Thursday, March 23, 2017

Diary of a Meat-Hauler, Kalashul City, Extract 2

Editor's Note: "the Easterners", as referred to here, is a garrison of the Grand Army of the Empire of the Great Republic of Salimpahr, a garrison that had been moved into the author's town recently. These would have been of the same general ethnic derivation and of the same cultural root as the writer. While the writer (and possibly many soldiers in the garrison) is from outer lands that retain the old culture of independent cities despite their nominal allegiance to the Empire, most of the soldiers and all of the officers would have been raised in lands whose culture had been deeply shaped by the social stratifications and behavioral edicts of the Empire after it's formation some 50 years before.

When the Easterners first requisitioned all the cattle, then all the meat, I have to admit I was a little excited. Anything for a change in my routine work at the meat shop. The burble in my stomach now calls me a fool. They've left nothing but scraps for us, the meat shop has closed, and mother's hands bleed and eyes sag from late hours repairing the soldiers' uniforms for a pittance.

I guess we have it better than Callus' family, though. Owning a meat shop for so long had got them a nice sized house, enough to house both his and his wife's parents, and a whole separate room for his children. What was the word for it? -Requisitioned to house the soldiers. Apparently something the town leadership agreed to just before I was born gives the Empire people the right to do that. Just throw people out of their homes. Callus and I had our differences, but he did not deserve to be cast out into the street. If only we have more than the one room. But no.

To distract myself from the hunger and boredom I go out to the burning hills and talk to - well, what ever those voices are. Something down in the crevasses with the fire. Some of them just make spitting noises and belch smoke, but others, the glowing ones, some of those have voices. Rrick says they are demons from the melted land (ed. - Malak, a land roughly 1500 miles to the Northeast) but I think they're something else. I don't think they're *in* the fire. I think they're in the dark, and just...don't mind the fire. Anyway, they're smart, so smart I hardly understand them. They don't like people.

Mom sewing all the time makes me think too much about the Shin tailor I was trying to get work with before all this. I wonder where ze is now. Where they all are. A few days before the Army came to town, the Shin were just gone, and any of us non-Shin that had married them or whatnot. Halla says her Ma got a note and that the Shin left of their own choice, that they somehow knew the Empire was coming to town in force on their way somewhere else and that things would get bad soon. I don't know. Why wouldn't they tell more people? I guess they didn't know who to trust. I don't.

People are saying an Irongen attacked the soldiers still in tents outside the town, just one single Irongen, that it was being wild and not calm like they usually are. No one will tell me more than that, though.

The Fleshless carry on as usual. They hardly seem to acknowledge the soldiers, and vice versa. But who can know what a Fleshless feels? They have no faces. An inscrutable skull.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Diary of a Meat-hauler, Kalashul City (extract 1)

I'll never understand city people, and I'll never become one, no matter what Ma says. It's not the Shin. I like them. They are nice and make pretty things. The people back home that make fun of them are stupid. A Shin androgyne caught me looking at the fine garments in zir booth and might take me on as a tailoring apprentice, even.

But the Fleshless, them I'll never be comfortable with. They don't call themselves that, of course.

Back home, we thought they were a rumor. Apparently they are sparse in the Hills. But here it seems they're everywhere. I don't know how people live alongside them. I don't know how people bring themselves to their temples. They just make me think about that one's in me.
But they say not. They say not everyone's body gets up and walks after the person is gone. And the ones that do, it's not the person, and it's not a thing til they're dead. But I feel like one's in me, waiting.

Master Ca' says they are the blessed of the Sun God, that is why they run the temples, that is how they heal the fleshed. It makes no sense. How can you worship a sun without eyes? How do you heal flesh when you have none?

Master Ca' is stupid and I hope the Shin takes me on so I can get out of this stupid meat house. I mean, the one I work in. Yes, I am strong, but I don't want to haul around dead animals. It keeps us in good meat though. Ma says we couldn't have meat at all most times otherwise, and to be glad I'm not under the ground in the Crystal Mines back home. She says the glow gets in your skin after awhile and you get strange.

There's a fetching lad at the pub who's young, my age. Maybe Ma will take us there again this ha'mast.

Anyway. I wish there were Irongens here. Some back home don't like them, say they take jobs from us, but that's small-sighted. They help us and do work we couldn't even do, sometimes. I just miss their metal tang smell, their squeaks, their reassuring bulk. You always knew they were around by looking up for the steam or smoke. I didn't fear wolves or bears or foreigners or nothing with them around.

Apparently as the Fleshless are rare out by us, the Irongen are rare outside the Hills. Nobody can explain the reasons things aren't the same all over. Nothing makes sense anyways, I guess. Ma says us being here in the damned city is keeping the Empire out of our town, but I don't see how.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Quick Non-Specialist Skill System for LotFP

Everyone once in a while my brain picks at a sci-fi LotFP hack that can be expressed in 3 pages or less to be at the start of an adventure I need to write. The biggest thing with radically changing the technological level of a setting is skills, as far as I can tell. How to do work out whether the PC knows/can do/is successful at a technological thing that isn't remotely covered by the existing rules?

I'm sure this has been hashed out at length and better elsewhere; I've been out of the game, so to speak, for a bit now.

Option A: rip your favorite skill system that you feel comfortable enough with for a PCs death to result from a failed check in the right situation.

Option B: use the below correlation with Ability Scores, and have the PC roll under.

Option C: use the below correlation with Ability Scores, divided by 3 round down, and roll that or less on a d6 as per Specialist Skills. Optional: divide level by 3 and modify in PCs favor.

STR: Should be obvious

CON: Stamina or health related activities

DEX: Should be obvious (speed, fine motor skills, acrobatics)

INT: Things that require smarts that the character could have learned about before

WIS: Things that require smarts that the character couldn't have learned about before but coudl be figured out/intuited

CHA: Should be obvious / convincing people of stuff

So: opening a security door with a digital wall panel made by the PCs home race? INT (unless the PC is from a vastly different culture, maybe)

The same but on the ship of an alien species or vastly different culture? Wis, maybe at a penalty.

When INT and WIS fail...

Would love thoughts/opinions/links to other people getting at the same things. My goal is something a GM and players could feel comfortable with without a lot of time or reading.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Octopus Correction & PC Creation (Panfalia)

I am running a game this Sunday. A very silly game. You might still die, though!

A correction to the XP chart for non-Magical-Animal Octopus PCs as detailed in this post (and linked below).

I have also updated the post where they were originally detailed.

So, to create a new Panfalia PC from scratch:

1. Roll 3d6 seven times. Assign in order if you're old school and like to work with what you get, or rearrange as desired. I like to swap one and take the rest in order. (If you already wrote the ability scores down in a different order than the below, just roll with the order of them that comes natural to you.)

multiply the seventh roll by 10 to get starting Gold Pieces/GP.

2. Choose or roll your Species.
Species of Panfalia - choose or roll a d8
1, 8. Human
2. Tiefling
3. Octopus
4. Octorok
5. Vat Spawn
6. Magical Animal
7. Dark Elf *

3. Choose or roll your Class
Available Classes - choose or roll a d12
01. Yon Squire
02. Ranger (Use LotFP Halfling abilities, XP, Saves, etc but you're not a Halfling just "outdoorsy")
03. Battle Princess / Murder Princess
04. Rune Knight
05. Blue Mage
06. Dream Hunter Shaman
07. Goblin Enchantress
08. Alice / Alistair / Alix
09. Void Knight (recently orphans have been disappearing and later returning...changed...if played straight these guys will be comically off tone for the setting)
10. Demonaist
11. Dragoon
12. Bastard
OK, OK, if you want to be a regular ol LotFP Fighter or Specialist I'm not gonna stop you.

"All this was on the list in the PHB, I swear!"

4. Write all the stuff on your character sheet from the above relevant links in a way that you can easily refer to it during play, or have the relevant PDFs/websites open in tabs. Questions about how stuff works are more than welcome, but if you think you're gonna ask me a bunch of things already answered in the source, please start over and pick simpler options.
Good? Great. Now remember the GP you rolled in Step 1? Spend it.
You can purchase items from the equipment list of any official Basic D&D or AD&D Player's Handbook, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, or use +Ramanan S 's Random Equipment Generator ** and refresh til it makes sense for your character.

* When I write this up, Dark Elf above will become a link and this note will disappear. For now, give your PC LotFP Elf abilities and use the Tiefling chart to find out how much extra XP you need for each level. Dark Elves in Panfalia were regular elves that died by violence, but decided death is boring and had the impertinence to just keep walking around doing stuff. They have at least one obvious wound, and their life before death is like a dream they've mostly forgotten. Regular Elves in Panfalia are too unpredictable to be considered for PCs. They do not have enough focus or goals or reliability to function as adventurers, but death changes the personality.

** Random Equipment Generator based on tables created by +Brendan S

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Magical Animals of West Panfalia (DIY DnDish Race)

Panfalia is full of many of the "normal" animals we know here on Earth. Many of them talk, but otherwise are as an Earthling would expect. Sometimes in Panfalia, however, they get magical powers from silly stuff like magical radiation fields or tree sap or some junk. These seem to gain a fairly standard set of magical abilities, and often go adventuring. While their powers are helpful, they are also sometimes weird to be around.

Magical Animals can stretch their limbs all crazy n stuff. Just lookit that chart down below! And like, a 3rd level Raccoon could stretch both his feet like 7.5 feet each, or like one foot 10 feet and one arm five feet, or whatever! Above and beyond how long an arm is already!

They can even stretch further than that, but it's pretty dangerous. For every 5 feet (cumulative among all limbs) they stretch beyond what's in the chart, they take one higher die of damage, starting at 1d4. Like if that third level Raccoon stretched his arm 20 feet, or 5 feet more than his safety zone, he'd take 1d4 damage. Another 5 feet, 1d6 damage! and so on, up to d20 damage for stretching 30 extra feet. But each die is rolled, too, so 30 feet would actually do 1d4+1d6+1d8+1d10+1d12+1d20 damage to the poor kid! Silly Raccoon.

These crazy critters can grow and shrink, too! Size categories are given at the levels they are gained on the chart as compared to regular animals. The character's Strength score is affected - shrinking a size is -2 and growing a size is +2. Them's the breaks!

They can stretch out to catch the wind and fall slower than usual, preventing falling damage at certain heights. They gotta choose this one OR limb stretching, though, doing both is like stretching extra, hurtful. They can also keep pals outa trouble, although the distance is reduced by 5 feet for every pal they have along. Hey lookit the table below! Yeah I called it Feather Fall, like the spell you should look at if this ability confuses you!

Take a seat, I'm about to tell you some hard truths about life. Clothes? Armor? Jewelry? That stuff won't grow, shrink, or stretch with you! Bummer! Most animals don't wear them at all. 
Luckily, magical animals, being all mushy, can resist some damage on their own. They like hats. Hats seem to be easier to keep on.

Magical Animals must sleep 10 hours of every 24 to benefit from ANY KIND of healing. They don't have to do it all at once, though. They can even sleep while other folks carry them around! How helpful.

Start at 1d4. It goes up a die for every size category you grow. Grow grow grow! Then shrinks again as you shrink. Getting smaller than your normal size gets you a whopping -1 to damage per size category. You don't ever do negative damage though, that's silly!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Some Species and Classes of Panfalia (DnDish DIY Race and Class)

The madness continues. Note that the base system is Lamentations of the Flame Princess, but I am altering things to separate Race and Class. I'm call Race "Species" and adding an XP tax, essentially.

Species of Panfalia


The offspring of a human and...anything else, pretty much. They are commonly the angsty "straight man" to the humor and optimism of the average Panfalian. Occasionally a Tiefling will end up just as jovial and earnest as the rest.

XP Requirements
Level Gained
XP Needed Above Class Norm
9 + none; advance as class

•Roll 1d4 times on the Tiefling Appearance Chart

•Roll 5 times on the Tiefling Ability Table or 1d4 times on the Chaos Attributes Chart. Let me know if you have trouble interpreting your result as something LotFPish.

•Any Ability result on either table can be discarded for a roll on the Tiefling Special Side Effects Table.

•You may not choose your result at any time; if you play a Tiefling, you must leave your initial abilities to chance.
(click to make it bigger.)


Octopus - inspired by +Michael Curtis 's blog entry here.
You are an Octopus. You can breathe both air and water. You probably live on land, even in a town, but probably have relatives that still live in the water - either at the base of the fearsome Sea Mount, or in the Ocean of Incompletion. Your head rises about 4' off the ground, and if you stretched out rrreeeeaaaalllllyyyyy far, your tentacles would be about 10' in diameter.
While there are Octopi of many types, the Octopi of Panfalia are generally known for their dry wit and luxurious taste. They will often adventure to gain fabulous riches, then blow it all on lavish furnishings and a lush (but tasteful) party. They are afraid of mustaches, however.

An Octopi's Stealth skill increases naturally as they age - this is reflective of their natural camouflage, getting better at mimicking their surroundings. Likewise, their ability to use the suction cups on their tentacles to climb. As they get martial experience and their balance improves, Octopi learn to balance on fewer tentacles and use more for activities like attacking. This does not allow those of spell-casting classes to cast more than 1 spell in a round, however.
Octopi have malleable bodies, allowing them to fit through small spaces. The lack of an internal skeleton makes them less structurally sound of course, and they may only carry half of what a human of similar ability scores could. Also, all armor must be especially made for the Octopus, and costs 10x the usual amount.
Note the addition XP required to reach each level above that required by the Octopus's class.

Octorok - Pretty much copying Rey's version here.
This species of Octopoid left the water long ago, and have developed some odd adaptations! They only have four tentacles, and their bodies occasionally produce an internal rock - which they can eject with great velocity! These rocks have a range of 40', and firing one takes the Octorok's entire round. Add any bonuses that would normally apply to projectile weapons.
An Octorok may attack with a bare tentacle for 1d4 damage. Octoroks can re-roll a miss in melee combat if a second tentacle holds a weapon or is free. They must balance on at least two tentacles at all times.
An Octorok can leap 10' high from standing, and leap twice their normal move if they haven't fired a rock this round.

Octoroks may carry normal shields, but can only wear specially made armor that costs 10x the usual amount. 
They have something of a rivalry with Octopi, but it is more of a bickering, one-upsmanship relationship than outright fighting. 

Vat Spawn

Pretty much as written here by Jeremy Duncan (who drew the picture above) or in Secret Santicore 2011 (I know they are slightly different). They require the same additional XP to reach each level as Tieflings do.
XP Requirements
Level Gained
XP Needed Above Class Norm
9+none; advance as class

To be written in the future: Magical Animals (think Jake from Adventure Time, but he's like level 10).

Classes of Panfalia

The long peace of the Beast-King has led to a proliferation of information and a complicated network of apprenticeships across Species boundaries. Any species above (plus Humans and Magical Animals) may be any Class.

Fighter, Specialist as LotFP. No Magic Users or Clerics.

Ranger as LotFP Halfling, but as a class.

Shaman - Two types:

Dream Hunter as written by +Patrick Stuart here. I can feel him cringing at "Dream Hunter".

Goblin Enchantress by +Benjamin Baugh and +Cédric Plante here.

EDIT: can't forget Alices as written by +Zak Smith and featured in A Red And Pleasant Land. Panfalia has those, too.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Yon Squires and Humans of Panfalia (DIY DnD Race and Class)

I occasionally have the urge to run a game of whimsical fantasy, where I can riff and imagine and create without trying to square everything up or be limited by something that came before. Something like a deadly Adventure Time!, something a little like Swamp Thing and good anime mixed with Turbo Kid (the movie).

Anyway, whether any of that reflects what's coming out, I got inspired the other day and wrote a little thing, and am hoping I can recapture that lighting on the day (a week later) that I actually have time to run it. 
The Eternal Beast-King of Panfalia is once more out of ImmorTea. The people call for your help! His last Moly Knight of Panfalia has grown too old to travel up the Sea-Mount of Panticore to retrieve the sacred tea leaves from the highest peak. The younglings are not yet old enough or trained enough to become Moly Knights and face the terrors of the Sea-Mount. Will you, sinistersous traveler, brave the Sea-Mount and bring back the leaves, so the Beast-King can stay young another>mumblemumble< years?
Since future Moly Knights must earn their own Objects of Deeds and Wealth, the Objects of Deeds and Wealth of past Moly Knights are offered as a reward. The history of the Moly Knights is long and storied in Panfalia, and the citizenry are in awe of the offered treasure, but too afraid of the terrors of the Sea-Mount to brave the task. I mean, the Sunglasses of Susan and the Flip-Ups of Dwane Wayne are on offer! The Armor of the Turbo Kid! Scaldalous!
They are also afraid of a future without their Beast-King, who has kept his Kingdom peaceful and prosperous for centuries. The Panfalia Blabbler, that horrible gossip-rag run by notorious flumph Gydrion Gantz, speculates that political dissidents may arise were the Beast-King to visibly age.
A few people don't have low level FLAILSNAILS characters and want to make new characters for this, so I'm going to start toying with another thing I keep poking at - something like D&D Basic or LotFP with Pendragon and separate race and class. I'm using LotFP as a base, with skills rolled on a d6 and so on.

O busk, O busk, my maries all,
O busk and make ye fine ;
And we will on to yon shore-side,
Invite yon squire to dine. 
'Will ye come up to my castle
Wi me and take your dine ?
And ye shall eat the gude white bread,
And drink the claret wine.' 
'I thank you for your bread, lady,
I thank you for your wine ;
I thank you for your kind offer,
But now I have not time.'
-The Kitchie-Boy, Child Ballad number 252; Roud number 252


Two types of youth become Yon Squires: those who wish to become Moly Knights and those who have not yet settled upon what they wish to do and want to assist in all walks of life until they decide. Generally they are earnestly helpful and deferential, or cleverly sarcastic yet hardworking.

HD: One die smaller than Fighters in the current system, or 1d6
XP Advancement, Saves: as Fighters
Skill Points: +1 every level, including the first
Armor useable: Medium
Weapons useable: all
•+1 to all rolls made to assist another PC who is making the primary roll to perform a task 
("One of you can roll a Strength Check to try to open the door, and another can roll to help them." If the Squire is in the helping role in this scenario, the Squire gets +1 to their roll and adds an additional +1 to the primary character's roll if successful).

•Upon gaining a level with a party member who they have played with in every session since the last level, the Squire can choose to gain one of that party member's class abilities as if first level. 
(A Squire who adventured with a Magic-User may gain the ability to cast and know 1 1st level spell once a day. A Squire who adventured with a Specialist may choose to gain an extra Skill point, and so on.) Even if the other party member is using race-as-class, the Squire may learn one of their first level abilities.

•(Optional) Parties that contain a Squire get 10% above the awarded XP for the session.

•At 4th Level, a Squire may choose to permanently change to any other Class, and apply all of their gained XP to that class, immediately changing to the appropriate level. The Squire loses all Class Abilities gained as a Squire. If they have adventured with a PC of another race who is using race-as-class rules, the Squire may even assume that race as their new class, although the Squire does not actually change race. They are assumed to have spent downtime training with the other character (or relevant NPCs) in their abilities. Note the Squire must have spent in-game time with a PC or NPC of the appropriate class (or race), and cannot switch to one that has not been mentioned in their adventures thus far.

•Squires may use the above ability to become a Moly Knight at 4th level. This is the only way to have a Moly Knight PC.

•Upon gaining 5th level, the Squire has lost the ability to change to another class, but may still later become a Moly Knight if their Glory is positive.

Humans of Panfalia

The centuries-long peace under the Beast-King's rule has caused Panfalia to become a center of trade for lands all across the world. It is a true melting pot of species and cultures. Humans are common, although by no means dominant (The Beast-King is not human). The human visitors and citizens come from a wide variety of cultures, ways of life, dress, and skin variations.

XP Requirements: as Class +100 per level (+100 extra to gain 2nd level, +200 extra to gain 3rd, etc)
Skill Points: 1 extra at first level
•The first time a Human gains Glory points (or goes into the negative), their Glory moves 1 extra point. (If a Human gains glory, they gain 1 more point; if they get negative Glory, they get one extra negative point). This only happens the first time.

•May use Skill Points at first level to instead increase an Ability Score.

•May roll Intelligence to learn basic communication (1 or 2 word "sentences") in a language they encounter this session; if successful, lasts the rest of the session.

•Reaction Rolls of non-evil creatures are modified by 1 in the Human's favor.

(note: decided to change "race" as referred to in RPGs to "species" for this setting after I wrote the above entry. I changed it in one or two places but have pretty much left the entry as originally written.)