Monday, March 24, 2014

Five Things

1 - Khafka Pseudovora
    - Roll 1D8 for HP 
    - Needs to eat only once a month
    - 'Bite' attack that inflicts Filth Fever (Save v. Poison)

They take gaudy paints and draw elaborate designs below their noses, all ivory teeth and crimson tongues. It is almost sad.

2 - One With Sparks in Their Knuckles
    - Roll 1D4 for HP
    - (+1 Intelligence)
    - Knows Burning Hands or Flare

They know little, being chased away as children, aside from that which they can touch—and burn.

3 - Heretical Pisikin
    - Roll 1D6 for HP
    - Can make two things
    - Knows Water Breathing

Lost emissaries from the Submost Kingdoms, lugging branches of ceremonial driftwood and smoking pipes of rare tobacco.

4 - Stone Tower King
    - Roll 1D8 for HP, Wisdom
    - Unarmed attack does 1D4 damage
    - 1D6 points of natural armour

Dead heretic pagan gods, made stone and flesh against their will. They weep in the early mornings.

5 - One Who Kisses Spiders
    - Roll 1D6 for HP, Charisma, Strength
    - Knows Speak With Animals (Spiders)
    - (+2 Dex)

Pale-faced and silent, monks of the natural who build shrines to bask in the eight-eyed stares of their children and parents alike.

Do what you will with these things, small as they are.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Tidewaters - Official Systems

Systems for Tidewaters.

Endurance Points - The ability to avoid damage, be it through resistance or otherwise. Regenerate at a rate of 1 EP per turn of rest.

Wounds - What damage one can take before dying fully. Being reduced to one Wound halves the amount of available EP one can use. Wounds regenerate over roughly one week of medical care.

The five main stats are determined by rolling 2D6—or 3D6 if one is feeling kindly—for each stat. A score of nine or ten is considered normal. If any reach a score of zero a character is effectively considered dead.

Face - Social salience, deftness, showmanship, manipulation, propriety, communication.
Nerves - Composure under stress, ability to react, ability to endure horrors.
Motion - Movements and control of movements, reflexes, reacting, making things.
Body - The use of one's body to an end, carrying, attacking, brute strength or endurance.
Mind - The use of one's mind to an end, remembering details, figuring puzzles, explaining details.

Attacking - A weapon's damage value, modified by either a Body or Motion modifier depending on the weapon itself. For example, smaller hand weapons or polearms use Motion, while larger weapons use Body.

Armour - Comes in two varieties that add to EP while penalizing Motion rolls. Natural armour is considered adapted to a being's form, and thus has no penalty.
Light - (+3 EP / -2 Motion)
Heavy - (+5 EP / -3 Motion)

Resistance - Roll 1D4.
v. Charm - Resisting being compelled, convinced, tricked, or subconsciously affected.
v. Poison - Resisting slow toxins, infections, or diseases.
v. Curse - Resisting debilitating sorceries that drain life-energy.

Saving - Roll a D20. Most normal beings save on a score of 16 or higher.
When saving to evade an attack, add Motion modifier.
When saving to avoid a Charm, Poison, or Curse, add the respective modifier.

Traits - Modifiers of main stats gotten at major events over time. Can be positive or negative, and a character may only have six at any given time that do not cancel one another out.
Skills - Tasks and specific talents of a character. Increases with payment of experience and money for training of said skills—money is quicker, but costlier.

Gear - Equipment that one carries, usually functional. Degrades or depletes over time.
Clothing - Garments that inform on social status and personage.

Resolution mechanics
Task - There is a base value for the task, with a roll lower being failure and a roll higher being success. Circumstantial modifiers take effect.
Chance - There is a value with different numbers corresponding to different results.
Reaction - Out of a value of ten, the involved individuals roll, with the roll closest to ten being the first reaction. A successful Motion roll adds to the result.

What a very concise character sheet looks like.

Name -  Species -  Bdy -  EP - 
Age - Sex -  Min -  Wounds - 
Height - Class - Mot - 
Weight -  Detail - Nrv -  v. Poison - 
Gear Fac -  v. Charm - 
v. Curse - 
Garments Skill - 
Skill - 
Spell- Trait - Skill -
Spell- Trait - Skill -
Spell- Trait - Skill -
Spell- Trait - Skill -

Concept of garments and EP adapted wholesale from Gameswithothers.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Shallow and Deep Dreamers

Within the architecture of dreams and levels of consciousness aforesaid, the interaction of conscious beings themselves is rather one-sided: their brains allow for connection to the Layers, and thus they may manifest themselves in said Layers by connecting conscious and subconscious. These experiences are typically known as dreams.

Most brains are limited to the First Layer, and thus are Shallow Dreamers in essence, distilling their experiences in the Zeroth Layer into their perception of the First, and thus affecting the First within the little bubble of reality it takes up, and vice versa. As it is shallow, however, the change upward is minimal, and not much subjective surrealism gets carried up save for false memories or sensations; common to dreaming.

However, through some mechanism of deepmost, base consciousness, a brain can bottom out through their First Layer into the Second, and thus be considered a Deep Dreamer. Most, if any, only manage to achieve this once before either getting lost in the morass or waking so terrified as to never sleep restfully again—but there are even fewer who take interest in the phenomenon, and cultivate their skill in navigation and pattern-reading. It is said the Deep Dreamers access the Second Layers in REM sleep, during which the connection between the conscious and subconscious is most direct, and can prolong that state to maximize their time out of the conscious world. At usual a session can be three hours before 'surfacing'.
As well, due to their immersion into this more fundamental plane, any perceptions that would normally result in dreams in the First Layer, result in local alterations in the Second, which carry up to the Zeroth in the form of more sustained irregularities of reality. The stronger the perception gotten before sleep, the stronger the irregularity that emerges from the primordial unconscious.

When Deep Dreamers descend, they affect a sort of 'sinkhole' for surrounding minds: sending most into drowsiness, disorientation, microsleep, and inconsistent memory—and allowing other Deep Dreamers to track them on all three known Layers. Such factors allow for competition to be swift and lethal between those who would wish to be solitary in their strange and terrible powers.

Some say that the sensation of 'surfacing' is similar to watching a movie reel burn, whilst being pulled upwards by a hook through the skull.

Every person one meets in dreaming is either real in the Zeroth, or real in the Second.



Art credited to Torvenius.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Denstyx, The Great Fortress

        Upon the banks of a churning river so polluted as to be corrosive, the Shoeless Lord Pasramat brought his vast hordes of starving refugees, lost nobility, rejected prophets, and losing armies of the war against the Eighteen Lights. Despair wracked their faces as the blighted lands were shown to be their resting place. They clamored to their Lord to save them, in wrath threw rocks, rotted fruit, the corpses of their newborns.
And led by divine visions, driven by encroaching illness, Pasramat led the masses to the riverbanks, and brought a bowl of the toxic river sludge to his lips— only to spit it out as crystal-clear water. Whatever his kiss touched was purified, brought back to health and perfection. So emboldened the masses drank freely and found deeper faith in their shrunken, dying Shoeless Lord. His commands to quarry great blocks of stone from the earth were met with mass enthusiasm, and so great walls and feast-halls, winding avenues, floors upon floors, buildings upon buildings flew up to comprise what is now Denstyx, a vast city-state.
The lands around grew prosperous, and harrying bandit tribespeople of the wastes were brought to civilization or stripped of goods and executed. From once-wretched desolation came frequent trade caravans and emissaries from lands conquered by the Eighteen Lights, offering goods and alliances. But Pasramat was not so convinced, and from his divan ordered walls thickened, gates quietly sealed, farmland brought inside, strange oil-powered mechanisms from exotic Fossaban imported and set in the subterranean sewers—all for the safety of Denstyx, so that they may never be made refugees again.
But when Pasramat came quietly to his deathbed, only inward issues pressed on the populace: the Fossaban devices brought in only a quarter amount of clean water the Lord’s kiss once did, and the city-state had been built too large to support itself properly. In the midst of deliberations, Pasramat clutched his gut, let out a final cry, and vomited the most foul, contaminated fluids known to time. All present died soon after of vast infections, and their corpses fell to liquid rot soon after. The upper palaces were sealed off, filed with the cries and pleadings of the servants as they too become naught but stinking, contaminated sludge. Overzealous looters or curious guardsmen soon coaxed the poisons out before their timely deaths, and entire wards of the city-state ran red. 
        Huge, crude plague-walls of reserve stone and river-clay came up to seal away safer wards and neighborhoods—but to little avail. The wise fled downwards and upwards, to highest towers and lowest sub-basements; the foolish remained in the open, or even dove over the walls into the river, soon to be dissolved.

Now Denstyx faces no ruler, a water shortage, a chaotic population, and a plague washing through each and every crumbling corner of the labyrinthine Fortress—and no one can get out. 

Denstyxi Liquid Plague

Infection DC- 20 (Inhalation), 35 (Liquid Contact)
Incubation - 1-2 Days
Damage - 2D6 Str damage (Save v. Poison twice), or Death 

If both rolls v. Poison are failed, then the character infected will quickly liquify from the inside out, expelling liquid from all orifices in a pool about ten feet in diameter.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tidewaters - Naming Conventions

Small detailing, but possibly very important.

Humans - Has a forename and a surname, sometimes a middle name to distinguish two of the name-named people. Reliance on either Earth-sounding names, or a mash of phonetic pleasantry and wordplay. Puns are acceptable.

(Ex. - Als Soisante,  Taxer Riddling, Cal Trop, Jemar Stanstets, Bron Tideater, Lazarus Laudislav.)

Bilgeborn - Has either a single name with an epithet or title, or just an epithet. Epithets are usually nouns or adjectives, very simple.

(Ex. - Salt, Proper, Omar, Osli, Lisper, Drummer, Sweetling, Kicker, Howler.)

Slinks - Actual names are presented in personalized tattoos and body-scents for explicit tale-telling, but verbal titles are in contrast very vague and impersonal, not always in the first person, and hint at larger implications.

(Ex. - One Who Told Lies, She Sleeps Free And Calm, Has Long Made Peace, Has Long Made War.)

Crewpeople - Do not have proper names, but instead transliterate the number-codes on their utility suits into combinations of letters that make phonetic sense. Three sets of four are the norm, but  phonetic clarity is preferred. None know what the Eight High Navigators are called individually.

(Ex. - Ghyd-Ilhi-Geht, Rast-Els-Telt, Mas-Vant-Ilsi, Goht-In-Elst, Tas-Reem-Chau.)

Mushrooms - Refer to themselves and each other as 'I', exclusively.

Snails - Take after human naming-conventions, but sometimes have pet names when in service. Usually musically-related.

(Ex. - Calliope, Oboe, Sinatra, Nightingale, Opera, Strum.)

Dreams and Dream-Layers

Now, the world can be divided into four separate 'layers' stacked upon one another in successive coherence and discretion of detail. This is a most convenient fiction, as the actual metaphysical structure of these 'layers' are couched in terms of older psychology, and thus take their shape as is easiest to describe. In reality they are enmeshed, with inconsistent borders, feeding into and out of one another.

The Zeroth Layer, the Conscious, the 'Real World' the space where all waking beings reside is topmost, filled with all the known universe. It is a layer of sensory perception filtered through mechanisms of rationality by brains, a layer of distinct wavelengths, atoms, pressures, materials, and elements that obey four basic constants—in short, it is very constructed and ordered by the observations of its inhabitants. In a way this is both its greatest gift and limitation: assumption and law have events far less mutable, with abnormalities reasoned away or too minuscule or obscure to make much impact on a large-scale.  But likewise this keeps it largely intact.

The First Layer, the Personal Subconscious, the 'Shallow Dream', the trillions of individual subconsciousnesses that are formed by just as many brains, all clustered together as grains of sand. The First is a kind of warped reflection of the Zeroth, holding the minds as the latter holds the brains: each metaphorical grain of sand is all the perceptions, impressions, reactions, mid-level data, and subtle computing made law in its own small space. In sleep, the conscious mind reduces itself and allows for a more direct connection with subconscious thought—this connection between the physical and metaphysical results in dreams.
Each subconscious in the First Layer is very private, near-impermeable if not for how they tend to bottom-out and leak into the Second Layer or make themselves subject through physical manifestations in art and thought and behavior.

The Second Layer, the Collective Subconscious, the 'Deep Dream', is simultaneously that amassed pool of leakage from the First, and its own kind of template by which the shape of the First is taken. Within it are primordial swathes of common-knowledge, patterns of habit and law that can be observed in all beings—communication techniques, emotional reactions, fears and counter-fears, needs and compulsions, the base stuff of the mind—with stains of the nuanced individual minds from above. These large patterns allow it to be more navigable than the First Layer, and even the Zeroth, for it informs both while being informed.

The Third Layer, the Template Subconscious, the 'Waste Land', is a mysterious, somewhat-theoretical Layer. Going by the model of the above two Layers, each progressing towards primordial form, the Third thus must inform the Second by being the template on which patterns of all minds can form; that is, it must be the most base of all, with a blank structure that allows for the above Layers to be constructed atop it. This makes it most dangerous, for to imprint a structure or pattern upon it would be to utterly alter the structures of other Layers.

Subsequent Layers either do not exist, or are so base and simple as to not allow definition beyond their existence allowing the existence of all above.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Tidewaters - Mushrooms and Snails

"...Small beings, hangers-on of a temporary type. Genetic dead-ends, small populations unable to hold their numbers, species lost and without advantageous situations. They are the limited, the dying species, the lost individuals from places we know not. At times it seems depressing, as if there were no real rooted places or peoples in the known world..."
—Prof. Triadesches Ballett

Mushrooms, taciturn fungus minds who came to be in the pumps and hydroponics of the Ship. They are new and young and not very outgoing as a species, tending mostly to their growths and crops, muttering when they speak if at all. They have a rather eminent concept of self, and think all other Mushrooms are themselves—more specifically, each believe they are all they encounter, and observe all others as reflections of themselves. This leads to very difficult diplomacy, as conversations go tremendously one-sided after a Mushroom starts picking up on a speaker's phrases and ideas.

As such, not much is known about Mushrooms, aside from their agricultural tendencies and extremely forceful punches and backhands, which seem to be derived from the only source of bone in their bodies. They are small, only three feet tall at the most, and seem to need only moisture for survival, rejecting all given food for anything other than fuel for their projects of fungus. Some have begun to associate them with the embodiment of resilient life aboard the Ship, walking representations of the possibility of survival in a place that is often hostile—others, merely mushrooms.

If they have culture, it is either purely internal, or somehow incomprehensible to other species, beyond the arabesque patterns of their food crops.

Brought aboard by a long-ago group of wealthy treasure-seekers, this sapient species of snail was found almost immediately in a servile role to their 'saviors', used as mobile drink tables and sources of light conversation. For the generations onward, sheer physical limitation has kept the Snails as such, with only their clear, charming voices being of much use in contest.

For the singing of a Snail is addictive, derived from the humming inside of their shells, reminiscent of unheard winds through rusted keyholes in tones that go above and below listening spectrum. It is a gift that demands ever more song until the Snail itself cannot hear anymore, and then still more. It is said this is lethal to all Bilgeborn, and will drive the latter to melancholy and madness if heard for too long. Affluent humans, however, continue to listen as they will.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

People Have Most Strange Results

Hacked Ubik

Phillip K Dick has a most inventive mind—so, it is only right that a shameless reduction to mere mechanical movements of his works is warranted. If this plays, then so be it; if it does not, so be it.

Upon the economic and societal collapses of 20XX—to be specific, a most desperate need for resources brought on by booming technological complexity and population—the human psyche-space effectively lost its already tenuous grip. From the instability emerged coherent corporations cognizant on their mission of keeping the structures of culture in place, putting a discrete price on literally everything and thus keeping everything manageable. Life and death themselves came to be measured in currency, as the advent of 'coldpacking' corpses and stimulating their grey matter could sustain a mind coherently for up to a decade.

Of course, this is true for mostly industrial states—much of the world has fallen back to city-state and tribal- or clan-based ways of governance, mixing heavily advanced tech with a nomadic lifestyle through the ruins of culture since abandoned. They return to older, reviled methods of communism, capitalism, shamanism, ancestor-worship, and democratic elections without even a second thought towards machine-dominance.

So too, the Moon and Martian territories annexed during a more affluent age of space-travel are rough frontiers poisoned by ultraviolet rays and decaying nuclear power stations.

The collapse had more effect than on just the physical: for upon its spiral outward and downward, the human brain took to growing strange through its neurons and structures. It grew to learn to calculate what might happen, to see intentions of other brains, to manipulate the little chemicals that make up emotion, to throw coups upon dominant consciousness, to dive into the psyche and draw out its most terrible nightmares and blissful fantasies.

And thus the psychic population emerged at random, from debt-ridden addicts to business magnates alike, encroaching with a subtle influence upon the majority.

But as one forms to feed, the other reacts in turn: psychic 'nulls' as well formed from select couples—possibly tests, possibly natural—to distract and override those powers that might override the common populace in turn. So began a conflict of use through psychics, to steal and manipulate and counter-manipulate as suited those who could pay. 'Influence' groups and 'Prohibition' groups, mirrored counterparts, made mercenary by way of constant debt and power-grabs.

1D6 for HP
1D10 for Str, Dex, Int, Wis, Nrv, Cha
1D4 for Resist v. Charm, v. Fear, v. Poison

Psychic Type Primary Power Secondary Power Result Nullified By
Telepath Communicate mentally and silently with two others. Read the immediate thoughts of one other. Headaches and bloodshot eyes. (-2 Int) Antipath
Precog Predict three possible results from a choice. Anticipate an action in the immediate future. Confusion of movement and the moment. (-2 Dex) Ticktockman
Empath Invoke terror in two others. Alter the emotional state of one other. Lack of emotion of reaction. (-2 Cha) Stoic
Kicker Take control of one other directly. Force one other to follow your  thoughts. Loss of higher mental functions. (-2 Wis) Shackle
Jumper Avoid a lethal result by placing another in that place. Switch places with one other. Wracking muscle pains, bruising. (-2 Str) Blackbox


Credit/Spending - Befitting a culture where everything costs, one simply cannot have the ability to freely move about without considering knowing the value of what they do. Most people operate on credit, and pay when able.
XP and credit are the same, and at the end of every game a player can expend it to pay off their debts.
Minor Costs (Doors, restrooms, calls, snacks, lights)
Small Costs (Tools, bribes, food, information, alcohol, clothes)
Major Costs (Rooms, cold packing fee, tickets, sex, weapons)
Significant Costs (Vehicles, flight, poison, real food, tech)
Dramatic Costs (Psychic or Null hiring, space travel, property)

Psychic Use - Same rules as Magic-Users—start with being able to prepare three powers. Use takes one round. Detrimental results of using powers last about three rounds.

Death - Not always permanent. If possible, a body can be coldpacked at a cost of 700 XP/credits per session, and be consulted as if alive, though without any abilities. Players can pool payment.

Weapons - Most weapons are small and easily hidden, like brass knuckles or stun-spray, and do 1D4 damage. If found or purchased, firearms do exploding damage with 1D6.