Saturday, January 30, 2021

Heaven's Riders

Catholic priests tirelessly feeding the poor and downtrodden. Police officers and soldiers fallen in the line of duty. Chivalric knights fighting for justice. Dogs jumping into burning buildings to save their masters. What do all these people have in common? They are considered heroes. And most also consider they have a one way ticket to heaven.

But people often criticize theology. The concept that a heaven and a hell can exist at the same time is a bit paradoxical. How could you be truly happy in heaven while there are souls suffering in hell, especially for people as righteous as these?

Ask any preacher or pastor. What happens to unbaptized children? They'll swear up and down that they go to heaven, even if they haven't accepted Jesus. Or even been a good person- they're babies after all! But that's not how it actually works. Why do you think evil satanists sacrifice children and virgins to the devil? Because it sends them straight to hell, even people who have committed no sin. What about Catholics who die just before confession- do they go to hell too, just for bad timing? What about Atheists, swayed by scientific reasoning but were otherwise good people- do they go to hell forever too? Is this really how God's love should work?

The truth is that the battle between good and evil is a battle. It's not something God can just sit back lazily and let it sort itself out. Battles need soldiers.

The Nature of Heaven
When people die and go to heaven, they are reborn in an ageless, flawless, perfect body. Imagine if you actually exercised and slept the amount that physicians recommend. Imagine if you did all that almond milk detox yoga shit. Imagine if you ate and drank nothing but the purest, freshest most natural ingredients. Imagine if you grew up free from stress or carcinogenic chemicals. That flawless, perfect body in heaven is that body. It's the body you would have had on Earth, if life wasn't so messy and full of unknowns.

This perfect body is ageless. You live in heaven with it until judgment day, when God's children will retake the Earth from Satan, and live on it peacefully forever. This perfect body, however, is irreplaceable. You only get one. More importantly, it is still human. Anything that can kill a human can kill this body. Of course, it is very strong, healthy, and eternally young- but it can die. So there is a risk that, if taken out of heaven, you can “die” again. And once that body dies, you'll be stuck as a spirit, never able to reclaim the Earth as a chosen one of God. Never able to enjoy the pleasures of sex or food ever again- never able to bear children and help repopulate the world after the rapture.

This is the risk that the Heaven's Riders must take, to save the souls of the innocent from Satan.

Heaven's Riders
These are the souls of heroes- who cannot sit idly by and let the souls of innocents suffer. They fight back against evil in the only way a mortal soul can- by stealing them back. Remember- God will win the fight in Good against Evil. But the assumption that he will win easily, handily, or constantly is a human invention. It is a feel-good belief, not a factual one. Remember, a third of all angels defected with Lucifer. The forces of hell are powerful- especially compared to a poor human.

Using the power of Heaven, these brave men and women ride “horses” made of angelic metal and powered by prayer. They cannot reappear on Earth- they're still dead already. But they can risk their new, one-and-only true body in battle against the devil. They ride down from Heaven, through the twisting gates of purgatory and the veil, through the realms of the haunting, down past limbo, and then into the fires of hell. Some of them practice on the easier souls- the slip ups who tumble just down to the realms between heaven and hell. These are the easy saves, a good way to get your feet wet and practice with your awesome machine. But when it comes to actually raiding Hell, the training wheels come off and you'd better be ready.

They fly past a soul, holding out their hands and grasping it, snapping them from the clutches of damnation. Skidding over rocks at breakneck speeds- only the reaction speed of a perfect, flawless body and eyes that can see distant valleys could possible pilot this machine. Once the victim is in tow, they must return them to heaven. Do you think demons just let this shit fly? No way. They return in hot pursuit- out of hell, up limbo, through the realms of haunting, past the veil, up through the twisting gates of purgatory- and stop short right at the pearly gates of Heaven. They can't enter, of course, so once you return the soul to heaven, you're safe.

So it's a race on the way back too, and these devils are mean. They'll fire at you with advanced and primitive weapons, blazed with hell fire. They'll try to crash your ride, or even just steal the soul back with bloody chains of evil. If they corner you, you'll die again, and lose your true body for good. The Riders don't bring weapons with them- it's not in God's plan for mortals to destroy evil in that way, and besides, anything you bring along would just weigh you down and make it impossible to escape, especially with a soul in tow.

Of course, everyone knows God will win in the end. Peace on Earth will be restored one day, the wicked souls punished, demons banished to the abyss, and all the innocent will rejoice. But when will that day come? Nobody in heaven knows- not even the angels will say. How long will innocents suffer Satan's wrath? How long will unbaptized babies and tribal people born before the revelations of Christ suffer from hellfire? Even one day of torture would be too much- what about years? Centuries? Millennia? Any amount is an injustice. That is why we ride.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

[Class] Destructive Star Physician

This class's name was randomly generated by this random generator, which I was smitten by.

Destructive Star Physician
Max AC- 13 / Minimum Hit-Points- 4

You are a doctor, but not just any doctor. You know about the Others, the star children, the Great Old Ones. To you, human biology, and indeed the biology of any living creature, is objectively inferior to the biology of these otherworldly astral beings. As much as possible, you want to stretch the limits of what a living thing can be. You hurt people pretty much as much as you help them.

You are a healer first and foremost, and can heal people using first aid and medical items. You can use two healing items in a downtime turn (10 minute period) at level 3, three healing items at level 6, and four healing items at level 9. Healing dice are split up among multiple patients and/or damage types.

Your knowledge of anatomy also grants you a bonus to combat. You gain +1 damage on hit with all attacks at levels 4 and 8.

While you are a doctor and physician, your main goal lies in the ascension of raw, mundane flesh into that of the star beings and others beyond. Starting at level 2, you may experiment on any willing (or unconscious) party member. You may only experiment once per level, but can experiment on the same party member multiple times every time you level up, if you want to make a freakshow. 

At levels 2 thru 4, roll a d4 on the table below.
At levels 5 thru 7, roll a d6 on the table below.
At levels 8 and 9, roll a d8 on the table below.
At level 10 and above, roll a d10 on the table, or pick the result if you're within your laboratory.

Star-Physician Experiment Table
The Doctor loses 1d3 Wisdom, the Patient loses 1d6 Charisma or goes partially insane.
[2] Patient takes 1d8 points of acid damage. This patient cannot roll this result a second time.
[3] Patient gains 1d3 points to a random physical stat (Str, Dex, Con) but loses -1d6x10% of their remaining life expectancy.
[4] Patient is healed from all wounds, and gains +2 permanent maximum HP. The patient is also now host to several alien parasites; they must eat an extra ration per day.
[5] Patient is immune to all earthly diseases and ghoul paralysis. However, they must save vs death if struck with a silver weapon.
[6] Patient rolls on a mutation table. If the mutation does not have any beneficial effects, reroll.
[7] Doctor has removed an important organ from the Patient- heart, lungs, or pancreas. The patient gets +2 to all saving throws, but if the organ is destroyed outside of their body they will die.
[8] Patient now has a poisonous bite that deals 1d6 damage on a failed save. If rolled a again, it is now poison spit. If rolled again, poisonous blood.
[9] Roll a random Damage Type (1d8 for damage types here) OR a random element. The patient now takes half damage from that damage type. The Patient is also now an Other and does not "detect" as their original race or type of being.
[10] Patient is now ageless, and appears stuck at whatever age they were when this experiment took place. The patient also has a strange symbol tattoo'd on their body, and their mind is filled with a Terrible Knowledge.

At 10th level, you become an Astral Healer and can astral project your consciousness at will. This allows you to seek things and see the unseen, but every time you do the DM will add +1d6% to a DOOM tracker hidden from you. Every time you astrally project, there is a d% chance your spirit will be taken by something out there and your body will die without a soul.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

20 Monster Modifiers

If you want to spruce up some random monster encounters, roll on this table. Make sure to mention how these monsters look different or unique to those of their ilk. Add the word of the modifier to the front of the monster type. So if you roll a [6] for Trolls, they are now “Jeweled Trolls”.

Unless otherwise stated, the bonus is for every member of the pack of monsters encountered.

20 Monster Modifiers –
Roll d20
[1] Bewitched- Commanded by a powerful sorcerer or witch. They may carry symbols of the witch's power, like wicker men, or may have sticks or bones wrapped in their hair or fur. Scorched symbols around the lips or eyes to bind them to the sorcerer is also common.

Bewitched- The first time these monsters fail their morale check, they are stunned for one round as the witch's dark magic takes over their minds and behavior. Then, they continue fighting.

[2] Infested- These monsters are physical hosts for horrible little creatures. Flesh eating maggots, swarms of killer wasps, spider eggs bursting from every wound. They creatures outwardly showed signs of infestation, and may be suicidal or constantly scratch themselves. If these creatures are intelligent, they probably are willing hosts belonging to an evil cult.

Infested- Upon death, each monster releases 1d4 swarmers. These are 1 HD bugs with weak attacks and minor, if any, special abilities like buzzing flight that temporarily deafens or weak poison.

[3] Empowered- The monsters are magically charged, exemplars of their kind, blessed by the dark gods, or have drunk from the spring of life. They may have a glowing aura, or seem especially large and beautiful for whatever kind of thing they are.

Empowered- All monsters in this group have +1 HD, +1 chance to hit, and their spells are cast as though they are one level higher. They're no joke.

[4] Toxic- These creatures are halfway digested or fused with horrible corrosive acids which seeps from their clammy skin. They may be unformed alchemical creations, or summoned from a realm more toxic and spiritually lesser then this one.

Toxic- Immune to acid damage. Corrode your armor when they roll a 20 to hit and corrode your weapon if you roll a 1 on your attack to hit them.

[5] Cornered- They've been backed into a corner. Not necessarily literally- they may be starving, hiding from the law, infected with rabies; anything that makes a man or beast desperate.

Cornered- Add +1 to their morale score. They deal +2 damage on a hit. Use a HD one size smaller to roll their hit points.

[6] Jeweled- These creatures are studded with all sorts of jewels and gems. For intelligent creatures, they are heavily pierced and have gold or silver body paint. For unintelligent monsters, they have the jewels embedded or growing in their skin naturally.

Jeweled- These monsters get +2 to all saves and AC. Triple the result when they are looted.

[7] Draining- These monsters are in a lesser state of undead-hood, or are “holes” for energy. Perhaps they've been contaminated from energies or sucked dry of vital energies from beings beyond. If these creatures are undead, consider increasing their HD by one as they are bolstered by its dark power.

Draining- Immune to negative energy/death spells. Save or have a level drained if they roll max damage on a hit against your character. You can turn them, as though they were Undead of their HD.

[8] Holy- Someone or something has blessed these. Perhaps they are the servants of an arrogant godling, or blessed by an evil high priest. Evil creatures may be rewarded with power if they perform many evil sins, and good or neutral creatures may be rewarded for their role in perpetuating the Dharma and cycle of rebirth.

Holy- Increase maximum Hit Points by +3. One monster may heal another monster in its pack for 2d6 hit points, once per day. Which monster? The holiest one, of course.

[9] Illusionary- These monsters are either totally illusionary, or are living qualia. They give no outwardly signs of being illusions, other then how suddenly they appear when encountered.

Illusionary- They are fictional and can only be hurt by magic weapons.

If any character suspects and calls out that they are illusions- everyone can roll a save to disbelieve. Once disbelieved, they disappear from their sight and you see any wounds and spells they cast are just harming your party members in their minds (they act it out, but nothing is hurting them).

[10] Prehistoric- They look like cave men. Animals have larger fangs and tusks, shaggier coats, and unkempt natural savagery. Intelligent creatures fight with more primitive weapons and have sloped foreheads as though they are ancient, thawed ancestors to whatever kind of monster they are.

Prehistoric- They can shrug off the first mind effecting spell that hits them in combat. Also, they are incredibly physical adapt and can jump and run 50% higher and faster.

[11] Emblazoned- The monsters glow with an orange, proud fire. It does not burn, only tickle the skin with its warmth, and seems like a supernatural flame fed by their passion. Beyond this power, the monsters are proud and cleaner then others of their kind- well groomed and almost regal.

Emblazoned- Monsters get +1 morale and are resistant to fire and take half damage from fire. If they were already resistant, they are now immune. You cannot surprise them, but they cannot surprise you.

[12] Arcane- These monsters have a purple glow, and seem strangely tired to etheric energies and magical places and beings. They have glowing purple, blue, or green sigils on their clothes or skin that are shaped as various runes for spells and magic.

Arcane- Monsters get an extra spell. It isn't per monster, just per group. Pick or roll a spell with a spell level equal to ½ of their HD or less. The spell is cast either from the strongest monster in the group on the first round of combat, or is a sort of passive effect that kicks up when combat begins.

[13] Concealed- These monsters are hidden, or part of an order dedicated to stealth, ambush, and assassination. Unintelligent monsters may be shadowy, partially made of mist, or maybe partially transparent to give them an inherent advantage to stealth.

Concealed- These monsters have a 3 in 6 to surprise, plus any surprise value they already had. Also give them +2 AC vs ranged attacks.

[14] Brutal- Covered in blood, claw marks, scars, pierced, and with bladed and jagged weapons or claws. These monsters look savage and incredibly violent. If they kill anyone, they will desecrate the corpse, even animals or animated-object style construct monsters.

Brutal- Monsters have a critical strike. On an attack roll of 20, they deal double damage. If you manage to escape from them, they will tear into themselves (1d4 damage) or kill one of their own members in a fit of rage.

[15] Vague- Their main form seems made of gray mist. They have a clear outline- the fur on the bears or armor of the orcs is clear to see, but their core body or form seems misty, theoretical, and not well defined.

Vague- Once per combat, the DM can make them do something out of character for this monster type's level of intelligence or tactics (such as wild animals attacking the wizards in the back first) OR can shift one monster's location or state to something else at the end of a round- ie; grappled monster is inexplicably free at the end of the round and up and fighting with no rolls made.

[16] Chilled- These monsters give off a mist from their ice-cold bodies. Their eyes are stained bright blue or pure white, and the air crackles with frost as they move. Animals and monsters with this effect always have pure white fur to show their arctic connection.

Chilled- Monsters have +1 AC and are resistant to ice, taking half damage. If they were already resistant, they are now immune. If they flee combat; chasing them will result in a magical wind deals 1d4 damage to all party members that follow.

[17] Gorgonic- These monsters have glowing snake eyes, and emit the energies of paralysis and petrification. They may be partially reptile or have snakes for hair, tails, or fur. If the creatures have normal human skin, make them covered in scales on patches. If the creature is already a reptile, then it is more subtle what their power is but they need the glowing snake eyes and maybe a toga.

Gorgonic- These creatures can sacrifice a round in combat to attempt to petrify a target. The target must be in the monster's line of sight, then the target gets a save to avoid. On a failed save, they are frozen in place for 1d3 rounds. Multiple creatures can use this ability at once- so if three monsters use it on you and you fail all three saves; petrified for 3d3 rounds. Each monster can use this power once per combat. Additionally; these creatures are resistant to poison and take half damage. If they were already resistant; they are now immune to poison.

[18] Mockery- These monsters don't look real. They're made of plush fabric upon close inspection, or taxidermy. They have button eyes and cotton stuffing.They are mockeries of the real monster. They may still have marks on their feet or behind the ear that show ownership of this specific “toy” monster. They are animated by supernatural energies. They are less aggressive and more childish then other monsters of their same type- this applies to both animal and intelligent monster mockeries, but the intelligent ones are more terrifying. Like they'll say a silly joke as they gut you.

Mockery- Monsters are immune to blunt or bashing damage. They are weak to fire, and take double damage from fire spells and attacks. No fall damage. You get +1 reaction checks against this monster. They can almost absorb you in their grip; monsters can grapple and characters get -2 to escape. After one turn of downtime, they can sow themselves back up and fully heal.

[19] Crystalline- The monsters are made of crystal. They mimic the shape of the normal types of monsters they are, but are made of smooth crystal skin and shimmer with the slightest bit of light. They don't breathe and appear as motionless statues until provoked.

Crystalline- Halve whatever Hit Point totals were rolled for each monster. Totally immune to sharp and piercing damage; only harmed by bludgeoning weapons. Elemental damage and spells deal the minimum possible damage they can roll. (ie; 3d6 damage fireball deals 3 damage.)

[20] Aberrant- These creatures reek of The Other. They don't move or vocalize as they should, as though they are alien intelligence inhabiting these bodies. Four legged animals may roll around on their backs at the same speed they could run with their legs, bipedal humanoids may do a handstand and attack with their legs which hold weapons as hands do, and so on. Utterly insane and nightmarish; these creatures are hard to face down directly.

Aberrant- On a successful hit, monsters deal one point of damage to the victim's Wisdom score, as if their sanity is being harmed. Also, when encountered your hirelings must make a morale check to avoid the urge to flee.

Vagueposting- Optional Ramblings about Medical Items

This is a direct follow-up to The Healing System. This is a Vagueposting article, meaning it is very long, kinda pointless, and was posted separately as to not muddy up the actual rules and mechanics post itself with a long ugly text wall at the end. You have been warned.

Ideas and Digressions about each type of Healing Item
Sharp damage is generic. Bandages are for sure the easiest item to carry around. They're also the easiest to improvise- anyone can just rip up a dirty shirt for a lower healing value. I would also totally let elves and the like make some bandages out of woven grass or fallen leaves. For this reason, I hardly consider them a recovery item at all and would almost just wrap up the both most basic damage types (sharp and blunt) to just be 'freebies' you can heal at any time- splints are just a hard object + a bit of string to make a basic splint so it's also pretty simple. Exchanging time + safety for healing is a good enough trade off without needing to bother with keeping track. However resource management is important in a dungeon crawler, and I like the idea of getting magical bandages at some point. Plus there is also the psychological factor of having regular “bandages” you bring from home being better, healing 1d6, where as improvised bandages healing only 1d3 or 1d4, even if they are pretty much infinite. This means players will feel like they're running out of the more optimal healing even if it doesn't actually change that much for the game.

Blunt damage is pretty similar to broken bones. If you wanted to make it more “realistic”, only allow the use of the limb after its been splinted, but the damage can't be restored with basic items. Another idea is to just fold this into bandages, since it's pretty simple physical damage- you wrap up limbs and the skull when it is heavily bruised or after a nasty fall, as splints don't work as well as well for body parts that aren't straight, long bones like an arm or leg. Splints are also really easy to make in the field, just a bit of rope or a bandage + a random straight hard object on the ground like a bone or even a dulled sword. I also like the idea of using casts in the form of plasters that require water, but few people keep track of water rations. How else could you make a cast? Use wooden bracers for a couple of downtime turns to carve them- requires wood and 1d4 turns of effort but heals 1d8 or more? This is the type of injury that is less easy to explain with the first aid idea of it healing, but could be useful for those with a more rulings-over-rules mindset. Every broken bone or injury could be unique.

Ointments are one of my favorite healing ideas or solutions. You can pretty easily imagine fire, lightning, and acid damage burning and scorching the skin. Ointment makes perfect sense. It can be carried in a tub and is probably one of the more expensive healing items. Improvisation is my favorite for this one; you can rub cooled ash from a wood fire into the wound for its alkaline properties, 1d3 for being improvised. You can also make your own ointment by boiling monster fat- I'd give this 1d4 or perhaps healing equal to the monsters HD, but there's a pretty nice opportunity to force a mutation roll for this. Also since water and water magic often have healing connotations, I'd let it heal 1d2 or just one hit point if you spend a turn running fresh water from a spring or fountain onto these kinds of wounds, but if you prefer water MAGIC as healing then keep this for specific spells or class powers.

Cold damage being healed by warming up is one of my favorites for thematics. I like it for two reasons; the first is the sort of “old wives tale” vibe of a bowl of chicken noodle soup actually curing a cold, and two because it fits with the theme of surviving in a cold place. Most cold damage will be coming to you in cold lands with snow and cold creatures and blizzards and ice magicians. You need to keep careful stock of your firewood, your bourbon, your black pepper. Oh, by the way, all of those can help restore cold. Good alcohol and spicy food help warm you up just as much as a blanket and a fire. Of course this is still limited by restoring items; 1d6 per turn sat around a fire with a limit of counting once per person; so a Sage can't start four fires around someone or something- that's not the idea. Cold is a slow and steady killer in that regard; not like a bleeding wound which you can keep piling bandages on to. I like that sort of asymmetry in the damage types and treatment methods. Spicy foods or alcohol can be used too and would restore 1d4 for both, except really good Dwarf alcohol can restore more. I also had the thought that Dwarves can just restore any damage type by drinking beer which fits their character but might be a little strong since it's the same as a health potion, so making it just cold damage works well and fits that sort of cold mountain dwarf aesthetic if you go for that.

Miasma is another great one. This is where the damage types start to dive more into that “mythical realism” idea I want to push so hard. Miasma is caused by foul air- the rotting or diseased living things or even foul smelling substances in the earth like sulfur cause harm. In this case, not disease but shortness of breath and toxic fumes. It's the medieval fantasy version of gas warfare. The idea is that it can be cured by smelling nice things- the same as the plague doctor with a perfumed beak. Miasma would be hard to cure except if you consider perfume and sweet smelling things to be the cure; huffing a handful of recently clipped flowers would restore 1d4, where as a vial of aromatic extract or healer's perfume would be 1d6 hit points for being more expensive and exclusive. Simply being in a place with fresh air- away from a city and out in the mountains and country, also restores 1d4 per day. Good for fitting in with the ideas about health and disease as mythical people might think of it.

Poison is pretty simple, and is relatively common. Most of the time though I think antidotes just stop poisons as opposed to restore damage done by them, but if we're going with this system, then poison can be removed from the body which counts as healing. Emetic drugs work as a method to induce vomiting- which I've seen (mostly in Eastern fantasy?) as a way to remove impurities or poisons from the body. It's not just the drug, the act of vomiting itself removes the toxin. I like to imagine in the fantasy/medievalist mindset that the stomach has the power to concentrate poisons in the blood that can be spewed out, which leads to black bile and the like. So an emetic drug to induce vomiting also concentrates toxins better. Some kind of plant or herb that causes you to vomit would be 1d6, eating some moldy bread or spoiled meat is 1d4, and just sticking a finger in your mouth to throw up would be like 1d3 or less.

Terror. For terror- I wore my inspiration on my sleeve. I stole Terror/Mortal Terror status effect straight from Sekiro. I really liked this mechanic; when fighting ghostly enemies, there is a status effect bar in the typical soulslike style where it slowly fills and when it is filled, it causes the status effect. Mortal Terror has the effect of instantly killing you, you “die of fright”, regardless of what your health bar looks like. I liked this idea a lot to ground the player characters a bit in this fantasy world, and make the undead feel more fantastical. One issue with this is players will feel like their characters are being controlled too much by the DM- and not in the form of mind control. Like if you want to be a badass warrior you don't want to hear how he get scared. But the idea here is it's supernatural, which I kind of like in terms of undead. Like even if you're brave you start shaking, your hair turns white, etc. And if you get too scared your heart will stop and you'll die. Terror is also a damage type that is a bit harder to cure- pacifying drugs is the main type. Lavender/calming elixirs and tranquilizers would work. I don't know if taking a nap really makes sense here- if it's fear you'd probably just have a screaming nightmare, but at the same time forced people to sleep could be cool. Pacifying drugs are 1d6, lavender sprigs are 1d4. Maybe singing a happy song is 1d3. I personally like the idea of a music box or something like that being used as opposed to a group activity, since it's an “item”, but it's kind of a minor thing.

Wasting damage is caused by draining. I like to imagine death spells, the touch of undead, and blood draining enemies, and being starved as being its causes. The issue with this damage type is it's a bit of an overlap with terror and/or cold when it comes to what could be the main damage type of the undead or “dark magic” sort of thing. I like keeping them separate because it's more authentic to the fantastical realism- and it's a body more “physical” and noticable then something like negative energy or level drain. I do like energy dream but I feel like it could be roped into wasting, but it could also be separate for a more spiritual feel. Eating a ration restores 1d6 wasting damage, a snack is 1d4, a feast is 1d8 or better. Maybe better ingredients have a semi-magical amount of restoration. You could also improvise this with poor quality or raw ingredients- if you're dying of hunger just killing a squirrel and eating it raw because you don't have time to cook it and have a meal makes sense to me. Wasting is more like a drain of your “life force” energy, so you could also make it restored by food, sleep, sex, etc.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

The Healing System

This is the healing system. It was created to make healing a more active, full featured part of the game. Some complexity is involved, but none of it is present in combat. This system was created from the ground up to facilitate rulings over rules- and to give my Sage class something to do. Sages were the logical, thematic replacement to the generic robe wearing magic user for people who don't like traditional magic in TTRPG.

The original draft of this system was first made here.

Taking Damage
Instead of counting down hit points, count up instead. Normally in a game, a Fighter with 20 Hit Points maximum is considered at maximum life and totally healthy at 20, barely scratched at 19, on death's door at 1, and dead/dying/rolls on death & dismemberment at 0. Instead, flip it. The Fighter with 20 HP maximum is considered right as rain at 0, barely scratched at 1, almost dead at 19, and dead at 20. Imagine Hit Points as the “points worth of hits” you can take before you die- similar to using wounds or a damage tracker. This makes more sense to me anyway- Life or Health is usually used for values that count down, hits and wounds count up instead.

Whenever you take damage from a hit, the Dungeon Master will tell you what type of damage it was. Write a letter or symbol by the wound you just took. If you're close to going over, add up your hit points and see if you're at your maximum or above- in which case, you die.

Addition is faster then subtraction, so combat is not slowed down. The only potential problem with this system is that somebody could make an error and not notice they went over their Hit Points- but unlike a subtracting HP total, an earlier mistake won't mess you up for several rounds in advance. I'd write each injury individually, which gives you a nice little history of your misadventures, but you could run several running totals for each damage type if you like. You can also keep a total Hit Point counter to save time and easily tell when the next hit kills you.

In many ways, this system actually speeds up combat. Now you can tell instantly what wounds are killing you. It also helps for special powers or abilities- the character who is resistant to bludgeoning damage just writes half the value down on their sheet, instead of doing subtraction twice. The werewolf can regenerate 1d6 hit points every round- except the silver wounds, which are now separate from their hit point total so you won't get confused.

In order to heal damage, you must spend an exploration turn taking a short rest. Characters can tend their own wounds or the wounds of other characters. In-combat healing is no longer a thing, except through magic items and spells, which was how it worked normally to begin with.

In order to heal someone, you must apply an item, remedy, a technique, use your healing hands, or some other method to cure their injuries. This ties into resource management. Sages get to heal people the most- as classes advance, they get to use more healing items per downtime turn to treat their bigger injuries (since they have more Hit Points); Sages get to spend additional items based on their level. Every healing item heals an amount of Hit Points based on its quality or effectiveness of the treatment.

Note: This healing system isn't literally realistic. Of course, in real life the only way for the body to heal is through its own natural process. However, this healing system is meant to evoke a sort of mythological and fantastical world where a bowl of chicken noodle soup can actually cure a cold. Injuries may still cause pain or be reopened in the context of the universe, but in the game rules they're considered gone and healed once the treatment is applied.

For example; a default clean linen bandage restores 1d6 Hit Points. Your character can wrap up any wounds that cause bleeding or are deep cuts- sharp wounds mostly. Sword cuts, animal bites, sawblade traps and so on. However, say your party has run out of bandages, or had to dip them in oil and use them as a torch to see in the dungeon. Instead, your character can cut up a piece of clothing or the old tapestries hanging on the walls and use them as a makeshift bandage instead. These bandages are improvised and only heal 1d4 Hit Points instead. You will erase the result of the roll from the appropriate category- any excess healing over the damage type is lost and has no effect on other damage types. This makes healing fast- you can just erase any wounds you've taken instead of having to add back up your Hit Point total again and again.

The purpose of this healing system is threefold- it adds complexity and resource management as well as providing a platform for player creativity. Even a very basic circumstance can be roleplayed and given more complexity. One character has several large quills sticking out of their body from an encounter with a Quill Giant. They want to use bandages to cure their wounds; but the DM stops them. “The quills are still stuck in your flesh- you will need to pull them out, painfully, one by one. This means it will take TWO turns to apply the bandages.” Now the player has to decide if its worth spending the extra time to cure their injury, or move on. Of course, another player could be playing a Sage, a healer, with a high dexterity score, tweezers, and multiple arms. The DM allows them to pull out all the quills in the same span of time as it takes to apply the bandages, as they would be fast enough to do it.

The third reason is to apply a setting and theme through your damage types, remedy items, and healing process- the basic game mechanics selling the fictional space.

Damage Types
Most people know some basic first aid. In the fantasy world where monster attacks and sword fights are more common, people have some basic idea on how to cure themselves. However, mysteries can be a great a call to adventure to any, and a Sage may go on a journey to learn how to cure the wasting sickness that befell their village. Not all of these damage types and remedies may be known to the players- they may be hidden knowledge or found in secret tomes recovered from dungeons.

Every basic healing item removes 1d6 hit points of damage of its type.

Sharp damage from blades, claws, and arrows are cured by bandages.
Blunt damage from clubs, fists, and falls are cured by splints or casts.
Energy damage from fire, lightning, or acid is cured by ointment.
Cold damage from exposure and cold spells is cured by warming yourself up.
Miasma (Gas) damage from toxic fumes, choking winds, and fungal spores- cured by breathing “fresh vapors” and aromatic drugs.
Poison damage from venomous creatures or eating poison food. Cured by using emetic drugs that induce vomiting. Yes, even injected venom from a snake bite.
Terror damage from ghosts. This isn't just “fear”, but mortal terror that turns your hair white and can stop your heart. Cured by pacifying drugs.
Wasting damage from the touch of a mummy or having your blood drained by something. Cured by eating a hearty meal.

As you can see, all the damage types use a different first letter to make them easy to differentiate. If you're playing online, you could use different colors instead- useful for Roll20. If you want more ideas or to hear rambling nonsense about possible medical items or improvised medicine- read here.

ExtraWhat about Health Potions?

All health potions are “Potions of Healing”- no minor or major or grand or whatever. They restore all your damage, instantly. You can't use other healing methods to heal in combat. This may be too strong- but if you make Potions of Healing rarer it would be have the same impact. You can also make health potions that heal specific types of damage, or an amount of damage, if you want to fiddle with rules more. Personally I like the idea of specific cures that can be used in combat- like a rubber-blood potion that seals up all your bleeding wounds, or a potion of liquid warmth which cures your cold damage and stuff. Doing individual amounts like traditional d8 healing potions or healing spells would mean that different damage types would have to have a sort of set order, or letting the players pick what they are healing. I feel like this works too- drink the potion to cure internal damages, pour on the skin to cure cuts and bruises, etc. So it's not a huge stretch to let a healing potion heal whatever damage types you want.

I also wrote this concept up in this alchemy ruleset- but I also like the idea of cheap or weaker health potions with a short shelf life- tonics. The idea if players can make or produce them on an adventure, to fit with the theme of being a magical healer, and to give magical healing for in-combat stuff, but they expire and can't be saved adventure to adventure to prevent the problem of stockpiling too many (or by contrast- never using them because they want to save them until later).

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Post where I recommend a bunch of shitty games

So yesterday's post was kinda negative, so let's make this one positive instead. All these games are free or pay-what-you-want, so you don't think this post is advertising! They're also not all technically from, but you get what I mean. If you're here still waiting for (good) tabletop content, come back tomorrow. The 21st, I told you. I promise.

Anger Foot
This game is a lot of fun. Short and sweet; it's a very Hotline Miami-esque FPS, all about fast action and slaughtering enemies. My only complaint is the beginning part of the last level; way too hard. It is total bullshit. You'll know it when you see it. The game itself is like 45 minutes long btw, so this is perfect if you want some fast paced action.

This game is all about a young Victor Frankenstein- it's a strategy/puzzle game with some progression between levels. Basically, you break Jars on shelves to open up minions, gadgets, OR reveal enemies who will attack the caskets, which you must defend. It's great, has a few hours of content, and is still in early access. The artstyle is also gorgeous- very Don't Starve esque, and totally adorable. I'm watching this game's development and may even purchase a full and polished release; it's right up my alley.

Brogue appears as a fairly standard ASCII roguelike clone, but it is anything but. I'm also cheating here, as this isn't technically an game- don't get confused. There are some Borgue MODS and alternate versions over on there, but I'm referring to the main one, found here.

Brogue is a surprisingly nice-looking game with some fantastic design. Basically, think of a generic Roguelike- but with no level ups or character races or classes. Your character is a generic adventurer. You advance in the game by finding potions that permanently improve your strength- health potions also increase your maximum health as well as fully heal you, giving you a strong tactical usage for them. It's design is something I find very appealing in the realm of unique tabletop game ideas; I feel like I've had to have talked about this one on my blog somewhere before; maybe for a scheduled post in the future? I'm not sure- but Brogue is just fantastic. Don't be put off by the fairly generic picture above; it makes EVER pixel of that ASCII art shine! I might even like it more then the de-facto Roguelike in DCSS. It's just that good.

The final game- a really weird one. Made by the band Bullerslug back in the early '10s, you are let loose in a bar with a time limit of one song to either find the three keys and escape (the lame ending) or find the gear and play a new song (cool ending) while hitting others. I remember first seeing this game in a random streamer's indie game collection stream like 5 years ago, then suddenly stumbling upon it again after forgetting the name, and here we are.

I actually really like the design of this game. Basically your health and stats are one in the same; you drink various color-coded alcohols to increase your attack, health, and speed while taking damage reduces them at a similar rate. You mash the mouse button to HIT OTHERS and are supposed to be beating people up to either increase your score and/or get the items they are carrying. The second quest or ending of this game allows you to play any song that you have collected from hitting somebody in the bar and taking the album from them when the countdown at the end of the HIT OTHERS song is over. This means you can basically listen to whatever songs you want by these artists in this game; so you could think of this game a bit like an interactive album with a small challenge to unlock the songs! Fair warning, the game is a little buggy and fucks up your wrist since you have to mash the mouse button to hit, and the mouse sensitivity is all weird giving some strain for playing it. It's still kind of a fun little beat-em-up with a unique atmosphere.

However, the most interesting thing about this game now, and why I'm posting about it here, is that the game's official website is now offline. So is the band's website. As far as I am aware, the band has only produced one album, (Cheer up, goth!) which is the one in this game. I don't know anything about the people in this band when it was about; did they break up, or did some of them die? Are they still around, but just playing in the underground Amsterdam music circles and are off the grid? I have no idea. But this game remains- and there is a literal band on the stage in this game. Not only has this game outlived its creators but, in a way, it's a time capsule to the music they did make. From making a game to advertise your music, to the game being all the remains. Long after the creators are dead, and all of us are dead for that matter, the band in this game remains, the party never ending. While you could say this is true in every form of media, a game where someone's art is continued on gives me the feeling of its own mysticism.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Post where I complain about the updates to a shitty game

So you ever played Juice Galaxy; formerly Juice World? It was one of my favorite "weird" games. Totally free game, physics based, with weird and wonderful things to see. Back when I first played it, it was just a few updates in; the only real "thing" to do was to find the secret ultimate buster sword and defeat the one boss. Later on, the updates grew more and more. The game's name was changed to Juice Galaxy, which while I don't like 100% it makes sense, as you can now explore new planets or worlds. The game has a great soft vibe, nice music, great progression (when you get to the point where you can levitate as long as you want is a great turning point) and is just pretty fun to check back in on every few months. Which was what I was doing.

But then, the newer updates came. I don't like em. Not to sound like a "Boomer", but sometimes simpler is better.

The new game has items with stats that randomly drop from monsters and in random places. These pieces of gear certainly give the game more progression, but it slows down the game as now you're checking the stats to things. Originally, there was no inventory system- you just explored the world and carried what you wanted in your hands. It lacked depth sure, and you could lose your weapons forever, but it was more like an adventure. You just picked up things you found, a new weapon or whatever, and tried it out. You didn't have to stop and look at the stats.

Secondly; the new ability to customize your character with new hats on demand from the inventory is fine, but I dislike adding stats to it. Before, you found these cosmetic items as part of your adventures. You talk to the farmer and he gives you a straw hat when you become "friends", it just happens, it's part of the story. Now that line and the subsequent payoff doesn't mean anything, because it's just about stats.

I think you could have had a similar feeling by having a few new things in the center area (graveyard/courtyard where you fall in the beginning after you escape the school), such as a magic mirror that lets you change your appearance items once you unlock them. Maybe Mr.Fox, who doesn't do anything as far as I am aware except give you some lore or juice if you kill him, could spawn any item you have already found in the game at least once at the cost of juice, explained as him going out in the world and finding it for you. I think that would solve the potential problem of losing rare and powerful items, as well as act as a secondary form of progression beyond your basic stats improved by juice- and give you an extra way to spend juice.

Third; the opportunity costs of these changes also bugs me. The developer has been adding stuff like new worlds and bosses, which is great and exactly what I wanted to see in this game, but hasn't been changing up the main mechanics to focus on a mostly useless RPG progression system. Giving the player a better method to attack enemies in flight (be able to do damage while ramming into things would be great!) would be much more enriching to the game then adding in random stats to items. Of course, there's no reason they can't do both, but the fact they're adding this kind of stuff makes me think that the core gameplay, physics based combat is sort of "finished" and set in stone and now they're working on tweaks and stuff. That's what I think the biggest issue is.

Anyway, no idea wtf the point of this post was, as nobody here has played this game or will. I just felt like complaining about it. I liked how the game was before, but it was always a simple, weird, experimental thing. I wasn't expecting it to cater to me perfectly, nor was I going to follow it (or buy it lol) as the years went on, but I feel strangely slighted that my favorite bullshit weird game changed in a way I don't like. Just wanted to get this off my chest.

Also also if you want this blog to start posting good posts again come back on the 21st lol

Monday, January 18, 2021


In the chain of limits and the grand cosmic order of the universe; you could imagine mortals, you, as a caterpillar. You could imagine the realm you live in as the tree- the branches are your race, your nation, your “role” in the party, and so on. With enough time and effort, a mortal could metamorphose into something greater- capable of traveling realms and getting a greater respective. These mortals are not even close to the level of Gods; the Gods of your world are like the squirrels and the birds. They are above mortals, having the absolute ease of being able to travel the “branches” as they please, and can move between the worlds if they wish- though they may nest in a specific tree, their freedom is far greater then that of mortals, and as a result they see much more of the whole truth.

At the base of the trees are the foxes and badgers and ants. These creatures are death to a mortal, and sometimes death to a God who strays too far down. These are the elder horrors- the beings from outside the realities and the in-between spaces. The Gods worry and fight them as best they can, to avoid their “tree” being corrupted or slowly eaten away, the mortals oblivious and powerless. They know what is beyond the trees- though they are alien and hazardous to all understood beings. For this, they have an even greater width of knowledge and understanding of the world.

Fix that picture in your mind. The orchard of the universe. Now imagine the woodsman. He whistles as he walks with his axe and snare traps, picking between the trees at his whim. He may fell one or plant one anew, each tree is just one of many. The woodsman does not only understand the orchard and its purpose; he is its master.

The woodsman? That's what the Gods Above Gods are like.

Art @Marcos Lopez
HD- Infinite
Morale- N/A
Attacks- (Always Hits) Boundless Harpoons at 100d100 Damage
Aboveness, Leviathans, Boundless, That-Which-Is-Greater

Pytckpt is the levithan hunter. Upon the creation of the idea of creation, he was created just before. Growing bored with reality before it started, Pytckpt decided to spend all of eternity hunting the great leviathans that swim the endless oceans of the spaces between spaces.

All of the Gods-Above-Gods have Aboveness. This means that they instantly know if they are mentioned, their names written or spontaneously gathered from wandering minds in the cosmos. They can locate anything they wish anywhere and teleport there at any time. They are never surprised and can never be escaped from, any always surprise whoever they wish to. They can also appear at any size they wish and can shape shift into anything they wish with any number of attacks, spell-like abilities, or weapons and equipment they wish as often they want. They can also take as many actions per combat round that they wish. They can enter dimensions that have been sealed with the Closing of the Gate after 1 turn of phasing through the wall between worlds. This ability is the same for all of the Gods-Above-Gods and is simply mentioned for Pytckpt for reference.

This being enjoys hunting the great leviathans. He slayed the second greatest of all the leviathans in daring voyage along the star oceans- to him it was a legendary long journey which lasted the same amount of time it took for the first atomic mass in the universe to shed its first electron. Beyond hunting them, Pytckpt also raises and trains some of these unmatched entities and can call 20d20 of them into battle at any time. Each Leviathan has the same stats as a Tarrasque but can fly and travel at a rate of one galaxy per day. Pytckpt chose to slay the second greatest of all leviathans so he could hunt the greatest one at the very end of all times- he even allowed it to scratch his mighty crossbow.

Pytckpt knows the full boundaries of reality, and has surpassed them. With his harpoon thrower, he can send his harpoon at any being, anywhere, of any size or mass and strike true. Once this attack connects, he can recall it instantly to his hand or have it fly after a new target automatically. This harpoon flies at any speed he wishes. The only beings that can move fast enough or get far enough away from his harpoons are other Gods-Above-Gods.

Pytckpt is the concept of the differences between things- and the concept of some things being greater or smaller. Differences that are not merely cosmetic. Without Pytckpt, all beings in the universe would be exactly equal in size, importance, location, and understanding. Do not take Pytckpt as the creator of tyrants or inequality because of this, without him, mortals and life wouldn't even exist. Because he is this concept, he gains change the difference in HD, level, or modifiers between himself and anything else he wishes. He may give himself any number of HD every round.

Morale- N/A
Attacks- (+500 To-Hit) Killing Sword at Infinite Damage (any type)
Aboveness, Kill, Unlimited Chaining, Flush Armor, That-Which-Struggles

Before the beginning of time, Sswkwsb knew that all beings would one day have to fight. She chose and created a weapon and named it Kill. Sswkwsb spends every moment of reality fighting endlessly- slaying the hoards of entities that come from above, around, beyond, below, and between. She has eradicated their number totally within every moment that a breath is drawn, but they return in the same force at the same time, infinitely. Sswkwsb can still manifest and do anything else she wishes at any time; she will never be overrun or fail in her duty regardless of anything else she does.

It is from this where the word Kill got its name and where the mighty imagery of the sword was first made. This is the reason all martial cultures respect the sword. Her sword is known as Kill but is named as the “Killing Blade”, as Kill is both the word and the weapon in one. Whenever Kill hits, she can also choose to spread any amount of her infinite damage the attack made to any number of beings to any relation to the original being she hit. For example, if Kill hit a being that was an Orc, she could decide that the concept of “Orcness” would take the damage. In every single universe where an Orc existed, every single Orc in every single universe would received any amount of that damage she chooses, including inanimate objects that depict Orcs, Gods that are worshiped by Orcs, Orc characters, Orc-invented spells that are ruptured apart in the astral plane, and so on.

Sswkwsb also has the Flush Armor. The bright red armor is tied to her being and no other being can wear it. Every round, Sswkwsb can choose a damage type. She can only be harmed by that damage type. All other damage that strikes the Flush Armor is instantly reflected to the attacker- she takes no damage. Even attacks that miss their To-Hit are still reflected fully.

Sswkwsb is the avatar of all things that struggle. She is the concept of violence and conflict, and without her there would be no conflict or intelligence in the universe- as all things would simply fall into line as the natural order would allow and demand. Whenever any being in any reality fights for something or competes for a purpose- she knows about it. It is also for this reason that she can channel any amount of damage through Kill, her sword. Even without Kill (she cannot be disarmed), she could still deal infinite damage, as this power is from her cosmic position. Because of this, she can sense any hostile or manipulative action done by anyone, anywhere, at any time. Even those actions that can hide from Aboveness, her eyes can see them.

HD- 100,000 
AC- 500
10 (Infinite)
(+500 To-Hit) Staff of Absorption at 100d100, Hood of Consumption at 100d100
Aboveness, Infinite Collection, Maw of Consumption, Mirrored Thoughts, That-Which-Wants

The moment after the universe was made, Cmklcz knew everything that is and would be, and made a list of everything she wished to have. The things she collected never entered the universe at all; entire laws of physics and concepts simply disappeared because she desired them first.

At any moment, Cmklcz can pull anything from her collection of infinite splendor and mystery and use it. She can substitute armor, weapon, artifacts, potion effects, or scroll effects for any other effect she wishes. These include effects not normally found in any cosmic world, as she can draw from her infinite collection of things that don't exist. Cmklcz also wears a magic hood in her armor- the Maw of Consumption. This Hood can be used every round, and deals 100d100 damage to anything she wishes in front of her. The Hood bites down and instantly dissolves everything it eats, and creates an amount of primordial matter equal to the amount of matter it “ate”. The primordial matter can be made into anything Cmklcz wisehs, or can be stored for later use. It also steals the life force, active spells, powers, and experience levels of anyone “eaten” by the Maw and Cmklcz can take as much of it as she wishes every round.

Cmklcz can roll her morale every round. She has a morale score of 10, but her actual morale is infinite. She can choose what number she rolls. This morale score can be substituted to any other being in the universe she is is, or blanket applied to all beings. All beings then fail or succeed morale according to whichever number she chooses- ignoring all other spells or abilities that use morale. Things without minds can run in terror, cowardly beings will act as bravely as the Gods- whatever she chooses, all beings treat their morale score as she has picked for that round.

Finally, Cmklcz is the embodiment of the concept of desire. Without her, nothing would want anything and all beings would accept not only what they had but what is possible for them equally- nothing would have value, as everything would simply exist as it was. For this reason, Cmklcz can cast an infinite number of Suggestion, Quest, and Remove Curse spells as she wishes, and can change the alignment of any creature she wishes anywhere in the multiverse at any time. For this reason, Cmklcz is also the embodiment of information and can learn all meta knowledge by pressing the ear-hole of her hood against the flat of your gaming table from within it; she knows all information written on the character sheets of all player characters, all of their out of character notes, and can hear anything the party members say both out of character and during breaks of your session.

AC- Infinite 
Morale- N/A 
Attacks- (+500 To-Hit) Touch at 100d100 (Level Drain, Stat Drain, Ultimate Corrosion) 
Abilities- Aboveness, Drought, Failure, Level Drain, That-Which-Ends

Djhht-Vfv existed after the end of all things, and can come before it as he pleases. Since the other Gods-Above-Gods have infinite lives and infinite universes, everything that is will not end, but he still exists after it. His skeletal face changes for whoever looks at it, and will see teeth that are native to a being of their own race, though they know whatever Djhht-Vfv is that he is both before and after them. He once had a knife, but has since lost it. As the Gods-Above-Gods of Endings, he cannot and chooses not to ever retrieve it.

Djhht-Vfv knows of the limits of all things and can enforce them. If you have anything that relies on a resource, such as ammunition, spells, stamina/mana points, magic item uses, money and so on- it is instantly depleted. Things with infinite supply can be used exactly once, and are then expended and out forever afterwards. This effect applies to anything Djhht-Vfv chooses, anywhere. Djhht-Vfv can also choose to make anyone within the same realm as he is fail any saving throw or roll he chooses, once per round per person.

Whenever this being strikes another, he may drain any amount of levels from that being. He may also drain any amount of stat points or bonus modifiers, end any ongoing magical effects or buffs, and corrode any armor he strikes, as well as corrode any weapon that strikes him even on a failed roll. This works against all weapons and armors, including those that are magic and immune to corrosion, as well as imaginary, natural, or cosmological weapons. Astras are burnt away in the same time as other weapons, but a pile of ash will remain instead of blank nothingness as every other item he destroys leaves behind. He can destroy the pile of Astra-ash as a free action any round afterwards if he wants. Every item he destroys, level/stat/modifier he depletes, and being he kills can never be brought back unless he allows it- immortality and resurrection fails on beings destroyed by his attacks.

As the embodiment of the concept of endings, Djhht-Vfv knows when anything ends or when defeat has gripped the heart of any being. The souls of all dead beings are known to him, and he can choose for them to move to any realm he pleases, or remove them from all realms to float in nothingness, or to destroy them totally. Nobody knows what happens to a soul he destroys permanently, except that it cannot be resurrected or restored in any way by anyone, including gods and other powerful beings. Anything depleted in the universe in general is under his jurisdiction, and therefore can never be brought back or restored in any way unless he allows it. Without him, nothing would ever end and all things would be unchanged and crystalline for all eternity.