Sunday 23 August 2015

Regular Folks Doing Regular Jobs Regular Like

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So there was Shepards that wore stilts to see further and handle the terrain in Landes, I thought of them when writing about Opiliones.

And if you got to mention some people in the background of your campaign why not have something slightly fantastic about their vocation.


Weird, Plausible:
1.Stilt walking

2.Alternate animals; extra furry to the point of absurdity
  4.Highland Cows

3.To chase wayward stock use 2 hooks attached together with a rope. One is thrown to catch into the fur the other is let go  to drag firm into the ground. This would be weaponized at some point in rebellions or adventures from such origins.

4.Each shepard has a particular sequence of wild-flower fields to take the animals to resulting in a colouration of the wool distinctive to that shepard. New colours are tried periodically to supplement each clan's "Classics". The resulting feuds from allegations of "colour stealing" are terrible and bloody.

5. Generations alternate between warfare and shepherding.  The slain are believed to be reincarnate as sheep , the more sheep that can looked after the more enemys slain by your father.
One human soul is split up into multiple sheep souls but exact ratio of human souls to sheep souls is variable and argued to whatever number makes the shepard's ancestral war deeds seem more impressive

6. Shepherds will not mention numbers or count near sheep , so they will never learn they have numerically advantage. They will very angry with those who do.

Weird , implausible :

1.Wield amber on a stick. Rubbing their charges (that's a pun) with it builds up enough static electricity to zap wolves , bandits , and organ thieving parrots

2.Feed iron to stock to get steel wool, knitted into a cheap, less effective chainmail variant

3. Sheep are for show and to keep the grass down as security visibility measure. The wool here is actually back combed spider silk. The spiders are kept inside the fort-like homes and feed the second born in reviled and secret tradition.

4. Animals have one side's legs shorter than the other so they can stand upright on hills, but only go one direction.

5. Beehives built onto sheep. Efficient!

6. White Sheep are herded at day and black sheep at night. Makes sense.


Weird, Plausible:
1.Will trade for unusual hair to weave additionally into a net, this can catch wish granting Fish Princes looking for brides , or at least their servants scouting for them.

2. Claim to never fish when the moon is full or absent. Actually do but wearing masks. They catch some weird ass fish during this time and fear vengeance from the fishes relatives. A form of supernatural revenge by these people is to arrange one of these fish to be served to an enemy in public. If the enemy compliments the quality of the fish , it is believed that the fishes family will find out and send their agents after the diner.

3.Complicated family traditions about who fishes with nets, who scours for clams, and who harpoons eels. The 3 fishing styles are where the 3 dueling styles (Net and short club, Armour and Knife, Harpoons in waist  deep black water) of the region have come from.

4. Tattoo a scale on themselves for each fish they catch. When fully covered they are meant to drown themselves but it's hard to prove if some has Completely covered themselves and this is a source of banter about just how much "area" is available for tattooing in one's breeches.

5. Wreckers. Religion has loophole for cannibalism about anything coming out of the sea being a fish so will eat the causalities of the shipwrecks they cause. A fat fisherman is slang in regions nearby for a cannibal.

6.Elaborate fish mazes are made out of sticks to filter and sort the fish through them. This skill is also used to make various terrible drowning traps around the rivers and banks nearby , as these people are fiercely defensive about their patches
  Weird , implausible :
1.Walk beneath the waves with a spear, stone shoes and a breathing hose.

2.Trade family members with one species of fish  , who they never eat. Bloody feuds with those that do
3. Replace their teeth with sharp fish and shark teeth. Constantly trading and swapping and argueing merits of this over that.

4. Have Changeover houses mounted on stilts on the foreshore. Everything of the land (tools and clothing) is swapped for an equivalent made from things from the ocean before going out fishing.

5.Each family has their own droning dirge they sing constantly when working. This renders them invisible to most random monster encounters.

6. A ongoing war between the fishers that use shags and those who use otters.


Weird, Plausible:

1.Cattle is painted to render them invisible to spirits . Not that spirits eat cows. They eat people. So the farmers dress like cows. It's important that the spirits don't have something to compare the costume to though.

2. Unusual animal:
   1. Capybara
   2. Dodo
   3. Tortoise
   4. Giant Snail
   5. Some kind of vegetarian dog that looks like a pug but worse
   6. Pig-Eel. It combines the worse , ornery features of both and lives in trash filled mud trenches

3. Keep attaching more and more bells, windchimes and amulets  (often made from dug up  rusted artifacts from all the old battlefields around this area) to the horns and necks of their herds. To the point that is sounds like John Zorn composition . 

4. Attach balloons and kites to their herds horns so they can see them along way off.

5.  Have to have a champion defeat the cattle's biggest bull in hand to hand combat each year before they can slaughter any. Will outsource.  Mainly an excuse to gamble.

6.  Make a beer from the strained water of the cattle shit. It's revolting but basically the only thing that repels the disease carrying ticks and worms here. If they don't like you (and complaining about the taste or smell is a sure way of pissing them off) they will charge horrendously for it.
Weirdly enough they are more favourable to someone who obviously hates the taste but is making a huge effort to pretend they are not, than they are to someone who enjoys the taste. They assume the later is just a really good liar, and shouldn't be trusted. I mean have you tried this stuff? No-one could like it!

Weird , implausible :

1. Bladders attached to butts of cattle collect methane which they sell/ trade to whoever needs a bunch of methane in your campaign.  Attend to herds in balloons with lassoing the leader and caroling with sling stone 

2. Abnormal Meat Harvesting Practices:
   1: Cows eat weird glowing plants. Get tumours. Herders remove and grow tumours. Various        methods of growing the tumour as big as possible before it gets too gristly . Much competition and    bullshit between herders about this. Cows tend to have be really good healers from the amount of    surgery they survive.
  2:Feed cattle crazy magic stuff so they become meat eating and ravenous and point them at their     hated neighbours . Cattle back on the pounds due to all the protein and die of heart attacks and then  eaten
  3:Inject digestive enzymes and suck out delicious , portable, long keeping cow slurry 
  4:Cut off heads and keep bodies underground with neck partially sewn up over winter.  Whole family has to take turns chewing cud and spitting down the neck. Only way to protect cattle from Yetis

3. Every 30th cow is a spider disguised as cow. They don't eat the cows or the herders and balloon off after a year. No-one knows why they do this , but it's good luck. I mean any non-fatal interaction with a cow sized spider is good luck.

4. Cows taught (like teaching bears "dancing") weird step patterns to avoid bullete / sand shark / death worms attacks. Each generation needs a new step pattern to avoid them learning

5. Kids ride some of the cows and use the horns as the arms of a oversized slingshot to defend the herd

6. The bones are sold to a mute mouthless people that come up from the earth , assemble the bones , dress them in old rags , breath into them , and walk them down below. They pay in something that hopefully is honey. 

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Underused Arachnids

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This is other post(s) that was on g+ that I'm publishing here to make it plausible to find
(go previous post or click the g+ archive tag for the others)

I've added pseudoscorpions here as well . I think that's all of the arachnids I'm going to do.
The 2 other contenders were Hooded tickspiders and Vingaroon

 I can't a strong enough reason to use hooded tick spiders over regular spiders (the closest I got was a cannon balls but a curled up clunky spider as cannon ball is just as good).

Vingaroons are the other arachnid also called Whip scorpions ( Uropygids/Thelyphonida) . They are pretty sweet looking , spray acid and have the name Vingaroon but I don't think are distinctive enough to spin off into something that couldn't be done with scorpions or Amblypygi.
image from the wiki article on them



Latin translates to : False scorpion

Terrible common names: False scorpion or Pseudoscorpion. Land crab, Lobster insect. Book Scorpion

Kind of okay storys about them:

Pretty much nothing I can find. I guess being small, not amazingly numerous nor dangerous keeps you out of the mythology? Even Aristotle has only this say:

There are also other minute animals, as I observed before, some of which occur in wool, and in woollen goods; as the moths, which are produced in the greatest abundance when the wool is dusty, as especially if a spider is enclosed with them, for this creature is thirsty, and dries up any fluid which may be present. This worm also occurs in garments. There is one which occurs in old honeycombs, like the creature which inhabits dry wood; this appears to be the least of all creatures, it is called acari, it is white and small. Others also are found in books, some of which are like those which occur in garments; others are like scorpions; they have no tails, and are very small. And on the whole, they occur in everything, so to say, which from being dry, becomes moist, or being moist, becomes dry, if it has any life in it"

Most Obvious Thing about them:

They are small (2mm to 8mm and the biggest at 12mm) , have pincers , a tear drop body tapering at the head and no stinger.

Some points of note I couldn't put anywhere else:

They hitch rides on other animals by latching on with their pincers (especially flys) which is called phoresy because someone let their kid come up with a name rather than just jamming some greek and/or latin together for once.

They inject a paralysation poison with their pincers and slobber acidic goo from its mouth onto things to break them down before slurping up them (unlike the injection method of spiders)

Their little pincers have sensitive hairs all over them acting like a motion sensor , even detecting stuff behind them

They can sometimes be found living on bigger creations and prey on any parasites they find.

They also can be found in old books , preying on book worms.

Name You Should Use Instead: Beeky-Doo, Nip-Nip, Snipper, Bookward, Clip-Drudge

But why not use a scorpion? You want something with pincers that is not a crab and is also cute.Or you want something that is a bug , but not with an immediately familiar image. Scorpions look constantly hostile.
Absurd Fantasy Ways To Use them:

You have them as book guardians , maybe flat enough to be hiding in-between the pages. They have a nice "helper" feel(they way they rush around with them arms held up?) to them so maybe as librarians or assistants to alchemists or wizards? Like you could see one of these little dudes handing some one a jar or a book right?. One could be a mobile book shelve with all the rectangular sections on either side of its longitudinal mid-line being a book slotted into place. A small thieving band of them with paralysation attacks and weird collections of things.

Maybe trying to rebuild their book collection? Maybe they can't see words as anything other than the thing the word describes so their rebuilt library is a collection of book covers stuffed with actual things .

If super a big you can use them anywhere you wanna use a giant crab but it's too far from the sea. Plus acid slobber waterfall from its mouth.

As assassins , flat enough to crawl under a door gap , maybe not to kill but cause stroke like paralysation in the night or disfiguring acid burns

One more option ; found running around on super big creatures attacking ticks , lice and your players.


Latin translates to : Shepherd. Poss a reference to stilt walking shepherds which are a real thing and should encourage you to weird up all your mundane professions

Terrible common names: Daddy long legs (a name people use for crane flys ,and some species of spider), Harvestmen

Kind of okay storys about them: There is that dumb-as one about them being the most poisonous animal but their fangs are too short to bite humans. I hate that one as it is absurdly persistent. The same myth also exists about the spiders referred to as daddy long legs but with the addition that since they eat spiders all that venom concentrates in their own. Which is an okay idea about a legendary poisonous thing having to eat only poisonous things or seeking out more poisonous things to consume in order to increase its lethalness. So if you wanted to catch a king basilisk you would have to catch something almost as bad first as bait.

Back to Opilione myths: killing one will make it rain the next day, and picking one up by all its legs but one will reveal the whereabouts of your cattle; via the direction pointed at by the last leg

Most Obvious Thing about them:

their head and body is just one lump unlike the segmentation of spiders. Their legs are real long so they can be closer to heaven for angelfucking.

Some points of note I couldn't put anywhere else:

None of them are poisonous. Their chelicerae , which are the normal poison fangs in spiders are little pincers. Some of them have crazy big pincers though.


But why not use a spider? These things look goofy and bizarre. Their behaviour and abilitys should be weird or unpredictable.

Absurd Fantasy Ways To Use them: Opliliones sometimes huddle in big groups but surprisingly compact spaces. Take that up a bunch and have 20 metre tall Opiliones that can hide in a rabbit hole. Or 20 of them all roiling out of that little hole because something startled them or they are going to eat an entire buffalo herd.

Their absurd striding makes them seem appropriate for being the steed of weird moon people or for walking on cloud top or tree canopy. Or being the transport of choice for Moebius attired gurus or uncanny mercantiles.

Abilities to walk insane distances with space distorting legs.

Disturbing nocturnal urban predators/dream eaters walking silent along streets peeking in 3rd story windows and then stepping in through a slightly ajar window. Like the BFG but the F starts for FuckedUp


Latin translates to: Flees from the sun
Terrible common use names: camel spider , sun spider, wind scorpion
Kinda of okay common name: Jerrymander, Haarskeerders ("hair cutters") , Baardskeerders ("beard cutters")

Kind of okay stories about them: They cut off hair when people sleep

to line their nest with, they disembowel camels, they chase people (technically they do this, but they just want to stay in your shadow because it is nice and cool BUT YOU KEEP MOVING DAMN IT)

Most obvious thing about them : They are a little more elongated than a spider and they have massive oversize secateur like fangs which can crush and cut. They are not poisonous but extremely faster


But why not use a spider?
: Emphasis that these have a face like a industrial barrel crusher . Spiders are subtle and patient, these are belligerent and aggressive , relentless and have the finesse of a ram-raid. Spiders are about poisoning and trapping. These are about running down and chewing things to pieces. They are the arachnid equivalent of those joke chattering teeth.

Absurd fantasy ways to use them:

Giant versions as Anti-armour steeds , ridden to crash into heavy cavalry and cut right through a horse and barding in seconds.

A legend of one always running just behind the sun, constantly hungry, or a desert tide of them sweeping across it with the retreating edge of the night eating anything that has awoke too early or stayed up too late

A colony of them that collect hair and beards to build people made of hair so they can puppet them from inside and seemlessly blend in with people. A face sized arachnid that runs as fast as an arrow and will leap on your face and chew threw it.

from here

Terrible common names: Whip scorpion , whip spider, tailless whip scorpion , (whip scorpion is name shared with Thelyphonidia)

Kind of Okay storys about them: They sting with their whips

Most Obvious Thing about them:
their first pair of legs are massively long and thing and serve the function of antenna. Their pedipalps (little legs at the front that normally look like little fangs or antenna) are huge , impressively spiked and look like a mantis scythe crab claw hybrid


But why not use a scorpion?: These look like some had a go at making a demolition vehicle out of an arachnid. They are not poisonous , way more of brute force monsters. The huge pedipalps could used to sweep down whole groups. The whips can be a creepy tappy tap foreshadowing of the monster as they delicately drift around corners and into crevices. Something about them suggests they should be fighting groups rather than stalking single opponents

Absurd Fantasy Ways To Use them: They are kind of terrible as steeds though, too flat looking, but as a massively oversized warmachine they would be awesome. Any time you want to use a giant crab but want it to seem smarter and faster. Unlike the Facedestroyer these only really work at horse sized for fantasy monster purposes. As gladiatorial opponent it would make a great image standing in the middle of the ring , scythes held aloft , whips questing for targets , as its doomed opponents sneak around the fragile cover provided .

The Scythe of one would make a great looking weapon for some darksun style shenanigans. either as a simple club or a way cooler scissor thing.

I could see these like the beetle things from dark crystal, bursting out of a hole to reap down a helpless civilian population .


Fixing Crap Boardgames

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF This post is from g+ but I am putting it here to make it plausible to find in the future


Half the money. Any time in your turn you can offer to do something (like dive roll out the window or lick the bottom of the fridge) and everyone offers some amount of money if you do it. One person can counter dare you and if their counter dare brings a higher offer of money they do the thing and earn cash. You can counter counter dare them though but any more than that and it's prob crazy.

I don't know if it makes more or less likely people to try and do dares if you got more or less money. I'm guessing yes having less money makes it more likely but I'm not 100% on that

No board, everyone goes at the same time, over any available surface, there is a penalty for knocking other peoples words. you must refill your 7 tile hand after playing a word before playing another one.

The tile bag must stay pretty much in the place it starts. No running off with it.  You can play with it a distance away from the starting area and increase the chances of accidents.

Scoring is 1 point for words with 1-3 letters , 5 for anything else , and 20 for using 7 tiles. Or you can do it per letter or the normal way if you love counting so much. After playing a word you got to write down the word you spelt on the score pad with your name. If you forgot to do this and play another word , any one can claim that word by writing it down and their name. If someone knocks your tiles you get to write "so so and so is a dickhead" on the score sheet and that is -10 for them each time.

First player takes and hides a card on their body while other player closes their eyes. They have to guess where it is.  If they are right ,you remove the card and they keep it as a point. If they are wrong  it's there turn. You keep cards hidden on you until the game is over or the other player guess where they are.  Cards that are not found by the other player by the end of the game are worth 2 points each. 
If any cards cannot be found by the player that hid them , that is hilarious.
Optional rule: cards hidden on you cannot be touching another card

I mean there is heaps of fun card games but sometimes teaching them or when you just have 2 people or can't remember the rules right?

players have a roll of duct tape and 5 minutes to tape as much padding as they can find to themselves. Then marbles are scattered all over the house , the lights are turned off and it's tag

TWINDLEWINKS/TIDDLEWINKS/TIDDLYWINKS : the non-twinkder player has to put their head on the ground and you try and hit them in the eye
I misspelled this but liked "twindlewinks" as a word so I'm keeping it. I don't think anyone calls it that.
Set it on fire with methylated spirits. Also tying woollen socks together in a knot ball works. Socks with nylon work as well but they will drip molten burning plastic all the time and it's pretty average.
This is the only one of these games I have playtested. I am not responsible for myself let alone you so don't blame me for anything if you do this. 

If both the attacker and defender roll a 6 destroy all armies at that territory and that territory. Cut out that section of the board and if you can be bothered move everything one "space" closer. If any player mentions that territory or refers to the battle more directly than the incident , drop a die onto the board. Whatever territory of theirs is nearest the die , remove it as above.
Referring  to participants/player  involved in*the incident* ,  or the if the incident occurred in the past or is yet to occur counts as referring  directly to it, triggering the above effect. . Referring to the *the incident" as anything other than "the incident" (such pluralizing it or otherwise suggesting  there is more than one or they are discrete happenings ) causes the above effect