Thursday, May 28, 2020

Jojiro's Twenty Questions for Centras

Here's the cool link! I've done this once before but wanted to give another a try! In particular I've tailored answers to an area called The Jeweled Coast.

1. What is something that players can interact with that inspires wonder in your setting?

  • Skylands! They are floating islands and dungeons and ruins of ages past that float through the sky before being shot with anchoring chains shot from giant ballista and raided by adventuring crews! They can be HUGE or TINY or anything in between! There are also BUG-CITIES that roam around mortal-engine style on the backs of giant beetles.




2. How does one religion in the world work? What rituals and observances are involved, and how does this religion play with other religions out there? Are gods real?
  • The Godclaw is more or less the "official" pantheon, made up of the five hero-gods who saved the realm. While each god maintains their own church with it's own power structure and rituals, overall the Godclaw Council works to maintain order amongst the larger cities and settlements in particular, acting as a social and military resource for citizens. However, the Godclaw does not tolerate open worship of other deific beings or cults - while there is no inquisitor-like force rooting out corruption, the Godclaw's resources are so ingrained in communities that they tend to self-enforce against anyone practicing heretical worship, as all the Godclaw would need to do is withdraw their resources once finding out about heretics to cause irrevocable harm. Gods might be real.

3.How does one get access to goods and services in the setting? Will items always be available, will trade routes be jammed up by bandits, are their commissions for things, are magic items sold in regular stores, are hirelings available for hire or do we have to find them in the world?
  • There's a rather large variety of crafters and shops of all sorts. Both guild and non-guild businesses are in abundance, and enforcers of the church of Artosis called The Invisible Hand does a good job at rooting out anti-consumer practices and preventing complete monopolistic takeovers. Trade Routes can be jammed up by weather, monsters, or bandits as usual but these rarely prevent goods to be completely unavailable, as businesses tend to overstock. Prices still fluctuate though. Magic Items can be commissioned by Wizards or Wizard Academies, though they are quite expensive and typically require monster parts in addition to esoteric favors. Hirelings are usually available for hire, most commonly as guides, trackers, or the occasional out-of-work adventurer.

4. What are some examples of people and creatures a commoner would be wary of in-setting? What are some examples of people and creatures a commoner could trounce without worry? What are some examples of people and creatures a commoner would trust?
  • Humans don't like Elves because of a long history including two apocalyptic events. In forested areas there's lots of fae, so strangers tend to be treated with a mix of caution and distant politeness. Wizards are rare and people treat spellbooks and wands/staves like modern people would treat bazookas. In general any creature with a skull-pattern on it can be killed without fear of any sort of reprisal. 
5. Name a heroically slain dragon, or something comparable in threat. How was the creature slain, according to stories? How was it actually done? Was it a fluke or a well-executed slaying of a monster?
  • The great dragon-tyrant WRECKNAUGHT was killed by a veritable army of heroes and sky-pirates in an epic battle that brought about the end of the Age of Weeping Oil and ushered in the Age of Heroes. According to stories it was a pair of roguish heroes named Mitsuu and Kaizoku, a birdfolk and fox-folk who organized the attack and dealt the killing blow. The exact tactics are lost in the two ages past but the mythos places a great emphasis on teamwork.
6. How do people who adventure (if there are even such people) get jobs and contracts in this setting?
  • Nothing prevents four friends from just deciding to explore a dungeon or go try to hunt a big monster, but most either start or join an official Adventuring Company, complete with a sponsor. An Adventuring Company will have several adventuring members and handles the administrative tasks involved in sourcing and vetting profitable excursion. Open contracts still exist though, and Wytch-Guard Companies in particular can only be joined after completing a Wytch-Guard contract.
7. How do people convey their station/caste if such things exist? In particular, what intersections do station/caste have with the adventuring lifestyle (whatever the players are in the setting…guards, tomb raiders, bounty hunters, etc.)?
  • Lots of adventurers have some sort of noble or wealthy upbringing actually - station is usually conveyed through fancy clothes, etiquette, and displays of wealth.
8. What privileges and prejudices exist in your world, if any do at all? For example: How does the world view LGBTQ identities, ethnic identities within each fantasy “race”, and race relations?
  • LGBTQ identities don't have any taboo attachment, Race relations between humans is strained a bit though, due to the complications of an ongoing Cold War and a refugee crisis. Elven families are rare and tend to just stay within their own communities, though there is tension between rare meetings of Elves from the The Lineage of Days and Elves from The Lineage of Night. Dwarves have subcultures but these aren't well understood by outsiders - in general they are quite collectivist in nature and this has suited them well.
 9. Distal View of the Political System?
  • There is technically a monarchy, though it's somewhat removed.  Elected City Councils, who tend to be representative of settlement populaces, take care of local laws and governance fairly well. Basically any given city might do things totally differently.
10. Proximal View of the Political System?
  • King Markhus is well liked but elderly, and rumored to be in worsening condition. His three children include Lothric, Myrna, and Halfred, though his daughter Myrna is slated to next take the throne due to the ancient customs of the Monarch's Cycle. Lothric is talented with administration, Halfred is a somewhat famous and well-liked Naval hero who helped fight off some undead pirates, and Myrna is somewhat reclusive and lacks the charisma of her father. The Royal Family has a bloodline that traces back to the god Ka'Thon and his bride, Queen Night-Vale of the Summer Court.

11. Do your players even need their rations and torches?
  • Yes, unless you want to starve or be eaten by things who can hunt in the dark.
12. How do you become a Ruler of Many?

  • Being well-liked by a group of people, or be born into royal blood. Adventuring Companies can comprise "many" to the point of being small militaries, and their leaders are the most cunning and successful of adventurous types. If you want to lead an actual army or nation though, you'd have to go somewhere else or try to stage a coup.
13. Are there social consequences for necromancy or other forms of forbidden magic? Do these consequences differ in the view of the common man vs. other people?
  • Necromancy is openly practiced by the church of the goddess Valora, but forbidden magic or worship that clearly is meant to cause harm is brought down with extreme prejudice
14. What is the common man’s capability to distinguish the following things: a werewolf’s tracks vs. wolf tracks, a manticore attack vs. a lion attack, a demon attack vs. a gargoyle attack?
  • Any tracker could tell a wolf doesnt walk like a werewolf, but a non-hunter peasant wouldn't. Manticores leave spike wounds. Most people don't believe in demons and have never heard of gargoyles.
15. What is the social position of rogues, within both history and in the current day? Within both thieves’ guilds and within the world at large?
  • Thieves Guilds are winked at but not typically acknowledged (sometimes they even pay taxes!) and Assassin's Guilds are real but considered to be fake by most of the populace. Socially you would just introduce yourself as an adventurer or archaeologist since there's skill overlap and leave it there.
16. What is the role of dungeons within the world – are they a place where MacGuffins have been hidden, ruins of lost civilizations, unexplored caverns extending deep into the earth, Zelda-like puzzle dungeons that are more a player challenge than something that makes sense in-world, or something else entirely?
  • The three types of dungeons are Vaults, Skylands, and Ruin Bugs (fortress beetles who's population has been wiped out or moved). They are all actively sought out and competed over by rival adventuring guilds, and all tend to have some sort of treasure from either recent or ancient history. The challenge each can present vary wildly though.
17. How common are dungeons, how deep or large are they, and how much treasure might be expected within their depths?
  • Dungeons of all three types are relatively common, but vary wildly in size and profitability.
18. Explain, if you could, the differences between magic-users in the world. For instance, how would wizards, sorcerers, miracle-workers, warlocks, witches, medicine-men, stage magicians, and the like differ from each other? Do all of those categories even exist?
  • "Wizard" is a term reserved for the officially sanctioned bunch who undergo training to learn how to read the arcane language and house spells in their brain. This takes most of their lifetime. "Witches" vary in reaction from village to village but petition nature spirits and the land itself for spells. 
19. What are two examples of food culture in the world? Even if food isn’t a part of play, what dishes are people consuming in the world around the players, and what messages can be conveyed through food and drink?
  • Dwarfs brew all sorts of exotic alcohol. "Shiner Flasks" are used as an all-purpose dont-ask-whats-in-it alcohol by adventurers. Cities tend to have food-markets and street stalls that serve culinary dishes from all over the world, including exotic cheeses, dumplings, noodles...you name it.
20. What is the internal logic of the game world you are running, as far as players are concerned? When the players act and the world reacts, what principles do you hold to?
  • I'm not actually sure I like this question, but is somewhere between 'maintaining realism' and 'rule of cool' on a sliding scale a proper answer?

Quick Review:

Overall I liked these and thought they were fine, I just don't quite like them as much as Jeff Rients? They seem more suited to a worldbuilding guide rather than a player guide which is less useful to me personally. A big thank you to Jojiro though for putting them together.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Playable Ancestries of Centras

I bounce between lots of systems and stuff but in general these are ancestries that you can pick if you're playing in one of my games. They go in conjunction with class choice and affect saving throws sometimes.  This stuff is mostly based off of how Basic Fantasy does things but was also inspired by Wizzzargh's houserules for their open table games. DCC and other stuff was an inspiration as well.


Humans

  • 10% reduction in amount of XP needed to level up. 
  • Humans and only humans get to wield swords, which deal damage one step higher than whatever their normal damage dice would be. d6 becomes d8, d8 becomes d10, and so forth.
Most people you meet will be humans.

Elves

  • Roll an extra 3d6 for an additional Luck stat. Luck can be tested (1d20+luck ≥ 20) or permanently spent to reroll dice after learning the result.
  • Elves have "darkvision" but it's function depends on lineage:
    • The Lineage of Days can see twice as far in low-light and can see as normal when underneath a starry sky. They can also see through smoke, ash, and flame as though it weren't there.
    • The Lineage of Nights have echolocation that works best in subterranean or forested environments. They can also see through non-magical fog, mist, and dirty water as if it were clear.

Elves are rare to encounter outside their own small settlements.


Dwarves

  • Don't have conventional names. They always seem to know which Dwarf you're referring to though. Trying to give them nicknames is unspeakably rude, but adventuring Dwarfs will allow friends to refer to them by the primary color of their clothing. Such dwarfs must be careful to change this color at least once a week.
  • Have immunity against targeted magics and curses. This still leaves them vulnerable to area-of-effect spells like fireball but renders them immune to spells like sleep.
  • Dwarven "darkvision" is actually thermal vision. 
It is common for Dwarfs to settle in enclaves within the settlements of other races, though they also have their own city-states. Dwarfs 'shed' their name in a coming of age ceremony called the ritual of mirrors, and any adult dwarf who becomes too attached to a name risks the wrath of a strange psychic-mirror-vampire-monster.

Halflings

There aren't any of the original hairy-footed agrarian types left in Centras, but for playable small-folk-

Kestrels: Resemble their more traditional halfling ancestors, but are born with feather birthmark "tattoos" that move and dance across their skin. Rarely, they will be born with bird-like features like talons, patches of actual feathers, or raptor eyes (but never wings). Kestrels can glide short distances.


Mice: Child-sized talking rodents. Mice can use sewing needles (stats as swords) or seam-rippers(stats as axes) as special weapons that can even harm spirit-beings. (Magic weapons without the bonuses, basically)

Kestrels tend to be nomadic, but couples will occasionally settle down among other populaces. Mice can be found wherever humans can be found.




Short post, but I just wanted to get something down. Hopefully someone finds it fun and gameable, or at least enjoyed the read. I love reading about unique twists to classic fantasy races so if you have some of your own you'd like to share please link it in the comments!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Secret Jackalope 2020: Magical Academic Book Generator

 Let's see.

Kahva of Mad Cartographer has requested a generator on academic books on Magic.

I decided to do some vaguely academic sounding verbs, then schools of magic, followed by a few extra words of title. I apologize if this is terrible but I had to dig deep for this one since it's been quite awhile since I've been part of academia.

1AnalyzingConjuration: A Manifesto
2BuildingNecromancyFor a New World Order
3CalculatingEvocation, A Brief History
4CodingAbjuration: A Radical Perspective
5ComparingTransmutation: Origins and History
6ComposingDivination: A Dwarven Perspective
7CriticizingEnchantment: An Elven Perspective
8DeconstructingIllusion: Declassifying the Myths
9DeterminingPolymorphism: Understanding the Opposition
10DissectingTeleportation: Common Untruths and Uncommon Truths
11ExaminingScrying: How I Lost My Tenure
12RevisingHealingis Easier than You Might Think


Here it is in button form:




I hope that it's useful! And to supplement the table, since it's a bit shorter than my other blogpost, here's a skeleton for Magic Research of new spells for osr systems. Lots of bits are stolen. This is for both making up new spells or acquiring existing ones.


Magical Research


- Cost is 500 gold per level of the spell (or silver/copper, for other standards) spent on reagents/sacrificed in holy bonfires/etc
- Success chances begins at 1-in-6

Chance of success is improved in the following ways:

- Doubling the required price improves chances by 1-in-6
- Theoretical research on magic, either through academic books on magic or through consulting knowledgeable people improves chances by 1-in-6
- Having access to or consulting with a spell similar to the desired effect improves chances by 2-in-6. Examples might be Levitation or Featherfall for flight or Dimension Door for Teleport.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Months of Centras and Their Effects

Centras has five months in it's calendar year, with each roughly related to a familiar season. Each month (except Flux) is holy to a member of the God-Claw, and each deity has their own sometimes tumultuous relationship with the various Fae Courts of Seasons who also have power during those times. Each month has 4 weeks and 28 days. There may be other modifiers or unique encounters associated with the months, but presented are the most common.



Menahim, the Month of Spring


Holy Month of: Valora, goddess of Love, Death, and the Seas.

- Followers of Valora are actively at war with the fae of Spring

Modifiers (+1 to reactions/success) : 

  • Seafaring
  • Marriage Proposals
Unique Encounters:

  • Spring Revels and Bacchanals
  • Hungry Animals awakening from Hibernation
  • Non-Hostile Undead

Elm, the Month of Summer

Holy Month of: Ka'Thon, god of the elements, insects, and fate

- Followers of Ka'Thon are allied with the fae of Summer, as Ka'Thon married a Queen of the Fae

Modifiers:

  • Duels and other Contests, especially Jousts (though the improved reception is sometimes from fear of being cursed by rebuffed, disguised fae moreso than good nature)
  • Storytelling (The Summer Court is also known as the Storybook Court)

Unique Encounters:


  • Heraldic Creatures
  • Bug and Insectfolk on a Holy Pilgrimage to the sacred burrows beneath the Earth

Flux, the Month of Chaos

Not a Holy Month

- Flux is a special month where pretty much anything can happen. The effects can be relatively mild, like the sun never rising or setting during the whole period. They can be whimsical, like entire populations of animals switching size or places in the food chain-jokes are still made about the blight of horse-sized ducks many Flux's ago. They can also be rather severe, like gates to hell or elemental planes suddenly popping up across the landscape, or vile necromancers appearing from seemingly nowhere with an entire army of undead.


Harvest, the Month of Autumn

Holy Month of: Artosis, god of the Sun, Luck, and Wealth

- Followers of Artosis have a cordial relationship with the Autumn Court, sometimes forging short-term contracts with the Courts various mercenaries

Modifiers:

  • Business Proposals
  • Gambling Invitations
Unique Encounters:

  • Cultists of the Wild Hunt
  • Rampaging Beasts gorging themselves in preparation for Winter

Restmare, the Month of Winter

Holy Month of: Arcana, goddess of Madness, Music, Darkness, and Secrets

- Arcana is a secretive sort and it's unknown what sort of relationship, if any, her followers might have with the Winter Court

Modifiers:

  • Research of all sorts
  • Music
  • Thievery
Unique Encounters:

  • Hostile Undead, particularly Winter Spirits
  • Half-Starving or Frozen creatures
  • White-Stags of Winter


Special:

Xan, the god of Justice, Vengeance, and Beasts has no holy month, but has his own holy day's.

- Xan's Rain, a single day of Flux on which Rain is guaranteed, is known to bless lawman and bounty hunters alike in seeking their targets, but only if the cause is truly just in the eyes of the law (those seeking the wrongly accused or innocent receive no divine aid)

- Xan's Sun, a single comparatively hot day of Winter, during which criminals can plead for forgiveness for a lessened sentence and other ongoing disputes are traditionally atoned for and those who have wronged others can safely ask for forgiveness.

- Xan's Winds, a single day of Autumn, during which bonds with animal companions are solidified and animals seem easier to rightly 'tame'.



Monday, February 3, 2020

Cuckoo Guild

Lexi over at her blog has recently made a very solid template for extensible Thieves in the GLOG tradition, with the pitch that the unique thing for Thieves is skills so advance that they warp the game narrative.

It reminds me alot of Blades in the Dark, and while I have some concerns about the applications, I overall really like the idea. Ultimately in my games, I think I prefer giving players a relatively small number of customizable classes rather than a lump sum of them.

Anyway, I still like my Cuckoo Folk idea but not so much the implementation so...here's another go at it.

In this interpretation, rather than a unique species, Cuckoos are just masters of Confidence Scams of the highest level, using deception to blend into places and positions they aren't meant to be in. Then they just stick around and eat the food.

Cuckoo Guild

This is not a king


Starting Equipment: 2 Sets of fancy clothes, a bottle of rare liquor, a (fake) noble's signet ring, an ornately decorated dueling sword

Skills (2, d6): 1. Military History 2. Law 3. Forgery 4. Connoisseur 5. Gambler 6. Music


Abilities

1. Brood-Mark
    ✧: You can convince d4 people in close proximity that you are a close friend over the course of a few minutes, and they will treat you as if you were a beloved family member until you leave their presence.
    ✧✧: 2d6 people in close proximity, and their positive feelings towards you last for d6 days.
    ✧✧✧: You can Brood-Mark anyone with a written letter sent in advance.
2. Pull Rank
    ✧: You can determine someone's relative position to authority through observation. Military Rank for soldiers, Court Position and general favor for courtiers, rank in the line of succession, etc; get overlapping results if they exist.
    ✧✧: If you are aware of someone's position in an authority structure, you can appeal to it and act as their superior as long as one exists.
    ✧✧✧: You can convince someone within an authority structure that you are their superior, even if one *doesn't* exist. ("I am the real king, and you are my pawn")
3. Mimicry
    ✧: You can perform a technical skill once after witnessing it performed (anything from lockpicking to special fighting techniques).
    ✧✧: You can perform a technical skill three times after witnessing it performed.
    ✧✧✧: You can permanently learn a technical skill after witnessing it performed three times.
4. Act Like You Belong
    ✧: You can avoid notice by slipping into a group of 4 or more. You are treated as if part of the group, and given access to any resources or restricted areas that they would normally have access to, as long as you accompany them.
    ✧✧: You can avoid notice by accompanying even a single individual. After you leave, you are difficult to describe and your features can't be recollected if you choose.
    ✧✧✧: You can get anywhere with confidence. No guard will halt your progress, though they may take notice. The most minor change in clothing can throw off pursuers.
5. Thick as Thieves
    ✧: You can recruit d4 thugs in town who're loyal so long as they'll get a cut of the loot and are sure they'll make it out alive. They will flee, cheat, or betray you and each other if either of those conditions becomes sufficiently murky.
    ✧✧: d6 thugs or d4 thieves, each with 1 rank in a random thief ability (besides this one).
    ✧✧✧: 2d6 thugs or 2d4 thieves, each with 2 ranks in a random thief ability (besides this one).
6. Social Parasite
    ✧: You live on someone else's property with their blessing. You don't have downtime costs. Begin each session with an extra ration, packed with care.
    ✧✧: You live on a nobles property, with their blessing. Begin each session with a bottle of fine wine. When carousing, you can roll twice and take the preferred result.
    ✧✧✧: You live on the royal estate or its equivalent in the area. Your friends can come along as well, but only you get the royal treatment. If an ally gets bonus XP through carousing, you get the same amount without having to spend the money.




Some design notes:

- I'd probably have the Brood-Mark abilities only work once per person

- For Pull Rank - Believing someone is your superior doesn't necessarily mean earning their respect, and sometimes it can mean them challenging you in a formal duel or test of strength for your position. "Aha, if you ARE the real king, what if I just kill you and take your place for good!"

- For Mimicry it might be necessary to have certain things be witnessed in active use rather than in training (particularly fighting styles) but perhaps not.

- Act Like You Belong is supposed to just be like blending into a crowd in the Assassins Creed games. The final ability might be a bit strong but I welcome any players who pushes its limits and want to walk past a pair of Frost Giant guards alone just to see what happens.

- Social Parasite should probably be more active for games that don't have carousing or downtime. In those cases I'd just run it as a built-in safe haven, full of people who will protect you no matter what. It might need some further tweaks anyway.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Secret Santicorn 2019: Skyscraper Mimics (and other Structural Horrors)

Lexi over at A Blasted, Cratered Land has requested the following prompt for her secret-santicorn:

"Skyscraper Mimics (and other Structural Horrors)"



A Rampaging Structure


Mimics are pretty much just traps-as-monster. They most iconically take the shape of treasure chests and subsist on a diet of greedy adventurers. They can be dealt with through caution, thorough checking with a long pole, or through tell-tale signs and prior experience.


So if you just took that concept and made a classic mimic HUGE- say, skyscraper-sized - and gave it the form of a tower or other vertical building, it might just eat anything greedy enough to go inside.

There are two paths here I could think of. Either a long drawn out existential horror version of a sphere of annihilation at the end of a hallway with no save and just eventual death that will definitely make players hate you~
"You've reached the top! The treasure you find within is...A FLESHY STOMACH THAT IMMEDIATELY FINISHES THE DIGESTION PROCESS! GAME OVER, SUCKERZ!"

OR you can make it a challenge, which strikes me as the sort of gameable that would let me keep my group.

They can take a variety of forms, from 

How to Kill a Building


Not with a sword, at least traditionally. 

Maybe the characters are aware that a structure is living, maybe they aren't. 

But you don't kill a skyscraper mimic (or a Monster House/Living Dungeon) in normal combat. 

Imagine each room is a part of the body, and the adventurers are a virus or other hostile foreign body. The body dispatches defensive mechanisms to eat and dispatch the foreign matter - perhaps white-blood-oozes, or baby mimics, or symbiotic parasites. The foreign element is either dispatched and removed, or it overcomes the bodies defenses, eventually killing it.

That's pretty much how most dungeons work already, right?


Death by Attrition


By far the more popular choice, this method involves clearing (destroying) a certain number of rooms in the structural monster. Kill and remove all the living defenses and traps, remove the valuables (down to the brass door knobs), and deface and graffiti anything left.

The graffiti part is important, for reasons that vary dependent on the structure. Perhaps it further removes the hold of the resident ghostly apparition, perhaps it further irritates the giant mimic, or perhaps it confuses the nanobots.

Do this for a majority of the rooms (70-80% to be safe) and the structure horror will die. Unfortunately this will also kill any remaining treasure-bugs or potentially valuable artifacts, as they decompose and evaporate.

Shot through the heart


The other known method to kill a structural horror is to "slay" or grievously injure the "heart" or "brain" or equivalent vital structures.

Such structures are invariably well hidden and guarded, so even finding the secret doors that lead to a vital structure is a legendary task. Should you find the right room though, you can potentially strike down the structure in one blow.

Some of the more popular vital structures are listed below.

"Brain"
HD: 9
AC: As Chain
Attacks: Electrical feedback and neuron tendrils strike out at foes nearby. Save vs Dragon Breath each round and when damage is dealt to brain. Take damage as Lightning Bolt on failure.

"Heart"
Stats: As Immobile Dragon
Attacks: At the top of each round, the heart convulses, expanding 15 feet around it as it beats. It deals severe bludgeoning damage in this radius. 

The remains of these vital structures are exceedingly valuable alchemical components, and their death will also remove the living defenses but will leave the treasure and valuables left in the structure unharmed.

Secret Doors in Structural Horrors take on many strange forms

Generate-a-Structure-Horror


Structural Horror Super-TypeOuter DefensesReason You Need to Kill It
1Mimic (hermit crab)
Automatic ballista

The locals are afraid it could go berserk
2
Mimic (glue-flesh)

False Entrances

The Lord wants to use it as a summer/winter home
3
Lich Phylactery

Gargoyle Creatures

It's hideous and doesn't match the local aesthetic preferences, the housing market could crash any day now!
4
Gothic Ghost

Animate Caryatid GolemsEveryone's Really Tired of the minor earthquakes
5
Demonic Influence

Mesmerizing Stained Glass Patterns

It's housed right over a diamond mine or other valuable resource
6
Dead (Minor) Deity

A Powerful Riddling-DoorChildren keep going missing, locals blame the structural horror (70% chance they're right)
7
Enslaved Para-Elemental



8Nanobots



I'd plug donjon as the layout generator of choice depending on your system.



Quest Hooks


  • A "Wizard's Tower Epidemic" has struck the country-side. Imposing brick-towers now litter the rolling hills and farmlands, and someone should probably investigate them. In truth, it is a migratory swarm of tower-mimics, and while they may not pose much of a threat to veteran adventurers initially, the alpha-tower has yet to arrive.
  • In the nearby bayou lays a legendary haunted house. Locals know to avoid it and caution others to do the same, but a rag-tag group of well equipped mercenaries has recently arrived. They claim that the house is instead a rare and powerful elemental bound to a specific spot, and they are looking to hire brave souls to help them take it on. They promise good daily rates and a fair split of any treasure finds, but the perceptive and careful may notice that many of their claims don't entirely add up...
  • The state religion holds a hideous secret- their Grand Cathedral is built into the corpse of a dead god. A normal daily rite has gone awry, and the Archpope and other residents of the Cathedral has disappeared. Minor earthquakes and other strange happenings are occurring around the site, and it's layout seems to change on it's own. The Crown wants someone to take care of this, rescue the clergy, and dispatch the dead deity once and for all. You also need to do it quietly, at risk of a public uproar and revolution.

A Structure-Horror Ready to Hatch

















Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Paranormal G-Men One-Shot Rules - "Talkers"

It's the time of year when my home groups availability becomes more sporadic with the holidays, so with attendance not as regular we tend to try out various one-shots and stuff. So I made a quick and dirty ruleset. It's kinda sorta based on Silent Legions, DMT, and a weird mismatch of Cthulhu stuff.

Talkers


You are Talkers. You work to cover up paranormal activity for a Government/Institute/Foundation/whatever and occasionally deal with Fringe activity.

There are four types of Talkers (everyone should choose a different one if possible). Each Talker type has two abilities.


Tough-Talker - The Very Strong one. Good at arm-wrestling and in fights. Also knowledgeable on a variety of athletic and sports related trivia and hobbies.
  • You may use a Point to perform a feat of strength or endurance that embodies exceptional human athleticism, such as kicking open a reinforced door, lifting a car, staying conscious after being shot, or hanging off a ledge by the tips of your fingers.
  • You may use a Point to intimidate an individual- as long as they have some sense of rationality, they will comply with requests from you and your allies while you are in their presence and for an undetermined amount of time afterwards. This is not mind control, but rational beings will simply do all they can do avoid a potential physical confrontation with you.


Cop-Talker - The Authority one. Good at manipulating bureaucratic loopholes and getting along with all walks of government workers. Pulls rank/badge
  • You may use a Point to successfully call off any government or police worker, essentially pulling rank or threatening to go to a superior officer
  • You may use a Point to call in local military or police reinforcements, whether that be a SWAT team, coast guard rescue, etc. This can also be used to commandeer equipment of all types, including civilian or government vehicles and weapons.

Soft-Talker - The Empathetic one. Good at gaining the trust of normal folk, the grieving, the paranoid. Expert-grade psychologist.
  • You may use a Point to successfully intuit the emotional state of an individual. This will also spot untrained attempts at deception as you pick up on microexpressions and inconsistent body language.
  • You may use a Point to guide an individual to the general emotional state you desire. This usually involves calming down a distraught individual but can also be used to incite rage if you so desire. More specific emotional states can be induced in certain situations.

Tech-Talker - The Person-behind-the-screen. Expert hacker. Good at engaging with particular niche subcultures over nerd stuff. Knows random facts that no one else would.
  • You may use a Point to successfully know or research a relevant fact to a situation at hand, even one involving esoterica or other fringe media.
  • You may use a Point to perform a feat of illegal hacking (not without consequences). This involves DDoSing websites and domains, scrubbing information on government servers, but also may include grander feats like temporarily bringing down an electrical grid


If it's remotely plausible that a Talker has the ability to do something, they do it without issue.

Everyone gets 4 Points a session, or 2 Points per in game day. In addition to the mentioned specific abilities, points can also be spent for "Hunches"- essentially getting to confirm whether an object or fact is important to a particular investigation or other simple yes/no questions to the GM.

Everyone has a real name, a code-name, and a former government job.

When directly dealing with the horrific, traumatic, or impossible, Talkers gain Stress. If something would normally test sanity in another game, roll a d20 and add the result to the Stress of everyone present. Everyone gets to do one thing in a "round", and you keep rolling a d20 every round until the horrible or taumatic situation is "resolved" or somehow no longer shocking.

If a Talker ever reaches 100 Stress, they are "Out" (maybe they just retire or something, maybe they have a heart attack, maybe they get possessed by a brain ghost)

That's it. I don't usually go this deep into making my own rules so if anyone has any feedback or suggestions I'm certainly open to them.

I used the above ruleset to run the Delta Green introductory module Last Things Last and the players said they enjoyed it and had fun.