More illustration work for Pernicious Albion, the ancient war witch, dissipated divinity, majordomo of the House of Death; The Morrigan.
More illustration work for Pernicious Albion, the ancient war witch, dissipated divinity, majordomo of the House of Death; The Morrigan.
Here’s some recent commission work for Robin Zink, which I think is going to be tattooed on his lady friend’s legs because she’s a goddamn winner.
The old hag Baba Yaga:
Her Chicken House:
And a close-up of the weathervane because I love it:
The revised and expanded edition of Petty Gods is now available, so here are a few of the entries I wrote for it back before this site even existed.
(I mainly just want to show off bigger versions of Rose’s illustrations because they’re excellent. Everything but the goat is hers.)
The Divine Worm, Mother of the Stillborn
Symbol: An x-ray style depiction of an earthworm holding multiple foetuses along the length of its body.
Talisman: A gold piece stamped with a newborn’s face, eroded by tears.
Armor Class: 9
Hit Points (Hit Dice): Randomly determined (Roll d20 HD)
Save: As Fighter of level equal to HD rolled.
Hoard Class: 8,888gp, d% will melt the moment they’re taken into sunlight.
XP: 2x amount of stillborns spilt from the Divine Worm’s amniotic sac.
The Divine Worm, patron Mother of Miscarried and Stillborn Children, invoked by grieving families, worshipped by others for reasons that are their own.
A coin is cast bearing an image of the child and melted in a boiling pot in offering to the Divine Worm, beseeching her to carry the child in the beyond.
Manifestations of the Divine Worm are sometimes found in fragrant caverns below sites of plague or infanticide.
In form the Worm’s body is like that of a giant hairless and eyeless mole, lined with damp axolotl legs and a toadlike mouth. Pendulous breasts appear almost at random on its flanks and legs and a swollen amniotic sac sprouts over its lower back and hindquarters, within the sac you can see neither flesh nor bone, it sinks forever. Floating calmly amidst the rotten amber fluid are more infants and foetuses than you can count.
The Worm sits atop a gleaming pile of gold coins, swaying lichen and moss hangs from the cavern roof above it.
The Worm never attacks, never defends itself. It sits there with its mouth open, hundreds of infantile heads emerging and weeping in chorus even as you hack into its flesh, the sound is almost soothing. Every round save vs. Poison or suckle from one of its breasts. The sac squelches and heaves as you drink its amber nectar. You age d6 years of life unlived.
If the worm is killed its sac will burst, spilling 253 stillborns per HD about your feet, there are so many more than you imagined.
The Lady of Tasks Forgotten
Symbol: A bottle filled with the faces of dying ants and locusts pressed against the glass.
Talisman: N/A. Most of the time her adherents aren’t even aware they’re adhering.
Movement: 120′ (40′)
Armor Class: 9
Hit Points (Hit Dice): 16hp (2 HD)
Hoard Class: See final paragraph.
XP: 1,000. 546,000 if you’re the one to kill her.
You settle in and try to block out the din of the tavern, contemplating your next step, weighing the options.
A tankard slides beneath your nose, the frothing ale spills slightly onto your hand.
There’s nothing extraordinary about the waifish woman who put it there, she’s pale and without a curve, or is she terribly obese under that dress? You’re too preoccupied to really notice.
She smiles pleasantly but emptily, “You look worried about something, burdened, why don’t you tell me what’s bothering you so much.”
And you do.
You tell her everything, every twist every turn, you tell her everything there is to know about what you’re trying to achieve. And you do feel better for it. You feel fantastic, purged and light, and someone has left a full tankard of ale here on the table for you. Wait, what is this place?
The Lady of Tasks Forgotten can be called on by those who have lost their way, those that feel there was something important they were meant to do but can no longer recall. The elixir they prepare probably shouldn’t be consumed under normal circumstances, distilled liquor and locusts flavoured with datura, poured into a flask with live winter ants, already kept in the flask for days and belly-deep in secreted poison.
If they survive drinking this concoction they will remember the task without fail, but it is rarely their own, and they will never understand that it never was. The Lady has many tasks to remember.
You could likely kill the Lady quite easily if you desired, but how would you know her?
If you find a way to summon and bind her, her flesh softly broils and churns, melting in places while expanding in others, forming impossible beauty then rotting like a bed sore. She looks on you with such sympathy, you have so many troubles.
Every round that you are near her in this state you will forget something, save vs. Magic for it to be something unimportant.
Use the table below for important things or pick something the character will really miss.
|I'm sure I'm forgetting something..|
|2||You forget why you're here, who you are, you don't know who these people are, or this thing floating in front of you, you want to go home, you don't know where it is. You'll only find out if you kill her.|
|3-5||Correct use of your weapon eludes you, -4 to hit with melee/ranged weapons depending on what you were using from now on.|
|6-8||You lose all memory of a random companion. Everyone else seems to know them, she must have done something to their minds, you should kill this imposter before they can do any harm.|
|9-11||You can no longer speak in a common tongue, you understand it when others speak it, but you're oblivious to the fact that you're replying to them in another language entirely.|
|12||You lose all memory of the flora and fauna of the world you live in, everything is strange or terrifying. The first time you see a swamp will be interesting.|
She has no gold to steal, no relics, and whoever kills her will absorb every task she still held, convinced beyond question that the tasks are their own, crippled by overwhelming responsibility.
The Turquoise Idol of Communion
Name: Turquoise Idol of Communion
Symbol: Imagine the purest light and assurance, it looks like that.
Talisman: A rough stone cylindrical idol, carved with intricate scrolling symbols.
Movement: 180′ (60′)
Armor Class: 9
Hit Points (Hit Dice): 10hp (1 HD +1 per being absorbed)
Save: As Fighter of level equal to HD, immune to all Magic.
Hoard Class: 500 river-polished pebbles of turquoise inside its belly per HD.
XP: 4,000 per HD at the moment of its untimely demise.
They hand you a piece of broken stone, the outside is timeworn and dark, graven with symbols, while the alluring turquoise surface within glistens like an adhesive.
They speak of four joining pieces that were lost, they say that if you reconstruct the idol it is told to strengthen your mortal shell, to unite you with a greater power.
The inner surface of the idol is dry to your touch but when you join it with another piece you find yourself unable to force them apart. Every piece amplifies the stench of the swamp wafting from it.
You find and join the final piece and place it before you, ready to receive its power. A wet blue skin seeps from the fine cracks on its surface, smothering it and expanding as a toad in the shape of a man, with five hanging arms protruding from its body. Its skin glistens and it wishes to join with you.
The only attack it will make is a wrestling check, either by leaping at you or with its 10′ tongue. The moment it takes hold you can feel your skin incorporating into its body, sucking you in. Take a -2 penalty to your rolls every round, taking damage equal to your penalty if you manage to escape, and incorporating into the toad completely if you haven’t escaped after 3 rounds. With its increased mass the toad gains a HD, sprouts another arm and a further bonus to wrestling checks, and its tongue grows another 5′.
If you hit the toad in melee your weapon sticks in its flesh, make a Strength check next round to get it back. The toad will try to grab anyone that comes near enough, or with its tongue if no one is already in its mouth, but won’t move until it has finished incorporating those already joined to it.
You will never completely remove its flesh from anything it touched.
The Moss-Worn Goat
Name: The Moss-Worn Goat, bearer of Sterility
Symbol: The head of a goat crying tears of sperm.
Talisman: A carven wood phallus, left to grow moss and fungus.
Movement: 120′ (40′)
Armor Class: 5
Hit Points (Hit Dice): 46hp (7 HD)
Hoard Class: That depends on how long you keep him around.
The Moss-Worn Goat can be called upon to dry up the seed of men seeking it or those whom they wish to inflict it upon.
Offerings of gold are left in the damp parts of the woods with a phallus carved from a discarded branch, hidden by rotting hollow logs. Some desire temporary affliction, but unless they save vs. Magic they are permanently sterilised.
The Goat himself will be found in a dark hovel of a cavern, sweating amidst lichen and mounded monoliths of dirt, sprawled on the floor, moaning mournfully in a reverberating howl.
Below the huge malformed head and horns of a goat his body is human, and the whole time you watch him he never stops masturbating, shuddering intermittently with spasms that force enormous single golden sperm to spurt from his cock onto an already squirming pile, creaking like bending metal.
If you attack him he doesn’t know how to defend himself, he doesn’t understand, and he doesn’t stop masturbating. Eventually he will try to flee, leaving a golden trail of creaking sperm as his crooked body stumbles away.
Name: Deiphagous Maggot
Alignment: As the god it currently serves. It’s nothing if not helpful.
Movement: 120′ (40′)
Armor Class: 9
Hit Points (Hit Dice): 24hp (4 HD)
Attacks: Wrap, d4 needle patches
Damage: 3d4, d4 each
Hoard: Find a wondrous item table and roll on it.
The bloated body of the maggot squirms through the air, contracting and expanding towards you, several feet from the ground in deliberate, hypnotic movements.
It draws itself up like a snake, a patch of glistening needles extend from beneath the rear of its body, supporting it before you.
Mouths cover the underside of its body, one speaks for every emotion, there are many mouths. Eyes filled with broiling red fog are held within them, winking out and opening elsewhere as each begins to speak.
It is not the nature of the maggot to harm the god it serves, but when it dies the maggot will swim amongst its flesh, supping on the decay of divinity. Of course the maggot hungers, but the longer a god lives, the more fervently it is worshipped, the sweeter its flesh. You see its conundrum.
It feels you’re here to spoil the meal it is cultivating.
Static physical barriers mean nothing to the maggot, it slides in and out of them like reality, be careful not to fall into a hole that isn’t there. Sharp swinging metal is harder to account for.
In combat the maggot will try to wrap itself around you with gnawing mouths and squirm away in one fluid motion, leaving you like a ringbarked tree.
If caught or cornered its skin bursts with patches of bristling needles.
The maggot’s digestion is slow, if it is killed there is a 50% chance of its ruptured belly releasing the power of a god it has fed on. Have you killed a god lately? That one. Otherwise roll or flip to a random godling in this book and inflict their wrath.
Shed Godling Skin Suit
Some godlings grow as their following does, sloughing off their old skin to make way for a glorious new facade.
The translucent leather stitched into this full-body suit still responds to praise and worship, either of its wearer or of the godling who shed it.
The skin will allow one use of an ability of the godling it came from within a period of time equal to hours you spend in ritual worship beforehand.
Pick a god, roll or flip to one randomly in this book, or use whatever horrible thing these abilities came from. Roll randomly or worship twice as long if you want to pick.
1. Swollen pustular mounds swell from the neck of the suit, allowing you to expel boiling black bile as a 6′ ranged attach or a 90° spray within 3′, bypassing armour and dealing 2d6 damage. If you can bite someone you may vomit directly into their bloodstream. Save or Die.
2. If someone makes a successful melee attack against you, you can allow their weapon and arm to pass through your body, trapping them. The arm will need to be cut away, but whatever is left on the suit will be absorbed soon enough.
3. You leech the life out of anything organic within 6′, regaining d6hp. Roll under Constitution or secrete it back out in noisome streams.
4. You regurgitate d4 phlegm-coloured tiny men. Lose 1hp for each tiny man and roll for their loyalty. Every round you want them to do something roll loyalty, you may need to think of incentives. The only way you can regain those hit points is by swallowing the tiny men.
The skin’s AC 8 improves by 1 for every person that worships the wearer like a disciple, as the skin flushes with life and moves in a distracting, unnatural way.
If you gain 14 followers you will fuse with the skin, becoming a malformed bastard demigod. You will not like it.
Goblins all have an abnormal capacity for regeneration. Not enough to notice on the spot; they’re not going to stand in front of you swinging their intestines around until their stomach seals shut, but given a little time they can bounce back from most anything.
They don’t always heal right though. They’re like walking talking cancers. They reproduce by budding.
Sometimes before a wound closes up completely, a bulbous growth sprouts and keeps expanding and forming bits until a half-grown lumpy goblin drops off within a week, full-grown within a month.
It’s why they’re so fucking joyous about violence, it’s sex for them.
A goblin wearing armour is like someone wearing a condom: most of the fun while avoiding the reproductive consequences.
Some goblins are just a little too fertile, once they start budding they don’t stop, they swell up over time into an awful bloated self-important goblin mountain of flesh, forever sprouting crops of new goblins.
Goblin colonies un/lucky enough to get a Broodmother usually find themselves all wearing armour, either through enthusiasm for the Broodmother or from constant nagging and berating.
Sometimes goblins go sterile, their regenerating flesh out of control, sped up, growing into big warped crooked hulking things. Then they’re called trolls. Now you’ll notice their regeneration on the spot: about d8hp per Round’s worth of reconstituting viscera.
Mild brain damage tends to make them a bit deranged, not as smart as goblins, but if anything they lose some of their unbridled lust for violence: it’s not sex anymore.
Fire will wound them permanently, or at least until they can scrape out the seared flesh. If you kill them but don’t burn them they’ll regenerate in body but not in mind, with all of the strength and none of the capacity for reason, just a frenzied regenerating meat wagon with a desire to tear things in half.
Goblins learn fast but not well; when a goblin gets interested in magic it’s the worst.
They kind of know how to make armour. They kind of know how to make weapons. Everything is just super shitty looking. It’d be pretty funny if they weren’t stabbing you to death.
Most of them have a lifespan of about a year, Broodmothers are practically immortal until a frustrated goblin stabs them in the back, but trolls will only last a month or two before their bodies eat themselves.
If you could somehow isolate a colony without a Broodmother, with nothing to fight, it would die out within the year. They tend not to hurt themselves, it’s like public masturbation, frowned upon.
So fighting is goblin sex, a war is like an orgy, a lot of the time they probably don’t even have any ill-feeling towards you, this is all just really fun for them.
Combined with their short lifespans, it also tends to make them fairly impressively reckless.
It’s not uncommon to see:
If they worship anything it’s probably something they call Nurgleskop, a thing of pale orange and pink flesh like a misshapen warped monolith rising out of of a bulbous mound still clinging to its sides. It lies in a cavern open to the sky within the Marrowmorne Mountains, people don’t go there, there are rumours:
On the other hand some goblins practically worship filth, wallowing around in the worst shit they can find because it makes them heal completely wrong and they think it’s funny, twitching humps and extra arms and exploding stomachs and fingers that are far too long. Expelling toxic gas from various orifices and melding themselves to trolls and budding goblins that are little more than balls with tails and teeth.
While they’re around you should be playing this album on repeat.
Goblins goblins goblins.
My players love them some arts & crafts, when I give them little map pieces to put together they all get a little bit more giddy and conspiratorial (like with Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine or STEAL THE EYES OF YASHOGGHUH! which they are playing through right now).
But we were playing a week or so ago and they were divvying out stolen jewellery and codpieces and swapping equipment with each other before descending beneath a swamp and all I could think was “godddd I wish they could just pull things off their sheets and hand them to each other instead of all this erasing/re-writing bullshit”.
And then I realised why not? WHY NOT?? Why am I using ratty lined tables that are continually being scrawled over like an ambitionless mouthbreather? WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY. WE HAVE BLUE-TAC.
So I whipped these up before our next game, with a page of the character sheet devoted to worn equipment, and a separate backpack (drawn by Rose forever ago) for the rest:
And suddenly they were actually paying attention to what they were carrying and moving things around and watching how close they were to being over-encumbered and I DIDN’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING TO PROMPT IT.
Really they’ve never understood encumbrance rules properly but make it a bit more tangible and suddenly everything becomes clear and actually a bit fun what?
So hell yes, this is my encumbrance/inventory system now, it makes things so much easier to track, gives heaps of extra room for little details/rules/sweet illustrations, and also means I can do fun things like physically take things away from people when they get stolen or dropped or turned into spiders.
I feel dumb that it never occurred to me before.
Jeff Russell was lamenting about not being able to do this in online games and I ran off at the mouth about using Pinterest for it, which is actually a super good idea.
If everyone playing makes a Pinterest board containing a pinned picture for each piece of their equipment and then shares it with the other people playing, they can then move items around/be given stuff/drop stuff/whatever.
Here’s the new character sheet, click here and it’ll take you to a folder with separate files for the character sheet, the item cards, the backpacks, and the satchels and pouches (print everything except the item cards double-sided, they’re sized for A4 printing on machines that add a 5mm margin):
The dice are on there because I bought Emma the most metal set I could find and she now carries them around in her purse but she doesn’t know which one to grab to make Malatesta cut someone in half.
My encumbrance rules have changed a little to go with this so they now work like this:
My other encumbrance rules work pretty much the same as before but with some different conditions that apply to encumbrance levels (Movement Dice explained below):
Rolled 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).
The lowest Movement Dice of the group can also be used for random encounter checks, because if you’re Overweight you’re shuffling and jangling around like an idiot, as opposed to the guy padding around with nothing but a sack and a knife like an agile agile cat.
When crossing an area is difficult/dangerous/time is of the essence (like a room full of angry sludge crabs or something), you could also set the room a total movement number that the group has to reach before they cross it, and every Movement Dice roll takes a Round (so the Morbidly Encumbered idiot on a d4 Movement Dice is probably going to get nipped by a lot more crabs than the previously mentioned sack and knife guy on a d8 Movement Dice).
I haven’t tested that but it seems sound in theory?
And then hey that feeds in nicely to..
So after scaling a 50′ wall carrying Dead Weight there’s a chance you’re going to feel Overweight until you’ve had a little rest, and if you’ve been waddling around Morbidly Encumbered all “it’s okay if a monster shows up I’ll just drop my bag”, there’s a chance that when you drop it you’re not going to feel any more refreshed and suddenly regret your life decisions.
Apart from that there’s a bunch of other rules changes/tweaks on there so..
Rather than keeping each weapon type with its own special rules I changed it to weapon tags so they can get stuck all around.
Off-sheet I’ve been playing around with ranged weapons a bit to give them more obvious benefits/trade-offs.
When you get hit by a ranged weapon it bypasses Grit and goes straight to Flesh (the hit points where you really get hurt), so shields should be kind of a big deal.
Small shields give +2AC, large shields give +4AC but unless you’re a Fighter you can’t pair one with a melee weapon unless your Strength is at least twice as much as the weapon’s damage.
(Contested melee means that even with an extra +4 defence you’re far from unhittable.)
Using a shield is like dual-wielding weapons, so each Round choose between the AC bonus, or making an extra d4 damage bash attack.
If you make an extra attack split your AB between the two.
(Two attacks while dual-wielding usually incurs a penalty equal to the lower damage of the two weapons, but not with shields.)
300 coins or small gems can be carried in an encumbrance slot (large gems count for 30).
Other than that you can give money to the Merchant Priests who are smugly present in every major city and sometimes in places you wouldn’t expect and always know how much credit you currently hold with them.
If you’re buying something and want to use your credit you can either find a Merchant Priest to oversee the transaction or leave a blood-sealed slip of paper with the shopkeep to cash in later.
Of course if you signed it for more than you’re worth the Merchant Priests will find you where you sleep and croon about ethics in the dark.
Buying/tracking rations exact to the day is boring and I am having none of it.
Instead of that I’m using Ration Dice – d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and d20.
You can only have one of each and they’re purchased in increments from lowest to highest.
Each one takes up an encumbrance slot, and costs twice as much as its dice size in silver pieces.
THIS IS FOR THE WHOLE GROUP NO MATTER HOW MANY OF YOU THERE ARE.
Each day try to roll 4 or higher on your largest Ration Dice. If you fail, that Ration Dice is gone because you’re fat.
If you also have animals you have to roll 6 or higher.
By LotFP rules if a Specialist fails to pick a lock they can’t try again until they gain a level because they’re not good enough, which feels… dumb?
Specialists can now try as many times as they want, but after the first try, they have to check their tools for Breakage after every failure.
Inspired by Reynaldo’s BREAK!! updates, books now come with a rating 2-6, and can be used in place of your own skill rating to make checks to do with that subject if you’ve got the time.
(e.g. there’s this big pulsating sac thing in the corner and you’d like to know what it is but your Naturalis skill is only 1 in 6, however you’ve got this big Creepy Crawlies book with a 3 in 6 chance…)
Successful skill checks using books also count towards trying to increase skills when you level up (when you level up, if you’ve successfully used a skill try to roll under your number of successes on a number of d6 equal to your current skill level, if you succeed you gain another skill point).
Are GONE. That kind of consistent steady improvement just didn’t really jive with what my game is about.
Instead, everything is done with Ability checks now.
A normal check needs to roll equal or less than your score.
A hard check needs to roll equal or less than half your score.
If it’s something easy you wouldn’t be making a check.
Ability Scores in my game are pretty malleable, since they can be decreased by nasty stabbings, mushroom infections, turning into a drugfiend with opiate fluids… So when you level up you can try to increase a number of scores equal to the level you just reached.
Roll 3d6 and if it’s higher than your current score, increase it by 1.
I’ve also got this idea for gaining levels (because gold for xp has never tasted right to me) where to level up you need to tell AMAZING BUT TRUE STORIES about your exploits in major cities or places where you can make a name for yourself (number of stories equal to the level you’re trying to reach).
Which is a nice built-in incentive to seek out completely bizarre shit apart from just “there might be gold there”, as well as more social interaction/climbing.
I’ll probably do up rules for the chances of stories being accepted/appreciated in different places (town square, dive bar, high tea), along with potential consequences for those places (rabid admirers/rivals, being overheard by the relatives of people you’re bragging about stealing from/murdering, job offers, gaining more and more elaborate titles), which means leveling up also feeds into more game fodder and makes reminiscing about fun sessions an actual mechanic of the game itself.
Which I think is pretty great.
Wait where was I…
Oh yeah, having item cards and blue-tac for your inventory is excellent and you should try it.