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A Dated and Annotated Catalogue of Settings

The Yellow City


YELLOW QUEEN

Equal parts mystic folklore and flesh, ruler of the Yellow City, smooth-limbed and whisper-voiced, a creamy advanced jaundice complexion and a face hidden behind a brocaded veil to be disposed of on her next wedding night.

Summoned by sects and cults to offer her a new groom that they might hear her rattled whispers of fortune and future.

She does so love them, her collection of suitors, though none have endured the consummation of their union unspoiled.

YELLOW CITY

A hazy metropolis the pale yellow-green colour of powdered bile. The features of the inhabitants seem extended somehow, their skin spongy, and they taste of soap.

Being half dream-scape, obtaining directions in the Yellow City is a hopeless task. To make your way you’ll need to focus on whatever it is that you desire to find.

For every attempt to find a place/thing/service, the player who rolls highest on a d20 must make an INT check, but if the player who rolled lowest fails a WIS check, roll on the Hindrances in the Yellow City table before you get there.

If the INT check itself is failed, roll on the Lost in the Yellow City table.

Much like a dream, anything encountered on those tables will become your new focus until they’re resolved or someone rolls a 1 or 20 in the process, in which case you may choose to move on (or re-attempt a failed INT check).

However, anyone that has been wronged without some manner of closure will likely intrude on you later.

Alternatively, guides can be employed, though their services are not free.

THE CHIMING CHAPEL

The immense palace bristling with bell towers where the Yellow Queen wanders her chambers amongst smouldering piles of incense, forever veiled and awaiting her next suitor.

BLACK EMPRESS

Smiling under a chittering black mass of beetles (or so it seems in the dark), the jealous false-sister of the Yellow Queen who wishes for marital celebrations to end and the mourning night to wake.

She can tell the past but there is always a price.

Her sarcastically sulky, smarmy, oil-tongued people live and travel through the shadows of the Yellow City, waiting for the night, calling out their Yellow neighbours.

LIGHT

Within the Yellow City time doesn’t abide by normal schedules, turning a corner might as easily turn morning into moonless night.

Lamplighters are therefore one of the most important and most harried occupations in the city, tasked with ensuring that the smoking lamps of streets and houses never go out, because we can’t have the shadow people moving out of their dank corners can we?

The position of the lamps are however untouchable, immutable, and while you may think you’re doing a good thing by moving a lamp closer to eliminate the shadow people’s lurking space, the people of the Yellow City will shriek in terror and beat you with fish until the lamp is returned.

Torches, lanterns, and candles are considered obscene and you’ll be drenched in buckets of spoiled condiments and pâté on sight.

THE FLORISTS AND THE BAKERS GUILD

The seething rivalry between the Florists and the Bakers Guild is as old as the city, though more recently the Bakers Guild have come to accuse the Florists of scheming in league with the Black Empress. After all, funerals require flowers, not frothy cakes, and the Necroflorists in particular are ever so shadowy aren’t they?

Both sides remain ever eager to conscript others into their elaborate sabotages, offering rewards of secrets and their more covetable creations.

REMOVING OBJECTS FROM THE YELLOW CITY

When leaving the Yellow City, if you have stolen, requested more than your fair share of a reward, or purchased an outlandish item (so buying a sword is fine, but not so much if you focussed on finding the Returned Ironmonger, who forges blades in the image and essence of his near-death terror), you’ll need to make a WIS check for each instance. Unless you fail the check, you’re unable to ignore the unreality of the item and it decomposes/melts/fades/floats away as a cloud of thin-legged moths/otherwise disappears as dreams so often do.

If this happens to 5 or more items at once they’ll amalgamate into a mocking representation of your greed, separate from the Yellow Queen and free from her influence, with HD equal to the number of items. It will escape cackling wildly into the night if it can; only to keep coming back to upset your plans when most inconvenient/embarrassing, or simply to keep ruining a good night’s sleep.

d10Hindrances in the Yellow City
1d6 Chaplains
Furtive moist-eyed old men with sagging lilac skin and silken purple robes, their mouths held open in a surprised drooping sigh beneath the slanting golden spires of the circlets closed around their craniums. Terribly interested in your relationships and the customs of the outside world.
They show cringing supplication to Matrons and Ladies in Waiting, fawning moist-palmed pity to Suitors, exasperated fear to the Florists and Bakers Guild, and lord themselves over lowly Celebrants.
2Necroflorist
Bright purple eyes peering from their damp black form; skin, lank hair and clothes like a black hole. Offering you a violet daisy and wondering if you've come across any bodies from which it might cultivate a new bloom, or if by chance you'd care to donate your own.
3d4 Matrons
Warm-smiled women of immense girth and soft powdered makeup, with little superfluous arms that emerge from the folds of their dresses to fuss about.
They're ever so sure that there's something you should be getting ready for or doing, the wedding is so close.
4Suitor
Drifting melancholy turning to ravenous horror, the Yellow Queen's former husbands still wander the Yellow City.
Roll on Suitor Transformation table if you upset them.
5d6 Ladies in Waiting
Frothy dresses and misshapen pearls draped over impeccable manners, painted pliable masks concealing scathing wit and needle-filled sucking chasm mouths.
6Wandering Pack of 4d4 Celebrants
Desperately seeking knowledge of the next wedding to take place, will become maniacally despondent if you cannot convincingly assure them of some small details.
7Obscene Baker
Fancy-swaggering through the street carrying a monstrous swaying soufflé the height of a child, morbidly proud, spewing offers of having a taste like they were threats whilst trying to both get away from you and parade the fruit of their labour.
8Flower Crabs
Scuttling things with nervous curling unfurling manipulator arms and the fat little faces of terribly ugly little girls, shedding wilted flowers from their carapace wherever they go.
9Yellow Queen's Chamber Guard x d4
Slightly addle-minded cheerful fellows in dainty puffy slashed sleeves and little pantaloons over slim stocking-covered legs, wearing enclosed eyeless bucket helmets to preserve the Queen's privacy, finding their way by the sounds echoing through the helmet's mounded swirls, defending the Queen's honour by way of brittle-bladed halberds and the heavy ledgers hanging from their waists. Everything in varying shades of yellow and gold.
Charisma check to avoid a spell cast from a Chamber Guard's ledger.
10Somnambulant Dreaming Cultist
The people of the city turn stiff and alert and their eyes dart away while talking to you, watching the cultist drift along the street while their neighbours take dainty nibbling bites of the dream flesh like cleaning fish.
If you cause the cultist to gain consciousness they will be enraged at your carelessness before waking life pulls them back from the Yellow City.


d10Lost in the Yellow City
1You find yourself in the Raining Hall, a rich cream-walled room with a vaulted ceiling dripping globules of itself down towards the erratic cleaning staff darting about the room. Whenever a drip actually hits someone's skin, the entire ceiling falls in a slopping crash, with another already dripping in its place.
The current cleaning staff have been working for several days and the room is starting to fill.
2An enormous crawling toad with a mounded hill of a back, where a collection of Unmarried sit snugly inside fleshy holes crooning to each other of their nuptial desires.
Earnestly warns you to stay clear of the Owl (entry 10) and its perverse corruptions, offering sanctuary and transport on and in its back if you should so need it.
3You realise that you've wandered into the middle of a long hall filled with guttering lamps and a single, frantic lamplighter running back and forth refilling and relighting lamps as they splutter out at random. Slick trails of spilt oil surround the enormous golden cistern and the lamplighter's pantaloons are drenched with sweat. Groups of sulkily impatient shadow people gather in the darkness, muttering sweetly that it is high time for the night's activites to begin, and more and more lamps are being left unlit at the outer edges.
4You stop in a close-walled street packed with a rambling queue of people waiting for their turn to sit in a shallow corner of a hexagonal public bath. A wedge of people have already lined up behind you and murmurs of dissent rumble along the line.
5Your footsteps echo into the Dream Pool. Slick blacks walls and tiles surrounding a wide pool in a drip-echoing circular chamber, filled with a liquid like thin custard where beautiful men wade about softly.
If you submerge your head you can drink the dreams of another to learn a secret or desire.
Roll a d20 for each character that plans to drink and record the number.
Every time they attempt to drink a dream they must make a Constitution save. If they fail, the amount by which they missed builds up, they can feel the pool's fluid flowing through their tissues, and when it matches the result of the d20, the beautiful men will come to pull them into the pool and drink them.

Beautiful Men x half of d20 result
6You find yourself wandering about in a lost corner of the gift room of the Chiming Chapel. Intricately wrapped boxes piled high around tables holding caged creatures and servants, dangling makeshift chandeliers of linked golden gifts, mounds of cake and pastries in varying states of decay and deliciousness.
7A huge figure in relief; torso, elongated arms, head craning from its neck, bulges out of a wall spouting poetry with wafting gesticulations to a crowd while adoring admirers rub their hands over its prodigious jangling belly.
In the dim lamplit sitting rooms behind his wall the nobles of the Yellow City exhange streaming gossip in languid repose, information drifting about like smoke. Rumour has it, that in the half-light of the rooms they even traffic with their shadow counterparts.
Entrance can only be gained in pieces through his mouth. Your body will mend once passed through the other side (though equipment won't), but if you try to make him swallow you in anything more than thigh-sized chunks he will blush with a, "Oh no I couldn't possibly, far too large for my little mouth.."
8You wander into the Spinster's Wheel, the courtyard meeting point of six streets, where the Unmarried of the city converge nightly to feast on the Florists' unused arrangements, carted in by wary apprentices.
9You find yourself in a dining square full of round wooden slat tables holding morbidly obese human forms apparently made of pudding, surrounded by seated people digging wobbling yellow chunks from them with pitted iron spoons.
When the puddings notice you they all call out at once trying to coerce you into sitting at their table, indicating how delicious their spoon wounds look and the satisfied faces of their diners.
10An enormous owl with human arms emerging from the slick feathers at the sides of its breast, surrounded by a harem of the Unmarried, inquisitive as to opportunities to add to its collection, attempts to entice an exchange by offering objects from the depths of its feathers.
Will entertain the idea of a short-term addition as it is in competition with the Toad (entry 2) leading up to tonight's Bouquet Banquet (entry 8) where one will be decided as Lord of the Unmarried.


d6The Cost of a Guide in the Yellow City
1A poem.
2Accompany them to the home of their intended lover and successfully petition their desires on behalf of your guide.
If you fail, both your guide and their intended lover:
1. Fall upon you with ridicule and knives.
2. Thrash you with wilted bouquets of roses.
3. Transfer their obsessive affection to you.
4. Fall apart into slithering piles of luminescent slugs.
3A hand, it doesn't matter whose.
4Your most treasured possession.
5Carry their burden while they guide you.
They may not take it back and the baskets tend to contain things that get rather upset when dropped.
6Obtain a slice of delicious cake from a member of The Baker's Guild without being seen.


d6Suitor Transformation
(HD equal to the number by which your Charisma check failed when you upset him)
1His torso peels apart to expose dusty, pulsating mounds like fleshy compost piles covered in tiny shivering mouths, and 10+d20 bloodworm red phalluses snake from his groin, writhing across the floor in their immense length, seeping sticky, adhesive precum from the tips of their swollen heads.
When wilfully touched they retreat in flaccid repulsion back to the mounds, along with anything stuck to them.
2A thick long-bodied fish with shimmering pale blue silver scales and dead eyes, gnashing its translucent teeth and writhing its way towards you. Six clones of the suitor sit fused along the sides of the fish, feverishly masturbating and ejaculating in steady streams like a grotesque fountain, causing the ground to become ever more slippery and suitable for the eel-like body of the fish.
Fish starts with no AB/AC.
Increase fish's AB/AC and decrease player's AB/AC by 1 per Round, while all of the clones live this continues indefinitely.
If any of them are killed, while the fish's AB/AC is higher than the number of clones left, increase the player's AB/AC and decrease the fish's AB/AC by 1 per Round until it matches the number of clones left.
3Like a giant stocky soldier crab if its insides were made of icecream bulging through a shell made of rotting lingerie sewn together several sizes too small, melting as it gets more and more excitable.
4Conjoined twin giants, fused by ribcage and thigh, one demure and fair, one overbearing and grotesque. Red roses fall from the grotesque's split belly, a cloud of bees from his brother's, and yellow honey flows over their chins.
5His torso extends and tears up its center, broken ribs rolling around like the dying legs of a centipede, his arms and sighing head loll backwards as he stumbles around trying to support the weight of his still-expanding body, in the midst of which you can see his pale child-clones budding and growing from the pink and purple mass to reach out and slash at you with fine silver knives.
6A maiden-faced wasp tears itself from his back, dropping the body like shed paper skin, wet new wings lifting it into the air to curl its abdomen forward, presenting its throbbing cock stinger engorged and red.
The stinger lays something inside when it wounds you, something soft-faced that chews and burrows with stroking fingers beneath your stretching skin.

6 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



In Cörpathium


Whhh okay, deep breath, this is going to be a big one.

 

M. John Harrison’s Viriconium was one of the big inspirations that brought Cörpathium into existence, and one of the things that I loved most about those stories was that the city was never the same; places move, facts shift, but it remains Viriconium. So that’s something that I wanted for mine, a city that could be destroyed and brought back without just hitting a reset button, and is why my magic mishap and city encounter tables are so gleefully full of potentially world shattering stuff: I’ve never been worried about having to start again, it’s fun if everything gets torn down.

But at the same time, I’m not writing fiction here, I’m writing things that need to be used. Actually throwing everything out and starting from scratch would be an insane thing and a huge waste of my time.

 

So, my answer was to write up twenty potential boroughs, a method for randomly generating the entire city with a dice drop, and conditional variations based on what boroughs end up existing and which dice generated them.

 

First you take a 7 dice set and 5 other d20’s in your hands (or more if you like go nuts) and drop them in front of you, trying to keep them reasonably close together.

 

 

Each dice represents a different borough. Their position doesn’t necessarily show the physical layout of the city, just how the boroughs relate to one another.

You take the points of the shape on the top of each dice (well, just the points for the d4, and for the d10’s pretend they have a triangle on top), and if that leads to another dice, those boroughs are accessible to each other, which ends up looking like this:

 

 

Now the numbers on each dice relate to a different borough on the table below. Go through the 7 dice set first, beginning with the d20, then move to the highest number of the other d20’s. If you get a duplicate number, replace it with the next lowest number not already taken by a smaller dice, and if all the lower numbers are already taken, roll on the Additional Undefined Boroughs tables.

 

(Clicking any of the borough names will take you to its full description further down the page.)

 

 

ResultBoroughs
1Artist's Quarter
2The Rookery of Van Möldus
3Temple District
4The Twin Nests:
Plateau of Plague, Plateau of Time
5The Sporous Apiary
6Lilacs
7The Wheel of Gold
8Von Goethe Gardens
9The Crystal Ponds
10Flesh Market
11The Sulphurous Spires
(of the Serpent)
12The Library Eternal
13The Old Folk
14The Sprawling Tower
15Plague Zone
16The Black Web
17The Blood-Red Palace of the Godless
18The Demiurge Pit, Crater of Life
19The Device
20Manifestation of the Monolith in the Dark

 

There are also some constants regarding Cörpathium:

 

 

Constants
The Fogwalk
Replaces the dice nearest to the bottom. The Corpusmilch canal (and Möldenghast Blvd either side of it) then flows through to the furthest dice.
The Emerald Pit
Replaces the additional d20 nearest to the centre of the group. Roll on the Additional Undefined Boroughs tables for its surroundings.
The Howling Spire of Time
If the Twin Nests do not exist, place the Howling Spire of Time in whichever borough you see fit.
Chance of Deicidium per Borough
POOR boroughs have a 1 in 6 chance.
MIDDLING boroughs have a 4 in 6 chance.
RICH boroughs have a 5 in 6 chance.
Guilds for Everything
If there's one thing Cörpathians love, it's organisations.
The Candle-Makers Guild, Seamstress Union, The Baker's Cooperative, the Rag and Bone Guild, Order of Lost Letters. Numerous guilds for everything.
Chances are that no matter who you talk to, they're part of some kind of sect, no matter how small.

 

So then things look like this:

 

 

Cörpathium’s government and law enforcement depends on what boroughs actually ended up existing in this iteration of the city, so you start at the top of these tables and pick the first one that applies:

 

 

Conditionals: Government
(select the first that applies)
Conditionals: Order
(select the first that applies)
If there is no Temple District, but the Blood-Red Palace of the Godless exists, Cörpathium is ruled by the Godless and the Childlike Oracle, the Lamb, Eater of Eternity.If the Blood-Red Palace of the Godless exists every single borough will have a Deicidium, and the Godless are responsible for the order and protection of Cörpathium.
If there is no Temple District, or the Blood-Red Palace of the Godless, but The Old Folk exist, Cörpathium is ruled by that which crawled up from the Emerald Pit so long ago, and the Old Folk live.If Cörpathium is ruled by the vast thing that crawled up from the Emerald Pit, Cörpathium is guarded by the Order of a Thousand Eyes. Replace the Deicidiums with Watch Houses and re-roll for each borough that doesn't have one.
If there is no Temple District, or the Blood-Red Palace of the Godless, but there is a Manifestation of the Monolith in the Dark, it is no manifestation, Cörpathium is ruled by the Monolith and those that speak for it.If Cörpathium is ruled by the Monolith in the Dark, Cörpathium is watched over by the Silent Ones. Remove any Deicidiums, the Silent Ones have no home, they simply are.
If there is no Temple District, Blood-Red Palace of the Godless, or the Wheel of Gold, the Haugroten trading family own all of the Fogwalk and hold a constant seat within the Corvuscult, as well as appointing a trio of Haugroten Sons to watch over each borough.If there are no more than three Deicidiums and the Corvuscult are in power, the city guard is made up of the private mercenary armies of the Corvuscult families, the Whoredens. Remove any Deicidiums and place a Whore Den near each Corvuscult Family's home.
Otherwise Cörpathium is ruled by the Corvuscult.Otherwise Cörpathium is guarded by the Godless.

 

Which in this case means that Cörpathium is ruled by the Corvuscult and guarded by the Godless.

 

The Emerald Pit (in the centre there) still needs to be in an actual borough, which is where the Additional Undefined Boroughs tables come in:

 

 

d6Additional Undefined Boroughs
1Poor.
2Poor.
3Middling.
4Middling.
5Rich.
6Rich.

 

d12Name: Poord12General Environment: Poor
1The Warren1Infested with fungus and an unnaturally large amount of insects. At least there's something to eat.
2Swinehaven2Ramshackle buildings overgrown with plantlife.
3Crone Spawn Commons3Oily, sludgy slum, terrific brewhouses.
4Black Rose Hill4Enormous kludge idols to strange gods are erected in the streets, on rooftops, in the middle of public houses.
5Corpsewallow5Built around an open sewer, algae-covered stone hewn steps leading down. Easy access to Cörpathium's subterranean for the Kanalsknecht, easy access to Cörpathium for things that live below.
6Red Rookery6Inhabited below the streets in the sewers and tunnels and carven halls, the lavish buildings above abandoned to superstition.
(roll on Rich tables for the borough above)
7The Drowning Mass7A single monumental swaying tower continually built upwards from scavenged scrap, erected in the midst of another borough.
8The Scales8The pages of religious texts and pamphlets plaster the walls.
9Bladderrot Downs9Carrion birds wait patiently on cracked tile rooftops, the people throw birdseed about them as they walk to no avail.
10Syringa Vulgaris10Thick layers of soot coat every visible surface, communal fires are kept burning in the streets near alley entrances.
11Roach Bottom11The buildings are well-kept but the people are anaemic, a blue-and-white walled mansion of turrets and balconies looms in the centre of it all.
12The Pit12Leeches. The people walk around with giant fucking leeches gorging on their blood, letting them grow big and fat enough to cook like some kind of nightmare blood sausage. On the plus side all this leech treatment means they're all surprisingly healthy, if a bit light-headed.

 

d12Name: Middlingd12General Environment: Middling
1The Flower Bed1The door of every building is carved with a mass of tiny figures and the people walk mice on leashes of string.
2Bloodvessel2Fruit vines grow up the faces of buildings, bats are everywhere, heavy round seeds underfoot are the foremost cause of injury and guano is scraped from the streets.
3Liberius Waltz3An abnormal amount of lanterns both on the street and hanging from building walls, lamplighters work in packs here.
4Blackmark4Aqueducts bring water to an excessive number of overflowing fountains, the streets are constantly flooded.
5Crowsfoot5Brightly-coloured pennons hang from the balconies of every house, inked with various poems, some like wards of protection, some regarding potently vapid nonsense.
6White Walls6The streets are paved with several layers of skulls, their brainpan supporting foot traffic, supposedly covering something more concerning below.
7Littledeath Point7The walls are plated with thin pressed sheets of bronze depicting battles that never happened, great romances that never were, fables taken deathly seriously.
8The Festival8Shambling buildings leaning out over the streets to drape silks and lanterns over the heads of those below, waiting for the next celebration to begin.
9Blackfriar's9The entire borough subscribes to a sect that forbids cleaning of any kind or severity, but the craftsmen are some of the best in the city.
10The Gallows10The buildings are tall and stern and spiked as if previously used for some dastardly purpose, inhabited now by gaily dressed dandies and sighing madams.
11Tenderloins11Soft pink curtains hang in every window, beautiful terrace houses huddle close and hide the activity in the alleys behind, an enormous marble statue depicts a young woman willingly offering her thigh while a starveling dog chews on it.
12The Bowery12The ground is sour, like a marshy mangrove mud flats type deal. The entire borough is built on one big stilted platform over the top of it. You can see crabs and breeding insects through the gaps.

 

d12Name: Richd12General Environment: Rich
1Dulwich Hill1The buildings are all painted in solid pastel shades, hand-lettered black script above the doors proclaiming the owner or purpose.
2Weaver's Cross2Every roof is a spire, it's like a patch of needles threatening the sky.
3Báthory3The cobblestones are carved like the beautiful faces of youth, scrubbed daily to shine by hump-backed cleaners.
4Yellowbrick Court4Clean white walls enscrawled with symbols in living green moss, constantly trimmed and watered.
5Moonpond Waltz5Houses raised up amongst an absurd walled-in zoo, the occupants accompanied by a small entourage of armoured handlers wielding mancatchers and padded tower shields whenever they wish to go for a stroll.
6The Old Rat Ward6Monumental houses of dark stone arranged in the sign of the Yellow Queen, dedicated to pursuit of her knowledge and happiness.
7The Spiral Rise7The walls are all coated with dripping pink wax, like a thousand candles had been lit around the parapets and allowed to burn down.
8Copperpin Peak8Rich red droplets of blood always seem haphazardly splashed about on the streets, porcelain-pale and just as smooth, but if the sombre polished-wood faces of the houses have a tale to tell their lips are tightly sealed.
9Blue Points9Every house has a goat on a running chain, allowing them a good 10ft reign around the front of the building. They're like a status symbol, would you look at the horns on that.
10Willowood10The entire borough is like one big theatre, the sets are absurd, everyone acts as if they were auditioning for a part with exaggerated melodramatic flair, don't block.
11Dartmoor11All of the major buildings are ceramic, curiously shaped, decorated by images of unseen flora, with vulgar yellow stone staircases that spiral down into the earth.
12Featherwort Downs12Birds in cages line the streets, hanging from balconies and street lamps, attached to doors and trained to sing a certain song when a visitor shakes them.

 

Which I roll on and get a poor borough, The Drowning Mass: Inhabited below the streets in the sewers and tunnels and carven halls, the lavish buildings above abandoned to superstition.

Which means I need to roll a rich borough to go on top of it and get Báthory: The cobblestones are carved like the beautiful faces of youth, scrubbed daily to shine by hump-backed cleaners.

Which is awesome.

 

And a great city needs great entrances, so here’s a few that can be put around anywhere that makes sense (well except for The Tributary which should be put at the opposite end to the Fogwalk so that it can be next to the Corpusmilch as it enters the city):

 

 

Entrances
The Tributary
An expanse of open-palmed beckoning arms, their perfect marble skin marred by patches of crustose red lichen, reaching out around a gaping entranceway astride the Corpusmilch river.
Entrance requires a gift or action dependant on the cycle of the moon. Nothing may pass through the Tributary during the full moon.
The Common Gate
Six severed goat heads hang from the walls along the gateway, hung with wooden charms. A low keening crawls from their throats and their nostrils flow with a lurid pink mucus when something unnatural moves in their presence.
The heads need to be prepared and replaced weekly as they rot.
Fishwall Gullet
Gaping fish-like lips emerging from the wall, hewn from the same stone, carved within like a cavernous throat, an inviting tongue lolled out, waiting to swallow you whole.
Attended by the Fishwives, it's best to treat them kind or you may find the mouth on the other side reluctant to open, the way behind you closing.
The Oracle Gate
The undying head of a little girl sits in an iron cage suspended from a lantern post, limp red hair hanging now almost to the ground.
Each group of travellers leaving by her gate must ask a question or curse their own journey. Roll a d6.
1-3 she answers your question true
4-6 she spouts prophecy unavoidable
Each group of travellers entering by her gate must answer a question of her own, and if they do not know, must seek out the answer before the moon's next phase.
Lie to the little girl and face the laughing living light which spills from her mouth.

 

Which after I think maybe half an hour including messing around in Photoshop, gives you a city that looks like this:

 

 

The actual dice that generated each borough also determines another variation, which you’ll find in the Dice Variance tables below. I’m not going to list all of the ones I got here, but among other things it did result in a huge flesh giant being under construction, and the in-vogue religion being Yoon-Quiun, most hated enemy of Roy’s snake worshipping Mystic, which I think is pretty funny.

 

Anyway here are the full borough descriptions. Really most of these could be used as cities all by themselves, they don’t have to be in Cörpathium. In fact after generating the city above for our current game, one of the first things I did was decide that the the Sulphurous Spires wrapped around the Demiurge Pit would be a whole other city to visit.

The Additional Undefined Boroughs could also be used for extra neighbourhoods outside the main walls or to pop up unexpectedly if you travel down an unfamiliar path or whatever you want.

Really, I’m incredibly happy with this, it feels like nose to tail cooking in RPG form and I love it.

 

Make your own Cörpathium.

 

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The Fogwalk


If for some reason the players ever decide to leave the joys of the Rookery, here’s its closest neighbour.

 

The Fogwalk, a borough of seaside views, commerce and depravity.

 

 

 

Sights, Smells, etc.

  • Smells of salt, sweet fish, tarred wood and a lingering hangover.
  • Moss grows around the docks and on the walls of nearby buildings. At night it glows a bright bioluminescent blue.
  • The morning mist rolling in from the Hollow Sea to swirl about your ankles thins out through the day and returns at night.

Buildings:

  • Strong black stone along the shore, towers raised up against the Hollow Sea, wide doors to admit cargo and release machines of war.
  • Mixtures of stone and jettied wood the further you get from the sea.

Building: d6 storeys, d6 sub-levels (3-6 no sub-level).

Occupants: d10 per storey, 0 = currently unoccupied.

 

 

Activity

 

Morning:

Dockhands going to work, fish buyers with baskets, men with knotted arms and sharp knives removing barnacles from the docks.
Encounter chance 1 in 6 per hour
Overhear Rumour on a 6
Chance of Godless: 20%/Turn

 

Noon:
Cargo unloaded, goods being shipped out and haggled for, Neophytic Sisters of the Cathedral of Lost Virtue waiting to lead more discerning seafarers back to the Cathedral and away from the Plaza of Earthly Lust.
Encounter chance 1 in 6 per hour
Overhear Rumour on 6
Chance of Godless: 20%/Turn

 

Night:
Workers leaving, others arriving to unload the night cargo, revellers of the Plaza, Godless night watch.
-2 to reaction rolls unless inside the Plaza
Encounter chance 1 in 6 per hour
Overhear Rumour on 5-6
Chance of Godless: 30%/Turn

 

 

Facts

  • Murder Loot: d100 sp. Carrying Curio on a double.
  • Dock Trade: They may be the most powerful trading company in the Dockmaw, but Haugroten & Sons are far from alone. Organisations like the Hollow Sea Co. and Leviathon Cargo Cult maintain a presence on the Dockmaw’s boards, generally hiring mercenary dockhands job-to-job. Many speculate that Haugroten & Sons allow their competition to persist merely to avoid boredom.

 

 

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The Rookery of Van Möldus


What better place to start in the greatest city of the new and ancient world than in a slum as a nobody?

 

This is the Rookery of Van Möldus, a borough of Cörpathium that you could probably use as a city all to itself if you really wanted to.

 

 

 

Sights, Smells, etc.

  • Cold and damp, smells of fish rot and stinging salt.
  • Makeshift shelters crowd alleys and cul-de-sacs.
  • Purplish barnacles grow on buildings and side-walks, finding more nourishment in the squalor than the sea. They’ll attach to people if they stay still for long enough.

Buildings:

  • Decrepit worn stone and rotting wood, roofs leak and wind whistles through the walls.
  • Mostly two or three jettied stories, a mixture of stone and wood, many with basements that reach below sea level.
  • No windows face the Hollow Sea, they only look inwards upon Cörpathium.
  • No Deicidium.

Building: d4 storeys, d6 sub-levels (5-6 no sub-level).

Occupants: d10 x2 per storey, 0 = currently unoccupied.

 

 

 

Activity

 

Morning:
Drunks waking in the street with barnacles clinging to their flesh, the occasional fog-bloated corpse, beggars and waremongers drifting off to Möldenghast Blvd, men dumping buckets of barnacles recently removed from the Dockmaw.
-2 to reaction rolls
Encounter chance 1 in 6 per hour
Overhear Rumour on a 6
Chance of Godless: 1%/Turn

 

(Unless someone is already running screaming to get them, Chance of Godless is rolled per Turn while something is happening in the open that shouldn’t be. Since there is no Deicidium in the Rookery and no one really cares about it chances are low, and there’s every possibility that even if they do show up, they’ll leave you to it. More on that later.)

 

Noon:
Idle cutthroats, strangers slinking between houses and alleys.
-2 to reaction rolls
Encounter chance 1 in 6 per hour
Overhear Rumour on 6
Chance of Godless: 2%/Turn

 

Night:
Unaffiliated whores in doorways, drunks spilling from makeshift brewhouses, crumpled bodies thrown from fight dens, knives flashing in the dark.
-4 to reaction rolls
Encounter chance 2 in 6 per hour
Overhear Rumour on a 6
Chance of Godless: N/A

 

 

 

Facts

  • Murder Loot: d100 cp (even) /10 sp (odd). Carrying Curio on a double.
  • Barnacles: If the purple-hued barnacle Cthalamus Siren, commonly known as Siren of the Slums is consumed, save vs. Poison. Failure results in an overwhelming desire to walk into the sea which lasts for d8 days.
  • Rats: Can’t help but eat the barnacles, subsequently drowning themselves without fail. Other boroughs tend to herd any infestations towards the Rookery.
  • Crime & Violence: Those who dwell within the Rookery rarely turn on each other unless cheated, insulted, or involved in rivalry. Cutpursing is reserved for those who live in neighbouring boroughs.
  • Family Van Möldus: Own near every building worth owning in the Rookery. Lodging houses, Our Lady Sacculina, The Foetid Babe, The Cuckoo’s Nest, all pay rent into the hands of Van Möldus.

 

 

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How to Make Friends and Imagine People


While there may be plenty of NPC generators already in existence, I wanted one specifically for Cörpathium that I could use to make all of the characters ever. So, I made one?

 

Since the tables would be unforgivably ugly if I had to reformat them to fit here, head to Penny Pamphlets or click this link to download the NPC Birthing Sac in spreadsheet form. With the amount of tables I use, I’m really finding spreadsheets to be the best thing in the world. Instead of having multiple PDFs or text documents open I can have one spreadsheet with all of the pages I might need, and I can even freeze the headings so that no matter where I scroll I can still see the table name and number. For something absolutely free and easy to use download LibreOffice.

 

[Edit: everything besides the doubles and triples tables is now also automated here.]

 

Since my idea of fun does not include a cross-referenced 500 entry table of “Tempestuous, Has Kind Eyes”, “Will Betray You, Smells Like Cinnamon”, and “Hooked Nose, Was Once Bitten By a Sheep”, my generator has you drop a handful of dice for vague descriptors of different character aspects, then take a reaction roll and a random name and imagine the rest. I mean really, we can figure out if they have a weakness for cherry pie and fast women later.

 

 

Okay Shut Up Now and Tell Me How to Use This Thing

 

Step One: Every dice has its own table, so scoop all of them into your hot little womb of a hand and roll. If there are any doubles or triples re-roll them on those tables.

 

Step Two: I have made names for every race in Cörpathium. Every god damn one. Roll d100 once for a full name and occupation or a few times to mix it up. Add an elaborate title if you feel like it.

 

[There aren’t any demi-humans in Cörpathium, but there are four major ethnicities. The Moors are steeped in mysticism and have near pure-black skin, like polished ebony, with pupil-less white eyes and rich silk clothing dripping with jewellery. Urgoths/Saxons are the pale mongrel children of might-as-well-be-Europe. Francs are like their more effete olive-skinned cousins. The Morgen are pale to the point of ethereality with epicanthic eyes and bullshit Lovecraftian names, when born they’re anointed to the sect of one of their hundred gods instead of taking a family name. Anything deeper about their cultures can be made up mid-game I don’t got that kinda time.]

 

Step Three: Make a reaction roll. Some of the original rolls should be interpreted with this in mind.

 

Step Four: It’s alive.

 

 

OKAY LET’S MAKE OURSELVES A GIN & TONIC AND BIRTH SOME NON-PLAYER CHARACTERS

 

NPC #1:

3 (Franc), 6 (Old Female), 6 (Inconsistently), 5 (Alluring), 9 (Tall and Fat), 12 (Fame), 13 (Storyteller), re-rolled double (Hides their blindness well), reaction roll 10

 

Penelope Clairval is a Francish Cook, and while she may be pushing her sixties her constant food-tasting and activity has kept her tall frame plump, and her clean tight apron frames her pot belly in a way that you find oddly and compulsively attractive. She’s extremely happy to have you here but occasionally has spats of frustration while she’s running around the kitchen regaling you with stories of  her culinary endeavours and how they’ll make her famous throughout all Cörpathium some day. You’d never guess that she’s blind and finds her way around the kitchen by smell and memory alone.

 

 

NPC #2:

1 (Moor), 2 (Young Male), 6 (Inconsistently), 10 (Utterly Absurd), 3 (Rotund), 3 (Power), 20 (Plans/Destiny), re-rolled double (Pathological liar), reaction roll 8

 

Harbungur Uruman, the Pastel Lord, is a young Moorish boy currently prenticed to the Sewerkeepers, where he is able to access nearly-closed pathways that the older and larger men cannot. He wears clothes too large for his portly little frame, likely passed down from his father, but the jewellery hanging from every available space is decidedly un-Moorish; things either washed into the sewers or long-forgotten, shimmering and strange. He found something down there in the places no one else can reach, something he believes will one day make him a lord of Cörpathium. He doesn’t know how to react to you, he isn’t sure if he can use you, and sways mid-conversation between joviality and disdain. Everything he tells you is a lie, and his young mind still has trouble keeping track of which lies are being told to who.

 

 

NPC #3:

4 (Morgen), 1 (Old Male), 1 (Overtly), 3 (Squalid), 2 (Impish), 8 (Sociopathy), 4 (Body Language), two re-rolled doubles (Unexpectedly knowledgeable, Overly perfumed), reaction roll 5

 

Cul-Ragaroth Magog is a near-decrepit Morgen Narcotic Chymist, the filth-stained vestments covering his bent, shrunken body are little better than burn-marked rag and he despises you, something he communicates quite clearly through venomous words and unmistakably malevolent movements. Persistence pays off though, because if you can talk your way around his hate and the overpowering scent of rose-water he uses to mask his chemical experimentation, you’ll discover that he knows about everything.

 

 

HELLS YES THAT WORKED EXACTLY LIKE I HOPED LET’S MAKE ALL OF THE CHARACTERS


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Welcome to Cörpathium


Greatest city of the new and ancient land, the overhanging levels of jettied houses stacked atop each other shadow the sprawling streets, solid stone architecture unknown to any of the old countries nestles behind shouting waremongers in the morning mist, birds sing from a neighbouring rooftop and something scuttles from under your bed. It’s another beautiful day in Cörpathium, watch your step.

 

When entering a new borough roll below.

 

3d6Boroughs of Cörpathium
14-18Well, You Don't See That Every Day..
4-13Another Day In Paradise
3End Times Cometh

 

Another Day In Paradise
1d20
1A young woman bumps into a random PC as they push through a crowd, she blushes and apologises and continues on her way.
Further on into the neighbourhood the PC will find an old man hawking something that looks very much like something important to them, something they no longer seem to be carrying. There are already several interested buyers standing by his stall.
2A shrieking man falls to his knees in the street, clawing at his skin.
1. He is the son of a Corvuscult family, prone to fits of madness. Discretion would be appreciated.
2. A wasp has crawled under his skin to lay her eggs.
3. He's just a plain old loon.
4. He is a Haruspex, suffering a vision of locust plague, harbinger to the coming of the Locust Queen.
3A young woman is bitten by a dog.
4A Speaker of the Godless announces a curfew in light of unnatural maulings in the neighbourhood the past few nights.
5A couple of inherited wealth dandies sitting at a coffee house laugh at a random PC's attire.
6A vendor of fig pies scrambles to collect the contents of his upturned cart before the crowd consumes it all.
7A rat the size of a terrier emerges from a nearby sewer and slumps back on its hind legs in front of a random PC, scratching its bloated stomach.
Roll Loyalty. It won't be pretty if you roll low.
8A young girl hawks her services as an assistant in dangerous and foolhardy ventures.
She can't be more than 14, she's an exceptionally skilled thief, and she can fit into places your fat old arse never could.
9A street urchin attempts to snatch a coin purse or other item from a random PC.
10A woman with old letters sewn into the folds of her dress glides through the street. Her sunken eyes are the colour of despair and she fawns over every man she meets like a whore, murmuring and cooing through full red lips.
11A bucket of innards and vomit is dumped on the PCs from an overhead window, it is unclear if it was accidental.
12A gaunt man with stretched hanging skin stands on an iron stool preaching to 2d10 onlookers about the evils of the Corpulent One.
13A Mother of Silence strides through the street, her footfall would crash in your ears if her presence hadn't stolen every sound within 30'. [Mothers of Silence will be another post]
14A spruiker in a jaunty hat proclaiming himself to be the originator of Cuckold's Courage sells bottles from a cart on the street corner. The bottles are full of:
1. Urine.
2. Fermented onions and cat faeces.
3. Putrefied fishguts.
4. Curdled milk and rubbing alcohol.
5. River water and silt.
6. Crushed lice and dust. "Just add water!"
15An elderly woman drops the fruit she was carrying and four young men in ostentatious clothing start dancing a jig, stomping it into the road.
16When they return home a random PC will find something important missing and a yellow feather on their bed. Hagatha Gloom of the Golden Harpies has taken a liking to them.
17A burly drunk emerges from a brewhouse and shoves his way through the PCs.
18A woman in obvious Toad-Dropping withdrawal pushes her way past the PCs and into a nearby alley.
19A man wearing a large stitched leather top hat and a coat embroidered with images of vicious rodents hawks bottles of Verminbane. Caged rats are piled behind him for demonstration and several greased tame rats climb over his shoulders and crawl about his feet, leashed to his belt by string.
20Seventh Goat mercenaries jostle the PC with the highest Strength as they pass. If offence is taken they invite you to settle the matter in the Viper's Nest fight den tonight, they've been in need of an opponent anyway.

 

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