Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Alphabet of Outer Beings - K is for Knowledge


K is for Knowledge

Deities and patrons are immensely powerful beings, but they often have more than raw power to use to influence events to their liking and as trade for favors. This kind of knowledge can come from many sources and is often received in trade for other secrets. Some creatures even make the collection of secret knowledge their purpose, gathering it for safekeeping or for their own power.

Table K1: Things Known About ... (roll 1d4)

  1. Objects (proceed to table K5)
  2. Locations (proceed to table K4)
  3. Beings (proceed to table K2)
  4. Other (proceed to table K6)
Table K2: Things known about a being ... (roll 1d6, then roll on table K3)
  1. The true name of a...
  2. The location of the secret sanctum of a...
  3. The true weakness of a...
  4. The source of power for a...
  5. The location of a book of knowledge about a...
  6. The secret true identity of a...
Table K3: 1d8 Beings
  1. Deity
  2. Demon
  3. Wizard
  4. Lich
  5. Dragon
  6. Warlord
  7. Immortal
  8. Fey/Faerie
Table K4: Things known about a location... (roll 1d6)
  1. The location of hidden vault of a treasure. 
  2. The secret passcode to enter the library of the knowledge spirits.
  3. The location of portal between the mortal plain and the underworld.
  4. The true purpose of an ancient obelisk.
  5. The source of power within the fountain of youth.
  6. The purpose of the world.
Table K5: Things Known about an object... (roll 1d6)
  1. The location of the phylactery of a powerful lich.
  2. The identity of the soul contained within a powerful artifact.
  3. The identity of the next wielder of the sovereign sword.
  4. The contents of the Vault of Ages
  5. The reason why the Rod of Power was broken into pieces and hidden throughout the world. 
  6. The actual purpose of an artifact currently being used for completely different reasons.
Table K6: Other Knowledge... (roll 1d6)
  1. A long forgotten form of magic
  2. The truth behind the creation of the mortal races
  3. The techniques to alter fate.
  4. Detailed knowledge of the future.
  5. The secrets to immortality. 
  6. The being who holds the knowledge of (roll again from the beginning).

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Alphabet of Outer Beings - X is for Xenophobia


X is for Xenophobia

Xenophobia is a fear or hatred of foreigners and people from other cultures. In this instance it assumes that there are many deities and/or pantheons at work in the world and that the worship of a particular religion is a major defining characteristic of the people's culture. As such xenophobia represents not just a fear or hatred of other cultures but is conflated with the fear and/or hatred of followers of other deities. What follows is a means to determine how the deity and it's followers see and treat other religions and their followers.

Table X1: Attitude Toward Other Gods (roll 2d4)
Roll to determine how the god views another deity. This is often influenced by the cosmology of their religion; a god who exist as part of a pantheon of deities will have closer relations with others within their pantheon, and tend to be more distrustful of those gods from outside the pantheon. When rolling to determine the deity's attitude apply a -2 modifier to the roll for gods within their pantheon, and a +2 modifier for gods outside their pantheon. Lone gods without a pantheon gain a +3 modifier on all rolls. If the gods have opposing domains (such as a god of light and one of darkness) the roll is always +4. If the gods have opposing cosmic views (e.g. Law vs Chaos) apply an additional +1 atop any other modifier.
  • 2 or less: Friendly - The deity has a friendly relation with the other deity. They consider each other stalwart allies.
    • Apply a modifier of -3 to the roll on Table X2
  • 3: Accepted - The deity accepts the other deity. They are allied in most respects.
    • Apply a modifier of -2 to the roll on Table X2
  • 4: Tolerated - The deity generally tolerates the other deity, but they are allies only in certain circumstances.
    • Apply a modifier of -1 to the roll on Table X2
  • 5: Neutral - The deity has no strong relationship either way with the other deity. They generally will entreat when circumstances require, and ignore each other otherwise.
    • No modifier to the roll on Table X2
  • 6: Wary - The deity is war of the other and their relationship is, at best, strained.
    • Apply a modifier of +1 to the roll on Table X2
  • 7: Rejected - The deity generally rejects the other deity and avoids contact. They are enemies and only entreat when a great enemy forces their cooperation.
    • Apply a modifier of +2 to the roll on Table X2
  • 8:+ Hatred - The two deities hate each other to the very core of their beings. The will never entreat and will always seek the destruction of the other.
    • Apply a modifier of +3 to the roll on Table X2
Table X2: Typical Response to Followers of Other Religions (roll 2d4)
  • 2 or less: Friendly - Members of the other deity's religious cultures and viewpoints are welcomed and viewed as an opportunity to learn more about the nature of the world.
  • 3: Accepted - Members of other deity's religions live in peaceful coexistence.
  • 4: Tolerated - Members of the other deity's religions are not enemies, but there is not an active dialog between cultures.
  • 5: Neutral - The two religions generally ignore each other and do not interact.
  • 6: Wary - The two religions are not enemies, but they are often in conflict.
  • 7: Rejected - The religions are enemies, and conflict nearly always breaks out when they interact.
  • 8+: Hatred - Followers of the other religion are to be immediately slain without mercy as heretics and blasphemers.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Review: MCC #9: Evil of the Ancients (Mutant Crawl Classics)

Find it at the Goodman Games store!

Having finally plumbed the depths of an ancient complex the resident shaman forced the local AI to submit to its will by calling on ACHROMA to display its secrets the seekers found a hidden installation deep within the lower level.

The Setup

Evil of the Ancients is a self contained adventure, but it can also serve as a direct follow up to MCC #2: Incursion of the Ultradimension. I didn't use it as such, and in fact changed the entire approach to suit my campaign, with the locale of the adventure moved from a stand-alone base to a hidden portion of a different facility. As written the adventure starts when the players find an intact structure above ground and investigate. As such a Judge can insert this adventure into nearly any locale or region of the world that they want.

***Spoilers***



***Last warning, spoilers ahead***



The adventure is about a facility that is "haunted" by extra dimensional creatures accidentally pulled into the world in the closing days of the ancients before the great disaster. These creatures are trying to get home, and in order to do so need to sacrifice a powerful psychic mutant. The adventure is meant to be creepy and atmospheric as the mental influence of these aliens slowly wears away at the PCs and influences increasingly bizarre and dangerous behavior.

***End Spoiler***

The Good

The first thing that I want to praise is the ease of insertion into campaign play. It's easy to grab any old adventure and run it as a stand alone, a one-shot, or in a campaign that is only loosely defined, but the way I run my game I find a lot of adventures require extra work to make them fit into my world and narrative. This adventure is very much "drag and drop" and really helps in that regards

Secondly this adventure really oozes with atmosphere, and a Judge who takes the time to build that atmosphere and mood up will reap the rewards of a table full of paranoid players. The adventure really hinges on this as well, with very little in the way of traditional conflict. Instead it plays out like a haunted house scenario until the characters themselves begin to fall prey to the aliens' mind games and turn on each other. As a result this "level 3" adventure could be run with almost any level of characters with just a few tweaks.

The Bad

Honestly, I have no complaints. The adventure is pretty great, with a lot of the role play elements that drive the plot forward to keep things going. The story is a creepy one, and perhaps a better means for that larger story to out itself might have been nice, but I don't think that all that information needs to be made clear to the players anyways; mystery and suspense are easier to maintain when the players don't know what's going on. The adventure even gives you a couple of different outs depending on player actions and the Judge's preference. Talk about accommodating.

The Ugly

This isn't an adventure that will slam dunk with every group. It's very role play heavy and fairly light on combat. It worked for mygroup because they took the role-play and ran with it, especially as the *ahem* mental influences began to rack up. If your group just wants to do beer and pretzels and slay some freaks this may be a hard sell.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed Evil of the Ancients immensely. My group had fun, and even though some of the role play aspects were played open due to the nature of an online session my group ran with them anyway and had a ton of fun with this one. The story is interesting and maybe a little tragic, and the growing tension plays out very well at the table if your players are the type to roll with it. I'm going to rate this 4 rads out of 4!



Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Alphabet of Outer Beings - M is for Miracle

Image Source: https://www.deviantart.com/artdeepmind/art/Cleric-675034125

M is for Miracle

Miracles are the stuff of divine legend. The handiwork of a divine hand reaching down to the mortal plane and performing the impossible, but what is impossible in a world of wizards and magic, of dragons and demons? When a faithful cleric of a god can heal with a touch and blast enemies with divine retribution as easily as he kneels to pray what does "miracle" really mean in that context?

Table M1: 1d20 Miracles in a World Full of Magic
  1. The local temple's holy symbol begins to weep (or bleed). Collecting and drinking this fluid will cure disease and heal injury. 
  2. A virulent plague that leaves naught but death in its wake fails to infect the citizens of an especially pious town. 
  3. A raging fire burns down an entire town/city except for the temple of the deity.
  4. The local lord (or duke, or king, etc) swaps alignment on the eve of a significant holy day. 
  5. Within the bounds of a certain holy site all present can comprehend all languages.
  6. An endangered town is taken wholly out of their native plain and into the deity's divine home as a means of protection, it returns to the mortal plain for 1 day every month. 
  7. The image of the deity's divine symbol on a battlefield rallies the faithful troops to defeat a greater force.
  8. A downtrodden faithful is given a prophetic view of the divine plan, restoring his faith and setting into action events that serve the deity's plans.
  9. The deity reaches out and blights the lands, killing hundreds, but preventing an invasion by a hoard of monsters which would have killed thousands. 
  10. The deity reaches out and smites the world itself, sundering the land and creating a geographical barrier between his chosen people and their enemies.
  11. The words of the deity's chosen priests and clerics are always understood but any who hear them. 
  12. A starving group of hundreds of faithful are able to eat their fill from a single day's worth of rations donated by a charitable person.
  13. The deity curses the land of a wicked queen with unending drought until she repents her ways.
  14. The spirit of a long dead champion of the deity descends from the divine plain to protect the deity's next champion as a child.
  15. A town or kingdom who have disobeyed the deity are struck down by natural disaster, but those few pious citizens are away or given divine warning to leave. 
  16. On the highest holy day of the faith no mortal worshiper of a given deity perishes.  
  17. A wandering people, the only remaining mortals who worship a deity, settle in an otherwise harsh and barren land, but find that their crops yield bountiful harvests and their beasts grow healthy and strong. 
  18. A king is divinely linked to his lands with his health and well-being becoming inexorably linked to that of the land. 
  19. For a period of one day both sides in a war were enabled to feel all the wounds they inflicted upon the opposite side. 
  20. A child, orphaned by monsters, rises up and protects their village without any formal training despite all odds.  

Friday, November 23, 2018

Nuts & Bolts #154 - Hacking the Cypher System - Nightbane & Cyphers


This is a follow up to this post about using the Cypher System, and especially the design aspects laid out by Unmasked, to resurrect one of my favorite game settings: Nightbane.

So after kicking things off successfully with the characters finding their true nature as shape-shifting monsters of shadow and darkness (though really they are more dual nature, and they aren't evil per-se, so monsters may be a bit racist) the third session finally found myself as GM with an opportunity to expand the setting for the characters. While washing the blood off himself one of the PCs found himself drawn into the bathroom mirror and into the shadow-Earth known as the Nightlands.

With his arrival into this place I also had the first opportunity to provide one of the PCs with a cypher. I'm using this game to try out something a little different for cyphers. Firstly, cyphers are going to be PC abilities and not physical objects, kind of like a subtle cypher, but without the need for the effects to be subtle. Secondly the source of cyphers will depend on the character's supernatural nature. A nightspawn (because Todd McFarland can't sue me for using the game's original title!) gain cyphers from the nightlands, the shadowy alternate earth which may also be their home dimension. They essentially get to charge up strange and powerful one off abilities when visiting that realm; abilities that will stick with them until used.

The half-vampire dhampirs gain cyphers by consuming blood, providing them with a very real hero vs. monster struggle for players to (hopefully) have fun with. Human psychics will need to spend time in the astral realm, the dream realm, or during intense meditation (depending on their particular psychic leaning). Ordinary humans will almost certainly be associated with the covert remnants of the legitimate US government (a.k.a. the Spook Squad) and have access to prototypes and special devices that with act as more traditional cyphers.

I'm hoping that this will work to make cyphers feel integral to the setting in the way that they do for Numenera. Likewise, I hope that this will give the players something to sink their teeth into for role-play purposes. Time and more sessions will determine how well this works.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Holiday Interlude 2018 #2 - Gobbler Golem

Image Source: https://imgur.com/jgEGqMH

What happens in Holidayland when the loopier wizards get their hands on the leftovers?

Previous Holiday Interludes

Gobbler Golem

I don't know if the day after Thanksgiving sandwich is a thing across the US or just here in the Northeast but it's probably my favorite part of the holiday. A monstrous layering of basically everything left over from the day before (or even just earlier in the day) into a sandwich that is greater than the sum of its parts. Unfortunately some foolish or insane wizard thought to make a golem using the same philosophy, and in Holidayland there are a LOT of diverse leftovers to built with.

Primary in a Gobbler golem are bones of crusty bread, muscles of roast beast, and blood of gravy or cranberry sauce. Carrots, peas, green bean casserole, and even squash are also often incorporated into the shambling mass of leftovers.

DCC/MCC
Init -1; Atk Fist +3 melee (1d8+3), Vomit SP; AC 14; HD 4d12; MV 20’; Act 2d20; SP Gravy Vomit 20' cone (1d12 damage; DC 14 Reflex save for half); Cranberry Vomit 50' range, targets within 10' are immobilized (DC 14 Reflex save for half speed); Immune to poisons and mind control; SV Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +0; AL N.
Cypher System
Level: 4 (TN 12)
Health: 12 • Armor: 0
Damage: 4
Movement: Immediate
Modifications: Immune to poison and mind control.
Combat: In combat the gobbler golem will make up to 3 attacks each round, attacking with its meaty fists and feet for two of them dealing 4 damage each, and vomiting either a molten stream of gravy up to short range for 4 damage, or a sticky glob of cranberry that immobilizes targets for 4 rounds,
Interaction: The gobbler golem will act on its last orders until it fulfills them or is destroyed.
Use: Gobbler golems are used by holiday wizards driven insane by the takeover of holidayland by Christmas.
Loot: A defeated gobbler golem will yield at least 600 pounds of edible leftovers, and probably one or two cyphers thoroughly soaked in various fluids.
GM Intrusion: The gobbler golem consumes one or more other holiday creatures and adding their mass to its own splits into two gobbler golems with full health (and possibly strange new abilities).

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Review - Primal Tales Issue One

Get it now

I don't do a lot of reviews, because reviews are hard, but I got this and thought it was worth my time to put some words out.

Vitals
Published By: Pandahead Publishing • Written by: Brandon LaSalle and Brett Brooks • 38 pages • $6.00 • B&W PDF (with a color cover) • $10.00 • B&W Softcover (with a color cover)

What's In It?

Primal Tales is a 3rd party product for Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC; and fully compatible with Mutant Crawl Classics (MCC)). Contained herein are rules for anthropomorphic animal folk that differ from those contained within MCC. The primal are less of a race/class combo as commonly found in both DCC and MCC and more of a racial template in the way that humans are treated in those same games. The primal have the option of three character classes; the Savage Warrior, the Arcaster, and the Chimerae, which are analgous to a DCC Warrior, DCC Wizard, and a DCC Cleric with a more druidly bent. Lastly there is a write up for a new Patron, Lamia, and some of Lamia's servant creatures.

The primals are created very similarly to a standard DCC/MCC character with new tables to determine the animal species (or family) and occupation. The occupations are similar to those found in DCC, but the animal's family/species determine the type and damage of their natural weapons (teeth, claws, horns, etc.) as well as some innate natural abilities. These abilities are minor, like increased base movement, dice modifications for certain skill checks, or even specific capabilities like the ability to hold ones breath for an extended duration, the ability to glide for short distances, and more.

In this respect the primals may exceed the manimals of MCC at their base level for some players, and even if not expressly using these rules a Judge may use this to inform their own game. Conversely, the mutations that a manimal gets in MCC put them into an entirely different scope of play in some respects.

Of the classes the most interesting is the Chimerae which uses the divine spellcasting rules (using disapproval instead of corruption) forgoes the Cleric's Lay on Hands to instead gain Animal Transformation, and has a custom spell list built up from the Wizard and Cleric lists plus a handful of additional spells included in this book. Honestly this class is good enough to be included in an otherwise vanilla DCC game as a human Druid class without further modification; I really like it that much.

The Savage Warrior is basically a standard DCC warrior with improved damage and crit range on the primal's natural weapons. Meanwhile the Arcaster is very nearly a DCC wizard except for an automatic "Spirit Familiar" spell gained at level 1. Both of these classes are fine options for the primal but do very little to expand on the existing classes.

Lastly we get a new Patron in the form of Lamia, a figure from Greek myth, here given the full power of a patron. There are custom Invoke Patron, Patron Taint, and Patron Spells included as well as a handful of minions. All of these are interesting and new when compared to existing DCC Patrons and MCC AI Patrons. Again, I would include this material even in a DCC game without primals.

Closing Thoughts

If anthropomorphic animals are your thing this may well be a worthy product for you to consider. The different animal families/species all feel different and have traits to make them feel like the creatures they are meant to be, The primal classes range from interesting to fantastic (really the Chimerae is great!), and the introduction of Lamia provides an interesting new patron option that is both powerful and creepy.

Score: 90% Pretty much a grand slam, if only the Savage Warrior and Arcaster were a little more different from the base classes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Alphabet of Outer Beings - E is for Eschatology

Image Source: https://www.deviantart.com/artofjosevega/art/Armageddon-376300293

E is for Eschatology

Eschatology is the study of, and the beliefs around, the end of the world. This may be a prophesied destruction of creation, the nest step in the cyclic destruction and renewal of the world and the gods themselves, or even a cultural shift that tears down the old world and brings forth a new culture.
This is the way the world ends,
This is the way the world ends,
This is the way the world ends,
Not with a bang, but a d20
(with all apologies to T.S. Eliot)

Table E1: 1d20 Ways to End the World
  1. The world will end in cold and darkness as all the gods, good and evil, perish due to lack of faith from the mortal realm. 
  2. A great war between the forces of law and chaos will consume the world and raze it to the ground. In the end only the godless survivors will know what comes after. 
  3. The end will come when the gods all perish and usher in a dark age bereft of divinity until such time as new gods arise once more from mortals powerful enough to claim the heavens for themselves.
  4. The world will end in fire when the sun god finally tires of the day/night cycle and scours the world clean with divine fire. 
  5. The current age will end when death and darkness are finally conquered and the followers of light and life achieve true paradise.
  6. The gods of a prior age, eternal and slumbering, will wake at last and cast down the current order and usher in a new age.
  7. The world will end with the arrival of a great new power that will upset the balance between law and chaos. 
  8. The great cycle of ages will come to an end and begin again with a final battle between the forces of life and death. 
  9. The forces of Chaos finally overthrow the last of the champions of Law. The mortal realm descends into pure anarchy as mortals tear each other apart without law to hold them together.
  10. The elemental balance will be upset and the world will be torn apart by the competing forces of air, earth, fire, and water raging out of control.
  11. The divine for forsake the mortals, and the world falls to the infernals and their servants becoming a twisted hellscape.
  12. The world will spin on without gods after technology grants mortals the power to slay the gods.
  13. The last souls will be born into the mortal realm, grow old, and perish, leaving the world quiet once more as nature reclaims the worlds. 
  14. The age will end when the mortal races die out and are replaced by new races of mortals, forcing the gods to change and adapt.
  15. The world ends when the gods finally tire of their games meddling in mortal affairs and destroy the mortal realm.
  16. The godkiller escapes it's prison within the world and begins to slay the gods one by one. The age ends with the death of the last god and the end of mortal religion.
  17. Powers unknown and unfathomable from outside of reality itself attack the mortal and divine realms slaying god and mortal indiscriminately. All worlds end as the very planes themselves are torn asunder. 
  18. The planes of reality crash together shattering and reforming with gods and mortals both undergoing change and rebirth.
  19. The forces of Law finally triumph over Chaos resulting in a world of pure law. The age ends with the mortal realm stifled by unending conformity, unchanging and without progress.
  20. The gods of darkness will finally extinguish the sun and snuff out all light and the world will come to an end in darkness and cold.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Holiday Interlude 2018 #1 - Headless Horsemen

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headless_Horseman

Since this has become a Wednesday blog (except on days where I screw up my schedule), and since this Wednesday happens to also be Halloween I figure why not lean into it a bit....

Previous Holiday Interludes

Headless Horsemen

Headless horsemen are undead creatures that ride coal blac steeds which themselves are spectral in nature. Headless horsemen are vengeance bound either to slay all the living relatives of those who beheaded them, or to fulfill the requirements of their last earthy goals. Headless horsemen will often pursue their targets doggedly within their range which is often geographically limited by way of running water, a common barrier against undead. Most headless horsemen will have a false head made of a pumpkin or similar which burns with ghostly, hellish flames and can be thrown as a weapon.

DCC/MCC
Init +4; Atk Cavalry Sabre +3 melee (1d8+2), Pumpkin Head SP, Steed Trample +1 melee (1d7), Steed Kick +1 (1d8); AC 14; HD 4d8; MV 50’ or teleport 100' as an action; Act 1d20 & 1d16 (steed); SP Pumpkin Head: The horseman can throw their pumpkin head once per night tp to 50' dealing 2d8 explosive damage within a 10' radius (DC 12 reflex for half); Undead; Immune to blinding and critical hits targeting the head; SV Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +2; AL L.
Cypher System
Level: 5 (TN 15)
Health: 15 • Armor: 1
Damage: 5
Movement: Long
Modifications: Might saves as level 7, immune to blinding & attacks affecting the head.
Combat: In combat the rider will attack with a saber for 5 points of damage. Once per evening it may also throw it's pumpkin head up to short range; the head explodes for 5 points of damage within immediate range. The steed may also attack as a level 3 creature for 3 points of damage with a trample or kick attack.
Interaction: The horsemen cannot be bargained with and will attack without fear. They may be defeated by crossing running water or by destroying their original body.
Use: Headless Horsemen are often found haunting sites of battle or guarding a specific location for a powerful necromancer (who likely created it).
Loot: A defeated horseman will leave behind it's pumpkin head, a level 5 cypher than can be thrown up to short range dealing 5 points of damage within immediate range. This is not found if the horseman uses it instead.
GM Intrusion: The horseman pulls a pistol or musket and fires a shot at up to long range at level 4 for 6 points of damage.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Alphabet of Outer Beings - W is for Worship

Image Source: https://www.deviantart.com/wickard/art/Worship-703918944

W is for Worship

Patrons usually see their followers as tools, they perform tasks and get tiny glimpses of true magical power in return. Deities and gods however require the worship of their followers. For these beings the tiny amount of magical energy they gain from each and every follower who worships them feeds and sustains them. It forms the basis of their own divine power in a relationship that can be said to exemplify the adage that "the sum is greater than its parts." Depending on the deity they may have very specific requirements for worship, or at the least, preferred methodology that their mortal adherents show their devotion.

Table W1:  Worship (roll 1d20)
  1. No uniform system of worship
  2. Personal prayer 2d3 times per day
  3. Daily Informal Mass (led by a monk or nun)
  4. Monthly Sacrifice (see S is for Sacrifice)
  5. High Holiday with Festival (see F is for Festival)
  6. Weekly Informal Mass (led by a monk or nun)
  7. Monthly Festival (see F is for Festival)
  8. Daily Reading of fates (see O is for Oracle and P is for Prophecy)
  9. Weekly Formal mass (led by a priest or cleric) with Communion
  10. Daily personal prayer 
  11. High Holiday with Reading of fates (see O is for Oracle and P is for Prophecy)
  12. Monthly Formal mass (led by a priest or cleric) 
  13. Monthly Formal mass (led by a priest or cleric) with Communion
  14. Daily Formal mass (led by a priest or cleric) 
  15. Weekly Formal mass (led by a priest or cleric) 
  16. Monthly Reading of fates (see O is for Oracle and P is for Prophecy)
  17. Monthly Informal Mass (led by a monk or nun)
  18. High Holiday with Sacrifice (see S is for Sacrifice)
  19. Roll again twice and combine
  20. Roll again three times and combine

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Alphabet of Outer Beings - P is for Prophecy

Image Source: https://www.deviantart.com/folkenstal/art/The-Elder-Scroll-Replica-opened-482156541

P is for Prophecy

Prophecies are predictions or foretelling of things to come. Often prophecies come in the form of cryptic , almost riddle-like, visions of the future through magical or divine means. These prophecies are difficult to interpret as they are often vague and the details as such that they could be fulfilled in multiple ways, or that the true intent of the prophecy is only made clear in the moment of it's coming to fruition.

In RPGs prophecies can be difficult to work with, and even more difficult for Judges to write. This will not write a prophecy for you, but instead give you a series of common pieces that you can string together in the rough structure of "A [adjective] [subject] will [verb] a [target] in [location]" or similar. The Judge is encouraged to roll when needed and parse together a prophecy that makes sense, or doesn't, or better still makes sense in more than one sense. A "groom will be slain by a crown" could be interpreted more than one way, a man to be married will be killed by a king/queen, or it could mean a groom (as in for horses) will be slain (as in will cease to be himself) by a crown (placed on their head when they gain control of a monarchy).

Table P1: Adjectives (roll 1d8)
  1. Albino
  2. Tyrant
  3. Innocent
  4. Pure
  5. Corrupt
  6. Lost
  7. Poor
  8. Wise
Table P2: Subjects (roll 1d10)
  1. Child/Son/Daughter
  2. WarriorHero/Champion
  3. Wizard/Sorcerer
  4. Demon
  5. Herald
  6. Father/Mother
  7. Prophet
  8. Marked
  9. Bride/Groom
  10. King/Queen
Table P3: Verbs (roll 1d12)
  1. Slay
  2. Find
  3. Release
  4. Become
  5. Born
  6. Perish/Die
  7. Be slain
  8. Bleed
  9. Sacrifice
  10. Replace
  11. Destroy
  12. Assemble
Table P4: Target
  1. Crown
  2. Weapon 
  3. Kingdom
  4. Book/Tome
  5. Gate
  6. Curse
  7. Temple
  8. Power
Table P5: Locations (roll 1d12)
  1. Direction:
    1. East
    2. West
    3. North
    4. South
  2. Water:
    1. Ocean/Sea
    2. River
    3. Lake
    4. Waterfall
  3. The Old Kingdom
  4. The Great City
  5. Jungle
  6. Steppes
  7. Wastes/Wastelands
  8. Below the earth
  9. Island
  10. Canyon
  11. Desert
  12. Mountains

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

MCC - Shroomer Character Class


Much like animals and plants mushrooms and other fungi were heavily affected by the mutative effects of the great disaster. Though rare, intelligent humanoid(ish) mushrooms and fungi have evolved and mutated into being in the unknown years since the great disaster. Unlike manimals and plantients the unique physiology of mushrooms and fungus, specifically the presence of the interconnective mycelium has meant that the Shroomers have evolved such that they display very few physical mutation but a heightened presence of mental mutations. Likewise they retain their native ability to connect to the great fungal colonies of Terra AD with various benefits.

Hit Dice: Shroomers gain d4 hit points at each level.

Mutations: Upon achieving 1st level, a shroomer gains 1d3 random mental mutations (see Table 3-2: Mutations).

Artifacts: Shroomers have no natural affinity for artifacts but due to their highly evolved mental capacity they do gain greater understanding as they progress to higher levels.

Summon Spores: All shroomers are servants of the Great Fungal Intelligence, a world spanning intelligence that resides within a global network of mycelium. This allows the shroomer to summon spores of the Great Fungal Intelligence for various effects equivalent to the Nanogram wetware ability (page 255). This power can be used once per day per character level. The Shroomer rolls 1d20+CL+Per and gains defects instead of patron taint when a "1" is rolled. The Judge to adjust the descriptions of these effects to suit the spore and fungus based source of the power.


Mycelium Nutrient Transport Healing: A shroomer may, in natural areas, make contact with the global network of mycelium and spend 1 turn absorbing nutrients from the mycelium to enhance their healing. Doing so heals the shroomer of 1d6+CL damage.

Radburn: Shroomers exposed to radiation or other mutagens may develop - or sometimes even lose – mutations (see Chapter 3: Mutations). Shroomers that lose all of their mutations devolve to into a non-sentient fungal or mushroom organism. If this happens in an area where they are able to connect to the mycelium, or if they are carefully transported to such an area, they may regain a single mutations at the will of the Great Fungal Intelligence. The shroomer makes a standard luck check, using the luck score they had at the time of their de-mutation, and if successful immediately gains 1 random mental mutation as well as their former ability scores, language, upright locomotion, and prehensile appendages.


Glowburn: Shroomers may elect to use glowburn when activating a mutant power or summoning  spores (see Chapter 3: Mutations).

AI Recognition: Shroomers are not recognized by AIs. They are simply too alien for an A.I. to mistake them for an ancient one.

Archaic Alignment: Shroomers player characters automatically begin as servants of The Great Fungal Intelligence and may not join any archaic alignments unless their master allows it.


Shroomer Titles (level/title)
  1. Spore
  2. Hyphae
  3. Pinhead
  4. Primordia
  5. Shroom
  6. Great Cap 
~~~~~~~~~
Feedback and comments are welcome, so long as they are constructive.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Alphabet of Outer Beings - L is for Legends

Image Source: https://www.deviantart.com/luthienthye/art/Legend-756057995

L is for Legends

Many are the legends and myths that surround powerful beings. These may be part of a Deity's religion or the rumor's surrounding a Patron's mortal life. Some such may be true, others patently false, and still others couched in such doublespeak that the truth is forever concealed. Some may be consider apocryphal despite their truth while others are embraced despite their falsehood. Below are 20 random legends that can be applied to any Outer Being or even used for other power creatures. For any given legend roll a d6, if the result is odd the legend is false, if even it is true.

Table L1: Random Legends (roll 1d20)
  1. The outer being gained the power and position by slaying another of their kind whose name is now lost to the winds of time.
  2. The most powerful mortal agent of the outer being is actually empowered by a fragment of its essence. 
  3. The outer being once slew a powerful dragon and freed an entire country from it's evil. 
  4. The outer being has many children by mortals who all stand to inherit the being's power should they perish. 
  5. Somewhere out in the world there exists a weapon forged expressly to kill the outer being. 
  6. The outer being has created many powerful weapons to be used by champions of the being's alignment and cast them throughout the world. 
  7. The outer being is a false being, a charlatan who uses the power of their worshipers or followers to further itself without having any true power of its own.
  8. The outer being is lying about its alignment and motives.
  9. An entire race of demi-humans exists because of a curse from the outer being.
  10. The outer being is the sole survivor of a faction of outer being's who were destroyed ages ago. 
  11. The outer being was once more powerful but through unknown means has lost some of its former power.
  12. A great and powerful empire lies buried in the west with a deep connection to the outer being.
  13. The outer being's aide is taxing and only through their followers and worshipers are they able to maintain their ties to the mortal realms. 
  14. The outer being is dying, and its followers are insufficient to do more than slow its death.
  15. The outer being sacrificed the lion's share of its power creating a powerful (roll 1d6) 
    1. creature 
    2. weapon
    3. magical spell 
    4. seal on a prison
    5. artifact of power
    6. other (judge's discretion)
  16. An avatar of the outer being will be born to a mortal family when the next celestial alignment occurs. 
  17. The outer being is waging a war against an ideological opposite and uses the power gained from worshipers/followers to fuel that conflict.
  18. The outer being is the warden of a prison for powerful entities beyond knowing.
  19. Unlike others of its kind the outer being lives in the mortal realms and hides itself with powerful magics or remote locations.
  20. The outer being was born a mortal marked for greatness who fulfilled an ancient prophecy and gained their immeasurable power.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Nuts & Bolts #153 - Hacking the Cypher System - Nightbane


Nightbane is not a game that a lot of folks know. I've mentioned it in the past. It's an older game from Palladium Books that I first picked up in college back in 1996 (a fact that I know because I found the receipt in the back of the book last night). I've long since given up on Palladium's house system because I just find it to be too much, and as a result a lot of the games I played when I started gaming have sat on bookshelves and waited for their turn to come back around again. Always I would see them and want to play but every time I tried the rules stopped me cold.

When the Cypher System Rulebook came out a couple of years back I really started to look at Cypher as a way to bring back Nightbane for myself and my friends. The focus changing aspects of The Strange had shown me that there a way forward, but I still couldn't quite break the problem of the core characters, the titular nightbane. Nightbane are supernatural shapeshifters. The have a human facade and a monstrous morphus. The facade form is just human, no powers, no abilities beyond that of a normal non-heroic person, but the morphus is a powerhouse.

Thankfully Unmasked came along and gave me the final piece of the puzzle. A duality for form can exist no just by replacing a part of the character's sentence as in The Strange, but by omitting it entirely. The teens in Unmasked are given only a few pool points and a descriptor. Their masked alter egos gain not only a full character sentence but shifts as well. My eyes were opened and I knew, at last, how to make the nightbane work.

I started my players with a descriptor and an occupation, a Hideous Gravedigger, a Perceptive Electrician, and a Creative Tech Consultant. These were the human guises of the players, the as yet unaware of their true nature nightbane player characters. Each character started with 5 points in each pool, modified by their descriptor as appropriate, and that was it. This is less than the teens in Unmasked, and may seem harsh, but Nightbane is, in part, a horror game and the mortal facade form needs to feel weak and vulnerable.

Their morphus forms however gained not just a type and descriptor, becoming a Hideous Warrior who Rages, a Perceptive Explorer who is Sworn to the Seal*, and a Creative Adept who Needs no Weapons, but they also gained shifts, assigned by me, based on the appearance of their twisted and monstrous nightbane morphuses. These we determined the old fashioned way, using the tables in the original RPG's book.
*Sworn to the Seal is a rename of Sworn to the Crown, but this character is loyal to the US Government instead.
Getting back to my gaming past proved a wonderful experience and CYpher proved more than equal to the task of taking an old Palladium Books game and breathing new life into it for my friends and I, much in the same way that it had for Palladium's After the Bomb at Gen Con 2017 when I ran Furry Road.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Alphabet of Outer Beings - B is for Boons

Image Source: https://www.deviantart.com/jameszapata/art/Boon-336424298

B is for Boons

Deities provide many boons for their followers in the form of blessings, spells, and other divine gifts. Patrons often reward their followers with knowledge and understanding. Occasionally a patron may make a more direct hand in the affairs of their mortal followers however and provide direct assistance. These boons may come at after a great deed or labor is performed or be bestowed prior to the vassal embarking upon a notable quest for their patron. The boon lasts until such time as the patron deems the vassal no longer worthy, or as noted.

Table B1: Supernatural Boons (roll 1d20)
  1. Blessing of the Dragon's Blood (gain +1 AC)
  2. Gift of Hermes (gain +30' movement per round)
  3. Favor of Charon (may automatically succeed at a "roll the body" check one time)
  4. Gift of Zeus (increase all lightning damage dice +1d)
  5. Blessing of Horus (gain a +1 to Will saves)
  6. Gift of Aphrodite (gain +1 Personality)
  7. Blessing of Fortune (gain +1 Luck)
  8. Gift of Athena (gain +1 to Intelligence) 
  9. Blessing of the Crone (gain +1 to spell checks)
  10. Gift of Hades (increase all cold damage dice +1d)
  11. Blessing of Cthulhu (gain a cumulative 1% chance to spontaneously resurrect from death for every 100 years dead)
  12. Gift of Mars (gain +1 to attack rolls)
  13. Blessing of Osiris (gain +1 to Fortitude saves)
  14. Gift of Hephaestus (increase all fire damage dice +1d)
  15. Blessing of Achilles (gain +1 to Reflex saves)
  16. Gift of Poseidon (may breathe under water for 1 turn per level per day) 
  17. Blessing of Merlin (immune to surprise attacks) 
  18. Gift of Artemis (gain +1d on ranged attack rolls) 
  19. Twist the Strands of Fate (once per day re-roll a die roll)
  20. Gift of Aesculapius (gain a +1 to all HP recovery rolls)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Nuts & Bolts #152 - Hacking the Cypher System - Minions & NPCs



Minions in Cypher System have always been a bit of a mixed bag. The level system makes minion stats very easy to determine and their approximate power easy to gage. However because of the simplified way that minions operate they tend to suffer diminishing returns later in the game state as their skills do not generally increase nor do they gain the ability to apply effort to their rolls. As a result as antagonist NPC levels rise the target numbers for NPCs and Minions steadily increase and reduce the effectivity of the Minion or NPC.

This has been observed and discussed in the past with both fans and creators proposing ways for NPCs & Minions to grant assets, or apply effort out of their health, and similar. Ultimately however, none of these solutions have really solved the core problem. If a level 5 NPC face off against a level 6 NPC that level 5 is pretty much destined to lose. While defeat may be inevitable, there should be a way for that level 5 NPC to affect the level 6 without relying on 15% of rolls to be able to do anything. Likewise a level 6 NPC should be able to make short work of a level 2 NPC without the risk of poor dice rolling.

I'm proposing a simple fix, one that doesn't require the GM to pick up dice, that will help even low level creatures contribute (even if only a little), but that also allows high level NPCs to act accordingly. Best of all, it's super simple.

  1. Determine level of task the NPC/Minion is attempting
  2. Subtract the NPC/Minion level from the level of the task, the remainder is the final difficulty level
    1. If the remainder is positive this number x3 is the d20 target for the player rolling the dice.
    2. If the remainder is zero no roll is needed, the NPC performs the task, and if an attack deals their normal damage.
    3. If the remainder is a negative number the NPC/Minion applies that many levels of free effort, or may provide an asset to the PCs or other NPCs on a one for one basis. 
Easy right? How about some quick examples:
  • A level 4 minion attacking a level 7 creature that it's master is fighting. The player rolls at a level 3 (9+) for the minion (instead of a 21+ using the rules as written).
  • A level 6 NPC ally attacks a level 2 creature ambushing the group. It applies 4 levels of effort (potentially one hit killing it) or can provide as many as 4 assets to the PCs.
  • A level 3 minion trying to defend against a level 3 creature succeeds with no roll required. 
The GM can always use an intrusion to allow lower level NPCs to succeed on higher level tasks of course, which also means that the GM gains the leverage to keep the story momentum going where they need it. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Alphabet of Outer Beings - O is for Oracle


O is for Oracle

Oracles are people who provide counsel and often prophetic predictions of the future, via precognition inspired by their god. The methods of their divination vary, and some made require study and readings while other may be struck by visions. Oracles tend to be either well treated for the prophetic powers or shunned for the ill news and perceived bad omens they foretell.

Table O1: Oracular Methods (roll 1d6)
Oracles have various means of divining the future, some are studies in the ways of making readings while others are given the gift of prophetic visions. There is an even chance of a Oracle being a skilled reader or a gifted visionary. Roll a d6, if the result is even roll on Table O1a: Readings, if the result is odd roll on Table O1b: Visions.
  • Evens: Readings (roll 1d8)
    1. Ossomancy, the reading of bones
    2. Cubomancy, the reading of dice
    3. Hieromancy, the reading of entrails
    4. Tasseography, the reading of tea leaves
    5. Spodomancy, the reading of ashes
    6. Astology, the reading the stars
    7. Tarotmancy, the reading of tarot cards
    8. Chiromancy, the reading of palms
  • Odds: Visions (roll 1d6)
    1. The visions come at random, about a random subject.
    2. The visions come when touching the intended subject
    3. The visions come only when exposed to a holy substance
    4. The visions come during sexual climax brought about by the subject
    5. The visions come during epileptic seizures 
    6. The visions are brought about by ritualized fasting and prayer

Table O2: Oracle Status (roll 1d6) 
The oracle may be a respect member of the community or a shunned outcast whose prophecy is cursed.
  1. The oracle is an outcast who is shunned by all who know better.
  2. The oracle is the leader of a local temple or sacred site 
  3. The oracle is a respected "wise person" in their town or village
  4. The oracle is feared but respected, they wander the country but receive hospitality from those they encounter
  5. The oracle lives in a remote location and only by making a perilous journey can they be reached by those worthy of glimpsing their fate
  6. The oracle is kept by a powerful individual such as a king, high priest, warlord, or wizard. Their status will depend on if they serve willingly (50%), and the status of their keeper

Table O3: Prophetic Details (roll 2d4)
The gift of prophecy is a difficult one to bear, especially depending on how often the prophecy comes true and how easy it is to understand.
  1. IGNORE ME!!!!!!
  2. The prophecies are cryptic and couched in double meaning but 100% accurate and always come to pass
  3. The prophecies are cryptic and difficult to interpret, but are often accurate (70%), and often come to pass (70%)
  4. The prophecies are difficult to fully grasp (50%), and occasionally inaccurate (50%), and only come to pass half the time (50%)
  5. The prophecies seem easy to understand but are often misunderstood (20% chance of a false interpretation), and are often wrong (70%), or fail to come to pass (70%)
  6. The prophesies are somewhat easy to interpret (60%), but occasionally inaccurate (50%), and only come to pass half the time (50%)
  7. The prophecies are clear and easy to understand, and mostly accurate (80%) and often comes true (80%)
  8. The prophecies are clear and chillingly easy to understand, they are also 100% accurate and come to pass no matter how much one tries to prevent them

Friday, August 31, 2018

MCC - Expanded and Customized Manimal Sub-type Table (Glowburn Episode 17)


Since there was a lot of discussion about manimals and the manimal feel in MCC vs TMNT & After the Bomb I decided to split the difference and stay somewhat true to MCCs old school roots but also leverage in some species/genus consistency. This table replaces table 1-7 on page 20 of the MCC core rules.

Table 1-7: Manimal Sub-Type (roll 1d30)
  • 1-2 Primate: Roll 1d4 (1) gorilla; (2) chimpanzee; (3) orangutan; (4) gibbon. 
    • All Primates receive Heightened Intelligence instead of a random Mental mutation
  • 3-5 Canine: Roll 1d4 (1) dog; (2) wolf; (3) coyote; (4) fox. 
    • All Canines receive Extra Senses in place of their first Physical mutation
  • 6-8 Feline: Roll 1d4 (1) lion; (2) tiger; (3) cheetah; (4) panther. 
    • All Felines receive Heightened Agility in place of their first Physical mutation
  • 9-10 Ursine: Roll 1d4 (1) brown bear; (2) grizzly bear; (3) polar bear; (4) panda bear. 
    • All Ursines receive Heightened Strength in place of their first Physical Mutation 
  • 11-12 Bovine: Roll 1d5 (1) cow; (2) bison; (3) buffalo; (4) antelope, (5) yak. 
    • All Bovines receive Gas Generation in place of their first Physical Mutation 
  • 13-14 Suidae: Roll 1d3 (1) pig; (2) hog; (3) warthog. 
    • All Suidaes receive Heightened Stamina in place of their first Physical Mutation 
  • 15-17 Rodentia: Roll 1d6 (1) mouse; (2) rat; (3) squirrel; (4) porcupine; (5) beaver; (6) rabbit. 
    • All Rodents receive Shorter in place of their first Physical Mutation 
  • 18-19 Amphibia: Roll 1d3 (1) frog; (2) toad; (3) salamander. 
    • Frogs & Toads receive Domination instead of a random Mental mutation;
    • Salamanders receive Pyrokinesis instead of a random Mental mutation.
  • 20-22 Avian: Roll 1d6 (1) hawk; (2) eagle; (3) crow; (4) owl; (5) vulture; (6) seagull. 
    • All Avians receive Wings in place of their first Physical Mutation 
  • 23-25 Insecta: Roll 1d6 (1) roach; (2) ant; (3) fly; (4) grasshopper; (5) beetle; (6) moth. 
    • All Insectas receive either Wings or Carapace in place of their first Physical Mutation, appropriate to their species type. (i.e. Ants = Carapace, Moth = Wings)
  • 26-27 Serpents: Roll 1d4 (1) king cobra; (2) python; (3) boa constrictor; (4) rattlesnake.
    • All Serpents receive Plasticity in place of their first Physical Mutation 
  • 28-29 Lizards: Roll 1d6 (1) chameleon; (2) gecko; (3) komodo dragon; (4) gila monster; (5) iguana; (6) turtle or tortoise. 
    • Chameleons receive Holographic Skin in place of their first Physical Mutation;
    • Turtles/tortoises receive Carapace in place of their first Physical Mutation;
    • All other Lizards receive Regeneration in place of their first Physical Mutation.
  • 30 Roll again on this table, then roll on Table 1-6 Mutant Appearance.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

MCC - New Mutation - Kawaii


Kawaii

You have evolved the ability to retain a juvenile appearance even into adulthood. As a result other mammalian sentients find you extremely cute, a fact which you have learned to take advantage of. From social situations to catching enemies off guard in combat, your overwhelming cuteness has given you the ability to gain a leg up on many other denizens of Terra A.D.

Type: Passive
Range: N/A
Duration: Permanent
Save: None

General:  The mutant is unnaturally cute.

Manifestation Roll 1d4: (1) The mutant’s eyes are unusually large; (2) The mutant’s body is covered by a fuzzy coat of fur/hair/feathers, as appropriate; (3) The mutant’s head is large for their body and their face is round and cherubic; (4) The mutant’s body is slightly rotund in such as way that is adorable.

Check Results

  • 1 Failure, mutation replaced by defect.
  • 2-11 Failure, mutation results in cosmetic change only; you're cute, but not that cute.
  • 12-13 The mutant’s Personality score is increased by +1.
  • 14-17 The mutant’s Personality score is increased by +2.
  • 18-19 The mutant’s Personality score is increased by +3.
  • 20-23 The mutant’s Personality score is increased by +4; when the mutant is in social situations with other sentient mammalians they never have a disposition toward the mutant worse than neutral.  
  • 24-27 The mutant’s Personality score is increased by +6; when the mutant is in social situations with other sentient mammalians they never have a disposition toward the mutant worse than friendly; when in combat against other sentient mammalians the mutant is never the first target.
  • 28-29 The mutant’s Personality score is increased by +7; when the mutant is in social situations with other sentient mammalians they never have a disposition toward the mutant worse than friendly and the mutant receives a +1d for interaction rolls; when in combat against other sentient mammalians the mutant is never targeted until they have attacked.
  • 30-31 The mutant’s Personality score is increased by +8; when the mutant is in social situations with other sentient mammalians they never have a disposition toward the mutant worse than helpful and the mutant receives a +2d for interaction rolls; when in combat against other sentient mammalians the mutant is never targeted until they have attacked.
  • 32+ The mutant’s Personality score is increased by +9; when the mutant is in social situations with other sentient mammalians they never have a disposition toward the mutant worse than helpful and the mutant receives a +2d for interaction rolls; when in combat against other sentient mammalians the mutant is never targeted until they have attacked and their first attack is always considered a surprise attack.

Monday, August 27, 2018

MCC Recap - You're in Rubble



Last Wednesday I ran the another session of my monthly(ish) MCC game.

Meet the Seekers:
  • Sinclair, the Mutant (Chitinous armor) (level 2)
    • Played by Andrew Lyon
  • Bo Goodboy, the Yorkie Manimal (level 1) and Ricki the Dog Manimal
    • Played by Jon Hook
  • Winona, the Beaver Manimal
    • Played by William Keller
  • Ratfinkle, the Rat Manimal (level 1) and Flic-Flak the Sentinel (level 2)
    • Played by Alex Perucchini 
Have you gotten a tetanus shot recently?

The tibbar were now dead, and the ruins quiet. The seekers took a moment to assess their situation and decide on next steps. Ratfinkle, proud owner of one of the tibbar's strange weapons, decided to put some time into figuring out just how to make use of it. Unfortunately the manimal was not well prepared for such introspective tasks and in the process of attempting to figure out the workings of the cadmium rifle he loaded a shell into the wrong end of the barrel and then fired the weapon. The resulting explosion killed the manimal and when his companions tried to roll the body the found there was little enough left to even bury.

Deciding to open the door at the back of the room the seekers found it locked and the only apparent means of unlocking, a small square of ancient material. They attempted hands and faces, both their own and those of the fallen tibbar, but to no avail.

Bo Goodboy, bored of the repetitive testing of the lock, moved out to investigate the courtyard area alone. As he approached the ruins of one of the fallen towers he spied the fallen form of another tibbar, one that they had not killed. Cautiously approaching Bo was at least partially prepared when a giant mutant mantis sprang up from the rubble near the corpse and slashed him with it's wicked serrated claws. His flesh rent in a nearly fatal first attack he swung his stone axe up and over his head and cleaved the creature's head from its body. After taking a moment to collect himself he looted the tibbar and found a fully charged c-cell! Almost a worthy reward for the damage incurred.

Meanwhile Sinclair was frustrated by the lock, and swing his massive club into the square of strange material destroying it and receiving a nasty shock. Annoyed the group decided to see in there was a way in from outside the ruin, and moved out to search for a window. They found that the tower did have windows but that the closest was two dozen feet above the ground. Using their skills as gatherers two of the team made rope using the local vines and tied them to a section of rubble. Wenona used her teleportation mutation to place the rubble beyond the window to act as a grapnel and Sinclair climbed up the rope and into the tower.

Within he found that there was a hole in the roof and that time and water had destroyed all the tower's floors except a small section he now stood on. Looking down into the tower he spied the other side of the door they could not open and beside it a long desiccated and decayed corpse. Searching the corpse Sinclair found a small hexagonal badge in silver with a white bird, five shiny discs, and, searching the remains specifically, a strange mechanical implant in the skull of the body.

Sinclair fiddled with the hexagonal badge enough to get it to stick to his clothing and unlock the door allowing him to exit the tower's ruins back into the room of the tibbar slaughter. The seekers then decided search the last room within the ruin, a largely collapsed pile of rubble that quickly collapsed as they searched. Sinclair was pulled in and Bo grabbed his arm but was unable to prevent himself from being pulled inward as well. Wenona was quick to grab Bo but likewise fell into the collapsing rubble. Flik-flac reached out to try and help his friends but failed to grab hold of Wenona and then followed the other seekers into the mess. In the end they all fell into the pit created by the collapsed rubble, taking many cuts from the shattered glass and twisted metal. As they pulled themselves out the found that Bo, already weakened by his encounter with the mantis had bled out from all the cuts he took from the glass. They could not rouse their freind and had to mourn his loss.

At last the seekers had had enough, they took the rest of the day and rested, using the tents the tibbar had left behind, and regrouped in the morning. They decided to check the small ruin at the overlook before pushing deeper into the ruin. Investigating the nearly destroyed structure the group found a ring of gold and red stone and another hexagonal badge, this one in gold and white, but only after defeating a quartet of giant centipedes that ambushed them from the rubble. Flik-flac quickly used the remains of one of the centipedes to fashion a manica for his arm out of the segemented chitin while Riki gather the remaining plates up with the intent of getting the village craftsman to fashion it into a suit of armor.

With all the external ruins explored the group turned their eyes on the passage into the mountain, and the ruins within ....

In Memoriam: 
  • Ratfinkle, blown to smithereens by his own cadmium rifle
  • Bo Goodboy, falling into a pit of glass

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Alphabet of Outer Beings - U is for Unholy

Image Source: https://www.deviantart.com/chadmichaelward/art/Unholy-Trinity-106868752

U is for Unholy

The clerics of most deities have the ability to channel divine energies to rebuff, damage, and even destroy utterly, entities that their deity considers anathema. Deemed "unholy" by their mortal worshippers these abominations in the sight of the gods are often used as targets for questing knights of holy orders, and are often rare to find within the domains of followers of such deities. Deities often take offense to the existence of multiple creature types, but some may focus their enmity on fewer, or even single creature types. A cleric of such a deity will find their ability to "turn unholy" especially effective in such cases.

Table U1: Number of Unholy (roll 2d4)
  • 2: A single creature type is truly abhorrent to the deity to the exclusion of others. (skip Table U2
    • When turned, these unholy suffer a turn effect three steps/levels/results worse than the normal effect.
    • Roll 3 times on Table U3 and gain +3 for each benefit rolled.
  • 3: Roll 2+1d3 creature types on Table U2
    • When turned, these unholy suffer a turn effect one step/level/result worse than the normal effect.
    • Roll 2 times on Table U3 and gain +2 for each benefit rolled.
  • 4-6: Roll 5+1d3 creature types on Table U2
    • Turned as normal.
    • Roll once on Table U3 and gain +1 for the benefit rolled.
  • 7: Roll 2+1d3 creature types on Table U2
    • When turned, these unholy suffer a turn effect one step/level/result worse than the normal effect.
    • Roll 2 times on Table U3 and gain +2 for each benefit rolled.
  • 8: A single creature type is truly abhorrent to the deity to the exclusion of others. (skip Table U2
    • When turned, these unholy suffer a turn effect three steps/levels/results worse than the normal effect.
    • Roll 3 times on Table U3 and gain +3 for each benefit rolled.
Table U2: Types of Unholy Creatures (roll 1d12 as indicated by Table U1) 
In addition to the unholy rolled below, Lawful and Chaotic deities automatically gain all creatures of opposing alignment as unholy.
  1. Undead
  2. Demons and/or Devils 
  3. Magical Constructs (golems, homunculi, etc.)
  4. Unnatural Creatures (slimes, molds, gelatinous cubes, etc)
  5. Humanoids (roll 1d10 to determine species)
    1. Dwarfs
    2. Elfs
    3. Halflings
    4. Humans
    5. Goblins
    6. Orks
    7. Trolls
    8. Ogres
    9. Lizardmen
    10. Serpentfolk
  6. Natural Animals
  7. Dragons
  8. Hybrid Creatures (such a chimera, griffins, manticore, sphynx, etc.)
  9. Monsters (basilisks, phase creatures, hydra, etc.)
  10. Fae/Fairies
  11. Celestials/Angels
  12. Shapeshifters (lycanthropes, changelings, etc)
Table U3: Special Benefits Against Unholy (roll 1d8 as indicated in Table U1)
  1. Your deity's holy symbol repulses the Unholy and their powers passively; your bonus applies to all saving throws against Unholy powers. 
  2. Your training makes you especially adept at combat against the Unholy; your bonus applies to attack rolls against the Unholy creatures. 
  3. Your deity has bond with a key substance (such as water, oil, silver, etc.) that takes their blessing strongly and reacts to Unholy creatures; when using a blessed item of that substance against Unholy creatures your bonus increases the result of the blessing accordingly.
  4. Your faith acts as a symbol for those who follow you to rally around; your allies gain your bonus to their Will saves against the Unholy. 
  5. Your faith acts as a shield against the Unholy for those who follow you; your allies gain your bonus to their AC against the Unholy. 
  6. You faith strengthens your allies against the Unholy; your allies gain your bonus to their Fortitude saves against the Unholy. 
  7. Your deity's servants are especially quick to answer your pleas for aid against the Unholy; you gain your bonus for any attempts to summon such servants to aid you against the Unholy. 
  8. You deity's holy symbol burns the Unholy like a brand; you may wield your holy symbol as a weapon dealing 1d6 plus your bonus as damage. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

MCC - New Mutation - Machiavellian Mind


Machiavellian Mind

You see other residents of the world as pawns and possess the ability to convince, cajole, or intimidate them into doing what you want.

Type: Passive
Range: N/A
Duration: Permanent
Save: None

General:  The mutant is unnaturally persuasive.

Manifestation Roll 1d4: (1) The mutant’s eyes are deep set and piercing; (2) The mutant’s body tall and thin allowing them to look down on their peers; (3) The mutant’s hair is strangely wispy and looks like a dead animal sitting atop their head; (4) The mutant’s skin is a strange orange tone.

Check Results
  • 1 Failure, mutation replaced by defect.
  • 2-11 Failure, mutation results in cosmetic change only; the mutant steeples their fingers when they think.
  • 12-13 The mutant’s Personality score is increased by +1.
  • 14-17 The mutant’s Personality score is increased by +2.
  • 18-19 The mutant’s Personality score is increased by +3.
  • 20-23 The mutant’s Personality score is increased by +4; the mutant may roll an additional 1d3 when attempting to convince or persuade another sentient, including non-Patron Artificial Intelligences (includes AI Recognition rolls).  
  • 24-27 The mutant’s Personality score is increased by +6; the mutant may roll an additional 1d5 when attempting to convince or persuade another sentient, including non-Patron Artificial Intelligences (includes AI Recognition rolls).  
  • 28-29 The mutant’s Personality score is increased by +7; the mutant may roll an additional 1d6 when attempting to convince or persuade another sentient, including non-Patron Artificial Intelligences (includes AI Recognition rolls).  
  • 30-31 The mutant’s Personality score is increased by +8; the mutant may roll an additional 1d7 when attempting to convince or persuade another sentient, including all Artificial Intelligences and Patron AI (includes AI Recognition rolls).  
  • 32+ The mutant’s Personality score is increased by +9; the mutant may roll an additional 1d8 when attempting to convince or persuade another sentient, including all Artificial Intelligences and Patron AI (includes AI Recognition rolls).  

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Alphabet of Outer Beings - Y is for Yeoman


Author's Note: When I started this project on somewhat of an unplanned whim earlier this year I created a list of topic ideas and was able to get about 25 of the letters. Y, was the holdout. I wracked my brain, and even talked with a bunch of folks at Gary Con about what a good "Y is for..." would be that wouldn't also get overly specific (such as Yog-sothoth, or Yellow Sign). Ultimately I figured "That's December Marc's problem," since I had a whole lot of other letters, all with good ideas already lined up. As the letters tick-tocked by and this became less a "that could be fun" and more a "I can really do something cool if I finish this" I started to sweat that maybe "Y is for..." would be my downfall. I'm therefore doubly pleased to not only have a great idea for Y but to present it early to you all (strike while the iron is hot and all that), and let some other letter be the final post of this series. 

Y is for Yeoman

Yeoman are the servants and attendants of clergy, wizards, nobles, and kings. They are the faithful servants who go nearly unseen, and often unrecognized. Some may be born into their station, others sold into it, and still others chosen for the great honor of service. Regardless these men, women, and children are often in the room when great and powerful people do important things, but their names are seldom recorded for posterity.

Table Y1: Yeoman Origins (roll 1d6)
Yeoman are brought into their service in a number of ways and often their origins are very specific to the station they serve.
  1. Orphans - The yeoman are ophans, taken from the local orphanages between a certain age (often 10-12 years old) to serve. They may or may not considered slaves.
  2. Volunteers - The yeoman are volunteers who serve at thier will, often for defined terms of 1, 3, 5, or 10 years at a time.
  3. Slaves - The yeoman are simple slaves, bought into service with their freedom revoked. 
  4. Chosen - The yeoman are chosen to serve, with service often being considered a great honor. Unlike volunteers, above, the yeoman are chosen from the population, and may not wish to serve.
  5. Tithed - The yeoman are part of a tithe owed to the church or patron, chosen by the people, and given, either as slaves or as defined term laborers, to the service of the clergy or wizards.
  6. Matrons (only post-menopausal women may serve)
Table Y2: Yeoman Requirements (roll 1d10)
Not all yeoman are created the same. Many religions or wizardly patrons require that only a certain type of individual serve as yeoman. 
  1. Virgins (often also a specific sex)
  2. Eunuchs 
  3. Children (not older than post-pubescent, once yeoman age out of service they often join the ranks of the clergy or sorcerous acolytes)
  4. Blind (or blinded after being brought into service) 
  5. Mute (or rendered mute after being brought into service)
  6. Deaf (or rendered deaf after being brought into service)
  7. Specific Sex (male, female, intersex, etc)
  8. Physical Appearance (eye color, hair color, subjective attractiveness, etc) (often also a specific sex)
  9. Natural Ability (intellect, psionic power, physical fitness, etc)
  10. Roll again twice and combine
Table Y3: Yeoman Duties (roll 2d4)
Yeoman are sometimes given to a particular service, apart from the general housekeeping and other such work executed by more common servants.
  • 2: Sexual Services (the yeomen are required to perform sexual services in addition to, or in place of, other work)
  • 3: Inner Circle (the yeomen are the sole servants of the highest ranking clergy or wizards only)
  • 4-6: Standard duties, the yeomen act as general purpose servants for their masters.
  • 7: Translators (yeoman is fluent in at least 1d4 additional spoken languages)
  • 8: Scribes (yeoman is literate in at least 1d4 languages)

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

MCC Mighty Deeds of Artifacts (Glowburn Episode 16)


For my 2nd episode of Glowburn as an official co-host I proposed a rules modification. For completeness sake I present it here for those who may want to review.

Might Deeds of Artifacts
  • Yes, that’s right, Mighty Deeds … of Artifacts! I think I’m actually going to test bed this in my monthly game, but the idea is that a Sentinel using an artifact already gets a bonus die, I’m not seeing any downside to allowing them to declare a Mighty Deed that uses that artifact (e.g. a ricochet shot with a gauzer pistol, or trying to melt a lock with a laser rifle). Just like in DCC a 3+ result on the Sentinel’s artifact die would declare success of the deed in some degree. 
  • It’s simple enough I think, and will help Sentinel’s shine so long as they are using artifacts (which also will incentivize them to use artifacts).
  • So the basics here are:
    • The deed must be related to an artifact weapon or armor used by the sentinel!
    • The Sentinel's Artifact die must come up a 3+ for the deed to happen!
    • The attack (or other action) must also succeed!
    • The Artifact die does not add to damage (unlike a Warrior's deed die) this is expected to be offset by the higher damage output of artifact weapons.
That's about that. I'm going to try this in my monthly campaign and we'll see how well it works.