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A Collation of Things Revealed in December, 2014

Religion is a Nest of Serpents


Back in this post I mentioned testing out new Mystic rules, and the new religion we made up based around a Florian Bertmer illustration entitled “Order of the Seven Serpents”.

Well I’m pretty sure I’ve smoothed them out to a point where they’re both easy and flexible enough for public consumption, so here you go.

 

The actual cards are below (I print them on A4 card, punch out the holes and bind them to make a little book), but this is the general idea:

  • Mystics no longer have set spell lists.
  • Instead, they can attempt to make anything happen that they think their god would be in to (though there are general guidelines called Liturgies that make some things harder to make happen than others).
  • After announcing what they want, they make a 4d6 roll on the Invocation table, which can be altered by using Favour points that they’ve earned by doing appropriately religious things.
  • I got over LotFP’s dreary nihilistic “there are no gods just delusion”, it’s much more fun if the things Mystics are worshipping are actually real.
    There are still going to be mishaps, but instead of being the Mystic’s delusion wavering or their god suddenly getting pissed off for no good reason, it’ll be because their god doesn’t really understand what is appropriate. So if Roy’s snake worshipper Tipanius fudges a roll in the middle of combat and gets Inopportune Favour and falls to his knees vomiting an unending torrent of slick adult snakes, the Seven Serpents will be like, “Oh haha what, you didn’t want to give birth to a thousand snakes from your mouth right now? Haha whoops sorry love you xoxo.”
  • There will be specific spells that Mystics can find, where they just have to use a number of Favour points rather than rolling, but those will be things to go out and find from different cults and libraries and stuff.

 

Click to make readable.

 

And Malpractice is still a thing so here’s the table for the Seven Serpents:

 

 

d20Malpractice - Order of the Seven Serpents
1A black serpent slithers its shimmering body from the target, inflicting a further d4 damage as it emerges.
2The ritual succeeds, but the target's skin becomes progressively tighter, causing an increasing -1 penalty to physical rolls every Turn, after 3 Turns their movement halves, after 6 Turns they will need to shed their skin.
3Snake eggs form in the wound or wherever else seems suitably awkward, and the target can't be mystically healed or cured until they hatch in 2d8 hours or are accidentally destroyed.
If they hatch, the target is immediately healed of all ailments and can make a one-time appeal to the Seven Serpents.
If they are intentionally destroyed, a venom-dripping sludge snake forms from the yolk and attacks whoever is responsible.
4The ritual succeeds, but an incredibly long snake tongue permanently glides in and out of the site of the wound (or other part of the body if there was no wound). It is perfectly linked to the target's sensory system, tasting the air for them, making it harder to be surprised, and easier to find things by scent.
5For the next day the target cannot bear to keep their eyes open in bright light, but with their eyes closed can feel vibrations and sense nearby heat.
6The ritual succeeds, but the target's skin grows dry and cracked, flaking away to reveal beautiful iridescent scales. They find themselves able to squeeze and compress themselves through anything big enough to fit their head.
7Part of the target's skin peels back as if it were trying to renew what lies beneath, but all that lies beneath is bleeding muscle. Take d6 damage.
8The ritual succeeds, but a churning grows in the target's stomach, inflating it, until a month later they spontaneously give birth to a stream of juvenile snakes from whichever orifice seems most convenient. This will happen every month.
9The ritual succeeds, but tissue-eating venom bubbles up from the target's body and consumes d6hp of the Mystic's flesh before diluting.
10The ritual succeeds, but part of the target's body withers and falls away to enhance their sleek silhouette, roll a d6:
1: An entire arm.
2: An entire hand.
3-4: d6 fingers, target's pick.
5: An entire foot.
6: An entire leg.
11The target's saliva becomes envenomed for d4 Turns, and they'll need to let it drool out to avoid poisoning themselves by swallowing.
12The ritual succeeds, but the target finds that a rather phallic stubby snake grows from their body. They accidentally discover that rubbing the snake and causing it to cough up coagulated venom causes it to diminish somewhat, though it seems the process would need to be repeated at least d20 times before the snake phallus clears up.
13Gnarled curling horns twist out of the back of the target's skull and a furry, huffing goat's face emerges from their neck, opening its mouth to vomit slick red baby snakes down the target's back. Target must save vs. Poison to stop it continuing to birth and permanently stealing half of their hit points.
If they stop it birthing it will remain as it is and bleat and vomit in surprise any time someone sneaks up on them.
14The target's torso elongates, their legs shrivel and twist about one another, fusing, scales push out like growing fingernails, leaving the target with the lashing lower body of a giant serpent.
15The target's blood turns cold, they'll need to find ways to keep warm in cold environments away from the sun to avoid losing all physical bonuses and moving at half speed.
16The target notices small glistening tongues flicker intermittently from slits in the tips of the fingers of one arm. Over the next few days their fingers fatten, muscle in the arm turns fatty and their bones seem to break down, their fingernails fall away and scored lines open over the top of their fingers and up to their shoulder.
Five serpents dwell within the arm and move it in sinuous curls, emerging up through the slits to let the arm casing slip off and hang limp to allow them to strike.
Charisma check to call them out, granting 5 bite attacks, roll on Poison table for each successful bite. They'll stay active as long as you make a Charisma check every Round, but will spend a Turn getting back into your arm after the first failure.
12AC/DB, on a successful melee hit an extra snake is affected for every 2 points above target. If any of them are killed you don't need to make Charisma checks while attacking the thing responsible.
17Anything within 30' that has eyes must save vs. Magic, otherwise small golden snakes push out from their eyes and break them like eggs, falling to the ground in a pool of yolk and occular fluid.
More eggs will grow in the sockets in d12 hours, and can be turned back into eyes if the Mystic successfully heals them.
If the Mystic fails, birth more snakes. Repeat.
18The ritual succeeds, but musty hair grows in patches over their body, and two bony nubs can be felt on their skull.
The target must save vs. Poison every day to prevent the condition progressing, 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 they complete their transformation into an ordinary goat with a lit candle on its forehead that never burns out.
Any healing from a Servant of the Seven Serpents during this time will actually progress the condition.
19The Mystic can feel something digging at their mind and must save vs. Poison. If they fail their body is torn apart from within by emerging singing bluebirds that swirl into the sky and fall upon all those around them.
20The ritual succeeds, but the next time they sleep the target must save vs. Poison. If they fail, their body slowly transmutes and slithers away throughout the night until there is nothing left of them but a dry outer skin.

 

The thing I like most about these rules is that I can have Mystics of different religions running around that actual feel and play like they have different religions, without having to do, like, any work. It pretty much just happens.

 

If you’d like to make your own you can download the InDesign file for the cards from Penny Pamphlets or click here, and spend 5 minutes altering the Liturgies and Inherent Abilities to whatever religion you like.

 

And if you can’t be bothered actually writing a Malpractice table beforehand you can just use this template and make up the specifics as you need them:

 

 

d20Malpractice Template
1Target takes damage.
2Ritual succeeds, but target is subject to an ongoing debilitation.
(roll on Duration table)
3Target is subject to an ongoing effect or alteration, no mystical healing or cures until it ends.
(roll on Duration table)
4Ritual succeeds, but target is subject to a permanent effect or alteration.
5Target is subject to an ongoing debilitation.
(roll on Duration table)
6Ritual succeeds, but target is subject to a permanent effect or alteration.
7Target takes damage.
8Ritual succeeds, but target is subject to a permanent effect or alteration.
9The ritual succeeds, but the Mystic takes damage.
10Ritual succeeds, but target is subject to a permanent effect or alteration.
11Target is subject to an ongoing effect or alteration.
(roll on Duration table)
12Ritual succeeds, but target is subject to a permanent effect or alteration until they perform a task to remove it.
13Major mishap involving detrimental alteration, loss of hp or stats, etc.
14Target is subject to a major permanent effect or alteration.
15Target is subject to a permanent effect or alteration.
16Target is subject to a permanent effect or alteration.
17Area affect that everyone within 30' must make a save to avoid.
18The ritual succeeds, but the target is subject to a progressing condition.
The target must save vs. Poison every day to prevent the condition progressing, 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 the condition results in their spectacular death.
Any healing from a Mystic of the same religion during this time will actually progress the condition.
19Mystic must save vs. Poison or die.
20The ritual succeeds, but the target must save vs. Poison the next night or die.

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PETTY GODS // DELVERS OF THE GOLDEN VEINS


So Petty Gods is being re-revived, and here’s one of my awful entries.

 

Text from a year or so ago, art from a few days ago.

 

//

 

Hidden away in the mountains, living in whitewashed caves, away from the prying eyes of those who would call themselves holy.

Their god is a walking mountain of flesh, all-consuming, ever enduring.

 

When the stars are deemed right, worshipping before an idol carved into stone wall, when their ululations reach fever pitch one of their number is blessed with transformation, alchemy of the soul and body. Their limbs atrophy and their back bends, their torso expands to the floor like a dropped sack, skin grows dark and pocked, their flesh is doughy and pliable, it is forbidden to touch during the transformation. Their head rots and retreats into the body, new pink-flecked quivering orifices open on their belly and across their sides, dissolving anything placed before them into atoms and breathing in the spore cloud.

 

Holy manifestation of their god, the Atmungsgebirgshund is carefully moved to a dais, carved from a crop of stalagmites, fed and adored. As it feeds, the Atmungsgebirgshund’s body becomes ever more stone-like, fracturing, forming peaks.

When the stars again proclaim the time right, crowning spires of light grow from the pinnacle of the Atmungsgebirgshund’s spine hill, and the Delvers fall upon it with pick and hands. They drink deeply of the golden blood that flows as they break away the shards of its flesh, and they are once more blessed to live long in worship amongst the mountains.

 

Their god does not exist. Their god is communal. Their god is them.

If they were destroyed, so would their god be.

 

Their number never exceeds 40, breeding is only permitted when another member has been lost, either by violent death or ascension.

Memories of persecution have rooted deep over the ages, and any intrusion into their caves will be seen as an attack. The Delvers are non-violent, their god is not. Some will delay the intruders, throwing their bodies upon the blades, others will fall against the Atmungsgebirgshund in supplication to be consumed.

 

Cracking shards of primordial blue light extend from the Atmungsgebirgshund’s belly, roots worthy of a mountain god, the orifices penetrating its side expand and howl like rushing wind, every Delver sacrificed on its body increases its HD.

 

You will see a mountain walk, you will see your flesh drawn across the room like pollen on the wind.

 

Name: Atmungsgebirgshund
Alignment: Lawful
Movement: 120′ (40′)
Armor Class: 0
Hit Points (Hit Dice): 8 (1 HD + 1 per self-sacrificed Delver)
Attacks: Special
Damage: Special
Save: M23
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: The Delver’s art may be worth something to the right person
XP: 2000 x HD at time of death

 

Once the first Delver has been sacrificed on its side, the Atmungsgebirgshund is able to digest the flesh of one creature within 4′ at the rate of 1hp per round. Every additional sacrifice increases the range by 4′ and allows another creature to by consumed simultaneously.

Every round there is a 10% chance of fragmented spikes of blue light bursting from the earth, impaling the unlucky creature above, consuming them from within in floating blue sparks that rise as the spikes retreat. Save or Die.

 

If anyone other than a Delver attempts to drink the golden blood of the Atmungsgebirgshund roll below.

 

d6Effect of the Blood of the Atmungsgebirgshund
1Your torso turns to stone, brittle internal walls crack and break, you're alive as your body splits in half and stone organs spill across the floor.
2An atomising black hole forms in your belly, consuming you from the inside, lasting another hour after you have disappeared, affecting anything that comes within 10'.
3Roots of molten stone seep from your feet and embed deep into the earth, your legs petrify up to the knees. Better find a hammer.
4For the next 4 days you gain no nutrition from anything you eat, you grow weak, but a solid gold nugget is forming in your belly, worth 2000gp if you can pass it.
5You can hear the Breathing Mountain, you weep at its glory, you remain in the caves to rebuild its family and live forever. Slay any who would stand in your way.
6The blood of the earth fills your veins, you will never age, decrease your Dexterity by 1 every year that you do not drink the golden blood of the Atmungsgebirgshund as you slowly turn to living stone.

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