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. 

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.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Worms of Errand

The need is there, but without context. The errand remains, but in a void of nuance, without understanding. Some almost forgotten impetus moves this remnant of a person, like a dark planet that cannot remember the gravitational forces which sent it hurtling through space. It only knows it now must move in this direction. Sometimes there is a sparking memory of the sun that birthed it and cast it away, but mostly it moves in muddled confusion in the only direction it can.

But this is not about that sad planet, this is about the worms and their errand.

"When a person dies with great suddenness in an area heavy with thaumaturgical potential, it is not uncommon for his or her body and being to rise up (or some parts thereof). Many of these wretched pseudoliving beings are well known and well documented. (See the thoroughly mediocre works of Maypole for several examples of this.)
"Still though, Worms of Errand are exceedingly rare. Like all Near-risen, a sudden death near to a thinning or tear in Reality's Veil is required. However the specific alchemy of the Worms of Errand require two unusual components:
  1. The victim must be engaged in an incomplete and thoroughly mundane task at the time of death.
  1. The victim's remains must be undisturbed until completely rife with worms.
"After the worms and their waste become the majority of the mass, the resultant creature will rise up in great confusion. It will eventually attempt to complete it's errand: deliver its letter, speak to the landlord about a creaking board, offer the widow condolences and a pie..."
- Bartholomew Harrold 

Disparate bits of human memories, especially of the victim's final memories, flit haphazardly through the alien distribution of its new being. After a few days (1d6), the final errand coalesces into an overwhelming drive for the Worms. Bits and pieces of the victim's strongest personality traits and memories will also occasionally be expressed.

Looks? Well it looks like you'd probably expect it to: a writhing mass of necrophagic worms and rotting flesh pulled together into a vaguely human shape, sometimes still partially clothed. It smells like old meat. It sounds slick and slithery and wet, like many, many bodies covered in viscous effluvium squirming past one another. Eventually, Worms of Errand, learn to "speak" with these sounds. I don't think you want to touch or taste it.

If helped to complete its task, the Worms will dissipate into a pile of what it's composed of... If destroyed, unless great care is taken to stomp out like 75% of the worms, it will form anew (in 1d20 minutes). Each time the trauma of its destruction becomes more likely to imprint on the new form, making it more and more dangerous. 

Most eventually become the monsters folk presume them to be...

Game stuff:

1 HD. 1 attack by weapon, usually 1d4 improvised club, though early incarnations are very unlikely to attack. Movement, Human Speed. Can only be totally destroyed by carefully killing almost all the worms.


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.



Saturday, September 12, 2015

so this one time I sort of won this thing...

A while back I wrote this little one page "adventure" about a glowing ball of accidental sadness, a big fucking frog, some unhappy villagers, suicide, and an indestructible tentacle monster. I included some Algernon Charles Swinburne poetry in it and everything.

So I was kind of surprised when I tied for first in the 1 page dungeon contest.

Click the Picture to Enlarge it.
I hadn't posted it yet because, well, it seemed redundant. It's on the 1pdc page, available in a cool compendium you can (should) buy, and probably other places at this point.


So I may or may not delete the above paragraph because it's beside the point, unuseful, and/or just me grousing. Either way, these two sentences stay in.

On to the fucking point, I'm posting this now because I made a thing I think will make this easier to run. It's a drop chart to determine which tentacle is hit and where it was hit. Fighting the Thing of Ten Tentacles will by nature be a bit complex. Hopefully this can alleviate a bit of that.

Just make all damage rolls against the Thing of Ten Tentacles on the chart.

You cut along the dashed lines, fold on the dotted ones, and tape it together to make a little box. That should prevent the dice from tumbling out unless the player just fucking slings that shit.

Click to Embiggen

You can also print out an extra copy to cut up as counters to deal with all the independently fighting/flopping tentacle pieces.

Finally, a little advice...

Assuming old school D&D type game stuff:

  1. The frog is mostly just there as a signifier that shit's distorted. It's depressed and slowly starving. All other animal life (except the adventurers probably) are smart enough to stay away from the orb now. Like bugs and fish WILL NOT cross that threshold.
  2. The Thing has 10 attacks per round, 1d6 damage from bludgeoning and/or constricting.
  3. Any roll of less than 3 damage against the tentacles themselves is inconsequential. 
  4. Any roll above 3 damage severs the tentacle at the outside of whatever quarter it landed on.
  5. Each severed 1/4 tentacle has 6 HP. 1d2 damage from flop-slam attacks.
  6. Each severed tentacle that is more than 1/4 tentacle breaks into other pieces on 3+ damage rolls. Does 1d4 damage.
  7. This is still pretty complicated. 
  8. The half-orb-like body of the Thing has 30 HP. Destroying it "blinds" the Thing.
  9. The conduit has 30 HP on each level and can only be destroyed by kinetic damage. Energy attacks phase right through it. Any attack of less than 5 damage is inconsequential. 
  10. 1d6 seconds after breaking through the conduit, it explodes for 1d30 damage filling whichever level was burst.
  11. I imagine the conduit looks like a warp-core filled with angry green-blue lightning.
Anyway enjoy this "adventure" "weird-sadness-location". Should you actually run it, I'd love to hear how it went.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Elemental Horror

Elementalism harrows and takes toll beyond the price of any other path to power. To earn power over stone, one must be fully subsumed in it. The same is true for fire, water, and wind.

The process remains brutally literal. 
Pyromancers self-immolate. Geomancers have been crushed beneath rockslides or buried alive. All hydromancers have drowned. Cruelest, slowest, and rarest of all, aeromancers strip naked to the sky and cold wind. There they slowly succumb to exposure.
Those few willing students typically are taught to cast all doubts from their minds, that only pure surety can save them.

These are lies. Surety can be burnt, crushed, washed free, and carried away on the wind. It is that nagging kernel of doubt which keeps the wizard living.
Too much doubt and there can be no apotheosis. Too little doubt, and one adds only fuel to the elemental conflagration which surrounds and consumes.
But, when all that is left is that perfect scarred seed of unsurety, from that tiny piece will grow the wizard.
Little of the person usually remains.
- From the scattered notes of Bleak Freygan, the only known Master of every form of elementalism, scratched into the margins of a book of sonnets.

Aeromancer about to loose his shit entirely...

Know your elemental wizards:

Water Elementalists

Waterlogged flesh bloats and distends, quivering whenever the wizard moves slowly forward. Rotted meat and softened skin burst readily, though no blood will flow from a hydromancer’s wounds unless he/she wills it or is very distracted. These wizards will always look damp, of course.

Hydromancers tend to move and think with slow, free-flowing madness. Like almost all elementalists, their minds are fractured. In particular, they had too much time to regret their life decisions while their desperate lungs painfully begged for air and their skin screamed alarum at the enveloping liquid.

Most inconveniences are flowed past without issue. However, the harder the wizard is pushed against, the faster, more relentless, and particular his drives become. Like a stream charging through a rock-strewn canyon, it is easy for odd, half-remembered obsessions to drive the hydromancer.

Gamestuff – Hydromancers have near perfect control over their element. Though, they rarely would want to make water do something unwatery, like dance around in the air. Instead, summoning crushing waves, suddenly sublimating away large areas of ice, and condensing fog/rain out of the air are more likely tactics.

They can easily manage 1d6 damage per round to any living thing within 30’ by fucking up cellular osmosis, either flooding and bursting the cells or causing them to shrivel up and die.

Water obviously cannot be used against them, fire does ½ damage, and cold merely slows their movement a bit. Pointy things and blunt force trauma work just fine, though. 2-3HD probably.

Almost all of them lair by the sea. Some few choose large lakes or wide swamps.

Fire Elementalists

They are charred, smoldering, skeletal things. A few manage apotheosis quickly enough, or possibly with enough humanity left, to simply be covered in terrible burn scars. Either way, the flaming orbs, which replace their eyeballs, boiled and burst away, stare lidlessly ahead.

Despite horrifying visages, pyromancers often seem to be the sanest of the elementalists, at first. The trauma that birthed them happened with enough speed that many are able to nearly put it behind them (or at least convince themselves of this).

However, their fight or flight instincts come on too easily, and pyromancers are all fight. Wild, incoherent rages explode whenever they’re under duress or lost in deep bouts of smoldering ennui.

Gamestuff – Fire Elementalists also have perfect control over their element, but they tend to revel in making fire do weird shit. With their smoking forms and burning eye-candles, a pyromancer is never without a ready source of flame.

They can do 1d6 burning damage per round to all flammable materials (murdersome vagrants included) within thirty feet while expending almost no effort.

Water in amounts less than a barrelful can be turned into harmless (to a pyromancer) steam. More than barrelful causes 1d6 damage per round of exposure. Other energy and elemental attacks don’t really bother them. Fire Elementalists can hibernate in oxygen starved environments indefinitely, waiting impatiently to burn again with the onrush of new air. Like 2-3 HD.

Pyromancers tend to wander from place to place, burning things and scaring/scarring the locals.

Earth Elementalists

There are three basic forms a geomancer will probably take; mud-skeleton, dirt-bag, and crude-statue. I’ll begin with the creepiest:

Leaving most of themselves behind as they crawl forth from their self-chosen graves, two forms of geomancer predominate. The hopeful wizard’s skeleton tears its way out from the ground, replacing its pointless flesh with mud and loose stones. Sometimes the skin instead slides free from its form, filling itself with soft forest loam.

Some few aspiring Earth Elementalists wedge themselves between boulders, to be pressed like flowers in a book. These geomancers become petrified men, appearing as though crude ambulatory statues.

After their heavy, suffocating transformation, most geomancers become extraordinarily claustrophobic. Otherwise, Earth Elementalists are supremely inhuman.

They tend to think in terms of centuries and eons rather than days and years. Only large scale follies concern them at all. If they still bear any good will towards men, it will be on the order of favored kingdoms, perhaps, rather than any individuals. They have heard the echo of geological time. Your impermanence is of no consequence. You are not even an ant. Geomancers are ants; you are a falling mote of dust which somehow believes it matters.

Gamestuff – Like all Elementalists, those of the Earth have near perfect control over their element. However, more than any other, geomancers are loathe to violate the typical movements of their element. Besides, they are barely able to do so; earth is an incredibly stubborn substance.

With no effort, geomancers can cause the earth to quake: Sv. or Fall Down, every round. They can also cause the earth to swallow limbs: Sv. or become stuck. Then take 1d6 crushing damage per round, until you manage to break free (very difficult), chop off the limb, die, or the Elementalist relents.

Avalanches, sudden sinkholes, monumental earthquakes, and grand-ripping fissures are all well within the power of a geomancer who expends some effort. Like 2-3 HD.

Skin-types: ½ damage from all elemental/energy attacks, ½ damage from blunt weapons, no damage from wooden weapons.  

Skeletal-mud-types: no damage from elemental/energy attacks, fire attacks eventually slow them as clay flesh bakes hard, ½ damage from piercing and slashing weapons.

Statue-types: no damage from elemental/energy attacks, extreme heat just makes them lava wizards, no damage from all weapons save maces, hammers, picks, and implements actually designed to break stone.

Earth Elementalists often live atop mountains and/or near fault lines, under the open sky, of course.

Air Elementalists

Aeromancers are the most broken (and thankfully rarest) of all the Elementalists; their long, agonizing apotheosis sometimes takes days. They become thin, brittle, desiccated things. An aeromancer only rises up when completely dried away. They choose places of petulant wind and extreme climate to enact their rituals. This not only expedites their death, but lowers the possibility of animal interference. Most are reborn in howling places of scouring heat or immense unrelenting cold.

Air Elementalists are tempestuous, flitting through long fits of blind rage, deep still melancholy, and manically surreal overdriven happiness. Balance is impossible. Median moods do not exist. The long, terrible fear that birthed them always looms like impossibly black clouds.

 Lucidity is rare and difficult for an aeromancer to savor. Each always knows another storm is coming. They wander, usually away from civilization when cogent.

Gamestuff – Air Elementalists are difficult to combat and best left to their own wild devices. They can condense air into frigid liquid with a thought (4d6 damage [damage descends on subsequent rounds by 1 die], radius of like 10’), effortlessly surround themselves in perfect vacuum, or rip the oxygen straight out from your blood (Sv. or die, those saving drop immediately to 0 hp). Air obeys an aeromancer without hesitation: never mind the stunning masses involved, gale-force winds require only a fleeting wish to be brought forth. Never mind the unbelievable heat-exchange, frozen nitrogen can hail from the sky.

Should one somehow could get close to an aeromancer with violent intent, they are actually quite fragile. ½ HD.

If you see a desiccated corpse crying forlornly in the wilderness, run. Run as fast as you can. Pray to the distant stars the corpse did not see you.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Brute of Burden & Brute Rider

Two new, complimentary Race as Class sort-of-things. Totally copped from Arnold, here.

[He made me do this…]

This is written with LotFP in mind. Season to taste.

Brute of Burden
A Brute of Burden is any hulking, vaguely man shaped thing, which is willing(ish) to be ridden around by a small demanding creature (the Brute Rider). They usually stand between 7’ and 8’ tall and weigh 350-450 lbs (so like bear/ogre sized). They require 3x the normal allotment of food and water. Your brute can be whatever you think is cool.

I’ve been on a “classes should get three things, and only three things” kick lately.

Gremlin and Huge Sea Urchin

Here are the four things Brutes get:

1 | Brutally Stupid
The Brute’s Strength Modifier is considered to be 2 points higher than it otherwise would have been. If you use stat checks, make the Brute’s Str. score the minimum necessary to get that modifier. Max of 19.
The Brute’s Intelligence Modifier is considered to be 2 points lower than it otherwise would have been. If you use stat checks, make the Brute’s Int. score the maximum necessary to get that modifier. Min of 2. 2 Int. indicates the Brute is barely vocal. Grunt. Point. Monosyllables.

2 | Meat Slab
1d8+6 serves as the Brute’s Hit Dice. However, because of his/her/its ponderous size, the Brute has a base AC of 10.

While Specialty barding could be constructed, it would be prohibitively expensive and probably unnecessary.

During battle, the Brute can choose to forcibly remove ANY corporeal combatant so long as that combatant is the Brute’s size or smaller. (Bear, Bugbear, Giant Bug: Yes. Dragon, Titan, Kraken: No.) The Brute takes the combatant out somewhere where the Brute doesn’t have to worry about SMASHING everyone else, and tries to murder the thing or person. The Rider should dismount.

The Brute has a 40%+(10%/Level) chance of being successful in the murder, and a 40%(+10%/Level) chance of surviving the attempt. Nothing is resolved until the Rider Calls (see below) for his/her Brute.

Should the Rider elect to stay mounted, the murder chance increases by 10%, but both Rider and Brute must roll to survive (separately, each have the same chance). In this case, the survivors return to the rest of the Party in 1d12 minutes.

All which survive the ordeal turn up with 1 HP and have seen some crazy shit.


3 | Bear Hug
Brute of Burden gets two, unarmed 1d4 attacks each round. If both attacks hit, the victim is held by the Brute. So long as the victim is held, the Rider gets an automatic attack against the victim (just roll damage). To escape, the victim must successfully attack the Brute AND the Brute must miss an attack. Brute's attacks only hold the victim. He/she/it must use both attacks each round for Bear Hugging.

Other Stuff. Advances as Dwarf. Saves are 18 on everything except Poison, which is 13. Poison save goes down by 1 every odd level: lvl 3 = 12, lvl 5 = 11, etc. Standard Non-fighter +1 BAB.

Suggested Brutes:

“Intelligent” Bear (easily distracted by food, head may become stuck in honeypot…)
Dogheaded Piebald Ape (despite grotesque appearance demands polite treatment)
Leathery Slug-thing (tentacle-ish arms, salt causes 1d4 damage, can’t be tripped, preachy vegetarian, torpid disposition)
Boring Red Ogre (has some boring hobby, will not shut up about it)
Huge Sea Urchin (pink flamingo legs, bald spot for riding, no arms [body slam attack], eats algae, always psychically blathering about eating algae)

Brute Rider
A Brute Rider is any diminutive, vaguely humanoid thing that has learned how effectively ride around on bigger folks. They are between 3½’ and 4½’ tall, typically on the scrawny side. Most sport unusually well developed thigh muscles. Riders must wield medium weapons in both hands, with the exception of spears, javelins, and very light lances while mounted.

Things Riders Get:

1 | Brute Riding
Riders are capable of riding any willing creature of a Brutish size. Unwilling thinking beings CANNOT be controlled. Unwilling beings of animal intelligence may be ridden: the Rider must make two successful Ridding Attacks in a row. (Treat as normal attacks which do no damage. First attack gets the rider mounted. Second attack gets him/her seated well enough to hold on until the Brute accepts the new arrangement. Getting bucked does 1d4 damage to Rider [i.e. missing on the second Riding Attack].) Unwilling intelligent Brutes can be ridden but not controlled.

While mounted on a Brute, Riders get +1 to hit and +2 to AC.

The loyalty of an animal intelligence Brute is dependent upon how well they are treated.

2 | Call Brute –
If the Rider currently has a loyal Brute, the Rider can summon his/her Brute from up to 1 mile away by making an appropriate vocalization/noise. (Whistling, grunting, striking a gong, blowing a special conch, screaming “Here Boy!”, etc.) If the Brute is currently DESTROYing someone, the brute arrives in 1d6 minutes; otherwise, the Brute simply gets there ASAP.

3 | Brute Mounted Maneuvers
  • Leaping Dismount – Riders can instantly dismount and bound up to 10’ away from their Brutes. This adds 4+1/lvl to any saves where getting the fuck back would be useful. Dismount is declared before the save is rolled... Seriously, Brute Riders’ legs are like crazy strong.
  • Goad Brute – This Maneuver requires the Rider to sacrifice his/her/its attack for the round. The Rider knows just how to push the Brute into a wild swinging frenzy, +1 to hit +2 to damage on Brute’s attack. However, if the Brute misses, the opponent gets an automatic attack (just roll damage).
  • Meat Shield – This maneuver requires the consent of a loyal Brute. Once per combat, any blow that would have landed on the Rider can instead be taken by the Brute. Must be declared before the damage is rolled.
Other Stuff. Advances as Halfling. 1d6 HD (2 min starting HP). Saves are 17 on everything except Paralysis, which is 14. Paralysis save goes down by 1 every odd level: lvl 3 = 13, lvl 5 = 12, etc. Standard Non-fighter +1 BAB.

Suggested Brute Riders:

Gremlin (spiny, big nose, loudly complains about everything)
Shrimpy Goblin (exactly as advertised)
Space Baby (crown of antennas grows from big baby head, born to rule, glows slightly, eats silver)
Fairy Cursed Giant (very bitter about small size, terrible Napoleon complex, incredibly petty)
Rogue Brownie (kicked out of the brownie union, will not help with chores, scandalous alcoholic)


It’s pretty much assumed that both of these classes will be in use at the same time, at least until somebody dies. They’re complimentary, but one does not necessitate the other. I like that.

The relationship dynamic between the PCs will probably become really interesting. It could easily grow antagonistic or more cooperative through play. That’s nice.

I really hope that if these twin classes get used, people come up with weird-fun rider/brute combinations. I totally want to know if yous guys do.

Are you happy, +Arnold K.?

Friday, July 17, 2015

“The Quickly Equipped MurderHobo” b/w Escaped Prisoners

It, like all RPG products, is a series of ideas to help provide you & the people you game with a good time. Seeing as “The Quickly Equipped MurderHobo” (the QEM) is a pdf release, it’s pretty much the only use for it. (I can still use my 2e splatbooks to level out wobbly chairs, for instance, in addition to mining them for ideas.)

In particular, the QEM thing is a method for easily outfitting a level 1 murderhobo, by choosing from Kits of basic wilderness, dungeoneering, and/or murder equipment. Plus a few further choices and random charts to help differentiate characters with the same kit. Each starting character has: a silver penny, a sack, a small water flask, a crust of bread, and the stuff detailed within one of the Equipment Kits.

This is meant to replace the you have 3d6xMoney now buy stuff from list method. Just pick or roll for a kit; roll on a chart or two; start playing. I’ve tried to further expedite things by putting all the kits into print and cut chits to avoid tedious notation; the scholar and barber-surgeon kits, for example, contain a lot of shit.

For many of us, this will be more useful as a concept rather than my particular kit ideas. The PDF containing the print and cut chits has a form-fillable page. Maybe this will encourage folks that otherwise might not do so to make their own kits. Maybe it’ll make the whole thing marginally more useful. Maybe.

I think the best things in the QEM are the Occupation Kits. Figuring out how to adventure with baking supplies and farming implements is the best kind of fun. (There are also very simple rules for improvised weapons and armor to help with this.)

A multipage preview is totally available at any of the many links throughout this post. [CLICK HERE]

And now for something new...
An example of an equipment kit, which does not appear in “The Quickly Equipped MurderHobo”

In lieu of the abovementioned standard items, escaped slaves and/or prisoners ONLY have what’s detailed below.

Escaped Prisoner/Slave Equipment Kit
Tattered Tunic, Rope Belt, Broken Manacles, Improvised Sack.

Rusty Knife or Cobbled-together Shield (lasts 1d6 battles) or Embroidered Silk Kerchief (1gp).

Flint & Tinder & Candle or Several Stale Crusts of Bread (2 days worth) or Silver Spoon (worth 12sp).

Waterskin or Heavy Pickaxe or Grain Flail or Bottle of Well Aged Brandy(20sp).

It should be interesting to see whether players choose safety, defense, necessities, or valuables (which might be traded for the other things later).

A fun campaign could be kicked off, with a group of escaped slaves/prisoners:

A plan was hatched to meet at a certain point and make their escape, but the brief nature of the PCs’ interactions prohibited logistical planning beyond this. Each player must make their equipment choices blind to what the other players have done. Now, everybody has to make do with what they’ve managed to arrive at the meeting place with…

So ya, there’s something fun even if you think my Equipment book is dumb.

Anyway, Buy my book!… or don’t. I’m not the boss of you.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Monster of Existential Despair

The Seeking Unseen

It does not understand. It is not from this place. It blindly gropes for warmth in the dark.

Light does not touch it. The creature cannot see because of this. It is scared, and it is alone in unbearable darkness.

When it senses the soft radiant warmth of a living thing, it reaches out in desperation. Its wet caress is unrelentingly caustic.

If it is struck, the creature hisses forth with a piteous and gurgling cry. Such a doleful scream of absolute abandoned hope, it can wrench tears from adamantine hearts.

The frightened thing will then flee, if possible towards the security of the next nearest soft, warm, and living thing.

The Seeking Unseen does not understand. It cannot understand.

Should enough dust and detritus become stuck to the invisible creature, it will be revealed to be an amorphous thing, vaguely bell-shaped and the size of a small calf. It sends out slow, seeking pseudopods before rapidly flowing into them.

The sad, Seeking Unseen will not cease in its accidental ruin. It is little more than a frightened child; it does not understand.

LotFP Stats:
Armor 12, Move 40′, 3 Hit Dice, Caustic Touch 1d12 damage, Morale 2. Invisible (-6 to hit), though objects touching it remain visible. The creature can eventually fit through any opening of at least 3″ square.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Savage Worlds: Murder-lite Edition

Click HERE to grab the Index Card Character Sheet PDF

How to make your person:

1.      Look at the character sheet. You have two skills already chosen for you already. Those are Murder and Shooting.
a.       Murder means how rough and tumble and good at killing stuff with swords and shit you are.
b.      Shooting means how good you are at shooting things.

2.      Figure out three other skills your person would be good at. Like Insurance Actuary or Olympic Swimming or Fire Magic or Hoverbike Riding or Alien Language Hearing or whatever. I don’t know what sort of game you’re in. Fuck. Three skills will be at d8. One skill will be at d6. One skill will be at d4. Figure that shit out. Bigger dice mean your person will be better at doing shit.
a.       If a skill is really broad, you can’t begin with it at more than a d6 (except Murder and Shooting). For instance, the skill “Boating” is broad. The skill “Owns a Bass Boat” is not.

3.      If you just have to be extra special, leave both Murder and Shooting at d4. Then you can replace one of your assigned d8s with a d10.

4.      Decide: What the hell is wrong with your character?

5.      Decide: What makes you character such a special fucking snowflake?

6.      Note that your person is “Not Hurt, Yet” on the Damage Track.

7.      Decide what reasonable stuff your person has with the GM.

8.     Figure what your person looks like and a name or whatever.

9.      Your person is now ready for murdering.

How to do stuff:

When trying to do stuff, pick an appropriate skill and roll that die. If you roll a 4 or better, your person does the thing you want.

You are a special snowflake so you also get to roll a “Wild Die.” This is a d6. If it is higher than the other die, you can use this roll instead.

If you have no relevant skills, you can roll a d4 (and your “Wild Die”) at -2 on each.

Dice explode. If you roll the max # on a die, you can roll that die again and add them together.

If you roll an 8 or more, you succeed with a raise. Normally this just means that you succeed really hard. Sometimes it means something more specific than that.

You get two Bennies per session. These are special physical tokens you turn over to the GM to be even more special. You can spend one to get to reroll a crappy roll. You can also spend one to declare, “It just so happens I have this totally useful, but mundane, item which we need…” and have that statement be true. Oh yah, you can also spend one to not be Shaken (more on that later). Finally, you spend one to move up one step on the damage track.

If your person’s “What the hell is wrong with my character?” thing comes up and you don’t have your person act like that thing is a problem for him/her, everyone should deride you for not playing along.

If your person’s “Special Snowflake” thing is pertinent, you can act like you’ve got a Bennie to spend without actually spending one.

How to kill stuff:

When murder is happening, it is important to know who is doing what when. Everybody draw a card. Pretend you are playing poker, and everybody acts in order from ace down to two. Jokers stay in and they are wild. If you have a joker you can interrupt somebody. That’s totally annoying and totally fun.

To attack: Roll your person’s Murder or Shooting, a success means the other guy/gal is hit. Mooks are out with one hit. Important bad guys/gals have a Damage Track like characters.

Shooting automatically happens first if the guy/gal/thing being shot is more than 21 feet away.

When somebody is damaged that is not a Mook, they move one step down on the damage track. 

On the Damage Track: 

  • Armor means the armor helped and nothing bad has happened yet. 
  • Ouch means you are hurt a bit, but it is no big deal yet. 
  • Damn! means that you are wounded kind of bad; -1 penalty to doing stuff. 
  • Shit! means you are wounded super bad; -2 to doing stuff and your person will die if nothing is done. Get some bandages. Take a breather. Drink some whiskey. 
  • Fuck! means that you are like super close to dead, you are Shaken (see below) until healed. 
  • Dead! means your guy/gal is dead.

A few minutes to chill will remove the Armor portion of the damage track, assuming your Person is actually wearing armor. An hour of rest will remove a check from the Ouch box. Reasonable but unskilled medical attention, a day of rest, and a successful Murder roll will remove a check from the Damn! box. Skilled medical care and a week of rest will uncheck the the Shit! box. One month of skilled medical care and total rest will uncheck the Fuck! box.

The damage track tells you when you will be Shaken. When Shaken, your person is like freaked out or got the wind knocked out of him/her or something. You can only move or try to not be Shaken when your person is Shaken. To not be Shaken, make a successful Murder roll. Not being Shaken anymore 
does not remove damage.

Minutia about Killing and Doing Stuff:

  • If you attack without a weapon, roll a die one step down.
  • If  an attack succeeds with a Raise, the victim goes two steps down on the Damage Track.
  • GMs will impose penalties between -1 and -4 for doing stuff that is like really hard. GMs are dicks like that.
  • If your Person is not wearing armor, mark out the Armor box on the Damage track and just, like, pretend it isn’t there.
  • If magic can attack something, treat it just like shooting or murder. Really powerful magic or psionics or laser-eyes should probably like hurt the character or be fueled by bennies or something.

Getting Better at Stuff:

At the end of a session, if your character did something everyone agrees was awesome: then your person can learn a new skill at d4 or raise his/her lowest skill.

Notes for GMs:

Monsters and Obstacles should totally break these rules. Make stuff exciting and give players lots of room to make bad decisions.

Assume Mooks do everything at d6 unless it seems like they’d be bad at it.

If there is no way to do a thing, don’t let people roll dice.

Have fun and try to give the players many interesting problems.

Make sure to get some murdering in if you can.