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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Tromping through the Shudder Mountains, Part 7

Chapter 5: A New Journey

  • Slithering through a humid jungle, he was catching up to his prey. Hairy things that within the past few centuries learned to walk on two legs. He thought they looked silly. They couldn't out run him and the male knew it. He turned to face him with a rudimentary spear, but the serpent blade whipped out with a flash, cutting him down. Wet blood spurt on his face and..
  • Pinky woke as cold water sprayed his face. What a crazy dream... He looked around. His head was pounding. He was on a raft? Floating down the river? "Where am I?"
  • "Ah you're up!" replied an older halfling. He was dressed in old torn and dirty clothes. His hair and sideburns were grey and both poofed out wildly. He smiled at Pinky with yellow buck teeth, "It's me son! Your Father!"
  • Pinky looked on the raft again. Only Hans, sun kissed and completely hairless, lay with him. "Father?" Pinky was suspicious. "What happened? Where are the others?"
  • "Weren't no others! You and him's all I found. Hellva mess up there?"
  • Pinky asked why he left him and his father Frobert merely replied that it was a long story, fit for a better time.
  • "Well Dad... Where are we headed?"
  • "A town yonder, down the river! Gotta get supplies before our adventure."
  • "What adventure?"
  • "Oh don't you give it no mind! It'll be great! Just sit back and relax. You still need to rest!"
  • So Pinky sat and studied this strange old hobbit claiming to be his father. Eventually Hans woke up and had a lot of the same questions, but his faith some what restored he decided to let fate take over.

  • They arrived at the town of Lonelywood around noon, resupplied and met a conjure-man named Dagwood who was planning to make the journey up river anyways and would accompany them. [Dagwood is Alex's 3rd new character as I kept killing his other ones.]
  • Frobert explains that he is searching for three ingredients for an elixir he needs. He doesn't specify why... Once they have the ingredients and some spoil water; then Pinky, being a brewer, can cook it up! Frobert promises any treasure they find and of course the chance to catch up with dear old Dad.
  • The three ingredients are: The red milk from the lactating Gybrlyywock, feathers from each member of an order of sentient birds, and petals from The-Man-With-Roses-That-Grow-From-His-Hands.
  • On their river journey, they come across a giant taking a piss and unfortunately float right between his legs as a waterfall of urine rains down. The giant attacks, Pinky cut off his reaching fingers and Dagwood holds the giant at bay with his rope magic long enough for the raft to reach the quicker currents.
  • At one point a large cat fish, with female like features and tiny arms where fins should be, hops on the deck. Dagwood kills the fish and searches it's stomach, finding a strange statue carved in the likeness of woman. They push the fish back in the water and it floats down stream ahead of them.
  • Later on they hear a strange wailing, "Sister! Mah Sister!" Several of the Catgals (imagine mermaids mixed with cat fish) are crying over the mutilated body of their sister. Hans calls Dagwood an idiot for killing the creature as he fears they will avenge her if found out. The party silently hits the deck as they get closer and manage to skirt by the mourning Catgals.
Not quite, what I envisioned...
  • Some bad directions were taken and the raft is sent down rushing rapids. It gets dashed against the rocks. Dagwood loses his staff. Pinky and Frobert almost drown. Hans continues to let fate decide and lets the waters carry him under, but as he begins to down a branch catches him and he is pulled above the water. He sighs and decides to continue living.
  • With the raft gone they must continue on foot towards the mountain in which the Gybrlyywock resides. Along the way they run into a young blonde haired man named Igneous [Alana's new character, a thief. This is her 3rd character too. DCC is unforgiving.]
  • Igneous was heading to an abandoned tower, where he heard there may be treasure, the same tower Dagwood was looking to find as it was once used by a powerful wizard.
  • They head to the tower and find it abandoned, with very little treasure in the way of gold, but several potions and a few books that are still intact. As they explore the top floor there's a odd cooing sound as a horrible winged man beast lands on the balcony.
  • The cooing along with the things bright red swirling eyes is hypnotizing and has it's effects on some of the party. [This has been so long ago now I don't remember the exact details, but the party barely makes it out alive.] When the beast is killed it changes into a feeble old man. Hans heals who he can, but his disapproval is rising.
  • After a few more days of travel through the mountains and a few more random encounters; the party finally reaches the mountain of which legends state The Great & Terrible Gybrlyywock lives.
To be continued in... Chapter 6: The Lair of the Gybrlyywock



Monday, August 15, 2016

Tromping through the Shudder Mountains, Part 6

Chapter 4: The House of Cosmic Horror


Our "Heroes" have just recently escaped the ancient underground serpent tunnels, where many horrors were fought, Pinky, the halfling brewer, found an magical serpent blade and Darcy, the elf bard, met an ill fate. Poetically enough they have emerged from the frying pan, to find themselves in the fire! Literally, their town is a flame, as shadowy demons swoop down from the night sky to snatch the children away.

  • Tom Dankers runs out from his tavern to embrace Rynila. He was concerned the demons had snatch her away too.
  • They ask Tom what the hell is going on and he mentions old man McEvan, an old conjure-man who should have long been dead, but his connections with the devils of the mountains has kept him alive. For years he's been shunned by the townsfolk and just the other day he cursed the town and told them of a reckonin'-a-comin'! The shadow demons seem to be only taking the towns daughters.

  • Hans, the mad Braar, becomes enraged! They must stop these fiends! So together, with the help of two of Tom Danker's sons, Don the town drunkard and another fellow who we'll just call Bob (0-levels rolled up for Alex, who was playing Darcy in the last session) they head off.
  • The party borrows some horses and races up the old mountain path that leads to the McEvans farmstead. Along the way Pinky spots a pair of glowing eyes watching them from the shadows of the forest. The thing quickly hops away, making quite a racket and they press their horses harder.
  • As they reach the farmstead, their horses become frightened, treading no further. Thunderous noises and chanting come from within the half collapsed farmhouse.
  • They hear a noise coming from the barn nearby and go to investigate.
  • The inside is a mixture of hay and entrails. An old, tumor ridden nag in a stall is chewing loudly. It lifts its head, showing a shout covered in dripping gore.
  • The party looks into the stall to find a female corpse tied upside down against the wall. The nag is feasting on her insides from the groin down. Failing a Fort save, Don the drunkard, vomits out his reserve of ale. [Warning: Do NOT Google "tumor horse"]
  • Hans puts the horse brutally to death just as four of the McEvans boys jump down from the rafters.
  • The boys are all half-wits, caked in mud and hay and sporting crowns of antlers. Incest has turned this family into monsters.

  • A battle ensues and the boys are slain, but not before killing Tom Danker's two sons and Bob (the 0-level characters) leaving only Don, the drunkard.
  • Rynila grieves for her brothers and must be pressed to continue onward.
  • They cautiously head towards the house (and to my dismay avoid the well house all together).
  • Inside they find a real shit-hole. It looks as though animals were living there. The floors are covered in filth. Roots and vines grown up along the walls.
  • They find the dining room and other one of old McEvan's sons. The younger man snickers under the table saying, "You'll not save them! You can even save yourselves now! HahaHAHA!" Then with a silver blade he slices his throat wide open, gurgling some strange words before death. Rynila takes the silver blade.
  • They creep through the house, careful not to make too much noise. Thumping and chanting comes from the rooms above.
  • They decide to quickly search some of the rooms downstairs for any of the stolen daughters.
  • Entering one room, a loud mewing sound comes from the makeshift crib of antlers and roots. Next to the crib is a pile of dead rabbits and squirrels. Inside the crib they find an Eraserhead baby. Hans puts the baby out of it's miserable life.

  • They find a girl's bedroom and a diary. They discover it was Margo's (a 0-level character from the Sour Springs Hollow, who was a witch's apprentice). In the diary she states that her Father wants her to take the Witch-liquor to Tom Danker's wedding. She doesn't want to, but her Father will hurt her if she doesn't, or worse send her to the well. (Margo died in the 0-level funnel).
  • In another room, some lump of thing dressed in a filthy and tattered red robe shrinks into the corner as the PCs approach. Its frowning fat face rolls into it's neck. Chubby fingers point towards a writing desk on the other side of the room. 
  • The desk holds a large book with writing of an expert calligraphy. The book details the McEvan family tree. Deaths, births, mostly sons. Perusing the book they discover Han's wife and son's name. Reading further it states that she was taken and gave birth to a son. A son he thought was his... A son who drowned in the lake... A wife who then hung herself...
  • Han's becomes madden with rage and wants to beat the fat ugly mutant scribe, but is talked down. Everything he believed was a lie and he curses the Sovereign!
  • They finally rush up stairs and bust down the doors to the master bedroom. A horrible scene unfolds:
  • Old Man McEvan on his knees facing away from the PCs inside a summoning circle surrounded by lit candles. On three sides of the room bloated pregnant young women from the town wail and moan. Mid-wives tend to the victims.
  • Old Man McEvan slices his gut open down the middle and begins pulling out his intestines praising an elder god to rise, screaming his name over and over, ''YOG-SOGTHOTH!" Before collapsing in the circle.
  • The earth begins to quake and the women scream in pain as a floating, pulsing, bubbling horror pushes out from between their thighs.

  • Once they overcome their fear the party moves into action!
  • Rynila rushes to free the women, but finds the crazed mid-wives ready to kill.
  • Don rushes to help too, just as a spectre rises from the corpse of the old man and attacks. Don attempts to defend himself, but the ghost is too powerful. He falls... (All of Alex's characters have died, again.)
  • Pinky attempts to fend off the shadow with his serpent sword and fairs better than Don.
  • The young women burst open and the ceiling begins to crack as the elder-god fills the room, spilling over into the night sky.
  • Hans, his faith shaken, attempts once more to believe, calling upon the Sovereign for aid.
  • The shadow attempts a killing strike on Pinky and the mid-wives surround Rynila while Hans continues to pray.
  • Suddenly a wave of heat fills Hans body. He lifts off the floor as his skin begins to glow and his clothling catches fire. His wild unkempt hair and beard burns away. Hans radiates an inner light and the shadows of his bones can be seen through his skin.
  • This holy light is released in one gigantic wave that sweeps out in all directions, like a ring, cutting through the elder-god and the house alike. The old farm house collapses and there is blackness as the rubble covers all.

To be continued...?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Tromping through the Shudder Mountains, Part 5

Wherein I start breaking this story down into bulletin points, cause I'm way behind!

Chapter 3: The Serpents Beneath (continued)


When we last left the party (consisting of Pinky, the halfling brewer; Hans, the Mad Braar; Darcy, the elf bard; and Rynila the fighter) they were exploring the underground tunnels of an Ancient Temple in the middle of their town and recently defeated, or rather stalled the gears with chicken meat, a clockwork serpent guardian only to find that something foul has escaped from its slimy cocoon.

  • The party follow wet strange footsteps through the tunnels; finding all the stone doors were booby trapped with spraying acid. Discovering the pattern in which to press the carved stones on the frame they were able to make their way further.
  • They took a set of winding stairs that descended another mile below ground. The stairs led to a vast oval shaped chamber carved from the earth's crust. A ledge ran around the chamber and, below in a pit, were rows and rows of ledges lined with great and grotesque eggs. At the very bottom was a liquid fire like lava, heating up the chamber and making the eggs hatch. Across from them was a tall albino Serpent Man in red robes!

  • The Serpent man was standing behind a set of crystal controls when the party arrived and immediately attacked, firing some sort of energy beam from his wrist!
  • The party split up and ran around either side of the chamber.
  • Pinky slipped and fell, but grasped the ledge at the last moment.
  • Darcy played her flute, attempting to summon her patron Ubtu-galoo, but the Chaos Lord was not listening.
  • Rynila and Hans were flaking the Serpent Man.
  • As Pinky attempted to climb up; an egg just below him burst open and a hungry lizard thing with needle sharp teeth began biting at his dangling legs. 
  • Darcy reached for Pinky when the Serpent Man shot out another ray of fire that burst open Darcy's chest in a blast of gore and flame!
  • Rynila and Hans arrived and started beating the Serpent Man to a pulp. Rylina took a serpent styled gold bracelet off the fiends wrist.
  • Pinky climbed over the ledge and checked on Darcy, but she was dead before she hit the ground. He grabbed her flute.
  • With the eggs below hatching faster and faster, Rynila headed for the controls and started switching out crystals, the liquid fire below began rising, burning all the eggs in the pit as it rose.
  • Hans picked up Darcy's body and they all fled back up the stairs as the boiling lava bubbled over the edge.
  • Fleeing the party took a wrong turn and ended up in an unfamiliar corridor.
  • They decided it was best to just leave Darcy here, she was literally dead weight after all.
  • Exploring the hall, they found strange glass alcoves set into the rock wall. Inside the foggy glass here humanoids, some perserved, others mummified and still others skeletons. Then they heard foot steps...
  • Following the sounds they found some of the glass alcoves busted open and then they were ambushed by a group of Proto-Shudfolk from the primordial age. 

  • Frighten, the Proto-Shudfolk chose to fight! They outnumbered the party and after a round or two of fighting, forced them to flee down the halls!
  • They found a door, forced it open, ran inside just before the rest of the Proto-Shudfolk could come through!
  • Looking around at their surroundings they felt this hall seemed familiar, as it was rounded like the hall near the Clockwork Serpent. Exploring they found another set of doors, and after a bit of acid spray to the face they manage to open it.
  • Inside was a long chamber with a great murals on the walls depicting a race of Serpent-Men all dressed in stylish robes while early man were depicted as enslaved. In the center of the chamber a green tinted metal gauntlet rested on a pedestal and behind it, between two statues of warrior serpent men, was a silver coiled snake. The silver snake's head was raised as if judging the party.
  • To some of the party's objections, Pinky picked up the gauntlet and placed it on his hand. Painfully, the scales dug into his flesh while visions of sliding through humid jungle forests, chasing, enslaving and slaughtering hairy man-things filled his mind.
  • Coming out of the trance he saw the silver coiled serpent in the back of the chamber and knew it was no mere trinket.
  • Raising his gauntlet hand, the metal serpent came to life, uncoiling and sliding to rest in his gauntlet hand. It was a magical relic, half sword, half whip!
  • They left the chamber and having found their bearings were prepared to leave this dark place when a shadowy form appeared out of the darkness of the ceiling to attack Rynila. The shadowy, ossified, cat-like demon swooped down on bat-like wings to snatch her, but the party fought it back until it disappeared again. They questioned what just happened, but could devise no clear answers...
  • When they found the exit the great clockwork serpent was waiting, but this time it did not attack. They discovered the bracelet Rynila took from the Serpent Man could command the machine. She used it to assist them in climbing out of the underground chamber (and took her dismay her new serpent pet couldn't come with her).
  • Back in the upper portion of the ancient temple they sealed off the entrance way and then hear screams from the village outside!
  • Running out to investigate they found many houses ablaze, women screaming, men attempting to fend off shadow demons from stealing their children!

To be continued in Chapter 4: The Farmhouse of Cosmic Horror!




Thursday, August 4, 2016

DCC-DUNE: The Sister-witch

It's been a while, but I've finally got some time to get "back in the saddle," as it were, with all my writing. For those of you who haven't been following these posts or our just jumping for the first time, Feudal Universe (also known as DCC-DUNE) is a gonzo space faring setting to used with the DCCRPG rules. I'm still working out all the kinks because as one would think, it's a strange combination. Today we'll be looking at the Sister-witch character class and yes you guessed it, they're based off the Bene-gesserits!




Sister-witch

You are a sorceress living among a tribe, a concubine in a Great House, or perhaps a maid in secret service.  Every move you make is precise and calculated towards a specific goal, for above all else you are loyal to one thing, the secret organization known merely as the Sisterhood. Your fellow sisters have infiltrated every facet of the Known Universe and currently pull the strings from behind closed doors. Taken from parents you will never know, your childhood years consisted of physical and mental conditioning that have gifted you with almost superhuman powers. It is because of these abilities and the secrecy of the Sisterhood that outsiders often prefer to call you witches and that suits your needs just fine.

A sister-witch can control the gossamer threads that make up the universe controls in subtle ways using her voice or mind known as the Weirding Ways.  A sister-witch is adept in martial arts and with these combined abilities she makes a great ally or ferocious opponent.

A sister-witch, until proven worthy to become a Reverend Mother is subject to a Reverend Mother and must answer to and perform the duties commanded or face exile. Exiled Sisters lose their connection with the coven and their Weirding Ways suffer for it causing any spell to be cast using a d16.

Hit points: A sister-witch gains 1d6 hit points at each level.

Weapon training: A Sister is trained in the use of the blackjack, club, dagger, flip-dart, gomjabber, hidden poison, kindjal, needle-gun, shig-wire garrote, staff, and throwing knives.

Alignment: The Sisterhood as a collective are Neutral. There purpose is merely to observe and guide the Universe along the right path (as long as that path is chosen by The Sisterhood). Every option is open as long as the ultimate goal is achieved and the Sisterhood is benefitted.

Weirding Ways: Unlike the Guild Seers, the Sisters are limited in what they can achieve and fear that flaunting their “talents” will show their hand. When casting spells a Sister uses her Caster level and Personality modifier.

Weirding level: Weirding level is a measurement of a Sister’s ability to channel her weirding ways and is equal to her class level.  For example, a 2nd-level Sister has a weirding level of 2.

Action dice: A Sister’s action dice can be used for attack or weirding checks at any level.

Skills:
  • Backstab
  • Sneak silently
  • Hide in shadows
  • Religious Indoctrination

Weirding Ways:

  • Truth Sense
  • The Voice
  • Prana
  • Second Sight
  • Other Memory (Reverend Mothers Only)
  • Transform Substance (Reverend Mothers Only)

(Other weirding ways (aka spells may be added)

Reverend Mother: To become a Reverend Mother a Sister-witch must go on inner quest of the mind in order to unlock the secrets of her ancestors. The inner quest is brought about by an overexposure of the Fumes. The sister-witch does not have to take this journey only however as she is able to project her mind into those around her.

During the inner-quest, the sister-witch cannot be physically harmed as her body, but as she fights the fume exposure her mind may suffer temporary or permanent harm in the form of Intelligence loss.  If the sister-witch dies during the ordeal, she will perish in waking world. Her companions however are merely projections and if harmed will appear to lose hit points and die, but will wake unharmed.

The exact nature of the inner-quest is decided by the Judge, but can be seen as a dungeon crawl of the mind, with some escape which ends the ordeal and changes the character forever. A successful journey will see the sister-witch becoming a Reverend Mother while if her companions complete the journey in full they will see their luck restored. (More on this later.)

Level
Attack
Crit Die/ Table
Action Dice
Known Spells
Max Spell Level
Ref
Fort
Will
1
+1
1d6/II
1d20
3
1
+1
+1
+2
2
+1
1d8/II
1d20
4
1
+2
+2
+2
3
+2
1d8/II
1d20
5
2
+2
+2
+3
4
+2
1d10/II
1d20
6
2
+3
+2
+3
5
+3
1d10/II
1d20+1d14
7
3
+3
+3
+4

Level
Title (all alignments)
1
Acolyte
2
Head Sister
3
Truthsayer
4
Proctor Superior
5
Reverend Mother

If you want to read more of my DCC-DUNE posts just hit the link!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

DAMN EASY HEXCRAWL RULES

So the other night I was thinking my current game, set in the Shudder Mountains, and how the players are near the end of their quest and how they now must trek back to town in order to finish said quest. Usually I would just use my chapter rule of "You've been traveling for x days and you arrive here" and begin the newest adventure. This time things are a bit different as there is a time limit placed upon the the party to get to their destination or else bad things will happen.

So in the spirit of not overly complicating things and taking some hints from The One Ring ruleset I present my DAMN EASY HEXCRAWL RULES! Take it or leave it. I'm know other people have tackled this before, but what the heck!


The Rules:



During a hexcrawl journey the party must make the following checks as determined by the Judge. Usually one check for every hex travelled unless otherwise determined by the tables below.


Scouting: As the party moves through the wilderness they will need to make decisions regarding the direction they are taking and whether or not to abandon the road or set off on a new path. The guide or scout makes an Intelligence check and adds their Luck modifier. Depending on the land they are currently traveling the die may be raised or lowered according to the dice chain (see Terrain Table below).


Scouting Roll
Result
20+
The party is making exceptional time and may move two hexes away.
15-19
The party is making good time and easily moves on to the next hex.
10-14
The party must make an Encumbrance check before moving on.
5-9
No change. The environment is suppressing the party.
3-8
The party temporary loses Stamina according to their current encumbrance die and each PCs rations drop -1d.
1-2
Incident! (i.e. rotten food, animal attack, monster encounter, etc.)


Hunting/ Foraging: Determine if the PC is hunting or foraging. Hunting requires a Strength or Agility check; while forging requires an Intelligence check. A PCs Luck modifier is added to the roll for good or ill. Depending on the land they are currently traveling the die may be raised or lowered according to the dice chain (see Terrain Table below).


Hunting/ Forging Roll
Result
20+
The entire party raises their rations +1d.
15-19
The PC rolling raises their rations +2d.
10-14
The PC rolling raises their rations +1d.
3-9
No change.
1-2
Incident! (i.e. rotten food, animal attack, monster encounter, etc.)


Terrain Table
Type
Description
Die Type
Easy
Open Terrain, well-trodden path, plains, etc.
d24
Moderate
Pathless wilderness, hills, sparse woods, bogs.
d20
Hard
Marshes, wastes, fells, woods with good tracks.
d16
Severe
Dense woods or very rough ground.
d14
Daunting
Desert, blighted or ruined land, mountain passes.
d12


Rations: Each PC is assigned a die equating the amount of rations they currently carry. When making a rations check during a journey the PC will roll the assigned die. If the roll comes up a 1 the die is dropped -1d in accordance to the dice chain.


Meager Rations = d3
Standard Rations = d4
Plentiful Rations = d6
Rich Rations = d8


PCs can give their companions a portion of their rations by lowering their current die -1d while the acceptee raises their rations +1d.


Encumbrance: Each PC is assigned a die equating their encumbrance. The encumbrance die is determined by the Judge at the start of the journey. When an encumbrance check is required the PC attempts to roll under their current Stamina score using the die assigned. If the roll is higher than the PCs Stamina score they suffer a temporary Strength or Stamina loss (player’s choice) according to their current encumbrance.


Unencumbered = d16 (1d3 loss)
Light Encumbrance = d20 (1d4 loss)
Encumbered = d24 (1d6 loss)
Heavy Encumbrance = d30 (1d8)

I'll be testing this out the next time I play (gods know when that will be) so I'll have to get back to you on how well it works and how much fun the players have with it. If you decide to incorporate it into you game drop me a line and let me know how it goes.