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Friday, 23 February 2018

Conceptualizing the 'Gods & Monsters' Sandbox, Part 1

This post was written as I actually noted down the concepts and ideas for the campaign pitch. This is as close as one can get to real-time posting, I suppose...

Gods and Monsters may very well be my second favorite thing to come out of FATE. At the risk of sounding like a try hard going "I'm one of you, guys!": I don't like FATE, I mean, conceptually it's okay, its just the storygame equivalent to GURPS in a way. However, after a brief period of love it just came to be that I don't like or even 'get' story games and so I drifted back to older RPG. They are more to my tastes. Regardless of mentality in the story game community, smug mindset of people mocking older RPG and the entire host of needless drama, there have been some FATE books I've truly enjoyed even if I'd never run these settings with FATE. These are Baroque Space Opera, an euro comic-inspired scifi setting which is heavily inspired by the likes of 'The Meta Barons' and 'Gods and Monsters'. This is the one I'll focus on.


"The world of Gods and Monsters is untamed and primeval, and in a certain sense allegorical—it’s the sort of world where the sun is a ball of nuclear fire, a golden chariot, or just that thing where light comes from, depending on which story is being told. The wild places of the world are just more than their modern equivalents: the mountains are more rugged, the forests are darker and more tangled, the ocean is more capricious and full of sea monsters. Human civilization takes the form of scattered villages or nomadic tribes, with the occasional town where the population is dense enough to warrant one, working hard to push back the boundaries of the wilderness and bring more of the world under their control."
-Gods and Monsters


This is from the book itself.
Gods and Monsters immediately tickles my fancy for mythology, as if previous posts hadn't made this clear by now. It ticks all the right boxes to be an appealing concept (aside from being made for FATE): it's a primordial world with gods made to be a vast canvas waiting to be filled with strange tales, myths, monsters and epics (in the classical sense). Its a very solid high concept for a Godbound game.

But what are the 'rules' and concepts to Gods and Monsters which would make it different enough from a typical Godbound game? What does it bring to the table? What are it's key elements?

  • The World is Young: This is a world barely in its infancy, just past the cosmic creation. This is markedly different from the ancient, decaying and broken world of Godbound.
  • The World is Allegorical: Rather than the crumbling ruins of theotechnical (read: god-stuff magitek) world, with rewritten natural laws and complex technologies and sorcery reshaping or having reshaped it, the 'weirdness' of the G&M world is because its simply more symbolic.
  • Regions with Clear Cut Themes: This is partially tied to its storygame roots, but the regions of the world are given certain aspects and themes, like how the plains are 'vast and open'. These are all 'high concepts' to a region, almost like a platonic ideal. I like that. I'm keeping this.
  • Gods were never human: This is one of the clear difference between Godbound and Gods and Monsters. The Gods of G&M are described as 'a locus of power that wears a form and walks the world'. This mean Gods aren't simply mortals and immortal beings bounded to a Word of Creation, they may very be a reflection or embodiment of the Word of Creation. Of course, many gods can and will assume human characteristics, but this is not required.
  • Gods can become Monsters: A god which lose itself in its power become a Monster. Given these are Word-bound beings of great power which can shape the world just as much as a Pantheon, we could narrow it down to them serving a role similar to the Angels and Parasite Gods. However, this will also mean we need a system to represent the risk a God has of turning into a Monster. Is this 100% necessary? How much should it take? I'm not sure yet, so its entirely possible to assume this is optional and that playable Gods simply don't turn into monsters. Decisions, decisions...
  • Gods are Immortal ...maybe?: By default, the Gods of G&M are immortal and always have a mean of coming back. I don't think this is entirely needed and is a bit more of a storygame concept. However, given how easily a Godbound can become immune to mundane dangers, this doesn't need specific rules: a few miracles or gifts can turn a bronze sword to the gut from death to 'ow'. They would certainly be ageless and immune to mundane problems such as sickness, which would certainly be a massive danger in such a primitive world.
  • Everything Else isn't worth mentioning: The game has a lot of rules and how to handle a God changing things. These aren't really important, since Godbound already has all that. No need to reinvent the wheel here.
As I type this, I've spent the last ten minutes re-reading key parts of the book to make sure I had everything nailed down. I still do, so good, now I can proceed in fleshing out the concept. Keep in mind this is less of an edited post and more of a train of thought turned into a post.

Now is there any concepts in Godbound I'd need to establish within his kind of setting to make the two merge seamlessly? Well, Godbound has its Celestial Engines but I believe those don't necessarily need to be ridden of. Given how young and primordial this world is, how vast and filled with pure wonder and power that its engines of creation may as well just be actual, physical parts of the world itself. This mean harvesting Celestial Shards requires breaking and/or remolding of parts of the world, permanently changing it. The idea is crazy and destructive, filled with potential so I like it! I'll keep it. Perhaps there are other, smaller fonts of power to tap into but these probably take far more time to harvest and acquire and maybe they yield less shards.

But what about character creation? This is worth considering, after all. The G&M book associate Geas to a God's mantle. Their concept is their sense of self. Well, that is fairly easy to translate to Godbound as it include actual part of their sheet: their choice of Words and Facts. So far so good. 
  • Perhaps players should choose a Consuming Temptation or Taboo Behavior? Or there could be some drawbacks a God(bound) choose which reflect some fundamental aspect of their nature which limits them.
  • Should Artifice not be a Word to keep that Bronze Age feel? Perhaps its invention, as a Word, would be a major setting milestone.
  • What about Sorcery? This one too could perhaps not exist, as odds are not even Low Magic would exist.
All in all, surprisingly little need to change between these two games conceptually, despite how the two are byproducts of two completely different mindset of game design.


Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Random Hungry Dead (Ghoul and Ghast)

Myths are replete with creatures from beyond the grave which hungers for something the living can give them, be it flesh, blood, souls or something else. For simplicity we'll call them the Hungry Dead but you know them as Ghoul, Ghast and other names.
I forgot what specific D&D book this one is from.
If you'd ask my players even going back to the days of high school, if there is one low-level monster I loved to use quite a bit, they would name you not the goblin or the orc but the disgusting Ghoul, followed by other similar undead creatures. There is just something lovely and macabre about these kind of monsters which set them apart and put them above the simple zombie or skeleton. Maybe its their hunger for flesh, mobility and animalistic cunning. There is just something disturbing and vicious in these monsters, not to mention the fact they much more ancient roots than the modern shambling zombie. There is something more ancient, more evil about them.

The tables use Labyrinth Lord as a loose basis.


How much Hit Dice does it have?

d4 Hit Dice
1-2It has the usual amount of Hit Dice a Ghoul has.
3The hunger has given it greater power. It has +1 Hit Dice.
4
This creature most probably has fed for years. it has +2 Hit Dice.

What kind of monstrosity is it?

d4 Nature
1-2 Reanimated Corpse: This hungry dead is a reanimated body in some stage of decay. Roll on the Reanimated Corpse table.
3
Hungry Ghost: Technically speaking, this is a form of ghost but it manifest as a solid, monstrous tulpa-beast or it has reanimated a corpse (possibly not even its own). Roll on the Hungry Ghost table.
4
Possessed Corpse: Similar to the above, but whatever is animating that corpse is not the original inhabitant of that rotting pile of meat but rather some evil spirit. Roll on the Possessed Corpse table.

d4 Reanimated Corpse
1-2 Rotting Corpse: The hungry dead looks like a rotting corpse, as one would expect, albeit a warped and hungry-looking one.
3 Feral Beast: The hungry dead is a warped, feral thing which has lost most traits one would associate with humanity. Its hands are like talons and its mouth is full of fangs or maybe its face has become warped to look like some animal skull.
4 Bloated Corpse: The creature is a fat, blubbery and pale thing. It gain +1 HP/hit dice but lose 10’ of movement speed.

d4Hungry Ghost
1-2The Hunger: The creature is impossibly lean and pale. It looks hungry and sickly. Its mouth is twice the size of what it should and filled with needle-like teeth. The first time it deal damage to a target in combat it deals an additional 1d4 damage.
3Mutilated: The hungry dead appears to be a mangled corpse torn apart by wild beasts or hacked apart by weapons. Smoke trails off from its wounds where blood would flow.
4Goblin-Ghost: The hungry dead looks more like some goblin or imp than a ghoul. Roll on the Goblin-Ghost and Spell table.

d4 Possessed Corpse
1 Skeletal: Most of the flesh has rotten away on this monstrosity yet it still hunger. A malign glow erupt from its empty eye socket and mouth. Despite its decrepit appearance, it is quite powerful. The creature take half damage except from bludgeoning weapons or magic.
2 Warped: Its limbs are too long. It has too many joints. Or maybe it has grown vestigial organs a human would never have. Its flesh is unnaturally hardy, making it take half damage except from slashing weapons or magic. Roll on the Warped table.
3 Bestial: The creature has become warped and twisted into some animalistic abomination, more beast than human. Roll 1d2 times on the Animal table.
4
Hardy Demon: Whatever fiend inhabit this corpse is a powerful one. The creature turn as if it had twice the amount of Hit Dice. Reroll on this table, ignoring this result.

d4Warped
1Spiky: Jagged bone spurs erupt from its dead flesh. Increase its damage by one category.
2Bone Plates: The bone of the hungry dead protrude not as spikes, but as armor. Improve its AC by 1.
3Jointed Limbs: It moves more like a spider than a human. Increase its movement speed by 20' and can walk on walls.
4Vestigial Limbs: It has an extra attack.

d4Animal
1Jackal: Increase its damage by one category.
2Vulture: Flight speed equal to land speed.
3Locust: Surrounded by buzzing locusts that deal 1d4 damage/round.
4Maggot: Breath weapon of foul, flesh-eating maggots that deal 2d6 damage. This ability is used instantly if its damaged twice in the same round as its flesh burst open. It takes 1d4 rounds to recharge.

d6 Goblin-Ghost
1 Unnatural Skin: The skin of the hungry dead has taken on a truly unnatural hue. Roll on the Unnatural Colors table.
2 Long Tongue: Its tongue is a long, disgusting appendage which function like a whip in combat.
3 Hairy: The hungry dead has filthy fur, with a 50% chance of it being an Unnatural Color.
4 Bulging Eyes: The eyes of the creature are huge things which erupt from it’s face, able to look in different directions at once. There is a 50% chance it is an unnatural color.
5 Bat Wings: A pair of bat wings erupt from it’s back, giving it a clumsy flight half its ground speed.
6 Reroll 1d4 times on this table, ignoring this result.

d6Spell
1Mind Control: By chanting blasphemous songs, the Hungry Dead can cast Charm Monster.
2Madness: By howling madly, the Hungry Dead can cast Confusion.
3Warp Domain: By uttering vile curses, the creature can cast Hallucinatory terrain.
4Change Form: By turning on itself three times, the Hungry Dead can use Polymorph Self.
5Curse of the Dead: Reciting dread incantations, the creature can cast a reversed Bless spell.
6Dead Companion: Swearing unholy oaths, the Hungry Dead can cast Animate Dead.

d20 Unnatural Color
1 Sickly green. 6 Light purple.
2 Sickly yellow. 7 Red.
3 Orange 8 Green.
4 Light blue. 9 Orange.
5 Light green. 10 Purple.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

LUCHA LEGIONS!!! House Rules for Wrestling Matches

In order to make for more intense wrestling matches (and I mean those with regular humans with the intent of putting on a show and not using wrestling moves to slam cultists) for my Lucha Libre game, I've worked on some crude house rules. They are meant to encourage long, flashy drawn-out tag team matches.

Booyah!

You can find the rules here.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Random Monstrous Humanoids, Part 2 (People)

Not every monster is truly that fantastical. Some, it turns out, are much more like us than we may initially believe. Many, if not most modern interpretations of orcs and other fantasy races fall into this category of mostly being strange-looking humans. They fall in the category of looking like humans with strange makeup, less a creature of myths and more an alien from a Star Trek episode.

Orc Ranger by Windmaker

For various reasons, these beings are more suitable to be monsters than a race. This mean this table deliberately skew toward creating things with a reason to want to kill adventurers, However that doesn't mean all of them are instantly hostile. They are only 'monstrous humanoids' from the point of view of humans.

What do they look like?

d6Appearance
1-2Mostly Human: Physically they are quite close to humans, except maybe for their size (previously rolled on another table). There is a 50% chance they have some monstrous feature. If so, roll 1d2 times on the Monstrous Features table.
3-4Strange: They look somewhat like humans but have many strange features. roll 1d4 times on the Monstrous Features table.
5Feral Markings: Most of their warriors are covered in vicious, terrifying-looking tattoos and other willing deformities. There is a 50% chance they have some monstrous feature. If so, roll 1d2 times on the Monstrous Features table.
6Deformed: They are deformed in some way, at least to humans. Roll on the Deformity table.


d6Skin Color
1-2Human-Like: They have a skin color within the range possible for humans.
3-4Strange: Their skin is a color no human could have. Roll on the Skin Color table.
5Scaly: They have smooth, thin scales.
6Gooey: Their skin is oily and somewhat stretching.


d20 Color
1 Red 11 Sickly green.
2 Blue 12 Sickly yellow.
3 Green 13 Like bone.
4 Yellow 14 Bronze.
5 Orange 15 Gold.
6 Purple 16 Mottled.
7 Grey 17Stripes.
8 Jet Black 18 Piebald.
9 Pure White 19 Spotted.
10 Almost Translucent 20 Reroll 1d4 times and combine somehow.

d20 Monstrous Features
1 Heavy, beetle brow. 11 No nose, only slits.
2 Spiky brow. 12 Large teeth.
3 Enormous, hairy eyebrows. 13 Tusks.
4 Feral-looking eyes. 14 1d4 stubby horns.
5 Monochromatic eyes. Roll on color. 15 Small spines on their limbs.
6 Enormous ears. 16 Ridged head.
7 Pointy ears. 17 Long limbs.
8 Seemingly no (visible) ears. 18 Hairless.
9 Upturned, piglike nose. 19 Extremely hairy, even the females.
10 Pointy nose, twice the normal human size. 20 Sexually non-dimorphic, all look like ugly guys. Lead to rumor of not having females, much like dwarves.

d4Deformities
1Missing Body Part: There is a body part they lack. If its a sensory organ, they can make do without it.
2Multiple Limbs: They have two extra arms, which allow them to wield more weapons.
3Smooth Features: They look more like waxy mannequin than humans. Their nose, ears and lips are almost nonexistent or very small.
4Berserk Rage: A mental deformation rather than physical, these creatures have an all consuming blood lust when injured, gaining +2 Morale. This lead to a reputation of being extremely violent.


How intelligent and civilized are they?


d4Intelligence and Civilization
1Barely More than Animals: These creatures, while socially organized, are not very technologically or culturally developed. Any weapon and armor more complex than a spear or a stone axe is stolen from their enemies.
2Tribal Society: These beast-men live in primitive tribal society with a certain level of organization, at least enough to launch raids or defend themselves properly.
3Human-Like: In spite of their monstrous appearance, they are almost as (or just as) advanced as humans, even if their culture may very well be quite alien.
4More Advanced: They're actually more advanced than humans in some regards, such as metallurgy or alchemy. This only fuel their disdain for the primitive and stupid humans!

Why are they hostile?


d6Appearance
1-2Demanding Gods: Their god(s) demand sacrifices in blood, so they regularly capture humans.
3-4Territorial: They don't like humans and certainly don't like sharing a space with them. They don't understand them and their culture has nothing in common.
5Enslaved: Some monstrous foe (an undead sorcerer, a dragon or demon) has enslaved their tribe, possibly for generations. All they know is killing for his goals and needs.
6Uncaring: They don't care about humans and don't even recognize them as sentient.

What is their magic?

d6Their Magic
1-2No Magic: They don't practice magic. Its possible they have some Cleric or Magic-Users, but those are rare. They are unlikely to have magic items they've made themselves.
3-4Crude Magic: They have practitioners of magic of some form, but they are not common.
5Magic Dominant: Magic Users or Cleric are their leaders. They have a lot of magic items.
6Unknown Magic: The magic they use is strange and alien to other races and nothing like that of Cleric or Magic-Users. Roll on the Unknown Magic table.


d4Unknown Magic
1Blood Magic: By sacrificing parts of themselves and others to who-knows-what, these beings can invoke some terrifying magic.
2Elemental Magic: These beings practice elemental magic in ways magic-users generally don't. They summon razor winds, blow ashes which sucks the heat of living beings and other strange things.
3Curses: The practice of curses is the main form of magic these beings use. Kill them at your own risk.
4Mutation Magic: They use magic not to cast spell but imbue themselves and animals they raise, becoming stronger, faster, healing instantly or morphing into huge monsters.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Having Fun With The 'Limited Campaign' Idea

A thought experiment, I suppose. Right now I don't really have any plans to run anything beside what I'm already working on. However, this post inspired me to try my hand at a 'Limited Campaign' concept. Bit of a rambling thought experiment, one could argue. Just to change things from my usual OSR-related posting I'll use Pathfinder+Epic 6 as a basis.

Main Concept: Pathfinder+Mesoamerica+Dash of Gothic Horror
Basically? A fairly high fantasy setting which draws inspiration from meso-american myths and the era of conquest following the arrival of the Europeans. A dark era and theme? Maybe so, but add in a dash of Gothic Horror and it become clear this is not meant to be a pleasant world. Good and evil exist but they aren't quite as clear cut as one may expect. It's a messed up world designed to make players mildly uncomfortable.

The world is ruled by the Seven Gods, four of which are no longer worshiped/dead/missing. The world is cyclical, or so legends go. Today the land of is a broken one following it's conquest by travelers from oversea. Once, long ago, humans had a common root but at the end of the Last Sun the earth and sea were rent asunder, isolating the various human tribes. When they finally made contact again, they were culturally so different that things got...messy. The fact that the Gods are silent on the true why for this bloodshed make things worse. Some believe there was a war in heaven and that the Gods are just as divided as the humans.

Races

There's going to be seven races, as Hack & Slash outline. Now obviously, for simplicity I'll use humans as one of the basic available races.
  1. Human*: The basic, the common and the mundane. People say they are boring but I personally like to ground my fantasy more into a human-centric worldview nowadays, as it make things more easily fantastical if the truly alien and magical things are more of an unknown and alien thing.
  2. Changeling*: They carry the ancient and potent blood of the Shadow Lord in their veins. It runs thicker in them than in any human.
  3. Gillmen: Considered to be predecessors of humans. They are alien and ill-understood and worship long-forgotten gods of the primordial depth.
  4. Half-Orcs*: Long ago, a population of ogres were converted by a holy man.. These surface orcs ogre are smaller, less monstrous than their kin but are civilized and have mingled with humans. Pious, they have combined their new faith with their ancient tribal markings, inscribing colorful prayers on their very skin. Half Orcs have the Sacred Tattoo racial trait.
  5. Strix: Some of the beings from the previous world are said to have 'become as birds'.
  6. Vanara: Much like the Gillmen and Strix, it is said they come from a previous incarnation of the world.
  7. Vishkanya: Called the Serpent-Folks, they are descendants of humans who worshiped The Renewal Lord under his 'Snake God' aspect. The worship of the Snake God is illegal and they are second-class citizen. Their poisonous bodies are rightfully feared.
*Are those races available at the start of the game.

Classes

Now, moving on to classes. Obviously, the Fighter and Rogue classes will be included as they cover a fairly wide (and dare I say, mundane) archetype.

  1. Cavalier: Knightly orders are a common thing on the 'old continent'.
  2. Fighters (or maybe Brawler?): Every setting need it's option to play a simple warrior.
  3. Inquisitor: These divine servants gain their powers through worship and rite, not blood. They bring down judgement.
  4. Oracle: The Eleven Gods aren't just served by Clerics, but also by Oracles. Many descent from ancient bloodlines who bear the blood of saints and monsters alike. Their connection to the divine is a double-edged sword.
  5. Ranger: There are still vast swathe of wilderness and those who learn to live in it. Rangers use the Skirmisher archetype and thus lack spells.
  6. Rogue: There are those who live with their wits, skill and some trickery in all societies.
  7. Sorcerer: 'Arcane' magic in this setting is derived from bearing the blood of the god of trickery, magic and fate.

Gods (The Three and the Four)

While separated by millennia of cultural drift, the humans (and perhaps every race, really...) worship the same Gods. Very differently, mind you, but the same gods nonetheless. These are not kind gods. They demand sacrifice, be it in blood, flesh or in dreadful oaths of loyalty and vengeance. Lay priests and worshipers obviously worship all of them, but Inquisitors  and Oracles are obviously tied to a specific god for the purpose of receiving powers as they are initiated into the deeper mysteries surrounding the cult of these Gods.

The Morning Lord
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Domains: Glory, Nobility and Sun
Mystery: Heaven and Solar
The Morning Lord preside over the rebirth of the sun, it's glory and all the bounty associated with it's continual glow. He is considered to be one of the more important Gods.

The Bloody Lord
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Domains: Protection, Strength and War
Mystery: Battle and Metal
Eternally-wounded, eternally-bleeding he is the patron of all forms of conflict. People fear him but also worship him for his protection. Warriors of all stripes frequently ask priests of the Blood Lord to anoint them in blood.

The Renewal Lord
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Domains: Healing, Repose and Weather
Mystery: Life and Wind
Of the major Gods, only the Renewal Lord is Chaotic. He's associated with that alignment due to the 'necessity of renewal and constant change', such as life and death (and rebirth) and the cycle of the seasons.

The Dead Lord
Each time the world renew itself, sacrifice must be made. This God sacrificed himself and ignited the sun to pass on to the Morning Lord, dying in the process. He is not worshiped because he is considered to be dead but a few heretics are said to draw upon his power and discarded body parts to wield necromantic powers.

The Missing Lord
It is said He will return when the time come, with some saying he'll return as the world end or at the start of the new one to bring new wisdom and impart law upon the mortal races. Folklore is replete with appearances of him in the form of a white-bearded travelling old man but priests consider it mildly blasphemous to say he stopped by for a drink.

The Lady of Endings
She only appear at the 'end of the cycle' and unleash her slavering hordes of monsters to cleanse the world. She has no priests and little to not shrines safe for those mad men who dare dwell in forces-man-was-not-meant-to-know. When the time come she'll return and exist again. And the world will drown in darkness.

The Shadow Lord
Lord of the night, trickery, magic and fate. While he is part of the pantheon, those from the 'old lands' have stopped worshiping 'him', citing his chaotic nature as blasphemous or at the very least dangerous. The patron of heroes just as much as monsters, 'he' is a force of unbridled chaos and change for both good and ill. Sometimes called the Night Lord or the Black Mother, his malleable form has given him the most varied incarnations and the Shadow Lord appear equally male and female.

Sorcerer Bloodlines

In ancient times (When the Shadow Lord ruled, some say), human stock was mingled with that of other beings. Other say the Shadow Lord saw the need to infuse some human bloodlines with sorcerous powers while others believe he did it simply to make the world a strange place on a whim. Changeling, in particular, are direct descendants of these beings. However Sorcerer potential appears in seemingly-human individuals while other races display their own variation.
  1. Destined: One of the more common and 'universal' bloodline which are said to carry the blood/gift of the Shadow Lord in his aspect of the Fate Master and/or The Trickster.
  2. Arcane: Another common and 'universal' bloodline, The 'blood of magicians'. Many of it's bearers are feared but well-regarded scholars.
  3. Shadow: The third most common and 'universal' bloodline, the 'blood of shadow' gives it's bearer the powers of the Shadow Lord in his most common aspect.
  4. Ghoul: Did the Shadow Lord create the first ghouls long ago and if so how and why? Some say he used parts of the flesh of his deceased brother, the now-Dead Lord. Others say he didn't create this Bloodline but rather that it was a byproduct of later experimentation by some of his most ambitious servants. Others simply believe it arise naturally in ghouls and half ghouls.
  5. Imperious: In ancient times, the Shadow Lord blessed human nobles with a bloodline which grant them the power of dominion.
  6. Orc: The blood of half-orcs half-ogres which allow them to tap in their power as brutal creatures of the night.
  7. Serpentine: The bloodline of the Vishkanya and a few humans with a Vishkanya parent.

Monsters

Only seven monsters, huh? Well, given that and the use of E6 (and thus focusing on lower levels) I'd say most enemies are humanoids. Plenty of cultists, bandits and pillagers from enemy nations and empires. A period of political and religious unrest gives plenty of reasons to fight people more than monsters. If one feels like cheating, this excludes giant and dire versions of animals.
  1. Aboleth: Re-imagined as the spawns of some watery entity akin to Cipactli. They are ancient, pre-human terrors of the sea and the hidden masters of the Gillmen.
  2. Ahuitzotl: Terrifying critters who haunt the waterways and swamps.
  3. Chupacabras: These annoying buggers are just mundane enough to be almost animals, but supernatural enough to be terrifying to just about everyone.
  4. Ghouls: In a world full of blood and flesh sacrifices, of course one would expect Ghouls (and, cheating a bit, Ghasts). Part-scavenger, part-corruption of rites, the Ghouls of this world have an unusual role. Ancient tales hold them to be connected to the gods but today they are feared and reviled as a plague. Powerful ghouls have class levels as Oracles. Ghouls fill the niche one would expect Vampires to fill.
  5. Ogre: All that remain of the once-glorious giant race (except half-orcs half-ogres), these creatures are misshapen, ashen-skinned brutes with feral faces. They have eyes, ears and fangs of jaguars and other large cats and spots or stripes on their hairy bodies. At least, that's the most common breed around these parts.
  6. +Mongrel Giant: That should help spice up Ogres! These Ogres have more potent abilities and a stronger blood connection to their ancestors. The smartest and most charismatic of their kind have Sorcerer levels and/or possibly the Advanced template.
  7. Shadows: They aren't just regular shadows, they are (un)living shadows from times when the sun didn't shine. They are alien creatures, who were never alive. They hunger.

Transformers-Inspired Monster: The Hun-Gurr (Basic Fantasy)

Here is a silly idea: taking weird, monstrous Transformers alternate modes and turning them into tabletop monsters!

Basically a two-headed dragon. I think?
Sometimes known as an Algean Two-Headed Razor Beast, the Hun-Gurr is a voracious bi cephalic monster. These creatures are less of a threat than they look because they can be lazy and will prefer to attack prays that won't put up much of a fight or even non-living things, resulting in these monsters eating whole forests or monsters. Hun-Gurrs are capable of speech but since they're always stuffing their twin faces they are easily misunderstood. Their most disturbing ability is that they can use the partially-digested inorganic matter as a weapon.


Hun-Gurr
Armor Class:
16
Hit Dice:
10
No. Of Attacks:
2 Bites or 2 Spit 60' Special*
Damage:
1d6 Bite, Special Spit*
Movement:
40'
No. Appearing:
1, Lair 1d2
Save As:
Fighter 10
Morale:
8
Treasure Type:
H
Experience:
1300


A Hun-Gurr has 4d6 'blobs' worth of semi-digested matter in it's stomach when encountered. Each blob spent in an attack deal 1d6 damage and tt can fire up to four in a single burst, to a maximum of 4d6 damage.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Steal This Game: Gods and Monsters for Godbound


Once more, a good game concept open with a bit of a negative comment from me. Maybe it's exactly why I talk about these other games when it come to 'stealing' their setting and concept for Godbound. Maybe its just these games works off mechanics I don't like. In any case, today's focus is Gods and Monsters. A FATE game. Yes, you heard me ri- no please, don't run away! Please!

Available as a 'pay-what-you-want' PDF on Drivethru RPG, Gods and Monsters has a similar central concept to Godbound in that you play divine beings. However, whereas Godbound take place in a decayed, post apocalyptic world past the end times the world of Gods and Monsters is much, much younger. Its a young world where most myths still need to be told. While FATE is a 'story game', I find that the core concept and ideas of this game are surprisingly applicable to a sandbox Godbound game. Its world is pretty much nothing but wild expanses of primordial locales which are more archetypal than real, such as a great near-endless ocean or the First City (maybe there's a second one? Who knows?). Its more late neolithic and early bronze age or perhaps more accurately recalling those periods before recorded human-history-as-we-know-it in myths, such as the previous 'ages' of Greek myths or past Yugas of Hinduism. Its Gods are just human enough to be understandable and relatable and just inhuman and allegorical enough to be strong and and wonderful.

If you want a game that is more Epic of Gilgamesh this is well worth a read. I'm well aware FATE (and its fanbase) have a lot of bad blood with the OSR community but this game is a worthwhile read nonetheless, at least in my opinion.

I might even revisit this one later down the line on how to use it for Sandbox play. In fact I will!

Random Vampire

Few creatures are as iconic to modern pop culture, be it fantasy and horror, as the vampires. Few creatures have also been through such a long and convoluted transformation which is still going on today. The 'modern' vampire emerged from Gothic horror fiction: Varney the Vampire, Carmilla, The Vampyre and of course Dracula. The one which really made it's mark on pop culture is Dracula, obviously. I'm sure this one need no introduction.

No Way Out.

Blood suckers. Immortals. Creatures of the night. Vampires. They (used to) inspire fear but nowadays most people know the basics on what vampires can and cannot do. Combined with pop culture increasingly humanizing them and removing the more obscure and symbolic powers has resulted in a monster which is, frankly, less monster and more human. To some extent, this humanization can make Vampires just as if not more terrifying but one has to admit that losing their near-demonic side has cheapened the creature. At least this is how I feel when it come to vampire: they're not monstrous or scary anymore unless someone goes out of their way to make them a genuine threat. These tables will generate something a bit like a 'Gothic vampire' with a few twists.

How much Hit Dice does it have?

d10 Number of Hit Dice
1-2 6 Hit Dice. Least of the true vampires but still a threat. Roll 2 Defensive Powers and 1d4+1 Others Powers.
3-4 8 Hit Dice. A dangerous threat. Roll 2 Defensive Powers and 1d4+2 Others Powers.
5-6 10 Hit Dice. A terrifying menace. 50% chance of being immune to non-magical weapons. Roll 2 Defensive Powers and 1d4+3 Others Powers.
7-8 12 Hit Dice. A vampiric lord of some kind. Immune to non-magical weapons. Roll 3 Defensive Powers and 1d4+4 Others Powers.
9 14 Hit Dice. A dreaded and powerful vampire lord. Immune to non-magical weapons. Roll 3 Defensive Powers and 1d4+4 Others Powers.
10 16 Hit Dice. A nearly god-like fiend of the night. Immune to non-magical weapons. Roll 4 Defensive Powers and 1d4+4 Others Powers.

What does it look like?

d6 Appearance
1 Human-Like: The vampire looks human, safe for being a preserved human corpse.
2 Corpse-Like: The creature looks like a corpse starting to decay.
3 Rotten: The flesh of this vampire has started to rot away.
4 Monstrous: Bat ears, flat nose, bloodshot eyes or maybe abundant body hair. This vampire is a monster in appearance.
5 Supernatural: Be it glowing red eyes or pale, almost translucent skin this vampire has an abnormal appearance.
6 Impossibly Beautiful: This creature of the night is simply stunning in appearance. Perfect, even.

What does it suck?

d10 Food
1-7 Blood: The classic, this vampire sucks blood.
8 Breath: It sucks the life force of others through their breath.
9 Psyche: This is a ‘psychic vampire’, which eat will and conscience. Any effect which refers to Constitution is replaced with Wisdom.
10 Dreams: This vampire eat the dreams of it’s victims. Any effect which refers to Constitution is replaced with Charisma.

d10Preferred Victim
1-7Anyone.
8Same sex or opposite sex. Roll 1d2.
9The sick or dying. Roll 1d2.
10Children or pregnant women. Roll 1d2.

How does it fight?

d12 How it fights
1-7 Pummeling: The Vampire is physically powerful, able to deliver pummeling blow. It inflict 1d10 damage with it’s fists.
8 Claws: The vampire has claws (retractable or not) which inflict 2d6 damage.
9 Tongue: The vampire has a long, flexible tongue which stretch up 10’. It inflicts 1d6 damage and drains 1d4 constitution. Targets reduced to 0 die.
10 Weapon Only: The Vampire lacks the ability to feed directly in battle. Instead it wields a weapon and treat any target not wearing magical armor as having an AC of 9.
11 Draining Weapon: The vampire wields a weapon which sucks whatever the vampire consume out of the victim. Being hit drain 1d4 constitution. Targets reduced to 0 die.
12 Magic: The vampire fights with accursed blood magic and automatically inflicts 1d6 damage to any target within 30’.

How hard is it to kill?

d6
Defensive Power
1
Regeneration: The Vampire regenerate 3 Hit Points per round.
2
Resilient: Only take half damage from non-piercing weapons.
3
Gaseous Form: Will take this form instantly when reduced to 0 Hit Points.
4
Tough: Gain +3 Hit Points/per Hit Dice.
5
Inhuman Mind: Immune to charm, sleep and hold spells.
6
Hardened Hide: The Vampire has an AC of 1.

If your vampire isn't as much of a monstrous dick, you
are doing it wrong.


What other dread powers does it have?

d20
Other Powers
1
Shapeshifting; The vampire can assume a different form. Roll on the Shapeshifter table.
11
Weaken Mind: The vampire can break the mind of it's foes. It can cast Feeblemind.
2Undead Minions: The vampire can control it's HD worth in undead minions, usually zombie, skeletons or ghouls. 12
Mirror Image: The vampire can create illusory copies, being able to cast the spell of the same name.
3Animal Minions: As above, but with beasts such as wolves, bats or insects. 13
Flight: The vampire can fly at the same speed as it's land speed, either by having/growing wings or just by flying around.
4
Hypnosis: Can cast Hold Monster at will by staring into someone's eyes.
14
Corrode Weapon: Any non-magical weapon which touch the vampire corrode and break instantly.
5
Wall Crawling: The vampire can walk on walls at will.
15
Passe Muraille: The vampire can pass through walls. Obviously doesn't work if it needs to be invited.
6
Corpse Light: The vampire can control light (but not sunlight, obviously) and is able to cast Continual Light and it's reversed version.
16
Exsanguinating Touch: The vampire's mere touch cause massive bleeding. Save vs Poison/Death or be reduced to 0 Hit Points and bleed out in 2d6 rounds.
7
Control Weather: The vampire has power over natural forces and can cast the spell of the same name.
17Blood Shot: The vampire can fire a bodily projectile of some form, with a range of 120' which inflicts 2d6 damage.
8
Dispel Magic: The vampire has dread power over the forces of magic. It can cast Dispel Magic.
18
Evil Truth: The vampire always knows the darkest and most shameful secret of whoever it meet.
9
The Swarm: 'Lower' life forms such as bugs can be commanded by the vampire. It can cast Insect Plague.
19
Moon Child: Cannot be killed as long as the moon appears in the sky.
10
Repel Magic: The vampire can protect itself from spells. It can cast Anti-Magic shell.
20
Level Drain: The vampire's touch drain levels.

d6Shapeshifter
1Wolf.
2Bat.
3Smoke.
4Insect swarm.
5Shadows.
6It's last victim.

What weaknesses does it have? (Beside sunlight, of course)

d6Weakness 
1Cannot enter homes uninvited. Charm Person is a work-around.
2Must count any grain thrown at it.
3Vulnerable to a specific material.
4Cannot cross running water.
5Cannot drink the blood of a specific class (for some specific reason).
6Repelled by a certain word or song.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Spears of the Dawn: Random Night Man

Scourge of the Lokossan people, the Night Men come in the dark to raid. They are twisted, brutal creatures. Monsters in the flesh, clad in the shape of men but...different. Fundamentally wrong. They are rightfully feared and reviled.

What is its general shape and build?

d10 Build and Appearance
1 Small and Sickly: It is smaller than the average Lokossan. Roll 1d6 deformities.
2 Thin and Gangly: It’s height is average, but it is extremely thin. Roll 1d4 deformities.
3 Average: The Night Man’s build and height is average. Roll 1d4 deformities.
4
Stout: Shorter than average and a bit lumpy. Roll 1d4 deformities.
5
Large and Fat: Taller than average and obese.  Roll 1d6 deformities.
6
Muscular: Strong, with large muscles. Roll 1d4 deformities.
7
Brutish: Overly muscular and top-heavy. Roll 1d6 deformities.
8
Heroic: Tall, strong muscles, broad shoulders and an elegance of form...marred by the grotesque deformities of it’s kind. Roll 1d4 deformities.
9 Giant: Over seven feet tall. Increase AC by 1 but it gain +1 HP/per Hit Dice. Roll 1d4 deformities.
10 Bestial: Bent, with the ability to scuttle on all four. Roll 1d6 deformities.

How does it deviate from the human form?

d6Skin Color
1Normal skin.
2Discolored spots on the skin.
3Ashen and grey.
4Transparent skin, exposing muscles and veins.
5Albino.
6Discolored, sickly yellow.

d6 Deformities
1 Roll on the deformed head table.
2 Roll on the deformed face table.
3 Roll on the deformed hands table.
4 Roll on the deformed legs table.
5 Roll on the mutilation table.
6 Roll on the grotesque form table.

d12 Head Deformity
1 Small, shrunken cranium.
2 Large, bloated head throbbing with veins.
3 Asymmetrical head.
4 Covered in bumps and warts of a foul unnatural color.
5 Scabby and covered in sores.
6 'Hair' made of bony spikes.
7 1d4 giant warts.
81d4 useless extra eyes.
9 Functional third eye.
10 Large, almost bat-like ears.
11 No ears.
12 Flat head.

d12Face Deformity
1No nose, only slits.
2No lips, teeth constantly exposed.
3Jagged, sharp teeth.
4Thick, beetle brow.
5Eyes ooze blood and pus constantly.
6Red eyes that glow in the dark.
7Mouth twice the normal size.
8Bestial snout. Can't speak.
9Left or right (1d2) side of the face is covered in blotches and tumors.
10Left or right (1d2) eye is bigger and blood shot.
11Face is old and wrinkled, looks three or four times older than it should.
12No skin on face.

d12Hand Deformity
11d4 extra fingers.
2Fingers are fused, appears to have three fingers.
3Large, thick and yellow nails.
4Extra joint on fingers.
5Huge, swollen and hairy knuckles.
6Fingers are impossibly long.
7Sharp nails.
8Hands are reversed.
9Mouth inside a hand.
10Hairy palm. Hair looks like spider hair.
11Hands permanently stained with blood.
12Boneless hands.

d6Leg Deformities
11d4 extra toes.
2Backward knees.
3Feet have deformed and fused into hooves-like structures.
4Bird-like feet.
5Prehensile feet, like an ape.
6Lame leg. Lower speed by half.

d12Mutilation
1Constantly oozing scars.
2Large patches of skin have been removed.
3No skin of his own, replaced with the sewn faces of victims.
4No lower jaw. Can't speak.
5Top of the head sawed off. Somehow still alive.
6Tongue cut. Replaced by a snake that live in it's mouth.
7Large, bleeding gash on body.
8Disturbing tattoos, which seem to shift to show scenes of horror.
9Eyes removed. 'See' by smell. Somehow.
10Animal horns attached to head.
11Wooden spikes piercings all over body.
12Mask has been sewn/nailed to face.

d12Grotesque Form
1Scaly skin.
2Spider pedipalps.
3Spider-like eyes.
4Flesh-eating worms live in the skin. Can be seen wriggling underneath it.
51d4 extra limbs, too malformed to be of any use.
6Beard made of spiders.
7Holes in the body where snakes move through the different organs.
8Skin is horribly scabby.
9Hairless tail.
10Incredibly hairy body. Head still completely bald.
11No arms, only snakes.
12Extra head.