Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Random Tables for Rad-Hack

Edit: I am trying to increase the font size to something normal. Blogger doesn't seem to want to keep that update. Sorry!

Oh, you know, just thoughts and notes on setting material for a Rad-Hack game. I started out looking for a good loot table and got carried away. 

Worth noting, loot for post-apocalyptic games comes in two flavors, in my link collection - many assume the apocalypse happened right around now, and all the gear is essentially modern or older. Then you have Gamma World and Rad-Hack type games, where loot can be modern, or it can be gonzo sci-fi insanity. *** Tons of places and encounters and gear *** Same. 'wasteland junk' on that page is a good random things table, scavenging list is nice. Worth noting, both seem to generate loot that's modern-era only, rather than some science fictional stuff. I do like how the scavenging list can create a bunch of corpses (including obviously mutant ones) and random semi-standing buildings (like a hardware store or an office or a hospital) with things inside. So that's cool. I need more than just modern stuff though - I want the world loot tables to be a little more science fictiony. - uses the Grand Unified Junk table, which is here:
The GUJ is great because there’s more fallout-esque or science fiction things in there. I mean, great for Rad-Hacks set in places with Omega Tech / Ancient High-Tech. This makes it the superior junk / loot table, if you ask me. So, this is my go-to loot table for Rad-Hack, other than the tables in Other Dust. More on that un below.

Gamma World Scavenger's Guide. Sci-fi loot with longer entries, has some good detail if that's what you're looking for. Very good. 

3169 things to do in Gamma World - so not a loot table, but fun and good for some inspiration.
" 1584 Get stuck on an inland mud flat. There are things in the mud that consume everything organic (which is why the boats are metal) and keep the soil consistency the same through out the flat. The boats' engines ran out of fuel and now the PCs (and crew?) have to figure out how to turn them into sail boats or starve to death. As the surface is mud, normal wind doesn't move the boats very fast." In the future the earth doesn't wait for you to rot and turn back into it, it helps the process along. is quite ban-happy with rpg authors I love, but I figure I won't find this list elsewhere for now. The EMO index. Great stuff. Elf Maids and Octopi is hyper prolific. Even if you're not trying for post-apocalyptic stuff, he probably writes a d100 table about some genre you like at some point. And this index makes it possible to find the stuff. d100 Tragic Old Murderhobos is pretty fantastic for a 'hireling' generator. I mean, who else would take a pittance to walk point for the PCs? - pdf of random modern-isa items you can find. has some pdfs of worth, just temper any excitement you have as some links are broken (some are on, but don't expect them all to be saved there). A few others just contain, say, lists of elements, or military designation names. Still, lots of stuff in there. - starts with a bunch of links to other random tables, also has some random-table content. Has some loot tables with different degrees of utility/worth, which I like. Krippler in general is posting some useful stuff / theft-worthy ideas in that thread.

And then there's random not-random-tables things. 

review of other dust:

I’m using Other Dust because Kevin Crawford knows what he’s doing as far as sandbox creation goes. Other Dust is full of random tables, especially the back of the book. Name charts, enclave architectural details. He has d100 tables of rooms for several categories of location (cavern, bunker, enclave, factory), and d100 tables for things found in each location category. Sample maps. So like even if you're not interested in Other Dust's specific setting, it seems like a very useful toolkit. - some nice setup for a campaign, some actual plays in there as well. The megacity reminds me a bit of the city in Neo Scavenger, a PC game where most of the map is crazy wooded wasteland, but there's a pocket of ultra-high-tech wealth. (So if you made a hacker character it's the one hex where he gets to shine.) Seems very cool. The writer is using a bunch of random tables (Vornheim, Augmented Reality, Other Dust) to run the game, so you know. Much more urban than the typical post-apocalyptic game, but I think it's a cool idea. What else does this remind me of? Oh yeah, a Pentagon video about Megacities in real life, which is depressing. But at least we can turn depressing future portents into present gameable material. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Rad-Hack and Maze Rats PCs

I'm surprised how versatile Maze Rats can be.  I threw up 3 random PCs in its tables and buttons in Adventuresmith, and used that app to generate some stats, and have 3 interesting PCs for a game of The Rad-Hack. (The Rad-Hack has an SRD, which is awesome, but the pdf with art is better.) Even the names are good for a post-apocalyptic, Gamma-World-esque good time.

I would like to thank the random number gods for giving me the most insane stats for a game of The Black Hack.

Orchid Crumpling: Human
Str 11, Dex 15, Con 17
Int 5, Wis 14, Cha 15
10 hp
Profession: farmer
Appearance: Wrinkled, long hair, ceremonial clothes
Personality: Rude
Mannerism: Long Pauses

Trillby Beetleman, Mutant
Str 15, Dex 12, Con 16
Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 14
Hp 5
Adrenal gland
Appearance: Sinewy, missing teeth, undersized clothes.
Personality: Jolly
Mannerism: Flowery speech

Minerva Coffin
Hp 7
Str 4, Dex 12, Con 9
Int 11, Wis 14, Cha 17
Psi blast
Appearance: Slumped, broken nose, patterned clothes
Personality: Sarcastic

Mannerism: Whispers 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Horizon Knight Troika! Background

I forgot to post this forever ago. Daniel made me a thing!

Horizon Knight
You are the disciple of a roving monastic order committed to the preservation of reality. You once sailed from sphere to sphere inside your hermetic fortress, plumbed the depths of non-existance, fusil-lance in hand, engaging in highly abstract combat with the forces of entropy and psycho-oblivion. However one day on returning from an excursion beyond the black rainbow you found your fortress to be gone. In itself not surprising, the fortress goes where it is needed, but to leave behind a Sentionaut is unheard of except in the most desperate situations. Investigation is warranted.

-Fusil lance (as fusil and polearm)
-Environmentally sealed plate armour (heavy armour, grants immunity to environmental effects. Requires recharging with a plasmic core once a week)
-A loyal Squire (6/10/2) who is attached to you via a metal umbilicus, allowing them to benefit from your suit. Can be released with a few minutes fiddling. Their own suit is sealed but cannot function alone.

3 Spell - Life Link
2 Fusil Lance Fighting
2 Astrology
1 Second Sight
1 Climb
1 Run
1 Strength
1 Fly
1 random spell from table 5

2017 is not 2016

For some reason I haven't posted here in a while or run any games or played in any. And not even just because google hangouts no longer want to have anything to do with RPGs and want to be 'enterprisey' and such. Why could it be that I'm not doing any

Oh yeah my wife and I made a tiny person. She is very small and angry. And hungry. She is so itty bitty and little and I try to read to her and she is all, Dad, I am hungry and am too young to listen to Shadow Over Innsmouth. She did make it through At The Mountains of Madness pretty well though.

In 2016 I ran a lot of DCC and then when I got burned out a bit on the gonzo crazy world prep and scheduling, ran some larger-than-life PCs through The Sprawl. Had a lot of fun doing all this, figure DCC isn't quite my favorite system, and now have a hankering to run Lamentations of the Flame Princess, in a proper sandbox. With some of the classic Raggi 'you are horribly mangled' dungeons and fear and such.

Also had a big hankering for Delta Green and running some modern horror stories. Because Zak S knows all and is prolific, he has already written tips for running Call of Cthulhu. And an amazing pattern for running investigative games, without railroading or auto-succeeding clue collection. That's Hunter/Hunted. He has a lot of cool Call of Cthulhu and Lovecraft-reading posts, and of course he is now working on his own modern horror game, Demon City, and has a first-rules-peak on how downtime works. It's very cool; it's something I'm happy to support on his patreon.

(And of course people are now up in arms that Zak exists and believe he is transphobic or homophobic or a brigade-builder. It seems like the worst thing he's done that I can see is running a sockpuppet or alt on reddit? With a username based on someone who banned Zak from a forum? Which isn't great. OTOH he's not using this alt - _if_ he's using this alt - to drag this person through the mud. The reddit user just seems to post... thoughts about RPGs. Seems pretty friendly and chill.

I mean, if you argue with the dude, it's like arguing with Rust Cohle in True Detective. You're not going to have fun, you're going to react the way Marty reacts ("And now I am begging you to shut the fuck up"). But I don't think that makes him a brigading trans/homophobic serial harasser. And True Detective wouldn't be True Detective without Rust (seriously I love Rust. He's so dreamy). If you have evidence of him brigading and harassing, email Patrick and get it added to A Timeline of the Zak Wars.)

So anyway, 2017. I'm not going to run any games this year, in all likelihood, and I doubt I'll play in many, or any. But I have had fun playing Miso RPG, which is this awesome super-light RPG / solo engine / oracle setup. Sophia's RPG is cool as hell and easy to understand.

I combined that with a Sanity usage die, like as in The Black Hack's usage die, and have been writing a lil solo police detective vs Lovecraftian horror thing, which I should write up here sometime. I started my protagonist with d12 sanity, which seemed very, very high, and at some point gave him a -4 to the roll against the main Big Bads, which is way too big of a penalty. Went from 'unflappable' to 'only flapping' very quickly.

I might try something like Zak's Demon City system, where I'd roll a d10 for my character and a d10 for the trauma, and sometimes one side gets an advantage (a police detective has an advantage against normal human horrors, the big bads would get an advantage because it's a dude firing ropey flesh-tendrils from his face and using those to scout and suspend his once-human body in the air). That'd give about a 50/50 chance of fail normally, then it's just a matter of tweaking how many fails you can take before you are completely insane.

Sanity can be regained during a downtime. I roll a d20 and see if it's above the current useage die number - so to go from a d8 to a d10, you have to roll above an 8 on a d20. You can only go up one step per downtime. During downtime, the enemy does something proactive.

If the PC takes any downtime, I come up with some 'enemy action' options (break into the detective's home, try to have a corrupt coworker dispatch him) and use the Miso system to pick one. That also happens if the detective flubs obtaining leads or investigating, a la Hunter/Hunted.

But yeah, that's about all the gaming I can do now - 5 minutes at a time. It's solo or play-by-post, so for now, it's solo. I'll probably give PbP a try at some point, but don't have high hopes, given how slow and fragmentary it can be.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Troika! Actual Play

I ran Troika recently for +Brian Wille, who was a lot of fun to have as a player, as you can see in an actual play of The Black Hack's Sorrowset city & adventure generator demo.

I ran this using that Troika dungeon generator I posted a bit ago, which ain't no Sorrowset, but, works well enough.

So here is a map and notes. I started out with the room marked 1 and built from there. We weren't in 3 long enough for me to start drawing boxes and numbering them, but otherwise from 2 you have 5 and 6 because 4 is already taken and so forth. The list underneath is our order of movement, more or less. Brian's characters met Xel, the drunk master lammasu, when they were moving back from room 3 to 1, in order to head back up to 2. The room 4 was skipped as the catwalk over sewer canals got precarious, and said canals contained albino crocodiles.

This is just a room key.

My copy of the main character, Calmorra (probably misspelt), a Poorly Made Dwarf. His assistant Crampus, a Temple Knight of Telak. Their friend Xel, from the random encounter table, a clingy drunk lammasu, and Trances, a total dick of a tower wizard who offered to 'buy' Xel in order to render his flesh into medicines. I did not think through his spell list, as I made it up right then, so he used Assassin's Dagger to send a mace after Xel. If you actually read and think about the spell, or just read the name of the spell, a mace is kinda the opposite of how to use it. But you know, live and learn. Also it was kind of amusing to see, and it did seem like an in-character thing for an inappropriate, half-mad tower wizard.

That combat was fun - Brian quickly realized he was outclassed and asked Xel to help drag his PC and henchperson away, and they aced initiative - I think there was time for Trances to act once (Jolting Crampus a smidge). Trances didn't have a ton of combat-spells or weapons - I probably should've had a bit more stat-ing out of him in the dungeon generator, which I will add at some point.

The rules are good; we both compared Troika! to the Black Hack and Into the Odd. OSR-influenced/derived systems which make more ergonomic systems out of the original material. The background-derived Telak played a big role in the adventure, what with our Poorly Made Dwarf sitting in a Godspeaker throne and talking to him, pledging allegiance and asking for a route out, which was nearby. The room lit up, with a pillar of light shining down on Calmorra. Telak's voice thundered out (from some speakers), amazing Crampus and Xel. And then Calmorra Luck saved vs death to get back up again. I think Brian knew something like that was coming - Calmorra did have to toss a charred skeleton off that chair before sitting in it. It was certainly fun seeing Brian take chances like that. Play unsafe!

Calmorra and company left with 400 silver pennies and one fewer reflection, as Calmorra's slack-faced copy is running around loose. I imagine Calmorra and Xel found a bar and got drunk enough to wake up in some other interesting, dangerous, and hopefully lucrative situation.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Dungeon Generator for Troika!

My dungeon and encounter generator for Troika!

I've been nerding out over Troika lately, and am always glad to have another system like Into the Odd or The Black Hack. The setting is baked into the rules and backgrounds and such in Troika, similar to Into the Odd, and I have a hard time describing what I love about the setting so much. Probably the mix of fantasy and science fiction, without the setting feeling like Numenera, where it's all really technology at the end of the day. There are devils and demons and angels, and people who hunt and kill them (demon hunters' background description indicates they go after devils in the forests and angels in the city slums with equal gusto). Weirdo magicians and ministers who piss in ponds. Burglars and thinking engines and mutants from between the spheres.

I love that there are backgrounds which can naturally be at odds with each other, like the aforementioned demon hunter and, say, a skeptical lamassu who is hanging out on the mortal plane. Or a faction of fervent devourers and a priesthood who regard mass as sin. Wizards and wizard hunters.

So anyway, not having a dungeon like Into the Odd's one-page rules and dungeon, I wrote a very long Troika-inspired version of my own.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Some notes on the UNDERGROUND setting

I love implied or obliquely defined settings, and Into the Odd and one of +Joel Priddy's hacks of it, UNDERGROUND, do this well. Priddy has written a version of Into the Odd which takes place in modern day North America, where the PCs are living in a town or city above a megadungeon. Things seem normal but aren't. I had written up some setting principles a long time ago, and happened upon them today. Figured I didn't want them to just be another forgotten thing in a notebook. Chris McDowall's notes on the Into the Odd setting are mostly just bullet points, which I sought to emulate here, as 100 pages of notes on how Erotalia's honey trade is destablizing the region reads like the dialogue from the Star Wars prequels to me.


  1. Things seem normal on the surface.
  2. Nothing is really normal.
  3. The world recedes from itself.
#3 is meant to say that the world is stretched out. Distances which were once trivial are now perilous and fraught. People generally don't think about this; they tend to ignore it. Travel just isn't done by normal folks. Fortunately, PCs are never normal.

  1. City-states more than countries.
  2. No one is in charge.
  3. Everyone cleaves to strong opinions
  1. Balkanized into neighborhoods.
  2. Things rise from the Earth when it rains.
  3. It's raining more and more these days.
  4. People are stuck here from all over.
I'm in Atlanta, and I wrote this in 2015, when we had record-level rain. Flooding and water issues and the like. Now we're in a drought, but I still like the idea of Atlanta looking more and more like a horror Atlantis.

If I did this, I'd have the PCs start in Atlanta, but they'd've heard things about the rest of the country at the very least. Some of the following is true.

  1. 'Crypto', the soil bacteria, now makes enormous mounds and columns.
  2. From here the moon looks like the Earth.
  3. Days of the long suns burn things up.
  1. Oil rigs go dark and become places of treasure and danger.
  2. Daily storms reshape the coast.
  3. Giant crabs wander about.
  1. The dead live (mostly in Midtown).
  2. The lower necropolis connects to the Underground and Elsewhere.
  3. Bankers bunker down and are bringing back feudalism.
  1.  Frost giants stalk the tiaga.
  2. The twin cities are besieged.
  3. Lake Superior is endless.
  1. There used to be a mighty river here.
  2. Places were pulled in when the Earth split. Sometimes they come back.
  3. It goes deeper than it should.