Wednesday, September 18, 2019

OSR: The Brotherhood of Broken Chains: Broken Blades

[The following is a compilation of a series of documents transcribed by Interrogator-Lord Marwen of Soliko, agent of His Imperium, the Emperor of Joyous Exultation, Lord Marzan's prayers be upon him.  The information contained within should be recognized as the opinions and thoughts of a law-breaker and do not in any way reflect the opinions, thoughts or desires of His Imperium or the agents of the Emperor or his loyal subjects.

All subjects detailed below are considered outlaws and law-breakers under Imperial Law.  All agents of His Imperium, if they encounter one of the individuals below should make all efforts to seize them, so that they may be brought before a Justice of His Imperium to receive due punishment.  Additionally, if any subject of His Imperium possesses the sufficient strength or skill with arms to apprehend one of the criminals, they should be awarded just compensation by an agent of His Imperium.

However, if any of the individuals mentioned in this file are to be caught, the agent of His Imperium strongly believes that they would be much more help alive and should be brought in for questioning and contrition.  Maybe they could be turned against their so called 'Brothers' and provide valuable information on the internal dynamics of the Brotherhood.

For further research, consult File E137-a-2 in the Imperial Archives for more information on the Brotherhood of Broken Chains' leadership and supposed history, File E137-b-56 for information on a particularly relevant group of criminals or File E137-f-31 for a look at some of the low-level members of the organization.  So says the agent of His Imperium.
]

There is a certain subset of Brothers I like to refer to as my 'Broken Blades'.  These are Brothers who are too useful for me to be rid of, but to troublesome to be permitted free rein.  As such, I keep them around, for the moment, but this is a situation that may change, depending on their performance.  For if any of my Broken Blades snaps again, I will arrange for their immediate termination.

                                                      by artikid
Vani, Daughter of Mettix

Vani is one of those Brothers who is a problem because I can't quite determine what my problem is with her.  Is it because of her impulsiveness?  Possibly.  Vani has difficulty keeping herself under control.  To put it simply, she is a degenerate, constantly falling in with rough men.  I'd say she lets herself be taken advantage of, but that undermines Vani's own contribution, which I am not going to understate.  The woman is notorious for her torrid affairs and infidelity.  I have permanently barred her from coming back to the island, forcing her to work out of one of our safehouses, on account of a certain incident where three senior Brothers got into a punch up over who's baby was growing inside her, as she was quite pregnant at the time.

I honestly don't know how she does it- her appearance is strange, or so I am told, even for a flat-face.  She is a Human, but with sagging skin, a large, pronounced jaw and strange, serrated teeth.  Yet for some reason, she never has trouble finding men.  I suppose that shouldn't be that much of an accomplishment in an organization composed mostly of unattached men whose central creed is based around breaking down the creeds, codes and restrictions that bind us, but still, it strikes me as odd.

Another thing that troubles me is that my spies have reported to me several times that Vani was pregnant and was going to or have already given birth to another child.  They told me this so I could prepare for her replacement, as most females in my organization who get pregnant retire from it, which is an acceptable risk, with certain exceptions.  However, Vani has never approached me or any of the other Pillars to ask for permission to retire.  Instead, she has always reported for duty and her children always end up vanishing under mysterious circumstances.  She is doing something with them, I am sure of it.  I have a Brother currently assigned to monitor Vani, with her objective to find out what Vani is doing with those babies.  And whatever she is up to, I have a contigency plan.  

Weakness:
Vani is fiercely protective of her children, at least while they are with her.  She will not do anything to risk them and will flee from any situation that might endanger them.  I am also told by my chief Physician that she is pregnant right now.  I wish her all the best, though she would be advised not to put her children before her Brothers.  That would be, unwise.

Statblock:

Vani, Daughter of Mettix
HD 3  AC 13  Atk (+3) Trident 1d8/1d8
Mor 7  Saves 9 or less is a success

Darkvision: Vani, Daughter of Mettix has incredible vision.  She can see in anything but pitch darkness, though when she is in the dark, she becomes highly sensitive to light.

Water Breather: Vani, Daughter of Mettix is a powerful swimmer and can breathe water as well as air.

Succubic Secretions: Vani, Daughter of Mettix, as an action, may secrete a pheremone cloud that affects all males within 15'. All within this cloud must save or be charmed by Vani, Daughter of Mettix, operating under the Maxim, "I love Vani and want to protect her."

Tactics:
- Charm some males
- Avoid direct conflict if possible
- Fight near water or darkness, preferrably both
- Ambushes are your best friend

Status: Active.  Vani is currently deployed with the rest of her team on a mission of minor importance, though she and her Brothers have been told otherwise.  I do not particularly care about the outcome of this mission in particular.  This game is a test, meant for them.  I have dispatched one of the senior Brothers to monitor their mission.  She will watch and wait, and see how this affair goes.  Regardless of what happens next, I look forward to reading the reports.

                                                     by NateHallinanArt

Baggolio Yori Utiko Manz Vorge

Baggolio Vorge is a skilled and cunning thief.  He was a highly successful cutpurse and highwayman, relieving many a nobleman of their jewels and silks.  He had made quite a name for himself in his local area, but the thing about successful criminals is that the second they get any notoriety, it tends to get to their heads.  Vorge was no exception to this rule and was soon boasting about his talents.  Thus, when he was asked to come along on a job to rob the Temple of a minor God, he decided he could pull it off. 

I've heard all about his plans and even knowing how they panned out, I am still impressed.  It could have worked.  But in every heist, there's always that one unexpected factor, that one situation you never thought to prepare for.  Every system, not matter how sturdy, hides the potential for Chaos.  And Vorge knows this better than anyone, as the night he attempted to rob that temple, he made the unfortunate discovery that the Deity had returned early.  Vorge choose to beg for mercy while his allies choose to flee, abandoning him.  He made the smarter choice, as most of his allies died soon after, cut down by the Deity's retainers or obliterated by the Godling.  Vorge was going to be sacrificed for his crimes, but an agent of mine intervened, springing him from the dungeon before the night that it was due to occur.  I still have no idea how that Brother did that under a Deity's watch.  Maybe the Brother bribed the Deity with a better sacrifice, or simply convinced it that Vorge wasn't worth such a noble death.  Or maybe the Deity wanted Vorge to end up in my clutches the whole time and permitted his escape.  If so, such a God is far crueler than I ever could be.

Vorge is an excellent thief and while he claims otherwise, he is also a skilled taker of lives.  His precision, focus and cunning made him a natural choice for team leader.  However, Vorge presents a problem for me in that he is just a little too smart for my organization.  For while the Brotherhood has a great need for intelligent operatives, it does not have the need for operatives smart enough to wonder why they should be taking orders from me.  So often do these types forget what their betters, nay, what I have done for them.  I hope that Vorge does not entertain such thoughts, or he may find himself returning sooner than he like, in a form he'd never want to be in.

Weakness: Vorge is proud.  He thinks himself more clever than he actually is and is thus, vulnerable to being tricked.  He won't fall for an obvious trap, but he will fall for something a little more complex.

Statblock:


Baggolio Yori Utiko Manz Vorge
HD 3  AC 15  Atk (+1) Daggers 1d6/1d6 or if thrown, (+3)
Mor 5  Saves 8 or less is a success

Knife Fighter: If Vorge manages to land a successful hit with his knives from melee range, he may, instead of making two attacks, burn one attack to automatically do 1d6 damage to the person he struck earlier, as long as he is in melee range.

Tactics:
- Throw knives at strong opponents to soften them up
- Then get in close and try to hit
- If you hit, use 'Knife Fighter'
- If you don't hit, start over

Status: Active.  Vorge has been told he and his team are on a simple mission to infiltrate an Imperial Governor's manse and retrieve a few valuable pieces for me.  However, I have also left a series of clues to reveal that this mission is actually an attempt to root out a traitor among their team.  Vorge believes he has discovered this due to his own cleverness.  And while this is completely false, the mission's secondary purpose may turn out to not be, especially if Vorge gets any funny ideas...

                                                                by GORILAZ4EVAR
Kina Artlett of Maggino Park

Kina Artlett is a Doeling, one of those delicate, skittish folk that have been comfortably squatting beneath the bulk of the Orzanian Giants towering over the world.  However, while the Doelings are usually characterized by their agreeability and conscientiousness, Artlett is anything but.  According to some of the other Doelings I've had cause to speak to, Artlett seems to fit their definition of madness well. 

This isn't much of a problem for me, though.  After all, where would the Brotherhood be without the mad?  Artlett is consumed by the belief that he is a much better fighter than he actually is.  He consistently underestimates his opponents and overestimates his own abilities.  He is not a frenzied individual, prone to rages or fits, but seems quite lucid.  His madness manifests in that whenever he assesses an opponent, he is almost always wrong.  It'd almost be amusing, if it wasn't so sad.

This is why Artlett is here instead of assigned to another squad.  For while I have absolutely no worries about Artlett even thinking about betraying me, his madness has destroyed almost all of the potential he had, crippling him.  And the worst part is that he doesn't even realize it himself.  The amount of pity I feel toward this unfortunate Brother amazes me.  Sometimes I worry I have grown soft. 

Weakness: Kina Artlett cannot gauge the strength of his opponents.  He almost always underestimates his opponents and often quite seriously.  It is a miracle he hasn't decided to pick a fight with an opponent absurdly stronger than him yet, as there is no internal reason for him to not have done so already. 

Statblock:

Kina Artlett of Maggino Park
HD 1  AC 12  Atk (+1) Fists 1d6 or Sunday Punch
Mor 11    Saves 7 or less is a success

Inaccurate Assessment: Kina Artlett is insane, so his reason has consumed him, warping his reality into a self-reinforcing loop.  This means that Artlett consistently underestimates his opponents.  When assessing an opponent, Artlett has a 5-in-6 chance of underestimating an opponent.  He will be correct in guessing an opponent's strength occasionally, but that is pure, dumb luck.

Sunday Punch: Kina Artlett can make a stronger punch that does 1d10 damage, but only against targets with weak armor.  It also doesn't work against those wearing helms.  Artlett may only use his Sunday Punch every 1d4 rounds. 

Tactics:
- Inaccurately assess your opponent's strength
- Rush in and attack the closest or strongest opponent
- Be totally fearless

Status: Active.  Kina Artlett is currently on two missions.  The first is from me and is to accompany his fellow Brothers on their retrieval mission.  The second is self-assigned and it is to fight every single strong warrior in the world.  I wish him success in both of his endeavors.

                                                            by ZhaKrisstol
Nazaria Golga

The Brotherhood of Broken Chains is an organization that has persisted for so long because of its segmented, compartmentalized nature.  Brothers are only told what they need to know and squad leaders only know slightly more.  Among our ranks, knowledge is often more valuable than gold and guarded far more zealously.  It could be said that the best way to think of my organization is not as a cult or a criminal organization, the hypocrites, but as a vast web of secrets.

But nature abhors a vacuum and since facts are difficult to come by, my operatives have busied themselves with inventing all sorts of wild theories about how the organization functions and what my final goal is.  I have even utilized this process myself, using certain loyal Brothers to insert rumors into the main body of the organization, to misdirect operatives from certain ideas and to plant others in the minds of a select few.  However, most of these rumors are simply home-grown.

Most of these tales are wild and salacious, falling in and out of favor.  There is one tale I wish to recount here, though, as it is very popular and very long-lived.  It is the story of the Executor.  The Executor is a secret operative who directly serves the Master of Chains, an Elder Brother who possesses almost as much power and knowledge as the Master himself.  But unlike other Brothers, the Executor has only one mission.  To find those who are going to, or already have, betrayed the Brotherhood and to eliminate them.  From there the rumor has spawned dozens of competing theories about who the Executor is and what they are.  Some say that the Executor is my Shadow, or a Senior Brother everyone would recognize.  Others insist that the Executor is actually some sort of magical beast or hideous monster, or maybe even a vile demigod that dwells in the lowest levels of my stronghold, feeding on the souls of traitors.  A few even suggest that the Executor is hiding in plain sight, pretending to be some low-level Brother while hiding their true potential.  This is the theory I have worked hardest to discredit through covert means, as it is true.

While I do not refer to her as, nor even use the title of, Executor, I do have a Brother who secretly receives assignments from me to remove certain Brothers from the organization.  Her name is Nazaria Golga and she has proven most effective at her job.  Golga is a ruthless and skilled operative, with almost no regard for her own safety and the frozen, burning hatred I find oh so useful in this line of work.  Golga has filled the position for several years now, skillfully maintaining her cover while exterminating traitors and suspected traitors.  Several times I have even ordered her to infiltrate highly secure prisons to terminate Brothers who had been captured and I supected would crack under pressure.  I never expected her to actually succeed at these missions, but she has.

This is actually a cause for concern, if I may be honest.  Golga is a killing machine, of course, but the level of success she has achieved is nothing short of pretenatural.  I have decided that I will keep her where she is for now, but I am also making plans to remove her from her position, as well as from my organization, permanently.  This will be my immediate course of action if I find out that Golga's victories were of anything other than her own merit.    

Weakness: If Nazaria Golga possesses a weakness, it is that she takes great pride in her unbroken string of successes.  She will make any and all attempts to complete a mission, even at great risk to herself and others.  She is obsessed with victory.

Statblock:

Nazaria Golga
HD 5  AC 14  Atk (+4) Atlatl 1d8 or (+1) Dagger 1d6/1d6
Mor 9   Saves 10 or less is a success

Enchanted Spears: Nazaria Golga has imbued her Atlatl's spears with magical power.  Anyone who is hit by one of them receives an additional effect, a -1 penalty to all attacks and damage rolls per hit.  At any point, Golga may lift these penalties from someone as a free action.  See 'Spontaneous Combustion' for what happens when she does that.

Spontaneous Combustion: If Golga wishes it to, any person with a -1 penalty on him has that penalty removed from him, but he also takes 1d6 fire damage.  This stacks per -1 penalty, to a maximum of 3d6.  Once the initial burst, the target also takes an additional 1d6 damage per round he is still on fire. 

Tactics:
- Lay penalties on the most dangerous foe
- Light them up
- Avoid melee combat unless absolutely necessary

Status: Active.  Golga is a highly skilled operative, which is good, because she would be wasted doing almost anything else.  Right now, she is traveling with a group of Broken Blades who are on some issue of minor importance.  Her primary mission is not to complete the mission, but to watch the group.  If any of the other Brothers commits one of the unpardonable sins, she is to immediately terminate the offenders and bring me back proof of their demise. 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

SOS: Magic in Space

So I'm designing a new Sci-Fi setting and I decided I was going to finally give in to my desire to have a low-magic setting where the only type of magics were the type that were either natural and inexplicable or only accessible through Carcosan type rituals.  Thank Mr. Kangaroo for inspiring me with his post, which is here.  That is one of the primary influences for this new setting, along with what Dan D has written about Mothership, what Skerples has written about his pirate campaign and its all topped off with a heaping helping of Warhammer 40,000.  

                                              by Takeda11

The State of Magic in Sea of Stars:

There is no caster class or reliable magic.  Most people don't even believe in magic.

<Referee's Note>
This will be my official position as the Game Master, by the way, until revealed otherwise.  That way, when I spring Cthulhu on the players, it's going to be so much funnier.
</Referee's Note>

But sorcery, witchcraft, magic, it is very real.

So with that established, let's talk principles.

Firstly, all magic, sorcery and spiritual weirdness comes from the Emptiness.  The Emptiness is the Spiritual Plane that overlaps the Physical Plane.  This is your Astral or Immaterial Plane, the Empyrean, etc.  All magic comes from here, along with all living creatures with souls, though that is secret knowledge.  The reason it is called the Emptiness is that when traveling through it, no sensor can determine if anything is outside. 

But the fact that the Emptiness is the source of magic is a secret.  What is widely known, at least among some communities, is that the Emptiness is how Mankind circumvents the FTL limit.  By opening a portal into the Emptiness, starships can easily cover the vast interstellar distances that would take far longer otherwise.  So traveling across the galaxy is possible, if your ship has an Emptiness Drive.

Ships that travel through the Emptiness must also follow Emptiness Security Protocols, or suffer.  ESPs include such things as preventing people from gazing out into the Emptiness through translucent spaces, not at all hard on most space ships, as those windows are actually just viewing monitors hooked up to external cameras.  Among these Protocols are rules where starships who tranverse the Emptiness must also have networks of symbols carved into their frames.  Very few know exactly why, but these symbols prevent any weirdness from overtaking them.  Voidborne widely refer to these symbols as 'Ward-Nets', no matter how much their captains try to use other language.  But Voidborne are a superstitious and bizarre group, so who really cares what they think.  Regardless, ships with damaged ward-nets tend to not return.

Looking out into the Emptiness is said to be extremely hazardous, usually leading to madness, revelation or both.  Being physically exposed to the Emptiness is even worse and all the stories on the subject say it leads to sudden, unavoidable death, but the stories do not agree on why.

How do I get some?

There are only two sources of magic.  Firstly, you can perform a ritual.  All rituals require some kind of materials and usually require specific ceremonies.  They are often hazardous, but can provide some incredible powers.  As for where you can learn rituals, you will find them hidden in forbidden tomes, scratched on the walls of abandoned asylums and in the hands of would-be magicians. 

If you don't have time for that, though, you can sell your soul.  Not really, usually, but some of the creatures from the Emptiness can provide you with special powers or abilities.  However, they will need something in return, usually sacrifice, but they can also require allegiance, favors or even worship.  But more on that later.      

How to Perform a Ritual:

To cast a ritual requires you to make any preparations you wish to, then make two 1d20 checks.

The first check is your Incantation Check.  This is based on whether or not you performed the ritual correctly, whether you pronounced the words correctly, whether you drew the symbols correctly, whether you danced well enough, etc, etc.  If your roll equals or exceeds a ritual's DC, count this as a successful check.

The second check is your Invocation Check.  This is based on whether or not you manage to successfully draw upon the power of the Emptiness.  If your roll equals or exceeds a ritual's DC, count this as a successful check.

Now, for the tricky part. 
If your Incantation Check and your Invocation Check both succeed, then the ritual is successful and works as it is intended, though if you were trying to do something stupid with it, it might still end up causing trouble for you.
If you succeed on your Incantation Check but fail your Invocation Check, roll on the 'Innate Magical Turmoil' table. 
If you fail your Incantation Check but succeed on your Invocation Check, roll on the 'Perils of the Emptiness' table.
If you fail both your Incantation and Invocation checks, nothing happens.

Also, be sure to include any relevant modifiers:

- 3 to both checks if the true nature of what is being attempted is not understood (the meddling amateur penalty)
- 2 to both checks if the preparations are botched, interrupted or rushed
- 1 to both checks if the proper materials were not used, such as substituting wine for blood or something like that
- 1 to both checks if the veil between worlds is stronger here (mostly this occurs at sanctified or holy places)
+ 1 to both checks if the proper materials are used
+ 1 to both checks per additional caster helping with the ritual (max +3)
+ 1 to both checks per HD of the creature sacrificed, if one was (max +3)
+ 1 to both checks if the veil between worlds is weaker here, or the stars are right (+2 if both are true here)
+ 2 to both checks if the caster has sworn allegiance to one of the Hollow Kings and invokes one of them by name   

                                                    by MarcSimonetti

Rituals:
 

1d20
1- Door, Down, Down, Down.  DC: 10.  You will need a door, a dark room, a knife and a sacrifice.  First, carve the required symbols and words into the door.  Then kill the sacrifice and paint the door in its blood, then recite the words as carved.  Then open the door.  Do it correctly and when you open the door, you will be in a dark place, full of suffering and malice.  But here, deals can be made, certain allies can be recruited and rare resources gathered.  Also, stolen objects or items of a sufficiently vile nature can be found in great number.  But evn if you perform this ritual correctly, beware all the wickedness on the other side following you back.  To determine what exactly you see when you open the door, roll on the 'We need to go deeper' table below.

2- Nearly Departed.  DC: 4+[1 per Undead being raised].  You will need a place with a great number of dead, incense, funerary bells, a sacrifice, a brush, a bowl and the ability to dance.  Arrange the corpses around you, being sure to keep them separate from each other.  Bleed the sacrifice, but do not kill it yet, and collect the blood and be sure not to spill a drop.  Then take the blood and smear a little bit of it on each of the corpses you intend to wake.  Recite the words of preparation and if you know the names of the deceased, read them aloud.  Then ring the bells and sing a dirge, and at the height of the song, when you are at your loudest, kill the sacrifice.  If you have done it correctly, the marked corpses will animate and join in the merriment.  Finish the song and then stop.  If you have done the ritual correctly, the dead will rise and obey you.  If you have not, the dead will not be under anyone's control and free to do as they wish. 
  
3- Flight from Death.  DC: 4.  You will need a weapon, a high pain tolerance and a victim.  Say a prayer to the Red Princes of Murder over a weapon.  Then hunt down an intelligent creature and kill it with that weapon.  Then butcher the creature.  Collect that creature's blood and organs, mashing the latter into a mash.  Additionally, if the creature killed was a male, cut off its manhood and add that to the mix.  Mix with blood till you have something resembling a bloody porridge, then eat it.  If done correctly, this ritual will grant you that creature's plundered vitality and next time you are near death or when you wound yourself with the murder weapon, that creature's vitality will rush into you, healing you an amount equal to the creature's strength.  If you do this ritual incorrectly, a piece of the murdered creature's soul will enter you, leading to all sorts of problems.

4- His long shadow.  DC: 6.  You will need a drop of a creature's blood, a piece of flesh or etc; a container for fluids, certain poisonous herbs and a live salamander.  Gather a sample from the creature you wish to harm and mix it together with the other ingredients, then kill and add the salamander.  Blend together till combined, then distill until it resembles a clear liquid. Then administer the liquid to the creature you wish to harm.  If this ritual was done correctly, the creature's pre-existing wounds will worsen or his wounds will become infected.  This doesn't guarantee death but it is likely, all but certain with sophisticated medical technology or sorcery.  Do the ritual incorrectly and the creature will sicken, but not die.     

5- Raiding Oneechan's Wardrobe.  DC: 10.  You will need mud, sticks, twigs, animal dung, animal blood and the heart of a freshly slaughtered animal.  Have one person take off all his clothes.  Mark him with the runes, either painting them on or carving them into the person's skin.  Then smear the person in mud with dung and sprinkle them with blood.  Then have them eat the raw heart of the freshly slaughtered animal.  Then, under the light of the moon, dance around this person, singing the song as instructed.  If you have done it properly, the marked person will transform into the animal whose heart he just ate.  He will remain like that until sun shines upon him once more.  While in animal form, he retains all of his mental stats and gains any abilities the animal might have had, along with its physical stats.  He also loses any abilities that require a human body, though, unless his new body can also perform those actions.
    
6- Cave Guardian.  DC: 4.  You will need a series of chemicals easily accessible, mortar and pestle, charcoal, a fragment of bone, a sacrifice and a fire.  Mix the chemicals together, along with the charcoal.  Add water to make a paste, then smear it on the sacrifice into the appropriate shapes, marking them with the runes.  Then attach the bone to the sacrifice.  Make sure the sacrifice is restrained so that he cannot damage the runes.  Then, offer him to the spirits of primordial Chaos and hurl the sacrifice into the blaze.  If you have done your work well, the sacrifice will be consumed by the flames and the fire will spring to greater heights, burning brighter and hotter in degrees depending on the vigour of the sacrifice.     

7- Man among the ruins.  DC: 6+[1 per dose of clay substance you wish to make].  You will need a computer or calculating device, an electrical device, a power source and some cheap good produced by machinery, not by hands.  Smash the computer into pieces.  Do the same for the power source, the electrical device and the cheap good.  Take the shards and place them in a metal bowl, then burn them.  Recite the words over them, as instructed.  If you have done it correctly, when you are finished, you will find the bowl filled with a sticky, rubbery substance that resembles clay.  Any machine that has a bit of this gray susbstance stuck to it will begin malfunctioning.  The more complex the machine, the less you will need.  Once the substance has caused something to not work, the power will have left it and it will crumble into dust.   
 
8- Back to Hell.  DC: 10.  You will need sunlight, a small box, a thing of natural beauty that is not alive (no live puppies or etc) and a happy memory.  Place the small box in the sun and place the object of natural beauty in the box and let it sit outside for as long as you wish.  Do not let it be exposed to cloudy skies or night.  Then, designate a happy memory and let it flow into the box.  You will forget it while the box remains closed, but it will return to you, as soon as the box is opened.  Then seal the box.  If you have done the ritual correctly, when you open it in the presence of the Undead, all those with fewer HD than half the amount of hours the box sat out in the sun are instantly destroyed.  Those with greater than half or equal HD to the amount of hours must save or be destroyed.  Those with greater HD are not destroyed, but merely damaged.  If you have done this ritual incorrectly, nothing will happen when you open the box, but you will have not forgotten the happy memory either.
     
9- Puppet Master.  DC: 10.  You will need a piece of paper, something to write on it, a method of attaching the paper to a creature, a marker or a knife and a creature.  First, write a series of instructions on the paper.  You may write as much as you like, but the more you write, the less likely they are all to be completed.  Then attach this paper to the creature you wish to control.  Cover the creature's various motor centers in small glyphs.  You can carve these in, but drawing on the creature's skin will also work.  Then, whenever you wish, snap your fingers or say the magic word and the creature will spring into action, performing whatever action you commanded it to do.  But beware, if the paper is removed before you can give your command or while the creature is carrying out your orders, it need not obey or continue obeying.
        
10- Incite Disaster.  DC: 15.  You will need a doll, a mirror, a ladder, a salt shaker, a lock of someone's hair or some fresh blood or a tooth, a ribbon and some creativity.  Collect your sample and tie or apply it to the doll.  Then speak the incantation and make a sympathetic connection between the doll and the person who it is connected to.  Then throw the doll at a salt-shaker to knock it over, move it under a ladder, without going under it yourself and have it break the mirror.  This will cause the doll to accumulate bad karma.  Then, whenever you wish, destroy the doll in such a way that the sample of tissue or blood is also destroyed.  This will cause all the bad karma the doll has accumulated to head back to the creature who it was linked to, causing that creature to immediately suffer some sort of catastrophe.  This catastrophe will always make sense based on wherever the creature is.  For example, if he is walking on a mountain path, he might find a rockslide heading toward him or if he is standing outside during a thunder storm, he will be struck by lightning.  Depending on the amount of bad karma the doll has 'acquired', the disaster will vary in severity.  Additionally, there is almost always a chance that the creature survives the disaster.
  
11- Sorcerous Insurance.  DC: 4.  You will need a chest, some fresh blood, a large amount of currency, a piece of paper and a pen.  First, take the fresh blood and paint a sigil on one of your possessions or body parts.  Then, paint the same sigil onto your chest, and be sure that the chest could contain the body part or possession.  Then fill the chest with a sufficient amount of currency to purchase a new body part of that sort or that possession.  Make sure your possession is not something sufficiently rare, unique or magical, as otherwise the ritual will automatically fail.  Then write a note specifying that if the current possession or body part you have is damaged, you would like a replacement.  Place the note in the chest and seal it.  Do not open it unless the possession or body part you designated is lost, stolen or otherwise needs replacement.  If it does, if you have done the ritual properly, when you open the chest, you will find the currency and note missing, along with a replacement for what was requested.
           
12- Transform and Command Slave.  DC: 15.  You will need a creature who has some particular vice and knowledge of what this vice is. You will probably want other materials, but they are not required.  You must then confront the creature and inform it of its vice and offer it a chance to indulge that vice.  You must not coerce it into making this choice- it must choose of its own free will.  If it chooses to do so, the creature begins transforming, turning into a sub-human Sin Beast, a creature who will recklessly pursue its impulses until it is killed or destroys itself.  You may, however, shortly after it transforms, bind the Sin Beast to you.  Do this properly and the Sin Beast will obey you, but only as far as the letter of your commands go.

13- Hateful Blade.  DC: 10.  You will need a drop of someone's blood, some paint and a weapon.  Mark the weapon with the appropriate, then dip it in the blood of the creature you wish to harm.  Then inform the blade of all the terrible things the person whose blood it just touched has done.  It need not be true, only believable.  If you have done the ritual properly, the blood will boil off the blade, leaving it pristine.  If you have done it incorrectly, the blood will instead transform into smoke.  If done properly, the blade will seek out the creature whose blood it tasted.  Depending on the amount of blood, the blade's pursuit abilities will vary.  A blade will only a few drops shed on it will seem to guide the user's hand toward that creature.  A weapon immersed in the blood, on the other hand, will seem to be guided by the blind workings of the deterministic universe, the laws of motion itself aiding the blade in striking its target, Final Destination style.

14- The Tomb's embrace.  DC: 4.  You will need a mostly air-tight container, a sacrifice, and a weapon.  Trap the creature, or just its head, in an air-tight container, then kill it.  Strangulation is recommended but not required.  Keep the container sealed as best you can.  If you have done the ritual properly, when you open the container, a cloud of cold, clammy fog that raises the hackles will emerge and surround everything nearby.  Anyone injured in this fog has any damage taken multipled by the sacrifice's HD.  If the sacrifice only had 1 HD then when rolling damage roll twice and select the larger amount.  The fog remains for a number of minutes equal to the decades the sacrificed creature lived.  If you have done the ritual improperly, nothing will be released from the sealed container but a murderous ghost.
           
15- Volcano Milk.  DC: 4.  You will need hot, but not scalding water, ash from a wood fire, a chunk of igneous rock and ground pumice.  Heat the water to a warm temperature and mix the various ingredients into it.  Then speak the words over the water.  If you have done it properly, the water will begin bubbling and releasing aromatic smoke.  Do not drink or touch the water at this point.  Then, have the creature you wish to affect either drink or bathe in this water.  Doing this will curse them with hot blood.  The creature will feel an intense, internal heat and his bodily fluids will reach temperatures far hotter than they should.  Depending on the amount ingested or how much of the creature's body was immersed in the water, the temperature will increase, from simply too hot to scalding to flesh-melting.  The creature himself will not be affected by his or her heated fluids, but will instead, depending on the intensity of his or her internal heat, feel much hotter all of the time, may "glow" with attractiveness and may have light shine out of any orifices he or she has, besides his or her mouth.

16- Funerary Garb.  DC: 4.  You will need a knife, a fresh corpse, perfume, a strong stomach and a steady hand.  Bless the corpse, consigning it to rest peacefully and not stir when you start cutting.  Then remove its face and peel it off.  Once you have done this, place it over your face and recite the words.  If you have done the ritual properly, your appearance will change to that of the corpse while it was alive.  Your voice, face and even scent will change, but you will not gain any special knowledge of who the corpse was.  The change lasts until you, or someone else, removes the face or until you expose your disguise to direct sunlight, after which it crumbles away and immediately ends.
   
17- Time on my Side.  DC: 10.  You will need a time-piece, access to moonlight, a candle, a knife and matches.  Take an unlit candle and scratch a line into it with the knife.  Then burn the candle down to that line, but no further.  While the wax is still hot, gather some of it and drip it first onto your time-piece, then your flesh.  Do not scrape it off.  Then extinguish the candle.  Then hold the time-piece up while bathed in moonlight.  Keep it there for as long as you wish, but it should be at least 1 minute.  That is the minimum amount of time.  Be careful if you tarry longer, you might attract attention you would not like.  Then shut the time-piece and hide it from the moon.  Do not let her see you, nor your theft!  Then, whenever you wish to use the power locked in the time-piece, whisper a condition into it, such as "If the President comes out on stage," then, if that condition occurs, the power will be released and you may make a number of actions equal to the number of minutes you bathed the time-piece in moonlight.
     
18- Me, Myself and I.  DC: 20.  You will need a large mirror, a dummy, some of your personal possessions, a lock of hair, a knife and possibly a sacrifice.  Take the dummy and decorate it, dressing it in your clothes or adorning it with your possessions, then attach a lock of hair freshly cut from your hair.  A drop of blood will also work.  Then, draw the symbols as instructed on the mirror and speak the incantation over the dummy.  Then, if you are using a sacrifice, slay it and drench the dummy in its blood.  Finally, press the dummy up to the mirror.  If you have done the ritual correctly, the dummy will vanish and someone else will be standing there.  It will be another version of you.  To determine  what self shows up, roll on the Alternate Self table below.

19- Destroy Time's Tyranny.  DC: 10.  You will need a notebook or other object that can permit writing, the means of which to write on that tool or object, a pair of masks, and a knife.  First, before the point of turning from one day to another, at midnight, seal yourself alone in a room and place the two masks on the floor in front of you.  Recite the words as instructed.  Then cut both of your index fingers and wait. At exactly midnight, mark both masks with your blood.  To the one on your left, say, "To who I was," and to the one on the right say, "To who I will be."  Reverse this if you are left handed, or do it whatever way you prefer if ambidextrous.  Then, take both masks and keep them with you.  If you ever wish to know the answer to a question, write it in the notebook, then close it.  Then put on whatever mask that designates the future.  Nothing will happen and that is normal.  Then take off the mask and re-open the notebook.  If you have done the ritual correctly, you will see an answer written by yourself, in the future.  You might, upon opening the book, also find questions from your past self. Do not be alarmed if you cannot remember being in those circumstances.  That is also normal.   

20- Prince of Freaks.  DC: 4.  You will need a bowl of water, a toad's skin, a cookoo bird, a broken mirror and a piece of flesh, bone or some blood from a disfigured creature.  Mix the ingredients together and stir well, until you make something resembling a crunchy batter.  Anyone who touches this batter with bare flesh will find the affected area of skin becomes disfigured.  Splattering someone or pouring it him or her is the best way, but the batter can also be diluted by mixing it with large amounts of water.  This lessens the intensity, but allows many more creatured to be affected by it.  Once it touches someone, the batter dissolves into the creature's skin and is gone.  

We meed to Deeper:

1d6
1- You arrive in an enormous, seemingly endless office building.  People are constantly running around, carrying books of paperwork and forms in need of certification.  The people all here seem to either be just a little too invested in their work or highly skilled slackers who are merely experts at looking busy.  Paranoia and casual cruelty is absolutely rampant here, and there is a definite undercurrent of violence.  Occasionally a group of armed men enter an office, grab someone and drag them into the elevator, kicking and screaming.  That person is never seen or heard from again and everyone else just pretends like nothing happened.  All the elevators only go down and all the clocks simply read, 'Too Late'.
2- You arrive in a rainy city under a perpetually overcast sky.  It seems to be evening, though the sky will never get any brighter or darker than the evening half-gloom, nor will the clouds ever go away.  The city is quiet, with people quietly going about their business.  Neighbors quarrel quite severely with each other and the lack of intellectual life in the city is quite disappointing.  But it's not that different than any other city.  The city's government is hopelessly corrupt and the syndicates are ruthless and dangerous, but its not as bad as it could be.
3- You arrive on the rocky shore of a lake of fire.  As per Goblin Punch's Hell.
4- You arrive in a dark, grey land populated by silent shades.  At first, the shades call to you with syrupy-sweet voices, urging you to come with them.  But as you travel, the shades will grow more aggressive and less friendly.  Eventually, they will attack you.  They do not derive pleasure, only a small amount of satisfaction in hurting you.  They do it anyway.  There are also far worse things here, creatures that prey upon the shades and you in equal amounts.
5- You find yourself waking up in a hotel room, ready to start a new day.  You have a task you came to do, you remember.  But as you go to do it, one or more of your companions dies through an attack or a freak accident.  As soon as this happens, the day restarts from that morning.  This repeats, forever, until you manage to get out of there.  
6- You find yourself in an air-filled underwater cave.  If you stay in the water for too long, it will mutate you into a creature that cannot survive on land or anywhere else but here.  Holding your breath and breathing air will delay this process, but neither of those is a long term solution.    
      
Alternate Self Table:

Modifiers:
- Add +2 if a righteous person voluntarily sacrifices themselves
- Add +1 if you sacrifice a valuable possession or treasure
- Add +1 if you yourself are a righteous man
- Subtract -1 if you are wicked
- Subtract -1 if you offer a sacrifice of a living creature that does not wish to offer itself

1d10
0 or lower: Hellbound Self.  This version of you is all you hate, despise and fear about yourself.  He is you if you let your worst habits consume and control you, then let those same habits get worse for thousands of years.  He is terrifying, imposing and utterly seductive.  He drips disgust and perverse glee, as well as liquid sensuality.  His words are like honey, his fingers like steel.  You know he is probably a liar, but his promises, they sound too good to pass up.  Besides, what's the worst that could happen?  Your hellbound self has all your abilities, plus an additional number of levels in another class to make him a 9th level character.  He can also teleport when no one is looking at him, to other places where no is looking and possesses the ability to steal the life and youth of others.   
1-2: Evil Self.  As an Alternate Universe Self, but actually evil.  May declare this outright, but is much more likely to lurk in the shadows, remaining on your good side for as long as possible.  If you start doing evil things in his presence, he may even encourage you, or reveal his true colors, so to speak.  He need not be an enemy, but he is definitely not a good person.  Your evil self will possess all of your abilities, but flavored to be slightly darker.  For example, if your class is Wizard, he is a Necromancer.
3: Undead Self.  This version of yourself sacrificed his soul to gain the world.  Does he regret it?  Possibly.  Never being able to go out in the sun, being shunned by society, being a twisted abomination created by dark powers, these may be problems he never thought about or they may have been his realities for as long as he lived.  For abilities, he will possess all of your current abilities, plus all the benefits and drawbacks that come from being Undead. 
4-7: Alternate Universe Self.  This version of you is basically just you, but from a parallel world.  He is slightly different, but not by much.  Maybe he has styled his hair differently or wears different clothes.  The choices he made will be different than yours, but not by much.  Maybe you choose to go track down a long lost enemy, even though the enemy hadn't been seen in many years, while he isn't choose to hope that the very same enemy was dead, or would never return.  If you talk with him, you might even be able to find the divergence point between your worlds.  Your Alternate Universe Self will possess either all your abilities, or if he is from a universe vastly different than yours, an equal amount of levels in a different class.      
8: Self-droid.  This version of you has exchanged mortality and humanity for iron and immortality.  Your self-droid is possesses your mind/soul, but otherwise his body is composed entirely of robotic components.  He is you, but stranger.  He is the type of person who would willingly sacrifice all the benefits of a human body for his own purposes.  Driven doesn't even begin to describe it.  Is he insane?  Maybe, but also maybe not.  He might have just made the smart choice.  Your self-droid  will possess all of your abilities, plus all the benefits and weaknesses of having a sophisticated, superhuman body. 
9: Experienced Self.  This version of you is seasoned by a long life, what you might become after years of this process.  He will be older than you, though whether or not he is decreipt will depend on how much older he is.  He will know things you do not and remember things you haven't done yet.  He is wise and likely considers you a punk kid.  For abilities, your experienced self will have all your abilities, plus +1d3 levels and a wealth of fighting experience that you do not.  He may suffer from the predations of old age, though.      
10: Righteous Self.  This is you at your most heroic.  This version of you will aid in any good endeavor, but will balk at anything evil or unsavory.  He is not necessarily you at your strongest, but he is you at your most confident.  Your righteous self will have all the abilities of a character of your level, plus a bonus equal to his level to resist all spells and abilities of evil creatures. 
11+: Heavenly Self.  This version of you is a beautiful, radiant creature, shining with the light of divinity and providence.  All you are and all you could become.  Compared to him, you will feel small, weak, and pathetic.  These are accurate assumptions.  But your Heavenly Self will have nothing but great love for you.  Your Heavenly Self will possess all the powers of a 9th level character of your class, plus the ability to fly and conditional immortality.     

Other Possible Rituals:

- Summoning.

- Mancy.

- Astral Projection.  I couldn't find a good example of this, so I'll probably have to write one myself.

                                                       source unknown

Creatures native to the Emptiness:

Passing Fancy: A shred of personality, the lingering remains of a dream, fragments of habit, drifting freely through the Emptiness.  These Fancies are drawn to intelligent creatures like moths to a flame, circling them impotently.  Sometimes though, one manages to penetrate someone's internal defenses.  This causes the person to become slowly fixated on whatever the Fancy embodies, an old habit or remnant of one, such as writing furiously in a notebook, even if the only thing they ever write is nonsensical scribblings.

USes [Us-es]: Imagine if you took every first impression of yourself, every half-glimpsed image of you buried in everyone's subconscious, from your parents to the person who you bought a candy bar from two years ago then never saw again and then combined all those impressions of you.  That's what an USes is.  It looks like you, but distorted, as if its body was drawn by a caricature artist looking at your reflection in a cloudy mirror.  It acts like you, almost, mimicking some of your habits and traits, but poorly.  Underneath the thin veneer of personality it's hollow though, a thin shell with nothing underneath.     

Figments: Figments are imaginary monsters, living delusions, walking hallucinations.  They can only be seen by people who believe them and the more people that believe in them, the stronger they are.  Figments defy the standard rules of physical creatures, mostly because they aren't physical.  They act more like the killer in a slasher movie than a real person with a knife, an abstracted representation of mankind's inner neuroses, except unlike in a movie, there's no guarantee you walk away from this on.  Actually, not that I think about it, that makes it almost exactly like a movie.

Empty-Men: An Outsider.

Hollow Kings:  A Daemon Prince, as per my original post.  They don't refer to themselves that way though- they call themselves the Immortals, or the Chosen, or the Forever People, or they just abandon all subtlety and declare themselves to be Gods.

                                            from Kalimantras dot com

When things go wrong:

Here are the tables to roll on.

Innate Magical Turmoil
1d20

1- One caster spends his or her next action vomiting a glowing, opalescent slime.  The slime smells like sugary cereal.  It tastes horrible.  Otherwise, it is normal.
2- One caster takes 1d6 damage as the incantation twists his innards.
3- Nothing happens at first.  Several hours later, a cat, pigeon or frog appears in the possession of one of the casters.  The animal is totally normal, but the caster is convinced that he or she loves this animal and would do anything for it.  Nothing can dissuade him or her from this course of action.
4- One caster glows in the dark for the next 1d10 minutes.
5- One caster's skin changes color to 1d4 [1= Black; 2= Red; 3= Yellow; 4= Blue.]  
6- One caster has all his or her hair fall out, leaving him bald.  His hair will grow back.
7- One caster gains a mutation.  After 1d6 turns, he may save.  On a successful save, the mutation goes away.  Otherwise, it is permanent.
8- The weather changes where the casters are.  It changes to 1d6 [1= Sunny; 2= Rainy; 3= Thunderstorm; 4= Tornado; 5= Foggy; 6= Snowy.]  The weather change lasts for 1d8 hours, then the climate returns to normal.
9- One caster is blinded for 1d10 minutes.  After the duration ends, the caster regains the ability to see.
10- A ball of bubbling energy flies out of one of the caster's mouths and hovers in the air before him.  Then it makes an attack against another randomly selected target.  Any creature struck by this orb takes 1d8 electric damage.
11- One caster has his age altered by 1d10 years.  There is a 50% chance he gets older, with an equal chance he gets younger.
12- One caster suddenly realizes that he is in danger of falling into the Room Without Walls.  He also knows the warding symbols that he can carve into his flesh to prevent this fate.  Doing this will require 1d6 hours and do 1d4 damage.  It will also make the caster much stranger in appearance.
13- A wave of energy explodes out from the casters and strikes everyone within 100', including them.  Every person for the next 1d10 minutes is surrounded by a glowing aura, giving them -1d4 to stealth and AC.
14- For the next 1d10 minutes, loud music can be heard from the ritual site.  This music will suit the mood of those at the ritual site- if they are agitated it will be shredding heavy metal, if they are calm, it will be the gentle tinkling of a piano.
15- On all the walls not being observed, blasphemous graffiti will appear, describing chilling threats and scorning the Gods, along with strange characters or runes that are hard to look directly at and induce migraines in those who stare directly at them.  Pictures on the wall also start to weep blood.
16- If there are any bodies within 100', they immediately reanimate as Undead and go on a rampage, attacking the nearest living creature they can find.
17- All view screens or holograms in the area become distorted, the people in them acting out disturbing scenes, either committing evil actions or simply doing distressing things, such as crying until they weep tears of blood.
18- Nothing appears to happen.  Then, shortly after, an old enemy coincidentally arrives, having arrived in a sheer fluke.  Only pick an enemy who could have some kind of reason for being near the casters.  If the casters do not have any old enemies, have someone who would have a reason to be antagonistic toward the casters suddenly arrives.
19- A hallucinogenic fog blankets a 50' space, centered on the casters.  Everyone in the cloud starts suffering wild hallucinations for 1d6 hours.
20- A swarm of wild animals suddenly bursts into the same areas as the casters and begins causing problems as an ordinary swarm of that type of animal would.    

Perils of the Emptiness
1d20

1- One caster receives a vision of a gruesome future, involving someone he knows being murdered and an unlikely culprit doing the killing.  The vision has a 25% of being a true premonition, otherwise it is simply incorrect.
2- All casters involved in the ritual must save.  Anyone who fails their save, if they touch another living creature within 1d10 minutes fuse with that creature.  Both creatures retain their minds but now inhabit one body.  The casters do not know this.
3- All creatures involved with or participating in the ritual must save.  Any creature who fails his save switches bodies with another creature.  The Referee should choose another creature who failed his save as well, or if none is available, the closest available creature.
4- One caster, randomly determined, has all the power of the ritual flow into his body.  He gains a number of Stat points equal to the Ritual DC and may allocate these points in any way he wishes, increasing any of his stats up to 18(+3).  He also gains 1d4 additional Luck Points.  However, along with all these benefits, he will find he is actually dying as the enormous mass of power within him burns through his mortal frame.  He will be the strongest man in the world, for a brief period.  Then he will die.
5- A portal opens in the center of the ritual site.  This portal leads to another point in space.  This portal begins sucking in everything within 50' for 1 minute.  Anyone who is pulled through the portal ends up in another location.  Roll on the 'Wormhole Express' table to see where anyone who falls through the portal ends up.
6- The closet 1d6 animals to the ritual site gain human intelligence and the ability to speak.  These animals are intensely self-interested and excessively violent.  They will also be somewhat grateful to the casters for blessing them with consciousness and can be recruited to act as hirelings.  Alternatively, they may just return to the wild, to terrorize other animals and humans with their new intelligence.
7- All the casters must save.  The first caster to fail his save has a latent psychic entity implanted in his mind.  For 1d4 weeks, this seemingly has no effect.  But then, once the allotted time has passed, the entity will be done germinating and begin growing.  Within days, the caster will simply have strange thoughts popping into his head, thoughts he might not have.  Within another week, he will begin to feel strong compulsions to do specific things that he must make a saving throw to resist.  Within another week, whenever the caster goes to sleep, the psychic entity will assume control of his body and begin doing whatever it wishes.  During this time, the caster's body will change form, either subtly or distinctly, depending on the specific nature of the entity.  After another week, the entity will have grown strong enough that it cannot be contained by a mere mortal and the caster will die, the burden of carrying such a powerful soul being too much for his mortal body to bear.  If the caster wishes to live, the entity must be extracted or destroyed before this occurs.
8- One caster, randomly determined, has a sudden premonition of his own death.  He sees flashes of how it will occur and what source it will come from.  He will know if it is a bullet to the brain or being hung from a sturdy oak.  He will also be able to feel the phantom pain of his fatal wound.  If the hangman's noose is what does him in, he will feel the coarseness of the rope around his neck.  As the fated hour approaches, the pain and the flashes of insight into the future grow sharper, more distinct.  As the Referee, you should roll 1d20.  This is how many days that the caster has before the future catches up with him.  This fate is not inevitable, but it's not easily avoided either.
9- One caster, randomly determined, next time they enter a place with a lot of people has one particular NPC latch onto them.  This will be a NPC of the opposite sex who has fallen in love with that caster.  However, it will quickly be revealed that this particular NPC is dangerously obsessed with the caster and will do anything for them, and do anything to those who harm, threaten, seem romantically interested in, or even make strange looks at the caster.  Additionally, each time the caster goes to a new place with a significant number of people, he or she gains another NPC lover.  All the caster's lovers will be equally obsessed and equally psychotic.  They will all despise the others, if they ever encounter each other.
10- One caster, randomly determined, develops a strong craving for human flesh.  For the next 1d6+1 days, the caster gains no nourishment from any other type of food.  If the caster resists these cravings, they pass and the caster is fine.  If the caster consumes human flesh, even if it is just a small amount, the cravings immediately disappear for 1d10 days.  However, once that happens, they return, stronger than ever.  This cycle reoccurs, with the cravings getting stronger and more human flesh being required each time.
11- One random caster turns invisible.  This invisibility is permanent and doesn't affect clothing or equipment.  Enjoy being naked.
12- One random caster turns into a beast under some kind of astronomical event or time of day.  That event is:
1d6
1- The Full Moon, the animal is a terrible Eurasian Wolf.  The caster's instinct is to hunt game and look after his 'pack'.
2- The New Moon, the animal is a black panther.  The caster's instinct is to run and hide.
3- Night-time, the animal is a fruit bat.  The caster's instinct is to find tasty fruit.
4- Day-time, the animal is a labrador retriever.  The caster's instict is to be annoying and follow around one particular person.
5- A lunar eclipse, the animal is a Carnosaur.  The caster's instinct is to hunt big game. 
6- A Solar Eclipse, the animal is a Maggot-Wurm.  The caster's instinct is to go on a rampage.
13- One random caster loses his turn as he vomits up:
1d6
1- 1d6 live serpents
2- 1d20 pale, eyeless cave fish
3- A large, glistening black egg
4- A cloud of white butterflies
5- 1d4 baby octopuses
6- A baby  
14- For the next 1d10 hours, one random caster has any fluid they touch turn to:
1d6
1- Blood
2- Gasoline
3- Molten Steel
4- Liquid Nitrogen
5- Wine
6- Hot Cocoa
15- One random caster finds that he drains the life of anyone he touches.  Touching the caster or letting him touch you does 1 damage a round, gradually weakening the other person until he or she dies.  The caster gains the accumulated damage as temporary hit points that last for 10 minutes, before disappating.  However, this life draining effect never stops.  Don't shake anyone's hand or touch any babies.
16- An obelisk of polished pink granite appears before you, shining and reflecting all the light around it.  A booming voice fills your mind, demanding to know what you desire.  The first person to speak his desire aloud has it granted as per a wish. The person should then roll 3d6.  If he rolls a 12 or less, the wish is twisted to mess with the person who made it.  If it is higher, the wish doesn't ruin the person's life. 
17- For the next 1d10 hours, one random caster is immune to non-magical weapon damage.  He can still be hurt by everything else, including fists and bare hands.  The invulnerabilty wears off at the exact worst time.
18- One random caster finds his body has become unstable.  Whenever he is below max health, he has muscle spasms and his limbs occasionally, involuntarily move.  If he ever gets down to a quarter or less HP, he must save.  On a failure, his skeleton rebels against him and rips its way out of his body.  This is almost always fatal, unless the skeleton can be asked to take up its post once again.   
19- All portraits, paintings, pictures and other images of people temporarily animate and gain the ability to speak for 1d10 minutes.  They begin screaming terrible profanity, uttering blasphemies and revealing the secrets of nearby people to anyone  who could possibly hear them.  Otherwise harmless, but probably quite traumatizing. 
20- One random caster, the next time he sleeps, has a vision of a laughing man with long, flowing hair bound in braids, strung with bells.  He wears fine garments and wears a crown of gold, though it is hard to tell, because from the top of his head to his mid-chest, he is soaked in blood, with small drops of it everywhere.  He is holding an ornate sword and standing on a high hill, overlooking a burning city, staring down with an emotionless expression.  The man then turns and walks down the hill, carefully stepping over the fresh corpses of a dozen attackers, all who were slain by his sword.  The dream then suddenly ends as the man turns and notices the caster, fixing him with a stare.  The caster awakes in a cold sweat, grasping a single bullet, which he knows is intended for the man the caster saw.

                                             by BryanSyme

Sunday, August 25, 2019

OSR: The Elemental Courts of Air

                                                       from Tarot Mom

The World according to Air

The Heavens were created first to be home to Light.  The oceans came afterwards, being formed out of the darkness which had been separated from the Light earlier.  Then the land arose.  Finally, after living creatures arose, the Sun was born.  However, not all Air Elementals think of the Air as the center of the world, or the most important part.  Air Elementals are well-traveled and cultured individuals, fully aware of the immense diversity beneath them.  So while most believe that Air came befor all the other Elementals, most Air Elementals do not personally believe that Air is inherently superior to the other Elements.  However, many hold grudges against the Courts of Water for their crimes against the Courts of Air.

History

Long ago, the Air Elementals were unified in one Court.  But shortly after the Beginning, the Cloud War started when the First Emperor of the, then unified, Court of Water invaded the Air by sending clouds up into the air.  However, despite the enormous resources of the Water Elementals, the First Empress knew that her forces were still outnumbered and fighting on hostile turf.  So she organized and led an attack on the Sky-Supreme, the King of all Air Elementals and undisputed Sovereign over the Court of Air.

Her attack was a stunning and decisive success as her forces rapidly overran and seized the Sky-Supreme's palace.  The Sky-Supreme is believed to have perished in the fighting, though how he died varies from account to account.  Some say he shed his royal rainment and fought alongside his soldiers until he was slain by a common Cirrus Servant.  Others insist that he dueled the Water Empress in a desperate, noble struggle to save the lives of his courtiers, or that he purposely allowed himself to be killed.  The version you hear is likely going to be highly dependent on who is telling you it.  Air Elementals sympathetic to the cause of organization and central authority tend to tell versions that are more flattering and those opposed to such measures tend to do the opposite.

Regardless of what account, the facts are this.  The Sky-Supreme died and central authority broke down.  The Air Elementals fractured into countless independent Courts, all vying for power over each other and freedom from the same.  There have been attempts to unify the Sky, but they have all failed so far.

Too many Courts

There are a countless number of Courts all claiming to be the legitimate Court of Air at any given of time.  Each of these Courts claims to be the true one and that all others are rebels or traitors.  These Courts feud and war among each other, some seeking to dominate and rule if not the whole sky, then as much as they can hold.  Others merely seek to preserve their independence against other Courts.

Because of this, I will not be presenting not a Court or Courts, but tools on how to create your own court.  But before I do that, let us meet the players in this little production.

                                                      source unknown

Base Air Elemental 
HD X  AC Y  Atk Varies
Mor 6 (+1 per other Ally there)  Saves (5+HD) or less is a success

Elemental: Elementals are alive, but not in the way that you are.  They do have bodily needs that must be addressed, but not in the way that you are.  In this case, Air Elementals need to stay in contact with the air.  If they are in a place where Air is mostly stagnant, Air Elementals grow sluggish, as if sleep-deprived or drunk.  Additionally, if forced into a vacuum, an Air Elemental will take 1d6 damage a round until it manages to free itself.

Free Fall: Air Elementals do not take fall damage.

Flight: Air Elementals can fly at the speed the wind is moving.  If they are in a cave or at sea level, they can only levitate at reasonably fast speeds, unless it is a rather blustery day.  But high above, in the sky, they can zip around and fly like birds. 

Tactics:
- They vary, see below

                                            from Magic the Gathering

Invisible Servant

Invisible Servants are Air Elementals with skinny bodies made of a delicate, crystalline substance.  They are clear as glass and often invisible, especially in certain conditions.  Unless the light hits them from the right angle, they can't be seen. These are the creatures who so often patrol the palaces of the Gas Nobles or the petty Kings of the upper air, often adorning themselves with ribbons of smoke or garlands of perfume so their employers don't have to worry about walking into them.

Invisible Servants are abnegating, humble creatures who gratefully and eagerly serve.  They are very much aware of their own weakness and seek the protection of greater beings.  And of course, like all Air Elementals, they do not snobbishly believe that it is only appropriate to associate with other Elementals.  Invisible Servants prefer to serve higher ranked Air Elementals, but they will also serve Dragons, powerful Wizards, Cloud or Storm Giants, or other mighty creatures with a taste for high altitude air.

Statblock Changes:        

HD: 1

AC: 10 (when visible), 14 (when invisible)

Saves: 8 or less is a success

Atk: (+0) Fist 1d4

Abilities:

Partial Invisibility: Each round, based on how they move, Invisible Servants have a 4-in-6 chance of being invisible.

Tactics:
- Avoid fighting at all costs
- Hide if you can
- Ambush, then run away

                                                        by nkabuto

Wind Warrior

Every war needs soldiers to fight it.  And make no mistake, the Courts of Air are at war.  This has led to a proliferation of common soldiers, Elementals with minimal martial skill and training in how to use their powers.  These conscripts occupy the Courts of many would be leaders among the Air Elementals, fighting guerilla wars against the more organized and more powerful, but far less numerous, Water Elementals.  These are not the primary opponents of the Courts of Air, however.  Attacking Water Elementals is often risky and always dangerous, as Water Elementals generally have much more training and experience. 

No, the much more common target of the Air Elementals is other Air Courts.  These are the most common opponents of the Airy Aristocracy, who are as incestuous as they are vitriolic, engaging in endless intercine warfare.  But why, an outsider mught ask.  The sky is largely empty, there are no riches and little territory that can be gained, so what could they possibly be fighting over?  Well, to put it simply, the Nobles of the Courts of Air fight for many reasons that mortals do: love, revenge, power, glory and etc.  However, they mainly fight over the most precious resource imaginable.  Other Elementals.

While no one exactly knows how Elementals are created, except for the Elementals themselves, of course, one thing that is known by all in the Upper Air is that Air Elementals are constantly fighting each other over control of each other.  During an Air Elemental attack, the focus is not on taking territory, but on kidnapping certain enemy Elementals and bringing them back, alive.  The reasons for why some are taken while others are not has never been explained to mortals, but it is a fact that can be observed. 

Such is the fate of the Wind Warrior.  They are either captured and passed around from Aristocrat to Aristocrat, or they are slain in one of countless circular battles against another Air Court, or squashed in their first encounter with the Court of Water's veterans.  Pity them, for they are creatures without any chance of salvation. 

Statblock Changes:      
  

HD: 1

AC: 12

Saves: 8 or less is a success

Atk: (+1) Glass Javelin 1d6

Abilities:

Javelin Return: Wind Warriors can throw their javelins, then use their innate magic to return the javelins back to their hands, assuming the Javelin wasn't caught or broken by someone.  Not all Wind Warriors know that they can do this.   

Safety in Numbers: Wind Warriors never travel alone.  They are always accompanied by 1d6+2 others of their own kind or an equivalent amount of HD equal to 1d6+2 Wind Warriors.

Variable Training: All Wind Warriors have received some training to prepare them for battle, on top of what experience they may or may not have.  Assume all the Wind Warriors in a group all have the same amount of training.  To see how much training they may have had or what experience they may or may not have, roll on the table below. 

1d6
1- Conscript.  This Wind Warrior is a complete novice.  He can barely hold his weapon properly, and stands no chance of using it.  A group of Wind Warriors like this will mob the first person they see and gang up on him in a disorganized mob.
2- Raw Recruit.  This Wind Warrior has been trained, but he lacks any experience.  If attacked, he will link up with other Elementals and form a wall of spears, a tortoise or some other formation.
3- Damaged.  This Wind Warrior has tasted real battle and he snapped under the pressure.  These Wind Warriors avoid fighting if possible, but when forced to, attack in great, screaming bands as Conscripts. 
4- Hardened.  This Wind Warrior knows his way around a battle field, at least a little bit.  He will link up with his fellows and try to build a formation, then use that formation as a wedge to drive apart the enemy, separating them from each other.
5- Veteran.  This Wind Warrior knows a few tricks of the trade.  He has figured out how his javelin works and has mastered the innate magic of the Air Elementals.  He will throw javelins and avoid melee combat, if possible.  He also knows how to retreat in a non-disorganized fashion.
6- Crack.  This Wind Warrior knows about the javelins and about his own relative frailty.  These Wind Warriors avoid straight fights at all costs, instead relying on sneak attacks, ambushes and lightning raids.  They will stalk you for days, constantly harassing you to prevent you from resting, before striking when you are at your most vulnerable.

Tactics:
- See 'Variable Training' Table

                                                    source unknown

Sky Sword

War is not a science, but an art, and art requires an artist to create it.  The Courts of Air recognized this long ago, back when there was only one Court, and thus the Sky-Supreme created the office of Sky Sword.  The Sky Swords were once the flower of his army, a noble class of warriors in and of themselves. However, the Sky-Supreme would not live to see his Sky Swords proudest moments, nor their disgraceful fall. 

The ideal of the Sky Sword is a noble warrior, a creature of blood and iron while at war, but meek and gentle while at home. Sadly, this is an ideal that few of them have ever reached, even among those of their class who aspire to such an ideal.  Many Sky Swords are mere brutes, barbarians who possess all the strength of a monster, but with none of the gentleness needed to temper it.  These Sky Swords usually serve whatever master provides them the most glory or honors.  Some Sky Swords have fallen even further than this, working for coin or seizing power for themselves.  These latter types are renegades of the highest order, and all decent Air Elementals avoid them for the savages and cutthroats that they are. 

These categories describe most Sky Swords, these Elementals either being noble warriors sworn to a Master or brutes bound in obedience to their appetites, but some choose a different path.  These Sky Swords instead wander from place to place, traveling knight-errants, seeking their own ends, whether those be justice, revenge, or something higher.  Many of these wanderers are looking for the Sky-Supreme, or his heir, depending on how cynical they are.  It is believed that once the rightful heir is discovered, the skies will be united once again and order will return to the Upper Air.  And while such a goal is noble in itself, actually completing it might be an impossibility. 

Statblock Changes:        

HD: 3

AC: 13

Saves: 10 or less is a success

Atk: (+3) Sword 1d8/1d8

Abilities:

Sword Style: Sky Swords are all trained to use the sword, but there is great diversity among the types of sword schools they follow.  To see which style a Sky Sword practices, roll on the table below.

1d6

1- Red Dance.  A sword school based on reading your opponent's movements and countering them before your opponent can attack. Once per round, if a creature makes a melee attack against the Sky Sword, the Sky Sword may instead make a melee attack against him.  If the Sky Sword does damage to the creature, cancel the attack the creature made against the Sky Sword and treat it as if it did not hit.   
2- Iron Wall.  Iron Wall is a defensive school based on defending oneself from attacks.  Per round, the Sky Sword may reduce the damage of any melee or ranged attacks that could be deflected with a sword by 2d8, divided as it chooses among the attacks taken.  Also note that even if a mortal couldn't stop certain things with a sword, such as an arrow, a Sky Sword could.
3- Song of Silk and Steel.  This is a school that was either stolen from or taught to the Handsome Men.  Either way, it is about being as lethal and elegant as possible.  A Sky Sword trained in this style always gets the first attack, assuming none of his opponents attack from surprise or have some ability that enhances their speed.   
4- Capasi.  This is a sword school based on doing large amounts of damage then fleeing.  This Sky Sword may immediately upon damaging someone, take an additional action, as long as that action is to run away from the person he just hit.  
5- Skullcruncher.  A surprisingly beautiful school meant to be more intimidating than murderous.  This Sky Sword, upon damaging someone, may force them to save.  If that creature fails his save, he becomes scared of the Sky Sword for one round, and will avoid melee combat with it.
6- The Principle Art of Cutting.  A killing school.  Upon failing to complete an attack against someone, the Sky Sword may choose to not damage them directly, but instead cut through their shield, armor or weapon.  The Sky Sword's blade can cut through anything non-magical, indestructible or super-hard.

Tactics:
- Attack the strongest person
- Cut them to pieces
- Flee if all hope of victory is lost

                                            by isotxart

Carbon Commandos

A Wind Warrior is an infinitely useful thing to have.  They can protect, defend, escort and even fight.  Best of all, having a few dozen of them reflects great strength among the Airy Aristocracy.  For while any fool can have a few Invisible Servants, a platoon of Wind Warriors is a true status symbol.  Even more than Sky Swords, which are much more expensive and demanding of attention, the common Wind Warrior is the true key to building and maintaing a Court.  For any Court requires constant displays of strength and wealth to maintain itself and this goes double for a Court of flighty, Elemental bastards.

But sometimes, you don't need strength, or politics or even lies.  Sometimes you just need someone to die.  Enter the Carbon Commandos.  This is the purpose of the Carbon Commandos.  They are assigned to an ancient office, originally headed by the Sky-Supreme's Master of Assassins, the greatest killer in the universe, or so it was said.  The Master of Assassins was originally there, in the Beginning, and once the Cloud war began took an active role in the conflict.  He is said to have escaped the palace after the Deluvian Emperor's assault and continued a guerilla campaign against the forces of the Court of Water for over a hundred years.  What happened to him after that is a matter of fierce debate and occasional propaganda campaigns.

Regardless, the Master of Assassins did manage to leave behind one enduring legacy.  His Carbon Commandos are crack troops, miniature versions of their Master, skilled in infiltration, espionage and cold-blooded murder.  Carbon Commandos are difficult to recruit, expensive to maintain and surprisingly finicky on who they will actually target.  They are mostly ideological puritans, refusing to carry out any order they feel would be against their "Father"'s wishes.  The fact that they are also ludicrously dangerous on top of being puritanical is usually no condolence to any employer, as the fact that the Commandos are so skilled means that their employers have to put up with their eccentricities.  Still, for most who see their results, it's almost always worth it.  Almost. 

Statblock Changes:        

HD: 3

AC: 14

Saves: 10 or less is a success

Atk: (+2) Crossbow 1d10 or (+4) Long Knife 1d6/1d6 

Abilities:

Stealth Mode: Carbon Commandos can cloak themselves, giving themselves a +4 bonus to stealth.  This renders them nearly invisible, transforming them into shifting smudges on your field of vision.  From a distance or at night, they are almost invisible.  Up close or in bright light, they are easier to notice.    

Killing Fog: Carbon Commandos can, as a full action, release clouds of smoke.  These clouds of smoke obscure vision, as per normal smoke, but the clouds they produce are also heavier than air and unbreathable.  Any creature inside one of the Commandos' clouds takes 1d6 STR damage a round until they leave it, after which the STR slowly reverts back to its normal number at a rate of 1 point per minute.  If the amount of STR damage taken ever equals or exceeds the creature's STR score, the creature passes out and begins dying.  Carbon Commandos are immune to the effects of this cloud, of course.  

Tactics:
- Sneak up if possible
- Attack swiftly, with overwhelming force
- Focus fire on the most dangerous targets
- Use 'Killing Fog' to escape and weaken melee opponents

                                                        by xxrandomstuff

Methane Minister

Methane Ministers are orphans, those who have lost the most prestige, the ones who have lost their sacred charge.  Once entrusted to manage and coordinate Air Elementals all across the world, they have been reduced to mere thinkers, sitting alone and philosophizing from the ruins of their strongholds or being snatched up by brutish raiders and put to work at far less prominent positions.  Now they are accountants and wise men for those who can capture or afford them, using their vast knowledge and skill with numbers and figures to make brilliant connections.

Do they resent this state of affairs?  Yes, absolutely.  Some Methane Ministers attempt to escape, or take power for themselves.  Many a small Court is ruled by a Methane Minister doing their best impression of a brutal Sky Sword or mad Gas Noble.  Yet despite their impressive abilities, Methane Ministers usually lack the killer instinct necessary to be great warriors, as well as the charisma to be leaders.  For this reason, they usually end up in the service of others, or more rarely, on their own.  

Statblock Changes:        

HD: 2

AC: 11

Saves: 9 or less is a success

Atk: (+1) Feather Blade 1d6

Abilities:

Flammable: Methane Ministers are flammable.  If they take any fire damage, they burst into flames and continue burning until they take an action to extinguish the fire.  For this reason, Methane Ministers usually carry anti-fire substances with them.

Writ of Power: All Methane Ministers have the power to implement atmospheric changes.  However, due to the fragmentation of the central bureaucracy, their powers are limited and odder than they otherwise would be.  To see what Writs the Methane Minister carries, roll on the table below.

1d4
1- Writ of Combustion.  Once every 1d4 rounds, the Methane Minister may breathe a 30' cone of fire that does 3d6 damage, save for half.
2- Writ of Decomposition.  Once per round, the Methane Minister may target 1 creature below its maximum HP.  That creature's tissues start dying and falling off.  This does 1d6 DEX damage a round.  If this damage equals or exceeds a creature's DEX score, the creature dies and melts into a puddle of bubbling, flammable flesh.
3- Writ of Solidification.  The Methane Minister can create walls of a thick, rubbery substance as an action.  These walls can be created around creatures or objects, trapping or encasing them.  This does no direct damage.
4- Writ of Explosion.  Once every 1d6 rounds, the Methane Minister can fire a blast that explodes, dealing 4d6 explosion damage, save for half, to everything within 50' of the explosion.

Tactics:
- Rely on others to protect you
- Use your Writ if you must
- Run from anyone who might threaten you

                                                         by peter mohr bacher

Gas Noble

Gas Nobles are the aristocratic class of the Air Elementals.  The oldest of their kind once served the Sky-Supreme personally, while others have to manage with stories of his glory.  Regardless, among the Air Elementals, they are the proudest and noblest, carried by zephyrs or on the wings of eagles, their delicate, humanoid beautiful to behold.  Their flesh fluctuates between being as hard as crystal or as insubstantial as smoke.  Regardless of what form they take, they are beautiful and alien, especially when the sunlight strikes them, transforming them into the clouds of sunset or sunrise, or making their solid flesh glitter like crystal. 

Gas Nobles are generally proud creatures, prone to hubris.  Many of them believe that they, of all their kind, will be the one to bring order to the sky and become the Master of Gales.  And while this stubbornness can and does lead the Gas Nobles into many terrible situations, it also attracts followers.  Confidence is key, and who has more confidence than someone who earnestly believes they are completely flawless?  For this reason, Wherever Gas Nobles go, they are attended by lesser Elementals, mortal slaves or other, stranger creatures.  
   
Statblock Changes:        

HD: 4

AC: 11

Saves: 11 or less is a success

Atk: (+2) Claw 1d6/1d6

Abilities:

Insubstantial: As an action, Gas Nobles can transform into clouds of smoke.  In this form, they cannot be harmed by anything that could not harm a cloud, but cannot harm anyone else.

Noble Inheritance: All Gas Nobles have a certain special power based on their lineage.  To determine what a Noble's inheritance is, roll on the table below.

1d6
1- Floating Curse.  One creature the Gas Noble touches begins to swell up and become lighter.  They begin floating and if not tied or held down, they will float up and away.  The Gas Noble may only curse one person at a time.  The Gas Noble may also reverse this curse at will.
2- Glowing Curse.  One creature the Gas Noble touches begins to glow as a torch.  This glow is constant and permanent.  It also permanently reduces AC by 1d4, unless the creature is wearing heavy armor.
3- Sleeping Venom.  Any creature damaged by the Gas Noble takes 1d6 CON damage.  If the amount of COM damage they've taken ever equals or exceeds their CON score, that creature falls asleep.  Breathing in the Gas Noble's cloud form also does this, but it only does 1 CON damage in that case.
4- Bulletproof Body.  The Gas Noble can cover parts of his body in a hard shell.  This makes his fists do 1d8 blunt damage on a hit.
5- Laser Eyes.  The Gas Noble may make two Eye Laser attacks instead of his normal claw attacks.  Each laser attack does 2d6 fire damage, save for half.  The Gas Noble must target two different targets, one for each of his lasers.
6- Invisible Flay.  The Gas Noble's touch causes anyone to take an additional 1d6 energy damage and for bits of their flesh to begin melting off.  If the amount of additional energy damage any creature takes equals or exceeds his CON score but the creature is still alive, he is stricken with cancer and will need medical attention, or he will slowly wither and die over a period of weeks or months.    

Tactics:
- Avoid active confrontation if possible
- Attack from range, if possible
- If impossible, separate someone from a group and fight them

                                                         source unknown

Build your Own Court

There are too many Courts of Air to detail them all, so instead, you can make and customize your own by rolling on the tables below.

Who rules this Court?

1d6

1- An insane, paranoid Gas Noble.  This Gas Noble fears for his safety, seeing rivals and enemies everywhere.  There is a 25% the Gas Noble has actually stumbled upon an actual conspiracy, otherwise it is just his madness.  Nothing you say that contradicts his delusion will be heard and is likely to get you thrown in a dungeon, or off whatever clump of solid substance the Gas Noble has built his Court on.
2- A violent, blood thirsty Gas Noble.  This Gas Noble is getting ready to declare war on anyone and everyone.  He is a brilliant warrior and has a 50% of being a good tactician.  Either way, he keeps his men in line through a combination of blood curdling threats and promises of booty upon their victory.  He will react badly to any challenge to his authority.  Not as dumb as he looks. 
3- A genteel and merciful Gas Noble.  This Gas Noble is sophisticated, aloof and condescending.  He is nice, but in a patronizing way.  He is very impressed you seem to be wearing clothes and can do more than brain other mortals with rocks.  He regales his servants with tales of the glory days of the Court of Air and apes the ancient ceremonies they once performed. A good leader, but has no idea how to solve the problems of his current age.  
4- A ruthless and highly competent Gas Noble.  This Gas Noble is shrewd, politically savvy and cool-headed.  He is well aware of the problems he faces and has some very good plans on how to solve them.  Is not above using mortals to fill the gaps that Elementals cannot.
5- A Sky Sword who has taken power through force of arms.  He's not much for ceremony or tradition, but he is charismatic and strong, and for some, nothing else matters.  The Sky Sword is a strongman, ruling through sheer willpower.  He knows the basics of leadership, but doesn't really have any plan or ideology of his own.  He maintains power through an image of invulnerability and supreme martial skill.
6- A Methane Minister with astounding persuasion and rhetorical skills.  The Methane Minister has somehow convinced everyone else that their previous leader was no good, then arranged so that they would be 'offered' the crown, which he "reluctantly" accepted.  The Methane Minister is a master manipulator, always presenting himself as a victim or as non-threatening as possible.  Has a plan.  A really good one. 

How many Wind Warriors does he have?

1d6

1- 1d6
2- 1d8
3- 1d10+6
4- 1d20
5- 1d20+10
6- 1d10*10

How many elite soldiers does he have?

1d6

1- None
2- None, but he has mortal assistance.
3- A few, 1d6 Sky Swords.
4- A small number 1d4+1 Team of Carbon Commandos.
5- 1d10 Sky Swords.
6- 1d20 Sky Swords, + a 1d8+1 Carbon Commandos.

Does he keep any other staff?

1d4

1- No, it is just him, his soldiers and 1d20 Invisible Servants.
2- Yes, He has a Methane Minister to keep his sums.
3- Yes, he has a pet Gas Noble who he keeps around for his own purposes.
4- Yes, he has mortals who also attend his Court, relying on his protection.

What is this Court's relation to its' closest neighbor?

1d6

1- Friendly.  The two Courts have a good relationship and if one was in danger, the other would come to aid them.  Probably. 
2- Peaceful.  The Court is currently in relationship with its neighbors.  They don't trust each other, but they are not actively fighting or planning on fighting each other.
3- Suspicious.  The Court is currently suspicious of one of its neighbors.  They are planning on the attacking the Court, so everyone is walking on eggshells, waiting for an attack that is sure to happen one of these days.
4- Belligerent.  The Court is trying to provoke its neighbors into attacking, for some reason.  Maybe they have a plan.
5- Antagonistic.  The Court is bullying its neighbors, demanding they give it things or face the consequences.
6- At War.  The Court is currently fighting its closest neighbor.

                                                        by Jarek Nocon