Sunday, October 29, 2017

Criminals of El-Sai: Bagolo The Exiled

I'm participating in Santicore for the first time ever this year and my request is "Enemies of the (werid?) state(s), their crimes, and their punishment should they be caught". So I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce some of the ne'er do wells of El-Sai.

The submitter asked that his request be delivered in table form, but I thought each criminal deserved a detailed post. So after the 6, 12, or 20 criminals that bless the rogue gallery with their mugs, I'll compile them all in a link-filled table.

So without further ado, allow me to call in our first scoundrel.

Bagolo The Exiled

What does he look like? Like most giants, Bagolo stands tall—16 feet to be exact. He's mostly humanoid. One arm, One leg, a head with an eye and an ear, that sort of stuff. But like all giants, where his belly should be there spins a galaxy, a portal to a new world—or so they say. But Bagolo's galaxy has dimmed with old age, as has his face, now craggy and sallow, and his skin, now grey and covered in warts and liver spots. But there is never not a smile on this old giant's cracked lips.

What does he do? Bagolo spends his days leaning against a mighty redwood in the Forest of Purrs, carving crude wooden statues of mangled woodland creatures. He is too weak to hunt anymore so he depends on his giant wolf Skaxi to bring him food. But he likes to walk the forest still, so he finds strength within him to grab his great totem and stride to a not-so-far-off river to retrieve water.

What does he want? Bagolo wants what any giant wants—information. He loves to be regaled with heroic tales as much to be assuaged with lessons on philosophy. He loves new words, mathematical proofs, and especially stories to fill his infinite mind.

What is his crime? Bagolo's crime is cowardice. During the ceremony in which he was to become a sacred Durgamat, that is to say a great keeper of knowledge destined to live out his eternal life as a blind stump chained to the walls of the Halls of Omniscience, only allowed to speak when some crazed Bigjmat, that is to say a keeper of durgamats, needed his knowledge, Bagolo cried for mercy. After his eye was plucked, his arm chopped, and his leg sliced, this mercy was given. Afterwards he was given his totem, the object that would mark him as a Zindimat, that is to say a hoarder of knowledge, and exiled from Spectagauss, the great city of giants where the summits rake the clouds. 

What is his punishment? Bagolo's exile was only a temporary reprieve, what giants might call a time out. So now Bagolo is being hunted by those that imprisoned him to freedom. Upon being found he will be caught and brought back to Spectaguass and forced to finish the ceremony. He will become durgamat.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

State of the Blog

So I've left this blog barren for nearly two weeks now. My only excuses are a heavy workload and general burnout. However I have been dutifully adding to my pit so here's a preview of things to come in the following weeks.

Redux Death Marcher
I feel I rushed the Death Marcher class and I can do better. So first on the list is a redux of that class. I'll be making two versions. The first will be an OSR version that can fit into any retroclone with minimal tweakage. The second will be a version for Arnold's GLOG system.

Wundergauss and El-Sai
Wundergauss is a city located on a planet named El-Sai. They're both really cool and awesome but you wouldn't know that because I haven't written much about them yet. The best way to describe the later is that is is a post-apocalyptic planet without the apocalypse part. The world is full of hellish landscapes, and all that Neolithic Hobbes-infused savagery that everyone devolves into after an apocalypse. The former is like the City from Mountains of Madness but the humans moved in.

My Fantasy Heartbreaker
I am in the boat that limitation breeds creativity and in this hobby limitation translates to system, and system translates to RPGs. I could easily pick a system and stick with that but there are no terms like my terms. Also, pledging loyalty to a particular system is fine and all, I've never met a soul that's ran someone else's system RAW. They tweak it to suit their needs. Some people like percentile skills. Some Don't. Some people like descending AC. Some don't. So the goal with this fantasy heartbreaker is to write down all the rules that I like to use, for one reason or another, and go from there.

I rarely have enough time to run for my home group these days so I am going to branch out into the wonderful world of flailsnails! This gives me an opportunity to make some tables and pick and pull from the modules I haven't run yet *cough Hot Spring Island *cough*. I expect to be ready by mid November if everything goes according to plan.

As for The Cosmic Cephalopod, Ceph will have to wait. Don't get me wrong. I love the idea of a universe-as-squid but I think I bit off more than I could chew for this project and I lost passion for it after the Cephasite post. But who knows, maybe we'll hear from Ceph sooner rather than later.

I have dozens of other inspirations stewing in my pit. For example the most recent note is "Cretaceous Cops" and that will definitely become a thing!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Life After Death Table

I've been in a malaise lately so I made this table about not dying.

Upon death roll a d12 and reference the following table:

1-5—All that stuff about the afterlife? Nonsense! You're dead as dirt! Enjoy an eternity of nothingness and blackness chump!

6—The trauma of your demise summons necrotic energies that reanimiate your corpse into a minion of undeath with HD equal to your levels. The minion has all of your gear, statistics, and abilities; and they are super evil and the DM controls them!

7—You are for all intents and purposes ressurected. Boring!

8—A god of death raises you as a Revenant. This god grants you exactly one year of undeath to enact revenge against your killer(s), then your body crumbles to dust and your soul flies into the great beyond.

9—Your spirit reamins in the mortal realm as a Ghost.

10—You are recombobulated as a random non-undead monster with HD equal to your levels.

11—Your latent mutant genes save you from death's door. You are for all intents and purposes ressurected, but return to life with a random major mutation.

12—Turn out you were John Carpenter's The Thing all along! Who would of guessed!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Death Marchers

+cecil howe has been killing it lately with his inktober submissions over on his website and his most recent submission has inspired me to write up a class thingamabob. Also he and John Anderson have created a twitter bot that will occasionally pump out RPG hooks. And it's crowdsourced! So if you'd like to submit an entry follow that link!

Death Marchers precede the dead to places the living can't tread. Brass, woodwind, and percussion in hand they play final lamenting dirges through dry deserts, icy tundras, and dense forests. Their haunting music ends only when the dead are buried or death has claimed them.

The Death Marcher
Hit Dice: d6
Saves: Fighter
XP to Level 2: 2,250 
Spellcasting Ability: Wizard

Instruments of Steel - To the Death Marchers music and violence come hand in hand. Therefore their tools are forged as instrument and weapon. Roll a d6 twice to determine the instrument and its weaponry.

Instrument Types
  1. Brass (Cornets, Trumpets, Tubas, etc.)
  2. Wind (Clarinets, Oboes, Flutes, etc.)
  3. Percussion (Drums, Cymbals, Xylophones, etc.)
  4. String (Guitars, Lutes, Sitars, etc.)
  5. Keyboard (Accordions, Harmonicas, Synths, etc.)
  6. Other (Bagpipes forged from the lungs of a dead god, etc.)

Weapon Types
  1. Big Ass Axe - d10 damage, reach.
  2. Boomerblade - d6 damage, throwable, comes back to you.
  3. A Boring Sword - d8 damage
  4. Wires, Hooks, and Barbs. Oh my! - d4 damage, reach, can be used like a whip to trip people or snatch objects out of their hand. Damage causes the target to bleed for 1hp per round; the bleeding can only be staunched with magical healing or first aid. The bleeding stacks.
  5. Kerosene and Steel - d6 damage, can be ignited on command, illuminating like a torch, and dealing +1 damage.
  6. I Need Monster Power! - deals no damage, but playing it allows the Death Marcher to summon a random monster with HD equal to 1/2 his level (round up).

Personal Dead - You carry your Personal Dead with you, whether its in a square coffin, a large sac, or chained to your back. Your goal is to escort your personal dead to their final resting place. Use Skerples' Table of Camp Followers or your favorite NPC generator to determine who they were in life. For determining their final resting place, I recommend opening your favorite hexcrawl and picking the most remote dangerous hex on that map; or you could just make a place up that's filled with fuck all danger.

New Spells

Black Parade
Target: Self
Duration: d20+level days

Death Marchers travel to distant and dangerous lands where food and water are ill found. This spell allows the Death Marcher to forego food, water, and sleep for the duration of the spell. However once the spell ends, the Death Marcher incurs all the fatigue-related penalties he would have incurred without this spell.

Dead March 
Target: One
Duration: 1 Turn/level

This spell enchants the target with great speed. The target moves at double movement speed, as if effected by the Haste spell, but cannot deviate from his path. This means they can move forward but not backwards, left, right, or diagonally in anyway. Unwilling targets may save versus Magic to avoid this effect.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Cephasites

I am working on a Manual of Planes style post for the Cosmic Cephalopod, henceforth known as Ceph, which is the giant squid goddess that ties all of my settings together. It's looking like it's going to be a relatively big project and I'd rather not leave the blog barren for 2+ weeks just to reappear with a giant post. So I thought I would make several posts instead and end the series with a wiki-style post to compile everything in one place.

These first eleven or so posts will feature entries on the wandering monster table I'll be using for Ceph and will showcase the fauna that call her skin home.

So without further ado, allow me to introduce the cuddliest entry on the Ceph Wandering Monsters Table, the Cephasites.

Cephasites are alien mollusc-things that pepper Ceph's arms in giant mounds that look like coral reefs of scintillating colors. All cephasites have chromatophores in their skin that they use to communicate with one another and, in the worker's case, use to hunt.

Their society is broken into three castes. They are workers, soldiers, and reproducers.

A Worker (Art by Tyler Smith)
The cephasite worker is about a foot long and looks like an ant with the abdomen of a spider and the head of a cuttlefish. Its mandibles hide two tentacles, which it can launch to catch small prey or bludgeon large prey to death. The worker uses its chromatophores to change color rapidly in order to confuse prey.

Workers are the most numerous caste within a mound and their main job is to feed the soldiers and reproducers, expand and repair mounds, and hunt.

Workers are the only caste of cephasites that PCs will encounter outside of mounds.

Cephasite Workers
HD X AC Unarmored Tentacle dX Movement 40ft

Swarm - Workers hunt in swarms numbering 2d10+10. They have X hit points and roll a dX for damage rolls were X is their numbers. When a swarm takes damage their numbers are reduced by the same amount.

Mesmerize - The workers synchronize their chromatophores and unleash a rapidly changing array of colors when they hunt. Any creature that sees this color array must save versus paralyzation or act as if they had the Confusion spell cast on them until the swarm is neutralized.


The cephasite soldier caste is divided into two members. They are the walkers and floaters.

Soldiers jobs are to defend the mound from intruders.

Soldiers are only encountered inside or nearby cephasite mounds.

A Walker (Art by Tyler Smith)

The walker is about three feet tall and looks like an octopus standing with insectile arms. These are its legs and they are as sharp as daggers. Additionally it hides a sharp beak between the folds of its mantle and is capable of projectile vomiting a corrosive acid that it produces naturally.

Cephasite Soldier
HD 1 AC Leather d8 Arms d4 Beak d6 Movement 30ft

Projectile Acid d8 - If this attack misses but would have hit the target without factoring in armor, then that target's armor incurs a permanent -1 penalty due to corrosion.


A Floater (Art by Tyler Smith)

The floater is about as large as the walker and it looks like a sky cuttlefish. A hollow bone inside its mantle is filled with a light gas that allows it to float. It maneuvers with small air jets and fins that act like wings. The floater hides a sharp proboscis behind its tentacles, which it uses to dive-bomb intruders and drain their blood.

Its brain is more developed than its walker compatriot and its eyes are more acute. Therefore floaters function as a relay network for their mound, interpreting signals from one member and repeating it to another. 

Cephasite Floater
HD 1 AC Leather Proboscis d8 Fly 30ft

Dive-bomb - The floater can descend rapidly on its prey to impale it with its proboscis. This requires its full movement speed and when it does it gets +2 to both attack and damage.

Drain - If a floater successfully hits with its proboscis, it latches on to its target and drains 1hp a round.


The reproducer caste is divided into two members. They are the Kings and Queens.

The role of the reproducers is to produce more cephasites. This is accomplished by male cephasites (kings) impregnating the females (queens).

reproducers are only encountered inside mounds.

A King (Art by Tyler Smith)

A king is much smaller than his queen counterpart. He's about as big as a worker but lacks any offensive capabilities besides its large mandibles. A king is capable of releasing pheromones that compel nearby soldiers to come to its aid if it comes under attack.

Cephasite King
HP 4 AC unarmored Mandibles d6 Movement 30

Pheromones -  The king unleashes a cloud of pheromones that attract d6+4 soldiers (50% walkers 50% floaters) in a 150ft area.


A Queen without her egg sac (Art by Tyler Smith)
A queen is the largest of the cephasites at 6 foot long. She is largely immobile as she nurses her young and must rely on workers and soldiers for nourishment and protection. She is capable of accelerating her reproductive system to produce a small amount of cephasite workers. These workers usually die after a few hours.

When a queen dies she releases a cloud of pheromones that has an enraging effect on nearby cephasites.

Cephasite Queen
HD 6 AC Leather Mandibles d6 Movement 10ft 

Raging Pheromones - Upon death the queen unleashes pheromones that cause cephasites within a 150ft area to go berserk for 24 hours. Under this rage the cephasites act as if the Confuse spell was cast on them and they get +2 to both attack and damage rolls.

Rapid Reproduction - After a round of inaction the queen can produce a swarm of 2d6+8 workers. These workers die after 6 hours of life.