December 21, 2012

Insect Mounts

On the plains of Ig horses are a rarity. The predation from giant insects have all but driven large mammals from the plains. The few left are much smaller than horses found on other worlds and tend to stick to forests and other areas where they’re awarded some cover against attacks from the sky. The only group to make much use of them are the elves. Humanity makes use of an array of giant vermin as their mode of transport. Instead of warhorses the warriors of Ig ride destrier beetles, ravagers crash titanic stag beetles through enemy lines, and sorcerers ride flying trilobites over the mundane people below.

The destrier beetle is related to the giant stag, but a more mellow temperament and smaller frame was bred into the line centuries ago. They lack the tremendous horns and mandibles of their wilder kin, but make far better mounts. They range in size from that of a pony to larger than an ox. Destrier beetles bred for war have exaggerated thorax plates which mounted warriors use as added protection.

Destrier Beetle: Init +0; Atk mandibles +1 melee (1d4); AC 15; HD 3d8; MV 50’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +2, Ref +0, Will -2; AL N.

The warg spider is an enormous eight-legged beast. These are incredibly dangerous and expensive creatures, but they are a terror in battle. They make huge leaps in combat. It takes years to correctly train such a beast and great care must be taken to ensure that their hunting instincts are always kept in check. While not eating many owners cap their fangs with dull scabbards to discourage attacking passers by. Like a hunting falcon, a warg spider must never be allowed to go hungry. Being the size of a large horse this is very costly.

Warg Spider: Init +3; Atk fangs +3 melee (2d8); AC 14; HD 3d6; MV 60’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +4, Ref +2, Will -2; AL N.
The giant stag and rhinoceros beetle share similar niches. Both make formidable armored juggernauts, but rhino beetles are nearly double the size of stags. Stag beetles use their scything jaws to crush human foes and wrestle other insects to the ground. A rhino beetle can destroy a wall in a single charge, and the especially large specimens carry howdahs full of warriors. Both breeds are driven to a frenzy by playing a beetle drum, an instrument that emulates the breeding call of a female.

Giant Stag Beetle: Init +2; Atk mandibles +4 melee (3d6); AC 15; HD 3d8; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +2, Ref +0, Will -2; AL N.

Giant Rhinoceros Beetle: Init -2; Atk horns +3 melee (2d4+2); AC 17; HD 3d10; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +2, Ref +0, Will -2; AL N.

Flying trilobites must be summoned and controlled by a wizard, but are second to none as a ranged weapons platforms. The smaller specimens also make excellent aerial scouts. Their thick carapace also makes them almost impenetrable to normal weapons. The creature’s greatest weakness is low speed and agility.

Giant Aerial Trilobite: Init -3; Atk slam +3 melee (2d4); AC 17; HD 5d8; MV 20’ fly 120’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +3, Ref +1, Will -2; AL N.

Flitting delicately across the sky, the warmoth is a lepidopteran large enough to carry a man aloft. They are the steeds of the powerful, bred to match the colors of the rich and noble. Warmoths are difficult mounts to control. Like their tiny kin, warmoth flight is erratic. Mounted warriors are all but tied to their steeds, and drive them forward with flaming thuribles.

Warmoth: Init +3; Atk buffet +3 melee (2d6); AC 17; HD 3d8; MV 30’ fly 150’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +1, Ref +3, Will -2; AL N.

No one rides mantids. Mantids will eff you up.

December 07, 2012

The Swamps of And

West of Ig are the swamps of And. The numberless rivers of this land are fed by the heavy snow melt of the Dark Mountains and hundreds of tiny springs. To the west, sitting on a plateau above the surrounds land is the cloud forest of Lom. The entire region is saturated. To the north high moors are interspersed by peat bogs. The farther south one travels the more the swampier the ground becomes. At the coast the land breaks up into a jumbled mess of islets and deltas.

And is lightly populated in comparison to Ig. The land is too rough and the local fauna too vicious to support much civilization. Andish villages are usually ramshackle affairs built on bamboo piles to keep them above water during the rainy season. Others are floating communities that drift across shallow lakes, peopled by fishermen and reed-weavers. The common dietary staples are fish and rice, which grows well in the dank climate. The people of And breed dogs of all sizes. Huge war dogs, scent hounds, terriers in endless variations of coat and color. Every town cultivates a favorite breed. Most are highly prized outside of And. And is also riddled with ruins, forgotten cities, and waterlogged catacombs. The back-country is almost entirely unexplored.

Things in And
Jungle cults
Swamp monsters
The Cloud Cities of Lom
Apocalypse moths
Xerterax the Unliving
Children turned into catfish
Psychic vultures

November 14, 2012

Introducing MECHA NAM

I've been tapping away at a scifi mecha RPG, sort of Starship Troopers with more grit. I call it MECHA NAM, but that's a placeholder name for now. Picture man-sized powered suits stomping through jungle planets fighting enemy mecha for meaningless hills to make ideological points for the generals back home.

Players roll up characters with simple histories, inspired by Traveler, detailing the tours of duty they took part in before the game begins. The rules are designed with squad-based action in mind, with each character's skills adding to the total efficiency of the group. It uses a die pool system with d6's. It's currently incomplete, with the glaring omissions being how to get rid of Stress Dice, what guns you start with, and who exactly it is you're trying to kill. These changes will appear soon! If all goes as scheduled I'll be playtesting this thing next Monday with my meatspace group.

Interested? Read MECHA NAM here!

Epic LEGO mecha by tattun.

November 08, 2012

The Dungeon Diaper

Collected for easier perusal from an epic G+ thread, with creative assistance from Jeff Rients, Aaron Gordon, Matthew Burack, Ray Case, and Nick Peterson. Adventurers, being an unseemly and greedy lot, will check anything for treasure. This table answers the timeless question:

What’s inside this diaper I found in the dungeon?
001: The diaper grabs hold of you. It's a mimic!
002: The diaper is actually a heavily folded scroll wrapped around wadding. Roll 1d4 to determine the number of spells, and 1d4 to determine their level; there is a 35% chance that the scroll is soiled in such a way that the effects of the spells are reversed against the user. 
003: That's no baby. It's a kobold. 
004: Golden egg worth d4 x 50gp
005: Color pool
006: Living Poop (As 1/2 HD Black Pudding, but greenish-yellow.)
007: False alarm, or so it seems. So long as the diaper is worn, it is never apparently soiled. 
008: Diaper of Holding: Contents spew forth when removed.
009: Contents are magenta. Be concerned. 
010: This diaper conceals an alchemical trap. It bursts into flame when removed.
011: What the f have you been eating?!? - odd color
012: What the f have you been eating?!? - odd smell
013: What the f have you been eating?!? - odd texture
014: What the f have you been eating?!? - odd sound
015: What the f have you been eating?!? - odd taste?!?
016: Psychic poop inspires strong, inappropriate emotion in all observers.
017: That shit is radioactive...literally.
018: How did that get in there? - avocado.
019: How did that get in there? - rubber ball.
020: How did that get in there? - fake poop - made of plastic.
021: How did that get in there? - fun size candy bar - still in the wrapper
022: How did that get in there? - hot wheelz car
023: How did that get in there? - live goldfish swimming in a puddle of urine
024: It's shaped like a turd, but made of solid copper.
025: It's shaped like a turd, but made of solid silver.
026: It's shaped like a turd, but made of solid electrum.
027: It's shaped like a turd, but made of solid gold.
028: It's shaped like a turd, but made of solid platinum.
029: It's shaped like a turd, but made of solid mithril.
030: It's shaped like a turd, but made of solid adamantine.
032: It's shaped like a turd, but made of lead.
032: It's shaped like a turd, but made of wood.
033: It's shaped like a turd, but made of charcoal.
034: fluorescent green play doh
035: It's shaped into a perfect dodecahedron.
036: It's shaped into a perfect cube.
037: It's shaped into a perfect tetrahedron.
038: A saint's portrait - very lifelike.
039: Your portrait - very lifelike.
040: A caricature of you - captures your essence in humiliating detail.
041: Golden poo encrusted with gemstones.  All who see it must Save vs. Spell or are overcome with a sudden murderous greed. Those who make the save are forever immune to the charms of the turd. Those who fail the save will stop at nothing in order to possess, protect, and hide the golden poo; new save is rolled each time they sleep until the greed curse breaks.
042: No contents, but opening the diaper creates a sound that only the opener can hear. Save vs Illusion; upon failure, the character believes they now know the secrets to life, and will rush out to tell everyone else within sight their secret. 
43: Cloudkill
044: upon opening, contents are subject to Enlarge. 
045: Baby is affected by reduce person for 1d6 hours. Poop left behind is equal to the difference in mass.
046: When diaper is removed baby flies around the room like a deflating balloon, lands safely in your arms at the end.
047: Opening the diaper creates a Gate to somewhere; everyone within 10 ft must roll Save Vs. Spell or be pulled inside. 
048: Friendly Poo Golem: Oh no! Mr. Bill!
049:  Color Spray! (hint: the color is yellow)
050: A clay that can be molded into any shape desired and then will harden into the actual item fashioned within 1d4 hours
051: Right before you close the new diaper, another turd comes out. (Repeat this 3d6 times.)
052: The smell is irresistible to (random creature type): all within 500 ft will obsessively try to get that diaper and wallow in the contents.
053:  A tiny corked bottle with a speck of paper inside.  If the paper is magnified a plea for rescue can be read.
054: A perfect sphere of obsidian, perfect for scrying and worth 2d6x5 gp.
055: 1d6 small pearls worth 1d10 each. Each pearl has a random effect if swallowed.  Roll 1d8:

1 - heal 1d6+6,
2 - hair changes to a random non-hair color,
3 - smoke billows out of your ears - obscuring other's vision in a 20 ft radius for 1d6 minutes.
4 - imparts darkvision for 1d4 months - however you are partially blinded by bright light (-4 to hit, etc),
5 - you throw up and are nauseous for 1d6 hours
6 - your charisma is permanently increased by 1
7 - due to a strange odor that stays with you, your charisma is temporarily decreased by 4 for 1d6 days.
8 - you are cured of a single affliction such as poisoning or blindness.
056: Diaper bursts apart into a flock miniature white doves...each with a brown skidmark across it's back.
057: Diaper goes poof, harmless smoke released. Even: contents disappear Odd: contents left behind
058: Diaper is made of marshmallow fluff - contents are not.
059: Diaper sticks to your hand as if super-glued.
060: Every time you open your backpack, this diaper is on top - remove curse to rid yourself of it
061: When thrown, this diaper explodes into a stinky brown version of the Web spell.
062: Is that a gemstone in there? You won't know for sure unless you dig through it. Odd: You were mistaken. Even: It's a gemstone!
063: Diaper becomes harder than steel when removed from baby. Can be used as a +1 helmet.
064: Diaper turns to acid 1d6 rounds after being removed. Burns hole 10' deep, right through whatever it was sitting on - stone, metal, anything.
065: Diaper grows dozens of little legs and scurries off like a centipede.
066-099: It's crap.
000: Roll twice on this table, or DM's choice.

November 03, 2012

Ik'tik'buboe, the Drowned Sultan

Woo! That's a long absence! So sorry for the long dry spell here on Carapace King, but between a bunch of truly murderous projects at work and having a human child I've had trouble rubbing enough brain cells together to get content written down. I can't promise I'll get back to the regularity I was before, but I've got a few things to post soon. Now on with the gamestuff!

Ig is a land untouched by gods. Perhaps they existed once, but died and were consumed by the earth, for the ground itself holds power. The power that only clerics can call down in other worlds are available to anyone of inscrutable means should they hunt out places mystically attuned. It lies within standing stones and untouched forest glens and natural springs.

There are still ineffable powers at work in the world, but they take forms malevolent and alien. Humans call them the Seventy-Seven Lords of Decay. Often these "lords" are nothing more than a name to curse when some minor misfortune occurs, but others do exist. Falling somewhere between demon, spirit, and gremlin, each  has panoply over an aspect of the world with which to vex and war with civilization.

Ik'tik'buboe is one of these beings. It goes by many names across Ig, some call it the Drowned Sultan, others the Serene Face of the Deep. It exists to bring about perpetual deluge across the land. The crab, the salt marsh, and the hurricane are its domain. Where there is flood, it is there. Where there is sea, it is there. Where there is rain, it is there. Anyone on the edge of death in these conditions may be approached by an avatar of Ik'tik'buboe in the shape of an enormous crab with seven serene, human faces. It offers survival and power to those who swear fealty. These vassals must tend to the ocean's crabs and sow saltwater wherever they go. They are compelled to vandalize bridges, dams, and to never go out with head covered in a rainstorm.

Invoke Patron check results:
12-13: Ik'tik'buboe is barely deigns to listen to its supplicant. A acrid salt spray blasts into the caster's face for 3 rounds, -5 to hit.
14-17: The caster finds himself teleported to the nearest body of water large enough to hold him. Upside down.
18-19: Sudden cloudburst dumps a briny acidic rain 100' around the caster. It deals 1d3 damage per turn for 1d6 turns to anyone except the caster.
20-23: Hundreds of tiny crabs boil up from the earth. Each has a single serene human face. They cover the body of the caster and grant +5 AC.
24-27: The caster's dominant arm becomes a huge thorny crab claw, causing him to drop whatever he was carrying. It is +2 to hit and deals 1d8 damage.
28-29: Everyone within 30', except the caster, fall into the ground with a splash. It acts like water, and anyone who falls immediately begins drowning and descends 5 feet per turn. After 3 turns anyone affected finds themselves entombed in solid earth.
30-31: A bronze idol of Ik'tik'buboe appears out of nowhere and fights for the caster. It remains for 1d4+CL rounds. Bronze Idol: Atk 2 claws (1d8+2); AC 16; HD 5d10; MV 20'; SV Fort +10, Ref +2, Will +6; AL E.
32+: 1d4+1 bronze idols appear. See above.

Patron Taint
1: The caster's skin grows thick and calloused, as well as faintly mottled.  If this is rolled a second time his skin grows even thicker and deeply mottled. On the third time the caster's skin becomes distinct plates made of crab shell.
2: The caster is compelled to salt the nearest well, and must pass a DC 15 Will save to resist the command. The second time this is rolled the caster must pass a DC 20 Will save. After the third he must make the roll for every well he comes across.
3: The caster's face grows pale and rigid, slurring his speech. The face becomes progressively less mobile with repeated rolls. The third time the roll occurs the caster's face becomes a porcelain mask, rendering him mute.
4: a rain shower breaks out around the caster, lasting for 1d6 turns and making all actions have a -2 modifier.
5: When casting a spell any water in containers up to a gallon turn salty. The second time this is rolled it will affect amounts up to 5 gallons, and on the third time anything smaller than a pond.
6: A brood of tiny crabs pour out of the wounds of everyone within 20 feet.

July 26, 2012

Noblesse Oblige

Being that I now find myself in a paternal way I haven't had much time to work on The Singing Hill, my meatspace campaign, or this weird thing I've been kicking around I call the Sea of Entropy. I did manage to finish off a series of character quirk tables for the old-school inflected science fantasy grimdark transhuman body horror Necromunda Adeptus Mechanicus BLAME! thing. Imagine the French nobility as inhuman superscience sorceror-kings using up the common stock of humanity in bizarre long-game projects that they themselves might not understand. They've started to glitch as millennia have rolled on, ossifying their existence into a series of rituals devoid of meaning, but their immortality, inhumanity, and immense resources make them almost impossible to interact with. PCs are normal humans touched by these schemes and then dungeoncrawls and revolution happen or something.

Babylon stands in the center of a vast wasteland of rust and ash. It rises, layer upon layer of endless galleries, twisting markets, cramped garrets, and cold squares. The teeming districts are hemmed in by vast walls, but none are so thick as the outer walls of the city. In places these huge pediments stand fifty meters thick. Rising above these are the estates of the Nobles, vast, dark, and strange.

Babylon is ruled by the Nobility, posthuman beings of incredible power and immense age. They have organized themselves into bizarre households led by an Elder. Their control is absolute, but rarely does that gaze drift from their strange obsessions. The city was built for the Nobles eons ago by vast machines that still make up the heart of each estate. Common humanity that live in Babylon do so only by the grace, or ignorance, of the Nobles. 

The city is populated by all manner of scientists, thieves, capitalists, madmen, fanatics, anarchists, mercenaries, and cannibals in constant conflict with one another. They have found entrance through a number of routes. Most natives are born into vassal servitude to a Noble house, while they may move more freely through the city they are owned body and soul by the estate that spawned them. Some come as slaves, delivered on the flesh arks from all corners of the globe and shackled to an endless number of Noble devices. Others gain entrance through the arenas that dot the city, forced to take part in strange bloodsports concocted by the inhuman Nobles. The truly pitiful find their way through the millions of tiny cracks in the city’s walls or climb up through the labyrinthine sewer systems that stretch miles below the surface.

Babylon is a swirling miasma of conspiracies. On top of it all the Nobles vie for control of their estates, each seeking to depose his Elder. They beat a ceaseless dance of plot and counterplot. Every step in their war of manners is bounded by ritual and demands exacting precision. This drives the Nobles to war by proxy. While they choose not to act against each other, their vassal houses are not so limited.

The tables below were created to give new characters a bizarre quirk and to cement how messed up anyone in Babylon is bound to be. It's rules-free, and could be used for anyone sufficiently effed up fantasy.

1Mental Conditioning: Whenever his Lord is mentioned by name this vassal must:
1) Shout the Noble’s praises.
2) Knock his head on the ground 1d4 times.
3) Cross himself.
4) Vomit.
5) Go limp.
6) Convulse for 1d4 turns
2Marked: This vassal has the house mark of a Noble’s estate etched in his face.
3Voices: This vassal constantly hears the voice of their Lord whispering gibberish in his ear.
4Scratch Paper: A Noble used this vassal for taking notes, leaving his cryptic scrawl written on the vassal’s skin.
5Thoughtvalve: A large circular port can be found somewhere on this vassal’s head. Whether it was for taking thoughts or leaving them behind no one can say...
6Porcelain Doll: This vassal was made into a beautiful object for his Lord. His skin has been replaced with flawless living porcelain. When broken it exposes the muscle and sinew beneath.
7Living Furniture: This vassal has been reshaped into a piece of furniture.
1) Couch
2) Endtable
3) Chair
4) Cabinet
8Abacus: This vassal's mind has been crafted into a calculating engine through cranial  reshaping. His skull is stretched and angular.
9Hindstep: This vassal's legs have been warped to a digitigrade posture like a deer.
10Sculpture: This vassal's body had been sculpted to meet his Lord's whim, giving him a horrific visage.
11Nightlander: This vassal came from an estate that is an cold, black labyrinth. His skin is pale and his sightless atrophied eyes are bulbous, he uses echolocation in its place.
12Amphibian: This vassal comes from a submerged estate, his lungs have been replaced by gills. He has a wetsuit for travel outside the estate.
13Lungswapped: This vassal has had his internal organs rearranged and replaced. His figure is gaunt and bulbous in weird asymmetry.
14His Master’s Voice: Most of this vassal’s lower face and neck have been replaced with a machine that speaks for him.
15Pristine Specimen: This vassal seems entirely normal, but has a maker’s mark etched somewhere on his body.
16Dyed: This vassal’s skin is an unnatural hue. The Noble prefers all his servants’ color to match.
17Brainy: This vassal’s frail body supports a massive skull and enormous brain.
18Hollow: This vassal’s skeleton has been replaced by an artificial construct. It tends to tear through the skin during physical exertion.
19Arboreal: All of this vassal’s fingers and toes are prehensile, required for the vertically designed estate from which he came.
20Key: An intricate series of teeth and gears is found on this vassal’s body, it seems he is a key of some sort.

1Broken-down: This slave is old and worn out. His form is bent and broken.
2Pickled: This slave worked in a chemical factory or refinery. His skin is mottled, pustulent, and wrinkled.
3Oven-Stoker: This slave worked in an oven or smelter, his skin is blistered, leathery, and raw.
4Fanmonger: This slave worked in a tremendous engine. The ceaseless noise have left him deaf.
5Gasman: This slave worked in a toxic atmosphere. A gas mask has been bound to his head. It cannot be removed.
6Pincushion: This slave has been used as a toy by his Lord. His body has been pierced by Noble iron.
8Witness: This slave's tongue has been cut out, but he has seen strange acts perpetrated by the Nobles.
9Blinded: This slave's eyes have been plucked out, perhaps as punishment for seeing too much. He gets by alright.
10Scarred: This slave's body is criss crossed by innumerable ugly scars.
11Shattered: This slave has taken horrific damage, leaving much of his bones broken. Baroque leather and iron braces support his shattered frame.
12Mummer: This slave's face has been replaced by an expressionless mask which leaves him unable to speak.
13Incomplete: This dreg has lost a limb in his service.
1) Leg at the knee
2) Entire arm
3) Arm at the elbow
4) Entire Leg
5) Foot
6) Hand
14Toolkit: This slave’s hands have been replaced by a large number of intricate tools.
15Fused: This slave was used as a conductor for a bizarre machine. He has circuit contact points on his hands and feet.
16Loupeman: A system of lens has been grafted to this slave’s skull. His eyes can focus on objects 10 times smaller or more distant than unaided vision.
17Patchwork: After a horrific accident this slave was repaired with cast-off pieces of other slaves, few of which match.
18Example: This slave was brutalized as an example for the rest. His body bears a warning to all who see it.
19Hulk: Long years of hard labor and adulterated food have turned this slave into a mountain of muscle.
20Willowbone: This slave has crafted to work at great heights. His bones are hollow and incredibly light.

1Toxic: This dreg crept into Babylon through a noxious outlet pipe. His body has absorbed the toxins of the sewers. His grasp causes metal to rust and paper to molder.
2Verminhaunt: This dreg has seen the things that live beneath the streets and faced them to enter Babylon. He is wary, listening to the whispers that murmur through the sewer lines, and jumps at shadows
3Rattletrap: This dreg’s lungs have been permanently damaged by the vapors and smoke, he entered the city through some high smokestack.
4Enginekissed: This dreg found entrance through a huge machine. His body is a patchwork of fine scars.
5Crushed: Creeping through an assembly line crushed this dreg’s body. His features are flattened and squashed.
6Runny: This dreg swam oceans of toxic runoff to enter the city, his entire body appears melted.
7Birdbrain: This dreg entered the city carried on the backs of countless trash birds. He has strung hundreds of brass rings through his skin and bones to attach the tethers.
8Morlock: This dreg hails from one of the myriad degenerate subterranean races that hide in the dark recesses of the city. He is pale, misshapen, and taken by odd appetites.
9Parasitized: This dreg didn‘t arrive alone. A microcosm of terrible crawling things live within and across him.
10Moldman: Horrible discolored patches of mold and fungus grow across the body of this dreg.
1) Hallucinogenic spores
2) Truffles
3) Black mold
4) Toxic mushrooms
5) Choking spores
6) Bioluminescent mushrooms
11Twitchy: Whatever route this dreg took to get into the city put major strain on his nerves, he leaps at at any surprise.
12Pipecrawler: This dreg’s limbs are stretched and jointed in odd places and he is incredibly thin. He found his way into the city through narrow pipeworks.
13Topman: This dreg hails from a race that lives their entire lives high above, clinging to vast smokestacks. His features are long and angular and his hands long with digits slightly sticky.
14Degenerate: This dreg is a genetic degenerate, he will not reach more than 4 feet and has only four-toed feet.
15Organ-legged: This dreg paid a terrible price to be smuggled into the city. He's missing some essential organs. It's only a matter of time.
16Flensed: This dreg's skin has been torn away, exposing muscle and sinew. Infection never seems to set in.
17Walking Ghost: The dreg is pale, wan, and hairless. Ugly burns cover much of his body. Technology tends to fizzle out at his touch.
18Magnetized: Crawling into the city through strange machinery, this dreg has become magnetized.
19Carrier: This dreg carries a nasty infectious disease. It’s catching.
20Nightmare: This dreg is a twisted hunk of flesh and bone. He looks inhuman and monstrous.