Why Yes I Do Own A Publishing House, What Of It?


So remember that cave map I donated to Matt Jackson, and subsequently all the wonderful things that happened to my players when they went inside it?

Well it’s now a little adventure pdf that you can take home to meet the parents.

 

It’s Pay What You Want, so if you’ve ever wanted to give me money for some reason here’s your chance, or alternatively you can take it for free and digitally spit in my eye, I’m fine with it either way as long as you enjoy it.

 

Click below to make all of your wildest dreams come true.

 

Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine Town Crier

And yet the congregation remained unmoved




Finding Your Rules Unsupervised, Makin’ Them Do Weird Shit


So I’ve been putting together a new version of my character sheet to fit with rules that have changed and things I’ve noticed in play.

 

Click below for the four page fold-over pdf.

Cörpathium Character Sheet v2

Basic changes apart from obvious things covered in the House of Rules:

  • Ranged weapon distances got kicked off the sheet, because needing to shoot someone far away and know the precise distance hasn’t really come up, and when it does I’ll just say “aw, it’s pretty far, you can do it but you’ll take -2 to the roll”, or “no, they’re hella far away”.
  • The girls pretty quickly collected various different pieces of armour that they put on, and I’d like to acknowledge that. The main armour class still stays as Light/Medium/Heavy, but I added a section on the back where they can list the individual pieces and their Quality rating, added the numbers 1-5 under Defence for them to circle the Qualities that apply to their armour, and when they roll that number or less on their Defence roll it will damage that particular piece of armour first. I’d probably say that each additional piece of armour (like gauntlets, helmet, sabatons, etc.) adds 1/2 a point of AC, so you need two for +1AC, additional pieces can’t raise your AC by more than +2, and they don’t affect Heavy armour.
  • I replaced Sneak Attack with a Quick Death. Sneak Attack always felt weird to me, sitting in there with the other skills but you don’t actually use it like a skill, it just adds a damage multiplier when you attack from surprise. So, a Quick Death does work like a skill. When you sneak up on someone or you’re grappling, if you make a successful Quick Death roll you’ll outright kill anything up to 2HD, and if they have more than 2HD it will add a damage multiplier equal to your skill level if you then successfully attack them. So it’s like learning the best way to cut something if you can get close enough.
    If you fail when attacking from surprise, you can still make a normal attack but they don’t take any AC penalty.

 

And then I got to the encumbrance section with all the different movement rates listed and holy shit is it unnecessary, players don’t need to see that, and so I wanted to get rid of them but couldn’t think of what else to put with the encumbrance description.

Then I had the idea, for movement dice.

 

 

MOVEMENT DICE

 

Roll it for chases or when contested speed is otherwise an issue (like when you and the cultist look each other in the eyes and dash towards the slime-spewing altar).

  • An unencumbered human is d8. Encumbered is d6, Heavily encumbered is d4. Cheetahs are d100.
  • Whoever rolls highest wins. In a one-on-one situation I’d probably apply -1 for Medium armour or -2 for Heavy armour.
  • In a pursuit use the lowest Movement Dice of the group, and you could either resolve it as a one-off roll, or have a lost roll decrease your dice size, a win increase your dice size, and the pursuit ends when someone loses on a d4 or wins on a d20.

[By LotFP rules chases are contested d20 + 10% of your movement rate, which is still pretty easy, but I think this is easier and has much more obvious consequences for the amount of shit on your back.]

 

The lowest Movement Dice of the group is also used for random encounter checks, because if you’re heavily encumbered you’re shuffling and jangling around like an idiot, rather than the guy padding around with nothing but a sack and a knife like an agile agile cat.

 

I’m sure I’ve read something similar to the random encounter check recently but I cannot, for the life of me, remember where.

 

 

And then I looked at the light tracker with its boring-arse checkboxes, and realised that I hated it and changed it to something else.

 

 

LIGHT CHECKS

 

Instead of a set time limit, light sources use a decreasing dice check.

  • Torches start at d8, Candles at d10, and Lanterns at d20.
  • When you’re asked to make a light check (so each Turn or what have you), you try to roll in the upper half of the dice, though there might be modifiers if it’s wet or windy.
  • If you fail it drops down to the next dice for the next check.
  • If you roll a 1 or fail on a d4 it goes out or you burn yourself and drop it.
  • If you have to make a light check because of something threatening to extinguish the flame, if you fail it goes out.

Jeff Russell reminded me that this is really similar to this ammunition tracker, which I’d clearly forgotten about but not.

I’m still not sold on using it for ammunition since I tend to run attacks as one roll one swing/shot and abstracting the ammunition feels wrong, but for something like fire, which can vary depending on conditions and quality, it seems just about perfect.

I think it’s a nice easy way to make light tracking interesting and maybe a little bit fun. Each Turn you don’t mark off a box, you roll to see what state your torch is in, and you don’t look down and see three empty boxes and think “okay I’ve got half an hour before I have to light another”, you look down and see that your torch is on a d4 and think “aw shit it’s all spluttery and stuff there’s a good chance it will go out the next time it matters, I should get another one ready”.

 

[Edit: After discussing it more with Jeff and James Young, we figured that using a target number is a lot better, and the best target number is 4. So, regardless of the dice you're on you need to roll 4 or higher or you drop to the next dice. This also makes it easy to vary the required roll based on the situation, i.e. "It's raining from nowhere, the ceiling seems to be screaming at you, roll 6 or higher or your torches all go out!"]

4 cacophonous mutterers




Hogwarts Can’t Save You Now


With Thoth’mora taking his dead twin sister’s head to gain the knowledge within, I figured it was probably a good time to actually finish the spell research rules I’ve been vaguely thinking about since I first made the Maleficar rules.

 

The LotFP spell research rules require you to take a wild guess at how long it will take and spend that much money before the Referee makes a random roll to find out how long it will actually take, and if you didn’t guess high enough you lose all your money and waste all your time and get nothing. Oh and if someone interrupts you to bring in a tray of tea and biscuits you also lose everything and have to start again.

Which is BORING.

 

So, here’s what I’ll be doing.

 

[Basic things to know about my magic system first: Spells are not memorised, you get a random amount of spell points to use each day called Cataclysm, spells use an amount of Cataclysm equal to their level, and when you try to use more spell points than you have left you make a 3d6 Cast the Bones roll to figure out if it works, or how badly things go wrong.]

 

  • The basic time required to learn a new spell is FOUR WEEKS, regardless of spell level.
  • This can be done while adventuring, not an issue, because Maleficar are sketchy weirdos who would be thinking about this shit like all the time, waking up at odd hours, stopping suddenly in caves with looks of “of COURSE!” on their faces, and also forcing the whole party to take a month of downtime every time the wizard wants to learn a spell is super, numbingly boring.
  • You get one shot to learn each spell, no second chances honey.
  • Roll 3d6 + your level, vs. 3d6 + spell level, and look up the variance on the table below.

Now unless you roll quite low, you’re pretty much always going to learn the spell, we’re just finding out how well you’re able to use it and what additional things you might have to do to cast it.

 

Before rolling, you can do things to vary your chances.

  • STUDY MORE/LESS;
    If you spend 1-3 weeks less than normal, re-roll your highest dice and take the lower result for each week you dropped.
    [Why would you want to do that? Well maybe an army of demon-possessed plague rats is on the march and you'd really like to learn Cloudkill before they get here.]
    If you spend 1-3 weeks more than normal, re-roll your lowest dice and take the higher result for each additional week.
  • THROW MONEY AT THE PROBLEM;
    Spending 100sp per level of the spell on experimental components and research material and good drugs will allow you to re-roll any dice with a result lower than the opposing roll’s lowest dice, and take the higher result. Spending double that amount will also allow you to roll an extra d6 if you end up with any doubles.
    You’re likely to only find sufficient quantities of that kind of thing in cities or freakish communes though, so even though you can research spells out in the wild, it’s still easier in the comforts of home.
  • STEAL SOMEONE ELSE’S;
    If you possess a deciphered version of the spell, remove the highest dice from the opposing roll.
    [Quick additional rule because if someone wants to walk around with Maleficar skulls hanging off them I'm good with that: If you have a deciphered version of a spell in a spellbook or skull or otherwise, but haven't actually spent the time to learn it yet, you can cast it while reading from its source if you save vs. Magic.]
  • BE INDUCTED INTO THE MYSTERIES;
    If you undertake a journey/perform some esoteric ritual specific to the magic you are trying to learn, as per Tom’s ideas on magic, you may re-roll each dice of the opposing roll, and leave the lower result.

 

3d6 + Maleficar level vs. 3d6 + Spell level
VarianceResult
Beyond +12(as below, plus)
The spell may be cast spontaneously, it seeps from your very being, no word or motion is necessary, no time.
You are permanently marked by small manifestations or physical anomalies relating to the nature of the spell.
up to +12(as below, plus)
Casting only requires half as much Cataclysm, rounded up.
up to +9The incantation is absorbed within your brain, you can cast it from memory.
up to +6You require access to your spellbook, casting takes an extra Round.
down to -6(as above, plus)
There are additional requirements to cast the spell. Match the numbers on your dice to the Demands of the Void table. Demands are only duplicated if you rolled a double or triple.
down to -9(as above, plus)
There is a complication in learning the spell, match your roll to the Thaumaturgic Complication table.
down to -12You fail to comprehend the spell, and open the way to something else. The next time you cast a spell of any kind make a Cast the Bones roll with a penalty equal to the level of the spell you were attempting to learn.
beyond -12(as above, plus)
Your ineptitude causes a zone of arcane madness and manifestation for d6 days, with 6 being permanent.
100' radius per level of the spell you were attempting to learn.

 

 

Demands of the Void
Result(Individual Dice Results)
1-2The spell drains additional Cataclysm, equal to the number on the dice.
3-4The spell requires a specific component.
5-6There must be ritual.

 

 

Thaumaturgic Complication
Result(Sum of Dice Results)
14-18The spell has an Abyssal Side-Effect.
11-13Pockets of black bile open within your mind, roll on Insanity table.
8-10Your flesh is corrupted, roll on Transmutation table.
3-7Part of your body fucking tears itself off, grows extra bits, and wishes your death. It might attack you now, or it might plot your downfall in the shadows. Roll on Body Horror table.

 

 

d20Component
1An inscribed Fetish.
2A raven's wing.
3Finger bone of a peacefully dead man.
4The honey-preserved macerated flesh of the Mellified Priests of the Viridescent Ziggurat.
5The written sentiment of another from time past.
6A Bog's Head Hawkmoth caught beneath a full moon.
(Sickly dark green, the back of their heads resemble the mortifying face of a man left to decay in the waters of a bog, strands hang like muck-covered lichen.
They squeak like scheming mice.)
7The fresh entrails of a toad.
8A clump of diseased blood-red moss.
9Dried tentacles of the oily grey-skinned spawn of the leviathan.
10The hair of a harlot.
11A copper piece once held by a priestess.
12Nacreous Milk of the Antelope.
13Mushrooms sprouted from a corpse.
14The ashy pollen of the Widow's Blossom.
15Burning pages of poetry.
16The legs of a Blue-Bloat Bore Grub, dug from the limbs of an Ash Spider Collossum.
17Three rotten sparrow's eggs.
18The tattooed paw of a Bloodmouth monkey.
19The neutralised honey-thick semen of a Jewelled Mound of Ur.
20A sleeping rat.

 

 

d20Ritual
1Your bare feet covered by water, steam rising from your mouth and nostrils.
2A fistful of hair torn from your head, thrown upon a flame.
3A steady rhythm drummed against something resonant, continuing after you've stopped.
4Obscene symbols drawn in concentric circles around you.
5You must be naked to cast the spell, not a thread touching your body.
6You must swallow a living creature whole.
7Flagellation.
8A shivering, shaking dance in a mentally-induced fever.
9Hot wax poured upon your head, running down your face.
10The tips of your fingers slit, wrists pressed together and brought to your face to mark a circle of blood.
11Your mouth filled with dirt, exhuming the incantation.
12Let no sentient creature enter your sight, let your eyes never close.
13Plunge your hands beneath the soil, let the worms twist their bodies about your fingers.
14Drink the blood of another.
15Intermittent regurgitation, the pool of vomit churning into a swirling spire that streams back into your mouth at the culmination of the spell.
16A spider held on the tongue, swallowed after casting.
17Urinate in the dust and dirt, take the acidic taste upon the tip of your tongue, spit the final word.
18Take the knife to your belly, spill your vitals, the wound will close when the casting is done.
(Unless you rolled maximum damage, which means you cut too deep, the wound remains.)
19Hold your hand in the flame of a candle until the casting is done.
20No blood may be spilt in your presence while the incantation is performed. Make a Cast the Bones roll for every wound you witness.

 

…which means there’s going to be different wizards casting the same spell in different ways, maybe even with slightly different effects, questing around for that particular component they need, asking the Fighter if they can borrow a pint of blood, dancing and spitting.

 

It’s going to be great.

2 cacophonous mutterers




The Apposite Pariahs of Creation


Here have some art, originally drawn for Patrick Stuart’s Veins of the Earth.

Now that it has an actual publishing deal these will probably never appear in the actual book because aesthetic consistency, with the whole thing likely to be illustrated by Scrap Princess (who is a brilliant machine).

 

Nevertheless I’m glad they happened, the Alkalion is one of my favourite things I’ve ever, ever drawn, and they all forced my fingies to keep working and working and now starting a new drawing isn’t the struggletown it was at the start of the year.

 

Unsolicited life lesson: THE MORE YOU STOP DOING THINGS OUT OF FRUSTRATION AT YOUR OWN INEPTITUDE THE LONGER YOU WILL BE TERRIBLE AT THEM. Push through the pain cupcake.

 

The Alkalion

 

The ToRaptoise

(still not really what I pictured when I first read about them and got all light-headed and dreamy,

but the design goal that Scrap and I ended up coming to was “a carnivorous penis spilling out of the worst vulva”, so I think I can lay some claim to success)

 

Sonic Pigs: the pigs that make you shit yourself and weep

 

5 cacophonous mutterers




The House of Rules: Second Doctrine


I’ve made a permanent House Rules page for reference and to make it a hell of a lot easier to link back to when I mention these things.

It can be accessed via the glaring triangle on the right.

 

Also surprise of all surprises I’ve made a few new ones and changed a few old ones.

As follows:

 

ATTACK BONUS

 

A little while ago I switched to Hard & Fast rather than the traditional Melee/Ranged attack bonus split.

  • HARD uses your Strength modifier, and is for melee weapons that do d8 damage or more and bows.
  • FAST uses your Dexterity modifier, and is for melee weapons that do d6 or less damage and most other ranged weapons.

If someone was throwing bigger melee weapons (like axes or spears), I’d probably let them use either.

 

COMBAT OPTIONS

 

Gambits are still working like an absolute treat, except I changed “miss your next turn on a double-miss” to a straight-up fumble.

I changed a couple of the other LotFP combat options to be more palatable though:

  • RECKLESS/DEFENSIVE: by the rules this is just +2 to AB/-4 to AC, or the other way around. Boooooring.
    Instead of that, gain a bonus of your choice to your attack or defence by taking a double penalty to the other.
    e.g. “I want +4 to hit this guy while I wail on him like a madman. Yes I know that means -8 to my AC I don’t care I hate him.”
  • PARRY: by the rules you choose not to attack this Round to get +2 AC, which, what? Who would ever do that.
    Instead of that, and since I’m using Contested Melee, you can re-roll your defence instead of attacking this Round. You can do this a number of times equal to your Fast AB per combat.
    e.g. “Okay well I just rolled a 3 for my defence and he rolled a 12 for his attack. I’d rather not get stabbed in the face and I think I can beat that, so I’m going to try to Parry it thanks.”
  • DUAL WIELDING: each Round choose between +1 AC, or two attacks. If you make two attacks split your AB between them with a penalty equal to the smaller of the two weapons.
    (So fighting with a longsword and a parrying dagger is easier than fighting with two longswords.)

 

EQUIPMENT WEAR AND TEAR

 

I’ve changed the way I use Notches since I first came up with them, though the Quality rules that Smiler and I (mainly Smiler) came up with are still the same.

Every weapon has a Quality rating from 1-5; Quality 3 is average, Quality 1 weapons cost twice as much, Quality 5 costs half as much.

 

What happens now though is that the first time you roll its Quality or less when attacking, your weapon takes a number of Notches equal to its Quality. Weapons break when the number of Notches is equal to their damage die.

The next time you roll its Quality or less when attacking, or deal maximum damage, try to roll over the number of Notches on its damage die; if you’re successful, it takes another Notch, if you’re not, it breaks. So you might embarrassingly break your axe with a wild swing against the wall, or you might snap your dagger off in the merchant priest’s chest.

 

example 1: You roll a 2 when trying to stab someone with your new Quality 5 dagger. That’s lower than its Quality, so it takes 5 Notches. Daggers only deal d4 damage though, so it already has more Notches than it can handle and snaps on their armour. Don’t be such a penny pincher next time.

example 2: You roll a 3 when attacking someone with your Quality 3 longsword. You’ve damaged it once before, so it already has 3 Notches (equal to its Quality), and longswords deal d8 damage, so there’s a 3 in 8 chance of it breaking. You roll a d8 and get a 6, so your sword doesn’t break but it takes another Notch, increasing the breakage chance to 4 in 8 the next time you either roll its Quality or less when attacking, or deal 8 damage when cleaving someone in half.

 

There’s a couple of reasons I changed it from the original rules. For one thing, after that first lot of Notches it’s going to feel a lot more likely that your weapon is going to break, making it a point of tension instead of just more bookkeeping and upkeep. For another, the original rules required checking for breakage after every attack which is way too much damn rolling, whereas only checking when you roll the Quality or less or maximum damage results in the same idea only without being a massive pain.

 

Since I’m having people roll for their defence with Contested Melee, I can use the same Quality range for armour.

When rolling for defence, if the d20 comes up as that number or less and the attacker hits you, decrease the AC of your armour by 1.

 

[Further to that, I've noticed that the girls have pretty quickly started to accrue various bits and pieces of armour, and I'd like to acknowledge that. So what I'm going to do is give them an extra section on their character sheet to record the different pieces of armour they're wearing along with their individual Quality and AC bonus, so that they can be individually affected. I'll probably also rule that when a piece of armour is damaged it also absorbs 1 point of damage from the attack, like, "They swing their axe down at your face but you lift your hand just in time to block the blade. Your Vermillion Gauntlet is absolutely ruined, but shearing through the steel slowed down the axe enough to stop it cutting ALL the way through your hand."

 

Oh oh and while we're talking about armour, if you aren't a Fighter, you don't get to add your Dexterity bonus to Medium or Heavy armour unless your Strength is equal to its AC.]

 

The standard rate for repair is a tenth of the item’s full cost per Notch or AC point (so one Notch on a Medium sword costs 2 silver groats to repair, and it will set you back 100 silver groats to repair the point of damage that drugged-up Nun of the Lotus caused to your Heavy armour).

Prices are still subject to review and gouging.

 

Also if you’re using firearms, the Notches rules actually work really well as a direct replacement for misfire rules and such.

Higher Quality firearms then obviously have less chance of misfiring, using an already-damaged firearm as a club requires checking if it breaks, and if you fail a breakage check on a misfire it freaking explodes!

 

PASSING OUT IN A HORRIBLE CAVE

 

Hit points are still Flesh & Grit because they’re awesome.

I’ve found myself dissatisfied with dying rules/immediately fainting at 0hp though, which isn’t about making characters more durable, but rather about upping the drrrrrrrama.

 

[I know a lot of people prefer a simple Save or Die at 0hp, but it isn't for me, which again, has nothing to do with protecting characters. In my last play report 5 of 7 characters survived, and 3 of the 5 survivors no longer have all their parts attached, which I find a hell of a lot more interesting than 5 beautiful corpses.]

 

So here’s some new dying rules, inspired by Joey Lindsey’s Hit Point Stopwatch.

 

[Important things to note about Flesh & Grit are that you die outright at minus your class HD, and any single attack that deals maximum weapon damage or half your maximum Flesh causes a serious wound, like lopping off a limb.]

 

When you’re dropped to 0hp or below, a countdown starts to losing consciousness, a number of Rounds down to your class HD.

e.g. Malatesta du Caddis gets stabbed one too many times and is reduced to -2 Flesh. Being a Fighter, his class HD is d8, so in 6 Rounds he’ll pass out from the pain.

Until you pass out, crawling away to a dark corner is fine, but every Round that you exert yourself (by attacking or running and such), you actually lose another point of Flesh.

 

[So instead of people fainting quietly around you, they're screaming in fountains of blood spraying from their stumps, they're using their final dying breath to stab your opponent in the back to save you, it's horrible and beautiful.]

 

Outside of combat, when below half your maximum Flesh you can only travel for that many continuous Turns before needing to rest, and lose another point of Flesh every Turn you try to push onwards.

 

Characters that didn’t sustain any serious wounds (i.e. they still have all their bits), regain a point of Flesh every Turn until they wake up at 1 Flesh.

Characters that were dropped below 0hp with a serious wound have to save vs. Poison every Turn to stay alive until they are healed.

 

If magical healing isn’t available, I’ve introduced a Surgery skill. [Updated just now thanks to the wisdom of James Young]

  • If successful, the character is stabilised and regains hit points equal to the number rolled.
  • If you fail you actually cause damage equal to your failure.

e.g. Your friend just lost an arm and you have a 2 in 6 Surgery skill. You roll a 1 so you stop the bleeding and they regain 1hp. Later they also lose a leg but this time you roll a 6, failing by 4 and therefore causing another 4 points of damage to them, staring at your blood-soaked hands as they bleed out.

 

CARRYING SHIT AROUND

or,

ENCUMBRANCE

 

Yes yes this thing again, but, I think I’m finally completely happy with it. Less numbers to worry about, better trade-offs, ties in nicely with the other house rules.

  • Don’t count really small items, that’s just common sense, just write it somewhere damnit.
  • Other items in a pack take up one slot each, number them from 1 upwards.
    Things like torches, flasks, and bottles can be carried in bundles of 3. Smaller things like iron spikes or sling bullets can be carried in bundles of 10.
  • When you’ve got a pack on you’re carrying Dead Weight, you move slower and take a -2 penalty to physical rolls.
    You can carry Dead Weight up to your Strength or Constitution, whichever is highest.
  • If you carry more than that in your pack you are Overweight, you move at half speed and take -4 to physical rolls.
    You can be Overweight up to your Strength PLUS Constitution, to a maximum of 30 items.
  • If you carry any more than that you are Morbidly Encumbered, you can’t do anything but shuffle around under the weight because you’re greedy.
  • If you want to find something in your pack in a pinch, roll its number or higher on a d30. No other action this Round.
  • Money you pick up only counts as encumbering until you’ve visited a Merchant Priest or moneylender in a civilised area. Until then it takes up one item slot per 100 coins.
  • You can carry up to 20 Worn Items on your person in immediately accessible places, including any weapons or shields you’re holding. They can be strapped to you, in pouches, in orifices, wherever. Number them from 1 upwards.
    No bundles unless they’re small or something like a quiver of arrows.
    Heavy/long items take up two slots, and also they’re QUITE BIG. If you’re trying to walk around with a greatsword, a spear, and a 10′ pole strapped to you you’re a dickhead. Stop that.
  • Now, contested melee means that there’s actually quite a wide range you can be hit on. Whenever you get hit in combat, if the number of their attack roll matches the number of one of your Worn Items, you lose that item as well as getting stabbed. Obviously the lower the number the less chance of it being hit, so shuffle your items around as you see fit.

The immediate penalty for wearing a pack might seem harsh, but have you tried swinging your arms around while wearing a backpack? Awkward.

Plus, this allows for carrying a whole buttload of stuff, so if you’ve crammed your pack with 26 different things, it’s then a matter for yourself if you want to bear the -4 penalty for trying to fight while carrying it, or put it down and risk losing everything.

And yet the congregation remained unmoved




Playing D&D With Girls Who Work In A Tea Shop And Also My Brother


My brother Michael joined us for this one and rolled up a character while we wrapped up the giant spider murder situation.

Well actually first Sophie showed everyone her first set of dice and the adorable little suede bag she sewed for them, and we talked about Emma’s potential upcoming date but maybe not with a friend of a friend who legitimately “left his card” for her at the store (says Emma, “What’s dating? I don’t know how to date. I normally just get them drunk.”), and we ate some satay, and THEN we wrapped up the giant spider murder situation.

 

Rose: Damonallit Aspurta, enormous jangling Moorish Devotee of the Corpulent One and his recent convert, Obediah Duncaster the angry overweight drunkard.

 

Emma: Malatesta du Caddis, autistic murdermachine extraordinaire, and the fabulously feathered maleficar Thoth’mora Gnostos.

 

Sophie: Florian Voldaris, recently crippled Francish dandy still searching for his purpose in life while hobbling around on a silver candlestick peg-leg, and Sangr’all Humgha, Thoth’mora’s unidentical plump and “booby” twin sister.

 

Consumables: Rose got this “experience” gift card for being the tits at work, but all the “experiences” kind of sucked so instead we spent it on $200 of red wine, so we drank like two bottles of that and I’m obsessed with sarsaparilla right now and also there was a jam donut tower.

 

Cameraphone photos throughout taken by Rose.

 


Continue onwards…

5 cacophonous mutterers




Welcome to Scenic Whereverthefuck, if you lived here, you’d be caught up in drama by now.


In my short, sharp review of Scenic Dunnsmouth at the end of the last post, I listed what I felt were its shortfalls when I was running it, chief of which was the lack of inter-NPC relationships.

Well instead of crying about it, what I did was start working on my own town generator using a set-up method inspired by Scenic Dunnsmouth, and it’s done now.

 

What you do is this:

 

  • Roll 20d6, 1d4, and a couple of d12‘s if you feel like it (I threw them in for flavour as an afterthought, like a final dash of paprika). Either do it on a big piece of paper or take a photo that you can pretty-up using a future box.
  • Remove any d6 that has a result lower than the d4, so that you end up with something like below (click on the pictures to make them bigger and better).

[Edit: Originally the idea of removing d6's lower than the d4 was to vary the size of the town, but I think a better use of it would be to vary how many groups have a Common Curiosity, to lower the chance of having an overwhelming amount of things going on at the same time. So, roll 10 + d10 d6's, and that's the variable town size. Then, re-roll each lot of d6's with a result equal to or less than the d4 and look up the result on the Common Curiosity table.]

 

  • Each d6 is somebody’s house!
  • Mark where all of the dice landed, then re-roll each lot of d6‘s that have the same number and look up the result on the Common Curiosity table below.
  • Re-roll the d4 on the table corresponding to its number for the most significant/interesting feature of the town. The group that matches its original number is the most closely associated with it.
  • Look up the result of the d12‘s on the Other Features of Interest table.
  • Then roll on Who’s In Charge Here? to find out who’s in charge here.

 

Re-roll d6'sCommon Curiosity
1Ostracised from the community, more than happy to help ruin the plans of others for good or bad.
2Were once caught in a compromising position with a well-bred member of large livestock. It brings everyone else great joy to ensure they never live it down.
3Have a surprisingly large assortment of goods for trade or sale.
4Incredibly friendly, attempting to summon an earth-shaking terror using an underground shrine they found, need help recovering the innocuous missing pieces.
5Fervent devotees to a known religion.
6Protectors of an ancient and terrible secret.
7Cannibals.
8Members of the same bloodline.
9Addicted to a strange and wonderful new drug they have discovered.
10Under the influence of a sentient plant growing in the area, its form depends on the number of homes affected:
1-2 Discoloured patches on the skin, small hidden sprouts.
3-5 Root clusters in the darkness at the back of their throats, speaking for them, a fledgling mother plant beginning to grow in the area.
6+ A large, established plant, protected by those given over more wholly to its symbiosis.
11Insect cult. If six or more homes are affected, a shrine containing a physical manifestation of their worship exists in the area.
12Aggressive/distrustful towards outsiders.
13Dress like demons and prance around burning pyres when the moon is full.
14Militant nudists.
15Share a psychic connection to one another that allows them to simultaneously experience everything that happens to each individual member, and grants them terrifying powers of the mind when their number exceeds fourteen.
16Extremely welcoming towards outsiders.
17Enthusiastic practitioners of a strange pastime.
18Speak in a dialect not used for centuries.
19Organic body-horror replacements from a fallen star in the hills. They smell of thyme and their flesh is all-too pliable.
20Will attempt to burn Magic-Users and Clerics like witches.
21Capture children of all ages as offering to the toad beast in the woods for the protection of the town. The sacrifices sleep curled within amber pus-filled holes in the hardened skin of its belly until they emerge as misshapen and fantastic children of the fae.
The rest of the town is oblivious.
22Their windows are dark and they do not answer their doors.
23Share a competitive rivalry over something quaint.
(Hunting, baking, growing large vegetables, needlework, gardening, offering sacrifices to their abhorrent god, etc.)
24Are afflicted by a terrible, undocumented ailment.
25Wash their dead in the creek and bury them beneath the silt, returning in a week's time to retrieve their bare, yellowed bones.
26Form the militia of the Blue Palm, adept in the use of paralytic poisons derived from local flowers.
27Incredibly eager to marry-off/apprentice their sons and daughters, will go to great lengths to prove the superiority of their children over their neighbour's.
28Summoned a melting pyramid-headed lady of unspeakable lust and terror as a plaything and instead became her emotional puppets. She can't hurt them but is trying damned hard to make them hurt themselves, she can't leave this plane of existence until they are all dead. She resides in secret at the home nearest to the centre of the group and she hates it here.
29Esoteric horticultural society, with a 3 in 6 chance of having access to any rare plant you care to mention and a high likelihood of losing their minds over any specimens of your own you'd like to share.
30+Recently welcomed the offspring of their god into the womb of a blushing bride on her wedding night, we're all terribly proud.


Continue onwards…

3 cacophonous mutterers




“We Burn the House, Everyone In It”


Two of the girls Rose works with at the tea shop have been wanting to play some D&D, so we thought we’d have them over for drinks and a nice shipwrecking at Zzarchov Kowolski’s Scenic Dunnsmouth.

Now they’d never played an RPG whatsoever, so they got sent this email before the game:

 

So you’ll be coming to this place called Malles Vermald, it sometimes looks like this, and other times it looks like this, and sometimes it looks like other things entirely.

 

It sounds like this, and this, and this, and this, and this.

 

It tastes like a choc-chip mint icecream sundae served by a swamp bear on drugs.

 

The time period is kind of a nonsense 16th-17th century renaissance/era of enlightenment type deal, with conquistador-style exploration in vogue and science and anatomy starting to be a thing.

 

Most everyone has a bit of an air of frontier conquest about them but people have been living there for at least a few hundred years without ever having seen a native inhabitant, but historical documents only exist from the last hundred years for some reason.

 

The biggest and best city is Cörpathium, which sometimes looks like this or this or this or this, and was mostly already there when we found it.

 

There aren’t any elves or dwarfs or hobbitses but there are four major ethnicities.

The Moors are steeped in mysticism and have near pure-black skin, like polished ebony, with pupil-less white eyes and rich silk clothing dripping with jewellery.

Urgoths/Saxons are the pale mongrel children of might-as-well-be-Europe.

Francs are like their more effete olive-skinned cousins.

The Morgen are pale to the point of ethereality with epicanthic eyes and bullshit Lovecraftian names, when born they’re anointed to the sect of one of their hundred gods instead of taking a family name.

 

The animals are weird and awful and you’re probably going to lose bits and catch diseases and maybe die.

 

There aren’t simple ghosts and demons but there are things that operate on a different level of existence that might drive you insane or turn your flesh against you or both or something worse.

 

YOU CAN BE ONE OF FOUR THINGS!

Magic-Users aren’t lame old wizards they’re crazy weirdos who risk insanity and mutation and destruction.

Clerics aren’t noble holy men they’re delusional ritualistic heretics who worship things that might not even exist and have to please them to use their power.

Fighters like to hit things with swords.

Specialists have mad skills and depending on what you want to do could be assassins or thieves or trackers or librarians or whatevs.

 

If you super badly want to be any of those things let me know, otherwise we’ll make it up on the day, that’s what Rose always does.

 

And then I threw them on a boat bound for Cörpathium and we started things a little bit differently.


Continue onwards…

5 cacophonous mutterers




Last Gasp Life Advice for the Terribly Afflicted


Nameless Searcher asks:

“can ur poo turn in two a fungus or worm as i feel like summons running up an down my body”

 

Dear Reader,

Thankyou for your query regarding poo, and its inherent ability to form a portal through which fungal worms may be summoned!

The sensation you describe running up and down your body is in fact the molecules of your very being vibrating at a different frequency in order to allow entrance from the beyond, and should subside within 3-4 days once the fruiting conqueror has settled within the new confines of your flesh. In the meantime, it would be wise to refrain from inspecting your rectum in any way, as the sudden appearance of a finger, or leering eyes reflected in a mirror, could be construed as aggression by your new symbiotic god, elevating its rage to fevered heights that would make the very mountains weep.

As in all things, deal with your new guest with softness and compassion, and in no time at all you will begin to reap the fruit that your warmth and poo has sown.

 

With Heartfelt Regards,

Last Gasp.

One whisperer in the dark




A Tale of Sixteen Piglets


Here’s the other request I fulfilled for His Abysmal Jolliness, Secret Santicore.

 

 

The Request:

 

A random encounter which includes an ogre, a maiden, and a standing stone.

 

 

The next time you’re in a town near some woods, or in a town near a town near some woods, you start hearing things.

The main thing to take away from all this talk is that High-Father Flagellus, a priest of your chosen important religion, is missing his daughter. He claims she was taken from her room during the night a week ago, and the weak-minded fools of the town will do nothing to help. He has reason to believe she was taken to the woods, but when he tried to go there himself was turned back not only by the animals dwelling there but by the very woods themselves.

In payment for returning his daughter he will pay a handsome sum siphoned from the tithing box, as well as a massive IOU from the church.

 

 

The Talk About Town
1d10
1I do a bit of bird watching in my spare time, relaxes the soul you see. But this last week I swear they've been flying from all directions in a steady line straight into those woods, it's the damndest thing I ever saw.
2That crazy old woman that lives up by the woods keeps complaining she can hear screams echoing out at night. I told her that's just age catching up with her and she just tuts and shoos me away from the house. I love winding her up!
3Old Otis Bronte swore he'd dealt with his rat problem but three days ago a swarm of the furry brutes poured out of his grain silo. They let the other farms alone and ran into the woods though so no harm done I guess. Strange thing though, every now and then you'll see little packs of vermin coming in from the countryside, straight towards the woods..
4There's a grave in them woods with no name. Y'see years ago a woodcutter's wife carried on with a merchant that used to pass through, and every time he came he'd bring her a new trinket. Golden necklaces that would serve as well as a breastplate, rings cut from solid ruby, earrings made of the bones of saints! Well one day the woodcutter finds these treasures hidden beneath the stair, and he knows he's been dishonoured, and he spits and he waits. He waits until the next time the merchant passes through, who comes to meet the wife as usual, in the woods when the moon is full, and when their lips meet the trees themselves shake and all the trinkets rain down from the branches above their heads. Well the wife looks back up in time to see the woodcutter step out of the dark and bury his axe sternum-deep through her lover's head, and when she tries to run finds herself caught up in a snare with a slit throat. The woodcutter he buries them right there with all their pretties, and marks the spot with a bit o' half-buried sawn-off log.
Folks say they never did see him again, and to the best o' my knowledge he'd still be in them woods, still full o' bloodlust after all these years; only reason I haven't sought out the grave meself y'see.
5Don't tell anyone I told you but Marcy over at the dairy? Well butter ain't the only thing she gets paid to churn if you know what I mean.
6Virgil's sow had a litter of 16 piglets, the biggest litter we've ever seen. Well he was proud as punch as you might expect but a few nights back someone done stole them. Questions have been made about town of course but everyone's come up squeaky clean.
7High-Father Flagellus claims his daughter Meredith was taken from her room during the night one week ago, he claims he heard noises trailing off towards the woods and he couldn't catch up with them. No one has helped him thus far because it's more likely Meredith ran away to get out from under that calloused thumb of his. Silly old sod made a big song and dance of going into the woods himself though and came out screaming that the woods were possessed, says the animals forced him out!
8There's little men what live in the woods, guardians of it they are! You just mind not to scare them off if you go traipsing about in there.
9I heard the Father's daughter ran away with a farm boy to live a life of sin, but not into no woods that's for certain! Old Flagellus just can't handle the fact his precious little girl's turned harlot.
10I was once chased out of those woods by a giant stag of smouldering coal, with burning yellow eyes and the bodies of children hanging from its antlers. Mark my words High-Father Flagellus isn't crazy, there's evil in those woods, and I wouldn't face it again for the world.

 

Once the players decide to enter the woods, finding the clearing at the centre won’t prove too hard if they follow the rat packs and other animals running purposely through them, or keep track of birds flying overhead.

The woods are pretty big though.

 

 

Random Encounters in the Woods
1d10
1A rope trap that yanks you feet-first up between the branches of a tree, bumping into a hornet's nest as you go.
2A veritable plague of rats swarms around your feet in the same direction, uninterested in you for now but if they're attacked or stepped on that will soon change.
3A soft ethereal singing floats through the woods, it sounds like all that is pure and good.
4A huge female bear rears up and roars behind the players, showering them in spittle. Blood is on her claws but she actually just wants the players to get out of the way and if they do so quickly enough she'll pass by without attacking, followed by three adorable cubs of decreasing sizes.
5A small group of rats run straight over a patch of brown leaves that is actually a pit trap full of hallucinogenic puffball mushrooms. Any player that falls in spends the next d10 Turns believing they're a mole with a furious need to dig.
6A one-eyed owl hoots mournfully from an overhead branch and flies off in the direction everything else has been going. Expect a Gnoblin ambush in the form of disembodied insults, thrown stones, and fresh defecation lying along your path.
7You momentarily see a strange furry little face off to your right, but whatever it was quickly scatters off through the undergrowth.
8You find a piece of half-buried sawn-off log. That crazy townie was right! Well, maybe:
1. You dig into a large chamber of a jumping bull ant colony.
2. There's just bones here. Child bones.
3. You find strange looking charms and totems, real voodoo shit, as well as a note in a bottle pronouncing a curse upon the black heart of you who would seek to disturb the dead.
4. He was totally right.
9A line trap that triggers drawn-back bramble bushes to slap everyone square in the face, giving you lots of nasty little cuts.
10Branches break nearby and you see a deranged looking woodsman with a twig-strewn beard and wild eyes wielding an axe. He isn't the murderous woodcutter from the story though just a poor man that lives near the woods. Unfortunately, he can't speak very well and has an extremely nervous disposition that is likely to be mistaken for aggression.

 

CIRCLE OF PROTECTION

 

Just outside the clearing the players will be faced with a ring of vermin and woodland creatures 10′ deep blocking their path. How they get past this is a matter for themselves.

For their part the animals will start trying to scare the players away once they get within 30′, becoming violent if necessary, but will not pursue the players if they make it into the clearing.

 

The Ring of Woodland Critters

 

Within immediate reach of the players there will be:

d100/2 rats

d20 Bunnies

d20 Squirrels

d10 Foxes

d8 Owls

d6 Deer + 1 Stag

d4 Badgers

 

As well as various finches, sparrows, and other birds and tiny animals that are really cute. Voles and shit.

 

THE CLEARING

 

In the centre of the clearing is a ring of four standing stones surrounding a boulder, all faintly inscribed with what appears to be an obscure, ancient, and absurd language. Imagine symbols carved by a dyslexic bird with its beak; like that.

But before any of that, what the players will notice is the ogre.

Misshapen and grotesque, its teeth are large and overly-numerous, crowding each other out from its jaw. Its gnarled limbs look as if it matured while confined to a box; joints veer off at awful angles and horrendous knots bulge from its muscles, a stunted degenerate third hand protrudes from its humped shoulder and the hands it does have are marred by stiff, useless extra digits near to its wrists.

Oh and it’s suspended over the boulder, its arms and legs tied to the standing stones as if it were about to be drawn and quartered. Infected-looking welts and gashes criss-cross its stained yellow skin and streaks through the dirt around its eyes make it look as if it has been weeping.

 

THE CAST

 

The Ogre

Has no name because it has never had need of one. It has learnt rudimentary language from overheard conversations around campfires and the pleading of wayward travellers before it eats them. It will weep and sob and beg the players to free it, all it knows is that it was tricked and trapped by the nasty furry goblins and dragged here, where the lady brings it pain every night.

 

Meredith, the Maiden

Meredith has tired of the strict life she is forced to lead under her father’s roof, she wants something more. Goddess of the woods would do for now, and after that we’ll see about the rest of this wretched land. Meredith plans to raise the ancient Boar God of the Wood when the celestial alignment is right, using the ogre as womb and being the first living being present, for the Great Boar to imprint on as mother.

Of course she won’t tell the players this, thank heavens they’re here! She’ll tell them she was kidnapped by this terrible ogre and she only just escaped thanks to the help of these friendly little forest folk, who then tied the ogre up to prevent it from harming anyone further. She would very much appreciate it if the players could go find some men to deal with the ogre, she’ll wait here until they return to make sure it doesn’t escape.

If the players leave she’ll send a group of Gnoblins to kill them before they reach town, if pressed to leave with them she will assent but set a Gnoblin ambush, and if they try to kill the ogre then and there it is on, she needs that thing.

 

The Gnoblins

Funny furry little man-things of the woods, no higher than your knee, mystical beings somewhere between a Gnome and a Goblin. They live in burrows beneath the clearing, accessible by openings between the roots of a mighty oak at its perimeter.

The Gnoblins first set eyes on Meredith on one of her walks by the woods, one of the few liberties allowed by her father. They took her seeming innocence and fondness for the woods as a sign that she was to be the mother of the Great Boar, due so soon to be reborn. Of course when they appeared to her and spoke of all this the fair Meredith managed to convince them of a “better” way.
The players probably won’t even realise the Gnoblins can speak; Meredith warned them not to talk to any strangers and for the most part they’ll just sit around and stare, unless Meredith tells them to do something or the players try to free the ogre. If Meredith isn’t around though and you’re really funny the Gnoblins will tell you everything you could ever want to know about the Boar God.

The Gnoblins aren’t evil, they just want to see the Great Boar reborn so that the woods can live on, and Meredith is ever so convincing.

Of course, when you make them angry is when the teeth come out.

 

THE BIRTH

 

Every day when the sun begins to dip Meredith takes out her bramble whip and sings softly as she begins to flay the ogre with it, invariably building up in ferocity until the moon reaches its peak and she screams at it, “Squeal! Squeal like a stuck pig!”.

In a small cavern directly beneath the standing stones the Gnoblins have piled the still-squeaking sixteen stolen piglets. When the celestial alignment is right and the ogre lets out its thunderous squeal into the night, the lifeforce of the piglets will be drawn up through the glowing standing stones and into its belly which will swell and tear and release the fully-grown majesty of the Great Boar once more into the woods.

 

What Time Is It?

  • From midnight to morning Meredith sleeps in the burrows with the Gnoblins, with only a few sleepy looking Gnoblins on watch.
  • In the middle of the day she’s probably off picking berries and other wholesome activities.
  • In the afternoon she sometimes likes to dance around the sobbing ogre with the Gnoblins. They form a ring and wear flowers in their hair.
  • In the evening she cuts a fresh bramble whip for the night’s torture training.
  • When the players arrive the celestial alignment is due to occur that night, what are the odds?

 

The Consequences of Your Actions

  • If the Great Boar imprints on Meredith as its mother she will use its divine power and influence to extend the woods and, in time, lead an army of murderous woodland creatures across the countryside.
  • If the Great Boar is reborn but Meredith is not around, all will be well. The Gnoblins will rejoice at the return of their king and the woods will remain at peace with the surrounding settlements. Although they’ll probably still be pretty mad if you killed Meredith.
  • If the Great Boar is not reborn at all the forest will wither and die at an alarming rate, followed by streams of feral starving animals pouring into the surrounding towns.
  • If nothing else, Virgil would be really happy if you brought his piglets back alive.

 

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2 cacophonous mutterers

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