal of unwanted intruders. Trying to get past one will require either the appropriate credentials or some sort of appeasement program.


"Four Teamsters After A Double Shift" (oil on canvas without AI assistance, al-Safi, 2871) - A realist life painting of four sleeping dockworkers, famous primarily for its brazen theft by a rights-squatting NFT farm and the eight year counter-theft by members of the Epsilon Indi V Longshores Union. The painting depicts in great detail a quartet of union workers (two women, one man, and an androgyne) sleeping on top of a pile of canvas tarps. One of the women is comedically sprawled out flat on her back and drooling. The man and androgyne are sleeping together, and generally interpreted as partners. The second woman has fallen asleep sitting upright against a packing crate. A half-eaten meal-in-a-pouch is splattered on the deck, presumably trampled by passersby. The identity of the four subjects is unknown - The Rooster-Year Rebellion destroyed most company records of The Big Crunch, and al-Safi themself did not survive the violence. The painting is currently on display at the Museum of the People, Union Moot A, Epsilon Indi V.


There is something in the airlock. You're still four months out of port and something is rap-tap-tapping on the airlock door. There's grime on the camera lens, you can't make out what's in there. Something wrong with the electronics, too, you can't open it up by computer. You can use the other airlock, but that doesn't stop the tapping and rasping and thudding and scraping. It is becoming impatient.


Gold isd cheaper than paper these days, practically worthless outside of manufacturing and art. For the latter, there are very few people who remember when it had any value at all - everyone else thinks it's just tacky. Cheap gold jewelry is omnipresent.


A pearl-white sphere twenty-some miles across, cracked open like an egg. Wet red ripples of scar tissue, clustered of black eyes, yellowing teeth in long zipper-lines.


A persistent issue in colonization is the arrival of automated slower-than-light ships in systems already colonized by hyperspace-capable vessels. The AI on these STL ships are difficult or actually impossible to interface with due to the drift in handshake protocols over time, on top of their limited computational plasticity. These ships will often ignore communication attempts entirely and have been known to establish colonies on already inhabited worlds, treating the current inhabitants as an invasive native biosphere to be eliminated.

A Pair of Poems

There is a house upon the moor

of bloodied stone and shattered glass

where that old lord, his gods undone,

took up precious things in hand

and descended into the blind obscurity

of the lightless, septic bowels

below the wounded earth.


Of lies most pernicious, I know of only one

That perfection might exist here beneath the sun

The toll that dread ideal form demands

The weight that crushes human hands

And hearts into rotten pulp

Forever echoing not good enough.



  1. Next one will be another bookmarks one, I think.

  2. How do you have so many cool ideas just lying around in notebooks and documents

  3. Do I see the small pieces of a Halo rpg?

  4. 24 : this games exists :
    I have not read it but I listened to a very entertaining actual play of that game.

  5. 9 is very similar to Tenebrae in some respects, where adventurers are ritualists travelling the underworld in search of gold (there it is a mythical metal and the last remainder of the sun that powers what remains of life in general and civilization in particular); the what remains of the world is described "Our world has walls. Trash, excrement, housing, supplies, people… Everything takes up space. Even breathable air is no guarantee when shared in such close quarters."

  6. Number 6 is basically Eberron, "wide magic" not "high magic"

    1. I am a fan of that corner of the quadrant, for sure

  7. Awesome. I read this and I happen to wear my Samurai Jack shirt.