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A Collation of Things Revealed in April, 2013

Always Carry Protection


First of all, Gus L has mentioned getting rid of leather, chainmail, and plate in favour of Light, Medium, and Heavy armour over at Dungeon of Signs a few times now. Which happens to be one of the things I really liked in the one game of Gamma World I played. I’d much prefer players to make up exactly what they’re wearing and apply an appropriate armour class than say they’re wearing chainmail and leave it at that. It also links in well aesthetically with LotFP’s existing weapon list.

 

Speaking of, in general I’m pretty happy with the LotFP weapon list, being that it consists of a few specific weapons and then Minor Medium Large Great make up what it is it does this much damage okay. No fuss, no muss. But. I’d still kind of like for the choice about what your Medium weapon actually is to make a difference beyond flavouring, without turning the weapon list into a 10-page section.

 

So, the size categories stay, that’s your damage, but depending on what the weapon actually is you also get this..

 

Sword: If you haven’t been hit this round roll twice for damage, take the best.

 

Hammer: When you attack choose +1 vs. Medium or better, or a normal attack which

reduces Heavy AC by 1 but deals half damage.

 

Axe: Minimum half damage vs. Light or less.

 

Flail: +1 vs. Medium or better, ignores shields. Can choose to attack weapon, Strength check

to disarm on hit. On any miss roll under your AC or hit yourself.

 

The reasoning being that swords are versatile, hammers can punch through with spikes or crush joints to reduce mobility, axes are built for chopping right into things (my thumb can attest), and flails.. well flails is flails.

 

[Edit: these and the Notch rules have been updated in The House of Rules]

 

 

That’s Not A Knife..

 

I use group Initiative, but would also like characters who have an Initiative bonus to get some kind of benefit from that. So, different kinds of weapons have benefits in different situations.

At this point I’d like to mention that this and the weapon categories were inspired by a couple of things mentioned by Brendan Strejcek, now of Necropraxis. In fact the dagger part is stolen directly from him and Gus L.

  •  If you successfully hit someone with a dagger you can choose to grab hold and keep stabbing, automatically hitting Flesh in subsequent rounds every time you win a wrestling roll (contested d20 + AB and Strength modifier). Anyone wielding a Medium or larger weapon will need to kick you away before attacking with their weapon.
    (Daggers should be deadly and useful, if you manage to get in close to someone you can cut straight to the meat, bypassing Grit and damaging Flesh. Finesse isn’t worth a damn when someone has a knife to your belly)
  • While wielding a Medium or larger weapon you may make a contested Initiative roll to attack first when someone with a Minor weapon closes into melee range.
  • While wielding a weapon with reach you may make a contested Initiative roll to attack first when someone with a smaller weapon closes into melee range, and automatically attack first and cause double damage to anyone that actually charges you.

 

Another Notch on the Axehaft

 

I find it really boring for characters to be able to pick a weapon when they start out and then hold onto it forever unless they find something magic or wake up naked in a pit. I mean sure, it’s nice to have a weapon with history, but don’t you want that history to actually mean something? I also want some kind of indication that all this murdering necessitates equipment maintenance, but I don’t want that to be a gaping pain in the arse.

 

So, Notches.

 

Every time you roll a 1 or 2 to hit in combat your weapon takes a Notch, this doesn’t necessarily mean it was damaged just then, more a simple way of quantifying wear and tear.

 

Each weapon can take Notches equal to its damage die (so a dagger can take 4 Notches, a long sword can take 8, Lumpy Space Princess’s knifemace can take 10).

Once the weapon has 2 Notches, roll 2 of the weapon’s damage die after every attack, if the roll is equal to or less than the number of Notches, the weapon breaks. So you might embarrassingly break your axe with a wild swing against the wall, or you might snap your dagger off in the merchant priest’s chest.

If the weapon takes another Notch after it has reached its limit, it breaks.

 

Now, armour makes it harder to hurt your squishy parts, fair enough, but what about the armour? Every time an attack against you rolls 19 or 20 your armour is damaged, reducing your AC by 1.

 

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

Prices are subject to review and gouging.

 

 

[Edit: Go read Brush of Fumbling’s excellent post that works weapon quality into Notches if you’re tired of brooms being as durable as battleaxes and all of your blacksmiths being the same guy with a different moustache. I’m using it effective right now.]

 

 

If You Liked It Then You Should Have Put a Pistol On It

 

When you have to walk around with everything strapped to your back, economy of utility can become pretty important, and getting hold of something that actually performs more than one function may just make you fall to your knees for a bit of an ugly joy cry. Credit for sparking this particular thought fire goes to Tom at Middenmurk.

Fuck your +1 sword, give me a shield with a lantern in it and big spikes sticking out of it.

 

Basically, coveted equipment doesn’t have to have some bullshit charm on it, it just needs to be uncommonly useful for the kind of foolish things you’ve chosen to run around doing.

 

I’d rather carry an iron cresset than a torch, it burns just as long, using pitch, rosin, or pine knots, and if someone jumps out of the dark I can beat them with it for d6 damage. As a bonus on 18-20 they also catch fire.

10′ poles are useful but DAMN are they unwieldy to just lug around. Why not carry a 10′ spear or polearm instead, with several interlocking foot long sections at the end that can be easily removed if damaged? Hell, while we’re at it let’s make the top section removable as well so that it can be used as a weapon in close-quarters. Like Tom said, “As is often the case with historical reality, similar business ends are applied to different lengths of wood for different purposes.”

Check Tom’s other article and follow the link to My Armory at the end for more examples. Sure, a lot of them are just things with pistols jammed onto them, but you get the point.

 

For seriously though, fuck your +1 sword.

 


6 comments



Full of Clerical Errors


Following on from the last post, here’s some actual Mystics.

 

Devotee of the Corpulent One

 

They Worship What Now?

More a projection of collective behaviour and desire than a real deity, the Corpulent One manifests as an enormous bloated humanoid being that sprouts arms and various other body parts almost at random from its pustulent body.

Devotees worship him in excess of all things, food, liquor, narcotics, lust.

 

Facts and Foibles

  • Devotees do not have a measure of Faith, but must be in a constant state of intoxication or excess to perform rituals. While in this state they are at -2 for all physical rolls, and unless you’re terrible at life should be role-played like the messy hedonists they are.
  • Devotees often make use of glass cups to help maintain a constant state of inebriation. A liquid narcotic is poured into the cup and heated, which the Devotee then suctions to their back for absorption through the skin. This or something like it is what passes for a Holy Symbol among Devotees.
  • If they are sober but wish to cast a ritual the Devotee must make a Test of Faith roll, or may gain d4 temporary Faith points by performing an act of excess like necking a full bottle of moonshine or devouring an entire roasted boar leg.
  • On a 20 on Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me the Devotee loses their mind and transforms into a manifestation of the Corpulent One with a healthy appetite. HD equal to the Devotee’s level, 1 +1 per HD attacks with multiple arms and mouths, 20% chance per round of vomiting in a 10′ spray, save vs. Poison or trip balls. Everyone is on the menu.

Rituals

Delirium Tremens

Mystic Level 1

Duration: Instantaneous

Casting Time: 1 round

Range: Touch

 

The Devotee drains themselves of all intoxicants and narcotic effects, becoming utterly sober, and transfers it to a single target.

The target must save vs. Poison with a penalty equal to caster level or shiver and shake and sweat and retch and shit themselves to death under the full weight of a Devotee’s worship of excess.

If they save they’ll still be cripplingly intoxicated for the next 3d8 hours.

 

 

Endless Feast

Mystic Level 1 (replaces Turn Undead)

Duration: It ain’t over ’til it’s over.

Casting Time: 2 rounds

Range: 60′

 

A feast forms out of the surrounding area; trees bend and break themselves into a table, fully-laden platters form from dust and refuse and vapour swirls out of the air and settles as wine into goblets.

1d6 + caster level beings within view who aren’t Devotees of the Corpulent One must save vs. Magic at -2 or begin to partake in the feast. Other Mystics can save as normal and people of the Devotee’s choosing can save at +2. Creatures who are above human-like desires are unaffected.

While the feast continues anyone that comes within 10′ must save to avoid joining. Anyone trying to drag someone away from the feast will find that they’re grafted to the seat.

A further save can be made every day to try to leave the feast, but the amount of food and wine consumed each day decreases Constitution, Dexterity, and Strength by 1 (if they don’t have ability scores, just figure out which one of those things they’d have the most of and set an appropriate number). Once any score reaches zero the Corpulent One manifests at the table and consumes them, laughing hysterically and gulping from a great goblet of wine.

Seeing this causes anyone still partaking in the feast to save at a further -1 from then on.

Casting Endless Feast immediately sobers the Devotee.

 

 

 

Malpractice
1d20
1The flesh within the wound begins to consume itself, releasing an intense smell of rot amidst a cacophony of sucking noises and causing damage equal to the healing ritual used.
2The wound is healed but for the next d6 hours the target is on a rollercoaster of uppers and downers, every time they try to do anything more difficult than walking there is a 50% chance of a new narcotic effect kicking in, preventing them from completing the action.
3Boils and blisters that smell like a hangover bubble up around the wound, the target is at -2 to physical rolls for the next d4 days. These hp cannot be healed until the blisters are gone.
4The wound heals, but little foetus arms grow out of it overnight.
5Fat begins to flow out of the wound like a split liposuction bag, strange rodents appear out of nowhere to drink the fat until it dries up in d8 turns. These hp cannot be healed until it dries up.
6The wound is healed but short tendrils of flesh grow from the area. Unless they are smeared with something they can consume at least once a day they will digest the flesh around them and plant the seeds for more tendrils.
7The wound smells irresistible and the Devotee takes a d2 bite out of it.
8The wound is healed but the target now suffers a loss of self control, needing to save vs. Poison to resist any intoxicants in their vicinity.
9Pound of Flesh. The Devotee tears a chunk of flesh from their own body and grafts it into the target, healing the wound but taking equal damage.
10The wound is healed but does not completely close, luminescent blue mushrooms with shimmering green gills grow from the wound, they are highly hallucinogenic when consumed but deal 1hp of damage with a 10% chance of addiction/growing from the eater's own body.
They fruit once a week and turn to black sludge after 2 days.
11No hp are restored, pink blisters swell around the Devotee's throat and burst, sending them on an acid trip for the next d6 turns.
12The wound is healed, but the target's body swells and bloats, reducing Dexterity by 2 until they lose the weight.
13No hp are restored, and the intoxicating smell seeping from the wound requires everyone, including the target, to save vs. Poison to stop themselves tearing at the target's flesh for consumption.
14Chittering teeth emerge amidst the torn flesh and snap shut into a grotesque mouth where the wound used to be. The target must feed it every day or lose 1hp as the flesh around it decays.
15No hp are restored and the target's blood flows out of their wounds, eventually turning into a clear alcohol before it stops draining out. The target is somehow able to live, but their Intelligence is reduced by 2, the Devotee would like very much to drink from them, and their blood is now flammable.
16No hp are restored, effect as Delirium Tremens but with a bonus instead of penalty equal to caster level.
17No hp are restored, thick round bulbs of flesh sprout all over the Devotee and burst in a yellow cloud like sporing mushrooms. Everyone within 30' must save vs. Poison or collapse in a comatose drug nightmare for the next d6 turns. The Devotee is not allowed a save.
18The wound is healed but the area around it soon begins to turn green, weeping foul-smelling fluids and becoming almost gelatinous. The target must save vs. Poison every day to prevent the condition progressing and taking over more of their body, taking a penalty to physical rolls for every stage it advances. To completely recover, the target must make 3 saves in a row, if they fail a save it regresses to its initial condition, and if they fail 3 times in a row their body collapses in a seething pile of bubbling green filth.
Any healing from a Devotee of the Corpulent One during this time will actually progress the condition.
19No hp are restored, the Devotee's belly splits open and spills their intestines onto the floor, causing damage equal to the healing ritual used. If they survive, their innards grow back and they regain the hp lost.
20The wound is healed, but the next time they sleep the target must save vs. Poison or erupt in a manifestation of the Corpulent One, tearing and digesting their own flesh until there is nothing left but a pungent stain. The rest of the party will definitely hear this.

 

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I’ve Gotta Have Faith


Okay so Clerics. First of all, I’m going to call them Mystics (or Cabalists, The Possess’d, Prophets, Seers, Emissaries, or Daemonseed depending on who you talk to). It’s never really made sense to me how holy missionary warrior priests end up robbing tombs with a bunch of misfits, but Mystics, spreading the word/infection of their strange god as they travel and getting some sweet loot while doing it, that makes sense.

 

Now, while I hold with the LotFP notion that there are no real gods and for the most part the deluded Mystics themselves are the ones with the power, let’s ignore that for now. Mystics are meant to draw their power from a god, some higher being, something that allows them to perform what might as well be miracles. However, mechanically they don’t work any differently to Magic-Users, their faith doesn’t come into things other than as flavouring. They have a set number of spells that they can cast per day and after that they dust off their hands and say “Welp, that’s that, I won’t bother god again until tomorrow.”

That’s some bullshit.

 

In my setting Mystics do not have a set spell limit, they have an ongoing Faith tally which measures both the strength of their belief and their perceived divine favour, and casting a Mystic spell uses Faith points equal to its level.

Mystics gain Faith by witnessing what they would interpret as divine intervention or proof of their god, or by actively achieving things in their name. When they slaughter the priest of a rival cult, when they convert a crowd of listeners, when they call out to their god and their fortunes change, when they eat a hallucinogenic mushroom and their god copulates with them while proclaiming their destiny, the Mystic gains d4 Faith. Your Referee will tell you when you’ve gained Faith, don’t be asking for it.

When the Mystic does something their god would not approve of or witnesses something which would shake their belief; a commune of the converted found diseased deformed and starved, a call for help which goes unanswered, a nocturnal visit by a creeping hulking thing which whispers terrible secrets of the endless sky into the Mystic’s ear heedless to the invocation of their god, they lose 2d4 Faith.

 

Yes that’s right, playing your Cleric like an actual Cleric will allow them to do more Cleric things, I know, it’s genius.

 

One of my favourite little bits in Vornheim is a random encounter table entry with a Cleric of Vorn kneeling in the snow crying out “Why? Why has thou forsaken me?????”, and it excites me that that is something which could happen naturally during a game simply because of the way a Mystic’s Faith works.

 

Mystics don’t prepare spells in advance, they may call upon any power they know, but it takes a round longer than normal Cleric spells as it’s more of a rite or ritual than a release of stored power. In fact let’s just call them rituals instead of spells.

After they have reached their Faith limit, the Mystic may attempt further pleas to their god with a 3d6 Test of Faith roll, with a penalty applied for every point needed after the first. If they suffer a Crisis of Faith or worse, they suffer a 2d4 penalty to Faith in addition to any other effects. My example Mystics also have personalised Malpractice tables for Crisis of Faith or Inverse Effect results while trying to heal someone.

 

3d6Test of Faith
14-18Success
11-13Success/Crisis of Faith
8-10Crisis of Faith
5-7Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me
1-4Inverse Effect/Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me

Mystics can also attempt to amplify their rituals with a Hand of God roll. Bonuses can be applied by sacrificing additional Faith before rolling. The player announces what they want to happen, and the Referee applies penalties accordingly. An effect without penalties would be something like double duration/benefit.

Attempting to perform the same ritual more than once in a day also requires a Hand of God roll, gods get bored easily. Bonuses can be applied by sacrificing additional Faith before rolling.

 

3d6Hand of God
14-18Success
10-13Success/Crisis of Faith
8-10Inverse Effect
5-7Inverse Effect/Crisis of Faith
1-4Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me

It’s fun to keep in mind that there is no god and this is all in the Mystic’s head, anything physical manifested by their delusion.

 

Crisis of Faith
1d20
1Visions of floating in the infinite while your god slowly consumes your mind and flesh fill your senses. For d2 turns collapse in terror/ecstasy depending on your god.
2Yellow blisters swell all over your body, within days you can see small creatures gestating within.
3You find yourself in a dark, dust-strewn burgundy room. There are no windows, no doors, a lamp burns atop a broken chest in the centre of the room. A misshapen creature who was once a man drags itself from a darkened corner. It offers you one wish, whatever you desire will be yours. If you refuse you find yourself back where you began, if you make a request take the place of the misshapen fool in the burgundy room.
4Thunder roars like a mountain falling into the sea and blasphemous creatures rain down. They hop and crawl and angry blue welts raise where they drag their tongues across your flesh. In d4 days more pull themselves out of the welts without breaking the surface of your skin.
5You find a wicker effigy in the corner of the room, behind a tree, beneath a stone, it was there all along. You have no choice but to set it alight. The embers cool and the ash falls away from an unharmed young child, surely sent by your god. When no one is watching they eat crawling vermin and wicker grows from behind their ears.
6You and those within 60' who don't save vs. Magic experience the agonising birth of your god for the next 2d6 rounds. They just want you to know how much they went through for you, and you've let them down.
7The floor splits and steam the colour of orange rot billows out like a mushroom cloud. Darkness rolls within its mass and everyone but the caster must save vs. Poison. Those who fail lapse into seizures and speak in tongues for the next turn. Days afterward they'll notice the swollen lump at the base of their skull.
8Insect legs bristle out of your skin like hair, when you break them they leak the blood of infants died in the womb. It smells like limbo.
9Eyes open across your chest, filled with pinpricked wells of tar. Looking at a random companion, you now realise that they hope to murder your god, how did you not see it before?
10Stigmata. Pain racks your body as if splintering wooden spikes were being pushed into your flesh, wounds stretch open and blood seeps out around the edge. The blood is dark and viscous and reeks of age. Lose d4hp.
11Locusts the colour of bronze infested with corrosion pull themselves from the pores of your skin and swarm around you. Stumble around in a cloud of wings and mandibles for 2d4 rounds until they burrow back into your flesh.
12You begin to weep tears of blood and mucus, before they hit the ground they curl upwards and float into the sky.
13The integrity of the Mystic's flesh becomes dubious, they feel numb and lesions break out across their skin. For the next d6 days they take double damage. Every time they curse their god there is a 10% chance of the condition lasting a further d6 days.
14You draw a dagger and slash across your stomach, you tear your intestines out of the way and take hold of the clay urn within, you smash it on the floor and seize the preserved bladder from amongst the broken clay and dried flowers, you tear at it with your teeth until it opens and stare into the face of your mother, you drive your thumbs into her eyes until they burst and release a lilac vapour into the air amidst her screaming, your god laughs and you awake in a cold sweat.
15Your tongue burns with an intense heat, you open your mouth and spit something to the floor, you smell your roasted flesh, your saliva still pops and sizzles. The orange hunk of metal on the ground cools into an image of a plump locust, lying on its back displaying bloated clusters of eggs coating its abdomen like a lobster.
Whether you keep the idol or not you dream of the Locust Queen for the next month, of her desire for her children to blanket the land, of your special role in all this.
16Your eyes burn from your head as if something has drooled acid into them. You find you can sense people's intentions, but can no longer get around without being led.
17The next time you sleep you dream of a figure hooded in blue velvet, their mere presence makes your skin crawl and you feel as if you're going to be sick. In a voice like discarded cicada shells being crushed together they ask if you desire to be shown the truth. If you accept they will show you the truth behind your power, make a Test of Faith roll. For anything but absolute success, your mind refuses to understand the revelation, roll on the relevant table. If you succeed, you no longer require Faith to perform rituals, but are now free of any kind of religious direction..
18You vomit hundreds of gold coins which immediately melt into the floor. For the next d4 days every time you try to cast a spell you vomit melting coins instead, losing 2d4 Faith.
19The area within 60' becomes the absolute absence of light for the next 2d6 hours. There are things moving within.
20A bloated foot-long maggot with a hundred black eyes pushes its way out of your throat. Fingers like anemone fronds bristle at the ends of the stubby round legs near its head. It rolls onto its back and its belly splits open in a clean line down the middle, coiled intestines and organs unimagined bulge out of the wound, it smells like fresh fruit in a rose garden.
Eat from its belly and age 2d10 years and gain a level.

 

Read the rest…


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Do Not Take Me For Some Turner of Cheap Tricks


A mysterious chaotic unstable force permeates the very air we breath, most are oblivious to its existence, but there are those learned and reckless enough to tap into its vastness, and at any cost untold power and vision will be theirs.

Every day the Magic-User will sit down with their spellbook to memorise a certain number of….

 

Fuck that. A Magic-User’s spell limit is how many spells they can SAFELY cast. Not how good their memory is (or how many spells the mind can contain if you prefer, if that was my problem I’d bring some goddamn notes with me), but how many times they can channel otherworldly energy through themselves before they become exhausted and things start to go awry.

 

In my setting, there is no memorising of spells, if a Maleficar (also known as Hagborn, Wormeater, Plague’d One, Harbinger, or just plain Witch) has their spellbook with them they may cast any spell they know. Unless they already found the spell in preparation, casting from a spellbook takes one round longer than usual while they turn through the pages to that cherished spot, so Maleficar often carry items bearing the formula for spells they may need quickly, their minds are too full and scattered to perfectly memorise spells.

 

For example:

 

Corfus Gnash the Bloodied, (Maleficar, obviously) wears a breastplate bearing an iron bookrest and candle holder, which secures his spellbook to his chest with leather straps attached to his shoulders. The notched axe he carries has his formula for Stinking Cloud carved into the haft, something he often finds useful in a tight spot. If you ever got close enough to see his inner arms you would also find the scarred formulas for Army of One and Gaseous Form, researched and carved into his flesh during his short imprisonment.

 

Osman Vermald (another Maleficar, imagine that) does not carry a spellbook, instead each spell has been lovingly inscribed into a rat skull and hung from his neck and arms. He raised each rat from birth and can find them at a moment’s notice.

 

The Further Adventures of Tearing Power from Beyond

 

I like my Magic-Users nasty and strange, and no matter how dirty they are as soon as they sit down to memorise spells for the day they look like the prissiest wussies at the garden party.

In that spirit, I’ve mentioned risky spellcasting several times in the play reports I’ve posted, which is an idea I first gleaned from False Machine.

 

When they can’t cast any more spells safely, Maleficar may attempt to cast further spells with a 3d6 Cast the Bones roll. A penalty is applied for every spell level above 1st, but bonuses may be applied by using appropriate spell components, requiring a further round per bonus to prepare. There can be consequences to this. For a minor consequence roll on the Chaos Reigns table. When you’ve done fucked up roll on That Which Should Not Be.

 

3d6Cast the Bones
14-18Success
11-13Success/Chaos Reigns
8-10Chaos Reigns
5-7Success/That Which Should Not Be
1-4That Which Should Not Be

 

Further to that, taking damage doesn’t stop you from casting, but it does mean you need to make a Cast the Bones roll with a penalty equal to the damage you took if you want to maintain your concentration.

Maleficar can also attempt to cast any spell they know without reading from their spellbook or an item, but since that’s an awful lot to remember it requires a Cast the Bones roll, with a penalty for every spell level above 1st.

Encumbrance doesn’t stop players from casting, that’s dumb, as long as they can move they cast spells. Besides, the more they’re carrying the more will turn into goo when they have a spell mishap.

 

I like the Dungeon Crawl Classics idea of spells having variable effects, however, I also think that having a table for every single spell is an enormous pain in everyone’s butt.

In my setting spells normally have the same effect every time, after all a lot of time and willpower is spent learning to harness that spell in a specific way. But if the Maleficar wishes, they can relax their hold on the spell, attempting to create a greater affect with a 3d6 Conduit of the Cosmos roll. The player announces what they want to happen, and the Referee applies penalties accordingly. An effect without penalties would be something like double duration/damage.

e.g. If a 1st level Maleficar wants their Magic Missile to throw out two missiles, that would be a normal roll. However if they want the missile to enter their enemy’s head and crackle and grow until it explodes, spraying his friends with skull shrapnel and brain lightning, that’s probably going to be a roll at -4.

Creativity should be encouraged, so if the Maleficar spontaneously conceives of a way to use the fundamentals of a spell they know for a different purpose, they can attempt it with a Conduit of the Cosmos roll, taking penalties as the Referee sees fit, and bonuses up to +4 if it is significantly less powerful than the true spell.

 

3d6Conduit of the Cosmos
14-18Success
11-13Success/Chaos Reigns
8-10Spell Collapse
5-7Spell Collapse/Chaos Reigns
1-4That Which Should Not Be

 

On a result of Spell Collapse roll or just decide what makes most sense for the spell/situation.

 

1d6Spell Collapse
1Normal spell effect inflicted on caster
2Half spell effect inflicted on caster
3-4Spell works in unexpected way use your imaginaaaation)
5Half spell effect inflicted on random target
6Half spell effect inflicted on target

 

Chaos Reigns
1d20
1Roll on Abyssal Side-Effects. Not only does this effect happen now, but every time you cast this spell from now on.
2That's new... Roll on Transmutation table.
3A rotting golden idol melts out of thin air and hovers in the centre of the area. Everyone present rolls 3d6, including animals and inhuman monsters. Whoever rolled highest increases a random ability score by 1. Whoever rolled lowest loses 1 from the same ability score. Anyone that rolls:
18 may make a wish. Roll again. If you roll less than 13 it goes horribly wrong.
14 has golden maggots to the value of 500sp wriggle out of their tear ducts.
10 gains a random insanity.
6 permanently sheds their hair, nails and teeth.
3 collapses in agony as enormous blisters swell from their flesh and burst, releasing mud-fleshed olive green creatures somewhere between a lobster and a squid, as they writhe on the ground their flesh turns the same mud olive and the creatures consume them before the whole scene collapses in a reeking puddle.
4A screaming hairless hound manifests, it disembowels itself with fleshy pink hands, then offers you its entrails. Screaming all the while from its toothless maw.
5You start violently weeping and you don't know why. Anyone looking at you while you weep can see a dripping halo of blood over your head.
6Save vs. Magical Device every time you want to read something from your spellbook. If you fail all you can read is a shorthand account of all your personal shortcomings in the hand of whoever you have held most dear in life.
7The caster's mind switches place with that of a random enemy, or if no enemies are present, that of a man-sized putrid pink anthropomorphic toadbeast that claws its way out of the ground. The caster retains their spellcasting abilities.
8The scent of rotting cabbage wafts through the air within 30' of the caster. Save vs. Poison. Those who fail shake and sweat as if with a fever and become sexually uncontrollable for the next d4 turns (each rolls separately).
9A pale green mist billows from the caster's mouth and they lose consciousness for d8 turns. During this time the player may control the mist. They cannot communicate, move at a Lightly Encumbered rate, can expand to fill a 30' radius, and are affected by things as a normal mist would be. Anyone who breathes in the mist must save vs. Poison or die as their lungs liquefy.
10Everyone within 30' begins to feel an itching in their flesh, and if they look closely they will notice pores stretching and closing as if something was moving through them. Something is now moving beneath the skin and it burns. If anyone digs into their flesh they will discover shimmering turquoise things like jellyfish the size of fingernails, but with tentacles that harden like glass needles. After d6 rounds the itching stops and the jellyfish disappear.
11You fall to your knees and regurgitate (roll d8):
1. Green algae filled with struggling black crabs.
2. Bubbling water, you hear whispers and childlike laughter as the bubbles expand and burst.
3. A golden eel with the face of a man.
4. A bloated, pregnant rat whose belly splits open when it hits the floor, spilling its young.
5. A pool of gritty tar. A multi-sided puzzle box is slowly revealed in the centre of the puddle, it doesn't appear to emerge from the floor, more like it remains still and the tar sinks down from its sides. You can't be sure of how many sides, you always seem to lose count. You have no idea how it fit through your mouth let alone your throat.
6. Blood. And eyes and teeth and hair. Like a burst tumor.
7. Writing. Not on paper, not in patterns, just writing. It doesn't make sense and nobody else can see anything but vomit but you regurgitate writing. It tells you how you die. But you can't read it, the words won't make sense, and they keep moving, and you try to hold them down but they slip through your fingers, but you know that the writing tells you everything. If only you could read it.
8. Eight gold coins. If these coins are used to buy something, that night the person who used the coin will dream of the one they gave it to.
The air is nothing but bushfire-black fog, and molten gold runs from their face. It might fill their mouth, their eye sockets, pour from their ears.. They desire to murder you with a psychotic rage, you wronged them, why did you wrong them? If you kill them in your dream you will wake up covered in blood and brain matter, standing on their bed in what used to be their head. And vice versa.
12A plant grows in the caster's stomach. One night per week d3 dry black tendrils emerge from the caster's orifices and bear glossy plump deep purple fruit. In the centre of the fruit is a small black multi-limbed figure in a foetal position, of the same consistency as the fruit.
If the caster has been acting immorally the fruit is sweet and grants increased Strength, Dexterity and Intelligence, with a 25% chance of addiction.
If the caster has been acting morally the fruit tastes of ash and salt and induces extreme paranoia and jealousy.
13Everything the caster is wearing* has a 50% chance of (roll d6):
1. Decomposing into a swarm of cooing lime green spiders which caress you with their tiny limbs.
2. Turning into rose-coloured glass that reflects things all wrong.
3. Becoming pliable and moist. It will fuse to your skin the next time you touch it.
4. Puffing into a foul smelling dust which swirls in place for a few minutes, then reforms, then puffs into dust, and so on.
5. Splashing to the ground like thick paint.
6. Turning into hair from some kind of beast you've never seen before, some parts still have bits of scalp attached and tiny lice swarm throughout.
*Packs count as one item but anything important inside gets its own roll.
14A dog runs into the area, if you were attacking someone it immediately latches onto them. He's just the cutest most loyal little dog ever yes he is. Anyone else that looks at it sees its fur shivering and shaking while its head splits open and the monkey skull within screams at them.
15The caster vomits forth an enormous pink toad which croaks loudly and collapses into a puddle of slime. For the next 3 hours everyone who was within earshot must save vs. Poison when they wish to speak, otherwise they vomit up a small pink toad which stares and follows them. The bumps on its back constantly sweat beads of black fluid.
If you actively lick one there is a 3 in 6 chance it cures you, otherwise you hallucinate for a number of turns equal to your roll, with a 10% chance of gaining a random insanity.
16Black Blood. The caster's Strength increases to 18 and they fly into a murderous frenzy. Any wound they sustain immediately sprays acidic boiling black blood. Every round there is a 50% chance the caster sprays blood from their eyes as a 10' ranged attack in addition to their other actions. This lasts for d8 rounds, after which the caster blacks out for that many hours.
17Everyone within view of the caster must save vs. Magic. Those who fail begin to give birth through their mouths, umbilical cord and placenta and all. The foetus is them. If they kill it there are no consequences, if they allow it to live it will leech a year of their life every day, growing visibly older.
If they eat the child, increase a random ability score by 1. Do this again for every day the child has lived.
18Your lips seal shut like they never existed and your tongue seems to double in size, it's moving around your mouth and feels like it's getting bigger, it's trying to choke you. If you bite your tongue in half you'll find that your mouth is full of black, legged maggots, and your lips were never sealed shut.
50% chance you really did bite your tongue in half.
19Beacon of Sin. Others find it hard to repress taboo desires around you. A trail of incest and lynchings is left in your wake for the next d6 weeks, with 6 being permanent.
20Everything in a 5' radius around the caster is liquefied into a foul-smelling orange pus. Including the floor, their hair, and everything they are wearing. Researching spells the caster had already learned only takes half as long as usual. There's a 50% chance that living beings completely caught in the sphere will retain their sentience despite liquefying into pus.

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I’d Hit That


 

Hey Logan, how do you do Hit Points?

 

Hit Points up to class starting Hit Die + Constitution modifiers measure the character’s ability to withstand injury before passing out; let’s call them Flesh. Hit Points gained beyond that measure the character’s ability to avoid injury; let’s call them Grit.

 

For example (using LotFP classes):

 

Brutus the Shamed, Deserter of the Travelling Arena (…a Fighter) rolls max Hit Points (8) and a Constitution of 17 (+2) at 1st level. At 10 Flesh he’s a strapping young specimen.

At 2nd level he rolls for Hit Points and gains 1. He already has his full class Hit Die so this goes towards Grit, and his Constitution mod pushes his Flesh up to 12. Seems like he’s been too focussed on re-living that last match with the Travelling Arena and crushing skulls to learn much about avoiding fireballs, but the scorching doesn’t hurt as much as it used to.

 

Maggie Calhoun, Undisputed Mistress of Misappropriation (Specialist) rolls 4hp (2 below max) and a Constitution of 16 (+2) at 1st level. Maggie’s a sprightly lass but her starting 6 Flesh shows that pickings have been a bit slim in the slums of Brackenholm, hence skipping town with the buff yet daft Brutus after that fateful night in the arena tent.

At 2nd level she rolls for Hit Points and gains 6. This fills out her class Hit Die and leaves 4 points for Grit, while her Constitution mod gives her another 2 Flesh. Maggie now has 10 Flesh plus 4 Grit. Seems like she’s been pilfering rations from Brutus while he’s brooding, and watching from the shadows enough to learn quite a little bit about not getting stabbed.

 

Arnestus Rutherford, Bookwyrm (Magic-User) rolls 3hp (3 below max) and a Constitution of 10 (no mod) at 1st level. At only 3 Flesh Arnestus is looking rather sickly since Brutus and Maggie convinced him to leave the Hall Between the Walls.

At 2nd level he rolls for Hit Points and gains 3. Arnestus now has his maximum 6 Flesh, but has spent too much time coming back to grips with food to learn much about the outside world.

 

 

Damage affects Grit first, which to the character will mean near misses, stunning blows, generally getting worn out by all this ducking and weaving, superficial wounds that can simply be strapped, so on and so forth. When Grit is gone the character is too worn down to ward off real physical harm, and starts taking Flesh wounds.

A character loses consciousness if reduced to 0 Flesh, and dies if reduced to negative half the class advancement Hit Die. An enemy attacking an unconscious character automatically disembowels them and feasts on the goods within.

When a critical hit is rolled against a character with Grit, the attacker has anticipated the character’s foolish jumping and stabbed them square in the chest, bypassing Grit and damaging Flesh (or in either case doing something rad that makes sense in the situation with any damage affecting the appropriate thing; read more on Playing D&D With Pornstars’ thoughts on Simple Combat and Called Shots).

 

[Edit: I’m now using my own take on this instead of Called Shots. The problem with Called Shots is that characters that are actually good at fighting are no better at them than those who aren’t, and because there’s such a high potential for success I’ve found them being used more often than normal attacks. With this mechanic, if you want to do something special instead of a normal attack you make two attack rolls. If they’re both successful, it happens, if they’re not, you miss. If both rolls are misses you fumble, and the fumble range of both rolls can be increased depending on how ambitious/insane the special thing is.]

 

Attacking from behind or by surprise bypasses Grit and damages Flesh, and any single attack that deals either maximum damage or half of the character’s total Flesh worth of damage directly to Flesh causes a serious wound. This can mean losing a limb, an eye, being wounded so deeply that it will never heal properly and therefore reducing stats, blah blah blah figure it out. Suffering a serious wound will also mean the loss of any remaining Grit; finesse is hard to maintain when the gushing blood from your shoulder stump has slicked the floor around you.

 

For example:

 

Brutus the Shamed, Deserter of the Travelling Arena has had too much to drink at the Withering Apple (good cider) and insulted the local swordmaster’s trousers. And if there’s one thing Swordmaster Reginald cares about more than swordplay, it’s fashion. Reginald lunges at Brutus’ head with his rapier, scores a hit, and deals 2 damage. Brutus stood statue still but leant his head to the side, avoiding being stabbed in the face by losing his 1 point of Grit and taking 1 Flesh damage after most of his left ear comes away with the rapier.

 

In the ruckus Maggie has crept around the edge of the crowd, hoping to lift whatever that shiny thing in this old bald man’s pocket is. Unfortunately for Maggie this old bald man is a Digestive Servitor and much more aware than she gave him credit for. As Maggie draws near he turns to face her, milky-eyed and utterly hairless as his jaw drops and a torrent of yellow filth spews from his gullet. Maggie makes to roll out of the way across a table but he’s scored a critical hit and dealt 8 points of damage. Maggie leaves a sickly orange mess across the table as she rolls and by the time she hits the floor on the other side her gams are nothing but blackened bone. The critical hit bypassed Maggie’s Grit, and the serious wound causes her to lose all of said Grit as she drags herself across the floor on splintering fingernails, struggling to remain conscious on her remaining 2 points of Flesh.

 

Arnestus is still in the corner trying to tackle his Sheep’s Heel Pie.

 

 

 

BE HEALED!

 

Outside of combat, characters can roll to regain their class advancement Hit Die worth of Grit for every 10 minutes spent resting or sleeping (so Arnestus can regain 1d4 every 10 minutes). During this time they’re patching up superficial wounds, bragging to regain their confidence or just generally calming the fuck down. This does NOT have to be done in a safe place, but dropping down for a nap right after you’ve gutted the Plague Prophet in front of his congregation may not be the best idea.

Note that if the character has less than half their Flesh they can’t regain Grit until that’s dealt with via sorcery or surgeon; they’re a little too preoccupied with their spilt intestines to be practising feints.

 

 

MAGICAL HEALING IN A BOTTLE?!

 

Yeah I don’t buy in to a vial of liquid that has been infused with the same power as the Devotee of the Corpulent One who keeps trying to convert us.

In place of Healing Potions I like a nice flask of Cuckold’s Courage.

 

Cuckold’s Courage:

The (allegedly) original brew comes in a bottle printed with a woman’s face blowing a cheeky kiss and wearing stag horns, which by popular lore was first brewed for an apothecary’s brother unable to deal with his infamously unfaithful wife, but its like can be found almost anywhere. Other names it has been found under include Deadbeat’s Draught, Slattern’s Ruin, and the always subtle Hang The Harlot.

It is a mixture of booze, narcotics, and some other things you probably don’t want to know about prepared by your local alchemist or apothecary. Being lucrative as all hell, the preparation of Cuckold’s Courage is fiercely guarded by those who’ve had the knowledge passed on to them, so good luck figuring out how to brew your own.

Cuckold’s Courage costs 50 silver groats (or whatever your standard currency is) per d6 it is brewed to restore, plus a 50sp tip of the hat to the brewer. Cuckold’s Courage can ONLY be used to restore Grit, not Flesh. It can, however, be used to increase Grit above normal limits for d6 hours, and will immediately end stunning effects.

If the character drinks more than 2 bottles within 24 hours they run the risk of adverse affects and addiction.

 

 

WHY WOULD YOU DO THIIIS?!?!

 

Well I guess it depends on what you feel makes more sense.

Option Number One being that the longer a character adventures around the more injury they are able to sustain, until they can walk around with arrows sticking out of their spines and flaps of flesh hanging off like it ain’t a thing.

Or, Option Number Two being that while they do become somewhat hardier, the longer a character adventures around the more they learn about avoiding injury, whether it be sidestepping a sword thrust they would have been too clumsy to avoid when they first started out, or where best to hide when a wizard starts mumbling and his eyes get all glowy.

 

Me I’m all about Option Number Two.

It makes sense in terms of progression; at 1st level the characters are fairly inexperienced regarding the things they’ll be facing, but the more they learn the better they get at not losing body parts. So the longer they’re around the more competent they become but remain human rather than turning into demigod battlewagons.

It also does away with a lot of resource-management healing. When pretty much every fight is going to mean flesh wounds there’s going to be a lot of magical healing being thrown around before we make it out of this hellhole. But when sliding the last cultist off your sword with 1 point of Grit left means that you fought with everything you had to avoid being cut by their filth-encrusted blades, you can have a bit of a rest on a bed made of their corpses or neck a bottle of Cuckold’s Courage and you’re good to go.

It also means that combat is ALWAYS a dangerous option. Brutus can reach 7th level and have let’s say 40 Grit on top of his (thanks to Constitution mods) 22 Flesh, but a critical hit in the second round of combat can mean his opponent managed to anticipate his next move and cut his legs out from under him. Or that a peasant got reeeeeally lucky with his pitchfork.

 

 

[Addendum: some dying and infection mechanics have been added to this in The House of Rules]


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Bacchanalia


Last Christmas we infused booze instead of buying gifts.

 

Prancing Elf Raspberry Rapejuice

 

1   700ml bottle of Wisent Bison Vodka

8   teaspoons of Oolong Berry tea

 

Wisent Vodka is already infused with bison grass, so you can really taste the forest. Pour it all into a decanter and dump 8 teaspoons of Oolong Berry into it, or regular Oolong and some dried raspberries if you can’t get that? Gingerly place the bison grass in with it and let it steep for about 8 hours,  make sure you swirl it every now and then or it’ll go bad.

While you’re waiting draw some elves, they’re filthy terrible things, this whole infusion came from Rose’s impression of a dirt-covered demented elf saying “rrrRRAAASSsSsBERRIES!”. The voice doesn’t really translate in text.

When the time is up and you’re sick of drawing magical rapers strain it all back into the bottle.

Drink with plain old lemonade or apple juice, or a mixture of both if you’re feeling fancy.

 

 

Rumbling Roar of the Chaimera

 

1   700ml bottle of Mount Gay Eclipse Silver Rum

3   teaspoons of Chai tea

3   teaspoons of Spi Chai

 

If you know more about rum than we do and don’t want to use Mount Gay just get some other white rum, come on, be reasonable. You should know how to start this by now, pour it into a decanter and add 3 teaspoons each of Chai and Spi Chai. Spi Chai is pretty much Chai with the black tea replaced with liquorice root, ginger, and rose petals, so if you can’t get it just use more regular Chai and add liquorice root and ginger (note to self: use fresh ginger next time). Swirl regularly to look at the pretty colours and just start smelling it after the 6 hour mark, strain it when it smells properly liquorice-sweet.

Pour it over ice and add coke and a squeeze of lime. God damn, you don’t even know.


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Down the Rabbit Hole


For our third game Rose suggested playing a one-shot that would encourage them to role-play more, rather than projecting the same personality for every character.

Okay then, you’re going to be a gang in Vornheim, because I want to use my book.

 

I set out to use nothing other than Vornheim to run the game, aside from a couple of random encounter/reaction tables that I made specifically for the situation they were in, and any random gang members they might ask about would take their names from the cat name generator Rose and I are making.

I put together a neighbourhood map using the advice in Vornheim, and I think that is fucking genius. It’s simple, easy to use, and I even think it looks a bit pretty.

Oh and we all got to use the pencils Rose had made for me.

 

I wrote up a bunch of pre-generated characters complete with mini backgrounds and personality quirks, and randomly rolled for who would play who at the table.

If I hadn’t been delirious with allergies I might have also had the presence of mind to buy us a carton of this on the day:

 

In the end I can’t say as the whole “just play this guy” thing worked out the whole time; Rose’s charming rustic lapsed into a backwoods degenerate more than once, Ellen’s initiate gave up her hat, and Michael’s impeccably clean knife-thrower decided to rifle through bloodied corpses in a dive bar (I swear, that kid can’t help but steal from the dead), but it was a great game regardless.

As for Vornheim? Eminently usable. I’d never run a city game before, and while I want to work on making things feel more fleshed out, that book made it so easy to run. If you’ve missed out on a physical copy at least get the PDF.

 

The play report isn’t nearly as long this time around, don’t be scared.

 

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Magic Item: Betrothed of the Mother


Here’s the ring that Michael found in Flesh+Plague+Doom that ultimately led to his death.

Have fun!

 

Whispers on the wind call to you, moaning your name, begging you to come see, calling calling, only you can hear it.

Save vs. Magic to ignore the lure of their call.

Following the voices leads you crashing through the trees until you come to a clearing, you see yourself lying on a patch of black earth, your throat distends beyond your chin, your flesh bulges and pulsates and body parts grow where they should not be, you choke and gurgle and claw at the air, a liquid like fat mixed with blood and melted flesh drools out of your mouth and ears, you look up at yourself with blood-veined eyes and shriek into the wind.

This other you can be touched, but if you close your eyes or turn away they will have disappeared when you look back. Instead you will find yourself on your knees, your hands black from digging in the earth. Within the hole is a skeletal left hand wearing an iron ring on its marital finger, the ring bears an almost growth-like mound of metal.

Save vs. Magic to resist immediately putting it on.

(Unearthing the rest of the skeleton will show it to be horrifically deformed)

 

The moment the ring slips onto your finger you catch a glimpse of the inner workings of flesh. You know in a way that always was that you have powers over the flesh of others that can be imposed as often as you desire.

 

Abandonment of Flesh

Duration: Instantaneous

Range: 60′

d4hp of the victim’s flesh clumps and falls away from their body, pulsing across the floor until it is gone. It doesn’t leave a wound, it’s simply gone.

 

Your Vessel Runneth Over

Duration: Instantaneous

Range: 30′

The victim must save vs. Poison or their organs expand and grow until they tear their way out of the body in d6 rounds. If the save is successful the caster must save vs. Poison or suffer the effects themselves.

 

These spells can be cast as often as desired regardless of class.

However, after every casting there is a 2 in 6 chance the ring will melt slightly into the wearer’s flesh, inflicting a random deformity/mutation.

At this point the ring cannot be removed unless the finger goes with it, and after suffering 4 more deformities the wearer will have devolved into a mindless slavering consort of the Flesh Mother.


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Flesh+Plague+Doom


For our second game I wanted to run something where the kids could learn a bit more about exploration, mapping, and time management. Maybe also some terrible consequences? Death Frost Doom it is.

I wrapped it up in my own flesh plague rainstorm thing, printed highlighted and only slightly tweaked the adventure, then threw them at it.

Three sessions and several platters of brie and smoked salmon croissants later it was done. Luckily for them I ran it as a one-shot because otherwise things would be pretty bleak right now.

 

Things That I Learnt and Brief Notes From the Giant Play Report That Follows:

  • As much as I love Death Frost Doom we all work better when things aren’t as oppressing. Our first game was full of horrific things, but somehow they were also immediately hilarious, whereas in Death Frost Doom most every awful thing left everyone pounded by despair. Actual despair right there at the table. Seeing as that’s what Death Frost Doom is built to do that’s a huge credit to it, but we just work better when things are a bit more B-grade.
  • Apparently I’m accidentally effortlessly good at making people sad. I think every time I portrayed someone dying I broke someone’s heart.
  • I don’t like players mapping in exactly measured squares on graph paper. It takes too long and they start to pay too much attention to that thing, from now on it’s blank-sheet notebooks and roughly drawn joining areas or nothing. Besides, if I was delving underground I wouldn’t be measuring the walls before drawing them, I’d be scribbling a quick reference so I didn’t get fucking lost and only noting the important things.
  • After one of the sessions, when we still hadn’t gotten into the underground shrine, Rose told me she’d like it if something happened where they didn’t have any control over the situation, like in the stable in the first game. I nodded and told her that was definitely something to consider, thinking the whole time about all the shrine zombies waiting for them.
  • Over the course of the game Michael suffered a steady mental decline, finally dropping his Intelligence to 3 in the underground shrine. He also murdered Zeke in cold blood, but his Intelligence was already low enough at that point for it to be believable that he felt threatened by him.
  • Ellen just kept reading things.
  • This game also featured our first PC-on-PC murder, entirely justified in-character. Real-life sister-on-brother no less. Amazing.

 

Now here’s what happened. It’s even longer than the first play report, I doubt anyone will make it all the way through.
 

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Aftermath/After Math


This is the story of how I found Lamentations of the Flame Princess after playing D&D IV for a year or so, fell head over heels maniacally in love with it, and proceeded to start a game with people who’d never played before and had the best time ever.
 
The first RPG I ever played was D&D IV, so when I found this whole ‘old school’ community it was all brand new for me and more exciting than I can ever properly explain. My girlfriend Rose and my brother Michael had played the only game I’d ever run (a single session of Gamma World IV) and half a stand-in session of Call of Cthulhu and D&D IV respectively. Roy and Ellen had never played anything at all.
 
For our first game I took Down And Out In Gothmagog by Jeff Rients from Secret Santicore 2011, tweaked it a little and jammed A Stranger Storm from the LotFP Referee Book in the middle of it all.
 
Rose and I decided we needed to infuse a bottle of gin with tea for the occasion, despite having never infused anything ever before, so we went shopping and realised that we knew next to nothing about gin. We settled on a bottle of Plymouth due to the friar on the bottle looking really pleased with himself, got a box of Earl Grey from T2, and created a bottle of Earl of Grey’s Private Gin Reserve.
 
Recipe:
 
1   700ml bottle of Plymouth Gin

6   teaspoons of Earl Grey
 

Pour the gin into a decanter, grab yourself a little funnel and dump 6 teaspoons of Earl Grey into it. Stopper the decanter so you don’t knock it over like a fool and let it steep for 8 hours, swirling it around whenever you think of it. In the meantime make that bottle pretty as shit.

When the 8 hours is up grab your little funnel to pour the gin back into its home. T2 have nylon make-your-own-teabags which you can pour the gin through to catch all the little broken up leaves, but if you can’t get those maybe use a strainer?

Serve with tonic, a little lime, and simple syrup if you want to end up with a headache.

 

We made a giant pile of delicious sandwiches and set up on our balcony to roll up some characters.

What followed was the single best game I have ever played.
 
It’s all reproduced below, it’s a novella, written mostly for ourselves, so if your attention span fails you feel free to skip to the highlights and finale of the last fight.
 

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