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

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