Thursday, July 21, 2022

Buckets of Blood: Loose Cannon Cop

So, we all agree that the Chainsaw Wizard was badass, right?  

Yeah, I thought so.  But then I found out that the Chainsaw Wizard was part of a whole series of classes and posts related to an 80s B-movie and Grindhouse inspired setting called Buckets of Blood.  

It reminds me a lot of Planet Motherfucker, from Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque (I can't find the link to download it), but with less sex and more ultra-violence.  And that's just fine with me, as I play with the kind of people who wouldn't be able to take a game that had the word "Motherfucker" in the title seriously.  Or at least, as seriously as it would need to be.   

Anyway, this is a class for Buckets of Blood.  

Samurai Cop poster, artist unknown

This used to be a nice neighborhood.  When you were a kid you can remember playing on the street and in the parks with your friends.  Your parents were perfectly fine with letting you run off and do whatever, as they were confident they lived in a Nice Town.

Then, things changed.  The Bad Side of the Tracks spread like a cancer, infecting the wholesome locations of your childhood.  Abetted by weakling bleeding heart politicians who care more for criminal scum than law-abiding, God-fearing citizens, the City's gone to hell.  Now it's not safe to go out at night, and in some places, go out at all.  The people are angry and frustrated, but there's no one out there to help them.  The politicians don't care, and neither do the criminals. 

Worse, the police themselves are castrated.  Back in the day, the boys in blue could have just rounded up these scum and made sure they got what they deserved.  Sure, sometimes people who didn't do nothin' got cracked over the head, but everyone knew that was the cost of doing business.  Break a few eggs, omelettes, etc.  And you usually got the bad guys, so it all worked out.  

These days though, you can't do that.  You even touch a suspect in the wrong way, you could get in trouble.  Worse, they might walk.  So most cops don't even bother with that whole 'law-enforcement' thing.  They just police whether you can collect rain water and write parking tickets.  But when you need 'em, they might as well be ghosts. 

Not you, though.  You're the last straight-edge out there on the street.  And that doesn't mean you follow the rules.  No, you're the straight edge that cuts the throat of crime.  You're the Sheriff in a frontier town and these POS criminals are about to find that out, either when you cuff them and slam their heads into your cruiser, or when you introduce them to the public defenders Smith 'n' Wesson.

Your boss hates you and has been trying to railroad you for years.  He'll get rid of you if it's the last thing he does, but not before getting you to do all of the stuff his lily-white, ivy-league hands can't handle or stomach.  Your partner's a stodgy stick in the mud, your car's non-regulation and yes, your outfit is cheap.  It makes it easier to get the blood off.  But you don't care- you don't do this for the recognition or even the money. 

You do it because Crime is a Disease, and you're the Cure.

from Cobra

You get +1 to Firearm Damage per Template and +1 HP per 2 Templates
Starting Equipment: Suit or Leather Jacket, Gun, Sweet Car, Police Badge, Handcuffs
Starting Skills: 1) Interrogation, 2) Concealment, 3) Intimidation, 4) Investigation
 
A: Badge and Gun, Arsehole Supervisor, One-Liner
B: Defensive Driver, By-the-Book Partner, Hand Cannon
C: Explosion-Proof, Improvised Weapon 
D: Crime is the Disease

A:

Badge and Gun: You are a police officer and thus, will be respected by other police and authority figures, even if you act like a tit in front of them.  Causing too much trouble or acting in a way that is inappropriate too much will lead to a call from Arsehole Supervisor, but generally you will be granted all the privileges and immunities of a police officer. 

Arsehole Supervisor: Your boss is a thin-skinned, Ivy-league educated prick who thinks he knows what real police work looks like and constantly chews you out for actually trying to catch the bad guys.  Sure, sometimes people don't get to enjoy all their "rights", but if that's what it takes to put these creeps behind bars or in the ground, that's what you'll do.  Your Supervisor will call you in if you do something particularly eggregious and if you act out too much, he can impose penalties on you.  But even if he does, that's not going to stop you from getting those creeps and making sure justice is done.    

One-Liner: If you make a snappy one-liner before you attack someone and then successfully do damage to them, you may reroll your damage dice and choose the better result.  Alternatively, if you make a quip after killing someone, you may regain up to 1/2 Templates HP.  This latter ability may only be used 1/Day. 

B:

Defensive Driver: You can drive perfectly well while being shot at or shooting back.  You are skilled enough to improvise jumps and stunts without risking serious life or limb, even in a tense combat situation. 

By-the-Book Partner: You have a partner whose just a stickler for rules, and that's not the only stick he's carrying around.  Your Partner can be called upon to help you keep a secret, cover up a crime, I mean, procedural screw-up you committed, help cover for you with your Arsehole Supervisor and provide back-up if you have evidence that someone committed a crime.  Youy may call upon your partner 1/Day, but they will have questions for where you've been, why are you hanging out with a bunch of societal rejects/menaces to the same and occasionally might ask you to help them with something he's working on.

Hand Cannon: When you hit someone with your gun, you can halve the damage and cause the creature shot to instead fly back up to 10+[Templates]'. 

C:

Explosion-Proof: As long as you're a sufficient distance away from an explosion, if you're moving away from it, you take no damage from it.  If you are within the blast radius, you have advantage on any save or check made to reduce damage taken by the explosion.  Additionally, you have a 6th sense for detecting hidden bombs and explosives and should you be in danger of triggering one, you get a funny feeling that something isn't right. 

Improvised Weapon: If you're disarmed, you can always find a weapon nearby after a minute or less of searching.  Make a CHA check and on a success, you find one immediately.  If you fail, you find one after a minute of searching.  There is a 50% this weapon is something simple that could be found almost anywhere, such as a kitchen knife or frying pan, with an equal chance it is something unique that could only be found in this area, such as a spear-gun, chainsaw or flamethrower.   
 
D:

Crime is the Disease: 1/Day, you can give yourself advantage (+4) on any attack made against a creature who has broken the laws of the municipality, country or world you are currently in.  Creatures who were found not guilty, no matter if the proceedings were crooked or bullshit, are unaffected by this ability.

from Dirty Harry

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

OSR: Fixing Fifth Edition: The Fighter (part 2)

Part 1

This is a little series I'm doing to revise some parts of 5E that I feel are lacking.  I've done my best to remain within their rules as much as possible, only adding as much as I felt was necessary to make it work.  

Obviously, none of this has been play-tested.  Use at your own risk.  

Martial Archetypes: 

The Fighter, at level 3, gets to pick a sub-class that allows for further customization of any specific character.  This then grants them extra abilities at Level 3, 7, 10, 15 and 18. 

Now, of the three sub-classes, or Martial Archetypes, I don't really like most of them.  The Battlemaster is perfectly fine- I did something similar with my Martial Maneuvers.  I won't be commenting on that one.  It's perfectly suitable for low-level Fighters and pairs nicely with my suggested changes, see part 1.   

The Champion and the Eldritch Knight, on the other hand, leave much to be desired.  The first, the Champion, comes off as very insubstantial to me.  This is the most basic class in the whole game, as Champion Fighter has the least amount of choices.  The Champion's abilities do not add additional factors or choices, they just slightly improve certain athletic skills and give you a chance to do extra damage, but only in a passive way.  Now there's technically nothing wrong with this class, but I feel it to be a wasted opportunity.  

So here's what I did to it.  

by Jeremy Fenske
The Revised Champion: 

3:

Boundless Strength: Your Ability Scores can increase beyond normal mortals.  Each time you gain a Champion Archetype feature, you gain 1 Ability Score point, which can increase 1 ability score.  Your maximum score for all Ability Scores is 22.

Strength of the Heavens: 1/Day, you can temporarily boost your STR for 1 round, granting advantage on any STR check or saving throw.  Additionally, depending on your STR score, you may perform superhuman feats.  See the table below for details.

STR score:  When enhanced...
12-13: You can lift a man over your head and throw him, or break through a wooden wall or door. 
14-15: You can lift a man with one hand, break a sword or metal tool. 
16-17: You can lift a horse or slasher through a cobblestone wall.
18-19: You can lift an ox or a carriage or smash through a stone wall.
20+: You can lift an Elephant or smash through concrete. 

7:

Speed of the Wind: 1/Day, as an action or a reaction, you can temporarily boost your DEX for 1 round, granting advantage on any DEX check or saving throw.  Additionally, depending on your DEX score, you may perform superhuman feats.  See the table below for details.

When your DEX is enhanced, you may add double your DEX modifier (min +2) to your AC for the duration.

When enhanced,
DEX Score:
12-13: You can dodge a stone from a sling, outrun anyone with a lower DEX in a sprint.
14-15: Dodge an arrow, temporarily outspeed a horse.  You gain Evasion when your DEX is enhanced at this level. 
16:17: Dodge a crossbow bolt, outrun a non-magical bird in flight. 
18-19: Dodge a bullet, outrun a creature with superhuman speed.  You add triple your DEX modifier to your AC at this level, for the duration. 
20+: You can, when enhanced, automatically act before anyone else, unless they have equal or higher DEX.  You gain advantage on any attacks against creatures who have less DEX than you. 

10:

As an action or a reaction to being attacked, you can Harden your body, gaining resistance to non-magical slashing,piercing and bludgeoning until your next turn.  You may do this X times per day, where X is your CON modifier.

15:

As long as you have at least 1 HP, you can take am action to meditate.  If you meditate for at least 1 minute, you regain 1d10 HP.  For each additional minute you meditate after that, you regain +1d6 HP.  This ability can only restore you up to half your maximum HP.  Alternatively, for each minute you meditate, you gain a new save against any of the following conditions: blinded, deafened, poisoned, paralyzed or stunned.  If you pass your new save, that condition ends within 1 round.   

18:

You can enter a state of mental detachment called The Emptiness where you act instinctively, rather than thinking through every action.  When you enter the Emptiness, whenever an enemy creature attacks you with a melee attack or enters your space, you may immediately make a weapon attack against them as a free action.  You can only remain in The Emptiness for 1 round before returning to a normal mental state, but you can enter it X times per day, where X is your WIS modifier. 

artist unknown

The Eldritch Knight:

I revised the Eldritch Knight, not because I found the class that objectionable, but because I didn't feel it appropriate.  The Eldritch Knight just comes off to me like a Fighter who regrets his earlier choice of class, but doesn't want to commit to full multi-classing.  It's a Fighter LARPing as a spellcaster and frankly, it feels undignified.  So I made an Eldritch Knight worthy of the title, as the word Eldritch means 'spooky as hell' (or something).

Knight of Blood:

3:

Weapon Bond: Good the way it is.

Spellcasting: You start with three spells, but no cantrips.  You don't get any new spells, you must buy, trade or steal them.  You can prepare up to X spells, where X is your INT score.  You gain spell slots as normal (see Eldritch Knight chart).  You can learn spells from any school of arcane magic. 

Blood Mage: You have the power to draw energy from a creature that has recently died.  If a creature you can touch died violently within the last minute, you can attempt to harvest that creature's remaining mana.  To harvest, take an action and make an INT check with a DC equal to 5+[Creature's HD]. 

On a failed check, nothing happens.  But on a successful check, you gain X Mana Points, which can be converted into spell slots.  Mana Points convert into spellslots like a Sorcerer's Sorcery Points do.  Spell slots can also be turned back into Mana Points, if you wish.  You can store a number of Mana Points in your body equal to your Constitution score.     

7:

Feed the Butcher Gods: When you attack a creature with the ability to cast spells via either Innate Spellcasting or via Spellcasting with spell slots, on a hit, you can halve the damage you do and force that creature to make a CHA save.  On a failed save, that creature loses X spell slots (starting from level 1 and moving up) or X uses of an Innate spell, where X is half of the damage that would have been dealt to the creature.  You then gain X Mana Points, equal to the amount of spell slots or uses of an innate spell that were lost by the creature you damaged. 

10:

Fodder for the Dogs of War: When you kill a creature with the ability to cast spells, you can attempt to harvest the spells it had the ability to cast.  You do this by cutting out and eating the creature's brain or equivalent organ.  Then make an INT check with a DC equal to 8+[Creature's Spellcasting modifier].  On a successful check, you learn X new spells, where X equals your INT modifier.  These spells can then be prepared, or transferred into a spell book as per normal.  On a failed check, you learn nothing from the creature's brain. 

15:

Arcane Charge: Good the way it is. 

18:

Reign of the Bloody Immortals: If you have Mana Points, you can convert them directly into HP.  As an action, choose how many Mana Points you wish to convert.  Each Mana Point converts to 1d6 HP. 

Additionally, spending 1 Mana Point eliminates the need to eat or drink for 1 week.  Frequently spending Mana Points will also slow down the aging process.  For each week you spend 1 Mana Point, you do not age, remaining at your current age for as long as you continue to regularly spend Mana Points.

from here, artist unknown

Saturday, July 16, 2022

OSR: Fixing Fifth Edition: The Fighter (part 1)

This is a post intended for those poor fools stuck playing 5th edition or other non-OSR games.  God bless them and keep them far away from sensible games and gamers.

But, in certain games, specifically in 5E, Casters are ridiculously overpowered.  This is well-known.

Someone, an anonymous individual from somewhere, described D&D as a system based around magic, where casters are privileged over martials.  It is a game where playing a caster is better and if you're not playing one, you're sub-optimal.  And while I'm not sure if that's actually true, I certainly understand the perspective and feel it has merit.  

After all, a 17th level Wizard can control time, teleport, travel to other universes, command the elements and do all sorts of other ridiculous feats.  And what can a 17th level fighter do?  Hit, really hard? 

No, this is unacceptable.  I resolve to fix this.

Part 2 of these fixes can be found here

by Abaddon from KSBD
The Sword that Cuts Heaven:

All Fighters, past a certain level, start to learn how to manipulate their Chi.  Chi is life force that flows through all living things.  After a lifetime of training, the Fighter has learned to channel and incorporate his Chi into his strikes. 

(Does this step on the Monk's toes a little?  Yes, but shut up).

At 9th level, all Fighters gain +X Chi points, where Chi is their current CON modifier.  From this point on, whenever they gain a level, they gain +1 Chi point.  Chi points are used up when used to activate technique, but recovered after a long rest. 

Chi points can be used to perform one of the following Forbidden Techniques, also called .  These techniques are learned from ancient Fighters and Masters who dwell in scenic, isolated locations- meditating under waterfalls and balancing atop bamboo poles, doing Tai Chi on cliffs overlooking huge banks of fog, etc.  They can also be learned from Gods of War and Immortal Warriors.

At 14th level, you gain the ability to recover 1d4+[CON modifier] Chi points after a short rest.

At 17th level, if you enter a battle without any Chi points, you automatically recover 4 Chi points up to your maximum.     

Secret, Forbidden Techniques:

1d20

1- Jump Good.  By spending 1 Chi point, you can leap up to X*100' in the air, where X is your STR modifier.  You take fall damage as normal, however, so be careful. 
2- Sword that Cuts Heaven.  By spending 1 Chi point, you can imbue a blade with Chi, lending it incredible sharpness.  This blade gains the ability for 1 round to cut through anything non-magical or non-superhard.  Referee's Discretion applies on whether or not something can be cut through.  Depending on your damage roll, living creatures get a save.  If living creatures have 3x or less HD than you and are hit by the Sword that Cuts Heaven, they must immediately save or die.  Creatures with less HD than you make a save with disadvantage.  On a failed save, they die.  On a successful save, they lose X HD, where X is your naked damage roll.  Creatures with more HD have advantage on their save and on a failed save, lose X HD, where X is your naked damage roll.  On a successful save, however, they merely take damage equal to the damage roll + modifiers + Y, where Y is the ability score you use to attack (usually STR, but can be another).   
3- Blizzard of Steel.  By spending 1 Chi point, you can simultaneously attack every creature within range of your weapon.  You may make only 1 attack per creature.  If using a ranged weapon, you must have sufficient ammo to make the attacks.   
4- Light-Speed Slash.  By spending 1 Chi point, you can attack before anyone else does.  When you attack, all creatures must save.  Those who fail their save do not even see your attack, only the aftermath.  If the creature you're attacking fails the save, it takes a -4 penalty to AC as it could not defend itself.   
5- Faster than Thought.  By spending 1 Chi point, you gain the ability to vastly increase your speed, enabling you to rush forward and perform superhuman feats of superhuman speed for the rest of the round.  While moving this fast, you have advantage on all checks made to evade, dodge or avoid things.  You can also perform feats of super-athleticism, such as wall-running, running up vertical surfaces, running across the surface of water, catching arrows or dodging projectiles that should be unavoidable, etc.  
6- Steel-Rending Fists.  By spending 1 Chi point, for one round, you enhance your strength to the point that you can pull metal apart like it's cheap cloth. 
7- Forged on the Rock of Eternity.  By spending 1 Chi point, you recover 1d20+CON modifier HP.  This HP is temporary and only lasts for 1 hour or until consumed.  
8- Arrow out of Time.  By spending 1 Chi point, you may fire a projectile and ignore any long-range limitations.  You could fire an arrow at a target on the other side of the kingdom or throw a javelin into the King's table from the hill overlooking the keep.  Your accuracy is likely to be much worse, especially if you can't see your target, but you can get the projectile there.    
9- Annihilating Blow.  By spending 1 Chi point, if you've successfully attacked a creature, you can roll your damage again and add the result to your previous damage roll.   
10- Blood-Stained Symphony.  The war-song pulses in your blood, making you incredibly hard to kill.  The movements of the other combatants is obvious, telegraphed like that a dance partner in a performance.  By spending 1 Chi point, you can make this music audible to everyone.  All creatures who can hear you speak must save.  On a failed save, they gain disadvantage on attacks and defense against you, as they being dragged along to the beat of the drums of war.  On a successful save, they take 1d4 damage a round being near you and must save each round or become frightened.     
11- Infinity Cleave.  If you kill a creature as an action, by spending 1 Chi point, you can make another attack against any other creature in range.  If you kill that creature, you may make another attack.  For each kill, you gain another attack.  You may continue attacking until you run out of enemies in range or fail to kill an enemy in your next blow.    
12- Perfect Parry.  By spending 1 Chi point, as a reaction, you can reduce the damage of an incoming attack by your weapon's damage dice plus your Atk modifier (STR+Proficiency).  You can parry anything.  Reducing the damage of an incoming attack neutralizes it, as if it never happened. 
13- Knight Takes Pawn.  By spending 1 Chi point, you can teleport to anywhere within visual range, as long as it is within melee range of an enemy combatant.  This is not useable outside of combat. 
14- Wings of War.  By spending 1 Chi point, you can grant yourself a flight speed equal to double your normal speed for 1 minute.  After the duration ends, you lose your flight speed.  You can also hover in the air while this technique is active. 
15- Mountain Splits the Earth.  By spending 1 Chi point, you can strike the Earth and create a rippling wave that passes through it, triggering a localized Earthquake.  All creatures on the ground must save.  On a successful save, they take 1d10 damage and are knocked prone, while on a failure they take 2d10 damage and are knocked prone.  Fragile or poorly constructed buildings also have a chance of collapsing and if they do, all creatures inside take damage as per normal. 
16- Awaken the Butcher Gods.  By spending X Chi points, where X is the number of Chi points you spend, you grow X spiritual limbs.  These limbs have a 10' reach and do 1d8+your highest mental modifier+proficiency bonus damage.  They can be used to make an attack against any creature within range.  You also gain X reactions and can use these to parry any projectiles or attacks against you using your spiritual limbs.  Your spiritual limbs remain for X rounds, then disappear.  
17- Assume the Form of Cataclysm.  By spending X Chi points, you can grow X size categories for X rounds.  When enlarged, you increase the number of damage dice you roll by 1 per size duration on a hit and take a -2 penalty to AC per size category.   
18- Reap the Whirlwind.  When you make a melee attack, you can spend 1 Chi point to enhance the blow to the point where it displaces a huge amount of air, pushing it forward in a destructive wave.  All creatures adjacent to the creature you attacked must save or take damage as if you hit them with the melee attack. 
19- Attain the Mental Nirvana.  You enter a state of profound stillness, removing your mind from your body and dwell within the Plane of Blood.  While in this state, you can command your body via your Chi point.  For each Chi point you spend, you may act normally and use Forbidden Techniques as per normal.  During this time, you cannot feel pain, nor fear, nor be affected by any form of mental control or affect.  You can still be possessed, as your soul is not there, but you can end this separation at any point.  Additionally, even if your body is dying during this time, removing your soul will cause your body to be able to keep fighting, even if it is fatally wounded.     
20- Murder the Gods and Topple their Thrones.  By spending 1 Chi point, for the next round, any creature that attacks and damages you, if it has a lower number of HD than you, takes X damage, where is the difference in HD.  If you attack a creature with a greater number of HD than you, they take the difference in damage in additional to any damage you deal to them as a result of a successful attack. 

by Abaddon from KSBD

Friday, July 15, 2022

OSR: Race as Class: Elf Chaos table

I meant to include this in the initial post, but then I got carried away.  My bad. 

by Leirix

If you roll doubles on your MD, roll on this table. 

1d10
1- You lose your next action as you puke up a pool of glittering silver liquid that acts as mirror.  Anyone who touches it will find it functions as temporary portal to the Mirror World.  It disappears after 1d10 minutes. 
2- All flowers and plants nearby begin spraying pollen everywhere.  All creatures within 100' must save or start violently sneezing, losing their action if they did so.  Creatures without noses or the need to breathe automatically pass. 
3- The Sun suddenly begins shining much brighter than normal, forcing all creatures within 100' to save.  On a failed save, those creatures are blinded for 10 minutes, or until they can spend some time in darkness.  All darkness effects are dispelled and all Undead take an additional +1d6 damage from the sunlight. 
4- A swarm of butterflies emerge from the nearby underbrush and begin following you for 1d10 minutes.  As they surround you, this gives you disadvantage on dodging or making ranged attacks and reveals your presence to any nearby. 
5- All fruit-bearing plants suddenly grow at an accelerated rate, producing and then dropping an enormous amount of fruit in seconds.  This fruit is non-magical, but it contains natural alcohol and makes anyone who eats it become intoxicated, as if they were drinking. 
6- All mirrors and reflective surfaces within 50' suddenly disgorge a copy of you.  These copies are independent of you and do not obey you nor anyone else.  They are currently interested in 1d6 [1= Having sex with anything that moves, including each other; 2= Stealing everything shiny or pretty; 3= Eating and drinking; 4= Dancing and playing music; 5= Insulting people and playing pranks; 6= Playing games, such as tag or hide 'n' seek.]  The reflections last for 1d10 hours or until they take 1 point of damage, which causes them to disappear into a cloud of bubbles.
7- All non-alcoholic liquids within 50' become alcohol for 1d10 hours.  All alcoholic beverages become screams. 
8- An enormous flower grows out of the ground within 30' of the Elf.  All who see this flower must save or be enchanted by it.  Those who fail their save will want to do nothing more than stand around and admire the flower, praising it to anyone who looks at it.  This charm effect lasts for 1d6 hours, after which it ends and everyone feels vaguely silly for having done that. If the flower is destroyed while it is still charming people, those people will weep and mourn the flower for the remaining time.
9- A large animal appears nearby.  This animal, a 1d4 [1= Moose; 2= Elk; 3= Warthog; 4= Bear] will follow you around for 1d10 days or until it is killed.  It will remain near you for the duration.  This animal wants, more than anything else, 1d4 [1= Belly rubs and headpats; 2= Food; 3= To be comforted by you; 4= To follow you wherever you go.]  After the duration, the animal disappears, along with any sign it was ever there. 
10- A group of pixies appear in a shower of glitter and scatter into the underbrush.  For the next 1d10+1 days, they will prank you.  They will prank you no more than once a day, unless you offend or harm them, in which case they will prank you more frequently and more viciously.  A normal Faerie prank is "Replace your weapons with identical replicas made of harmless candy during the night" while a vicious Faerie prank is "Turn your friends into hungry alligators while they're asleep and fill your underwear with raw meat".  The Pixies stay for the duration or until you convince them there is someone even more fun to prank.

by nenil âr lútphen

If you roll triples on your MD, roll on this table. 

1d10
1- You vomit up a seed.  If planted, this seed produces 1d4 [1= A giant beanstalk that grows up into the Upper Air; 2= A tree that produces golden plums that boost fertility and libido while lowering inhibitions and common sense; 3= A green child that grows up to look exactly like the Elf's last sexual partner, or if the Elf is a virgin, him or herself.  The copy ages at an accelerated rate, aging 1 year per day until it dies at the age of 20; 4= A rosebush that produces extremely toxic roses, with poison dripping off their long thorns.]  If the seed is eaten, it nourishes the creature for 1 day, as if they ate a full meal. 
2- You lose your action and scream in pain as a mark appears on your face.  A local predator has been offended by your actions and will now hunt you.  You will be pursued by this predator for 1d10+10 days or until one of you is dead. 
3- A rainbow appears overhead, flooding the local area with dazzling light.  All within 100' must save or be captured by the rainbow.  Those who fail their save are taken up by the rainbow light.  They reappear 1d4 [1= In 1d10 minutes, totally naked and stripped of all possessions; 2= Confused with no memories of the rainbow or the last 10 days, in a different part of the world (you will run into each other if not all were taken); 3= In the next abandoned building you find, having aged 1d20 years and escorting a child with crystalline eyes; 4= The next time you enter a tavern, except they have no memory of ever having met any of you.]  
4- All liquids within 50' turn to non-precious crystals that match their colors- water becomes white or blue quartz, wine becomes rose quartz, etc. 
5- A woman appears with a baby and claims that she got pregnant after having sex with you in a dream.  This baby is yours.  She demands you do something about it.  She can't be persuaded otherwise on the fact that this is the Elf's child, no matter what evidence you present.  She is also adamant that the child is yours.  Is it?  1d3 [1= Definitely, somehow; 2= Possibly; 3= Not a chance.]  Secretly, the woman is a 1d4 [1= 1 HD Commoner with no special abilities; 2= Another Elf (Level 1d6) in disguise; 3= One of the Faerie Queens; 4= She seems to be a normal human commoner, but if she takes even one point of damage, she disappears, leaving behind the child and her clothing.]
6- A clock made of brass and varnished wood appears near the Elf.  It is heavy, fragile and very expensive.  If the clock ever stops ticking, the Elf knows that he will die.  Is this true? 1d2 [1= Yes; 2= No.]  The clock remains for 1d10 days, after which it disappears.
7- A long table, overflowing with cookies, biscuits, bread, jam and tea appears nearby.  Sitting at the table are a number of strange creatures, including animals wearing human clothing, a few other Elves and the Black Rabbit.  The Rabbit chastises the Elf for being late.  All within 100' who hear this exclamation must save.  Those who fail their save will join the Rabbit for tea and polite conversation.  The tea party lasts for 1 hour.  If anyone attempts to interrupt it or engages in an act of severe rudeness, the Rabbit will turn that person into a vegetable. After the party ends and the Rabbit and his guests leave, those who were transformed must save.  On a failed save, they remain as vegetables forever.  On a success, they revert to normal.
8- Ethereal music fills the area around the Elf for 100'.  All who can hear the music must save.  Those who fail their saves immediately begin 1d4 [1= Having sex with anything living nearby; 2= Dancing and hugging each other; 3= Begin worshiping a nearby rock or flower; 4= Decide that violence isn't the answer and decide to arrange a peace treaty through a wedding.  If two groups are in conflict, then each group will select one member to marry another.  Regardless of the pick, it is always stupid and nonsensical.]
9- Two maidens appear before the Elf wearing gleaming white robes.  One holds a beautiful looking peach, the other a sword.  The one with the peach promises immortality, the latter a sudden and violent death.  They demand the Elf choose between one or the other.  If anyone eats the peach, they transform into a peach tree.  Anyone who eats one of the peaches from that tree will know their story and be filled with a sense of gratitude for that person's sacrifice, as the peaches taste amazing.  If anyone chooses the sword, they will be given a magic sword, elevated to a high political rank in a neighboring government and then die heroically in battle.  This will happen as per a curse.  If no one makes a choice within 1d10 rounds or the maidens are attacked, both maidens disappear.  If you roll this result again, then the maidens promise different things when they return.   
10- The Moon begins stalking the Elf.  She shines on him at night, constantly bathing him in moonlight, appears during the day to follow him and sends him the occasional gift such as clothing made of mooncloth, a Luna Wolf-skin cloak, love poems, edible crystals, etc.  This continues for 1d10 months.  Each night, there is a 5% the Elf tries to abduct the Elf by opening a portal to the Moon and sending 1d10+6 of her tentacles (5 HD, AR 2, Atk 1d8+2, grapple on a hit) through to try and grab him and pull him through.  The only way to stop this is to politely, but firmly, decline the Moon's advances.  Alternatively, find a way to alert the Sun, her husband, of her infidelity.

from here

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

OSR: Race-as-Class: Elf

Ideas borrowed from here and here.

Part 2, the Chaos table for Spell Failure, is now done.   

One thing that immensely disappointed me about Lamentations of the Flame Princess was the total lack of class abilities, hence why I started writing my own version of the Fighter, Thief, etc.

But most egregious of these deficits were the race-as-class options.  In LotfP, you can play as an Elf, Dwarf or Halfling.  Yet besides a chart based on how much XP it takes to level up, there is barely any details about what that means or what an Elf can do.  What's the point of playing an Elf or Dwarf or whatever if it's just a Human with a wonky XP chart? 

Also, I absolutely hate that thing that some fantasy authors do where they just present a "standard" fantasy race like an Elf and then don't bother to elaborate on what that means for this setting.  I'm not expecting you to reinvent the wheel, but at least describe what an Elf looks like.  Don't just plomp it down in front of me and say, "You know how Elves work".  Yes, I am well aware that Tolkien is the foundation for all modern fantasy, whether you or I like it or not.  That being said, at least put some effort in.  I'm not asking for the Moon on a stick. 

Anyway, that's enough whining on my part.  This is my Elf Race-as-Class.

by Linda Lithen

You are an Elf, a mysterious Forest Creature associated with the Folk and the Fey.  You mostly resemble humanity, but are clearly removed from them.  Depending on where you are, your kind will be looked upon as a mysterious and untrustworthy foreigner or as a danger to be hunted down and destroyed.  You can pass as human if no one looks too closely, but close examination will reveal otherwise. 

Where do you come from?

1d4

1- Over the tw'st of the Rainbow, from the midst of the Crystal Castles and the Glittering Court.  You danced here over the colors, avoiding Old Black and made your way down to the Mud, where you found much to your liking. 
2- From the pearly glow of the witchlight lanterns, shaded deep under the canopy of the Old Growth, your people's songs filled the ancient places, harmonizing with the brook and resounding off the stones.  The Furred Peoples did not approve of you and stayed away, warning each other that you stole children and fanciful youths.  And you did, but only because they were clearly more suited to your world of heart-breaking sorrow and mind-splitting joy. 
3- Past the shimmer of the looking glass, there is another world.  Many have stared at their reflection, only to see another glancing back, wondering what this not-quite-real thing is.  That was your face.  There was another world past that barrier, unreachable, until now. 
4- When the Children dream, they come to a land of sugarplums and white cobbled roads, where trees hum quiet songs and horses knicker to deers as they splash in the glowing waters of the bay.  Here, under the laughing Moon they sing and dance in the gardens of the Ancient Ones, who look on with gentle smiles.  When they suffer nightmares, they are cast out of the darkness, where the Under-dwellers slither from the shadows to weave cloth of fear and armor of shed tears.  And just like those children, you miss the Laughing Moon and the smiles of the Ancient Ones.  How you long to go home.    

Why are you here?

1d6

1- A child was the guest of a friend.  But that child got lost and ended up tumbling back into this world.  You must find them and bring them back, before they lose the ability to ever leave Mudworld. 
2- You have come to claim the heart of a pure maiden, break it into fragments and return it to the Queen of Air and Darkness to make her tea.  This is a grave responsibility and a deep honor.  Do not fail, lest the servants of Winter come to educate you on the depth of your failure. 
3- The Queen has reneged on her promise to the Ancient Ones, and this slight must be punished.  You are to seduce and impregnate her, then when the time is right, you are to break her heart and whisk the child away as payment for her grevious breach of etiquette.  Do not reroll this result if you are playing a female Elf, the Ancient Ones are still confident you can handle it.
4- A young man has asked one of your Elders how he can attract the attention of the girl he loves.  You are to ensure the two of them fall in love, by whatever means you think best. 
5- You are an exile, sent away for grevious rudeness, outrageous fashion sense and inappropriate comments about cucumbers.  You are to suffer, bleed, moan, beg, plead and weep bitter tears. Only then will you be permitted to return. 
6- A creature with a foul soul has stated, to the amazement of all who saw it that it was the most beautiful thing in all the world.  You are to educate the creature of it's rampant foolishness and tell it of all the joyous laughter it's absurd statement provoked.

artist unknown

Elf:
Starting HP: 1/3 Con
Fighting Spirit: +1 per Elf Level, up to COG modifier
Atk Modifier: +1 per Elf Level, caps at +6
Starting Equipment: Shimmering Clothes, Staff or Bronze Sword, Bow and 20 Flint-tipped Arrows, Book of Human Customs and Idioms, Exotic Snacks, Fabulous Hair

Prerequisites: To have no levels in any other class.  At character creation, choose this for your first class level.

How to become an Elf: You can only be born as an Elf. 

Elf
1: Truth-Teller, Iron Allergy, Agelessness, Sharpened Senses, Folkish Nature
2: Meditative Trance, Citizen of Mab's Kingdom, Sylvan Ally
3: Spell-weaver
4: Adventurer in the Land of Dreams
5: Instinctive Caster
6: Other Worlds than These
7: Noble of the Faerie Courts
8: Whisper of the Woods
9: Call the Wild Hunt

1: Truth-Teller, Iron Allergy, Agelessness, Sharpened Senses

Truth-Teller: You cannot lie.  You can twist the truth, evade questions or choose not to answer, but stating direct falsehoods is impossible for you.

Iron Allergy: You take +1 damage from iron weapons.  You have disadvantage when using iron weapons or wearing iron armor.  This also applies to iron alloys, such as steel, though the effects of some alloys are less pronounced.

Agelessness: You are an Ageless creature.  You do not age and cannot be aged magically.

Sharpened Senses: Your senses are far stronger than those of a human's.  You can see in dim light as if it were bright light, hear things beyond the range of a human's ears and sense minute vibrations.  When making a check to perceive something, you add double your COG modifier to any roll made to notice or detect something.

Folkish Nature: Your connection to the Folk and the Fey cannot be understated.  Roll on this table at level 1 and then once again for each Elf Level you gain. 

1d20

1- You have too many, or not enough, fingers on one hand. 
2- Your eyes are slitted, like a cat's. 
3- You constantly smell of flowers, pine, or damp earth. 
4- Your hair is an odd, unusual or unnatural color, such as white-blonde, dark green or purple-black.
5- Your skin is an odd, unusual or inhuman color, such as lilac, dandelion yellow or blood red. 
6- You grow small, delicate horns from your forehead.  Rolling this result again makes your horns grow longer and more impressive.
7- Flowers grow naturally in your hair. 
8- Your hair is long, falling to your hips normally.  If cut, it regrows at rate of 1d6 inches per day.  Rolling this result again means you can control the color of your hair, though it is always long unless cut.
9- You are extremely androgynous, and could easily pass as male or female unless completely naked.
10- Your shadow moves when you do not and doesn't seem to copy your movements, as per normal. 
11- Your fingernails are long and pointed. 
12- Your teeth are sharp and pointy. 
13- You move with a subtle grace, making your movements unnatural and enthralling looking.  You move like a wildcat or a flowing stream. 
14- Your tears transform into small crystals which shatter on the ground. 
15- Your blood, if spilled on the ground, makes blood-red flowers bloom in the same spot 1d6 minutes later. 
16- Your skin is slightly translucent when seen in star or moonlight. 
17- Your are very, very thin. 
18- You are very, very tall. 
19- Your ears twitch and can move independently, like a horse's.  They tend to betray your mood, swiveling and turning against your will. 
20- You are followed around by songbirds, butterflies and colorful insects wherever possible.  Non-intelligent creatures tied to civilization (horses, dogs, pigs) tend to find you frightening and will react negatively if forced to interact with you.  

2: Meditative Trance, Citizen of Mab's Kingdom, Sylvan Ally

Meditative Trance: You can enter a meditative trance instead of sleeping.  You must trance for at least four hours.  This trance functions as sleep for you, though you can awaken from it at any time.  You cannot be forced to enter this trance.

Citizen of Mab's Kingdom: You do not need sleep (see above).  You cannot be put to sleep magically.  You do not dream.

Sylvan Ally: The beasts of the field and the wild, along with the inhabitants of such lands consider you a natural ally and will not attack you, unless they are in desperate straits or you have aggressed against you.  Such creatures feel more favorably toward you, recognizing you as one of their own.  A Bear might still kill and eat you, but it would do so because it was hungry, not because it hated you.  

3: Spell-weaver

Spell-weaver: You gain the ability to cast spells.  You gain Mana Dice (MD) equal to your CON+COG modifiers (min 1).  You can learn and memorize spells like a Wizard.  Your spells burn out on a 5 or 6.  If you roll Doubles or Triples, roll on the Elf Chaos table (see here).

4: Adventurer in the Land of Dreams

Adventurer in the Land of Dreams: By touching a sleeping person, you may enter their dreams.  While inside someone's dreams, they will be in total control of the dream along with everything in it.  They cannot hurt you, though they can make it very unpleasant for you.  If the person wakes up for any reason, you are ejected from their mind and returned to their own.  If a creature dies while it is sleeping and your mind is inside it's dreams when it happens, your soul will be trapped within their decaying mind and will need to be rescued. 

From a creature's ordinary dreams, it is possible to enter the Spirit World under some circumstances, though this requires specialized knowledge.   

5: Instinctive Casting

Instinctive Casting: As an action, you can cast a spell without making any of the required gestures or speaking aloud.  Alternatively, if you cast a spell by speaking aloud and using the proper gestures, you can also make a melee attack against one target within range.  You may only use a Quick or Balanced weapon to do this with.     

6: Other Worlds than These

Other Worlds than These: You can sense the presence of Weak Points in the fabric of the world within 1 mile of your location.  By touching one of these, you may enter the Spirit World through one of these locations. 

Example Weak Points include, but are not limited to: mirrors, pools of still, reflective water, rabbit holes, wardrobes or old, dead trees with holes in the trunks.  Consult your Referee for other potential weak Points. 

7: Noble of the Faerie Courts

Noble of the Faerie Courts: You gain a title among the Folk, along with a degree of prestige.  When in the wilderness, you can place a summons and call local Faeries or wildlife to attend you.  You can command enough creatures equal to your level in HD.  So you could command 7 HD worth of Wolves or a 2 HD Satyr, a 1 HD Cloud of Pixies and a 4 HD Black Bear.  These creatures will attend you until you do something to offend them or you dismiss them.  Offense can involve you doing harm to them, but it can also mean not providing rewards they feel are due to creatures of their station, being rude or inattentive, taking advantage of them, etc.

To keep your title, you must return to Court at least 4 times a year, once per Monarch.  Should you fail to show respect to one, they will curse or punish you.  Fail to respect 2 or more and you will lose your title.  Fail to respect 3 or more and you're likely going to die very, very soon.  Expect the worst in that case.   

8: Whisper of the Woods

Once per day, by meditating, you enter a state of perfect calm and serenity.  During this time, your soul leaves your body and enters the surrounding wilderness.  While meditating, you can possess the body of any plant or animal within 1*[COG modifier] square miles.  During this time, you can perceive things as through that creature's senses and report that information back to anyone near your meditating body or remember it for later. 

You can also consult with the Wilderness itself and ask it a number of questions equal to your CHA modifier.  These questions can include anything that relates to the current wild area you are in, including what creatures currently live in it or are traveling through it, the location of any artifacts of civilization polluting the landscape, the presence of invaders reeking of perfume with iron tools, etc.    

9: Call the Wild Hunt

Call the Wild Hunt: You may, by performing a ritual under a Hunter's Moon, call the Wild Hunt.  This consists of a small army of Faeries, Green Cultists, Maddened Wild-life and other creatures of the Deep Wilds.  You may direct the Hunt toward one discrete target, such as an individual, a group all located within the same area, all creatures of a specific type, etc.  For example: The King and his Household, the Royals and Nobility of the City, all land-owners and banksters.  The Hunt will then go on a rampage, destroying everything in it's path, laying waste to anyone who tries to stop them.  They will target those you directed them to hunt but those who attempt to interfer or happen to be in the way may also be hunted, depending on their vulnerability/the challenge they might pose/if the Huntsmen feel like it.

By the end of the night, whatever target you requested the Hunt pursue will likely be dead (it's not 100%, but the chance of survival is so low it might as well be), wherever they were will be destroyed and the local region will suffer mass outbreaks of madness, nightmares, hallucinations and wild animal attacks, as well as increased activity from Nature Cults and Faerie intrusion for the next 1d100+20 years.  Your allies will have to find their own way to safety, but you will have joined the Wild Hunt and departed the world of mortals.  I hope you said good-bye, because once you join the Wild Hunt, you only leave it to go into the ground or become their prey.

by Konstantin Tamchenko

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

QHW, Day 14: Training

The war for the Heart of Glass continues.  The Crystalline Kingdom was shaken by the arrival of the Fleshlings, sometimes disparagingly referred to as the Meatmen.  These ancient boogeymen, breaths of life encased in fragile, contaminating flesh and bone, easily crushed yet impossibly numerous and savage, shook the pillars of peaceful society.  Suddenly, ancient religious doctrine was not merely words etched in stone, it was living, breathing reality.

Morever, it was an intrusive reality.  The Fleshlings were eager to gain access to Crystal lands and to exploit the various resources the Shining Folk had long used merely as decoration.  The Shining Folk did not need many of the things that they found- their innate grasp of the natural energies, flowing through the Heart, were more than sufficient for daily needs.  They had no need for food, as the power of the Heart would sustain them and heal their injuries, should they draw close enough.  

It also enabled them to perform miracles, such as the conjuration of base materials, producing light and shaping common stone and metal.  These abilities made the Crystalline Kingdom livable even for Fleshlings, but it was not these feats that primarily drew their attention.  

The Shining Folk did not grow food or produce any of the other goods that the Fleshlings commonly used and needed, so it was perhaps that both peoples could exist in a peaceful state of coexistence.  But as described in the ancient scrolls, such a thing was not to come to pass.  The Fleshlings instigated conflict with the Shining Folk through their blasphemy and corruption.  They asked for permission to lay eyes and hands upon the Heart of Glass itself!  

They said they had noble intentions, claiming that the Heart must be some ancient piece of technology, and that if studied, perhaps it could be understood and replicated.  No more would the Shining Folk be confined to their Kingdom, instead they could travel and share their knowledge with others, experience the full breadth of creation.  And also, they said in hushed whispers, perhaps some of the advantages of the Heart could be replicated for their own people.  

It was this, perhaps most of all, that led to the need for the army to be re-established.  The Crystalline Kingdom had been isolated for so long, it had long ago been disbanded.  Even when the Fleshlings first found the Shining Folk again, it was believed that the constabulary would be sufficient to handle them.  After all, an individual Shining Folk was far stronger and tougher than any Fleshling.  Their blades and hammers did little damage and though it wasn't impossible for a Fleshling to injure or even shatter a Shining One, it was very unlikely.  

Yet the Fleshlings proved us wrong again.  They had not just tools of iron this time, but strange devices that produced terrible impacts through a black dust that exploded when touched by sparks.  

These new devices, firerods as they were first dubbed by an anonymous Shining One, enabled even small numbers of Fleshlings to pose a real danger to one of our people.  A Firerod can fire a small projectile at incredible speeds.  It is nearly impossible to dodge and cracks all but the hardest of Mirrorplate.  

Furthermore, the Fleshlings that were captured revealed the existence of 'cannon', a type of Firerod carried by a team of their burden-carriers and manned by a team of five or more.  These Firerods propel a massive projectile the size of a skull that can obliterate a Shining One in a single, devasting strike.  This alone proves what we've always feared has come to pass- the Fleshlings have advanced far more than we ever expected them to, while we remained still.  And now they've returned, and history will repeat itself once more...   

Sunday, July 10, 2022

QHW, Day 13: Disaster

"This is a total disaster!"  Grimoire frowned at his manager, peering over the top of a glass bearing a very good, and pricey, Scotch.  Or at least, he assumed it was good.  This was the first time he had been able to find time for a drink in almost seven months and now it was being ruined.  "Ben, come on," he said.  "It's not that bad."  
    "You turned the Vice-President into a cockroach!"  
    "And then I turned him back."
Ben Shapiro, his overweight, balding manager in a suit worth more than what some African villages produce in a year paused his frantic pacing.  "Yes, it is!  You can't do that, especially in front of witnesses!  You've just put a massive target on your back."

Grimoire took a sip of the scotch.  It was good, to his delight, burning it's way through his throat down to his stomach, where it began to suffuse his body with a gentle warmth.  "I don't understand.  Everyone knew I was strong- I could fly, shoot lasers, create force shields and a few other things.  It's not like I was some street-tier chump."  Ben turned to him and rubbed his baldspot.  "Yeah, you were strong.  That's the point.  You were strong, but that was a fact.  You're precisely right."  He resumed his pacing, tracking back and forth, wearing out his three hundred dollar shoes.  "But those powers, they were known qualities.  The Secret Service felt that, should you lose it or have a psychotic break, they could stop you from turning the President inside out.  But then you did that!"

Ben gestured frantically to the widescreen TV squatting in the upper corner of the office, currently showing a feed of one of the more conservative news networks.  They were showing the clip of him facing off against Red Menace in the Rose Garden.  The latter was decked out in his chrome and vermillion armor, his shaved head adorned with an incoherent mishmash of tattoos ranging from Nazi iconography to Communist symbols to Occult and Religious markings, an Inverted Cross intersecting a Hammer and Sickle, which flowed into a pentacle and a Swatstika respectively.  The Vice-President, a silver-haired older gentleman, struggled in his grip.  Grimoire faced the both of them, black cape astir with astral wind, golden symbols flaring.  

Then a bolt of green light flew from his gauntlets.  It blasted the Veep, causing him to seemingly disappear in a flash of grasshopper green.  Red Menace frowned, confusion reigning, right before a streak of purple energy sent him flying backwards, plowing through a set of French Doors in a shower of broken glass and splintered wood.  

"You know, you were right about the gauntlets," Grimoire said.  He took another sip of whiskey.  "Those wands I carried really did look stupid.  These are much cooler, and don't make me look like a HP ripoff."  Ben blinked.  "What?"  Then, turning to look at his client, his face darkened.  "Could you at least pretend to take this seriously?  We need to talk about this."  
    "I'm pretty sure we don't."
    "Don't you want to go back to the Whitehouse?  What about the Inaugural Ball?  And how easy do you think it is going to be to get your contacts in Washington to go to bat for you when the Bureau starts poking around your finances!"  

Grimoire arched an eyebrow at his manager, then said a word in a language most humans couldn't pronounce.  Those that could would start bleeding from the nose or eyes if they tried.  The lights in the office flickered and the TV fuzzed, showing a haze of static.  A green bolt struck Ben, laying the manager out.  But what hit the ground was, instead of a balding, overweight man, was a yellow-cream tomcat.  The cat hissed in response and scrambled away, hiding behind the couch.  Grimoire put his feet up on the coffee table, watching the image on his TV return to normal.  "I'll give you a chance to cool off, Ben.  But I want you to understand, this isn't a problem.  All I did was teach the puppets where the real power is." 

Saturday, July 9, 2022

OSR: Glory to the God-Emperor!

This post is a new setting, but it is based on the idea off of a few sources, notably the comic Birthright, Mistborn, Arnold K's posts on this subject and another post on Lich Kings which I cannot find nor remember the source.  I'll be organizing it under the Lich King of Averia post, but everything from this point on is new.  

artist unknown

It is the year 1031 AA (After Ascension).  For the last thousand years, Lore Corvalis has owned the world. 

His full title is Lore Corvalis, First of His Name, Emperor of the Sun, Sliver of Eternity, God-among-Us, Last of the Divines, Protector of the Race of Man and Sword of the Oppressed.  He is God-Emperor and Lord Sovereign.  He rules the land of Averia with an iron fist, crowned in glory, safeguarding his people and ensuring the Sun rises every morning.  At least, if you believe the propaganda. 

The Emperor:


Everyone agrees that Lore rose to power a hair over 1000 years ago, but no one knows much beyond that.  The official story, as circulated by the Church of the Solar Emperor, is that the apocalypse occurred.  The God-Killer, the Thousand Eyes, broke free of it's prison beneath the waves and attacked the Heavens.  The Gods tried to fight, and some died.  So, they fled, abandoning the world to the predations of the Thousand Eyes.  But one God remained.  Though lowly among the pantheons, he was still a God. 

Gathering his courage, this God left Heaven and confronted the Thousand Eyes.  But unlike the others, he was not fattened and decadent, heavy with sacrifices.  He was austere and disciplined, with a heroic soul.  This equipped him far better than the others, meaning that when he clashed with the Thousand Eyes, he was able to overcome it.  He slayed the beast, blinding it with his sword and then drowning it in the blood of murdered Gods.  When he emerged from the pool of blood, he found that the powers of the dead Gods had changed him, making him the Greatest of them now. 

He then descended to Earth, but upon seeing the sorry state of the Earth, he wept.  The Earth had been devastated by the Thousand Eyes and it's monstrous servants, leaving it a wasteland.  So the God vowed that he would remain there and help the people rebuild their lands, not returning to Heaven until the people were ready to live on without him. 

1000 years later, he still rules.  Lore is still with us.

The Church:

The Church of the Solar Emperor teaches that Lore Corvalis is God.  He is the one who slayed the Thousand Eyes and saved the world.  He is the only God worth worshiping.  The others, rebuked dismissively as the Cowardly Divines, are to be scorned and rejected, as they abandoned us, so should we emulate them. 

It teaches that the social order is Divine and Holy, not to be criticized or rebuked.  It teaches the Three Great Virtues of Obedience, Duty and Destiny.

The Church's priests range from lavishly corrupt philanderers who abuse their positions to enrich themselves and aescetic fanatics trained in the arts of combat and assassination, ready to do God's will at a moment's notice.

The Church is divided up into 7 Orders, each one which is composed of Priests of a different type:

The First Order: Is made of mystics and aescetics who spend all their time cloistered in isolated monasteries or convents or in the wilderness.  They seek enlightenment.  Additionally, they are concerned with trying to predict the future.  This Order is also a convenient dumping ground for priests who are a little too pious for the Church's leadership.  

The Second Order: These are the Priests in the Temples and Shrines, the ones who forgive sins on behalf of Lore, hear your confessions, give sermons, marry people and take bribes.  They are the most corrupt and most politically powerful branch of the Church.  From the Vicar at your local chapel to the Pontifex crowned in gold, they are all of the Second Order.   

The Third Order: These priests train and study medicine.  They offer free healing to the faithful and to heathens who can pay.  They are widely beloved.  They control Greenwine, a magical elixir that speeds recovery and healing time.  Greenwine is an Imperial export and it's manufacture is a closely guarded secret.     

The Fourth Order: Priests who specialize in making art.  They primarily make Art to glorify Lore and his servants, but they will take commissions, especially from the upper classes.

The Fifth Order: Priests who hunt for rogue Magi, heathens, heretics and traitors.  Their high-ranking members have wide powers to arrest, confine and punish.  They also function as the internal policing force of the Church, which is dedicated to combatting corruption and impiety, both which are rampant among the Clergy.  Feared and despised by almost everyone, with the exception of the Nobility, though even they step lightly around the Brothers of the Fifth Order.

The Sixth Order: Priests who train in the arts of combat and war.  These fanatic warrior-priests command armies and defend their God's lands on the battlefield, as well as claiming new domains for them.    

The Seventh Order: Priests who train in the art of infiltration and assassination.  A secret order, with monasteries disguised as those belonging to other Orders.  Members of the 7th Order also intermingle and insert themselves into other organizations, including other Orders of the Church.  They are known as the Teeth of the Emperor and widely whispered about in stories.  Their primary duty is the destruction of the Emperor's enemies, within and without.  

If the 5th Order is meant to find external enemies and denounce and try them publicly, the 7th Order is meant to find more subtle enemies who find within the structures of the Empire and cannot be punished through minor means, or to do so would be too difficult.  When a corrupt priest or a Saptrap is found decapitated in his office with the Emperor's sigil burned into the wall, then it is the 7th that is usually responsible.  People live in fear of them, even if they don't know exactly who is doing the killing.

artist unknown

The Caste System:

In Lore's Empire, you are born into a specific caste that you can never leave, barring rare circumstances.  The Church helps to enforce the caste system's rightness in the minds of the people, but it is self-enforcing in many ways. 

The Castes are as follows, from Highest to Lowest

Those that have their souls consumed by the Pelusha do not die, as outsiders believe.  Instead they become Drah, humans without (all of) their soul(s).  Drah are still conscious, but are noticeably less intelligent, creative and ambitious.  They have lost something irreplaceable and are diminished for it.  If they gain a soul, they can be restored, even if it isn't their soul.  This is because the Pelusha do not consume the entire soul, merely the Spirit- the highest soul, the link to the divine and the higher realms.  Drah also cannot use magic or command mental powers such as psionics, losing such abilities.  They can still use magic items.  Having your soul eaten is a common precaution used against Magi who are arrested with a serious enough crime.  

The Unmai [UHnn-mai]: The Nobility, the Unmai are the Dukes, Counts and Marquises of the Realm.  They have been granted extended lives by Lore and powerful regenerative abilities.  They can recover from everything but dismemberment or decapitation and as long as they are fed, they can live on indefinitely.  They can eat and drink, like any other human, but don't need too.  Instead, they feed off the blood of those with magical talent and life energy from any type of living creature.  The first prevents them from aging with regular consumption, while the latter fuels their regenerative abilities.  They can harvest life energy involuntarily, but they prefer willing victims.  Additionally, their favorite method of draining life energy is through sex.     

Besoa [Beh-so-ah]: The Lower Nobility, or Under-Lords, the Beosa are middle-managers and valued members of the Church and Bureaucracy, they who have been granted the right to gain more life.  Lore can grant them more life through their blessing, preventing them from aging.  The Besoa look exactly like normal people, but they have magical tattoos that show the rest of their lifespan, usually on their hands or chests.  The number ticks down at a normal rate, but when it reaches 0, the Besoa dies, no matter how healthy they are. 

Besoa also can give this life to others of their kind, though few are willing.  Many of the Priests are Besoa, especially the Pontifexes and Canonnesses.  These nobles of the Church are given large amounts of life and then allowed to dole it out to their subordinates as they choose.  Some also choose to sell the extra life they have- which is technically illegal, but is widely practiced.  Occasionally, the Fifth Order will arrest a Priest who is too showy or reckless, but Lore and most of the Church's leadership only really care about the semblance of dignity.  They don't feel the need to stomp out such practices or simply believe it to be too big a task to be undertaken.   

The other primary group that makes up the Besoa are the martial class, the Vishayu.  Vishayu are a dedicated class of fighters, each one granted the rank of Besoa when they reach a certain age.  They wear special armor and train for years to be able to use it.  They are the knights and heavy calvary of this world.  They fight and compete for the honor of receiving more life.  The most famous among them are decades older than they look with incredible amounts of fighting experience. 

Lofai [lo-Fai]: The common people of the Kingdom, they are ordinary and receive no magical enhancements. 

The Lofai are further split into two unofficial castes, though all Lofai are treated the same in theory.  There are the Lofai who work the fields and streets, those who work long hours in hard, unpleasant or dangerous jobs.  These are the lowliest of people, treated like chattel even if not technically enslaved.  Slavery is illegal, unless it is a criminal who has been tried and found guilty in a Clerical or Civil court.  The Lofai count themselves lucky that they are not among those wretches. 

Then there are those Lofai who have certain skills that the Nobility need.  These Lofai usually live in cities and enjoy more comfortable lives.  They are usually craftsmen and constitute the service class of the Empire, the tailors, woodworkers, goldsmiths, etc.  There is a strong rivalry between these Lofai and those who work in the fields.

It is generally impossible to move up to another Caste, unless you are elevated by someone with the authority to do so.  Very few citizens have that right, as it is a privilege given down by Lore.  The Elders of the Church, some higher Lords and Lore himself are the only ones who can do it.

The Empire:

Is divided up into Dominances: The Southern, Eastern, Northern, Western and Central Dominances. 

The Southern Dominance is the center for the Church of the Solar Emperor.  It hosts the holy City and secondary Capital of Tuskanor.  The Favored Son, or Grand Pontifex, lives there.  The City is a constant blizzard of pious celebration, sacrifice and disgusting levels of indulgence. 

The climate here is extremely hot, wet and rainy.  There are two seasons, hot and dry and wet and rainy.  The area is known to experience days and days of torrential rain during the rainy season.  People grow rice, beans and pumpkins.  The people here wear bamboo hats to keep the sun off them.  Both sexes wear boots.  Men wear wide trousers that can be tucked into their boots and colorful shirts with wide sleeves.  Women wear dresses that show quite a bit of leg with low-cut tops that show off abundant cleavage.  There are few nobles here, but almost all of them have strong connections to the Church.  The Pontifexes and the Canonnesses are the aristocracy here.

The Western Dominance borders the edges of the Unchartable Woods.  This land is a harsh one, with blistering winters and burning summers.  It is an old land as well, full of the ruins of lost civilization choking on ivy and guarded by towering trees.  The Old Magic is powerful here, the songs of the Fair Folk still echoing in the twilight groves.  People here have many peculiar superstitions.  They live in small, cloistered villages, keep packs of dogs and do not appreciate strangers, particularly those who might be shapeshifters in disguise.

Many of the isolated cities in the West are hotbeds of insurgency and heresy, with a history of rabble-rousing and trouble making.  The Fifth Order is always active around here, though no matter how many heretics they burn, they still find more. 

The Northern Dominance borders the Cold Wastes to the North and the Granite Sea to the West.  It's people are hardy and disciplined, having spent many centuries warring with the Geodes and competing for the mineral resources in that peculiar "sea".  They have little love for the Empire, but it helps them kill Geodes and for that, they will put up with Lore.  Despite that, the loyalists here are fanatical in their devotion to the Emperir.  Many monasteries that train warrior-priests for the Empire have property up here where they train young warriors to be zealous in their devotion to Lore.

The Eastern Dominance is the frontier, bordering the wildlands, inhabited primarily by the Beastfolk.  In truth, most of it is uncharted and untamed.  Lore's servants have been trying to settle it and drive out the natives, but it is slow progress.  This is the edge of the Empire and as far as Imperial citizens are concerned, the edge of the civilized world.  If someone wants to get rid of an Imperial servant but doesn't want to kill him, they send him here to lanquish in obscurity for decades or longer. 

The Central Dominance
is the most urbanized, as well as being the bread basket of the Empire.  It has the most people and hosts the Capital City of Alagadda, where Lore himself rules.


Humanity First:

The Empire is majority human, but non-humans are perfectly welcome, at least from a legal level.  But in practice, the policies of the Empire tend to favor humans, with a few exceptions.  Lore is the God of Humanity, according to the Church, and has chosen to dwell among them.  This often leads to a great deal of cultural prejudice against non-human races, which is not helped by the history of the Empire warring with many of the non-human kingdoms and Empires. 

Other Races:

The Dalfai are a race of artificial constructs with hearts of glass, iron or wood and bodies of similar materials.  They do not need food or water and have always been the rivals of humanity because of their distinct and alien nature.  The humans were often oppressed by the Dalfai, so when Lore rose to prominence, new wars against the Dalfai were begun.  The Dalfai were expelled from their lands and banished to places humans didn't dare to follow, such as the tops of nearly airless mountains, the Cold Wastes or the interiors of blistering deserts.  There it is said that they are waiting, rebuilding themselves and readying for a war of extermination, one that will crush the Empire and grind humanity down into nothing more than a colony of barely intelligent slaves. 

The Geodes are a race of subterranean folk who are blind, with smooth, pale faces and "hair" made of twitching antennae.  The Geodes use these abilities to navigate perfectly through the endless darkness of their caves and underground settlements.  Geodes do venture above ground, but they are not as effective above ground where their echolocation makes them less accurate.  Geodes and humans have always distrusted each other, but now they hate and despise each other, as humans have evicted them from lands that they used to own and thus forced them to retreat to their fortresses and strongholds in the Granite Sea.  The humans attempted to take some of these at first, but this ended in total disaster.  As such, now they resort to raiding each other, occasional skirmishes and guerilla warfare. 

The Hoba, or Little Folk, have always lived among men.  These days, they are valued slaves and servants of the Nobles.  They sell for their weight and gold.  Not all of their race is enslaved, many live in small, hidden villages throughout the Empire, where they receive special privileges from the local rulers in exchange for handing over a few of their people to be slaves and other exclusive goods they make.

Beastmen are a race created by a tribe of humans who were mutated into half-beast hybrids.  Beastmen can breed with anything as they are super-fertile.  Their intelligence varies from barely above bestial to far smarter than most humans, though such geniuses are rare among their kind.  Most are only average in terms of intellect.  They plague the frontiers and wage war on the forces of the Empire.  They are a wild and savage people who value honor and freedom and consider the Empire to be a totalitarian mess of cowards and bankers, who they despise.  They respect only strength, but are not as bad as they first appear. 

The Mermaids and the Gillmen are Aquatic races who are both opposed to Lore's expansion into the water.  The Mermaids because they claim the oceans and protest the invasion on Geopolitical grounds and the Gillmen because they were created to be weapons in Lore's war.  Thanks to the help of the Mermaids, the Gillmen were able to throw off Lore's control and now live in areas of the sea permitted to them by the Mermaids and not claimed by humans, or they war with humans for locations both want.  Despite the fact that they are both ostensibly on the same side, the Gillmen and Mermaids often do not get along, as they are rivals for the same territory.  Furthermore, even though they are seriously altered, the Mermaids still consider the Gillmen human, even though they have very little in common from them.

The In'arl are an artificial race created by Lore through the use of human infants and powerful black magic.  In'arl are psychopathic born soldiers with a lust for violence and glory.  They feel no guilt over hurting others and consider laws and regulations guidelines.  They are ageless and continue growing until they are killed.  The only foods they can eat are hearts harvested from those who die violently or food they have stolen.  Having learned his lesson from the Gillmen, Lore made the In'arl sterile, so they could not reproduce themselves.  Instead, Lore secretly manufactures more In'arl when he needs them, creating more in war and less during peace-time.   It is secret  that the In'arl were created by Lore, though it is known that they consider him their God, calling him "Father".  With this, plus a little information that is not as well concealed as the Church would like, and the origin of the In'arl can be figured out.

by Ian Joyner