Monday, August 10, 2015

Terrible city triptych part three, Halstruck

Deep in mountains, accessible only by narrow and treacherous paths, there is the wealthy and prosperous city of Halsturk. Improbably large for such a barren location, the city's survival depends on the massive labyrinth below the city. Foreigners call them the larder caves, locals call it The Enemy. The primary industry of Halstrurk is exploring the caves, killing monsters and harvesting whatever useful goods they can find.
The city is ruled by the Auction House King, who controls the entrances to the caves. He buys monster carcasses and other labyrinth goods. He then turns around and sells them to the Butcher Barons, who do the hard work of turing various rotting corpses and assorted dungeon goo into salable products. They've gotten good at this; Halstruk would be the world capital of alchemy if the Butcher Barons pooled their knowledge. Instead, they hoard trade secrets and seek to undermine each other. The Auction House King is an expert at playing them against each other; this is how he stays in power.
Adventuring is also a cutthroat profession. Hunter clans guard their maps and secret knowledge, and rivalries can turn violent. There are no laws in the caves, and any creature killed in there is fair game to be sold at the auction house. Good adventures enjoy wealth and fame. Average adventures scrape by. Mediocre adventures die.
The labyrinth is split into stratums, each with its own ecosystem, monsters and rewards. 
The first stratum is know as The Emerald Falls. It is a series of mostly vertical tunnels over grown with a dark forrest. A small amount of light is brought in by a system of ancient mirrors.
At the bottom of the shafts there is what resembles a vast city for miniature people. This is the Fairy Hives. Fairies are vicious insects with uncanny intellect. They spend as much time fighting each other as they do fighting intruders.
Below  the Hives are The Weeping Tunnels, so named because of the foul smelling muck that oozes from the walls. The tunnels are soft, wet and prone to collapse. They are constantly being dug out by giant worms and other vermin. There are strange things to be found in the rotting soil
Even further down, there is a strange warm sea of pink fluid. Know as The Mother Ocean, its waters are actually breathable. Bizarre half-formed creatures make their home here, the most fearsome of them being the unborn gods, powerful and mad psychic beings. Gods' brains is the most most expansive delicacy sold at Halstruck, only kings and emperors can afford it. There are rumors of a realm even further down, but no credible witness has ever seen it        

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The city of Goreck, as explained by tables, part three.

Lower Level Dimensional Incursions

  1. The unholy meat mother and her bleeding brood.
  2. The cavern of eyeballs.
  3. Blankman alley, home of impeccably dressed human simulacrum. Don't let them get you alone.
  4. U'u'u'ux's carnival of happy funtime. Exotic performers from around the multiverse. Undertones of cheerful menace.
  5. Leakage from the phantom ocean, a strange, infinite plane full of phantasmagoric lifeforms and insane explores in odd life support suits.  
  6. The green angel Uxehlaphon and her army of parasitic plant life. Has an incomprehensible love/hate relationship with the meat mother.
Valuable artifacts that may or may not be found in the depths.

  1. Aleckagars's Grimoire. This one probably exists, as this is what most people say the love clan used to create all the dimensional incursions.
  2. The crown of the deep emperor. Its existence is dubious, because no one agrees on who or what the deep emperor is.
  3. The sword of the lost prince. The heroic sword of a heroic prince who died heroically in the lower levels. He's definitely dead, but its an open question whether his sword is even worth anything.
  4. The mantle of the upper airs, grants the wearer power over weather. Sounds made up, besides, why would that be down here.
  5. The endless egg. When the stars are right, a never ending stream of monsters will hatch from it. You hope it's not real.
  6. The star's promise. Some sort of jewel or coin that is supposed to be valuable. It might be in Goreck, who knows?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The city of Goreck, as explained by tables, part two.

Reproductive methods of the love clan. (You don't have to be female to be a member of the love clan, but you do have to be able to give birth. Roll 1d4 times.)

  1. Traditional.
  2. Can become pregnant by drinking blood.
  3. Lays eggs in living hosts, babies come bursting out of the victim's chest.
  4. Parthenogenesis.
  5. Able to release spores through meditation. Spores grow on decaying matter.
  6. Mutagenic venom completely transforms victim into mutant spawn.
  7. Budding.
  8. Owns a laboratory, grows babies in tubes.
  9. Spews out thousands of larvae, only the strongest grow into adults.
  10. Gorges on food and forms a cocoon, splits into 1d4+1 kids with a complete set of memories between them.
  11. Bleeds oozes that congregate into humanoid forms.
  12. Upon death body will split into several dozen young monsters.
Encounters on the river Ich

  1. Tiny pirate ship crewed by rats.
  2. small pyrokinetic alligator, a child of Senator Graka
  3. Boggers smuggling disgusting booze from below the river. 
  4. Ichor clan ooze people. They live in the Ich's murky waters and drown strangers for fun.
  5. Ichor clan torch man, addicted to setting himself on fire, uses a pump to spray burning body mass at anyone and anything.
  6. Ichor clan black current, highly trained gelatinous ninja.
  7. Albino koifish the size of a whale. Rumor is they lair in the lost garden of the deep emperor.
  8. Senator Graka herself, a member of the republic of sea monsters, and a massive psychic alligator. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The city of Goreck, as explained by tables, part one.

Gangs of Goreck
  1. Glow Wyrns - Adorned with bioluminescent tattoos
  2. Boggers - specialize in running goods through the river Ich
  3. The Goddamn Gut Clan- Thousands of disposable mooks loyal to the rulers of Goreck
  4. Pure - An anti-mutant hate group.  Non mutants are a minority here, so they are secretive and vicious.
  5. The Next - Mutant supremacists. At odds with the city rulers due to philosophical differences about the nature and purpose of mutation.
  6. The Hazz - They rule the deepest most dangerous areas.  They wear jury-rigged protective suits
  7. Sun's beloved - Found only in the upper reaches. They aim to monopolize all secret passages to the surface
  8. The Peelers - They partially skin their victims, then let them go. Most die of secondary infections.  
Exciting wildlife
  1. Ghost bears - About the size of a fat dog and completely invisible. Will try to steal food right off your person.
  2. Trash crabs - They build disguises out of garbage. You only have to watch out for the really big ones.
  3. Street sweeper worms - They eat any organic refuse, and anything not fast enough to get out of the way.
  4. Albino cop birds - Demented flightless corvids. They have a body of laws embedded in their instincts that they will violently enforce. They accept shiny baubles as bribes.
  5. Sewer dragon - They protect their hordes of valuable junk with cunning traps and their foul breath.
  6. Horrid children - Small, frog-shaped humanoids with luminous eyes. They ens;ave intelligent beings with their strange hypnotic powers for their inscrutable goals. There are rumors of an entire district ruled by these creatures. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

a mod idea

The only person who reads this blog requested that I post a mod idea for a larp so here it is. It is suitable for any game where cannibal hillbillies could be a thing.

Dinner with hill people

background – The pcs have recently encountered a group of belligerent and possibly mutant hill-folk. They have decided to try diplomacy, because of course they would try that. The clan patriarch has invited a select group to dinner, to try and work out some sort of peace deal

npcs – at least four, one recurring face role as the patriarch, a litter of unruly and simple minded hill children, possibly one creepy hill psychic.

Props – hillbilly costumes, about a dozen of the cheapest pieces of cooked meat when can find, preferably pork, plates but no utensils .

Plot – The pcs arrive at the hill-folk shack and are greeted and formally welcomed by the patriarch. After some discussion about what both parties want from a deal, the patriarch agrees to the terms and offers to seal the deal by sharing meat with the pcs. He inquires to his eldest about whether his hunt was successes full to which he replies something along the lines of “I found a fat li' slicker down by the river. He didn struggle much.” The hill-folk should be evasive about what is meant by slicker. The meat is brought out and set down at the table. The hill-folk stare at intensely. One of them should try to eat it but they will be rebuked by the patriarch, as they have not said grace yet. The patriarch will then thank god for the skill and strength it took to find the meat, and for placing such easy meat upon the earth. When he says amen, the children fall upon the meat like starving dogs, eating it with their hand.The pcs need to eat the meat or they will offend the patriarch. After the meal is completed, the deal with the hill-folk is sealed, and the pcs are possibly cannibals

Friday, April 24, 2015

a brief history of the nine worlds

I really need to update this damn thing, so here is some numenera fan fiction I wrote a while back.

 The first world begin when mankind left Africa, when they built the cotton gin, when they split the atom, when they walked on the moon. In those early days everything was new to discover, so mankind raced forward. Discovery beget discovery and science beget science. But it would not last. Greed overpowered foresight and the earth was squeezed dry. The torch guttered and burned low. Once great nations fought over the scraps, and war, which mankind has always practiced, covered the globe.
From these wars, a titian arose. For the first time in history, a single man ruled the Earth. He was a tyrant and a monster but he saved mankind from its greed. Under his rule every aspect of second world was brought under control. The ecosphere and the noosphere were made into private gardens. The machinery of the world was refined and made sustainable. His control extended down to the level of atoms. For awhile it seemed that mankind would be forever chained together, marching lockstep under their eternal ruler.
But the spirit of rebellion could not be put down forever. One woman, her name lost to antiquity, stole fire from the tyrant and cast it into the masses. They took the fire and created the chaos of the third world. The tyrant resisted but there were a thousand seeds, each growing a thousand weeds in his perfect garden. It was time of wonder and horror, a festival of war, a glorious atrocity. The second world died with the third world's hands around its throat.
Without an adversary, the third world passed peacefully and the fourth world inherited the aftermath of the great rebellion. The character of the age was contemplation and exploration, as the survivors sought to understand the mysteries of the world. Eventually their journey brought them outward, outside the universe its self. There they found many great secrets and treasures but they also opened a door that should never have been opened. And with that mankind unwitting ushered in the First Harvest. Beings from the beyond came to feed on the banquet of humanity. Mankind was but grist on the wheel. But just as sudden as they came, they left.
The human race was traumatized but unbroken. Fearing the return of the Harvest, they came up with a mad scheme. They would expand and conquer their own universe. They would become to large to be subjected by the horrors. They gathered the science of the past world and built the fifth world among the stars. There, humanity found allies and enemies. They performed wonders and horrors. They reshaped the stars themselves. Soon there were a million worlds. And through the vagaries of space travel and subtle intergalactic economics, Earth became the least of them. Contact was lost, the light of the fifth world left its birthplace behind.
Once again, the humans of earth had to rebuild. And rebuild they did. With the stars lost to them, they were possessed by a strange mania to create. They created vast cities with gleaming monuments, libraries and laboratories, temples and the gods to inhabit them. Only a few saw the strange hand that was guiding them. And none were able to save their world from that hand. The second harvest had come.
The seventh world was a place of darkness. The outsiders had encouraged mankind to build a throne that they now sat. They ruled and ate and soon mankind was no more. Those that weren’t eaten were warped. And then the stars changed once more and the earth was empty but for the howling monsters left in the wake of strange gods.

After an age of emptiness the earth was rediscovered by the empire of the fifth world. No longer truly human themselves, they were appalled to discover their ancestors were extinct. Mankind was restored by their god-like descendents. They were cared for and protected. The eight world was a safe place, free from the upsets and unrest of the previous worlds. All was good until their protectors left for reasons unknown. Mankind was once again on its own. They had lost much and they returned to a state of ignorance and superstition. Now they struggle to reach the heights they once knew and to remake their legacy.      

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

More Gamaran

The Outer Bazar
Sights - The shimmering outer walls, buildings in exotic styles. The occasional creator or no man's land.
Smells - Like a hundred alien cities smashed together. Lingering weapon discharges.
People - Alien "ambassadors" fallen on hard times because contact home has been cut off / never existed. The only profession open to them is violence. They have formed into large, multiracial, mercenary companies. A fair number of humans, unable to fit in to the city proper, have joined up.
Mercenary companies. (1d4)

  1. Fragan's Freewheelers - Made up entirely of wheeled aliens. They operate mostly on the highway, but you're never really safe from cyborg motorcycles.
  2. Straven's Sharpshooters- Expert marksmen who credit bizarre superstitions for their talent.  They have been know to take shots before before they sign a contract, sealing the deal while the missile flies through the air.
  3. Gakgrog's Goliaths - All members are fitted with hooks and straps that allow them to assemble into giants.
  4. Blask's Bludgeons - a group of mercenary monks dedicated to the art of hitting people with sticks.
Who rules New Gamaran? (1d8)

  1. The central bureau of centralization. The people will be more rules obsessed.
  2. Omnipotent super being, really just a con man way over his head. To keep control, he plays factions against each other.
  3. A super intelligent kaiju in a giant pavilion. The citizens have a weird mix of panic and ingenuity.
  4.  A cult of a dark god holds sway. Its a cynical ploy to use religion to control the masses, but their rites and devotion have attracted the attention of a swarm of real gods. There are dozens of hidden cults in the shadow of the state church.
  5. A group mind. Participation is mandatory but transitory. At any one time about a thousand people are hooked up together. Unfortunately the mind has pick up a mental disease and its spreading it throughout the city. 
  6. Black Hole Incorporated, A megacorp that controls the the city through its subsidiaries. A mercenary attitude pervades the city. Everything is for sale.
  7. A benevolent alien race provides everything for the populace. Soon the harvest begins. Everyone is fat and happy.
  8. Libertarian hellhole.    

Friday, February 27, 2015

Locations in castle Dracula

Deep inside the castle, far from mother nature, untouched by any sun, there is a garden. Here, obsessive gardeners work on a long term breeding project. They seek a better flower, but the flower they seek is the deadly alarune. Everyone of these feminine plant monsters is kept in an expansive private greenhouse, while the gardeners dwell in an indoor forest in the center of the complex. Currently humans and monsters are both plagued by parasitic orchids. They cause derangement in everything they grow on. An enterprising party could sneak in and steal the Libre Mallus Chloris, a dark tome full of botanical knowledge. Of course doing so risks infection by the orchids, or attack by the alarunes.
There are two alchemist laboratories on the opposite sides of a winding hallway. Their masters have been embroiled in a bitter feud. One grows hordes of small homunculi, while the other builds giant monsters out of dead bodies. They send their armies out to fight in an endless stalemate. Neutral parties will be harvested for parts or reagents unless they swear allegiance to one side or the other. Both alchemists will pay for outside help to finally end their conflict. The homunculi maker is named Jonathan Burkhiemer and he is a small nervous man who is never far from his favorite homunculi swarm. They look like tiny voluptuous headless woman, and they have venomous fingernails. His last resort is a potion that transforms him into a huge eyeless serpent with a slavering maw. The zombie maker is a woman name Zelda Zerhacker. She somehow managed to replace one side of her body with a mummy. Her most fearsome bodyguard is “spot”, a stealthy, centipede-like amalgamation of household pets.

There are miles of of sewers in the castle. Somewhere among them there is a place where the tunnels widen and the water grows clear. The masonry takes on an ancient and refined aspect, and beautiful mosaics line the walls. In the middle of this area there is a large lake, and in the middle of that there is a suken city populated by degenerate fishmen. Their goddess, par'thegon, hunts in the deepest part of the lake. It looks like a combination of a woman and an annelid worm.
In the caverns beneath the castle, there is a ghostly river. When a creature with the spark dies, metaphysical forces pull its soul down into its waters. The caves around the river are full of ghosts, and monsters that eat them. This place's master, Lord Death, has been know to bargain for the release of souls. However, he is completely loyal to Dracula, and any favor he asks for will serve the Counts interests in the wider strange.
There is a massive crypt somewhere in the castle. Inside is a maze of graves and mausoleums. A gang of ghouls feed on the bodies interned within. Strangely, bodies appear in the empty graves. They sell the extras for weapons and fabulous clothes. Necromancers prize these corpses for their quality and strange magic proprieties. Corpse eaters value their flavor. If threatened they summon the corpse giant, a titian formed from certain special bodies hidden in the crypt.
There is also a clock-tower. Never go there

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Castle Dracula

So I posted a thing over at the recursion codex. For the sake of actually posting things to this blog, here's a copy of it.
Picture an architect, a great one, full of talent and promise. Feed them exotic liqueurs and opiates. Warp his mind with a terror and madness so pure as to be almost elemental. Now tell them to build the grandest castle they can imagine. Now picture a whole army of architects working at cross purposes. That fever dream is Castle Dracula.
Miles of twisted corridors connect a mad jumble of rooms. The normal logic of a castle layout has no sway here. Kitchens abut bedrooms. Massive ballrooms are found beneath grisly torture chambers. Myriad spires pierce the eternal night, each of them castles unto themselves. Rooms of every mundane function are here, but their adornments are anything but ordinary. The furniture and decorations were splendid once, rich and Gothic. Now cobwebs and mildew rule. Among the guestrooms and armories are stranger things, arcane laboratories and forgotten shrines.
The only thing more varied and phantasmagorical than the castle are the monsters. If fearful tales of it have been told, it exists somewhere in Castle Dracula . Harpies, nuckelavees, penanggalans, nue, all these and more lurk in the darkened rooms. Most are content to stay put and guard their lairs from intruders, but some prowl the castle, looking for mortals to prey upon. And there are mortals, even in a place as dark and inhuman as this. They huddle together in small enclaves, fearful of the ever-present night. Some are nominally employed by the count as servants. There is an entire tribe of cooks in a Brobdingnagian kitchen, cooking endless banquets for ghouls and creeps. Others are outside of any supposed social structure, like the clan of escaped prisoners in one of the subterranean torture chambers. This people are humans, with the same capacity for good and evil as any human, but they all worship evil. They have to; it is omnipresent and inescapable here. The shadow of Dracula looms over the minds of all inhabitants. Though all acknowledge the count as the lord of the castle, no one has ever seen him and lived, or so the stories say.

Steepleburg is the most prominent human settlement with in the castle. It lies on top of the world, nestled between spires. The quaint European style houses would be charming if not for the paranoid residents. Any outsider is subject to hostile stares and cold shoulders. Still, they accept gold and other valuables, so a weary recursor can buy a room and a meal at the town's lone inn The Lost Halberdier. For a larger fee, they can buy access to the securely locked trapdoor that leads to an attic in the castle proper. This makes Steepleburg an almost ideal staging ground. Almost ideal because the mayor, Gregor Stelvich, is secretly in league with a monster called the Bag Man. He arranges the kidnapping of anyone who questions his authority, or he thinks could possibly challenge him. Any strangers stand a good chance of triggering his paranoia.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tales from the Chromatic Plains

    Chapter one
      Professor Aligan Stalked towards the town of Kirk's way, six enforcer bots in formation behind him. He preferred to take a different route into town each time, to keep the townsfolk guessing. Today he he was regretting that strategy. The land around Kirk's way was flat, and the sightlines were clear during gold, so he had to hike around the town in a wide circle. Today was especially hot, and the sunlight reflected off the golden plants of the chromatic fields didn't help. He was sweating under his heavy, black lab-coat. By the time he made it into town he was miserable and grouchy. Just as well, he thought, this was the right mood for this kind of work.
     Kirk's way was what passed for a big town on the Chromatic Plains. Unlike most other villages on the plains, it saw travelers more than once a year. It was a major way-point between more settled lands beyond the Chromatic Plains. Still, only a few caravans went through each year. Today happened to be one of those days. A large crowd milled through the main rode. Farmers had set up stalls, selling supplies and local delicacies. The locals stood out with their tinted glasses, shielding them from the bright golden light. The people of the plains had almost fetishized preparedness, with tools and equipment for every color. The travelers had set out before the gold came, and they had no way to predict the colors of the plains.
     As the professor entered the impromptu market, he could feel the eyes of the locals on him. Soon, even the newcomers were staring at him, or more likely they were focused on the enforcer bots. Six foot tall black robots with heavy fists tended to attract attention, in the professor's experience. He put on his best scary face and strode towards his first stop.
     Pink seven reoptimized her vision filters for the 17th time as she greased the wagon's axle. The filters were the most interesting puzzle she had at the moment, and even that wasn't enough to hold her attention. She joined the caravan as a mechanic in search of some sort of the challenge, but she had already mastered the ins and outs of almost every piece of technology they had brought with them This one wandering knight had a fascinating mechanical steed, but she wouldn't let Pink Seven near it. She used some some strong language and she seemed well armed, so Seven decided to give her a wide berth. She had a collection of interesting games, but her voice box was broken for years, and she couldn't explain the rules for any of them. She also couldn't talk to anyone either, but that was of secondary importance. She had grown used to being mute; it was only while she was bored that she missed her voice.
     Something in the air changed. It took her a second, but she noticed the hush that came over the crowd. She turned and saw a man in a black coat trailed by six robots. That caught her attention. To her trained eye, they looked ancient but well-maintained. Sturdy plastic construction, fresh paint jobs and well lubed joints, Pink Seven took note of all of these. She also took note of their large, weighted fists, but she gave them no special concern. Of course there was a limit to what she could learn just by watching them. She began following at a discrete distance. She couldn't ask permission, and people tended to react poorly when she disassembled their stuff. Still, maybe one of them would break down, and she could fix it. Or maybe he would leave one of them . Pink Seven was good at robots. She promised herself she would put it back together when she was done.
     Sumalona sat by the side of the road and played a song only he knew on an instrument only he could hear. The small plastic board was studded with switches that when pressed sent signals into the cloud of tiny machines that pervaded the world. The frill of antenna on his head let him hear their vibrations. He was playing a saga from a distant planet, full of heroes and great deeds. He wasn't really sure it ever happened, and he would never know. It was putting him into a melancholy mood, because his plans for the evening were no where near as noble. He spent the last of his money getting on the caravan, and the guests were responsible for their own meals while in town. He would have to sing for his supper. If he was lucky, the local tavern would hire him for the night. If he wasn't he would have to busk, or maybe run a con. And it would have to be the worst kind of con, a small one against people who probably didn't deserve it, and no one would find out about it afterward.
     He let the last notes of the song fade away, and began to last to the sound of the crowd. What he heard surprised him. There was a sour note of fear, quite out of place in the bustling market. His eyes tracked over the street and picked out a large man being followed by large robots. He thought about the heroes and the villains in his songs, and a smile played on his lips. Maybe he wouldn't have to run a con tonight. Or maybe it would be the best kind of con.
     Dame Aleen Far-From-Home was grooming her steed, gingagar. Though he didn't take much food, he like to have his armor plates cleaned and his joints oiled. Aleen suspected he liked the attention more than being clean. Either way, keeping him happy was as important as keeping her sword sharp, or acid lance fueled up. Outsiders thought squire-hood was about teaching future knights to be humble and servile, but Aleen thought it was more about the importance of equipment maintenance. As a solitary knight it seemed like that was all she did. She hadn't had the opportunity to bust any heads for a couple of months now. According to her vows she was supposed to seek quite peace for the entire world, but that didn't pay well. Plus she was worried she was getting rusty.
     Gingagar went rigid. Aleen recognized this as his hunting posture. Though most people thought he was a robot, he was actually a mecha fauna. As a mechanical organism he had instincts and drives just like an organic being. Right now he wanted to hunt and kill those robots. As Aleen followed his gaze she began to have similar thoughts about the man in the black coat. He walked with a threatening swagger and people looked at him with fear. She doubted he sought a life of peace. She checked all her weapons and adjusted the straps on her ceramic armor. She gave a signal to gingagar and he bounded off into an ally, then she set off to bring peace to the world.
     Dr. Olg was wearing Grinning Stalag. Protocol called for her to be unmasked but the only person who knew about mask protocol was Dr. Olg. She could make a mediocre argument that it was good for morale, but the real reason was that drylanders actually found Grinning Stalag disturbing somehow. His big, dumb eyes and friendly, flat teeth were supposed to put people at ease, but Dr. Olg noticed no one wanted to talk to her while she was wearing her, so of course she wore him at every possible opportunity. She didn't think he had anything in common with these people. She just wanted to find a place to start her practice, and she didn't want to do it anywhere where they didn't even know how to talk about the weather. All they ever mentioned was the temperature and cloud cover, never anything important like pressure or biota counts. They didn't even seem to know the names of any of the currents in the area. She was convinced they were uncultured sea pigs.
     She did have an interest in drylander architecture, no mater how dull the people inside them were. The buildings were one to two stories, with slopped roofs and sturdy storm windows. She had some free time, so she decided to take a closer look. She left the caravan and ducked into an alley. She found a drain pipe and scrambled up onto the roof. She was careful to keep out of sight. Drylanders could be weird about the tops and sides of their buildings. It made no sense; they lived in three dimensions but they pretended to live in two. There was a dry gym back at the academy. Ever since the headmaster “volunteered” her for the pilgrimage, she spent her last few months there, preparing. She didn't want to flop around like a ship-wrecked sailor, or what ever the dry equivalent was.
She made her way across the rooftops, stealing glances at the street as she went. She something that caught her attention. A large crowd had gathered outside a storefront. A big man was berating a smaller man.
     “Come now! My fee is more than reasonable, and you know how much you need my services!”
     “Please , Professor, I don;t have the money right now, maybe...”
     “What!?” the big man roared “I know how well this town is doing! Look at all these people! You're holding out on me!”
     The robots had been standing in a half circle behind the professor. Now with no visible signal, the circle moved up to surround the shopkeeper. Dr Olg. scarcely had time to wonder what would happen next, as a figure broke free of the crowd. It was that irritating knight, the one with the robot steed. She pushed past the robot on the tip of the semi-circle, tripping it as she went. She interposed herself between the smaller man and the bots, drawing her sword to complete the motion.
     “As a knight of the Order of the Ceramic Rose I have sworn to defend the weak! Stand down, and there will be violence here. Stand against me and I'll cut you down! Either way, your petty extortion ends here”
     Dr Olg rolled her eyes. A pretty speech, but she doubted she meant it. The professor seemed to find it as laughable as she did. He broke into a wide grin, showing off startling white teeth.
“Thank you for giving me the option, but I think I'd like some violence here. How about a counter offer? Beat my enforcer bots and I'll leave in peace. Lose, and seeing you get beat up will be its own reward.”
     The bots fell into fighting stances, lowering their centers of mass and sticking out their fists like boxers. The shopkeeper scrambled under a table and cowered there. Suddenly the knight didn't seem so sure of herself. She backed up and assumed a defensive posture. The bots advanced with a predatory malice. Right before they got within sword range. Right before they got within sword range she dropped her guard and pointed at one of the center robots. Her steed pounced from another rooftop. Dr olg hadn't even seen it coming. The impact sent several bots flying, and the knight used the commotion to maker her move. She ducked under the fists of one of the robots and got around to its back side. She used her momentum to give it a strong slash to its torso. Its outer casing was cut open, exposing a vein-like web of circuits. Strange blue fluid leaked from the wound. The robot retaliated with a string of quick jabs. She ducked and weaved, evading every blow, but she was losing ground and unable to counter attack.
     Her steed was chewing on the robot it tackled, but the others weren't going to just let it eat their comrades. They began pounding on its armored shell, forcing it to retreat with an annoyed look and an impressive leap onto the rooftops, where it disappeared. The partially chewed robot stood up and rejoined the fight, looking worse for wear. The rest of the bots began to circle around the knight. She was putting up a valiant fight, but she was out numbered and out flanked. Dr Olg suspected her oath was going to force her to intervene, and soon.
A clear bell-like tone rang out, causing a brief pause in the action. The source of it appeared to be that damn bard. He was wearing a green blindfold over his eyes, and he was carrying a thin, whipy baton with a forked end.
     “You maniacal metal menaces! Step away from her or I'll send you to the scrapheap!”
     “They aren’t metal!”, the knight replied. “Also, stay out of this you useless bard!”
     “We noble heroes should stand together against these crazy ceramic crooks!”
      Dr Olg nearly threw up behind her mask. Thankfully several of the robots started trying to kill him. He didn't squish as easily as she was hoping he might. He moved well, dodging every punch. He struck one of the bots with his baton, but it didn't seem to have an effect, though Dr Olg thought she heard an odd sound. The bard jumped back and stood still with his head cocked for a moment. He lunged back and struck out again, this time hitting the same bot in the leg. There was another queer almost sound, but this time the knee joint vibrated and popped off. The other bots gave him a wider berth, while the injured robot fighting the knight peeled off to help the legless robot up.
     The fight continued, but the bots were fighting more cautiously now. They avoided their opponent's weapons while jockeying for good positions.. It seemed like their plan was to wear the humans down. Dr Olg had to intervene to uphold her oath. She took a running leap off the roof and landed on the back of one of the bots, bearing it down to the ground. She took out her shiv and jammed it into its neck again and again.
     Pink Seven had been watching the events with some interest. She had been waiting for an opportunity. When that small masked girl started stabbing that robot, she thought it would be easy to get away with interfering because everybody else was doing it. She snuck up behind a bot and grabbed it by the neck and forearm. She twisted its arm behind its back and threw it to the ground. She extended her multi-tool and went to work.
     Sumalona heard all the intrusions in the rhythm of the battle. He smiled; a righteous fight had its own momentum. And that momentum would carry the winners right into the villager’s good graces, and that should be good for some food. And maybe this would be a good story. He heard the opening he was waiting for and lashed out, hitting the bot in the elbow, breaking the arm off. He heard the knight land another powerful blow. He could discern her skill in the song of the battle. He was impressed, and a little afraid. He would have to watch himself around her. He was about to take the robot's other arm off when the man in the jacket started bellowing.
     “Stop! Stop! You win! I'll take my robots, and my business elsewhere” A murmur went through the crowd.” Sumalona heard fear, way too much fear.
     “Wait, please stay!” Someone shouted.
     “Sorry but a deal's a deal. You're on your own.” He strode out of the town with a broad grin, his robots limping after him.
     Sumalona took off his blindfold and saw fearful and angry faces. “Uh, who was that man?” he stammered.

     “He” someone from the crowd answered, “was the town's only monster hunter.”

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Highway Overdrive

Sights - Miles of looping roadways, suspended high over the city. Shiny speedsters and lumbering cargo haulers, outrageously decorated to display the ferocity of their riders.

Smells- Burnt rubber and spent fuel

People- Harbitten truckers. Cocky couriers. Overdressed pirates. Desperate scum trying to make one big score. Absolutely no cops.

What is this manic shooting at me.

  1. Venomous serpents.
  2. Bright neon acid
  3. Drugs! He just wants everyone to have good time. This is problematic at 220 mph.
  4. Either a sonic weapon or punk music, impossible to tell. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The path of dissolution

     One of the inadvisable practices taught in the temple of the open skull is  the path of dissolution. The ultimate goal is enlightenment, which they seek by destroying the self, rather than transcending it. This is accomplished with loads of meaningless sex and dissociative drugs, though for ambitious self-annihilators there are several esoteric rituals that can speed up the destruction of the self.

  1. Ingest large quantities of flashback, then strangle yourself in the crib. When you return to your own time, you'll be free of all temporal attachments.  Be wary of paradoxe eaters.
  2. Premature sky burial. Cut off a limb and feed it to ariel scavengers. Bonus points if you poison your flesh before hand.
  3. Keep a dream journal, then burn the pages and meditate on their destruction. The images and motifs from the dreams will disappear from your mind, to be replaced with strange dreams of the void.
  4. Through a large orgy with all participants wearing the same hideous mask. Astrally project out of your body and observe from a remote position. Lose your own body in the naked press.
  5.  Rhythm and grammar have an antithesis. Memorize anti-poems until your sense of beauty is no more.
  6. Take heavy doses of any sort of drug and pretend to be something you're not. Attend conventions and punch-in at random buildings. As soon as you fit in, sober up and remember who you are.
  7. Manifest a tulpa and murder it. Repeat.
  8. There are multitudes of creatures in the psychosphere that feed on memories. Give your self to them.
     Following such a path can lead to strange powers

  1. You can read the thoughts of any creature with whom you don't share a common language.
  2. You develop a sacrificial personality, which you can redirect mental attacks towards.
  3. You gain false knowledge, and become an expert in things that never existed.
  4. You can invoke your own non-existence to make people forget about you. If you committed a crime, or made a faux pas, it'll be like it never happened. If you abuse this power, your good deeds will be forgotten as well  

Thursday, January 15, 2015

     The Druid's Rebellion wasn't a sudden and dramatic victory. There were many setbacks and false starts. One of these false starts was at the wizard's academy in the city of Cordam. The headmaster, Jann Brogrson, had strong druid sympathies, and he used his position to recruit students to the cause. Things came to a head when Sinrerall outlawed summoning. City authorities came to the academy, hoping to seize and destroy their supply of talismans. The headmaster rallied his followers and repulsed the invaders.
     The academy was built on series of islands in the middle of a lake. The students destroyed the bridges to the mainland and declared themselves independent. After a year long siege and several failed assaults, the Sinrerall army made one final attempt. They sent a small, elite force of their best soldiers and wizards.
     What they found in the academy was something out of a nightmare. Over half of the students had been executed for disloyalty, their bodies left out in the open to feed the horde of spirits the headmaster had summoned. After a pitched battle, the remaining rebels surrender and the headmaster was taken alive. He would later be publically tortured to death.
     Today, the academy is abandoned by all but the spirits. Enough of them survived for a breeding colony to establish. No one knows how many are lurking the dark dank halls.
Plot hooks
  • Sometimes spirits cross the lake to wreak havoc in the city. The city council offers a bounty to keep their numbers down.
  • The nation of Czaga is very interested on the summoning research Brogrson conducted before his death. They would be very interested on sort of notes or intact talismans retrieved from the ruins. Possession of such materials carries the death penalty in Sinrerall, so getting them out of the city would be its own challenge.
  • After the end of the battle, the army pulled out quickly to avoid further battles with the spirits. The academy is still ripe for looting, one would just have to deal with the spirits first. 
  • A veiled figure claiming to be Brogrson has been terrorizing the citizens of Cordam. It was last seen gliding over the waters of the lake towards the ruins

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

     Elementalism is the magical practice of directing and controlling elemental energy. To gain access to this energy, a practitioner needs to focus their mental energies on an elemental sigil. The sigil then "responds", and the practitioner then needs to shape the energy with their mind. This is harder than and it sounds, as there are thousands of variables involved. Spell formulas were developed  in order to streamline the process. What practitioners lose in flexibility when using formulas, they gain in a dramatically lowered risk of death and dismemberment. Elemental energies are powerful and unpredictable after all, and even a formulated spell can spiral out of control, if the variables are misjudged. Elemental artifacts are created by inlaying sigils and formula on mundane tools with orichalcum and other magically conducive alloys. The resulting device can be used by anyone holding it, provided they have sufficient intelligence to hold the pattern in their. Notable artifacts include the fire staff, a cheap piece of wood with a simple fireball spell inscribed. They are mass produced in Sinrerall by the tens of thousands, and are standard issue in the army. Sinrerall also makes void ships, massive wooden vessels with adjustable planer shift spells built in. They are over  a dozen know elemental sigils. The four elements of classical Zarkian philosophy are represented, as well as stranger elements like void and time. The existence of the "lost" elements that the Directors are said to have utilised is a hotly debated topic. Proponents point to the recent discovery of the void sigil as evidence that their are unknow sigils. Detractors say that the Directors merely used highly advanced applications of known sigils, and that if there were more sigils out there, they would have been already found on director artifacts.

     Alchemy is the art of extracting magical essence out of natural materials and combining those essences into useful potions and mixtures. Base essences are found in rare plants, animals and minerals. These have minor magical effects when consumed, such as making someone lighter, or giving them a slight glow. Stronger effects can be created by mixing these essences, and these solutions can themselves be combined with others to create even more powerful potions, and so on. A major danger in alchemical laboratories is cross contamination of different products, as these will alter the end result quite dramatically. Fumes and spills can also be dangerous, and some alchemical compounds can combust quite spectacularly. Closely related to alchemy is the art of internal alchemy. An internal alchemist can use specific meditation techniques to transmute their body fluids into alchemical compounds. Just as in normal alchemy, simpler compounds can be combine into stronger ones. Internal alchemy is unknown outside the directorate. 

     Summoning allows a practitioner to manifest a spirit into the physical world. Once there, a spirit is in no way obligated to obey the summoner, but they seem to like being summoned, so they'll listen to the summoner to some degree. A clever summoner will also try to use a spirits nature to their advantage, asking them to do things they want to do anyways. To begin summoning, a practitioner first sends out a mental signal into the spiritual world. A spirit responds by entering into the callers mind in a form known as an imago. A practitioner is aware of the spirit living in their head, but the spirit itself is only dimly aware of its surroundings, and communicates through impressions and emotions. Through concentration the spirit can released, where it will fulfill its desires. Afterwards, with an exertion of will the spirit can recalled back into the mind. It is incredibly difficult to recall a spirit that you yourself didn't summon, but it is not impossible. It is much easier to recall a spirit into a prepared talisman, which anyone can use to summon or recall the spirit. Talismans are specific to the spirit they are meant to house. A summoner knows what sort of talisman is needed to house an imago in their head. If the spirit is not recalled, it will go feral, growing stronger and sometimes even reproducing. For this reason, and also because spirits are seen as unclean, summoning is illegal in Sinrerall. On the hand, spirits are venerated in Czaga, and summoner druids are held in high regard. Spirits are organized into groups know as courts that share similar forms and outlooks. Oddly, different courts are found in different worlds, though the spirit plane spans all worlds. Over time, courts can gain or lose prominence, sometimes appearing out of nowhere, sometimes disappearing altogether. The two courts on Zark currently dominate are the Proud Lords and the Wet Dark.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

An introduction to the history and peoples of Zark

     The world of Zark is shrinking. Magic fuels the growth of great nations, and they divide the lesser countries between themselves like prizes. Perhaps more importantly, interplanar travel has opened whole new worlds for exploration and exploitation. During this ear of great change, war and unrest threaten to spill out of Zark unto the entire multiverse.

     To understand this period of history, it is best to begin with the arrival of the directors some thousand years ago. Before that time, the people of Zark were organized into small tribes and city states, with little knowledge of magic. The Directors were huge figures, clad from head to toe in thick armour. To the native people, it seemed as though they appeared out of thin air, and their knowledge of magic made them seem like gods. They set about conquering and empire-building. Soon, they had united the whole world under a single directorate. But the directors were a troubled people. Records from that time indicate that they were blessed with long life but cursed with infertility. History never recorded the birth of new director. While directors didn't seem to age, they could still be killed by normal means. At first, the worst threat to a director was another director. As infighting and factionism dwindled their numbers, they began to delegate more and more leadership positions and magical tasks to the natives. Rebellions became more frequent, and the directorate expanded more resources putting them down. They began to cede territory to Zarkian tribes, and Zarkian governors started to ignore the high director. Finally, the last director died around three hundred years ago, but the directorate had been dead in all but name for two hundred years at that point. The end of director rule ushered in a dark age.
     Out of the dark age three world powers emerged. In the center of the continent, the Sinrerall empire holds sway. The Sinrerall crown rules over three countries, and most small nations nearby acknowledge Sinrerall supremacy. Sinrerall is currently the world leader in the study and practice of elementalism. The elemental artifacts they mass produce have put unprecedented amounts of magical power in non-wizards. Not only have they reverse engineered Director dimension travel magic, they've invented massive wooden vessels that can transport huge loads of goods or troops across the void. Their skill in alchemy is modest compared to other nations, and the've banned the study and practice of summoning magic due to a myriad of reasons.
     To the north are the dark forests of  the Free Natural Republic Czaga. Consisting of lands formerly held by the Crown of Sinrerall, the republic was founded by during the Druid Rebellion. In theory, every citizen is free and equal in the eyes of Mother Nature. In practice, the High Druid rules with a bronze fist. Official doctrine places supreme importance on the natural order. Citizens are supposed to lead primitive, natural lives. The crown jewel of the Republic is Cza-dun, the great city-tree. Its creation was made possible by the druids' mastery of summoning magic. They have a decent command of the other two schools, but they refuse to use elemental artifacts. They have however begun using the Directors old dimensional portals, as they see spreading their ideology more important than preserving their taboos.
     By the shores of the captive seas is the last remnant of the Directorate, know as the Cephrix Directorate. The ruling "Director" is really a human, albet an unnaturally long lived one. He assumed the role after the death of the last true Director, and has been ruling ever since with the help of the elixir of life, the secret of which he alone posses. Alchemically enhanced monks roam the Captive Continent, collecting tithes of reagents, as the Directorate uses complicated alchemical compounds in day to day life. Some even travel between dimensions in search of rare materials. To do so they use internal alchemy, an art that is unheard of in the rest of the world.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


What game wouldn't be enlivened by a kaiju attack?

  1. Pangozor - a giant semi-mechanical pangolin.
  2. Slimars - Slime mold monsters, can combine to form slimagon.
  3. Blistra - Armoured chemical spewing beatle.
  4. Cuttalo - cephalopod, extremely clever with active camouflage.
  5. Ferartus - voracious catsnake.
  6. Team up, roll twice

  1.  Quatzal - Brightly covered bird of evil intent.
  2. Lambatcus - Horned beast with uncanny powers and a beatific  expression.
  3. Wormadon - Hideous worm monster painted in an unearthly rainbow.
  4. Tostaron - Automated weapons platform loaded with deathrays.
  5. The Night Vegatable - Fast growing plant abomination.
  6. Team up, roll twice
Just when you think its dead

  1. Flesh peels away to revel mechanical skeleton.
  2. It gives birth to another monster, then dies.
  3. Ascends to a higher plane of existence, returns as an energy monster.
  4. Explodes in a shower of goo.
  5. Shrinks down into an adorable pet.
  6. Flies into an unstoppable frenzy, dies one hour later.
Where did this monster come from?

  1. The will of the planet, to punish mankind for its hubris.
  2. A secret laboratory, for some ill-conceived scheme
  3. Aliens control the monster, in a bid to conquer the world.
  4. From a terrible parallel world.
  5. Mutated by incautious weapons test.
  6. A literal apocalypse sent by a higher power

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Even more districts

Godhead industries
Sights - A crowded showroom floor, or a maybe a temple. Shrines and altars are placed in tiers based on popularity. Hot new gods are in the great hall, old and forgotten deities are stuck in dusty basements.

Smells - Incense and that new god smell.

People - The desperate, the lost, the gullible. Priest engineers put their reputation on the line with each new design. Some get high on their own supply, becoming zealous and hostile to their rivals. The sledgehammer is the prefered tool for dismantling gods and their followers.

Who's hot right now? 1d4
  1. Ebulon, of the innumerable hosts. Invite his angels inside you and gain their strength. Now available in pill form.
  2. It's time to stop beating around the bush, Grigax gives you what you really want, irrational sex and violence.
  3. Kytherix, humble god of cheese. Fanatic's search for the ultimate cheese can get ... intense.
  4. Ponperdun, goddess of the cute and fuzzy. Submit to her adorable hordes.
Caverns of sanitation 
Sights - Huge subterranean landfills. Vast rivers, waterfalls and lakes of tainted water. Complexes of waste processing machines clanking away.

Smells - Breathe through your mouth.

People- Sanitation engineers wield subtle influence on the world above. Forgotten boroughs and lost tribes toil in obscurity. Hidden hideaways conceal rebels and secret societies.

What important thing was thrown away?
  1.  A "perfect" being in a stasis chest.
  2. An aristocrat pays the pcs to find and retrieve a small box. Discretion is of the utmost importance. Inside is what appears to be outrageous pornography, on closer inspection is actually regime ending pornography.
  3. A very sensitive blueprint
  4.  A relic for a popular religion. Its absence is raising tensions.
  5. A staggeringly dangerous bomb. If the pcs are lucky, the timer wasn't set.
  6. A beloved pet belonging to a rich patron. Sewer life agrees with it, leading to a massive growth spurt.   

Monday, January 5, 2015

More Districts

Womb Works
Sights - An enormous pink lake, its surface covered by a thick soft membrane. Various sphincters and locks are entrances to a sea of amniotic fluid. Translucent walls divide the fluid into sacks, many with large indistinct creatures growing in them. Smaller person-sized cells are clumped together like frog eggs. Submersible vessels monitor and direct growth.

Smells - Damp and unsettlingly organic.

People - Technicians, half overly enthusiastic weirdos. half-vat grown weirdos.Clients coming to check on their monsters, clones, or monstrous clones.

The new project everyone is talking about. 1d6

  1.  A new way around the square-cube law, record amount of space requisitioned.
  2. Wasp-cats, parasitoid lifestyle improves fecundity, the larval kittens gestate inside rats. At least thats the plan.
  3. Hard to talk about due to confidentiality clause, but heavily hinted to be a complete set of city leaders.
  4. Last escaped monster huge embarrassment, new counter monster improves upon the original in every way.
  5. If pets acting like people are cute, these things are going to be absolutely adorable.
  6. New culinary experience, cowamari.
Galactic Persevere 
Sights - Wild poorly tended alien biomes, hilariously ill-informed placards, Discarded and drool covered warden uniforms.

Smells - The myriad odors of a thousand mother natures, red and green and purple in tooth and pseudopod.

People - Twitchy wardens travel in packs and tell each other horror stories that are only half wrong. Well armed aristocrats embark on bold and stupid safaris.

A newly discovered creature that is making a buzz. 1d4
  1. Small blob like creature of astounding intelligence and shape shifting ability. They make great pets, but they require more food as they grow bigger, which they do quickly.
  2. Small candy colored lump creatures. They taste delicious, warnings that they are the young of a larger animal are ignored
  3. Lost tribe of intelligent aliens makes contact with the outside city, began selling their excellent violence skills to the highest bidder.
  4. Badly mutated warden stumbles out of the woods, is mistaken for a marvelous beast and put on display