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An Array of Specimens Tagged as Corpathium

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.

3 comments



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.

 

Read the rest…


16 comments



Finding Your Rules Unsupervised, Makin’ Them Do Weird Shit


So I’ve been putting together a new version of my character sheet to fit with rules that have changed and things I’ve noticed in play.

 

Click below for the four page fold-over pdf.

Cörpathium Character Sheet v2

Basic changes apart from obvious things covered in the House of Rules:

  • Ranged weapon distances got kicked off the sheet, because needing to shoot someone far away and know the precise distance hasn’t really come up, and when it does I’ll just say “aw, it’s pretty far, you can do it but you’ll take -2 to the roll”, or “no, they’re hella far away”.
  • The girls pretty quickly collected various different pieces of armour that they put on, and I’d like to acknowledge that. The main armour class still stays as Light/Medium/Heavy, but I added a section on the back where they can list the individual pieces and their Quality rating, added the numbers 1-5 under Defence for them to circle the Qualities that apply to their armour, and when they roll that number or less on their Defence roll it will damage that particular piece of armour first. I’d probably say that each additional piece of armour (like gauntlets, helmet, sabatons, etc.) adds 1/2 a point of AC, so you need two for +1AC, additional pieces can’t raise your AC by more than +2, and they don’t affect Heavy armour.
  • I replaced Sneak Attack with a Quick Death. Sneak Attack always felt weird to me, sitting in there with the other skills but you don’t actually use it like a skill, it just adds a damage multiplier when you attack from surprise. So, a Quick Death does work like a skill. When you sneak up on someone or you’re grappling, if you make a successful Quick Death roll you’ll outright kill anything up to 2HD, and if they have more than 2HD it will add a damage multiplier equal to your skill level if you then successfully attack them. So it’s like learning the best way to cut something if you can get close enough.
    If you fail when attacking from surprise, you can still make a normal attack but they don’t take any AC penalty.

 

And then I got to the encumbrance section with all the different movement rates listed and holy shit is it unnecessary, players don’t need to see that, and so I wanted to get rid of them but couldn’t think of what else to put with the encumbrance description.

Then I had the idea, for movement dice.

 

 

MOVEMENT DICE

 

Roll it for chases or when contested speed is otherwise an issue (like when you and the cultist look each other in the eyes and dash towards the slime-spewing altar).

  • An unencumbered human is d8. Encumbered is d6, Heavily encumbered is d4. Cheetahs are d100.
  • Whoever rolls highest wins. In a one-on-one situation I’d probably apply -1 for Medium armour or -2 for Heavy armour.
  • In a pursuit use the lowest Movement Dice of the group, and you could either resolve it as a one-off roll, or have a lost roll decrease your dice size, a win increase your dice size, and the pursuit ends when someone loses on a d4 or wins on a d20.

[By LotFP rules chases are contested d20 + 10% of your movement rate, which is still pretty easy, but I think this is easier and has much more obvious consequences for the amount of shit on your back.]

 

The lowest Movement Dice of the group is also used for random encounter checks, because if you’re heavily encumbered you’re shuffling and jangling around like an idiot, rather than the guy padding around with nothing but a sack and a knife like an agile agile cat.

 

I’m sure I’ve read something similar to the random encounter check recently but I cannot, for the life of me, remember where.

 

 

And then I looked at the light tracker with its boring-arse checkboxes, and realised that I hated it and changed it to something else.

 

 

LIGHT CHECKS

 

Instead of a set time limit, light sources use a decreasing dice check.

  • Torches start at d8, Candles at d10, and Lanterns at d20.
  • When you’re asked to make a light check (so each Turn or what have you), you try to roll in the upper half of the dice, though there might be modifiers if it’s wet or windy.
  • If you fail it drops down to the next dice for the next check.
  • If you roll a 1 or fail on a d4 it goes out or you burn yourself and drop it.
  • If you have to make a light check because of something threatening to extinguish the flame, if you fail it goes out.

Jeff Russell reminded me that this is really similar to this ammunition tracker, which I’d clearly forgotten about but not.

I’m still not sold on using it for ammunition since I tend to run attacks as one roll one swing/shot and abstracting the ammunition feels wrong, but for something like fire, which can vary depending on conditions and quality, it seems just about perfect.

I think it’s a nice easy way to make light tracking interesting and maybe a little bit fun. Each Turn you don’t mark off a box, you roll to see what state your torch is in, and you don’t look down and see three empty boxes and think “okay I’ve got half an hour before I have to light another”, you look down and see that your torch is on a d4 and think “aw shit it’s all spluttery and stuff there’s a good chance it will go out the next time it matters, I should get another one ready”.

 

[Edit: After discussing it more with Jeff and James Young, we figured that using a target number is a lot better, and the best target number is 4. So, regardless of the dice you’re on you need to roll 4 or higher or you drop to the next dice. This also makes it easy to vary the required roll based on the situation, i.e. “It’s raining from nowhere, the ceiling seems to be screaming at you, roll 6 or higher or your torches all go out!”]

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I’ll Have Yer Finest


We’ve been visiting brewhouses an awful lot.

 

 

d20BrewhouseWhat's on Tap?
1The Blind MonkMilk of the Rat
2The Pink-Gilled SwineHarlot's Spit
3The Crow With Two NecksBlack Fever
4The Inverted PathThree Goats Pale
5Crooked HouseChymist's Old Familiar
6The Fruiting BoarGrikksmarc's Fucken Porter
7The Golden HartRotworm Imperial Stout
8The Old Severed HeadPiss of the Living Saint
9Strangler's PalmMolden Ale
10The Black HiveAlbumuth's Back Sweat
11The Sunken DepthsThe Black Goat of the Woods
12The Hanging HarbingerBog Witch Kiss
13House of the Purple HazeHair of the Fog
14The Soft White UnderbellyMidwife's Regret
15That Red BitchAngry Squall
16The Jaundiced EyeHeaven's Gate
17House of Saints and MadmenThe Turning Worm
18Rue MorgueNag's Head
19Black BaltimoreLost Coppers
20The Fading LightMaidenhead Pale

 

 

d20Top Shelf
1Drowning Locust
2A bitter spirit called Regret
3Blue Blood Worm
(There's more worm than alcohol in your glass.
Look, just drink it.)
4Rite of Passage
5The Stag's Own Seed
6Opal Smoke
(An opal, a glass of salt water, clouds of smoke filling your glass when they meet.)
7Blood of the Nightshade
8Red Spiced Rum
9Fresh from the Fish
(It swims around the jar in blues and violets, staring at you from its bulbous protruding black eyes when they scoop it out and force it to vomit into your glass.)
10Hog Fat
11Scarlet Wine
12Song of a Dead Dreamer
13Black Egg Yolk
14Toad Skin Gin
15Paraplectic Slug
(Huge and porous, steeped in alcoholic dregs, fermented within its body, hold it to your lips and suck.)
16Primordium
17The Hairy Lime
(Fungally infested, internally liquefied, best to swallow it whole.)
18Somnificus Lac Morte
19The Sour Death
20The Thing in a Bottle
(It sits in the bottle, too large now to fit through the neck, its urine swirls about at chest height, it blinks at you and doesn't seem to mind, things would seem different if it was on the other side of the glass. The urine is green and luminescent, vaguely viscous like an oil, it is sweet and stronger than the finest distilled spirits. The hard part is getting it into the bottle in the first place.)

 

 

d12Brewhouse Encounters
1Drunk local steps back into you during an enthused story and takes offence. FIGHT!
2Angus Blackhand (left hand is a blackened claw), Thief lvl 1, Sleight of Hand 3 in 6, bumps into you and tries to lift some shinies from your person.
3Olga Applebottom, whore overdue for retirement, has taken an aggressive shine to you. She's somewhat of a fixture here, don't insult the locals.
4Smoke with us!
5Drunken ridicule.
6Free drink! Roll 2d6:
2-5. Have you ever been rohypnolled by a swan?
6-8. That's not beer, that's urine.
9-12. Hey that's not bad.
7Mistaken for someone else. Reaction roll.
8Cryptic warning from a stranger.
9You step on a cat's tail. The cat belongs to a gnarly old sword-whore. They don't look pleased.
10Invited to join a game.
11Pretty thing asks you to buy them a drink.
12Overhear rumour.

 

 

Yeah I know rolling dice is hard, click the link below for automated results, drag it to your bookmark bar and keep it for later, do whatever.

 

INSTANT BREWHOUSE


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Mystical Migrations of the Mythical Menagerie


Aside from handling word slaves in the last Secret Santicore, I also fulfilled a couple of requests.

Here’s an orphan one that I rescued.

 

The Request:

 

Nature on the move. A table of magnificent and/or terrifying migrations. Would ideally contain:

 

1. What the creatures are

2. What sort of impact this migration has on the world

3. Who hunts and/or preys upon the migration

 

20/50/100 your choice Santicore!

 

 

Nature on the MoveThe Impact of Life
d20
1The Many-Faced or Dividing Leopard Worm
A creeping mass of black-spotted yellow fur, voids gaping within the bunched mess of a head, bristling teeth like oily black quills. 15ft long tails thicker than your thigh drag behind the bulk before splitting away, hair separating, contracting and slithering with a mouth all their own.
Skinwalkers take the pelts as barbaric armour. The venom delivered by the caterpillar-like hairs that stand on end along their backs causes muscle spasms that can last for days. Older worms can eject hairs right out of their backs when threatened. The fibres alone contain enough venom to incapacitate ten burly men; if you take the pelt with the venom glands intact and keep them alive it will last indefinitely.
The worm mass doesn't really divide, it is made up of individuals moving together like a brood of Spitfire Grubs, but their faces do, split into even quarters bristling with quill teeth to better drag you down their gullets.
Beyond defence and hunger related deaths and cripplings, the only thing left to mark their passing are the flimsy abandoned silk nests spun around large trees just within the woods, temporary shelter for a few days' hunting before continuing their journey.
Due to the hairs woven amongst the silk, the only thing you'll earn by collecting it is a week of convulsions.
2Spiders of Gushmora
Exquisite neglect creeps in like rising waters, stranded wisps hanging from flowers turn to phantasmal curtains of translucent silk, undulating in the wind.
The brood mothers can only walk upon silken threads, and so a tide of their thousand children spills out before them, draping webbed paths over grasslands and trees until their spinnerets run dry and their bodies break, replaced by siblings birthed during the journey.
The Korhari Silk-Weavers follow the migration, gathering silk with long, pointed implements of bronze to be fed onto spinning wheels nestled within their gaily painted wagons, ornate and many-coloured behind a sea of white.
The few months spent following the spiders will provide them with everything they need for the rest of the year, producing fine Korhari silks to be sold to the highest bidder. Killing any kind of spider before a Korhari is invitation to violence.
Absorbed by the ravenous hunger of the journey, the passing of the Spiders of Gushmora effects near-extinction upon insect populations caught in their path.
In the weeks preceding the arrival of the migration, many animals will flee to other hunting grounds. First you notice that the birds no longer sing in the morning, then the rodents disappear from your larder, you hear predators padding away in the night. Many plant species will take months to recover with nothing left to spread their seed.

The bite of the Spiders of Gushmora causes an accelerated rot, swollen wounds burst and spill decomposing flesh with an iridescent sheen much like the spider's exoskeleton, all fuchsia, purples and black. When the swollen boils appear across their chest and arms the victim will know they endured the amputation of their leg for nothing.
Korhari assassins often travel ahead of the migration, ending those they find preparing to defend their lands.
3Ignis Fatuus Floris
Ethereal points of blue light float through the sunless dark, dancing on the wind. When the luminous seeds settle they sprout dark-stemmed flowers topped with thick bulbs, scored like a spiralling vortex. The feathery pink petals that sprout astride the spiral flutter in the breeze, until a strong enough wind blows in from the right direction and the pods violently ejaculate the next generation of seeds into the air in an unfurling explosion, one step closer to their destination.
The Moulting Priests of the Seeping Dissonance seek to destroy the Ignis Fatuus Floris, why they will not say.
They have been within reach of the flowers only twice, causing them to explode into an errant wind, thwarting the priests but setting the flowers back on their journey.
For the species to survive the flowers must survive. When the seeds first enter the soil they excrete a toxin that causes all plant life in the immediate area to wither away, eliminating any competition for the nutrients needed to grow.
Unfortunately for the flower, the same toxin that kills flora causes intense hypnagogic hallucinations in fauna. If their needle-like thorns fail to deter wanderers or thrill-seeking boars hoping for a transcendent experience, the damaged flowers exude a chemical warning that causes the remaining flowers to disperse their seed into the nearest wind, regardless of direction.
4Eels of the Nighted Depths
None know where they come from or where they go, only the swarm of oil-slick flesh that undulates over the land, toothless, wrinkled maws stretching wide to consume creatures twice their size, slipping onward while the hapless beasts howl from within their stretched flesh, slowly succumbing to digestion.
Apothecaries and Dabblers of the Black Arts lust for the flesh of the abyssopelagic nightmares. A piece of their blubbery leathered skin will buy a week's debauchery, their rock-hard sightless eyes would fetch an honest man's yearly wage, for a living intact specimen your very heart's darkest desire would be fulfilled.
Upturned ecosystems, lost pets, lost loves, insane bearded men kicking down your door demanding to know which direction the eels went.
5The Periphery
As people walk there seems to be a shadow not their own moving beside them, seen in their peripheral vision and absent when they turn.
As the phenomena ceases in one settlement it emerges in another, trailing across the land until the reports finally cease after several months.
The Scholars of the Seventh Seal seek any and all information pertaining to what they call The Periphery. Shared knowledge will be rewarded, false informers will never be found.
A lingering feeling amalgamated of dread and rapture, the subtly unnerving presence of the Scholars weeks after the event.
6Xanthous Locust
It begins with bands of gregarious wingless nymphs, a hopping carpet of bronze-tarnished mandibles, but when their density reaches fever pitch a flavescent metamorphosis takes place that sees their carapace harden into grotesque studded plates of rich yellow armour, glittering wings unfurling in the light.
Their omnivorous plague migration sweeps over vegetation and flesh, a flying wall of hooked limbs and eager squirming labial palps.
Communities with Forewarning often plant large crops of Mandrake before the oncoming swarm, a fragrance irresistible to the locusts, tearing roots from the ground after gorging upon the leaves and flowers. While it will not kill them, ingesting Mandrake renders the locusts lethargic and uninterested in pursuing further sustenance for at least a day.
At night roosting locusts may be caught up in nets and baskets. Fried Xanthous Locust is said to be an unsurpassed delicacy.
Devastated crops and shrubberies, flesh chewed straight from the bone while you're still screaming and flailing, an abundantly delicious crunchy food source for those smarter than you.
7Fog Walkers of the Broken Isle
Magnificent striding things on slender multi-jointed limbs, symbiotic creatures hanging from their shaggy pelts with bright eyes and wicked little hands. The mottled fur of the creatures makes them nothing more than mossy discolouration among the grey coats of the Walker's short, stocky bodies until they move with alarming speed.
The fog that seems to have carried away from the Broken Isle to surround the Walker's body is in reality a cloud of minuscule insects, feeding on the blood of the creatures before being sucked into the Walker's facial ducts for nourishment. What sustains the creatures is as yet unknown.
Too sure-footed and strong of limb to be cut down from the ground, Companies of Landsharpuniere carefully select Walkers to bring down with harpoon and rope, protected by pikemen and foot soldiers from shrieking creatures in descent.
The Fog Walkers always seem to be accompanied by grey skies and light rain, as if their very presence had seeded the clouds.
Vegetative growth after the rain is strong but somehow subtly wrong, vaguely reminiscent of the Broken Isle if you stare long enough.
8Abysslodira
Clacking pyramidal shells amble out of the sea encrusted with lustrous blue barnacles, their long hibernation in the depths at an end. Tortoise-like creatures the size of absurdly large wolves on a slow plod through whatever falls in their path.
When confronted by another creature their small hard skulls raise high on startling long necks, pudgy grey skin stretching tight and regarding the stranger through glassy white eyes. If they perceive danger their head and limbs retract completely within nigh-impenetrable shells until the threat has passed, if there is no threat they renew their slow plod straight through you, smooth featureless faces rotating to stare all the while as you fall to the side.
Various Birds land on the Abysslodira as they walk, dislodging barnacles from their shells with surprising ease and feasting where they land. The parasite they have eaten will cause the birds to fly without rest to the nearest suitable body of water, plunging into its depths to drown and decay, birthing a strange algae-like ooze from their feathered corpses.
Undeterrable from their path, the Abysslodira will plod over mountains and through battles with the same measured lackadaisical step until a cavalry charge causes them to drop to the ground, a wave of horses breaking over their blue-jewelled shells.
Towns that find themselves host to the migration of the Abysslodira would be best advised to clear all obstruction and make them feel welcome, because it will take weeks for them to move out of the streets if some slight offence or threat causes them to retreat into their shells.

The algal bloom bears a semi-sentience that sees it infect water supplies and drown animals before moving on to sample the next set of organisms it finds again and again before finally being swept back out to sea.
9Caustic Sludge Crabs
A plague of black carapaces spills from the protection of the Moldenwood in order to reach the Hollow Sea to spawn, crawling over the land in a blanket like a swarm of mites over a corpse.
Within the woods the crabs are without predators, rock hard shells containing their liquid flesh, in the open air birds swoop amongst them in an attempt to carry away lone crabs before being dragged down amongst the swarm.
Albino Ibis close a nictitating membrane of the same unhealthy pink as their wrinkled faces over their eyes to ward off snapping claws as they descend. After escaping with a crab they will lay it on a hard surface and peck a hole in the armour of its belly to expose the oily sludge beneath. Caustic to most creatures, the Ibis dilute it with their own vomit before sucking it up through long, curved beaks.
Little will stand in the way of the crab migration. Anything caught in their path will be pulled beneath by claws too numerous to count, bones picked clean in their wake, and a smashed crab will easily melt through armour with its spilled liquid flesh.
10Diasporea
The stranger moves towards you in slow, gliding steps, their body hunched inside a great coat covered in dry leaves and sticks and rotting plant matter. Metal trinkets and bones hang from the gnarled branches extending from their head like horns. A powdery whisper accompanies them as they move closer, and a low thrumming voice like rain asks where your dead grow.
Light washes over the stranger’s coat as they move into the glow of your lantern, and you see the gaps amidst the sticks and filth. You see fungal sinew strung inside, like the forest floor caught in a web. A thick mass of lichen veil hangs in the hooded space below the stranger’s antlers, and ever more unexpected mounds and wooden horns are illuminated across their back. Small stout yellow round-capped mushrooms in jagged rows beneath its throat and chest quiver and begin to thrum against wood and bone, forming the words that politely ask again, “Where do your dead grow?”

Colonies of fungus and mould that cobble debris together to gain a locomotive form. They will talk to you, they’ll even trade, but they have no empathy. They won’t understand why you’re so upset that they dug up your daughter, pulled her corpse apart, and placed the pieces amongst their body. Fragile but hard to kill permanently, and the spores that erupt from them in times of stress end up everywhere, and your flesh is ever so fertile.
The Diasporea have no predators or prey, only those ignorant enough to try to kill them then scream in horror at the release of their infectious spores.
If you're savvy enough you may find yourself in possession of time-lost artefacts at the cost of a dead dog or an ancestor's corpse.
11Cancerslugs
As long as a man, putrescent yellow flesh glistening under thick layers of mucus as they emerge from swamps during the wet season, smelling of stale semen and broken drought.
Generally placid, violent in short sharp bursts that you never expect. Their wounds bubble out in pink masses of vivid new flesh, deflating into yellow normality over the coming days.
The Flesh Crafters continue to obtain samples of slug mucus for experimentation, but since the successful capture and confinement of a live specimen within their labs six years ago have shown no interest in further capture, in fact they show an aversion verging on disgust at the thought.
Gold-Banded Broodsac Larvae attempt to invade the slugs, carried as sporocysts until they develop into Broodsacs as the slugs near settled areas or forests. The Broodsacs push into the slug's eyestalks and secrete chemicals that induce a compulsive need to climb the tallest thing it can find; an ancient tree, a belltower overlooking the town square. At its height the Broodsacs squirm and pulsate, golden Rorschachs glinting in the open sky until a bird of prey descends to tear it from the slug's head, the next stage of its life cycle begun.
With the majority of its brain torn out the slug will fall to the earth, impacting in a disintegrating shower of yellow flesh bubbling regeneration even in death.
Sudden maddening irritations befall bare skin exposed to the thick mucus trails left in their wake, progressing into lesions and worse. Those unlucky enough to discover an allergy will spend the rest of their lives swaddled in cloth to hide the horror they have become.
12Powder Deer
Herds of them, white fur so pure it nearly glows. The female of the species, and the herd is almost entirely female, bear branching antlers as fragile as glass, shattered and disintegrating on impact. Semi-parasitic young hang from their backs, pink pupal piles of them with pliant manipulable bones that curl around their brood sisters and into their mother's fur.
Monolithic among the herd is the Husband, black furred with a compact, upright body like a giraffe, its powerful chest supporting the thick, muscled neck that stretches up to a magnificent head crowned by twisting spires of horn as tall as its body, piercing the sky.
Packs of Predatory Beasts try their luck harrying the migration, but lone predators would never dare. Before they disintegrate completely the Deer's shattered antlers fracture into splinters, leaving wounds full of powdered glass where they pierce the flesh.
In dire situations the Husband tramps through the herd like an icebreaker, all discordant howling and rage, any shred of self-preservation lost. If the Husband perishes another Powder Deer will undergo a transmutation to take its place, but such things take time.
Their powdered antlers fertilise the growth of both bacteria and vegetation. Lush foliage and crops sprout where there has been conflict, but any wounds contaminated by the earth or even the plants themselves are likely to fester within mere hours.
13Copulatorum
Less a migration than a minor incursion, men and women bearing the faint scent of carnal knowledge arrive at secluded cabins, farms, taverns, palaces. The method of their approach and petition for solace varies, but invariably ends in an enticement to lay with them.
Where their advances are rejected they leave with apology. Where accepted, people report seeing either a heavily pregnant woman or an obscenely obese man with a pendulous gut leaving in the small hours of the morning, while inside the homes are all torn flesh and a madness of blood and bile.
Respected and Disregarded Organisations are all in consensus that the reports are utter fallacy, only lone eccentrics and outright lunatics seek out incidents of Copulatorum, though not all for the same reasons.
Jilted lovers, subsequent suspicious deaths, absurd stories and hangings.
14Bowelbird
Flocks of inky black birds with eyes like fresh-spilt blood alight on rooftops and concentric patterns in fields, named for a habit of digging amongst entrails after a slaughter, the Bowelbird is possessed with a desire for objects of the colour red, not gore.
At each rest they erect crimson piles of thievery in ensanguined cairns, incomprehensible shrines which will be destroyed by various breeds of Simian if they happen across them, reproachful shrieks echoing through the trees.
Carcasses strewn open, crimson veils carried away, roses a-snatched mid-courting.
Something much more were the cairns altogether allowed to stand.
15Ulcerate Vermis
Loathsome grey masses emerge from the sewers and water systems of the cities, slopping and rolling clumps of tentacles that make their way to the nearest patch of bare earth beyond the city walls, seemingly melting into the dirt.
The majority of their migration takes place beneath the ground, but when it begins to rain they will emerge through shifting clumps of dirt, tumbling and running chaotically across the land amid the spattering drops.
Apathetic Gastronomes savour them as a delicacy, and Various Unseemly Bookish-Types would rather like to get their hands on a specimen.
The light touch of a tentacle when you get too close to them opens a painless ulcer in your skin that will heal within a few days, but while it persists you remain mildly irritated over nothing. They often evade capture simply because those around them are too busy arguing over meaningless drivel.
16Nightshade
Unseen in the light of day, slinking through the night, melting into shelter when something is near. Beneath a tree you raise your head to the night sky to find a dark shadow towering over the leaves, staring down at you with furtive reflective orbs.
One-Eyed Stygian Herbbalists have an unwholesome interest in the movements of the Nightshade.
Unearthly beautiful blossoms unfurling their shimmering black petals in the morning light provide the only marker that a Nightshade ever passed.
17The Crawling Rot
They emerge from their burrows, decaying with splitting flesh in the sunlight, undergoing regenerative transmorphosis throughout the night, an ever-shifting parade of warped flesh and cancerous disease.
Every Being With a Sense of the Sanctity of Their Own Existence or Self-Preservation will avoid the Crawling Rot at any cost, even the carrion vermin know better than to meddle with their flesh.
You will know their passing by the rotting remnants of shed antlers, teeth, eyestalks and splitting jaws, twisted arms, segmented legs, tentacles and gore, you will know them by the smell.
18Somnolent Broodmite
Transportation is what they need; human, animal, they don't mind. The anaesthetic saliva of their bite renders the host unaware as the mites enter their body through holes bored in the legs, populating through the body, consuming everything non-vital to their needs over time. Somnambulance is induced when they reach the brain, carrying the Broodmites towards their desire.
If they absolutely must be stopped, a human host will speak with others, but it won't make sense, like a lover waking you in the middle of the night during a dream.
For the most part no one will ever know that the Somnolent Broodmites have passed, but some may find the target of their hunt or planned thievery suddenly split apart by their attack, spilling piles of bloody mites in search of new transportation.
19Jewelled Mounds of Ur
Shambling masses of flesh little more than a delivery system for the rose-tinted crystals sprouting in clusters from their skin, hobbling on pairs of bony arms like crutches and cloven-footed hind legs.
They travel towards the Valley of the Nine Streams and the anchored egg sacs already laid by their females within the sapphire waters. When they reach the stream's edge their unheard voices raise in a harmonic reverberation, bursting their fragile crystals over the water, releasing pink seed to fertilise the eggs. After this release the males will die, their corpses waiting food for their unhatched young.
Uneducated Would-Be Jewel Thieves have sometimes killed Mounds in order to dislodge the giant crystals from their flesh, only to be rewarded with a burst of honey-thick semen for their troubles. The Mound's seed also happens to hold remarkable mutagenic potential, a property that makes it rather valuable to certain other parties.
Apart from theft-related mishaps, fish and amphibians that spawn from the Nine Streams during the same period are abundant in number and girth, even if their flesh does taste unnaturally salty, and their entrails form strange patterns amidst too-many bones.
20Ash Spider Colossum
Spread fractal shadows beneath them as they pass, light clouds of dust motes shaking free from segmented legs that stab the earth with every step, stretching straight up to lightly suspended plateau bodies bearing black monoliths that scratch the sky like lightning-struck trees.
Shivering Bare-Fleshed Zealots worship the Ash Spiders as gods, climbing to their backs to partake in an endless liturgy amongst the monoliths.
Blue-Bloat Bore Grubs infest the colossal limbs, burrowing tunnels as they feed.
Zealots crawl over the Spider's legs as they walk, digging out melon-sized grubs to gorge on succulent blue flesh.
Madness sprouts in their wake, a religious fervour erupting in settlements that drives the afflicted to scale their new gods and worship at their peaks, replenishing the ranks of Zealots that have climbed within grasping mouths, food for the gods.

 

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A Bitter Spirit Called Regret


We finally managed to find the time to actually start our Cörpathium campaign again, so we cosied-up the studio, made two jugs of Goblin Punch [lots of apple/lime/kiwi/banana/mint juice and lime and pineapple soda water and vodka and… look lots of sugar and it ruined me for the next day and I lost my voice around the 6th hour but it was worth it, it tasted like the mid-point of a party where you’re like, “things could go horribly wrong, or this could be the best night of my life, I’m going to find out”], printed some fresh new character sheets, pulled up the spreadsheet for the Rookery of Van Möldus, and rolled our little hearts out.

 

I had this idea to start everyone as 0 level and only gain a class when they do something to earn it or find a spellbook they can read or have religious fever dreams or something, kind of like a DCC funnel except with a single character each and let loose in the sandbox instead of a set adventure. Have to say, it worked pretty damn well.

 

Everyone but Ellen used the automated NPC Birthing Sacs to get an idea for their character, so after rolling for equipment we ended up with:

 

Ellen: Senorita Dos Lumpos, Francish lady in a ridiculously big frothy skirt with a horrible rusted knife and a copper pot.

 

Roy: Azarnoush Al Zahir, softly spoken Moorish giant (17 Strength) carrying a bronze dagger broken from a statue, still with partial finger attachment, a corpsecatcher pole, and three black candles.

 

Rose: Maddock Mohrghast, an imposingly big but weak and clumsy Urgoth that may be mentally touched, carrying a sharp copper blade, a bottle of dark “bog” alcohol (that apparently he’s had since he was 7 and it grew his finger back? I don’t know they made that up while I was in the bathroom), two discarded censer balls from the Church of Dust and Ash, a leather satchel with charcoal pencils and half a notebook, two days worth of preserved rat, and a small collection of mouse skulls.

 

Michael: finally rolled an Intelligence over 5 (well, not on the first try but I let him roll them all again), Elena Sanguine, a petite Francish girl missing an eye, carrying a black blade and a tarnished brass looking glass full of creeping fungus.

 

Bulletpoint play report after the gameporn.

 

 

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Between the Sheets


Drawing character sheets on blank pieces of paper is fun as hell, but I figured it was time I got back to the template character sheets I’ve been working on.

So, here they are.

 

This one’s for straight-up by the book Lamentations of the Flame Princess, including the new firearms rules. Brendan has a good quick-reference for them here.

Click the image for a PDF that allows for printing a single A4 size sheet, or two A5 size sheets.

 

LotFP Character Sheet by Last Gasp

If you download it you’ll notice green writing all over the place absolutely everywhere. Jeff Rients wrote an article about, among other things, character sheets being poor at communicating with new players, and I said that you couldn’t design a character sheet that explained everything about itself without making it an abomination.

 

Well, I was right, it’s an abomination, and it doesn’t entirely explain itself, but from my own experience introducing new players to not only LotFP but RPGs as a whole, I think the notes written all over it should make explaining things in that first session a whole lot easier.

Of course if you know what you’re doing just turn off that layer.

 

And this one is a fold-0ver A5 sheet for Cörpathium.

 

Cörpathium Character Sheet Cover Cörpathium Character Sheet Innards

If you’re familiar with my house rules you might notice that the new sheet doesn’t have anywhere to note Cataclysm or Faith. That’s because I want to avoid having things on the sheet that would be irrelevant for some players as much as possible, and I make little spellbooks for my Maleficar/Mystic players anyway so they can note it there. And if you don’t make little spellbooks for your players what are you doing?

 

There’s also a bunch of new or tweaked house rules on it, most of them are pretty self-explanatory, but I’ll collect them up in another post later.

 

Tomorrow is adventure/John Waters day with Rose though, so you’ll have to wait.


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This Place is Crawling with Tables


It all started when I found the old AD&D Lankhmar supplement, which features this gorgeous map right here:

See all those white boxes? The supplement contains neighbourhood geomorphs that you randomly insert when the players move off the main streets and into the ‘burbs, and even suggests changing the geomorph if the players don’t go back there for a while to make the city feel more alive. I know, it’s wonderful.

 

Around this time I was also having chats with the also wonderful Jeremy Duncan about mapping Cörpathium and his own Galbaruc, and the trouble of figuring out how much is too much, what to nail down and what to keep loose. Because as pretty as the above map is, forget that.

 

Really what I want is to capture the sprawling mutability of cities like Viriconium and Ambergris, something you experience by running around in it rather than poring over a lavishly drawn map, with just enough grounding to make it work as a game.

 

 

OKAY SO WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST SMART GUY?

 

Map your main streets. That gives you a framework, points of reference, clever/punny street names for players to remember. Everything else though? Doesn’t matter until it matters.

 

When your players want/need off a main street drop a d4 and a d6 (try to use a d6 with sharp corners, you need that random bounce). If the numbers match, there aren’t any reachable exits.

 

Otherwise, treat the d4 as the player’s position on the street, facing the way you are. The number is how many alleys they can see, and the points of the dice show the rough direction they’re in. Add them clockwise from whatever point is closest to the d6.

If there are 4 alleys put the 4th wherever.

You might prefer to drop the dice directly onto the map instead, do whatever makes you happy, I’m not your mother.

 

There’s also this roughly where the d6 landed:

 

1.  Someone left their door open

2.  Public house

3.  Sewer entrance

4.  Way to climb onto building

5.  Lesser street

6.  Intersecting lesser street

 

So if you rolled like below, there’s four reachable alleys; one back off in the direction of the 2, one ahead in the direction of the 1, one directly off to the right thanks to the 3, and another one wherever takes your fancy. The d6 came up as a 5, so there’s a lesser street leading away back on the left side of the main street.

 

 Okay so now we’re running around in alleys, fun!

 

Every time the players enter an alley, drop the d4 and d6 again and generate the exits like before, using the tables below. If the numbers are the same, there’s a complication.

 

 

AlleyCrawling
d4Points of Diced6
1Alley.1Back door.
2Alley.2Darkened nook.
3Alley.3Boarded-over alley.
4Alley.4Way to climb onto building.
5Reachable window.
6Alley complication.

 

 

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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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