Friday, December 31, 2021

OSR: The City of Brass

artist unknown

It is a city located deep underground, below the Veins but above Hell, floating on the surface of the Cauldron.  It is a mega-metropolis, a hub for entire planes, a secret world unto itself.  You could spend a lifetime exploring the city and not run out of interesting things to see or do.

The city resembles a giant puzzle cube of stairwells, plazas and palaces, with streets that wind up and down into its' labyrinthine surfaces, passing through sculpted arcades and carved tunnels.  Every inch of the city is encrusted with decoration- reliefs adorn the walls, statues dot the streets, beautiful tile work supports your feet on shining hands. 

Unlike everywhere else in the depths of the Earth, darkness has no power here.  The city overflows with light, from the lava flows that pass through the city's canals and under her bridges, to the countless magical lights to the glowing occupants, shining with magic and heat, the city is a blinding beacon to all around it, a defiance of all that is gloomy, drab and dull. The city was designed with this mind, with metal domes that glitter like a million new pennies and towering glass sculptures that spray rainbows through the air.  The whole city is a feast for the eyes.

Yet for every plaza with astonishing artwork, jeweled walls and beautiful people attended by flocks of servants, there is an unfinished neighborhood wracked by ethnic conflict, where wildly diverse people forced into close quarters butcher each other.  Riots are not uncommon in some parts of the city and there are multiple insurgent groups operating in the City, seeking to overthrow the government, take over the City or something else similarly violent.

Similarly, these outer areas are also known for their grime and poverty.  The flesh markets of the City are vast, importing mortal cattle from every known world and several unknown ones.  At the World-Gates, steel and gold is traded for flesh.  And even for those who are not enslaved, most have little hope of escaping the grinding wheels of poverty- they will spend their lives laboring in front of a blistering furnace, guarding a door or endlessly polishing the walls of the City's plazas. 

The lucky few might end up becoming part of a Genie's household.  This is a privilege only granted to slaves, but most Genie slaves are treated better than some Freemen, with only a few exceptions.

by derdevil
Inhabitants of the City of Brass:

Genies.  Primordial lords of elemental magic, most of the Genies in the City live in palatial estates within the more developed districts, the City constructed around their domains, or in secluded caverns nearby, for those who favor quiet.  Efreeti and Deep Janeen are the only ones to commonly live in the City, but Marid and Djinn are known to visit occasionally.  The Genies of the City compete with each other for status and power over the City, throwing elaborate street festivals come election years and peppering other times with commissioned public works and games to entertain the citizenry.  The Genies are largely indifferent or ignorant of the violence in the unfinished blocs of the city.  Other problems, such as the simmering unrest toward their apathetic rule also pass beneath their notice.

Azers.  Ageless spirits of living fire in self-crafted shells of metal, Azers were commissioned long ago by the Efreet to build the City of Brass for them.  Despite the impossible splendor of the City, the Azers are still not finished, expanding and improving the outer layers of the City, which are still lovely, though nothing compared to the opulence of the center.  Azers also work at some of the City's forges and are among the best smiths in all of creation.  Be aware of this fact if you attempt to hire one, as there is no end to those who wish to enlist the Azers in their projects. 

Salamanders.  Serpent-folk with molten skin and burning hands.  They are the original inhabitants of the area that the City of Brass is built on.  Some have accepted the fact that the City is not going away and have moved in.  These Salamanders work at the forges, attend the nobles and participate in civic affairs.  A substantial minority of the Salamanders are less content and some are even engaged in an active insurgency and a campaign of terror to overthrow the Genies and grind the City into dust.

Souls.  The dead who have come up from Sheol.  They resemble one of the mortal races, but translucent and seemingly insubstantial.  Most are here as part of a work program or have been let out for the weekend.  They are quarrelsome individuals, grumpy and bad tempered.  Most react to attempts to help them or genuine love with scorn, disbelief or extreme skepticism.  If they have the chance to make you upset or rebuke your generosity, they will.  If you are mean to or abuse them, they will react with smug satisfaction.

Outsiders.  Creatures who have come up from Sheol or down from Heaven.  They have urgent business in the City.  Demons are here to score good deals or to participate in one of the innumerable ethnic or political conflicts brewing in the City.  Angels are usually here to capture Souls that have broken their parole or overstayed their visas in the land of the living and need to be deported back to Sheol.

Surface and Veins Folk.  Some are slaves, but some are citizens.  They live here, attempting to fit in and find prosperity in the City, while doing their best to adapt to their strange new environment.  Here, old ethnic, religious, linguistic and political disputes are born anew among the diverse and fractious population and new ones are created by the bad conditions and constant, bubbling tension many are forced to live under.

Trade and Industry:

The City of Brass is a voracious beast, consuming huge amounts of water, food and other resources.  Unrefined resources flow like water into the city and emerge as worked goods, which are disseminated out to the surrounding communities.  A large minority of the worked goods in the Veins, from forged steel to woven fabrics come from the City. 

The City not only sells to Veinsfolk, but to travelers from distant lands and other worlds.  The vast bazaars of the City spill up and down the vast plazas, some composed of multiple layers of stalls, stores and displays.  Here you can find merchants squatting amidst clouds of perfumed smoke, hawkers walking and shouting out their wares and customers of all colors, sizes and shapes pushing and shoving to try and get the best deal.  If you know where to look, you can find almost anything for sale.    

Besides the Bazaars, which sell an eclectic mix of goods and services, there are also brick and mortar stores that sell goods both fine and common.  The Street of Steel is a long line of forges and smelters, where blacksmiths of dozens of races mold metal and pour steel.  The Flesh-Yards are full of auction blocks and huge pens made of iron bars, where slaves from countless worlds wait to be sold.  The Path of Silk does not lead to a brothel, but is instead where the weavers and seamstresses hawk their wares, selling fine rugs, beautiful garments and exotic clothing that is all the rage in some place you've never heard of, but are sure is somehow important.

by Alexander von Wagner

Amusements in the City of Brass:

The City is not just a place of business and cold calculation, it is also a vast spectacle of art and beauty.  Some of the areas of the City are feasts for the eyes.  These are areas that have been finished by the Azers, but there are other parts of the City that are far less beautiful, as the Azers have yet to reach these areas, or perhaps the locals have sullied them on purpose or by simple circumstance. 

Yet even in these areas, beauty abounds, from the mosaics crawling up the walls to the ornate tile-work, multi-colored stones intershot with veins of natural minerals, so cunning in their construction that they could be confused for natural tunnels, or so orderly and precise that they could be nothing but the work of inhuman hands. 

Besides the amazing architecture, there is also plenty of other things to do in the City.  The Nymph District is a nest of brothels, pleasure-houses and nymphariums, where prostitutes of every race you can imagine sell their services.  The Red Squares host gladiatorial fights between slaves, paid gladiators, volunteers and wild beasts.  The Greatest of these pits is the Brass Ring, a huge arena where the greatest of fighters and the most fearsome of beasts clash in terrific battles to the screams and adulation of the crowds.  There is the Symphonic Walk, a series of a streets that are designed to reflect and channel sounds in such a way that a single musician can be heard streets away as if he was on the other side of the road.  Here people tip-toe on padded shoes and musicians quietly brawl for the best spots, fighting with padded staves and silken strangling cords.

Many of the Genies seek to be adored as much as the City itself, so they commission museums where they display dazzling collections of art and stolen treasures, or vast grounds where they loose their menagaries to the gaping stares of visitors and locals alike.  If you long to test yourself against one of these beasts you can leave the City with one of the many guides who offer their services; this will enable you to track and hunt a dangerous beast and return with a trophy in time for tea.  Alternatively, book passage on one of the Brass Ships and take a pleasure cruise across one of the rivers or lakes of magma that ring the City.  These boats can also take you to other places in the Veins or away from the City, but why would you ever want to leave? 

You can also find other less carnal pleasures in the City.  Temple street is the place where the faithful were permitted to build their fanes and they strove to out-do each other in beauty. Flying buttresses and intricate stonework crowd the avenues as sacred prostitutes and street-prophets declare the superiority of their Gods.  Or if you long to feed your mind, you can explore the Yizawa's Librarum, perhaps the world's largest collection of books, scrolls and written works.  

There are also many academies and places of learning here, including on ones too niche or taboo to be taught in more conventional places.  Here you can learn surgical techniques from enslaved Kytons or the History of the Kilaji Confederation by the Demons who helped it to collapse.  You can study necromancy with the disciples of the Prince Perpetual or debate the merits of Chaos with mutated philosopher-magi.  Truly, the City lacks nothing in terms of what one could do.

by Andrew Mar

Enemies of the City of Brass:

The Druids of the Veins- Druids hate civilization, no matter where it is.  And Veins Druids are no exception.  They have been trying to destroy the City since they discovered it, regarding it as an abomination.  Expect them to unleash plagues of parasitic animals, clouds of hallucinogenic pollen and try to trigger volcanic activity to drown the City in boiling rock.  The Druids, so far, have been largely unsuccessful in their attempts, but they have made life quite miserable for the creatures living in the city's outer districts. 

The Order of the Searing Hand- A secret society of Salamanders, hell-bent on defeating the Council that rules the City and overtaking it.  The Searing Hand believes that the City of Brass is an intrusion into lands that rightfully belong to the Salamanders, and regard the Efreeti and their minions as colonizers and oppressors who need to be driven out.  The Searing Hand operates through small cells of highly capable agents who gather intelligence, carry out acts of sabotage and assassinate high-ranking enemies.  They try to avoid indiscriminately attacking civilians, as they don't want to hurt other Salamanders who could be later convinced to join the cause.

The Chained- A Chaos Cult which opposes slavery and the degredation of intelligent creatures, the Chained are dedicated to the liberation of all slaves within the City of Brass and holding the slave-masters to account.  Their plan is to initiate a slave revolt and then, once the City is under their control, put the slave-masters on trial.  Their plans are highly unrealistic and unlikely to succeed, but they do not seem aware of this fact, or perhaps they are just optimistic.  Note that the Chained are not the only Chaos Cult operating in the city, but it is one that seems like it is actually legitimate, and isn't actually controlled by double-agents and agent provocateurs secretly funded by the Genies.   

The Brazen Fists- When the City's foundations needed to be laid, the Genies enslaved a number of Fire Giants to aid the Azers in this process.  But after the task was done, the Azers forgot about the Giants and the Genies were too busy, so they left the Giants in the hands of their slaves.  These slaves were either unwilling or unable to stop the Giants from escaping their captivity.  The descendants of these Giants are still out there, plotting to destroy the City in a colossal act of revenge against the Genies who enslaved their heroic ancestors.  However, unlike others who despise the City, the Giants are not likely to bother with subterfuge, but instead plan on slaying the inhabitants with boulders and enormous axes, then smashing the City to pieces beneath their iron-shod boots.  

Plot Hooks:


1- You are hired by a man whose sister was kidnapped by slave-traders and sold as a prostitute.  She is currently working in the Obsidian Boudoir.  Please rescue her. 
2- The party are hired by a man who plans to bring a magic sword to the City of Brass to sell to a Genie.  Unfortunately, the sword is cursed and their employer knows it.  He plans to sell the sword and flee as soon as he completes the sale.  He's bringing you along in case he needs muscle. 
3- The Genies of the City have vast, well-guarded collections of incredibly valuable items.  There is a fortune to be made and your current client, a wannabe master thief thinks he can pull off the heist of the century with your help.
4- The party is hired to act as double-agents, infiltrating a suspected club that is believed to be hiding a Chaos Cult.  Infiltrate the club and decapitate the leadership, then escape.
5- The party are Chaos Cultists, working to undermine the City of Brass' government and society, to bring about a more equal future.
6- The outside district the party is in is attacked by Giants!  You can join the defense of the City or you could use this as a distraction to accomplish another goal, such as getting filthy stinking rich. 
7- A fugitive has fled to the City in order to escape justice.  Find him and return with proof of his death.  But be careful, the City does not tolerate foreign bounty hunters infringing on it's sovereign territory, so you'll have to avoid both the City's constables and the potential allies of your target. 
8- A charismatic warlord is recruiting men for a war.  It could be a good way to make some money to sign up with him, or it could be a good way to die for a cause you don't care about.

artist unknown

Friday, December 24, 2021

OSR: Four Secret Techniques for the Fighting Man

Here are a couple of extra Secret Techniques for the Fighting Men.  For more advice on making Fighters based and murderpilled check out the original here or this post for some additional Fist Arts.

by unknown artist

Weapon Arts:


This school applies to rifles and other long guns. 

There are soldiers and there are warriors.  The difference may seem semantic, but only by those who have not met one of the latter.  The soldier fights for many reasons: patriotism, money, conscription and fear of legal repercussions, etc.  He may good at what he does, but he is not the best of his breed.  The warrior is different.  The warrior is the man who feels an almost instinctive urge to fight, to do his duty.  For him, war is his calling.  He is worth a hundred common soldiers because unlike them, he will never, ever surrender.  Unlike the soldier who merely wants to get paid and survive, the warrior will fight to his last breath because honor demands it.  This is the fighting style created by those men.  It is not clean nor elegant, it is not disciplined nor organized.  What it is is highly effective.  These men are craftsmen and their craft is death.  This school exists as the sum total of the lessons they have gleaned from countless battles, passed down to those who were worthy to stand beside them.       

Novice: "Only in death does duty end."  You can use a rifle as a Melee weapon that does 1d6 blunt damage, even if doesn't have a reinforced stock or bayonet attachment.  If you have a STR of 16(+2) or greater, you can also do sharp damage by trying to impale an enemy with the barrel of the gun.  However, every time you use a firearm not reinforced for melee combat as a melee weapon, there is a 1-in-6 chance that you damage the weapon, possibly beyond repair.    

Journeyman: "In a fight there is only winning and losing.  Rules against hurting are for games."  If there is an enemy that comes within melee range while you hold a firearm, you can make a kick attack against them.  This attack does 1d4 damage on a hit and the enemy must save or be knocked prone. 

Expert: "Death is lighter than a feather.  Duty, heavier than a mountain." You can make a melee attack against any enemy within range or use your kick attack as a bonus action on your turn if you so choose.

Master: "What cannot be changed must be endured.  Death cannot be defeated, so he must be embraced."  If you fire upon an enemy and there is another enemy adjacent to them, you may fire upon that enemy as well.  You may do this for any number of enemies, but the one beyond the first gets a +1 bonus to their Save vs Firearm and the one beyond that gets a +2 bonus and so on.  

artist unknown
Fist Arts:

Dragon Style

Dragons are usually clumsy fighters, they are so powerful that they crush all opposition through brute power.  Whether it is with breath weapons or crushing jaws, nothing can stand against them.  But Dragons are also highly intelligent.  As such, they have developed strategies for fighting large numbers of small creatures.  These movements and strategies were studied by some of the best fighters in the world which eventually led to the development of a new Fist Art, the Dragon Style.  Dragon Style is a flowing stance, mimicking the rolling gait of the Dragon's four legged walk.  It is a style that focuses on launching overwhelming attacks and crushing an opponent as quickly as possible.  It lacks somewhat in defense techniques, but it is otherwise a very powerful style.  

Novice: "Dragons do not attack unless victory is assured."  Your unarmed strikes do 1d6+Atk damage.  At the start of each combat, until you attack someone, you receive a bonus to your Armor equal to your level.  This bonus goes away once you make an attack.

Journeyman: "Just as the power of a punch comes from the legs and chest, so should your spirit empower your flesh."  You can, by spending 1 FS, wrap your unarmed strikes in fire.  This does +1d6 fire damage on a hit.  The flames last for 1 minute or until you choose to extinguish them.

Expert: "When fighting the weak, be strong.  When fighting the slow, be fast.  When fighting the distant, be close."  As an action, you can launch yourself through the air and attempt to smash into someone.  This requires you to spend 1 FS per 10' launched.  Then make an attack roll.  On a hit, your attack does normal damage plus X, where X is the amount of FS you spent.

Master: "No matter where you run, the Dragon's vengeance is inescapable."  When an attack would damage you, you may make a save.  On a successful save, you lose 1d6 FS and the attack misses as you disappear in a cloud of smoke and ash.  You then immediately reappear within 5' of the creature who attacked you.  On a failed save, you take damage as normal.

by Wesley Burt


Many of the races of this world possess claws, sharp fangs or horns.  Thus, it is makes sense that their fighting styles would incorporate these advantages into their fighting styles.  This is the nature of the Maneater School, an ancient school with as many variants as it has adherents.  Every race has its own version, each one subtly tuned to be used with horns, claws or anything else a race might possess.  For example, the Oxman version focuses on goring, with a special move where the adherent throws an opponent into the air and moves beneath him so the opponent falls onto their horns and impales himself.  As this move, as well as the name, implies, Maneater is a killing school, but rather than focusing on pure lethality, as some vicious schools do, Maneater focuses on maximizing the efficiency of each attack, so that the battle can be won with the minimum amount of strikes.     

Novice: "I'm beginning to understand it now, the reason why I was born a wolf."  If you possess natural weapons, they do 1d6+STR on a hit.  If you do not, your unarmed strikes do 1d6 damage on a hit.  You also learn a charge attack where you can rush head-long at an opponent and attempt to increase the force of your attack.  This charge attack does +4 damage, but the target may attempt a DEX saving throw to avoid it entirely, instead of contesting the attack with a defense roll.   

: "The right move is always going to be the hardest, but it's always worth it."  Your unarmed strikes now do magical damage.  If you make a melee attack against a creature and miss or are successfully defended against, you can make a grapple check against that creature as a free action. 

Expert: "Tame the beast inside.  That's the only way to be a man in this world."  If you do not possess natural weapons, you may now grow claws, fangs or horns.  If you do, you may grow an additional type of natural weapons.  If an opponent is put into a vulnerable position where he cannot adequately defend himself such as being grappled, thrown (either in the air or having just landed), knocked prone, you made a surprise attack against him, you may make an additional unarmed strike against that creature. 

Master: "But I don't care.  Because the winners in this world are those who live without hiding their true nature."  You unarmed strikes now do 1d8+STR damage.  If you successfully hit a creature with an unarmed strike, instead of dealing damage, you can instead force them to save.  On a failed save, you can break or disable one of their limbs.  On a successful save, you instead only dislocate or stun one of their limbs.

by Jeremy Saliba

Revised Shield Rules:

Shields take up 1 inventory slot

They add +1 AR to a creature's total. 

Shields don't count as armor if an ability says something like "As long as you aren't wearing armor", so a creature can have Natural Armor and a shield without falling prey to the "Armor doesn't stack" rule.  The same applies to helmets, by the way.

Once per round, as a reaction to taking damage, a creature with a shield can reduce the damage taken by 1d8, assuming that the damage is of a type that a shield could protect someone from.  For example, a shield could protect you from being stabbed with a knife, but not a fireball. 

Below is a revised version of the Unbreaking Art secret techniques, intended for a low-magic setting. 

The Unbreaking Art

This school applies to shields.  

Novice"Life is the teacher, pain her rod of correction."  Once per round, you can reduce the damage of a successful attack against you by 1d8 as a reaction.  You can sunder any shield, even ones that ordinarily could not be broken.  These shields may not technically be broken, but they will become at least temporarily unusable, the why being left up to the Referee.  Referee's discretion also applies to this, as some shields may still be unbreakable and cannot be sundered.

Journeyman"The hand of mercy can only be grasped when it's absence is felt."  Once per round, you can reduce the damage of a successful attack against you by 1d10 as a reaction.  Your shield can reduce the damage almost any attack would do, even from damage types that a shield ordinarily couldn't protect you from.  Referee's discretion still applies to whether a shield could blunt any form of damage- poison gas will not be stopped by a shield and if you are carrying a metal shield, you will likely not be able to use it to protect you from electrical damage. 

Expert"The hand of mercy can only be grasped when it's absence is felt."  Once per round, you can reduce the damage of a successful attack against you by 1d12 as a reaction.  If an effect would damage or otherwise harm a creature and you stand between them and the source of damage, that creature receives advantage on any subsequent save against the effect.  Additionally, if it would be damaged, the creature may reduce the incoming damage by 1d12 as it bore a shield.

"While the trueborn can worry about being disowned, those who are adopted never need to fear being discarded."  When saving against damage or a harmful effect where having a shield would be beneficial, you automatically have advantage on any save.  If for some reason you would have disadvantage, you instead do not, but do not gain advantage.  

artist unknown

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

OSR: Monstergirls for the OSR: Arachne

Number Appearing: 1
Alignment: Any, but usually True Neutral, Chaotic Neutral or Neutral Evil
Languages: The Lingua Franca plus 1d3 other mortal tongues.  She can also communicate with Spiders as if they shared a language, as well as Insects and other creeping things.
Treasure: Money and weapons left by her previous victims, or offerings of spices, liquor and fine foods from those seeking to appease her or the Queen of Spiders.

The Arachne are created by a fusion of mortal flesh and spiritual power.  When a Medium, a magic-user who allows spirits to possess them in exchange for power grows too close to their patron, sometimes their union can become permanent, as the more dominant of the souls devours and envelops the other.  This usually happens during moments of extreme stress, psychotic breaks or at the brink of death.  When this happens, the more dominant soul does not destroy the more submissive soul, but the two of them merge together, creating an entirely new entity. 

This entity will have the memories of both former souls, but it will have a different personality.  This is the most common way Arachne are created, but not the only way. 

Arachne themselves resemble human women from the waist up, regardless of what race the Medium was before.  Their lower bodies are the bodies of spiders, covered in chitinous exoskeletons with twitching hairs.  The Arachne also sometimes have additional human-looking arms, extra eyes or strips of flesh-covered chitin on their upper halves.  Also, only female Mediums can become Arachne.  Male Mediums who merge with spider spirits tend to gain unique forms based on their degree of submission or domination to the spirit.  The reasons for this are unknown to any but the Spider Queen, but she seems to favor that shape for her female acolytes. 

In terms of usual personality, Arachne are not evil, though they are often depicted as such in stories and folklore.  Instead, the primary trait Arachne almost always exhibit is selfishness and self-centeredness.  They are amoral and apathetic, caring little for other people or their problems.  Such things do not concern them, unless they infringe upon the Arachne's plans or desires.  Some Arachne do like to hurt people and exploit them for their own gain, but most Arachne are only malicious by accident. 

An example of a typical Arachne thought process is that she spies a handsome man and decides she wants to talk with him, or perhaps make him her lover.  So she ambushes him, ties him in spider silk and carries him away to his lair.  She probably won't eat the man and might even be a passionate and exotic lover, or she might copulate with him and then in the throes of passion, gobble him up.  Alternatively, she may keep him in her lair and grow bored with him, only keeping him where he is out of sheer habit.  But regardless of what she does, the feelings of the man on the subject, much less his loved ones back home, will never enter the picture naturally.  She will only ever acknowledge those feelings if she is forced to by external circumstances.               

HD 5
AR 2 [Natural Armor]
Atk Weapon (1d8+2/1d8+2 + Poisoned Weapons) or Poison Fang
Mor 13
Saves 12 or less

Spider Climb: Arachne can stick to walls and surfaces like a spider and are able to walk on the walls and ceiling with no difficulty. 

Weaving: Arachne can produce webbing as if they could cast the spell "Spider Silk" at will. 

Poisoned Weapons: Arachne poison their weapons, which causes any creature that is hit by one to take 1d6 poison damage per round, until that creature passes a CON save or takes 3d6 poison damage.

Poison Fang: Arachne can make a bite attack that does 1d6+3 sharp damage on a hit, plus it induces the effect of their poison.  Besides the poison that coats their weapons, Arachne can also produce a different type of poison that is unique to each individual. 

Spellcasting: Arachne have a number of Mana Dice equal to their HD.  They can cast the following spells as an action.  These spells do not trigger Chaos or Corruption, but Arachne's MD do burn out as normal.  Arachne know the spells - Arachnophobia, Cloudkill, Speak with Animals, Spider Climb and Venom Bullet.

Daughter of the Queen: Arachne are the adopted children of the Queen of Spiders.  They can speak with spiders as if they shared a language, and all spiders and spider-like creatures get +4 to their reaction rolls when dealing with Arachne.  Insects and Insect-like beings, by contrast get -4 to their reaction rolls when dealing with Arachne and if attacked or threatened by an Arachne, must save or become frightened.  On a failed save, those creatures cannot move toward the Arachne and take 1d6 COG damage a round until they drop to 0 COG or cannot be threatened by the Arachne anymore for whatever reason (for example, she is dead or they ran away).  If reduced to 0 COG, these creatures immediately flee and gain the Conviction, "I am terrified of spiders and anything that resembles one."  COG lost like this then returns at a rate of 1 point per day.

- Set traps, ambush prey, isolate from the group and destroy
- Inject with venom, incapitate if necessary, then restrain with webbing
- Utilize any advantages that terrain might provide, dropping down from ceilings, climbing up walls, etc
- Use guerrilla tactics against superior foes

To customize an Arachne, roll on the tables below:

Where did this Arachne come from?


1- She was a (Spider) Wizard favored by the Queen of Spiders.  This form and power is her gift.  This Arachne can attempt to charm spiders or spider-like creatures 1/Day.  Creatures she has charmed will treat her like their leader and do anything she suggests of them, as long as it is not unreasonable, suicidal or against their moral code.  If she commands such a thing, those creatures get a new save.
2- She was a Medium who merged with a Spider Spirit.  She has good relationships with 1d6 weaker spirits who she can call on to aid her, in exchange for a favor or other service.
3- She was dying, but on the brink of death, the ghost of a giant spider possessed her body in an attempt to preserve it's own life.  She can catch dreams, ghosts and other immaterial things in her webs.  Additionally, Undead will not attack her unless she threatens them first.
4- She is the offspring of another Arachne and a mortal.  She is savage and brutal, and anyone who fights but doesn't defeat her must save or gain the Conviction, "I am terrified of spiders and anything that resembles one."

How beautiful is this Arachne?


1- Horrific.  The divide between the two halves of her body are not clean, part of her face resembles that of a spider and parts of her lower body resemble that of a human's, to terrifying affect.    
2- Ugly and Frightening.  Her human upper half is blighted with spider-like features, giving her 1d6 of the following: mandibles; an inhuman face; an eerie voice; long, stiff hairs like a tarantula; potruding teeth or fangs; extra, human limbs on her upper body; marks like those on a spider's exoskeleton on her skin; bulging, black eyes.
3- Odd and Unsettling.  Her human upper half is mostly normal, apart from the extra eyes that all Arachne have.  But her features are still odd and something about her fails to allow you to fully relax around her.  There's nothing especially scary about her, except for the fact that she looks at you like that.
4- Lovely.  The Arachne is a vision of grace and beauty, her upper half soft and plump in the right areas, while her bottom half is majestic and powerful.  People underestimate her and tend to give her the benefit of the doubt, until she proves such things are undeserved.  

What traps does this Arachne make with her webs?


1- Noise traps.  Tripwires attached to piles of stones or coins that when tripped, cause an enormous racket.  She'll hear you coming.
2- Net traps.  Trip one and you'll be wrapped in a sticky net and suspended above the ground.
3- Tiger pits.  The bottom of the pit is covered in sticky webbing.  Anything that falls down there is stuck and will need to be cut free to move.
4- Falling logs.  A tripwire is attached to a net of strong, but non-sticky threads that suspend either heavy logs or large stones.  If the tripwire is tripped, the logs or stones fall on your head, doing 3d6 damage, save for half.  Those with a DEX of 16(+2) or higher take no damage on a successful save.

What weapons does she make out of her webs?


1- A lasso.  She can ensnare creatures or weapons with it, then yank them up towards her. 
2- A kumorningstar.  A ball of webbing that, when it hits a creature, ensnares that creature in a tangle of threads, grappling and restraining that creature, preventing it from moving.
3- A garrotte.  When she wraps it around a creature, she can wrap it around that creature's throat and squeeze.  That crushes the creature's throat, cutting off the flow of oxygen to it's brain and doing 1d6 CON damage a round.  If this reduces a creature's CON to 0, that creature falls unconscious and starts dying.  CON damage done like this is healed if the creature can start breathing freely again.
4- Nooses.  As garrotte, but she just brings you up to a high place, wraps one around your throat and throws you off a ledge.

What does her 'Poison Fang' do?


1- It causes a creature to take 1d6 STR damage per round until that creature passes a CON save or takes 3d6 STR damage.  If this STR damage causes a creature to become over encumbered, meaning it is carrying more items than it has inventory slots, that creature gets -4 to do any action based on STR and Atk rolls and automatically acts last in the initiative.  Lost points of STR start to come back after 1 day, then continue returning at a rate of 1 point per day. 
2- It causes the creature injected to take 1d6 DEX damage per round until that creature passes a CON save or takes 3d6 DEX damage.  If this DEX damage reduces a creature's DEX to 0, it is paralyzed and cannot move for 1 hour. 
3- It causes agonizing pain, any creature exposed to her venom takes 1d4 damage every time it takes an action, which includes movement.  This damage cannot reduce a creature below 0 HP.  After using this, the Arachne will usually retreat and wear her enemies down.
4- It is non-lethal, with any creature who is exposed to it sweating it out through their pores.  However, the poison is extremely flammable.  Should the creature take any amount of fire damage within an hour of being exposed to the poison, that creature bursts into flames.  These flames cannot be extinguished by anything short of a vacuum or total immersion in water.  The poison can also be neutralized through certain chemicals, but only a Sage who had studied the Arachne's venom would be able to know which ones.  The Arachne knows what can do this, of course.  She can also extinguish the poison as a free action.
5- It causes a creature to take 1d6 CHA damage per round until that creature passes a CHA save or takes 3d6 CHA damage.  If this reduces a creature's CHA to 0, that creature's shadow abandons them and joins the Arachne.  The shadow has equivalent stats to the creature it left, but can only be hurt by things that could hurt a shadow.  Creatures without shadows are also considered Undead for the purposes of spells and are damaged by sunlight.
6- It is non-lethal, but it causes a creature to secrete pheremones that attract a dangerous local creature or type of creature, other than the Arachne.  Example monsters includes 1d6 [1= Bears; 2= Big Cats; 3= Giant Crayfish, Crabs or Lobsters; 4= Wyverns; 5= Trolls; 6= Dragons.]  These creatures find the creature injected with this venom irresistible and depending on the type of creature will either want to snuggle with it or eat it, 50% of either.  

Arachne Plot Hooks:


1- An Arachne has kidnapped a handsome man and taken him to her lair, a cave in the hills.  Retrieve him, alive if possible.  The Arachne is friendly, polite and aristocratic, but will not surrender her prize.  Her lair is also full of horrible booby-traps and hazards she can easily evade. 
2- A group of Goblins who serve an Arachne want to please her, so they have kidnapped the most handsome men they can find and are forcing them to participate in a beauty pageant to see who is the most worthy of their "Queen".  The challenges in the beauty pageant are bizarre and dangerous and suit Goblin sensibilities, with events such as knife-throwing, shark-jumping and the swimsuit contest.  Winners get to meet the Arachne, losers get eaten.  Save the contestants and try to escape with your lives.   
3- As above, except the players need to infiltrate the contest to get close enough to the Arachne to slay her.
4- A greedy merchant found a strange spider several days ago, one that wove webs of gold thread.  He captured the spider and is secretly hiding it in a jar in his basement.  The Queen of Spiders, who blessed that spider, is greatly displeased with this.  So an Arachne and a small army of spiders, small and Giant, have been dispatched to find the Queen's child and slay the kidnapper.  The players and townspeople don't know this, all they know is that a small army of Giant Spiders is attacking their town. 
5- An Arachne, after spying one of the player characters, has fallen in love with him.  She begins stalking him, causing trouble with her presence and leaving him strange gifts, such as birds with severed heads, and writing him embarassing love notes.  Find a way to get rid of her, without making her mad.  She will hurt the other player characters if she has to, but she will only fight her love if she must.  She also might be a bit of a psycho, and if angered, might try to kidnap her love and hold him captive until he loves her. 
6- An Arachne and a Mantis-Maid, servant to the Insect God, are having a spat over who is better at something.  This could be anything from who is more beautiful to who is the better wrestler.  Either way, this argument is causing the local populations of insects and spiders to go crazy and they are causing problems for the locals.  The locals don't know this, all they know is that Ankhegs keep eating their cows and Spiders are mummifying people and that they'd prefer such things don't happen.  Please go and mollify the spirits or whatever is responsible and make them stop.  The players could just kill one or both of the arguing women, but a better way would be to find some way to solve the dispute in a non-lethal manner.

source unknown

Friday, November 19, 2021

OSR: Crystall Balls

by Bruce Rolff
An ancient type of Artifact, they were originally created out of flawless ice by the Ancient Vulkari in the glory days of that Empire.  Today, most of the originals have melted, but the instructions of how to create them survived long enough to be recorded in some ancient volumes.  As such, others were created out of glass by the heirs and former subjects of the Empire after it declined into decadence and then collapsed.  Eventually, the recipe for creating such devices spread beyond even the heirs of that ancient people, till there is not a people or tribe under the sun who do not have at least some tale of such a tool, or of those who use it.  

What is the one that has come into your possession?


1- A Handsome Man's Wizard Glass, a perfect sphere of glass engraved with faint etchings to make it easier to hold.  May be found resting on a trio of gilded silver legs.  The inside of the glass boils with smoke and clouds, tiny bolts of lightning clashing and striking inside it.
2- A Quarrian moon-lenses, a pair of tiny glass disks encased in a small frame designed to perch atop the nose of a humanoid.  Wearing these over your face, the user can alternate between the lenses being clear and showing him distant lands and alien views.  They are best used in star- or moonlight.
3- A Dwarven scrying bowl, low and heavy, made of iron and bronze.  Fill it with oil or water and meditate while peering into the depths, and if you have done it properly, images of what you seek will appear on the flat surface.
4- An Imperial sight-stone, a glittering geode carved into the perfect shape to hold up to an eye and peer in, like a telescope.  When in an area with sufficient light, the stone shimmers and reflects images of distant vistas into the observing eye. 
5- A Gralei observer shield, a magical, mirrored shield that when bathed in sun or moonlight can act as a disembodied eye.  Note that these are not thought to be made by the Gralei, but are believed to be the work of a previous civilization that the Gralei either destroyed or defiled the grave of.
6- A Vulkari Ice-Eye, one of the originals.  Made of ice that is blisteringly cold and will not melt except in Dragon's fire.  Usually carried in special bags or chests that prevent the user from harming himself, and manipulated only with claws or with special gloves that were enchanted to protect the user's hands.     

How they are used:

By holding a Crystal Ball, you can scry on a person or place anywhere in the world, at least theoretically.  To use one takes 10 minutes and requires concentration, along with passing the Scry Check successfully. 

The base DC for a Scry Check is 10, and is modified by the table below:

- I am unfamiliar with the subject, whether person or place (+4)
- I am only vaguely familiar with the subject (+2)
- I am familiar with the subject (+0)
- I have a representation of the subject, such as a painting or sculpture that is accurate (-1)
- I have more MD or a higher Cognition than the creature I am looking for (-X, where X is the difference)
- I am looking for a creature who also possesses a Scrying device/is using the device as I am (-2/-4)
- I have intimate knowledge of the subject (-2)
- I am deeply connected to the subject in some non-trivial way (-2)
- I have a deep and personal connection to the subject (-4)
- I have the body part, fluids or other item from the subject's body with me or on my person (-8)

There are also other complications to using a Crystal Ball or other Scrying device. 

Firstly, these devices use what counts as divination magic, and thus can be defeated by anti-divination wards or items that cloak the user in magical darkness or channel the power of the Void.  For example, some Adventurers carry charms that prevent them from being scryed upon or their futures being predicted.  To the Prophet or the Sage using a Crystal Ball, the adventurer would simply never appear.  Some creatures also learn how to channel the power of the Void to perform various feats, and these creatures cannot be found with scrying or other divinations.  If Void Monks exist in your setting, they could never be a part of any prophecy nor be seen in a crystal ball.  Additionally, should such magicks be powerful enough, it would obscure the view of everything around them, either distorting it or shrouding it in inky blackness.

Secondly, the other problem with using Scrying Devices is that those who use them can easily become the prey of those who also possess them.  For just as each enables the user to look out into the world, it enables others to look out from the same device, back at the one who uses one.  For this reason, while many Sages use such devices, they conceal them in places that contain no important information or hide them.  Their more powerful cousins, the Magi, do not usually use them at all, for Magi are constantly suspicious and always on the look-out for spies who would steal their power.  Any Magi who uses such a Scrying device is either arrogant or extremely powerful, possibly both.

Thirdly, some powerful creatures can sense when they are being scryed on and can cut the connection, should they wish to.  This can merely destroy the connection, but depending on the strength and malice of the creature, it can also be dangerous to the one using the tool. 

Any creature who has the ability to cast spells or more than 5 HD/Class levels can make a save upon being scryed upon.  On a successful save, that creature can detect it is being scryed on. That creature can then make a COG check, which is contested by the COG check of the one using the Scrying device.  If the creature being scryed on wins the contest, it can see the creature scrying on him, and may be able to discern other pieces of information about the creature with the Scrying device.  Additionally, if it succeeds on another COG check, it can cut the connection.

by Bruce Rolff

Saturday, October 30, 2021

OSR: Moth-Eaten and Old Bloody Bones


artist unknown
He resembles a skeleton, or an extremely old man.  His skin is paper-thin, stretched tight over bones far too large for a normal man.  He stands incredibly tall as well, always a head taller than you, no matter how tall you are.  He has no eyes, just empty sockets.  When he stands in the light, you can see through the skin, to reveal the lack of flesh and muscle, the shadow of the bones visible through the thin membrane.

He dresses in the shredded, decayed remnant of imperial finery, furs and other pieces heavy with gold and silver embroidery.  The tattered remains of lace and silks drape his emaciated, skeletal form, holes and tears worked in them by age, time and the omnipresent moths. 

The moths are everywhere, on trees, rocks, leaves, him.  They follow him and attend him, sitting on his pale fingers like rings.  They swarm into and out of his mouth and empty sockets, swirling around him when he is enraged or agitated.       

His clothes are constantly tearing, due to their age.  He is constantly looking for new fabrics, taking them from the dead or dying and shredding them into strips, then stitching them together into his existing rags.  The only thing that never changes is how worn the garments is, or the hat he keeps at a jaunty angle.   

His skin is the same way.  He is always looking for more to patch the holes in his "second garment". 

Finally, he loves bones.  Those are more for his partner, however.

What does he want?

Moth-Eaten strides through the wilderness, lurks at the edges of towns, hides in plain sight in the cities.  He loves children, to watch and play with them.  They rarely seem as as scared of him as they should be.  He gives them presents, ancient candies, small trinkets and other wonders he withdraws from his bag of leather.  Sometimes, in a voice that is not a voice, he invites them to come with him, to the twilight garden.  Those who come with him disappear, never to be seen again.  The only thing that remains is their clothes, laying in a shredded pile, moth-eaten and damaged, as if they've been lying there for years.

He also appears to the dying.  He will offer to save them, or kill them, as they choose or he feels they wish.  He will ask for something in return.  Whatever he asks for his precious only to him.  It is never something someone else might find valuable.  At least, not until it is too late.  To those who wish to die, he asks for their skin, as they will not need it where they go.    

Mothers fear and loathe him, for he takes their children.  Fathers tell spooky stories about him to convince children to stay out of the woods and fields at night, but it only sometimes works.  He never speaks to adults except on the verge of death, so they know nothing of him.  It is a mystery to them, revealed only to children.  They come to him, letting him play their games and letting him teach them a few. 

Sometimes, he is accompanied by other whisper-voiced companions, half his height in soft, gossamer robes with holes in them and the clinging smell of decay.  Despite their ragged robes, no one but those who have been honored with the secret have every seen what lurks underneath those hoods.  Those who have seen pretend not to, or keep their mouths shut.

Stories of him leading parades of these silent, robed figures through the woods as they caper and dance to the music of his flute are unsubstantiated at best.


Moth-Eaten can grow to titanic heights, as tall as the highest tree in the area. 

His bones are hard as iron, and his fingers sharp enough to pierce through unarmored flesh like it is made of paper. 

He can peel skin off you peel an orange, without damaging it if he chooses. 

He can also remove bones by touching the skin or flesh around them.  He might return them if you are good.

He will not fight you, however.  If he is not wanted, he will simply fade back into the shadows and disappear.  He never comes out during the day.  He only fights to protect his partner and one of his friends. 

Sunlight and the dawn banish him.  Additionally, some nursery rhymes and songs popular among children are said to have the ability to drive him away as well, such as the "The Skeleton Dance" and "The Butterfly Queen".

by Stefano Mendoza

His Partner:

Resembles a monkey, four limbed and quadrupedal most of the time.  Slightly larger than one, about the size of a large housecat, able to climb like a squirrel.  Lantern-eyed and red-furred, with an oversized jaw, protruding fangs and a long, twitching tail.  Wears nothing but a little necktie, matted with mud and dried, black blood.

While his partner rarely speaks, the monkey-creature talks constantly.  His name is Bloody Bones, and he loves to eat them.  With blood, without, fresh or dry, he cares not.  He prefers them fresh, but he's not picky.  He will ramble for hours about all sorts of things.

What is Bloody Bones rambling about?


1- How a creature's blood type affects the taste of a bone.
2- How short and miserable your lives must be.
3- How his partner is a dapper dresser.
4- How people resist eating each other, as they're full of delicious bones (he's speculating, he doesn't know the answer).

Bloody Bones and his partner are usually nearby, but they don't work together.  Bloody Bones usually ruins the dance, so he stays away.  Instead, he'll crawl out from under someone's bed and talk to them through the night while squatting on their chest, leaving bloody foot and handprints on everything.  He might eat them after.  He eats rude people, or cruel people, or miserable people, or deceitful people, or people who don't appreciate their lives enough, or because he's hungry.

If you talk to him and entertain him, he won't eat you.  He might even leave you a present.  Almost all of these presents are worthless pieces of blood-stained scrap metal crudely smashed into some crude caricature of a flower or animal.  Some are well-chewed bones, a sure sign he likes you, while others are blood-stained jewelry.  If he leaves you jewelry, it's a threat and possibly, a promise.

by Francis M. Zerrudo


Bloody Bones has razor sharp teeth that can cut through anything, except wood and stone, like he's biting empty air. 

He can teleport when no one's looking at him.

He can squeeze through tiny spaces, under doors, through vents, etc. 

Eating bones or meat heals him. 

He's also very fast and agile, able to move and climb quickly.  He's difficult to hit, especially if he's close to you. 

He only fights those who are vulnerable and those he thinks he can harm without suffering any serious repercussion.  The old, the sick, the isolated.  Children too.  He will flee from the strong.

He is burned by salt. 

If a doorway or window has a line of salt or brick dust laid down behind it, he cannot cross it.

by R. Brandon Voeller

Saturday, October 16, 2021

OSR: The Children of Old Leech

This post is inspired by and contains spoilers from The Croning by Laird Barron.  I highly recommend it.  I also recommend his other novel, The Light is the Darkness.

by Greg Scott, cover of Extraterrestrial Live

"He's a junior member of a peer group, the elite of the elite...The Order of Imago.  You've probably heard of it during your investigations.  It's one of those loudly whispered secrets- like the Masons and the Satanists, only more so.  Powerful, powerful men.  Tycoons, industrialists, Old World nobility.  A wicked old-boys secret handshake society.  We know it exists.  We've met a member or two, heard some stories.  They've established a few communes in remote areas.  There's one in Arizona and another in Southern California."  

- Agent Singh, The Light is the Darkness

Their beginnings are shrouded in mystery, but they are older than the civilization that birthed you.  Their religion is an ancient faith of bones and blood, of sacrifice to the horrible gods of the Great Dark.  They come, first as subverters and puppet-masters, but then as conquerers.  They spin webs that entangle the lives of important people and lead entire civilizations to destruction.  They plan on the time scale of immortals, for that is what they are, what they and their father promises. 

The Family:

The rites, practices and membership of the cult is shrouded in mystery.  Little is known about them, some do not even know there is a cult, only that they are being attacked by incomprehensible horrors.  But there is a cult, a secret society from which the Children draw their resources, targets and new recruits. 

The Federal Government is vaguely aware of this cult and tolerate it, albeit reluctantly.  This is because the majority of the cult is composed of those from the upper levels of society: CEOS, politicians, professors, generals and journalists.  The Cult's members command huge amounts of financial, social and political capital and use it to protect their brethren.  Through these bonds of mutual cooperation and shared blame should they be exposed, the Cult's lay-members are controlled and kept orderly.

The Cult, at it's lower levels, instructs its members to prepare for a coming catastrophe.  Members are encouraged to use their power to sculpt society into a more beneficial shape and to make the necessary preparations.  When the others are consumed by the rising flood waters or starve in the coming famines, they and their families will be safe: or so they are told.  Whether or not it is true is anyone's guess.

Those who have been conducted higher into the cult are invited to hidden, discreet locations on the grounds of manors or private islands where they gather with other members to perform wild, profane rituals.  For the lower members, these rituals mostly entail sexual depravity, or acts that embarrass or humiliate.  This builds camaraderie among members through shared suffering, while also providing the leaders with convenient black-mail material, should it become necessary. 

For the still higher members, darker things await.

The Power of the Great Dark:

"You see, the alchemical formula comes from Drake and Souza, which is akin to Satan handing the Apple to Eve or Prometheus teaching some Greek how to make fire.  For them, the inkblot cards and the serum are trappings of science design to enthrall and enslave modern minds.  A charade of rationality.  Drake could simply breathe on you and transform you at the cellular level.  He could snatch your brain and show you cosmic horror that would turn your soul black.  The Drake Technique is a joke, the mechanical rabbit greyhounds chase.  And when Dad glimpsed the true nature of Drake and Souza, when he realized he'd made a deal not with the high priests of a demon cult, but the fucking demons themselves, he opted out."

- Imogene Navarro, The Light is the Darkness

Few are ever chosen, but some lower members are selected, groomed for the higher mysteries.  They are taken to the inner sanctums and shown the truth, terrible and bleak.  The Children here shed their false faces and show the members what they actually are- inhuman monsters.  Those who endure these revelations without succumbing to madness, their minds folding under the strain of the Children's unnatural powers are transformed, given the power of their Father, Old Leech.

After this adoption, the new Child is educated on the secret history of the cult and instructed of their purpose.  They are to feast on this world, wringing every bit of fear and pain they can from it.  They will destroy the world, first by subtly removing all institutions and groups that could oppose them, then once that is done, destroying those who cannot be removed through more elegant means.  Then they will transform this world into their personal playground.  They will rule for a million years or until the Worm turns.  Then their Father will come and the remains of the world's population, degenerated and deformed, will be fed, screaming, into his gaping maw.  Their rage and sorrow, their fear and tears will nourish him for another cycle, until it begins all over again. 

Then the Children will blacken the skies of that world, or yank it from it's comfortable orbit.  Once it cools, they will dig massive caverns beneath the crust and fill them with blood and screams, the ideal nursery to raise the next generation of Children.  While some will stay to rule over these kingdoms of endless night, the rest will scatter across the galaxy, spreading like a contagion, seeking new worlds to conquer. 

How goes the War?          

If you don't know how long the Children have been on a particular planet, roll on the table below:


1- The Children have been on this planet for less than 10,000 years.  They are served by small cults and scattered individuals, but they have little power to affect the government or culture of any of the world's nations.  They prey upon the vulnerable and inspire stories of monsters, cannibals and secret cults.  Some of them are even true.  The Children could be removed from the planet, but likely they will leave on their own once they are summoned to another land.  In the meantime, hunting down the few of them scattered across the world will be a difficult and dangerous ordeal.

2- The Children have managed to corrupt a small nation or a small minority of the ruling class of one of the Great Powers.  They work in secret, peddling information and influence, seeking whatever scraps of political power they can find.  They are playing the long game, but this is when they are most vulnerable.  Should their work be discovered, their supporters could easily be exposed and arrested, their allies scattered and the Children themselves confronted by angry mobs and champions of law and righteousness. 

3- The Children have managed to corrupt a large minority of the ruling class of a Great Power or a coterie of small nations.  They have built a power base that will make them hard to dislodge, should they be discovered.  But through networks of agents and overlapping interests, they can protect themselves from casual discovery.  This world is likely to be chosen for further exploitation and more Children will soon be arriving via the Worm-Ways to further the contamination. 

4- The Children have managed to corrupt the majority of the ruling class of the Great Power, or control the vast majority of the world's lesser leaders.  They are the power-brokers and string-pullers, the masters of the universe.  Very little of note that occurs is without their blessing.  Those who refuse their gifts find themselves against well funded opponents in the next election or facing "grass-roots" rebellions, with suspiciously well-supplied rebel armies.  Despite changes in governors and politicians, nothing ever really changes.  Things are also slowly getting worse for the common people, who have come to resent their rulers.  All goes according to plan, soon will come the death-blow.   

5- The Children have revealed themselves and unleashed armies of their monstrous servitors on their enemies.  Those who could not be subverted or co-opted are to be removed via violence.  Civil war, political purges and other atrocities spread throughout lands the Children control as their enemies fight for their lives.  Besides the monsters, their enemies will also have to contend with the armies of the nations that the Children have conquered, who will dismiss stories of monsters as enemy propaganda or wild rumor. 

6- The Children rule this world with an iron fist.  They dwell among smoke-stained palaces while the population starves in squalor, oppressed by monsters both horrible and horribly familiar alike.  Blood runs in the gutters and smoke from sacrificial pyres and pointless industry floods the air with toxins, even as it poisons earth and water as well.  All resistance to the rule of the Children is ruthlessly and immediately crushed, those who still resist do so from the most desolate corners of the world, where armies cannot reach them, or hide in the darkest places, where even the Children's many spies do not think to look.  The Children will squabble and fight amongst each other, dividing up the planet amongst themselves, but their is no threat on this planet that stands any change of reclaiming this world from them, not without decades of build-up at minimum, or a significant amount of outside help.

artist unknown

Hierarchy of Horrors:

"A kaledeiodscope of images fractured in his mind's eye: Frick and rack hunting him in the Wolverton mansion; naked men dressed as horrors from Aztec mythology menacing him with axes and knives; a ruddy young man in a ridiculously tight sweater stepping into a dolmen; Kurt, bronzed and middle-aged running through the woods, screaming, screaming; Bronson Ford, bloated to gigantic dimensions plucking Don from floor of a museum gallery with one huge paw-"

- Laird Barron, The Croning

Child of Old Leech-

Number Appearing: 1
Alignment: Any Evil
Languages: The Lingua Franca plus 1d6 (exploding) local languages.  Also speaks a language called Worm-Speech, a tongue used only by acolytes of Old Leech.
Treasure: Children dwell in sumptuous splendor most of the time, living in places of great beauty, overflowing with gold, jewels and other trinkets, which are primarily used to bribe mortals or to show status.  The Children are contemptuous of beauty and the supposed security of wealth, and will quickly part with it in exchange for something they actually want.  Should you steal from one, however, they will hunt you down to make you suffer.

AR none
Atk Varies, see below
Mor (5+SHP)
Saves (7+SHP) or less
Magic Resistance Z or below

Damage Threshold: X.  Ignore all attacks that do less than X damage as if they did none.

Shapeshifter: The Children of Old Leech are shapeshifters.  They can alter their physical forms at will, as long as they stay within one size category of their base form.  They can also disguise themselves as normal humans or other humanoids. 

Magic Resistance: Mana-based attacks and abilities are hard to use against the Children.  When someone uses one of these against them, there is a Y/100% chance (Z or less on a d20) that the mana-based ability (magic, psychic powers, bio-energy blasts) or attack does not affect them.  This causes the attack or ability to slip around them and strike the nearest target.  If there is no obvious choice, roll randomly.

Innate Spellcasting: Children have A Mana Dice (MD).  They can cast the following spells as an action.  They does not trigger Chaos, but their MD do burn out on a 5 or 6. 

- Determine who is the strongest
- Weaken with magic
- Fight smart, never fairly

To customize one of the Children of Old Leech, roll on the tables below:

What rank is the Child?


1- Offspring.  The Child has a Damage Threshold of 1d4+2 and a Magic Resistance of 30% (6-in-20).  It can make 1 melee attack that does 2d6 damage.  It knows 1d4+1 spells.  This Child is a newborn by the standards of it's kind, someone prone to rash action and most in need of help.
2- Mandible.  The Child has a Damage Threshold of 1d6+2 and a Magic Resistance of 40% (8-in-20).  It can make 2 melee attacks that do 1d10+1 damage.  It knows 1d4 spells.  The Mandibles are the military class of Children, used by the Scions to crush any objection to their rule, from within or without.  They are terrifying to face in battle, horrors that make mincemeat of armies and meals of kingdoms. 
3- Scion.  The Child has a Damage Threshold of 1d8+2 and a Magic Resistance of 50% (10-in-20).  It can make 2 melee attacks that do 1d12+1 damage.  It knows 1d6+2 spells.  The Scions are the eldest of the Children, the nominal rulers of their race; consummate in cruelty and powerful beyond imagination.  They will devour your world, just like they have fed on countless others. 

What resources can the Child call upon?


1- Money.  This Child has deep coffers, or more likely, allies with the same.  If money is the solution, money can be found.
2- Political Power.  This Child has connections to one or more politicians who can intervene on the Child's behalf.  Depending on the political system and situation, this could mean anything from back-up from the security forces to harassment by regulatory agencies, or anything in between.
3- Propagandists.  The Child can count on favorable media coverage and regardless of what happens, it's allies will spin the events of today in the favor of the Children, while it's enemies will be branded as villains and instigators.  If there is violence or death, it will be blamed on them, even if the evidence seems to point the other way.
4- Favors.  Someone who could help the Child owes them a favor.  They dare not fail to repay it.  The person who owes the Child a favor is 1d6 [1= A constable or police officer; 2= A military officer; 3= A politician; 4= A wealthy businessman; 5= A crime boss or gang leader; 6= Another Child of Old Leech.]  

To determine what spells a Child of Old Leech has, select from one of these, or consult your favorite tome of black magic.

by Anatolii Leoshko

The Limbless-

Number Appearing: 1d4
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Languages: Worm-Speech
Treasure: The Limbless do not collect or care for treasure, so places that they inhabit tend to be carpeted with the possessions of those who died there, valuables scattered carelessly on the ground.

HD 3
AR 3 [Natural Armor]
Atk Bite (1d8+1) + Pharyngeal Jaw (1d6+1 + grapple)
Mor 15
Saves 10 or less
Magic Resistance 5 or below

Sunlight Vulnerability: The Limbless are sensitive to sunlight.  When in sunlight they make all Attack rolls and saving throws with disadvantage, with the exception of Magic Resistance Saving Throws.  

Magic Resistance: Mana-based attacks and abilities are hard to use against the Limbless.  When someone uses one of these against them, there is a 25% chance (5 or less on a d20) that the mana-based ability (magic, psychic powers, bio-energy blasts) or attack does not affect them.  This causes the attack or ability to slip around them and strike the nearest target.  If there is no obvious choice, roll randomly.

Worm's Eye: The Limbless have no eyes, but their sense of smell and hearing is almost good enough to compensate.  Quiet foes can sometimes sneak by them, but the Limbless are perceptive enough that they can hear your heartbeat and breathing if you get too close.  They get +2 to detect things with their other senses and cannot be blinded.  

- Isolate target from pack, grapple and drag away
- Charge and retreat
- When target is grappled, descend on them in a feeding frenzy

The Limbless are the horrible servitors of the Children, created through horrible sorceries enacted in caverns of bone and basalt, full of the blood of billions of murdered souls.  There hunger and searing aggression are given form, melded into flesh that may have once been something much more benign.  The Limbless are squat and low, pathetic in appearance until they move, oilly smooth and fast than you can blink.  Their razor teeth resemble a rodent's or a primate's, with long fangs and huge incisors that smash armor and cut through bone, even as they shred flesh and leave nothing behind but scarlet-stained ribbons.

They fear sunlight and do not come out when it shines.  Their hunting ground is beneath the cloudless sky or in the bowels of the earth, where no light penetrates.  There they slither through the dark, feasting on the unwary.  As Limbless are blind, they do not need light to hunt, and are able to find prey through vibrations, scent and the sounds they make.  It is said that if you can hear your heartbeat around one, it is already too late, as they've heard it too. 

Sometimes the Limbless hunt with the Children, leading the way like hounds, while other times they hunt alone or in packs, merely for the thrill of the chase and the spectacle of the kill.  Not all Children have the privilege of being able to summon the Limbless, but to those who do, they treasure it almost beyond words.  It is a sign of one's superiority, but also a statement that should the Child grow displeased with someone, they should not have to stoop to dirty their hands, unless they should wish too.  

The Limbless might look like animals, but despite their hideous appearance, they actually possess an intelligence equivalent to the low end of the scale for humans.  They aren't super intelligent, but they speak, make art and have elaborate social structures.  They ask the questions of "Who am I?" and "Why do I exist?"  They know the answers, of course, but the question is still raised.  The Limbless believe they were created by the Children, and they're right, and revere them as living avatars of Old Leech.  The Children hold the Limbless in affection as well, though they treat them more like animals than others would find appropriate.  Yet this treatment is not considered demeaning by the Limbless, who regard it as a high honor to be acknowledged by the Children. 

And to those who feel that beings as vile as the Children cannot feel anything close to affection or even love, then you should reconsider what it actually being said here.  For the Children do not hate you, even though they plan to despoil your world and feed upon it's corpse, they do not hate you.  In fact, they love you and have some many beautiful things to show you.

artist unknown