Friday, June 28, 2013

It isn't all glitter

Pop Tartary is awash with sour psychic static: The Signal, a malign spectrum emitted by America's most gorgeously horrible nightmares.

When The Signal manifests...
1) The Gate Opens
All nearby screens go to static and _______ begin to swarm out.
   1. Rats
   2. Black snakes
   3. Crows
   4. Hagfish, coiling through air as if it were water
   5. Cockroaches
   6. Flies
2) Something Wicked This Way Comes 
The area is suffused with the fatigued yellow glow of a sodium bulb, and everyone present loses 1 point of Strength every round until they make a Save vs Paralyze. Once everyone had made their save, the following creature appears and attacks everyone present:
     Incarnation of Ennui
     Lumbering sickly radiance, immense grasping hands, wet ingénue eyes
     HD: Total number of Strength points lost
     Saves: 18-Strength lost
     Damage: d8
     Special Attack: Target must Save vs Paralyze or go last the following round
Once the creature dies, everyone recovers their Strength.
3) All Is Still
Nothing apparent happens. The party is now being followed The Noise, an irreal creature that wants to help them, but is only able to do so through spectacular acts of violence. The party will leave in their wake a trail of murder and mayhem, most of which tips the balance in their favor. At least until somebody notices.
4) You Change
   To find out what happens to the ones exposed to the Signal, roll a d6:
   1. Their eyes vanish, and their sockets look into a hissing field of static.
   2. They now look grainy and washed out, like an old photograph.
   3. Their shadow always looms behind them, black and twisted, like that scene from Nosferatu
   4. Their voice comes from nearby speakers when they try to speak, but they are otherwise mute
   5. Their breath smells like metal and cooking meat. Animals and children hate them.
   6. Their face is always blurred, like on the people being arrested on Cops.
5) Deceit Rules
    Pick a random PC. A Signal entity secretly tells them that an important (preferably seemingly friendly) NPC is secretly evil and must be stopped.
   Pick another random PC. A Signal entity secretly tells them that this NPC will play a vital role in stopping a terrible, possibly apocalyptic plot.
  A Signal entity secretly and separately tells each of the remaining PCs that a malign intelligence has seeded several of their comrades with dangerous delusions.
   Which of these messages is correct is up to you.
 6) Power Gathers
Those exposed to the Signal gain a random MU spell. They can cast it once before it is gone forever, but the must make Wisdom checks in times of stress in order to not cast it right then and there.

HP, XP and Saves as Magic-User
Noomancers are people who have a device that has Signal and can use it to warp the world around them. Spells are alien transmissions propagated through the Signal. A Noomancer starts play with 1+half level+Intelligence modifier spells, randomly selected from all spell levels of the Magic-User and Cleric lists. When a Noomancer spends 6 hours tuning their device, all remaining spells are replaced with 1+half level+Int mod new spells. They also must make a Save vs Magic or reality weakens. (Table compiled by Patrick Stuart)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Pop Tartary Warfare

 I know I said I wasn't going to use Pop Tartary, but this is too much fun.

Level 1
Can be anything you want, really. Pick a range and size, and if you think your weapon should be able to do anything else, like stun or entangle, let me know and we can work something out. 

Melee: base damage is d10
Reach: base damage is d8
Ranged: base damage is d6

Small: -1 die size. one handed, easily concealable
Medium: base damage, one handed
Large: +1 die size, two handed


The more remarkably you're dressed, the better your defense. You get a bonus to your AC equal to your Charisma modifier, rather than your Dexterity modifier. 
Boring: 12 AC. Examples: T shirts, cargo pants, gym shorts, something you'd wear to work (for most of us)

Cute: 14 AC. Examples: You know it when you see it.

Titillating: 16 AC. Examples: fur coats, handcuffs, stompy boots, big hats, leather, things with lots of buckles, cabana boys and French maids, dayglo

Toxic: 18 AC. Something you'd only ever see on a runway.  Whole animals, stilts, fish tanks, peacock feathers

As a note, this isn't "Painstaking describe what your character is wearing" (unless you want to, of course). I am more thinking "find something amusing on Image Search."

Not sure where this fits in, but I feel like it belongs

Friday, June 21, 2013

Post Pop Apocalypse

DnD requires give and take between what the players want and what the DM wants, and so there are some ideas I have that will probably never see the table, just because my players aren't interested and I don't have the confidence to pull it off if they were. This is one of them.

Pop Tartary* tastes like bubblegum and isopropyl alcohol.

Pop Tartary looks like Divine:
And sounds like these:


Pop Tartary Americana is: ruined future, nuclear science and black magic, leather vests, platform shoes, pop star prophets, glitter in the streets and blood in the water, go go boots, sweat sheen, garbage witches, strange frequencies and nightmare channels, sentient music videos, compulsory reality TV, weak reality, false eyelashes, record producer liches, Lady Gaga has a cult but Azealia Banks has an army, nasty cute, the devil wears Birkenstocks, occult street drugs, glass jewelry, Elvis impersonator priest/esses, Our Lady of Wigs, neon samurai, the Electric Saint, the Rocket Messiah, vinyl miniskirt is 18 AC, syringe demons 

Noomancers tap weird subliminal Jungian frequencies to produce Magic-User spells; rely on radios and cell phones to work their art
Pop Mediums create servants from the psychic leftovers of lost fame
Gleaming Divas/Shining Adonises glammer their enemies with preternaturally good looks and eldritch voices
Neon Samurai fortify their martial expertise with the power of the electromagnetic spectrum
Henshin have turned sad fantasy into violent reality by actually gaining superpowers when they don costumes

Who's Who of Pop Tartary:
Johnny Deluxe is the oldest vampire in Las Vegas
Marie Laveau is still alive and more sorcerous than ever
His Royal Majesty, The President of the United States of America is the iron-fisted monarch of the world's greatest democracy
Adam is a superintelligent AI from Silicon Valley that has flourished since the end of the world

Uranium Elementals, glowing nightmares born in the aftermath of the Incident
Discoheads have disco balls for heads and flail about with needle sharp claws
The Trash Dragon was born from a landfills and terrorizes the Southwest with its fallout breath
Big Crocadilly rules the luminously green swamps of Florida
Static demons crawl out of televisions tuned to the wrong sorts of channels
Paparazzi avoid direct conflicts, but love to snap pictures of you in compromising positions. Wagers of social warfare. 

Blueprints of the Afterlife, Persona, Scissor Sisters, Diplo, Simon Green's Nightside series (thoroughly mediocre!)

*by this I mean it is an anachronistic post-apocalyptic science fantasy setting like Richard's Tartary and Jason K's American Tartary, not that it is set in Asia

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Murderers, Magicians, and Monsters

I like the idea of random encounters revolving around specific NPCs.

The two most civilized and prosperous islands in the Archipelago are Isle del Sol and Chateau Nocturne, but the islands between them are wild and dangerous. Perhaps the most infamous of these is Carcosa, covered with the remains of long since vanished civilizations. It is home to bandits, monsters, and wizards, many of whom are rather infamous, who sift through the ruins, searching for treasure, lost knowledge, and prey.

I plan on nesting these inside my proper wilderness encounter table, but the bandit and sorcerer tables could work in a city or town, too.

1. Masked Banditos
Roll 1d10
1. Glitter Bitch partakes in outrageous gorgeous rhinestone-studded razzledazzlery of all sorts. He delights in robbing priests, and his pepperbox gun, named Lovebite, can blind his enemies for a time. 

2. Pretty Tyrant is better dressed than you are, and he carries a whip for when Tres Chic, his pearl-handled revolver, is out of ammunition. He hates monsters above all else.

3. Murphy Bed is as big as a king-sized mattress and nearly as smart. His gun, The Blunderblast, doubles as a two-handed club. He covets gold like no other.

4. Laudanum Laura has taken every drug under the sun. Her rifle, Sweet Dreams, puts to sleep anyone it doesn't kill. Alchemists and conjurers are her favored targets.

5. Jergan is a hunched old man with a taste for tobacco. His gun, Ole Shocky, fires bolts of lightning. Though he loves wealth, books and scrolls are his favorite loot.

6. Glutinous Pete is actually some sort of slime shaped like a man. His pistol is called Fi and it always stays with its owner. Nobody knows what he wants.

7. No-hands Joan has guns strapped to her handless wrists. One is called Will and the other Testament, and together they can fire faster than thought. She claims to be saving up for prosthetics.

8. The Swan Queen  wears a coat of black feathers, and her gun, Last Argument of Queens, fires like a cannon. She pursues the Jade Crown of Arigesh with grim determination.

9. Julius Caesar thinks that he is that Julius Caesar. His gun, Et tu, is made of marble.

10. Ruby Rubal is a scarred old woman with filed teeth. Her carbine, Kissin Don't Last, doesn't make a sound when fired. She seeks revenge, though against whom and for what crime, nobody knows.

2. Corrupt Sorcerers
Roll 1d10
1. The Baron of Brass is trapped inside a brazen sarcophagus. He is carried about on a litter by 4 skeleton slaves. His grimoire is Atlas of the Damned, and it holds the secrets of the dead. He has a terrible fear of snakes.

2. Two-Toed Timmy only has his big toes still attached, but he wears a jacket made from the toes of his enemies. His spellbook is titled A Monograph on Revenge, and contains many terrible curses

3. The Duke of Sighs keeps his last breath in a bottle so he can’t die. His tome is called In Pursuit of Perpetuity, and describes much about liches and undeath. He plots against the West Wind, and plans to steal her title.

4. Jessica Spider* has the upper body of an armless woman, but the lower body of a giant spider with human hands on the ends of its limbs. Her book, titled The Chelicerata, instructs the read on how to command and summon creatures with eight legs. She did not always look this way.

5. The Panopticon has only one eye, embedded in the back of her throat. Her spellbook is On Pluriscience, a handbook on divination. She communes with the Unquiet Worms that live deep under Carcosa.

6. Adonis, the Sedusa possesses an impossibly beautiful face, and has snakes for hair. His grimoire is titled Fair in Love and War, and specializes in the manipulation of mind and emotion. Some say he is the son of Ravenous Brod, Prince of Witches.

7. The Lotus King has lotus flowers of various sprouting from his body; their pollen works as the poison/drug. His book is the Zoimancer's Enchiridion, and discusses the manipulation of life and death. He is the mortal enemy of the Summoner Arzak.

8. The Scream Angel has the head and wings of a parrot. His voice is terrible to behold, and his spellbook is titled The Wailing Choir, and contains many spells with power over sound. For reasons only known to him, he hates Beast Children and attacks them on sight.

9. Chargaster's heart is a furnace, and she must eat coal to survive. Her breath is fire, and her asbestos-lined grimoire is Balrog's Bounty, which enumerates the Powers of flame and darkness. She trades in souls and memories.

10. The Catenate wears a hood over her face and is bound in chains. Sealings and Bindings, her spellbook, contains many spells of entrapment, banishment, and imprisonment. She loves making deals and extracting promises.

*totally stolen from the comic Saga

3. Strange Beasts
Roll 1d10
1.  The Wondersquid possesses 10 tentacles* and 10 feathery wings. Its beak, when pulverized, can be used to treat many poisons

2. The Hieronymus Wyrm is a dragon-like creature that can expel beams of fiery light from its mouth. Its bones are inscribed with knowledge valuable to both sorcerers and priests.

3. The Vivacious Krull is a scaly, gorilla-like creature the size of a house. Its touch causes the sudden growth of plants, and its heart, when eaten, can cure the curse of undeath.

4. The Gallowskeeper is a giant spider that weaves silken nooses to trap and kill its prey. Anyone executed with one cannot be brought back to life.

 5. The Barbicant is a giant, flightless bird with a locust head and venomous talons. A gate built from its bones will lead to the Underworld

6. The Oneiric Hunter can turn into anything its prey has dreamed of. A newly forged weapon, quenched in its blood, can change shape according to the wishes of its owner.

 7. The Steelwolf is a wolf made of metal. Its blood cures lycanthropy in those who suffer from it, but causes the curse in those who don't

8. The Rosaceous Sarcophage is an ambulatory, flesh-eating rose bush. The smell of its blossoms are a prophylactic against all poisonous vapors and noxious odors.

9. The Ballastic Crab is a small crustacean that gathers in large numbers. If agitated, it detonates. If it can be killed before it explodes, it can be used as a grenade.

10. Querulous Dupe appears as any kind of apex predator, but the faces of all Dupes appear as the same woman. It complains quietly as it mauls its prey with small, human teeth.

*no, I do not care about the difference between tentacles and arms

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bossa Nova character creation

Character  creation for my upcoming game.

Inspiration: Clive Barker's  Abarat, Boktai, True Grit, Bum Rush The Titan's alignment system

I should mention this post is actually based on the format of Bum Rush The Titan's character creation process.

Base Rules: Lamentation of the Flame Princess, available for free
Roll 3d6 in order, then swap 2 attributes of your choice. 


Pick Day, Night, or Twilight.
Alignment impacts how certain kinds of magic affect your character, and is an indication of roughly where you character is from; northern islands tend to belong to Night while southern islands are ruled by Day. Alignment also impacts how organizations treat you as a member. Most people don’t care what alignment you are.

Day: Knights of Noon, House del Sol
Twilight: Twilit Desperados, House Vespers
Night: Midnight Banditos, House of Nocturne

You know a number of languages in addition to Common equal to your Intelligence modifier (minimum 0).  
High Tenebraic: Dead language spoken by a long-fallen empire of Night. Common in ruins, on magical objects, and in scholarly settings
Hieric: language of the aristocracy of Day.
Low Gloaming: language of dark monsters and demons
Thalassic: native tongue of the undine and sea monsters
Febrific: language of madmen, and fiery monsters and devils
Azur: thieves’ cant, liturgical language of the Lord of the Blue Hour

If you want to play something weird like a mermaid or a dragon or a robot, let me know.

Beast Child
HP and Saves as Fighter, XP as Magic-User
photo of Leonor Fini

Beast Children can turn into creatures. In order to be able to turn into a creature, a Beast Child must possess a trophy, acquired by defeating the creature in a fight, such as a scale, fang, or piece of hide. The creature can be of any level.
A Beast Child can have a number of forms equal to their level. If they exceed this limit, they must choose forms to lose, and discard the corresponding trophy. Once a trophy is discarded, the Beast Child cannot use it to change forms. They can, however,  acquire a replacement later. Trophies only count towards this limit if the Beast Child is high enough level to use them. Otherwise, they can be saved until the Beast Child has enough experience.

When a Beast Child changes shape, all of their equipment transforms with them, and can only be accessed when the Child is in their human shape. Only equipment a Beast Child can carry transforms with them; anything that brings them over the encumbrance limit stays as it is.

Beast Children can transform as much as they like. It takes a full turn to turn into a creature. When in the form of a creature, Beast Children:
  • Keep their max and current HP, saving throws and attack bonus,
  • Keep their Intelligence, Charisma, and Wisdom
  • Gain the Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, and AC of the creature
  • Gain any special abilities the creature possesses
  • Can speak with any other creature of the same type, unless that requires you to gain a listed language.

Just like the LotFP Cleric, except for the following. Instead of standard spell progression, you can cast Level + Wisdom modifier spell levels worth of spells per day. Gods are Lady Midday, Mother Midnight, and the Lord of the Blue Hour, but you can make your own.  You start with 3 random spells.

Just like LotFP

Just like the LotFP Magic-User, except for the following. Instead of standard spell progression, you can cast Level + Int mod spell levels worth of spells per day. You still need to memorize them. You also must come up with a better class name than “Magic-User”. You start with 4 random spells in your spellbook.

HP as Fighter, Saves and XP progression as Cleric  

Summoners call forth and bind spirits. Doing so requires sacrifice—they must wound themselves for d4 damage to call forth a spirit with 1 HP, +0 Attack Bonus, 12 AC, and 14 in all saves. Calling up a spirit takes a full round. A spirit under a Summoner’s control will obey all of their verbal instructions to the letter.

Greater wounds attract and snare more powerful spirits—for every additional d4 HP the Summoner sacrifices during the summoning, they can do one of the following:
  • increase the spirit’s HP by d6
  • increase the spirit’s AB by 1
  • increase the spirit’s AC by 1
  • reduce the spirit’s saves by 1
Summoners can call up as many spirits as they like, and spirits last until dismissed or destroyed, but Summoners cannot recover any sacrificed HP if they have any spirits under their control.

In their travels, Summoners can discover ways to summon spirits with strange talents.

Exactly the same as Lamentation of the Flame Princess Specialist.

HP as Magic-User, Experience as Fighter, Saves as Cleric

Witches cast spells. They can do so as often as they wish. A spell can affect anything within 200 feet of the caster. A spell can do the following:
  • Replicate the effect of any simple weapon, tool, or mechanical object, such as a torch, grappling hook, bow and arrow, or ladder.
  • Manipulate an object. The witch uses Charisma in place of Strength and Dexterity.
A Witch can cast simultaneously a number of spells equal to 1 + half level. The maximum number of spells they can have active at one time is also 1 + half level. Otherwise, spells last until dismissed.

As a heads up, the Witch is super experimental, so if you play one, the class abilities may be subject to change.

Starting money =$3d6*(10+Charisma modifier)
$1 = 1 sp
Use the Lamentation of the Flame Princess equipment list for everything but weapons and armor. You start out with 1 weapons and 1 piece of armor at no cost.

I don’t care what your weapons are, as long as they aren’t aggressively stupid and they match the category you say they’re in. Dual-wielding fork warrior? Sure. Debutante assassin that stabs her victims with really long hair pins? Go right ahead. If you think a weapon should have a special characteristic (like reach for a spear or entanglement for a whip) let me know and we can talk about it.

Melee Damage
Ranged Damage
Range in Feet
Easy to hide

two handed
two handed, takes up inventory slot even when wielded

Movement Speed
12+ Dex mod
1 row
14 + Dex Mod
2 rows
16 + Dex Mod
3 rows
18 + Dex Mod
Very Slow