Thursday, May 26, 2016

Make, Break, Fake, Slake, Slick, Tick, Click

Anyway. I said that making rulesets wasn't my best decision so I'm going to be a hypocrite right now.

Since this blog is basically a dredge of Gloomtrain and gameswithothers without the good ideas or innovation or grammar skills, here's a stolen thing:

Resolution is 2D6 + relevant attribute + relevant skill:
10-12 is a success.
7-9 is a success with a cost or complication.
4-6 is a failure.
1-3 is a failure with a cost or complication.

Attributes—Charisma, Dexterity, Intellect, Strength, and Vim—are 1D6:
6 is a +1 modifier
2-5 is a 0 modifier
1 is a -1 modifier

You start with three skills at +1. These skills can be anything: Lying, Gambling, Staring, Tantrums, Card Tricks, Stoicism, Insults, Compliments, Research, Forgery, Bushcraft, Languages, Organic Chemistry, Being Rich, and so on.

You have D6 + VIM HP.
You can carry 3 + STR items and sprint; 6 + STR items and run; 9 + STR items and jog.

If you have to hurt or kill things:
Small or subtle weapons do D6 damage.
Martial or large weapons do D6+1 damage.
Huge or horrifying weapons do D6+2 damage.
Also: Serrated edges disrupt distorted fleshy creatures, doing +1 damage.
Also: Silver surfaces disrupt dreamy ghostly creatures, doing +1 damage.

You have equipment from real life. You at least have clothes.

You woke up with long fingers clasping yours that slipped away under your bed just as you opened your eyes. There are livid blue-purple-gold streaky fingerprints all over your forearms and hands that smell like honey and acid and do not wash off.

OR you felt a prickling on the back of your skull like a flowerbud splitting into bloom while your backbrain went liquid and poured out from the skull-flower. Your brain is mostly there but something else has taken residence amongst visual processors and brainstem.

OR your sins and virtues turned solidus or superfluid and flowed up and down your spine and into your ribs then into your lungs. You breathe misty sin or smoky virtue in turn, your teeth are flowing soft and runny and tooth-shaped pearls are growing in their spaces.

OR you found in place of guts a grasping gaping lightless hole right above your navel that can fold your belly-skin closed like curtains. Your breath smells like formaldehyde and your voice sounds so very far away like it's deep within a hole somewhere above your navel.

OR something.

You're not totally alone, there are people you can contact by stimulating the small bones in your ear by technology or parasites or ghosts. You can somehow also see their faces, perceive their expressions in your minds-eye when talking to them.

Ex-Corporal Rotte is nasty, practical, direct, an accomplished tactician and seeker of ends at the cost of being a people-pleaser or having ethical means. She has an almost encyclopedic memory about weaponry.
Informs you about equipment use; wants weapons and esoteric books.

Mister Pig is crafty, smirking, good-natured and jovial at the worst of times. May or may not be a gestalt, teeming, hundred-bodied demon forced into immortal pigflesh; either way, Mister Pig has acquired a vast repertoire of languages and competence over them.
Translates things; wants a steady diet of ghosts, demons, new language, new words, old words.

The Fuckbird hates you and hates everything and cannot fly, but is at a higher point than everyone else and can observe the movements of nearly everything.
Informs you about the area and inhabitants; wants to fly and wants your face.

Goodnight Moon is mostly silent and listens to your every word. They look like the pallid, pockmarked moon and have a bullet lodged in their right eyesocket. Their teeth are bullets and their spit is blackpowder or ink and their tongue is flint and pyrites.
Makes things die; wants equally weighty down payment for this service.

Keymaker Mass is disgusting and blobby, tender, attentive, and made of thirty people and a cow and a goat and a lamb.
Makes keys of all kinds for all kinds of locks; wants attention and gossip and gospel.
A thing.
Keymaker Mass (I drew this)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Mess

Just to get this off my computer.

1. Platform of crooning singer-boatmen in their traditional tin masks, harmonizing to an old peacetime tune of ‘O Idol Ikon’. They are disheveled, wandering.
2. Drug-ruined river-dreamers who float on their backs amidst layers and layers of gaudy golden cloaks, streamers and sashes trailing underneath them like jellyfsh stings, thin opiate smoke issuing from their toothless mouths.
3. A rotting pier collapsing into a canal, seabirds scattering into the air, someone splashing amidst the sprinters and foam and filth, screaming.
4. Disinterested submarine giants standing around, the tops of their palid, mottled scalps just barely touching the water’s surface. They’re watching surface-dwellers and frowning deeply.
5. A merchant houseboat breaks away from its moorings during exchange. The merchant herself is aggravated but willing to wait until the exchange is completed as per custom. Just below the waterline, diminutive Guild agents affix hooks to the houseboat and prepare to swim it out to sea.
6. Shrouded, silent watchers with muskets monitor you from the highest rooftops, their footing sure on steep, decaying shingles. 

1. The Variegated Guild—also known as the Guild On High, The Face, The Guilt, the Practical Associates. They have faces in opium trafficking along the river.
2. The Damned Clan, sprawling, teeming, legally-bound but not blood-related family. Mercenary-inclined, tattoo fingerprints on random parts of their bodies but scour smooth their original ones.
3. Sun-Eaters, representatives of Resplendent IV. They're trying to eat the sun.
4. Of The Polyp Genesis, mutagenic dabblers, butchers, and a significant source of food for all Colcviic. All butchery and disposal of the dead is overseen by their members. No-one questions the fact that some meat has to be plucked free of teeth during the winters.

1. Polyp Renegade—Oilcloth bag full of terratomas, rimfire shotgun with 6 shells, 6 oil flasks.
2. River Rat—Ratcatcher pole, 5' twine, thick leather gloves and collar (AC 1), bitter lozenge (re-roll v. Poison once), work orders.
3. Canal Showboater—Ornamented brass kidney-belt (AC 1), slashed-and-puffed shirt, stale soporific powder in a handkerchief, petrified wooden club, loaded dice.
4. Damned Initiate—Padded jack (AC 2), 3 long bronze knives, fingerprint tattoo.
5. Sailor—Salt-stained overalls, blue-striped shirt, whistle, boarding spear, offering to an ocean deity (burn to calm local weather).

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

While The Night Away

So I improvised this last night, let's see how it reads after a little thought:

A banquet hall, feast hall, particularly large dining room or well-appointed kitchen dependent on where you are. Several tables are arrayed in the space, and a group of ten to twelve people migrate from one to another in a regular clockwise pattern, spending about ten minutes at each before collectively standing and moving to the next. Every time they go from table to table they will 'set' into a specific period of time during the day, and 'reset' after those ten minutes to move.

Aside from this movement, they are able to step away from the table to about eight feet, with increasing distress every foot.

Any food or drink taken from the tables and consumed will be incredibly delicious and aromatic, confer wonderful texture and mouthfeel, and provide no nutritional value or satiation whatsoever. If taken out of the space, or kept alongside normal food, it will putrefy everything. If observed, the tables themselves will never run out of anything, there will always be more food taken from where one is not looking.

D10 Tables, Their Spreads, and Their Events
1- Huge, spiny fish gutted, fried, sautéed in its own juices and lemon and salt. Its head is still intact, dominated by seven rolling eyes and vestigial horns, and gapes repetitively when cut into. The table is topped with marble, beads of mercury are collected on its surfaces.
The group will be set to nine at night,  and engaged in an excited practice of exchanging grotesque masks, always returning to the one they originally wore before resetting. They do this by ducking under the table. Each mask speaks with a different voice, superimposed over the wearer's. Anyone taking a seat must save versus Device or be compelled to wear one of these masks; when taken off, the wearer's face will also come cleanly off.

2- Sharp cheeses, olives, pickled vegetables of all kinds, crispy sourdough loaves wrapped in soft cloth to keep the heat in. Light herbal oils and alcoholic sauces available for dipping. All the glazed dishware is styled as coiled worms eating one another, all the silverware engraved with eyes. The table stands on knotty humanlike legs done in brass.
The group will be set to seven at night, taken over by light conversation and shy greetings as if first meeting. They will regard anyone standing with quiet discomfort, and make every suggestion of it being disrespectful. Anyone taking a seat must save versus Device or be lulled into introducing themselves and revealing otherwise painful or harmful secrets.

3- Hunks of roast goat and zucchini cut apart with tiny, viciously sharp knives and drizzled with pear cider. Personal dishes of spice are scattered all around the table, some knocked over. The table's surface looks like hundreds and hundreds of fused molars, uneven but uniformly polished.
The group will be set to ten at night, contentious and amorous in turn. A couple will be exchanging veiled comments and euphemisms, the rest will be increasingly sour. Anyone taking a seat must save versus Poison or be poisoned by taking a glass not meant for them.

4- A wide variety of spiced wines, vodka, gin, hard cider, cocktails, mixers, chasers, and aperitifs clustered in tin tubs of ice. Glasses are always large and at least half-filled. The tablecloth is stained with tears, booze, spit, and bile.
The group will be set to three in the morning, all intoxicated and maudlin, weeping to one another or in the process of passing out. Anyone taking a seat must save versus Paralysis or pass out drunk until the group resets and moves away.

5- Massive crustaceans, their legs removed and stacked to one side of the plate, their bodies riddled with wriggling parasites that smell and taste of roses. Steaming hot alcohol and tepid brine stand in tall bottles like dancers elongated and twisted into a single mass. No utensils, everything is hand-eaten.
The group will be set to midnight, and be more focused on eating than anything else. Conversation will be short and utilitarian. Anyone taking a seat must save versus Poison or join eating; only the parasites were 'real', and whoever eats is now completely infested.

6- A blank table, unadorned.
The group will be set to the hour between midnight and one in the morning, totally aware of their cyclical behaviors and ravenously hungry, riddled with sickness, poison, addiction, parasites. Cannibalism is an option to them. Anyone taking a seat must save versus Device or be permanently made a member of the group.

7- Minuscule dishes piled high with caviar, diced celery, raw egg yolks, aniseed, dried pitted cherries stewed in alcohol, and salt. Long-handled spoons available for each and every taste, and flutes of white wines to cleanse the palate. There are knives taped to the underside of the table at every other seat, like half-smiles with embossed brass teeth on the fullers.
The group will be set to one in the afternoon, weary and workworn, adjusting sweaty collars and peeling off uncomfortable gloves. This is pretense, for a single word beyond tired greetings elicits a suspicious and hostile response, which escalates to table-wide argument. Immediately before weapons are drawn the table will reset and move on. Anyone taking a seat must save versus Magic or be the target of violence, and will have a 3-in-6 chance of having a knife available to them.

8- Three large tureens, one full of mushroom soup, one full of onion broth, the last full of savory rabbit stew. The silver tureens and their platters have been shaped as a human in the fetal position, or possibly prostrating, and the solemn face of the moon respectively.
The group will be set to eight at night, jovial but impatient, bored and provoking each other into excess and risky consumption. A handkerchief or cloth will be passed around, its contents taken in pinches. Effects will vary. Anyone taking a seat must save versus Poison or be intoxicated and develop a terrible disease.

9- Sliced fruits and complementary flavors: peaches and honey, apples and caramelized sugar, rose hips and blackberries, bitter green tomatoes and salt, strawberries and cheese. Tinctures of camphorated opium. Everything sort of lodged into the irregular mounds of candles atop the table, a dozen dozen wicks lit with flames in every color, running wax pooling on the floor and on diners' legs.
The group will be set to five in the morning, collectively exhausted but motivated by camaraderie and a persistent whispered question passed between each member. Anyone taking a seat must save versus Magic or be told the question in full, causing Wisdom damage until answered.

10- Dense pastries, almonds worked into the crust, slathered with butter and bitter jellies or sweet glaze. Baked bumblebees and honeycombs, live bees gently orbiting the table. Flowers of spun sugar in false bouquets suspended in tonic water. There is nothing on the table that isn't modeled after parts of insects: veiny locust wing patterns on the glass tabletop, segmented centipedes holding up furnishings, distorted spider legs for fork tines, weevil bodies for spoons.
The group will be set to two in the morning, mostly docile, having broken up into small factions. Each will insist anyone standing should join them. Anyone taking a seat must save versus Magic or be physically subsumed into the person they are sitting closest to; not violently, just a gradual decrease in distance until the two people are overlapping at the same point in space.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Devil Devil Devil

Some gross devils, or things like devils, or just gross things.

The Fuckbird
Flayed, fallen and charred, feathers half-melted onto its flesh, filthy and flaking off as it becomes covered in calluses and skin tags. Its has teeth, which no bird should have. Eyes like an unseeing milky constellation across its face, neck, and chest.
Extremely knowledgeable about emotions, psychology, and neurology; is able to make a person loved by all by physically extracting ambient bad feelings about them and placing those bad feelings into itself. Kind of an asshole about this talent, demands to be held on high in exchange for its services since it cannot and could not ever fly. Insists that it is The Fuckbird, not merely a Fuckbird.

That Old Time Religion
Pontifex regaled in stories as a gentle guide and storyteller, always offering sympathies and applicable parables to whatever troubles burden a listener. Has never once led a wanderer astray. Instead asks if they would be able to place a nickname upon their companion, a name between friends, a personal signifier that the pontifex can remember in their growing age—there are so many similar names in the world, after all.
They have been doing this for some time now, and have only ten names they need to shed that remain.
Despite the title, this being is not solely a withered pontifex, but can also appear as such: the pontifex regaled in milky robes and holding a candelabra, the goat-priest adorned in woad and untanned skins, shrieking from constant STIs and foodborne parasites; the pilgrim full of pestilence and sunburned flesh, eyes milky and useless; the lamplighter prophet with flame behind their teeth, toes rotten from gangrenous boots.

Toad-Killer Tracker
Valet and majordomo to The Devil Himself, The Betrayer, The Tempter, The Opposition to God. Maintains an underhanded series of contracts with every devil in existence to funnel every single sinning soul towards Hell; this is not to torment them, but to relieve the strain on all the heavens from containing so many virtuous souls. Hell is spacious enough, and the souls are kept sleeping until they may be sent to their just rewards.
May or may not be an actual toad, or every toad in existence that has ever been. Was recently pinned to a tree and is impatient for the nail to rust away so it may continue organizing the dead.

Monday, May 2, 2016


So I've been gone for two years. Doing things, not very important things.

For a while I was thinking of fiddling through my own little homebrew collections of rules in an attempt to emulate better thinkers and better designers—Pearce Shea, Logan Knight, Gus L, Matteo Diaz, all those names—because I personally disliked playing Fourth Edition. These were unsuccessful.

Then I ran some games, played some games, fiddled through five different variations on the same nightmare, ghost-filled, Edwardian ruinscape that also wanted to be a comprehensive setting while being uncertain enough so I could put in monsters and skill systems and fashion styles. I think for a time a renamed the cardinal directions, which was a mistake.

Then I started playing Lamentations and Call of Cthulhu and Fifth Edition, which was better.


Here's a 'wash up half-naked on the beach' situation, without a map.

As LOTFP unless specified.
You washed up on a horrible coast. Area is like two miles longwise.
Be a human. Fish-people and bird-people are also humans.

-You are indebted to The Devil for your soul, and must convince ten worthy souls to be exchanged for your one.
-You know that your incredibly valuable birthright was lost on a ship that traveled this isolated coast.
-You intend to rendezvous with your teacher, a sorcerer of minor name but great promise, and unlock an unsettling secret related to the Moon None Can See.
-You must find the person who has stolen your identity, and reclaim your name by any means.
-You have been charged with ringing the leaden bell at the highest point to prevent the Ship Of The Dead from surfacing in three days.
-You seek to unfix the buried giant that holds this cursed place in an undetermined state.
-Your younger sibling went missing around this area, you want them to conceal a secret but first you have to find them and make sure no-one knows already. 

A set of scales, 100 feet of hemp rope, a woolen coat, a beetle sigil in brass, leather armor, a crimson dress, a chalice, a swamp horse mount who is massive and terribly strong, a light crossbow with a case of ten bolts, a trusty sword, a handwritten note with a single spell on it, a steel shield, a spiked dagger, 28 silver coins of various provenance, a penchant for fine Venusian wine attached to a lantern, an unwavering sense of professionalism attached to an old watch, an opium habit attached to a robe lined with drugs.

1- A swampy coast, flooded, marshy ground. Trees half or mostly sunken into the tides and very high foliage cover, roots poking out of gritty mud, moss on every trunk. Solid ground is limited, clinging to the wider trees. Humid, moist, rainy, stink of salt and rot. Sounds of whirring gnats, curious or scared fish, the outer ocean.
2- A camp, just on the edge of swamp and solid land. It’s sodden and abandoned, but there is dry tinder in the tent. 
3- Hamlet of Sump and its associated Fort built on top of a hill leading over the sea. Thirteen homes and a few connected warehouses, linked with rope bridges. Everything is bleached planks stood up on tree-trunk piles, long buildings with steep shingled roofs. Barnacles, creepers, and slime everywhere. Full of humans and fish-people.
      -Has a Cleric who leads the congregation and is assumed leader in times of need, a really skilled clothier, a tinker, and a sometimes functional radio tower.
4- The Fort, highest point, its tower visible for miles. Owned and ruled by Nil-Ynath. Has a group of loving cultists operating in the supposedly sealed basement, who have captured a sorcerer.
5- A shipwreck of notable size and age, old red-metal sunken into the swamp. A former pleasure-cruiser of some repute, known for its ghostlights and profitable gambling that went too far out into the swamps and became stuck.
6- A library owned by Nil-Ynath in dim secret. Diesel powered in good times and peat powered in bad, it is full of tomes on sleep and dream-eating. The fishman is paying people and using sleep-depriving masks on them to extract dreamstuff for his consumption and manipulation. All old brickwork and bronze fittings, gargoyles snarling down on visitors.
7- Northern section of the coast, beyond the hill that Sump sits on. Dim and isolated.

1- Nil-Ynath, fishman owner of the Fort of Sump, walking back from his secreted library to the hamlet. Carries a wire case of beer bottles that he will offer freely and generously. Wealthy for the area, this shows through his standout fashions and aforementioned generosity.
A fishman noble, who is insistently generous. He is tall and toothy, motivated by addiction.
2- Nero Cacrinolas, tiny bald child wrapped in too-large clothing and carrying a candelabra done in chased silver. Not actually a child, but rather a sorcerer and scholar in disguise after being exiled from his lab in the Library. Legitimately despises Nil-Ynath because of this but is too afraid to actually go into Sump.
     Nero - Dextrous, intelligent scholar Magic-User.
     [HP 18, AC 11, Candelabra (1D3), Knuckledusters (1D4)]
     Spells - Knock, Invisibility, Change Self, Sleep, Web.
3- Five cultists in heavy robes and hoods, carrying baskets, hooks, spears, and crowbars to collect on the newest shipwreck. Dour-faced, damp from the rain, unlikely to reveal that they are cultists in the first place but will trade for a little food.
4- Twelve huge crows, large as dogs. Hungry but unable to fly, eyes like milky unseeing constellations scattered across their faces and necks, feathers filthy and flaking off as their flesh becomes covered in calluses and skin tags. They have teeth. They are chasing a bloodied courier. One of them will be The Fuckbird.
     D12 Crow Things - Very dextrous mutated scavengers.
     [HD1+2, AC 11, claws 1D4]
     Tactics - Screech (Call more Crows), Lunge (Con save or catch disease)
5- Bha’Yhach, Cleric of The Unbound Worm in Sump. Has a lateral lisp. Patient but does not wholly trust Nil-Ynath. Fish-person in a matrilineal line of Clerics, is very virtuous by the standards of that faith, and leads a small congregation of a dozen in choir every night. Is the first person the hamlet will turn to in times of trouble or violence.
     Bha’Yhach - Tough, very wise fish-person Cleric.
     [HP 21, AC 14, Silver flensing knife (1D4+2)]
     Spells - Purify/Putrefy Food and Drink, Silence, Cure Light Wounds.
6- Three couriers, masked like empty-eyed birds, arguing over directions. They are Bird People and all have incredibly important letters to deliver, they’re requesting help. But none of them seem to know where the road is.
7- Bleary fungoid beings with bulbous heads and too-long arms with ten fingers to a hand. Slightly burnt and sodden from a crash into the ocean, becoming increasingly oxygen-drunk since their filtration machines were lost. They carry laser pistols and manipulate the vocal cords of others to articulate language.