Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Random Encounters in the Abominable Island

Thinking about this dungeon.

Also works if you want to stock some sort of fish-man prison-cult reef-statuary dungeon of your own design.  Every turn (10 minutes, or whenever a room is entered) roll a d6.  1 - Random Monster.  2 - Random NPC.  3 - Strange noises.  4-6 - Silence.


Random Monster Table

  1. 1d20 Mad Prisoners
  2. 1d12 Wretched Prisoners
  3. 1d8 Enlightened Prisoners
  4. 1d2 Coral Golems
  5. 1d6 Alabaster Homunculi
  6. 1d2 Egg Bearers
  7. 2d8 Labial Worms
  8. Charles the Heartbreaker

Mad Prisoners

These are 1 HD berserkers.  Their attitudes range from murderous rage, to psychotic rage, to crazy insistence that the PCs join them in killing a monster that they "have cornered" in the next room (roll another random encounter). Each one is led by a 2 HD leader with a weird name, e.g. Beautiful Blood Sickness, King Toothsome.

If they depart amicably, they will offer the words: "Watch out for Charles."  (They don't know what it means.  It's just what everyone says down here.)

Wretched Prisoners

These are 1 HD berserkers who fight with no weapons, and instead bite and scratch for 1d4 damage.  However, each wound (and eventually, scar) becomes encircled by blue rings and purple keloids.  Each time a wretched prisoner damages a person, each scar that person has pulses with blood, dealing another +1 damage.  So the first scratch does 1d4 damage, the second does 1d4+1, etc.

If they depart amicably, they will offer the words: "Watch out for Charles."  (They don't know what it means.  It's just what everyone says down here.)

Enlightened Prisoners 

These are 1 HD fighters wearing leather or no armor (50% chance of each).  They are normally nonviolent (bonus to reaction roll), but will absolutely refuse to let PCs progress any further in the dungeon.  They will use barricade hallways, link arms, sing hymns, and argue that the PCs must not trespass on this holy place, not during this important season.

If they depart amicably, they will offer the words: "Watch out for Charles."  (They don't know what it means.  It's just what everyone says down here.)

Coral Golem

Sort of like a triceratops-centaur golem made from living coral.

HD 9
AC 18*
Atk +7/+7 fists (1d8+numbing**)
Spd no faster than human walk
Immune to magic except that which specifically affects plants or animals
*Every 5 points of damage that the coral golem takes, it loses 1 point of AC as it crumbles apart to expose its fleshy inner body.
**Save or go numb.  1 failed save = pins and needles.  2 failed saves = -2 to all actions, 3 failed saves = paralyzed for 1d6 rounds.

Alabaster Homunculi

HD 5
AC 13
Atk +5 natural attack (1d8 + kidnapping**)
*They resemble white marble statues, and so blend in with the environment, giving them a 4 in 6 chance to surprise.
**They can abduct people they strike, pulling them away through the marble statue walls that swing open to admit them.  On a hit, the target must make a save or be abducted.  On a failed save, the homunculus and the target are pulled through the wall into an adjacent room.  Each homunculus will only use this ability once per combat.

Egg Bearers

They resemble huge, predatory cats with long necks (like an eel), no fur or eyes, and gelatinous flesh.  Visible in the center of their semi-translucent body is a football-sized egg, which contains a embryonic princeling (very valuable to the proper sorts).

HD 10
AC 16
Atk +8/+8 claws (1d8/1d8 + rake*)
Morale 8
*if both claws hit, it hits for another 1d8 damage as it rakes with its hind legs.
**attacks that pierce its gelatinous body far enough to damage the egg (this usually requires a full length spear) deal double damage and force the egg bearer to make an immediate morale check.

Egg bearers are always found sleeping, coiled around their eggs. (They have a 0% chance to surprise.)  Each one is surrounded by 1d4-1 dreams, which cavort around the sleeping egg bearer and the egg.  They will not wake up unless something touches them or makes a loud noise.  Upon waking, all dreams nearby vanish.

Treat each dream as a HD 4 shadows that deal 1d4 cold damage on a touch, and deal an equal amount of Charisma damage, which recover 1d4 points each time the person gets a good night's sleep.  Each dream has a random appearance.  d4: 1 - fishman, 2 - some sort of fish, 3 - shark skeleton, 4 - drowned sailor.  Roll a reaction for the dreams as normal.  Dreams that are destroyed will be gradually replenished.

Although they are always found sleeping, they still move around when the PCs aren't looking.  Treat them like you would any other wandering monster.

Labial Worms

Worms with hard bodies (like a spinal skeleton) and huge, succulent red lips.  They burst from the walls and kiss away your blood, leaving behind patches of blood plasma and painless needle pricks.

HD 1
AC 15
Atk +1 blood drain (1d6)
Morale 11
Movement as human*
*They are immobile while jutting from the wall (10' reach).  It takes a worm an entire turn to pull into the wall, or to burst from it.  While they can crawl along the floor, they always prefer to burrow through the walls whenever possible.

Charles the Heartbreaker

He is a 12 HD fighter.  Naked, but completely covered in blood.  Gore weighs down his long, greasy hair.  He has +3 AC from agility.  He became the unwilling, uncomprehending avatar of the Egg when he touched its surface.  His body is filled with exotic fluids that humanity never named, and his mind is full of dreams beyond his comprehension.  He is mad.  He wields the Blackest Hatchet (see below) and does not use a normal reaction roll.  Instead, roll on this table, even if it is not the party's first time encountering him.

1 - Psychotic rage.  Will chew his own lips halfway off and try to kill everyone, while spitting blood.
2 - Runs away laughing and banging on walls.  (Roll a wandering encounter check.)
3 - Approaches party singing work songs.  Will attack party when they do not know the proper words to the song.  (An impossible task, since he makes up the songs as he goes along.)
4 - Giggling Homicide.  Will spend time after a kill taking a trophy.
5 - Taunting.  Will attempt to tease the party by disarming them, knocking them down, etc.  33% chance of wasting his turn blathering incoherent insults at the party.
6 - Approaches party grinning and asking them about fish.  Will decide to kill the first person in the party who answers his questions, and pursue them to the exclusion of all else.

Regardless of his initial disposition, he will revert to #1 Psychotic rage as soon as he becomes seriously threatened (or below 50% HP).

He regenerates 1 HP per round.  If killed, he will dissolve into a nauseating black mist (tastes like poison and burning, but no serious effects) and will be resurrected by the Egg in 1d20 hours without the Blackest Hatchet.  He knows the location of the Hatchet, and will seek it out, Gollum-style.

The Blackest Hatchet (artifact)

This is a one-handed lumber axe (as battleaxe +1).  Against armored opponents, it destroys 1 point of AC with each attack.  On a natural 20, the target is crushed by benthic pressure: they make saves until they make it.  Each failed save does 1d12 damage, as their body is crushed into a unrecognizable pulp.


Random NPC Table

  1. Gongui the Profit
  2. Fishman Skezz
  3. Melting Mutant
  4. Terrified Paladin
  5. Confused Ghosts
  6. Migrating Vermin
  7. Visions of Madness
  8. Drowning Nightmare
Gongui the Profit

Accompanied by 3 bodyguards and 2 prostitutes, Gongui the Profit has been living inside the Island for almost two years.  He has grown pale and weird and rich.  He knows the upper levels better than anyone, but has never ventured down into the lower (although he has sent people down there, who rarely come up).  He sells maps, passports, and fresh water.  His face is a mask of politeness.

Fishman Skezz

He is turning into a fish and thinks that's so totally rad.  Drunk on dolphin milk and jellyfish stings.  He has some things growing on his neck.  See that?  That's a gill!  Don't tell me it doesn't look like a gill.  What's a matter with you, you never seen a gill before?

Melting Mutant

This prisoner is all fucked up.  His skin is sloughing off and his eye sockets are shitting bloody paste.  He'll beg the PCs to kill him, and is too incoherent to do much else.  If somehow calmed (probably requires magic), he'll know a bit about the lower floors.

Terrified Paladin

Sir Bredwin of Baine has gotten lost inside the Abominable Island while hunting an escaped prisoner.  He has lost his helmet and sword, fights with a statue's arm, and is desperate for a real weapon.  After calming down, he will make the party tea (he always carries tea), and appoint himself team leader (or the conscience of the party, at least).  

Confused Ghosts

Ghosts of fishmen drift through the halls.  They babble in their ancient tongue, confused and lost.  If somehow questioned, the ghosts only mutter about their missing queen-concubine and the needles that they've lost in the water.

Migrating Vermin

A horde of sea lice boil through the area.  They crawl and jump all over the PCs, but are otherwise harmless.  In a few minutes, they are gone, except for a few errant specimens.

Visions of Madness

Make up something unsettling.  Ideas: one of the statues calmly follows one of the PCs with its face.  One of the statues resembles one of the PCs, identical until examined closely.  One of the PCs turns marble white, exactly as the statues.  

It's best to spring this on the players seemingly in response to something.  Like if a PC opens a door, inflict it on that PC.

Drowning Nightmare

The sounds of crashing wave and pounding surf get louder and louder.  One PC spits of some brine.  Then another barks out a mouthful of kelpy vomit and fish heads.  Then the hallway seems to fill with water that forces its way down everyone's throat.  Save vs drowning each turn until you make a save.

On the first failed save, you fall prone and begin to spasm.  On the second, your blindness darkens your eyes.  On the third, you die.  After the first successful save, the illusion is broken forever and you can see your companions writhing around on the floor, clawing at the air as they try to swim through it.  An escaped PC can try to help a "drowning" PC, giving them a +4 bonus to their next save vs. the illusion.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Corpulum and Screed

Thinking about Scrap's Planescape and Spelljammer.  I want something like that.  I'm going to fold Synthexia into here, and expand it somehow.

Currency

The most common currency is nutrient pills, which are traded by the satchel-full.  (So currency and rations are now the same thing, most of the time.  The implication is that starvation is not a major risk in the setting--it's not gritty.  And, anyway, they'll still need to seek water sources, if you want to employ that risk, so there is still the risk/reward implicit in "should we drink the water from the softly glowing spring?")

The other currency is Scriven Neo-Shekels.

The War of the Newborn

Once there was a giant, planet-sized organism called Corpulum.  It floated through the stars like a fat plum, teeming with life.  It was pregnant with a million potentials, and it's embryos were pregnant, and its embryos' embryos.

It birthed a moon called Screed, so called because of the prophetic laws it uttered shortly after birth.  Screed quickly became covered with civilizations of its own.

Then they fought a war.

Now, Corpulum is dead.  Or at least, the planet is.  Flaccid sphicters a mile wide leak pyrolis into the sky.  Maggot trains delivery wage slaves to the marrow mines.  Winged interlocutors tend to the whorling masses of the senatorial worm-mind that burrows through the churning caverns of what was Corpulum's secondary slave-mind (the non-astral one), inheriting the wisdom of the planet as well as its madnesses.  Boneyard razorgirls haunt the saloons and butcher-rooms, looking for enough mercenary work to fund a final exodus from this dying place.

And Screed isn't much better.  It's dying, poisoned by vitrified absence and the ill will of a million spiteful old men, who choked on their own bile before being rendered into a toxin.

The Scriven Empire is ruled by fleshcrafters, who sustain the planet using their bright arts.  They are the only reason it has not yet died.  Some say that the planet is sustained by sacrifices of children.  Others say that the planet has already died, and that the flesh wizards have only sustained it by making it vampiric.

Spiderats

When we found the spider-rats eating our nutrient pills, we killed them all.  We killed every spider and every rat that we came across.  But that was a fuckin' mistake.  We didn't even know that the damned things could talk until we found them tattling on us, whispering in the ear of a Unicorn Cult Angeleater 5000.

Once upon a time, the Empire of the Unicorn used both spiders and rats as spies.  The two tiny animals fought their tiny wars and eventually interbred, creating a new and disgusting race of tiny tattletales.

Spider-rats are endemic to both Corpulum and it's moon, Screed.  They are pests, and occupy all of the ecological niches that spiders and rats previously did.  Some resemble spiders, some resemble rats, but most of them resemble a cross between the two.

They infest the scapular arcologies; they fill the peristaltic sewers of Glugg.  They are crushed underfoot by most citizens without a thought, and yet--they are as clever as children (but with much worse impulse control and much less education).  They are the spies of the empire, and every neighborhood has a Spidermaster Ratlord, to whom they report.

Spidermaster Ratlords are recognizable by their crown, which is a Rat King (a cluster of live rats, woven together by their tails) and their black, poisonous fingernail lacquer.

Mystery of the Unicorn

Every part of the unicorn has euphoric, curative, and addictive properties.  This is strongest in the horn and blood, but even unicorn hair and dung has traces of the same.

Once, the mystery (cult) of the unicorn was a pathetic group of travelling mendicants, clad only in oxhair pants and fleas.  They begged in the cities whenever they weren't following the unicorn herds through the faerie woods of the Shell Rosette.

When a faction of the Cult rose to prominence, empowered by unicorn blood and spiral incantata.  It hid from, warred with, eventually conquered the Blithering Cities of Screed.  And after defeating their oppressors, they quickly made themselves indistinguishable from them.  After a generation, the only difference for the commoners is that the statues changed.  The pedestals in the town square no longer held representations of the square-jawed, occultate warlords, but instead the bizarre equimorphs of Screed's magocracy of inbred fleshcrafters.

Unicorns are no longer revered, and while many still cling to the old ways of the Mystery of the Unicorn, they are mostly discarded remnants of a dying religion.  All the juicy bits of the Mystery were gobbled up the flesh mages.  The Mystery has reverted to groups of hair-clad beggars wandering the wilderness with unicorn dung on their breath.

Flesh Vats of the Unicorn Kings

The first thing they did was to interbreed with their creations.  They are the rulers of Screed and Corpulum, both.  You'll recognized them by the spiral phalluses emerging from their foreheads.

Unicorns are their hammers and their swords, but they are also their canvases.  Their warbeasts that shovel their way through the earth with spiral tusks were once unicorns.  The quivering masses of flesh beneath their spiral citadels were once unicorns.

They are vivimancers, who nurture life beyond life, and beyond death.  They have quashed the necromancers of the Tessuract.  They have killed death.  Within their courts, pleasure domes, and torture tunnels, nothing dies without their permission.

They have won their crowns through flesh crafting, blood, milk, and spirals.

Everything is a spiral, the circle that decays.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Mutant Dinosaur Generator

CLICK HERE TO GENERATE

Note: if you get an impossible result, such as an icthyosaur on land, it doesn't matter.  Make it make sense.  Your dinosaur fish now slithers along like a snake or something.

Base Dinosaur

  1. Brontosaur
  2. Stegosaur
  3. Hadrosaur
  4. Velociraptor
  5. Dimetrodon
  6. Tyrannosaur
  7. Ankylosaur
  8. Archeopteryx
  9. Pterosaur
  10. Pachycephalosaurus
  11. Pleisiosaur
  12. Icthyosaur
Head
  1. Normal
  2. Normal but with glowing eyes
  3. Re-roll on base dinosaur table.
  4. Other
    1. Skeletal
    2. Prehensile Tongue
    3. Extra eyes
    4. Extra appendages or wings growing out of head
    5. Two-headed
    6. Headless except for giant sucking hole
Interesting Feature
  1. Radioactive Glow
  2. Speaks with Human Voice, but is insane
  3. Speaks with Human Voice, believes it is something completely out of context (such as a 20th century human electrician who is dealing with a rat problem)
  4. Levitating
  5. Psychic Powers
    1. Telekinesis
    2. Telepathy (only used to broadcast roars, but can pick up on thoughts and react intelligently)
    3. Local Omniscience
    4. Pseudo-Imaginary
  6. Strange Materials
    1. Metal
    2. Bone or Skeletal  (Undead)
    3. Clay or jelly (can turn into a slime)
    4. Ghost-stuff (can phase through things)
New Attack
  1. Robo-Dinosaur
    1. Chainsaw Hands/Horns
    2. Wrecking Ball Tail
    3. Rocket Clusters in Shoulders
    4. Cannon hidden in Throat
    5. Rocket Head (ranged bite attack)
    6. Rocket legs (2x speed + charge attack)
  2. Freakish Muscularity (does 2x damage) (Google 'synthol muscles')
  3. Genius Intelligence (18+ Int) and 1-4 random spells
  4. Laser Eyes
  5. Breath Attack
    1. Fire
    2. Frost
    3. Acid
    4. Lightning
    5. Sludge (treat as web spell)
    6. Rusted cutlery (slashing damage)
  6. Infectious Bite (disease is microscopic offspring dinosaurs that swim in the blood, begin escaping through pores, and eventually tear the host apart)
  7. Instead of teeth, has a rotary bladed mouth
  8. Can split into subunits, like Voltron in reverse.  Each subunit is a smaller version of the big dinosaur.
  9. Immortal.  Will resurrect 1 minute after its apparent death.
  10. It's gaze can trap up to 1d4-1 (min 1) souls inside it's head, with a failed save.  Victims will fall unconscious and soulless until the dinosaur's head is broken open.  50% chance that dinosaur's head is full of angry ghosts.  Trapped victims are visible in the dinosaur's eyes, beating on the surface like a window.
  11. Porous ribcage = dinosaur is actually symbiotic with a wasp colony.
  12. Shoots eggs from its butt.
  13. Prehensile tongue and swallow attack.  (even if dinosaur is normally too small)
  14. Pillow-like consistency, immune to bludgeoning attacks.  Docile temperment, and will seek to hug people (until attacked).  People who are hugged for more than one round will be absorbed like an ooze.  Dinosaur is also pink and has big, cute, and has big eyes.
  15. Fractal genitalia.  Save vs confusion for 1d6 rounds.  Those who fail will be unable to figure out what gender a person is for another 1d6 days.
  16. Insane babbling = meme generator.  Save vs infection.  Those infected cannot talk except in sentences related to dinosaur's meme.  Meme:
    1. Pie.
    2. Shoes.
    3. Sluts.
    4. Cats.
  17. Can cast invisibility at will.  When visible, has see-through skin.
  18. Covered in spines.  Those attacking in melee take 1d6 damage.  Can throw them like a wyvern.
  19. Transformo-dinosaur.  At will, or when at 50% health, can transform into:
    1. Tank
    2. Submarine
    3. Jet
    4. Another mutant dinosaur (roll a new mutant dinosaur!)
  20. Vampiric.  Coffin is not a coffin, but is instead the nearest volcano (if a fantasy game) or abandoned blast furnace (if game is gonzo or sci-fi).  Drains heat instead of blood, leaving corpses that are permanently cold.  Is burning hot to the touch, and will damage people if grappled.
Complications (50% that any given random encounter has a complication, slash DM judgement)
  1. Is actually a transformed:
    1. wizard
    2. prince/princess
    3. some stupid animal like a dog or iguana
  2. Has a howdah on the back with a bunch of maggoty corpses, one of which is carrying a treasure map and mechanical parrot
  3. Is escaped from the royal zoo, wears a collar, and is worth a fortune if returned
  4. Is an agent of the dinosaur god, and has been punished with mutation for its sins.
  5. Eats garbage and maintains a huge carrion/refuse pile.  50% chance that the pile contains something really nice
  6. Wants to bring back live food to its babies.  (Doesn't matter if base dinosaur a herbivore.)
  7. Is part of a wizard's experiment.  Killing it will have repercussions.
  8. Is on its way to the dinosaur graveyard.  It has been driven mad with cancer pain.
  9. Is the patron dinosaur of a tribe of cannibal humanoids, preferably frog-pygmies.
  10. Is pregnant with the sleeping body of Archdinosaur-Archdruid Famfaroo, regenerating his wounds.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dungeon as Reef

I can imagine a certain sort of dungeon.  This dungeon is not built or maintained, except that it functions as a passage between two distant, more desirable locations.  Traffic keeps the dungeon open, and that flow of food and goods keeps the dungeon alive.

A bit like a reef, really.  Except it's a cavern.


Saprocyte Lignum

The walls and floor of this dungeon are made from a porous material, a bit like pumice.  Dull, hungry anthozoan life lives just beneath the surface.

If food or blood is spilled on the surface, millions of tiny (1mm) tongues will emerge from the surface to lap it up.  If a bleeding creature is prone on the floor or pressed against the wall for more than 1 round, the same tongues will emerge to hook and drain the body.  The person requires a Str check to remove themselves from the wall, and will take 1d6 points of damage each turn from tiny punctures and blood drain.  Removal usually involves tearing off a layer or two of clothing and skin.  Characters in full plate are immune.

Sleeping on the surface has the same effect, except that it doesn't occur until 1d6 hours after sleep.


Dungeon Barnacles

Although they look like crudely symmetrical boulders growing out of the cavern wall, they are actually arthropods.  If you bashed through their nine inches of organic cement and cut off the beak, you'll find something inside that looks a bit like like a spider or a crab, all bundled up for packing.  They have incredibly low metabolisms, and can survive on vanishingly little food.  They can also hibernate for up to decade. Adult barnacles are sometimes surrounded by juveniles, which can sometimes be sold for cash.

HD 5
AC 14 when open, impenetrable when closed
Atk +5 beak for 1d8, 5' reach.
   --50% of barnacles are males, and have a second attack: hooked penis, 20' reach, 1d6 + hook
Spd immobile
Sav 11+, or 6+ vs poison

Dungeon barnacles position themselves near chokepoints and openings, where a steady supply of traffic is assured.  When closed, it usually takes about half an hour's work with a sledge hammer to bash it the fucking thing open and stab it to death.  They're painfully resilient.  Most adventurers use burning oil to keep them closed while they run past, feed them poisoned meat, or use decoys.


Cave Clams

Unlike dungeon barnacles which are actually related to their marine namesakes, cave clams belong to an unclassified phylum.  They look a bit like barnacles, but instead of the snapping beak, they are like little drone platforms, firing out little passeroids--another symbiotic organism, which then retrieve food and bring it back to the clam.

HD 6
AC 16
Atk acidic bubbles, 10' cone, 3d6 damage + blindness 1d6 rounds, save for half damage and no blindness, usable 1d4 times per day.
Spd immobile
Sav 10+

Cave clams have a 33% chance of containing a amber-color alkali-pearl worth 2d4 x 100 gp.  The alkali pearl can be mixed with alcohol to create an alkaline solution that functions much like acid, or it can be used to neutralize a large amount of acid, such as a medium-sized pool.  However, the neutralization process gives off a tremendous amount of heat, so if you just chuck it into a vat of acid, it will instantly begin to boil and probably splash acid everywhere before it is neutralized.

PCs will probably encounter the passeroids (which look like a cross between a jellyfish and a bird) scavenging for food before they find the cave clam.  While scavenging, passeroids will usually flee.

HD 0 (HP 1)
AC 15 while flying
Atk +0 numbing tentacles or +2 suicide attack
Spd 15 (faster than human)
Save 16+

Their numbing tentacles give -1 to all actions, up to a maximum of -4.  After that, the affected character must save or be paralyzed.  All of these effects last 1d6 rounds from the last sting.

Their suicide attack is this:  the little jelly bird will flop onto the person like an undercooked pancake.  It ruptures lysozyme organelles within their lungs, and the entire bird-thing begins to turn into a highly acidic layer of jelly, like a chubby sticker that burns holes in your plate mail.  Treat it like green slime that does 1d6 damage per round until it's scraped off.  Additionally, each melting bird gives off a shrill whistle.  The first time per combat that this happens, there is a 50% chance of summoning 3d6 more passeroids, which will arrive in 1d6 rounds.


Tubular Peacocks

They also probably live here.


Subterranean Morays

I'll write them up when I can think of how to make them interesting.  For now, I'm just going to say that they have the stats of a crocodile.

imagine the reef as negative space

In the end, I guess it's not so much a dungeon, as something you wrap around the dungeon.  The ecosystem you embed it in.


Loonies

Eldritch Americana Setting

Takes place in 1929 United States, 39 years after the cthuloid-apocalypse, fall/mutation of all Earth governments, and mass immigration of extradimensional entities.  With this destruction comes a brilliant influx of new knowledge and perspective, including prognostication.  For example, pretty much everyone knows that in 1950, the last human is going to die in captivity.  In New York, this knowledge has led to a feverish revival of life, light, and youth, with lots of parties and gangsters and generally just people trying to live as hard as they can before the sun departs for warmer climes.


Loonies

Refugees from some strange, gaseous dimension, they call themselves the "Noble People".  Everyone else calls them 'loonies'.

In 1909, they arrived in New York in droves, by the millions.  They seeped up through the tiles on Ellis Island's immigration desk, begging for asylum in their wispy voices.  (They were driven from their home by something that they describe as a 'typewriter', or many typewriters, but the exact details are either beyond our ability to understand or their ability to communicate.)

Immigration Services (already mostly staffed by Outsiders at this point) had no place to put them.  The slightest breeze killed them.  Inhalation killed them.  They couldn't share a room or container because of decency standards.  And so most of them were bundled into tupperware containers and shoved under desks, where most of them still remain, forgotten.

A great deal more of them, however, were put into balloons and turned out on the streets.  This was all done hastily, since the number of immigrants was more than the agency could process without resorting to the usage of time fractalizers (illegal).

Loonies have gone on to become a well-known underclass in Eldritch Americana.  They haunt the slums, and live in big family clusters in the coldest buildings (warmth makes them itchy).  Vast numbers of them work as servants in richer houses, or as laborers in protected jobs, due to their fragility (see below).

Interestingly, the phone sex industry is almost completely dominated by them, since most people find their breathy moans and soft lisps to be powerfully exotic and sensual.  They have the most attractive voices around.


Nomenclature

They are called loonies because (a) they live in balloons, and (b) they love nonsense.  This last aspect has led them to be caricatured as insane, when they are really as sane as your humble author.

Loonies enjoy our surrealism, true.  And in fact, the most lauded surrealists of the 20th century have been loonies.  When they talk among themselves, or when they talk to friends, they punctuate their speech with all sorts of non sequiturs and balderdash.  The words still have a meaning behind them, but one that is obscured by a scorn of strict rationality.

"How are your cabbages, King-lady?" means "How are you doing today?"

"Voluble as ever, but they'll still make a nice jelly." means "It's life."

With strangers, they talk like normal people.  Usually.  There are plenty of saucy loonies who treat everyone like a friend, and therefore never make much sense.

Tribulations of the Balloon-People

Loonies face two unique problems.  

First, they puncture easily if they are only wearing a balloon.  In New York, gangs of children kill loonies by the millions.  With slingshots and tack-studded pebbles, or with needle-tipped sticks.  Since loonies aren't full citizens, legal protection is non-existent and retribution is criminal.

Most loonies are terrified of children, who wear their skins as hats.

Most of them buy a pigskin balloon-suit as soon as they can.

Second, they are a powerful drug if inhaled.  This has caused the DEA to categorize them as a Schedule II narcotic.  In addition to their driver's license, each loonie must also carry their CSA (Controlled Substances Act) card, which licenses them to possess themselves.

Transporting a loonie across state lines is also illegal (unless they walk across themselves).  Ownership of a loonie is also illegal, which at least has the benefit of protecting them from slavery.

Each loonie has an assigned pharmacist, who functions pretty much like their parole officer.  Failure to check in usually results in a warrant for arrest being issued (but never in a timely manner--pharmacists are all overworked).

While loonies are legal on the state level, they are illegal on the federal level, so they tend to be hassled/arrested/fined by federal agents, eggshell men, and powdered knights.  They are 100% illegal within the District of Columbia.


Effects of Inhaling a Loonie

For the next 1d6 minutes, hallucinations and . . . (roll a d6):
  1. Eyes shine like flashlights, in the same color as the loonie.
  2. You speak the opposite of whatever you intend.  All spell effects are reversed, except for ones that cause damage or healing.
  3. Brilliant euphoria dispels all negative emotions (rage, fear, sadness) but taking aggressive actions in this state require a save.
  4. Logorrhea.  If they fail a save, they babble a secret, or whatever secret they were hoping to avoid talking about.  If they make a save, they just babble nonsense (which loonies usually regard as attractive and interesting).
  5. Weightlessness.
  6. Random mutation from your favorite mutation table, except that this mutation is temporary.

Loonies as PCs
  • This is probably a race-class.  They're sort of a a fighter-wizard hybrid.
  • Hit Die: d6
  • XP: as fighter
  • Weapon proficiencies as fighter.
  • Armor proficiencies as fighter.
  • Treat fighting ability as a fighter of half level, rounded up.
  • Treat casting ability as a wizard of half level, rounded down.
  • Saves as wizard.
  • Your gas is a neon color.  Roll a d6: 1 pink, 2 blue, 3 violet, 4 green, 5 yellow, 6 luminous white and you shed light as a candle.
  • Can vent your gas, which deals 1d6 damage to you which recovers at 1 point per day, regardless of magical healing.  If you vent it in someone's face, they need to save or suffer the effects as if they had inhaled you.
  • Roll stats as normal, except 2d6 for Strength.  (Strength can later be improved by wearing a suit.  Different suits give different Strength bonuses.)
    • Balloon = +0 Str, +0 AC, can jump 4x, takes no fall damage, cannot submerge, Save or Die if they take any damage from sharp/piercing sources.  They can jump over most buildings, but will blow away on a windy day.
    • Pigskin = +1 Str, +2 AC (as leather), can jump 3x, takes no fall damage, can submerge with Str check, costs $1-2 (~ 10-20gp)
    • Aluminum-and-Plastic = +2 Str, +4 AC (as chain), can jump 2x, takes half fall damage, costs $10-20 (~ 100-200gp)
    • Spaceman Suit = +3 Str, +6 AC (as plate), moves a little slower than a human (10 instead of 12), costs $100-200 (~ 1000-2000gp)
  • Begin play wearing a balloon.  (You'll probably do your first dungeon/adventure in a shitty, rubber balloon suit.  Yes, this sucks.)  Balloon suits are save-or-die when popped because the tension is the skin is enough to disperse the contained gas.
  • Loonies can carefully exit their suit and float around.  Treat this as gaseous form with the following exceptions: Take 1d4 damage every 6 seconds exposed, unless in vacuum or protected atmosphere.  Take minimum damage from non-magical sources (instead of none).  Strong winds or fans = save or die.  Try not to spend to much time outside your balloon.  Remember that you are compressible, and in a pinch, you can be stored in tupperware or a waterskin.
  • At level 3, they can choose which effect their gas has on a person if they succeed on a Constitution check.
  • At level 5, whenever they save against a gas or gaseous breath effect, they can suck it into their suit and neutralize it.  They can later vent it out with all of the original effects.  They can only hold one gas this way.
  • Immune to mundane poisons and diseases.  Still need to breathe.
I sort of envision them as being really shitty at level 1, with the popping and all.  Bonus points if the DM gives the player a balloon at the start of the session, tells them "this is you" and then pops it if/when they die.

Although they can sort of fight like fighters, their shitty strength limits them from really exploiting it.  They get cool abilities at level 3 and 5, both of which are unreliable and potentially powerful.  Or in another word: fun.

Also: just picture a spaceman suit filled with whorls of gas, stomping around a subway dungeon, armed with an aluminum sword and a spellbook.  I like it.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Racial Ability Score Modifiers, Redux

Elf: +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution.

I never quite liked that, since it could lead to starting stats higher than 18, and I abhor anything that could possibly lend itself to min-maxing.

What about:

Elf: +Dexterity, -Constitution

And then you just roll stats as normal, except that if the elf's constitution is higher than the elf's dexterity, you switch the two stats?  It still lends itself to fictional consistency (elves are nimble but not very sturdy) while keeping elf stats in the same bounded range as the other races/classes/race-classes.  And you still have the opportunity to have an elf character who has constitution as high as the human--it's just exceedingly rare.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Kel Bethor, the City of Necromancers

Kel Bethor is the walking city of the necromancers.  All of the buildings have some form of mobility, so that the city can move to the site of the next cosmic megafauna impact.  In Kel Bethor, this usually takes the form of skeletal feet, attached to the bottoms of houses.

This post will help you roll up a necromancer of Kel Bethor.  There are four sections: necromancer, their agenda, their mansion, and their mansion's adornment.



Necromancer

  1. Vacklegrim, his body swollen with fat, oils, and stolen humors.  His second chin contains a malevolent intelligence of his own.
  2. Torpo the Cannibal.  Yells about "man bacon".  Bleeds ectoplasm.  Terrified of obelisks and other phallic symbols, convinced that he will one day be buried under one.
  3. Scaber pan Kilrevel.  Merely a severed head, carried around on a silver platter by a zombie butler.  Loves earrings, and has had several new ears grafted on to accommodate his growing collection.
  4. Sto Leck, Who Lives in Velvet.  Soul has been split up and fed to dozens of black cats.  When he wants to speak, each cat will speak a word at a time.  When he lounges on a sofa, the cats will cover it in a vaguely anthropoid shape.  Dinner table in house is not used (since the cats eat from bowls) and atop the dinner table is Sto Leck's original corpse, the bones all gouged by countless cat teeth.  d6 cats gnawing on it at any given time.
  5. Dirigner, Who is Tallest.  Has a sacrificial dagger jammed into his brain.  Touching it causes him intense pain and removal is impossible, so he has attached a glass jar to his skull to protect it.
  6. Duveng the Archmage.  Missing both eyes.  Hunchbacked.  Fearful and of middling talent (his mansion was inherited).  Has a bad infestation of sinus spiders.
  7. Venebrous Skarb.  Boneless.  Slithers around on the ground like a blanket stuffed full of snakes.  Very polite.  Lascivious.
  8. Consumate Yarb.  Possessed with an intense agoraphobia.  Lives inside the walls of his house, and will stick his head out from behind portraits and onto bookshelves to address guests of his house.  Powerful sorcerer, but if he is ever pulled from the wall (his body is pale and deformed) he will suffer a powerful psychotic break.
  9. Scalamandray.  She sees the world through purple-tinged glasses that reveals the truth about the world (true seeing) but since the truth about the world is that it is filthy, petty, and dying, she is powerfully cynical and depressed.  (And so would anyone else, if they wore the glasses.)  Pockets filled with snakes.
  10. Pyutin the Puffin.  Necro-bard.  She's beautiful and kindly, but has more skeletons in her closet than anyone else.  
  11. Vorla the Vegetarian. Rogue botanomancer.  Got her house via usurpation.  Killed the previous necromancer-owner by feeding him an acorn, and then getting the tree to explosively grow to adulthood.  His bones are still in the great hall, along with the oak.  Is usually carried around by undead willow-treants, cradled in their arms.  Also, shrunken mandrake heads.  Also, corpse flowers.  Also, skeletons studded with poisonous saprophytes.
  12. Deathbreath.  Surprisingly, he is not undead, but is an air elemental.  He possesses people by invading their lungs, and leaves them with their final exhalations.  He is currently possessing a master swordswoman from Shirrak.


Agenda

  1. A bigger house.
  2. The enslave one of the cosmic megafauna.
  3. To unite the city of Kel Bethor under his/her banner.
  4. Lichdom.
  5. To recruit a worthy outsider to inherit their household, as they are dying.  (And eventually, function as a receptacle for their spirit.)
  6. To die in the most poetic way possible.
  7. To steal a certain object from a rival house.  This item will allow them to resurrect their ancestors.  They will then throw the ancestors a party to honor them, and then consume them.
  8. To perform a ceremony inside a rival's house that will lay one of their powerful spirits to rest (and thereby deprive that house of power).
  9. To steal one of the mounts of Kel Dravonis.
  10. Is actually a cannibal outsider (see result #12) and is seeking wizard brains to devour.  After eating 2 more, will set out on a vision quest to build a temple inside a hallucination.  This will require many slaves consuming large amounts of narcotics in order to build the hallucination-temple inside their brains, brick by brick.  (It's a bit like Minecraft, really.)
  11. To create a plague of flesh that will undermine the normally-skeletal armies of Kel Bethor, sabotaging their own city.  They are an agent of Kel Dravonis, after all.
  12. Collection of blood from anyone and everyone.  This will be used to make red-boned clones who only live for a few days before dissolving into screaming jelly.

House
  1. Undead elephant.  50% chance to be painted garishly, like it was going to a mardi gras party.
  2. Treehouse crawling around on undead roots.
  3. Round tower rolling around on its side, gravity and momentum magically stabilized inside.
  4. Flying leather tents (also undead) accompanied by swarms of tooth-edged leather kites.
  5. Cluster of crumbling mausoleums, carried atop several layers of centipedes.
  6. Wooden huts carried by crawling skeletons.
  7. Hunting lodge carried by pheasant wings and skeletal deer legs.
  8. Circular lodge of bones, knitted together by dried tendons.  Carried by multitude of skeletal legs.  A few smaller legs (childrens' or hobbit's?) don't reach the ground, and are carried around by the others.
  9. Carried like a beer keg on the shoulders of a rotting giant, who treats it extremely delicately.  Rotting giant also keeps the rain off.  Prisoners are kept in a hanging cage nestled in his beard. 50% chance the giant is decrepit, and instead crawls around with the house on his back.
  10. Series of covered howdah-like tents on top of the back of an enormous, skeletal serpent.  It slithers backwards, and its tail terminates in a wooden entryhouse, with warm light spilling from a couple of windows.  (Its skeletal head is on the other end, and is not used except in self-defense.  If at rest, you may see servants re-applying poison to its fangs.)
  11. Atop a limb from from the cosmic megafauna.  A giant crawling hand
  12. Unsteady tower atop the legs of undead giant.  Other parts of giant are also incorporated into the tower.  Skull = door, arms = catapults, etc, ribs = crenellations, etc.  Try not to let your players make too many Monty Python jokes.

Adornment
  1. Wind chimes made from bones.
  2. Taxidermied animal heads adorning the walls (inside and out).  Will announce new arrivals, take your coat, and tell jokes.  If you get them all laughing at the same time, the doors will unlock.  However, very difficult to sneak around.
  3. Cosmetic haunting.  Symmetrical lines carved in sand.  Mournful howls synchronize and harmonize.  Walls bleed in attractive patterns.
  4. Followed by funereal mourners, or a reasonable facsimile.
  5. Covered in paper scrolls that constantly produce text via conscripted ghost power.  Nature of text depends on d4: 1 local events, 2 blasphemies, 3 world news, 4 unmitigated madness.
  6. Has a garden, towed behind the main house.  Either an undead garden or a garden brimming with life and vitality.  (50% chance of each.)
  7. Water runs along surface.  Black water leaks from moulding.
  8. Black chickens everywhere.  Even their flesh and bones are black.
  9. Looking at the building makes your bones ache.  Approaching it makes them grind in their sockets.
  10. Crucifixes on the roof.  50% chance that the crucifixes are occupied by d4: 1 paladins, 2 bards, 3 animals, 4 surprisingly strong skeletal guards who swing their crucifixes like mauls.
  11. Constantly vomiting fog from all apertures.  Skeletons also vomit fog.  Fog may also vomit skeletons.
  12. Masquerade in process.  House is full of skeletons whose heads have been replaced with taxidermied animal heads, especially birds, especially ibises.
So I made some random tables for some death knights and their steeds and +Jeff Russell was like, "I wish there were more fucked up steeds." and I was like, "me too".


d20 More Fucked Up Steed Modifications

  1. Breath attack: cone of teeth.  Those hit must also save vs disease or get a nasty tooth infestation (which will then grow from their skin, making their clothing and armor impossible to wear.)  Horse also has a bad case of teeth infestation.
  2. Doubles in size every day.  When this becomes unsustainable (which takes surprisingly long), it bursts, birthing a shiny new steed.
  3. Steed is actually the death knight and vice versa.  50% chance that this is secret.
  4. Capable of flight.  Not a majestic flight, but a tortuous, twisting, erratic flight.  It screams and bleeds the whole time.  While it flies, its feet crack and bleed.  Sort of like a fucked-up wendigo.
  5. It's hooves have been replaced with oversized human hands.
  6. Turns back into a pumpkin every midnight for 3 hours.  Except I was kidding about the pumpkin, since it actually turns into . . . d4: 1 pile of corpses, 2 pool of blood, 3 single grave, 4 perfectly normal horse.
  7. Is paralyzed but telekinetic.  It's eyes are glassed over with freakish knowledge.  It has seen more than any horse should ever have seen.
  8. Can launch poisonous harpoon from throat, then reel it it.
  9. Has seams, zippers.  Seems to be something, or a group of somethings, wearing a horse suit.  Opening the horse suit is a very bad idea.
  10. Is also the death knight's wife, legally and practically.
  11. Has had a limb of a cosmic megafauna grafted on.  It is vastly oversized for the steed's body.  It might be a huge head that that the steed has to push around like a wheelbarrow.  Or, it might be a giant limb, 5x larger than the rest of the steed, that drags the steed behind it, sort of grinding it into dust.
  12. Constantly eating dirt.
  13. Belly is home to a nest of tortured ghosts, swirling through its intestines like larva.  Piercing it will release them, and they'll start doing psychic attacks vs random people.
  14. Mind flayer head.
  15. Bio-mechanical.  Head is actually a giant hypodermic needle containing a plague of your choice.
  16. Muscular centaur with exaggerated secondary sexual characteristics.  Lobotomized, and only babbles about green fields and strange fruit.
  17. Semi-imaginary.
  18. Has a wand grafted to it, making it wand-unicorn.  (Suggested wands: wand of disintegration, wand of necrotizing fasciitis, wand of baleful pregnancy).  Great care has been taken to make it look beautiful.  Rainbow colored ribbons in its mane.  It's flanks have been painted with the holy symbols of good-aligned gods.
  19. Has d6 heads (as a hydra), long necks, mouths like sharks.
  20. Feeds by absorbing meat-slaves into its flanks.  On its sides are 1d6-1 meat-slaves, their heads absorbed into its body, each wielding a weapon (1d6 dmg) but attacking at -2 to hit.  Exhaust ports near the anus vent hot, atomized blood.  Blood is a potion of cause light wounds.  Eyes flicker like strobe lights when aroused.

Dream #1

I think I might start blogging my dreams, if they are D&Dable enough.  I like the idea because I'm lazy, and also because it seems very post-human to upload my dreams to the internet.  

Anyway, this dream is sort of a model example.  It requires virtually no embellishment to be fucked up and semi-coherent.  This particular dream has three acts, which are semi-related.  I'm still not sure if they're part of a larger narrative or not.  But good job, brain.


ACT I

So I was showing up for work at the hardware store on a grey morning.  Everyone's cars were here, but the lights were off.  The store looked closed.

Inside, I could hear concerned voices talking in hushed tones.  My manager popped out into the aisle, red vest a-flutter, and said, "bring a mop."  So I did.

It was sprawled out in the middle of the screw-and-fastener aisle: a dead bear.  Or what I assumed was a dead bear.  It was semi-flattened, as if an 18-wheeler had run over it.  It's paws had been cut off.  Its eye sockets were featureless hollows.  And there was blood all over the cornflower blue tiles.

"Who wants to put it in a wheelbarrow so we can get it out of here?" someone asked.

Oh, not me.  Not me.

"How about. . . Mike, you do it.  And then you, Arnold, you start mopping up this mess."

Mike got bear blood all over his plaid shirt while trying to get the bear into the wheelbarrow.  It was big, even flattened.  When the bear corpse was in the wheelbarrow, I amused myself by poking it with my mop.

I would bop it on the nose and watch the head spring back.

After a couple of raps, it became obvious that the bear wasn't just flopping around, but was actively following my mop with its head, like a cat tracing birds out of the sky.

I moved the mop left and right, and the bear's blood-stained muzzled moved in the same pattern.  I moved the mop up and down, and the bear's empty hollows did the same.

Finally, realizing that this was all very scary, cleared my throat and stepped backwards.

Still following the mop, the bear tried to step out of the wheelbarrow.  Its limbs were flaccid and unsteady.  It was still flattened, like an understuffed teddy bear, except for its feet.  It took two steps out of the wheelbarrow before it slipped.  It managed half a somersault before it split open along hidden lines, spilling blood, meat, and metal all over the ground.  It looked like it was made entirely out of caltrops and uncooked ground beef, but looking back at it now, I am certain that there were also a couple loops of barbed wire, a piece of rebar, and a set of keys.  Perhaps even some screws and fasteners.


ACT II

I had come here to kill him.  He would be asleep by now, but even asleep, I knew he would be alert and vital.  And of course, always with a gun within arm's reach.

I had brought my two bears with me.  They were small.  Cubs, or close to it.  It was 3 am.

The front door opened after a moment's work, and I sent the first bear inside.  I watched its furry backside disappearing into the interior, as quiet as a mouse.  I had taught it to tip-toe.

I had taught that bear two other things.

The first was how to open doors.

The second was to take care of dogs, and I knew there was a German shepherd somewhere in this house.

I waited for a few minutes.  No alarm was raised.  No lights flicked on.  No gun shots, no barks.  I slipped inside, with the second bear under my left arm.

Rustic decorations loomed out the half-light.  Handmade wooden table.  Rocking chair.  A fucking quilt.

There was a dog bowl on the ground, and a dog bed, but no sign of the dog.

Here is how the first bear takes care of dogs: First it approaches the dog, slowly and submissively.  Then it plays with the dog.  Then it kills the dog and stuffs its body in a place where it will not be soon found, such as under the couch or in the cupboard beneath the sink.

I crept up to the main bedroom.  The door was ajar, with only darkness visible within.  I knew that the first bear was already inside, waiting for his brother.  The second bear was still tucked under my arm, squirming with eagerness.  Its skin was woven wire, and its eyes were ball bearings.  It panted, and I could see engine oil pooling on its tongue.

I gently put the second bear inside the room, then turned and fled from the house.  The success or failure of my mission would no longer depend on me.

I still don't know how the second bear takes care of people.


ACT III

I was operating the door to the radiation chamber.

This was important because we didn't want anyone entering or escaping the radiation chamber when it was turned on.

"Three seconds!" my boss shouted.

"Three seconds," I told the test subject.

I locked the door and walked around the nearest corner, just to be extra sure I wasn't exposed.  Golden orange light spilled out into the hallway behind me for exactly three seconds.

Checking the test subject, I could see that the experiment was a success.  Both of his arms and part of his head had been replaced with mechanical analogues.  His sensor nest trembled atop the stalk of cervical cordage.

I was delighted with this.  I let the test subject out of the chamber and ran over to report this success to my boss.  But as I did this, I tore open the skin on my arm, revealing reticulated bands of cables and actuators, fat and oiled inside my forearm.

"What is the meaning of this?" I asked my boss.  "Why am I also turning into a machine when I was so careful to avoid the radiation?"

My boss shook his head and regarded the test subject, who had shambled up behind me.

"There was never any radiation," he said.  "It was just an orange light and a buzzer."

The three of us were silent in thought for a minute.

"We should probably declare war on the whole world, then," one of us said.

"Psh."  Another one of us answered.  "That will never work."

"Then we should declare peace on the whole world," the third one said.

"That one is even less likely to work," said one of us, but they then I couldn't tell who was doing the talking anymore.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Knights of Kel Dravonis

This is another post about the Star Beast Gravelands.  It is home to three roaming cities, of of which is Kel Dravonis, the city of necromancers.

It is wrong to call them death knights.  Sure, they (or more often, their lords) employ necromancy extensively in the service of their city.  But this is a necessity in the gravelands, where no trees grow and no metal can be found.  Death is their native process; corpses are their native currency.

The knights protect their houses and their king.  They also protect the skeleton trains, which pull the wheeled houses back and forth across the desert, always heading for the next corpse impact.

The skeleton trains are most susceptible to raiding, since each one is a visible string of valuable undead pulling on harnesses.  Most of the skeletons are humanoid, equine, or some hybrid of the two (assembled out of necessity and frugality).

Each death knight has a first name, a last name, 2 defining features, a squire, a distinctive steed, and an agenda.


First Name
1 - Vichorus
2 - Pascious
3 - Kelmoran
4 - Rhuzius
5 - Lictus
6 - Lavenish
7 - Dorn
8 - Galunzea
9 - Medria
10 - Kevahl
11 - Gestahli
12 - Dravok

Last Name
1 - pan Ect
2 - pan Mantagruel
3 - pan Volgrun
4 - pan Sectar Untat
5 - pan Ankhri
6 - pan Mool
7 - pan Evangelus
8 - pan Sepak
9 - pan Ark
10 - pan Iniquis
11 - pan Dhruzj
12 - pan Dross


Notable Feature (2 rolls)
  1. Venomous rat skeletons nest in visible rib cage like lorikeets, leering.
  2. Crow heads braided into beard + hair.  Sing dirges during battle.
  3. Thin black smoke rises up from open wounds.
  4. Tattoos squirm across bald pate like a snake orgy.
  5. Dragging a coffin, or coffin strapped to back.  (50% chance of each.)
  6. Many layers of teeth.  Revolve in mouth like garbage disposal.  Voice unsurprisingly also like garbage disposal.
  7. Insects (especially moths) constantly landing on neck, ears and whispering secrets from distant lands.
  8. Second set of arms attached at armpits or at elbows.  (50% chance of each.)
  9. Fused with mount.  (See below.)  50% chance of gross obesity.
  10. Visibly held together by set of animated armor.  33% that they are just a manicured head wearing make up, embedded in the chest of a bone-and-iron golem-thing.
  11. Black iron spikes pierce ragged eye sockets.  Margins filled with lead, spilling onto cheeks like tears.  
  12. Accompanied by undead harem and assistants (perservatives, needlework, perfume, lubricants)
  13. Floats six inches above the ground.  No shadow.  50% chance of being a vampire.
  14. Bestial, hirsute, and guttural.  Runs on all fours. Wears a monocle.
  15. Has two heads, stacked like a totem pole.  Top head can cast spells as a wizard of equal level but will refuse to attack a cleric due to religious beliefs regarding salvation.
  16. Wolves (or ape-hounds) howl in the distance whenever his/her name is mentioned.
  17. Impossibly old.  Food spoils in his/her presence, blades tarnish.  Dust trickles from the corner of mouth when speaking.
  18. Crucified lambs on pauldrons.
  19. Weapon is sheathed through body.  (Usually a longsword sheathed in the shoulder, with the tip buried somewhere in the intestines.)
  20. Angelic beauty.  Golden wings affixed to armor.  Ghastly white halo burns behind head.  Voice like a hurricane.
Squire (1 roll)
  1. Emaciated squad of orphan children, the offspring of those slain by their master.  Loyal as fuck.
  2. Elven courtesan, surprisingly strong and beautiful, filled with venomous worms that strengthen her even as they spy on her.  Not loyal, but pragmatic.
  3. Ogre ghoul.
  4. An intelligent, undead horse.  50% to have arms grafted to its head, beneath the ears.
  5. Nine eunuchs that live inside a 5'x5' reliquary like it was a clown car.
  6. Dyspeptic lizardman.
  7. Fallen ex-paladin, brain destroyed by disease and necromancy.  Cannot speak except to mutter name of beloved, who does not know his fate.
  8. Cheerful, evil bard.
  9. Cheerful, good bard with strange morality.  Finds everything amusing.
  10. Drowned man.
  11. Robed figure.  Hidden beauty.  Enchanted to love his/her knight.  Aware of love enchantment.  Disgusted by enchantment but still painfully, unceasingly devoted to knight.
  12. Zombie prince.

Steed (roll until it's weird as fuck*)

*alternatively, roll until it's more impressive than the last steed you just rolled up.  After all, it's all about outdoing the last guy.

The steeds of the knights were all "originally" horses.  But so much aftermarket modifications have been attached that its hardly a useful designation.  The knights compete to have the most powerful, disgusting, bizarre steed.  It is both art and intimidation.  Like retrofitting that '69 mustang to run on human blood.  

Each one has a starting weight of ~500 lbs.  Then flip a coin until you get a tails.  Double the steeds weight for each head.
  1. Centipede horse.  2d6+6 horses decapititated (except for lead horse) and sewn together in series.  Capable of rearing up ~30' and crashing down for double damage.
  2. Grafted head.  Roll 1d6: 1 crocodile, 2 human, 3 headless except for lance holder, 4 flamingo, 5 wolf, 6 cluster of horse heads.
  3. Acidic blood.  Steam rises from its hollow flanks.  Trembles with liquid anxiety.
  4. Distended belly.  Pregnant with swarm of horselings.  Will disgorge if threatened.  (5 HD swarm.)
  5. Insectile apparatus infest and enhance the limbs.  Faster on sand.  Builds hives.  Never sleeps.  Lusts for a queen that doesn't exist, and never has.
  6. Ghost carrier.  Filled with souls who have been promised safe passage to afterlife.
  7. Light bringer.  Either enormous and covered with lanterns or sheds ghastly illumination.  (50% chance of each.)
  8. Pharyngeal jaws.  Poisonous bite.
  9. Overgrown with bone.  Spurs jut from shoulders, heels.  Intensely painful.  50% chance of being completely made.
  10. Former human, grown into new and monstrous shape by Allechris of Marchane.  Mind as innocent as a child.
  11. Can run at 3x speed.  Legs have burnt off.  Now runs through the air atop charred stumps.  Painful.  Steed is insanely homicidal, but kept in check by nursery rhymes.
  12. COVERED IN SPIKES.
  13. Sings dirges constantly.  Eyes weep black ichor that restores HP when drank but bestows mild, transient curses.
  14. Breath attack like a slaughterhouse cesspool.  Bone shards and rotted filth. 30' cones.  Will also disgorge a miniature, undead horse every week which will follow (but not fight) until it disintegrates.  If steed is killed, miniature undead horses will devour it.
  15. Never a horse to begin with.  Roll d4: 1 elephant, 2 rhino, 3 crocodile, 4 lion.
  16. Winged.  Intelligent eyes.
  17. Boneless.  Capable of both galloping and slithering.  Growls with inchoate mutters.  Cruel enough to attack bystanders--it enjoys cracking open their legs and sucking the sweet marrow from their bones.
  18. Screaming human faces embedded on flanks.
  19. Huge and pustulent.  Weepings sores bleed black milk to feed the troops.  Embedded armor plates infected near edges.
  20. Crystalline intelligence.  Speaks with the voice of a multitude.  Vanishes during the daytime.
Agenda
  1. Destroy all beauty / become the most beautiful of all.
  2. Destroy all truth / dictate the truth.
  3. Find an awesome spouse.
  4. Quit this fucked up life and become an adventurer.
  5. Turn Kel Dravonis into a war machine; bring war to the whole world.
  6. Kill the king of Kel Dravonis.  Leave this fucking place.  Own an orchard.
  7. Wealth, immortality, and power.
  8. The destruction of another death knight.
  9. The pierce the veil of death.  To know the world beyond.  To re-live the life before birth.
  10. More minions, because this death knight is secretly a vampire.
  11. Obesity.
  12. To retire from service and care for beloved pet. (The king of Kel Dravonis has never ever allowed one of his knights to retire from service.)

Friday, December 12, 2014

d12 Effects of Eating Star Carrion

So there are megafauna that swim between the stars and sometimes they fall to earth like a giant meteor made of meat.  (There's a place in Centerra where this is the entire ecosystem.)  This is what happens after you eat too much star carrion.

Picture a whale washed up on the beach, half digested so as to become unrecognizable.  The softer flesh has been eaten off, the blubber is peeling off in sheets, and limbs have eroded into skeletal phalanges.

It's pretty similar, when a star carcass crashes down.  Like their cetacean analogues, they show signs of predation, and of digestion.  They also have burns from atmospheric reentry, and usually arrive hot enough that their surfaces are boiling.  Death occurs in degrees, and locally, so that some parts of the kilometer-long star beasts might still be twitching and sighing up to several days after braindeath.

Lazy expanses of languid flesh.  Flaccid pillars of eyes.  Dying tendrils hundreds of feet long, that spasm across the desert, overturning cacti and tripping approaching horses.  Corpsemouths yawning with twilit stardust, moaning with thousands of voices.  Scutes from gargantuan shells forming secondary craters a half mile away as they impact minutes later, torn off the star corpse during its final trauma.  Burning pools of blood, ignited as it passed through the fires of its descent.


What does it taste like?

1 - Ecstatic tremors and arpeggios of bliss
2 - Sickly sweet filth, the vomit of heavenly sewers, diabetic nightmares
3 - Crumbling and savory; venison jerky transformed by some geologic process
4 - Spidery, saccharine slivers that dash across your tongue and disappear into your brain
5 - Pungent orbs the split by color upon your tongue, then reform
6 - Vinegar strips like licorice coiling around your spine

One hour after the first time a person gorges themselves on star carrion, they have a 25% chance of vomiting up about 100 gallons of black paste studded with mica crystals.  After vomiting, they must make a save.  If they fail this save, roll a d12 on the table below to see what sort of outer weirdness they succumb to.

1 - Ravenous Gigantism.  PC needs 100 meals a day for the next 10 days, after which they have grown twice as tall.  Anything less will result in rapid starvation.  Henceforth, they will not starve, merely shrink.

2 - Intangibility to Metal.  You can no longer touch it.  It can no longer touch you.  Yes, this does allow you to walk through metal bars while naked.  Metal-tipped arrows deal their minimum damage to you.  Fully metal arrows pass right through you (but probably fuck up your clothes).  Etc.

3 - Can only eat fire.  Eating a torch (like an ice cream cone) takes 1 hour, and will sustain you for a day.  Eating normal food will cause you to vomit a substance that looks and tastes like sour milk, but is poisonous (save or die).

4 - Blood replaced with single, fractally divergent snake that immediately emerges from any wound and screams.

5 - Cosmic Understanding.  +1 Wisdom but can henceforth only speak in the howling sussurations of the stars.  Will never sleep again, but must spend 8 hours a night standing still, looking up at the stars.  Failure to do so is equivalent to getting no rest.

6 - Cosmic Attention.  Abducted by red lights or pungent smells (50% chance of each).  Returned after 1d20 days (on a roll of a 20, they are never returned).  Roll a d6.  1 - Mind replaced with otherworldly intelligence with strange goals.  2 - Skin replaced with neon-colored rubber.  3 - Permanently invisible when naked, but take fire damage from direct sunlight.  4 - Black hole eyes.  5 - Organs replaced with machinery, since this is just a machine-clone that believes it is the original.  6 - Organs replaced with fetuses.


7 - Birth of New Star Spawn.  Pregnancy lasts 3d6 hours.  Newborn star creature will grow to adulthood in another 3d6 minutes, and will be 1d20*100 feet long.  Make a reaction roll to see whether it will attack PCs or serve as their loyal mount.  Either way, it suddenly decides to head into space after 1d6 weeks.

8 - Weightlessness.  Will need heavy backpack to walk (poorly), or someone to pull you along like a balloon.

9 - Become window for external observer.  New eye opens up on forehead; attempts to comprehend it, speak to it, conceal it, or prevent it from seeing out will result in pain and HP damage.  If the PCs life is in danger, there is a 2-in-6 chance that the outside observer will take some action to preserve its agent, usually by exercising some weird, godlike power.

10 - Stark, raving madness.  Flies in the eyes.  (Preferably a tendency for autocannibalism during times of stress, but DM's choice, really).

11 - Mutation.  Roll on your favorite table.

12 - Cannibal Outsider.  Eyes become metal orbs, dull green and glassy.  Eating the flesh of intelligent beings heals you slightly and youthens you (down to your physical prime).  You get +2 to save against clerical magic, and all clerics + paladins (good and evil) will recognize you as something worth destroying.  Clerical magic will never work for you again.  After you have consumed the brains of 11 wizards, you will receive a revelation of your purpose, and where you can fulfill it.  You know the facts contained in this paragraph with utter certainty, although you now doubt everything else about the world, even your own name.