Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Chavín de Huntar

Sometimes it's groovy to step away from the normal sources and look at something a little different.

Chavîn de Huntar is an extremely important pre-hispanic, prehistoric monumental site in the north-central Andes. It is made up of several large edifices arranged in a u shaped plaza, the open side of which faces east. The structures are riddled with constricted labyrinthine galleries, some of which are subterranean.

The exact time of the complex construction/importance is a matter of some dispute, but the most recent work places it as a center of power and authority in the region between 1300-600 BC. The consensus is that Chavín was a religious site. People traveled to the complex from all over the region. This seems pretty likely, but there is no written language, so it is impossible to prove.

Anyway, what makes Chavîn so interesting (aside from the fact that it's a giant pile of prehistoric awesomeness) is what seem to have been the major intentions of its design (or rather, its designers). In the main, these intentions were to impress visitors with spectacle and to emphasize the differences between the “shamans” (and possibly other elites) and the common folks.

These two goals were accomplished by building a huge (about .5 square km) and imposing site on a tremendous scale (just the size of the place implies power- the power to get people to build it, if nothing else) and by restricting and controlling access to certain parts of the complex.

Huge sculptures of human and animalistic/human hybrids some with fierce expressions and many of them shown to be discharging mucus, a byproduct of using hallucinogenic snuff, decorate the walls.

Hidden entrances and staircases made it possible for shamans to appear unexpectedly in places, such as on the top of buildings, . Maze-like corridors (known as galleries) wind within and beneath the structures. Special ducts were made to facilitate the reflection of sunlight into these galleries, providing illumination at strategic points, such as onto a sculpture of the main deity. There were also strategic hiding places, like above the deity sculpture, from which someone posing as the deity could have spoken. As if this wasn’t enough, there was a cleverly constructed canal network that channeled water under the site. The noise of this water is thought to have sounded like endless, extremely loud applause.

So dig it, maybe you’re a chieftain’s son, the heir to your group's power or some other sort of up and coming bigwig; whatever, on your 16th birthday, you get sent up or down the mountainside to Chavîn. You snort some hallucinogenic snuff, which was probably mescaline (there are lots of engravings of dudes carrying around the mescaline bearing cactus, or something that looks a lot like it, at the site) with some shaman/priest guys and they take you into the central plaza where there are maybe a couple of hundred other people, also all jacked up on magic cactus. The shamans pop out all over the place, seemingly coming from nowhere. There are guys blowing conch shells all over the place. It’s loud and weird and funky. You are tripping balls and are probably loosing it a little. Maybe you’ve got a touch of the fear or you are free form love dancing. Who knows? Anyway, things get pretty groovy, and that’s when they take you down into the crazy roaring dark and introduce you to motherfucking GOD. I guarantee that if you are on mescaline, it doesn't matter weather or not God is made of stone, he is breathing and pulsating and all kinds of other shit.

It’s like a fraternity initiation and a Dead show all at once, except Jerry and

John Belushi are combined into one dude, and that dude is the LORD, and he’s got a message just for you.

Also, nothing is certain, but there’s a good chance they ate people there too, so maybe if you failed to please the god, or you hurled on the shaman’s girlfriend, or couldn't hold your snuff, you got taken off to the dinner table. Obviously, these guys knew how to party.

Whatever, imagine all that. Then imagine 500 years later when the place is completely overgrown and the shamans are long gone. Some, if not all, of their treasure remains, though, hidden away in the crazy noisy dark godmaze. Some galleries are probably unstable due to age; other parts of which may be trapped with the intent of safeguarding god’s stuff. You can bet that there are some new residents too: ghosts from the dinner table; some war worms, or mutants, or crazy robots (or orcs or something if you roll that way) reenacting the long forgotten rituals. Explorers might have bizarre flashbacks to the distant past when the place was active. Possibly, the entire place is psychoactive and just being there makes you really, really, really fucking high, which may not be all that cool when you are wandering around a monster infested labyrinth. Nothing will kill your buzz like painful grisly death- except for listening to ABBA, anyway. Maybe Jerry Godcia is still there too, only he’s more than just a statue.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Aliens and animal heads: Player Species

Gray: Small humanoid aliens, stranded on the Metal Earth so far in the past that they have almost forgotten that they come from another world. Usually live in homogeneous hive like settlemtents, but sometimes venture out in the world for trade and adventure.

Attribute Generation Method: 4d6 Intelligence and Constitution; 3d6 Wisdom, Dexterity and Strength; 1d6 Charisma.

Special: Mind blast: 1d6 Damage- treats everyone as AC 10 [9] unless they have a mind shield; range of 100'. All normal critical hit and wound rules apply.. Note- this power does not work on undead, magical or mechanical creatures.

Humans: Ancient race, possibly the oldest sentient species native to the planet. Humans are nearly extinct, considered to be unclean, and unwelcome everywhere.

Attribute Generation Method: 3d6 in order.

Special: Humans are highly evolved and may re- roll all 1’s during character generation. +2 on task resolution saving throws involving technology.

-5 charisma Vs. mobs formed of other species.

Insectors: Human-sized upright mantis-like insects. Usually loners.

Attribute Generation Method: 4d6 Constitution and Strength; 3d6 intelligence and Dextarity; 2d6 Wisdom and Charisma.

Special: AC 4 [15]; Two attacks a round- with claws (1d4) or one handed two one handed weapons.

Lizard Men. Savage swamp dwelling reptile species.

Attribute Generation Method: 4d6 Strength and Constitution; 3d6 Intelligence and Wisdom; 2d6 Dexterity and Charisma.

Special: Tough hide AC 4 [15]. Amphibious; Can breath underwater

Minotaurs: Bull headed peasantry of the latter earth. They like mazes.

Attribute Generation Method: 5d6 Strength and Constitution; 3d6 Dexterity; 2d6 wisdom; 2d6 Intelligence; 1d6 Charisma.

Special: Gore 1d6+ Strength modifier damage, must have a running start; without a running start horns do 1d4 + strength modifier damage.

Mongrels: Humanoids with animal like heads. Often treated like second class citizens by other species. Dogmen and pigmen are the most common "races" of sentient beings in the Ruinlands. Tiger girls are hot.

Attribute Generation Method: 3d6 in order to start, but mongrels my move around 1d3 dice.

Special: Natural Weaponry: 1d6 +Strength modifier damage. Darkvision 20m.

Sasquatch: Elusive solitary ape folk, Sasquatch are often very wise and usually smell pretty bad.
Attribute Generation Method: 4d6 for Wisdom/ Strength, 3d6 Constitution/intelligence; 2d6 Dexterity/Charisma.
Special: Blurry. +2 to all stealth related saves. Sasquatch are hard to see at a distance and have a 4 [15] armor class against all ranged weapons, furthermore, scopes and other technological aim enhancement devices do not work on Sasquatch

Shae: Diminutive, urban dwelling ultra-conformist. Shae resemble small, hairless Humans and are rumored to be a product of Human-Grey cross breeding

Attribute Generation Method:

4d6 Intelligence and Wisdom; 3d6 Charisma and and Dexterity; 2d6 Strength and Constitution.

Special: Shae are the only race which can become magic users.

I tried to make them all unique and interesting, but I need to do some more work here. Robots, cyborgs and freaks will require some random tables, and I need to think about that. Furthermore, I'll have to expand the modifier tables for scores over 18 and under 3.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Modular rule design, The mulligan point and a question

Yet another note about my house rule design philosophy.
I'm trying to keep all these rules modular, so that you can use what you want and leave the rest behind. Taken as a whole, the hit point and damage system is the most large scale radical change I've made to the game, but you could probably break it apart and use what you want.

Moving on, various games have a system whereby players have some kind of point store they can draw upon to influence the action at the table, or maybe re-roll a die or something. I am of two minds about these kinds of points. I kind of like the fact that a player has a mechanism to save a beloved character from time to time, but I don't like the idea that you just get these things, and that you might have a bunch of them held in reserve so you can do all kinds of stupid shit without much fear of suffering. If, as referee, I am impeded in my ability to make you suffer, something is fucked up.

So here you go.

The Mulligan point.
(Edit: changed slightly from the original version)
Characters receive 1 Mulligan pt for 500 xp/ level. This point allows the character to have a second attempt at any single failed die roll in the game. The character may never possess more than one Mulligan point at any one time. The Mulligan point must be purchased before the adventure begins- not as they are needed. All Mulligan point rolls are normal with no additional positive modifiers. Intent to use the point must be voiced immediately after the failed roll. For example if a character misses in combat, and then is hit with a critical by his opponent, he may not use the mulligan to re-roll his missed attack.

Truthfully, I don't know how I feel about this one. I'm going to have to test it in play. My gut feeling is that combat is still lethal enough that his wont fuck things up, but, we'll see, I guess. All in all, it's an attempt to implement a newish concept in an old school way. Is that even fucking possible?

All this ruminating leads to a question:
At what point have we house ruled ourselves in to another game entirely?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

PSA: Skype gaming- Just do it.

This weekend i did something I've been thinking of doing and half ass planning for the last couple of years. I gamed with some very old friends via Skype. we will be doing it every week form here on in. If you can read this you can probably do it as well.

Some people will tell you that it s a fairly decent substitute if you can't get a face to face group. I'll tell you that if the people are right, there is no major difference (except you can't pass the bong back and forth). What I mean by that is that gaming via Skype, or some other audio chat program, is only as much a substitute for gaming with a live group as gaming with another live group is. Sure it can suck- but so can face to face gaming.

I'll admit that if you're doing it with strangers it may be a little more difficult- maybe a lot more difficult, I dunno, but I think many of you who don't have groups right now probably have good friends you once played with that are now too far away, or have kids, or crazy possessive spouses that won't let them out of the shed, or whatever.

They're only as far away as the internet.

Anyway, it works for me. If you've been thinking about it, give it a try. If you haven't thought about it, or dismissed it- think about it.

For what it's worth, I think it probably works best with lighter rule sets.

Imagine, if you use the Metal Earth as your setting- you could use the internet to pretend to be a Sasquatch. You will have to fight off the reproductive opportunities.

I feel like I should post the word motherfucker in this thread, because it's been absent from my last few posts.
You are welcome.

You cowering bastard!

I added this rule regarding missile weapon (bows, spears and such) hits to the 1d4 critical table, and also changed it so these weapons function like firearms and energy weapons.
I must say that for the first time ever, I am satisfied with the way ranged weapons work. Also I like the idea of making a player say, "I'm cowering this round."
Perhaps I'll insist they whimper.

Cowering: when fired upon with missile weapons*such as arrows, sling stones, or spears, an unsurprised character may hide beneath a large shield and will, in the case of a normal hit, only take normal hit point damage (e.g. 1d6 from an arrow). Critical hits are considered to have pierced the shield and result in a roll on the wound table. Whilst cowering, a character may move 1/4 the Normal rate.

*Not to be confused with firearms or energy Weapons

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I have a 4th level Sasquatch

I'm changing the races.
Earlier this week I had a thought and it has snowballed.
This is the new lineup.

Shae (hairless diminutive ultracomformist/opressive magic using urbanites)
Dirty Freak (mutants)
Mongrel: (animal people)
Lizard Men
Autom (Robot)
Sasquatch (replaces war ape; I realized that the Snow Apes [evil super scientists] are obviously Yeti, which made it necessary to make this change. I'm embarrassed I didn't think of it sooner)
Human (Nearly extinct, universally reviled, hangers on at the end of time)

I'm also thinking of changing the way stats are rolled up instead having racial modifiers. There are still 18 dice but different races have them allocated in different ways. For example a Minotaur might roll 4 dice for strength and constitution and 2 dice for Intelligence and charisma and 3 dice for Wisdom and Dexterity. Or something like that.
Humans would roll 3 dice for all the stats.

Maybe something like this:

Sasquatch: Elusive solitary ape folk, Sasquatch are often very wise and usually smell pretty bad.
Method: 4 d6 for Wisdom/ Strength, 3d6 Constitution/intelligence; 2d6 Dexterity/Charisma.
Special: Blurry. +2 to all stealth related saves. Sasquatch are hard to see at a distance and have a 4 [15] armor class against all ranged weapons, furthermore, scopes and other technological aim enhancement devices do not work on Sasquatch

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Creatures, critters, monsters, and meta-game knowledge: Keeping things fresh and mysterious over the long haul.

As has been mentioned here and there, one of the problems widespread among long term gamers and long term campaigns, is a certain loss of feelings of wonder and mystery. These feelings, which are so important when we enter the hobby, fade over time as players become familiar with the game as it is documented (i.e. they read the rules). No game element is more likely to go stale than are monsters.

Here’s a typical situation: a party of adventurers encounters a troll. The characters have never seen a troll and have no in game knowledge of the troll. However, the players know all about the troll, because they would often look at the troll entry in the 1e monster manual, usually during post succubus picture jerkoff afterglow. What do you do in this situation? The gaming situation, that is; your sick fascination with succubus is your own fucking problem. Freak.

Well, I was asked "the troll question" by a fuming gamer buddy a couple of years ago. He had been hosed by the referee for trying to use meta-game knowledge of the troll, and then got frustrated when he was barred from burning the troll up because his character wouldn't know enough about the troll to pursue this course of action.
He asked me how as a referee, I would deal with such a situation.

My answer: I wouldn't deal with the situation at all- because it is never going to come up in one of my games. Never.
At best, this sort of problem is the product of poor, lackluster lazy refereeing, or, at worst, actively antagonistic refereeing, either way the players are NOT at fault. This is the reff’s problem.

Allow me to elaborate- a skeleton is obviously a skeleton, BUT a troll is a big slobbering green humanoid thing. If the characters know enough to call it a troll, they should probably be hip to the regeneration. If they don't know enough to call it a troll, then they probably aren't going to be hip to the regeneration thing either. In the latter case, the GM shouldn't say "it's a troll!" he/she should use a little imagination and just give the players a description.

Like this:

"A giant green man-thing, covered with leaking boils and stinking of rotten meat, lumbers towards you out of the darkness,"

Better still, give the creature a story and a name:

"Seek you Greenfang the Maneater who lives in the blackened stump of the Blood Tree on the Bone Mound,"

Both methods are better than, "uh... there's a troll...uh... and he, like, lives up on a hill just outside of town. You guys want to go after him?" in a whole bunch of different ways. However, there are other things you can do as well, which I'll touch on below- but, in a pinch, these two could do it.

Moving forward, I am going to divide creatures into two separate categories from here on in- critters and monsters.

Monsters and Critters, there's a fucking difference:

Critters are run of the mill examples of a species. A wolf, a gelatinous cube, an ape, and a human are all examples of critters. Monsters are individuals- although, they may be (but are not necessarily) members of a critter species, something sets them apart. A vampire is a critter; Dracula is a monster. A whale is a critter; Moby Dick is a motherfucking underworld/sea ruling motherfucking monster. I hope the difference is clear. More on monsters below; first, though, I want to talk about critters.


Once things were different, but time has passed, and today critters taken from most of the original D&D source material are currently about as fresh as a fifty-year old dockside whore. Enough about my mom, though; lets move on. So, if we accept the fact that most every critter in the original game holds no surprises, we also accept the fact that we can’t really, for the most part, use them any more- and we certainly cannot use them “as is.” So what are we to do?

Check this out:


AC: 9 [10] Special: radiation

HD: 2 Move: 13

Attacks: bite HDE: 2/ 30

Similar in appearance to a trilobite, the trilon is a mutant arthropod about the size of a dinner plate. Its bite is radioactive; anyone bitten must make a saving throw (+4 mod to their roll) or contract radiation sickness. If untreated, radiation sickness will lead to death in 4 days -25% hit points each day.

I originally posted the above here. That doesn’t matter, though, what matters is that it started out as standard Swords and Wizardry White Box Small Giant Centipede.

Centipedes, Giant


Armor Class: 9 [10] Special: poison (save): +4,

Hit Dice: (1d2 HP) Attacks: bite:

Move:13 HDE/XP: 2/30,

Giant lethal centipedes of the small size inflict a lethal amount of poison with a +4 modifier to opponent’s saving throw, but inflict no damage if the saving throw is successful.

See how easy that shit is?

More than one of the entries in the post linked above was created the exact same fucking way. How many exactly? I don’t know, i honestly can't remember. Once I change them, they’re mine.

So here’s a simple way to go about this. Take a monster, think about it in regards to your setting. Make some changes that make it fit your setting better. Make it stronger or weaker or stranger. One thing I like to do is list out a bunch of special powers, like the troll’s ability to regenerate or the dragon's breath weapon, and give them to otherwise unaltered critters. Wolves are kind of boring. Wolves with the banshee’s save or die scream instead of a normal howl are an awesome motherfucking surprise.
I think the kids call this kind of thing re-skinning, but fuck them they don’t bear the shame of having paid real money to see Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo,
so they don’t know shit about pain. You do, though; use that knowledge at the table.

Now on to monsters:


Monsters are, as stated above, singular entities. They are, for the most part, unique. Not only are they unique, they should be, at the very least, the focus of at least a session. Monsters are all about stories. A monster has a story, often an origin story, which is usually some what tragic. This story should be, if not well known, at least rumored at, and should contain hints as to how the monster can be destroyed or warnings about the monster’s powers or information about the monster’s lair. What the players chose to do with this information will create another story.

An example from classical mythology and stop motion films is The Medusa; like her two sisters, she was both a critter (a gorgon) and a monster. Persius used details from her story to slay her, a task which required some special gear and (in the movie Clash of the Titans, anyway) gave him the juice the take on the Kraken (Cetos). Harryhausen movies are a good place to look for monsters, btw. The monsters are all unique and the fights with them are usually groovy set pieces that often require the hero to come up with a unique solution.

Here’s a monster from my last Metal Earth campaign:

The Unkillable

AC: 0 [19] Special: see below

HD:14 (84 hp) Move: 20/ 22 (when jumping)

Attacks: Bite, stamp HDE:11/ 1700

The unkillable is a giant (about three times the size of an elephant) black goat that terrorizes the island of Skeeme. It emerged one day from the shimmering blue wastelands at the southern end of island and has been on a more or less continuous rampage ever since. The islands residents, regardless of their potency all fear the beast and regard it as a force of nature, with an almost divine level of power.

The Unkillable hates everyone and everything, living only to kill and destroy. In addition to its bite and stamp (1d6 each), The Unkillable can breathe fire 3 times a day in a 45 foot cone, 15 feet wide at its base. Anyone caught in the cone takes 3d8 damage, (1/2 damage with a successful ST).

The Unkillable is immune to normal weapons and can only be harmed by magical or energy weapons.

It can also jump 100 feet horizontally and 30 feet vertically.

This monster is nothing more than a modified Devilgoat- a critter made up based upon some memories I have from doing farm work as a kid. Point of information- goats are assholes.


AC: 2 [17]

Special: breathes fire, ram

HD:9 Move: 20/ 22 (when jumping)

Attacks: Bite, stamp

HDE:11/ 1700

Huge, intelligent and evil predators. Devilgoats hate everyone and every thing. They live to kill and destroy. In addition to their bite and stamp (1d6 each), Devilgoats can breathe fire 3 times a day in a 45 foot cone, 15 feet wide at its base. Anyone caught in cone takes 3d8 damage, (1/2 damage with a successful ST). Devilgoats can jump 100 feet horizontally and 30 feet.

Anyway, hopefully you get he general idea of what I’m trying to say here. If you don’t feel like doing it yourself (really, though, how hard is it to quadruple a skeletons HD, give it burning red eyes, a sinister blue radioactive glow, the ability to jump like a flea and regenerate?) there are resources out there you can draw on. My understanding is that Jim Raggi’s Esoteric Creature Generator is a fine product, for instance. I haven't bought it because I like doing this sort of thing myself.

Beyond that, 2e AD&D had a shit ton of monster books released for it- my personal favorites are the two for Dark Sun, they’ve got all kinds of crazy dangerous shit in them, which you could easily alter a bit and use.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

1d4 wound and critical hit table

Part 2 0f 2; part one here.
For medium and small creatures:
For use when:
1] A hit is scored with a missile weapon***a firearm or an energy weapon*.
2] A critical hit (natural 20) is scored with a muscle powered melee**weapon.
3] when a character with 0 hit points is hit with any weapon.

Roll 1d4

1. Minor Wound: 1d4 days to heal [-1 to all die rolls and - 1d4-1 to movement rate during the recovery period].

2. Major Wound: 2d8+2 days to heal [-3 to all die rolls and -1d6+1 to movement rate during recovery period].

3. Grievous Wound: d30 +10 days to heal. [-6 to all die rolls and movement reduced to 1 during recovery period]. Note: A character with a grievous wound must be stabilized within 10 rounds or make a successful saving throw otherwise the wound becomes a mortal wound, and all related conditions apply.

4. Mortal wound: Save or die. A successful save reduces the damage to a Grievous Wound with doubled recovery time. A failed save results in death in 1d6-1 rounds. AT THE REFEREE'S DISCRETION dead character may be healed by miraculous means (super science or magic) for 1d100 rounds after death.

Cowering: when fired upon with missile weapons***, an unsurprised character may hide beneath a large shield and will, in the case of a normal hit, only take normal hit point damage (e.g. 1d6 from an arrow). Critical hits are considered to have pierced the shield and result in a roll on the wound table. Whilst cowering, a character may move 1/4 the Normal rate.

Optional rule: Characters with Major or Grievous Wounds who engage in strenuous activity (e.g. combat) prior to the end of the recovery period must make a saving throw. A failed save resets the recovery period back to the beginning, and in the case of a grievous wound the character immediately becomes unconscious.

This is simple table; the lack of descriptive text is intentional. Description and nuanced effects should be determined by the Metal Master and/or the players. For example, if a hit inflicts a mortal wound on a character and the character successfully saves vs death and has the severity of the wound reduced to grievous, the referee may rule that a limb or an eye has been lost, a terrible scar inflicted, or that a complete recovery is eventually made. This should be situational and be determined on a case by case basis- often by fiat.

* E.G. guns, blasters, and plasma blades.
**E.G. a sword
*** E.G. spears, slings and bows

Friday, August 20, 2010

NSFW?: The Scorn, Part 2

Note: the pic above is just so that nobody gets boobs on their blogroll by accident. See below for the source drawing in its entirety.

Scorn Drone:

AC: 9 [10]

Special: Can only attack every other round

HD: 4

Move: 6

Attacks: Fist (2d6)

HDE: 2/

Drones are the work force of the Scorn people. They are slow witted, slow moving sexless creatures usually organized in groups of 10 led by a technician or a leader. Drones are immensly strong and can lift at least a ton unaided. Dependant on the type of work they do drones range in height from 3' to 12' tall; they have dull gray hides and usually wear no clothes, except for the occasional tool belt. Drones will enter combat if urged to do so by a Leader, Technician, or Imperial, but left to their own devices they will allow themselves to be slaughtered without fighting back.

Scorn Warriors:

AC: 7 [12]

Special: Natural Camouflage -2 to hit during the first round of combat

HD: 5

Move: 12

Attacks: + 2 combo gun: energy blast (3d6) or pain bolt (save or paralyzed for 1d6 rounds). Tooth and nail (2d6).

HDE: 6/400

Scorn warriors are smarter and more savage versions of the Drones. They are organized into squads of 5 each led by a Sargent who is slightly more intelligent than the others. Scorn warriors are fearless and will fight to the last unless ordered not to do so by a Leader or a Technician. Scorn will usually shoot to kill, but situations sometimes arise which compel them tho take prisoners. In these cases, they will use the pain bolt. Warriors have no sex organs, and no sense of modesty- although, sometimes senior warriors will tie a bit of cloth around one arm, or apply war paint. Warriors have thick leathery skin and natural camouflage.

Scorn Technicians:

AC: 5 [14] (Shipsuit, silver)

Special: 2cnd level MU


Move: 15

Attacks: + 2 Blaster (3d6) (15 charges), Energy sword (3d6)

HDE: 9/1100

Unlike drones and warriors , Technicians have a biological sex and reproductive capability. Technicians keep the complex technology of the Scorn settlements functioning; they are also responsible for supervising drones, and occasionally, groups of warriors. Every technician is (effectively) a 2cnd level magic user. All are equipped with the power up spell and another first level spell of the referee's choice. Despite their name, Technicians are able and formidable combatants. Unlike drones and warriors, technicians have a sense of modesty and tend to wear clothing when outside of the domiciles. Standard attire is a silver shipsuit- a skin tight garment, which is actually a form of high tech armor. The armor works by activating a localized micro force field at the point of impact/contact of any weapon or blow. The reaction system is controlled by a highly efficient logic circuit woven into the fabric of the shipsuit which can effectively react at light speed. The listed armor class is valid against any sort of weapon including firearms and energy weapons.

Scorn Leaders:

AC: 3 [16] (Shipsuit, black)

Special: 4th level MU


Move: 15

Attacks: + 2 Blaster (3d6) (15 charges), Energy sword (3d6)

HDE: 12/2000

Scorn leaders run the day to day affairs of Scorn society. Like Technicians, leaders are also sexed and capable of reproduction. Leaders use a slightly better version of the shipsuit, which is black and somewhat more loose fitting. Leaders have a complex inner hierarchy which informs their every interaction with one another and with the other castes. This hierarchy is sometimes (intentionally) subverted by the Imperials. Leaders are formidable combatants, without fear, but will not throw their lives away for a lost cause.


AC: 1 [18] (Super skin)

Special: 5th level MU


Move: 15

Attacks: + 4 blaze pole (5d6/ 3 attacks/round)

HDE: 15/2900

Imperials are the executives of each Scorn settlement. Although they defer to the Collective, imperials have absolute rule at the local level. At any given time there is one Female and one male Imperial for each settlement. However, Imperials are usually content to leave the day to day management of local affairs in the hands of Leaders and Technicians, preferring to fill their time with hedonistic pursuits. Imperials are hyper sexed, with exaggerated primary and secondary sexual traits. They rarely wear any clothing, and although they can reproduce, they are not, as is the case with Leaders and Technicians, compelled to do so. Imperials will occasionally go mad with lust for a member of the opposite sex- they especially prone to do this in regards to Humans who show a high degree of competence. A lust crazed imperial is liable to sacrifice anything in the pursuit of this desire.

Imperials are extremely potent on the battlefield (and in the bedroom) and will only withdraw if they are seriously over matched and losing- and even then they virtually never forgive or forget.

Here's the pic, and yeah I made some mistakes with perspective.
Edit: this looks a lot racier on my drawing board but I'll leave the NSFW tag up just in case.

Click the image for a bigger version

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Way of the Gun. Ranged weapons: Missiles, bullets and blasts part 1 0f 2

I've spent a lot of time thinking about this, and trying to figure out how to keep it simple. This is what I've come up with and more or less how we've been playing.

Note- this system is designed to work with the alternate hit point rules. One of the assumptions of those rules is that hit points represent fortitude, stamina, luck and skill- not physical integrity.

A hit with a melee weapon does not cause actual physical damage (except for flesh wounds and minor bruises), but rather erodes those qualities mentioned above. When hit points reach 0 or when a critical hit is scored, it is then that actual physical damage occurs.

Ranged weapons are different. It's easier to kill people with them. You can do it from a long way off. You can do it with a single shot which they have no real chance to parry or dodge. This is perhaps an over simplification, but this game is all about over simplification.

Therefore, a hit with a ranged weapon is an automatic roll on the proper wound table for medium sized and smaller creatures.

Missile weapons (Bow, Crossbow, Spear, Sling, whatever).
Act as normal in regards to AC.

Against a Firearms and Energy Weapons everyone has a 9* [Ascending AC 10] armor class at close range. Long range results in a negative modifier of 2.

Rate of fire varies from weapon to weapon. Most firearms have a rate of fire of 2. Some energy weapons have higher or lower rates, depending on their nature. A hit with a firearm or a energy weapon results in a roll on the proper wound table (post forthcoming).


-2,-4, 20, and no.
Any complication, such as a moving target, or partial cover or whatever results in -2 modifier an additional complication results in a further -2. If there are three complications, (e.g. the target is crouched down running behind a low wall in the fog) the target can only be hit with natural 20. Certain circumstances will result in a situation where the target can not be hit, such as full cover.

Certain devices or special weapons may come with magical or technological enhancements (e.g. scopes or blessings) which grant them a bonus. This bonus varies from weapon to weapon. For reasons I will go explore in a later post their are no magically enhanced firearms on the Metal Earth.

Next: Wound Tables.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Scorn: Part I

The Scorn:

The Scorn are humanoid aliens with several settlements on The metal Earth in the vicinity of the Burning Peaks. How long they have been on Earth is unknown as are their ultimate aims.
The Scorn are masters of Technology. They posses a full gamut of high tech items including a fleet of space worthy flying saucers.

Although they are apparently mammals the Scorn have distinct physical types associated with the types of work they do, not unlike insect castes. The Scorn come in four basic types or castes: Leader, Technician, Warrior and Drone. Of these types only the Leader and the Technician castes have sexual differentiation. Individuals of the Drone and Warrior castes are sexless brutes. Their is a fifth type of Scorn, the Imperial, of which only two adult individuals exist for each major settlement at one time.

Scorn children, known as waifs, and borne only by females of the Leader and Technical castes, effectively comprise another caste. Raised in creches by Drones, waifs nearly always grow into adult Drones, unless, however, some catastrophe has thinned the ranks of the upper casts; in which case, they will grow in such a way as to fill the gaps. In the normal course of things, birthrates are low, and Drones will actually change to fill any gaps in the Warrior class, Warriors will mutate to fill gaps in the Technician castes, and Technicians will transform into leaders. It is the task of the Imperials to decide which individuals are worthy for the transformation; these decisions are as a rule, based upon merit, but favoritism can play a role. If one of the Imperial pair dies, the surviving Imperial chooses their new mate. If both Imperials perish, their replacements are determined by a series of trials involving all members of the Leader caste.
However, death is not the end for members of the Imperial caste. If it is possible their brains are preserved in a huge tank with all those that have come before them. This tank acts as sort of living computer, known as The Collective. The collective rules over all the various Scorn settlements on a given world. It also what the Scorn consider the afterlife and the highest reward one can earn.

New Cover art

I tried to do something here that would capture the feel of the setting and highlight the next round of posts about The Burning Peaks region. The fellow riding the boar borrowed most of his wardrobe from John Carter and Den of Earth, but he got the boots from Conan.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Looking for artifacts in a cave

Well, I'd hoped to get up more content before having to post this, but I lost a notebook and then kind of hit a post semester wall of sloth, and now its too late... for a while, anyway. I am an Archaeologists* (3rd year grad student) in real life and the field season is upon me.
I leave Sunday for six weeks in Northern Spain and my internet access will be, at best, sporadic, so it's not likely that I'll have much chance to post.
Anyway, I wanted to assure everyone that the long absence is a matter of necessity and not the result of a loss of interest on my part. Posting will resume in August, although this is a comps** year so I'll likely continue to post sporadically for the foreseeable future.
So for the next little while I'll be looking for artifacts in a cave, as opposed to pretending to look for artifacts in a cave.
Have a good summer, badasses.

*My particular area of interest is the Middle/Upper Paleolithic
**big exam that determines if I can go on past my MS and work towards a PhD

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Critters 1


AC: 0 [19]

Special: see below


Move: 15

Attacks: claw

HDE: 11/1,700

Diseased looking, red-eyed, skeletally gaunt humanoids of giant stature, Screamers gain their name from their most fearsome attack. Once per day a screamer may release special howl which hypnotizes all within a 60’ radius. Save or paralyzed for 2d6 rounds. Screamers prefer to eat their prey while it is still alive, paralyzed and helpless. Hungry, these monstrosities roam the wastelands, continually on the lookout for fresh meat. Screamers can run fast and have the stamina to cover very long distances and they never give up. Often they hunt in packs. Due to their thick hides screamers cannot be harmed by normal melee weapons.


AC:4 [15]

Special: prettifying gaze

HD: 6

Move: 12 (float)

Attacks: Bite

HDE: 8/800

Extra dimensional beings that look like giant tentacled eyeballs. Anyone who meets the gaze of a Zetoan is turned to glass. Zetoans sometime construct elaborate labyrinthine gardens full of glass figures. Zetoans are irrational beings with alien motives. They communicate with telepathy.

Cave Maggots

AC: 4 [15]

Special: none

HD 1+1

Move: 12

Attacks: bite

HDE: 1/15

Meter long carnivorous iridescent worms. Cave maggots often lure prey close by clustering into a “doorway” shape along the walls of dark caves. This produces the illusion of a lit entrance way, curious animals wander close. Will glow for up to 1d6 after death and can be used as a light source. Given time they can borrow throw solid rock and subsequently are often a problem in greenshafts.

Sparkling ooze

AC: 6 [13]

Special: acidic

HD: 10

Move: 6

Attacks:1d3 pseudopod

HDE: 11/1700

Sparkling ooze was originally designed to be a self directed cleaning agent by its forgotten creators. Often found in ruined cities, this semi intelligent translucent slime is the ultimate solvent, dissolving conventional materials on contact. Conventional weapons and armor will dissolve with one successful hit. Sparkling ooze will fission if hit by energy weapons. Some sparkling oozes emit a soothing gentle noise like wind chimes or elevator music.


AC:5 [14]

Special: Burrowing

HD: 4

Move: 12/10 (borrowing)

Attacks: Bite

HDE: 5/ 240

The green blooded, red scaled Slaard is neither arthropod nor reptile, but possess characteristics of both. While they dig, Slaard continually emit an ultrasonic pulse which destabilizes the solid rock before them and makes it possible for them to burrow at incredible rates. Slaard live and hunt in rocky badlands, often tracking their prey from beneath the surface.

Ape, Crypt

AC: 4 [15]

Special: Crushing embrace/ breath weapon

HD: 6

Move: 12

Attacks: Strike

HDE: 7/600

Voracious scavengers, Crypt Apes live under ground in the forgotten necropolises which honeycomb the subterranean space of the ancient earth. Despite their predilection for dead flesh, crypt apes will not turn away from a a chance at fresh meat. Instead of striking with its powerful fist, the crypt ape can grab hold of an enemy for 2d6 damage. ST -2 for escape. The crypt ape can also breath on anyone it catches hold of. If the victim fails their saving through (-2) they spend the next 1d4 rounds incapacitated, vomiting. This only works once per attack, per victim. A favorite tactic of crypt apes is to lay in wait for unwary grave robbers inside of empty sarcophagi.


AC:3 [16]

Special: none

HD: 4

Move: 18

Attacks: Weapon

HDE: 5/240

Half distorted manthing, half centipede, Centauripedes live in savage tribes hostile to outsiders.


AC: 9 [10]

Special: radiation

HD: 2

Move: 13

Attacks: bite

HDE: 2/ 30

Similar in appearance to a trilobite, the trilon is a mutant arthropod about the size of a dinner plate. Its bite is radioactive; anyone bitten must make a saving throw (+4 mod to their roll) or contract radiation sickness. If untreated, radiation sickness will lead to death in 4 days -25% hit points each day.

Trilon, large

AC: 5 [14]

Special: radiation

HD: 2

Move: 15

Attacks: Bite

HDE: 4/240

Larger Trilon, weaker radiation; +6 to victim’s saving throw.

Trilon, Giant

AC: 0 [19]

Special: radiation breath

HD: 5

Move: 18

Attacks: Bite

HDE: 7/500

Huge (20’ long), fast moving engines of destruction. Giant trilon can project a stream their own irradiated blood in cone for 15’ (five foot wide at the base). Anyone inside of the come must make a save (with a +4 modifier for the victim). Those that fail the save take 3d6 damage and contract radiation sickness (see Trilon, small); those that make the ST take 3d6 in damage. Giant Trilon are sometimes used as mounts by the soldiers of Ssaur, but only the shae beast masters know the secret of their gentling.


AC: 2 [17]

Special: breathes fire, ram


Move: 20/ 22 (when jumping)

Attacks: Bite, stamp

HDE:11/ 1700

Huge, intelligent and evil predators. Devilgoats hate everyone and every thing. They live to kill and destroy. In addition to their bite and stamp (1d6 each), Devilgoats can breathe fire 3 times a day in a 45 foot cone, 15 feeet wide at its base. Anyone caught in cone takes 3d8 damage, (1/2 damage with a successful ST). Devilgoats can jump 100 feet horizontally and 30 feet vertically.

Iron serpent

AC: 0 [19]

Special: Bite turns victim into iron.

HD: 5

Move: 10

Attacks: bite, crush

HDE 7/ 500

Snake made of living metal. Any one bitten takes 1d6 damage and must make a ST or they will turn into iron.