Tuesday, 31 August 2021

FIRMAMENT

 

FIRMAMENT is a setting idea, based entirely off the wild sheet of A4 paper shown below. I made it while feeling ill at some point last year. Just rediscovered it, and thought I should… clarify it, I suppose. 





So what is FIRMAMENT? 


It’s the name of the setting, hope that clears it up. 





THE WORLD ABOVE


A disk, ringed by mountains, in the centre of which stands a very big and very holy mountain. Five rivers originate from the central mountain, each of which travel to the edge of the disk and plummet off in vast waterfalls. 


Each river, and each Fall, is significant to the myth of one the Five Knights, heroic figures of some six centuries ago, who served, and then rebelled. They each received various mythologised fates, usually linked to the ancient structures at each Fall. 


Upon the crown of the central mountain stands the holy city of Irgavio Sol, wherein sits the immortal and extremely magical SUN KING, who rules the World Above with a fiery golden hand. He is whom the Knights rebelled against. 


His laws are draconian, ever-changing and enforced by violence. Life in the World Above has become a life of constant terror. Literacy is suppressed, worship of the Sun King is expected. His soldiers and seekers and signatories are omnipresent where his rule is strong. 






He has, for 1557 years, been the uncontested master of the world. He keeps his power through three primary mechanisms:


One, constant propaganda produced by the Solar Chantry, his political apparatus based in Irgavio Sol. 


Two, complete control over the Five Rivers - he can cut their flow as he desires, and bring the suffering of thirst to those in the Outer Kingdom.


Three, his Charters, contracts of terrible import written in gold, which convey rights and powers to his subjects. The most infamous are the Charter of the Eye (which gives your sight to the Sun King), and the Charter of the Hand (which surrenders your free will to him), but many hundreds of Minor Charters exist. 



Of course, rebellion and insurrection against the Sun King have been a constant feature of history - but there has never been a rebellion of serious magnitude.


Well, until recently, anyway.


There are seven Provinces of the Outer Kingdom, and three are in rebellion. They call this the War of Hubris, or perhaps the War of Regicide. 





THE OUTER KINGDOM


The parts of the World Above which aren’t the Sun King’s direct domain. The technology here is 1600s-ish: black-powder, sail-ships, and so on. Printing presses exist but are either strictly controlled or banned. 



On the King’s side of the ongoing War, the Loyalists:


The Barony of Zzargod, a dictatorship under a line of “Sacred Arcanists”, who claim direct descent from Viradon, the Knight. They aren’t actually Sacred anythings - their magic is Scribe magic, which is banned everywhere, but they can use it because they’re collaborators. They control the Fall at which stands Viradon’s False Tower, the Knight’s fatal work of magical hubris. 


The Grand Duchy of Draad, a massive plutocracy best known for soldiers and violence. The real powerhouse of the loyalist side. From border to border, it’s all fields. The forests were cleared long ago. The Grand Duke is elected by those with property - and property is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few. Their capital lies by the foot of Sar Isad, the Pale Tower, a sealed structure of apparent but unknown significance to Sun King. 


The Heptarchy of Magnos, where normally illegal spellcasters can find sanctuary, so long as they submit to the rule of the Heptarchs, seven callous, long-lived scholars who are, allegedly, human. Magnos itself is a wild and forested land, mostly made up of walled cities around the inland "Sea" of Vir.


The Duchy of Saral Sar, front line of the War. A land of blasted rocky wastes and narrow green valleys. Their Duke is a frothing militarist, increasingly unstable and megalomaniacal. Their lands are covered in bizarre and gigantic ruins. 




And, against the King, the Regicides


The Republic of Arumell. Previously the Viceroyalty of Arumell, which drew prestige and power from controlling Sar Arum, the Onyx Tower. A callous law passed, a poet sent to hang, and a spark of sudden violence - and after that, the Viceroy went under the Guillotine, the Republic was established, and the War began. They have torn open the seals on Sar Arum, and waste blood and lives exploring it. 


The Duchy of Defiance, until recently the Duchy of Serias. The old Duke was preparing for war against Arumell, so his daughter threw a Coup, had him killed, and renamed the Duchy to Defiance, joining the war on Arumell’s side. Share the Serian Sea with Draad, where piracy and naval combat are increasingly rampant. 


The Kelkora Remnant - last fragment of the ancient Kelkoran Empire, who warred in opposition to the Sun King a millennium ago. Always ungovernable, their land is mountainous and wild. Their support in the war was a certainty. 





THE WORLD BELOW


Below the disk, there’s an infinite world of hellish wilderness, wind demons, eyeless giants, demonic brain-eating hounds, and other horrid shit. 


Here, there’s the ruins of unblessed civilizations, terrific and awe-inspiring dangers of an older, more horrendous world. Here, star-things and beasts cavort and plot to eat the vulnerable, innocent souls of all the blessed subjects of the Sun King. 


Or at least, that’s what the Solar Chantry say. They’re probably exaggerating. But it mustn’t be paradise, because if it was, they wouldn’t send exiles there. 


The Sun King is “merciful”, you see. There’s a death sentence, but it’s never carried out. It is always commuted to EXILE


This is where you come in: You’re playing exiles. 


Maybe you fought in the War of Regicide, maybe you used illegal magic, maybe you learned how to read (a very serious crime). Maybe you were involved in a seditious cabal, made immoral art after a warning, practiced the wrong religion, or were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. 


Whatever the case, you begin the game, chained in a row at The Gates of Amphiteir, with the flaming gaze of the Chartered Eyes on you. 


You were brought to the island which lies before the Gates by ship, from somewhere in Draad, or from Irgavio Sol itself. You’re not the first to follow this path to doom, not by a longshot, and unless the Sun King falls, you shan’t be the last. 


You’re then flung from the waterfall, to plummet to the Lake of the Banished far below. If by chance you do survive (which you do, since you’re about to be playing in an RPG campaign), you’ll have washed up in the World Below. 


What are you to do? Survive, first, but perhaps, later - you will explore, grow in power, and return above




CLASSES


I hear you, voices which eternally torment me - who gives a shit about all this setting garbage, what are the CLASSES? 


Great Question: 


These are all gonna be classis, i.e. a Class with x number of relatively light Archetypes pinned on. The main name is the Class, the sub-names are the Archetypes. 


  • Astrologer - They open their thoughts to the sublime powers of the Firmament - the mortal form is a minor price to pay for absolute cosmic power. 

    • Star - The Princes of Creation. 

    • Moon - Work with Lies.

    • Sun - And Stolen Fires. 

    • Void - In Darkness Absolute.

  • Signatory - Each of the Solar Guilds benefits from a Minor Charter, which are not personally signed (like the Eye and Hand), but provide members of that organisation with magic. The Charters can never be revoked, which means Exile is the only way to deal with a rebellious Signatory. 

    • Hammer Charter - Magically empowered Artisans.

    • Stone Charter - Builders with great but unreliable strength. 

    • Gut Charter - Versatile alchemists of multifarious Processes.

    • Hound Charter - Once explorers of the World Below, but now turned to finding the rebellious. To be an exiled Seeker is to have received a taste of your own medicine. 

    • Lots of other Minor Charters - They number in the hundreds, after all. 

  • Knight - Would-be heroes recently outlawed by the Sun King - each Order was founded by (or claims to be founded by) one of the Five Knights of old. 

    • Of Coins - Founded by Kind Vassari. Mercenaries with gold-powered magic. Enjoy a mixed reputation.

    • Of Flames - Founded by Sunblind Amphiteir. Knights-errant who wield flaming blades and destroy evil. 

    • Of Winds - Founded by Saeraath the Exile. Benefit from her greatest work, the Taming of the Winds. Set others free.

    • Of the Tower - Founded by Viradon the Scribe-Knight. Utilise his hubristic arcana, derived from the False Tower he built. Seek secrets.

    • Of Masks - Founded by the Nameless Knight. Distrusted by their fellows for their unsettling powers. Seek potential.

  • Scribe - Their magic, which uses esoteric languages and strange symbols, is of varying levels of illegality under the reign of the Sun King. Each kind of Scribe is successively more illegal - their crimes are described: 

    • Iron Scribe - Blades and Armour. Not outlawed, but literacy makes most criminals.

    • Dream Scribe - Fog and Sleep. Influence insensate minds. 

    • Skull Scribe - Pain and Bones. Perform Necromancy. 

    • Law Scribe - Steles and Boundaries. Usurp Royal Authority. 

    • Tome Scribe - Books and Alchemy. Teach literacy. 

  • Outcast - Many have suffered under the Sun King, and found themselves driven quite literally to the Edge. The only fools brave enough to use no MD at all.



You can’t play Chartered Hands or Chartered Eyes, because they’re fascists. 



Incidentally, in this setting, there’s no Dragons, or Undead, because they feel overused. 



That A4 sheet really is wild isn’t it. 

This was my immediate reaction, despite making the damn thing.


Friday, 27 August 2021

Talk Sense to Fools (GLOG Class: Maenad)

For the Eikonokosmos



Revelry is one of the five Red Gods, who were born just after Humanity from the suppurating wounds of the Titan called Blood. Their four siblings are Lies, Love, Ritual and War, and Revelry is fond of all of them -


Yes! Even War! Revelry might be the sole thing on the face of the Kosmos that can tolerate that creature. 


She is full of appreciation for her siblings, and for everything, really. The only issue is… everyone’s taking this all a little seriously, aren’t they? All the kings, the debts, the ostracisms, and yes, the wars too...


Why don’t we all calm down and have a drink, eh? 


The Maenad is someone who’s had that drink. She’s seen the, let's be frank, absurdity of it all, and is ready to sing, dance and tear as her whims demand.


Maenads form travelling groups or secret societies on the edges of the Heptapolis, living counter to the constraints and luxuries of the Poleis. Like many, their rites and ceremonies have been outlawed by the Despot. 


For most, this is simply another reason to go further inland, to abandon civilization and live in the wilderness.


For some, it’s a call - a call to break chains, topple walls, and rip tyrants limb from bloody limb. 



THE MAENAD 

+1 to Hit and +1 Animal per Template

Starting Items: Heavy Thyrsus, Animal Hide, Aulos, one Intoxicant

Starting Skill: 1) Brewing 2) Singing 3) Dancing 4) Animal Taming 5) Foraging 6) Poetry 

A - Intoxication, Revel, Charm 

B - Bad Influence

C - Sparagmos

D - Wild Myth 



Animals

Each template, the Goddess Revelry sends you a servant - in the form of a 1HD animal. They’re perfectly loyal and can understand human speech - albeit, they cannot speak themselves. 


These can be birds, snakes, rats, dogs, horses - you name it, you can be allied with it. You can even call upon the monkey, Revelry’s holy animal - whatever that is? You’ve certainly never seen one.  If your animals are killed, Revelry can return them to you, so long as you undertake an hour long ritual in which you sacrifice at least one dose of an Intoxicant.



Intoxication

Your Maenad powers rely on altering your state of mind, with any such drinks and drugs that you can find. 


Whenever you consume a dose of an intoxicant you gain a floating Intoxication Dice. See the end of this post for examples.


You can only get 1 Dice per Intoxicant, until you sleep, drink, and clear your system of its presence. When you sleep, and so on, you lose any floating Intoxication Dice. 


Intoxication Dice can be rolled to:

  • Regain an equal amount of HP.

  • Increase a damage roll by an equal amount.

  • Activate the Revel. 


It is intended that the Maenad will be crossing the Kosmos, looking for better wine and stronger drugs. 



Revel

By consuming an Intoxication Dice, you may enter The Revel, an ecstatic state in which you dance uncontrollably, can attack twice per round, and are generally incapable of speech, diplomacy, or subtlety. You shout, leap and howl almost uncontrollably while Revelling. 


Your foolish mortal passions are amplified and mixed, forming a kind of kaleidoscopic frenzy of emotion - you’re immune to Fear, Charm and other effects which rely on messing with your mind during the Revel. 


If you begin your Revel, any and all Maenads nearby may begin their Revel as well - those following on have no need to consume an Intoxication Dice. 


The Revel ends if the circumstance in which you originally began it (combat, ceremony, party) ends. You may attempt a save to end it early. 


Your Revel ends instantly if you’re affected by Hellebore-derived poison. This isn’t common knowledge, and you’d be well-served to keep it such. 



Charm

By sharing an intoxicant with someone, you can charm them, forming a bond of drunken friendship. They’re willing to undertake minor favours, overlook minor crimes, and won’t attack you - but won’t fight or break their moral codes to help you. 


This is permanent, unless you harm or insult them significantly. 



Bad Influence

Yes, Revelry is a creature of joy, but she is a creature of simple, plain joys - philosophy and reason die under her spinning heel. 


Whenever you Revel, intoxicated or inebriated creatures nearby will join any ongoing combat as your ally. 


Even the most “refined” will act like wild animals, howling and tearing with their hands. After the combat ends, they will have no memory of their actions or what occurred. 


Supernatural creatures (a category which includes most other PCs) can save to resist the urge to violence. 



Sparagmos

You gain a terrible power to tear and split. One must not forget that, for all her joyousness, Revelry was still born in Blood - she is a creature of chaos and disruption above all. To anger one of her Maenads is to be torn apart - all in the name of bettering the world, of course. 


While Revelling, your hands are magical weapons that can split flesh, uproot trees and crack stone. They deal 1d12 Damage, and deal maximum damage to inanimate objects, especially metal ones like chains. 


Groups of maenads working together can really fuck some shit up - if at least one Maenad present in a group Revel has this feature, then all present Maenads can use it. 



Wild Myth

Revelry protects you, favoured servant, from the tools of civilisation and its agents. Now you might go as you please. Split chains and dance headily in the flames. The little joys of others freed, they build to form your transcendence. 


You cannot be harmed by iron or fire. At all. You can be stabbed a hundred times and leap through flames, and you’ll be just fine. 


Note - adamant and bronze are not iron. Lava and boiling steam are not fire. 


Furthermore, you attract 1d4+1 Level 1 Maenads, who have heard that you throw good parties and burn the right buildings. They’re interested in learning from you. 



Example Intoxicants (1d12):

All of the following intoxicants occupy a single inventory slot. 

  1. Retsina - Pungent wine, flavoured with the resin used to seal its amphora. Popular, but considered uncouth. One amphora contains 5 doses. 

  2. Satyr’s Wine - Traded by the Satyrs of the west in small black amphora. Terrifically strong - a single sip will have you drunk. Horrible flavour. One amphora contains 10 doses. 

  3. Kımız - A drink made from fermented mare’s milk. Popular with the horse nomads who live on the Steppe beyond the City of Gold. 5 doses fit in a watertight skin.

  4. Mey - The wine favored by the Amazons of the north-east - it is delightfully flavoured, and its creation could be regarded as an art. 5 doses in a capped rhyton shaped like a horse’s head.

  5. Poppy Gum - Sticky, yellow-brown gum. Flung into a fire or smoked. Dulls pain to almost nothing. 5 doses come wrapped in linen, from the City of Song.

  6. Hemp Seeds - Often shared over a brazier. Makes you friendly, slow and hungry. The bundled bags of seeds contain 10 doses. 

  7. Mandragora Root - A big root that looks like an odd little fellow. Juice from it causes strange hallucinations of rude little creatures (perhaps the mythical Kobaloi?) insulting you. It also might give you a heart attack, so mind that - not too many doses now. A big root can be turned into 5 doses. 

  8. Hemlock Brew - Derived from the favoured plant of a famous Dryad. A dangerous thing to drink for fun - more than a single dose and you’re dead as a doornail. Causes terrific vertigo and a violent spinning feeling otherwise. A small jar contains 5 doses.  

  9. Daimon’s Cap - White mushrooms striated with red and yellow. Causes honestly unpleasant hallucinations of bright colours and flashing lights. 5 doses consists of three dried and bundled fungi. 

  10. Ketos’ Mercy - Thick and bluish sea-weed. When chewed, it makes the entire body feel cold and painless, as if immersed in deep water. The great leviathans swallow tons of it when their end approaches. 5 doses in a dried bundle from the City of Sails. 

  11. Oneiroi’s Blessing - The leaves of a plant which only grows in the white and silver forests of the shifting Moon. Loosen’s Earth’s hold on your mortal form, letting you leap high and fall slowly. Some in the City of Night came by seeds, somehow, but the location of the garden is a secret kept in blood. 1 dose, a single leaf, an incomparable rarity. 

  12. Harvest’s Own - Golden plants with large leaves that grow nowhere but the personal garden of Goddess Harvest. She hands the eternal leaves only to her most loyal servants and closest offspring, and would destroy the Kosmos to recover a lost seed.
    If you have a leaf - you’ve likely robbed or defrauded a Hero or high priest. Consuming a dose of this drug totally restores your health, and adds 2d10 years to your lifespan. 1 dose, a single heart shaped leaf.


Wednesday, 25 August 2021

JUST LET ME DIE LIKE THIS (Class: Loser Assassin)

 Inspired by the CHAINSAW WIZARD and the RE-ANIMATOR, both by the legendary ModronRPGs.

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Imagine being such a loser that you have to kill people for money. 


Can’t even kill because of misconstrued ideology or badly interpreted religion, like the rest of the heavily armed dangers to society. 


What a disappointment. 


THE LOSER ASSASSIN

+1 to Hit and +1 HP per Template

Starting Items: Dark Clothing, Sunglasses, Nokia N900, 1 Weapon of Choice

Starting Skills: 1) Parkour 2) Climbing 3) Jiu-jitsu 4) Great Hearing 

A - Contracts, Weapon of Choice, What Doesn’t Kill You

B - Face/Off, This Door Can’t Stop Me 

C - Visceral Action

D - Perfect Death Machine 



Contracts

You have a Nokia N900 that tells you to kill people.


At your request, the DM can have the Nokia ping, and send you a name, location, and information - along with the promised reward. This is usually monetary.


Kill the person. The next time you sleep, the nearest container (cupboard, bag, taxidermied bear) will contain the reward in small, unmarked bills. 


Every time you kill someone, you increase a stat called PAWN by 1. It starts at 0. 



Weapon of Choice

You have a fondness for a specific tool of termination. 


Unless otherwise specified, your Weapon of Choice takes up 2 Slots and deals 1d8 Damage. Weapons that require ammunition come with 20 pieces of the requisite ammo. 


You can spend 2 PAWN to get another roll on this table. It arrives with your next cash reward. 


  1. Antique Machine Gun - Screams when you fire it. Unwieldy and crude.

For each successive attack on the same target, increase the Damage Dice by 1. d8 -> d10 -> d12 -> 2d6 -> 2d8 and so on. If you roll an 8 or higher, you have to take a turn to reload. 


  1. Hammer and Nails - A big rusty claw hammer, and seven shiny six-inch nails. 

The nails, when struck by the hammer, can stick into basically any surface. You always know exactly where the nails are. 


  1. Baseball Bat - Wrapped in a red rag, with bent nails jammed into it. 

The baseball bat can be used to deflect energy attacks (like fire, or lightning, or cosmic darkness) by whacking them away.  This could be represented mechanically as a bonus to relevant saves.


  1. Padlock-on-a-Chain - Whistles cheerfully as you swing it. Industrial steel. 

Useful for everything a weight on a chain is useful for.
Also, useful for everything a padlock and a chain are useful for. 

If you fumble while swinging it, you hit yourself.

The key is your left hand. Nobody else can unlock it. 


  1. Crossbow - Fires with a *twang!*. Made of carbon fiber and wire. 

With five minutes “off-screen”, you can cobble together 2d6 pieces of ammunition for the crossbow, even if that’s totally nonsensical. 


  1. Pump-Action Shotgun - Built like a leg of furniture. Cheap and ugly. 

Fires flechettes, dealing 2d6 to unarmored targets, and making a horrible whistling noise. 


  1. Bazooka - Metal tube. Makes a satisfying *whoomp* when you fire it. 

Takes up 3 slots, deals 2d10 Damage. Loud. You are immune to the damage of the Bazooka’s explosions (although not to being flung by the blastwave). 


  1. Sniper Rifle - Covered in nonsensical extraneous attachments. 

Has a truly ridiculous range, deals 1d10 damage. Takes up 3 slots. If given five minutes of aiming time, you can instantly kill a creature with equal or less HD than you, no attack roll needed.

  1. Folding Scythe - Would be bloody inconvenient if it didn’t fold. 

Only takes up 1 slot.
Can dismember ghosts. 


  1. Taser - Yellow plastic pistol which hums in the presence of machinery.

Once it hits, there’s a 1 round delay, then it does 3d6 nonlethal damage.
Only takes up 1 Slot.
Useless against targets without nervous systems or skin. 


  1. Fists - They are, allegedly, your own two hands. 

When wearing your fists, you can attack one more time than you should be able to in a round (so, 1 attack becomes 2, 2 becomes 3, and so on), at the cost of 2HP.
They take up no slots. 


  1. Spy Pistol - Goes *voip* when you shoot it, and explodes people’s heads.
    A very quiet pistol, all things considered.
    If fired from behind at melee range, the Spy Pistol kills ordinary people instantly and silently sprays the contents of their head in a 20ft cone.



What Doesn’t Kill You

Every time you suffer a serious injury, or are dismembered in some manner, and survive, gain 1HP permanently. 


You can expend 1 PAWN to get advantage on rolls on injury or dismemberment tables.  



Face/Off

While people can’t see your face, you gain [+TEMPLATES] AC. 

If you don’t have a face, this always applies.



This Door Can’t Stop Me 

Your almighty boot can smash down mundane doors instantly without any loss of speed. Even reinforced or magical doors crumble in 1d6 kicks. 



Visceral Action

You may now attack twice in a round, and, should you score a critical hit, deal triple damage instead of double. 



Perfect Death Machine

You can expend any number of PAWN to add that many d8s to a damage roll.


People killed by the extra damage from Perfect Death Machine explode into chunky salsa. 


Oh, also, the Nokia was the fuckin' Grim Reaper the whole time. Trippy.