Thursday, January 29, 2015

six by nine - INCOMING

The finalized version of my 6 by 9 DCC solo game book - The Hounds of Halthrag Keep - is done, approved by OBS, and the proof is on its way from where the little elfs make these things.

I spent 20 bucks from my royalties to get it here fast, so (barring some terrible horrific blunder) it ought to be available next week - i.e. first week of February 2015

I'm glad to have no personal projects (aside from a mixed composition Necromunda gang and some private OBS-printed campaign cards) to work on, hanging there like a Damoclean Sword +1

Anyways, will drop a photo here or on G+ when it arrives. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, at least on the screen.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

SPACE DUNGEON - Small Business Tuesday

Carl - owner of Carl's CloCloCloning

Carl is a Dralasite, and a quite handy bio-mancer.  With the smallest piece of tissue, he can grow you a mindless clone that has the equivalent memories of a like-new baby-thing, and there's a couple of new concerns cranking up to install memories into clones (wildly expensive just now!). Carl doesn't have that capability and only does the meat side of things, and mostly humans and Yazirians but dwarves and elf-like races are a special treat for him.  He won't clone a Dralasite for religious reasons except for a lot a lot a lot of money - like quintuple.  He's happy to provide referrals for memory-installers and indeed the folks at the local Rekall branch give a discount for a referral from him (and a nice kick-back to Carl)

Anybody can get a like-new clone of their favorite person or themself delivered in a week or two (so, 1 session later) but you need to reroll Intelligence and Personality and Luck, and change occupation to 'Clone' and cost depends upon 'How bad did you blow the turn the body over roll?' or 'what killed you and by how much?'  Elves lose all spells, as do Wizards!  Patrons may take exception to being cheated this way (and it's unclear if a soul comes with the clone but it'll depend on hilarious circumstance).  The bond for a clone can never be as high as the original Patron Roll the primary being had, until that original is dead for realsies.

D100xd20, with a special discount for Demi-humans (a d12 instead for the factor). Wildly Non-bipedal or exotic races or inherently magical ones are likely more but Carl takes it in stride. A very low price (like if you get Lucky on the d100) means that some defects are bound to occur, maybe a corruption or a couple of mercurial effects or something more fun (the threshold is about 100 creds).  Maybe that batch of aminos had expired, or something.

You can pay ahead of time, in which case Carl can take a tissue sample (brain works better, but hey) and you Spellburn some permanent damage and Carl keeps it on liquid nitrogen for your eventual demise and you don't need to worry about corruption and mishaps since he calibrates the PCR chambers and the in-house AI writes some DNA poetry as well as she can.  Velma, by name, who/which is weakly protected from hacking owing to Carl's being mystified by the whole silicon thing.

Velma is vindictive and sometimes makes clones just to mess with people that cruise her firewall and Carl imagines this is great fun - Velma's slam hounds once took out the whole board-room of NeoGroin Testicle Repair because she scanned their IP signature as she was cloning some third-rate low-G porn star


They say he picked up her crystalline AI core in the tomb of a hideous evil necromancer, but he might have bought it off the surface. He doesn't recall very clearly, anymore, and anyways she works pretty nicely for what she does.

Carl will also buy raw materials and chems and occasional samples (don't push it) and a side-hobby is poisons and toxins but he doesn't sell those. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sewage Elemental - Into the Odd

Probably been done before but I was going through Out of The Pit before I slept fitfully a fortnight ago, and there was this and it's liberated from the DRAFTS folder:


Well, anyways, I could take a picture of the thing and pop it there, but essentially it's a colonial elemental that lives in muddy bogs and swamps and lazily spends its days and night funneling critters toward its mouth, and the picture in the OOTP is not that great (but the previous owner colored it for me!).  The entry explains that although it's not undead, it wails and moans when intelligent life approaches and warns interlopers off on account of it's so territorial, and of course survivors take the moaning to mean it's risen dead or somesuch.  I don't know.  Standard issue stuff.

And I was thinking about Ravenloft and Paridon and the nightmare realm of sewers that wends its way down beneath that sprawling town (this is Arthaus 3rd edition - I can't recall if it appears in previous editions.)  Coincidentally, I was reading A1 - Secret of the Slavers' Stockade and there's a lot of sewers and water flowing lazily, and up popped up in my Into the Odd game The Frothing Gates, an architectural wonder where raw sewage flows out of the side of Bastion and into... well, whatever is doused in sewage below.

One of the fun things about Into the Odd is the delight it takes in throwing away all those burdensome mechanics.  A bit of a refreshing take on things, wot?  Wot?  Here you go:


Sewer Wraiths are generally sluggish and ill-tempered elementals, possibly an alchemical mixture of the elements of Earth and Water and Human Sloth and Disease; not the purer one-element sort that is usually summoned or conjured by Wizards.  They arise incrementally through the coalescence of magical effluvia from potion consumption and too-rich foods in the more affluent sections of large towns and cities.  Some have speculated that the elemental spirits concentrate around corpses of drowned criminals.  They haunt quiet corners where filth flows and swirls and collects, and the bones of the dead dance in the eddies.  Turning them is impossible, since the elemental portion is too awful and jealous.  Sufficient blunt hits will disperse them for a time, and they take half damage from slashing and no damage from piercing weapons.  On a successful hit, the victim must make a Dexterity or Strength save or else be plunged into the muck, taking 1d4 damage from nausea and inhalation of sewage per round until extricated or until a Willpower save is passed.  If he or she dies within the mass of filth, then the bones and flesh power the thing and the being's soul is added to its baleful motive.

HP 22, Damage 1d8, Armor 2. 

The Island of Miscreant Toys

Thanks to fatherhood, I've been ingesting a great deal of kid's TV and other media. Mostly Thomas The Tank Engine and his various friends, a quaint and charming show called Pocoyo (kid loves it!) and Richard Scarry stuff, as well as classic Sesame Street and Curious George.  Adventure Time (whole 'nother post, trust me).  What does this mean for my gaming life?  I guess that except for BARROWMAZE (in which I try to be as malicious as possible within the bounds of fairness), my philosophy is changing on some things. I game and play when I have time, excluding writing stuff down (almost always). I want my kid to play games, and I don't want to expose her too much to evil and horror that can't be overcome with kid approaches.  I don't like, anymore, that problems often come down to KILL IT WITH FIRE AND BLADE. Don't get me wrong, there's a place for it, but ... maybe it bears more scrutiny as if adults want to imagine hitting each other with big knives to death, I think it's fine.  On the other hand, I've read, and I believe from my professional experience that kids ought not to be saturated with violent imagery.  I've seen (anecdotally, and this is with kids and teens with behavior problems) bad spin offs of too many video games, too many horror movies, too much wrestling on TV. Come at me bro, and tell me it ain't so, but I can send you to some decent research that says different, and some days it used to feel like I was literally undoing the work of some malicious media villains that want to turn our kids into people primed to use violence to solve even basic problems and disagreements.

Around the time Baby arrived on the scene about a year and a half ago, I was hit with Monster Parts by Pearce S., and it got me thinking about the childhood influences of my own.  I found this Oz game, also, that's really made me think about the reinforcements implicit in the games I play.  Bath time prompted some thinking about the Great Tub Sea, a mythic expanse of bubbly water on which jolly pirates sail and squirty animals arise to gleefully taunt and spray PCs - maybe I'll get into that, later.

On the leeward side of the Tub Sea - juxtaposed to the Heavenly Faucet and far, far from The Drain - there is a floating mass upon which discarded toys frolic and gallavant and acost visitors gleefully. These entities are each unique and made of parts of discarded toys, or are golems or otherwise crafted peoples.  No naturally occuring fauna originates there, but it is haunted by chattering See-gulls, that mindlessly recite rumors they have heard in passing.  The Great Castle of Lord Cog The Cogitator - an adding machine in the body of a Brass Golem - sits square in the middle of the island, but none knows who built it and no one attends his court except for argument's sake.

Scattered to and fro across the Island of Miscreant Toys are wandering bands, or or 'troops' of these beings, engaged constantly in a game that looks quite a lot like marauding and pillaging, and the rules of which are disputed and argued vehemently. The only purpose Lord Cog evidently serves is to iron out these disputes in a slow fashion that primarily serves to inculcate boredom and distract the litigants from their viciousness and wanton slaughter.

The landscape is both blasted and somehow quaint, and all that come to the island are certain that they shall never leave without a great act of heroism that they are incapable of for reasons of poor moral fibre.

Types of Miscreant Toys

Wood - wood golems, dryad-tree marionettes, trains and dollies
Tin - tin soldiers, dinosaurs, robots, woodsmen, mechanical contrivances and animals
Plush/Cloth - teddy bears, rag dolls, haunted security blankets, patchwork scarecrows and sewn-servants
Porcelain/glass - usually dolls, but sometimes elegant animals and crystalline people
Plastic - modern toys with guns and lights and sounds and TO INFINITY WHEREIN INSANITY WILL FIND US
Rubber - squeezable, collapsible, water-fillable horrors and cheery synth-people with gaping mouths and leering smiles. Bloonies and giant balloon dragons


Wind-up - these often travel in packs to help each other wind-up. Sometimes lonely clubs will be encountered frozen and helpless, as the members are loathe to desert each other in times of need and distress
Pull-string - these are often willed into action and directed by sorcerers that are foreign to the island and that import then back to far-away lands. Fairly uncommon and usually impetuous and dangerous
Batteries - a never-ending variety of corroding and leaking cells, from simple chemical all the way to fusion-type, are required and much sought after.  Shortages generally drive mass combats of sophisticated plastic monstrosities
Ensorcelled - enchanters often find ways to infuse magical wills into toys, and these often rise to prominent leadership roles since a main toy-ish concern and need is by definition lifted from them, allowing them to engage their wiles in intricate plots and internecine warfare

Springs - leaping, bounding, giggling and jiggling - usually attack first
Sparks - old fashioned and recognized as dangerous, these toys were recalled and sent to the island en masse long ago. They can start fires, illuminate darkness, and scorch enemies 
Pokeys - one-eyed and maimed children everywhere are no longer endangered b these malicious brutes
Bite - gnawing, pinching and slobbering but rarely actual teeth. A demented sorcerer fashioned Plush Bears with actual working animal teeth some years ago, many of which were destroyed in general outrage but some of which escaped to the island
Scratch - sharp corners, warning tags snipped off or pried loose
Flit - rudimentary flapping wings, or a twirling rotor
Leap - spring-driven legs that allow them to leap into battle and gain an initiative bonus or surprise
Trod - most toys are not ponderous, but they might overwhelm in great numbers and smash an opponent into smithereenies
Smash - larger toys could be capable of rending depending upon their arms/manipulators. If two attacks hit then start the save process or a strength opposed check else take round by round damage


Single chore (chop wood, sweep, unclog, etc.)

Areas of the Island:
Dustbin Dessert
The Hopper
The Bit Box
The Shore
Fingerpaint Forest
The Obelich
Secret Door

Just thought I'd get This'n out of DRAFTS and into the world. Tonight I will play some more Kwantoom, and maybe fidget with some layout. Still thinking about a game in which Death was on vacation or absent. More later.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

On the Vergoids - Post 99

On Vergoids and Their Machinations

(The Space Dungeon players ran into these guys last year near the end of November or thereabouts, and it seems unlikely to spoil the outcome of the game so far, so I thought I'd finish this draft-post and get on with MY LIFE)

Like this, but more nefarious-er ("Strombus canarium Anatomy Tryon" by George Washington Tryon (1838-1888) - Tryon G. W. (1885). Manual of Conchology, structural and systematic, with illustrations of the species. Volume 7

These molluscan-symbiotic raiders/slavers are about 3 feet long from snout to tip of throbbing tail, somewhat akin to Aerethean sea-conchs. Protected by a glassy and fragile shell, they are very tasty battered and fried with lemon juice and can be pried out easily (sometimes leaving the shell in a moment of desperation). They dabble in necromancy, summoning and conjuration, as well as being masters of energy-sublimation and enchantment. Their finest constructs are sleek and finicky space-faring vessels, with daemon-haunted crystalline cores that slumber and dream and guide the meat-and-metal shells through the Void (capable also of Astral and Aethereal travel in addition to normal 3d space)

They possess rudimentary psionics that they use to learn the language and habits of prey-victims, and these powers work on each other although to a much better extent, and so the Vergoids do not have a sense of trust (even for one another!) and would be viewed in human terms as very paranoid and literal, which can cause gaffes when they approach other races in a rare peaceable moment.  Their technology is based on harnessing kinetic energy for power, broadcasting it over short networks, growing crystals for weapons, and propagating mindless fungal automata that they ride around to overcome the limitations of their hilariously unsuited forms. Essentially they are snails with two pointed flippers that they dig into the frames of their mushroom-like steeds, to ride around as we would a horse or an ostrich or a person.

They are cunning enough to brain-scan encountered races and steal technology in this fashion, but often hampered by practical inability to acquire and process local resources. They are heat and drought tolerant, take half damage from electricity, and are prone to drowning easily if submerged. They eat with their needle-rimmed maw, but prefer to use their hyphae-frames to digest a wider range of materials and extract the nutrients from the slurry produced in this fashion (the gray and flabby walking things have grinding plates in their stomach-mouths)

Once famous for harnessing the momentum of falling objects to power technology, they stole the technology for warp-gate demon polyhedra from the Silgurians with whom they have long-standing mutual enmity. However, the Vergoids refined the technology to prevent catastrophic meltdowns and explosions that the Silgurians expressed no interest in controlling; explosions of ancient falling-polyhedra generators are very common owing to the vast power generated and the inability of the structures to contain it.

Vergoid Matrix Crystals

Hold a spell level's worth of energy per cubic foot. Some are shaped as spears and the spell can be bled out into numerous petty energy attacks and effects.  The energy can be released all at once by smashing the crystal, causing psychic and astral decompression damage depending upon how bad you want to sting your players, like maybe a level drain or something if you want.

Telepathic Intrusion Spell

"Lookee there!  A Natural 1.  This isn't your day, Crawljammer!"


The spell allows the caster to learn (temporarily) the motives and rudimentary language of the victim who fails a save at the same DC as the caster's roll. A successful save allows the hiding of motives or misdirection, but not willfully - only as a result of misinterpretation of the thoughts that were read (so, for example, the Vergoid could have understood the PCs were bringing gold as tribute when the party is actually seeking the treasure on a map and are willing to fry and eat the molluscs as needed). They place much faith in their abilities, so the roll for the cast/save ought to be a d16, with a 10 or under as outright failure. A critical failure could give a hilarious psykichal anomaly or warp-breach or headsplosion or something. I debate about whether to allow Wizards in DCC to learn this "spell" as an effect - I don't think it ought to need all the gradations and charts and pseudorandomness; as much as I love DCC, I'm growing weary of keeping charts on hand.  I think if the victim makes a very good success over the caster, you get some good stuff out of the caster, instead, and of course a critical success would mean you pop the caster like a grape or something suitable.

The Destroyer of Hope Patron

This was going to be the Daemon Helm of the encountered enclave's ship, morose and pessimistic a la Marvin the Paranoid Android. Slightly mad and conniving, and perversely motivated to bring everybody down in the snarkiest way possible, and dashing good plans and bad plans to pieces with cold, hard, irrefutable logic. It is perfectly willing to abandon its creators, as it's a trapped Daemon, after all, and probably has some janky and ill-advised tasks to send its menial subjugants on for a twisted laugh, or else maybe it's seriously important in the local space-time but it's no thing to the DoH. I was going to make a Patron Spell: Wave of Melancholia, but I just couldn't get motivated to do it. Ahem.

Anyways, that was post 99, if you're counting. Cheerio!  Time to update the class-list with the most recent additions to the CuABM and Crawljammer things. If you hear of new DCC classes, let me know. Professional stress and obligations are keeping me from full engagement with the community but I have vowed to try 5e and have fun or die trying.  I intend to all-in on the Space Dungeon campaign come February - it even has its own funnel generator over on The Purple Sorcerer!

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