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
8. Fortune Telling
10. Holding Liquor
18. Surviving Improbably
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.
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).