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Saturday, 8 December 2018

Random World Part 9: Rock-People hate you!

Back to some more locations, this time with another area full of monsters organized and ready to murder you, your friends and family. Only this time they're made of rock and can (sometimes) fly.

East of Cryham

It sucks to be in Cryham, in part because the area has a bit of uncanny position of being close to not one but two wastelands of magical bullshit, with only a comparatively small countryside of verdant landscape. Anything else which is fertile is down south and the further you go south the further you go into the jungle.

The Desolation of Taani

Blendowska Desert, Poland
There are two contradictory origins to the Desolation of Taani: one which state that it always was a dry land, flat and rough and born from the mountain cutting the rain's path. The other origin state that this land is one born of human greed. Mythology says that once, mountains which existed between the world of mortal and spirits existed in these lands but 'man grew greedy' and tore down these mountains to the last stone.

  • A harsh, dry rocky desert. Not the most lovely of places but it has life of it's own nonetheless. It is comparable to a mixture of the various European desert climates.
  • Inhabited by a variety of people, some whose ancestors stretch back to primordial times. Other descend from invaders who assimilated into the people they conquered.
  • What little stone still exist consist of horrific, jagged hills where some say restless spirits dwell.
  • People trade what they can with Cryham. Many adventurers journey into the dry lands in hope of finding the entrance to forgotten, subterranean temples or pathways into the spirit world where, maybe, mountains still exist. Practical people hold they just get eaten by wild dogs and giant vultures.
  • There are nomadic dwarven clans. They are traders and distrusted.
  • The people there are at war with the gargoyles.

The Citadel of the Gargoyle Warlord

Stone Citadel by Adrián García.
He is the progenitor of the Gargoyles, some say: one of the oldest spirits of the earth crying out for vengeance against man's greed. Others say he was a sorcerer, once human, now cursed in a prison of stone flesh. Others yet say the Gargoyle warlord is but a title passed on from one monster to another. Either way, in the wilderness rise horrific eldritch spires and the ground splinter to lead into endless, subterranean chasms.
  • An area inhabited by horrible monsters with stone flesh called gargoyles.
  • The ruler of the area is the Gargoyle Warlord. He is very much a stereotypical 'dark lord' in many aspects, horrific and hidden behind armor and/or a massive black cloak and raising armies of monsters slavishly loyal to him.
  • Gargoyles claim the are merely avenging past crimes but anyone who see them raid and destroy believe this to just be excuses.
  • These creatures capture humans to be their slaves. Disturbingly a few ambitious would-be warlords are not above allying with these monsters.
  • The Converts of Stone are humans who worship the gargoyles and seek to emulate them, using alchemical and magical process to turn both their flesh and hearts to stone.
  • They are currently planning to invade the region of the Jungle of Spears called the Illaronga Jungle.


Born of stone and hate, Gargoyles are monsters with a bitter and cold heart. They do not feel much of anything, safe perhaps hatred. How much of it is justified is up for debate, as many believe the myth of the Gargoyle's creation is a lie perpetrated by the Warlord. Some even believe he was an accident, a malformed and mutated element of stone who somehow tricked other elementals to follow his wicked ways and shape.
  • Gargoyles are a form of elemental and have a body made of rock.
  • They have monstrous forms but most are roughly humanoid. There are non-humanoid gargoyles.
  • The flying Gargoyles form an upper class to both their society and military purely on the basis they have the most mobility and are as such the most efficient raiders.
  • There are (supposedly) Gargoyles with more unusual abilities such as being able to transform into dust devils, vomit lightning or acid or even regenerating.
  • Gargoyles should be played off as a cross between an evil minion to the dark lord and an mid-'90 White Wolf splat angrily lashing out at perceived wrongness. They are brainwashed minions of a zealot.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Monsters of Magic The Gathering: Sliver (Basic Fantasy)

This is partially based off the work of Daniel Nnorth on the 'Shrill', which are a conversion of Slivers for D&D 5e which can be found here.

Purebred Sliver by John Stone.

Sliver Biology

Sliver are a communal, hive-based swarm of...things. Calling them insectoids is not entirely accurate, as the classic Sliver body shape combine traits of arthropods, lizards and snakes. They have a large plated head, (usually) one or two limbs which (usually) end in a blade and a bifurcating tail which compose most of their body length. There are exceptions, however, as later Sliver breed appear to have evolved into new shapes. Sliver are creatures which are entirely based on adaptation and addition: each Sliver's mutations are shared with nearby Slivers, making the overall brood stronger. Large concentrations of Sliver turn an otherwise dangerous but mostly manageable beast into a swarm of horrific monsters with razor-sharp talons, flight, regeneration and acid spit among many other abilities. 

The Sliver stats listed here are mainly for Basic Fantasy but conversion to similar systems should be fairly easy. Sliver statlines are based on their overall bulk, which inform their Hit Dice and thus overall combat potency. Each Sliver usually has a single ability shared among those it is encountered with but not every Sliver in a pack has an ability which is useful in combat. Fortunately. Sliver are graded ranging from the newborn Broodlings, which are larval Sliver to the Lesser and Drones to the Warriors. The Large Sliver tend to be those rare few breeds notable for their sheer size and bulk and they share such growth with their allies in time of need.

No. Attacks
1 Claw
1 Claw
1 Claw
1 Claw
1 Claw
40’ Scuttle
40’ Scuttle
40’ Scuttle
40’ Scuttle
30’ Scuttle
Save As
Fighter 1
Fighter 2
Fighter 3
Fighter 4
Fighter 5
49 XP
125 XP
205 XP
320 XP450 XP
All Slivers have the innate capacity to share their special ability to any Sliver within 60'. This radius increase to 'plot convenience' when inside a hive/nest or when the Sliver assemble in a force large enough to qualify for some suitable system of Mass Combat, whichever you are using.

Sliver Encounter Table
Small Nest
Large Nest
50% 1d4, 50% 2d4
2d4+1 Ability
3d4+1 Ability
4d4+1 Ability
5d4+2 Ability
10% 1 Ability
50 % 1d4+1 Ability
1d6+1 Ability
1d8+1 Ability
5% 1 Ability
15% 1 Abiliy
30% 1 Ability
60% 1d4+1 Ability
1% 1 Ability
2% 1 Ability
4% 1 Ability
8% 1 Ability

The Hive Stir and hungers...

Hive Stirring by Johann Bodin
The Sliver Hives are myriad in the forms of abominations they can spawn as the ravenous Slivers constantly adapt, mutate and refine themselves. The following abominations have been known to exist and to grant these special abilities:
  • Muscle, Predatory and Sinew Sliver (Lesser): Usually a single one of these exist within a specific Hive and they represent an overall increase to Sliver combat potency as they share their enhanced vigor. These Slivers grant to others +1 to hit and damage.
  • Armor Sliver (Lesser): These Slivers have extended, almost metallic armor. They give to other Slivers the ability to ignore 1 point of damage from each attack they receive.
  • Battering Sliver (Warrior): Battering Slivers are living siege engines who give all other Slivers a burrowing speed equal to their land movement speed.
  • Diffusion Sliver (Warrior): These Slivers dispel the energy of spells targeted at them and other Slivers, giving all Slivers the ability to pass a Spell Saving Throw on an 8+ irrelevant of HD.
  • Fury Sliver (Drone): These energetic and vicious Slivers give all other Sliver have a second Claw attack.
  • Flying and Galerider Sliver (Lesser): These creatures have the fairly self-explanatory gift of giving Slivers a flight speed equal to their land movement speed.
  • Meganthic Sliver (Large): Towering monstrosities who grant Slivers +1 to hit, damage and AC.
  • Reflex Sliver (Warrior): These Slivers grant enhanced metabolism and reflexes, giving all Slivers the ability to pass a Dragon Breath Saving Throw on an 8+ irrelevant of HD.
  • Spitting Sliver (Warrior): These Slivers have the ability to spit stream of biological acid, granting to other Slivers an extra attack in the form of a spit which deal 1d8 damage.
  • Talon Sliver (Lesser): These Slivers share their lengthened talons, increasing the damage die of all Slivers by one category.
Of course these do take some creative liberties with the original game material while others are some new creations. Slivers are infinite in shapes and functions, so get crazy!

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Godbound+Red Tide: Crossover Ideas

Both the game Godbound and the Labyrinth Lord setting Red Tide (found in the book of the same name and as the default setting to the stand-alone game Scarlet Heroes) were made by Kevin Crawford. Not only do they share a certain amount of aesthetic and thematic similarities but they also very much exist under the same core game system, making combining the two quite easy.

Take One: Epic Red Tide

In this version, the default setting and cosmology is that of Red Tide. It's history is true and a proven facy and there is no war for the Throne nor are there Made Gods or any of the setting elements of Godbound which relate to that game's backstory. In fact, the 'Godbound' themselves don't even really exist and rather are used as a loose approximation of high power characters. One could use mortal heroes or, perhaps more fittingly, could use rules akin to that of the 'Lesser Godbound' to represent the mightiest individuals of the Isles. This method is the simplest but, arguably, the most boring.

Take Two: Godbound in the Red Tide Universe

In this version, the previous assumption hold true same for one: the cosmic cataclysm which has affected the world of Red Tide has brought divine powers to the brink of desperation. In order to save their world, the Gods (both the pantheon of the Nine Immortals and other deities) agree to essentially commit a form of ritualistic suicide/self destruction. This will, initially, begin by causing a weakening of Divine Magic. In the short term there will be confusion. In the long term, mortals will be reborn as God-like beings (the Godbound), able to wield divine power in the material world and possibly slowly help repel the Red Tide.

Take Three: Red Tide in Godbound

In this version, the Red Tide setting is the future of the Godbound universe. The world which existed before the Tide consumed it is, in truth, a rather large and stable Realm. Or, rather, it was one until the Tide came to devour it: as it turns out, the Tide is very much a semi-sentient phenomena which hold it's origins in the Uncreated Night. This version does require you to rework quite a few bits of Red Tide lore so here are a few ideas:
  • In this version, the line between Arcane and Divine magic (meaning, Magic-Users and Clerics) is vastly more blurred and more likely down to cultural conventions.
  • That said, the Gods do exist: they are ancient beings of divine potential who underwent a form of abstract apotheosis in order to stabilize their Realm. Prayer-derived magic is the result of passing down their teachings, which are actually complex systems which allow the teaching of Low Magic and Theurgy.
  • The Angels (renamed Celestials or Daeva, as Godbound's Angels are something else entirely), the Devils (or Asura) and other celestial beings are created by the abstract thoughts of the incorporeal Gods.
  • Devils and the Hell-Kings are also Divine, just of a very different nature and persuasion. They hunger for souls to sustain their existence.
  • Dwarves are degenerated and altered descendants of the slaves of some ravenous, underground Parasite Goddess. The deeper one dug into the world, the less stable it became and in ancient time a woman fell down a cave. She was changed and, in isolation from the outside world the Mother Below had centuries if not more to grow in power. Of course, being a Parasite Goddess she remained trapped within her domain, unable to ever return to the surface.
  • Elves are the result of rediscovered and long-lost theotechnical soul-modification.
  • Halflings likely have an origin of some distant relation to the other human-like races but what that history is remain vague.
  • The Shou's origin is mostly unchanged: they are still magical transhumans. If anything, their origin ties into Godbound even better than everyone else. Shakun might have been a powerful Made God who ruled his own realm.
  • Tidespawns are very much a type of Uncreated.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Silent Legions+Tokusatsu Game Concept

An oddball game concept, because these tend to be what I produce. Blending genres and drawing from inspirations generally not found among OSR blogs is slowly becoming my 'calling card'.

The Masked Warrior: Who Is He? Man or Monster?

Picture this scene: A mother's personal life is in tatters: her daughter has been increasingly dragged into dark matters which can only be described as a 'cult'. Fearing for her daughter's life, this ordinary woman one day decide to tail her child and single-handedly sneak up on the cult and observe their activities, perhaps hoping to snap some pictures and drag in the local authorities. An act of heroism, arguably, but it's a stupid idea. As she observe the hooded figures, trying to see which one is her child, a horrible monster emerge from the shadows and attacks her for daring to observe the cult. She's going to die.

Angrey, from Garo.

Out of the darkness, another monster emerge and takes the blow for her. Before she can even ask what is going on, the 'monster' speaks up and barks at her to leave if she wants to live. Terrified, the woman runs away but ultimately curiosity makes her look from a distance as the two monsters fight. Finally, her savior destroy the creature (which become an ordinary human in the same black cloaks as the cultists) and then...collapse in pain before he too revert into an ordinary person in horrible pain, which struggles to get back up, body and mind shattered by the eldritch powers they were currently a host to. Just what the hell happened?

Game Pitch

Main Inspirations: Devilman, Guyver, Kamen Rider Kuuga, Kamen Rider Agito, Kamen Rider Amazons and the Garo franchise
The idea itself is very similar to ordinary Silent Legions, albeit a bit more combat-focused. Not that it mean combat will be a piece of cake. Far from it. Not only do the characters have to contend with the horror outside, they also have to deal with the horror within.

There's been an upsurge in eldritch phenomena and murders in recent years around the area where the game is set. That area could be anywhere with enough people but personally I do think using Tokyo in the recent past is a good idea: for one thing, Japan allows one to more properly homage the key inspirations and also has the added bonus of limiting access to guns a whole lot more than setting the game in the United States*. The near past (from the '70 to the early 2000, depending on your flavor and how much research you want to do) has an added bonus that smartphones and social medias aren't a thing yet, limiting exposure of the eldritch as well as making finding information harder.

*This isn't me lecturing on gun control. I have no particular stance on it as it related to American politics, not being American, I'm simply stating that Japan has far more draconian gun laws which make getting your hands on a gun able to make holes in a monster far more difficult unless you're willing to deal with the Yakuza. Which is convenient for a horror game.

They could be parasite, they could be mimicking humans or they could be themselves transformed human. Or they could be all at once and also nothing like that at the same time. Whatever the case is, an ancient race (or a collection of races) of eldritch beings has arisen in the area. They prey on humans, be it their minds, flesh or sanity. They are forming cults, horrible cults which commit endless atrocities. There is a good chance they are preparing for an incoming eldritch apocalypse, possible the awakening of ancient and vile, thirsting gods. All hope is likely lost.

Another Agito

A hero emerges? Yeah, right, good luck...

Not all hope is lost. Somehow (depending on the needs of the game, this could happen mid-game even!) there exist ancient, petrified artifacts of some lost order of antediluvian warriors, human or not, who fought back against the darkness before the dawn of recorded history. They did not win but the eldritch horrors left mankind (mostly) alone for millennia after their battle. Now that the ancient beings are rising again there is hope, if people are brave enough to wield this ancient power.

Except it's not a walk in the park.

Oh sure, you get to be what people call a 'henshin hero': you transform into a super powered form able to go toe to toe with eldritch monstrosities. Unfortunately, the downsides is that it mean you are yourself now an eldritch monster. The process is painful, maddening and will eventually kill you if it doesn't make you go mad.

How it all works, in theory anyway...

Here's some bullet points on how the idea for such a game would work:
  • The monsters are scary in a realistic way. What I mean by that is that when these bastards start butchering people there is no PG or PG-13 violence. These are monsters who can chow down the average human like it's nothing.
  • The transformation is limited. Ideally, the artifact which allow humans to temporarily transform into horrible monsters themselves should be limited, maybe 1 or maximum 2 in the entire game. Furthermore, the amount of time one can spend transformed is measured in mere rounds with a serious cool down time.
  • The transformation is horrific and dangerous. The ancient humans (or whatever they were) fought fire with fire and using these artifacts make you some horrible monsters which is likely to terrify people. Furthermore, using it too much and for too long will guarantee you go insane and become a monster.
  • Expect to pass on the powers several times. When the current wielder goes insane/die, the artifact become usable by someone else, who can now pick up the mantle and go into battle by turning into a monster. It is likely many characters can and will die and the players have to replace their ranks, possibly even having to hunt down strong-willed individuals to rope up or even force into their desperate crusade by shoving them the transformation trinket and not telling them the side-effects.
  • Those wielding the power will degenerate. There's pain, madness and a whole lot of problems. There should be some kind of corruption table. In other words, whichever character (PC or NPC) currently wielding the artifact is a dead man (or woman) walking who is buying humanity a bit more time.
  • The powers become more terrifying as they are used. There should be a power growth for the artifact's transformed state the more it is used by individuals not killed in the first or second use. This power growth is a terrifying thing. At first they just gain some measure of super strength, toughness and agility but then they might find there are more sanity-warping abilities. And what if one of them goes rogue?
  • Those who are ordinary humans are still useful, if not more! Just because your character isn't wielding the doomed artifact doesn't mean they sit on their asses. Being a slightly-more-sane investigator who doesn't have to deal with eldritch degeneration mean you can perform the expected investigator duties, finding and exposing monsters and cults.
The rest can and should be fairly standard Silent Legions fare, believe it or not. The rest depend if the group the player characters belong to is an impromptu one of loosely allied ordinary people who have agreed to fight the horror in the shadow, sacrificing one of them to become that thing. Alternatively they could be some cult themselves, amusingly enough. Just one with slightly more benevolent goals. Maybe.

Additional threats would be law enforcement. Sure, on paper having the cops on your side seems good but then there's the issue that your merry band of 'heroes' is killing cultists and transformed human and doing shady activities to possibly stay afloat. Of course, there is also a good chance the cops have some monsters in their ranks and don't even realize it, which could go a long way to explain how so many of these newborn cults have evaded the authorities even as they go kidnapping and murdering people.

Of course there is a good chance the 'masquerade' gets utterly broken. This is normal and even to be expected, but it will also mean mass hysteria and people murdering each others as they try to expose who is and isn't actually a monsters/a human turned into a monster.

Thoughts? Is there any potential in the idea or is it dumb?

Godbound: The Oasis States and their God-Kings, Part 3

Few in Arcem have both mastered and debased the power of flesh and blood as the Oasian, safe perhaps their distant relatives in the Ancalian barrows. While they are most famous for their inbreeding and theurgic might the Oasian nobles and their augmented warriors are a fearsome military in Arcem. It is perhaps fortunate they seem more content to keeping to their desert as all should fear the godly warriors from the burning sands.

Inaros with the Ramses skin, from Warframe

Armies of the Desert

The forces of the Oasis states consist of augmented warriors: bloodline of superior stock than ordinary humans but far removed from the noble lines or more recent creations born of eugenics in hope of reinvigorating the ranks with superior soldiers. Others are the result of flesh warping and organ-grafting, short lived abominations dedicated to their masters or animal-headed savage beast-men. The warriors of the desert are agile and precise but their overall potency pale compared to the Ancalian cousins and they are not as durable as the undying automatons of Nezdovha. However they are more organized, more numerous and far more established as warriors. Elite warriors and heroes armed with ancestral theotechnical weaponry from the days of Polyarchy of Kham can cause far more havoc and carnage on a battlefield than peasants with spears and crude automatons. Morale of the Nobles is questionable, however: their erratic personalities make them prone to scatter in confusion as each one start barking conflicting orders, each convinced of the absolute certainty of their plan.

In battle, aerial supremacy is a common tactic: not every Noble is gifted with wings (biological or mechanical) but other forms of personal flight are extremely common, from theurgic incantations to billowing dust clouds and summoned mounts. Flying high above the battlefield, the battle-sorcerers of the Oasian Nobles rain divine judgment upon their enemies and, sometimes, may or may not destroy those they no longer have a need for or those who have slighted them.

Statting the Nobles

Aside from their statline below (Lesser, Average, Greater, Battle-Sorcerer or Sorcerer-Lord) which represent a gradient increase in overall noble power, potency and insanity each Noble is likely to have a semi-unique set of Gifts which extrapolate a mixture of personal skills and inherited transhuman legacy.
  • All Nobles of Average or greater rank have at least Adept of the Gate. Battle-Sorcerers all have Adept of the Way and the Sorcerer-Lords have Adept of the Throne. There might be a few Greater Nobles who lack such a gift but then simple substitute it for a suitable Gift of the Words of Alacrity, Might, Endurance or Command to represent a lineage warrior-princes and generals who prefer to lead armies than use sorcery.
  • All Nobles of Average or Greater rank have at least one Word bound to allow them some forms of Miracles.
  • Quite a few, if not most Nobles are utterly immune to fire and heat. Of course, do keep in mind a Godbound of Fire can utterly bypass such resistance. This does give, however, a massive advantage when the Oasian fight on their own turf as they need not fear the environmental effects of the scorching desert. Augmented warriors can exist in the harshest of environments with almost no water or food, similar to the passive effect of the Desert Word.

Augmented Warrior
Lesser Noble
+8 x2
+10 x2
Greater Noble
+12 x2
1d8 Straight
40’ Fly
Battle Sorcerer
Auto x2
1d10 Straight
40’ Fly
Sorcerer Lord
Auto x2
1d12 Straight
40’ Fly

The Gifts of the Oasian Nobles are quite varied and compared to the mechanical Boyar they tend to have a few more Gifts, as they tend to rely on flashy powers and their use of Effort when fighting something on their level of power. Lesser Nobles and above have at least two gifts, one rolled in each column.

Combat Gift
Support Gift
Sirocco Sword
Nimbus Of Flame
All Directions As One
Heart Of The Lion
Omnipresent Reach
Veiled Step
The Seeking Flight
Shining Mirage
Searing Blade
Hope Of Dawn
Flesh Of Shifting Sand
Purity Of Brilliant Law

Oasian Names

Of course, none of these kind of posts are complete without an expansive list of names, which can be used for the posthuman nobles and their various near-human underclasses of servants and warriors alike. Oasian names naturally draw heavily upon Egyptian names with a slight fantasy bent.

Male Names
Female Names
The Pure
The Flawless
The Fair
The Unfair
Hand of the Storm
The Destroyer
The Magician
The Motherless/Fatherless