Friday, September 19, 2014

My New 5e Character: I Like Half Orcs Now?


So after remembering my Muppet Maker earlier and fiddling with it I decided to whole hog make a guy. I decided the Type table (humanoid, animalish, or monstrous) would roughly correspond to Human, Normal DND Race, the Rare Races, according to the 5e handbook. Figured I usually hate half-orcs but divorced from Orcishness they would give the guy I rolled up an appropriate skeleton so I don't have to hack anything. So my guy has the bones of a half orc but he's a Sesame Street monster.

Muppet Maker results:
  • Male
  • Monstrous (with horns, fangs, fur, and an extra body part [extra rams horns I forgot to draw]
  • Strives to do the right thing
  • Could be characterized as Hopeful, Affable, and Oblivious
  • He aspires to Be in Charge (read: to rule), wants to get Rich, but can never really succeed because he's Kind of Dumb.
5e adds:
  • Strength 14 Constitution 18 Dexterity 11 Intelligence 9 Wisdom 6 Charisma 10. Put the 6 in Wisdom instead of Intelligence because he's kind of dumb but absolutely Oblivious so he needs horrible insight perception etc.
  • No Backgrounds really spoke to his lack of mental faculties so I went with Soldier and randomly rolled that he was a Cook. Yes yes yes.
  • I am always polite and respectful. Our lot is to lay down our lives in defense of others. I fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. The monstrous enemy we faced in battle still leaves me quivering in fear. OKAY so: good egg, big on civil service, but based on those last two I think he only ever fought on the battlefield because he can't cook for SHIT, and had to ride out to meet the enemy while the soldiers all had tummyaches from tuna surprise (We're outta tuna! Surprise!)
  • Fighter sounds like the easiest transition for that background. He's too chicken now for military service but he's too protective and worried about people not being safe to stay at home. I'll make him a Protector type.
  • Between the BG and Class he's trained in Athletics, Intimidation, Acrobatics, and History. Halforcs are already trained in Intimidation, my response to that is OH WELL, I consider it fair tradeoff for being a Muppet.
  • Gold rolled randomly and then all spent on chainmail apron w/pot hat, warhammer ladle, roasting pan shield, an explorer kit, some dice, his marble collection (ball bearings), and a pony. His pony's name is Cinnamon and she is Fat Pony from Kate Beaton.
  • Random starting trinket is a deed from another country you've never been to. If he can just get there he can be king! Wherever there is...
  • Going to name him after Chefy V, my Skyrim companion who made me surplus to requirement in my own game from badassness.
  • He talks like Master Billy Quiz Boy.
Anyway if you run an open game any time soon  and I can make it expect to meet Chefy and Cinnamon.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

5e Background: Apostle of the Merciful Golden Sex Horse

So after I wrote this god generator and made my official statement of divine policy in XXR "Come up with your own damn god, make one up using this, or use one someone else made up, I'm not your Bullfinch" we went kind of nuts making gods. But one stood out above the rest and has endured long past the point of reason.

Adherant of Fastoporno:

They say it was all lightnin' and no thunderin'. The sky was clear but her hooves struck the desert like heartbreak and kicked up a sandstorm that destroyed the Eastmen churches. She was hope and tenderness, release and grunting animal instinct, the slip of the grave which the reddening soldiers and old souls beg for. She was the final compassion and the sensation of better times. I never cared much for heaven but they way they tell it the devil himself'd've ridden 'er. She was majestic, radiant, beautiful, and enormous. And so, as we all know, is her penis, and anybody who has a problem with that is an asshole, unworthy in the sight of Fastoporno, scourge of man and scorned of god. We also know Fastoporno forgives them, and loves them, and lusts them, as she lusts us all. Amen.
If you choose this background, tred lightly, for chances are you're not playing D&D through FetLife. Fastoporno is not a spirit of sluttiness or tee-hee gender roles. She is a vision of the transcendental power of carnal joy and should be thought of in terms Lovecraftian beneficence. In other words, determine how Fastoporno touched your life, not where. Fastoporno is the argument against William Blake's polarity, and confers the innocence of experience. Presumably you've pretended to worship big preachy lizards, corpse gathering women, sweaty aggro warriors, and weird kings from other worlds. Don't forget to be a person just because your DM let you incorporate My Little Promethea.

Skill Proficiencies: Animal Handling, Persuasion
Language Proficiencies: Any one.
Equipment: Crop of the Church, fine incense and oils, a book of the scriptures, a medical phrasebook.

Feature: We Are All Riders

Your cloister outfitted you with a trusty horse who comes when you call it. Steady, Robin. It is of greater than average intelligence and will wait up to a mile away, coming when you call or when it senses your death, where it will kneel beside you and wait to die.

Your services are much in demand, mostly from perverts. You pity them and pray for them, saving Her gifts for those who truly believe. That said you are something of a living holy symbol, always brandished toward an enemy as long as you are aware of them.

Those who surrender their smallness and hate in the face of Fastoporno's blessings may be stabilized, if dying, with but a kiss.

Suggested Characteristics:

Your sexuality is overt but matter-of-fact. You are a person, and more you're ALIVE, and sex is an important part of life. War priests or death priests may temper their devotion with practicality. So should you do. Sex isn't a punchline, it's fucking magic and you should treat it as seriously as you treat your Hobbit game's magic missiles. That said have fun with it because that's the point of sex, too.

d8 Personality Trait:

1. I am quick to forgive but I have a long memory.
2. I am handsy with those who have shown themselves receptive to it.
3. I struggle with my faith where halflings are concerned.
4. Don't get me started about my sister.
5. I vocally dissent with colloquial taboos - loudly - but I adhere to them.
6. I do the gods' work yeah but at the end of the day I really, really like sex.
7. I hoard my gold for a praise room, even though it would benefit me to get some new robes and such.
8. Fine and I know it.

d6 Ideal:

1. Mercy. All war must be tempered with it. All enemies may be made friends.
2. Beauty. It's everywhere if you know, not where to look, but how.
3. Identity. Everyone should be free to be the selves they know.
4. Selflessness. Be good, giving, and game for anything.
5. Relief. From pain, from loneliness, from life if need be.
6. Salvation. You will stand for the oppressed and take their part of pain.

d6 Bond:

1. I will never leave my steed in danger, and will help any horse in pain.
2. All my treasure goes to help one who cannot help himself.
3. I must keep the plains about my cloister free and open.
4. I owe someone a lustbond that can never be repaid.
5. I love someone society keeps me from having, who doesn't understand my holy mission.
6. I owe fealty to a compassionate and impotent queen, whose court I service and whose authority I carry.

d6 Flaw:

1. Unconstrained by societal mores, which gets me in hot water with the law sometimes.
2. I prefer to do rather than talk.
3. Removal of an individual's carnal agency causes me to white out, losing tracts of time and waking to find myself covered in blood in a fire.
4. I will extend my mercy to those my friends wish I wouldn't, if I am but asked in Her name.
5. Unconventionally beautiful, which at times impedes my holy mission.
6. Smell like horseshit and old dusty fuck.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

REVIEW: Nuke Year Holocaust, by Tucker Baine and IVANOV

Judas Priest
IVANOV. Say it loud and there's music playing, say it soft and it's almost like praying.

I met Tucker Baine once and, being polite, did my best to avoid the subject of Nuke Year Holocaust, her only contribution to the Adder Entertainment catalog. There was a world before machines who could mutate and have Tod Browning babies. It was full of ethnic cleansing and Jimmy Carter. That's fine and all but I prefer the world where you begin the game with a plug for a face, interface with computers by smashing your face into them, you have tank feet, chainsaw hands, and then roll for mutations. Get out of here with your lizard people or walking plants or Sean Young PCs. I refuse to choose one of those because we live in a world where I can be all at once. This game took longer to adjudicate than Champions but was a billion times more fun, each session taking place simultaneously on the psychic plane, "compu-space," the flickering and transforming physical world, and Hell, realm of magic space witches.

Her hands were shaking, making fists again and again, and she told me about her post-Æ career. Ghostwriting Rick Veitch. The acid bomb. The Altamont séance. The empty casket and the New York Marathon. Tucker Baine was a Changesone of a woman, reciting her own greatest hits to a snob who knew already. Who's grateful just to stand next to a comet, to hear a unicorn.

I remember my first Nuke Year Holocaust PC the way some people remember the dim orange light filtering through a railroad bridge as she whispered, "Put it in." His name was Cuntastic Fuckosaurus and he was a werewolfman who could turn into a living music video. Into the Cave of Cannibals went we undaunted, in the buff, on fire, eleven though a grown ass man. I never stood a chance. Neither did the ragged peoploids.

"Ivanov," she said...

I'd never ovulated before.

"Do you know what peyote is? Ivanov did. Ivanov had a key to the county library. Ivanov had pictures of museum security's boyfriend. Ivanov showed up when Adder  still printed chess strategy, ready to intern in layouts. Six years later he turned up again and had done everything we saw in Nuke Year Holocaust and the cover for nearly every AT (A Tunnel) for the next three years."

In addition to character creation rules and some dice the honeycomb box came with three prepared adventures. One was simply a conversion of Under the King that was written in the sense that there wasn't a Find/Replace utility at hand, Cave of Cannibals. One was Tucker Baine's environmental horror story of classism as pollution and venereal Zen Buddhism, Pax Throbbinaut. Hemophiliacs appeasing the burning skyscrapers. Cry the ghost daughter. Riddle of a bass guitar.

The third adventure was at least 59 adventures to date.

"He said he had an adventure to add, and he turned in one of Duke (Caine)'s manuscripts. Bloom loved it, said let's get it into production...We ended up releasing The Killing Flowers separately because Ivanov changed the game on us. He didn't print or copy any of his adventures. They were all done by hand, hundreds of copies of the same adventure, but he had at least thirty or so, I think." This was a few years ago. Since then even more 'Nukes' have been discovered. Separately they go for hundreds, and a complete honeycomb box is worth a couple thousand intact, upwards of 40k unopened. It has attained a coolness cache of its own, independent of the hobby. Charles Barkley had one and he doesn't even know there's such a thing as dice you can't lose your savings with.

The Nukes are eight to twelve pages, always hand drawn, always different, and contain little in the way of actual script or game information. Or text. Aficianados call these by names taken from the remarkable and rare scribbled note in the margins. Cow 2000. Qui Bono. YOU GO HERE.

I didn't stand a chance. "He must have broken into the warehouse..." Her hands are still. Tucker Blaine is lying.

Nuke Year Holocaust was a generation. Both the Æ miniature line and Entombed! featured Killboner, patron saint of "Dude have you seen this new bong I am so wasted" everywhere, who would represent the ultimate salvagable product identity from the ashes of Adder Entertainment if Ivanov hadn't signed over copyright to the bees.

Adder Entertainment put out only three official expansions for Nuke Year Holocaust: the aforementioned The Killing Flowers, Young Planet Coming, and the article "Deep Ocean Trench Holocaust" from A Tunnel v.2 #1. There was some commotion last year when, despite the legal problems surrounding Æ's catalog and NYH specifically, a Kickstarter went up for a second edition. The video was just someone's YouTube upload of Shame on a Nigga and the rewards were written in Christopher Walken magnetic poetry. It was removed on a terms of service issue after 31 hours.

But are you okay, I asked.

"I haven't been okay since Bloom died," she laughed, "but then who was. What was. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for a lot of things."

She asked me if they still mentioned her. I said they did, sometimes, and she resigned herself to that.

She asked me if they still knew Bloom. I said they did, and everything exhaled, and she left.

She didn't ask about Ivanov. Who would need to? Ivanov is.

DUNGEON MIX: Septet Upon Contanimus Caldera

Add like some treasure and key NPCS? Maybe some maps.
A strange village named Ecctrix has become something of a black hole for travelers. People check in, they don't check out. Missing people along the road is one thing but nobody from Ecctrix has been seen for weeks, either, missing even the local hog faire and the parade of discount gods in Gelmondo, the closest to a big city in the region. No birds fly out from Ecctrix. The stream that runs from Ecctrix through the forest is drying up, and the wood beasts are crawling from the brambles, thirsting, dying.

or

Ecctrix is the holiest and happiest of all cities. Any who wish to live closer to their gods, who wish harmony with nature, who wish to be great all the time, should come to Ecctrix. The sick and the dying will be whole and pure here. Criminals will be forgiven and find haven. All that you desire is in Ecctrix. So the gossip has spread, and people in dozens are deserting vital chores and key strategic posts to seek their fortune or clemency in Ecctrix. They must be brought back.

or

Ecctrix is filled with witches, heretics, blasphemers. It's said that they profane the normal gods and praise some new, horrible force. Some dark god builds its power in the south, drawing all its tendrils through the people, ready to tense and destroy and feed and move on to the wider world. This cancer must be cut.

or

Weeks ago there was a commotion in the villages of the valley, for it looked as if Contanimus the great horned mountain should erupt, spewing smoke and ash into the air for the first time in recorded history. The good people of Promontory were so certain of the dead peak they build their house upon it, a house now lost. An investigation must be carried out to ascertain what happened, assist any survivors, consecrate any dead, determine the toll of the damage and the cost of rebuilding this crucial vantage point, and (a small thing really) recover the resources and gold housed there, banked against the coming invasion. It's a treacherous climb now that the road is destroyed, and you'll need a guide or you'll never make it. Guides and provisions to undertake this important mission can be found in a village at its feet, named Ecctrix.

This is all a matter of perspective.

If Ecctrix is scryed the seer will witness their own death, usually in the caldera. They will survive all harm to befall them before then, just barely, but their fate cannot be prevented in any way.
If Ecctrix is viewed from a distance using spyglasses or some manner of optics a pastoral tableau is seen: children run in circles while holding hands, oxen plow fields, a man chops wood, people file into church. If it is viewed again later, describe it exactly the same. Exactly. Even if from a different angle. The children never stop circling, the church never gets full, the same row is furrowed forever...but after a while the woodcutter begins setting human legs and feet upend on the block to split.
If other planes and powers are consulted regarding Ecctrix you will learn two of these: 1-Everything is going to plan, 2- Nothing can be done to save Ecctrix, 3- Ecctrix is a place of pure evil; 1- Ecctrix must be destroyed, 2- Ecctrix means a new age for man and manlike, 3- Ecctrix is no more. The gods or monsters you consult will be hesitant to elaborate, moving in mysterious ways and shit, but if forced be as forthcoming as you feel given the rest of all this.
If you teleport into Ecctrix gain 1d10 mutations and have your Max HP set to 2. You are immune to all damage and magic, meaning you cannot heal or cure yourself. Every round that goes by without you attacking something reduces your HP by 1. You realize this the first time you lose HP. If you are reduced to 0HP or less you turn into a statue of pure pumice. If you are restored to flesh and life you are restored at 2 HP and the clock ticks over anew. You may be reincarnated, breaking the cycle, so long as you are out of Ecctrix.
If Ecctrix is thoroughly researched it will be found to be a peaceful hamlet, prizing faith and austerity. They historically shelter during times of trouble upon Promontory, and the village has been rebuilt many times. Thought now godsfearing, they are rumored to have once worshiped something called the Iron Baron.
If Ecctrix is prophesied of, or if its fortune is cast, give them the parentheticals in this statement only on a superior result: "Death comes (for all beneath the heel of the Lords of Ecctrix).The army (of tiger men) will fall. Only those worthy (of being food) shall achieve salvation. You (cannot) escape."
If you send your Familiar into Ecctrix without you it gains 3d10 mutations, 6HD (35 HP), and is no longer under your control in any way. It wants you to come and let it eat you so it may become you. You share whatever bonds you possessed but you are kind of dragged behind the boat, spiritually speaking.

RANDOM ENCOUNTERS OKAY?

1) Determine how far away Ecctrix is if you drop it into a map, or how many days you want it to take if you're just starting up. Do an encounter per day, plus one during the night before they arrive. 2) You could also do every six hours or so. 3) I'd just describe each day of the trip to Ecctrix in detail, trying to be all evocative and creepy, for a few minutes. Every time someone interrupted me for anything other than a question like "Did you say dire or fire?" we get a random encounter. After that I begin again. After a couple of these "The rest of the trip is uneventful."

On the Road to Ecctrix:

1. Tiger Man Scouts (4, one has 2HD and his nails confer diseases)
2. Feral children (3, 2HP, from farms near Ecctrix, abandoned by their parents)
3. The Needler, a sinister necromancer and jolly traveling salesman. He can put any spell he knows into your skin so you can cast it once a day. You choose the design he tattoos you with, size, location...in your dreams, this tattoo will try to kill you, whatever its form, like Ghozer. Handle like a waking combat. If you survive then upon waking you can cast that spell three times per day. If attacked, the Needler will try to poke you with one of his needles, and if you kill him his own face will appear in the wound. Then treat as above.
4. Bonewhite Priest-Chiefs of Murderchurch, 3d4, looking for a new place to erect a temple after theirs was destroyed.
5. Wolves who stay at bay if you pray. A bunch of 'em.
6. Blood. It's a big pool of it and it follows you. It never attacks, but if you act kindly it comes up around your feet.
7. Bandits on mushrooms. 1d7. One will have declared himself captain and have six light crossbows on him. They will attack and rob and even kill, maybe, because their primary aim is to get enough material to build their pirate ship. They are nowhere near even a large lake.
8. Three stone pillars, one higher than the rest, depicting shepherds. They cast twelve shadows. Out of three of these shadows may (1/d6) emerge carnivorous rams. Normal reaction roll.
9. The Stoat-Talking Woman
10. Traveling prostitutes. They will accompany you if you seem nice, and "accompany" you if you can pay in Tiger Man money. They aren't taking any chances.

In the Wood:
  1. Half-mad dryads, desperate to drink your tears. They appear and whisper horrible things to you.
  2. Woodcutter birds. Fiercely territorial of their nests. The strike of their beaks cuts through old growth like samurai swords through bamboo, raining down treetops.
  3. Forest coral. Everything cuts bare skin on contact. Everything is poisonous. Spiny squirrels nest in the purple ones.
  4. The mad stargazer, who claims intimate knowledge of Ecctrix. He knows that Ecctrix is infested from a force from beyond which threatens to consume them. Every question they ask him, roll 1d20: on a crit, the Concept appears.
  5. A plague of rats, run out of Ecctrix, who will watch but not strike. They can sneak like crazy and will nibble at the sleeping.
  6. The Door and Stairs. Only entering the door can one ascend an otherwise unseen, moss covered ziggurat. Everything here is sevens. Seven faces on columns. Seven feet to their verses.
  7. Bear
  8. The Most Bear
  9. A fog where you see your dead sister, even if you never had a sister. She will chase you if you leave, but you will only catch fleeting glimpses if you chase her. The fog hides ROLL AGAIN.
  10. A great stone, common on one side but forming into a swirling obsidian sheen on the other. It follows you and hums loudly when ignored, potentially giving you away, but it is otherwise benign. It will not follow toward Ecctrix or Contanimus.

Up Contanimus Toward Promontory:

1. Tiger men transcending their corporeal bodies. Their bodies sleep in a nearby tree. Their spirits strike as men. If destroyed, the real tiger men awake and drop down to strike anew.
2. Triceratops whose horns and frill have grown beyond normal reason and skeletal capacity. Seems pretty fine with it except that these are caught in thick vines it cannot free itself from.
3. Conscious landslide. Sent by the angel in the mountain to deliver you safely to Ecctrix.
4. Troat. Troll goat. Regenerates, can charge to send you spinning down the mountain on a hit for double damage.
5. The Needler. If the Needler has already been encountered and destroyed then this is another creature imitating the Needler: a copycat peacock, a bird who likes having sex with human women. Can spread its plumage around itself in the seeming of a human form.
6. Silencer mantis. They krikk krikk krikk nearby, and until they are killed no spell may be cast.
7. Emaciated women in a drunken rage, hungry for flesh.
8. Something the player just said is the activation phrase for the hidden library of the Bookwurm, a paper dragon who is created by reading about it in its library. Easy to hit but buckets of HP, papercut breath 1d4 times daily.
9. Wild dogs. They have begun to change. Thick phlegmy projectile discharge. This is harmless but make players save every time anyway.
10. Promontory survivor overcome with grief, setting themselves on fire.

Within the Caldera:
  1. A handful of small rolling stones. They watch you, follow you, roll away, and then come back with more. They never attack. They are interested in you. If followed they will not go anywhere in particular. They want you to roll with them forever.
  2. Gray dwarves made by the angels. They climb along walls and ceilings. They prefer to smash their enemies with their fists to subdue them, then bite them to death. They build nothing. Tunnels open for them. They take nothing. Mute but always flapping their jaws like speaking, their teeth clacking together. 4d8.
  3. Alterbats. Their sonar can make shapes in the air, near solid in their force, which are as convincing as illusions, if not complete...SOMETHING is there, right? Save to notice the bats, if attacked they will swarm.
  4. Magma fissure and scalding steam. Save or take like twenty? damage. This way is quickly blocked.
  5. Elf cavemen.
  6. The Diggers. Deer, raccoons, bears, robins. They are changed now. Are they even themselves or something new? They are awakened to a curiosity, and a bond, and a drive: more. More dexterously than their limbs and digits should allow they have burrowed through the earth with strange machines. Only in the dark is it obvious their eyes shine magma gold. None must stay them from their quest.
  7. Ashenkind. The citizens of Promontory have been changed, too. They are a weird undead that take the form of Pompeii-like walking corpses, trapped how they died, lumbering along with what little locomotion is available to them. Lovers. Parents and children. Slow but confused and angry. Their skeletons were atomized and their muscles and organs are all changed: within their shells they look like geodes, and the crystals are noon-bright even in the dark. They don't light their surroundings but they can be seen.
  8. Teeth. These are not stalagmites any more. They are thirsty, only able to absorb liquids. They send illusory orgies roaming through the halls, ensnaring people into jumping into the fuckpile---a massive gorge with stony spikes at the bottom. Slurrrp.
  9. The echoes of the Ecctrix expedition. They are here looking for survivors in the wake of the Promontory disaster. They are disheartened and have been searching for days. Some say the Innercrag is sacred and they risk the wrath of gods to tred here. They discover the Angel. It gets screamy from there.
  10. Ancient machine titan. Voice #9 was right, there was something ancient and holy here. You find its vast and nonhumanoid body. Parts are still active.

SO WHAT'S UP NOW?


Terrestrially speaking it would be all the same, give or take, if you were visited by angels, demons, or aliens. The effects on you, your mind or your eternal parts, and the physical effects on the world around, would be similar. Drastic. New. Indiscriminate. Devastating as a new idea. There's a movie about this. Yes, that one. The devil is an angel. The Thing is an angel. They don't understand us and we don't understand them.

Two months ago the kingdom began preparing for an invasion by the tiger men, blood-skinned humans in black paint who like fighting with diseases. Promontory is a key position against the advance and so it was vested with a measure of coin and infantry.

One month ago a meteorite struck the mountain. It burrowed deep into its heart. It boiled the mountain as it changed the world around it, and the peaks and Promontory fell like a soufflé. It is replacing our stone with the stone it makes, which is also itself. It replaces terrestrial gold with new gold. Awake gold. Everything is being changed or replaced, and this work is Good. The rock called the angels. As the rock became the countryside the angels hooked into the nearest village and began changing it, making it, becoming a paradise. We will call the rock Mineral Angel. The angels are not bothered by us and do not want us to be happy. They want us to be or to be them. Some prayed to the angels and that made things worse. The angels gave horrible gifts. Then they changed their gifts as they were asked. Then they took back their gifts. This was usually the last straw and everything has been going to shit in Ecctrix. Bosch-cum-Stepford in there.

The invasion draws close and there is a power that is sensed by opportunists and fools and refugees. The countryside has become like the aftermath of a war before the invasion has even begun.

THE ANGELS

Once per turn an angel can change one thing. This can't be like "I change the PC into a dead PC" but you can change one into a jar. Lots of saves vs. transformation going on here, and remember everything can be undone...you might need only ask. An angel cannot create something unless something nearby ceases to exist. There is an economy to celestials. Very few things in Ecctrix are things untouched. Very few things even predate the angels any more. The same can be said of the people there. Treat everyone like elves capable of casting Light until the angels make more interesting modifications.

Angels may be attacked and slain in a manner consistent with their being. You cannot stab Color Angel. Magic words are particularly effective against Music Angel. So forth. Remember an angel's forms do not limit its abilities, just how it manifests.

Angels have like AC 0 or 20 or whatever you use, good AC, and maybe 6HD? Sure. If an angel is killed then its unique ability are absorbed by all other angels, they all gain 1HD and 5HP, and their AC improves by 1. Also all angels immediately know where you are. Their manifestations begin to blend together.

If all the angels are convinced to come together they will form a discreet god, some beyond monster of amazing power who will play with the world until it breaks it, but at least in this form it can be bargained with. This also happens by attrition, as angels become near-gods, translucent and fleshy, before the final angel becomes its own beyond monster. NOTE: if Mineral Angel is the last angel, the new god takes the form of a flying magic volcano.

Only one angel will be apparent at a time. After 20 minutes (real time) they will disappear if unmolested, content with their changes, and another angel will move mysteriously in another part of the city.

Mineral Angel- This angel comes in the form of a massive castle-sized boulder of strange unworldly metal which pops and sizzles surrounded by a corona of liquid rock. It reaches out with tendrils of magma and touches the earth around it, changing it and giving the new earth the property TO change. Save vs radiation every hour exploring earth beyond Ecctrix or lose 1 from your saving throws permanently. This accumulates. After every 10 hours save vs transformation or gain a mutation. Does not actively engage you specifically. Busy. All treasure touched by Mineral Angel is worthless, dangerous, and aware.

Color Angel- A column of pure light, a cascade of dazzling colors, a rainbow, a glowing mote where none should be. Because of Color Angel night is a stranger to Ecctrix. The people, already pushed to the brink, are even closer to the edge thanks to that. The streets are awash with visions of their heart's desires, their most shameful secrets, their darkest fears. You cannot walk but walk through some strange scene.

Timespace Angel- This is the angel that makes escape impossible, folding everything so that every step away from Ecctrix draws you fairy tale-like deeper into it. It has restored the dead to life and youth and aged those who displease it to dust. Obstinate travelers are sent into the inky reaches of the stars rather than keep rerouting them.

Music Angel- Save vs paralysis to do anything when this angel is about, as its music is a constant cycling, escalating bwammm. People hemorrhage and die in its presence but it doesn't seem particularly concerned about changing much, except that most things in town now whisper, albeit nonsense baby talk.

Conceptual Angel- Thinking about this angel too much summons it. It is a perfect mathematical proof of angels. Comes upon a vessel which speaks only values from every acre part of flesh. It fights by Inceptioning and defends by being noncorporeal. It feeds on those who displease it. First they will forget the angel. Then they will forget themselves. Then you will forget their name. Then you will be unsure of their place in space relative to you, or whether they have object permanence. Then you will forget them staring right at them. Then they stop existing. Then they never existed.

Bio Angel- A big ol' eyeball. Every time you see it it has some weird new thing. A big ol' eyeball covered in cillia. A big ol' eyeball covered in cillia and livers. A big ol' eyeball covered in cillia, slithering around on all livers to attack with its drill-like penis. So on. It is concerned by buildings and the sky, and wants them to be meat. You cannot attract its attention without it trying to change your body. Heals by turning things in its line of sight into nonviable creature hybrids.

Geometric Angel- Massive shapes constantly moving and clipping through one another, made of glowing planes, made of humanoid outlines, powered by perspective. Likes big clean fuckoff polyhedrons and spheroids. Likes buildings constructed fractally. Keeps trying to make two people occupy the same space...they survive but can't get separated, like a video game glitch, which is troublesome.

XP awards and the sale price of angelflesh increase exponentially as the angels become more powerful.

Diseases of the Tiger Men

1- Butcher Blue- Your skin begins to fester and discolor, and you become something of a pussy magnet for botflies, which are the Worst Thing.
2- Spit- You forget what water is. You try to drink everything on the off chance it's water. Your body thinks you are waterlogged, and you will drool and pee yourself to death.
3- Ropeburn- Long, delicate, knotty tumors filllllled with nerve endings start growing quickly from all over your body, wearing any armor hurts you a lot and you take an extra HP of damage per day, cumulative, when you're hurt, because these things are real bleeders.
4- Tunnelvision- You gain darkvision but lose all other vision, and can no longer see well enough to read without drastic assistance and tools.
5- Pearling- Your bones increase to twice their size, many fusing in the process. Your teeth become one calcified plate, a beak. Your skin develops a hard crust, and moving enough to break that crust makes you bleed. Your blood hardens. Within days you are in a tomb of yourself, waiting to die.
6- Alabaster Fever- Magical tourettes, save vs magic or randomly cast one of your spells.

Invasion Timetable

The invasion is not expected for another couple weeks, according to reports from scouts. Well, some of those scouts got lost in Ecctrix. Beginning the night before you enter Ecctrix, you have four days.

DAY ONE: Some tiger men scouts will get into Ecctrix. They will hide as best they can when they see the state of it. The main army approaches the kingdom but a column scales the far face of Contanimus, oblivious to the face of Promontory. At night you will see the lights of their fires adorning the mountain like a bridal veil.

DAY TWO: A volunteer militia seeks to skirt both Ecctrix and Contanimus and meet the tiger men on the open plain. They will be led astray by the angels and scattered. The tiger men will be discovered within Ecctrix, and they will have a merry time killing until they attract the attention of the angels. Strangely their unified, single purpose manages to not exhaust the angels' patience, so they are able to turn the place out if not opposed. On the mountain the fires grow cold as the tiger man column follows its delver scouts into the mountain.

DAY THREE: The tiger men have pledged themselves to Mineral Angel, sacrificing their souls for never-ending gold. They united have one aim: destruction. The mountain begins to rumble. In Ecctrix, some of the mercenary stragglers make it into town and they turn it into a war between they and the tiger men. Angels will pick sides, then switch sides, then become the battle. The main tiger man armada will clear the valley of Ecctrix and make its way towards Gelmondo.

DAY FOUR: The angels have left Ecctrix but nobody trusts this. Any remaining militia and tiger men will fight it out, and will not spare the PCs in their quest to destroy their enemies. The citizens of Ecctrix are considered acceptable losses by both sides by now and at this point they're honestly fine with it? The angels circle the caldera on Contanimus, and the mountain erupts. You have to escape before the city is destroyed by flowing lava. The mountain begins to walk. The mountain begins to soar. Gelmondo is no more. Every pregnant woman looking towards Ecctrix has her baby immediately. In a sonic boom all the missing birds appear, a swarm thicker than storm clouds, flying into each other and killing each other and coincidentally secreting the true coming horror from the kingdom anticipating tiger men trickery.

DAY FIVE: The main tiger men armada is joined by the demon space god and their skyborne brother. They are now the iCloud of divinity. The angels have finally figures us out: we destroy and get destroyed. Book a cruise to another continent with big ass wizard fuckers on it. Cancel all long term plans.

You know, unless the party does something to fuck all this up.

Remember: the tiger men and their invasion are incidental. They're a stick, and the promise of royal appointments, military power, riches, and the favor of your gods are all the carrots. The angels just happen to be a much bigger stick, an adamantine war club that smashed the original stick to slivers, dangling the carrots from a daisy chain of lips.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Children of Moon Slave

Moon Slave came to silver and red and made children upon his enemies. Moon Slave uttered seven prophecies and carried a shovel. Moon Slave smote down a kingdom of climbing rock, of star night hands, of crimson temptation, because they embarrassed themselves as much as they embarrassed Moon Slave. Moon Slave ate the river. Moon Slave struck the continent. Moon Slave raised up ice. Moon Slave blacked out the sky. Moon Slave left.

...for a while...

Kittorek Mountainscare had three brothers, they told her. They were not her brothers. Kittorek crept away under the eye of harvest, ruddy and expectant. She found fears in thorns and collected them. She could not carry them all. Kittorek's dress had no pockets. Kittorek did not need all of her teeth. Her shadow is fat. It bulges and seams, light falling through where her middle is like starscars. She cannot carry these fears any more. She needs others to share her burden.

Bely Thorium wanted to be a hunter. He wanted to hunt the clouds. He didn't want to only kill. He wanted to chase. Bely chased lions, he chased scorpions, he chased seasons, he chased devils. Bely chases the greatest prey of all now: Bely Thorium. All others are secondary to his hunt. The concerns of the innocent are the opinions of grass, of clear sunny days. Blood will come. What's more blood? Bely Thorium is hunting, and he is afraid, for Bely Thorium is coming!

Phanteshaire woke one morning and trembling cut free her surname. She lives untethered to history. Her blood is untempered by dinosaurs, untouched by disease, free from childhood naivete. She recalls the ape but is loosed even from those teeth and urges. Phanteshaire is made of the future and her blessings go on forever. Perhaps she can find in that distance what she is. More likely she will find something older, terribly older, that hasn't happened yet.

Velcatum Auberice swallows bones. He finds them in the woods, and sometimes in meat and clothes. He is patient and polite, waiting his turn, but he is so insistent. The thought of him curls paint. The sight of him chills breast milk. The look of him remains on the eye, to be seared upon everything after seen. Velcatum cannot count to ten, so everything is nines. Nine hours of night. Nine days of searching. Nine minutes of rapture. Nine steps behind.

Lizard Arrow Juice came from brown claw embrace and viridian chambers. When nobody goes somewhere for long enough it turns dark and like black. It is shades forever. There in scriptures of screaming and schools of crododiles he was born, and there he stayed, untouched by sin and desire, until he grew his own shadow. Nobody went to Lizard Arrow Juice. He came unsure and unbidden from the stench and glow. You can't get rid of him. You will not kill him. He wants company. He is picky. He may be a girl.

And there is Moon Slave.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

REVIEW: Paradise Cleft, by Noel Station

Black Sabbath
In the fields of Kenning Downs the shirtless young men step over busted and rusted sickles to get at the lush September crop, gorging themselves on stalks of wheat down to the roots. They do not stop. Gotta get the harvest in. In the churchyard disheveled, mostly clothed peasants paw and writhe absently against the walls of the chapel, moaning through the gardens, and the language here is fairly circuitous but I'm pretty sure they're dry-humping the tombstones. In the square at Kenning Downs several cats are being hanged.

Fist artist and truckosaurus pioneer Noel Station had the honor of producing the first Ice book, Paradise Cleft, though the manuscript was actually kicking from desk to desk during much of the Rust period. It's no surprise this entry was a hot potato given the Satanic Panic that had taken a country afraid of the vitamin-d deficient's use of graph paper and whipped it into a movement, and movement is definitely the word since I conduct a similar movement a few times a day. This chapbook, originally titled A Witch in the Sheets but named more conservatively (if you can call a pussy joke racked next to Toon conservative) upon release, wasn't exactly a reaction to that madness but its release was received as a kind of line in the sand. Reading it, however, reveals an almost tame adventure by the standards set by other Adder Entertainment releases. If it can be said to have a position on the Satanic Panic at all it is one of clarification: "You know we're pretending to FIGHT demons with the power of PRAYERS, right?"

Corridors of beige space and unfocused fireworks make a man like Noel Station. Astronomer in Cairo, drunk in Barcelona, lounge singer in Georgias, first Soviet then Southern. Noel Station never found an overriding passion of his own. He found other people's and half-bricked them in the head, taking just enough to get by and then running into the night. Interestingly considering how ecclesiastical this book reads in places its composition did seem the impetus for a brief blood cult tourism period for Station before he found his true calling in dying of leprosy.

The adventure follows a fairly basic premise: the Seven Sacred Sins (here Murder, Devil Worship, Lust, Theft, Pride, Waste, and Betrayal) all occur simultaneously in Kenning Downs. Some of this is innocent, some required coercion from a third party named Nicod, but all of it happens, and it opens up a kind of door within the village. No one can stop themselves. There is nothing between thought and action. It is possible to reseal the barbarism within the people and end the shifting shapes of the town and the creatures who claw from the edges, but that requires venturing deep into the crypts of the town in search of The Sword of So Cool It Would Not Be In Such A Shitty Town Buried Under Ground If This Weren't A Module. And some of them have been let in already, where they hide amongst the desecrated dead and flaming shadows.

Paradise Cleft isn't inspired, I don't think, apart from the vague sense of transgression and rebellion many who purchased this book experienced vicariously. It isn't adventurous, part from boldly having more than one idea, which is more than many modules even attempt.

Nicod appeared in the Æ miniature line as some kind of platonic philospher figure whose robe ends and reveals some seemingly-too-small-to-support-him raccoon legs and tail. None of this is spelled out in the text and that is a damn shame. I wonder what else has weird legs? Oh shit new blog tagline...

I can't recommend running this book so much as eating it. Vomit out a nice fuck plague, some equestrian demons, move this whole thing to a dwarf mine, take an Amicus anthology approach with this thing? You could have a real party as your players sift through the acid and blot the ulcer blood from their shirts. If at all possible work in a leprosy orgy, I think Station would've approved.

The book would be so exciting if you could hate it. If it represented squandered idea after half-premise and gave you only stilted Friday Afternoon Art and a map from a file. Those are some of the great treasures of this hobby, the interchangeable melange of the ungood-enough. How riveting a product would this be if it actually moved you, pushed some buttons, made you ill, or turned you on? How frightening if it were actually great? Instead it turns out that all hell on earth amounts to yet again is some Yakov Smirnoff reversals and a lightning round of Who's Got My Come? Even if the banality of evil was its subject that would at least be an argument.

It's interesting, sure, but almost entirely as a historical document at this point. I wish there was a world where this set a new standard in adventure design or at least sucked as bad as FATAL. Instead we get normal old suckworld, which is the ultimate legacy of Station and maybe his big joke on us all.

Friday, September 5, 2014

5e Background: Jason Statham

I'm an individual possessed of certain talents. These talents are not pleasant but they are necessary. I do a bit of this, bit of that. Odd jobs, you might say. I used to do contract work but lately I'm what you might call a freelancer. I still keep me hand in, but it's a young man's game. I want the quiet life, me. Simple needs, simply filled. I don't like complications. You can tell by my cuffs I like to keep things tidy. You can tell by my knuckles you don't want me to get dirty. Take my advice: run along. Mind your own. 'Cause I like you. But I hate repeating myself.
When you choose this background, man or woman, understand that you have to do that accent. If you can't do that accent, or even reasonably fake that accent, you definitely have to do that accent. Your DM will help you shape your role in the campaign. Are you an honest man? Trying to become one? An atoner? A scrupulous criminal? A thug? A professional? A killer? A rescuer? An authority? A soldier? Are you in way, way over your head? Probably. Only one thing is certain: if your D&D game can be imagined as an action-fantasy film, you are absolutely being played by Jason Statham. Especially the ladies.

Skill Proficiencies: Acrobatics, choice of either Perception or Investigation
Tool Proficiencies: Vehicles (all)
Language Proficiencies: Choose any two.
Equipment: A really sharp outfit,a dagger, a ranged weapon of your choice, a hat, a Code. Not Owned: razor, comb.

Man of a Thousand Faces Kicked

Jason Statham has played many kinds of characters, from criminals and soldiers to cyborg criminals and ex soldiers. For the purposes of how other characters treat him consider him to be one of the following Backgrounds:

1. Criminal
2. Hermit
3. Soldier
4. Spy
5. Charlatan
6. Gladiator

Feature: You Underestimate Me

No one would be stupid enough to come here. Nobody can get out of there. He's just some small town guy. He's just some nameless goon. He's just a monkey following orders. He's just. One. Guy. Nobody thinks you understand what's going on, or are paying attention, or can do anything about it. Nobody thinks you have the minerals. They will turn their back on you. They will believe you are dead. They will ignore your advice, just because you gave it.

Some people will fuck with you.

Additionally, you typically know where a safehouse can be found, if not in this town then the next one over. You're good there for exactly one night...until they catch up to you. And they will ALWAYS catch up to you, because if you let your guard down you're underestimating them.

Personality Trait d8:

1. Rule number one: the deal is the deal.
2. I hustle a bit to get by but I'm looking for a bigger score.
3. I've done some bad things. I'm trying to make up for them.
4. If I play your game we play my way.
5. I just want to be left alone to do my thing.
6. You don't want to fight me.
7. Just tell me what I have to do to stay alive.
8. Improvise.

Ideal d6:

1. Order. Everything in its place.
2. Chaos. Take what you need. Burn the rest.
3. Flexibility. Society is really more of a suggestion. Suggest otherwise.
4. Solidarity. Anything you say, mate.
5. Survival. No one gets out alive.
6. Discipline. You broke the rules.

Bond d6:

1. I gave you my word.
2. I've got some business to attend to. Shouldn't take long.
3. She's the only thing that makes it worth it.
4. I'm going to get back what you took and I'm going to make you suffer.
5. I thought we were in this togetha?
6. Respect the man, respect his car(t).

Flaw d6:

1. I fuckin told you! You never listen to me.
2. Maybe I can't change.
3. I'm getting sloppy.
4. I trusted you.
5. Romantic blind spot.
6. Haudee, ahm frum Taxes.