Monday, December 23, 2019

Secret Santicorn 2019: The Shellcraze

So every December, the OSR Discord runs a Secret Santa where we all throw in our names, a quick prompt, and get someone's prompt to fulfill. This was my first Secret Santicorn, and I hope I've delivered! ambnz's response to my prompt was fantastic, and can be found here: Skyscraper Mimics

semiurge requested the following: The latest fashion craze (refer to: tulip mania, ostrich feather boom) has made an unusual and inconvenient-to-get commodity into a valuable treasure (while it lasts). What is the commodity? What are the lengths people must go to get it? Who stands to lose the most when the market crashes? And so on and so on"

I'm setting this in the Meatropolis because it could always use more development! And it seems to be compelling enough that others won't mind.

The hatcheries of Ogoath's many wombs bear bitter, mutant fruit. Turtletomas, stillborn or soon-to-die, shatter their eggsacs and plummet into the benighted abyss of stars. Some are plain, pallid, twisted things. Others have shells that shine like gems: brilliant, cold, vibrant, twinkling. It is the latter that now possess the attentions of the idle nutrient-rich of the Meatropolis's fleshcrafter houses. This season's fashion trend is turtletoma gem-shell, and it adorns every eligible heir's clothes to a dazzling degree.

Gem-shell is worn in jewelry, or as charms, or bracers, or studded into flesh. Cloaks are woven out of thinly pounded castoff dust; the odd fully-intact shell forms a pauldron or even is worn alone. A minor heir may have teeth replaced with shell, or fake eyes, or horns. A fleshcraft liege these days goes nowhere without a full assortment of shell trinkets like stained glass, in their house's ancestral colors. They jingle as they walk. The louder the better, so as to alert the masses that their better approaches.

Living turtletomas grow scarce these days. The shellcraze has driven hundreds of enterprising adventurers to the hatcheries, and Ogoath's corpse can no longer bear young. While millions of eggs in every stage of development form great walls of eggsac, adventurers are tenacious and endlessly inventive. They crack the shells by the dozen, extracting the stillborn fetal turtletomas and checking their shells for rare patterns. Most are discarded; perhaps 1 in a hundred is worth bringing to market. The few that resist are made short work of, like clubbing seal pups in aeons past.

There were people in the hatcheries long before the shellcraze. Turtle-breeders and turtle-riders in villages of eggshell, caring for the few hatchlings they found and nursing them to health. Some have decided to capitalize on the new trend, flash-growing and mutating strains into ever-brighter patterns - even custom-growing them to nobles' specifications. Of course, this has led to a cottage industry of stealing and sabotaging each others' designer turtletomas, and adventurers are always looking for more work. This has started to destabilize the strains, however, and many have made this their entire business. When the shellcraze ends, they'll be ruined. And the rampant experimentation with mutations and new patterns is hard to control - new, dangerous mutations aren't uncommon with such quick work.

1. Bladed; while plain it's sharp around the edges to the point where you could use it as a combat discus.
2. Bloodsoaked. The stains won't come out. It keeps leaking, as the marrow inside continues to pump even after death.
3. Fractal pattern (d4 for which: 1. mandelbrot, 2. julia, 3. sierpinski triangles, 4. koch snowflake)
4. Furred, the turtletoma's shell mutated to be covered in a layer of incredibly soft hair.
5. Gridded (flip a coin for whether it's hex or square)
6. Jagged and broken, a confusing dissonance of bright clashing colors
7. Map of the Old World
8. Metallic sheen (d6 for metal: 1. gold, 2. silver, 3. copper, 4. platinum, 5. mirrored, 6. cobalt); while it's not actually metal, it happens to be magnetic
9. Pareidolium; the features on the shell resolve into a snarling mortal face - it may look like someone important...
10. Piped, like an organ. When wind passes through, it produces dissonant tones.
11. Rocky and speckled like granite.
12. Single gem, to be cut and polished (d8 for which: 1. diamond, 2. ruby, 3. emerald, 4. sapphire, 5. topaz, 6. opal, 7. smoky quartz, 8. amethyst)
13. Snakeskin
14. Solid matte color
15. Spotted with polka-dots like a ladybug's carapace
16. Stained-glass mural depicting an event from the turtle's genetic memory
17. Starry, a void filled with a swirl of shining pinpricks that gleam with an inner light
18. Striped between d6 colors
19. Unadorned bone. Sometimes simplicity is elegance.
20. Words and letters cover the shell in a bizarre script. Translated, it may carry secrets, or hidden magics.

The shellcraze has given rise to other nascent trends. Shellomancy, divining someone's future from the shells they wear and how they catch the light of a burning turtlefat candle, casting undulating shadows on the wall. Counterfeit shells, fleshcrafted from whatever spare bone lies around, and a variety of "professionals" who purport to tell the different between the fakes and the real thing (often, they run a thriving counterfeit shop on the side). Defrauding the nutrient-rich has always been a favorite pastime of the Meatropolis, and every new fashion is merely a new coat of paint for every old scam.

Everything ends. The shellcraze is no exception, as greater terrors rise. The hatcheries are an ecosystem, even in death. The half-formed spirits of the millions dead animate swarms of corpses into hurricanes of cheap shell and turtleflesh. Hydratomas break free of deeper eggs, seeking the newly-liberated food with their under-developed clusters of eyes and snapping beaks-within-beaks. Scores of adventurers plummet to their deaths before the day's harvest is done, and soon only the luckiest and most well-prepared survive. Shell spirals in rarity to the point where even the rich dare not bother with it - they've moved on to artisanal custom-grown masses of grey matter.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Wizards Die Messily

Wizards aren't stable. I think this post speaks for itself pretty well; magical catastrophes are a staple of the arcane arts and there's so many different ways for things to go wrong that are more interesting than "rocks fall, everyone dies". Not all the explosion effects kill - but all of them will do something nasty.

Reasons a Wizard (or Warlock, or Sorcerer, or Witch, etc) Might Explode
1. Angered the gods
2. Ascended to the astral plane
3. Ate something funny
4. Bred two spells together that hate each other
5. Captured a spell that overwhelmed their brain
6. Cast a Wish spell and fucked up
7. Died with too many spells in their brain
8. Failed a save (pick a save, any save)
9. Lost a wizard duel
10. Orgasmed
11. Patron wants to punish them
12. Purposely triggered it just to see what happens
13. Read the spellbook backwards
14. Research gone horribly wrong
15. Ritual components were wrong
16. Rolled quadruples on casting a spell
17. Someone walked up behind them and shouted "Boo!"
18. Spell mutated too many times
19. Tried to channel too much power
20. Tried to finagle the laws of magic

d66 Ways a Wizard Explodes
11. Angelic Ascension. The wizard shines with inner divine light and ascends to become a terrifying angelic figure, growing more eyes and wings out of every pore. Save or fall to your knees singing hymns; everyone who witnesses the event is now part of a religion whether they like it or not. They'll be held to the same demands and standards as everyone else who follows that deity.
12. Birdsplosion. Everything that isn't animate for d10*10' around the wizard turns into a bird and flocks to attack people in the area (thanks, Hitchcock!). The swarm as a whole has like 5 HD, takes up a [radius] area, and gets to attack everyone in the radius once each turn. It can fly around at the speed of birds.
13. Bismuth. The wizard crystallizes and metastasizes. Oily rectangular rainbows of sharpened bismuth cut through the air itself, rooting themselves into the ground and everyone within d10*10'. 2d6 piercing damage (save for half) and pinned to the spot. Removing the bismuth that's pierced through you is going to be a challenge.
14. Bloodsplosion. Everyone within d10*10' is soaked in scalding blood (d6 fire damage, no save) as the wizard is violently exsanguinated. Anything bloodborne is contracted (no save). The wizard instantly drops to as near-death as the system you're using allows. Everything's soaked through in blood, destroying all papers and writing. You can't get the blood out of any items affected, no matter how hard you try.
15. Bone Rebellion. The skeleton war has come and you're ground zero. d20 of each bone-haver within d10*100's bones squirm their way out of their body and assemble into a great bone golem with 1 HD for each person exboneguinated. It wants the rest of your bones, and gains another hit die for every human-sized person it kills and exboneguinates. Can cast Debone once per round.
16. Cancer. The wizard's flesh boils and ruptures, reduplicating explosively to encompass a d10*100' sphere. Save to run. If you fail, you are engulfed in pulsing flesh that crushes inwards for d6 bludgeoning damage each round until someone can free you. The wizard takes 1 Stress every time their new horrible flesh is cut at, though they lose no hit points. They can try to control it by making Charisma tests, though if they fail it will act against their wishes.

21. Chain Detonation. Everything within d10*10' explodes in shrapnel, taking 3d6 damage. Everything destroyed this way deals 2d6 damage to everything within the same radius of it. Continue, decreasing the number of d6 each time until you run out of d6s.
22. Clonesplosion. Everyone within d10*10' is cloned d3 times. Each clone is d6. (1. evil, 2. more good than the PC, 3. different race, 4. different class, 5. different appearance, 6. roll twice).
23. Compulsive Murder. For everyone within d10*100' for d20 days, to gain the benefits of a rest you must murder someone.
24. Dataclysm. All information within d10*100' is wiped. Lose all backstory, name, XP, and return to level 1. You no longer know why you are here or what you are doing or who your allies are. All books and other methods of information storage are wiped as well.
25. Dinosaur. Summon a tyrannosaurus rex from 65 million years ago. You have saved it from certain death; it responds with the only thing it knows - hunger. It's basically a walking, feathery, dragon, so stat it up as such. It will eat, cronch, and swallow you whole. Armor is no match for a mouthful of six-inch enamel knives. The unfortunate wizard begins in its jaws.
26. Ennui. Everyone within d10*100' feels an inescapable wave of existential "why bother"? Charisma save to take additional actions past the first one - this applies to rounds, exploration turns, hexcrawling, etc. Wears off when you succeed your third Charisma save this way.

31. Escher Explosion. Each opening within a d10*1000' radius now leads to a different, random opening within the space (can be outside the radius). This includes pouches, but not orifices. If two openings have a size difference, anything passing through is rescaled accordingly.
32. Everyone Reincarnates. Make new level 1 characters. Randomly roll for everything; don't get equipment. They wake up in the bloody shreds of each previous character.
33. Everyone's a Wizard Now. The wizard collapses into a pile of robes and teeth. Everyone in the vicinity now has a chunk of the wizard's magical power and a corresponding little copy of the wizard's mind in their head. It'll chime in with bad advice, but you have 1 MD and can cast one spell the wizard used to know.
34. Flesh-Eating Bacteria. Everyone within d10*10' contracts a bad case of incredibly contagious and virulent flesh-eating bacteria on a random area of their body. Save each round or take d6 necrotic damage. It ends once the bacteria are removed or you succeed three times. Anyone you touch contracts it too (no save).
35. Fountain of Youth. The wizard transmutes into a well of antitemporal thaumatic energy, reversing the age of everything within d10*10' by d20 years. Things reduced to 0 or fewer years of age undisintegrate, never having existed. Touching the well after the initial burst of energy ages you by d20-10 years the first time (so +/- 10 years); each additional time roll an additional d20 and subtract an additional 10. The well lasts for years equal to the wizard's age at time of explosion.
36. Fusion. Everything within d10*10' must save or be fused into a horrifying monstrosity. The wizard doesn't get a save. Each round, everyone in the monstrosity gets to collectively vote either democracy or anarchy.  If democracy wins, a plurality of minds get to choose what they do, and if there is no plurality then nothing happens. If anarchy wins, everyone must come to a unanimous consensus within 1 minute or the turn is allocated randomly to one mind of the monstrosity.

41. God Says No. The effect that caused the explosion stops. The wizard stops. Everyone within d10*100' stops. A voice informs you, loudly and politely, that what you've done is not allowed. Time is rewound to before you considered doing such a thing, and that effect is no longer possible.
42. Gun. The wizard is transmuted into a random legendary gun (see Vault Hunter rules here) and becomes its onboard machine-spirit. It must kill something every day to remain intelligent.
43. Lightning! A massive lightning strike obliterates the wizard (4d6 lightning damage, no save) and scars everyone nearby (2d6 lightning damage within d10*10', save for half). Metal objects are charged with static electricity and remain so for the next 24 hours, attracting or repelling other metal objects (50% chance of each) as well as discharging when touched with bare skin (1 lightning damage).
44. Magic Dead Zone. d10*100' radius sphere becomes an anti-magic zone. Magical creatures, items, and effects persist for 10 minutes in the zone before disintegrating.
45. Mindbomb. Everyone randomly passes their character sheet to another character (including NPCs, hirelings, monsters, etc).
46. Miniature Sun. For 10 minutes, the wizard shines with the light of a sun. This magically leaves the wizard unharmed, but melts everything on their body. This also blinds permanently and deals 4d6 radiation damage to everyone within 10', blinds save ends and deals 3d6 damage within 100', and save vs. blinding (save ends) and deals 2d6 damage within 1000'.

51. Mutations! Everyone within d10*100' rolls d100s on the mutation table until they roll a positive mutation (they get all the mutations they roll).
52. Paintbomb. Roll 8 times on the Esoteric Colors table. Each cardinal direction is soaked in one of those colors for a d10*10' long cone. The wizard is coated in all 8.
53. Seeking Spores. The wizard's body sprouts with fungus that reaches for everyone within d10*100'. The spores are paralytic (save negates) and will grow rapidly once they encounter biomass. This weighs you down by 1 inventory slot, doubling every round until you're immobilized. Then you start taking damage as they crush you (d6 bludgeoning per round). The spores can be neutralized with fire, water, acid, etc - but there's lots of them, and growing fungi will release more spores.
54. Spellified. As a 4-die Spellify, applied to everyone within d10*100' of the wizard (they end up in the wizard's brain). They can interact in the wizard's mindscape (see Cavegirl's Astral Projection rules for how this might look).
55. Tear Open a Portal in Time. A d10*10' radius circle below the wizard becomes a portal in time to a random prehistoric era and everyone in the circle falls through. It lasts for 1 hour.
56. Teleport. Find the nearest thing that passes for a map in your campaign; whether it's the dungeon map, city map, region hex-map, world map... or sketch something quick. Then, throw a dart at it (drop a pencil if you don't have darts on hand). Everyone in the party teleports there.

61. There's a Crater Here Now! It's d10*1000' in radius. Good job. Everyone gets shunted to the outside and saves vs. being pulped by the air friction.
62. Transmuted into X. The wizard and everyone within d10*10' must save or become a random substance. Roll on the periodic table of elements, or a substance table of choice (see Mimics and Miscreants' spells section for mine). Dispel magic effects can return transmuted characters to their flesh-and-blood state.
63. Tunguska Event. Everything in a d10*1000' radius falls inwards. Save to remain standing. Stuff will fall on the characters; more saves as appropriate. The wizard, at the nexus of this shockwave, implodes for 6d6 bludgeoning damage (save for half).
64. Turn To Moon. Save vs. blindness as the wizard turns into a great orb of marble and ascends to the heavens. This absolutely obliterates anything in its path. You may save to jump off the new moon; if you succeed, roll a d10 to figure out how many d6s of falling damage you take. If you fail, you have about a minute of oxygen in your lungs. Make it count.
65. Uncontrollable Cackling. Everyone within d10*100' starts laughing uncontrollably. Save vs. suffocation, then unconsciousness, then 1d6 bludgeoning damage per round as your skeleton starts to shake apart with the force of your mirth. Passing a save ceases the cackling.
66. Vacuum. A d10*100' radius sphere around the wizard becomes airless for 10 minutes. Even the air in your lungs disappears. Every action in the bubble, without air, also requires a save vs. unconsciousness. You can survive 3 minutes without air in your lungs before irreversible brain damage. Good luck.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Far Traveler

The Traveler is probably the class I'd like to run a mono-class game of the most, with something like a d100 list of locations and a caravan-based plot. Such is their design that they're very modular; they could work for practically any genre or setting - merely replace the Been There table with planets for a sci-fi game, or nations, or just other biomes familiar and strange.

by Daarken

Level 1: Been There, Done That
Level 2: +1 Done That, We've Met (2 Contact Dice)
Level 3: +1 Done That, +1 Contact Die
Level 4: +1 Done that, +1 Contact Die

Hit Die: d6
Starting Equipment: Sturdy warm cloak, heavy boots, random melee weapon, leather gambeson, leather greaves, set of dice or cards, telescope, annotated map of surrounding lands and logbook
Skills (d20, roll twice): 
1. Animal Handling
2. Astrology
3. Banditry
4. Begging
5. Butchery
6. Cartography
7. Foraging
8. Fortune Telling
9. Herbology
10. Holding Liquor
11. Hunting
12. Languages
13. Medicine
14. Merchantry
15. Pilgrimage
16. Riding
17. Sailing
18. Surviving Improbably
19. Tinkering
20. Use Rope

Been There: Roll three times on the following table for exotic locations you've traveled through. If you roll a duplicate, instead pick from the results above and below it (or just roll until you get a unique result). Each comes with a corresponding perk. When in similar locations, or the locations themselves, you have advantage on wayfinding/navigation, know the dangers of the region and their tell-tale omens, and double your party's travel speed.

These locations are specific to the Meatropolis and the Turtle-Corpse. Make new ones or rename these ones to flavor your setting. Or don't, and just assume there's a gigantic meat wasteland somewhere out there (that might be more fun, tbh).

1. The Meatropolis. The last city in a world gone rotten, pretending it's somehow immune from the pervasive rot and decay. They haven't seen the Turtle like you have. They think they're safe in their bone-spires, protected from parasites and disease by their reliance on blood-iron. They talk a big game, but they're soft like unworked muscle. You never settled down there; you brought trophies from the rest of the Turtle and feasted for weeks on the resulting riches, then left drained and bare-footed once the spoils ran dry.

You have a debt of d10*d10*d10gp (or indentured servitude until you complete a task to recover something worth same), and begin at level 2. You cannot level up until you've paid off your debt.

2. Cyclopean Shell-Ruins. Vast halls carved for people twice as tall as you, now frosted over from exposure, condensation, and neglect. The howls of fleshcrafted creatures too stubborn to die (and giants snoring in their stored slumber, awaiting a war for their awakening) still resound across its barren shellscape. You still remember the stars twinkling their baleful songs high above, and the comforting loneliness of the jagged ice.

You can map spaces with echolocation. Reveals room shapes and hollow walls. Makes a high-pitched keening audible anywhere within the mapped range.

3. Arterial Lattices. The Turtle's disparate organs are stitched together by arteries and veins, each as thick around as the greatest towers of the old world. While the blood clots and drips away at Ogoath's extremities, auxiliary hearts continue their frenzied pumping - for now. You crewed a subsanguine, ferrying passengers and cargoes from organ to organ and port to port, dodging blood cells playing sentry, cancerkrakens, parasite bloodworms, and - of course - vampirates.

You can identify things by tasting their blood. Pick one of the following to learn when you do (can't get more than one kind of info per creature):
- Time since blood separated from owner
- You can recognize the owner by smell
- Types of recent stressors, afflictions, substances in the owner's blood

4. Fungal Forests. At the skin and scales and fins of the turtle, the rot has set in deep. Spores from the farthest stars have taken root, growing mycological ecosystems and spreading their roots far. They've become a hunting ground for their own mutant food chains, all ultimately scavenging the rancid yet omnipresent meat of Ogoath. Gasbags floating on toxic fumes, sinuous insects twisting their way through tall stalk-forests, rains of glimmering spores whose appearance belies their danger - it's a realm of plenty, and power, and beauty, and if you make even one wrong move you could get eaten by the very ground you walk on. You harvested exotic spores and sap and carapaces from the deadly alien ecosystem, touching the ground little more than once a week, rappeling between trees and hunting in the choked vertical maze of decay.

You can scale surfaces at your walking speed, and can catch yourself midway when you fall within arm's reach of a surface (roll a d6 to see how far you fall before catching yourself, 6 is near the top, 1 is near the bottom). You still take falling damage.

5. Incubator Fields. They boil with eggs, birthing and metastasizing and hatching. Orphaned turtletomas (as the mutant hatchlings are affectionately termed) flock in hunting packs through withered egg-tubes. They're good eating, and even better trained as pack-beasts, mounts, or pets. Your travels brought you here, to the lands where all disputes are settled with custom-bred turtles, and cities are hacked into the side of giant eggshells.

You have a pet turtletoma. It's the size and personality of a round, slow german shepherd and has d6 each of eyes, heads, tails, shells, and legs, as well as a random positive mutation. Whenever you level up, it gains a new positive or mixed mutation and a new hit die (d6).

6. Starfolk Refuges. In sheer metal, woven and forged, dotting Ogoath's underbelly, lie the Refuges. Generation ships from worlds that ended long ago, seeking a new world undying. They failed in their quest, but bring strange devices and creations to the Turtle which may someday prove its salvation - or its final doom. You learned some ship of starfolk's tricks, and lived among them for a time, swathed in iron, breathing through a mask.

You speak a star-language. You have whatever new organs are needed to speak it - mandibles, internal gizzards, hooting membranes... The star-languages are spoken by certain starfolk, and carry the force of the dominions of stars with them. No lies can be spoken in star-language, and creatures from the stars will respond to it instinctively (if not necessarily positively).

7. Gigaparasite Corpse. The whalefall (turtlefall?) of Ogoath's death brought forth the vast gigapredators and scavengers between the stars. They gorged themselves and burrowed deep; some remain chewing through the bounty, others were brought down by heroic (Pyrrhic) effort when they encroached on people's homes. The corpses themselves often became shantytowns, where undesirables were sent to hack apart the star-hardened carapace and convert it into weapons. You traveled through a corpse the size of a nation, where the abundance of weapons and scarcity of meat pushed many to war and many more to eat the inedible.

You can prepare and eat the rotting dead. Your immune system will tolerate 1 ration's worth of rotting, awful, impossibly decayed meat a day.

8. Liveria. Where everything ends up, eventually. A mass of the purified dead, walking again as even entropy is purged from their flayed bones. Toxins and bile drip from the liver, to maintain fabled utopias of salt-crystal spires atop the gorged organ. The livches trade blessings for baubles, trinkets, mementos of the world outside, unable to leave the source of their immortality. Bring rot, and treasure, and you will leave rich in purified flesh.

Owed a favor by a livch. The favor comes in the form of a glob of stem cells in your liver. When you need them most, they will become what you need, and the livch's debt will be paid.

9. Alveol Tradewinds. Winds and weather systems gust furiously through the cavernous gaps between organs. Skyriders fly skin-gliders on the currents, leading charges through bloody thunderstorms against their fellows over petty grievances. The shrieking winds drive one to ever-greater feats of strength and madness, creating and destroying heroes every day, abraded like children's toys. Elementals spark to life in the bitter-cold sky, tearing themselves from winds and flesh into necromantic ravagers that know only hate. You flew the horror-skies with wild abandon, for fun or glory or repentance. While your time there has ended, the winds still howl in your nightmares.

You can pick out specific sounds from the background noise no matter how loud or quiet an area is. You cannot be ambushed by anything that can make noise.

10. Cemetery Brain. Ogoath's mind was always impenetrable, both in content and in location, until it died and began to rot. Instead of fungal blooms or parasite infestations, it serenely crumbles away, eroded by the stellar winds and the footsteps of plunderers. Ghosts of memories flit between barely-active neurons, and qualia jump into the minds of other mortals, desperate to be experienced once more. In life, Ogoath learned secrets of the stars and the worlds and deep time; secrets that still call to travelers and adventurers from across its corpse. You sought knowledge, tightly bound your skin with rags and bandages to protect from the scouring thoughts and burning winds, and came out alive - perhaps wiser, perhaps more knowledgeable, perhaps less you than you went in.

You know what it is like to be the Turtle. Your spine is its spine, your mouth its beak, your hands its fins. Your mind knows the scale of aeons and the rumblings of continents upon your shell. When the world comes knocking, you can muster the strength of a world to resist its imposition upon your splendor. Retreat into your mind-shell and become unresponsive for a day, to resist any mental effect.

11. Fleshplains. Muscle fibers from here to the horizon, twitching with the last electrochemical rivers of neural input. The ground trembles, but still you run, for there's still a week's travel between here and the next bolthole. If you aren't there, then, you'll be crushed as the muscle folds in on itself. Life on the fleshplains is an unending race against time, hiding from the landscape itself contorting in death throes. You are stillness where the world is convulsion, you have learned to read the faintest quivers in expression and the tremors in the ground to stay on your feet both literally and metaphorically.

You can't fall down or be knocked over when on a flat surface. You can read hidden meanings and emotions in microexpressions.

12. The Blood Sea. The Cyclopean Empire sliced the top off the heart in their final turtle-shaping project, and revealed an ocean of blood as vast and as deep as a world. You plied its seething, bubbling currents, visiting ports around the sea and islands of clotsam that float atop its surface. All manner of dangers and defenses lurk below the opaque surface, but you've come to an uneasy detente with them - enough standoffs and near-misses has accustomed them to your presence.

Creatures borne of the Turtle will not attack you if you personally don't provoke them first.

Done That: Your journeys have changed you and given you power. Whether it's techniques other travelers have taught you, ways the environment has twisted you, or tricks you picked up along the way, these have kept you alive - and will continue to do so, Turtle willing.

1. Positive mutation
2. Supernatural mutation
3. Mixed mutation
4. Cosmetic mutation, roll again
5. Negative mutation, roll again
6. Random spell and 1 magic die
7. 3 random cuts (as Butcher)
8. Random talent (as Thief)
9. Random fighting style (as Fighter)
10. Random formula, can make with 1 die (as Chemist)

We've Met: Spend Contact Dice in a social interaction to realize you know someone in the interaction from your travels, and roll 1 die for each feature you want them to have. The extent and usefulness of the feature is based on how well you roll. You can spend multiple dice on one feature to take the highest of those dice. If you roll doubles when making a Contact, also roll a Complication. Spent Contact Dice return on a long rest, or when you enter a new settlement.

Sample Features
Information: 1. Common local wisdom → 6. Secrets known to few
Item: 1. They've got something similar, but you'll need to be creative → 6. They've got exactly what you need and are willing to share
Location: 1. Temporary access to a generic kind of place you're looking for → 6. Round-the-clock access to the exact venue you need
Relationship: 1. You met once, a long time ago → 6. You've been close since childhood
Skill: 1. Decent at a relevant skill → 6. Multiple class levels
Loyalty: 1. You met them once on the road and parted amicably → 6. You travelled the Turtle together, sharing fortune and hardship, and are as close as family

1. They want a favor from you before they help you out.
2. They're in danger and can't do anything that would attract attention.
3. They don't remember you. Oops.
4. They're doing something you find distasteful, perhaps at cross purposes to your aims.
5. They're working with/in a relationship with someone who doesn't like you, who's around making their own demands.
6. Their value to you has been misrepresented somehow. Decrease their highest feature by 2 (if it goes negative, they're actively going to hinder you).

Monday, November 11, 2019

Dungeons are Gender-Neutral Washrooms

We as game masters elide lots of little parts of the human condition in the name of convenience and decency. Players rarely have to deal with the mundanity of their characters drinking water, shuffling items around in their bags, or dealing with the assorted traumas of slaughtering dozens (minimum) of other thinking, breathing, people for money and power. Still, sometimes digging a little deeper can reveal parts of the adventuring lifestyle that are rather horrifying, when you put your mind to it. Case in point: when you're delving into a megadungeon, a multi-day trek into the bowels (pardon the pun) of a vast ruin, where do you go to the bathroom? Let's reducio ad absurdum the idea of simulating more bits of survival for greater immersion and explore some possibilities for how adventurers dispose of their waste.

Monsters. Carrion crawlers subsist on virtually any organic waste in a dungeon. Think of them like house centipedes, except instead of amalgamating all the bugs in a house into one larger bug, they amalgamate all the waste in the dungeon into one larger disgusting mass. Incredibly efficient; they don't seem to leave any waste of their own, and they leave dungeon floors spotless. Otyughs can also do this, though they prefer live vermin. If a dungeon seems particularly clean, despite no sign of habitation, watch the ceilings and the pits. Occasionally, adventurers bring their own creatures into the dungeon to clean up after them. Tame gelatinous cubes in buckets are favorites, though you have to ensure it's fed - but not too much.

Destroy it. An enterprising efficiency-minded wizard once spent their life developing the cantrip Remove Waste. A very tailored, watered-down version of the Disintegrate spell, it scours 1 square foot of offending detritus and leaves the area shiny and clean. Does no damage to living non-waste tissue (if it did, you wouldn't be able to wipe with it). The wizard in question, now possessed of the power to never leave their laboratory for want of a wash, proceeded to realize that they spent decades more time developing the spell than the time they managed to save, and went mad.

Hide it. You can't afford to leave a trail when wandering monsters are looking for any evidence of a tasty next meal. Loose cobbles can work to bury shit, as can dirt floors. Sometimes you might even find something valuable while you're digging! Score! Alternatively, if no loose dirt is forthcoming or you (heavens forbid) forgot to bring a shovel on your ill-fated expedition, you can always pack it away in a bag of holding or something else desperate. Bring strong perfumes if this might become the case.

Digging In A Dungeon
1. Loose change. 2d10 copper.
2. Someone or something's skull.
3. Older buried waste.
4. Nest of small monsters.
5. The next floor down's ceiling!
6. Lost memento.
7. Graffiti.
8. Shiny rocks! Not valuable, but pretty...
9. Random mundane weapon, rusted away (1d4 damage and both wielder and target save vs. tetanus)
10. Pottery shards from a bygone age.

Don't reinvent the wheel. Dungeon locals need to dispose of bodily fluids too, and they've usually found their own solutions. Even goblins have a limit to their propensity for filth. Finding outhouses in dungeons can be a chore, especially if they're currently occupied, but it's usually far more convenient than any other method once the dirty work has been done. Also, no one will usually notice the stench of monster bodies you've hidden in the foulest parts of the dungeon.

Portals. Perhaps an extension of the "Hide" and "Destroy" options, more enterprising wizards in the days before Remove Waste created several pocket planes to store a variety of things too hazardous to keep anywhere in the material world. Lazy wizards extended this to other kinds of waste, and a few civic- and environmentally-minded ones connected entire sewage outflows to great portals to prevent the spoilage of the natural world. While great for the world in the short term, all these waste-planes merged due to their conceptual similarity, and formed one great Elemental Plane of Refuse. Its emergent denizens - elementals of sewage, smog, radiation, and other awful pollutants - now loose themselves in the landfills and septic tanks of the world, the byproducts of civilization returning with a vengeance. While you can absolutely open up portals to dump your trash and shit, and it's a very convenient option, be warned that these doors are very much two-way.

A less potentially-horrific version of this is the Summon Outhouse spell, developed by a cabal of wizards who realized how much they'd messed up after the Great Interplanar Landfill Collision of 1XX6. There's only one outhouse and everyone using this spell has to share. 2-in-6 of it being occupied by a disgruntled wizard when you summon it.

Nothing. You animals.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Exploring the Meatropolis

Imagine a heart, the size of a country. Hang it from arteries as thick around as a mountain, that weave around impossibly great ribs. Slice off the top of the heart with a clean cut; this creates a great ocean of blood, advancing and receding as the heart slowly, powerfully beats its last beats. Its coasts of muscle are scarred thick and high, crusted in scabs and running with rivers of pus. Upon these coasts lies the Meatropolis: the largest city that still stands in the corpse-belly of Ogoath, the turtle who once bore the world upon its back.

The towers of the Meatropolis are spines of freshgrown bone banded with blood-iron from the shoreline foundries. Less fortunate citizens live in the jerkied slums of flash-grown muscle, or worse yet in the parasite burrows beneath that serve as impromptu sewers. It is a brutal city, where food is plentiful but health is in short supply. Fleshcrafter families curry favor with each other and the Council in the highest towers, ever-modifying themselves to fit the latest fashions. Butchers work tirelessly in the streets below, hawking meat from every corner of Ogoath. Chemists purify water from what passes for weather, or from the shores of the Blood Sea. And everywhere, life goes on, so far from the encroaching decay and the inevitable final night.

Igor Vitkovskiy
Walk down the scar-streets of the Fleshmarket. The perpetual half-light shining through cracks in the shell miles above casts everything into stark relief; lower down between the streets, floating bioluminescent bladders shine a soft cream-yellow. Hear the rhythmic thwack of cleaver against board. A thousand merchants hawking their wares, shouting in dozens of languages (most notably the warbling creole of Tongue), pervasive smells of meat in every stage of life or death. Customers barter prices in scraps of blood iron, purified rations, gobs of brain matter, or sacks of salt, eyeless fleshbeasts laden with sacs of goods meander between stalls. Every facet of mortal life is on display for perusal and sale.

Adventuring Supplies
1. Autowomb: A basketball-sized hairy sphere with a slavering maw splitting it into hemispheres. When fed with 2 rations, an autowomb will gestate a particular item over the course of 24 hours and regurgitate it through its mouth.
2. Bladder: Glass is expensive, custom-grown organs are cheap. Holds liquid.
3. Blood Vials: Dark, smoky glass filled with blood. Restores 1 health and lets you travel for another 4 hours without rest; more expensive strains of custom-bred blood will restore more or have additional benefits.
4. Ink Sac: Fist-sized sac of smoky ink, dark as the void. Break it to create a 20' radius ink cloud, or dip a stylus in it to tattoo indelible messages deep into flesh.
5. Long-Eyes: A human eye, rubbery, and inflated to the size of a fist. A long optic nerve (30') trails from the back, with a needle at the end. Stab the needle into your pupil to see through and move the eye.
6. Meat Hooks: A set of iron hooks connected with sinews that grip deep and won't let go. Anyone with a set can climb vertical surfaces without rolling, and trying to remove one against it's wielder's will deals d4 slashing damage to whoever it's stuck in.
7. Osteopath: A roiling mass of bone, too heavy for its small size. Throwing it at something biological causes it to grow over the area as a spiky, hard shell (radius 10'). Disintegrates after an hour.
8. Scarstick: Bonds together two bleeding surfaces. Works to seal wounds, or in larger quantities to stick two sections of meat together.
9. Sinew-rope: A 50' length of extensible corded tendon. Slash it to extend it or retract it.
10. Sterilizer Tabs: A chalky pill that when broken purifies 1 ration's worth of water and meat, but leaves it barren of life and nutrients. Any ration created this way fills your belly, but won't restore health or cure wounds.
11. Thinker: A blob of brain tissue in an eyeless, jawless skull. Give it a logic problem and it will attempt to solve it (the base Thinker has INT 13). The GM will always tell you a solution that the Thinker provides, but will not tell you if it passed its test or not.
12. Tunnelgrubs: A flask of small yet voracious grubs in a suspension that keeps them docile. When broken, they hunger greatly, and their rotating serrated jaws go to work on the nearest meaty surface. The grubs multiply rapidly, and will bore a 5' diameter tube through 20' of flesh before their little bodies expire. Too slow to use as a decisive weapon (d4 damage per round), but a brutal interrogation tool.

Children of Meat
One shop with reinforced walls descends deep beneath the surface. In the pit that dominates the shop floor hang dozens of cages, each with a different fleshcrafted beast inside. The proprietor specializes in chimeras: from insects that crawl on fingers for legs and act like cats (if cats had bulging many-pupilled eyes and wings of rough dry skin); to great reptilian pack mules on a hundred legs of knitted human limbs, and you can find yourself a seat to ride deep within the warm recesses of its toothy carapace.

Minor Fleshbeasts
1. Bone Spider: Weaves webs of bone. Hates bright light. Size of a dinner plate. Slow, but turns up just where it'd be most unnerving. Some find this endearing.
2. Crabcat: A crab, with small furred paws instead of claws. Common, loyal housepet. Adorable, curious, cowardly.
3. Hands Octopus: Too smart for anyone's own good. Forty sticky fingers of trouble. Likes taking things, but not having them.
4. Skinmoth: Cloaked in skin. Blends into any skin. Content to relax, violently rends with fangs when disturbed. Can grow to size of a cape.
5. Trained Mimic: Trained" is perhaps a strong word. Mostly means that the mimic won't bite hard enough to break its owner's skin. Shapeshifts into useful things with the right command word, and if it's been fed well.
6. Turtletoma: Like a hydra, if the hydra was a turtle and covered in eyes and tails. Tremendously strong, if slow. A popular conveyance when not in a hurry. Not bright enough to realize that you're bringing it into a dungeon.

A Whole Mu You
A stall you're directed to by a series of brightly-colored advertisers sells temporary mutations in the form of small blobs of undifferentiated, throbbing stem cells. Some give cuttlefish skin or chameleon tongue or any number of other minor animal traits of things long extinct, others just compound upon existing functions, creating extra organs that protrude from beneath the skin.

At any point, 10 non-negative mutations from the list are on sale. All mutations have a 1 in 10 chance of coming with a complication, giving a related negative mutation as well (let the buyer beware). All wear off in a week's time, unless you pay double for a month-long upgrade.

Bloodbath & Beyond
A goliath with four arms on one side and two on the other urges you up a rickety set of stairs to their emporium. They sell weapons, and run a well-renowned sword breeding program responsible for many designer lineages. Each has its own characteristic patterning, wicked sharpness, and nigh-magical effect borne of its alien biology. Feed your blade, wield it, and fight with courage, and it will trust you for life.

Living weapons are just as common as unliving ones. Figure out what base weapon it's most like, then add a mutation from the list below. It only works when fed, and requires rations as if it was a party member. Hungry living weapons can't use their abilities and step down their damage dice. Starving living weapons can use their abilities, but only to try to eat whomever's closest (usually, their wielder).

Weapon Mutations
1. Acid Secreting: Deals acid wounds in addition to its normal damage type.
2. Biting: The business end is actually a mouth. Can grab enemies and tear at them. Can't be used while it's biting someone. Escaping the bite either requires a successful DEX test or the sacrifice of d4 HP.
3. Carving: On 6+ damage, leaves a random Cut behind as Butcher.
4. Edible: Counts as rations (3 per inventory slot it takes up, each consumed part gives -1 damage until it's all gone)
5. Flying: It has wings! It's rather clumsy and can't sense anything but it can keep going in the direction it's pointed, and fly back to its owner. Can be thrown at targets without penalty, and returns at the end of the round.
6. Implanter: On 6+ damage also implants specialized grubs in the target.

1. Marker fly larvae: Hatch in 24 hours and fly back to you, will show you path to target
2. Spider eggs: They're actually rather harmless, but they hatch in 24 hours and hundreds of tiny spiders crawl out of the wound and imprint on the target as a parent. They love the target very much and won't leave them alone, or even leave their body. Hope they aren't arachnophobic!
3. Tunnelgrubs: Truly awful. Tear through flesh to beating heart. 1 damage per round until removed. They dig deep, fast.

7. Metamorph: Can transform into another weapon type or tool at-will.
8. Sanguine: Drinks blood. Grows as it drinks more. Each HD of blood it consumes steps up its damage die once until the end of the day. Needs to feed daily.
9. Shattering: Can be detonated in a massive directed blast of bone and gore. 30' cone, d8 slashing damage (save for half) and covered in blood. This kills the weapon.
10. Tongue: Sticky, can taste through it, can reel things in as whip.
A large, spindly creature at a simple skin-tent hawks mutant fruits from the under-city orchards. The fruits keep very well as rations, though they tend to whisper when they don't think you're looking. They also have a selection of  spices traded and harvested all across Ogoath, and the creature informs you that its master left it in charge of the shop while venturing out with old adventuring comrades to discover new flavors in the fleshy wastes.

1. Boomberry. Like a grapefruit-sized raspberry. Explosive in d6 minutes (as hand grenade) when damaged unless neutralized with stomach acid.
2. Hydranana. Rapidly multiplies when chopped with a silver blade (into d20 hydranana). Delicious grilled or in ceviche.
3. Hyperlemon. Uniquely acidic. Juice melts through anything besides meat.
4. Kiwi fruit. A strange combination of flightless bird and fruit. It walks around, chirps, and tastes juicy and delicious when you bite through its furry skin into the green, seeded flesh beneath.
5. Screapple. Screams while eaten.
6. Sprouts. When planted and watered with spinal fluid, will grow into a d10*d10' tall meaty facsimile of a tree within 10 minutes. Bone for bark. Hair for leaves. Flesh inside. 

The Hormone-monger
A woman in a long coat (how does she wear that in this weather? she must be sweltering) ushers you into a back alley. You visit her regularly for her services as a hormone-monger. Ogoath's many bile-soaked pancreata bloat with hormones known and strange, from the common sex hormones, insulin, and adrenaline, to the arcane phlogistin, necrine, and octarin. The inside of her leather trenchcoat is lined with vials and syringes. Many glow. She knows every adventurer in the Fleshmarket, and ensures they each get their own personal touch.
All hormones are delivered in metal and bone syringes, and last for 24 hours unless otherwise specified.

1. Adenosine: You can gain the benefits of a daily rest in 4 hours by taking adenosine after waking up. Addictive.
2. Adrenaline: Succeed on all initative rolls, but can't do tasks that take more than one round.
3. Cytokinetics: For 10 minutes, grow one size category, as an Enlarge spell. When you shrink, you're left immobile for the rest of the day.
4. Dopamine: Disadvantage on all mental tests while blissed out on happy juice.
5. Necrin: Causes sleep instantly. While sleeping this way, the body stops moving and mimics a death state, breathing once every ten minutes. Wake up upon taking damage or in d6 hours. While asleep, inflicts horrifying dreams of being digested.
6. Octarin: Extracted from the roots of wizard teeth. Provides the user with one empowered Magic Die for spellcasting (a d4+2). The die is expended after use.
7. Ostein: When you're wounded, the wound seals with bone. Disadvantage on DEX tests with that area, but the bleeding stops.
8. Phlogistin: Every ration you eat causes you to heat up. 1 ration makes you comfortably warm, even in freezing temperatures. 2 rations makes you hurt to touch (1 fire damage). 3 rations at once sets you on fire.
9. Polymorphine: Each dose gives you a random temporary mutation. The first is positive, the second is positive or mixed, all further can be from any table.
10. Psionine: Comes in paired doses (or larger sets). Everyone with a dose from the set can empathically communicate ideas and concepts. Can't lie or obscure truth over empathic connection.

This shop is a mimic! While it appears to be a nice resting place on the scrimshawed side of a fallen rib, when unwitting patrons enter it shifts and opens its fleshy maw to reveal the goods of everyone who's passed through and refused to buy something. It's jovial, if rather confused as to why some fight, instead of staying to browse and purchase, but such is the life of a mimic.

Roll up 3 new adventurers. Their corpses and items are neatly laid out before the party, on stands or in glass cases.

Internal Beauty
A goliath of the Mhorl family has deigned to descend from his bio-laboratories in a rib spire to sell entirely new organs for people to implant within their abdomens! They unerringly improve some function you find lacking in the human condition (this changes with the seasons, as all fashions do). Still, with the speed he develops them, he hasn't the time to work out all the side effects, so let the buyer beware - new organs come with a rather short warranty.

The Mhorl family is an illustrious gene-line of fleshcrafters dating back to the Cyclopean Empire. Read their following promotional materials for more: Adulterated Lineages of the Primordial Flesh.

As Above, So Below
Three starfolk, one green and chitinous, one made of a strangely chunky grey substance, and one blood-red with bone nubs all over sell trinkets from beyond the stars! Many peoples came to Ogoath fleeing their own dying worlds. Ironic, for they found this world dying too, just far slower. With them, they bring new ways of being and knowing, machines of improbable function and incomprehensible material, unique among the stars - for the factories that made them are worlds away.

They sell items from this table of oddities, or any other Weird Items table (sci-fi items fit well here - they might have cybernetics, or a worn-out mech...)

Relics of Yester-aeon
A gnarled old human sells relics of the Old World out of a curio shop. No one remembers the gods on the statues or the languages in the parchment scraps of book. Many buy them for some hope that the world will yet return from tumbling through the endless void; others buy as historically significant objets d'art, building a collection to impress their friends and family. The proprietor is notorious for sending adventurers to seek these wherever they go, whether the rumors they've heard are true or not.

Ancient things of dubious provenance and potential historical value, or any other item table you want to throw in that doesn't seem to fit anywhere else.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Chemist

I've had a whole bunch of cool ideas locked up in my Mad Scientist Witch for a long time. I've also been looking for another class for The Turtle Moved, my meatpunk setting, to replace clerics. The solution? The miracle of chemistry!

by Daeyoon Huh
"Two parts boil, one part bubble, one part toil, one part trouble... nonsense. Bring me the saltpeter and sulfur."

Level 1: Alchemy, Reagent Hunter, 2 Formulae
Level 2: 1 Trick, +1 Formula
Level 3: +1 Trick, +1 Formula
Level 4: Magnum Opus, +1 Formula, +1 Trick

Hit Die: d6
Starting Equipment: Cauldron, alchemical tools (tongs, vials, solvents, etc), book of formulae, 3 reagents
Skills: Alchemy and d6: 1. Cooking, 2. Cultistry, 3. Herbology, 4. Philosophy, 5. Poisoning, 6. Witchcraft

Alchemy: With a cauldron and your alchemical tools, you have the training to make alchemical Crafts out of the Formulae you know. To do alchemy, you invest a part of yourself into your work. When you make a Craft with a Formula, you expend one or more magical or valuable Reagents (some examples: d100 Catalysts), and roll up to (level) d6s. Subtract the (sum) from the listed ability score, until the Craft is used up. Use the chosen number of (dice) and the rolled (sum) where listed in the Craft. The Craft's effects will vary based on the properties of the Reagent you used.

Reagent Hunter: You have an eye for magical trinkets with alchemical properties. You can lick an item to determine if it's magical (or at least not-mundane-enough to be worth turning into a Craft). When you're in an interesting location, you can harvest a reagent from the area on a (level)-in-6.

Tricks: Little things you've figured out to make your job easier.
1. Alchemic Grafts: You may fuse your Crafts into the bodies of living things. When fused, they apply the stat penalty to their host, but last for their maximum duration.
2. Magic Maker: There's magic in anything if you use enough layers of metaphor. You can construct a new reagent from a mundane item, given a laboratory and a daily rest. Crafts made with these reagents are capped at 1 die and 1 sum.
3. Mass Production: When you mix a Formula, you may make up to (sum) Crafts with (sum) divided across them. (dice) for each of these Crafts is 1.
4. Mutatis Mutandis: You can add an extra (die) to mutate your Craft on the spell mutation table. Don't add this die to (dice) or (sum), but do subtract the result from the listed score.
5. Quick Mix: You can mix a Formula in one turn, instead of ten minutes. If you do, subtract (dice)*6 from the listed score, instead of (sum). Takes the whole turn, you still need the cauldron.
6. Scrimper: You can reuse reagents once. When reused, (sum) = (dice).

Magnum Opus: Invent a new formula! Sacrifice points from a random score each time you mix it.

1. Bomb (STR): Invest your strength into a purely destructive tool. When used, it explodes, dealing (sum) damage of a type relevant to the reagent (save for half) in a (dice)*10' radius and applying an effect based on the reagent's properties. Can set to detonate on a timer or on impact (or both!). Spent points return after detonation.

2. Drug (STR): Create a drug that when taken gives +(dice) to one score and -(dice) to another, and a relevant positive and negative mutation or a relative mixed mutation. Lasts for (sum) hours. After the duration ends, anyone who takes the drug must CON save vs. addiction. Failure makes the penalties stay around until you've spent a week sober for each hit you've taken. Spent points return after the drug is taken.

3. Creation (DEX): The reagent becomes a (sum)*(sum)' cube of related material! Can be set to transmute on a timer or impact. Lasts for (sum) minutes/hours/days/months (1/2/3/4 dice). Spent points return after duration expires. You may make it expire early with special solvents from your kit.

4. Ray (DEX): Slowly release the built-up magical energies of the reagent to fire rays that deal (dice)d6 damage of a type relevant to the reagent and apply a relevant effect (range 100'), equivalent to a minor wound. May make the effect stronger (equivalent to a major wound) by forgoing damage. Has (sum) charges. Spent points return after it runs out of charges.

5. Salve (CON): Restore or remove (sum) HP when applied (your choice) and give the applied creature either a temporary relevant mutation or resistance or vulnerability to a relevant damage type or effect. The effect lasts for (sum) minutes/hours/days (1/2/3+ dice) or until the salve is removed (it's probably not waterproof). Spent points return when effect expires.

6. Scroll (CON): Convert the reagent into a spell-capturing device that imprisons a relevant spell on a prepared piece of vellum soaked in pungent alchemical lures. It becomes a scroll with (dice) and (sum) equal to what you invested in the formula. Spent points return when the scroll is used.

7. Philosophy (INT): Write literature and theories inspired by your studies of a reagent. Disseminate it in town to get (sum) followers with skills and social status relevant to the reagent. They treat you as a near-spiritual leader, and form a cult of personality around you - though they won't actively go into combat for you, they'll do favors for shreds of your wisdom. You may also pick (dice) of the following.
- One follower has a class level in a relevant class
- d6 of your followers are of a higher social class, with connections in relevant places
- (dice) of your followers are willing to die for your cause
- Your followers have 10^(dice)gp they're willing to spend on the cause, no strings attached
Spent points return when you leave the development of the philosophy to others, causing your cult to leave you, or when you break the trust of your followers and they decide the philosophy is better off without you.

8. Spirit (INT): Summon and bind a powerful, intelligent spirit that's drawn to the reagent. It will perform (dice) favors for you. The spirit's power and capabilities are determined by (sum) (1 is a dog, 6 is a person, 12 is a wizard, 18 is an angel). When you dismiss it, or when the favors run out, you get the  points back.

9. Transmutation (WIS): You convert the reagent into a new similar magically potent thing. Any crafts made with it can't have (sum) higher than the first (sum) rolled for this. Needs an additional (die) to convert something already converted. Get points back when the reagent is destroyed or made into a Craft.

10. Paint (WIS): Apply a relevant property of the reagent to the surface or item you paint. Makes (sum)*dice square feet of paint. Restore points when paint is removed (you can do this with a paint scraper or with solvents in your alchemy kit).

11. Food (CHA): Cook a dish with up to (sum) servings. Each serving counts as a ration, provides a relevant temporary mutation ((sum) minutes), and has a property of the reagent (like keeping well, or tasting excellent, or poisoning the eater - see Butcher Cuts for inspiration). Points return when dish eaten and mutations wear off.

12. Homunculus (CHA): Create a being that follows your orders. It has base 8 in each ability score, with +(sum) to (dice) of those scores of your choice. It takes a form influenced by the reagent's nature, and has (dice) properties derived from the reagent. It's more independent the more (dice) you invest (dog/child/adult/outsider (1/2/3/4 dice)). It lasts for (sum) hours/days/weeks/months (1/2/3/4 dice). Points return whem homunculus is destroyed (you may destroy it yourself, though life preserves itself at any cost...)

Anyone else who wants to make a Craft out of a formula can try, with appropriate instructions (an elementary alchemy textbook would be a good start), but the value of each die is capped at the number of the following they have: advanced books on alchemy, an additional copy of the reagent, an expert on hand to help out, a year of alchemy training (this stacks up to three times).

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Cancer Warlock

It's time for another dose of body horror! The Oblidisideryptch's Warlock is one of my favorite additions to the GLOG (I wrote a previous Patron for it, the Baleful Star), and I've been considering adding it to Mimics & Miscreants. Of course, as a consummate tinkerer, I can't leave well enough alone, so here's my take on the Warlock and an all-new Patron for it: Cancer!

Power corrupts. But what's a little corruption among friends?

Level 1:
Patron, 1 maximum Credit, 2 Spells
Level 2: Beseech, +1 max Credit, +2 Spells
Level 3: d10 Credit Dice, +1 max Credit, +2 Spells
Level 4: Patron's Gift, +1 max Credit, +2 Spells

Hit Die: d4
Starting Equipment: see Patron
Skills (d6): 1. Art, 2. Etiquette, 3. Hermitry, 4. Lore, 5. Occult, 6. Theology

Patron: A powerful being that has lent you a portion of its power in exchange for your loyalty and service. You can cast Warlock spells from your Patron's list using the Patron Spellcasting rules. Your patron also gives you a passive Boon, and grants you three minor powers as at-will Favors. As you cast spells, you will accrue Debt. This Debt can be reduced by performing Services from the list of Services your patron may require of you. Your patron requests a random service when you gain Debt, and many services scale for each point of Debt you have.

Patron Spellcasting: As you cast a spell, you may cast it with a number of Credit Dice (d8s) up to your maximum Credit. Whenever you roll the maximum 2 numbers on a Credit Die (7-8 on d8, 5-6 on d6, etc.), gain 1 Debt and learn what Service your patron requires of you to pay it off. Step down the size of your Credit Dice once for each Debt you have. Performing a service for your patron removes 1 Debt. When your Debt decreases your Credit Dice below a d2, you can't cast spells until you pay off your Debt.

Beseech: Ask your patron for help. They'll give it in some form, though if you have more debt it'll be less useful - and patrons have odd concepts of what may be helpful. Always accumulates 1 Debt.

Patron's Gift: Your patron marks you for good as their servant, giving you a permanent powerful beneficial mutation (specified in the patron's entry). They can't take this away.

Some Patrons
Old Scratch, the devil at the crossroads
The Baleful Star, which hates and fears
The esteemed law firm of Semiramis-Nebuchadnezzar-Shamsi
Tawantinsuyu Imperial Armories (for Sun and Emperor!)
A small spider that lives in your brain and is very excited to explore

Patron: Cancer
by Bogdan Rezunenko
Your closest friend, so near and dear to your heart. Literally.

Something grows inside you. It made its intentions known when it first pushed on your organs and distended your skin. It would devour you, slay you in its feverish thirst for unchecked riotous growth. Life, the ultimate killer.

You spoke to it that night. Promised it life, promised it growth, promised it food, promised it everything - if only it spared your life. You are your cancer's weapon, its pawn to do what it will with a world it can only see in terms of Self and Not Yet Self, But Soon.

It gives you frenetic power, vast biological energies unleashed through cellular esoteries. It runs rampant through your veins and tissues, replicating furiously, creating more You-And-It every second. Your skin hangs loose, growing new lumps of meat. You're always just too warm to the touch, as the cancer burns calorie after calorie in its relentless quest.

Even if you-the-mind die, you-the-cancer will live on, growing and growing, in a thousand shapes in a thousand bodies. Immortality, of a sort, is in your grasp, if only you give yourself over to its power and its will. Others will call you deranged. You call yourself pragmatic. Your cancer calls you friend.

Starting Equipment: Random mutation, scalpel, jar with one of your many tumors
Boon: You always roll hit dice with advantage, as the cancer grows without mercy or restraint.

1. You can bud off 2 HP as a ration. HP spent this way cannot be restored until you take a daily rest.
2. Your cancer fights other diseases for you, to protect both you and itself. You're immune to mundane disease, and save with advantage against others.
3. At the beginning of each day, you may roll a d6. Up to (templates) times, you may subtract 2 points from that ability score to gain +1 to another of your choice.

1. Feed Debt HD of creatures to your cancer.
2. Let Debt HP of your blood over the dying.
3. Save Debt lives from grievous injuries.
4. Seed your cancerous cells over Debt new living beings.
5. Give over your body to the cancer for Debt nights, where it will run rampant and consume.
6. Integrate something with Debt new, unique properties into your cancer so it can adapt and mutate.
7. Destroy Debt HD of undead.
8. Gain a new mutation.

Patron's Gift: Your cancer overtakes you, and you become a mass of undifferentiated cells, writhing and mutable. At any time, you may sacrifice HP equal to the number of mutations you have to roll on the mutation table. These mutations reset after a daily rest.

1. Apoptose: A (sum)' diameter sphere of living material you touch dies off and sloughs away. An unwilling target instead takes (sum) necrotic damage (CON save for half).

2. Alter Self: Take on up to (sum) physical characteristics of a creature you touch. If (dice) >= the creature's HD, you may become a copy of that creature. Lasts for (sum) minutes/hours/days/weeks (1/2/3/4 dice)

3. Autoharuspicy: Disembowel yourself to tell the future. Sacrifice up to (sum) HP. You may ask the GM a question, and (sum) follow-up clarification questions, about the consequences of a potential action you may take. The GM is not obligated to answer fully, but must answer truthfully.

4. Cancerous Healing: Touch a living creature. They regain (sum) hit points. Unless you give them a random mutation as well, this can’t heal them above ¼/⅓/½/full (1/2/3/4 dice).

5. Cancerous Regeneration: Touch a creature. Heal (dice)*2 ability score damage. Can’t restore points above (sum)+6 (so a sum of 6 couldn’t heal a score to above 12), unless you give them a random mutation as well. At 4 or more dice, can heal fatal wounds if you have >50% of the corpse and regenerated within 3 rounds of death.

6. Cancer-Twin: Create clones of (dice) of your organs. They can be internal or external, and in any location on your body. At 2+ dice, you can make it an autonomous creature, and at 3+ dice you can create a clone of your entire body. It lasts for (sum) minutes.

7. Consume: A chunk of you opens up into a toothy, jagged maw. Bite attacks deal d4 slashing damage (step up once for each die past the first) and the target saves vs. you swallowing a random Cut from them (as Butcher). Lasts for (sum) minutes.

8. Debone: Steal up to (sum) bones from someone you touch on bare skin. Starts with whichever bone is closest to where you touch them. They get a CON save to reduce this to just one bone. The bones end up in your hand, and this leaves no open wounds.

9. Emergency Transplant: You touch 2 bodies and select 2 organs within them. The organs flow through you, swapping hosts. Each target body may make a CON save to resist this effect. They must be the same organ, unless (sum) is greater than 10. (credit to T AKW)

10. Evolve: Inflict (dice) mutations from a mutation table of your choice on a creature you touch (or yourself). Roll at random, but you may pick a mutation of your choice from +/-(sum) results on the table (so a sum of 3 and a roll of 12 on the table would let you pick a mutation between 9 and 15). If (sum) is 20 or higher, you may instead give them a random Organ from an Adulterated Lineage of the Primordial Flesh (+2 to an ability score of your choice, roll lineage randomly).

11. Meld: Take two living things smaller than a head (1D)/a person (2D)/a wagon (3D)/a house (4D) with HD <= and combine them into a new whole, with the abilities and weaknesses of each. Unwilling creatures get an INT save on cast and each time interval, and fused creatures must either share the new body or fight with each other for it (roll INT or WIS or CHA (mind's choice), high roller takes control each time interval). Lasts for (sum) minutes/hours/days/weeks (1/2/3/4 dice)

12. Raise Dead: Touch a corpse, or an object that was once living. It returns to a facsimile of its living form, and becomes (dice) HD divided between up to (dice) separate creatures. Each undead created this way has abilities based on its form. You can break up corpses this way, like into a flesh blob and a skeleton, or a skinwraith and nerve-jellyfish. You can control up to (level)*2 HD of undead at once. They re-die after (sum) minutes (1D)/hours (2D)/days (3D)/months (4D).

Monday, October 7, 2019

Having Mechs on the First Date

Humans skyrocketed to dominance through tool use. As we ascended, our tools became more complex. The bag and the word have their proponents, but here, at Chicxulub Heavy Industries, we're talking about weapons. The rock became the stone axe became the longsword became the flintlock became the machine gun. We've gotten better and better at killing - our predators, then each other, then the world we live in. Mechs are merely the latest, greatest, final word in weaponry. Their pilots are rock stars. Their enemies are not long for this world.

Our competitors at Of Slugs and Silver LLC, Nuclear Haruspex Zaibatsu, Words for Yellow Boutique Combat Implements, Oblidisideryptch Incorporated, and Octarine Tinted Security Systems will all offer you tools. We offer you weapons.

25 tons of awesome.

Level 1: Mech, Weapon, System, 1 Eschaton Die
Level 2: +1 Weapon or System, +1 Eschaton Die
Level 3: +1 Weapon or System, +1 Eschaton Die
Level 4: +1 Weapon, +1 System, +1 Eschaton Die

Hit Die: d4
Skills: 1. Brawling, 2. Conviction, 3. Engineering, 4. Gambling, 5. Gladiation, 6. Tinkering
Starting Equipment: Coveralls, crowbar, toolbox, mech, greasy manual

(1000+ name list credit to the OSR discord, and inspiration credit to EXTREME MEATPUNKS FOREVER)

Mech: You have a mech. It's about the size of a bear, has a cockpit-torso where you pilot it, two arms, two stubby legs, and is powered by d6: 1. Steam, 2. Magic, 3. God, 4. Blood, 5. Passion, 6. Life. Its power is represented by Eschaton Dice (d6s).

Roll your Eschaton Dice each combat round. You can add them to any mech rolls you want. You must allocate them before you make the roll. You may also spend or burn Eschaton Dice to activate special abilities of your mech. Burnt Eschaton Dice only return when you repair your mech (1 per repair). Outside of combat, you must take a rest to roll ED. Mechs crave battle, and their cores run cold in peacetime.

Mechs move at the same speed as a human, deal d8 bludgeoning damage with their fists/stomps, and have 6+2d6 STR, 2d6 DEX, and 6+2d6 CON. Their HP = CON, and base armor is 4. Whenever dealt damage that reduces it to or below 0 HP, roll on the mech Breach table, and when reduced to -max HP, it's rendered unusable. You can repair your mech whenever you would heal during a rest for the same number of HP you would otherwise recover.

1. Leg Snapped. Knocked down.
2. Hull Breach. You take damage from breaching effect as well (CON save halves)
3. Weapon Jammed. Can't fire random weapon until repaired.
4. System Shocked. Random system shuts off until repaired.
5. Core Breached. Mech takes d6 fire damage, and loses 1 ED until repaired.
6. Controls Scrambled. Save or act at random until you pass that save.

Anyone else who wants to pilot your mech is going to be bad at it (unless they too are a Mechwarrior). They can't do much beyond sluggishly, stumblingly move it around and aimlessly trigger weapons systems. Every time someone untrained tries to do something in your mech, they have a 2-in-6 chance of doing something different and entirely unwanted instead as they pull the wrong lever.

Systems: Pick a system to install in your mech, or upgrade an existing mech system.
1. Bastion
    ✧: +4 HP, can project 10' tall by 10' wide shield that gives +1 Armor to everyone behind it, shield bash deals d10 bludgeoning damage and forces save vs. knockdown
    ✧✧: +4 HP, 2 shields at +2 armor each, can place as terrain with 4 HP, can throw shield as ranged weapon (boomerangs back)
    ✧✧✧: +4 HP, 3 shields, can project/dismiss them within 100'
2. Berzerker
    ✧: Enter rage state when reduced below half HP. Roll ED with advantage, must spend all ED each round, must move towards nearest creature and fight it, lose 1 HP whenever you spend an ED, rage ends on successful voluntary WIS save or when nothing in sight lives
    ✧✧: Extra attack while raging
    ✧✧✧: +ED armor and STR while raging
3. Bioform
    ✧: Eat 1 HD of meat in combat to restore 1 HP
    ✧✧: Spend an ED to get +3 to a stat of choice, must give up the bonus to get the die back
    ✧✧✧: Spend ED with combined sum 10 or greater to mutate and replace this System with another system of your choice for a round
4. Blitz Core
    ✧: +2 DEX, double max speed, if you move full speed you can go first in initiative next round
    ✧✧: +2 DEX, +2 Armor if you moved full speed this round
    ✧✧✧: +2 DEX, extra attack if you've moved full speed this round
5. Brawler
    ✧: +2 STR, double the values of ED spent on melee attack damage, gain a melee weapon
    ✧✧: +2 STR, melee attacks ignore armor
    ✧✧✧: +2 STR, extra melee attack each round
6. Carrier
    ✧: Gain 2 drones, each with a d4-damage mech weapon. Drones are cat-sized (3 HP), and can do one of the following: fly, have arms and hands, or have +2 armor. You can see through your drones' eyes. Spend ED to issue (sum) orders to the drones (max 3 per drone). Repair as mech.
    ✧✧: +2 drones
    ✧✧✧: +2 drones
7. Excavator
    ✧: +2 STR, spend ED to excavate/construct (dice*5)' cube as turn
    ✧✧: +2 STR, spend ED to excavate/construct (dice*5)' cube as action
    ✧✧✧: +2 STR, spend ED to excavate/construct (sum)' cube as action
8. Giant Robot
    ✧: Size of a house. +6 HP. Requires pilot to succeed on WIS test to control it each round (may spend ED on WIS test).
    ✧✧: Size of a tower. +6 HP, +3 STR. Requires 2 pilots to each succeed on WIS test to control it each round.
    ✧✧✧: Size of a dragon. +6 HP, step up damage dice.
9. Hazard Suit
    ✧: +2 CON, advantage on saves vs. temperature/pressure/radiation extremes
    ✧✧: +2 CON, advantage on saves vs. magic
    ✧✧✧: +2 CON, +2 Armor, immune to temperature/pressure/radiation extremes
10. Jaeger
    ✧: +2 STR, max damage attacks always wound/breach mech-sized enemies
    ✧✧: +2 STR, +2 Armor when fighting mech-sized enemies
    ✧✧✧: +2 STR, roll damage against mech-sized enemies with advantage
11. Juggernaut
    ✧: Can't be knocked down or moved against will, +2 CON
    ✧✧: +2 Armor, +2 CON
    ✧✧✧: Double ED spent on saves, +2 CON
12. Magewrought
    ✧: Mech core knows a random spell. Can spend ED as MD to cast it (burn on 5 or 6).
    ✧✧: Learn another random spell, +1 ED (spend only on spells)
    ✧✧✧: Learn another random spell, +1 ED (spend only on spells)
13. Mobile Frame
    ✧: Double movement speed, can climb vertical surfaces, +2 DEX
    ✧✧: Triple speed, jump jets (can fly, but must land on ground at end of turn), +2 DEX
    ✧✧✧: Flight (no longer need to land), +2 DEX
14. Morphic
    ✧: Your mech can spend an ED to turn into a vehicle (POW = STR, HAN = DEX, DUR = CON) with a vehicle trait of your choice. Still has ED in vehicle mode, but can't use mech systems
    ✧✧: Extra vehicle trait and +2 to an attribute of choice in vehicle mode
    ✧✧✧: Extra vehicle trait and additional mode of locomotion in vehicle mode (flight, submarine, etc.)
15. Overdriver
    ✧: +1 ED, step up an ED
    ✧✧: step up an ED, may reroll 1 ED per turn for free
    ✧✧✧: step up an ED, may spend any number of ED to vent core and deal (sum) damage to everyone in melee range (save negates)
16. Spirit Machine
    ✧: It has its own INT/WIS/CHA scores (3d6 down the line for each), is (d6. 1. snarky and jaded, 2. ruthlessly efficient, 3. naive and happy-go-lucky, 4. caring and parental, 5. enthusiastically helpful, 6. bloodthirsty and angry), and can act independently for (sum) minutes by burning an ED
    ✧✧: act independently for (sum) hours
    ✧✧✧: is fully autonomous
17. Stealth Frame
    ✧: +1 DEX, +1 CON, camouflage into environment when stationary (won't be noticed unless someone's looking for it, or runs into it)
    ✧✧: +1 DEX, +1 CON, burn ED to turn invisible for (sum) rounds until firing weapons
    ✧✧✧: +1 DEX, +1 CON, invisibility lasts for (sum) minutes, firing weapons doesn't break invisibility
18. Telefrag
    ✧: Gain a throwable teleport beacon. Can teleport to beacon if within 100'.
    ✧✧: Can teleport to beacon from anywhere
    ✧✧✧: Stored in a pocket dimension, summoned with teleport beacon, can be dismissed back into pocket dimension.
19. Voltron Module
    ✧: Combine with another mech to form one big mech! The new mech has the highest of each mech's STR/DEX/CON and Armor, all weapons/systems, and all Eschaton Dice. The other mech must also have a Voltron Module
    ✧✧: Can combine with mechs without Voltron Modules
    ✧✧✧: Can combine with any machine (figure it out)
20. War Crime Machine
    ✧: Gain an extra special weapons system with 2 combined Ammo types. Understandably banned in all jurisdictions.
    ✧✧: Step up damage die for special weapons system and add another Property
    ✧✧✧: Gain an additional copy of your special weapons system

Mech Weapon Generator
Property (d10)
1. Anti-material: punches through cover, halve defender's armor
2. Anti-personnel: reroll 1s and 2s for damage to smaller targets
3. Automatic: reroll 1s to hit and for damage
4. Dual: can attack two different targets at once (split damage between two equally)
5. Heavy: step up damage die
6. High-explosive: deals damage to all targets in 5' diameter area
7. Light: can always fire this before enemies
8. Rapid-fire: can spend an Eschaton Die to make two attacks against target
9. Semi-autonomous: can detach and run around on its own (1 HP)
10. Spinal-mounted: step up damage die twice, can't do anything else on a round you fire this

Ammo (d20)
1. Bore: slashing damage, pierces through targets to whoever's behind them
2. Charge: electric damage, may deal max damage once by run out of charge for 10 min
3. Chem: acid damage, melts through mundane substances
4. Cryo: cold damage and freezes target on failed STR save
5. Flak: slashing damage, max damage against aerial/fast moving targets
6. Force: bludgeoning damage, throw target in direction of choice
7. Fusion: fire damage, melts target to surface (save negates)
8. Gas: leaves burning cloud in 5' radius around target (save vs. on fire)
9. Grav: bludgeoning damage, attracts everything within 10' to target (save negates)
10. Hunter: slashing damage, if you can miss you can attack a different target near the first
11. Incendiary: fire damage and sets target on fire
12. Kinetic: bludgeoning damage, push target 10' away
13. Memetic: psychic damage, attack chains to anyone target talks to (save ends)
14. Mono-molecular: slashing damage, step up damage die, leaves perfectly clean cuts
15. Phase: piercing damage, phases through obstructions to target, step down damage die
16. Pulse: bludgeoning damage and target saves vs. knockdown
17. Shredder: slashing damage, damage can't be healed for a week
18. Sonic: bludgeoning damage, save vs. deafness (1 hr), can play music
19. Swarm: piercing damage, swarm of microbots flies around and deals that damage divided between things near target (max 4 points per round), can tell bots to move, dissipate when all damage dealt
20. Zap: electric damage and charges target (they attract other charged things)

1. Accelerator: d6 damage in line of sight, hits targets without attack roll if immobile
2. Beam: d8 damage in 100' line
3. Blade: d10 damage, melee
4. Blaster: 2d6 damage within 30'
5. Coil: d6 damage within 100', anyone who moves into or out of range saves vs. getting hit
6. Drill: 2d4 damage, melee, max damage to terrain
7. Impactor: d8 damage, melee, push target 10'
8. Launcher: d8 damage arcing, bouncy projectile within 100'
9. Missiles: 4d4 damage within 100', split dice among targets of choice, expend damage dice on 3+ (reload when repaired)
10. Mortar: d10 damage arcing projectile, disadvantage to hit within 100', accurate with setup time out to 5km
11. Projector: 2d4 damage in 30' cone
12. Rifle: d8 damage within 100', d10 damage within 10'

Paint Jobs
1. A meaty dark red, with bone-white porcelain fringes and innards.
2. All gold, all the time. Ludicrously extravagant. Bejeweled.
3. Bare metal, raw, rusting at the edges. Purely functional.
4. Black, with a glow-in-the-dark skeleton painted on.
5. Bright red, with gold and black accents. Ruthlessly fast-looking.
6. Caked with dirt and grime. Moss grows in patches.
7. Copper and mahogany, with decorative piping and vents. Aristocratic.
8. Dazzle camo. Alternating zig-zag stripes of white and black.
9. Desert camo. Sandy tans and oranges.
10. Draconic. Scale patterns and a metallic d6. 1. red, 2. black, 3. blue, 4. white, 5. green, 6. purple. Decorative horns and wings.
11. Gunmetal gray, graffiti'd with slogans and dirty pictures.
12. Hot pink, with decorative bunny ears and cotton-tail.
13. Jungle camo. Browns, lush greens, greys.
14. Night-black, flecked with clusters of glowing stars.
15. Patriotic. In colors of your homeland, emblazoned with your lord or nation's banner.
16. Purple with emerald green highlights. A sickly, too-wide grin marks the cockpit.
17. Purple, with silvered arcane luck-sigils that rotate and twist on auspicious plating.
18. Silver polished to a mirror-finish.
19. Sky blue, sulfur yellow, crimson. Unmistakable, fearless primary colors.
20. So covered in rust and patches that you can't tell what color it originally was.

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