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.

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.

NOW IT IS TIME FOR EXAMPLES

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.

Sacrae

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

By https://www.deviantart.com/anotherwanderer

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.

Fencer

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.

By https://www.deviantart.com/aditya777


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.

Arm
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.

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

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

Heart
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

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


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

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

Heart 
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.

Arm
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.


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

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

Heart
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 archonscourtgames@gmail.com

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.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Barony of Gault: A Rhombuscrawl (Crawlhex? I dunno.)

A Whatnow?

The Rhombuscrawl was created back in March by d4 Caltrops. Along with being one of the least pleasant words to say I've ever seen (though I take the blame for it), it's an excellent way of making a smaller scale of hexcrawl.


A rhombuscrawl is made up of a standard 6-mile hex, tessellated into 12 rhombuses (or diamonds if you want to be boring). Each rhombus contains... something, and you travel between them as you do hexes (just a bit faster).

The second motivation for this project was one of Dungeon of Signs' old articles about Castle Caldwell, where he went into detail about how to generally improve the module, at least to his taste. So, between the two, I decided to give d4 Caltrops' system a practical test.

Rhombus Entries

1. A giant cave holds the frog queen Taga's "kingdom"; 40-odd frogpeople in a shoddily-built set of wooden shacks. Taga herself has a throne stolen from Castle Gault, worth a large amount of money (and even more to the Daughter).

Taga is indifferent to the PCs and to the collapse of the barony; she just wants to take as much as possible before it's reinstated. However, she does have something she needs from them: one of her raiding parties hasn't reported back from the castle in a few weeks. She doesn't care about the raiders (although they are still alive), she just wants the loot back.

2. 4 of the baron's old knights, turned into test subjects by the Baroness, stand around the ashes of a fire in a destroyed camp. All 4 want the Baroness dead, but their augmentations make them unstable (rage 1/day, 1-in-12 chance of occuring randomly each turn).

3. The village of Hea is dying. The people have been afflicted with an unnatural disease that makes the swamp's water soak into the villager's skin, weighing them down until they collapse. The town's apothecary knows it's being caused by the Watching Lady.


4. A single spire, the remains of the church of Naab the Verdant, pokes out of a marshy lake, inhabited only by the High Priestess of Naab, whose name has been lost to time, and her flock, held together with scrolls imbued with the life-granting prayers of their order.

The High Priestess has sat in her church for hundreds of years, insulated from the outside world. She is not violent, unless she find out how long it's been (and more importantly, that nobody worships her god anymore), at which point she leads her worshippers to Rhombus 8, in an attempt to take over the castle (and afterwards, the barony.)

5. A single watchtower, overgrown with vines, used to watch over this patch of land. Now, a few of the Daughter's soldiers try to hold it.


6. An old farm, half-sunken into the swamp, is inhabited by a small group of the baroness's creations, who tore through the area before settling down. They plan to launch an attack on the watchtower at Rhombus 5.


7. The Watching Lady, an experienced witch, lives in a hut made of live plants and inhabited by a swarm of stinging beetles. She acts nice and attempts to draw the PCs into her house before attacking them. The curse on the town of Lea is powered by a fragment of her soul: killing her removes it.


8. The crumbling Castle Gault, half-sunken into the swamp, looms over its Barony. The Daughter's army has surrounded it, ordered to let nothing in or out, but not only is there a side building with an old escape tunnel leading into the courtyard, many of the Daughter's soldiers disagree with her methods, and would gladly allow the party inside, to clear the castle.

The barony's near-collapse has emptied the castle of everything but outlaws, Taga's frogperson looting parties, and the Baroness's abominations. In the castle's catacombs, the Baroness continues to work on her husband's twisted form.

9. A nearby lord has built an outpost here, manned by a group of conscripts. They don't know what's going on in the barony, and the Daughter or Taga would reward you for getting them out, so one of them could take over.

10. A wagon of new soldiers and supplies trundles along a poorly built road on the way to Castle Gault. The detachment orders the PCs to stay away from the cart: they've been having some problems with bandits recently, and don't trust anyone.

11. The small town of Soum, and the new capital of Gault, sits above the swamp on stilts. The Daughter rules from here, overcome with paranoia. At night, the streets are patrolled by a militia, in case any of the Baroness's creations have escaped.

They have.

One of the Baroness's more humanoid abominations roams the streets at night in a heavy cloak, ambushing the militiamen and leaving them dried husks. It lives in a badly-maintained house on the outskirts of town, where it's known as an eccentric foreigner by the name of Mr. Winston.

The militia are so worried the news of Mr. Winston would send the Daughter into one of her fits, they haven't told her about him. They would pay nicely for you to help kill him, especially if you can without the Daughter hearing about it.

12. A group of Taga's frogpeople have captured Marquis de Pont, a minor noble and old friend of the Daughter. He's being kept in a "cage" made of sticks, guarded by a pair of inattentive frogmen. The rest of the group had gone back to Taga's cave to get reinforcements: they'll be back soon.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Reviewing Zines, Part 1 of ∞: Phasic and Broken System

ZINES
 
"I got some zines. A lot of zines. So many zines. And I need to put something on the blog. Hmm..."

So, I'm going to start reviewing RPG zines as filler content between things people actually care about. Both of these are free PDFs, and both are no longer being released.

Phasic 

Phasic is an Encounter Critical zine by Jeff Rients, with its fifth and last issue released in 2012.

Issue 1
I don't have much experience with Encounter Critical, but the first issue is almost entirely useless, containing a d6 table of why the Shunned Towns are shunned (containing terrible fashion sense as an entry), a short description of a Challenge of the Superfriends episode from 1978, and 100 Damnation Van accessories (most of which are the kind of thing you could come up with almost instantly, and besides, how often are you going to buy a Damnation Van?).

Two of the articles, however, are (somewhat) useful: one is a 20 entry list of "Tradeable Limbs", which could make an interesting addition to character creation in a gonzo post-apocalyptic game, and half of a set of rules for sanity. Perfect.

Issue 2 is an adventure: Raiders of the Mercenary Coast: Epilogue. It doesn't actually make sense, has terrible formatting, and is 50% statblocks.


Issue 3 includes an article about the city of Tidy Island Bay, which details a few locations. It also has a d100 mutation table and a 1d12 "Devilishness in the Details" tables, which has 12 other character-changing possibilities, including working for the antagonist Darth Viraxis, which it details in the next article. The final article is a d8 table of extra chronometer functions.

Issue 4 is a crossword puzzle.

Issue 5 is the final issue, marked as the "Special Damnation Issue". The first article is a set of random tables for creating a war locomotive, which is one of the best articles in the zine's run. The second is a small essay about the Damnation Van, along with a statblock for one in Risus's system.

After that is an overly complex method of determining the damage dealt from a Damnation Van collision, and a 3-page campaign setting ending in "To Be Continued..."

Broken System

 

Broken System was a 1-issue zine created by ANT-LERR, in the same style as the Blasphemous Roster. It's incoherent, but in a good way, and full of evocative images and concepts. It includes things like a d8 table titled "IF YOU DIG UP THESE BONES, THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU SHOULD DO" and a collage-like map of the territory of the Fog Barons.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

OSR: GLOG Class: Tech

The Tech is a caster/skill character for my SF GLOG hack. It works using the spellcasting rules, with a heavy focus on utility rather than combat. Techs are all wired with a Remote Interface; a small computer connected to their brain, allowing them to... interface remotely.

Most of the Programs the Tech has reference Synthetic or Hybrid targets; Synthetics are robots, androids, whatever you want to call them, and Hybrids are augmented humans. Organics are... organic.
Image result for cyberpunk
Yeah, you definitely need that many eyes.
The Tech uses CD (Charge Dice) instead of MD, and Programs instead of spells. This means absolutely nothing, it just makes more sense.

Skill Rules
I'm using Lost Pages' 1d6 skill system, minus use magic items. The PC gains these skills with 2 Tech templates.


A: Remote Interface, +1 CD
B: Skills, +1 CD 
C: +1 CD
D: +1 CD 

Perk: Phone calls are directed into your Remote Interface.

Drawback: When hit with a crit, your Remote Interface is damaged. It automatically reboots itself in 1d6 turns; if you manually fix it, it takes 1d3.


Cantrip-type Programs
1. Turn an electronic device (lightbulb, computer, etc.) on or off.

2. Flash colors into a Synthetic or Hybrid character's face, giving them a -1 to hit on their next attack.

3. Change the image on a screen to anything you want. This does not take an action.


Program List

Terminal: Collect
R: 50' T: 1 computer D: 0
Tear through the defenses on a target terminal, extracting [dice] pieces of information (passwords, bits of map, etc.).


Camera: Loop
R: 50' T: [dice] cameras or other sensors D: [sum] rounds

Loops a camera for [sum] rounds. While the camera is looped, it displays whatever was in front of it when it was first looped.

Camera: Takeover
R: touch T: [dice] cameras or other sensors D: concentration
Your Remote Interface connects to cameras and sensors, allowing you to see through them until you break concentration.


Synthetic: Lockdown
R: 80' T: Synthetic creature D: [dice] rounds

Target a Synthetic opponent. They must save or be unable to move or act for [dice] rounds as their servomotors halt violently.

Synthetic: Hallucination
R: 80' T: [dice] Synthetic creatures D: [dice] turns

Target [dice] Synthetic or Hybrid creatures. They must save or begin hallucinating copies of you and the other PCs. Each turn, they get another save.

Device: Honeytrap
R: 80' T: Electronic device D: [dice]x10 minutes
The next person to use a Program on the target device suffers a Mishap, and you are given their location. If more than 3 dice are used, the effect never times out.


Door: Force Open
R: 50' T: one mechanical door D: 0
A targeted door is forced open.

Door: Lock
R: 50' T: one mechanical door D: 10 minutes
A door closes and locks itself, requiring a Str check equal to 10+[dice] to open. If someone is standing the door

Door: Electrify 
R: 50' T: one mechanical door D: [sum] minutes  
Reroute power into a target door; anyone touching it during the duration of the effect takes [sum]x2 damage. If [sum] is above 12, the door audibly crackles.

Release Capacitors
R: self T: self D: [dice]+1 rounds
During this program's duration, any dice you expend on other programs return to your pool on a 1-5, rather than 1-3. When this program's duration ends, you must Save or suffer a Mishap.

Emblem-type Programs

Logic Bomb
R: 100' T: [sum] electronic devices D: [dice] minutes
Take control of [sum] devices you can see. You don't have much time, but you've got a lot of power: doors, turrets, cameras, computer terminals, it's all yours.

Synthetic: Dominate
R: touch T: Synthetic creature D: concentration, must stay within 10' of the target

Physically wire yourself into a Synthetic creature. The target must Save or be completely controlled by the PC. The PC must end their turn within 10' of the target, or the connection is broken.

Mishaps
1. You accidentally ran into a countervirus. It's filling your vision with nonsense, giving you a -2 to hit and to Perception for the rest of the day.
2. Your Remote Interface sparks. Your program fails, and drains the rest of your CD.
3. You're hit with biofeedback, your Remote Interface electrocuting your brain. Take 2d6 damage.

Dooms
1. You trip an alarm. Someone's going to be coming, and they won't be happy.
2. Your Remote Interface fails. You'll need to pay quite a bit to fix it.
3. Biofeedback from your Remote Interface reaches a critical level. Your head explodes.

Your Doom can be avoided by stealing a military-grade Remote Interface from a government blacksite. Which sounds so safe, doesn't it?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

OSR: Sci-Fi GLOG Classes

These classes are more for XCOM-style near-future SF than gonzo science-fantasy (because I'm boring). They are also designed with 3 main assumptions, without which they don't work as well:

1: There's a lot of guns involved in terms of combat.
2: Reloading one of those guns requires an action.
3: Firing a gun means everyone knows where you are.

Oh, and just in case +Lungfungus is watching me, these haven't been playtested yet, and might (probably will) have quite a few balance problems. Once I find said problems, and fix them, I'll release a second version, which will hopefully include a hacker using a messed-with version of the spellcasting rules.
Image result for sci-fi soldier
Art Credit: Bugrimov Maksim
Pointman
A: Precise Shot
B: Quick Reload
C: Inspiring Presence
D: Suppressive Fire
Precise Shot: As an action, make a ranged attack with a +1 bonus to hit, but -1 damage.
Quick Reload: Reloading your weapon does not cost an action.
Inspiring Presence: Spend an action to give another PC a free attack, with an extra +2 to hit and +1d4 damage.
Suppressive Fire: Spend 2 shots to suppress a target. Suppressed targets have a -2 penalty to hit, and if they move there is a 4-in-6 chance they are hit, taking your weapon's normal damage.

Stalker
Each Stalker template you have gives you +1 Stealth.
A: Low Profile 
B: Vigilance
C: Ambush
D: Obliterate
Low Profile: Ranged attacks have a 2-in-6 chance of revealing you if you are hidden.
Vigilance: If you are surprised, you have a 50% chance to act on the surprise round anyway.
Ambush: Attacking while hidden grants an additional +1 to hit and +1d6 damage.
Obliterate: While hidden, you can make 3 ranged attacks in a turn. This immediately reveals you.

Marksman
A: Practiced Eye, Long Trajectory
B: Insult to Injury
C: Hold Still
D: Know Thy Enemy
Practiced Eye: After missing a target with a ranged weapon, you gain a +2 bonus to hit that target on the next turn.
Long Trajectory: All ranged weapons gain 50 feet of range while you use them.
Insult to Injury: Ranged attacks deal +1d4 damage if the target has been damaged this turn.
Hold Still: Your ranged weapons have +2 to hit on targets with less than 50% of your health.
Know Thy Enemy: As an action, observe an opponent, then make an Intelligence check. If you succeed, your next ranged attack against that creature does +1d12 damage. If your check succeeds, you cannot use this ability for the rest of the fight: everything's gotten too chaotic.

Brawler
Each Brawler template you have gives you +1 HP.
A: Adrenaline Pump
B: Augmented Musculature
C: Cybernetic Nerves
D: Automated Hindbrain
Adrenaline Pump: Once per day, the mechanical pump next to heart injects you with a cocktail of chemicals. While the chemicals run through your veins, your Strength score is changed to 18, and you gain +1 to hit and +1 damage with all melee attacks. However, while the pump is active, you don’t think, you solve everything with force.
The pump stays active for 5 rounds, but you can attempt to deactivate it early, with a 2-in-6 chance of success. 
Augmented Musculature: +1 to Strength. Once per day, overcharge the servomotors to deal +1d6 damage on a melee attack.
Cybernetic Nerves: A second set of nerves activates when the Adrenaline Pump turns on: while the Pump is active, you can move twice as far as normal.
Automated Hindbrain: When you die, your Adrenaline Pump empties itself into your veins. You have 5 rounds left to live. Make them count. 

Face
A: Well-Spoken, Provoke
B: Connected
C: Shift the Blame
D: Trust Me
Well-Spoken: As long as there hasn't been a fight yet, you get +1 to reaction rolls, as long as you're the one doing the talking.
Provoke: In combat as an action, you can target an opponent who can see and hear you. The target must save or attack you. This ability cannot force an opponent to make massive mistakes (jumping off cliffs, etc.). Out of combat, the target must save or act in anger (yelling, violence, etc.)
Connected: You know a guy, who also knows a guy, who also probably knows another guy. If there’s something you need (information, items, etc.) which you could feasibly get, you know someone who will get it for you, for a price.
Shift the Blame: In combat as an action, you can target one of the other PCs, and start rattling off all the reasons it was their fault you’re fighting, and how you had nothing to do with it. Opponents must make a save or attack the targeted PC. Out of combat, you can blame someone else for something you’ve done, unless it’s obvious you did it. No save, because you’re just so trustworthy.
Trust Me: You can persuade anybody, for a while. Through a combination of half-truths, regular truths, and absolute nonsense, you can get a group of people to believe whatever lies and excuses you can come up with. After 1d6 minutes, they come to their senses, at which point they’ll be very annoyed.

Monday, August 13, 2018

For King and Cheese Foundry: A System-less One Page Dungeon

What's this, then?
This is a one-page dungeon I made as an escape from Sunless Horizon's more... nihilistic tone. It's meant to be funny, and despite it's lack of stats, it should be easy to run, because the 4 thieves use PC or hireling stats. This scenario might also work well in reverse.

Sunless Horizon: The Seeleh and the Poloi

The Seeleh are a race of insectoids, with six legs arranged around a humanoid torso. The entirety of the body is covered in a thin membrane beneath a set of armored plates.



The Seeleh live incredibly long lives, up to 700 years. However, living takes energy. To conserve it, the Seeleh are slow. Slow to act, slow to make decisions, and slow to move.

Once a day, the Seeleh's membrane can fill with air, increasing their size to 15 by 15 feet. While in this state, the Seeleh cannot move, but can survive in a vacuum for 30 minutes. This occurs automatically upon contact with a vacuum, or at will.

If the Seeleh is damaged while in this state, the membrane ruptures, and takes 3 days to regrow.

Seeleh are commonly poor: due to their strength, they are often forced into low-paying labor jobs. Because of this, most Seeleh take up a second job (such as derelict raiding) to make ends meet. The Seeleh are stereotyped as nearly-mindless brutes, because of their societal position and inhuman appearance.

The Poloi are frilled humanoids. Around their neck is a set of pheremone sacs; some hold compound α, which causes joy. Others contain pheremone β, which imparts sadness, or pheremone γ, which triggers anger.


The Poloi can distribute their pheremones through either touch or in a small radius around themselves. Poloi are generally stereotyped as untrustworthy: after all, when someone can influence your mind by touching you or even standing near you, how do you know if you're still in control of yourself?

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Iyr Specurem

Iyr Titans

When the Iyr come to the world in their invasions, they do not just bring their glass and crystal armies. Through their holes in the universe, they drag titanic machines of war. Each of these is built to crack fortresses, burn cities, and crush kingdoms.

Each Titan has several locations that can be targeted. You can either have your players choose a location to target, or use the table provided in the statblock.

Specurem

The Specurem are flying titans built in the image of the long-dead wyrms of the Iyr's home universe. They are the grandest of the Iyr's horrors, each taking decades or centuries of effort by the Iyr's greatest shapers. Iyr Warmasters pull them through rifts to use as command vehicles and mobile fortresses. They, just like the other titans, have no mind of their own: if not controlled, they will not move, even to defend themselves.

Iyr Specurem
Gargantuan Construct

Armor Class: Variable
Hit Points: Variable
Speed: fly 100 ft (hover)

STR: 25 (+7)
DEX: 8 (-1)
CON: 25 (+7)
INT: 10 (+0)
WIS: 16 (+3)
CHA: 8 (-1)

Damage Immunities: Psychic, Poison, Acid 
Condition Immunities: Poisoned, Exhaustion, Charmed
Senses: blindsight 60 ft., darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 22
Languages: Can understand Iyrn but not speak it.
Challenge: 

Titanic: Whenever the Iyr Specurem is attacked, roll 1d6 and consult the following chart.

1-2: Head AC 19, 75 Health If destroyed, the Iyr Specurem loses use of the Obliterate action and the Bite action.

2-5: Arms (2) AC 17, 50 Health Each If one is destroyed, the Iyr Specurem can only make one Claw attack per turn. If both are destroyed, the Iyr Specurem can no longer make Claw attacks.

6: Body AC 19, 100 Health If destroyed, the Iyr Specurem dies.

Actions
Claw: (Melee Weapon Attack) +13 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (2d8+7) slashing damage

Bite: +11 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d6+7) slashing damage and 14 (2d6+7) radiant damage.

Obliterate (Recharge 5-6): The Iyr Specurem's head flashes a burning light in a 60-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 18 Constitution saving throw, taking 56 (16d6) radiant damage and being blinded for 3 turns on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Legendary Actions
Bite: The Iyr Specurem makes a Bite attack.

Flash: Everyone within 50 ft. of the Iyr Specurem must make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or be blinded for 3 turns.

Blink: The Iyr Specurem moves 50 ft. instantly.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Myconids - Everybody Else Has 'Em

Atavia - "What, is this the 5th project now?"

 Atavia is a mini-setting I'm making: condensing the most interesting parts of Age of the Ecclesiarchy (the thing with the Desolation in it) into a large island.

Atavia is divided into 4 baronies: Graam, in the top-left, Bös, in the top right, De Bahn to the right, and A'Tirae at the bottom.

Yeah, okay, great. What was that about myconids?

Fine. 

The top third of the map is the Motherland: an aboveground mushroom forest growing from the Mother Pillar, a 20-story tall fungus on the border of De Bahn and Bös. The area around the Mother Pillar is... unpleasant, let's say.

Myconids aren't very common in the Motherland: a sapient creature takes quite a lot of energy compared to something like a Shrieker. Because of the immense amount of material required to keep a Myconid alive, they aren't used for "menial" tasks, such as releasing spores: there are cheaper, easier fungi for that. Myconids are created specifically for communication: to be the pleasant, humanoid face of the inscrutable alien mind of the Motherland.


https://blazemalefica.deviantart.com/art/Myconids-519431194
There is one issue with that, however: brains take up a lot of energy, which the Myconids can't store easily. Because of this, Myconids have a tiny memory: a small amount of Common, how to walk, and how to use their arms. This means that asked basically any question at all, they tell the questioner to stay where they are, and run off, looking for a Commune.


Communes are memory stores for the Motherland: they can't move and can't speak, but are connected to the Motherland. When a Myconid needs the answer to a question, a Commune absorbs it, writes the answer into the Myconid's "flesh" and spits it back out.

Myconid's don't last long: the whole "having a brain thing" burns them out after a couple days.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Desolation, Part 2: The Elves

The Elves of the Desolation

Image Credit: Muglo
The elves of the Desolation work in a loose caste system, with the despicable common folk and disgusting foreigners at the bottom, and knowledgeable necromancers and noble council members at the top.

Elven cities are led by a Council, chosen through a convoluted system of nepotism, backstabbing, false elections, true elections, and then some more backstabbing for good measure. Members of the Council will either have a very short lifespan or an incredibly long one, depending on how well-protected they are.

Even outside of the Council, confusion, deception, and other such nonsense is commonplace. Because of this, even money must have a place in defending you. Instead of using gold, copper, or other metals, elves use Amulets of Shinnae, necromantic objects that contain souls. The Amulets of Shinnae are built by the noble necromancer caste, with souls taken from criminals, foreigners, and anybody an elven noble didn’t like very much. The Amulets inflict a geas on the soul, forcing them to protect their holder.

In case it wasn’t already easy to see, necromancy is far from taboo in elven society. The necromancer caste is one of the two noble castes, spending much of their time in their own towers, built by the other nobles.

Image Credit: Paizo, I think.
Necromancers are taught to replace most normal solutions to problems with urban living with their magic. Without easy sources of light, elven cities are lit with Soulamps: a fragment of a soul stored in a heavy, iron-bound lamp. When shattered, a Soulamp’s prisoner escapes with a deafening screech.

Elves are very isolationist, refusing to leave the Desolation. Some say they've found something, deep within.

The Desolation, Part 1: Creatures of the Desolation

The Desolation

The Desolation is an ice desert, comprised of tiny fragments of ice and sand and irradiated with horrible magics. With the rising sun, it becomes a hellscape of blinding light and wandering Prismwraiths. At night, the cold can crack even the most hardened adventures (if the creatures that awaken with the darkness don't first).

Cultivators

The Cultivators go through a metamorphic life, being born as small worm-like creatures and buried in some of the deeper chambers of their underground Hivecities. Decisions are made by the Queen's Circle, made up of the queens of every Hivecity.

The Cultivators are the only source of plants in the Desolation, and thus are often under attack by some creature or another, or under siege by the elves. To protect themselves, they fabricated the Wyrm Eaters, and military service is mandatory if a Hivecity comes under assault.

Cultivators worship the Inner Gods: ancient titans buried beneath the earth, revealed through fault lines. It is said some of the deepest Hivecities have burrowed all the way down to where the Inner Gods live. Cultivator clerics of Inner Gods such as Ursek, Ar-Torak, and Om-Tira are common in the larger Hivecities.

Image Credit: Cloister.se



Cultivator

Medium Monstrosity, Lawful Good

  • Armor Class 12 (Natural Armor)
  • Hit Points 10 (2d8)
  • Speed 30 ft., burrow 15 ft.

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
10 (+0)8 (-1)12 (+1)14 (+2)14 (+2)6 (-3)

  • Senses Darkvision 120 ft., Passive Perception 12
  • Skills Arcana +2, Survival +2
  • Languages Cultivator
  • Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)
  • Damage Immunities Cold

Actions

Multiattack: The Cultivator can make 2 claw attacks
Claw: Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d8 + 1) slashing damage

Maidenfly


Maidenflies are bioengineered pollinators created by the Cultivators, with multiple pollen sacs, often filled with poisonous or irritating pollens, and their large proboscis, they can be somewhat dangerous, although they are very passive, and do not attack without a command from the Cultivators.

Image Credit: Cloister.se


Maidenfly

Tiny Monstrosity, Lawful Neutral

  • Armor Class 12
  • Hit Points 8
  • Speed 10 ft., fly 65 ft.

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
6 (-2)14 (+2)10 (+0)3 (-4)14 (+2)5 (-3)

  • Senses Darkvision 20 ft., Passive Perception 11
  • Skills None
  • Languages -
  • Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)
  • Damage Immunities Cold

Actions

Jab: 1d4 piercing damage, +2 to hit, 5 ft. reach, one target
Stunning Pollen: All creatures other than Maidenflies, Cultivators, and Wyrm Eaters in a 30 foot dome around the Maidenfly must make a DC 5 constitution save or be stunned for two turns.
Irritating Pollen: All creatures other than Maidenflies, Cultivators, and Wyrm Eaters in a 30 foot dome around the Maidenfly must make a DC 10 constitution save or have disadvantage on to hit rolls as well as attackers having advantage on affected targets for the next 3 turns.
Vitalizing Pollen: All Maidenflies, Cultivators, and Wyrm Eaters within a 30 foot dome around the Maidenfly gain +10 ft. of movement, +1 to hit rolls, and 5 temporary hit points.

Prismwraith

Prismwraiths are formed by the reflected light of the Desolation reacting with the magical radiation contained within. They spend their single day wandering, with their fragmented minds racing to understand what they are. Large amounts of them congregate to Elven cities, where they can find the light they need to survive.

Prismwraiths are not always immediately aggressive, but often lash out in confusion. They vanish at sunset, with the loss of the light that makes them up.



Prismwraith

Medium Celestial, Chaotic Evil

  • Armor Class 14
  • Hit Points 65
  • Speed 0 ft., fly 80 ft., (hover)

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
6 (-2)16 (+3)16 (+3)12 (+1)14 (+2)5 (-3)

  • Senses Passive Perception 16
  • Skills None
  • Languages -
  • Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)
  • Damage Resistances acid, fire, lightning, thunder; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks that aren't silvered
  • Damage Immunities necrotic, poison, cold, radiant
  • Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained
  • Incorporeal Movement: The wraith can move through other creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain. It takes 5 (1d10) force damage if it ends its turn inside an object.
  • Solar Powered: The Prismwraith disappears if not touched by sunlight.

Actions

Radiant Cone: 2d10 radiant damage, 15 ft. cone
Radiant Beam: 2d8 radiant damage, 75 ft. range, one target

Wyrm Eater

Wyrm Eaters are bred and kept by the Cultivators for use as protectors. Their circular antennae connect them to the energies of magic, and their large size and destructive mandibles make them formidable opponents in close combat.

Wyrm Eaters fight quickly and violently, but each has been trained to minimize collateral damage.

Image Credit: Cloister.se



Wyrm Eater

Medium Monstrosity, Lawful Neutral

  • Armor Class 18
  • Hit Points 37
  • Speed 30 ft.

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
15 (+2)10 (+0)14 (+2)11 (+1)12 (+1)6 (-3)

  • Senses Darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception 16
  • Skills None
  • Languages -
  • Challenge 2 (450 XP)
  • Damage Immunities Cold
  • Charge If the Wyrm Eater moves at least 30 ft. straight toward a target and then hits it with a Slam attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 3d6 bludgeoning damage.

Actions

Slam: 1d10 bludgeoning damage, +2 to hit, 5 ft. reach, one target
Kinetic Blast: 1d8 force damage, 100 ft. range, one target
Acid Spray (Recharge 4-5-6): Deals 2d6 acid damage in a 30 ft. line, 5 ft. wide
Kinetic Storm (Recharge 5-6) Fires 4 blasts, each dealing 1d8 force damage with a range of 100 ft. You can direct the blasts at the same target or at different ones. Make a separate to hit roll and attack roll for each blast.

Silentwyrm

Silentwyrms burrow under Cultivator farms, hiding their heads by folding the leafy flaps behind their head over their titanic maw, waiting for a Cultivator to come by. Silentwyrms will focus on killing or knocking one person unconscious, then dragging them away.

Even if their camouflage is broken, Silentwyrms are big, violent, and destructive: perfect for DMs to use against players who think there's nothing to be afraid of in the Hivecities.

Image Credit: Cloister.se



Silentwyrm

Large Monstrosity, unaligned

  • Armor Class 18
  • Hit Points 154
  • Speed 30 ft., burrow 30 ft.

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
18 (+4)8 (-1)18 (+4)11 (+1)12 (+1)6 (-3)

  • Senses Darkvision 120 ft., Blindsight 120 ft., Passive Perception 16
  • Skills None
  • Languages -
  • Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)
  • Damage Immunities Cold

Actions

Multiattack: The Silentwyrm makes 2 Claw attacks.
Bite: 1d10 bludgeoning damage, 1d6 piercing damage +3 to hit, 30 ft. reach, one target, then attempts to grapple.
Consume: The Silentwyrm makes one bite attack against a Medium or smaller creature it is grappling. If the attack hits, that creature takes the bite's damage and is swallowed, and the grapple ends. While swallowed, the creature is blinded and restrained, it has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the Silentwyrm, and it takes 21 (6d6) acid damage at the start of each of the Silentwyrm's turns. If the Silentwyrm takes 30 damage or more on a single turn from a creature inside it, the Silentwyrm must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw at the end of that turn or regurgitate all swallowed creatures, which fall prone in a space within 10 feet of the Silentwyrm. If the Silentwyrm dies, a swallowed creature is no longer restrained by it and can escape from the corpse using 15 feet of movement, exiting prone.
Claw: 2d10 slashing damage, +5 to hit, 60 ft. reach, one target

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...