Monday 28 January 2013

Wands I like pointy boom stick I cannot lie

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OH look fuck it Imma on a band wagon.

I like wands. Wands make me think about pointing bones

and this I wrote earlier:

"So like wands as a raw looking lens of intention. A long needle of bone wrapped in hair and rotten teeth, a children's chair leg studded with absurdly dainty nails, a fat polished small branch wrapped thick with plague bandages. A concentration of intensity in the most basic of tools ; a stick , a psychic lever. The action of pointing is primal, the fear of being chose, cast out, selected, marked, no longer safe in a crowd but alone, the malignity of the world bearing down on you, you alone."

But okay the challenge via Zak Smith is "do they look cool to use?"
(and also, could a gun, staff or any other object look cooler in the wands place?)

I've been trying to draw what is going on in my head for cool wand useage but I have nothing that's not "scruffy people gurning and gesturing wildly" which is not quite what I'm thinking of.

This is all gonna be a 100% in the domain of subject-to-taste. Do I need to say that? Some how, I think I do.
Also wand is being defined here by me as "something smaller than a walking stick , that is longer than it is wide, and does not immediately look like something that would be your first choice in a knife fight"

So the basic harry potter wand position is holding it in the palm, the base of the wand not extending too far past the fleshy base of the thumb. If you were to pass someone a candle this is properly the hand position you would naturally use.
Now there is a variety of mutant a-topical wand movements but still using this hand position , going through my head right now, I'll list them
>The delicate "conductors" baton movements that contrast horribly with the violently throwings being telekinetically delivered on the target. Ala That wizard vs the Other wizard in Lord Of The RIng.

>as above, but more "calligraphy brush", movements corresponding to sudden wounds blooming over target. Possibly reverse movements or stitching motions for healing or silence/blinding
Would a giant sewing needle be cooler for this? Well yes and no. A giant sewing needle is awesome, but somehow a giant sewing needle that sews at you by sewing seems a bit of anti climax. If a horribly thin sliver of bone or a mummified aye-aye finger did this effect , that is much more satisfying to me. Like "oh shit what is that horrible thing that warlock has pointing at me I don't know what is going to happen but argh"
A giant sewing needle should sew stuff but maybe sewing peoples shadow together or joining locations in space or sewing up a pocket in space to hide something. To be unpicked later, releasing a trap? 

>As generic brand wand , but the wands movements are drawn, as if the the wielder was pulling the wand through tar or meat, a sense that the wand tears hard against the very physical nature of reality.

> Slow deliberate cutting motions directed on wielders own body, causing emphatic effect on the viewer (ie you start bleeding). I like a throat slitting motion here.
 Now a magical knife could do this, but again it's too obviously packaged. A magical knife would be better used cutting out your own internal organs which then grow and monsterize and implausibly savage people. I like the mental image of a nondescript branch doing this effect.

>waving around the wand like a maddened lunatic bedeviled by wasps, but the speed of the movements speeds and slows erratically

>The old "flick this shit off that stick" . Could be done in a martial artist avatar kinda way. Waving a weapon around and shooting fire from it is kinda unwieldy  but waving around a weird magic object in a violent and graceful fashion with the spell released as if flung by it is workable in my head.
The flick this shit also works for me if the wand is stabbed into the earth which then turns into lava, caustic tar, acid ooze or whatever and then removed and flung at the target. Also the "wave a magic missile into existence like a sassy teenage witch with a sparkler". Which maybe too camp, whimiscally or fruity for your tastes. Me I love a crazed limp wristed eunuch underling squealing and flinging soul spiders from their wand .

>also a wand that oozes something vile from its tip which then congeals into a horrible summoned monster, or a wave of chilling goo etc. Pretend complete ignorance of any phallic contortions. "Sometimes a horrible ooze secreting meat wand is just a  horrible ooze secreting meat wand"

>wand has snake head, snake head shoots lasers from its eyes. Is he-man style, which may or may not be a deal breaker here. Also the argument "but a snake staff or a goat skull headed staff shooting eye lasers is just better" is.. correct. Okay the wand is a horrible glass centipede thing that is coiled around your wrist , penetrates your veins with its legs, and uses your blood to power its eye lasers.

Okay so other ways to hold wands:
Well here is people having a roman candle fight

pew pew pew roman candles

which may or may not sell wands to you.
I think that some of the "just pointing this thing" looks dumb, but some of "oh shit I can't believe explosions are coming out of this thing" holding is perfect in my head.

I think wands look better in my head if they are just smaller than a walking stick (like a life preserver) and about a 4th of the wand's length runs along the inner arm to brace it. SO not a harry potter dire-pencil.

Also for your comptemplations a caduceus style wand that is presented up-right and the snakes then laser eye the shit out of everyone in your way.

and some pictures

pointing bone

don't ask

centipede: in this style 100 gold

more pointing bones
the original boom stick

Oh I feel that the only really acceptable crystal for a wand is the whole thing being carved out of obsidian.

Oh and so there is this game called Legend Of krondor you will need a duck and and it was a p.c rpg but yeah the point is the description of enchanted bolts for the crossbow mentioned that you could tell these were magic because they looked like they were made by someone who had no idea how to make a quarrel.
I love that. I love the idea of "vandalized function" , like objects that mock the actual way things works and work anyway by usurping that function by mocking mimicry. Wands that look like the worst dagger ever, like a glass spindle, or a dainty childs mace with insanely complex star bursts and halos of spikes, barbs and razors.
A modern day wizard could have no time or care for engineering and just duct tape gun like things together, wrap it in goat skin and then go and blow peoples faces clean off.

Pictures of kludge guns that kinda follows what I was just talking about

Actually I think some these actually work as guns, but yeah. If anyone finds a good picture of a goat part using kludge gun , share please!

Monday 21 January 2013

Pew Pew Pew flying ship combat

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So redlands has all this flying ship malarkey and here is my attempt to make some useable rules for it.

I'm doing this pretty modular , like there is a basic framework and then a bunch of complicated options which I feel compelled to make because.

There is also is few different styles of flying ship powpow which have different expectations.

The star wars style big ships and little fighters wizzing around and a lot of the battle hinging on them. Which makes small ships needing to be some what mechanically relevant.

Or the Pirates of the Caribbean ships of similar sizes blasting away at each other , with only medium and larger ships being relevant for the battle.

Also if you wanting a Spelljammer style thing were you hand pick your crew and give them all jobs and stuff and upgrade various doodads and bile-throwers, that's a thing.

This is a slightly different thing than if you occasionally think there might be a flying ship happening and you want your players to be able to be in charge of it and yelling at people to pull levers and fire cannons and shit.

I hopefully will cover this all with my dire thinks.

I'm also posting this to get feed back on it, as while the Math has had a chunk of crunching , as yet, extensive playing testing has not happened for it. So I'm opening it open to the blogverse to see what people think and can do with it.

Princess thanks to Ian Johnston, Humza Kazmi, Jason Kieblasa , Richard G, and Reynaldos absurdly long eyelashes for their input.

BASIC STRUCTURE:(additional complications in purple)
Armour class of ship + captains level (see end of post for notes on this) = agility

Your hit bonus is the the average level of the crew.
Or , if you prefer rules that allow Joe or Joeina P.C to be immediately vital to the whole operation, use the p.cs lowest modifier of charisma , intelligence or wisdom unless they are a fighter then they can choose which one. Or just pick one. Look at me making it all options bloat :D
you could also use the exact level of the gunning crew if this ship is being used on goingly and it's fun to hire different people for different things
otherwise here is a guide to crew level

0 pressed ganged
1 trained
2 seasoned
3 veteran
4 elite

Assume 1d6 hit dice, 1d4 for level 0

your initiative bonus is the average of the captain and the crews level

3 ranges , long (lasers, rockets) , medium (catapults, cannons), close (small arms fire, ramming)Or 5 ranges extreme (just visible) , long, medium, close , and ramming/boarding

If a ship is big it takes 1 round to change a distance (from medium to close for example)
For a medium ship it takes 2 rounds to change a distance

And for a small ship it takes 3 rounds to change a distance

Since shit is 3 dimensional there is high , low and middle.

It takes a big ship 3 rounds to maneuver into a new position , medium 2 and small one round.
You can change both position and distance at the same time as part of your move. This does not increase the time it takes to change because this is the simple version.

Tiny ships can change 2 altitudes in a round but take 4 to change a distance, and huge having 4 to change altitude but can change 2 distances in a round

You can try and block a ship from moving, you declare that as your move , and then roll agility vs their agility.
Which is you roll a d20 add your agility and compare it to a d20 plus their agility.
If they win they get to do what they want. If you win they can abort to the maneuver or you get double all the attacks you would normally get this round on them.

ANy other situation like strafing (resolving your attack before your move), playing chicken, lap of the land flying , etc, do contested agility checks. In the situation where there is no opposing person (like lap of the land) , use a roll under agility check.


it is resolved as an attack, in which case both ships take damage = the other ships hit point total.

A successful agility check allows that ship to take half damage. Ramming prows give double or triple your damage resistance when ramming.

In addition to that moving stuff you can dog tail another ship. This is where you stay move behind them ( or another position where not so many of their guns are) and stay there shooting them. As long as you are dog tailing them, they can attack you only with weapons that are facing you. If you are not bothering recording the specific directions of the weapons , assume an 3rd less attacks , round down

This is again is an agility check vs the other ship. Fighters can do this every round, medium ships take 2 rounds, and big take 3.

Here are some example stats of ships, included is a typical armament (T.A) for them and also the hard points this uses. A hard point is a "slot" for a weapon. There are small, medium, large and huge slots.

A more complicated version would be a mechwarrior style slot system, but making balanced numbers for such a system is beyond me.

The amount of weapons fitted on to ships is leaning more towards spelljammers approach , than pirate ships with even the smaller ships having about 12 cannons. Because math and wrangling number bloat and having fairly homogenous mechanics still, and dealing with ships having 30 cannons each did my head in.


This seems a good place to put some ideas speeding up making a bunch of rolls real quick, for like a pitched ship battle or something.

Don't roll damage, just have weapons do the average damage

If you had like 12 attacks to resolve , get the average damage, subtract the damage resistance from it, multiply it by the amount of attacks. Then work out the percentage chance the attacks have of hitting. Multiply the sum damage by that percentage.

I feel like that is both obvious, redundant and complicated . But hey it's an option for when somethings happening that matters to the action enough to resolve it more or less mechanically but not centre stage enough to make it interesting to roll each one of those cannon shots

(about the size of an ambitious rowboat)
4 rounds to change a distance , change 2 altitudes in one round
hitpoints 10 damage resistance 4 armour class 12
hard points:
1 small
attacks 1 2d8 siege cross bow

(about the size of a small yacht)
3 rounds to change a distance , 1 round to change an altitude
hitpoints 30 damage resistance 8 armour class 8
hard points:
2 small or one medium
T.Aattacks 2
damage 1d20 (small cannon)

 (size of a sailing ship)
2 rounds to change a distance 2 rounds to change an altitude
Hitpoints 60 Damage resistance 8 armour class 4
Hard points 3 small 1 medium
attacks 4
dmg 1d20 /1d20/1d20/ 6d6 (3 cannons and a catapult)

 (size of the biggest sailing ships)
1 round to change a distance , 3 rounds to change an altitude
120 hitpoints damage resistance 10 armour class 2
Hard points:
3 small , 3 medium , 2 large / or 1 huge
attacks 8
(2 heavy cannons (2d20 +5), 3 ballista (heavy) (3d10) 3 small cannons

Dreadnaught (about the size of a modern destroyer)

Can change 2 distances in a round , but takes 4 rounds to change an altitude
has 240 hitpoints, d.r 12 and an a.c of 0
Hard Points:
6 medium 4 large 2 huge
attacks 12
1 outrageous cannon (4d20), one trebuchet (10d6) , 4 heavy ballista (4d10), 6 medium cannons (1d20 +5)

Brief weapon listing
Small weapons: (close range)
arbalest 1d12
siege cross bow 2d8
onager 4d6
small cannon 1d20

Medium size : (medium range)
ballista (light) 2d10
medium cannon 1d20+5
lightning gun 2d20
buzz saw launcher 2d12

Large: (long range)
heavy cannon 2d20+5
Ballista (heavy) 4d10
Catapult 6d6

Huge: (long range)
outrageous cannon 4d20
trebuchet 10d6

Weapon facing and hard points:
If a enemy ship is behind you (dog tailing) or otherwise where your weapons are not facing, no shooty.  You can attack enemies below you as long as they are not in close range (and the weapon is subject to gravity), in that case you will need a hardpoint specifically facing down.
If you can be assed these will be specific to the ship ,
will assume tiny , and small have their hard points facing forward, and are agile enough that they can also cover above and below
Medium: evenly divide between front and back (and assume front and back also includes a 180 arc from the middle of the ship), and all hard points but one cover above but not below
Big: assume 1 on the front , 3 on each side and one at the back. Assume 2 also cover below, the rest above.
Huge: 2 on the front, 4 each side, 2 on the rear, assume 2 also cover below.


Roll a 20? roll on tables to see what gets destroyed!

Optional rule

while your ship has over half its health it gets criticals on a 20.

When it’s at below have health , it gets criticals on a 19,20

When it’s at 10% , 18,19,20

This should really start to hurt when dreadnaught are shooting like 6 or 7 times at each other. Will speed up combat and make fighters be able to do something.

Critical tables

if a critical result refers to a part a ship does not have, wahey that ship gets off scott-free.

Parts are propulsion/power source , steering,, ammo store, mounted weapons. SOme ships will have these labelled as “diffuse” ie as long as the ship exists it can do this. Others will have one part do multiply jobs. THe eagle winged ships of the Beastlands for example have wings count as both propulsion and steering.

Parts take one hit if they are not labelled sturdy or fortified. Sturdy means they can take 2 hits, and fortified means they can take 3.

Parts can also have the “volatile” tag. That means they have a 1 in 4 chance of exploding per hit they take. In the case of ammo it inflicts twice the weapon damage and an auto crit. In the case of part, umm.. say a 1d20 per size class or something. So a fighter takes a d20 and a dreadnaught would take 5d20.

1. 10% of the crew take the weapons damage to their own hitpoints
4.Mounted Weapon
5.Ammo store
6.Misc goods
7.Take the maximum result for this weapons damage roll, ship is now on fire if made of wood and weapon damage type was fire
8 Roll on the next table

OH SHI....
(parts listed in this table take 2 hits)
1. 25% of the crew take the weapons damage
4.MOunted weapon
5.Ammo store
6.Take the maximum result for this weapons damage roll, ship is now on fire if wood, meat, or live wood and the weapon damage type was fire or lightning
7. Half this ships damage resistance
8. Roll on the next table


(parts listed in this table take 3 hits)
1. 50 % of the crew take the weapons damage
4.Ammo store
5.mounted weapons
6.Take the maximum result for this weapons damage roll, ship is now on fire if wood, meat, , or live wood and the weapon damage type was fire or lightning
7.Captain takes weapon damage
8.Roll twice (starting on first table)


Being on fire

being on fire does increasing dice size damage per round

It starts at 1d4, 1d6, 1d8,1d10,1d12,1d20, 1d20+ a free crit rolled each round.

once you are on fire any additional criticals (regardless of the result), move you up a dice size (and if at max inflict that damage of a d20 + auto crit, no that crit does not trigger another fire escalation)

To put out a fire uses a number of crew members depending on the size of the ship:

1/2/4/8/16 fighter-> dreadnaught

Each round crew spending finding a fire reduces the fire a dice size and prevents it from growing.You can reduce it quicker by assigning the same amount of crew again, each time you do this , it goes down one more dice size each round. So if your dreadnaught is taking a d20+crit each round, to reduce it to nothing would require 96 assigned crew members.
Different ships have different numbers of crew required to run them.
Roughly it would be 1/4/8/16/32 but it’s gonna vary a lot depending on the ship

Ships can also have marines, which are people standing around ready to board enemy ships or make themselves useful.

If a ship has half as much crew as it needs, it takes -4 on any action that the crew do (because some ships will have their weapons fired by the captain or inserted brains or whatever). When the crew is at 10% -8. 0 crew 0 activity. This means 3 people could technically pilot a dreadnaught. I’m okay with this.

Other thoughts:
Captains levels: if it is an npc class that a player could take a level in (which is great if you have standardized level advancement but maybe a bit messy if you don't) it should prob count as +2 to agility per level.

You might just want to have captains level being whatever level the character is, or half that level for non-fighting classes.

Adding the captains level on to armour class and/or to hit bonus is also an option, especially if you want a star wars like feel where the p.cs are all X-winging it up. In this case allowing stat modifiers to be used as well, or giving them a number of "near miss" points per level might be the go.


Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF For Santicore someone awesome made a list of sweet sweet horse upgrades for all your sweet horse needs. And I have ILLUSTRATED THEM

Except I wrote down only rough notes and now that I have drawed them I realize the Prismal, Handpotomus, Boonta don't really match the description that well. This will most likely bug me until I draw new ones. In the meantime you can look LOOK
(also I forgot I had not drawn the oozemount, well I had drawn it but I wanted to draw it again. Yeah)




Battle Ursine















Actually I swear I did the tetraslither too , but I have misplaced it. AH WELL LATER YOU WILL SEE IT

Thursday 17 January 2013

Animals Mauling, CLOUD GIANT

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scroll down if you want to see picture of cloud giants and some mechanics stuff
 Animals are horrible and I love them. I love putting animal encounters in my games.
Notes about animals:
the difference between an animal and a monster is a monster always wants to kill you

Predators will want to kill you if they are hungry and think that they can get away with an easy meal. I think a lot of people have predators attacking well armed parties and sticking out combat that's going against them.

Which is fine because wahey the bears are just really angry in this world.

But if you wanna be more accurate about it, predators hate fights. In the wild a predator cannot afford to get injured, because even a minor scratch or broken tooth could mean  an infection preventing them from hunting, and then starving to death. If you heard about people fighting off a  bear by wacking it on the nose, this is why.
I can't remember the exact number,  (1 in 5 maybe) but a minority of lion attacks on prey animals actually result in a kill.  They are used to waiting for a better shot at something.

If they have brought down a large game (mostly they seek out prey in the range of 50 to 300 kilos) they will gorge up to 30 kilos in one sitting, sometimes then sleeping , before eating more. They will then go days without eating.

When starving they will take far more risks and consider going for much smaller prey (it's not as energy efficient).

There is inter predator violence as well, where predators will kill and not eat another animal which it shares an ecological niche.

Herbivores are only wanting to kill you if you are in the way of them passing on their genes. I.e they have kids and you are too close, or it's mating season and they need to defend a territory in order to get laid.
Hippos are notorious for being over zealous defenders of the tiny patch of river each male proclaims as his own. Cape buffalo and hippos kill more people in Africa than lions  because of this.

Note they do not need to be hungry to be aggressive, you just need to go near them.

(predators are also going to kill you if you come near their kids, except in some animal like komodo dragons, which have been known to eat their own kids if they don't get out of there fast enough after hatching)

Also a cornered animal is a dangerous animal.

Double also diseases or injections can make an animal violent and unpredictable. Some of these diseases maybe transmittable (rabies)


Have predators ignore, but still observe parties, then attack them when they look weak. IF they can't get an easy meal (Pack animals) they will try and isolate the weakest member of the herd to kill and carry away if necessary (halfling bard anyone). Jaguars are renowned for being able to sneak up to sleeping people and animals, kill silently with out rousing the others and then carry the victim up a tree to finish at their leisure. Tigers will sneak up to point blank range and then ambush from behind.

The presence of super-predators like displacer beasts could force other animals to attack dangerous prey (ie parties)

Animals might  try and warn you off before defending their young or territory (in the case of herbivores, predators have territorys but its more about the access to prey than just the physical environment), or they might just go you right away. If you run they are unlikely to follow , but will slaughter all of you if you do not leave.

ONE more thing:
This is my personal pixel bitch (okay as well as tree monsters taking more damage from fire)
claw claw bite attacks are stupid, okay the combat in d&d s meant to be abstract and especially if the round is a minute round, but still, it bugs me because multiple attack is a big deal mechanically and it seems annoying that it seems just merrily tacked on to monster stats (the infamous peasant killing house cats)
It's really jarring when its a 2 legged bird with a claw claw peck routine. How is it staying upright?
Like to me it seems like if one could double ones dagger damage by attaching another blade parallel  to the first.

A claw claw bite routine suggestions the animal is darting around like boxer , with the right and then with the left and then with .. the head? Bites do not have the reach of a claw attacks. The claws of big cats used to
either kill smaller game, or grab hold of prey and then finish with a bite (often suffocating by clamping on to the face). So I like to run it the animal attacks with a single claw attack (a swipe) the other paw staying on the ground for stability and leverage  or goes for a pounce (which does more damage, knocks you prone, but you can attack first if you have a longer weapon than the animal) and if the pounce is successful it gets a bite attack, and if the bite attack hits it inflict bite damage every round.


Here are some more mechanics I use in my games for animals and monster non-standard attacks and some stuff for how I cover situations that always come up

Anyone running can be charging. This means you don't really bother to slow down at all before attempting to hit them. Both you , and the person you are trying to injury get +2 to their damage.(on each other).
IF both you and that other guy are charging into each other, yes it stacks.

if you have a weapon with longer reach than someone , and you are trying to hit them before they are hitting you or someone within your reach, your attack resolves first, ignoring the initiative order.

If however, someone is attacking you , and is closer than your weapons functional range (as decided by d.m fiat or maybe someone weapon tags) before you can attack them you must make a successful attack roll to get them clear, (doing no damage) and then you can do your regular attack roll. This extra attack roll is a freebie and does not use up your action for the round.

Hit and running/swooping:
Some creatures naturally attack and move at the same time, like sharks or a swooping bird. In this case if you are not moving faster (i.e covering distance movement not reacting than them movement) (and flying in the case of the bird) you can't attack them unless you have a reach weapon , or get a better initiative result, and hold your action until they are in range.

some animals pounce. This might count as less reach than your weapon but certain super leapers might (big cats) count as normal reach.
 Pouncing means if you attack them this round you get  +2 damage. If they hit they  get additional attacks, automatic damage each round or do more damage depending on the animal.

Cats: swipe with paws or pouncing. If they pounce  they inflict the damage for their bite attack instead, automatically inflict bite damage each round and make an attack on you each round with their back leg rake attack damage. Oh and you are prone

Disengaging: you are engaged with an opponent.  You want to get the fuck out of there. That's fine, but you are either going to have to engineer an opening or just risk it. Engineering an opening is you make a standard attack but instead of doing damage you can leave the melee.
Risking it means the opponent gets a free attack on you.

Some things can hang on once they bite you. This means anyone is +2 to hit them , but they inflict their bite damage each round but at one dice size smaller. Also see the dragging down rules, this might be applicable as well.

If animal is big enough , it can shake you around. This means you have to succeed in a strength check in order to do anything other than be shoke around.

Swallow whole:
Some big ass things will need to get a successful bite attack, and then on the next round succeed on another one to chew you a couple of time and swallow you.

Other animals will swallow you whole anytime they succeed by 5 or more on a bite attack.

Generally you then be suffocating and taking 1d6 per round acid damage. Cutting your way out requires a suitably size weapon and inflicting atleast 2 points of damage per hitdie on the monster to cut your way out. Some things will require a strength check to successfully inflict damage in that round (cause you are getting squished by muscularly  contractions)

You can also get a free attack on an opponent if you declare that you trying to prevent them from attacking someone or going somewhere, and in the course of this action they are going to be moving past or near enough to you , so that you have an opening. THis free attack is resolved before what ever they were trying to do happens.
If you just want to body check them, it's resolved like a pinning attempt.

If you are bigger than people you can move through where they are. They take 1d4 damage per size category bigger than them you are (so 1d4 for horse , 2d4 for bears etc) . This increases to 1d6 if they are charging. You may make a dex check (ref save, save vs breath weapon) to take half damage.

This counts as movement but your move is resolved after any attacks on you by the things in your way. And your attack is resolved after your trample.

If you are 2 sizes bigger than people you can go for distance when you hit them. Half the damage you inflict, but use the full amount x2 as the amount of feet they fly in a random direction away from you. If they hit something they take damage as per falling.

Again if you are 2 sizes bigger than some people/things you can just attack everyone of the little bastards in area (rule of thumb your size mod X2 in square feet). Resolve your attack against everyone in that area, but halve the damage.

Drag Down:
Animals that hold on with a bite attack can drag you down. This means they are latched on and pulling you down. Each animal hanging off you gives everyone +1 to hit you. If there is enough animals on you that you could not carry them without encumbrance penalty you are now you are now prone (or assume it takes 2 dogs to pull down the average human and each strength mod you have increases the amount of dogs needed by 1).  In any case your movement is halved. If you attack the animal it is at +2, but if you miss them you are now prone.

Sigh. Oh and here is grappling..
Because it's gonna come up. Let's try and make this as painless as possible.
Okay so unless you have octopus appendages the opponent gets to attack you first. (the reach thing).

If they are so much bigger than you they get damage resistance, then you are not grappling them, you are climbing on them, and that is covered else where.

Then you get to attack them. If you succeed, they have to make their choice of either a strength or dexterity roll under check modified adversely by how much you succeeded the attack by. If they fail, they are now..
say what were you trying to do again?

Just tackling the motherfucker!:
Okay you are both prone now (must use move action to get up, -2 to hit, +2 to be hit). Happy?

Pin them!
Okay so starting on the next round they have to make a opposed strength check. If they succeed in 2 in a row THey are free! If they fail 3 in row they are now completely pinned and can't make anymore strength checks. If they have a dagger or claws or something they can attack you as normally, but they are still being grappled and assumed every time they lose a strength check they lose one attack option
FOR example if they pulled a boot knife on you they could be stabbing you until they fail a strength check, then you are hanging off that arm or whatever. But if they got a knife out for the other hand, then you would have to win another strength check to stop them stabbing you.

Choke them out: Okay they now are suffocating. They can attempt to break out each round with an opposed strength check , but they have until there constitution in rounds - however much you initially succeeded by in that attack roll before they pass out

Batter them:
like choking but inflict 1+strength modifer damage each round from banging their head into the ground, making them hit themselves, bear hugging etc. Succeed in a opposed strength to break free.  Each size category bigger than them you can improve that 1 to a 1d4 then a 1d6 then a 1d8 etc. So a bears bearhug will do d6+strength each round.

I decided these are actually spooky owl moth headed guys who wear grey robes and descend down from the clouds on the mist and steal and eat people

Wednesday 9 January 2013


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SO this is a thing I had sitting around waiting for me to draw some art for or someone else possibly, but since Patrick Stuart keeps posting awesomely weird abstract elemental stuff , I felt the neat to post this before he DOMINATES

Elementals remember themselves as before anything and everything. They exist as matter's understanding of its self.
The home of any elemental is it's source. Out modeled cosmology would call it the relevant elemental plane. The source is like, for example , of fire is.. well fire. As in all fire has the same idea of fire and that idea is also a place and all fire is in the place at the same time.
Make sense? Well okay imagine a sheet of paper, the paper is crumbled , but opened  out again, no longer smooth but a mass of peaks and troughs. It has been laid flat on pool of ink.
 The ink seeps through where the paper touches the ink. All the ink is more or less continuous even as seems separate (as blotches on the parts of the paper that made contact. THe paper is the world, and the pool of ink the Source, and the blotches are what seem to us as isolated fires.

From a fire elementals perceptive when you are lighting a fire, you are actually warping the fabric of the world to make some of it nearer the fire elemental plane. It's impossible to actually go to an elemental plane, only that element can exist there. Indeed thinking of it as a location is a mistake. Time, depth and other familiar dimensions are not found there.

Of the 4 major planes ( fire, air, earth, water) the interests of the intelligences there are represented by a collective.
The collective will argue amongst themselves who first discovered the world, in any case they were quick to discover they could infuse it with themselves, and promptly had a giant shit fight about it.
The clash of the elements twisted and stretched the world into wondrous complexity and novelty unimagined by the elementals.
 The mindless tug of war settled down into a more experimental era, each of the elementals seeing what the stacking effects of their individual influences would result in.

Each elemental however had a different idea of what was best done with the world, and fire and earth found themselves unable to shape things to their liking, fire too fragile to match waters smothering and airs tempests.
And Earth being too slow to keep up with the rapid changes air and water were capable of.

The first of the pacts was soon formed. Earth agreed to shelter fire under its stone bulwarks, and in exchange fire gave blood and muscle to earths bone, allowing earth to shift its massiveness.

Water and air saw this and grudgingly  explored the possibility of an alliance, and began to shape the first weathers.
The world was thus interesting and novel enough for some elementals to begin a "sojourn", shifting their awareness into the world itself.

Earth elementals took on the forms of wizened stooped things, with huge dark eyes the better to walk in the vast black veins of the world, The Gnomes.

Fire was next, receiving a gift from earth, for fires aid in shaping the stone, in the form of obsidian, which fire build on, and its Primary skipped along the world with bones of compressed ash and obsidian, like needle lizards, the billowing flame of their substance barely staying put on their frames. The Salamanders.

Air and Water , however, have naturals forms too fluid to enter the world in any way conclusive to experiencing its unique quality.
 So being too huffy to bargain with earth for matter, they brewed up something between themselves, with stolen dust and heat as well as their own natures.
Thus the first flesh was crafted.

Now this is what is claimed by Water and Air , but Flesh is its own council and has its own source and claims to have always been waiting.
The very nature of reality changes over time, and the  core elements shift, and countless forms of matter lie sleeping somewhere.
Each element is willfully ignorant of anything outside its own perspective.
Air made a pact with flesh and gave breath to fleshes multitude forms. The Sylphs flew over the land, while Water entered the seas, contrarily choosing to reject the option of flesh and choosing the mercurialness of its own nature as the Undine.
Other ways of matter snuck in, and also claimed to have always been.
 The lines blurred, smaller elements carved out their niches.
Flesh succeeded and become its own realm. Fungus and Flora entered the world.

A clear timeline was mocked, for all of  this is malleable. An element can enter the world as if it has always been, and an older element can suddenly splinter into a 1000 others, each claiming to have always been.
 Countless impossible , implausibly , and not quite elements exist frozen somewhere, like cysts in the flesh of the not-real.

The collectives are instinctively away of this, although refusing to acknowledge their fragile position in the broil of metaphysics , they actively attempt to intercept , distort , silence or spread magics and heresy they think will maintain their importance in the nature of things.
They are nearly clueless of what to be spreading and what to be suppressing and so the collectives compete with each other in a elaborate game of blind poker.

Collectives, , Pacts, Tiefs, Sojourners,Exiles:
 A collective is the gestalt will and intelligence of elementals in their source.
A pact is what is entered in so one element can make use of the materials of another.
Fire and earth have a pact to order for fire to live under the earth and earth to move it's mountains and continents with the aid of fire.

A tief is on going use of materials for another element.
The obsidian bones of the salamanders are the result of a tief.

Sojourners are elementals who maintain a continually existence in the world, rather than temporally manifesting. The first four sojourner races are Gnomes, Salamanders, Undines and Sylphs. They are born on in the world and return to their Source when they die

Exiles are elementals determined to stay in the world, and resenting the source's pull on them.

the collective of earth elementals is known as Arena of Soil

    shriven little men with big black eyes and not much other features to speak of. THey scuttle in the darkest of tunnels and they can whisper to the mountains to make them wake.

Sand taken:
    Sand erases but sand can remember. Sandtaken are forms of sand in the exact likeness of someone buried and rotten to nothing in a particular vast sandy desert. The Sandtaken believes it to be the person who's form it has taken and whole cities are in the desert with crowds of sand people acting out the lives long gone that were never theirs to begin with.
. After centuries of false life they start losing their form, and appear less and less detailed, and clumsier in the duplications of life. Eventually they cannot remember anything and they then hunger for identity, smothering and drowning people in themselves.
 They will then believe to be this new person. This will last only a month though and so become far more dangerous in this stage of their existence. Sandtaken are excellent at denying evidence of their false existence, but convincing enough arguments or strong evidence can make them lose their grip and become ego-cannibalistic.
 Any Sandtaken however has a 1 in d10 chance (modified by the int modifier of the form it has now) not immediately descending in egocanniblsim, but is likely to be pretty fucking depressed knowing its life is a lie.
Sandtaken are not undead or ghosts. The are original earth elementals desiring of new life who are now fixed on their path of egotheft.

 Mud horror:
Mud Horrors are belligerent and cantankerous , preferring to shun the company of their own kind, preferring swamps or bogs were there is plenty of water to draw into their form to give them a fluidity otherwise unknowable to earth elementals. While water is drawn into their form, the actual essence of a Mud horror is dirt, and completely drying a mud horror out renders it sessile and inert, its ability to shape an earthen form atrophied. A Mudhorror will cling to this form (as opposed to returning to the Source) however if it has pressing business of revenge, waiting and waiting for water to allow it to move again.
In addition to using water , a mud horror will also decorate itself, weaving (or appropriating out right) a skull from vines, with branches for horns, roots for claws, sphagnum moss for a hide.
They prefer to spend their time contemplating  the endless dramas of the swamp life, but happily kill for fun , as they cannot take flesh beings that seriously. They will also respond with great malice if the existence of the swamp itself is threatened.

walking hills:
 walking hills are more of hillock than a full grown hill. ANd they walk with the aid of 2 stump stone legs, emerging from underneath like a old dame pulling her skirts up to cross a puddle. Most Walking Hills are merely temporarily roused into action by the whispers of a gnome, but some areas have a few hills that regularly amble around. Walking hills motives when not obeying the directives of a gnome are generally pretty much a desire to shuffle about the area seeing whats changed recently before returning  more or less to their original spot. If attacked and the attack actually manages to get their attention they defend themselves by stomping.
Its unknown if all hillocks can move, (and most choose not to), or if the gnomes spark life in them, or summon their kin to possess the hill.
What is more worrying is that gnomes refer to mountains as Grandsires, and stories (and some geographically evidence) suggest all mountains are in fact elementals and capable of being roused into action by the gnomes.

mattocks are named both for their blunt relentlessness  as well as their popularity as default summoning creature for elementalist. The appearance is that of a great earthen bear, with a rupture of a face, all stone tusks and gape. The intellect is comparable to a bear as well, and temper to boot.
 It is rare they are found in the wild with out the actions of a gnome, elementalist or wizard bringing them into being. Left to their own devices they generally curl up and sleep, become part of the landscape. It is possible to awake such dormant Mattocks, and it is very inadvisable.

collective is the Union of Seas

undines are water mimicing many humanoid forms all at once, back and forth , something like a hydra and something like a orgy of water people. The Undine have most of political clout in the Parliament of waves, and individual Undines get up to all kinds of schemes to advance they own personal whim and/or the machinations of the parliament of waves. A young Undine can command a limited amount of water and attacks with buffeting, but experience and training allow them to shape some of their form to ice or steam, and some are rumoured to have learned secrets from the flesh elementals, allowing them to manipulate the blood in a living body.

Cold one:
The cold ones are rogue faction of the Parliament of waves, believing that water should try and replace earth as the principal solid material, and currently wander the polar areas in monastic existence arguing among each other which is the best and truest expression of water. They appear as figure of snow and ice, at least 8  feet sometimes up to 15. This figure is hunched and has a crude face, wide circles for eyes and a gaping pit suggestive of mouth, shaping an endless moan.

Kraken are enigmatic. Rejecting the commonness of water as a form, the Kraken have made pact with flesh elementals, giving them vast and mighty forms, in exchange for this, Kraken lurk in the deepest depths, shifting through various nightmare forms, and surviving environments seemingly impossible for flesh to survive, thus giving the Flesh Cabal new insights. Kraken have the ability to see dreams, even from countless miles down in the dark trenches. This is were the Kraken get their inspiration from. So a Krakens form will be quintessential distillation of human fears of alien depths of the sea. Kraken occasionally come to the surface to wreck terror and thus stir up fresh material for their dark artistry.

From concept art here

The merrow have looked to the squat , brutish forms of fish , eels , lobster and crabs, and stolen them for their own. While the Kraken have their flesh forms through arcane mercantiling , the Merrow merely took what they wanted, claiming that the innate water content makes flesh theirs by right. Flesh elementals are generally hostile to Merrow and take any safe opportunity to inflict woe on merrow. Merrow appear as ogrish brutes, with eelish skin and vast chitin jags and claws. The forms vary, but all are chosen for violence and terror. Merrows are raiders and marauders, relishing in destruction and conquest. The Merrow are loathe to return to the Parliament, and are far more invested in their survival here than other elementals.

Nereids are another water elemental charmed by the seas multitude of forms. They make pacts with mermaids and others near the sea. In return for a great boon, the being must surrender their body to the Nereid at a certain date. The Nereid  will then shape the body, adorning it with its favourite aspects of sea life, such as a sea horses tail, dragon fish's handsome and toxic fans, the eerily light of a nudibranch.
Such things nereid can offer include rescued people lost at sea, healing sickness, drowning enemies. The time before the claim is due varies.
The negotiation ability of the being and the desperateness of their circumstances being the most common influence on this..
 Most Nereid are happy to wait a year and a day, but some waiting 10 years is not unheard of. Trying to welch on the claim is going to really piss the Nereid off, as anyone entering a contract with a nereid will have their location always know to that nereid.
 Unless, of course,  they have all their blood drained until they are a husk and then replaced with fresh blood.
A Nereid seeking vengeance is a terrible thing. You will never be safe near water. The only water you can drink is rain falling from the sky or magically created. Drinking any other water will allow the Nereid to immediately possess your body and eject your soul.
Some particular vindictive Nereid will hold on to your soul as well, keeping it trapped in their back of your former head, as the Nereid proceeds to destroy everything you love and value in your former life while wearing your form and forcing you to watch the whole time.
 Other Nereid will actually find a way to access the Gloaming or Twilight and dump your soul straight into the mouth of a Consumer or journey further and see if they can get a good price for it.

Nuckavee lurk in rivers and other land waters. They will patiently assemble a form of their own from drowned bodies and melding it together. They then play out the animal hungers of the forms, gaining great joy in being a lurking hungry thing. They seem to favour horses but with a mismatch sizes of parts, and slime for skin. Nuckavees are generally not very bright, the smarter elementals tending to take more sophisticated sojourns, but its not  impossible that a nuckavee could be a  sojurn for one more cunning and cruel.

Blood rider:
Blood riders appear as many long legged worm, the legs stalactites  of scrabrous blood. The legs are temporarily made when they need to move about outside a host. They can pour themselves into any living being with blood, and take control or merely passively ride. When in a host they can provide improved healing, congealed blood armour and weapons. They are esoteric assassains who especially target doppelgangers and other flesh elementals who the Union of Seas feels is gaining too much influence. Sometimes form an alliance with a willing host.

Collective is known as The Tempestial Mob

Sylph appear as winsome people with scraps of cloud and incandescent motes for wings. The sky endless falls in their eyes and to maintain a sylphs stare is to be subject to an crippling attack of vertigo. They maintain the weather system, migrating in vast cloud herds, their tief with water is guide the clouds to shape the land.
They are mostly flesh but with wind for blood and organs, and can shape the weather to their defense.

Whirlygigs are intelligent sand devils, disruptive and annoying but with no real blood  lust  or malice

Cloud whale
Cloud whales aid the sylphs in herding the clouds. THey are titanic and capable of exhaling vast balls of lightning.
Excess use of weather magics has brought ruin to more than one city by cloud whales, broking no usurpation of their realm.

Glossmers appear half delicate youth or maiden and half glowing jelly fish. THey are predatory and dangerous, feeding off nuances and breath. They will leave alone some, and drink another dry. They can hypnotize with song and light display and their tendrils freeze like northern winds.

Breath thief
Breath thief are nearly invisible, appearing only if there is enough dust or impurity in the air to show their form. In this case they appear as swollen child with mocking slit of a mouth. They are junkies and their fix is the breath stolen from human lungs, the younger the better.

Thunder horse
Mighty thunder horses stamped across storm skies reveling in noise and power. They sometimes descend to the earth to eat of rare flowers, and if one can mount one and stay on it for the night they will remain a companion and steed as long the rider seeks glory and excitement.

The source of fire is known as the Burning Society

 like needle lizards, the billowing flame of their substance barely staying put on their bones.
Their bones are sharp edged obsidian and compressed ash. Conquestal and violent, flaring out from their waste land homes to burn and despoil. They respect only strength and long winded jokes.

Heath ghost:
somewhat loyal talking fires that provide protection and heat for a house in exchange for feeding.

Corpse light:
A drifting orb, a hollow sneering face that eats the last heat of the dying. Skilled illusionists.

Weaker salamanders are compressed in a great pressure oven until they burn into each other, their bones snapping to scouring powder and forming the cloud of utter destruction known as a pyroclast. Pyroclast are more siege engine that creature, a blacking choking cloud of terrific speed , heat , and stone shredding grit.

happy playful snakes of fire, their gaze makes you explode. If not appeased with elaborate gifts of fruit they come out of the fumarole lairs and start fires to dance and sing in.

tiny little spark people, the sign of a forge of quality is a troupe of flits living in it. IF a blacksmith sleeps besides their forge, the Flits, on rare occasion, send dreams. These dreams elude to the materials and fuel for crafting wondrous things.
But beware some dreams will not be ignored, striking down the blacksmith with cruel fevers unless they make the thing from their dream. Even if requires stoking the forges fires with their own children.

other "lesser" elements:


smother hound:
Long legged dog things that will pin you down , clamp its face over yours and fill your lungs with ash.

Miasmatic  serpent
Long twisting hazy thing, conjures mirages of past burned things for its own inscrutable purposes.

Grey cat
cats that light is loath to rest upon, that drink the breath of babes.


Lava children
brutish lumpish things of crude humour. Will scoops hunks out of each other to throw at people , like a cannibalistic orgy and food fight.

Crucible Hag
A cruel figure in smouldering black iron, attending their great stone cauldrons and sending spys of poison gas out into the world.

collective :Cabal of Flesh

as original.

A tumour that can be a familiar. How much this relationship is parasitic depends on the individual personality of a tumourling. Weirdly enough they often seem to have the opposite personality of their host, bastards sprouting timid selfless healers and saints sprouting selfish devourers. They are easy to transplant however, and a long suffering tumourling of tyrant will happily make a new home on a heroes meat.

skin ghost:
A cloud of dust which collects your discarded skin intil it has enough to become you.

plant has a source , and a collective the Parliament of Trees

as original

shambling mound
as original

Reaping Tree
Mostly a sinister looking tree, but when it's a cloudless night with no moon, they go on a rampage, squeezing people in their massive hands to feed the earth.

click for source

fungus has the Myconic web as its source

myconid as original

Festering fluffy dank mass that infects dead bodys one by one , fresher the better (more moltile), dull blue fuzz growing from the orifice.
 All its puppets are linked to it and when it has enough (24) it combines them to a big shambling abomination and makes a killing field to lay its spores. It will consume a puppet within a week so it will remain dormant until it thinks there's enough around to make it worth it's while infecting them. The original mass can attack with a blast of flesh eating spores.

Hidden King
Like ring worm but makes a crown shape. Mostly benign , will infect a population , providing immunity to disease and poison but the population won't change or progress.


Old stranger
Looks like a skeleton half dug up from dry mud. Hides this under robes and cloaks. Will travel around , does not talk but waits outside a residence. IF it's not invited in it will leave after a night and a day, and nothing will grow there for a year. If invited in and politely received the land will be abundant for a year. If its attacked or treated rudely or with indifference by the host, it will throw back its hood and scream out an abrasive wind of dust, scouring flesh  off bone in a mere instant.

Little bundles of soot and dust, found in abandoned places. Will leave if too much noise or life. Intelligent and will offer information about area if offered a suitable place to live.

Looks like a mummified rat. Can chew through anything. Attack in swarms , live in ruins and appoint themselves as guardians of the ruins, declaring the ruin is the property of entropy and is to be left to its slow destruction.
(etymology note: the word rodent and erosion share the same root word; erodere "to gnaw away, consume")



Like a crystal vessel, half broken and in the shape of a person. Its delicate limbs are very sharp and its reflective surfaces can store echos of past event, which it can release to its defense. Often confused by the memories they contain and think they are someone from them. Sometimes changing from one false identity to another, carrying out arguments or duels with them selves.

Prismatic Doom:

Like the gayest dragon ever as interpreted by an alcoholic Polish painter. Segmented, incandescent , barbed and absurd. Mad and destructive and capable of shooting all kinds of impossible energy beams.


iron bear:
Hulking, festooned with blooms of rust . Grinding plates of flaking iron compose it's form , like armour made from dueling contients.
Territory and attend great "gardens" of scavenged steel, iron, and other metals.
Patiently harvesting the rust that forms over centurys on its hoard. The longer something takes to corrode , the sweeter the meal to the iron bear. Generates a choking cloud of dust, its claws and fangs drip with a strange red oil that cause blood to congeal rock hard in the vein.
(their gardens often have the remnant of intruders slain this way, the flesh having long rotted, and only the circulatory system remaining now impervious to rot through the poisons ferric alterations).
 Also brutally strong as benefits a bear made from iron.

Its unshelled form is a  tangled mass of red rusted steel wool , twisted and knotted into the proximity of an arthropod. They are like hermit crabs, taking discarded helms, bowls and other concave metal objects as a shell and home. They also, like the iron bear, have hordes which they tend for the rust that forms on them. They defend their hordes with barbed far striking tongues that inflict a form of organic rust, which eats away at the bone and skin.

void, weirdly enough has a Collective known as the No School

A undulating rubbery thing. Like a form fitting skin of a youth, black and glistening , inverting and swallow itself endlessly.
Philosopher knights prone to kidnappings and marooning people on barren peaks and plains as sport. Surviving this ordeal is to earn their respect and tutelage

Flimsy things like whisps of fabric burning softly with blue flame. Live in a black glass citadel l like a spiders lantern.
Which floats on moonlight and only the mad can decipher its scheduled arrivals. In this place the filaments dance their dances , which are part poem and part mathematical formula.
 It is said if they reach the perfection of this ritual the world will ignite and blaze in 3 seconds of perfection before oblivion. Bringing them a them a suitable poem , dance or theorem will hire their services as an assassins.
In combat their caress causes the skin to burn with a blinding light. They drift , start burning their target, leave the target t stumble around blinded and disorientated by their own essence incandescencing  and when this begins to fade they drift in again to reignite it.

Soul burster:
Like a 3 winged butterfly, wings extending in sharp rays of light. only dangerous after mating, when it will swoop inside a person and heal them a 1d10 hitpoints per round , until they reach twice their maximum, and which stage their soul explodes with a soul burster young (appear as smaller versions of the adult) who fly off at great speed. 1 per hitpoint before bursting.
Universally despised.

A whispering thing , like a long tangle of lost forms, a black tattered ribbon, a parade of might have beens. Some benign , some cruel. Attack with chilling grasps and destruction/recreation of memory.

bottle imp : the spirit of well crafted glass, kinda of like a dryad in that its a small fairy like being and it is bonded to one particular glass ware. It can jump from reflective surface to reflective surface

Black glass fiend:
heart eating obsidian beast. A gorilla like thing with massive claws, a long regal neck and head more hooked beak than head.
Like setting them selves up as figures of worship, demanding regular hearts as tribute.

glass butterfly of varying sizes, strange habits and stranger appetites

Mind: source is known as the Dreaming, but does not appear to have an Collective

cerebral parasite
Size of pea, look like shrimps but cuter, if you are infected by them, any mind based check you make you have to roll twice and take the worse result. Can only be removed with mind effecting magics, or particular brutal benders.

Brain mole:
Starts life as particularly weird book or puzzle or machine and if you try and figure it out for too long you become obsessed and your brain grows into a mole thing and then you go and make a bunch more puzzles.

Intellect devourer:
somewhat like a long eel  dark purple panther with a brain running down the length of its spine. If it eats your brain, it grows again on its back and you live in artificial reality of the intellect devourers design. Range of alignments from the cruel collector, enslaver types to ones that offer you an immortally or the ultimate witness protection plan. If you could work out which growth belongs to which devoured individual you could cut it out (with the aid of magic, technology or elite/lucky surgical skills) and stick it someone else and that person could live again! Sometimes people sell their brains to the intellect devourer , to be collected on the moment of their death or a fixed time period.

 A not even really real but kinda real like a rogue thought. Gets inside your head, makes you think there's someone out to get you, hallucinations , paranoia etc , the more you act on these fears the more the Nemesis can distort your perceptions. Eventually it kills you from the stress on your body. This will spawn more Nemesis which will latch on to those who knew you.
("whoa something really did kill Grimaxe. Maybe there was something to all that crazy stuff he kept ranting on about someone out to get him..")

Bile (salt/acid/alkaline as well)

Desiccator , looks like some kind of shriveled up bleached weasel, mouth spits in 6 revealing a circular fan like maw with needle teeth.

Searing Toad: a toad that looks like a bowling ball made from crude oil. Can pretty much jump through people and walls because its so corrosive. Mostly animalistic, but actually has cruel and intelligence and malign humour.

Like a half chewed centipede a horse in length , thrown up and skittering forward on acid injecting glass legs.
Travel around sneaking into places and killing people with little rhyme or reason.

This guy
drew a gnome, I like it