Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Flesh Descends: a 10 Monster Setting

The Flesh Descends

#tenmonstersetting!

Intelligent Humanoid: Zern (3.5 Monster Manual IV)
Undead: Leftover Special (Eclipse Phase X-Risks)
Ancient: Wastewalker (Eclipse Phase X-Risks)
Big & Angry: Slouch (Eclipse Phase X-Risks)
Lizard-thing: Wedon (The Apocalyptic Post, Issue 2)
Aerial: Aeronautilus (The Apocalyptic Post, Issue 3)
Aquatic: Mud Puppie (The Apocalyptic Post, Issue 1)
Extradimensional: Spirrax (3.5 Monster Manual V)
Mythological: Hydra
Unpleasant & Underground: Blister Beast (Eclipse Phase X-Risks)

So, having taken monsters mostly from The Apocalyptic Post (a Gamma World zine) and Eclipse Phase, the obvious choice would be a sci-fi setting.

So let's do the opposite. 

Transhumanity has been gone for a very long time. A thousand thousand years ago, they opened up a gate to a higher dimension, and went through it. 

That gate killed the world. The transhumans who stayed became Wastewalkers - masked terrors from a prior age. Less than a hundred still survive, leading nations with their advanced, augmented minds. The Zern wield the arcanotech of the Wastewalkers, but have forgotten what they were for - the Wastewalkers' bioconstructs have been torn apart and put back together into the horrific Leftover Specials. 

The Spirrax came down from the gate the transhumans opened - as the Aeronautiluses scout for transhuman technology, the Spirrax descend and consume it before grinding spirals into the earth as summoning sigils for the Hydra - manifestations of the unholy will of the Spirrax. Magic comes from the Sigilblooded, who have spent enough time around the Spirrax for their will to be enhanced in the same way.

Algos, the largest nation of this world, is trapped between long mountain ranges infested with burrowing Blister Beasts. The swamp to the south is covered in the quick-breeding amphibian Mud Puppies, preying on the large Wedon - their emotion-manipulating pheromones make them unassailable to the Zern. Only the Wastewalkers, with their synthetic minds, can hunt them.

The capital city of Algos is heavily fortified, with thick walls culminating in a high iron dome. The borders of the city are patrolled by Slouches - large automatons built by pre-apocalypse Wastewalkers.

Adventure Hooks
1. A cache of transhuman technology has been found in the swamps below Algos - can you reach it before the Spirrax descend and consume it?
2. An earthquake has collapsed a trade route - anyone moving across it will fall into a nest of Blister Beasts.
3. The ceiling above the capital has collapsed. Now, the Aeronautiluses can see into the city. They can see the technology stored within. A Spirrax will soon descend and tear the city apart.
4. You have been found guilty - your punishment is to kill a Wedon. But how can you kill it without getting near it?
5. Leftover Specials are starting to decay - with their minds slowing and muscles stopping, the labor force will soon collapse. Some Zern are planning to create more. By kidnapping the living.
6. A Wastewalker has assembled an army, and is moving towards the city. The Slouches will obey his commands just as they obey the leaders of Algos. 

Friday, May 10, 2019

Reviewing Another GLOG-like (Mimics & Miscreants)

Everyone really seemed to enjoy the first set of GLOG reviews, so I looked around to find some more editions.

Sadly, I was only able to find one: Mimics & Miscreants from A Blasted, Cratered Land.

Mimics & Miscreants

Overview
  • Roll over 20 to succeed, adding bonus from ability score
  • Roll over 20+Armor to hit
  • 50 weapons
  • 4-template classes, some with subclasses
  • Miscellanomicon supplement adds 52 races, many with subraces
  • Many, many tables - mutation table, summon tables, 1d50 spell table
The Actual Review Part of This Nonsense
The main system is different to many other GLOG hacks, but has the same probability as a roll-under stat system. The benefit is that it lets you have a simpler roll-over to-hit system without it seeming inconsistent.

M&M has a surprising amount of character options between 12 classes, their subclasses, either 12 races (by default), or ~77 options of race in the Miscellanomicon. The extra tables (in particular the summon tables) could be easily detached and used in other games, but unlike Owlbear Stew, the game as a whole seems to work quite well.

I rate Mimics & Miscreants 4/5

Monday, April 22, 2019

Review Some GLOG-likes? Why Not? (Rat on a Stick, Owlbear Stew, Moonhop, DIE TRYING)

The GLOG is strange, when compared to other OSR systems: while best known for its levelless magic system, its easy multiclassing and utterly ridiculous amount of classes give it a high focus on character building (for an OSR system, at least). Despite this, it is one of the most active parts of the OSR community. And whenever there's an audience, there's hacks. It seems like everyone who writes about the GLOG for long enough puts together some new version (including me cough cough), giving us a simple question: which of these are the best (according to some guy who wouldn't know an RPG if you hit him with it a couple years ago).

 

Rat on a Stick

To many people, Skerples' Rat on a Stick is the original GLOG: the first thing to rise from Goblin Punch's weird primordial game-soup.

Overview
  • Roll-under System
  • Standard Stats + Secondaries (Attack, Defense, Movement, Stealth)
  • 4-template classes
  • Roll under your attack + (10 - the target's defense) to hit
  • 1d50 race table of mostly animal-lings, each with 1 advantage and 1 disadvantage
  • Feudalistic Setting
The Actual Review Part of This Nonsense
Rat on a Stick's main problem is the combat system: instead of a faster d20 against AC, it has math, the bane of my existence. Rolling under a stat + (10 - another stat) for each attack is cumbersome and hard to explain.

The race table is one of the best parts of the system, and easily pulled out and used in a different hack.

I rate Rat on a Stick 3/5

 

Owlbear Stew

Owlbear Stew, created by Meandering Banter, is a good example of what I think of as a second-generation hack (because I'm pretentious): it obviously shares most of its words-DNA with Rat on a Stick, but adds new secondary rules and character creation options.

Overview
  •  Roll-under System
  • Standard Stats + Secondaries (Melee, Ranged, Defense)
  • 4-template classes
  • 2d8 race table of traditional races
  • No actual combat rules - just unexplained stats (melee, ranged, defense)
  • Gambits - have something worse happen on a miss to do something good on a hit
  • Many extra and optional rules: diseases, mindsets (situational bonuses, such as Angry - reroll a failed initiative check if you immediately charge), trauma and mental breakdowns, karma (dying in a good way and doing good deeds gives you a bonus for your next character)
  • Many more classes, some even having subclasses
The Actual Review Part of This Nonsense
Owlbear Stew is less like stew and more like a box of (sometimes exploding) chocolate: it's less a complete system, and more a load of mechanics to take things from.


If you plan to take mechanics, I'd recommend Mindsets: if you give them to your players at character creation, they're a really easy way to add some character differentiation (along with a small personality trait). Gambits are also very common in later GLOG hacks.

I rate Owlbear Stew 2/5

 

Moonhop

To be honest, I'm not sure if this is more of a GLOG hack or an ItO hack. Either way, it is a very interesting game, with mechanics far from more conventional GLOG hacks.

Overview
  • Roll-under System
  • 3 stats - STR, DEX, CHA
  • No classes - combination of a branching race table and branching background table
  • Initiative is a DEX check: players roll one every turn
  • Attacks always hit, Gambits based off STR checks
  • GLOG magic system based around components
The Actual Review Part of This Nonsense
Moonhop is probably the easiest of these hacks to run at the table: between its short size and easy character creation, players can read it and prepare for the game in minutes. The backgrounds also show a strange setting, with options from medieval squires to starship engineers.

Unlike Owlbear Stew, Moonhop has few extra rules that could be taken - this helps the book be half the length, despite its large text.

I rate Moonhop 4/5

 

DIE TRYING

DIE TRYING is a 2nd edition of Owlbear Stew, with an expansive classless character creation system.

Overview
  •  Roll-under System
  • Standard Stats + Secondaries (Melee, Ranged, Defense)
  • 2d8 race table of traditional races
  • More organized than Owlbear Stew
  • No classes: roll 3 times on a nested 2d20 table
  • Less extra rules than Owlbear Stew
The Actual Review Part of This Nonsense
DIE TRYING has one of the longest, most complex character creation system in any OSR game I've ever seen. While many people will certainly have a problem with this, I find it excellent. Outside of that, it stays very similar to Owlbear Stew.

The improved organization when compared to Owlbear Stew is very noticeable. As well as the better organization, it's also 10 pages shorter than Owlbear Stew. This does remove many of the interesting extra rules found in Owlbear Stew, but they can easily be picked out of that game and placed in DIE TRYING. (I also like it's name the most.)

I rate DIE TRYING 4/5

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Peasant Gods of Sunless Horizon

Many of the commoners of the Navigator Houses believe in the 3 Peasant Gods, and keep small shrines to them in their homes.

The nobility have their own gods. You may not speak to them.

Capra, Devourer

Capra did not speak as he consumed the fire. It was not his place to complain.
  • Appears as a goat-headed man in rags.
  • Represents stoicism, and the ability to handle changing situations.

Guardian Ursus

From his blood his lord fed.
  • Appears as a tall armored man bearing only a shield.
  • Represents sacrifice for your superiors.

Vulpes, Who Watches 

And Vulpes appeared in front of his lord, and spoke of the crimes of the people. For this, he was rewarded.
  • Appears as a 3-eyed white fox.
  • Represents surveillance, foresight, and reporting crime to your superiors.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Wormgod's Harvest Part 3: Weapons & Equipment

Wormgod's Harvest is a biotech fantasy setting where the Wormgod consumed the world.

Bladebugs

Bladebugs are throwing weapons that fly nimbly towards targets before slicing through them with their sharp exoskeletons. They barely do any damage because of their small size, but they never miss, and can be thrown in groups of 3 at once.

Militaries grow special breeds of Bladebugs that release acid or explode on impact. For fire support, they carry large hives filled with hundreds of Bladebugs that are released dozens at a time.

Smokers 

Smokers are a variety of flying squid bred and Shaped for lessened flight ability and larger ink sacs. When hit hard, they panic, filling the air with ink. Small Smokers are thrown to create smokescreens in ground conflict, and larger ones are launched from bioships to blind opposing vessels. 
 

Knifelizard

Knifelizards are small reptiles with bladed tails: when pressure is applied to their sides, they straighten out and stiffen.

Ansibles

Ansibles are frog-like emergency comm systems usually attached to bioships: when fed a colored pellet, they send an ultrasonic message based on the pellet given. While the Ansibles are the fastest way to communicate over long distances, they can only send a few types of messages.

Messenger Bird

Messenger Birds are an alternative to Ansibles: while they are slower, they can send more complex message. They memorize things they hear and repeat them to the target of their message.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Infra-Red Rewrite: History

hey infra-red wasn't very good
i started over
i guess this is also a sample page for the book
oh yeah this is going to be a book
 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Weapons of Sunless Horizon

Is everyone tired of Sunless Horizon yet?

Weapons in Sunless Horizon are (simply to help me organize them) set into 4 groups: Cheap, which are smashed together out of hull plating and wiring, Decent, which are actual guns put together by people who know how to make guns, Expensive, for the nobility and their guards, and Artifacts built by the original owners of Ein Soph. Artifacts cannot be purchased.

Cheap

Melee - Club 

It's a stick. You hit people with it.

Ranged - Cangun

Canguns are empty cans filled with an explosive charge, then nails or shrapnel before being resealed and attached to a stick. When the charge is detonated, it creates a horrific wave of red-hot metal, tearing through everything in front of the wielder.

Of course, the problems with this weapon should be obvious. While it's shockingly destructive even against Disciples, the shrapnel doesn't always go in the right direction.

Decent

Melee - Talon & Fang

Used to kill Disciples, Talon & Fang is a combination of 2 weapons: the talon, a short crowbar-like prying tool, and the fang, a thin serrated knife.

The talon is used to pull at the casings of Disciples to reveal internal components and wiring, which is cut with the fang.

Ranged - C50 Tessen

Circlet Security's belt-fed C50 Tessen submachine gun fires 7mm rounds at a slow rate of fire. The Tessen's belt feed makes it excellent for sustained fire, and its small caliber makes it easy to control.
Circlet Security's weapons are made from yellowed, brittle plastic and thin stamped metal. Stories abound of them fracturing or shattering when dropped, or shaking apart from the force of their underpowered rounds. Despite this, Circlet Security surplus is common among scavengers.

Expensive

Melee -The Long Hand

The weapons of the nobility are strange, focusing more on appearances than true effectiveness. The Long Hand is a intricately carved metal club on a long rope, swung in long loops before striking with gathered inertia.

The long wire is used to subtly manipulate the head, making it more difficult to block. It can also be used to entangle other weapons.

Ranged - Ashford & Crane Temperance

Ashford & Crane is the oldest weapon designer on Ein Soph, responsible for the weapons of the nobility. The Temperance is a large heavy rifle, loaded with the highest-quality powder and explosive shells.

Sunless Horizon

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