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Close Encounters with Humankind


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!


d20Along the Road You Meet..
1d4 Travellers.
22d4 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.
3An envoy:
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.
Travelling:
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.
4A 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.
5d6 Merchants.
6A solitary warrior wandering the land.
72d6 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.
8An absurdly enthusiastic botanist and his long-suffering companion.
9A displaced hermit.
10A small cadre of intellectuals (d4+2) on their way to study/explore/harvest the nearest suitable thing.
Accompanied by:
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.
11An army on the march.
12A hunting party, five men armed with spears, bows, ropes and traps, accompanied by a favoured daughter and a lazy son.
13A priest on a holy mission.
14A travelling poet and assassin.
15d6 Merchant caravans + d6 Mercenaries per caravan.
16The 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 Wizard’s tome and started reading.
17A feverish migration of the faithful to the site of some obscure religious celebration.
18d8 mould-covered fungus-controlled wretches making their way back to civilised lands to fruit. They're filthy but rather cheerful, eager to make friends.
19A 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.
202d6+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.
d6If It's Not Clear How They're Travelling..
1On foot.
2On nearly-dead horses.
3On warpigs.
4In a crude carriage pulled by somnambulant humans in a permanent drug-induced sleep.
5In stag-drawn chariots.
6In a caravan train powered by a truly stupendous amount of rats running in the oversized wheels of the fore-carriage.

6 comments



Lost Boys


In showing a friend some character sheets I realised that I had a couple that I never posted, so here we go:

The Glitterchild Monstrosity

The first illustrated character sheet I ever made, for a mutagenic Jeremy Duncan game that never actually happened.

Barnaby Barrachus

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.


5 comments



Take Me To Your Leader


Following on from Use Protection, who the hell is in charge here?

TownCityd20 Government
1_A self-interested baron more concerned with baking than matters of state.
_1A beautiful queen breeding moderately intelligent crustaceans in the waterlogged rooms of her castle.
22An 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.
_3A hall of conversing paintings.
44A 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.
_5A beloved penitent beggar queen who becomes a beast at night and hunts through the streets.
66A 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.
87A cabal of wizards, possibly amalgamated into a single mass.
_8The orphaned 9-year-old end of an illustrious heritage, in a beautiful delicate pink bouffant lace dress.
99A 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.
_10A 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.
1111A 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.
_12Three 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.
1313A sweet-tongued woman wearing jewellery made from the bones of her unfaithful lovers.
It's hard to be faithful when she’s addicted to jealousy and can drive you sweating into the arms of another with a careful turn of phrase.
1414A 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.
_15An 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.
1616A 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.
_17A particularly large pale barrel-bodied Regent Fish, carried around by sopping wet courtiers, it can only speak while gasping in the open air.
1818A 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”.
2019A blind man taking council in his shit-drenched bird room.
_20A dramatic turquoise baboon with a golden seed of intelligence planted within its skull growing golden shoots and leaves from its nose and ears.

No comments yet, tell me what you really think



Did I Play An RPG Right?


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.

 

WITH THAT SAID

 

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):

 

Read the rest…


5 comments



Use Protection


It doesn’t pay to be defenseless out here, so who comes out to play when this town/city is under siege?

(Alternatively, throw them into armies for a bit of fun.)

 

TownCityd20 Special Protection
11Trained beasts with amazing outfits.
_2Alchemical horrors released from orb-like receptacles suspended along the streets.
23World-weary Watch that become crazed murder party animals when they drink from their special flasks. Then they have the most fun, everything else is just a come-down.
3_Rag-tag militia that smear faeces on their terrible weapons and hurl horrified-looking frogs who've had their orifices sealed shut, bloated with hallucinogenic gas.
_4Ceramic suits of armour full of yellow slime animated by the will of quadriplegic telepaths on stalking animal-limbed ceramic thrones.
45A stolen unit of lobotomised harvest soldiers, bearing lanterns full of Mondmilch.
5_A lusty troupe from a particularly violent burlesque school.
_6Gaily dressed ribald arquebusiers, accompanied by nervous squires carrying beautifully obscene painted pavise shields to protect them during their nonchalant mode of jocular assault.
67Wax soldiers animated by the black wicks burning from the backs of their heads.
7_Elderly shapeshifters trading protection for having someone to talk to.
88A Flesh Crafter sect and their creations abominable and beautiful.
_9Swarms of little girls with sharp knives who climb like spiders, with powdered white faces and brilliant pink painted lips spreading like a rash over their chins.
910Discrete poison-throwers that look just like everybody else.
10_A lone sorceress who lives in a towering mud-brick spire covered in drooping, determined flowers.
_11Fat, reconstituting giant mud spiders powered by clockwork orbs at their hearts, crawling out from beneath lifting pavement stones.
1112Beautiful sombre women in robes like a procession of Mother Marys, swinging rosary-like strings of censer balls full of smouldering narcotics.
12_Red beehives goaded into a frenzied madness by their keepers, stung to death in the process.
_13Purposely-stunted dwarfish entertainers riding on the backs of crazed beasts heavily pregnant with parasitic jellies. Wagers are taken on the outcome and chaos.
1314A Plague Priest colony swinging and swaying their bodies to ring the crusty bells hanging from their rotting wrappings.
1415Noxious green gases expelled from towering grotesque corals doused in water, sapping the fluid from anyone who didn't recently swallow a tiny squid.
15_Really unsettling malnourished figures wearing fly masks, slowly shifting their feet in incongruously marshy patches of land around the perimeter of the town, constantly wreathed in grey fog.
_16A rain of exploding, dividing frogs launched from bulbous pitted mortars. They reform from the chunks, getting smaller and smaller, getting into all your cracks.
When it's over they're cleaned up by ravenous herons with surgically-implanted copper bellies full of green stomach acid bubbling behind foggy glass viewing portals.
1617Ever-so-vaguely humanoid flesh-warped pink pigs wearing dented plates of armour and wielding shoddy halberds and hammers, squealing in fear and challenge.
17_Rumour holds that if a particular old man is injured, the town cats will metamorphose into vengeance-bound yellow-eyed black slavering beasts the size of cows.
They always get him drunk and push him to the front line.
_18The walls of the city are hollow, stone wall and walkways wrapped around a ceramic shell exposed on the exterior side. Expansive black puddings and violet jellies kept alive by food shoved through hatches slide and squeeze through them, released when necessary by watchman that bring heavy hammers crashing down on the ceramic exterior wall.
1819Twelve crows with golden nails driven into their chests by five cursed old women. Each crow drags d20 mindless spirits with them, eaten from corpses.
If a crow is killed its spirits dissolve - if the nail is removed while it still lives the spirits roam uncontrolled and vengeful - if an old woman is killed so are three crows.
The final old woman is a failsafe lest the others are all killed, in which case the twelve golden nails break free and plunge into her eyes, and she becomes a giant golden-feathered crow beast with glorious wings sweeping over four ragged arms and a headstone crown, crawling with restless spirits like lice.
19_The people are all infested by some manner of fungus, thin-stemmed fruiting bodies sprouting out from around their eyes.
It doesn't bother them much apart from imbuing them with a tremendous sense of community spirit, but when murdered they tend to explode in a cloud of invasive spores.
2020Grenadiers riding in chariots drawn by packs of armoured hairless baboons painted in the colours of the particular Grenadier House, each with their own alchemical recipe.
Turning base metal to gold still escapes them, but they're getting pretty close to that universal solvent.

One comment



In Space No One Can Hear You Squeal


If you’re reading this you’re probably well aware of Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine, my filthy cave adventure with the adorable cut-out map where nobody gets out alive/whole/without a suit of armour fused with their genitals.

 

Well Dan D of Throne of Salt ran it as an impromptu away-mission in a Spelljammer game and wrote a play report that made me stupidly, unendingly happy. Give it a read.

 

James Young also told me he ran it as a “Lair of a Gluttony Demon accessed via a sobbing obese bartenders’ mouth. Walls are his torn and warped throat, knee high in rotting food. Surprisingly easy reskin to make!” but there’s no play report of that one which is really disappointing I was so very wrong! Check comments below for James’ multiple play reports. The Gluttony Demon one in particular is sick.

 

It’s pretty old now but lots of people have been saying nice things about it lately including Jarrett Crader saying “It is one of the best intros to the old school mindset and it works for every system” so if you don’t have it you should probably change that:

 


10 comments



A Sack And A Knife


Hey, so recently I ran a couple of playtest sessions of STEAL THE EYES OF YASHOGGHUH online (it was great, highlights at the end) and to speed things up we used starting equipment packs that I’ve used a few times before.

 

While we were playing Brendan S asked if I’d published them and since he brought up how useful equipment packs are for streamlining character generation, here’s the packs I’ve been letting people choose randomly – three Sword-Whores, three Adepts/Specialists/Thieves, and three WIZARDS.

 

There are a couple of “healing potions” in there that mention making saves. If you fail you randomly mutate, or in the case of The Bottled Nectar of the House of Honey and Salt:

  • Both fail – Your body loses all integrity and slops and expands in a flowing pile of the Velvet Blessing/Saintsblood.

  • Only CON fail – The flesh of a random body part shifts and groans beneath the skin. Make another CON check each Turn – Until you succeed, make a WIS check every time you exert yourself, if you fail the body part becomes Saintsblood.

There’s also some drugs. For me drugs work like this:

Effects last until you FAIL the associated Ability check, made each Turn.

If you roll a 1 or a 20 on a check you’re addicted.

While addicted, whenever not under the influence of the drug you suffer all of its normal negative effects as well as its withdrawal effects, and all checks involving the associated Ability Score are Doomed (checks that would already be Doomed are Double Doomed).

After each full day without the drug, make the associated Ability check to recover from addiction.

Quick, easy, smooth.

Doomed means you roll twice and take the worst. Yes that’s the same as Disadvantage. No there is no replacement for Advantage.

 

ANYWAY HERE’S THE EQUIPMENT

Read the rest…


13 comments



CLOSING DOWN ALL POSTS MUST GO


[EDIT: Hosting is now actually completely funded for the next few years thanks to a lot of really generous people, so ignore everything below. I’ll be switching hosts in the next few days so expect some downtime, but the site will definitely be staying up.]

 

Heeeeey kids, so I know I promised I’d be posting again soon but I guess I say a lot of things? And I got busy again so that’s on hold.

 

ALSO: this site is going dark in about a week.

The hosting/domain is up for renewal and it’s just not an expense I can justify anymore, especially when I’m barely here anymore.

 

BUT! I did a thing for you:

THIS is a pdf compendium of basically everything I ever posted here. I’ve done zero formatting on it and it will be packed full of links that will end up going nowhere and it’s painfully ugly, especially when it comes to the tables, but the content’s all there. So download it if you want it.

You’ll also notice a big red pdf button at the top of every post on the site, so if you want to run off on your own and save specific posts, now’s the time to do it.

 

Paolo Greco is looking at setting up Choose Your Own Generator and the Seventh Order archive elsewhere, so follow him/me on G+ to get updates on what happens with that.

 

In the meantime, if you use it regularly I’d suggest heading over to Choose Your Own Generator and saving the complete webpage to your computer so that you can at least keep making generators for your own use until it’s back online. (Just right-click in open space on the page and select “save”).

 

Thanks heaps for reading my stuff/checking in vain for updates/commenting/still coming to the site in your hundreds every day.

It’s genuinely just a little bit sad to see this place close down, but hey, I’ll be back.

 

Sometime.

 

I swear.


10 comments



Arts & Crafts: Morbidly Encumbered edition


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.

  • Want to give another player an item? Share the pin with them then delete it from your board.
  • Want to write down rules or little notes for that magic item you just got? You can type a message on the pin.
  • Are you the DM and you’ve got a bunch of items hidden away in this room? Collect a pin that fits each of them before the game then share them with your players as they find them.
  • Pinterest is more relevant to D&D than I even realised.

 

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:

  • Items you’re wearing can be grabbed and used at-will (they’re the ones that get stuck to your character sheet).
  • You have 5 slots for items you’re holding or simply want to protect better; these can’t be damaged or dropped unless you roll a natural 1 when defending in contested melee. If that happens roll a d10 to see which item is affected and check Breakage.
    When you’re actually holding any of these items in your hands move them to the 2 slots on the front of the sheet (but that doesn’t free up the ones you moved them from).
    [INTERLUDE: Breakage is just new wording for Quality from the Notches rules, it just made more sense on the whole, and now EVERYTHING has a Breakage value. Most Breakage values are between 1-5, and everything other than a weapon will use a d8 for its check (weapons use their damage die); if you roll the Breakage value or less, it breaks, otherwise it’s fine unless you roll the maximum value of the dice in which case you drop it. Weapons and armour take a Notch instead of breaking.
    Most items will have a Breakage chance of 3, non-intricate metal items would be 1 or 2, vanity mirrors and oil flasks would be 5.]
  • You have 5 slots for loose items, each taking up two numbers from 2-11.
  • You have 5 slots specifically for armour and nothing else, numbered 12-16. Medium armour takes up 2 slots, heavy armour takes up 3.
    I’ve started ruling that additional pieces of armour like helmets or gauntlets or Sabatons of Shame don’t increase AC, but you can sacrifice them to make an attack against you re-roll its damage (so if a successful attack against you just rolled 8 damage and you know that’s high enough to cut off a limb you can say “oh shit I headbutt the blade” and destroy your helmet and hope like hell the damage roll is lower this time).
    If you run out of armour slots and want to wear more pieces they can go in loose items.
  • When a successful attack roll against you matches the number of a filled loose item or armour slot (with contested melee a successful attack roll can be quite low), check Breakage for the item.
  • You can buy satchels or pouches to hold multiple items on a loose or held item slot. That means you can carry more shit and protect more things on those lower numbers, but if the pouch gets hit and fails its Breakage check everything falls out and you need to check Breakage for all of them.
    Satchels can carry 4 items, Small Pouches can carry 2, and some items (like the fabulous wig that Rose’s drag queen specialist Muffin McTavish is currently sporting) can store extra items inside themselves already.
  • You can carry as many small insignificant items in one slot as you can write on the item card.
  • When you’re wearing equipment the only items that stack are money (300 coins or small gems), ammunition (20 arrows/bolts/shot balls, 10 sling bullets), and small things like iron spikes or powder apostles (5 each). Every oil flask takes up a slot.
    When it’s in your backpack you can stack smaller things like oil flasks up to 3 per slot.

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):

  • If you’re only carrying worn equipment your Movement Dice is d8, and you can roll twice and take the best for physical checks like climbing or jumping out of the way of giant rolling balls of gore.
  • When wearing a backpack you can carry a number of Dead Weight items up to your Strength or Constitution score, whichever is higher.
    Your Movement Dice is now d6, you roll once for physical checks, but can discard your backpack to re-roll (so if you’re hanging above a pit full of angry fishrats and fail your climbing check, you can shrug off your backpack and hope really hard that you don’t fail the re-roll and fall after it).
  • You can carry more than that up to a total of your Strength + Constitution and be Overweight.
    Your Movement Dice is now d4, you have to roll twice and take the worst for physical checks, but can discard your backpack to re-roll.
  • If you carry any more than that you’re Morbidly Encumbered, which is the same as being Overweight except that you have to roll twice and take the worst for ALL physical rolls including attacks and movement checks.

 

MOVEMENT DICE

 

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).

  • Whoever rolls highest wins. In a one-on-one situation I’d rule that if your Movement Dice is the same but you’re wearing less armour than your opponent you can add your Dexterity modifier.
  • In a chase use the lowest Movement Dice of the group unless you bail on each other; on a lost roll decrease your dice size, on a win increase your dice size, and the chase ends when someone loses on a d4 or wins on a d20.
  • During a chase any ranged attacks suffer a penalty equal to your opponent’s Movement Dice.
  • If you’re being chased and your opponent rolls a 1 on any dice you can try to do something to lose them (so in a city something like jumping onto a roof or into an alley or a random doorway or spilling a cart in front of them), and if you win the next check it works and the chase is over.
    If you’re chasing and your opponent rolls a 1 on any dice you can try to do something to stop them (like yelling at Old Bob who’s always standing in front of the Bloated Cuttlefish to grab them), and if you win the next check it works and the chase is over.

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..

 

 

EXHAUSTION

  • After strenuous activity roll your current Movement Dice.
    On a 1, drop to the next encumbrance level until you rest for a Turn.
  • When removing your pack roll your current Movement Dice.
    On a 1, remain on the same encumbrance level until you rest for a Turn.

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..

 

 

WEAPON TAGS

 

Rather than keeping each weapon type with its own special rules I changed it to weapon tags so they can get stuck all around.

  • ADAPT: if you miss an attack, you can use a Parry to try again. [mostly swords, Parries are normally used to re-roll a failed defence, which you can do a number of times equal to your Fast AB bonus (Dexterity modifier + AB) per combat]
  • TRAUMA: +2 to-hit vs. Medium or Heavy armour, successful hit reduces Heavy armour by 1. [mostly maces and hammers]
  • FLESHRIPPER: two damage dice vs. Light armour or less. [mostly axes]
  • REACH: automatically attack first and do double damage against Bum Rushes. [spears and polearms]
  • HEFTY: roll twice for damage and take the best while wielding with two hands. [mostly melee weapons that do d8 or more damage]
  • LASH: ignore shields, can choose to attack weapon, disarming on 4 or more damage. On any miss roll under your AC or hit yourself. [mostly flails and whips]
  • SHANK: can make contested d20 + Hard or Fast AB to grapple after hit, automatically hitting Flesh in subsequent rounds until they kick you off. [mostly knives]
  • ARMOUR PIERCING: reduces AC to 12 + Dex modifier. [firearms]
  • HORRENDOUS: keep re-rolling odd damage dice. [trying this out for arquebus/rifles to give a reason for giving up 2 slots to lug one around instead of a pistol]
  • BURST: anyone in range has to roll equal to or less than their DB (Dexterity modifier + armour bonuses) on a d12 or take damage.

Off-sheet I’ve been playing around with ranged weapons a bit to give them more obvious benefits/trade-offs.

  • LONGBOW: takes up 2 slots, d6 damage + Strength modifier. [Uses Hard AB (Strength modifier + AB), all other ranged weapons use Fast AB (Dexterity modifier + AB)]
  • SHORT BOW: d6 damage.
  • SLING: 2d4 damage.
  • LIGHT CROSSBOW: d6 damage, 1 Round to load, uses Trauma tag.
  • HEAVY CROSSBOW: takes up 2 slots, d10 damage, 2 Rounds to load, uses Trauma tag.
  • PISTOL: d8 damage, can’t reload under pressure, uses Armour Piercing tag.
  • ARQUEBUS/RIFLE: takes up 2 slots, d8 damage, can’t reload under pressure, uses Armour Piercing and Horrendous tags.
  • BLUNDERBUSS: d6 damage, uses Burst tag.

 

SHIELDS

 

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.)

 

 

MONEY

 

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.

RATIONS

 

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.

[Similar to what I do for torches, inspired by the cascading dice ammunition rules by Intwischa (sadly no longer in existence, but the page is currently available via the Internet Archive)]

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.

 

 

SPECIALIST TOOLS

 

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.

 

 

BOOKS

 

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).

 

 

SAVING THROWS

 

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.

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GOBBOS


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:

  • Trolls wearing baskets full of spike-armoured goblins on their backs, shooting them out of misshapen hand-held iron cannons coughing black smoke.
  • Goblins sliding around inside herded slimes, eventually trying to squelch their way out before their bodies dissolve completely.
    Whether it’s because of their regeneration or just the way they taste, they can last at least an hour inside slimes and puddings before being wholly digested.
  • Rickety wooden spiked deathwheels and murderballs full of dizzy bruised driver teams plowing towards you, ready to be thrown everywhere amongst the shrapnel when they crash.
  • Half-grown goblins armed with knives and tiny flails strapped to the end of pikes, charged around by teams of goblin pikemen.
  • Goblins riding on makeshift platforms attached to armoured braindead rampaging trolls, trying not to get plucked off and eaten.
  • Piles of goblins launched through the air by cracking bending catapults.
  • Goblins holding onto half-wild pigs by fistfuls of hair and skin, trying to direct them by food dangling from the ends of their spears.
  • Cage flails full of spiders or burning pitch swung around by goblins that can barely handle the whirling weight.
  • Pig-drawn chariots with spring-loaded floors rigged to launch the charioteers forward if the wheels stop turning.
  • Goblin alchemists running around jangling with clicking ticking grenades full of altered expanding trollflesh and god knows what else.
  • Trolls leading knife-wielding goblins by chains attached to cages around their heads or torsos, swinging them around like gobbo flails.

 

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:

  1. The black woods around it are full of witches sick of the taste and feel of goblin flesh, they yearn for something new.
  2. Beneath the Nurgleskop is a sleeping boy who fell into the cavern and dreamt the goblins into existence.
  3. The abandoned villages dotted around it weren’t sacked by the goblins, the people living there went into the woods to become the goblins.
  4. The earth is so saturated by goblin filth that if you return home with a clump of dirt clinging to your boots, it will sprout a goblin overnight to knife you in your sleep.
  5. You can only find your way to the Nurgleskop if a goblin leads you. If you’ve made it there without one you can be sure one of your companions is a goblin/goblins in disguise.
  6. The bellies of the fat, uneasy birds of the Marrowmorne woods are full of gold coins, stamped with the face of an ancient king.
  7. The Nurgleskop is an egg fallen from the stars.
  8. Licking the sweaty dew from the Nurgleskop is the fountain of youth.
  9. An entire race of people laid down to die in the Marrowmorne Mountains, shifting themselves beneath the earth, and the Nurgleskop is nothing more than the fruiting body of a mycelium mass that has been feeding and growing on their remains over the centuries.
  10. The black river flowing out of the Marrowmorne stems from a great wound split in the mountainside, tainted lifeblood spilling from its ruby heart.
  11. When the moon is full over the Marrowmorne the goblins become beautiful young girls who run out into the night to tempt the unwary back into the woods.
  12. There is a black church hidden in the woods inhabited by an old man who will not die. Forbidden tomes and terrible artefacts are locked in the vaults below, protected from the world.

 

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.


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