Thursday, October 17, 2019

Hobbits Do Not Exist

Long ago, Arnold K at Goblin Punch wrote Centerra. Its approach to gonzo vanilla fantasy has been almost as influential on the GLOG community as the GLOG itself. Recently, however, Lexi and Gorinich have written new takes on Dwarves, Elves, and Goblins, new attempts to reconcile standard fantasy tropes with the gonzo systems we love so dearly. I like them a lot! And I decided to look back at the origins of Hobbits and spin something new for this New GLOG Canon of ours. I vote we call it Intermediate Soil.

I could (and probably will, at some point) write an entire post on how this cover is the single greatest influence on my RPG stuff (Source)



"What is a hobbit? I suppose hobbits need some description nowadays, since they have become rare and shy of the Big People, as they call us. They are (or were) a little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded Dwarves. Hobbits have no beards. There is little or no magic about them, except the ordinary everyday sort which helps them to disappear quietly and quickly when large stupid folk like you and me come blundering along, which they can hear a mile off."
— J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit




Hobbits do not exist. That’s what most people would have you believe, anyway, and the Hobbits are happy to keep it that way.

A Hobbit community is called a Suburb. They’re built mostly in human cities, in alleys and on rooftops hanging off the walls. Most people never see them, though, or more accurately, never notice them. Hobbits have a peculiar sort of magic: they can simply choose not to be perceived. This magic is built into their dwellings, which are likewise imperceptible, and surprisingly spacious, too, if you’re ever invited into one. They’ll say it’s just good use of space. Hobbit pockets are likewise deep, and children’s stories have long held that it was a Hobbit that made the first Seven League Boots. (Wizards hate such stories, and will insist that only pure arcane magic can facilitate quick travel and extradimensional pockets. The Hobbits will always agree with a smile, though the Wizards rarely notice their presence in the first place).


It's tough to find any buildings on top of other buildings, but this is a building with more stuff inside of it than it should have (Source)

Nobody knows what baby Hobbits look like, because they have yet to master their imperception. As they get older, they slowly reveal themselves to those they trust most, and then to Hobbit society at large. Teen Hobbits still lack full control over their ability and will often *pop!* out of existence in arguments, and even adults under extreme stress will sometimes disappear involuntarily. Elderly Hobbits spend less and less time visible, spending their last appearances saying goodbye to friends and family. Nobody has ever seen a Hobbit die. They know when their time has come, and prefer to preserve their grace. Hobbits record their genealogies with zeal, and give gifts to others on their own birthdays; there are no Hobbit graveyards, but they still wish to be remembered.

See Invisibility magic does nothing to reveal a Hobbit, and Sense-Heightening magic will grant you only glimpses. Charm magic is actually the best way to reveal a Hobbit against its will, but you must know roughly where it is first.

Hobbits make friends well with animals and children. A child may insist their parents serve lunch to their imaginary friend; the parents may tell you that it’s just a phase, that they’ll grow out of it. They will, eventually, and a Hobbit will shed a tear for a lost friend. Hobbits also make friends with stray dogs and stray cats and everything that lives and moves, but they especially favor crows and wasps. Crows love games, shinies, food, friends, and life at the edge of the city, as do Hobbits. Hobbits know not to disturb creatures merely living, so they make fast friends with the wasps as well. Displease a Hobbit and you’ll find your purse stolen by crows and your toilet infested with wasps.

Friends (Source)

When war comes, the Hobbits keep their place. Many unjust cities and armies have fallen to “infighting” or “plague” in the course of their hungry conquest. The lords of these armies would do well to learn whether a city has a Hobbit Suburb or not, but there’s no way to learn without trusting the word of the children and the animals. Few commanders will take the warning of a child; those who do are spoken of often in the stories and legends, which most commanders likewise ignore. Conquest is not a business for the wise.

Hobbit Adventurers are attention-seekers. It’s a phase. They like to sing songs of their great deeds and commit audacious thefts. Their imperception magic is warped when they go out adventuring, however: instead of avoiding notice, they avoid questions. You may ask their name, and they’ll embark on a wandering story, and by the end you’ll forget you had ever asked. They’re always the life of the party, but nobody will remember their name when the sun next rises. If you do remember the name of a Hobbit, or the name of a person you believe to be a Hobbit, take note, as they will not easily divulge that information. Your first meeting was likely your fourth or fifth, and they’ve judged that they gain more from your permanent friendship than they would from anonymity. You have been selected.

Hobbits sometimes live at the edge of Elf Utopias, where they carefully maintain the “lucky” escape routes elf rebels stumble on. They live at the entrance of Dwarven Fortress-Emperors and whisper kind advice into their titanic ears. Hobbits likely live in Goblin Cauldron-Grottos, but neither they nor their Goblin friends bother distinguishing themselves if they do, and outsiders certainly could not separate them.

Hobbit Adventurer GLOG Race: Reroll DEX. Imperceptible to anyone not looking for you. Consume 2x Rations.

I think I watched the 1977 Hobbit at one point. The art is certainly better than any adaptation of the Hobbit since. (Source)

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Reapers

Hell’s invasion of the moon Asphodel increased its metaphysical gravity, and some souls from other moons get trapped on the the new pseudo-hell rather than continuing to their proper afterlife. They reincarnate on Asphodel, now known as Pilgrims, remembering their death but not their judgement. Some devote themselves a more virtuous life, atoning for a past life’s perceived sins. Some throw themselves into hedonism, knowing their gift could easily shatter. Almost every Pilgrim clings dearly to their second chance at life.

The Reapers are entities dedicated to gathering up these escaped souls and returning them to their journey. They are the manifestation of powerful metaphysical forces, but they are not invulnerable, and they can be evaded. If killed or thwarted, the Reapers reform elsewhere after 24 hours but lose interest in whoever they were targeting.


Death can afford to play games. When you gamble with your life, the house always wins. (Source)

The Grim

Grim Reaper. Hooded, cloaked skeleton. Chill but not talkative. Not mean to Pilgrims, but also no great comfort. Appears in a doorway when no one is looking.

HD 8; Armor as Leather; Move 2; Scythe d12
Scythe hits everyone adjacent to the Grim at once. If damaged to 0 HP, save; if you fail, your fate is sealed and you will die in exactly 3 rounds—nothing can kill you until then, but you will die instantly.

You may bargain for your soul (if dead) or the souls of others (if alive) by playing a game with the Grim. If you win, you and any other agreed-upon souls go free and the Grim leaves. If you fail, both your soul and the others are taken to the afterlife. You can pick the game but the Grim has veto power. Rock Paper Scissors and Connect 4 are popular.

The Angel will be sympathetic as it lets fall a radiant deathblow.  (Luca Giordano)

The Angel

White robes, dove wings. Constantly attempting to comfort the Pilgrims. Its efforts would be more effective if it weren’t trying to kill them with a flaming sword. Walks up like a normal person and tries to ease Pilgrims into their second death before revealing its angelic form.

HD 8; Armor as Leather; Move 2 Fly; Flaming Sword 2d6
Cannot enter any blessed building. Also easily engaged in conversation or bribed with food.

Look, subtlety is not my strong suit, okay? Sometimes you just need a flaming skull in your campaign and that's that (Source)

The Rider

Flaming Skull Head. Motorcycle, dark clothes, lots of spikes and chains and belt buckles. Yells threats and curses and revs the engine.

HD 6; Armor as Chain; Move 10 Motorcycle; Roadkill 2d6 + Knock Prone OR 1d8 Chain Whip
Leaves a trail of fire.
Has to slow down to a stop to turn on the spot. Cannot detach from the motorcycle, so it cannot go anywhere you cannot effectively maneuver a motorcycle.


The death of a person is a tragedy. The death of ecosystems is a constant. (Marek Madej)

The Wild

Huge Humanoid Skeleton with Deer Skull and glowing red eyes, roots knotted around its joints. Plants wither of disease around it and animals lay down to bleed out. Makes a constant low buzzing sound.

HD 8; Armor as Leather; Move 1 Float; Laceration Field 1d6 (15’ radius)
Laceration Field damages all living creatures within 15 feet of the Wild.
The Wild is Vulnerable to fire; it fears and takes double damage from it.

The Deadbolt soundtrack is AMAZING and you should listen to it. The game is also pretty awesome. Seriously. (Soundtrack)

The Marksman

Bleached skull head, brown trench coat, not very large. Careful to protect its fragile, near-mortal body. Mute.

HD 4; Armor as Plate; Move 1.5; Revolver 1d8/Revolver 1d8 OR Sledgehammer 1d12
Each of the Marksman’s two Revolvers has only 6 shots.
Cover: It can hide behind cover to upgrade its Armor to Plate and Shield.
Ash: It can transform into a cloud of ash to become invincible or reach somewhere it couldn’t normally (no attacks as ash).

d5 Random Encounters with the Reapers

  1. Old, old farmer pretending not to be home with a Reaper at the door
  2. Ragged person sprinting across the landscape, Reaper in pursuit
  3. Bandit gang facing down a Reaper on the road. The leader is terrified
  4. A Reaper approaches the party and asks the players about the whereabouts of the last NPC they spoke with. They’re good at detecting lies, but not supernaturally so
  5. A Reaper has caught the trail of a member of the party 

Every time I go to google Deadbolt I forget that that's also just, like, an object, and get a bunch of pictures of these (Buy It I Guess??)

Thursday, September 19, 2019

6 Hellish Hexes

I've been plugging away at Hellwalkers for a little bit now, mostly keying hexes. There are 216 on the map; my goal is to key at least 108 of them. Here are a few, not in any particular order. They're a bit wordy, but this is my first draft for personal use; I would like to polish this hexcrawl eventually to the point where other people can run it. In the meantime, check this out.

Like this but red and with a hammer and with glowing eyes (Castlevania Wiki)

C02

Demon Forge Hammer on an acropolis, guarded by a Demon Blacksmith. He will give it up if the adventurers can best him in honorable combat. The Hammer actually is the Blacksmith; the humanoid body is projected from it. He was employed in creating the chains that hold the great demon Asphodel at the planet’s core, and has no love of it nor the Order of Asphodel, which he knows was probing for the secrets of the original demon binders (space elves). In order to carry the Hammer, a person must cut off their own hand; in its place, a demonic armored gauntlet will grow to hold it. If it is given away to another person, the new wielder must also cut off their hand; the original wielder will be left with a (healthy) stump.

Demon Blacksmith: A huge hollow suit of hoplite armor, blood-red but shiny and neat. Its eyes are embers.
HD: 6, Armor as Plate, Move 1.5, Hammer 2d6
Chains From Below: Summons chains from below to restrain every creature within 10’ of a point (60’ range). The Blacksmith can restrain itself with this by accident.
During duels, won’t incur permanent injuries or kill opponents.

Loot: Demon Forge Hammer. Main Hand, d8 damage, Sapient Demon Blacksmith personality. Imparts expert blacksmithing knowledge to wielder. Throwable, and returns to its hand. Can vaporize a creature’s armor 1/day.

(Wikimedia Commons)

Q05

The Eclipse Fountain. A concrete fountain built before the apocalypse, now covered in a web of deep cracks filled with obsidian and marked by the Order of Asphodel. It has inscriptions depicting an eclipse. The water is crystal clear and carbonated. If someone drinks it, they gain a Mutation, and the rest of the water in the fountain loses its carbonation and mutagenic effects. It recarbonates and becomes mutagenic again after every eclipse (every 5 days).

(Matthias Withoos)

N04

The Graveyard of Stones (O03). There are concrete headstones from the Old World weathered to illegibility, but there are also newer cairns and driftwood gravemarkers and a few recently-carved stone headstones. Many of them have a prayer carved into them: “May your rest be dark and deep / Though your absence we may weep / Asphodel will break your sleep / Granting you new company to keep.” 

Gandalf if Gandalf had died in the first five minutes of the Lord of the Rings (DanielRound on DeviantArt)

M03

Strontium Carbonate, the Firework Wizard. He died in a Firework Accident on a medieval fantasy world before reincarnating as a Pilgrim. He’s very confused. He has an entire cart full of regular, physical fireworks. He can shoot tiny flares from his fingers and blow animated smoke rings at will. He has 5 scrolls of Firework and keeps the spell Finale safely in his mind; he is good friends with it. It is the original owner of his name, Strontium Carbonate, and he confers with it frequently. He will gladly trade a large amount of fireworks and a scroll of Firework for directions to safety.

Loot:
Firework
R: 500’ T: Point D: 1 round
Launch a firework. Casts light in a 100’ radius. Deals d6 burn damage to anyone it hits directly and lights fires in particularly flammable objects. If cast with 2 or more [dice], the firework can be animated.

Finale
R: 2000’ T: 100’ Radius Sphere D: [dice] rounds
Launch a dazzling display of fireworks into an area, in whichever pattern you desire. Creatures inside the area of effect take d6 damage every round and must Save or be Blinded. It lights fires on all flammable surfaces.

Uhhhhh have this concrete disk I guess (This Photo Website)

L02

A concrete disk 100’ across webbed with obsidian and marked by the Order of Asphodel. In the center, there’s a glass disk 5’ across set level with the rest of the disk. Under the glass, gold glints. The concrete and glass are frictionless--anything that moves onto the disk slides slowly across the entire thing. If anything is on top of the glass disk, a 60-second countdown flickers to life in the glass and mechanisms whir; at the end, the glass disk retracts, allowing access to the treasure. It resets if the pressure is released, though, like if an adventurer skids briefly across it.

Loot: 500c in pre-invasion gold coins, Frictionless Boots, 3 Flasks of Ultragrease (covers 10’ radius), Scroll of Grease

Pictured: a deadly weapon, at least for this guy (Rocks)

K02

Tomb of the Blade-Proof Demon, a small concrete bunker in a cliff. It has a vault marked by the Order of Asphodel and a sarcophagus with a pentagram and an inscription. The inscription reads “An Invincible Demon guards this cache. It must be killed to access the vault. Drop blood on the pentagram to summon the guardian and learn its doom.” If the pentagram is activated, new words will burn themselves onto the inscription: “No weapon nor tool nor spell forged of mortal hands can harm the guardian.” Then the Blade-Proof Demon will emerge from the sarcophagus, non-hostile but inordinately smug. If he is killed, the vault opens, revealing the treasure.

Blade-Proof Demon: A red man in a flowery swimming suit. He’s not particularly strong or tough looking, but he is inordinately smug. He’ll dare people to attack him, just to prove his invincibility. He is easily bored and will wander away from crowded areas after a bit.
HD 3; Armor as Leather; Move 1; Longsword d8
The Blade-Proof Demon does not take damage from any weapon, spell, or other object made by a mortal person. Takes regular damage from punches, bites, rocks, falls, and other such things.

Loot: 500c, Tortoise Cloak: Crouch down to make yourself immobile and invincible, but it takes a full minute to get back up.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

d100 Discordant Wizard Names

I've been playing Wargroove recently. It's pretty good, I recommend it (Wargroove Wiki)

The OSR Discord is pretty cool. We have a channel called #d100-democracy, where you can present a prompt--say, “d100 Wizard Names”--and everyone contributes entries until the table is full. Here’s a fun prompt I presented, with entries by Me, Madilynn, Lexi, Screwhead Mcduff, Duan’duliir, and Madeline. This one took about a half hour and recharged my sanity meter as I stared at homework.

d100 Discordant Wizard Names

  1. Strontium Carbonate
  2. Teleflatullus Loim
  3. Gandalf Two
  4. Frank
  5. WIZARD
  6. Majavrat Imbain
  7. Damn-Your-Hide Benedictus
  8. Gronk
  9. I Was Cursed By Another Wizard To Have No Name
  10. Jesus H. Christ
  11. Frumpulous Maximus
  12. Frumpulous Minimus
  13. Snake-Dick Richard
  14. Fhezh
  15. Watcha Mackalit
  16. [indecipherable dolphin chirping]
  17. [The entire text of a holy book, given with the intent of pushing the wizard-to-be into a life of devotion and holiness. Failed dramatically.]
  18. Griffin McElroy
  19. Wouldja Lickmaeyes
  20. Toppler-of-Thrones
  21. Weeper of Stones
  22. Paul Gregson
  23. Greg Paulson
  24. Greg Paulgregson
  25. Chuffield Dandelion
  26. Lamly Whistler
  27. That Bastard Charley
  28. Vrikkit Shrarm
  29. Nalasvashayshea Murr
  30. The First
  31. RUMBLLLLLLLLE
  32. Our Lady of Towers
  33. Ashleaigh
  34. Chrikkee Rih’key
  35. Attendant to the Almighty Dave
  36. Elizabeth Darcy
  37. The Magnificent Perdenson, Humblest Of All Time
  38. 1110101100001101
  39. Vang0 Bang0
  40. Rover
  41. Casterman
  42. FIREBALL
  43. Mouse the Meek
  44. Argus Harmagion
  45. Eternity
  46. Help, I’m Trapped In A Wizard Factory
  47. Who, Me?
  48. Clone #49
  49. Halfway
  50. John v1.13.6
  51. Plimpvester Multiphoni
  52. Halipia Foc’sul
  53. Comrade Perkins
  54. Captain Jorts
  55. I Sacrificed My Name As A Ritual Component For A Summoning Spell And All I Got Was This Lousy Explanation
  56. Thunderdora the Stormbringer
  57. Robert’); DROP TABLE Wizards;--
  58. Bort
  59. It Turns Out Genies Can Grant Their Own Wishes And If You Piss One Off Enough They’ll Wish You A Different Name As A Warning To All Wizardkind
  60. Zeus
  61. Antizeus
  62. Bless You
  63. Fighter
  64. Thief
  65. One Hundred Wizard Names
  66. Dee Twennedy
  67. Lassie Timmifriend, Protector of the Sheepfolk
  68. Nice
  69. Shim Shorum Shalamey
  70. Porchrus Velps
  71. Lord Vape Dragon
  72. The East Wind
  73. Sprimtus Kleng
  74. Count Ting Is Hard
  75. Madeiliynne
  76. TIN
  77. John Darkmoon
  78. xX_Slayer_420_Xx
  79. Poxy Bastard
  80. Who?
  81. U
  82. Bzzzrt-gachunkachunk-f’CLANG
  83. RUUUUUUNNNNNNN
  84. Echo echo echo co co
  85. Your Name
  86. No, Who Are YOU?
  87. This Space Intentionally Left Blank
  88. Ay-Ayron
  89. Professor Doctor Masters, PhD
  90. Bae
  91. UwU
  92. [dabbing]
  93. OwO
  94. Best Beloved
  95. Jeeves
  96. Tablesmasher Hodgkins
  97. Whoops
  98. Luft Balloons
  99. Trvor
  100. The Quiet After The End Of Time

A Noise Wizard (Wargroove Wiki)

A Necromancer (Wargroove Wiki)

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

HELLWALKERS 2x20 Questions

This isn't really relevant but I made it and I'm proud of it

Skerples did this once over at Coins and Scrolls. I thought it was a fun way to flesh out a setting, so now I'm answering these 40 player-facing questions for Hellwalkers. Some of these answers may yet change.

JEFF RIENTS QUESTIONS


1. What is the deal with my cleric's religion?
The Clerics of the Immovable Saint venerate Saint Seymour, who defeated the Inexorable Beast and then ascended to the heavens. You can play one. You might also play a Paladin of the Voice, directly speaking the Authority’s will, or a cultist for a randomly generated minor god.

2. Where can we go to buy standard equipment?
The towns Stones (O03) and Bones (C05) both have standard adventuring gear.

3. Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?
The blacksmith Edith in the town Stones (O03) handles custom orders without much fuss.

4. Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?
The Wizard Gladice of the First Hellwalkers was the mightiest wizard in the land before the invasion. Now, they say she’s immortal, and hides out in her lab somewhere in the jungle.

5. Who is the greatest warrior in the land?
Paul of the First Hellwalkers was the greatest warrior in the land during the invasion. Now, they say he roams the southern badlands, cursed to hunt demons until all of them are slain.

6. Who is the richest person in the land?
Lord Bones of the town Bones (C05) has the most wealth as a consequence of his tight grip on the town. He pours most of it into military defenses and raids.

7. Where can we go to get some magical healing?
There is no magical healing. Food and a good night’s rest are pretty powerful healing tools, though.

8. Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?
Poisons, diseases, level drain, and alignment change are unlikely to come up. Curses, lycanthropy, and polymorph have specific cures. Undeath is cool enough that you probably won’t want a cure. Rumor has it that the Revenant Kraken (Q01) can bring someone back to life for a final mission.

9. Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?
There aren’t any magic guilds, but you can get elemental control tattoos from Lily in the town Stones (O03).

10. Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?
There are experts in the towns Stones (O03) and Bones (C05). People in the wilderness have more practical knowledge and local news.

11. Where can I hire mercenaries?
There are many aspiring demon-slayers in Stones (O03) and Bones (C05).

12. Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?
Lord Bones keeps a tight grip on the town Bones (C05). With a permit, you can carry your weapons, cybernetics, and magical abilities more openly, but Bones is not a trusting man.

13. Which way to the nearest tavern?
The taverns in Stones (O03) and Bones (C05) are hotspots of adventure and commiseration.

14. What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?
Demons. So many demons. The Demon Shark that ate Three-Finger Thaddeus’ other seven fingers is still alive somewhere.

15. Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?
There are constant skirmishes with the demons who invaded 100 years ago, and your whole deal as aspiring HELLWALKERS is that you’re trying to save the world.

16. How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?
There are pit fights in Bones (C05). You can earn money and--more importantly--respect, but there isn’t much fabulous cash floating around in town.

17. Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?
Your goal is to plumb the secrets of the demon invasion and save the world.

18. What is there to eat around here?
Regular fare. Meats, grains, vegetables, fruits. Most of it is farmed within 12 miles of the towns.

19. Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?
The most legendary treasure of all is the Crow’s Chime, said to be in the Pit of Flame (B07), which can turn back time to before the demon invasion.

20. Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?
The Pit of Flame (B07) and the Citadel (I08) probably contain at least one enormous, dangerous thing each, and plenty of treasure.

I made this too. It's a phone background

SCRAP PRINCESS QUESTIONS


1. Is there weaponized Squid?
There are demon squids, naturally, and if you can think of a way to weaponize regular squid, go right ahead.

(follow up questions are below)  Can I start with one? How much are they? Can I have one as a pet/horse/best friend? Can I play one? Can I dual wield them?
You can’t start with one. Regular squid are pretty cheap in Stones (O03). If you play a Wizard, you can call for a familiar, and if you do it in the right spot you can get a squid. There’s not a squid class I’m happy with, so you can’t play one. You can hold two regular squid at once but I’m not sure I would describe that as wielding.

2. Is there undead robots?
Uh, yeah, cause that’s cool as hell.

follow up questions involve the nature of consciousness and the existence of the soul in your campaign and can I play one? or have one as a pet or a gun that shoots them?
Sapient things have souls. Lots of them get caught up in the new pseudo-hell on Asphodel. You can play the Ghoul class and buy some cybernetics if you want. You can try to install cybernetics in an undead pet, too, if you end up with one.

3. Do Icebergs walk across the land ?
There aren’t any icebergs in the area of Asphodel you’re in.

can I be from one? Is godzilla frozen in one? Can I play a godzilla?
Since there aren’t any, you can’t be from one and Godzilla isn’t there. Playing Godzilla is a good idea for a different campaign.

4. What do birds know?
They know what the weather will be.

(no further questions)


5. Does medicine work like it does here but no-one knows CPR or does it work like a cartoon so I cure amnesia with more head injurys or does it work like medieval euro people thought it did with demons in your teeth?
Medicine works more or less like real life with a couple sci-fi advancements, most notably in cybernetics.

Do I start with demons in my teeth? Do I know CPR? Can I invent CPR? Can I give myself powers with additionally organs? What planet is in ascension in my spleen midmorning?
You don’t start with demons in your teeth; there’s enough of them outside already. You know CPR (so you can’t invent it). You can absolutely get powers with additionally organs. The planet Charybdis looms large above the moon of Asphodel, and the baleful red moonlight of Hell itself shines from its spot in the sky some nights.

6. I want to play a hobbit but really I'm the fleas controlling the hobbit. Where is that in the book?
You can’t play the fleas controlling the hobbit, but you can play a Klyntar, which is basically the same thing.

Could I take over a new guy with my fleas? Or another players guy?
The Klyntar class can take over new guys temporarily. You can’t take over other players, though.

7. How much could I rent my body out to spirits before I lost control of my character?
What are the names of the spirits? Are they cool?

A lot! That’s basically what playing a Wizard is. The spells do have names, but they won’t tell until you know them really well. They’re super cool.

8. What level do I have to get my character to before I am the g.m?
You probably don’t want to be the GM. It’s a lot of work. Character level alone won’t get you there.

Can I half be the g.m at an early level? What about when you leave the room?
GMing is an all-or nothing affair. If you stage a GM-coup when I leave the room, you’ll have to beat me in single combat when I return.

9. What is the dumbest thing I can spend my money on?
Uninteresting cosmetic tattoos. Get interesting cosmetic tattoos instead.

no dumber than that but cool. Like a pet with a pet with a weapon? Can pets dual wield?
Cool, interesting tattoos. Pets without hands (most of them) can’t dual wield.

3D Modeling is fun because neither God nor Man can stop me


10. How ugly can my guy be? Like Can I basically be a walking fish?
Your character can be as ugly as you want.

No wait I wanna be a walking fish. What is the reverse scuba technology like in this world?
You could be a sharkling. They breath fine in the air, though.

11.The lamp oil? Is that like cooking oil, kerosene, white spirits or napalm?
How much can I buy of it?

It’s like cooking oil. You can buy the stuff in barrels.

12. How does physics work in this world?
More or less like in real life.

What makes the planets stay up? Are there planets? Is it elves? Can I play an elf from another planet? Does everything work like how we though it did in the past? Can I discover stuff and pass it off as a magic? Is possible to use the scientific process to organise the concepts of magic?
Gravity keeps the planets and moons up. There’s one main planet, the gas giant Charybdis, which Asphodel and many other moons orbit. The world is advanced enough technologically that you can’t pass off most real-life knowledge as magic. You can absolutely apply the scientific process to magic.

13. Can I start with weapon hands?
There’s a couple classes that start with unarmed attacks, and you can get cybernetic weapons after you start playing, but otherwise no.

What about crab claws? Can I play a crab with human hands? Can I have one as a pet? Do they live on a different planet? Can we go there?
If you get a mutation, you might end up with crab claws. You can’t play a crab with human hands, it wouldn’t work well with other human-sized characters. If you play a Wizard, you might get one as a familiar. They may or may not live on another planet or moon, but without a rocket you can’t go there.

14. What cultures approve of cannibalism?
None of them.

What about if we are super rich? Aren't rich cannibals be default , I mean if you think about it? How is the class struggle here anyway? Is there a Karl Marx? How receptive are people to the ideas of anarcho-syndicalism here?
Rich people can be cannibals, and they are kind of the default, aren’t they? Struggle here is mostly framed around demons at the moment. There is not a Karl Marx. People would be very receptive to the ideas of anarcho-syndicalism if you could stop or reverse the ongoing demon apocalypse.

15. Can my character not be real , but a hallucination of another character?
But I still wanna be able to do stuff. What are the stats for that?

You know, I’ve seen a couple classes with this premise and I’m not quite happy with any of them. I’ll let you know if I get something I like.

16. Which is the rome but with lava fire country in this world?
There’s plenty of lava fire to go around. Some of it resembles Rome.

What about the ice circus country? Can I have a pet from there?
There are arctic wastes in the northwest. You can get a pet from there.

17. Can I invent an insect?
Sure.

as a player like right now I tell you an insect and you put it in the game? Or as a character? Can my spells be insects that then exist in this world after I cast them? Can I play an insect who is actually a spell cast in this world? What about as a pet?
Yeah. You can’t play your insect. Spells are already sapient and spend some time frolicking after casting. Again, I’ve seen some classes for playing spells, and I’m not quite happy with any of them. Wizard familiars are a lot like spell-pets.

18. Is there reverse fire?
Not really. There’s lots of regular fire, though.

What about reverse water or earth? What do they wear there?
Neither of those things either.

19. How much money can I make inventing siege engines?
There’s nobody with the resources to really pay for brand new siege engines. You can try to use them to aid you on your quest, though.

Can I play a siege engine? In what ways are animals used in siege engines?
You can’t play a siege engine, but you can try to get one. Animals are used to haul siege engines, and also any other way you can think to use an animal in a siege engine.

20.What is the most significant tree to the economy of the starting place?
Oak trees. They're used to build structures on top of concrete ruins.

Is it really a tree or maidens stitched together? If I play a maiden do I get spells or do people that worship me get spells but only if I'm mad at them?
It’s really a tree. Spell-sharing is a good idea for a class, but I don’t have anything concrete for that yet.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Town Stones, First and Final Refuge of the HELLWALKERS

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Stones is the starting town in Hellwalkers. These are my own notes for it; I think they're legible enough to share.

The Town Stones


Stones is built in overgrown brutalist ruins, an old concrete city. They protect themselves by building deep in its twisting streets. The city as a whole is mostly empty. They send traders up the river to Bones. The city has no proper leader; it’s small and the people are united in defending each other from demons.

The militia is run by Abigail and Thaddeus. The soldiers are equipped primarily with shields and spears or bows, but there are a few soldiers with chain armor or crossbows, and fewer still with pistols or rifles. Abigail and Thaddeus organize patrols through the outskirts of the city and keep in contact with the farmers in the surrounding hexes. They also handle training and equipment distribution. They are significantly hindered by the fact that they are constantly pining for each other.

Townies


Bartender - Francisco: The inn is called the Bastion. It is built in a ruined concrete structure several stories tall, with large holes in every floor filled in with wood. It is strung with fairy lights. Everyone in town hangs out here; it’s the place to go if you need someone to do a job for you. Francisco is a blood elf, and the house special is a cocktail with a shot of his blood. He’s kinda short and stocky. He was born on Asphodel but he is an expert and finding reincarnated souls and explaining their new situation to them. Every shopkeep owes him their second life; they’re all good friends. He is a novice woodcarver and carpenter; he carves statues of animals to relieve stress and does maintenance on the Bastion. 

Like this but there's 400 of them and they're pretending to be a human woman (Source)

Equipment Trader - Martha: The shop is new construction with an old bunker for a basement, neatly painted planks on top of overgrown concrete. Martha is Many Rats in a trenchcoat pretending to be a human woman. Nobody believes her lie in the slightest but they humor her. She has a shotgun that she carries at all times, poorly hidden within her writhing mass of rats. She is constantly ready to fight. She doesn’t understand pricing at all but that’s fine because Francisco helps her to set them. She has a voice like an opera singer and loves to sing when nobody is listening—no lyrics, just beautiful melodies. She collects bones, skulls, and skeletons.

Blacksmith - Edith: The forge is in a half-ruined building, with two walls and part of a roof opening into a patio. Edith is a giant, and 12 feet tall. She died of old age on a medieval moon and she’s just enjoying her time reincarnated here, doing good and good work. She’s heard tell of a legendary Demon Forge Hammer in C02 and dreams of someday seeing it, though she cannot make the journey herself. Secretly, she wants to use it to forge magic armor and weapons, but will do her best not to give that away (she’s a bad liar). If it’s given to her, she will be able to forge sapient magic items for the players and be good friends with the Hammer itself. As a hobby, she paints; mostly portraits of the overgrown concrete ruins, but occasionally faces. She accepts requests.  

(by Irene Strychalski)

Shepherd - Bones: The stables are in a stadium with one half gone, spreading out into a larger field littered with concrete chunks. Animals of all shapes and sizes graze. Bones is a Vine Skeleton and does not speak. Despite that, they give off cheerful vibes and love their animals dearly. It is unclear where they came from but they’re here to stay. They get along especially well with Two-Finger Tom, who likes to pet the dogs and cats.

Priest - Abigail: The chapel is an entirely new construction of high quality wood and stone brick foundations—no concrete to be found. Most of the townsfolk, especially Pilgrims, worship here. It is part of the Church of the Immovable Saint, imported by the First Hellwalker Theo soon after the invasion. Abigail is a human, kind of small. She wears piecemeal post-apocalyptic bandit armor from her home world. She joined the Church after reincarnating on Asphodel and is now a second-Level Immovable Cleric—she has mastered the Immovable Stance, Stun Punch, Silence, and Suspension. She has a deep crush on Three-Finger Thaddeus and helps him run the militia.

Cyberneticist - Three-Finger Thaddeus: The workshop is built in a warehouse with patched-up electronics and heavy machinery. Thaddeus is a human. His right arm is entirely cybernetic and his left has two mechanical fingers, leaving his palm and middle, ring, and pinky fingers organic. His left eye is a holographic projector (2’ cube). His movements are precise, even with his robotic parts. He was born on Asphodel and apprenticed to Two-Finger Tom after losing several extremities to a demon shark. He can make basic cybernetics, but nothing with special abilities. For that, you’ll need to rescue Tom from Hex M06, where he went looking for rumored cybernetic salvage. He misses him dearly. He has a deep crush on Abigail and helps her run the militia.

 
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Cyberneticist - Two-Finger Tom: He is a human. His right arm is entirely cybernetic and his left has 3 mechanical fingers, leaving his palm, thumb, and middle finger organic. He has a hydraulic jaw, a sonar eye, and a secret abdominal compartment filled with fine wine. His beard explodes wildly out from his face but his expression is cool and analytical. He was reincarnated on Asphodel after dying in a corporate raid on the resistance on a dystopian cyberpunk moon. He’s glad not to be in hell-proper, but has no intention of abandoning his resistant ways. He trained Thaddeus and has a close friendship with Bones, who lets him pet the dogs. He tells stories of his days on his home world to children. He’s currently in Hex M06, where he found a cyborg skeleton, hiding in a cave from a demon shark who hungers for cyberneticist flesh and metal, the same one who took Thaddeus’s hand/fingers. If rescued, he’ll give the players credit for one free cybernetic part.

Magic Tattoo Artist - Lily: The tattoo parlor is built of wood on a concrete cliff overlooking the ocean. Lily is a human. She has an athletic build, a bear skull tattoo on her right arm, and flame tattoos on her body and left arm, detailing the story of how she was struck by lightning and then had to escape the forest as it began burning, earning the activation of her fire control. She is an islander born on Asphodel and shipwrecked in Stones. She decided to stay and help. For challenges to activate the tattoos, she recommends:
Air - Climb to the top of a mountain peak
Earth - Descend deep into the Gash
Fire - Survive a desert brushfire
Water - Dive to the bottom of the lake at the source of the river Styx
[I'm going to need to flesh out these quests later. Magic Tattoo mechanics will be their own short post.]

d20 Common Sights


There aren’t any real encounters because this isn’t an adventuring location, but here are some common things you might see entering or hanging around the town of Stones.

  1. 1d4+1 Townies on their way to get a drink at the Bastion.
  2. A squad of 6 militia soldiers, cornering and killing a pair of Charcoalers (a small demon). 
  3. Abigail and Thaddeus marching 2 squads of 6 militia soldiers each as part of a drill. They are both very red in the face.
  4. Abigail and Thaddeus sparring with spears. They giggle and laugh as they duel but when they’re done they go back to shy, awkward conversation.
  5. Francisco sharing a drink with another Random Townie and looking at the overgrown concrete ruins.
  6. Francisco carving a wooden duck (or squirrel, or frog, or another critter). His brow is furrowed initially but relaxes as the animal takes shape.
  7. Martha skittering along the ground carrying several squirrels’ skulls (or ducks, or snakes, or another critter). She’s made several good finds today.
  8. Martha singing a beautiful, wordless tune. She doesn’t think anybody is nearby.
  9. Edith painting an old concrete building.
  10. Edith thrusting a spear at a straw dummy to test its balance.
  11. Bones grazing a herd of sheep, horses, and pigs in a grassy area.
  12. Bones and Tom petting and cuddling with a large pack of dogs.
  13. Abigail floating midair in the Immovable Stance with 4 concrete chunks suspended midair around her. If you talk to her, she waves hello, breaking her stance and concentration and sending everything tumbling to the ground.
  14. Abigail eviscerating a straw dummy with a spear. She is intently focused on her training and won’t hear the first few greetings.
  15. Thaddeus daydreaming about Abigail. Her face flickers in and out in front of him, projected unconsciously by his holographic eye. He absentmindedly swaps the mechanical fingers on his organic palm around.
  16. Thaddeus swapping out his mechanical arm to test several others. He has a web shooter arm, a concealed pistol arm, and a magnetic shield arm.
  17. Tom asleep in the sunlight or starlight (or moonlight or planet shine).
  18. Tom telling the tale of his death in a corporate raid on his home world to a crowd of children.
  19. Lily practicing her fire control. It’s a mix of combat training and dance.
  20. Lily discussing tattoo ideas with another Random Townie.

d8 Townies

  1. Francisco the Blood Elf Bartender
  2. Martha the Pile-of-Rats General Store Owner
  3. Edith the Giant Blacksmith
  4. Bones the Vine Skeleton Shepherd
  5. Abigail the Immovable Cleric
  6. Three-Finger Thaddeus the Cyberneticist
  7. Two-Finger Tom the Cyberneticist
  8. Lily the Magic Tattoo Artist

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Cool Cybernetic Parts for Cool Cybernetic People (HELLWALKERS Cybernetics)


Nebula is my favorite Marvel character because she has cybernetic parts but they don't really grant her any cool powers beyond the superhero standard of "fast, strong, tough." She is a cyborg and she is pissed about it and I relate deeply to all of that (Source)

Cybernetics Rules


1. There are no cybernetics that directly improve upon the function of the original organ.
2. Cybernetics that have special abilities do not function as well at the original organ’s task.

If these items are in a shop and no price is listed, assume they cost 300c (30x a day’s rations). This list is broad but not exhaustive.

Cybernetics are assumed to get enough power internally to work. Some special abilities have a daily use limit. The cost of cybernetics is in the loss of the original organ’s function, not in electricity requirements, so I’m handwaving the latter.

Once you’ve made an organ cybernetic, it takes an hour to swap out different parts. Cybernetics do not take up any inventory space when attached, but take up one if they’re just being carried.

Custom paint jobs and other cosmetic stuff are free, but you can’t cover up the fact that you have cybernetic parts. The function of most cybernetics is not immediately obvious, though, and they’re common enough that they’ll only arouse partial suspicion over concealed weaponry.


I have not seen this movie but I have heard that it is good and that Furiosa is good rep so that's cool (Source)

Organ Replacement
Underlined entries function about as well as their organic counterparts. Other entries perform worse, but they’re cheaper (assume 50c if no price is listed).

Hook Hand - 10c
Claw Hand - can’t wield weapons
Mechanical Arm
Mechanical Finger - 25c
Stiff Leg - cannot dash
Mechanical Leg
Wooden Eye - 5c
Glass Eye - 25c
Eye Socket Light Sensor
Digital Eye
Hearing Aid - 25c
Plastic Ear - 150c
Wooden Nose - 5c
Silver Nose - 25c
Digital Nose - 150c
Wooden Teeth - 5c
Gold Teeth - 50c
Text-to-Speech Voice Box
Synthesized Voice

Arm Alternates
These function as poorly as regular hands—they can hold things but not wield weapons or shields in combat.

Concealed Weapon/Tool Arm - concealed until use - sword, pistol, blowtorch
Heavy Weapon Arm - laser cannon, flamethrower, grenade launcher - 1/day - function is obvious
Magnetic Shield - concealed until use - throwable, returns
Sticky Arm - sticks strongly to surfaces
Telescoping Arm - 10 feet extra reach
Web Shooter Arm - fire temporary sticky ropes
Taser Arm - whole arm can be electrified, dealing damage as dagger
Secret Compartment - +1 inventory slots - items must fit
Extra Tentacle Arm - doesn’t replace existing limbs - can’t wield weapons - no special abilities - can support your weight for moving with 2+ other tentacle arms but cannot dash

Leg Alternates
With these, you can walk/combat jog at full speed but cannot dash. These assume you replace both legs; if you replace just one, they’re half price (150c), but depending on the ability they might have half or no effect.

Calf Rockets - 1 min flight - 1/day
Sticky Feet - sticks strongly to surfaces
Frog Legs - 30’ standing leap
Long Fall Legs - no fall damage
Shin Knives - kicking deals damage as dagger
Telescoping Legs - height advantage at will
Tireless Legs - No exhaustion from rushing overland travel
Hand Foot - can hold things - can’t wield weapons
Secret Compartment - +1 inventory slots - items must fit
Extra Tentacle Leg - see Extra Tentacle Arm

Eye Alternates
None of these can see in the visible spectrum of light. I don’t do penalties for lacking depth perception, but if you must you can apply -2 to ranged attacks.

Low-Frequency EM Eye - radio, infrared - heat and communications
High-Frequency EM Eye - UV, x-ray, gamma - magic, lasers, radioactivity
Sonar Eye - blindsight - 20’ range
CCTV Eye - transmits to handheld receiver - stores short recordings - easily removable
Holographic Projector Eye - 2’-side cube
Overclocked Holographic Projector Eye - 20’ cube - 1/day, lasts 30 min
Laser Eye - damage as dagger - 15’ range

Ear Alternates
None of these can hear normally. I don’t do penalties for lacking directional hearing and I don’t have any suggestions.

Remote Mic Ear - transmits to you - stores short recordings - can’t hear very far
Sensor Suite Ear - velocimeter, altimeter, level (slopes), barometer (weather)
Smoke Grenade Ear - 15’ radius smoke cloud - 1/day

Nose Alternates
These can’t smell and they ruin the taste of some food. -1 HP healed at meals.

Bloodhound Nose - follow scent trails super accurately, given a sample
Air Analysis Nose - identify chemical makeup of air - immune to most airborne poisons and diseases
Rebreather - Hold your breath for 1 hour - breath underwater
People Reader - detect hidden emotions by scent

Mouth Alternates
These ruin the taste of some food (but you can still taste). -1 HP healed at meals.

Steel Fangs - biting deals damage as dagger
Blood Sampler Fangs - non-damaging bite to gather and analyze blood sample
Acid Spit - damage as dagger - 15’ range - corrodes metals somewhat
Prehensile Tongue - 5 ft reach - very weak but still carries small items
Food Analysis Tongue -  identify chemical makeup of ingested material - immune to most ingested poisons and diseases
Hydraulic Jaw - immense bite strength - too slow for bite attack

Voice Alternates
These have unique downsides.

Music Box - imitate musical instruments - cannot speak except in (slant) rhyme
Voice Remixer - imitate noise/speech perfectly - lose own voice - short term memory is 5 min - long term is everything you can hand-write on an index card
Amplifier - voice can be heard for 1 mile - cannot whisper (can still speak normally)
Ventriloquist Voice - voice thrown to a 5’ radius sphere - 60’ range

Skin Alternates

These are fragile; -1 HP. You can choose to augment only a part of your skin.

Digital Canvas Skin - change patterning at will - not great at camouflage
Invisibility Skin - invisibility for your skin, not items - 1/day
Ignition Skin - become fireproof and ignite - doesn’t protect items
Secret Abdominal Compartment - +3 inventory slots - items must fit - technically not skin

This is NOT the look I'm going for--it's too smooth and too perfect (Source)

This is much better--not ultra grimy, but also clearly mechanical and imperfect (by Christopher Cimbaro)