Tuesday, June 28, 2022

QHW, Day 10: 100 Uses of...

100 Uses for a Human Corpse:

1d100

1- Fertilizer.  Bury it for the tastiest vegetables you've ever tasted.  
2- Food.  That's 80 to 100,000 calories, depending on body size and type.  
3- Aphrodisiac.  The genitals of male humans and the internal reproductive organs of female humans can increase libido, fertility and sensitivity.  Consult a physician or spiritual advisor before ingestion.  
4- Weapons.  Human bone is harder than concrete, but far lighter.  It can easily resist torsion as well, which many metals cannot.  Additionally, it is easily enchanted and stores magic for far longer than any material, with the exception of gold.
5- Servants.  Humans, due to their internal network of mana circuits, can be easily animated by summoned souls.  All the fun of humans, without the hassle!
6- Hands!  Many of the elderly have problems grabbing small or delicate objects.  A human hand, wired up and connected to a length of wood, makes an easy tool that allows even the most infirm to easily grab objects.  
7- Memories.  Humans remember so many things.  Consumption of the brain is always ideal, but even the body can remember.  With the right knowledge, the muscles and veins can speak louder and more clearly than any deceitful ghost.  
8- Strings and wire.  Humans sinew and gristle can make excellent rope and cord.  
9- Incubators.  A living human is preferred, but for the environmentally conscious or thrifty, a human corpse can function as the perfect incubator for your eggs.  Just make sure they're due to hatch before the corpse turns to black sludge.  
10- Sin.  Humans, especially those who habitually engaged in vice, often have pockets of sin left in their bodies.  These can be harvested and turned into Demondust, which is sure to liven up any party.
11- Fat.  Corpse fat from humans can be used to make special candles which can reveal the presence of lost money or treasure, the presence of invaders and those who mean harm, or any number of other things.  
12- Prophecy.  If a corpse is fresh, you can disembowel it and look through the structures of the organs.  To the one with the proper training, these internal structures can often reveal hints of the future.  As above, so below.       
13- Blood.  Human blood, when thickened and left to cool and stew in a corpse, can become a potent toxin.  Dead man's blood is rightly feared.  
14- Protection.  Humans are impervious to many things that are terribly harmful.  Iron, silver, holy artifacts, silk, cottonseed, all these sear flesh and induce pain.  Human skin gloves and aprons can go a long way to alleviating the danger of working with those substances and preventing unnecessary risk.
15- Songs.  Human bones, when made into wind instruments, produce eerie notes that can reveal the presence of the dead or summon them back to this world.  
16- Screams.  Human corpses rarely speak, for their Magi take the tongue when they bring it back, sometimes literally.  But give a reanimated human his tongue back and he will regale you will horrific screams of pain, rage and despair.  Perfect for entertainment or soothing the children.  

Saturday, June 25, 2022

QHW, Day 9: In-game Bestiary

 An interrogation of the intellectual travesty wrought about by Vickelstein upon the Humble Bullywug:

Vickelstein is a well-respected scholar, considered "The people's intellectual" by some, and a common source of the patronage of the Merchant Princes.  I am here to expose him for what he is, a fraudulent intellectual revolutionary, too weakened by his own self-inflicted neuroses to do any proper accounting of the events he describes.  And nothing could explain this better than his account of the Froglings, or the Bullywugs, as he refers to them.

"The Bullywugs are a race known for their cleverness and inventiveness, despite their relative lack of technology.  They live in small huts perfectly designed for their swampy homes, collapsible structures that are cozy and waterproof, easily able to be disassembled and put back together after being moved.  They have no metal, except what they can find."
Here Vickelstein begins one of his classic tactics, glorifying the primitive and the savage, elevating it over the civilized.  Vickelstein never once stops to carry this thought of his further.  If he loves the primitive so much, why does he go out of his way to avoid it so much?  Vickelstein is a scholar who almost exclusively spends his times with other academics and those of the gentle classes, who do not need to dirty their hands with labor.  This is as far from the brutal, short and nasty lives the Bullywugs or any other savage race lives, where life is a matter of scraping in the mud for subsidence and death is never far way.  

Instead, Vickelstein does this not to promote the actual idea of primitivism, or even pastoralism, but as an attack on those who he dislikes.  He further goes on to say:
"Unlike in more, developed, societies, for lack of a better word, the Bullywugs do not engage in commerce.  Instead they live among each other in harmony.  Each tribe acts as an extended family, giving to each other so that all needs are met.  None go hungry within these tribes, and all are cared for."
Vickelstein is not as clever as he seems.  He praises the lack of hunger and the unity of the Bullywug tribe, but he fails to note the greater context.  The Bullywugs do this because of social pressure and mutual interest, not because the primitive conditions create better men.  He seems to imply that you would be better off living in a tribe of swamp-dwelling hunter-gathers, but that is a ludicrous position to take, so Vickelstein merely implies it.  You look to those who are hungry on your street and wonder, "Why doesn't someone do something?"  Yet you should ask, "Why don't I do something?"  

Vickelstein has by-passed the question of personal responsibility in favor of creating a utopia out of his own fancies.  This is, again, an attack on civilization, specifically, ours.  He fails to mention the fact that should one Bullywug within the tribe go hungry or sick, it weakens the tribe.  And a weakened tribe will be gobbled up by a stronger one, or pushed into less desirable hunting grounds and left to languish into starvation and deprivation, which will only invite more attacks.  

He does not mention the Bullywug habit of destroying the clutches of eggs laid by females from rival tribes, the kidnapping of said females, or the cannibalism of captured warriors or any of the other countless brutalities that threaten the Bullywug.  

He does, however, mention their lack of marriage. 
"In Bullywug society, there is no need for marriage.  Instead, females are given the right to pursue any male of their choosing, even multiple males.  For access to her, all the males will couple with her and help her to raise her tadpoles when they are born.  It only makes sense that a female would, if given the option, choose multiple males instead of one.  Why not have the best warrior, hunter and story-teller instead of just one?"

Firstly, this is utter nonsense.  Any scholar worth his salt knows well enough that Bullywugs practice 'marriage' via kidnapping and rigidly enforce female chastity, to the point of scarring females and killing males who practice such crimes.  

I am unsure of how he arrived at this conclusion, but I suspect it has something to do with the rumors that Vickelstein was, let's say, indiscrete in his visitations of a young woman who was traveling with his research party while he went on his trip to study the Bullywugs, despite the fact that he was married at the time.  I will not repeat the sordid details here, there are publications where you can find such things, just know that there was probably much more on his mind than the behavior of this small tribe of Froglings over those six months in the Favan Bogs.   

Friday, June 24, 2022

OSR: A Story about the Founding of the Church

by Simon Dewey
Zulin, God of Kings, Prince of the Upper Air, Master of Heaven, Pathway to the Authority, Carver of Fate, Hand of Dominion and Burner of Worlds is widely known and worshiped all across the land today.  But this was not always the case.  There was a time before the Church, before Coramont, before Hesayanism.  This is the story of the marriage of Hesaya and Zulin, and how the world trembled at their Union.

Zulin was a Prince of the Upper Air and lived in a castle of ice high in the air.  He was given every desire of his heart and lived a life of doleful indolence under the care of his Father, a High and Lofty Spirit of Air.  But Zulin desired more than this.  Even as a young Spirit, he had little desire for the flesh of women or men, nor for wine or music.  The parties of his Father and many wives bored him.  Instead, he spent his time discussing philosophy, practicing rhetoric and reading treatises on the nature of existence, searching for some kind of deeper meaning to his life.  Why did one live?  He felt that life had some greater meaning than the one his Father presented, but he could not find it. 

It was during one of these discussions that he discovered the presence of 'mortals'.  He inquired after such creatures and found out that the world below, that quilt of brown and gold and green and blue, was not only filled with animals and plants, but instead, was full of tiny creatures with small souls and short lives.  Zulin was fascinated by the idea.  He immediately began making plans.  Days later, during the next party, when his Father and the harem were busy entertaining guests, Zulin disguised himself as a common Wind Spirit and slipped out of the palace. 

He made his way down and down, until he reached the surface of the Earth.  He found the Earth to be as strange and wondrous as he imagined.  Here he finally had a chance to see many of the plants and animals he had only ever seen in books, and he found the experience entirely beneficial.  Seeing such creatures up close reinforced his awe of them.  Their beauty and majesty were like nothing he had ever seen before, even compared to the sumptuous splendors of his Father's Court.

And as Zulin explored further, he found the mortals in question.  They had built their own cities down here, he found, tiny piles of bricks and mud.  Yet for all their humility, these tiny creatures strutted with the pride of Kings, laughing and singing as they worked.  This fascinated Zulin all the more, especially when he saw what they laughed in the face of.  For you see, Zulin's father had recognized the innocence his son had, and thus had spent a great deal of effort to try and hide the uglier side of life from him. 

This was the first time Zulin had ever seen sickness.  He saw a man leaving his town wearing a funeral shroud, the man weeping while others fled from him, yelling "Unclean!  Unclean!"  He saw an old woman die and her family weep over the corpse.  But worse still were the crimes that others committed against each other.  These mortals robbed, beat and killed each other for barely any reason.  They abused and tortured each other, crushing these small, pale lives with barely a thought.  Zulin was heart-broken at the sight of such things.  He needed to know, why?  Who could have possibly caused such a thing? 

So Zulin roamed the world, seeking out someone who could answer him.  But no one could.  They fled in terror from him, or trembled in fear as they could provide no answer.  This made Zulin despair all the more, as he began to feel their might not be any answers.  Yet he had to keep trying, so he continued his search for the truth. 

It was then, after much searching, that he found a young woman named Hesaya.  She was a girl from a provincial village in an unimportant kingdom at the tail end of a great Empire.  She seemed quite ordinary on first appearance.  Yet she did things no one would have permitted a woman to do.  One day, she stood up in the Temple and strode to the front, where she asked to read from the scrolls.  The Priest was so shocked he stood aside and allowed her to speak.  

Hesaya did so, reading a prophecy from the scrolls, one that declared the liberation of the people and the reformation of the Kingdom.  She declared that the time of the fulfillment of this prophecy was now, and that she was the one who would bring it about.  This response provoked shock and rage from the people in the temple, who laid hands upon her and seized her. 

They dragged her outside and threw her off a nearby cliff, in an attempt to kill her.  But Zulin, unwilling to stand by, saved her by softening her fall with his command of the Air.  When she landed unharmed, she did not look surprised.  She turned and looked, but could not see Zulin, for he was disguised as an Air Spirit.  She demanded that 'The hand that saved me come forth'.  Zulin revealed himself to her, and when he said it was he, Hesaya told him that was not true.  Zulin protested that he did save her, but Hesaya insisted it was not true.  Instead, she had been saved by the Authority, Maker of Heaven and Earth, who had revealed himself to her.  Zulin was merely his chosen instrument. 

Zulin was fascinated by this response and demanded she explain herself.  So she did.  She explained that she had received visions from the Authority, who had told her to go out into the world and proclaim his truth.  She had been selected by him, created to advance His Will upon the world.  Zulin, when he learned this, wept.  Here were the answers that he had sought his entire life.  He vowed that as long as Hesaya lived, he would be at her side, for he too saw the value in such a mission.  Hesaya agreed and Zulin began to accompany her.  With the aid of Zulin's power, Hesaya was able to perform mystical feats and work miracles that astounded those who heard her speak.  This enabled her message to spread even further. 

It was on these journeys that led to her recruiting a number of Gods and Mortals who would come to be extremely important later, the Gods becoming the Divine Gatekeepers and the Mortals the First Saints and Martyrs.  But as her fame grew and her message began to be heard by more and more, the Priests grew increasingly worried by what they heard.  This Hesaya, her message called for a radical departure from the laws of religion and renounced the current ecclesical authorities as wicked men who cared more for glory and money than they did for the Authority.  They attempted to discredit or assassinate her, but all these attempts were foiled by Hesaya's own skill or Zulin's power.  So they came up with one last plan, a scheme to destroy her once and for all. 

On a Feast Day, they gathered a mob of zealots and had Hesaya arrested.  Her followers wanted to attack and free her, but she refused them.  She told them to wait, for this had all been foreseen.  She was taken to the Council of Priests, who interrogated her.  They asked her many things, but she refused to answer.  Many witnesses came forward to speak out against her, but their testimony was confusing, illogical or they simply could not say anything comprehensible.  Others, upon seeing Hesaya and being under her steely gaze, found themselves unable to speak a word.  Finally, they asked her "Do you hear the voice of God?"

And she said, "Truly, I do, and it tells me that you will all be devoured for what you have done this day.  It would be better for you all if you had been drowned as infants than live to stand before me this day."  At this, the High Priest broke his ceremonial staff and threw it at her feet.  "What further need have we for charges of blasphemy?  She had spoken them herself."  So Hesaya was confined to a cell to await her being handed over to the Orzanian Governor.

While within her cell, Zulin came to speak with her.  He told her he could easily enable her to escape this confinement, should she wish.  Hesaya refused, claiming that her visions had told her this would happen.  She would be saved, but not yet.  Zulin did not like this answer, but accepted it, and left.  The next day, Hesaya was brought before the Governor.  The Governor was informed that Hesaya was guilty of many crimes, including treason against the Empire and Marzan.  The Governor questioned her as the people and the Priests requested, but he could find no evidence that she had committed such crimes.  She did not seem the type to raise up armies against the Empire, nor to promote the taking back of her people's land from His Imperium.   

When asked if she desired a crown, Hesaya replied "My crown will come from on high.  Even now, my husband prepares it for me."  The Governor did not know what to make of this response, so he returned to the people and told them he found no guilt in Hesaya.  But they insisted she was guilty.  The Governor insisted that she was a Queen, he could see it in her bearing, her eyes, her speech.  She had been born to lead them.  But they cried, "We have no Queen, only an Emperor!"  The Governor asked them then what he should do with Hesaya.  He hoped that they would ask that she be pardoned, which was within his rights.  But they instead demanded he kill her.  So the Governor gave her over to the mob and told his soldiers to do as the mob wished. 

The soldiers then abused Hesaya, torturing her with whips and thorn-branches.  They stripped her and pierced her flesh, then shaved her and made her a crown of molten metal, which they seared to her bare scalp.  Then, after reviving her, they sent her off to be impaled, the penalty for traitors in those days.  She was paraded naked through the streets, escorted by soldiers so no one would rescue her.  Zulin came to her, disguised as a man watching from the crowd.  When Hesaya stumbled, as she had been burdened with the heavy length of wood they planned to impale her on, he used his powers to implant the idea into the soldier's head that Hesaya would not survive the trip, so they pressed him into service to help her carry it.  He asked her again to let him intervene and save her, but she refused again.

Finally, Hesaya arrived at the Plain of Bones, where she was weighed and measured and the stake was sharpened.  Then she was impaled and left to die.  Zulin came to her in those last few moments and begged her to let him help.  Then she spoke to him for the last time.  "Why are you asking me?  Are you not a God?"  Then, lifting her voice to Heaven, she spoke to the Authority himself.  "Have I done well, Father?" 

Then Hesaya died.  Zulin was heart-broken when she died.  He stole the sun from the sky so it would not shine and ordered the mountains to weep, which they did, their horrific sobs shaking the Earth.  He commanded those who had died to return to their bodies so they might not steal mourners from Hesaya's funeral and ordered the winds to howl in rage.  And with that, he fled into the temple of the Authority in the City, where Hesaya had preached dozens of times.  He tore down the curtains dividing the people from the altar and threw himself at the feet of that golden idol, sobbing.  His tears flowed into the city like a river and all who touched them were healed of their injuries.  The lame walked and the blind saw and yet there was no rejoicing, for they could taste Zulin's pain through his tears. 

Meanwhile, Hesaya's spirit was taken down into the depths of the Earth, to those lightless places where the Sun never reaches.  When she arrived in the Underworld, she was forced to pass through a series of gates, discarding a piece of her clothing at each one.  At the first, she shed her armor, which was her virtue.  At the next, she left her shield, which was faith.  At the next, her helm, which was her ability to see the truth.  At the next, she laid down her sword, which was her strength.  At the next, her sandals, which was her will.  At the next, her clothing, which was her purity.  At the next, her shift, which was her innocence.  Finally, she reached the end and stood before the Lords of Death, who took her eyes and bound her in chains of everlasting death.

In the land of the living, after three days, Zulin finally finished his mourning.  He had pondered her question and realized the truth.  Why did he accept what had happened?  He ascended into the Heavens, climbing the Mountain of Eternity until he reached the top.  The climb took him all of time and no time at all, for he soon transcended it and found himself standing before the Authority, Creator of the Universe.  There, Zulin raged at the Creator.  "How dare you do this to her, the one who loved you above all things!"  He accused the Authority of countless crimes and demanded that he do something.  "Are you not King?"  The Authority responded with a simple: "No."  

Zulin was baffled by this response.  "Then if you are not King, who is?"
The Authority leaned forward and said.  "The King is the one who acts, while the Slave is acted upon.  So tell me, will you remain as you are, God of Slaves?"  Zulin turned and looked back down to Earth.  "No," he declared.  "I choose King.  Remember me, for they shall know me as the God of Kings." 

And with that, the Authority blessed Zulin and granted him the Hand of Dominion, the Sword that gave him the right and duty to rule over the world.  And with that sword in hand, Zulin leapt from the Mountain and fell through the Heavens.  He struck the Earth and it parted for him, opening a pathway to the Underworld.  When he arrived at the Gates of the Underworld, he opened them with his Virtue, Faith in the goodness of others, recognition of moral Truth, Magnaminity, Mercy and Love.  When the final gate opened, the Lords of Death expected to find a docile, weakened God awaiting his destruction.  

Instead they found Zulin, God of Kings, Prince of the Upper Air, Master of Heaven, Pathway to the Authority, Carver of Fate, Hand of Dominion and Burner of Worlds.  Zulin tore into them with his sword and spells, all of his mercy swallowed up by rage and hatred.  He destroyed them, laying waste to the Underworld and unmaking all of their wretched works in a single, glorious day. 

And then, at long last, when ever enemy was put under his feet, Zulin reunited with Hesaya.  But she was not the woman he loved.  So he located the servants of the Lords of Death who had survived and after swearing he would not harm them if they served him instead, he asked what was wrong with her.  They told him that while a God can bend the laws of Death, mortals cannot.  So Zulin beseeched the Authority, asking if there was any way he could be reunited with his beloved.  The Authority responded there was a way, but it would require great virtue and endurance on behalf of Zulin.  Zulin declared he would remain faithful until the end of the Age.  So the Authority enacted his plan and Zulin sat by to wait. 

Forty years later, Zulin was walking through a provincial village in an unimportant kingdom at the tail end of a great Empire.  He was in Hesaya's homeland, reminiscing about the woman he had once known.  But then, he realized something was amiss.  The Kingdom was under attack!  He leaped into the air and saw that foreign soldiers had overrun his beloved's homeland.  He moved to intervene, to free the people here, but the Authority told him not to.  Zulin questioned him on why and the Authority told him to look closer.  So Zulin did, and he was disgusted.  He saw that while these people had once served the Authority, now they had forsaken their covenant with Him and instead served their own ambitions.  This had led them to revolt against their rulers and the invasion of their kingdom. 

Zulin then went to the capital, which was being besieged by an army of foreigners.  And as he watched, the foreign general came out to address her troops, and when she did, he wept.  Though she was different in every way, from the color of her hair to the shape of her face to the way she walked and talked, he recognized it.  Zulin descended upon the camp and landed before the General.  She drew her sword at first, thinking him an attacker.  He greeted her, but she was confused.  "Hesaya, do you not recognize me?"  He asked, tears in his eyes.  Then one of his tears landed on her and she was healed, her memories restored.  The General then began to weep too and embraced her beloved, much to the confusion of all who saw them. 

And thus were the two lovers reunited, and the Prophetess Lived Again.

artist unknown

Monday, June 20, 2022

QHW, Day 8: Beverages

In 1527, the Brewer's Guild of the City of Burkinsaw was charged with the crime of poisoning.  Their victim was 127 people from the town itself, most tavern-goers and barkeepers, as well as others who sold or consumed alcohol.  The victims in questions suffered from a variety of strange magical effects.  

Some, even those who only consumed a small amount of alcohol, found themselves drunk for hours or days, even after only a few drinks.  Others found that parts of their body developed strange qualities, such as acting like alcohol or another liquid.  When angered, these poor individuals found their skin would bubble and pop like boiling water, or when they relaxed, their appendages would start to liquefy and drip off.  

Still others developed more obvious physical deformities.  Some grew thick tentacles that burst from joints, or had their existing limbs transformed into those of crustaceans or other arthropods.  One particularly bad case was Hammond Fletcher, who had both of his hands transformed into lobster claws.  He demanded that the Brewers be persecuted for their crimes, as without his hands, he would be unable to continue his usual trade, as his claws lacked the dexterity of his previous, human digits.  

These changes were all traced back to ten barrels of ale, each one found to have been produced within one particular tank within one of their breweries.  After the Brewmaster and his assistants were interrogated, they revealed that the Guild's leadership had an arrangement with the Alchemist's Guild, lending their oversized equipment to them to allow the Alchemists to brew enormous quantities of specific potions.  

In exchange for this, the Brewer's Guild was paid a fee and given discounts on purchases of certain types of potions, such as energy potions and potions of alertness, as well as memory potions and potions of telepathy.  Apparently, these were all used to increase safety and productivity, as they enabled employees to work longer hours with fewer mistakes, as well as to remember complex formula and instructions and communicate more easily, without the need to ferry messages to any of the other buildings or brewers located around Burkinsaw.  

The accused's council argued that while unethical, nothing they did was explicitly illegal.  Furthermore, they argued that the actions they undertook were common, with the Alchemist's Guild coming once or twice a month usually, sometimes even more often than that.  There had never before been any failures or similar incidents before this one, so the Guildmaster and other leaders of the Guild would have no reason to assume such a thing was even possible.  As such, their was no reason to hold them responsible.  

The Magistrate evidently did not agree, or perhaps he simply feared the potentially violent reaction of the mobs that had gathered outside the courthouse for most days of the trial.  So he levied stiff fines against the Brewer's Guild and demanded that everyone who suffered a permanent magical affliction be paid a sum of 30 gold sovereigns.  Those who suffered temporary magical effects were to be given a smaller sum of 15 silver sovereigns.  

This generous response nearly bankrupted the Brewer's Guild and almost led to it's dissolution.  And while it was called excessive by some, it did seem to prevent most of the violence.  Only a few Brewers were attacked in the aftermath of the trial and while there was an attack on one of the breweries, it was swiftly repelled by the workers and the damage to the building was minimal.          

Sunday, June 19, 2022

QHW, Day 7: Orcs

Orcs, as is well known, are the children of Gruumsh, God of Slaughter and Victory, and Luthic, Goddess of Mothers, Fertility and Plague.  Gruumsh, also called One-Eye, is usually portrayed as a massive Orc in a loincloth and cape of dripping crimson, with the occasional bit of bone armor and jewelry.  He wears an eyepatch or has an empty eye-socket, depending on the artist, and is usually depicted as holding a weapon across some sort of enemy.  The Orcs claim that he is the leader of all Orcs because he proved himself the strongest of their kind, and that strength granted him the right to rule over them.  Perhaps one day, someone will defeat Gruumsh, and this will grant them the right to become the new God of the Orcs.

Luthic, being female, does not need to compete in the masculine games of power.  Some female Orcs do attempt to compete in these masculine games, but they are generally not very successful. In the past, these girls were called the Daughters of One-Eye or less flattering nicknames, but more recently they have embraced such names. 

However, most female Orcs adhere closer to Luthic's example.  Luthic grants her husband the freedom to engage in honorable pursuits while busying herself with the messier side of existence that males are ill-suited for.  Female Orcs handle commerce and the busy-work of keeping their society running.  If the tribe survives by hunting, females clean and cook the game.  If they survive by farming, most of the work is done by them.  Males will assist, but only when masked and wearing dresses, so that their masculine honor is not harmed.  Female Orcs devote themselves to worldly matters, as unlike males, they were made from Luthic's blood and the mud on the hem of her dress. 

Male Orcs, on the other hand, devote themselves to spiritual matters, as they were created from Gruumsh's blood and the fragments of his dreams that escaped after he lost his eye.  Orc men devote themselves to higher ideals, such as honor, glory and victory, as well as to the veneration and praising of the Gods. 

This gendered split is profound and rarely breached, extending to the smallest things.  Male Orcs cannot read, and take pride in the fact.  Reading and writing are women's work.  To share information, Male Orcs memorize large amounts of information and repeat them back to each other.  The most important masculine works are memorized and held by a Tribe's Goran, Shaman or Priests. 

Similarly, all masculine Art among Orcs is epheremal and temporary.  Orc males create works of art out of multi-colored sand and let them blow away, meditating on the temporary nature of worldly things.  They perform plays, dance and sing.  Females make other forms of Art, namely sculpture, painting and drawing.

Orc children are raised by their mothers until they are seven years old.  Until then, they are permitted to go where they wish and do as they please.  To ensure a proud warrior spirit is created in each child, children are taken from their mothers and given to different women to raise, preferrably in another chest.  Women end up raising a child who is not their own.  

Furthermore, they are encouraged not to show affection to the child, as this displeases Gruumsh.  If you love your child too much, he will be cursed with weaknesses such as compassion and mercy later in life, which will only make it more likely that he will suffer and die.  As such, they are cruel and cold toward their offspring, so that their love might be apparent.         

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

QHW, Day 6: Classes

The Social Classes are often rebuked and scoffed at by revolutionaries, despite it's unique and omnipresent proofs.  These folk claim that all the self-evident evidences of differences between the Nobility and the Commons are nothing more than the effects of better nutrition, upbringing and medicine.  In doing so they commit a great heresy against God but worse still, they promote the Great Lie: The Equality of Man.

These men, by claiming that the Noble and the Common are the same have led to enormous amounts of suffering.  Because of them, blood runs in the streets and screams fill the air.  They have spawned famine and plague through their arrogance and hatred.  They claim to want to help the Commons, yet insist on crushing them under heel and worsening their conditions, stealing what little they have and denying them their ancient rights, as granted by the benevolence of the Nobles.  

They refuse to acknowledge the truth plainly visible- were you to see a Noble and a Common standing next to each other, you would find that they were similar in many ways, yes, but they were also quite different.  The Noble would be taller and would have have either hair or eyes of a unique color.  While some colors, such as red or blonde, do occasionally occur in the Commons, usually as a result of some distant Noble ancestor, no Common has ever had hair that was white, except in old age.  Nor have they had hair that was teal or purple or even bright green.  

They do not have eyes of wine-violet, or blue, cherry-red or pink, or gold and silver.  They do not grow as tall or as handsome, though I have met more than a few comely farmer's daughters.  Yet to compare them to the Noblewomen is to put a racing hound up against a leopard.  It is an unfair comparison, when not just nonsensical.

And even among those Nobles who are not beautiful, the ultimate truth of their divine right to rule is their command of the Mysteries.  By speaking the right words, Nobles can control the elements.  They bring light to the darkness, conjure fire and snow from thin air, make food from refuse and stone and heal grievous injuries.  The only Commons who can wield the power of the arcane are those who have some Noble blood flowing within their veins, usually within 6 generations of their birth.  Anymore and the blood is too diluted to lend any power.  

And this is the case for all Nobles.  Even the lowliest of the Nobles can command arcane power, even if it's only in some minor way.  This separates them inexorably, no matter what the revolutionaries say.  This is most emphasized in the name of the Kings, who are heralded by miracles and great wonders.  At the coronation of Robert III, God's blessings on him and his name, a blind man was gifted his sight to see his Sovereign for the first time, while three pregnant women gave birth simultaneously to three healthy, identical children born with eyes the same color as the Sovereign, bright green.

Rumors of the Nobility electing one of their own to the throne and faking these miracles through sorcery is, of course, to be considered propaganda and lies.   

Sunday, June 12, 2022

QHW, Day 5: Traps

Traps should either be A) very dangerous, so players know to be careful, but also uncommon; or B) very common, so players know to be careful, but not so dangerous. 

Examples of Type A:


The Green Demon Face in Tomb of Horrors is a good example of Type A:

A giant, evil-looking Demon Face with an open mouth that leads to a section of absolute darkness.  Right behind the mouth is a sphere of annihilation.  If the players go into the mouth, they are obliterated and die, along with anything in the mouth.

Now, this isn't a trap, per say, but it is a good indication of what kind of dungeon that you're entering.  The Tomb is not messing around.  If you screw around, you will die. 

An example of Type B:


The Tomb of the Serpent Kings is an RPG module written by Skerples (of Coins and Scrolls) and it functions as a tutorial dungeon, meant to instruct players on how to do an OSR dungeon crawl.  One of the first areas of the dungeon features a hammer trap that, if the player's aren't careful, will smash into them and do significant damage, but probably won't kill them, barring truly bad luck.  This is intended explicitly as warning and a lesson- be careful of traps, they are dangerous.

The hammer trap repeats later in the dungeon, but the second time, it is far more dangerous.  Hopefully the players were paying attention earlier, otherwise, someone's character might end up splattered. 

Some Type A Traps:

1d3

1- A set of saw-blades that are concealed in the walls.  Trigger the pressure plates and they shoot out, one at knee-level, the other at mid-chest level.  If you trigger the pressure plate, save or die.  On a successful save, you take oodles of damage.  Those who fail their saves are slashed into convenient, bite-sized pieces.  The hall is littered with bifurcated skeletons, just in case the players don't get the hint. 
2- An Indiana Jones style boulder.  When triggered, it rolls down the narrow hallway, crushing anything in it's path.  You can't save to avoid it, you need to become something that can't be crushed or somehow stop the boulder.  This one might function better as a puzzle.
3- A door rigged with poison gas.  Fail to pick the lock or use the key and it dispenses a cloud of poison gas through the vents in the door.  Save or take some large amount of poison damage, plus be sickened for 1d4 hours.  This gives disadvantages on Attacks and certain saving throws. 

Some Type B Traps:

1d4

1- A hallway with concealed dart launchers hidden in the walls.  You hit the trip-wire and it showers you with darts.  The darts do 2d6 damage, save for half, but you get advantage on the save if you have a shield.  Alternatively, the darts do DEX damage and paralyze someone if their DEX is reduced to 0 DEX.
2- A pit trap.  If you step on it, you fall into a deep pit that is too deep to climb out of.  Spikes at the bottom, smeared in poison or filth, are optional.  Not that dangerous, if there are not spikes, but still can prevent progress.
3- A Mimic.  Mimics aren't that dangerous, but can be really annoying.  High-level players are only going to be inconvenienced by them, though once you introduce the idea that Mimics are nearby, your players will become extremely cautious.
4- A bucket of acid set above a door, college prank style.  The only difference is that instead of getting wet and saying "Very funny", your flesh begins to dissolve! 

Things a good Murderhobo Adventurer never leaves home without:

1d4
1- Length of Rope or Wire
2- Caltrops
3- A folding shovel
4- Grease.     

Saturday, June 11, 2022

QHW, Day 4: Magical Laws

The "Laws of Magic" are an attempt by Magi to explain the inexplicable and incalculable forces that underpin our fragile universe.  The fact that they are few in number and often disputed proves to most onlookers the obvious truth- the Magi are not nearly as powerful or knowledgable as they think. 

Even the most skilled Archmagus can, upon occasion, have a spell explode in his face.  Meanwhile, lowly novices might produce harmless showers of sparks, or they could work miracles to shame and befuddle their intellectual and sorcerous superiors.  Magic, as a product of the spiritual realm, does not obey the normal physical laws of our reality.  This is an obvious truth, yet it bears repeating.  Attempts to quantify and understand it are pointless- for it defies such classifications. 

A common parable taught to Initiates into schools of Sorcery is "Dragons cannot fly".  This is truth.  Dragons are far too heavy and unwieldly to fly.  Yet if you've ever seen one, you know, in fact, that Dragons do fly.  There are various explanations for this.  Some say that Dragons use their innate control over fire to heat the air underneath them, producing lift.  Others say that they use their power to lessen the pull of Earth on their bodies- weakening the phenomena known as "Gravity".  Others say they use magic to make their bodies lighter. 

But again, this proves my point.  The Dragon flies.  How it does so is less important than the fact it does. 

Yet for all my dismissal of the term, there are certain laws of magic that are (nearly) universal and important to know. 

Firstly, what we call Magic is the natural energy of the universe transmitted through the minds of living creatures, converted into the substance that becomes souls, dreams and ideas.  This transmutation is the source of all Magical energy.  It is a mistake to believe Magi use their own energies to perform sorcery, as Magi are mere mortals like us.  Instead, a Magi's "Strength" comes from their ability to absorb this natural energy and transmute it into a spiritual form, then to manipulate it into doing what they wish. 

Some Magi are very good at the former, but are bad at the latter.  This is a hazardous combination, as having a lot of energy but not being able to safely handle it rarely ends well.  The opposite situation, having little ability to transmute energy but high skill at manipulating it.  This is a much more useful combination, as it is possible to increase one's Capacity through the use of pacts, artificial protheses and the assistance of other Magi.

Secondly, all of what we call 'Magic' requires energy.  Regardless of the source it is drawn from, whether it be from the blood and sorrow drawn from a murdered sacrifice, the raging natural energy coursing through the stones of the Earth in the form of earthquakes and geologic activity, or the blinding light and heat of the Sun, sorcery requires a source of power to be anything besides a bunch of nonsense words and gestures. 

Thirdly, all Magic requires the ability to focus the mind.  This is why incantations and those gestures are necessary.  When you have to remember five hand-signs and say certain phrases, it is harder to imagine what would happen if the fireball you're trying to conjure actually appeared inside your stomach.  Some Magi can use magic just by thinking, but this is hazardous as stray thoughts can easily turn a simple spell deadly. 

All laws beyond this are subject to wild hearsay and speculation on behalf of the Magi in question.     

Friday, June 10, 2022

QHW, Day 3: Magitek

Welcome to Whizkid Technology and Entertainment, Inc. a Fortune 500 company.  Did you know that we've been rated #1 for customer and employee satisfaction for three straight years?  As such, now that you've joined our corporate family, be sure to familiarize yourself with all safety procedures and protocol.  Failure to follow safety protocols can lead to strict penalties, including but not limited to financial penalties, unpaid leave, administrative review and immediate termination.

As you know, our world has recently been transformed through the use of Fabrials, devices that harvest and channel extra-dimensional power, as accessed through the Primary Interdimensional Junction, better known as the Rift.

Whizkid Technology and Entertainment, Inc. manufacture and process many of these Fabrials.  Here at Whizkid, we categorize Fabrials into 5 helpful categories: Reliable, Stable, Capricious Reactive and Volatile.

Reliable Fabrials almost always do exactly what they are supposed to do.  Additional effects or magical discharge is largely non-existent.  Additionally, damaging such Fabrials generally only disables the device.  Most mass market Fabrials, such as Pen-Pairs and Self-Cleaning Clothes, are Reliable. 

Stable Fabrials usually do what they are supposed to do.  They can produce magical discharge or cause other effects, but these are usually mild or temporary.  Damaging such Fabrials is not advised and can cause larger versions of discharge effects, or extend their duration.  Still, such effects usually aren't hazardous.  Example Fabrials of this type are Self-Heating Pans and Automatic Ovens. 

Capricious Fabrials are devices that do what they are told to occasionally, but unless operated with sensitivity and skill, can easily become dangerous.  Damaging such Fabrials can easily lead to a dangerous situation.  Most Capricious Fabrials require specific modifications to the home or special licenses to be owned by civilians.  Examples of such devices include Talking Wardrobes and Seeing Eyes.

Reactive Fabrials are devices that are very sensitive to outside effects and can very easily do damage to their environment or user if not handled correctly.  Damaging such Fabrials almost always causes whatever effect the Fabrial is supposed to generate to fly out of control.  Magical discharge and additional effects are expected with Reactive Fabrials.  Most devices of this type are used only in manufacturing or by trained professionals.  It is not advised to attempt to operate a Reactive Fabrial without proper authorization, credentials and safety equipment.  Examples of such Fabrials include Lightning Channelers, Walking Furnaces and Corpse-Disposal Boxes. 

Volatile Fabrials are devices that cause violent, often uncontrollable effects, usually in the form of violent chain reactions.  Magical discharge and additional effects are extremely common from Volatile Fabrials.  Only those with government authorization or special licenses are permitted to own, operate or work with Volatile Fabrials.  Generally they are only employed for tasks that are too difficult or impractical to do otherwise, such as the smelting and forging of Promethium or Stormplate.  They are never to be viewed as safe or under control and strict safety measures are to be obeyed at all times when around a Volatile Fabrial.

And that's the basics of Fabrial Classification!  We here at Whizkid Technology and Entertainment, Inc. hope you found this discussion illuminating.  We hope you'll follow all protocols outlined in this manual.  Thank you for practicing Good Safety Practices and for helping us put A Spin on Life! 

Saturday, June 4, 2022

OSR: Brothers of the Asphalt Infinity

the 1981 poster for Mad Max: The Road Warrior
Speed.  Speed is all that matters.  Life is change, heat and movement.  To move is to live.  Slowing, stagnating, stopping, these are death.  To stop is to die.  This is the creedo of the Church of the Asphalt Infinity, which preaches the Gospel of the Throttle.  Adherents to this high-octane book, almost always found in audio book format, believe in going fast and never stopping, except for the briefest of intervals.  They seek to reach the Infinite Overpass by engaging in the Forever Ride, a road trip for the ages.  Those who reach this will cruise across the stars at impossible speeds, surpassing time and space through sheer force of speed.  But as no one knows where the Overpass is, the adherents of the Gospel of the Throttle continue their endless journey, living and driving as fast as they can. 

Many who pursue the Infinite Overpass do so with only tepid enthusiasm.  To them, it is a metaphor or a philosophical construct.  Others think it isn't real at all, using the Gospel of the Throttle as an excuse to live reckless, violent lives.  Yet these unbelievers and heretics should beware, for they face a high-octane enemy in the form of the Brothers of the Asphalt Infinity, or as you're likely to know them, the Speed Priests. 

Chasing the Horizon at Mach 3:

The Speed Priests are the most fanatical followers of the Church of the Asphalt Infinity.  They are fanatics who destroy those who pervert the teachings of their Church and any who prevent others from driving fast and living as they choose.  They are violent, passionate and utterly zealous.  If you disagree with one, you will find them to be utterly stubborn and irrational.  You'd be better off fighting than arguing with one.  The only way to convince a Speed Priest of something is to beat them in a race. 

Some also say that the Speed Priests race others to test their worthiness.  It is said if you beat one in a race, they will give you a boon.   

Speed Priests can be easily identified by their modified bodies and cars.  They tattoo themselves with scripture and give themselves mechanical components that allow them to directly interface with their cars.  Their cars are similarly modified, organics and mechanical components fused into a macabre mockery of life.  Their cars are all unique, each one a living temple to the ideal of Speed. 

Should a Speed Priest be killed, his car will go berserk and try to destroy the killer.  It will keep going until it runs out of fuel or dies.  The only way to prevent this is to be a Driver of the type the car will accept or by tricking it through the use of magic.  

 Should a Speed Priest's car be destroyed, he will try to kill the destroyer and then, after burning his car, he will begin constructing a new hot rod.

Speed Priest
HD see below
AR 1d3 [Cool Leather Safety Gear, covered in iconography]
Atk see below
Mor 7+HD, max 15
Saves (7+HD) or less

Expert Driver: Speed Priests have advantage on any rolls made to drive, pursue targets while in a motor vehicle or perform stunts while driving, such as drifting, fish-hooks, powerslides, etc.

Engine Speech: Speed Priests can "talk" to engines, gauging their health and being able to easily diagnose problems with them.  They can easily fix car and motorcycle engines.  They can also talk to other types of engines, but have no experience fixing such engines or machinery. 

Hard-Wired: Speed Priests can multi-task while they drive without losing effectiveness, as their minds are directly connected to their cars through their implants. 

Tactics:
- Drive fast
- Run your enemy off the road, force a crash
- Live for the thrill, fear nothing but the sudden stop

by Wenjen Lin

To customize a Speed Priest, roll on the tables below:

This Speed Priest is...

1d4

1- A Speed Deacon.  This Priest has just stepped out on his own, and is inexperienced in the ways of going fast and never asking questions.  He has 1d3+1 HD and rolls 1d4 on the Car table.  He can make 1 attack.  He is currently alone, so do not roll on the companion table.   
2- A Father of Fast.  This Priest is experienced, having spent years traveling the broken lanes of America.  He has 1d4+1 HD and rolls 1d6 on the Car table.  He makes two attacks.  Roll on the companion table once.  He also can cast the spell Nitro Rush.  
3- A Bishop of Burnouts.  This Priest is very experienced, having roamed the roads since before many ever left the fortress-cities to try to make their fortunes in the wild places between.  He has 1d6+1 HD and rolls 1d8 on the Car table.  He can make 2 attacks.  Roll 1d4 times on the companion table.  He also can cast the spell Nitro Rush and Car Insurance. 
4- A Cardinal of Crimson Tailpipes.  This Priest is a demon of iron and oil, an ancient warrior of asphalt and rubber.  He's a nursery tale, a faerie-story told to reckless young Riders, warning them to not go too fast, lest they find a Cardinal on their tail.  He has 1d8+2 HD and rolls 1d12 on the Car table.  He can make three attacks.  Roll on the Companion table 1d6 times.  He can cast the spells Nitro Rush, Car Insurance and Cruise Control.     

He is armed with...

1d6

1- A shooting iron.  The Priest carries a submachine gun that does 1d8+3 damage, save vs firearm, and can target up to two additional targets, provided they are adjacent to the original targets.
2- A cluster of javelins.  The Priest carries a golf bag full of sharpened spears, balanced for throwing.  Along with the regular javelins, there is a Xd10%, where X is the Priest's HD, that he is carrying 1d6 magical javelins.  These javelins 1d4 [1= Explode on contact- 3d6 damage, save for half; 2= Spray hallucinogenic fluid, CON save or hallucinate for 1d4 hours; 3= Light stuff on fire- 2d6 fire damage, save for half, lights flammable stuff on fire; 4= Haunted- all within 30' are assaulted by hungry ghosts that drain 1 HP per round (1 HP per minute out of combat) and inflict nightmares on sleeping people, preventing resting.  The ghosts can be temporarily banished through offers of food and money, but the only way to get rid of them permanently is for a priest to exorcise them.] 
3- A bow and arrow.  The Priest carries a compound bow.  He has a Xd10% of carrying 1d6+1 magical arrows, where X is his HD.     
4- A basket of molotov cocktails.  A basket of bottles, a breakfast of liquor, gas and glass.  They do 2d6 fire damage, save for half, and set flammable stuff on fire.   
5- A grappling gun.  The Priest can grapple onto things up to 50' and pull himself toward them or pull them toward him. 
6- A magical slingshot.  When fired, this slingshot can either fire a normal stone, doing 1d6+3 bludgeoning damage, or 3/Day, conjure a small animal and fire that.  The Priest's favorite animal is a tie between rabid hamsters and poisonous snakes.    

Along with this, all Speed Priests carry a pistol (1d6+1, save vs firearm).

He is accompanied by...

1d12

1- 1d4 Asphalt Acolytes.  Junior Priests who have not ascended to their own blessed vehicles yet, they ride shotgun with a more experienced Priest.  1d3 HD, armed with shotguns (1d10 at close range, 1d8 at medium range, 1d6 at long range, save vs firearm) and metal hooks that they use to board enemy vehicles.   
2- 1d3 Gun-Bunnies.  Babes in skimpy outfits (1d4 HD) and armed with assault rifles (1d8+1, three round burst, save vs firearm).  Their outfits function as armor.  Improved self-image means that you have to successfully save to target them with an attack.  If their clothing is damaged, they lose their armor.    
3- 1d8 Fur-Friends.  Humans wearing fur-suits, who channel the spirit of their animal totems in battle.  1d4+1 HD each.  Their suits resist most forms of damage, but are vulnerable to holy water, blessed weapons and fire.  The ones present here are 1dX [1= Wolf- gives advantage to any creature attacking the same enemy 1/Round; 2= Tiger- grants advantage on stealth rolls; 3= Fox- grants advantage on DEX and CHA saves; 4= Cow- Grants an additional HD; 5= Dog- Grants the ability to track via scent for miles; 6= Racoon- can magically steal stuff from anyone within 50'; 7= Badger- can tunnel rapidly into the ground; 8= Bird- can fly for 10 minutes a day.]   
4- 1d3 Wall Street Wolves.  Businessmen fueled by confidence and cocaine: 1d6 HD each.  Can snort coke for a bonus to damage and initiative.  Their attacks also drain money.  If in danger of dying, they can summon their golden kites and fly away on them.       
5- 1d6 Maenads and their emotional Support Animal.  Women driven insane by spirits of rage, they shift between acts of ultra-violence and lazy indolence.  1d3+2 HD, take half damage from non-magical or non-holy sources while raging.  Only after all victims have been torn limb from limb, or their emotional support animal, can calm them.  Their animal is 1d6 [1= A dog- the goodest boy; 2= A cat, fat and friendly as can be; 3= A miniature pony; 4= A monkey in a fez; 5= A talking parrot; 6= Not an animal, but a sensitive and polite young man dressed as a valet.]
6- 1d6 Charm Addicts.  Humans addicted to the use of charm magic.  1d3 HD, vulnerable to charm magic.  Armed with basic melee weapons.  Fearless and cynical, they desire death.     
7- 1d20 Killer Clowns.  How did he even fit that many in there?  1 HD each, armed with axes, broken bottles and big knifes.  Laugh as you kill them.  2-in-6 chance of being accompanied by an Elder Clown. 
8- 1d8 Screaming Skeletons.  Skeletons.  They are immortal, denied a proper death.  They scream when they see a new victim.  Fearless and relentless.  Can only be killed by decapitation and their heads being buried on holy ground.   
9- 1 Slasher.  One of these sick freaks. 
10- The Boisterous Bone Boys.  A 5-man(?) Undead Boy Band.  Their music charms women and children into dancing with them.  The band-members themselves are friendly, polite and well-behaved. They are ghouls, wearing SPF 1000 to protect themselves from the sunlight.  Often mistaken for Vampires, to their endless amusement.    
11- A Radikal Bro with righteous shades, fingerless gloves and a magical skateboard.  Carries a totally cool Nipponese sword that can split tanks with a single swing, if wielded by someone sufficiently cool.  And this dude, he is cool.   
12- Li'l Nicky.  A small, black-eyed boy who never speaks.  Dressed in a private school uniform, carrying a battered, one-eyed rabbit doll.  Luck bends around Nicky, preventing anyone from hurting him.  Anyone who tries suffers horrible accidents.  Like a Tom and Jerry cartoon, except you're Tom.  Can only be hurt and targeted by indirect attacks or actions.  1 HD.  Killing him might only make things worse though.

artist unknown

What Car does he drive?

1d12

1- Dragula.  Black with red-trimmed interior.  Old, but extremely well-maintained.  Drives 4x faster when the sun is down.  Is fueled exclusively on blood.  1/Day, can summon a swarm of bats that obey the driver.  Will only accept a Driver with consumate manners and dress, who have killed someone they hated and drank his blood under a New Moon. 
2- Screaming Eagle.  Covered in feathers and painted brown, gold and white.  Can summon a pair of Eagles who will drop things onto enemies or try to gouge out eyes.  Equipped with a reinforced bumper so it can ram enemy cars.  Will only accept a Driver who loves guns, freedom and 'Murica.   
3- Sun Chaser.  Gold, red and orange.  Powered by sunlight, as long as it isn't cloudy, doesn't need fuel.  Can only go for 1d6 hours at night, unless left in the sun all day, then can go 6 hours.  Totally fireproof.  Can 1/Day, cover itself in a flaming aura.  Will only accept a Driver who has a bold dream that he will pursue, no matter what.   
4- Thunderbird.  Polished chrome, blue, massive eagle over the hood, grasping thunderbolts.  Can fire bolts of lighting from the metal rods jutting off the back, like Tesla coils.  In a storm, drives 2x faster.  Riders inside are immune to lightning and thunder damage.  Will only accept a Driver who is driven to cause chaos and destroy things.     
5- The Compensator.  Huge and red, with engine that can be heard for miles.  Makes other males feel inadequate, granting advantage on intimidation.  Females can be more easily charmed, but some can see through it.  Has a giant machine gun strapped to the back.  Will only accept a male Driver who is insecure. 
6- The P*ssy Wagon.  A gross, tasteless car covered in lewd and crass decorations.  Banana yellow and tacky.  Anyone who drives this will be thought of as a rubish idiot and a blustering oaf for 1d6 hours after exiting, no matter what they do. 
7- Tire-Tearer.  A steel-gray vehicle with metal blades for wheels.  Send trails of sparks behind you when driving.  Extremely noisy as well.  The car can eat the tires of another car, or tear through metal with it's monster wheels.  The car will only accept a Driver     
8- The Purple Palace.  Purple and beautiful, with an interior that is bigger on the inside.  Contains a wet bar, perpetually stocked with liquor, luxurious beds and 4 Succubus prostitutes, bound by contract to serve those who enter the rear of the car.  They cannot hurt you, but they can make your life miserable if not allowed to cater to their guests.  Will only accept a Driver who is debauched and depraved. 
9- The Flying Carpet.  A convertible said to be haunted by the ghost of a Wizard.  On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays he can be summoned at night to answer any question known to geeks, nerds or scholars.  The car can also cast Fireball as 3 level spell 1/Day.  The car will only accept a Driver who is educated or one who can bully it into submission. 
10- Tombstone.  A car fueled by the souls of damned- black with skulls everywhere.  The interior is human skin leather with actual bone incorporated into the design.  Can enter the land of the dead 1/Day and protects the riders from sunlight.  Inflicts nightmares in those who hear it's engines.  If someone dies in it, they can keep living as an intelligent Undead.  Will only accept a Driver who has violated the laws of Death.   
11- Bad Moon.  A sleek white convertible with polished chrome and silver accents.  Drives 2x faster under moonlight.  Repairs all damage done to it, unless the weapon is silvered.  Turns those who drive it into werewolves.  Can project moonlight from the headlights at night to induce transformations.  Will only accept a Driver who is sexually promiscuous or a murderer.    
12- Improbable Road.  A car inscribed with magical runes and pained with scenes from a child's book that never was.  Can fire Prismatic Rays 3/Day as 3rd level spells and can give you directions to any destination you can imagine.  In strong winds, such as storms or tornadoes, can fly.  Will only accept a Driver seeking enlightenment.

Secret Spells of the Speed Priests:

Nitro Rush
------------------------------------------------------------------
R: touch    T: vehicle or creature        D: [dice] rounds

One creature or vehicle gains a +[dice] bonus to AR and to pursuit rolls.  The creature or driver of said vehicle also gains a bonus to any saving throws based on DEX or rapid reactions equal to [dice].

If cast with 3 or more [dice], the creature or vehicle does +[dice] damage on a hit for the duration, but only for melee attacks.   

Car Insurance
-------------------------------------------------------
R: touch    T: vehicle        D: one action

One vehicle regains [sum] HP and is repaired.  This cannot replace missing parts or grant what the vehicle does not have, such as filling an empty tank with fuel. 

Cruise Control
-----------------------------------------------------------
R: 30'        T: vehicle        D: [dice] minutes

The drivers of [dice] vehicles must save.  On a failed save, you take control of their vehicles for the duration.  If any driver passes his save, he instead takes [dice] damage.  A driver can choose to fail his save. 

For each [dice] used to cast this spell, select one option from the list below:
- One vehicle under the caster's control gets a +[dice] bonus to it's speed.  You can select this option multiple times. 
- If a driver passes his save, instead of taking damage, he is teleported out of his vehicle, appearing on the side of the road.
- One vehicle under the caster's control gains +[dice] temporary HP. 
- The caster can teleport to any of the vehicles under his control for the duration. 

Treasures of the Asphalt Infinity: 

1d6

1- The Compass of Dreams.  A compass that points toward a person's deepest desire.  If his desire is for something less concrete, such as "money" or "my father's love", then the compass will point toward the nearest opportunity to try and gain that desire, such as something the character's father would be proud of him doing, or a vault full of money that could be stolen.   2- Mechanic's Mats.  A series of absorbent mats that cushion your feet and make it easy to kneel and lie down without straining your joints.  They also absorb fall damage from any height.  There are enough mats to cover 30' square. 
3- Blood-Oil.  Magical oil that, if poured over a vehicle, covers it in a sheen of oil that grants it +2d10 temporary HP and gives it +4 to speed rolls.  If poured over a person, it grants +2d10 temporary HP and a +2 bonus to damage, Attack and Defense rolls, as well as to pursuit rolls.  The oil's coating lasts for 1 hour or until it is burned away by fire.  Found in batches of 1d4 cans, each one use.                
4- The Ever-Wrench.  A magical monkey wrench that can change size and shape to fasten onto any nail, screw or bolt.  The Wrench can also double as a melee weapon, doing 1d6+Atk damage on a hit.  The Wrench will also always reappear in the pocket of it's owner, if it ever is lost.  It can only be taken by killing the user or if they give it over willingly.   
5- Detailing Brush.  A spray nozzle that, if filled with paint, can be used to paint any surface.  The paint can be used to create any design the user wants and is extremely convincing.  It can also be used on any surface, not just vehicles.  For example, a tunnel painted onto a wall looks real until closely inspected.  A Dragon on a van could be mistaken for real if it wasn't on the side of a van.  A mustache painted on a man looks real until scrutinized or touched.  
6- Throttle Armor.  A suit of metal-and-Kevlar armor adorned with script and illustrations from the Gospel of the Throttle.  Counts as Medium Armor.  When worn, the wearer can subsist entirely on gasoline, needing no food nor water.  The wearer also gains resistance to fire damage and takes no damage from car crashes.  The wearer can be stunned or disoriented as normal, but cannot actually take damage from a crash.

artist unknown, Miss Fortune from League of Legends

OSR: Kung Fu Wizards from Outer Space

This is an idea that is heavily inspired by Dorohedoro, an excellent series that you should watch if you have Netflix and/or like anime.  There is also a manga, which I hear is good but haven't read myself. 

I've been trying to create a Wizard/Magic-User type enemy that is alien, yet human, something that understandable enough but still has enough distance from the players that they wouldn't feel bad slaughtering them. 

These Wizards would also fit very well into a setting like this, provided you swap out the Sci-Fi elements for magic and sorcery.

They come from other worlds, outer space, or somewhere else.  They're not from around here.  What they want is usually a mystery.  Some of them can speak the local language, and blend in somewhat well.  Some you would never guess were anything but human. 

But they aren't human, at least, not fully.  They are strangers from another place, with the power to manipulate reality simply by willing it.  They are Wizards- creatures not of this world. 

What they want is often unknown, but what they do is fairly understandable.  They come seeking things from your world sometimes, things that cannot be obtained where they are from.  Or they come looking for prey- either to kidnap and take back with them or to simply use here.  They are known to use the inhabitants of your world for magical experimentation, much of it cruel.  They come for amusement- either profane and terrible or simply mundane.      

Note: I'm going to use "He" to refer to the Wizard, but you can obviously have female Wizards.  

To customize a Wizard's appearance, roll on the tables below:

This Wizard is a...

1d2

1- A male.  He appears to be 1d4 [1= A young boy, barely on the cusp of adolescence; 2= A strong, splendid youth; 3= An older man, but still in sublime shape; 4= An older man, anywhere from his fifties to his eighties.]
2- A female.  He appears to be 1d4 [1= A prepubescent girl; 2= A teenage girl, growing into womanhood; 3= A woman in the full flower of her youth and beauty; 4= A mature woman, anywhere from her fourties to her sixties.]

The Wizard is dressed in a...

1d8

1- Suit and Tie.
2- A graphic T-shirt and shorts.
3- A full body leather suit that resembles bondage gear.
4- A tracksuit with a brand name you've never seen.
5- A military uniform that 1d3 [1= Resembles one you might find Around Here; 2= Was used by a local or familiar military decades or centuries ago- looks like something a cosplayer or reenactor would wear; 3= Is clearly a military uniform, but is unfamiliar in design to you.]
6- A print shirt, unbuttoned with a tank top underneath.
7- A long-sleeved robe that hangs down to the ankles.
8- A jacket or outer dress with lots of frills and lace.

The Wizard also has...

1d6

1- Blood-stained bandages wrapped around his arms or legs.
2- Handcuffs or shackles on.
3- A wide slit in his clothing, revealing his chest or legs.
4- Tons of jewelry: rings, earrings, bracelets, all in amounts far more than normal.
5- Tattoos covering a large amount of his body, likely (50%) the Wizard also has a large amount of exposed skin, to show off his ink.
6- A large metal plate in their skin or on their clothing, displaying a slogan. 

What kind of mask does this Wizard wear?

1d12

1- A Skull mask (50% it covers only the bottom half of the face, 50% it covers the whole head.]
2- A gimp mask.
3- An animal mask.  The animal is a 1d8 [1= Dog; 2= Horse; 3= Rooster; 4= Tiger; 5= Giraffe; 6= Wolf; 7= Fox; 8= Cat.]
4- A domino mask over the eyes.
5- A jester or clown mask.
6- A masquerade mask.
7- A motorcycle helmet.
8- A gas mask.
9- A full face mask with lenses for the eye built in.
10- A carved and painted wooden mask.
11- A Halloween mask of 1d6 [1= A famous serial killer/slasher movie character that you are familiar with; 2= A zombie; 3= A monster clown; 4= A grotesque person; 6= Goblin; 6= A famous political figure that you are familiar with.]
12- A featureless white mask. 

Sidebar: 

All Wizards wear masks at all times, unless they are trying to blend in or are in an intimate setting.  In all other circumstances, a Wizard will treasure his mask and never relinquish it, unless doing so would mean dying.  Each mask is unique, each one being customized by the Wizard themselves, and can be a good hint about what kind of person he is.

End Sidebar


Wizard of the Otherworld
HD Varies, see below
AR Varies, see below
Atk Weapon Attac (x2) or Magical Attack (x1)
Mor 6+HD
Saves (7+HD) or less

Sorcery: Wizards of the Otherworld have innate magicks that enable them to control an aspect of creation.  To cast magic, a Wizard of the Otherworld needs only think of what they want to do and roll 1d20.  Depending on how hard a task is, the higher the Wizard must roll.  For an easy task, the DC is 5.  For a medium or moderately difficult task, 10.  For a difficult task, 15.  For an extremely hard task, 20.  On the roll of a 20, the Wizard automatically succeeds, unless the task they are attempting is impossible.  On a roll of 1, the Wizard automatically fails and has their magic turned back on them.

Portals: All Wizards of the Otherworld have the power to open portals that can take them from any location on the world they have traveled to back to the point in their otherworld that they entered from.  These portals take the form of doors that can be opened or closed by any normal creature, once created, which takes an action.  Once a portal is shut, it disappears and a new one must be created.  But as long as it is open, any creature that passes through can travel to the same destination the Wizard wishes to go. 

Tactics:
- Gauge the strength of your opponents, determine if magic is necessary
- Use magic if an opponent is weak, or if too powerful to be otherwise overcome
- Never let yourself be killed or taken alive, always retreat if in danger

To customize a Wizard's statblock, roll on the tables below:

How strong is this Wizard?

1d4

1- Weak.  This Wizard has 3 HD.  His magical attacks do 1d8 damage and his weapon attacks do 1d6 damage.  His attack bonus is +0.
2- Mid-Tier.  This Wizard has 1d4+3 HD.  His magical attacks do 1d10 damage and his weapon attacks do 1d6+2 damage.  His attack bonus is +1.
3- Strong.  This Wizard has 1d6+2 HD.  His magical attacks do 1d12 damage and his weapon attacks do 1d8 damage.  His attack bonus is +2.
4- Powerful.  This Wizard has 1d6+4 HD.  His magical attacks do 2d6 damage and his weapon attacks do 1d8+2 damage.  His attack bonus is +3.

How does this Wizard primarily fight?

1d3

1- With his magic.  He carries either a 1d6 melee or ranged weapon, but primarily relies on his magic, keeping that only as a back-up.
2- Melee combat, either unarmed or with a weapon.  He is armed with a 1d6 [1= Ornate sword; 2= Pair of Tonfa; 3= Nunchucks; 4= Collapsing Staff; 5= Pair of long knives; 6= Ordinary tool repurposed as a weapon, e.g. a frying pan, carpenter's hammer, cricket bat.]
3- Ranged combat, weapon varies depending on the Wizard.  He is armed with a 1d4 [1= Gun; 2= A bow or crossbow; 3= A wand; 4= A musical instrument that channels magic.]

What is the Wizard protected by?

1d8

1- Fighting Experience.  The Wizard can parry 1 attack per round, either with his magic or with a weapon.
2- Normal Armor.  The Wizard wears armor that gives them AR 3.
3- Enhanced Agility.  The Wizard, unless being attacked from surprise, adds double his or her DEX modifier to any defense rolls (min +2).
4- Enhanced Toughness.  The Wizard takes -1d4 damage from all non-magical sources.
5- Passive Magical Defenses.  The Wizard's magic automatically activates in response to them being attacked.  If the Wizard is attacked, roll 1d20.  If the roll exceeds the attack roll, the attack is automatically nullified.
6- Regeneration.  The Wizard regenerates 1d6 HP a round.  There is a way to retard or slow this regeneration, but it is secret.
7- Damage Immunities.  The Wizard cannot be harmed by sources that do 1d4 [1= Sharp (cutting, slashing, ripping); 2= Bludgeoning; 3= Ballistic; 4= Burning] damage.
8- Specific Death Condition.  The Wizard cannot die unless 1d8 [1= He is decapitated; 2= All his limbs are cut off (while he is still alive) and later buried in separate locations; 3= He is burned to death and his body is reduced to ash and bones; 4= He is flung from a great height and dies on impact; 5= He is drowned; 6= He is strangled with not a drop of his blood being spilled; 7= He is killed by someone who has never taken a life before; 8= He is poisoned.]

What type* of magic does this Wizard do?

1d20

1- Fire.  This Wizard can command fire.  This Wizard carries some means of starting fire, even if it's unnecessary.  Additionally, they also likely wear at least some protective clothing.
2- Ice.  This Wizard can command ice, freezing and melting it at will.  This Wizard is warmly dressed, no matter the occasion.  Alternatively, they might prance around in barely any clothing, as cold cannot touch them.
3- Water.  This Wizard can command water, pulling it out of the atmosphere or living creatures.  This Wizard may be wearing a bathing suit, or hydrophobic clothing.
4- Earth.  This Wizard commands earth, stone and sand.  This Wizard wears flowing, intricate robes that never get dusty or dirty.
5- Metal.  This Wizard controls metals, both worked and unworked.  This Wizard wears at least one prominent piece of metal jewelry, and likely has several piercings.
6- Wind.  This Wizard controls the wind and the air, creating blasts of air, pushing himself or others in different directions and being able to reduce fall damage for himself or others.  This Wizard wears tightly fitted, perhaps skin-tight fabric that won't flap around in the breeze.  Anything that could be buffeted about is tearaway- such as a cloak or trailing ends of a headband.
7- Love.  This Wizard can manipulate people's feelings, making the creature feel more or less fondness for someone or something else.  Charm magic.  This Wizard is dressed to the nines, no matter the occasion.
8- String/Cloth/Robe.  This Wizard can manipulate cloth, string, rope and fabric, anything made of fibers woven together.  This Wizard's clothing is widely impractical, but can be changed or rearranged at will.   
9- Smoke.  This Wizard can manipulate smoke and fog, altering temperature, thickness and amount.  This Wizard constantly smokes. 
10- Sword/Cutting.  This Wizard can cut things apart with little more than a gesture.  This Wizard may carry a sword, or may use some other item to cut things, such as playing cards, origami or ribbons.
11- Light.  This Wizard can manipulate light, firing lasers, blinding creatures, and creating illusions.  This Wizard wears sunglasses, no matter how dark it is outside.
12- Shadow.  This Wizard can manipulate darkness, hiding himself, turning invisible or drowning creatures in liquid shadow.  This Wizard is edge central, with lots of leather, superfluous zippers, fancy belts and strategically ripped clothes.
13- Wood.  This Wizard can control wood, worked or unworked.  Beware of trees.  This Wizard wears wooden jewelry or leans on a wooden cane. 
14- Blood/Bone/Flesh.  This Wizard can control bones, flesh, and blood, either his own or other people's.  This Wizard is in perfect physical health and his body is stunningly beautiful.
15- Mind/Thought.  This Wizard can control thoughts, memories and minds, being able to convince people the Wizard's idea was their own or simply stealing their free will.  This Wizard has a third eye tattooed or drawn on his forehead.
16- Lightning/Electricity.  This Wizard commands lightning and electricity.  No electronics survive an encounter with him.  This Wizard wears silver jewelry and carries a rod or cane with a metal core.
17- Plants.  This Wizard commands plants, from the humble daisy to the towering oak.  The flower on his lapel?  It's alive.
18- Space.  This Wizard commands space, shrinking and growing objects, teleporting himself or others and moving with great ease.  The Wizard has a pair of earrings on that look like ornate buildings in glass bulbs.  If you look closely, you will find that these buildings are real, and full of tiny people.
19- Time.  This Wizard commands time, slowing or speeding up things around him, altering his position, finding out where you will be in the future, etc.  This Wizard is extremely powerful, but this powers come with limits.  He must be cautious, or else he could undo his own existence.  This Wizard wears multiple watches and is constantly fussing over a schedule.
20- Void.  This Wizard commands the Nothing, the space between things, and that which does not or no longer exists.  This Wizard is barely noticeable, unless he is acting against you.  He just seems unimportant and you have to resist the urge to ignore him. 

*If you are playing a game with a lot of these types of Wizards, I recommend making their magic types more varied or specific, such as instead of just "Light" in general, perhaps the Wizard can only make hard-light constructs, or their fire magic is a thin laser that can cut through objects and burns like an acelytene torch lasers of various types, or etc.

Into the World of Wizards:

If you follow a Wizard through a portal, what do you find on the other side?

1d4
1- A series of blank white corridors with endless doors.  Men in milk-white robes and featureless masks, carrying arm-loads of paperwork and bulging folders walk these halls, entering or exiting through the doors seemingly at random.  Those wearing masks, as long as they do not disturb the transportation of these papers, will be ignored and allowed to enter or exit doors at will.  Those who cause trouble or kill the men in white will have the unpleasant experience of meeting Security.
2- A maze of doors, being guarded by masked humans armed with weapons and check-lists.  They will ask for your papers and if you have anything to declare.
3- You are dumped into the back alley of a beautiful, ancient city, overflowing with wonders beyond your wildest imagination, a place where magic and technology more advanced then on your world flourish. 
4- A hotel room, with decor that seems vaguely familiar, but slightly alien, and also rather tacky.  Leaving the room you will find yourself wandering the halls of a very unusual hotel, one where everything seems just subtly off.  The other rooms have doors in them as well, which lead to different locations in your, or other worlds.  There may or may not be anything outside the hotel.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

QHW, Day 2: Villains

The following is an excerpt from an Undernet forum that was improperly purged.  It is suspected that 'VX' in this case is a shortened version of Venomous Xavier, one of the handles for the entity known as Jake Irvin Mitchell, #17 on the AIR List (Apprehend, Interrogate, Release) and #5 on the BOLO list (Be on the Lookout).  

If found, Mitchell is to not be harmed.  He is suspected to have vital information on the current status of the Sons of Freedom and the Brothers of the Rapture and is to be considered an asset.  Thus is the will of Emperor and the Oversight Committee.

Excerpt Begins:

KS: How do we know we're not the villains of this story?  
KS: Everyone thinks that they're the heroes, the protagonists, but what if we're not?

LN: *think's

VX: Lol, retarded moralf*gg*try detected

KS: It's not, that.  This is a legitimate question.

VX: Okay, r*t*rd

KS: And why are you doing that?  Is this forum censored?  

VX: No, of course not, you f*ck*ng idiot.  Everyone here is considered a person-non-grata, at best

LN: *persona-non-gracia

VX: We're all likely to end up as prey to the Gods.  So no, nobody gives a d*mn about mean words.

KS: Why do you dismiss me?  You even refer to them as Gods.  What's the problem?  Weren't they here first?

TB: I'm also confused.  Isn't it a debate worth having?

VX: No, it's not you drunken f*ck*ng sp*st*cs.  The actions of my ancestors have nothing to do with me.  
VX: Sure, they might have culled most of the indigenous inhabitants of this pathetic blue mudball, but how is that my problem?

TB: So you don't call them Gods out of respect?

VX: I always respect my enemy, even if I hate them.  You'd be stupid not to, especially with this enemy.  

BoT: Web-Crawlers have pinged us.  Countdown to shut-down and data purge is imminent.  Current Time till Purge: 5:00.

VX: Sh*t, they're getting faster.

TB: Data purge?  What does that mean?

VX: It means everything is about to go to h*ll in a handbasket.  Save everything you think you might need.  

KS: So I guess I'm not getting an answer.  

VX: It's not your fault.  We might be considered the villains of this tale, but that's okay.  The villains are always cooler, sexier and more interesting than the heroes, anyway.

KS: This isn't a story.

VX: Good.  Because in a story, the villain usually gets their sh*t shoved in by the end of it.  The hero always wins.  
VX: Not here.  Here, the "bad guys" can win.  
VX: Besides, the humans had it coming.

Excerpt Ends

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

QHW, Day 1: Art

I'm doing Red Kangaroo's challenge for June.  You can read more about it here, but essentially, you use the generator at the end of that post to gain a prompt and then write about it for fifteen parts.  Then post what you made.

      -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dwarves are said to be incapable of Art.  This is a common theme you'll here repeated in stories about them.  "Dwarves are too practical," you'll here them say.  "They only care for what works."  And to an extent, this is true.  Dwarves are an imminently practical people.  Unlike the flighty and mysterious Elves, with all their imagination and cruelty, Dwarves are solid and reliable.  It is said that Dwarves cannot break their oaths, so rigid are they. 

This is another thing about Dwarves that you will find is not true.  It's just that Dwarves take honor so seriously that most Dwarves would rather die than forswear an oath. 

Dwarves are also known to be hard-workers.  They are said to make the best slaves, as a Dwarven slave can work longer and harder than most other races.  They can also consume things that humans would find unpalatable or toxic.  Just don't make a Dwarf cook for you.  Unless the Dwarf is familiar with humans, he might add some poisonous mushrooms to the stew "for taste" and accidentally kill you.  He might not have even meant to do it.  But more than a few Dwarven slaves have escaped this way, then claimed ignorance of the fact that humans could not consume that specific root or herb.   

This is a lie.  And that's the thing about lying.  It's not a matter of science.  Lying is an Art, and one Dwarves are quite good at.  Even with magic that can detect falsehoods, such abilities are limited.  This is because truth, at least as far as mortal beings are concerned, is a matter of perspective.  Only Gods and Angels deal in absolutes.  

And part of the reason why Dwarves are such good liars is because no one expects them to lie.  Dwarves have a reputation for being dull, hard-working and honorable.  They work hard, pray, and go to sleep.  They do not properly worship the Authority, but instead a muddied mix of their own ancient religion and Hesayanism. 

That being said, it is rare that people find themselves angry to have Dwarves as neighbors.  They do not wage war nor engage in meaningless saber-rattling.  They will defend their hovels diligently, but they do not seem to even have much worth stealing.  They will sell you things, plain swords and unadorned mail, cut timber and glassware, if you ask.  But their products lack any form of artistic spark or inner life.  They seem to only make things that have any form of function. 

This also reflects in the way they dress.  Dwarves seem to only wear the colors white, brown and black.  Each color corresponds to a type of person in society, with bright colors only permitted on special occasions.  Dwarven women are said to be extremely plain, shaving their heads and never wearing any form of make-up or clothing that accentuates their features.  Some even disguise themselves as men when traveling.

But there are many stories about Dwarves, also told by ignorant peasants.  These contain fanciful tales of huge underground cities concealed in the mountains or in deep caves, far from the light of the sun.  These cities are built of jewels and carved stone, and each one is said to contain more wealth and beauty than the greatest of human cities.  There Dwarves wear only cloth-of-gold, as they are so rich, they could not spend it all.  

Down there, in the dark, the Dwarves scoff at us men.  They think us stupid, for we have only found the tiny remnant that they left behind on the surface, a decoy to distract us from their true dwelling places.  It is said that those who discover their cities without permission are killed, and any who escape are dismissed as liars by the Dwarves on the surface.  And most often, those people are dismissed as mad. 

After all, is it even possible for a Dwarf to lie?