Friday, 12 February 2016


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like you can make them human but with pointy ears
and that's fine if you just want to draw people different
fine to me
that's the only one here
I haven't found you and cannot possibly be talking about you

So if that's all you do
draw them real weird though or just real cool, so make it the cool people have different stats than you

from here

Or make them more like people , like the heroic people of bigot folk dreams ,
but live like animals . Like man-shape pokemon.  Walk right out of bush they were shitting in , all glistening and ethereal.
How does that outfit even work?
It doesn't  that's just what their skin looks like.
All kinds of stories and songs about things that you can't go and see.  Oh but you can't , it's just  not there anymore. But it was. And it was perfect and good. We are the good people. Language , poems , art, creation myths, lineage, heroes and gods.
but it's just Batesian mimicry . On a scale about the same size as you. Looks you right in the eye.
that face flawless over a mind of animal noise

Sure you can play one

Ildiko Muresan , from here

they don't have big city , or even a village. Just quietly sleep in hollow trees and come out to drink moonlight. Everything they need is in their dreams. Some can't sleep and they just have keep walking  until they do.


these don't have no cities either. Dry up and curl along , light as anything. Sometimes landing near where there is enough talk and noise to fill up enough to walk on in and be something like you.

Sunday, 7 February 2016


Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF Dear Displacer Klaus what are somethings that can replace the 4 classes to support distinct synergic playstyles?


  1. Horse, rat, snake, 6 year old human
  2. I-phone, clockwork mouse, clawhammer, silly putty
  3. Police Station, Cartoon Animal, Captain Hook, Vague Supernatural Phenomena   
  4. Time Elemental, Homunculus, Ooze Disguised in Human Clothes, Elderly Fairtale Bear
  5.  Captain Picard, Socrates, A computer powered by Snakes, Rasputin 
  6. Arson, Shoplifting, Fraud, Regicide 
  7. Sherlock Holmes as played by Jeremy Brett, Sherlock Holmes as played by Robert Downey Jnr, Sherlock Holmes as played by Paranoid schizophrenic who is right about everything except being Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes as manga 

Monday, 21 December 2015

scrap notes, system for equipment , skills and background

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF Brendan  ( was asking about one roll equipment systems and asked if I should bother typing up one of mine and he was like yeah do that and I was like yeah cool and man if you don't like run on sentances you must be hating this blog


Been trying to jam as much of the character creation system together as I can and also keep it "new school" in the sense you get have a special snowflake but not in the way that requires 2 hours of creation.

This was my way of putting skills, starting equipment, and background together:

Your past determines what stuff you have and any usefully capabilities you may have picked up.
When you are playing the game and you try something that requires an ability check and you think that your past might be relevant tell the g.m. If they are convinced you will get an Advantage to the roll. Make a note of this, because you will get Advantage any other time a situation similar to this happens. Then make a Intelligence check. If you succeed you can keep bringing up your Past in future. If you fail, that's it. That is all your character managed to get the hang off.

You may choose or roll a past from below. The weapon and armour description is mainly for how you picture your character, ignore it if it is not interesting. If you to have a Past not on here either talk to the g.m before hand and arrange something or just write it down and pick 4 items from any pasts equipment. HOWEVER you will have 5 seconds to do so. If pick something that is not actually there that counts as a wasted choice. You will need someone else to count out loud at you.

Starts with:
Sacks, long hooked pole, protective mask, shovel
your weapons and armour is:
"scrouged and repaired"

Starts with:
dried meats, snares, calls, scent
your weapons and armour is:
"self made and simple"

Starts with:
esoteric cultural item, concealed jewellery,compass,trade item
your weapons and armour is:
"distinctive and unfamilar"

Starts with:
domesticated animal, basic trade good, lard, homebrew
your weapons and armour is:
"repurposed tools"

Starts with:
bad drugs, stolen valuable, blinding dust, caltrops
your weapons and armour is:
"stolen and/or easily concealable"

Starts with:
jewellery, weird drugs, reading material, clockwork toy
your weapons and armour is:
"gaudy and distinctive"

Starts with:
lantern, maps, crowbar, chalk
your weapons and armour is:
"ancient and rare"

Starts with:
divination tools, spirit cleansing incense, fireworks, blankets
your weapons and armour is:
"anointed and festooned"

Design notes:
There is only 8 because I'm having a lot of new people play soon and too many choices actually slows people down apparently. I love them myself but hey. The pasts are biased to ones that kinda lead to a life of being a wandering danger junkie as opposed to a general cross section of life.
If someone wants to be a broke blacksmith or a disgraced scholar that's fine though.
Need to rethink some of equipment .

No one has a tent or some other stuff but plenty of the Pasts have jewellery or trade goods and I figure trying to trade flour for a tent or trying to find a fence is a good way of meeting people and starting stuff.
Otherwise desperately ill equipped is fine too.

Still haven't worked out how I want to do weapons and armour and I might leave off the descriptors in the final version, as they might confuse beginners.

The schrodinger's skill system owes a debt to Zzarchov's excellent Neoclassical Geek Revival

Saturday, 19 December 2015


Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF Here are some new terrains to sprinkle around your maps or elaborate fisher-king fantasy life


Like a tangle of blackberry but with canes girthing in metres. The underlayer is passable , the ancient bottom canes arching at about 2-4 metres above you.
It's very dark , dusty ,  with a few patient lichens,  eldritch fungus and ghostly ferns. Moving vertically is an engineering project, with metres of wood, sword length thorns (technically prickles)  , and eye searing sap.  The middle layer has a bit more light,  weird dirt pockets with bizarre microbiomes , and bird nests. The top layer is a violent sea of green and crimson waving thorn cane. And birds. And insects. Violently territorial birds and insects.

unique fungus, herbs. Emperor bramble sap. Bird eggs of some obnoxious fairy tale quest variety.

Occasional cane collapses (see Rocs below), thorns, sap,  cordyceps fungus.

BEASTS : Weasel like elegated pangolins of a variety of sizes; The smallest slinking around the tops eating birds the biggest slinking around the bottom and eating you. Rocs like to make their nests in the middle layer , sometimes causing collapses.  Dali Stilt mini elephants that migrate vertically as they grow. Spiders. Mites. Ticks. Beetles etc. Spiders that make themselves bird costumes to get birds to try and fight them. Giant red-eyed vorpal Kiwis.

OTHERS: Dueling ant knights sculpting the throne bases like ant castles , beetle grumble men, dancing fungus, millennium seeds , thorn entombed castles (maybe the cause of cargocult ant people behaviour) ,


Underneath frozen sea ice somewhere where the tide goes out for half a year at a time.
The drowned can fake their lives better when it's out and will trade for props for their sad mummery. Most things hunker down or wander out with the tide. The crustaceans mainly rule but it's the perfect place for spirit world diplomacy

wrecks, shellfish (pearls), anything that otherwise would require going underwater to get. Corals.

HAZARDS: collapsing roofs, lurking anemones like an anus rock for your foot to enter. Ghosts. Spirits of cambain dead. Dream eating coral.

BEASTS: crustaceans (fortified tank like lobsters, long legged hair stealing crabs , eerily bone scrying isopods ) scythed beaked penguins sliding on their bellies to murder you , spirit court fox courtier. Polar bear mercenaries seeking work in the spirit worlds.

OTHERS: A shipwreck trapped in the ice above  accessed from the gash in its belly. Isopod fortune teller. The drowned that are forbidden the afterlifes of sea or land and make fake ones.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Telling People About the Untellable

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF Arnold wrote about the unspeakable here
and it reminded me to post about an idea I gave Patrick when he was writing some monsters for James Raggi that he didn't use. (Patrick didn't use the idea, Raggi is going to use the Monsters I'm pretty sure)

Okay so children's games are weird on how long their history can be , and how unclear it is how much they are being passed on and how often they are being independently discovered and how surpsing it is to discover someone from a different country uses the exact same name for bullrush or tag or go home stay home or even when they have the game but with a completely different name

from here 
and while I'm linking to stuff here is Shut Up and Sit Down articule about children's games involving pain.
Someone mentions whip crack in the comment, a game believed to be invented by the comment's author childhood peers and someone else links a Winslow Homer Painting depicting the same game

(Shut Up and Sit Down has some great stuff but possibly have bought the troll line about Zak being the devil? Not sure if they have done subsequent research . Also can't seem to tell the difference between "monolithic representation of women as sexy sex people is bad" and "women as sexy sex people is bad" )

Anyway my point is kids games, folklore and songs can continue for very long time without anyone really thinking about them or writing them down ,  or knowing what the hell they are about when they hear them (until someone is like Oh Ring a Ring Rosey is about the Plague or Humpty Dumpty is about a Cannon or a king or something with various levels of evidence and plausibility)

So if you wanted to warn future generations about a extra-real threat and part of this threat was thinking too hard about it or creating information about allowed it more access to the world or some other side effect , having it be in kid's lore is perfect.

It gets passed on without being written down, when kids stop being kids they forget about it, and when they are kids their understanding of fantasy and reality is different to that of adult which might be a safer way to engage with the information.

>it would have to be vague enough to not trigger the effect

>it would still have to recognisable as giving relevant advice if the entity ever shows up

>Some dickhead academic if they started seriously studying it would put themselves  and anyone
reading their notes and then anyone who has read the notes who hears the rhyme at risk

>it would have to be "catchy" to kids. Who knows what kids are going to like? Vital information might have to left out or mutate out by itself

>it could exist as a game, song, folklore, or a combination of all 3 , for example trying to walk along a path without stepping on a crack "step on a crack break your mother's back"


(feel free to add some of your own in the comments or on the g+ post where I tell everyone that I blogged )

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout.
Down came the rain
and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun
and dried up all the rain
and the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again

It's a crack in space that looks like a tiny spider but when you look at it appears to be too small to see but you can see it anyway and then it fills your entire focus field and destroys you.

It will enter this world through pipes and holes build by people and whose purpose has been lost.

Rapid temperature and humidity changes destabilize it .

Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are

When the blazing sun is gone
When he nothing shines upon
Then you show your little light
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night
Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are

If a new star appears in the sky don't look at it , especially don't think about it , it will swallow everything else in the sky

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again

The rulers of this world are tireless slaves to rotten barrier lords , whose function it is to separate reality from fantasy. They wear out and fall , and sometimes try and maintain themselves through manipulating this world to create social structures that they can use as metaphysical ladders to climb back out of this world. They are the seeds of their own destruction as organisation creates as much chaos and discord as it seeks to eliminate

A pocket full of posies;
Ashes! Ashes!
We all fall down

The first warning is weird circular scab formation

the second is entering small spaces causes bruising

then everything will burn

leave. Do not return.

I do not like thee, Doctor Fell,
The reason why - I cannot tell;
But this I know, and know full well,
I do not like thee, Doctor Fell

That guy you don't like who keeps doing weird things to bodies is a extra-real horror and will try and blank all appropriate emotional responses to the horrible things he keeps doing in front of everyone with his powers.

So you should not try and justify or explain yourself but just burn him alive or throw him off something high

If wishes were horses
Beggars would ride:
If turnips were bayonets:
I would wear one by my side:

When facing a phantasmist , the less plausible the weapon , the more dangerous it is to the phantasmist.

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.
Eight for a wish,
Nine for a kiss,
Ten for a bird,
You must not miss

It will take many forms. Some of them physical, some of them abstract. When it is a bird you can end it. You will have one chance. 

Do not miss.

Monday, 26 October 2015

There I fixed it number 5 Navigation

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from here

A bunch of people asked that I should fix navigation (including astronavigation which will need it's own post) . So here is my attempt:

Party either chooses a member to be the wayfinder because they are good at outside.

They proceed to make relevants checks (either stat checks or skills checks or whatever your d&dish uses) until they fail.

Every time they succeed they can choose to not be fucked up by one thing from the list below

if how much distance is important to the check , the party only covers half as much as they wanted to (or compared to the default amount) . If time is what is important  , it takes twice as long.

Wrong turns are taken, detours to find viewing elevation, rough terrain than expected etc.

Whatever lives here knows that you are moving through their neighbourhood . That's a roll in the wandering monster table OR if there is one dominant and/or organised faction here just have them notice and act appropriately.

Crashing through the undergrowth, disturbing too many birds, leaving a trail, arguments , musical numbers etc.

Whatever sucks about this place happens to the party. If it's a cold everyone is going to risk frostbite. If it's hot everyone risks sunstroke or dehydration. If it's a forest something falls on you , you fall into something or whatever. If a swamp ; malaria.
I include a table below incase you don't have any ideas about what goes wrong when people try and walk in nature for a period of time.

Mechanically most game books have a section with drowning , starving and a bunch of environment stuff in there somewhere and you never notice it expect sometimes you stumble across and go Ohh hey dehydration rules but who is going to be keeping track of the characters urine colour ? Not me.

 Use the effects of that. Stat damage, saving throw or Enfeeblement , hitpoint damage , Disadvantage etc.

If the players choose to Not have this problem then they will find something distinctive and cool about the area because they took the time or effort to scout around and follow mystery trails etc.
If you, the d.m , is running a hex crawl with stuff linked to the hex number use that, and having the party count as "unobserved" when starting he encounter.

If you are using an encounter table with neutral or positive stuff on there as well roll on that (moving odds/up or evens/down until finding something appropriate)

If you don't have that but have some kind of random herb table roll on that.

If you don't have anything like that , or don't want to use , just have the party having had the mechanic equivalent of a good nights rest in a comfortable location with meals and fresh water because they took the time to catch something delicious and not sleep in a pond .

This is kind of a freebie problem to take.  That's intentionally.

If for some reason the party doesn't have someone competent or bossy enough to be in charge you can have a "group consensus" versions. In that case someone makes the first check , then someone else , etc until someone fails. No-one can make another check until everyone rolled once.

and someone is complaining because their ranger is like superoutside and even with a 18 in the relevant stat that's like 1 in 10 times their character is going to have to fuck everything up.
well a)they are leading a bunch of overburdened goons with appalling skillsets so blame someone else

if the player fails the first roll (or just want to try to get less problems ) they can try again but any problems they take will be twice as bad. If they fuck this up again , they can try again but any problems they take will be 3 times as bad. Your choice if you want to allow this to escalate further.

BAD DISTANCE/TIME: half again the distance / double the time etc

ATTENTION: 2 encounters or double the amount encounter or the encountered group has a surprise round

#OUTSIDEPROBLEMS: double the severity of effect or number of party members affected or have 2 different things go wrong (THE BATS DRANK YOUR BLOOD. AND GAVE YOU RABIES)

The NOTIMEFORSIGHTSEEING if doubled up means that the party did not rest (no spells or hitpoint recovery or power recharges)  because they have not had time to rest . If tripled give an exhaustion effect (stat/hitpoint lost, disadvantage/penalty to rolls)

(less competent outside character gets it first , or randomly determine or have stat /skill check off for first to fail)
(multiple options under each result given in increasing severity . If the environment seems like a particularly harsh one use the next one suggested)

1. If cold, numbness/frostbite/hypothermia. If hot : sunburn/dehydration/sunstroke , if not really either blisters/dehydration/fatigue

2. A bad case of the falling downs: minor sprain/additionally damage for 20 feet/additionally damage for 30 feet plus break something

3.Disease, or infection (from insect bites, contamination of open wound, or opportunistic fungus with optimal conditions)  :annoying/debilitating/life threatening 

4. Drop / Lose/ Break a piece of gear. Dropping  someone might notice . Lose means you dropped it and just noticed like a hour later. Break means it broke

5. Weather goes badshit . Mechanically as spell Inflict light wounds/Gust of Wind/ Call Lightning
Thematically it's a flash flood, mudslide, sand dune collapse, sinkhole, dropped tree branch etc

6.Roll twice and combine results. If same result dunno have it effect another person and/or increase the severity 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

There I fixed it Part 4 Rations

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF Gus L wanted Rations fixed

Well if you have some kind of rest mechanic , don't allow the p.cs to use it unless they have food to cross off.

after every bit in the game like a combat or a challenge or some other physically tiring thing the players have to cross off a ration or cross off something else on their character sheet like armour class or Strength or Saving throws and then anything to do with that fails until they have something to eat.

when the player has to roll dice after a period of non-dice rolling activity ask them to cross off a ration. If they don't have any rations to cross off they must of skipped lunch or breakfast or something. Then for this and further rolls they can only use the worst die at the game table, the one that everyone hates and distrusts. 

have food restore hitpoints like 86.5% of video games . Just can't use it in combat. Come on it's not that much of kludge and it beats the awkward shoehorning of minor healing potions in the game or damn clerics or whatever. Maybe if you dropped below half health or zero you can't heal with food ?

A rule of thumb for assigning healing values is:

Default is 1d8 for cheap, long lasting (tack and cheese for example)
add another 1d8 for any of these : extremely fresh, rare /expensive, spoils quickly 
1. Wax sealed crab shells with the flesh "cooked" and partially fermented with lemon juice and capers. Deplug and suck out

2.  Molass sugared tongue slivers in a bamboo tubes. Chewy , like gamey liquorice 

3. Bog Butter

4. Cow Blood and Milk in a gourd

5. Salty Greens , Limes , and Blood Pudding

6. Flour deliberately invested with large worms. Don't eat all the worms and there will be more later! Hoorah! Unless the flour goes off , then it might hallucinogenic

7. Bracket fungus , with apple cider vinegar to soften it for chewing

8. Roast Fern Heads and Crickets

9. Pickled Pigs Feet. Collagen! Good for muscle recovery!

10. Roast ants and raisins 
11. Sprouted grains and dried mushrooms

12. Mushy monkey brains in brine

13. Gingered dried banana and lard blocks

14. Pressed seed cakes 

15. Cornbread with fizzy root jam
16. Dog sausage and pear thick cider stout

17. Honey curds and lily rhizome

18. Kelp Porridge in shark egg cases

19. Ostrich egg  

20. Dried figs and goat skin strips