Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Skinborne (Sunless Horizon)

Sail Into the Light

The Skinborne are rarely seen by Ein Soph's inhabitants - they eschew the worldship's internals to cling to its metal Skin, safe from the threats of that inner world. The rare times they breach the Skin, it's for sudden, violent raids that gather as many resources as they can in the space of hours.

Their technology is incredibly advanced - not only do they have spaceflight, hydrogen from Ein Soph is harvested to power generators and weapons far beyond what the Navigator Houses have achieved. 

They live nomadically, drifting across the Skin in small voidcraft. These crews stay on their voidcraft for months at a time; despite this, they are nearly empty, with no frivolous items onboard except for a single seemingly random object in each person's quarters, kept atop an altar. Once their voyages are complete, they return to the Ark to refuel.

They are confused by the other societies of Ein Soph - can they not see they are failing their test? How do they expect to leave this hateful place when the Garden World arrives?

Their Exodus

According to their religion, Ein Soph is the Iron World, a test from a stern, silent god. Every ten thousand years, this Iron World passes by the Garden World, a paradise of nature and abundance. 

But the Iron World never reaches it. Even at its closest point, they are millions of miles away. This is the test their god has given them - to escape. The vessels they use to skip across the Skin like a stone over water are children's toys compared to their true project - a city-sized starship pointed out from Ein Soph, into the void. 

Soon, they say, they will escape this world forever.

Their Ancestors

The Iron World's orbits have gone on since the beginning of time - entire generations of people have escaped from its grasp, and passed their test. The spirits of these ancestors are revered, and their knowledge is treasured and collected into the Skinborne's holy books - somewhere between Bible and technical manual.

These ancestor spirits are spoken to through objects, passed down through generations and once owned by the spirit in question.

Their Ark

An entire engine of Ein Soph, uncountable stories high, slowly turned to face at a shallow angle. Titanic battery banks, leeching power from the worldship to keep this parasite alive. The Ark is the culmination of generations of work - the answer to the test the Skinborne have been given. Now they wait, until the Garden World comes into view and they can sail away into the light.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Preparing Sewer Rats, Part 3 (Equipment and Progression through Self-Debasement)

One of the main focuses with Sewer Rats is speed - fast character creation (thanks to Into the Odd), short sessions, that sort of thing. The other one is bureaucracy - Sewer Rats don't really get to make their own decisions, and they have a vertigo-inducingly huge chain of command telling them what to do and where to do it.

And you know what isn't fast? Spending half an hour searching through equipment lists and thinking about if you want a hammer and nails or another 50 feet of rope! And you know what has lots of bureaucracy? Being assigned equipment by some incompetent middle manager who doesn't have the faintest idea what Sewer Rats even do!

So, every time you complete a mission, more equipment is provided to your group.

If you complete only your primary objective, you roll 3 times on the table below per player, and each player can choose 1 item. If you complete both objectives, each player can choose two items. New characters are created entirely as written in ItO, and get all the equipment they normally would.

We are tracking ranged ammunition, using Usage Dice. Whenever you get new equipment, you have a 2-in-6 chance of having your weapon's Usage Die increased back to the default (1d8).

Digression: Sewer Rats House Rule #1
I've run a couple sessions of Sewer Rats using Into the Odd completely RAW, and now I am doing the OSR thing. Instead of the standard 3 stats, I'm using 4 - Vitality (STR + CON), Dexterity, Will, and Charisma.

I like having Charisma, because in the same way being smart can help you avoid a pit trap, but you still get a Dex save to avoid it, being persuasive should help you persuade someone, but you should still get a Cha check.

The change from Strength to Vitality is just because STR ended up being used for poison and disease saves anyway, so I wanted the name to reflect what it really was.

Of course, there are more house rules - disease stuff, healing changes, etc. These will be coming in the 4th and final Sewer Rats post, possibly next week (either that or another Sunless Horizon post, depending on the will of the people).

Another Digression: Using Useless Items
Loads of these items seem totally useless. Let them not be useless. If someone tries to distract a Hurtta with dried meat, get drunk to improve their Will saves, or change their clothes to help them with a VIT save against disease, let them. Sewer Rats PCs won't get many (if any) magic items, so getting use out of mundane objects is very important for keeping the game interesting.

1d100 Items from the Ratcatcher's Guild
  1. A bucket, with a large hole in the bottom.
  2. A single boot.
  3. An empty bottle.
  4. 1d4 pieces of chalk.
  5. A wooden 10' pole.
  6. A tattered shirt.
  7. 1d20 feet of rope.
  8. A bent trumpet.
  9. Half of a shortsword (1-3 handle end, 4-6 blade end).
  10. 1d4 bottles of beer.
  11. A cheap pair of pants.
  12. A shoddy hammer.
  13. 1d4 metal spikes.
  14. 1d20 caltrops.
  15. A broken musket.
  16. 2d4 candles.
  17. 1d6 pieces of dried meat.
  18. 1d8 matches.
  19. A blank book.
  20. A quill and ink.
  21. A whistle.
  22. 1d4 flasks of lantern oil (each lasts 5 Turns).
  23. 2d8 empty glass flasks.
  24. A lantern.
  25. 50' of rope.
  26. A net.
  27. An empty barrel.
  28. A pair of rusted manacles.
  29. A loaf of dense, dry bread.
  30. 1d20 pieces of paper.
  31. A crowbar.
  32. A chicken.
  33. A bucket.
  34. A pickaxe.
  35. A mirror.
  36. A shovel.
  37. A pair of heavy gloves.
  38. 1d4 sticks of unreliable dynamite (1d10 damage, 30' radius, 1-in-4 chance of detonating, 1-in-4 chance of detonating in the next 1d4 turns, 2-in-4 chance of nothing). If an explosive does not detonate, you can collect it and try to use it again.
  39. 1 set of Shield Armor
  40. 1 flask of acid
  41. 1 dose of antitoxin (cures poisons, but not diseases)
  42. A metal 10' pole
  43. A set of caltrops (covers 4 10' squares)
  44. 1 vial of rosewater (defends against airborne illnesses)
  45. 1d8 torches (each last 3 Turns)
  46. Heavy Plate (as Modern Armor, sinks)
  47. A full set of clothes.
  48. A handheld battering ram.
  49. 1d2 doses of dragon's blood - when consumed, be consumed by anger; +2 to attack and damage, must attack each turn, no defensive or subtle actions, must pursue fleeing opponents. Lasts 1d6 Turns, lose 1d4 VIT when it ends. (while called dragon's blood, it is actually created alchemically from far more mundane ingredients)
  50. 1 huge mining charge in a cart (2d10 damage, destroys walls, 100' radius, goes off 5 turns after the fuse is lit).
     51-60. Melee Hand Weapon (dagger, shortsword)

     61-70. Ranged Hand Weapon (pistol)

     71-80. Melee Field Weapon (pike, longsword)

     81-90. Ranged Field Weapon (musket)

     91-95. Melee Noble Weapon (rapier, sabre)

     96-100. Heavy Gun (arquebus). Heavy Guns have a 1d6 Usage Die instead of 1d8.

Also An Advertisement
The Kickstarter for my Zine Quest project King of Dust has one week left! It's a rules-light cyberpunk RPG with a Darkest Dungeon-like management phase, and a free demo version!

Enter the looming cityscape to take a look!

Thursday, February 6, 2020

King of Dust is Live!

Edit: King of Dust is now released on - you can buy it here.

The Kickstarter for King of Dust, the secret zine project I talked about in my last post, is live!

King of Dust is a rules-light cyberpunk RPG with a focus on domain-level play - you play as the Board of Directors of a cyberpunk megacorporation, managing your corporation's Resources in an abstracted management phase, before switching to the mission phase, where you control a group of Associates - vatgrown soldiers used for particularly dangerous missions. You can take a look at the campaign by clicking on the image below - there's a free alpha ruleset, some art examples, and a more thorough description.

Posts that actually contain something useful return next week - sorry about all the not that.

Sunless Horizon Beta 2.3 Release

Commissioned from Scrap Princess excited screeching I've been posting about  Sunless Horizon  for about a year, and after finally gettin...