Monday, October 26, 2020

Dickhead Barbarians

The full title of this game was closer to “greedy dickhead barbarians who want to rape and pillage and you play as the bad guys (as in the barbarians)”, but I couldn't really find a way to sum that up sufficiently. Also, this entire game premise was inspired by one picture.

Art @Jaroslaw Marcinek
Dickhead Barbarians
You're a bunch of barbarians. You live in a land of ice and storms. Your people are not smart- though they are tall and strong, most math does not progress beyond counting on the fingers. You get angry easily, and beat your wife to take out your frustrations. You farm greasy, measly potatoes that are just as often caked in rot as not. Craftsmanship does not exist beyond the most basic of armor and weapons- all art is shunned except for the epic poetry of your ancestors and their martial deeds. Your industries exist only off of the ever-shrinking supply of game and fur to trap. Your shamans channel the demands of evil, gluttonous gods who are the only reason you are still alive in their wretched land; despite the constant human sacrifice, painful scarification, and horrible nightmares that these divine beings tend to inflict upon you and your people.

But far away, there is a city. It is a huge walled place, where the sun shines brightly and green plants grow strong and tall. The city is somehow touched by the sun and warmth, snuggled between two mountain passes. Past this massive walled city, which is like a fortress, these people live in green and plenty. The people here are kindly, advanced in math and science. They eat well and many are even fat. They possess healing arts; their priesthood are women- sun priestesses who channel the power of fire and life. The people there only worship the Sun, the life giving, and the only spirit that speaks to them is the Old Man in the Stone. It makes no demands or sacrifices, only imparting wisdom and then slumbering again for another generation. Sometimes these people, who you have dubbed “the nice people”, send envoys to your lands. They tell you to not beat your children, and educate them with runes and writings instead. They give you blankets freely, to ward off the chill, and have even sent breeding pairs of domestic yaks and arctic rabbits for your people to farm. The moment these envoys return back to the mountain pass, these animals are quickly devoured and your bellies filled.

You know what? Fuck the nice people.

Dickhead Barbarian Generation
When you create your character, roll a d20
If you roll a 1 or 2, you are a Pygmy.
If you roll a 3, 4, 5, or 6, you are an Ice Warrior.
If you roll a 18 or 19, you are a Shaman.
If you roll a 20, you are a Cannibal Giant.
If you roll anything else, you are just a Barbarian.

Pygmies are small. They are even a little smaller then the nice people, who already are about a head shorter then the average man of your race. You are not treated very well among the Dickhead Barbarians. You are commonly beaten, berated, insulted, and stolen from since there isn't much you can do about it. This has made you crafty. You can pass as a Nice Person from a distance, if you're wearing a shawl and hide or dye your devil-red hair. You can sneak through windows without making a sound, and you can slit throats of sleeping foes without them waking up and screaming. You can also excuse yourself from any combat once the dice have been rolled- your “honor” isn't worth much.
You have a combat value of One-Half and can take One wound before you start dying.

Ice Warriors are tormented individuals. Usually they are bastard children, who are not treated well in Dickhead Barbarian culture. Almost all were once poor and own no land. Most of them, chosen between lonely suicide and absolute poverty, undertook a great pilgrimage. The Ice Warrior wandered the coldest lands to the north, even less hospitable then your homeland, and kept going until they found the pools of water in the ice that never melts. By drinking a handful of water, each drop burning your throat like fire, you became one with frost and it was the only way you were able to return. Around the ice pools remains the bones of those who didn't have the strength to sip from those cruel waters. Your eyes turned bright blue and your skin always cold. You are now immune to fire and are also tougher then a normal man.
You have a combat value of One and can take Three wounds before you start dying.

The Shaman are the religious elite of your people, while respected and feared by the people, also the subject of terrible burning brands placed upon your skin and the subject to many experiments that drained your body. You were changed by the gluttonous gods. You also know some basic arts of healing and can suck the venom out of another person's veins; doing so takes a character out of the Dying state from poison and puts it into you as one wound. As a Shaman, you have the powers of magic, and can cast one of three spells. Roll a 1d3 to determine what spell you get;
  1. By chewing up a handful of grasses from your homeland, mixed with your own blood you create by biting your cheek, and chewing for a few minutes (at least one exploration turn), you can create a solid nugget of black bile. This black bile can be spit into the wound of a warrior and rubbed in to heal them, which works on both burns from fire as well as the wounds of swords and spears. You can also spit this nugget directly in the mouth of one of the Nice People (they must be captured and helpless for this) and when they struggle and swallow the nugget it will force them to answer one question you ask them truthfully. The grasses used in this spell can only be gathered and prepared correctly by a shaman, but are not especially rare or valuable. You can prepare about 5 uses of this spell each time you leave your homeland and you venture to the land of the Nice People.
  2. By scratching and clawing at your bare skin and giving yourself one wound, you can make any animals that hear your screams go into a berserk panic. Horses buck their riders, sacred komodos rush at the nearest mammal in a hungry craze, loyal dogs flee or bite their masters. You also gain permanent claws on your hands, long and twisted, a 'gift' from the gluttonous gods that have so marked you. You can use these claws as well as any weapon, thus you cannot truly be unarmed unless your hands are cut off from your body- if you have this power increase your combat value to One.
  3. By chanting prayers and waving your arms through an angry, feral dance you can whip up the winds. The winds howl overhead and can be directed by your motions; putting out fires, knocking away arrows, or breaking the morale of cowards. You can use this power whenever you wish, but only outdoors and only at night.
You have a combat value of One-Half and can take Two wounds before you start dying.

The Cannibal Giants are a rare breed among your people. Mothers who give birth to a giant are often killed by it; even the baby is huge. They are pale skinned and have six fingers on each hand. Strangely, they are among the most calm and simple creatures that live as a Dickhead Barbarian, save for their roughly one month cycle of an inescapable urge to kill and eat another living person. They stand about a head and a half taller then even a standard Dickhead Barbarian, making you even more utterly terrifying to the Nice People. You can break the morale of untrained soldiers just by charging at them.
You have a combat value of Two and can take Three wounds before you start dying.

The Regular Dickhead Barbarians are the standard, normal man among your number. They live hard lives, and are jealous and angry at the world, and at the Nice People in particular. Whilst not special in any given way, the standard barbarian gets an extra piece of equipment for free.
You have a combat value of One and can take Two wounds before you start dying.

Whenever you generate a Dickhead Barbarian, you get to pick two items. Regular Dickhead Barbarians roll 1d10 and get an extra common item for free. Along with these, you automatically cobble together what funds and food you can to have enough food to travel for two weeks, a set of warm traveling clothes, and a sturdy, well made iron axe.

[1] Sword- This is a status symbol among the barbarian people. Every man is trained in use of the axe, but the sword is a nobler weapon. As long as you possess a sword, you can parry enemy attacks and no longer take a wound on a tied combat roll- it does not improve your combat value.
[2] Javelin- Just a ranged weapon. Lets you engage with enemies up small embankments, or plant them in the ground to make a make shift barricade. Your barbarians can use bows but don't make them or train with them- the gods consider it coward's warfare.
[3] Shield- Painted with clan colors. Can be used to protect you from the first wound you would take on a campaign- either from weapons or fire arrows (but not magic fire). Lost after one use.
[4] Healing Kit- Filled with ointments, bandages, basic surgical tools, and strong alcohol. Healing kits can be used to heal normal wounds, but not wounds from fire. Each has 2 uses.
[5] Packbeast- This poor, shrunken little donkey is what passes for a domesticated beast of burden among the Dickhead Barbarian people. It can carry stuff for you but more importantly it can be used as a source of food in case you run out; a group of men can eat for about a week off one donkey.
[6] Grappling Hook- Used to climb walls, obviously. You can't climb the main outer wall of the great city of the Nice People with just this.
[7] Poisoned Meat- Can be fed to dogs by throwing it over a fence or thrown in the path of a rampaging komodo-beast. Normal komodo beasts and many other well-trained war animals of the Nice People will not eat it. If a Cannibal Giant finds this meat during one of their “episodes” and isn't told it is poisonous they won't be able to help themselves from eating it. Anything that eats this meat will die after one turn.
[8] Wooden Mask- The Nice People are sometimes said to be frightening by the size and harsh faces of the Dickhead Barbarians. Wearing this mask may put them at ease long enough to draw them out.
[9] Helmet- Makes you immune to the extra wounds caused by slingers.
[10] Battering Ram- Capped in iron, it is quite a struggle to keep a log of this size from being burned to survive a winter in the barbarian homelands, making it quite valuable. Can be used to batter down doors a little faster then chopping through with axes- requires two men to carry it around or one Cannibal Giant. Those who carry it cannot sneak around, as it is very cumbersome.
[11] Horn of Ice-Water- Hollowed out horn of a goat- within is a small amount of water from the mysterious ice pool. Away from the magical pools they lack the power to change a normal man into an Ice Warrior, but drank by a normal man they can gain immunity to fire as the Ice Warriors have for one day's worth of campaigning.
[12] Bloody Warpaint- Crafted by the shamans, this magical warpaint can be put on a warrior before a battle to increase their combat value by one. It fades after this one battle, and cannot be used if you are surprised in an ambush- it must be prepared and applied over an exploration turn.

Whenever you get into a fight, first determine if either side has surprise. Surprise in this case is an ambush; attacking a camp at night, drawing your weapon during a peaceful truce, leading them into an ambush, coming out of a disguise and so on. If two forces meet around a corner or you bust into a house with soldiers in it it's not surprise, that's just normal.

If you surprise the enemy, you may deal one wound worth of damage to a single, high value target among the enemy ranks. This one wound of damage is done regardless of the actual combat value of the unit inflicting it; as long as you had a method to deal that damage. Using javelins or pygmies, for example, are both great methods of this.

If the enemy surprises you, then one character in your party takes a wound at random.

Combat Resolution
Add up the total combat value of all the units on both sides; both the Dickhead Barbarians (players) and the forces of the Nice People (or other Dickhead Barbarians, since infighting will probably happen)

Then, each side rolls a 1d6 and adds it to the combat value.
The side with the higher combat value wins.

If the players win, they kill or route all of the defending units. Most of the Nice People can only take one wound and then they die, but some named characters may instead take a wound and flee, or be put into the dying state and then flee, but will die by the end of the day.

If the other side wins, the players all roll and have a 1 in 3 chance to take a wound and are repelled.

If the battle is a tie, both sides are repelled and no headway is made. The players all have a 1 in 6 chance to take a wound, and the enemy defenders will have lost 1/6th of their numbers.

Example combat- The players include two barbarians, a shaman, and a cannibal giant. They knock on the door of a simple farmer's hut in the lands of the nice people. They come in and demand the farmers give them all their food. The farmer submits, but not before taking out of a knife and stabbing the ringleader of the barbarians in the hand (sneak attack). The farmer is retired elite soldier and you can consider his combat value of 1. His sons are part of the milita, but are scared and cannot fight effectively against the Cannibal Giant, meaning the farmer fights alone. He has a combat value of 1 and your party has a combat value of 5.

You easily dispatch the farmer, but you took one wound. You kill the sons, take the daughters, and break into the cellar to look for any ale.

Normally, combat resolves with a 1 in 3 chance to take a wound only if you lose, 1 in 6 if the battle was a tie, but if the players win they take no damage except due to a surprise. Fire is the exception. Fire is an incredibly powerful force, and is used by the defenders in the form of flaming arrows, or magic done by the Sun Priestesses.

If fire was present and used against the players in combat, for any reason, then every player-character has a 1 in 6 chance to take a wound after combat ends- win, lose, or draw. This includes if fire was accidentally set, or the building you are in was lit on fire. Players can also use fire, such as trapping an enemy in a burning building or stealing fire arrows to use for themselves. In such situation, boost their combat value by +1 for each source of fire. Ice Warriors and those who drank from the Horn of Ice-Water that day are immune to fire.

Every character can take wounds. If wounds are inflicted, your character feel the pain and must suffer with them until they are healed by some method. Healing kits can heal wounds from normal weapons, but only a Shaman can cure burns with magic. If you reach your wound limit, determined by what kind of Dickhead you are, then you are put into Dying. If you take a wound while in the dying state, you die instantly. One week of bed rest is enough to cure a wound- camps and marches do not count.

The Dying state means your character is limping and on their last legs. You can still move, fight, and speak but are running out of strength. Treat your combat value as half. Unless you are healed by a healer's kit or magic you will die in the night while sleeping in camp. Also, taking another wound kills you instantly. The only other way to escape the Dying state is to be very well rested and have bed rest- your warrior's camp is too harsh, but a locked, fire-warmed room with a bed and plenty access to water and food will suffice. You have a 1 in 6 chance to die even in these good conditions, otherwise recover one wound after a week of bed rest.

For example, a Pygmy will be put into dying after taking one wound. Ice Warriors and Cannibal Giants will enter dying after taking three wounds, and so on.

Milita- The weakest enemies, not even half as effective as a regular soldier. They make up the general population, and fight with standard spears and little to no armor. They are cowardly and can be scared by magic or giants. Most of them will die in the event of fire and can be easily chopped apart by an axe.
They have a combat value of Zero.

Soldiers- The standard soldier. Note that they are better trained and armed then you are; they have full bodied shields, full body armor, and short swords. However they are physically small, soft from their days of civilized life, and lack the killing instinct the Dickhead Barbarians do.
They have a combat value of One-Half each.

Standards- These are soldiers armed with no weapons or shields; they only carry a war banner. Their banners are red and gold, edged with silver bangles, and inspire greatness to the hearts of the Nice People. The banners are magic and shimmer in the sunlight. If a Standard-Bearer is present in a battle, all of the standard soldiers fight with a combat value of One. Killing these before the battle beings with an ambush will be a very important tactic to the Dickhead Barbarians.
The Standard Bearer alone has a combat value of Zero.

Slingers- Lightly armed soldiers trained with slings, often recruited from local shepherds, they are most commonly seen in the envoy of the Yak Kings. Before a battle begins with slingers present, every Dickhead Barbarian has a 1 in 10 chance of getting wounded by a slinger's shot. They can only hit a maximum number of Dickhead Barbarians even to their own numbers, so if 5 slingers are present in a battle against your 10 barbarians, only half of them will roll to see if they were hurt, determined randomly. Helmets protect against slingers. Also, after the first round of combat and they release their volley, Slingers are not given armor and only have a dagger to defend themselves, as such they have no combat ability and are cowardly as militia. If you want to make slingers more deadly, make it so that if they double or triple a barbarian party they will have a 2 in 10 or 3 in 10, etc, chance to deal a wound to each barbarian.
Slingers have a combat value of Zero.

Archers- Deployed only as defense on the great wall or other fortresses. They dip their arrows in sunlit oil which ignites as it flies through the air with a harsh whistle. They count as a source of fire, but only during the daytime.
Archers have a combat value of One while fighting defensively on top of a wall or in a tower. If they are in an open field or indoors, their combat value is changed to Zero.

Sun Priestess- Calling upon the magic of their people; the Sun Priestess can channel fire and light through her magic. They can cast this magic at any time of the day. The Sun Priestesses wear red and golden gowns and wield magic staves made of brass topped with bright rubies. With a flick of their staff, fire is conjured and launched at her foes. She counts as a source of fire. Sometimes, Sun Priestesses ride on top of Komodo beasts into battle; Since a Sun Priestess rides on top of the Komodo beast, it is very hard to sneak attack her unless you use a pygmy to climb the beast as it doesn't notice or by throwing a javelin.
Sun Priestesses have a combat value of One.

Komodo Beasts- These huge creatures are only ever seen while being ridden and controlled by a Sun Priestess. Without a priestess, they simply lounge on the road and wait to be fed by someone wearing the loincloth of the temple youth; they ignore everyone else. The Sun Priestesses control them through magic, and become very formidable while on top of one. If you kill the Priestess riding on a Komodo beast, the beast will enter the fight with its normal combat value, but will become cowardly.
Komodo Beasts have a combat value of Two and must be wounded Twice before they die.

Temple Guards- The most powerful and elite soldiers of the Nice People. They have glowing orange eyes and are men, blessed with magic and imbued with the waters of life and majesty. Each one has skin and hair that is so fine and handsome that it practically glows. All of them wear two to three cat paws around their necks as amulets; earned from their feats of bravery. They wear heavy armor but no shields; each uses two swords which they have the skill to use both at the same time.
Temple Guards have a combat value of Two and a Half. They are put into the dying state after taking One wound, meaning they will die in one day but will seek healing or warn others of the barbarians if they escape.

Yak King- Lesser Kings and Tribesmen of the Nice People- said to once be the rulers before the Sun Priestesses became the dominant religion. They are said to still strongly follow the forces of nature. Yak Kings are bigger then the normal Nice People, they have shaggy hair and manes, and also have two small horns that grow from their heads, like the yaks they heard in the mountains bordering the territories of the Nice People and the Barbarians Dickheads (you). If they are injured in combat, they will likely flee to a place of natural solitude, in which case they will heal in one night. You are unlikely to find any Yak Kings in the great cities, but are very likely to encounter them if you try to cross between the two territories through the mountains or passes not guarded by walls. Before a battle begins with a Yak King- they will beat on a wardrum and scream with their retinue. Your group loses -2 of their total combat value unless if you have at least three warriors bang on their shields OR you have a shaman to counter the magic. This obviously does no occur if the battle begins with surprise.
Yak Kings have a combat value of Two and must be wounded Twice before they die.

Great Yak- Normal yaks are too timid and small to provide as a weapon of war, but great yaks are different. These are yaks, herded by the lesser tribes and yak kings in the lands of the Nice People, who have grown to prodigious size. Your Barbarians will instantly harken them to the great mammoths of your land, and will have some basic idea on how to fight these huge monsters. They are usually ridden by a brave youth or a small group of warriors, who tug their shaggy hair to use them as living battering rams. If you manage to win a combat against them, they flee and will kill 1 in 6 of the enemy forces by charging through them, destroying barricades, and generally causing chaos among the enemy forces. If you manage to kill their riders before the battle begins, the yaks become useless and instead provide a -2 combat value to the entire defending force.
Great Yaks have a combat value of Three. They can take many wounds before they die but once they are defeated once they lose all taste for combat. If you manage to hunt one down after a battle you could feed your entire troop for a month.

Snake Priest- Less common then the Sun Priestesses, the Snake Priests and an exclusively male occupation within the temple. Many of them began as Komodo feeders and scribes before they were able to ascend up the ranks. The Snake Priests do not have magic as the Sun Priestesses do, except for the skills in alchemy, poisons, and snake charming. Each of them does not carry weapons into combat except for a deadly snake, which hangs from their arm and will bite whoever they choose. You can avoid being bitten by a snake priest by exclusively fighting at range with Javelins. If you engage in a battle with at least one snake priest, a number of barbarians equal to the number of snake priests in the battle have a 1 in 6 chance to have been bitten. If you were bitten, you are put into the Dying state. Pygmies die instantly because of their small bodies and hearts, and Cannibal Giants only take one wound. Snake Priests are immune to poison.
Snake Priests have a combat value of One and a Half.

Whenever the Barbarians sack a temple or palace, they will find one treasure. Temples scatter the lands of the nice people, but each city only has one palace, belonging to the royal courts. The Kings and Queens of the nice people are noble, and fight as Soldiers even without armies to fight with them. They are very honorable and are held accountable for their actions; in the past, peasants have sued their regents and won. Within each palace or temple will be a single treasure, as well as many bags and coffers filled with gleaming gold coins.

Treasure Table – Roll 1d8
[1] Golden Sword- This magic sword appears as a golden relic. It is finely made, very sharp, and well balanced. The sword is curved at the tip and feels warm just looking at it. The sword is never locked in a box or guarded by chains or locks, which should be the first clue that it isn't quite so vulnerable. If you touch the sword, you burst into flames and die. Anyone who is immune to fire can wield the sword without being hurt. It increases your combat value by One.

[2] Bottle of Venom- This bottle is filled with a swirling green mist. If you open the bottle in an attempt to drink it, it will spray poison gas and fill the whole room. Whoever opened it is automatically poisoned and put into the Dying state, everyone else in the room has a 1 in 3 chance. If you throw the bottle as a weapon; it will poison 1 in 6 of the enemy forces in an open area or battlefield, which will increase to 1 in 2 of the enemy forces in an enclosed space. All those targets are put into the dying state, which means you can avoid conflict and wait until the night when most of them have died.

[3] Stone Arrow- This magic arrow is made of stone, and carved with the tiny hand of the Old Man in the Stone gripping the arrowhead and guiding the point towards its mark. If you fire this arrow at anyone you can see, you can guide the arrow magically towards them, causing them one wound right at the start of the battle. If this occurs in surprise, increase the amount of damage to Two wounds, or an instant kill against most forces of the Nice People.

[4] Feather Amulet- Lesser artifact of the tribal people before the unification- said to bring the luck and flight of birds. Wearing this amulet decreases the chance of taking a wound up one die size for whoever is wearing it. So a 1 in 6 chance becomes a 1 in 8 chance, or a 1 in 3 chance becomes a 1 in 4 chance, and so on.

[5] Healing Wand- Small stick doused in ritual oils with a tassel of bright orange fabrics. Said to be the favored and most precious artifacts of the Sun Priestesses. If you wave this over a person who is submerged in a bath; you can bring them out of the Dying state and undo the wound that caused it, but cannot heal further wounds. If an enemy is in the Dying state but manages to retreat to a temple, they will probably be healed by one of these. You can only use this on up to 4 people per day at most, meaning if you have more dying barbarians some of them will probably pass in the night unless if you can get them proper resting conditions.
Also; any shamans in your party will have an irresistible urge to snap this wand in half, a whisper from the gluttonous gods. If they do, they will be rewarded with learning another one of the Shaman spells, determined from the list randomly.

[6] Robe of the Magi- This magical robe is laced with sapphires and is bright blue in color. It carries the magical power of the Old Man in the Stone and many hedge magical traditions not related to the Great Sisterhood of the Sun. If you wear this robe it is possible to meditate and sense the movements of enemy troops on a 1 in 6 chance per day; the nearest enemy party will be revealed to your mind in a vision. Additionally, while wearing this robe, you become immune to wounds caused by the fire of the Sun Priestesses, but not other sources of fire.

[7] Golden Mask- These masks are famed and very holy by the Nice People- they believe that only true prophets can wear them and will lead their people to deliverance in troubled times. None of them ever try to wear them, even the high ranking members of the temple, out of respect and reverance for the stuffy tradition. You can wear them though, and instantly you can use it to trick a large number of enemy forces to lay down their weapons, pass aside, or get aid from a large number of civilians, etc. This trick will only work once as the news spreads of a “false prophet” and of the evil barbarians abusing this artifact.

[8] Ruby Chain- Golden chain set with rubies and amber stones, polished and fine. This treasure has no magical or practical use, but is incredibly valuable. It is worth approximately four times as much gold then you could normally get from raiding an average temple or royal palace. You could practically buy an entire village with one of these back in your homeland.

Old Man in the Stone
Each city is said to have an ancient stone carving that depicts an old man. This is a statue of wisdom, and is not in any way antagonistic to the culture of Sun Worship or the Priesthood. It is a source of magic and knowledge, and is said to whisper to the Nice People, especially in times of trouble, to give guidance. Any given city is going to have one, a large town has a 1 in 3 chance of having one, and some truly huge independent temple complexes may also have one.

Every time you fight in a city or within a day's march of an Old Man Stone, the enemy you face will always have a combat value of +1 and, depending on how complex your plans are, may also ignore any sneak attacks you perform on them (or they may even get to ambush you with sneak attacks). This is from the knowledge of the stone as it whispers what you are doing to the leadership of the defenders.

You can destroy an Old Man in the Stone by pushing it off a cliff (being pulled by a packbeast or two), having a Cannibal Giant smash it to pieces with a hammer that takes all day, or by having the shamans perform blood sacrifice on several captured civilians; their blood running over the magic stone and desecrating it so it speaks no more.

Every time you destroy an Old Man Stone, regardless of the method used, one of the Shamans in your party can take credit for it. They pray to the gluttonous gods and permanently gain a superhuman resistance and inner strength. Increase the total wounds they can sustain before being put into the dying state by +1.

Campaign Start-
Roll 1d4
[1] Before the invasion. The great walled city that borders your two lands has not yet been approached. You will need a large army, siege engines, or great diplomacy to try and gain entry. The Nice People have not yet been alerted, only archers man the towers, no standards have been brought out of storage, the soldiers are lazy and sleepy. You could also start this campaign in the barbarian lands before anyone has gone to the land of the Nice People, perhaps a few sessions of fighting strange monsters in your frozen wilderness until you hear tales of a warm and sunny land that is ripe for the taking.
The players will probably be a smaller group serving underneath a greater NPC barbarian warlord. You may be sent up the towers and ramparts to kill the signal-fire men and archers so they can't raise the alarm as the barbarians try to get through the great walls. More of a stealth mission in the start.

[2] The Great Battle. This campaign begins while the barbarians are sieging the great walled fortress. The players will be a small strike team, either trying to take out a certain pesky heroic individual holding the line (maybe a Temple Guard or Sun Priestess) or going behind enemy lines to take out some NPC commanders or soldiers. You could also cold open the campaign right as the main walls are breached, and have the players experience a huge chaotic fight with great-yaks running down the streets of the burning city, getting into fights with random civilians as milita, and smashing and grabbing whatever they can from the first treasure room or palace.

[3] The Dying City. This game takes place after the invasion; perhaps the players are the second wave or are just a greedy group of individuals who have nothing to do with a barbarian warhost that smashed through the great walled city. Or perhaps the great walled city just doesn't exist- the Nice People didn't even have a main walled fortress to protect their lands as they were so ignorant of the dangerous Dickhead Barbarians that bordered them. The players can travel around the first city or to towns and villages in the nice people lands, raiding, and avoiding the enemy patrols of soldiers, priestesses, and other threats.

[4] The Raided Countryside. The armies of the Nice People are shattered. Most of the population has been fleeing away from the influx of barbarians- who are starting to take the land and declare themselves the new lords and rulers of this place. Only the most secure strongholds remain of the Nice People; temple fortresses. The Yak Kings are taking their people deeper into the mountains, but there is rumor of a prophecy of an ancient Yak King bloodline that has the power to expel the barbarians forever. As the barbarian invaders, the players must deal with that looming threat.

Rules Considerations & FAQ
Progression Systems
There isn't a lot of progression in this game, in fact players will probably just get weaker as they lose their starting equipment, usable spells, take losses and take wounds. However you are expected to take slaves and loot, perhaps back to the homeland or just back to your camp, and in return you will get access to more warriors, buying barbarian equipment, and healing your troops. Then, raiding temples and palaces will grant you magic items in greater numbers that will improve your party permanently. Shamans can also gain new spells by destroying certain useful magic items or gain increased permanent vigor by destroying the Old Man in the Stone statues; if a Shaman gets to four or even five wounds before they start dying you could also consider giving them new magic powers.

Also; it is somewhat implied the drawbacks of some characters (pygmies and cannibal giants) will be partially amended by successful campaigns; for example, instead of accidentally eating poison meat or having the urge to kill a fellow barbarian, the cannibal giants will be able to eat some of the Nice People they've taken as slaves- it's progression in the sense that you've eliminated a drawback. The pygmies may make up for their lacking combat value and general low self-esteem by gathering up hireling barbarian warriors to serve them with all the gold and treasure they've looted.

How do I determine how many enemies are in a “force”?
Follow the guidelines in the campaign start, or make it up as you go. I imagine forces start smaller; small groups of milita and archers. Eventually as the barbarians advance the tribal people get involed bringing in slingers and yak kings, until the great temple districts start to bring forth their Sun Priestesses and Komodo Beasts and the standard-bearers ignited by magic. Temple Guards and Snake-Priests I imagine as being more defensive, more “late game” threats you have to deal with only if you try to break into the temples or noble palaces to get your loot.

Why do some units have a combat value of zero?
For slingers (after they launch their volley), archers in enclosed spaces, and standard militia. The idea is that they are still present in the fight, but they don't provide any strength to their side in the scuffle, which is implied to be at least in large part a melee. They don't provide combat value directly but indirectly they do, in the sense that when you kill a large number of enemy troops among the slain will be the archers instead of more valuable units.

Sun Priestesses
In short; you can either encounter them alone (combat value of one, has a 1 in 6 chance to wound all of your barbarians with fire damage) or riding on a Komodo beast (total combat value of 3, 1 in 6 chance to wound all of your barbarians with fire damage). They are meant to be magically powerful but are not sturdy- the seemingly useless items like javelins in the shop are to be used against targets like this.

Yak Kings & Temple Guards
These characters are more meant to be recurring rivals or powerful foes, though not as powerful as a Sun Priestess riding her Komodo beast. I imagine Yak Kings hunting the party down every few days as long as they are in their lands, recruiting militia and local commoners as slingers to help them fight the invaders, being like a rival. I also imagine Temple Guards appearing in pairs. Temple Guards are quite powerful individually, but you probably won't see a big army of them, so their combat values will probably be nearly the same as the party. Cannibal Giants with war-paint are your most powerful single force, and they are stronger then the temple guards individually by one half a point.

What's up with Half combat values?
Half combat values are a nice break point. I consider them still useful, you could think of them as “as good as a normal soldier to have, but you can't mass them as well.” Consider a battle where the party has 4 barbarians and a pygmy or shaman, that means they have a combat value of 4.5- you'd round this up to 5. If the enemy force has a combat value of 4, then that means the enemy has a -1 disadvantage to the combat roll, same as though you had a combat value total of 5. But if you had two pygmies or shamans, you would have a combat value of 5 anyway, and the math works out the same. They're tiebreakers, but not powerful individually.

Hey there, hope you liked this game. It was originally going to be a 40 min settings project, based on that first picture I posted, but it quickly spiraled into its own thing. The idea here was to make a setting based on the picture; I instantly thought of icy barbarians looking at a sunny, majestic empire filled with life and being jealous about it. Then I thought of having a ruleset where the players were moreso obviously the “bad guys”, but as it was developed it kind of branched out. While the Nice People are clearly nice, you'd almost certainly want to live there instead of in Dickhead Barbarian land, the Nice People were given a few antagonistic elements, like the weird tribal yak king demihumans in an otherwise all-human game world, and their obsession with giant reptiles and snakes. It's an evil campaign that isn't supposed to be totally cartoonish.

The game was very Conan inspired, with races of humans being given specific detail and traits, especially in regards to size and strength. I wanted the player characters to feel like, while maybe the bad guys, you are the SCARY bad guys. You aren't goblins, you're barbarians who are fighting the soft and decadent empire. But in the places of magic and their champions, these imperials are superior to your own forces. The Sun Priestess for example is just better in every way to one of your shamans; more powerful magic with less drawbacks and restrictions for the most part, but she is surrounded by cowardly milita and an untamable giant lizard.

So anyway, in short, Dickhead Barbarians became a weird, somewhat unique game. I felt like I had taken this blog too far in the direction of just being D&D/DIY/OSR homebrew and material. I've always wanted to have more games; I've always loved making games, even one off little projects with rules and settings combined. For this reason, I ended up really liking what happened to Dickhead Barbarians and now that it is finished I hope you did as well.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

8 Cleric Spells

Red Door to the Afterlife - 3rd level
This magic spell can only be cast in a tomb or underground chamber. The Cleric must be the Cleric of a God of Death, celestial eternity, the afterlife, a mortician, or other religion that helps ferry souls to the next life after this one.

The spell is cast on a wall where a red stained door appears. It is drawn on the wall made of paint and chalk; it is not real. Any pickax or water can wash away or destroy the ink, ending the spell. The magic of this spell is that anyone, when alone in this room, may open the red doors and enter the next life. Nobody knows what happens to those who do this, nor has anyone remaining in our world been able to see what is on the other side of the door.

Essentially, this spell allows a character or being to end their life painlessly, and leave our realm. If the character is a Cleric or an exalted hero of the highest order with unfinished business, there is a character level in 10 chance they can return as a spirit to give a single act or message of guidance to their fellows.

[2] Thunderbolt - 2nd level
This spell can be cast by a Cleric of Thunder or Sky-God. The Cleric summons up energies from heaven into their hand, and creates a lightning bolt. They can then throw it at any target they see, and the bolt deals 3d8 + caster level in damage. If the target saves, half damage.

This spell is very powerful, especially for how early a Cleric may cast it. However, conjuring the power of the Gods is taxing on their frame. Whenever they use this spell, the veins in the hand they used to cast it turn bright red and irritated, causing permanent stiffness and pain in that joint which gets worse each time it is cast. The Cleric loses -1d2 Dexterity permanently for each casting of this spell.

[3] Shadowless - 1st level
This spell can be cast by any Cleric, except a Cleric of a God of Shadows or Darkness. The Cleric no longer casts a shadow for that day, gaining +1 to stealth rolls, and is indicative of a certain inner light. This also applies to the Cleric metaphorically- they get +2 to saves against fear, shadow magic, inner-demons, and saves vs death.

This spell can also be reversed, or cast by a Cleric of opposite alignment. The spell instead makes the Cleric's shadow darker and longer, as though illuminated by a deeper light. Anyone within this shadow saves at -2 to the Cleric's spells.

[4] Earth-Sink - 3rd level
Can be cast by a Cleric of a God of the Earth, Stone, or Underworld. The Cleric looks at one target, who sinks into the ground. If the target is mounted, it affects their mount as well. This effect cannot be resisted nor can any amount of strength or giant-strength pull themselves out of the hole. After 2d6 turns, they will automatically be freed. If the Cleric serves an evil or bloodthirsty god, then the being targeted by this spell will keep sinking instead and be crushed to death in 2d6 turns. This magic can only be escaped by praying to a counter god or by being able to cast a flight or levitation spell.

[5] Blinding Dust - 1st level
This spell can be cast by any Cleric. The Cleric throws dust in the eyes of their enemy, and their God blinds the enemies for 1d6+1 rounds.

[6] Elemental Greatness - 4th level
This spell can be cast by a Cleric of corresponding elemental affinity; so a Cleric of a Fire God could cast this spell with a fire focus. Clerics that serve Monotheistic entities can cast this spell in any form they wish, but must spend twice as long preparing and researching this spell due to the cosmic vastness of their deity's portfolio.

This spell allows the Cleric to become a greater elemental “force” opposite another force. For example, if a great typhoon wind-dragon was whipping up a massive storm, then the Cleric could become an even greater storm and knock the smaller one away. If a fearsome demon spit fire so hot it melted iron, then the Cleric could spit fire so hot its melts stone and gemstones too. If used against a creature closely tied with an element, the Cleric can convert them to their religion by surpassing them.

[7] Spolia Opima - 4th level
This spell can be cast by nature priests or druids, as well as those Clerics who follow Gods of War. This spell requires the caster to decorate a tree with the armor, weapons, clothing, spellbooks, battle standards and so forth of a defeated powerful enemy. In this case, a powerful enemy is something with an HD equal or greater then the Cleric, or something with a significant power advantage over the player characters in some fashion. The Cleric can only cast this spell once per level; meaning once it is cast, they must level up to cast it again.

This spell has two major effects. The first is that it provides a rush of joy and euphoria for the caster and his entourage. All present during the battles or missions that won the armor and gear of the defeated opponent feel a great sense of elation. They are empowered by the gear and can roll on any stat; if they roll over the stat, they get +1 to that stat. If they roll under the stat, they get +1 maximum hit points.

The second effect of this spell involves the tree used to cast it. The magic of the spell and the approval of the God means that the tree is blessed too. Any tree spirits, dryads, or elves that are connected to that tree are granted +1 HD and are satisfied; if the tree spirit is angry or aggressive it is made dormant for a period of 2d6+2 years. This spell can be used to quiet raging spirits, but obviously it will make the spirit more powerful in the long run.

As a final effect, the armor and gear put into the branches of the tree becomes cursed and unusable. It is obviously cursed; becoming scarred and rusted and twisted within the branches. If someone forces it out of the tree and tries to wear it, they will find it bound to their body and unable to be removed without divine assistance or strong magic to lift the curse. Each morning they wake up, they will find branches and fresh leaves shooting from their flesh; they wake up each morning taking 1d4 hit points of damage from the tree's growth inside of them.

[8] Fed Stones - 1st level
This spell can be cast by Clerics worshiping the Gods of the Hearth, Healing, Childbirth, or Life in general. The Cleric feeds a statue, carving, golem, or gargoyle food from a bowl and spoon, much like one would feed a baby. If the entity is active or aggressive, the Cleric must roll a reaction check to keep it calm long enough to feed it.

Upon being fed, the entity is healed by 1d6 hit points; as most Cleric spells can't heal nonliving things, this method is one to restore a crumbling, ancient sculpture. Active inanimate objects will be very grateful at being fed, and if the Cleric's level is equal to their HD or higher, they will gladly go to the Cleric's church and sit in a graveyard or on a monastery tower to be at peace. They may also come to life to defend the church if it is under attack.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Vagueposting- Elegance in Simplicity & Zombies

I'll put on my flannel shirt and thick rimmed glasses now and admit to being a hipster. I liked zombies BEFORE they were cool. That's a bit disingenuous- Zombies were always cool. While cool and popular since before I was even born with the Romero movies, Zombies had a big explosion of popularity in the early 2000s with rise of The Walking Dead and other zombie media. This meant a lot of zombie video games too, and zombies kind of got repetitive. People had a falling out with zombies- but I didn't. I wasn't the type to get sick of them so easily, I still liked them. Without going to into the culture around zombie hype or disinterest; I think we're in the cool off period. People are no longer raving against zombies, pretty soon we may very well see a resurgence.

However,I'll admit that I liked zombies for the weird zombies. Dead Space, Left 4 Dead, and a few others. The Thing-esque necromorphs are a very cool take on zombies, as well as having mutant zombies with special powers ala Left 4 Dead. I always liked these because they made zombies varied and difficult opponents, regardless of how they appeared. But over the years, exactly one piece of zombie media has truly captured the spirit of zombies for me.

And it's this.

That's right. Death Road to Canada has the best zombies in any game I've played, despite the fact that all the zombies in that game are almost all the exact same. They may have slightly different speeds, aggression levels, or hit points (or maybe just your damage is randomized, which may be more likely), but there are no special zombies. There may be some rare or special encounter with a unique infected zombie I haven't seen, but I've beaten the game 2-3 times and played a bunch of runs where I died, trying lots of different survivors and random events, and I've never seen it. So I think it's safe to say that all the zombies are pretty much all the same.

But despite this, I love them. They're my favorite zombies. I think there are three main reasons for this. The first is their design. They are just kind of generic zombies, but they kind of aren't. They have these great putrid skin tones, with some great open mouths and disgusting features that only pixel art games can give justice with lots of randomization. But they have this great design in how they amble around.

Truthfully the zombies in this game suck. They're weak, especially individually. But you aren't really fighting them if you can help it. The zombies take up just enough space and are just aware enough of your presence that they are a nuisance. They barely seem to even notice you; if the zombie hoard status is “sluggish” then they don't even notice you unless you hit one a few times to even wake up to your presence. They get in your way, and you'll bat them out of the way with one or two strikes of your melee weapon. Just enough to kill that one zombie or knock them down. Now during the night time, or during special hoard sections, or depending on how angry the “hoard” is, the zombies will be more or less aware. I love how they amble around, and if you start shooting off your gun, they'll start being drawn towards you. When you get near them, little hand sprites appear that show they're reaching towards you, it's great- and since this is a 2d game you can have truly huge hoards attacking you sometimes.

Secondly, I love the mechanics of the game built around them. Despite the game only really having one enemy type, it never really gets old. The zombies don't really do “attacks” to hurt you in Death Road, instead it's just if you spend too much time close to one. If you get close to a zombie, little symbols like !@# appear above your head, as if your character is swearing, and if you spend too long in that state you'll take damage. This damage will not happen if you move away quick enough, giving you incentive to sidle right past a zombie or two, but if you're in the middle of a hoard they'll quickly damage you. It's just enough time to subconsciously move out of the way, but not enough to switch weapons and do a complex “plan” if you're in the middle of a huge hoard. It feels just perfectly timed. In addition to this; using melee weapons in the game is preferable since they don't run out of ammo of course and they make less noise then guns; but swinging in melee is slow and your characters will get tired depending on their stats. If a character is tired and sweating, it will take them longer and longer to prepare a swing. Your NPC followers will do a dance with you, moving close to strike a zombie and then moving back with you. It creates this great spacing game; but you quickly run out of space. It gives the perfect sensation of being trapped by a zombie hoard which is closing in faster then you can kill them. You stop thinking about killing the zombies and instead about finding the thinnest part of the circle growing around you; the part where you start swinging and finding a risky moment to slip through- until your low health ally is killed. But just like in horror movie fashion, they are eaten alive while the rest of the group can run past and avoid the zombies. This is a great mechanic for any game like this- you could even sacrifice your allies on purpose to do this if you wanted.

Finally; I think the third and final reason I like the zombies in this game is because they ARE generic. They aren't special individually. There's nothing to watch out for, and as I said I believe they just all have the same stats. They aren't interesting as individuals, at all. That's not the point. There's a certain elegance in every zombie in the game being the same; all being kind of weak and slow that ramp up depending on how far along in the game you are, if you're defending from a zombie hoard and so on- the zombies in this game feel like zombies should feel. They can be felt like a flood or on obstacle, they are relatively predictable, but the game thrives on putting you in situations where you are stretched to your limit no matter how much skill you have. I've played it enough times now that I can pretty easily range most zombies, but when a big hoard comes you need to get the hell out of the way or else you will get eaten. It's great; even a powerful weapon like a shotgun or chainsaw can't save you if you make a bad decision or get totally trapped. I'll admit- I've gotten good enough at this game I've beaten it a few times and can avoid zombies, but I still fear going into those damn sewers.

This is the reason why, for my own zombie-apocalypse ideas, I like the idea of all the zombies being the same. As much as "special infected" give flavor and new dimensions to combat or survival, the concept of each member of the undead hoard being just another zombie, weak individually but together a force of nature, grants a kind of purity to the whole thing.

Anyway, this post ended up being a lot more zombie focused then intended, but I just liked to post something relating to a design philosophy which I feel a lot of people into DIY, Tabletop, or OSR like. The sort of simple, yet deep. There's an elegance in the generic, the vanilla, the white bread. Like how swords, axes, maces are all just d6 damage, or the feeling of an oldschool game where all hit dice are d6 regardless of your class. I like that kind of thing from time to time, it gives a feeling of making a lot with nothing, and Death Road to Canada fills that desire when it comes to zombies, at the very least.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Coward

Ho! Hark my men, hear what our “lord” has said.
He calls after us, “coward!”, and still wishes me dead.
I'll tell him what for, give him my piece,
Upon that ridge, It will anger him at least.

Listen hear! Oh iron lord,
You shout at us, for we draw our cords,
Instead of meet you on battlefield, cleat and lead,
We both know that we'll simply wind up dead.

So yes, on your steed and with your band,
You have the advantage, Hoist your banner grand.
With torturous barb, and cruelest lance,
the peasants you trod cannot stop your advance.

But where do you think that gold was accrued?
Stolen from rightful owner, church, and orphanage stew!
Your army, your sword; stolen from honest man's plow.
So tell me, who do you think the coward is now?

So go on, iron lord, scream into the night.

Chase after us, us dogs, conjurers of fright.
But we know you'll have no rest under moon and sun,
As long as you chase us, for sleep you'll have none.

Watch your back, iron lord, your men only honor coin,

While we grow; all of ours freely join.
You'll jump at shadows, as long as you chase,
You're lord of rats and pigs and all traitorous race.

Goodbye iron lord, consider this the last.

You shan't hear my voice again, that time has past.
Next time you're alone, without a single friend,
Ask yourself; “Will that coward bring me my end?"

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Mechanics in Mechanics (Silence, Poison, Level Drain)


If you are under the effects of a Silence spell, you cannot cast spells. This is because you make no noise, and speaking is required to cast a magical spell. But the rest of your body makes no noise either, and as such you are now silent. Your footfalls are silent. You move like a silent film, creepy and weightless. You can only “speak” through pantomime, but you gain a great bonus to your stealth abilities. Either roll with advantage while sneaking or treat the Rogue skill of “move silently” at 100%

Ring of Silence
Ego- 3

If you wear this ring, you are silenced. You cannot speak or make any noise, though you do become incredibly stealthy. If your level + charisma moidifer is under this item's Ego score, it is cursed when you put it on and you cannot take it off without a curse removal spell or a Sage to cure it.


Everyone knows what poison does. It slowly drains your hit points unless you take an antidote, or outright kills you if it's a save vs death poison. As many people have stated, animals like snakes and spiders aren't technically poisonous, they are venomous, but the effect is called poison when it deals damage to you either way. But what if being bitten by something venomous makes you poisonous?

If an enemy bites you while you are suffering from a poison (made your save vs death poison less then one turn ago, OR you are suffering from a damage over time poison that has not yet been nullifed), the enemy who bit you must make a save vs poison or also be poisoned from tasting your infected blood. They get a +2 to the save for the second hand effect and weakening of the poison from it being in your blood, but if they fail the save they suffer from the same damage and effect the poison dealt to you. This means that getting poisoned and wading into battle with no armor against animals or monsters that perform bite attacks may not exactly be a valid tactic, but it could deal some damage back to your foes. Also, a character who is immune to poison may or may not be able to spread poison in this way; at the very least a character with an 18 Constitution may decide to drink some minor poison before fighting some blood sucking vampire-bats or something.

Level Drain = Unholy

In some games and settings, leveling up may literally be equivalent to gaining some god of godly Numen. Perhaps experience points are some kind of codified life energy, or literally gaining in some divine tract; as in some games the end-game for player characters may be to ascend to Godhood.

However, it could be thought that the concept of undead level drain (who coincidentally are also the enemies of the Gods, at least the Good Gods in most fantasy settings) is similar to being drained of this holy presence. But it could even be thought of as a form of infectious evil or UN-divinity. In the same way a man with a fever can touch you and you can feel just a fraction of his heat, a mortal who is drained of their levels can be anathema to the divine. You are still suffering more then the divine, but there is always the taint.

If you are suffering from at least one level of level drain, you can desecrate alters or holy items. The chance of success is X in 6, where X is the number of levels drained. It could be said that being level drained acts as a shield against the divine; perhaps even the followers of Gods you fight against will fail their smiting spells or lose their blessings if you touch them. You are like the opposite of clerical magic. Of course, evil gods who work with the undead maybe are either unaffected by this property, (such as their “numen” or godly essence is the opposite of life, in a sense, so level drain or negative energy is their primary energy?) or it is just that mortals who are highly level drained can desecrate and act as black holes for holy energy. There is no guarantee that offending the Gods in this manner will get you banished from their temples; or perhaps those suffering from one or more levels of level drain can be turned as undead; all the unclean ones are banished, even those who are still alive.

Friday, October 16, 2020

6 World-Wide Enchantments

[1] Stolen Strength
This spell must be cast by a very powerful Sorcerer. Typically it is cast with ritual reagents including the blood of giants, magical stones, and powdered flesh of rare and exotic species to name a few. Once the spell is cast, the “magic” must be bound in an object or location that relates to imbibing food or drink. All who drink at that table or drink from that chalice restore damage to their Strength score, and over the course of each meal or feast you will gain an additional point of Strength.

If the eating continues; treat those who use this spell as with “Giant Strength”, meaning they win all Strength contests against those without Giant Strength, and treat their modifier as a +5 for anything not involving other giant or supernaturally strong creatures. Those blessed by the spell can eventually bend steel, divert rivers, and crush boulders into dust with their fingers.

All across the world; this spell steals strength to give it to those who partake. Young men grow short and weaker then their fathers. Giants pant and sweat under their own weight. The great beasts of the wild become afraid of man; unable to drag their victims off their horses or into the rivers. This stolen strength flows to the feasters and grants them greater and greater power. The effects are minor for those who only use this spell to empower themselves or their retinue, but the longer it is active and the more people eat from that table to receive its benefits, the more devastating this becomes for the average folk and even the natural world until it is ended.

[2] Bloody Hand of Injustice
In order to complete the long and arduous process to cast this spell, the caster must organize a ritual of great slaughter where at least 33 virgins and 66 animal sacrifices are made, invoked to the dark God known as Canor.

Canor appears as a bloody severed hand with pure black flesh, a silver stake through the palm, and an eyeball topping one finger. It takes interest in those who commit great Injustice, and rewards their sacrifice with its powerful boon.

Once the ritual is complete, the spellcaster becomes totally immune to secular justice. All over the world, authority figures find themselves stripped of their ability to do anything about them. This power is “worldwide” because it affects everyone, even authority figures who have no knowledge of the spellcaster, but will find it impossible to punish them even after they commit another crime against them. The power of this enchantment increases with higher levels of authority- local lords and militia men will find themselves stalling and unable to raise arms against the injust one, but may still be able to spread the word or find a second hand way to harm them, such as leading monsters to their lair. Kings and High Nobles lose any ability at all to do anything about the person in question; they cannot rally armies or demand their imprisonment, they can't tax them in lieu of a formal fine, nor can they even exile or banish them. The orders simply can't carry down the chain of command.

Those not involved with authority, such as hapless adventurers and outlaws, are not affected by this power. If they are the ones to kill or stop the spellcaster of this spell however, they will be branded as outlaws for attacking them. This happens regardless of if everyone involved knows about the spell and is actively working against it; the Dark God who controls it is more powerful then mere men. Religious authorities and paladins are immune to this spell entirely, which is why they are so often trusted to deal with the forces of dark magic.

[3] Utopian Sky-Streak
This spell requires a good hearted mage to be cast, and many gemstones of all the colors of the rainbow. The magic user must stand on a sacred cliff, throwing the gems into the air and watching them turn into colorful streaks of light across the sky. The more gems they use for this spell, the more likely it is to stick and the more powerful its effects are.

Every so often, a sky-streak of color will pass over a town, village, or countryside. People will feel an innate sense of luck, happiness, and comradire with each other even if they didn't see the streak. The magical streak is like a washed-out rainbow sometimes hard to see across a bright blue sky, but it is essentially a bringer of fortune. Every intelligent being will be better off having the streak fly over their lands, and the streaks often bring about worshiping cargo-cults that praise them. These sky-streaks continue on forever, but only rarely occur in one place at one time. The more times this spell is cast, the more commonly the streaks appear.

There is also a weakness to this spell; the capture spell. If an opposing or greedy magician makes a magic clay pot and paints the interior black while leaving it outside and a Sky-Streak passes overhead, it will mistake the pot as a sad, dark place that needs its touch. It will fly inside the pot and become trapped as the lid falls on top. Then, the mage can easily transform the streak back into a portion of the gemstones used to cast it, plus a portion of all the money given to wishing wells and shrines used to wish for good wishes.

[4] Atmosphere of Alloy
This spell is anathema for most living things, and its continued existence will destroy all life as we know it in the world. As such, orders of holy warriors who battle against inanimate intelligences, automatons, and societies of golems who have broken free from their masters. The spell's effects begin at a local level, killing or converting all wildlife and intelligent beings, and slowly spreads as the spell caster feeds it. Most spells on this list can be ended by killing the magic user who cast the spell, as their numen is directly what feeds the enchantment.

This spell gives a coppery tint to the air, and makes the sky burn brilliant colors at dawn and dusk in the local area. Water starts to shine oddly and taste metallic. This spell is changing the world into one of metals, stone, and mercury. Living trees in the area begin to so sicken and die, but they don't fall over and instead stay rooted in the ground as their bark turns to iron. Animals slow down and starve as plant life falls apart, many grazing beasts get cuts on their legs and stomachs and die from them from the grass that has gotten as sharp as swords. Most animals will eventually either freeze in place on death, slowly becoming a crumbling, rusting metal sculpture in the rain, or they will break down and their animal souls will turn to elementals; a lesser form of life spiritually but a better survivor in the toxic new world. Humans are not safe from this effect; entire towns are locked in place in the middle of the last busy day they could have. The power of this spell is driven by the air; it slowly permeates matter, but the air and the sky is always first to change, and wearing breathing masks and using magic fans can help keep the worse of the effects of breathing the metal air away from you.

As this spell is fed, it has a feedback loop. The metal and alloyed creatures and beings it makes create more magical energy aligned with the caster's wish to convert all to unliving matter, and as such it feeds the spell more and more. It grows larger, invading nearby lands with heavy fog and miasma that smells of sulpher in the deepest valleys. Those on the tops of mountains may forever be safe from the spell, and it can hardly cross oceans without intervention, but this spell could still easily wipe out all life if not taken care of quickly.

Some beings are not alive, but have aspirations to control the world themselves or simply to live at peace from the chaos of living beings. Ancient golems thousands of years old may tire of humans giving them orders, and as such, seek to serve those who may cast this spell to make the world quiet and sterile. Some entire races of beings may already be partially living metal or clay; using this spell might sicken a part of them or may only help their adaptation along into being totally lifeless beings, immune to the weaknesses of normal flesh.

[5] Dungeon Breathe
Ancient rites of chaos magicians. This spell only exists in fantasy worlds where “dungeons” and the “mythic underworld” are close in connection. All over the world, the entrances to caves, crypts, and dungeons start to supernaturally develop air currents and low murmering sounds that sounds like distant breathing, as though the Earth itself is alive. Every day, the dungeons will exhale monsters into the world, and inhale light and nature. As time goes on, this powerful magic spell will start to make the world into a more magical, though dangerous place, where as dungeons will start to become more peaceful and placid, but only just.

The nightmare logic of a dungeon and the peaceful order of the surface world will mix together into a brackish mixture which, at its conclusion, will mean as above so below. Dungeons develop naturalistic fauna and are safer, the surface develops new creatures and animals that are more aggressive and dangerous, with powerful artifacts and traps spontaneously generating even in natural places and orderly structures. The world becomes a hexcrawl.

[6] Primitive Presence
This spell must be cast in a magical glade or hot spring in a natural place, untouched by human hands. This spell cannot be ended by slaying the caster, but only be destroying this place of natural beauty or cast the dispelling magic here and only here.

All around the world, tools of iron and steel begin to decay. They rust and fall apart. Armor and weapons all start to suffer, and technology becomes incredibly unreliable and decays very fast. Coinage starts to tarnish and paper money is shredded. Books are hit very hard as well, causing havoc to all magical practitioners except those who continue the old oral traditions. Even domesticated animals feel the effects- still changed from how they were in the ancient days but more wild and rugged. All around the world, civilization starts to fall back from the forces of nature, and people are slowly but surely forced to return to a more primitive lifestyle of hunting and gathering in nomadic tribes. These changes do not happen all at once; it could take five generations for the last bastions of the civilized world to crumble away to natural savegery.

This spell grants power to those races who have little to benefit from technology, or to those who have found other ways to be advanced and powerful. Bronze is also largely unaffected, meaning much of the world will continue on with armors and weapons made of bronze and lesser metals. Once the world has 'reset' itself to a point of naturalism, the spell wears off and people can begin to create systems of writing and farming again. It is believed that throughout history, this spell was cast multiple times, which is what has caused the rise and fall of so many ancient civilizations.