Saturday, May 16, 2015

XIII

This is kind of an experiment. Every session there is a 1 in 6 chance of one of these things coming up or being mentioned or whatever. It's a conspiracy generator. Not the best format, but it was fun to write so whatever.

by Dominic Alves, distributed under CC
I
There is a god, and its name is Thirteen. It is the lord of inversion and the architect of misfortune; its clerics wear yellow and hold power over doppelgangers, oozes, and devils. The Constables hunt its worshipers like animals, but there always seems to be more.

by Jerry Kirkhart, distributed under CC
II
There is a society, and nobody knows its name or its members. Everyone who matters has gone to one of their parties--they only invite thirteen people at a time, and it's terribly difficult to secure an invitation. Sometimes people don't come back, but that just makes it all the more exciting, doesn't it?

III
There is a city where nobody goes, a city of sepulchers, a city by the sea. You can't find it on a map, and no matter how far you travel, you won't ever reach it. Some priests say the gods cut it out of this world like a tumor, but if you take a certain route, passing through certain cursed doorways and traversing certain cursed crossroads, you will arrive on one of its thirteen grand avenues, which intersect in the center like a spider's web or a perverse star. The dead hang by cables from the telephone wires.

IV
There is a man by the side of the road, and he is shouting at you. He speaks of an angel with thirteen wings and a hydra with thirteen heads. He says he will be dead soon, but this is a thing that you all must know.

V
You found a book about a crow with thirteen eyes, scattered across its face like any ugly constellation. It is terrible old and utterly malign: a colossal rival of dragons, a gleeful anthropophage, a bearer of curses. It steals children from their parents, raises them and loves them with all its evil heart. They don't grow up human.

by Anne-Sophie Leens, distributed under CC

VI
There is a syndicate with thirteen captains. They traffic in drugs, slaves, and precious metals; they are undercutting just about every major player in the city. Nobody can figure out who their suppliers are, or where their shipments are coming from, but everyone wants them gone. The Weaver's Guild has placed a colossal bounty on the heads of their leaders, but it's only resulted in a lot of dead assassins.

VII
Somebody murdered a Saint of Honey and Salt, carving a thirteen-pointed star into their chest. The local House has promised blood, and rumor has it they've had to purge their ranks of spies, though the details are fuzzy on who they were working for.

VIII
This buried and desecrated temple is the home to thirteen warlocks:
  • Gog and Magog, the hateful witch-children, each of which draws magic from the other
  • Illhammer, who casts spells with a mace fashioned from a devil's femur
  • The Perfect Child of Man, who wears a yellow hood. The emissary of a god-city exiled from this world
  • Ratbelly, the red eyed waif, bound by her own oaths to the Forbidden Hour, which once sat between midnight and 1 a.m
  • Catbelly: the neurasthenic malefic, carried on a silk palanquin by 5 horned skeletons and empowered by a devil of smoke and blue fire
  • Murderboy: he walks on ceilings and weeps black tar; he was raised by a spider the size of a school bus that still sings him to sleep
  • Toothgirl: a creeping obsessive, built a god of neon tubes and rat bones that tells her who to kill
  • Gurn: she can unhinge her jaw like a snake and spit out almost anything she wants; cursed by her mother to be killed by a weapon of her own making.
  • Mammon: everything he does looks awkward and wrong, like a dog walking on its hind legs or a man running on all fours. A centipede lives in his clothes that teaches him the secrets of secret-eating and memory-killing
  • Nadir: wild haired troglodyte who lives at the bottom of a hole, which moves around when nobody's looking. Sold her soul to a gravity angel, so she can't pick herself off the ground.
  • Maculata: jelly-fleshed voyeur with a visible skeleton; holds congress with puddings, oozes, and jellies of all sorts.
  • Maastricht: a wretched old man with metal teeth, his pact with Satan makes him nigh omnipotent; his secret weakness is that he can only move when you're looking at him
IX
There's a series of thirteen pamphlets everyone's reading. They make you remember things you'd forgotten, give you advice that makes you feel smart and capable and stronger, they make you forget your own inadequacy and weakness and stupidity, they make you want to find the other pamphlets, but they're so hard to find and you can't figure out where they come from. Everyone says something wonderful happens if you read all thirteen.

I'm tired of writing now. I'll probably write more and I want to find a d13 for this.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Love and War

Having taken a closer look at Swords and Wizardry Complete, I have come to the conclusion that assassins are boring and monks are dumb. This is somewhat inspired by +Arnold K.'s excellent post on void monks.

Saint of Honey and Salt
a class for old school D&D-likes

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Postal Service of Carcosa

In the beginning, when the Primordial Ones constructed their first cities, there was Mail. They sent missives and read them, and thus they prospered.

When the Primordial Ones and their works fell to monstrosity, the Great People took to the business of civilization, and so there was Mail. They sent missives and read them, and thus they prospered.

When the Great People and their works diminished into nothingness, the Serpent People bent their sorceries to the task of civilization, and so there was Mail. They sent missives and read them, and thus they prospered.

The Serpent People and their works are gone now. The world is gone dark and strange, and monsters revel in the wilderness. We are small and few and harried, but so long as we live, there is Mail. We send missives and read them, and thus will we prosper.

 Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

by diamond-mind, distributed under Creative Commons
When the Thirteen Peoples of Carcosa murder, devour, and enslave each other, when sorcerers build their power on mountains of sacrifices, when horrors beyond the comprehension of the People slither through the desecrated ruins of civilization, you keep the faith. You remember the Charter. You deliver the Mail.

Create characters as normal for Carcosa.
  • Sorcerers can't learn nasty Carcosa rituals, but they can cast spells from Silent Legions (if they manage to find any). 
  • You may also choose Specialist as a class.
Players start out in the castle in Hex 1512, ruled by the Lawful Purple Sorcerer known as the Postmaster General. Their first mission is to travel to Carcosa and swear their oath of service upon the steps of the First Office.

Friday, May 8, 2015

mother dearest father mine

had 3:00 pm double shot of espresso today so I am RIDING HIGH and LIVING LARGE. Strictly mechanical bonuses and penalties for races bore me like nothing else so here's some that aren't that.
 
Cambions
by Luisa Uribe, distributed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Humans born under the auspices of a lord or lady of Hell are known as cambions. This can be a legal, magical, or familial relationship; a cambion might be the inadvisable fruit of a union between an incubus and a human, or his parents might have appointed a Prince of Hell to be his godfather. Regardless, a cambion carries within himself a modicum of infernal power.

A Gift From Father: Roll on the table below to determine which which demon the cambion claims his inheritance from:
  1. Malphas: The cambion's eyes are pale and beady, like a crow's. He possesses a small and venomous familiar, most often a serpent or spider. It can speak English and Lament. It has a 4 in 6 chance of knowing any given fact about a particular subject, but if it does does not actually know the answer to a question, it will lie convincingly. The familiar is simply knowledgeable; it doesn't have any more access to information than an exceedingly well read scholar. The familiar will not suffer to be removed from its master’s person, and can evade all attempts at detection and capture. Its can deal no damage, but its venom causes excruciating pain for d6 turns. Roll a d4 at character creation to determine the familiar's area of expertise:
    1. Demonology: The familiar knows all about the names, behaviors, powers, appearances, and weaknesses of demons.
    2. Sorcery: The familiar knows all about the names, effects, limitations, and histories of spells, enchantments, curses, and rituals devised by humans.
    3. Angelology: The familiar knows all about the names, behaviors, powers, appearances, and weaknesses of angels. 
    4. History: The familiar knows all about the history of Albion and can answer questions about archaeology, historical figures, paleontology, and architecture.
  2. Astaroth: The cambion's left eye bears the Sigil of Astaroth. While this eye is open, a cambion can see things as they really are, and must make a saving throw every round or take d6 Wisdom damage as sheer stark reality erodes his sanity. However, while this eye is open, the cambion may also do one of the following (randomly determined at character creation):
    1. Perceive magic, discern the invisible, and see through illusions
    2. See the sin each person in line of sight most wants to commit
    3. See the sin each person in line of sight last committed
    4. See what action each person in line of sight intends on performing next round
  3. Ose: The cambion's teeth and sharp and yellow and curved, like a leopard's. He can insert a thought into somebody's mind by forming the sign of the horns in their direction. The thought must be short enough to be said with a single breath. The victim of this magic may not make a save, but is under no compunction to act on the thought in any way—they simply believe it to be their own idea.
  4. Buer: The cambion has a lion's tail. When he drags his forefinger along a rough surface, his fingertip combusts like a giant phosphorus match. It burns until the cambion chooses to extinguish it and does not hurt him in any way.
  5. Amaimon: When the cambion breathes into somebody's ear, he can control what dreams they have the following night. No matter how unpleasant the dreams, this cannot prevent the victim from getting a full night's rest on its own, but it can affect their mood.
  6. Bathin: The cambion can instantaneously travel as half as far as he can run in a round, so long as both his point of departure and arrival are unobserved by thinking creatures. The exact details of this process are mysterious, even to the cambion.
  7. Belial: The cambion can give false life to a poppet or small doll, transforming it into a clever and loyal familiar. It is swift and subtle, but cannot lift more than a pound and forever ceases to function the moment anyone other than the cambion lays eyes on it. The cambion can create such familiars at will, but can have only one at a time.
  8. Asmoday: By tracing a five pointed star in the air with his forefinger, the cambion can perform a minor, short range hex, such as severing a rope, shattering a pane of glass, or spoiling a piece of food. 

Mooncalf
screencap from Only Lovers Left Alive
 All fairies are bound by immutable laws, and one of them is a prohibition against theft. A fairy may seize reparations for some slight or claim a price for services rendered, but none may simply take what they wish. When a fairy plucks a child a child from the cradle for whatever reason, they always leave behind a mooncalf, a strangeling, changeling elf-child born from some mysterious and doubtlessly unnerving copulative process.

Mooncalves make for exceedingly ugly babies, to the distress of their adoptive parents, but usually grow into a kind of disturbing beauty, an extreme jolie laide.

Roll 1d4 times to determine the mooncalf's characteristics
  1. Albinism
  2. Cleft palate
  3. Dwarfism or Gigantism
  4. Hairlessness
  5. Heterochromatic eyes
  6. Minor animal aspect
  7. Minor plant aspect
  8. Polydactyly
  9. Sexlessness
  10. Vitiligo
Honesty: Mooncalves cannot utter a lie or break a promise. This is a physical prohibition; changelings may violate an oath no more than humans can lift themselves up by their own hair. However, mooncalves are free to mislead or omit and are must honor only the word of a promise.

Glamor: A mooncalf can alter its appearance and voice however its pleases, so long as the result is within natural human variation. It may also change the seeming of its clothing and gear. Such glamors fool all the senses. Mooncalves must assume their true form while on consecrated ground. They take d6 damage if they walk beneath a horseshoe.

Languages: Mooncalves speak Fol, the language of fairies.

Monday, May 4, 2015

eat your heart out

Queen Agorath is an incomprehensible  goddess-behemoth that resides in the hadopelagic void beneath Creation. Nobody remembers how or when she became Queen of Albion, but inquirers into that particular subject have died in sufficiently discomfiting numbers that more or less everyone has stopped trying to figure it out. By all mortal measures, the Queen is quite insane, but despite a few fits of psychotic pique every few centuries, she does a rather passable job of keeping the country running, and her mortal Council can be counted on to attend to the details that might slip her royal mind.