Saturday, 12 September 2020

Some Benched Equipment Rules

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 Here's some equipment rules for a modern or futuristic setting . They were part of something I was working on but that project got a specific system for it and theses were written system agnostically and I'm not sure they have that much merit in the first place.


The idea was when you have a saturation of market options the ability to navigate brands and models becomes a character skill rather than a player skill.

Like if someone goes to buy a chainsaw and knows nothing about chainsaws they might by  a shitty mid-range brand. If they know a little about chainsaws , they would seek out stihl or husqvarna.

If they know even more about chainsaws they would know which models from Stihl or Husqvarna are worth it and which are less so. At this stage of chainsaw knowledge they are likely to have formed an Opinion about if Stihl or Husqvarna are the better maker of chainsaws.


link is here

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Velvet Hooks: Colour Monster & Corbeau

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It's been a while but I'm back with some  sweet, sweet, <default content>


Poisonous quadruped that dwells (and multiplies) in mirrors

Of the handful of monster that I think needed another pass this is the one that I think needed it the most. It's sort of awkward between being a mystic mirror beast, but not actually being that mystical .  So I'm going to expand on it now , giving 6  new abilities of the Corbeau

1. The Corbeau will stalk its prey via reflective surface. It will appear only in the reflection and not  outside it until it chooses to. It can then appear anywhere that was reflected.  So someone who spots one moving in the reflection will likely look in the surroundings for the creature , rather than the mirror itself.  Subsequently this means no Corbeau casts a shadow unless its another Corbeau. (see number 4 for an expansion of this)

2. The encounter/use the description invokes is that of a mansion abandoned with wild stories about what befouled. Then inside the mansion is a Sallow* of Corbeau stalking the party through multitude of mirror. The wild stories of the Corbeau could make the party over estimate the danger or powers of the Corbeau , but the discovery of the Corbeau as simple ( but cunning) beast might prove anticlimactical, if none of the suggested additional powers are added.

3. One such additional ability is if a Corbeau is lurking in a mirror and the mirror is broken , it multiples the Corbeau into a number equal and proportional to the fragments  resulting.  So if you wish to deny a Corbeau a perch to stalk and spring from , you would best be sure their wasn't a Corbeau hiding in the reflection. Newly created Corbeau are extremely hungry and will have mere hours to find subsequent food before starving to death. They will often turn cannibal on each other if no other food is present. 

Still water doesn't have such a property as it doesn't break into clear shards.

4. A Corbeau can create another Corbeau by looking into a mirror or reflective surface from dawn to dusk.  They will only do so if food seems plentiful enough, so not to risk having a rival or even  a predator.

5 Corbeau cannot break or harm a mirror or reflective surface. In the case of still water this means a Corbeau can walk across it as if it were solid glass and a Corbeau falling into a still pool will result in it being broken across the unmoving surface of the water

6. If a mirror contains a Corbeau and another Corbeau is within reflective range, the Corbeau in the mirror will be compelled to perfectly mimic the Corbeau outside the mirror. Any other Corbeau lurking in the mirror aren't compelled in such a way, but if multiple Corbeau are in reflective range of the mirror then they will. There is also a limit to how many Corbeau can pop into the other side of the reflection, that being one a round. But once the amount of Corbeau outside and in the mirror reach an equilibrium, the compulsion will mean the remaining Corbeau will be trapped in mimicry until one/some reflected Corbeau leave the reflected range.

 Assuming all 6 of these abilities is present here's a quick 6 hooks for them

1. Odd disappearance has lead to Mirror Merchant believing one of his mirrors is cursed but he can't work out which one it is . (one mirror has a Corbeau)

2.Mirror with Corbeau in it as trap, alternates with Mirrors that are dangerous unbroken (these render a viewer paralyzed as they stare at the reflection)

3.Dark gruneous pine forest with multiple pools for Corbeau to lurk from (pretty much in text)

4. Mirror given as a gift , really an assassination tool, a lurking Corbeau in a mirror won't show up as magical.

5.Spy using trained Corbeau to sneak messages.

6.Mansion guarded at night by turning around the paintings. Each has a mirror on the back , and a Corbeau in at least one of them.  Just before the household staff being their morning duties a goat or stray dog is let loose in the hallways for the Corbeau to catch. It will then withdraw into a mirror with its prey and the  staff can safely turn the paintings around again.

*"Sallow" being the collective noun of Corbeau


An invisible colour drinker, that is it is an invisible colour and it is a drinker of colour. 

1.Giving them an additional ability of eyes rendered blank from their attacks lose any gaze attacks , so they become weapon against monsters with a gaze attack (Beholders, Medusa) . Then a party in process of making preparations against such monsters , might go off to the swamps festooned in the brightest colours they can source, ready with nets to swing as soon as their garments start bleaching.

2.Chirurgeon who do a lot of amputations could potentially create a market for Colour Monsters. As the area they drink from becomes permanently numb they wouldn't be that suitable for general medical practice. But for an amputation, this matters not. However to keep a Colour Monster might require expensive pigments regularly obtained and it might serve better to commission adventures to source them before a military campaign and then destroy them afterward.

3.Potential City Encounter/event of Colour Monsters obtained for the above purpose getting loose and running amok creating panic as people cover themselves in the blandest garments they can manage. The would-be re-captors of the beasts would need to follow a trail of invisible formerly bright things and/or create bait of the wildest colours they can find.

4. A bizarre fighting style "the Glass Arm" , whose practitioners use long glass blades and render their fighting arm invisible via the Colour Monster. Such a follower could make for a distinctive mercenary, henchman , duelist or assassin.

5. Particular long wet seasons in the Melanic Moors can cause an excess of the brightly coloured flowers the Colour Monster is want to feed upon and subsequently creates an boom of Colour Monsters. If the following season is not as long , the available food runs out and swarms of Colour Monsters roam outside the swarm seeking colour to drink, resulting in a panicked population adorning themselves drably and donning mesh over their eyes. (pretty much in the text)

6. These swarms can result in a creature , as would be encountered on a random encounter table (Crimson Contradodron for example), having been previously attacked, and is now invisible , numb to pain, and likely confused and enraged.

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Velvet Hooks: Brainstormer & Capitualtors

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Another post with highlighting or creating hooks to use monsters for Fire On The Velvet Horizon.

This post features..
Maniacs who supercharged their brain with the energies and crackling knowledges of the sky itself!!!
1. A proto-brainstormer would make a great patron for adventures, requiring (and paying v.well for) a worlds-span worth of ingredients, monster parts and materials. This all resulting in a superpowered skycastled supervillain makes for a delightful twist if the players don't learn what the results of the would be dictator of the heavens plans are. (pretty much in the text)

2. The final results of research being the Golden Elixir "Anemoi". This being the substance directly injected into the Brainstormer-to-be's brain. If found or stolen in other circumstances, it makes for a certain amount of dilemma. It's worth a great deal , but selling it means it will likely result in the creation of a Brainstormer. (pretty much in the text)

3.What gives the Brainstormer their power and mental unhinging is the supernatural awareness of inner and outer workings of the heavens themselves. While they tend to not do much with that knowledge other than exert their ego, if something about the sky is needed to known (say the climate is heading towards an iceage, a hole into outer space has been created, an upcoming superstorm is approaching or even an exact weather report for a year benefiting a naval invasion) they would be the ones to know it.

4.The Cloud Palace that a Brainstormer builds is an obvious dungeon, either with one in it, or one post -Brainstormer. The post -Brainstormer palace could be run with a timer, as parts of it break up and disperse, or the whole thing could of have drifted into an area of unnatural stillness of air.
This would prevent it from falling apart and allow new occupants to have moved in and claimed it for themselves, adding another aspect to it.
(pretty much in the text)

5.One such Cloud-palace could of developed a mini-society from the former servants and kidnap victims of the Brainstormer. Maybe the kidnapped victims have no wish to return home and are praised as the Queen , now the King has fallen, by the servants. An adventuring party could be enlisted to find a stolen princess and instead find her now enthroned .

6.While a high level threat , a low level party could still deal with a Brainstormer if enlisted or able to do sufficient research about the Brainstormers former identity and thus predict and impersonate a potential kidnap victim , allowing for a great advantage in an assassination attempt.

Morose bisected jawed fatalists , a mercenary people that can hide inside the realm created by your eye

1. As a hex encounter, their hives "look like grey smoke piled in drifts" are found in woods. Unpredictable but not necessary dangerous unless provoked, i.e the party disturbs the hive and takes away some of the stolen art. Even if they don't mess with anything, a couple pc's might wind up having Capitulator hop inside their field of view just for something to do . (pretty much in the text)

2.The obvious use of them being hired to spy on the players, is most interesting if the players know nothing about them , and with only one character has one in their eye, they might assume the creature is invisible to the rest of the party. Assume the Capitualtor has to be present in the field of vision of the affected character to listen in , and give that character a chance to notice them.
If the party learns about the Capitualtor without the Capitualtor knowing this , this also gives them a chance to feed false information to their hirer.
The Capitualtor will need to leave the eye in order to relay this information. (pretty much in the text)

3. Their love of gambling could bring them out especially if the stakes or methods of betting are particular unusual . Even one in the employ of someone else might tempted to switch if an interesting enough bet is made. Stolen artworks could be wagered back from them

4. . What makes bets the most interesting to them are ones placed on a uninvolved individual who has a variety of forces acting upon them, especially ones where a group identity is conflict with an individual identity

5.They serve as particular difficult culprit for a "closed room" detective puzzle. So one has be inside the victims vision until they are alone, then sprung out to kill them, and hidden themselves in the eye of first person to find the body. They might still be there, pretending to be uninterested in seeing the case unfold, but really being involved. Infact if they become too interested they will lose their sense of "non-self"and fall out of their non-state of being inside someone's vision.

6. Their hatred (near hatred) for movements that are  "unembodied, unquestioning, passionate and zealous" could see them involved in a clash between art schools and victims they claim, raising the stakes to near civil war (let's assume a society where art schools are interchangable with political parties).

Saturday, 18 July 2020

Velvet Hooks : Bog Elf & Swamp Drunks

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Another back up post topic, the creation ( or highlighting) of hooks to use monster from my favourite dead horse Fire On The Velvet Horizon

Bog Elf:
A Subtle tanninic people, from a mirrored world beneath the still dark waters of the mire .

1. A weapon of a hero , who united the warring tribes , was lost when he and his retinue were betrayed in dastardly swamp ambush. But lately a description of that very weapon was told of , in the hands of a weird knight. He and his fellows were sighted making war on the Potempkimen , a campaign that seems to be continue still.  (pretty much in the text)

2.  Speaking of which , if ever one needed an ally against those sneaky bastards the Potempkimen, the Bog Elf are committed adversary, if you can show them a flair for subtle and convoluted scheming  (pretty much in the text)

3. Liquid Shadow is a valuable substance , and the Bog Elves will trade it for metal goods . The trick is finding them , making contact , and getting their trust, then sourcing metal objects to their liking. As their tastes and needs can seem inexplicable. (pretty much in the text)

4.A very favoured ally of the Bog Elves maybe granted access to the shadow realm , of whose borders seep into those of the Elves. They will only lower such an explorer temporarily in the realm. If such an explorer wished to stay longer and cut themselves lose (and elude their guard) the Bog Elves would have to take on a visitor from the shadow realm of equal size and shape to the astray explorer , and this they do not want.

5.One of the alternatives the Bog Elves use in place of metal is ages-wood. This is wood that has spend a number of ages in the bogs, hardened by tannin and the weight of history.  Each age that has past leaves a different mark on the , and will be named either for the age it has spent in dark or the number.
So Fire-age-wood or 4-ages wood. Such wood can make weapons more than equal of any metal weapon and by being not metal they often have a use in cheating curses or piercing wards

6. A procession of bog elves has come before a king wanting a crime addressed. One of their princes has seen a princess and had his heart stolen. Therefore they want a heart of equal quality in return . It is unclear if they want it as a metaphor or literal.

Swamp Drunks
Those who can navigate the mysterious and maddening Melanic Moors, by being near mad themselves

1. The most obvious hook, the players wish to hire a guide through the Melanic Moors. The trick is sifting through the human wreckage in the outer reachs of Jukai to find someone who truely knows their way through the Melanic Moors , and isn't just a lush wanting to have someone buy them drinks while they lead them in a circle. (pretty much in the text)

2. Stories about certain parts of the Melanic Moors are only accessible to exactingly specific kinds of intoxication, and certain brewers recipes are effectively both the key and the map to access secret hordes and lucrative pharmacological gardens

3.The trade between the Swamp Drunks and Jukai is prohibited , thus making the role of middlemen lucrative . Assuming you can avoid the snares of being set up to serve as an offering for the Peace men and their smuggler catching quota, or being unable to discern the esoteric from the worthlesss
(pretty much in the text).

4. Another money earner for the broke , homeless , and heavily armed ; is clearing out some of the watchtowers of former expansion. When these get used by shallow-boat pirates , murder cultists, street gangs or other banes to peaceful business,  it can unclear if they "belong" to the Swamp Drunks , with its unclear semi-state hood. The safest solution is to pay adventurers to clear them out and then arrest them if it turns out the towers occupants had enough family connections to cause unrest.

5. The exact nature of the Melanic Moors is something two very different groups are invested in.
One group is the University of Jukai , specific the House of Epistegeology who will fund missions of discovery and research , that look a lot like  trespassing  , burglary and even kidnapping. The other group is the Jug-Fellows.
"Jug Fellow"is term that is normally used to refer to a temporarily camaraderie formed around the sharing of a 5 gallon jug  . But it also refers to the secret societys that each form around a tense onion layered secrets , analogies, deceptions and bizarre estoeric truths relating to the moors.

Each will teach a new member a truth , then once the member has proven themselves, they will reveal it to be a lie. Then when the fellow discovers the various ways that it being a lie has truth to it, they will reveal the deeper truth to it.

The Jug-fellow-societys are fiercely protective of their mix of knowledge, insight and deception , and while they don't have the deep pockets of the House of Epistegeology, aiding them in keeping the secrets of the Moor secret , will earn valuable allies.

6. Passing through the wrong area of the Melanic Moors (or at the wrong time) could result in a Jug-Fellow band demanding tax (preferable drink, but possibly song or other entertainment) . Refusing will result in the band disappearing with a laugh, and the travellers finding themselves inexplicable lost and the Jug-band show up again after a couple hours to ask about that tax again.

Monday, 29 June 2020

3 Session Framing

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I have indubitably done a post on this before , but I have this jolt of inspiration that I will write out right now

(so a lot of "campaigns" often last 3 sessions, so why not frame them that way)

A school of sorcerers had a sinister engine explode ripping apart the school. BUT a magic protection has frozen time mid explosion and the players are students who must escape the school with its now mid-explosion configuration . Also the outside world hates the wizzys and the players would best use this opportunity to "obtain" as much of the schools artefacts to allow them to survive in the outside world. The time stop magic is inconsistent and certain previous contained hauntings and elder beasts now wander its weird halls. Further CONFOUNDING YOU  are the hounds between time and other inter-spatial blights coming it through the cracks

basically the plot of 13 ghosts except with more ghosts, robbery, and murderous machinations.
An unrated movie by the way!
Here's a link to the synopsis


if you haven't seen it and just want to know right now

Just like the movie! Except the iceberg broke off a chunk inside the ship and protein starved tardigrade people defrosted and are running amok eating people! And the players are the under class forced to work in dangerous conditions below, because rich people have their souls kept in jars above! And some asshole thought it would be a good idea to have a monster zoo onboard!

the players are planning the ultimate heist! Getting all the balls, kites, and dogs that the scary old lady next door to the park claims when they go onto her property. Her property is a vast overgrown thorny mess and her house a crooked 3 story dwelling, squatting there like a underfeed toad.

Like Dante's Inferno but in reverse and more like Aristophanes's The Frogs

You are vice sodden dilettante,ingénue and fops invited to a private viewing of a renowned (and infamous!) art patrons gallery. But once gathered around his sinister collection he reveals himself to be the very Devil! You are cast into a painting and must struggle through the weird worlds depicted, as you leap from painting to painting, each one twisted to reflected the various sins and betrays that have made up your characters degenerate existence (ala silent hill)

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Velvet Hooks: Boa Boy and Boa Constructor

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More Velvet Hooks.
This series will be interspersed with other post topics but right now I don't have anything worth doing a full post on.
Also? , I'm no longer going to bother trying to label the hooks as "expanded content/original content" , as it seems arbitrary and not useful to try and divide them like that.
I'll keep the "pretty much in the text" one though.

Boa Boy:
The head of a child, the body of a snake, a simple abdead* servant . What could go wrong?

1.Boa boys are used as guards in well off houses. But where to put them? Lurking in vases , like the snake charmers money maker? One option is a fake safe, maybe being obviously hidden behind a large painting. Such a safe has boa access at the back . So when the safe is opened by intruder , the boa boy is waiting to pull them in , with the door engineered to swing shut afterwards

2. Eccentric Aristocrat with dozens of Boa boys holding up his train. He often needs to replace them , as he's prone to make wagers about his ability to shoot a glass of sherry balanced atop the head of one of his unfortunate boa boys.
He prefers Boa boys with eyes that aren't quite blue or green.

3. A Boa Boy of rare intelligence and an insatiable desire for vengeance. It murdered its first owner, making it seem like an accident. From there it moved on to another house, replacing the  Boa Boy on staff there . The "replacing" involves the current Boa Boy being set free, enlisted to  help, or if they prove too loyal  ,being killed and disposed of.

4. A isolated mansion with its owner succumbing to an heart attack. The Boa Boy staff are a particular witless example, and keep the mansion running as if the owner was still alive, rather than mummified in the tea room.

5. Certain Boa Boy are made and  sold off , but with a certain magick in their creation, sneak out at night to report back to their creator, who is slowly building up quite the blackmail portfolio,

6. Someone has let loose an illness as to have more dead children , as the poor often sell bodies they can't afford to have appropriately disposed of . The engineer of the blight doesn't need the resulting Boa Boys, they are just the byproduct of an extensive study in which the line between undead and abdead is to be understood.

*"abdead" using the term from China Miéville here as to define an animated corpse that isn't powered by necrotic energies , instead magic is used to restart and maintain its biologys.

Boa Constructor:
A vast snake with a maw full of clever hands. Makes itself a very important figure via trade and specialized construction, as to provide for its vast appetite

Encounters with Young Forms  (and pretty much in the text already)

1. Xanthic Snake: A series of brutal forest traps designed to isolate and maim , so allowing the Xanthic to gorge easily.

2.  Pavonated Snake :As above but instead of maiming, the trapped are then engaged in attempts at conversations and attempts at bargaining.

Griseous and older , expanded upon:
3 A mysterious shop sells strange and complex weaponry.   Examples are a thing like a elongated zither that will snap one of its metal strings like a bull whip, or one which resembles the fiendish child of a sextant and a scythe that will launch sharpened discs slicing through the air. Each weapon requires unique ammunition and this shop is the only place where these can be found.

4 In the treasure horde of some fabled beast lies a suit of armour. Constructed of starmetals, dragonbone, and the rarest of nights gold, it however is currently ripped nearly asunder. The construction of the armour is such that only by finding the original creator could there be any hope of seeing it repaired and modified to fit another. Spoiler Alert :  The creator is a giant snake with arms for teeth : o

5 Have a major villain or obstacle to the pc have custom armour, but if you can find the snake and bribe it , you will learn its weaknesses, Snake in question has "retired"  , having reached its maximum size and build a palace for itself.

6 Final Form of a Boa Constructor : so when they reach their maximum size a Boa Constructor will retire to its elaborate custom made palace. However this palace is actually a  womb  , factory and massive egg. It will slowly dismantle the Boa Constructor  painstakingly peeling nerves from muscles, etc, and then interlace the nerves unto a new massive frame of rubber, silk , steel , and wax.
The muscles are then attached to an engineering nightmare of levers, cogs, pulleys, and chains.

After an entire century the palace egg will hatch, revealing a Boa constructor the size of a castle and more mechanics than snake. Its frail flesh now spread like a fine web through out its bespoke colossus.

This Boa Constructor Omega will find an city that has is the right mix of vulnerability and viable potential. One that's relatively easy to take over ,  but still has the potential to  become a cultural mecca with a giant robotic snake running it.
This final form is less interested in food as it is knowledge, any city it runs will soon become renowned* for its libraries and universities

*I mean the MechaBoaConstructor overlord will likely be the first thing mentioned in conversation but the next thing is going to be the libraries and universities

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Velvet Hooks: Bedlam Birds and The Blathering Bird

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It continues!
Also this book has a lot of birds in it, I'm not sure if it was because I happened to have included a disproportionate amount of birds in the images I gave Patrick , or if its because the birds that were in it were very personable.
Regardless , here's 2 more of them .

Bedlam Birds
Horrible skull headed malevolences , possessed a fiendish cunning, excellent mimicry and an inexplicable ability to always know if they are watched. Everybody hates  them

Hooks that are pretty much in the text already
1.An isolated settlers cabin, barricaded , parents insane* , their kids trying their best to tend to them.  The kids will let the players in to help , but only if they can see them (they've learned to never trust only what they can hear). They will describe laughing long skulls in the dark and beg the party to save them from them.
2. A village will enlist the party to hunt down some graverobbing, church desecrating, cultists. It's actually a Malignity** of Bedlam Birds
3.(hex filling/encounter) Two bands of long feuding armies are seen working closely together  , searching for the Bedlam Birds that have bedeviled them both. However Bedlam Birds are staying just out of reach and each night will mimic the voices of each , crudely trying to manipulate them to turn on each other
4.A search mission the players are on can be exacerbated by Bedlam Birds following them and mimicking the voices of whoever the party is looking for
Original Content Please Use
5.The ability of Bedlam Birds to always know when they are being watching , is tantalizingly potent ability. Alas as the Bedlam Bird will never co-operate , it is effectively useless for anyone else. However a Wizard and talented Psilord has attempting to isolate the ability , and will pay vast sums of money to anyone who can bring them to him alive.
6.So that Psilord? He was trying to turn Bedlam Birds into a fleshy tube with the bare minimum of brain and an eyeball that would blink when spyed upon. In his attempt to do so something went very very wrong and no further communications have come from his tower. So there's a whole tower of value just sitting there now , with nothing but it's wards, two dozen Bedlams Birds, a bunch of things that used to be Bedlams Birds, other lab experiments, and whatever happened to the Psilord and his apprentices.

* the book doesn't give a duration of the insanity, but let's assume healing magics or abilities of level 3 or higher can cure it.
** the collective noun

The Blathering Bird
A bird that would be renowned for its powers of retention and recall, if it wasn't even more well known for never shutting up .

Hooks that are pretty much in the text already
1. (hex filler/encounter) a Blathering Bird on route between one settlement to another. Useful in the sense that it can lead you to the next settlement and give you news about the last one, less usefully in the sense it will never shut up and attract additionally encounters.
 Expanded upon greatly
2.The most obvious one is to have the Blathering Bird know something the party wants to know. The way to make getting that information interesting  is to require the Blathering Bird to have its memory "jogged" . I.e physically escorting it through the series of locations and events that lead to it getting the information desired in the first place. 

3.A prison has Blathering Birds kept in cages above the prisoners communal area, as form of torture, surveillance, and mental disruption. At the end of the day the Blathering Birds are moved to a communal cage . There they are looked after by individuals saint like in their patience, who record in short hand anything new the Birds have learned, before committing it in longhand  for the overseers of the prison. But this routine has been disrupted by the sudden murder of one the Bird-tenders and the theft of his log book from his home (off site from the prison). The Crown Jewels had been stolen a month previous to this event, could one of the thieves involved be currently serving time for a unrelated crime? Does one of the Birds know? How do you go about finding the one Bird that does know? 
Original Content Please Use
 4. Villages spread out along dusty badlands that use Blathering Birds as a way of keeping up to date have send notice to royal authority that Birds are coming back to their village , completely unwillingly to talk about what they've seen. The location and timing of the reports is suggestive of something moving towards more populated areas. There are now concerns.

5.Blathering Birds are actually good defenses against some forms of telepathy, as their brains are the equivalent of very loud white noise generator 

6.A technique has been developed to store information in Blathering Birds and have it not recalled until the correct conditions are met.
 The  technique involves subjecting the Blathering Birds to a very bright, very loud , very sudden piece of theatre. The piece must around 3 minutes in length and cannot be mere chaos, it must have characters, plots, character arcs, and a resolution, all while using unique music and costumes.
At the exact middle of this , everything is stopped, and the information is clearly stated  to the Blathering Bird. Then the piece continues til its resolution. The Bird will be so overwhelmed , so interested in everything , it won't be able to know which bit to talk about first, and it will immediately have a fit. Once it has recovered from the fit it will have formed a "mnemonic cyst" around the information. It will be unable to recall any of it , unless its exposed to the exact same piece of theatre again, in which case it will blurt out the information at the half way mark.

Monday, 25 May 2020

Velvet Hooks: Atrocious Crows, Azul

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More hooks from and for Fire On The Velvet Horizon

Atrocious Crows: 
Walking birds with a depressive call,  capable of scouring humanity from the inflicted and leaving only amoral marauders. 

Hooks that are pretty much in the text already:
1Their feathers "eat" light, valuable to make into exceptional thieves cloak , shield and contain objects of dangerous radiance
2.In the darkest cells of the royal dungeon , is a circular pit lined with Atrocious Crow cages. Spies, conspirators to regicide, and holders of the old faith are sentenced  to  being lowered down into this pit for a precise amount of time; enough to experience despair  but not long enough to become an Atrous-man
3. A land has become lost , blustering villages and tight knit towns have become empty , home only to the passing bands of atrous-men.
4. (hex filler) A lone very tall , very hallow pine, with a dozen atrous men living  inside it, surrounded by a mire* of Atrocious crows. One used to be a legendary sage who knows things no other knows. But which and how to get him to willing to recall the knowledge?
5. (hex filler) The sound of manically rung church bell and loud festive music can be followed to reveal wedding under siege by Atrocious Crows, lead by multiple Empty-Men. While some of the wedding party are now catatonic and huddled under tables, the majority have holed up inside the church. They have  boarded up the windows and doors, and are drowning out the caws by ringing the bell and playing festive music as loud as they can. For now they are managing to keep it up, having had to improvise several instruments broken from the extended playing, but it is unlikely they will outlast the bitter patience of the Empty Men
Greatly Expanded Upon
6.The Atrous-men command the Crows with language unknown to all but dismissed as mere noise. However rare samples of a written form of it exist. Further more records of a collapsed ancient empire refer to a book written in this language, and the book was seen as valuable enough to ruin this empire in the attempt to obtain it.

*the collective noun of Atrocious Crows is a "Mire"

Blazing bugs carried to earth on thunderbolt, doomed to die unless they can once again climb skyward.

Hooks that are pretty much in the text already:
 1.Clouds are hives for Azul. And like bee hives, there's a honey "Phlogiston". It's extreme dangerous, unstable , and somewhat counter-intuitively, valuable
2.<encounter> A frantic Azul chasing a storm , leaving a burning swathe behind it
3. If you need to get a sky-palace , storm fortress, or cloud garden the least feasible and practical  way is to find a downed Azul, wait until its latched onto a lightning bolt, and ride it , as it rides itself, back into the sky. However such a dangerous and nigh inconceivable plan has one thing for it, who would think to guard against such a fool's quest?
4. "Its ghostly organs are worth incalculable sums" The containment measures to keep it fresh and puissant are also a considerable amount  , but what interests us today is the damage  unleashed if they are tampered, and the gathered auction crowd present who would be subject to their damage, and that's about where the job offer begins to your p.cs
5. The lives of the storm and the Azul are linked. If an Azul can be captured and maintained beyond its own to do ,  then its storm will also be maintained. A storm that does not end can become a significant problem.
 Original content please use
6."Perhaps as the Azul lives in the air, once long ago its ancestors swarm within the earth and stone." Well turns out those weird rock echoes of the Azul aren't  its ancestors, they are its parallels in stone rather than sky. And while the Azul moves at a lightning pace, these earthen brethren , move at geologic pace. A matter of mere academic interest?  
Well it would be but a particular academic , whose particular unhinged, happens to be investigating what happens if you cast a lot of haste spells on one. Other more reasonable minds are very concerned about this , and are looking for a rag-tag band of resourceful individuals to find him before some new mountain ranges start popping up.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Velvet Hooks : Anemone Men , Ants Of Neutrality

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 I continue to see write hooks for Velvet Horizon, using what I can find in the text and making shit up when I can't
Anemone Men:
The long dreaming polyp men with deadly soporific stings.

Hooks that are pretty much in the text already:
1.Guards: to counteract the advantage that could be had by observing their sessility and making preparations , they could be placed after a flooded tunnel connecting two rooms via pools in their corner. Thus preventing easily electrocuting , burning , smoking them out or starting combat with a volley of missile fire.
2.Their Venom as a cure for Insomnia: Either tasked or hired to find one and getting the venom , or a  character is afflicted by a magic curse of sleeplessness.
3. Looking for someone who was looking for the venom: An important npc known to suffer  from insomnia was last known to be seeking out the Anemone Men before they disappeared, possible due to getting knocked out by them and is now asleep in a damp cave somewhere.
Greatly expanded on
4. The "blue world" that surviours of the venom report dreaming of , turns out to be a pocket dimension , in which has been hidden secrets to the true nature of the world. The world is not without its guards and obfuscations though.A successful trip to the world hinges on finding and interviewing surviours of the venom to piece together a map of the blue world.
5.(wandering encounter) An Anemone Men has ripped the eyes out of some poor soul, and has approached the party seeking their aid in returning the eyes to the being who apparently survived but fled.  The eyes appear to be made entirely of precious stones with near inconceivable level of craftmanship
Original content please steal
6.A city is suffering from a sleeping plague ,where-in people sometimes fail to wake , and remain in deep dreams, seemingly in distress.  The cause is a village of Anemone Men has moved into tunnels that feed into the towns aquifer , and thus their chemicals have tainted the water.

Ants Of Neutrality :
grumpy little legal minded conformists

Hooks that are pretty much in the text already:
 1. Wilderness encounter: the terrain becomes increasingly ordered and geometric , leading to the nest of the ants of neutrality.

2.Collecting the ants for use as magic-suppressing device

3.Someone valuable to the party has disappeared while riding a horse ,very drunk.  The horses returning home with very very neat braids suggests  the Ants have captured said person and will soon put them to trail.

Greatly Expanded upon
 4 A design for a powerful anti-chaos weapon requires Ants of Neutrality , a device somewhat like copulating of a sextant , a cannon, and a prism. The design has 2 versions. One which the ants antennas are mashed to a pulp and boiled down to crystallize. The weapon shines the light of order through the crystal which acts as lens. This is the lesser version. The greater version involves having an entire nest peacefully living inside the machine. But this requires obtaining a nest and transporting it without stressing the Ants by exposing them to chaotic engine, or they won't survive the trip.

Original Content please steal:
5.A powerful chaotic force is contained behind a vast vault door, with some of the locking mechanism by the presence of a hive of Neutral ants. However recent events in the city have exposed them to a form of chaotic engine the terms of their contract don't cover. So they are claiming breach of contract and will be leaving soon, resulting in the vaults integrity being compromised
 6.The Ants of Neutrality, a minor nuisance of the Mute-Chalk Plains, are freaking out like the proverbial canary in the goldmine,  suggesting a vast chaotic event is nigh.  By comparing the degree of freaking out the direction of said event can be determined , and thus giving the first clue.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Velvet Hooks

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The post kickstarting doings are being done at a steady pace , the country is beginning to ease the social restrictions , and I have for you a new blog post series that will hopefully keep things regular around here.

This new series entails my favourite  (un)dead horse , Fire On The Velvet Horizon and giving you hooks for using all the monsters.

But before that , a quick note about the process of the book:
I gathered a range of art I had done, in a broad of a way as I could manage, including finished pieces with barely started, pieces I loved, and pieces I was embarrassed by . Patrick then respond to the ones he responded to, and sent me the writing, which I might accept, suggest changes or additions, and  in a couple of times reject.
One of the desired outcomes of the text , to which I made suggestions in aid of , was that there would be obvious hooks on how to use the monster.

So this series will also mean I will revisit that goal  and see how well it accomplished it.
I will note which hooks , to me, seemed easy to draw from the text , and which ones I'm in fresh territory. 

The slug that uses civic law as its invincible shield

Hooks that are pretty much in the text already:
1. The Abhorrer has purchased an enslaved genius , the only one capable of solving the vast hyperdimensional locks protecting the vaults of the treasure moons. The Abhorrer will have them counting sand until their wits fail them.

2.The party reaches a city of renown for its wisdom and love of justice in order to seek the aid of their armies. However an Abhorrer has twisted its way into the courts of the city , and has snared up the courts with endless petty cases. Its poisonous presence hasn't yet sunk the cities leaders into apathetic cynicism, but each passing days is a drop of corrosion on their vigor and virtue.

3.To rid itself of an Abhorrer , a city has collapsed into sheer bloody anarchy , the courts aflame , open warfare between a dozen or more factions filling the streets. However the Abhorrer has hidden itself , like an encysted parasite in rotten flesh. The party is tasked to find it and kill it, at risk from rioters,overly zealous military, or any number of factions liable to mistake them for their rivals.

4. Another city seeks the path of law to rid an Abhorrer. While the Abhorrer is physically protected by law, and evidence of its wrong doing inaccessible through legal means, its powers won't be able to protect that evidence from extra-legal means, i.e the party. The relevant civil authoritys can't be official connected to the party or be shown to have directly  hired them , but through use of catspaws, anonymous drops, and arranged  "accidents" the parties services can be directed and rewarded. 

  Original material please steal:
5.  In a sinking city, one whose new buildings lay foundation on the roofs of old, a vast case against an Abhorrer is being made.  Ancient books of law must be obtained from ancient archives deep down in the old city. Among the dangers of mammoth book lice, guardians demented with age, and demi-real book beings,Abhorrer hired mercenary,  are the undead librarians zealously punishing anyone breaking the silence.  Also for your Library megadungeon needs

6. A small frontier town begins to be able to pay adventurers/the party to clear out monster lairs, establish trails and merchant routes, etc. The Burgomaster funding it is actually a front for Abhorrer  , keen to have a metropolis grown up around it.


Weird beings from a microworld. Masked , social and flanged.

 pretty much in the text
 1. An Aeskithete curator , buys art and books , pays with unusual materials  .

Hooks in the text , greatly expanded upon
2 . A vast and ruinous war might be coming to an end, if a facilitator of impeccable ability and complete neutrality can found. To that end , the party will be offered a significant reward to be magicked to the microworld of the Aeskithetes, brave the dangers there, and convince an Aeskithete to abandon its peers, and its entire generation in order to secure a lasting peace.

3. The true heir to a throne was absconded by usurpers. While the usurpers have been ousted , the heir is still missing, and it is unlikely stability can be found without them. An investigation of the possessions of the former usurpers points towards the incredibly impossibility of the heir being trapped on their own skin. Aeskithetes must be found and recruited to allow such a impossible journey.. Note that some contrivance must be order to allow the heir to still be alive, despite time passing quicker in the micro world. The heir might now be ruling a new kingdom or have sired a dynasty.

   Original material please steal:
4 World destroying events are a foot  .Meteors, vast artifacts falling from the  sky, unpredictable changes in the atmosphere. A mad solution is advanced. Find the magics that allow the Aeskithetes to expand into (for them) the marcoworld  and use them to ascend up to the marcomarcoworld and adjust the events directly

5. Books sculpted from keratin indicate the presence of Aeskithete library.  One is a catalog and it lists many otherwise lost tomes of civilization altering knowledge. The colour of the keratin is distinctive and if one  can find the being whose hair matches this colour, then one can likely find this library.

6.A character is struck by magically irrevocable wound or disease. But! Help shows up in an Aeskithete from the characters very skin, their civilization foreseeing the end , sending one of their own to bring their host unto the hosts very skin and do battle with the source of infection directly!  

Friday, 10 April 2020

A Jewel of the Internet

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Have you ever seen a cover from Amazing Stories, Spicy Detective , Weird Tales or Scientific American and thought "Cor, this is the real shit, why do I not know who did this? Why are galleries and modern book covers are full of trash when there are such guiding lights to follow?

Like this piece by C B Coby
Well I can't answer the second question (my suspicion is the world is vast engine of suffering) and because I  phrased it badly  I can't answer the first one either, But what I can do is point you towards this website: 

Which has a metric fucktonne of artists listed, with extensive biographies and examples of their art.
It took me about 8-10 hours to look through them all and that was with mostly ignoring all the cowboy and sports adventure art.

I assume most of these  are now public domain , but more importantly some of the pieces I've seen around with no credit can have a name  , and more works can be easily be found of that artist.

The creator and maintainer of this website have done THE  WORLD a massive service with this site.
 I am so in awe of the amount of art and artist that could of been forgotten or at least unknown to me , had it not existed.

The rest of this post is going to be featuring some of my favourites from the site.
This selections is due to them having at least one of the following qualities:
 "goofy charm" , "endearingly deranged" "breaks all the rules but, by god, it works", "craftsmanship at sublime level" "delightfully imaginative" "Amazing Style)
(In case you though pulp art could only be one of those)

Allen Anderson
 (Goofy Charm)
Allen Anderson
 (nothing crazy but craftsmanship at sublime level)(but also the trumpet and the alien noses are a mix of goofy charm / delightful imaginative) 
 (Breaks all the rules but , by god, it works)
 (this depiction of a vampire is interestingly corrupt so Delightfully Imaginative) 
(Amazing Style)

 (the last picture is also from the story At The Mountains of Madness. The first picture is of the Great Race of Yith)

 (Endearingly Deranged)


 Can we just have a moment to reflect on the body language and poise of this character and how it shows their temperament , age, and degree of skill with the blade?  And how much coiled energy exists in its depiction of stillness?


Like Western as genre has basically zero appeal for me , but I recognise art when I see it

 (That's the story that became the movie THE THING by the way. Also Hannes Bok is an artist you might be more familiar with their weird block geometry monsters from rpg blogs that love weird pulp artists. This sites collection shows a transition of Bok from more conventional (but still striking ) to their own distinctive style.

A Leslie Ross
 (Craftmanship at a sublime level and also I did check out some of the cowbow art)


Clarence Doore



Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Image Response 24

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That was likely my most favourite one yet

As I commence writing this there's 10 hours on the mercantile clock in which to secure a print of Deep Carbon Observatory  ,
after which you'll have to find them in shops or via mail order, methods both adding a little more uncertain that the regular irregular amount of uncertainity.

Any way we have this image to response to
He is a Buggard Groundskeeper, specifically Mister Pigs .

The Seelie like other nobility amuse themselves with a rich variety of hunting practices, and thus need grounds and lands kept well stocked for them and them alone.

Thus they make use of buggards as groundskeeper, troll like brutes that make up for their (considerable) lack of intelligence with  immense and fierce tenaciousness .

Their minds are like single angry wasp held in a hand, an endless pricking their mind with suspicion and hatred.

Not a single leaf or stick can be moved without them noticing it on their rounds, their only pride and esteem is in their ability to maintain their grounds from poachers.

Their stout legs can pump remarkably fast , easily keeping up with a horsed rider, and adding to that is that thickets and various undergrowths let their master pass unimpeded , while seemingly rising up to snatch at the Buggard's quarry.

A Buggard will armed with a crude bunderbuss like weapon , packed with elfshot, resulting in the flesh peppered with painful wounds that won't heal until the elfshot is removed.
However when someone  tries to dig out the elfshot it will bury away from the chirurgeons probe , increasing the damage done.

They can only be removed by calling them out with certain songs which are known to very few mortals.
Those that do know them are very cautious about singing them , as to do so risks the seelie hearing and claiming the singer as their own.

Additionally some struck by this elfshot will have certain strangers come looking for them, not the Buggard , but his masters. If they find this marked trepasser they will ensourcen them into an animal form (but leave their ability to speak and more specific to plead) and put them in the grounds as use as a game.
Poachers don't escape the Buggard will be skinned and eaten ,  buggards being found of human skin for sheets and furniture covering and their cottage will have any surface sittable being dressed as such.

If the Buggard decides you are merely trespassing (as you seem to have no means of taking game nor the smell of it on you . The Buggard can smell if someone has held a bow or spear in the last day , and if they've eaten a game bird or beast in the last month)
 and the Buggard is not hungry (1 in 3 chance) , they will be sounded thrashed and kicked out .

If the Buggard is hungry , the victim will be bleed, skinned , dressed and eaten.
If the victim can make a case for their ability to sing , tell jokes or storys, they will be kept captive instead.
Nearer christmas time the Buggard will have atleast one captive that they fatten up for the winter feast.

The other danger is that the Buggard will be on orders to kept the woods stocked with human game.
In which case you won't be allowed to leave as the Good People wish to use in one of their specialty hunts , a few of which are listed.

1. Babes in the woods:
Children or youths are left to wander in their woods, and 1d12 Folk attempt to use illusions to convince them to lie down and succumb to hypothermia . Each of the court can use an illusion once to trick them and once to get them lost . If the victims manage to find their way out, they will be let go and often find money for their rest of their lives, providing they don't talk ill of their hosts, in which case they will often find snakes.

2. The questing knight
The quarry is one on a quest (or order to be on one by the Buggard) , the Seelie take turns attempt to use the quarrys moral failings against them , if they fall , that Fellow will turn them into a pet.
There will be 1d4+2 tests before they are left to complete their quest.

3.Vengeance Hounds
Someone is chose with guilty past, they will be pursed by the People astride horses and with hounds, each hound having the face of someone the quarry wronged. They will be relentless pursued , being able by time only by expressing true remorse to each hound in turn. More likely they will be torn apart by the hounds , and only their heart, tongue, breast , hands or genitals (which ever suits their crimes)  kept as trophys.


 4. The Duel
Some capable of defending themselves is chosen for this hunt. A single member of the Lovely Court  will hunt them down aimed with a bow , a dozen arrows, a thorned whip , and a long glass knife.
They must use the knife for the final blow or be seen as failure by their peers.
The quarry must make do with whatever they can make or find.
If the quarry survives , a  (possible as yet unborn) child they have who shows martial promise will taken on as a squire by court as reward. 
If the quarry successfully kills the Hunter, all debts , promises and feuds of the Hunter now belong to them. The hunter will then be reborn with a new name.

5. Armour of Gratitude
The quarry is given a day and night to earn the favour of as many forest beings as they can, and be given the ability to speak to beast, foul, reptile, tree and fish .
After the time is up the Reasonable People will seek them out, first with hounds and spears, then with crows and knives, then with flies and nets.
If they manage to escape , they will keep the speech ability. However if they speak ill of their hosts of this time their tongue will turn into a burning coal.

6. Blindman Bluff
Someone is either chosen for their blindness or made blind. The Folk seek them out with spears. however the rules of the game are that if the quarry calls out what they are within earshot of the Golden Host, then the Host have to treat them as that.
They  must use the correct tool/weapon for the killing of their quarry.
So if the quarry called out they are Tree , the folk must leave and come back with an axe.
Someone with average ability  to hide and detect will likely have the Folk find them 6 times before the game is up.
When the game is finished they will become what have last stated themselves to be.

Now what will possible be the last image of this game, we have twice had elephants, so lets end in thrice elephants: