Friday, April 6, 2018

Foul and Deep and Poopy

ALL THIS SEWER DELVING IS GIVING ME THE SPOTS
Let's talk for a second about the term 'Fatberg', shall we?

I can do that. I'm a dad. I can say 'poopy' and without irony and it's totally fine. I say to normal adults all the time "HEY MAN I GOTTA GO POTTY BE RIGHT BACK" before I even understand what is coming out of my mouth. It's a byproduct of fatherhood, and I hope that one day it will pass. I would never say SHIT at my house unless my kid was asleep since, excuse me!, that's a potty word.

A disclaimer, here. I kept hearing about the Barrowmaze a couple years ago. I guess I'd been out of the RPG scene for a long time, maybe 12 to 15 years depending how you reckon it. I was looking for PbP forums to get back into it, sort of low-commitment. Heh! Don't let anybody tell you that PbP is low commitment, by the by. Anyway, I stumbled upon Daniel Bishop's Barrowmaze PbP and quickly found I had little knowledge of the system (DCC) and not nearly enough time to stay on top of it, and so I found GeePlus and thus was history. I wouldn't have found DCC without lagging behind in Daniel's game, and so I shelled out the squibs for a PDF and haven't been impressed like that since maybe the first time I read my AD&D1e DMG!

I have a soft spot for DCC, and Daniel Bishop's stuff. There. I coulda said just that and been fine.

I picked up "Both Foul and Deep" which appeals to the "Underground Explorer" part of my brain. I think when we think of adventures in sewers, we think of "Big Trouble In Little China", the escape from Ladyhawke, and the only other examples I can recall are like C.H.U.D. and some really awful scenes in Aliens Vs. Predator II, and maybe I guess the climax of "IT" by Stephen King. For those, it's drippy water, narrow walkways, and rats. Lots of rats. There's an Indian Jones sewer scene. A lot of CRPGs start with Rats in Sewers. Elder Scrolls: Arena. Lots of Neverwinter Nights freebie modules (i think the sewer steam tunnel set was one of the better ones). I think that we ROMANTICIZE the fantasy sewer, oddly enough, and think that it's a good place to have adventures. We're probably REALLY thinking of the Catacombs of Paris and London and Rome when we think about sewer adventures, when in reality a sewer crawl would be awful, wet, cramped, and torturous. I think this may be the first product I've ever seen that really addresses just how much SHIT you'd find and how sick you'd get if you are so bold and rather let's say FOOLHARDY to go into the sewers of any medieval metropolis, fantasy or no (in reality, I don't think we really had sewers until the early part of the modern era, like maybe late 1800 's early 1900's).

There is a lot of poop in this product. A lot of feces. A torrent of shit. A river of shit. A lot of slime, sewage, and disease. Plenty of awful monsters that have poopy abilities and none would be a good way to die, and all of them would probably not be fun to fight. There's some rationale for having humanoid/human encounters in the sewers - really everybody and everything else you meet down there are likely to be desperate and murderous or at least have the potential for it.

There's a brief adventure/starter with some novel encounters, a couple of dozen new monsters (terrifying owing to their ferocity and filthiness),  also a DCC Patron at the end. I would bond a PC to the Patron Squallas just to drown an enemy in an extradimensional river of shit just one time.

The production values are high, the writing is intelligent and terse, and the Carrion Moth and the Phantom Gentleman are worth the reasonable price of admission. The question remains: how would I tempt the PC's to enter into the accurately-rendered shitty environs of the sewers of say the 3e Ravenloft undercity of Paridon? Poop smells bad! Poop in a toilet smells bad! Poop in the open smells bad (I drove by Tijuana once, I'm just saying)! Poop on the inside the endless world beneath the toilet probably also smells bad!

Fatberg. Look it up!

The Myriad Races of Thrend

I was hacking away at a .TAB file, tryin' to learn Tablesmith coding, which I'm not learning very terrifically just yet but anywho. It's not hard I just no longer have a brain for it, really.

I made a "Random Races" list, so I guess of races that I would allow in my DCC game without much fuss. That is, I envision a world in which there's been a giant apocalypse long ago that hurled the multiverse together in a big squishy, anachronistic, and practically fluff-free fashion.  Alls we know is there's been, long ago, some cataclysm, and now we're all here. More adventuretime or Planescape than Dragonlance for sure.

I admit I'm a little maybe too open about it, and I don't particularly like it when players try to get mechanical bennies from what seems to me to be purely descriptive chunks of detail.  I don't know why I think like that, as a matter of fact the adjudication of the thing ought to be that Fishmen can breathe water and Robots are immune to sleep spells, etc. It would go like that in Into the Odd or Maze Rats, so I don't know why I'm mildly uptight about it in DCC... I ought to take a deeper look at that down the road. Introspection is good in small doses.

Anyways, here's the .TAB file copied n pasted. Some of the options can get a little reiterative, for example you could have a Dreamlands Shadow Alternate Dimesional Candy Person but that's going to be suitably rare at these rates! And of course, looking at the clumsy code I realize that I coulda just saved 5 or 6 lycanthrope spots and put the "Were-" prefix and [SEE ANIMAL SUBTYPE], which I actually did later. The Were-subtypes'll be a lot less common that the normal run of the mill ones, I guess. There's ways to rule out those sorts of combinations, but hey. Weirder the better, IMHO. What's the difference between an Upright Wolf and a Werewolf? Duh. A long long time ago I was thinking about perk-buy methods and it seems to me that these could all be tidied up that way...

Maybe I ought to break my own bad habits and do some stat mods and perks associated with all these races, but meh: we can wing it.

#
# Races of Thrend
#
# By Noah Stevens

:Start
1-20,Human
22,Elf
22,Dwarf
23,Sea Blood
24,Derro
25,Voormis
26,Ape
27,White Ape
28,Mutant
29,Cyborg
30,Synthoid
31,Wood Golem
32,Clay Golem
33,Revenant
34,Wereboar
35,Werewolf
36,Wererat
37,Weretiger
38,Dog
39,Rabbit
40,Kenku
41,Scrappler
42,Robot
43,Cloth Golem
44,Straw Man
45,Winged Monkey
46,Businessman
47,Vampire
48,Quasilich
49,Neanderthal
50,Mongrelman
51,Zomborg
52,Pumpkinhead
53,Tinperson
54,Hyooman
55,Clockwork Person
56,Porcelain Golem
57,Dark Elf
58,Dark Dwarf
59,Wood Elf
60,Scavvie
61,Blinker
62,Upright {Cap~[Creatures]}
63,Newhon Ghoul
64,Grey Man
65,Blue Man
66,Subhuman
67,Atlantean
68,Yuan-Ti
69,Slug Man
70,Candy Person
71,Food Person
72,Cimmerian
73,Ur-Men
74,Centaur
75,Satyr
76,Goblin
77,Gnome
78,Kappa
79,Githyanki
80,Moon Dweller
82,Dralasite
83,Yazirian
84,Bug Person
85,Pixie
86,Faerie
87,Fay {Cap~[Creatures]}
88,Dreamlands [Start]
89,Shadow [Start]
90,Alternate Dimensional [Start]
91,Were[Creatures]

:Creatures
1-3,bear
4-5,boar
6-9,bull
10,cow
11,horse
12-13,hound
14-15,lamb
16-19,lion
20-22,serpent
23-25,stag
26-27,tiger
28-30,wolf
31,sturgeon
32,elk
33,badger
34,hare
35,bat
36,lizard
37,squirrel
38-40,fox
41,dolphin
42-43,panther
45-46,ram
47,goat
48,beaver
49,mountain lion
50,tortoise
51,pike
52,frog
53,rat
54,mare
55,stallion
56,plowhorse
57,ox

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Threndian Low-Life Operatives

Inspired by the Vircades project "Wage Slaves" series, and also the release of Cyber Sprawl Classics, I got my Tablesmith juju on and generated a couple of generators for low-level, OZ/AdventureTime/Neuromancer/Steampunk scumbags. +Dave Younce helped me to get a version of the name generator on Abulafia, but the rest is from my own noodle. The stats are DCC, but I think the modifiers must be from 5e or 4.5/PF and I will adjust those later once the code is more familiar to me.

Tablesmith is really handy!  Remind me to post the .tab files later. I twerked the Ork Tribes to make some Street Gangs, and made the names from code I stole/twerked from a Dickens name generator site, which made terrific but not odd enough names. The races are just a long list of races that spilled out of my brain. I figure Thrend (especially in Helleborine) is very  very metro-/cosmo-/pandimensionalpolitan and so hey man, werewolf plumbers with Dreamlands Robot journeyman assistants are probably par for the course. Relax, man. It's just a prank, man! For laughs!



Treacle Shilum
Race: Blue Man
Occupation: Brand Shouter
Strength: 18 4
Agility: 10 0
Stamina: 8 -1
Personality: 14 2
Intelligence: 13 1
Luck: 12 1

Arthur Flizwitch
Race: Wood Elf
Occupation: Broth-Pusher
Strength: 13 1
Agility: 11 0
Stamina: 16 3
Personality: 7 -2
Intelligence: 15 2
Luck: 13 1

Latch Beerwith
Race: Kappa
Occupation: Pixel Artist
Strength: 13 1
Agility: 18 4
Stamina: 13 1
Personality: 12 1
Intelligence: 15 2
Luck: 15 2

James Catness
Race: Dog
Occupation: Freelance Widow Poacher
Strength: 8 -1
Agility: 6 -2
Stamina: 13 1
Personality: 15 2
Intelligence: 10 0
Luck: 12 1

Parrish Fattage
Race: Human
Occupation: Freelance Dough Tweaker
Strength: 10 0
Agility: 13 1
Stamina: 10 0
Personality: 13 1
Intelligence: 10 0
Luck: 16 3

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Rust Phoenix

So this guy, a really unpleasant Beast Wizard, he captured a Rust Phoenix. They’re not related to the standard immortality kind of Phoenix, but they have beautiful coppery red and (you guessed it) rust colored plumage. Owing to quirks in their biology and diets, they concentrate certain sorts of magic. Feather Fall, turn arrows, dimension door. That kind of thing. Something to do with ferrous metals and breakdown at the nuclear level. Unstable magnetic fields. Tachyon and gluon shedding. It’s beyond me. They eat electric mice, mithril-laced beetles, drift for days on thermals above the dead strongholds of the Dvergr-men and their quiet Gold Purifiers

So, you crack a Rust Phoenix egg before it is ready to hatch and you get a little smear of long lasting residue that (provided you know a variant of Teleport, Planar Step, or Dimension Door pretty well) you can BLOOP right over there to where the egg was broken, or pretty close. A paradimensional scramble right there. Easy to commodify. Very cheap to produce, highly useful, and pretty delicate and short-lived. Because If you don’t break the egg, then the little bird’s accelerated embryonic development completes and it hatches at full size, irritated, and causes weird degeneration of non-magical metals. Rust. Every metal thing within about a 100’ radius of a properly incubated Rust Phoenix egg gets rusty, pocked, and pitted.

This Beast Wizard, he captured a male and a harem of females and he pumps out a fortune, selling the eggs (for which there is a long waiting list) for a king’s ransom to teleporting-interested groups and also for warfare.

The males are generally very striking in terms of appearance: jagged, sharp, crumbly, prickly. An amazing ventral plume that is dangerously sharp. A fine sediment of rust precipitates from the air around them and settles on things. Also, the males have a warbling and haunting song that causes metal objects nearby to degenerate and shatter - magical items are more or less resistant but common metal ones can actually cause damage to bearers by forceful explosion into fragments

Rust Phoenix DCC Stats (I don’t know, just regular bird stats let’s not dwell on minutiae, eh?)

Rust Phoenix Dungeon World stats (maybe more on that later, but a motive/driver definitely to escape captivity, nest in secure locations, revenge upon captors I mean no need for a noble beast to be a good one)

Related spells (Transition Egg, Magnetic Cascade, Singularity Song)

Related items (Rust Phoenix Egg, Rust Phoenix Down, Feathers)

Caught in a Faraday cage, warbling a sinister tune, a legendary beast become a machine for the wealth of a greedy merchant

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

LOST IN TRANSLATION

You didn't believe I would do it, or that I had done it on several occasions, but here is what you get when you use google translate to fuck up the text of your adventure in new and exciting ways. This example is English->Romanian->English.  I almost threw Gujarati in the mix, but I didn't recognize any Gujarati characters so I chickened out.

I had to search for 'Pyrocaustic' to find the thing, but anyways:


1) Trinkets. Ultrabronze and bones / peel shell (maybe a pin-nose). Hurriedly. The traces of dust go further into the hallway. Signs of destruction of the blows. Some dice alveoli have eleven rushes on the hall floor. A long bone is somewhat on the ceiling here.2) consumables. A small pick, made of plastic. The handle is cracked and should not trust heavy use.3) Cutting trap - a macachite mechanism erupts from the floor AND the ceiling - these two rows of 3 are blood and silver knives, covered with dry blood. They will hit any character who fails a DC 9 Reflex Save for 2d10 points. TOK TOK TOK TOK TOK4) Pit Trap - a hole opens wide. Suddenly, the floor no longer exists, in a quantum sense. Several long-established states have collapsed and hung for a moment in the middle of the air. If you can not get married or you are not tied to a friend and you also fail a DC 16 Reflex Save, then you get into a randomized Phlogiston disorder. (Note: try not to make your life immediately, Your Judge)5) Spectacle - the eye of the pyrocaetic globe: sees all things and is a local manifestation of Jaguar that will come at the end of time. He will proudly enjoy the Prophecy coins, manifest the Phlogiston event in the worst possible way, and leave an eye with a thunder. Do not touch it, otherwise you are burned in ashes, and what is coming back is like you, but without language, and it is related to Obitu-Que in addition to any Patrons of your previous fulfillment.6) Shields thrown into a free circle7) An oracle. You have to be a dissatisfied Aerethian, possibly descendant from the gentlemen of old Aereth who commissioned this place (Halfleans, Humans, Elves or Dwarves only). A 3-point blood loss point occurs if you touch this ultra-bronze scorpion-type device; is moving for a moment and a graceful pedipalp beats to take a sample of blood. If you pass the genetic test (automatically for the types of characters described), then you are given a certain view of yourself; burned and shaken, but powerful and vengeful, on a stone pyramid with a sunken eclipse behind you. Throw a head on the pyramid stairs and see it is ...8) A dead, poisoned, bleeding and burning mummy. It has 3 commodities worth rolling. It will not last long unless it has been cured by 3 damage points. If the party wants it, they can acquire a trustworthy character, but they are absolutely loyal (to the character that saves it). His gaze fits with the flattened forehead and the teeth cut by those in the pictoglifs that surround you here. It also has a data matrix that provides the coordinates of this Barrow, but no other information.9) Texts / prophecies - 2 spell-level 3 scrolls, one (and only one) can be copied by an expert in his spellbook10) The Ultrabronze Statue - the stretched arm of a muscular warrior defies the party that is approaching retreat defiantly. It seems to be extremely dangerous, and his head clothing suggests a pre-supernova sunburner. His pierced nose has an adamantian tip through him. There is a real skeleton inside this thing and it will give off evil and chaotic magic, but it will not interact with the party in any way but warn it. This could be a long time dead or an image of the one who will still be11) 12.5 Quicksilver Panther's home - he is a great cyclist priest, a fearless and flaming, flame-free eye. He longs for discussions and news from outside. He will answer honestly any questions that have been addressed to him with the prophecy, but he will retain it and will do his best to quit otherwise. Any attack or abnormality will cause a teleportation attack, with the offender being teleported away a hundred miles if it does not save magic. He is no more than the teleporter of the offender, if he is also rude. He will propose for a while a walk down and it will be hard to stop him. He will offer a Patron Bond to the local manifestation of a bad patron (whatever the player wants, but a malicious and / or chaotic version of it) - this is a unique offer and only open to those who will walk the full circuit of the complex with he and discuss the teleological philosophy and the end of time. He lets know that the End is near - but will easily retain concrete details.

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