Monday, February 18, 2019

Sunless Horizon

Sunless Horizon is the most self-indulgent setting I'll ever make, taking inspiration from Veins of the Earth, Axis Mundi, HMS Apollyon, Rain World, Orion's Arm, and Duskers.

The stars are dead. As the universe collapsed, humanity built Ein Soph: a worldship controlled by a network of AIs intended to keep operating until the AIs could find a way to dig into a new universe.

That was thousands of years ago.

The AIs have all been subsumed by Keter, who sealed the last of humanity into the Empyrean: a 20-mile long O'Neill's Cylinder under his direct supervision, "ruled" by the Prophetess Maia.


Outside of the Empyrean, castoff biotech projects have grown into their own species, laboring under the feudalistic Navigator Houses, who say they control Ein Soph, and that they're headed to Heaven.

Keter's protective programming extends only to humans, not to his creations: his androids tear at the borders of the Navigator Houses as he gets ever closer to pulling open reality.
Keter's Infopriests lead pilgrimages across the Coolant Sea atop their walking altars.
Rumors abound of the unnatural technologies Keter can bring to bear: Tipler Oracles, memetic plagues, non-euclidean creatures, and nanobot swarms.


Outside of Ein Soph, the universe is dark. The stars have all burned out. However, fragments of Ein Soph's supporting fleet orbit around the worldship in a halo-shaped mass called the Crown. Expeditions by the Navigator Houses have never returned, but that doesn't stop whispered discussion of what could live there. Some say the Crown is Keter's final defense, preventing any escape from Ein Soph.
The weapons of the peasants are crude and ineffective.
The Navigator Houses send missions out into Ein Soph to gather resources: these expeditions cross paths with Tear-Eater Cults, Keter's Disciples, and the creatures that have evolved to live in this hellish, lightless environment.
The Disciples scrawl strange symbols on their travels. Some can kill.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Anthology Campaigns

Everyone wants to run a long campaign, but short campaigns have their advantages: being able to actually finish, the ability to run multiple campaigns in different settings more quickly, and ease of planning.

However, one of the most difficult things to do with a short campaign is to explore a setting. With only 10 sessions (for example) your players will be going from A to B to C, with no time for taking a long trip to the next continent over and learning about the Thousand Eternal Emperors.

A possible (albeit untested) solution for this is what I call anthology campaigns: a branching set of one-shots where the player's performance in one effects the others.

For example, a short anthology campaign for Infra-Red could look like this:

Monday, February 11, 2019

Pendragon of Mars Monsters & Races

Pendragon of Mars was a seven session campaign run by Monsters and Manuals all the way back in 2013 (I know it wasn't that long ago but I wouldn't know what an RPG was if you concussed me with one in 2013). For some reason, I found the concept (feudal mech-knights on Mars) weirdly enthralling, despite its silliness.

So I planned to start running it (with a combination of a boiled-down Pendragon and ICRPG fan-made mech hack), before realizing I had no monsters.

I don't know how useful this post will be (with stats given for Pendragon instead of any conventional OSR systems) but it'll become more helpful if/when I release a polished-up Pendragon of Mars hack.

Monsters of Mars

Geteit Chemosit
Geteit Chemosit are cylindrical, 4-legged automata wandering the deserts of Mars, attacking people and stealing their brains to bring back to their masters. There are two types: the oldest Geiteit Chemosit were made of a durable green ceramic before the apocalypse, while the more recent are made of red stone by the Martians.

All Geteit Chemosit are controlled by the brains they steal from the people they attack.

Some scouts have sent reports of Heitet Chemosit: they tower over even the largest Geteit.

noisms stole it first
HP: 60
Unconscious: 15
Armor: 8

SIZ: 18 (215 lbs)
DEX: 4
STR: 18
CON: 13

Move: 2
Healing Rate: 0
Damage: 6d6

Combat Skills: Crush 13
Skills: Avoidance 2

Decapitate: If a character is Unconscious next to the Geteit Chemosit, it can spend its action sawing through the character's head and removing its brain, instantly killing the character.

Modrons
Modrons were a pre-apocalypse plan for terraforming Mars. Since the apocalypse, they've spent their time excavating and building in random places. They all come from the northern Modron's Wilderness: a landscape edited into a forest of perfectly geometric stones and tall pillars.


JESUS CHRIST I HAD NO IDEA THESE WERE SO CREEPY
HP: 10
Unconscious: 2
Armor: 2

SIZ: 1 (10 lbs)
DEX: 14
STR: 3
CON: 5

Move: 5
Healing Rate: 0
Damage: 1d6

Combat Skills: Claw 11
Skills: Avoidance 12, Industry 20

Sandworms
https://kitchenoverlord.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/sandworm-bread-03.jpg
Sadly they do not come as cakes.
The deserts of Mars are patrolled by giant sandworms with mouths the size of houses.

Making loud noises does not attract sandworms: in fact, it intimidates them and forces them away.

HP: 100
Unconscious: 25

Armor:

SIZ: 55 (2 tons)
DEX: 2
STR: 20
CON: 18

Move: 7
Healing Rate: 5
Damage: 10d6

Combat Skills: Bite 19
Skills: None

Races of Mars

The Pale
The Pale are whip-thin and up to 10 feet tall; their heads are hollow toruses, with a reflective black dot floating in the center. They have no eyes or mouths.

According to folklore, the Pale are the ghosts of the dead ancients: the Crowned Ones who colonized Mars and built the mechs that are still passed down. The Pale support these rumors; it makes people leave them alone.

Martians
Martians are mole-like bipeds with a stark red coat. They are nearly blind, seeing with a tendril-covered nose.

They live below the surface of Mars, where their mine-cities stretch for hundreds of miles.

The Martian nations are careful to keep relations between each other jovial: a care they stretch to the human kings as well.


Xosna
Xosna are small, weak things with a single, 3-pupilled eye. They are on a crusade to bring their religion (and the advancements of their society) to the rest of the world. To the human kingdoms, they are a plague that constantly pushes its borders.

The Xosna are organized into a caste system of queens, workers, and praetors, who are the vast majority in the Xosna crusade. Praetors are sealed into their mechs for life.

If there are other Xosna nations, they have not been heard from. Perhaps they support this crusade as well.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

1 Year Anniversary Gift to You!

I can't believe anyone's still with me after a year of this nonsense.
To celebrate, I give you Artificial Sky: a completed cyberpunk GLOG/Shadow of the Demon Lord hack.

Artificial Sky


Friday, December 28, 2018

Infra-Red Part 2: The United States


THE UNITED STATES


GOVERNMENT

THE UNITED STATES IS CURRENTLY RUN BY JOHN F. KENNEDY, A DEMOCRAT. FOREIGN RELATIONS HAVE WORSENED SINCE THE TAKEOVER OF BRAZIL, LEAVING THE UNITED STATES ALONE AGAINST ITS MANY ENEMIES.

MILITARY

THE AMERICAN MILITARY IS CENTERED IN WASHINGTON, D.C AND FACILITY 1, BUT THEY ARE BEGINNING TO TEST CONTROLLED INFRALS IN VIETNAM AND BRAZIL.
THE ICRA IS GENERALLY REGARDED AS PART OF THE MILITARY, BUT IS GENERALLY USED IN DOMESTIC ACTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES AND BRAZIL. THE ICRA DOES NOT HAVE ACCESS TO MILITARY EQUIPMENT, BUT ARE USUALLY GRANTED INFRALS DURING OPERATIONS IN BRAZIL. THEY ENJOY AN UNUSUAL DEGREE OF FREEDOM: ICRA ASSET COLLECTION TEAMS TASKED WITH RECOVERING INFRALS ARE GIVEN ALMOST COMPLETE AUTONOMY AS LONG AS THEY FOLLOW THEIR MISSION'S OBJECTIVES AND MINIMIZE CASUALTIES.

LIFE IN THE US

THE UNITED STATES HAS BECOME MORE AND MORE DIVIDED SINCE THE TAKEOVER OF BRAZIL. CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENTS HAVE ABSORBED DISPLACED BRAZILIANS, INCLUDING MEMBERS OF THE MNB, OR MOVIMENTO NACIONALISTA BRASILEIRO: A VIOLENT BRAZILIAN NATIONALIST GROUP.
AS MNB MEMBERS PUSH CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENTS INTO EXTREMISM AND VIOLENCE, THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT RESPONDS IN KIND WITH SWEEPING POLICE MILITARIZATION INITIATIVES.
OUTSIDE OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, LIFE CONTINUES AS NORMAL: THE ICRA HAS SUCCESSFULLY HIDDEN INFRALS FROM THE GENERAL POPULACE, FEARING THAT THE DISCOVERY OF ALIEN LIFE WOULD CATAPULT SOCIETY THE REST OF THE WAY INTO COMPLETE CHAOS.


CURRENT EVENTS

1. PROJECT HIGHRISE HAS MADE IT'S FIRST BIG BREAKTHROUGH, HAVING DISCOVERED HOW TO CONTROL INFRALS: ELECTRIC SIGNALS DIRECTLY TO THE "BRAIN" USING METAL NEEDLES CONNECTED TO BATTERIES.

2. SOME MEMBERS OF THE GOVERNMENT THINK INFRALS MIGHT BE NEEDED TO QUELL RIOTS

3. MNB MEMBERS ARE PLANNING AN ATTACK ON A FACILITY IN THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST

4. ICRA ASSET COLLECTION TEAMS SUSPECT A GROUP UNAFFILIATED WITH THE MNB TO BE HOLDING INFRALS IN A WAREHOUSE IN NEW YORK

Thursday, December 13, 2018

A Positively Monstrous Way of Thinking

heh, puns

Back in 2010, noisms posted a piece on fighting large groups vs. single large enemies. In his experience, D&D is often paired with the first method, where encounters are against groups of monsters, with single foes only appearing as rare boss fights.

I'm more interested in the second approach, which he titles "Giant Slaying": rare encounters with large, threatening, and unique single enemies. In my opinion, this could be expanded even further into a monster of the week style game, where entire adventures are built around a single monster.

Each of these adventures are split into two portions: the chase and the kill. For some monsters, the chase is the hard part, while others are easy to find, but difficult to kill.

For example, I used the Forge to create 4 monster names: Soul Halcyon, Pale Antler Dragon, Needler Heart, and the Lotus Beak Wyrm.

All of these are meant to be difficult fights for 1st or 2nd level parties, so stat accordingly.

Soul Halcyon
The Soul Halcyon is an infection as much as it is a monster. It spreads between people, connecting a hyper-empathic hivemind: the infected are so nice they'll point you towards the Soul Halcyon itself: the problem is catching up to it.

The Chase: The Soul Halcyon's physical form is fast, but the hive will point you straight to it. The Soul Halcyon will seek large population centers to infect.

The Kill: The Soul Halcyon's speed continues to reward it in combat: it's twice as fast as a man, and can fly short distances. Along with melee attacks, its scream forces WIS saves to resist inclusion into the hivemind (treat as a Dominate Person spell).

Pale Antler Dragon
The Pale Antler Dragon doesn't fit in the forests it lives in: it only feels comfortable when its wide spines scrape against the trees.

Image result for dragon with antlers 
The Chase: The Pale Antler Dragon shifts through the densest parts of trees, constantly scraping as it moves. Its cowardly nature leads to its use of simple traps and diversions: creating decoys to lead the party under a falling log, for instance.

The Kill: Getting the Pale Antler Dragon into a straight fight mandates trickery and traps to stop it from barreling over a tree and vanishing into the forest. When finally cornered, the Pale Antler Dragon is a violent melee combatant, throwing PCs across the forest with wide sweeps of its horns and crushing them with its claws.

Needler Heart 
The Needler Heart is an immobile construct buried underground, slowly infecting the earth with spiked tunnels and fractal pathways.

Image result for hyper light drifter immortal cellThe Chase: Navigating the maze-like passages around the Heart takes time as they shift around you: every round there's a 1-in-6 chance they flail wildly, requiring DEX checks to avoid the waving spikes.

The Kill: The Needler Heart is immobile but surrounded by writhing spikes: cutting them off is easy, but they attack you freely as long as you're in range. The Heart can grow spikes from the floor to effectively remove parts of the terrain, or attack directly by extending a massive needle.


Lotus Beak Wyrm
The Lotus Beak Wyrm's scales flake off constantly, creating a hallucinogenic haze around it, that remains as it moves through the mountains its made home.

The Chase: Following the Lotus Beak Wyrm directly only gets the PCs more lost as the hallucinogens set in.

The Kill: The Wyrm is very lightly armored, but the combination of the waving fronds on its body and the hallucinations create a very unpleasant environment to fight. The hallucinogens are deactivated by water: shoving the Wyrm into a lake or stream will make it far easier to kill or capture.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Wormgod's Harvest Part 1

"And the worm consumed the world, and shed the Light by which we live."  

So, a quick sort of overview of Wormgod's Harvest, another setting because I don't have the attention span to finish anything. The Wormgod shattered the world in the Age Before, and is sleeping in the dead core. The mites from its skin fill the air, turning it faintly yellow. They're afraid of living things, but eat dead things.

Magic

Shaping (a type of constructive biomancy) is a large part of Wormgod's Harvest, along with Miteworking, the other magic system. Houses are usually either grown with Shaping or built out of stone, and travel between islands (yes I'm using that trope) requires Shaped creatures.

Miteworking is the equivalent to religious magic: by praying against the Wormgod, you can intimidate the Mites into doing things for you. Unlike Shaping, Miteworking doesn't require long, drawn-out rituals, but the Mites don't stay afraid of you for very long.

Related image 
This is heavily inspired by Scrap Princess's Another Gristly Campaign Skeleton.

Sunless Horizon

Sunless Horizon is the most self-indulgent setting I'll ever make, taking inspiration from Veins of the Earth, Axis Mundi, HMS Apollyon...