Friday, 18 April 2014

Grappling Rules, Stat check saving throws

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From discarding images

I scribbled some notes on grappling rules while avoiding the rain at a friends house and it's been a week(ish) since the last post and now they are here.


Make an attack. Generally this attack will go after all the other attacks happening because it counts as the shortest weapon.
If you successfully hit make an contested stat check. You and the target both choose if you want to use strength or dexterity .

A contested check works by both contestants try and roll under their stat . The one who succeeds by the most wins. The amount you win by is called the outcome

In the result of a tie, whatever was happening before the check keeps happening. So in the result of an attempt to start grappling, no grappling happens.

If neither party succeeds their check , it counts as a tie.


If you have successfully grappled someone you can inflict the outcome as stat damage to their strength or dexterity (that only lasts while the grapple is maintained) or inflict it straight to their hitpoints (which is treated as normal) via a variety of head butts , knees , body slams or constrictions.

If you have a small weapon or a natural attack like wolf jaws, a cestus,  or a dagger you can add that weapon/attacks damage to the outcome when inflicting hitpoint damage like this.

If reduce your opponent to zero strength or dexterity  they are pinned and can't do stuff other than yell and curse your parentage.

To get out of a grapple , as an attack , you make a contested check (as above) but at a disadvantage (roll twice and take the worst result) . If you win this you can then leave the grapple, or inflict damage as above. Any stat damage you inflict is also restored from any you may of taken.

If you have pinned someone you can then choked them out. It will take a round + their constitution modifier in rounds. They will then be unconscious. After that amount of time again they will be dead.
cover of


I like stat check saving throws. But they mean spells work a lot less than usual.

So I was thinking about making all spells have a mild effect that usuals happens , a severe effect that happens on a bad safe, and a no effect that happens a good save.

AND THEN I was like oh I could give just give spells a duration of like 5 -outcome and
the damage like 2d10 - outcome
(because I'm into spells being used more often and not being one of the biggest sources of damage in the game, so I'm also scaling the damage down like this)

Haven't put it into practice or really sorted the math but this post dovetailed neatly in covering it.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Inserting A City into People

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It's real important to me that games that I gm-ing have some kind of feel to them. Like you remember this city or this swamp or this cave, it's not just a part of game, there is reality to it somehow.

The game alone is not really enough to keep me interested.

I've realized this from playing playtests and some g+ games , and running a dungeon contest,  when there has been not enough thematic context I've struggled to enjoy it.

So as a g.m  how to do I get my kicks without taking away from what everyone else needs to get their kicks?

Like if you sit the players down through epically long descriptions  when they just wanna buy a crossbow, you are being dumb and punishing.

(One common way to get people to pay attention or remember stuff is to have it try and kill them all the time. That's not always that great either.  Well your mileage is going to vary on this one I think. I don't really dig at as a player, feels like there is no progression if there is no-where you get a break or you are always in the same amount of danger.)

My conclusion on this was try and put the setting on all the moving parts. The stuff that the players can immediately interact with for consequences etc.

And put as much setting on a moving part as the player ask about. So having a brief way of describing said setting on the thing and then if they ask more , give more.

A decent encounter table is a good way to bring a city to life too, hopefully the below description can be used to reskin a  generic/other city encounter table )

and have descriptions , specific information, usefully adjectives , and adjectives to sprinkle in.

Though if you have spent the time sourcing pictures all of this is freaking redundant because you can go "hey look at this"

Day Of The Lords:
 long, florid:
 A sudden emergence of lazy curves from a wetlands but the begins of it are vague as water way and irrigation languid turn into canal and park lake. Bridges end in third story roof top markets and streets wide around into alleys and parks.
The languid sweet air  seems to inform the temperament of the people, with the occasionally hint of the decaying slurry ponds of the pig eels, also mirrored in the callous decadence that is a subnote here.

 Short/pretty much:
Like Venice  but people kept trying to build Sindbad the Sailor sets everywhere and took their time doing it.

Buying Stuff:
markets, street sellers, people in cafes, private saloons, clubs.

A combination of an absurdly complicated money system (more or less like a series of tarot cards with value that shifts depend on the moon and river tides) and fondness of haggling mean you will pay 50% more for anything if you fail your choice of a wisdom/int/or charisma check.
No real shortages of conventionally goods. Fine quality . Things from everywhere find there way here. A good market for selling exotic items , especially jewellery and animal parts. Less so for conventionally weapons and armour

Social Hubs:
Garden parks with polite wandering sales people, cafes which sometimes a just a guy with a pot and a rug and other times are mostly in a building. People here tend to not really bother with clear boundrys with streets, throughfares, homes and places of business .
Every field of knowledge, interest and activity will have a multitude of clubs tending and competing in various social strata niches.
If you want to buy anything more expensive or rare than a chapbook you will need to leave a calling card at the relevant club and then come back later to see if you have been invited to someones private saloon, where they will entertain you and display their wares.

Food And Drink:

Cardamom infused coffee, ginger candys, ginger pickled eels, crabs , lobsters, especially wrapped in river grasses. Slow cooked pigeel. Often sudden bursts of flavour from pepper corns or cloves of spice.

Drugs include a variety of bitter herb based liquors with a swirl of sweet syrup, elaborate water pipes with a range of smoking herbs , sometimes more chosen for their colour of smoke and flavour than effect.

Any food , drink or drug seemingly has to be appealing on more than one level (flavour, effect, aesthetics, contrasting flavour) to be popular or even used at all here.


Day to day disputes will handled by a government arbitator, who have a small boat based office liberally drifting around the city. Sometimes these are symbolically boats in a ceremonially pond. They empowered like a judge able to set sentences , ranging from work details, poetic punishments , fines and death warrents. They will sub contract out to a  "Scholars" of one of the Schools of Pragmatic Discourse (voluntary gladiators) , occasionally leading a small group of a relevant club members. (treat as a fighter level 1-3 with one combat trick , treat club members as zero level people) .
Other more specialized people maybe employed , included detective philosophy, justice poets, snipers, poisoners, impersonators or military units
The military is lightly armed skirmishers and air rifle platoons with lobotomized brutes as muscle/shock troops. Elite troops are supplied by the various competing Schools of Pragmatic Discourse.

Schools of Pragmatic Discourse are like gladiator schools or martial art schools, and compete extensively but more or less fairly , with a moderate amount of fatalitys in a variety of tournaments , games and competitions.

Who runs this place/ Factions:
"Day of the Lords" is the clan which gives the city its name. No government or high level administrator position can be held by anyone not a member, though it is possible to marry into the family, and many marriages are arranged in order to give a talented person a office. Numerous branches of the family compete , and while assassinations are rare, they are not without occurrence. The current head of the clan is the seemingly undying Moon's Moon's Lake, a old cunning spider of a great grandma. Other factions include the Schools of Pragmatic Discourse, alchemist and other clubs most needful for the cities infrastructure. The Tenders of the Slurry have considerable sway, controlling both the largest pigeel farms, the sewage system and the methane gas production which lights the city at night. No one can make a body disappear like the Tenders of The Slurry

What do these people Look like?
Dark , golden features , not given to hairyness, broad lipped and languid eyed.

Dress is seemingly casual and indifferent but with subtle details and flourishes.

Nose chains and various body piercings are common especially multiple upper ear rings. Clothing is wraps, loose shirts and saris. While which outfits are appropriate for men's and which outfit's are appropriate womens outfits is obvious to a native of the city of New Day of The Lord, an outsider will be constant figure of fun for failing to tell a mans scarf from a womans scarf.
The same goes for what parts of the body it is appropriate to expose and for what context (including time, place, social position, holiday, weather and presence of cinnamon essence) . A good rule of thumb is don't get naked just because everyone else is. They are properly wearing a formal fragrance and hairpins and it's early summers eve and forgoing the customary lace glove and sandals to be scandalous. 

adjectives to use in descriptions :
languid, worn, secretly smiling, humid, intricate, haphazard, contrasting, discrete, teeming, timeless .

Okay that was pretty long and I skipped building descriptions. I caught up in describing the place. Next time I'll try doing like a dozen distinctive cities in a paragraph each or something.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Some Locations that might be hard to map

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(note people at bottom for scale)

So there are these things called Washingtonia filiera or Washington palms and that is some terrible colonyist name for them but hey.

Anyway they shed their leafs and it all builds up in a big ass skirt thing.

There is (on some? all?) a crawl space between the the trunk and the palm skirt. It's a cool , dark , quiet and dusty and a occasionally throughfare for all kinds of life that lives in the skirt
(tarantulas, rats, wasps, scorpions , some birds I think, my research here was pretty light)

Now the thing about the skirt is that it can slough in big heaps , crushing and suffocating anything caught in its way.

Let's imagine a gianter palm, like a 100 stories , with the barks forming  stairs and platforms , and occupationally rooms and niches in the every present hatches. And a variety of vermin and flattened life cable of moving freely through the hatch.

Or just keep it how it is, with something humanoidish making nests in the skirt, accessible by climbing up the trunk, but with the danger of movement or activity bringing a section down with you or ontop you, pressing you against the trunk but still kept aloft. Maybe the nest is firmly attached to the trunk , so sections of the skirt can be defensively sloughed as an ablative fortress.

Climbing on the outside is extremely risky as there is no handout that might not give away with no notice

(Note as is these skirts are highly flammable. Accept,  adjust or accommodate this as a g.m)

Other places:
 A dungeon in a house. But in the house, a series of interlocking false ceilings, crawlspaces, wall cavities and slender rooms, the house and the secret house interlaced completely, each traversable without realizing the existence of the other.

An easy said than done approach is to start with a isometric building plan and carefully start moving walls and dropping ceilings and blocking off corridors until you have the second house.

The Dead are still here:
The astral and the ethereal planes are generally described as space limitless.
Let's go the other way. The astral plane is contained in anything solid and rectangular . Its astral dimensions vary. Sometimes the same size sometimes 10 fold.
The dead might stay in the walls. A round room is one the dead cannot watch you from. The astral plane only maps to these spaces. Astral forms squeezing through walls and along floors , underground tracing a box around the unalterable curves of a cave. A series of acute angles suggests a curve and these are astral significant as traps and portals.

Ethereal space is maybe a  2 dimensional shadow world painted on surface of everything. Except inside. That's the astral. It hurts to travel from the astral to the ethereal.
EDIT: I just realized how much this owes to "Foundation" from China Mieville's short story collection "Looking for Jake". So shout outing to that right now.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

The wonderful world of symbolic armour 4 : MEAT

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF I'm tired and all kinds of diseased but now I have painkillers and a sleeping dog beside me and I can't be bothered seeing what format I did the other parasite armour posts in so here we go: No wait I did because it was easier somehow. I'm craving marshmellow based candy so bad right now it is worrying.

growing meat stick on your meat keep all the pointy objects out.
 Either reanimate with  necromancy and lax corpse disposal protocol or growned in vats or degenerate peoples that are so degenerate you can wear them as a helmet

 You can eat it

Improved strength

Relatively easy to adapt to your system

Possible enhancements:
I Think I hate this format I'm just going to skip to the fun bits


Who can hook a girl up?

Necromancers or golem crafters that deal a specially with flesh. Cults. Always the cults. These ones worship a perfect cube of meat. Womb witches take carefully regulated doses of terragens in order to give birth to graftable components.
A people that are always born with a conjoined twin that they separate themselves from in a coming of age knife dual and then keep the bits of the twin around for trade/spare parts.
Dr Moreau types.

Specific Strains:

Saint homunculus:
 It's a little version of you inside you that suffers instead of you.
Any spells or maledictions  effect just the homunculus not you. Which might kill it as it has no special powers of regeneration or resistance. Despite its "saint" title , it fucking hates you , but lacks the strength to claw its way out, but if someone knows it is there , they can target it with beneficial magics , maybe empowering it to eat your heart. So .. watch out for that.

Cysts storing poisons, potions or acids , to be released from blunt trauma

 Viscerous Cloth:
like a fat suit but more of a hollowed out ogre you can climb inside and wear as an exoskeleton, but kinda the exact opposite of exoskeleton but not really I guess??

Black Milk:
Your milk production glands are replaced with something that duplicates a spell like charm person or web or melfs acid arrow. But via milk.
Let's presume there were no metaphors in Shakespeare just literals.

Matryoshka Kernel:
Is this even armour anymore, it's just turning into a list of body horror you can shop for. Anyway every time you come to a major decision point in your life, the type that forever shapes you in a different direction, 
 you grow a smaller you just under your skin. If you die, your outer layer peels away and a you that would of made the other decision steps out all naked and glistening and with actual memorys up until that point, and then hazy not real memorarys beyond that , as if they had been living out that alter life path you did not take.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Unkind things

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1. Rooms filled with a single fish
2. Castle vital organs
3. adulthood here is obtained when 3 children climb onto each others shoulders and never come down again
4.the sword is a sensory organ. The more it tastes only you the greater the chance that it will emerge to eat you
5.the cauldron contains the boiled down fat of an entire city. It will be used to make a single candle
6.The speak with dead spell has unlimited duration and effect. You may ask nothing of them, only listen.
7.Every house has toad that they do not speak of but worship painstakingly
8.The dogs are very big and very smart for dogs. They are smart enough to enforce the laws but not well. Not well at all.
9.The wars of ancestors have left rivers of blood. This has frozen in a glacier which makes its way home slowly even now.
10.Take turns being the cow
11.This land is insects.
12.The disease breaks you like crystal but rarely kills.
13.The city walks on small soft legs
14.Dimensional parasites tunnel out space and brains from the inside of tall hats. There are books about it.
15.Souls are water.
16.You mint  your own coins with your own pain. Suffering is the only guarantor , really, when it all comes down to it.
17. Gods are dirty unkillable old men who make the weather work and harvests ripen.
18. There is no limit to hunger. You will not die. You will be just more hunger
20.The most fertile land is that around flood prone river and muttering volcano

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Her Loose Materials

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So the previous post was some mechanics loosely aligned with character races.

There was an evocative title but not much else. I was going to built on it because I often start these blog posts with a vague idea and start writing to see what happens.

This time I decided to leave the shadow of a skeleton or whatever.

THEN it gave me an idea for blog game. Basically you take those Kinds (or this other bunch of mechanics that will slouch in at the bottom of this post) and built on it whatever descriptions , fluff, back story, explains, emergent mechanics , elaborations , concept art etc, that you see fit.

Then I include a link here whenever that happens and I don't know SPIRITUAL PROFIT or something.

I inserted my feelers into g+ to see if there was interest and there was, and now these people are AHEAD OF THE GAMe (though this mission is not time sensitive. If you do it way later and show me I'll put a shout out about it back here and on the most recent post I do):
(also if haven't explored this blog before you should because it is quality)

C├ędric Plante
drew some starting items based on this theme?

Wil Mckinne
wrote this on the original g+ post

"I think that the people who hack..

Always take the path of most-resistance. Like, too Compelled towards processing through a situation. People who have lots of self-convinced 'short-cuts', that are somewhat creative and occasionally brilliant but are generally just overbearing and arduous when put into action.

Like, might be able to easily disarm a complex trap after studying it, but requires a STR check for opening a door that's unlocked, because the door has to be pulled and not pushed."


1: take a reroll on a d20 roll.  Make a note of the number you rolled before the reroll.
If you roll this again something happens.
You must use the new number from the reroll.

2: as above  but you may choose to use either roll , but if you use the reroll ,  make a note of the number on the reroll. If you roll it again , something happens.

3. Make a stat check on anothers behalf. They will then have to accept something of yours.

4. You are a catalyst

5. teleportation kills and reincarnates

6. your density is effected the waxing and waning of the moon

Thursday, 20 February 2014


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1.The People that hack themselves out of the wall

intelligence , wisdom, charisma start at a 1d4 . In your second session add a d6. In your 3rd session add a d8.

You may never be stopped, held or slowed again.

2.The People that conceal birds.

When you die your next character may start with one stat the same as this one

3. The people that eat soil

you need not nor cannot drink. Your body contains no water and expels it immediately from consumed things.

4. The people that lost the sun

light is dark and dark is light

5.The people with snakes for bones

you are always prone but can squeeze into the smallest gaps. Your mind is shared amongst all your bones.

6.The people that cannot lie
you always lie