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.

 
(Source)

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)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Church of the Immovable Saint and the Immovable Clerics (GLOG Class)


There's really nothing I can add to this (Source)

Immovable Cleric


For every Immovable Cleric template you have, gain 1 HP.

A: Immovable Stance, Stun Punch
B: Suspension, Silence
C: Unmoving Travel, Stun Gaze
D: Saint’s Stance, World Stop

Immovable Stance
Press your palms together and become Immovable. You can still be hurt, injured, and killed.

Stun Punch
When you punch a creature, if their HD is less than 2x[templates], they must Save or be stunned for 1 round.

Suspension
Touch an object (cat-sized or smaller) and suspend its inertia and velocity, leaving it to float midair. If anything else touches the object, it remembers its place and continues on its path. You can maintain [templates]^2 Suspensions.

Silence
Stop the air from vibrating in a 30’ radius around yourself (or smaller), silencing all noise. Lasts 10 min. Usable [templates] times per day.

Unmoving Travel
You have mastered the art of travel without movement. Teleport 60’. Usable [templates] times per day.

Stun Gaze
Force a creature you can see with less than 2x[templates] HD to Save or be stunned for 1 round.

Saint’s Stance
You master the Immovable Stance. When you press your palms together, you become invulnerable as well as Immovable.

World Stop
Stop the world instead of yourself. You may move around as you please with everything you’re carrying but cannot interact with anything else. If you attack as you end the World Stop, it is automatically a crit. Lasts one subjective hour. Usable 1/day.


An early adherent before the full split from the larger Church of the Authority (Darkest Dungeon is still cool)


The Church of the Immovable Saint


Once, long ago, there was a priest named Seymour who met a band of cursed vagabonds. They were pursued by a monster, huge and terrible, which returned after every death with sharper teeth and longer claws to torment its targets.

“Seymour!” they beseeched, “Free us from this curse! By the power of the Authority, slay this Inexorable Beast!

Seymour, filled with kindness, took refuge with the vagabonds in the forest, and when the beast approached, struck it down with holy water and blessed blades. As they cheered him, he died of his wounds, and from his corpse grew a beautiful tree—the Authority raised him up as an example to us all, standing firm as an oak even in death.

The Church of the Immovable Saint was born to praise the Authority through Saint Seymour. Our teachings are simple:

Defend the weak.
Draw strength from your allies.
Do not falter.

Our martial forms are passed down from Seymour himself and allow us to enact our third precept quite literally. It is the other two, however, that make the Church what it is—even faced with persecution, on trial as heretics, we endured.

On the moon of Asphodel, now invaded by hell, the Church of the Immovable Saint thrives. It was brought by devotees from other worlds and flourished, its simple message of solidarity inspiring thousands to survive the demons. We weather the storm together.


None of that is true, of course.


Or not quite none.

There was a man named Seymour, and an Inexorable Beast. The Church is real, too, and its martial practices.

But the real Seymour was a corrupt Bishop, interested more in worldly affairs than any relationship with the divine. The vagabonds were adventurers seeking his help with a curse, a curse they no doubt brought upon themselves.

They saw his greed and took advantage of it, all while plotting his downfall—after he blessed the land, they slew the beast themselves, then poisoned the bishop and turned the evidence—his very body—into a tree. The Church of the Immovable Saint venerates his steadiness, but he couldn’t maintain his last alliance long enough to celebrate their victory. He holds no greater power. It is a deeply heretical sect of an ancient, corrupt religion.

There are, of course, the martial forms. They are harder to explain. The Saint’s elite Clerics can move in an instant, or paralyze a man with a glance. The greatest of their order can stop time itself. How?

It is not Seymour granting these abilities. Did the Authority take mercy on the heretical fools and grant them their fantastic idol? Does the act of worship itself grant their power? Did they merely stumble on the right words, the right motions, to unlock a strength wholly mundane?

It is impossible to say. What is clear is that the Church has thrived on Asphodel. Its few clerics have spent their years fighting the demons, and its adherents unify the remaining towns. Even those just tens of miles from the Demon Citadel still stand under their banner. Perhaps there is strength in the Church after all—in defense of others, in allies, in unyielding kindness. 

Monday, July 8, 2019

Moonhop is Now for Sale!

Hey! You can get Moonhop as a PDF on DriveThruRPG for $2.99! 

 

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/271188/Moonhop

 

You can still get it for free from this blog post as well. If you've already checked it out, leave me a review on DriveThruRPG! If you haven't, go check it out!

Saturday, May 25, 2019

HELLWALKERS: the First Hellwalkers

When the demons first invaded, the remnants of the Order of Asphodel scraped up adventurers to combat their forces. Four in particular rose to become true heroes: the First Hellwalkers. They did not, however, become HELLWALKERS: the Order's forces were ruined, and though they fought on for a day and a night, they were eventually routed.

FIGHTER: Paul


Legend has it he still roams the southern badlands, cursed to hunt demons until the last infernal creature is slain. They say he can hit a bird in flight a mile away with his rifle. (He is cursed to fight one demon repeatedly, and his aim is good but not supernatural).

K11. Speaks stumblingly. Athletic. Worked as a farmhand. Crack shot with a rifle. Was conscripted by the church and rose quickly to the rank of Hellwalker. He is very bitter at his local priest, who got him conscripted and now lives in Bones (O03. The priest is deeply regretful, and will ask you to let Paul know. He will be outwardly magnanimous but inwardly take a while to cool down). He is now tormented by Babe, the demonic blue ox (it respawns but he will be grateful if you kill it and will give you his awesome rifle if you give him a replacement).

Tells the players that his mission was doomed from the start, and suspects the Order of Asphodel knew it.

I realized after writing this that this is basically Luke Skywalker if Obi-Wan Kenobi had sent him to the empire for training (from Polygon)


THIEF: Bryce


Legend has it she pickpockets the stars themselves for fabulous wealth for her eastern forest retreat. They say she stole cartloads of bread and delivered it to starving people. (She just takes stuff from dead people, and she was arrested and conscripted for stealing a loaf of bread for herself and a few friends).

Q07. Apologetic and self-deprecating. A petty bread thief given the opportunity to serve her sentence as a Hellwalker. As her fellow Hellwalkers were chased screaming into the wastelands, she made a deal for her life with her pursuers. At night and when angry, she is possessed by a huge demon, hulk-style. The deal forbids her from divulging this information. She hides out in a huge cavern full of wrecked furniture with a bedroom-less bunker in the corner. She can provide the players with refined demon blood, which grants the hulk-out.

Tells the players that the Order of Asphodel recruited people who would not be missed to fight the demons. Knew many other petty criminals who were also conscripted.

This reference was intentional. I'd use art of one of the she-hulks but it tends not to focus so much on the muscles (from Wikipedia)


WIZARD: Gladice


Legend has it she is immortal by sheer intellect, and that when she met a genie she left disappointed by its inferior magical experience. They say she can read minds at a glance. Her laboratory is supposed to lie deep in the jungle. (She is immortal by being a Cyberlich, she got some magic knowledge from her familiar, and while she has telepathy spells she’s mostly just a really good at reading people).

F02. Monotone. No emotion except faint melancholy. Escaped from the robot labs to become a Hellwalker. As the demons chased her, she sacrificed her humanity to become a Cyberlich, losing her emotion and humanity to stay alive (strength, speed, endurance, spellcasting). She has not actually been caught; she has a few safe houses she rotates between as she holds off her pursuers, possessed robots. Her familiar is an agent of the demons, but she keeps it obedient and doesn’t let it communicate with its fellows. She worked on an Ark capable of leaving the planet in B11, and can give you a map of it and how to turn off the automated defenses.

Tells the players that she does not trust the Order of Asphodel, that there were schemers in its ranks and they were very interested in studying demons. Tells the players there might be an alternate solution: to evacuate the populace with her Ark. All the Hellwalkers know she had some project she can no longer work on but should be finished and will tell the players so.

Gladice wasn't really inspired by GLaDOS but I'm running out of energy for this so have this picture anyway (from Wikipedia)


CLERIC: Theo


Legend has it you can hear his the screams of his torment miles away from the mountain he is chained to. They say his pain gives him the power to grant prayers. (You can hear him in the next hex over, but he can’t grant prayers. The owls will bring him news of very public prayers and do what they can at his behest, though).

D11. Speaks in Shakespearean. Righteous. Paladin of Glasswing, patron of Maces, Scarabs, and Oil. He was turned over to to his captors by voluntarily possessed Orderlies of Asphodel. Tormented by barn owls, which peck and scratch at him constantly. The owls commiserate and bring him news. His bellows at his betrayers are audible in the next hex. He can send messages through the owls and provide his mace, which can cast Grease 1/day.

Tells the players that a large chunk of the Order of Asphodel directly worships the demons, and that they betrayed him to the demons. He fears the corruption ran deep before the organization fell, and that those that remain may be the most corrupted of all.

"Man, the weather today is just awful." "Yeah, my back is killing me." "Sorry, that's actually my beak digging into your flesh." "Ah, you're fine, work is work. I know how it is. How are the kids?" (from this website)



And here, once more, is the map, for reference

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

HELLWALKERS: the Pilgrim’s Verse and the Crow’s Chime

Journey West, Pilgrims
Through field and mire,
Vine and spire
To the Pit of Flame.
Ring the Crow’s Chime,
Turn back time
Restore the righteous world,

The words float on the air. They linger on the lips of the wounded; they lure the foolhardy to the gates and echo after their un-worn boots. Those who heed the Pilgrim’s Verse are Hellwalkers. They all dream of saving the world—of becoming the true HELLWALKERS.

Rumors of the Pit of Flame (B07)

Their destination is the Pit of Flame: a volcano in the Western Mountains, just southwest of the town of Bones. Rumors drift down the river Styx to the town of Stones: the people of Bones are terrified of the Pit. They whisper of a beast, the Crow, but the journey is long; merchants are few and Hellwalkers fewer. No witness has ever returned with a direct account of the thing or its prize: the Chime.

Oscar of Astora (Dark Souls)

The Lab

A concrete bunker squats in the caldera. The doorway is exploded; the great steel doors, stamped with the seal of the Order of Asphodel, lay 40 feet away. Inside are countless piles of feathers, shinies, and small treasures. Skeletons both human and demon for the floor, and blood and feathers cover shattered test tubes. In the central chamber is a single large test tube frame the size of a small house, in the bottom of which is a huge nest with piles of coins and other treasures. A vault door lies in front of an alcove in the back of the room with a pedestal in it.

Treasures: Unhatched Crows’ Eggs, 6-Second Skip Pills, 6-Second Rewind Pills

The Crow

Crows infest the lab and the caldera. Their tiny hoards dot the area. Among their number, however, are demon crows and cyborg crows (2d8: 1 much bigger, 2 flaming, 3 shadowy, 4 teleporting, 5 laser eyes, 6 feather blades, 7 jet wings, 8 electric talons). They build their nests in the test tubes of their birth. They’re smart, and they’ll test the party with gifts and caws to see if they’re friend or foe. They are the younger siblings of The Crow.

It looms up to the size of a T-Rex. A hive of dimly-lit glass eyes set in a huge metal plate dominate the left half of its face (they shoot a huge laser). It raises its wings to obscure itself in shadow fog. Feather blades line its wings. It breaths with the noise of a jet engine and moves with speed to match. If wounded, its talons ignite with electric flame. It hungers for more shinies.

The Shrieker (Darkest Dungeon)

The Crow’s Chime

A rod of steel and silicon, as long as an arm and engraved with the seal of the Order of Asphodel. It weighs more than it should and catches light from unseen sources. It is, in reality, a sort of checkpoint, set to a day 15 years ago, 15 minutes before the beast breaks containment and four hours before the end of the world. If it is rung—twisted into position over the course of a day and struck by strong steel—it will drag the rest of the world back to its anchor point. The Chime pulls everyone touching it to its physical location in the lab as well, leaving their bodies, memories, and inventories intact. The ritual that ended the world took place in the lab four hours after the checkpoint was set. It can be stopped by the HELLWALKERS.

The Chime is not on its pedestal.

The Chime is in the Citadel (I08). With no one left in the lab to claim it, the demons took it to safeguard their victory in the past.

The Draft Room

An iron-banded oak door covered in charred claw marks blocks a side passage, or used to, before it rotted away. It was an office. Inside is a skeleton, a sturdy desk, and a small pile of opened cans, enough for two days’ worth of rations. On the desk is a one-way radio distress transmitter and dozens of sheets of paper—rough drafts of the pilgrim’s verse.

Journey West, Pilgrims, through field and forest, or grass and woodland, or sun and shade. Visit the Caldera of Knowledge, or the Scholar’s Cauldron, or the Final Volcano. Ring or toll or twist the Chime, the Chime of the Beast, or the Past-Walker’s Chime. Reclaim what was, or seize your former fate, or rewrite old wrongs right again: HELLWALKERS, or PASTSHAPERS, or PENITENTS. There is a final sheet of paper next to the radio with the final verse.

Other pages track frantic thought: “Door barred. Two days’ food. Chime remains for now. Order Asphodel ruined; no rescue. Battery for one transmission. Chime must be used to change past, but none in Order are stronger than Escapee. Must attract others.”

“Could explain situation. Broadcast openly. Too long to transmit, too much knowledge to bear. Instead: spread simple myth of Chime’s power through Order survivors.”

“First Hellwalkers—allies? [locations of two Hellwalkers] Know much. Will overburden others with strict morals. No doubt bitter. Chime must ring. Be direct. No distractions.”

“Last can. Transmission sent. Demons still outside. Chime remains. Pray they don’t take it.”

“So hungry. One day since last can. Rescue still unlikely.”

“hungry hu̸ǹg͢ry h͘ù́n̕͠gr̵̛y̡̧ h̴͜͡u̷͞҉҉n̸̛g̨̨̕͜r͠͏̵̷͜y̸̡ h̶̜̜͉̝û͓ͭ̊̿͒ͧ̌n̶̫̣͓̮̂ͯ̇ͩg̒͂ͧͦ̂̂̍ṟ͈̮̻̼ͪ͋ý̯”

MFW I'm waiting for the adventurers to Ring the Crow's Chime and Turn Back Time (imgflip)

Design Notes: Influences


Dark Souls
So, I didn’t really fight the Dark Souls influence here. As those of you who have played the game might have noticed, the Pilgrim’s Verse is directly inspired by Oscar’s Undead Prophecy in Dark Souls 1: a call to arms to visit a far-off location and ring something. The ringing of the bell in Dark Souls is so strongly imprinted in my memory that I just let that bleed through here: the Hellwalkers are also trying to ring a macguffin. The influence runs deeper than that, though—also like the Undead Prophecy, it misleads those who follow it: there is a second Bell of Awakening to ring in Dark Souls and the Chime is not in the Pit of Flame. Just like the Undead Prophecy, the Pilgrim’s Verse is a fabrication by a waning power hoping some future adventurer will restore it.

Enter the Gungeon
The quest is also inspired directly by Enter the Gungeon: in that game, the player characters are attempting to go back in time and undo their past mistakes. I think that’s pretty cool, and it makes me feel less bad about writing a world full of crappy stuff.

Doom (2016)
The Order of Asphodel works parallel to the UAC. Both meddled in demonic power and things went south. There’s some evidence of that here in all the broken test tubes, but I’m going to try to scatter more of it around the map.

Darkest Dungeon
It has a cool corvid boss fight.

Here's the map, for reference

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Rats, Snakes, and Small Swarms of Bees (Critter Master GLOG Class)

Oops, I accidentally dropped pictures of a bunch of cute critters all over this post, my bad (Wikipedia)


Way back in the dark pre-GLOG ages, Arnold wrote a Rat Master. I wrote an animal-agnostic, GLOG-compatible version.

Critter Master 


You can call one critter per minute, to a max of [templates] cubed (1, 8, 27, 64).

A: Critter Friend, Commander
B: Bond, Blessing
C: Dire Critter, Critter Form
D: Reinforce, Dire Form

Critter Friend
Pick a type of critter, for example: rats, spiders, snakes, pigeons, or small swarms of bees. You can speak to them, and they can speak to you, and they treat you with respect. Supernatural critters might not be respectful. You can call out for critters almost anywhere, crawling forth from nooks and crannies. You can call one critter/minute, to a max of [templates]^3 (1, 8, 27, 64).

Commander
You can command your critters in combat (in addition to acting yourself). Critters deal damage in clumps. They deal 1dX damage, where X is the amount of critter in the clump, maxing out at 1d12. Only one clump can attack a target at a time. When attacked, Clumps are unarmored and have X HP, and when hit by an AoE attack a clump must Save or Die, with half surviving on a success. You can order critters to explore and perform other tasks, but they’re not very smart.

Bond
You can sense the locations of your called critters.

Blessing
You take on some aspect of of your critter (rat agility, spiderclimb, snake venom, bee sting). Abilities should be active and have [template] uses/day.

Dire Critter
Take 10 minutes to call a dog-sized version of your critter. It counts as 8 critters toward your cap. Stats are 1 HD, Armor as Leather, 1d8 damage, plus whatever else the critter would have.

Critter Form
You can transform into your critter.

Reinforce
Once per day, you can call any number of critters up to your cap in one combat round.

Dire Form
You can shift between normal, critter, person-sized critter, and part-normal-part-critter forms.

Snek!!!


Design Notes


I like this class. I really like the growth from one little buddy to a whole horde of them. The werewolf-ish stuff is fun, too. I think this class is pretty straightforward, but I also think it has a good toolset for solving OSR-style challenges.

So far, this class has been tested in two sessions: once with snakes and once with pigeons. Both times went well: the uses of A Single Snake and A Single Pigeon are very intuitive and helpful, even when you don’t have any other class abilities.

Since we’re finally done with the Primary Trio of classes, there’s a lot less Design Theory going on. These are just for fun.

Look at this small friend! Stay away from me though, small friend! I'm low-key scared of you! You are a good small friend, though!

Pigeons! They can be cute too! (Wikipedia)
Drawing the line at spiders, sorry, so have Lucas instead (His series is great)
It's actually illegal for me to go an entire class post without including Darkest Dungeon. Picture this but it's a swarm of 30 dachsunds instead (Darkest Dungeon!!)