Sunday, October 29, 2017

Dragon's Blood Pools: A History of God, Dragon, Devil, Death

In the beginning

God made the world and the high elves. His perfect people, who he loved. God appeared among them and she told them that she would test them, though she already knew, her chosen people would pass all tests.

The Devil and the Dragon waited, as they had before and before. The Dragon sent monsters, giant beasts, wyverns, tried to break the high elves. The Devil's agents tempted them with forbidden knowings, sin.

The high elves conquered the monsters, took them apart and put them together again, altered, experiments. Volunteers gave into demonic temptation within hyperbaric chambers, were studied and killed and studied. Through their self-gained knowledge, the elves brought the Devil and Dragon to heel for their God, who was glad. She watched as the high elves made, from clay, slaves who could marginally think. Humanity. 

The elves, ambitious, wished for more to win for their God. In their Faraday-cage labs, in chambers sterilized of divine presence and sight, they created Death. Then their final creation unmade them. 

God put herself against Death and was destroyed and unmade. He remade himself in titanic form and Death cut through his flesh and ended him, and she began again. And again. The world was wracked. Dragon, sensing opportunity, joined with God and fought. The Devil laughed and sold to everyone demon legions. The Earth splintered, Time shuddered and ate at itself, blood rained. The four sides fought though centuries to a stalemate. 


We live now in the armistice. The four do not vie directly against one another, though their abandoned children do as they will.

God weeps for his dead children, Dragon sucks its wounds, the Devil cavorts, and Death waits.

Their waste and cast-offs haunt the world.

Dragon's Blood Pools

The blood of Dragon was spilt across the world. Many tiny droplets fill pond-sized sumps and sit, waiting, black and boiling. Full immersion in a pool will grant a character +3 hit points. They will also note on their sheet a counter: Dragon's Blood, 1/3. The second bathing confers 3 hit points, the counter advances, and they take on some aspects of Dragon - solid golden eyes, patchwork scaling, sulfurous breathe. The character will detect as evil regardless of actual alignment. 

(The golden eyes have a melt-value of about 80 gp each, but they are universally accepted prosthesis. As such their value tends to be around 200 gp.) 

The third exposure to Dragon's blood - as little as a pint - will turn the character into a monster. Often a wyvern. 

A given pool has 1d6 uses. Each use visibly lowers the pool as the blood is absorbed, and after absorption the person is extruded from the pool as if it were birthing them.

Many modern armies contain an elite cadre of soldiers with identical golden eyes, known for their resilience and tenacity. Mercenary commanders often sport the eyes as well. 

Flesh of God

The Flesh of God litters the world in places where she was deathlessly struck down: sometimes as a titanic being, sometimes as something the size of a high elf (7' tall). The flesh does not rot, and tiny motes of light dance from it. 

One must save vs poison if eating the Flesh, 5 pounds are needed. To fail is to die. Passing the test allows one to remain at a fixed age for 15 years. During that time, the character can concentrate and allow the Flesh to absorb one failed save if the save would have meant death. At that point the character begins aging again normally.

Animals which eat a portion of God's Flesh can become intelligent and gain the power to speak.

Royalty and nobility depend upon Flesh. Some of their court wizards claim they can prepare the flesh such that consumption is not dangerous. Nobles will often forgo taxes or criminal investigations of adventurers, if said explorers can produce a few pounds of Flesh.

Demon Horn

As punishment, devil soldiers would have their horns lopped off by their superiors. If hollowed out and made into a bugle, the horn can be blown to cause unintelligent animals to flee, 1-2 HD humans/humanoids to check morale, and cause plants within 50' to wither and die. There is a 1-in-20 chance the call summons up a 1d6 HD demon missing the horn. The horn has d6 uses before turning into a foul ash. If carried openly, the horn gives a +2 reaction roll bonus with humans who hate demons (i.e. worshippers of God, any humans living near demon encampments, etc).

Demon armies heralded battle's beginning with horn-blowing, though most of Dragon's forces were not put off by the foul smoke and screaming horror that these instruments put forth. In modern times, the horns are often used by one well-provisioned army or mercenary company against another. 

Death's Artifacts

Death leaves nothing upon the Earth but scars of infertile land, where sometimes the dead are restless. In other places time is bent, broken, because Death was too thoroughly driven away. There things which were destroyed may still exist.

High Elf Temples

Some high elves still live in deathless slumber atop stone beds, inside of ancient buried temples to their prowess. They await foolish mortals' proximity, so that their artifacts will wake them. Then they will begin to experiment again upon the cracked and jagged Earth.

Surprise, Patrick Wrote Something Great

This is how I imagine Hugh Lupus, the amazing NPC Patrick wrote.

'He is roughly as smart as the DM, so if PCs can't fool you, they can't fool Hugh.' - this is and his insane daily schedule are so great. This is also a great short-circuit to someone begging for a CHA check or the like. 'Sorry that is a blatant lie to both me and Hugh.' 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

d100+ rooms in the rotting, science-fantasy space hulk

Dungeon generator for the Searchers of the Unknown hacks, Scavengers and Spacewrecks, and Searchers in Spaaaaace. Something about 'space trolls' mentioned in one of those made me yearn for some science-fantasy space hulks to explore/plunder. More sci-fi than Spelljammer, but still with bits and pieces of magic sprinkled throughout steel corridors.

Conceit: The ancient space-hulks of the bygone civilizations are far superior to the rickety, leaky, unshielded coffins modern societies can make. Scavengers can make a hearty profit dragging back 1000-year-old teleport pads or grav generators, as no one can duplicate the technology.

Conceit for at-table ship generation: The old ships are bigger on the inside, pocket dimensions and warp-tech built into the decking. Scanners can't map the ships, so you get to go in and find out if the narrow, insectile fighter has a pool and a robo-falconry room tucked away somewhere. This way the GM can make a ship a room at a time.

  1. indoc-chamber. Corridor flows around this floor-to-ceiling cylinder. Inside, humans will be augmented (+1 HD or +2 to Str and Con) and indoctrinated. Indoctrination: 1) Aid the Space Tyrant’s agents in all ways 2) protect the innocent and corporate property 3) Hunt down Space God heretics 4) Stop the use of drugs and intoxicants 
  2. Stealth systems room
  3. Children's creche
  4. Teleport decoy room, automated defense based on IFF crew badges
  5. Art room 1) Sculpture 2) Holoplay 3) Tapestries 4) Paintings 5) Psi-stones 6) hallucinogenic plants
  6. Trophy room. Critters, ship scraps
  7. Corridor with semi-sentient ferrofluid creature starting to ooze out of broken pipes.
  8. Corridor elbow. Hidden bomb-maker's niche, 25% of actual explosives. 
  9. Gun smithery. 25% has something obviously useful in a glass steel safe (hd 5).
  10. Workshop. 1) guns 2) armor 3) industrial 4) plant hybridizer 
  11. Nanofactory, 50% working
  12. Gravity Generator
  13. Heart, living ship. 
  14. Brain core, 66% insane
  15. Waste recyc. 1) worth 5k, hyper-good, lossless 2) 1k, better than modern tech 3-6) equivalent to modern tech
  16. Star Portal Generator, 1d4 destinations programmed in, 66% busted
  17. Moravec maker (ie can turn organic beings into machine equivalent)
  18. Brain peeler, 1d4 upload hard drives left
  19. Oil, water, antifreeze, fuel: ship fluids store.
  20. Stockade cells and minor panopticon, wall controls for microwave agonizers
  21. Zero-g corridor
  22. Drone hanger. 1-3) empty, 4) repair drone 5) missile drone 6) stealth spotter scout
  23. Bar niche in corridor
  24. Blast door, exploded, no longer bars corridor
  25. Foundry 1-4) normal metals, 5) glass steel 6) adamantium, 50% cooled and ruined
  26. Clone pod, 66% contains a monster about to be auto-birthed
  27. Rune library and wizard cylinder, 2 uses left. Imprints a 1/day useable spell. Learn: 1) atmospell, 2) detect life 3) control flame 4) dimensional door 5) hold person 6) hold portal 7)cloudkill 8) polymorph other 9) polymorph self 10) feather fall
  28. holo beach
  29. corridor with climbing wall, grav adjust lever, currently set to 2x
  30. Corridor with shot env controls. 1) steam-choked 2) frozen water on all surfaces 3) flooded 4) smokey 5) poison gas air 6) raining hard
  31. Ray-shielded corridor
  32. L-corridor with automated defense ceiling fixture
  33. Science lab, unstable chemicals in beakers, magnetically attached to wall. Shielding protection system has failed. 20% chance locked, working computer with esoteric research.
  34. Cryotube room. 20% chance occupied with hostile life forms. Fire in ship or intruders in room who fail to notice laser tripwires will awaken the life forms in 1d4 rounds.
  35. Depleted armory. Can search for random items no larger than a small pistol. Ray-shielded entrance.
  36. Mining laser control room.
  37. Backup airlock, 1) ripped spacesuits 2) cracked helm 3) slow leak 4) space kudzu infiltration 5) mynock nest on the outside 6) full air bottle, functional emergency suit
  38. Entertainment area - cards, holoprojector, 20% some collectible media.
  39. Escape pods, 1d4 - 2 left
  40. Exercise room. Weights, putty-like resistance bands, hyper gravity chamber.
  41. Kitchen, dining area. 
  42. Fold-up bunk room.
  43. Computation room. 1) datastore, heavily encrypted 2) sparking, catching fire 3) digital sophont infestation, insane, wants network access to rest of ship 4) Uplink to Locusts / Borg / BBG 5) LAN party setup, with sealed snack tubes 6) Ancient encryption breaker, 1d4 uses until quantum matrices exhausted
  44. Medical bay, hyperbaric healing surgery bot chamber
  45. Fuel core room, spares. 20% radiation leak.
  46. Dorm room.
  47. Corridor speckled with organic matter from space troll den, which is up against the ceiling.
  48. Sealed emergency blast door, hd 9.
  49. Corridor, space plague victim died messily. Corpse clutches ulfire gem worth 1100 credits.
  50. Stowage, 1 ton capacity. 1) water 2) laser rifle battery cores 3) emergency space suits 4) space plague medicines 5) empty 6) heavily DRM’d holoprojectors
  51. Droid repair bay
  52. War froglet storage. Ray-shielded, locked, designed to be jettisoned from ship via shaped charges, either from bridge or at the door. 66% vacant thank the Space Gods.
  53. Shrine to Space Gods with offerings of booze, drugs, antique ray gun, fuzzy dice. Stealing from the shrine gives Mild Curse of the Space Gods - disadvantage on rolls for 24 hours. Reroll encounter checks and take worse result.
  54. Depressurized area cordoned off by ray-shielding or emergency blast doors, hd 2.
  55. Digital sophist storage servers. 50% vacant.
  56. Corridor with collapsed walls and ceiling, forming a 3’ tunnel to next area(s). 
  57. Extra food, water stores, enough for the crew to last 2 months.
  58. Long range survey scanners and control room. 25% they’re better than modern tech.
  59. Teleporter pods and controls, 25% still works.
  60. Drop pods and drop pod cannon. d6 drop pods left. Can fire drop pods out 1 hex / 1 AU / 1 Big Distance and make a quiet, obscure planetfall.
  61. Artificial gravity generator.
  62. Holo training room for various combat situations. Illusions that do subdued damage 50% running at present. Captain codes for ship can make the hard and soft light holograms lethal.
  63. Pilot sim booth, ships operating manual in cockpit chair.
  64. Hydroponics garden, 50/50 dead or lush.
  65. Holo schematic table, war room. Plans hatched here using the schematics table will grant a +1 bonus to each participant’s actions until they fail a roll.
  66. EVA storage - remote drone operator chairs, eye goggles, connected to an external drone shed/pod.
  67. Torpedo room and launch tubes. d12 torpedoes, 10d6 ship damage (or system equivalent)
  68. Holo ship decoy projector room housing. Ship can cast Mirror Image, 1d4 + 2 images.
  69. Piece of a hyperspace portal, which are thought to be indestructible.
  70. Assimilant Temple room. Conversion booths, crucified half-machine half-Ancient priest screeches like hard drives breaking, ready to take confessions of disunity.
  71. Landing ramp / mud room. Boots, ponchos, hats, flashlights. 
  72. Life support generator in more of a closet than a room. Firefights in here can (2-in-6) wreck life support.
  73. Space tree, living atmosphere generator. Firefights irrelevant, actual fire pretty bad. 66% has seeds.
  74. Space vampire lair.
  75. Power suit repair bay, drop chute. 5% power armor, otherwise can probably find a sweet helmet, power suit long johns.
  76. Space Gods Commune Chair. Surrounded by arcing electricity, shrill static amplifiers, subliminal chanting on repeat. Can sit and ask oracular question, then save or die from enlightenment / Space God yelling.
  77. Hangar, 2-seater fighter, local space only. HD 1+1, AC 4.
  78. Mining curtain and processing plant. The curtain is a giant fabric, several square km, designed to trap asteroid spalling, dust, and such during mining. Hyper-tough, can be used to make good AC 7 or AC 5 armor.
  79. Cybernetic operating theatre and robot surgeon.
  80. Robot therapist niche. Neo-brutalist hypnobehavorist. Quite effective if you can stick with it.
  81. Scrying pool. 1/day someone immersed in the pool can cast Wizard Eye (as per White Box or whatever) anywhere they’ve been before. Duration is as long as they can stay underwater.
  82. Ship tactical teleport, short range, sun gate generator. 20% working. Lets the ship teleport around a battlefield 1/day, out to some kind of useful tactical range.
  83. Bug room. 1) Giant ants 2) space roach mounts, EVA capable, 3) Mantis warrior drones 4) rust monster 5) spider ratings 6) repair slug (repairs ship damage, if in a room with an air leak it will sacrifice itself to plug it)
  84. Spider rating nest. 20% feral, otherwise potentially willing to work. 1d8+2 encountered, 3 hp each, save 12, +4 for saves of a technical nature. Lil metal antenna, radio comms.
  85. Minor hell portal, 66% there's a phasic demon (Bandits and Battlecruisers). 7HD, AC 4, half damage from regular weapons (magic and phasic weapons do damage as normal).
  86. Airlock to nonhuman dorm. 1) Ammonia vapor 2) Titan-esque - hyper cold, liquid methane pools 3) Venusian swamp 4) Airless, high rads
  87. Corridor filled with space kudzu. Slows movement, if hanging around for a turn or more, will try to envelope. HD 2, Str 13 if that matters for grappling.
  88. Telescope, star maps of unknown sectors.
  89. Crow’s nest. Stealth 2-person pod, equipped with passive sensors, macro binoculars, etc. Attached to a 1 AU / Big Space Hex of monofilament on a giant spool. Magnetically fired, takes a few hours to get out that far.
  90. Clone bank, 66% corrupted and spewing out something vile.
  91. Anti-ship lava launcher and external port.
  92. Blast door opening and closing rapidly. Save / dex check to slip through, else take 4d6 damage.
  93. Bondsman ship monitor, bank tachyon tap-comms (cosmic morse code), glass steel safe containing romance novels. Hidden inside a novel is one last 1000 credit chit.
  94. Edicts of space tyrant carved in steel plinths, 10’ in length, each weighs about 1.5 tons. Drop bay doors and a lifter arm.
  95. Micro submarine bay. 30% micro sub, holds 6, operates 15 hours underwater at a time, 3 HD. Diving gear.
  96. Wheeled APC bay, no APC. 1 loader exoskeleton, gives +2 STR bonus and does 1d8 damage in unarmed combat. Welder (1d10, 3 squirts of fuel), warning lights, beeps when backing up. 
  97. Luxury pool, bar, lounge chairs, appropriate skeletons for the ship’s original crew.
  98. Sentient bomb room, 1 bomb (Harry) left, 66% nuts. Would crack the hulk in half, but anyone more than a room away shouldn’t take much damage.
  99. Zine library hidden in empty, dusty alcove in corridor. Anti-space tyrant, anti-space-government, pro-Eden Seeking, kind of anarchs-primitivist anti-sentient stuff. Illegal, probably quite valuable to some poseur somewhere.
  100. Chain dorm. Slave collars (explosive, 6d6 to wearer, no collateral damage), basically a dorm for enslaved crew.
  101. Drop pod for 4, converts to unpowered glider in atmosphere.
  102. Black Hole Temple, altar has a cube of annihilation on it, suspended by anti-grav stick-on pads.
  103. Innocuous corridor. Contains hidden smuggler compartments. 1-4) empty 5) ulfire gems, 1d20 x 100 credits each, 1d6. 6) 1d10 kg of spice, worth 750 credits a kg.
  104. Psi amplification chamber, allows psi users to use psi powers across depths of space. Sacrifice 1d10 hp to use offensive powers on other ships. Across from where someone would sit, you can find fragments of bone and tooth embedded in the wall, quite deeply.
  105. Favela of anarchist squatters, typically want scavengers to go the fuck away. Distrust scavengers with apparent good intentions, about as smart as the GM in terms of detecting bullshit.
  106. Jailbroken Nu-Tu booth with Ancient celebrity options, takes 1 turn for a full facial reconstruction. +1 to reaction rolls and morale of allies. 
  107. 15 horse power 1938 Citroen in a stasis bubble. (World of Edena hoooo!)
  108. Bunk room, random data slates of old books, tacky rug. Mechanism under a bunk unlocks the floor panel under the rug, which leads down to Faallspek’s Trophy Room #11a. Contains some nice Endwater brandy worth 766 credits, and the Mask of the All Priest, worth 14k credits. Sellers would be identified immediately by foul magic, and hunted by his planetary regime of zealots. 
  109. Gift shop. 10% leftover flamethrower.
  110. Automated restaurant, 66% food is now poison and immobile robot stewards throw it
  111. Corridor with shortcut vent
  112. Smoker alcove, size of phone booth, embedded in corridor.
  113. Corridor, diamondoid vending machine anchored, ray gun stuck mid-dispense. Last thing in there other than gum and anti radiation cigarettes.
  114. Anti pirate drone bay, 10% one left but possessed by Laser Moon
  115. Creepy mirror. 1/day can cast contact other plane, 33% creates evil doppelganger of user.
  116. Hover golf carts, can easily be used to drive around the ship
  117. Robo falconry training room - large, some boxy American Gladiator-style obstacles, 1d4 robot rabbits (programmed to run in an evasive pattern, largely straight. AC 5 MV 18). 1d2-1 robot falcons (hd 1+1, AC 4 MV 25 (flight), claws 1d4+1, 2 attacks / round)
  118. Gruel maker room. Ceramic bowl (300 lb, 8 hp) creates 50 lbs of gruel per day. At present hibernating, will come online if a living creature touches it. Possibly used to feed dungeon / space hulk denizens. Dungeon Moon reference!

RAY SHIELDED. Shields that do 1d6 damage on contact, typically remotely controlled via cockpit. Often some nearby wall-mounted controls could disable if you save, otherwise it just sets off an alarm and either automated security or a random encounter will head over. Or both.

Disaster Timers - because I just read through Index Card RPG before this, and it can be fun to have some kind of reason to hit the space hulk highlights as quickly as possible before Locust nanomachines turn everything into gray goo slag. (Thank you Strange Stars for that name and idea!)

1. Reactor leak
2. Reactor meltdown
3. Fire
4. Air leak getting worse
5. Space troll nest growing
6. Drifting into sun
7. Drifting into black hole, cannot exit orbit
8. Nearing Locust Zone
9. Nearing Space Pirate cove
10. Possession by laser moon
11. Art collective bombs
 12. Space Tyrant micro-armada inbound

Conscripts Conceit: In between missions you sleep. That's when you may be rewarded for bringing back the ancient tech, rewarded with implants or knowledge, or you'll wake up and the boss has left you new gear. You died once, in a hulk - a space troll oozed out of a vent behind you and wrapped its clammy, rubbery hands around your neck. You awoke on the ship remembering, cloned. It happened too often to Piotr and the boss stopped bringing him back, brought in a new gene-line, 'something luckier'. You feel like you remember something, not doing this, not stuck in this loop. Sometimes in the hulks you see books, and remember sitting under a sun and reading one. No boss, no clock, no scavenging. But then it's time to hurry up and get back to the staging area, hurry and get back to sleep. Hurry or you'll be left behind.

He Was Scanning the Horizon Additional Details

I wrote a hex/pointcrawl generator at He Was Scanning The Horizon, for post-apocalyptic gonzo games. I recently removed the Hut on Stilts option, because I had another Lone Building option in there (replaced by a Rad Cultist Shrine, which should have like a 33% of having some Rad Cultists at it).

Then you know, if you roll up a tiny micro-village or a hermit in a lone building, you need something to make the hermit interesting. A micro-village would have some kind of defense mechanism to prevent random T-Rexes from eating everyone.

What's In That Lone Dwelling?

  1. Sage
  2. Weird loner hermit
  3. Psycho
  4. Mutant family who emit death field. 33% cannibals
  5. Abandoned / occupants killed
  6. AI and robot squad

How does this village defend itself?

  1. Force field and kerosene generator
  2. Sonic screamer fence
  3. Robot soldiers 3d20, fit in 1-3 shipping containers when folded up
  4. Magic! Bunch of warlocks from Encounter Critical. Or if you can't look this up, they summon 20' pits and hurl lightning (2d6 dmg)
  5. Pet blood dragon
  6. Village is mobile, has fast escape vehicles
  7. Mobile village, floats up
  8. Steel bubble swings up from ground
  9. Nuke and mutually assured destruction
  10. Actually a hologram, displaced and hidden
  11. Robot police enforce ancient laws, recharge in crumbling Poli Stati
  12. Orbital laser, only covers a 400' square foot area, in which the villagers dwell. Highly accurate, does 12d8 damage on a full blast.

If magic is too gonzo, just say the villagers have gene-locked Lasguns that can dig out a 20' pit really quickly. PCs could capture one, and maybe a sage could figure out how to gene-therapy the PC into being able to use it.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Two kinds of stuff in post-apocalyptic games

There's two patterns of how stuff is used after an apocalypse, as I see it. Mad Max is the penultimate example of one - the familiar is re-used in an alien way. Baby doll faces are built into the backs of helmets, gardening tools are re-crafted into a muzzle for a person, a rifle becomes a shamanic staff, bullets are twined together as a brassy wind chime. You know what these things are normally for, but the current denizens of the waste have repurposed these objects creatively, and younger folks aren't even aware of the original purpose. Cultural shear, like tectonic plates grinding away from each other, and a few people like Max are still (begrudgingly) bridging the gap.

This is how you wind up drag racing raiders on a turbo-charged lawn mower.

This relies on your familiarity with stuff that's shown - it works on things that actually exist now. You won't get this frisson with science-fiction gear, or at least, not nearly as much, because you're not combining existing material culture with a novel society, amputated from our own by the apocalypse. With science fiction items, you're asking the viewer (or imaginer) to envision two made-up things - the original group of folks that created the fictional gear, and the new group who have repurposed it.

However, I think Gabor Lux (among others) has shown another way to handle science fiction gear in a post apocalypse - make it strange and fantastical to the players, make it imply a culture quite different than anything we imagine.

And now I can't find this PDF on his dang blog!

Hah no wait, here's the OSR technology table I'm looking for.

So yeah, it has a very Carcosa vibe to it. Technology breaking rules (like lasers pinholing right through armor). Societies so far advanced that your AC is now obsolete. Technology for mind-controlling the masses and alleviating boredom.

So here's some additions I thought through.

Artifacts in the Wreckage of the Great Age

1. Fight enhance helm. Shows brain and central nervous system of enemies, if any, as well as anything central to circulation. So humans are a brain and the nerve cord in the spine, and a heart, and otherwise just a vague outline. Use knowledge and targeting aid to take 5e-style Advantage on damage rolls. After 4 uses the helm's working components fuse to your face. Your vision, brain are glitched and all you can see of other humans and humanoids is their brain and cns and heart, and a vague bodily outline. Good luck telling if someone is lying to you.

2. Parent Pod. Will accelerate time and raise a baby or child to the old age of majority (20.1). Kids will seem haughty, disadvantage on pleasant social interaction, but increased chance to identify tech or use it.

3. Mutantor bomb. Gives 1 mutation defect to anyone in a 100' radius. 15% chance of beneficial mutation. Emits no radiation. Modified mutantor bombs led to the current reality of mutated animals and humans running around - radiation was a side-effect of the subsequent Mutant Wars. 'Mutating radiation' typically means there's an unexploded but slow-leaking mutantor bomb nearby. (Weighs about 40lb, sizeable, bulky, but pack-mule-able.)

4. Moviedust. A tiny of powder. If a pinch is ingested, shows you the trailer, 1d6 rounds. If snorted you see the entire movie, 4d4 turns. You lie in a comatose state trembling. One hp of damage will rouse you, angrily, likely just before some interesting part of the plot. 2d4 doses.

5. Magma tube. Stone tube 3' in length, rather heavy, stoppered on one end with a hunk of metal. When removed, the tube oozes magma for 1 turn at the rate of 10' per minute.

6. Pain generator. Creates electricity based on local level of suffering and misery. Often used by slavers to power large barges of slaves who are whipped until their suffering becomes an insipid insanity. After which new sufferers are needed.

7. Floating barge. Think of Jabba the Hutt’s pleasure yacht. Slow, floats above the ground. Requires a ton of power to run. See: pain generator.

8. IndocChamber. Will kill mutants. Pure strain humans will receive some cybernetic augmentation (+1 to Str, Dex, +4 hp) and hypnotic conditioning. Will be compelled to uphold the law.
THE LAW: 1) Kill mutants. 2) Stop thieves! 3) Hang murderers. 4) Mutilate those who steal intellectual property. 5) Prevent riots, peasant uprisings, democratic systems. 6) Hunt down poachers (ie anyone who hunts at this point). NPCs obsessively act out their Law Compulsions, PCs get 500 xp for acting on them, but not if they're doing so in a really hypocritical way - ie hunting down some mutant while being aided by one in the party.

9. Repeller. Gnarled plassteel stick. Held in both hands, generates a bubble of armor energy, AC 2, AC 5 if moving. Large enough for 2 people to fit inside. If several people with Repellers are standing together the force shields are joined. Used for riot control alongside energy lances.

10. Energy Lance. Does damage as a laser pistol, can also make for a pike-like hand weapon. Long enough to stand behind someone with a repeller and poke the end out of the force field.

11. Indelible pen. Metal stylus with a very sharp point. Scratches out a thin black line onto anything, typically to a depth of 1". Does not bleed through paper somehow.

12. Kiy Novellas. Crystalline crowns which transport the wearer into an ongoing play for 1d4 hours. Depression, ennui, obsession follow. Save at +4 for 1d6 months. If you fail, the PC runs off in the night and becomes a murderous insane NPC. Play contents: 1) A woman berobed in gold, whispering to you, following you around, always over your shoulder 2) Dancers cavorting everywhere, hypnotically, while the world is frozen 3) Noble courts where all wear warped masks 4) Kaiju tentacle beast walks the world, devouring it

13. Gravity mace. Damage as a mace, targets must save or be flung back 15'.

14. Flame-retardant biological and radiation resistant Peace Observer uniform with hidden knives, contact poison hidden in indestructable ampoule in belt. Comes with a helm and a white, full-face mask which has a blank, inhuman expression. Grants advantage on rolls to resist radiation and chemical weapons, disadvantage on attack damage done by fire. Armor as leather.

15. Levitation spine. Replaces spine, Con -1 (requires a cyborger or a good automated surgical suite). Can levitate self at will if not heavily encumbered.

16. Grinder mouth. Replaces teeth, tongue, lower jaw, upper esophagus, same install requirements as levitation spine. Converts plastic, scrap metal, gasoline or hydrocarbons to nutrient paste. Works on regular food as well. You look normal if you don't smile. Loud in use. Thanks to Mutant Scavengers of the Ruined Earth's Termite Mask.

17. Last Act Pill. After ingestion, death of the eater of this pill generates a sizeable explosion: 8d8 damage to everything within 200', save for half. Undetectable except in stool samples.

18. God Botherer. Strapped to an object or person, they will be treated as a god. Reaction rolls determine if this is good or bad, but people will be scared to attack or debate with or contradict a god. If the user or object is injured, all present can save to see if they ignore the GB's effects.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Worldbuilding: Post Apocalyptic Raiders on Souped-Up Lawnmowers

I think I've seen a gif of a guy on a standing tractor, racing around. The machine was just an engine with a tiny metal platform behind it you stand on. Some wheels and some controls.

So I figured in the future the shitty raiders aren't going to have awesome rat rods - they're not going to have Nux' car. Nux had to work his way up the War Boy chain of death bullshit command to earn that car. Slit had to work his way up to be a passenger on that car. And these guys had a giant machine behind them - a V8 of logistics, trade/barter/exchange, brotherly nepotism, and some good geographical luck.

For the real scruffy, nomadic end of the raider ecology, you might see something more like this:

Drag racing a tiny tractor. I figure you stick an arrow-gun on the front of this and you're good to go. Fire them into someone else's tires and you can bring down a vehicle with things like doors, windows, a roof.

Want something less practical? There's a jet-engine go cart. The wheels are a bit smaller than the souped-up lawnmowers I've seen, so it might be a bit worse for off-roading. And it eats fuel, apparently. But it does have a certain something.

How to soup-up a lawn mower. You have to mess with something called the 'differential.' Yeah, I am ignorant regarding engines and cars and the like, generally (I drive a Corolla. I have never driven a stick-shift). First start of that build. As in the first time it was turned on and such.

Then you get into rat rods, which I just found out about today. You get something much closer to a Nux pursuit vehicle for sure. You can see something like this, which runs an engine common to 'wood chippers, combines, or in this case from a skid-steer.' So yeah, perfect scavenger vehicle.

Promising, probably more polished rat rod driving on the actual road. It does look pretty fucking scary honestly. Driving kills about 30k people a year in the USA. I love my curtain air bags. I'm very glad to no longer have my circa 1998 air bags pointing at my face. I can't imagine driving one of these on an actual road or at any speed.

Clearly I would make a shite war boy. Or nomadic wanderer.

So anyway, that was the worldbuilding hole I fell down, to see if raiders could feasibly ride around on souped-up lawnmowers. Turns out, yeah, road conditions depending. Or they could build a decent hot rod out of an engine from a wood chipper.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

He was scanning the horizon!

Scanning the horizon, you see...
Wrecked vehicle
Fallen-over skyscraper
D6+3 Raiders
Food, 40% chance radioactive
Kudzu-covered entrance to buried parking deck
Primitive wooden wall around small structure
Glowing locust storm
Just some cannibals. 50% chance they’re sated and friendly
Ongoing battle!
Copse of pines, sweating sap
Mega Ant Hive
Water supply, 40% radioactive chance
Rocky rubble
Wandering trader with armed guards
Really old gear, still useable
RAD cultist shrine, glowing water flows from an icon
D6 slugs
Crashed airplane
Omega Cat

Thick underbrush and trees. If passed through, CHA check to avoid poison ivy
Wild multidog pack

Interstate intersection
*Blood Dragon

House-sized lumps in the Urth - former neighborhood covered in mud and kudzu

Pristine house amidst still-hot rad craters


Skyscraper husk

Occupied, guarded couple of houses

Rusting billboard

Half-life water oak copse crashing about

Kudzu-shrouded rush hour traffic, permanently halted.

Ruined strip mall remains

*reroll, only encounter if you reroll the same number

Random 'driving around post-apocalyptic Atlanta.' Some of the locations are a lil bland, but I figure it's kind of like the empty rooms of a dungeon. OR you could cross out locations as you go, and just roll a d12 for that.

Inspired by Eric Nieudan's post here.

I wrote all this below in a G+ post and realized I need it here too, just 'cause otherwise you miss out on how cool Omega Cats are.

The default landscape is kind of a sweaty field, tall green grasses, some patches of asphalt. There's still trees - lots of pine, the gross redneck of the tree world. They're generally sparse enough you can drive around just fine, on a car or a lawnmower with a repurposed straight-6 engine.

Omega Cats should have 1 randomly chosen ability:
1. NegaYowl
2. Invisibility
3. Feather Fall
4. Phasing
5. CharmFace
6. Hypercut

Half-life water oaks mature and die within 15 minutes of a seed hitting wet clay. They cause havoc by spreading seeds and falling onto things. A sapling takes about a minute to form from a seed. At least we have lots of lumber.

Multidogs are probably regular dogs that can glorp together like The Thing and punch through walls and the like, but some are still semi-friendly even in hulked out form.

Blood dragons are just neon dragons. Sorry. I wanted them to be rare but possible.

As Eric pointed out, Blood Dragons should shoot beams of radiation at people. I also now recall from Far Cry: Blood Dragon that they were attracted to cyberhearts, so if you have a bag of salted cyberhearts handy, you can distract them. They're flightless. Should be about HD 9-10 in a Black Hack game. 

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.

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.