Friday, 30 December 2011


Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF So I gots a little exhibition thing at Glue gallery in Dunedin and I'm making some creatures what I already made so I don't mind selling them, and beholder is one I just made and showing you now

And now some rpg gibbets.  The process of welding on the better bits of Feng Shui to D&d are going well, and I spent a sleepless night in christchurch last night giving feats/schticks cooler names. My favorites so far are "Over compensating", allowing you to use an over sized weapon at no penalty, "A professional relationship" for weapon specialization and"Will consider anything" for no penalty for improvised weapon use. I think I'm funny anyway.
Christchurch is little bit on the trashed side at the mo, there were some good aftershocks when I was there, and its a particular kind of adrenaline jolt you get from them, this "the world has stopped making sense" kinda thing that you also get from finding fire in unexpected places and seeing ghosts.
Anyway my folks are there, and not under a pile of rubble and I made my yearly attempt at a family connection.

So decided barbarians are gonna be called Abominations and be like this guy:

That's him at the top and below that him using his "barbarian rage/warp spasm" powers.
And yes he was modeled heavily on Cu Cuchulain (holy shit the spell checker knew that), an Irish folk hero who would flip the fuck out and mutate heavily and kill everyone
The first warp spasm seized Cuchulainn, and made him into a monstrous thing, hideous and shapeless, unheard of.  His shanks and his joints, every knuckle and angle and organ from head to foot, shook like a tree in the flood or a reed in the stream.  His body made a furious twist inside his skin, so that his feet and shins and knees twitched to the rear and his heels and calves switched to the front.

The balled sinews of his calves switched to the front of his shins, each big knot the size of a warriors bunched fist.  On his head, the temple-sinews stretched to the nape of his neck each mighty, immense, measureless knob as big as the head of a month old child.  His face and features became a red bowl:  He sucked one eye so deep into his head that a  wild crane couldn't probe it into his cheek out of the depths of his skull: the other eye fell out along his cheek.

His mouth weirdly distorted: his cheek peeled back from his jaws until the gullet appeared, his lungs and liver flapped in his mouth and throat, his lower jaw struck the upper a lion killing blow and fiery flakes large as a rams fleece reached his mouth from his throat.  His heart boomed loud in his breast like the baying of a watchdog at its feed or the sound of a lion among bears.

Malignant mists and spurts of fire  the torches of Badb  flickered in red in the vaporous clouds that rose boiling above his head, so fierce was his fury.  The hair of his head twisted like the tangle of a red thornbush stuck in a gap; if a royal apple tree with all its kingly fruit were shaken above him, scarce an apple would reach the ground but each would be spiked on a bristle of his hair as it stood up on his scalp with rage.

The hero-halo rose out of his brow, long and broad as a warrior's whetstone, long as a snout and he went mad rattling his shields, urging on his charioteer and harassing the hosts.  Then, tall and thick, steady and strong, high as the mast of a noble ship, rose from the dead center of his skull a straight spout of black blood darkly and magically smoking like the smoke from a royal hostel when a king is coming to be cared for at the close of a winter day."
Omg I have such a wide-on right now from all the slaine and what the fuck? That's a barbarian, yes conan all very good but vanilla and fuck off ,  this tingles my jingle so  yes, Irish folk stories, very much on the drugs.
So Slaine was from the British comic anthology 2000 ad which was also very much on the drugs, and if you have not read it you should track down as much as you can. Like its pulp as all shit, but it blew my mind as a kid, like it scared me and traumized me, but in a good way. Like you go from reading spider man where peter parker spends half a story arc crying because he punched some guy too hard , to Judge Dredd, where there's cyborg pirates throwing people into a ocean of the future, which was so diseased you died in seconds. And then they shoot some cluster nuclear missles and kill a couple of million people and Judge Dredd goes and fights them all and it turns out the main pirate guy is actually a future russian, and so Judge Dredd's bosses ring up the future russians and are all like "hey what the fuck is this?" and the future russians are like "oh is our face red, here we nuke a couple million of our own people and we all even steven." And Judge Dredd's bosses are like cool, "all well that ends well" and my ten year brain is blown. I mean there was a moral, and it was government suxs but people are fucking stupid worms anyway. Compare and contrast to Superman, or batman whining about not killing people. 
Like 2000ad was a very uneven ramshackle type of thing, and the humour was aimed at kids. No really. It was. 
Other highlights include where the Atomic Biological Chemical warriors fought rogue t-rex's on mars. My poor childs brain can still remeber the scene where a trapped mother comforts her son to close his eyes because it will all be over soon, and then the t-rex eats them.
One of the robots was some kinda of chaos warlock ("deadlock") and did magic and had an awesome sword and another was programmed to betray ("blackblood") and he had photos of the sniper robot ("joe pineapples")dressing up in womens clothing and later there was Killdozer who thought he was a barbarian hero and yes very on the drugs.

Alan Moore wrote some of his first stuff for these guys, "Jr and Quinch" about 2 alien delinquents who killed and tortured people. The scene where Quinch is driving some kind of giant steam roller along a beach burned its way into my mind quite deeply.

I think the magazine had some system where the would give an artist X amount of pages and let them go for it without attempting to taper or moderate the end result, and it lead to phantasmagorical stoner spash pages, bizarre rambling plots, abrupt changes in mood and genre and why are you not looking this up right now? Abc warriors, judge dredd (especially anything with Judge Death, Judge Fear, Judge Mortis and Judge Fire) , Strontium Dog, Jr and Quinch, Nemesis the Warlock, anything drawn by Simon Bisley etc.
In conclusion 2000ad was a 14 year stoner metal geek in the best possible way.
anyway so ages back I mentioned a omen table thing and here's the system I'm using.
Basically the player draws (or you roll on a table or use  abulafia a major arcana tarot card and each card has a little port folio and the player can get a +2 bonus or somesuch if they can say that this one roll is under its port folio.
But  also the card has a negative port folio and the d.m gets to put bonus/penalty on some appropriate adversarial roll for the player.
I'm doing it so the player has the option of checking for omens in the morning, and they draw the card and hold onto it and they give it over when they use it. And when I use the negative influence modifier I be all like "As you explain you situation to the Bastard King of Howling Meat, you have a horrible chill go down your spine. This is an unauspicious  day for such things.
Maybe you would prefer to use something tastier than a +2, like getting to use the bigger dice (d30 instead of d20 etc) or auto success. Anyway you get the picture.
here's a card list and their areas of influence  

The fool:
eg escape artist checks, pick locks, sneaking out of places, save vs paralyzing attacks
eg perception checks for enemy ambushes, search checks, number of wandering monsters

The Emperor 
eg leadership checks, charisma checks for gaining official approval, court decisions
eg craft checks, experimenting with potions, making new stuff

<thwump> there's your brother, pizza delivery man junior

The Empress
e.g stupid druid spells, survival checks to find nuts and berrys and road kill, spells to do with wellness and heartiness not healing per say. Baby eating. , animal summoning
e.g sense motive checks ,bluff checks etc

The Magician
personal power
e.g concentration checks, magic, spell durations
saving throws versus charm, pissing npcs off,  power level of demons summon, control checks for summoned creatures

The high priestess
e.g scrying, knowledge checks, the wisdom freaking stat
e.g save versus confusion, fear , rage etc, people over reacting to stuff

(it's the tarot, it's like 50 % gender stereotypes and essentialist clap trap )
The Heriophant 
e.g ...
weather preventing travel, bureaucratic nonsense

The Sun
e.g resisting fatigue, any physical labour
resisting deception, noticing traps or ambushs

The Moon
good: inspiration
e.g perception checks, int checks, we-are-stuck-come-on-dm-throw-us-a-freaking-clue checks
e.g saves versus insanity, confusion , panic

The Devil
good:deceiving/manipulating people
e.g disguise, intimidate, bluff, basically any player relevant charisma check
bad: Imprisonment
e.g pick locks, evading the law, sentencing, saves versus entanglement
The Tower
e.g breaking other peoples stuff, sabotage, arson , damage to inanimate objects
e.g the same as above but you and your stuff

truth finding/punishment
e.g sense motive checks (again), um.. perception checks?, to hit criminals
bad: ruthlessness
e.g roles to avoid hitting allys in friendly fire, collateral damage

good: bringing together opposites
e.g potion experimentation, making friends type cha checks, dilpomancy
e.g initiative, damage

Wheel of Fortune
e.g ambush related rolls, inflicting unexpected plans on people
the same but against you

The World
e.g survival checks to make it home. healing checks after battle
e.g to hit or damage rolls against hirelings or steeds that you have put in danger

The Star:
e.g ...
e.g item saving throws, stat loss due to spells you cast

The Hermit
e.g tracking , oracle spells, path finding
e.g summoning animal numbers, sending messages out for help, communication attempts, getting lost

e.g to hit/damage against boss type monsters, finishing blows
e.g damage rolls, people stealing stuff, beloved pets stuffed with spiders

self control
e.g saving throws, strength checks
e.g chance of wandering monster, chance of people hating you

The lovers
union, bonding
e.g rolls to help out other party members
Doubt,difficult choices
e.g fear saves, will saves arghha itsss latee

The Chariot:
e.g hit/dmg killing people and taking their stuff
e.g misreading situations, trip attempts against you, save versus taunt style effects

e.g anything you are trying to do with the odds against you
"so how many monsters heard that boulder come crashing down?", "gee I hope that girl we left behind in the ogre lair wasn't anyone important's daughter" etc

The hanged man
e.g spell duration, concentrate checks, stealth in waiting around
e.g saves, spell durations

That took too damn long and was a little scatchy but I hope its usable to anyone
sleeeep nowww for scrapprincess mistress of ruin boiler of children


  1. That's fucking awesome (the Slaine/Tain/2000AD stuff and the tarot list both).

    I used to have the two-volume set of Slaine: The Horned God, but sold it a few years ago when I was really hard up for cash, and I've been kicking myself ever since.

  2. thanks! I had to resist immediate buying on a copy of horned god when I googled the images and got all excited about it. Too much debt to justify purchasing at this stage. If you wind up using the tarot system in your game let me know how it goes!