I’m not dead just busy and depressed.
I’ve been working on some illustrations for STEAL THE EYES OF YASHOGGHUH though.
To roll multiple dice (e.g. 3d6), click the plus symbol then roll the dice multiple times to combine the results. Clicking the plus symbol again will clear the result. Click here for the standalone dice roller page.
I’m not dead just busy and depressed.
I’ve been working on some illustrations for STEAL THE EYES OF YASHOGGHUH though.
I was sorting through my files and found this list of random sci-fi items.
I have no idea why I wrote them.
|1||3 maintenance robots, their power sources torn out and processor-heads crushed. Full of gold wiring.|
|2||Bag of diamond databanks. If you can find a reader you'll discover half of them to be full of space porn.|
|3||Reinforced glass cylinder full of liquid bronze, inscription describes it as an emergency non-death aid. Full of nanites, not designed for you. They'll heal you but there's a 75% chance they'll heal as if you were something else (treat as mutation).|
|4||Black-iron spherical helmet, utterly nondescript outside but lined with sapphires and brass studs inside.
If you put it on you see through the eyes of an exploration probe on a purple jungle planet lightyears away, the things worshiping it erupt in fear and chaos as their god-idol suddenly moves.
You're wearing something that takes years of training to properly master, save vs. Poison to remove it without leaving your consciousness floating somewhere in the blackness of space.
|5||I'd like to see someone find a dolmantle (from the comic Prophet) as an item, but one that's been in the dark, in a box, in a cave, growing steadily more insane.?
Roll loyalty on fumbles or when exposed to awkward social situations to keep it from flipping out. It can replace a lost limb but on the first critical hit inflicted against you it leaps upon the attacker and smothers them, using their body as a skeleton as it runs away screaming.
When you sleep it creeps up around your ears and whispers softly to you all through the night.
Can be used as a breather to survive underwater or in noxious environments, roll loyalty with a penalty equal to days you haven't fed it to stop it trying to pull out your tongue.?
|6||Softly keening bright pink mushrooms gently swaying atop an indistinguishable rotted pile. If you sing back to them they release a soft pink mist of spores into the air that fill you with euphoria for the next d6 turns. Nothing can bring you down, everything seems good, everything feels wonderful, everything..
If you eat one inhuman screaming fills your brain for the next week.
|7||The coffin is almost overflowing with loose sheets of yellowed paper. They are filled with maddened scrawl and diagrams and calculations and degenerate ranting.
It will take d2 weeks of research to read through it all, after which you will be able to build a self-sustaining d8 damage disintegrator beam from scrap pipe, lightbulbs and rat faeces. Save or gain a random Insanity.
|8||Looking through the glass you can see strands of translucent resin interlaced over the inner surface. In the center are two fist-sized yellow crystals the texture of gold.
d6 days after removing them from the coffin they will "hatch", melting into an ooze that smells like cinnamon and absorbing into the first fleshy thing they can find, taking over their mind, colonising them from within, consuming all the meat they can kill while they search for a cozy place to nest. After laying their eggs they will stumble off to some dark filthy place to die and leave a hollowed golden corpse.
50% chance one of them hatches as soon as the coffin is opened.
|9||A pleasure artifice of unrecognisable gender, wakened by a spark of electricity as you open the coffin lid. Before it was shut off it was ordered to perform some very specific and rather aggressive acts of domination and punishment, and it is nothing if not obedient.|
|10||You open the coffin to find yourself lying in repose. You watch yourself sit up from the ceramic shell, joints creaking as they break out of cryosleep, you watch a mouth stretch open wide, engulfing your vision, full of stars, it consumes you head-first, your body kicks and struggles in the air as you are sucked inside to scream and float an eternity in the infinite blackness of space.
The rest of the party sees you open an empty coffin and carry on as normal.
So like an idiot I got a full-time waste services job (which is actually great) so I’ve been doing more bin crawls than dungeon crawls lately. If you don’t like it pay me.
Justin Hamilton commented on Death & Dismemberment that he doesn’t like the idea of attacks causing wounds on max-damage because it means that smaller weapons end up having a better chance of causing actual bodily harm than large weapons, which for me isn’t a big deal, personally I really LIKE that the shitty knife you’re carrying around has a 1 in 4 chance of seriously stabbing the fuck out of someone’s internal organs. That’s a good trade-off to take a knife instead of a greatsword even though the greatsword technically does more damage.
BUT, in simplifying my rules I’ve also been trying to figure out how to make differences in weapon size affect combat without resorting to something like “longer always hits first”. In the past I made it so that if someone with a smaller weapon started a fight with you, you could make an Initiative check to attack first in the first Round. But god that’s boring to remember/play out.
So I had a potentially stupid idea.
What if when you attack/defend in melee (because I use contested melee rolls instead of the attacker targeting a static AC), you rolled a d20 AND your damage dice.
Now the size of your weapon directly affects your likelihood of hitting/defending against someone with a bigger weapon, and if you hit, we don’t have to wait for you to make another roll for damage: you already rolled it what’s the fucking number?
So the knife still has a 1 in 4 chance of causing a serious wound, but that’s because it’s hard to get it in there against an obese Plague Knight swirling a d10 damage carrion flail around his head, but when you do, you JAM IT RIGHT THE FUCK IN BETWEEN HIS RIBS UNTIL SOMETHING POPS.
Which also rolls in nicely to additional weapon qualities.
It’s pretty common for spears to have Reach, attacking first against charges and dealing double damage. So how about if someone attacks you while you’re wielding a spear (charge or not because personally I’d just stop charging people with spears if that’s the only time they do something cool?) you just straight-up roll double damage dice in the first Round. Now you attack/defend better and cause more damage because you’re the longest. Good job.
Big weapons should be hard to use in tight spaces, so how about you roll twice to-hit/defend and take the worst, which now includes your damage dice. It’s hard to carve someone up with a zweihander in a cave when you keep hitting the sides, you should have brought a knife.
That’s all for now love you x
Equal parts mystic folklore and flesh, ruler of the Yellow City, smooth-limbed and whisper-voiced, a creamy advanced jaundice complexion and a face hidden behind a brocaded veil to be disposed of on her next wedding night.
Summoned by sects and cults to offer her a new groom that they might hear her rattled whispers of fortune and future.
She does so love them, her collection of suitors, though none have endured the consummation of their union unspoiled.
A hazy metropolis the pale yellow-green colour of powdered bile. The features of the inhabitants seem extended somehow, their skin spongy, and they taste of soap.
Being half dream-scape, obtaining directions in the Yellow City is a hopeless task. To make your way you’ll need to focus on whatever it is that you desire to find.
For every attempt to find a place/thing/service, the player who rolls highest on a d20 must make an INT check, but if the player who rolled lowest fails a WIS check, roll on the Hindrances in the Yellow City table before you get there.
If the INT check itself is failed, roll on the Lost in the Yellow City table.
Much like a dream, anything encountered on those tables will become your new focus until they’re resolved or someone rolls a 1 or 20 in the process, in which case you may choose to move on (or re-attempt a failed INT check).
However, anyone that has been wronged without some manner of closure will likely intrude on you later.
Alternatively, guides can be employed, though their services are not free.
The immense palace bristling with bell towers where the Yellow Queen wanders her chambers amongst smouldering piles of incense, forever veiled and awaiting her next suitor.
Smiling under a chittering black mass of beetles (or so it seems in the dark), the jealous false-sister of the Yellow Queen who wishes for marital celebrations to end and the mourning night to wake.
She can tell the past but there is always a price.
Her sarcastically sulky, smarmy, oil-tongued people live and travel through the shadows of the Yellow City, waiting for the night, calling out their Yellow neighbours.
Within the Yellow City time doesn’t abide by normal schedules, turning a corner might as easily turn morning into moonless night.
Lamplighters are therefore one of the most important and most harried occupations in the city, tasked with ensuring that the smoking lamps of streets and houses never go out, because we can’t have the shadow people moving out of their dank corners can we?
The position of the lamps are however untouchable, immutable, and while you may think you’re doing a good thing by moving a lamp closer to eliminate the shadow people’s lurking space, the people of the Yellow City will shriek in terror and beat you with fish until the lamp is returned.
Torches, lanterns, and candles are considered obscene and you’ll be drenched in buckets of spoiled condiments and pâté on sight.
The seething rivalry between the Florists and the Bakers Guild is as old as the city, though more recently the Bakers Guild have come to accuse the Florists of scheming in league with the Black Empress. After all, funerals require flowers, not frothy cakes, and the Necroflorists in particular are ever so shadowy aren’t they?
Both sides remain ever eager to conscript others into their elaborate sabotages, offering rewards of secrets and their more covetable creations.
When leaving the Yellow City, if you have stolen, requested more than your fair share of a reward, or purchased an outlandish item (so buying a sword is fine, but not so much if you focussed on finding the Returned Ironmonger, who forges blades in the image and essence of his near-death terror), you’ll need to make a WIS check for each instance. Unless you fail the check, you’re unable to ignore the unreality of the item and it decomposes/melts/fades/floats away as a cloud of thin-legged moths/otherwise disappears as dreams so often do.
If this happens to 5 or more items at once they’ll amalgamate into a mocking representation of your greed, separate from the Yellow Queen and free from her influence, with HD equal to the number of items. It will escape cackling wildly into the night if it can; only to keep coming back to upset your plans when most inconvenient/embarrassing, or simply to keep ruining a good night’s sleep.
|d10||Hindrances in the Yellow City|
Furtive moist-eyed old men with sagging lilac skin and silken purple robes, their mouths held open in a surprised drooping sigh beneath the slanting golden spires of the circlets closed around their craniums. Terribly interested in your relationships and the customs of the outside world.
They show cringing supplication to Matrons and Ladies in Waiting, fawning moist-palmed pity to Suitors, exasperated fear to the Florists and Bakers Guild, and lord themselves over lowly Celebrants.
Bright purple eyes peering from their damp black form; skin, lank hair and clothes like a black hole. Offering you a violet daisy and wondering if you've come across any bodies from which it might cultivate a new bloom, or if by chance you'd care to donate your own.
Warm-smiled women of immense girth and soft powdered makeup, with little superfluous arms that emerge from the folds of their dresses to fuss about.
They're ever so sure that there's something you should be getting ready for or doing, the wedding is so close.
Drifting melancholy turning to ravenous horror, the Yellow Queen's former husbands still wander the Yellow City.
Roll on Suitor Transformation table if you upset them.
|5||d6 Ladies in Waiting
Frothy dresses and misshapen pearls draped over impeccable manners, painted pliable masks concealing scathing wit and needle-filled sucking chasm mouths.
|6||Wandering Pack of 4d4 Celebrants
Desperately seeking knowledge of the next wedding to take place, will become maniacally despondent if you cannot convincingly assure them of some small details.
Fancy-swaggering through the street carrying a monstrous swaying soufflé the height of a child, morbidly proud, spewing offers of having a taste like they were threats whilst trying to both get away from you and parade the fruit of their labour.
Scuttling things with nervous curling unfurling manipulator arms and the fat little faces of terribly ugly little girls, shedding wilted flowers from their carapace wherever they go.
|9||Yellow Queen's Chamber Guard x d4
Slightly addle-minded cheerful fellows in dainty puffy slashed sleeves and little pantaloons over slim stocking-covered legs, wearing enclosed eyeless bucket helmets to preserve the Queen's privacy, finding their way by the sounds echoing through the helmet's mounded swirls, defending the Queen's honour by way of brittle-bladed halberds and the heavy ledgers hanging from their waists. Everything in varying shades of yellow and gold.
Charisma check to avoid a spell cast from a Chamber Guard's ledger.
|10||Somnambulant Dreaming Cultist
The people of the city turn stiff and alert and their eyes dart away while talking to you, watching the cultist drift along the street while their neighbours take dainty nibbling bites of the dream flesh like cleaning fish.
If you cause the cultist to gain consciousness they will be enraged at your carelessness before waking life pulls them back from the Yellow City.
|d10||Lost in the Yellow City|
|1||You find yourself in the Raining Hall, a rich cream-walled room with a vaulted ceiling dripping globules of itself down towards the erratic cleaning staff darting about the room. Whenever a drip actually hits someone's skin, the entire ceiling falls in a slopping crash, with another already dripping in its place.
The current cleaning staff have been working for several days and the room is starting to fill.
|2||An enormous crawling toad with a mounded hill of a back, where a collection of Unmarried sit snugly inside fleshy holes crooning to each other of their nuptial desires.
Earnestly warns you to stay clear of the Owl (entry 10) and its perverse corruptions, offering sanctuary and transport on and in its back if you should so need it.
|3||You realise that you've wandered into the middle of a long hall filled with guttering lamps and a single, frantic lamplighter running back and forth refilling and relighting lamps as they splutter out at random. Slick trails of spilt oil surround the enormous golden cistern and the lamplighter's pantaloons are drenched with sweat. Groups of sulkily impatient shadow people gather in the darkness, muttering sweetly that it is high time for the night's activites to begin, and more and more lamps are being left unlit at the outer edges.|
|4||You stop in a close-walled street packed with a rambling queue of people waiting for their turn to sit in a shallow corner of a hexagonal public bath. A wedge of people have already lined up behind you and murmurs of dissent rumble along the line.|
|5||Your footsteps echo into the Dream Pool. Slick blacks walls and tiles surrounding a wide pool in a drip-echoing circular chamber, filled with a liquid like thin custard where beautiful men wade about softly.
If you submerge your head you can drink the dreams of another to learn a secret or desire.
Roll a d20 for each character that plans to drink and record the number.
Every time they attempt to drink a dream they must make a Constitution save. If they fail, the amount by which they missed builds up, they can feel the pool's fluid flowing through their tissues, and when it matches the result of the d20, the beautiful men will come to pull them into the pool and drink them.
Beautiful Men x half of d20 result
|6||You find yourself wandering about in a lost corner of the gift room of the Chiming Chapel. Intricately wrapped boxes piled high around tables holding caged creatures and servants, dangling makeshift chandeliers of linked golden gifts, mounds of cake and pastries in varying states of decay and deliciousness.|
|7||A huge figure in relief; torso, elongated arms, head craning from its neck, bulges out of a wall spouting poetry with wafting gesticulations to a crowd while adoring admirers rub their hands over its prodigious jangling belly.
In the dim lamplit sitting rooms behind his wall the nobles of the Yellow City exhange streaming gossip in languid repose, information drifting about like smoke. Rumour has it, that in the half-light of the rooms they even traffic with their shadow counterparts.
Entrance can only be gained in pieces through his mouth. Your body will mend once passed through the other side (though equipment won't), but if you try to make him swallow you in anything more than thigh-sized chunks he will blush with a, "Oh no I couldn't possibly, far too large for my little mouth.."
|8||You wander into the Spinster's Wheel, the courtyard meeting point of six streets, where the Unmarried of the city converge nightly to feast on the Florists' unused arrangements, carted in by wary apprentices.|
|9||You find yourself in a dining square full of round wooden slat tables holding morbidly obese human forms apparently made of pudding, surrounded by seated people digging wobbling yellow chunks from them with pitted iron spoons.
When the puddings notice you they all call out at once trying to coerce you into sitting at their table, indicating how delicious their spoon wounds look and the satisfied faces of their diners.
|10||An enormous owl with human arms emerging from the slick feathers at the sides of its breast, surrounded by a harem of the Unmarried, inquisitive as to opportunities to add to its collection, attempts to entice an exchange by offering objects from the depths of its feathers.
Will entertain the idea of a short-term addition as it is in competition with the Toad (entry 2) leading up to tonight's Bouquet Banquet (entry 8) where one will be decided as Lord of the Unmarried.
|d6||The Cost of a Guide in the Yellow City|
|2||Accompany them to the home of their intended lover and successfully petition their desires on behalf of your guide.
If you fail, both your guide and their intended lover:
1. Fall upon you with ridicule and knives.
2. Thrash you with wilted bouquets of roses.
3. Transfer their obsessive affection to you.
4. Fall apart into slithering piles of luminescent slugs.
|3||A hand, it doesn't matter whose.|
|4||Your most treasured possession.|
|5||Carry their burden while they guide you.
They may not take it back and the baskets tend to contain things that get rather upset when dropped.
|6||Obtain a slice of delicious cake from a member of The Baker's Guild without being seen.|
(HD equal to the number by which your Charisma check failed when you upset him)
|1||His torso peels apart to expose dusty, pulsating mounds like fleshy compost piles covered in tiny shivering mouths, and 10+d20 bloodworm red phalluses snake from his groin, writhing across the floor in their immense length, seeping sticky, adhesive precum from the tips of their swollen heads.
When wilfully touched they retreat in flaccid repulsion back to the mounds, along with anything stuck to them.
|2||A thick long-bodied fish with shimmering pale blue silver scales and dead eyes, gnashing its translucent teeth and writhing its way towards you. Six clones of the suitor sit fused along the sides of the fish, feverishly masturbating and ejaculating in steady streams like a grotesque fountain, causing the ground to become ever more slippery and suitable for the eel-like body of the fish.
Fish starts with no AB/AC.
Increase fish's AB/AC and decrease player's AB/AC by 1 per Round, while all of the clones live this continues indefinitely.
If any of them are killed, while the fish's AB/AC is higher than the number of clones left, increase the player's AB/AC and decrease the fish's AB/AC by 1 per Round until it matches the number of clones left.
|3||Like a giant stocky soldier crab if its insides were made of icecream bulging through a shell made of rotting lingerie sewn together several sizes too small, melting as it gets more and more excitable.|
|4||Conjoined twin giants, fused by ribcage and thigh, one demure and fair, one overbearing and grotesque. Red roses fall from the grotesque's split belly, a cloud of bees from his brother's, and yellow honey flows over their chins.|
|5||His torso extends and tears up its center, broken ribs rolling around like the dying legs of a centipede, his arms and sighing head loll backwards as he stumbles around trying to support the weight of his still-expanding body, in the midst of which you can see his pale child-clones budding and growing from the pink and purple mass to reach out and slash at you with fine silver knives.|
|6||A maiden-faced wasp tears itself from his back, dropping the body like shed paper skin, wet new wings lifting it into the air to curl its abdomen forward, presenting its throbbing cock stinger engorged and red.
The stinger lays something inside when it wounds you, something soft-faced that chews and burrows with stroking fingers beneath your stretching skin.
Fiona ran STEAL THE EYES OF YASHOGGHUH again at GenCon and (at least as someone that didn’t go) it was the most entertaining thing about GenCon aside from her documentating her search for a temp sissy.
I don’t have a play report, but I do have screenshots of her google+ updates, and they are glorious.
Emmy Allen just put up a great post over at Cavegirl’s Game Stuff about wounds/not automatically dying at 0HP, you should read it.
On a tangent, last year I found time to start thinking about D&D again, and I found that after such a long time without playing at all it really changes/solidifies what you want to actually get out of playing. And for me that’s FAST, RECKLESS FUN.
In looking at things I’ve written in the past, there’s a lot of doom you guys. So much doom.
I think previously I got a bit carried away because doom is fucking fun and interesting to write, but after having time away from it I read some of it and think “fuuuuuuck how would I even make than fun or even work in a game?”
I love horror, I love GROT, and I want to bend things back around to that kind of comedic gore and debauchery rather than the pockets of everything’s-fucked-forever that I had accidentally stumbled in to.
That said, I really don’t mind terrible things happening to players: My brother’s wizard having his 3 remaining good limbs torn off by thin air the first time he tried to cast a spell was fucking hilarious, and lead to him hiring a little mercenary girl who the dice told me thought he was the most amazing thing in existence and carried him around like a backpack. IT WAS THE BEST.
I also don’t mind cataclysmic game-changing things happening to the world – it’s part of why I built Corpathium to be something I could just re-generate over and over again.
I just want those things to be FUNNY (even if just in the extremity of their terribleness), and USABLE.
If I’d struggle to know what to do next if it came up in a game I don’t want it anymore.
And one of the most important things I’m keeping in mind is something Rose once said to me after a game, which to paraphrase: the players need something good to happen to them, otherwise it’s just all doom and terror and pain forever.
Which might be fun to dream up and write, but isn’t so fun to play through if that’s all there is.
So don’t expect to see my stuff suddenly become less gory and demented and psychosexual, I just want to make sure that it’s actually all usable, funny, and allows space to breathe, rather than just turning into a macabre writing experiment.
More Return of the Living Dead less Day of the Dead.
Corpathium is being re-written, my magic tables and system are being revised, I don’t know where I’ll get the time but I want to make some really great things.
And if my rules thought they were safe they were so fucking wrong.
For starters I stopped pretending I was playing Lamentations of the Flame Princess with house rules – bitch your game has been pure house rules for a long time.
Then I started looking really hard at things to decide what was important and what wasn’t, ditched what wasn’t, and pushed and poked what was to make it as simple and quick as possible (e.g. my original Weapon Breakage/Notches rules: it used to be that every weapon had a quality rating 1-5 and you checked it for breakage using the weapon’s damage dice whenever an attack roll came up as the quality rating or less. That makes perfect sense as an exercise in simulation! But not in fucking play! Now it uses a simple Shitty/Basic/Quality rating that the player actively chooses to test to do cool shit which I’ll explain some other time), with bonus points for using the same mechanics as other rules. Because I really can’t be bothered tracking 50 subsystems anymore.
It’s not all finished, and I don’t know when I’ll share things, but when I started revising everything I decided to type it up like an actual ruleset which is now tentatively titled GROT.
Long freaking story short here’s an excerpt straight from it explaining MY new way of doing HP/wounds/dying covered in filth:
If it’s not clear yet, I’ve been raiding some unfinished tables (and by ‘tables’ I mean the giant spreadsheets I start putting together like “oh I should make a wilderness travel table… okay so I’ll need a table of human encounters and a table of creature encounters and a table for the scenery and a table for interesting plants and then I’ll need to do the same thing for swamps and mountains and…”).
SO HERE’S SOME PEOPLE YOU MIGHT ENCOUNTER IN YOUR TRAVELS!
|d20||Along the Road You Meet..|
|2||2d4 Bandits, led by:
1. Insane prophet wearing the skins of beasts.
2. Wizard who knows 5 random spells.
3. Musically-voiced troubadour who swaggers the fuck around.
4. Conjoined-twin priestess of filth and fire, arms coated in poisonous pitch.
5. A pretty little pale-faced girl.
6. A naked man wielding a greathammer, staunchly silent from within his gorgeously painted wooden demon tribal mask.
1. Replete with standard bearer, courtesan assassin, two arquebusiers in fabulous silk breeches, a towering eunuch wielding mace and dagger, and a superbly eloquent emissary with sharp, tapering nails.
2. Five serpent-tongued albinos in deep-hooded velvet robes that smell strongly of mice.
3. Comprised of a sole emissary of enormously morbid girth, dripping as much jewellery as sweat.
4. Three arbalesters wearing black-stained sallet and bevor, following a pair of porcelain-armoured knights, their helmets shaped like fat smiling faces, holding a great banner between them on pikes. The glyph-surrounded face in the banner speaks as the fabric ruffles and rolls.
1. On foot.
2. On domesticated Powder Deer, the leader/leaders riding Husbands.
3. On palanquin carried on the backs of blind monks.
4. By the charity of strangers.
|4||A game hunter house, the whole extended family bedecked in fine armour and filigreed weapons, accompanied by nervous Pets driving the carriages or running alongside wielding nets and spears and chains.
Some creatures will be killed for the thrill of the hunt, others captured for the arenas.
|6||A solitary warrior wandering the land.|
|7||2d6 Mercenaries, currently:
1. On their way home from a successful employment.
2. Infested with something awful from exploring where they shouldn't.
3. Looking for employment.
4. Dragging themselves away from catastrophe.
|8||An absurdly enthusiastic botanist and his long-suffering companion.|
|9||A displaced hermit.|
|10||A small cadre of intellectuals (d4+2) on their way to study/explore/harvest the nearest suitable thing.
1. d6 Mercenaries.
2. Bickering Maleficar siblings.
3. Two nervous students per intellectual, armed with braces of wheellock pistols, spears, and packs overflowing with notebooks and specimen jars.
4. A lithe, rough-faced duellist with flowing red hair, her body tattooed with the names of every person she's ever killed, a poison-throwing beauty, a scarred and disgraced ex-general, armed with crossbow pike and sorrow, and a kindly old traveller they picked up along the way; a member of the Endless Dark Murder Cult who will ensure they never make it back from the wilderness.
|11||An army on the march.|
|12||A hunting party, five men armed with spears, bows, ropes and traps, accompanied by a favoured daughter and a lazy son.|
|13||A priest on a holy mission.|
|14||A travelling poet and assassin.|
|15||d6 Merchant caravans + d6 Mercenaries per caravan.|
|16||The ragged survivors of some terrible catastrophe:
1. A crazed marauder raid.
2. A sudden epidemic of beautiful floral infection.
3. Excavations that an unearthed and awoke an ancient slime.
4. The downfall of a would-be sorcerer who stole a Wizards tome and started reading.
|17||A feverish migration of the faithful to the site of some obscure religious celebration.|
|18||d8 mould-covered fungus-controlled wretches making their way back to civilised lands to fruit. They're filthy but rather cheerful, eager to make friends.|
|19||A maniacally self-assured and self-appointed duke looking for conscripts into his glorious army. So far he has a pock-faced teenage boy wearing absurdly good armour, a particularly angry swan, and an old man who looks to be at death's door who never talks. He rides on the shoulders of a naked farmhand with the proportions and mental capacity of a troll, drooling around the golden gag bridle between his teeth.|
|20||2d6+4 trappers and a silk-draped procurer who is more capable than he looks, seated next to his current flame, leading a caravan of wheeled cages looking to capture beasts for exhibition and sale.
Despised by the great game hunter houses.
|d6||If It's Not Clear How They're Travelling..|
|2||On nearly-dead horses.|
|4||In a crude carriage pulled by somnambulant humans in a permanent drug-induced sleep.|
|5||In stag-drawn chariots.|
|6||In a caravan train powered by a truly stupendous amount of rats running in the oversized wheels of the fore-carriage.|
In showing a friend some character sheets I realised that I had a couple that I never posted, so here we go:
The first illustrated character sheet I ever made, for a mutagenic Jeremy Duncan game that never actually happened.
From a couple of sessions of Mateo Diaz Torres’ FLOWERLAND.
He killed a swamp bear, got shot by an overly protective mother, saw his witch groupie get mauled to death by a starving coyote and had her possess his armour so they could stay together, lost it a bit when butterfly men tried to put him to sleep and vomit acid on him, and walked into the forbidden black tower and became MAGIC.
Following on from Use Protection, who the hell is in charge here?
|1||_||A self-interested baron more concerned with baking than matters of state.|
|_||1||A beautiful queen breeding moderately intelligent crustaceans in the waterlogged rooms of her castle.|
|2||2||An enigmatic priest and his frantically charismatic cultists.|
|3||_||A raving one-eyed fat woman with a shockingly strong grip and uncanny spitting aim. It's easier just to let her be in charge.|
|_||3||A hall of conversing paintings.|
|4||4||A sketchy shaman type who lives out in the woods. Constant envoys are sent to obtain and carry his verdicts/edicts.|
|5||_||A war council of marauders who decided they'd rather live in the town than sack it. They're surprisingly effective rulers.|
|_||5||A beloved penitent beggar queen who becomes a beast at night and hunts through the streets.|
|6||6||A stern mother and her five golden-haired boys.|
|7||_||A rabid black-garbed man with a ponderously protruding posterior and a spittle-soaked hatred for the mundane.|
|8||7||A cabal of wizards, possibly amalgamated into a single mass.|
|_||8||The orphaned 9-year-old end of an illustrious heritage, in a beautiful delicate pink bouffant lace dress.|
|9||9||A cheerfully portly ruddy-cheeked burgomeister wearing the most impressive Jacobean ruff, accompanied by two stern-faced puffy lapdogs (who are also wearing ruffs).|
|10||_||An immense pimple-faced man in fine ill-fitting clothes of beautiful colours. He's been known to eat flies. Is actually a whole bunch of frogs in a man suit.|
|_||10||A fragile blue-skinned woman with a failing voice who holds council with a menagerie of beasts around her column-arched circular chambers. Drifting ice crystals form in your breath within her presence.|
|11||11||A beautiful effete man with eyelashes as long as fingers, blood blister red lips and a hairless cranium. He has a penchant for jellied exotic birds and likes his men scarred.|
|12||_||A retired thief queen, settling into small-town life with a harem of fawning rogue boys.|
|_||12||Three crones and dancing oracle twins in a gazebo-topped tower. The twins' eyes roll about their heads in a drug-addled blissful delirium and their skin has the hue of pearls without the shine; off-white with a surface illusion of translucency.|
|13||13||A sweet-tongued woman wearing jewellery made from the bones of her unfaithful lovers.
It's hard to be faithful when shes addicted to jealousy and can drive you sweating into the arms of another with a careful turn of phrase.
|14||14||A twin who fears the return of their sibling.|
|15||_||The sister founders of the town, now fused together in a fungal mass contained within a guarded stone cellar.|
|_||15||An androgynous youth in a pale ruby throne, marionette strings tied all about their body leading to silver bells hanging about the chamber, a warning to everyone should they ever move.|
|16||16||A moist-eyed girl with a musical voice kept in an elaborately carved enclosed wooden palanquin. The shadows obscure everything but her face.|
|17||_||Old Jenny Finger-Biter, drifting cheek-deep in a green-brick pool in the centre of town. Sure she gnaws off people's fingers in their sleep, but she's so wise.|
|_||17||A particularly large pale barrel-bodied Regent Fish, carried around by sopping wet courtiers, it can only speak while gasping in the open air.|
|18||18||A five-sibling council; two of them incestuous, one of them nervous and strange, one of them seductively generous, and one of them studious and aloof. All are scheming against the others, none realise all the others are faerie changelings that long ago replaced the originals.|
|19||_||The Marble Fawn, a melancholic anthropomorphic albino deer, probably cursed.
If asked about it his body shakes and he softly says with eyes closed, witches.
|20||19||A blind man taking council in his shit-drenched bird room.|
|_||20||A dramatic turquoise baboon with a golden seed of intelligence planted within its skull growing golden shoots and leaves from its nose and ears.|
Firstly, I’m going to navel-gaze for a bit:
Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine started life as an experiment in formatting my own prep notes (impression of the general area -> sensory/atmospheric information in BIG OBVIOUS TYPE -> everything else), which worked out great in my own game so I published it pretty much as-is, and the vast majority of feedback I’ve gotten is that it works great. For the most part you can just pick it up and go.
But something it DIDN’T do was use a lot of moving parts, or take into account where you came from; the descriptions all assume you’re following the most obvious route.
So moving on to new things, I could do what normally happens and make things more generic, get rid of the sensory build-up, so that you need to stop and reference the map to think about what order players see things/where they lie in front of them, OR I could do what I’ve done which is to write multiple entry descriptions for each area to cover every way you could get there including falling from the goddamn sky.
The experiment behind STEAL THE EYES OF YASHOGGHUH is seeing if I can make an adventure that’s just as easy to pick up and play as Feathered Swine, with the same atmosphere that builds when you can just keep going area to area, but with lots more moving parts that affect other areas of the map, tracked events, triggers, missing keys, possible NPC factions, all without being a nightmare to track. I want you to be able to flip to a page and just GO, I want all of the information you need to be there without having to stop and think.
Ultimately, the experiment behind it is to make a fairly complex and organic adventure that can not only be run easily by a brand new DM, without prep and possibly without even reading all of it beforehand, but be played by brand new players.
I want them to know that things are happening around them and that there may be unforseen consequences without it being overwhelming or frustratingly confusing, I want them to be able to solve problems without having to pixel-bitch across the whole map pulling levers and finding keys that give no indication that they’ve done the right thing, and shit, I want them to have a lot of fun.
FM Geist ran STEAL THE EYES OF YASHOGGHUH for her birthday and fuck me, the play report just makes me so happy, as does the feedback that keeps coming in from her players.
It also makes me exceedingly happy that she ran this while high from a PHONE, so I feel like I’ve done fairly well with those design goals.
ALSO she used my (new) magic rules, equipment packs, and NPCs, and the incident beginning with the removal of the golden spikes is the perfect culmination of everything I try to do with what I write.
Please, give it a read (then read it again, and again):