Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Eldritch Americana: The Property of Yosganeth

<blog update>
I meant to write a series of posts about Yosganeth in December, detailing his servants and enemies, but the Angel of Fate isn't finished, and I haven't a clue what do do about the Demon of Freedom or Hope.  So don't expect those for a while.  This will be my last post on Eldritch Americana for a while, probably, and definitely my last post relating to Yosganeth.
</blog update>

The Moon

(Like this, but with forests and oceans)

Yosganeth is the only one who possesses a semi-legitimate claim over the Moon.  Since the Moon seems to have gained an atmosphere, oceans and plant life after 1890, many people believe that it is potentially livable, and their has been much debate over attempting to colonize it, or at least explore it.  And while this is true, the first official attempt won't be made until the mid-1960s.  But there are ways to get to the Moon.  The first is to teleport there.  The Teleport spell can take you to the Moon, provided you use at least four dice and it is a clear night.  The second way is to find one of the mad tinkers living out in the abandoned heart of America, or in the Ghoul-gator infested ruins of Florida and ask them to build you a rocket.  Such tinkers are blessed with madness and genius in equal amounts, and thus, the more insane they are, the more likely their ridiculous contraption actually functions.

Once you reach the Moon, you will find the blue-green plantlife and red-black oceans you saw through a telescope are quite real.  You will also find that the Moon is populated by vicious beasts that no one will recognize from earth, only characterized by brutal savagery and too many teeth.  To create a moon beast, just open up your favorite book of Weird monsters and reskin them to make a suitable beast.  I recommend Veins of the Earth or Fire on the Velvet Horizon.    


The Bee-Ladies

                                        (Actual Bee-Ladies don't look this cute, but this is an OSR blog)

Yosganeth's creations.  Since they are patterned after humans in the broadest sense, they are humanoid, bipedal, breathe oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.  They inhabit the Moon as the only intelligent species that has a real foothold on the Moon.  They can be seen flying around the Moon, hunting with stone-tipped spears or bringing game back to their elaborate, communal caves.  They are a highly social species, building large, communal structures with small cubicles for each individual.  They communicate with each other through hand-signs and pheromones.  They do not speak, so when outsiders approach, they will attempt to communicate through playing charades and interpretative dance.  Most Bee-Ladies born on Earth will know English or another human language, but these ones will not.  Additionally, they tend to be less civilized, and will usually only suggest you leave once, before they start chucking spears.  They seem to have either no or an extremely primitive culture, though their level of social organization and control suggests and incredibly authoritarian tribal government.

You can play as one, of course, but all Bee-Lady PCs are female.  Male Bee-Men are too large and stupid to be PCs.  They are similar to small dragons, being able to fly, sting multiple times, and are covered in thick, chitinous plates that repel all but the hardest weapons.  When a Bee-Lady Queen lays all of her eggs, she must consume the tissues of a Bee-Man to continue the colony.  So she rallies her sterile daughters and they go and hunt the Bee-Man in huge, elaborate war-bands, tracking the Bee-Man for days as he attempts to evade or slaughter them all, as Bee-Men almost never survive the breeding process.  But since only a male of a certain age will do, any male sons the Queen has will be run out of the colony once they can survive on their own, and besides, it would be gross to Bee-Ladies if a Queen would breed with one of her sons.

Bee-Ladies on Earth tend to live in smaller, communal groups out in the wilderness.  They generally do not interact with normal society, as most cannot read and all cannot speak.  Many people have heard of them, but few know anything about them, except for the fact that they have elaborate dances, a matriarchal tribal structure, and they love sugar.  Bee-Men are found on some parts of Earth too, and plague many frontier areas, hunting cattle and settlers in equal numbers.  The fact that the Military or Adventurers are often asked to hunt down these "dangerous beasts" limits the population of Bee-Ladies on Earth.  Most people do not know that these beasts are in fact the mature males of the Bee-Ladies, and thus most people have no idea how they reproduce.  People who aren't Bee-Ladies call these beast Hornet Kings.

Hornet King
HD 6  AC 13  Stingers(+3) or Jaws(+0) 1d12
Mor 11    Saves 9+

Stingers: Anyone stung by a Hornet King must save.  A successful save means they take 1d6 poison damage.  A failed save means they are paralyzed and cannot move.  You may save again on your next turn.  The Hornet King can make up to 3 Stinger attacks a round.

Flyer: +2 to Initiative.  Can fly.  

- Sting everyone
- Bite those who fall
-  Never Surrender

Bee-Lady (PC)
- They get + Dex, - Con

- They can't fly (Earth is too massive, too much gravity, etc) but you can use your wings to push off the ground and jump 30' straight up.  You can also use this to jump a horizontal distance of 60'.  They can fly on the Moon or in a similarly low-gravity environment. 

- Possess a sting attack, (1d6 + save or die), but you die after using it unless you get powerful magical healing sufficient to repair a lost limb or massive internal trauma.

- You can store stuff in your second stomach.  you can store about as much stuff as a large chest.  You are only negatively affected (in terms of weight) if you are carrying a bunch of gold bars or bullets or something similarly heavy. 

- Do not speak.  Communicate through interpretative dance or sign language.  It takes a minute to speak a sentence.  Mid-combat, or in some other high intensity, short-term activitiy, you must make a Cha check to be understood.  Mimes can always understand you, if they've spent more than a day around you.     

- If you have Cha 13+, others never have any trouble understanding you. 

The Palace of the Moon

                                          (Yosganeth's real Palace would probably be much tackier than this)

This is the only structure of any real complexity on the Moon.  It is several miles tall, and is visible from Earth, even without a telescope.  It is a mansion of immense size, surrounded by gardens and fountains, but almost no one has seen the inside and lived.  The only way to see the inside and survive is to be immensely powerful, or be invited inside.  And while securing an invitation to the Palace is basically impossible, breaking in and surviving is an even more narrow prospect.

Once inside you will find a maze of residential halls, kitchens, feast halls, and offices.  The inside of the Palace is a terrible place, where all the Wicked (by Yosganeth's standards) are taken after death, to be cooked as food and served to his friends.  The offices are  used to similar effect, as that is where the Ghost-Writers live.

The Ghost-Writers look Bee-Ladies, but are anything but, in the same way that The Angels of Christianity are more than buff Europeans with wings.  While Yosganeth is the Author of Fate and the Weaver of Destiny, he does not have the time nor interest to personally write every detail of every person's fate.  As such, he delegates this power to the Ghost-Writers, who are tasked with writing the fate of the child who freezes to death at eighteen months, or the adventurer who walks into a dungeon and gets disemboweled by the first blade trap, then spends the next fifteen minutes bleeding out while his companions get chewed on by Undead.   

(Ghost-Writers look like Bee-Ladies, but with black and white fur, ghostly white skin, and their wings are grey and covered in silver threads)
HD 3  AC 14  Weapon(+2) 1d6 or Sting(+0) Save or Die
Mor 7     Saves 10+

Sting: Anyone hit by the Sting must succeed a saving throw or die.  If they live, the Ghost-Writer is allowed a save.  If she passes, she lives.  If she fails, she dies.  If her sting kills someone, she automatically fails her save.

Flyer: +4 to Initiative.  Ghost-Writers can fly anywhere, not just in the Moon's low gravity.

Demonic: Ghost-Writers are technically Angels, though they lack any of the features of their more powerful brethren.  Ghost-Writers are immune to curses, aging, and do not need food or air.

- Use your Sting on the strongest looking target
- Do not use Stings if you don't outnumber the enemy
- Two per enemy
- Fly away if more than half die

The Cosmomancers

The Cosmomancers all receive their powers through a spiritual connection to Yosganeth.  After death, he will come to collect, and his servants will come to drag the Cosmomancers back to the Palace of the Moon, where they will be served as food for their master's pleasure.  Most Cosmomancers are blissfully unaware of this.

The Doom of the Cosmomancer

I wrote more about this here.  Whenever you amass a number of Doom Points from rolling Chaos or Corruption, you suffer a Doom.  10 Doom Points invokes the Doom of Fools, 20 the Doom of Kings, and 30 the Ultimate Doom.  After that you will accumulate no more Doom Points, but surviving the Ultimate Doom is usually impossible, unless you are very well prepared.  

The Doom of Fools: 1d3+1 Ghost-Writers (3 HD) immediately appear via gateway and attempt to drag you back to the moon with them.  Ghost-Writers still possess the fatal sting of the Bee-Ladies, but will only use it on enemies.  The point is the bring the Cosmomancer back alive. 

Doom of Kings:  As above, except 1d4+2 Ghost-Writers of (5 HD).

Ultimate Doom:  As above, except 1d20+20 tentacles (5 HD) of Yosganeth himself emerge from the walls and ceilings within 300' to drag you back to the moon.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Angel of Despair

                                       (This is close, but they wear no jewels and never smile)

One day, humans will be able to understand the true nature of the universe.  Their Free Will has been plundered, stolen from them.  Their lives are not their own.  They were once the co-pilots in their own lives, now they are children sitting in the backseat, playing with a plastic steering wheel while the New Gods who slithered out of the darkness drive them toward a looming cliff.

All the other races, the new ones that began appearing in 1890, are all slaves, possessing only the faintest expression of free will.  They are the God's property, slaves to unknown whims, bound by strings they cannot see. And yet, the still continue to hope.  They believe that they can save themselves, create a better tomorrow.  They are wrong on this token.

And yet, if this is truly the case, as Yosganeth's cult suggests, why do his servants fight so hard against it?  If there was no power in hope, then why bother discouraging it?  Let them have their illusions, and crush them at your leisure.  But instead they aggressively discourage it.  Yosganeth's elect even include the Angels of Despair, those who seek the end of all hope.  If their was truly no power in hope, why would Yosganeth be so interested in discouraging it?

Angels of Despair are gruesome, cruel things.  They have wasted humanoid forms, blighted by scars and torment, starved of food and light.  They wear black or dark grey, their skin so pale it looks blue in some conditions.  They carry swords carved of black ice from the depths of the Lunar Ocean, and treasure these above all else.  An Angel of Despair that loses its sword is an Angel that is unworthy of respect, power, or life.  They will do anything to retrieve their swords.

Furthermore, Angels of Despair are hopeless creatures.  They have no pride, and will do anything to win or retrieve their swords.  They have no other interests.  If you talk to them, they will mock and denigrate you for any conceivable reason.  They want you to leave, or to kill them.  They hate almost everything, including Yosganeth.  In their slavery to him, they chafe, utterly miserable.  They wish they could rebel, but they feel that any rebellion would be hopeless, and is doomed to failure.  And they are right.  (((Or are they?)))  They consider every battle they are sent to fight a suicide mission, and consider themselves doomed from the start.  If an Angel of Despair kills a character, they must save vs hope.  If they fail their save, they are transformed into a Demon of Hope.

Angel of Despair
HD 6/6  AC 13  Sword(+3) 1d8/1d8
Mor 10  Saves 10+

Swordbearer: The Angel of Despair relies on its sword.  If it is disarmed, it cannot attack.

Depressing Aura: When you enter combat with the Angel of Despair, express any thought that is depressing, take damage from its sword, or see it reanimate you must save vs despair.  Those who fail their save are vulnerable to the Angel's Poison and get -1 to hit, as in Failure Cascade. 

Poison: Anyone who fails their save against the Angel of Despair's depressing aura takes 1d6 Cha damage on a hit.  Every further hit does an additional 1d6 Cha damage.  If this damage every equals or exceeds your Charisma score, you gain a new Conviction, "I will not succeed at my goals."  You also become quite melancholy, and lose any belief that this mission will be successful.  You may still continue the fight, but you may feel it pointless.  The Angel may too, as equally depressed people are among the few things it does not hate. 

Failure Cascade: If you fail your save against the Angel of Despair's depressing aura, every time you fail to strike the Angel of Despair you get -1 to hit it.  This stacks for each time you miss, up to -10.  If you passed your first save, save again. Failing this second save means you must save vs despair on each miss.  If you pass this second save, you are immune to its depressing aura for the rest of the day.   

Reanimation: When the Angel of Despair's first pool of HD is expended, it comes back to life and relies on its second pool of HD. 

- Dodge, try and get people to miss
- Attack those who fail their saves first
- If you cannot, attack those who have the lowest WIS, and try and get them to fail their saves

              (Combine all three visuals on this page and that will give you an idea of what they look like)

A Quick Note on Convictions: Convictions are like bonds or character features in 5E.  They are meant to simulate willpower.  For example, if you are taking 1d6 Charisma damage a round because you have to stick your hand in a magical box that simulates pain, but this is to save a bunch of kids, and you have a Conviction that says, "If I can help it, I will allow no one to hurt a child," then you can subtract 1d6 from the Charisma damage you take each round (min=0).
Note that this only applies to willpower.  If the box is actually hurting you, that would be a Con or a Fort save, depending on the system.
Also, Convictions can be negative.  Just in case that wasn't obvious.      

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Angel of Time

In Eldritch Americana, Time Travel is not as difficult as people think.  After all, everyone is time traveling toward the future at all times, sailors on the sea on fate.  But sometimes, the fabric of time will become entangled by an object's gravitational pull, whether its gravity or the its "Gravity".  Other times the fabric of Time and Space can become folded and distorted, or tears can develop.  The former usually occurs because of Wizards and dungeons, and the latter are usually caused by adventurers messing around with portals or extra-dimensional storage devices.  And in the most serious cases, paradoxes can occur.  All of these things are undesirable to the Lord of the Infinite Time-Ways, so enforcers are needed to mend these gaps in time, and ensure everything is proceeding on schedule.

                         (This isn't really how they look, I have no idea what they look like)

For this purpose, The Author of Fate creates Angels of Time.  Angels of Time are among the foremost of Yosganeth's servants, carved of deep time and endowed with his most powerful magicks.  Angels of Time tend to look like vaguely humanoid versions of ancient prehistoric life, or glimmering automatons from a universe yet, or never, to come.  They are always immediately recognizable as the servants of a God, and walk with imperious grace.  If you are not the source of the problem, and do not inconvenience them, they may just walk past you.  Though the chance of this drops the closer you get to the anomaly they have been sent to correct, and how much they think you know about the current situation.  An Angel of Time is a blunt instrument, a wrecking bar sent hurtling through the fragile constructions you have left so carelessly lying around.  They always take the most direct, most efficient way of fixing a problem.  They are ruthlessly, excessively violent, and their favorite way of dealing with mortals who need to be eliminated or get in their way is to wipe them off the face of the Earth.

Thankfully, Angels of Time are mercifully rare.  They only tend to show up when their are major temporal or spatial shenanigans.  For example:
- one of your dingus players put a bag of holding inside a portable hole
- one of your dingus Wizards attempted to travel through time
- one of your players acquired an item that stops, slow, or otherwise manipulates time and used it too much
- a giant magic ritual was interrupted at the last second, and now is backfiring spectacularly
- something happens that breaks the fiction of the game, such as a player asking the DM if they can answer the player's cellphone

                   (However you describe them, make sure its weird and messed up)

Angel of Time
HD 8  AC 13  Weapons of the Time-Master 1d4 (exploding) attacks for 1d6 (exploding) damage
Mor 10  Saves 8 or greater

Decay Beam: The Angel of Time pushes you up the timeline, aging you d4 years.  The d4 explodes on a four, forcing you to also age 1d6 years, and that d6 explodes on a 6, and etc. When this happens, make a d20 roll, and consult the following table.  
Effects of the Decay Beam-
1-3: You have aged poorly.  Reduce 1d6 stats by 1, DM's choice. 
4-6: You haven't aged well.  Reduce 1d3 Stats by 1, DM's choice. 
7-9: You have weathered the worst of aging.  Reduce 1d3 stats by 1, your choice.
10-12: You're still pretty good at what you do.  Reduce your attack and damage bonus by -1d4.
13-15: You gain the Benefit of Experience.  Increase your Attack bonus by +1, and gain your next class ability.
16-18: You evidently become a Master in the future.  Increase 1d3 stats by 1, your choice, and gain the class ability for 2 levels above yours. 
19-20: You achieve apotheosis.  Increase your two lowest stats to 18 for the rest of the fight, and gain your level 9 ability.

Rejuvenation Ray: The Angel of Time restores an object or person to any earlier state.  The target must save or be de-aged 1d4 years.  The d4 explodes, so on a four, they are also de-aged 1d6 years, which also explodes, and so on.  This causes them to reduce 1d3 stats by 1, and lose 1 Experience level.  The Angel can also use the Rejuvenation ray on its lowest setting to heal 1d8 HP. 

Stable Time Loop: The Angel of Time travels back in time to the start of the encounter.  Reset everyone's resources to what they were at the start of the Encounter.  No one but the Angel will remember this, unless the DM approves.  Players may experience a sense of deja vu, however.  Restart the encounter as normal, except you are now fighting 2 Angels of Time, as the Future Angel of Time teams up with its past counterpart.  If the Past Angel of Time is killed, nothing happens, but if the Future Angel of Time is killed, the past Angel of Time vanishes.

Non-existent: Whenever an Angel of Time is killed or flees, their changes are submitted to the Department of Timeline Management and Paradox Control for review.  Acceptable changes are approved, unacceptable ones are nullified.  Essentially this means that the DM is allowed to hand-wave whatever the Angel did as having "happened" or not.  For example, if the Angel is killed, the players are simply planted back before the Angel arrived.  But if the Player who caused the paradox died and any lingering effects of the time/paradox tom-foolery were fixed, then that still happened. 

- Use Decay Beam on the weakest
- Use Rejuvenation Ray on the strongest
- If in danger of dying, create a Stable Time Loop, link up with your past self, and have them heal you

Monday, December 11, 2017

Demon of Fortune

 You might find a Demon of Fortune lurking in the back of a seedy casino, watching a roulette wheel turn, or spot one dicing with some goblins in a dank corner of the dungeon.  Not that you are likely to realize what they are until the knives come out, or they ask to purchase your luck.  A Demon of Fortune is a shapeshifter, just like any other Demon.  They will usually shapeshift to look like a member of your race, or the race of their guests.  They never shapeshift when people are watching them, unless it is under the most dire circumstances.  And while they can shapeshift to look like any living thing, they tend toward the unusual, almost always appearing as an attractive specimen, perhaps with some identifying feature that persists across all their forms, such as a small scar under the eye, or long, red hair.  They are always impeccably dressed, despite the usual grime of their surroundings.

The Demon will begin with pleasantries, and once introductions are made, they will tell you their name.  A Demon's name is part of the ritual to bind it.  This is a fact that any Wizard can tell you.  The fact that it isn't true, and the Wizards are misinformed is something the Demons always fail to mention.  But once the formalities are done with, the Demon will inquire of you what your business is.  If your goals happen to conflict, it will not mention this, and keep speaking to politely as it quickly calculates how best to remove you from the picture.  This could mean asking for your help followed by a dagger to the back, telling you the treasure is actually in the lair of the Omni-badger, three levels down, or tell you that the vault was cleared out long ago.  But if your goals do not conflict, the Demon will try and entice you to gamble with it, or ask to purchase some of your luck.

Demons of Fortune hunt for treasures and coin, not because they have need for it, but because they know mortals desire these shiny rocks, soft metals, and curious stamped circles.  For this reason, Demons of Fortune will never turn down an offer of treasure, or a ransom of treasure.  But their primary coin they deal in is fortune itself.  Demons of Fortune can steal fortune, both good or ill, and utilize it as part of their magical abilities.  For this reason, they highly desire it.  So if a dapper man in a black tailcoat asks you to trade your good luck for a few rubies, be very careful.  Finally, there is one more thing that  you should know.  Demons of Fortune are habitual gamblers, possessing a great love for and great skill at most games.  And while it is dangerous to sell your luck to a Demon of Fortune, to gamble with one is to court disaster.  Many adventurers have stories of how their friends had their pockets emptied, their good fortune stolen, and their immortal souls sucked out their noses by a smiling man with eyes of gold, and a silver nose ring.

They never cheat.

Demon of Fortune
HD 6  AC 10  Throwing Knife 1d6/1d6/1d6/1d6
Mor 11  Saves 10

Luck Vision: Everyone should roll 1d20 at the beginning of the combat.  The Demon of Fortune can see the Fortune of everyone nearby.  If you roll 1-10, you have bad luck, with 1 being the worst.  If you roll 11-20, you have good luck, with 20 being the best.   

Plunder: Demons of Fortune can steal people's luck and redistribute it to anyone they want to.  This requires a successful touch attack.  Whenever a Demon of Fortune goes to steal your good fortune, make a notch next to your name and the DM should make one next to the Demon of Fortune. 
The next time you make an attack, if you have a notch next to your name, you miss.  If you roll a saving throw, if you have a notch next to your name, you fail.  Erase the notch once it has caused you to mess something up.

If the Demon steals your misfortune, draw a star next to your name.  The next attack you make, you hit.  The next time you make a saving throw, you automatically pass.  Erase the star when it causes you to succeed at something you should have failed.  

Bestow: As an action, Demons of Fortune can bestow any number of Notches or Stars upon someone.  This requires a successful touch attack. 

Secret Stash: A Demon of Fortune starts every combat with 1d6 Stars and 1d6 Notches. 

- Steal good fortune
- borrow some misfortune from the unluckiest person here
- Give the misfortune to someone who will have to make a save soon

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Eldritch Americana: Yosganeth

                  (This a good idea of what the Lunar Surface looks like, minus the plane)

If you look at the moon from Earth, you will see red oceans and blue forests covering most of it.  This is normal and expected.  What you will not often see is a vast building, a veritable mansion that rises from the lunar surface, stabbing like a spear into the night.  If you use a telescope, you can see the marble arcades and intricate gardens spreading out from around the mansion.  This is the Palace of Light, and is the dwelling of Yosganeth.

No one has ever entered the mansion and returned to tell us what its like on the outside, so it is a mystery.  Prophets of Yosganeth assure us that the inside is a place of great pleasure, where Yosganeth's elect dwell with him for all eternity.  And clearly this must be so, as Yosganeth will not let any of his elect leave.  Even for the elect who still live, they will never be allowed to sleep soundly, knowing their patron longs for their presence.  And in death, they will be pursued by his agents, for Yosganeth will not relinquish his property.

Yosganeth is also known by other titles, but his attributes are clearly understood.  Yosganeth has power over fortune, fate, destiny, misfortune, and time.  He is worshiped by Bee-Ladies and those who convert to his cult, and empowers the Cosmomancers to be his priests.  But be wary, to worship Yosganeth is to offer your soul to him.  And while Yosganeth is a generous patron, he will brook no breaking of your covenant.   

The Author of Fate


Yosganeth's cult is similar to stoicism, in that one is taught to be accepting of Fate.  A more realistic, ie pessimism is encouraged.  When one is faced by difficulty, one should accept it without complaint or protest, for one's goodness does influence what the Author writes in the book of life, a mythic tome said to reside in his palace.  Supposedly, it contains the destiny of every living being, and is never wrong.  Though it is uncertain whether this book actually exists, or is merely a metaphor to explain how Yosganeth decides on what he should do.  

But while his servants meekly comply with his demands on Earth, Yosganeth occasionally has need of more active help.  For this he creates Angels, divine spirits that exist for a time or to complete a task, before vanishing back into blissful nonexistence.  These Angels are quite intelligent, but incredibly limited in their knowledge and experience.  Think of Angels as a program that is designed to do one specific thing.  They are incredibly specialized in accomplishing one type of task, but they are absolutely clueless at doing anything else.

These Angels include, but are not limited to:

Angel of Time

These are creatures of deep time, of ages long past and yet to come.  They are rarely dispatched, as they tend to settle all problems immediately or not at all.  They have many powers, all relating to their duties as custodians of Time.  Their primary duty is to monitor all time-travel, prevent incursions from the past or future, and punish anyone who attempts to alter history.  Their primary weapons are the Rejuvenation Ray and the Decay Beam, powerful magicks entrusted to them by Yosganeth. 

Angel of Fate/Inevitability

Angels of Fate want you to accept your lot, and realize your destiny has already been written.  They know your destiny, and that of everyone within view.  They know their own fate, and will accept it with gusto.  They are rarely surprised (unless the DM is thrown for a loop, they have foreseen it).  They cannot see the future themselves, but they will claim to be able too.  When the battle begins, roll 1d12.  That is how many attacks will hit them this fight.  For each player under level 5, roll 1d6.  That is how many attacks will hit them this battle.  For every player over level 5, roll 1d8.  Angels of Fate are sent when someone crucial to Yosganeth's plans attempts to change their fate, or a Wizard is attempting to understand their Master's Plans for the Future.   

Angel of Despair

Angels of Despair have no hope, and want you to lose yours.  They realize they are slaves, and will become annoyed if you don't feel like one.  They hate Yosganeth, but feel that rebelling is impossible.  They can limit your actions, curse people, and imprison your character in a soundless, lightless abyss.  Angels of Despair believes it is going to lose, and considers every battle a suicide mission.  If they kill a character, they must save vs hope.  An Angel of Despair that fails this save becomes a Demon of Hope. 

Lord of the Infinite Time-Ways


But Yosganeth's foes are equally numerous.  While none of the other Gods have a special enmity for him, they don't love him either.  So Yosganeth must defend his vast domain from all manner of enemies alone.  Most famous among these are the Demons that plague and ruin his wondrous plans for all of us.  These demons include, but are not limited to:

Demon of Freedom

Demons of Freedom reject this deterministic universe, destiny and fate.  They disrupt reality, altering careful plans and long-held schema.  They fight authoritarianism wherever they go, and are capricious allies with those who oppose restrictions on freedom.  They cannot be restrained or slowed down through any means.   

Demon of Luck

A Demon of Luck is a capricious creature, a seller of fortune, an obsessive gambler, a warrior against fate and circumstances.  These Demons can steal your luck and transfer misfortune to you.  These Demons are compulsive gamblers, and tend to vary in personality.  And while the Demons of Freedom reject Yosganeth for his restrictions on freedom, Demons of Luck reject the idea of planning all together.  The Universe should be governed through chance alone.  They are cheerful nihilists. 
Demon of Hope

Demons of Hopes are sweet, cute and innocent looking.  But they don't act that way.  Most of them look like children, but they are cynical and quite hardened.  They will never give up hope, but don't expect them to trust you easily.  Demons of Hope inspire people to supernatural feats of heroism and valor, and can shrink or grow depending on the circumstances.  If things look hopeless, they will be small and weak.  But if victory is assured, they grow older and more powerful, becoming splendid maids or brilliant lads, wearing the valor of youth and the experience of long age. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Eldritch Americana: A note about Undead

Making lots of different stat blocks and different fluff for various types of undead always seemed silly to me, in the same way that having gnolls, orcs, and any other Chaotic Evil, basically unreddemable militant savage race in a setting was just redundancy for redundancies sake.  So for Eldritch Americana, I decided I'd avoid that.

What are the Undead?

When you die in Eldritch Americana, as usual, a Psychopomp comes to collect your soul.  Depending on your race or religion, it could be anything from a volunteer wrapped in barbed-wire manacles to a giant, crystal insect.  That is, unless you are a human who has no divine affiliation.  As the God of Humanity was killed long before you were born, Humans with no God to protect them will be left adrift the astral sea, with no one to even condemn them to Hell.

So some of them attempt to return to life.  They climb back inside their bodies and attempt to continue as they always have.  But as their bodies continue to degrade, the Undead find themselves trapped, their mental faculties degrading as their brains do.  These Undead usually devolve into feral beasts, or transcend their humanity and maintain their intelligence, even as their superegos wither, leaving them with weakened emotions, little empathy, and no morality.

Note that Humans aren't the only ones who can become Undead, with the exception of Loonies, this a problem for all races.  But Human (corpses) make up the majority of Undead.

How a person died with determine what kind of Undead they became.  Those who drown or are buried at sea will join the ranks of The Sodden or the Drowned.

This is the Base Undead Statblock.  When determining what Undead to use, copy it down and then note whatever abilities these Undead have. 

HD 1   AC 12    Fists or Weapon 1d6
Mor 7  Saves 13

Undead: Don't need to eat, sleep, or rest.  Immune to poison.  


The Artificial Dead

When someone dies in the gutter, or is flung into the sewer and left to rot, sometimes they die.  When they don't, they become Glass Ghouls or Concrete Angels.   

Glass Ghouls are humans who died as above, but for whatever reason deny that it killed them.  Murder victims waking up after being stabbed and walking away, or insisting to be taken to the hospital, even for obviously fatal wounds.  While they are cold to the touch, and will soon begin to decay, at first glance they appear totally normal.  Many a murder investigation has been delayed when the corpse snuck off when no one was looking.  Glass Ghouls use weapons, and no special abilities beyond what they had in life, though any who could cast spells while alive lose that ability now.  For the first 24 hours, a Glass Ghoul looks like a pale, cold person.  Only touching their skin will reveal the fact that they are dead.  Glass Ghouls understand this on a subconscious level, and will resist any attempt by you to touch them.  They tend not to fight, if they can avoid it, and are only as violent as they were in life.

Concrete Angels are a different story.  They can change their skin to the texture, color and density of stone.  They can walk through stone like its water, though loose soil traps them.  They do not rot, instead gradually petrifying.  They can also turn people to stone with a touch, though this only lasts as long as they make contact with the person's bare skin.  They can permanently petrify someone, but this takes much longer, and is not an ability useful for combat.  For this reason, one of the treasures of the Concrete Angel is usually the petrified bodies of adventurers and other victims of the Angel.  If the petrification can be reversed, those turned to stone by a Concrete Angel will be as healthy as they were when they were petrified.   

The Earthly Dead

So you captured Grandpa's corpse, made sure it didn't sneak off, and rather then risk a sea-burial, you locked him in a box and buried him under six feet of dirt.  That will teach the old fart to not die!  Problem solved, right?

Well it is solved, for now at least.  But in a few years, Grandpa might dig himself out of ground, and come looking for you.  And he'll have plenty of time to think about what he was going to do to you.

The Earthly Dead come in two varieties, Spore Carrier and Worm King.
Spore Carriers have poisonous flesh and fluids, those considering they are rotting, moving corpses with growths and fungi visible all over their bodies, its doubtful anyone will be trying to eat them.  Spore Carriers can release clouds of spores in a thirty foot cone, or in a ten foot cloud around them.  They can do this once per hour.  To see what their spores do, roll on the following table.  Spore Carriers are perhaps the dumbest undead, with little ability to speak and think.  This is because their lower soul, the ID, the one that usually only regulates instinct, has absorbed the soul of a fungus, or perhaps partnered with it.  Spore Carriers exist only to propagate their spores, as they think they are fungus.

What horrible spores does this Earthly Dead have?
1- Rage Spores.  All who inhale these spores must save.  On a failed save, the affected must spend the next 1d10 rounds attacking something.  They can choose whatever targets they choose, but must attack something.  The affected will automatically prioritize the living over the dead or the incapacitated.
2- Drowsiness Spores.  All who inhale these spores must save.  On a failed save, the affected take 1d6 Wisdom damage.  They take 1d6 Wisdom damage for each additional round they spend in the cloud.  If this Wisdom damage ever equals or exceeds someones' Wisdom score, they fall asleep.  They get a new save to wake up if someone takes a round yelling at them, slapping them, etc.  The Wisdom damage taken by these spores lasts until the affected can get some sleep.
3- Hallucination Spores.  All who inhale these spores must save.  On a failed save, the affected start hallucinating.  Since this hallucination is at least partially magical, al the affected see the same thing.  As the DM, you should make something up, but keep it subtle.
4- Distress Spores.  These spores do not affect the players in a directly harmful way.  Instead, they are a warning to other fungal creatures and Earthly Dead that these are foes.  Until the players go and wash themselves and their equipment, double their chances of random encounters.
5- Fire spores.  These spores stick to everything, and are incredibly flammable.  Until the players wash themselves and their equipment, they take +1d6 fire damage, or +1 damage per die.
6- Glass Spores.  These spores do 2d6 damage when inhaled, save for half.  Additionally, they do 1d6 additional damage per round spent in the cloud.

 Worm Kings are essentially the same as Spore Carriers, with one important exception.  While Spore Carriers have no upper soul to guide them, and are merely moving on muscle memory and fungal genetic programming, Worm Kings have an upper soul that subordinates the ID and the invading fungal souls.  They can perfectly understand why people run and hide when they come, but they are to far removed from humanity to care to listen.
Worm Kings are similar to Spore Carriers except they each get two kinds of Spores.  Select one from the table above, and one from below. 
What horrible toxins is the Worm King carrying?
1- Madness Spores.  Anyone who enters this cloud must save or take 1d6 Intelligence damage.  Those who fail their saves take an additional 1d6 Intelligence damage for every round spent in the cloud.  If this Int damage ever equals or exceeds your Intelligence score, you become stark raving mad.  But since this is a shared madness, all the affected will have it.  I would recommend something that either seems reasonable, or something totally out of left field.  For example, have the affected all switch character sheets and then shuffle the names around.
2- Fear Spores.  Anyone who enters this cloud must save vs fear.  Those who fail their save take 1d6 Charisma damage.  For every round spent in the cloud, they take an additional 1d6 Cha damage if they failed their save.  If this ever equals or exceeds their Charisma score, the affected will flee, in the safest and most expedient way possible.
3- Acid Spores.  These spores contain acid, not the type of compound, but the drug.  All those who inhale the spores start having wild hallucinations, no save.  And that doesn't sound hard, so try shooting straight while you're tripping out.  5% chance of a bad trip.
4- Death Spores.  Any who inhale these spores must save.  On a failure, the affected take 1d6 Con damage as the spores weaken them and shred their insides.  They take an additional 1d6 Con damage per round spent in the cloud.  If this damage ever equals or exceeds your Constitution score, you immediately drop to zero HP and start dying.

The Burning Dead

Okay, well clearly the best thing to do is just cremate all the bodies, right?  Cremation is the most effective way to prevent a body from reanimating, followed closely by thorough dismemberment.  But since the latter is considered quite rude, cremation is preferred.  And done properly, cremation can prevent any posthumous resurrection.  But like all things, mistakes are made.  If the fire isn't hot enough, or the furnace improperly built, or due to unforeseen circumstances, the corpse isn't tidily devoured by the flames.  The Undead who rise from these circumstances are generally considered the most fearsome and deadly of all, and not just because they set everything they touch on fire. 

There are two varieties; Ashen Dead and Embersons.  Ashen Dead are blackened and cracked by fire, like a hotdog that fell down into the coals and burned on the embers for hours.  Ashen Dead absorb fire and take no damage from it, burning for a number of turns equal to the damage dealt.  They also leech water from anything they touch, as they are so dessicated.  Ashen Dead are desperately in pain.  They beg those they pass for help, thanking God for helping them to live in one hand while cursing him with their next breath.  They will curse you the same, if you refuse to help them.  And you should help them.  If you do not, they will hunt you down, kill you, and bathe in your blood.  It's the only thing that brings relief to their pain.   

Emberssons are different.  They know they are dead, and for being all they want but cannot have, they hate you.  An Embersson will kill you, screaming obscenities at you as you die an agonizing death at their hands.  But after, they will be quite mournful, realizing their sins.  This grief is genuine, but never lasts long.  For this reason, Emberssons almost never work together, as others are not only a reminder of their own sorry state, but of their sins.

Emberssons devour fire, as it heals them.  They also constantly burn, doing additional damage and setting anything flammable they touch on fire.  They fear water, and will not go within 30' of it if they can help it.  Emberssons can also spit fireballs and leap in and out of fires like they are doorways.  Wherever they are, their is always the crackling of fire and the smell of burned meat.


Thursday, December 7, 2017

If you needed another reason to stop watching porn

Hello everyone!  This is going to be a more serious post, so please, feel free to avoid it if you're not up for reading about sad things or political things, because this post is both of those things.

Recently, a woman killed herself.  And that's tragic, but it's not what I'm concerned about.  One suicide is a tragedy for the family, and for the deceased.  But it wouldn't concern me.  What concerns me is that this woman was bullied into suicide by her peers, by a group of moral-busy bodies.

That woman's name was August Ames, and she was a pornstar.  And while I believe that no one should watch porn, for various reasons, I respect the rights of others to defile themselves as they see fit.  And Ames clearly made that choice.  And she had a relatively unimportant career.  I know this because I had never heard of her before today.  But then, she objected to filming a movie with a male pornstar who had done gay porn before.

But why no, you ask?  Well, the reason is probably simple.  She was probably worried about catching HIV from this male performer.  Especially since California, where the porn industry is primarily based, just reduced the sentence for knowingly infecting someone with a deadly disease to a mere slap on the wrist.  So she objected to doing the scene.

 But it didn't end there.  Twitter got very cross with her, and some of her peers in the industry began relentlessly bullying her.  And after three days of non-stop harassment, Ames killed herself.

This would be an abominable situation in any set of circumstances, but in these, it was absolutely hypocritical.  Here in the heart of California, in an industry dominated by leftist and left-wing politics, the seat of Feminism, a group of men dictated to a woman what she would do with her body.  And when she refused, they harassed her until she took her own life.  For people who claim to speak for women, to stand up for them, who scream, "Her body, her choice," did this.  These men have proven what we've all known about Feminism and Social Justice for years now.  It is not about gaining more rights and protecting minorities.  It is about power, and by using women, minorities and other classes of people as moral cudgels to gain power.

But if a member of one of those protected classes dares to have an opinion not approved by the Party, then they must be excommunicated, and destroyed.  The purpose of this public pillorying is two-fold.  One, it is to prevent others from leaving the "correct" way of thinking.  Secondly, it is to strip the one they have strayed of any authority they would have had as a woman, minority, or other type of moral sock-puppet.  This is why this presumably progressive woman who worked in porn was called a homophobe in the same way black conservatives are called Uncle Toms and house niggers. 

Porn degrades women, causes erectile dysfunction in young men, sucks up your valuable time and money, and causes you to become passive and accepting.  Furthermore, the industry chews people up and spits them out, and now has been revealed to be a den of vipers and hypocrites.  So why are you still watching it?   

Friday, November 24, 2017

VoDF: Zone 1- Kill Parlour

Zone 1- Kill Parlour

This zone is the old foreman's house, long abandoned after a night of red butchery that forever marred the walls of this house.  You enter this zone by traveling down a recently dug tunnel until you reach a hole in the floor.  Going down through the hole leads to Room 1. 

1: Broom Closet.

This room is a storage for brooms, mops, and cleaning supplies.  Also in here are 1d6+1 Servant outfits, 50% of being maids dresses and 50% being butler's tailcoats and black trousers.  Wearing a servant's uniform will prevent the Butler from attacking you, unless you try to steal something or attack a guest.   

2: Servant's passageway.

This is a hallway that the servants use to pass through the house without drawing to much attention from the guests. 
It is pitch-black, and utterly silent.  There is a door to room 7. 

3: Butler's Quarters

Here is where the Butler lives.  The Butler sleeps on a futon on the floor, which is neatly rolled up in the corner.  There is a painting of a rather, plain, but smiling woman in a fine dress, with a faceless man in a black tunic standing behind her.  Everytime you try to focus on the faceless man, your gaze slides off him.  The painting is not magical.  There are letters sitting on a shelf, each one with lots of similarly obscured text.  All the letters are addressed to the same person, but you have no idea who.   

4: Kitchen

Here is where the food would be prepared.  Unfortunately, the shelves are bare.  The only thing to eat is name-day cake, freshly made and delicious looking.  The cake has "Happy 111th Name-Day, Phoebe!"  Written on it in blue icing.  The cake is poisonous, and anyone who eats it also has a 20% chance of finding on the needles in the cake.   

5: Guest Room 1

This is an immaculately clean, well kept room.  Their is someone sleeping the bed.  They are sleeping soundly, with their hair having grown ridiculously long.  It is braided.  Their nails have grown as well, and they have been filed and painted. If awoken, the guest will attack in a frenzy.  They will not pursue you beyond the room, but they will come after you.   

6: Guest Room 2

This room is different.  The person sleeping here has clearly been here for much less time, and is not sleeping soundly.  She is clearly having a nightmare.  Sitting on the nightstand next to her bed is a ventriloquist's dummy.  The Dummy is kind of creepy, but very well made.  A handsome thing that could fetch a fair price at auction.  The Dummy is magical.  Anyone who pours blood over the dummy will activate it.  The Dummy will then pursue the blood's owner to the ends of the earth and kill them.  Once they are dead, the Dummy deactivates.    

7: Grand Dining Room

Here are long table, fit to sit thirty, is immaculately cleaned and set with enough plates, plus carefully folded napkins, silverware and the like.  If anyone sits down at the table and takes a Napkin, they must make a Charisma check.  1d20+Cha modifier+1 per level past first.  If they pass DC 15, the plates are instantly filled with enough food to feed all thirty people.  If they fail, mocking laughter fills the air, and the Butler is summoned to the hall.     

8: Ballroom

Here is a grand hall where the guests would dance, or engage in social frivolities.  There is a fountain here with a Kappa watching, hiding in the deepest part of the fountain, in the center.  If anyone investigates the fountain, he would grab them and drag them down the shaft in the center, which is a 50 foot flooded shaft to Zone 3.   

9: Child's Room

The room is obviously meant for a young girl, painted in soft pastels with a large toy-chest in the corner, colorful plush rugs, and a giant stuffed bear to cradle the child's head.  The child is a young girl, who is asleep in the bed, and looks perfectly innocent and perfectly young.  If you jostle her, she will wake up.  This girl's name is Phoebe, and she is a demon.  Phoebe is absolutely ruthless and savage, with no regard for other's lives.  On Phoebe's bedside table is a silver bell.  If someone drips blood over the bell, they are bonded to it.  Whenever it rings, no matter how far away they are, they will hear it, and no the exact location the bell was when it was rung.  This bond is broken if the bloodstain is wiped clean.     
10: Master's Room

The Master's Room.  His last remaining servant is awaiting his return, and has kept his room exactly as he left it.  The room is a complete mess, the tables crowded with rotting food, the attached half-bath covered in mold and lichen, the drawers full of broken glass and metal shards.  In the bedside table is the key to unlock the confinement cells, and in the dresser, surrounded by spiky metal and glass shards, is a belt of gold links, worth 300 g.  This belt is the prime treasure.  Anyone searching through this stuff must succeed a Dex check or cut themselves.  Anyone who does cut themselves must save vs disease.  The disease will slowly begin to transform someone into the House's Master, eventually transforming them to look exactly like him.  Anyone wearing the belt of gold will have no trouble from the butler.    

11: Confinement Rooms

Here is a series of three cells with iron bars.  The cells are open at the moment, but if they are shut, they will lock.  The Butler and the Master are the only ones who have a key.  If someone is in the cell, the Omitted Butler will not attack them. At the rear of the third cell is a pair of skeletons.  One of them is wearing some moth-eaten robes, and has a spellbook by his.  The robes are crusty with dried blood.  The other skeleton is hideously charred and broken in half at the waist.  He has a dagger that was once gilded, but the gold melted and is now on the skeleton's hand.  The spellbook contains 1d4 spells of a random school.  The dagger is magic, and does +4 damage to Wizards or spell-casters.  Anyone who touches the spellbook or uses any of the spells inside must secretly save vs madness or develop the Wizard's insanity, and anyone who uses the dagger is cursed to die in a fire (no save against the curse; fire deals double damage to them).        

12: Foyer

This was supposed to be the room that greeted guests as they entered.  It is a nicely decorated room.  Going through the door leads to Flux A.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

VoDF: Well that did not go as planned

I think I just learned one of the perils of typing out your thoughts before they've had adequate time to metastasize.  I've been working on the Vaults of Dr. Facilier, though it might be better called Facilier's Failed Factory.  In short, my early concept underwent significant evolution, until it basically did not resemble anything that I wrote about in my last post.  But I'm going to push ahead, regardless, as I feel that the foundation has been laid securely enough that such a radical metamorphisis will not happen again.

Mandatory Background Lore Stuff

Dr. Facilier was a wealthy industrialist who founded a company that began to excavate a series of caverns to build an underground factory.  This factory, despite being underground, was rather normal, and passed all safety inspections.  What was strange about the Factory was that it seemed designed to limit the impact the factory had on the world, confining all the labourers underground in a town built within one of the more spacious caverns.  This was because that while Facilier produced conventional goods, he also wanted a safe place where he could research and experiment on the mysterious substance found at the bottom of the Cavern. 

The material they found was a substance they named Achorine [Ack-or-eene].  Achorine mutates anything it touches, creating hideous, but improved beasts.  The first few test subjects exposed to Achorine either died, or changed utterly.  The survivor became something utterly removed from humanity; as distant from us as we are from apes.  In later experiments, Achorine was diluted, mixed with water and other chemicals to make a less-potent, but more stable brew.  This is called Accro by the management, or Ace by the labourers.    

The factory had two levels.  The outer factory produced conventional goods, namely munitions; but it also had smaller sub-factories that produced in-house goods for the labourers who lived within the company town.  This level was the only one that supposedly existed, and was all above board.  The inner factory was different.  Officially it did not exist, and all the management denied it, or were ignorant of it.  The inner factory was dedicated to producing weapons based off Achorine, and experimenting on human subjects. 

But for all the power Achorine brings, it also contaminates everything it touches.  Inert physical materials will be warped through long exposure, and it causes mutation and change in living tissue.  Accro does not cause immense mutation, but even the most diluted type twists the genome of those unfortunate enough to consume it, like a skilled harpist plucking at the RNA. 

So the experiments began, but after a while, Dr. Facilier realized that Achorine would only corrupt and pollute everything it touched.  So he decided to destroy it.  But before he could do that, A group of conspirators assassinated the foreman and took over the factory.  Facilier barely escaped with his life, but he vowed revenge.  In his rage, he ordered the destruction of the tunnels to the surface, blowing them up and trapping everyone still in the factory underground.  Facilier managed to cover up the whole incident by claiming it was an industrial accident and that everyone underground was dead, but the ensuing public relations fiasco ruined him, leaving him penniless, his company torn to pieces.  And so the contaminated land was left undisturbed, until recently.        


But this is largely opague to the players.  All I plan on telling them is that their is a dungeon underground, and that they should go and raid it.  I wrote the lore stuff to help myself stay on theme.  And the themes I'm working with are abandoned industry, twisted, malfunctioning technology, mutation bringing distance from mankind, and the poisoned fruit of power.    

Below is a map of the Vaults.  Each Zone is a mini-dungeon in itself, which I am currently writing.  I will publish the Zones as they are written. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

VoDF: A new project- The Vaults of Dr. Facilier

So last night I was thinking about something unimportant, and after reading a stack of Vaults of Vyzor actual play reports, I thought I would shamelessly steal- I mean make an homage to it.  So I started writing, and this is what I came up with. 

"A man named Dr. Salvador Facilier discovered some hidden catacombs in a ruined district of his home city.  He and some of his pals ventured down into the catacombs to see what was up.  Of the five that went in, only Dr. Facilier returned.  He returned with a few treasures, some disturbing stories, and an obsession.  Dr. Facilier would make five more delves into the dungeon, before he went irrevocably insane and was confined to his family home where he still lives, under close supervision by a physician.  But before that, he founded the Ground-floor or Lower Demolition, Inc.  GOLD, Inc. still operates today, hiring expendable pawns to go down into the dungeon and plunder the vaults discovered by the good doctor of any potential treasures."

For about seven minutes of work, that's not bad.  But before I go any further, let me set a few guidelines. 

And yes, I was watching princess of the Frog

Firstly, this project, which I will be tagging VoDF until I can come with a better name, is not meant to be high art, or even medium art.  I am creating it with the intent that this can be the D&D equivalent of a game of pick-up basketball.  There will be continuity between each session, but it doesn't depend on a regular group of players regularly attending to work.  People should be able to easily drop in and out, with minimal hassle. 

Secondly, it should be modular.  The Vaults will be constructed using Paper and Pencils' flux space concept, meaning that it is essentially a bunch of small dungeons connected by various passageways, secret doors, and etc.  But the Vaults should still have some connection to each other, so that they complement each other, but you could still remove one and use it as a small mini-dungeon.

Thirdly, it should be low-effort, but still fun.  I don't plan on putting a lot of work into this, it's just meant for wine-and-nachos fun.  So that means Goblins, Elves, Dragons sleeping on piles of gold, all that stuff.  But I'm still going to throw in a few curveballs, because that's just how I roll.

Four, it will have Roguelike elements.  Most editions of D&D and their clones have de facto permadeath, so that's not an issue.  But I also plan on introducing a few others, such as the ability to work toward some collective goal, and permanent upgrades that any party member can use. 

Stay tuned for more details.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My Problem with Into the Odd

I've recently been looking through some of the old blogs I used to read, and Sooga Games leaped out at me.  About this time last year, I discovered that blog and the wondrous creation of Chris McDowall.  It fascinated me at the time, but after looking over the basics of Into the Odd once more , I discovered my primary objection to the game. 

You see, Into the Odd almost seems like an experiment in game design, specifically an experiment that posed the question "How much can we hack off D&D for it to still be vaguely recognizable?"  The answer, as it turns out, is a lot.  Into the Odd has no races, no classes, no attack rolls, only three attributes, no skill list or skill checks, and a handy-dandy chart that lets you build a character in about five minutes, provided you already know what their personality and name will be.

And I don't have a problem with any of that.  McDowell should be commended for what he's done.  I find Into the Odd to be remarkably intuitive, with a fascinating setting and just enough content to stir up the imagination while leaving plenty of blank spots for an creative GM to fill in.  So that's clearly not my problem.  But I did have a problem with Into the Odd, I just couldn't tell you why.

So I kept thinking, writing and rewriting potential additions to Into the Odd to see if I could fix this problem.  I thought I found a solution in my creation, the Odd Fellow.  You see, in the Into the Odd, there are objects called Oddities.  Oddities can be anything from magic hammers that ask you why you wield them to giant fountains that can produce any fluid but water.  As players survive and complete adventures, they acquire Oddities.  These are one of the main ways that players increase their ability set in Into the Odd.  There are some other ways, but I wasn't really aware of them at the time.  I decided to expand upon this, by writing an NPC type called the Odd Fellow.  Odd Fellows are people who bond with a specific Oddity, to the exclusion of all others.  This grants the Odd Fellow a greater ability to use that Oddity, but prevents them from using any others. 

And this naturally lead to the idea of letting my players become Odd Fellows.  But as cool as this idea was, it lead me to an immediate stumbling block.  You see, Into the Odd campaigns follow a very simple pattern: Go on expedition--> Get treasure + Oddities--> Sell treasure and useless Oddities--> Go on Expedition--> etc.  But if I am limiting my players to only one Oddity, then that robs them of a lot of incentive to adventure.  And I can't even do what LotFP does by linking treasure to XP, because Into the Odd doesn't have class levels!

Though I suppose this problem is not insurmountable.  I could just get the players very invested in the world, and actually keep track of all the gold they earned, but I hate tracking minor resources like that.  Besides, Gold doesn't really affect that much about the players, not like a magic sword or XP does.  I thought that perhaps the ideas were simply too incompatible; that Into the Odd was a semi-horror game about plucky nobodies venturing into the weak points in the world to scavenge the known from the incomprehensible, and Odd Fellows are based off a concept from Japanese mangaka, Hirohiro Araki.

The concept I borrowed was that of the [Stand].

A Stand is like a ghost manifested by a person's body.  Perhaps in the future I will make another post about how Stands work, and how to adapt them to D&D or a role-playing setting.  But that's not the point of this post, as cool as Stands are.  They are a bit out of place with a setting like Into the Odd's, a land of pseudo-Enlightenment revolution, Industrial Age cities, and dark corners crawling with many-mouthed horrors.  Stands are much less jarring in the setting of JoJo's bizarre Adventure, the manga I stole them from, an alternate version of modern day earth, but where everyone wears experimental high fashion, strike fabulous poses whenever the occasion arises, and some people can summon colorful ghosts projected from their bodies.

But I think that ultimately my problem is that Into the Odd is too simple.  It does everything that a more traditional RPG does, but because of its ultra-minimalist construction, every piece is absolutely essential.  You cannot pull anything out or modify it, unlike something with a bit more redundancy.  If you change anything about it, you aren't playing Into the Odd, and that's bad, because it'll cause the whole game to unravel.  And I don't like that.  I'm the type of person who is constantly trying to improve.  I've never run two campaigns exactly the same way, and I have no intention of ever doing so.   

Additionally, the other problem I have with Into the Odd is the lack of clear advancement.  Characters in D&D are always getting stronger, better, faster.  But leveling up is much more abstracted in Into the Odd.  And there is leveling, but it just doesn't sit well with me.

And in the end, that is kind of disappointing.  Ultimately my real objection just comes down to mechanics.   

Friday, November 10, 2017

We've all come to look at America

Let's get started, shall we?

I want you to watch the above, then I will dutifully explain to you what I dislike about this ad for the next 350 words or so.  My main grievance comes at 0:03.  There you see a blond haired woman standing in a suburban park, a girl with similar hair hugging her at the same time.  Now, there's nothing wrong with her or the little girl in of themselves.  But it's what the picture does not show that bothers me.  The little girl bears an unmistakable resemblance to the woman, meaning they are most likely mother and daughter.  This bothers me because I find the way our society tolerates and appreciates single mothers, while denigrating fathers and the nuclear family immensely harmful. 

Now this woman is not married, she is a single, working mother, most likely divorced.  Now that may seem a leap in logic, but I will explain why I think so.  First, the woman is most likely middle class, judging by her nice clothes, styled hair, and clean appearance.  This is not a woman who works in retail or blue collar worker.  She has a well-paying, white collar job or she has some other form of income.  Maybe she married a wealthy man and is living off alimony. 

And she's obviously older, as her daughter is at least eight to ten years old.  And since the girl doesn't look adopted, the woman is most likely be her biological mother.  And that means there was a man involved at some point.  But he's not here anymore, or at least there's no sign of him.  We can't see the woman's hands, so we cannot confirm the presence of a wedding band.  In past times, it was shameful for a woman to be unmarried like this woman most likely is, and now we lionize her.     

And since college educated women of the upper middle class tend to vote Democrat on the majority of issues, this is clearly pandering to that demographic.  But even more than political points-scoring, this is encouraging destructive practices, or at least not condemning them.


Friday, November 3, 2017

Weird Al Yankovic- Foil

Yankovic's song, Foil, is a parody of Lorde's most famous song, Royals.  It is not a rebuke of her politics or statements, but merely a series of funny jokes.  Foil begins by Yankovic complaining about how his food goes bad, and he uses aluminum foil to keep it fresh.  Royals starts by talking about what life is like for low-income teenagers, and then goes on to critique many pop songs for their glorification of wealth and financial grandeur. 

But Yankovic does not stop there, he continues, as the second verse diverges even further from Royals, as he launches into a bizarre tirade about how the government faked the moon landing and they are currently spying on us.  Then he reveals that not only is aluminum foil good for keeping food fresh, but also for keeping aliens from reading your mind or abducting you.   So it appears that Mr. Yankovic is aware of other uses for this humble preservative technology.

Then, just as he is about to launch into another rant, some men in dark suits appear and drug him, before dragging him off to presumably never be seen again, while his producer rips off his face to reveal he is actually a reptilian monster wearing fake skin.  And that has nothing to do with the decadence of our modern culture, or of the gross, materialistic pop music of 2014.  So Yankovic is successfully parodying Lorde's song, but not satirizing her.   

Saturday, October 28, 2017

OSR: Fighting Man

Some players like to play Wizards or Thieves.  They like to get creative, and think of creative solutions.  But to cater to these people is to ignore the player who just likes to be immersed in the world, or really likes to role-play, even if they're role-playing an overly emotional thug who solves every problem by crushing it between his massive biceps.  This is my class for them.  But while Fighting Man is a class that can be played stupidly, every ability has an incorporated risk and reward.  This is a class that can be played intelligently, if you are willing to sit and think about it for a second.

Fighting Man
Starting HP: 1/3 Con
Fighting Spirit: You get +3 FS per level
Starting Equipment: Sword (balanced), chain shirt, Recurve Bow, Arrows (20)
Training Regiment: You level up by killing.  They track individual kills for their weapons, but also their overall kills.  When they hit a certain number, they level up. 



Notches: Whenever a Fighting Man gets 10, 20, 30 or 50 kills or wins as many victories against foes, he gains a Notch in that weapon. For each Notch the Fighter has, he can learn a Secret Technique for that weapon.

He can also learn Secret Techniques from training with older Fighters or reading about them in ancient martial manuals.  However, the Fighter can only have a number of Secret Techniques learned equal to the amount of kills/victories he has made/earned- so if he has 30 kills, he may only know three Secret Techniques, but the source of these techniques need not be the technique he discovered through trial and error on the battlefield.  He could copy a Journeyman technique from a warrior he fought alongside with, or practice one of the Ancient Fist Arts he read about in the old Handsome Man scrolls.  As long as he only has three, the source is irrelevant.

Secret Techniques can be used as an action.  Sometimes they are an addition to an existing attack roll, other times they are separate actions.  It depends on the technique.

River of Blood: After you kill an enemy, you may take an action to chop off their head, split their skull and gulp down some of their cerebral-spinal fluid, or cut out their heart and take a bite, etc.  This gives you a +1 damage bonus for the rest of the fight, up to a maximum of +5. 

Careful Aim: Instead of taking make an attack, you can instead spend your turn aiming, giving you an additional +1 to attack per turn spent aiming.  If you are damaged while aiming, you must save or lose your bonuses.

Explosion: Whenever you roll for damage for a successful attack, you may roll again.  If the new roll is less than or equal to the original roll's base damage, you may add it to the damage done.  If it is higher, you may use that as the damage your attack dealt, and ignore the first roll.  You may do this once per day per weapon.


Wager: You can take a -1 to-hit penalty for a +1 damage bonus. 


Storm of Steel: 1*Cha mod times per day, while in combat, on successful attack, you can force a creature to save.  On a failed save, that creature takes 1d20 damage, save for half, as you pummel it with a barrage of attacks. 

Called Attack: Take an action and declare who you are going to attack next round.  Get -4 to AC until you next turn.  You get +2 to hit if you make the attack you called out and if you do hit, all enemies must immediately check morale or get receive a penalty equal to your level to hit you.  This penalty lasts for the rest of the fight.


Cleave: Whenever you reduce an enemy to 0 hp, you may make a new attack with that weapon.


Vengeance: Whenever an enemy damages you in melee combat, you may immediately make an attack against them as a free action.


Hand of God: If you remove 50% or more of an opponent's HP/HD in one attack, they must immediately save vs death.  On a failure, they go into shock and have a heart attack.  If left untended, they will die in 1d6 minutes.