Saturday, May 27, 2017

All Disturbing Animals


This is the list of horror-game-appropriate animals for Demon City. If you see anything missing, inconsistent, or that you think should be fleshed out more, let me know. No, I didn't include hippose, the most dangerous animal in Africa. Yes, what was on purpose.

Note that "Calm Check" is how much seeing the animal in the wild freaks people out.

And remember: in real life animals are our friends and we are far more dangerous to them than they are to us--except for ones from Australian who can fuck right off.

ANIMALS

Animals can become menacing in many ways—as familiars to witches (see pg XXX), as drone slaves (see pg XXX) to necromancers or demons (see pg xxx), as revenants (see pg xxx) come back from the dead—and its also possible that they could simply decide on their own they’ve had enough and begin to kill us all.

Statistics for some horror-friendly animals are listed here: All animals have Cash and Knowledge at 0—Appeal scores indicate how likely the average naive observer is to approach the animal. Insects, rats and other vermin attacking in groups together are covered under “Swarms” (see pg XXX). Supernaturally intelligent or controlled animals which are not normally dangerous like birds or housecats will generally attack a target’s eyes first.

Alligator/Crocodile
Calm: 2
Agility: 4
Toughness: 6
Perception: 2
Appeal: 0

Calm Check: 4/5 if attacking

Notes: Amphibious, bite grapples & inflicts damage simultaneously, can’t open their mouths if held closed.

Bat
Calm: 1
Agility: 4
Toughness: 0
Perception: 6
Appeal: 0

Calm Check: 2/4 if attacking

Notes: Echolocation, Flying


Bear
Calm: 2
Agility: 4
Toughness: 8
Perception: 6
Appeal: 1

Calm Check: 4/5 if attacking

Notes: Bite or “hug” inflicts damage and grapples simultaneously

Boar/Wild Pig
Calm: 2
Agility: 2
Toughness: 5
Perception: 4
Appeal: 0

Calm Check: 1/4 if attacking

Bobcat/Lynx
Calm: 1
Agility: 5
Toughness: 2
Perception: 6
Appeal: 4

Calm Check: 3 only if attacking

Cat
Calm: 1
Agility: 5
Toughness: 0
Perception: 6
Appeal: 3

Calm Check: 2 only if attacking

Chameleon
Calm: 2
Agility: 5
Toughness: 0
Perception: 3
Appeal: 4

Calm Check: 1 only if attacking

Notes: When hidden, requires a Perception Check against a 6 to find

Cheetah
Calm: 2
Agility: 6
Toughness: 4
Perception: 6
Appeal: 3

Calm Check: 3/4 if attacking

Notes: Can run 40 mph over sprint distances

Coyote/Jackal
Calm: 2
Agility: 4
Toughness: 2
Perception: 6
Appeal: 2

Calm Check: 1/3 if attacking

Crane
Calm: 3
Agility: 3
Toughness: 0
Perception: 2
Appeal: 4

Calm Check: 2 only if attacking

Notes: Flying

Crow/Raven/other small birds
Calm: 1
Agility: 7
Toughness: 0
Perception: 6
Appeal: 1

Calm Check: 2 only if attacking

Notes: Flying

Dog
Calm: 3
Agility: 3
Toughness: 0-2
Perception: 6
Appeal: 3

Calm Check: 2 only if attacking


Eagle/Falcon/Hawk
Calm: 1
Agility: 7
Toughness: 1
Perception: 7
Appeal: 4

Calm Check: 2 only if attacking

Notes: Flying

Electric Eel
Calm: 2
Agility: 6
Toughness: 0
Perception: 3
Appeal: 3

Calm Check: 2/3 if attacking

Notes: Aquatic, tts only attack is a painful shock—failing a Toughness check vs a 0 causes damage as an ordinary attack.

Elephant
Calm: 3
Agility: 2
Toughness: 9
Perception: 4
Appeal: 4

Calm Check: 0/5 only if attacking

Notes: Trample attack is made at Agility 1 but causes Massive Damage


Fox
Calm: 1
Agility: 5
Toughness: 1
Perception: 6
Appeal: 4

Calm Check: 2 only if attacking

Frog/Toad
Calm: 2
Agility: 5
Toughness: 0
Perception: 6
Appeal: 2

Calm Check: 1 only if attacking

Notes: Some are amphibious, the only ones that can effectively attack humans are poison arrow frogs, which range from mildly to immensely toxic (like the tiny Golden Poison Frog)—Intensity 1-10. 

Goat
Calm: 3
Agility: 2
Toughness: 1
Perception: 3
Appeal: 2

Calm Check: 2 only if attacking

Gorilla
Calm: 2
Agility: 6
Toughness: 7
Perception: 5
Appeal: 1

Calm Check: 0/4 only if attacking

Notes: Climbing, opposable thumb

Hare/Rabbit
Calm: 0
Agility: 3
Toughness: 0
Perception: 6
Appeal: 4

Calm Check: 1 only if attacking

Notes: Lagomorphs ordinarily have no effective attack against humans. Hares can run up to 30mph for short distances.

Horse
Calm: 1
Agility: 4
Toughness: 7
Perception: 5
Appeal: 4

Calm Check: 4 only if attacking

Notes: Can run up to 25-30 mph


Hyena
Calm: 2
Agility: 4
Toughness: 4
Perception: 6
Appeal: 1

Calm Check: 3/4 if attacking


Insects/Spiders
Calm: 0
Agility: 1 (land) 7 (flying)
Toughness: 0
Perception: 6
Appeal: 0-3

Calm Check: 0-1

Notes: Some amphibious or aquatic or amphibious, some fly. Most have no effective attack alone, except venomous ones (including bees, wasps, harvester ants, caterpillars and spiders) which can vary wildly, from Intensity 1-10. The most dangerous ones are spiders, including Brazilian Wandering Spiders and Australia’s Northern Funnel Web.


Jaguar/Leopard/Panther
Calm: 3
Agility: 5
Toughness: 6
Perception: 6
Appeal: 2

Calm Check: 4/5 if attacking

Notes: Can climb trees


Jellyfish
Calm: 2
Agility: 1
Toughness: 0
Perception: 1
Appeal: 0

Calm Check: 0/3 if attacking

Notes: Aquatic. Jellyfish stings range from harmless in some species to intensity 10 toxicity. They have no other effective attack alone. Australia’s Box Jellyfish is toxicity 10 as are tiny Irukandji Jellyfish—no bigger than a thumbnail. The massive (8 ft diameter) and eerie Lion’s Mane Jellyfish has an Intensity 1 toxin.

Komodo dragon
Calm: 2
Agility: 2
Toughness: 4
Perception: 1
Appeal: 2

Calm Check: 3/4 if attacking

Notes: Komodo dragon’s mildly toxic bites cause the victim to make a Toughness check vs intensity 1 or lose a point of Toughness, however this toxin alone can never bring an adult below 0.


Leech/Slug/Snail/Worm/Maggot
Calm: 5
Agility: 0
Toughness: 0
Perception: 1
Appeal: 0

Calm Check: 0/3 if on the character

Notes: Some are amphibious, normally have no way of attacking humans, though leeches can spread infections.


Lemur
Calm: 1
Agility: 6
Toughness: 0
Perception: 6
Appeal: 4

Calm Check: 2 only if attacking

Notes: Climbing, semi-opposable thumb allows some ability to manipulate objects


Lion
Calm: 4
Agility: 5
Toughness: 7
Perception: 6
Appeal: 2

Calm Check: 4/5 if attacking


Monkey/Chimp
Calm: 1
Agility: 7
Toughness: 1
Perception: 4
Appeal: 4

Calm Check: 4 if attacking

Notes: Climbing, opposable thumb


Octopus/Squid
Calm: 4
Agility: 6
Toughness: 0-4
Perception: 3
Appeal: 4

Calm Check: 3 for giant squid only, 4 if attacking

Notes: Aquatic, eject obscuring ink clouds (Perception vs 2 to find your way through), chameleonlike coloration (5 to find a hidden octopus), the only ones with an effective attack against humans are the blue ringed octopus (Poison intensity 7 or suffer total paralysis for 1-10 hours and die within 1-10 minutes if not given cpr) and, possibly, the giant squid.

Owl
Calm: 1
Agility: 7
Toughness: 1
Perception: 7
Appeal: 4

Calm Check: 0, 2 if attacking

Notes: Flying, night vision

Peacock
Calm: 1
Agility: 1
Toughness: 0
Perception: 2
Appeal: 5

Calm Check: 0 only if attacking

Notes: No effective attack against humans unless their face is already very close to beak or claws

Piranha
Calm: 1
Agility: 4
Toughness: 0
Perception: 3
Appeal: 0

Calm Check: 4 if recognized

Notes: Aquatic. Piranha are only dangerous in Swarms.


Raccoon
Calm: 3
Agility: 4
Toughness: 0
Perception: 6
Appeal: 2

Calm Check: 1/4 if attacking

Notes: Climbing

Rat
Calm: 0
Agility: 4
Toughness: 0
Perception: 4
Appeal: 0

Calm Check: 2/4 if attacking

Notes: Climbing, sometimes disease-carrying

Reindeer/Stag
Calm: 1
Agility: 4
Toughness: 7
Perception: 5
Appeal: 3

Calm Check: 4 if attacking


Rhinoceros
Calm: 3
Agility: 3
Toughness: 8
Perception: 2
Appeal: 2

Calm Check: 1/4 if attacking


Shark
Calm: 2
Agility: 4
Toughness: 7
Perception: 3
Appeal: 0

Calm Check: 4/5 if attacking

Notes: aquatic


Snake—constrictor
Calm: 2
Agility: 6
Toughness: 1-3
Perception: 4
Appeal: 0

Calm Check: 3/4 if attacking

Note: amphibious, the largest pythons are technically capable of killing an adult human but in practice it’s incredibly rare, in most cases the constrictor is frightening and perhaps an impediment but not a real danger.

Snake—venomous
Calm: 2
Agility: 6
Toughness: 0-1
Perception: 4
Appeal: 0

Calm Check: 3/4 if attacking

Notes: Amphibious, snake venoms vary wildly in toxicity by species as well as amount of venom delivered per bite—Intensity 1-10. Intensity 10 snakes mostly come from Australia including the Inland Taipan, the Dubois Sea Snake (widely distributed there and in Southeast Asia), and the excitingly-named Eastern Brown Snake.


Stingray
Calm: 3
Agility: 3
Toughness: 1
Perception: 3
Appeal: 2

Calm Check: 0/3 if attacked

Notes: Aquatic. Most stings are merely painful, but if the victim fails a Toughness check vs 0, the embedded spine can cause a standard damage.

Swan

Calm: 2
Agility: 2
Toughness: 0
Perception: 2
Appeal: 4

Calm Check: 1 only if attacked

Notes: Flying, floating, swans usually have no way of hurt adult humans.


Tiger
Calm: 2
Agility: 5
Toughness: 7
Perception: 6
Appeal: 2

Calm Check: 4/5 if attacking

Tortoise/Turtle
Calm: 4
Agility: 0
Toughness: 1
Perception: 1
Appeal: 1

Calm Check: 2 only if attacking

Notes: Amphibious, shell can provides protection equal to Toughness 1-4 against incidental damage, they’re normally harmless, other than snapping turtles, which can bite off a finger—treat as an Agility 3 standard attack that’s never fatal.

Vulture
Calm: 2
Agility: 2
Toughness: 1
Perception: 4
Appeal: 0

Calm Check: 3 only if attacking

Notes: Flying, harmless normally

Wolf
Calm: 2
Agility: 4
Toughness: 4
Perception: 6
Appeal: 1

Calm Check: 3/4 if attacking

Wolverine
Calm: 2
Agility: 4
Toughness: 3
Perception: 6
Appeal: 0

Calm Check: 2/4 if attacking


Notes: Climbing

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Fetch

A ghost for any game. Mechanically not too special, but its ecology should keep players busy for at least an hour, since it has to trick characters into hurting each other.



Fetch

A fetch is the ghost of a lost soul that takes a form identical to its victim in order to replace them. Being bound to a given location until they can successfully bring about the death of a human and take its place, the fetch searches for the weakest mortal it can find and attempts to sow fatal confusion.

Friends of the victim who are unaware of the nature of the fetch take psychological damage as if they'd just seen their friend commit whatever atrocity the fetch just has or take whatever wound the fetch has appeared to take.

If a fetch is tricked into imitating a form tattooed with a spell of banishment, its ectoplasmic skin will begin to dissolve and the ghost will be exorcised.

Typical Fetch
(Demon City stats)

Calm: 2
Agility: as target 
Toughness: as target (but see below)
Perception: 2
Appeal: as target
Cash: 0
Knowledge: 3

Calm Check: 5


Special abilities:

Serial Ectoplasmic Form: Fetches condense into bodies that are identical to those of their victims in most ways (voice, mannerisms, etc) and are vulnerable to mundane attacks. However, if this body is slain, the Fetch’s invisible and its incorporeal soul remains until exorcised.

In combat, the fetch is normally indistinguishable from the victim.

Weaknesses:

A fetch is always bound to the specific geographical location where it died (a building, a graveyard, a lake, a hospital, a neighborhood, a dungeon, etc) and cannot leave until it brings about the death of a victim and thereby replaces it permanently.

A fetch cannot directly physically harm the target it has imitated and must usually employ deception to cause it to be killed by some other party. Its most common tactic is to use the new form to kill one of the victim’s friends, get “caught” by other companions, then flee and conceal itself until these companions kill their “dangerous” friend.

A fetch cannot adopt a new form or become incorporeal until its current target has left the area the fetch haunts or that body is "killed".

Most fetches cannot bear the sound of bells due to association with church bells—in some cases, the feared sound is different and is associated with the way the creature died (for example, a victim of a drunk driving accident may not be able to stand the sound of a beer can opening).

If a fetch adopts a form tattooed with scriptures of banishment, its new skin will burn and the fetch will be exorcised.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hey Geek & Sundry People

You must be looking for world-building stuff...

Random tables and charts are here.

A person I don't know but who seems pretty cool made an index of my setting-specific resources here.

Stuff for my home D&D campaign is under the "Vornheim Campaign" tag here.

I have a "useful things" for GMs tag here.

My new RPG project Demon City is here, the Patreon for that is here.

We talk all day about game stuff on my Google+ here.

General orientation to this blog (including where the porn stars are) here.

Seeyalater...

Thursday, May 18, 2017

What 1000 Feet Away Looks Like

If you write tabletop RPG stuff, you're used to using resources totally not designed for you. This is because if you write tabletop RPG stuff, almost no resources are designed for you.

Here's one: RPGs are full of ranges--Silence 15' radius, the Ruger is accurate up to 1000' yards...ever wonder what various ranges actually look like?

Somebody was writing an article about how big don't-sell-drugs-to-school-children zones should be-(a subject upon wish I have no opinion I which to discuss with game bloggers), but they did provide a useful illustration of some ranges:



So using this I figured out the Drowned Woman Ghost can stray no further than 500' from the body of water where she committed suicide.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

House of D100 Corpses

HEY IF YOU'RE HERE FROM THAT GEEK & SUNDRY WORLD-BUILDING THING
Here's an index to that stuff.

D100 Corpses and What They Were Carrying


Crowdsourced on my Google+ RPG circle here, if you wanna be added, you gotta send me a message on G+ saying you want to be in the RPG circle.


1, Human thief. 3 torches, one slowly burning through her leg. 5 days rations, 20' rope. Throwing axe inscribed "To Bella, may it always find its mark" buried in abdomen.

2, Kimmerian warrior, face carefully burned away; sword, dagger, hand axe all neatly broken and arrayed around the body; five war-dog harnesses strapped around thigh, each with crusted blood.

3, Adult Tengu. Scroll of feather fall. Tinderbox. Bedroll. Bokken (wooden sword) carved with shifting runes of unknown origin. 

4, Drowned corpse of a princess- ruby necklace, gold crown, 100 gp, and a music box that has mesmerizing melody and leaks copious amounts of water when opened. 

5, Half-elf Thief with sting mark in neck, dagger, collapsible mini fishing pole,  thieve's tools,  fishing weights & hooks (some highly & lightly magnetized), fishing line,  blowgun w/ 10 darts, 10 slot bandolier with 9 live wasps expertly bound & in the slots.

6, Eviscerated ettin. Longspear with a flint head. Bark shield. Clay pipe and a bag of extra strong pipeweed. Elf jerky. 

7, Corpse whose face has been replaced with a hole which looks into a dungeon. Blue skin, wears fantasy Russian finery. Carries a random key, a rusty lantern (squeaks, +1 in 6 chance of encounters) with 3 hours of oil, a braided blanket of many colours, a knife on a 5' stick, and a dehydrated octopus in a jar (add water to bring back to life, acts as 3rd level thief). 

8, Disemboweled druid. Silver-thread robe. A golden sickle. Oracle bone. Small collection of bawdy pictures. 

9, Halfling with case full of expensive, impressive, distinctive earrings worth dungeon levelx1000 gp. They will be immediately by recognized by dwarves as stolen goods.

10, Halfling: stomach has burst open with strange fungal growth and is filled with gems, coins, little keepsakes, soggy canvas that was once a painting, nails, spoons, marbles. The gems and coins are worth d100 x 10.

11, Human. Teeth weirdly overgrown, puncturing through the cheeks. Within mouth is a fairy, sentenced to imprisonment for an ill-considered jape. Can only be released by smashing the teeth, or cutting into the head. 

12, Mutilated merchant. Bag of glass beads. Basket of hop cones. Sack of beaver tails. Coin pouch containing 6d20 gold pieces (counterfeit). 

13, Corpse is actually hands legs, head, clothes from several different corpses carefully arranged by goblins to seem like one dead body. pack contains 30gp and spoiled rations but coming within 5' puts a scent on you that goblins' dogs can track

14, Female elf, hanging underneath a bridge. She has been picked clean but the rope is enchanted and can on the right command move along the ground like a snake, climb trees etc, and can even tie a knot in itself. The rope is 20 ft long, and if it gets cut loses the enchantment.

15, Two corpses, both humans, impaled on the same longspear. the spear is lined with barbs, and it looks like both died in pain trying to work the weapon through their bodies. Simple leather hoods,  shoddy leather jerkins, and rusting farm tools suggest they were hapless hirelings. Only one has a leather pouch on their belt, containing a handful of 2d6 coppers and 4 red acorn seeds. 

16, Crumpled Arbalestier, her head stove in. Broken crossbow, jack-and-chains, satchelful of mewling mandrakes. 

17, Burnt bugbear. Brigandine. Exquisite katzbalger and baselard set (stolen). Tin cup. Jug of plum brandy. Diary which reads like a food porn blog written in undercommon. 

18, A curse of beauty: the first person to touch the corpse recieves the curse, they become increasingly alluring to everyone gaining 1 point of charisma each day. When their charisma reaches 18 then each day they gain a follower of the DMs choosing. Jealousy and rivalry will follow, duels will be fought in the cursed's name, murder, obsessive stalking. Kings will send armies to collect that person. The curse, once discovered, can be removed at a temple for 500 gold per point of charisma back to their starting charisma. Once those enamoured of the character realise they were tricked they will become very angry.

19, Thief - two purses, one containing 237 sp/gp, the other containing 4 small gems worth 50 sp/gp each. A small knife covered in blood

20, Small humanoid, dressed in filthy rags.  Face beaten in brutally, skin on body covered in scars (runes or arcane writing of some kind.)  Right hand clutches a rattle from a snake, left hand a lemon.

21, Druidic Novitiate,  deadskin mask, pair of jagged sickles, ogham-staff upon which is writ a sequence of riddles referring to the hunger of the moon, white robe torn and stained with blood. 

22, Crowman 4' tall, stabbed. backpack emptied next to him, ripped up pillow, a slice of bread. one wing is false (actually that wing was severed long ago) and conceals a pouch containing: 1d6x100gp worth of gems, a vial of powdered mushroom (snort to have pleasant hallucinations for 3d4 hours, also able to see invisible ghosts) and a glass globe with a gold sniffing scarab inside (flies towards gold when within 5')

23, Pulverized prince. Brocade finery. Bottle of hippocras. Chicken fingers. Chastity belt. 

24, Imperial Cataphract torn in half. Lamellar klibanion over double layer of mail. Spear, mace, axe and two kinds of sword. Top half fifty feet away from bottom half. Look of surprise frozen on his face.

25, A thief, completely flat, thieve’s tools, daggers etc. all crushed flat and useless. Rope maybe still usable. Partial maps of this and some other places, mostly correct.

26, Decapitated dwarf. Double-bitted axe. Beard balm. Toupée. A biscuit. 

27, half orc in possession of his own memoir of surprising insight and clarity detailing his birth in the Pitch Hoarding and his subsequent inability to integrate with orc society and eventual quest to find his mother. Includes hand-drawn maps and sketches of important figures. Also: crummy drugs and rabbit meat.

28, Victim of a teleportation mishap. Half fused with a stone wall, head and an arm and a leg sticking out. Digging him out of the wall with pickaxes or similar will gain access to a 3rd level magic-users's spellbook and 1d8x100gp.

29, Plump blueskinned woman ready to burst, one red pump on her left foot, a snake grenade clenched in her fist.

30, 14th level wizard covered in flour lying facedown in a pile of marbles and caltrops in a scorched pool of oil and lard, arrows in his back. Nothing of value but the trail from his body leads to a very smug looking party of adventurers loaded with 2467gp worth of talismans and a loaded spellbook.

31, skeleton carefully wrapped in thin gold foil, head is filled with steel wool, removing the steel wool reanimates the thing (treat as 9th lvl fighter, 1/2 damage from slashing and piercing), removing the foil grants you an indefatigable enemy

32, Adventurer or a hobo, hard to tell which. Dirty stinking worn out clothes. Golden necklaces, wristbands and rings. A chain is wrapped around the corpse, the other end trailing into darkness. Every time the corpse is approached, something yanks it away, towards the dark.

33, Halfling. Disembowled with intestine wrapped around neck. Nothing in pockets but a map to a country no one has heard of called Taured. 

34, A lizardperson, but so difficult to tell due to so many parts missing, sliced out or off until it's a "butterflied" torso with stumpy appendages.  A spear, shield, and crude breast plate are carelessly piled a few feet from the corpse.

35, The pope. He's actually still alive, but very poorly, needs help now! Saving his life will carry a big reward.

36, Male orc missing both legs, lying in large a pool of fresh blood, broken wine bottle beside him. Carrying a leather pouch around waist filled with (bottles of? -z) different sizes and shapes. Cause of death, bled out from leg wounds. 

37, The corpse of a gambler turned literal dead-bead debtor. His throat is slit with his own playing card; his own dice have been deeply thrust into his eye sockets with snake eyes facing up. An IOU addressed to the presumed murderer hangs from his mouth.

38, A flattened... Something. Can't really tell what it was. like vertically flattened so the body is a roughly circular pancake of goo and leather, contained within the foot print of something humongous. Valuables include 2d6 silver coins flattened like a penny run over by a train. 

39, goblin chef with spatula, knife set, salt, d10 sauce bottles, dried mushrooms, fancy hat. monster cookbook, goat fat, herbs and spices in tiny clay jars

40, The corpse appears to be a fairly well off (if foppish) adventurer in fashionable but durable clothing (elven/fey-weave worth 200 gp, resistant to normal wear-and-tear, staining.) with rough marks on his neck indicating somebody choked him. His pockets are notably emptied, but a highly valuable jeweled amulet dangles loosely from his neck. This is, in fact, a necklace of strangulation.

41, Cow. In its belly the jade egg of unreason. 

42, A near skeletal corpse, dressed festively in the style of a local holiday, buried inside a giant pot of boiling hot pudding. A holly stake has been lodged in the corpse's chest cavity. If the stake is removed, the corpse animates as a vampire. The taste of the pudding is off, for it's literally blood pudding.

43, A pile of 1d10+10 albino plague mice, each laying on its back with its legs curled facing up. 

44, Crass sea cucumber wife in the tattered bone and brine finery of a better era, her tangled intestines choking a brachiopod man. In her bag of hands three gold and stone rings. 

45, Orator from the imperial capital, throat slit and tongue removed. Items on person: crudely forged love letter from the wife of a diplomat, and empty coin purse that never held money. Also, carefully hidden legal document securing ownership of an ancient dwarven mine. 

46, Featureless corpse of a Doppleganger. Nasty gut wound. Postmortem reflex causes it to try to imitate features of those touching it for next 1d10+5 minutes and sticks to last appearance it took after that.

47, Dwarven skeleton. No hands. Top front teeth have numbers one to six scrimshawed on them. If teeth taken, and one is held in hand while character is rolling any die, tooth disintegrates and die rolls that number if possible.

48, This ancient corpse sits in a position of prayer or meditation. It is the pristine remains of a holy man who remained incorrupt through death. The corpse's mummified flesh is poisonous to saprophages, thus remaining unviolated.The prayer beads or vestments worn by the mummy indicate the holy site to where it may be returned, where it is attended (and perhaps even venerated) by lay worshipers.

49, Corpse in moldering floral button-up and sandals; small box around neck with mysteriously created pictures of ~20 nearby beings, rooms, or treasures

50, Mangled and half-eaten body of a young man in monk's robes, still clutching a crumpled scroll of Summon.

51, Psi-warrior run through with crystal spear, has three pearls of power and a colorful plumed mask. Chimeric spirit guide also pinned, trying to escape, but only visible to people sleeping, hallucinating or insane. Promptly leads to master's killer when freed, will serve as familiar to whoever avenges

52, A fat stirge shot recently through with an otherwise ordinary elvish arrow. Examining its glittery gullet or proboscis will show its last meal was unicorn.

53, A plague physician in full bird mask outfit.  Body completely unmarked, flesh is strangely waxy rather than decayed.  Satchel holds herbs (more aromatic than medicinal), scalpels, saws and many small glass cups with scorch marks.

54, Dead tax collector killed on the job. Carries various purses containing a total of 1d100 coins of every type up to gold pieces plus 1d10 platinium pieces and 1d6 gems of random value. Also holds in hand tax records with checklist of persons on collection route.

55, dark elf with fearsome chest wound carrying cruelly serrated crossbow bolts and an accurate chart of the motions of the winds over the nearest sea for the next 4 weeks written in an ancient elvish script. If translated it's worth 1000gp per relevant day left to sailors

56, A fucking huge barbarian: backstabbed. His hands clutched in rigor mortis around his two-handed sword. Inscribed on the sword are the words "Over my dead body".

57, Dead, eight-limbed elf. Face of confused agony. Four arms and legs are flesh; these are limp as sausages. The other four are bone and ligament: phased out of her body and posed as if escaping. Tumbled aside: a book full of notes and a spell of Wake Skeleton.

58, the desiccated husk of a mummified monk, sitting perfectly upright, hand in esoteric position, with a face of serenity. skin rock hard and golden brown. he appears to have self-embalmed. at his feet lie a neat bundle of religious tracts, a dried-out quill and ink pot, and several empty jars. a herbalist might be able to identify that the first two contain traces of a curious mixture of resins and toxins. the last contain traces of vomit. if dissected, his stomach contains a number of river stones. his eternal tranquility is marred by the single word of graffiti carved across his brow: "DICK".

59, A large obese human corpse clothed in bear fur. Close inspection reveals a faint rumbling coming from inside. There is a halfling sleeping in the eviscerated remains, if woken he quickly gets up and throwing a dark look the player's way, stalks off mumbling about needing to find a new bed without assholes disturbing him. In his hand he clasps a cleaver, and a rusty hook hangs from his belt.

60, Emaciated adventurer corpse in a gibbet.  Empty pack and waterskin.  Purse contains gold appropriate for level of dungeon.  Gold ring on finger is magical.  Whoever takes the ring off the finger takes the place of the corpse in the gibbet.

61, A child: unmarked, unclothed, starting to rot, covered in snails. Their movements map the safest way through a dungeon.

62, Dismembered body with bloody handaxe in one hand. Neatly written suicide note nearby, no explanation of how they doed it. 

63, Middle-aged man, unshaven, wearing green. Beaten to death. Index and middle fingers recently cut off. Has broken longbow, empty purse, cheaply-printed pamphlets advocating for a peasant uprising.

64, A spidery, thin occultist sits bent over an old ouija board, her blood staining it but dead by unknown causes. The planchette points at "YES".

65, A dwarf that has been stripped of everything. Luxurious beard is coated in oils and waxes though. Beard can provide d10 torches.

66, Monk covered with tattoos. Mouth stuffed with poison mushrooms, emasculated, gang symbol branded on chest.

67, Old Slavic-looking man with thick moustache and hairy forearms. Wears rough homespun peasant clothes and leather apron. A very sharp boning knife is stuck into his neck. He carries a short-handled mallet and 3d6 strips of jerky, made from some unidentifiable meat.

68, A normal sized frog, lodged in it's belly is a well cut diamond on a gold ring, the diamond is the size of a human eyeball

69, A couple of thieves, covered in black oozing stab wounds with looks of immense pain of their faces. They have small cut wounds upon them where it was clear they once had items or purses. A small note written in some sort of thieves cant is all that you can find

70, A large fighter, placed onto its back with its sword laying upon its armoured chest covered by both hands. A gold coin is placed over each eye

71, The bodies of several lowborn riffraff are impaled upon pikes, their last expressions warped in extreme agony. They serve as bleak reminders of what happens to those who reach beyond their bounds. One of the dead upstarts clenches a small slip of parchment in his fist. It holds a clue about the local ruler's dread secret.

72, Bloated ill-dressed maiden with a parasitic wasp frog demon chimaera in her bosom and gold coins in her ears. 

73, Dead, dirty drunkard covered in a film of his own puke, clutches a bottle of whiskey so potent you can get a contact high just by coming within 5 ft. The mark of station in the man's pocket proves him as once a distinguished figure, but some terrible, unknown fate laid him truly low. 

74, Small stout bloated creature with rusty skin floats in a puddle mixed with it's black blood. It wears a silver crown (worth 200sp). Upon closer inspection the body bares several names carved into it's flesh. Some are foreign. Some are familiar. 3d20 names glow with a golden light.

75, The butcher's son, in pigskin gloves.

76, The corpse of a doomsayer preacher, wears plain priestly vestments, a necklace of garlic cloves plus a silver holy symbol, and sandals. Her belt holds a silver dagger of ritual sacrifice, two vials of holy water, and some incense. Some sort of untitled logbook  lies in the filth a few feet away. Someone has torn away the last few pages.

77, A bald monk with a forehead full of holy ash. Asphyxiated, cheeks full and near-bursting. Gums bloody, teeth missing. Fat, jewel-eyed idol jammed in his mouth cavity; it would not have fit past the opening of his lips.

78, Emaciated, panther-headed humanoid creature, wrapped in bandages at the wrists and ankles. It clutches one of its young--a newborn--barely alive. The younger creature will imprint on the first living thing that pays it any attention.

79, A tiger sized cat which clutches the tail of a slightly smaller feline in it's jaws. Ad infinitum until you have a ring of cats ever decreasing in size biting each other's tails. Each feline caries a silver bell around it's neck that chimes with an individual's last words. (Add wind for spookiness.)

80, Dead man in fool's garb, almost skeletal, lying face down, grabbing punctured side and reaching towards blank wall. Has two vials of laughing gas and a 50' rope of tied color handkerchiefs up sleeves.

81, Human in well-worn, travel suitable version of a distant court's livery. Corpse has already been ransacked, and has no items of monetary value or weapons. His or her satchel has been upturned, and there are 1D4 letters, marked with first names or initials, destined for notable figures in the next nearest human kingdom strewn around it.

82, A skinny young man with close-cropped, light brown hair and greyish blue eyes, stripped of everything but his underwear and a leather cord necklace with a leather tag on it that says "Ben of ."

83, Human boy, age 13-15, silver dagger through heart, otherwise unharmed. enlarged canines, gray hair, unusual down on back of neck.

84, Young human wearing a life like demon costume. His right hand grips an amulet with a faded photo of a young maiden (100sp). His left clutches a half-eaten long rotted blt. The tag on the neck says "property of Rosco the Magnifico".

85, Loyal alsatian with a bottle of brandy in his teeth, matted with the blood of bandits

86, Half-elf woman. Charring on hands and mouth. Herbalism kit. Hunting knife. Short bow and 4 arrows. Five pieces of silver. 

87, A pirate who seems to have been bludgeoned to death with her own peg leg. In the hollow of the leg is the location of a treasure ship she sunk but could not savage due to rough seas.

88, An agnostic high priest adorned with 3d100gp worth of adornments. He grasps a wizard's spellbook with 1d6+5 spells of d10-2 levels each.

89, The singed body of an alchemist, wide-eyed with surprise, a broken beaker in each hand. The dead alchemist wears clothing appropriate to the profession, with pockets containing 250 gold pieces worth of alchemical supplies, including a potion belt able to hold 10 vials. 1d6+2 of them each holds a random mundane substance.

90, Pale sutler in a crumpled heap, stripped of all worldly possessions but tattered hose, bearing a contagion of terrible virulence.

91, A dead wizard and her 90% complete flesh golem. All it needs is a heart and the right words.

92, A termite mound raised over the pulped body of a dryad. Snacking on a bowl of termites - fried or roasted tastes best - confers barkskin for d4 hours.

93, Large human. Hands manacled together. Spear through side. Inside mouth is a bitten off ear. Inside stomach is a finger with a ring worth 2,000 gold and other body parts. Soon you will meet someone missing an ear and a finger and some other stuff.

94, One vertical half of a wizard with coins in their purse stamped with the adult face and name of a nearby nation's recently announced royal newborn.

95, Woman in a pit trap carrying a cage full of tagged mice, still living, along with notes on exactly which experiments were performed on which mice..

96, Replaces the next three results you would roll on this table: Garroted corpse resembling a random PC in broad but distinctive ways; hair/eye/skin color; social standing, gender, species, occupation etc. Pick a few, but each corpse bears all of these resemblances. PCs not matching this description are in no danger.

97, Nine eyeless weremice in a rat race trap holding brief and short cases of papers covered in arcane symbols. 

98, Body of a barefoot gnome in a drab nightgown and nightcap. Clutching a candlestick and a shoe. The letters 'WWW' are embroidered on the nightgown.

99, A message-bearer in livery: shot. The bad news lays in ashes but the body wears a satchel containing d4 more scrolls (50/50 chance good news or bad news about something on your hex or city map).

100, The burnt and body of a woman in rags, emitting a sulfurous odor.Next to her is a bag with 7 pairs of socks, apparently made of hair, and 2 gold, 3 silver and 5 copper.
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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Looking at a Boat With Kenneth Hite

On account of Kenneth Hite announcing made head designer on Vampire: the Masquerade 5e I'll put up this post I've been meaning to get to...

So we were hanging out...
He actually does smoke cigars, it is not just a carefully-constructed persona
...and I ran Maze of the Blue Medusa and, more importantly here, we went to the Vasa Museum.

Ok, so the Vasa Museum is about the warship Vasa which is the only full-intact 17th century ship that's ever been dredged up from the sea.

The reason for this is the very simple way the Vasa got to the bottom of the sea. The Vasa story is quite elegant:

A king got real excited.

He built a crazy 64-gun ship.

Everybody went to see it launch.

It launched, then a gust of wind hit it wrong, water filled the lower decks, and it immediately sank.

They eventually hauled it up and built a museum around this total embarrassment. As Ken put it "It's kind of like Boston building a museum to Bill Buckner's dropped ball".

But the thing is the ship is nuts, the decorative work alone took six sculptors at least two years, looking up at it is like standing next to a cathedral.
D&Dable: it's also covered in symbolism and good luck charms that didn't work, plus Hercules, portraits of the king, Roman emperors, symbols of the 4 winds, cats and dogs living together, etc.
They sucked at painting though





Alchemical wind diagram featuring those famous directions: batwise, turtlewise, lionwise, goatwise

"We're at war, let's throw some lifesized dudes on there"

I love this little pavilion they built on because it basically justifies any kind of
creepy Ian Miller baroquetry you draw onto a goblin ship
The nice thing about going to a museum with Ken is he's like "Ah yes, the Polish-Lithuanian war!" and he knows who all the kings were related to and what they had for breakfast on any given day of the calendar year so I spent a lot of time asking questions and going "No shit?"

Some of the many nameless dead they recovered
My favorite D&Dable detail, and a great example of good hairsplitting were these custom cannonballs, which were total news to me and which I will never ever stop talking about:
This one's made to put holes in the deck
This one scissors through the rigging and maybe also people



This one is a scary spinning anti-rigging shot

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Foetal God.....(+DIY D&D Gen Con Party)

For any old game, but I wrote it up specifically for Demon City. I gave it D&D stats, too...
The Foetal God. My latest painting for Demon City.

It would require an effort on an industrial scale and layers of orchestrated deception within that effort, great vats, sacrifices that would beggar cemeteries, coordinated acts of rogue archaeology, postmodern mathematics, and coordinating multinational teams of experts in the deadest languages. All the more remarkable as it could serve no conceivable purpose.

The young god will stagger, unviable, seething, needlessly empathic, feeling everything, bending quantum fields to the edge of rupture, shrieking in ultrasonics whose sublime recursions and architectonic structures echo out in depthless potency and ignorance.

Thinking nothing, reactionary, capable of anything, exposed and nihilistic--why would anyone bring such a thing about?
Demon City Stats:

Calm: -1 (Always insane)
Agility: 2
Toughness: 10
Perception: 1
Appeal: 0
Cash: 0
Knowledge: 0

Calm check: 10

D&D stats in italics:
HD: 17
AC: 16
Speed: As human

Causes Save vs Fear on sight


Special Abilities
(Wallowind newly anf unwilling in the morass of being, the Foetal God telegraphs its every move--these are all initially rolled as Agility-based actions.)

Physical Attack

The God is strong enough that anything outright grappled, thrown or crushed in its hands or jaws takes Overwhelming Damage (roll dice equal to the attacker's stat--in this case 2--and take the highest). (D&D: Str as Hill Giant)


Touch

The God can reform matter with a touch, but does so as an infant with no talent or focused intention. Each hand merely begins to transmute touched things into the last thing touched with that hand, so if it was a sidewalk, part of the target becomes smeared with a line of jagged concrete, if it was a dog, part of the target becomes a chaotic web of fur, organ, and fang. Aside from any common-sense effects treat this as normal weapon damage. (D&D: d10+10)

Scream

When wounded or frightened, the protogod screams, causing a storm of ontological static to ripple across an area extending from Foetal God in a 50' radius. An unsuccessful Scream action still indicates a scream has happened, just that a number of random nonvital objects in the area are affected (Host: describe something disturbing), a successful one indicates an important object or character is included along with this background damage--decide randomly. The Scream's effects on any given object or character are (roll d10)

1 Target is horrifically scarred or deformed. Damage is gruesome but cosmetic. Characters lose 2 points of Appeal (D&D: 4 pts of Cha), to a minimum of 0.

2 Target becomes its own shadow.

3 Target briefly nonexistent and devoid of relativistic movement, sinks 2 inches into ground or whatever is supporting it. Will have to be cut out.

4 Target begins to melt into a plasm of primordial constituents. Damage calculated as if hit with an ordinary weapon. (D&D: D10+10)

5 Target begins to dwindle out of existence. It does not exist next turn, then returns for one turn, then ceases to exist for two turns, then returns for one, then three turns, then returns for one, etc. until the Foetal God is destroyed or the effect is negated by some exotic means. During nonexistence no-one remembers it ever existed.

6 Target appears to be destroyed but reappears out of sight 100 feet-1 mile elsewhere. Host's choice.

7 Target is perfectly cloned. Clones of characters will become disturbed NPCs.

8 Target continues to exist but is ignored by all sentient life. This continues until the Foetal God is destroyed or the effect is negated by some exotic means.

9 Living targets (only) briefly share the mind of the Foetal God. They lose a point of Calm (D&D: Save and effects as if vs Confusion) if they fail a test against a 10, but on a successful test they can control the God's action for one turn. Getting this result twice and succeeding at least the second time allows the target to imprint their will on the protodeity long enough to reverse the effect of a single previous action by the God.

10 Target reverts in time to a noticeably earlier state--for, say, a car, this might turn it into molten metal and unprocessed rubber, for a character this usually means dialing back to a time before the acquisition of some current skillset or acquired knowledge, etc. When in doubt how bad to make it, make a Random Severity Roll (that's d10 --10 being the worst result, in this case something short of death).

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Ok for the DIY D&D Gen Con Party....

We got our location for that. It'll be Friday night, the night of the Ennies and after said Ennies, as I mentioned, there will be a party, thrown by D&D With Porn Stars and Satyr Press. We have our location, it within a leisurely walk or short cab ride from the Con and the place of said part will be emailed to you on the day of.

If you'll be at Gen Con on the 18th: email zakzsmith AT hawtmayle dawt calm and I'll put you on the list.
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