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 each encounter has a swarm of nearly interchangeable things.

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.


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.

Friday, November 30, 2018

"Scientific" Random Monster Generator (With Examples!)

After reading some of Throne of Salt's mini-bestiary entries, I decided to make some of my own from prefixes and suffixes used to give animals their scientific names. At some point that turned into using Meandering Banter's HTML table creator to make an auto-rolling table of all the prefixes and suffixes I could find on Wikipedia.

Click below to get a name and tiny description.

This isn't intended to be used at the table, just to make something interesting.


Deinopelta (Terrible Shield)

"An awful weight, a horrible speed. But only forwards. To retreat is to die." 
Their dozen-legged children hold on to the bulls as they crash through the trees. No one has ever seen one walk backwards.

Stegoornis (Roof Bird)

"A wandering sunset. Hide from the shade."
The Stegoornis' wide wings are used to blot out the sun above their targets, blinding and confusing them before the strike.

Brontonax (Thunder King)

"Lightning does not kill. It only carries."
A sky-romantic, dragged above in return for their prayers. Too far gone to speak with, but to distracted by their love to attack.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

A Severe Lack of Creativity (But Also 3 New GLOG Classes)

You all know about D&DWiki, right? Home of strange, unbalanced homebrew in absurd amounts?

I've got a strange nostalgia for the place: it was where I first learned you can make new things for RPGs.

However, most of the classes, items, and monsters can be of... variable quality. And given that they have 1031 CLASSES FOR 5TH EDITION (oh my), most people don't want to look through all of them. Because there's a lot of them.

So, I decided (thanks to a staggering lack of creativity after working on Infra-Red and Sunless Horizon) that I want to bring some of them into the light of the OSR.

All of these classes are in the GLOG format, and have links to the originals.


The Sacrae are bound to the Wheel: a world-connecting energy: they manipulate the Wheel's connection to their opponents to effect them.


A: Veni

B: Caeci
C: Spero
D: Terra

A: Veni
As an action, target an opponent: they must make a Charisma save or their Wheel bends, unbalancing their body in return: they lose -2 AC. The Sacrae regains use of this ability once per long rest.

B: Caeci
Once per long rest, the Sacrae slightly tears the top of the target's Wheel: they must make a Charisma save or be blinded for one round.

C: Spero
Once per long rest, the Sacrae mends the target's Wheel, removing any effects (such as poison), and restoring 2d4 HP.

D: Morta
Once per long rest, the Sacrae shatters the target's Wheel, damaging themselves in the process. The target must make a Charisma save or take 3d8 damage: the Sacrae takes half of that damage.


The Fencer is a melee glass cannon: it's able to do way more damage than seems reasonable, but a single good hit could get him rolling on your favorite Death & Dismemberment table.

The Fencer rolls 1d4 instead of 1d6 when generating HP.

Face net not mandatory.

A: Improved Critical
B: Challenge, +1 Critical Margin
C: Bleed Out, +1 Critical Margin
D: Nimble Strike, +1 Critical Margin

A: Improved Critical
The Fencer's experience makes it easier for them to accurately strike: they Critical Hit on rolls of 19 or 20, decreasing with each Fencer template. (On Template D, a Fencer would Critical Hit on rolls above 16.)

B: Challenge
The Fencer can challenge opponents to duels: in combat, the target must Save or be goaded by his calls. Outside of combat, nobles, knights, bandits, mercenaries, and similar will begin combat: if the Fencer wins, he gains +3 to Charisma when persuading the duel's audience.

C: Bleed Out
Successful attacks by the Fencer deal 1d4 CON damage as well as their normal damage.

D: Nimble Strike
When using a one-handed weapon, the Fencer can make 2+DEX mod attacks per round.

Daemon Eater

The Daemon Eaters are an order of paladins that bind daemons into their own bodies: a pious body makes the greatest cage for a creature of hell. As the daemons grow, they warp the Daemon Eater's form.


A: Malevolent Form
B: Daemonic Art
C: Growing Corruption
D: Spreading Malevolence   

A: Malevolent Form

The daemon within you has corrupted one of your body parts. Choose one or roll 1d4 to decide which.

One of your arms is no longer your own. It's covered in a shifting set of armored scales, and ends in a set of long talons. You do 1d4 damage with your unarmed attacks, and can make an immediate grapple check if you hit. Your STR increases by 2.

Your movement speed increases by 10 ft, and your DEX increases by 2.

Your eyes fill with fire. You can see normally in darkness up to a distance of 60 feet. Your WIS increases by 2.

Your heart pumps black oil through your body. You gain +2 on all Checks and Saves caused by poisons. Your CON increases by 2.

B: Daemonic Art

Once per short rest, the scales on your arm shift into a pointed tip as you make an unarmed attack, dealing 2d4 damage.

Once per short rest, you can either make a leaping attack dealing 1d4 damage and flinging the target backwards.

Once per short rest, you can target someone who then must make a Wisdom save. On a failure, they are charmed for 1d6 minutes.

Once per short rest, your blood begins to boil, returning 1d6 health instantly.

C: Growing Corruption 
The daemon's influence over your body increases. You gain a new bonus based off your which body part was corrupted.

Your arm's talons grow, and start to drip a burning venom. Unarmed attacks deal 1d4 damage and the target must save or take 1d4 damage from poison.

You can anchor yourself on vertical surfaces and ceilings, although your movement speed decreases by 20 ft while on them.

The fire brightens, giving you +2 to hit with ranged weapons.

Your blood hardens, giving you +1 natural AC. 

D: Spreading Malevolence  

You can either choose or roll for one additional limb, which gives you the benefit of that limb's Malevolent Form.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Infra-Red: Memories of the Past

The Wound opened in late 1952, in a rural portion of Brazil. after nearly decade of unproven stories of strange, crystalline creatures wandering through Brazilian towns, the Brazilian government announced an incredible discovery: a gap in reality, named The Wound, that the creatures had been coming out of.

Image courtesy of Scrap Princess, who is better than me in every way.
In the space of a month, war broke out in Brazil as the United States invaded, planning to take control of The Wound. As the war continued, sanctions mounted against the U.S., with much of Europe cutting trade off completely.

After the Brazilian takeover ended, the American government built Facility 1: a titanic complex of reinforced concrete atop The Wound. 

The creatures emerging from The Wound - known as Infrals - were captured and John F. Kennedy created the ICRA (Infral Containment and Research Agency) and Project Highrise to find a way to use Infrals as weapons and stop opposing nations from acquiring them.

Friday, October 12, 2018

The City of Gateway, Part 1

Gateway is part of Age of the Ecclesiarchy, an abandoned setting where the ur-god, Ilephoth, looms above the world, wearing the sun as a crown. The world is (mostly) ruled by the Ecclesiarchy: worshippers of Ilephoth, Archon Above Heaven, He Who Struck Down the Hateful Moon.

The city of Gateway is placed just on the edge of the Desolation, where the Ecclesiarchy's territory ends. Gateway is so far from the capital that the Divine Legion can't reach it without months of marching, meaning it's left almost entirely alone (as well as being almost the only place you'll see an elf).

Major Figures of Gateway

The most important person in Gateway depends on who you ask. If you ask a loyal Ecclesiarchist, they'll say Governor Tiberius, a weak-willed pitiful man terrified that Gateway is slipping out of his control.

If you ask anyone else, they'll probably say Sashiseth Iazelmei, one of the 4 prospective leaders of the Hand of Acor, a criminal organization/rebellion/cult. The last leader, Solana Aelrue, died in the Rain of Embers, where the Divine Legion burned down half the city in a demonstration of force. If anything, the Rain of Embers made the problem worse: the death of Solana lead the rest of the Hand to collapse into infighting as Solana's officers made a grab for power after her death.

As unstable as it is, the
Hand of Acor is the government in Gateway, as far as the people are concerned: the Watch spends most of its time being manipulated by Commander Acosta as she tries to climb the ranks of the Ecclesiarchy, leaving Sashiseth's private security the job of keeping the town from sliding the rest of the way into anarchy.

The other three prospects for leader are less well-respected. One, an illiterate ogre Solana kept as an enforcer, took the name Tagnor Bonecrusher after being told people would find it intimidating. (Most people just laugh.) Elissa Grove, one of the Hand's spies, wants to be leader, but she knows her followers couldn't win in a straight fight against Sashiseth or Tagnor's.

Imbril Arasys is the last candidate, and one of the few magic-users in the Ecclesiarchy to have escaped conscription into the Divine Legion. In Solana's time, he trained her wizards for use in the Hand. Since the Rain of Embers, he's dug a 5-story basement into an abandoned home, where it is said he works with the Lich Queen Amara Naumys to overthrow the Ecclesiarchy: a cause he wants to turn the Hand to.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Hack & Slash (No, Not the Blog)

If you're here because of the link on the cover, welcome! Hack & Slash is far from the pinnacle of RPGs (trust me), but you can add to it easily: if you want a new mechanic (a chance to miss attacks, overland travel, or rules for ranged weapons, perhaps?), new weapons, new monsters, and especially new adventures, MAKE THEM. If you want to tear the entire thing apart and write your own, do that!

But one thing: if you do add something to the game, tell me about it! Send new rules, enemies, and whatever else you come up with to

For everybody else:

Hack & Slash is incredibly simple: it's a classless 2d6 system without AC or experience, and a basically handwaved equipment system, intended to bring RPGs to more people as simply as possible. The entire game is 6 pages long (7 if you include the cover.)

Isn't it adorable?

I plan to expand on the system with Total Hack & Slash as well as Between the Stars, a sci-fi version, both in a very short format.

You can get the pdf for Hack & Slash here.

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 pa...