Saturday, February 13, 2021

Three Bandwagons Stacked On Top Of Each Other

Vayra’s Questions

1) What class knows the most martial arts? Are they real martial arts like kung fu, or made up ones like krav maga?
For each Fighter template you have, you can invent/roll for a combat technique. So, yeah, you can make your own martial arts.

2) Can I start out having already made a deal with the devil or do I have to do that in game?
Do it in-game if you want mechanical benefits. Do it before the game if you just want the story hook.

3) Do you want me to write an 8-page backstory? Can I write an 8-page backstory, if I want to? If I write something down in it like I'm the timelost princess of the brass city and the daughter of the sun and I commanded legions in the Hell War but was betrayed by my father's vizier but I don't know that, or that I'm elf conan and cooler than everyone else, will that be true?
You don’t need to. I’ll read it if you do, but again, no mechanical bonuses unless it happens in-game.

4) If I eat someone's heart, will I gain their powers? What about their brain?
Yes yes yes. Dragon hearts give dragon traits. Wizard brains give spells. Innocent hearts give ghoulishness.

5) These classes are boring, can I be one from somewhere else? What about from a different system entirely?
Not as your first template of the campaign. Otherwise, sure, if it matches flavor + format.

6) If I make a sword, which one of us gets to name it?
You do.

7) Am I allowed to kill the other player characters? What would I have to do to be allowed to? Do I win if I kill them all? Actually, how do I win in general?
There aren’t even rules in the game for PVP. I guess you win if you get to a point where you can say “I’m satisfied with the life my PC has lived.” Then you turn them loose.

8) What language stands in for 'Common'? Or what are we all talking to each other in? Like the party, mostly, but also everyone else?
Common. It’s the language all civilized folk speak, for some reason. Different cultures have different accents/dialects of it (Stone + Common = Dwarf, Old Tongue + Common = Elf) which you can learn and use as skills, but everyone you’d normally want to talk to can be talked to.

9) How do I learn how to talk to rocks? No not once a day just, like, normally?
Each Scholar template gives you a skill or a language of your choice. Every language lets you talk to at least one thing. So yeah, talk to rocks.

10) Which kinds of wizards get to serve kings and live in towers and shit and which ones are run out of town or stoned to death in the streets? Can I be both? At the same time?
Schools of magic are intensely regional, based on the religions and various heretical sects. Necromancy is more often practiced where taboos around dead people are less strict. Pyromancers are hated by most elven circles. Illusionists are despised among dwarves. So you’re always both, depending on where you are.

A World in 13 Items  

  1. Unusably rusty sword, 5 holed coins on a string dangle from the pommel.
  2. Trowel, bloodstained, caked with mud, smells like sulfur.
  3. Coil of rope with saw-toothed grapple.
  4. Mirror-pristine dagger, thick-bladed, barbed at the hilt with a long handle.
  5. Iron-bodied broom with long, light teeth, battleworn.
  6. Wax-bound candlestick, dented, depicts stalwart badger knight.
  7. Canteen on a wet(?) leather strap, full of black sand. Blessed.
  8. Boot-fitting iron brace, worn straps, single jutting nail on the middle toe.
  9. Six ceramic Promisebeads on a simple red cord, tied off in a sailor’s knot, each ringed with shallow grooves and microscopic, flowing gold-lined script.
  10. Head-sized silver cube, vibrating, angry, feather-light. Tastes like magic.
  11. Homemade cuirass hammered out of dark cauldron.
  12. Dense, garnet fox-gem. Attracts unwanted attention.
  13. Frayed tome, floating in large jar of ooze. Unharmed, mostly full of musings about riding weird animals for fun and profit.

Dungeon Poem Challenge 


Runaway’s Refuge → BBEG escapes justice, you track them here (???)
Hand-carved underground sanctum (see here)
Walls: packed-dirt, easily collapsible. Break too many → ceiling caves in.

1 - Open-air entrance//tiled with flat stone//shallow graves//bird-like skeletons
2 - Clay jugs//pickled monkey tail//move like snakes//easily charmed+commanded
3 - Vampire bamboo//move slowly by growing violently//speak thru shish-kebab corpses
4 - Smoke-room//3m smoke shafts to surface//hookah & live djinn-tobacco//can only talk in 5sec intervals//only grants useless wishes//pretends to more power
5 - Worn door used as bridge//kraken-shaped door-knocker//opens to sea monster’s stomach//inside, elderly cannibal wearing fancy clothes, raving
6 - Wormtiger burrow//dig as running human//tiger claws and worm jaws//look it up
7 - Foam-choked stream//north to sea cove + mermonkes//south to giant stone face//every dungeon has one//bloodless hippo corpse on shore
8 - Purple cushions + hippo dung//indestructible stained-glass door//guard hippos in wall compartments//can teleport EXTREMELY short distances
9 - Bath-shower-shrine-thing//runs off into river//huge bat-face-pus-demon j chilling//everything in the dungeon hates him
10 - Excavation room//deeper than it looks//at the center, BBEG//digging themselves to hell//oops it worked
11 - Behind bars//operating tables//demons mid-disassembly//a horn-and-flesh disguise
12 - Secret passage//cave-in//exit to the surface//beneath a stone shaped like an elephant trunk
13 - What you’ve been looking for//tailor’s toolkit//shrine to unidentified lover//baby hippopotamus

Sunday, February 7, 2021

NECR102: Advanced Topics in Animation

Sam Bosma

 Death is characterized by the absence of the soul.

The most common and recognizable type of death (live animal → dead animal) is characterized by the departure of the four upper souls (out of seven total). The absence of four-sevenths of the soul opens up a void, commonly referred to as the “niche”, in the identity of the dead subject. A spell (Animate Dead, in this example) can then inhabit this niche in order to raise the body as undead.

This is the central mechanism that the field of Necromancy relies upon: like a hand beneath a puppet, the spell fills an existing gap in order to manipulate the remainder of the soul.

This should all be review.

Yuriy Chemezov

Things can die without ever having been “alive”, so long as they have souls. Most manufactured objects have three souls, and can therefore die up to three times.

- Loss of physical integrity brings the death of the material soul. This soul is lost in all broken and damaged things: defaced statues, burnt-out candles, broken-down wagons. There are immense graveyards at the bottom of the ocean, where sunken vessels rot unto oblivion like whale carcasses.

- Loss of function and use brings the death of the acting soul. This soul is lost in all unused and mis-purposed things: a violin sealed in a glass display case, or a suit of armor used as a tea kettle.

- Loss of purpose or significance brings the death of the iconic soul. This soul is lost in all forgotten and unknown things: a three-legged corner table with nothing on it; An oil painting abandoned in the hallway closet; a silver piece sunk into the mud. (This is the reason why necromancers are often employed to read dead languages.)

Consider then the variety of niches available in “inanimate” objects, and the variety of ways a necromancer can fill them. It should not be surprising that Animate Dead and Animate Object are such closely related spells (and, in some circumstances, can be substituted for one another).


NEW SPELL: Ghostly Vessel
T: Sunken ship; R: A harbor; D: [dice] weeks

With an hour of work, you animate a nearby ship wreckage. It rises to the surface and sails where you command, regardless of damage to the hull, sails, or mast.
You can raise the ship instantaneously. If you do so, it arrives in [dice] combat rounds, and lasts only [dice] combat rounds.

Pascal Blanche

There are many deaths, even among the still-living. Ego death. The death of a dream. In some cases, suppression of one’s instincts can result in the death of the wild soul.

These are also viable niches, although they must be inhabited by more specific spells (the “shape” is more finicky). Applications of live-niche manipulation are what forms the basis of the necromantic school’s emotional branch. (The preference for fear-inducing spells is more historical than it is fundamental, thanks in large part to some of the edgier forebears of the field.)

More recent advances in the field focus on the targeted formation of niches in living subjects… needless to say, there are some frontiers in magic towards which we should express caution.


NEW SPELL: Dreamdeath
T: Creature; R: 100’; D: [dice] hours (Save for [dice] rounds instead)

Target creature with [sum] or less HD loses all sense of purpose for the duration; They have disadvantage on all CHA saves + count as a corpse for spell targeting purposes.

NEW CLASS: Object-Oriented Necromancer
A: Advanced Animation, +1 MD, +1 Spell
B: Malpractice, +1 MD, +1 Spell
Thesis Work, +1 MD, +1 Spell

Advanced Animation: Your spells that target corpses can target objects. Your spells that target objects can target corpses.

Malpractice: Your spells that target objects or corpses can target living humans, providing they are defeated, downtrodden, or otherwise helpless. If a wizard or well-read person sees you do this, they may report you to the appropriate magical authorities; expect to meet 2d4 wizard police in a flying paddy wagon.

Thesis Work: Choose a category: spells/wild animals/precious metals/words with silent letters/anything you can justify as "missing something". Your spells that target objects or corpses can target that category. You may gain this template multiple times.


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Moose, Xing

neither beast is easily trifled with

 d10 Random Encounters while driving through the mountains of North America

  1. The whole group has a shared 2-second waking nightmare (omen?) of 1d4: the forest burning down/their fingers freezing off/an avalanche/the Xing.
  2. You pass through a tunnel. Your radio scrambles, stigmata manifest on your 1d4: hands/neck/eyelids/nape of the neck. They are easily rubbed off, as ash.
  3. Your eyes stray from the road, and when you look back, a crow is on your windshield. It pecks a cryptic sequence and awaits your response. Its eyes are 1d4: cat’s eyes/dark holes/burning coals/nonexistent.
  4. A bull moose in the middle of the road, shedding its velvet prematurely. The antlers are red and raw. It chews casually on the leftovers and eyes your fragile windshield.
  5. Engine sputters to a stop without warning or cause. Trees glitter with glass-and-bone trinkets. An appropriate offering starts the car. A disrespectful offering angers Blackbone (6+ HD, giant bone owl)
  6. A pile of roadkill too wide not to swerve around. Closer inspection reveals multiple animals in the pile, including moose and bear. All bones broken, seemingly untouched by scavengers, fresh.
  7. A silver-lined human falls from a cloud. When it lands, it is on the road, with a sound like glass, reduced instantly to fine glittering sand. If you step out and wait, a second will fall; catch it, and you’ll see an empty man-shaped cocoon, split like cicada skin.
  8. A dull grey pickup passes you in the opposite direction, then stops, turns, and starts chasing. It has no driver.
  9. A car, same make and model as yours, impaled against all odds on a 20 foot pine. A pair of snowy owls is nesting here. All the eggs are black crow’s eggs.
  10. You drive past a car wreck; no bodies, just crumpled metal. A few minutes later, The silence breaks. The Xing walks on fingers and toes, its spinal column breaking the underbrush like a shark’s fin. Swiftest in a straight line, sounds like a tree trunk splintering forever.