Monday, February 8, 2016

(fuck) The Obedient Place

"There, once and ever, lay a place of perfect obedience. A park-like land of rolling greens, golden oaks, unbreakable fealty, it shall not ever change. It cannot ever change.

"There will always be a vulpine Queen. Two ursine Dukes will bristle and binge. And the cygnine Countesses? Four castled ponds require four of them too. How could less than eight feline Barons hope to adequately hate their master Swans? Still will there stand sixteen equine Knights, in violent defense of the realm. Not even murder may keep these mares from their duty.

"But what of the coal-eyed slaves? 

"What of them? They could not count themselves; they could not care unless you asked them to… why would you bother?"


Would it be fun to adventure in a place of perfect, unbreakable order?

Of course! Adventuring is fun by nature: hyperviolent pseudo-medieval tragicomedy, always fun.

Besides, the unbreakable is meant to be broken. In the semiotic slippage of communication, there is always room for error to become reward. 

The agile minds of players not in actual mortal danger, become the furnaces of insane genius, wild improbable risk yielding unthinkable reward. (Failure results in dire and preposterous consequence, of course.)

The players will find that slip in your words and twist until the whole engine snaps. The murdersome vagrants will throw themselves bodily into the machine until its gears are choked in bone, 

Or maybe they won't. I don't know, but I bet they'd have more fun if they did. 

Watching the world you started burn by the time they finish it, is a rare and wonderful thing. 

There's just nothing more D&D than busting through a wall and skipping most of an adventure. There's nothing more D&D than a botched roll killing the prince the violent fools were sent in to save. 

With D&D, et al., you never know until everyone is dead or kings or Jethro can't make it to the next game.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

SHARKMAN Dreams...

I dreamt I was playing D&D.

I was about to run a game set in some sort of underwater Gnome civilization. There was a big desalination machine that looked from my map (and my dream imagining of the place) to be totally mechanical rather than magical.

In fact, the whole complex looked scifi-star-trek sleek.

I was trying to run a by-the-book 3.x game for some fucking reason. About five minutes in to me helping the players with chargen, I was just like, “Fuck this! Everybody roll 3d6 in order, we’re going B/X style.”

My buddy Ty kept interjecting, “I wanna play a shark!”

Finally, I was just like “You know I can make up a fun R.C.C.* type class, right? Do you wanna be a sharkman??”

So I started coming up with a class, then there came wakeful noises in real life.


There may be more sharkman somewhere, but as far as anyone knows there is just this one sharkman. Sharkman can’t really say.

Sharkman looks a bit surprised all the time. That’s just shark eyes, though he?she?it? is usually surprised. Sharkman does not understand our dry world.

He? is gullible, easily confused, and utterly alien.

Her? big flipper feet are cumbersome. His? strangely still flipper hands couldn’t be dexterous, could they? It’s never unarmed, not with that big dopey, dangerous grin. It seems curious but this is difficult to discern. That frightening, inhuman, kind of goofy expression never changes.

It’s no wonder the possibly innocent or possibly bloodthirsty thing fell in with the worst sort of crowd…

HD – d8
Saves – 18 across the board. All drop by 1 every other level.
Advance as Dwarf.
Sharkman does not start out with the usual 1/6 in skills.
Sharkman is never disarmed. 1d8 bite attack. In water, he adds his level to the usual +1 BAB. On land, she adds ½ her level rounded down.
Sharkman’s cold, thick, unfeeling flesh essentially functions as leather armor.
Sharkman moves at ¾ of normal speed, but swims twice as fast.
Sharkman can smell blood from 100 yards away on land, 1 mile away in water.
Sharkman can sort of talk, in a gurgling, raspy, disconcerting way. Player must choose and abide by a 10 word speaking vocabulary for the character. Each level, add another 1d4 words.
Sharkman does not understand.

*Apparently I dream in Rifts lingo.

Saturday, January 2, 2016


What does this devil demand? Your pleasure.

How does it work? All actions that are not in immediate avoidance of pain, must be justified by the player. (I would just accept whatever rationalization he/she comes up with… The point is to keep the player thinking about this mistake.)

Why? The demon doesn’t mind being summoned. In fact, you broke a banishment with your exhortive invitation. Mortal pleasure is a hot commodity on both this and the other side. Why wouldn’t a devil want some? If nothing else, it feels good.


What does this angel demand? A pilgrimage to the home of a child with a long suffering disease.
How does it work? The angel asks you to take it to the child’s home. That it may reap the suckling soul, and end the torment all around.

Why? It is an angel of bittersweet relief and genuine condolence. It exists to produce these experiences. The reality is the babe would have lived a dozen more years, many moments of pain surely. Nevertheless, these millions of aches were bought at the expense of thousands of smiles.

How will you know? A minor angel of penitent regret has been following in the other angel’s wake for ages. It appears as an accusatory ghost 1d8 nights later. A dead toddler declaiming pitifully that you had it falsely slain is a hell of thing to witness.


What does this fairy demand? Your voice, but you will only be voiceless for a day.

How does it work? Character can’t talk, duh.

Why? It’s a fucking fairy.

The twist: you don’t get your voice back but a voice back. Specifically that of a:
1} duck,
2} bear,
3} songbird,
4} donkey,
5} burbling brook, or
6} parrot (character restricted to a 10 word vocabulary, must ham it up).


So I've added a tip jar to the blog, in the form a Patreon Campaign.

If you've gotten any worth out of these monsters, wizards, and classes and stuff, please consider donating. Any amount would be greatly appreciated and help to ensure I am able to keep doing this (seeing as this is now one of my few sources of income).



Friday, December 11, 2015

Spells from the backburner...

As one of my MANY backburner projects, I've been working on my very own philosopher's stone (aka retroclone aka fantasy heartbreaker).

In it, I've stripped levels off of spells. If a Degenerate Wizard finds a spell, he/she can fucking cast that thing. LotFP taught me that there's no such thing as a too powerful lvl 1 spell. (Really it just reinforced lessons from Rifts in this regard. Lvl 1 Dragons, motherfuckers!)

I've also ripped away almost all direct damaging spells. I like powerful tools for the players, but with some creativity and flavor required. I'm also, because this wasn't a big enough project before, writing almost entirely my own (dramatically named) spells.

Here are a few example starting spells (Starting spells are randomly rolled, from 2 different 1d20 charts):

  • Feylight - Victim begins to phosphoresce in a color of the caster's choice. Feylight is precocious, desperate to be seen. The glow will gladly glide around corners and peak out to beam from thick foliage. Hiding from beings capable of sight is basically impossible. Lasts 1d6 hours. Cannot be dismissed.
  • Sleep of the Dead - Caster may touch up to 1d4 creatures, causing them to sleep as though dead for 1+1d12 hours. They CANNOT be awoken beforehand. Sv. to Negate for the unwilling.
  • Serpent's Tongue - the next lie spoken by character will be believed by any who hear it and fail their saving throw. (A convincing lie may be believed anyway.)
  • Forget -  Causes victim to forget the last 10 minutes. Sv. to forget only last 60 seconds.
  • Assume Lesser Form - wizard (NOT POSSESSIONS) can become a small beast for 1d6 hours, examples: bat, snake, bird. Cannot replicate natural toxins. Can be cast on others. Animal has 2 HP. Sv. negates for the unwilling.
  • Feather's Weight - causes a victim/object and a feather to switch weights, can effect up to 500 lbs. Lasts 1d6 minutes, cannot be dismissed.
  • Entropic Effluvium - causes terrible luck and a foul stench to befall the victim (Automatic Failure of all Saving Throws), additionally any tool or weapon used by the character will break after 1d4 uses. When the victim uses something roll 1d4, each swing of a hammer and each thrust of a spear and each word writ by a quill would count as a use. Clothing rots away within 10 minutes, armor in 30 minutes. Lasts 1d6*10 minutes. Save for 1/2 duration.
  • Unerring Arrow - causes one arrow (or bolt or musket ball or slingstone or javelin or whatever) to definitely strike it's next target. If a hit is rolled, the round does maximum damage. If a natural 20 is rolled, the target is slain.

Here're a couple of examples of spells, that can be cast regardless of level, but must be torn from the dark places of the earth... 

(Keep in mind: Hit-points are really more like don't-get-hit-points, only the last ones really count. Also there are only five levels, and creatures are a max of 6HD. D&D scaled down to the levels I find most fun, pretty much. Implied setting would be mid-colonial Americas, but with magic and dwarfs and shit.)

  • Rend the Wheel Backward - THE FABRIC OF TIME IS ALTERED! All opportunities to receive damage in the past 24 hours, even those avoided, have now dealt damage to the victim of this spell. He/she/it is suddenly covered in a series of contusions and lacerations. The victim is rendered down to 1 hp. Save to negate with a bonus of +1 per HD. If the victim saves, the caster must save or have the same happen to him/her/it.  (Something/one that did not exist for the past 24hrs would essentially be immune to this spell)
  • Madness of Heracles - Sv. or attack all nearby creatures with +1 to hit and +4 damage. Victim MUST attack all creatures within 10 ft., but may decide whether to remain still or move. Lasts 1d10 minutes.

So some of them are a tad powerful, but that's fine. Lvl 1 dragons, yo.


So I've added a tip jar to the blog, in the form a Patreon Campaign.

If you've gotten any worth out of these monsters, wizards, and classes and stuff, please consider donating. Any amount would be greatly appreciated and help to ensure I am able to keep doing this (seeing as this is now one of my few sources of income).



Monday, November 30, 2015

Desert Glass, Hungry Eyes

In the desert, where the red stones stand,
In the too-bright reaches, orange flowing sands.
Unblinking eyes look up, in askance, in hunger
Shining eyes, press against the rain.


“The Sun Sands, she has been growing for a great spell, for certain, for sure. Know this to be true, the desert is hungry, the desert, she hates.”


“Fulgurite, tektite, and other desert glass, that is all; that and the overstimulated eyes of sunblasted natives and blasted fools.”


“I know the truth, my generous friend. I was with a most unfortunate expedition. Old things lay beneath the shifting sands, but you know this, you are wise.

“When you see the flashing light upon the desert sands, it may be a dead man’s knife. It may be forgotten gold. It may be the glass eyes.

“Stay away from them! They hate you, and your wet blood. No matter how valuable crystal may be. Their clarity, my gods, it is like the air! But keep you away, lest your wet blood become ash.”


“Did you know that old aspen groves are all the same tree? Below the sands there lies a great, interlaced matrix of crystalline webbing. Through strange lacework lines, sunlight is drawn far beneath the earth, feeding whatever wretched thing sleeps below.”


“Broke glass. Accident. Big shiny fingers come, up. Smash ‘em. Broke bits cut up me face.”


Game stuff: 
Interfering with the glass eyes (touching, breaking, casting a shadow across one for too long) results in 2d6 8’-14’ long crystalline fingers erupting violently from the sand attacking all nearby moist lifeforms.

AC as Unarmored. Move ½ human rate. Polearm like reach. 2 HD. 1d8 laceration attack (1d4 vs metal armored opponents). ½ of all melee damage done to the fingers is done back to the attacker (sv. to avoid) as glass shards explode in retribution.

If the Desert Eye is still intact, it will laser blast an opponent for 1d20 damage every other round. The eye is easily broken, but fiercely defended by the crystalline fingers.


There are no recorded incidents of a crystalline finger moving more than 1 mile from its eye. There are also no recorded incidents of crystalline fingers leaving their eyes unguarded.

The quality of desert eye glass is unsurpassed. The reported fates of those who would harvest it are contradictory, save in this regard: their ends are violent, horrible, and very, very dry.


So I've added a tip jar to the blog, in the form a Patreon Campaign.

If you've gotten any worth out of these monsters, wizards, and classes and stuff, please consider donating. Any amount would be greatly appreciated and help to ensure I am able to keep doing this (seeing as this is now one of my few sources of income).



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Line Gnomes or Geometry Goblins

It begins simply enough, a wizard will awaken to find a new spell inscribed in his spell book, or perhaps, a poet will find a new verse-form in her journal. The spell will be notated in EXACTLY the way the wizard would have done so; there is no chance of failure to learn this spell. The verse will be composed of words and themes unique to the poet in question. 

Many assume that, somehow, they have written these things in strange somnambulatory sleep. It is not so; it is the work of a line gnome, hoping to gain your trust, hoping to make you dependent. The sleeping works will continue with increasing frequency, bringing about greater power, greater understanding, and/or greater artistic achievement.

Then it will stop. It will stop for a depressing length of time.

Once the subject is sufficiently tormented with their now-fruitless sleep, the gnome will appear to him/her. It is a thing of two dimensions, built of lines and arcs into the semblance of a face.

Geometry goblins may only exist upon and move across sufficiently flat, smooth surfaces. A scroll or a book is an obvious and natural place for them to be. A cobbled street is not. (As a rough rubric, if you could easily write upon a surface with chalk or a pencil, a line gnome may be there.) The goblin may choose to be any size contained within its current surface(from a god-like projection on a limestone cliff, to the size of a ink drop).It moves as fast as a frightened cat, and can cross onto any surface its current surface touches. Any purposefully drawn line is an impassible barrier to geometry goblins.

That of course makes them easy to trap if one thinks to do so. The gnomes are very, very aware and take great pains to insure their freedom.

But what do they want?

They want you, of course. They want you to be their meat puppet in this strange 3 dimensional world you inhabit. They want freedom, anybody’s freedom, yours will do quite nicely.

They will try to offer their victims anything to “let [them] on you, is all…”. 

Once agreed, the goblin will flow onto their new home as an indelible tattoo. Then try to take the place over…

Game Stuff:

If someone is foolish enough to agree, have the player roll a d20 adding to it wisdom, intelligence, and charisma modifiers. Roll 1d100 for the gnome. The highest roll wins. 

Should that be the geometry goblin, the PC’s personality and will are shunted into the ether. A completely amoral being now has a body with which to sate its incredible curiosity about the 3d world.

Should the PC win, the PC now has a permanent and petulant companion who knows much about magic (especially written or geometrical magics) and all forms of 2 dimensional art.

They can be destroyed simply by destroying the surface they occupy. If it's on wall, break the whole wall before the linear gnome can get to the floor. If it's on a page, circle it and throw the book into a fire.

Where do they come from?

No one knows. Some believe they are beings from a two dimensional world, cast out for crimes unthinkable. Some think they are devils. People think all sorts of fucking stuff. People are usually wrong about these sorts of things.


So I've added a tip jar to the blog, in the form a Patreon Campaign.

If you've gotten any worth out of these monsters, wizards, and classes and stuff, please consider donating. Any amount would be greatly appreciated and help to ensure I am able to keep doing this.



Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Smile with Us, Friend... for it is released unto the world

In the aching darkness beneath, terrible things await.

Disparate and desperate monstrosities smile with human lips, call with human tongues, and weave their spidery webs.

They mostly mean no harm, but they are wrong, so very wrong. Their pleasant pleas and plaintive question germinate strange maladies.

They only wish you to be happy, like them. Won’t you smile with them, friend?


The above is a sales blurb for my newest product. It is a 22 page pdf adventure.

CLICK HERE if you have been convinced to purchase it yet.


Here is what I consider to be the worst piece of art in the adventure:

"Hiiii, guuuy"

Here is what I consider to be another piece of art in the adventure:

When I portrayed Geoffrey, I gave him a stutter.

Here is a thing drawn for the project but not used in the project:

Pucker up!

CLICK HERE if you have been convinced to purchase it yet.


Here is a bit of advice, give your players the Consumptive Prophet's coughed up blood map. The angles of hexagonal intersections are a bitch to describe otherwise.

CLICK HERE if you have been convinced to purchase it yet.


The adventure contains this paragraph: 

"This hall truncates with a collapsed room, rubble still resting wherever it fell. Directly before the collapse, a wide open pit echoes with the sounds of thousands of wet exoskeletons sliding past one another. Therein fat grubs feast on mounds of rotten wood and other decaying vegetable matter."

CLICK HERE if you have been convinced to purchase it yet.


When I ran it the second time, only 1 PC (of 3) made it out alive. He ditched his unconscious companions and fled the premises. This resulted in the best quote of the night: 

"You're not a cleric; you're a butthole!"

Many thanks to +Devin Barnet , +Joe White , and +Gayle Eidschun for an enjoyable game.

CLICK HERE if you have been convinced to purchase it, or if you would like to get more info, almost 1/2 of the adventure can be previewed. 

Relevant link:

Buy my (digital) book, please.