Monday 29 June 2020

3 Session Framing

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 13 June 2020

Velvet Hooks: Boa Boy and Boa Constructor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 2 June 2020

Velvet Hooks: Bedlam Birds and The Blathering Bird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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