Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Mortals Are Playthings: A Table for Elves

If you are a Bay Area friend who might play in my home game, DO NOT READ

OK, all my players gone? Good.

There are Elves on this island. They live like some amalgam of Forest Elves and the Faerie Court from some story where Fareies are very dangerous. They age, but slowly enough to be effectively immortal. They heal at an advanced rate and can regenerate limbs, but enough severe wounds in a short enough span will kill them. Their memories are somewhat worse than humans, outside of some of their culture's core tenets and whatever unique flavor their personality has. Thus, an Elf may interact with humans one way in one part of it's life, but years later treat them totally different. Of course, there's also their innate capriciousness, mischievousness, callous disregard for life, etc.

Generally, they see mortals as inconsequential. As playthings. How this is expressed by each individual Elf's psychology and philosophy varies.

Mortals Are Playthings, But What Does That Mean To Me?
1 Humans contain several important ritual components; they must be led to die in specific situations and the organs harvested fresh.
2 "Humans are not reasonable creatures; they must be eliminated if encountered."
3 to 6 "Lead them to folly, but only by their own hand. They must not gain any real power or hold here."
7 "They can produce such levels of hope and terror! I get nearly physical pleasure from it. It's best when they never know the source of their torment."
8 to 10 "They are useful labor, if you know how to play them."
11 "The only thing that smells worse than their outsides is their insides; keep them away from me. Unclean things."
12 to 13 "Foul insects, obey me or be swatted."
14 to 16 Means well but doesn't understand what humans can or can't heal or die from
17-19 "I despise my own kind and if I can use the humans to gain the upper hand or kill my brethren, I will."
20 Roll 1d6 times; the first result is their general attitude, the other results are toward specific types (race, skill set [Rogues? Wizards?], place of origin, etc)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Weird Toilet Customs, a table

Republicans and IBS and sometimes podcasts make me think about going to the bathroom more often than I'd like.
Where there is a communal toilet, there tend to be: shared immunities, ease digesting local cuisine, an increase in shared parasites (some of which get rid of allergies! It's a thing. There's a whole deal where severe allergy sufferers go to Africa and poop in communal tribal toilets for a week and yeah they're standing in stranger's shit while squat-pooping but then they can go back to their lives allergy-free thanks to intestinal parasites or something.) Stuff that comes from sharing gut bugs. Travelers, thus many PCs, wouldn't gain the benefits until an extended adjustment period.

What Weird Toilet Rituals Does This Place Have?
1 to 3 Everyone must shit in the communal toilet area barefoot. Especially those with mild to medium illnesses. If you do not, it will be assumed you have some terrible, fatal disease.
4 Pissing must be especially concealed, and never referenced. Roll on chart again, that result applies to pooping.
5 Each family has a communal toilet only family members use. Travellers must relieve themselves outside the town until adopted by a family.
6 There is a communal toilet swamp/crevasse, and all the town's deceased are left there to rot as well.
7 Some magical bullshit and the locals don't need to excrete waste and will be highly offended / "scientifically" curious at those who do
8 Outhouse kinda structures are all over, and the waste feeds something(s). People disappear sometimes, but it's fine. Really. 
9 They just do it anywhere like it's no big deal
10 There are separate restrooms for a huge number of socially distinct groups but where you're supposed to go is nearly impossible to figure out if you're not from here and many of the distinctions seem arbitrary. It's very dangerous to be caught going in the wrong place.
11 to 12 All waste is reused for fertilizer and it's a crime and sin if you fail to submit all waste to the proper authority
13-15 Roll D12 Twice, first roll is what the locals do but travellers must do second roll
16-17 Roll D12 result especially applies to travellers from other places
18-19 Roll Twice
20 Roll a D12 on this chart, Travellers must do this but are then ushered out of town

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!