Monday, August 18, 2014

Noctules for DCC/LLC/SW OSR

Reading Gene Wolfe's Claw of the Conciliator - it was recommended to me pretty highly by a slew of my favorite G+ Fantasy /Sci_Fi thinkers. Just last night passed the bit where the protagonist and his buddy are being chased through the woods by the deep black, tissue-paper-like Noctules, a life form that flits through the air hunting for body heat and physiological energy.  They come from an alien environment to Severian's Urth, and are used by unscrupulous persons as weapons of assassination but sometimes escape their handlers and turn on them.

Once they smother and kill a target, they work their way into their mouths and nasal passages down into the target's lungs to absorb the remaining life-force and residual heat.  Cutting them with blades merely divides them into smaller versions, releasing a good deal of heat energy that washes over the target, causing low levels of heat damage.  They can be contained in air- and water-tight containers and will become dormant and can be hid away and disposed of but they take no damage from heat-based attacks and these only make them larger.  They may be drawn away from targets by a fire of sufficient size; clerical turning may disrupt them and cause their hateful forms to disperse for a time.

Should a living thing die from the attacks of Noctules, the Noctules will invade the lungs or similar organs and reproduce there, 1d10 more Noctules emerging a day later at dusk

DCC NOCTULE:  Init +6; Atk bite +4 melee (1d4 energy drain and Stamina loss); AC 15; HD 2d6; MV fly 40’; Act 1d20; SP smother (latches onto target's face and automatically inflicts 1d4 Stamina damage per round until killed), invulnerability to edged weapons (any hit divides it into two pieces with 1/2 original's HP), invulnerability to blunt weapons (-2d on the chain with blunt weapon hits), SV Fort +8, Ref +8, Will -4; AL C.

LL ADV NOCTULE:
Imp (Lesser Negative Planar Vermin)
No. Enc.: 1d6
Alignment: Lawful (evil)
Movement: 60 Fly (5 Crawl)
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: 1 (smother)
Damage: 1d6+Special (Save vs. Petrify/Paralyze or lose 1d4 Constitution)
Save: F2
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: none
XP: 240


S&W NOCTULE
Hit Dice: 2
Armor Class: 5 [15]
Attacks: Smothering Drain (1d6 per round after the first, Save or Lose 1d4 Constitution)
Saving Throw: 9
Special: Drains life energy and health
Move: 4/18 (flying)
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 3/60


DW NOCTULE
Tags: Amorphous, Group, Planar, Small, Stealthy, Terrifying
Smother (d6 damage) 8 HP 5 Armor (strikes by edged weapons only add another Noctule to the group)
Close, Reach
Special Qualities: almost undetectable in Darkness (-3 to Discern Reality about their presence!), flittering
Instinct: To consume heat and life energy, to reproduce in the innards of a warm dead body

Special moves for players:

Stuff it In Here!
Roll +DEX (if a suitable container is available)
On a 10+ remove a Noctule from the group and place in a suitable container
On a 7-9 avoid the Noctule's smothering embrace, but lose your next attack
On a Miss, automatically be subject to the Noctule's smothering attack

Flittering Horrors!
If you have detected the Noctules, and are able to postpone all other activities and flee, ROLL +DEX or +INT
On a 12+ evade the Noctules entirely through quickness of wit or action
On a 10-11, evade the Noctules, but they find another victim (an innocent one!), hold 1
On a 7-9, subtract 1 from the number of pursuing Noctules
On a Miss, they find you in the next encounter, and attack all parties
Spend the 1 hold to reveal the identity of the victim, express remorse or self-satisfaction, and gain 1XP

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

More Burroughs in Your RPGs

I visited an amazing bookstore today after work where I picked up a bunch of paperbacks (F. Lieber, Gene Wolfe, even the Dungeon of Dread DnD CYOA book).  But before that, I had a thread going with some of the guys about Burroughs - not E.R. the other one, William.  We always think it's E.R., though, don't we?  Anyways, on the way home I was lost in a creative fugue and missed my exit off the highway, and was worried after I would miss it again and nothing seemed right on the highway like WHERE THE FUCK AM I THIS DOES NOT SEEM FAMILIAR TO ME

EDIT: G_DAAAAMN CHECK THIS JUNK OUT AND GET ON THE RPG NOD

I can't find an image of Burroughs using dice
Me and +Evan Lindsey and +Alex Chalk and +Darien Mason and +Dave Younce played a game set loosely in Burrough's Cairo Interzone from Naked Lunch a couple of months back.  There I go, name-dropping again. Anyways, it goes hand in hand with the idea that all these possible realities crashed together after our initial Transylvanian Adventures game, in which super-science and occultism from a heretical Christian cult opened the doors of reality real real wide.  At the end James' Simon and Darien's Dr. Prometheus killed a couple of mutated cultists and ran afoul of The Abbot in a way so bad that blessed unconsciousness came for them and seared local reality into oblivion.  We haven't figured out what happened to Simon, but he was a character with promise.

"Okay, man, what does this have to do with games, man?" you ask.  Well, it got me thinking about Burroughs' cut and paste thing.  How could we stick a narrative version of cut n' paste writing into a game?  It would take a huge mid-narrative context shift and would need to be jarring for the players, I mean, that's kind of the point.  You can see how changes in the referential level work and how when they are not resolved they cause discomfort - check out the bit in Hoffstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid.  So, how do we go for this kind of discomfort in an RPG setting?  It does seem not easy - I think I saw James Raggi pull it off in the summon spell from LoTFP.  High level failures require a complete change in the milieu of the game and a switch of the DM/Judge/GM/Whatever.  I think this is brilliant and could be done with some good cooperation from a willing group of players, but it'd be hard to do outside of face-to-face...

INTERDICTED: ALSO THIS SHIZNIT, YOU HEADLESS RYKOR, YOU

So?  One way I propose such is to blow the lid of the genre conventions in the game abruptly and without warning, but in a way that fits tidily into the narrative established beforehand.  There're a couple of easily suggested ways depending upon your genre, but luckily when players put faith in fantasy tropes anything's possible.

I'm not going to give it away just yet, but my experiment ought to be complete quite soon.  Instead, here's a related but not entirely complete random list of terrible stereotypical accents I could maybe pull off in a pinch:

A picture of Mel Blanc.  It's pertinent, trust me.
d20 Terrible NPC Accents by Noah during a game

1) Bad Cockney/Limey/East Ender (although I know full well there are many fine gradations of "Brit")
2) Bad German
3) Decent Yaley/Harvard Bastard (Ivy League Fucker)
4) Scotty from Star Trek
5) Orky
6) Western US/Country
7) Hillbilly (interestingly different from the Country one)
8) Terrible but hilarious Cold War Russian (not quite as good as +James Jeffers ' elf in Keep on the Borderlands)
9) Any kind of Hispanic accent from the Western Hemisphere (including awful terrible cartoon stereotypes)
10) Aussie Dingo Dundee
11) East Indie
12) Rasta Guy
13) Surfer Dude
14) Valley Girl
15) New Yorker
16) Philly/Jersey Pete (but I can't control it well and it drifts into 17, below)
17) Boston Southy
18) Shogunese (but to do the accent properly I have to do only nonsensical gibberish like a Samurai in full-on death mode)
19) South Africaner (Afrikaans English - also terrible)
20) Frenchie the Baguette Skunk

Table of Misdirection d16 +/- Luck Modifier:

1) Western (Boot Hill)
2) Future Perfect
3) Post Apockyclipse Mutant Hell
4) Paranoia/Logan's Run Dystopia
5) Court Intrigue
6) Horror History/Pulp
7) Horror Fantasy (Ye Olde Grimme Worlde)
8) Robot Fight GO!
9) Bubblegum Kaiju Tentacules
10) Hat-zulu
11) Saturday Morning Cloak and Dagger
12) Sparkly the Masquerade of Blood
13) Werewolf: The Sparkly Masquerade of Blood Vampires of Grey
14) Gangbusters of Capone Island
15) Barnstormers and Bullets
16) Star Tracks

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