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

Kaiju

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
versus

  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