Sunday, April 22, 2018

GvM: The Black Goat (part 1)

One helpful way to think of ideas is to think of them is that ideas are spiritual germs that infest the ecosystem of someone's minds.  For a time, an idea can proliferate through a mind, or many minds, before eventually fading with time.  A trend can overtake a whole population, then vanish just as quickly, as a new trend emerges to take its place.

And while some ideas are brief and ephemeral, leading nowhere or only remaining with you for a brief time, some are vastly more powerful.  Religions and ideologies can lead to the foundation of societies, incite wars, and change the course of history.  Consider that, a few stray thoughts floating around your head could one day change all of human history, and potentially save or destroy millions of lives.

But let's take it a step further.

Stage 1: Incubation  Election

You can only learn about the Black Goat from someone who is also infected, whether by talking to someone who knows about the Goat, or reading some of their writings, or or seeing a picture of the damn thing.  This is not the only type of contagious idea- there are many, but this is one of the most virulent.  This is also why Agents of the Company avoid reading or watching anything they confiscate.  In some cases, the pen is truly mightier than the sword.

Of course, you might not read or hear about anything about the Black Goat.  You might just be walking through a rural area down a dirt road, and see a black goat.  You might not think anything is amiss at first.  But then, you will see.  Oh, you will see.

The Goat will turn, and you will see it has three eyes.  It will stare at you unblinkingly, and you will feel it thinking about you, for a single second, you will come face to face with the uncaring God who rules you.  Or maybe the Goat will speak to you in the voice of your long dead Mother, or it will reveal that it was cannibalizing a she-goat, tearing open the female goat's womb.  After it leaves, you can cut apart the she- goat and find a half-formed human fetus inside her.

Congratulations, you've just been inducted into the Black Goat conspiracy.

Stage 2: Prodomal  Justification      

Now your eyes have been opened, and you see clearly.  For the first time, you see clearly.  You can hear the secret messages in the TV static, and feel the CIA trying to eavesdrop on your conversation through your dental fillings.  The stars spell out secret messages, and you receive prophetic dreams.  But you're not insane, it's too real to be simple madness.  And you're sure everyone agrees with you.  You don't act insane.

You can't, after all.  If you start acting like an utter nutball, they will find you.  

1: Aware.  You know of the Black Goat, but you have no idea what it is.  You also have little idea of what is going on.  Strange things that you never noticed are now happening around you.  Roll on the Black Goat Encounter Table at least once a session.  You can only advance a level in the Conspiracy by rolling a result that indicates so. 
There is a 0-in-6 chance, if you are in a social interaction, that you are near one of your Brothers or Sisters, or that the person you are talking to is also in the Black Goat Conspiracy.       

2: Involved.  You now are part of the Black Goat Conspiracy.  You will be tested, by both your Father and your siblings.  You will be hunted and sought by strangers and friend alike.  Roll on the Black Goat Encounter Table at least once a session, or once every time you are in the presence of one of your brothers or sisters.  You can only advance if you roll a result that indicates so. 
There is a 2-in-6 chance, if you are in a social interaction, that you are near one of your Brothers or Sisters, or that the person you are talking to is also in the Black Goat Conspiracy.       

3: Collaborating.  You are now one of them, body and soul.  When you die, Father will take you home.  But there is so much work to be done.  You must not stop, not now, things are reaching their most critical point.  You know this, but you may still have doubts.  And while it is not a sin to doubt, it is a sin to hesitate and not act when you need to.  If you fail to do as you have been ordered to, you will be killed.  Afterwards, black roses will be left on your doorsteps. 
Roll on the Black Goat Encounter Table once a session, or near constantly if you are in the presence of one of your brothers and sisters.
There is a 4-in-6 chance, if you are in a social interaction, that you are near one of your Brothers or Sisters, or that the person you are talking to is also in the Black Goat Conspiracy.   

The Black Goat Encounter Table
1- A man hands you a package.  You are not to open it.  Keep until you receive further instruction.
2- A woman comes up to you and pins a Boutonniere to your shirt.  Wear it until you meet a dark-skinned woman in a white dress, then take it off and give it to her.
3- You find a gun in a hidden place.  It has two bullets left in the magazine.  Inscribed on the handle is the inscription, "For the Wicked".
4- You have a package delivered to you.  It makes a ticking noise.  Do not dispose of it.
5- The next time you enter a shop, the shopkeeper tells you to use the back entrance.  If you do so, you will find that the back entrance is locked.  If you circle back around, you will find a different shopkeeper running the store, with no memory of the first.
6- A woman comes up to you and asks if you want a kiss.  If you say yes, she kisses you and passes you a small piece of metal with her tongue.  The small piece of metal is a cyanide pill.  She does not know this, but she warns you not to swallow.
7- You get a phone call.  It warns you, "Next time you enter a building, walk around it three times before going inside."
8- A desperate, haggard man comes up to you and asks for the package.  Whatever you give him, he will be satisfied.
9- You are summoned by a member of a local municipality over a minor matter, perhaps a traffic violation.  While there you will be asked "Who is your father?"  You know you must lie.  
10- You are given a note.  "Brace yourself," the note reads.
11- You are given a knife.  A ribbon is tied around the handle, embroidered with the words, "For the Just."
12- A woman walks up to you and asks you for your gun.  If you give it to her, she will thank you and walk away.
13- The next place you go to roll out the red carpet for you.  Nothing is wrong, but it doesn't seem that way.  
14- 1d3 of your possessions disappear, and are replaced with legs of roasted meat, wrapped in tinfoil.  The meat is tasty.
15- The next time someone serves you food, they warn you not to eat it.
16- The next radio show, TV show or podcast you watch or listen to starts giving you coded instructions that only you can hear. They warn you to get out of the area right now.                          
17- You are given a small animal, and asked to watch over it until further notice.
18- A stranger walks up to you and asks if you can watch over his child for some time, until he can return and retrieve him or her.
19- A stranger approaches you and asks you to marry his (son/daughter), depending on the PC's sex and imagined preferences.
20- The next person to make an attack against you is shot by a sniper before they can lay a hand on you.
21- You receive a dream of a motel in a rural area.  The clerk at the front desk has an important message for you.
22- You receive a waking vision of a wealthy, important person.  You need to shoot him.
23- You receive a dream of a young, imperiously cruel woman.  In your dream, she is doing something horrible, such as pulling out someone's fingernails with a pliers.  You are told to find her. 
24- You receive a dream of a young child, innocent and adorable.  You are told to make them disappear. 
25- You are given instructions to find "the man in the bowtie".
26- You are given a cigarette lighter that looks exactly like a gun.
27- A man approaches you and asks you for your gun.  If you give it to him, he will shoot himself right there in front of you.
28- A woman approaches you and asks you for your gun.  If you give it to her, she will fieldstrip your gun, clean it, then take all your bullets out and replace them with an equal number of bullets stamped with the Mark of the Black Goat.  She warns you not to shoot anyone with this gun.
29- The next book you read has a message scrawled in the margins.  "Go to Drexel Lane," it says.
30- The next time you finish talking to an NPC, they will congratulate you and shake your hand.  If you shake their hand, you are branded with the Mark of the Black Goat.  Advance to the next stage of the Black Goat Conspiracy. 
31- The next night, the stars spell out a secret message for you.
32- The next time you buy something, you find you also purchased a gun with one bullet left.
33- The next NPC you talk to is shot by an unseen shooter.
34- The next NPC you talk to is shot by an unseen shooter.  The unseen shooter then walks over to you and apologizes for the mix-up.
35- The next NPC you talk to, in the middle of the conversation, pulls out a gun and shoots a previously unseen shooter.
36- The next NPC you talk to, after you leave them, vanishes and is never seen again.
37- As soon as you finish talking to an NPC, a previously unseen shooter comes out and tries to kill you.  The encounter plays out as normal.
38- As soon as you finish talking to an NPC, they warn you about the previously unseen shooter who will arrive momentarily.  The shooter is actually five minutes later than expected.
39- The next NPC you talk to is shot in the middle of your conversation by a previously unseen shooter.  However, they get up right after.  The shooter reveals that their gun is loaded with blanks, and the NPC apologizes for being so dramatic.
40- As soon as you finish talking to an NPC, they will attempt suicide with whatever methods they have on hand. 
41- As soon as you finish talking to an NPC, you realize that they are actually a monster wearing the person's face as a mask.
42- As soon as you finish talking to an NPC, they excuse themselves, then grab a blunt instrument, which they use to start destroying all the objects in this room, except for the doors and walls.                           
43- As soon as you finish talking to an NPC, they pull a leaf of lettuce wrapped in paper out of their pocket and offer it to you.
44- The next time you finish talking to an NPC, they pull a piece of raw meat wrapped in butcher's paper out of their pocket and offer it to you.
45- The next time you finish talking to an NPC, they pull out a knife and start cutting off one of their fingers.  After they are finished with the drawn out, agonizing process, they will offer you the finger.  If stopped, they will ask if you have no understanding of hospitality.
46- The next time you finish talking to an NPC, they will leave and ask you to wait for them, but as they leave, they will be blown up by a hidden explosive device. 
47- You receive a secret message that you shouldn't drive your car.  You do not know this, but your car has been rigged to explode.  Turning the key will detonate the explosive.
48- The next time you finish talking to an NPC, they will remove a small rodent from their pocket and offer it to you.
49- The next place you enter with a group of people you find an animal in a strange place, like a Dog on a jury bench, a Lion sleeping by the fireplace, a crocodile under the table at a restaurant.  No one has noticed this animal yet.
50- You are given a free pie by a kind, old woman.  The pie has a knife concealed in it.
51- Your tires are slashed, and an envelope full of cash was been stuck under your windshield wipers.  Inside is enough money to fix the tyres, as well as instructions on what to do to the mechanic after paying him.
52- You receive a dream about a man you have never met.  He needs to leave town, for his own safety. 
53- You receive a dream about the birth of a Messiah.  The course of action toward this child is unclear.  Regardless, action must be taken.
54- You receive instructions that you must seduce the spouse of a local figure.  Whoever gave you the instructions was already aware of this person's preferences, and thus choose you for this purpose.
55- The next time you go to visit someone, you find an animal where they would be.  The animal appears non-magical and behaves as an animal would in that situation.
56- A man comes to you and asks for the weapon you were given.  He will accept whatever you give him, as long as it is a weapon.
57- A woman comes to you and asks for the weapon you were given.  She will refuse any weapon you offer her, and leave in a huff, regardless of what you do.
58- A young, attractive person (tailored to what someone might believe about the Player's preferences) comes and tries to seduce them.  They are rather bad at it, but also quite desperate. 
59- The next time you step outside, you are subject to a clumsy assassination attempt
60- You are given an impossible playing card such as the 13 of hearts or the ace of smiles.  Advance to the next stage of the Black Goat Conspiracy
61- A stranger approaches you and shows you a Deck of Tarot Cards.  The cards are normal, except the player's faces are on the drawings.  Their are other known NPCs also in the deck as well, but the person who has the Tarot cards doesn't recognize them, only the players.
62- A panhandler comes up to you and asks you for money.  No matter how much money you give him, he will ask for more until you drive him away or leave.
63- A wealthy looking man walks up to you and hands you an envelope full of cash, "For services rendered."  He asks no questions, and quickly leaves.
64- An older, rich-looking woman yells at her dog, a small, diminutive shiatsu.  She will ask you to come over and explain to the dog its many failings.  The dog reacts as a normal dog would.  Afterward, she will thank you, and leave with the dog in tow.
65- A man attempts to pick your pocket, badly.  If you catch him, he gives you his gold watch in exchange for not calling the police.
66- A man attempts to pick your pocket, expertly.  He takes all the money in your pocket (or your wallet) and leaves instructions on where to retrieve it in its place.
67- A man attempts to pick your pocket, impossibly.  A hand emerges from inside your pocket and hands you a note, before taking one random object on your person.  The note contains instructions on what to do next.
68- You receive instructions that says, "Greet the first stranger you see today with, 'Do you feel its a bit blustery today?'"     
69- A panhandler approaches you for money.  Whatever amount you give him, he will insist it is too much.  If you ask him to do something for you, he will agree, no matter what it is. 
70- The next NPC you talk to, suddenly suffers from a freak accident in the middle of the conversation and dies.  
71- You are instructed to leave a note on someone's door.  The message you need to pass on is, "Suicide is painless."
72- You suddenly feel you are being followed.  You need to lose your pursuer, fast.
73- You have a dream about a group of young girls being threatened at gun point.  Then, at their captor's insistence, the girls transform into housecats.
74- You have a dream about a chuckling man washing blood off his hands.  After he cleans himself off, he transforms into a monster and looks at himself in the mirror, before turning into someone you know.
75- You are given a sealed letter.  You are to give it to the first important person you meet that day.
76- The next time you are outside, the clouds over head give you a warning about what you should do today.
77- You get the sudden impression that you must leave this area right now.
78- A mundane looking man walks up to you and engages you in meaningless small talk until you get mad at him or leave.  Regardless of how long this takes, he always leaves with a big grin on his face.
79- A woman walks up to you and asks you a mundane question, but she cannot stop fidgeting, checking her watch, and she flinches at any unexpected noise.  If you ask her about this, she will deny it.  If you don't want to talk to her, she will thank you strongly and run for the exit as fast as she can.
80- A normal looking man engages you in conversation.  In the middle of a normal conversation, he lifts up his shirt to show you the bomb strapped to his chest.  Then he goes back to discussing the topic, with no indication that anything happened.
81- A man walks up to you and tells you he is going to blow up this building/commit a terrorist act.  He is perfectly reasonable and sincere toward you, but he will lie to anyone else.
82- A woman walks up to you and presses something circular and metal against your back.  She will pretend it is a gun.  She will take your wallet and give you a playing card in exchange.  She says "You will know what to do."
83- A random pedestrian on the street stretches or drops something, and as they go to pick it up, you see the bomb strapped to their body.  They do not notice you seeing, and no one else sees this.
84- The next time you are in a public place, someone throws a grenade into the center of the largest group of people.  No one seems to notice anything odd about this. 
85- The next person you talk to, in the middle of the conversation, suddenly starts laughing.  Then, they transform into a swarm of snakes and slither away.
86- A man walks up to you and asks if you've heard the big news.  Regardless of what you say, he says, "Oh, so you didn't?  And walks off, cackling.
87- A man runs up to you and asks you if you've heard the big news.  He hasn't, and needs to know.  Whatever you tell him, he will accept as truth.
88- A woman walks up to you and asks you about the big news.  Regardless of what you say, she calls you a liar and runs away.
89- A woman walks up to you and confesses her love to you.  She is being genuine, along with completely normal and sane.
90- A woman walks up to you and confesses her love to you.  She is lying, and is actually planning despicable things.
91- A woman walks up to you and tells you the exact date you will die.  It is soon.   She is lying.
92- A woman walks up to you and tells you the exact date you will die.  It will be soon.  She is telling the truth, but she may be wrong.
93- You are handed a bit of food by a stranger.  It is clumsily and obviously poisoned.
94- You are handed a bit of food by a stranger.  "It is not poisoned," the stranger says.  The stranger is correct.  
65- You are handed a bit of food by a stranger.  It is full of highly lethal poison.  "It is probably safe," the stranger says.
96- You are handed a cake by a stranger.  The cake is made of painted C4, the candles are steel, and the detonator is in the bottom of the box.  "Be very careful," the stranger advises.         
97- A naked man suddenly appears from underneath a couch or sofa and gives you a small pill.  "Give this to the next new person you meet," he says.   
98- A naked woman suddenly appears from out of a closet or bathroom, sopping wet.  She gives you a single bullet, and says, "You know what to do."
99- A delivery man arrives with a package for you.  The package is of your own corpse, taxidermed and stuffed.  You are wearing your Sunday best, and have a bouquet of black roses.  The delivery man will pretend nothing is wrong. 
100- You see the Black Goat again.  If you speak to it, it gives you a cryptic warning about the future.  Regardless, advance to the next stage of the Black Goat Conspiracy.

Sub-Table A: Roll on this table when/if you need a person to give the players a secret message, try and kill them, or etc.

How much does this person know?
1- They are just a mind-slave, manipulated by the Black Goat.  They know nothing.
2- They are also in the Black Goat conspiracy, and realize their error.  They know little, but will be able to tell you something.
3- They are in the Black Goat conspiracy, and realize they are being tested.  They will lie, and pretend to know nothing.
4- They are deep in the Black Goat conspiracy, and have learned more than you could possibly know.  Everything is happening exactly as they planned it would.

Stage 3: Illness  Sanctification

Once you have been selected by the Black Goat, you will encounter much more difficulty than one of the others.  But that is to be expected.  You are a Goat, crafty and clever.  You can escape a pen and evade a farmhand, while everyone else is a Sheep, too slow-witted to actually realize how thoroughly you are trapped.

Your Father, he will test you.  His instructions will often be unclear, as he wants you to rely on your own judgement.

But that is not the only difficulty to your new status.  The rewards for success are enormous, but the punishment for failure is equally incomprehensible.  As such, your Brothers and Sisters may attempt to destroy you, so you do not threaten their schemes and endanger their chances of pleasing father.  But they may also help you, as you are family.  But their help, is it any less dangerous than their violence?  Is it meant to lull you into a false sense of security, before they dispose of you?  Or is helping you all part of some greater scheme that you just cannot yet grasp?  You must know, you need to know!

Or maybe you don't.  Maybe you just need to get them before they get you.

 Stage 4: Decline  Glorification

It is said you will see the Black Goat three times.  The first time will be when you meet him.  The second time will be at the moment of your greatest triumph.  The third time will be moments before your death.

Sometimes these deaths are the work of your Father, other times the work of Brothers and Sisters, or outsiders.  Sometimes they are merely accidents.  Or should I say, "Accidents"?

Do not attempt to avoid this fate.  Your Father sees you.  He knows your intentions.

He always wins.               

Saturday, April 21, 2018

GvM: The Vampire

When I first heard of Vampire the Masquerade, it was in a post that Zak Sabbath made on the topic.  But I could never re-find the post.  So the idea of what he mentioned swirled around in my head, along with the ideas that I had heard about the story, which weren't much.  As such, I ended up inventing my own version of what Vampire actually was.  And this half-fiction in my head was so compelling, I decided that I would create a d20 version, because I could, and because I feared that the real version would not live up to the half-formed fantasy I was cobbling together out of half-remembered conversations and monster movies.

But the more and more I thought about it, fully thinking about how Vampires could co-exist in our world, I came to a conclusion.  What if the players didn't want to be Vampires?  What if they wanted to be Humans?  And that revelation lead me to The Company and Those who Know.

And this is the nature of the modern occult setting I am working on.  Like the Company itself, it is a vast umbrella over various groups that have little to do with each other, and little in common.  Playing as an Agent of the Company is much different than playing as Those who Know, which is much different than playing as a Vampire.

Speaking of which...

Playing as a Vampire

Starting HP: 1/3 Con
FS: see chart.
Starting Equipment: bandages, leather jacket, black balaclava, pistol, k-bar knife, 1d3+1 Blood Points 

Level 1- Bite, Regeneration
Level 2- Superhuman Strength
Level 3- Incredible Speed
Level 4- Otherworldly Beauty
Level 5- Space Ripper Stingy Eyes
Level 6- True Undeath
Level 7- Mist Form
Level 8- Freezing Touch
Level 9- Desiccation

Bite: Allows you to bite people.  You make this Attack at -4 unless target is willing or restrained.  Does 1d12 damage on a hit and allows you to drain blood/gain Blood Points. 

Regeneration: You can spend Blood Points to cure wounds and reconstruct your body.  1 Blood Point restores 1d6 HP.

Superhuman Strength: Vampires can spend a blood point as a free action to increase their strength.  This lets them make attacks with a +1 bonus to attack and a +2 bonus damage on a hit.  These bonuses also stack, so if you spend 1 Blood Point you get these bonuses, or if you spend 2 Blood Points, you get +2 to attack and +4 to damage.  You may spend no more than 4 Blood Points on one attack.  Additionally, each time these Blood Points are spent, the enhancement to strength only lasts for that turn and the rest of the round, expiring at the start of the Vampire's next turn. 

Incredible Speed: Vampires can spend a Blood Point as a free action to increase their speed.  This gives you +X to initiative on a d20, where X is the number of Blood Points you spent.  If combat has already started, you may instead move up X spaces in the initiative order.  You also get a +X bonus to any save against firearm damage.

Otherworldly Beauty: If you spend a Blood Point, this increases your physical beauty to its maximum.  You entrance people.  +4 to all interaction checks.  You also gain +3 to Reaction Rolls, unless someone is on the lookout for monsters or suspicious persons.  This lasts until you take any damage, go to sleep, or 12 hours.

Space Ripper Stingy Eyes: You can spend any number of Blood Points to fire Vampiric Essence out of your eyes.  For every Blood Point you spend, roll 1d6.  Then make an Attack.  On a hit, the enemy takes [sum] damage.  You may sweep the jet of Vampiric Acid in a line to target other enemies near your initial target, but if you do so, enemies get a save to take half damage, even on a hit. 

True Undeath: You no longer need to breathe or eat.  You also have perfect control of your body.  You don't get tired, but you do need to spend Blood Points to move around.  1 Blood Point = 8 Hours of Activity.  You also don't feel any pain anymore, or any sensation unless you want to.  

Mist Form: You can transform into a cloud of smoke that can move under its own power.  1 Blood Point for 1 minute of transformation.  This can be ended at any time as a free action.  You are immune to all non-magic damage in this form, except for sunlight and fire.  You also take double damage from sunlight and fire in this form. 

Freezing Touch: By spending a Blood Point, You can vaporize all the water in a body part, thus drawing all the heat out of anything you touch.  This can freeze liquids, spread thin sheets of ice over things, and freeze the body of anyone you touch. Freezing someone like this does 1d6 non-lethal damage, and renders whatever was frozen unusable until they can thaw the ice around it.  Also note that this usually doesn't freeze it all the way through, just covers it in ice and renders it temporarily unusable.   

Desiccation: By touching someone's exposed skin, you can drink someone's blood right through their skin.  This allows you to do 1d8 damage on a successful hit, and then does 1 HD of damage a round.  This also gives you Blood Points as normal.

Or if you're playing with a group that has more than 1 Vampire- you can also use the following table.  Give them their normal first level abilities, but then, every time they level up, have them roll on this table, rerolling duplicate results.

Vampire Random Advancement Table
1- Wall Crawler: Like Spiderman.
2- Hypnosis:  By spending a Blood Point and looking into someone's eyes, you can hypnotize them and bend them to your will.  They get a save to resist. 
3- Darkvision: You can see in the dark, as long as their is some light.  You cannot see in absolute darkness.
4- Kinship with vermin: You can control and attract Vermin.
5-Reviving Blood.  Pouring your blood on a wound or onto the corpse of a person who has died recently (within a number of minutes equal to your level) they are restored back to full health.  In the case of they were dead, they are instead reanimated as a semi-mortal, ageless being.  The first time a revived person suffers a wound that would kill them, they instead begin transforming into a proper Vampire.   
6- Shape-changing: You can transform into the shape of anything that you've eaten the heart of.  Your actual stats do not change.
7- Create Illusions: You can weave illusions out of smoke and shadow.
8- Defy Gravity: You can make gravity stop affecting you.
9- Emerge from Unhallowed places: You can teleport between places of ill repute. 
10- Superhuman Strength: You gain the ability to spend Blood Points to massively increase your attack and damage rolls.  As above.
11- Incredible Speed: As above.
12- Otherworldly Beauty: As above.
13- Space Ripper Stingy Eyes: As above.
14- Dominion.  Whenever a spell or ability would cause you to take an action you did not choose, you may spend a Blood Point to get another chance to save against that ability.
15- Mist Form: Turn into mist.  As above.
16- Freezing Touch:  As above.
17- Desiccation: As above. 
18- Boiling Blood.  You can spew out some of the blood you've collected at a boiling temperature.  To living creatures, this is agony. 
19- Bone blades.  You can make blades of bone come out of your 1d6 [1= Arms; 2= Legs; 3= Feet; 4= Hands; 5= Chest; 6= Head). You can drink blood through these blades.  The blades are also sharp enough to cut through anything you could cut with an axe.
20- Boneless.  You can manipulate the elasticity of your body, allowing you to make your bones as soft as cartilage for a short period of time.

Living as a Vampire

Now, in my setting, Vampirism is a chronic, hereditary illness.  At first, it just ruins your life.  But as the disease progresses, you eventually stop aging and get some of those nifty powers you've heard so much about.  This means that young Vampires are basically just goths with pointy teeth, and older Vampires are killing machines.  To keep track of how Human a Vampire is, I wrote up a few tables on the subject.

Now, onto the subject of Blood Points.  Blood Points are the most important currency for a Vampire.  They enable healing, all their abilities, and a Vampire's continued existence.  As such, getting them is the most important thing a Vampire cares about.  And you get them by drinking blood, of course.

As such, a Vampire can hold a number of Blood Points equal to their level*2.

But how much blood, or how Many Blood Points, does any one creature contain?  Well, to figure that out, roll 1d8, then add the number of HD if they are greater than 1.  So a 1 HD human can contain up to 8 Blood Points, and a 12 HD Dragon can contain up to 20.  And any blood will do, with certain exceptions.  For example, it must be from a humanoid creature with a compatible soul to yours.  So cows and animals are out, but Xenos, Humans, the Folk, and anything higher than you is fine.  And for some creatures such as Dragons or Sphinxes, drinking their blood will probably do more harm than good, if you can even acquire some of it.

When you drink someone's blood, they take non-lethal damage equal to the amount of Blood Points you've extracted.  However, if you take all of someone's Blood Points, they will still die.

Blood Points can be taken from a corpse, as long as that corpse has been dead for less than a number of minutes less than or equal to their HD.

Also, note that if you take all of someone's Blood Points, you're not sucking them dry, you're actually plundering all their life energy.  They may still have blood left, but their body will no longer have the strength to actually keep them alive, and they will die.  A coroner will be mystified by a death like this- it will look like massive organ failure, as if the body just stopped working on every level, for no conceivable reason.

And unlike what you read about in books or movies, a Vampire drinking your blood is not a pleasant experience.  Vampire saliva acts as a mild anesthetic and anti-coagulant, so if a Vampire has the time, they can make it mildly more pleasant.  But if they're in a hurry or currently fighting you, they'll just rip you open with their enormous strength and slurp down your blood.  So it can range from anywhere to getting a blood test done to being disemboweled.  Either way, you'd have to be pretty sick in the head to like even the milder end of the experience.  And of course, if anyone enjoys the rougher end of the blood drinking continuum, they've never come back to have it done again.  Overall, it's a thoroughly unpleasant experience.  Additionally, a Vampire drinking your blood will not turn you into a Vampire, though it can transmit blood-borne diseases.

Telling a Story about Vampires

1: Being a Vampire sucks
2: This world was not designed for you
3: Everyone either hates you or doesn't care about you  

Firstly, being a Vampire is not at all what it's cracked up to be.  At first, you will have no Vampire powers.  The only way to develop them is to wait and train hard.  So for a lot longer, you will still need to eat food, drink water, sleep and stuff.  You'll also still get sick and other things.  And you'll never see the Sun again, unless it's the last thing you see.  You'll have to transfer over to the night shift, avoid windows like the plague, and order anything you can't get at a 24 hour convenience store online.  You'll also probably have to get a new job or quit your current one- as it's likely not going to be good for you.

So for a while, being a Vampire is basically like being a Goth with better fashion sense and pointy teeth.  You'll probably still carry a gun to protect yourself.  But for a while, sunlight will only hurt you, not burn you to ashes in seconds, and you'll only need a few drops of blood a day, though you'll probably crave it constantly.

<DM note>The sun is both a spiritual and a physical object.  That's why sunlight can cheer you up as well as warming your skin.  But it is this spiritual light that burns a Vampire or an Undead, not UV light or anything else.  Thus, a Vampire would, in theory, be totally safe in the shadow of a building during the day, as long as no sunlight reflected off something shiny and hit them.  Even something as thin as a piece of paper, if it wasn't partially translucent would protect them.</DM note>  

Secondly, when you're a Young Vampire, you're likely not to attract any attention at all, unless you do something massively retarded.  But it's about this time you're likely to encounter the Vampire Clans.  The Clans are organized groups of Vampires.  They pool their resources and engage in business together, whether legal or illegal.  They also keep a territory of Humans under their control.  If a Clan Vampire catches you feeding on one of their Humans or a merely a Human in their territory, they will be very unhappy with you.  A lot of young Vampires either end up being press-ganged into joining a Clan or are just gunned down in suspicious but un-investigated shootings.  But as long as you don't trespass on their territory or interfere with their business, most Clans will either try and recruit you or leave you alone.

And while all Clans are different, there are certain traits they all share.  They all have hierarchies, secret knowledge, and compete against other Xeno Tribes for competition and resources.  Additionally, all "official" Clans have a liasion with the Company, and work with them, and technically fall under their administration, though as long as the Masquerade is respected and the Peace maintained, the Company couldn't care less what the Clan does.  So while the Company might occasionally assassinate a Clan leader or bust up a Vampire led crime ring, that is mostly to prove that they can.

But among some young, radical Vampires, this system is intolerable.  They reject the Clan structure and try and make it on their own, or they form unofficial Clans to fight the other Clans.  These unofficial Clans can be anything from a  rag-tag groups of dissidents squatting in abandoned rail yard or indistinguishable to a normal Vampire clan, beyond the official stamp of approval from the Company.

<sidenote>Many of these same young Vampires also believe in conspiracy theories, such as the Vampire craze was funded by the Company to make them seem less like real monsters, for some sinister and batshit insane reason.  And even among those who do not directly attribute malice to this, they are all too aware of the Vampire's status in pop culture as hunky eye-candy.  Some either attempt to push back against this by being really vicious and cutthroat, or lean into it by wearing sexy outfits and trying to seduce anything that walks by.  Most just ignore their inherited status, and change the subject if its brought up.</sidenote>  

But these are not the only types of Vampire.  Besides the Vampires in the Clans and the younger Vampires, the Bloodlets, there is one other type.  The Old Blood is what they are unofficially called.  These are Old Vampires who predate the Clans, most which were founded after the official adoption of the Masquerade and the Peace, which had been unofficial policy for almost three centuries at that point, but was officially made policy in 1950.  Some are only slightly older than the Greenland Accords that established the Peace and the Masquerade, but some are absolutely ancient, beings who have cast long, dark shadows across the centuries.  These Ancient Vampires usually regard the Clans with suspicion and contempt.  They are either too powerful to acknowledge bowing to anyone, or they remember when men like the current Agents of the Company hunted their kind, and are unwilling to trust them, even though they now wear suits instead of the sign of the Cross.

If you ask them, they may regard this new system with open, irrational contempt, or they may have reasoned arguments.  They may point out how the Clans are often weak; corrupt; inept; strangled with byzantine and nonsensical regulations; or just flat out immoral.  Though most of the Old Blood won't care about the morality of the Clans, except for the fact that most hold freedom, particularly their freedom, in very high regard, and Clans do not allow their members to be free.

The Old Blood either lies in hibernation within coffins or secured crypts, awaiting someone to awaken them to this new world, or they rule from the shadows, hiding from the Clans and the Company alike.

Thirdly, let me tell you a joke.  Who hates Vampires more, Vampires or non-Vampires?  The answer of course is Vampires, because they hate Vampires too.

Like so many Xeno tribes (and Humans) the only thing that can truly unite them is the hatred of the Other, and sometimes not even that is enough.

And most Vampires wouldn't have it any other way. 


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

API: The Folk: Faeries

Faeries are what everyone thinks of when they think of the Folk.  Aloof, mysterious beings, capricious and inscrutable.  Not evil, but alien and amoral.  They cannot lie, and should never be trusted.  Never promise them anything or accept any gifts from them.  But that is all the true knowledge that an average person might know.  The rest of what they know about Faeries is probably wrong.  

First, not all the Folk are Faeries.  Faeries are a sub-group within the umbrella term of the Folk.  They are the leaders and generals of the Folk, the courtiers who attend their Sovereigns.  They can shapeshift in limited ways and have strange powers, but they cannot lie.

Secondly, Faeries are nothing like you think.  They loathe civilization in all its forms, but most especially its higher concepts, such as language, mathematics and coins.  Goblins are degenerate in their eyes, and they freely abuse the little freaks.  They can speak almost all languages, but they hate to do so- it is a reminder of all they lost.  They communicate to each other through other, poorly understood methods.  But they will speak, if they must communicate with you.  But more likely they will just try to drive you away.

Thirdly, they do not like using any tools.  They would rather strangle you with their bare hands than bash your head in with a rock.  They do not wear clothes to protect themselves from the environment, and live in caves or burrows.  They do not use money.  They trade for or take what they need.  They respect only strength and force of will.  To them, laws, contracts and hierarchies of authorities are all worthless.  They believe in power, and nothing else.

When encountered, if they are not hunting, they will usually be alone or with an attendant.  When they hunt, they will sometimes go alone, but usually will have either another Faerie or their retinues with them.  These retinues usually consist of lesser Folk, mortals freed from the shackles of civilization, or Changelings.  However, on the subject of Changelings, something must be discussed.  The sexual proclivities of Faeries are well known, for even in the ancient past, young women were warned not to wander to away from the group, or they might be accosted by savage wild-men out in the wilderness, and young men were likewise warned of pursuing the naked, inhuman woman-thing you saw picking flowers on the edge of the woods.  And since they are quite clearly sexually libertine, they should be the same among their own ranks.  And yet, while Faerie-Human Unions sometimes result in Changelings, no reliable records indicate a union between two Faeries has ever resulted in a child.  And while this might indicate that the Faerie population is stagnant and in permanent decline, it might indicate something far less hopeful. Either way, the data is inconclusive, and must be researched further.

Dealing with the Faeries

First of all, Faeries do not have names.  They do not name themselves.  But Humans use their language, their words to exert control over the world.  So they usually end up naming any Faerie they come into contact with.  An unnamed Faerie hates to be named, or if they were already named, being called by that name.  Saying a Faerie's name is an excellent way to anger them, if you feel you've grown too attached to your internal organs.       

<GM note>
Refer to the Faerie by something different every round.  If the players start to use a name for it, then use that name.</GM note>     

As for their bearing, all Faeries are imperious and cruel, they look down on you with barely disguised contempt.  They might let you talk to them, or they might try to kill you for some imagined slight.  Your instinct will be to flatter them, but do not do this.  Do not bow to them, they will walk all over you if you let them.  Instead act a King, and if they challenge you, fight back.  Now it should be said, Faeries cannot lie.  But they are deceptive.  A Faerie who says they want to kill you and walks up to you, describing in great detail what it wants to do to your worthless hide is more trustworthy than a Faerie that smiles and is hospitable, while studiously not discussing his true feelings.  This is because the first is being honest, and the second is likely plotting your murder.  The first one might as well, but they are less likely to be a significant threat, since they're acting impulsively.

Fighting a Faerie

Don't do it.  Faeries never fight fair.  They set traps, ambush, and use hit-and-run tactics.  They will send their retinues in to lure you onto unfavorable terrain, then tear their way out of the ground or leap from a tree to disembowel you.  They never hesitate to retreat and will do anything to win. 

And while Faeries do not use weapons like lesser Folk, their shapeshifting powers more than compensate.  While they are not as strong as a Demon's, as they can only shapeshift into certain forms, some of those forms are specialized for combat.  Most notably, they can shapeshift between a humanoid, "Female" form which is their normal form for dealing with outsiders or other Folk, and their "Male" form, which is primarily used for combat and dominance games.  Each "Female" form is usually very alluring, and each "Male" form is usually designed with intimidation and combat utility in mind.

Base Faerie
(female form)
HD 4   AC 10  Bare Hands 1d6
Mor 7  Saves 13+

Truth-Teller: Faeries cannot lie.  They can muddy the issue, dodge the question and not answer, but they cannot lie directly.

Cold Iron Weakness: Faeries take +1 damage per die from all Iron Weapons.

(male form)
HD 8  AC 13   Natural Weapon X*
Mor 9  Saves 9+

Truth-Teller: Faeries cannot lie.  They can muddy the issue, dodge the question and not answer, but they cannot lie directly.

Cold Iron Weakness: Faeries take +1 damage per die from all Iron Weapons.

- Never fight fair
- Ambush and attack from surprise
- Run away then return
- Don't let them rest

And finally, here are 6 Faerie Nobles that your players can run into or get murdered by.   

What Faerie Noble have you disturbed Today?*
1- Tolkina
2- Manrider
3- Anne Star
4- Void
5- Flowerchild
6- She-Wolf

1: Tolkina
(female form)
- A woman with slightly translucent skin, pointed ears, and wild eyes.  Her grooming is terrible, and she smells of hot blood.
(male form)
- Her skin peels off to reveal a skeletal thing, covered in bone blades.  Every part of her body is sharp, with the translucent skin flapping behind it like a cape.  Her eyes are the same.  1d4+Bleed/1d4+Bleed (Bleed: save or take an additional 1d4 damage a round.  You must save after every hit.  And because her body is so sharp, touching her or grappling her counts as touching.

2: Manrider
(female form)
- A man with a shaggy beard and hair that was cut with a stone knife.  He's covered in scars, many of them self-inflicted.  Men who see him wil always end up feeling inadequete, even if they kill him.
(male form)
- He pulls himself inside out, transforming into something like a skinless centaur.  Sharp teeth to bite you and barbed hooves to crush you underfoot.  1d6/1d6 Teeth and claws or Trample 1d10

3: Anne Star
(female form)
- A nut-brown girl with hair like ink and eyes of solid, jet black.  She laughs but never smiles.  Her teeth are like that of a shark, and can bite through anything you could cut with an axe.
(male form)
- Mouths appear all over her body, with long, barbed tongues sticking out of them.  She can also spit a cloud of teeth, like a swarm of chitinous bees.  Barbed Tongues 1d6 (attack at range) or Tooth Cloud 3d6 1/day

4: Flowerchild
(female form)
- A weedy, scrawny young boy.  His face is spotted with acne, but instead of pustules, small flowers are blooming all over his face.  He's horribly embarrassed by this, but not by his nakedness.
(male form)
- The flowers begin shedding their petals, forming a cloud around him.  His fingertips open into flowers, and thorny vines heavy with flowers drape over him like jewelry.  He fires thorns from his fingers.  Each thorn and petal contains a powerful poison.  1d6+poison/1d6+poison.  Approaching him in melee combat will mean his flowers exasperating and accelerating any poison in your system.

5: Void
(female form)
- A burly man with skin blacker than the void.  His nails, palms and hair are a matching color.  At night, he is virtually invisible.  If you look into his eyes, you can see galaxies and distant stars reflected in them.  His teeth are the only part of him that isn't black, tiny squares of white floating in the air without an owner.
(Male form)
- He vanishes utterly, becoming a complete void.  While he does this, he is completely invisible and untouchable.  However, he cannot affect you while in this form.  He must slide partially back into our universe to hurt you.  When he does this, he looks like a three-dimensional shadow.  Hurting him in this form makes him bleed light.  You need to catch him while he's here, or he'll chop you into chutney.  1d8 damage on a hit.

6: She-Wolf
(female form)
- An alabaster woman, with flowers in her blonde hair and eyes bluer than robin's eggs.  She will invite you to sit with her, as tell her about yourself.  If you hang around for a while, she might go catch a fish or grab a snake.  It's at this point you'll notice how her lacquered nails are actually wedges of razor sharp ivory, capable of slicing clean through flesh and cartilage with the smallest gesture.  But of course, it's a little late for regrets now.  She will be very disappointed if you don't eat the raw meat she brought you.
(male form)
- A blond wolf, with a human head and hands tipped in brutal claws.  She could strangle you if she wanted to.  But she won't, she'll instead use the spurs on her backfeet and her claws to disembowel you, or cut your cartoroid artery.  The claws can pierce anything softer than kevlar, and cut flesh like its cotton candy.  Claws 1d6/1d6, and if both claw attacks hit the same target, she does +1d6 damage as she rakes you with her back claws.  Also, you must save or fall prone.  If you're prone, +1d6 damage to any attack.               

*Also, if you want any of these Faeries to be unnamed so the players can name them, then feel free to do so.

Monday, April 16, 2018

API: The Folk: Boggarts

Boggarts are predatory, hungry Folk.  They are known for having dull black hides covered in slime that reflects the light of the moon and the stars.  Boggarts are strictly nocturnal, unlike some Folk, and only come out at night.  They are most active on dark nights or the night of the New Moon, when visibility is worst.  Their muzzles are long and pointed, full of needle teeth and long, forked tongues.  Males among their species have large frills that they unfurl in moments of great emotional stress.  The females do not possess these frills.  Both sexes are venomous, with the males spitting poison from their mouths and females injecting it through their claws.  Males also tend to slightly larger than the Females.  Additionally, Male Boggarts grow throughout their lives, getting larger and larger as they age.  It is reasoned that perhaps the reason for growth is status-related, though this is disputed. 

Boggarts can speak, but do not, except in moments of grave importance.  When fighting you, they will laugh high-pitched, reptilian laughs or repeat your own words back to you, as a way of mocking you.  They are famous for yelling the battle-cry of an enemy right before attacking, just to startle their opponent.

Boggarts attack from surprise, engaging in lightning raids and disappearing just as fast.  Male Boggarts fight with icicle spears and nets made of spiderwebs, entangling someone and spitting poison in their face, then impaling them with their spears.  The females also use nets, but their preferred weapon is the atlatl, a spear-thrower that flings darts tipped with stone blades.  These darts do not do a lot of damage, but they quickly add up.  The females are also known to rub the tips of their darts in their venom.

Boggart Male:

HD 1d3+1  AC 14  Icicle Spear 1d8 or Net or Poison Spray
Mor 9    Saves 11+

Cold Iron Weakness: Boggarts take +1 damage per die from all Iron Weapons.

Net: When a Net attack is made against someone, they must succeed a DEX save.  On a failure, they are trapped beneath it can get -4 to AC and further DEX saves.  Additionally, anyone who touches the net will get stuck to it, and count as trapped by it.  The net is made of spidersilk but much, much thicker, and thus is harder than steel, but anything that can cut steel or someone with a Semblance with a power of +3 or greater could tear through it with a full action. 

Venom Spray: Does 2d6 venom damage, DEX save for half.  If you are hit in the face with this, you are also blinded until you can flush out your eyes.  The venom causes vertigo, nauseau, and ataxia (loss of motor control).  For every dose of Boggart venom, you get -1 to anything.  Also, you take any damage from Boggart Venom, you will die in 120 minutes unless antivenom is administered.  API has antivenom of this nature.

- Protect the Females (if there are any)
- Tangle up enemies in your net
- Spit poison in their friend's faces
- Stab anyone left alive

Boggart Female

HD 2  AC 15  Atlatl(+4) 1d4+poison or Net or poison claws 1d6+poison     
Mor 7  Saves 11+

Cold Iron Weakness: Boggarts take +1 damage per die from all Iron Weapons.

Net: As Boggart Male

Venom: Venom on the darts does 1d6 damage, save for half.  The venom on the claws does 2d6 damage, save for half, but also requires getting into melee range.  The other effects of Boggart Venom still apply normally.

- Stay out of melee range
- Set traps with the nets
- Throw darts at anyone not caught in the nets
- Pounce on those people who are trapped in nets

But this begs a question- why do Boggarts do what they do?

Boggarts and the Front

Boggarts usually live in small groups, with a dozen or so females clustering around a dominant male, who is the largest male in the group, though he might not be the only one.

At first, it was thought that Boggarts attacked humans out of some predatory instinct, but this early theory did not hold up to scrutiny.  Boggarts do sometimes eat the people they kill, but not always.  Sometimes they take a few bites of them, just to prove they can- but they never eat the whole corpse or strip it of bone.  And the ferocity of their attacks also seems to dispute this.  They don't kill like they're hunting, as Boggarts attacks are always psychopathically violent.  It doesn't feel like the dispassionate kill of a hunter, it feels much more personal. 

So this lead to the second theory- perhaps Boggarts attack Humans because it is some kind of courtship ritual.  Maybe the males attack Humans in an effort to prove their valor to the females, in the hopes of mating.  But this also doesn't seem to hold up, as all male and even all female groups are sometimes behind attacks on humans in rural areas.  So this theory is not as watertight as first believed.

The third, and current theory is this: Boggarts attack us because humans are expanding into their territories and their traditional nesting grounds, and thus they are trying to expel us.  And yet, if this is so, why do Boggart attacks occur all over the world, with no real consistencies in where they attack?  Moreover, why do Boggarts retreat sometimes?  Why the hit-and-run tactics if they have vital areas in need of protecting?

So as usual, the academics only have half-formed theories, and no coherent explanation.  And Agents of the Company are content to chalk the Boggarts seemingly random and inconsistent behavior up to the capricious nature of the Folk and leave it at that.

So rather then just throwing around theories, let's discuss what we do know.  We know that Boggarts, when they do speak, discuss things in military terms.  They talk about retreats, ambushes, withdrawals, etc.  When captured, Boggarts usually only rattle off a list of numbers, like they're a captured soldiers in a war movie.  This string of numbers varies from time to time, indicating that, since Boggarts cannot lie, they're just making this number up off the top of their head.  And we know that Boggarts often speak of "Stopping them here," and things of that nature.

Man is their enemy, clearly, and they want to stop us.  But why now?  And in this way?

But like I said earlier, we just don't know.        

Boggart Tricks

But do not fall into the trap of believing the Boggarts are not cunning.  To do so would be a mistake that is often fatal.  To see what terrible (for you) strategy the Boggarts are employing in their attack, roll 1d6 or invent something terrible yourself.

1d6 Terrible Boggart Tricks
1- Baited Hook
2- Pincer Trap
3- Hammer and Anvil
4- Kill Zone
5- The Humble Servant
6- Charlie the Poisoner

Baited Hook.  Attack someone and poison them, then promise them an antidote if they help kill you, or just let them "Escape".  Then when they go to ask for help, follow them sneakily and ambush whoever they first run into.      

Pincer Trap.  Two groups of Boggarts will attack simultaneously, orienting themselves so to effectively attack one group you become vulnerable to the other.    

Hammer and Anvil.  A group of Boggarts will be holding some sort of fixed position behind cover.  Then, as you attack it, another group will attack from behind to trap you against the fixed postion.  Also, sometimes instead of a fixed position they will use some kind of natural hazard, such as a wall of flames or a cliff.

Kill Zone.  This strategy is simplicity itself.  It is a trap within a trap.  First, one Boggart breaks off of the group and tries to lure an enemy into a pre-prepared area.  Then, once the enemy is there, the Boggarts ambush them or unleash their trap.  An example of a Kill Zone can be anything from a clearing with a tiger pit to a building soaked in kerosene, ready for a match.

The Humble Servant.  This is a strategy usually only employed by headstrong young males, but it has been known to work.  The strategy starts with a distraction, and while the attention of the enemy is occupied, a single chosen Boggart will approach the enemy by stealth and inflict as much damage as possible, before retreating.

Charlie the Poisoner.  This strategy is only used against an attacking enemy, when the Boggarts are on the defensive.  It involves luring an enemy away from reinforcements and onto their turf.  Then, once isolated, the Boggarts constantly make ranged attacks from distant, concealed positions.  They attack just often enough so that the enemy cannot run or come out of cover, but not enough to put themselves at risk.  They keep these miniature sieges going for as long as possible, and grind the enemy down.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

API: The Folk: Trolls

Trolls are ancient and eternal creatures.  Their true origins are lost to time, but it is said they are the descendants of Giants or some primordial race of carnivores, or they could be something even stranger, such as them being the semi-mortal, ageless descendants of some hungry pantheon of Gods that no longer exists.  Regardless, the Trolls exist, and in the dark corners of our world, they squat and hunt, devouring anything that dares enter their territory.  Young Trolls are a menace, and ancient Trolls are a worthy foe for almost anyone.  They are the reason most Dragons breathe fire, most Wizards have some fire magic, and all humans have acid in their stomachs.

In appearance, Trolls range from dun-colored to dark green, sometimes hairless and other times sporting thick manes of hair. Trolls also appear to be sexually dimorphic, with male Trolls sometimes possessing beards and mustaches, smaller nipples and straighter bodies, along with male genitalia, while female Trolls usually have no facial hair, breasts and female genitalia.  Additionally, many female trolls also seem to possesses uteruses and Fallopian tubes, and if they are known by a man, they sometimes bear half-breed children.  Trolls are also known to breed true with each other, although this is rare, as Trolls usually reproduce through their regenerative abilities.  As such, the ability of their females to carry offspring to term is strange, and presents far more questions than answers.

Troll Harems

However, female Trolls who do become pregnant not only need more food, but they also become more vulnerable, so this is not desirable.  As such, female Trolls who allow themselves to be known and impregnated will gather protectors to themselves to make up for their vulnerability.  These protectors will usually fight to the death to protect her, especially if the Troll is carrying their offspring, as if a female Troll is early on in her pregnancy and comes under significant threat, she will sometimes reabsorb the fetus to continue regenerating.  This is why female Trolls are often protected by fetal ghosts, offspring who never were, devoured in the womb by their mother.  They usually oscillate between hating and revering her, depending on the day.  Additionally, sometimes, if a female Troll has accepted her own death, she will sometimes use her regenerative powers to accelerate the growth of her child, so that it will survive her passing.

These female Trolls are called Mother Trolls, or sillier names, and they form large groups similar to a polygynous household. There are the Trolls' husbands, her half-breed children, and occasionally a few fetal ghosts who are bonded to her.

Male Trolls tend to not reproduce with anyone other than female Trolls, though this is probably because of the relative fragility of human women, and not any other concern.  In truth, female Trolls are largely asexual as well, and usually do not form relationships on their own, but usually stumble into the role after spending some time near a welcoming tribe, because of the added security and  abundance of food their suitors provide.

Regenerative Abilities

Now, onto the subject of the Troll's most recognizable and lethal feature: their regeneration.  Trolls can regenerate from a single cell, unless that Cell is eaten by an enterprising amoeba or drenched in acid.  And at the molecular level, even a relatively weak acid such as formic acid will kill a Troll cell and prevent it from dividing.  Additionally, Trolls must have enough calories to regenerate.  While they have large appetites even outside of a combat situation, when regenerating or having just regenerated, they metabolize food like a jet engine.  As such, one "solution" to a Troll is to trap it somewhere and just wait until it runs out of food.

However, if given sufficient calories, a Troll can recover from any injury, given time.  The one thing a Troll cannot heal is flesh burned by acid or fire, which is why they fear such things.  Instead, Trolls just tear off the burned areas and regrow the areas where the flesh was torn. 

But that is not even the limit of Troll regeneration.  If a Troll severs a limb, the limb can grow a body.  Thus, a decapitated Troll will sometimes result in two Trolls, albeit one much smaller than the other but two Trolls, nonetheless.  Trolls use this method to escape capture or summon back-up.    (This is how Trolls usually reproduce, by the way).

Trolls will also throw chunks of troll meat at you.  These bits of troll will begin growing into tiny trolls and will scramble all over you, attacking you and biting your eyes.  If these bits of Troll meat get inside you, they will chop their way through your blood vessels into your internal organs, where they will feast.  Your death will be brief, but painful.

Finally, Trolls have a genetic memory.  Anything that the original Troll remembers a new Troll that grew from their cells will know implicitly.

Finally, besides fire and acid, their is one other way to get rid of a Troll.  If two Trolls find themselves at a disagreement, they will sometimes fight, and if one is the victor, the victor will attempt to devour the loser.  If they manage to do so, the loser's flesh will be assimilated into the victorious Troll, who will grow stronger as a result, and all the loser's knowledge will be passed into the victor.  Sometimes these are called "Troll Marriages", though that joke was never very funny for very long.  And it should be noted that when two Trolls combine like this, the result is always a very different being, not just a combination of the two Trolls, but a whole new entity entirely.  Additionally, sometimes Trolls will deliberately seek out this fate, and allow themselves to be feasted on, to finally transcend their mortality and leave this world.

Trolls that result from these "marriages" know everything that the two previous Trolls knew, and is usually as stronger than both original Trolls.  The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, so to speak.

Troll Statblock
HD X*  AC 12  Weapon**
Mor 9  Saves 8+

Cold Iron Weakness: Trolls take +1 damage per die from all Iron Weapons.

Genetic Fear: If Trolls see you have fire or acid, they must make a Mor check.  On a failure, they will retreat.

Regeneration: Trolls regenerate 2 HD a round, unless they've taken fire or acid damage since before their last turn.

- Charge into the fray
- Grab the weakest one and throw them at the strongest one
- Stab everyone else
- Retreat if you see fire or acid

To generate a unique Troll, roll on the tables below:

How big is this Troll?
1- "You're a big guy."  Eight feet tall and broader than a kitchen table.  If you're tall, you come up to its nipples.  If you're not, mid-chest.  1d6+2 HD
2- "Wow, he's tall."  10 feet tall with limbs like tree trunks.  You come to its waist, at best.  1d8+2 HD 
3- "Holy buckets." 12 feet tall with calves as wide around as monster truck tires.  You come up to its knees.  1d10+4 HD
4- "Jesus, Mary and Joseph."  15+ feet tall and absolutely enormous.  You look like an overly large action figure around it.  1d12+6 HD

*How old is this Troll?
1- Newborn.  Recently spawned from another Troll or so young they are essentially newborn.  1d20 years old or less.
2- Immature.  A Troll that has yet to truly accomplish anything.  Ancient by your standards, but quite young by their own standards.  1d10*10+20 years old   
3- Mature.  A Troll that is older then you can imagine.  A being that likely is older than your civilization.  1d1000*1d6 years old.  The Troll has forgotten more than you will ever know.
4- Ancient.  A Troll that is so old, time has lost all meaning for it.  It has always existed, and will likely continue to exist long after your whole world has fallen into ruin.
What is this Troll's Mentality?
1- The Troll is eager to be reabsorbed.  While ageless, it still fears death.  It wants to return to the blissful unconsciousness.
2- Independent.  The Troll wants to experience as much of the world as it can.  Go and enjoy itself for once.
3- Jaded.  The Troll has tasted the pleasures of this world, and found them wanting.
4- Enlightened.  The Troll has rid itself of all desires, good and bad.  It can feel the minor currents of energy that flow through the world, the heartbeat of time, the thoughts of God himself.  It does not care for anything anymore, and will accept anything that happens to it with saintly grace.

What does this Troll want?
1- Peace and Quiet.  Go away, your heartbeat is distracting.
2- Meat.  The Troll is hungry.  And while Trolls are always hungry, this time more than usual.
3- Something it can read.  Trolls like books, but it may not be able to read the modern version of your language.       
4- A conversation partner.  The Troll hasn't spoken to anyone intelligent or well-read in a long time.

**What does this Troll fight with?
1- Claws.  1d8/1d8.
2- Ornate Throwing Knives made of Obsidian.  Troll can use these to make four attacks a round at range.  The Troll has 1d10+2 of them.  If you get too close or it runs out, it will switch to its claws.  1d4/1d4/1d4/1d4.
3- Tree Trunk.  Breaks on maximum damage.  After that, Troll switches to claws.  1d12.       
4- Magic Weapon.  Passed down or lost since time immemorial.  Currently held by this tough customer.  1d6+horrible magical effect.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

API: The Folk: Goblins

Goblins are a well-known type of Folk.  They are short and green, with pointed ears and eyes of jet black.  Their mouths are always too wide and full of too many teeth, and they never, ever stop smiling.  They wear no clothing except for the occasional loincloth, and their women sometimes are known to wear a strip across their chests to cover their breasts.  Goblins are unusual among the Folk for several reasons.  Firstly, they are smaller and generally weaker than other Folk.  Secondly, rather then a dispassionate loathing, they seem to idolize or even admire Man.  They are obsessed with human concepts, but especially with language, mathematics, and most of all, commerce.  And thirdly, they are known for their ability to make Human-suits.

A Human-suit is made like this.  First, a Goblin or something else will kill a person.  Then the Goblin will take the dead body and cut the skin off it, flaying it expertly.  Then using their odd magicks, the skin will be stuck back together and inflated to look like their is still something inside of it.  Finally, the Goblin will crawl in through the mouth and once inside, will be able to walk around in their Human-suits.  And despite their crude origin, Human-suits are actually incredible good disguises.  While wearing one, a Goblin is indistinguishable from a normal human, except for a few small things.  For starters, whenever you take the heartbeat of an occupied Human-suit, it will always seem much, much higher than normal.  This is the Goblin's heartbeat.  But luckily, Human-suits are not a big problem, as Goblins who wear them are usually terrible at imitating human behavior.  They constantly smile and always laugh too long at jokes.  They ask strange questions about basic things, and are weirdly fascinated by things that should be obvious to a normal person.

<DM Note>
Goblins, when not in the wilderness or areas not frequented by humans, wear Human-suits.  Only in the company of other Goblins or Folk who are aware of their nature do they walk around without them.
</DM Note>

But back to their Love of Commerce: Goblins love to buy and sell things. 

Goblins love to buy and sell things, including things that it should not be possible to purchase.  To see what a Goblin is selling, roll on the following tables.  All Goblins possess 1d6 of these items.  Additionally, Goblins also sell weird drugs and alchemical supplies.  Finally, if you're willing to pay extra, or promise them something extra valuable, or just a regular, they will easily go above and beyond the normal for you.  If you need something, odds are a Goblin can find it. 

Random Goblin Treasure Table
1- Human faces.  Wear it like a mask and it becomes your face.  Goblin has 1d10 faces, of varying beauty, sex, age and race.
2- Cursed Fortune cookie.  Break it and read the fortune to suffer a horrible fate.  The Goblin knows the cookie is cursed, they will tell you.
3- A vial of dragonsblood.  Worth a princely sum, if you can find a buyer.  And for anyone willing to buy it, there will be three people trying to take it.  Drinking it might enable you to surpass humanity, if you pass a Save.  Though the side effects are said to be very intense. 
4- A treasure map.  Leads to ancient, forbidden, or hidden locations. However, their may no be any treasure there.  The Goblin will avoid answering any questions about this, and will insist that it would be ridiculous if there was no treasure there. 
5- A beautiful woman, currently asleep.  This woman is: 1d4 [1= A normal human, kidnapped and sold at auction; 2= A Perpetrator; 3= A Woman's body, but there is no soul inside.  The body would be a perfect vessel for a ghost, or another type of entity; 4= Something else entirely.]  The Goblin will give you clothes for "her", if you like.
6- An egg.  The Goblin does not know what is in the egg, and does not wish to find out, or be around when it hatches.  What is in the egg: 1d6 [1= A Dragon; 2= A Faerie; 3= A Xeno of some sort; 4= A seemingly normal Human; 5= Nothing.  The egg is hollow, and hides a treasure of great value.  The owner of the treasure will hear the egg breaking, and will come for you; 6= A Messiah.  The savior of a long-forsaken race will be born from this egg.  Kings and prophets are already on their way.]   
7- A business card for an unsavory entity.
8- Five Alarm Hot Sauce.
9- A camera that captures a tiny piece of someone's soul when they have their picture taken.
10- A crystal ball.  The crystal ball does not actually foretell the future, but it can create illusions within it, and the user can control these visions.  Hope you're good at cold-reading.     
11- Something you've forgotten.  This is a missing memory, one that the players have totally forgot.  When you get this one, it should be like a complete mind-fuck, suddenly you rethink your whole life.  For example: Someone you thought was dead was actually alive, you didn't kill them as you thought you did.  And don't worry about consistency, the less sense this makes, the better.
12- A missed opportunity.  If the players regret not taking an option you gave them in the past, suddenly that previous path becomes open to them again, if they so choose. 
13- A magical box.  Anything placed within the box becomes infinitely desirable.  If you see the contents, you must save vs charm or desire it.  However, as soon as it is removed from the box, the effect ceases.  Right now the box contains an ordinary pine cone.
14- Ring of Trees.  Put it on and you become a tree.  Take it off and you stop being a tree.  You cannot remove the ring yourself while a tree.
15- Your autobiography.  This is the book you will write about your life in the future.  Foretell future events.  If you change the future, the book becomes worthless except as a keepsake.
16- Liquid Moonlight.
17- Mooncloth.
18- Glass goblet.  Changes color depending on what liquid is poured into it.  If poison is put into it, turns black with skull print.
19- Hydra Tonic.  A potion of healing.  Restores you to full HP and regrows any damaged limbs.  Regrown limbs have a 2-in-6 chance of regrowing ending in a mouth instead of a hand.  Also, if you drink this, if your head is cut off, you may save vs death.  On a success, you regrow two heads.
20- That one thing you need.  If your players are looking for a Macguffin, the Goblin has it and doesn't realize it's true value.

Now, onto the matter of payment.  Goblins understand the concept of money, but much of it holds little value over them(with certain exceptions).  But normally, Goblins barter for things.  They are good negotiators, but what a Goblin values is often vastly different than you.   For what a Goblin charges for their goods, roll on the table below.

What does this Goblin want in exchange for its treasure?
1: Easy but of equal value.
2-5: Something of exactly equal value.
6: Something that is worth more than what is being asked for, or something that will be hard for buyer to part with.

For option 1, ask for something relatively easy to find.  Be gentle.  For 2-5, ask for something that could be obtained with some effort.  And for 6, ask for something very hard to find or part with. 

<GM Note> For the first option, be nice. For the second option, be fair but also exact. For the third option, be as mean as you possibly can be.  </GM Note>

For option 1, ask for something relatively easy to find.  Be gentle.  For 2-5, ask for something that could be obtained with some effort.  And for 6, ask for something very hard to find or part with.

Goblins do not take IOUs.  They expect payment immediately.

And while you can rob a Goblin and take their goods, the Goblin may fight.  But if you pose an enormous threat to them, the Goblin may just leave their treasures and run away.  But if the Goblin gets away, expect a world of hurt.  For starters, all the people who relied on the Goblin will be coming after you for revenge, as once a Goblin gets driven off, it rarely comes back to the same area.  Secondly, you now have a bunch of rare treasures.  And while robbing a Goblin is all but impossible, robbing someone who has already taken its treasures is child's play.  Thirdly, the Goblin may put out a bounty on you.  Goblin bounties tend to be fairly lucrative, if you can manage to find the person who took their treasures.

HD 2  AC 13  Weapon(+2)
Mor 6  Saves 12+

Cold Iron Weakness: Goblins take +1 damage per die from all Iron Weapons.

Illusion: Goblins can make illusions out of stardust and glamour.  But these illusions are fairly weak, and if you take an action to examine an illusion and succeed a DC 13 WIS check, you can reveal them to a hollow shell of light.  It takes a full action to weave an illusion, and the Goblin cannot be touching any cold iron while making an illusion.

Human-suit: If the Goblin is wearing a Human-suit, as long as it is at full HP, it looks like a normal human.  But once it has taken damage, it resembles a normal Human.

Truth-Teller: Goblins cannot lie.  They can muddy the issue, dodge the question and not answer, but they cannot lie directly. 

- Run away
- Hide and make sneak attacks
- Hit and run, wear them down
- Don't get into a slugging match

Goblin Weapons:
- Blowpipes.  1 damage+poison.  Goblins smear their darts with all sorts of hideous things, from poisons to hallucinogens to feces.
- Slings.  Throw stones or other stuff.  Other stuff includes smoke pellets, improvised stun grenades, flashbangs, glass balls full of green slime, etc.
- Daggers.  1d6 damage.  Made of bronze, obsidian, or bone.  Very sharp, but breakable.  Weapons of last resort.  If a Goblin is in melee combat with you, it's likely already lost.

When, or if, the players get into a Goblin, play as ruthlessly as you can, but remember, you're not trying to kill the players.  As a Referee, it's your job to make fighting a Goblin, your goal should be to escape, or to make fighting you such an intolerable experience that the players give up.  So a Goblin encounter is not like a traditional stand-up fight.  Play dirty, and exploit your players paranoia.  Throw illusions at them, have Goblins hide under beds with a readied action to shoot someone in the eye with a dart covered in neurotoxin, throw, have the Goblins lead them into confined places then throw firebombs, etc.  Get devious.

Goblins usually travel in groups of 2-6, with all members of the group being either business partners, friends, employees, lovers or some combination therefore.