- Tay al-Ard - "Folding of the earth" (miraculous teleportation in Islamic tradition)
- Something is rap-tap-tapping inside the septic tanks.
- Fleshy blob found aboard a derelict, sitting amidst mounds of cannibalized crew.
- The shape of a person, perhaps, made up of the floaters in your eyes.
- An orange tomcat with five fiery tails
- One-eyed ogre, skin tattooed blue, wreathed in hot alcoholic mist
- Monolith of leathery red-brown skin, covered in eyeless, toothless faces.
- A nude, meditating human whose torso has split open into a flowering tree
- Enormous night-black octopus with a white underbelly; pinpricks of stars across its mantle.
- Desiccated mummy curled in a walker chair, eyes long gone, mouth crammed full of too-big-teeth, surrounded by cheap plastic figurines.
- A voxel swarm in the rough shape of a person, shimmering like bismuth crystals.
- Gore-splattered ibis with a burning crown, perched atop a pile of garbage
- They Will Not Allow You To Die - Mosh corpo using alien cancers to keep workers alive, zombielike, as they slowly deteriorate.
- "He claims to have repeated nightmares of indistinct beings descending from the sky in a great mass. Like they had been drawn on the air in black marker."
- Prepare for yourself a syrup of Ithsun-Zan, and heat it in three parts water until it has turned from black to gold-orange as a flame. Add to this from your store of corpse-powder, either that of an enemy or that of a friend. Lower the heat, and recite from the litanies of Ulurhan. Then find a quiet place, clear your mind of meaningless chatter, and drink. To those who see your garment of flesh, you shall be dead. This is no matter, for life is the great illusion of the cell and its division.
- The String Child
- The Fool - Just some farmboy with his pa's old sword. Out for adventure, not knowing where he's going.
- The Magician - Arcane mastery is only a fraction of his ambition; To gain worldly power, he must have students. He must have eyes and ears. He must not rely on friends in high places.
- The Emperor - He holds himself as if he is a king, though there's no crown on his brow.
- Strength - She knows pankration
- The Hermit - Sickened with the world, he went up the mountain alone. He returns now to prophesy.
- The Hanged Man - The highwayman. They strung him up, but the rope failed three times. The end of one life, the beginning of another.
- Death - He rides a pale horse. His armor is smoke-black.
- The Devil - Killed three priests. Hung them by their cinctures. Burned down the church. Wanted dead.
- The Grand Hierodules - Warrior-diplomats of the Autarch of the Austrolopithicine Throne. Beautiful to behold and terrifying in combat, as if an ape was made in the image of an angel. They are adrift now without their Autarch. Some among them have shaken off their mental shackles and taken their first steps towards autonomy - children with the powers of gods. Split among Loyalists, Revanchists, the followers of the Old Gods, and the Feral.
- Dwarves speak either Ithkuil or Lojban.
- Human names are all number designations preceeded by the last name of a famous astronaut or sci-fi author
- The once-mighty ANTHROPIC BASILEUM, has fallen apart into a thousand thousand splinters of itself. In its vastness, its wealth, and its skill at arms, its rulers thought that it might never fall, that it would build graveyards and call it peace for eternity, and thought that such efforts might never be turned inward. This was generations ago.
- Class: The Reincarnator - Every time you die, you will return with a different appearance and special ability. Leveling up (or a special item) will allow you to lock-in an ability and bring it along to your next body.
- Retired Adventurer, on theme: "Step 1: Think big thoughts; feel big feels Step 2: Make the setting reflect those thoughts and feels"
- MoSh campaign setup - PCs are emulated intelligences embodied as disposable asset-denial for Weird Shit. Eclipse Phase with the middle man removed. Need to figure a good name for them, if there's a term for someone who is stuck doing hard time in hell in Buddhism that would be solid.
- Seedships go back in time when they travel. Each world they terraform is, from our perspective, earlier and earlier in the timeline and the biosphere is older. Far enough out, there are worlds where intelligent life has evolved on its own from the original stock.
- MoSh scenario - Delving into 21086 Kosmoborgar to retrieve the black boxes of a previous survey team
- Anonymous Ithkuil translation of The Brothers Karamazov. "Try and find the secret!" is written in blue pen on the inside cover.
- North Korean Superman - 43 seconds of 8mm film footage. Actors are halted at 21 seconds by director, who enters shot. Actress of Lois Lane draws gun and shoots director twice in head. Dark shape, approximately fist-sized, is seen moving at great speed from director's skull.
- Nigerian Lord of the Rings - Handwritten manuscript of a sequel to Fellowship of the Ring, written in both Igbo and English. From writing style and language used, author is presumed to have been a teenager.
- MoSh scenario - Company adjustors arrive to investigate monoliths supposedly result of alien transplant of humans. Not actually alien in origin, the monster has a mundane explanation.
- A demon caused by burning down a haunted house.
- A post that is a fake review of a fictional roguelike game called "Jabberwock"
- Coitekton - fake archaism for a sex worker.
Rejected Party Members from the upcoming 40k CRPG
1. Domesticated tyranid named "Dog"
2. Friendly, erudite plague marine we have quarantined in an escape pod
3. Jokaero mechanic who keeps hidden marijuana / tea / vegetable farm in hydroponics
4. Sr. Veronike, space marine
5. Maarvaan the Paranoid Necron
6. Dark eldar raider fallen to Tzeentch instead of Slaanesh; playing literal 5D chess all the time
7. Ork battle-poet (romancable)
8. Navigator whose vibe is "incredibly boring salaryman"
9. A skaven who just ended up here somehow
10. Universe's chillest Sister of Battle
11. Blundering, overwhelmed water-caste diplomat assigned to your ship as punishment
12. Imperial Guardsman who has been the only survivor of every major battle he's been in.
12. Pair of Admech priests who are very obviously eternal rivals / married.
12. Squat mechanic who is super into elaborate concept-album prog-rock operas
12. Chaos Firewarrior - Trying figure how this works, Tau psychology is not compatible with Khorne.
13. Whatever it is, it's trapped in the water filtration system and keeps tapping code on the pipes.
14. Knight from a medieval world; perpetually astounded by everything they see.
15. Neurotic hive-city gangster; thrash-metal musician
16. Witch-Hunter Raphaël Ambrosius Costeau, arriving on the scene
17. Hrud doctor, who is here just so that the hrud have more info on them than "none at all"
18. Skippy the Servo-Skull
19. Leftenant Scab, the no-fun-allowed second-in-command
20. The Captain - He's not actually the captain but he calls himself that and no one could bear to disappoint him.
- Tau - armor (breakable), plasma rifle (bulky, accurate)
- Ork - shoota (loud, powerful, inaccurate), choppa (huge, heavy)
- Skitarii - take rifle (energy), servo-skull, cybernetics
- Imperial Guard - lasrifle, armor, favored environment
- Sister of Battle - heavy armor, chainsword (loud, brutal) or flamethrower (bulky, aoe) or heavy bolter (loud, brutal)
- Psyker - take telepathy, telekinesis, mindblast, and warp-spasm
- Heretek - unapproved cybernetics, servo-skull, pistol (plasma)
- Eldar - ceramic armor, shuriken gun (elegant), no one likes you
- Dark Eldar - BDSM armor (ineffective, intimidating), pain gun, useless wavy knife
- Kroot - Long rifle, powerful beak, corpse-eater
- Squat - Hammer, shotgun, high gravity tolerance
- Demiurg - Stony skin, ion hand-cannon (stunning, disabling)
- Vespid - Wings, chitin, venomous sting,
- Hrud - Disease carrier, cartilaginous exoskeleton, darkvision
Preparation of the Banquet
(I backed out of participating in the Book of Gaub early, but I did write this, so it evens out.)
Interviewer: And this was when you shot him, correct?
Interviewer: Were his actions a direct threat to you at the time?
Agent: He was nearly done setting the table, best as I could tell. [Agent F] was the only one of us who had seen it this far along before and he said that there's no way to stop it once the fifteenth course is out.
Interviewer: What sort of danger does the banquet pose?
Agent: Don't know what the food does. Don't want to know. Could barely walk through the room there was so much shit piled up in there. Guests start showing up once everything is set and the host rings the bell, I know that.
Interviewer: You've seen that happen?
Agent: [Points to prosthetic eye, smiles without humor]
Interviewer: I apologize. How may victims did you find?
Agent: Eleven. Big for this sort of thing, I know most are only one or two and don't normally go above six or seven.
Interviewer: Is there any sort of significance, do you think?
Agent: Dunno. Everyone had an empty chair across from them.
Interviewer. Interesting. That's very similar to the incident in [EXPUNGED].
Interviewer: I thought so. Gaub. Not a good way to go. Gaub.
Agent: [Gnawing on hand, nodding solemnly.] Gaub
Introduction to an Unfinished Critical Essay About Trad Games
I love trad games.
I love them because they're terrible. They're terrible and they are huge, which means that they have huge, terrible contents. An excess of contents. I cannot run out of things to say about trad games, because the barrel is so wide and so deep and should I ever feel like I am scraping the bottom, lo and behold there is another barrel beneath it.
Tabletop games are, by necessity, an incomplete genre. What I can critique of the text is limited to the book in my hands and the pdf on my screen. The act of play creates an entirely different context for the work - a game whose text is a miserable pile of formatting errors can be a fun time with the right group and the right ref, and a slick and well-made game text might end up a terrible night for everyone if things don't click correctly. Either way, records of these game nights are difficult to pin down - they are a tradition of folk art and oral history and so they aren't going to come into play (har) much in what's to follow.
It is entirely possible and entirely commonplace to have fun in spite of a game text, or to have a bad time despite it.
Anyway, back to trad games.
The trad game publishing style, of game lines ever-producing more books to purchase naturally produces more *stuff*. The OSR sphere, with its focus on loosey-goosey hackjob cobbled-together rulesets and modules often doesn't provide enough *stuff* to get a proper foothold. The greater indie sphere probably has *stuff*, but...
All Swords are Cursed
"A knife may cut bread, a hammer may drive a nail, an axe may hew wood. The spear and the bow are less defensible, but they are a poor man's weapon and may keep him fed through the winter, so I have no quarrel with them. But the sword is a worthless piece of shit, good only for turning men into ghosts and loved only by fucking idiots who confuse monstrousness for strength. Find me a sword-user and I will show you one whose life would be improved in every way by throwing the damned thing into a pond and taking up habitual masturbation."Basic idea for this mechanic is that you're got GLOG style technique-dice for your guns and swords et c, but you can only gain charges by killing. You can gain as many dice as you want, but when you have enough to go over some limit (undecided what it is determined by - likely WIS) you'll start gaining corruption (hey, this mechanic again) upon either failing a check or not burning a die when you use a technique. Hit corruption limit and you become a demon.