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July 8, 2012 / Wythe

Mountain Tribes

Bizarre tribal enemy idea:

There is a term for those humans who dwell in the mostly gmothi-controlled mountains of  northeast Pala—all the small plateaus and old ranges between the swamps of Arakha and the low, quan- and sahaguin-infested plains of Djenma. These humans, who have gone back to the wild in the eyes of the citydwellers, are called Tattered People. They wear horrible fungal bark masks and ad hoc shawls and tunics made of strips of flesh and shards of chitin, sewn together at random and stinking, often inhabited by entirely novel microbial and fungal colonies.

These colonies, in fact, can direct the actions of the Tattered People, leeching chemicals into the blood that influence emotion and desire (as cats, extinct in the future, may control our brains today). Sometimes driven to eat the flesh of gmothi and other sents by their microbial–fungal shawl-colonies (shawlonies), the Tattered People are feared and hated by the gmothi tribes, and viewed as “demons” by the Barbari tribes of humans who inhabit the cool lowlands beyond the northern coastal ranges.

Tattered People themselves tend to run Bloodthirsty/ADD and organize themselves into hermetically sealed clans or familial units, depending on the total number of their cohort. These clans or families fight one another more or less constantly, but seek amputation and ingestion instead of death. (When making called shots to the digit, nose, or ear, Tattered Person barbarians only suffer -2, not -4. Crits have a 1 in 4 chance of slicing off a digit/nose/ear.)

Thus, the Tattered People are frequently missing fingers, toes, ears, noses, tongues, limbs, and random patches of skin. They particularly venerate barbarian bravos who have won many battles but lost their noses: These Noseless create a music by whistling through the holes in their faces, and they never lose morale. Even seeing them calls for a Sanity check (failure means losing d6 SAN).

Typical names:

  • Tylbuk the Hungry
  • Thungba the Unsatiate
  • Tortorbaghont the Fiercely Comestibilating

Typical weapons:

  • Irradiated frogs filled with nails – launched from an ad hoc potato gun
  • Gun that shoots nails – functions as a short-range area of effect weapon, cone shaped, damage deteriorating every five feet from 3d4-3, 2d4-2, d4-1, 1
  • Wooden sword covered in horrible flesh-melting fungus
  • Huge metal spoon (?)
  • Teeth, sharpened
  • Teeth, someone else’s – worn as weaponized dentures or “superteeth” (the proper ethnological term), 1 in 4 chance of infecting someone bit by them with a horrible disease
  • Foul smell

Tattered People culture is rich in many respects, however. Their fungal liquors are considered the best in northern Pala, and their music is pleasing to many aficionados, after the initial SAN loss.

What do the Tattered People want? They worship the constant consuming re-consuming of the self, and the mutation of the mind and body. They want to embrace and enforce mutation in its most abstract. They want you…

July 7, 2012 / Wythe

Five new sexes

This post—adding five new sexes (or genders*) to your RPG campaign—is phenomenal. I love this rigorous creativity. How can we make DnD really new, truly weird, actually philosophically curious? Add some muhfuckin sexes to the world. How basic. How hilarious. How… usable.

I mean, imagine meeting one of your PCs meeting a pretty [type of being the PC is attracted to] in a grimy cantina. The pretty NPC and PC make out. The next week, the PCs are back in the grimy cantina. The NPC is pregnant… from the PC’s saliva. The NPC, a spemale, wants the PC to pay up for child support. Hilarity ensueth.

Richard’s Dystopain Pokeverse is full of these gems. Check it out.

*A note on nomenclature: The author calls these new “sexes” as opposed to “genders.” These ideas are all for novel biological child-conceiving processes, so I think, from a purely scientific perspective, it is safe to refer to them as “sexes.”

If you disagree, many apologies! I ain’t trying to start nothing. I admit: Biological spemales may be “male” or “female” from our human/cultural perspectives.

July 6, 2012 / Wythe

Atomic Robo RPG sounds pretty neat

And looks neat as well.  Check it >>

Any game that claims to feature “action-science, robots, angry talking dinosaurs, and high weirdness” is getting picked up.

This underscores the need for good d20 rules for robot and android characters…

July 5, 2012 / Wythe

Ideas for posts to develop in the future

I have been busy doing real-life shite, so fewer posts have been made. My B! On a happier and less determinate note, here are some ideas I may/may not pursue in the near future:

Fun stuff

Moon species (the new ones), converted from simple d6 stats to full d20 DnD/100my stats:

  1. Low Man [caveman] (+2 STR, -2 INT)
  2. Chitinous Man [hairless, lipless future-human] (+2 INT, -2 WIS)
  3. Ape Savant [sentient mandrill] (+2 DEX, -2 CHA)
  4. Robot [finally set free!] (+2 CON, -2 DEX) – This “species” opens up a whole can of technoworms (androids? cyborgs? bionic implants?); relates to question of converting morphs from Eclipse Phase (below)
  5. Mutant [gamma child] (+2 ANY STAT, -3 CON) – Essentially different from just making a human and rolling a bunch on the mutations table?
  6. Cactoid (spines, +2 WIS, -2 DEX) – I really want somebody to play a cactoid, if we ever do a Luna-based game
  7. “Companion” Android: (“giggle,” +2 CHA, -2 WIS)
  8. Saurid Prodigy: Pteran (wings, +2 DEX, -2 CON)
  9. Saurid Prodigy: Anklyan (club tail, +2 STR, -2 DEX)
  10. Saurid Prodigy: Stegan (spike fins, +2 STR, -2 INT)
  11. Saurid Prodigy: Raptan (maw/claws, +2 DEX, -2 INT)

Moon [prestige?] classes (the new ones), converted from d6 to d20 stats:

  1. Capataz [policeman, merchant] (+2 DEX, -2 WIS)
  2. Houri [whore, dancer] (+2 CHA, -2 STR)
  3. Naturalist [doctor, shaman] (+2 INT, -2 DEX)
  4. Psy-Freak [experiment, orphan] (+2 WIS, -2 CON)
  5. Flyboy [speeder pilot, deathracer] (+2 DEX, -3 ANY STAT) – movement x3
  6. Slaver [villain, minder] (+2 WIS, -2 CHA) – gain d30 Goons (1 every stat)
  7. Mechanic [engineer, whizkid] (+2 INT, -2 CHA) – crafting/fixing x3
  8. Ranchero  [herder of lunattle {lunar cattle}, family man] (+2 WIS, -2 INT) – money x3
  9. “Chef”  [gourmand… of death! short order… ninja!] (+2 CHA, -2 CON) – gain Poisons and Disguises in abundance
  10. Eques  [knight, goodguy] (+2 STR, -2 WIS) – gain Archaetech Vibrolance and Hoverhorse

Mech fights in DnD!?!?!? / Stats for mechs and other large vessels:

  1. LAMMASSU – Stats for this class of mech may actually come up in-game, very soon, so…
  4. Bumblebee
  5. Pincer

Conversions from other games I like:

  1. Legal sitch – Is it legal to post random d20 conversions for games whose wonderful contents I had no part in creating? Perhaps with clear caveats?
  2. Hollow Point – This game was so fun to read, so… blah to play. The creation of 5 one-time-use quirks works wonderfully, and the tone of the game feels right. But the stats are irritatingly vague once combat begins, so combat drags, compared to DnD (or White Wolf, or d6 RPGs, or… any successful RPG). Still, there has to be a way to borrow some of the fun 5-bad-ass-stats tone of HP for other systems. The new-each-game quirks (lucky bullet, obsession with someone, favorite food) are an easy place to begin.
  3. Eclipse Phase conversions:
    1. Morphs – Many elements of EP impress me. The art is monumental, Lovecraftian, paranoia-inducing. The writing is clear and confident; the creators obviously have a wonderful sense of their game world. But nothing beats the different biological, pod-grown, synthetic, and information-only “morphs,” the equivalents of races/species in other RPGs. The coolest may be the slitheroid, a freaking skull-headed metal snake. The sample slitheroid-morph character in the EP rulebook has an 8-ball painted on his head. #BadAss.
    2. Factions, motivation, rep, moxy, and rez in DnD – These rules systems within EP all feel modular and portable into other games. I particularly think moxy (similar to grit or FATE points gained from aspects) in DnD.
    3. Exsurgent fauna (nanoswarms and more!) – These are easy enough to convert. One element of EP I love is that the exsurgent virus is neither purely biological nor digital; all matter and energy (anything that can be represented as information) can be infected… I love this nuance; it makes the exsurgent virus close to the vague notion of “psi” in sci-RPGs, but more threatening—recalling at once both the “gray goo” nano-apocalypse scenario and the mystical early excitement of quantum physics (the world is not marble; the world is chaos; matter–energy, particle–wave, void–field…).
    4. Aaaaand here’s a d6 conversion for Eclipse Phase, awesome!
  4. Apocalypse World class conversions – Someone has almost certainly already done this on the labyrinthine AW forums… if only I could find the relevant thread.
    1. Experience in Apocalypse World – No gamer I’ve spoken with thinks encouraging PCs to have sex with one another is a good idea—not because sex isn’t great; it is!—but because players want sex, while player characters want secret powers, weapons, prestige, gold, armies, etc. This isn’t an attempt to reduce the great game to Monopoly, just an observation from years of GMing. That all said, the fundamental shift in AW is away from “experience = amount of badness killed” to “experience = amount you understand about yourself, via interacting with others [mainly other PCs].” Which is aaaaawesome.

100 M. Y. development

  1. 100 M. Y. character sheet
  2. Sample characters for each 100 M. Y. species and class
July 4, 2012 / Wythe

In honor of the Fourth… an American adventure

Time travel back to the Founding Fathers days: The PCs gotta help Thomas Paine, who asks to be called T-Pain, free four slaves owned by President Thomas Jefferson, who everyone calls T-Jax, who is secretly a steam-powered/partly wooden cyborg with the powers of magnetism, who is on vacation back at Monticello for a minute.

T-Pain has the negative trait: Talks angrily about freedom nonstop, even if in hiding. T-Jax has a pair of stonepunk mecha-owls called Coriolanus and Flavius. Also: Tobaccorks (botanical orcs bioengineered using horticulture… and evil magic). T-Pain has a shotgun that shoots irradiated red, white, and blue Freedom Chunks stolen from Ben Franklin.

The four slaves, John, August, Grant, and Robert, are friends of T-Pain from back in the dizzle. They are skilled with farm tools; Robert is also a cardshark; Grant can hack into steampunk robots. They are currently in the “brig” (torture wing) of Monticellar (the underground/evil/living part of Monticello).

T-Jax’s daughters, Utopia and She-Who-Walks-Farthest (both of whom are suspiciously caramel-toned) are back from boarding school in France just in time to help the PCs navigate their way around their Papa’s underground mansion… but one of them is a double agent for a Jeffersonian éminence grise who seeks to supplant T-Jax as Shadow Emperor of Early Capital, or whatever.

Maybe Monticellar shoots into space as the PCs wend through its depths, trying to find a way out before Flavius eats one of their eyes…?


July 3, 2012 / Wythe

Game: Win Condition

P.D. sent me this awesome old school game, “Win Condition,” on Glorious Trainwrecks:


arrow keys to move
z to swing sword
x to shoot arrows


Something about the old Zelda games continually begs for DnD-ization: Save the princess. Defeat the vaguely demonic bad dude. In between, explore the bizarchitecture, picking up weird (and mostly kind of lame) magic items.

Has anyone made a Carcosan Zelda clone?

July 2, 2012 / Wythe

North Pala map: hexplained!

Okay, so months ago, I posted this map of the northeast corner of Pala, called Djenma—a wildland at the edge of the edge, the limit of Fjatal, and thus of all of Pala. Beyond: Sharkman-filled seas. Before: The vastnesses of Fjatal, land of the gmothi and the human barbari—lawless peoples, jerks, and loud-talkers. In this post, I will elaborate somewhat on the area. COMMENCE FUTURE-POLITICKIN’—

Hjalax – Gmothi badlands. Densely inhabited (compared to other gmothi tribelands) and relatively fertile (by grim gmothi standards), Hjalax (“HYA-lax”) is off-limits to non-gmothi, though this doesn’t prevent intrepid Vennari and Arakhan traders from trying to cross the northern beaches, or begging for protection from the sahaguin when those shark-men emerge from the waters at night. The gmothi are judicious in their granting of favors, especially those martial in nature… Huge, shovel-headed saurians walk the beaches, scooping up sand and the crabs that make their home there. Giant albino crabs occasionally wash up onto the beaches in large cohorts, as do chuul (lobstrosities). The gmothi eat these foes, when possible.

The Floor of Ulshun – These bogs are filled with small, wild tribes of barbari humans, orphaned gmothi, and anti-Arakhan varanids and scincids. Travelers here are frequently harried by small cadres of highwaymen. These sociopaths have spent so long in the swamp, avoiding the gmothi tribes to the north and east, that they have no real ethic beyond survival. Many of the varanids and scincids are descendants of heroes from the Second Unhuman War who were stranded here, lost and harassed by the barbari, when the humans and imperial Arakhans retreated west, just before Vennar signed a ceasefire with the Federation. The bogs themselves are beautiful, featuring some of the largest trees left on Pala. Ceratopsians and hadrosaurids are common here, as are huge spiders, some of whom have learned to manipulate simple human technologies, such as levers (such as gun triggers).

Djenma proper: Kingdom of the Spikers – Led by Zhale the Traitor (his name is false, simply implying “of Zhalay”), the Spikers are a group of powerful, independent-minded warriors who defected from the elite Zhalavane Heresiarchal Guard (ZHG) in order to set up an agrarian–piratocratic new state in the foothills of the Ulshun Alpines. The Spikers gave up on the dream of a unified human Djenma after Dralah’s defeat of Zhalay and the acquisition of much of eastern Djenma by the shark-men. In their own land, the paranoid Spikers are the absolute law. They ride restored motobikes across the wastes, frequently fighting gmothi tribes who feel the Spikers are usurping their land. The entire Spiker population is maybe 30,000 humans, ha’-quan, and varanids, of whom only maybe 6000 are able to fight on short notice.

Djenma proper: Zhalay – Population 77,000, Zhalay (not pictured, because it moves) is the “capital” of and only real city in Djenma. It is usually found between the Kingdom of the Spikers and Center Djen. Ruled by a heresiarchy of 20 or so ancient creeps who worship Zhzhangh (the primal pissing-into-the-desert-at-night Old One), Zhalay drifts from waste-plain to waste-plain on the back of a huge copper frisbee with tremendous tank treads, crushing everything underneath, sucking up water and minerals for fuel, further scarifying the land. All Zhalavanes (the people of Zhalay) hate the ha’-quan Technarks, but many hold a soft spot for the rebel Spikers. (More on Zhalavane names.)

Djenma proper: Technarky of the Ha’-Quan – Can humans and quan mate? Apparently, some cohorts can. Mostly, they choose not to. In this weird corner of Pala, however, the quan have been aggressively breeding with humans, trying to get back upwet (on land). The Technarky is a scheme by the insane leaders of Zhalay to defeat Dralah: Fifty years ago, they turned the quan toward the notion of a ha’-quan state, one amenable both to the quan (in search of former glory) and humans (in search of an appreciation of the sea, and of an alliance against the sahaguin). Now the Technarks, thanks to the discovery of a pod machine (meaning pod-human manufacturing machine), have rapidly populated the west of Djenma with ha’-quan, all of whom are amenable to the idea of a state there, against Dralah. The Zhalavane plan, however, is seen as a failure by its architects, as the ha’-quan are rapidly outnumbering the human ambassadors in their lands; they could one day even switch allegiance and help Dralah unite Djenma in a reign of enduring terror…

Djenma proper: Center Djen – Still inhabited mostly by gmothi tribes who fight both Dralah and the “orthodox” Djenmans (the Zhalavanes and their various mercenaries, including some corrupt gmothi tribes), Center Djen is a warzone, littered with landmines and nanoswarm devourer traps… Few “live” here except those gmothi who have claimed it for (in their words) millions of years. The Zhalavanes have already mined it free of heavy metals and carbon and drained the aquifer. Dralah has already had most of the remaining humans loyal to Zhalay nerve-gassed or irradiated. Thus Center Djen is home to many hungry, lonely mutants…

Dralah’s Kingdom – Seventy-five years ago, in the wake of the Second Unhuman War—which had reached even the distant gmothi tribes and the horrible archaecity of Zhalay—one heresiarch (already a famous embezzler, arms dealer, and rapist) and his family rebelled and stole most of the great Weapons of Terror from Zhalay, retreating toward Sussaru. Dralah ruled for several decades before passing, in his last breaths, the “Rogue’s Throne” to his son, who adopted his father’s name. The current Dralah is a pale, long-haired technobarbarian bent on “unifying” Djenma by wiping out the gmothi and quan, recapturing the Satrapies from the sahaguin, and executing the heresiarchs of Zhalay. Rumors:

  1. Dralah has made a deal with the Federation
  2. Dralah has made a deal with the Fang Monks of Sussaru
  3. Dralah has a terrible new weapon that allows him to mass-mind control sents
  4. Dralah has a terribly old weapon that will “burn the sea” for hundreds of miles out if activated, vaporizing thousands of sahaguin, quan, chuul, and other aquatic sents and demi-sents (and a much smaller number of ammon)

Sussaru-the-Ancient – Ruled by the Fang Monks… Utterly cut off from the rest of Pala…

Sahaguin Satrapies – Yes, the shark-men here seem to be learning, to be developing what could be mistaken for dry territorial or even political ambitions… The Satrapies are each inhabited by ex-Zhalavane humans (Djenmans, they call themselves) who are left alone by their shark-man masters so long as they do not fight. At night, the sahaguin come farther and farther into Djenman, hunting toward Zhalay, toward the easternmost Spiker encampments, toward unsuspecting gmothi tent-cities (always under watch by the wayfarers, of course). The Satraps are reportedly amphibious, intelligent mutant sahaguin who have trained their beastly cousins to wear primitive, temporary rebreathers fashioned from water-tight algae-skin sacks and primitive mollusc-powered pumps. The Zhalavanes would pay anything to reclaim the west from the sharks—to destroy not only the Satraps, but their shadowy masters back in Sahaguinta, down deep off the continental shelf…