Monday, 20 February 2017

Urythx, the World Whale, the Eater of Stars, Extinguisher of Suns

Urythx protects and provides, albeit unknowingly. The bone spires of the Good Folk, teased out from her flesh, erupt across her star-bleached back, whilst the degenerates cling to her belly, reveling in their parasitic relationship with Urythx, siphoning the light she feeds upon. As she moves to claim another sun as her own, they drift down on their corded tubes of gut and raid the sun-slaved worlds, bringing back slaves and such exotic goods.

Death-driven fanatics dwell upon each of her eight ponderous paddles, each waging war upon their neighbors to advance to the front-most position, ignorant of their cousins on the other flank of Urythx.

Upon her wise crown cling the starmad Sunseekers, gazing on as Urythx drives onward to another distant fleck of light.

The tail is forbidden. The cold of the Outer Dark intrudes strongest there, and those who supposedly squat among it have madnesses of long darks and blistering void - the Outer Dark having wrapped itself about their minds and spines.

People of the Tail
Skill 9
Stam 13
Init 1 (4 in darkness)
Armour 1 (frost-hardened flesh)
Damage as Small Beast or Weapon
Mein - 1 - show 2 - observe 3 - sacrifice 4 - embrace 5- capture 6 - imitate
Has access to the spell Drown, but functions as them filling your lungs with vacuum instead.

Urythx glares forwards and about with her six eyes, each crusted with the debris of stars extinguished. It is not known if she is the only one of her kind, but nowhere across the spheres as her like been seen before.

Upon the tips of her slender whiskers are madmen-prophets, caught between the Outer Dark and the light Urythx seeks so hungrily. The pilgrimage to seek their wisdom is perilous, many drifting free of her blessed gravity and drifting into the Outer Dark, extinguished forever.

Goods are either pirated from the sun-slaved worlds, grown and harvested from Urythx or her parasites, or the rare native metals caught from her blow-hole, which expels the waste from a digestion system built for suns. Monsters are far more common than metals, but the desperate try still.

All vegetation upon Urythx is parasitic, stealing their sustenance from her flesh. The native animals do not fly, but favour armour or camouflage.

HookCrab
Skill 9
Stam 21
Init 3
Armour 3
Damage - 2 attacks, one with small gripping claws (small beast) and then, if successful, the large crushing claws, attacking as a large beast.
Mein 1- hungry 2- idle 3 - evasive 4- cautious 5 - protective 6 - terrified
Something like a crab, but with a shell curving into a sharp point, hanging over their mandibles. They have two sets of claws, a huge killing pair and a smaller grappling pair for holding prey in place. They have 4 jewelled eyes, placed evenly around them, and scuttle across Urythx's hide with their six hook-tipped legs.

Gaseous Giants
Skill 8
Stam 18
Init 2
Armour 3 (mostly incoporeal)
Damage as Fusil but melee range
Mein 1 - morose 2 - confused 3 - homicidal 4 - vengeful 5 - accepting 6 - hopeful
The few sundwelling gaseous giants who avoided digestion by Urythx, belched forth from her blowhole.Many of their siblings have been obliterated, yet they were spared, lost, aimless and guilty. Why us?

Ghostsun Embryos
Skill 11
Stam 15
Init 5
Armour 2
Dam - casts Ember
Mein 1 - curious 2 - hungry 3 - upset 4 - betrayed 5 - needy 6 - berserk
The spirits of potential suns never birthed due to Urythx, their potential cut short. They now haunt the essence of their parent-to-be, which has been absorbed by their killer. They roam both within and without, uncomprehending of their fate, unless told. This is what causes them to go berserk, tearing about the villages until their unformed minds forget once more.

Solar Wraiths
Skill 7
Stam 12
Init 2
Armour 1
Damage as Weapon
Mein 1 - seeking 2 - begging 3 - depressed 4 - bitter 5 - raging 6 - satisfied
The ghosts of sun-worshippers, now denied their afterlife, their god extinguished forever. They crave light, but it merely reminds them of what they have lost.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Legions of the Demon Sultan Greg

Humans are a resource. Soldiers alive or dead, and sacrifices to evoke forth yet more demons. Beyond these roles they are to farm and breed. The wheels of this empire are greased with blood.
-
Each group of human soldiers is accompanied by a Resurrector. Others are used in specific roles.

RESURRECTOR - HD 3 - AC 17 - 7 NEEDLE-TIPPED TENTACLES +2 1D4 + SPECIAL - MORALE 10 - MOV AS MALICIOUS BALLOON.
A milky white floating orb, marred by the seven tentacles bursting from the base and the dark patches seeming to swim beneath the tight, taught skin. Any killed by these tentacles is bound to the will of the Resurrector, who is likewise bound to the will of the Demon Sultan. They will always strike the weakest, especially their own brood of soldiers.

MANBREAKERS - HD 6 - AC 18 - 2 MAULING ATTACKS +4 1D10 +3 OR GORE +3 1D12+6 - MORALE 12 - MOVE AS HUGE GORILLA
A quadruped with a pair of arms fit for an elephant, matching the dull grey tusks jutting from the mess of bone armour plates. These plates bristle with spikes, with d6 impaled bodies upon them. Each body impaled on these spikes give the Manbreaker an extra d4 HP. Tearing one loose deals 1d6 damage. They don't care.

SHRIKEBEASTS - HD2 - AC 15 - GRAPPLE +3 - MORALE 9 - MOV AS SKELETAL BIRD
Skeletal things festooned with pilfered feathers - especially those of the Nilfenbergian Crows. They swoop down, snatching individuals in their pair of tentacles which worm from between the ribs, dropping them into the massed pikemen marching beneath the banner of the Sultanate.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Treasures Locked Beneath Ash and Snow

**GO AWAY SUNDAY PLAYERS**
BAUBLES OF THE SLAVES

x Precious Metal Molars - what wealth was left was hidden in the back of mouth. 2d20 sp each.

x Hands of the Matriarchs - a mothers blessing kept secret and safe for bleak times. By the time they were opened, it was far too late. Snapping off a finger casts a spell at 3rd level. Worth 5000sp, -1000 per used digit.
  Thumb - Cure Light Wounds
  Index Finger - Magic Missile
  Middle Finger - Bless
  Ring Finger - Dispel Magic
  Little Finger - Sleep

x Fingerbone Lockpicks - single use but incredibly easy to hide. +1 bonus to checks with these picks. 20sp each.

x Curried Meats - frozen fresh, still good to eat if defrosted. 1sp each, 1000sp to a trained chef due to lost techniques which could be learned.

x Dead Idols - The many gods of the enslaved peoples, all dead and forgotten. The ire of these dead gods lingers still, and each has a curse associated with it. Worth 400sp in precious materials, 1000sp to a historian.

d8
Ire of a Dead, Forgotten God
1
Weakened spirits of vengeance, still bound to empty duty, will attack the holder each night until the statue is given away. HD 2 / AC AS CHAIN / ATTACK +1 1D8 CLAWING / MOV as DOG / M12 / 3D4 APPEARING
2
The idol draws away all sustenance from food, starving the bearer until the statue is given away.
3
The idol compels the bearer to sacrifice either 200sp or 1HD of life every three days until given away.
4
The idol assaults the bearer with hideous nightmares every night, denying them healing from sleep, and stopping magic users preparing spells, until given away. -2 penalty to all rolls after a week of this.
5
All animals will hate the bearer until the statue is given away, with a 2-in-6 chance of attacking, or else simply running away.
6
The bearer is inflicted with leprosy until the statue is given away. The leprosy will be healed overnight.
7
The user must respond to all violence with pacifism, and all offers of peace with violence until the statue is given away.
8
There is no curse. This god has faded more than the others.

WEALTH OF THE CITY

x Overseers Eyes - Eyes of ancient overseers, given to slave-holding families. The eyes are a reminder of authority, and can be used to command slave-derived creatures if they fail a save vs magic. Worth nothing outside of the city.

x Desperation Furs - As the terrible fury of the Riven Wolf fell upon the city, the clothiers and tailors desperately tried to create winter clothes for the people as they burned all books and papers to stay warm. This desperation sunk into the furs themselves, and they reek of fear. Avoid any natural cold-based damage, halve damage from cold-based magical sources, but roll random encounters twice as often. Predators can smell the weakness. 200sp each.

x Forgotten Saints - The people of the city would not burn their Saints to keep warm, but they were forgotten, bedecked in gold and bone-dry in their sealed chambers. Each will defend itself, although it has long forgotten it's name and it's martyrdom. Worth 3000sp -200sp per point of damage over HP dealt, HD 6 / AC AS PLATE / ATTACK +3 AS WEAPON +3 / MOV AS MAN / M12 / 1 APPEARING

x Crown of the Senator - Each week, this crown passed from one senator to a chosen rival, bestowing authority and benevolence upon the wearer. (Save to take malicious action, others must save to not agree with you. Must be worn for a week.) Worth 4500sp.


Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Beyond the Mountains

*Sunday Players Go Away*
Across the Northern border of the Nilfenbergian Empire lies the Petty Kingdoms - each run by a self-styled autocrat, all too aware of their insignificance. It is said the witches have saved them from being absorbed. The truth is the Empire is under threat from the Demon Sultanate. But this is of little interest. The Petty Kingdoms end abruptly with the Mountains. Some call them the Brokejaws. Others the Spinal Peaks. Yet others the Marginal Range. But to most, they are simply the Mountains.

Some small villages lurk in the shadows of these imposing peaks - folk scraping by in the crags and fearful of the creatures that crawl from chasms in the deeper ranges. They have little to trade but furs and warnings.

Beyond the Mountains is ash and ice. A desolate terrible plain, marred only by the broken teeth of buildings long-hidden by the ice and snow, appearing more like dunes after the many years of frostbitten burial.

People once lived in these buildings, but now they live above them, grim scavengers atop their dog-driven sledges, tearing across the dead country, either starving or committing to cannibalism. They know not of the secrets buried beneath them, but whisper to their rare children that things forgotten should stay that way. None will enter the ice-bound city beneath them, and they are right to.

A name forgotten a thousand times, no expedition ever returning to restore the torch of knowledge, the city evoked it's own end, as such things always go. A people enslaved by another, joint in a collective plea for revenge - and so it was when the Riven Wolf heard their plight. The plain was blasted for six hundred days with storms and snow, the wind tearing skin free and stealing children into the sky, their screams lost in the howling, their tears freezing in their eyes, tumbling blind through snow thicker than castles.

Seeking a weapon here is madness - all that could be learned is an end to both the Empire and the Sultanate. Yet the expedition left, and is now sealed in the glacier-riddled city with the creeping horrors.

*TREASURE HERE*

SURVIVOR PACK - 4d4 Humans w/ Spears, Dog-Leather Armour. They fight from the back of Dog Driven Sleds (treat as mounted). Each sled has a team of 6 dogs, and can have 3 men fighting and a fourth driving.

FROST MAD DEAD
The people of the city gathered together to conserve warthm - from each cluster emerged one frozen by the cursed flesh of their peers, forever seeking warmth.
HD 4
AC as CHAIN - HARD FROZEN FLESH
MOV as OLD MAN
ATTACK +4 - 2D8 ICY GRIP (8+ damage freezes random limb - cannot be used until thawed out).
M 7 / 12 IN PRESENCE OF FIRE. OH TO BE WARM AGAIN.
2d6 APPEARING

CHAINED OVERSEER
Before the slaves realised what they had invited, they rose up and bound the overseers in chain. The numbing effect of the chains protected them from the blasting to come.
HD 6
AC as PLATE - MANY CHAINS - MAGIC IS ROUTED INTO CHAINS, HAS NO EFFECT IN 30FT RADIUS
MOV as MAN BEARING GREAT WEIGHT
ATTACK +6 - 2D4 WHIP + SAVE VS ENTANGLE - TAKE NO ACTION UNTIL CHAIN BROKEN. EACH ENTANGLED PERSON REDUCES AC OF OVERSEER BY 1.
M 10 / 3 IN PRESENCE OF SLAVES (That is, anyone dressed in rags)
1D4 APPEARING

SLAVE SPIRIT CONGLOMERATION
So too did the slaves gather for warmth in their rags and chains. They pressed closer and closer until their very souls touched, fusing them together in anguish and fear and regret. The only thing that could drive the result away is the whip of their tormentors.
HD 1
AC as INSUBSTANTIAL - CANNOT BE HARMED WITH PHYSICAL WEAPONS. (Except Whip)
MOV as CRIPPLED HORSE
ATTACK +0 (IGNORES ARMOUR) - SAVE OR 1D8 CON DAMAGE FROM UNEARTHLY COLD.
M 2
1d4 APPEARING

Friday, 4 November 2016

The Dungeon-As-Wound

Negative space carved into the landscape, a hollowing, and a damaging of the wholeness of the material. A fissure in the ground itself. This essay considers the dungeon through the lens of an impossible necrosis of the physical material, a self-generating wound (negative space)[1] alternatively worming and yawning wide beneath, the inhabitants either opportunistic or a consequence of this death-of-stone, spawned by the Wound itself.

Continuing this examination of the physical self-generating negative space (Wound), its very strangeness can be a wound on the expectations and experience of the observer, mirroring the wrongness of the physical artefact. It does not follow the rules of the world – by their nature, these wounds are aberrations, impossibilities in the natural order, a negative space in understanding – a wound in how we thought thinks worked, or how they should work.  This feeling is exacerbated by two common features observed within the wounds – their age, as ruins presuppose history and thereby age, and the impossible inhabitants which cannot, should not ecologically function nor survive.

Self-generating aged ruined structures are a paradox – their nature explicitly points to a history, which is rendered impossible by their very self-generating nature – how can something not here yesterday have the weight of history so deeply embedded into every rotten flagstone. One could view the ruins and devastation not as a mark of history, but resultant of the wound itself – but this rapid destruction would leave burning and sharp fresh-severed rock, not aged ruins stamped by the passage of years.

The inhabitants, those oft-hostile monsters, seemingly doing nothing but squatting in the ruins, waiting to kill those foolish enough to plumb the depths. When there is no natural ecological explanation for their existence or their actions, one must examine through the lens of the self-generating Wound, as well as the negative space/wound opened within knowledge. They could be considered a result of the physical Wound.

One view, that of the self-generating dungeon as a force possessed of a will for self-preservation, more akin to a living thing, would give these generated monsters the role of the antibody, destroying foreign bodies which enter the system of the wound. However, this reasoning, considering the dungeon-as-Wound, renders this strange. The wound is a disruption of an existing system, not a system of its own. We could instead take the view of the inhabitants as debris – the wreckage spawned by the act of wounding itself, the negative growth of the self-generating dungeon. Something akin to survivors, squatting in the ruins left behind, wounded themselves and driven to madness by it, full of violence and spite for those who come after, plumbing the depths of the damaged body the remains were once part of.

They could, alternatively, be viewed as an infection – the wound, left open, allows parasites and disease an easy entry into the ruptured body, infesting and spreading in the increasingly fetid wound, eventually, perhaps, a greater threat than the initial wound itself.

A final view is that of the inhabitants as secondary wounds, caused by the disruptive effects on the body by the original wound, like splintered bone tearing open further injuries within. Following this, the wounding of observers physically and in negative-space infliction within knowledge, are tertiary wounds, further damage by the original self-generating wound, now attacking along further vectors.

As an aside, the increased danger as the wound is probed further and deeper could be understood as a concentration of the wounding energy, as well as the wounding mechanisms being worse as the injury extended deeper into the body – something applicable to all views on the inhabitants. The remains are deeper gouged, the infection deeper and more sinister or the secondary wounding worse.


[1]Whilst this essay is an examination of the self-generating dungeon-as-wound, the notion of the dungeon as a purposeful wound, a designated and conceived site of activity is still worth a mention. Conventional, mundane uses can be easily understood, blunting the edge of their wounding potential, simply assimilated into existing knowledge rather than being a negative space of understanding, mirroring the physical architecture of the constructed space itself. However, giving the constructed space utility does not have to cause this, if the use itself is wounding, something not understood and, potentially, not to be understood. The site of unknown/unknowable utility has the mirrored negative space wounding potential of the self-generating dungeon-as-wound, and, perhaps, intensifies the wounding of knowledge through the frustration of the unknowable use. An additional layer can be achieved when this utility is in-congruent with the physical negative space of the structure itself.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Rivalries, The Strength of a Hateful Bond

In the backwards villages in central Nilfenbergia, feuds between siblings are quashed quickly, for fear of a Rivalry. Once both siblings have committed injury to the other, they are both open to the influence of a Rivalry, an intangible spirit of ill will made manifest.

The first sign is the sudden cessation of hostilities between the siblings. Indeed, they grow close, often being seen conversing together. This is no agreement however, but the influence of the Rivalry, driving the pain and hate of mutual wounds outwards, directed to the village at large. The methods the siblings take depend on their genders.

Two brothers will become sly, manipulative, twisting the desires and dreams of others to crush them and see them hurt, eventually aiming to drive the village apart from each other, a community at war the final goal.

Two sisters will become violent, aggressive, starting physical confrontations and always escalating to naked steel as quickly as possible. Some of the worst bandits of the Nilfenberg Empire have been these sisters, driven by a Rivalry to terrorize, plunder and burn across the realm.

A brother and a sister will be a bizarre combination of the two, both freely switching between roles as the situation determines. A sickening sexual element evolves from this Rivalry, each delighting in the flesh of the other and both in their victims. Kinfucker is one of the more heinous insults in the Nilfenbergian lexicon.

In the case of twins, each gains the ability to shift their appearance to the other, one of them becoming the known destroyer, the other angelic, a seeming force for good in the community.

--

Banishing the Rivalry is no easy task - one must investigate the feud from it's start, and unravel each wrong committed, finally tricking the siblings into forgiving one another. Records on this succeeding are scant and likely untrue, the Church usually burning them alive once caught.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

The Last Tower - Mini Adventure

This is from a longer thing what I'm doing, but can basically be dumped anywhere you need a weird wizard-tower. Cool. Could be a nice hex filler?

--

The Last Tower – Rising still, each brick heavily engraved with warding sigils, the spirits of longevity bound within so very tired. From anywhere nearby the top of the tower glints, being made entirely of glass, containing something which seems to call, call, call.
All floors of the tower show signs of very small cuts, everywhere. This is from the golem on floor five.
1. The first floor contains mess and rot. Many have used the base of the Last Tower as their camp, and something is always left behind. A stone trapdoor leads to the basement of the Last Tower, which is flooded, and filled with slime-encrusted black leeches, swirling about in their foulsome pool. Eliminating them would allow you to search the basement to no great effect, bar the corroded metal of prior unfortunates.  There is an illusion here, which shows a well-stocked larder, a trap designed to eliminate casual thieves and determined adventurers alike. A set of stone steps curl up to the second floor. A slender silver gate once blocked the way, but it has been successively torn to shreds by passing mercenaries.

2. The second floor contains portraits, each portrait framed in exquisite white-gold frames. A figure made of wooden splinters hangs from the ceiling. This is the guardian of the room, who will faithfully return the paintings if they are disturbed. Each painting depicts a notable alumni of the college. All are very much alive, and will threaten to blast you with magic should theft be attempted. There are several scorch marks on the floor and walls attesting to the truth of this. Each can cause an elemental blast dealing 5d6 damage once a day. If moved, the splinter golem will replace them to their rightful place, harmless but endlessly reconstructing itself. If stolen and survived, each painting is worth 6000sp. The stairs continue to curl upwards.

3. The third floor is nearly bare, featuring only a glyph set in gold into the floor. Reading the glyph, it is simply a depiction of the creed of the college –
"A light amidst the dark"
The gold is animated to regrow when in this room, and chipping out all of it is laborious and not worth the time taken. 500sp for several days work.

4. The fourth floor contains three sarcophagi, unmarked, constructed of frosted glass. Within each is a blind woman, a bandage covering her face. The founder of the college decreed they be kept here in perpetuity. Each is long dead but perfectly preserved, untouched by time. This effect emanates from the sarcophagi, but only functions on the women. Attempting to interfere with them or the sarcophagi will awaken the golem on the floor above.

5. The fifth floor contains a golem, constructed to resemble an octopus, each tentacle made up of razorblades. If the women are undisturbed, it rests, hanging from the ceiling, swaying gently, whistling as the blades slice the air. If they are distributed, it will savagely kill everyone in the tower before weaving a new sarcophagus, gently caressing the dead women with its razor blades. It cannot leave the tower unless the women do.
HD 8 AC 18 +4 1D8 RAZOR SLASHES 1D10+1 MORALE 12

6. The sixth floor is the Assumed Mausoleum. It marks the supposed death of the founder – he simply vanished and after twenty years was assumed to be dead. All forms of divination have failed to discover anything about what occurred, or her location. All of the goods here are entirely false, and utterly worthless – unless you can convince the buyer of their validity, in which case all the moveable wealth in the room (about a wagon load) is worth 20000sp. It takes the form of exotic silks, precious metals and gems.

7. The seventh floor is filled with star charts, and set about with 4 great lenses, cunningly hidden to stop them being visible from outside. Each one is pointed at a constellation of note:-
The first lens is directed at a constellation which confers luck upon the first viewer, granting them advantage on one roll of their choice. It must be spent within 6 days. The second viewer has poor luck, as the constellation siphons their luck to the original viewer. The GM may force them to roll again and take the lower result at any point for the next 6 days.
The second lens is directed at a constellation which looks really nice.
The third lens is directed at a constellation which renders the first viewer idiotic (2 INT), the second blind and the third deaf. The vampiric constellation feeds on such things.
The fourth lens is directed at no constellation, revealing only inky blackness.
There are no stairs to the eight floor.


8. The eight floor is a chamber of glass, a brilliant gem which randomly emits pulses of powerful, blinding light. (Every d4 rounds). Holding it would burn the hands for 2d6 damage from the sheer intensity of the light. It is an embryonic star, crystallised by unknown processes. The chamber of glass refracts and mutes the light, acting as a containment chamber. It could be worth 10000sp if transported.