Thursday, May 24, 2018

What is this, 20 questions?

Jeff asks real good questions. I answered them, rather than face the vast and indifferent abyss of existence this afternoon.

the fog-bound province

1) What is the deal with my cleric's religion?
Clergy are a thing. DnD clerics aren't. The most powerful, profitable, and widespread religion is the Church of God-most-Censorious. Most folks pay at least lip service.

It teaches that evil is human : human is evil. Abeyance is the most one can strive toward. Censor your every thought. Hold tight and ruthless the reins of your wretched soul. Those who dedicate their worthless lives to the church may rise to the point of herding some portion of humanity towards the mediocre & middling morality of which it is capable. 

Speakers, Seekers, Sisters, Monks, and above all Inquisitors. Inquisitors are the only ones of the lot allowed to own land. It is they who maintain the church's private militaries. In many locales, the Inquisitor's word is the only law. PCs probably don't want none of that.

There is a scarcely visible spirit world all around, especially on the liminal edges of civilization. These are seen by some and intuited by others. They have their bargains to make. It's always a bad idea. Interesting though.

And there are things so far removed from the precarious balance of this world, one cannot understand. One call on them. They often answer, in unexpected ways. Some seem to strive for permanence; some wreak havoc and smiling change. ISoG is the most popular and well know of these beings. It/they is firmly in the latter category.

The God that Laughs seems to be legit too. However, those fuckers are soooo goddamn hinky. Some folks think their god eats babies.

2) Where can we go to buy standard equipment?
No such thing. All the PCs are just folk fucked over by fate to be special.

Look for abandoned homesteads and villages in the wilderness, there's always useful things to be had. After a week or two, limp back to town and get side-eyed by ostentatious merchants, begrudgingly taking your strange and tarnished silver.

3) Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?
You're gonna need to kidnap an accomplished blacksmith. Or if you find one who worships ISoG, she probably wouldn't care. (ISoG only accepts craftswomen in its terrible ranks, not craftsmen... for reasons as mysterious as every fucking thing that bag of madness does.

4) Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?
Rumors persist of Coleopteric Brother, from the founding and before the diaspora, still at large. Ropey muscles and long, long grey hair are standard fair to describe him. A few stories claim he grew a left breast and birthed a litter of kittens to understand in full the circle of life. All sources agree that the Beetle of Truth lives in his left ear.

5) Who is the greatest warrior in the land?
The Supreme Inquisitor's nephew, Jogg George the Mighty, is lauded as the greatest swordsman to ever have walked the wretched world. Both his horse's gait and armor are definitively impressive.

6) Who is the richest person in the land?
The Supreme Inquisitor. No doubt. The mayors and merchants of the Eastern Coast are also VERY wealthy, and they don't go everywhere with a private army in tow. I mean there's lots of money and unusual goods way up Sky Port, but that's Callister's biz. INVITE ONLY. There are corridors and tunnels and crazy machines inside the spire... Not even Sky-Folk go in there.

7) Where can we go to get some magical healing?
No where. No where safe. The cost is extremely high and it can't be bought with silver nor gold nor gleaming gem.

8) Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?
Posion, disease, curse = Witches sometimes Aelfs. Levels aren't real and can't be drained. Lycanthropy is forever. Polymorph is forever unless polymorphed again... probably not what you wanted. Alignment isn't real either. To spurn death, you must defeat death in paramortal combat. Undeath is the domain of Elementalists, and those fuckers are TERRIFYING.

9) Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?
No. Secret cabals sometimes but mostly they're just fucking around.

10) Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?
That east coast is really happening y'all... mostly due to population. Especially Xephir, which has grown way beyond its walls. Miles and miles of cityscape hugging the coast.

11) Where can I hire mercenaries?
Anywhere people are desperate so literally anywhere with people. To get the real pros, you're gonna have to outpay the church. Good luck.

12) Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?
Magic is feared and outlawed pretty much everywhere. If you're wearing armor in a city and not part of the local power structure, everyone will (rightly) assume you're up to no good. Strangers are always blamed when shit goes missing or somebody gets stabbed. You carrying stabbing shit? Clearly you did it, weirdo. Let's hang 'em and have a party!!

13) Which way to the nearest tavern?
Look for a sheath of barley hanging above a door. Somebody there sells beer, probably the lady of the house. They might have a place for you to sit, often in a garden 'round back. 

If there's a candle burning above a door, it's a public house AND they're accepting more folks. There'll be a big room, usually a long table. They will be happy to let you sleep in there for money. They will also be happy to sell you booze and food. The strongest stuff around is applejack. (That's cider carefully frozen in the winter to jack the alcohol content way up.)

14) What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?
Rumors abound that there's a dragon with black-glass scales killing livestock and shepherds near the Ruinous Woods of the north. It's begun to affect the dividends of powerful men so something might be done about it.

15) Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?
The Church of God-most-Censorious is always looking for somebody to hold a musket or a spear and go fight in whatever the fuck it is they're doing past the Ocean Fog.

16) How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?
Glory? No. Money? Yes. Basements, dockside. Stone walls sweat and men fight to the death; others bet and wince and grin and sometimes clap. Not every fighter's there by choice. 

17) Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?
ISoG is always hiring. Soon its black ash planet will arrive. Permanence will be impossible. Pain will be joy; all will scream uneven.

Also there are an surprising number of cults being led by clever goblin-spirits. Those little animal headed bastards are just having a laugh. The blood and pain they inflict amounts to nothing but blood and pain.

18) What is there to eat around here?
Stews of whatever is available, often salt pork and garden veggies. Crusty bread is a must. About half the populace still eat from wooden trenchers, rather than pewter or pottery. Those folks have fewer teeth. Eggs have become common after some wildly successful commercial breeding operations out east. Often the eggs are scrambled with skirt steaks and other garbage cuts farmers can actually afford from their livestock. Winter is gruel thickened with old fat.

19) Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?
There's supposed to be this Naiad Treasury, way up the river Whey. Whatever that means. Also pushing far enough in any direction will take you past the fog... to somewhere else. The Desart Strange is supposed to be studded with shunned ruins and old gold.

20) Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?
Past the fog, everyone hopes.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Vengtenk, Dertective

So your name is Vengtenk, which don't make sense, but that doesn't really matter. See you're a pile of sweaty garbage in a filthy overcoat. You work as a P.I.

Your office is just a room with a corner marked off in chipboard. Behind that, a rusty shower and a toilet. You're drunk, and the toilet’s on fire.

Anyway, this game is meant to be played on social media in like a single thread or whatever. Everyone plays Vengtenk. After the GM asks for action, first commenter gets to does their thing.

If there's some question about the success of doing the thing, roll a Fudge die. [+] means it goes well. [-] it goes bad. [  ] and it goes the way you'd expect.

Vengtenk had 90 lives because he ate 10 cats on a dare. He's got 3 left. [-] on a dangerous thing means death.

Someone is trying to kill him. He doesn't remember why. Play until y’all figure it out… or until Vengtenk dies. Probably that.

GM, steal a plot from a cop show if you need to.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Malfunctioning Machine

From another time, perhaps another world, you were made. You know this, but you do not, cannot remember.

You have no nerves, simply sensors. Damage is noted, not felt. You rust, or rather, tarnish. White dust sifts like snow from joints long unused to movement.

This would be fine sans self-awareness.

Even then it might be okay... without the tantalizing memory of fulfillment dancing electric across microcircuits.

From danger, or any intense and immediate need, comes the closest pass to electric sensation.

Entropy is winning as always.

You are strong but deteriorating. You are a static value slowly failing. You will cease to function.

No one can repair you. The circuits will break, you hope. If only the gears and pistons fail, this chassis shall be your prison.

Game Stuff:

Ennui Robot, a class for like LotFP and OSR-etc.

Each EnnuiBot is a unique configuration, though all will have 2 recognizable arms and at 2 recognizable legs. They weigh between 400-600 lbs. and stand between 4-7 ft. tall. Beyond that, go fucking nuts.

The mysteries of EnnuiBot power-supplies require at least 4 hours of nonfunctional downtime. This can be overridden by the unit. However the next night-cycle will require 8 hours, and will automatically engage.

Robots don’t need air, food, or water, and are immune to sleep spells and biological toxins. They take 2x damage from electrical attacks.

Ennui Robots are considered to be 5HD creatures whenever that would matter. However, they begin play with 80 hitpoints (CON Mod still applies but only at level 1).

They do not heal. They cannot gain more HP. Mend does not help them. No one can fix them.

EnnuiBots will, of course, lose HP in the usual fashions.

Beyond that, all saves are 16 and drop by 1 every even level. +1 BAB. +2 STR or STR Mod is 1 higher than indicated. AC as Leather, unless otherwise indicated. Advance as Dwarf.

At character creation, players may choose to forgo 10 hp, and in exchange roll on the special Robot Biz chart. No more than 30 HP can be expended thusly.

1d10 Robot Biz
  1. Ray Gun - 1d10 ray gun, +1 to hit due to integrated targeting systems. 10 minute recharge between shots. Player decides where weapon is mounted.
  2. Tripod Leg Arrangement - Gyroscopically controlled balance, plus 3 legs, plus excessive weight make these units very difficult to knock over. +5 to any saves to prevent slipping, tripping, etc. Unit only needs 2 legs to function; however, save bonus is reduced to +2.
  3. Tool Arm - 1 robo-hand is replaced by a tool. Roll d4.
    1. Industrial Drill, 6 inches. 1d4+1 damage. Can Drill through, for example, ferrous alloys and soft stones.
    2. Titanium-alloy Pick-axe. 1d8 damage. Capable of tunneling through stone.
    3. Interchanging mini-tool set. Imagine a retro-future Dremel tool. This is that. (d3+1 if the player insists on punching with it. On an attack roll of 1, the hand is ruined.)
    4. Hypersonic Pest Repulsion Device. Uses soundwaves outside human hearing to repel pests in a 30’ radius. Insect setting repels insects and most arachnids. Small pests keeps snakes, rats, and the like at bay. Large pests keeps most Hare to Nutria sized animals away. Using a higher setting does 1 point of damage per minute to smaller animals. The large pest setting, with a successful melee attack, can cause a man sized creature extreme intestinal distress. (Save or be stunned for 1d4 rnds.) Use beyond 10 minutes in a day, adds 1 hour to the EnnuiBot’s for each 10 min. increment.
  4. Electro-Parasitic Symbiotes -  Glowing, semicorporeal lines twist into something resembling a leech built out of electricity. Not original to the unit, these creatures sustain themselves from an EnnuiBot’s power-supply. In exchange the E-PSs actively try to protect their unit. The Symbiotes interpose themselves between their unit and incoming threats. Not quite here, not quite somewhere else, the E-SPs cannot be harmed, but act as sort of a kinetic dampener. This improves the units’ AC by 3, but the unit’s night-cycle requirements are increased by 2 hours.
  5. Extra arm - Simple, an extra arm to hold a shield or a wriggling captured goblin or what-have-you.
  6. Approved for Heavy Construction Assistance - Additional +2 to STR or STR mod is 1 higher. 3/6 Architecture skill (or system equiv.).
  7. Deep Wilderness Assistance ROM and Hardware - 3/6 Survival (or system equiv.). EM Shielded Internal Compass and highly accurate Pedometer yield 5/6 Navigation (or system equiv.).
  8. First Contact Protocol Subsystems with Adjustable Data Set -  6/6 Language (or system equiv.). However, when any new intelligent species are encountered, the unit is compelled to initiate communication. Once marked as HOSTILE, the unit may respond as appropriate.
  9. Odd Antenna - Made from rock crystal, narwal ivory, twisted willow roots, or other similarly NOT robot type materials, and carved with intertwining sigils. Detects unshielded Magic within a 20 ft. radius.  These are EXTREMELY valuable to wizardly types.
  10. Holographic Display Projector - Unit can project an image of any roughly man-sized or smaller object, creature, etc. it has witnessed. With a successful INT check, it can project a ‘believable’ chimera made up of 2-3 distinct objects/creatures.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

DIY30 #5 this one is running outta control

5. What sort of abilities would a Bug Knight class give to a character?

“The sun under cosmic impetus rolls in orbit around the great protrusion of the world. So too does a ball of dung circle an ant hill, beneath the impetus of the lowly scarab. Cosmic secrets repeat across nature. Echoing spirals and circular orbits reiterate the grand works of existence.
“In the ignoble beetle is contained all of existence. Study. Understand. Watch. Listen. Comprehend.
“Allow the cosmos into you. The beetle becomes one with your flesh. So does the sun. So too does the impetus of all things.”
            - Excerpt from a Heathen Grimoire
“As the holy war against the dry kingdoms was waged, praise God-most-Censorious, an order of fighting friars became entranced with the heretics’ natural philosophy.
“They took the crawling beetle as their symbol. With it, Delanore did fall.
“But so too did the Friars of Coleoptera… heathens now, one and all. Forsworn are they against God. Show these sorcerous filth no mercy.
“This is the duty of all God’s children.”
            - From Bishop Tomlin’s “Prescriptive Histories” 

Since an inquisitor first scrawled the word “Heathen” in scarlet across a Coleopteric tome, “Heathen” has been writ on the title pages of the Friars. Whether personal or secretly printed upon the Western shore, all texts describing Coleopteric meditations share a single name.
(Occasionally, Heathen will be in an acrostic title, but this is rare.)

First Lesson:
“The moon is the sun, the sun is a ball of dung, a ball of dung is the grass. Your corpse will become soil. Soil becomes the grass. You have always been the sun, the moon, the thorn and fruit.”
This is always the first lesson, the necessary lesson. Separation is a lie. (So too then is logic, but that lie is quite useful to the seeming world we see.)
The Scarab Tome requires 60 minus INT hours of intense study to Understand.
As well as 48 minus WIS hours of Watching Scarab Beetles in the wild to Comprehend.
Once one has Comprehended, an Aspirant need only let the Beetle within them.
A female Scarab soon to lay her eggs must be found and coaxed into your palm. Look at Her. Know Her; know Yourself. Submit to Her “Your” right to live. (1% chance the Aspirant irrevocably dies. Few know this.) If she accepts you, she will extend her ovipositor.
Open then your skin for her. She will lay her egg.
Then you will Comprehend, actively.
1d6 Active Comprehensions

One – With intense non-concentration, very literal outward dissolvent meditation really, the aspirant can ignore solid barriers. Requires 1d6 minutes of focus and a successful WIS check to begin. And another WIS check for each additional foot beyond the first. Failure at that point is death. Cosmically irrevocable and all that.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

DIY30 #3 New ways to hurt you

3. How can a monster harm a character in a new and unusual way?

The villagers will kill you. The pawns and catspaws of Chaos won’t need to.

You might even come back to the monsters… ostracized, starving, and beaten desperate. (Should you survive the goodly alewives and shire reeves and gong farmers, of course.)

Chaos begets abandonment and acceleration of change, surging glorious impermanence.

(Think of it as a Supraphysical energy transmitting impossibilities, enforcing extraordinary novelty.)

The monster need only make you a monster too.

For instance, agents of chaos can force a save vs. mutation (magic probably). Powerful beings at will. Minor beings daily.

Maybe use these charts along with 2 differently colored d6s:

The terms in italics at the end of each entry tell you how to deal with somebody rolling the same mutation more than once.


Saturday, September 2, 2017

DIY30 #2 - Dream Campaign

2. What’s a campaign you would love to play in, but nobody is running it?

This probably doesn’t warrant a blog post, but…

Anyway, OK. I am fairly certain no one is running this, nor will anyone ever do so...

If you image search "suspicious Elizabethan" this shows up first.

Elizabethan England, all characters are actors and/or playwrights, also everybody is a spy.

So deep, deep espionage.

No one can be trusted. Complicated webs of conspiracy woven ‘round fellow thespians, disaffected nobility, and even the Queen herself.

Networks of informants. Gunpowder. Treason. Plots.

Like, I used to think I wanted to run this… but no. It’s something I want to experience.

Also, I am like virtually sure that I never will.


Rules... Probably something light. Into the Odd could be reworked for it.

Stats: "Stage Presence", "Situational Awareness", "Rough & Tumble" ... maybe. 

So there, I started the work for you. 

Somebody make and run this, please. 
I will write sonnets and doublecross everyone. Much fun!!


Friday, September 1, 2017


  1. What is a heretofore unknown secret of Troll ecology?

“The things, alone in this mind you, in all of nature itself! mind you…
“…Trolls are symbiotic collectives: an unnatural community of fungi, alga, and animal systems. (I qualify the animal with system, seeing as beyond their nervous systems, there is nothing animal about a troll’s actual physiology.) The shape is animal, more or less human, really, however…”
- Naturalist Keeylen Wright

“Wright’s findings (when found within his cemetery of words) indicate an unnatural origin. How odd then, that the habits of trolls align with the current aims of druids. That is right!
“Though, I hear your loud doubt. Why else then will a troll eat Nothing but manflesh?? Why the trolls in the zoo of Sky Lawn Township demonstrate this on a daily basis…”
- Wayne Filinoster, noted Provocateur

Trolls don’t need to eat you, but they will try. The vast sum of their energy comes directly from the sun. Their flaking, barkish skin is imbued with microscopic photosynthetic cyanobacteria. Their body is stiff springing, wood-like, and fungal. A troll can sit, rooting its limbs into damp soil, soaking in sunlight and nutrients. Energy the creatures somehow store.

(Energy somehow used again, powering its impossible regeneration.)

I mean it’s preposterous. It’s probably magical. It is beyond your humble narrator, at the very least.

This also explains the odd legend of trolls turning to stone in sunlight. That rumor has killed so many fool hardy exploitative explorers and would be heroes.

But it is a bit true.

In direct sunlight, any troll that has been active for more than a day must Save vs. Magic or remain stock-still until darkness descends. Bacterial imperatives override ancillary insticts.

Overall, trolls are producers and little affect the ecosystems in which they reside. They don’t need to eat you to live, but they will, eat you if they can.
Their terrible strength can tear off a warrior’s arm. Their splintery teeth will pulp the meat and crack small bones. Then the whole awful mess just sits in in the back of their throat, rotting. This is the impetus which causes a troll to fungal bloom and release its spores. If any of the immobile, unthinking offspring reach adequate size, a new troll will be born.

†(base 50% chance, modified by how much foot traffic the area endures)