Tuesday, September 20, 2016

1. The Death of Hercules Jesus

Morphine electricity throbbed through asher nimbos trapping the laser filaments from the Seer behind Hercules Jesus like candyfloss mayflies. XXX rainbow crossfire frugs around his head in beatific cruxiform logos. Crown of science. Diadem plasma. Hercules Jesus can't see the lights on him, the cameras, the eyes. Hercules Jesus can only see the nimbos, can only see the spectacles. Somewhere beyond where the nimbos break for atomic getaway there are other glows. That could be lamps. That could be lightning beetles. No telling how for away the lights are but from this spot they could be a long way away indeed. A long way down.

Death had waited for Hercules Jesus.

Death could have taken him at any time in a grime life, any time when H.J. was among the Squeak-n-Stink. Or when he heard first the Hosannas; a heart is a weak little raisin spasming with carnal, especially one so young, one so little used. Standing on seamless steel in the phosphorus of the Getters murmuring squawk in too many lingos. Beyond them the crashing surf of the Hosannas and the turgid carnal of four one hundreds Close. Hercules Jesus was only just Close that night. A good night to open on, as good a night as any to close.

Death walked where Her-Je stepped when he went a-battlin'. The saucer fields with their many red dishes, the ant farms with their skeleton warriors, the muck behind the roller coasters. There were no runner gunner good bye bad guy times in the gray decade: the Close wagered a high against a screaming stick, a wallet of ashers, first class stamps. Here was still here in the after, a lot of muck drowned a lot of muckity, but few he knew ever got any Closer.

Death knew what was coming when Hercules Jesus claimed his rite. Death should have wrapped its silver lips around his before digits closed round fibre and mettle. Before he felt the Wing in his hand and knew his power. Death should have, but it was stalled: Hosannas beyond tears. Oh you pretty fucker. Death had to have those instead. Death jacked his Wing from him. Death jacked Hercules Jesus' whole grabba.

He still grasps with nothing to steady himself, almost bugs the whole boodle, nearly goes cannonball. He's kicked off his cherries. Herj rises through nimbo like fogey time cyclops, all glass on him, the crashing surf of the hunger people around and above and below. Smart concrete stretching in pornographic pleading, light up liebe in a firmament of bendy towers craning down for a nearer gawk. Fuck it, we need you, everything squawks at once. A polis of rabids. Lined in buggas from little hands off. Polis sardined with starving bonkers seraphim here for the assumption.

Everyone groks that this is the quad where Hercules Jesus kakks hisself. Ain't never happened before.

Orbs are popping. Orbs and orbs.

Hercules Jesus broke in line. He made the lines, set the borders. Squawked the lingo and set the type. Exulted one-handed vesseling the lightwaves, Hosannas without sound and without crashers. His eyes saw the place where only stars live. He crusted up with Goddesonic and Megassiah and Nah, Fuck That Guy and he stretched their diction far beyond their carnal.

When the old ashers died Hercules Jesus lit the kiln. When the Close became people Hercules Jesus took the bullets. When the refuse fell out of the walls he boxed them and stuffed them and hosed them and, look, allyas: little fellers! Gall be. Scoped Runners stumble and distance, he did, singing their poisin and hush fucking all the buggas in all the towns. Red lighted. Rewinder. Back to wispy verde. Back to yummy tummys.

Death foot cross Hercules Jesus' whole damn life only glassing, only grokking Hercules Jesus, never shouldering but never time out. Just there. Just there all times.

Death took his loves. Death took his litter. Death took his puppy chow and replaced it with shiny shiny. Death took his instrument and left stuttering digits. Death got real cunty about most. Hercules Jesus never timed out. He never yellowed. He's last of the Old Good Beaters.

He had sinned. Oh how he had sinned. He was bad guy to the whole damn polis. That's spike: kakk it short of arch villain, you bugged but yissef.

Hercules Jesus stood up and kept standing. He standed til he ran out of standing. Fogey and mal, hush and enormous, grabba across the Orb, the Y had all of it. All there were to got. What's he up here in the nimbos for? Not even so tall, really, not so tall as the towers glassing down at him, glassing him rise. Why's Hercules Jesus making smoke angels? What else does he want? What else can we give? Just tell us and we will, we need to so badly, we need you to 

Hercules Jesus rose. Then he didn't.

The Orb was spent. The necklace of Orbs out in the star home were stumbling E. If he thumped long enough to squawk the final flicker of the last lamp in the only polis on a dead Orb that's AO by HJ, cepting....what rabid bugga would be left to squawk when he kakked? None ones, that's witches. Super this way. Super hero.

Tripping now, tail gunner spin doctor, no night left in the world as all glass fell with the man who Never Happens. Why would he? Still, nothing to be done. Not now. Not this time.

There came the hacking nimbos. There came the veins in lights. What if there were something to do?

There came the whizzers and glassers. Here comes your last chance.

There came the Hosannas in his name. What if it was different?

What if I wasn't just a device and needed an answer right fucking quick, Herc?

There came the high lamps. There came the low lamps. Here come the instant intimates.

Hercules Jesus bowed past Death with the bow he didn't got. There was no kakk nor carnal. White knight in the henhouse, Hercules Jesus swam through the Orb. Things changed. Things began to matter. The rabids who stroke to be Hercules Jesus got their final wish. Red light across the orb. Time out among the stars. Across the Orbs the faces played. From out of death great glasses peeked out at nothing much else spesh. He didn't know what to do next so he asked in the voice of a hundred planets:

"And what happens next?"

Death kissed Hercules Jesus everywhere, and as big as all space.

It missed.

Scribbles

They are a little mad.

She was a great woman who touched the lives of thousands. He was a philosopher in his own way and he changed the way the game was played. She was a villain and brute but her legacy shaped the known peace. He was an idiot who left whole nations as dead swamps. One invented the modern world, at least through property of transference. One reinvented the very notion of evil.

They are remembered.

No one remembers them.

The shape they pressed into the world lingers. The edge of knowledge remains of their knowledge and deeds and faces. All who their reach touch, a reach of centuries, a grasp of continents, have an inkling of their import. Their existence, implicit, is never intellectually wondered upon. It is only a fleeting inkling, a sensation like you forgot someone's name at a party but a thousand times more vague, as a thing unto

QUICKLY before you can think only answer: who invented stairs?

Three two one time's up. You've done it to them again.

An extreme example but by no means a rare one, these are lives no one even knew they would need to know. Some people have never thought of them as a person, only a role, a hole in time. That's closer to the truth now.

Distorted and vague, all notion of them is warped echoes. The exaggerated shadows of fire flicker, long and then long gone. Their lives were once so important that today almost everyone in the world sorrrrrrrt of remembers them. They knew themselves, though, and this memory insists upon itself. So desperate are these thoughts for detail and identity that they physically manifest. They are spider silk in an autumn storming wind, desperately reaching in all directions at once, anchoring themselves to what they can, searching for some manner of form and permanence in the world. They earned a permanence in the world, but now must only take what they can get.

These are usually plasma flickers like foxfire. There is no real consciousness so this is not a conscious, sustained effect. Unless, that is, they are seen: then this is how someone will concretely remember them. They will presume. They will personify. They will ascribe a will and aim to these things. The monsters.

The bastards.

Now they are trapped, a combination of a shell of their former life and a whole new existence forced upon them, often at odds with their actual nature. They persist, usually as dread creatures but, sometimes, as strange and mercurial champions.

They share vestiges of what they once were - discoverers, tyrants, magus, nun, fire bringer, lash - so must be considered dangerous. Their indistinct forms are difficult to notice and horrifying to behold. Their nature is somewhat elastic and they have a limited ability to unravel themselves. They cannot, however, truly shapeshift. They cannot take on any permanent, distinct form.

They despise those who can.

They abhor shadows for the true shape denied them.

They hate all undead, especially ghosts, for finding the second life they will never have.

They hate elves. They hate anything older than elves. They should all have known better. They should have remembered.

Most of all they hate you. You forgot or never even thought of them to begin with. You made the scribbly people this way. Everyone.

They are everywhere. They are nothing. They are only traces.

They are mad.

They are angry.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Mutant Preview

Alphas: roll 1d10+6 for each

Power- Physical ability. Every odd point improves tohit/damage. Even points improves RAD saves. Helps determine your HP.

Skill
- Mental and motor acuity. Every odd point improves AC. Even points improve TEK saves. Determines Utility use.

Will- Awareness and force of personality. Odd points improve XP and Rabble, even points improve BIO saves. Acts as Psychic Defense.

For every point below 10 you suffer an associated penalty instead.


Betas: Roll 1d12


1-6
Omega Men
1d6 HP per point of Power
1d4 unarmed strikes
1d4 Omegas
-1 to all saves for each Omega


7-9
Pod People
1d8 HP per point of Power
+1 to all saves
Extra 3/6 Utility


10-12
Roboids
50 HP but their HP never improves with advancement.
1 Omega
+2 AC
+2 to TEK saves, -2 to BIO saves
Food and water penalties halved, never receive bonus for extra rations




Gammas: Choose One


Doctor
Can apply 1d6 healing with improvised tools, 2d6 with first aid kits

Magus
May use magic items
Know 1 Spell per even Skill over 10 (CONSTANT)
Cast 1 Spell

Psycho
Telepathy
+2 to Psychic Defense (CONSTANT)

Rover
Cannot be surprised (CONSTANT)
Roll Hide twice (CONSTANT)

Scavenger
Roll for Loot twice (CONSTANT)
Roll for Technology twice (CONSTANT)

Warrior
+2 to hit and damage (CONSTANT).


Saving Throws


RAD- Radioactive energy, magical energy, alien power sources, other environmental hazards. BASE 17

TEK- Traps, forgotten and cutting edge technology, ‘Omegas’ from cyborgs and roboids. BASE 15

BIO- Omegas from living creatures, diseases, poisons, and all psychic effects. BASE 13


Rabble & Reactions



For every odd point of Will above 10 you can successfully command one Follower, be they servants or pets or employees. This also confers a bonus to influencing the desperate Rabble of the wasted world, improving their reaction to you. Every point of Will below 10 confers a -1 penalty to this roll. Otherwise rolls are conducted on 1d10:

1: Hostile and immediately aggressive
2-4: Hostile
5-7: Non hostile
8-9: Friendly
10: Enthusiastic Friendship

A GM may roll a Reaction against the Rabble table when you encounter a being who may or may not be a danger to you. This is entirely their discretion.


Utility Dice



Choose one Utiliyu to rate 3/6, one to rate 2/6, all others rated 1/6. You have a # of Utility Dice equal to your Skill, and you must spend one any time you want to benefit from a Utility or when commanded to do so. When you run out of your Utility Pool you can still roll a Utility but take an exhaustion penalty to all Saving Throws equal to the rating of the Utility you use, e.g. Pushing an expended 2/6 Utility exhausts you to the point where you take -2 to Saving Throws until you get a night's sleep.

Gamma- Use a Gamma feature that is not Constant.
Hide- Avoid detection or make movements without being noticed, like pickpockets or ventriloquists
Seek- Look for something specific, or specifically look for hidden things
Destroy- Force open doors, disable traps or hazards, figure out how to kill a strange thing
Past- Know what something from pre-Cataclysm was, or know who someone was, or know the history of post-apocalyptic world.
Wasteland- Finding your way, identifying poisonous flora and water, identifying certain creatures.
Fitness- Jumping, Climbing, Swimming, Endurance.
Talking- Communicating in the many half-languages of the survivors and cargo cults of the ruined future, convincingly bullshitting someone into doing what you want to do.


Omega Flux


Whenever you use an Omega effect that is not CONSTANT you must also make a Saving Throw determined by what Alpha is associated with that Omega. On a failed save you lose the ability to safely use that Omega until you have restful sleep. You can later attempt another Saving Throw to attempt to Push a Spent Omega where success means you have jumpstarted your abilities. Failure on a Push means you reroll that Omega and gain a new Omega in its place.

Rolling a 1 when using any Omega prompts a Saving Throw.


Technology Check


Whenever you find a piece of fantastic technology you must make a TEK Saving Throw to see if you have any idea what it might do and whether it is functional. A character may only roll against TEK once for a given object. A successful roll means you can make a further TEK Saving Throw to figure out how to use it. Some objects may require other TEK Saving Throws in order to repair, reload, recharge, or even use.

If you find Junk out in the world you can make a TEK Saving Throw during your next rest to attempt to fashion it into a crude weapon. Doing so negates any HP recovery you would normally receive during this period, even if the check is unsuccessful.

TEK Saving Throws never work for mystical objects. You just have to take a big chance when you try to use those.


Loot


Whenever you have successfully defeated an enemy or claimed a lair you may roll for Loot. This is a 1/6 chance of discovering potable water, edible food, batteries, ammo, crude weapons, astounding tech, sacred writings, magical relics, or other shiny objects, including Indisputable Currency. On a success you’ll always get at least something. When you roll for Loot always roll 1d6 and 1d10; if your Loot roll is successful you've already got your result for what you found.


Healing and Death



You die like hell when you drop to 0 HP. Stopping for a hearty lunch allows you to regain 3 HP. Getting a night of restful sleep (even including watches) nets you 1d6. A full day of rest in relative luxury allows you to regain 2d6 but there is usually some fungible cost associated with such decadence.

Finding a first aid kit or other medical supplies allow you to restore 1d6 HP, fully expending the usefulness of the kit or supplies. Doctors of course can heal 1d6 with improvised Junk tools and 2d6 with proper equipment.


Armor, Encumbrance, and Movement


No characters begin with armor apart from natural armor. Armor that is worn (excluding rudimentary shields made out of stop signs and stuff) can provide a protection bonus up to the character’s Power -10 (minimum 1). Wearing more protective armor Encumbers a character. This would mean, for example, that a character with Power 14 could wear up to 4 pts. of armor before being encumbered, and a character with Power 9 would not be able to wear any armor without being encumbered.

Movement is 120’/60’ per Move. A character can double this on their initiative if they don't do anything else, or they may attempt to double it and retain their other actions with a successful Fitness Utility  roll. An Encumbered character halves all these values.

A character may carry a number of items (including makeshift shields) equal to their Skill -10 before being Encumbered. Again, this means a character with Skill 14 can have a total of 4 items (weapons, med kit, shield, and grappling hook for example) without being encumbered, while a character with Skill 8 may only carry a Sharp Stick without being encumbered.

All of this means that you won’t be able to carry much food and water. Just as well, because that would make you a target. You still need to have at least 2 meals and 3 cups of water each day. If these needs are not met you suffer a penalty to all Saving Throws equal to your missed rations, up to -5 per day. If you have the luxury of receiving more than this bare minimum of water and food each day you gain a bonus to saves for each additional food and water ration.


Warfare


Before any combat begins you check to see if any Gammas or Omegas will affect the order of play. You also see if either party is surprised (2/6). If a benign NPC or creature of less than average intelligence is involved they may have a different reaction to the party so roll for that if you feel like it. But MOSTLY, Initiative is checked by rolling 1d20 against the GM (i don’t know Gamma Magus?), highest result wins. Most things will involve some kind of d20 or d6 roll.

A player uses her Initiative to move, do a trivial thing like pick something up or open a door or draw a weapon, and then do one Thing. Things may be: making an Attack; using Gammas, Omegas, or Utilities; taking an additional movement; any other more complicated thing. These are all resolved for a side in the order listed.

When you roll a 1 while using an Omega it prompts a Saving Throw.

When you roll a 1 while making a ranged weapon attack you have to either make a TEK Saving Throw (for advanced gear to avoid backfire) or roll a second attack roll with all bonuses against a target of the GM’s choice, who will always be the worst-case-scenario target.

When you roll a 1 while making a melee attack you open yourself up to an attack by your enemy, who may take an additional swipe at you even if they have acted this round. You also trigger an attack if you enter an existing melee without attacking, or if you leave melee range without Retreating (which uses up your movement).

Whenever you roll a 20 while attacking you may make another attack of that kind (melee or ranged). Rolling a 20 on a Saving Throw or Omega Flux check just means you're fine...for now.

Your AC has a base of 10 and is then modified by armor, Skill, Betas, Omegas, and situational bonuses. Your Psychic Defense always equals your Will and is further modified by Gammas and Omegas.


Advancement
  1. 0
  2. 100
  3. 200
  4. 400
  5. 800
  6. 1600
  7. 3200
  8. 6400
  9. 12800
  10. 25000
…………..+50000 every level after.

Each level Omega Men gain 1d6HP and Pod People gain 1d8HP. You also roll on this table to see what additional benefit if any you gain:

1-5: No Benefit
6-20: Power Increase
21-35: Skill Increase
35-50: Will Increase
51-70: 1 Utility Point
71-80: +1 AC
81-90: +1 Psychic Defense
91-95: Evolve past Omega Drawback, otherwise No Benefit
96-99: New Omega
100: New Omega and Roll Again

Remember that for every odd number over Will 10 you gain 5% extra XP. That is a character with Will 16 gains 15% bonus XP, and can reach level 2 with 85 XP.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The House Always Wins

So the rules of D&D aren't the boss of you.

The rules say I can be a Genasi. I hate Genasi.

More than Klingon-Orcs, Dragonborn, or the adopted Gnoll, Genasi really represent a trend in certain D&D thinking that became pervasive over the edition and supplement bloat and looks downright epidemic if you ever look at anything like the current 5e wiki (or, to an extent, the FRACAS): taking something that might be a fearsome and dangerous element of the world, something which should at least be rare and surprising and wondrous, and scaling it down to a safe and balanced form that is knowable, freely abundant from the player side of things, and at worst just misunderstood or troubled. If you're going to have dragons in your game you want them to be a big deal, right? Or even Dragon Men. It's harder to get that if your tent-mate is also part dragon herself.

Genies and djinn have even less to do normally in a game, usually present as just fancy elemental lads or introduced as a glorified plot device. I'm not even a great fan of using these guys in games because any elemental magic and wish granting that can be done by them seems like it would be cooler coming out of a dragon, right? But if I am going to use them then I want it to be a big deal that the players met a djinn. It becomes less of a big deal if this big impressive mystical creature is basically "two of Steve's guy taped together." The opposite also holds true: if I'm not going to make a place for Dr. Pepper in my game I'm sure not going out of my way to include Mr. Pibb, no?

There's other reasons they annoy me (races built around class features, how most exotic demihuman options end up being animal people or element people) but I'll stay on topic...

The rules don't say I can be a Kappa. To those rules I say, fuck off Water Genasi: I am one. This is all without changing a single thing in the way the race is written. If I wanted to I could decide that Air Genasi and Aasimar suck so much they need to be combined into one thing, make them beings of corporeal light and color, make a whole new kind of guy I can be. If I wanted I could look at an Earth Genasi and turn them into a reasonable Fungoid. I could even look at Fire Genasi and decide that they're even more useless than normal, since they're almost exactly Tieflings who I already don't love, making them an element-man version of a monster-man built around innate spellcasting. I could look at them and spit them out lukewarm...or I could make them work for me.

The rules don't say I can be a Domovoi, the little house spirit who lives under the hearth and throws a big ol' fit when the people who live in his house piss him off. Posing as the master, moving things around, making noises in the night, rarely glimpsed, something not a demon or a real god but something you beseech and honor. Something who bars evil spirits and crooked people from your home and protects it from disaster. Something that dusts the mantel and waters the plants when you forget, keeps careful accord with the mice, a spirit who talks to the ghosts in your shithouse and the demons who tend your barn.

To that shit I say my name is Ded, short for Dedushka, you may call me Grandfather. So far everyone just calls me "the domovi." So I fucking did it without changing a single thing.

I'll go you one better: the rules say no one wants to be race-as-class any more, you need to be a different thing. NOPE. I'm not a domovoi bard or a domovoi dragon sorcerer. I am domovoi, and my primary goal is to just grab little bits of whatever I have to in order to get the abilities a powerfully vested and fully venerated domovoi from a hale and loving home should have. That means mixing up classes. That means, since this is a newer-edition ruleset, even looking through feats. But my CLASS is always DOMOVOI. I can show you the math and the breakdown if you want but I haven't even made any shit up. Everything is by the book and above board.

The rules say I cast Unseen Servant to rotate the blades of the windmill for me. No I don't: I forfeit the actions and other things that such a spell would require, sure, but I track that myself. What I ACTUALLY do is knock on the windmill with my stick and talk to the house, convincing it to take me up to the next floor. The book says I cast Detect Magic and there's a rainbow aura that tells me its school. That doesn't happen. I can SMELL magic. Fiendish magic smells like Red Hots cinnamon candy, necromancy smells like rotten eggs, demons smell like motor oil. Do I use a cantrip to snuff the flames in a room? Fuck that, I crawl all over and lick em up like a lizard and I eat them.

The rules say I have certain random personality traits. That's fine, but I get way more mileage and a more well-rounded character from using my Muppet Maker.

The book says I have a spiritual connection that powers all my abilities, a connection to some higher remote god. Instead I am a spirit like unto an incredibly minor god. My spiritual connection is to the people who live in my home, and to the friends who make my little pop-up hose (I paid 4x the fanciest tent price to basically have a Fisher Price playhouse I can assemble) FEEL like home. They 'worship' me with their respect and appreciation and with raising tea in my honor, tea I brew with my bare hands.

Certainly the minmaxy Build Bros on any given forum would call me not optimized. To them I say I am entirely optimized. I am a custodian spirit and caregiver whose affection for peaceful creatures and instincts to protect those in danger are paramount. I have never slain the tiger but I have helped to win the day.

I pay for every kind of spellcasting focus and holy symbol and stuff possible and put it all into one big stick, a piece of wood used to bar the door against nighttime invaders and evil spirits. I find myself in a land of vampires and that's fine by me because I and my kind are the reason vampires can't just barge in uninvited. We block the way to evil spirits.

I don't have magic armor. I don't have a magic weapon. I don't have a magic ITEM. I have an old, old, pipe and even though I never have any tobacco I'm always smoking like a chimney.

My flesh is like floorboards, once polished but now splintering with strain and age the longer I am away from my home. There are even little nails holding it to my muscles, and places where the boards meet. I'd be just shorter than an elf at full height but I am "evolved" for sweeping and firetending, so my resting position is a painfully stooped crouch that puts me only at the height of a halfling. My clothes are moth-eaten curtains and threadbare tablecloths; they are ripped clothes and sodden quilts, which I am slowly repairing over time with the needles I pull from my mustache. My teeth are decorated ceramic. My bushy hair and beard has the consistency of broom-straw choked thick with dirty cobwebs. My fingers and toes are long, with extra joints, and my nails are charcoal. My eyes are deep-recessed and shine like smoldering embers. I own a cat.

And I am here to be the HELL out of that guy, and beyond that to help everyone else be a little bit more awesome.

The D&D we play is always better than the D&D we PURCHASE. Never play a game (or play with a DM) who insists that you live up to them. Live up to yourself, and do it in a way that makes them want to live up to you. The rules will never catch up to you. Do not scorn them, no, but pity them, and do not wait for them.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

1d20 Torches

1. If you act like you're setting it in a sconce the torch will float in thin air for up to 5 minutes before it realizes it should fall down.
2. Light is as bright as a candle from a distance, as bright as a campfire for 60'.
3. Oily rags and burning bones, will stay lit until dropped and then never work again, make a random encounter roll (or an extra one) for every round of exploration; this is the torch Harrison Ford uses.
4. You can control how long the torch becomes, up to 100' or down to 1', neither extreme is recommended.
5. Wartorch: 1d4 bludgeoning +1d4 fire +save vs Death on a successful hit. Failed save means target catches fire and takes 1 damage first round, 2 damage second round, 4 damage third round, etc. Rolling a 1 on a tohit roll means you catch fire and take that ongoing burn. Targets on fire can spend 1 round extinguishing flames unless they've been on fire for more than four rounds: then they need water or something drastic or else they just burn.
6. Burns blue.
7. Burns "darkvision."
8. Waterproof but can easily be blown out or put out by dropping.
9. Can only be lit using water.
10. Only works underwater.
11. Acts as daylight for certain undead.
12. Will always tell you how many creatures are looking at it.
13. Burns green.
14. Shows invisible things.
15. Burns dark, spreading shadows.
16. A matched set of torches you can light each of them and use it like magical FaceTime.
17. Save vs posion when lighting: On a success you immediately know this is a toxic burn and can put it out before affected. Otherwise you lose 1 Intelligence each 10 minutes the torch is lit. If you have greater than Wisdom 12 you notice this, otherwise you don't. When you reach Intelligence 0 you stop moving, the torch goes out, and you're basically a mushroom now. In most systems I think this also means you're dead.
18. Holds onto your hand and you can't put it down, even when ambushed by bad guys, unless you douse it in water.
19. Fake fire. Doesn't burn.
20. Anything in the fire's light is made fertile, even if normally infertile. Includes men. Includes rocks and shit.